Tag Archives: Teaching

Karate And Me – Part 8 – Becoming The Instructor

KARATE AND ME

PART 8 – BECOMING THE INSTRUCTOR

As 1990 rolled around myself and Darren weren’t left completely on our own in running a karate club, I had just turn 16 and Darren 18, thankfully we had a bit of help from another instructor of a club local to us. Jeff ran the club at Bingham at that time, he would come and train with Alan and when I was able I would go over to his club at Bingham on a Friday evening to train. Alan had asked Jeff to be our advisor and just to help us through, so Jeff would train under us on a Tuesday evening and then teach for us on a Thursday evening, which gave Darren and myself chance to train, I would continue to train at his club on Fridays as and when possible.

I think there are four main types of good karate instructor, yet there are many bad ones.

There is the instructor who has great technique, but lacks the knowledge or personality to convey his message across, he can’t really explain it, you just watch and try to replicate, maybe great for bringing through lower grades, but not always good to give higher grades the knowledge they needed, at this point in my life I think this was about where I was, maybe lacking a little bit in technique though.

Then there is the instructor who is maybe struggling with injuries or older in their years, they lack the technical ability to show the technique the way they want, but can explain the technique is such simple terms that a good student can still learn from. Jeff was like this, he was in his 60’s, both his hips were gone and would in the coming years be replaced, but his knowledge was great, he could spot minor flaws in technique and correct them, I learnt a lot from Jeff, he was a quiet man, but you simply respected him, I owe a lot to Jeff in those early years, I think he taught me how to be an instructor.

There is also the all rounder, this is where Alan fell, he had good technique, very good technique, he had great knowledge which he could convey easily, he could also get that last inch of effort out of you when you really thought you had none left, he was a great instructor, not the greatest technique or knowledge, but still had covered all the bases and could inspire that last drop of energy.

Then there is the instructor who has everything, amazing technique, unequalled knowledge and can get his point across easily and also has that personality that inspires, these guys are few and far between, if you find one, train under them as much as you can and learn everything you can, you’ll love every minute of it.

At that point in my life, I guess I had good technique, I had good knowledge, I just had to get over my shy personality and find a way to put what I knew in to words others could understand without me freezing or looking unsure of myself.

One thing I decided I had to do was get my technique to level I wanted others to do it. I believed that in order for me show the technique and explain it the way I wanted them to do it, then I had to be doing it that way too. I couldn’t correct them on something that they had copied me doing, if I wanted them doing the technique the right way, as far as I was concerned I had to be showing them the right way too. Explaining wasn’t enough, it was all or nothing.

So in a way I became my own teacher, I had to analyse everything I was doing and make sure if I was explaining what I wanted, I was doing it also. It brought my technique on leaps and bounds, I learnt to trust my body to perform the movement the way I wanted it to, if it was wrong it would feel wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I still needed someone like Jeff to run an eye over me from time to time, along with other visiting instructors, I had to keep improving and keep analysing, it was a never ending circle and really, it always should be, we shouldn’t get complacent, shouldn’t think we know everything, nobodies perfect, if I became perfect would there be a reason to carry on training?

In time I would ask my students if they thought they were really knew their Kata for their next grading and could do it well. I know this might sound harsh, but follow me on this one, but they would always answer yes to both questions, so I would respond that they were better than me!

This got a look of consternation from them all, confused, perplexed, how could they be better than me, they looked up to me, parents would say their kids wanted to be as good as me and in truth every instructor should aim for their students to be better than they are, that’s the goal.
But I would explain, that I know the directions of the kata, I know the pattern, but I’m still learning it even now, I may win kata competitions, but I’m not the best in the world, I’m not world champion, I still do not know any of the katas I can do properly, so they should always look to improve, I can do them well, but I still need to study them and do them better, there’s always room for improvement, lots of room for improvement.

Sometimes we have to humble and realise we need to improve, maybe we are trying to help others improve and we are further along the journey in what ever part of life, be it karate or just life in general, then we still need to improve.

I would look at students mistakes and then look back at myself, if I was doing that the. I needed to correct myself and improve, with kids especially it’s a case of monkey see monkey do, even adults would do that to a certain extent, so as an instructor I strove to learn from my students too, you’re never to good to improve or be taught a lesson by your students either.

