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  1. Staff choreography to music Pre-challenge Goals: 1. Find a song to do my choreography to. @mu , any ideas? Really, anyone though, I’m up for ideas. 2. Find easy tricking videos Challenge goals: I would like to find some easy tricking moves to learn to work into the staff spinning. I feel like I may be biting off more than I can chew because I've never done any tricking let alone working it in with a stick in the way. I’m still going to be counting my staff workouts, aiming for 6 out of 7 days, and hopefully working on the choreography for at least part of each session. I’ve never done any sort of choreography for anything ever so I’m up for pointers! Food strict on work days I need to stop eating pepperoni and cheese on a tortilla for every meal. Like. Seriously directly this moment this behavior needs to stop. I’m starting this right now, no waiting for the official challenge to start. To go easy on myself (and also my budget, because as much as I’d LOVE to be paleo or especially keto again- I felt so good!- it’s just not plausible on 57 dollars a month.) I’m going to eat 1. Varied 2. Vegetable-full 3. Grain-free Meals on every day that I work. That means 4 days a week: no tortillas, at least 2 meals per day must contain vegetables, and lunch must consist of more than one food item (use my bento box to its fullest! Pack meats, veggies, and starches or fats. Some main dish with sides like tomatos or black olives or apple slices. Variety! I’m going to die of malnutrition! Moar Types of Food!) On the three days that don’t work I will allow myself to eat whatever the heck I want, which may end up being tortillas with cheese and pepperoni, but I’m hoping the other 4 days will start breaking my single-fooded obsession cycle. Stretching with ENTIRE routine every day at least 15 minutes I need to stop skimping on the stretching. Commit. Pre-challenge goals: Re-visit my stretching routine, make any changes I feel I need to, and make a timer app with all of the stretches I want to do. Take "before" pics for splits and shoulder stretches. Challenge Goal: Do the FULL timer every single night. Take "after" pics at the end. I think I'm gonna cap it at three goals this time, as I feel these will take up a lot of my time and energy to do correctly.
  2. Lightsaber skills Create a routine for staff containing the tricks I already know plus at least 2 new tricks to learn this challenge. Routine should be around 20 mins including warm up. (probably will be lots of video and bloopers this challenge) Why it's a challenge: Honestly, picking up my staff and playing with it is not really a challenge. I truly love it. However, the challenge lies more in the time management. I am THE WORST™ at time management. I have to structure my morning better to accomodate a 20 minute session and still get everything ready for work and get out the door with pants on and stuff. Why I want to do it anyway: STAFF!! And having more time to practice each day means faster progress. Find Jedi Calm Find two favorite meditations and do them every day, one in the morning and one at night. Why it's a challenge: See time management above. I don't have a solid grasp on how time works. I wake up with 10 minutes before I have to leave and I somehow think i'm gonna workout, meditate, cook breakfast, sit and eat breakfast, bullet journal, reflect on the day, pack for work, pack for after-work activities, and get there on time??? Why I want to do it anyway: Its good for my brain and my old therapist said i should LOL. Plus, you know, I'm gonna be a jedi someday so. Gotta practice. Get friggin' Flexy Using GMB's focused flexibility and some specific stretches my coaches gave me for my sad pathetic shoulder mobility, create a routine and stretch EVERY SINGLE DAY. STRETCH ALL THE DAYS. Why it's a challenge: I'm so, so, so not flexy and I hate stretching and I don'tttt wannnaaa doooo ittttttt Why I want to do it anyway: Big serious reason is injury prevention. The last two times I got wow-maybe-i-should-see-a-doctor hurt, it was because I pulled a muscle that would have been FINE if I wasn't a solid. And both times i went "that's it i'm streching every day now" and didn't. Less serious and fun reason, back handsprings!!! Re-create Spend at least 1 hour per day, or 7 cumulative hours in a week, doing something with no purpose. (ideas include, reading fiction, maybe drawing, playing video games (i haven't don this since i was a child) watching hockey without feel like i have to multitask.) Why it's a challenge: I WANT TO DO ALL THE THINGS!!!! As evidenced most recently by this challenge. I feel like i've "wasted my day" if i don't do something super productive every single minute. If I sit and continue to watch TV for 2 minutes after I've finished eating, I feel insta-guilty. Waste of 2 minutes. Could have been reading a textbook. Could have been doing a handstand. Could have been conjucating russian verbs. I jam-pack my days until i'm so over stressed that I crash, and then when i'm crashing doing nothing, I'm hating myself because i'm wasting time being unable to move. Why I want to do it anyway: If I get to be 75 and I speak all 12 of my target languages and i've mastered algebraic topology and non-relativistic quantum mechanics and i've fixed all the plumbing issues in all my neighbors houses and fixed everyone's laptop who asked and was all these things to all people, but I hated every minute of it?? NEver enjoyed my life? That's a fail. I need to do something purely enjoyable. Be a kid again. Come home and play for a bit before doing productive things.
