Monday, April 26, 2010

Board Breaking at the Exam - The Agony and the Ectasy

To get a black belt, each Candidate must break a board. To get a second degree, the Candidates need to break two boards. In groups of nine, we go up in front of a pretty good size crowd to take our turn breaking two boards.

I'm in the red gi top in the center at the start of the video.  This video starts out fun but then it takes a surprising turn. Two Candidates have trouble breaking their boards. But there's no escape. In front of everyone, these ladies show the concentration and persistent that got them this far.   I found the tension and drama at the time very emotional. In rewatching the video, I'm so impressed by their calm and focus. There's no silliness or embarrassment, just work to be done and a focus on doing it.  Congratulations to Agnes and Sylvia.

PS - I checked with everyone in this video prior to posting it. Ose!!!! Onward to the Spectacular (May 15th).

PPS - Anybody else have an emotional reaction to this? Comments please.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Power Weekend - Awesome!

I just finished Power Weekend. It was awesome!  Friday night: kata, drills, and board breaking.  Here's a pictture of the NTC Team and a great picture of Tony smashing through the board.

I'm jumping into the shower and taking a nap, more later.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Soreness and Stiffness - What works and how?

I'm working out hard these days and, being of a certain age, I tend to be stiff and sore. Any insights into how to avoid stiffness and what soreness and stiffness are really about? I know they have something to do with lactic acid build-up.

Here's a few therapies that I use or have used. Anybody know which are snake oil and what they actually do?
  1. Heat rubs like IcyHot or Bengay Rub
  2. Soaking in the jacuzzi -
  3. Electric treatment at the chiropractor
  4. Ultrasound at the chiro
  5. Deep tissue massage

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nutrition - Whats a good training meal?

This and next week are peak performance week.  I'm wondering, what is the textbook answer to "What is the right meal to eat before a big class? What's the ideal way to warm up?"

In my case, before the big sessions, like the Saturday morning candidate class and run, I go through the same routine.  I'm up at 7am and I start drinking a lot of water. I eat lightly, usually two pieces of toast with Nutella and a banana.  I might drink a half class of juice (orange or grape) and I avoid coffee (although I'd really like a cup!)  I also spend about 10 minutes in a hot (102) jacuzzi to loosen up. I actually stretch in the jacuzzi. Then, I get dressed and get to the dojo for 30 minutes of light warm-up.The warm involves doing katas at half speed, some light calistenics, and stretching.

During class, I grab drinks which often add up to a full  liter bottle by the end of class. We have about a 20 minute break between class and the timed two-mile run. I'm usually ravenously hungry at that point. So, and htis is true,  I usually wolf down two frosted pop-tarts prior to the run.

So, what would be the ideal routine for a mature fellow like me who needs all the limberness and cardio help he can get.

This was an all-karate week.
Monday: Training class
Tuesday: A class mostly prepping for demo on Wednesday
Wednesday: Demo team performance plus, all the candidates, took the entire test with the students
Thursday: Bugo precheck. I had the honor of having Kyoshi standing there watching me for several matches.
Friday: Kata, basics, and self-defense precheck
Sat: Simple 2 mile run.

And YES, I finally beat the 14:00 time for two miles. I turned in a 13:52!!! For those of you haven't been following, I've been trying since I was a first degree candidate (three years ago), to break fourteen minutes on the two miles. Last cycle, I got a 14:08 and 14:09. I set the fourteen minute mile as a goal in 2008. This cycle, I had a 14:00 and 14:01.  Today, with no class before hand and a cool crisp morning, was pretty much my last chance to make it.  And I did.  Woo hoo!  David (son) hadn't come over this morning which is a shame since he's the one whose been following this closely with me.  But I am thrilled. Plus I'm regularly weighing in at 188 lbs (my goal was to get under 190).  So I'm a happy camper.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

All systems go!

I had a great candidate class this morning. I could kick with both legs (ie my hamstring strain is behind me) and I could pushups (my shoulder is better).  The class was mostly katas and being a total karate nerd, this plays to my strong suit.  I felt healthy and fit and ran a 14:35.  Now that I can train again, I might yet work it down to under 14:00.  

John & Carmen Edelson 
Next weekend is mini-Power Weekend (a new concept). Thursday is a sparring check, Friday is a kata check (hmmm, where's the self defense going to fit it?), and Saturday morning is "running and more".   It can't be too much more since I'm just wearing running stuff. 

The following weekend is the Mega Power Weekend. And then onto prep for the spectacular. Party planning is coming along nicely.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

American Bo Form

This is showtime, it's spotlight week for those of us who are testing for new belts in April or candidates. I had the honor of performing the American Bo form as a solo for my class Monday night.  I felt good, I was fluent, energetic, and didn't stumble.  The class liked it and so did I.

The instructors however, exchanged glances after I finished, one of them got the nod, and I was taken solo into the next room for some help. It seems that Kyoshi had worked that very morning with the staff on bo form so they were very aware of some details that I was not doing right.  Here's what I'm focusing on changing. BTW, I love this sort of detail work. Thanks Mr. Vince.   Why? Well, as I've said before, Correct Me. If you are my friend.

1. Bo position. On many side to side strikes, in the finish position, the bo is completely straight forward and exactly horizontal. Not a little up or a little down, not a little to the left or right, completely straight forward and exactly horizontal. Also, near the start when I place the bo on my knees, this is a chance to discretely be sure that it is centered, not a little too far to one side or the other.

2.  On the cat stance positions, the bo points down 45 and straight forward. Again, not even a little to the left or right.

3. There are many different positions for the overhead strike, all exactly the same in terms of the bo and the arms. On the overhead strike, it is at the end, pointed up at 45 degree, left hand down at the hip, right hand turned over like a fist. The step where you cross your legs is an overhead strike and it should end exactly liek this. While the body is is a novel position, the strike is exactly like the others.  Ditto on the overhead strike when you spin around. Ditto on the first overhead strike from your knees.

4.  Directions, mostly very square with one brief section on the 45.  At times, the form is north, south, east, and west.  Starting at one high dragon, it is on the 45 but only until downward strike which is again north (ie, the position that I started the form in).

5. High and low dragon.  The bo moves down through the left hand like a pool cue for the low dragon, the shot is just past your back leg, and your stance (hard bow forward) remains that way for the up and down dragon. You only switch your stance and adjust your step on the next move.

6. The backwards steps starts with the rear left leg.  When we count the three steps backwards, it's based on the left leg stepping further back (one), followed by the right leg coming back to it. Then the left leg goes back again (two), and so on. Going forward, it's the opposite, the right leg steps first (one) with the left closing in afterwards.