Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Zoned Out

I can't recall sweating more than I did on July 28, 2012. In case you're wondering, that was the last time I fought.

It wasn't fighting that made me the most nervous (but it did contribute), rather, stepping on the scale terrified me. Months leading up to the SuperFights, I struggled with my weight. Generally, I walk around at 185LBS; in training, I drop 3-4 lbs. When the weight limit is 185, 182LBS scares me...leading up to fight time, I was around 190LBS (give or take).

So day of, I step on the scale and I'm 3LBS over. "Shit...", was the first thing that came to mind. My head raised and I saw the slightly nervous look on a few faces, then the shocked look on Hu-Kaicho's face. Luckily for me, I was within 5LBS of my opponent...and he didn't have a problem with that. Fact is, I got lucky...reeeeeeeally lucky.

Something had to change. I'd officially reached the point where everything I did in the kitchen or at the table overrode what I was doing in the gym. I was faced with the fact that I now I had to get serious about diet or going to the gym was a waste of time.

I was kidding myself every time I ate. I had the following discussion with my wife one day a few months ago:

C: "I eat healthy..."
L: "You do not. You really don't eat as healthy as you think you do"
C: "You're on crack...I eat healthy!"

Problem with the above conversation is, I was eating a big pile of bacon at the time...which had been a daily ritual. Along with cheeseburgers and fries. At least there was no "pink goo" in my burgers.

Fast forward to two weeks ago. While checking out the Crossfit mainsite, I found a video with a title just compelling enough to make me want to take a look: "Preppin' for the week" by Chris Martirano. I wasn't sure what I would find in those videos; not sure if it was about stretching/body prep, program design...I seriously didn't know. I was slightly surprised (pleasantly) that it was regarding diet. I watched both part 1 and part 2.

As I watched the video, I was intriguied by what Chris referred to as "blocks" (in my defense, I didn't see not read the article linked above before hand). I took to research (read: I googled it). What I found was the concept of "blocks" relates to the Zone Diet, popularized in the 1990's by Dr. Barry Sears.

"The Zone Diet is a way of life that helps you lose fat and increases wellness by reducing cellular inflammation."
...that's all well, fine and good, BUT, in essence, the Zone Diet is a manner to achieve 40-30-30 protein-carb-fat balance in a meal and regulating insulin. Zone Diet measures success by the ability to feel satisfied for 4-5 hours after eating.

From this point forward, I'm going to refer to it as Zone Eating. It's not really dieting, rather, it is being smart about what you eat and how much of it you consume.

What is a block:
A block is essentially a measure of food. 7 grams of protein = 1 protein block; 9 grams of carbohydrates = 1 carb block. 1.5 grams of fat = 1 fat block (HEALTHY fats...).

When designing a meal, you want to combine equal parts of protein, carb and fat blocks. How many blocks one needs is determined by weight, body fat percentage and activity level. For example, @ 190LBS, ~11% body fat and a high activity level, I should eat 21 blocks of food per day. That's a lot more food than I realized!

As of this writing, I've been Zone Eating for almost 2 weeks. Below I'll lay out the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Ugly:
The single biggest change I've noticed is that I was not eating nearly enough. For my body type and activity level, I measure out to 21 blocks a day; I wasn't sniffing 12, or worse, I would get a majority of that in one meal. In order to meet this requirement, I've started eating a snack before working out...yes, I would workout on an empty stomach...I'm not a big breakfast person. Speaking of, this snack is not breakfast.

On a workout day, eating looks something like this:
Pre workout - 3 blocks
Breakfast - 5 blocks
Lunch - 5 blocks
Dinner - 5 blocks
Bedtime snack - 3 blocks

Non workout days are a little tougher:

Breakfast - 5 blocks
Lunch - 5 blocks
Snack - 3 blocks
Dinner - 5 blocks
Bedtime snack - 3 blocks

The Bad:
This isn't really a bad, as much as it is a tedious: everything needs to be least in the beginning. In reading more recent material on Zone and Dr. Sears, I've read Dr. Sears isn't really big on exact measuring, though, I will say eventually one can develop the eyeball method very close to exact. I do measure, and I measure for a few meals out...this is time consuming.

This is another bad that is moving to a good: Finding foods that are fresh and healthy that can be eaten before going bad. Week one, I bought foods I wouldn't ordinarily eat, which ended up being a waste. Then, I started buying foods that I do eat, but after a few days didn't taste as good. So, as I enter week three, I'm preparing some foods in advance, leaving most to be cooked when I need them or day of; meats are measured and frozen and I will thaw them as I need them.

The Good:
I feel pretty damn good. Through week one, I'd dropped almost 5LBS (a long weekend at work and lack of planning for that caused a slight fall off, but I'm close to reclaiming those loses). There is a noticeable performance increase in my workouts. My stomach is flat again. And best of all, I'm eating healthy! I haven't had a burger in a few weeks, BUT, I can have one if I chose --I just need to be smart about it.

I haven't eliminated much of anything while Zone Eating, I'm just being smart (and meticulous) about what I consume.

By no means is this a comprehensive, end-all-be-all on the Zone Diet, but I hope my outline of the first two weeks is encouraging enough for you to at least take a second thought about what you eat day to day. One thing I forgot to mention ---Zone Eating (Zoning? Channel your inner Charlie Sheen - ZONING!), can be tweaked. Lower body fat percentages may need to adjust the fat intake; I am actually consuming 2x the recommendation (either olives, peanuts, almond or EVOO).

Into Paleo? Paleo can be done within the Zone Diet - Paleo foods in Zone portions. It can be done. All in all,  the amount of work involved is TOTALLY worth it. And honestly, if you look at the recommended portions for most food, it falls within the Zone recommendations.

Hope this helps. Remember --bodies are not built in the gym, they're built in the kitchen.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

...and how do YOU know?

Over the months of June and July, the dojo did a lot to prepare for the Superfights tournament in Oxford, AL. Lots of fitness and padwork, footwork and combinations...we even did a few sessions on how to warm up. It was a big picture and finer details stretch of time, to say the least. But there was one aspect of preparation that befuddled me, which brings me to the topic of this post.

I was describing for the class, warm up techniques and preparation leading into the tournament, when I stumbled upon one aspect of preparation that goes largely unattended to, and even when attention is given, it may not be the best attention or advice available. Let's start big picture.

You've got a tournament coming up. You've been training hard inside and outside the dojo. It's nearly time to put all of that hard work to good use. "Go Time" is two weeks away.

Question for you: What's your approach? Do you:
A). Bust your butt for the next two weeks, and show up tournament day ready to rock?
B). Finish out this week, and shut it down to get ready for the big event?
C). Split the difference; 7 or 8 days of solid work and reduce the workload for the next 3-4?

The answer - "I dunno".

Yup, that's right. I don't know. Chances are, neither do you. But here's the beauty of the situation: You can find out. Yes, yes you can. First, let's explore the scenarios above.

Bust your butt for the next two weeks, and show up tournament day ready to rock
The worst plan of the three, but that's not to say it couldn't work. How do you feel after several days of hard, strenuous workouts? Personally, I feel like a 6 foot pile of poo, that's not to say that you, Mr. Reader, are not the epitome of fitness. If you're not, you don't want to go with plan A. Keep reading.

Finish out this week, and shut it down to get ready for the big event
I used to be in this category, largely at the behest of my instructor. I have moved away from this approach over the years, which I'll discuss in more detail below. Sensei's reasoning for completely shutting me down was to avoid injury. When I say shut down, I mean SHUT DOWN. I had very strict instructions not to lift, no running, take it easy. Very much "come-to-the-dojo-but-when-you-get-here-don't-do-anything-to-exert-yourself"; it drove me crazy. The advantage, again, is avoiding injury. If you're the type that can take some time off and still perform near peak, this might be where you want to hang your hat...if not, keep reading.

Split the difference; 7 or 8 days of solid work and reduce the workload for the next 3-4
This is the Hangtime way to go; I finish out the week, then gradually reduce the workload ending two (sometimes three) days before an event. The advantage to this method is your event is treated like any other workout. Two days rest between your last decent workout and your event. For me, this is optimum.

So, how do you find out what works? The same way you make anything else work --you train it!

" train rest times?" -- You betcha! Here's my approach:

The World Yoshukai Calendar has 2 camps, 4 tournaments and 1 black belt test. Of the four tournaments, two of them include fighting, which is a large motivator in my training --I guess you could say I train my physical fitness for these events. For the sake of discussion, we will also include my shodan, nidan and sandan testings as well (I train the same for tournaments and testings).

So, since 2007, I have had 38 opportunities to experiment with what tapering method works the best for me. Of the 38, 12 were "live" runs, the other 26 were tests. That's a lot of practice...good, solid reps. For each camp & tournament, I marked an 8 week run to the event. So, starting 8 weeks out was prep time. A few times, I've even gone down to six weeks a few times and two weeks once due to injury. Each lead in was different -- weight was different, cardio varied year to year, etc. Each time, I set a few goals and worked toward them in the allotted time.

So for each camp, the goal would be to make weight as if I were fighting. Moreover, the goal was to be in fighting shape. Winter Camp makes for a long day (brutally long, in my opinion), but I didn't want to miss a minute of it. Sand, sun, wind, water, tug o' war, running on the beach, sumo, you name it, I wanted to do it. If I missed my mark on where I wanted to be, I went back to the drawing board for the next event. If that worked, then I took that method and improved on it for the next event. So on and so forth. If you don't have a good memory about these things, you might want to grab your notebook.

So, what does this mean to you? Well, I hope that by this point in the article, you've taken stock of your approach and how you prepare for your event. Unless you're one of those people who can role out of bed and run a half-marathon or fight without any prior training, proper tapering is an important aspect of training...just as important as the work itself. Experiment and find out what methods work best for you.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ups...and Downs.

