Monday, December 31, 2007

Warriors Collide - My World Shifts

Warriors Collide 2
I had never before been to see a fight. In fact, other than some friends taking me as a lark to see some "professional wrestling" in 1985, I had never even considered going to see a fight. I had a brother who, when travelling in Thailand (also in the early 80s), went to see some kickboxing for "local color". In short, seeing a live boxing match seemed something that I was destined to never do.

But two women that I train with (Heather & Laura) launched themselves in 2007 into organizing local amateur fights. So on a Saturday afternoon, I decided to go to "the fights". I got online to Ticketron, picked best seats available, and gave it my credit card. It was Sept 8th, 2007.

At 7pm, we (my honey and I) arrived at the War Memorial Auditorium in Ft Lauderdale for Left Hook Productions: Warriors Collide 2.

First thing, I knew some people. As I entered, there was Ed & Jennifer working a merchandise desk out front. As we found our seats, I greated another half dozen people that I knew from the dojo. Cool. I seemed to know more people here than I do anywhere else in Ft Lauderdale.

Second thing, our seats. We were ringside! I looked at my tickets and it turns out, I had paid $50/seat (or something) and we could see every detail. When they started to fight, we could see the sweat pouring off them and sometimes, we got sprinkled.

Third thing, it was really really cool to watch the fights. There were about 14 fights on the card that night. All amateur. Fighters from Miami, the West Coast of Florida, and Orlando. The matches were mostly "oriental rules" (which I can't find a copy of online and which were NOT explained n the Program) which seems to mean:
  • Hitting and kicking are OK including kicks to the legs
  • Knees to the body are OK but no knee strikes to the head or groin
  • The fighters wear headgear, gloves, and shinpads (and cups presumably)
  • They can grapple standing up
  • They get points for take-downs but the ref immediately stands them back up
  • Most fights were scheduled for three fights, three minute rounds. There was one championship match which was scheduled to go five rounds
The fights were mostly great matches with someone from Left Hook Productions (Larry Borden?) having done a great job of matching people not just by weight but so that the fights were pretty even matches. In some cases, the fighters got exhausted by the end but they both seemed to slow down evenly. Some of the matches were stopped (TKO - technical knock out) by the referree. None were boring.

Fourth thing - I knew really alot of people. My fiance's hairdresser had a friend who was fighting that night so there were ten people that she knew from the the salon crowd. There were alot of parents of friends of my kids. I probably knew about 30 people from where I train. To top if off, I took a look at the guy that they had for security and I knew him too (his name is Steve and he's a body builder with a day job in my building).

Last thing - I had a great time. For me, it was a bit of a world shift. For the first 49 years of my life , I had not liked watching fights, not even on TV. But this night was a shift for me. Maybe because it was amateur and not too violent. Maybe because I had trained in MMA and had a sense for the sport. Maybe it was just weird to show up and find that I knew dozens of people there.

For whatever reason, I'm now really into watching the fight. I left looking forward to the next Warriors Collide. Kyoshi (Steve Lavallee - the head of my school) had shown up apparently to assess whether this was something that he would encourage his students and staff to participate in. I think he will so I'm looking forward (with some trepidation) to seeing some people that I know in the ring.

The fighters were from the Bears Den, American TKA, Atemy Ru Jujitsu, Team Mumfort, US1 Fitness, Ameican Top Team, Freestyle Fighting Academy, Xtreme Marshall arts, FFA, Round 2 Kickboxing, Hammer Gym, ATT, Inferno, American Top Team, and Team Popovich. The Headline Fight was the ISKA Heavy Weight Championship fight (Chris Decaro vs Eric Rivera)

Fights found online from Warriors Collide 2

Joe Ray Part 1

Joe Ray Part 1

Warriors Collide 1 - Video Collage

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Karate goals for 2008

My goals in terms of what I'm to achieve/learn from karate in 2008:

  1. Better sparing. Specifically, I'd like better boxing skills.
  2. Self-defense. I'd like to learn the basics of street fighting / self-defense. I've learned some holds and grabs around and the dojo has moved from the old curriculum (12 baiscs) but is now adding some grappling skills. I'm not exactly sure what I'm looking for here but I would like to have more of a sense of self-defense.
  3. Martial Arts General Knowledge - I'd like to know the basics in terms of major movements, what's in style and what's being dropped. What are the big martial art bodies? The top ten martial artists that I should now? What are the striking vs non-striking martial arts? I'd like to recognize a bit about aikado, kung fu, kempo, judo. How different is Korean from Chinese from Japanese or are the national origins not really important? I'd like to get a working knowledge of the different schools and techniques.
  4. Flexibility. I'd like, with legs at shoulder width, be able to bend down and get both elbows on the ground.
  5. Endurance. If I'm going to spar better, I'll need more endurance. I'll target a fourteen minute two mile. And I'd like to get my waist from 34 to 33 (I had it at 32 about five years ago but that took an unsustainable discipline about eating plus lots of running and gym. The big problem: I love to eat. Especially deserts. Speaking of...gotta go...

