Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Most of the class was spent working on something I feel like I need the most to work on: throws.

I'm beginning to get a feel as to what I can do once I've blocked the first strike. I can do a sequence of counterstrikes, add in one of maybe four different locks and end it with a sweep pretty easily, but every time I work up the courage to end the sequence with the most basic hip throw, it turns out ugly.

I've found that as a beginner with throws, sometimes the throwee is almost as important as the trower. With that I mean that if somebody who's about to be "victim" of a throw decides that he will lock and push himself backward in anticipation of the throw, since he/she really knows the throw is coming, well it makes it twice as hard to effectively throw the person. I was lucky to be paired with a black belt young lady yesterday. Not only was she able to throw my whole 206 lbs big body over her hip, she especially knew how to take the fall that comes from a throw. Sure, we don't drop anybody to the floor as we hold on to them as the throw happens, but somebody who's not feeling safe with their falling pretty much always makes it tough for the thrower.

Yeah, yeah, I know, if I had to throw somebody in the street, he wouldn't let me do whatever I want and take my sweet time positionning myself, but still, I'd probably have some surprise effect to my advantage. That surprise effect is pretty much absent in the dojo and getting to work with her yesterday, I was able to build some confidence in my throws, so much so that after the class, I felt much better with them.

I even learned a good lesson from that class. Boxer shorts are not good for a karate class. That landing on the ground has tendency to squeeze some parts that are meant to only be sqeezed gently. :D

And before you ask, no, it wasn't me but the guy whom I threw over my hip that suffered. He took a long walk and was fine afterward, don't worry. :)


Friday, May 25, 2007

That feeling of being watched

Being a higher belt comes with some responsibility, a bit like Spider-Man, you know, with great power comes great responsibility. :)

Well, not so much responsibility, but that feeling that people can look up to you, that they want to see how you do a certain technique. It happened to me in last night's class. It wasn't the first time it happened, but it had a special feel to it.

We started class with a very solid cardio warmup and followed it with a review of our "fall" technique, you know, how you break a fall. First to the right, then to the left, falling forward, or backward. We then moved on to rolls, forward and backward. The forward roll is a great to "roll with it", as it's name implies, when you are falling forward and you don't want to hurst yourself. I think I have linked to the Aikido Ferret in the past to demonstrate the forward roll, but here it is again.

Up until then, we were still all in a big group, two rows of students. That was a class for intermediate and advanced students, i.e. blue to brown belts with even one black belt. Some of the newly graduated blue belts seemed to be struggling with their rolls, and not only the backward roll which can be tricky, but even with the forward roll. It's only when our instructor asked us to all line up at the back wall that it took an interesting turn. He asked us to do a forward roll ending with a tap to break the fall, meaning he wanted us not to get up after the roll but simply tap and stop right there. The kicker was, he wanted us to do them one by one, starting at one end of the line where mostly blue belts were up to the other end where the brown belts, yours truly included, were. The first few went and had indeed a bit of problem, which I know was just normal. Then my the turn of a brown belt came right before me and he too kind of struggled. Then my turn. I felt like I had 15 sets of eyes watching me. For some stupid reason, I didn't want to disappoint them. That thought didn't last very long in my mind. I told myself I was doing karate for my own self, not for others, and the roll went very well. Still it was very interesting to feel the tension, sort of, that other people were kind of looking up to me to see it done properly. Interesting in the sense that I have done that so many times. Watch how a kata is done by a higher ranked student and you learn. Watch how they do a certain technique and you might learn something. There is just so much to learn by simply watching, and listening...


Monday, May 21, 2007

2 minutes to midnite

Well, not really two minutes, more like 105 minutes, but still, in the grand scheme of things, it was close enough. Stay with me...

The weekend started out well with a gorgeous Saturday. Nice weather, all sunny and bright. Had class at 11:15, a class where only 5 students were present. I hope the attendance won't drop too much for the Summer session because I wouldn't want the school merging the class with the 10am one where they are already 15 to 20 attending. Going from being 10-12 (during the Fall and winter sessions) to 20-25 could be rough.

