Friday, December 13, 2013

Show And Tell

In the depths of depression it's super hard to do anything.  This deep into winter it's tough enough to get out of bed let alone get to work and take care of the basics of life.  Needless to say, going to beatings or the gym has been super difficult for me.  I've been studying for an exam and using that as an excuse for a long time to dodge beatings and the gym.  

After Thanksgiving week my wife and I got back home and I realized I need to get a hold of myself.  No drinking during the week (which means no socializing which isn't great for depression management), eating minimal calories, and working out every day.  

The first week into this project was touch and go, but I'm glad to report that this week has gone fairly well.  I've haven't touch booze all week, eaten the most minimal diet and worked out hard everyday.  As of this morning I'm 199 lbs!  

I'm also feeling very pressed to lean down for another reason.  My wife and I are headed to the Rose City in a couple of weeks and I'm terrified of the weight gain.  The last time I was there I gained 10 pounds in two weeks.  
Not me, but my diet.

So part of the process is to get back to beatings in some kind of earnest.  In my case the Tuesday/Thursday is probably more than I can handle after months of inactivity.  Fortunately, my own idiocy is somewhat moderated by Teacher; who frequently tells me to stand down when he sees me completely gassed doing the basics.  

To amplify the amount of exercise I get I went extra early to class.  This means I get to participate in the kids classes.  Teacher is literally doing four hours of class at a time.  I was completely worn out on Tuesday just doing basic drills and had to leave early being completely drained.  

I came in later last night, but still in the kids class and did the full two hours for the adult class.  So sore.

The show and tell portion came about when I found out that our newest member is a black belt in Hapkido.  He's a bit rusty, but such kicks!  At the end of the class we were doing the different Hyungs/Katas/Forms and just marveling about similarities and differences.  So much fun.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Feeling Old

For those of you who do read this blog, my repetitive theme of being old and often out of shape is once again going to be exploited to, hopefully, humorous effect.

Let's just say that I've allowed myself to get somewhat out of shape.  

I've been studying for a certification exam since September and took the test in November.  To my never-ending chagrin I did not pass.  To add insult to injury my work out schedule has been modest and my propensity to overeat and drink beer accelerated in inverse proportion.  

The problem with the holidays is that everyone is cooking and baking delicious things.  And due to our rural location the absence of families means that we tend to gather even more than usual; which means more eating and drinking.  In our case it means that every weekend night is filled with super-high caloric intake which means that half the week I can barely sleep due to a racing heart and sweat pouring out of every pore for hours at a time.  

My wife and I returned from the big city after my failed attempt heavier and my heart full of woe.  The problem being that I can retake the test two more times in the next 365 days, but it means a considerable financial investment to travel and pay for the test.  However, if I don't resume the study I'm going to forget everything fairly quick.  With that weighing on me I'll be starting up in January with another three months in mind to see how things set.  

Unfortunately, this means that I'll be missing out on beatings again.  

So I looked at myself in the mirror and said that I'm going on a diet and going to work for two weeks straight and see how that goes.   

My first night back to beatings last should be filled with excitement, but I was gasping so hard Teacher had to walk up to me take it easy.  I want you to know I was in the kids class as well.  Clearly I let myself go way more than I had anticipated.  

So it was a handful of Ibuprofen and a cold shower to reduce swelling before bed.  Hopefully, Thursday will go a bit better.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Challenge Complete

100 Days

The actually count turned out to be 102 because I missed two days in the last week due to travel.  I couldn't quite figure out where to squeeze in push-ups until after the fact.  I should have been knocking them out in airport waiting areas.  I would have looked like an ass, but it would have been nice to have all my days of the challenge contiguous.  

Running selfie in PA. Not featured - spraying vomit at mile 2.

