Good New Year to you!

It is my hope that the New Year is treating you well. We talked recently during our training about setting goals. We used the visual of an elephant with a bamboo shoot. The idea being that a bamboo shoot helps elephants focus and not get distracted as they are in parades. My hope is that answering the following questions will help you find your “bamboo shoot”.

What excites you or makes you want to jump out of bed?

What goals (if any) did you set and accomplish in 2016?

What was learned from this process?

What goals do you have for 2017?

What steps will you take to achieve these goals?

Remember when setting goals to make them Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic and with a Time frame. These are SMART goals.


New Years Eve!

Reminder of the party will be December 31 Please see the schedule below.  Families are welcome and encouraged to attend, this is a social event for us to get together.  We will order pizza and have punch or cider.  You are welcome to bring a dish to share but don’t let that stop you from attending.  Please RSVP at least with interest to help in making sure we have appropriate amount of food.  Let me know if there are special dietary requests/ needs.

The schedule will be as follows.  

Doors open 3:50-

4:00-5:00- Yoga (all are welcome to participate including families- please be on time if you do not plan to participate please wait until after 5:00.  Thank you!

5:10-6:00- Karate in street clothes (All)

5:45-6:00- Demonstration (All Karate/ Kobudo students and Instructors)

6:00- Goal setting/limits  (All)

6:30- Food, movie, visiting.

~8:00 End

We will be doing some things to empower ourselves going forward into a New Year and demonstrating some things we have learned this year.   A few years ago I asked people to get some boards for this party.  If you have them prepared please bring them.  If you would like to get them go to a lumber supply store get 12″ by 1″ inch pine board.  Usually we cut them to 12″ x 12″ for adults.  We have some on hand if you do not wish to or are not able to purchase and cut.

Better Together

Once in college I sat with three of my training partners talking about trust, specifically trusting your life with.  I remember without missing a beat saying I am sitting with three of them.  This landed heavy for my friends and prompted much discussion.   We had met in university martial arts club and over the previous two years we trained together two or three days a week and were frequently social together.  They had become my closest friends and I looked so forward to class and time together.  We all had different background and varied skill sets but all had experience in martial arts before meeting.  We practiced things together that I would not have dreamed of without them and many of the skills gained at this time continue to impact my practice today.  


There is a saying out in the martial arts world that: Those that kick together stick together.  It has merit.  Our training is helped by having a diverse group of training partners.  As Mrs Young and I  were coming up through the ranks there were groups that were practicing at similar levels so the knowledge base was magnified and there were many different body types and attitudes to try different techniques.  Somethings work well for some or against some but not with others.  Invite someone to attend with you, someone to practice with, and create a cohort group to grow through the ranks together.  Of course not all people who try karate classes will find it for them.  It is disappointing as we see our training partners drop the practice but this is a reality of most any activity.  Over the years many of my cohort have dropped the practice.  I have been longing for the days when we would practice into the night together, and go to Gasshuku and train all day with the group, then go back to our “quarters” to review together, discuss what we had done and apply it to our practice.  Our knowledge base would grow so much because of what each of us would take away.  Most of all the excitement would magnify because there were people to share it with.  


Over the years It has been asked why I continue to do this.  Mrs Young and I could train together and most likely gain skills.  I do this and offer it publicly because someone did it for me.  These experiences had a huge impact on my life, and while I long for the cohort of my youth, it is my sincere hope to provide that opportunity for a new generation to find.  

Giving Tuesday

Today is giving Tuesday, and in the spirit of giving we have a gifting challenge for you.

Over the years of doing this we have been blessed by many great people to share the martial arts with.  Part of that blessing comes in the form of gifts at the end of the year.  We always appreciate when you remember us.  We appreciate gestures and gifts that show this but please feel no obligation to give any gift.


We often receive gifts from students this time of the year.  This year we have ornaments on our tree from the Dunn County Humane Society Paws for a cause.  Read more about it here


Christmas Paws for a Cause Ornament Fundraiser | through …

Purchase a DCHS Paws for a Cause ornament this Christmas. Each ornament features a picture of a shelter animal and a donation level that will suit everyone’s budget …

By purchasing one of these ornaments you are making a donation to the Humane society of Dunn County.  This would be a gift that goes much farther than an “arch card” to making the holidays bright for our family.  Please consider this opportunity in lieu of gifts to us.  Purchase one from the tree and give it to someone you know who appreciates animals.

To fuel this challenge, I will match donations if all ornaments “sell”.


Thank you for considering this option for holiday giving.

How to remember the curriculum…

A few weeks ago we were talking In class about how to remember the curriculum.  I suggested daily practice.  The importance of this discussion was driven home to me during an event where the head instructor was talking about the importance of keeping up with your own training.  He was explaining that a couple senior instructors failed a recent promotion grading due to not keeping up with their own practice.  November has been a bit of an effort to assist in that understanding that the answers are on the floor and repeating our training.  The Student workbook is out and available for you to assist in your notes.  Please note that as revisions are made active students will receive up to date copies so write all over it and  use it to support your learning.

