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  1. Howdy, y'all! Hope you're doing well today. In a sign of how well I'm rebalancing my life, I'm here early, just like I used to be in easier times. Because it turns out I have a lot more say in how I get here than I thought. For those of you just tuning in, I'm Kishi. Been around a while, and still a work in progress. I'm coming off a big win challenge where I challenged a lot of my assumptions about training and lifestyle and the choices I have. It's been freeing, in a lot of ways, although these new freedoms come packing a bunch of new responsibilities with them that you might not necessarily expect. For example: I have learned that I can effectively strength train on 10 minutes of work a day. It's true. I'll tell you some more about it sometime. But the responsibility that comes with it now is to actually spend that 10 minutes well, and not put it off and put it off until the end of the day when I really need to be eating dinner and winding down. It's a virtuous thing in the sense of promoting wellbeing, but it's a virtuous thing that can feed into a vicious cycle if I let it, and I don't really want to do that. Figuring that out was a big part of last challenge. It's dialed in pretty well now, though. So now that I have a minimum effective dose for training, I want to turn that to my writing. Although maybe not in the way you might think, because the trick with minimum effective doses is that you don't necessarily know where that is and it's very easy to go below that minimum and maybe not even necessarily know it. I've had a minimum effective dose for my writing for a while of just showing up and staring at the draft, and sometimes that's felt like enough, but on the whole I'm dissatisfied with it. I feel like I want to do more, but more than that, I want to feel good about the amount of work I've done in a given day. And I know that feelings aren't a thing I control, so chasing a writer's high might not be the most responsible thing to do. But OTOH, "If I do what I've always done, I will get what I've always got." I want something different, so I gotta change it up somehow. The goal of this challenge - single goal, because that's how I roll - is to show up daily to write and to work on the story to the degree that I feel good about it. How much is that going to be? I dunno, man. I think it might vary depending on the task and where I am mental health-wise on a given day. I want to give myself grace and space for that. But I also want to have discipline too. I want to work. And I want to feel good about it. That's what this challenge is about. And also, you know, being part of an awesome community that I genuinely like too.
  2. Hi! So this past Tuesday, I had something of an epiphany. I went home to help my dad out with some chores about the place. Nothing strenuous in particular, but it reminded me of an old guideline from Simple and Sinister about testing yourself against unusual and unorthodox demands every now and again. This has always worked out for me to being a matter of serving others somehow, because everyone needs help with moving their couch. I found that I missed the program a great deal. I've also been working on losing some body fat per the latest iteration of Berkhan's Leangains protocol, which is basically all protein all the time. He's suspicious of "fuckarounditis," or trying to train everything and ultimately training nothing. My latest measurements indicate that I'm actually gaining fat on this protocol right now, and that's a matter of compliance more than it's anything else. The past month has been remarkably social, and I've not had all that much opportunity to be compliant. I can't do anything about the social component beyond damage control, but I can do something about my training, and I think it's worth it. New plan is to hit S&S on as near to the daily as I can. GB training is going to be broken up some as a result - no more core movements and one upper-body movement per day, plus one leg movement and 1-2 days of handstand work. Reason being that GB's protocols call for integrated mobility, and in their core series they all ultimately work out to having a lumbar flexion component that Pavel warns against. S&S in its current iteration fortunately can make space for this - once I get back to lifting the 32, the recommended days drop off from daily to 3-4 days per week, and I can return to core training then. In the meantime, the work I'm doing will build me toward a Hollow Back Press, and a Straddle Planche, which are non-flexion core strengtheners which would be good to have a base in by the time I get to the point that it matters. Fortunately, everything should work just fine, I think. The past few days have felt pretty good in terms of me getting what I want. Now the trick is to work in qigong and stretching, which I think I can do as long as I'm focused properly on it. So here are the challenge goals: Goal 1: Train Bit of a gimme, but consistent logging is good for me when I make changes like this, so I can confront myself and be honest about what's happening and whether I like it or not. Goal 2: Meditate This fell off in the past week. Dedicate 10 minutes a day to relaxing my mind. This feels like something I can get after now, but I'm reserving the right to adjust if needed. Goal 3: Write This fell off in the past week too. No excuses, and the good news is that when I've done work, it's been good, deep, structural work. I've been figuring out what kind of cast of characters I need and who they are in relation to the structure of the story, which is good to do. Now I need to keep going. I don't really know how to quantify it at this point beyond "just sit down and do the thing," but I think I can do it. And, yeah. I've been writing down what I do on the mats afterward and that alone has been helpful, but I've had a hard time with actually doing the homework of reviewing videos and taking notes. This could be better. Just a matter of making time, really. Can do. Will do? That remains to be seen. But, uh, yeah. T-minus a couple days. Let's go.
