My Own Personal Trainers

Lots of athletes would  be thrilled to have their very own personal trainer. I have three! My son is a trainer specializing in working with golfers, and I’ve also got two four-legged trainers. They’re furry and adorable, and SO helpful when I work out!Riley and Romeo

My family got Riley, our spaniel, for me because I thought having a dog would get my butt off the couch and outside walking. I was right! Riley has gotten used to nightly walks, which is great when I get home by 8 p.m. and not so great when I don’t get home until 10-ish. We’ve taken some late walks!

What I didn’t realize when I got Riley was how um, encouraging he’d be during my workouts! He stares at me when I’m on the elliptical, puts his face between mine and the mat when I’m doing push ups, and tries to climb up in my lap when I’m doing wall sits. His extra 40 pounds makes those wall sits even more of a challenge!

Nap time!

Training Mom is exhausting. Time for a nap!

Now Riley has an assistant. My son got a puppy on Valentine’s Day. Romeo doesn’t quite have it down yet, but he’s learning fast. Tonight I was trying to hold side planks while Romeo licked my face. And licked. And licked. Lucky me – I had to do both sides, so my face is really clean!

I texted my son: There should be bonus points for holding side planks while your puppy licks my face!
Son: That’s the bonus for working out. Duh!

Yes, duh!  🙂

Bows and Curtsies

Saturday afternoon I was at the pre-black belt test workout. The focus was self-defense, so we worked our sets for close to 2 hours.

At one point Hanshi (9th degree, head of our system and my karate grand-daddy) stopped to watch one of my sets.

Hanshi: That looked good!

Me: Thank you, Sir. And I curtsied. Curtsied!

Hanshi: Don’t curtsy when I compliment you!

Me: Sorry, Sir. Thank you, Sir! And I bowed, just like I was supposed to.  😉


Prepping for Black Belt Class

Tomorrow is Saturday and Saturday means Black Belt Class. At the crack of dawn. 8:00. In the MORNING! Crazy.

I have never been a morning person. Ever. It’s hard enough to get my brain going early in the morning (and usually I don’t even try), much less get my body moving. I’m not coherent before mid-morning.

So how does a girl who rarely makes it to work before 8:30/8:45ish manage to attend an 8 am class? I bet my boss is wondering the same thing! I don’t think she reads my blogs so this will stay just between us.  😉

It’s all in the prep! Before I go to bed I will choose what I’m wearing for class, as well as what I’m wearing for the commute. I’ll lay out exactly what goes on my body after my shower and pack everything else in my gym bag.

Sadly, even this plan isn’t fail proof, as one time I got to the dojo and didn’t have my gi, but Hanshi was kind enough to lend me one of his. I was hoping for some 9th Degree Black Belt mojo in that borrowed gi but that morning I learned the mojo is in the person, not the cotton. 🙂

I’ll put my gym bag, weapons and water jug at the top of the stairs so I don’t leave without them. I really am that muzzy in the morning! If I didn’t put things where I’d trip over them, they’d be left behind. Tonight I’ll pack a couple of snacks for the morning and put protein powder in the shaker. Blended protein shakes take an extra 5 minutes, which is asking a bit much of me in the morning so I’ll have the not-so-tasty shaken shake.

Before I go to bed I’ll set my usual 3 alarms – 1 with music, 2 with annoying tones. Speaking of annoying tones, it might be time to change those up; I’m becoming immune to them. And then I will attempt to go to bed earlier than my normal 11:30 pm and please, please, please beg the sleep fairy to visit.

Tomorrow, when all 3 alarms have gone off and I’ve hit all the Snooze buttons too many times, I’ll drag my butt out of bed, take a shower so I can be clean before I get all sweaty, pop some Aleve and slurp a protein shake on the way to the dojo. I’ll be Little Miss Sunshine when I arrive, and all the other students will be joyous to see me! Well, maybe “joyous” is a bit too enthusiastic, but hey – a girl can hope, right?

Now that I read all that, it seems like a LOT of work just to over-exert myself at some crazy-early hour! But it’s two months to my next Black Belt Test and I need the extra workout. Just to make sure I get there, I’ve got some incentives. After class I’ll reward myself with a pedi and a massage on Sunday. And maybe a nap. Most likely a nap!

Pick, Pick, Pick

My knee is nudged forward into a better stance.

The Shodan candidate does her self-defense move again after being reminded she forgot the chop to the neck.

Kicks are tweaked to be stronger, faster, higher. 

Arms are moved ever-so-slightly into the correct position.

‘Tis the season for nit-picking! With the next black belt test just a few weeks away, we know our material. We’ve done it enough times that we can do things without stopping to think about what comes next.

Now it’s a matter of working on the nuances, those things that make our performance even better. They’re teensy little things, maybe even trivial to some, but it’s the tiny little things that show the difference in ranks. This is where the true understanding of what we’re doing shows. This is what makes the difference between dance moves and a good understanding of our art.

Now, instead of Kyoshi teaching us new material or walking us through moves, he is fine-tuning us. Reminding us of those little things, making corrections when he sees errors, and running us through things we’re not sure of.

Sometimes it feels like we’re being corrected on the most minuscule things. And sometimes it feels like we’re just beginners and starting over. But this is all part of the learning process, and just the fact that we’re at the stage of being nit-picked is a good thing! After all, it means we have achieved a certain level of knowledge and are on our way to more. 

