Sep 26, 2012

Green Belt!!

I earned my green belt last week! It was a long test, three hours with only a few seconds here and there for water. So it was pretty much non-stop. And all my Senpai (teachers and partners) pushed me pretty dang hard. I was exhausted at the end, but I had my green belt so I was very happy.

For those who don't know, green belt is in the intermediate levels, so I'm no longer in the 'junior' ranks. I'll be learning how to take someone down, be taken down, roll and fall without injuring myself, defend against a knife attack, and so much more. Basically, it's taking everything I've learned up to this point and bringing it to a new level. I'm SO excited!

Here are some pictures from the test. Enjoy!

Jul 10, 2012

Spirit Challenge Week: Soul Survivor

Last week, I posted video of the board breaking events during Spirit Challenge week at Thousand Waves. Today, I've got pictures and video of the Soul Survivor event.

In the past, this event has consisted of a bunch of people getting together and doing lots of fitness challenges, like push ups and sit ups and who knows what else, and the last person standing is the 'Soul Survivor.' This year, it was different. We divided up into teams of four. Here's my team.

We went to the beach, and then basically ran something like a fitness obstacle course. I had no idea how much running was going to be involved, and, frankly, I'm glad I didn't know because I would have chickened out. :) I hate running. I mean, I hate running. And the event was pretty much all running.

First, we ran from a big hill all the way to the beach (I have no idea how far that was, but it felt like an eternity--and running on the sand was killer), where we put a PVC pipe on our shoulders and did lunges in the water. Then we ran back to the hill (aka 'home base') and did 25 push ups. Then, we ran back to the beach and held horse stance (kind of a low squat) while the person in the back crawled under everyone else until they became the first person in line.

We had to do that for a good stretch along the sand. Then, we ran back to home base to do 50 sit ups.

Next, we ran up the hill carrying a car tire, passing it off to the next team member at specified places until we were back to where we started.

Then we ran back to home base and did 10 partner-plank-high-fives: two people holding plank position facing each other, then you slap hands low, middle, and high. Both hands for each level, which counts as one...we did ten of those.

After that, we had to tie our legs together and walk for a good stretch along the grass. Then we came back and held a V-sit for one minute (sit on your butt,  then raise your feet to head level while keeping your legs straight--from the side, you look like the letter V).

The last thing we did was a relay race up the hill, gathering bandanas which we had to tie together and pass off to the next team member. When we had them all, we had to run up the hill and back down as a team, then back to home base.

This whole thing was a timed event, and the two fastest teams faced off in a 'Tug of Peace' (Thousand Waves is all about violence prevention, hence the renaming from tug of war). The team who won the Tug of Peace is the Soul Survivor team.

Guess who won? My team!! I thought my running was going to slow everyone down, but apparently not. We took second place in the timed event, but then won the Tug of Peace. So we're the Soul Survivor champions for 2012! Woohoo!

I could barely walk the next day from all that running, but it was so worth it. :)

Here's a video of all the Soul Survivor events, and pretty much everyone who participated, if you'd like to see it. There's a map of our obstacle course, and the Tug of Peace is at the end. Enjoy!

Jul 3, 2012

Spirit Challenge Week: Board Breaking

Last week, I posted pictures from a couple of the Spirit Challenge events at my dojo, Thousand Waves. Today, I've got a video to share from the board-breaking event. This was my first time breaking, and it was quite the experience... Lots of fun, and I broke four boards! :)

My kids shot the video, so that's why the angle is so low (and why some of it is a bit shaky). But I think they did a pretty good job, so here you go.

And here is a video of those who have been breaking for years and are quite good at it. The challenge this year was to blindfold those breaking, arrange the people holding the boards around the room, then remove the blindfold. The person breaking has 30 seconds to basically run around the room and break as many boards as possible. There are some really amazing breaks, and I think fun was had by all. So here's a video if you'd like to watch it. Side note: it's about fifteen minutes long. :) Enjoy!

Jun 27, 2012

Spirit Challenge Week!

Spirit Challenge week at my dojo, Thousand Waves, has come and gone. And I'm happy to say that they exceeded their fundraising goal! Which means that they can keep doing all their violence prevention programs. Woohoo!!

For me, Spirit Challenge week was quite challenging! Instead of regular class, we did fitness challenges. Some were class-like, but longer and more strenuous. Others were completely different, and even more strenuous. :)

Here's some photos of the first two events: Karate Boot Camp and Kata Endurance (and, yes, they were exactly how the titles sound :) )

Next week, I'll post a video from the board-breaking event. At which, I broke four boards!!

May 15, 2012

Thousand Waves Martial Arts and Self-Defense Center

As you all probably know, my kids and I train in Seido Karate. I just earned my advanced yellow belt, and this weekend my kids will test for their green belts. We're all really excited!

Our dojo is called Thousand Waves, and it's amazing. I'm biased, of course, but I'm convinced it's one of the most welcoming communities ever. The environment is nurturing (NOT to be confused with coddling, cause they don' all), which provides people with a safe place to venture out of their comfort zones. This is the perfect recipe for building confidence and empowerment.

Before Oldest started training, he was painfully shy. At seven years old, he couldn't even make eye contact with strangers, let alone speak to them. In fact, on his first day at the dojo, his teacher actually asked if he was capable of speech(!).

This shyness hindered him in so many ways. He had difficulty making friends, joining new classes and groups in activities, and he was often on the outside looking in. All because he was too scared to take that first step toward connecting with other kids.

Part of the curriculum at Thousand Waves is learning how to speak up, that your voice counts and you have every right to use it. It's two of their Five Fingers of Self-Defense: Think, Yell, Run, Fight, Tell. Through consistent training and encouragement from his teachers, Oldest has acquired the confidence to use his voice, both to make new friends and to set limits with existing ones. He's almost a different kid than he was a year ago, so much happier and easy-going, and he's enjoying life so much more. A huge, new door has been opened for him.

When Youngest was in junior kindergarten, one of his classmates tried to shut him in his locker. Yes, junior kindergarten!! Thousand Waves gave him a whole set of tools to deal with this bully, and there hasn't been an incident since.

This is why I train there. This is why I believe Thousand Waves is worthy of support. They have given me and my family far more than I could ever give in return, but I will do my best to try.

Mine is not the only family they have touched. Thousand Waves has several violence prevention programs, which they bring to to schools and neighborhood organizations. They have an Adapted Seido Karate program for kids with disabilities, which has no fees for those kids who train. They also have a scholarship fund, which ensures that anyone who wants to can train in karate, and have access to the many Thousand Waves programs.

For an organization to do as much as this one does, they need help. They are a not-for-profit, and all of their scholarship funds come from their annual Spirit Challenge fundraiser. This includes the Adapted Seido Karate program for disabled kids. I have pledged to do my part this year. In addition to donating, I have signed up for four fitness challenges. These events take place all week from Monday, June 11 through Sunday, June 17. I've also pledged to raise $200, which will go toward keeping their fabulous programs going.

If Thousand Waves sounds like an organization you'd like to see thriving, I would love your help in reaching my goal. You can make a donation here, of whatever amount you like. Every little bit counts--"One wave can set a thousand in motion."