Monday, December 23, 2013

25 Incredible Quotes That Will Change The Way You Think About Life

I thought that this was worth reading and sharing this morning. Have a great day!!

Frances Masters • Be Happy • No Comments

25 Incredible Quotes That Will Change the Way You Think About Life

Life is what we make of it, always has been, always will be - Grandma Moses
Be inspired by these 25 quotes that will challenge the way you think about life.
 “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!” ~ Hunter S. Thompson
“Every time we choose safety, we reinforce fear.” ~ Cheri Huber
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss
“Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone even if it means being uncomfortable. The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades, bumps, and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested. Have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect, nothing is and no one is — and that’s OK.” ~ Katie Couric
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” ~ Mae West
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” ~ Robert Frost
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” ~ Albert Einstein
“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” ~ Dr. Seuss
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” ~ Buddha
“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” ~ Louise Erdrich
“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~ Confucius
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.” ~ Audrey Hepburn
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” ~ Isaac Asimov
“People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.” ~ Jim Morrison
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” ~ Charles Darwin
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” ~ Søren Kierkegaard
“Life is a series of collisions with the future; it is not the sum of what we have been, but what we yearn to be.” ~ Jose Ortega y Gasset
“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” ~ Jackie Robinson
“Who will tell whether one happy moment of love or the joy of breathing or walking on a bright morning and smelling the fresh air, is not worth all the suffering and effort which life implies.” ~ Erich Fromm
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” ~ John Lennon
“When I hear somebody sigh, ‘Life is hard,’ I am always tempted to ask, ‘Compared to what?’” ~ Sydney J. Harris
“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.” ~ C. JoyBell C.
“Life is to be enjoyed, not endured” ~ Gordon B. Hinckley
“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.” ~ John Green

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Emotional and Mental Fitness

Good Morning

This time of year often causes one to reflect on the past year's events, successes and short-comings and everything in between. It can evoke sad feelings due to the loss of loved ones, financial difficulties, or seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) just to name a couple. If someone is a Grinch it may just be because there is an explanation of some kind and not that he or she is just an ogre lol.

And then there are those eternally positive, joyful people who manage to smile even bigger and brighter during the Christmas season. Thank goodness for them!

I stumbled across the following article on the Bodyrock Daily HIIT blog and thought it was worth sharing. It's not really "season specific" but my feeling is it may be just the right thing for some to read at this time.
Have a look at it and try to honestly evaluate yourself on each point to see how you measure up.

My conclusion regarding myself is that I seem to still have some work to do in some areas.
ok-  a few areas ;-)

Have a great day all!

Click here for the post

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fitness Over The Holidays

If you work hard on your fitness routine all year long, you probably don't want to sacrifice all your hard work and muscle gains (or weight loss) just because it's the Christmas Season.  On the other hand it's nice to be able to enjoy a little break and relax.

Here are some tips for keeping it together over the holidays from the Facebook page.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Take The Pledge

This week is Bullying Awareness Week. Take the pledge this week and every week.

London Shido-kan Karate Dojo supports anti-bullying strategies and practises.

Friendship - Cooperation -Fitness and RESPECT

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Push-up Variations

Push-ups can be boring - but they're excellent for strength and conditioning. The great thing about push-ups is that you can take them wherever you go - no equipment (other than you ) is necessary.

The following video from Strength Camp features some variations of the old standard exercise.

With the holidays coming, perhaps we should call December push-up month at

London Shido-kan Karate Dojo

Friday, November 15, 2013

No Excuses From This 64 Year Old

This fellow has taken "get back in shape" to a new level. His message is that it's never too late.

Check it out!

London Shido-kan Karate Dojo...

we're into fitness!

Parkour, Free-running, and other cool stuff

More inspiration to get more fit!

Unfortunately I couldn't embed the video into this post, but just click the link

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Playground Workouts

This is the video that originally got me interested in focusing more bodyweight training- the guy is still the original in my books. Many have come along after him.

At London Shido-kan Karate Dojo we employ  bodyweight training as well as traditional weight training for improving strength and function.

Exercise for subway tokens

Neat concept!

Friday, November 8, 2013

More great bodyweight training

Good morning

As I've said in other posts - while I enjoy lifting weights in the traditional sense - I really love doing exercises that employ one's own bodyweight.
This means that you need little or no equipment other than maybe a mat and a pull-up bar. You also don't need a ton of space to perform the exercises in.

