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About flourless

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  • Birthday 05/22/1977

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  • Location
    SF Bay Area
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  1. I'm with them. I should disclose my biases though - I've been with my current dojang for about a year and a half. When my neurological system went massively-maladaptive, I became back office staff. I spend most of my work day talking to people about why they should (or shouldn't) come take classes from us, how they like their classes and why they chose to stop or continue. My top three would be: 1) Instructor/assistants/adjunct - I'd try to watch or try out all of the different classes you could make work, and see how you like the staff, if they teach in a way you find accessible, how they treat students, etc. 2) Location/schedule/price - This is kind of a threefer, but it really comes down to "How convenient is this to my lifestyle?" 3) Student body - do you have things in common with them? How does the mix of focus and chatter work for you? Is there a potential workout buddy there?
  2. Woohoo, the Bay Area is a great place to be, I'm glad you get to come and visit! I'm on the other side of the peninsula (in Menlo Park) and in June/July/August expect to be on vacation and frantically trying to help my boss open a dojang, but I'd happily get together with you. I can't promise attempts on your life, but I can invite you to martial arts class with me and teach you how jaywalking improves your understanding of Ki.
  3. It's kind of cool and intimidating and frustrating all at once. I study Kuk Sool Won. The family martial arts history goes back 17 generations from In-hyuk Suh, who merged his family's historical forms with other martial arts and founded Kuk Sool Won (that's oversimplified to the point of being partially wrong - but is still the gist of it as I understand it.) GrandMaster In-hyuk Suh and his entourage travels to every school once a year to run seminar. He's very nice and polite. But the teaching will make your head spin. After the last seminar, we looked at each other and said "Did you understand anything he said?" "Ummm, not really." and as a group pieced together the combos he taught. Some of it is that in a room with 100 people in it and non-optimal accoustics, it's hard to understand a somewhat soft-spoken teacher at the best of times. Some is that he speaks with a heavy Korean accent (imagine that). Most of it is that he teaches a very old-school way. It's fast, it's intense. It assumes that you're training 5/6 days a week for hours on end with information poured into your head. For Ki/Chi training, I'd recommend "Ki in Daily Life" by Koichi Tohei. For "I have a family to protect", I'd strongly recommend Chapter 8 of Aikido exercises for teaching and training by C.M. Shifflett. Good luck, and I hope you enjoy your training!
  4. I have a form that I've been taught, but I was sick off and on while I was taught it. So I know parts 1-3 really well. Part 4 and 5 I get backwards (and sometimes intermingled), and part 6 I remember everything except how it starts. Yeah, I need to get back into the dojang. I'm a very auditory learner, though - so my big issue in remembering it again is that I forgot the words that go along with the form. I picked up a copy of Seconds Pro for my android phone, and I'm programming the form in as if it were circuit training, with just a few seconds for each count "Part 1, ready stance." "1, forward stance"... The act of programming helps a lot, but then I can play it in my earbuds as I do it. Next comes the form at the right rhythm, but still with the prompts. "1...2...3-4-5" Then I'll fade that out completely.
  5. Mohm Puhl Ki is the stretching and conditioning exercises that Kuk Sool Won does at the beginning of a class. From the Kuk Sool Wiki: Feet shoulder width apart, place your hands on the floor once, then again further back. Straighten your body and place your hands on your hips. Lean back.Head up and down.Head left and right.Head rolling in a circle.Hips in a circle.Bring in the left leg, bend the knees slightly, and rotate the knees.Deep knee bends.Ki Chi Jah Ki 1-6Sit down facing the weapons, legs straight in front of you. Short stretches, bringing elbows to the knees.Long stretches, touching your toes.Ankle rotationsLeg extensionsCenter Splits: stretch side to side, then again reaching over your head, and then rowing motions.ButterflysPress down on the knees with the elbowsHold the feet and attempt to bring the elbows to the floorWrist stretchesBack rollBack straddle stretch rollArches - low, middle, and full.Lying face down, with palms flat on the mat, stretch the head and shoulders upNow feet and kneesBoth ends at once.Grab the ankles and do a rocking horse stretch.Place hands under chin and stretch up to look at the ceilingStretch back, low to the groundArch up like a cat"Mon Puhl Ki finished, sir!" I have pushups in there too - flat hands, knuckles, fingertips, two fingers, wrist. And I'm fitting in front/middle splits. The short version we do before class takes about 10 minutes, the long version is to do each of those things for a minute, with minimal transitions. My working theory is that my brain gets out of sync with my body (similar to a proprioceptive dysfunction) and that my brain's mis-understanding of the sensory feedback that it's getting is like the noise you get if you turn a microphone's gain up way too far. The focused exercise/motion/feedback helps "fix" that. If I push too far/work too hard, it kind of goes the other way - I'll get stuck making a motion over and over again, because I just can't seem to stop. Or I'll start to lose control with my techniques partner. So part of the process for this challenge is to find moderation. I see lots of active meditation in my future.