  3. Andddd here I am, crashing back in for another challenge after being away for 6 billion years. A quick rundown of things that have happened recently: Was very sick for a year, lost a scary amount of weight. Got better, moved to Hoth to care for my mother who is very sick. Mother got slightly better, so I moved out to my own apartment nearby (she still needs her house cared for, but she doesn’t need anyone living in anymore) My goals for this challenge are as follows: Fitness goal 1: Saber skills (freestyle staff) I have just discovered freestyle staff and it is the most exciting thing ever!! I have been struggling to find indoor fitness activities for Hoth in the winter when it’s -40 most of the time. I just like doing outdoor things so much more than indoor things, unless i’m in a parkour gym. But I found some youtube tutorials on freestyle staff and i started playing with it because I had some PVC and a wooden dowel (and a lightsaber) so I made two staffs of different lengths out of them, and holy crap- i was playing around for 20 minutes and i was sweating and out of breath and I didn’t even realize the time had passed. I wake up in the morning and i’m EXCITED to go out in the kitchen and play with my “sticks” haha. The Goal: My goal is to do one of the “badass skill of the month” videos from Michelle c. Smith, the back hand flip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCp1Fl4M-U0&t=45s So the goal is to do 1000 of these this challenge, 500 each hand. Why it’s a challenge: Doing something repetitively can get...repetitive. Why I want to do it anyway: To develop consistency and solid technique Fitness goal 2: Mental health The goal: Daily meditation. A passing score would be doing it every day at least a little, an extra credit A+ score would be 20 mins a day, 10 in the morning 10 at night. That’s the goal i’m AIMING for. Why It’s a challenge: Remembering to do something new every day is hard, and my brain is VERY flighty and I find it hard to sit still and be quiet. Why I want to do it anyway: Living with my mother was, I realized, a really bad idea. My mental health plummeted to a place it hasn’t been since I was a young teen. I had thought I made a lot of progress in being a stable human in my adult life, but it turns out that living away from home was the number 1 factor in that. Living there for a few months was enough to backtrack 10 years of progress. I was there with her for over a year now, and I feel like I almost have to start from scratch. So anyway, developing some solid routines and a sense of grounding and peace is something I need to do. Food goal: Eating enough When I lived in florida I was doing the Keto diet, and I felt SO FREAKING GOOD. I don’t know if it was because it was keto or if it was just because I was so focused on adding extra healthy fats to everything that i ate, I was actually getting enough frelling food in my body. Since my sickness and then surgery I’ve had a hard time keeping on weight. Before the surgery I always had an extra 20-40 pounds I couldn’t seem to get rid of, so this is a weird paradigm shift for me. (apparently, it was the organ they removed that was causing this). I lost 80ish pounds wicked fast, then I struggled and gained back some, and now i’m relatively in the low-middle range of my BMI and I’d like to stay here. It’s so easy to backslide though. The goal: The goal for this challenge is to eat at least 2,000 of the healthiest calories possible a day and to work out a shopping list within my budget. Bonus points if I’m above that, but I’ll be passing if i maintain at least a 1900 average for the challenge. Why It’s a challenge: I’m on meds that kill my appetite, and I have always had, as everyone knows, the worst time remembering to eat as it is. This used to have the effect of keeping me in starvation mode, now it has the effect of me losing weight astonishingly fast. Secondary challenge- because I’m working so much at my mother’s house, I can’t afford to work as much at a job. Therefore my food budget is about $50 bucks a month, so unfortunately I can’t afford to do Keto again and I probably can’t stay paleo even. I’m going to have to get clever with figuring out how to have a reasonably healthy diet that’s not just a giant bag of white rice all month. Why I want to do It anyway: I want to be energetic and warm. When I eat enough I have more energy and ALSO side benefit of being warm enough!! In this freezing weather. (I am WAY warmer when I eat enough, which makes so much sense metabolically tbh). Life Goal: Drawing words and Writing pictures The Goal: Finish working through the book “drawing words and writing pictures” and all the homework excercises Why It’s a challenge: I keep forgetting to do it or doing something else instead even when I have time and no reason not to do it. I really don’t even know what my issue is other than adhd is causing me to procrastinate, because it’s COMPLETLY FUN and I really want to do it.... Why I want to do it anyway: I’m planning on writing a graphic novel and this is a textbook/workbook on how to tell stories visually (showing tone and pace and scene cuts and stuff)