Watch the link below first, then decide if you need to tailor it for your needs. You don't have to perform 50 repetitions of each exercise right off- start with as few as 10 if you like. Also if there is a movement that you're not able to perform without discomfort, simply drop that one and double-up on one that you like. The clip is called an MMA workout but is obviously not exclusive to those involved in mixed martial arts- or any martial art for that matter.

Have some fun with the routine. Time yourself the first time that you do it, and either add more repetitions to each exercise, or try to improve your time for the same numbers. Setting small short-term goals really helps to keep working out more interesting and motivating.

*if you any doubts about your ability to perform this or any other exercise program- or if you have sustained any type of injury- particularly in the back or neck region- contact your physician or qualified physio-therapist to receive medical clearance before attempting this exercise.

Bodyweight 500 by Funk Roberts

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Everything In Moderation? Or just some things..

Often when we say those words "everything in moderation" we are justifying indulging in something that we know we shouldn't. Ok not always - let's say sometimes to be safe.

The first things to come to mind are certain foods-  junk foods. There is a huge list. Then there are other vices like alcohol, cigarettes, and for some - illicit drugs. Hopefully anyone reading this will agree that "a moderate amount of meth" isn't acceptable ever. lol Most doctors will say that 2 or 3 alcoholic beverages a day is acceptable for the general population of adults. Barring of course those with health conditions or medication that would make it contraindicative to consume alcohol. 

Then there are those things that everyone agrees are good for us. Healthy food, water, exercise, love, karate, work, friends, etc.  (did I mention karate?) Can an excess of any of these things be bad for you? (no argument about work here)

As a former Canada Post letter-carrier I constantly heard comments from people about how great my job must be- all the wonderful exercise that I got walking everyday. I still laugh at something one fellow said  - a guy who worked at a computer terminal. He said " I'd love to have your job, just walking around to offices with mail saying - here you you go" He doesn't realize how long and how far some carriers walk everyday- and that's with carrying weight. But from his perspective, stuck at a desk all day, it looked pretty attractive. The truth is, all that walking day after day for over 22 years can take a toll on one's feet and knees. Especially for someone like myself who spends a lot of time in bare feet doing karate. My wife Joanne is still a letter-carrier with 26 years of service and she- on the other hand -doesn't suffer from foot pain...with Jo it's her hips. The smart thing to do in this situation - where repetitive stress can cause chronic pain and injuries - is to start on an exercise program to combat the effect of that repetitive motion. This is what Jo and I practice.
Of course I went one step further and left the post office at the end of July in favour of operating my karate dojo full time and embarking on a personal training business.  Within just a few weeks I noticed an improvement in how I felt in the feet and knees and I proceeded to increase the weight in my squats and other leg exercises. So now I am in pain again! I have increased the attention that I'm giving to my quadriceps (thighs) and as a result, I allowed my hamstrings to suffer. This created an imbalance that I am addressing with varying exercises and increasing flexibility training.
I was so happy with the new-found freedom of movement in my knees that I overdid things. It was too much of a good thing. 

I think that the message here is that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. It's mentally healthy to treat ourselves occasionally and give ourselves a break from being disciplined in some small way. Have a few potato chips once in a while- just don't eat the whole bag and run out to buy another. Similarly if we become too obsessed with our goals, fitness or career - wise, we can create other types of imbalance with our mental health, or with family and friends. It's important to be tuned in to the warning signs whether it's pain somewhere in your body, your clothes are getting too tight,or there is a strained relationship with someone close to you. Don't ignore the signs- make adjustments.

And remember to go to karate class



Thursday, October 24, 2013

Own Your Health

Good Morning

Today's blog is focused not on specific exercises - but on busy lifestyles and making the time in our schedules to fit an exercise program into our day.

Recently there was a photo posted by a woman named Maria Kang captioned "What's Your Excuse?"

Unfortunately many working mothers took exception to the photo and accused Maria of "fat-shaming" and showing off. I'm not one of those that is bashing Maria for her post or for being proud of her own accomplishment. My wife Joanne raised four children (three of them triplets) and juggled work, home-making, driving to sports activities and everything else that comes up during the day. She knows as well as anyone that a work-out doesn't hold much appeal when one falls asleep in utter exhaustion before your head barely hits the pillow.
And yes before you jump on me- I helped too!
It wasn't until the kids were close to twelve years of age that Jo joined a gym and started an exercise program. I'm sure if she could go back in time she would have done it sooner because of all the benefits she started to realize through working out. Looking great is only one result in choosing a healthier lifestyle. The more important long-term benefits are things like reduced stress, lower blood pressure, increased metabolism, improvements in bone-density, reduced pain in joints, better posture due to decreased back pain, and the list goes on.


