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What is this flower? It only blooms at night/dusk and it's growing in my backyard in the Sandhills of North Carolina. Thanks!

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Seminar 2
(Early this morning)

It's midnight and I've been up since 7:50 am yesterday. I'm sleeping at GM's house because it's just easier.
The seminar was nice. Sensei Mike's starting to teach me to spar. We ate donuts and one of the guys here has the most adorable baby ever. I do wish I'd gotten to talk to Sensei Pete more, "If they give it to me, it's mine." He's from Arknasaw.
Thoughts on Khris Allen? Not the most friendly guy but nice. He let me get a few pictures with him, said I have a good straight punch, pinched me when I said Mosquitoes love me, and sat next to me. He also told me to keep training and called me sweetheart but I think he tells a lot of people that. I was so in awe of him and a good part of that is because of my egotistical ex best friend who would probably be in awe of him (if his ego could handle it).
I got a million hugs and, yet again, got used to the smell of cigars. Doc and those damn Cuban cigars.
I chased Drake around the back yard and I ended up on the ground. All but one of them just looked at me, only one asked if I was okay. David kept getting my iPod.
Prof. Tony gave me the biggest, longest hug before they left for the hotel. I love hugs and even I was just like, "When the hell is this going to end?"
One of the Senseis is a lot like me. More of an observer, loves cats, etc. I have no idea what his name is but I met him in Miami. [Edit: His name's Eric]
After the Miami people left, I learned how GM got here and all that, At the moment, I remember it, but it's easy to get all mixed up so I'll just video GM saying it at some point.
For most important pictures! I have a ton more but too many to put on here without a good half hour.

Doc and I.

Khris Allen and I.

Tashi Anthony. He teaches Jujitsu but I'm somewhat close to him.

Sensei Don.

Sensei Eric, Prof. Tony, Tashi, and my "big brother" David, also a Jujitsu sensei.

Sorry about the screwed up angles and small pictures--remind me to upload pictures from my iPod instead.

I literally don't have a quiet day until the Sunday after next. Want to know why?

Monday--dojo and hopefully stealing a good uke to work on demo stuff.

Tuesday-placement test at a college.


Thursday--volunteering and dojo.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday--demo and my 18th birthday on that Sunday.

I have three different ukes, which bothers me. I haven't worked with any of them as my uke much, although David will make me look amazing even if I screw up. We did a small run through of my demo piece and that of one of the Jujitsu students so I have to memorize the techniques and the subtle signs for the attacks. The most important thing is that I keep going, of course. Terri said my flow was really good and it would have made an amazing demo piece if it had been real. We worked on it all for an hour, discussing which side is best for what attack, and working on the techniques. My main worry is iriminage, which I suck 80% of the time at.

I think about this week and I'll probably end up in the office a few days because being stressed causes me to be more sensitive to a lot of things, mainly people's tones when they talk, and that's usually the only symptom of my migraines. It could also mean more auras and increased anxiety. I learned my lesson the hard way: never keep me up for 24 hours because the anxiety will attack. I'm not trying to be negative, I just know my body.


Seminar 1

There's something about dojo people, specify from Miami, that make me feel like I'm completely at home. I don't know what it is but I could probably hug Doc and Prof. Tony twenty times and still get that feeling.


Doesn't he just look like he's up to something? He probably was. To the rest of the world, he's Doctor Chenique or Professor Chenique. He's honestly one of the sweetest people you'll ever meet.

The guy on the left is Professor Tony. Again, big old sweetie pie. Encouraged me a lot in Miami. The other guy is Doc's son; he's a sweet kid (he turns 15 soon, if you can believe it). It's hard to get bored around the two of them.

I do have more pictures but I'll post them later.

It's funny that I know what I'm good at(martial arts--Terri, working with animals--anyone can see it, and working with little kids--GM accused me of trying to steal his 3 to 5 year old class) but I still don't know what to do with my life. Martial arts is obviously not a viable option even if I did have my blackbelt; you can't make a living off it alone.

Anyway, seminar at ten, getting up at eight.


