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  1. Howdy! Kishi here. It's the start of a new challenge, and I really only have one goal: show up here. I'm sure I could really put together a bunch of stuff for a challenge thread, but truthfully, everything's kind of set as well as I can expect it to be for now. A lot of life at this point is really just about showing up and doing the work. But that part's easy. The hard part's showing up here. And while I'd be the first to say that challenges are "done" rather than "talked about," at the end of the day, I'm still part of a community. I don't feel like I've engaged enough for my own sake, and I'd like to change that. Now, it might sound too easy and too self-serving to set up a "show up and blog" challenge for myself, but the thing is, y'all are awesome, and being here reminds me of that. It pushes me to show up for others, and I'd hate to put a number on something like that and turn it into an obligation. So, with that being said: GOAL: 1/4 I had a bjj tournament this past Saturday. Not my first. Best showing, though: 1 round, 1:33. Yeah, it's not great. But the odds say that most of us what show up to do this have to lose, so it's not like I was unusual or something. Also, my dad showed up to watch, and while I hated losing in front of him, I actually felt overall positive on account of being able to explain what I did and how I lost. Sunday I went to open mat with video of my failure. They were cool about it and they've since decided to make me their pet project by fixing my two deficit areas - takedowns and pressure response. Which means I'm going to get chucked around like a ragdoll and have the life crushed out of me for the next x amount of weeks until I have demonstrated sufficient improvement. But honestly? It's damn decent of my friends to want to help me get better at something I care a lot about, and I really appreciate them for it. So, I'm going to keep working on these places and we'll see what happens. FWIW, I've reaped benefits almost immediately. Beyond that, the past few days have been relatively inconvenient, but not eventful per se. Landlord's putting new siding on the apartment and the contractors knocked out our Internet. So that took a couple of days to deal with. Had to go to the office on my out days (booooooo) but my boss decided to let me count Monday and Tuesday as my two days in and to work the rest of the week from home (YUSSS). Meditation and breathing have been good. Haven't been about my writing so much as I'd like, which is a shame because I'm at a really exciting part in the plan. I have a crazy notion that I could finish my plan in time to NaNo this thing in a couple months, which would be fun. You know, have an actual project to do instead of farting around and proving to myself again that I'm a writer. And, uh, yeah. I'll get around to y'all as I can. Because
  2. Well, howdy there, folks! I'm Kishi, an inconveniently itinerant monk. Good to see you again or for the first time, as it applies. I was scrolling through Facebook one night and I came across a piece about Felipe Costa, who's a BJJ black belt of some renown. I read something that struck me: apparently, he was a competitor who never won a "major" tournament up until he hit his black belt. I was struck by that - black belt takes a long time to get in this art, and to go that long and fight that hard without getting anywhere... well, maybe that sounds crazy, but I found some inspiration in that. Like a release from pressure. So when the word came down that there was a tournament up in September, I took 20 seconds of courage and applied for it. (and then thought about how, just because he didn't win a "major" tournament didn't mean he didn't win a "minor" tournament, or didn't medal or otherwise outperform a lot of people that I might not necessarily do, but we're past that point now). Now, you might think that I was getting ready to do a lot of crazy shit for training to get ready for this thing. I will be doing no such thing. For one thing, the new demands on the body would detract from training for the tournament. And for another, the last time I went out for tournament, I didn't even make it past the first fights in my divisions. I have no reason to believe that any particularly exotic training will get me where I need to go. Instead, I want to focus on my mind. Because I know that's where I tend to fail the most. The tournament's going to present a twofold problem - one, the weight of public performance, and two, my lack of intelligent aggression. The second of these is actually going to be easier to deal with than the first. Knowing that it's something to work on, I've gone out and rolled and started fighting better, at least with folk around my weight class who are similarly skilled. That can fly out the window at any time for a bunch of reasons, but the general trend is better and I believe it will only improve with practice. That means dealing more with the first. Which is more of a mindset confidence thing than anything else. I've picked up some resources about that which I'll be studying over the course of the next five weeks leading up, but it doesn't track neatly onto the challenge, and I'd rather it have room/time to work and be effective. But there is a challengeable way to approach this too: Goal 1: Meditation Keep that up. My blood pressure's gone way down thanks to this and I want to keep that going. Anything goes; regular practice is 10 minutes, but if I can only manage a few deep breaths before sleep, that's okay too. Ideally, I'd carve out another minute, just because I want to. Goal 2: WHM Breathing helps. Keep doing that. Goal 3: Writing Writing also helps. I'm not going to journal or anything so much as just keep showing up to write. Participation in any part of that process sets my mind at ease, and I want that. Beyond that, my training isn't going to change much. I've added a third day of skipping rope, but that's only for a minute. Not a lot of conditioning yet; this is going to be about building my connective tissues instead. I've also added suitcase and farmer's carries specifically to help with my lower back. This is a method that is apparently endorsed by Dr. John Rusin, who I'm inclined to trust given @Shotokan's past endorsement. I've also adjusted my stretching regimen to be a bit more challenging, which is helping me feel better. I'll also be going for the bamboo brush after all, but even then, I'm not going to be doing that much in terms of qigong this time. I'll be working on the first movement of that routine, but that shouldn't really constitute a strenuous load on top of the other stuff. I guess if I wanted to, I could make a fourth goal of sticking to my training and not changing anything, because that would be the hard part, but this mix honestly feels dialed in enough that I'm not going to have a compliance issue. Anyway. T-minus a few days until the challenge. Let's go to work.
