fredag 28 december 2012

Belt exams, part 2

On December 12 and 13 our club had belt exams for children, and youth and grown ups respectively. Both days had really strong exams and everyone got new belts. Though we had to put restrictions on some of the youths, telling them they either had to wait a year for their next exam or that us instructors have t give them permission.

Never the less I’m really proud of my students and they have all progressed and I can see that they are growing in to their belts and showing more respect the older and higher belts they get.

On December 18 it was time for our three blue belts for their brown belt exam in Vågsbygd KK. One had to withdraw as he still has continuous problems with one of his lower legs.

The other two did their best during the exam. They were both nervous both before and during the exam, and it didn’t really help that they got a couple surprise techniques during the kihon part. Their kata looked better, and more like they do it during training and both stood their ground during the kumite.

Sadly, due to their stances and lack of hip movements, they didn’t make it to 1st kyu. Afterwards they both had very insightful things to say, and they weren’t let down. And for that I’m very proud of both of my good karateka friends.

Afterwards we decided to have a couple of debrief burgers, and we shared some stories and laughs before the Christmas Holidays started. A belt is in the end just a belt, and what matters is if you have fun during training and enjoy the company.

tisdag 11 december 2012

Belt exams!

This week it's time for our karatekas to show us what they have learned the past semester. I'm starting to get nervous myself! Will our lovely students pass and get a higher belt? Have we trained on all the essential things this semester?

When I first started as an instructor I trained beginners once a week for one year. Now I'm instructing the youths in our club for an hour every Thursday. It's a really nice gang of kids with a lot of energy, and I hope all of them do their very best on the exam on Thursday!

My best friend is also having her first belt exam, and I know she is plenty nervous. But she has all our support and I know she will do well!

We also have three blue belts that are going up to 1st kyu. They will do this in our mother club in Kristiansand (Vågsbygd KK) Tuesday next week. Me and a few others from the club are going over there to show our support.

After their exam there is the black belt exam. This is the last black belt exam I will be able to see before my own exam this summer, so will be a good opportunity to see what type of techniques and level I can expect!

I'm wishing all who are going up for their next belt good luck and "ganbatte"!


Picture by: Eivor Mathilde

torsdag 22 november 2012

Regional Championship, South

Last weekend our club arranged a regional competition with over 50 starters. Many of the close by clubs participated, but we also had a club from Oslo shine with its presence.

Our club contributed with four judges, three karatekas and our sensei as coach. Our karatekas started in four classes, three kumite and one kata, and got medals in every class!

The day started early for us, laying out the mats, fixing spots for the secretaries to sit, rigging up the sound etcetera. But we managed to have it up and going a little after 10 am. Me and sempai sat in the registration to check all participants off the list and check their weight. It was not an easy job as our lists were not in a particularly good order. But we made it work.

Not only did we get karatekas from Oslo, we also had two referees join our ranks. It was really great to have so many experienced referees help out, and us new got some more tips to further improve our judge-skills.

The competition started off with kata on both mats. Most of the times there was a clear winner, but we had one bout that was really close. It ended 3-2 in favour of Aka. Even the experienced referees/judges said it was a close call.

After lunch we continued with the kumite. We had some exciting bouts here as well, not least the ones with our own clubs participants! They all did great, and deserved their shiny medals!

The atmosphere in the hall was really great, and you could feel the positivity everywhere. It seems like everyone had a great day, and our club is really proud with all the effort everyone had put in. I hope to see many more participants next time we arrange a competition, not least from Oslo and Stavanger!


Picture by: Maren H. Øvsthus and Sofia Danielsson

söndag 18 november 2012

My strength program!

For once I'm remembering to post my new exercise routine. As I said in the "Chiropractor visit" post, I need to focus more on training my hamstrings and glutes. So I've found two exercises that seems ideal for this, the Goblet Chair Squat and the Bridge exercise. Down below you can see my new routine and also a small description explaining each exercise or linking to a video that describes the exercise.

Exercise Reps x Set Explanation
Goblet Chair Squat 10x4 See video.
Bridge exercise 10x4 I do this with my feet up on a chair. See video.
Foot lift 10x3 Stand on one foot, and lift yourself up on the ball of the foot slowly.
Triceps dip 10x4 There's a quick clip showing the triceps dip done with a chair in this video.
Corkscrew 8x3 I'm doing this exercise with a 2kg dumbbell. See video.
Seated row 12x4 Using an Exertube around my feet, pulling my arms in with elbows close to the body.
Back lifts series 12/erxercise Lifting upper body, lifting legs, lifting both upper body and legs, and last lifting opposite arm and leg. See video.
Oblique exercises 20/exercise
or
12x4
I switch these up depending what I feel like doing that day. Taking my inspiration from these videos:
Video 1
Video 2
Lower abs exercise 20 Lying on my back with feet up towards the ceiling, kicking my feet up. See video.


I will do the full program every Sunday, and then some chosen exercises between karate training days depending what muscles are sore that day.

During the summer I took pictures to follow my progress, but have during the autumn forgotten to do this. I took pictures today and will try to do it every other week. Time to start getting serious about progress again!

torsdag 15 november 2012

SKAN training session, and bunkai seminar

Sunday 11/11 all of the Shorin Ryu clubs around the area met up in Søgne for some kata and competition training

We started off with a warm up, and then divided us up in different kata groups. One for the Pinan katas, one for Bassai Dai and Sho, one for the Naihanchin katas, and the last for the higher up katas. As I'm going for black belt next summer I focused on Bassai and Naihanchin katas. I'm starting to get hang of Bassai Sho, but still hesitate on some turnings and techniques. I just have to practice it more often!

After lunch we put down some mats and us judges changed to our judge/referee clothes. As our club is arranging a regional competition now on Saturday I think the practice was much appreciated.

We started off with kata, followed by kumite. All the participants got some helpful tips after each round. Since this was really casual, we also gave some tips in the middle of the bouts, telling the karateka why we gave points or penalties etc.

Afterwards I got to talking with Andre Petersen who is planning to start up a training seminar for instructors that will focus on bunkai ala Iain Abernethy. If you don't know who Iain is, look him up on youtube or his webpage.

The whole thing is just on a planning stage, but will be very good and interesting when it gets up in full swing!


Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

söndag 11 november 2012

Chiropractor visit

Since the end of last year the club has been in contact with the local chiropractor I've been going to for fixing my hips. She's been visiting our dojo a couple of times and giving us pointers on what we can improve on in terms of posture, strength and balance training. Last week she came for a revisit to see our progress and give us another nudge in the right direction.

She was pleased to see that we had improved since last visit, but emphasised the use of the short foot technique and making use of the core muscles for stability. I think it's something everyone in the club can improve on.

When visiting she took the time to give some improvement pointers individually to our karatekas, and it seems to have been very much appreciated!

From not having any sway in my lower back a year ago, I now have too much (as you can see in the picture). I've been working so hard on my posture it has now gone the other way! To improve this I have to engage my core more than I do. Also still training my abs and back is essential for this improvement.

She also noticed that my hamstrings aren't as strong as they should be. So I'm switching up my strength exercises and focusing on hamstrings and glutes for my legs for a bit.

