Hello, very interested reader!

My name is Jared Windover, and I’m currently training in Goju Ryu Karate, and as a part of my black belt preparation I’ll be maintaining this blog to document my progress. I suppose we’ll begin with some more background:

  • 19 years old
  • Live just south of Cambridge, Ontario
  • Studying Mathematics at the University of Waterloo
  • Currently on a Co-op term, working at the IESO in mississauga
  • Karate-ka (practicioners of karate) at Black Belt Schools in Cambridge under Sensei Paul Simoes

I began training in Kempo style Karate when I was 9, at Dynamic Arts in Cambridge under Sensei Allan Lachapelle. I trained there for 6 years achieving a black belt in Kempo Karate, and a black belt in Nunchaku-do. For several reasons I stopped training, and only practiced independently up until May of this year when I sought out a school to resume training at. I contacted Black Belt Schools to try out a class, arrived, and found that several of the students and parents looked very familiar. It turned out that when Sensei Allan stopped teaching, after several instructors, Sensei Paul took on Dynamic Arts, changed the name and moved the location, and by pure chance I arrived back where I’d started. Well, not quite. I actually arrived several pegs below where I’d left. I was the only one there for the adult class that night, so Sensei Paul began taking me through a warm up. I got about 15 minutes in before I ran to the bathroom to puke. I still maintain it was because of the burger I ate earlier… But alas, I went home, somewhat defeated, with the goal of coming back to try a second class and see if I could maintain my constitution. This I did, and after speaking to several of the parents who knew me from Dynamic Arts, Sensei Paul offered to give me a larger role in the club, learning to teach the children’s classes as well as training in my own classes. Thus began the path I am currently on.

Black Belt schools has 4 terms per year, with a belt grading after each of them. The next term will be ending in December with the grading happening in either December or early January. I have from this point until then to prepare for my black belt grading. For those of you unfamiliar with Karate, when you begin training you receive a white belt. As you progress you begin getting coloured belts, sometimes with striped gradations in between solid coloured belts, collectively called Kyu belts. This progresses to either a brown belt or junior black belt or black belt candidate belt, or through some combination of those. At this point (essentially the point I’m at) the student has a period (3 months, 6 months, a year, sometimes more) to prepare for their black belt grading. Kyu belt gradings are usually a test of technique and skills appropriate for that belt level, possibly with a small physical component. Black belt gradings are a punishment. You have managed to get to a high enough level of technique and ability that you are now ready to begin seriously training, and that was very bad of you, and if we have anything to say about it, you won’t make that mistake again. You see, a black belt grading is for most people the most physically demanding thing they will ever do. To this date my grading at Dynamic Arts holds that title. It was 5 hours of repeating techniques at the highest level of your ability, interspersed with physical requirements (x number of push ups in 30 seconds, situps in 30 seconds, etc) finishing by having us karate-ka, used to point sparring with light contact, going full contact with Sensei Allan’s kickboxers. It was hell.

And I’m getting ready to do it again.

The requirements for my preparatory period are as follows:

  1. Maintain a weekly blog (this)
  2. 100 3 minute rounds of sparring
  3. 1000 rounds of a single kata (I’ve chosen Seipai)
  4. 10 000 Push ups
  5. 10 000 Sit ups
  6. 100 km jogging
  7. 20 minutes of meditation per day
  8. 500 acts of kindness
  9. Identify and interview a “living hero”
  10. Write a 1000 word essay entitled “What Karate Means to Me”
  11. Make and submit a training video to Hyper Martial Arts
  12. Wild Card

That wild card makes me nervous. It’s an element that my Sensei may add in at any time and it can be anything at all.

So, daily, I have:

  1. 140 Push ups
  2. 140 Sit ups
  3. 14 rounds of Seipai
  4. 20 minutes of meditation
  5. 10 acts of kindness

and weekly, I have:

  1. 10 km jogging
  2. 10 rounds of sparring
  3. update blog

which while continuing my normal training (at least 2 nights per week, and saturdays) along with working an hour from where I live is going to add up to a somewhat busy schedule.

Anyways, for this week (Oct 12th- Oct 16th):

Wednesday:

  • Received grading requirements

Thursday:

  • 140 Push ups
  • 140 Sit ups
  • 14 rounds of Sei Pai
  • 6 rounds of sparring
  • 20 minutes meditation (10 in the morning, 10 at night)

Friday:

  • 140 Push ups
  • 140 Sit ups
  • 14 rounds of Sei pai
  • 20 minutes meditation (10 in the morning, 10 at night)

Saturday:

  • Saturday I made the mistake of thinking I could fit having a life in, and did only 35 Push ups while in class
  • 4 rounds of sparring
  • 10 minutes meditation (morning)

Sunday:

Sunday I paid the price for my mistake, as I had to catch up…

  • 245 Push ups
  • 280 Sit ups
  • 28 rounds of Seipai
  • 10 minutes meditation (night)
  • 10 km jogging

So for Week 1 I did 560 Push ups, 560 Sit ups, 56 rounds of Seipai, 60 minutes of meditation (low by 20 minutes which I’ll hopefully catch up today), and 10 km jogging. I also updated my blog once… or will have once this is posted.

I need to start looking for acts of kindness in my day, as I’m down 50 now (not a great way to start). As well I need to start my hunt for a hero, start composing my essay and begin training the different tricks at Hyper Martial Arts. Considering my biggest trick is a butterfly 540, I’ve got some work to do there as well.

Until next week, cheers!

P.S. my daily and weekly numbers are inflated as I’d like to do the same number of things per day, have nice numbers, and I’m content doing more than is required. It’s not just bad math. Really. It’s not.

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