So much to do

If you're reading this, my apologies for not posting sooner. You may have guessed I'm a busy guy. Needless to say, I've passed the big goal and have my 3rd Degree Black Belt. Now I have my sights set on Japan. Watashi-wa Nihon-go ga sukoshi wakari-masu. I'd been looking at Iaido, but since I read Autumn Lightning by Dave Lowry I'm a changed man. Kenjutsu all the way!

I'll explain why but first a little Fighting Philosophy:
Kung Fu and other Chinese martial arts are very flowing, rapid striking arts with lots of circular movement.
Shotokan and other Japanese martial arts are very rigid and powerful. Linear arts with the 'one punch one kill' philosophy. Block and strike, done.
Kenpo combines these two philosophies, circular and linear. One punch should end the fight, but if it doesn't, I have a follow up. I stay standing and my stance is very important (as opposed to grappling on the ground, where the attacker's friends may easily kick me). I'm trained to defend against multiple attackers, in a modern setting, with modern weapons: clubs, knives, guns.

I want significantly different motion, but not a philosophy change.
Iaido is a beautiful, serious art based on the most efficient draw of the sword. But again it seems to be perry strike done. It goes so far as to include cleaning the blade after your strike. Where is the follow up? Where is the margin for error? What about multiple attackers?
For these reasons I will seek out Kenjutsu.



I passed my test! I'll be promoted to 3rd Degree Black Belt!


Official News

My whole team passed! Yay Black Belts! Jacob Passed! I'm so proud!

I still don't know when my test is. I'm avoiding potential knee problems by not biking. Wish me luck!


With the end in sight

Last group test was [Saturday]. My team passed the physical, and may be the first team to pass all at once, the first time. We certainly worked hard for it.

Before class I presented Ms. B___ with flowers, as thanks for being our leader. The other teachers pitched in. She was touched.

This birth to black belt was not without pain. Donald left, right at the end of the test, with a broken, bloody nose.

Blood, sweat, and tears.

We're all lucky it was at the end, not during the test. He'll be fine, he's broken his nose before. Mr. K___ set it.

It was a mass attack scene: everyone fighting everyone. We were all in control, though. I saw Donald on the ground, facing away from me. I gave him a kick from behind that sent him forward. Not hard, a push. I suspect he reached for the ground, and did not see Tim kicking at him. I saw the look of horror on Tim's face when the kick connected at a higher speed than he had expected. "I felt his nose break." Tim looked sick. I know just how he feels.

There was a mess, and a cleanup, and everyone is ok.

And, I think, everyone passed.

I have one more test to go. The big, scary test. Then I'll be a 3rd degree black belt.


When is my test?

As I prepared for this incredible Once In A Lifetime test, I never thought to ask what day it would be. I practiced everything, and was ready every day.
People seemed amazed that I didn't know when it would happen. I didn't have an answer to this quandary, nor an argument for why I shouldn't care.
So I asked. Twice.

In retrospect this was, of course, a mistake. As Mr. Kimbal told me, "you don't want to know." The anticipation will kill you.
I had the right answer, you see: be ready now. Be a 3rd already. It shouldn't matter when the test is, if I'm already a 3rd the teachers will undoubtedly see it in me. But now I have my argument for the people who ask. I don't know, I don't care, I should be ready every day.
Now I have an idea when the test is, but recognize where my practice is lacking. Will practice tonight.

Repetition is memorization. I am a 3rd, undoubtedly.


Step Exam


2 more test before 3rd Degree Black Belt.


Second Test

Little Jacob ran his best ever last weekend, and if he does that again Saturday, he'll pass the second test. The whole team is rooting for him.

I had the idea to split the team into pairs, and it worked wonderfully. All but one group caught on immediately. It was poetry. Now we're all working together!

I have two tests this week at the karate studio:
  • Saturday is the second test for 3rd black. There is a third test in five weeks, followed by the final test before Mr. White and other high level black belts on the board of directors. That is the wholly comprehensive test. Yes, they do mean EVERYTHING.
  • Thursday is a regular step exam. 6 techniques, stick work, and form 6.
Yesterday I ran all 14 techniques (8 for the test, 6 for the step exam). As a warmup, we did 460 straight punches, 138 front kicks, and 115 pushups!

Today I worked out:
25 pullups (sets of ten)
100 crunches, while cycling legs.
50 pushups
The Staff Set
Form 6