Anyway for now, we enjoyed a semi private class. We reviewed basics starting with Cat 3, down to Cat 2, and finally Cat 1 and then we asked if we could review our KC. Instructor pinpointed stuff to correct. Always good to be corrected but then also to realize that you are working on finer points. A hand here, a strike there, finally a stance to adjust slightly...

We ended class with a session of the circle of love. It went well although I'll have to work on my hip throw. Still too robotic to my liking.

Andrew had class at 12:15 and I stayed in the room next to his class and I practiced for a good 30-40 minutes. I went over sushi no kon sho two or three times, adding a bit more flow and intent to it, trying to part with the robotic way of doing the kata, you know when you think before you make a move. I also did all my 36 self defense techniques from the perspective of both a right hand but also a left hand attacker. Went smoothly. The cold is out and I can feel my head working much better.

When I finally got back home, it definitely was a gorgeous day but I still reminded my wife that if she wanted to practice, I'd be ready when she would be. She said it was too nice a day to practice inside and that she would practice when it would rain (rain was forecasted for Sunday). I didn't mind so much as it was indeed a nice day and I got to work around the house and vacuum the remaining dirt from the bottom of the pool.

Sunday was a really bad weather day. Strong winds, hard rain all day. I had the duty of grocery shopping and got home around 2:30pm at which point I again reminded her that if she wanted to practice, I was all hers. She told me something along the lines of "I feel so lazy, my head says I should, my heart is telling me to go lie on the couch". *sigh* I told her to do as she wish but that she shouldn't complain after her next class that she didn't remember a thing from a week ago. She simply nodded.

We watched some TV from 9 to 10 and before going back to surf the net a bit, I told her she still could practice if she wanted to. I wasn't really pressuring her, don't worry, and it's probably why she replied with "hey, I feel like it now actually". It was 10:15pm on Sunday night, thus the 105 minutes before midnight. ;) And so we practiced. We reviewed everything she'd learned over two weeks. She vaguely remembered what she'd worked on, or more the sequence of things she'd worked on during her two classes, so it was easy to put it back together. We covered the basics of three punches she'd seen, three kicks, and three self defense techniques (Checking the storm, Battering ram, Downward hammer).

It was cool and lasted all of 30 minutes. 30 Minutes during which I never lost my patience (I'm known for that when she asks me to teach her something computer related). I was kinda proud of that from some weird reason. She seemed to appreciate the time spent working on it and me, well I was just happy that she cared enough to even think about practicing. Baby steps as they say, baby steps.

Today is a holiday in Canada, Victoria Day they call it. It's not a mandatory holiday and for some reason, I'm at work while both kids and mommy are relaxing at home. I will be taking a class at 7 tonight, but that's normal for me. What will not be normal is that I reminded my wife that there's a beginner's class on Mondays at 6 and that maybe, being that she's at home today, it would be a better idea for her to go to class today instead of tomorrow for this week. So, she wil be taking a class right before mine tonight and I should get to watch the end of her class. I'll try to make myself tiny and hide in a corner, cause I know she'll feel overly self conscious... :)


Thursday, May 17, 2007

So, what's your gameplan?

I'll tell you, if there'S one thing from my wife hat irks me more than anything (other than her tardiness), it's her coming to me on a perfect Saturday morning, as I'm relaxing, drinking my coffee and reading the paper, and she asks me the death sentence question: "So, what's your gameplan for the weekend?"

My whole work week is planned by the minute. There are meetings to attend and deadlines to meet, tasks to finish, and then sport events not to forget in the evenings. When the weekend comes, I don't necessarily want to plan out every little thing that I will do around the house. I mean, some things are set in stone, like our karate classes in the morning, or soccer/football practices, and while I usually have a pretty good idea of what I will do around the house, I don't plan it all on Saturday morning, minute for minute.

