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!


    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    10K swing challenge day 5 and 6

    Day 5:

    1/4 Early AM Session
    Warm up:
    3 sets x 10:
    10LB DB Windmills
    10LB DB External rotations (forearms parallel to the ground)
    10 x 30LBS 2-handed DB Swing

    3 Skin the cats
    8 x 50LB 2-handed DB Swing
    3 hang-to-inverted hang then pullup, lever down (rinse, repeat)
    10 x 50LB 2-handed DB Swing
    3 Skin the cats
    10 x 50LB 2-handed DB Swing
    3 hang-to-inverted hang then pullup, lever down (rinse, repeat)
    10 x 50LB 2-handed DB Swing

    DB Bench Press: 8x55LBS, 8x70LBS, 1x85LBS (my "sleep shoulder" started to give...

    50 pushups
    50 x 45LB 2-handed DB Swing
    25 leg raise + knee up
    40 pushups
    40 x 45LB 2-handed DB Swing

    I wanted to go down to 10, but I hit a time constraint

    158 swings

    1-15, 15-1 single arm ladder @ 35lbs; 240 total

    1/5 Early AM session:

    Warm up:
    12 x 50 LB 2-hand DB swings per minute for 10 minutes

    Circuit x 3:
    10lb up/20lb down windmill x10
    25lb single arm swing x 10

    Circuit x 10:
    150lb x 10 standing cable crunch
    50lb x 10 2-hand db swing

    As little rest as possible

    Knee up: 10x 20lb, 10x 25lb, 10x25lb
    Leg raise: 3 sets to failure @25lb
    Db side bends: 10x45lbs, 10x45lbs, 8x60lbs, 8x60lbs

    Circuit x3:
    Swiss ball Russian Twist: 10x45lbs
    Single arm db swing: 20x30lbs

    380 swings total


    Posting this one mobile, I'll try to get it formatted and linked (if needed) later.