Friday, July 23, 2010

Trip to Charleston

“Zach, get your lazy butt up!” my mom yelled from her bathroom as she was blow-drying her hair. Even though I wanted to stay in bed and sleep a few more hours, I remembered all that we had to do today. Reluctantly, I dragged myself up.

That’s when I thought I’d kindly do my mom a favor and wake-up my twin brother. I dashed into his room and threw a pillow at him, “Get up!” I said. Then I made a hasty retreat into the kitchen for some breakfast. After I finished my breakfast, I got ready. Pretty soon we all piled in our automobile. Of course my mom told me to bring a book, so I would have something to do if things got tedious (a word that means “dull or boring.)

After about thirty minutes on the road, I realized that I didn’t really need my book. I wasn’t bored because I was in the back seat talking and laughing with my twin (and also making fun of our older brother and his girlfriend because they’re always holding hands and hugging.) Finally, we made it to Charleston and stopped at Five Guys for a delicious lunch. Ah the aroma of hamburgers cooking!! Now, this only made me hungrier, so I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into a nice, warm, juicy hamburger. Five Guys is the BEST!

After lunch we headed to The Fire Museum. Luckily I’m not thirteen yet, otherwise we would have had to pay for me. Kids under thirteen get in free! Apparently my big brother really adores gift shops, because he shot right to it as soon as we got our tickets. Soon, there I was at the display room. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were tons of fire truck on display. They had models dating from the early 1900’s all the way up to now. They even had a fire “enjin” that dates to 1785, was pulled by humans and is one of only three in existence.

The best part was the fire truck simulator that consisted of a real engine cab with lights and sirens and all the controls a real truck has. Inside it had real fire truck controls and a virtual reality screen. With the push of a button, kids can respond to a fire call and drive through city traffic with sirens wailing! Of course I got in and drove to the “fire.” They also had a firefighter dummy with full bunker gear hung on a scale and the goal was to try and lift the gear off the ground. This was to show how heavy the turn-out gear is. My dad and big brother succeed in getting the dummy off the ground as high as he could go. I lifted him halfway off the ground (witch meant I was lifting about fifty pounds!) Later, I watched this show about “fire safety” and “fire hazards”.

Soon we left the Fire Museum and went for a walk through the Market in downtown Charleston. It was HOT there! It was over 100 degrees and the heat index was more than that. That is not a good time to go walking though a crowded market outside with no air-conditioning. While were there we shopped in a store to look at necklaces and wooden swords. Next we went to the mall…which was fine with me because it had an air conditioner! We found a store that had a display of really comfortable mattresses. The saleswoman told me I could try one out, so I plopped down and relaxed. I didn’t want to do anything but lay there and cool off. Unfortunately, it was time to leave so we could pick up my sister and head home. Dad promised some ice cream on the way home, so I was willing to get up and trudge back to the car. But first, we went to the Battery.  The Battery in Charleston doesn't have anything to do with Energizer or Duracell.  The Battery is a huge seawall that surrounds a park with cannons and looks out over Fort Sumter.  (That's where the "Shot Heard Round the World" happened and started the Civil War.) We drove home through a thunderstorm, and my sister didn’t stop talking until we got back in our house!

All in all, it was a busy day, but it was a lot better than just sitting at home doing nothing!  I enjoyed our trip to Charleston. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why I Started Jiu Jitsu

Welcome to my second post. I wanted to focus on this next topic so you can understand what led me to become involved Jiu Jitsu. If you’re interested, I encourage you to read on. If you’re not interested, it’s absolutely fine with me, but I guess you’ll have to come back another day and read something different.

Now,back to my topic. I suppose what led me to Jiu Jitsu is the fact that Karate and Tae Kwon Do were a little bit too difficult for me because they require good balance and high kicking. You see, I have a mild form of Cerebral Palsy that makes my leg muscles a little tighter. It can be more difficult for me to do things that other kids take for granted. (For instance, kicking.) Since I really wanted to do a martial art, I begged my Mom about it a lot. One day she read an article in the paper about a Jiu Jitsu instructor, Mr. Josh, and some of his students who had disabilities. She knew that if they could do it, so could I. So that’s how I found a gym to train at.

The reason I want to attend Jiu-Jitsu every chance I get is a different story. When I began two years ago, of course I didn’t know any one but my instructor. So, I just tried to hang in there and wait for his instructions. He taught the class an arm-bar that day. Then, came the part I was scared of…sparring (a word which means “to fight or to battle”). I wasn’t sure I wanted to fight on my very first night, but I certainly wasn’t going to chicken out! But wait…the instructor paired me with the highest ranked kid in the class! (Turns out he did this because he knew that she would go easy and not try to destroy the new kid.) Besides the actual “fighting” part, no harm came to me. I did learn right away the meaning of “Tap Out,” though. Arm-bars are painful.

What I like about “sparring” is that during each class Mr. Josh gives you a choice of whether to fight or not. Plus, during class the fighting match is not the “real deal” like in tournament fights. The people you fight with won’t try to break your arm at all because they’re your friends. Mr. Josh has three very important rules when it comes to “sparing”. Rule number 1: Respect your partner’s safety. Rule number 2: Watch out for your own safety. Finally, rule number 3: try to be victorious.

Sparring soon became what I love most about Jiu Jitsu. Not because I wanted to beat people up, but because it was a way where I could actually practice the fighting techniques my instructor taught. It’s kind of like a test of skills, matching what you’ve learned against others. Size and strength play a large part in martial arts, but they don’t mean everything. Technique and training are just as important. Not to mention that when I’m sparring, I have a fighting chance because on the ground, everyone’s equal and balance doesn’t matter.

If you are interested in Jiu-Jitsu then I am happy to tell you that you won’t regret trying out a class. You might turn out like me and try to attend every class. It is exhilarating (a word which here means “fun and exciting”) and teaches you self-defense. You will probably make many good friends in class as well. Who knows, maybe there will even be a cute girl in your group! (There is in mine!) Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog and please come back again.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

About Myself

Hello, and welcome to my blog. If you read my Mom’s blog at all, you might know a little bit about me. If you don’t know much about me, then please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Zach. I’m almost thirteen. I love to read books. A few of my favorites are: The Red Pyramid, A Series of Unfortunate Events, the Dragons in our Midst series, and there are many more!

Another thing I love to do is a sport called Jiu-Jitsu. “What is Jiu-Jitsu?” you might ask. Well, Jiu-Jitsu is a sport which allows you to defend yourself if you ever need to. Now, Jiu-Jitsu is slightly different from other fighting spots. You don’t practice forms or kicking like you would in Tae Kwon Do or Karate. With Jiu-Jitsu, you can take someone down (or defend yourself) without hurting your adversary. (Adversary means “an enemy or opponent”) It is actually quite fun. In class, you practice moves and holds against your friends. And then, there are tournaments where you can test your skill against other kids and possibly win a medal or a samurai sword!

Another thing you might want to know about me is that I can write excellent stories.

I’ve already started many of my writing ideas. I might finish them and get them published one day. Someday I hope to enter a writing competition. Writing stories might turn out to be my career, so I’m going to keep putting my best efforts into this so I can someday accomplish that goal.

Swimming is also one thing I’m interested in. I learned swimming from a Paralympic Gold Medalist! I worked on many different swimming techniques such as the backstroke and how to dive the proper way. Sadly, I ended up resigning from swimming in order to concentrate on Jiu-Jitsu because there just isn’t enough time for everything I like to do. Let’s just say if I ever fall in 10ft. deep water, I’ll survive.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and if you could please come back here later that would be great! I will have more posts in a couple of days.