  3. Well, howdy there, folks! Good to see you again, or for the first time. I'm Kishi, a monk prone to itineracy and general quietude. I hope you are well. I had a challenge last time and I disappeared. Unfortunately, I can't say it's because I was really doing my challenge, but fortunately I can say it wasn't for any dramatic reasons. Life just got busy, and instead of developing my meditation like I told myself to, I found myself falling back on a lot of other challenge habits like my cleaning and my writing. I'm pleased to say those are all doing better, and my own drilling/shadowboxing/chess and such are doing better too as I've been prioritizing mat time and responding to the input I get from people. Also, the reward I chose for myself came to make less sense, and I just didn't feel driven to press the reset button. I guess to continue the game metaphor, I got lost in the side quests, and by the time I cared about my main, the game was over. But you may notice I have a meditation tag again, along with some others, and I reckon that deserves some explanation. My reasons for meditation, beyond the mental health benefits, are also physiological: I have heart issues to worry about at the ripe old age of 36, and meditation is a useful practice for heart health. Fortunately, there's good science to say I need less of it than I've been trying for to get the benefits I want. Which is good news. More is not always better; sometimes it's just more, and in order for more to be better, sometimes it has to be less. Because less is more. Huh. Right. Cool. There's some other stuff going on too. I've finally returned to striking sparring, and it's proving to be a real shock to the system. The caliber of striking here is relatively high compared to what I've seen in a while, and it's Thai-Dutch style boxing, which means high volume striking at close range with the head as a viable target. It's a lot to work with, and this in a hot academy in the opening of an NC summer. It's not going to get colder. So I need to work on my conditioning; going back to the GST folk, the two recommendations they have are running and skipping rope. Running would take a lot of time and wouldn't come with the coordination benefits or the raw lightness of foot that comes from constant bouncing, so skipping rope it is. Another thing I need to work on is my recovery. I've been using glucosamine to help out with joint pain, and while I did find an effective brand, it's also pricey, and I'm getting real sick of having as little money on hand as I do at the end of the month. (especially since my job is just being icky with pay right now). So I'm looking into recovery methods and found the work of a Shaolin monk named Shi Yan Lei, which I'm finding fascinating on account of his pedagogical preferences. He has a book on qigong for longevity, which I'm willing to gamble would help with recovery, so I'mma do it. My goal with this is to deal with and prevent joint pain over time without having to go the supplement route. Between this and the mobility training in GST, I'm hopeful. The goals are as follows: Goal 1: Training The qigong routine calls for 3-4 times per week, but before I even get into that, I need to learn to breathe. Shi Yan Lei calls for a kind of "reverse breathing" in his method, which is a kind of chest breathing for energy. I need to practice that first before I even get into adding extra movement. Also, the skipping rope is going to be done 1-2 times per week to start with, per the recommendations of the Jump Rope Dudes and Crossrope. These will be very small practices: 5 breaths, and skipping for 1 minute, because what I need is consistency right now and something to build on. These are being lumped onto/into my general training as it stands, so this is really about making the logs simple. Goal 2: Meditation Meditate 10 minutes a day after whatever nightly stretching I'm doing. I've fallen into the evening routine of coming home from mat time, showering off, and stretching while warm. This is a really freaking nice way to end the day. Meditation afterward would suit, I think. Goal 3: Breathe So, out of left field: the Wim Hof Method, which is fantastic for grappling because it teaches you not to be afraid of time without air. I just grapple better when I'm doing this. I like grappling better. I like the lack of fear, and I'm already taking cold showers these days just as it is. Might as well complete the process. As to my reward? Well, if I get the breathing right, I'll be taking the next challenge to begin work on movement. But Shi Yan Lei isn't just talking about movement. He's also talking about massage, with a possible avenue toward Iron Shirt training. This would be incredibly useful and has been something I've tried to cultivate on my own without any success. The Shaolin method for this training involves the use of very specific brushes to massage the body. The first step would be a bamboo brush. This is used in conjunction with the qigong program anyway, so once I've demonstrated my seriousness to myself, I'll reward myself with the brush. These goals excite me. Can't wait to get started... so. Might as well.
  4. Late to the party again. The last challenge went better than I expected. Lot of workouts and average of over 80 minutes a day of training time. Most days had three or more workouts and even some days up to five workouts and over two hours of training. It went exceptionally well. This time around, I am going to try something different and put my entire challenge focus on one thing, Karate training. Karate training 5 days a week is the plan. I do some type of Karate training every day already but the plan is to go through an entire class five times a week. I have some good notes from my current training and I will use those for my training structure.
  5. First challenge since probably 2019 so I'm a bit rusty. My goals long term are to get into good enough shape to have a competition session in karate which I haven't been able to do since 2018 because of injury and we'll... a plague. For the short term my goals are based on consistency. Just building in the daily habits that will take me where I want to go. The specific measure able goals I have for this training is. Karate training: 3 days per week. I'm training with a very experienced sensai and I want to prioritize that. Some general movement every day: 10k steps and some kind of strength/mobility/conditioning every non karate day. Take my dang vitamins: I know through testing that I'm deficient in vitamin D and magnesium and it shows on the days I skip. I'm not in a place where I need to worry about weight classes or anything at this time so I'm really trying to build in the sense of structure and consistency I've had during past competition sessions.
  6. Late to the party again but better late than never I guess. This time around, I started thinking how does Batman train. He's either out saving the city or rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. When does he have time to train? I am guessing, for him to keep beating bad guys he has to train whenever he can. If that's the case, I am going to train like my favorite Batman, Christian Bail. He was in good shape and not willing to ever give up until the job is done. 1. Train Karate five days a week My formal Karate classes are really taking me to the next level but with only two formal classes a week, I need to ramp it up to keep working on all the new things I am learning. Five days will be a little tough but what would Batman do? 2. Micro workout 3 times a day, six days a week. I am making so many gains from these short workouts spread throughout the day and I want to get a little more structure. For the last couple months, I was doing two or three a day along with my regular hour long workouts each day but I need get them in six times per week since I seldom did them on the weekends. 3. Mediate 45 minutes per week. I have fallen behind on my meditation but it really does help so I need to step it up this time around. Extra Credit: Read the book I am trying to finish at least 30 minutes a week. I am having a hard time getting in time to read my book. Even though I read a great deal each day for work, my personal reading has fallen off and this time around, I need to get back into the reading grove.
