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Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

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Subject:Lesson Learned
Posted by:lilgabbymac.
Time:3:10 pm.
Mood: exhausted.

I hope you can hear this writing for the lesson that I’m telling you that I have learned in the past thirty-some hours, and not that I’m tooting my horn.

[Too Tired to Blow.]

Yesterday I was contacted by a former student around 1:00 pm while I was at work.  He asked if anything ever happened to him if I would be willing to take care of his pet snake (I also own a ball python). That’s all it said.  This kind of language doesn’t sound right for the typical 24 year old, but coming from him and knowing something of his past; he was planning on being dead in a short while.

I told him “no” that the snake was his responsibility.  He freaked out ,  telling me that I’m ruining everything and then proceeded to explain how he wanted to put a bullet in his face.  He didn’t have a phone so I couldn’t talk with him directly.  The next few hours was phone calls to cops and counselors while at the same time attempting to keep contact with him and keep him talking.

I texted my girlfriend, “***** is trying to kill himself.”  Her response. “I’m leaving work, find him and we will go get him.”  He was an hour and a half drive.   Snow, was my rock last night. 

My mother let me borrow her smart phone (I am too stubborn to own one) so I could keep in touch during the drive.  We lost contact with him at 5:30 we found him at six thirty, in the cold, in a parking lot, a mess, but alive.

Took some convincing, but we got him to the ER and finally at 3:30a.m. they admitted him to a psychiatric facility.

Here’s what I knew, when you are different and you are young, it feels horrible to be discriminated against, but at least you feel you have the right to be angry about it.  What feels equally as horrible is to be tolerated, and I am referring to the Christian definition of tolerance.  I don’t want to start any religious argument, I don’t even have the energy right now (haven’t slept in thirty some hours).  Just know that as a young person, if people you respect and care about you merely tolerate you, it’s pretty damn painful.

Here’s what I didn’t realize; the impact that the simplest word and gesture can make to someone.  When I got to the hospital to check him in. The hospital had me listed as his next of kin.  I made a difference to him because I was “the only one who cared” (his words.)  The real truth is I was the only one who didn’t care.  I didn’t care that he wasn’t what society deemed normal, it’s wasn’t a good thing and it wasn’t bad, it just was. Apparently in class at some point I had said to my students something along the lines of “It doesn’t matter what you are it matters who you are.” Not horribly profound, but for him it hit home.

I don’t know why he chose to trust me or why he considers me “safe”.  Until last night I did not realize the impact that menial things to me, can have on someone else.   He is safe for today and I hope that he can find it in himself to stop fighting his demons and just let them go.  Too much pain for a young man to go through.  He thinks death is the only way to get rid of them.

 I did not save his life, I just helped him get through the day. The rest is up to him.

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

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Subject:I have been accused of favoritism. Crappity!
Posted by:lilgabbymac.
Time:5:07 pm.
Mood: anxious.

Ok, so there is a much deeper dynamic going on with in my school right now, because there is a much deeper dynamic going on in my life, all of which is completely craptastic, but the big and the small of it is, my wife and I broke up, I am the one who ended our partnership and a few of my higher ranks, one in particular has been acting as if I broke up with her as well. 

Let’s see if I can make this horribly dramatic story as short a possible so I can actually get to the problem in my class.

[read on...]

As we have established my wife or partner (whichever term makes you feel better) and I broke up, we had been together eleven years, she started karate under my teaching and has received her third dan just recently.  She is well known in my class. 

Another of my students started at the same time as my wife for the past couple of years has been flaky in coming to class, occasionally disrespectful and painfully abuses her rank and has to constantly be reprimanded for treating the lower students with no respect.  Over the time she has been in karate we had become friends then the friendship faded and jealousy set in.  In the past couple of years she has been accusing me of favoritism.  I've always blown it off because of the source.

Ok, so now my EX is contacting all of my former students who have left due to moving, graduation, life commitments, you name it.  The point is, none of these people left on what I thought was bad terms.  Now it is coming back to me that after some juicy sensei bashing it’s coming back to me that favoritism is a huge issue in my class.  The people who are considered my favorites are people whom I teach in class and hang out with outside of class.  They are my friends.

Am I wrong to have made friends with some of my longest and most loyal students?  Every school I’ve been in, has had an “inner circle.”  Should I consider the source once again or take it seriously?  If so, what do I do about it?  I can’t really help that these people are my friends at this point.  Like I said, Craptastic!

