Friday, 24 October 2014

Mojo: Unearthed.

There seems to have been some karate mojo unearthed around here.

A hint of a karate pulse.

I made the decision that I needed to run with it. It's been absent way too long. Waned way too much. Rule #1 Work with what you've got.

I've made it to the dojo three times in the last seven days. Eight if I get there tonight as planned. I can feel the excitement of karate study returning.

I'm re-reading this:

Living the Martial Way

Which always serves to perk the karate neurons up and I've ordered a couple of other martial arts related books in an attempt to keep the mojo flowing.

From my recent training sessions I've identified quite a number of areas I need to work on (not all specifically karate related):

1) Posture.

My posture is officially appalling. I spend 90% of my working day sitting at a desk (badly!) which results in extremely short hamstrings and a very flat back. I've been making a conscious effort to improve my posture in all things (sitting, walking, even sitting in seiza). Obviously it's not something to improve overnight but I'm hoping being more aware of it will eventually make an impact.

2) Flexibility.

Again, pretty appalling. Partly I think this is linked in with the posture. Bad posture leads to short hamstrings which leads to poor flexibility. I'm going to try to incorporate some stretching exercises. I bought this book a couple of years ago which has some great techinques targeted for martial artists so that will be getting a revisit:

Ultimate Flexibility

3) Stances.

Again, born out of the first two issues, some of my stances need some work. Not really my more grounded stances (Kiba dachi, shiko dachi, sanchin dachi) but the more mobile stances (neko ashi dachi, kokutso dachi) which much pressure more specifically on one knee need some work. My left knee is pretty weak at the moment and is the one that consistently gives me the most problems.

4) Kata.

The majority of my Kyu kata are good and strong. My Bassai Dai (as ever) needs work. What is it about that kata that plagues me so? I also need to work on improving my Shodan kata (Sanseru and Sepai) before I even think about continuing work on my first Nidan kata.

It's a quite a list to work on which could probably feel like a negative, but it's not all bad. My basics are strong still (hurrah for many hours of kihon!), my understanding of principles is still there (lurking in the fog of my karate brain). I'm still able to think with a karate mindset.

So, whilst it's been a while, clearly all is not lost.

Sincerely hoping the karate pulse continues to beat for a long time to come.


Monday, 7 July 2014


Feels a bit like that round here, doesn't it? I can't believe it's been over a year since I posted on here. I feel a bit like an imposter on my own blog! What's that all about? Weird.

Well, it has been a year, and what a hell of a year it's been. If you read my other blog then you'll know that sadly my little brother never did make it home from the hospital after his battle with Pneumonia. His body just wasn't strong enough to fight it (one of the issues his Downs Syndrome caused was a weaken heart and small airways). He passed away June 16th last year.

Coming so soon (a little over a year) after the loss of my Mum Ste's death really hit me hard. At first I just battled on through with little time given to myself to grieve. Ultimately that did me no favours in the long run and eventually things just caught up with me and I just had to give up for a little while and let all the plates stop spinning.

It had a huge impact on my time in the dojo (which became pretty much non-existent after a while).

I did manage to make it back to training for a few weeks before Christmas last year then my husband's work schedule had a dramatic change. He was working much further away from home and much longer hours meaning he was rarely back in the house before 8pm (thereby not giving me time to get to the dojo because of the kids).

I did manage to make it to the Dojo for a multi-disciplinary event in April. Other than that I can probably count without taking my shoes off the number of times I've set foot in the dojo this past year.

How did that happen?

How did I become "that person"?

You know, the one who trains years to be a black belt and then never dons the thing again. I really didn't want for that to be me.

So, one thing or another has stuck it's stupid spanner in the working of my training for the past year. Between bereavement and depression and injury (still struggling with my stupid decrepit knees and seem to be sporting some nice RSI/Carpal tunnel action in my right wrist) and work schedules and downright lazy-arsedness I've been nothing short of hopeless. One of my favourite sayings in the past has been "Excuses are like arseholes....everyone's got one". At the moment it seems I've got more arseholes than a Westboro Baptist revival!

Time to give myself a kick up the proverbial. I need motivation. I need commitment. I need conviction. I need to get myself back in the dojo before I've forgotten everything I spent 4.5 years cramming into my tiny noggin!

Senior class is 7.30 today. Ewan has a party till 7.30. Kendo is coming to relieve me from party duty early so I can get to class. I will make this work!

Once more into the karate tinted breech!


© Cookie Family Karate
Maira Gall