And on that note, I know I've been slacking off on my strength training the past month. It's mostly due to being sick/recovering almost whole September, starting a new more physically demanding job, and being generally busy during the weekends. I just have to get started again and do some exercises in between karate training days.

I don't think I've become weaker since summer ended, but I also haven't become stronger.

It's always interesting to have such knowledgeable people visit. I have learned a lot from both my chiropractor, other visiting trainers, and courses I have taken the past year. And it has given me an insight on why we actually do the techniques in the way that we do them, and how we all can improve them my knowing a little about the body's anatomy!


Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

lördag 3 november 2012

Trainer 1 part 2 course

Last weekend me and some of my fellow trainers in the club participated in a course arranged by the Norwegian Martial Arts Association. It started Friday evening and ended Sunday afternoon, and consisted in both theory and practical applications of different training methods.

I had already encountered many of the warm up techniques during Raiks' visit to our club, as the course was mostly about basic training for martial arts. But it was a good way to freshen up the memory of the different techniques.

During the theoretical part we learned more about how the muscles work, how they react when we do techniques, and what muscle groups are working together. We also learned when its appropriate to do dynamic and static stretching, and after what type of training the different types of stretching is best to use.

On the Saturday we were divided into four groups, and all groups got a theme for a 20 minute training session to present on the Sunday. Our groups theme was legs and speed. We started off with a game using dumbbells. Each team had to stand in line and pass the dumbbells back and forth. It looked that they had fun doing it. Our main part consisted of circle training where we had three stations. This part we could have planned a little better as all three stations consisted of front leg exercises.

All in all it was a very educational course with a lot of interesting theory and fun practice. I have now taken part 2 and 3. Part 1 will be held sometime in January next year. After that I'm done with the Trainer 1 course.


Ps. Check me out on Instagram #konjoukarate

Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

tisdag 23 oktober 2012

Stress vs Effectiveness

Since spring this year I have started exchanging the word stress for effectiveness.

For me the word stress is something negative, and I'm guessing it is for most people. But when I was younger I always heard the expression "positive stress". For me that doesn't go hand in hand. That is like 1-1 = 0, something neutral, and doesn't really explain how stress possibly could be positive!

Stress is when everything is happening at once and you are trying to do everything but fail. Effectiveness is when everything is happening at once but you can structure it up and prioritise what needs to be done first and what can wait, or what things can be squeezed in where.

This spring I experienced stress during the Shorin Ryu chamionship in Arendal. Many things happened at once, we had a lot of kids participating that I was responsible for getting the right coloured belts and paddings on. Also keeping track of the lists, coaching, warming up everyone, warming up myself for kata etcetera. But luckily I had friends and family members of the participants to help out, so it all worked out in the end.

For me that was a stressful day, and I was exhausted afterwards!

I practice effectiveness every morning when I'm headed for work. I know exactly how long it takes to heat up the frying pan, how long it takes to fry egg and bacon and make my crisp bread snack, what I can do in between tasks to be able to be at the bus stop!

Personally I see myself as a non stressful person and try to deal with things as they come along. It's just recently that I have noticed that for me it's wrong to call it stress, because its not! I always try to be as effective as possible when it counts.

söndag 14 oktober 2012

Southern Championship 2012

Yesterday our club participated in the Southern Championship in Mandal, Norway. I represented the club as a judge together with my sensei and sempai. This was my second time as a judge, and I think it went pretty well.

We also participated with seven karatekas, and brought back a silver medal in kumite. Everyone did very well in the competition and I can see that all has improved since last time, which is really great!

The day went really fast, and we were done with everything at 2 o'clock which must be a record! Most of us are used to competitions ending around 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon. But there was very few participants this year, due to some registration complications.

The next competition will be organised by our club in Grimstad on November 17th, and I'm hoping more from the club will shine with their presence. I think I will participate as a judge again, just to get some more practice. It takes time to develop a good eye so that the right karateka wins.

I still feel it hard to judge in kata if both competitors are equal, and also in kumite when there are lots of action and many things happening at once to see a scoring technique. I feel I did a better job at the Norwegian Championship than yesterday. But I just have to see this as a good experience.

After the competition the whole club met up down town for some pizza and chatting, which was a really nice ending to a good day :)


Pictures by: Maren Hardeland Øvsthus

lördag 6 oktober 2012

Gym visits

During my trip home to Sweden this week I had the opportunity to use the gym in my parents building. To switch up my routines a bit I went down three times to work out.

On Tuesday I did squats with 5 kilo weights on either side of the bar. This seems to have been a tad too much for my front thighs, as my right front thigh has been really stale the following three days. Today, four days after, it has felt better and I was able to do squats but only 5x3, as I didn't want to overload the muscle again.

The gym itself was really basic with some cardio machines, some free weights, a bench press and a yoga matt, but it was sufficient to do some basic training. As I couldn't train my legs that much I focused mostly on core and upper body.

It would be really great if I had the opportunity to go to a gym and do some extra training so that I can more easily switch my routines up. But unfortunately I neither have the time nor the money to pay for a gym membership at the moment.

Since I'm not that disciplined to go out running, a gym membership would give me an opportunity to go to spinning classes which I enjoy very much. But no classes at either of the gyms close to me fit in to my daily schedule...

Being at the gym three times this week has made me realise I need to up my training a bit to reach my goal, increase either the weights or up the sets from 3 to 4. But I do feel stronger, and I have gained some muscle mass all over my body. Though I still feel I need more strength and stamina. But am well on my way :)


Picures by: Sofia Danielsson

söndag 16 september 2012

Walking recovery

So this weekend I have tried to relax as much as possible, but also taking two longer walks with the dog. Yesterday was kind of windy, so we were only out for about 25-30 minutes, which is a regular weekend walk for us. I felt a bit tired afterwards, but nothing serious. Had no fever the whole day and just a tiny bit of what I call pressure headache, and eyes were stinging a bit.

Today I've felt much better, more energetic, eyes hardly stinging. And I have actually cleaned up a bit in the kitchen!

This afternoon me and my dog had a 50 minute walk. Google Map said it would take 40 minutes, but I had to lower my pace right from the start as I could feel I couldn't walk as fast as I usually do. After about 2/3 of the walk I started getting that headache again. So when I got home I just put on a good film and rested on the sofa.

It seems like recovering will take a while, so I will have to see the coming week as a recovery week. Am not sure I will have the energy to train on Tuesday, but am going to the dojo non the less just to do something!


Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

fredag 14 september 2012

Stubborn virus!

That cold I wrote about on Facebook didn't turn out to be a tiny cold, but a stubborn virus that seems to still roam my body. I've been ill for almost two weeks now, but it seems like my body is finally winning the battle.

Worst part has been the up and down fever and the coming and going type of headache. Other than that I have slept for 9-10 hours almost every night without feeling that rested when I've woken up with stinging red eyes.

So I went to see the doctor on Monday, and he gave me sick leave from work Monday and Tuesday, thinking that would be enough rest for me to get well. I don't think it was, but have been able to be at work (though have not been that productive).

Due to this I haven't been able to train since Saturday two weeks ago. My wishful thinking was that I could do some light strength training this weekend again, but I do not feel well enough to do so.