Sunday, June 24th, 2012

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Subject:Priscilla Dang, Martial Arts Expert, Lays Down The Law After Teenager Gropes Her On A Jog
Posted by:songindarkness.
Time:8:20 pm.

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

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Subject:Hopefully thought provoking
Posted by:lilgabbymac.
Time:9:59 am.
My question to you is, what is the difference between Karate Do and Karate Juitsu?  And....Can you have one without the other?

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

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Posted by:frightened.
Time:7:43 am.
Mood: impressed.
After 76 years' hard work and dedication, and much sexism, Sensei Keiko Fukuda gets her 10th dan at the age of 98.

What a woman. Words... I don't even... *seiza rei*

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

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Posted by:urban_starling.
Time:5:11 pm.
Hiya. I'm new on livejournal, and was looking for other martial artists to chat to.

I'm a taekwondo 1st dan, interested in self-defence, and the social side of martial arts (running classes in schools and community centres...) as well as in the art itself (patterns, sparring, you name it...)

I'm also about to move house. Having trained with the same club all the way through, looking for a new class is slightly scary. Any tips on how to look for/chose classes would be amazing! thanks.

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

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Subject:Hi Peoples =)
Posted by:anaghia.
Time:12:41 pm.
Mood: thoughtful.
Hi =) My name's Anaghia. I'm seventeen, I live up north in the USA, and I like martial arts.

Right now, I'm trying to figure out which one I should take by next year so I can either choose to take it in college or an outside recreation center if I have the time in between/ after classes. A few have caught my eye, but I'm not sure which one yet. I used to take Kuk Sool Won when I was in middle school, but it didn't feel like the style for me, so I didn't stick with it. Now, about five years later, I'm thinking about taking either Taekwondo or Kickboxing.

I know trying each one out would be the best option, but since I'm still a year away from college and a little short on money, I'd like a second opinion from you guys =) Here's how I see it, though:

Taekwondo seems really cool. My boyfriend takes classes and he says they're pretty fun and efficient. I want a hard style of martial arts that involves kicking. The thing is... I'm not sure I'm energetic or flexible enough for it. I've watched videos and read descriptions about this style, and there's a lot of movement going on there- like bouncing on the balls of your feet when you're about to spar- and it seems a little more than intimidating (also because I'm not a loud or aggressive person).

Wherein Kickboxing seems a little more relaxed and somewhat informal, it's also something that I would have to take off-campus since it's not a recognized student organization/activity. And I also wonder if I would have to wear boxing gloves and shoes whenever I took the class (I like free movement of my hands and feet).

My alternative sport is archery, but I really would like to take a form of contact martial arts as well. Any constructive feedback is appreciated. Thanks!


Thursday, June 30th, 2011

(6 combatants | join the fray)

Subject:Hey Everyone!
Posted by:curseofpogo.
Time:10:15 pm.
Mood: cheerful.
Looks like I'm back in Taekwondo again! Some of the instructors I got along with really well ended up opening their own school. I'm attending there now.

I've been back training there for about...five months. I can't get out there as much as I'd like, but I'm absolutely loving every minute of it.

My main issue is with sparring. I used to love sparring. I wasn't as aggressive as I could have been, but I didn't just stand there stiffly. Now I'm all stiff. I'm wondering if its part me having been gone so long...(holy crap, November marks five years since I got my 1st dan). Maybe I'm intimidated? Just rusty? I don't know. I still love sparring. I just can't do it as well as I want to and its really frustrating me.

How is everyone?

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

(17 combatants | join the fray)

Subject:Clothes/gear help
Posted by:1_2_suckerpunch.
Time:6:48 pm.
Okay compatriots, I need some help. I am desperately seeking a shirt to go under my dobok, since the neckline plunges far into boob territory. Currently I wear a white t-shirt, but the sleeves ride up, the sides are too baggy, and it takes some adjusting during class. So I'm looking for a sleeveless, more well-fitted one. All the workout shirts I have been able to find are either too low-cut (I need to be able to do pushups without falling out/flashing someone!), too see-through (yes it's an undershirt, but that defeats the purpose), or FAR FAR FAR too expensive.

My criteria are as follows:
-No sleeves...strap vs cut-off sleeve doesn't matter
-Not see-through
-Material doesn't matter. Cotton, lycra, blends, whatever.
-Coverage is the issue, not support. Built-in bras are great, but totally not necessary.