To quote the beautiful Ms. Katy Perry:

"Cause you're hot then you're cold You're yes then you're no You're in then you're out You're up then you're down. You're wrong when it's right It's black and it's white"

You guys haven't heard from me in awhile (12 weeks, exactly). I know. A lot's been going on. I'll outline that, plus the plan going forward and whatever else comes to mind.

One reason for my internet silence is due to a change in work situation. I no longer have said job (but I do have another, don't worry ;) ), but I needed to focus on that. Feeding my kid comes first. OK, that's kind of a cop out, but I really needed to get my roots in my new gig.

Another reason I haven't posted in awhile, and this sounds a little superficial (and a touch cocky), is because I felt like posting my workouts was giving away the keys to the castle. I really wanted to focus in on a good showing in the WYKKO SuperFights tournament and I much preferred anyone I step on the tatami with assume I was coming off of a Ho-Ho and Twinkie I went silent. I did win; whether or not my lack of posting was the cause, well...who knows.

Along that note, I started to feel like I was working out for the sake of posting a blog, as opposed to, simply posting my results. The intent of my workout was getting lost. It seemed, more and more, like I was working out to sound impressive on my slice of the internet, instead of striving to improve --which wasn't the goal.

And even if I wanted to post results, there has been a severe lack of workouts to post over the last 10 weeks or so. I've had to battle two infections this summer, both of which took me out of the gym for a significant amount of time.

"OK, so now workout about an article?"

In theory, sure, I could have, but I also realized a lot of the things that I've had to say were pretty bitchy and complainy...and honestly, I don't see a need for any of that.

So here we are, 9/4...and Yoshukai Strong will be "revived" going forward. I will try to post workout results more often, useful articles and even some of my insight (as useful as I can possibly make it).

I love this blog and I love having a place to tell it like I see it (when I do...). I'm not going away (I hope).

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mama's Baby was a Mudder!

...and soon to be a two time, TWO TIME Mudder!

That's right, I'm going in again. I will finish that race running, I promise it.

A group of WYKKO people are getting together to tackle the 2013 GA Tough Mudder. Very glad and proud to be a part of the team. I was thinking about this daunting task and I wondered: "So, how on Earth does one train for something like this?"

I mean, sure, I've done it before --I should have some clue, right? But I learned a few things the first time around that I certainly want to keep in the forefront for this time. Let's review those lessons, shall we?

1). Training for the TM is not unlike training for fighting...but at the same time, it's totally different.
Huh? How's that? Well, both rely heavily on endurance, both aerobic and anaerobic (I don't care what anyone says, that's a truth!). During the first TM, there were areas that required some sprinting (more on that later) followed by miles of running. Oh, and the course is not symmetrical; you might run 2 miles between one obstacle and then 1/2 mile to the next.

2). Don't forget: endurance means more than just running.
Yes, there is a lot of running and you will need endurance for that, but, you will also need to maneuver weight throughout the course. I don't recall many easy obstacles... 

3). Hills are your friend.
Learn to love them. The 2011 GA Tough Mudder was the hardest course ever put together and it featured miles of hills. Steep hills, short hills, long hills, rocky hills, "I'm out to break your ankles" hills. You name it, it was on this course...everything except paved hills, if I'm not mistaken. Besides, they're good for your cardio and leg strength.

4). Ying and Yang your body(weight); by "ying", I mean "push" and by "yang", I mean pull...add fung shui.

Have trouble doing pushups and pull ups? I'd get started on that, Sunshine. There's a lot of pulling and pushing up really high obstacles. Beyond that, you can't slack on the Mudder pledge --you really do need to help other folks out, which means pushing and pulling someone else's body weight. Have yours well in hand? Awesome --add weight.

5). Tired yet? Run some more.
For real; that's what running this thing is like.

6). Be prepared to do somethings twice.
That was a nice little surprise on the 2011 course. Not that I'm complaining, but I wasn't expecting that. Just be prepared.

and lastly,

7). Be a wuss and carry a Camelback

I thought the number of water stops was a little...light...but I also openly acknowledge that I was probably being a bit of a wuss due to the bum leg(s) and all. Nope. I talked to a few folks at my gym that did the TM as well, and they agreed. That said, the TM crew did lose a water station the night before (supposedly...just sayin'), which may have been the culprit. Be prepared...I was (and will be again!).

OK, I lied there was one other thing (and if by some odd occurrence the person I'm referring to sees this, I love ya and I'm really just giving you a hard time) --no road trips directly after the Mudder; your legs will hate you for it.

All in all, train hard. This thing is far more mental than physical. Get your body in shape and keep your head in the game and you'll be fine (see, I told you it was like fight training :) ).


Still breathing...


I know this space has been a little...bare. And I know it appears as if I haven't been doing anything, but let me assure you, this is not the case! :-)

I managed to finish the 40+ cards worth of workouts (and then some).
I reached my goal of getting back to a 700LB+ leg press
I set a new 1RM bench press is 250LBS
I set a new 1RM weighted pullup of 115LBS (and came within inches of a good 135LB pull!)

If that's not proof that I haven't been sitting on my can, I don't know what is! :-P

All of that said, I will be retooling the card system in order to prep for the upcoming Superfights tournament in July. I won't be doing anything huge, but what I'm thinking right now:

Adding in more bag work cards
Adding in more max strength cards (though, this could be a double edged sword...)
More running

On the subject of running, I'm thinking of using this more as a warm up; 2-3 miles max. That said, I am also contemplating revamping the cards to include an appropriate warm up and either a finisher or abs work. The less I have to think at that time of morning the better.

With all of the above said, Superfights for myself is not my primary focus. I also have a few students that I need to prepare for the day time semi-knockdown portion of the tournament. The class has already been hard at work and I'm proud of the effort up to this point. There will be some delicate balancing going forward --mixing kumite specifics and focus in on testing...what's life without a challenge, right?

I have more interesting news, but that's for another post. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

4/19/2012 Early AM Session

Before we get into today's madness, I want to wish my big sis a happy birthday (don't worry, I won't give away your age...)!

I spent the last day or so really working on loosening up my legs & trying to relieve my knee pain (which is in both knees). The compress and floss technique is one way I've been working to cease the painhell my leg has been in and the other leg was heading toward. Heavy doses of lacrosse ball were in order for TV time last night, as well as couch stretch...disaster averted on one leg, pain is greatly alleviated on the other. I've got to keep "taking care of business" on the forefront going forward!

Warm up:
Burgener's Warm up
Mobility exercises

45LB BB Snatch...didn't count reps.

By this point, I was confident that despite feeling good after stretching, etc, squatting just wasn't going to happen today. Guess what is a component of nearly every card left in the deck...I had to punt.

Instead of a card, I decided to do some deadlifting. I was thinking (but not hard enough...) of the Crossfit WOD from Tuesday 4/17; seven sets of 1 rep deadlift, but I only made it to five (but it's all good).

10 x 225LBS, 4x275LBS, 1x315LBS, 1x365LBS, 1x405LBS [PB]

See, I told you five sets was all good...

I tried jump roping, but it nearly got disastrous so I left it alone. 50 double unders, 30 sprint turns, I tripped over the next 30 double unders...

More mobilizing and end scene.

4/18/2012 Early AM Session

Warm up:

Circuit x 2:
10x 10LB DB Windmill
10x 10LB DB External Rotation

Burgener's Warm Up

12 Burpees
24 Pushups
36 Squats
400 M run

The end of the warm up is actually one set out of the workout I was going to do. I've been very lax with mobilizing and tending my goats and developed some seriously bad pain in my knees. I point to the lack of mobilizing because I'm coming off of nearly 5 days rest and it was an issue during MS1 last week.

Fast and Furious: as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes
10 Pullups
10 Plyo Pushups
10 DB Swings (45LBS)
10 Tuck Jumps

Tough way to start the week. By the end of three, I was huffin' and puffin'. Also, someone disrupted the flow of things, so I only managed to get four rounds. Truth be told, I highly doubt I would've finished 6 rounds without the distraction, so I'm not bent out of shape...

Standing Cable Crunch: 10 x 170LBS, 10 x 190LBS, 10 x 190LBS

Stretching. It hurt. So badly, I couldn't get onto my knee for couch stretch :-/

In fact, I went home and started to pull out all of the stops - my "Stick" like implement for myofascial release, lacrosse balls, compression band and got to work.


4/13/2012 Early AM Session

Warm up:

Circuit x 2
10 x 10LB DB WIndmill
10 x 10LB DB External Rotations
10 x 10LB DB Romanian Deadlift
10 x 25LB DB Halo

Burgener's Warm up

Workout: Max Strength 1 (MS1) -5x5

Db bench Press 75LBS, 85LBS, 75LBS, 75LBS, 75LBS -- Fun with the bum shoulder, still...
W pulls 25LBS, 50LBS, 25LBS, 25LBS, 25LBS
W dips  25LBS all five sets
Squat 185LBS, 205LBS, 225LBS, 275LBS, 275LBS

Cool down and stretch,


4/12 Early AM Session

I'm behind a few days, so details may be a bit sketchy...

Warm up:

Circuit x 2
10 x 10LB DB Windmill
10 x 10LB DB External Rotations

Work Capacity 101 -- 75s work, 45s rest (2 min) for 20 min
5 Pullups
10 Medball slams
15 Burpees
20 Jumping Jacks

After the second round, I figured out that I wasn't going to do more than 20 jumping jacks through the entire I moved the jumping jacks ahead of the had a minor effect on the number of burpees I did per round --never dipped below 6, but only hit 10 once...

I'm fairly certain I finished with abs...but I don't recall :-/

Cool down and stretch

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Food For Thought

"Who you are is who you are; you can't hide who you are. "
 "Practice does not make perfect, practice makes permanent."
-Kelley Starrett, Crossfit San Fransisco/Crossfit Mobility Expert.

Who are you? And, how much permanence do you strive for daily?


4/11/2012 Early AM Session

Not the best session, but a good workout nonetheless. Shoulder issues have crept back, which made today's session a little harder to deal with.

