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  1. This challenge is a little different, although I am still working on attaining a healthy weight (152 by the end of November ....). My major goal is to manage my mental health and to be calm, rational, and adulting by the end of the year. With the approaching holidays, I am feeling dread and stress. Not at levels that would send me to a health professional or counselor, but enough that I know I need to institute self care routines to head off problems. For the most part, I think that small changes will have a big impact. I have been noticing that I am spending too much time online with social media and news sources, and it is definitely stressing me out. In addition, some nasty graffiti has been appearing on campus. This wouldn't stress me out, but the campus reaction and blame-game is definitely pushing me over the edge. Especially since, there is little to nothing that I can do about any of it. My first sensei, may he rest in peace, always told me that I should remain relaxed until an opponent came into the "red-zone" --- the point at which they could strike me. To be calm and relaxed in the center of the my circle was the goal then. And I think it needs to be the major goal for the next challenge. How?? Working on it ..... but here are a few ideas: A social media and online news fast. Other than Nerd Fitness forums. Meditate Hang with my peeps: Pound class, pottery class, CrossFit sessions, etc. Be with people off-campus. In fact, be off campus unless I am in class or holding office hours. Improve 5K time. My last attempt was 48 minutes. I can beat that if I just keep working on it gradually. I like the Zombies, Run! app. Lat pulldown max of 100 pounds. I already dropped a bunch of Discord server memberships. Not that I am on Discord very often .... Facebook is more of a problem. I turned off "news" notifications on my cell phone. I am not going to log!! That can also become a point of stress. I will come and describe what I am doing and how I am feeling. Time to ....
  2. This challenge is all about taking what I gained over the last two challenges and putting it all together. I had 10 weeks of solid training and two weeks of wind down and now it's time to clean up and polish my katas for my competition in 12 days. This is going to be a simple challenge with some small but important goals. 1. Put the final coat of polish on my kata. 25 per week With less then two weeks to go, I am not going to make any big changes to my kata. Power and speed are at their peak and now some small adjustments are needed to clean it up. 2. Mobility training. Keep the body moving and pain free with four mobility workouts per week I think I will get more than four each week but at least four is the goal. 3. Meditate with the focus on relaxation. Keep the muscles and mind relaxed three times a week I still meditate each day but some extra focus is needed on keeping my muscles and my mind in a relaxed state. I have some old meditation tracks that I found that I used to do before Karate classes and it helped keep my head in the right place. Three a week should be easily doable. Extra credit: One good blog post. Since this hasn't been going well, the number target is lower but it has to be one good blog post. I have something in mind already and now it just needs to be typed.
  3. The last challenge went very well. I put in a lot of time and made more progress than I expected but at the same time, I learned that I have a few more things to improve on. I was able to get in a lot of kata but I need to narrow the focus to better quality not just quantity. The core work went well too but again, it needs a little adjustment and maybe some other work to get me to where I need to be. I still need to start blogging again and I need to find my creative soul that seems to be missing. Kata - 35 quality Shotokan katas per week and 20 Iaido katas per week With only six weeks left until the tournament, my kata focus needs to narrow to quality not quantity and still be at the top of the list. Core work - 3 times per week The core workout has been working well but it needs a little extra to keep me improving. I am cutting down the days from five to three but I am going to increase the sets. Supplemental training - 2 days a week DDP, weights, band work or flexibility training are in this part and I think it will enhance my other training. Blog posts - One a week I have been very far behind on my blog posts and setting the bar low on this might help raise it higher. Shotokan Kata - 0 / 140 Iaido Kata - 0 / 80 Core work - 0 / 12 Supplemental training - 0 / 8 Blog posts - 0 / 4
  4. I could come up with some good excuses for not ending the last challenge as planned but I cannot get that time back so it's time focus on the present and not the past. Kata - 100 Shotokan katas per week and 30 Iaido katas per week With only three months left until the tournament, the kata focus needs to be serious and at the top of the list. Core work - 5 times per week My Karate has improved with the core work I have been doing over the last two weeks and I need to keep it up. I consider core more than only abs so glutes, torso and legs are part of what I call core. Other - as much or as little as I can do after the top two goals DDP, weights, band work or flexibility training will fit in here if I have the energy. Blog posts - One a week I have been very far behind on my blog posts and setting the bar low on this might help raise it higher. Shotokan Kata - 0 / 400 Iaido Kata - 0 / 120 Core work - 0 / 20 Other - 0 / open Blog posts - 0 / 4
  5. The last challenge was my best so far and this time around, I want to push it further. I learned that I could push my body harder than I thought and make improvements that I haven't seen before. After doing so well last time and trying do more this time the Captain is asking me, are you nuts but it might be a rhetorical question? Focus on Karate even more: 130 katas 120 katas last time means 130 this time around. Stretch my limits more with DDP: 19 mobility / flexibility workouts Having found that the DDP workouts are really good for me, I want to try to get one more workout in this time around. Getting 18 last time came down to the wire but you don't get better if you don't at least aim higher. Get back to kicking with an extra 10 percent: 220 side thrust kicks Kicks are getting better each challenge so why not add another 10 percent to last time. Extra credit: Publish six blog posts Five blog posts were published the last time even though I was only aiming for four but either way, six posts should be doable.