For now it’s pick, pick, pick. All to make us better, and all done with love, of course!  😉

Brown Belt in Okinawan Kobujitsu!

Brown Belt in Weapons!

Kyoshi awarding my certificate.

Last night I earned my 3rd brown belt in Okinawan Kobujitsu (Weapons). Yea!

I did OK but I didn’t do great. I have lots to work on before I test for black! I could use some time in front of a mirror so I can see where my weapons are when I manipulate them, so I’ll be spending some time at the hombu for that. We don’t have mirrors where we train. Or mats, but that’s a different story.  😉

A couple of weeks ago Kyoshi asked me if I thought I was ready to test. I wasn’t sure and said so, then asked what he thought. Kyoshi said he needed to see me run through my weapons again before deciding.

In my opinion my tonfa kata was fine and my sai kata was fine – up to a point close to the end which confused me for some dumb reason. I was having trouble keeping the bo katas straight, though, and couldn’t remember the name of any of the katas for the life of me!

After my talk with Kyoshi I spent the weekend studying. I worked the bo katas in my basement using my broken bo. I stabbed myself a couple of times and scraped up my arms with the broken end, so I might have to sand that down if I’m going to do that more often!

I worked one kata repeatedly until I thought I had it, then I moved on to the next one. I attached the names of the kata to the actual katas. I even made a cheat sheet of a few moves in two of the katas where I was mixing up the moves. Amazing how much that cheat sheet helped!

While I was studying that weekend I discovered that for the most part, I knew the katas. I’d done them many, many times in class. I just needed to focus on them one at a time, with no distractions, and do them again and again. The names just needed to be refreshed in my brain and that didn’t take long.

And on Monday I went to class and showed Kyoshi my kata. I surprised him by knowing the names of all of them! And then I waited for his decision on whether I was going to test or not. I was very excited to hear my practice paid off! I would test!

So last night was my test. I remembered my kata, I remembered the names, and I passed! Whee!!! OK, celebration over. Time to get back to work!

Heard on the Mat…Belt Test

From last night’s belt test…

Kyoshi: What happens if you forget something during your kata or self defense?
Me: Keep going and make it look bad-ass!
Kyoshi, after an eye roll: Just do SOMETHING!

I like my answer better.  😉

I’m Strawberry Shortcake!

Strawberry Shortcake 2

I packed my gi last Wednesday night but didn’t make it to class until today. I was sick Thursday and my lesson Sunday got derailed by the weather. Anyhoo, I didn’t really pay attention to what I packed – it’s just a gi and it’ll be sweaty within the hour, right? – so my clothes were a bit of a surprise when I opened my gym bag. I’d packed my pink gi top and white pants – my fave!

I normally feel like a princess in my pink gi 😉 but when I looked in the mirror I thought, “I look like a strawberry sundae.” “No, Strawberry Shortcake!”

You know that cute little cartoon character from the ’80s? My daughter used to watch the cartoon and had the dolls. You could sometimes find a strawberry-scented doll, and if you were really lucky you might find her friends and have a fruity-smelling collection.

That crazy strawberry theme popped in and out of my head throughout class tonight. Weird. Does that mean if I wear all black to the next class I’ll feel like black licorice? Again, weird.

Good class!

Good class tonight!

Kyoshi was nice and didn’t run us up and down the floor for warm-ups so class wasn’t as cardio-heavy as I feared. We did a fun kicking drill then worked on a couple of self-defense moves. I wasn’t out of breath until we started doing weapons. Those bo forms are more tiring than they look!

Anyway, I was happy with my performance today. I’ll be feeling those kicks later, but that’s OK. It’ll be the good kind of sore! 🙂

Apples are healthy!

Hmmm…. Class tomorrow. It’s been a week since I last worked out. Well, more than a week, actually. We didn’t have class last week and I didn’t make it to class Monday. I was having too much fun working on RFPs. (That last part should have been in sarcasm font.) So class tomorrow is going to be really, really rough!

Mom spent Thanksgiving week in Kansas City with us. When Mom’s around, we have a lot of food around but we “exercise” a lot to make up for the extra calories. Our family’s favorite exercise is shopping. We’re really good at it, almost professionals, mostly because Mom raised three daughters…in the mall! She’s also introduced our children to this very important exercise method and they’re all rather proficient as well. In previous years we’ve spent Thanksgiving week power shopping, but now we’re down to just normal shopping so I’m sure I didn’t burn as many calories as I normally would have.

Knowing I wouldn’t be exercising as much as I should, I bought apples and oranges for snacks. They’ve been in a bowl on the kitchen counter for a week. They sure look pretty there! I had good intentions to eat them all, but you know how that goes. I ate a couple of apples, so in a way I was healthy. But the apples I ate might have been on something like this:

Apple Bavarian Torte

Apple Bavarian Torte

OK, they WERE on that exact thing! It’s an Apple Bavarian Torte. A delicious layer of cream cheese topped with apples in cinnamon sugar. Anything with apples is healthy, right? And the cream cheese provides a dairy serving; the eggs contribute protein. It’s topped off with chopped walnuts, a heart healthy nut. See? Good stuff! Wish you had your own Apple Bavarian Torte? Hop on over to Munchies Mind and get the recipe. You won’t regret it!

I know I’m going to pay for it tomorrow, and class will be tough for me, but it was totally worth it! The torte is gone now. And so is the Pumpkin Pecan Crumble Pie. Now back to real life and “real” healthy food…with a sprinkling of fun stuff here and there, because I do love my sugar!