Saturday, September 30, 2006

All Northwest Profiles of Teruo Chinen

I can't believe that I found this on the internet. I would put it on my blog but, it's not working. What does everyone think of the video?

This was filmed 20 years ago. Oh, he seemed much kinder in the video because it said that he was humble and gentle. He seems much more alert and happier. I’m telling myself wow when I watch the kata at the end of the video. I think that's the best I ever seen in my life. I couldn't believe how fast Sensei was going with Sensei Mary. I have seen my Sempai do the exercise before and they did it much slower. I can tell that Sensei has aged a lot. I know that Sensei Mary doesn't move that fast either. I've never seen Sensei spar or sweat before. I've only seen him perform parts of kata and work with the makiwara.

From this video, I wanted to go back to dojo and train because he was a second ranking master in Gojo-Ryu and has so many years of experience. However, I had to remind myself how I was treated by Sensei and by some of my Sempai. Probably, he was kind and humble 20 years ago; however, he slowly changed and became the person he is today. Maybe, he just became jaded in his old age. I know that if I go back, I’ll have more problems with Sensei and my Sempai. I know that it’s not even worth it because I’ll be mistreated. I became so lost and no one was there to help except the people from the internet. It’s just too bad that he’s like that now. I wish that he could have been nicer and gentler with me. I wish that he didn’t have many of those stupid rules and he wasn’t that strict and controlling.

Friday, September 29, 2006

A Picture of Mark and my former Sensei

I aquired this from the Jundokan International website of Chicago. This picture is of three Sensei. Chinen Sensei on the left, Sensei Mary in the middle, and Sensei Mark on the right. Chinen Sensei doesn't look very well in this picture for some reason.

Sensei Mary is a very good Sensei. I loved when she taught us. I had so much fun.

Sensei or Sempai Mark is the person who I worked with on Bunkai Oyo in Gasshuku. In addition, he was the director of Gassuhuku. I liked working with him because I had a lot of fun and he allowed me to be myself.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I Quit!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stupid dojo and Sensei. I quit the dojo because what happened to Sempai David. For his reason why that he's quitting, look at his blog.

I'm going to find another dojo where the Sensei is respectful, kind, and helpful to other people, especially his/her students. I would love to message board about him telling people to avoid his dojo because I don’t want others to be brainwashed, manipulated, and abused. However, that would make my Sempai and Sensei angrier. I'm going to find another dojo that will fit my needs better. My Sempai and Sensei are so brainwashed that they don't know what’s the difference between right and wrong. My Sensei is so concerned about his reputation that it's he's willing to kick people out of the dojo. My Sensei and Sempai are far from the path of karate. For example, Sensei said that HE’S the ONLY one that can teach karate in the community colleges and in Spokane in general. I don’t want a Sensei that is that prideful and puffed up.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sports v.s. Karate

I’ve been thinking about karate compared to sports. I’ve been in sports since when I was a kid. The first sport that I did was basketball when I was in elementary school. When I was in fifth grade or sixth grade (I can’t remember), I learned how to ski. I went skiing on every Friday for a half day because I was in Special Education classes. I’m thankful that I was able to do that because I had special equipment to help me learn. When I first started, I had a harness connected with straps that a person would hold behind me. One time, I remember I had straps connected to my skies too. I only used those a few times because I mostly used a bungi cord that connected the tips of my skis so I could automatically slow down by putting my skis in a pizza shape. Also, it prevented my skiing going to wide or crossing. In addition, I learned how to ski without poles. Whenever I skied, I had to put a red handicap sign on my torso. When I went up the hill for the first time, I didn’t have to ski on the bunny hill that had a rope tow instead of a chairlift because of the equipment. Eventually, I grew out of the bungi cord and started using poles. However, it took a long time to get comfortable of skiing off the chair lift.

On our field trip at Silver Mountain during Gasshuku, we had to take chair lifts to the top of the mountain. I couldn’t believe how uncomfortable my Sempai were with them. One of them even asked if they had seat belts. Another Sempai said that he was afraid of his life when he first got on. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. When I was riding with Sempai Brooke and Sempai Linda, I tried to lift the bar in front of us so we could get off. With this ski resort, they didn’t have signs telling the guests to lift the bar. I forgot to ask that I could lift it when guests normally lift them. Therefore, they freaked out and didn’t let me lift it. They only lifted it when the person on the top told them to do so. When I rode with them the second time on the chair lift, they joked with me saying that they were going to push me off the ski lift. I know that I failed to take in account that this was their first time on a ski lift. Probably, many would have acted the same way because the lifts can be thirty feet or higher in the air and all that prevents from someone falling of is the bar in front of them.

