Friday, 23 March 2012

My Martial Art Aims for 2012...a progress report

What's your New Years Resolution?,

At the beginning of the year I wrote a post outlining my Martial Arts aims for 2012. Just to show that I’m not ‘all mouth and no trousers’, as they say, and to keep me focused on achieving these aims, I thought I’d write you a progress report….

We are now a quarter of the way through 2012 so hopefully I have made some progress with my aims. Here’s a recap on what I wanted to achieve and how it’s going so far….

1.       To improve personal fitness and overcome a repetitive shoulder injury:
I had planned to produce a personal fitness programme to work on at home because this worked quite well for me when I was training for my black belt grading. However, despite buying a couple of kickboxing workout DVDs (which I thought would be a fun way of working out) I haven’t really got very far with this. I could make 101 excuses why I haven’t got a fitness programme worked out but that’s all they’ll be – excuses. Anyway, my job finishes next week and I’m going to have a lot more time on my hands so I will definitely get to grips with this aim for the next quarter of the year!

Just because I haven’t got my act together at home doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on my fitness. Oh no! Sensei seems to be on a mission to get us all fitter so we have been doing a lot of fitness drills and exercises during classes. We have a regular fitness binge at the beginning of class with push ups, sit ups, burpees, straight leg raises, squats, lunges, planks etc. So all is not lost with my personal fitness aim…..

Talking about doing push ups, they are a real problem for me at the moment because of this dratted shoulder injury. I have been receiving physiotherapy for several weeks now and things are improving, slowly but surely. Apparently, due to the initial injury (probably rotational cuff injury) I have been allowing my shoulder to roll forward to compensate and reduce the pain. This has resulted in the muscles in my shoulder blades not working properly and my right shoulder blade is misaligned and weak. I have been working on some exercises to correct this and things have improved. However, after a heavy punching or throwing session my shoulder is throbbing and the muscles leading up to my neck and down the right side of my spine are knotted and tender. Definitely a work in progress this one…

2.       To continue to develop and improve martial arts skills:
I think I have only missed one karate class and a couple of kobudo classes this year, so not a bad record. We have also had a couple of ‘higher grade’ classes for black and brown belts. About 8 – 10 of us have attended these and we have covered some pressure point techniques and some wave form striking techniques. Having covered them in some detail during these classes we are now looking at how they can be applied in bunkai. I wasn’t too keen on wave form striking the first time I met it, read this post, but now I am much more amenable to its merits and how it fits into the bigger picture.

I graded successfully last week in kobudo with the nunchuku, so now I will be back training with the bo for a few months and probably the bokken as well (I love the bokken!)

I have also attended a regional kobudo course. This was very interesting, not to mention painful! We learnt some nasty wrist and ankle throws using a sai, ouch! Did some bo fighting, great fun, and learned a battlefield signalling kata with a tessan (fan). I loved learning that kata and what all the signals meant – I’d definitely like to take up the tessen as one of my weapons.

My karate instructor also put on a kobudo seminar recently.  He went out to Okinawa last summer to train in kobudo with Hokama Sensei and is now teaching us some Okinawan bo and nuchuku kata. This was an interesting experience because the Okinawan way of teaching kobudo is very different to the Japanese way, particularly when taught in a jujitsu club – see my recent post: What exactly is kobudo?

For later in the year our club is planning its first gashaku (training camp) which should be fun. As well as karate training we will be free to take part in other pursuits available at the camp site such as archery, swimming, climbing etc. There will also be lots of socialising and BBQs so let’s hope the British weather doesn’t let us down!

3.       To improve teaching and leadership skills…
This is probably the aim that I have made most progress on so far. The sports leadership award course that I wanted to do hasn’t happened yet because there aren’t enough people in my area wanting to do it so the organisers have told me to enquire again later in the year.

However, I have done a lot of teaching – independently. I ran a 6 week after school karate class for 4-7 year olds at a local primary school which seemed to go okay. Most of the kids were great and made good progress in the time they had. One or two expressed an interest in carrying on with it so hopefully we will see them at the club. Discipline issues remained a problem with a couple of the boys and I tried various tactics to sort them out. I really need to reflect on these classes so that I can improve them for the next time we run such a course, which hopefully will be after Easter.

In fact my sensei and I went into a local primary school last Wednesday to do a karate demonstration and talk to enthuse the kids. We just need to wait and see how many are interested in coming along to an after school club now.

I also went along to my first Instructors training course in January. That was interesting experience training with all the senior instructors from our organisation – I definitely felt like the new girl! However it was a chance to learn firsthand all the changes that are happening to our syllabus which are quite exciting.

Looking back, it feels that I am fairly on track with achieving my martial arts aims for 2012. Of course there is no real endpoint to achieving these aims but I find that writing things down really helps me to stay focused and on track.

My latest venture is setting up a martial arts library for the kids in our club but more on that later…..

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Rick Matz said...

Great goals! Even if you fall short, at the end of the day you will have achieved much.

SenseiMattKlein said...

Those are some worthwhile goals Sue. It is extremely hard to stay consistently healthy. Seems like all the body parts just take turns acting up, at least in my case.

Nevertheless, with the right mindset, you will achieve all of them, I have no doubt. Staying fit and learning new things are at the top of my list as well. Best of luck.

John Coles said...

Improve teaching skills.

Check out 'The Positive Coach Mental Model'. Google it and you should find a copy of it. It shows a way of teaching is designed to teach in such a way as to improve character.

Also check out ARCS Motivational Model of Teaching. Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Satisfaction.

Sue C said...

Hi Rick, progress is generally in a forward direction even if some things don't happen as expected!

Matt, Thanks! I just tend to keep going regardless of niggles, pains and set backs. Life's too short to keep taking breaks!

John, thanks for the links. I've managed to find them both and bookmarked them for later!

Saundra Tosh said...

I'm glad that you’re getting better now, Susy. :) As much as possible, it's better to avoid engaging in close combat practice when you're injured. It could be dangerous. By the way, I would love to witness this Gashaku Training camp. I hope you post something about it. With this, I bet more people will have a deeper knowledge about Martial Arts.

Sue C said...

Thanks Sandra. I'll definitely post about the gashaku - it's only a couple of weeks away now, I'm really looking forward to it...


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