The Perfect Focus

Finding focus in a blurry world…

Hiding the fear… Make the jump…


Well it’s after 11PM as I type this and I will be heading to bed very shortly. But today is the day before the Pennsylvania State Judo Championships; and it’s time for that gut feeling to creep up on me again. I guess people who compete should get use to this, but I never do.

To be honest, it’s not the fighting that worries me. I’m not afraid I’ll get hurt, after all I have been doing judo for 15-years now. It’s not the fact I’m in a black belt division, I can hold my own. – As a teacher, I am more worried about my students then myself… But what really bothers me is simply the travel of getting there and the new location.

Lemmings Jump

I will be traveling with one of my students, as I often do, and I have traveled with them before. They know the drill, about not walking off and telling me where they will be. It seems silly, I’m an adult, I should not care about this kind of thing, should I?

Once we’re at the event, and I get oriented to the location, find bathrooms, locker rooms and mat locations. Chat with the guys I always see at these events… I’m fine… It’s the initial jump that often freezes me up and it’s so damn annoying!

As often is the case, I hide this fear very well. After all, students do not need to see me freaking out; hell, they are looking to me to calm them down! Until things get moving to occupy my mind, I’m in a state of “get me the hell out of here“… but when the task is at hand, be it photographing an event, or coaching my students, the fear switch clicks off, and I’m fine.

Elaine brought this up at our last lesson; when she was a bit surprised to my answer when she had asked, “How comfortable did you feel navigating the mall? – 1 to 5“… I told her a 3 out of 5… She says, “you hide it very well… You didn’t look nervous to me.” I don’t know what to say to that? I guess it’s all my years of teaching kids and having to show an assertive, confidante role.

I spend all my time building the confidence of others; only to realize I have little confidence in myself… Crap, did I just physco-analyze myself?

Thankfully though, thanks to some Ambien at least now days I can get some sleep before such events. That really helps, because I use to lay awake and dwell on the fear. (Relax folks, I only take the Ambien a few times a month, as needed only.) But you still need to wake up, and the fear is back, nervous, fidgety, not wanting to eat, force myself to eat breakfast, sweaty palms, upset stomach. It really sucks. – Normally about half way to the event, I manage to start feeling better.

But again it’s that initial jump! I’m really working to overcome this. That’s why I posted about it. So, do share your thoughts, please.

See you in the morning!

Possibly Related Posts:


Mall Field Trip!


This past weekend one of my judo students parents Kathy, my mom, and me, took a field trip to King of Prussia Mall. As mom herself does not like driving long distances alone, Kathy offered to come along as she had nothing better to do.

My main objective of course was to visit the Apple Store, and check out the new MacBook Pro 17-inch matte screen laptops, and if they had gotten in any of the new Mac Pro towers yet. The trip down was uneventful, and traffic was not too bad.

We entered the mall, and I was more then shocked that it was very crowded. But we made our way to the restrooms first, with me leading the way. As always the cane comes in handy some times, most nice folks move aside when they see me coming. I still find this some what amusing – in a good way.

After our small rest stop, we headed to the Apple Store, I entered and looked around. To my surprised they did in fact have both a MacBook Pro 17-inch matte screen system, and glossy screen system side by side to look at. The matte screen is likely the one I will get; I did find the matte screen much easier to read. I set the resolution down from it’s native 1920 by 1200 to 1152 by 720, I think it was, and every thing seemed OK to read. Of coruse if I use it at my desk at home I will hook it up to my 23-inch Apple HD Display. I will have to order the system on-line to get the hardware I need installed, and request the matte screen option. – Not that I mind, I would get a nice 18% discount because of my membership to NAPP, (The National Association of Photoshop Professionals).


©Apple Inc.

Yes I’m still kicking MacBook Pro vs Mac Pro tower around in my head! But MacBook Pro still seems to be winning!

Our, (my), main objective complete we had nothing better to do then roam around the mall, no rush, nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon. Kathy grabbed a mall map, and we headed to the food-court to grab something to eat. We got some stuff from Taco Bell… Leisurely ate our food and chatted. I was explaining to Kathy about my Orientation and Mobility training, and how some day Elaine wanted me travel here, to the mall, on the bus, alone… Kathy jokingly suggested that her and my mom leave, and I could ride the bus home now. All in jest, and we laughed, but I really don’t like that. It is a big fear of mine. – Why is it so hard for some to understand a fear? It’s so simple of a task for some, but yet for folks like me, travel is some what of a mini-triumph when accomplished.

compusWe finished eating, and roamed some more. Kathy stopped in some small shops looking for a small gift to give to her son, for his birthday this week. Nothing was found, cheap any way. Did I mention King of Prussia Mall is really kind of high dollar to us simple town folk? It’s not easy to find something cheap at KOP.

