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  • Writer's pictureSensei Jay

Smarter Than a 5th Grader

November 31, 2020

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and didn’t overindulge on turkey and sides. At the dojo, I have a bowl of fresh fruit (this week: oranges) on the table when you need a heathy snack.

The Maine Topic

On Friday, we went up to Maine for long weekend. No exciting plans like clearing forest or installing a shed. Just hiking, some forest maintenance, reading books, getting ready for winter and, oh yeah, rebuilding the basement stairs. Nothing big. The outdoor furniture will go to the shed, the mowers will be drained of gas and run dry, garden tools stowed and, the outdoor water turned off. Like I said, nothing exciting.

Flesch-Kincaid Scale

What is it? Aha! Clearly you are not a schoolteacher or nerd. It is a scale to rate the grade level of one’s writing. My older son, Zachary, prides himself on writing on a college grade level (nerd?). He checked my blogs to see what grade my writing has reached. You guessed it! I write on a 5th grade level. Yup, I am not even out of elementary school. I would have felt better if I at least rated a middle school writer. I mean, I did grow up in Brooklyn, but I did graduate college, and a good one at that, with a real degree (same college Sensei Lehrman graduated and he is smart!).

Not one to take this sitting down, I did what any educated college graduate would do, I Googled how the Flesch-Kincaid scale works (clearly, they must be nerds. I bet I could beat either of them up). It is based on how long sentences are and the average length of each word. All I needed was a bunch of run-on sentences and a thesaurus. I can do that in my sleep. I made up a long meaningless sentence with really big words and got a 44th grade level on that. I think I broke the scale. But as a lifelong martial artist, breaking things is kinda what I am good at.

Please, if you want to help us at ASNJ, please read my blog on our website and write a review. You will help our Google SEO (see last week or read the blog) Here is the link. Please comment on my blogs. Or see if you can write better than a fifth grader.


December 5 (this weekend) – 11:15 Kids’ Testing

December 12 – 2:15 Class/Kyu Tests/Potluck

A special class with yours truly, followed by Kyu tests (there are a lot), followed by potluck party (we have a large parking lot and mat to physically distance and masks will be worn). All members and their families are invited.


I have finished getting the walls ready for painting in my office and sewed the cushions for the bench that I built. Zachary, a master tailor (no kidding, he makes pretty much anything you can think of from scratch, even a hakama.), gave me instructions. The way I look at it, a sewing machine is just another power tool, except with a needle instead of a saw blade. I will be painting next weekend.

Home Sweet Home

My younger son, Jacob, is home for winter break from college. He is moving into the bedroom on the 3rd floor so he will now have a larger room and his own bathroom. There is a queen-sized bed up there, but the frame is not to his liking and it blocks the window. He looked online for a frame, but they were over $100 and he thought that was too much for a frame. From this, he suggested we have some father/son bonding by building the bed frame. He found a great design with 2x3’s, 2x4’s and 2x6’s in a really rustic country style. I was game so off to the mecca of father/son bonding: Home Depot. $200 later I was wondering what was so bad with a $100 frame? At least we are bonding.


Yup, got nothing this week. Thanksgiving. No TCC class. Watched football instead. Really bad football, but that is another letter. No Eastern philosophical ideology. Only plain old Western gratitude. This is the time to be thankful. I feel grateful, blessed. Blessed in many ways but right now just blissed out with a food coma. Not a lot of cerebral functioning going on. Who invented pecan pie anyway? It is like a warmup for a diabetic coma with some nuts throw in on top to make it sorta like it isn’t going to kill you at first bite. Oh well, I guess one more piece will not be bad. Is that whipped cream on the other end of the table? I thought I wrote something on moderation one letter. I cannot think right now. Carb overdose. I hear there are oranges at the dojo.

This year I want to thank my Aikido family both in the dojo and all those around throughout the USAF I hold dear. We are holding it together during these difficult times and I love you all. Thank you.

--Sensei Jay Tall

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."

-John F. Kennedy

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