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I was bullied as a child and the bullying stopped shortly after I began karate lessons. There was no pivotal battle in my war, it just stopped. Karate changes the participants. We grow stronger in mind, body and spirit. Others feel the change and we are attacked less. We are more confident and seem less like a victim, and we are attacked less. Karate is self defense. We learn to defend ourselves not only with fists, but through mindfulness, respect, kindness and compassion.

We learn to defend from others and from the most difficult of opponents, the one in the mirror. Yesterday, I was talking with a neighbor about the class schedule and realized that I was being very protective of my Tuesdays and Thursdays. Those are training days for me, from until It is my belief that it is very important for a Sensei to continue training and to attend classes for their own continuing development.

I have been taking 8 martial arts classes a week for the last few years and guard my own training time. Perhaps growth of a dojo means a reduction … of time spent with my sensei and I must accept that my time belongs to my own students. I wish that the way forward for us in life was less shrouded in mist, or that there was a clearer map or something. My sensei offers a model that I can see. He has chosen to spend less time with his sensei and to give himself to us. I wonder if I'm just being selfish in protecting my own class times I'm at a crossroads and don't have a map.

Kokoro by Sōseki Natsume

Perhaps I will see the way ahead after my grading on Sunday. Congratulations to Amber and Margaret on their promotion to Orange belt yonkyu. They worked hard and practiced mindfully. As a reward we started three new kata today ;. A friend just posted this link and I thought it might inspire the students to work on some self defenses. Of course some of these take lots of practice, but the principles of defense are clear in all of them. Take a look. Today is a grading day for the adult students.

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It is my grading day also because I'm testing for my next level of black belt. That's right, even sensei are karate students! I'm reminded that no matter how much we practice we tend to feel unprepared and nervous. I was just speaking about the symbolism of the mirror at the dojo shomen with some students. One of its messages to us is that when we look into the mirror we come face-to-face with our most difficult opponent. O … urself.

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We are terrible taskmasters and harsh judges of ourselves at times. We compare ourselves to others and often see only their best and our worst. My teacher Sensei Skoryk reminds us often that we must peel away the masks of this kind of illusion and see the naked truth.

Kokoro Study Guide

When we grade we will be objectively evaluated against a standard of performance. We will do what is asked of us and confront that difficult opponent without holding anything back. Just as the clear mirror always shows us the true image of ourselves, we will face the truth today in the mirror of our grading. I look forward to seeing what I will see within myself, and I hope that my students will be pleased with what they see in themselves.

Congratulations to John and Allison for their promotion to green belt and orange belt. They worked hard to improve and earned their new belts. I decided to participate in Kokoro 41 in February , a full year after my original intended class. Therefore, I only rucked on Saturdays. After reflecting on my performance at Kokoro 41, there are a few things that I would have done differently. Kokoro will test you with two physical standard tests, which allow the coaches to gauge how physically prepared you are for the event. Here is the Kokoro PST.

The nerves you feel right when you start Kokoro will have an impact on your physical performance, and I guarantee that the coaches will run you through a smoke session before you take the test. Be prepared to be tired before you take the test! You should strive to exceed 80 reps for push-ups, sit-ups, and air squats and 14 reps for pull-ups in your training. Your mile run should be between 6 and 7.

If you want to feel absolutely confident about this test, complete a very difficult workout that smokes you, then take the PST. Or at the very least, take the PST twice, striving to go beyond the standards on your second attempt. If you can still exceed the minimums in your fatigued state, you have a good chance of completing the PST without issue. Originally called Body Armor, this workout was renamed to Murph in honor of esteemed Navy Seal warrior, Michael Murphy, who sacrificed his life to save his teammates in Afghanistan I recommend you research him.


Kokoro requires that you finish this workout in under 70 minutes, and like the Kokoro PST, you want to train beyond that minimum. Strive to finish this workout in under 45 minutes.

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If you win, you get to take a break as your reward while the rest get to race again. If you have a nearby beach, take advantage of it and get used to running on sand.

Luke B & Leigh Michael Feat. Zimback - Kokoro - Music Video

I recommend that you get comfortable rucking with 35 to 45 pounds in your rucksack. If you never rucked before, start with four miles and a 20 pound weight. Add two miles after each week and add a little more weight. The next step is to get used to rucking up a mountain or trail with elevation gain, since it is so different from rucking on flat ground. If neither are close to you, then your next best bet to train your legs is to ruck on some stairs or a stair master. In Kokoro, the coaches will subject you to a dip or multiple dips into an ice bath.

