Week 2, check.

Week 2 was as challenging as the first.

I began with a sharp deep pain in the inner part of the joint of my left knee -as if I were 90 years old. Not sure where that came from, as not even with Bikram Yoga it has ever happened before, but Mr. Benavides and Sensei Oquendo have assured me it will be gone… in a few years, maybe…

They say, and I quickly learn, there are just parts of the body never trained that are awakened with martial arts.

The very deep, squared-hip, sustained lounging and forward / backward travel of the zenkutsu-dachi ( 前屈立 ) and the kokutsu-dachi ( 後屈立 ), while learning my first kata : taykioku ( 太極 ) shodan -or chinese taiji, the ying and yang or the oneness before duality, are some of the most intensive tasks my body has physically endured. Also, working on creating the power that needs to be exerted to perform good striking techniques or uchi-waza ( 打ち技 ).


Also, this past week I tuned in to the approval of Karate as a competitive sport in Tokyo 2020, by the International Olympic Committee. Dreams of old Japan stirred up, and dreams of learning japanese, and a plan to be there -as spectators or in competition- is now set into motion for myself and the Kuro-Obi Dojo Team.


About the Team : we are a good one… We have everything from 40+ years in practice like Mr. Benavides, and 35+ years like Sensei Oquendo, to 10+ years in Engerbert Jr., Jorge Jr., Diego, and Enrique, and novices -like me.

I intend to, by then have reached my most optimal level before the Tokyo Olympic Games arrive, and that -by my calculations- means I could be a Black Belt 2nd Dan. I just have to keep doing what I am doing, work hard every day, and test as regularly scheduled every 3-4 months. In order to attend the U.S. Open however, and us all have any sort of shot to make an Olympic Team -to be structured- or become refs, we have to participate and compete and rise in various settings starting with our local / regional event on August 20, and work our way to other larger like other regions -in October competing in Altanta GA, the National championship, and international settings -like the Panamerican, European, and World championships.

For now, ONE day at a time…



-Tabitha. White Belt, Bikram Yoga Practitioner + Usui Ryoho Reiki Master

5 Reasons


The five reasons why Martial Arts is the best fitness program for adults :

  • Better self confidence: This reason tops the list. Due to the goal setting, positive encouragement and respect for values that are part of all martial arts programs, the greatest benefit usually reported by martial arts students is greater self confidence. You become more comfortable in all situations – whether you’re in danger or simply doing a task that takes you beyond your comfort zone — and you’ll discover you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
  • Total body workout: Martial arts is a high-aerobic workout that uses every muscle group in the body. Your stamina, muscle tone, flexibility, balance and strength will improve with martial arts.
  • Stress relief: In martial arts you get to kick, punch and shout(Kiai), which is a great stress release no matter what your age.
  • Reach and maintain your healthy weight: Due to the total-body nature of a martial arts workout, tons of calories are burned during every class. However, you’ll also find that your natural eating signals become better regulated so food cravings will disappear and you’ll eat less portions with more frequency as a result you will have less fat and more muscle tone.
  • Learn self-defense skills: Unlike any other form of exercise, with martial arts you learn potentially life-saving self-defense skills.

New to Practice – Week 1

A year later, after having declared I would start my martial arts training, I have finally gotten around to it. Originally set for 09/01/15, I got derailed by the more valuable condition of motherhood; I found out I was pregnant only days before that date. And having never practiced martial arts, practicing pregnant did not seem like a good idea.

I did stay active, but with activities my body was used to, like strength training and yoga.

Fast forward and pregnancy was easy, and birth was relatively painless. Now we, Mr. Benavides and I, have the most beautiful future black belt girl : Victoria Carolina. She will begin to train once she is two.

It is worth a mention that I chose to follow my husband to a new discipline : Shotokan. Read Back to my Roots post. Even though a novice, I can really appreciate the much more elevated levels of power and speed developed with this discipline, over Tae Kwon Do. Also I can appreciate more the way of competition within the World Karate Federation (WKF) over ATA’s structure.

In recent days, in fact, I was floored watching the WKF World Championship in Women’s Kata, and Rika Usami’s performance. It was fascinating to watch.

So, for my training week one : I watched Rika win ( a couple of times, maybe ), I took my 3 month old to the dojo, I started training both in Shotokan as well as in Krav style self-defense ( taught by my husband ), got myself a bruise the size of my entire big toe, and learned the entirety of the taikyoku shodan kata -now only to perfect it… Plus, milestone number 1 is in place : competition.

I will be competing in the Kuro-Obi Dojo Open in Central Florida.

The end goal is simple, and for that cheers!… to the Martial Arts lifestyle!!



-Tabitha. White Belt, Bikram Yoga Practitioner + Usui Ryoho Reiki Master