September 3, 2008

Kata in the Classroom

I collected my first assignments from my students yesterday.  I imagined it would take me little more than an hour to get through their outlines. I figured I would finish both classes easily in one evening. 

I barely finished my first class.

I don’t know. I guess I assumed that college freshman knew how to write an outline. I assumed that when I gave them a template to follow, they’d follow it. I assumed that a textbook full of examples that I explicitly pointed out to them would be enough to insure they used the correct format.


Tomorrow it’s back to the drawing board. How can one possibly put together an organized piece of writing without proper planning? I am hoping that my speech class follows directions better than my writing class.

In other teaching news, I actually used kata in my speech class yesterday.  The lecture topic was controlling nervousness. We talked about different techniques that the students can use to release excess adrenalin before a speech and how to calm themselves down. I told them what my karate teacher always says: "The person who controls their breathing controls the fight." I told them that it’s really no different with public speaking.

We talked about pausing in appropriate places and I even had them do some calming lamaze breathing.  After that I told them about breathing kata and we practiced tensing up muscles and then releasing the tension, and how doing this before speaking helps calm nerves. It was a cool way to incorporate my karate training into everyday life. Looking around the classroom, I think the students thought so too.

I may not be back in the classroom (dojo) myself yet, but I am getting the itch to return in a major way. All this stress from going back to work part time (out of the house) could use some release. It’s been almost a year now of pent up stress. I can’t believe that it’s almost been a year since that horrible night that literally changed my life. I know my leg muscle isn’t ready yet, but I’m starting to think that it might never be ready, so why wait? I’m going to put my brace on this weekend and run through some kata at a very slow speed and see how it goes. If all goes well, I’m heading back very soon.

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