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