This is what I know at this point:

  • My best run was 80 in a row
  • I'm kind of sad that I didn't make 100 hundred, but not sure it's possible without careful training
  • Trying to do 100 in a row everyday is not careful training
  • Regular change is in sequence helped me the most.  E.G. 20, 60, 20 then 50, 50 the next day.
  • The lack of rest break for recovery probably held me back the most.  I clearly needed more than 24 hours.  
I've read on Striking Thoughts that Push-ups, Squats, and sit-ups are the go to workout when you can't get to the gym and I'm going to totally agree. Being at the absolute nadir of caring about fitness, the push-ups acted as a life-buoy to keep me going.  I was so motivated following vacation that I ran in one of our late year 5Ks.  Let me be clear that I did not train for this in any shape or form, but I was able to finish in less than a half hour which is totally respectable for me.  This was completed with two moments of walking. If I didn't walk I would have had a very good time.  The race was also done in the worst weather I've ever experienced.  So all in all I did really well.

So I went back to the gym after a week or so off.  I guess I hadn't recovered form the race.  I had to drag myself through a mile on the treadmill and a few light weight-baring exercises.  Recovery in my late 40s is something to be respected I gather.  

Friday I'm going to be 47.  This will mark my 10th year in this martial journey. I am at daily work on Kata and I'm somewhat frozen at the 15th Kata, but if you asked me a decade ago if I'd ever have a Black belt I would have told you you were nuts.  

Saturday, September 14, 2013


The issues in normal life have finally come to some sort of closure that that means getting back into the harness.  In my case I finally started going back to the gym last week regularly (missed last night in favor of socializing),  but it means I've got to get back to some beatings so I don't forget everything!  

During all the time I've been up and down with life adventures I've been consistent with my regular home exercises.  Part of this was to participate in a personal challenge of 100 push ups in 100 days.  You'll see in previous entries that I've hit various plateaus, but to my own surprise I've been able to keep somewhat consistent with the amount of reps compared to the count of days.  As of today I'm at 74 days and I can do 75 push-ups with no warm up.  I'm hoping I can keep this up, but the progression curve is definitely flattened out.  It's still exciting to see the progress I have made even if I don't get to 100 in the next 25 days.

My morning routine consists of:
- 3 or 4 katas
- 100 push ups
- 30 reps hanging bars ab work 
- stretches for back and legs
- punching the brick 120x

Funny, when writing that down it seemed like a lot more in my head.  In all honesty I've become used to this level of work.  Unless I go to the gym, go to beatings and really watch my diet I notice an immediate downturn in fitness usually followed by weight gain.  Jeeze.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Modest Update

Not much to report in the land of the frost.  I haven't been able to make to it class for several weeks due to visitors.  Once we told folks that we'd be moving away in the next year we actually had a few takers make the pilgrimage to our fair spot in the North.  Usually the cost is enough to stop anyone's interest, but as soon as you dangle the "free room might be going away" in front of them everyone gets excited.  

Having visitors in our home presents a wrinkle in my life.  My morning routine is to do my Katas/Hyungs, Push-ups, and general exercise.  Our first visitor got a treat one morning as she made her way to the shower.  I was in the middle of doing a complicated kata (Kong Sang Goon) when spotted me through bleary eyes.  This caused me to freeze.  Of course I was in a rather exotic pose with one leg up, one arm up, twisting precariously with my belly slack, hanging over my underwear.  Needless to say, her expression said it all; confusion, disgust, and hopefully a little bit of appreciation, but I doubt that.

Every aspect of life is punctuated, so after that little shock and awe I kept my morning practice down to my push-ups in the bedroom.  The good news is that I achieved 65 this morning!  I think I'm at day 54 so there is a slight possibility that I'll get to that 100 before the 100 days is out.  

I've noticed that even though the progress is mild I really don't drop back as much as I thought I would.  So on a crappy day I'm still getting 50.  

Observations so far:
- I was leery about my count so I had my wife do that.  Sometimes off by four!
- I have to count out loud so I don't mess up.  
- Every time I break 50 I rejoice because the 2nd set isn't as long.  
- I don't have to do my back stabilization exercises.  The plank position of the push up is perfect and I hold it way longer due to the push ups.  
- As my body gets used to the labor I'm not working as hard as I have been i the past.  Not getting that pump is a bit of a bummer.

Hopefully I'll be getting back to class next week.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Push And Shove

I don't have my calendar in front of me, but I think I'm up to 31 days of 100 push ups (or Earthdowns).  

