Zen Martial Arts Center

Sacramento Martial Arts and Karate

I'm sitting here on a Southwest flight heading into Birmingham next to Ms. Scott and Mr. Hadlock. We're on our way to help out the HALE organization in whatever ways they need--likely building and restoring old homes and structures for those in need within the community. For the next few days, this remote county of Alabama is my dojo. This is my training. It is my practice. And just like I would analyze my practice of yesterday's bag work or kata repetition, right now I am analyzing and reflecting on last years Alabama work.

I learned so much last year, and this year my goal is to bring back even more. I intend to make an extra effort to document and share our journey, our work, and our adventure. Last year, I was struck by the level of poverty in some areas--surprised that there are living conditions like that here in the US.

I also learned how much a dedicated and focused group can accomplish. We came from all over the country and converged on this small town. The camaraderie last year was truly amazing. I hope to be able to share some of the faces and personalities that are on my team with you. This year I'm also taking a little more of a leadership role and will be helping to set the tone for at least one day as I lead the group through a morning workout.

Analyzing our practice is something we should do regularly. Reflect on your last dojo performance. Did you pull your kicks back or leave them out for someone to grab them? How about your last performance at work, because it is practice as well, yes? What about at home? Were you present when your family talked to you, or were you thinking about your shopping list? If you extend your practice into your life, then you are extending your karate into the world--making yourself a more complete martial artists.

I'll see you in Greensboro!

Mike Oliver

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