Saturday, March 29, 2008

Why isn't BBat50 taking class?

I'll spare you a photo of my feet but basically, I'm no longer symmetrical.

The left foot, the one that has been sore for half a year, is now much smaller than my newly injured right foot. It has swollen. And there's also a broken big toenail.

Gout? No, just a sprain. The good doctor (Dr Fingado by name. He also trains with us. As does his wife and both children -thanks C) supervised the xrays and review. His prognosis:

Recently injured right foot. No real problem. A month of not pushing off my toes or any other movement in the foot should fix it. Stay off it. And then don't hurt it again.

Nagging soreness in the left foot. More serious. Arthritis in all three joints in my foot. Arthritis is (per Wikipedia) a joint disease as a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. The good doctor explained it to me that the cartilage, which lines the bones inside the joints and allows them to move against each other without friction, is worn away and now the porous bones will start to have friction. Ouch! Arthritis. Probably a result of many decades of intense soccer playing and repeated injury to the left foot and ankle.

So now I'm like the other parents, driving two kids two and from class, watching from the sidelines. Hoping to get wireless installed at the dojo so I can use the time efficiently. durnit. grrrr.

All in all, I've had a good run. I haven't had an injury (spelling fixed - thanks K) that kept me from training for almost two years. Injuries are part of the game. I should be back full speed in late April. Until then, I'll maybe join a gym and pump some iron.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Warriors Collide 4

I didn't go. I had the kids and it felt like they weren't quite ready for a night out at the fights. So I missed it. A number of people asked me today about what happened so here is a quick write-up of what I've heard. It entirely second and third-hand. And I would welcome anyone sending in a full write-up of the evening and some pictures or videos.

The question was actually about Damien Scott who had his debut Saturday night. It sounds like he was overmatched. His opponent was 1-1. He had won once in a boxing fight and lost in his MMA fight. Word has it that Damien's strategy was to make it more of an in-and-out fight where he didn't have to go toe-to-toe in boxing.

Apparently, it didn't worked. He was overpowered and lost on a TKO in the third round.

The Sun Sentinel has 14 pictures online here. I'll also risk a minor copyright infringement and repost a few here (unless someone can send me pictures and a write-up of the event) since they'll probably take them down in a few days. Warriors Collide 6!


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mo, my training partner

Posted by BlackBeltBound

I've been training with Mo since I joined LaVallee's. We usually get together about an hour before class and occasionally after class as well. I expect that I'll be training with Mo right up to getting my Black Belt. I don't think I could get through a class without Mo. My kicks are higher, my punches stronger, my horse stance lower and my belly slaps faster when I train with Mo. I'll tell ya, Mo (otherwise known as Motrin) is the best training partner a guy pushing 50 could ask for.

When I first started training I thought the various aches and pains were just from being previously inactive. Then came the injury in my calf muscle. I learned to stretch my calves well before class. Then came the pain in my right shoulder and arm. Not too much I can do about that. Then the hamstring pull. More new stretches. I'm battling a pain in my right knee. I have no idea where that came from. It just hurts but doesn't stop me from training.

There was a point where I didn't think my body would allow me to make it to Black Belt. After having a conversation with Sensei, I have the confidence that I can do it and confidence in him to get me there. I love going to class and perform all the drills with all my effort and energy. I just need to up my commitment to my training outside of class.

I've noticed improvements since starting my training. I can do 50 jumping jacks without feeling like I'm going to die. I remember the first time we had to jog around the floor and shuffle side to side and realized how out of shape I really was. What was supposed to be a warm up nearly killed me. I'm able to keep up now but certainly need to boost my cardio and flexibility training. I would love to have more flexibility ( it would make those kicks a lot easier!) and more cardio stamina.

And that's one of the reasons that I took up the challenge of co-authoring this blog. I'm trying to find a way of bringing the lessons learned in the dojo into my everyday life. At this point the most important lesson to embrace is that Champions fall down seven times and get up eight.

With Mo's help, I'll keep getting up.
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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Warriors Collide

Post by BlackBeltat50.

It's that time again, another set of Ft Lauderdale amateur fights. Saturday night, March 22nd, 2008 at the War Memorial Auditorium. As background, look at my descriptions of Warriors Collide 2, & 3 . Also, here are the ISKA Rules, including the Oriental Rules which are used for most of the Warriors Collide bouts.