My observations are:
- that due to the lack of proper rest intervals the plateau came quick.
- I'm one month in and can't quite crack 55 reps at one time.
- Weekends are the best because I can do them later in the day, creating an artificial rest (of more than 24) hours.  
- warm-ups do nothing to improve the overall session.
- I've got little muscles that crawl from my pecs through my armpits that hurt so bad sometimes I have to check to see if I have a open wound (I don't).
- The vigor that is created from doing this makes me feel massive and pumped up.  
- It still doesn't help my running.  

Class is a bit sad.  

I got to class last night in fear that I wouldn't have some kind of exercise before our next guests came in and found only Cherub and Teacher.  I guess it's been this way for months now.  Cherub let us know that the few of the folks that did come have all started going to an Marine combatives guy that teaches on the side to keep in form.  Cherub had a huge bruise on his forehead from a recent session.  Seems a bit rough?!

Most of the others that formed our healthy core have dribbled away.  Beard will always come on his own time, but Trucker doesn't have the schedule, Storm is focused on family and the few others have moved or moved on to other things.  

The only upswing should come in a few weeks when the kids class starts up again.  That might bring in parents and friends.  

Last night we practiced this and that which included the use of a bokken.  This is so rare that I can barely count the times on one hand in the last ten years that it's been pulled out.  We did two different hand bind on the "chopper" and two different deflections.   I realize the samurai of old were supposed to be able to grab the sword, but it would obviously have to come from a lifetime of training.  Last night was occasionally punctuated with the crack of the bokken connecting with my elbow.  Ow.   

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Deal

Cherub texted me awhile back and mentioned a contest of sorts he found on the internet.  It’s 100 pushups in 100 days.  Since I was feeling a little bad about my recent weight gain and hadn’t been making the progress I thought I was going to make I figured this might be the trick.

The pledge is just a personal honesty deal, but me a Cherub keep notes as to our progress.  So we figured you could do 100 a day with no problem just as long as we broke them up. 

I’m at 20 days now and noticed that 50 is my break even point.  Some days I can’t even get to 30, but it totally feels like exhaustion so I know not enough rest has occurred.  I had dreamed that one day I’d get to 100, but I’m not so sure at this point. 

I’ll keep up some commentary about this in later blog entries.


The first guests of the season have left and we have a two week gap before the next ones show up.  Weight loss with guests in the house has turned out to be a joke.  Exercise is so sporadic as to be not effective and the diet is pretty shabby overall.  Just too much of everything.

With them out of the house and my wife gone on a short trip I might be able to shed a few pounds.  But I’m not feeling to confident about it.


Back to class tonight and it was just the four of us.  I came a bit late and that turned out nice because I was huffing and puffing.  I just feel so bloated and creaky.  Hopefully that’ll go away in awhile.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

The New Travel Rules

Now that I'm settling back into life into the far North I have meditated on two factors.  The first is that if I move to America I'll have to watch what I eat very carefully.  Two weeks in the Pacific Northwest had me put on 10 pounds! The second is that the pleasure of travel seems to have disappeared altogether and has been replaced with barely suppressed rage.  

I came back at 205 lbs.  My average weight is around 195 if I'm lucky and keep exercising.  I basically ate 10K calorie meals everyday with zero exercise.  I knew I was in trouble when my pants were extremely tight and my belt had to be let out to the next notch.  Not good.

So it was back to regular (or less) calories and exercise again.  After four days I'm happy to report I'm down to 202.5 lbs.  It also meant going back to beatings last night with an actual pot belly and little or no flexibility.  I huffed and puffed the whole time, but it was a lot of fun.  Four of us plus Teacher makes for a good two hours.  No breaks!


Traveling by air has always meant a pleasurable time relaxing and enjoying the relatively luxurious experience of being pampered and napping for long stretches.  That's kind of gone by the wayside as the years have passed.  I'm now waiting in long lines, suffering indignities at the hands of uncaring strangers and my once previous relaxation has turned into enduring endless uncomfortable hours squeezed into a seat designed for someone way smaller than me.  

What really tops that off is the change in baggage regulations and how people have responded to it.  First the charge per bag - not that it's bothering me too much, but I can see a lot of people doing a lot to avoid it at all costs.  So they drag their bags on board the plane with the blithe hope that it'll fit into the overhead baggage compartment.  