She knows it irks me and she sometimes has fun pushing it to me. I used to get mad (well somewhat mad) but we now laugh about it as she tries to find subtle ways of asking without same the G word. :)

Why am I telling you this? Well yesterday night, as we were getting ready to go to bed, she turned to me, all dead serious and well, here's the exchange that took place:

HER: Now listen to me.
ME (in my head): huhoh...
HER: I have stuff I want you to work on this Saturday.
ME (out loud): What? it's only Wednesday night, what
HER: Yeah, things I really want you to do. I'm setting up your gameplan in advance.
ME (in my head): oh no, not that word again...
HER: It's very important and I want you to do it Saturday.

By then, I was getting skeptical as she didn't look mad or anything, almost playful, with a funny crooked smile growing up at the corner of her mouth.

ME: What's so important you have to ask three days in advance?
HER (with a huge grin): I want you to help me practice what I have learned in karate so far.

I stood there speechless with my lower jaw dropped open on the pillow. :D

I'm not completely sure if she was really serious, but I think so. She sorta complained after her Tuesday class that she didn't remember much of what she'd done a week ago. I had told her, yet again, that it was the reason why I advocated taking two classes a week, that or practice at home.

I guess she's going for the private classes at home. We'll see on Saturday. :)


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

feeling off... and on

It was not my best class of karate last Monday. I felt off. Maybe it's the cold I'm still fighting but when our instructor took us through the 36 self defense techniques, I often had to think hard about how one would start and such things. I even did a totally different technique than the one asked, only to realize it when he called the next one. I was not reacting to what he was calling, but trying to do them in the order I though they would come. Really not my best.

We then worked on some deflecting and it went a bit better. By deflecting, I mean if someone is attempting a lapel grab and I just do that, deflect him and get out of his way in such a manner that he's left grabbing air. Was very interesting.

That cold I just mentionned is kinda going away, but I have decided that I would not take a class today. Next class will be Saturday.

One who seems to be enjoying her karate is my wife. She was disciplined enough yesterday to leave work at 5pm sharp in order to attend her second karate class. Not sure if you remember, but I must have mentionned in the past about my frustrations with her not always being able to be home on time for me to leave for karate. Well to see her dedicated to not missing her class is absolutely fantastic to me.

And even better, she seems to be digging it. She told me that last night's class wasn't so much cardio work, but that she could feel how she worked her abs by simply having to hold the forward stance for a good part of the class. She was just like a kid as she got home and I asked her what she'd learned. She quickly replied "don't say it, don't say it, it goes like this!" and she demonstrated to me a well done KC #1. Way to go momma. :)

Meanwhile for Andrew, since he's done almost enough class in advance not to have to go more than maybe 8 to 10 times this Summer, I decided that we would start skipping his Tuesday class and go back to a two a week schedule. He asked me why and I I explained it to him, reminding him how he usually stops for a few weeks during Summer time. He told me that this Summer, he doesn't want to stopp for too long. He added "cause I love karate, dad!". That's my boy... :)


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Tired kata and the circle of love

Our instructor had us go through an intense opening of class Saturday. After going through our usual stretch/warmup routine, he first told us to go through Pinan 1 to 3 in a stretch. After that came 25 pushups and then he asked for Circle of the Tiger and Statue of the Crane, again without a break, followed by 25 more pushups. After that came Cat 1 and Cat 2 and another 25 pushups only to finish the run with Cat 3.

His intentions were simple: to show us what it is to have to deliver our katas when we're tired. You just can't concentrate on your tiredness or else you delivery of the kata goes by the wayside. We have to thank the three black belt hopefuls for that tough lesson. :)

And I can thank them for the pain I had in my arms today while vacuuming the swimming pool, ugh... What doesn't kill you makes you strong they say...

We then worked on some bo work but not really sushi no kon sho as a kata per se, but more on the basics of striking with a bo the traditional way. See, in open forms, when you start a strike with the bo next to your right ear, the left hand will go to your left hip and the right hand will slide up the bo to remain parallel to the floor. In traditional strikes, the left hands kind of extends forward when the bo is chambered close to the right ear and it will also go to the left hip, but then will be closer to the lower part of the bo. The right hand will then slide down as you strike, leaving you with a longer part of the bo available for a longer reach. I hope this is clear enough, but let me say that to me it's a big adjustment. I've been taking open bo classes for two years now and while I can spin and throw it a few different ways, I've never really taken much time to work on traditional bo strikes. I'm getting to it though... :)

