Friday, December 18, 2009

The Year Ends, The Adventure Expands

Readers may remember that my introduction to the martial arts was from watching my son as the smallest of the little champions around June 2003. My son would have been just four years old ( would have been 45). This past week, my now ten-year old son, took his first Candidate class with me. What an adventure this is turning out to be.

We are both candidates in cycle for black belts: me for my second, his for his first. He is, in my objective opinion, a formidable candidate: motivated, skilled, strong, and with great cardio. He placed second in the last two mile run with a 14:14 time. Although he was surprised by the pace and intensity of his first candidiate class, he hung in there and seemed to be on top of the kata. I remember my first candidate class when I pretty much crumbled in the face of so many pushups and situps and was having a real hard time remembering so many kata so fast.

This candidate cycle should be an adventure. Two phrases that I remember as the best motivational advice came to mind.

One comes from my father and reflects it own enthusiasm for life: "This is a once in a lifetime experience. Pay attention and enjoy it."

The other line came from a summer camp that I attended, Androscoggin, and was often repeated by my elder brother during our school years: "The more you put into it, the more you get out of it."

I just got back from a week off when I rested and ate and did no exercise. How dull. Looking forward, I intend to train myself up so I can whip through those candidate classes. With any luck, they'll keep me in cycle past May and August and I get to train with my son until November!


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Pace Picks Up for Years End

I've neglected the blog lately. I've been busy. Here's my news:

My son, after years as a little champ and then with a few delays going through the ranks, earned his high red belt yesterday. He's now officially a Candidate. Looking forward for him, he'll only be watching or demoing at those Wednesday night tests. He's enjoyed his last one. Looking forward, he's got the skills to be black belt: he runs well, he knows the kata, he's good at sparing, and has good concentration and intensity. He just needs to pick up the intensity for awhile. And somehow work around family vacation schedules. I too am in cycle. I'm thrilled. And busy scheming to see if I can work it so we finish our cycles together.

I found another great YouTube video of KamaSet so I'll add this to the post on Kamaset, I'm including it here too.

Last night was testing. My son went to high red, my step daughter earned her green. And the Fingados are now red! I performed on the demo team. Agnes and I rocked with the bo form. We worked to stay exactly in sync and we think we nailed it!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kama Set Updated

Here's a new recording of Kama Set. Thanks to Mr. Mike.

A distinguishing feature of the kata is that it requires spinning back hook kicks which is a challenge for many.

One more interesting point before we start. All of our weapons are the ones that peasants trained on during a period when they were forbidden to have any weapons. So they trained with common farm implements. The kamas are basically scyths or harvesting instruments.

The Kama Set is from Taekwondo as is kama set two. Want more info on how our system blends different martial arts traditions?

KamaSet Write-up

"Kata""Kama set"
Bow "Osu"

Hard bow left - Right hand punchHard bow right- Left hand punch

Circle set

Horse stance left- Both hands in mantis position right hand about shoulder level left hand parallel.
Cross stance- Right hand throat strike, left hand guard
Back leg front kick
Left hand v-cut, right hand v-cut, stomp and lower stance.

Horse stance right- Both hands in mantis position left hand about shoulder level right hand parallel.
Cross stance- Left hand throat strike, right hand guard
Back leg front kick
Right hand v-cut, left hand v-cut, stomp and lower stance.

Horse stance foreward- Both hands in mantis position right hand about shoulder level left hand parallel.
Right hand throat strike, left hand in guard
Back leg front kick, skip front kick, double back stirike (cross stance)

Horse stance back- Right hand in guard, left hand horizontal stab
Right hand throat strike
Back leg front kick, cross step, flying side kick
Plant horse stance, matis position.