Any ideas or experiences? Thanks!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

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Subject:I swear this will be my last post for awhile.. so I don't get annoying.
Posted by:lilgabbymac.
Time:7:22 pm.
 What is loyalty in the dojo? The common belief is that a student, should be loyal to their school, or their instructor. What exactly does that mean? How do I show loyalty to my sensei? Show up every class, try hard, and NO moonlighting? Is it possible to betray your school/instructor?

On the other hand, is loyalty only one sided? Should an instructor be loyal to a student? How does that happen, just by showing up and teaching every class? How can an instructor betray a student, is it even possible or is the "Sensei" above such things?

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

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Subject:Really?!? No one has posted anything this week yet?
Posted by:lilgabbymac.
Time:1:05 pm.

If you spend too much time thinking about a thing…you’ll never get it done! ~ Bruce Lee

In practicality, how can we grow towards self actualization without over thinking? Without just practicing moves until automaticity?

Another great quote many people have said though out time is, “Don’t think, feel.” ~ Origin unknown. If our way towards self actualization is a unique path, then how much planning and thought should we employ from our master’s teaching vs. keeping an empty cup?


I believe that one must free/or loosen their mind, but not in the beginning, When a student is first learning something too much freedom is a recipe for sloppy errors and mistakes that are taken late into training.

When a student is still a child in their discipline, (a kyu) the instructor and the student both must stick to a rigid structured method. It allows you to learn what makes a strong foundation of movements. Once you understand what makes a strong foundation you can open your mind to a huge amount of possibilities.

It's the same with any art or trade. Successful abstract art can't be created unless the artist has an understanding of composition, colour theory, gesture, and realism.

As a young kuy a student should be striving to do the movements exactly as their instructor. Questions about movements, kata, and partner work should never be "Can it change and I do it more like this?" It should be "How do I change to do it more like my teacher."

You absolutely should practice moves until automaticity, but not just that, you should practice them as instructed. Watch and copy, then do it over and over until you are a carbon copy of your sensei.

In the beginning you give up your freedom of mind to your teacher so you can learn. It's letting go of your ego; that little voice that says, "I think I know a better way". Once you grow and begin to reach the heights of your instructor is when you open your mind and branch out.


I to contradict myself but, I actually have a pretty big problem with cross training. (Yes I know different topic) I tried to explain it nicely in my first post but let me be clear… It is very rare that a person will excel if they take multiple styles before establishing solid knowledge of one. Green belt, brown and first dan are NOT solid knowledge of a style (at least not in my class). Just as it's easy to overwhelm yourself with too many styles, you can (and do) overwhelm yourself with....yourself.

In some ways my lower ranks (anyone below brown) are at a disadvantage because you train alongside the ranked belts. Lower ranking belts should be concentrating on meditation through physical perfection, not concentrating on the whimsical spiritual side, which is important but ADVANCED!!! Too advanced.

Too much, too soon, is TOO MUCH. Attempting to over think things takes away from the meditation of physical discipline. If you are lower ranking than a 4kyu, you don’t have a full cup to empty!!! Concentrate only on the perfection of your physical movement then the spiritual will come inherently. Concentrate on empting your mind and that metaphorical cup will tip over without much effort.
Unless I have specifically said to you as my student “I believe that it’s time for YOU to begin thinking of your karate on a deeper level”, the only thing you need to concern yourself with is perfection of your physical meditation. If you are high ranked you should be continuing physical perfection while BEGINNING to challenge yourself on a deeper emotional level. But if you have major flaws in your physical style, then you need to set your ego aside and take a step back to concentrate on re-perfecting your mistakes.

Everyone always wants “more”,”bigger”,”faster”. You want to let go of your ego… “Empty your cup”? Then break it down and make it small; perfect your punch, your block or your kick before becoming bored and wanting something new. Quality over quantity! Slow it down, pay attention to what you’re physically doing, EVERYSINGLE TIME YOU MAKE A MOVEMENT. I’m talking about your mind; slow down your mind and focus on the lesson of the moment. Physical slowing is easy, stop the chatter, the self criticism, the concern with the guy next to you; whether or not YOU believe the bunkai taught is viable.
This is a topic that is actually too deep for me to write out in a couple of paragraphs, (while I should be working.) There is a reason that I tell you “know that there is many bunkai for one movement,” but I only give you one to begin with. Low rank is at a disadvantage because they see me teaching my Yudansha and greedily want to store that information for themselves, before you are capable of fully understanding it. You understand the concept, NOT the bunkai.