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Egos and stuff

It's funny. If you looked at me, you'd think I was the last person on earth to do any sort of martial art--I weigh 200 pounds, have very little muscle, and wear glasses. I look like a bookworm and I am--but only in the sense of reading. If you asked me about my martial art, I'll talk your ear off and you'd be smart to never do so again unless you want to hear Japanese words and things I need to work on--sometimes it's something in whole or sometimes it's the technical aspect like my footwork or how close/far away I need to be/am or sometimes I just talk about my dojo family in general. I like talking to new students, people who do different arts, or people who are just interested in it; it helps keep my definitions basic and forces me to go back to basics.

If you get to know me, you learn that my attention span is that of a toddler's but things tend to click a lot more when I'm laughing and having fun. For example: I was zoning in and out and Sensei Mike was giving me that look like, "C'mon, Kate." I got antsy so I started hopping around on one foot. Sensei Mike then attacked me like that and we worked on different things to do, changing it to a hand behind my back instead. I was laughing and everything flowed a lot better. From ikkyu, I "fished" his wrist out and I didn't fuck it up for a while. Sensei Mike was suspicious (as he always is when I go from spaz to great) and told me that I'm just playing him. He also said something about next week and that scares me.

I'm not one of those people with a huge ego that likes to be noticed. I usually avoid being noticed in most cases, mainly in school. Ego and I usually don't have issues either. At the dojo, I like to be noticed. I like being the center of attention.

I'm a different person around the dojo. I do things without needing to be asked when it comes to dojo supplies. I willingly clean. I love hugs and being in the presence of my "brothers." Forget jeans, the super tied gi pants are my most comfortable clothing item. I take pictures and love helping with the little kid class. I'm always laughing or teasing someone.

I literally live in sweatpants, gi pants, and flipflops. I see possible techniques and locks in almost everything when it comes to people interaction.

Lately, there's been a jealousy issue between me and a new yellow belt that I'm pretty sure is one sided. She's a year younger and a dancer so she has that automatic grace the rest of us struggle with. She's been getting constant praise and it hurts my ego. I used to be the one getting called "the next Terri" but I've heard people call her that and, wholly hell, it fucking hurts. Terri told me today that she lets everyone push her while I stop them and that's a big part of it.

Terri also pointed out that I'll probably outlast most of those there, the girl included. I also have deep bonds with the people there and I very much consider it to be my place. The girl hasn't really developed those bonds yet and she may never.

I know martial arts was what I'm meant to do, just like how I'm meant to work with animals. We just click. There's a lot I need to work on but that's always going to be there, just like my damn tendinitis.

One handed shihonage! Big brother David is my uke here.

That was for my orange belt. I test for my next rank in June or July. The dojo's about 101 degrees there then--with air conditioning.

Conditioning tomorrow! Sheila asked if I'd be there, which means she cares and I have to go.


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Mat burns hurt like hell. An Aikidioist's feet should be on the ground 99.99 percent of the time and I was dragging my foot on the mat when it happened yesterday.

GM, Sensei Steve, and Tashi Anthony are leaving for Miami at 6:30 tomorrow night. I've been asked to be one of the four teaching his 3 to 5 year old Jujitsu kids Monday night. I'll be the only Aikidoist and the lowest rank among both arts; Casey's like two above me then there's a sandpie I've never heard of and a purple belt. Being asked to help teach is a big thing, even if you're just helping teach.

I was so off yesterday it was ridicules. My formerly amazingly smooth and pretty tenkans had gone to shit and I couldn't focus for anything. I first got bronchitis last week and I skipped the dojo all week because of how miserable it was making me. Sensei Mike said, "I keep telling you guys it's not just physical." because I hadn't looked over any of the katas on my iPod or go over it mentally. I know what I'll be doing this weekend--and Thursday; I have an English project due Friday I need to finish and I need to be careful about not overtraining.

I went over to the Subway a few doors down around five because mom dropped me off early to help with Planned Parenthood. I came back and hung out with Casey before her class. She's only a year older than me and I'm gradually starting to get to know her better, which is nice. There's literally three females you see in my art on a semi-regular bases, me included, and Casey's one of the only two I can talk martial arts with ( the other is nondedicated, a beginner, and we have to beg her to clean after two hour long class). Casey does Jujitsu but there's a lot of similarities, enough that an Aikidoist will recognize the majority of what they're doing. Terri, the girl I just mentioned, and I are the only females in our art and Teri's usually busy being an ER nurse. She was attacking me right before I entered the mat, which was funny.