  6. Two of my goals this challenge are to get back into classes at the dojang and to meet more people. This morning, I realized that I might be able to do them both at once. I take Kuk Sool Won in Menlo Park (at the rec center). This coming week (April 15-20) is Fun Week at the dojang. It's mostly for the kids - they do crazy socks and backwards day and whatnot. But it's also open Dojang week. Anyone can come and play. The classes are likely to be "greatest hits". If the students get to pick it'll probably be jump-kick gymnastics, falling, martial arts obstacle course, chicken sparring, etc. Nothing in the classes should require a specific martial arts background, and they do (IMO) a really good job of tailoring things to your fitness level and concerns. So, I'd like to issue an open invitation to Nerd Fitness to come and play with me. If someone wants to come to class - I'll meet you there, introduce myself, then we can bow in together and have a good night working up a sweat. Cafe Barrone is a very short walk if people want to have a coffee/snack after class. It gives me a little nudge to be more social and to get back in the habit of going to class. We'd meet at the Menlo Park Rec Center (less than a quarter mile from Menlo Park Caltrain). The classes are Monday-Friday evenings (starting around 6) or Saturday morning. If you have a strong martial arts/fitness background and you give me advance notice, I might be able to wrangle you an invite to the Black Belt Club or Jedi classes. I'm really not trying to advertise the school - I'm just looking for people to play with. So if you have questions, ask here or PM me. ObConflictOfInterest: I do basic office work for the dojang a few hours a week. They haven't suggested I invite people. I don't make any commission. Mods, if I shouldn't have posted this - feel free to modify or delete it as you see fit.
  7. When we last left our struggling hero... In October, I had an injury of unknown cause and effect. First they thought it was a stress fracture in my right leg. Then it was shin splints. Then it was a stress fracture in my right arm and shin splints in the leg. Then it was a back injury. Then it was OMGWTFBBQ progressive neurological screwballery. Is it cancer? Is it MS? Is her body eating itself for dessert? Watch to find out! My orthopedist has said "Not your spine! No surgery for you, go away!" My neurologist has said "You still have a brain, AND a spinal cord. I don't see what you're complaining about! But, I can give you some excruciating tests that diagnose things that don't match your symptoms." My GP has said "Yeah, that medication the neurologist put you on? Stop taking it." My chiro has said "Beats the heck out of me what's wrong with you, but lets see if going snap-crackle-pop helps!" My husband has said "They're going to tell you it's fibromyalgia, you know... " Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn anymore. After six months of the doctors telling me not to do more than gentle walking, for fear I'll suddenly fall down and be paralyzed/have emergency surgery/etc - they've all said "No idea what's wrong, but there are no indications exercise will actually make it worse." That means I can get back into the dojang, back on the bike, and back to pretending I have a life. I've lost significant muscle tone, and moderate muscle mass. I've put on weight. I've forgotten half my forms and at least half of my techniques. My joints are all stiff and sore, particularly my ankles and wrists. My cardiovascular fitness is in the toilet, and if a doctor ever tells me to go on bed rest while we sort something out again - I'd darn well better be hospitalized. That's where our intrepid monk starts, but where is she going? Up. Up off the couch. Up off the ground. Challenging gravity. Gravity holds us down, and attracts us to big, heavy things. This challenge the monk will seek wide open spaces and find light, buoyant things to be attracted to. 1) Morning Mohm Puhl Ki. One of my first classes back at the dojang, SBN said to us "In the old days of Kuk Sool Won, when training was for 2 hours a day, five days a week - an hour of it was Mohm Puhl Ki." She also said "Mohm Pulh Ki is designed (in part) to counteract the effects of gravity." I'm on board with that. 45 minutes of Mohm Puhl Ki yesterday short-circuited the cycle of symptoms that usually leaves me kind of an idiot for a day or two. And it left me with the delightful soreness that follows a really good workout. I want to progress to doing Mohm Puhl Ki every morning. Maybe the 8-15 minute version we do at the start of class, maybe the hour-long version I'm programming into Seconds. The hour-long version also feels a little like moving meditation. Str +1, Sta +1, Cons +1, Wis +1 2) Reach for the sky. I want to train jumping and landing lightly. I want to have my kicks back - high and low. I've got a slew of exercises from watching BBC classes that focused on higher kicks and jumps. I'd like to work up to a little jumping and kicking (cardio-level) every day, with twice a week strength practice to make my jumps bigger and higher, my kicks stronger, better balanced and properly aimed. Str +2, Sta +2, Dex 1 3) Find my forms and techniques. I'm a white belt still, even if it's not as shiny as it was. Now it's kind of grungy, because it's absorbed all my hard work. The belt goes back on, and it supports me as I practice all I've been taught. I need to go to three classes a week. I need to practice every day, even if it's just for a few minutes, or just reviewing in my head. Dex +2, Con+1 Life Goal) I need to meet more people who do active things. I'm not sure yet how I'll do this. There aren't many adults in our classes now, so maybe I'll find a SFBA meetup to drop by. Maybe I'll start an SFBA meetup! Anyone want to drop by martial arts classes on the peninsula? The first hit (or two) is free! +3 Cha Everytime I move today, I say "Ow, quit it!" so I think that's my cue to take a hot shower and do some Mohm Puhl Ki.
