Saturday, November 24, 2012

"The Way to Black Belt": Moving Forward

Although one of our students finished "The Way to Black Belt" by Lawrence A. Kane and Kris Wilder a week after she got it and others are in the throws of finishing the first few chapters, no one has been able to put their thoughts about it on paper yet. So for now, let's start with mine.

It's interesting reading the first two chapters as both a karate student and an instructor - especially since I instruct and get instruction in two different schools. And as I'm currently looking for some way to change my learning environment (specifically: expanding into more kobudo and eventually traditional Okinawan Goju-ryu), the book came at just the right time for me.

I'm currently a nidan in USA Goju so earning a black belt is not my goal, but the information detailed in chapter one - on knowing what you are looking for in a potential school and setting/reaching goals - is most useful. While I'm transitioning, Iain Abernathy's SMART technique - or creating goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound - has fast become my mantra. It and the "action plan" listing at the end of chapter one are also helping me figure out whether my current struggle in my learning environment is simply a training plateau or something else all together. I'm a bit more earnest in jotting down specifics in my training log as a result.

Next week marks my foray into seeking additional instruction by visiting area dojos. Reviewing "Chapter 2: Find a Good Instructor" has between helpful - mostly because I found my first school (which I left shortly after earning my black belt) by total happenstance as the class met weekly in the community center where I worked. But it's also helping me when I wear my "Sensei" hat as I strive to ensure that I embody those "characteristics of an exemplary instructor" outlined in the chapter.

I'm just starting to move through "Chapter 3: Know How You Learn" but for me, it's been so far, so good :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Find Time to Check This Out, Please

I found an except from a great article about being busy on one of my favorite blogs today. It is for all of us who don't have time to do the things we want to do - like find our way to the dojo to train or just sit and enjoy a simple afternoon off - because we are too busy doing the things we "have to" do (or at least the things we tell ourselves we have to do). I'm not posting it to put anyone on blast; it's simply to remind us that simplicity is beautiful - and simplier to achieve than we think.(The post that lead me to the article can be found here. Check out that blog when you get some time :-)

Please check out "The 'Busy' Trap" by Tim Kreider. Print it out and tape it to your fridge, if so inclined. We all need a gentle nudge every now and again...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Way to Black Belt

A few years ago, one of the parents asked if we'd ever start a class just for the "mature" students who wanted to learn more about the art but who didn't necessarily want to do that with his or her child on the mat next to them. We began our adult class a few months ago just for that reason, but sadly our inquiring parent, Mr. Dixon Guzman, passed away before he could gi up and join us on the mat. We thank him for the inspiration.

The adults meet each Wednesday evening from 6:30 to 8PM. We work kihon, kata, kumite and self-defense - and did even after Sensei Ed's shoulder surgery and while Sensei Felicia was nursing a bad Achilles. The adults are dedicated and they train hard, which is nice to witness. Their passion is infectious.

About a month ago, Kris Wilder sent out some info about the new book he'd written with Lawrence Kane called "The Way to Black Belt" - and specifically about how'd they were looking for a group of martial artists to read it and give it a run. Sensei Felicia wrote back and told him all about our group. He sent enough copies for each of our students and we will begin distributing them tomorrow night. We'll post our progress here and also on Sensei Felicia's blog.

And if you are over 18 and not doing anything this Wednesday evening, come come join us :-)