Friday, December 30, 2011

12/30/2011 Early AM Session


start time: 6:51

Warm up:

Circuit x 3:
DB Windmills10 x 15LB10 x 15LB10 x 15LB
DB External rotations (forearm parallel)10 x 15LB 10 x 15LB 10 x 15LB
DB External rotations (forearm perpendicular)10 x 15LB 10 x 15LB 10 x 15LB

3 minutes on the exercise bike.
10 dynamic pullups (pullup, change grip at the apex of the pull, descend, pullup, rinse, repeat).
5 Skin the cats

Circuit x 3:
5 Single arm DB Row
3 Skin the cats

Circuit x 3
Single arm DB Push Press:10 x 45LB8 x 458x60LB
10 double unders
Nagging shoulder issue caused some issues here...

Bag work: 5 - 1 minute rounds (20sec. rest)
Round 1: jab - cross - jab - cross - jab - cross - jab - cross - jab - cross - reset
Round 2: "Open sparring"
Round 3: jab - cross - knee, step, jab - cross - knee
Round 4: "Open sparring"
Round 5: footwork

Knee ups10 x 10LB10 x 25LB10 x 25LB
Knee-to-chest10 x 10LB10 x 25LB10 x 25LB

2 sets of 10 x 10LB "Captains Chair" Leg Raises.

Note: the weight for both the knee ups and knee2chest is weight per leg. I attached weight plates using a pair of Husky Hangalls (right).

Finish Time: 8:00

Kaizen, baby!

Referring back to my post on goals, goal setting and my 2012 goals, a friend pointed two things out to me: first, all of my goals are concentrated in the first six months of the year and second, goal #9 implies I'm content with what I accomplish within the first quarter to half of the year. Can't argue with the picture that's painted, however, that not the case. My goals for the year are "front loaded", to allow for future goals or furthering the stated goals. This also allows me to discover and implement new goals and milestones. I guess, it's fair to say, these are my goals as of now; once those goals are accomplished, I have the latitude to evaluate those accomplishments & move forward or assess whether or not it's feasible to push beyond the boundary set. Resting on my laurels is not something that I do; I'm always looking to improve, learn and grow.

Kaizen, or continuous improvement, is the singular word I would use to describe my fitness and martial arts endeavors --I hate moving backwards (unless, it paves the way to steamroll forward). I wanted to ensure that you, the reader, didn't leave with the impression that I am satisfied with accomplishing eight goals in the gym by June and coasting through the rest of the year...well, I am satisfied with that, but only in the moment.

Football fans will appreciate this analogy: Great defensive backs and quarterbacks both have one trait in common that makes them great --a short memory. Same thing applies in karate, fitness and life in general; doesn't matter if the discussion is about accomplishments or failures. It happened, move on. When you fail, forget it, get past it, learn from it and capitalize. When you do something great, good! Celebrate a little, enjoy it and get back to work on the next thing. No one cares what you did last year and neither should you.

Kaizen, baby. Live it, love it, embrace it. As you read through, I hope you pick up on that theme. Always looking to get better. The very embodiment of the phrase "Yoshukai Strong" is based in the notion of kaizen. Continuous improvement, not just through the first six months or even six years; CONTINUOUSLY!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hitting 2012 in the Mouth!

In a mere 3 days, 3 DAYS, we will be entering a new year. What will your training goals be?


Yea, defined by Merriam-Webster: the end toward which effort is directed.

When goal-setting,  your goals should have five characteristics: specific, measurable, attainable,realistic and timely; what those five attribute gives you is a SMART goal. SMART goals are a great way to keep you focused on what you need to accomplish. The SMART component takes a goal and gives it focus in a number of ways.

For example, a goal of mine is shorter workout, less time in the gym. That's a good goal (I have a tendency to run long...), but the goal doesn't address how I will get there, what will I gain by shortening my sessions, will anything "get lost" by focusing the goal....none of that.

So let's reform that goal:

Goal: Keep training focused by dividing the session into strict, time-based segments, by the end of January; for example:
10 min warm up
10 min full body/cardio
20 min skill/power/whatever
10 min core/abs
10 min cool down

The goal is specific...if I were to get any more specific, I'd have to document how long each rep takes me, and while I should know that, is a bit too far. Let's face it, I roll out of bed 20 minutes to five most days, so if my windmills are off by a second or two, I can live with that.