I found the adults interesting, when older adults came along as new beginners they struggled, we would get very intelligent guys and women come along, teachers, businessmen, all sorts, but they struggled and got so frustrated. I came to the conclusion that they had forgotten how to learn!

I suppose as a kid or young adult, you spend all your time in a learning environment, learning all the time and especially as kids with sports and maybe even young adults in new manual jobs where you are actually training your body as well as your mind, you will find it easier to learn karate. If you haven’t been in a learning environment or done any training where body coordination comes into play you will struggle. Don’t get me wrong that doesn’t stop anybody training, with the right mentality that can and will be over come, but the frustration of some of these guys was plain to see.

We had adults who just could grasp which was their left or right leg, they knew left and right, but getting the to move the right one, as well as say punch or block at the same time was hard work. They just hadn’t been in that kind of learning environment for such a long time and they began to show their frustration, they wanted to train hard and strong, they believed that’s what an adult like them should be doing, but in reality it was the opposite, I tried to get them to slow down, pay attention to their body, to feel their way through and concentrate on the basics, the speed and strength could come later, but no they were like bulls in a china shop, they had to go hard and strong.

Eventually I would get through to some, others we lost in frustration, some just wanted to fight and didn’t understand you have to do the basics first, over and over again, and keep doing it until they were of a reasonable quality and control to allow them to fight. I think people expect to come in and fight straight away, kids want to be ninja turtles or power rangers straight away, like on the TV and films, adults wanted to be like the higher grades straight away, they don’t understand the process to get to the level where they are, it’s a journey, not a quick fix, just like life.

Sometimes we all have to slow down and go back to the basics. Sometimes we all have to look at our life technique and reevaluate it, never be afraid to learn from someone at a different stage of the journey, whether that be ahead or behind us, there are lessons to be learnt from everyone.

BECOME WHO YOU ARE by MAINSTAY
So it seems that I’m wrong ’cause you said that
I would never want for anything again
But my eyes are set low and I’m holding
To the things I know I can’t keep

I keep on chasing the wrong things and coming up empty
This isn’t who I’m supposed to be
I keep on learning the hard way from every mistake
And I’m finding each time that you fall
You’re just becoming who you are

So it seems that I’m wrong ’cause I keep on
Searching for the answers that I don’t need
I know I don’t need

I keep on chasing the wrong things and coming up empty
This isn’t who I’m supposed to be
I keep on learning the hard way from every mistake
And I’m finding each time that you fall
You’re just becoming who you are

Becoming who you are
You’re just becoming, just becoming
You’re just becoming, just becoming

I keep on chasing the wrong things and coming up empty
This isn’t who I’m supposed to be
I keep on learning the hard way from every mistake
And I’m finding each time that you fall
You’re just becoming who you are

I’m finding each time that you fall
I’m finding each time that you fall
We’re finding each time that you fall
You’re just becoming who you are

Karate And Me – Part 7 – 1989 A Year To Grow Up

KARATE AND ME

PART 7 – 1989 A YEAR TO GROW UP

So 1988 finished on a high after recovery from an injury, then 1989 should have been plain sailing, continued growth, I guess it was but for wholly different reasons.

An injury that happens due to an accident or an incident, like my ruptured ankle is one thing, but an injury that can’t be seen or can’t be explained is another thing.  As the new year moved on, I was still training five times a week, Sunday was the busiest by far, it was a three and half hour slog every week, firstly teaching beginners for one hour, then two hours training in the general class and then an additional half an hour for just the brown and black belts, it was a hard day.

In early 89, I found that I would wake in the early hours of Monday morning, suddenly wake in pain, my shins just below my knees would be screaming in pain, when this happened there was no getting back to sleep, there was no position I could find to ease the pain, nothing I could do, I would just lie in bed crying with the pain, for weeks I kept it to myself, but then eventually I told my Mum and she arranged an appointment with a Doctor.

As the weeks went by I began to get aches and pains in my knees too, during training and after, it never really went away, but that pain on Sunday nights/Monday mornings was the worst.

Up until I was 15 I was under 5ft in height, suddenly in the first few months of 89 I had grown to pretty much my current height of 5ft 4½ inches, when I saw the Doctor he explained that I had Osgood-Schlatter Disease, it sounds severe, but essentially is severe growing pains.  He explained that the growth plates within my lower legs were not growing at the same rate and the pressure of my training was causing the pain, even the pain that would wake me in the middle of the night.  There wasn’t much that he could do, other than prescribe painkillers, it would eventually go, in other words I would grow out of it too, but it could be sometime, he advised that when the pain became severe to take time off training.