If the weather permits I'll have myself a couple of longer walks, perhaps climb the close by hill if I feel up for it. I do believe my dog is looking forward to do some serious walking, as she has been a bit neglected due to my low energy.

But the rest of the weekend is going to be about resting the body and letting it recuperate. It's been a struggle to be at work these three days, and have not been able to do every thing I had to do. I stuck mostly to doing paper work, avoiding lifting things.

Not only has my energy been low during this period, I'm starting to feel unmotivated to do anything! The flat is a mess, clean laundry is still hanging on the clothes horse since Monday, pans are being washed only when I need to use them...

Hopefully I will feel 100% on Monday again, after two days of proper rest, and will be able to train on Tuesday!

söndag 2 september 2012

Learning the needs of my muscles

Little more than a week ago I had my last (yes I've said it before, but now I really mean it!) visit to the chiropractor. It was more of a check up to see that my strength is coming along and that my pelvic is moving as it should.

During the summer I have, as you know, not trained any karate but have stuck to strength training and stretching three times a week. During this time I have built up some of the strength I need, and have also learned to feel more what's happening with my body, what muscle is or isn't working as it should etc.

I'm not having daily problems any more, except for one last muscle (gluteaus medius, one of the smaller butt muscles) on the right side that still is a bit too active. So sometimes it likes to remind me that it's there and starts to either itch or sort of throb a bit (though without hindering my daily activities, or training). This, I was told, will go away when I've gained more strength and have learned more precise technique, specially when kicking yoko geri I have felt.

Otherwise I just need to keep on doing strength exercises, and stretching out particularly the right leg muscles. Both front, inside and back is a lot more tighter than the left. It's hindering me from doing correct techniques, so for now I just have to kick a bit lower on the right side to be able to do correct technique to work the right muscles.

It might sound like a lot to think of, but I just have to work it into my routines and be sure that I do some extra stretching after training in the dojo to help loosen the right side up a bit more.

Other than that, I feel great! And am able to participate more and more, taking fewer breaks. This month I will also try to train karate 3 times a week, and see what my body says about that!


Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

måndag 20 augusti 2012

Dojo is finally open!

August is almost over and incredibly the politicians have been nice to let us in to the dojo a month earlier than usual! So the club has started lightly with training the first couple of weeks and are now up and running in full swing!

I'm consciously trying to take it easy now in the beginning (easier said than done!) to see that everything works the way it should. So far I would say it has. Although I was a bit too happy with starting karate again, I overburdened my right hip a wee bit and was stale for a few days. Lesson learned, I was extra careful the following week and did some stretching in the middle of training by myself and presto! it was all better :)

Building up strength during the summer has given me a head start in the race to get to 100% again, and a few steps closer to belt exam next summer. Am really pleased with the results so far, but am not where I want to be just yet. I will continue to do my weekly strength exercises. In a while I'll start doing some cardio interval training. I get some from kumite training, but that is not nearly enough.

This is also my second semester as a trainer for the youths group. Now that I've gotten to know them a bit more both in the dojo and at the camp it's a bit easier to communicate.

Am looking forward to see what challenges this new semester will bring, and I will work hard (but controlled) with my own training!

söndag 15 juli 2012

Protein supplements

As you well know I'm having trouble gaining the weight in muscle mass. And it's now more apparent to me that my diet alone isn't enough to gain the weight that I want. I'm still bobbing around 52-53 kilos.

So I've started drinking protein shakes every evening. I've bought two different sorts. One slow, to drink just before I go to bed, and one fast to drink after I've worked out.

I've tried having protein before, but then I only had it right after I've worked out. And the sort I had contained loads of sugar, so it was hard getting a good nights sleep. Plus it was hard for my stomach to digest, and I sometimes felt queasy when I was lying down.

This is not just to gain weight, but also to be able to build muscles and become stronger, as I still need much more strength if I'm to be able to be as explosive in kumite and kata as I want to be. But as my sensei told me, it seems like my body wants to be tiny...

The clerk told me I can put the shake in the fridge to make it into a dessert. I was imagining it to become more like a chocolate mousse or pudding, but it only became cold and had the same consistency as before. So that was a bit of a let down! Or maybe I just need a blender to mix it properly?

Anyhow, this new supplement tastes good, is gentle to my stomach and contains no sugar. So it works out nicely drinking it before bed. I now just have to see if it will help with building muscles :)


Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

torsdag 28 juni 2012

Work and workout

With working full time and working out three times a week I have noticed a major difference in food intake. To be able to function the whole day I need to eat about every third hour. I have struggled a bit with the afternoons with finding a good snack that will keep me up and going until I get home and can make dinner.

But I have finally found the solution. When I bring lunch to work I try to bring a bit more than one portion, so that I can save some for later. If I buy food at work, I make a sandwich to bring back to my work station. This strategy seems to work well, but I still need to make dinner almost immediately when I get home, otherwise I risk cutting my fingers on the kitchen knife due to low blood sugar.

I have also started taking a 30 minute nap after I have had dinner to save up some energy for my workouts. This has also meant that I now feel more rested when I wake up in the mornings and can tackle the day better.

For the next three weeks though I will need to get up a bit earlier to catch the bus, and will also arrive home later in the afternoons. It will be interesting to see if I can cope with this change and still keep up with my training. So I will have to get up at around 5 am, and will come home around 5.30 pm... All because of bad bus connections between the two towns.

I'm still struggling with gaining weight. I seem to be stuck between 52.5 kilos to 53.5 kilos. Last week I started drinking protein shakes after workout. Lets see if that helps a bit.

My plan for the summer has worked out really great though. I have started to see and feel a big difference in strength, and my problem muscles has become less tense. I still have some knots to "foam roll" a bit more to get them to loosen up. But I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

If weather permits, maybe I'll try myself on some kata training during the weekend! Am feeling a longing for training karate again!

lördag 23 juni 2012

Konjou Karate on Facebook

Just a quick note that you can now follow me on Facebook! There I will post blog updates, pictures, videos and other mini updates. So please join me on

Konjou Karate on Facebook

lördag 16 juni 2012

Mythbusters tests an old samurai saying

Last week Jamie and Adam in Mythbusters tested out an old samurai saying:

"The one who moves first, loses"

The way they tested it was by using whacking each other in the head with shinais while wearing kendo protecting gear. The one to start was selected by random, and the other has to react as quick as possible to try to be the first to hit the other persons head.

I don't believe this is what the saying meant. Usually these types of saying has some philosophical meaning. For instance, karate was never meant to be a martial art to beat people up. It's for self defence, which means you are not intended to do the first move.

And yes, I know, samurai's didn't know karate but rather kendo and judo/ju-jitsu, and some other martial arts (please correct me if I'm wrong). But testing this myth with already drawn swords with two novice kendo practitioners, that had only learned the basics of one strike, is not really the way of testing this myth. Although I'm not really sure how to do it either.

In a kata I got to try out during an aikido training, one person was supposedly the student, doing big swings with the bokken, and the other being the teacher, tapping every attack out of the way and "winning" at the end. In this case the first person to move didn't win, but actually reinforces the samurai saying.