  7. So sorry for the delay! I've been doing my homework. And I'll be going back to it just as soon as I'm done here. Took all week to figure out what my challenge was going to be. I knew it was going to be a writing challenge, but I didn't know how precisely. Then I knew it was going to be related to doing homework of some kind, like what my brother advised, but I didn't know what that looked like either. And to TBF? I still don't! But I'm not going to let this challenge pass me by. We're back on the Doing One Thing and Seeing What Happens part of the show. That one thing is study. My brother gave me a bunch of things to study over and to work out, and so every day I'm going to do at least one study activity. This study activity may lead to world building and it may not. Doing the One Thing has all manner of strange effects; who knows where I'll wind up? As to rewards? Hmm, I dunno yet. I think this time I might be content with a Job Well Done, although I think for the moment I'll leave open the possibility that something come along that I want to earn. Anyway, on that note: Goal: 1/2
  8. Hello Everyone! Even though I had some of my best training session over the last few months, I didn't do the last two challenges because I wanted to spend some time finding a more structured training routine. With all the information available in the internet and YouTube, I had a period of information overload that gave me too many options and quickly moved me from one direction to another like a bouncing ball. I fell into the trap of, do this one movement for this and then do this one movement for that which turned into 50 different movements that could be covered in a few compound movements. Sometimes too many options are worse than no options for me and that took me down some paths that made me regress instead of improve. This caused me to search for answers on getting my mind in the right place and letting my body tell me what and how I need to train based on the feeling instead of trying to analyze everything instead of just doing. I had analysis paralysis in a bad way. I read a couple of great books, watched a few good videos and talked with a few people who are at the level I want to be or on the same path and I think I found some of the answers that I have been trying to find. This challenge will consist of the following: 1. Structured workouts 5 times per week This part of my training is not rigid but instead structured. I found a group of compound movements that have helped me make some great gains in a short time. I found that training two to four times per day for 15 to 30 minutes helps me get in enough work without running me down. I have also found that doing these micro workouts before my Karate classes give me an edge that I didn't have before because my entire body is awake. 2. Train to become more fluid 4 times per week After many years of Karate training, I realized that I became very rigid in my mind and this transferred to my training and my body. Even though many of techniques were textbook level, I was training with blinders on and not trying anything new. Some words said by my Sensei, who were told to him by his Sensei, is "no style", which to me means, in simple terms, just move. The way that I learned was by trying to emulate my Sensei's instead of doing what felt right. I was able to build a good foundation but my Karate hasn't started to become mine until very recently. Even though I still train Iaido and recently started working with a Jo, only now have I found that the way the body moves can be applied to each other. Even though those are all different arts, they all have a common denominator which is efficient body movement. 3. Mind improvement 5 times per week. I have been searching for mind enhancing systems, non drug type, for some time now. I have been exploring different tones and binaural beats type sounds to help improve my mental clarity. There are some great Youtube videos on Yoga Nidra and NSDR that can settle my mind along with an app I found Brain.fm that can not only slow me down but also raise my focus level when needed. 10 to 30 minutes seems to work well for me and it has improved my sleep and lowered my resting heart rate even more since I started using them only a couple weeks ago. Extra credit: Finish the book I am reading. I have recently read some books that forced me to "read", not only to get it done, but to have a deep understanding of what the authors are trying get across. I often have to read the same paragraph or even sentence multiple times to understand the real meaning of the words. I have read two books so far that have made a great impact on my training and some other areas and I am on the third book now. I am one of those people who only read non-fiction books because if I can't learn from it, I don't read it even though, I really enjoy fiction movies.
  9. Honestly, I didn't plan this, it just kind of happened on its own. Hello! I'm Kishi, sometime GL of the Monks and newly itinerant wanderer. Nice to meet you. I've wandered into the Assassin's Den because I'm trying to learn how to play with movement, and I hear y'all the best around for that kind of thing. Specifically: I am learning myself how to juggle. Why? Because I want to. And also because it's got a lot of benefits that should in theory carry over to martial arts. My situation is thus: I have settled down at a local academy that teaches both BJJ and kickboxing; it bills itself as a Muay Thai school but it is, in fact, Dutch-style kickboxing, which means less knees and elbows and more long combinations whilst standing in the pocket. I enjoy it very much. It's a new set of challenges, and coming from my background it's a lot to adjust to. But there's a problem: we have a space that is too small for the amount of students that we have. So we can't actually spar, which means that as much as we drill and drill and drill, it's actually really hard to develop the skills I need to develop myself further. Since I can't get what I need at school, I'm on my own. And my belief is that the attributes required to juggle - hand-eye coordination, mental processing, relaxation, fluidity of motion, etc. - will have carryover to my main thing. It's no replacement for sparring or anything like that, but perhaps when the time comes I will find that I'm a little sharper than I thought. And worst case, I'll have some fun along the way. As far as goals go, I'm more of a process guy. Ideally, I'd like to pick up a three ball cascade: But I don't have a deadline for it. The journey will get me there when it does. The real trick is showing up. So my goals will be as follows: Goal 1: Juggle 10 Minutes A Day Most likely to be done as two five minute sessions at different times of day. Half credit for one session, full credit for both. Goal 2: Shadowbox Mostly with the idea of staying up on the balls of my feet and keeping my pelvis scooped so that I have tension in my stomach. This is opposed to my Shotokan upbringing, which is big on these long, fencing-style lunges. They can work together. But they won't if I don't put in the work to make them. Goal 3: Grappling To be broken up again between standing work and ground drills. Half credit for one, full credit for both. Goal 4: Clean 1 thing per day So, I've had an issue with my place which is that I have entirely too much stuff. I don't like it. I don't like the lack of space and I don't like how it makes this place feel. I want to be rid of as much of it as I can. In the past, I've tried to go through an entire box of stuff, but that turned out to be too much. Gonna try again with this and see about getting rid of just one thing per day, with the idea being hopefully to finally start clearing some space out. Rewards Because I find that I like them, especially those things that help me get better at what I want to do. 80%: Juggling Balls. I decided to start with tennis balls. That was... a choice. By showing up to practice, I will unlock tools that will make the whole thing easier. That'd be dope. 90%: New Rashguard. Something like this. I like the design, and I could use more. But definitely make sure it's white, because it's a signifier of rank, and I'm crazy, but not stupid enough to show a rank I haven't obtained. I'd get beat up for that. 95%: Djembe Drum. Another thing that would help my martial arts and also make me a more expressive human being. Drumming is a good way to study rhythm, which is better than speed. Depending on how much space I clear out, there's a whole range of options to choose from. Nothing too fancy, though. I'm not looking to master it. I just want to play. And... yeah. That'll do it. I'll make my round to everyone as I can. See y'all when I do!