When I was in junior high school, I did basketball, softball, volleyball, and track. I quit softball because I didn’t like it. I quit basketball because I wasn’t very good at it. The only thing I was good at was preventing my opponent from getting the ball. It didn’t help me that I was afraid of the ball. When someone passed me the ball, I would take a few steps, stop, and pass the ball back. I couldn’t shoot at all. I wanted to continue with volleyball when I was a Freshman in high school, however; my grades were low and I wanted to work on them before I participated in a sport.

The only sport that I did throughout high school was track. When I was a Freshman I threw disk, shot put, and the javelin. I quit throwing the javelin at the end of my freshman year because it took too much time from disk and shot. During my sophomore year, I would practice shot and disk evenly. I threw my best for shot that was 25 feet when I was a sophomore. During my junior year, I practiced the disk more because I liked and was better at it. During my senior year, I didn’t practice shot at all because it took too much time from disk. I ended up throwing a little above ninety feet at divisionals. I had the potential of throwing 120 feet because I’m tall and muscular. However, my balance, speed, coordination, and mind prevented me from attaining that goal.

Whenever I stepped into the ring, I would tense and freak out. I think that I would unconsciously get nervous because people were watching me. When throwing disk, one cannot be tense and think too much. One has to be calm, collected, and in control. So, I wouldn’t throw a far at track meets when I threw at practice. Many times, I would get so frustrated with myself because my coach said that I practiced much harder than anyone else. Many times, he told me too stop throwing during practice because I would throw too much and he didn’t want me to throw my arm out. In addition, he always told me that I threw like at state champion when I was out in the field throwing. I would practice out in the field more than in the ring because the ring was always being used and because I would get in a lot more throws. Therefore, I became much more comfortable in the field instead of the ring. I don’t think that my coach adequately mentally trained me for throwing in the ring. However, I know that he did the best he could to help me. Now, I don’t throw anymore because it takes too much time from school. In addition, I don’t love it as much as karate.

Now, I’m in a Goju-Ryu dojo. At first, I thought it would be like any other sport; however, I was wrong. Compared to the many sports that I’ve been in, karate is so much harder because it’s nature. Just recently, I learned that it’s not even a sport. Now going through this situation and talking with Sempai David, I can attest to that. Many athletes go by seasons instead of training all year long. Teams are not like families because they don’t have Sempai/kohai relationships. Athletes do not learn about history or tradition. They do not live by a set of principles called the Dojo Kun. They don’t have someone always pushing you to train harder and faster. Coaches do not tear their athletes down and build them back up again. Athletes do not have to abide certain rules or always obey their coach that relates to their sport.

My sister thinks that her sport is harder than karate because she’s in high school varsity volleyball. It may be a little more physically demanding because she practices every day. However, that’s for a season. However, I personally think that training is harder because we train to be fighters. We do not train to have fun and play games. However, I personally have fun because I get to train myself mentally and physically. We train to become better people. We have to condition our minds to think in a certain way when training at the dojo. I have noticed that I can push myself physically harder because of the mental training at the dojo.

Naturally, my family doesn’t understand the dojo and what we do. Even some other martial artists don’t understand either. Many people are telling me to quit the dojo because of many reasons. I do thank people have helped me through this and their opinions. However, I’m thankful that this situation occurred because I have learned so much about the essence of karate and the relationship that’s between my Sempai, my Sensei, and me. If I didn’t experience this, I wouldn’t have grown and still be a white belt at heart. In addition, I wouldn’t have had Sempai David written so much to help me understand what was going on in the dojo. Sempai David said that my Sempai are very strict and hard on me because they see my potential. I also think it’s because they want to train me mentally. In a sport or in any other dojo, I wouldn’t have learned these lessons. Therefore, I want to stay with this dojo and continue with my training. If I go to another dojo, I’ll rob myself important lessons that will make me grow as a person.

Being in shape

Before and after Gasshuku, my family thought that I was out of shape and I believed them. Therefore, I went to looking for advice; however, they didn’t say much. This is what I said on

“How do I know that I'm in shape or not?

A few weeks ago, my family and I went on a moderately difficult 9 mile day hike. I thought I was going to do well with the hike because I've been doing karate for 6 months. I found out that I had a horrible time hiking up the mountain. At that time, my family and I thought I was the worst shape out of my family. I was the one in the rear instead of in front. Last year, I know I was in better shape for hiking. I walked a lot last year because I didn't have a car. Now, I hardly walk; but, I have taken up karate. Now, my family wants me to start running on a treadmill for 20 min. I'm a horrible runner because I'm so uncoordinated. I even have a weird walk because I bounce up and down. I don't know how to walk normal. In addition, for as long as I can remember, I've ran slower than other people. However, I've been able to keep up at the dojo most of the time.