  4. I didn't really feel like I was ready to upgrade myself to Je'daii Ranger, but continuing the Journeyer theme gives me the perfect framework for this new challenge. Also: GUYS! Do you realize that this challenge will carry us through the premiere of Star Wars Episode 7? Like, by the time this challenge is over, we will have seen it, and know for certain whether or not J.J. Abrams' desecration of Star Trek was even a little bit worth it. ----- Master Alora Denn's holocron tells me of the ancient rites of the Je'daii--those who came before, the first Force users. They lived on Tython, the homeworld of the Jedi Order, in those forgotten days. A Je'daii, upon completing their initial training, became a Journeyer--and it fell to them to travel all of the nine temples of Tython, to learn and understand their place in the Force, before they could be granted the rank of Ranger. Most of those temples are lost to time, and I am no longer welcome on Tython. It falls to me to find my own way in the galaxy, to find my place within the living Force. The Temples of Tython Part One Kaleth: The Temple of Knowledge Kaleth was only recently rediscovered, and now it is best known to the Jedi as the final holdout of the dark master Rajivari during the Force Wars, but before that, it was a shining beacon of knowledge. It was home to a library more vast than any other in the known galaxy, and Je'daii of all kinds spent thousands of hours there, learning what they could from its archives. EDITED After some thought, my improvement of technique in both Lightsaber and Kung Fu falls firmly under Part Two's umbrella. Instead, my knowledge/learning for this challenge will be focused on my budgeting skills. It's something I really need to focus on, and I need to figure out a method that works better than keeping it all in my head, because that doesn't really work at all. For the first four weeks of this challenge, Part One will be about working with YNAB to see if it fits my needs and thinking style in this arena. We'll see what happens after the trial is up. --------- Part Two Stav Kesh: The Temple of Martial Arts Stav Kesh was where the Je'daii trained in the martial ways of their order--learning their weapons, building strength and agility, becoming the warriors that they aspired to be. In the days before the Force Hound Xesh appeared, bringing the first forcesaber (the precursor to the lightsaber) to Tython, the Forge Master created blades of metal that were the signature weapons of the Je'daii. It was with these metal weapons that they learned their arts and honed their craft. EDITED All of my Kung Fu/Lightsaber/Kettlebell stuff will fall under this part of the challenge. Anything I do which improves my knowledge of form, the finesse of technique, endurance, or strength will be considered to contribute toward the Martial Arts part of my challenge. This includes: 1. Attending Kung Fu class 2. Attending lightsaber class 3. Attending dueling day 4. Working on kettlebell form (either swing or TGU) 5. Specifically setting aside time to work on Kung Fu/Lightsaber outside of class 6. Running (just in case I decide to do so once in a while) -------- Part Three Akar Kesh: The Temple of Balance Akar Kesh was once the site of a great eight-pillared temple built around a circular pool of water, where the Je'daii reflected on the lessons of balance between Ashla and Bogan--the light and dark sides of the Force. Maintaining balance between light and dark, peace and passion, was central to the tenets of the ancient Je'daii--and the reason that I am drawn to Master Denn's teachings. The remaining 40% of my focus will be a continued emphasis on eating. For the past six weeks, I have practiced the discipline of the Light side of the Force when it comes to sugary snacks. Before that, I was definitely over-indulging the Dark Side. Now that I have seen both, the goal will be to integrate a balance of peace and passion, of discipline and indulgence, in order to make my life into what I really want it to be. I can't hardly claim to believe in this blended ideology and not actually practice it, so deprivation will not remain the ultimate goal. The focus of this goal will be calorie counting in order to resume my weight loss, but making sure to leave room for the foods and treats that I am really passionate about; and to make exceptions for those times when the passion takes precedence, and return to discipline after those moments have passed.
  5. Part I There is no ignorance; there is knowledge I have a tournament coming up in November (a big multi-art shebang in MA), and last Friday, Sifu was talking about my white-sash test coming up in a couple of months. I'm hoping to impress him enough that he might test me before the tournament, so that I can proudly wear my sash to said destination. Part II In balance with chaos and harmony My second focus is going to be on food. I have problems with food. I need to find balance between chaos and harmony when it comes to my eating habits; I find them very easy to manage when in harmony (ie, when I have full control), but throw in a little chaos and it all goes out the window. Goals Part I I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and I've decided that the best goal for knowledge this time is simply to attend as many classes as possible throughout the next six weeks. I need to expand and refine my knowledge of my arts, but given that I keep causing injury when I try to add extra sessions, I don't think it's wise to push, at least for now. There are 24 classes (3 kung fu & 1 lightsaber per week for 6 weeks) between now and the end of the challenge, and I'd like to hit as many of those as I can. The real focus of this challenge will be on Part II. Part II According to my food log from the last challenge, I am fairly sure that the biggest resistor to my weight loss is sugar. Not all kinds of sugar, just the empty kind of snack treats and desserts that I was raised on. I killed my soda habit years ago, and that's really the major factor that caused me to drop down from ~290 to ~230 the first time, way back when. I think it's time to perform an anti-sugar experiment to see if it is the cause of the inertia. To this end, for every day of the challenge in which my "empty" sugar intake is zero (that means no candy, cookies, cakes, or ice cream... how come all of those have keywords that start with 'c' anyway?) I will get one Galactic Credit. For an unbroken streak of 7 days, there will be a bonus of 5 Credits. At the end of the challenge, those Credits will convert into dollars, and I will have a maximum of $72 (42 challenge days plus 6 potential bonuses) to spend, guilt-free, on whatever I want.