It's measurable: the schedule laid out above keeps me at 60 minutes, start to finish. This also gives me an added ability to log my workouts based on the segments, and note when I deviate from said segment.
Attainable --"nothing to it, but to do it.". Also, the above schedule leaves some flexibility to combine segments for specialized workouts or to focus on a particular area. Prime example, is my 12/28/2011 session: the extra stretching took longer than 10 minutes, but I was able to utilize what would have been my Ab/Core time for that; I was able to complete everything else in the remaining 40 minutes.
Realistic -Absolutely. In fact, I kept this schedule for several months...somewhere I lost focus.
Timely - The goal included a specified date of committal; I admit, it's a little lame, but I actually started this today and should be on track in fairly short order...a week or so.

So, now that we have a basis for goal setting, we are going to be SMART; get a piece of paper and WRITE down your goals. Get a notebook, track your progress. Remain focused on what you want to accomplish it and make the sacrifices to get there.

That said, here are my goals for 2012:
  1. Keep training focused by dividing the session into strict, time-based segments, by the end of January.
  2. Increase leg press working rate to 800LBS (2 rep minimum) by February 1, 2012
  3. Work toward 3 times bodyweight deadlift 1RM (1 rep max), based on average weight (180LBS) by Feb 4, 2012
  4. Complete sandan test on Feb 10, 2012...preferably in one piece.
  5. 100 consecutive double unders by May, 1 2012
  6. Perform 100LB DB  Bench Press by Feb 1, 2012
  7. Perform 225LB Bench Press 1RM by April 1, 2012
  8. Perform 400LB Squat by June 1, 2012
  9. Maintain ability to perform all achieved goals through end of 2012

Solid goal setting can take you anywhere you want to go;


12/28/2011 Early AM Session

Unfortunately, I didn't catch the start time of today's workout, but, because I'm on vacation the start time was later than normal...

Warm up: 
Lots of shoulder mobilization, stretching and some trigger point therapy. I woke up with a gnarly sharp pain in my left shoulder; that in and of itself changed today's plans for gym rings...

2 sets @ 10LBS each x 10:
DB Windmills
DB External Rotations (perpendicular and parallel to the ground)

3 minutes jump roping

Leg Press: Ab Wheel Rollouts:
8x410LBS 8

The ladder sets on leg press helped a good deal with getting my numbers up; my leg press personal best is 1000LBS. Fun to say, not fun to do. I don't care to get back to 1000x1, but working sets in the 700-800LBS range is where I'd like to get back to.

Cable Shoulder throw -- set one side of the cable machine high, using the ropes attachment. From there, step out on one side and, with controlled motion, twist into a karate front stance; the motion is very similar to the judo o goshi technique, but from a front stance.

3 sets of 10 @ 100LBS

8 Skin The Cats --better than I expected given the earlier shoulder pain, however I felt a lot better afterwards. I think I ran into some "mind over matter" issues with this exercise; something about being upside down...

Alternating sets of 3:
10 x 25LBS
BB Shotput: 10x25LBS10x25LBS10x25LBS
Standing Russian Twist:10x25LBS10x25LBS10x25LBS

Seated Russian Twists: , 10 x 45LBS, 10x45LBS

Seated Russian Twists: 15x45LBS10x45LBS10x45LBS

Finish: 7:02

Friday, December 23, 2011

Home workouts

Someone recently asked me for workouts that could be done from home. The original request was two - ten minute workouts and four - twenty minute workouts; let's up the ante to five each, just to keep things interesting over time.

When I think of home workouts, first thing that comes to mind is little to no equipment --shouldn't be a problem. Some of the workouts may require a little space. When I say a little, I mean get your kids and go outside -neighbors be damned. Oh, yea, and feel free to bring a friend!

Be aware:
First, these aren't easy…they are not meant to be.
Second, I wouldn’t expect to blow the doors off of any of these workouts the first time out; they should leave some room for improvement (and the improvement should be obvious).

Now, for the main event:

10 minute sessions:
Workout #1: T-handle, dumbell or kettlebell swings. 10 per minute (rest for the remaining time)
Workout #2: 100 burpee challenge
Workout #3: Find an open field, mark of roughly 20 -30 yards & run as fast as you can; rinse, repeat as many times as you can for 10 miuntes
Workout #4: Find an open field, mark of roughly 20 -30 yards: high knee skips, carioca, side shuffle, broad jumps and sprint. Alternate each as many times as possible for 10 minutes. If you have a medicine ball, perform 10 ball slams after each set.
Are you worried about how to get the medicine ball to where you are after each set? Easy! Carry it with you!
Workout #5: Tabata high knee DB Press

20 minute sessions:

Workout #6: 10-1-10 Ladders -Start with 10, do each exercise, reduce by one, and start over. Once you get to one, add one back to 10
3-count mountain climbers or jump lunges or tuck jumps
Pistols (single leg squats; despite the video example, progress to butt-to-calf!)
Glute-Ham Situps (an exercise ball, chair, bench or ottoman can be used in place of GHD machine)
Step up lunges

Workout #7: Using some sort of weight -dumbbells, frozen water jugs,, anything.
Perform as many as possible of each for one minute, then move onto the next one (4 minutes total) -rest a minute, then do it again. Rinse, repeat 4 times.