  6. I learn something new with each challenge and I want absorb what is useful and discard what is not. I think Bruce Lee said that an it worked pretty well for him so why not follow in his footsteps but create a path of my own. That's a Zen riddle if I ever heard one. During the last challenge, my knee thought it would be fun to derail my carefully planned workouts and made me spend a bit more time in my chair than I should have but it was still a lesson. With that in mind, I will train in the moment this time around, doing what can be done with the tools I have to work with. 1. Beach body workout - 12 times I am finding some interesting mobility workouts in the Beach Body programs. With Yoga, Pilates and some other decent movements, I think it will help make these hips work even better. 2. Karate training - 50 focused competition katas and 300 side thrust kicks I am still planning on a return to competition but I need to focus on my kicks and katas again if I plan on stepping back on the tatami. The katas are feeling pretty good overall and the kicks are still improving so it's a good time to do more of them. 3. Quick mobility drills - 16 times I have found a handful of quick mobility and flexibility drills that are helping my knee, my hips and lower back. They take between 5 to 10 minutes and they feel really good. Extra credit: 6 blog posts Using the momentum that I gained over the last challenge getting all four blog posts, it's time to raise the bar and shoot for 6 over the next four weeks.
  7. Placeholder / Draft If Christian Bale and Sean Bean can use Gun Kata, then I can have a challenge using Keto Kata ... flying meat, destroying bread... who knows - but "it has been broughten!" GOALZZZZZZZZZZ: FAT LOSS (would like to lose it and never find it again) 1) 4 Weeks of Calorie Restricted KETO: shooting for <50g carbs per day, over 150g protein, and control fat to stay under total 1,750 cals (increasing if I find myself more active than normal - I exist primarily behind a desk or the wheel of a car 2) 3-4 strength workouts per week doing NF Academy - bodyweight level 3 workouts 3) Daily - Get at least 30 minutes walking (bonus points for exceeding 10,000 steps) LIFE GOAL: Get through 3 investment books (beneficial to both work and personal goals That's it - and whatever images / GIFs I can conjure that illustrate Keto Kata - the art of blocking carbs and getting a SICK body (pronounced "sih-eh-ick" I think) by shedding fat GOALS DONE - draft done - here we go
  8. This challenge is more or less the same as the last one, just with a slightly different title (still keeping within the them of birds of prey). Goals: 1. Attend karate practice 2x/week as usual. Can't get better if I don't get to practice. As long as I am healthy, I will be there. 2. Practice specific karate skills 2x/week at home. In this case I wish to work on the kata Kanku Dai, and go back to the Heian katas and dedicate some time to the basics. 3. Practice yoga at home 4x/week. This does wonders for the damage my desk job does to my back. Overall, it keeps me in the game at home, at work, and in the dojo. This training pattern worked well for me last time around, so I don't seem much need in changing it. The biggest change is more dedicated review of the basic kata. As my daughter is now taking karate in the beginner class, I have begun assisting with that group. All the more reason to be very familiar with the basics.