  6. Episode IV Revenge of the Rogue Jedi Yup, that's right, folks--that's me in that picture, about to get my butt handed to me by my Sifu, who is wielding two lightsabers. If you're curious to see that duel in full, it starts here. Y'know, watching my Nerd Fitness challenges, one would think that I'm a serious Star Wars nut. I'm really not. I've always been a Trek kid, in fact, with fond memories of watching TNG with my dad at a very young age. However, the fact is that while much of the actual Star Wars media isn't that great (guys, two/two-and-a-half/maaaaybe three movies out of six being good is not a good record) my affection for it isn't about the media. It's about the hope, the vision, of all the things that Star Wars can be. Much of it is exemplified in the fiction, in the Old Republic lore, and in side projects like the Clone Wars series, if not in the "core" films themselves. Plus, lightsabers. Y'know. Because they are freakin' awesome. I've had a bit of trouble the past few challenges when trying to add exercise on top of what I'm already doing. Right now I attend Kung Fu classes two or three times per week, lightsaber once a week, with a lightsaber dueling day once per month. Additional exercise only seems to be causing me problems in my current bodily state, so we're going to stay away from that this time. In my last challenge, I ended up writing something of a short story. I'm not sure whether I'll actually keep writing (I may) but I'm going to pick up thematically where that story left off. My character confronted an ancient Sith Jedi (yup, I mean that) in his quest to find balance in the Force, and ended up with more than he bargained for. So now, supercharged with the hatred and rage which had kept a dead Jedi alive in the force for centuries, he must try to sort out the changes which have come over him, and his newfound affinity for the Dark Side. So, goals! ----------------------------- Kiu Sao: This is the closest thing I will be doing for "exercise" in this challenge. The kiu sao is a Southern Chinese martial arts technique for many things, but my particular application will be building chi and strengthening the arms. When performed with dynamic tension, it engages the entire arm, from the hand to the shoulder. Goal: 1 set of 5 kiu sao per day Meditation: Bringing back a goal from two challenges ago, I got lax on my meditation while I was focused on running. I've found that just 9-10 quiet minutes before I start my day can make a very big difference in productivity and how I feel, which means it's time to really make this a priority. Goal: 9 minutes (minimum) of meditation per day Food Tracking: So, my weight has stayed steady for the past several months, hovering right around 230 (give or take a few). I'd like to figure out why. For the duration of this challenge, I'm going to log everything I eat. I'm not necessarily counting calories here, because I do enough of my own cooking that calorie estimation is basically worthless. I just want a record of everything that goes into me, so that I can maybe figure out what the problem is. I'll be using a custom mobile database to do this. Goal: Track all intake 7 days/week Other than that, my plan is to keep going to classes and keep training my muscles and connective tissue for strength. I've come a pretty long way in the last eight months since I started taking Kung Fu, and I still enjoy every minute. Wish me luck, because Sifu likes to do "fun" things for a person's birthday, and tonight will be my first class since turning 30 two days ago...