Some of you have asked for additional time to practice and receive instruction.  During the winter ahead we will return to open dojo on Wednesday nights from 7:00-8:00 pm.  This means the dojo is open and I am available to ask questions.  This is a time of self directed practice with support.  In addition to this we will offer Special Saturday training once a month.  This will be an opportunity for you to work on anything you would like to catch up or as specified.

Please mark the dates on your calendar.  RSVP for the classes are appreciated and you are welcome to request material to be covered.  This will be directed training time (class instruction).


November Numbers

As we look forward at November our focus will be “Numbers”.  We will find creative ways to count and use our numbers.  “Numbers” is not just about counting, but repetition.  Last writing I talked about the answers are on the floor.  This is true, you must get on the floor and practice, practice repeat.   We will be selecting a few “moves” and doing them over and over during our class.  This is done to develop good form and movements that happen without conscious thought.  The other function is that we will work to keep form even when the motion is tired.  This may be an example of less is more in some ways.

In Karate we will possibly use; “Simple” Kihon, Kihon 2, 3, 4 Kihon Ido, Keri ido and even Kata with this idea.

As far as Kobudo the same applies, we may repeatedly do our Kihon or Hojo undo, Kata, even Bunkai…

In Yoga we may use more repeating sequences with the hope of building strength and possibly getting a deeper experience of positions.

Practice Practice, Repeat.

Your participation in our program is appreciated, Thank you.

October 31

October 31 falls on Monday this year.  It has been my experience that attendance is very low when that falls on a class day.  In an effort to enjoy the festive nature and see the creative costumes students (and families) are invited to wear their costumes next week Monday October 24.  (Personally I hope to see some creative martial arts inspired costumes).  We will take a group picture at 6:25 after the children’s class.  If you are not able to attend that night (or want to wear it again) wear it on Thursday October 27.


Two rules: Your uniform is a special garment for karate training and should not be used as a costume (outside the dojo).  The second no dangerous or breakable parts will be allowed during class.  If there is some touch up that needs to happen there will be a minute or two before the photos.


Some may ask “What is the value in this?”  From time to time it is important to practice in clothes that are not our Gis to see how this affects our ability to move.  We will of course go gentle on the costumes.  Most of all we are hoping to have some FUN together.


Please join us these nights regardless of your costume and enjoy the time together.

The Answers are on the Floor

Today I write after returning from a weekend of training in Nebraska.  I have never been in this dojo before but felt right at home and enjoyed my time there very much.


This weekend was a special time set aside for dedicated training time or Gasshuku.  Mrs. Young and myself attended as students and worked hard on Kihon, Kata and Kumite, The same things we work on in classes week in and week out, we just did it for longer without interruption.  Sensei talked a lot about making sure we do our practice.  Not only coming to the dojo for classes but also practicing to grow our skills so when we attend classes or Gasshuku especially, we can push each other to grow, ask questions and enrich the knowledge body as a whole.  It is the instructors responsibility to present the information.  The students job is to practice, make it their own and attend classes to work with others on the information.  Some of my favorite quotes were painted on the walls around this dojo.  The most relevant to this writing is “The Answers are on the Floor”.  Meaning if we want to learn we have to be on the floor, we have to practice and put in the effort.  I have approached my training by setting goals and working to make them happen.  My personal daily practice outside of class was developed prior to my first black belt test.  This strategy worked to achieve the goal of successful promotion at that time and continues to expand to serve new goals.


Currently Karate and Kobudo classes are Monday and Thursdays and Yoga classes Tuesday nights.  Many schedule options have been explored at various points of our history.  When polled people respond they would like to see more class options.  Scheduling is not easy for anyone, and people are involved in many things.  Personally I work full time before attending and teaching the classes we offer.  This is a personal commitment that I have chosen.  I am not asking for sacrifice from anyone, but would like to see the strength of our program continue to grow.


Back To school

This week we prepare for back to school.  Thursday and Friday are local students first day of school.
Thursday night will be September First and we will be “going back to school” at the dojo as well.

During the month of September we will recommit to the basics, spending time with Kihon or basic blocks, stances, strikes kicks.  We will review Kihon Ido from August and Keri Ido from July.  The kata of focus this month will be Sanseru and Sanchin dai Ichi this month.

My Goal is to have published study guide available by the end of the month…. Stay tuned.

We will be closed Monday September 5 for Labor day.  


July was a fun month working with Keri Ido learning new kicks and combinations.  We found out how our legs heat things up, and discovered the devistating power that can be generated from kicks.  We learned a couple “new” kicks and discussed their effectiveness or usage.  We learned some new exercises with the legs to made our hips stronger and improve our balance.
During the month of August we will continue with our theme of moving basics and work through Kihon Ido.  By the end of the month we will be comfortable with some basic sets and have the ability and confidence to “create” or find our own.
Thank you for a great summer so far, here is to a “moving” August…