  9. I'm going to style this after my last challenge with the Druids, which was Way of the Hawk. I've chosen this theme as I am a fan of birds of prey, and I see the falcon as being a bit more aggressive than it's other bird of prey brethren, known to take on other hawks and falcons in the open sky. As such, this challenge will be a little more specific to some karate driven-goals than the last challenge (which was really just to keep my head in the game at a minimal level). Therefore, a slightly more aggressive approach than previously, hence the Way of the Falcon. Goals: 1. Attend karate practice 2x/week as usual. Can't get better if I don't get to practice. As long as I am healthy, I will be there. 2. Practice specific karate skills 2x/week at home. In this case, I wish to develop proficiency in the katas Jitte and Tekki Nidan. 3. Practice yoga at home 4x/week. This does wonders for the damage my desk job does to my back. Overall, it keeps me in the game at home, at work, and in the dojo. I finished rather weak in the last challenge, so I aim to make a stronger effort this time around.
  10. I've been away for a while. I accomplished a lot when I was out. Most significant, I finally earned my karate shodan rank. Took 11 years from the day I first tied on a white belt, but oh well. Obviously 11 years is what was necessary to get it done, and get it done right. No injuries, no karate obsession, no alienation from family and friends, or letting other obligations slide (other than NF). Just balance, with the other more important priorities in my life. I'm quite content with the accomplishment. Onward to the next level of training. Now I want to come back to NF and get something resembling a routine back in order. No frills, nothing fancy, nothing super impressive. The goals below are meant to be in addition to my usual attendance at the karate dojo. Fitness Goals: 5 times per week, practice kata, even if only for 5 minutes. Focus on learning Enpi, Kanku Dai, and Tekki Nidan. 5 times per week, stretch/strengthen for at least 5 minutes. Use the gentle techniques from yoga I know do me good without hurting me. 5 times per week, walk for 5 miles (or 10k steps according to the fitbit) throughout the day. Life Goal: Daily meditation, even if only for 4 - 5 minutes at a time. This was a great habit before I let it slide. I want to get it back. That's all there is to it. Glad to be back in the mix again. Oss!
  11. This time next week, I should be a Black Belt. I've been dabbling in martial arts for years and studying Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu specifically for the last few. I've worked hard to learn the basics, the katas, the concepts... and all the rest... and now the time has come to do my black belt grading. My grading is on Sunday 10th of April so I can't really make this entire 4 week challenge about it but for this first week it will be my focus! I've had the last two weeks off (though I've been busy with some family stuff) and have just found out my internship is not renewable so I'm unemployed! This does mean that, once my current commitments are executed, I'll have a bit of free time while jobseeking. I intend to make the most of that free time once it's here, to get out into the "wilds" of Leitrim a bit more. My principle plans are below but I'll add more detail later, ... especially as my "job uncertainty" and finishing off current commitments / projects, leaves a lot of variables pulling on my time The concept: Food Karate and Kobudo HEMA Exercise The Plan: Food - try to have some breakfast most days. Try to limit coffee to two or three cups per day (instead of five or more). Be mindful of what is in my meals so I can try to reduce grains/carbs and increase veggies. FME (frequent moderate exercise) - if nothing else, Get a 30 minute walk twice a week and do some "exercise for it's own sake" twice a week. Week 1 - Focus on practicing my katas, both karate and kobudo (the kobudo katas aren't really needed for the grading but I think we'll be expected to do some demos for the juniors and their parents during the day). Week 2 - Maintain kata practice. don't neglect HEMA. Week 3 - Begin learning next karate kata and kobudo kata. Week 4 - Go camping. The Nitty Gritty: Week 1: Less coffee, more breakfast, more veggies, less grains - as outlined above. Karate Kata every day, even if it's just a quick run through of a single kata. (Naihanch Nidan is a particular weakness for me so it's the main one I'm trying to smooth into my conditioned reflexes). I'll also try to get my Sai and Bo Katas up to scratch for demos on the day. I'll be skipping my HEMA practice on the Sunday of my grading so I'll do my utmost not to miss the Thursday sessions on ether side of it. Frequent moderate exercise: I should be involved in two kayaking instruction sessions and an overnight island expedition this week so it should cover the FME aspect. I'll try to get some walking and "exercise" in as well but daily kata practice is more of a priority this week! Week 2: Less coffee, more breakfast, more veggies, less grains - as outlined above.Keep practicing the katas that (hopefully) got me my black belt! Keep up with the HEMA - If I have the free time, I'll begin putting together longsword and cutlass syllabuses. Keep practicing katas every day. FME: Again, I might be doing kayaking and such but if not, I'll be sure to get in the walks and exercises (most likely squats, pushups and kettlebells). Week 3: Less coffee, more breakfast, more veggies, less grains - as outlined above. Keep on keeping up with the HEMA - If I have the free time, I'll begin / continue putting together longsword and cutlass syllabuses. Keep practicing katas every day. Pick a new* karate kata and kobudo kata. Begin training. FME: My "job uncertainty" means I really don't know how active I'll be but if not otherwise active, I'll be sure to get in the walks and exercises. *by new I mean one which I don't really know. Week 4: Less coffee, more breakfast, more veggies, less grains - as outlined above. Keep practicing katas every day. Keep practicing the "new" katas. HEMA - If I haven't already begun, now's the time to get the HEMA syllabuses on the go. FME: Again, my "job uncertainty" means I really don't know how active I'll be but if not otherwise active, I'll be sure to get in the walks and exercises. Go Camping: I intend to head up into the hills (or paddle out to an island) and do a solo overnighter. Nothing fancy, I just want to take the step and consider this the first of a regular thing.
