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Thursday, October 31, 2019

How to Achieve a Black Belt in Your Forties (34 days to go)

Monday
I woke up feeling a bit ropy after three beers last night - I'm not used to it these days!
I drove the car to work.
Tonight's weight lifting session was good. I've switched to a very wide grip for shrugs and this is really working well on my traps.
Loads of eggs in my dinner.
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol

Tuesday
I cycled in to work and back.
Tonight's Karate session was awesome. Sensei Lee had travelled all the way from Tamworth for tonight's session. I've never seen him at a Tuesday night before. Then Sensei Eric turned up and I hadn't seen him for weeks. Next, there was a very capable black belt who I don't even remember seeing before. I knew something was going on but I didn't know what.
And then, Sensei Ronnie Christopher walks in wearing his gi! I haven't seen Sensei at a Tuesday session for at least a year, maybe two or three!
We did some light one for one sparring to warm up and then Sensei took charge of the senior grades. He had us working on ju ippon for the rest of the session! Excellent stuff! It was just what I needed to practise and get clear in my mind in readiness for the grading.
Sensei told us a story about training in Japan and the Japanese flag. It's a story I've heard before but enjoyed hearing again. He also told us about the findings from his 'research' outside...
The emphasis was put on being on the toes, not flat-footed. Sensei repeated the importance of this and then gave us plenty of opportunity to practise the techniques he'll expect to see in the grading. Invaluable stuff!
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol

Wednesday
Weight: 10st 4lbs
I cycled in to work in thick fog.
Mr Roger is away so I ran this evening's circuit training session for staff. I kept it close to the stuff that Mr Roger does with us - the medicine ball and dumbbell work, lots of bodyweight exercises and everything by the clock. The only differences were that I included a warm up and I also made the duration of the exercises shorter each time we completed a full circuit. This gave everyone the feeling that they were getting some energy back even though they were still working hard!
I cycled home slowly with aching, shaking legs. On the ride, I noticed that the headset on the cheap mountain bike I'm using at the moment has become very loose. Dangerously loose in fact.
I made a huge chicken and mushroom stir fry.
After dinner, I practised last night's ju ippon techniques in the kitchen.
Circuit training, no junkfood, no alcohol

Thursday
I cycled in on the road machine. I didn't trust the headset on the Apollo and my mountain bike still has a flat front.
At work I was hungry! I'd eaten half of my lunch before lunchtime and finished the rest off by 12:30. I was sorely tempted to go to the canteen for pasta and crisps (I was craving carbs) but instead I tried to enjoy a banana and a fistful of mixed nuts.
I cycled home and then set off for my weekly 10K. Again, I failed to make it around the 10K course but this time it was due to the fact that I was desperate for a wee! I cut the last corner which meant I only ran for 5.7 miles instead of 6.3. I was slow anyway at 10m 27s pace.
After a shower, Lucy presented me with homemade pizza! It was absolutely delicious but devoid of any healthy source of protein. I found myself thinking that I may as well have enjoyed those crisps at work!
5.7 miles of running, no sugary foods, no alcohol

Friday
Weight: 10st 3lbs
I got up with a bad back. I had to be very careful - if I leaned over too fast then I experienced what felt like little electric shocks at the base of my spine. Even cleaning my teeth over the sink was painful.
At 10st 3lbs, I'm the lightest I've been since I rebooted my training on the 26th August. I don't know the significance of this.
I cycled gingerly to work.
It was one of those pointless 'training' days so I had a relaxing day in my shorts and t-shirt chatting to colleagues. There was homemade cake on offer which I managed to resist.
I cycled home against a 15mph wind.
Tonight's Karate session was a bit of a mock grading to start with. Lots of kihon up and down the hall. We did some kata too but didn't have time for kumite.
In the kata training, Sensei made me aware of a change to Bassai Dai which I had somehow missed (I don't attend enough advanced sessions on Sundays due to my love of cycling): The first kiai point is no longer a thrust kick, it has been changed to a short strike which in turn is meant to demonstrate a take down. Let's just say that I hope I'm not asked to demonstrate Bassai Dai in the grading.
After the session had ended. Martha and I stayed behind for a bit more kata work. Martha recorded me performing Kanku Dai. I was very disappointed in the result: I'm not moving anywhere near as sharply as I think I am! Also, the change from kekomi to keagi kicks still makes the middle of the kata look sloppy to me (although I'm sure it's more effective.) The old way looked so much tidier.
Anyway, here's an old man's wobbly, out of breath kata:



