Saturday the 4th of February marked the first Funakoshi Karate International South Africa beach training session for the year, and as it turned out, we got a lucky break in that the gale force wind that had been pumping through Gordon’s Bay for the last couple of days, and indeed, the entire morning of the beach training day, all of a sudden halted completely, leaving a breathless, sunny and hot afternoon, the perfect conditions for the 30 or so karateka that descended upon Gordon’s Bay main beach in front of Sunset Spur to partake in a special hour long beach training session.
The afternoon kicked off with a long set of basics, done in a big circle, before moving on to some fitness training in the form of various running styles between two laid out lines. Some kihon was done, as well as fun group exercises to improve explosive power, before finishing off with a kicking session designed to ensure that by the end of a sweaty afternoon, everyone would have been sufficiently cooled down by the raining sea water and mud!
(Needless to say, plenty of gi washing would have to follow)
After the final bow was done and the karateka dispersed, a group of the senior members then decided to take further advantage of the great weather, not by doing more training, no, but rather by grabbing a refreshing round of beer at the conveniently close by Spur.
Ah, life in sunny old South Africa truly is a wonderful thing, isn’t it? :)
Sensei Birgit’s son Wickus Smit went ahead and compiled the photos of the session into this fun little video, which is available on Facebook in case you’re interested in seeing what we got up to, and as always, if you’re keen on finding out more about what we do or perhaps even signing up, feel free to contact Sensei Birgit Smit at email@example.com.
Last Wednesday saw me make my return to Funakoshi karate, for my first training session of 2012, after having enjoyed a nice month and bit holiday break from all the punching, kicking and shifting around. The break had been good, but I could feel it was definitely time to come back and get my knuckles dirty.
Unfortunately for me though, I couldn’t have picked a worse night to start up again.
With the Western Cape trapped in the burning clutches of an extreme heat wave the past week, the little dojo was like a mini furnace, and even the slightest of exertion earned you a soggy, clinging dogi as you battled to keep the sweat out of your eyes and hopefully off of the floor.
It was pretty damaging and exhausting, and it has to be said, the karate on the night wasn’t exactly pretty. Still, at least I went, so that has to count for something! :P
Mind you, it’s not like I went back completely unprepared. As a lead up, I have been doing my early morning jog/walks for the last while, and thanks to my newly discovered SmartTraining pedometer app on my Samsung Galaxy Ace smartphone, these sessions have turned into a daily mission of trying to beat the record of the day before!
An added bonus is the addition of Chantelle and Jessica on some of these morning excursions, with Chantelle finally seeing the light of my madness and venturing out into the early morning sunlight, despite the fact that she’s not exactly the world’s best morning person! (Can you say Grumpysaurus? :P)
Jessica on the other hand sits quite happy and entertained in her pram, legs kicking out with each and every step, so no problem on that front thank goodness!
Then of course there are my renewed lunch time elliptical trainer sessions at the gym on the days that I’m in at the Westlake office, but of course that is now only three times a week, so I’m cheating myself out of two days’ worth of exercise sessions!
And to be honest I need every session I can get if I want to make good on this year’s resolution to try and fight back against my now rather weighty problem…
Although you wouldn’t say it by the look of me, I do actually do a fair bit of exercise and training. Because I’m loathe to spend a lot of money on training aids, I was looking for a low cost or free pedometer for my Samsung Galaxy Ace Android smartphone when I came across the SmartTraining App by Japanese developer awwa.
It is a free, simple to use pedometer app that makes use of both the accelerometer sensor and the GPS capabilities of your phone to keep track of the duration of your training, the number of steps taken (configurable stride length), the distance travelled (for accuracy, ensure you have a GPS lock, indicated by the satellite icon with a green tick in the top bar next to the exercise type icon), the number of calories burned (configurable weight and exercise type), as well as the average speed travelled.
Your sessions are saved in a list which you can revisit to compare, you can graph each trip as well as view the map courtesy of Google Maps functionality.
There are a fair bit of configurable settings you can play around with, as well as the ability to export your data to a number of sources.
After using it for a number of weeks now, I have to admit that I find it quite a useful application for tracking my progress, and the fact that it is such an easy to use application is a definite plus.
Whilst there are one are two little rough spots which I would have preferred to be more polished in design and interface, overall this app works really well and does exactly what it says it does, making it well worth the effort of downloading and giving a spin if you are in the market for a free pedometer app.
As per usual, to install simply search for “SmartTraining” in the Android Marketplace, and follow the steps from there! :)
Related link: https://market.android.com/details?id=com.awwa
Right, time to get back into the faithful old training regime, now that Spring seems to be finally creeping up on us, and all the Winter chest pains, bugs and coughs appear to have finally deserted me.