  7. My thoughts are clouded, the path ahead is no longer clear. The Force is discordant within and without. I set out now on a long and lonely road. With only my wits and my lightsaber I must find the way to harmony Before the Dark Side's grasp becomes too strong. ------------------------ I've found myself feeling pretty scattered for a while now. It's harming my concentration, my work, and my home life, because instead of being able to focus and get things done, I've been getting nothing done instead. Every spare minute is spent zoning out, just trying to recover for the next thing to come along. A lot of it has been the recent surge in my busy-ness at work, but that's not really a good enough reason. I've also been fighting migraines for the first time in five years, which only come to me in time of very high stress. As I discovered during the last challenge, my body is under pretty high levels of physical stress thanks to my two- to four-times weekly attendance at my Kung Fu and Lightsaber classes. When I tried adding significant physical challenge outside of my regular sessions, I ended up injured instead of improving. I also thought that I could grab a little more day by waking up early, but with the changes in my schedule lately, that ended up being counterproductive as well. I'm an introvert by nature, and instead of spending most nights home relaxing and unwinding, I'm now spending them at high-energy martial arts classes, which I think is part of the mental stress. I don't want to stop going to class, though, which means I need to explore other ways of getting my stress in line. To wit, I'm going to let my Sifu and my classes handle the physical side for this challenge, while I focus on the mental side, before I end up spending every night taking 1000mg of ibuprofen and hiding in a dark room just to stay sane. --------------------------- I Harmonize the Mind The dark and the light are lost in the mist. Only within my own mind can the path back to the light become clear. I'm bringing meditation back, baby. However, since I don't want it to be overwhelming and put myself off right away, I'm going to back off my usual self-requirement of 10 minute meditation sessions and just drop back to 9, at least to start. I'll probably increase it again later as the habit comes back. Goal: 4 9-minute Meditation Sessions Per Week (Total of 24) -------------------------------- II Harmonize the Space One's chamber is a reflection of one's mind. Bring the outward into alignment, and thus, align the inward. I've been living in the same space for three and a half years now. My office is a room above our garage, which is very nice and quiet and peaceful, for the most part. However, it's lit by one lamp on an ugly lighting track that I hate (came with the house) and a second floor lamp with an LED bulb that I like much better. Unfortunately, I've always been kind of terrible at keeping up a space. I tend to hold onto things way past when I need them, especially things like boxes and small knickknacks. I honestly think that even though my space is nice and quiet, the constant chaos that it lives in is probably subconsciously contributing to my stress. Though the space in the room is limited, I think that it could be put to much better use if I actually spent some time and cleaned it up. Goal: Spend 5 minutes a day, at least five times per week, cleaning my office. (Total of 150 minutes) Space re-purposing can come later. -------------------------------- III Harmonize the Spirit As the Force flows through me, I must also flow through it. With my spirit aligned, I may yet wrest myself free of the Dark Side's grasping hand. I'm not really a religious or spiritual guy. I don't subscribe to any religion nor mystical beliefs, though I have often felt that Buddhism and Daoism both hold some value beyond their more 'religious' aspects. I do, however, love philosophy and enjoy a good debate on the subject. So, this goal is going to be a bit more relaxed than the others. I recently read Living the Martial Way by Forrest E. Morgan and really enjoyed it. I feel like there's a lot more that I'll get out of it as I continue to learn and grow in my martial arts as well. For now, I'd like to pick up a few more books in this same vein during the challenge and read more about martial ethics and bushido as a living system. I might even pick up a volume on Zen while I'm at it. ---------------------- In the meantime, I'll keep attending Kung Fu class as often as I can and let my physical development progress naturally through that path. Naturally I'll also keep talking Kung Fu and Lightsaber here as much as possible, because we get to have some awesome discussions! =)
  8. I have decided upon 5 challenges. 1) Figure out how I want to roleplay my way through this. I have an idea, but I need to research back accurate back story (yeah, I 'm one of those). +1 Wisdom 2) Limit myself to a single can of diet coke a day. Long term goal is weaning myself off it entirely. +1 Con 3) Cook myself at least 2 entirely paleo meals a week. +1 Con, +1 Cha (everyone likes a good home cooked meal) 4) Practice lightsaber forms at least 15 minutes a day. Studying videos does not count for time spent. +1 dex, +1 str 5) Lifestyle- Make my 52 week savings challenge deposits on time. I have direct deposit, so I need to actually go to the bank and get cash each week to do this. +X gp I will at some point write this up in story mode, as soon as item 1 is figured out.