  10. Happy New Year, y'all! Wishing you and yours peace and prosperity in the coming year. For those of you who are new to the Monastery, hi! I'm Kishi, your humble GL. Glad you decided to stop on by. I'm a martial artist with ~13 years of harder contact practice: mostly striking via karate as done in a K1-kickboxing style with some relatively recent forays into standing and ground-based grappling, as well as Dutch-style kickboxing. I've tried a bunch of different training modes and methods, most recently landing on a mix of calisthenics and kettlebell work because, hey! We're in the middle of a pandemic! Staying away from people is kind of my jam these days, inasmuch as I can (especially since I caught the thing the last challenge. Don't worry, I was lucky; I came through it fine and I was incredibly well-cared for). Since my life is pretty great and I'm not big on challenges and novelty for their own sake, I've taken to focusing on just one thing, because I find that earnest focus on one thing has a ripple effect, both as you work to accommodate it and as it in turn changes you. Last challenge was about getting rest, which meant managing time and productive output, and this was very good. My one thing for this challenge, then, is going to be my writing. The situation right now is as follows: I work an office job that isn't letting me work from home for a whole host of bad reasons that I have no power to do anything about. This presents many problems and inconveniences, not the least of which is that I have a novel that I'm honestly pretty obsessed with. I've done a lot in terms of documenting its structure and planning it out in a way that works for me, but one of the downsides then is that I'm reliant on these documents to actually get the job done. I can't access them at work, and I've been using that as an excuse to not write. But, just because it's been that way, that doesn't mean it has to keep being that way. So, what is the one thing I'm going to change? Well, the thing that's been holding me back the most from writing is lack of access to my documents. But in truth, there's nothing saying that I can't just transcribe the relevant bits onto notecards or something and then carry them with me so that I know where I am. The goal, then, is to return to a daily writing habit. One page per day. I'll be going out tonight to pick up some note cards and jot down the relevant bits I need for tomorrow. And, uh, I guess we'll see what happens. Day 1 of this challenge, in the meantime, is already marked by some complications. I went to do New Year's Eve at my sci-fi friend's house, where I normally go on Tuesday nights. His wife had a head cold out of nowhere, and she got back to me on Saturday saying she tested positive for COVID. This is a whole can of worms. Maybe she had it and maybe she didn't since she apparently took a home test and my understanding is that they're prone to false positives in the event of a regular head cold. CDC guidelines say I need to quarantine for 5 days and then get tested, but the language has recently been adjusted so that if I "can't quarantine," that I can continue to go to work and just be really strict with wearing my mask. Either way, I'm going to have to bring it up with the boss and see what she says; my pessimistic streak is telling me that she'll want me to come to work, so I'll be free to work but not to engage in recreation like I wish and that just sucks. But tomorrow is sufficient for its own troubles. I still have work to do today; I'll update again when I get it done.
  11. Okay, so, uh. First off: Happy Holidays y'all! Whatever it is you celebrate this time of year, I hope it rocks socks. Y'all probably noticed I disappeared from the forums for a while. Kind of related to the heart thing, but not on account of anything that actually happened. Kind of got in my head about it for a while, and the last month's been a pretty transitionary period with return to the office and new school and... just a lot. With everything going on I found myself just rolling with it; I didn't make a conscious decision to step away, but it happened anyway. OTOH, I got stress-tested. (it was stressful! But I passed! Cardiologist isn't worried about me and I'm due for another appointment in April). I've had to return to the office, where I found that I can really neatly do all the things I struggled to do at home in terms of writing and napping and meditating. All that time spent out there, however, has made balancing all the disparate elements of my training a little hairy. That's not anything new. It's been a lot, really. And taking care of all that caused me to neglect the forums here instead. I don't think that's fair of me to have done, but I also think it's arrogant of me to assume that I'm really that necessary to the goings-on around here. Either way, done is done. I'm back. I'll try not to drift again. As far as goals go, a lot of it is down to schedule and time-management. Stuff I tried to work on but didn't stick. I'm paying a price for that now. I'm also trying to figure out what effective balance looks like, mostly because I don't want to fall into that martial artist's trap where I live to train and neglect everything else that needs to be done. So, in the spirit of the holidays, just gonna take it easy and make a goal of getting down to bed by midnight. That's it. That's my one goal. I'm not saying that everything else will manage itself necessarily, but I feel like the earlier I get to bed, the more time I have, and the more time I have, the more opportunities I can take to get done what I want to. It's also the one thing that's really challenging me right now. Like I said, the office structure takes all the challenge out of the other stuff. It presents its own challenges in turn, but an early-to-bed, early-to-rise challenge probably will do more to address that than anything else. And if it won't, well, the only I know to find that out is to try. I'll be around to y'all as I can. Wish you well.
  12. 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: "Relearning" I like themes so I'm going to continue with my karate dojo's creeds. The next one is for our Green belt rank. The creed is below: At Green belt, my dojo requires students to attend spar once a month. This is to introduce them to spar at a point where they have gained basic skills and need to start applying the skills. Students are also allowed to sempai classes at Green belt, though it is not required until Purple (3 belts higher). Here is where they start to learn basic skills in teaching. Teaching is not an easy task, because all students are different. Teaching is also easy, because you are essentially regurgitating what you know. If you listen to your own teachings, then you won't learn anything new, but you will solidify your understanding and enhance your recall of the information. This is what the creed means by relearning. Relearning is just practicing, or getting more reps. It is nothing special, but it is rather important when you want to build muscle memory or you want to improve your recall of information. The second aspect of this creed is to point out that discovery happens when you are silent and listening, because your brain can digest information and take time to wonder about it. You learn new things in your silence. If you are talking, then your ears will miss things. If you are talking, then your brain is focusing on things you know about. If you want to learn something new, then your first action is to ensure you remain quiet, so your brain can focus on new thoughts. These concepts are pretty straight forward for an adult, but for kids, they need to hear it, say it, and understand it. We have many young students who like to jabber all class and they struggle to pick up new information. Part of learning martial arts is learning discipline, where discipline applies to controlling yourself in all sorts of ways. Quieting the mind and focusing on what is important in the moment is one of the hardest lessons for young students to learn. 