Archive | November 2012

Doesn’t that feel good?

Matt: How was class?

Me: My legs were shaking and I was out of breath.

Matt: Doesn’t that feel good??

Yep – it did feel good! First time in class in two weeks, and I made it through.

Fortunately, Renshi took pity on us and didn’t have us do circuits – I probably would have needed oxygen. We worked basics, kata, and a little bunkai. My legs were shaking from holding the horse stances, and I admit I wasn’t at my best, but I didn’t expect to be. I made it through both open hand and a 30-minute weapons class. Yea me!

Oh, I did have a little “whoops” tonight. My hands were so sweaty (seriously? why do hands sweat?!?) one of my tonfa went flying out of my hand. Good thing I was on the end and it flew away from everyone else!

Welcome back! Haha!

Back to Class!

Tonight will be my first time on the mat in two weeks! Between the holiday and a lovely respiratory infection, I haven’t done anything more than a 20 minute walk with the dog lately.

Here’s hoping we’re not doing Renshi’s Super Circuits tonight – I might not survive!

Looking Good!

After weapons tonight…

Renshi: You’re all looking good! Better than you think.

Me: Then I must look really good cuz I think I’m AWESOME!!

Renshi: OK, everyone except Michele.

I’ve Changed My Mind

An encore post from Colahan’s Martial Arts. I’m happy to say I did survive my gauntlet, despite myself. I have not sparred much since my gauntlet due to schedule changes and a broken toe. And because I still don’t like it much. I admit I’m not heartbroken.   😉

“There’s a popular saying among trainers: If you hate an exercise, you should probably be doing it. The reason: People tend to avoid doing movements in which they’re weak…But the truth is, strengthening your weak spots is the fastest way to build more muscle. Just think of it as the low-hanging fruit of your workout: The weaker an area is, the greater its potential for growth.”  (

I’ve seen this theory a couple of times, and it’s hit home. While I can relate it to several areas in my life, my low-hanging fruit in martial arts is sparring.

In our system, black belt candidates go through a sparring gauntlet. I’m not looking forward to it. Sparring is the weakest area of my martial arts skills, the part of my training that intimidates me.

Recently I told Sensei that I’d probably be one of those people who go through their gauntlet and then never spar again. Well, I’ve changed my mind. I’m female, and I can do that.

I used to avoid sparring because I wasn’t comfortable doing it — partly because fighting wasn’t allowed growing up, and partly because I didn’t know how to spar. But at one point, I just had to make up my mind to do it. To force myself to go to sparring class and to learn to do what freaks me out the most. Fortunately for me, Sensei encouraged me to go to sparring class. Unfortunately for him, I showed up.  😉

I’m a very high maintenance sparring student! I require a lot of coaching and encouragement, but the Senseis are working with me and I’ve become more comfortable. Little by little I’m strengthening my weakest area and as a result, I’m not hating it anymore. I’m still not any good, but I’m making progress.

Part of my growth as a martial artist is to train in all aspects of the art — not just those I enjoy. I have a lot to learn in karate, and a LOT to learn in sparring. I am fortunate to have instructors who are willing to teach me, to share their knowledge with me, to take the time to work with me. So even though I may never love it, I will continue to spar after my gauntlet. Assuming I survive my gauntlet.  🙂

What’s Your Super Power?

Our company has a tradition of making new employees introduce themselves and answer random questions at the weekly employee meeting. The last question for each newbie is, “If you had a Super Power, what would it be?”

This morning one of the new guys said, “My Super Power would be self-healing, like the Terminator. As I get older, the injuries are more frequent and harder to recover from.”

I’m with him! Now… how do I get that Super Power??

Grandma Got Air!

Yesterday we were working on a new tonfa kata that has a couple of 360 turns in it. The black belts are also working on Gojushiho Ich in open hand, and that has a whirlybird in it too. I’ve never tried a whirlybird. This old grandma is overweight and old, and jumping while simultaneously spinning might not be the smartest thing!

Well, for some reason I wanted to try out the whirlybird in the tonfa kata. I launched myself high in the air (I’m sure I was at least 3″ off the ground!), tucked my arms in tight, and whipped around. With all the grace of Peggy Fleming (Michelle Kwan, for you youngsters), I landed on my left foot and shot my right foot back into a forward stance.


Well, it felt magnificent, even if it didn’t look that way. But I landed on my feet, and I was encouraged to try again. After a few spins I was tiring and decided I’d better quit while I was ahead. Or before I fell and broke a hip!  😉

I ended class tired but happy, and quite proud of myself that I was able to brag that this grandma got air!

No, No, No!

I made it through both black belt class and jujitsu this morning with no broken bones and no blood escaping my body. Whew!

I taped my big toe to the next toe, and even though it was a bit uncomfortable, it didn’t get caught in the mat when I turned in kata or during takedowns in jujitsu.


  • No broken toes.
  • No blood on the mats.
  • No ride to the ER with Ambulance Driver Andy.
  • No text to my kids saying “Look what mama did! Come get me.”
  • No calls to a friend requesting he bring my gym bag to the hospital.
  • No toe surgery.
  • No bugging someone to bring my car home for me.

This is one of those times when a bunch of Nos add up to a huge Yes. I’m back!!

Returning to the Scene of the Crime

In just a few hours I will be back on the mat at the hombu!

Although I’ve been working out with our karate club at the office, this will be the first time I’ve worked out on the mats in 7 months.

I admit I’m a little nervous. The last time I was at Black Belt Class I just about ripped my big toe off trying to throw someone. My toe has healed thanks to a great podiatrist (check out the picture!), and it’s time for me to work out on the mats again. If I don’t, I may never get back out there! Just the thought of getting my toe caught in the mat makes me cringe.  Ewww!

Broken Toe - It's healed! I did some drills on the mat at a recent clinic, but not a full, hard work-out. I noticed that I turned more slowly out of caution (and fear- ha!), and I may have developed a tendency to turn on my heel instead of the ball of my foot.

My plan is to take it easy, see how it feels, and try to do things properly, even if I’m slow.I’m not sure I’ll have a partner for self-defense drills, though – my last partner had to drive me to the emergency room. (Sorry, Andy!)

I’m as ready as I’m ever going to be, so tomorrow’s the big day. Fingers crossed that I don’t end up at the ER again. If I do, though, I’ll be sure to have someone take a picture before I go. Oh, and I have a fresh pedi in honor of the occasion – because you just never know when you’ll have a surprise toe surgery and can’t get a fresh paint job for a couple of months!


Tonight’s warm-up: Running through the third floor at the office, then down 3 flights of stairs carrying boxes of RFPs. Set them in a car to be dropped off with a delivery service, then a short jog through the parking lot while waving at co-workers to warm up my arms, and down another flight of stairs to the dodgeball court.

All while dressed out for class in my gi. Just another day at the office.