  8. At least it's not just me who's trying that! Good to see you (and all the rest of the monks) again.
  9. First, a disclaimer. I'm a martial arts student, and so is my daughter. I also recently started working for our dojang as administrative staff. I find them to be nice and ethical people who are struggling to support themselves with a martial arts studio. On the other hand, before I knew as much about the schools inner workings - I was evangelical about the school. Just like buying anything else - you need to be an informed consumer. The first step of being an informed consumer is to know what you want. Are you looking for exercise? Self-defense? Moving meditation? Small class sizes? Nice facilities? What specific kinds of instructor personalities do you do well or poorly with? Do you want to be gently encouraged or challenged? Do you like a high-touch relationship, or would you rather not hear from them except in class? Do you want a strong philosophical focus, or are you all about knowing how to kick someone's ass? Those things can vary a lot, even in the same style. For signs of trustworthiness I'd go for: Offers trial classes, and if for some reason you aren't sure after the standard trial - a reputable studio will work something out with you. It's not going to be "keep coming for free until you make up your mind", but they should be able to either offer you a short term or a good explanation of why they can't. Doesn't lock you in to a long term contract. IMO, California law protects you pretty well here. http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/legal_guides/w-10.shtml - a dojang whose contract is unenforceable/in violation of those guidelines is either very naive, or is hoping you are. Read your escape clauses carefully. Answers questions in a way that makes you feel comfortable. Ask questions during your trial, of whatever admin staff you have contact with, of every instructor you see. Not like a jerk, but so you get a feel for how they teach, how they explain things. Sometimes we need to schedule a time we can talk about things, but they shouldn't just blow you off. Has experienced instructors. There will be new instructors. New to teaching, or newer to the art, that helps keep costs down for you and lets them grow professionally. It doesn't take a black belt to lead warmups or kicking drills. But everyone should be exposed to more senior staff, and that senior staff should be designing the curriculum.Is willing to suggest which specific classes would be the best fit for you. We teach the "same" teens/adults underbelt class on M/W or T/R. Same time, same instructor, same curriculum. Very different feel to the class. When someone asks me which class they should take, I'll tell them that they're welcome in either class, but based on what we've talked about, I'd recommend... because... Sometimes the reasons are as simple as "You're really tall, and there are more tall people in class X, so you'll have more partner variety." If I don't know the prospect well enough, I'll find someone who does. Or we'll suggest that they sign up, and the first week come either M/R or T/W to see which they prefer. We'll let people switch from one class set to another (capacity allowing) until they find their best fit, and I'd expect a reputable school to do that. Most of that really boils down to - a reputable studio cares about you as a student, not just as an income stream. I'd be wary of schools that have a lot of highly specific policies. "You can only change classes 3 times in any 6 week period." - if someone's changed classes 3 times in 6 weeks, something is up. If you care about your students, you find out what it is and try to solve the root problem. Rarely the answer is "this student isn't a good fit for our school." More often it is "this student can be helped with a relatively trivial accommodation" or "we've had a misunderstanding, and just all need to get on the same page." I'd also be wary of schools that make irrational claims. Everyone gets their black belt in X years, if they stick with it! No, sorry. Even if you say "everyone gets their black belt in 10 years if they stick with it.", that's a bad sign. "Most people take about X years" or "It's at least X years..." or "For most people, it's X-Y years." Are all pretty reasonable (as long as it's not 2 years or something.) In the same vein, "We practice only non-contact sparring for safety, but you'll be able to handle yourself in a street fight." I'm not a fan of all-inclusive packages. I saw a studio the other day - $7000 to black belt. They said it usually took 4 years, but that was all your classes - you just paid for testing/uniforms/etc. If you took 5 years, it was still all your classes. The business has a big financial interest in you being promoted. Go to a lot of free trials. Talk to the instructors and staff. Recognize that if you're ultimately unhappy with your first choice - at least you got some good workouts out of it, and you learned more for next time.