Then a week later, I went to Gasshuku. It's a very intense karate camp which lasted all 6 days that started to 8:30AM to 9:00PM. It was the hardest physically thing I have done in my entire life. However, I knew that I was in shape because I kept up with the rest. There were some things that were easy to me and some Sempai thought they were hard. So, I found out that I had to push myself harder to get more of a work out. However, I noticed at the end of the day, I wasn't exhausted like a day of hiking or skiing.

I talked to my Sempai about it and they said I'm not conditioned to hike up a hill. I'm conditioned to do karate. So is this true? Am I in shape for karate instead of hiking up a hill? My sister says I’m in a different kind of shape. I think she’s saying that I’m not in shape cardio wise, enough for me to lose pounds. I don’t know if I want to lose weight because I don’t know if it’s muscle instead of fat.

How do I know that I gained more muscle instead of fat? After Gasshuku, I have noticed that I gained 5 to 10 pounds. Last year, I was wandering around 175 to 180. I have been I'm wandering around 185 to 190. Since Gasshuku, I went up to 190. This is the heaviest I've ever been in my entire life. I'm thinking its muscle instead of fat because my clothes still fit me. Actually, I’ve noticed that a pair of pants doesn’t fit anymore because it became too big for me after Gasshuku. I don’t know if 190 is too heavy for a person that’s who’s almost 6 feet tall. However, I do know that I weigh heavier than most people my height because of my body structure.

My stomach is the only area on my body where it's flabby. I have noticed that it's been getting flabbier over the years. I think my abs are flabby because weak. How can I strengthen them? I know that they are the downfall of my body. Sensei has told that I’m strong many times now. Then, how come I struggle with push-ups and jackknife sit-ups? I can’t even do an exercise called the peacock. Is it because of my abs?”

So, what does everyone think? I think that my family doesn’t know what they are talking about because they haven’t seen what we do in the dojo. Probably, they still think that I’m out of shape because I have a little gut on my stomach and because of that hike. I still don’t really know if I’m in that great of shape. However, I know that I’m getting into better shape slowly because of karate. For example, I’m better at doing push-ups and running.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Captain David and the apology

Hi. I had lots of fun in karate class today. Sensei wasn’t there because he went to South Africa. As we were waiting near the gym, I saw Sempai Eric. I couldn’t believe it and became really happy because he’s so nice to me. He told me where Sensei went and I told him what happened and why I that I haven’t been in the dojo. When Sempai Derrick walked in, we had to stop talking because we had to warm up. After class, I stayed behind to ask Sempai Derrick a question. Before I could, he started talking about Captain David. When Sempai Derrick left, Sempai Eric said that Captain David got into a horrible motorcycle accident a week ago on Saturday. He said that Captain David almost lost his life and will be in the hospital for two months. Captain David went around a corner too fast and fell off his bike. He went head first into a rock that went through his visor and into his skull. Plus, the impact broke his back. He had to have four hours of brain surgery. Then, Sempai Eric told me to come back and say that I would like to make amends to whoever I have to. He said that I should keep my apology short and simple. “I would like to make amends. I’m sorry for what I did and it will not ever happen again. I’m sorry for my ignorance because I didn’t know any better. I’m was curious and I'm learning. May I come back and continue my training?” He said that they will say yes. He said when people get disciplined like that; Sensei has them to think it over. Sempai Eric said that he as seen some very good practitioners get scolded and never come back. Sempai Eric said that it weeds out the unserious ones.

Sempai/kohai relationship

I’ve been thinking about the relationship that I have between my Sempai and me. My Sempai compared it to an older brother/sister relationship and that my Sempai are not my friends. At first, I thought that not being friends meant that they were going to my enemies. After asking one of my Sempai, I realized that our relationship is so much closer than just being friends.

I’m the oldest out of my brother and sister. We’re friends but we are so much more than that because we’re siblings. I wouldn’t tell a friend that I would tell my brother and sister. For example, I wouldn’t tell my friend my deepest innermost feelings. Actually, it depends on how close my friend is to me. When I lived in Anaconda, I would go to Sabine, who worked in the computer lab, if I had any problems. She could have been my Sempai because she would listen, council, and comfort me.

I can tell my brother and sister anything because they understand me. In many ways, my sister is the oldest because of her personality. She’s high-strung, a born leader, and sometimes stubborn. She tells me what to do all the time and so does my brother. I tell them what to do too, however, it not as much as they tell me what to do. I don’t mind following my sister because I’m so laid back. I just go with the flow with things.

In looking at other relationships between brothers and sisters, some are not friends. They can fight and hate each other. I used to argue with my brother constantly too. However, it has gotten better over time. I never fight with my sister because I’m closer to her than my brother. Anyways, one has to love their siblings even if they don’t like them. You always end a friendship with someone if it goes sour.