I would love for Mythbusters to revisit this myth and get more in to the root of the samurai way and their martial arts to get a more accurate understanding of this myth, and perhaps they'll get another result?


Picture from the Mythbusters episode.

söndag 10 juni 2012

Mixing and matching

Usually when I plan a training session for the youths I try to keep kata and kumite separate. I don't like to have them both in the same training session. Both because I only have one hour every Thursday with them, and because I feel they are in a way two different mindsets.

In kumite you get the adrenaline pumping in the body, if you then switch to kata you still have those hormones running crazy in the body and the kata will be stressed and not as precise as if you would have kept to kata from the beginning. Although I do like to combine both kata and kumite with kihon. The reason is that if you have good kihon you get good techniques both in kata and kumite and you learn which way the body should rotate to get the right power.

My mind gets really disturbed if I go from kata to kumite (or vice versa) in one training session. This does not mean I don't like to have bunkai in a kata session. Quite the opposite. Bunkai is the dissection of the kata, and we learn more from the kata by performing its bunkai. But the kumite that we usually practice in my club is more of the sport karate than anything else. Which is understandable, but I do like the traditional part of kata and bunkai better as it's more self defence.

If I do go from kata to kumite during a training I feel myself out of balance and not at all as ready to spar with my partner. For me it's two different types of concentrations in them. I'm not sure I can explain it, as I haven't reflected much over it. But it just feels different. I will write more on the subject when I've had time to reflect more...


Picture by: Eivor Mathilde

lördag 2 juni 2012

Picture Project

As I have said earlier, this summer is about gaining strength and muscle mass. Next week I'm going to make a training plan to divide up the different exercise areas and the intensity. My thoughts now are to keep the long session for the weekend and then make shorter ones two or three times during the week.

Connecting to this project I have today started another one, together with a friend. She is trying to lose weight, and I'm trying to gain muscles. So even if we are on different ends of the scale, we still have similar goals, to become more healthy. We are going to take pictures of ourselves and send it to each other. This is so we both can see any type of progression, and also support each other in our projects.

I don't know if I will post my pictures here. Maybe if I see that there's an interest in seeing my progression in picture form, instead of just a written one I'll do it.

onsdag 23 maj 2012

Foam roller

My foam roller arrived yesterday. I've tried it out a few times already, and I must say it's really effective! I could feel that my side muscles and tendons on my legs becoming a bit more loose after the first session. Today I tried out some more massaging positions, specially one for my groin muscles. The muscles felt a bit tender when I rolled over them, so I didn't massage them for too long. After a while I will probably be able to extend the massaging of each muscle group, but I'll start up easy and work from there.

Even though I've only used it a few times, I would recommend it to anyone who has stale muscles. Just use it to roll over your problem areas whenever you feel like it! There are plenty of guides out on the internet to find good techniques to really get to the muscle you want to massage.

On a side note, I've started a new project. During the summer I will train to be able to do chinups! I put up my chinup bar and have started slowly by doing "walk-the-plank" 6 reps 3 times. This week I increased it to 6 reps 4 times. This is to get used to a new type of exercise. Since I take so long in building up muscle mass, I don't want to overwork my body.

Two weeks ago I started working full time, which means I haven't been able to train as much as I want to yet. It will probably take me a few weeks more to get to where I feel I have the energy to train a bit more than I have done the past few weeks. The positive thing about work is that since I walk so much I have started to build up some more leg muscles! I'll probably improve some of my leg stamina too.

Next Thursday the club is closing for the summer, and I can start focusing more on building muscle mass and taking care of my muscles a bit more than I recently have. Hopefully this summer will be a welcomed break, and I will return to the dojo in August stronger and more ready to train for the black belt exam next summer!


Picture by: Jørund Vedumsdalen
Edited by: Sofia Danielsson

lördag 19 maj 2012

Things are starting to happen

A lot has happened these past few weeks. Had a few important visits with the chiropractor, got a full time job, went to the doctor to take some tests, training with Watanabe sensei, Norway's National Day, and today was the belt exam for some of the clubs karatekas.

Things are changing, some for the better, some for the worse. As I have started working full time I do not yet have the energy to also train late at night. But I'm counting on building up some stamina to be able to do so. Though there are only a few trainings left before the dojo closes. But for now, I have to be in bed at 22:00 at the latest to be able to function as normal at work.

I'm starting to learn my hips' limit, I almost crossed it this week at training with Watanabe sensei on Monday, regular training on Tuesday and celebrating Norway's National Day on Thursday. But tomorrow I will try to do my full program of strength exercises.

As for the test I took. They were just to see that all my blood values are normal etc, due to me feeling a bit tired a few weeks ago. I'm still waiting to hear the results. Though am hoping to hear nothing, as that means my values are normal, and that my tiredness was just bad timing of different things.

Today's exam went well for our karatekas, not all of them got new belts but that just means we have something to work for and improve on until next time! And I hope everyone will pass at Christmas.

söndag 6 maj 2012

On the right path!

Last week I had yet another visit to the chiropractor to loosen up both my hip and my back. After the treatment we had a talk about what the outlook of my karate future looks like. She told me I have to slow down on all the rotating kicks. For example, instead of kicking 100 times I should stop at 50. And it seems like my body takes extra long time to build up and learn than most other bodies, so I have to take that in to consideration. Plus she was a bit disappointed in my glute- strength, so I got yet another exercise to start them up again.

Of course this is not something you would like to hear. But it also gives me motivation to keep on training and improving my strength and technique so that I can hopefully train normally some day.

On Wednesday this week I had a revisit, due to my back still being stale. We had a bit more ingoing talk about everything and she answered my questions I had written to her in an e-mail the week before. It was still the same, do less of the rotating kicks, but stick with strength exercise, stretching and massaging the muscles I have trouble with. And it seemed like she also was positive about my training plan. So it felt like I got some kind of closure on this whole ordeal, and a lot more motivation to continue training and improving for the black belt test next summer!

Though, if the hip troubles are coming back during the summer they might get an x-ray on my hips, because then it'll point on this being something chronic. I'm hoping these last visits has been because of me not being consequent with the stretching and strength exercising, and I expect to feel a big difference after the summer when I have had more time to focus on strength rather than karate. Hopefully it will help to stabilise my hips.

I'm also planning on ordering a foam roller to help with massaging the stale muscles. Up to now I have used a 1,5 litre soda bottle filled with water to massage. But I don't feel its effective enough. Plus I'm a bit scared of putting to much weight on it. I don't want it to explode all over the flat!

So even if all of this is sounding a bit depressing, I'm keeping a positive mind. I do believe this is a hurdle I will be able to get over. Maybe I won't be able to kick to the head, but I do believe that one day I will be able to do all of the rotating kicks with perfect technique! I just have to keep at it, and just let things take the time it needs.



Picture by: Jørund Vedumsdalen
Foam roller picture: Foam roller

fredag 20 april 2012

Stuck?

For the past 2 weeks everything in my life seems to have been standing still. I've had little or no motivation to do anything. It's not the training that's not inspiring any more, but it has affected my training. Sometimes everyone hits a mental snag now and then in life, and this has been one of mine. And due to that I haven't had much to write about... But life goes on and I'm mentally feeling better again and am able to train again.