Here is what I want to know:

1. Who is fighting? Last time, I knew three people from our schools who were fighting. All were pretty high level: Stephanie (4th degree), Sensei Hewitt (5th degree) and Trish Cicero (not sure what belt, maybe 2nd dan). This time Damien Scott is going into the ring. He's a first degree black belt.

2. Any women? I think most people agree that the girls fights are the most popular. The Answer from Coop's email shows a Vanessa & Aliana on the ticket.

3. Is Steve Lavallee's school going to buy and resell a big block of tickets? Last time, we had a great time sitting as a group. This time, I might go with a block of people who buy tickets through my honey's hairdresser (All About Choo - I'm not kidding, they have a friend who fights and they go as a group. Looking fabulous!)

4. Is this age appropriate entertainment for kids? I have my kids next weekend (I don't have them every weekend). They're ages 9,11, & 14. The 9 & 14 year old both take karate. Is this an appropriate show for them? Last time, I noticed maybe a dozen kids in the audience. Tough question which I've been wrestling with.

5. Question: How do I find out who is fighting in advance?
Answer: Send an email to coop and she emails back the line-up. Here it is (plus the questions below, some of which have been answered)

Not in order of lineup - card subject to change
Eric Loscalz (American Top Team CC) Debut vs Juan Hernandez (Bears Den MMA) Debut OR 153
Al Brown (Hammer) 1-0 vs Corey Hanzow (Trian's Kyokushin) Debut OR 235
Ross Yabut (Zentao Martial Arts) Debut vs Manoel Cespedes (Champions Factory) Debut OR 165
Leondro Matos (US1 Fitness) Debut vs Eric Garnif (Carroll's MMA) Debut OR 175
John DeSiena (American Legacy) Debut vs Vitor Delgado (American Top Team Ft.L) Debut OR 170
Steven Chin (South Florida Boxing) 1-1 vs Damien Scott (USA Black Belt Champions) Debut OR 155
Peter Thomas (Inosanto/Hammer) Debut vs Mike Kaiser(Inferno MMA) 0-1 OR 156
Mark Trillas ( American TKA)1-2 vs Alberto Rojas (Hammer) 7-10 OR 155
Rob Rodriguez( Freestyle Fighting Academy)debut vs Mike Delapava (Carroll's MMA) debut OR 205
Joe Ray (Freestyle Fighting Academy)3-0 vs Darren Malyan (Fizogen Xtreme Couture) Debut OR 191
Carlos Garcia (Young Tigers) 3-1 vs Aca Tempow (Zentao Martial Arts) 4-0 OR 144
Mike Ozuna (US1 Fitness) 2-0-1 vs Mike Newman (American Top Team FtL) Debut OR 168
Vanessa Jaramillo (Jp's Team Martial Arts) Debut vs Aliana Morris (Inferno MMA) 0-1 OR 130
Co-Main Event: David Okenka (Inferno MMA) 2-0 vs Anthony Longsworth (American Top Team CC) 2-0 OR 169
Main Event: ISKA Heavy Weight Champion Eric Rivera (American TKA) 4-1-1 Vs Challenger Alan Yvones (Bears Den MMA) 3-2 OR 212

I've looked at the URL listed on the promotional flyer ( which gives not-much information other than this link to buy tickets. I've also searched around on myspace and found one of Heather's pages which has some cool graphics, but no more info. There is also Left Hook Productions page on Myspace, not updated since Oct 2006. Then I found another Myspace heather page which is active but still, no info that I could find on the upcoming event. And while I'm sure there will be last minute changes, it would still be cool to know who is planning to fight.

In searching, I just found an old video promoting Warriors Collide 2.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spotlight Week

By Black Belt Bound....(new coauthor)

This is Spotlight Week for me as we get ready to test for Purple Belt next week. Our numbers keep dwindling as some who were slated for graduation didn't make it for various reasons ( unable to make class due to snowstorms which I'm sure isn't a problem in Florida or being out of town, etc...) By my count there will be six of us if everyone shows up for their two spotlights this week.

We are the leaders which is an interesting position to be in. We take all of our cues in how to conduct ourselves from Sensei. There are no green belts to show us the way or welcome the "fresh meat" to class. We have a limited class schedule until more purple belts are graduated and our numbers increase. I'm going to miss my other teammates and the energy of a large class. But if I heed this week's message of replacing a negative with a positive, I'm looking forward to more personalized training being in such a small class. That means learning it right the first time, which I prefer and agree with BBat50 (see Correct Me. If you are my friend) rather than developing a muscle memory that's wrong and then having to correct it.

