First class


Hi there,

I attended my first class of karate for probably over two and a half years this morning. It went really well. I expected to be rusty in certain techniques and kata’s and I was but as the class progressed I realised I wasn’t as rusty as I thought I was going to be.

The regular students, some of them anyway, were progressing toward their next grading so we concentrated on kata’s. Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with what a kata is, it’s a series of moves put together to simulate attacks from one or more assailants. It’s a good way to practise your technique and art.

I was encouraged by some of the comments made to me by one of the higher grade students which put me more at ease for when I return the next week to class. It was nice to train with like-minded people. When I was teaching a few years back I noticed that some parents used the class as a cheap alternative to a baby sitter. The students of these parents had little interest in learning karate and used the time to mess around. Not all my students were like that but there were a few and it spoiled it for those with real interest.

This morning though the entire class, from what I could see, were keen students and because of that we all had a blast. I’m really looking forward to next week now where I can hone my skills a little more.

See you soon,

Jan.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.


Hi there,

since my move to Matlock I’ve not been able to continue training in the martial arts as I’d hoped. About five years ago my partner and I were approached by a representative of the local karate school who was knocking on doors of the neighbourhood to enlist new members. Seeing as how my partner at the time had a daughter who was being bullied at school I suggested it might be a good idea for all of us to join so that her daughter didn’t feel self-conscious when arriving at class and it would be a fun activity for all of us as well as all the other benefits gained from the training. I had done at least three years of Lau Gar Kung Fu, several years before so I had a background in the martial arts and was looking forward to training again, albeit in a different style.

We joined the class and after a few months we found ourselves progressing to the stage where I was invited to join a senior class, this was where certain adults were allowed to train in an adults only class alongside the instructors. After a while we were asked if we wanted to become instructors too, the benefits being our training would be free, more intensive so that we progressed through the grades faster and eventually we would have a class of our own to teach.

The style I refer to is Go Kan Ryu which has become the fastest growing and probably the largest karate federation in the world and because of their reputation for door knocking to enlist new members have been labelled McDojo‘s.

I am convinced the federation has its faults, the main one that I can see is that some of the class instructors who have come through their Sensei Training Program (and I include myself in this) in the eyes of the rest of the martial arts community, don’t have the experience that training for lengthy periods of time gives you, to pass on what little knowledge they have. In some cases this is correct, in fact in most cases that is the case. There are some instructors who have attained the weighty grade of black belt who are very good, unfortunately these are overlooked by their detractors.

I taught the Go Kan Ryu system for over two years and to suppliment my knowledge of karate I studied other styles to further my knowledge of martial arts in general so that I could be a better martial artist and thus hopefully become a better teacher. What I didn’t do was use this other knowledge to water down the style I was teaching, I tried my best to keep that as pure as it was taught to me.

The other instructors who were the brunt of the labelling, and there were only a few, fell into the old ego trap of thinking, ‘because I’m teaching karate I must be good’ which was something I fell into myself for a time. It was only my other studies that made me realise just how little I actually knew in comparison to some other teachers out there.

Go Kan Ryu do an awful lot of good also, they promote self-confidence, self-discipline, help to build good character and they allow you a safe training environment where you can have fun while you get fit. The style does lack a lot of partner work which some styles say is necessary if you want to learn good self-defence but when the majority of classes are filled with children, safety has to be a priority. All the instructors are sent on a first aid course, are given CRB checks and are friendly and approachable people. Its a fun, family friendly club that I am looking forward to returning to this time as a student. I haven’t trained for almost two and a half years what with personal problems and budgetry constraints which were the main reason I had to finish teaching classes.

I will be rusty, I know that but I’m hoping to have fun loosening up the old joints again. My first class is tomorrow morning and I’ll let you know how I got on.

See you soon,

Jan.

Where has the year gone?


Hi there,

as December approaches, literally around the corner, I find myself remembering sitting down to write about my move to my new home in the Derby shire Dales. That was in February and March and now the year is almost over and Christmas is just a month away. Where has the time gone?

The past year has been filled with wonderment and awe and heartache, the usual mix of huge chunks of bad luck tempered by a little good.

I welcomed a new grandson into the family, I moved home, my interview went on Indiereads.net and those are just a few of the good points. The bad I don’t want to talk about as I’ve touched on a few in earlier posts.

All in all it’s been a good year considering the turmoil the world has been plunged into with the present credit crisis so I’m not complaining. I’m still here, still have my job, my home and family and all my fingers, toes and faculties so what’s to complain about? Lot’s of people are worse off than me and I’m eternally grateful for my good fortune.

Here’s to a more settled year next year,

see you soon,

Jan.

Unblocked


Hi there,

since  my recent post about writers block, which commented on my recent situation about being unable to write much of anything, I’ve managed to break through and start writing once more.

I’ve received some comments and helpful tips and hints on the last post and I would like to thank all those who read and contributed. It was very nice to hear from you and your thoughts actually helped.

I’m now back into the swing of writing once more, the ideas are flowing and I’m really excited about my new project.

The Ronin proof reading stage is also coming along nicely and look out for a sample coming soon.

That’s all for now folks,

see you soon,

Jan.