I take comfort that my relationship between my Sempai and me is so much closer than being a friend. Even if they don’t like me, they need to look out, care, protect, and mentor me. Even if I don’t like what they tell me to do that’s karate related, I still have to obey them. I just hope that none will abuse their authority over me because that’s irresponsible.

One thing that is different from a sibling relationship is them disciplining me when I do something wrong. I read on the internet that it frees up the responsibility of Sensei when they discipline for Sensei. I don’t get to discipline my brother and sister because that’s my parent’s job. So in that context, they are sort of my parents too because they discipline me and I have to obey them. In the Bible, it says to honor thy father and mother. That means that I have to obey them because they know so much more than I do. They will not lead me astray on some forgotten and lonely path. This means that I have to trust all of my Sempai.


I wrote this in my journal on Thursday, February 16, 2006.

I’m sad. I won’t have karate this Monday because of a holiday. Therefore, I have to wait a week. However, I can practice kata. I don’t know whether I want to replace the dojo experience that I had on Tuesday, with a normal class on Monday, if I had the chance. I think that I would pick the dojo because it was a thing that I never had experienced before. However, if I would pick Monday, I would not have to wait week. (Try waiting for a month or longer to go to the dojo to train. Ugg. I want to go back to the dojo very badly because I miss it. I hope that I have to wait a week and a half until I start training there again. I know I have to be patient because it says in the Dojo Kun to continue my training with patience but it’s hard. However, it has let me think about my training)

Karate class wasn’t as hard as some previous classes. I arrived there a half an hour early. In the Sports Complex, a foyer leads to the main gym and to the rest of the complex. That’s where Ryan was there practicing. Soon after, Emily, Naomi, and Sensei arrived. Sensei asked us how we liked the dojo and I said it was different. Then, we started talking about Montana. Sensei has been to Helena many times because he had a friend who had a dojo there. (I heard at Gasshuku that the Helena dojo had many people. I think that they said it’s not there anymore because the instructor moved away.)

Yesterday, everyone gathered in the foyer and then went to the old gym. We usually gather in the hall outside the old gym because we have to wait until a kickboxing class is over. Then, we went inside and I did a kata one or two times. Then, Sensei wanted us to go back to the foyer to have our class. He called it the little dojo. I don’t know why he decided to go back to the foyer. Maybe it’s because it has mirrors on one wall.

Then, we practiced Gekisai Dai Ichi for most of the time. First, we worked on the horizontal karate chop (knife hand strike). Then, we went through the kata. A few times, he stopped us to have us practice by ourselves. However, Chris was learning the kata and working with Captain David. Then, we sat down and watched Naomi and Emily perform Gekisai Dai Ni. It’s very similar to Gekisai Dai Ichi. Therefore, Sensei taught us the new block that we do at the end of the kata. Then, he had us to practice by ourselves. While practicing, Sensei came up behind me and touched my back. He scared me and patted me on my shoulder. He had to show me the new block twice because I forgot how to do it.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Boxing movie

Here is a boxing video that my friends put together.
I have no clue to put this movie on my blog. I'm the girl in the blue shirt.

This was when I first started in karate back in February. I noticed that we were aiming for the head, not for the body. In addition, we were throwing wild punches left and right. That doesn't take any skill what so ever. None of us had any training in boxing or in any martial art. In addition, the living room was way too cramped to fight in. We didn't have room to attack and escape. Most of the fights ended up against the wall.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I found out that my dojo really did kick me out when I talked with Sensei today.

Why are they so mad at me? I didn’t mean to offend and harm anyone. Don’t they realize that? It seems like I’ve been a problem child in the dojo. I’m keeping getting into trouble. It seems like it one thing to the next. It seems like they don’t understand me or I understand them.

I started one thread when I haven’t even trained for a month and wasn’t even part of the dojo. I started the other when I was just starting to look in the dojo and been training for three months. How was I supposed to know that I couldn’t ask about him? I couldn’t have. I felt bad about that thread and deleted it. Isn’t that enough?

When I was having problems with the dojo, I would write it in my blog. I didn’t know what to do about all of these problems. The reason why I didn’t come up and ask my Sempai or Sensei is because I’m intimated by them. It feels like it’s “Do what you are told and don’t ask any questions.” When I say what I think about something or feeling I get into trouble. That is why I asked people on the internet because I felt that they were more approachable than my Sempai.

My Sempai say that they aren’t supposed to be my friends. How can I trust a person if he or she isn’t my friend? We should be friends to everyone inside and outside the dojo. My Sempai has said that the dojo is like a family and that my Sempai is like older siblings. In a family, older siblings are supposed to be friends with their younger siblings. They are not supposed to discipline them because that’s the parent’s job. If a sibling criticizes, puts them down, or belittles them, the parents will discipline him or her. Wouldn’t apologizing to Sensei be enough because he’s the parent and the one who runs the dojo?