Hands overhead + lunge
Shoulder shrugs
Side bends

Workout #8: As many sets of 10 as possible
Full situp (weighted, if possible)
Feet up pushups
Sumo deadlift high pulls

Workout #9: Crossfit Angie
100 Pushups
100 Situps
100 Body Weight Squats
100 Pullups

**Realizing that not everyone can do a pullup or has the means to do a pullup, another pulling exercise can be performed.

Workout 10: Ross' ICT Workout 10:
100 Burpees
(2 minute rest)
Tabata Squat (body weight)
Tabata pushups

Now, the hard part has been done; they layout has been established...the easy parts are what most tend to neglect. Remember this phrase... in fact, write it down and tape it to your mirror, your fridge and your toothbrush (and if you can manage, somewhere inside your shower):

"That which is measured, improves"
What does that mean, exactly? It means write it down. Go into detail --write down numbers, write down dates, write down goals and most importantly, write down RESULTS. If you stick with it, you will want to look back and compare performance now to performance then. Get a note pad and WRITE IT DOWN!

Tabata - I will likely cover this in depth in another post, but a Tabata is alternating rounds of 20 seconds of work, followed by 10 seconds of rest, 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. That doesn't sound like a lot, BUT that 20 seconds of work should be executed as if your life depends on it --all out effort!

Feel free to leave any comments or questions and certainly will address them as they come up. :-)


Thursday, December 22, 2011

12/22/2011 Early AM Session


2 sets each
10lb DB x 10 Romanian deadlift
10lb DB x 10 Windmills
Shoulder stretches/mobilization


Crossfit Angie @ 32:15
100 each: pullups, pushups, squats, situps
Abysmal; no other way to phrase it. The pullups drew this workout on; that's certainly an area I plan to address.

~5 minute rest

Cool down/finisher: Kata -
Shiohai, Seisan, Neseishi, Ro hai sho, Ro hai dai, Mugen, Tenshin, Chinto, Bassai, Sochin.


Currently in a long (and much needed) stretch session.

Legs: wobbly; shoulders: tight; arms: pooped. Feeling: GREAT!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

12/21/2011 Early AM Session


Quick warm up:
2 sets @ 10 x 10LBS: DB windmills & DB shoulder rotations

Just hanging out...get it...(you will):
Using the homemade gymnastic rings:
5 L-sit pullups
10 pullups
5 Dips
2 sets to failure (which wasn't many): Hang "support position" to "Position one": Example
3 sets of 3: hang --> inverted hang --> pullup --> front lever into L-sit. Excruciatingly similar to this.

10 x 185LBS

Building back up...slowly, but surely.

Freestyle bag work: 5x60s/20s
Hanging leg raises (weight listed is per leg): 10x10LBS, 10x20LBS, 10x20LBS; last two sets were knees tucked, first set legs straight
DB Rows: 8x85LBS, 8x90LBS, 6x115LBS. Again, building up, slowly, but surely...

Cooldown: Seisan, Bassai, Sochin

Deep stretch

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The article below was published in the Fall 2010 issue of "The Way", the official newsletter of World Yoshukai Karate Kobudo Organization. In fact, it was the first article I'd published in "The Way". It is also a part of the new student package in my dojo. Students (myself included...) sometimes lose sight on what practice is really for and what it really is; some students search for a "magic pill". I guess that's fine, karate (and life) is a journey...if you want to stink it up along the way,  keep searching for that pill. ;-)

The same holds true for those with fitness endeavors, but there is only one magic pill for both...hard work. Work hard and work at it (whatever "it" happens to be) and you will progress just fine. Placing emphasis on improvement will pay off. Enjoy...

Practice =! Perfect

For the non-IT/math crowd, that reads “Practice does not equal perfect”.

…that’s right, I said it; practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. It takes more than practice to improve. It takes perfect practice. Believe it or not, most of us do not know how to practice! It’s true!! Before we discuss how to perfect our practice, let’s discuss what perfect practice is not.