Back at home, I found it necessary to wear my weight-lifting belt to support my aching back.
We had a huge chicken dinner.
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol

Saturday
Up early to take Lucy to the airport.
My back felt so much better!
After dropping her off, I went over to Jonnie's place to watch England's glorious victory over the All Blacks. Then I headed off to the bank to put some cash in my account.
I received some bad news on the way home: a member of the family had passed away in his sleep. The family gathered at Jane's place for the day.
Back at home in the evening, I did a very late weight training session.
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol

Sunday
Roger, Jonnie and James joined me in the lanes and we cycled off on the Petticoat Route. Roger was back on the bike after about 6 weeks where life got in the way of his riding. He had requested a fairly easy reintroduction and the Petticoat Route was just the job.
The lanes were wet! Even though it was a beautiful, bright dry day, the recent heavy rain had left the lanes with huge puddles everywhere. These puddles would stretch right across the lane and some of them carried on for quite a way. It was quite a task to keep the socks dry. I tended to hit the puddles at a fair speed and then tuck my feet up on the top tube as I wooshed through. It seemed to work.
We refreshed ourselves with two types of cake at Wilmcote as we watched Wales succumb to South Africa in the rugby world cup.
Soon after, we were back in the lanes. James did some fantastic work on the front and dragged us along for a couple of miles at a good pace. However, I became aware that Roger was starting to struggle. As he said himself , "I've put the wrong legs on this morning!" You never know how you're going to feel on the bike until you start pedalling. We've all been there.
So we slowed the pace and had a chatty ride back.
About four miles from home, we saw a group of about five riders stopped and staring at a very large puddle that extended along the lane. Jonnie was in the lead and he simply wooshed past them and through the water without a moment's hesitation. We all followed him and got soaking wet socks as we went along! It was a deep puddle!
What none of us could work out was what the other riders were waiting for. Why were they all just looking at the puddle? James suggested that they were waiting for it to evaporate!
We enjoyed a cup of tea at Jonnie's place and then I headed off home for a healthy lunch and to get ready for dojo.
Today's karate session was mainly kata with some kumite at the end. Sensei Ronnie spent a lot of time explaining techniques, the correct approach, the required attitude and other such priceless stuff that other karateka just wouldn't be exposed to. It's good to have a world champion as your instructor!
He picked up on every little mistake I made, which I'm very grateful for, and then showed me how to put them right.
In the fighting, I wasn't as bad as I usually am and Sensei Joey had some nice things to say about my technique.
At the end of the two hour session, I told Sensei that I was thinking of grading. He replied "good" and gave me some advice about my kumite. Obviously, we both recognise fighting as my area for development. I asked him if I should focus on Kanku Dai and to my surprise he said not to! Apparently I need to develop Jion in readiness for the grading! I was under the impression that Kanku Dai would be the grading kata and I've spent a lot of time developing it. I now have 34 days left to get my Jion up to a black belt standard!
Back at home, after being a good boy all week, I allowed myself some chocolate and 3 beers while watching a film about cycling (Le Ride) which was recommended to me by Jonnie's mom!
35 miles of cycling, 2 hours of Karate, junkfood, 3 beers


Monday, October 21, 2019

How to Achieve a Black Belt in Your Forties (41 days to go)

Monday
I cycled to work and back and then did some weight lifting. My back was a little tender but nothing to worry about.
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Tuesday
I cycled to work and back.
The first half of tonight's Karate session was all about speed. We were blasted through basics up and down the hall and we were expected to be lightning fast. In the second half, we did some more work on Kanku Dai. I had to slow it down because I just didn't have the energy to keep up with Sensei Kai and the brown belt kids. (Cool name for a band: Sensei Kai and Brown Belt Kids. A laid back jazz band?)
I had a bit of a sort throat when I got home so I had a Lemsip in bed.
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol

Wednesday
I woke up with a sore throat. I cycled in to work. At work, my sore throat got worse to the point where I started to worry about losing my voice.
In the morning, I took the sports group out for a 2 mile run. Although some of the lads are not as fit as they should be, they all put in a decent effort and all but two of them completed the course.
My back was stinging at times, particularly when I was running uphill.
After lessons, I went along to Mr Roger's interval training session. Tonight we had to complete ten different exercises including work with medicine balls, kettlebells and dumbbells. We had to spend 60 seconds on each exercise and we went round 3 times. With only 15 seconds rest between each set, it was an intense, sweaty experience.
I was exhausted! At the end of the second circuit I could hardly believe that Mr Roger was telling us to go round again!
I made sure I had a lifting belt on as tight as it would go in order to protect my back.
I led the group through a warm down and then cycled slowly home!
Another Lemsip let me sleep but I woke up several times because my throat was so sore.
2 mile run, interval training, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Thursday
I'm sick. Sore throat, headache and runny nose.
I cycled into work and back but couldn't face the 10K run in the evening. I ate healthy stuff and sipped Lemsip in bed.
No exercise, no junkfood, no alcohol

Friday

I felt even worse after a terrible night's sleep when I kept waking up between vivid dreams. My throat was raw and it was hard to swallow.
I wasn't up to cycling so I drove to work.
Today, Jonnie, Russ, James, Roger and I signed up for the Mad March Hare sportive for next year.
This evening, I took Martha to the dojo but I felt too ill to train. I was a spectator. I couldn't help offering little bits of advice here and there to those in earshot. Sensei kindly involved me towards the end of the session when he asked my opinion of the class's kata performances.
In the evening, after a healthy dinner, I started to feel a little better. I hope I can ride on Sunday.
I was up until midnight after picking up Lucy and Dodgy from a dinner party.
No exercise, no junkfood, no alcohol

Saturday
I woke up feeling a lot better. Jonnie came round to watch England's convincing victory over Australia in the World Cup Rugby. Lucy made a wonderful breakfast for us including my favourite tomato sausages! After Jonnie had left to tend his garden, I cleaned the man cave and took the dogs for a walk before heading off to the dojo.
Today, Sensei Gary had us working hard on our kihon with some kumite mixed in. We finished off with a chudan punches only kumite competition. My team lost!
Back at home, I did some ironing before enjoying Lucy's fantastic homemade curry and tonight's episode of Strictly!
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Sunday
Weight: 10st 5lbs
Up early for cycling. I was pleased that I'd managed to sleep through the whole night uninterrupted. I still had a sore throat and a runny nose, however.
James called for me and then we cycled up and called for Jonnie. 
We decided to ride Jonnie's Route which is something he cobbled together after being on an organised ride with Sally in the summer. It's a nice route apart from 1.2 miles on a very busy A road.
We set off at a chatty pace which was okay for a while but Jonnie was on a charge! He spent the first half of the ride off the front leaving myself and James to work hard behind. My sore throat was becoming a sore chest and to make matters worse I had left my drinks bottle containing water, fruit juice and aspirin at home!
We cycled along some lovely lanes and watched the grey sky become blue. We really do live in a beautiful part of the world. Even in October.
Suddenly, as my thoughts were turning to hot tea and cake, Jonnie suggested we ride up the Average Destroyer - the steep hill in Haselor! When we got there, Jonnie and I struggled up the climb and watched James disappear over the top. 
We cruised through Temple Grafton, over the A road and then bombed it up the Billesley Wall climb to claim our cake. We arrived after 23 miles at 14.3mph.
We were very pleased to find two cakes waiting for us - carrot cake and coffee cake. My favourites!


Would you like carrot cake or coffee cake?
Yes.

On the way back home, we were riding into a headwind and heading uphill. Hard work. Jonnie wasn't as sprightly as he was earlier in the day but James was feeling good. He did most of the work on the front to get us home which I'm very grateful for.
Surprisingly, even though Jonnie seemed to be having a hard time, he suggested that we make the route even harder by riding up The Farm on the way home! We obliged and wobbled our way up the steep climb into Tanworth in Arden.
As well as having some loose spokes on his back wheel, Jonnie was also struggling with his front derailleur. It was resisting going up onto the big ring and required some coaxing. Each time, it took him several seconds to get it to jump on. Seems that the Trek is in need of some TLC.
On the descent to Tom Hill I noticed that I was having to brake to stay behind James. The reason for this is that we both weigh the same - we are both 65kg. The difference is that I'm 5 foot 6 whereas James is over 6ft tall! I offer a much smaller profile into the wind so have to touch the brakes to stay behind him when descending. Obviously, he left me for dead going up Tom Hill!
We got back to Jonnie's and we all decided to drink water. Very healthy - training like athletes. We watched some actual athletes play rugby for a while and then called it a day.
Back at home: lunch, hang the washing out, walk the dogs, do some ironing, bring the washing in.
When Lucy returned from Nottingham, she reminded me that I didn't have to teach in the morning. So I had a beer! Cheers!
38 miles of cycling at 14.1mph, junkfood, alcohol