  9. So, I don't really have a choice for my challenge theme this time. As those of you who hung out on my last challenge thread might know, I'm taking a Lightsaber Dueling class with my Hung Gar Sifu... and it starts tomorrow! While part of me wishes that I could be a good Jedi and follow the path of peace and harmony, the truth is, I know myself too well for that. There is no strength in chaos, but strength can be found in both peace and passion, wisdom in both ignorance and knowledge--for who is wiser, he who claims knowledge where none is found, or he who admits to himself and others that he simply does not know? Attachment may help or hinder--when one is attached to trivial things, the truth is clouded, but when one reserves attachment for the things which truly matter, the purest light is found. Perhaps it is arrogant of me to believe that I can find a better way, but in my eyes, the Sith are selfish and the Jedi blind to the harshness of reality. I shall walk the Third Way: balance, combined with good judgment, to achieve true harmony. So, past the philosophy and on to the challenge! Goal 1: Spirit Meditate daily to gain insight into self and the world. Minimum meditation will increase week-over-week to drive improvement. Meditation at kung fu and/or lightsaber class DOES NOT COUNT--this should be quiet morning or evening introspection. Week 1: 5 minutes Week 2: 6 minutes Week 3: 7 minutes Week 4: 8 minutes Week 5: 9 minutes Week 6: 10 minutes A: 42 meditation sessions (WIS +3); B: 40 meditation sessions (WIS +2); C: 38 meditation sessions (WIS +1) BONUS: Extra +1 WIS if 50 meditation sessions (meeting minimum requirements) is reached. ---------------- Goal 2: Skill I am already committed to twice-weekly Kung Fu sessions, and for January, I am also committing to once-weekly Lightsaber Dueling sessions. This means that I have three classes per week to attend to increase my strength, speed and skill. I am doing the lightsaber class with my wife--if she decides not to continue into February, I may not be able to continue that, so I am not going to count that as part of the challenge. If I end up going into Feb with lightsaber, I will consider it a bonus. A: 3 classes/week (Jan), 2 classes/week (Feb) [16 total] -- (+2 STR, +2 DEX) B: 2 classes/week (Jan), 1 class/week (Feb) -- [10 total] (+1 STR, +1 DEX) C: 1 class/week (Jan), 1 class/week (Feb) -- [6 total] (+0.5 STR, +0.5 DEX) ---------------- Goal 3: Discipline Returning to a goal from my very first challenge. My body feels better when I fast regularly. I do better without breakfast, but sometimes I find that it's easier to slide into eating something than it is to wait until lunchtime, and I want to break this habit. Going straight from where I am to fasting every day is likely asking too much of myself, but I will do more than the three times a week that I accomplished in my first challenge. I am aiming for five per week for the duration of the challenge. A: 30 16-hour fasts (+3 CON) B: 24 16-hour fasts (+2 CON) C: 18 16-hour fasts (+1 CON) ----------------- Life Goal: Judgment, Strategy, Knowledge I've started to learn the game of Go with a fellow Hung Gar student. I don't really want to quantify this goal, but I'd like to make this a reminder to keep playing games against my phone and iPad. I may also use this space to sort of journal my learning process with the game. ------------------ I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's progress with this new challenge!
  10. Yes, the thread titles don't get much more nerdy than that. I'll soon be working on systematizing basic lightsaber combat techniques and appropriate signature moves of the seven canonical forms describes in the SWEU. First a little background on Why: As someone who performs displays of medieval swordfighting for entertainment and educational purposes, I have recently put forward a proposal for team building workshops in schools which use HEMA and theatrical choreography. One option, aside from the medieval/renaissance style of swordsmanship we offer, will be a more theatrical approach using lightsabers. The proposal has been received very positively and there is considerable enthusiasm for the lightsaber side of the coin... Not to be outnerded, I have undertaken to put together a small syllabus of lightsaber techniques beginning with the basics of Form I (Shii-Cho) and aspects, techniques and philosophies of the other six forms, incorporating real world moves (i.e. not requiring telekinetic or mind reading ability), variable degrees of acrobatics, martially sound techniques and theatricality. I have a background in HEMA (theatrical and competitive), Ninjutsu and modern fencing. I also have varying degrees of experience in Iaijutsu, Kenjutsu, renaissance and mediaeval re-enactment fighting, larp, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai and a few other relevant disciplines. I'm also a Star Wars Nerd. I'm also aware of a group in the US who already kinda do what I'm talking about: Terra Prime Lightsaber Academy. They will soon be getting an email from me seeing how what I have in mind might mesh with the great work they do. So, this post is an introduction and "declaration of intent". This is also a call to the nerd community, especially the Monks, for any suggestions or advice Does anyone have any thoughts? Does anyone know of other LS training groups or resources?
  11. Fifth Challenge [ February 24th – April 6th ] Through the Crystal Caves Where I came from... Where I went after this.... BACKGROUND STORY Yoda lead William Waldgeist and the other initiates in a single file out of the shuttle and into the cold. A last test, they had to pass before they could become padawans. The temple entrance was small only compared to the cliff it was carved in. On the inside was a great hall with smaller chambers on the sides as well as a huge doorway deeper into the rock, closed with some crystalline substance. In the center of the chamber a single person in the garb of a Jedi Master awaited them. „Welcome, younglings! I am Master Davno, the keeper of the Crystal Caves here on Ilum. I will not stand long in your way, don't worry! But there are a few rules, you need to know about, before you can go in. With your permission, Grand Master?