Warm Up:
10 x 10LB DB External rotations
Shoulder mobilization exercises

Workout: Bagwork 4: "Ten good ones". The premise is ten of the best reps you can muster; if it's crap, toss it out, it doesn't count. Only the ten best.

As Many Rounds as Possible (I have 10 rounds listed on the card)
Mawashi geri
Jab (W)
Cross (W)
Jab + Mawashi Geri
Jab + Mawashi Geri

The first couple of rounds were a good way to start the warm up (I know better next time --marked with a "W" for warm up). After two circuits, I dropped the single jab and cross; I felt it was a better usage of time to focus on the combinations than the single technique; I will leave them in for warm up next time.

I finished 4 circuits. Doesn't sound like much, but that's four rounds of max power/effort of ten solid reps. Not terrible, in my humble opinion, and it leaves a lot of room for improvement. That said, the shoulder played a big role in limiting the number of rounds.

50 Double Unders
10 x 10 LB Leg Raises (bench)
10 x 30LB Knee raises (cable)
10 x 20 LB Leg Raises (bench)
10 x 30LB Knee raises (cable)

Finisher: 100 Double Unders. Stalled around 50; the next ten left a lot to be desired, but I got it back on track around #63. The last 10 were not fun either.

Stretched and called it a day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

4/10/2012 Early AM Session

My alarm went off this morning...and I shut it off. Felt like I took a five minute buffer, it was actually 45 minutes. Good thing I get up early

Warm up:
5 x 25LB DB Halos
10x 10LB External Rotations
Burgener Warm up
5 x 25LB DB Halos

Ross E's ICT #5
5 rounds:
10 Burpees
10 Chinnies
10 Squats
10 Pushups

I did not set the world on fire doing these, lol. Good circuit, got the lungs going pretty good. Despite not going at blazing fast speed, I finished fairly quickly, so I moved onto the next card as a finisher...

Ross E's EIT#4:
As many as possibly in 15 min:
Sprint 50M
Bear Crawl 25M
Crab walk 25M

I didn't have the space, so I adapted to the basketball court in the gym, so instead of 50M, simply point A to point B. I managed 6 reps before my wrists started giving me fits. I did learn, however, that the bear crawls and crab walks made a great time buffer. After 7 minutes, I stopped torturing my wrists and did sprints.

In 15 minutes - 16 total trips down and back; 6 included crawls/walks, the other 9 were straight up sprint up and back. Or simply: 15 minutes of sucktitude.

Quick stretch and called it a day.

Friday, April 6, 2012

2012 First Quarter Review

Previously, on Yoshukai Strong...
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
First quarter 2012 is in the books. I want to take a look at the goals I set for the year and reevaluate. Looking at some of them...I wonder what I was smoking when I came up with these.

Goal 1: Keep training focused by dividing the session into strict, time-based segments, by the end of January.
The card system I'm using now goes a long way in helping keep sessions going. Having a plan is a good thing. There are some of the planned workouts that simply run long. In fact, I have two coming up: "52 pickup" and "Crossfit Angie" :-/

Goal 2: Increase leg press working rate to 800LBS (2 rep minimum) by February 1, 2012
I haven't met this goal yet, but, I could. I need to prioritize it and do leg presses before I'm too beat to complete them. I have flirted with the low 700's since the beginning of the year...I have no doubts I can do this, I just need to do it (even if only for the sake of saying I did).

Goal 3: Work toward 3 times bodyweight deadlift 1RM (1 rep max), based on average weight (180LBS) by Feb 4, 2012
Lofty goals aren't a bad thing, but unrealistic goals are.  My current PB is 350LBS, which is less than half of my current bodyweight (188LBS) - 2.5 times BW sounds a lot more end of the year.

Goal 4: Complete sandan test on Feb 10, 2012...preferably in one piece.
Nearly lost an eye, but I made it :)

Goal 5: Perform 100LB DB  Bench Press by Feb 1, 2012
Done, and... (1/19)

Goal 6: Perform 225LB Bench Press 1RM by April 1, 2012
Done! (230 on 3/8)

No time to rest, however. Still plenty of mileage left to burn up and more goals left to accomplish.

How are you doing with your goals for the year? Do you work on them daily?? If not, it's not too late, get back on the wagon!


4/6/2012 Early AM Session

This morning's session inspired the question: "What on earth was I thinking when I made THIS ONE up?".

I also realized that I may have failed in my efforts to not repeat a single session. The session this morning looked to have a duplicate card as well...I will have to check to be sure, but it would be a bummer if I screwed that up! That said, it was a replacement for the next card on deck...which also means I'm in trouble with the remaining workouts, because I am sure they've all been swapped out at some point and I'm getting to the point of not having any latitude to do that going forward. D'oh.

Warm up:
Circuit x 2
10 x 10 DB WIndmills
10 x 10 DB External Rotations

Burgener's Warm Up
7x25LB DB Halos.

My shoulders were a smidge on the stiff side from yesterday's session and sparring at the dojo...should be interesting.

Todays session was a Ring stuff.

As written:
Circuit x 5
Pullups x 8
Dips x 8
L-sit, to inverted position, pullup, pike to L-sit x 5
Thrusters x 8

Sounds good in theory, but I had to scale it back some. I did manage to get through two circuits before deciding this wasn't going to happen as planned.

As performed:
Circuit x 5
Pullups x 6
Dips x 6
L-sit, lever to inverted position, pullup, pike to L-sit x 3
Thrusters x 5 @ 75LBS

Abs (on a bench):
Leg Raises - 10 x 15LBS, 10 x 15LBS,10 x 15LBS
Knee ups - 10 x 30LBS, 10 x 30LBS,10 x 30LBS

Finisher: Untimed bag round. ~3 minutes or so. I'm starting to get back into form, where punches and combinations are flowing nicely. Now the plan is to not let this progress slide!


4/5/2012 Early AM Session

Warm up:
Mobilization stretches
Bergener Warm up

Today's torture was 5x5 Max Strength.
Push Press (155) [PB Match]
Romanian Deadlift (275) [PB]
Double Arm Row (185)
Leg Press (630)

Now here's the downside; I lost all of the numbers for this session (*sigh* Technology, gotta love it), but I do recall some of the max weights

That said, I didn't reach 5 sets on the leg press, I was pooped. It looks like I wasn't tracking the two arm row, so the 185 makes a PB by default as a baseline. Not bad for a session where the point was just to make it through...

2 min 7/5 burst on the heavy bag
30 Double unders
1 min 7/5 burst on the heavy bag
30 Double unders
1 min 7/5 burst on the heavy bag
30 Double unders

20 x 45LB Seated Russian Twists
20 x 45LB Seated Russian Twists
45LB Seated Russian Twists to failure (26)

Stretch then end scene.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

4/4/2012 Early AM Session

Warm up:
Circuit x 3
10 x 10LB DB Windmills
10 x 10LB DB External rotations
10 x 10LB DB Romanian Deadlifts

Dynamic stretches

Today's workout was Crossfit Helen:
400m Run
21 KB Swings @ 1.5 pood
12 pullups

I used a 55LB DB instead of KB; I tried to do as many kipping pullups as possible; progress is being made, but my KP is still pretty pathetic. I tried to push the pace on the runs, but they still were not blazing fast.

I had a little time, so I "played" with the clean and jerk. Once this cycle with the cards is complete, I may add some workouts that highlight the Olympic lifts or add more Crossfit workouts that contain Olympic lifts. Nothing to particularly write home about with these sets, I didn't lift over 75LBS and didn't do more than 3-4 per set.

10 x 110LBS Side Standing Cable Crunches

Circuit x 3:
10 x 150LBS Standing Cable Crunches
10 x 45LB Side Bends

Quick stretch and called it a day.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Managing Expectation, Part I

I'm going to have to tread lightly...very lightly...with this topic, but it's one that I feel needs to be addressed. Before I get started, let me state, I love karate. After all, it's both an individual and a team sport; a karate-ka can learn a plethora about themselves in this sport. Physical boundaries can be expanded, the impossible can be made possible. Over the years, I've seen children and adults experience tons of progress and growth.

Specifically, I love Yoshukai Karate; if I didn't, I wouldn't dedicate the time I do to this style. Nothing is perfect, but I feel like there is a ton of good in Yoshukai Karate.

But let's be honest: in the grander scheme of things, on the surface anyway, that all accounts for a hill of beans.

"Are you serious, don't possibly believe you?" Yes, yes I do. And besides, you read it on the internet, so it must be true. ;-)

Let me explain: You've been doing this karate stuff for several years, you're a brown belt and it looks good on would look even better. But let me ask you a question: how do you feel about sparring?

...not a big fan, that's OK, your kata is phenomenal. That must make you amongst the the top...five, ten baddest people on the planet...right? Nope, not even close.

OK - let's try another scenario: You fight like a beast in the dojo. It's lonely at the fact, it's just you and Sensei...and the clock is ticking for him. You'll catch him before the next rank're well on your way to dojo domination. To boot, your kata is impeccable. If Chuck Norris existed in iambic pentameter, he would be you...pure poetry in motion. You are king of the jungle, a young lion in his prime...rawwwrrr!

Amazing...I'm with ya. You're nothing to balk at. But...what happens if an argument or confrontation happens 3 feet away from you? Do you soil your pants? Step back into a fighting stance with your hands waaaaaaaaay too low to actually stop anything? I know, you immediately step back into zenkutsudachi and kiyah, right?!

Any of the above and boy, are you in trouble.

I say all of that (and I jipped you about 5 more scenarios, I figure by now you get the point) to say this; the expectations you have with your karate needs to be served with a heaping helping of reality and perspective. Without it, you're toast.

Let me explain: In Yoshukai karate, like many others, we have kata, kumite (Japanese style and point sparring), weapons & self defense. It's hard to focus on any one thing, with such a broad range, but if you're mastering one, you're neglecting a lot of material. Overall, that point is neither here nor there for the purposes of this post, but it's true. And I'll be you a dollar that you had never thought of that.