Pretty sure I have a ton of bruises from class tonight but my skin's grown tougher so maybe not.


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(no subject)
I watched over the testing video the amazing Terri recorded yesterday with my parents. It cut off in the middle of my randori and doesn't show any of the comments at the end of testing but that's fine. I meant to use the non-occupied TV the few times it was to go over and make notes about what I need to work on (which is a shitload) but I got lazy and I haven't done my 75 crunches for today either. I wanted to go outside and train but I need to be careful about over-training. 

Something happened to one of the scrawny Aikido students during school Friday. He goes to my school and I just happened to see him going into the office. He had a big purple and red looking bruise forming on his head. My overprotective instinct came out and I really wanted to go give the kid who did it a piece of my mind. The best I can do is text GM or tell him on Monday and see what can be done; back in Miami, he once had one of his senior students kick the ass of a bully that was picking on one of his younger, not as strong students. Marc would be the only one able to do that--out of my high school, he's the highest ranking of the four of us.

That'd be Terri right there--and hopefully me in a year or so.

Tomorrow I'm dragging my mom to Dollar Tree for stuff to organize my Aikido book. I need something to do in Homeroom on Monday--they picked the one weekend I don't have homework.



I got my hair cut earlier. It used to be long and past my back--which would be fine if it was straight but I'm blessed with naturally curly and wavy hair that has a mind of its own.

Anyway, the dojo was pretty empty by the time class came. I played a lot with some of my favorite little kids--mainly the one who's four and will still play with me not roughly--until Jujitsu started and I got changed partly (in my gi pants) because it was hot in there. I opened the back door for more air, joked around with Casey and Jamie (two Jujitsu students) before their class, wrapped my wrist (lucky me, I have tendinitis in both but mainly my right wrist), and beat up Bob (the training dummy) with a Jo for all of two minutes because of my shitty wrists (and yet I could write continually for almost an hour at school).

Class itself was empty. It was just Sensei Mark and I and we worked on that Jo kata. I have it on video but you'll never see me post them here unless it's at a demo. Joe joined in soon after. We're still a relatively new system so there are changes still being made to katas--usually simple stuff like basic footwork. Sometimes little changes will turn into big changes and a whole new kata will come out of it. Anyway, the kata confused the shit out of me and we had to go over parts over and over. I won't need it until my sixth kyu, if I reach it here, but soaking up as much as possible--mainly katas--is important to me so I don't forget my original Aikido roots. During the kata, when you ski (misspelled), your back right foot needs to come directly behind your left one but not completely on the ground, just the toes so you still have that balance.

It's that way in that kata but Happo No Undo with a Jo has it just a regular right step. I fucked that kata up too but not nearly as bad; I just got turned around.

The loose definition is "eight directions" only you add in attacks--shomenunci, yokomenuchi, ski, and then a block; non-Jo the last attack is a kick. Basically: You start off in one direction, you bow, you begin. Shomo, yoko, ski, then kick or block. Turn your hips and do the same to the back. You go to the foot you're not using and step left non-Jo, right Jo, turn your hips, repeat the cycle. Then it's the angles. You step with the opposite foot to the closest courner, repeat the attacks, turn your hips, do the same thing. After you cover four angles and four basic directions, you tenkan and do the same on the opposite side. I think of it as a box, pretty much. I doubt that made much sense but I'll post a demo of it when I can. There's the sixteen direction one too but I haven't worked on it since I was a white belt with another white belt I haven't seen in forever.

We did the bokken form of it too but we didn't finish it. I finally had a chance to use my bokken!

Mom ordered me what may be a Bo instead of a Jo due to GM's orders. He told me to get used to using a long one. I trust GM so I'm not worried about it; he knows what he's doing. It'll be a while before I get it; Sheila won't order more for a while, probably until she gets more orders.

Afterwards, we cleaned up and both Rich and Joe spilled water on accident. It was off to McDonald's with Rich and his son Nick, along with Terri. Terri only went to class because of me; isn't that sweet?

