I Love/Hate Running

I’m fairly coordinated, but not really. I can dance, do kata and look graceful. I can run with beautiful technique, even if I do have knock-knees. However, add a ball into the mix and oh, boy, something breaks down in my brain.

That’s why I loved running! It was easy for my body to do (relatively). I ran cross-country and track all through high school and I loved it. I worked hard to run smoothly. It was freeing. I wasn’t particularly fast, but I enjoyed the rush. My favorite was competing in the 800 meter run. Just long enough to be a challenge and short enough to not get bored. And the last 100 meters when you give it your all? Dang, there is nothing like that final push on your body! Exhilarating!

Except all of a sudden I hit college and something changed. I don’t know what happened, maybe it was the high altitude, or my body decided this wasn’t something for me to enjoy anymore. I went running and found myself wheezing, coughing and tasting blood in the back of my throat. It stayed with me the rest of the day. It happened the next day too It soon became the norm, sadly. Especially if I went at the speeds I used to run as a younger athlete. Or the distances I used to run.

I suspect I have exercise-induced asthma but I refused to be seen for it. I had tried albuterol inhalers and there was no change except palpitations after running. I was beginning to hate running. It just meant pain, and not where I expected it to be. My lungs would feel ragged and rough. The coughing and wheezing were just nasty. I had two small children and it seemed as though the jogging stroller just exacerbated and aggravated my wimpy lungs. I decided to put running aside for a while.

Last weekend I decided that after a 2 year break and another baby I should be able to run, right? Maybe a two block run wouldn’t cause the yuckiness. Alas, just a cough for two days. But that is ok, I will prevail! I have hope that I can go running again. It will be a good day when I can go out and run with no complications or fetters on my lungs. I suppose I just need to slow down my pace and cut my distances for a while and slowly build them back up. It isn’t much but it is a plan. The hardest part will be telling myself to slow down.

What do you wish you were able to do again?




We all have dreams, and sometimes our dreams are hard to explain to others. For example, me wanting a black belt. Why does it matter? Isn’t being able to fly enough? Why do I need a belt to tell me or others that I can do martial arts? (note, ninjas can only fly on special occasions)

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and my husband and I even had a discussion about why we each want to earn our black belts. This is what I came up with:

To me a black belt signifies my accomplishment and dedication. Sure it would be cool just to tell people that I have a black belt, but if I wanted bragging rights, I could just buy one for 50 bucks online. Its like becoming a minister. There are lots of ways to obtain a minister’s licence but only the individual can tell you if it’s for real or not. Once I earn my belt, I probably won’t show it to many people, in fact I doubt most people outside of my family would even know I had one, simply because I’m not training for anyone else other than myself.

I think I need to explain a little about my personality. I tend to jump from interest to interest. I find something I like and it rarely stays with me for more than a month. Mostly when I feel the challenge is gone is when I let something go. I like to work my brain. Martial arts is still challenging to me, in a good way. It will take me my whole life to master even one art. The repetition can be daunting sometimes, but that is why I enjoy training in 3 art simultaneously. I don’t have time to get bored because I’m too busy trying to remember Saifa and grappling techniques and wrist locks. The world of martial arts is a vast but also closed society. It can truly offer something to everyone.

I’m drawn to this. I’ve found a balance in martial arts. I want the challenge and I want the achievement that comes from hard work. I get my need for diversity and can still work toward a tangible goal. I can be creative and guided in my expression. I learn self-defense and inner peace. Totally like Kung Fu Panda, you have no idea. 🙂

Martial arts is not appealing to everyone, I know that. It’s certainly not what I expected it to be. It is so much better.

It hurts so good

I went to yoga today. Not watched a yoga video, but I actually attended a class, with students and an instructor and everything. Its amazing, the difference. My sweet husband had no work today so he watched the kids while I went.

Why I love a yoga class:

The instructor can tell you what you’re doing wrong. My instructor happens to be awesome, and gives helpful hints how to do a pose perfectly.

Other classmates brings a positive energy to your workout. (yes, I believe in chakras and meridians)

I’m more motivated to workout longer, especially since I’m paying someone.

I’m not being treated as a train tunnel while doing my cat/cow pose. I love my kids to death and I actually think its super cute to have them think I’m a tunnel, but tunnels collapse and the sudden loss of a tunnel is unbearable for them some days.