Sometimes, it seems as though there is a false sense of bravado obtained by your everyday, casual karate-ka. Being a "casual everyday karate-ka" is not a problem, the false sense of bravado is. Doing good kata does not make you the baddest person on the planet. And here's something that may shock you: being a good fighter does not make you the baddest person on the planet either (and let's go ahead and include how you swing a nunchuka and/or bo).

Kata Konnections

Pay very close attention to this next statement: kata != fighting. Yep, I said it, and you cannot convince me otherwise. I'll take another step over that sacred line and say: "The only effectiveness kata has in fighting is the cardio...and that's only if you do them one after another after another as hard as you can". Yep...I said it.

Some, SOME, karate-ka take the time to bunkai kata; there's problem number one; SOME. Not very many, at that.Even those of us that could pull something out of their tokus for the moves of some kata, surely don't believe that most of it would work in a self defense situation...or at least I hope. Let's draw some analogies: I call the "base" bunkai the potatoes. I am a french fry guy, so my potatoes will be fries, but I digress. They're good; they make a great side dish or even a great snack, but not a good main course. Sometimes, I'll take the snack, but it's just that --a snack. Dive deeper young Padawan, there's meat behind those potatoes. How can the lesson behind that bunkai be applied. Think about it...try it out; how does it work out for you? Not well? What did you learn, though? How does that work for you? Better? Enjoy your steak.

I'm not suggesting that kata doesn't have it's merits, I am merely imploring you, the reader, to put it in its proper place. It is a way to develop coordination, drill concepts applicable to both fighting and self defense, develop strength and stamina (if done right...) could even be used to get you onto ESPN screaming like a banshee! OK, let's leave that last one out, shall we? :-D

Why Are You Really Here?

Many people take karate for the self defense benefit...but...are no where to be found on sparring night.

...really?!? REALLY!!?!

So, help me understand; you come to the dojo in hopes that you will be prepared in the unlikely event that someone attacks you on the street...but you don't want to condition yourself for what might happen to

Errr. Riddle me this, Batman, on the street is your expectation that you will end any conflict swiftly, with one blow, without breaking a sweat. Hmm. Upon what experience are you basing this expectation? Your bench press must be awe inspiring...and you must spend a fortune in heavy bags. Seriously, you need to be in the dojo, learning how to hit and be hit, feeling the pressure of not being the second coming of Bruce Lee, learning how to manage the adrenaline rush you WILL FEEL if you find yourself remotely close to a self defense situation.

The notion that sparring hurts is valid; it does. It certainly isn't ticklish. But that pain doesn't change; your reaction and coping mechanisms do. Skip out on sparring night at your own risk...I'll be you TEN dollars your Plan A reduces greatly if you aren't equipped mentally for being hit.

The Great Self Defense Debate
OK, green belt. You've made it to the big time...first line! Good stuff. This next test should be easy...right? I mean, you only have one new weapon/kata and a few self defense techniques to demonstrate. That's cake!

Punch, side step, chudan tsuki, stomp the foot and end with an ax kick...cake, I say!

Hold on, one second. Think back to the last time you punched full force someone the size of your partner, I mean, really swung for the fences. How'd that work out for you? Did they continue to stand there, waiting for your next technique or did the double over in pain? If you said the former, you might want to go back to the drawing board.

I often tell students self defense needs to be quick, violent and explosive --if your self defense for testing is slow, tentative and might want to go back to the drawing board. By no means am I suggesting you hurt your partner, absolutely not, but you should be convinced (and be honest!), "Man, that's going to really hurt". The litmus test: Does your partner cringe when you execute? If they don't, they're either really trusting or not the least bit afraid you're going to hurt them if you make contact; my money is on the latter.

Oh, and one more thing: are you actually going to remember that? What are you going to do if you do not? ...yep, thought so, you hadn't thought of that.

So Why Waste Time?
Here's where I bring all of this back home. I'm not saying karate is bad; in fact, if I've done my job correctly, you're brain is running it should be ALWAYS after you leave the dojo or while you're training.

If you're mailing it in, you're not doing yourself any fact, if you're mailing it in, you're at even more of a disadvantage than someone who is disillusioned. You've got some serious homework to do. I mean, you don't really even have a clue what you're doing and how bad a situation may get for you.

How does this change...where do I start? Ask questions. Find the meat and enjoy both the meat and the potatoes! Talk about what you're doing with your instructor, think about what you're doing (and ask how it applies, how is it useful) and most importantly, be realistic about what you're doing!! Never assume what you're doing is enough, chances are it's not. Stamina, strength training, technique...especially technique...can always improve, but these are the tools, you are the house! Put the pieces of your training, your karate toolkit, in order --each tool has a specific use and purpose. If you think kata, kumite and self defense (for testing) is all you need, you're sorely mistaken! Remember, meat and potatoes.

More on managing expectations later...stay tuned for Part 2.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

3/29/2012 Evening Session

It's been a very long time since I've done 2 workouts in one day...I just reminded myself why. Tonight's torture was ICT #4...but not just any ICT #4, ICT #4 - IN THE DOJO!

ICT #4:
Part 1: x 5
10 Burpees
20 Lunges
30 Squats

Part 2: x 5
10 Pullups
20 Pushups
10 High pulls (resistance bands)

I didn't bother to keep track of time. Why remind myself of how long it took to torture myself (and Miss M)?

Finisher: Kata
Tensho (tonfa) x 3
Yosei no Sai x 2

Stick a fork in me for today, I'm done!

3/29/2012 Early AM Session

Ultimate-XC: 60 minutes, as many rounds as possible:
1 mile run
Tabata row

Warm up:
10 x 45LBS Cleans
8 x 75LBS Cleans
Light jog around the basketball court
Dynamic stretching

2 times through.
Mile 1 - 10:17
Mile 2 - 9:02 (mostly interval)

At the start of round three, I was drained. I attribute that to getting better with Tabata Rows...well, that's the story I'm going with. I haven't run at all since the Rock N' Roll Savannah in November, so I am pleased with the times as well.

Ab Work:
10 x 10LB Knee to chest
10 x 10LB leg raises (bench)
10 x 15LB hanging Knee to chest
8 x 10LB(each leg) alternating knee to chest
8 x 10LB(each leg) alternating knee to chest

Tabata Standing Russian Twist; one side per interval

Stretched and called it a day. I'll probably spend the rest of my day dragging my carcass around the office!

3/28/2012 Early AM Session

Today's workout is Bagwork least in part. I wasn't quite sure how I felt about my breathing issues, so I cut it down from five "fights" to two.
Warm up:
Untimed bag work

Workout -Bagwork:
3m-2m-1m - 5s/7s Burst Rounds
3m-2m-1m - 7s/5s Burst Rounds

I should have had 3 regular 3m-2m-1m after this, but I was huffing and puffing...felt good, but I decided not to push it.

Ab Work:
Cable Woodchoppers: 10 x 30LBS, 10 x 60LBS, 10 x 90LBS,
Standing Cable Crunch: 10x150LBS, 10x160LBS, 10x170LBS
Hanging Leg Raises: 10x20LBS, 8 x 30LBS, 8 x 50LBS

Stretch, cool down and called it a day.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tear the house DOWN!!

I had the honor, and I do believe it was an honor, to witness up close and personal two karate-ka put on an absolute clinic in kumite (fighting) yesterday. I believe their names were Jerdan and David (and I apologize if that's not correct).

It was a back and forth for first and second place. These two fighters gave each other everything, and I do mean everything they had. David, the smaller of the two fighters, showed a game face deserving of the nickname "Iceman". Jerdan was ferocious and tried to keep constant pressure on his opponent. These fine martial artists wore each other down with power shots and lots of clean, hard technique. As an instructor, judge and fighter, I couldn't have asked for anything more out of these young men. Well fought and clean match up. Kudos to you both.

Now, something you need to know about the aforementioned fighters:
a). This fight took place the 8-10 year old division
b). Both fighters were 7th or 8th kyu.

...and I mean every word I've said about those gentlemen in this post. I look forward to seeing both of them grow and progress in the future. Well done, gentlemen, well done.


No, I'm not quite myself today, sir...

This post is strictly for therapy...

Yesterday I was awarded my sandan, or third degree black belt for the martial arts uninitiated. It was sweet. Nearly nine years of work amounting to a new milestone. 3 years of hard work, discovery, new avenues of progress, all came to a head yesterday when I received that certificate. It was even better because I received it in my hometown and in my home dojo...not *my* dojo, mind you, but the dojo that I poured out a lot of sweat and blood in. The place that formed me as a karate-ka. Some important lessons were formed in that gymnasium...some great friendships were forged there too. In fact, I met the love of my life, my life partner & wife, in that room.

I stood there at attention, and as the first degree promotions came to an end, I figured out that my promotion would be the next to last given out. I was not the next to last person in line. This was a home game, so to speak, so I figured that would only make sense. Mrs. B. was being promoted to yandan...the last sandan certificate awarded had to have been mine.

Now, being promoted in my home dojo is nothing new. I've taken each of my dan tests at the same annual organization event -Winter Camp- and our tournament is always the next event after Winter Camp. I've received all three dan promotions in the Team Atlanta dojo.

Trivia item - I've taken all three dan tests at the same annual event, in the same state, and (I'm fairly certain) in the same month...but not all in the same city. :)

...but I digress...

Sure enough, my "sandan buddy" Miss H was called as the next to last sandan promotion, and then I heard my name.

As with every other promotion, I patted my side, bowed and bellowed a loud, but short...almost staccato kiyah --"OSU!" -- stepped behind my line, ran down the line to my left, turned the corner and headed to the front of the dojo...I patted my side again, came to attention,bowed and bellowed another kiyah in front of Hu-Kaicho T.

I received my certificate, thanked Hu-Kaicho, but I could not smile. I looked to my right and I saw my beautiful wife taking pictures and my sweet son in his gi...I couldn't. Crack. A. Smile. I couldn't muster it because in my peripheral vision, I could see Shihan L and immediately to his right, I was given another reminder that my Sensei was no longer with us. To put it hurt. I should at least accept it and move on, otherwise this blog could get pretty clogged with posts like this one.

