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JediNickD

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  1. "Do or do not... there is no try" is about commitment. Luke's effort was lackluster. He was not committed to embracing the Force as his ally. He say's he is trying, but he was not trying his best. It is a different concept. For my Epic Quest, I have my Extra Life fundraiser event on Nov 5-7 with a 24-hour gaming event. My goal is to raise $2000 this year, which is twice what I raised last year. I'm off to a good start with $500+ raised already. After that, I have my 41st birthday and a few nephew birthdays, plus a trip to visit friends for Thanksgiving. Ferris Bueller says, "Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." I say, don't stop looking around. Keep life at an Epic level and everything slows down so you can enjoy the moments.
  2. GONE TURBO This is my second challenge in my return to NF. I decided to take a break from NF while I sorted through the pandemic, teleworking, and virtual relationships. It was a good plan, because each day presented new obstacles and challenges while navigating to best ways for finding time and space for fitness and karate training, adjusting to maintaining healthy meals at home, and staying productive at work and in my different self-development programs with the myriad of distractions. Planning a 4 week challenge would have been impossible, because I would be course correcting daily. I took my time and built new routines understanding that they may be temporary. Over time, I developed my new normal with virtual and hybrid Toastmasters meetings, virtual gaming with friends, moved to a new gym, and working a hybrid schedule for work with some telework built in. Some things have been able to return to normal such as karate training, DnD, visiting family and friends, and working on-site but with known risk. The biggest change came in July when I launched my own website: Journey2U.org . I started a blog and coaching business to help others. It is in it's infancy, but it is a project I have been dreaming of launching for a very long time. Having it out there, I am living that part of the dream and building a new future for myself and others. With all these changes, it feels like I am not just in a new world, but like I am playing a whole new game. I'm taking a page from the movie "Wreck-It Ralph". I've Gone Turbo jumping games. So now, here we go with another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. As a Ranger, I tried to Do All The Things in World 1, my first extended stay at NF through 22 challenges where I learned how to develop and pursue health and fitness goals utilizing daily, weekly, and monthly routines. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a better focus for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in an Epic Boss Fight slaying some mighty big life goals. In World 3, I hopped over to the Assassins and continued to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care healing my spine, reaching the high ranks at karate, blazing through the new Toastmasters education program called Pathways, and working to complete Novice rank at IJRS, World 4 was something new everyday. I have moved over to the Monks to reach for more diversity in my workouts and culture as my physical and mental training focus has been more on my karate training. As I actively took on more responsibility of coaching, mentoring, and teaching in all aspects of my life, I formed a different me on World 5. Now, I have Gone Turbo into World 6. Every day, I just keep on L-I-V-I-N: fighting the good fight, lighting it up, and leveling up my life!  Challenge Lesson: "Keep On Trying" I like themes so I'm going to continue with my karate dojo's creeds. The next one is for our Orange belt rank. The creed is below: Failure is the road to success. I've written about this many times and so have all sorts of professional writers, industry leaders, self-help advocates, etc. We learn in moments of failure, we gain momentum in moments of success. But how? Well, sometimes we fail because we lack experience or necessary skill. Through practice and preparation in a consequence-free environment, we can gain the experience and skill to succeed. When showtime comes, we are ready to perform. Other times, we may be successful in an overall capacity, but there is room to improve, or smaller areas where we failed to hit the mark. This requires evaluation to see the areas to improve. Self-evaluation may not be enough to catch all the errors. A second or third set of eyes can give you new perspective. Game-tape can be crucial for evaluating, because then we are not relying on memory or interpretation. Now, we understand how to achieve success learning from failure. Let us better understand what this creed is saying about success and failure. It starts off with "I am not judged..." The fastest way to quitting on a learning enterprise is to compare yourself to others, because there is always going to be someone better to put yourself down. It is demotivating. Instead, we should always compare ourselves to our self from the previous day or week. Focusing on our own progress is a great measure of success while building confidence and momentum. Progress is also about failure, where you have understand where the starting place compared to the current place is to know when you have achieved a level of success. My dojo takes the same approach, focusing on progress, consistency, and effort for considerations towards rank elevation. Perfection is never required. These considerations get tighter the higher one ranks, but the instructors and leaders of the dojo would never judge one person against another for rank. The last three words, "Keep on trying!" ties the creed together. This isn't the same try as Yoda refers to in "Do or do not... there is no try," or Mr. Miyagi's "Karate guess so" grape analogy. This try is about persistence, because success, failure, and progress are all part of the process of never giving up. Persistence to achieve your goal is a