October 6 – 9

Monday night’s class started off with about an hour of calisthenics consisting of jumping rope, heavy bag work, and medicine ball work. After this, we move on to the yakusoku kumite drills. We did all 7 of them for 5 minutes each.

Tuesday night we started off with a repeat of Monday’s calisthenics workout. We followed it up by going through the the 8th kyu exam syllabus. When we got to the blocks, green belts had to add reverse punch, and brown belts and above added a front leg front kick between the block and reverse punch. For the last 45 minutes of class, Sensei Castile helped make corrections on the students basics and kata.

Thursday night basic kids class was a good basic workout led by Sensei Shindo.

The intermediate kids and adults ran together again. We started with lots of calisthenics consisting of jumping rope, partner pushups, and partner squats. After this we moved into kata. The last part of the kata we did Ananku holding each stance for at least 2 minutes. Ananku only has 20 movements in it, and it 42 minutes for the class to complete it one time.

Sept 29-Oct 2

Monday night’s karate class was pretty standard. We ran though all the test basics. Then we quizzed some of the lower ranks on the knowledge portions of their test. After that, we finished up with some basic ground work.

Tuesday nights class was a bit more… intense. We started out with 1 hour of calisthenics consisting of jumping rope, shoulder exercises with dumbbells, heavy bag work, and some planking on top of medicine balls. After that, for the next 1 hour and 45 mins, we ran through the test basics hard and fast. We did blocks by themselves down the floor, and block/punch combos on the way back. We finished up the class with some semi-freestyle 3 time attack drills. I heard many awesome reports of people struggling to use their arms and legs on Wednesday morning. :)

Thursday night’s beginner’s kids class was rough. I had Sam-san lead warm-ups; but the kids didn’t seem to want to do warm-ups. In fact, at times they outright refused to do them. So I explained to them that if they didn’t want to show any effort in warm-ups, we were gonna have to work on spirit for the whole class. So, we spent 30 minutes straight in shiko-dachi doing basic blocks and punches. Any time one of the kids straightened their legs, they had to do 5 push-ups. It was rough. One of the kids was crying pretty heavily, but, to their credit, never quit. I pointed out to the rest of the students that that person was working hard, and showing the most spirit in the class. I explained to them the purpose of spirit training, and how they needed to learn to push themselves past where they thought they could go. I also explained to them that if they would just come to class and work hard they would get to things that were more interesting. I also told them that they couldn’t possibly finish strong if they didn’t start out strong. At the end of the class, they all came up and gave me high fives. I think they were actually surprised that they all made it through the workout.

The intermediate and advanced classes I rolled into one class and did a carbon copy of Tuesday night’s class.

September 22-25

Monday night’s karate class was a carbon copy of the previous week. Just tournament prep. Lots of sparring and kata.

Tuesday night’s class started out with some basic self defense for the ladies concerning how to deal with an attacker that is on top of you and choking you.

After that, I just wasn’t feeling it; so I asked the students what they wanted to do. It was unanimously sparring. So everyone padded up, and we spend the next hour sparring. We got a little out of hand, and I received a pretty wicked knee to my shin (you may have seen the pictures). 4 days later, and it’s still significantly swollen, and my leg is a really funky color somewhere between blue and purple. It’s ok, though, because I got the person back with a little technique commonly referred to as, “monkey grabbing peaches.” I’m happy to report that the technique works far better than expected.

Next, we spent the following 45 minutes working on kata. We ran through the basic 8 kyu level kata, then worked on tournament kata.

We rounded out the class with the last 15 minutes being some light bo partner drills.

Thursday nights beginner class I split evenly between two of our instructor trainees; first one doing basics and the second doing kata. We let the kids have a little fun by running relay races periodically.

The intermediate class was a fun-filled journey down crazy made up techniques straight out of James Hartman’s playbook. Started with two techniques and kept adding techniques until it culminated in the following abomination: lunge punch, spinning back kick, land in elbow strike, back fist strike, reverse punch, spinning back kick, land in elbow strike, back fist strike, reverse punch, spinning back kick, land in a spinning back fist, stepping forward into lunge punch.

After that monstrosity, we moved onto good old round kick, jump spinning round kick. We did it up and down the floor many times until it appeared people were starting to get the hang of it. Then we repeated it against kicking shields for the rest of the class.

Advanced class was nothing but kata. We started at Fukyugata ichi, ni, and san, then worked through all five Pinan kata, all three Naihanchi kata, and finished up with Ananku and Gojushiho.

September 15-18

This Week in Karate
Monday night was entirely tournament prep. Sensei Walker and Shindo were at the dojo, so I decided to go to the gym instead and at least get a workout in. Did a killer back workout with the guidance of Gamal Castile.

Tuesday night we quickly ran through the yellow belt test criteria for our newest student. After that, we worked heavily on front, round, side, and back kicks. We did each one 4 count style forwards and backwards down the floor for about 1.5 hours. We followed that by working on the open/closed fist drill for about 30 minutes in air and with partners as targets. We finished up with 15 minutes of basic 1 time attack.

Thursday nights basic class we split up into groups and worked on the beginners kata.

Intermediate class consisted of basic punching and blocking with partners from natural stance. We did rising block, inside block, outside block, downward block, and knife hand block against punches. We did downward block and outward block against front kick and round kick respectively.

Advanced class we just worked on our individual kata; either for test or tournament.