 As we advance in rank, our perception of acceptable practice tends to shift. As white belts & 10th kyus, students practice the bare basics: yoi, yame, rei, kicks, blocks & punches. This is perfectly OK for a 10th kyu because, generally, this is all the material they know.  As a 4th kyu green belt, students tend to feel that practice constitutes an entire kata. This line of thinking is not incorrect, however, consider the past 2 years of karate training; does Nijusichi no kata receive any attention now that katas like Seisan & Shiohai are your focus? How about your basics? What do you do when you do not have the room to practice Seisan? Do you plod through a kata, repetition after repetition, doing it the exact same way every single time?

This is where practice is not perfect.
In my opinion, perfect practice is an act of improvement, not repetition. Performing a kata or a technique without the intent to do something better will not lead to overall improvement. Here are a few tips that you can use to help with practicing at home.

1). Basics, basics, basics: A punch is a punch and a kick is a kick; that never changes. There may be a small nuance to a technique when it is executed within a kata, but on the whole, it’s still a punch or a kick (or a block). Don’t neglect these techniques and don’t rely solely on the repetitions from class; reinforce them in your practice at home.

This applies to weapons as well. Work strike-catch sequences with nunchakus, the punch-strike-block with sai and cross or down strikes with the bo.

As your basics improve and you integrate them back into their kata, your karate improves. Don’t forget your stances!

2). Break it down: With kata, for example, break out one area of the kata and work on it, as if it were a drill. Each time you do it, focus on improving one aspect of the “drill”; as you progress, address anther aspect. Soon you will have made strides on one area of the kata and can address another. When you put the whole kata together, make sure you don’t lose the previously achieved progress. Can’t remember a kata? Practice what you know; the effect is the same.

Those are good reps!

3). Don’t neglect the old stuff: Remember, your karate builds on itself; if you perform older material well, new material will benefit. Remember, a stance is a stance, a block is…

4). Find parallels…no matter how odd: This one is a favorite of mine. A few years back, I ran into a fellow student coming out of a store. He was learning Zenshin Kotai and I’d recently tested on that kata; he told me he was having problems with the ippon ashidachi, and complimented me on mine. I thanked him and gave my simple everyday exercise for improving that stance: “I put my socks and shoes on in ippon ashidachi”. He laughed, but he also tried it. He came back to me and said “You know what, it works…”

Ever just sit on the couch watching TV holding a weapon? Try it. You’ll begin to feel more comfortable with that weapon. You might even find yourself wanting to practice…

5). Just do it: One misconception about practice is that it has to be long periods of time. If you aren’t currently practicing, 10 minutes a day is an improvement. Prioritize your practice time, addressing problem areas or new material first. Again, don’t neglect the older material!

So there you have it: 5 tips to integrate into your practice routine. Remember, the intent of practice should be to improve, not to repeat for the sake of repetition. Seek improvement and pay attention to the finer points of your practice topic. The next time someone tells you that practice makes perfect, politely remind them that it does not; perfect practice makes perfect.


Fixing the Front Kick

Mae Geri, or front kick, is one of the 4 basic kicks in karate. In fact, it's so theoretically simple, I can best sum it up as pick your foot up and extend it out.

SIMPLE! So simple it's brilliant. So simple, that it boggles the mind how so many people don't execute it in an efficient manner. Before we get into how to correct this technique, let's look at it's uses and it's importance.

The mae geri can be used offensively, defensively and as a "stage 2" building block for more advanced kicks. Offensively, a well executed front kick can be used to inflict pain on your target. This application is the most prominent, as it is the most obvious and the application most often taught. It can also be used to push or create space between you and your target, the latter of which is also it's primary defensive application. Defensively, it can also be used to slow or halt the momentum of an assailant/opponent. Progressively speaking, the mae geri is the building block to the nidan geri (double jump front kick), kakato otoshi (ax kick), ko geri (crescent kick) and kake geri (hook kick).

With all of the potential applications of this kick, it's easy to see why being correct AND efficient in execution is important.

Lift the knee in front of the body as high as possible; height is paramount. Extend your leg, from the knee.
Simultaneously, point the ball of the foot at your target; this is your striking area. Ensure your toes are pulled back. DO NOT POINT your toes...unless you enjoy hobbling and have zero intention of wearing open-toed shoes. After striking, retract your leg by bending at the knee. Set your foot down back in starting position.

...or simply stated: pick up your foot, extend your leg, bend your leg, put your foot down. But I'm sure you understood that.

Again, it's simple...right. Right? What's the problem? Let's start at the rather, the center.

During one of my first classes as an instructor, I noticed that almost half the class was kicking mid-shin level. I counted and coached and encouraged, I finally stopped everyone and said "WE DON'T KICK PUPPIES IN THIS DOJO!"; it was good for a laugh, but they'd all understood. However, understanding and physical limitation sometimes meet at a crossroads...and physical limitation usually wins out. I tried and I tried to give tips to get their kicks up, with not much success.