requirement to succeeding. Without persistence, you give up when you meet failure. Without persistence, you won't keep practicing to make progress. Failure is inevitable. It is what you do after that matters. To be successful, we get back up, we learn from to failure, and most importantly, we keep on trying. With persistence, progress is inevitable. With persistence, success is only a matter of time. I like the way Jason Nesmith from Galaxy Quest says it: "Never give up, never surrender." My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no end in Jedi training for every light cast a shadow somewhere. Instead, it is a journey of self-discovery and compassion for others. World 6 Level 3 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - Run twice a week. Include sprints and distance. The goal is to get faster and build stamina, but I have to set a starting block to decide where the finish is. Time to measure where I am for my 40 and 100 yard dash, 1 and 2 mile jogs. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 10+ min outside with good posture, daily. CON +1 Exercise: HIIT Lifting and Bodyweight - 20+ min twice a week. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - Daily exercises. Focus on hips, hams, and splits. DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - Two classes a week, practice for 20+ min twice a week. DEX +1, STR +1 DIET: Lean Body - I need to lose some weight, which starts with what I eat. 5+ cups of fruits and veggies. Cut down flour and corn based carbs at lunch and snack time. Fill up on spring mix. Time to start tracking the weight loss and body measurements again. 166.6 lbs yesterday. CON +1 LIFE: Write for Journey2U.org website, Facebook, and blog every day. WIS +1, CHA +1 Epic Quest - Complete something EPIC! I want to be able to look back at my four week challenge and say, "that was the challenge I did X". My challenges tend to be a lot of the same old. I've given myself plenty to improve in small steps, but I also want to see big strides in the things I've been working on. What box can I check? What have I been procrastinating? What am I focusing on? WIS +2, CHA +2
  3. World 6 Level 2 Challenge GRADES: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - Run twice a week. Include sprints and distance. The goal is to get faster and build stamina, but I have to set a starting block to decide where the finish is. First step will be to measure where I am for my 40 and 100 yard dash, 1 and 2 mile jogs. STA +1, DEX +1 A = I got plenty of runs and sprints in this round. I didn't time anything, but the running got me in shape for running around at Epic Nerd Camp with Sword classes, Combat Archery, and LARP stuff. Walking: Fortify the Spine - 10+ min outside with good posture, daily. CON +1 A = Plenty of daily walks. Did some stairs too. Exercise: HIIT Lifting and Bodyweight - 20+ min twice a week. STR +1, STA +1 A = Kicked ass. Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - Daily exercises. Focus on hips, hams, and splits. DEX +1 A = Splits are getting closer to the ground. Karate: Training and Practice - Two classes a week, practice for 20+ min twice a week. DEX +1, STR +1 A = Made some great progress. DIET: Lean Body - I need to lose some weight, which starts with what I eat. 5+ cups of fruits and veggies. Cut down flour and corn based carbs at lunch and snack time. Fill up on spring mix. CON +1 A = I did well with fruits and veggies. Not perfect on the other carbs, but I'm losing weight slowly. LIFE: Write for Journey2U.org website, Facebook, and blog every day. WIS +1, CHA +1 A = Did the writing and posts. Epic Quest - Complete something EPIC! I want to be able to look back at my four week challenge and say, "that was the challenge I did X". My challenges tend to be a lot of the same old. I've given myself plenty to improve in small steps, but I also want to see big strides in the things I've been working on. What box can I check? What have I been procrastinating? What am I focusing on? WIS +2, CHA +2 A = EPIC NERD CAMP! I ran 3 sessions of Combat Archery, teaching basics, monitoring safety, and ensuring fun. At-Home Renn Faire! Had a blast role-playing and axe throwing, plus watching the kids put on shows.
  4. Week 3 Report Monday Full Stretch; Leg exercises; Karate practice (kata, cardinals, combos) Chiropractor Hydro-massage Walking 30 min Green Beans, Apple, Spring Mix, OJ, Carrots Karate Class (knife defense) Reviewed Funeral DVDs for quality (missing the mark, so I need to redo them, not sure why the quality was poor, because the digital file is acceptable) Tuesday Leg Stretch; Sprints (6 intervals, 40 yards, 2 reps); I thought I would be done after 5 and then take a jog, but my legs and lungs are better than I anticipated. I didn't go all out to avoid pulling something, but I was sprinting hard. I felt fast and kept my pace, at least until the last two when I started to gas out. Walking 30 min Toastmasters Meeting Apple, Spring Mix, OJ, Carrots, Cranberry Wednesday Full Stretch; 3 HIIT (5 min each) Ab, Squat/Lunge, Ab Walking 30 min Apple, Spring Mix, OJ, Carrots, Onions, Green Peppers Wrote Blog Post ( draft wasn't working for me, so tabled the subject for another time) Phone Interview for possible new job (current one has an end of life I am prepping for. I actually turned down an offer two weeks ago, because I wasn't ready to make that move.) Karate Class (knife defense and knife throwing) Thursday Full Stretch; Karate practice (kata, spar combos, cardinals) Walking 30 min Apple, Spring Mix, OJ, Carrots, Onions, Green Peppers, Tomatoes Wrote Blog Post (going to be delayed this week... 😛 Friday Full Stretch; Bench Press (140 lbs max, 5 reps), Barbell Curls, Squats and Lunges Walking 30 min Apple, Spring Mix, OJ, Carrots, Onions, Green Peppers, Tomatoes Wrote Blog Post
  5. Just posted my next article: https://www.journey2u.org/post/dominate-phase-2 I drew a little inspiration from an age old Steve Kamb blog for a Toastmasters speech back in 2013. This is an updated version of the speech as blog post. Full circle for the content?