What this does is create an environment in which every person in the isle gets elbow, shoulder and knees clipped as our fellow passengers stumble through the plane.  The next bit drives me nearly insane.  People go through this to avoid a fee and then find out that they cannot lift their bag over their head!  When I see the little test basket by the counter (which no one apparently uses to see if the bag is going to fit) I think they should have a fitness proof as well.  

"I'm sorry Ma'am  but since you can't lift the bag over your head twice, you'll have to pay the fee".  That'd go over really well.

I'm not sure what crack head designed the seat spacing, but he or she will have a special place in hell.  I take long flights and a lot of flights to get off the island.  I'd like to see the designers come along with me as I scream incoherently at them for hours.  And then ask if they'd like some cranberry juice with that.  Assholes.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Rose City Digest

I was in the Rose City the last week driving slowly through neighborhoods, trying very unscientifically to figure out where it would be nice to live.  

I'd been given the rule of three circles (really just a Venn diagram) in which you take a map and identify three things that are crucial to where you live, make three circles and the intersection is where you should choose your neighborhood.  This is an excellent idea, but I ran into a difficultly - I have the option of working in two places and I'm unsure where I'm going to end up.  The other issue is that I'm not sure of those critical "other things" I'd need to select to fix my circles, but  I'd been keeping a new school in mind as one of them  

So I used the unscientific method and off I went driving and looking.  Before I left I had stumbled upon a few dojo search engines ( for instance) and was troubled to find that there were no Tang Soo Do schools. I presumed this was an over site or that no one bothered to put up a site for their schools, but as I toured I have to say via drive by, they only seem to have Tae Kwon Do and Jujitsu.

If/When the wife and I move down there next year I'll have to figure out something, but I'm guessing word of mouth will probably turn up something or it's on to another art for sure.  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I haven't written in awhile because I haven't had much to say.  I've missed a few classes here and there due to work or schedule conflicts so my imagination hasn't been stretched much, but the truth of the matter is that I'm having a bit of a conundrum.  

My wife retires next June and I'm anxious to leave our jewel of the North to go to civilization; preferably the pacific Northwest.  I'd have to get a job with the corporation that runs my current job, so the wife and I are headed down to that neck of the woods to take a look at the area a bit more and see if it's right for us.  

While I have been coming to terms with this I realized that I'll be able to shop around for gyms, restaurants and finally martial arts.  On top of that I'll have to figure out how to say goodbye and try to maximize my final year of learning from Teacher.  And when do I talk about it?  It's still pretty far away...
The adult class has almost completely dried up while the kids class has expanded to fill the the dojo consistently.  I went early last night because Teacher had some demos for the class and asked me to participate.  Thankfully, I didn't have to go straight into high falls.  Cherub got selected for that particular honor.  Of course I got twisted into knots for the knife and gun attacks.  

Earlier in the day Teacher called me up to ask about doing the demos.  I started laughing and he asked what was so funny.  I asked him in response, "are these the ones where I end up wiping the floor with my face?"  I should be called the amazing Karnac.  Let's just say I was prescient.

The "class", and I'll use that term loosely at this point, consisted of me and Cherub.  I realize that things were founded on a club model over a decade ago, but a good day in class is around five or six.  I still can't get over the changing nature or having people quit when they obviously love it.  

My conversation with Cherub gave me a little happy feeling.  I was complimenting him on his progress and ability.  He's much shorter than me, but he's coming into his mid/late teen's physicality.  I've been struggling to adjust to my lost of ability at 46 and watching him do kip ups like he's built of springs makes the worm of envy twist in my guts.  Regardless, I'm loose with my praise of his abilities.  At 25 he'll be a machine of unbelieveablness assuming he can get a teacher that can push him into that realm.  

After we were talking for a while he said that thought I was the smoothest of everyone in class (of two?) when I relax.  If I'm not; i.e. stopping to think to do what next, I'm horrible and stuttering in everything I do.  Good to know.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Getting My Teach On

I've long been frustrated by my some of my classmates inconsistent behavior, in particular Beard.  When he comes from Judo directly to our class I would qualify his attitude as "frisky".  I mean that he comes across as intentionally cruel, but over the years I've realized he's just pumped.  This is validated by his regular days where he is caring, conscientious, and an excellent partner in the learning process.  Honestly there are these moments when he teaches me something very specific and granular and the simpatico that results feels tangible.