Hands come across face to foreward horse stance
Mantis position, slide up round house, spink hook kick
Right hand guard, left hand horizontal stab
Spin hook, drop side kick
Spin up right, sezah one, left hand throat strike right hand guard

Circle set
Hard bow left
"USA!" v-cut foreward with right
Soft bow right
"USA!" v-cut foreward with left (added 2009)
"Black Belt Champions!"
left hand stab, right hand guard
Boot check "Asah!" Double back strike (relax stance)

Circle set,



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Releases from Bear Hug from Behind

The self defense curriculum over the last few weeks has focused on releases from bear hugs from behind.

Here, in slow mo, is the basic release from a rear bear hug.

Followed by the release from the same rear bear hug but when the attacker starts to lift you probably to slam you to the ground. They key elements are to hook one leg around the attackers leg while throwing your momentum first upwards, then downwards.

The next demo of a release, previously taught at Lavallees, is of a traditional kenpo approach, to a release from a rear bear hug, hands free.

Lastly, here's the release from a rear bear hug when the hands are pinned.

LAvalle's has moved away from the Kenpo self defense. I'm not sure why but based on this article, I suspect it's because of the complexity of the original American Kenpo self defense system: 50 Ways to Sunday.

This post is on the second on our self defense. The other one discusses a variety of Rear Choke Releases. If anyone wants to help, I'd like videos and descriptions about:
- wrist grabs - single, double, same side, cross-over
- front chokes, lapel grabs - single & double
- side grabs -shoulder and neck -
- full nelsons
- bouncer grab (one hand held up behind the back, the other held at the side)
- front bear hugs
- standing guillotine choke from behind
- any other parts of the curriculum that I've forgotten?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lavallees - a blended school

I'd like to better understand the blend of systems that makes up my martial arts training. As I understand it, we have blended different systems for our kata, curriculum, and bugo. Here's what I know: I'd like to know more, please chime in...

A Kenpo Base - The first few kata, Short One, Long One, and Short Two, are derived from the US Kenpo tradition . Our versions of the katas are shorter than the originals. Bookset too is kenpo based. And I quote from KLS68 who commented on Youtube about the bookset kata...Very good form, it is much differant than the original bookset. its much shorter....this is a kenpo style kata.Steve Lavallee trained under Lee Thompson which is tracey style kenpo... i believe william chow introduced it to the US through Ed Parker and his first students the Tracy brothers. Al, Will and Jim Tracy who then started the Tracy system.

Extreme Martial Arts - We do two open kata, XMA Form One and XMA Form Two, which are XMA-based. The XMA Sword Form 1 also is from XMA.

We often work in our drills and curriculum on Muy Thai kicks; MMA grappling and takedowns; and JuJitsu and in our drills and curriculum.

The chuck is a Japanese weapon. Our Chuck Form One and Chuck Form Two were developed in house.

American Bo Form- The American Bo Form was provided by Jason David Frank, a sixth degree black belt who has his own blended style of karate, Toso Kune Do, with four schools in Texas. Jason is well-known for his years as a Power Ranger.

The Kama Set is from Taekwondo as is kama set two. Kama Set Two is a form that was created by Roland Osborne and is a creative form (not from TKD). Roland was originally a student under Jason David Frank (both are lineage of Red Dragon Karate) and now runs his own schools. (thanks to Mr Dan Walsh for this addition).

Some of our
self defense techniques were derived from Kenpo which while very effective, requires real precision to use the right moves from the right position. Lavallees has shifted during the last three years to a reference point-based approach which is derived from Israeli Krav Mega. There are three posts about our self defense. One is a demo of BJJ Standup Self Defense by Kyoshi, one collects many of the Rear Choke Release , and the other Bear Hug Releases from Behind.

Our bugo is kickboxing. When sparing, we mostly don't grapple or use knees, elbows, or leg kicks.

Logar Shin is kung fu inspired.

The Ki Chung Kata is fromf tae kwon do origin. It's nearly identical to kama set but uses open hands

One note - I am just a student at Lavallees. This is only my personal opinion and thoughts, it is in no way an official statement by the school or Kyoshi. I hope you all understand that. The thoughts and misunderstandings are all mine. Feel free to correct me.In fact, Correct Me. If you are my friend..