How do you prepare for this? I tried to get acclimated to the shock of cold water by taking cold showers. I did this for months prior to Kokoro and I felt that it did help me get ready. Then stay in the frigid water for about fifteen minutes. Surf torture is one of the most feared evolutions in Kokoro.

Expect multiple submersions into the cold Pacific Ocean interspersed with beach PT. You can take this further by convincing your friends or coach to yell at you for a few hours to do boot camp exercises low crawls on the sand, suicide sprints, etc and ocean dips. There is a place in Kokoro called the Grinder where the coaches will organize several boot camp smoke sessions to test your physical and mental endurance.

The coaches will be yelling at you and saying mean things to shake your confidence. Your goal is to follow their directions while ignoring their commentary and insults. To succeed in these evolutions, you not only need to have good conditioning, but also be mentally strong enough to deal with the stress and verbal abuse that the coaches will bring to these sessions.

Teamwork is essential during this exercise because if one falters, the entire log team suffers. Obviously, being physically strong will help you during this evolution. One exercise I did to help prepare for this evolution was sandbag shoulder-to-shoulder presses. Get a 60 sandbag, place it on your right shoulder, and push press the bag from your right shoulder to your left shoulder, then push press it from your left shoulder to your right shoulder. The 20 enjoyable, interactive classroom activities that are included will help students understand Kokoro in fun and entertaining ways.

Fun Classroom Activities include group projects, games, critical thinking activities, brainstorming sessions, writing poems, drawing or sketching, and countless other creative exercises. Many of the activities encourage students to interact with each other, be creative and think "outside of the box," and ultimately grasp key concepts from the text by "doing" rather than simply studying.

Fun activities are a great way to keep students interested and engaged while still providing a deeper understanding of Kokoro and its themes.


Students should have a full understanding of the unit material in order to answer these questions. They often include multiple parts of the work and ask for a thorough analysis of the overall text. They nearly always require a substantial response. Essay responses are typically expected to be one or more page s and consist of multiple paragraphs, although it is possible to write answers more briefly. These essays are designed to challenge a student's understanding of the broad points in a work, interactions among the characters, and main points and themes of the text.

But, they also cover many of the other issues specific to the work and to the world today. The 60 Short Essay Questions listed in this section require a one to two sentence answer. They ask students to demonstrate a deeper understanding of Kokoro by describing what they've read, rather than just recalling it. The short essay questions evaluate not only whether students have read the material, but also how well they understand and can apply it. They require more thought than multiple choice questions, but are shorter than the essay questions.

The Multiple Choice Questions in this lesson plan will test a student's recall and understanding of Kokoro.

Fab afternoon - Kokoro Hanashizuku

Use these questions for quizzes, homework assignments or tests. The questions are broken out into sections, so they focus on specific chapters within Kokoro. This allows you to test and review the book as you proceed through the unit. Typically, there are questions per chapter, act or section. Use the Oral Reading Evaluation Form when students are reading aloud in class. Pass the forms out before you assign reading, so students will know what to expect. You can use the forms to provide general feedback on audibility, pronunciation, articulation, expression and rate of speech.

You can use this form to grade students, or simply comment on their progress. Use the Writing Evaluation Form when you're grading student essays. This will help you establish uniform criteria for grading essays even though students may be writing about different aspects of the material. By following this form you will be able to evaluate the thesis, organization, supporting arguments, paragraph transitions, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. They pull questions from the multiple choice and short essay sections, the character and object descriptions, and the chapter abstracts to create worksheets that can be used for pop quizzes, in-class assignments and homework.

Periodic homework assignments and quizzes are a great way to encourage students to stay on top of their assigned reading. They can also help you determine which concepts and ideas your class grasps and which they need more guidance on. By pulling from the different sections of the lesson plan, quizzes and homework assignments offer a comprehensive review of Kokoro in manageable increments that are less substantial than a full blown test.

Use the Test Summary page to determine which pre-made test is most relevant to your students' learning styles. This lesson plan provides both full unit tests and mid-unit tests. You can choose from several tests that include differing combinations of multiple choice questions, short answer questions, short essay questions, full essay questions, character and object matching, etc. Some of the tests are designed to be more difficult than others. Some have essay questions, while others are limited to short-response questions, like multiple choice, matching and short answer questions. If you don't find the combination of questions that best suits your class, you can also create your own test on Kokoro.

If you want to integrate questions you've developed for your curriculum with the questions in this lesson plan, or you simply want to create a unique test or quiz from the questions this lesson plan offers, it's easy to do.