Showing posts from 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 Ci…

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…

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 rowI'm kind of sad that I didn't make 100 hundred, but not sure it's possible without careful trainingTrying to do 100 in a row everyday is not careful trainingRegular 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 goin…


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 d…

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 h…

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 c…

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 t…

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 h…

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 …


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…

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 o…

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…

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…


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 …

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 hav…

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 …

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 excite…

Fair Haired Boy

Deep into the second hour of class I had a pleasant realization - I was the center of attention!  Teacher 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.

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 …

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 mov…

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…