  6. Posted my Extra Life Fundraiser to Facebook and its already up to $400+. I'll hit my first milestone of $500 soon, then I'll have to record a video of me eating something with chop sticks. I'm thinking about chicken wings, quesadilla, or something else which seems difficult. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
  7. Week 2 Report Monday Leg Stretch; Run 2.5 miles in 24 min Apple; OJ; Onion and Carrots; Baby Carrots; Spring Mix Walked 30 min Worked with TM District Leader for Club Coach Assignment Tuesday Stretch; Ab workout, air squats (one leg); Bench press OJ; Carrots and Onion; Baby Carrots; Tomatoes, Lettuce, Onion, Chili Peppers Walked 30 min Toastmasters Meeting as emcee Wednesday Stretch; Karate Practice (kata, kicks, footwork, cardinals, and points) Tomatoes, Onion, and Chili Sauce; Baby Carrots; Spring Mix; Sweet Potatoes Walked 30 min Company Mentoring Mixer Thursday Stretch; Squat Thrust Workout Baby Carrots; Spring Mix; Tomatoes, Onion; Walked 30 min Posted new blog article Karate Class: knife defense Friday Stretch; Glute and Hip exercises; Karate practice (kata review) Baby Carrots; Spring Mix; Sweet Potatoes; Walked 30 min Saturday Leg Stretch; Karate practice (combos and bag work) Karate Class Yard Work (cutting down trees, branches, vines) Sunday Leg Stretch At-Home Renn Faire with Axe Throwing, Archery, and Swords Church Sound and Video Support
  8. Week 1 Report Monday Full Stretch, Karate Practice (kicks, combos, footwork) Apple, Carrots, OJ, Peppers and Tomatoes (chili) Walked 30 min Wrote a speech for Toastmasters Quality time with Wife Tuesday Leg stretch, Run 2.5 miles in 27 min (left knee and right heel are sore. not sure about the knee, but the heel I may have bruised in Spar Class last week. i thought it was better, but it didn't feel great during the run. the knee slowed me down more) Delivered Toastmaster speech "Do It For You" (again tomorrow) Apple, Carrots, Peppers and Tomatoes (chili), Romaine Lettuce, Tomato Slices, Onions Walked 30 min Worked on Blog write-up Edited church worship videos (all caught up after my vacation time) Revised and practiced "Do It For You" speech Wednesday Leg stretch, Run 2.6 miles in 27 min (hit 2.5 at 25 min, which is 2 minutes faster!, right heel same, right hip sore, left knee is fine) Delivered Toastmaster speech "Do It For You", better performance and content this time. Singing Man in the Mirror off-key in front of people zaps my confidence. I got to get better at singing or I need a different song for this speech. The idea is to get the audience energized with the song and interested in the topic, but it had the opposite effect both times. The content is similar in my "Priority with a Capital WHY" speech, so I should utilize that one while I work on my singing. I'll get there. I just need to get back in to doing karaoke and playing Rock Band. Apple, Carrots, Peppers and Tomatoes (chili), Romaine Lettuce, Tomato Slices, Spring Mix Walked 30 min Worked on Blog write-up Burned DVDs of funeral and memorial slide show for the bereaved. I've been working on my audio/video editing skills for church videos and my game streaming. This is something new. Being able to create these DVDs for them is pretty awesome. There might be something wonky with the burning software as the disc doesn't load the menus right on the X-Box, but worked fine on the PC. I need to test on other players before delivering. Thursday Woke up late, so I had to skip the morning workout. Rain kept me from fitting in a run. Apple; Raw Peppers; Onions, Chilis, and Tomato (Flying Jacob minus bananas/mushrooms); Carrots; Green Beans; OJ Worked on Blog write-up Published "Only What You Take With You" blog article (https://www.journey2u.org/post/only-what-you-take-with-you) Karate Class (pressure points review) Friday Stretch; Karate practice with punch speed drill, spar combo reps, and heavy bag work Apple; Raw Peppers; Spring Mix; OJ; Carrots and Onion; Saturday Stretch; Karate practice with speed kicks and footwork Apple; Raw Peppers; OJ; Carrots; Salsa; Romaine Lettuce; Tomato Karate Class (pressure point review and meridian KOs) Sunday Leg stretch; Karate Kata review Peppers and Onion; Tomato; Sweet Potato and Red Onion; Peppers and Tomatoes (chili); OJ Just as a precaution, I'll probably be running outside until my daughter's COVID test comes back. She was sent home due to a close contact and is on a 10 day quarantine. No symptoms now, but the exposure was only Monday. Since masks are a rarity at the gym and the dojo, it is best to stay away while we wait.