Remember what I always say in class, if I haven’t specifically addressed someone then assume I’m talking directly to you, because I promise…On some level, and at some point, I’m referring to all of you.
Many commented on the subjects that made you feel smart and deep, but few commented on the subjects pertaining to perfecting your physical karate. Physical perfection of movement is the first stone in the river. Internalized karate is the second! But you have no hope of reaching the second stone until you are securely on the first one.

If you want me to clarify and feel that I am contradicting myself or being too harsh, come talk with me. There is something to be said for freeing the mind, learning new styles and expanding your universe, but too soon and all you get is mediocrity, or worse.

what do you ladies think?

Monday, May 16th, 2011

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Subject:A question from one of my students.
Posted by:lilgabbymac.
Time:3:59 pm.
During class, I am often amazed at Sensei's and other's skills in martial arts and often think about how to improve myself to their level. Many of our fellow classmates have a multidisciplinary background. For example, Sensei started out in Shotokan. When I eavesdrop on the people in class who come from different backgrounds and are offering up insights, it often gives me a desire to start a new style to further expand my knowledge. I then hit myself upside the head because I still have so much more to learn from Shorin Ryu (not to mention I would like to sleep once in a while ). My question to all of you is multifold:

1. Have you ever thought of trying another style. If so which style and why
2. If you have no desire to try another style, why?
3. What are the advantages and disadvantages to learning one style vs many?

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

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Subject:Just some light hearted questins for the day.
Posted by:lilgabbymac.
Time:12:22 pm.

I give my students random assignments; “Things to ponder” and figured I shared.  I have two reasons for sharing. One, this forum seems to have gotten a bit stagnant. And two, I’m interested in hearing the differing opinions between the students I’ve brainwashed, (heh >:}) and those who haven’t be scrubbed my me.



Scenario # 1-You need a laptop for work or school but don't have the money to purchase the one you need at full price. It's Black Friday, and the very laptop you need is on sale for a screaming price of $200, an amount you can afford. Of course when you get to the store there aren't enough for everyone there.

If you could cut in line with out anyone noticing, essentially taking the computer from the person behind you, would you?


*would you do it for a loved one?

In the frenzy to get through the door would you be willing to shove or hit someone to assure that you got in the store first?

*What if you could get lost in the crowd and no one would know you did it?

Scenario # 2 -We are at war with Korea, China will no longer trade with us, our dollar is worth less than the paper it's printed on; there is a food shortage. Shelves in the stores are empty. Even if you had something of value to trade, there is no food to trade.  The government is rationing food and people have to stand in “soup lines” to get anything to eat. Martial law is in effect to keep the masses in order.

If you could cut in line with out anyone noticing, essentially taking the food from the person behind you, would you?


*would you do it for a loved one?

Would you be willing to shove or hit someone to assure that you got food first?

Scenario # 3 - Essentially the world is over, the 2012 predictions have come true. Some how you survived and are living in a post-apocalyptic world. There is NO food, no animals, no law, things are chaos and the population has dwindled to about 1/50th of what it is now (That would be a little over 6 million people in the US). In your travels and scavenging you find a small house, someone obviously lives there.

Would you be willing to break in a take there rations an supplies, if they weren't home?

What if they were home? Would you fight them for it? kill them for it?


*Would you do it for a loved one?

Put yourself in the most dire situation you can imagine, who could you trust? Is there anyone that you can really trust not to turn on you when things got down to "it's you or me". How hard would you fight to keep your humanity? Is it worth more than your survival?

Would you give up your humanity to save someone else’s humanity?

What does this have to do with martial arts?


Thursday, December 9th, 2010

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Subject:Awesome Students
Posted by:lilgabbymac.
Time:5:38 pm.
I have set up my school through the local university.  It has a few drawbacks to a commercial school, but the fact that I can teach my art and allow my students to affordably train makes up for it.  The school is open to students and non-students alike, and I generally have between 15-20 people.  Because i have to bring all of my equipment to each class It makes it difficult to tote around things like a Kamiza.  So last year my students got together pitched in their money and built me a small portable kamiza it has room in it for certificates to be stored when there is a testing. For the past year when i show up one of my students greets me and takes and sets up the Kamiza.  This is all stuff they have done on their own initiative. I am extremely lucky to have the students that I do. They truly honor me by allowing me to teach them.  This year a group of them got together and built me a portable weapons rack.  It holds 22 bos or 11 bos and a variety of other weapons.  I'm excited to use it, it was an extremely thoughtful gift.

