On Working The System

September 25, 2015 by Rieshy

In college I took a philosophy class with a boyfriend.  I always knew how to work the academic system and used short-term memory with great success.  Imagine my shock when during a joint study session my boyfriend is asking philosophical questions outside the scope of the upcoming exam and reading extra writings only tangentially related to the assigned readings.  Tsk, tsk, wasting time.... I made an ‘A’, he did not come close. 


Don’t ask me today to explain the difference between Kant and Kierkegaard; I’d have to google it... but my boyfriend-turned-husband, remembers.

On nights at the dojo when our Sensei seems even more chipper and energetic than usual, AND has a certain sparkle in his eyes, we all know that we are about to be tortured, oops- challenged, with a leg workout.

Last night, I knew I was in trouble the moment I saw Sensei Richard walk onto the mat; maybe it’s the angle to his grin that’s his “tell”.  Sure enough, we were sent to the walls for wall kicks and then to the bags with a partner to count timed round-house kicks. 

The thing is, I’ve done this before; I know full well that my first 30 second count will be the benchmark I must exceed with each successive 30 second, one minute, 2 minute sessions.  The smart thing to do would be to kick just a tad more slowly than I’m capable of in the first session thus ensuring easier success for the following sessions. 

However instinct kicks in, literally, and you can’t help competing with yourself. 

Which is a good thing, because working the system in a learning setting is always about outward signs of success at the expense of real gain. 

It’s a lesson I hope my kids learn at the dojo as teens.  My teen-years are long gone and I finally get it; I just wish there was an online vendor of fast twitch muscles.


Faith, Failure, and of course- Martial Arts

September 20, 2015 by Rieshy

Last week was whirlwind week of schedule clashes, flat tires, kids, school, jobs, missing chocolate bars, impatient mothering, and all around fails.

I also attended an amazing jujitsu seminar with Kelley Farrell.  She is a phenomenal teacher and the day was so full of things to learn and people and colors and thoughts and smells, compounded by the week of people and colors and half completed thoughts that after the seminar I had to decompress with a solo run under a blue gorgeous sky.

As I ran along my brain bumped along over my fails; last week's share of fails being larger than my general average afforded my brain plenty of bumps to run with.  Parenting fails, work fails, schedule fails, friendship fails...

Maybe that's why I love floor exercises in karate and drilling in jujitsu so much.  You get to do the same move over and over, making corrections each time.  It's tiring but each move teaches you about how much more you can improve for the next move.  Cathartic and joyful.  A sort of re-wind option that life generally doesn't provide.

Or maybe it does, Prayer can be the same way; tiring, yet cathartic and joyful.  God's mercies never end, so it's a renewing- every time.

On the missing chocolate? My husband had found my stash of chocolate bars and to tease me unknowingly put his offspring in great danger by relocating the stash and going his merry way.   Luckily, before I had time to build a medieval rack for thorough questioning of each chocolate-theft-denying child, I messaged my husband with my intent to do so.

Text messaging between spouses? Neither a re-winding nor a renewing but a reprieving, rescuing redemption from chocolate-less ranting reprobation.


Magical Mystery Tape

September 3, 2015 by Rieshy

Watch a class of martial art students near a planned testing date.  If the sensei even remotely moves a hand toward their belt all eyes focus. Laser beams toward that denoter of progress, that badge maker of accomplishment, that electrical portal to the next rank.

Because on the sensei's belt hangs the Magical Mystery Tape.  

This week my sensei said, "By the Power of Greyskull."  Or maybe he said, "Wonder Twins Power Unite." Or, maybe he just said, "Here, you need to help when I'm stripe-ing students today."  At any rate I got to wear the tape.  And with the maturity of a pre-teen I excitedly forced a co-worker to take photographic evidence.

See, it's right there.  And one day, sometime in the misty future I hope to wear that tape of ultimate power... 

(a da-dum sound effect should be mentally added at this point) 

Electrical tape- energizing and motivating martial artists everywhere, even old ones.