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 4 Challenge: FITNESS: Cardio: Speed and Stamina - Run twice a week. Include sprints and distance. Get on the treadmill if I have to. I may have to throw the stationary bike in every once in a while to reduce impact. STA +1, DEX +1 Walking: Fortify the Spine - 10+ min with good posture, daily. Do some stairs too. CON +1 Exercise: HIIT, Weight 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 - Three classes a week plus every spar class I can attend, 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. 163.2 lbs yesterday. CON +1 LIFE: Write for Journey2U.org website, Facebook, and blog every day. Publish a blog article once a week. WIS +1, CHA +1 Record gaming videos. Practice editing and publish videos. Record speeches and talks to build a Vlog library. Find a time to live stream on a schedule, even if it is just once a month. 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 +1, CHA +1
  13. 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
  14. Sorry for the late arrival. I knew what I wanted to do, but I'm kind of having a hard time squaring it with the general mode of daily practice and new habit formation and stuff like that. But whatever. If I wind up in a better place because of what I do here, it almost seems like de facto I had to overcome something, right? So a challenge it is. For those of you who were around last time, hi! Welcome back! For those just tuning in for the first time, I'm Kishi, sole surviving Guild Leader of the Monks. We don't talk about what happened to the other two. Sadly, I'm not some sage figure, so I can't give you much in the way of answers, but I like to think I help with asking different questions. Things last challenge took a turn for the dramatic. I got diagnosed with heart disease, the striking program I was going to got shut down, I had some tumult occur at work, and the training program - so meticulously programmed - collapsed on contact with the real world. Much of last challenge was spent picking up the pieces and carrying on, and I'd like to think I did so relatively well. And the situation has changed. Since then, I've started on a low carb Mediterranean diet, but it's low carb enough to really be a Keto Mediterranean diet. Interesting results so far - my waistline is shrinking (probably water weight) and I've got a lot of slow burn energy as documented by rolling for about an hour and a half without any dip in energy or performance. Which is interesting, but for all I know could just as easily be chalked up to more technical rolling and generous rest. I have designs on veganizing this at some point, because it sounds like a challenge, and vegan diets are tied to good outcomes for the heart also, so this sounds like a real possibility, but given all the everything that's getting thrown at me this round, that's more likely something that's gonna phase in over time. Because a lot's happening, y'all! I'm going back to the office; I misspoke when I said last challenge it'd be 11/8; it's actually going to be 11/15. And it's a phased re-entry, so over the course of three weeks, I'll be adding a day, so first week will be one day, second week two, and so on until the 4th week, when I just go back to fulltime. Why's that complicated? Because one, the holidays will be starting around that time, and two, I'll be starting up at a new school, meaning new logistical challenges to overcome. The theme this time is about balancing the books, because I've decided I want to upgrade my computer. I took a look at the new school and I realized that there's only one no-gi day there, so I'm basically done as far as no-gi grappling attire is concerned. But before I start putting away for a new computer, I want to make sure that my finances are in good order. I think I've got some expenses coming out that I don't need to, and there's no reason to keep throwing money away. I also want to go further in my meditation and to make time/space for my writing - hence, balancing the books. Goal 1: Meditate Bumping up to 9 minutes. Goal 2: Balance the Books Might wind up being something of a gimme. Ideally, find one thing a day and do something about it in my finances, whether that's regular savings or finding and disposing of an extra bill I don't need to pay anymore. I really don't think I've got that much to do, but honestly, if this makes the challenge easier for once I'll take it. Goal 3: Write Gotta get back to butt in chair time. It's worth doing. Just gotta do it. At this point, just gonna focus on getting to my writing; no word count goals just yet, just carving out space. And, uh, yeah. That's really it this time. Let's get to work.
  15. I missed the last challenge but still got it in some great workouts for the last six weeks. I am trying to find a good way to keep track of my workouts but I haven't found and easy way to do it which and many times, because of the multiple workouts per day, I cannot remember what I did by the end of the day. Anyway, this time around, I am going to keep focusing on the chaos workouts and continue to do at least two workouts per day with the focus on the following: 1: Get 10 strict pull ups by the end of the challenge. Since my squats and lunges have improved with my current workout, I am going to apply the same method to pull ups. If I remember correctly, I was able to do 28 pull ups when I was 17 during a fitness test which was 38 years ago. The end goal is to get to 30 consecutive pull ups overall but if I can get to 10 over the next five weeks, I know I can keep increasing that number going forward. 2: Mobility training three times per week. I am seeing a lot of improvement since I started doing The Simplistic Mobility Method and the only thing that is holding me back is consistent training. I get one or two of these workouts in per week but I need to up the game. I also found some interesting Qi Gong training on Youtube that I started doing which is similar to moving meditation. 3. Three Karate classes per week. I have two formal Zoom classes each week but I need an additional class, on my own, to work on what I am learning in the two other classes. I do a good amount of kihon and kata throughout the week but an additional, structured class will go a long way. Extra credit: Mediate at least three times per week. This is one area that I have been lacking in over the last year or so. I was doing so well with headspace everyday for over three years but I started to feel that it wasn't helping. I have a couple of apps and some Youtube videos that interest me and doing them three times a week should go a long way.