And I look forward to welcoming my teammates (fresh meat !) to our class as they earn their Purple belts. Maybe by then I'll enjoy sparing more!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Why do I blog?

I get this question all the time. I think it's a funny question. I think it's a question best answered with a question.

Why do we do anything? I train in karate and run and nobody asks me why. I am a voracious reader and nobody asks me why. I sometimes watch TV and nobody asks me why. I have a job that interests me although it might not be the most lucrative way to spend my time and nobody asks me why. I sometimes go to see films or plays and nobody asks me why.

I blog because I've always liked to think, to reflect, and to write. Blogging helps me think and reflect and I enjoy writing.

And I want to make progress just the way I try to get better in karate or get faster run times. In a sense, I work hard at blogging and try to think how best to share my thoughts.

Going through my days, I sometimes think of how I might capture a thought in a blog post. It reminds me of the times in my life when I've viewed my days in terms of how I might tell someone about it later. I've heard that actors and writers often live their life with one eye towards remembering each feeling and thought so they can use it later to power or to inspire their art.

And just like running, I'm not really doing it for anybody who might be watching. I'm mostly blogging for me.

When I'm running, if someone smiles and waves at me as I go by, I like it. I like it even more if they admire my form and note the speed. It's even more fun if I know the person or if someone runs with me. And while the camaraderie and social interaction is nice. it's not why I run. It's not why I go to the dojo, or why I blog. But the social side helps.

I do what I do (train, read, blog) as a performance primarily for myself because at the end of the day, I'm the one who cares.

Dad and David 2004ish
Dad and David 2004 ish

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Missing Videos of Kata

Hi All, Welcome to my new coauthor,

And, in answering an email, I just made a list of the videos that I'm missing. Do any of have anything that you could contribute? Want to be famous?

Six Count Kicking
Eight Count Kicking
Short Two
XMA Form One
XMA Form TwoThree Set Kuma Tai
Chuck Form 2
Bo Form


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

About Me - Black Belt Bound and new Co-Author

In the spring of 2007 I watched as a vacant space in a shopping plaza was transformed into a LaVallee's dojo. Ever since college (I'm now 44) I've been interested in trying Martial Arts. On a Monday afternoon I stopped in to check things out. Sensei ran me through the basics of Martial Arts ( punching and kicking) and signed me up right then and there. I was back the next week in my white Gi and have been hooked ever since. Now, I'm not the most athletic guy and was probably in the worst shape of my life when I started. My first goal was to just keep going to class every week. I keep plugging along and doing my best. ( I've embraced the thought that Black Belts are White Belts that don't quit. It's my intention to practice what's preached to us during class but once I leave the dojo I have a hard time implementing those life lessons. So, I'm going to SET my goals publicly on this blog and see if they are goals I GET.

Right now I am about 16 days from getting my purple belt and moving onto the next level of training I am in a unique position being in a new dojo. I am one of about ten students graduating to purple belt for the first time in our dojo. There are no student in front of us.

When I'm not training, I am a pastry chef. I have owned my own business for about 18 years now. We are a specialty bakery that focuses on wedding and custom cakes – like "Ace of Cakes" but not as extreme. After attending a recent Black Belt Spectacular I've had this idea of a cake design to celebrate belt graduations. I'm going to make one for our purple belt graduation and will post a pic in a couple weeks. I also have 3 beagles, ranging in age from 4 years to 8 weeks old. They are a handful and the puppy just started sleeping through the night so everyone is getting more sleep these days.

When did farm implements become weapons?

For those of you who have been diligently reading this blog, you'll remember that I once cited as ane xample fo the questions that I'd like answered: When did farm implements become weapons? I found the answer on BlackBeltMama's blog with a guest post by Kyoshi Heilman. And I quote/paraphrase....

Around 400 years ago, Japan began to assert control over the Island of Okinawa. One of the edicts forced the Okinawan people to turn over their weapons to the Japanese. .. The edict specifically ordered that "all weapons" be turned over to the authorities... Thus, ... "farm implements" ...underground in the use and proficiency of these tools. Soon the weapons masters became a most feared force in the battle for political freedom, feared by the Japanese and idolized by the Okinawan people whose protectorate they were.

