Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Twitter for a karate school?

Have you heard of Twitter? Essentially a micro-blogging tool, twitter lets you inform the world of any banal, trifling and occasionally important thoughts bouncing through your head at any given time. The catch is that you must condense this brain fart into no more than 160 characters.

The end result looks somewhat like someone's Facebook updates. That is, if you have a friend on Facebook that updates their page incessantly.

So how could such a tool possibly assist your karate school? In a traditional studio, perhaps not much. If you're like me, and you run a school at a University, you might find a use for it.

Scenario 1: Class is at 7, and I discover at 6 that the rec center has decided to give our room to a convention of furries. I need to get the word out...fast.

Scenario 2: Furries have taken over the campus, forcing all extracurricular activities to cancel. I need to let my students know, since what has been seen cannot be unseen.

Scenario 3: Tonight is the last night for everyone to turn in their tournament registration paperwork, and noticing a lack of participants, I want to remind everyone. Furries.

In all 3 cases, Twitter could be a big save. Normally, I'd resort to publishing a news article on the web site and hope everyone sees it, or initiate a phone tree, and have my officers call everyone (and hope that everyone has their roster handy.)

Orrr, I could text my message to 40404 and sit back, letting twitter update, my web page pull in the twitter feed, and - best of all -- students who subscribed to my twitter feed get an SMS update wherever they are.

Also works for karate social functions. After class, we may decide to bathe the lepers, but it turns out there aren't enough lepers. I tweet to students: lepers too few and too clean. meet at local soup kitchen instead. Bam! everyone is in the know, and can show up for meaningful social interaction.

Over the next week, I'm going to roll it out and see how it works. Toughest part will be encouraging everyone to set up a twitter account and following the BTSD feed.

Twitter still appears to be a mostly fringe tool, especially amongst college kids. My basic fear is that is a little *too* nerdy, perception-wise. Not as nerdy as furries, though. Yikes.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Receiving Criticism

I've been reading "The Winner's Manual" by OSU Football coach Jim Tressel. Thus far, it is a pretty interesting read with some great insights as to how he manages over 100 young men in a successful program. Reading the book, I saw that we're both fans of John Wooden. Coach Tressel shares this quote from Wooden:

"Fellows, you're going to receive some criticism. Some of it will be deserved and some of it will be undeserved. Either way, deserved or undeserved, you're not going to like it.

"You're also going to receive some praise on occasion. Some of it will be deserved and some it will be undeserved. Either way, deserved on undeserved, you're going to like it. However, your strength as an individual depends on how you respond to both criticism and praise. If you let either one have any special effect on you, it's going to hurt us."

Ironically enough, I read this on Saturday night, while I was at Black belt camp.

Monday, August 11, 2008

2008 Olympic Opening Ceremonies. Wow!

This video is absolutely stunning. 2008 martial artists, performing in sync. Notice the perfect lines, moving together, splitting and regrouping. I'll remember this next time I try to get my class to line up quickly.

I heard on the news this morning that another team from the opening ceremonies literally practiced 8 hours a day for 4 months. I can only imagine a similar effort went into this performance.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Secret Art of Hua Quan Xiu Tui

Since Sunday, I've run across this phrase twice, once in Chinese and once in English. Hua quan xiu tui roughly means "flowery fists and brocade (silken) legs."

Isn't that sweet? In fact, it may even sound downright poetic.

However, saying such a thing to a "serious martial artist" would be tantamount to a gauntlet being thrown at their feet. Why not just insult their mother's virtue and kick their dog?

Flowery fist and silky kicks... a great way to say something looks very pretty, but has no substance. In other words, fluff. Like the movie Wanted, or the gun kata from Equilibrium.

I'm not sure if I like the meaning of this phrase, or if I think it rather snobbish.

Monday, August 4, 2008

BTSD Tan Tui Class

Thanks to Mr. Holtman and Ms. Suzanne Grigsby for being so kind to shoot our Tan Tui class on Sunday. Once again, Sifu Mike Grigsby of the OSU Shuai Chiao club was kind enough to share his knowledge with us.

We worked on the first seven roads, and went at a pretty good speed. As it was meant to be a general introduction for our newer students, I'm not so concerned that they learned the roads, but got to see a different application of the techniques and concepts we are training. Maybe a few people will have a peaked interest in the matter and can begin to study the form more in-depth.