  12. Gah, I'm late! Seeing as I recklessly abandoned my first 6 week challenge, it's time to try again; this time with a tangible goal at the end of the challenge. Main Quest: Improve strength and endurance for karate and lifting. As some may know, I'm in love with powerlifting and I also practice Shotokan karate. The two don't particularly go hand in hand, but they do complement each other. While I'm psyched I've gone from deadlifting 135lb to 205lb in less than a year's time, my squats fell prey to poor form and I'm not at all where I want to be for bench presses. Shotokan is all about strong, low stances and quick and powerful punches. Here's how I'm gonna do this:Dedicate 30 minutes each day to karate basics (kihon), focusing primarily on blocks and leg position, holding for 10-15 seconds each.Squat with purpose. While there's little more satisfying than driving up from a heavy squat, my focus here will be maintaining balance and form while driving up from the squat at about half my normal speed.Pass my karate exam on May 17, 2015! This is my end goal for this challenge. If I pass, this will push me into the intermediate level. If I don't, I'll try again during Fall exams .Life Quest: Memorize kihon (basics) commands in Japanese. Since this next exam will push me into a somewhat more advanced level of training, I'm expected to know at least some of the movement commands in Japanese. So why not study them all? In lieu of flashcards that I'm sure to lose, I'll use my nerdy know-how to build a electronic mini-quiz for myself. Maybe this will even morph into another side-quest where I actually fiddle around with my Raspberry Pi!Accountability: I plan to update this thread every Wednesday with my overall progress for the week and recap the previous Tuesday night's karate class. **Last Update: 5/20/15 (see comments)**
  13. Just started listening to a Podcast that promotes a morning ritual, called the Morning Miracle. I love my morning rituals and they set up my entire day. School starts at 9:20 except on Thursday when it starts at 8am. Thursday might be my off day. Wake Up 6AM Hygiene stuff and dress in Karate Gi Meditation 20 minutes Happy Light 30 minutes (Diet Dew Infusion, HB Eggs) Mantra- Three Jewels 30 Front Kick 30 Side Kick 25 Front Punch Taka Hyung 1 Pinan 1 Pinan 2 Pinan 3 Two Step 1 Two Step 2 Two Step 3 Two Step 4 Two Step 5 By the end of my six weeks I want to have learned all 10 of the two steps and the next kata called Punjung 1, which is kinda hard. Also I will have added more to the kicking and punching, but I will go by how my arthritis feels. Right now I have no pain, but with movement things change. My three things are all rolled up in this one morning ritual. I kept on this schedule (except the karate) for the past 3 months, but on this school break I have fallen to the dark side. School starts on the 5th and so does the challenge!
  14. So this challenge is pretty simple really, and has two (simple) parts. Part 1 I shall do my nidan kata. They shall be done mindfully. My aim is daily. Part 2 I shall train for the Newport half marathon (which happens on March 1st). I shall be looking on improving form and thus (hopefully) reducing my tendency towards injury. Training is three times weekly. I am also following the 6 week course on improving running form from kinetic revolutions. That's it. Simple.
