My Journey Prior to This Blog

Shotokan (traditional Japanese Karate): I started Martial Arts as a college freshman. I progressed through the first three ranks of this style (one test each quarter) and I also compteded in three tournaments.

Through my sophmore and junior years I did not practice Shotokan consistently ( a move to a different twon didn't help much) but I did progress through a few more ranks and attained the first "purple" belt, which is a medium rank.

Jujutsu and Judo My senior year of college and for the next few years I switched to Dan Zan Ryu Jujutsu. I worked out 3 and 4 days a week in this style and attained the first brown belt rank. I competed in several Judo tournaments and was able to win matches via all possible methods: hold-down, arm-bar, choke, and ippon (full point) throw. Shortly after I got married I drifted away from martial arts as I got into windsurfing, two more bouts of grad school, and fatherhood.

Tang Soo Do Flash forward about 10 years. I have three daughters who are now old enough to do some martial arts training. My old Jujutsu Dojo was great, but has no kids classes. I stumble onto a Korean style of martial arts that includes throws and grappling like Jujutsu, but also striking like Shotokan. Most importantly there are family classes. I have now been doing the style for nearly two years. I am nearly ready to test for my second rank, but there are only 4 ranks in this Dojang, so that is actually not a terribly slow progression. However, I am at a point where my previous experience with martial arts and my natural ability are not making up for a lack of time and effort outside of class.

Where to go from here... I need to increase flexibility - especially for kicking. I need to practice outside of class - not just in class. I will journal and try some "40 day practices" to get habits formed.

February 6, 2008

Day 17

The 10 sun salutations are second nature to me now and feel really good. Amy will be teaching me a new form every week or two so I can start adding in more Yoga as part of my warm downs after lifting.

I did legs today. I'm adding weight and sets and really progressing.

Martial Arts
I did all of the red belt list forms fro Tang Soo Do this morning. I'll be attending my first Jujutsu class in about 10 years tonight.

February 5, 2008

Day 16

The 10 sun salutations felt really good today. I should start doing more yoga as a warm down too...

I had a really solid biceps and back workout today. I managed 10 pull-ups at the end as a sort of "blow-out" finish. I had done 6 or 7 in previous days, so I am definitely building some muscle endurance...

Tang Soo Do
I wasn't really that into it this morning, but I did do all forms and kicking sequences.

February 4, 2008

Days 14 and 15

Day 14
I combined legs, back and biceps today to play catch-up from missed days this week. It was an excellent workout. I did the usual yoga warmup and Tang Soo Do warm down.

Day 15

Amy did her own thing to warm up, so I did yoga alone and at my own pace this morning. It was good for me. I really feel improvements in my breathing and pacing.

I have pushed up my bench press by 20 pounds in the middle sets, from the first two weeks. This means I am past the early dip in performance and starting to build. I really pushed it in every other exercise, too. It i san hour later and I have an incredible pump going right now.

Tang Soo Do
I managed to get through all of my forms within two songs on the iPod. I really have eliminated the problem of memorizing moves and now I can easily concentrate on making improvements when I next get feedback. I may be at a cross-roads soon in martial arts. We haven't met formally for nearly a month because we lost our space. On top of that our Kyosanim is thinking about relocating out of town. We'll be trying a new workout space this Thursday. I'v also been thinking about attending some Jujutsu classes at my old Dojo to see how I feel about that.

February 1, 2008

Days 12 and 13

Day Twelve
I was at a conference all day and early, so no workout today.

Day Thirteen
I did the yoga warm up and had an excellent triceps, chest and shoulders workout. I did not have time for Tang Soo Do this morning but I will hit it this afternoon.

January 30, 2008

Days 10 and 11

Day Ten
We had an ice storm. I slept.

Day Eleven
I did the usual yoga and then doubled up my leg workout with biceps and back. I ended up doing supersets of one workout interspersed with the other so that my "rest" time for back was spent doing leg exercises. It was an excellent workout. I didn't have time for Tang Soo Do at the end so I'll have to catch up on that tonight.

January 28, 2008

Day 9 - Beginning a new full week

I was a bit stiff, but my form and cadence are coming along nicely and it felt really good to work through this today.

I had to do a bit less with shoulders today because they got a good workout splitting wood on my day off. However my bench press is back up to starting weight after taking a dip last week, so my muscles are getting past the conditioning phase and will be building next. I really blasted triceps, chest and shoulders today.

Tang Soo Do
I did all forms, spent some time stretching, then did kicking sequences. Today I did forms slowly and thoughtfully. I believe this daily work on the forms has made them second nature in terms of remembering the movements. Overall an excellent workout!

Day 8 - Rest....

Not really though. We went for about a two mile leisurely walk to start the day and then my mom called to ask if I could help her get some firewood. I ended up splitting about a cord of wood with a 16 pound splitting maul.

Day 7

I did Legs today. I really blasted them moving up to four plates on squats and doing four sets. The yoga prelude and Tang Soo Do warm down went well too, but I skipped kicking forms for the wramdown since my legs were a bit shaky.