We ended class with 6 of us forming a circle around one person which we ended up attacking alternatively and he/she would have to defend with anything he/she could think of, trying never to use the same defence twice and incorporating some locks and throws in there. To add to the challenge, our instructor distributed a couple clubs and a knife to some of the attackers. That simply added a bit to the love felt in that Circle of love. :)

Defending against weapons is a whole other though. You can back off against a knif, you have to block the arm at its highest point and always keep control of the arm that has the knife. We had a good example of what not to do when a tall 14yo kid, black belt hopeful, blocked the knife attacker at the forearm, stayed in control and all, until he decided to unarm his attacker and grab the knife as if it were a club, i.e. straight by the blade. Err, ooops. :D


Friday, May 11, 2007

And how's the FrogMan doing in all of this???

With that gazillion updates out of the way, here's a bit about how it's going for me.

Well, it's going quite well thank you. Ever since my mother in law has retired at the end of March, I've been trying to take three classes a week. It was kinda tough not to miss one at first, for many little reasons, but for the last five weeks, I've effectively clocked in three hours of class a week and let me tell you, I've never felt better. Dang I love how it's going on right now. I feel my abs getting ever so tighter with every class (no six pack showing yet, give me a break ;) ), my moves feel more natural although I know I still need to perfect everything.

There was a time where I thought, or could I say feared, that I would be asked to take the pretest for the black belt. It came the week before said pretest. My weeknight instructor, after we'd finished working on self defense techniques, addressed us, a group of brown belts. He reminded the two people who'd already been booked for the pretest that they had to keep working hard but it's when he turned to everyone else that I felt personally singled out. He went on to say that the others, well they are the next wave of black belt hopefuls and that we always had to work hard because, well, you never know if one of your instructors is not gonna come to you before/during/after a class and tell you that oops, he might have forgotten to put you on the test. I took a look around and dang, I was the only 2nd kyu in class. How could I not feel that being told to me directly???

Anyway, the pretest was on May 2nd and it has come and gone without me on it. I heard it went very well for everyone involved and nobody was turned down, i.e. everybody received their 1st kyu and will go on to test for the black on June 17.

Now what?

Could there be another pretest for people who were borderline ready at the time of the first pretest? Maybe.

Would they consider me borderline ready? Who knows, maybe.

Could they ask me to test without taking a pretest? I have no clue

Do I even consider myself ready? I will never really think that I'm ready, I'm like that. Only by comparing myself to the others who've been confirmed to the test can I try to assess my level of readiness. And that's where all of this wondering comes from. In that regards I'd probably say that I could be ready for June 17. I know all of the curriculum quite well and my freestyle self defense is improving greatly on a weekly basis.

I have no clue what could happen between now and June 17. I'm guessing that the only time I'll be sure I'm not on the test is on the 17th if I'm sitting at home and not stressing it out in a crowded dojo with many other black belt hopefuls. What can I do about it? Not much but train and train and train some more, do as if I was scheduled to be on that test. That's one of the main reason why I plan on going three times a week until mid-June and why I do a lot of vizualisation at home and during breaks at work. If anything happens and somebody comes to me telling me "we think you could be ready, do you think you'd be ready?", I wanna be able to answer confidently with a "yes, I am".

Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, it's not as if taking more classes now will be a total waste of my time. I'm having fun and it's not a chore for me to take more class. Why not keep it that way?


Quebec Open review on SportMartialArts.com

Wanna know what the Quebec Open was like this year? Then hop on over to sportmartialarts.com and read their review. Or should I say glowing review as they seem to have had a lot of fun in Quebec City...


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Three down, one to go...

Picture this. We're maybe 15 minutes before the start of the Quebec Open Saturday night show and my wife turns to me to ask me this simple yet weird question: "Can someone take on karate classes, yet remain a white belt forever?"

Huh, say that again...

