The common sentiment is that 2019 is a year that most would rather forget. To say that there have been challenges would be, literally, the understatement of the decade.
As a dojo, we've grown in so many ways. From a numbers perspective, I've been encouraged by how many parents have sought out training for their children. Honestly, as a dad, I smile after every training session with our Kids Kyokushin class as the youngest students embrace the challenges of our practice together.
For our Teen Kyokushin class, I continue to be impressed by the fact the the first class of each month is one of our best attended on a regular basis. This inspires me because it's the first class of the month where we have our 7 Minutes of Burpees Challenge. Think of it...one of the more physically demanding classes of the month has the highest attendance. Again, as a dad, this brings me so much joy to see teenagers embracing physical, mental, and spiritual challenges.
As a dojo, 2019 saw a significant change as we transitioned from the Phoenix Karate-do Association to Kyokushin-kan. This change, though difficult, has brought such a rich challenge to all of us as we seek to fully embrace the traditional, budo teachings of Kyokushin karate. With that said, all of our classes (but our adult class especially) has embraced the weapons training, the prescribed kata bunkai, the formalities, and the Kan philosophy in general.
Promoting students to new ranks, attending seminars with Kancho Royama (Kyokushin-kan), Kancho Soller (Phoenix Karate-do), and Shihan Satoshi (a dormitory instructor for Oyama's Young Lions) were awesome training highlights for me, but the real joy...I've already hinted at. The real highlights were the day in and day out challenges that students overcame. The real blessing, as an instructor, was watching boys and girls; men and women come in regularly knowing that whatever the class had in store, it was going to be a challenge.
2019 was a challenge...no doubt! However, the amount of growth that we've experienced from the challenge has been well worth it. Cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store for Forge Dojo!
This is going to be a long one, but words that I think will encourage a good many of us.
Those who have known be longest (my parents, siblings, and friends from high school and college) all know that there have been "stages" in my life from a health and fitness perspective.
As a boy growing up in Caroline County, I spent a wholelotta time playing outside. In high school I played sports year-round and graduated in tiptop shape. Waaay back when I graduated high school, I was 6'6 and 175lbs. I remember bragging about my 6-pack...before learning that a 6-pack on a skinny kid wasn't something to brag about.
Then college hit. For a lot of reasons, mainly related to a lack of self control, I put on about 80lbs during my freshman year. To be fair, I had gone from a three sport athlete in high school to a no-sport athlete in college; but as I've looked back and examined my diet over the last two decades, there's one culprity...one enemy, that I need to try and eliminate.
Folks who've known me longest might think of my stages as: Bob, Fat Bob, and Sensei Bob. Those who know me best (like Amy and Keith) just know Bob...of Bobby.
As I've traveled this journey toward my personal best, I've spent a lot of time considering what to add and what to remove from my routine. I've done the weight loss before. Don't believe me? Check out this article from a while back: Men's Health Article.
So, as I've looked back and read...dear God I've read so much...I've identified my number one "bad guy" for the coming year.
When I look back to what nutritionally, what helped to build "Fat Bob", I'm left with only one culprit: refined sugar.
From what I've learned through reading, research, and university study, refined sugars have white the similar impact on our brains as other addictive drugs; like cocaine. Want to defend cocaine use? Go ahead and be burned like any other wacko. Defend refined and artificial sugars...you'll be a hero.
In 2019, I gave up donuts. I won't lie, in the first few weeks, it was honestly a challenge. I'm a school teacher...donuts are everywhere PLUS...I LOVE donuts. But, thankfully, I've just about made my year-long goal of going donut free. My next step...no refined or artificial sugar.
So, for 2020, I'll be going sugar free.
Am I nervous?
Am I afraid?
Am I excited?
Honestly, I've been thinking of doing a weekly video update to keep you all in the loop. Honestly, I'm so excited about this upcoming challenge and think that there is a ton that can help others on their nutritional and fitness journey.
Stay in the loop. Excited to share this next year with everyone.