Eventually, I had them sit into full squat position; the students who were having the issue could not fully sit into this position and the students who were kicking just fine could...we hung out here for awhile.

Following standard M-Wod protocol; I had the class stand and try the kick again; lo and behold...the kicks were closer to belt level --almost auto-magically! From that point on, we integrated this stretch (and a few others) into the class warm up and the kick height got progressively better.

Big ups to Kelly "K-Star" Starrett and MobilityWod...I'll be referring to his teachings quite a bit, so you'll be QUITE familiar with him by the end.

Quads to knees:
I have also often times seen students with knee problems have trouble executing this kick. To me, this is an indication of tightness in the quads and hamstrings. As K-Star would say; you need to create slack. The couch stretch is a stretch to open the high hip area. A modified runners stretch will assist with loosening up the high hamstring area.

Point the toes:
Generally, executing a mae geri flatfooted is incorrect. There is some usefulness, however, only in one perceivable instance: stopping your target. For every other use of this kick, you will need to strike with the ball of your foot. In addition to striking considerations, you'll want to get those toes back (trust me).

Let's experiment: walk up to the closest wall and take off your shoe; ram your toes into the wall. Doesn't feel good, does it? That's what's eventually going to happen if you don't get your toes back. One tip that works fairly well is to pull your heel off of the ground before you kick, effectively, setting your foot position before you even move. Another is to walk around on your tippee-toes. Also, consider stretching the calf; it is possible that you lack the flexibility to position your foot.

Hips, revisited:
Let's go back uptown and revisit the hips. One habit that I notice students sometimes tend to not pick up is thrusting the hips into the kick. The hips are a source of power in all techniques in karate; the mae geri is no different.

Try this: Stand next to a wall, take off your shoe. I promise, you aren't going to slam your toes into it this time. Position your foot into a good mae geri position on the wall, with your leg fully extended. Now, thrust your hips forward.

When you stand up and dust yourself off, think about that extra umph added to your kick full speed.

Practice practically: Grab a kick shield and find a partner. Have your partner hold the kick the kick it. Reset, then kick it again; this time thrust your hips into the kick. See the difference? Now repeat, until your partner is at the other end of the dojo. TUrn and come back.

Lastly, make sure when you execute this technique that you do not roll your shoulders forward; kinesthetically speaking, when your shoulders move forward, your hips travel backwards; when the shoulder moves backward, the hips push forward. Any guesses on what should happen with your shoulders? ;-)

One final point: earlier in this post, I said that height was paramount. Knee height affords you, the kicker, options on where to place your kick. You can't kick head high if your knee is barely waist high, unless you're double jointed --but that's just weird (nothing against people who are double jointed!). Sometimes it is advantageous to kick with a lower knee height, but you don't want to train that way; always train for the optimal application and the situation that will be the majority application. In this case, you'll want that knee nice and high.

There's lots of information there; I think all of it is relevant and useful, though it will take time, effort and practice. That said, with time, effort and practice you can take one of the most basic karate kicks and form it to fit a variety of situations and applications.

Remember: drill, drill drill! Work on your basics with pad & partners, not just in the air. You WILL notice a difference.

Feel free to ask questions in comments if I need to clarify anything (or just to say "hey, good post ;) )


12/20/2011 Early AM Session

First, happy birthday to my nephew Marcus. He is 15 today. Little known fact, Marcus started karate a hair before I did, however he was not able to stick with it; no matter, I am proud of everything he has accomplished (and everything he has yet to) and look forward to more from him in the future.

Reminiscing about holding Marcus for the first time makes me feel a little I'll balance it out with something new! :-)

Warm up:
10 x 10 LBS windmill
10 B/W squats
10 x 10 LBS windmill
10 jump/split lunge

Pullups (various w/no structure)

Thanks to Ross Enamait, I finally have Olympic rings (homemade of course!), so I gave then a whirl:
2 sets x 10 L-sit pullups
3 sets to failure - dips
2 sets x 10 pullup+knee up

I played around with a few other exercises too; nice added dimension to the workout. I'll be using these quite regularly!

10 x 150 LBS standing cable crunch

3 sets 10 x 90 LBS cable twists. Never done these before, but I'll be doing them regularly, as well.

Db bench press: 8 x 55 LBS, 8 x 70 LBS, 3 x 90 LBS --there's a personal best coming soon...I can feel it!!

Went for a jump rope finisher, but the rope broke...dang it!