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Some bugo

I handed the camera to a spectator today and asked her (she was about eight) to film us. It's always good to see yourself although today it only confirmed that I'm a little out of shape, a little passive, and basically, I'm off my game. Here's three from today.

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.


Saturday, September 05, 2009

A first for me: stepping into a boxing ring

The dojo closed for the long Labor Day weekend so I had some free time and a need to exercise. I heard from a fellow student that I could join him and a few others to practice sparring on Saturday.

So in the somewhat seedy backroom of a local gym, I stepped into a boxing ring for the first time. OK, it was Golds Gym but it was in the backroom where the lights weren't working properly so it had some character. (No, the picture is not where we were).

Four sides, four corners, four padded ropes, a mat, and a timer. We did three minute rounds of kickboxing. Six of us round robin for an hour. Much like we do in the dojo only it's been stepped up a level in intensity and the rounds are longer.

Could I play with these boys? Well, kinda sorta. To be honest, no, not with the good ones. But of the six there, there were two in their own class and the rest of us were getting stretched to a new level. I now know what it feels like to step in the ring, to get stuck in the corner, and what that third minute feels (we only do two minute rounds in the dojo).

How much fun was it? Highlight of the week. And the month!


I'm curious about the yin side

The traditional martial arts world can be divided into the yin and yang.
Yang focuses on strength and striking. Ying focused on the internal, energy, sensitivity and control. I train at a mixed martial arts school which is a blend of striking techniques from kenpo, muy thai, krav mega, and kickboxing which are all hard or yang martial arts.

So what are the internals? What the yin side like? About a year ago, I chatted in a store with a guy who seemed to know a lot about martial arts. He told me that he trained extensively in the internal techniques. I drove over there on Saturday to see if I could find him and learn what he meant by the internal techniques.

Jimmy remembered me and started answering and explaining. The internal martial arts started in North China and consist of Tai Chi, Pa kua chang, and Shingi. (Also Wu Hao).

We did a basic software exercises of touching or pushing hands. Basically, we each try to touch the other person using only our right hand. We're close and we're each feeling and blocking the other's hand while trying to touch the other person. As a total novice, I do it by watching but he, with long experience, does it with feeling. He feels where I'm going and where I'm open. He explained that the great masters could avoid combat by simply playing this game. The greater master's dominance would be felt and the lesser would cede to him. He pointed out that this fighting in a higher plane appears in the Jet Li movies of today where the great masters, when they start combat, move to higher plane for the fight.

He told me that I want to learn more:
- Google Chinese Boxing International CBII
- contact James Cravens in Pompano who gives private and group lessons in this area.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Basic Chuck Form

This chuck form introduces you to basic chuck handling.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

GPS-based running App for my Iphone - found it!

I've been looking for the all-in-one running application for my Iphone 3GS. I was pretty sure that there had to be a GPS-based stop watch which also kept track of distance, time, history, and so on and so forth. I bought one app which turned out to only be a subset of what I wanted. Now, I think I've found it:

MotionX- Track Recorder - I loaded it for $2.99 this morning and used it. Other than being a little complicated, I think I've found it! eureka.

I'm hoping that once I figure it out, it'll be an automated way to track and record my times and distances. From glancing at the website and documentation, it appears to have all this plus ALOT more such as a compass, direct connect to twitter and facebook, altitude, and so on.

For a geeky guy like me, the MotionX website is very cool. I can't wait to explore it.

BTW, I ran something like a fourteen thirty two miles yesterday with the Candidate class and a 15:56 with my son today (he was 14:44)

Monday, August 24, 2009

A White Belt Again!