So back to the photo of Maria. Her image outraged people because of the suggestion that a woman had to look like that in order be happy, healthy and fit. Whether she intended that or not- that's how many took it. This is not a new perception of course. The media and corporations have been doing it for years to sell products. They use models - male and female -  to suggest what the ideal body-type is and that if we use a particular product we have a better chance of assimilating. Perhaps a high percentage of people do start an exercise program to look better, but whatever the motivation is- if done properly-  the other benefits will follow. The trouble with the images models or competitive body-builders portray is that it's not usually a realistic goal for most "average" people. There is that all or nothing mentality. There is no point in striving to look a certain way if one is just going to fail (again) That's where people are mistaken - you don't need to have dramatic changes in your body composition just to improve your overall health and increase your chances of longevity.

Get Started

"I don't have the time" is likely the most common reason that people use. While there may be validity to that, there are still plenty of benefits to allotting 20 minutes a day for exercise. The other major issue is diet. When one is constantly running on a tight schedule, it's easy to get into the habit of grabbing fast or processed foods. High carbs, fats, sodium and processed sugar are the enemy, and quickly add pounds on the scale and do nasty things to the internal mechanisms of your body. There are many fitness and dietary experts available to help design a program. There are endless tutorial online workouts and websites. Joanne got started with for example. You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on gym memberships and personal trainers every single week. Once you establish goals and learn a few exercises you can go on your own. And you seriously only need 20 -30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week. If you think that you can't afford the time think again and be totally honest with yourself. How much time is spent on the computer or watching television? How long is a typical hockey or football game televised? Your health is so important so stop procrastinating. 

What to do then?

Not everyone can commit to attending a karate dojo 3 times a week (but I strongly recommend it ;-) ) It doesn't have to be all or nothing. Start to do something. There are some evenings where I don't particularly feel like doing "a whole workout" so I set a smaller goal for myself for that time. I will decide for example to choose 4 different exercises and perform a total of just 50 repetitions of each one. For example: push-ups, leg-raises, body-weight squats and inverted rows. Once I get into it and feeling good I will often end up doing more and before I know it a half hour has gone by and I feel 100% better- physically and mentally. 

The best way to start is moderately. Jumping into something that is too intense will likely just result in burn-out and even worse - an injury. You can enrol in a yoga program or a boot camp for beginners. Many community programs are available through schools or the city recreation department. You could join London Shido-kan Karate. :-)

Again if you're not sure how to get started or what to do- call someone who can help you. You could even call me.

Don't wait

The longer you put it off- the harder it gets. David Patchell Evans- the CEO and founder of Goodlife Fitness Centres has a great line that goes something like this. "Exercising is easy -living life unfit is hard" I apologize if that's not the exact wording but the message is clear. As well, the older we get, the longer it takes to heal. Don't let those minor aches and pains become chronic and debilitating for life. I see so many people in their  40's and even their late 30's who have just given up and it's sad to see. 

Have a great day and  be good to yourself - you're worth it!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013


Good Morning

No matter who we are or what we do -we often need inspiration to keep our momentum going. Some poor souls need it just to get up in the morning while others recharge daily to earn their next fortune. I suspect that most of the folks I associate with fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

This morning I found a website listing top inspirational quotes. Some are cheesy and cliche but many are powerful. Actually some of the best ones are just a few words.

Here is the link Inspiring Quotes.

 I hope that you're having a great day- but if you're struggling maybe you'll find something here to get a jump-start



Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stop Stressing...enjoy!

Good Morning

What I am referring to in the title of this post is our tendency as individuals, and as a society, to be goal-driven to the point that we can become so focused and driven in our activities, that we forget to enjoy the process of "getting there"- or we forget why we even started a particular activity in the first place.