That being said, when I'm looking for excuses not to go to class he usually appears in my mind.  I have to psych myself up to deal with him which makes me tense and reduces the pleasure of learning and exercising.  

For whatever reason, that concern or fear left me last night a few hours before class.  I realized my attitude towards him and my desire to skip class on occasion was incredibly small in the greater scheme of things and, boom, it just evaporated.  I assume it'll be back when I have the desire to get away from class, but if I can keep the 3 mile high attitude maybe it'll be better over all.  

As I mentioned in my last post I finally feeling like I have my black belt after almost two years of wearing it.  Talk about growing into it.  When I'm participating as a student that's when I feel like I've least earned it.  I'm by no means the person that anyone would look at and go, "wow, he's definitely black belt quality".  However, when I'm teaching something I'm feeling way more comfortable with the content and my abilities.  

To wit:
Trucker and Storm were practicing spinning back kicks and I noticed he was having some problems (kicking before spotting...).  We got into a discussion about kicking directly from the floor versus chambering the leg.  

Trucker says to me, "Won't I lose speed if I stop kicking from the floor?"

To which I replied, "you can have speed, but you won't have accuracy.  You can shoot a gun all day as fast as you can, but if you're not on target it doesn't mean crap."

I thought that was so badass!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Testing The Storm

There's a special type of anxiety I get from watching a test.  It's frisson of adrenaline that's born of fear, excitement and something I can't put a finger on, but I'm pretty sure it's that knowledge that you are going to come of it being something different.  

For whatever reason Storm's test meant a lot to me.  I ended up being on the judging committee and not really doing much other than catching his spinning back kicks and then taking lumps as the last fighter in his sparring.  

Still, I got to be there and participate and that somehow made me feel a little bit more like a blackbelt.  I realized that it has been two years since my test and I'm often shy about the fact. This kind of thing allows me to measure my success and comfort with my achievement.

During the testing we found out that Storm has two TKD black belts!  Outstanding.  He's also on schedule to test for his 2nd degree at one of those schools, but that's dependent on his ability to fly over to the big city and get some quality time in.  

The test reminded me of my Black belt test in that the format was pretty similar and Teacher G actually had to stop for moment to help Storm get his breath back.  I felt that deeply when I saw him do that for Storm.  I was embarrassed when it happened to me and Storm is in absolutely fantastic shape.  So it was somewhat validating.  He is now a Brown belt in our school.

As a result I went to Teacher's work and picked up my diploma and got a frame to hang it up. It's time to believe in myself.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Storm Test

Last week Teacher told Storm if he showed up for three classes in a row that he'd test him for Brown Belt.  

Storm is in his mid to late 20's and had achieved his Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do in his mid to late teens.  He is mind-bendingly fast and tends to use his legs more than his hands.  He is refreshingly ego-less and appears to be here just to keep in shape.  However, his job hours make it very difficult to come to class regularly so he'll disappear from our group for a couple months at a time.  This makes it difficult for Teacher to progress him comfortably.  He absorbed our basic technique rapidly and had integrated most if not all of it with his TKD skills.  

He dropped some info that I'm finding a disturbing trend; he admitted that he's been going to the Judo class more frequently than our class.  This is something that two or three others have elected to do and mentioned in passing.  It's not without embarrassment I'm sure because I've been at our class over 9 years now and must be seen as a fixture.  I'm guessing that Teacher's style might not fit everyone, but I wish I didn't have to find out in whispers that they are going to Judo class.  

In Storm's case Judo represents another area he'd like to address to be a fully rounded martial artist.   I can accept it from him because of his general maturity, but the others seemed to have become bored with our class and just moved on.  I wonder if I hadn't become friends with Teacher if I would have wandered away. 

In order to prep Storm we ran over some of the things on his test (Thursday!) and that meant sparring.  I had to go back several months in the blog to see when we actually had sparring.  Sufficed to say, it's been over six months since we did anything fairly official.  By official I mean that it was actually part of the class and not just some warm up before class or some rigidly controlled exercise to help us focus on a single aspect of a technique.  

