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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 7, 2006

Disc challenge provides physical, mental fitness

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By Oscar A. Hernandez
Special to The Advertiser

Blue Kaanehe, who turns 40 this year, said playing Ultimate "infuses my life with energy, both physically and mentally." Kaanehe, who plays on three teams, said she is able to keep up with players half her age.

OSCAR A. HERNANDEZ | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Ultimate a team sport using a flying disc requires stamina and quickness, and Blue Kaanehe of Honolulu possesses both.

"This is the big 4-0 year for me," said Kaanehe, who played Ultimate for 15 years. Kaanehe was introduced to Ultimate by her husband, Kirk Hottendorf.

However, Kaanehe's decision to take up Ultimate was anything but swift.

"I was so intimidated by the sport, that I just watched on the sideline while my husband played," she said. "It took me five years to muster up the courage to actually play ... I should have donned my cleats long ago."

Kaanehe is member of three teams Banzai Betty, Bazooka Jane and Hana Hou (a coed team) that play in O'ahu's only ultimate league, Hawaii Ultimate League Association.

HULA started more than 20 years ago, according to its president Dave Strang. In 1993, it became a nonprofit organization and now has approximately 130 active members playing in leagues ranging from experienced to novice.

The regulation game is played on a rectangular field, similar to football. Teams of seven pass the disc around and try to score points by getting into the opponent's end zone. (See rules below.)

Kaanehe, an attorney who became a stay-at-home parent of two children (ages 6 and 1), practices two to three times per week.

She also participates in fitness programs offered at the Nuuanu YMCA.

"Being physically fit ... is an absolute must in order to avoid injury," she said.

Kaanehe, a Farrington alum, also enjoys spending time with her teammates.

"I do it because it infuses my life with energy, both physically and mentally," she said. "I look forward to the practices, and get excited afterwards (about analyzing) what I did right and (wrong)."

Kaanehe is proud she is able to keep up with players half her age.

"Knowing that I can still hang with 20-year-olds keeps me going ... (and) after having two kids, it takes more of a concerted effort to chase their young legs ... but shhh, don't tell them that," she said.

HULA's recreational games are played at Kapaolono Park, Sunday nights from 5 to 8 p.m. For more details, call 946-9879, or e-mail shinkiminki@hotmail.com.

For general information, e-mail askhula@hawaiiultimate.com, or visit the Web site www.hawaiiultimate.com.


1. The field: A rectangular shape with end zones at each end. A regulation field is 70 yards by 40 yards, with end zones 25 yards deep.

2. Initiate play: Each point begins with both teams lining up on the front of their respective end zone line. The defense throws ("pulls") the disc to the offense. A regulation game has seven players per team.

3. Scoring: Each time the offense completes a pass in the defense's end zone, the offense scores a point. Play is initiated after each score.

4. Movement of the disc: The disc may be advanced in any direction by completing a pass to a teammate. Players may not run with the disc. The person with the disc ("thrower") has 10 seconds to throw the disc. The defender guarding the thrower ("marker") counts out the stall count.

5. Change of possession When a pass in not completed (e.g. out of bounds, drop, block, interception), the defense immediately takes possession of the disc and becomes the offense.

6. Substitutions: Players not in the game may replace players in the game after a score and during an injury timeout.

7. Non-contact: No physical contact is allowed between players. Picks and screens are also prohibited. A foul occurs when contact is made.

8. Fouls: When a player initiates contact on another player a foul occurs. When a foul disrupts possession, the play resumes as if the possession was retained. If the player committing the foul disagrees with the foul call, the play is redone.

9. Self-officiating: Players are responsible for their own foul and line calls. Players resolve their own disputes.

10. Spirit of the game: Ultimate stresses sportsmanship and fair play. Competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of respect among players, adherence to the rules, and the joy of playing.

Source: Steve Courlang and Neal Dambra, 1991, "Ultimate in Ten Simple Rules," courtesy of Ultimate Players Association Web site.

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The Advertiser is running a series covering the gamut of recreational activities, from letters A to Z.

The features will run weekly except when there are more time-sensitive articles.

Last week: Thrill craft

Upcoming: Volksmarching

If you want to suggest an activity, e-mail: totalrec@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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