Hi, This is a guest post by Jeff Fasoldt
who has a long history with Lavallees,

Flashback to 1984

Back in 1984, LaVallee's USA Black Belt Champions was known as LaVallee's Sport Karate. There was only one studio, a modest 2nd story storefront in the Village of Liverpool, NY. Kyoshi was simply called Steve. There were only a handful of black belts at the studio when I joined. Rick and Jeff Ianuzzo along with Rob Vanelli taught most of the classes with Rick also running most of the day to day operations. Karate was definitely not a mainstream sport yet. Out of my Liverpool High class of almost 800, only Sensei Marc Emmi and I trained at LaVallee’s at that time. Then, Karate Kid hit the big screen and suddenly everyone wanted to be the next Ralph Machio. Enrollment took off and it was just about two years later that LaVallee’s moved to a much larger modern studio just downstairs from the original.

One of my fondest memories of the old studio was the entry door. It was a heavy steel door with a dragon molded into it. To an outsider, I am sure it could be somewhat intimidating but it definitely got your attention when you walked by! The studio itself was small, dingy, and it usually smelled like a locker room. Not the most pleasant environment but to me it was perfect.

The classes were different too. I remember a lot more conditioning drills – lots of pushups and stomach crunches. Now we do most of that outside of class. Belt tests, at least below brown belt, weren’t scheduled. The instructor would just tell a few students at the start of the class that they were being “evaluated”. At the end of the class those students who had passed would receive their belts. Those who had not, didn’t. I remember being passed over once for my blue belt and being absolutely crushed but the next day I was back at the studio more motivated than ever. Classes were also focused around point sparring. I can still throw a pretty mean back fist – ridge hand combo!

I earned my green belt in 1985 and immediately set about training hard for my brown belt (no red belts back then) with the goal of achieving it before I left for college in August. Unfortunately that was one goal I didn’t reach. I did come back that winter and again the next summer to train but wasn’t able to get enough time in to qualify for testing. It was hard at that time to see so many people who had started after me pass me by. Eventually I stopped training although my younger brother went on to earn his 2nd degree black belt and join the LaVallee’s staff as a full-time instructor. This kept up my connection to LaVallee’s all this time.

Fast Forward to 2009

My how things have changed in 25 years. Now at age 42, I am starting all over as a white belt again at LaVallee’s Rochester, NY studio led by Sensei Ty Hafner. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly many things have started to come back to me after all this time but I still have a long way to go to get back to where I left off so many years ago. My two children have joined with me and now we are on this journey together. Maybe we can even talk Mom into giving it a try!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chuck Form Two

I'm back to using this blog for what it was initially created for, to try and learn the katas. I'm supposed to perform chuck form 2 this Saturday at Candidate class and I'm still trying to figure it out.

Chuck form 2 is an enhanced version of chuck form 1. Same structure, most stuff.

Mr Vince performs it here, slowly and with explanations.
Do me a favor: Next time that you see Mr Vince, thank him for us.

I also found this old PowerWeekend video of ChuckForm2 on Youtube.

Chamber chucks.

Hard bow step forward right. Double chuck spin outside, spin inside, spin outside to the thigh, spin up to the shoulder, spin down to the arm pit.

Hard bow step forward left. Same sequence.

Turn to left.

Double chucks down to left, over to right, spin up to shoulders, spin down to pits.
Front right kick, skip right kick.
Both chucks cross the body to outside so arms are crossed. Spin back, spin up to shoulders, spin down to pits.

180. Repeat the other way.

Face forward, legs together. Right chuck across the body, spin back, spin up, spin to pit.

Repeat with left.

Both chucks across the body, spin back, spin up, spin down to legs, figure 8 up, then down to pits....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bengay, icyhot, oil can, the web

On Saturday, I was feeling pretty good about me and karate. I made it through a candidate class and a run despite missing an entire week from a bad back. And I was good about getting into a jacuzi afterwards so I wouldn't get too stuff . And I stretched and drank plenty of water.

Nevertheless, last night and this morning, I was plenty stiff. When I looked in the medicine cabinet this morning, recently re-organized, I laughed out loud. Check out my collection of topicals, all lined up. By the way, after a shower and some of these creams, my son and I ran a nice mile this morning at 8 minutes even.