We continued walking and visited a few other stores. One sold luggage, nice bags and all, but again, not cheap. Mom seen a bag she liked, but it was $79, others I looked at that would hold laptops and such where around $180… We walked on… We seen another store that sold tea, (Teavana) and partook in some free samples, very tasty! This is one I will have to remember, I do like hot teas. As I recall the average price was around $15 for 4oz tea dried tea.

We then made our way out and to another whole building of the mall complex. Kathy then spotted The Cheesecake Factory, and we popped in to visit. She got a slice of Cheesecake ($8 – Slice!), to take home for her son and her to share. I thought the place neat, but did not care for the way it was lit, and it’s dark bar like atmosphere. I don’t like dark crowded stores. But I survived.

We then made our way to Borders Books. I was awe struck. It looked like a damn library; you could have fit five plus of our local Borders in this place. (Can you tell I don’t get out much?) Kathy headed off to look for some books for her son, and I headed to the photography section. WOW they actually had a selection of books! Amazing! A few of the books I had actually wanted for years about portrait photography and lighting. Sadly I really don’t need them now, I really do very little studio portrait lighting any more, every thing is sports or on-location. But it was nice to look.

With the mall almost ready to close now just before 7PM on Sunday, Kathy found some books for her son and we headed out to go home. The trip was fun, and by far was the longest, and most we had ever roamed around in the King of Prussia Mall. If my travels and skills come about, I could see myself going almost weekly to simply walk around.

Possibly Related Posts:


  • 4 Comments
  • Filed under: Personal
  • A kick ass judo class…


    We now have one class left till the PA State Judo Championships. I have 6 students going, plus Sensei Andy, and myself, to fight. My main man Dylan is really sick right now, he missed a WHOLE WEEK of school. He stopped into visit us tonight, but he’s still very ill, poor kid.

    101 Judo Games for KidsI worked the class really hard last week, and played some different judo games I learned from my “101 Judo Games for Kids” DVD , Sensei Fred got me… Dude that DVD is SO COOL! If your a kids judo coach, you MUST get this DVD!

    We did an under-over relay race, where one student belly crawled threw the others legs, turned, and then threw the standing student… That really got the blood move’n… Then we played “Snakes“, in this game we scatter sections of cut belts all over the mat, they are “Snakes“, the kids as partners, tug and pull for grip, and move there partner to try and get ‘bit‘… if you get bit (step on a belt), they get to throw you! …

    Then we did another grip game, in groups of 3, one student has a cut belt section tucked in there judo obi, the other partner is a “human shield“, and the 3rd player must then try to get around BOTH and grab the cut belt… (they really liked this game)… We finished class with some foot sweeps, and then standing randori (free fighting). I so love that DVD, Sensei Fred got me! They all think they are having fun, when they are actually learning good judo skills!

    This week we did the under-over relay race again for warm-ups. The a grip drill with the belt tabs, kind of like 2-hand tug-of-war… We finished that section of warm-ups with a body drag, where again you hold the two belt sections and pull your partner the whole length of the mat. This all helps with grip strength, that is very important in judo.

    Ippon-Seoi-NageThen it was time for the fun! With the kids paired off with partners of equal size, and me going with student, Matt. We did the “Word Record” drill. Really very simple, you throw your partner as many times as you can with good throws, in 30-seconds! Slowest team does 10 push-ups!

    We started with Osoto Gari – (Large Outer Reap), I managed 10, others managed as little as 4 others, 7 or 8 throws. Then we moved to Ouchi Gari – (Large Inner Reaping), I managed 10, others managed 8 or 9… By now, ever one was gasping for air; (should kids really sound like pack a day smokers?), but the fun was not over yet. We had one more round! We finished the set with Ippon Seonage – (One Arm Shoulder Throw), I managed 11, others managed 8 to 10 throws… By now we got sweat on the mat, and the kids are really sucking air bad… We rested for about 1-minute, and finished class with a 1-minute found of hard randori (standup fighting).

    The kids will sleep tonight I guarantee it!

    Well, with only one more class to go before States I’m fat… I need to loose 5lbs to make my weight class of 145lbs (66kg)… But I’m working at it… Riding my exercise bike almost every day… But if I don’t make it, thats fine too. I don’t like cutting weight, and I never advise any one to do it, it’s simply not healthy.

    I really hope every one does well at States! They have worked so hard for me lately. I’m very proud them!

    Possibly Related Posts:


  • 2 Comments
  • Filed under: Judo