Tuesday, 20 April 2010


I am currently reading the book "Musashi" about the life & times of Miyamoto Mushashi - the greatest Samurai that ever lived.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Resting injuries

About 3 weeks ago, I felt a strain in my left calf muscle. Did I rest it? No. I was so happy to be in the groove with my running and training that I ignored it. 1 week later and I felt the strain again. In fact it stopped me from going for my run - I had only jogged 100 metres when the pain was too much and I had to turn-around and walk home.

So, for the past 2 weeks I've rested it. No running and very limited running during karate training sessions. Yesterday morning and this morning I was back to my daily 1.5 mile run! Excellent. I'm really pleased that I rested it. I'm also very pleased that I was able to get back to running 1.5 miles without any stopping. Now, back to building this up to 2.5 miles, then 3.3 miles, etc.... until I'm up to 5 miles.

Curse those injuries!

Friday, 5 March 2010

Training update

I currently have a pulled muscle in my calf. It went during the warm up last Friday (but, it had gone previously to that). So, as it's been recurring I haven't done any training for a week. I'll go back tonight but, I won't do any jogging.

This has put a big hole in my training! Grrr!

Anyway, it's the 2nd grading of my students this Sunday - so I need to focus my attention on that.

Karate & Ki by Kenji Ushiro Sensei cont'd

The book arrived on Wednesday and I have almost read through it.

I really like his use of riding a bike as a metaphor - did you ever know anyone who knew how to ride a bike as a result of reading about it? No - you have to do it (and fall off a few times probably). But, then it is ingrained, intuitive, automatic, subconscious.

(A bit ironic writing a book about that subject :-)

His book has helped me make sense of a number of concepts that I have read about in classic martial arts books like "the unfettered mind", "book of five rings", "the life giving sword".

Friday, 26 February 2010

Karate & Ki by Kenji Ushiro Sensei

I have always been interested in Ki energy - particularly from the point of view of penetrating your opponents mind and making them fear you - so that you don't have to fight.

Last night, I found some articles by Tenji Ushiro Sensei on the Internet. Absolutely brilliant! I practiced applying what he was talking about and I believe I made a breakthrough.

Looking forward to testing it in tonight's training session.

I have ordered his book & I can't wait for it to arrive.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

There is no growth in comfort

Do you feel that your fitness level has slipped? And, you find yourself putting off getting back to that level. Because you want to go straight back to that level but, you know that just going straight back to that level won't work!?!

This was me about a month ago. Here's how I fixed this problem.

I tell people, and tell myself that the way is to take small baby steps. Build up the confidence level in what you're doing slowly - this confidence helps you progress to the next level. Be patient.

So, I decided to go for a short run every morning. Luckily, there is a 20 minute window in my morning routine. I get up & immediately put my running kit on. I then go and wake everyone else up and make the breakfasts. Once everyone is out of the house, I go for a short run (1.5 miles). It takes me about 15 minutes.

After 2 weeks of doing this Monday - Friday, I decided to take on my 2.5 mile route. It felt great! The regular 2 weeks of doing the short run had re-invograted my fitness. Not only did I complete the 2.5 mile route without stopping, it actually felt great doing it!

Just last weekend, after 3 weeks, I had a go at pushing myself to do a 3.3 mile route. It was hard, I had to push myself through it. Kept saying to myself "there's no growth in comfort". But I made it and felt fantastic.

Being patient and building my fitness up slowly has really paid off.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Mixed Sport Training

Today, my sons football teams were playing. I like to run the line for their teams. There are several reasons for this:-

1, the top most reason is because I can't shout at them if I'm running the line. I have to keep my mouth shut and this lets them get on and do their sport without their Dad interfering. I'm guarding against impetuous courage.

2, I get a work out. Those 16 year olds can run fast - very, very fast. Keeping up with them, or attempting to keep up with them is an excellent sprint based work out (perfect for martial arts training).

3, I get to be "involved" with my kids sports. I get to feel what they're going through, to a certain degree. And we have lots to chat about as a result.

We had 2 matches today - one in the morning, one in the afternoon. I ran the line for my youngest son's team in the morning; but, not for the game in the afternoon. Therefore, I went for a 2.5 mile run in the evening, just before I made tea.

Did the usual situps & pushups afterwards.

Thursday, 21 January 2010


Run, Karate, Run.

1st run went very well. No problem jogging out to the open air dojo.
Karate - Heian Sandan 3 times over. The first run through I was not properly engaged. It was just like doing Aerobics. The second run through had more spirit felt better but, the spirit was not in my hara. The third run through was spot on. My fighting spirit was generated from my hara. The kata felt really good. Then, I went through my tokui kata and that felt good too.
2nd run back was full of stops & starts. :-(

I was pleased with the training, particularly as the kata training went well. I find that training in the open air is not the same as training in a dojo hall but, you have to let that go. You have to ignore those differences, which it is possible to do, if you remember that the training is all about you and your inner self.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Training at home

There has been a big snow fall in the UK. All the schools in Milton Keynes were shut yesterday & today. I didn't go in to work, instead I logged in from home & worked.

Yesterday evening I managed to do some training in the hall way (it has a wooden floor but is very small) of my house.
All kihon basics (except the kicks).
Nijushiho - broke it down in to smaller chunks to fit the space. Worked on executing the techniques faster and cleaner. Did 3 sets of the kekomi kicks, with ankle weights on.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


Run + Karate + Run
Run - good, didn't stop, added some determination to make it.
Karate - 5 x Kihon (not enough & didn't put enough spirit into each move); Heian Nidan; Nijushiho.
Run - poor, lots of walking.

On the run back I had mixed feelings. My knee was hurting from a slip in the karate training; I was telling myself I wasn't yet fit enough to get all the way back; I was not as determined to run all the way back as I was to run all the way out; etc... Lots of sabotaging thoughts. So, I set myself mini goals & tried to exceed them. E.g. "Just keep going until the next lamp-post" and when I got to the next lamp-post I asked myself if I could just keep going until the "next lamp-post"?

Using this technique I was able to push myself more and do more running on the way back.

I remember being told at a Karate club I visited in Basel, Switzerland, that the meaning of training is to "do as much as you think you can do - and then do just a little bit more."

First club grading

Just before Christmas, December 13th 2009 to be precise, 11 of my students went for their first grading and they all passed. A few days before that grading, I caught myself feeling nervous for them when I was thinking about their grading. You really find yourself getting emotionally attached to the students.

Last night we started back at the Cold Harbour Karate Club after the Christmas break and it was open for 2 hours (before then it was only open for 1 hour). Another milestone in the history of the club reached. I was very pleased that almost all of the students turned up to train for the full 2 hours. That additional time really helps because I feel I have more time to go in to more depth with the students on subjects like "kime".

I have been doing my own training over Christmas. I have got back in to jogging and sit ups/press ups. Also a bit of kihon training. My training has been on and off quite a bit for the past 2 months. Now is the time to focus on a tighter training schedule and get myself fit for the February tournament.