Mentally Practicing

My hands were full, and just before the hotel elevator doors closed a young man slipped through. Because I’d flown into town, I had switched purses and wasn’t carrying my usual array of knives. Even if I had been, they wouldn’t have been easily accessible with full hands.

My thoughts: I could front kick him. Probably wouldn’t drop anything. Do I need to close in first? Ah! This is why Kyoshi had us practice standing sidekicks. Take out the knee. Kick the head.


The MAT therapist seated behind me cradled my head and moved it in various directions to assess my mobility and strength.

Me to the MAT therapist, “This feels like how they teach us to snap necks!” To which he paused, then asked, “They really teach you that?”


I’ve been off the mat for the last year. While I couldn’t run through all my kata without hesitation, and I’d most likely get my self-defense sets mixed up, I’m comforted to know that the important things have stuck with me.

The lessons, drills, and self-defense conversations from my 8 years of training have given me a different mindset than I had before I started training. I’m able to connect the dots – what does the lesson have to do with real life? I didn’t see it in the beginning, but I remember some of my early times when the light bulb would go on.

Now I notice that more and more I think with a self-protection mindset. I’m making an extra effort to pay attention to my surroundings and to the people within my sphere. And I’m running through the appropriate scenarios from the lessons and practicing in my head what I would do if challenged.

Even though I’m not physically practicing martial arts, I’m mentally practicing them so I can be ready if the time comes when I need the skills.

Rolling… er, Kerplunk

I rolled tonight in jujitsu…once.

It’s been so long since I rolled that I couldn’t remember which was my good side and which was the bad side. I thought really hard about it but couldn’t figure it out so I finally just threw myself on the mercy of the mat and rolled!

50/50 chance, right?

Took me awhile but the verdict is in. Based on how my ribs feel, I did the “shove a box off the back of a speeding truck” kerplunk. Kinda like I described in this post: Rolling, Rolling, Rolling

I’ll try the “good” side next time…if I can remember which that is!

Personal space? What personal space?

Someone backed their chair close to mine recently. We were at a farewell bash at the local pub, and making room for more people around the table. Eventually he turned around and said, “Sorry! I moved into your personal space.”

Personal space? What personal space? I’m in karate – we don’t have personal space! Or if we do, I’d have to say “My personal space is your personal space. And your personal space is my personal space.”

I had personal space once upon a time, back when I was new to karate and wore a crisp white belt. It was uncomfortable to touch other students and have them touch me, and maybe a little weird since we all work together. One co-worker tried karate but admitted she didn’t stick with it because she didn’t like people touching her. I’m sure she’s not the only one. In our society, personal space is a big deal and learning karate definitely encourages, even requires, invasion of that personal space.

Somewhere along the line I discovered I was no longer bothered by someone’s face in my armpit, or being trapped on the ground by one of the guys while I’m learning a ground escape. I’ve spent so much time with these guys that it’s like having your brother pin you to the ground and tap, tap, tap your forehead while you scream for mercy!I’m so used to closing in on someone that personal space no longer seems like a good thing, especially in jujitsu. After all, you can’t take someone’s center without getting up close and personal unless you have Jedi powers.

Funny how the normal social conventions go out the door as we got acclimated to working out with each other. At last year’s Christmas dinner, we crammed 14 people into a booth built for 8 or 10. Were we sitting on each other? You betcha! Did we care? Nope, not one bit! In fact, I think it was even more fun because it was easier to steal the gift you wanted during the gift exchange, and nobody missed out on the conversation like sometimes happens with a larger group.

Now that’s not to say I don’t have any personal space anymore. As long as I am in a “safe” zone, with people I know, I don’t need so much personal space. But if I encounter a stranger, I’m in an unfamiliar place, or am otherwise not completely comfortable and maybe even feel threatened, I have quite a large bubble. I would still be comfortable with someone’s face in my armpit, but not with my face in their armpit or my neck in their grasp.

And while karateka don’t necessarily have a ton of personal space when training or socializing with other martial artists, one thing should be remembered. People who don’t practice martial arts still appreciate their personal space! Don’t be surprised if they don’t like you standing right next to them or grabbing their arm in the middle of a conversation to try out a technique. Even though you don’t mind? They might.  🙂 


Renshi (after 2 hours of jujitsu): Did everyone have fun? How could you not?? Throwing people and twisting them up like pretzels!

Me: Mmmm….Pretzels!

What can I say? Karate makes me hungry!

21 vs. 51

Breakfast #1: breakfast sandwich, banana, Gatorade.

Breakfast #2: scrambled eggs, green tea, 2 Aleve.

Guess which breakfast was mine??

Not hard, is it? The 21 year old was going to work, and the 51 year old was going to a 2 hour jujitsu class. The 51 year old will be having more Aleve with her dinner.  =D


Happy New Year!

The holidays are over and I’m glad. Not because I ate too much holiday sweetness (I was surprisingly good), but because I’m ready to get back to normal routines.

Even though our karate club didn’t meet, classes were still on at the hombu. The opportunity was there but I only went to one class, partly because I was lazy and partly because I think I needed a break.

Tomorrow we’re back at it at the office; class officially resumes. Yea! The break was good for me and I’m feeling refreshed. I’m ready to learn again. I’m especially looking forward to weapons. I haven’t thrown my bo around for too long, and I’ve got new tonfa to play with!

In addition, this weekend we’re starting a new, more concentrated, jujitsu program at the hombu. Sessions will be longer than normal classes and I think we’ll learn a lot. It’ll be fun to work out on mats (we have a hard floor at work) and I’m looking forward to working with the students from the hombu. I haven’t spent nearly as much time there as I used to, and I’m sure everyone misses me.  ;-D

I’m looking forward to what 2013 brings and I hope you are too! I hope you have things to look forward to in 2013 – whether it’s new classes, new ideas, or new friends to work out with.

Cheers to a new year filled with great martial arts experiences!