  9. Well, it's funny that you asked... October 8-12 is EPIC NERD CAMP! There is a link in my signature. A geeky adult "summer" camp with all sort of fun nerdy activities is going to happen in just a few weeks. I'll be running some Archery Combat games as a counselor, but I've planned a very active schedule this year. I'll be playing two sessions of Artemis, which is a space ship bridge simulator where we setup a LAN for 5 computers, each for a different station on the space ship. There is Helm, Engineering, Science (Sensors), Communications, and Weapons with the Captain with just a display controlled by the other positions. A team of 6 operate the stations to navigate and explore between star systems and deep space stations to defend friendly ships and stations from hostile ships and space creatures. I have a few sword classes: Fencing, Long Sword, and Light Saber. I signed up for two sessions of Boffer Games, which is games with the LARP foam weapons. I'm also doing an Escape Room with a group of 6. I'm not doing any of the crafts or RPGs this year, since they are multi day or double sessions. It was just hard to fit those into my schedule with my counselor duties and being able to do Artemis and Long Sword, which are my favorites. In the evenings, there are a bunch of big events: Nerd Trivia Night, Cosplay Karaoke, Hogwarts House Cup, Haunted House Tour Murder Mystery... I'm sure I am missing another thing or two. Plus there is a game room of over 300 board games to check out and play with whoever whenever. I'd say it is pretty Epic. I'm also gearing up for Extra Life Game Day in November. I need to run some practice stream events and record some new content. I haven't posted anything new in a long time. But first I have to re-dye my hair. The green has almost all grown out.
  10. GONE TURBO This is my second challenge in my return to NF. I decided to take a break from NF while I sorted through the pandemic, teleworking, and virtual relationships. It was a good plan, because each day presented new obstacles and challenges while navigating to best ways for finding time and space for fitness and karate training, adjusting to maintaining healthy meals at home, and staying productive at work and in my different self-development programs with the myriad of distractions. Planning a 4 week challenge would have been impossible, because I would be course correcting daily. I took my time and built new routines understanding that they may be temporary. Over time, I developed my new normal with virtual and hybrid Toastmasters meetings, virtual gaming with friends, moved to a new gym, and working a hybrid schedule for work with some telework built in. Some things have been able to return to normal such as karate training, DnD, visiting family and friends, and working on-site but with known risk. The biggest change came in July when I launched my own website: Journey2U.org . I started a blog and coaching business to help others. It is in it's infancy, but it is a project I have been dreaming of launching for a very long time. Having it out there, I am living that part of the dream and building a new future for myself and others. With all these changes, it feels like I am not just in a new world, but like I am playing a whole new game. I'm taking a page from the movie "Wreck-It Ralph". I've Gone Turbo jumping games. So now, here we go with another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. As a Ranger, I tried to Do All The Things in World 1, my first extended stay at NF through 22 challenges where I learned how to develop and pursue health and fitness goals utilizing daily, weekly, and monthly routines. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a better focus for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in an Epic Boss Fight slaying some mighty big life goals. In World 3, I hopped over to the Assassins and continued to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care healing my spine, reaching the high ranks at karate, blazing through the new Toastmasters education program called Pathways, and working to complete Novice rank at IJRS, World 4 was something new everyday. I have moved over to the Monks to reach for more diversity in my workouts and culture as my physical and mental training focus has been more on my karate training. As I actively took on more responsibility of coaching, mentoring, and teaching in all aspects of my life, I formed a different me on World 5. Now, I have Gone Turbo into World 6. Every day, I just keep on L-I-V-I-N: fighting the good fight, lighting it up, and leveling up my life!  Challenge Lesson: "Confidence, Community, and Right" I like themes so I'm going to continue with my karate dojo's creeds. The next one is for our Yellow belt rank. The creed is below: Since each line stands on its own, I feel each should get its own write up. As kind of a continuation from the White Belt creed, we get a breakdown of the three tiers of life: mind. body, and spirit with what actions for each is need to build true confidence. First, your mind must be a sponge, soaking up all it can and find way to regurgitate it to others in a meaningful way. When you speak about what you have learned, you find out how closely you believe it with how much confidence you can put behind it. Repeating something out loud is a good way to imprint it or relearn it (we'll come back to this in a few creeds). Next, with honesty in the heart, you have to be true to yourself to be confident in your abilities. You cannot talk yourself into bad habits of missing training or practicing with weak effort. You have to come in with a CAN DO attitude and a commitment to being the best you