Well, these are my ambitions. Check back in 12 months and I'll remember to fess up on how I did.

A black belt's first Christmas

I earned my black belt in early November and kept training pretty well (2x week plus some running) until the dojo shut for the holidays. Then, I took the family off on vacation for a week and immersed myself with the children.

The good news is that I had a great time with the family. More good news is that I did make it to the resort's gym three times (out of six days) where I did some weights, did my shoulder therapy, 150 crunches, some eliptical, stretching, and jump rope.

However, counting travel days and the days just before the vacation and since I got back, I'm averaging less than one workout every three days. Thats the bad news.

Everyday you work out is a great day. So why not work out every day? - says Kyoshi.

My goal is to have 5 workouts per week this year. A run (2 mile min), gym workout, or class is the definition. Swinging the chucks in my living room, stretching , or push ups don't count. If they did, since I tend to now practice my chucks when I'm on the phone and I stretch whenever I have a minute and some privacy, I would have to aim at a dozen workouts per week.

Next post: I'll put my goals for 2008 out there. Not just in terms of participation, but what my measures of success will be.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Black Belt - It's Only the Beginning - Article 2

In our last episode where I said that the Black Belt was only the Beginning, I hinted that there were changes afoot. That achieving the black belt and creating a library of the katas was only the beginning.

As I earned my blackbelt, there was a part of me that said it was time to take a bow and retire with dignity. I thought about posting my new black belt pictures and then embalming the blog. Instead, I'm trying to relaunch my blogging and my training with new vigor and focus.

So here's the deal. I'll try to tell an interesting story. You try and follow it. Yes, I tend to jump around and I spell unevenly and and I sometimes leave out words. OK, my sentences are sometimes too long and I poke fun at myself so much that the self-deprecation thing gets a little tiring... And yes, although I have a shiny new belt and gi to wear to class, there's still the same 50 year old body underneath and a guy with more curiosity than knowledge about the martial arts. The fact is that I'm trying to ask  questions that I think we all wonder about...
  • How to write about the questions that intrigue me while also telling a story that is readable and interesting to others? We've all at some point kept a journal or diary but then, in rereading it, realized that the writing was depressingly bad and boring. Can I both share some of my inner thoughts and tell a story worth listening to?
  • How to balance exercise, my career, my hobbies, and my relationships? I struggle as most parents must, to balance taking care of my kids, maintaining my relationship with my spouse, earning a living, and somewhere in all that, keeping track of me.
My plan is this.  I'll shift this from being a record of my black belt class, mostly of interest to my classmates, to something of broader interest. I'll post less often and with less detail about the training. I'll try to speak more broadly about my thoughts and conditions with the martial arts more as my launch pad than the focus. The martial arts creates a common theme for many people who are struggling with self improvement or at least preservation as they hit their fourth or fifth decade.

Can I create a voice enthralling to many people? I'm not sure but my goal will mostly to help capture my thoughts and hopefully, they'll be of some interest or use to others.

A Black Belt - It's Only the Beginning...

I have long heard what I always took to be a joke: "The Black Belt, it's only the beginning". And I use to laugh.

Well, excooooose me. Rembering that:

When a door closes, look for the window that opens. - anonymous

Life is about setting goals that are personally meaningful to you. And then achieving them. - Dad (mine)

S.M.A.R.T Goals - Goals we set are goals we Get - Kyoshi

There has to be a morning after... - Some Barbara Streisand Song

Yes, I got my black belt. I think I look good in my new red gi with my new belt. Don't you agree?

But now that a month has past and I've taken a lot of high fives and congrats and even a few hugs and I've hosted a party for all the new black belts and I've caught up on my personal and professional life (in short, I've been a busy bee), I'm turning to the questions of:

  • how does the martial arts fit into my life?

  • what are my goals going forward?

  • can I really balance a training schedule, increasingly demanding professional life, and rich personal life?

  • and most importantly, what am I going to do about this blog? It started as a way to keep track of the katas (as my memory in my very late 40s isn't what it used to be. Or at least, my memory isn't what I think my memory used to be). And now, this blog actually has some readers and some potential....
As it turns out, I have answers emerging for all these questions. And alot more. So stay tuned. (some hints on my direction. I'm writing this before going for a Sunday morning run. And last night, I went the local amateur fights - Warriors Collide 3 - and watched one of my teachers show everyone, including herself, just how good she is).

Lastly, notice that I'm ending my post with questions to be answered......

This is an effort to create a storyline and to end this episode with a cliff-hanger.... As I mentioned, stay tuned....

PS - In response to requests this week, I added a video of Long One, Short Three, and White Belt Appreciation Form. I corrected some glaring omissions in bookset and I'm actively looking for a good video of the bookset kata.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Kama Set Two

Kama set two starts with a new move known as the Osborne.
Here's a performance of it by Mr. Daniel.

There's a few variations allowed on the kicks. More on that later...

Kama set 2 is a form that was created by Roland Osborne and is a creative form (not from TKD). He was originally a student under Jason David Frank (both are lineage of Red Dragon Karate) and now runs his own schools.

Thanks Mr Dan Walsh.