  15. The actual quote from Firefly is "You're like a trained ape. Without the training." but I want to be better than that and be like the trained ape that actually has the training. Main quest: Like all of my other challenges, my main quest is to improve my kicks. To be more specific, my side thrust kicks have always been my main goal but I need to add roundhouse kicks to this goal because they need help too. 1 - Mobility: Cheechoe's hip routine is going to be the main focus here but I also want to add the resets to make my hips work better. The goal is to do both of these at least 4 days each week.2 - Back to basics: Do 2 full Karate workouts at home each week in addition to my Karate class. Before the Karate workout do a strength movement and at the end of the workout do a core/ab movement. (modified 8/14/14) 3 - Karate specific: Total of 1000 kicks and punches per week. Life quest: Spend more time with my wife Spending the time walking with the Typhoon and doing something fitness related while doing it really helps put my mind in a better place and it also helps loosen up my hips. Walk 5 days a week.
  16. Teirin’s Summer of Kata: I tried to come up with a cool Dresden Files theme for this and failed. It may be edited if I come up with something cool. Goal 1 - Work on higher level techniques and Kata at the unofficial summer Judo classes. No grading on this one. Just work on lots of techniques and kata and help my clubmates learn the same. We don't normally get to work on these during the normal classes but the unofficial summer classes are all brown belts all the time. We've made a pact to spend the single class per week working on kata and the higher level techniques. It'll be awesome. Goal 2 - Prasara Yoga continued - updated Learn and be capable of at least roughly doing one three of the series A flows from Scott Sonnon’s Prasara Yoga: Flow Beyond Thought. Updated goal is to learn Diving Dolphin, Tumbleweed, and Flock of Pigeons while working on the techniques required for Forest and Spider Monkey. If they go well, I'll work on some of the flows Tacfit has developed. Spider Monkey - admittedly not likely yet, but I will work on it! Forest - this is a bit modified but the only video I can find Diving Dolphin Tumbleweed Flock of Pigeons Goal 3 - General Training Cheerfully stealing Twilight’s point system but limiting it to workouts: Short workout - 1 point Longer workout - 2 points Sprint session - 1 point (Edit: changed to 1 point) Judo class - kata - 1 point Judo class - hard workout - 2 points Yoga session - 1 point I am aiming for 8 points/week. Grading will be a percentage. This also leaves me some flexibility to mess around with my workouts and try different things if inclined. Edit: Revision to workout/points goal: I'm changing the weekly goal from 8 to 10 points. The A level of full points should only happen when I get an ideal number of workouts in - 5 short workouts, 1 Judo class, 2 yoga sessions, and a sprint session. That would be 10 points. If I set a low bar, I'll likely meet it. See last challenge :-/ Life Goal - Sleep Redux from last challenge. Drag bedtime back to or before midnight. Preferably before. Similar grading to last time. Largely eyeballed but I will be tracking my bedtime and sleep quality. Settled by 11:30 5 out 7 nights per week = A. Settled by 12 = B, by 12:30 = C. Extra Life goal - Wear tank tops/sleeveless dresses in public. I have some acne still and a fair bit of scarring on my arms. I’m overly sensitive about it. Very few people have actually commented on my arms but the rare ones tend to be remembered more than the vast majority of people who either don’t notice or do notice and don’t care. I’ve been wearing more T-shirts lately and that’s been going well so this is just a bonus sort of thing. I am continuing to use a spreadsheet and am very happy with that. New one is linked in my sig.
