Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Some thoughts...

When I was a little girl my mother was always telling me, "Karrie, you don't know your own strength." This response was given whenever I beat up on my little sister and brother, who would often gang up on me leaving me no choice but to rough them up a bit. I'm the oldest; they are just over a year apart. This closeness often led them to stick together. The reality was my brother followed my sister's every whim, at least until he was old enough to know better. Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly, it's just that when we were kids we didn't often get along, and my sister spent a lot of time yelling, "Mom, Karrie's going to hit me!"

Why do I tell that story? Well, I still don't know my own strength, be it too much or too little. Last week was spent sparring and sparring. This was due to our dojo having a shiai, specifically a shodan shiai. When it was my turn to spar the testee I felt so weak and ragged and my form was awful. I was wearing 12 oz gloves, which I absolutely detest. They are bulky and I have had difficulty hitting with them accurately. I feel like a clown, and when I get hit in the head, which happens way too often (okay, I'm barely 5 feet tall and I spar with people much taller than me, which results in my head being directly at the end of their punch. Yeah, yeah, evade, I know!), I want to scream! Needless to say I got some good hits to my face. On the other hand, I gave some great shots to the body. One of the important things we work on in sparring is to get used to taking a shot. Specifically, take a shot, give a shot. It works wonders. Practice it enough and it really happens.

Strength. There's a lot to that word. My strengths in karate lie in kata, kicking and ippons. Sparring is my weakness. Two weeks ago I took a class at the mother ship, where we sparred for the first 30 min. of class with absolutely no gloves. I shined. With no gloves I was strong. It was a defining moment: there I was, using mushimi to keep contact, taking people to the ground, all without gloves. It was so effortless and I was in the zone. I was also sparring with people who I didn't really know, which would normally make me incredibly nervous, incredibly doubtful of my technique. Sensei Moe, one of Sensei Morallo's senior instructors (he trained with my Sensei back in the day), said this excellent thing: you have to find what you don't like about karate and practice it until you love it. I took that to heart, and decided then and there that I would spar as much as I could with as many people as I could.

So last week....taking that mentality I went into the sparring with gusto. Even though I felt sloppy at the shodan shiai I still felt happy about it. It was the next day where I faltered. I was "shark bait" at the end of class, a class where we spent most of our time "working the meat", meaning really getting into how horse stance is performed, moving the muscles around to the correct positions. It hurts, a lot. After all of that work I sparred for one minute with 8 different students. At first everything was fine, and even though I had on the 12 ouncers I was able to keep my form. The levels varied from expert to the very, very new, which gave me a wide range of technique to work with. The very last person had on the biggest, bulkiest gloves I had ever seen. Whenever they hit my head it was like being bonked with a pillow. I have never been as frustrated in karate as I was at that moment. When Sensei came back into the dojo (he had left while I was sparring) I was ready to scream. He saw I was flailing and stepped in to spar with me. At that point I was done, the tears were already falling down my cheeks. I bowed as quickly as I could and ran over to the door, where I knelt down to collect myself. It was very difficult to control sobbing that wanted to come out of my chest.

Why was my reaction so strong? It goes back to strength. Last week was a very difficult week for me. There has been a lot of processing going on inside of me that has to do with moving. The day I lost it was the day I was done. I didn't have much left to give. It was also the best thing that happened to me. After I collected myself I went back to sparring with Sensei and I had a clearer head. Of course I wasn't done crying, but I was able to keep it together for the rest of class. If there's one thing I take from my training, it's how well I've come to know myself through karate.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Since I've been gone....

It's been too long!!! I decided that instead of a post (see I'm having a hard time finding the time for quality posts and most of the time I start to tear-up, then get frustrated and turn off the computer) I will entertain you with some youtube finds that made me laugh when I needed to laugh. Just remember, we all need to laugh at ourselves every once in a while....

And remember, there's much more to martial arts than fancy footwork.

I'll be writing posts again soon. Right after I move....

Monday, August 11, 2008


That's it, I'm finished, done, kaput. I want no more of packing, no more of stressing about anything. We move in three weeks, and in those three weeks I have 12 full days of massage to do. It's daunting, overwhelming. It leaves no time for posting. This is my apology for not getting to post in the next three weeks, in the expectation that I will not be writing much at all. If I do write I will try not to complain too much about how much I hurt, how hubby and I are ready to throw each other out of the highest window we can find. It's not that bad, just a little crazy! My grand plan is to have another blog about our moving adventures, which will mostly be for my clients and family since to keep in touch will all of them at once is never going to happen. I'll put the link here so that I won't be repeating myself....

And now, the last Deadbooks teaser. Premier is August 18 at

Thursday, August 7, 2008

more deadbooks

Oh, I'm late with this...

Season premier is coming soon!


How can I post words
When life is frantic, like
Willow strands breaking.

Karate is fun,
Sweating now my passion,
Life is so much fun.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Tales of a JOP

That means Justice of the Peace. I was "voted in" almost two years ago as one of the JOPs in our small town. Someone had called me and asked if I wanted to be on the ticket that election year since they needed another Dem so I said "sure, why not". Well, it's been a rather simple adventure, with only ballots to count (yeah, we're that small). Today, however, I'm going to marry two people. It's a very strange thing. Last night we had the rehearsal and it was a small, powerful feeling to run a ceremony that will eventually end up in two youngsters (they are both no more than 21, if that) being joined together hopefully for as long as they live.

The interesting part is the glow that I'm feeling, and also the butterflies that I'm desperately trying to will into non-existence. I really do not like public speaking.

Well, now it's all over. It went by so quickly, and I was so elated. It's an amazing thing to marry two let's just hope it lasts. I know that may sound slightly pessimistic, but these two were barely 20, and they had a baby a year ago today. There's hope, and I'm feeling it. I just wish for them to feel it, too.

Boy, could this post be any further from karate or what? My life has begun to cycle towards moving and my brain is very frazzled. Every morning I wake up and say to myself, "Just focus on today", which is becoming increasingly more difficult to do. What keeps me going is that I only have to massage my hands off for four more weeks and then I'm done for an unspecified period of time. That is a wonderful thing.

Last Thursday when I got home from work (two massages in the morning followed by an hour and a half karate session followed by a two hour break leading into three more hours of massage. Ouch) there was nothing ready for me to eat. I'm not getting into that, not here. As I was mashing up two hard-boiled eggs in preparation for an egg salad sandwhich I started to cry. Not exactly sobbing, but close. My body was in so much pain. It happens sometimes, and I roll with it, but not this time. I put down my fork, marched through the house and announced, "I'm going to take a bath RIGHT NOW" and proceeded up the stairs. My little one joined me and I found instant relaxation.

Massage is very hard work, and it's even harder when you do karate in-between all the clients. It's even harder when you're a mom and married. There's not much left to me at the end of some days. My massage is not fluffy, it's straight to the point and it gets a lot done in one hour (sometimes an hour and a half). The whole time I'm focused on the person and the muscles and where those muscles attach and why are they acting so silly?! Ugh. I do love it, I just need a break.

Okay, now for the karate. We have a shiai on August 20, which I am so happy about. It will be the last shiai for me, and now that I'm a shodan I get to watch and support instead of sweat. I'm sure that I'll be able to make furture shiai, but not as a full-time member of my dojo. They are always so much fun. Hopefully, I'll have some pictures to share.

I've decided that when I finally get settled I'll spend some more time on my posts and post more regularly. I enjoy writing. It's cathartic. Plus I learn a lot about myself and my karate journey the more I write about it.