Karate Belts

Obviously my first point of reference would be in karate training, but is certainly not limited to one particular martial art, sport or activity. Anyone who endeavours to learn a martial art, may do so for a number of reasons - to get in shape, learn self-defence, or even to appreciate the art. The potential for set-backs starts when one compares themself to others and begins focusing on one's shortcomings rather than feeling positive about learning new things and experiencing positive, measurable results (even small ones). In karate training-as in many martial arts- it's the pursuit of that next belt or black belt level that can cloud one's perspective- especially when someone who started at the same time as you seems to be progressing faster. ie getting a belt before you. When a student obsesses about belt testing, he or she may try to rush through material quickly to try to meet requirements and as a result lose focus on proper execution of technique -which is a more important  point of practising in the first place. It's self-defeating in the long run.

Gauging Progress

There are so many factors that can govern so-called progress including attendance in class, natural athletic ability, learning disabilities, short-term memory, pre-existing injuries, and of course attitude. With children it's the same as adults. There are kids that take to karate or other sports like a fish to water- while others struggle to assimilate. As an instructor, although it's rewarding and enjoyable to teach a "phenom", we can't be so focused on them that we forsake the rest of the class. The sharp kids make us look good as instructors, but we need to take responsibility for each member's progress. As an instructor I want to hear how a child may have improved in areas such as being more confident among his or her peers, or an improvement in concentrating in school, or a general improvement in over-all health and physical coordination. This is why I don't practice and teach a competition oriented style of karate - a child does not need to win a medal in a tournament to grow, and by avoiding these situations as much as possible, we avoid the confusion for  those young people who never make the podium.
I want to be clear here- I am not criticizing competition and those who enjoy it. I simply prefer to be more inclusive in my focus.

Intrinsic Value

So whether one is learning to play a musical instrument, practice yoga or tai-chi, to dance or learn a martial art -it's my belief that we need to stop and appreciate the activity for what it is- something that can bring joy to our lives and add value to our leisure time. Our activities should be a mental vacation from those daily stress triggers that we deal with like work, finances and family responsibilities. From time to time, remind yourself why you started the activity in the first place,and try to come back to that initial excitement of just doing something for yourself that you enjoy. Something that makes your life better.

Have a fantastic weekend!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Safe Ab Crunch

Here is a link that was shared by Elliott Hulse today and I thought I would pass it along. It's a beneficial abdominal exercise for those people that suffer from lower back pain or injury.

If you are someone who has experienced an injury or low back discomfort, you should consult with a physician or qualified physiotherapist before attempting this or any other exercise that is new to you or that you're unfamiliar with.

Here is the link to the exercise

Safe Abdominal Crunch

Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Benefits of Martial Arts for Kids

Good Evening

I hope that everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving long weekend. I stumbled  onto this article on the benefits of martial arts for children and thought that- although fairly general- it was worth reading. The author brought up some good points regarding choosing the right school and style for you and/or your child.

Check back for more posts this week


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Another Great Exercise

Good Morning

Today's body weight exercise- the inverted row- is an alternative to the seated row, which requires some kind of machine or pulley system to perform- and also the bent-over row which is a traditional barbell lift used to develop the large back muscles called the latissimus dorsi (lats). The seated row and bent-over row are demonstrated all over the internet so I won't spend any time describing them here.

The inverted row is an exercise that develops many muscles including lats, rhomboids, trapezius, biceps, rear deltoid, and the rotator cuff muscles. There is also focus on the core abdominal and lower lumbar areas used to stabilize the upper body during repetitions.

The exercise is performed by laying under a supported bar and doing a "pull up". The bar can be raised or lowered to adjust for the angle that the body is held in during the repetition - thus changing the emphasis on certain muscle groups accordingly. Be sure to retract (squeeze together) the shoulder blades to engage the back muscles prior to pulling yourself upward with your arms.
It's important to transfer the load properly by using your muscles in the correct sequence. This is true for any exercise.

Please view the links below to view two versions on the inverted row and give them a try. If you don't have the equipment available you just may need to join our dojo London Shido-kan Karate


*if you any doubts about your ability to perform this or any other exercise- or if you have sustained any type of injury- particularly in the back or neck region- contact your physician or qualified physio-therapist to receive medical clearance before attempting this exercise.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Crisis Averted

Good evening

I was so mad at myself for messing up the background on my blog page that I kept at it until I figured out a way to fix it. In the end it wasn't too complicated and I'm pleased with the result - it's a little cleaner and easier to read without the distracting panel. Also- I think now that I can update it or customize it whenever I please :-)

I have a couple more video clips to edit and upload to You Tube for my next post.

Happy Sunday


Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oop's - I messed up!

Good morning
If you are reading this post then you are also noticing the odd appearance of the page. Yesterday while on my Google+ account I accidentally deleted an image file that provided the background theme for this page. I wish I could go into my recycle bin and retrieve it but it's not there. (yes..I actually looked lol) I will post again when the problem is resolved. Thanks for your patience
Have a great weekend!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Happy Friday! Roll into the weekend

Good Day -'s Friday! 

Friday's have long been my favourite day of the week - even more than Saturday's. It's that feeling one has knowing that there are two whole days of freedom ahead. Even though I have retired from the post office, that Friday feeling hasn't diminished. It means that it's the weekend for my wife Joanne and we can do things together. I am so fortunate to be able to practice and teach karate full-time now and develop my personal training endeavour at the same time.

The great thing about not having a day job is that  feeling of Sunday evening gloom is gone!

So onto the abdominal roll-outs. Most people have probably seen an ab-wheel. They are only around $10 - $15 to purchase, but are a great tool. Not only do you train your abdominal muscles when you use it, but also the lumbar and erector muscles in the back, plus the shoulders and upper trapezius. When doing the roll-out be sure to contract the abdominal muscles with a slight crunching action or upper pelvic tilt to prevent the low back from sagging - therefore keeping a neutral spine. As well - even the glutes and hamstring muscles become engaged on extension.

*This can be a difficult exercise if you've never tried it and you should be careful not to go into a full extension of the movement at first attempt. A foundation of core strength is important before attempting this exercise. Movements like leg-raises, sit-ups, crunches, and planks should be employed first. If you have any doubts about your ability to perform this or any other exercise- or if you have sustained any type of injury- particularly in the  back or neck region- contact your physician or qualified  physio-therapist beforehand to get clearance.

Click here to view exercise demo clip

So now onto the advanced version of the movement which is performed from your toes instead of using the knees as a pivot point. This obviously increases the percentage of your body-weight being supported and puts tremendous strain on the lower back. It's like having a long dowel in your closet being used to support too many heavy garments. If all the clothing is crowded into the middle, the dowel will sag and even break. By putting an extra support at the mid-point of the closet rod this is avoided. The way that we solve this problem in regards to the exercise is to employ an exercise band as we did in the supported pull-ups. The heavier the band one uses (in relation to body-weight), greater is the support that is achieved. As one becomes stronger, a lighter rubber band can be substituted until the exercise can be performed without one.
No -I'm not there yet. But you can be sure that I will post it when I am!

Again -  use caution when attempting this or any other exercise. If you can't perform at least ten repetitions of the basic roll-out do not do this one yet. Don't get hurt- it just sets you back days, weeks or even months in achieving your fitness goals

Click here for the video clip -advanced/supported version

Check in frequently for updates and exercises. The next installment will be another back exercise with a new person performing one of the movements.

Have a fantastic weekend!!


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Body - Weight Exercise

Fitness is a big part of training at London Shido-kan Karate Dojo and for myself personally, I enjoy resistance training with barbells, dumbells, and kettle bells etc, but I also like to do various body - weight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups and a variety of calisthenics like burpees and mountain climbers.  

At our dojo we have a good selection of equipment (which is constantly growing) but for variety,  I occasionally go to the gym with my wife Joanne. Even though the gym is well-equipped I seldom- if ever- implement machines. I prefer to do exercises that  employ the greatest possible degree of core stability and whole-body integration. For example, when doing a shoulder press with either a barbell or dumbell (s) - it's preferable to do so in a standing position, rather than sitting. That way the low back, hips and legs all become involved in the exercise. This is just one example of many. Of course there are traditional exercises that defy any tampering with -  dead lifts, squats, power cleans, etc.

In this installment I am going to talk about Pull- Ups (or chin-ups)

The Pull Up

An old standard for developing strength in the back (lats) and biceps, this exercise is often called chin-ups. The difference in the two exercises is the grip one uses: chin-ups use an underhand grip (supinated) or palms facing you, and pull-ups use an overhand grip (pronated) with your palms facing outwards or away from you. Slightly wider than shoulder width is a good position for your hands,  but can be varied when the movement becomes more comfortable or for the purpose of customizing the focal point. In both versions the objective is to pull your body high enough that your chin clears the bar. Chin-ups are usually easier to do for most people due to the biceps being engaged more directly in the movement. In both versions the scapula (shoulder blades) should be retracted or squeezed together to properly stabilize and engage the muscles of the back before the load is transferred to the shoulders and arms.
The purpose of this article is to discuss and demonstrate an assisted pull-up using a heavy rubber exercise band to take up a percentage of body weight so that more repetitions can be achieved. This is helpful for beginners  who may not yet be capable of lifting their own body-weight for many reps- or for the more advanced who wish to perform a large number of repetitions in sets.

In the following video clip I am using a rubber band to perform a set of wide-grip pull-ups. I would typically use the band after exhausting myself with several sets and try to accumulate at least 50 reps.The movement should be done in a steady manner, avoiding excessive swinging and lurching upwards if possible. Simply loop the band over the bar and hook one knee into it. Try to position your body as naturally as possible- meaning - no leaning backwards or forwards. You can alternate which knee is used for support each time..

Assisted Wide-Grip Pull-Ups - click to view video

Check back next installment for a demonstration of the "roll-out" using a simple abdominal wheel. I will discuss the basic and advanced versions of the exercise.

Stay healthy!


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Karate is Good for Children

Karate Kids: The Benefits of Martial Arts

By Alison Hendrie
With a bloodcurdling cry, your 6-year-old leaps into the air in a karate kick, raising your hair and blood pressure simultaneously. Before you panic and pad the walls, try channeling this urge into a martial arts class.

Activities like tae kwon do, kung fu, and aikido are a fun way for both boys and girls to achieve fitness and focus. Some parents may think they also promote violence, but that's a myth, according to experts. The martial arts actually help teach self-discipline and socialization skills. In fact, many parents whose children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report great success with these programs because self-control and concentration are exactly the skills underdeveloped in ADHD kids.

A typical hour-long class begins and ends with a bow to the teacher, or master. After a warm-up, students practice the art's particular skills, which may include kicks, punches, and blocks. Each requires concentration and strict attention.

Progress is often marked by the belt system, which takes the beginner from a white belt through a variety of colors until black. Testing for each new level, generally every three months, is a good exercise in setting and achieving goals.

But, say experts, it's the respect kids learn, whether from bowing or standing still and waiting for the next command, that can be the most important benefit: It often carries over into school, helping to improve behavior and even grades, according to recent research.

"Six is usually a good age to start classes," says Mimi Johnson, M.D., a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness. By that time a child should have enough muscle control to punch and turn properly and safely  -- essential to getting a real kick out of the martial art he chooses. READ MORE about Karate and Children

Monday, September 2, 2013

Every Kid Counts!

At London Shido-kan Karate Dojo we are a non-competitive school, meaning- we don't attend tournaments as a rule. Our association Shido-kan Karate Canada, headed up by Sensei Roy Paul, has an annual friendship kata tournment. There are no fighting divisions as in most competitions.

In a traditional karate setting it's imperative that EVERY student experience growth and positive feedback as a result of his or her karate training. Yes each dojo has students who are "quick studies" so-to-speak - but those kids are like sponges when it comes to retaining information or reproducing techniques.
I am not suggesting that we own the franchise on this ideology- but in a society where competitive athletes are revered (even at a young age) we just may stand out in this way of thinking.

I will speak more of this in future posts.

For now it is my pleasure to direct you to a blog that belongs to a parent of one of our students- and a person I think of as a friend. Please have a look at Melissa Corbeil's article - Melissa Corbeil's blog

Thank you Melissa for your kind words and allowing me the privilege of teaching your daughters karate

Saturday, August 31, 2013

London Shido-kan Karate's New Blog

Welcome to my new blog...

where I will share various ideas about traditional karate and martial arts in general. I will also be posting some fitness training tips and video clips as well. 

I look forward to implementing this blog to promote and responding to comments and feedback

Stay tuned for lots to come

Larry Bowlby

London Shido-kan Karate Dojo
owner/head instructor

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Karate in London Ontario for Adults, Kids, and custom programs!

London Shido-kan Karate Dojo

karate for kids, london ontario

Watch for news of big changes to London Shido-kan in the coming months. Additional classes and programs coming - including personal fitness training.

For more information about the Beikoku Shido-kan Karate Do Organization, please visit:

Please call Sensei Larry Bowlby at 519-495-7039 to arrange to visit and/or try a free class.