  16. Oh look, I'm doing this thing during 0-week. Most excellent! It's almost like my life is falling into some semblance of order. Almost. Y'all what been around a while should know that it never lasts. The big thing that's causing me to change is that I'm dealing with some ongoing gluteal pain that's responding to stretches and home treatment, which is why I'm not going in for PT just yet. It's mostly okay, but there have been some times where it's got to be a bit much. Like, on my recent drive to Gatlinburg, I basically spent 5.5 hours sitting in the car and it got pretty painful, to the point that it actually impacted my mobility until I was able to stretch out some. Also, I'm a little dissatisfied with my current training regimen. For those just tuning in, I've been using Pavel's strength-endurance program The Quick and the Dead for my base and been doing that 3 times a week. For the other four days of the week, I've been rolling 4D20 and scheduling random work and rest days based on the results. Work days have morphed to mean the GMB vitamin program (15 minutes) plus another thing, generally skipping rope or Turkish Get Ups. There are some other minor add-ons based on my specific situation, but even so, everything's done rather remarkably fast and I'm glad. Believe it or not, I actually really like this way of doing things. I think my prior drive to "work every day" was based on old programming principles or else were based in some unaddressed insecurities that I've been working to meet and manage, and I feel like compliance is super-easy and I'm totally not burnt out. But it's not perfect. My dice, it turns out, are very generous to me, and I tend to roll a lot of rest days. (oh no, what a nightmare. ) And based on both recommendations and prior experience, I tend to give skipping rope priority, because if I'm only getting one work day a week, it feels right to give it there. What that's working out to is less time with TGUs. And why does that matter? Well, in the short term, TGUs are to grappling what skipping rope is to striking: a kind of fundamental full body movement with a ton of carryover and benefit to the sport. I don't want to leave that benefit on the table. In the long term, I'm going to want to get strong in TGUs because one day I'm going to want to try to build some muscle with kettlebells and pretty much every source I can find on the matter aims for low reps and heavy weight. Enter the Kettlebell, the Ur-program in such matters, requires a 32kg swing and a 32kg TGU before allowing adherents to begin. What's a boy to do? Well, I feel like the answer to this problem lies in this program here, which I've referenced before. You might notice that he combines Quick and the Dead (QD) with another program, Simple and Sinister (SS), which is a swing-TGU focused program. His setup involves two SS sessions and one QD session per week of training. I think there's something to this for me, so that's what I'm gonna do. As to the other 4 days of the week? Well, there's GMB like I said, which at this point is mostly about movement quality and skipping rope. I did, however, buy their recovery programs, and I feel like I could be using those rest days to actually dig into recovery work and also work on flexibility and stretching. So. Enough navel-gazing. Let's get to the brass tacks. Goal 1: Training Seems appropriate to make a training goal again since I'm switching things around. Also, I have come pretty close to some compliance issues recently, and I want to smooth that out if I can. Goal 2: Meditation This was a struggle last time. I got toward getting better at it, but I really feel like I do better with a meditation habit, and I want to cement this in place. So. We will remain at 8 minutes this time. Goal 3: Clean Goal remains because I've still got a serious lack of floor space and a serious surplus of dirty surfaces. I'm getting better at both, but that's breeding some complacency, and I know me too well to let myself off the hook on this just yet. The prior arrangement of cleaning and moving a box per week (as a boss) worked good. No reason to mess with it now, beyond expanding what surfaces I clean. And that's that. Should be good.
  17. Hey everyone! Getting on late at night because somehow it worked out to being the best time to do the thing. Big changes happened in the past week. I had originally meant to reward myself with rash guards for BJJ, but midway through, I 1) had the chance to change to earlier hours, and 2) saw a cool gi design go up that I wanted more. I still feel quite rewarded for my efforts last challenge; it's just that I had a last-minute chance to take a deal that turned out to be closer to what I wanted. This has the neat side effect of allowing me to use rash guards as a reward again. How fortuitous. Um, also, accidentally got the chance to show some character growth. Saturday I went to a party with my friend group. One of us got a little too drunk for my liking and I slipped and got a little too harsh calling him on it. We didn't come to shouting at each other or blows or anything, but I really hurt him in a way I didn't think I could. I had the chance to talk it over with him this morning, though, and we were able to patch things up. I say it was a growth thing because the last time I wound up in a situation like this was with my Ex and I botched it. I didn't botch this time. I grant you, it's not trying to salvage a romantic relationship, but I think it's got enough in common to count. Hence the title of the challenge. Everything's crazy and up in the air and I'm going back to the office in about a month and some change and just... yeah. It's a lot right now. So we're rolling with it. Goal 1: Meditate I'm up to 8 minutes now, which is great, but I'm not sitting consistently, and that's not great. Need to fix that. Goal 2: Clean Car troubles are managed enough that I can get after getting boxes o' stuff out of my place. But I need to clean the car first. This is going to go alongside my old cleaning goal from before, because now that my sinks are reliably clean, I want to start expanding out onto regularly cleaning other surfaces too. So, the way this will work is that it'll have a daily component build up over the course of the week. However, in order for a given week's total to count, I have to defeat a mini-boss, defined as one seat-section of the car (first couple weeks) and then a box a week for the rest of the challenge. Goal 3: Eating So, I've basically crept over into obesity per my body fat percentage as run via the Navy formula. I know for a fact that my macros are fine and even my daily expenditures are fine, but I'm letting social eating be an excuse to indulge and it's getting in the way of the results I want. While I'll be tracking this as a daily, the real goal is to focus on "leaving things behind" - in other words, if I go out to eat, I come back home and drink a protein shake for my vitamins instead of picking up 'healthy' indulgences at the grocery store. With that in mind, as I'm posting early Monday morning: Goal 1: 0/1 Goal 2: 1/1 Bosses: 0/5 Goal 3: 0/1 Aw, look, it's not as bad as it was last time. I can only imagine how well it'll go!
  18. The last challenge was an eye opener for me. Training more than once a day with short workouts and one longer workout at night was one of the most productive challenges I have done since I started doing them on here. It was a great learning experience and this challenge will be a continuation of the what I did but with more structure relating to timing and number of workouts per day. I still need to tune what I am going to do each workout but that's the chaos part. If I feel like bands, I do bands,. If want to do the sandbag or kettlebells, then I do. If I want to do the dumbbells or barbells, you guessed it. I have so many things to choose from, I won't know that to do but that's the best part. Captain Chaos approved! "Dunn dun DU-UH-UHNNNN!!" 1. Chaos training 5 days a week. At least three workouts a day but more if possible five days a week. I need to get the last workout in earlier in the evening because the late workouts before bed are keeping me too amped up to sleep. The early workouts are normally around the 10 to 15 minute mark but I am looking for at least 60 minutes a day going forward. 2. Karate training 3 days a week. I am training on two Zoom classes a week now but I want get in an extra class on my own each week. The Zoom classes are getting more intense and I feel like I am starting to feel like a beginner again, which means more training. 3. Recovery with meditation and flow training. Training as much as I did during the last challenge pushed me harder than before and a few of those days, I had some issues recovery from the workouts the day before. It wasn't the physical recovery, instead it was the mental recovery. I have a new meditation app that I want to explore and I have been studying the Flow training course that I bought some time ago and never really looked at until recently. Extra credit: Publish at least two videos for my training websites. This is something that I have wanted to do for years and even though they will be very short videos, I need to start somewhere and break away from the analysis paralysis. I guess I am really dating myself by positing a picture of Captain Chaos but Cannonball Run is one of my favorite movies.
