Second Blogoversary: A Song without (many) words


It occurred to me on the anniversary of my broken toe (and a “skelegrow” reference in a past status on Facebook 😛 ), that it’s been 2 years since I started this blog. Happy blogoversary to me…..I am now a toddler blogger.

I haven’t been writing that much lately. It’s partly a function of being busy as ever but it’s more than just that. There is plenty I want to talk about and say but things are getting so busy and complicated in my head sometimes that it’s hard to share things in a concise way.

I came across Plato’s quote (above) a few weeks ago on a chalk board of a cafe somewhere on my way across town. It really resonates with me because it sums up how I have been feeling in my 40s. I don’t see the meaning of “lover” in romantic sense but more of finding your groove so to speak.

Anyway….I think I will celebrate with a poem of my own. Perhaps one day it will be a song too. I really should start composing again sooner or later.

A song without (many) words.

Rachel Sag (24/2/17)

The more I learn, the more I grow,

The more I think, the less I know.

The more I see, the more I do,

The more I find the person who,

I knew was there, but didn’t know,

Or dream how far I’d have to go.

The more I seek, the more find,

The person I have left behind.

A somebody so unaware;

A someone who was barely there.

A ghostly shadow; Can you see

The shell of someone who once was me?

I recognise but don’t repent,

The hours and minutes as misspent.

The journey traversed over time,

Brought her to me and onto mine.

I now lead on with steady stride,

‘Til I can join and walk beside,

The person who will look at me,

And wonder who she used to be.

Protein Neatballs


I have been tweaking my diet to try and get more protein or at least make sure I am eating enough protein….since everyone has a burning desire to know how you get enough protein without eating meat. Keep calm because PLANTS HAVE PROTEIN.

I have been measuring macros lately to see just how much protein there is in plants and I can happily report back that there is plenty.

Here is my brand new neatball recipe. We just ate it and it was a big hit with the small people. #winning


(makes 40 balls about 2cm diameter – 10 serves – extra serves can be frozen for another meal or will last about 7 days in the fridge)


  • 150 grams walnuts
  • 50 grams dried cranberries (unsweetened)
  • 1 tin 4 bean mix (with the liquid)
  • 200 grams oats (I used porridge oats but rolled is fine)
  • 30 grams kale (including small stems)
  • 60 grams parsley (including small stems)
  • 30 grams tomato sauce (no added sugar / salt)
  • 30 grams torula yeast
  • 1 Massel “beef” stock cube crumbled (or about 2 tsp powder)
  • 60 grams pea protein powder (I used Coles – if you use a SPI or PPI it will be even higher in protein)

Tomato sauce: (enough for 4 people)

  • 900 grams fresh tomatoes
  • fresh herbs (I used basil and oregano)


  • Preheat oven to 180-200 degrees Celsius.
  • To make balls, put all ingredients in food processor and blend until it forms a sticky dough.
  • Form into balls about 2cm diameter.
  • Place on tray lined with baking paper.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes / turn over and bake for another 10.
  • While the balls are baking, process tomatoes and place in a fry pan with the herbs (chopped or whole) and fry off to reduce liquid. You can add garlic if you like. I didn’t have any left so I didn’t.


I served mine over zoodles (julienned raw zucchini) and everyone else had over gluten free spaghetti. You could also serve with mash potato or polenta.


(per 4 balls served with 1/4 of the tomato sauce recipe and 200 grams Zucchini noodles)

  • Calories: 329
  • Fat: 13 grams
  • Fibre: 9.9 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 38.9 grams
  • Sodium: 266.8 grams
  • Protein: 21 grams (see: magic….no meat, and yet, protein….OMG!!!)

Footnote: I just did a quick search for normal meatballs and macros and found macro organic meatballs – 5 balls (no sauce or noodles) If you check it out the protein is 20 grams (per 5 balls). True the sauce and zoodles have some protein (7.5g total….mostly from zucchini) but if you add 5 balls to normal pasta and sauce the macros will be similar or less and the carbs / calories will probably be more. Feel free to report back on the maths. 🙂

Back to Basics – teaching is the new learning.


It’s been a few months since I was awarded the title of Senpai. Being a Senpai means being a positive role model. It means welcoming new students, showing them how things work, and making them feel comfortable. It also marks the real starting point of teaching others what you have learned.

In most styles a certain number of teaching hours are seen as part of the requirements for shodan. Personally, I think this is very fair. Even if you have no aspirations of being a martial arts instructor, or opening your own dojo, it’s important to know how to run a basic class, in the event that your instructor is delayed or ill (etc) and can’t make it. Also you owe it to your instructor and fellow students to help out…and besides, if you can’t teach a skill, if you can’t pass things on, how well do you really know it?

Practically speaking, teaching is something that everyone handles differently. I have observed and experienced this from both sides of the equation. Teaching requires technical skill, relevant experience, self reflection, patience, and the ability to demonstrate, explain, observe and correct. It is also extremely beneficial if you can motivate and inspire, show compassion, empathy and understanding.

Teaching is generally a learned (or, at the very least, acquired) skill, and although the general principles remain the same for anything you want to teach, learning to teach Karate, has so far been a steady learning curve for me. Fortunately, I have been eased in to the teaching role. This is possibly because I am not the head student, nor a shodan, but it has given me time to get used to the whole concept, which frankly I initially found kind of daunting.

Currently in my training, I have reached the point where I have been shown most of the technical skills (basics) in our style. This does not mean that I have lost interest in basics by any stretch of the imagination. What it does mean for me is that I can concentrate my own practice on the finer details, the refinement, the effectiveness, the breathing and the minutiae of small things that I (unwittingly) overlooked due to necessarily giving priority to gross motor function, coordination, (and yes, knowing which hand I was meant to be using), when I was first leaning how to block and punch. I often can feel or see for myself what I need to work on, so practicing outside of class time has become easier.

Obviously I am still learning myself, and it’s much easier for me to have senior students and instructors, who observe  my practice, give me pointers on what to fix and how to fix it, and make me aware of areas I hadn’t noticed were a problem or had known were a problem but couldn’t fill in the gap. This leads me to the second point. With a degree of automation now at my disposal with respect to performing basic techniques, I can also focus on what is being said when I am corrected, or when others are corrected, and start observing things that others are doing that could be improved, and start to remember what helped me improve those things.

So, far from the automation letting me “switch off”, it has allowed me to engage my brain in a different way. I tend to observe more, talk and write less (hence the blog has been quiet-  sorry if you wondered what I was up to). I have noticed is that even my journal entries for general classes are far more perfunctory with respect to what we have covered in class. I no longer need to write down each and every stretch or warm up etc, because I am familiar with the basic routines (and even lead them sometimes). I do include more detail on what was helpful in learning, or correcting, or teaching a particular technique, whether this teaching was given to me, or by me. I guess I am doing two kinds of learning at once now, one is for my own personal betterment as a karate-ka and one is for being able to pass on what I have learned. I am quietly putting aside an arsenal of strategies and actively preparing myself for the event when I will have to do more teaching.

Mostly my teaching responsibility has been in the form of leading stretching and or warm ups at the start of class, helping demonstrate techniques, and helping kohai individually or in small groups with basic drills and kata. Lately we have had a new student, and I have really enjoyed the experience of working with someone, who, like me, has started from scratch, as an adult. I can relate to how she feels as she struggles through the basics, and can be inwardly, and openly, and most of all, HONESTLY empathetic. I really hope the new student stays on, because seeing people grow and learn and improve, is the most rewarding part of teaching anything.