The article is lengthy, dense, and substantative. I recommend it. It also catalogs and describes the weapons including bo, chucks, and kama. The chuck, for instance...The Nunchaku, a harmless-looking object appearing more like a toy than a weapon, is believed to have been first used as a horse bridle.

Thank you Kyoshi Heilman and BlackBeltMama.


Sunday, March 02, 2008

American Bo Form

The American Bo Form is so cool. We get to use the long staff. But, it's complicated. At least right now, when I'm far from having it framed in, it appears hard. But stay tuned....

Oh, the breakdown of the bo form into parts is entirely my creation. I'd be pleased to be "corrected". Just this week, I learned to spell "bo" correctly.

Here is the video. It's great. Slow and perfect. Thank you Mr. Mike Galinda.
And, you'll be pleased to note that I've now started putting the videos up via the Youtube technology which allows you to watch them full screen and, allows me to add annotations. Check it out!

(older blogger video technology - left here for contrast - notice how much better the YouTube tech is!)


  1. The Bo is held on right side, vertically. Tip the bow forward, bow, return to vertical.
  2. Spin over head to hold bo out to the right, kneel putting right knee down, left hand outstretched.
  3. Bring bo over head while putting 2nd knee down, lowering the bow horizontally in front of you.
  4. Lower the Bo to knees, spread knees slightly, drop, then raise head.
Standing Up

  1. Step up with left knee while bringing bo over head to the right. Strike forward.
  2. Put bo up over head bringing it down on the left.
  3. Spin bo finishing with an overhead strike forward on left and stamping with right foot.
  4. Stand by boot check: putting right leg up against left then down at shoulder width
  5. Bo forward back on left, to the right and back.

  1. Turn 90 to the right taking a small adjustment with the right foot to the right, spin bo over head with a downward strike on the right side.
  2. Bo up, to the left, back over head, then strike finishing in hard bow with the right leg forward.
  3. High dragon (poke up to the guy on horseback) forward, then low dragon (poke the guy on the ground) backwards. Poke right next to your foot.
  4. Turn the body 180 making only a slight back (left) foot adjustment step to the left. Hit with the bow to the left, back to the right, hit down, hit up, hit to the left, bring it over the head and down while stepping forward with the right foot into a hard bow – aieesa..
Bo Spinning and a Jump

  1. Bring it from the left to the right, forward spin four times bringing it back over the head from the left and forward strike..
  2. High dragon forward (actually shift to 45 degree), low dragon back, stay facing back and take the bo from the right to the left, right, up, down, back on the left, behind the back and downward strike while stepping forward with the right and slightly crossing the left behind it...
(yes - I know this video is sideways. If you see me in the dojo holding the camera sideways again, please deliver a swift boot to my head. I should know better. I would also delete this but Miss Stephanie is so perfect that I find myself turning my head and watching it...)

Hockey Shot & a Dance Step (Willow)

  1. Use the bow like a hockey stick turning and shooting behind you from the left finishing the right knee down and the left knee up. Your left hand is at your left side, your right hand is up in front of you. Put the stick over head and take it out behind you with just your right while leaning forward and doing a sortof expressive dance move with your left hand (palm out, fingers together and pointing up). This is called Willow.
  2. Bring the bo over your head to the left side and forward strike, still kneeling.
  3. Stand up spinning to your right 180 and moving the stick from the right side over the head and strike down on the right, down, up, left, right, forward spin, behind the head, jump 180 more to the right going into a horse stance, down strike.
Spinning & Stepping

  1. Right to left, then three spins while stepping back with the left, and following with the right.
  2. Without stopping, continue spinning but now stepping forward with the right and closing with the left foot..
  3. On the third forward spin, go behind the head on the left, and forward strike while stepping into a hard bow with the left foot forward.

  1. Step up and then down with the right foot to shoulder width.
  2. Bo goes up, down, to the right, left, over the head and putting the legs together, out with one hand to the right while you push out with left hand.
  3. Over the head and back down nearly vertical on the right.
  4. Forward, back, and then, holding the bo just in the right (sign of peace), double punch down forward.

Pay attention to...
The grip on the Bo. When you strike, your hand stays on top of the bo and you twist your wrist so your first two knuckles are out. This gives force to the blow.

The forward strikes are to an opponents head. Many people initially strike at waist height. Wrong. Strike at head height.
With this strike, your lower (left hand) drops to near the bottom of the bo.

Any more hints to share?