• Martial Arts,  Reading

    Reading Formats and Martial Arts Books

    by When it comes to fiction, I’ll generally consume it in whatever medium is convenient: traditional paper, ebook, audio, hypertext. It’s all good, it’s all valid, it’s all fun. But when it comes to non-fiction, and especially to my martial arts reading, I have a vast preference for paper, which isn’t to say I don’t do a lot of reading online, but when it comes to heavier or longer stuff, I’d really rather hold it in my hand or put it on the table or desk in front of me. Because I highlight stuff, make notes, mark stuff for additional research, and circle or underline things for emphasis so things…

  • Life,  Martial Arts

    A Learning Experiment

    by It’s funny how the human brain works, sometimes. Although, in this case, I mostly mean my brain. A lot of methods of teaching seem to be to break things down to a very fine level, teach the first piece of it, and then build from there, either piece by piece or layer by layer depending on what it is you’re teaching. And there are a number of different ways of teaching and learning, frequently depending on the methodology that works best for the student and often involving how very senses contribute to the process for that student. Most big things are made up of little things, but a lot…

  • Martial Arts

    DIY Martial Arts Equipment

    by A while back, so I had some different things to hit than just the heavy bag, I built myself a pair of makiwara. One is a hang on the wall version, currently hanging in the garage: And the other is a portable, fits in the palm of your hand kind of thing that can go with me anywhere: I love my makiwara and have every intention of putting a full version somewhere at some point, but that may wind up waiting until after we move into the house we plan to retire in, which is a year or two out, at least. More recently, about two months into COVID…

  • Martial Arts

    The 100 Kobudo Kata Challenge

    by There are certain events in the martial arts year that somehow speak to me. In April, we have the 100 Kobudo Kata Challenge. The basic idea of that is that you do 100 repetitions of a weapon kata. Ordinarily, this would be done as an event, as a group, or as a dojo. That’s not really how things work right now. My kobudo journey is still young. I “know” a few kata, but none of them really well yet. Still, I thought this might be something I would like to try. I mean, 100 repetitions of the same kata in one day? It may not sound exiting to you,…

  • Karate,  Life

    The COVID19 Shutdown Marital Arts Workout

    by Well, what I’m striving towards, anyway. There are still a few bits missing or building. I joked in the time we were winding down to close off the building completely, that if the shutdown went on long enough, I’d come back in the best shape of my life. At some point not long after I left the building on the last day, and long before we thought it might be more than a few weeks, I decided that wasn’t going to be a joke. I’ll never have the cardio fitness I did at my peak as a long-distance runner, especially since I’m not allowed to run anymore because of…

  • Life

    Studying Kobudo

    by In my post on karate, I alluded to the idea that I’m walking other martial paths, too. I’m going to draw your attention to kobudo which, many sources seem to want to tell me, means “old martial way”. More descriptively, traditional Okinawan weapons. In the case of the system I’m studying, there are four primary weapons. The Bo: The Sai: The Tonfa: And the Nunchaku: Note I said primary weapons. Depending on the path you’re taking, there may be fifteen or sixteen you’ll encounter along the way, but these are “the big four”. There are some out there who are probably already asking why? Kobudo isn’t like empty-handed self…

  • Karate,  Life

    Karate

    by So with all of this extra time, what am I doing? Well, I did mention that there were a bunch of lists of a bunch of different types of things that I wanted to get done while I’m off with most of the rest of the province (by today’s press conferences, that’s being boiled down to essential services, whatever that means to our current government. Occupying a significant place on one of those lists is martial arts. My primary art is karate. I’ve been studying it for a solid ten years now and I don’t see that changing at any point in the future regardless of my life situation.…

  • Karate,  Reading

    What I’m Reading: Martial Arts After 40

    by I don’t really talk about it a lot on here, but it’s no secret I train in karate, and have been for about four and a half years now. It’s also not a secret that I’m in my forties, and while I trained for six months or so just before my son was born, I didn’t take up karate seriously until a little while after my 39th birthday. Four and a half years on, I’ve learned a lot and definitely ramped up my fitness level, but I’m not ready to start feeling my age yet, so I’ve been trying to expand my personal definitions of what I need to…

  • Karate,  Life

    The Belt is Brown

    by We had a grading at my karate club recently. Every grading is important, a benchmark to test yourself and make sure you are where you’re supposed to be. It can be an exciting, and occasionally stressful, event, depending how you feel about performing in front of an audience. Because there is an audience. Family shows up to watch and it’s usually the biggest class you see every three months. But demonstrations at the end of class are a frequent teaching tool anyway, so there shouldn’t be too much performance anxiety, right? I can’t speak for other clubs, so I’m not sure if we do things differently or not, but…