If my Sempai are my brothers and sisters, wouldn’t we be equal to each other? Of course, they have been in karate a lot longer than me; however, we should be still equals. From what I’m seeing is that we are not equals in the dojo. For example, my Sempai can speak any time at Sensei’s house and I can’t.

In addition, parents are supposed to be friends with their children. However when they mess up, they need to discipline and love them at the same time. This is what President Faust said on the website.

“One of the most difficult parental challenges is to appropriately discipline children. Child rearing is so individualistic. Every child is different and unique. What works with one may not work with another. I do not know who is wise enough to say what discipline is too harsh or what is too lenient except the parents of the children themselves, who love them most. It is a matter of prayerful discernment for the parents. Certainly the overarching and undergirding principle is that the discipline of children must be motivated more by love than by punishment. Brigham Young (1801–77) counseled, “If you are ever called upon to chasten a person, never chasten beyond the balm you have within you to bind up.”

Discipline with severity, discipline with cruelty, inevitably leads not to correction, but rather to resentment and bitterness. It cures nothing. It only aggravates the problem. It is self-defeating.

Teach your children to love you rather than to fear you.”

I’m getting the vibe that Sensei wants us to fear him. I even heard from other Sempai that Sensei would hit people with a stick if they made a mistake. My Sempai has said that they are just to tear the lower students down, what’s the point in that? Wouldn’t it be easier to keep on building students up and up? When they break a rule, a parent can tear them down by disciplining them and then build them up again with love, not fear.

This is what Layne E. and Jana Squires Flake said the website,

“In order for any organization to run effectively, it must establish a set of bylaws. A family also needs bylaws to prescribe boundaries for behavior. If parents do not have a specific, deliberate plan for discipline, they are likely to rely simply on instinct and react emotionally to each situation.

At our weekly family council, we mutually agree upon rules which all must abide by. We also establish consequences for disobedience. In this way, everyone is aware of the rules and the consequences; there are no surprises. And the consequences are predictable and consistent.

An orderly home depends upon well-defined and well-understood rules.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Revamped my blog

I majorly revamped my blog. It always seems like I'm always editing it. I deleted posts that were negative about my Sempai and Sensei. This was my own decision because I didn't want anyone else to read those things. It took more than four hours to go through my whole blog. I had to print the posts and comments that I wanted to change in my blog. I know printed more than 50 pages. I didn't realize that my blog was that big.

I accept full responsibly for my words on my blog if my Sempai has read them. I realized that I wrote my blog expecting that my Sensei and Sempai wouldn't read it. I treated my blog as a journal. In a journal, I can write anything that I want in it because no one will read it or care. It’s a thing that I can express my thoughts and feelings without repercussion. However, that's not the case with a blog. I said some things that I wouldn't say to my Sempai in person. I couldn't believe how much I had to delete.

I feel better now, because I fixed one of the problems. Now if one of my Sempai reads this blog, I wouldn't care because it doesn't have any thing that would get me into trouble. (I think.) Now, I really need to work on school work. I should have been working on that than revamping my blog. However, I knew this needed to get done.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sensei found out

Sensei found out about the thread. My Sempai told and printed it off for him so he can read it. Then, he said that that's all lies and I shouldn't have done that. He said that I'm kicked out of the dojo. I said that I'm really sorry so, he has forgiven me. Now, I have to talk to my Sempai and tell them that I'm sorry. I think I can go back to the dojo when I talk to my Sempai.

I’m wondering why all of a sudden my Sempai got excited enough to tell Sensei. What did they find to make them angrier? The only thing that I can think of is, but I deleted that. However, the act just asking about Sensei behind his back is bad enough. I wonder if they found my blog yet, but I didn’t lie about Sensei. However, I did talk about my Sempai and told everything what they have said to me on my blog. Plus, some people hasn't agreed with what's going on in the dojo. I think that would get some really mad and excited. I think that’s it because some just knew about the threads and they weren’t all that excited before Sempai Linda talked to me and Sensei left to go somewhere. I just don’t know when he left. Now, every black belt knows what I did. Do I need to change the names on my blog and delete some posts which I talked about on my blog so I can cover my tracks and won't get into so much trouble?

School starts tomorrow

School starts tomorrow and I have mixed feelings about it. I love learning and going to school. However, I don’t like the endless workload. I get so tired of it that I don’t care about school anymore. I work so hard that I burn out each spring. I was feeling a little burnt out of the beginning of spring quarter and at the end of it, I really had to push myself to do my homework because I was so burnt out. At that time, I didn’t know it because I still wanted to do summer school. However, my dad said not to because I needed a break and therefore, I didn’t go.