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

How to Achieve a Black Belt in Your Forties (48 days to go)

Monday
Weight: 10st 5lbs
I cycled in to work with my medals jangling in my backpack. I showed my medals to my students in an effort to inspire them to join a sport or martial arts club.
I cycled home for some weight training before making Mexican scrambled eggs for dinner. Protein!
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Tuesday
Weight: 10st 5lbs
I cycled in to work. There was some bad behaviour in the college and the quality of my lessons suffered because of it.
I was glad to get out of there today.
Today's Karate session was fast and fun and all about kicks. We had a new adult join us and he obviously has a martial arts background. I worked with him for the first part of the lesson. He certainly shows potential.
Home for two huge bowlfuls of homemade meatballs and wholewheat pasta!
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Wednesday
I cycled in to work.
I designed a circuit for the sports lads that involved punching, kicks, dumbbell work, triceps dips, battle rope, medicine ball work, skipping rope and hurdles. 12 different exercises in all. I did the whole circuit with them. Twice. By the end of it I was aching and red-faced, but had to get ready for afternoon lessons! I got changed quickly and had a few bites of my healthy lunch.
After lessons, I went along to the gym for another circuit training session! This time it was devised and led by Mr Roger. There were 5 of us there and we all inspired and encouraged each other to keep going. It was an incredibly hard circuit of 16 different exercises including squat kicks (which I loved) and medicine ball Russian twists (which I loathed.) We went round twice. Mr Roger wanted us to do a third circuit but we'd ran out of time! I did a bit of a stretch with the gang before eating the last of my lunch and cycling home to cook a beef and mushroom stir fry.
Circuit training (twice!), no junkfood, no alcohol

Thursday
I cycled in to work. I ate home-cooked ham on wholemeal baps. I cycled home.
I went out for a 10K in my brand new running shoes!


Would my brand new running shoes make a difference to my 10K performance? No.
I set off feeling fairly strong. The shoes felt weird mainly because they were so comfortable! I was wearing brand new socks too. The shoes were certainly more springy than my old pair. Unfortunately, by the first mile marker I was already down on last week's time. Things got steadily worse from there: I wasn't gasping, I wasn't even breathing hard, I was just so tired! I got slower and slower until, after 3.5 miles, I sort of involuntarily slowed to a walk. I was just done in! Not out of breath, not in pain, just tired to the core.
I walked/jogged/walked/jogged my way back home.
We had a late dinner so it was hard to get to sleep.
3.5 miles of running, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Friday
I cycled in to college. At work, we've been asked to develop extra lessons for our managed learning week in the department. My task was to plan, and produce the resources for, a three hour lesson on sustainability and the environment. Trouble is, Friday afternoon is the only time I get to plan my timetabled lessons for the coming week! I just couldn't get it all done.
I cycled home in the mood for a good hard Karate session.
Unfortunately it was a bit of a silly lesson.
Young people make up the vast majority of the students at Ruach, and tonight they were in a jovial mood. Sensei made the lesson fun, made the kids laugh and made sure they enjoyed themselves. The young people are the future of the club and if they are enjoying themselves and learning Karate at the same time then they will continue their Karate journey and achieve their goals.
Trouble is, Martha and I were in the mood for a serious session! I was grumpy from work and I just wanted to hit something/someone, and Martha has always preferred the serious side of Karate. The continuous giggling from the kids was getting right on my nerves. To a traditionalist like me it seems very disrespectful to be laughing and chatting in the middle of kihon techniques up and down the dojo. However, thinking about it now, those young people will all be back next week because of the fun they had today. I just need to stop being a grumpy old man.
I went home to do some ironing and then have another late dinner. I stayed up late to try to avoid indigestion.
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol

Saturday
Weight: 10st 4lbs
I've been at 10st 5lbs for a long time. It was nice to see the scales saying something different.
I climbed onto the bike, called for Jonnie and we set off on our Honiley route. I knew there was something wrong before I'd left the house: I didn't feel like going out! That's very rare for me.
I spent the vast majority of the ride trying to catch up with Jonnie. He offered up his wheel several times but I couldn't hang on. I'd just watch him cycle away up the road. Trouble was, I was tired. Again, just like on the failed run this week, I wasn't gasping or sweating, I was just tired. 
Tired deep in the muscles. 
Sluggish, used up, done in.
Even a double helping of cake at Wilmcote couldn't help me: I struggled back to base having covered 40 miles at 14mph. It was a dry day with a light wind. I should have been a lot faster.
After a shower and some healthy food (chicken, green beans and wholewheat pasta) I went back up the road to Jonnie's place to help him with a two-man gardening job. I even got to drive the Land Rover!


