Onward and Upward at the Dojo

On December 1st, 2007 I started training in Okinawan Shuri-Ryu Karate do with Hanshi. On April 17th, 2008 I earned my blue belt (rok kyu), skipping the rank of shich kyu (sp?) at my instructor’s request. Last week, Hanshi stepped behind me during a drill and put his hand on my shoulder: “Blue belt, going on green,” he said. Then he put me in my first ever sparing match. First up? Jeff the brown belt.

I must now prepare myself for the fact that anytime in the next, oh, say, 2 weeks to 2 months, I could walk in the door and be tested for green belt. Hanshi’s praise is sparse but always poignant and heartfelt and this slight nod in the direction of green belt has me at full attention.

The catch? Next week I leave for Chicago for a week, missing three classes. It’s the last thing I need at this crucial juncture in my training, but at least Hanshi understands that my trip is an honor. He knows I received a grant to go and he understands it is a career move and a privilege. “We’re proud of you,” he said.

So I’ve upped my training by the slightest increments. Where before there were ten reps, there are now 15, where there were 20, now 30. Where before I had some days of sub-max interval training, now they’re all max interval training where I spring in 30 second bursts and rest for 45. Where I distance trained only once a week, now I’m doing it up to three times a week. And push ups? I can now do 40 modified knuckle pushups touching my nose to the floor in a single toning session. I can do 15 of them consecutively, 18 if I’m fresh.

Here we go folks…let’s hope I can rise to the challenge!

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