The karateka have returned from the very successful gushku in Germany, meaning that karate training is now back on track for every Monday and Wednesday evening (though attendance from my part is always a 50/50 – if Chantelle is working a late then I’m needed for Daddy duty, no argument there!).
I’ve started my weekly early morning jogs/walks again, now that it isn’t so cold any more, and for a change I can actually convince my body to get out of bed at 05:20! (On that topic, I rather impressed myself, having been able to pick up right where I left off on my first outing, resulting in a pretty chuffed Craig on his sweaty return.)
Lunch time gym activity is also back on track, now with every 20 minute elliptical trainer session being complemented by a quick huff with some fixed weights before I have to hit the showers and make it back to the office for more quality time behind the keyboard.
Lastly, the better weather does of course signal an increase in weekend pram strolls with Jessica, and now that she is a little older I can venture much further from home – she seems to enjoy them as she sleeps for the most part, while I basically get a whole lot of extra training while taking in some pretty scenic views, which seems like a good deal to me! :)
All this said though, the last Spring/Summer/Autumn training regime resulted in exactly no change in my waistline (though my fitness level definitely increased) which was of course pretty disheartening. This time around though, I do have more hope for this run, now that Chantelle and I have agreed upon and implemented a good eating plan that seeks to team up the right food types with stricter portion control. So far it has worked pretty well for Chantelle who has started dropping some kilos, so hopefully it will do something for me, especially in combination with my training regime.
Oh well, I’ll let you know come January I suppose! ;)
Friday 11 February saw the perfect way to de-stress after a long week of work, with a Bikini Beach training session to kick off the weekend.
As it turned out, the wind that had plagued Gordon’s Bay during the week had dissipated, leaving only glorious sunshine and white sand to greet the eager karateka as they hit the beach. Under sensei Birgitt everyone was soon going through their paces, mixing sweat and sand under the watchful eyes of parents and passers-by who had stopped to take in the spectacle of white dogi-clad kids and adults taking over Gordon’s Bay’s premier stretch of beach.
Of course, for the adults it was more a case of keeping a watchful eye on the kids and making sure they all more or less stuck to the plan, but in the end it was a lot of fun for everyone involved, and as a bonus the dojo got some pretty nice pictures to use for its website.
To view the full set of photos coming out of the day, hit the gallery here: http://www.funakoshikarate.co.za/bikini-beach-training.
Man, I’m really sad to have missed this, thanks to me not being able to be back in GB in time for the event after work.
Last Friday saw the official final training session of 2010 for the junior karateka at the Gordon’s Bay Funakoshi dojo, as they break up for the holiday period.
(Though the adult classes continue on a Monday and Wednesday evening of course!)
To change things up and end off on a bang, Sensei Birgitt decided to do something different for a change – an outdoors training session!
And where better to train outdoors in Gordon’s Bay than on our beautiful, pristine main beach?
Needless to say, it looks like it was loads of fun and a great way to close off the official 2010 Funakoshi calendar year for all the junior karateka! Once again, good work Gordon’s Bay Dojo! :)
To get more of a feel for how this final training session went down, check out the gallery!
Although the class was fairly well attended, it was disappointing to see how many of the senior belts didn’t attend this special fighting class, but nevertheless, this would prove to be their loss as the class was as exciting and as insightful as you could possibly have hoped for.
Building on sensei Kai’s previous comments about tension and relaxation and how important it is to learn when to be relaxed and when to tense and explode outwards, we ran through a number of partner drills, before moving on to the main crux for the morning’s training session – learning how to destroy your opponent’s technique either by destroying the technique itself, or by destroying your opponent’s distance.
Training was intense and the German sensei continued to drill home the point of how one’s karate needs to be effective and thus must be trained properly – in other words with real force, both from the attacking and defending partners.
As for myself, I learned first hand what a sledgehammer of a punch sensei Marius possesses, as he strove to impart upon us the importance of keeping one’s back heel down when taking a punch. (A point. With my back heel firmly planted, the sensei couldn’t move me with his punch. With the heel raised however, he managed to push my 130kg frame back a good metre and a half with a single punch!)
By the end of the session, there were probably a lot of bruisings and swollen limbs going on, but the spirit was high and the lesson ended with the fighting level of everyone who attended now just that one notch higher.
In other words, for those karateka who chose to skip sensei Kai’s class, you definitely missed out on an golden opportunity to improve your skills. Never fear though, there is still one final kumite session to look forward to, and I can ensure you that this one will be even tougher than the last!