It looks like Aikido won't be represented well at the belt ceremony; no Terri, Sensei Mike, Sensei Mark, and that's half our higher ranks that are there regularly or semish. Oh well.

Anyway, sleep!

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Training Journal

I've decided to make this a training journal now. Non-related entries will be edited and put on YWS.

I'm the last person you'd expect you be a martial artist. I'm not skinny at 203 pounds and what little muscle I had in my arms has vanished. Once you got to know me, you'd learn that my life is all about it.

I used to be an anxiety-filled girl who genuinely hated people. The most you'd hear me talk was during my stress filled senior lead volunteer position at a no-kill animal shelter or when I was hanging out with my best friend of ten years. I will credit the shelter with forcing me out of my shell and learning how to talk to people but it made me bitter with how many idiots I dealt with on a regular bases.

My dojo has been the most positive places for me. Screwing up is not a license to be yelled at--instead, it's means for being helped and given advice. You get greeted by friendly faces if you're new to the dojo or been there forever. Give up that big ego at the door--you won't last long around here; not that we'll beat you or anything, it's just that we're not about that and you'll soon see that we're not just going to fight you. If you need help with something basic and non-style related, feel free to ask another instructor of another art to help you, especially if you're an Aikidoia and you ask one of the Jujistu instructors. Injuries are going to happen so make sure you tell your teachers-and everyone else in your class.

I'm this different person at the dojo. I help and answer questions, I joke around, I give and get hugs, sometimes I take pictures, I encourage (especially the new students) and tease the older ones, I lead warm-ups and teach new people katas on occasion, I take control of managing to make sure everything's clean on Tuesdays and Thursdays if no one else does, and so on.

Right now, my main issues are that my control has gotten back to sucking horribly and my left leg backward rolls are shit. The first problem could be that I may be going too fast or it means I haven't been hitting our resident training dummy Bob enough; either way, I'm going to work on things slower during class--the techniques--and be extra careful. The second problem is due partly to my own fear and another due to not having the muscle strength; hello 75 pushups a day.

We bought this for my mentor, an amazing woman named Terri, who turned 41 a few weeks ago. Yes, we celebrated at McDonald's.

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I'm so fucking tired. I've had migraines/headaches literally all week, both of my wrists have now decided that I'm public enemy number one, and the school stress alone is enough to make me want to break. My parents and I got into a fight, one of which was partly my fault, so I walked down to my best friend's house in flipflops and workout clothes despite her not being home. My mom followed me part of the way, probably because it was cold and she's paranoid, until I convinced her to just let me walk.

I'm at Erin's house now and her parents are gone, so is she and her sister. We celebrate 10 years of friendship on the 13th so that may explain why her parents trust me in their house alone and my nickname "the other one."

I test on Thursday. I'm seriously debating ditching school because we'll be in the computer lab for one of my classes to avoid the migraine headache that is almost guaranteed to attack.


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It's six am and I'm thinking about Spencer. I was thinking about being in Guidance for two hours having a breakdown with two of the people he's closest with as witnesses. Of course, his best friend told him--I wouldn't entirely be surprised if said best friend had started the rumor.

I looked at his profile then on Facebook. His "likes" include Brazilian Jujitsu and Muy Thai. It made me laugh. How the hell could I have fallen for someone who likes either one, much less both? I mean no offense but ego, from what the black belts have told me, is prominent in both arts and it's the exact opposite of the arts at my dojo.

You know he has three first names as his first, middle, and last name?

I thought about someone telling him about my issues with the jackasses who teased me, aka his friends, and their version of what happend. I thought about how he would have stood up for me if we had still been friends.

I see his sister at lunch sometimes. She hasn't changed much since I last saw her a year ago. I know she doesn't remember me and that's more than fine with me.

No one mentions him to me anymore. He was the last one of the guys I was really close to.

I always looked up to him. Even now, my heart either beats wildly or with pain when I think of him. I've come to realize a part of me will always crave his approval but that I don't need it and that I'm strong enough to fight my battles without him.

I'm always going to be the girl that stays up reading on a lazy weekend night but I'm not weak. Not in the least.


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