Funny thing is I don’t even like cats, but I couldn’t resist this one…
So we all need to breath but how many of us know how to breath? I always get a strange look when I tell a class this. But like so many things we need to learn in the Martial Arts that we have never thought about, breathing is right there on the list. No one has to be taught to breath as a baby, it just happens and typically correctly unless there is some physical defect. But as we grow and begin to deal with stress, watch our role models, and in general mature most of us pickup bad breathing habits we are unaware of. So how do we overcome these bad habits…practice! A better question is why do we care!? I usually tell my students about calming yourself, cleansing your mind, or just getting blood to your brain! But here I thought I would quote someone for a different perspective…
In a speech held in Japan in 1978, the Japanese karate master Oyama Masutatsu (Mas Oyama) explains the value of correct breathing as follows: “It has an outside and inside character; it is positive and negative. When others are unaware that you are breathing, then this is negative breathing, and the breathing that surprises others is positive breathing. Positive and negative breathing is called Ibuki. Breathing in slowly is negative, bringing up the air to the chest and breathing it out with a loud sound is the positive aspect. It is very important breathing, for it calms the body during any kind of stress.”
For now I will leave it at that, think about this and don’t forget to breath!
Let us remember everyday not just on Memorial Day those who have died in our nation’s service for…
“It is the soldier, not the reporter who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
— — Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, Sergeant, USMC
You can and should read more about this true quote here.
It turns out that an increasing amount of evidence is showing that the Fountain of Youth is actually at the Gym or Dojo!
New research shows that strength training helps to keep muscle tissue younger. A study published in the online journal PLoS One (full report here) examined the affects of strength training on gene expression profile in muscles of older adults. Genes hold the instructions from which the body manufactures proteins; gene expression refers to the processes that translate these instructions into proteins. By analyzing small samples of muscle tissue from a group of healthy young and older adults (25 healthy men and women older then 65 and 26 healthy adults 20 to 35 with similar diet and exercise habits), researchers found that younger and older muscle tissue differ significantly in their gene expression profiles. What this means is the older muscles demonstrate an impaired mitochondria (the cell’s powerhouse). The research goes on to demonstrate that the impaired function is reversible with strength training. Fourteen of the older adults were given strength training two days a week for 6 months after which time the gene expression profile demonstrated more youthful traits. “In a very real sense, the muscle was younger,” said lead study author Dr. Simon Melov of the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, California. Experts have long known that exercise is good for younger and older adults alike, Melov told Reuters, but the new findings suggest that it can “actually rejuvenate muscle” in older individuals. Currently it is unknown if other forms if aerobic exercise, like walking or cycling, has similar effects on muscle or other types of body tissue.
It is amazing that we have to read a study like this to know the obvious! It is interesting to understand the mechanics of how exercise makes our bodies (and spirits) last longer and be healthier but is it necessary? I guess for many people it is. Look at some of the very old people who practice Tai Chi, other Martial Arts or those who just exercise regularly. The hard part for many people is getting started and sticking with an exercise program. The hard part for many Martial Artists is finding a balance between technique and conditioning. Regardless of your style you should be exercising outside of the Dojo, training really can be a lot of fun and very personally rewarding, though I will be the first to admit that the older one gets the more challenging it can be to find the time and stick to a good regiment. Regardless of how much or how little you manage to exercise though one thing is clear from common-sense and current research…some exercise is better then none AND it is never to late to take that first step and start exercising!
This news is a few weeks old but it was to good a topic to pass up! So on April 13th it was reported that a Deadly virus phone threat causes Pakistan panic. No w at first glance this isn’t a big deal, hackers found a way to send you a virus to your phone, BUT you would be mistaken. No, no! Pakistan mobile service providers have been inundated by calls from subscribers worried by a prank message that they could die of a deadly virus being transmitted via their phones. You read right, they thought that someone could send them an actual medical virus that could infect their body and make them sick. So we have to give everyone the benefit of the doubt here perhaps this was a small group and the report is slightly overblown…Guess again…The rumor was so effective that some mosques in the country’s biggest city, Karachi, made announcements that people were being killed by a mobile virus and they should be aware of God’s wrath. And so whoever started this “virus” prank is up there with the greats like “War of the Worlds”. Perhaps those panicking had recently seen the Hollywood movie “The Ring” in which people die within a week after watching a video. In Pakistan the prankster warned users that a deadly virus transmitted through phones had already killed 20 people. And people wonder why we Americans found Borat so believable? (Maybe a bad example since I haven’t seen the movie yet!) There are more than 52 million mobile users among 160 million people in Pakistan, no word yet on how many people were infected…I mean affected by this prank!
So what should we all learn from this event? How about applying a little common sense when faced with any situation.
This video demonstrates why it is important to stay close to a gun when trying to defend yourself against an armed attacker. Here we see an attorney use a tree to “dodge” the bullets! This man had no self-defense training prior to this event but his quick instincts saved his life, the walked away with a grazing wounds but lived to talk about it.
Lately I have been seeing an increasing number of martial arts and safety “experts” telling people to run away in a zig-zag pattern or to move around a lot if confronted with a gun. While this may sound like good advice I strongly disagree. The only reason this worked in the above video was because the lawyer did not run away, he stayed close. Your only real defense against a gun is available if you are within arms length of the gunman/woman otherwise all bets are off. In the end it is your call and no one should feel guilty for the way they may or may not respond in such a high stress situation but remember this lawyer, keep your cool!
There is one who, though not having eaten rice for a long time, feels no hunger. There is another who, though eating all the day long, never feels satisfied.
— Pai-Chang’s Sermon to the Monks
Which are you?
Well it has been a while and for that I am sorry. Hopefully this will break the cycle and I’ll be posting regularly again…we’ll see. I haven’t written because, well life happens. This year has been going full speed and I hit critical mass around the beginning of May. Things are getting better now though I still have a huge amount on my plate. I am also dealing with a nasty neck/shoulder injury that is impeding my training progress. Guess I will have more time to spend on my lower body, eh?!
I plan on resuming with regular development and expansion of the site so by the end of the summer we will hopefully have more features and services to offer everyone. We are also busy developing a new Dojo Management System that we are hoping to debut towards the end of this year, though there are a lot of variables in that estimate! As always thank you for your support and suggestions, please keep them coming!!
What is all of the hype about? Why would I take a Self-Defense class instead of a Karate class or visa versa? This is a common question. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer; it really depends on the needs of the individual. Karate is a form of Self-Defense however Self-Defense is rarely a form of Karate. Karate can take years to master and perfect however you can master basic Self-Defense principles in a short time, with infrequent but regular practice.
Both increase your self-confidence and understanding of how to deal with threatening situations. Practicing Self-Defense increases your awareness and provides you with the tools to quickly thwart an attack. Karate also increases your awareness. Karate also provides you with the ability to thwart an attack but it also gives you the ability to deal with a prolonged attack.
A good analogy would be a comparison of Checkers and Chess. Both are games of skill that require thought, yet one obviously requires more time to learn but yields benefits beyond the game. Playing Checkers we look a few moves ahead and react to our opponents every move. Playing Chess we need to have much more situational awareness, it trains us to be more adept at handling unexpected situations. Like Checkers and Chess, Self-Defense and Karate have their place and purpose. Which is the right tool for you?