  17. I have lost track of how many challenges I have done now. I am pretty sure this is number seven or maybe eight but either way, I am back again to cause trouble as much as possible. Many of you might be wondering why I titled this challenge, Here comes the Boom. The main reason that is that I just watched that movie again and it is stuck in my head. I also like the title because that is what I plan on doing with my Karate training. It's time to bring the boom and literally, kick my kicks up a notch. The last challenge really brought my kicks up to the next level but it's not time to rest, it's time to bring it and that's what the plans are for this challenge. BOOM!! Here is the song with a video of parts of the movie that I found on Youtube. Here is my challenge: As always, this is a work in progress. 1: Keep up the kicks or keep the kicks up..... My side thrust kicks are better than ever before and now that I know I can improve them, it's time to get real. My plan is to do anything and everything to keep improving my kicks. I spent a lot of time working Tabata magic on my glutes and hips over the previous six weeks and that is the plan for this challenge. I plan on using the same movements, side leg raises, donkey kicks, glute bridges and a few others to keep things going but I also want to add stationary side thrust kicks at least five times a week to the mix. I was only doing the kicks once in a while but this time, I need to do them more often. I don't do much more than five or six kicks with each leg but that needs to be done more often. This includes getting more stretching in, especially HFS. 2: Learn to do the Turkish get up..... I bought a really good book by Pavel about how to do the Turkish getup and kettlebell swings and I need to use it. Even though I read it from cover to cover, I am fighting with the getup. I plan on starting small and doing partial getups but by the end of six weeks, I would like to have a full getup on both sides. 3: Pull up or chin up, time to get back to the basics.... I used to be pretty good at pull ups and chin ups when I was young. About 30 years ago, I could bang out over 20 at a around the same bodyweight I am at now and I would like to revisit those numbers again. I am not sure if my shoulders will let me see those numbers again but I would like this challenge to be a test pilot to see if I can find some of that former glory. 4: Write not wrong..... I have been doing a lot more writing than before but I am still not publishing enough. With that said, I really need to publish more blog posts across all my blogs. I also plan on finishing up the text for my first kata book. I know that I planned on finishing the kata book a long time ago but this time is different, right? Yep, it is. More to come....
  18. So I'm throwing in with the Monks this round. And in all likelihood, several rounds to come. Martial arts have been a passion of mine since college. Most of my experience is with Shotokan karate, but I've tried some other stuff as well. This challenge is all about my return to practicing Shotokan. I'm coming back to it after a 2 year hiatus due to a back injury. I'm currently attending a small karate club at the local YMCA which, at this point, only meets once per week. This means a lot of my progress will depend on what I put into it on my own time, at home. The aim of this challenge is to solidify a foundation in Shotokan practice from where I can hopefully continue where I left off 2 years ago, and perhaps even finally earn my shodan. This is about balance with my other priorities (family, work), establishing routine, and building upon ability, skill, and confidence. The goal is progress, not perfection. Goal 1: Put simply, don't get hurt! The lower back injury from two years ago is basically a pulled muscle that I assume was aggravated by kicking too high, too fast, and too often with the roundhouse kick. I also believe insufficient core conditioning and inflexibility was a part of the problem. To achieve this goal, I'm going to have to use my head. Easier said than done. As anyone who knows me well can tell you, I can easily become obsessive about my karate, and push myself in ways that are lacking in common sense. So now I'm going to use common sense. For example, if I'm having concerns about my back stiffening up, particularly due to the culprit roundhouse kick, I simply won't do a roundhouse kick that day (I don't think I'll miss it that much, the standing roundhouse isn't even present in Shotokan kata). If I'm attending practice that day, I will simply state that I would prefer not to perform the roundhouse kick due to an injury, and perform front kicks, or even a lower, slower roundhouse, in its place. It's not exactly rocket science (yet such a common sense approach has eluded me all these years). Meeting this goal will add 3 to Con, and 1 to Wis. Goal 2: Establish the foundation. This is basically getting the routine down to, well, a routine. And a basic one at this early stage. Nothing that may hinder Goal 1 or other areas of my life (family, work). Simply put, it means attending karate class every week. It also means practicing at home, every day or nearly every day. I once read an interview with Sensei Okazaki where he recommended practicing at least 10 minutes per day. He advocated for 10 minutes because even with the busiest life imaginable, anyone can find time for 10 minutes. I believe I can practice for 10 minutes before work without much difficulty. I know I won't become a tournament champion through 10 minutes per day, but that is not the goal. The goal is simply progress, not perfection. Just 10 minutes per day, Monday through Friday, before work (I plan to train weekends too, but for simplicity this goal will focus on weekdays). Lastly, this goal also means resuming the routine of yoga I established during the last challenge, attending at least 2 times per week at the YMCA. Yoga has been highly beneficial to healing my back injury, managing stress, and increasing flexibility. In a nutshell, the weekly routine is: 1 karate class, 5 home karate practices, and 2 yoga classes. Meeting this goal will add 2 to Sta and 2 to Str. Goal 3: Focus on one kata. For this I am choosing Kanku Dai. I choose Kanku Dai because of the 4 main brown-to-black belt kata I am expected to be familiar with at my rank (Bassai Dai, Jion, Enpi, Kanku Dai), this is the one I am the least familiar with. I am also choosing it because it is considered to be the "showpiece kata" of the Shotokan ciriculum. It is said to even have been the personal favorite of Gichin Funakoshi. Someday, I would love to present it before a panel of judges as I test for shodan. Meeting this goal will add 2 to Sta and 2 to Dex. Life Goal: Read more. It's occurred to me that I don't read enough. I tend to fall into more passive forms of entertainment, such as television or video games, when I have free time. For this goal I wish to finally finish the sci-fi novel I've been picking away at, and then dig into a couple books on mindfulness and Secular Buddhism. Meeting this goal will add 2 to Wis and 1 to Cha. On a final note, I should mention that I will be taking a vacation at the end of this challenge cycle, from May 15 through May 27. This will disrupt some of my routine, namely the karate and yoga classes. But since these activities only require the person, they will come with me on vacation. I can continue to avoid injury, practice karate 10 minutes per day, practice some yoga, and work on my kata while I am on vacation. And so it begins.....
