Six Weeks to One Hundred Push-ups

by Terry 6/20/2008 9:59:00 AM

My friend and fellow black-belt instructor at DMW Martial Arts, Steve, sent me this link recently. http://www.hundredpushups.com A six week program to doing 100 push-ups. It is a progressive repetition plan which if followed will help you be able to do 100 consecutive, well-formed push-ups. I am going to recommend this to the students in my Leadership class next week. Among many other requirements for reaching a black belt at DMW is being able to do 100 consecutive push-ups in 2 minutes. There is no magic to doing it; it just takes practice, patience and time. The current crop of black belt candidates has until the end of summer to prepare for the next black belt tests. This six week plan would help them reach their goal.

When I planned for my black belt tests, I attacked the physical performance requirements as methodically as I could. When I could, I would end every workout with push-ups and sit-ups until I reached or exceeded the requirements. I was not so good at running. I got a late start on my running because of a knee injury, and maybe a bit of sloth as I hate running to begin with. I can say that the running portions of my tests were the most difficult for me.

I have never been much of an athlete growing up. I would still not call myself an athlete. I did reach my athletic goals nonetheless, even starting into the martial arts in my early thirties. As the saying goes, if I can do it…

I am hoping to come back from the Martial Arts Super Show this year with more tips and effective plans to help students reach their goals. Not every plan will work for every person. Having a variety of plans in my repertoire will help me help others find a plan that will work.

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I may have the perfect candidate for my science club

by Terry 6/13/2008 11:34:00 AM

I may have the perfect candidate for my science club. In my martial arts leadership class last night we were discussing qualities of a leader. When we talked about ambition, I asked for examples of ambition.

One teen girl in my class said she wants to pursue an education in forensic chemistry. She is a straight-A student, and a black belt candidate. She has demonstrated a healthy sense of ambition. I can see her getting her black belt early next year. I will ask her parents how they feel about allowing her to work chemistry labs in my garage before I approach her. I suspect the parents will be okay with the idea, assuming provisions are in place for her safety in a lab and personal sense. It helps that the parents know me from years of martial arts classes, but attending labs in my garage is another level of trust for a parent which I need to address.

On a side note, building my lab these last two weeks has gone to the wayside. Traveling to Atlanta last week and work and martial arts have consumed my time this week. I am hoping my wife and daughter are thinking about the chemistry lab requirements for Father’s Day. Really, any gift they give me would almost be a gift to them too, wouldn’t it?

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chemistry | Martial Arts | Personal

Sleepless night in pain – stretch!

by Terry 6/13/2008 9:25:00 AM

I played substitute the last two nights at DMW Martial Arts. I covered the ‘Black Belt Club’ class the last two nights teaching Bo staff drills. Scott, the instructor who had been teaching these classes broke his leg hiking last week. Normally, instructor Leni teaches this class, but she was unavailable for the earlier class, so to be consistent, I taught both.

Bo staff is not my best weapon. Forms with the staff, for example, I have the most difficult time remembering. I am good with technique in general, with and without weapons. So I spent most of the class doing various drills going back to basics in weapon handling and technique with specific combinations and moves.

Last night, in the first minute of class during the warm-up, I strained my lower lumbar muscles in my back. Have I mentioned the Bo staff is not my best weapon? That should have been a clue to me. I finished the class, and the following class on Leadership skills gritting my teeth in pain. I hope the students don’t think I am mad at them, as they had no idea what I did to myself.

My night was largely sleepless. Sitting hurts, laying down hurts, standing hurts, walking hurts. Stretching helps. I will take today off from a martial arts workout and just stretch at home. I have no classes this weekend. I see a weekend of stretching. Stretching is better than drugs, for me anyway, for back injuries. Stretching gets me through the otherwise sleepless nights of pain.

I first injured my back sixteen years ago or so, when I worked at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue, Washington, as a building-maintenance engineer. The short story is when a fire alarm went off on the roof of the building, I was moving a manhole-cover six stories below street level; I swung the manhole-cover back in place and ran up 27 flights of stairs. That combination sprained my lower lumbar. The advice of the doctor I had at the time was to take the pain killers and muscle relaxers and not worry.

It took me twelve years to realize that was not good advice. That realization is, in part, what lead me into martial arts. Stretching and strength building of the abdominal muscles has been a blessing coping with periodic re-injury. I will forever be at risk of re-injury, but the strength and skill I have built in martial arts has made recovery faster and more bearable. Stretch. Stretch. Stretch! It makes recovery faster and more bearable.

I have re-injured myself vacuuming the living room, lifting Kaitlin from her crib, and so on. Last night, I simply jumped straight up from a standing position. So, in this case, I don’t blame martial arts for the injury. I will take a few days off and stretch on my own. I should be good to go next week.