Tabata row


Thought for today: "Make efforts and you will achieve!" -Grandmaster Katsuoh Yamamoto


Friday, December 16, 2011

12/16/2011 Early AM Session


Warm up:
2 sets 10x10lbs db windmill
2 sets bodyweight squats
3 sets db halo (10lbs, 2x20lbs)
2 sets 10 x 35lbs db split snatch/press

8-1 ladder:
Evens - 50lb db snatch
Odds - 50lb db swing

3xAlternating sets:
Knee high box jump w/3s hold @ bottom

First circuit - 5lb ankle weights +4lb dbs

Sochin kata x 3
Lunges across the room and back or b/w squats between.

3xAlternating sets:
30 double unders
8 leg raises (0, 10lbs, 10lbs)

Leg raise + knee ups: 10x10lbs, 8x20lbs, 8x30lbs


This one was a shirt soaker. In the coming days, I plan to get a post up about my methodology, the thoughts behind it and also links to examples of some of these exercises. Thanks for reading :-)


Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/15/2011 Early AM Session


Push/Press: 10 x 45LB, 8 x 95LB, 8 x 95LBS

8 x 95LB Deadlift +Push/Press
5x 135LBS Push/Press
Deadlift: 10 x 185lbs, 8x235lbs, 4 x 275LBS, 2 x 275LBS

Tabata Row

Db bench press: 8x55LBS, 6x70LBS, 5x85LBS

Weighted reverse crunch(RC)/leg lifts (LL): 10x10lbs (RC), 10x25lbs(RC), 10x25lbs (LL), 10 x 25LBS (RC)


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12/14/2011 Early AM Session


Warm up:
10 burpees
Sandan Material -
Tensho (tonfa) x2
Yoshu dai (nunchakas) x2
Yosei (Sai) x2
10 burpees

Black belt Open hand kata (all wearing 30LB vest):
Sochin (wearing 30LB Weighted vest)
Rohai Dai
Rohai Sho

3x Yoshu (nunchakas...this needs some attention!)

Time: 5:47...not too shabby.

Superset x 3:
DB Sots Press (10LBS, 15LBS)
5 Pullups (w/weighted vest)

Standing Cable Crunch:
50 x 150LBS
40 x 160LBS (20+20)
30 x 170LBS (10+10+10)
20 x 180LBS (10+10)
10 x 190LBS

Tabata Row


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

'Nuf Said!

Today's blog post comes is a Facebook post from a friend of mine, Dave. I think Dave hits the nail right squarely on the head with his comment.

So, I always preach to people that a healthy diet and exercise are key components to a great lifestyle. As soon as I point this out, I'm inundated by them with my penchant for donuts, candy, pizza and other horrible foods. They never point out the other 75% of my diet that is fruits/veggies/baked meats or that I spend an hour a day 6 days a week working out, routine stretching and meditation. In return, I don't point out their obesity, alcohol intake, lack of healthy diet or the pharmacy in their medicine cabinet that's part of their daily routine. In the end, its the results that matter. When I'm talking to you, the results of what I try to say are right in front of your face, just as your lifestyle results are in front of mine. In the end, we learn from each other. Some may say that this is a self righteous rant, an "I'm better than you" type thing. Well, in health, fitness and self-dedication, I probably am. Results don't lie, you're living yours and I'm living mine.

I'd follow this up with my own thoughts, but again, Dave is spot on. It's up to you; results don't lie!


12/13/2011 early am session

6-1-6 pullups/chinup ladder
10-1 15 lbs DB windmill ladder
3 sets - 8x50lb DB pullover

10 x 25lb double DB Swings
10 x 25lb single arm DB snatch
10 burpees
10 x 45lb double db swings
8 x 45lb single arm db snatch



Monday, December 12, 2011

Hangtime's Bag o' Tricks

3-5 times a week, I slog into the gym carrying a heavy bag. Contained within that big is what I like to call "Hangtime's Bag o' Tricks". HBoT is a collection of supplementary items that I use during most workouts. Here's a brief introduction to those items.

This is my homemade suspension trainer. Very similar to the TRX Trainer, it was a fraction of the cost to make. I use the suspension trainer once every few weeks.

Ab contraptions: ankle straps, Husky Hangalls and an ab wheel. I suppose the Hangalls could replace the ankle straps, but I have used both together
Heavy hittin'! 16oz gloves. I usually only break out the 16 ouncers for power work on the bag or when I'm having hand issues. If you look closely, you can also see hand wraps. For a while, I used only handwraps on the bag; I don't recommend it.

Ankle weights...because one just never knows.