She caught me off guard, I had no clue why she was asking me this although she explained eventually. Turns out she was starting to feel like she's a bit out of shape and she's seeing how I like it, how Andrew likes it and especially how Andrew and I were marching up the four flights of stairs that led to the competition site that day without really slowing down our pace (we did wait for her at the top ;) ) while she had sort of a bit of trouble walking on up and was more than just a bit out of breath after moving up the stairs. She then revealed to me that she might be thinking about taking karate lessons. Her that has said quite a few times in the last four years that no, karate was not for her, she was thinking about taking up karate classes but she said that tests were making her nervous. I simply told her that they only ask you to test when they know you are ready, and well, a belt test is simply you going out there and showing stuff that you already know and giving out your best physically. You start your classes and if they ask for 15 pushups and you can do 4, well that's your starting point. Maybe in a couple of weeks you'll be able to do 6, then 8, then maybe you'll top at 10, but those 10 will become increasingly easier to go through...

We left it at that for the Saturday evening. On Sunday, I had already thought about asking how much it would cost when I'd go to the dojo for my Monday night class, but little did I expect her to specifically tell me to ask and see what the schedule would be. She was serious about enquiring about it, woah...

I asked about it, came back with some prices and a schedule. Price was not an issue to me, whatever sport she wants to do, she will be allowed to do, short of weekly bungy jumping, but I know it's not her style :) The schedule though would be a toughie. Even though they say you can sign up at anytime of the year, May is not a particularly well viewed time to start up a new activity like karate, what with Summer coming up and all. There are usually many beginners class around September and in January, but they often get merged with biger classes as the months go by. I know from experience as I started in April four years ago and I was in the middle of a bunch of yellow and orange belts.

Anyway, she though about it, then about it some more until this past Monday when on the phone at lunch time she told me "okay, you sign me up tonight, I'm gonna start tomorrow". Say what again??? The Tuesday night class is at 6 and it's a tight fit to make it from work to the dojo for her, so I signed her up one day in advance and she made it on time Tuesday for her first class.

She decided to start on a once a week schedule for a 12 weeks session, "just to see if I like it". Weird thing, I feared that she'd hate it. Don't ask me why, I have no clue. I so wanted her to like what I (and Andrew) like so much, what we've made our passion. Funny thing, Andrew had class at 7 that Tuesday night, so we walked in front of the big window of her classroom. I was not staring at her, but she saw me, waved and then quickly shooed us away. Reading John Vesia's post titled Looking Good, I see him describing her (and me too) in her first class.

Right after her class, in the hall of the dojo, I asked her how she liked it. Her first answer was simple: "man it's complicated" but she quietly looked like she'd enjoyed it. Back home, she told me she'd learned a sequence of moves but had forgotten the name of it. She wouldn't show me at first, "I'm shy, you're gonna laugh at me". Dang, why would I? She took a deep breath and showed me, inward sweeping left to right block with the left hand, followed with an outward sweeping left to right block with the right hand, a kick and you walk out of it. She'd just learned Checking the Storm... I almost cried of pride. Honestly, I was very happy that she was getting into this.

She then went on to show me how she'd learn to do low sidekicks and dang, she's got a way better weight transfer than I used to have not so long ago. She showed me another technique she'd partially learned and I immediately recognized Battering Ram, a technique against a lapel grab. It was far from perfect, but she was able to see the effect of the different strikes as I explained them to her.

She kept on talking about her class, enthusiastically I must say, for another 30 minutes. I think she's hooked. She's not super fit physically but I kept telling her that the most important thing is not to be able to do as much as the other, but to compare yourself to yourself alone and try to outdo yourself from class to class.

Sure, it's only once a week, for now.

Sure, it's only for 12 weeks, for now.

I'm hoping she sticks to it in the long run.

As I titled this post, three down, one to go. The one left is not even three and a half and they don't take kids before they turn four. I've asked him a few times, if he's gonna take on karate lessons when he turns four and the answer is pretty much always "oh yeah daddy"...


Quebec Open videos

Here's a compilation of our fours katas in the order they happened. Your comments are welcome, as always.

Read the previous post for the story about the whole day...


Quebec Open on April 28

Saturday April 28 was another big day in our karate life as the Quebec Open was happening that day. For both Andrew and I, it was our second time competing in that international competition. We both entered in only two classes, weapon and traditional form.