Storm did a quick exchange with Cherub, whom gives no quarter, which I find frustrating at times and then I went up with Beard.  Most of the time I find it comforting to spar with him because he's older than me and prefers to move slowly, but he'll punch or kick hard if it serves him in the exchange.  We had a good time, but I caught one in the nose and then  I accidently punched him in the forehead.  

The post adrenaline shakes left me tired, but wouldn't let me sleep comfortably.  I tossed and turned all night.  
Our fun technique was high block, cross block followed by a shudo.  Fun and led into a complicated exchange of taking balance and throwing.  Certainly not my forte.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Cherub asked Teacher, "What's the difference between kicking with the top of your foot versus the ball of the foot?".

Teacher responded, "What's the difference between a slap and a punch?"

Normally I answer the question by saying, using the ball of the foot concentrates the same amount of energy into a smaller space.  His answer was better.  


We have a new group of girls in class.  Teenagers from all over the world!  One is near my height and I think from Korea.  Another is short and from South America.  The third is Teacher's adopted daughter (from Thailand) and the fourth is a girl from the kids class who's moving up.  She's got a laser focus and tough as nails.  The kids class bored her and she took off about a year before Teacher talked her into coming back.  

We have never been able to keep a youth that has graduated to the adult class.  Usually the kids are too small or too inexperienced to bridge the gap no matter what we do to ease their way.  We'll see with the littlest gal.  


Cherub and I just beat the shit out of each other for the whole two hours.  I noticed one aspect of getting old.  My knees.  I've been babying them and making sure they are healthy  so I can run and workout, but getting up off the floor over and over again just tires me out to no end.  By the halfway point I needed Cherub to help me up every time I took a throw; my knees wouldn't even support my weight with my legs at a 90 degree angle.  Ouch. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Little Blood

My wife left on a rather exotic vacation so I ended up missing class both times last week.  Due to our rather busy schedules we have to plan time to hang out so beatings lost out in the mix.  She'll be gone for two weeks so I have to make an extra diligent attempt at regular exercise. 

The weekend went well in that I worked out on Friday and Saturday, but ate more than my share of calories.  I hadn't realized what a governor my wife was in terms of my drinking and eating.  I was determined to eat healthy while she was gone, but my first attempt at eggplant parmasean was marred by the fact that it's covered in cheese.  And I ate three pieces.  And I drank a lot of beer with it. 

Anyway we had seven in class tonight which is a nice number, but Sensei Slim showed up so things were  bound to get interesting.  A lot of shoulder locks and tough throws.  We don't have mats down so taking a fall has to be done just right or you lose skin.  For instance to take a fall low I have to tuck my foot in very quickly or my knee will get smashed.  This is what happens:

It looked totally awesome with blood spattering earlier.  Apparently my sock soaked up most of it.  Rubberized sport floors are good for nothing. 

Sunday, March 03, 2013

The Most Metal Thing I Have Ever Uttered

I'm standing in a kitchen facing two fellows and surrounded by about 5 to 10 people.  We're at a party and by and large the folks there are younger than me.  The two guys appear to be in their late 20s to mid 30's, but I can't really tell. 

I don't remember what lead to the escalation in tension, but clearly fisticuffs became the answer to whatever was being said.  I'm mostly thinking how I've got one shot to make things count before I get the living shit beat of me while the bluster is increasing.  The lead guy's knee is obvious and if I can get closer I can drop a throat shot that'll let me to take care of number two. 

That's when I realize something else is going on. Why are these guys acting this way?  I haven't been that age in a long time and I was never very aggressive in the first place so their behavior didn't mean too much to me.  However, while gaming the attack I realized something; this was a primal performance.  It's a show to demonstrate how powerful they are to the pretty ladies. 

Once this dawned upon me I made this speech.

"You boys just lost this fight in three different ways. 

"If you beat my ass you lose because you just beat up a 46 year old guy.  There is nothing that girls here are going find remotely sexy about that.