Driving the Land Rover at Jonnie's place.
The job included lots of shovelling. I knew my back would suffer so I had my lifting belt on as tight as it would go.
Jonnie and I discussed my lack of energy this week and we decided that a rest was in order. Tomorrow would be a rest day.
This evening, Jonnie, Lucy, Sally, James and I headed back to Wilmcote for the Village Hall quiz. We managed to come joint fifth. I ate loads of unhealthy food and drank lots of beer!
Bed at midnight.
Cycling, junkfood, beer

Sunday
Blood Pressure: 147/76
Resting heart rate: 54bpm
For the first time in a long time, I didn't wake up to the sound of an alarm. I woke up naturally just after 9am!
I had a bit of a sore back but nothing too bad.
My blood pressure is worrying, however.
I remembered that it was a rest day so I walked the dogs around the park and then spent most of the afternoon sitting in my man cave getting all the lessons done that I didn't have time to finish on Friday. It felt strange being at home when the Sunday afternoon Karate session was happening only two miles away.
My back started to ache a bit more as the day went on. 
In the evening, friends and family came round and Lucy cooked Sunday dinner for eight. I indulged in a few beers and even had pudding!
No exercise, junkfood, alcohol



Monday, October 7, 2019

How to Achieve a Black Belt in your Forties (55 days to go)

Monday
I cycled to work. I cycled back in the pouring rain.
I did some weight training.
I made some dinner for Lucy and myself.
I felt a bit sad that my birthday was over. I wanted a beer but I didn't have one.
Weight training, no junkfood, no alcohol

Tuesday
I cycled in to work in the rain.
After eating healthily all day, I cycled home to get ready for Karate.
At the dojo, I found out that the gentleman who I referred to as 'Sensei Clive' in last week's post is actually named Kai. I have emended last week's blog entry accordingly.
Tonight's session saw Sensei Gary running the 1st kyu students through a high-speed mock grading. It was rather tough at the start and I found myself gasping for breath and sweating within five minutes! I must, must, must get fitter! Sensei had us performing lots of combinations at high speed before moving us onto Heian kata. This is where I went wrong: I was so fatigued and under pressure that I had a brief mental block in Heian Yondan followed by a complete memory lapse in Heian Sandan. I managed to get through both eventually, but if it happens in two month's time then I've failed. I blasted through Kanku Dai to finish.
The last ten minutes was spent with Sensei Kai and Sensei Lloyd as they led us through Kata Enpi (Empi?) a couple of times.
At the end of the lesson, Martha and I presented our black belt modules to Sensei Gary and he was kind enough to sign off some more of the elements. I only have one page left to complete!
I got home to a HUGE dinner of fresh plaice, salmon and fish fingers with loads of green beans and homemade spicy rice!
Martha had to go to work until 11:20 so I didn't get to bed until almost midnight. What a day!
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol

Wednesday
For some reason I woke up at 5:40am after less than six hours sleep. Everyone knows that when you're training, you need sleep to recover, repair and build. This waking up early is not good.
Lucy and I were working late tonight so I jumped in the car with her.
For this morning's sports lesson, I took the lads on a 2 mile run. Three of the lads were fitter than me and managed to finish ahead. I've got a lot of work to do with the rest of them! These are young men aged between 16 and 19 who signed up for a college sports course. They should be fitter than me.
All of the lads showed the right attitude, the weather was dry and bright, and everyone finished in a good mood.
I ate chicken and rice and two bananas to recover.
We finished work at 7pm and raced home for huge bowls of beef chilli and rice.
90 minutes later, I got stuck into a weight training session before meeting Martha from work at 11:35. I got to bed just as it turned midnight.
Weight training, no alcohol, no junkfood.

