My stories as I remember them during my journey in the Martial Arts

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Marching On To a New Level

The journey to another level will never be easy. Progress is always full of challenge. Creating success happens when challenges are worked through, around, over, or chipped away at until resolved. I am realizing this again as I proceed forward in my journey to 3rd Degree Black Belt. I have never been a “natural” talent. My success has come from repetitive practice. Every step forward for me has meant repeating over and over again each Kata. I sometimes have to repeat a single move over and over and over until I have it down. I will practice the same sparring combinations for hours on end. I still, after twenty-seven years in the Martial Arts, practice basics in repetition several times a week. The hours of practice are what I need to do to overcome my challenge of lacking a talent in easily picking up new material.

Now here I am again learning something new. I have never worked with nunchucks. I am now learning two nunchuck Katas. The weapon handling for this new weapon is the most difficult part of the new Katas for me. I have gone back, again, to my roots of repetitive practice. The goal is to have all the weapon handling needed for the two Katas down in two weeks, and perfected in one month. So far I am ahead of schedule for this goal.

The lesson I am once again being reminded of is: the Journey is full of hard work. I have never been able to easily learn new material. Most people who see me now do not suspect I have no natural talent. Mr. Rick Iannuzzo knows this. He has trained or watched my training for the past twenty-seven years. What I have done is create my talent. I created it by practice, practice, and more practice. Never giving up is another thing that has made my success a reality. I actually failed my first Black Belt test. I worked hard and made it on the second try. I also failed one attempt at 2nd Degree. I never gave up though. I picked up where I left off and made it, although my second attempt at 2nd Degree Black Belt took a few years since that is also the same time I left Lavallee’s to train with my friend Mr. Iannuzzo. Sticking to a goal is what gets you there.

Also since picking up formal training again in 2007 I have had to learn an entirely revamped system. While Mr. Iannuzzo has left much of his original material, he has also added many new things. Almost all of the “old” Lavallee’s Kyu rank Katas have been removed from the system and replaced by Mr. I’s original Universal Katas. Mr. I has kept the Kenpo two man form. These new Katas were created and developed by Mr. Rick Iannuzzo and his late brother Jeff. Even the beginner Katas are dynamic and fun to perform. One Kata left in the system is Ki Chung which came from Ernie Reyes Jr. & Sr. If you are now in the Lavallee’s system you might still see the Iannuzzo brothers’ influence. The three kick combos, the Kumite forms and much more reflect their influence and creativity. I still practice the “old” Katas side by side with what I call the “new generation” Katas. I have managed to remember the old Katas through repetition. The advantage of creating my own talent through practice is in the repetition. I have repeated these Katas so much over time I will probably never forget how to do them. I am now doing the same with the new generation Katas.The real story here is how a person, like me, with only a modicum of athletic talent has made it to beyond even Black Belt. If I can do this anyone can. That is why I encourage everyone to consider getting involved in a Martial Art. Striving to become your best will enrich your life. Once you realize you can reach Black Belt you begin to realize that nothing can stand in your way. Regardless of age or athletic talent anyone can reach Black Belt as long they are dedicated, motivated, and on a quest to be your best.

Create your own personal Health Care Reform - move more.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The TRANSformation Coach Challenge

Recently I engaged in a first of its kind ever challenge. I ended up winning the men’s division of the challenge. Master Hung Tran the TRANSformation Coach started a Face Book Page and a 90 day fitness challenge. In the final part of the challenge we had to write an essay/summation of how we where Transformed during process. Here is my Essay. Anyone who wants to stretch and meet a new goal or make a new goal would benefit from Master Tran’s advice. Go to the TRANSformation Coach Facebook page and take on his challenge. You don’t have to be a Martial Artist to take the challenge. Of course I recommend the Martial Arts for everybody. Create your own personal Health Care Reform, move more.

Master Tran:

First I want to thank you, Master Tran for providing the TRANSformation fan page. This has been a journey and an experience that has surely been a privilege to be a part of. I need no other reward than this privilege.

Tammy Ferguson invited me to join the Fan Page when it began in January and I am grateful for that. I actually only know Tammy through FB. I added her as a friend because she was on the Lavallee’s Alumni Group on Face Book. I have learned through this journey that she has courage and an indomitable spirit. Tammy’s spirit is truly an “old school” spirit that emulates a “Black Belt” attitude. Witnessing her fire and desire truly inspired me to regain my own spirit and desire to finally take up the path and goal to my Third Degree Black Belt which is something I have been putting off for sometime now. So here I give a special thanks to Tammy for introducing me to you and your fan page these experiences has truly caused a transformation in me.

My own journey over the past 90 days has actually taken me back in time. I thought about my own personal self development and remembered that I had a vast amount of inspirational material that I had gathered over the past twenty-seven some years in the Martial Arts. I was a staff member at Lavallee’s and had many notes and materials from that time in my life. I was also the first official S.W.A.T. member with the Lavallee’s organization. I have since moved on from my Lavallee’s family like a child who has gone on to grow on their own.

I searched for and found a box I had filed away. In this box were journals of my old workouts, inspirational material, coaching tips from my old instructors, goal setting sheets for Black Belt testing, and much more. I gathered them up read through them and constructed new goals to take me on my new journey to Third Degree Black Belt. Now being 50 years old I knew this would be a challenge but began to realize that I CAN still do this. I want to be truly inspirational to others my age to prove that you are NEVER too old. I also want to honor one of the most inspirational instructors I ever had, Jeff Iannuzzo who tragically passed away in 2007, he was only 39 years old.

In this box, I found the reasons that originally drove me to achieve a Black Belt and beyond. Nothing was concretely written, but there I found documented my thoughts and trials from that time in my life. Now I am on that same journey again towards my next step as a Black Belt. So many things have changed since those days in the eighties. One thing that has not changed is the ongoing journey of life. I have been married, watched my parents grow older, and become a grandparent. I even watched one of my own students proceed on to a 5th Degree Black belt and become my coach now. So here I stood at another launching point for new adventures.

I was also inspired to find new sources of inspiration. So now I am also moving forward. I have been transformed in so many ways over the past ninety days it would take a novel to note it all. What I can say is I have truly gone back to my roots. I realized this most when you commented on one my posts that indicated I have old school training methods. Not only have I gone back to my old training that brought me to Black Belt, I have gone back to the attitudes that got me there too.