Grading Shock is delayed a week.

Well its been over a week since summer school and consequently my Shodan grading and it is only in the last few days that I have felt the impact of my grading on my body. For a week after my grading I have felt pumped and energised, being very surprised that I didn’t have any niggles (well perhaps giggles) and felt like I could do anything, I know from previous gradings and when I use to play rugby that you don’t normally feel the pain from the math or grading two or three days later.

However this delay has never lasted a week before, my plan was before summer school to recharge and have a mini break but feeling this good and with my passion for karate already burning again it was back to the grind.  I didn’t think it would be a literal grind! I already feel more drained and stiff then I have for the last week (kids don’t do drugs, do a grading the feeling will last a week!) and have acquired a bunch of small niggles, more so than I did at the grading, exercising is also alot harder than I recall, meaning I have to temper my spirit to go at it 110% because the body isn’t ready to.

I suppose a huge part of this high from the grading is that the weight and pressure has been lifted of my mental shoulders, it feels liberating and means I can enjoy training and my life more, I think part of is that before I could cope with this strain for 3 months but for almost a whole year it was hard to overcome it meant that I had to fight with my inner demons for much longer.

I can now develop more as a karateka, chipping away at the clay and improve the skills I have and learn new ones, it is weird seeing my name n my belt but it just means that I have to train harder (when I have recovered) to improve my standards and thereby the clubs standards.

Everytime I see the Nidan grading the 30 man kumite I wonder how anyone can go through that, on the one hand it seems like the ultimate challenge and on the other hand a trip through the seven gates of hell and back. In my first summer school ( I was a 8th kyu) thinking  Oh my god that looks positively terrifying it takes great fitness and beyond amazing spirit to get through something like that, all the other low kyu grades at the time said they couldn’t wait to do it, it would be easy. As the years have gone by those same people have left the club slowly becoming me thinking oh crap that is going to be me one day if I ever get to blackbelt.

Every summer school and every time I have seen it I think, that terrifies me why would you do that, then during the year I imagine myself attempting that, only to be reminded why I never want to do it at the next summer school. At the moment I don’t want to think about that, I just want to enjoy my achievement and improve my standards everyday, but as I drove home from summer school with two of my closest friends I said aloud “Oh crap I’ll be doing it in three years time” it dawned on me that when I turn 30 in three years time, if I get approval I want to go through the ultimate test. But for now I can enjoy karate, enjoy life.


A name in the wind.

Even when silence surrounds me,
When the winds stop blowing,
When the trees stop whistling,
I can still hear your name,
When you walk across a summers day,
In a flowing summers dress,
I hear a drum beat pounding louder and louder,
The whole world dimmers a bit,
But you shine upon in its eternal darkness,
I realise that it is my heart that is beating at the sight of you,
Those who know me know that I am shy by nature, but once I get to know you I can be loud and over the top,
I would never show signs of affection in public,
But with you I don’t care what other people think,
I just want to be with you,
Before I close my eyes at night I imagine I hold your hand,
With you snuggling against my chest.

Enter the Shodan

It is official I am now a Shodan, words cannot describe how I feel, it was an amazing weekend of training one that I especially never want to forget. Five and half years it took me, and after failing in many things I have achieved one of my life long goals (the other training in China). For the last few months I have felt depleted it didn’t matter what I did I was lethargic but I kept training as hard as I could.

However this weekend my energy levels returned and I put in as much to the training over the weekend as I could, at several points my mind couldn’t cope with the sheer volume of the information, needing to keep what I needed for the grading. I went through sheer dread and fear (why am I here, I don’t like pain) to confidence that I had trained hard and that I could do it (which never happens to me before a grading, there is always doubt). On the Sunday I got to fight in the Nidan 30 man Kumite which was a huge honour. You want to give them your absolute best but you don’t want to injure yourself for your own grading.

When the time came at lunch time getting ready for my grading I had to become focused on one thought, people around me were wondering where my constant sense of humour at disappeared to. Big Chris (he was going for 2nd kyu) asked me if I was grading because I looked so calm, I found it completely ironic as I was controlling these waves of emotions all around me (ones that had drained my batteries for the last few months).

Both sides of my thoughts completely intensified during the grading, more than I had ever known before, but we were going for Shodan, I really appreciated the Nidan’s helping us out during the grading, whether it was to push us harder or cheer us on to how we control our breathing. (As I started to pant and not breathe deeply which made a huge difference everytime I needed to recover and explode with energy.