Since we'd registered Andrew before he was even asked to test for his brown belt, he competed with his green belt. He came in fifth place out of eight with his bo form. I didn't see him perform live, as I was competing myself, but after watching the video, I thought he did ok. He might lack a bit in his stances and with his attitude, or aggressiveness so to speak. My wife commented to me that some of the other kids were really acting like little warriors. I'm pretty sure that Andrew's presentation with his bo form suffered a bit compared to others due to the fact that he "only" had one hour a week of bo while I'm sure some others in this kind of competition must take 2+ hours a week, sometimes in private classes. Andrew was happy this Winter concentrating on his traditional karate which paid off with a brown belt, so I was all right with it.

They were something like 20 to compete in his traditional form category and from my calculations/assessment, he probably came in right in the middle, say about 10th. He did a good rendition of Cat 1, a kata he had to know to pass his brown belt, but that he didn't fully learn until maybe a month before testing. That's definitely not the same as when he was presenting Circle of the Tiger after almost a year and a half of perfectionning it. Still, I thought he did well with it.

Way I see it with every competition that Andrew (or even I) enters is this. I ask myself "is this the best he's ever done it?" or "has he given it his all?". Then if the answer is "YES", the end results in terms of placement matters very little.

As for me, I was signed up to compete in both weapon and traditional forms too. Well, guess what, I dropped my bo, again. :( A tiny little tip to my knee as I start a figure eight and whoops, there it goes. They still gave me second place out of three competitors. Just as for Andrew, I have not had as much of a chance to train with my bo. If you remember, the schedule was jumbled a bit after the Holiday break, leading to me losing some valuable bo training spot and let's just say that at minus 30 celsius, training outside was not an option this Winter. :) I come out of this thinking that if I had not dropped it, I could have come out of it in first place.

The good result, the one that really made me proud, came in the traditional form category. I had the pleasure meet Marc, aka MrX, who was competing in that same category and took third place, but that's not what I'm so proud of. I presented what I thought at the time was a good kata, even though everytime I watch the video I keep finding things I could have done better, but anyway, I came out of it in second place out of eight competitors. As I said, I worked hard on my Cat 3 for maybe the month prior to the competition. I felt good with it until the morning of the competition where I had trouble making my back kicks. You can see it where I lose balance with my first back kick and severely slow down the second one in order not to lose it again. I have since found why. The flooring on which I always train at the dojo is a very cushy kind of carpet. We're talking about a kinda dense but also kinda soft two inch thick mat. As weird as this may sound, I have found my balance on that kind of flooring but just could not find it back on a harder floor. I will work on that in the future.

Anyway, it was a great day. Competition ran quite smoothly. I was able to shake hands with Mr Akarien, Mrx, and even a commenter on my blog, the friendly Myrika. Hi all, it was real nice talking to you all. The Saturday evening show was just wow after wow, a great show, enjoyed by the whole family, my wife included.

I'm just a bit sad that it was quite certainly the last time I will compete there. By April of next year, I will quite probably be a black belt. As an adult brown belt, you compete against other adults who've been doing karate for about the same time as you have been doing it, anywhere from 3 to 5 years. As a black belt, in the 30-39 category, well, it is wide open. There are no category for the shodan or the nidan, or other dan if you seem where I'm going. At 37 next year, I could be against a 31 year old who's been doing karate for the last 27 years of his life. Ouch... I will probably dedicate my Quebec Open experience to following Andrew around and watching the Saturday night show. :)

Yeah, you heard me talk about videos, I'll get to them soon but first a little picture slideshow... Look at those smiles :)
Picasa SlideshowPicasa Web AlbumsFullscreen

As for the videos after testing it a bit, I'll post them in a new post, as the picasa slideshow seems to be making it choppy a bit... hang in there, we'll be right back...


Way to go kiddo!!!

Almost a month ago to this day, I reported that Andrew was set to test for his brown belt. Not only did he test for it on Thursday April 26, four days after the inter-satellite competition, but he passed it with very positive reviews! One big ATTABOY for my Andrew!!! :)

Here's a little picture of him with his instructor and owner of our school. (she only came for the end of the test, thus explaining not wearing her gi, she felt bad about it but I insisted for a pic...)

