Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

November 2010 Journal Entries (15)

My Commitment

I have decided to prove to myself that I can do anything that I set my mind to. As such I will be taking the Ultimate Black Belt Challenge. This challenge will test me mentally and physically over the span of 1 year and 1 month. In that time I will need to finish the following:



Added by Sid Pinkerton on November 30, 2010 at 11:51pm — 3 Comments

A day in the life of Mr. Oliver

Some of you have wondered how in the world I plan to achieve all of the goals that I laid out for myself for the coming year. 50,000 push-ups and sit ups? Run a 1,000 miles? Run every kata 1,000 times? I do it the same way we do everything. One day at a time. Here's how my day looks for tomorrow.

7:00 am - Meditate
7:15 am - 75 push-ups/sit-ups
7:30 am - breakfast
8:00 am - run 3 miles
8:45 am - 75…

Added by Mike Oliver on November 30, 2010 at 10:04pm — 1 Comment

UBBT and My Lesson From Lisa

A few weeks ago Lisa S. wrote a journal entry about establishing a baseline. It motivated me. I've been an athlete for... ever, basically. Still, never occured to me to establish a baseline, a starting point for each new goal. So I started experimenting for what my baseline around the UBBT challenge might be. My biggest concern was around time management. Partner, two kids, work, school... blah, blah, blah, right? But... I pick a race or two or three every year to train for, so, I'm used to…


Added by Chrissy Scott on November 30, 2010 at 11:30am — 3 Comments

UBBT: Letter of Intent

I sent this letter out today to my family and friends--everyone that I want to include in my test (the world!). This is an example of what you might use if you are on this years UBBT team as a public declaration of your goals. Post it here, e-mail it, share it on Facebook. Get the word out to as many people as you can. Hold yourself accountable.


In 2011, I will be participating in the…


Added by Mike Oliver on November 29, 2010 at 10:24pm — 3 Comments

Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii!

Hello, I'm Tom Callos --and I…


Added by Tom Callos on November 29, 2010 at 12:30pm — 4 Comments

UBBT Journal 1: Why?

The closer December first gets, the more overwhelmed I feel. What did I commit to?! Can I really do this?! The real question is why should I do this.

What first attracted me to the challenge is the intensity. Lately I've felt unbalanced in my own body. The weight I carry is heavy on my thin bones so it is top priority to reach my ideal weight... only it is hard for me to lose weight. So the level of fitness required in the UBBT may be exactly what I need.

Mr. Oliver's… Continue

Added by Lisa Clark on November 27, 2010 at 7:25pm — 1 Comment

UBBT - preparing for start date

I must have spoken some words, taken some steps, to sign on for the Ultimate Black Belt Test. How did that happen? I just got here! The short answer is that I am intrigued by the physical, mental, and spiritual challenge it presents and the potential transformation.

On one level it is the least likely thing that I would do--make a commitment for over a year of intensive training requiring a significant amount of time, effort, and discipline. My mind is doing a good job of presenting me… Continue

Added by Lisa Spagnolo on November 27, 2010 at 12:49pm — 3 Comments

UBBT 2011 Team Requirements

I sent this out today the the students, parents, and affiliates of our school that have already committed to being on this year's team. I know that some others of…

Added by Mike Oliver on November 25, 2010 at 1:21am — No Comments

UBBT- Death and Rebirth

The Ultimate Black Belt Challenge is some strenuous requirements:

50,000 push-ups

50,000 sit-ups

1,000 miles via running/walking/biking/swimming

1,000 kata repetitions

1,000 Acts of Kindness

15 minutes of daily meditation

10 short films

10 books focused on personal development or martial arts

3 Personal Goals

1 weekly online journal

1 Community Service Project…


Added by Lisa Clark on November 23, 2010 at 3:00pm — No Comments

The Fitness "First Step", and Finding a Baseline

Regular fitness efforts have been particularly challenging for me,

most especially as an adult and parent with a lot of responsibilities

as well as a history of sedentary ways. The recent classes and Mr.

Oliver's black-belt test journey have given me inspiration to get back in gear

once again (the week of "squats of doom" was the first signal).

Since starting at the dojo in September, I have noticed increased strength in

my modified push-ups, which is…

Added by Lisa Spagnolo on November 10, 2010 at 6:49am — 3 Comments

Owning a Belt Test

In Isshinryu, there are certain standards that must be attained before earning a new belt. My students know that I can be particularly picky about small details. I'm sure you have overheard me making sure that a student's stance is just right or that his posture is correct. These are standards that we all must strive to achieve--they are set for everyone. But these aren't the only requirements to earning rank in at our school.


Added by Mike Oliver on November 9, 2010 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

Your Black-Belt Test Starts Today

We are still a very young dojo and with that comes many unique advantages and disadvantages. One advantage that we do have, is that we can set our standards as high as we would like them to be. And while it is very debatable about what it means to hold a green or brown belt in the martial, there still remains a certain mystique about the coveted black-belt. When you hear that one is a black belt in karate, what…

Added by Mike Oliver on November 4, 2010 at 1:00pm — 3 Comments

Kicking Butt

Lately, I've been meeting a lot of new people at work. Word got out that I 'do karate' so people have been asking about it. They start with 1 of 2 questions: What belt are you? Or You could probably kick my butt huh?

These 2 questions have made me appreciate our dojo so very much.

Mr. Oliver doesn't focus on belts. He emphasizes character, technique and practical application. Zen Martial Arts is not ranks, trophies, or where we stand when we line up. We're not Cobra Ki… Continue

Added by Lisa Clark on November 4, 2010 at 2:00am — 1 Comment

Okinawa - The Real Fountain of Youth?

"At seventy you are but a child, at eighty you are merely a youth, and at ninety if the ancestors invite you into heaven, ask them to wait until you are one hundred... and then you might consider it."

This ancient Okinawan proverb rests on a stone marker in Ogimi, a small village typical of Northern Okinawa. This phrase could very well typify the mindset and vigour of the Okinawan people, especially when considering the…

Added by Mike Oliver on November 3, 2010 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment

"Karate-Do My Way of Life" by Gichin Funakoshi.

A few weeks ago, I borrowed a book from Mr. Oliver called, “Karate-Do My Way of Life” by Gichin Funakoshi. There are several chapters or stories within the book that I enjoyed reading. However, I’d like to just write a brief summary here discussing one of my favorite chapters from the book. Specifically, I’d like to discuss rule #2 of the six rules set by Master Funakoshi for karate students to…


Added by Teng Yang on November 2, 2010 at 11:30am — 3 Comments

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