Anyway, it made me feel good and I thought I'd share some of my warm-fuzzies with the story.  I hope you all have a happy holidays.


Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

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Subject:Good subject ideas for a paper.
Posted by:lilgabbymac.
Time:2:39 pm.
Hello ladies,

It's been awhile since I've been on so many of you recent regulars won't recognize me.  Anyway I am an instructor for a Shorin Ryu karate school.  I am of the belief that martial arts is more than just kicking and punching to truly know the are you should stud the history of your art as well as others.  I require my green belts to write me a one page paper on things such as the history of a specific kata or weapon.  My black belts are required to write me a 7 page paper on subjects ranging from the paraellel between martial arts and flower arranging, to the impact Bruce lee made to the martial arts, to the history of the rise of shaolin.

I also give out random questions for them to research and answer which is easily answered on one or two short paragraphs.

I'm starting to run short on ideas for subjects, I would love any help you could give me.

Thanx in advance.


Friday, October 8th, 2010

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Subject:Champions of Champions Elite - Muay Thai
Posted by:pathofnames.
Time:1:49 pm.
I'll be totally honest with everyone.

I work for a show called Champions of Champions Elite. It airs on G4TV. My job is basically to go around trolling message boards to get people to go to the site, or to watch the show. I'm getting kinda bored of the ol' bait and switch routine so i thought I'd tell the truth for once. Seriously, you try signing up to several hundred forums a week and see how it feels.

Is anyone here interested in Muay Thai? The show is basically just that. A bunch of guys and women wailing on each other using this particular martial art. The official site also has a contest that looks for the world's best gamer or something.

So, if you wanna check it out, go ahead. If not, ignore me, or ban me, or whatever.

If you do like it, I'd like to hear why. What do you think about Muay Thai? About the show? About our site? I'm genuinely interested in your opinion. For real. No lie.


Sunday, September 19th, 2010

(5 combatants | join the fray)

Subject:anyone in Chicago?
Posted by:dreamslesssweet.
Time:8:30 pm.
So, I recently moved to Chicago, and unfortunately there's no dojo in the style of Aikido I've been studying (Yoshokai). But I really, *really* miss training. I'm thinking about trying something new. Are any of you in Chicago? Do you (or have you) train(ed) somewhere that you really liked? Any place I should avoid?

Thanks all!

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

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Subject:Advice on A "New Studio"
Posted by:freestylekata04.
Time:9:35 pm.
Hello, everyone!

 So I haven't posted in a long time, but God recently opened a position up at my college to start my own martial arts class! It will only be an extracurricular activity, so I will need to keep people motivated and coming back!

 Additionally, I won't be able to use uniforms or belts because the university does not want me to charge poor college students anymore.

 So any advice that you have would be great!! I'm really nervous about it, because the majority of people will be those who have never trained before.


Wednesday, May 5th, 2010

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Subject:This woman? AWESOME
Posted by:pegkerr.
Time:2:16 pm.
A Massachusetts woman who was born without arms or kneecaps is preparing to test for her black belt in taekwondo. Original link here.

Sheila Radziewicz was scheduled to take her test next month at Bruce McCorry's Martial Arts in Peabody. The 32-year-old brown belt, who was born with thrombocytopenia-absent radius, or TAR syndrome, told The Salem News she's been training in martial arts for three years.

McCorry, her teacher, said he's never seen a student like Radziewicz. Despite her condition, she can use nunchucks and break boards with her kicks.

The Salem resident, who works as an advocate for victims of domestic violence, said she has never let her disability stop her. At 23, Radziewicz earned her driver's license. She uses a car that she controls with her feet.

Cross-posted from my own journal. Hat tip to knitmeapony.

Edited to add: Here's another more extensive article on her, which includes a video demonstration and interview. Thanks to naomikritzer for the link.

Saturday, May 1st, 2010

(5 combatants | join the fray)

Subject:Developing jumping for kicks
Posted by:bekkio.
Time:9:47 pm.
I'm about six months out from testing for Cho Dan, and one of the things that can potentially hold me back are my jumping kicks.  While I can perform them just fine, I'm just not getting enough height off the ground.  I've been working on folding the lower leg a little more quickly to give the illusion of height, but I'm reaching the limit of my "hang time".  I definitely need to start focusing more on developing my strength to get what I need.

Do you gals have any suggestions on exercises I can do to increase my jumping height and hang time?


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