“ „On you go, little one“, Yoda answered, which triggered some laughter among the younglings, because Master Davno was a tall Chagrian and therefore considerably more than three times the size of the Grand Master. „I've grown a little bit, since I was a larva under your tutelage“, the keeper smiled, „but on to the present! The most important thing for you to remember is that the entrance will be closed by sunset. Ilum is a cold planet, without the faint heat of the sun, the entrance will freeze up, as it is now. Luckily the days are also long, which gives you about 60 hours from now on to venture into the caves, find your crystal and return to the surface.“ Without further ado, he raised his hand, telecinetically opening a hole in the ceiling of the chamber. A strong beam of sunlight fell through and met a large crystal hanging attached to the ceiling, it focused and concentrated the light, projecting it via a smaller aiming crystal onto the doorway in the back. The ice that barricated the doorway began to melt away and in a matter of minutes the way was open. „Guide you to your crystals the Force will. But not easy this path is, overcome obstacles you will have to. Follow your instincts and find your crystals. But remember, trapped you can be easily!“ The younglings stood unsure in front of the door, nobody seemed to want to go first. Bill looked up the doorway and saw that, at the very top – whereupon the light now after just a few minutes of waiting did no longer shine – already new ice was accrueing. Realizing that the task ahead was only going to get harder, the longer he was standing in front of it, waiting, he made his decision and entered the cave behind the doorway with big steps. As if the others had just waited for that, they were following him into the crystal caves of Illum. -------------------------------------------------- MAIN QUEST – Earn that Lightsaber Goal 1 – Find a your focusing Crystal I'm continuing with my meditation goal from last challenge and will do it a little more focused this time. The focus being my own personal future. Starting April 1st I will no longe be a (full-time) student (although I might still need to do some exams, because of weird dates). I have ideas/plans what to do after that, some are pretty detailed others are just thoughts and dreams. That's going to change, I'll be making them all full-fledged plans with detailed steps on how to achieve them. Now, probably only one of those will ever come into action, but I like to have back-ups. The other thing is, that I'll have to choose from them (knowing myself that's going to be even harder) if there suddenly doesn't appear a perfect opportunity to kick-start one of them. But that is going to be a goal for another challenge! Grading: A+ – make six plans A – make five plans B – make four plans C – make three plans D – make two plans F – make one plan or less Goal 2 – Make your way through the Caves Still walking towards Erebor (The Hobbit) in this goal, so if you happen to see a Jedi-Wizard roaming around in Middle Earth thinking he is an cave searching crystals, that's me! Last challenge I did this without really knowing how far I can get in six weeks. Now I have data to compare, e.g. something to beat. I'd love to double the way, and the conditions are actually not bad. One, temperature's rising, which always get's me out of the house, two, I'll live in a house with two dogs starting wednesday and three I'll have no fixed working times whatsoever making it easier to fit walking in. Starting point is 58.3 miles. Grading: A+ – reach the Trolls A – go past Weathertop B – reah Weathertop C – be able to see Weathertop on the Horizon D – reach Midgewater Marshes F – not reaching Midgewater Marshes Goal 3 – Pass the challenges of the Caves No one can predict what you have to face in the caves. In order to simulate this, I will do the ever changing Gymnastics WOD. Plus, the trials of the Caves get harder the closer you get yo your crystal, to simulate that I'm doing the PLP-60 day Challenge. I started the last one roughly two weeks ago, so this 6W challenge's day 1 will be the PLP day 14, therfore the ends fit. Grading: A+ – 7/7 times a week A – 6/7 times a week B – 5/7 times a week C – 4/7 times a week D – 3/7 times a week F – less than 3/7 times a week Basics – Stay true to your former teachings “Mind what you have learned. Save you it can!†Paleo, regular Calisthenic workouts, Stretching, Hand-balancing. Just consistently carrying on this challenge, for those things but won't especially concentrate or invest much this time. Tracking, but no stats point awarded. Life Quest – Words are all it takes to change the world I promised myself this life quest last year, when I was buried under thesis work. Now that's all gone, there is nothing holding me back (Not completely true, still got studying to do, but I won't let that get into the way). Goal 1 – Write it down Write at least 500 words a day while working on my fictional projects. And since I tend to diversify a little too much on this front, only words from one project of each of four categories will be counted. And those categories are Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Fanfic and Alternative History. I haven't decided all of the specific projects yet, but will add it to the following list: -Fantasy: not yet decided, but it'll be an older project in German -Science-Fiction: maybe “Working title: Phi Agents†-FanFic: “Star Wars – Rebellion of Youth†-Alternative History: probably “Böhmische Linien†(Bohemian Lines) Grading: A+ – over 4,000 words a week A – 3,500 words a week B – 3,000 words a week C – 2,500 words a week D – 2,000 words a week F – less than 2,000 words a week I will give you an overview over each projects in the first week (titles alone don't say very much). And of some of the texts written in this challenge surely will find their into this thread. ;-) Goal 2 – Publish or Perish Explore possibilities to publish my fiction, essays and other stuff online. I'm kind of leaning towards my own blog/homepage, but I'll need to figure out how to do it or if there are (better) alternatives. Grading: Pass – Have a plan for publishing Fail – Have no plan or an incomplete plan Stats for each goals will be added later!