Over the coming months I would skip training for weeks at a time when it became bad, I tried to train through it, but it wasn’t always possible.

In terms of competition,  I still competed, but for the fighting my growth changed the category I was in.  At that time competition was catorised by height with under 5 feet and over 5 feet, all my success had come at under 5 feet, everyone was pretty much my height, we were all well matched, now it wasn’t so.  My first competition in the new height group was the Nationals, although I didn’t change the way I fought, I still waited and counter attacked, it made it harder, the distance changed because most of my opponents were now inches taller and so this changed my timing, that first competition I got through to the quarter finals, but lost to the eventual champion, he must have been almost six foot, his reach was way beyond mine and he just picked me off at random, it was a learning experience to say the least and from there I had to re-assess my style of fighting.

Over the summer I took more time off training, the pain wasn’t going away and at times it got worse, especially those Sunday nights, I came to dread going to sleep on Sunday night and not because it was school the next day, because I knew it was going to be painful.

Then one evening during the early summer Alan asked if he could speak with my Dad and me after a class, he took us aside and then dropped the bombshell.  He had decided that he was going to emigrate to Australia, only it would be this coming October, but he needed to organise the people who he wanted to continue running the club.  My Dad had been helping take the money at the club for some time, he helped Alan out where he could, which allowed Alan to concentrate on just teaching, so Alan asked if Dad could keep doing this, but it was his choice of instructors that was the big bombshell.  I was only fifteen and my club mate Darren was only seventeen, but Alan had decided we were the two people he wanted to continue the teaching at the club, Darren being older would be Senior Instructor and I would be Assistant Instructor, Darren’s Mum would become Secretary and handle the admin and my Dad would collect the money and help Julia organise things.

I don’t think it was so much as a request from Alan, I’m not sure he really offered me a choice, but I didn’t refuse and neither did my Dad, he had already approached Darren and Julia by this point and they had agreed, so did we, so it was all set.  After the next club grading at the end of September Alan would step down and leave the country just a few weeks later.  He had arranged for a couple of other junior students to run the Lincoln club with the help of their parents, but at the last minute those plans changed and a couple of other seniors who ran other clubs in the Lincoln area took over that club.

I don’t think at that time I really realised what that would mean in terms of my life, I was fifteen, it was just karate, although a big part of my life, I didn’t see it having such a big influence on the direction that my life would follow from that point.  From this point on, my life would begin to revolve around the club, my life choices were formed around what was best for the club and it’s students, although I didn’t have much of a plan for my life at that point, they would all have to revolve around the club I was now tied to.

My main apprehension at that point was how I would be received by other members of the club, mainly by our adult section.  I was senior than most of them in terms of grade and experience, but I was a junior in terms of age, our adult section ranged from ages 18 through to people in their 50s and 60s, if I was to be taken seriously by them and other club instructors, I had a lot of growing up to do.

But in those early months, my fears were all for nothing, the seniors seemed to understand the pressure both myself and Darren found ourselves in and helped us as much as they could, they stood by us and the transition went smoothly.  If anything is was our peers, the other guys that were of a similar age and grades, they were the ones that fell away, some left to go to college or university, others I guess found it difficult to adjust to us teaching, they simply left overtime, but the seniors, they stayed with us and encouraged us, I will never forget that, the respect they showed us both.

As the year came to a close there were once more a number of competitions, the first of which was just a week or so before Alan left at the Regionals, as a club we had our best competition yet, we returned with numerous trophies.  For me I had a break through, this time in kata, for the first time I made the individual final for kata at a Regional level, I finished fourth, but it was a break through, especially as my effectiveness in the fighting was now challenged by my lack of height.

As November came around my, knees were still causing trouble, when I returned to the Newark Open, I made the finals of the kata and the kumite, but in the last round of the kumite I clashed knees with my opponent, my knees were already aching, but due to the pain and bruising, I decided to withdraw, I regret it now, I should have just gone for it, but at the time I sat out and watched the others compete in the finals, thinking that I could have beaten them.