"If you get really stoked and put the boots to me seriously, the pretty girls are going to have to call an EMT and cops.  I have no problem throwing you under the bus legally.  You lose again.

"I've had a few minutes to take a look at you guys and I notice that you are very handsome and fit, but I'm not seeing anything that looks like you guys remotely know how to fight at all."

I started to take off my watch and ring and set them on the counter to my back while I continued.

"Here's how you going to lose in the worse way.  If we get started I'm not going to hold back.  I'm going to cripple you so you'll never walk right again.  You remember I said that so you'll remember how you thought this was important when you're older.

I was stretching while I told them the last part.  Pulling my arm across my chest and stretching my wrists. 

"You know what?  I realize that you two want those pretty ladies.  Why don't you just whip your dicks out right now and they can judge for themselves." 

That broke the tension and I was able to walk away. 

This was my dream on Saturday night.  I woke up from it at 3:30am and stayed up for two hours.  Talk about supercharged.  I only hope that if I'm in this kind of thing in real life that I'll have that level of calm in the storm.

Truth be told the reason for the conflict was that the woman I was with was exquisitely beautiful and the daughter of Satan.  Conflict followed her everywhere, but I was deeply in love with her.  That's for another blog I suppose.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Frisson of Fear

Last night was my second class in a row for the first time in about four months.  I've been pretty excited about returning regularly.  The excitement is derived from fear and enthusiasm.  I'm 46 and I notice that I get anxious about potential injury.  I don't mind the little aches and pains, but the larger things are taking longer and longer to heal.  

About 6 months ago Teacher used me in a demo of an unusual throw.  Instead of taking the slap I reached out and jammed my shoulder painfully.  Three months of rehab and sporadic class attendance has me almost at 100%.  

So in the back of my mind I have a lurking concern that I have to be careful or I'll be laid up for some indeterminate time.  This concern was mirrored by one of the Blackbelts at my test.  He no longer comes because his training was to be full on all the time.  At his age it meant that he was getting more and more injured.  So now he avoids class and focuses on other endeavors.  

The other half is my excitement.  Every time I don't go I feel as though my fragile retention of skills are degrading.  Plus I need exercise or the doctor looms in my background.  


Teacher called me up on Wednesday and sounded horrible.  He got the local bug and I volunteered to help out as much as possible.  So last night I showed up before the kids to get ready and he showed up anyway.  He was able to lead the class, but left the calling and counting to Cherub.  My job was to quiet the rambunctious and correct feet and hands.  

He left shortly after the adult class started and I finished things out.  
We have three new ladies in class.  Two high school girls and one Jr. High gal.  All of them talented and focused.  Very nice addition.

On the way out Trucker and I caught up since we hadn't seen each other in about a half a year.  He had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.  He's not even very heavy, but he sounded very down about the changes he wasn't going to have to make in his life.  

Fair Haired Boy

Deep into the second hour of class I had a pleasant realization - I was the center of attentionTeacher was explaining a complex move and Beard, as my partner, had all the focus on me.  

Jeeze, I'm pathetic.  Talk about low self-esteem problems.  I realize it, but it's still awesome to be the COA (Center Of Attention) every now and then.  Then I realized that poor Cherub was totally being ostracized; or being ignored.  I wonder how much of my style and questioning is secretly designed to enforce that?  Hmm.  

I think it's given me insight into the kids class (now up to 26!!!).  When one or two constantly seek me out for approval it's very disruptive.  I need to pull them aside and teach them how to be subtle, he he.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fist Dynamics

In the mornings, when I do all my exercises and forms, I do a regime to toughen my knuckles.  This came about because of incident in class.  

We have breakable boards of varying thickness.  The thinner they are the easier they are to break.  They are great for novices to practice how to hold your hand and wrist correctly.  While I could easily go through the first two types I was completely unable to make a "dent" in the widest board.  What did happen was the skin on one of my knuckles completely pealed off to the bone.  

While staring dumbly at my bleeding knuckle I was able garnish some advice from Slim Sensei.  Get a red brick, wrap it in several layers of magazine pages.  Start with gently rapping the brick with the two major knuckles - kind of like a gentle backhand.  