This weekend we're having a club camp, ending on Sunday with a club championship. I'm participating as a judge this time, although it would have been fun to participate as a karateka. Maybe next time! We're also having a guest trainer on Saturday from our mother- club Vågsbygd. It'll be fun to get some more inspiration from the "outside" of our little club. Though we have few participants, it will be fun having a camp just for the club!

torsdag 5 april 2012

My kata

At the moment I'm struggling with getting to the next step in my katas. There are so many aspects I can improve on it's getting a bit overwhelming. When paying a visit at Vågsbygd this monday, I got some more pointers on what I need to improve. First of all I need to learn to move my arms the same time I move my legs to take a step. Apparently I wasn't doing that before! I could feel the difference between the movements, but I kept forgetting it. So it's something I really have to work on.

Below you can see me doing Bassai Dai at the SKAN- competition. It's not my best Bassai Dai. I feel I did it better before Christmas last year.


Somehow I also need to get my katas to look a bit more intimidating, but it's hard to improve on it as it feels like I'm doing the best I can. Perhaps the arms and leg movement will make it look and feel better once I re-learn every kata...

I know I will never finish on improving, and that's the fun part!

söndag 25 mars 2012

The Contract

When my sensei gets committed, she gets committed!

In the car on our way back from the Regional East Competition she convinced me that we should each write a contract for ourselves that should contain how much we plan to train and our diet.

But since my sensei always has too much to do at any given time, it took a while before we wrote anything. But in the car on our way to and from the Norwegian Championship we managed to write the letters. I believe my senseis letter became about 1 page long, while mine is at half a page.

This is due to me already having a routine on most things. So I don't really need a reminder to take my vitamins or take long walks with the dog. Might be that I need a reminder the day I get a job...

Though I'm still not that good at eating my veggies, so that I had to add on the list.

The plan is to have these contracts and let each other know how we're doing, if we are cheating or if we're not able to commit to everything that we have put down, and also give each other support.

My contract:
* Eat fish once a week, to begin with.
* Have some sort of vegetable to each meal (like arugola, avocado or frijoles fritas).
* Exchange white pasta with whole grain pasta.
* After a time, the 2 rice portions that are made can be divided in to 3 portions as the meal portion will contain more vegetables.

* The training plan is just for starters to see that the body functions as it should and to built up a routine that can be sustainable for a longer period of time. It is also to build up cardio and over all strength. The program can be expanded with desired type of training.
* Karate twice a week.
* Strength exercise program once a week.
* Running once a week.


Although I have been doing my strength exercises almost every week since January, it's good to have it on the list. Maybe I will be able to expand it to twice a week? I will definitely have to build a separate program for when the dojo is closed during the summer, and also try to go training at the other club's summer training.

But let me know what you think about this contract in the comments. Is it a good idea? What would you put down on your list?


Picture from www.grimstadkarate.no

onsdag 21 mars 2012

Being a judge at the Norwegian Championship

For being a judge at my first competition, I must say it went fairly well. And the people at the kata and kumite tatamis really tried to help and gave me assignment that I could handle without trying to throw me in the deep end.

The day started early with a breakfast at the hotel at 7 am. The bus left the hotel for the competition at 8 am, and we were up and running with the kata competition at 9 am. My assignment here was to write up the winner of each bout and write up what kata everyone performed. It was fairly easy, at least the times I could hear what kata was announced. Not every karateka was good at announcing and a few times none of us judges or referees could hear the name. Why I had to write down the katas is so that if the karateka performs the same kata that person will be disqualified. Luckily no one did that mistake.

Around 11 am it was time for the walk in of all the competitors. All of us judges/referees lined up and clapped in the rythm of the music while all the clubs lined up behind us. Afterwards we walked in a single line and lined up behind all the competitors, and sang the Norwegian national anthem.

After this the kumite started. And I must say, I never thought I would be allowed to sit and flag as much as I did. I thought I would have to sit at the secretariat to observe mostly, and maybe taking a stab at filling out the forms and controlling the clock.

But they actually let me sit and flag for about 4-5 bouts at a time before they switched me out. I probably sat as a judge for 5 or 6 sessions. Thanks to this I learned a lot. I did a few errors, but I always asked if there was something I was wondering about.

Our tatami manager was brilliant, he was really bringing up the morale when we were getting a bit tired in the head and gave us feedback on how to approve and what was good about what we were doing. And he really made an effort to send everyone to lunch, but sadly forgot to send himself.

At the end of the day, my head was really tired and I asked to sit at the secretariat and handle the clock. This is a very good position as I could watch the bout, see the referees commands, and also have a dialogue with the person filling out the forms.

It seems like the veterans was impressed with our work, and they were all really supportive with trying to teach us noobs.

At the end of the competition they had something they called super finals, which means a few chosen finals were saved to the end of the day. We got to see the finals in senior female and male kata, senior female shobu ippon, two weight classes of full contact, senior female and male WKF- karate (can't remember what weight classes they were). In the male WKF-karate final we got to see Steffen Larsen, famous from the TV-program "Norges Beste Fighter".

Later that evening all of us judges from the club attended the banquet. At the end of the evening me and my sensei got stuck at the bar talking to a few of the kyokushin kai judges. We had a lot of fun, talking karate, comparing a few techniques. We didn't get back to our hotel until half 4 in the morning.

I must say, being at the Norwegian Championship to be a judge for the first time was a really good experience. We got to see how everything really works, without adjusting the rules as they sometimes do at local competitions. And I think everyone of us learned a lot during this weekend.


Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

måndag 12 mars 2012

Shorin Ryu Championship

It's been a while since I wrote last. I planned to write a summary from the weekend on Sunday, but I caught something at the competition and have been lying down for a couple of days with a soar throat and fever.

The competition went well. We had 27 participants in different ages, and contributed with five judges. I myself participated in my kata class (females above 16 years, 1 kyu - 1 dan). We only had three participants in this class, including me. So I did Bassai Dai, lost the round and got in third place.

The rest of the day I represented the club as coach. It was really stressful keeping track of all the boys in their class, making sure they wore the right colour, if they were through to the next round etcetera. We got in third place both in kata and kumite in the youth class. For almost everyone not having been at a competition before, they were really brave and did a very good job in their classes.

The other classes were a bit more manageable, as we didn't have that many participants. Samir did a really good job in his cadet class and took third place.

We had three yellow belts participating that are not so used to competitions yet, but for being beginners they hung in there and did their best in all their rounds. They even participated in the kumite team class, and took second place. There were only two teams though.

I'm still not used to coaching, it's something I have to practice on. Now, thinking back, I think I'm yelling out too many instructions during a bout. I don't know if this is because our participants aren't that skilled in competitions or if I'm stressed and trying to make them do everything at once. It's something to reflect about and take with me in other competitions.

This weekend it's the Norwegian Championship, and four of us from the club is going to participate as judges. This is my first time as a judge at a competition and should be interesting. I'll have to read through the rules a couple of times before Friday, and I guess we'll have to quiz each other in the car on our way up there.


