About Sensei/YDN Caitlin

Sensei Yudanjanim Caitlin is a 2nd degree black belt, senior instructor, administrative assistant, and student of Tae Kwon Do, Karate, and Arnis at Northwest School of Martial Arts.

Tuesday Thought: Translating Goals into Action

New Year’s is coming, and so are the resolutions. We at NWSMA prefer to use “goals” instead of the word “resolutions,” because we believe that “resolutions” are easily broken the first time your priorities change.

We like the idea that goals are things to be achieved and worked towards. I’d like to invite all our students to start thinking about their 2013 goals.

But just setting a goal isn’t always good enough.

You have to know how to get there.

In martial arts, this is pretty easy. Your goal is to make it to black belt. First you test for yellow belt, then orange or green, and so on until black. (Well, maybe not easy, but you have the steps laid out for you).

For other goals, such as “getting in shape” or “saving money,” you might need to make a more concrete plan.

As you set your goals, Continue reading

Weekly Update: 12/17-12/22

This week’s schedule is normal on Mon, Thurs, and Fri. Wed and Sat are cancelled. All Wednesday classes are cancelled for the rest of December. The schedule is also available on Facebook.

Remaining December cancellations: 19, 22, 26. Only 1 class, 4-5 pm, December 31st.

Weekly Challenge: Karate students, practice one Kihon and one Pinan kata every day this week. Tae Kwon Do students, practice two forms below your current rank every day this week. Everyone, please start thinking about your goals for 2013.

Read-a-thon is still in progress, so keep turning those pages!

Weather Policy Reminder: If school is cancelled for the Stanwood-Camano public schools due to inclement weather, class will also be cancelled at NWSMA. If you’re not sure, you are welcome to call Sensei.

Thanks to everyone who donated to the food and toy drives these past two months. If you have anything left to donate, please take it directly to the Stanwood food bank.

December 30th is breakfast at the Mason Hall from 9-11am.

Musing: Comfort Zones

A couple days ago, I went to another nearby dojo. The owner knows my instructor and is gracious enough to allow me drop in and train occasionally. I believe, as a black belt especially, it’s important for me to step out of my comfort zone, broaden my knowledge with other perspectives, and train with a wide variety of people (sizes and skills).

This time around he offered to let me teach. Having never taught outside my own school before, and since the class was 50% adult, accepting his offer was definitely going beyond my comfort zone.

I’m always struck by how much learning takes place when we move ourselves beyond what is comfortable and usual. Needless to say, I learned a lot about myself and my teaching habits and strengths/weaknesses, and I appreciate being able to see myself through a whole new lens. For his students too, I was a new experience, and I can only hope that the class was as valuable to them as it was to me.

Next time an opportunity arises for you to step outside of your comfort zone, embrace it.

Tuesday Thought: The Big “T” Word

We have a lot of students who will be testing soon, so today I’d like to offer some insight into how NWSMA handles rank testing/grading. I’m going to talk generally about the subject and at the end, I’ll offer some thoughts about what every martial arts student can do to make the most of their training.

How students advance through the ranks can be quite different from school to school and style to style. NWSMA instructors aim to tailor our approach to each individual student’s particular capabilities and situation.

At NWSMA, as a student satisfactorily learns the requirements listed on their sheet, we give them colored tape stripes (blue for kicks, yellow for hand techniques, etc). This allows any instructor to see what areas a student needs to work on, and it gives the kids a tangible mark of achievement.

When it comes to actual testing, though, the #1 school rule is that

Continue reading

Weekly Update 12/10-12/15

This week’s schedule is normal on Mon, Thurs, Fri, and Sat. Wednesday is cancelled; all Wednesday classes are cancelled for the rest of December due to holidays and the Masons’ schedule. Our schedule is also available on Facebook; click the top right “Calendar” link.

Weekly Challenge: Go through your Arnis requirements, practice them, and bring your questions to class to prepare for the upcoming Arnis seminar. Stay tuned for more announcements about this event!

Weather Policy Reminder: If school is cancelled for the Stanwood-Camano public schools due to inclement weather, class will also be cancelled. If you’re not sure, you are welcome to call Sensei.

December cancellations: 12, 19, 22, 26. Only 1 class, 4-5 pm, December 31st.

Toy and food drives are still running. Thanks to those who have already donated! If you haven’t donated yet, think about bringing an extra item from your pantry. All donations stay in the Stanwood area, so your gift will reach a neighbor in need. Every little bit counts.

December 30th is breakfast at the Mason Hall from 9-11am.

Monday Musing: The Importance of Form

Forms. Patterns. Hyung, kata, poomsae, teul. Whatever you call it, you’ve probably learned a few. And you’ve probably also learned that nothing frosts your instructor’s cupcakes like when students forget their forms.

Today I’d like to talk about the importance of form.

What I don’t want to do is get into that pesky form vs. sparring discussion, which is a huge and controversy-inducing topic in the martial arts world. Both are valuable in their own right.

A martial art without forms is like Continue reading

Weekly Update: 12/3-12/8

Prospective students: Crab Cracker special is running for new students who sign up in December 2012 or January 2013. Check out our About Us and FAQ post. New Year’s is a great time to start a new exercise program! Welcome to NWSMA!

Current students: This week’s schedule is normal, Mon-Sat. Pizza Night is normally the last Friday of the month, but due to the holidays, we’re going to have Pizza Night this Friday. $5/person.

Good job to everyone who participated in Sensei Louis’ class Friday night!

December cancellations: 12, 19, 22, 26. Only 1 class, 4-5 pm, December 31st.

The holidays always complicate our schedule, so please check your calendar carefully. The calendar is now available on the NWSMA Facebook page (top right “Calendar” link).

Coming up in January: Arnis Seminar with guest instructor from TMA! The seminar is not covered by regular tuition, so there will be a small seminar fee. More details and a sign-up sheet will be available soon.

Toy and food drives are still running. Thank you so much for your donations! Help support the Masons by attending their monthly breakfast on December 30th (always the last Sunday of the month). $7/person, all-you-can-eat, 9-11 am.

Happy December!

See Our Ad in the Crab Cracker?

If you saw our ad in the Crab Cracker, click “Read More” for new student information and FAQs. Also, check out our About Us section.

For the holidays, we’re running an introductory special for new students. 2 months + 1/2 off the 3rd month, and free uniform for new students who sign up in December 2012 or January 2013. Offer expired.

Beyond Black Belt

What happens after you earn a black belt?

Some students can’t see beyond black belt. This type of student often quits after getting their black belt.

What is the meaning of the belt if it just sits on your shelf?

I have two thoughts to share with new (and maybe not-so-new) black belts.  Continue reading

Weekly Update 11/26-12/1

Normal week! Mon, Wed, Thurs, Fri, and Sat are all business as usual. Friday is pizza night. Woo-hoo! $5/person.

Weekly challenge: practice your newest form at least two times each day this week.

Beginning December 1st: New Student Recruitment, Crab Cracker special (applies only to new students who sign up in Dec and Jan), and Book-a-thon. Book-a-thon sheets will be handed out Friday.

The Masons are still running food and toy drives in December. Donated goods will stay in the Stanwood community. Help a neighbor in need–bring in your donations today! Big thanks to those who have already donated!