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


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


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