Tuesday, October 19, 2010

TOY Clinic & Tournament

Team One Yoshukai will be holding a closed tournament and clinic this Saturday, October 23, beginning at 9 a.m. at the Oxford Civic Center.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

TESTING - Enthusiasm : A Testing Requirement

It hovers over us as we do our katas, our ippon kumite, our combinations and as we choose our breaking boards.  It's what most of our training consists of during the last four or six weeks before the date arrives. It's kyu grade testing. Some of us are still nervous as we arrive at the gym even though we've done this several times before. Others of us are confident that we have practiced and prepared enough that - brain farts aside - we know our stuff.

I've taken a few of those tests myself and they are mentally and physically exhausting; because, in karate, our instructors not only want to challenge our knowledge and endurance but they want to see our determination and enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm (or spirit) has been expressed over and over in classes, tournaments and testings. "Spirit" cannot be understated. Spirit - expressed by a determination to execute a kata to the best of your ability and the enthusiasm to kiyah loud and "go hard" can usually overcome a physical inability or even a mistake in the performance.

I'm in my forties. I have classmates in their forties and there are several students in other dojos in their forties and even older. Lets face it; most of us are not ever going be able to perform a perfect wheel-kick.  Many (or most) of us cannot even kick head high and will never be able to. Some of us are working with injuries, illnesses and other physical limitations.  However, we old karate-kas are determined and enthusiastic.  Maybe it's because we know we don't have all the time in the world to practice karate. Maybe it's because we're finally doing something we always wanted to do but either didn't have the time, money or courage to try it when we were younger. Maybe it's because it takes a lot from us to be able to do karate: time from family, money that could be spent elsewhere, energy we didn't think we still had that to put in a half-hearted performance would be cheating ourselves and we know that.

Speaking personally, I have to confess that I am envious. I don't usually think of myself as an envious person and I'll refrain from entering into a theological evaluation of the human heart, but typically I'm content to be who I am and what I have. Except in karate. In karate, I envy...but in a good way (not a Tonya Harding kind of way - no taking out peoples' knees or anything!) but in a way that challenges me to keep trying.  I watch my instructors execute perfect kicks with as little effort as it takes to tie their shoes and I envy them. I look over at my much younger fellow students who have practically their whole life to perfect these techniques and I envy. I see students who have all the physical abilities that I am quickly losing and I envy them. Although it challenges me to push back my self-imposed boundries, it's also very frustrating to see karate students who only give half an effort to the sport.

AND I'm not the only one. Instructors and testing judges are watching closely. I've been told by a very reliable source that students who acheive blue and green belt levels that are not giving enough effort will not progress. If you show up to testing knowing most of your katas but do everything half-hearted: not keeping your fist tight, not blocking, kicking and striking with effort, not kiyahing or not kiyahing loudly enough; you just might fail your test.  A student who is unable to execute kicks or stances cleanly due to physical limitations (or age) but who gives his or her best, most enthusiastic effort will get a better response from the judges than someone who obviously can do the required movements but does them half-heartedly.

As for PCK students, I assure you that what I wrote above is the truth because I got it from our instructor. Certain things may be allowed for the newer students as they are adjusting to everything but to those of us who have attained 5 kyu and above - (blue belt +), you are going to have to "bring it" to testing or your not going to pass. We should all remember that we test the same way we practice, we fight the same way we practice. The quality of your practice in class is the same quality that will show up at testing, at tournaments and in demostrations; it shows the quality of karate student you are.  A student's belt is only as good as the quality of the school it represents and the school is only as good as the quality of its students and that, in turn, reflects back on the school's instructors. Think about it. To give half an effort is cheating yourself, your dojo and your instructors who are devoting their own time, money and energy to provide quality instruction.  In my opinion, we are very fortunate to have the highly respected instructors that we have at our school and before I start to get all preachy, we all need to remember that we have a debt of loyalty to our organization, our school and our instructors that our effort will reflect the quality of our instruction.

Remember: "Keep High Spirited" is part of the 5 Lessons for Learners so bring your enthusiasm with you to every class and test.  See you there! OSU!!

Testing: Friendship Gym, August 25 2010, 8am.

Friday, September 10, 2010

KYU grade testing

This is a reminder for the Anniston/Jacksonville/Pell City/Oxford/Talladega dojos that Kyu Grade Testing is coming up on 9/25/2010 and Blackbelt Testing is coming up on 10/2/2010.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Atlanta WYKKO National Championship Tournament

Saturday, August 28, 2010. 

Roswell, GA

Closed Tournament

See the Atlanta WYKKO website (link) for details.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Few New Additions

I originally created this blog as a journal of sorts to chronicle my experiences as a student of Yoshukai Karate. Due mainly to the influences of one of my fellow homeschool friends who runs a MASSIVE homeschool blog, I've decided to incorporate some resources and ideas that might give other students encouragement and information. It's my desire that more and more people would learn about the joy and benefits of Yoshukai karate.  I've added a few pages to the blog to help newer students get started, to help students practice terminology and a couple more links to other wonderful Yoshukai websites that are certainly worth taking a look at if you haven't already.  I've also added an extensive playlist (just kidding about extensive) below that can easily be muted if you're like me and find it annoying to try to read while someone else's favorite songs are blarring at you. 
Best Wishes as always!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

SO YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT TRYING KARATE....a few tips to get you ready for your first class

Sometimes starting something new can be a little overwhelming and scary...no fear, that's why this blog is here! Below you will find a few suggestions that might help you prepare for your first class... just remember to HAVE FUN!

1) Bring your enthusiasm. There are not many things required for you to begin karate, but enthusiasm is a MUST. One of the 5 Precepts for Learners is KEEP HIGH SPIRITED.... it doesn't matter if your uncoordinated (like me), have a bad sense of balance (like me), start out unfit (like me) as long as you give it your best. Be sure to kiyah (yell) LOUD, and have a good time.

2) Wear comfortable clothing. If you decide to sign up for karate, you will get a gi (karate uniform) but until then you'll need some workout clothes. You can wear sweat pants, or gym shorts and a t-shirt as long as they are comfortable to wear while you stretch, kick, punch, run and sometimes end up on the floor.

3) Bring Water. Karate is usually a very aerobic activity. It's great for building up stamina, burning fat and building muscle but whether you are practicing your karate forms (katas), kicking bags or sparring, you will be using a lot of energy. Bring water or a sports drink.

4) As you already know, karate is very energetic; it is a good idea to refrain from eating an hour or so before class.

5) And for those of us who are beginning karate as an adult, it is always a good idea to check with your physician before starting any physical activity. Karate is fun, but it is definately physical.

I can promise you that if you give karate a try... really give it a good effort, you'll suceed in becoming more flexible, confident, and physically fit all while having a great time.