March 30, 2010
It was sometime in February when I decided to go to Okinawa for a karate seminar. At the time, April seemed like an eternity away and I didn't think it would ever stop snowing.
I did a little digging into traditional Okinawan training methods and quickly realized I needed to get busy so I would be a bit less of a total disgrace when I got there.
The Okinawan approach to karate is different from the typical American or even typical Japanese methods. Even the more tradition-minded schools outside Okinawa tend to focus on kihon or basic movements, kata or prearranged formal exercises, and kumite or practice fighting, in that order. As martial artist and author Michael Clarke noted in the book pictured above, in Okinawa the focus is often on warm up exercises or junbi undo, followed by supplementary strength-building exercises called hojo undo, then kata, then bunkai or applied kata.
The hojo undo really caught my eye (look it up on youtube if you're curious). Among other things, it involves lifting, swinging, throwing and catching various improvised heavy objects to build the power to make techniques work. I didn't have those traditional items but improvised and have spent a portion of each day swinging around heavy mallets and sledge hammers as well as throwing and catching dumbbells a couple hundred times a day.
I also doubled up on regular weight training and calisthenics and on alternate days either jog an hour or do intervals of jumping rope, shadow boxing, hitting and kicking the heaving bag and katas. I cover about 35 foot miles per week between jogging and dog walking, have taken in my belt a few notches and eat ravenously (blaming it on my karate tapeworm). My body feels like it is cooking itself most days.
All this with a heart that is pretty much dead.
I'm not sure whether I'm bragging or complaining but am looking forward to the trip now because I need some rest. I'm sure I'll still be a disgrace when I get there but I hope maybe a little less of one.
TALKING SENSE. Here's a good editorial about health care reform and unintended consequences from up New England way.
WHILE WE'RE AT IT, here are some interesting reflections on health and personal responsibility.
JAMIE OLIVER'S FOOD REVOLUTION is hitting close to Goat Rope Farm. The British chef was inspired to try to change eating habits in Huntington, WV after a report identified it as the must unhealthy area in American. The first episodes aired last Friday on ABC and are available here.
SPEAKING OF WV. This is weird but personal income here actually went up in 2009. This is largely due to public spending.
HAPPINESS AND SUCH are discussed in the latest edition of the Rev. Jim Lewis' Notes from under the Fig Tree.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED