Archive | September 2013

A weekend of firsts – Part one

So T went to her first Jujitsu lesson at the weekend. We’d spent the week talking about it. She was very excited, she’d asked lots of questions – “Can I take a toy with me?” “Will I get my suit like L‘s?”. The sleeps had been counted, “4 sleeps until Saturday!”, “3 sleeps until Saturday!”, “2 sleeps until Saturday!”, “1 sleep until Saturday!”….until finally it WAS actually Saturday. “Today I’m going to Jujitsu!”

She happily and enthusiastically got dressed, had her unruly and crazy hair tied back. She did the rounds, saying goodbye to Husband and G, exiting the house squealing “I’m going to Jujitsu now!”. Climbed into the car and off we went, myself, T and L (who wanted to come and watch her little sister do what she herself loves.)

Once there T skipped in, but she suddenly became shy and clingy. She can get like this sometimes, but I haven’t seen it in a long time, and assumed that as she had been so excited by attending, that it wouldn’t be an issue. How wrong I was.

She did go in, with some gentle coaxing by Hayley one of the seniors and Tots instructors. Hayley was brilliant, gentle and encouraging, without smothering her. It was unfortunate that T was the only girl in the group. However, that can’t be helped, and she’s never had a problem with boys before. So she went in, L and I went upstairs to the viewing area, we watched, noses almost pressed against the glass. We sat with the other parents, all of whom were all ooing and ahhing at the youngsters doing the warm up exercises. It was lovely to watch all the little people, clearly enjoying it. Renshi came up and introduced himself and explained that the Tots sessions would be different from the Juniors and Seniors, as they would not just be learning solely the art of Jujitsu and self defence, but they would also learn about bullying. He also explained that he would also organise a visit from the local Police to speak to the children. Attending these sessions would also, hopefully, increase their confidence.

I relaxed, and sat back to watch. Blissfully unaware that at that moment Hayley was bringing T back to me. She was in floods of tears. My heart sank. I knew by looking at her that she wasn’t going to go back downstairs and join them. There was nothing wrong, I believe she was just overwhelmed by it all. I suppose I had wrongly assumed that because L loves it, and that T had been to watch and knew what it entailed, that she would slot right in. We spoke to Renshi before we left, and bless him he even tried getting her to go back in by promising to shave off his beard! But when T makes up her mind, there isn’t much you can do to change it.

So we left early, and we’ll try again in a couple of weeks. I know I sound like a pushy parent. Please believe me  when I say I’m not, but I am a firm believer of getting back on the horse and facing your fears. If the next time is unsuccessful then at least we’ll know for sure.

(Big thanks to Hayley and Renshi of A S Jujitsu, for the support and encouragement you showed T at the weekend.)

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33 Years old!!

Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!   (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well today is the birthday of yours truly….I am 33 years old today! Eek…..

Firstly I want to say a BIG thank you to the Husband for my gorgeous present. You’ve done well this year. Well done for listening. xx

Well done to my Mum, who has been a Mum for 33 years!! I bet that makes you feel old! ha ha ha Love you Mum bundles xx

So what does one do on their birthday when they begin creeping towards their mid-thirties. What does one do on  their birthday when you have three children, no babysitter, and the Husband (who DIDN’T take the day off work) who won’t walk in the front door until nearly 8 O’clock tonight?

I did all my partying in my twenties. Spending hours getting ready, choosing the “perfect” outfit, shoes, handbag, doing hair and make-up, sorting out who’s meeting who and where, Pub crawls, rounds of drinks, tottering in too-high shoes into the nightclub, knocking back the shots, visiting the loos to preen and primp, playing “pull-a-pig”, flirting with a member of the opposite sex to obtain a free drink, more shots, taking off the too-high shoes, falling out of the nightclub, taking possession of a burger/kebab/chips, trying to hail a taxi, usually ended up walking home minus the shoes (which are now tucked under my arm), and throwing myself on the bed, sometimes still fully dressed. No, the thought of getting drunk now and suffering a hang-over (especially with children around) DOES NOT appeal to me one iota. I would much rather watch someone else younger and/or more stupid than me suffer instead.

Suddenly I feel “old” is this normal? I would much rather go to the local pub and have drinks there with the Husband and a few friends, pop into the local Indian and then come home NOT DRUNK.

Currently on my birthday, I have done the school run, been grocery (!) shopping at the local Co-op, put some washing on, cleaned the kitchen, emptied the dishwasher, painted a dolls china tea-set with T, finished and published a post on my blog, had three very LARGE cups of coffee, spoken to various members of my family, replied to birthday text messages. Very Rock n Roll!

And tonight…well lets see what happens.

However, I am content with it. I have done my partying days (thank goodness! If I had to do them again, I think it would kill me!) and I have safely stored them away. (Disclaimer: They can be taken out at will and dusted off as and when the need/want arises.)

Crikey I do sound old don’t I?

Girl did good…

L with her new and well deserved yellow belt and certificate

L with her new and well deserved yellow belt and certificate

You may remember my post about eldest L learning Jujitsu a while ago. Well I am over the moon to say that last weekend L undertook her first “grading” (to non Jujitsu folk, much like myself, this is the term used when the individual displays their knowledge of the moves they have learnt – much like an exam.) L is now a yellow belt is she is very proud of herself and quite rightly so.

Since my last post she has increased her weekly classes from 1 to 2. She attended very nearly all her classes throughout the summer holidays. And not once has she shown any lack of enthusiasm or boredom. Not once has she had to be encouraged, nagged or talked into going. It’s clear that she absolutely loves it.

Myself and others have started noticing a real change in L. Physically she looking great. Is it wrong for a 33 year old to be jealous of a 9 year olds muscles?? The definition in her arms and legs are discreet but enviable. She is even starting to show signs of a mini six-pack! Jealous much?!? Oh yes big time!

Her confidence and self-assurance is growing in bundles. This is very welcoming.  She has always been sensitive and worried about others think to the point where it irritates me immensely. But I am seeing this bubble grow around her. She is growing to like herself and  to enjoy  what she is doing without constantly worrying about pleasing others and what they think. She even carries herself in a different way. She has even offered to “look after me” if trouble started at the local fair!

I still cannot see any downside to this hobby/sport/martial art. So much so that my middle child, T will be starting the TOTS sessions (4-7 year olds) when they begin in a little over 2 weeks. She is over the moon. She has been intrigued ever since L began going, and seems to love the fact that she will be doing the same as her big sister. She has been with me to watch a session and doesn’t seem put off. She has even asked me when I will be buying her a “suit” of her own. (Suit = GI). Personally I think that Renshi (*) is mad! T has the energy of a nuclear powerplant on overload, is a complete Little Miss Chatterbox with not much in the way of physical prowess . But hats off to the man – rather him than me!

L is also looking forward to T starting and has been giving her some verbal coaching. “You must listen to Renshi.” “You must not chat when he is talking.” “You have to listen and try really hard to do what he shows you.”  L has even shown and tried teaching T the basic break-falls which, I believe is one of the basic first things taught. It’s hilarious. I think L likes the fact her little sister is following in her footsteps. And so do I. Who knows maybe in two years time G, my youngest, could sign up too. I could have my own little Jujitsu clan who can look after their old mum!

I’ve even considered joining myself (Please pick yourself off the floor and stop laughing…!)I have approached Renshi about if I would be able to join. Although he said yes with no hesitation, I am worried that after three children and not too much (any!) exercise I may be too wobbly. So watch this space.

So I end this post on a very happy note. I am big time, excessively proud of L, of her achievements, her hard work, effort and enthusiasm.

And  still hold a HUGE big thumbs up children learning Jujitsu or any sport for that matter. Encourage, don’t push. but GO FOR IT!


* Definition of the title of Renshi

 (Special thanks to Renshi Aaron Stevens 4th Dan of A.S Jujitsu for the following text, and for providing me with much assistance.)

The title signifies that you are a polished, expert instructor, who have devoted themselves to the powerful transformational effects that martial arts have, when taught properly and with upmost care. It is not necessarily associated with rank like most people commonly perceive. It’s about a person’s ability to teach and share knowledge to those students under their care. Because it takes many, many years to become an expert (in any field of study), spending an average of 10,000 hours practicing the craft, normally only high ranking black belts receive this statute.

There are today ten Dan levels and three Samurai titles that can be awarded in Kosho Ryu Kempo & jui Jitsu in our United Martial Arts Academies. The tenDan levels are awarded in the following order starting from the lowest rank,Sho Dan (1st Dan) and going to the highest rank Ju Dan (10th Dan) :


  • Sho Dan or 1st Dan – at this rank no formal samurai title is awarded.
  •  Ni Dan or 2nd Dan – at this rank no formal samurai title is awarded.
  •  San Dan or 3rd Dan – at this rank no formal samurai title is awarded.
  •  Yon Dan or 4th Dan – at this rank the formal samurai title of Renshi may be awarded.
  •  Go Dan or 5th Dan – at this rank the formal samurai title of Renshi may be awarded.
  •  Rokku Dan or 6th Dan – at this rank the formal samurai title of Renshi may be awarded.
  •  Schichi Dan or 7th Dan – at this rank the formal samurai title of Kyoshi may be awarded.
  •  Hachi Dan or 8th Dan – at this rank the formal samurai title of Kyoshi may be awarded.
  •  Ku Dan or 9th Dan – at this rank the formal samurai title of Hanshi may be awarded.
  •  Ju Dan or 10th Dan – at this rank the formal samurai title of Hanshi may be awarded.


The three Samurai titles hold the following meanings :

 RENSHI : “A person who has mastered oneself”.

This person is considered an expert instructor. Renshi are no longer one of the many and is usually given at Yo Dan (4th Dan) or Go Dan (5th Dan). It is not unusual for a Renshi to have over 20 years of training before this title is ever conferred upon them.

 KYOSHI : “Knowledgeable person”.

Usually this title is conferred at Roku Dan (6th Dan) or Shichi Dan (7th Dan). It is not unusual for a Kyoshi to have over 30 years of training  before this title is ever conferred upon them.

 HANSHI : “Root Waterer Master”.

A title given to the oldest and most senior black belt, usually the head of an individual karate organization, someone who has studied the art of karate for most of their lifetime. This rank signifies their true understanding of the art. It is not uncommon for a Hanshi to have over 40-50 years of training before this title is ever conferred upon them.

Thumbs up to Summer 2013

The school holidays are officially over *sad face* and we are now fully back to routine and alarm clocks, packed lunches, school uniform, after school clubs, school run morning rush, “have you remembered your *insert required object here*?”, early morning squabbles. You know the usual things. The things that can easily be forgotten when the holiday switch is turned ON.

But turning the holiday switch to OFF is much harder especially when the summer holidays have been so completely lovely.

It went too quickly, way too quickly – as good times always do. We haven’t had an actual “holiday” this year. I’m talking about a real abroad packing suitcases type of holiday. A spending numerous weeks getting prepared, writing lists, organising pet care, sorting out passports, foreign currency, travellers cheques, buying new clothes, sun-cream, washing, ironing, supervising the hand luggage packing, is transport/transfer booked, leaving travel details with relatives, arguing about which entertainment products the kids can take, sorting out the chargers for the phones, does the mobile work abroad?, having the “how many pairs of shoes do you need?” conversation with the Husband, (and that’s all before we’ve even left the house) type of holiday.

Kids and Husband playing Lego

Kids and Husband playing Lego

No, we’ve had a holiday at home this year. And what a fabulous holiday. Scorching gorgeous sunburny temperatures, almost every day. A summer filled with days in the garden using the paddling pool (and probably doubling our water bills – sorry Husband), crabbing down at the back-waters (not necessarily my cup of tea, but the kids loved it!), beach trips (we are very lucky to live 2 minutes from the beach, but it hasn’t stopped me lusting after a beach hut *note to self must win the lottery*), picnics in the garden/park, visits to the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary (fabulous fabulous fabulous) more picnics and sun there, Lego playing (still undecided on whether finding the big box of Lego was actually a good idea – it hurts when you stand on it – but thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone (Husband, 20 year old s/son, L – 9y/o, T – 4 y/o and G – 2y/o) sitting around on the lounge floor building Lego houses – no telly just background music and conversation).

We even went across the Channel and spent an utterly fabulous day in Le Touquet, France. This required Yours Truly to be very brave – we went via ferry from Dover to Calais – I DON’T DO boats, of any kind;  I get seasick and have a real fear of the sea. I put this to one side however, so that the kids could experience it. They loved it and although I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it, I am glad I did it.

Kids bundled in car on way to ferry in Pjs

Kids bundled in car on way to ferry in Pjs

Beach at Le Touquet, France

Beach at Le Touquet, France

Husband and Kids - Le Touquet

Husband and Kids – Le Touquet

We had an early start; leaving our house at 3am to catch the 6.40am ferry from Dover. The kids found being dragged out of bed in the middle of the night and bundled into the car still wearing their PJs very exciting. Did they fall back to sleep? Erm, a big fat NO on that one. In fact it was chat chat chat all the way to the boat. Did I mind? Not in the slightest, I had a flask of very strong coffee to hand. And I’m pleased to report that I survived the ferry crossing.

Our day in Le Touquet was absolutely deliciously lovely and re-ignited my love of France. So much so in fact that at home 24 hours later I was looking, more accurately dreaming (another lottery win needed) of buying a house there.

We’ve also done the obligatory holiday activities: Cinema – Smurfs 2 (numb bums, over expensive popcorn/fizzy drinks and of course a trip to the toilet right at the good bit of the film), Pizza Hut lunches, shopping trips, taking L to get her ears pierced, staying up late, visits to Colchester Zoo which include face painting, attending the Great Bentley village fete – more face painting, tombola, raffles and donkey rides.

L's ears very newly pierced

L’s ears very newly pierced

Face painting at Great Bentley village fair

Face painting at Great Bentley village fete

Donkey rides at Great Bentley village fete

Donkey rides at Great Bentley village fete

The kids and I also had an unexpected “sleep-over” at my Parent’s house. We drove to Southend for the day while Husband and S/son went to a rugby match (was my nose put out of joint at this? Yes, very much so, but that’s for another day). So it was Saturday 24th August and the heavens opened. It was very possibly the worst rain that Southend and a majority of the South East has seen in many years. It became obvious mid-afternoon that we would be unable to come home. Road after road in and around Southend were being closed. The thought of going out in the car with the kids, not much petrol or any supplies did not appeal to me, so we bunked down for the night. The kids shared the spare double and me on a makeshift bed on the floor. It was good though despite not having come “prepared” and it dawned on me that actually I don’t need to carry with me things I would have previously deemed essential.

It also was lovely for me to almost revert back to being a daughter; kissing my dad goodnight for example. It made me realise how much I miss doing that.

So a good summer all round in my mad-house. Roll on summer 2014….(please repeat the sunshine!)

Me and kids at Colchester Zoo

Me and kids at Colchester Zoo

Fun at the Owl Sanctuary

Fun at the Owl Sanctuary

Painting in the garden

Painting in the garden

Fun at the beach

Fun at the beach

Kids posing with giant Meerkat at Colchester Zoo

Kids posing with giant Meerkat at Colchester Zoo