Triple Crown winner at Sarasota Competition

Sensei Posted in Competition

16 year old c began taking tae kwon do lessons three years ago after she saw the sport on TV. She figured it would be good to learn how to defend herself. Rachael was recently crowned the American Tae Kwon Do Association’s (ATA) Triple Crown Florida State Champion!! The 16-year-old was the points leader in all three competitive forms of tae kwon do — sparring, weapons and form — as she became the first girl from Sarasota to ever win a Triple Crown. This past year, Rachael has earned 33 trophies and medals from 11 different tournaments. She’s traveled as far as Las Vegas for the ATA Spring National Tournament and has also visited Georgia twice. Rachael is currently the top-ranked girl in the state in the 13-16-year-old age division of the ATA.
The best quote from this article though is this: “When I first started tae kwon do, I was afraid to hit people, but with more practice, I learned how to control my power,” Rachael said. “The most unique thing about this sport is being able to discover your potential and your inner strength.” Thanks Rachel for your commitment to excellence!

Why do Workouts Work

Sensei Posted in Training notes

I thought you’d be interested in this story from Science@NASA:
Most machines don’t improve with use. Old pickup trucks don’t gradually become Ferraris just by driving them fast, and a pocket calculator won’t change into a supercomputer by crunching lots of numbers. The human body is different. As weightlifters know, the more that people use their muscles, the stronger they become. And unused muscles do not remain preserved; neglect causes them to waste away, or atrophy. It’s a remarkable response, one that scientists don’t fully understand. Somehow, muscle cells “sense” how they’re being used and then remodel themselves to better fit the task. How does this happen? And what exactly is it about exercise that triggers the changes? “Normally, people’s muscles do a lot of work that they’re hardly aware of–lifting their bodies and maintaining posture against gravity. In space, that constant muscular work is removed. There’s a danger of atrophy,” explains Kenneth Baldwin, a professor in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine. With NASA support, Baldwin is researching the inner workings of muscles and plumbing the fundamental mystery: Why do workouts work? NASA has a special interest in isometric exercises–i.e., non-moving exercises where an astronaut pushes hard against a fixed surface. Motionless exercises allow for simple lightweight equipment less expensive to launch and less prone to break during a mission. But are they effective? To find out, Baldwin’s group gave laboratory rats a workout by activating the rodents’ leg muscles with painless electrical stimulation. They tested three types of exercise: muscle contraction, muscle lengthening, and isometric, where the muscle exerts a force while remaining the same length. (Just think of doing push-ups: muscle contraction occurs in the “up” part of a push-up, muscle lengthening during the “down” part, and isometric while holding a push-up midway.) After the sessions, the scientists performed tests to see how the rats’ muscles responded. “What we found,” says Baldwin, “was that after 12 sessions, all three types of workout tended to provide about the same amount of muscle growth,” even the isometric exercises that involved no motion.
This was nothing new. Other scientists had come to the same conclusions before. But Baldwin’s group took their analysis a step further: In addition to measuring overall muscle mass–how “buff” were the rats?–they also measured the amount of contractile proteins within the muscle cells. Contractile proteins are what actually cause a muscle to contract. They are what give a muscle its strength. To their surprise, Baldwin’s team found that while isometric exercises did prevent leg muscles from withering, they did not stop a decline in the amount of contractile proteins in those muscles. The muscle was actually degrading on the molecular level.
Muscle Structure
No one knows why this is so, but one thing seems clear: Isometric exercise might not be the best way to maintain astronaut muscles. Baldwin plans to investigate further with just-renewed funding from NASA. A more unconventional possibility is that astronauts could stave off muscle atrophy by taking a pill. Anti-atrophy pills are only speculative right now, Baldwin says, but there are reasons to believe that they might be possible. That’s because when atrophy sets in, the muscle isn’t just withering away passively — it’s actively breaking itself down! A complex network of enzymes within the muscle’s cells disassembles muscle proteins molecule by molecule. “In order to chop those proteins up, you use a lot of energy,” notes Baldwin. If scientists could pinpoint a key “lynchpin” enzyme in this network, they may be able to design a drug to block its action, thus slowing the breakdown of the muscle. This active breakdown of muscle protein is going on all the time in everybody’s muscles, as is the constant assembly of new proteins. Whether a muscle grows, shrinks, or stays the same size depends on the balance between these rates of destruction and construction, a bit like the water level in a bathtub that’s both filling and draining at the same time.
Baldwin is taking a look at the mechanisms behind the “construction” half of this balance. In particular, his group is focusing on a hormone called Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1). Muscles produce IGF-1 in response to strenuous exercise, and this hormone in turn activates enzymes in the muscle cells that cause the cells to grow. Indeed, Baldwin found that levels of IGF-1 in the rats’ muscles were higher just after exercising. “Some people think that it’s the mechanical stress that turns the gene (for IGF-1) on, but we really don’t understand that process yet. What we do know is that IGF-1 triggers muscle growth,” Baldwin explains. Might supplements of IGF-1 be used to ensure that construction of muscle proteins keeps pace with protein destruction in astronauts? Baldwin says they’re entertaining the idea and are already discussing ways in which that might be done. If they’re successful, it will be good news for more than just astronauts. After all, we’re all owners of that incredible, self-adapting machine called the human body.
Listen to this story via streaming audio

In other Phishing news…

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft

Multiple phishing alert: Commercial Bank of Dubai, UBS, Oxford Federal Credit Union have received reports of a new phishing attack that targets customers of the Commercial Bank of Dubai. A new phishing attack that targets customers of UBS sends users a spoofed email message, which claims that their account has been locked, and that they must logon to restore access to their online banking service. Another new phishing attack targets customers of Oxford Federal Credit Union. Basically remember that if you get an email from a banl telling you about some security threat or asking for your acount information to verify something DON’T!! Banks don’t send out these types of emails!! You have been warned AGAIN. If you aren’t sure, call your bank, but please look up the number don’t call the phone number provided in the email!…remember your best defensive tool is your brain…use it!