In fact, I was so sore, I started thinking about the Tin Woodsmen when Dorothy finds him all rusted in the field. There he is, unable to move, saying: "oil can." So I wondered, how incredible in this web? I did a quick search and sure enough, it's incredible. Here's the scene.




Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Candidate for Black Belt, Again!

I'm now an official candidate to earn my second degree black belt, potentially in May 2010 .

During my period as a candidate, I will shake a lot of hands, make some speeches, kiss some babies, and plaster the neighborhood with posters.

Just kidding. I'm not that type of candidate. At our school, the earning of a black belt is less of a single big test and more of a marathon. So during my nine months as a candidate, my marathon effort will involve:
  • Making it to class three to four times per week
  • Assistant teaching a few times a week
  • Running 3x a week maintaining less than 16 minute two mile time
  • Diligently doing my extras (100 pushups, abs, squats, and kicks) several times per week.
  • And most importantly, making it to the weekly candidate class and performing well
chiropractic image
In any case, that's the plan. Last Saturday was my first candidate class of the cycle. By eight am, I was in the dojo stretching and reviewing my katas. It felt great being back in the very high energy intense candidate classes. Class went well although I had forgotten how strenuous the cardio can be and how many times in one class I got right to the exhaustion point. My run time was fine. Sunday, I went to the gym and worked out and urg, something slipped in my back. urg urg urg.

I called my chiropractor and had him put in back in place which he did three times more during the week. By the end of the week, my hips and back seemed to be staying in place so this morning, a week after my first Saturday candidate class, I went to my second one. Today included some chuck katas which I didn't really have down. We worked chuck form one, two, and XMA chuck form. There was some bugo which I felt good on. And a timed two mile which I did in 15:21, easily under the required 16:00 but way short of my target of getting to 14:00 by the end of cycle.

All in all, it's great fun to be a Candidate. With a little cooperation from my back, shoulders, and feet, (plus from my job and family) it should be a wonderful cycle. How did I get so lucky?

PS - Anybody want to write up chuck form two for me? Anyone have a good video? Anyone want to perform?

Friday, August 14, 2009

BBat50 - How different our minds are!

I was just asked by a lady in the dojo if I still had that blog: B bat fifty. Now I have always thought of the name of the blog as Black Belt at, abbreviated to bb at 50. But it seems that it's easier for her to remember it as b bat fifty. It's funny how people see things differently.

I've just missed most of a week of training. I had back alignment problems and was at the chiropractor three times. Saturday morning, I'm back in Candidate class. It's bugo. I'm psyched. Wish me luck.

Oh, my site sponsor just reminded me that I haven't discussed them in awhile, here goes. A great homeschool curriculum is worthwhile, I'd go with because of it's strength in building reading comprehension skills. If you need help with online homeschool resources, go ask on a parents newsgroup forum. In Florida, there are many Florida homeschool support groups.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Martial Art Blogs I recommend

My Journey in Martial Arts - Ronsan60 writes about his "stories as I remember them during my journey in the Martial Arts." I particularly liked this post: A little LaVallee's History thanks to Rob V. It's the story (I wonder if it's accurate) of how Kyoshi bought his first dojo in 1974. Ronsan60 has trained since 83, he trained in the "old days."

American/Traditional - The author is a traditional who discusses the question this week of whether the churning out of black belts by belt-mills diminishes the value of more hard-earned belts. It's a thoughtful insightful discussion. On one hand, "no one else’s belt...can diminish the meaning or value of ...yours. The meaning of the belt lies in a combination of what it took to earn it, and what the wearer continues to do to live up to it." On the other hand, he points out the difficulty of holding to a standard which takes seven years to earn a belt when his students have friends earning their black belts in three down the street." Great blog and article: Does an 8-year-old’s black belt reflect on mine?

On My Own Two Feet - A starting Martial Artess blogging about her and her son's trip into the martial arts. Her particular focus is about women in the martial arts.

There are some others that should make this list but, since time is limited and this post has been sitting around unfinished for awhile, I'll do this as a series, stay tuned for the next batch.