can be. Last, confidence is evident in your body language. A strong posture is a confident one, regardless of how you initially feel on the inside. A strong strike and a tight fist will feed into your effort and help your training make an impact on your skill development. Put it all together and you can build energy and enthusiasm through your confident body language. The second line is about how the dojo is a community where we help each other grow. As the saying goes, "it takes a village," it takes a community of martial artists to raise one white belt to the rank of black. And there is no waiting until black to give back to that community. It starts on day one when you commit to being a good student. A good student is a role model for others. A good student supports the teacher's lesson allowing them to build on a lesson or move ahead to the next lesson. A good student will build trust with the teacher. Each of these is a building block for the student becoming a teacher. The last line is a call back to the White Belt creed last line, "Remember, it is not who is right, but what is right". Karate is for self defense and self discipline. It is not a weapon to wield or a tool for construction. The skills, strength, and confidence is to be used for "what is right". Of course, we are back to "what is right" being subjective and hard to define, but I find that most people can agree that honesty, fairness, and equality are right. My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no end in Jedi training for every light cast a shadow somewhere. Instead, it is a journey of self-discovery and compassion for others. World 6 Level 2 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - Run twice a week. Include sprints and distance. The goal is to get faster and build stamina, but I have to set a starting block to decide where the finish is. First step will be to measure where I am for my 40 and 100 yard dash, 1 and 2 mile jogs. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 10+ min outside with good posture, daily. CON +1 Exercise: HIIT Lifting and Bodyweight - 20+ min twice a week. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - Daily exercises. Focus on hips, hams, and splits. DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - Two classes a week, practice for 20+ min twice a week. DEX +1, STR +1 DIET: Lean Body - I need to lose some weight, which starts with what I eat. 5+ cups of fruits and veggies. Cut down flour and corn based carbs at lunch and snack time. Fill up on spring mix. CON +1 LIFE: Write for Journey2U.org website, Facebook, and blog every day. WIS +1, CHA +1 Epic Quest - Complete something EPIC! I want to be able to look back at my four week challenge and say, "that was the challenge I did X". My challenges tend to be a lot of the same old. I've given myself plenty to improve in small steps, but I also want to see big strides in the things I've been working on. What box can I check? What have I been procrastinating? What am I focusing on? WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES!? No incentives this round. I need to come up with something new.
  11. Well, I didn't get around to weekly updates, but I did manage to work through the challenge. I did the running, walking, exercising, and stretching in my Fitness goals. I still need to make measurements to begin to track my progress in getting faster. Next challenge as the weather cools off I'll be running outside a bit more. Diet is going well and I've dropped 2 pounds. Life goals have been knocked out of the park. The website, blog, and Facebook page are all progressing nicely. I am just enjoying writing. I need more feedback, so that I know what needs work, but otherwise it is a fun adventure. The Epic Thing I did this challenge is that I have taken on a mentee through my work mentoring program. We meet tomorrow for the first time. I'm excited to help another human progress their career! I had another Epic Thing, but it fell through today. We hired a new person who I hand picked to work under me on my project, but he rescinded due to some re-location issues with his wife. I hope the best for him, but am sad he won't be joining me. This is the second candidate I hand picked to fall through. We have been looking for almost 2 years, with so many resumes and interviews. It's back to the drawing board for candidates. I'll just have to keep chugging on the project by myself for now. Oh well.
  12. Vacation will keep me away from this site through the rest of the month. I'm doing well with my Diet and Exercise goals. I may have difficulty sticking to my routine for the blog, but I'm going to try hard to maintain it.
  13. A friend of mine was playing around with her camera for selfies and self expression. She wanted some feedback on how to improve it, so of course, I chimed in about how to look into the camera to make eye contact with your audience, but she was also worried about how others make it look it easy. I reminded here that you are always seeing their best cut. You have no idea how many takes it took or how long they have been working to get to that point. Just put your best out there and those that matter will watch, listen, and follow. Now, I have to remember that stuff for myself. That was how I took the leap and launched the website, but it isn't a once and you are passed it. It is a hurdle which keeps coming back. The routine keeps me going. Accepting that I have to be terrible before I am great helps, but the perfectionist in me keeps making me compare to others, then judge myself. Silly brain. You will never be like them. You will never be perfect. You need to be ok with just being You. Silly brain.