I did that for several years and just use the brick now.  Somewhere along the way I moved to just punching the brick (very lightly) and worked on placing the two knuckles perfectly so the impact was equally distributed; somewhat easing the experience.  

  • An aside - In our school the point of contact is the first two knuckles.  I gather the idea is that they align perfectly with the forearm created a more stable platform to punch.  When I took Wing Chun (over 30 years ago!!) we were taught to use the whole hand; to punch across all knuckles).  I can say with some authority you have to watch it both ways because boxer's fracture is real and super painful.  Teacher has a disturbing lack of little knuckle on one had for just that reason.  Usually the boxer's fracture is in the hand itself, but as usual his injuries are more gnarly.  
Since I haven't been able to go to class much less work out at home the shock of punching the brick after a long break is surprising to say the least.  I noticed that I loosen my fingers slightly on impact to distribute as much of my  fingers surface against the brick.  Due to the build up of callus on knuckles the front of my hand is not smooth so I'm probably making things hurt more no matter what I do.  

disfigurement is awesome!

I'd love to hear if anyone has a take on this or did I just jump down the rabbit hole because I had a moment to think?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

On Bended Elbow

Storm texted me earlier today asking if I was going to class.  The struggle to sort out my life as it relates to exercise has come to a head in the sense that I finally have enough time to work out; for a couple of weeks anyway.  Work has slowed to the point where I don't have to work in the evenings so I went back to the gym last night and that meant it was time to get back to beatings tonight.  

Ironically, I lead the class in warm ups and most of it was okay, but a few of the things we do (balancing with eyes closed) were pretty much a train wreck.  I must remember to do that in the mornings!  

We have a new member in class, Doc.  I'm not sure how old he is, but I guess he's been coming to class off and on and still looks a bit stiff.  I'm going to guess he's my age or older which makes him pretty bad ass to be showing up and starting this out.

We started with some basics and then the rest of the evening was devoted to refining one move.  Block from the outside move into an armbar.  There is a lot to this technique and I doubt I could cover all the ins and out,  I did get a few very important parts :
- start moving when the fist moves.
- the point where the punchers fist is in full outward position means that you are supposed to set up for the move.
-  when your body circles to lock the opponent's arm you use the last erg of his punch to put him into the armbar.  

Let's just say I'm out of practice on armbars and the rest of us didn't look so good, but by the end of class my elbows were inflamed, but we all could do the move fairly well. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Exercise Update

It feels like I've been away from beatings for months, but my last post says the 18th of December.  I realize that I was having great attendance beforehand, but I'm almost a changed man at this point.

As I've mentioned before, I have a huge project at work culminating in February.  I've been working on it for almost two years now and the last 6 months have been taxing.  Mostly working late and on weekends, but it cut into everything that was healthy and helped me maintain some sort of balance.  So eating poorly, drinking during the week, zero exercise, etc.  My main fitness outlet has been katas in the morning followed by some exercises to keep my back healthy and help recovery my shoulder.

I should mention that I finally went to the doctor and he felt that I had some rotator cuff damage, but it would sort itself out with rehab.  It's taken a about three months, but he's correct.

My work out:
- 3 to 6 katas
- 10 trunk twists
- 60 or so sit ups (crunches and such)
- 20 + push ups
- shoulder exercises

Which brings up to the present.  My wife and I went on vacation to Mexico and had a fairly good time, but midway I got a serious bout of food poisoning.  During the rest of the trip and all the way back home I ended up losing around 15 pounds.  I realize that it was mostly water weight, but I looked like Christian Bale in the end of the movie, "the mechanic".  I was surprised when more people didn't make cancer comments when I returned to work.  I guess I felt worse than I looked. 

So the month has passed I'm back to eating regularly, albeit with same tendencies before I got sick.  My weight is low and my energy is fairly non-existent but it was back to the gym tonight. 

I was able to:
- run 1 mile (10 minutes)
- do single sets of 10 on
  - benchpress
  - pull downs
 - bicep curls
 - tricep curls

If I'm feeling motivated and don't have to work tomorrow, I might be able to talk myself into going to beatings. 

Bassai in the park

Holy Cow!  So much time has passed since I've sat down and collected my thoughts for a quick update about my martial practice.  March wa...