I  recall seeing my best friend completing his grading for shodan-ho and I was happy for him but had to focus on my task, the fighting was hear this was our time, my time. I was so much happier with my sparring this year compared to last year, I stuck to range fighting with the girls able to use a bit of tensho for entry (I got complimented by one Nidan for showing control, still pushing them and giving them my best, which of course is ironic because a Sandan told me now I need to work on my control more but that was aimed at weapons defence when I was confronted with being attacked by a Jo which surprised me and I just reacted by instinct. It’s all Go and Ju I have so much to work on!) I faced aussie mike (although he is a  kiwi) a big guy and I was able to go toe to toe with him, able to blast my knees in before he could, it was the first time I could see someone chambering up for strikes and I was able to get in there faster) some other fights are a bit of a blur but I was really happy that the kickers did kick me in the head, apparently it was because I kept rushing into them), I used some flying knees, I got fight the guy who trained me which was a huge honour. Then I got to fight the final guy, It was nearly Andy from Bristol but it was Simon from London. I was smiling inside these two I consider some of the best karate fighters I had ever seen and if I could fight half as well as them I would be proud. So I gave it all with Simon, I’m pretty sure I surprised him with a flying knee (which I use so I can get into close range) and we were fighting close quarters, the London Shihan  Mulholland kept breaking us up, my thoughts were Ah he is amazing at long range I want to be inside his range! It is strange from long range I feel less powerful, that a lot of my energy dissipates, where as in close quarters I am charged up, one strike gives power to another as Goran Powell put it dynamic tension during his  lesson (I’m using Sanchin baby!!!). I made it, I felt like I had a huge smile on my face, I faced an opponent I consider the crème of a karateka. Then it was the board break, everyone was choosing punches, I recall asking Shihan for tetsui but he shook his head, I had to face another fear and punch the board, I showed him my fist for my intended strike and he nodded. When one person breaks and kia’s then the next one would kia and break going down the row of 9 of us going for blackbelt. It must have been a surreal sight, I couldn’t believe that I did it even feel the board. Then we finished off and it was huge jubilation, when I went for Shodan-ho I felt like I barely made the last three fights, but this time I felt like I could of gone for three more fights, my energy levels were crazy. We did it, I did it I am so proud to be a part of this club, this association. We celebrated well, I even got made to walk across the campfire which I have never had any intention of doing so, curtsey of mike it was surely a weekend of doing things I thought that I would never be able to do.

It was an emotional roller coaster ride, before during and after my grading, some of my friends keep saying so your going to go for Nidan in three years’ time, my response is that I earned this belt and its up to me to prove each day why I earned it and that is to improve me as a karateka I I truly feel like a beginner again, there is so much to tidy upon polish up, learn, adapt its finally time to take my responsibilities.



Hand in hand

Hand in hand,
Side by side,
A lady and a gentleman,
A geek and an eccentric,
Looking lovingly into each others eyes,
The world no longer felt so lonely,
Desire filled each others eyes,
As they kissed,
Their lips,
Her neck,
The scenery was beautiful,
Lush trees and a sparkling river,
But they barely noticed,
A peace and tranquility filled them with each kiss,
Gentle and tender,
Passionate with desire,
The mind felt elated like it was meditating,
Sat in a restaurant,
Looking into each others eyes,
A sense of need,
To hold her hand,
To kiss her,
Filled his mind,
His shyness evaporated within a moment,
He simply needed to be with her,
For he could be himself,
As the night drew in,
Their kisses were like electricity to the touch,
Fireworks literally exploded above their heads,
It was a surreal moment,
A tear filled his eye,
As he had to say goodnight to her,
Looking forward to when they meet again.

Sacrifice in the name of karate

Blood and pain and turmoil,
What will you do to achieve what you desire,
What are you willing to sacrifice to climb ontop of that mountain,
Doubts surround your thoughts
They will win if you don’t give every single fibre of your being into it,
Pain is now,
Pain will be a lifetime if you don’t put your soul and body on the line,
Pain is temporary,
When you fight for your goal,
When you are willing to sacrifice yourself,
All those hours running or swimming,
All those pressups and lifts,
All those times you practiced drilling what you need,
The diet you forced on yourself,
Extra time training,
The time is arising,
No more excuses,
If you want it bad enough then nothing will get in your way,
Fear and doubt will corrupt you of you let it,
But if you use it as the fuel to stand up against yourself and those who doubt you,
Push your body and mind to the max,
Never back down,
Fight, fight, fight,
What are you willing to sacrifice?

Anticipation friend or foe for the soul

Can you feel it?

A sense of energy coursing through the air,

The finger tips are tingling,

You bounce around with excitement,

Your mind is abuzz with the thoughts of destiny and time to prove one self,

At times it leaves you feeling drained,

Your mind constantly thinking of this one moment,

Depletes the batteries,

You feel weary,

Can you go on?

But as it draws closer the anticipation builds and builds,

Engulfing your being,

The question is will this drain you,

Unable to fight on,

Or become the drum roll for the beast,

That is tearing at the bars wanting to be free,

As it ferociously tackles life with its bare hands,

Driving you on towards destiny.

A date

As we walk side by side,
I get a nervous thinking about holding your hand,
The trees are green,
The air is clear,
The sun is shining,
We look over the cliffs edge,
Watching the monstrous hills,
It’s back covered trees,
I make you laugh,
You make me smile,
I fight my fear and hold your hand,
While mine is cold to the touch,
Yours is warm like a puppy snuggling next to you,
We walk amongst the trees,
My heart goes rapid with tension,
I tickle you,
Already I have messed up but you laugh,
I spin you around I embrace my fear,
After a heated moment of passion our heads nestle together like two love birds,
In tune and in peace.