I bowed, stepped back and ran back to my place in line. Nearly step for step, the identical route I took to get there. I made eye contact with Mrs. B...still couldn't muster that smile...

When it was all said and done, the newly promoted students all shook hands with the Shihans...that's when it really hit. There would be no exchanging of glances designed to make the other person bust out in laughter; there would be no shenanigans before or after the pictures...none of that. Nothing but another reminder. I shook my Sensei's sensei's hand and it got just that much harder. Then again to Shihan L, the last shihan in line and I think it broke my mood for the day.

Fast forward a few had been a busy day. I didn't compete (which, is also a milestone for my Yoshukai career --prior to yesterday, I'd never been to a Yoshukai tournament having not competed...thanks pollen and allergy season). I spent the day assisting Hu-Kaicho C with keeping things moving along; getting judges to rings, timekeepers & scorekeepers to rings and even finding someone to make a lunch run. Shihan G pulled me aside at one point and said "Are you OK?"

I said I did...then I blamed it on the pollen...then I tried to assure him I was fine. He saw through all of that. He could tell something was up, whether I was willing to admit it or not. He did stop probing, but I don't think he was convinced that I was OK. All of that said, I do appreciate his concern. :-)

In many ways, I felt like I spent the rest of the day trying to prop my mood up with a dice. I laid in bed last night, my wife taking her shower, and I caved. I am human, right? I think it's fair to say that few people understand. It's not the typical student/teacher relationship; he was a friend, a good friend. Few people can and will understand because I myself didn't quite grasp the depth of our friendship/relationship until he was gone. I can honestly say very few days go by when I don't think about him or laugh when I hear something he would have found funny. I do, however, feel fortunate that I do still feel a little of his presence in that gymnasium --God, how I hope that never fades....

Until next time, my friend.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

3/22/2012 Early AM Session

Today's torture: MS 5 1-10-1 swings and snatches...on very little sleep. The little guy had some trouble breathing last night and spent a good bit of the night agitated & pissed off.

I want to learn a little more about some of the Olympic lifts; before I started, I thought, "You know...I should do barbell snatches instead of dumbbell snatches..." And that I did.

Warm up:
A mix of hanging snatch, snatch balance, and ground up snatch @ 45LBS...

These were fun...kinda. I knew this workout would be a bear.

2 hand DB Swing @ 60LBS
BB Snatch smorgasbord @ 75LBS

Most of the snatches were snatch balance, especially once I got over 5. Total sucktitude. I don't see how people do this with heavy weight (yet...I me, someday, I will understand)...

The snatches started to be too much. No way I was going to make it back down the ladder, even @ 45LBS

2 hand DB Swing @ 60LBS
95LB Cleans (hanging & power)

Even the cleans were a challenge. I was whooped about half way down, but I pushed through and kept going Osu-EN1

Even with the (at the time) unwelcomed disruption to talk about the Peyton Manning deal this was a!

Hanging knee raises: 10x20LBS, 10x30LBS, 8x50LBS, 5x50LBS (failure), 10x20LBS (alternating legs), 8x20 (alternating legs; failure)

Good stretch & tons of water.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

5 questions with Shihan Fred Lecut

OSU! - Awhile back, I asked several respected Yoshukai karate-ka a series of 10 questions; from their 10 questions, I chose the best five and submit them (ok, I had planned to...) to our World Yoshukai Newsletter. The next submission to the newsletter is from Shihan Fred Lecut. Enjoy.

1). Who was the most influential person in your karate career?
Travis Page - not only for his karate ability, but for his human qualities, right behind is Mike Culbreth - same reasons.

2). What was your proudest individual moment in karate as a karate-ka?
Making it through Shodan testing (June in Montgomery, no AC, I blacked out at the end...)

3). If a Yoshukai student understands one thing overall, that thing should be…(and why)?
Patience! You won't become good because you are good, but because you keep coming, even when you are tired, or pissed, or whatever. Just keep coming, and be patient. You become better than people because you outlast them, that's all.

4). What training advice would you give to an up-and-coming karate-ka?
Practice your basics, again, again, again. Fight as if you were old and weak.              

5). If you could expand the style in any one area, where would it be and how?
I would:
  • Reintroduce Sensei Chitose 27 self defense moves.
  • Push sparring, allow for the use of throws, sweeps and chokes - anything that gives an edge to people with little striking power, but agility.
  • Not teach kobudo before Shodan
  • Push for attendance to functions (If you don't  attend at least 10 functions, you cannot test for Shodan)


3/21/2012 Early AM Session

Warm up:
Dynamic stretches

Today's Recipe: Ross Enemait's ICT 7

100 Burpees (10:58), bleck!
Rest 2 minutes...erm..."2" minutes
Tabata Squats (131)
Tabata Pushups (68)

Abs (all exercises on the bench):
10 x 10LB Leg raises
10 x 25LB, 15 x 25LB Knee up
10 x 10LB knee to chest

Quick stretch and end scene.

Those burpees were brutal. I could have done x number per minute, but I tried just "powering through" and it cost me some time. Next time, I know better.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

3/20/2012 Early AM Session

Today's workout was Max Strength 6:

DB Bench Press (Flat or Swiss Ball)
Weighted Pullups
Weighted Dips

2 set "lead in" to the heavy weight on each exercise

Warm up:
Circuit x 2:
10x10 DB Windmills
10x10 DB External Rotations
10x10 DB Romanian Deadlifts
10 x 20 DB Halo
10 BW Squat

DB Bench Press: 8 x 60LBS (flat bench), 7x65LBS (flat bench), 5 x 70LBS (flat bench), 5x75LBS (Swiss ball), 5x80LBS (swiss ball), 5x65LBS (flat bench), 5x65LBS (flat bench)

The last two sets, 5x65, was a single arm with only one DB; no DB to counter the weight. It is as hard as advertised!

Weighted Pullups: 6, 5x25LBS, 5x35LBS, 5x45LBS, 5x70LBS, 5x70LBS

Last two reps in the last set were partials, at best. Good thing I didn't need to scratch my shoulders...

Weighted dips: 6, 5x25LBS, 5x35LBS, 5x45LBS, 5x70LBS, 5x70LBS
The last one hurt...sheer hardheadedness.

Squats (wide leg): 8 x 185LBS, 7x225LBS, 5x275LBS, 5x295LBS, 5x345LBS, 5x365LBS, 5x365LBS

I can't add, apparently. Last set, thought I was going for 380, it was closer to 400...I don't recall the exact weight. I DO know, that I unracked it, thought, "Nope....", and put it back. I reduced the weight, but it seems to have added up to 365...I wish I'd known that at the time, I might have gone to at least 370. Oh well.

Good stretch and called it a day.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

3/13/2012 Early AM Session

Before I got started, it occurred to me that on this day 5 years ago, I lost my nephew far, far too young. I was already pumped for this session, but thinking of him gave me a little extra. We weren't particularly close, but that matters not at all; he is my nephew, my sister's son. He was a very funny guy and by funny I mean you don't want to be caught in his crosshairs...he will make you laugh at yourself while ripping you a new one in the most brutal of ways. And that's what people loved about him. I miss hearing him "cut" on people, and the laughter that came out of it. I miss you, Dude...

Donald, this one was for you.

Warm up:
Circuit x 2:
8x15LB DB Windmills
10 x15LB DB External Rotations
10 x15LB DB Romanian Deadlifts

8 x 135LB Bench Press
5 pullups

Light stretching

Crossfit Lynne -- Five Rounds max reps:
Bench Press @ body weight (185) 10, 5, 6, 3, 4
Pullups 9,9, 12 (kipping), 8 (kipping), 6

I am very impressed with myself on the bench press! A little over two years ago I hoisted 185 for the first time EVER. I was mired down @ 185 for 18 months before I moved past that and hit a 1RM of 215LBS. I spent most of 2010 and 2011 trying to perform 20 reps in 10 sets...10 reps in one set is huge for me.

The finish:
1-5 DB Swings (55LBS) & Snatch (35LBS)
Weighted leg raises: 10 x 10LBS, 10 x 20LBS, 10 x 20LBS

Good stretch and called it quits :)


Monday, March 12, 2012

3/12/2012 Early AM Session

Short, sweet, simple, intense.


Circuit x 2:
3, 2, 1 minute rounds of the "3, 5, 7" Drill/30s rest between rounds,

"3, 5, 7" - hit the bag with power using minimum number of techniques, either 3 techniques, 5 techniques or 7 techniques, progressing as you go along (first a 3 move combination, then a 5 move, then a 7 move, start over). 5 burpees for each set the minimum is not reached.

ICT #1:
60s, 45s, 30s, 15s --no rest of the following: burpees, pullups, squats, pushups

That was a rough 10 minutes of work!

Happy Monday!

Friday, March 9, 2012

3/9/2012 Early AM Session

Lesson #1 - Don't ever assume something is easy...if you do it right, it's never easy!

Warm up:
Light jump roping,
5 pullups
5 dips
10 Windmills (no weight
Dynamic stretches


Crossfit Annie: 10:09
Double unders

At some point, I spotted to orphaned 60LB DB's sitting by the wall; I ended up using them as anchors and I did not stop the clock. I think if I hadn't stopped to get the weights and if I had anchors to start, I could blow some time off of 10:09. Not to shabby for my first time out, but I really want a do-over.

...maybe as a finisher some time soon.

3 x ~80yd Farmer's walk w/2 - 45LB Plates. Grip started to give around 50yds into the last trip.
Between round 1 & 2 -- 5 hand clap pushups

1 side Standing Cable Crunch: 15 x 110LBS, 15 x 120LBS, 10 x 130LBS
The one side standing cable crunch was done holding the rope on one side and bending to that side.

Side Bends: 15 x 45LBS (plates), 15x45LBS (plates), 10 x 55LBS (DBs)

Good stretch, end scene.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

3/8/2012 Early AM Session

Warm up:

Circuit x 2
10 x 15LB DB Windmill
10 x 15LB External Rotations

2 min jump rope. Light...very easy.