  14. Our instructor explains the belt system in our dojo as a circle. You become a beginner as a White belt. After reaching Black, you have your belt has collected all sorts of color from your hard work that it so dirty it has become black. Through your years of continued training at black, the belt frays and falls apart revealing the white belt underneath signifying all that you still do not know. As you reach, Renshi or 4th degree, you receive a new belt that is both black and white, which is to recognize that you may be a Black belt in THIS art style, but you are still a White belt in many others.
  15. Where to? Here's how to get there with your GPS: Goals, Planning, and Steps https://www.journey2u.org/post/set-your-gps-for-success
  16. Last night, we practiced cardinals, which are our jiu-jitsu take-downs. We discussed application referring to the concepts of Jodan, Chudan, and Gadan (phonetic spelling). Jodan is the "high road" application where you are avoiding a confrontation. If someone is acting aggressively, then you would remove yourself from the situation. Chudan is the middle ground for when you might mediate a situation. If someone is acting aggressively, then you would attempt to talk them down without putting anyone in danger. Gadan is the lower ground for when you need to end a confrontation. If someone is acting aggressively to cause harm, then you would step in to incapacitate the attacker. With Gadan, you may have to strike pre-emptively to minimize harm. You would not wait for someone to be shot or stabbed before acting. As soon as, the brain makes the connection that a gun or knife might be brandished to cause harm, then it is time to act. Depending on the situation, you may be able to escape or hide to avoid harm, but if you are within 20 feet, then you have closing distance to incapacitate before it becomes a lethal threat. My karate school at Black Belt teaches Gadan techniques primarily. Jodan and Chudan are your first line of defense and are learned through the ranks, but as a Black Belt, you are trusted to know and understand when to use each. When it comes to the moment you MUST use Gadan techniques, you need to have practiced it and practiced it well. If you don't practice finishing, then you won't be able to when you need to.
  17. My Toastmasters speech went really well. It was an Ice Breaker, where you introduce yourself in a 4-6 min speech. In my 9 years, I have done more than 15 of those. Each time, I try to talk about something different in a new way, so that it is new material for the audience to hear. Today, I talked about past, present, and future in regards to self-discovery tying in a little bit about my website and my plans going forward. It was well received, but I missed some of the content I wanted to hit. Instead, I talked about the past too long and had to hustle through the other sections to stay on time. It is typical of me to spend too long on my first main point when I am utilizing a speech outline, instead of a script. I need to work on that area. My evaluation feedback focused on lack of props or visual aids and lack of dynamic movement. I didn't feel props would be necessary, but I could have shared a few images and the website on the computer. These are hybrid meetings with in-person and virtual, so that would enhance the experience. The movement critique is a little disappointing but warranted. I stayed pretty stationary as I wanted to ensure I stayed in frame for the virtual audience. Next time, I plan to bring masking tape to mark the floor for the video frame. It was a really fun meeting with two other prepared speeches and a few funny impromptu speeches. Did you know people reuse paper towels? They dry them out and reuse them, which I can understand, but struck me as odd in the moment. In my house, we have washable clothes for anything we would "dry out", but mostly, paper towels are for cleaning up messes which need to go immediately in the trash.
  18. Karate training on Zoom? Sounds interesting. Is the plan for the dojo to maintain virtual training long term? What style are you learning?
  19. Week 1: Monday: Stretching Upper body weight lifting Chiropractor Appointment Walking Carrots, green beans, spring mix, OJ, peppers Tuesday: Stretching Karate Kata Practice Speech Practice Walking Karate Class - working on cardinals Drafted Blog Post for publishing Thursday, shared an article on Facebook OJ, spring mix, peppers, carrots, apple Wednesday: Stretching Bodyweight and banded leg exercises, barbell squats and overhead press Toastmasters Meeting, Deliver Prepared Speech Walking Review and Revise Blog Post, posted meme on Facebook OJ, peppers, peas, carrots, spring mix Thursday: Stretching Leg Press and diamond push ups, air squats, Walking Karate Class Post Blog and market on Facebook. Peppers, apple, carrots, spring mix, peas, OJ Friday: Stretching Kata Practice, Spar Opening Practice, Cardinal Practice Walking Peppers, carrots, spring mix, peas
