June 2008

When You’re Feeling Tired

By Steve Row

Sometimes life seems hard….. Greg walked into the Dojo changing room, put his bag down and sighed.
“You all right Greg?”
“Yeah…. you know some days life just seems harder….”
“Tell me about it.”
“I almost didn’t come tonight, I had a hard day at work, the wife had cooked a great meal for the family, the house was warm and it was raining outside. I didn’t want to come here – but just knew I had to…. The changing rooms are cold and my gi is still damp, I ache from head to toe and just feel very, very weary…”
“No Greg, I didn’t really mean tell me about it, I was just making light conversation….”
Greg laughed for the first time today and threw a playful punch. They both made their way upstairs, giggling, punching and pinching each other like a pair of kids.
After the bow in ceremony, Greg seemed lifeless and listless, he moved with great difficulty, kept yawning and we could see that he was trying hard to concentrate.
“You really don’t look like you’re up for this tonight Greg” said sensei, “what’s up?” “It’s difficult at the moment sensei, I feel so listless, and I feel that I’m just not improving lately.”
“There can be many reasons that you feel listless at the moment Greg, it can depend on your job, home life, diet, boredom factor, amount of sleep and quality of sleep.”

“Yeah, I can think of a few of those that are affecting me at the moment, like trying to fit a quart into a pint pot, I miss meals and rush to get here and then don’t have the energy to give the training the attention that I feel it needs.”
“You should eat a proper breakfast and lunch so that you can just snack before training…”
“I tend to skip breakfast, drink a coffee on the train, eat a sandwich or pie at lunch, nothing before training and then a reheated meal late at night when I get home…”
“Ouch” said sensei, no wonder you feel tired, you couldn’t get it more wrong. Dieticians say that you should eat like a king at breakfast, a prince at lunchtime and a pauper in the evening, it will really help your training and give you far more energy. Also try to organise your time in the most efficient way that you can, but you should find that with better health and more energy it will be easier.”
“All the same sensei, I still don’t feel that I’m improving like the others.”
“But you’re not taking into account the ‘hands of the clock’ syndrome.”
“‘Hands of the clock’ syndrome? What’s that all about?”
“There is a range of time that you don’t notice. For instance, you never see the hands of a clock moving, but they move all the same.”
“In the Martial Arts, your progress is very similar, you don’t always notice the change, but it happens all the same.”
“So how are we supposed to know whether we’ve improved?”
“That’s my job. I determine when and by how much you’ve improved and give you the feedback and grade you accordingly.”
“But what about the fact that I don’t feel like I’ve improved?”
“You have to develop the wisdom to understand that when I’ve taught you a skill, you practice it and when you have a level of mastery it makes you feel you good, I then teach you the next skill and your mind understands it, but the body can’t do it yet and so you feel bad until you have practiced it sufficiently, then you feel good again. In my eyes you are improving steadily and yet your emotions are on a roller coaster. That’s why you need faith in my judgement.
Believe me, if you’re not putting in the effort, I’ll be the first to tell you!”
“I can believe that sensei! So I really need to look at my time management, my diet, and get regular feedback from you?”
“That’s what I’m here for. A good martial artist has to watch their life style, over the years I’ve seen so many people fail because they don’t review it. As you step up your training, you need the right amount of rest, the right nutrition, the right family balance and you’ll find that negative acts like rushed meals and alcohol start to negate the work that you’re doing. Particularly as you get older.”
“I’m not old yet sensei!”
“You’re older than you were, you can see negativity affecting your life where it didn’t before. That’s why it’s important to realise it now. Be pro active rather than reactive and think in front of events so that you’re not controlled by them. If you get this right, you’ll enjoy a happy, healthy lifetime in the Martial Arts.”
“Don’t you think that the regime might be a bit harsh though sensei?”
“It’s hardly an athlete’s regime, just a question of balance and common sense. If you don’t talk to your family and loved ones, then you pay the price. If you don’t eat, drink and rest properly… you pay the price. If you don’t listen to sensei’s sage advice…..”
“I’ll pay the price, I think I get the message…..”
“Thank god for that, I was beginning to think I’d have to write it down in moron for you…”
Everyone laughed and the chant “Greg is a moron” went up as Greg chased the others back down to the changing rooms revitalised, and determined to organise his lifestyle more positively.


Martial Artists: Stay Hydrated!

On the eve of the warm months (in the Northern Hemisphere), all athletes, including martial artists, must be diligent about replacing lost fluids. During warm weather, athletes lose even more fluids, so you must plan in advance to ensure adequate hydration during exercise.
You must drink fluids before training or competition to be considered adequately hydrated. Some research has shown that as many as seventy percent of athletes may be dehydrated at the start of a training session or competition. To optimize your performance and obtain the maximum benefit from your training session, drink plenty of fluids during the day, especially the two hours before training. Assume you are drinking eight glasses of water throughout each day, making sure to drink at least one glass (one-half liter or approximately 17 ounces) of water two hours before an event. (It takes about 20 minutes to process the fluid you drink, so if you break a sweat during the next 15 minutes or so, then plan a restroom break.) Once you are adequately hydrated prior to your training session or event, consume additional fluids every 15 minutes of intense activity during the event. If your activity will last more than one hour, then consider sports drinks, which may provide performance benefits if the drink contains some carbohydrates (4-8%) and electrolytes.
Every individual needs different amounts of hydration. How much do you sweat? How hard are you exercising? How long? Were you initially adequately hydrated? (If you are dehydrated, then your body will conserve its fluids and you’ll sweat less.) How hot and humid is the environment? These factors and others determine your needs to stay properly hydrated.
Start with the general guidelines (eight glasses of water daily, two glasses two hours before exercise, fluid every 15 minutes during exercise) and know your body. Some indicators you can monitor are your feeling of wellness; your sweating level relative to what you expect, given the conditions; the color of your urine (if you are adequately hydrated, then your urine will be clear or very lightly colored); and weight maintenance during exercise (weight loss is an indicator that fluids are not being replaced). Stay hydrated, and both your exercise performance and your health will benefit.