September 8-11


Monday night’s karate class started with about 40 minutes of sparring: 2 minute rounds with the loser of each match doing 10 pushups between matches. After sparring, we spent the next hour and a half doing some very detailed kata work; focusing on the finer points of the movements and using the correct hip rotation for the techniques.

Tuesday nights karate class started off with 20 or so minutes of medicine ball catch. We then moved onto 45 minutes of sparring drills and dojo free sparring while working on strategy and technique instead of speed and power. We then spent about 45 minutes going through Oyo Tan Ren, the 3 Fukyugata, and the 5 Pinan kata. We spent the last 15 minutes of class working on basic techniques; focusing on applying the hips to get power.

Basic class we worked on Oyo Tan Ren, Fukyugata 1,2,3, and Pinan Nidan. We finished up having some fun relay races with the kids.

Intermediate class started out with free style one time attack for the first 25 minutes. We spent the last 20 minutes working on individual tournament kata.

Advanced class was mostly stance training focusing on using the scissors action to cover as much distance as possible. Everyone’s legs were quite stiff by the end of class.feeling evil.

September 2-4

There was no class Monday night due to Memorial Day.

Tuesday Night
We started off with 15 minutes of jogging around the room; followed by 15 minutes of The Medicine Ball Game.

After warming up, we went through Oyo Tan Ren about 4 times. Then we moved onto basics: Seiken zuki, gyaku zuki, oi zuki in both zenkutsu and shiko dachi, age uke, gedan uke. Next we did several repititions of Fukyugata Ichi.

After that, we finished up the class by doing 50 or so repetitions forwards and backwards up the floor of rin mae geri and rin mawashi geri. Forwards was back leg first kick to the body, second kick to the face. Going backwards was front leg first kick to the body, second kick to the face.

Thursday Night
Basic class we started with a mini-tournament for the white belts doing their tournament kata. Sensei Walker finished up the class working on some fine points of their kata.
Intermediate class started out with 12 minutes of tournament sparring to warm up. After that, we moved onto working on tournament kata for those planning on competing at the Columbia Cup.
Advanced class… well, there wasn’t one. Seems all of the advanced students had other things to do. So sad.

August 25-28

Monday night, I actually got to train. Sensei Walker led us through a pretty technical class that was basically going over what Sensei Keyes had went over the previous Monday. We covered lots of technical details concerning foot, arm, and body positioning while doing various kata.

Tuesday night I had a new student in the class, so we focused on white belt content. Class warmed up with about 15 minutes of The Medicine Ball Game. We then went straight into the kata Fukyugata Ichi. We did that kata over and over for about 40 minutes. We finished up the class by doing a few hundred jab-reverse punch combinations in front stance.

Thursday nights theme was sparring. First kids class we broke into 2 groups: those who didn’t know their kata, and those competing in the tournament. Those who didn’t know their kata went into the other room and worked on learning the kata. The competitors spent the class doing an in-house tournament.

The second class was another in-house tournament with all the colored belts; which Sam Martin won out of a field of about 10 competitors.

Third class shifted from sparring to weapons kata work. We finished up the class doing some weapons drills against an opponent.

New Kid’s Test Requirements

The new kids test requirements have been being used for the last several months, but they have now been added to the site under the “Children’s Belt Requirements” link. They are also now in pdf format so you can download them for off-line viewing or printing.

As for the actual requirements, not much has really changed; this is more-so an explicit publication of the requirements. The old documented standard was not very explicit and caused some confusion. The biggest changes are 1) no more pending, and 2) a change to the belt colors themselves. #1 is a tough one. In the past, a student had 3 possible outcomes from a test: Pass, Pend, or Fail. Pass and Fail are pretty obvious, but pend caused a lot of heartache; so we got rid of it.

An important thing to note here, since failures will now be much more common, is that a student DOES NOT have to re-pay for a test that they failed. This has always been the policy, but some people that had never failed/had a child fail a test were concerned about this.

The new belt ranks are as followed (top to bottom, left to right)

Yellow w/White Stripe Yellow Yellow w/Black Stripe
Orange w/White Stripe Orange Yellow w/Orange Stripe
Green w/White Stripe Green Green w/Black Stripe
Brown w/White Stripe Brown Brown w/Black Stripe
Black w/White Stripe Black w/Green Stripe Black w/Brown Stripe

August 18-22, 2014

Monday nights started out with tournament prep focusing on tournament kata. After that class, Sensei Keyes made an appearance and led the regular class through a very technically grueling class.

Tuesday night was all basics: Seken zuki, age uke, soto uke, and uchi uke; the blocks all performed with gyaku zuki. We spent a little bit of extra time focusing on the non-blocking hand and how it can be employed during the techniques rather than being a “dead hand”.

Thursday night’s kids class was mostly Oyo Tan Ren. This is required to pass the orange belt test, and has single-handedly failed more students than any other exercise or technique. It was good for the beginners to get a chance to start learning it. The last few minutes of the class were spent working on their test kata.

Thursday night’s intermediate class was heavy on tournament sparring. We did 2 minute rounds with the loser of each match doing pushups; then rotating to the next partner. After that we focused on empty handed and weapons kata.

Karate Week in Recap

No class on Monday due to inclement weather.

Tuesday night, we did quite a bit of medicine ball work, followed by practicing jab-reverse punch-front kick, jab-reverse punch-round kick, and jab-spinning back kick-backfist strike-reverse punch up and down the floor with partners.

Thursday night we repeated Tuesday’s workout with the addition of focusing on spinning back kick for quite a bit as well. Second class we worked exclusively on the kata Fukyugata Ni. After class, we finished up with some informal free sparring.