When I was a senior in high school, my annual burn out wasn’t that bad. It was my only quarter and semester in my high school career that I had straight A’s. The only time I acquired straight A’s before high school was in the eighth grade on the last quarter too. I hope that this years burn out will be like when I was a senor in high school and not like last spring. It was terrible.

I’m going to take Calculus, Advanced Chemistry, Aquatic Fitness, and Karate. I’m not excited for Calculus because I know it’s going to be very hard and time consuming. Luckily, I’m going to have the same instructor that I had for Intermediate Algebra (Math 99) last fall. I just hope I don’t have to work with the disabilities office when I take tests because they only let me take them for a time and a half. That’s barely enough time when I was in math 99. When I was in pre-calc II last spring, it took me twice the time or even a little longer to take a test. At least I don’t have to take it for all three quarters. I’m only going to take it for one quarter and then, I’m done with math at SCC.

I was nervous about Advanced Chemistry because I thought I was going to the next step from high school chemistry. I have forgotten a lot of it because it took it over a year ago. Luckily, my teacher suggested that I should keep all of my papers because I’ll need it for college. Once I bought the book, I realized that I’m going to relearn everything that I learned in high school. I’m going to take three quarters of chemistry and that equals two years in high school. I only took it my senior year in high school. Probably, this quarter is going to be a giant review to me, except for the labs. In high school, we only did a lab per chapter not twice per week. That’s what happened in Biology 101. I learned the same things that I learned in Advanced Biology in high school. The labs and some chapters at the end of the quarter were completely different though. I hope that Chemistry won’t be hard and as time consuming as Calculus.

I’m taking Aquatic Fitness because I want to be in better shape. Karate isn’t enough. I don’t know what to expect in that class. I know that I won’t go swimming though. I just hope it won’t be filled with old people.

I’m excited for karate because I’m going to get more one on one with Sensei. In the dojo, he teaches everyone and hardly teaches at an individual basis. My Sempai usually teaches the younger students one on one. I know that I won’t learn that much in class. However, it will be good to work on the basics because everything evolves from them. I just wonder if anyone from the dojo will be there. I’ll know by tomorrow. I just hope that the class won’t be so small like last spring because the school threatened to cancel it.

First time at the dojo

I wrote this in my journal on Wednesday, February 15, 2006.

I arrived at the dojo for the first time at eight p.m. If someone would walk by the building, one wouldn’t know it’s a dojo because the plain and white building has a little sign reading Jundokan. When I walked in a little hall that led to the dojo floor, I saw Sensei. I think Sensei forgot I was going to be late. I took off my flip-flops and followed him to the dojo floor. Then, I put my keys and water on an orange chair and my flip-flops on the hard wooden floor.

Then, I joined a group who were taught by Sempai Jessica who’s a green belt. At first, I had no idea what kata we were doing. In addition, I was stuck in a corner and couldn’t do the kata properly. Therefore, I was doing poorly. Then, Sensei had Ryan, John, and some others learn Gekisai Dai Ichi. I was stuck dong Fukukata Dai San with a beginner who didn’t even have a gi yet! At first, I didn’t respect the green belt. Therefore, I went ahead when they were being too slow. Therefore, she told me to stay with them. I didn’t want to do Fukukata Dai San very slowly. I wanted to learn Gekisai Dai Ichi. Then, Sensei noticed that I didn’t stick my heel all the way when transferring to kokutsu dachi. After that, the kata wasn’t so bad because I had to work on it.

While I was training, there were three other groups in the dojo. A group was performing Gekisai Dai Ichi who was being taught by Sempai Brooke, a brown belt. Another group that had Emily in it was performing Saifa on the stage. The biggest group had brown and black belts who were doing kumite. Sensei was just wandering around the groups helping correct.

While we were training, Sensei stopped all of us three times. The first time, he mainly was talking to the sparring group. They were blocking wrong and he showed them how to do it right. When he stopped us the second time, he had Ryan and John perform Gekisai Dai Ichi in front of the class. When he stopped us the third time, he made everyone run saying the Dojo Kun. He picked me to lead it while running! I think he picked me because I wasn’t saying it. I am so winded that it’s hard to say; therefore, I about die when I lead it. After running, we practiced punching and saw three girls including Emily do Saifa. Then, he picked my group do our kata. Sempai Jessica went very quickly when he had her go first. Then, I went next. He told the class I was from SCC and that I haven’t missed a class.