Committing to a Healthier You
By Jennifer G. Galea MS RD
No matter what television channel you watch or magazine, newsletter or newspaper you read, you will be constantly bombarded with reports about the benefits of regular physical activity. To begin, there is the benefit that exercise offers to achieve and maintain healthy weight levels, which holds its own health benefits. In addition, it is widely accepted that exercise, in general, helps reduce stress, in various ways. Now, consistent physi-cal activity is strongly recommended in the treatment of a wide variety of ailments: immune disorders (and disorders where the immune system could use a good boost) to Parkinson’s disease and osteoporosis.
What could be better exercise than the martial arts? Martial arts training is aerobic, the kind of exercise that is recommended for many areas of health maintenance and optimization, such as heart and lung fitness, as well as achieving proper weight goals. Martial arts’ training is also what is considered a “weight-bearing exercise,” which is the type of exercise recommended specifically for the health benefit of maintaining or improving bone density to prevent osteoporosis or reverse osteopenia. Weight-bearing exercise is actually crucial for everyone to maintain bone health, especially as they age. Many recent reports also focus on the benefits of “core strengthening” or types of training that are “core” focused. Yes, martial arts does that, too. Studying and practicing the martial arts gives you a complete mind and body workout, resulting in all the benefits, including those that contribute to stress reduction. Commit to your martial arts training. You’ll be committing to being healthier in every way possible: less illness; fewer chronic conditions; healthier lungs, heart and bones; less stress and resultant illnesses; more flexibility; and a more toned body that is less prone to injury.


“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein, 20th century physicist

Translation for Adults
It’s easy to feel bad when you have a negative attitude. If you concentrate on the negatives, then that is all you’ll ever experience. You might complain about not making enough money, but with a positive outlook you can be thankful that you have a job that supports you and your family. Maybe you wish you had a bigger or nicer house; but think of the people who sleep on the streets every night because they don’t have a home. There are plenty of miracles in everyday life — assume a positive attitude and you’ll experience the miracles that are always happening.

Translation for Kids
A negative attitude hides the miracles that are happening in your life and around you everyday. When you develop a positive attitude, you will see the good in ourself and others. Don’t dwell on what you did wrong in karate class because that leads to a negative attitude and giving up; instead, focus on what you did right. You’ll be encouraged to keep trying and do better, revealing a miracle in your life. If you want to be good as the best student in your karate class, then you must first have a positive “I can” attitude, which will help make miracles a regular art of your life.

“When we accept tough jobs as a challenge and wade into them with joy and enthusiasm, miracles can happen.”
Arland Gilbert

Translation for Adults
It is important to challenge yourself throughout your life: personally, physically and in your career. Challenging yourself is the only way to test your limits and reach your full potential. As you age, you may become more and more reluctant to try new things, especially if you know they will be very difficult. It’s challenges like these that are often the most rewarding and can teach you the most about yourself. Remember, most challenges are difficult for a reason. You can learn from those experiences, even if the results are not what you expected. Accept challenges when they come your way and enter into them with a positive attitude; you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.

Translation for Kids
If all your tasks, responsibilities and goals were easy, then you would never xperience accomplishment. It is very rewarding to know that you’ve successfully completed a difficult challenge. Being challenged allows you to reach your full potential because you’ve push yourself beyond what you thought you could do. Overcoming a challenge forces you to learn new skills or improve old ones. You’ll also learn more about yourself and your abilities, such as motivation, discipline and leadership. Face those challenges with joy and enthusiasm and you might be surprised by what you can accomplish.

“When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.”
Helen Keller, American writer

Translation for Adults
Perfection is not a goal, but always trying to do your absolute best is. When you on’t hold back and put your entire self into every task or job, you’ll never regret your efforts and will almost always experience positive rewards. Those are the miracles wrought in your life. No one ever regrets working hard because it is mpossible to know the results until you make the effort. You might reveal a new skill, such as leadership, or discover new levels of confidence and concentration. You may even inspire others to be their best. For example, more effort on the job is more likely to result in a promotion or pay raise. The more you put into life, the more rewarding it can be.

Translation for Kids
Your parents and teachers don’t expect you to earn an “A” on every test. They’ll e happy if you do, but that doesn’t mean you’ve disappointed them, if you don’t. The most that you or anyone can do is your best. Put your best efforts into your ext test or karate tournament and you’ll never regret your test score or your ranking at the end of the tournament. Try your best and really concentrate all of our energy and skills and you will be a leader and a winner! In most cases, greater effort leads to greater rewards.