  10. It's time to lay out the map, see where I am, and which roads I want to explore next. I keep believing that which is measured gets improved, even if I can't seem to get any taller by checking my height every time I pass a yardstick. It's a new year, and a new challenge. Usually for me - that means radical (and highly specific) declarations. Primal raw-foods diet! 11.4 pounds lost in 6 weeks! 12 quarts of water a day! Boot camp! Hike all the trails! Become super-mom! Heck, this morning, I signed up for a money-winning challenge to go from an obese BMI to a normal one in 365 days. But as I drafted my goals for this challenge, something is different. Weight loss, diet, new habits... I feel safe assuming them. This hasn't been a short journey for me. Even though I found NerdFitness only a couple months ago - I realized that I needed to lose weight about 18 months ago. One day, it was just... time. In six months, I lost 17% of my body weight. Then I stopped. My body had clearly had enough, and didn't hesitate to tell me so. For the next year, I just maintained my weight without really thinking about it. I couldn't really seem to lose, but I didn't really seem to gain either. Today, despite my body's generally ramshackle condition - it feels like it's telling me that it's time. Not for the final push, but for another six months. Another 15-20%, then we'll take stock and reinforce our position. And I know that if I give my body what it needs, we'll get there together. So my goals are a bit anticlimactic. In a way, that's Monkish. It's water - gathering, trickling, easing away the rock until there's a canyon from here to there. Practical aside: I have some upcoming medical procedures that will knock me out intermittently for part of this challenge, and I kind of hate that. I'm choosing to pretend the days I'll be sedated, on bed rest, or too busy recovering for anything else just don't count one way or the other, and hoping that I can limit them to a cumulative week during the challenge. Goal 1: Move. It's not a walk to Mordor, it's walking while I can. I love to walk, it's good for me, and I'm refusing to give it up because steady-state cardio isn't cool anymore. I don't want to set a mileage goal or a time goal, because I don't know what I'll be capable of. Instead I'm looking for "good" walks. The kind you come home from with a bit more bounce in your step than when you left. You saw something new. You made a friend. You were chased by geese. You went further, faster, better than you thought you could. I deserve to have five of those a week, so 25 in the challenge. - 4 STA, 1STR Goal 2: Eat: Nourishing food. If I log it, I make better choices, so that's what I need to do. The logs I use have three possible ratings on them (frown, solemn, smiling). I mark based on how good I think my choices were from the options available, or anything in particular I was trying to sway that day. One point for a frown, two points for a solemn, three points for a smile. No log, no points. 105 possible points makes the math easy enough. 3 CONS Goal 3: Rehabilitate: This challenge's goals just -aren't- sexy, are they? But that's what's needed. I'm not talking about going to PT, or doing my assigned exercises. That's just common sense. I'm talking about restoring myself. Coming up with a routine that makes me able to move through the day better than I do now. It's not something that I can pick from a book, or get a routine from a trainer. One part stretching, one part flexibility, one part movement, one part meditation, one part rest... It's a moving target, so I'm going to take this one week at a time. On Mondays I'll pick a target for the week. I'm making this one pass-fail on a weekly basis. 1 CONS, 2 WIS Life Goal: Family time: We all have a lot going on. It's easy to get caught up in what has to be done and forget what should be done. My daughter wants to do alphabet dinners on Fridays. I'll make those happen. And I'll make time for family games at least two nights a week. That's 15 points. I'll give myself a bonus point every time I manage to stay calm and avert general panic, then deduct a point when I lose my ability to cope. 4 WIS
  11. Many thanks. And yes, not pushing myself too hard is going to be a challenge. I think that come January, I'll have a goal about finding that happy medium between pushing too hard and not pushing hard enough. Everyone says that 80% of weight loss is diet. But for me, 80% of diet is a matter of motion. Exercise drives my diet. Hard work makes me crave protein. Steady-state cardio makes fruits and veggies into the most delicious substances. Fresh air pouring into my lungs and sunshine on my skin means that I fantasize about foods that build my body stronger and better. When I'm not exercising? Eh, I need some breakfast. A mocha with whipped cream is 600 calories - that's plenty for breakfast!