Dynamic stretches

--My quads are pretty sore from all of the squats yesterday, so I tried to get a really good warm up, with the two lower body exercises I had on tap for today.


2 warm up/ramp up sets per exercise
3x3 -as heavy as possible

Deadlift: 185LBS x 8, 225LBS x 8, 275LBS x 3, 315LBS x 3, 350LBS x 3 [PB]
BB Bench Press: 135LBS x 8, 185LBS x 5, 205LBS x 3, 215LBS x 3, 225x2 [PB Match], 230LBS x 1 [PB]
Leg Press: 270LBS x 8, 360LBS x 8, 500LBS x 6, 620LBS x 5, 710LBS x 3
Single Arm Row: 80LBS x 6, 95LBS x 6, 110LBS x 3, 125LBS x 3 [PB Match], 135LBS x 3 [PB]

Screwed the pooch on the leg press. I haven't really done them much recently, so I did not have a good starting point or a good feel for how much to increase. By the time I got to 710, I said "screw that" and left well enough alone since I was already at 5 sets.

The 135 row was a little tricky and an approximation, at best. I used a barbell, loaded 100LBS on one end and let the unweighted side rest on the ground. I'll have to toy with that more...

4 sets - 45LBS x 15 Seated Russian Twists

Circuit x 3:
10 x 10LB Knee ups
5 Dragon Flags

3/4 elliptical mile (6:43) mainly just to work out some kinks so I could stretch.

Deep stretch and end scene


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

In The Cards

A few posts back, I talked about stagnating and a lack in variety. Well, after a little thought, a decision to get over my own stubbornness, some planning and a little reading, I think I've come up with a solution. As I called it in my last post, " a heap of Ross, a sprinkle of my old standby's and a cup of Crossfit beauties", I've come up with a plan.

The ingredients are the Ross Enamait Integrated Circuit Training (ICT) and Enhanced Interval Training (EIT) routines; my current strength routine (with some additional desired points of emphasis and tweaking); Crossfit: Annie, Helen, Cindy, Lynne and my main squeeze Fran; 5 Ross Warrior Challenges (plus my own Ultimate XC WC); various bagwork/foot work drills.

I've taken each and written the details down on a colored index cards:
Salmon - ICT (10)
Yellow - EIT/CF Ladies (10)
Pink - Max Strength (10)
Blue - Warrior Challenges (5)
Green - Bag work (5)

As a result, there are 40 individual workouts. Each workout can/will be complimented with either a finisher or core work. Rossinites, this should sound familiar.

My intention is to randomize each category then lay out the next 40 workouts, working through each workout in the stack, no repeats. If I happen to have a time constraint or need to accommodate, I can substitute a like for like, as long as it does not repeat.

I can swap ICT for ICT, but not ICT for EIT. For example, this morning, I swapped ICT 1 for the next ICT in the deck (at the time), which was ICT 10. I can opt to swap ICT 1 when it comes up again, but not for ICT10. ICT 10 has been retired for this cycle.

The order is:
Warrior Challenge

And then repeats.

The mix of exercises are challenging, no doubt about it. ICT 10 was a rough go, but it was certainly refreshing. I am also interested to see how strength & endurance is affected by the change in routine. I have no doubt in my mind this is the right way to approach the shake up in routine. Stay tuned, fun times ahead...


3/7/2012 Early AM Session

Quick, dirty, painful...I love it.I was short on time, so I wasn't sure if I could get the whole thing in (I didn't), but it surely hurt all the same...

Warm up:
10 x 15LB DB Windmills
10 x 15LB DB External Rotations
10 x 15LB DB Lunges (L+R = 1)
5 Pullups, 5 Side to side pullups, 3 "circular" pullups (each side)


Circuit x 10:
30 BW Squats
10 High pulls (x 40LBS)
10 Chest press (could be cables, bands, DB's) --I used 40LB DBs

I made it through 7 of the 10 circuits before I hit my time constraint. If this looks familiar, it is Ross Enamait's ICT (integrated circuit training) #10. Tried to blast through as fast as possible without rest. My legs are still a little wobbly --I love it :D


I am in the process of finalizing a more diversified routine. The routine is best described as a heap of Ross, a sprinkle of my old standby's and a cup of some of Crossfit beauties. I'll expound on that in a later post :)


Friday, March 2, 2012

Am I Stagnating?

stag·nate   [stag-neyt] verb, -nat·ed, -nat·ing.
verb (used without object)
3. to stop developing, growing, progressing, or advancing.

Last night at the dojo, I had a conversation with Sandman regarding training & improving.

My problem is this: I hit the gym 3-4 times a week. I am getting stronger. The workouts are not easy. My cardio is pretty good. BUT, as I phrased it to Sandman, I haven't had the urge to puke or poop my pants in quite sometime. Not that I want to be the guy that couldn't hold his bowels or keep his But I feel like there is another level...I know I have another gear left...but I need to figure out how to get there!

The simple solution here is to change it up, which sounds good in theory, but when very few workouts are the's hard to get more variety than that.

So how does one fix this problem?
The immediate first thing that comes to mind is to remove my own roadblocks. There is a plethora of fitness and exercise information available, beyond that, any creative mind (...but not too creative, don't get crazy) can draft a series of butt-kicking workouts to keep things fresh. I have the very bad habit of saying to myself, "I'm not doing that...". Time to kick over some roadblocks and keep it moving.

Variety is the spice of life. In one of Ross Enamait's books, he provides a 30 day training schedule and to my knowledge (I don't have the book in front of me) none of the workouts repeat. In addition, Crossfit repeats occur rarely. Maybe my idea of variety isn't varying enough...perhaps I need to have chicken, steak *and* venison. Perhaps a parsnip or two in my workout salad.

Failure to plan is planning to fail. Whenever I workout, I have a fairly decent idea of what I want to accomplish; I try to stick to a structure, and I have days where I want to accomplish either X, Y or Z within that structure. Once X is off the board, the next workout tackles Y or Z and so on. Perhaps removing the option is the way to go. On Day One, I will do Z, Day Two Y, Day Three X...

So, what are you going to do about it.
First and foremost, I plan to open up the playbook a little bit. I haven't touched Crossfit Fran in awhile (she and I flirted a bit for awhile...she rebuffed my advances). I should dial her up more often...Angie is another Crossfit beauty I should spend a little more time with as well.

...and so my wife doesn't maim me, these are workouts, not people. ;-)

More circuit exercises for time or rounds & general physical preparedness (GPP) sessions, a la Ross, should make a comeback too. And simply for low hanging fruit: more bagwork!

Time to revamp, evolve and progress. Yoshukai strong --that's what it's all about.

3/2/2012 Early AM Session


Good morning peeps! First, don't think I have been a slacker because I haven't been posting. I'm still here, still bringing the pain. In fact, I have a few personal bests to note!

1/19 - Personal Best DB Bench Press @ 100LBS
2/24 - Single Arm DB Row @ 125LBS
...and a 225LBS BB Bench Press somewhere in between.

Today's session was planned as a longer-than-usual workout. More on that later...

Onward to today's joy:
Warm up:
Circuit x 2
DB Windmill:10x15LB
DB External Rotations:10x15LB
DB Halo: 10x 25LB

Gymnast Rings. Circuit x 3
L-Sit pullups x 5
Dips x 8 (or failure)
L-sit to inverted position, pullup, pike into L-sit  x 3

Rings felt good, though, a day or two between yesterday's session might have made that time a little more productive...

Suspension trainer: A mix of ab work. Didn't really count sets/reps, but I spent about five minutes working on various ab exercises. I really need to use this and the Ring set up more...

Bag work:

Using a one or two punch set up:
Left Gedan Mawashi Geri -- 15 @ 100%
Right Gedan Mawashi Geri --15 @ 100%
The plan here, going forward is to increase the number of kicks by 5 each session.

3 minutes of 5s work/7s rest burst training. The idea is all out power for 5 seconds, recover quickly, do it again. 3 minutes is a knockdown round.
2 minutes of 5s work/7s rest burst training. 2 minutes is the length of the first extension round in a knockdown fight
1 minute 7s work/5s rest burst training. I switched it up here, because if you're in the second extension round, you need to be working more if you expect to advance (my opinion...).
The rest time between each round was the time it took me to reset the timer + 10 seconds. (less than a minute, per round)

Back out to the gym floor...(told you, this was planned to be longer...)

Deadlift 185LBS x 15, 235LBS x 8, 285LBS x 3

By this point, I was feeling the fatigue...

Standing Russian Twists (Left + Right =1 rep): 10 x 20LBS, 10 x 30LBS, 10 x 40LBS

I spent a little time on the lacrosse ball and called it quits.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 Winter Camp, Day 2

Rise and shine sleepy head, there's some sand that needs punching out there.

After breakfast and set up, we were called to line up. Jamie & Ken were assigned the kids group this year. That was a little surreal for me, as that was my Sensei's task at camps; what started out as me helping Jamie line up the little ones, turned into a day of fun that helped my heart in many ways.

Jamie, Ken B and I ran the kids down the beach and did basics, played a few games and threw in some burpees for good measure. To end the warm up, we played a game I learned in little league football called Fox and the Hound. Short explanation: You have several foxes run from point A to point B, with a head start  at some point in between; once the first fox reaches that point, the hound then runs after them. Every fox that gets passed loses. Loser owes pushups. I'm not so sure sprinting on the beach the morning after testing was the best idea, but it was fun and the kids enjoyed it. That said, most of them still owe me pushups...