So as all we South Africans know, Tuesday was a grand old public holiday, Freedom Day if you’re counting. Now judging by the traffic pattern on Monday, it’s pretty clear that a lot of my fellow Capetonians decided to take Monday off and enjoy an extended long weekend – something I with my 0.25 days of available leave was unfortunately not able to emulate.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good day off. Apart from the usual time wasters like household chores that included doing the washing and cleaning the dishes, I still found the time to sink a lot of web development across my CodeUnit and Funakoshi sites in, as well as polish off all the remaining episodes of Batman: Brave and the Bold that I now own on DVD. Oh, and considering that I had Monday evening to play Red Faction: Guerilla all the way through to 00:30, I really can’t complain about not being entertained!
Of course, with Tuesday being such a particularly beautiful day, it would have been an absolute crime not to enjoy the outdoors, fresh air and sunshine a bit, and this then explains why at midday I found myself with hat on head, decked out in walking shoes, and happily trotting along the road with Chantelle up past Bikini Beach and the Naval College, down to the end of Gordon’s Bay Main Beach and then finally back up to the guest house again.
Seeing as Chantelle is currently in the whole detox, eat healthy and exercise more frame of mind (spurred on by the great success in this field that Retha is currently enjoying), it seems like this will be the order of the day for quite some time yet, something I quite look forward to (as you should know by now) as it is always good to get that little bit of extra exercise in! ;)
However, such a beautiful day couldn’t be satisfied with just a hour-long walk and so we decided to extend our outdoor session by going through to Bertie’s Mooring where we joined all the other patrons out on the shaded walkway next to all the fancy sailboats in the harbour and enjoyed a delightfully relaxed and slow-paced luncheon which saw Chantelle enjoy a healthy grilled fish with salad while I stuck to my guns and had the always tasty deep fried hake with chips. (But did select the much more calorie light Castle Lite as my tipple of choice for the day – if only to be able to sing Ice Ice Baby and not look like an idiot!)
And that pretty much summed up my Tuesday public holiday, though I must still mention one more little, teensy weensy detail – all of this was done whilst in absolute agony!!
My thighs were burning, my joints were stiff, my shoulders and arms were sore! Hell, I was like an old man who managed to get his shoelaces caught up in the wheel of a bus and who was then dragged for the next kilometer or two down the road!
The reason for my particular discomfort?
An exceptionally enjoyable karate training session on Monday night, marking my return to training following an off period of two weeks (i.e. four sessions) thanks to that stupid bout with flu and a chest cold I previously suffered through!
Although I had started to prepare for my return with some light sessions in the gym, obviously it wasn’t enough because the intensity level at karate in anticipation of Sensei Marius from Germany’s visit later this year and the upcoming grading has definitely been cranked up! It would seem I missed some pretty cool stuff (including the start of weapons training – something I haven’t done since I learned a bit of Chinese Broadsword back when I still did Kung Fu) during the time I was gone!
So in an effort to whip us into a respectable shape physically as well as to prepare us for the upcoming June grading, it looks like we’re going to be in some pain for quite a bit longer – but as always, well, well worth it if you ask me! :)
(Though I do feel a bit sorry for Chantelle who is going to just have to now deal with my moaning and groaning in pain every time I sit down and get up from the couch! :P)
Ugh. Sick. Sick as a dog. I finally went and caught this damn cold that everyone seems to be grabbing hold of here in the Cape on Friday evening, starting off with a gentle rasped throat, and then progressing to a nose flows like a river and headache from Hell on Saturday, moving on to nauseous and sleepy with sniffles and intense joint stiffness and pain (with a cough) on Sunday and then slowly beginning to ebb out with a tight chest and a cough from Hades on Monday. Needless to say, this cough and general lack of strength still hasn’t quite gone away.
Shame, and naturally Chantelle couldn’t exactly not catch it, grabbing it from me basically two days behind, meaning that she’s going through all the nauseating systems in very much the same order as what I experienced it.
Of course, the worse thing about it was that it had to happen over the weekend, meaning that what was a planned good end to a hard week turned out to be more of a mission of torture than anything else. I did however sit out of work on Monday, opting to try and ride things out at home rather than brave the drive through to Tokai and try to make it through a working day without having my brains explode all over my keyboard, but the downside to it all was that I missed what would have been possibly the most interesting (and intense) karate training session I’ve yet to experience since joining with Funakoshi – a two hour kata 4 training bout over Skype with the original founder of the style, Sensei Eddie Ward.
Needless to say, this is the worse part of this whole sickly ordeal if you ask me! :(
Anyway, I guess I’m back in the office and now on the road to recovery (I hope), so just got to get through today, lament not being able to train or go to gym and then get home in order to nurse my poor sick wife.
Hmm… wonder if pancakes will work as a medicinal aid? O.o