Picture from www.grimstadkarate.no

måndag 5 mars 2012

Regional competition, east coast 2

This Saturday we had three participants in the Regional East Competition in kumite. Samir was in the cadet class while the other two, Dan Are and Kim, ended up in the Senior +75kg class. Kim was supposed to be in the recruit class, but the only other participant had withdrawn from the competition. I was trying myself out as a coach for the first time, and Maren sensei got to be both Judge and Referee during the competition.

During the night between Friday and Saturday we were lucky to get to sleep in one of the local clubs dojo to save some money. This dojo had several training rooms with mirrors, sand bags and all different kinds of equipment. A bit different than our small dojo with pink and yellow walls that makes your eyes burn.

Even though sleeping on a mattress and padded floors I don't think many of us got that much sleep. But the lighting in the room when the sun came up was priceless. In the morning, most of us had nerves and could hardly eat breakfast (yes even the coach was nervous!).

Samir's class started first. He did a really good job in the two bouts he was in. He did a great throw in the first bout, but alas the opponent protected himself too good to be scored upon. The bout ended in Hantei, and due to lack of initiative Samir lost. In the second bout he went up against an opponent who had a really quick gyakuzuki. But Samir gave it his all and tried is best. In this bout his opponent was quicker, and Samir got on fourth place.

Next up was Kim in the Senior class. For being his first bout in a competition he did a really good job. He dared to stand his ground and counter attack. He attacked with some really good gyakuzuki that he sadly didn't get any points for.

Dan Are's first bout was over before it even began. The opponent was several heads higher than Dan Are, and he rushed in and got eight points within 15 seconds of the bout. Dan Are got so surprised that he didn't have time to do anything. His second fight went better, and here he got to attack and do some combinations.

As for my participation as a coach, I don't think I did the best I could but I also believe I didn't do a bad job. Seems like the major complaint was me talking too low, so they could hardly hear me. I also need to train myself to see what the opponent does, so I can come with tips for the person I'm coaching.

Even though we didn't get any medals, this competition was really good for everyone of us. We got to see how high the levels are in other clubs, and what we can do to make us better.

I think everyone did a great job, and found some strengths and some weaknesses that we all can work on until next competition. It was well worth the long trip, and I'd happily do it again!


Picture from: www.grimstadkarate.no

tisdag 28 februari 2012

Regional competition, east coast

Surprisingly enough, I haven't felt much in my hips since the beginning of last week! It just tingles sometimes as a reminder that there is still something there, and I'm not rid of it just yet. I've done my strength training on Sunday and today, Tuesday. Last training for this week will be in Thursday. Because this weekend five of us are going to Sarpsborg, south east of Oslo, for a regional competition!

I'm tagging along as coach for our three participants, while our sensei is going to be a judge. This is my first time doing some real coaching, and first competition for four of us outside our own region. We're going to sleep in the organising clubs dojo to save some money.

The trip will take between 5-6 hours, depending on the traffic and the schedule of the ferry we have to take. That leaves us a lot of time to discuss everything before the competition on Saturday.

This trip will be really fun, and I hope all of our participants do well in the competition. Hopefully this will spark some more interest for competitions in our club!

söndag 26 februari 2012

Winter vacation

Well, the dojo is closed next week due to school being closed for winter vacations. This leaves a good opportunity to take a small break from karate and just focus on strength training, and maybe some running if the weather permits and if it's not too cold. Since I've had some setbacks with the hips the past few weeks this is a welcomed mini break to just do something else for a week.

Though I'm surprised to say that the troubles I had last week are almost gone now. It just started stinging a little bit last night on both sides, it was hardly noticeable. I'm taking this as a sign that I'm soon rid of this annoying injury!

Today's strength exercises will be a test to see if it comes back or not.


Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

tisdag 21 februari 2012

Warming up

Just as important as stretching after training is the importance of warming up before training.

I have recently been going to the dojo on Mondays to help out with the children and youth trainings. And almost after every one of these evenings I have gotten some trouble with my side muscle on the left hip (remember it started with an injury on the right hip). When I've held beginner classes, or when I've trained myself, I have never gotten this problem. And I think it's because on these days I have always met up about 20-30 minutes earlier to warm up and prepare the right muscles for training.

Since this problem has occurred several times now the past few weeks I called up my chiropractor. I got told to continue to cool down the left side after training, to see if the body corrects this itself. Otherwise I will have to book a visit on Monday next week.

What I have started doing recently as warm up are a few of the techniques Raik Tietze went through on his visit. So I do a lot of rotation exercises to start up my obliques. I also do some light fist hammering on my obliques, back and seat muscles to start them up. Afterwards I walk a bit back and forth in zenkutsu dachi, and if time allows I do one or two kata and really think over my stances and techniques. This gives me a pretty good over all warm up before the actual training starts without me becoming too tired to train.

Hopefully these troubles will end soon and I will be able to train like normal without me having to use my icepack several times after training.


Picture by: Eivor Mathilde

torsdag 16 februari 2012

Guest trainers

Last night three of us instructors went over to a local athlete school to be guest trainers. We held three sessions, the two first were for kids below 12 years. Last session was the smallest one with only six 12 year olds.

The first two parties got to try out some punching, blocks and kicks, mixed up with a few games. At the end of the first party I performed the kata Bassai Dai, just to show them something a bit more fancy than what they got to try out themselves. I can still not believe how nervous I was doing that kata in front of those kids, they don't know if I mess up!

Since the last party was such a small group and only boys, we did some alternate training where they got to kick their partner with control. They were all really good, and showed us that they had control and seemed to have a good time trying out martial arts.

All of the kids did a really good job, and I was impressed with their efforts. Lets just hope that they found it to be a fun training and that some of them might want to take up karate next semester.

lördag 11 februari 2012

Learning Useishi kata, plus physical strength

As you have probably guessed by now, I prefer training kata and techniques before kumite. I like the preciseness and the concentration in kata, and I love perfecting every technique.

One day when I was sick last spring, I brought my camera to training and filmed my sensei teaching the kata Useishi. I had totally forgotten about it until recently. So today, this boring Saturday afternoon, I decided to learn it.


(I apologise for the poor sound quality, but that's the reality of having to share a hall with ball bouncers...)

This kata is one of the highest ones in the Shorin Ryu Shobayashi system

It went fairly easy, even though it's hard to do a kata in a small apartment I have at least learned the pattern and the order of the techniques. I am now looking forward to improving it and learning the right speed, pauses and kiais.

On a side note, I have since the beginning of January gained a little over 1 kg in weight. I can feel that my muscles has become firmer and I can more easily stand in lower stances than before.

I am a little freaked out how fast it's going. What I can recall, I have never weighed more than 53 kg. I don't want it to go too fast, because I want to gain weight by muscles not fat. Right now I probably weigh around 52.5 kg.

But it feels good, and I have more energy for training now. Not just in the dojo, but during the off-days as well.


Weight: 52.5 kg

tisdag 7 februari 2012

My sparring

For being a brown belt I'm very weak at kumite, I prefer the kata and technique bit of karate. But during a self defence course last semester we had some sparring sessions that I actually felt was fun, and I dared to actually go in and hit or kick my sparring partner with control. I think it helped that I did most of the sparring with my sensei, as she is about the same size as me.