Later, we took the kids inside and worked on some simple sparring combinations and other fun drills. I was particularly impressed with one white belt from the Hueytown dojo. During the sparring combinations, Jamie and I would let the kids hit us to demonstrate its effectiveness when fighting; Jamie told the kids they could hit me as hard as they wanted. I chimed in with "There is a prize if you can break me...", which made all of the parents in the room chuckle. As I moved from child to child, I got a little lax with tightening up, especially with the little-little kids. Well, this particular white belt, who was on the older side of the age scale for the group, packed a wallop! By the time I realized I was getting hit hard, she'd finished the combination...and I wanted to go lie down in the corner! I tried to take a breath and realized that breath kinda hurt; I couldn't help but to chuckle because some of the parents in the room had realized what just happened. "I've gotta admit...I wasn't prepared for that. Ow.". Everyone in the room busted out laughing, me and the student included.

Mr. Cruz, you've got a gem with this fine young martial artist.

After lunch Ken led the group in a beginner Judo lesson, which was fun.After a few more games, we moved on to the more-fun-than-you-can-shake-a-stick-at fun stuff: Tug o' War, Sumo, and the one-legged chicken fight. I performed well in sumo, but once again a bridesmaid not quite a bride. I was in the final two for the one-legged chicken fight and, well, I didn't have enough spark left in my cluck to pull out the win.

Jamie, Jon and I took the kids into the water. At first, I wasn't too keen on the idea of the ocean, but come on --can't go to Winter Camp and NOT get into the water, right! The kids had a blast, as did I. In fact, we were in there longer than a majority of the adults. From basics, to sparring while I splashed water unnecessarily, to getting very gently dunked in the water, the kids seemed to not get enough.

The workout was over and another stellar camp in the books. One parent from my home dojo thanked me for helping provide a great camp for the kids. Sensei would never fess up to enjoying working with the kids, but doing it out of duty. I knew better, of course, as Sensei was a big kid himself. I could see it in his eyes as he played with them. After spending a day with them, I totally get it. Like I said, it did my heart a lot of good and I'm glad I was able to help with them.

Now, time to start training for our home tournament; the Atlanta Traditional Tournament. Hoping for some good news on that day ;-)


2012 Winter Camp, Day 1


Just back from the 32nd Annual World Yoshukai Karate Winter Camp in beautiful Pensacola, FL. I write this blog post tired, sore and stiff...and I wouldn't have it any other way.

After the nice drive down to the beach, greeting various members of my Yoshukai family from Alabama, Florida and California and assisting with unloading the trailer, we set up the conference room in the hotel for testing. At this point, my only feeling was "...shit just got real, son". My sandan testing buddy, Miss H, and I found ourselves walking through combinations, self defenses and board breaking set ups. I was nervous, but Miss H had a serious issue in the way of a bum ankle from falling down the stairs.

I returned to the room while Lindsay set up her fundraiser downstairs and changed into my gi.I plugged in my tunes and started trying to calm myself down...apparently, I didn't do a good enough job :-)

After bow in was the written test. I don't know why, but this bothered me because I'm prone to randomly forgetting the Japanese terms...yep, this test was no different. Thanks to Mr. B for giving me a little laugh after the Live Technique portion of the written test. Mr. B, your kakato otoshi was just fine. ;-)

We split into our groups and got started. Our group was everyone testing for nidan, sandan and Mrs. B testing for yandan. I am glad that I was in a group with Miss H and Mrs. B. Mrs. B gave me one of my first lessons when I joined karate; when I tested for shodan, Mrs. B tested for her sandan. It was a little bit of a comfort to at least have her there.

As I stood there awaiting instructions, I heard someone call me; I looked up and it was Shihan T with sage advice: "Calm. Down.". Easier said than done, but I tried...actually, I thought I was calm. Obviously not, ha!

First up; nunchakas. I was relieved because the two hardest requirements were this weapon. "How hard?", you was so hard, it nearly cost me my eye sight. No. Seriously. I didn't make it 10 counts into the second kata when I whacked myself in the left eye with my right hand. I can't really explain further, I'd have to show you...but I'm not really interested in reliving that moment. I'm sure you all understand.

There is an upside and downside to testing at this rank, in terms of judges. On the upside: they've seen you perform numerous times. They know what you are capable of, they have an expectation of what you can and can't do. On the downside: they've seen you perform numerous times. They know what you are capable of, they have an expectation of what you can and can't do.  Few times throughout the test, a look here and a face there threw me off of my game. We all had a chuckle over it, but I should have been better prepared for any distractions. Between the occasional odd looks and space confinement issues, I had more little gaffes than I'd ever like to have during a test. Ever.

That said, it wasn't all bad. I feel like I nailed my open hand katas and I couldn't be happier with how self defense turned out. In fact, I was pulled aside by a Shihan who is a little more particular when it comes to self defense; that made me feel good. Sparring was fun as well. Although I was a little fatigued by that point (and I  WILL fix that issue), I feel like we should have gone a few more rounds.

To sum it up:

The good: Self defense, open hand, sparring, I left the room upright & with my vision (narrowly) intact.
The bad: Nunchakas, nerves, and bo
The ugly: Yoshu-dai and nearly taking out my eye, letting Shihan P get inside my head (I owe you one, sir), combinations.

That said, it's out of my hands. Several folks whose opinions I trust said it was a solid test. We shall see. I really hope that I only have to do this once...


Thursday, February 2, 2012

2/2/2012 Early AM Session

I still feel a little tight from the swinging Sunday and Monday, so this morning's warm up included a little lacrosse ball mobilization in my shoulders. Not quite sure why my shoulders are tight, but I did work on getting loose during my warm up; I've had some success loosing the "gunk" in my hips/glutes throughout the week. Also, this session was longer than usual, but that was by design.

Warm up:
Circuit x 2:
10x15LB DB Windmill
10x15LB DB External Rotations

Kata x 2 (50%, 75%):
Yosei no Sai
Tensho (tonfa)
Yoshu (nunchakas)
Yoshu dai (nunchakas)
Ro Hai Dai (sai)


Pullups: 5, 9x25LBS (failure), 6x45LBS (failure), 3x45LBS (failure)

Deadlifts: 10 x 185LBS, 10 x 225LBS, 10x225LBS -- felt especially strong. One of the biggest beneficiaries of the 10K Swing challenge has been my deadlift. I normally lift to 8, but I've had no problems getting to 10...I probably could've tacked on another 2 sets at a heavier weight, but I had other things to get to...I rain checked for another time.

DB Bench Press: 10x65LBS, 8x 80LBS, 4x95LBS - Very pleased with how this is coming along.

Back to the cardio room...
Kata - nearly every kata (either/or with sai, where there is overlap) except the H-Forms and 27 Movements

I really think I shouldn't do karate before 8 am :-/

8 days out, and I am fairly please with how things are coming thing is for sure, I can't wait until testing is over!

Good stretch then called it a day.


10K Swing Catch up

I did 10, 000 swings last month and boy, am I tired!

In all seriousness, Sunday evening I had 2,525 left to complete and they all had to be done before midnight Tuesday...serves me right for getting a head start. So swing I did...I swung and I swung and just when I thought I could swing any more, I swung some more. 1302 Sunday night.

That left me 1223 to complete on Monday. I skipped working out on Monday, largely because I was fatigued from swinging the night before. I have just such luck that I came home Monday with actual work to do on top of caring for didn't look like I was going to complete the challenge. I had to devise a plan. First order of business was to get everything aligned: I set up my single hand t-handle (I need to get a picture of that up...), my work laptop logged in and ready to rumble an CJ's dinner warmed and ready.

I put CJ in his chair for dinner and started swinging; a 1-10 single arm ladder or 110 swings...this was going to be a long night. Between course sections, I did 1-10 ladders or 5-30-5 (by five; 180) ladders...I'd start loading the dishwasher then do a ladder. Put CJ on the guessed it, did another ladder. Put the kid to bed and did another ladder.

...this persisted nearly all night long. Alternating 110 and 180 rep ladders, all the way 1230. Alas, the 10K Swing challenge came to a close, with 42 minutes to spare. At that point, Lindsay (who still had 1 day to go) was down to 400 left; she completed the challenge on time, finishing on Tuesday 1/31. Honestly, I'm not sure of whom I'm proud --Lindsay and me. She was super determined to get her swings in every day she had planned to swing. That's dedication!

I'm thinking of "refreshing" this experience in June. Anyone care to join? :D


Friday, January 27, 2012

T Minus 14 Days

T minus 14 days until testing. I'm normally pretty good with keeping my composure, but something about makes me nervous. It's almost the same feeling I get leading up to fighting. And ironically, it's not the new material that has me freaked...ok, it does a little bit, but for the most part it's the older stuff. The things I should be able to do in my sleep...stuff like Nijusichi no Kata. I mean, everyone's prone to a mental lapse here and there; I had one during my nidan test doing a yellow belt kata. It happens and I know that. Little did I know as a kyu grade, testing every few months is an ideal situation.

That said, head first, all in and aim to do it once.

Last night at the dojo, we had a circuit training class centered around teaching the new students proper  punching and enforcing the finer points to the incumbent students...and slightly torturing them all. A very interesting fact came out of the class --at no point during the Norcross Dojo's existance has a circuit training  class ever been identical to another.

No, really! No two circuit training sessions have been the same in nearly two years. I think that's a very cool thing. That means our training has been pretty diversified. I do try to keep things interesting, but I had no idea I kept things THAT interesting. I guess it makes up for all the time I spend boring them to death talking. :D


1/27/2012 Early AM Session


warm up:
8 "side to side" pullups (pullup, hold left, right, rinse repeat; left + right = 1)
5 pullups

Pullups: 5, 4x45LBS, 3x45LBS, 3x45LBS
Deadlifts: 21x185LBS, 15x195LBS, 9x205LBS

Moved the workout into the cardio room...

Yoshu & Yoshu dai x2 @ 50% - nice and slow, focusing on the moves/counts & setting correct stances
3 x 60s/15s bag work. It seems like forever since I've hit something...

Funny thing happened when I work up this morning: I remembered that I have a pair of 3LB wrist weights and one of them needed to be patched. So, I grabbed some duct tape :D and patched that bad boy...