I learn new poses and more about what I’m physically capable of.

I work my flexibility and balance simultaneously.


What to do when you forget a technique

This morning was a morning wherein I was able to practice, and not just in my bedroom or kitchen. I worked out in the basement while my kids played like the crazies they are. The best is when they join in on the drilling. My oldest especially likes to “practice” with me. Today it was eight sword cuts and Goju drills. I also decided to go over pinan shodan. A Kata or form. This is a choreographed “dance” of techniques. I had one problem. I couldn’t remember how it started.

This happens all the time. I can remember the explosive parts of kata or middle parts or sometimes just the ending, but the beginning is the hardest for me to remember.

Usually I can rehearse what I do remember until my body just does it for me, or I can ask my husband who is my senpai (sort of). He a senior student who outranks me so he usually knows what I’ve forgotten. Today, he wasn’t answering his phone! Why don’t I call Sensei? oh yeah, he’s still in Korea. No problem though. Thanks to YouTube I can find just about anything. Including pinan shodan.

Here is half of the problem with getting information online. You cannot always guarantee authenticity or even find suitable references half the time. The other half is that every school has their own flair and style to most katas. Some times there will be an extra punch or kick. This can be tricky, if you train a kata differently than your instructor teaches, you most certainly fail. It’s like accents. English for example sounds totally different in different parts of the world. Are they all wrong or all right? neither, it depends on where you were raised. Apply this to katas. In my case I have to be mindful of what the video shows that is different from what I’ve been taught.  Again, I can always bounce questions off my husband or sensei, but I just have to wait to get my answers. I’m just impatient sometimes.

By the way, pinan shodan starts to the left with the right foot forward.

Finding time to train

I’m actually very lucky. I get to be a stay-at-home momja. Which means in between soap opera and ding-dongs, no scratch that, those are disgusting, a decadent box of chocolates, I have loads of time to drill and review techniques. Haha! Oh stop, my sides are killing me.

I actually have to find time to work out. Before my third child was born I had the perfect time to practice. 630 am. Sometimes 6am. It was quiet and our basement is secluded enough that I could really go-to-town, drilling without waking anybody up. Once in a while I can pull this off, however, I’m usually too tired to fully wake myself up that early and that is also the time that my youngest (who’s 6 months) wants to eat. Yes, I am a milk-machine-momja. By the time baby is done eating, my two boys are up and wanting silly things, like food or using the bathroom. Killed my exercise time.

So I’ve found that if I want to train, I have to find time throughout the day. I really try to rotate which art I’m reviewing, because it is a dang lot of information. My Sensei is a nice guy, but he’s pretty demanding and a bit of a perfectionist. And when it comes to technique, so am I. I often compare Goju to Ballet. Very precise movements and not much room for interpretation. It’s the easiest to learn but the hardest to master in my humble opinion.

The nice thing about Goju is I can train in whatever room or place I happen to be in. I don’t need a partner and because it’s fairly simple I can drill 5 movements in 15 minutes if I wish. A mirror helps too, to check technique.

So when do I do this? While cooking, duh. Yup, right next to my gas stove top. OK, 5 feet away from it. Cooking is the best time to workout. I’m waiting for chicken to brown or rice to cook or veggies to steam, etc. Plenty of time to drill one movement in ten repetitions. Or better yet, do tricep dips or leg lifts at the kitchen sink. It may sound silly but it works. Plus I get a small workout in without even breaking a sweat! Easy-peasy.

Next post, Bathroom workouts!

You think I’m joking… 😉

Back in the saddle

Hi everyone!

So, my first post. Basically you should know that I am a mother of three small but not physically small children. I also love martial arts! So does my husband. We’re hoping our kids will too.

I’ve trained in Chinese Kung fu, specifically Hung Gar, and Wing Chun but currently train in three Japanese arts, Koga Ryu Ninjitsu, Yoshin Ryu Jujitsu and Goju Ryu Karate Do. Well, that and whatever my Sensei (teacher) wants to teach me. He’s kind of awesome.

For myself I have two goals

1. To get a black belt in those three arts.

2. To someday train in Japan (yeah, we’ll see about that)

The only problem is I took a year off to have the sweetest baby girl ever, and I know that I’m not done having kids. Which means I somehow have to balance being a mommy and ninja. Or a Momja. (I’m so funny)