Meditation Point #92

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing
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“Those who really desire to attain an independence, have only set their minds upon it, and adopt the proper means, as they do in regard to any other object which they wish to accomplish, and the thing is easily done.” – – P. T. Barnum

Sparring tactics – probing

Sensei Posted in Training notes
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Probing is similar to the jab in boxing it serves to test your opponents defenses. However in the Martial Arts we do not just jab since our opponents entire body is our target. The Martial Artist should be adept at probing with different techniques using both their hands and feet. Often the probe will be performed as a grapple type move in an attempt to create an opening. While this can be effective it can also expose you to counter attack. The basic tenet of probing is speed. So how do we attain greater speed to improve our ability to probe and circumvent our opponents defenses? Practice!
In the Martial Arts there are three components, mind, body, and spirit. The mind analyzes a situation and helps develop a plan. The spirit drives us forward when we seemingly should quit. The body acts on instincts and reacts to situational stimulus. In sparring the spirit and body take the bulk of the control if you are going to win. This means they must be trained to handle that responsibility. Your spirit is yours and only you can find it’s limits. Your body however can be trained to react with speed and precision in any given situation. That is the way to success in sparring because thing move to quickly to your mind to develop a plan, explain it and instruct your body on how to carry it out. It is like trying to think about walking down a flight of stairs, if you do you will at the very least feel like you are going to fall!
So we train, we practice and we relax our minds. The best exercises for this type of training are as follows:
Practice speed: Bruce Lee use to have a contraption that would give him an electric shock if he wasn’t fast enough. I do not suggest anything so extreme! A safe exercise is performing a mid or high thrust to a heavy bag and slowly moving forward, thrusting faster so that the bag stays ahead of you and eventually slightly at above you. Hold the bag in this position for as long as you can. This exercise requires rapid thrusts with great precision or the bag will roll to one side and swing past you.

Heavy Bag Exercise

Another good tool to use are weighted bag gloves, these help increase strengthen your arms you will find yourself slightly faster when not wearing them. Jumping rope will improve your stamina and agility. And of course sparring with a good partner will provide the best practice of all. There are hundreds of exercises and drills you can perform the important thing is that you practice and train hard!

Meditation Point #91

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing
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In order to take one must first give.
I’m not going to offer any insight on this one, you need to figure it out for yourself…

Meditation Point #90

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing
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Live the question now.
Perhaps, then, someday far in the future,
you will gradually, without even noticing it,
live your way into the answer.

— Rainer Maria Rilke
To often we obsess about the the question when the problem is we have not experienced what we need to or learned what is necessary in order to answer the question. Sometimes it is best to take a deep breath, trust yourself and let the answer come to you. That is the path to solving all of life’s hard questions.

ID Theft Protection

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft
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So you think you are safe…You make sure you protect your credit cards, your receipts, you only shop in trusted stores, you are doing everything right. Where is your old computer? How about your old cellphone? Have you ever lost a USB Key or portable storage device? Not feeling so safe now are you! Well these are valid concerns because the popular (among criminal types) sport of Dumpster Diving is back. In the past hackers and ID Thieves would dive in the dumpster and go through your mail looking for old credit card statements or other identifying information. Well they the sport is back except this time they are going after your old hard drives and storage devices. Yes even phones can be useful if your data and/or address/phone book wasn’t properly deleted. Other reasons for criminals to going through trash bins is the hope of finding customer lists, email addresses, account information and passwords unintentionally left behind on old hard drives, USB flash drives and portable music players. Every user who throws away (or loses) a key chain-size flash drive could be unintentionally leaking critical information to a criminal. Any of the tens of millions of desktop and notebook computers disposed of each year in landfills, junkyards and yard sales could be a rich trove of personal and corporate data left on a hard drive by lazy users or IT departments. Best estimates indicate that over 50 million PCs, laptops, and servers are thrown away every year. The information they hold pose a growing risk for their former owners. This risk is rising because we increasingly dump information onto multiple drives. Most people forget what is stored on old drives. Even data that has been deleted is accessible with the right tools! Most people do not realize that data can be recovered after it has been deleted (yes even after the trash bin on a Windows system has been emptied).
So what is a person to do? First if you are going to use technology take a moment to learn a little about it. To help you out KarateTraining.org is planning on offering a few free introductory technology courses in the near future. Until then don’t discard your old computers without removing the hard drives. Even if you plan on giving the system to someone it is inexpensive to replace the hard drives. Remember you don’t know what they will do with the computer. If you carry a USB flash drive look into getting an encrypted USB flash drive. Most importantly don’t store any sensitive information on a portable device since you could lose it and you don’t know who may find it! Also put some form of ID on your portable devices like a phone number or email address. Chances are you’ll be safe from this problem but like all self-defense, awareness is 90% of the game. Stay safe and train hard!