  12. Can't tap in life. You can grow, or you can die. Dying doesn't sound like so much fun. I've still got my fingers crossed for your certification, y'know.
  13. No idea. Probably never will have one. It's likely to be repetitive use that the support structures weren't for. My husband will tell you it comes from doing 2000+ burpees. If the reason for the injury were clearer, I don't think it would have taken so long to get it sorted out (and I'm not sure it really is. I suspect there's something going on in my upper thorasic spine, too. Lumbar injuries alone don't explain the tingling fingers - but the steroid for the low back seems to be helping both. The answer in either case is to take it easy while the pain settles, then a comprehensive plan to build core strength. Spinal discs don't have enough blood supply to heal as well as most other parts of your body, so it's forever going to be a bit of a weak spot. All of the spinal flexors, extensors and rotators will need to become armor plating.
  14. 12 visits of physical therapy 11 different medications 10 office visits 9 weeks of wondering 8 days of steroids 7 rounds of imaging 6 medical referrals 5 different analgesics 4 muscle relaxants 3 MRIs 2 torn discs and a ride in an emergency ambulance That's the short version. The last MRI showed two torn (herniated) discs in my lumbar spine (L4/L5 and L5/S1) which explains the myriad of "my nerves ain't happy" symptoms I've been wrestling with. Unfortunately, those nerve roots also affect my GI disorder, so.. I've been a pretty unhappy (and drugged to the gills) camper lately. However, as I tell shoobie more often than she'd like to hear: "We can't change where we are. All we can do is take the next step or not." I've had enough not. This challenge has a week left, and I have one goal. Move. I've been banned from martial arts for the forseeable future. Bicycling is out. The doc says I can do some upper body, but I'm not finding much upper body that doesn't involve a functioning lower back for stabilization. Today I walked three miles. I hurt most of the time, but not in a consistent way. Exactly where the nerve was compressed seemed to vary, and by the end, my low back hurt, but most of the rest of me was pain free. I can cope with that, but it's probably not ideal. Tomorrow I'll walk to the pool, and see if either walking in the water or swimming is a reasonable option. ObMonk: My doctor says 6 months before I can go back to martial arts. I was watching class today, and one of the brown belts was tutoring in the back. My thought? Oh, I could get tutoring... If I don't fall, and I don't kick... I just practice stances and techniques and maybe forms... that wouldn't be so bad, right? It's 15 minutes at a time, which keeps the volume low. My back is throbbing, but I'm just itching to get up and see if I can work my way through my form in a meditative way. Or in the pool. Now there's a thought..
  15. I'm due to check in. No particularly useful updates on my status, to be honest. I'm now 100% non-weight-bearing on my right leg, with an appointment for an MRI this afternoon. My right wrist has started to act up with pain when I rotate it palm-up and an odd internal pulling sensation up near the elbow. I suspect the doc will want to do an MRI on that as well, but I don't see the sports medicine specialist until 11, so my chances of getting both MRIs done same-day is nil. I went to the sports-medicine specialist on Friday, she "got concerned" about my headache/back pain/pain and tingling down my whole right side and sent me to the ER. 25 hours later, the ER released me with a diagnosis of "right leg parathesia" - now really, I could have told them that and saved them a head CT, a head and spine MRI, -four- cardiac enzyme tests, and a whole pile of sedatives. My daughter missed tournament because the ER couldn't wake me up to release me (they gave me 4 different sedatives, I'm not really sure what they were expecting there, and I don't remember anything after the second one. That was an improvement over pain that didn't respond to lots of morphine, though.) Our school took fourth place at tournament, and we had three new black belts promoted, so I'm sure everyone had a great time. I'd post here more often, but I'm mostly spending my time engineering solutions to not being allowed to walk or use my right hand. It takes me three times as long to get things done, but I'm doing them. One step at a time.
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