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I may be going to Orlando again this year

by Terry 6/10/2008 1:49:00 PM

Yesterday the owners and instructors at DMW Martial Arts, Dan and Marcia, invited me to attend the Martial Arts Supper Show in Orlando, Florida, this July. I am genuinely surprised by this, and flattered. I think it is pretty cool to be included as a teaching instructor at the school. Another instructor and friend, Leni, was invited too. This is an opportunity to view martial arts as a business and get some specialized training. I have yet to discuss the details of the trip, what training my instructors wish me to attend and weather Karen can attend any of the events (I really hope she will come too). I am excited to see what is offered. I really would love to get some basics on weapons I have not studied yet, teaching techniques and meet some people.

I would also like to see what merchandise is available in the martial arts industry, particularly in the mid-range cost and quality. For example, many of the weapons I have seen in catalogs are either cheep in cost and quality or outrageously expensive and unknown quality (presumably high quality). What I would love access to is the ‘middle class’ product line; that is, the goods of fortune in moderation. I want, for example, a line of weapons, like a set of Kamas, which are durable and sturdy at a moderate cost. I want a practice and demo weapon that is not light as a feather and breaks easily like many I have used and seen. I do not want cool glitz that flakes of in practice.

This will be a fun trip. Depending on how much stuff I need to pack I may not bring my laptop, although I hope that I can so I can report items of interest daily. We shall see. First I need to work out the details and actually go on the trip.

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Back from Atlanta, back to work and teaching

by Terry 6/6/2008 9:09:00 AM

I returned home Thursday afternoon from Atlanta. I caught a short nap before walking down to DMW Martial Arts to teach classes. The school owners and lead instructors, Dan and Marcia, left for a training seminar and Leni and I agreed to cover the classes for the rest of the week. This means Instructor Leni and I alternate teaching the six classes for the evening.

The first afternoon class is targeted at the newest four-year-old students. Man, this is a tough crowd. One boy who just started classes was having a hard time stepping away from his mother for the class. He would tear up and get say, "I don’t wanna play." So I tried to see if a joke would work.

"Do you want to hear a joke?" I asked.

"Uh huh." He sniffed.

"You know, I just flew in from Atlanta this afternoon," I said. "Boy, my arms are tired."

He looked at me, sniffing, and said, "That’s not funny!"

I admit I am not a good comedian. The parents laughed, however, which is a small consolation. While I was having this discussion with him, I slowly guided him into line with the rest of the class. He was all smiles until the last part of class. We sometimes play a game of Tae Kwon Do tag, where the kid who is 'it' runs about and kicks everyone to tag them. (Everyone is in sparring gear.) My young friend just did not want to play, so he would stand there and the other kids would play around him. Oh, well.

I finished the evening teaching the leadership class. This week was a mat-work class on self defense. I did a quick review of several different techniques. We had a short group discussion on the purpose of the techniques; namely how the same techniques can be used for evasion, escape, destruction or to subdue. We finished class by working refining techniques. Boy, my arms are tired.

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In Atlanta, Georgia, June 2008, Day 3, Tang Soo Do

by Terry 6/4/2008 8:13:00 AM

Last Monday I met briefly with Grand Master Tong Mun Kim, of T.M. Kim’s Tang Soo Do Karate School, and asked his permission to watch class last night. Normally, I would have called well ahead of time before I left for Atlanta, but I did not expect to be able to visit any schools while on this trip. I turns out that Master Kim’s school is across the street from the hotel where I am staying. Once I saw the school, I introduced myself to Master Kim.

Last night I came and watched an evening class and talked briefly with a few students at the school. Master Kim told me Monday that his school is very traditional. Watching class and talking with the students, I would agree the school is traditional compared to most schools. In many respects his school is similar to mine in quality and teaching. The differences are mostly in the audience and technique.

The school I attend, DMW Martial Arts, is located in a dense community with a large population of children. The classes bear that in mind and incorporate some drills disguised as games. The differences in technique are largely style of the art; Tae Kwon Do vs. Tang Soo Do. We want the kids to sweat, smile and learn.

I enjoyed watching the class, noting the differences in style and technique. At the very least I have increased my viewpoint. Just the 90 minutes watching Master Kim’s classes gave me new variations to try in my own practice of the martial arts. I have watched other schools and walked away with much less. Thank you, Master Kim, for the opportunity to watch your class.