  19. A day late, but not a dollar short. Yet. Howdy, everyone, hope it's been well with you! I'm sorry I'm late coming in. I had a hard time coming up with a challenge because, well, if I'm honest, I'm content with where I am right now. I'm well-healed, back on the mats, I'm engaging with friends and asserting my boundaries when I need to, and... well, I mean. Life is pretty good! I mean, beyond all the ways in which it isn't, but, you know, that's life. Still, there are advancements to be made. I'm keeping some spaces clean, but I want to clean out more, and I know what I gotta do next from there. And, I need to get moving on my writing again. TBH, that was just two things, and I had a really hard time coming up with a third. And then my dear sweet sci-fi friend decided to fill the hole in his soul with a Tough Mudder in Baltimore in a few months. He needs a team, and I wasn't going to let him go alone. Or at least, that's how I'm operating right now, because he's not sounding too terribly committed to it right now. Either way, I figure if I'm careful about it, putting on some miles won't hurt me any. But that's something I have to do, which means I lose one of my days for rolling dice. Boooo. But OTOH, the dice-rolling mechanic is really nice for a way to randomize my off-days, and I've liked it a lot. So. I have three goals. Goal 1: Clean. Keep my sink clear and expand it to cleaning the sink surfaces themselves. They're kinda grody. Get 'em clean and keep 'em that way. Goal 2: Write. Surgery and recovery in the last month really knocked me off my course. I'm itching to get back to this. I'm cleaning up some planning stuff and restructuring the story a bit, which I think is going to clean things up rather nicely, actually. Goal 3: Train. Almost seems like a gimme, but, well, I got something on the horizon now, and that needs to be met. At this point, the constants are Quick and the Dead sessions 3 times a week, and on one day a week I'm going to go for a ruck. Tough Mudder recommends being able to run/walk 7 miles, so I figure if I can clear that under load, I'll be good to go. Truthfully, this goal could be called "Ruck," but I want to go keep it consistent in terms of scoring with the other goals. Why, you ask? Because I want to try my hand at rewarding myself again this time. I may have just cursed myself with this, but doggonnit, everyone else gets to have rewards and stuff, and I want some too. Since I'm not realistically going to get around to getting boxes moved any time soon (having to get my car troubles managed still, although they're coming along very well), I want to look into doing something else that'll help my training. Looking at my school's schedule, I see that they do no-gi training in addition to gi training for grappling. But in order to do that, you have to have a rash guard, for hygiene and safety purposes. So. If I manage an 80% success rate overall, I will reward myself with not one, but two freaking rash guards. Because that's what my schedule works out to having time for right now. So this means that out of a 105 total possible points, I need to score 84 or better. And how'd I start off? 1: 0/1 2: 0/1 3: 0/1 Yeah, it ain't exactly auspicious. I blame the holiday. Went home to see my folks and ate good food and spent the day chilling out rather than getting after my goals. Oh well. It's not about the start; it's about the finish.
  20. I'm late to the party again but showing up is better than not showing up at all, right? I had a big life change happen just before the new challenge started and I am currently unemployed. It was a stressful time leading up to it and it not only impacted my time but also my health. I was not sleeping well, my resting heart rate and blood pressure were a little elevated, my mind was all over the place and my energy was almost nonexistent. I was able to still workout but not at the same mental or physical level as before. The last two weeks have been incredible. I have been more active, doing things around the house and my heart rate and blood pressure are better than ever even though I turned 55 after my last day at work. My weight has dropped about 3 pounds, and I am noticing a decrease in stress related inflammation. I am eating better and am working toward a modified Keto diet. For this challenge, it's time to get my training back into high gear. I have been focusing on mobility work, lower body strength and core work, which is already progressing nicely. Karate is still my main focus, but I am starting to branch out from structured Shotokan roots and am focusing on the feeling of the techniques instead of the perfect form at the end of the techniques. The next part is starting my video channel of short videos that show the training techniques that I have learned over the last 17 years and offering some Shotokan Zoom classes. 1. Mobility, lower body strength and core 5 days a week. I have a good workout in place, but I want to keep it consistent. I will outline the workout shortly, but the goal is to do it 5 days a week. 2. Karate training 5 days a week for 20 minutes. I do more than 20 minutes of training, but I also want to have enough energy to do the goal above. I am starting to do kata throughout the day to focus on the feeling of the movements. 3. Create a plan for the videos and Zoom classes by challenge end. This has been in my mind for some time now and I already have a student that I train through Zoom for some time now. Extra credit: Dig deeper into a relaxation and flow state. Even though I am more relaxed than I have been in many years, I want to get back to mediation and try to mix it with stretching. I have a program that teaches flow state that I haven't started and that is something that I have wanted to do but didn't have the time until now.
  21. Is challenge time, yes? Very well, then. So this looks like another clean up challenge, and I've not done those very well in the past, so it's worth asking why I came back to this. I would answer that things are different this time and that I've got more investment in cleaning things up. After completing the GMB Elements program, I got into Vitamin because I wanted to focus more on bodily control versus some of the other stuff. Vitamin is best understood, really, as a 'intro to tumbling' course. I like it a lot. But it requires a lot of room, and a lot of my space is taken up with useless objects that have really been needing to be disposed of for a while now. In order to facilitate this, I'm allowing myself a reward if I get the thing done: a double-end bag. Astute observers will note that this is not the double-end bag I linked to last time I mentioned anything about this; the reason is that I found a local outfitter who does this kind of thing. I've bought from them in the past. They have good-quality product and I like to keep the money local if/when I can. Only catch is, a double-end bag requires a lot of space to work because of the way it bounces and moves, and I'm going to need room to move around it, so. The only way the reward makes sense is if I complete the challenge, but it's also something that I want. So... yeah. So, I'm going to have to clean things up. But there's more to cleanliness than just the physical thing itself. There's also cleanliness in sleep and cleanliness of mind, among other things, and these are things I need to work on too. The set-up, then, is as follows: 1) One Box Of Stuff A Week Exactly what it says on the tin. I think I could probably do more than this - and I may have to, even - but I want to make compliance as clear and as simple as I can. In service to this, there's a sub-goal - keep my kitchen sink clear of dishes. I can do this on the daily, and have been for about a week or so, and I'm surprised at the itch it builds to actually get things done. I say, as I do absolutely nothing else. 2) Bedtime by 01:00 This is a longer-term goal. With 1/2 vaccinations done for me and with my loved ones being vaccinated or else exposed to the point that they're apathetic, I'm going to be able to return to the mats in a meaningful way sooner rather than later. I'm going to be returning to the MMA place I was going to before. They've changed their schedule somewhat and they're allowing for no-gi grappling in addition to the gi stuff and the striking stuff. Only catch is, it's early - like, 18:00 as opposed to 19:00 or 19:30. I don't get out of work now until 18:00, and I won't be able to do anything about that for a while yet. But, I can get to bed earlier, and I can get used to being up earlier too. Worst case, I just get some extra sleep. 3) Meditate 6 Minutes A Night 5 minutes was dope. 6 will be doper. And, that should do it. I'll log training here as well, because why not? I've been keeping up with the Apple A Day kettlebell program, and in order to keep my sanity, I've allowed myself to start rolling a D8 to figure if I'm doing 1 or 2-arm swings that day. My longer-term approach is to eventually work in kettlebell snatches and Dan John's Armor Building Complex, but the hold-up right now is that I haven't got the point in Simple and Sinister where I'm doing TGUs with the 8-kg bell yet. That's the neat thing about Simple and Sinister - you get a good base of GPP and also get good at the fundamentals of kettlebells, so it can be used to limit yourself to stuff you can actually reasonably handle. This is something I need help with too. And, uh. Yeah. I think that should actually do it. In life news, I'm looking at trying to do the work of building a Tenant's Union around here after my landlord decided to get rid of my (admittedly shitty) neighbor under sketchy pretenses. Because she doesn't deserve that, and also, it's a gatdang pandemic. Should be interesting.