Thursday
The alarm woke me up at 6:20am. I was so tired that I could barely lift my head from the pillow!
After a day at work, I dragged myself off for my weekly 10K run. I felt fast and light and was genuinely shocked and dismayed to find that my time was 40 seconds slower than on my last effort. Oh well. I'm getting some new trainers at the weekend, let's see if that helps.
10K run: 62 minutes 50 seconds, no junkfood, no alcohol.

Friday
Weight: 10st 5lbs
A distressed family member called us just before midnight. We didn't get much sleep after that.
So, not enough sleep for three night's running. My eyes felt so sore at work! I was so tired that I felt a little detached from everything. Happily, I love Fridays and I have the best class and the best people with me. Teaching with them is a joy.
I cycled home and got ready for Karate training.
There was a guest instructor with us tonight. 5th Dan Sensei Rupert Smith was visiting from his home in America. He is British born (I think) and he told me that he used to train with Sensei Colin Hexley - the brother of my first instructor Sensei Paul Hexley!
Sensei Gary was in charge and he had me out at the front of a line up. I was defending against the rest of the higher grades including several black belts and our visiting instructor. I was required to block and counter over and over again and against longer and longer chains of attacks.
I could barely believe it - I had gone to the dojo already feeling tired after three nights of not enough sleep, and now my stamina was really being put to the test! I was exhausted by the end of it. Quite possibly the most worn out I've ever felt in the dojo, certainly the closest I've ever come to vomiting on the dojo floor! The last ten minutes were spent going through Kata.
After the lesson, Sensei Rupert spent a few more moments with me going over some fighting techniques. He was very complimentary about my efforts in the dojo and he said that he considered me to be ready to grade. I went home ridiculously tired, but very happy.
In the evening, my willpower cracked and I enjoyed two beers with my feet up!
Karate, no junkfood, 2 ales

Saturday
Lucy and I got loads of stuff done this morning. One of my jobs was cutting branches from a tree that was making its way up to the roof of a neighbour's house and sawing them up for firewood.
The afternoon Karate session was focused entirely on Martha and me! Sensei Tony took the whole class through our grading combinations. It was good for the lower grades to get a taste of what is to come, and invaluable practice for us!
With the competition in the morning, I had an early dinner of tuna and wholewheat pasta (protein and carbs!) followed by an early night.
Karate, no junkfood, no alcohol

Sunday
I was up at 7am for breakfast before heading off to the Ruach Karate competition.
In terms of attendance, it was the smallest competition Ruach has hosted. However, the spirit, respect and friendship shown by the competitors and judges more than made up for it. The people who were there were determined to make the most of their day!
We started with kata.
We had medal success in the form of silver and gold for Omar and his sister.
I was determined to get through to the finals of the adult competition so I used my favourite kata, Kanku Dai, in the first round. I scraped by into the semi finals! Performing Kanku Dai at competition level had left me rather tired and I was trying my best to recover before I was called up again. In the next round, I faced a black belt performing Jion. Happily, a mistake meant that I only had to get through a kata without an error to qualify. To get my breath back and to save some energy, I did a careful performance of Heian Shodan. It was enough to get me through to the final.
In the final, I was up against a very sharp black belt with excellent timing performing Heian Godan. Again, a mistake by my opponent meant that all I had to do was not get anything wrong. I decided to perform Heian Godan too, so the judges could draw a clear comparison.
After we had both performed our kata, the judges went into a huddle and then other instructors, including Sensei Ronnie, got involved! I don't know what was said but the decision went my way and I was awarded the gold medal!
Gold medal for kata!
 After kata, the young people got stuck into the 'Kickmaster'  competition. This is where they unleash their best techniques onto a standing bag. Again, Ruach managed to win a fistful of medals including gold for Callum!
In the kumite, the youngsters showed great spirit and fantastic technique. Once again, Ruach were very successful and Omar and Farah both took gold! There were only four competitors in the men's category so I managed to get into the final after defeating a green belt. I didn't put on a very convincing show against a young, fast black belt and had to settle for silver. I know I could have done better, I was just too hesitant. I'll be beating myself up about that for a while.

I should be happy with silver. I'm not.
At the end of the competition, I went home for a healthy lunch and to get some housework done. However, I was still in a celebratory mood. Later, Lucy, Martha and I headed off to the pub and Martha bought me a beer! 
Back at home, I indulged in more beers and some ice cream! Cheers!
Karate competition, junkfood, 4 beers