Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Learning Discipline vs Being Disciplined

Saturday morning, teaching the candidates class, Kyoshi made a comment which has stuck with me: You come to the dojo to learn discipline. Not to be disciplined.

I've been thinking about this since then. It's a distinction that intrigues me and which I wish I fully understood. I wish everyone understood it.

Discipline should be internal and self-motivated. That seems clear. But beyond that, my understanding is murky.
  • Is discipline a habit that can be learned through others providing external motivation?
  • Is it a clever organization of incentives?
  • What is this self-discipline of the second pledge?
Being in the parenting and education business, I'm very aware of the difference between internal motivation and external motivation. At the extreme, this is the difference between studying because you want to learn and studying because your parents tell you to.

In reality, the line between internal and external motivation appears gray to me. For instance, is it external motivation if a students want to get As so that she can get into a good college? Is it internal motivation if I work out everyday since I like to look and feel a certain way (and I know that if I do my wife will smile when she sees me)?


Monday, October 26, 2009

The Ebb and Flow of Blogging

Unlike training for the martial arts, blogging is not that demanding. When I don't have time or don't feel like writing, I don't. And when I don't blog, I don't feel guilty, I don't start having trouble sleeping, I don't put on weight, I don't get flabby and feel bad, and I don't think my mind starts to rot. I just don't blog until I feel like I have something to say.

OK. That's not entirely true. After about two weeks, I start feeling edgy about neglecting my blog. So here I am forcing a little update. Here's the news: My training is going fine, a little uninspired since I keep having to take a week off as my back acts up. I'm working with a trainer now who is convinced that my back problems stem from stiff hip joints. He says that if I can loosen up my hips, I'll stop having back troubles. Sounds good to me, stay tuned.

This last weekend, there was another two mile run after the candidate class. I was a little tired and turned in 14:58. My ten year old however produced his new fastest time yet: 14:14. And then he explained to me that he can do a lot faster next time. It's true too.

What martial arts blogs have I been reading?

One is Cheri's blog about women in the martial arts: On My Own Two Feet. She's a real student of the arts and is insightful about it for women.

In the same vein but more chatty and less earnest is the popular Black Belt Mama. Like me, she has a mess of kids in the martial arts. She's writing a lot about her parenting.

I like Ronsan60's blog because he's been around Kyoshi's system for decades. I particularly liked the post about the start of Lavallees. But he only posts every few months.

The big excitement in martial arts for me has been watching the MMA on TV. Durn, that's what I should have blogged about. OK, tomorrow. This weekend, for the first time, I bought a pay per view program and recorded UFC 104 which I watched Sunday night. And over the last month, again a first for me, I've been following the UFC Reality Show. And here's a friendly plug for a site that teaches curriculum.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

The words we use....Our gangwords

As of this morning, I'm putting myself on the injured list for awhile and staying off the floor. Just too much recurring back pain. Since routine classes have been leaving by back in agony, I think I'll cool it for a few weeks. Sadly, no bugo for me today.
Vince Pratico

While I was NOT in class this morning, one of the instructors said he spent some time reading this blog and noted some questions that I had asked (he must have been reading some
old posts) and some errors on how I'm writing the words. I'm grateful that he took the time to help. Thanks Mr. Vince (now the Sensei of Five Rings Elite Martial Arts Academy in Plantation Florida, this update in July 2014).

jonathan weeks
Jonathan Weeks Visiting
Vkidz World HQ
It's Three Set Kumite (not kuma tai as I've long had listed on the left menu bar) . Oops, I'll fix it soon. Thanks for the correction. He also told me that all of our words are Japanese in origin, not Chinese or Korean.
On another note, Jonathan Weeks explained to me the spelling and background of the standard greeting that we use in the dojo: "Ous" (which is how it is said) is really spelled OSU. While the definition/origin is actually unknown, "OSU" typically means "YES"!! Or "ALRIGHT" and/or "YOU-ROCK" amongst our Martial Arts "home-ies". It is most appropriately used ONLY by those practicing in the arenas of Karate or MMA. Kinda like a "gang-word" that only the gang can understand.

Update from July 2014: I just read a great article by a self-proclaimed "karate nerd" and "handsome elite athlete" (I'm directly quoting him, I personally have no oinion as to his handsomeness, athleticism, or intellectual obsessions) about the term OSU and how it shouldn't and should be used:

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Blogging - The fun of it.

Like a lot of people, I spend time on Facebook. I think of it as a "scene". A back-to-school-meet-the-teachers-thing or bar scene or a college mixer or some other get together. It's very social. I get a glimpse and an update of many people and happenings, some of which I care about. Facebook is easily configured so I can get less glimpses of things I don't care about. And the people (or fan pages) that I really care about, I can go visit more. It's good, it's cool. But Facebook has a superficial feel for me, I also like blogging.

Blogging is the same but different. Blogging is for me, a few minutes when I collect and try to process my thoughts. This blog started with me trying to figure out the kata (ie left
how to blog for fun and promotionfoot crescent step back, right hand inward block, right foot crescent step, left hand block, aieya) and has evolved into me writing about more esoteric topics that interest me and maybe others. As the blog has grown more visible and public, I've tried to be a little more polished and less quirky in my writing.

I've enjoyed blogging and highly recommend it for any thinking person. One of the reasons that it's been fun for me is that I started through a blogging course so that all my questions got answered easily and my technical problems resolved painlessly. Plus, I had readers and supportive feedback from day one. So I'm suggesting that if you are interested, you should sign up for Blogging 101 which starts Oct 12th (Monday). Plan on it taking about two hours a week and starting you on a fun new hobby. It'll cost you $59 unless you are part of a non-profit in which case, we'll let you for $9. Email me with questions on that.

And, as the new FTC law about blogging endorsements requires, I'll disclose that this endorsement of the bloggin course is not a pure third party endorsement. I work for the company that teaches the course.