New Phishing Trojan!

Sensei Posted in Identity Theft

A new Trojan can change IP addresses! IP Addresses are how your web browser finds the web sites you want to view, it is a translation of the human readable domain name (say to a numeric, computer readable address (like This new trojan can change this IP address before your request leaves your computer! It can also go grab the site you wanted and redirect you to an impostor site…very scarey stuff! What does this mean? In layman’s terms it can control the websites you visit regardless of what sites you try to visit. For example let’s say you type in the URL so you can manage your account. A trojan that can change the IP address can now send you to instead!
The more technical description is, this new Trojan is on the loose and is enabling attackers to reroute users to phony Websites even when the user types the URL out manually. The Trojan, dubbed, corrupts the process of translating a domain name into an IP address, according to security researchers at security software vendor MicroWorld Technologies, which discovered the vulnerability. The exploit has “high risk potential,” the researchers say. When a user types in a URL, the smart Trojan changes the “NameServer” registry key value to a fraudulent IP address. Phishers can design the fraudulent page to look very much like the pages of the site they are defrauding businesses such as a bank or retailer and fool the user into typing in their account information. “Phishing usually requires you to be lured through emails that lead you to impostor Websites, but this requires nothing of that sort”. Unfortunately we don’t have any information on how this trojan is spread or how you protect against it.

Your Fortune…

Sensei Posted in Fun Stuff

This was to cool to not post! Parental Warning: most fortunes are ok, some are suggestive, we didn’t write this.

Good OLD Martial Arts Entertainment!

Sensei Posted in Entertainment

It’s funny who and how we flock to see in the movies…Jackie Chan, Steven Seagal, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford…what is so funny about us wanting to see all of these action stars?! They are all over 50 (or close to it)! When was the last time you saw a high profile mainstream movie with some unknown young talented Martial Artist? But let’s admit it, these guys know how to put on a show, they are the 10th degree black belts of the big screen! 😮 So why all this banter about seemingly nothing? The word has almost been positively substantiated that Jean-Claude Van Damme (pushing 50) will be starring opposite Jackie Chan in Rush Hour 3. There you have it, two 50ish martial artist playing much younger characters and you know what…I’ll be the first in line!
But this closer to 50 then not guy will say this to anyone from Hollywood who might listen…there is a lot of really good younger martial arts/action star talent out there just waiting for their chance, give it to them! Just think how many younger talented martial artists could get their chance for the $20 million Chris Tucker is reportedly being paid for Rush Hour 3…that’s all I’m saying…

Meditation Point #36

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes

Right now, at this very moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness.
— Howard Cutler.

Meditation Point #35

Sensei Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes

One can travel this world and see nothing. To achieve inderstanding it is necessary not to see many things, but to look hard at what you do see.
Giorgio Morandi

Basically the real journey is within…all that is outward is a tool for our inner journey.

Happy July 4th!!

Sensei Posted in Events & Holidays

Happy July 4th
Happy Jully 4th America!

At the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence America consisted of 13 colonies under the rule of England’s King George III. Leading up to the signing, there had been growing unrest in the colonies surrounding the taxes (10%) that colonists were required to pay to England. The major objection was “Taxation without Representation” — the colonists had no say in the decisions of English Parliament. (Just a side note…today Americans pay over 60% of their annual income to taxes!! and most don’t complain or vote!!) King George refused to negotiate, instead he sent extra troops to the colonies to help control any rebellion that might be arising. The following timeline will give you a crash course in the history that lead to the signing of the Declaration of Independence and America’s break from British rule.
1774 – The 13 colonies send delegates to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to form the First Continental Congress. While unrest was brewing, the colonies were far from ready to declare war.
April 1775 – King George’s troops advance on Concord, Massachusetts, prompting Paul Revere’s midnight ride that sounded the alarm “The British are coming, the British are coming.” The subsequent battle of Concord, famous for being the “shot heard round the world,” would mark the unofficial beginning of the American Revolution.
May 1776 – After nearly a year of trying to work our their differences with England, the colonies again send delegates to the Second Continental Congress.
June 1776 – Admitting that their efforts were hopeless, a committee was formed to compose the formal Declaration of Independence. Headed by Thomas Jefferson, the committee also included John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston and Roger Sherman.
June 28, 1776 – Jefferson presents the first draft of the declaration to congress.
July 4, 1776 – After various changes to Jefferson’s original draft, a vote was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th. Of the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of the Declaration; 2, Pennsylvania and South Carolina voted No; Delaware was undecided and New York abstained. John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence. It is said that he signed his name “with a great flourish” so “King George can read that without spectacles!”
July 6, 1776 – The Pennsylvania Evening Post is the first newspaper to print the Declaration of Independence.
July 8, 1776 – The first public reading of the declaration takes place in Philadelphia’s Independence Square. The bell in Independence Hall, then known as the “Province Bell” would later be renamed the “Liberty Bell” after its inscription – “Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.”
August 1776 – The task begun on July 4, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was not actually completed until August. Nonetheless, the 4th of July has been accepted as the official anniversary of United States independence from Britain.
July 4, 1777 – The first Independence Day celebration takes place! By the early 1800s the traditions of parades, picnics, and fireworks were firmly established as part of American Independence Day culture.

The Dangers of …

Sensei Posted in Fun Stuff

Not sure what to label this…any ideas?