A week later I went back to the Ipswich Open, once more in the morning I made the kata final and then in the afternoon competed in the kumite.  I made it through to the quarter finals and then faced the tallest guy in the competition.  I remember the early exchanges, I waited and he attacked, again he out reached me and I wasn’t quiet as quick as I was due to the lack of training over the last few months, so it was hard, I just couldn’t match him.  Then he came in with a punch to the face, I tried to get underneath it, to block and counter as he came in, but he hit me full in the face, I just remember everything happening in slow motion as I slowly fell to the ground.

When I came around I was flat on my back and it seemed there was blood everywhere, the referees rushed over to me and then the first aiders came over, my mouth felt numb and I put my tongue to the left side of my mouth and realised I had a large hole in my top lip, it was torn wide open.

The first aiders helped me back to their station, while the referees disqualified my opponent.  I had made it through to the finals, but first there was the small problem of the hole in my lip.  The first aiders said they couldn’t do anything for me and it would have to be stitched at the hospital.  One of the local volunteers agreed to drive myself and my Mum to the hospital.  I was helped up to go to his car, I took a few steps across the hall and once again everything went into slow motion and I found myself once again slowly slipping to the floor, I had collapsed again, by this point it was obvious I was going to take no further part in the competition.

I was taken to hospital and eventually had six stitches in my lip.  I made it back to the venue just in time to collect my two trophies, still in my blood soaked suit.  For the second time in two weeks I made the finals, but couldn’t compete in the final, I regretted the decision not to compete in the finals the previous week even more.

I couldn’t eat properly for a number of days, it felt like half my mouth was closed due to the swelling, my parents kept me off school for a few days, by the time I went back to school it looked a mess, the dried blood had scabbed around the stitches and it was still swollen, it didn’t look good at all.  They told us at the hospital that the stitches would dissolve after a week or so, almost three weeks later I still had four stitches still in there, the other two I had managed to get out with my tongue and my teeth, eventually a parent of one of my students, who used to be a nurse, cut them out for me.  I still have the scar on my lip, in time I would add to it, I’ve only had two sets of stitches in my life and the second set would be in the very same place as the first!

So 1989 came and went, the nineties approached and the growing up was to continue.  When you take responsibility for something, especially at the age that I did, I guess you have no choice but to grow up quickly, what I originally found daunting I would begin to grow into, I would begin to grow as a person and a student myself.

BRAND NEW START by ALTER BRIDGE
Against the sky
Streams of light
Call out to me and you

We leave as one
We’ve just begun
To find the solace we’re due
This is the life we must choose

We will make a brand new start
From the pieces torn apart
The break of day is before us

Cast your sorrows to the wind
Let the highway take us in
As we escape the disorder

This desert road
That we call home
This is our destiny
We’ll chase the setting sun
As we outrun
A life of agony
God how we ache to be free

We will make a brand new start
From the pieces torn apart
The break of day is before us

We will make a brand new start
From the pieces torn apart
The break of day is before us

We’ll make our way
We’ll make our way
We’ll make our way
We’ll make our way

Friday’s Addiction Feeding

I love teaching karate, especially kids, about three years ago, in the period where I had no work and nothing to do, I was doing just that one Friday morning, lounging around, doing nothing!  When the phone rang, it was the Sports Centre where I teach karate, they needed a favour and I would get paid as well, they were running a Tae Kwon Do class for kids on a Friday afternoon as part of a package of courses they offered to kids on the swimming course, but their instructor couldn’t make it, could I cover the class?

Okay, I have never done Tae Kwon Do, but the principles were similar, I had nothing to do and the money was good, so I said yes.  When I got there they asked if I could cover for the next two weeks, well that was okay with me, the age group was 7-15, the class was quite small and although I taught them karate and in a slightly watered down way to what I would normally teach, I enjoyed it.  After the three weeks I was asked if I wanted to take the course on full time, as the other guy could no longer commit to it, so I agreed a fee and said yes.

After a number of months the manager called me in, they wanted to expand the class, to include a younger age group, was I okay with the extra class and the four to six year old age group, again I had nothing better to do, so I agreed to it.

After a slow start the younger group gradually increased in numbers, until I was teaching about 20 of the little guys on my own, which wasn’t easy to control (I had agreed to 15 max), but I got through it and actually enjoyed it, even though it could at times fry my brains!!!

