Friday, January 24, 2014

Phoenix Karate Tournament with the Girls at Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Boarding School

A few months back, a group of girls and I from Cedar RidgeAcademy International Private Therapeutic Boarding School went to a karate tournament down in Phoenix, Arizona.  Our trip started off by driving down to Rob’s house in Saint George. That night we spent some down time, but we also spent quite a bit of time practicing our katas. The next morning we started off to Phoenix, where the real challenge was waiting. Once in Phoenix we stayed at a condo one of the girls’ parents had rented out for us to stay while in Phoenix. We had a ton of fun; we went swimming as well as enjoying a bunch of quality time with the group.

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Therapist and instructor, Rob, with the girls and all their bling!
The next morning we were up early, because it was the day of the tournament. We ate a protein-filled breakfast, ironed our gis, and prepared to head off. Once there, our nerves were really kicking in. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach. We got checked in, entered the Dojo, and found a spot to settle down in. There were a ton of people, some who were very intimidating and others not so much.  It would be a while before we got started so we kept ourselves busy with practicing, checking out our opponents, and just enjoying the tournament itself. It was finally our group’s time to participate in the tournament. Between the four of us we were split up into three groups: one girl in the adult division, me and another in the greenbelt division for our age group, and another girl in the brown belt and up division for our age group.

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One of our girls in a sparing match with someone from another dojo
First up was the adult division and for the girl participating in this she strolled away successful with a 1st place in kumite and 3rd place in kata. The other girl and I in my division ended up being the only two in our division, so it was a quick competition. Next up was mine and the other girl's turn. I felt nervous at first, but the minute I stepped into the ring to do my kata, my nervousness was replaced with a new found peace and determination. I nailed my kata, but so did the girl I was competing against. So they had us do it again, but again I felt that intense determination and confidence, and in my mind that is what got me 1st place in kata.

Our next event was the kumite (sparring). This was the event that I was the most excited for. For me, there is no better feeling than stepping up to the ring and feeling the adrenaline shooting through me. For me, it’s the challenge in front of me that gets me pumped. The whole fight ended up being about 30 seconds. I won with two round-houses to the chest of the girl I was fighting. I walked away with two 1st places and she walked away with two 2nd places. It was a good competition, because sometimes it’s harder to fight someone who you train with rather than someone you’ve never met, because when you train with someone you learn their moves and techniques, which in turn=ups the challenge.  Next was the brown belt division and the girl who participated in it placed 2nd in kumite and 2nd in kata. So overall ,we walked away from the trip with a huge success and really awesome memories. I can’t wait for the next tournament.

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Student Reflects on the Constant Change in Life at Cedar Ridge Academy International Private Therapeutic Boarding School

Cedar Ridge Academy International Private Therapeutic Boarding School  has been around for 17 years or so and has experienced a huge amount of change throughout the entire time that it has been established. In the 18 months or so that I’ve spent my time at CRA, I have seen change in myself and I have seen change in other students and in the program as well. I’ve experienced the weather going from hot almost 100 degrees outside in the summer to barely over 0 degrees in the winter and back and forth again. So the only thing that is one hundred percent positive and is always going to happen in its time is change. Change in the weather, the people, and the experiences. There are always things that are changing throughout time.

I personally have changed a huge amount from when I was at home and even from when I was at my wilderness program right before coming to CRA. I’ve grown from a kid who blends into the background and tries to not be noticed at all times to a young man who is standing out a lot more than he used to. I’ve built new relationships with the newer guys and built even stronger relationships with some of those guys that have been here for longer than others. I’ve gained levels and lost levels through my time, and I’ve learned a lot about myself through my time.

Now as my time draws to an end, I look back and think about what I’ve experienced here and I’ve realized that again the only things constant in life is change. Change in the experiences, the health of a person, the time that goes on, the energy spent and the mental physical and emotional strength that is acquired and used to help everyone on a day to day basis. These are all huge parts of a person’s life and it is never going to be the same way ever again as things are always going to be different in every experience. Overall, I am glad that I have learned this lesson early in my life.

The author received his brown belt a few months ago,
a great accomplishment!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Confidence is Gained through Karate at Cedar Ridge Academy International Private Therapeutic Boarding School

Here at Cedar Ridge Academy International Private Therapeutic Boarding School, I can easily say that karate is the one thing I enjoy the most. I have loved karate since the first day I started doing it. Many people may not think karate has a therapeutic element to it, but it truly does. There have been multiple days when I have gone into karate class feeling very negative. Every time that has happened, I have pulled myself out of that mood by putting 110 percent of my effort into karate. I cannot speak for anyone but myself when I say this, however, I believe that other students would say the same. Being someone who does not have much confidence, karate class is one place where I have never felt judged or self-conscious. I am my most confident when it comes to karate and I feel strong while doing it. As Cedar Ridge is a therapeutic boarding school, we have quite a rigorous curriculum which has caused karate to dwindle down to a once-a-week ritual, unless, of course, you happen to be in Rob’s after school karate small group. That group meets every Tuesday and Thursday and it consists of both boys and girls. We work on a variety of things and we train hard to improve our skills.
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Three of our white belt students practicing a palm heel strike
The parents of many students have asked that their children be put in the karate small group to give them a more therapeutic grip on the overall practice. Something that Rob strongly enforces is respect to the dojo which is, for the most part, implemented. Being a high belt in karate is an honor to whoever holds that position and is also something one must deserve. I have been here for a little over six months and I just recently tested up for my green belt, which comes directly before brown and black (the highest ranking belt). Since I am currently on level 500, I am unable to wear my green belt because that rank shows responsibility and other characteristics I am still working towards. Once I get trust level 600, I will be able to sport my green belt and continue to work for my next kyu, or rank. Karate is also a huge motivation for me to work my program and to continue working on my self-esteem. When I first learned what Cedar Ridge was and I decided to attend, I knew karate was involved, but by no means did I ever think I would be as drawn to it as I am now. I never dreamed I would have a goal of obtaining my black belt in karate, let alone while attending a private international boarding school in Utah. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School Takes a Trip To The Animal Shelter

A few of the students from Cedar Ridge Academy Private International Therapeutic Boarding School got the chance to help out at the Roosevelt Animal Shelter. This activity was a part of our academic development here at Cedar Ridge with our required Civic, Service, and Leadership credit. It was a chance for some of our higher level boys and girls to do something thoughtful for our community.

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A student and her new friend!
A few students and I got to walk some of the dogs down to the local vet to get their check-ups and then walk some of them back afterwards. This was an amazing opportunity and ended up having a really fulfilling therapeutic value as well. I have always felt that animals can provide a very compelling treatment to anyone, regardless of their differing struggles. For me, I grew up in a household with plenty of pets so it was definitely a nostalgic experience. The responsibility of taking care of another living, breathing thing is a great experience and has a memorable result with a satisfying feeling. It provided me with a feeling of gratitude for the opportunities we are given here and the new appreciation for things I took for granted back home, such as the simple and sometimes seemingly dreadful task of taking care of my pets. 

I think that everyone has their own way of helping others that is most enjoyable for them and here at Cedar Ridge, we are given the chance to find the most pleasurable deed with an amazing internal satisfaction. Through our required credit of civics service it may at first come off as hard work and a pretty unpleasant nuisance, but once you really throw yourself into the task at hand you can find that the resulting sensation of helping others is a feeling that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

As the students of Cedar Ridge, we come from many different backgrounds and have some very different stories, but one thing that really brings us all together is putting others before us and helping someone in need. 

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