When I started, I forgot to yoi. When I did yoi, I closed my eyes and Sensei told me not to. When I was performing the kata fast, my balance got the best of me twice and I messed up. Of course, Sensei didn’t know that I messed up because of my balance. When I’m tired, my balance is worse than normal. I was proud of myself for doing that because I wasn’t nervous at all. There were around 40 to 50 people in there. (Major exaggeration, there were at the most 24 people.) Then, Sensei had the beginner perform the kata. He constantly helped the beginner because he was forgetting to switch to kokutsu dachi all the time. When helping him, he spoke Japanese a few times. Then, we did some weird closing ceremonies. We have to bow to each other and to Sensei when sitting.

When class was done, I went to get a drink of water from my water bottle. However, Captain David stopped me before I could drink and told me not to. I felt like a fool because I was the only person who had things on the dojo floor. Then, I had to wait until it was my turn to bow towards the Shomen wall when we left the dojo floor.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Naming Stances

I wrote this in my journal on Monday, February 13, 2006.

I’m supposed to study for a psychology test but I want to get this out of my system. Karate was really fun today. I loved it.

Like always, we started with the Dojo Kun. Then, we went Moving Attack three times. As we were going through the exercise, Sensei asked us what the names of the long and short stances were. I was the only one who answered. The short stance is sanchin dachi and the long stance is z something (zenkutsu dachi). (At that time, I didn’t know how to pronounce it let alone spell it.) Sensei was so impressed that he made everyone clap both times that I answered.

It’s funny that I even remembered those names. Saturday night, I was looking through and there was a thread on stances. They were using the real names for the stances. I figured out which stance went to which name by searching in the Google search engine under images so I can see what each stance looked like. Later, Sensei us what was the name of the short stance. Again, I was the only one who answered. Then, Sensei said that I had a good memory.

After going through Moving Attack with Sensei, he had us go through it by ourselves. He didn’t help us and we couldn’t look at our neighbor for help. When we finished, Sensei said that I took first place in a tournament. They clapped for me and I had a huge smile on my face. I took first place because I practice at home. Then, we practiced Fukukata Dai San two times. On the second time, we had to start over because I messed up. Sensei and Captain David makes us start over when somebody messes up sometimes.

Then, Sensei had Emily demonstrate Gekisai Dai Ichi. After that, he had Emily and Chris go to another part of the gym to practice Saifa. Captain David led us through Gekisai Dai Ichi around five times. Like always, Sensei came over to help teach and correct. Then, Captain David made us practice the kata all by ourselves. Therefore, I didn’t know where to go or what to do in some parts. Captain David helped me one third of the time. Ryan had as much trouble as me. I tried to watch Naomi, but she went too fast.

After practicing for ten min, Sensei had each of us get up in front of class to do Gekisai Dai Ichi. Luckily, I got to watch four people and was the last one to perform because that helped me memorize it. As I was running up to do it because it was my turn, Sensei asked me if I was a happy girl. I said that I am. I think he asked me that because I’m smiling all the time in there. Karate makes me so happy.

When I was performing, I kiaied weakly at one point in the kata and Sensei told me to do it louder. I did and he laughed. I don’t know why he laughed. I kiaied weakly because I’m so used to doing that when I practice by myself. I wasn’t the best at performing Gekisai Dai Ichi. I could have done much better. After me, Emily and Chris did Saifa. Then, we ended with Dojo Kun. After that, Sensei told us not to buy anything for our girlfriends or boyfriends for Valentines Day because it’s a waste of money if we break up with them.

I’m going to the dojo tomorrow. I wish I could be there for the whole thing. But noooo, I have a test to take and group afterwards.

The Path of Karate

David posted this in his blog on Monday, September 11, 2006. I could hear one of my Sempai saying this to me in the dojo.

The path of Karate, no matter what style, is not an easy path to follow. It is meant to be an uncomfortable and trying path to the extreme. The old saying goes something like this, “If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen” or Dojo as the case may be. There is also another saying that I am very fond of, “The strongest sword is forged by the hottest flame”.

Sensei is not supposed to be a nice person, neither are his Yudansha or any of your senior Sempai ahead of you. They are there to test you, to push you to the brink, to tear you down and build you up again. This is NOT a path for the feint of heart so if you are not willing to pay your dues, to go through your trials of blood, sweat, and tears as your seniors have done, then you are not in the right place and need to just quit right now, otherwise you are just fooling yourself and wasting everyone else's time.

I would rather be focusing on my own training; working on some kicks that I know need improvement, working on modifying my form to keep in line with those practiced in the school of my current Sensei, than work with someone who is not willing to give it everything they have regardless of the bruises and beatings.If this is you then I will run you out of my school because you do not belong here, if you are sincere, then I will put your sincerety to the test, the harshest test you have ever experienced. If you are unable to take it, then I guess you were not so dedicated after all.

This is a truly unforgiving path, it is not supposed to be nice and cozy like a local fitness center, we are not here to make friends or to socialize! This is a Karate Dojo, we are here to learn and practice Karate! You need to get in this mindset and truly push yourself if you are going to last, otherwise everyone will leave you behind. That sort of failure is completely unbearable and it is on your own head as to whether the path cultivates you are destroys you.

