Self Defense

I was listening to the Radio this morning and the host was talking about how for him, this was as good as it is going to get.  He referenced his age and health conditions including his weight and said “this is as good as it gets”.  While I do not totally agree with him, he has a point.  I had a teacher in university who said multiple times a day, “If we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always gotten”  She applied this to many situations but I am choosing to apply it to our health.  Over the past 13 years of seeing patients I can say, use it or loose it.  Some of my Coworkers say “Motion is Lotion”.  When we stop moving we loose ability in a hurry, this reality increases as we age.  We don’t stop moving because we grow old, we grow old because we stop moving.
It has always been my position that the movements of Traditional Martial Arts will save us.  Especially when we use our intuition or awareness and “Act in accordance with time and change”.  Most of the authentic martial arts I have looked at and practiced have value for various life stages.  If you look at our Goju ryu practice the practice does not require great physical flexibility, balance or strength although it does work to improve these things.  As we age we may work more at improving these items trough our practice which is in it self a form of self defense.  Self defense- Protection or defense from anything that could cause us harm.  This could include limited mobility, risk of falling, weight issues or atrophy (loss of strength).  If you look at the age of many of the practitioners around the world of GoJu Ryu and especially Tai Chi you see it is possible to practice in to your 80s or longer.
We often share fond memories of an Okinawan instructor in his late 80s who helped us out.  He was in the dojo not just to assist us, we were encouraged to see him practicing his karate, working on his balance, strength and flexibility.
At the Menomonie Goju Dojo we offer Yoga and Karate for Children and adults that is sensible and appropriate for the stage of life, to improve balance, flexibility and strength.

Mothers Day

I received a message yesterday from one of our adult students explaining that he would not make it to class last night.  The message was  “Sensei, I’m sorry I can’t make it practice tonight.  My mother passed away this morning”.  I read this message about 20 minutes before class was to start and my heart immediately sank.  Of course my sincere sympathy is with them and they are on my Prayer list.  But I got to reflecting as I had just finished “wrapping” the mothers day present for my own mother and I sank even further for them.  As I sat with this a bit I felt very blessed that I not only still have my mother but that we have shared the martial arts for 31 years.


We began as a present for my 9th birthday.  At that time the instructor would not allow children to attend classes without a parent participating.  I don’t remember how much begging I had to do, I don’t suspect it was to much, but she agreed to check it out and we signed up together.  I say together, but she signed us up, she bought the uniforms, she made sure I had all the equipment needed, she drove us to class each week and made sure I practiced at home.  She attended grading, usually herself as a participant, when we went to special events she drove and made sure we were registered, and neatly enough kept notes and certificates.  We attended an event in 1988 that I had forgotten about until she framed the certificate and gave it to me when I was in High school.  She kept the first board I ever broke, which I would believe she still has.  She has been there for every promotion and when I promoted she would clean and dye the belt which was the tradition at the time, much more time consuming than opening a new belt.  When I received my black belt 20 years ago and every dan rank since she was there to support me and give me a hug of congratulations.  She kept up her own training through all the years overcoming obstacles and being a true example of perseverance.  To this day I have not seen a more impressive display of board breaking than her second black belt test.


While I am sad for our dojo family member who lost his mother and I urge your prayers for the family, take a moment to hug your mother, or the mother in your life and thank her for all she has done to support you!

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