Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My top ten posts...

I wondered if you might be interested to know what my top ten blog posts of all time were?  ‘Of all time’ goes back to when this blog started in February 2009. In that time I have published 260 posts (including this one) but certain ones remain popular even though they may have been written months or even years ago.  In fact five of my all time top ten posts are still currently in my ‘this week’ top ten as well, so clearly those subjects grabbed you for some reason.  So here’s my top ten, in reverse order:

10. Martial arts – a balancing act (Published 14th Janurary 2011)

In this post I discussed my own problems with maintaining balance sometimes and looked at the physiology behind balance. I then looked at how these balance principles apply to martial arts and what you can do to improve your own balance issues. I’m still very mindful of these balance principles when I am doing karate and my balance is much improved now -always room for improvement though ;-)

9. Muscle Memory – it’s all in the mind! (Published 3rd February 2011)

This post was designed to dispel a few myths about muscle memory. I wrote about disliking the term ‘muscle memory’ preferring the more accurate term ‘motor memory’. I then tried to explain the best I could the physiology behind motor memory and how we produce motor maps in our brains that help us to unconsciously execute complex motor movements such as martial arts moves. My main point was to explain that the muscle/motor memory resides in the brain not the muscles!

8. Six things I’m looking forward to post black belt (Published 27th January 2011)

I wrote this post 6 months before I took my black belt grading as part of my black belt preparations. I was aware from other bloggers that many people suffer the ‘black belt blues’ after achieving there shodan grading and I wanted to avoid this. I felt that having some kind of plan or post black belt objectives to think about may help to prevent that ‘anti-climax’ feeling that some people get. All I can say is 17 months after achieving my black belt I have not at any time felt like giving up or felt rudderless or directionless in any way – and yes, I have been enjoying those 6 things I wrote about in this post.  A good job really because the prospect of Nidan grading is raising its head at me in 7 months time!

7. Teaching karate to young children. (Published 6th July 2010)

Wow! Has a lot of water gone under the bridge since I wrote this post. Back then I was a brown belt student helping out in class to gain teaching experience for when I could take my instructor’s certificate post black belt. I now have many hours of teaching experience with kids in after school karate clubs. I still find it rewarding and sometimes frustrating and I’m still always looking for new ideas to motivate and teach kids – it’s all definitely a challenge still!

6. How much did your black belt cost? (Published 19th April 2012 – still in this week’s top ten)

I wrote this post after reading about how some martial arts schools really exploit their students and overcharge them or tie them into extortionate contracts. I decided to work out how much it had actually cost to get from white belt to black belt in terms of class fees, licence fees, grading fees, equipment, course etc. I calculated that it had cost me £1577 over 4 years to get my black belt or £7.58 per week! I concluded that this was good value for money.

5. The black belt grading – an observer’s view. (Published 30th November 2010)

Six months before I took my own black belt grading I partnered one of our teenage girls for hers. This gave me an opportunity to have a sneak preview of what to expect for my grading – there’s always method in my madness! I wrote a report about the day which has proven to be very popular.

4. Barefoot care. (Published 21st September 2010 – still in this week’s top ten)

I wrote this foot care guide because I was getting problems with my own feet – mainly cramps, blisters and cracked skin on my the underside of my toes from friction on the hard training floor. I presume this post is so popular because it appeals to people, other than martial artists who also train barefoot or just suffer from foot problems in general. I must confess that I don’t do everything that I mention in the guide but I think my feet are a little stronger now, though I still get the occasional blister!

3. Why do we…. sit in Seiza? (Published 14th July 2009 – still in this week’s top ten)

This was one of 8 ‘Why do we……’ articles that I wrote and has proven to be the most popular. I was fascinated with the traditions and rituals that surround traditional martial arts and decided to try and research the origins and meanings of them. I still really value the opening and closing seated bow ceremonies that we practice in our club and teach it to all my children’s after school clubs.  All the kids seem to like it too.

2. Ikebana and Martial Arts – a shared philosophy. (Published 3rd December 2009 – still in this week’s top ten)

As part of my learning to understand budo I went through a phase of learning about other Japanese Ways including Ikebana (Japanese flower arranging or The Way of flowers). Reading about Ikebana I was amazed at how similar the philosophy was to that of budo and so wrote a post about the subject. It is still very popular and remains in my weekly top ten posts every week.
Okay, so now for my top post of all time. I can’t, in fact, take the credit for this post because it was actually written by several of my readers – I just edited and compiled the information you gave me – so give yourselves a bit pat on the back because you hold the number one position in my top ten posts of all time:

1. The World Guide to Passing Your Black Belt Test. (Published 16th November 2010 – still in this week’s top ten)

This guide resulted from me asking my readers for any tips they had that would help me to prepare for my black belt test. I was so overwhelmed with the response that I got that I decided to compile all the tips into a guide that others could also use giving credit (and a link) to every contributor. It has been phenomenally popular, receiving at least 1000 more hits that the number 2 post! I sincerely hope that all the contributors to this guide who received a link to their own blog/website continue to get as much traffic via this post as I receive from it.

Well that’s it; my top ten posts of all time. I hope you enjoyed reading it and a big thank you to all of you who continue to read this blog and especially those who take the time and trouble to leave me a comment.

Happy blogging!


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