Weight belt & chain: I use the chain to load up with weight plates for dips and pullups.

T-Handle: holds heavier weight for two handed swings. I've been thinking through a design for a handle so that I can use this design for kettle bell exercises.
Old faithfuls: Gloves and jump rope. I've been through more of these than anything else! Speed jumping and double unders, in addition to rhythmic jumping are the norm and the gloves are usually my covering of choice on the heavy bag

Though not all of these items are in the HBoT, they certainly play a role in allowing me to stay healthy. Foam Roller, a roller for myofacial release, Preform ointment and 2 lacrosse balls. 

Not pictured above are my 40LB weight vest, tornado ball nor is my wife's T-Handle ;) I also have pieces of torture at the dojo that aren't pictured either.

On that note, I'm signing off...I'll be dreaming of my weighted vest and burpees...oh boy...burpees :)


Sunday, December 11, 2011


As a martial artist, I've learned a lot. As a martial artist, I'm aware that there is a lot left to learn.

All too often, I've experienced (and seen) some craziness as relates to martial arts (including MMA), budo, being a warrior, respect (real, perceived & expected) and the like. I have found that the most likeable people in karate are usually the ones that do not go around crowing on about being respected or throwing their rank in the faces of others.

The flip side is, I've also dealt with some of the worst people in the respect department. I've had folks latch onto the respect of significant others, some who have contributed zilch expect their feet to be washed upon entering the dojo and a couple who couldn't best a chimp in kata, weapons and kumite feel as if their the savior of martial arts. As an extension of the adage, "Respect is not given, respect is earned", some guidelines should be framed around respect and rank. My stab is:

1). Your rank is not only based on the color of the cloth around your waist, rather everything that preceded you receiving it and everything you accomplish after.
2). Respect does not come with your rank; it is earned and maintained seperately.
3). There is one path to advancing in your rank: hard work.

This framework provides a fairly clear synopsis of how EVERY martial artist should proceed on their path. No individual is bigger than their rank. Their merits will speak for themselves and, if the individuals accomplishments are meritorious, then in due time those accomplishments will be reflected in the respect they receive.

Your rank is not only based on the color of the cloth around your waist, rather everything that preceded you receiving it and everything you accomplish after:
In most martial arts (that I know of...), there is a set rubric for kyu grades and dan grades. A shodan candidate that shows up to testing having not supported their organization in other ways, to me, is not a worthy candidate. Likewise, a candidate that supports their organization, but does not follow the "unwritten" tenets of said rubric is not worthy either.

Walk the walk AND talk the talk.

Ideally, a student with good attendance, comes to camps & tournaments (and PARTICIPATES!), exhibits leadership traits learned inside the dojo (implicitly and explicitly) and who supports their dojo (to me...) is a great candidate for advancement. That said, to a degree I believe in "what have you done for me lately?"; the student must keep working, keep learning, continually advance and step up. What you did last year might have been awesome, but what impact did you make last month? It counts...

Respect does not come with your rank; it is earned and maintained seperately:
You've been a student for 3-4 years and you're finally moving up the line. Good for you. Except, you treat people badly, you provide zero value and, as a person, you kinda suck. Don't be surprised when: that yellow belt, you know --the helpful fella...the first one in, last one out. The guy that blows the doors off of the gym during warm up and doesn't let up until cool down...yeah him. Don't be surprised when you realize that people respect him more than you. In fact, upon realizing this, fix it, and fix it fast...fix it fast with a double scoop of humility.

This also applies when you happen to have a tie to someone of higher rank; the respect of that person (or the respect that may be residual of their rank) DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU. In cases of married couples, you don't get half in the divorce. Understand of course, that you can forge your own bloom with the folks you have to deal fact, it's expected.

There is one path to advancing in your rank: hard work:
 Simply stated:  As far as I'm concerned, there is no Happy Meal (TM), there is no toy (and definitely not a special one for children under three) and I don't care if the lid on your coffee isn't secured. Why? This is NOT a McDojo. As an instructor, I expect sweat; no sweat = no effort. If you wanted a rank handed to you, there is a dojo on every fourth corner that will hand you one --your gi will have stars on it and you may be one of the best "karate tag" players in all the land, but hey -what did you expect?

Do your best, try hard, continually improve (and show up) and everything else will take care of itself. A very wise man once said "Make efforts and you will achieve"; not a very hard concept, right?

In closing, there is a misconception that rank and respect are inextricable. I say bull. They are mutually exclusive. I've seen higher ranks whose advice on how to cross a street wouldn't be taken and I've seen blue belts win the favor of many of their senpai (seniors). It comes down to how much work YOU are willing to put in. The same path can be taken to both a rank and a level of respect, but it all depends on you.