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Championship Karate and Tae Kwon Do, Orlando, my return visit

by Terry 5/16/2008 7:33:00 AM

Last Tuesday and last night, Thursday, I visited Championship Martial Arts (CMA) in Orlando (http://www.championshipma.com/). Again, I am grateful to the instructors for allowing me to observe and take class. I managed to catch a head cold, which I became aware of just as I arrived at the school last night. I still took class, knowing I would suffer for it. The workout was short, thankfully, and I put some extra effort into the exercises so I could sweat out the cold. I do not think it worked so well, but the workout was still good.

I managed to observe several classes over the few hours I was there. I have notes I can take back to DMW Martial Arts and share with the students in my Leadership class I normally teach on Thursday evenings. As I told Mr. Chris and Mr. Eric from CMA last night, watching and being a student in another school gives me more tools in my toolbox to teach with.

As an example, I learned how to do a front-kick and maybe five ways to describe the same. Watching a different school with different martial art and teaching styles, I learn two or three new ways to describe that same basic form of kick. Next week, and forever after, when I go to teach a new student that same old front-kick, and the words I use to describe how to improve their kick do not appear to help, I can now draw on these new descriptions. The student has the benefit of a better chance to ‘getting it’. I benefit by reduced frustration. The student body, as a whole benefits from the greater breadth of knowledge and experience.

I started in the martial arts a little late in life to be as physically dynamic as Bruce Lee or Jet Li. I have no plan to impress anyone in that way. What I can do is use my head, leveraging my intelligence to compensate for my physical shortcomings. I once read that Bruce Lee had one leg shorter than the other and he intentionally altered his fighting style to compensate and maximize his strengths. Obviously that worked for him, despite his abbreviated life. I know there physical aspects of the martial arts I will unlikely reach, but I know there is ultimately no technique I cannot describe or teach over time.

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Championship Karate and Tae Kwon Do, Orlando

by Terry 5/14/2008 8:10:00 AM

My visit went well last night. I watch a couple of classes and attended the adult class which ended the evening. I introduced myself to Mr. Chris, whom I called last week and was invited in. The teaching instructors I saw last night, Mr. Xavier and Mr. Eric, are quite skilled. Judging by their style and comments, there training is more Karate based than Tae Kwon Do (TKD). I am largely TKD trained, so while I could keep up in class, sometimes it took a moment to figure out what I was expected to do. I greatly appreciate their acceptance of a visitor.

I felt a little apologetic when I spoke with Mr. Chris last night. I called last week to arrange my visit, which was arranged at a higher level by my instructors at DMW Martial Arts through Mike Metzger of MAIA as a benefit of elite membership of MAIA. Somehow, and I will assume it was me being unclear, Mr. Chris believed I was attending class next week. Thankfully, this did not create too much inconvenience for the instructors when I appeared a week earlier than the expected, and again, I am thankful for their acceptance.

I wore a white belt, not my black belt. I am not there to teach or presume that I know anything, I am there to learn. Class was interesting. Unlike going to my own school as a student, where I hone my skills in class and help others, I was more distracted by watching the instructors and other students. In other words, I was looking at teaching style and the student interaction. Consequently, my performance was less than I usually drive myself to. I was there to learn, but learning is not always competing against everyone in class.

Now that I have broken the ice, I am hoping my next visit on Thursday evening will be a bit more of an idea exchange with the instructors.

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Travel plans and training courses

by Terry 4/22/2008 7:30:00 AM

I took a few days off from the journal to recover from painting high ceilings. Now it’s back to work; and busy work is. I have two trips coming up, Orlando in May, Atlanta in June. Orlando is for a conference, VSLive and TechMentor, for software developers and architects. In June it is training for Hewlett Packard’s Server Automation System 6.5. I am participating in systems validation for a suite of tools and processes under evaluation by my company.

I am also trying to prepare course work for teaching Leadership skills to the martial arts students at my school. Figuring out what to cover, how to break out assignments and making sure I know what to teach is a time filling tasks. I tend to be a perfectionist and I want the students to get high value for their time. The age range is a challenge too. The youngest in the class is seven and the rest are evenly divided between teens and adults.

The seven-year-old I will exclude from much of the course-work, having him only do the mat-work for now. This is an 18 month curriculum, so I will have him work the course work next year. His father is one of the students too, and he is happy with the accommodation. Several of the students are working toward their black belts this September. They will have considerable workload meeting those requirements, so they will be given their class assignments in October or November. I do not want to burn them out. The class is a work in progress and a balancing act between age, skill and various goals.

All the activity makes me want to pull my hair out. Fortunately, I keep my hair short.

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About Terry Losansky

Terry Dee Losansky

I am a software architect, actively practice and teach martial arts and live in Snoqualmie, Washington. I have an amazing daughter who is the jewel of my life.

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