  20. GONE TURBO It has been more than a year since my last challenge. I decided to take a break from NF while I sorted through the pandemic, teleworking, and virtual relationships. It was a good plan, because each day presented new obstacles and challenges while navigating to best ways for finding time and space for fitness and karate training, adjusting to maintaining healthy meals at home, and staying productive at work and in my different self-development programs with the myriad of distractions. Planning a 4 week challenge would have been impossible, because I would be course correcting daily. I took my time and built new routines understanding that they may be temporary. Over time, I developed my new normal with virtual and hybrid Toastmasters meetings, virtual gaming with friends, moved to a new gym, and working a hybrid schedule for work with some telework built in. Some things have been able to return to normal such as karate training, DnD, visiting family and friends, and working on-site but with known risk. The biggest change came in the last month where I launched my own website: Journey2U.org . I started a blog and coaching business to help others. It is in it's infancy, but it is a project I have been dreaming of launching for a very long time. Having it out there, I am living that part of the dream and building a new future for myself and others. With all these changes, it feels like I am not just in a new world, but like I am playing a whole new game. I'm taking a page from the movie "Wreckit Ralph". I've Gone Turbo jumping games. So now, here we go with another episode of The Exciting Adventures of JediNickD! It was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away that I joined this site and started my first challenge. As a Ranger, I tried to Do All The Things in World 1, my first extended stay at NF through 22 challenges where I learned how to develop and pursue health and fitness goals utilizing daily, weekly, and monthly routines. I took a hiatus from NF and came back with a better focus for my goals where I warped to World 2, which I defeated in an Epic Boss Fight slaying some mighty big life goals. In World 3, I hopped over to the Assassins and continued to develop my fitness, getting my body in the best shape of my life, even with the Degenerative Disc Disease, Arthritis, Disc Fissures, and more. Through physical therapy exercises and karate, I have maintained my core and back muscles to ease the pressure off my spine, but in the end I defeated World 3 by transforming my life into a new form. With chiropractic care healing my spine, reaching the high ranks at karate, blazing through the new Toastmasters education program called Pathways, and working to complete Novice rank at IJRS, World 4 was something new everyday. I have moved over to the Monks to reach for more diversity in my workouts and culture as my physical and mental training focus has been more on my karate training. As I actively took on more responsibility of coaching, mentoring, and teaching in all aspects of my life, I formed a different me on World 5. Now, I have Gone Turbo into World 6. Every day, I just keep on L-I-V-I-N: fighting the good fight, lighting it up, and leveling up my life!  Challenge Lesson: "I Promise..." I had a promise to keep. When I decided to take a break from NF and other online communities during the pandemic, it was to focus on my family, my friends, and my self. The pandemic raised my concern for all those I hold dear to the highest level. I had to check in with them to know that they are ok, they know how to protect themselves, and they understood the severity of COVID-19. Prior to March 2020, I had spread my online network so wide, that I wasn't making space for direct one-on-one time with my immediate family. I didn't know how my parents were really doing. Same with my brothers and their families. I took the first few months focusing on that group, then expanded out to my closest friends. Those people I was accustomed to seeing face-to-face every week or month had to receive my attention. It was part for my own sanity, but also so that they would know my family and I were there for them. It was a promise that I had made when I was just a kid, but one that formed my personal values and philosophy. Care for others. Start with the self as you can not help others unless you can help yourself. Prioritize caring for family. Include close friends who need more close family. Identify friends and family who need caring, but do not neglect others who require less. Keep it going beyond close family and friends by extending caring and compassion to everyone. When my karate dojo switched to virtual classes, one of the first homework assignments was to write about how our White Belt creed applies to our actions during the pandemic. The creed is below: I wrote about how I would be doing self-care with daily goals to work towards. I explained how I had already been applying the creed to my life. Lastly, I wrote how I would help others through the pandemic with caring, with spreading knowledge of the virus and how to stay safe, and with adhering to policies and mandates to keep others safe. I explained that the last two sentences define the approach to doing these things. It wasn't just about avoiding the virus, but about doing "what is right". And not just what I feel is right, but what others feel is right too. Since I wrote that, "what is right" feels like it is under attack. You will find on social media and in the news that many of the safeguards against contracting the virus have been politicized by both sides, because individual freedom is a very important concept in the USA. I find the simple solution to understanding where "what is right" falls is understanding the line where an individual freedom begins to harm others or step on others individual freedom. The second part is defining "what is wrong" by understanding risk and what is an acceptable risk. This leads to the complex discussion how the good of the many can out-weight the good of a few. It is a discussion with multifaceted angles and hypotheticals, which is not necessarily where I am going with this. Getting back to risks, with critical thinking and compassion, one can navigate to a solid conclusion, but will always find themselves falling somewhere on the political spectrum, thus alienating some people in the process. If you leave compassion behind, then the critical thinking can lead to absurd conclusions. If you leave critical thinking behind, then compassion can lead to ineffective results. Balancing these while understanding effects of your assumptions and unknowns will lead to effective conclusions. Clearly communicating