Obviously at this time I was falling deeper and deeper into my alcohol addiction, although I never drank before any class, except maybe for one pint with a meal at lunch at the weekends, but never anything more, I stayed sober and in control for my classes, which is more than can be said for everything else in my life.

So Friday evening’s were no different, actually these became my worst nights for drinking alone, I would walk home at six o’clock, when both classes had finished, on the way home I would stop at the shop around the corner, I would get two bottles of wine, two bottles of Jaques cider and probably four cans of normal cider, I would get home, nobody would be in and I would start drinking, the Jaque’s first and then both bottles of wine, the cans maybe one if I actually finished the rest before I fell asleep or if not I would keep them for the next day, where I would follow a similar routine after karate, but the weekends included a stop at the pub and a number of pints there.

Gradually the classes on a Friday went beyond the number of kids I had agreed to and the Sports Centre asked if one of my assistants would like to help, they would be paid the same as me, I asked Steve and he agreed and joined the class.  I’m not sure why, but I let Steve take the classes and I assisted, I guess it was nice for once to be the assistant rather the leader as would be our normal roles in the club situation.  It relieved the pressure and stress, but that didn’t relieve the drinking issue, I would still go home, stock up and drink it all, it was rare that I left too much to drink for the next night, pretty much if it was in the house I had to drink it, leaving it was not really an option, although I usually brought a few extra cans for emergencies!

Obviously that was then, I stopped drinking, after that I just went home after karate and did what I could do to stay on the wagon, not an easy journey, but one I am managing to accomplish so far, there have been thoughts, but that’s all they have been I am pleased to say, I pray for the strength to overcome everyday and am thankful that my prayer is answered every time.

Tonight though was one of those rare occasions, where Steve was away and I was on my own, the classes the last few weeks have been quite low, so I was hoping for a similar turn out, but ended up on my own with fourteen 4/5 year olds, oh great!

One of the mothers asked me just before we started if it was just me, when I said yes, she jokingly asked if I had got a can of beer in my bag, err awkward!!!

It wasn’t really the time and place to go into my history or admit I was an alcoholic, I simply said I didn’t drink anymore, but jokingly said you never known I might think about it after this class!  I didn’t really know what to say, she never meant anything by it and I understood what she was saying, something to calm the nerves after the class, but in a situation like that in a hall full of other parents, how do you react, I just laughed it off, it wasn’t a problem, I wasn’t offended, but it did bring back memories of those Friday nights where I would indulge in a life destroying habit.

The kids I can safely say where raving, they were definitely on one, not in a bad way, more in a crazy over enthusiast way.  Although when we had races at the end, I got my own back by thoroughly confusing them, I always line up the teams, tell them I have one rule, “to go when I say go!”

Well it gets them all the time, no matter how many times I repeat it they just look at me nodding, the parents laugh and many are telling them to go too, but they just don’t get it, cruel I know, but I like to have the last laugh!!

All in all it was a good class, I really enjoyed it, although it was a bit on the crazy side, but the great thing is I can come straight home and relax, I don’t need anything to take the edge of things, to calm the nerves or put me to sleep so I can forget the problems in my life.

I have my moments, my low spots, just like I did last Sunday, at times I want to be alone, at times I quite happy to share my problems with friends and work through them.

I am so thankful to God for answering my prayers and setting me free, I am also so thankful for everyone at Everyday Champions Church who have been alongside me all the way, that have propped me up when I felt like falling, who have just been there when I needed them.

I SEE HEAVEN by BRYAN & KATIE TORWALT
I see heaven invading this place
I see angels praising your holy name
I sing praises, I sing praises
I give you honor worthy Jesus

I see Glory falling in this place
I see hope restored, the healing of all disease

I sing praises, I sing praises
I give you honor worthy Jesus

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory God

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory

I see Glory falling in this place
I see hope restored, the healing of all disease

I sing praises, I sing praises
I give you honor worthy Jesus

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory God

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory

All of the glory
All of the glory, Jesus

Let your Presence fill this place
Let heaven come

Let your angels be released
Let heaven come

We will worship at your feet
Let heaven come

Face to face we want to meet
Let heaven come

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory God

We give you praise and all of the honor
You are our God, the one we live for
We give you praise and all of the Glory

All of the glory
All of the glory
All of the glory
All of the glory

All of the glory
All of the glory
All of the glory
All of the glory

New Student, New Spark

I’ve been teaching karate now for the past 25 years, with no more than a few weeks break in that time.  I took over the club, along with a colleague back in 1989, I was a mere 15 years old and my club mate just 17, he was the main instructor and I was the assistant, but that still meant that I had more teaching duties than training opportunities.   By the mid nineties, I had taken over the majority of the teaching, before eventually taking over the club on my own almost 10 years ago.