January 25, 2008

Day 6... Third time for Biceps / Back

I am really concentrating on lengthening my muscles and breathing during the 10 Sun Salutations. I've got the motions down now so I can work on the best form. It seems to really be helping warm me up and stretch me out.

The first day I worked out I did a light workout all over my body, then I had a day off then I got into my twice a week routine, so this is the 3rd time I've done biceps and back. I got a great pump going and felt really good.

Tang Soo Do
I managed to get through all Hyung and Sol Ch Gi in about two songs today, so less than 8 minutes. It was good cardio. Then I went back and worked on Pyung Ahn Sa Dan several times paying attention to principles from the last feedback I got in class. If I can do this each day with a different form or kicking sequence, then I am really going to be ahead of the game on those and able to use my Tang Soo do time to concentrate on other things such as the Il Soo Shik and kicking. I will be setting aside time specifically to do that sort of thing a few times a week now that I am established in my daily routine. Tomorrow afternoon will be the first such opportunity.

January 24, 2008

Day 5

I did my usual: 10 Sun Salutations, 40 minutes of weights for Chest, Triceps, and Shoulders today, and 15 minutes of Tang Soo Do.

I definitely need to add more time in the evening for Tang Soo Do, but it has been great for me to just run through my whole list of forms and kicking sequences at a rapid pace each day as a warm down. I was suprisingly limber in the lower body today considering I did legs yesterday. I think the yoga is helping. I need to iron out a couple of the finer points in some of my forms, and I need to run through the Il Soo Shik and other things on my list, but all in all I have been putting in some quality time and effort.

January 23, 2008

Day 4...

This was the end of my second cycle on every muscle. I am past the initial soreness, but I really pushed it today...

I started out with 10 Sun Salutations. The Yoga is really a great warmup and stretch all in one.
Next I did squats, followed by leg curls, extensions, and calf raises.
Finally I did all of my forms - not kicking sequences, though. Too risky on a heavy lifting leg day. I ran out of time to do any more Tang Soo Do, but I will stretch and do some more tonight. Good day.

January 22, 2008

40 Days of Tang Soo Do and Overall Workout Day 3

I've begun a new regime that includes weights and cardio plus Tang Soo Do.

Day One was Saturday. I did an all over body weight workout, then I went through stretching and forms.
Day two was Monday. I did triceps, chest shoulders and stomach weights. Next I did forms. I finished with some basketball and stretching.

Day Three was today. From now on I am doing 10 Sun Salutations to start off with warmup and stretching all in one. That really worked for me today. Then I did biceps and back. I ended the workout with forms and kicking forms. After tomorrow I will have two cycles of weight lifting on every muscle and I am definitely getting past the initial burn of getting back into lifting after a long layoff.

December 20, 2007

DAY ONE New 40 Day Practice

OK, the tournament has been behind me for over a week. Now the next challenge is my next belt exam. So here is what I will be doing:

Every Day: Stretch.
Every Day: Pick one aspect of testing and work it to some extent by reading my notebook in the AM, messing around and thinking about it during the day, and setting aside some time to do it. During stretching the night before might be a good time to do this.

Lessons from Tuesday practice:
I've been messing up some aspects of Pyung Ahn Sa Dan and need to re-write my notebook on that. A few specifics: when I retract my hands to the stacked and coiled position at my hip I need that action to be more direct and like a joint break, not large and sweeping away from the body. Also, the first kyup move has the retracted hand at the waste, not augmenting the strike / block.

December 15, 2007

Thursday December 13th Class

Kicking... lots of spinning tonight and the usual binding of my hips due to a lack of flexibility. However, a combination of stepping forward and then spinning seemed to break my hips loose a little bit, so I think there is some dynamic happening that ought to be correctable (in addition to a very real lack of flexibility that can be resolved by stretching more frequently). Maybe I should take some video of my kicking from a few angles and then compare it to the Kyosanim's kicking and/or have him analyze it with me...

It was a good class. Hard workout and fun, just still this nagging binding when I do certain things that seems to really limit me.

December 13, 2007

Tuesday Night Practice

We did forms and kicking forms to start class. I need to improve my precision and get looser in the hips to allow my hips to initiate the motion for my techniques. I also need to improve my targeting so that I am on a more solid line with my techniques. I'll try slowing everything down fo a while then speeding it back up once I feel I have the precision and loose hips thing better. This will also allow me to work on being dynamic with relaxation between each technique, which is something I've continued to work on from previous feedback.

My skipping, jumping and spinning kicks are a mixed bag. Roundhouse kicks are great for me until I pull back the toes and use the ball of my foot. That changes the dynamic somehow and makes my hips bind. Also I think because I am better at using the top of my foot and enjoy slamming the kicking bag with it, I have formed a bad habit of always spinning through my roundhouse kicks. I need to practice more recoil. This is all tied back to flexibility in my hips, too.

I will work through the hip thing as a casual exercise throughout the day for the next several days whenever I have an opportunity. I'll formally stretch evenings while I watch TV. Then I'll set aside time to work through the forms with this in mind.