No one is special, the path seeks out and tests EVERYONE regardless of level, regardless of teacher, if you are not truly tested in this way then you are NOT PRACTICING KARATE!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Learning Gekisai Dai Ichi

I wrote this in my journal on Thursday, February 9, 2006.

It’s still Wednesday because I haven’t gone to bed yet. (I have the same problem when blogging. To me, it’s still Thursday, not Friday.) Karate was fun today. Before class, Sensei helped me improve my kicking. My kicking wasn’t controlled so he made me kick a certain brick on the wall. That helped keep my balance and my aim. Sensei and I counted together when I kicked the wall. Then, he led me through Fukukata Dai Ni once and it was cool. He made me perform the kata so I can practice what I learned from kicking the wall. While going through the kata, he stepped on my foot so I wouldn’t move it. I realized that my zenkutsu dachi was too narrow. I need to make it wider.

Then, the whole class lined up and said the Dojo Kun. Then, we did Fukukata Dai San and Moving Attack once. We haven’t practiced Moving Attack for awhile. Then, Sensei said that we knew three kata and now, we’re going to learn a fourth. He had Emily do it twice, so we can get a side and front view. Then, he took the advanced students to another part of the gym. As he passed me, I gave him a smile, so he patted me on the back.

Then, we went through the new kata. I don’t know the name of it yet. (We were learning Gekisai Dai Ichi.) It has many new moves. We punch with two hands. There is a new stance called the Sumo stance (shiko dachi). We elbow strike and karate chop horizontally (knife hand). In some blocks, we inhale and kiai when we punch.

I received lots of praise from Sensei today. However, I messed up a lot when I was learning the new kata. Therefore, Sensei and Captain David had to correct me. Most of my mistakes were mixing up my arms when we prepared to block. I was getting my right and left confused. I was the same way when we learned the Fukukata. Captain David was mostly teaching us the new kata. Twice, Sensei came over and helped. Then, we all came together and said the Dojo Kun. When Sensei teaches us, Captain David helps correct. Such as today, he made me punch his hand while I was performing kata.

Guess what?! I get to go to the Dojo next Tuesday!!!! However, I’ll be late because I have a test in psychology. Class starts at 7 P.M. Hopefully, I’ll get there at 7:30 but probably around 8 P.M. I wish I could go for the whole thing! He would like us to be there at 6:30.

I wonder what the Dojo looks like. Naomi and Emily said being at the Dojo for the first time is scary. They said Sensei will slap people around because he’s meaner and stricter. I’m excited. P.S., Sensei says that I’m improving.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A sparring exercise

I wrote this on Thursday, February 2, 2006 in my journal. The class was at Spokane Community College.

Karate was fun today. Before class started, Sensei invited us to come to the dojo. He said, “Please come” and put his hand on my shoulder. At the beginning of class, Sensei made me practice a kata. Therefore, I practiced Fukukata Dai San (FDS). While I practiced, Sensei had and only watched Marsha, Naomi, and Emily perform another kata. The rest of the students were still stretching.

In the first half of the class, Sensei taught us basics. We practiced Dojo Kun and “About Face!” In addition, we learned some steps that would help us when we spar. First, we went into zenkutsu dachi and slid in sanchin dachi without having our feet pass each other. For example, I start in hachiji dachi. I move my left foot in front of me in zenkutsu dachi. I move right foot into sanchin dachi so that my right toes are in line with my left heel. Then, I punched and/or blocked. I mirror myself when I started with my right leg.

Sliding into sanchin dachi was hard for some reason because I would over step my other foot or be right next to it. I had to check if my feet were pointed inside my body like a pigeon. Then, I had to keep my knees bent at all times. I had an easier time going backwards than forwards. One of the guys was having trouble blocking, so I had to stand there with my arm stretched out in a punch. That burned! While Sensei was correcting him, he caught me watching. He yelled at me to look straight and not be happy all the time.

When we added kicks, my concentration flew out the window. I need to work on my kicks because I don’t kick myself when coming back down. Sensei and Captain David yelled me to chamber on the way down. Anyways, I was slow at kicking and combining the steps. Sometimes, I kicked with the wrong foot and my stances were all wrong. A few times, I messed up my blocks or punched at the wrong time. It was terrible!! I think I’m going to take my Ritalin before karate so I can concentrate and don’t make so many mistakes.

During the second part of class, Captain David made up practice FDS. I’m used to his teaching style more than Sensei’s. Captain David corrected me when I did make some mistakes. However, he praised me for a kick. Sensei even praised me when I did the high, middle, and low blocks in a row in FDS.