Jumping Rope Works

Sensei Posted in Training notes
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This video clip demonstrates some basic Jump Rope techniques for Boxing Fitness. While this video clip is titled for boxing jumping rope is an excellent addition to any fitness program. Watch the video it contains a lot of great information. Then give it a try!

Happy Birthday!

Sensei Posted in Events & Holidays
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To my someone special, you know who you are…

May the joy of today wash over you continuously in the year ahead and all troubles encountered soon be forgotten!
Thanks for keeping me in your heart and making life such a pleasure through all the little things you do for all those in your life – I greatly appreciate your presence in my life.
I hope that today is one not to be forgotten for all the love you receive!
Happy Birthday!

You never really know…do you

Sensei Posted in Self-Defense
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On July 18th Leandro Aragoncillo, 48, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for espionage charges in connection with stealing classified national defense documents from the White House, the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the U.S. Department of State. This is surprising because Leandro Aragoncillo was a former U.S. Marine and FBI analyst. Aragoncillo’s case marks the first time in modern history that someone has been charged with spying out of the White House The man who was a career Marine and had served under two vice presidents (Cheney & Gore) in the White House had pled guilty to stealing information in an attempt to foster a political coup in the Philippines, his ancestral home country. Aragoncillo was brought to justice using the same tools he was using for his treasonous activities, text messages, Web-based e-mail accounts and database queries.
There are many aspects of this case that are interesting, from his motivation to his religious affiliation to his career highlights. But what has prompted me to write about this is the aspect dealing with security and self-defense. Even though this story covers a big topic it has lessons that we can learn at a much more personal level. Most people tend to accept certain positions as trustworthy, and because of this, assign an inherent trust to people holding these positions. Examples abound, police, clergy, teachers, fellow parents all are positions we assign trust and responsibility to yet are the individuals filling these roles responsible and trustworthy? In this case, no. To often our self-defense is breached because we relax or rely on the trust of a position and not the individual. Trust should be earned regardless of the position. As a parent this is more true then ever. I trust no one with my children that hasn’t earned that trust. Even after earning my trust, when it comes to my children I am ever critical of motives and actions. Remember that self-defense starts with awareness and vigilance. Luckily the Federal government was vigilant in this case. But if we apply a personal tone to this story the damage is done because the crime has already happened. The difference is that in our personal life, concerning our personal safety we do not have to wait for a crime to be committed to change the course of events. So be aware and pay close attention to motive. There are a lot of nice, kind hearted people out there but there are also a lot of wolves pretending to be the same. Can you tell the difference? Train hard and stay safe.
Read about the Aragoncillo case here

Work those Core Abs

Sensei Posted in Training notes
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As in most sports your core abdominal muscles are very important. This is pointedly true in the Martial Arts as abdominal muscles are used in many different techniques. Like your legs, your abdominal muscles provide the foundation for most of your moves. Your abdominals not just critical if you get hit in the gut! So how do we work towards rock solid abdominals that give us a good defensive structure and provide a solid foundation for offensive moves and flexibility? Here is another abdominal exercise that you can add to your regiment. This exercise has two positions, both work your core and lateral abdominal muscles.
The first exercise (pictured below) is performed by getting into a push up like position except with your forearms and elbows resting on the floor in front of you. Your body should be in a straight line (make sure you butt isn’t to high or low). Hols this position for as long as you can, typically start by holding 3 sets of 20 seconds. In between sets drop your pelvis to the floor for a mild stretch of your abs and back.
Core Abs - Position 1
The second position (pictured below) in this exercise is slightly more difficult. Here we need to repeat the exercise on both sides. Lay on your side and prop yourself up on your elbow. Raise your body so that your center-line forms a straight line from your feet to your head. All of your weight is resting on your bottom foot-edge and your elbow/forearm. If you need to use your upper arm to help get yourself into the correct position. Perform 3 sets on each side holding for an initial 20 seconds per set.
Core Abs - Position 2
The longer you hold these the more you sill feel the results! You should feel a little sore in the ribs and lower pelvic areas. Try it and post your results or variations.

Speak Up!

Sensei Posted in Site_News
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It’s your day to speak up! While I am prepping for the week ahead I thought I would put the ball in your court. I want to hear from my readers, post a comment and let me know what topics you are most interested in seeing more posts about.
Thanks for reading:)