  19. It's time for me to get focused on not being focused. Mushin or no mind is something that I have been searching for but has eluded me for many years. I finally had a taste of mushin last year when I competed in kata at the Karate nationals and I have only been able to have that same experience, a few times, just recently. It is the feeling of doing something that you are so focused on, you do not see of hear anything around else around you. It is as if you are all alone, almost outside of your body but performing at your peak. If the building you are in was to all down around you, you would not notice until you are finished with what you are doing. 1 - Focus all my training efforts on making my katas better! When life starts to go down the toilet, I have always turned to my Martial Arts training to bring me back from the dark side. It has kept me sane in the past and I know that it will help me get through the issues I am dealing with now. With that said, all the training that I do needs to make my Karate and Iaido better. I will come up with a workout plan and do those workouts at least twice a week. I am going to focus those strength workouts on my hips, glutes, upper back and forearms. I will include my other bodyparts too I need to focus on the former. I will also continue to work on my katas every day like I have for the last two years but I want to add two additional "hard" kata training days along with the training that I get in my Karate class. 2 - Flexibility! It seems that I have been working on improving my flexibility since the first challenge and even though it has improved a great deal, I need to be more consistent. The HFS routine has really taken me to the next level but there are days when I just don't feel like doing it. For this challenge I plan on using the HFS as much as possible, at least two to three days a week but I also want to work on yoga for full body flexibility and some more focused hip work. I always do at least one stretch each day but I need to get serious if I want my Karate and Iaido to improve. 3 - Find a job! Being out of work for two months now has given me a lot of time to reflect on what I want to do going forward. If it's a job in IT again, freelance writing, building blogs and websites, consulting or a combination of all of those, I need to get more traction on getting some income. Even though I have many years experience, maybe too many, the job search hasn't gone the way I thought it would and I need to think outside the box to get some money coming in. 4 - Meditate.... This is one area that I really need to get into. I used simple meditation in the past and it really helped but I keep coming up with excuses not to do it. The goal here is to mediate for at least five minutes a day. These four goals are a bit open ended but that is normally how I do it. I will increase the focus as the days go on but I know that this challenge will be one of my greatest challenges. I am ready to do battle and these goals better be ready for a serious butt kickin!
  20. I'll get started tomorrow. Just deciding some goals. Since the end of the last challenge I've got a new job for next school year as head of department, and my girlfriend and I got engaged, and I can get into all but one pair of trousers despite weighing exactly the same as I did about 45 days ago. I'm more interested in seeing everyone else's challenges than my own this time, they're more entertaining somehow! I like the ideas.