I’ve had good times and bad during those years, it’s not been plain sailing, it’s been hard work and a lot of time, indeed a lot of my life has been given over to it, at one point I was teaching everyday of the week, at the club, at schools and at a University, but on average it’s been five times a week that I’ve been out of the house teaching classes.

Many times, I considered why do I do it, many times I questioned do I want to keep doing it.  I spent many years doubting myself and my credibility, I was such a young instructor, I never saw myself as being taken seriously or whether I would get the respect I deserved, but over the years my reputation in competition and the results of my students, proved what I was about and I got beyond that doubt.

There have been times when I’ve been worn out and just needed a spark to reignite the fire inside, usually something happens to breathe new life into the club and into me.  For a long while karate was the only place I felt the good side of me came out, when I went through my real dark years of drinking and hardly working, karate was the only thing I had my head on straight for and only time I would never drink was before teaching, it was simply the only place I felt normal and of some worth, somewhere I still had something to give.

Over the last year I have scaled down my involvement, I have an able assistant who is more than capable of handling classes without me.  Back in November I took a step back when I was struggling, Steve took over teaching for a few months and gave me some time to get my head straight.  Since the New Year I have been back teaching, but I’ve not had a real fire for it for some time, I enjoy it still, but I can’t say I’ve been giving my all, it needed a spark to reignite the fire.

So last night, when I got home from work, out of the blue my daughter came to me and asked if she could come to karate!  She did a few class a few years ago, but only because her friend tried it, but since then she’s not really been interested.  My son trained for a few years, but after a while decided he didn’t want to do it any more, I was disappointed, but I would never force him to do it if he didn’t want to.

So Eve shocked me when she asked out the blue and tonight she was so excited.  It was her first class this evening, we walked there together (well I walked, she jogged along side), she joined in the class, the class was split between me and Steve, she was in Steve’s class, but she was okay with that.  When we walked home, I got a full run down of her class, what she did, what she got wrong and also everyone else got wrong too.

And when we got home she was quick to show me what she had learnt, she’s ready for the next class on Saturday now.

Maybe, this is the spark I need, I don’t want to go back to the five times a week I was doing before, I don’t need to, but I do want to get back a little of the old hunger, I guess retiring from competition last year hasn’t helped, but just maybe, I’ve got a second wind.

SET A FIRE by JESUS CULTURE
Set a fire down in my soul
That I can’t contain and I can’t control
I want more of You God, I want more of You God.

There’s no place I’d rather be
There’s no place I’d rather be
There’s no place I’d rather be
Than here in your love, here in your love

Set a fire down in my soul
That I can’t contain and I can’t control
I want more of You God, I want more of You God.

Love of God overflow
Permeate all my soul

Jogging Bumblebees And All That!!!

Sometimes you think things can’t get much weirder, this morning as I neared the entrance to my work I was passed by a young woman jogging, dressed as a bumblebee, not the sort of thing you see every morning in Newark, I mean, we have some weirdos but a jogging bumblebee!  I can only assume there was some sort of fun run organised for Sport Relief, otherwise, I really don’t know!

Friday afternoons I teach a couple of karate classes for the Sport Centre, the first class is for four to six year olds, which can be interesting at the best of times, today was one of those days.  We have recently managed recruited a young boy, who has a zero attention span, you need to pairs of eyes on him all the time, which means either me or my fellow instructor spend most of the lesson trying to keep him in check.

Today that seemed almost impossible, the class bordered on chaos, we managed to keep it together, but we were well relieved when it ended.  It’s saying something when the kid that usually causes us the most problems, is getting annoyed at this other kid for not doing anything remotely like what we were asking him to do!

The only problem is that when that class finishes we have the next group straight away, one group leaves and the other starts, not even a minute to regroup!  The second class wasn’t as bad, they are older and far more interested in learning, but it still has it’s moments!