Yoshu & Yoshu dai x2 @ 75% - with wrist weights
3 x 60s/15s bag work - with wrist weights

Thoughts on the wrist weights: Swinging nunchakas with wrist weights makes the nunchackas seem light; that said, hitting oneself w/nunchakas wearing an A-Shirt is not advisable (it hurt!). Hitting the bag with the weights feels a lot like being tired; that said, it felt good to still hit with a little sting despite being weighted down a little.

...keep your eyes peeled for the workout with the fully loaded weight vest, wrist & ankle weights (you knew that was coming...).

Back out to the main floor:

Single arm DB Swings:
2 sets of 15 x 30LBS
15-1 ladder x 40LBS (plus 2 extra due to miscount)
280 total, 6405 down, 3597 to go. Looks like I'll be doing quite a few swings over the next few days to get this thing wrapped up!



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

1/25/2012 Early AM Session

Today's session kicked off at around 5:05am

Warm up:
Circuit x 2:
8x 15LB DB Windmills
8x15LB DB External Rotations
5x25LB Weight plate Halos

10x45LB Deep squat


Deep wide leg squat --for this, I used 5 step risers and the goal was for my butt to touch the stack of risers. Feet were as wide as the squat cage.
8x 95LBS, 8x145LBS, 6x195LBS, 4x215LBS

DB Bench press -- mixed doubles and single arm: 10x 65LBS (d), 8x35LBS (s), 8x45LBS (s), 4x85LBS (d), 4x85LBS (d)

I will play with the singles more in the future. I am surprised that the lower weight wasn't as tough as I thought.

Kata - Sochin, Bassai and Chinto.
I didn't have my weapons, but I also worked on/walked through Yoshu & Yoshu-dai (nunchakas) & Shounnokon (bo). Hard to believe I'm less than 21 days away from testing for sandan!

Standing Cable Crunch: 20 x 170LBS, 10x170LBS
Cable Chest Fly: 10x 40LBS, 10x60LBS, 8x60LBS --it has been years, literally, years since I've done this exercise.

Good stretch and called it a session. I managed to squeeze in 100 double arm swings as well (so far...).


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1/19/2012 Early AM Session

Warm up:
Circuit x 3:
8 x 10LB DB windmill
8 x 10LB DB External Rotations
4 (each side) 25LB DB Halo

Hanging out on the gym rings
Hanging L-sit into full inverted position, pull up (still inverted), pike down to hanging L-sit

That's tiring!

3 sets of ring dips: 4, 6, 8 --It really took me three sets to get into the flow of it.

By this point in the workout, I was feeling pretty strong. So I decided to let's go after it...let's get that elusive personal best. 100LB DB Bench Press.

...but first...

BB Push Press: 3x45LBS, 8x95LBS, 3x115LBS, 3x135LBS, 2x155LBS[PB].
I didn't realize it at the time, but 155LBS is a personal best. I also didn't realize it at the time, but I don't do these very much (gotta change that).

On the DB bench press: 5 x 65LBS, 3x90LBS, 2x100LBS [PB]
I am MOST proud of this PB, more than any other. The first recorded PB on this lift was on 1/13/2010 and the weight was 40LBS. It goes to show what a little hard work and persistence can accomplish. I remember dropping a BB across my chest with 100LBS on it in high school, I remember barely being able to do this lift with 20LB DB's. More importantly, I look forward to setting my sights on the top of the rack: 125LBS!

I took a lot of rest in order to get the DB BP PB, so I was a little short on time at this point....

30LBS x 1-10 Single arm Swings.
50 Double unders
50LBS x 1-10 Single arm Swings.
50 Double unders

I guess I was in a zone today (truth be told, I as well rested...), the double unders seemed easier than usual.

Seated Russian Twists: 15x45LBS,15x45LBS,15x45LBS
Knee-ups: 10x25LBS, 8x45LBS, 8x45LBS

Stretched and called it a day



1/24/2012 Early AM Session

OSU! Seems like I've been away for awhile...I 've been here, been training, but short on time --which explains the lack of posting. I'll try to get better at posting while I stretch as I have in the past.

Warm up:
3 Sets:
8 x 15LB DB Windmill
8 x 15LB DB External Rotations

1-10 Ladders:
25LB DB Thrusters
25LB KB Swings (Single Arm)

Circuit x 4:
30 Double Unders
25LB KB Single Arm Swings (20, 15, 15, 15)

Good stretch and call it a day!

This workout was one heck of a cardio burn! If I had a little more time, I would have come back down the ladder. Believe me, going up is a good burn.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Training an Assistant

As an assistant instructor, I was fortunate. My Sensei took a lot of time teaching assistant instructors how to teach. Some of us got a long leash...a few had free reign (very few). I started assisting with classes sometime around 2005 and became a chief instructor in 2010. In all of that time, there was one teaching lesson I'd never learned: teaching someone else how to teach.

Last Thursday night, I took the opportunity to allow two second kyu's the opportunity to teach groups; let's be honest (and fair), they weren't groups, rather one-on-one lessons. Let's just say, it was a learning experience for all.

Who's on First?
Abbott: I say Who's on first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third.
Costello: Are you the manager?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: You gonna be the coach too?
Abbott: Yes.
Costello: And you don't know the fellows' names?
Abbott: Well I should.
If you don't recognize the exchange above, it's from the famous Abbott and Costelloo "Who's on First" skit. It pretty well sums up the single most important lesson on teaching: make sure your teacher knows the material being taught. Simple, right? Sure, but the student-teacher is experiencing a flood of thigns going through their heads, especially new student-teachers.

"Where do I start, what do I say, there a kiyah there? If the don't do this right, is Sensei going to maul me and feed me to the Kraken?"

Slow it down. First step is demonstrate. This will help the student-teacher gather their bearings and gives them an opportunity to iron out the miscommunication between their hands, their feet and their head.

How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time. I've yet to meet a single student who could absorb an entire kata first time through. Step number two is to break it down. Make the material more manageable.

One. Bite. At. A. Time.

That doesn't mean walk through the kata and explain the moves and expect the student to catch on, it means show them 1-3 moves (depending on what's going on during the counts, of course), then start over and tack on number 4. Then start over and tack on number five. You get the picture.

George of the Jungle:
I won't bust out the full on theme song, but I will say "WATCH OUT FOR THAT TREE!"

Everyone messes up, and if one pays close enough attention, "patterns of wrong" can be found. I tell my students all the time that I teach based on my own pet peeves. That is, I know what mistakes drive me nuts, so you won't repeat those mistakes; I've been told for years what I do nicely, right, well, etc, so as my student, you will do them in that manner.

That said: if you, as a student, do something particularly bad, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to not pass that on to the student you are teaching. If you do something well, by all means, PASS THAT on to your student. Use someone else point of reference on either side if need be...but be careful to not sound cocky, condescending, judgmental, arrogant or self-righteous --all of which are very unbecoming.

Don't just stand there:
Do something. Let the student watch you a few times, get all the way through the material being taught, review and then let the student try on their own. If your student can't practice outside of your company, you weren't effective.

Spot your prey from 10,000 feet...
swoop in and snag the ant, then come rest on the tree tops:
A very verbose analogous way of saying "move between both the big picture and the details...and back again". Nothing in karate is completely big picture, nor should everything rest in minutiae. It is a mix of both and both are important, but a student is not going to absorb everything in one (or even a dozen) lessons. Focus on the high points, whether it's big picture or detailed.

...and lastly...

There is no such thing as a stupid question
This one pains me, because I generally disagree, but in this context it's true. Well...almost: Don't ever ask a co-director what you should do to get ready for your black belt test. THAT is a dumb question, but that aside --there are no dumb questions in karate. If you are unsure, ask. It happens to everyone. Heck, I still ask and I've been known to do it in the middle of a lesson. No one remembers it all. No one.

I'll wrap the list up with these high level points, though as with most things, I could go on forever (and ever...). If you find yourself in the unenviable position of training a trainer, hopefully this will help. If you yourself have to learn to teach, I hope this can help. In fact, this may even help you, as the student, learn your any case, "Watch out for that tree!"


10K Swing Challenge: Almost Half Way There

4485 out of 10,000. Wow, we're getting there. That said, I have been keeping up (for the most part) with my normal training. Unfortunately for me, I haven't been keeping up with the logs. That said, here are a few thoughts, feelings and training highlights over the past few days:

  1. I could do a single arm swing and a double arm swing with the same weight and the single arm swing seems easier. 
  2. I've noticed an increase of strength doing the last smidgen of a deadlift. My numbers are down (but that occurred before the 10K swing challenge...heck, that occurred before this blog's existence!). 
  3. Last Saturday I was trying to lock out 275LBS and stalled; I had a decision to make
    A). Put it down
    B). Power through it.

    Typically, attempting B leads to A, however, I pressed through and locked out the fact, I squeezed out another rep. I attribute the increase to swinging through exhaustion; I've noticed that form has to be very crisp and the feeling of locking out the hips is largely the same in both exercises.
  4. That said, deadlifting and swinging in the same workout isn't ideal. 
  5. Learning the previous lesson twice is even less ideal :-(
  6. Another personal best has fallen: Bodyweight + 110LB deadlift is the new mark (previous best was 105).
  7. Deep-squatting seems to be easier since undertaking this challenge.
  8. Swinging 85LBS on a t-handle is as hard as it sounds. I don't know what made me want to do 225 reps!
  9. Single arm swings have really helped with my "sleep shoulder" issue. I've noticed that I am in a lot less pain after swinging (but the first 20 swings or so suck!).
So there you have it: a small little picture into the last week or so of training and my thoughts on the 10K swing, through  4400+ swings. The only cumbersome thing I can note is the callouses forming all over creation on my hands, though after a few swings, the pain tends to "blend into the background", so to speak.

Lindsay, I believe, is right around the 4000 mark up to this point. She tends to break her swings up into sets of 100, even swinging her t-handle on the days she works. Some nights we knock out our swings's become a bonding experience for us! She came home from the gym today and mentioned that she's going to buy a kettlebell (she prefers it to the t-handle). I think my craziness is spreading!