Tuesday, September 30, 2008

truer words were never written:

"Instructors unfamiliar with a 'class plan' will be quick to find or develop one after the first day."

This is from a Master instructor in our Region, speaking to the perils and joys of teaching a youth class.

For years, I've done very well with a "loose" class plan for my adult classes. I know what needs to be done and how to get to the goal for the most part. I often assess my plan at the beginning of class based mostly upon who shows up and what their needs are.

I double dog-dare you to do that with your first youth class. :)

In truth, I love my kids class. All of our students have very distinct personalities and have their own unique physical and mental challenges. Even when they cause trouble, I'm still glad to have them because it gives me a chance to flex and increase my teaching ability.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Postman brings gifts!

I had two big smiles this week, due to surprises on my doorstep. Friday night, I found a package from one of my black belts. I really wasn't sure what to expect...

We've been quoting the preview for this movie for months in class. This BB in particular teamed up with a few other students to make our own, BTSD-style, spoof on the viral videos which have found a permanent place in BTSD lore. Thanks Derrick! :)

On Saturday, we drove to Indiana for the wedding of another black belt alum.

After a long drive to and fro, I was surprised to find yet another package on the doorstep, this one via Amazon. I hadn't ordered anything, nor had KB. We scratched our heads in confusion, and then I remembered that I'd linked to the Amazon wishlist for the club library. Surely no one had... Yes they did!!!!

Pure Awesome. Thanks Heather for the first online donation to the BTSD library.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Youtube Roundup: Week 2

Another busy week is behind me. We had a blast this week with orientation and meeting tons of new students. First week at BTSD went well with several students trying a class for the first time yesterday. I'm very proud of all of my black belts who worked with the new students to share their unique perspective on TSD.

I haven't gotten to train much this week with everything else going on, but have spent some time thinking about staff training and building fluidity and dexterity. That said, I have a few related links to share with you.

I've been keeping up with the tutorials from playpoi for awhile now. It's very interesting to watch his videos and hear how similar his concepts are to what we teach with staff and nunchaku. When I was a green belt, I was told that I should improve my staff dexterity by trying figure eights with a 6 foot length of rope. Years later, it was a neat treat to find this video.

Now compare the flexible weapon lanes with this young man.

I like how he hints at the concept of being able to move directly from this dexterity skills and creating momentum for full power strikes. Like this gentleman:

In a related vein, I had an opportunity to chat with a Shotokan instructor about Jitte / Sip Soo. Jitte, as practiced in the Shotokan tradition is often related as a form which teaches unarmed defenses against an attacker wielding a staff. Obviously, closing the distance and intercepting the swing is pivotal to making these techniques work, and can be best described as desperate measures for an already bad situation.

This is the only video I could find amongst the jitte bunkai showing a staff application. I find that odd, given that I've heard this so many times. It would be nice to see some more people demonstrate on camera. There are several related videos to the above link which all show some interesting perspectives on this underappreciated form.

Friday, September 19, 2008


  • Next week is Welcome Week at Ohio State, which means that campus is about to be infiltrated by thousands of lost freshmen, looking for something to do with their lives beyond beer pong and studying. Hopefully, that's where we come in. We are doing several events over the next week, handing out hundreds of fliers and having an "open house" demo class on Thursday to encourage new students to join.
  • BTSD is now Twittering! We've been using Twitter this month as an experiment, and it is starting to gain acceptance. As fall quarter begins, I'll be encouraging more students to sign up for the service.
  • CTSDA has moved to it's new location in Pataskala, Ohio at the YMCA. We've successfully taught 2 weeks of classes, and our youth and adult programs are both starting very well. Hopefully as more people notice our presence and word of mouth spreads, we will grow beyond our wildest dreams! :)
  • I have 1 student up for Cho Dan, and another for E Dan in October, and they are doing very well preparing for the exam. They've gotten some good feedback and are making excellent progress.
  • We've created a library for BTSD students, consisting of all of the WTSDA books and journals, as well as several donated titles, DVDs and Videos. Already, we have a few students who have taken advantage of this service. I'm also making an Amazon wishlist for the library. Feel free to donate to it ;)

All of this in the last month, so I hope you can understand why I haven't had much time to blog! As I get into the groove with my teaching schedule, I have a few topics brewing that I want to share.

Youtube Roundup: Week 1.

I've decided to add a new feature to my site. I've found some excellent stuff on YouTube over last 2 years, and I'd like to share some of the more interesting things I've come across this week. That's right, I'm sifting through all the poop on youtube to bring you the pearls. You're welcome. :)

Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming lectures on Taiji (3 part series)

Very interesting insights into soft, hard, soft/hard styles. As you may know, Dr. Yang originally was an electrical engineer who worked for TI in the 1980s. I've always like his circuit analogies for Taiji, and this lecture using Ohm's law is very similar, and good for bridging that East/West confusion.

Bit Cha Ki Demo

Great use of Bit Cha Ki. It's an undervalued kick, and I really wish I could understand what he was saying about it.

Tae Gi Hyul by Master D. Segarra

Tae Gi Hyul, Version 1
Tae Gi Hyul, Version 2

This is Master Dan Segarra of the Warrior Scholar Academy demonstrating the "Big Earth Hole" form. Master Segarra was nice enough to dust off some old videos and convert them to digital and upload for us. I've never seen this form, but it's very cool to see an old piece of MDK history. You'll have to ask him if you want the details...

That's all for this week. I haven't had too much free time for browsing, but I'll have some time to waste next week! :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

here come the new kids!

Fall quarter at Ohio State is our biggest recruitment period. A few thousand new undergrads descend on campus and are essentially forced to attend orientation programming that we participate in as a club.

The last few years, I've started to notice that the students don't get all of my obscure references and that there is a bit of a disconnect as I become more of an "adult" in their eyes rather than a fellow student. As an aside, let me just say that it is perfectly acceptable for me to notice this. Any student unfortunate enough to make this observation in public is volunteering for "demo dummy duty."

I noticed that this year's crop of frosh will have been born in 1990, give or take. As a child of the 70s, this gives me some pause. The kids in my class are potentially some of the first results of my cohort's lackluster sex ed program.

I first noticed last year that the kids in class had different frames of reference because some of them had never seen the Karate Kid! This movie probably defined the martial arts to a large majority of my generation, and many of my generation probably consider Pat Morita to be their sensei.

Imagine a whole group of kids who may not instantly understand the concept of wax removal or addition, or even a crane kick. What movie will I need to watch to understand their frames of reference? Surf Ninjas? I think not!

Anyhoo, now that you're depressed as well, I present the Beloit Class of 2012 Mindset. In pasty years, I've thought the list was more interesting. Whoever does this at Beloit must be have reaching a little, or was too ashamed to admit their knowledge of some of the uglier parts of 1990.