Oh well, we’ve got a week to recover and then the madness starts again!

THE FIGHT by THE ROCKET SUMMER
It’s silent tonight
I’m trying to wrap my head around
If everything will be alright
And how you didn’t have to do it now

And I don’t
know how
you managed to sleep with
knowing that you abandoned me at the worst time
but I will

Fight the fight and
keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight, 
it’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
and keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

Faith, welcome back
it’s been awhile since we hung out
have you come to get me back on track?
you know they didn’t have to do this now

But I don’t have no
Time to waste for me now
About how they abandoned me at the worst time

So I will
Fight the fight and
Keep defying
I’d give up, but I keep trying
To fight the fight,
It’s in my wiring
this is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

What would I do now
if you weren’t here to pull me out?
What would I do now
If I didn’t have my friends?
What would I do now
If you weren’t here

And as the trouble chases me
Bring me guidance
Be with me to 

Fight the fight and 
Keep defying
I’d give up, 
but I keep trying
To fight the fight
It’s in my wiring
This is how you made me
To fight the fight
And keep on fightin’
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

I’d give up, but I’d be lying
So fight the fight and keep defying
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me
I’d give up, but I’d be lying to me

Black Eyes, Cracked Thumbs & Black Belts

Well it’s been one heck of a long day, I am almost completely exhausted, but in a good way, it’s been a busy, tiring day, but a good one.

I started the day with a walk as usual, I was out walking by 5.30am, the snow we were expecting hadn’t materialised, but the sky was full of cloud and light drizzle, so unless they cleared there wouldn’t be another fantastic sunrise like yesterday, but that didn’t matter, I was walking, it was dark and I would once again walk into the light, that’s just how I like it everyday!

An eight mile walk this morning up the cycle track, I stopped at the lake on the way back, sat in the constant drizzle and read from the bible.  I took that opportunity despite the weather as I wouldn’t be making it to Church today, I had a karate course to attend.

The course was only in Grantham, about a twenty minute drive from my home.  The course was a National course held by our association, the training was three hours long, but I was asked by our Chief Instructor, Ohta Sensei, if I would teach a section of coloured belts, so for the first hour I taught thirty or so lower grade students, which was both interesting and fun.

For the second hour I went back and joined the other black belts, joining in with a number of free fighting drills, which was fun, despite catching my thumb, which is painful and taking a punch to the eye, which will probably be black tomorrow, I might add here I wasn’t supposed to be blocking my opponent, but to trust in their control, it wasn’t a hard punch, it just caught me in the right place, I’ve had harder, but that’s karate, it’s not tiddlywinks after all!  After that we did a bit of kata, during which I was then once again pulled out to teach a young black belt lady, who was grading for her second dan (I can’t have been that bad, she did pass), them for the last hour I joined in once again with the black belts for more kata.

So a three hour course and I taught for half of that, which I am glad of, I haven’t trained at that level this year, so it was just right, I ache now and probably will ache worse tomorrow, but I’ll still be walking in the morning!

On of my students was grading for his black belt in the afternoon, so I took my seat in the grading room and watched the proceedings, he did pretty well and after a long wait for the results his name was the first to be called to say he had passed, phew, both elation and relief, I get more nervous than my students at these things.  Another black belt to add to the club’s roster after a long day.

The first thing I did when I got home was sleep, it wasn’t a late return, but by 5.30pm I was gone, until just after seven when my kids woke me up, I could have slept right through, but I’m glad they did anyway, I had a bit of work to do.

So it’s the end of a very long day, but a very good one, I’m so proud of Morley for passing his black belt and the look on his face and the joy of his parents is enough for me, just to see that is my reward for my work.

I’ve already downloaded the podcast from our Church service, I did that within a couple of hours of the service finishing, so I have it ready to play in the morning when I walk, so even though I missed Church this morning, I won’t miss Gareth’s message and if it’s anywhere near as good as last week, I’m in for a great walk, whatever the weather and however much I ache!

So I bid you all goodnight and leave you with this song.

God of creation
You came from Heaven
You became a man
bringing hope again
You laid Your life down
Took all of our sin
Nailed it to the cross
Where You paid it all
(We Were Made For You by Aaron Gillespie)