Friday, December 9, 2011

12/9/2011 Early AM Session


Warm up:
Elliptical: 2 min warm up (level 1)
Active Recovery Intervals:
3 x 20sec/40sec (level 8, level 11, level 15)
30sec/30sec (level 15)
45/15 (level 17)
1 min recovery (level 10)

Brief dynamic stretch

Bag work:
5x60s/10s - lead right: jab, low round kick
Lead left: jab, low round kick
Lead right: jab, cross, low round (front leg)
Lead left: jab, cross, low round (front leg)
Knees: roundhouse center, roundhouse center, straight

Sai kata: 3x each
Zen shin kotai
Rohai sho

10 wheel rollouts
100 rope turns (for speed)
10 rollouts
40 double unders
10 rollouts
100 rope turns

5 pullups
5 chin ups

6:50 (currently stretching)


Thursday, December 8, 2011

12/8/2011 Early AM Session

Warm up:
Mobilizing and light stretching
DB SOTS Press: 10x10LBS, 10x20LBS
DB Windmills: 10x10LBS, 10x20LBS, 10x20LBS

5 Reps p/minute x 4 mins: 30LB DB Burpees

10 reps p/minute x 5 mins: 30LB double arm DB Swings

3 sets - 10x10LB bicycle kicks (10LB plate on each leg)

Blue, Green, Brown, Shodan & Nidan open hand kata:
Rohi Sho
Rohi Dai

Bench Press: 10x135LBS, 5x185LBS, 8x165LBS, 5x165

Cooldown: 3 minutes jump rope.
Good stretch and called it a day.

For the weighted ab reps: I sometimes use ankle straps to secure the weight between both legs/feet, however I used Husky Hangalls to secure one weight on each leg. Lesson learned was use a bench next time.


It'll never be this bad again!

"You're crazy"

"...I'll leave that to you guys; that's crazy"

"More power to ya, man; I'm not getting out there"

All of the above are reactions I get to being a full contact fighter. Amazingly enough, not from practitioners of other styles (they just look at me sideways and keep it moving). Not even from Yoshukai practitioners who may have "missed their prime".


I've gotten those comments from able bodied, young, talented Yoshukai karateka. Now, don't misunderstand me; I'm not aiming to call anyone out, that's not what this posting is about. Rather than dismiss an aspect of our style that I, and others, endeavor to excel, take a moment and ask yourself if you could step onto the tatami. "Is knockdown fighting something I can do?"

I already know the answer to that question for anyone who verbalizes one of those three statements: No.

Not because the capability isn't there; because the desire is not there. As one of my Shihan's says: "You've gotta want to, son!"

I try to impart on my students an attitude of constant progress; Rome wasn't built in a day, or my favorite: "It'll NEVER be this bad again!"

Focusing on "It'll never be this bad again", think about the firsts in your life: Asking someone out, driving, cooking...lifting a weight. The first time was probably not the most fun thing you've ever experience; I know it was not for me. Viewing those experiences as one offs, as opposed to
progressions, are what hinder one's ability. The next time you ask the same girl (or guy) out, it's a little easier than the first time; lifting a weight gets easier over time; cooking gets easier over time. If you put in the right amount of work, fighting gets easier, relatively speaking!

Don't get me wrong, you're not going to roll out of bed the day after a hard series of fights and go win a championship, but the experience won't be as bad the next time. It's experience at it's very definition. The training and preparation for kumite is also best approached as a progression. You may not be able to complete a Tabata Row today, but as you continue to work on your anaerobic cardio, the goal of a Tabata Row becomes easier to obtain.The gains made by the progression are transferred to not only your rows, but to other aspects of your cardio, including your fighting. Utilize those gains to aid other gains; ensure your training is well rounded.

And most importantly, do your research and understand what you need to do and how you need to do it. Fighting is an anaerobic activity. Running mile after mile will give you some benefit, however, there is no immediate transferable benefit to fighting (unless you are sprinting intervals for mile after mile). Bigger doesn't equal better; being strong is good, but training for muscle hypertrophy won't really help you (increased padding aside).

All of that said: karate, the fitness aspect and fighting are all largely a mental endeavor. Yes, there is a can't-ignore-it-it's-so-big physical aspect, but at the end of the day, mentality rules the roost. Train smart, eat smart, learn and train some more. Pain is universal to us all, however the mental reaction to that stimulus is not. You achieve those gains through training and effort (and sometimes a little bit of crazy). "You've gotta want it" and realize "It'll be never this bad again".