Nuts about Nuts

nutsBy Jennifer Hobbs

Nuts are natures energy bundles. They are the mature (dry) fruit of flowering trees where the nut itself constitutes a single seed contained within a hardened ovary wall. Shoved in backpacks and pockets nuts have traditionally been a convenient energy boost for campers, hikers and boy scouts (girls too I imagine) since – well, forever. Interestingly peanuts are not nuts as they are members of the legume family, which gives us beans, however as they are still the mature fruit of the plant and contain many of the same nutrients they are just as valuable, nutritionally speaking. Each nut will produce a whole tree and contains all the fat, protein and nutrients to required to create a new tree so it should be no surprise that a single almond contains 10 calories, much of this coming from their high fat content.

It is just this high fat content that made nuts a no – no in diets for many years. All calories are not created equal though and studies reveal nuts are much less fattening than many other sources of energy. Healthy, tasty and full of protein nuts are easily one of the healthiest snack foods available. They are high in essential fatty acids, minerals and other important nutrients. It is said they can lower cholesterol and help prevent heart disease.

There are many health benefits of nuts. They are high in fibre, protein and fat so they are very filling, which is good both for muscle mass and body fat loss. They contain Vitamin E, folic acid, magnesium, copper and are a good source of anti-oxidants. A small handful of nuts a day may help prevent diabetes, heart disease, macular degeneration (loss of sight), and cancer.

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yoga_appropriate-practise_01 Practise what is appropriate

Practise what is appropriate...

Thought I would contribute something to this site.  I hope some of you may find this useful.

It is taken directly from my blog which you can subscribe to at

As I have explained in some recent workshops in Wellington, New Zealand, embrace a practice which is helpful and beneficial to you personally. Let's not miss the point and get caught in the desire to attempt postures that are not necessary or even appropriate for us. Sooner or later this approach will lead to harm. Let us be intelligent and reflective on what we are doing, why we are doing it, and enjoy the simple act of doing our yoga well.

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Taiso, Warm-up and Calisthenics

Most karate students will know that class begins from the moment they step across the threshold of the dojo door on the way in and does not end until they step across again on the way out. Arguably, training does not end when you walk out of the dojo and therefore, the next time you walk back in, it's not really another beginning, just a continuation from where you left off last time.

To some, the attitude appears to be that the karate training does not begin until the warm up has concluded. This is incorrect. Most instructors are aware of their students deficiencies; they are also keenly aware of their students attitudes by observing the way they carry and conduct themselves before, during and after class. There's not much that goes unnoticed.

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Never Complain, Never Explain

This has been adapted from my blog at

Occasionally, prior to class, I get approached by a student who proceeds to describe in great detail an injury or ailment they are carrying and without meaning to sound heartless I find myself thinking, "Why are you telling me this? I am a karate instructor not a physician. If you are that badly injured, don't train." I suspect the reason for the upfront explanation is that we all know what is expected of us in a training session. It requires effort and commitment. That being the case, why come and ask me for a permission slip to take it easy for the night.

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Six Types of Meditation

Six Types Of Meditation Sometimes you have to try different types of meditation to find the one that's right for you.

There are so many different types of meditation. How many? Who knows, but enough so that you can find the one that's right for you. To get your search started, here are six types of meditation you can try.

  1. Breath watching. Can meditating be as simple as paying attention to your breath for a few minutes? You bet. Relax in whatever position works best for you, close your eyes and start to pay attention to your breathing. Breathing through your nose gets your diaphragm involved and gets oxygen all the way to the bottom of your lungs. As your mind wanders, just re-focus your attention on the air going in and out of your nose. Just do this for several minutes, or longer as you get used to it.
  2. An empty mind meditation. Meditating can create a kind of 'awareness without object,' an emptying of all thoughts from your mind. The techniques for doing this involve sitting still, often in a 'full lotus' or cross-legged position, and letting the mind go silent on its own. It can be difficult, particularly since any effort seems to just cause more business in the mind.
  3. Walking meditations. This one gets the body involved. It can be outside or simply as a back and forth pacing in a room. Pay attention to the movement of your legs and breathing and body as you walk, and to the feeling of your feet contacting the ground. When your mind wanders, just keep bringing it back to the process of walking and breathing. Meditating outside in this way can be difficult because of the distractions. If you do it outside, find a quiet place with level ground.
  4. Mindfulness meditation. A practice Buddhists call vipassana or insight meditation, mindfulness is the art of becoming deeply aware of what is here right now. You focus on what's happening in and around you at this very moment, and become aware of all the thoughts and feelings that are taking your energy from moment to moment. You can start by watching your breath, and then move your attention to the thoughts going through your mind, the feelings in your body, and even the sounds and sights around you. The key is to watch without judging or analyzing.
  5. Simple mantra meditation. Many people find it easier to keep their mind from wandering if they concentrate on something specific. A mantra can help. This is a word or phrase you repeat as you sit in meditation, and is chosen for you by an experienced master in some traditions. If you are working on this alone, you can use any word or phrase that works for you, and can choose to either repeat it aloud or in your head as you meditate.
  6. Meditating on a concept. Some meditative practices involve contemplation of an idea or scenario. An example is the 'meditation on impermanence,' in which you focus on the impermanent nature of all things, starting with your thoughts and feelings as they come and go. In the Buddhist 'meditation on the corpse,' you think about a body in the ground, as it slowly rots away and is fed on by worms. The technique is used to guide you to an understanding that your rationalizing mind might not bring you to.

There are many other meditations you can try, such as the 'meditation on loving-kindness' or 'object' meditation, and even meditating using brain wave entrainment products. Each type has its own advantages and effects. For this reason, you may find that at different times and for different purposes you want to use several different types of meditation.

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