  12. <bows> Greetings and Salutations Monks! I'm Hugh and this is my 10th Nerd Fitness 6 week challenge I am taking a hiatus from the rangers to visit some of the other guilds. Last time was the Assassins, this time it's The MONKS! < cue thunderous applause > For this challenge I'm going to do something I've been thinking about for a while... Systematize a Lightsaber Martial Art! Additionally, where possible, I will be combining the burgeoning array of techniques with my fitness training in an attempt to make sure that, when the time comes, I can put these techniques to good use. I have a background in HEMA (theatrical and competitive), Ninjutsu and modern fencing. I also have varying degrees of experience in Iaijutsu, Kenjutsu, renaissance and mediaeval re-enactment fighting, larp, Tae Kwon Do, Muay Thai and a few other relevant disciplines. I'm also hoping that, by osmosis, I might pick up some useful titbits of martial arts information while hanging out in the Monk's Dojo I'm also a fairly obsessive Star Wars Nerd (original trilogy FTW! Greedo DID NOT shoot first!)... Though I admit I'm a bit out of touch with the more recent expanded universe material. I'm also hoping that, by osmosis, I might pick up some useful titbits of Star Wars information while hanging out with a bunch of similarly obsessive nerds So, on to the challenge... My primary, long term, goal is to improve my fitness to a degree where I can do a "Kip Up" and then move on to other acrobatic endeavours. (this will also include loosing a bit more weight) Challenge Goals: 1: Construct the Martial Arts of Lightsaber Combat. There are seven main styles of Lightsaber Combat featured in the expanded universe material. My intention is to systematize them into forms, flourishes, katas and drills that can be performed in both sparring and in performance. They must be mostly martially sound and must be appropriately impressive for theatrical performances (i.e. a certain amount of flashy techniques are fine: this is as much about flair as it is about real fighting) You can follow the progress of this goal HERE. Construct the Martial Arts of the Jedi/Sith: +1 DEX, +2 WIS, +2 CHA 2: Rein in the Arrogance My inner Sith has a great deal of Confidence. My Inner Jedi likes to call it Arrogance... Whatever it's called, it can sometimes be useful but it can also be a hindrance. A tendency to think I know better is something that I'm always trying to curtail in favour of being objective and analytical. To this end, I will, for the next four weeks, be following a training regimen that is being provided by the trainers at my gym. I'm dubious and my inner Sith is riling against it... but my Jedi side WILL keep him in check! I will follow the prescribed program (with variations as noted below) at least two days each week. Three days per week is ideal but life can happen sometimes. In instances where a day is missed, it will be made up for by attending a Kettlebell class. The regimen that has been suggested is essentially a conditioning circuit. I'll post details after my first session (tomorrow). As I progress, I'll look at including some exercises from "TACFIT" in the mix but only if I'm not finding the prescribed circuit challenging enough. Follow the Program that has been supplied: +1 WIS, +2 CON, +2 STA. 3: Keep consistent but passionate I have a short attention span. My Chaotic and eclectic interests often leave m--- Ooh look! a butterfly! <sigh> see what I mean? I need to maintain variety in order to maintain interest. Doing the same thing over and over again might be great for consistent results but it's an anathema to me. Which probably explains why I'm overweight and without a steady job... and here's me jumping off a Pier in Eastbourne a few years back Ahem. So yeah, I need variety but I find that a little bit goes a long way. The illusion of variety is usually enough. To that end, my prescribed workouts will be added to with a little bit of my own preference: I'm keen to strengthen my back and posterior kinetic chain, so I will be including Deadlifts, Assisted Pull ups and goblet squats in my prescribed workouts. one or two of these exercises will be attached to each of my workouts. I'll track my progress and try to get better at them as I progress through the 6 weeks. Include some personal preference Strength Training: +2 STR And my "life goal" which is totally about the business opportunity and not at all about getting toys... 4: Practice what I preach - Prepare for battle! As mentioned in the Lightsaber Combat thread, this project is largely to do with some work opportunities which may or may not materialize. I am choosing to be positive about this. One thing that I will need when the bookings start coming in is a Lightsaber... So I'd better bloody well get one! If I can save enough to get one with all the features, then great (A grade) but each feature it lacks (sound, flash on clash, accessories) will reduce the grade. Buy a Lightsaber from Ultrasabers.com: +2 WIS, +1 CHA Ongoing Summary: Week 1: LSC development still firmly in the research phase but continuing. Some practice of techniques just to aid three dimensional thinking. Pretty gentle on the exercises. My time management has been a bit poor and I kept getting to the gym with not a lot of time before they close. This has meant that my workouts were not as focussed as perhaps they should have been and generally felt a bit rushed. Friday' workout was done on saturday for similar reasons but that's not a big deal. I didn't get as much "personal preference strength training" in as I would have liked - that bad time management again. Asisted pull-ups only but at least it was only 20 - 25kg assist. Saving for lightsaber - gotta get the car serviced which might eat up what little is put aside... time will tell.
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