During the sparring we were standing in punching distance and were throwing all kinds of light punches to the head and body, and light kick to the legs and between the legs. This might not sound as a good way to get confidence in sparring, but it actually helped for me! This helped me to dare go in to clinches during my brown belt exam, I've never done that before!

But it's not easy to come back to that confidence for me in the club I'm in. I'm the smallest and weakest grown up in the club, and going against mostly big men does not help. I need to trust my sparring partner that he or she won't hurt me.

At the Iain Abernethy seminar in December, we did a lot of bunkai from the Pinan- kata system. During this weekend my partner was a strong and stale male, a bit higher than myself. We went into a lot of different clinching scenarios. My partner was a good listener and tried to do the techniques on a level that we both were comfortable with. I had never met this man before, as he trains in Vågsbygd. But he was a very good sparring partner.

I have never been good at sparring, but I always try to do my best. And I have improved over the years, at least technically.

Last spring I participated in the SKAN- championship. In the first kumite bout I went against a former Norwegian champion. That fight ended in hikiwake (0-0), and the judges had to do a hantei (vote). No suprise she won with 4 votes against 1. But I was very happy that I was able to protect myself that well that she couldn't take any points on me.

So my guts in sparring needs to improve, I need to dare to do techniques without getting scared to get hit. I need to be able to protect myself during counter attacks.


Picture from http://www.grimstadkarate.no/

torsdag 2 februari 2012

Quick update on injury

As I have told in previous posts, I struggle with some muscle injuries around my right hip. But after this Tuesdays training I have started to feel the same symptoms in my left hip muscles. I took it a bit easy with the kicks on that side today, but it's hard to do so as I really like doing kata in full speed.

I will take it easy during the weekend but will try to do my strength exercises. If it hasn't improved or gone away by Monday I will give my chiropractor a call to see what she says.

This is really frustrating since I'm starting to feel better in my right hip, and now it seems to have jumped over to the other side!

Seems like I have to learn to be more patient...

onsdag 1 februari 2012

Raik Tietze


Yesterday we got a visit from basic training expert and Jiu Jitsu world champion Raik Tietze. He taught us loads of good strength exercises for warming up hips, side muscles and legs, and also strength and activation exercises for both dynamic and static movements.

To learn our body to move correctly we need to tell the nervous system to activate the right muscle when we do different techniques and exercises.

A few of those exercises I had gotten from my chiropractor to practice. But a lot of them were new for all of us, even for one of our instructors who has trained martial art for over 10 years.


Not many of them felt hard to do, but today I can say my muscles are a bit stiff. I must have activated the right muscles as I don't have any excessive troubles with my hip muscles today! Though I still have some soreness from this weekend...

We had a great turn up last night, 22 karateka's met up to participate in this "once in a lifetime event", as my sensei put it :)








Pictures from www.grimstadkarate.no

måndag 30 januari 2012

Judge/Referee Workshop in Oslo


And so the workshop is over, and we're back in Grimstad with loads of inspiration and ideas. The weekend was really fun with a lot of karate talk between different styles, and not least between us judges from Grimstad.

It took us 5 hours to drive all the way up to Oslo on Friday afternoon, and all the way we talked. There was nothing stopping us to share experiences and talk about the coming weekend.

Friday evening all judges and referees met up to talk about the new rules and different protocols. Almost everyone met up in their uniforms. On Saturday we met up in the dojo in our gi's to go through some Shitei katas like Jion, Seienchin and Chinto. We also got flag on some kata and kumite. The children participating were really awesome for their age, and has inspired us to get the children in our club some more motivation to become better.

During Saturday evening seven of us met up for dinner and a few laughs at restaurant Egon. Too bad so few met up, otherwise this would have been a great evening for us new to get to know people.

The weekend ended with discussions on how to improve the judge/referee environment so that everyone can feel welcome and get motivated to participate at competitions. It felt that everyone had good things to say and wanted to make changes. As a new person in to this, I couldn't really participate in the discussions, but it was very interesting to hear what people had to say.

On our way back, we of course couldn't shut up, so we talked yet for another four hours on our way back down south. I think we covered almost every aspect of our club, and how to improve it and get some new fresh air in to every member. I just hope this will last, and that our little club can impress on the big shots not too far in to the future.


Picture by Øistein Holm Haagensen

onsdag 25 januari 2012

Judge B certificate

Last night the people from the club who had taken the theoretical course to become a Judge went over to Vågsbygd Karate in Kristiansand to take the practical test. It went fairly well, we were coached through the whole thing by Erik Støen who is leader in NKF Judge/Referee comity.

The whole thing was quite harmless, and the karatekas who helped us were really patient with us noob judges, so when saying the wrong commands in Japanese we could all just laugh it off and relax a bit more to get confident in judging and refereeing.

This weekend some of us will go to Oslo for a Judge/Referee workshop together with 30-40 others to practice on the new rules, and how to assess different scenarios.

We will also practice some Shitei katas. As I've mentioned earlier I have practised on Jion and will try to learn Seichan which is Shorin Ryu's Hangetsu. So that one will probably be fairly easy to learn to "walk".

I will bring my netbook with me to Oslo and try to update when we're at the hotel. But I'm guessing we will be fairly dead after long days with all the theory and practice we're going to do.


Picture from http://www.grimstadkarate.no/

söndag 22 januari 2012

The importance of stretching

Both after training on Tuesday and after the course on Thursday I forgot to stretch my hip muscles. This resulted in my groin muscles on both sides tensing up, and me walking like an old granny on Friday. And I'm sure the icy roads didn't really help in keeping a correct posture and using the right muscles...

During the full day of playing around like a kid yesterday I stretched my hips in the breaks, and this seems to have helped a bit as I don't feel as stale today. I also applied some Tiger Balm in the beginning of the day and after lunch to help warm up the groin muscles a bit before we started.

We did some side step jumps on Thursday and I could immediately feel some stinging in my hip muscle on the right side. I don't know if this has a connection with me forgetting to stretch on Tuesday or not. Let's hope it is, and let's hope it won't happen again!

So in the future I have to remember to stretch my hip muscles after every training session to avoid this problem.


Picture from http://www.grimstadkarate.no/

Activity course, childrens sport

Thursday evening and whole day of Saturday I participated in a course arranged by NIF (Norges Idrotts Forbund), that focused on how to activate children in the different sports we teach, train or coach. There were mostly people there who coached football or gymnastics for children below 10 years old.

It's not every day you get to run around and play like a child when you're an adult, and it was great fun to see that everyone participated whole heartedly in every game no matter how childish it was.

This course has given me a lot of inspiration, and I'm getting more and more confident in my pedagogical side. Some of the games can also be used for adults, with some tweaks, which suits me since I'm not an instructor for children.

What we were reminded of is that children learn by playing. So we instructors need to have a plan what one type of games teaches the children. Is it to build up for a technique, is it strength training, or balance training? Even for adults this is important. What does this exercise teach us? How can we build on what we've learned and take it with us to the different karate techniques?

One interesting thing with meeting other trainers from different kinds of sports was that very few of them seemed to actually be actively training themselves in the sport. I believe that us instructors from our karate club has the edge here, since we are all training ourselves to become better in karate and thus can become better instructors through that.