  21. These challenges have been awesome for me and I think this is going to be my sixth challenge so far. I have found that I start out really strong but somewhere near the fifth week, something comes along to slow me down. That fifth week has been riddled with injury, illness, job loss or some other excuse to keep me from finishing as strong as I want. Because of that, I am going to consider each and every day a new beginning and a new end. Instead of working up to a six week peak, I am going to live in the moment and enjoy every workout that I do. I don't need to peak and reach the end, instead I want to enjoy each and every workout for what it is. That way each workout becomes a stop along the way and what I did the day before or will do the next day doesn't matter. 1- Six weeks of intense HFS.: Knowing how much the Hip Flexibility System helped my kicks since I started doing it, this time I want it to be the main focus of this challenge. I am able to kick higher and better than ever before and now I want to raise the bar so that I can increase the height of my kicks. I know that doing HFS at least four times a week would really help but I am going to do what I can and not set a fixed goal. This will include the other parts of the program that include the core workout and SMR work. I will also work on any movements that contribute to my kicking success but again with no fixed plan. 2 - Add an additional Martial Arts training day each week: Even though I had a dedicated kata training day each week, I need to dig down and find the answer to training, for real, outside of the dojo. I am going to declutter my home dojo and hang up the pictures of my Sensei's to motivate me. At least one extra hour of training at home is what I want to do this time. It's only six extra hours over six weeks, right? 3 - Write a book: Even though I wrote a lot of blog posts last time, I need to get a book published. Getting my first published book will give me the momentum to publish more books, including my kata books. I have no excuses this time and if I don't get that first book finished in six week I expect a public brow beating from all of you.
  22. This challenge will be almost a replay of the previous one for me. During this challenge I will have a 2 weeks vacation which I will spend skiing, hiking and visiting my parents and family. I want to keep the daily practice also those time, but if instead of doing my kata I end up rolling on the floor with the kids, I will consider my deal done for the day (both handstand and kata). Daily rain The only part where I succeeded was the daily kata practice, which I will make "more difficult" this round. This time I am raising the bar to 5 kata or 10 minutes of single techniques (or short combinations) practice + 2 CON, + 2 DEX, + 2 STA The roots in the sky Same as previous challenge, every day I am dedicating 5-10 minutes to handstand + 2 DEX, + 1 STR Seeds I am re-adjusting the teaching side of this challenge: it should depend only on me if I can succeed or not, not on my students. I am reserving 30 minutes 4 times each week (but the 2 when I am on vacation). If nobody show up I have the books of Trias Sensei (founder of Shuri ryu) to read, to strengthen my knowledge of the theory behind the stile + 2 CHA, + 1 DEX, +1 WIS Changing leaves (life quest) Last time I failed in getting in touch with a local lawyer, so here it is +2 WIS As last time, there is a spreadsheet for me to track my activities
  23. I need grounding. Few months ago I started a hormonal treatment which is changing a lot my inner balance. It is a good change, but still it puts me out of balance. And for a monk balance is everything . I still aim to become a fully fledge assassing one day, but for the moment I go back to my roots, and since I have been a monk all my life before I joined the rebellion, for this challenge I am back here. Grounding is a continuous exercise, a state of mind, so also my goals will be "continuous", more on building the daily habits than doing some heavy training few times. I'll check my "done" on this spreadsheet Seeds My Sensei died last May. After that I formally joined a new school where I have been training randomly for the past 8 years. I am learning the new style. I also have 2 brand new sort-of-students, two colleagues who discovered that I used to teach karate and asked me to teach them something. They are my "guinea pig" to whom I am teaching the new style. And yes, they agreed on that We work on technical stuff, nothing strenuous, just half hour before work or after lunch. My goal for this challenge is to dedicate at least half hour to them every day. Part of the task is also to keep them motivated so they are also willing to keep training. I take a partial break from the challenge while I am on vacation (15-18 November and 12-16 December) + 2 CHA, + 1 DEX Daily rain New style means new kata to learn. My challenge will be to practice at least 3 kata each day. I could be the same repeated 3 times, or 3 different ones, depending on the feedback I get from the sensei. Since in the school there are also many drills for kyu ranks that I have to learn, I can swap 1 kata with 3 drills. + 2 CON, + 2 DEX, + 1 STA The roots in the sky A couple of weeks ago there was a post on the blog about learning to do a handstand. I joined the 28 days program last week. My goal for this period is to keep my 5-10 minutes of daily practice. Good to work on a different kind of balance (plus, I think it is a cool skill to have) + 2 DEX, + 1 STR Life quest: talking sticks I should go to the dentist for a checkup. And I must speak with a local lawyer to get some documents recognized in the country where I live at the moment. The difficult part for me is to pick up the phone and call them. So my goal is to get an appointment with my dentist and with the lawyer + 4 WIS (2 point for the dentist, 2 for the lawyer)
  24. I feel like this is a pretty accurate depiction in regards to the experience of learning a new kata. Does this happen to anyone else?
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