  22. After missing two challenges because of work and well, more work, I am back. Oddly, during those two missed challenges, I had some of the most consistent training. It isn't anything earth shattering but the workouts were good and the 15 minute morning workout has because a habit that helps me through the workday. It's time to stop typing and start training because it's good to be back. 1. Close all three rings on my Apple watch seven times a week for the entire challenge. This Apple watch is a devious little device. It makes me workout and get up and move like a little drill instructor on my wrist. Closing all three rings each day is a serious boost to my training motivation and this time around, closing those rings seven days a week is a want to do but a requirement. 2. At least one extra Karate class a week. I haven't been to the dojo for in-person training in over a year but I have at least one Zoom class each week. On top of that class, a second class each week is the goal here. Another Zoom or my own training class in my home dojo will suffice but either way, a full hour of extra, structured training is the goal. 3. Publish at least one blog post per week. I have been battling this goal for what seems to be years now but this time around I know I can do it. Extra credit: Any type of mobility or strength training is a plus.
  23. The last challenge was a mind opening learning experience for me and I hope to continue that in this challenge. Even though Shotokan is the style that I have trained for over 16 years now, the time away from the Dojo has given me the opportunity to find and learn some different ways to move my body and still get the results I am trying to achieve. This also gives me a good amount of content for a blog post too. 1. Close all three rings on my Apple watch for the entire challenge. Technology can be an interesting motivator. Using the Apple for the last few years has driven me to workout more than I used to before I had it. It has three daily goals which include Move which shows the number of calories burned while moving. It has Exercise, which shows the number of minutes that some type of exercise is being done and Stand which is standing for at least a minute an hour moving around. I currently have it set for the following: Move: 600 calories, Exercise 30 minutes and Stand for 12 hours. These are the same settings that I used for the last challenge and it was a good balance of being able to reach the number and still force me to workout even if I don't feel like doing it. 2. Kick the WaveMaster three times a week. One of the new things I learned during the last challenge was doing a Taikwondo side kick is better for my body than a Shotokan side kick. Changing the position of my stationary foot puts my body in a better position for power and height than the Shotokan side kick that I have been trying to improve for the last, well since I started training. Five to 10 kicks with each leg for front, side and back should be enough for me to continue to improve without making my legs too sore to train. I learned that if I do full out side kicks too many times in one session, it takes a toll on my legs but it is fun. 3. Get back to meditating every day. After reaching a long time streak of 1250 days of straight meditation, I missed one day and then it went down hill from there. I used to do it every night before bed and I missed one day and the streak was broken. It does help me sleep better and I feel more rested when I wake up so I need to get back in the groove. I was doing Headspace but I recently found a discount on Calm and want to try to see if it works as well. Extra Credit: Publish a blog post!!! Enough said.
  24. The last challenge went well overall and I believe that it's because I really didn't have a specific plan for training. My decision of not taking an in person Karate class made me feel a little lost but I finally started to get back on track after a few weeks passed. I can still get in good training even if I am not in class and I can still learn some new things as long a my mind is open. With that said, this challenge is all about just doing something and going with my gut instead of my mind. I often heard that the gut is the other brain and it seems to be pretty smart and many times smarter than the one in my head. 1 - 30 minute workout for 30 days The Apple watch has had a big impact on my training and the information it contains has kept me moving even when I don't feel like moving. I found that getting it makes me feel guilty if I don't workout and I think getting at least 30 minutes of workout time is a good place to be. I have done it in the past and even had a pr of 75 days in a row but over the last few months those numbers have dropping and it's time to get them back up. 2 - Find time for sleep I have had sleep issues for years and I notice that if I have even 20 minutes more sleep in a day, I feel much better overall. The goal is to get 6 hours and 45 minutes of sleep each week night and one weekend day. 3 - Read 10 minutes a day This part of the past challenges has been going well and I want to continue it going forward. Extra credit: Publish that one elusive blog post. I almost had it in the last challenge and I think I can do it this time around.
  25. I always enjoyed watching movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger. He had a big influence on me when I was younger and his movies were always something I enjoyed no matter how many people said he couldn’t act. His one liners are legendary and my being back this time is a homage to Arnold. Actually, there’s a little more to it. My last couple challenges weren’t the best and this challenge for me is all about being back. Karate, Karate, Karate... I am still training for the next tournament and I need to get back to basics again. This time around is four days a week or Karate fundamental training. The basics are the key to a solid foundation and those are what I’m returning to this time around. Loosen the hips and tighten the core... With the exception of a tight Achilles, my body is moving fairly well overall. Fairly well isn’t great so five days a week will have at least 10 minutes of mobility and glute & core training. Breathe better... ‘I learned something about my breathing in relation to my power output in my techniques. I thought I already had good breath control but I found if I keep my tongue on the top of my mouth when breathing in, my power goes way up. The goal is to do this with all my training but I need it to be automatic. I can’t really gauge but I want to do this for at least 75% of my training. Extra credit - Write at least one blog post I haven’t published one blog post in months but this time it’s different because I’m back.
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