After this course I'm looking forward to planning more exercises and teaching people karate. Too bad I have to wait three weeks before my next training with the beginners...


Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

onsdag 18 januari 2012

Strength

Every weekend I do my own strength exercises combined with practising karate techniques. I try to go through the whole body, and try to focus on my core muscles as they are the biggest problem I have considering my injury in the hip muscles.

The program consists of exersizes for the obliques, seat muscles, back, chest and arms. Afterwards I practise my short foot technique while standing in shizen dachi. Yesterday when my chiropractor came to visit she explained more in detail how this technique works and how we can train it up to be effective for the rest of the body.

I can now feel that my body is starting to use the right muscle groups, i.e. the large muscles. The Christmas break must have done my body some good :)

Next week I have my practical exam for becoming a judge, and the following weekend I'm headed up to Oslo for a judge/referee workshop. And for that purpose I have practised the Shitei kata Jion. I felt the techniques in this kata rather simple, so it was easy to learn at least the order of the techniques and which way to turn and walk. Afterwards I tried memorising the shitei kata Seienchin. This one was a bit more problematic, as it has many techniques I have never myself practised, and the walk in the kata is a bit more different than in the other katas we have in Shorin Ryu.

I cannot say that I execute the Jion kata any good, but at least I know how to walk through it and I can recognise it in a competition. Tonight I will try to practise Seienchin, after I've had my evening snack...

söndag 15 januari 2012

So the training begins

Finally the dojo has opened, and the training has started! It has been a soft start, but that's a good thing. I'm guessing most of the karateka in the club hasn't been able to train that much during the holidays.

This semester I have to train up some old things and some new ones, both inside and outside the dojo. I have to teach myself to walk with a straight back and with a proper sway in the lower back. This I have been practising on when I'm taking walks with the dog. I tried being conscious about it during training this week (at least in kata), and it feels like I'm getting better balance and technique from it.

My sensei does some sort of gripping with her feet when she stands in shizen dachi. Most of us has thought this being kinda funny, cos it makes her toes curl. But it's actually its own technique, which makes it easier to have control on the floor surface whether it be mats, wooden floors or whatever. This makes also the legs tense up a bit, and is for me hard to keep up for a longer period of time. I just have to keep practising :)

What most people in the club needs to work with is the lifting of the back food when doing gyakuzuki. I think I have the technique down when doing it slowly, now I just have to transfer it to kumite etc.

Also since I have weak muscles from before, I have to be more aware to use my core muscles correctly, to tense them up a bit more during techniques and kata to get a better base to work with.

Next week we start up the beginners group, for which I will be one of the trainers. It will be interesting to see what type of gang we will get this semester. Last semesters beginners were really good, though we had the luxury to get some that had already trained some sort of martial art and some of them knew each other from before. So it made most trainings easier.

I will also participate in a course for children's activity training on Thursday evening and the whole of Saturday. I have heard this is a great course from others in my club that has taken it before.

On Tuesday my chiropractor will visit our club and give us instructors some tips on some strength exercises that are good for us to use. She has visited us before Christmas to see how we train and how we move.

Time to whip our karatekas in to shape ;)


Picture by: Jørund Vedumsdalen

söndag 8 januari 2012

Theoretical judge course

This weekend I have participated in a course to become judge for karate competitions. I don't have any ambitions in becoming one just yet, but I'm interested in trying out the waters as a coach for my club. So I took the course to learn more about the rules and all the different signs the judge and referee performs during a bout, either in kata or kumite.

We were only six taking the course, five including me from my club. Kind of a poor turn up, and it felt like most of us really doesn't want to become judges. But hey, you never know where the road takes you until you actually take it :)

Since the rules were new for all of us (they came in to power January 1st this year), we had a lot of questions and even the instructor had to look things up in his papers, which led to some good discussions and hopefully made some of us smarter (?).

Today, Sunday, we took the theoretical test and all of us passed. So the potential of us becoming judges has increased by 50%. Now we just have to pass a practical exam, which seems a bit harder to pass as you have to participate as a judge at a NKF (Norwegian Karate Federation) competition and get someone to supervise your judging.

The course was good fun, and it was interesting to learn more about the procedures and the new rules. The most fun was to play around with the clubs new flags, as they make an awesome snapping sound when you give points, warnings and penalties!

Just a side note on my own progression. On Saturday evening I managed to squeeze in an hour of strength exercise between studying blocks. Today I'm a bit sore, and it feels like I did the exact amount of reps on everything without over doing it. And of course my metabolism sky rocketed and I had to get up and have a glass of milk around 12 am to be able to sleep...

In the future I will have to think more about having something more sufficient to eat for dinner than two crisp breads with cheese and chicken for late dinner on the days I train or do spontaneous strength exercises. But all will fall in to place when the dojo opens again next week, and I will get in to a routine with training and eating.


Picture by: Sofia Danielsson

torsdag 5 januari 2012

The situation so far

The road of karate for my part has been quite straight forward in terms of belt gradings. It's not until now that I have hit a snag that I have to untangle before I can progress.

I have never been very strong, I even struggle to put on weight no matter how much I eat or what I eat. My body has a very high metabolism, which means when I train I have to eat constantly to be able to function. Apparently I haven't been so good with this, so instead of getting stronger my muscle growth has either stopped or gone down. This is one of the reasons I have gotten another problem.

During the beginning of autumn 2011 I felt stale in the groin area the day after training. I have felt this in some extent during training the past years too, but not this much and lasting this long. So after talking to my sensei who struggles with hip injuries, I booked a consultation at the local chiropractor clinic.

After a couple of visits the verdict was a typical martial arts injury in my right hip muscles, and very close to getting inflammation in my groin muscles on the right side.

This has happened because my body has learned to use the smaller muscles when I kick and turn, instead of the large ones. It is also because I have a very weak body, due to not eating enough fats and also having a body that has learned to "cheat" and use the wrong muscle groups.

Making a long story short, my new years resolution is to gain weight by muscle mass. And with this also comes to learn to eat the right types of food for my body. If I want to progress in karate and life I have to get these two right, otherwise I'm screwed...


Height: 167 cm
Weight: 51 kg


Picture by: Eivor Mathilde

onsdag 4 januari 2012

Introduction

This blogg will follow my journey in Shorin Ryu Karate. The plan is to document my progress in karate, but also the training around it with weight/muscle gain.

I have only been training karate for 3,5 years, but I already have 1st kyu, or brown belt. My goal for 2012 is to stabilize my body with more strength, both physical and mental, and to get ready for 1st dan belt exam in December.

Who am I? I'm a 25 year old female from Sweden who lives in southern Norway. I started karate when I moved here to study multimedia technology and -design at the local university. Now the karate has gotten a strong grip on me, and I decided to stay and continue my training with all of these fantastic friends I have met on the way.

So why Konjou Karate? Konjou means will power in japanese. It is a nickname I have come to use for the past few years. When I took it I needed some inspiration to do something with my life, and using a name that means will power was something I needed at the time. And still maybe I do still need it :)

This was a little about me. I will make a post soon that is more based on my situation so far, and where I'm headed from there.


Picture by: Eivor Mathilde