those conclusions is then important to gain support. But in the Twitter age, clear communication is TL;DR. My promise for dealing with COVID-19 is to "be part of the solution, and avoid being part of the problem." My Main Quest and Mission: My mission is to be the best Jedi I can be. My main quest is always to enhance my overall health, fitness, and knowledge to be prepared for whatever challenges life could throw at me. As a Jedi, I need to be able to help people, whether that is a life threatening situation or just a charitable one. There is no end in Jedi training for every light cast a shadow somewhere. Instead, it is a journey of self-discovery and compassion for others. World 6 Level 1 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - Run twice a week. Include sprints and distance. The goal is to get faster and build stamina, but I have to set a starting block to decide where the finish is. First step will be to measure where I am for my 40 and 100 yard dash, 1 and 2 mile jogs. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 10+ min outside with good posture, daily. CON +1 Exercise: HIIT Lifting and Bodyweight - 20+ min twice a week. STR +1, STA +1 Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - Daily exercises. Focus on hips, hams, and splits. DEX +1 Karate: Training and Practice - Two classes a week, practice for 20+ min twice a week. DEX +1, STR +1 DIET: Lean Body - I need to lose some weight, which starts with what I eat. 5+ cups of fruits and veggies. Cut down flour and corn based carbs at lunch and snack time. Fill up on spring mix. CON +1 LIFE: Write for Journey2U.org website, Facebook, and blog every day. WIS +1, CHA +1 Epic Quest - Complete something EPIC! I want to be able to look back at my four week challenge and say, "that was the challenge I did X". My challenges tend to be a lot of the same old. I've given myself plenty to improve in small steps, but I also want to see big strides in the things I've been working on. What box can I check? What have I been procrastinating? What am I focusing on? WIS +2, CHA +2 INCENTIVES!? No incentives this round. I need to come up with something new.
  21. Cool quote from a New Orleans teacher following Hurricane Katrina relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak and all this missed work whether school work or anything else really.
  22. While teleworking and self-quarantining, I'm going to take a break from NF Challenges. I am having to make so many changes to my routine, I can not accurately predict and plan goals. Hopefully, in 5 weeks, everything is returning to normal, but I doubt it as the US and especially NYC is getting hit hard by the virus.
  23. World 5 Level 5 Challenge GRADES: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - 400 min total, 80 weekly. Track time and distance. STA +1 A = 480 min, weekly met Walking: Fortify the Spine - 1250 min total, 250 weekly. CON +1 A = 1950 min, weekly met Exercise: HIIT Lifting and Bodyweight - 400 min total, 80 weekly. STR +1, STA +1 A = 400 min, weekly met Flexibility: Stretching and Physical Therapy - 700 min total, 140 weekly. DEX +1 A = 720 min, weekly met Karate: Training and Practice - 1250 min total, 250 weekly. Track progress towards belt. Track improvement on all material. DEX +1, STR +1 A = 1315 min, weekly met DIET: Lean Body - Track weight. Complete measurements before or during Week 1 and again during or after Week 5. Looking to maintain 150 lbs or less while shrinking my waist and building muscle. CON +1 A = Tracked Keep on cutting out the crap - No CheezIts, limit snacking at work, cut down portion sizes. Drink more water. Track fruit and veggies for 5 cups a day. CON +1 A = Crap OUT; water, veggies, fruit IN LIFE: Get Stuff Done - Complete 115 Hours of various Chores and Maintenance, with at least 23 hours each week. Chores and Maintenance are the following areas (goal hours for challenge) Dishes (16), Laundry (10), Cooking/Cleaning/Dusting/Vacuuming/Trash/Other (32), Yard Work (2), Animal Care (24), Home Renovation and Auto Maintenance (10) WIS +1, CHA +1 A = I lost track on the hours after I lost access to my work computer and tracking file for two week. But I didn't stop doing the work. Epic Quest - Complete something EPIC! I want to be able to look back at my four week challenge and say, "that was the challenge I did X". My challenges tend to be a lot of the same old. I've given myself plenty to improve in small steps, but I also want to see big strides in the things I've been working on. What box can I check? What have I been procrastinating? What am I focusing on? WIS +2, CHA +2 A = Lots of teleworking and teleconferencing while self-quarantining. Zoom has been a great investment as we are using it for Nerd Camp stuff, Toastmasters meetings, family birthday parties, etc.
  24. No idea. My karate instructor gave it to me.
  25. I was trying to find a quote to use in this time of self-quarantining and social distancing, but I felt it would be better to quote myself. "You are not alone in this time we are so far apart. Technology is available to allow us to connect to the world. We can finally use all those social media platforms, communication devices, and online games to do the things we should have been doing the whole time. Connect, communicate, and care. Reach out to friends and family with your phone, your computer, your Echo, your XBox, whatever. Talk to them about all the things, not just the news and weather. How about that book you are reading, movie you just watched, craft you are working on? Share your thoughts and feelings and ask them about theirs. Remind them that you care for them and wish them well. A healthy connection to others needs more than a physical presence. It needs the mind and spirit. Connect, Communicate, and Care."
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