I'm sure you can see how proud he looked, but also how pink his cheeks were. They worked him out pretty good for a couple of hours. :)

The instructor who was in charge of evaluating them was my weeknight instructor and as I said, he gave me good comments about Andrew. He told me that his strikes were good and precise and that he knew all of his curriculum without fault.

I know on that picture you can't see my face, but I had, and still have, a proud smile on my face... :)


Inter-satellite competition on April 22

On April 22, our school held a local competition only for kids 14 and under. They call it the "inter-satellite" because it's really meant only for kids from the main school or from one of the 8 or 10 satellite schools that are affiliated with us. These satellite schools are usually no more, no less than kids from surrounding town taking classes once or even twice a week in the gymnasium of their regular school. These classes are given by instructors who come from the main school.

I think satellite schools are great because they allow kids who live maybe up to 45 mintues from the main school, kind of into the country, the chance to learn a bit of karate. I also think that the "inster-satellite" sompetition is better than great, as it allows all these kids a chance to see what a competition is in a more informal setting. One tiny thing I didn't like about the setup, but I'll get to it in a moment.

Andrew entered in both weapon and traditional forms and in kumite. I came in 3rd place with his bo form almost tied with the second place kid. He's devoted much more time to his traditional karate since the Christmas break and I couldn't be much happier with the delivery of his bo form with the kind of practice time (only one hour a week) he was able to put into it.

As for his traditional form, he came in fifth place out of 11. It's as per my calculations since they only gave out trophies and medals to the top 4 finishers. This is where my "bickering" comes. The top four finishers were all kids who are either part of the "sports & school" program, where they condensed regular classes in order to allow the kids the chance to train four afternoons in the week, or to kids who are part of the heavy competition rotation (about once a week, or 3 out of 4). The "sports & school" program means that these kids get to train in karate for about 3 hours a day, four days a week. Other than regular training, these kids are also regularly competing on a regional and provincial level.

If the goal is to give a chance to kids who don't usually compete, well it was not met in that class. I talked about it to my weeknight instructor on the following Monday. He happens to be part owner of the school with his wife (thus also in charge of the satellite school program). He told me he'd heard the same kind of comment not only from other parents but even from some instructors who were acting as officials during the competition and that they would probably change the format next year.

Anyway, it was a nice day, sadly ending with Andrew losing his only fight in kumite and hurting his ego in the process. Tears of sadness flowed down his cheeks, poor kid. Still, I reinforced in him the fact that he presented two strong forms and only because of that, I was immensely proud of him.

Funny thing happened as I was watching Andrew warm up about 30 minutes before the start of the day. My weeknight instructor walked by me, wearing his dark red "official" t-shirt, and he asked me "so Steve, you gonna officiate with us next year?". hehehe, all the officials for the tournament, all 20 of them (four rings, five officials per ring) were all black belt, you get it? I thought it was a nice wink on his part. :)


PS: I have videos of his two forms but I have yet to transfer them from mini-DV to the computer. I'll eventually get to it...

sooooo, what's up doc?

Man, what's this thing I got here? a blog? Hrm, what's that again? Oh, yeah, right? I used to post about my training here, and sometimes my son's training and learning... Now I remember...


Sorry for the lack of updates, I've been kinda, sorta busy in real life, but more than anything, I kinda, sorta needed to get away from the posting, didn't feel like it. Oh sure, I relayed the information to my good friend TK, because she's always online to chat (wave hand, hi TK!), or to Mat and Mrx, because they harrased me via email (not really true, I was proud and happy to chat with 'em) but never felt like posting a formal thing on here. Again, I sometimes see this blog as too formal. I want every post to be perfect, so I end up posting nothing, heh. I'm strange like that...

Anyway, there'll be a few posts in the next few days, maybe all coming today, about a bunch of things that have happened lately in my (our) karate life. Interesting stuff, at least to me. Hope you'll like them too...

See you soon...