  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. Found this Gif and realized its PERFECT! So last challenge I vowed myself I no longer want to Yoyo diet again after watching myself lose 25 lbs and gain back 15... To be stronger and fitter is so I can be ready to jump on any adventure in my liking and not have to worry about my personal health (because I'm not that crazy of a daredevil). Last challenge I also wrapped my head around not spreading myself to thin by making too many goals. As one topples over pretty quickly... So make things sturdy, like a nice blanket for a baby Christmas Tree. Main Goals! Qigong 5 mins Daily - baby steps to be a daily practice Daily Supplements - I have a regime that has taken me over 6 months to start, and finally almost halfway through it NF Prime Nutrition LVL 1 - I will be sticking to level 1 for now through out this whole challenge to make these strong habits through the holiday season Eat with Putting Food or Utensil down between bites 1 x a day Journal about why I want to eat something 1x a day (hunger, emotion, something else?) NF Bodyweight Lvl 1 - 3x a week (MWF), may come up with a different workout if Gym gets closed due to holiday season... Side Quest: This is where I put life goals I need extra push, extra rewards when completed. Goal is to complete by end of challenge Get tires checked, replace if needed. Show up to all dentist appointments, stay in line with goals of getting all my teeth fixed and a hygiene regime - Week 0 is a cleaning/check up. Check in with insurance at least weekly in December until I have the papers of my new insurance coverage (work has been weird with this, this week I can start complaining to mangers and UP about not having access) Bonus Points: I will be doing percentage for tracking goals, but will allow 2 bonuses this challenge. Every Hour I walk Outside (I have a history of SAD and live in Minnesota, sun and trees can help with this - I can add them up but needs to be intentional outdoor time) Every Hour working on Applications - Basically I don't mind my job, but I'm scared if I don't start working on at least getting things setup for job hunting I will be stuck at it instead of a position that could pay me a bit more... Any job searching assistance or advice is always helpful (my weakest points are cover letters and resumes.. which are required for Bachelor's Degree level jobs I feel like). New Shiny Challenge ready to be attempted! *Reward - If I get 50% of my tracked goals I will get $100 of free money (preciscous as I'm saving in the background) if I somehow hit over 90% for the whole challenge I will get a bonus $100. If I don't get the 50% I have to put the 100 toward student loans. If Side Quest completed I get $30 by the end of the challenge.
  5. vs Was debating in-between Avatar Last Airbender or Winx Fate themed... Fairies are winning for now, in the end this is the Realm of the Rebellion... I can come up with my own world of combination of both. For this challenge its the whole forming habits, while taking the medicine I've been told to take for a while.... Some background, this is my first Fall of not only being out of school but with a full time job (supposedly graduated idk where my degree is though). I'm still living at home with my mom and official stepdad (they just married) where we are finishing the move by Halloween (exactly 4 years from when we moved into the apartment). I work as Security, and for once don't feel overwhelmed (or incompetent) but seeing it as a place to settle for a year (unless I like security). Last few challenges even if I wasn't here I found if I just meditated daily or listened to a chanting music video. I was doing better, wasn't getting energy tied up in areas that don't match my life. So what would happen if I got started on most of the list? Mind/Spirit (aka Grounding)-- Everything in life seems to fall in place when I take this seriously. Sometimes tough stuff, but these are key factors -Listen to chanting music for first 30 mins in bed -Meditate or Qigong for 5 mins -Bed by midnight (if O/T bedtime within an hour) Nutrition -- Following a Naturopath's advice, and seeing strengths for eating from home. -Follow Naturopath Diet Guidelines with "no 2 in a row being the goal" (50% of the time avoid flour and sugar foods) -Follow Med Supplement Plan when I get them -Eat only from home at work Fairy Tower -- (Konmari in a smaller goal, as I pick up the mess I make daily and try to find new habits. While moving more stuff from my old apartment). -Do some picking up/putting away/declutter around my room All of these are daily goals 🌱 I will be tracking daily on weekly counters, and get the percentage each week. 🎃- Mean I hit it 👻 - didn't hit the mark. If I hit 50% good results on all these goals, I will have $100 to spend for fun at the end of the challenge. If not, it goes straight to student loans... One thing I did in 2021, have a good budget and know I can have this easily by the end of this challenge (and a too long wish list to spend). If I do hit 90% or higher... I will double the winnings. Above will have saved me enough money/time to give a 6 week reward! Also! One more mini challenge: 👻 🎃"Not-so-Halloween Mini Challenge"🎃👻 So we're moving, but things are being taken care of. Only biggies is getting certain paperwork changed like addresses and Insurance. I've been dragging my feet. So I'm putting $60 on the line to help myself! I get this right away, if I don't finish goals by Halloween (which I have listed somewhere). I will not get the money because I have to cover other fees. So I'm busy... but may have more time on the forums because I may get bored at work Edit: Update to focus on major goals 10/31
  6. Happy First Day of AUTUMN! (North Hemisphere - Happy First Day of Spring to ya'll Southerners!). So life has me starting a new job! I finished my Internship (basically cried in the end with people not wanting to see me go). Trying a job in Security (because Money... it pays more than any Janitorial job, but will have to stay grounded). My mom and step-dad getting married on October 9th, we moving out of the apartment by Halloween. A great time to make new habits as life goes into chaos... but a calm can be seen for the Holidays (honestly see myself working on the Holidays this year... because Overtime!) I have been LOVING NF Prime, (the Journey App) and had a realization of what are "baby steps." Small goals you can keep up for the next 3 years even on shitty days.... I have taken a weight off myself because I remind myself daily. My small things now will help make the best step better. I actually think I'm in the right mindset to back at getting NF Coaching, but this year instead of buying a couple months I want to save up for the whole subscription. So seeing if I can keep up the momentum for myself and see how that goes, as I save up. The only issue I have with NF's Journey App, is the continuing habits after the quest. So why I'm here, to help keep the momentum up. Currently my character is at level 28 after 1 month and half. I've decided to not step on the scale until Halloween, just to check in. Small changes make small changes.... The Scale only says so much. Now to the habits. Nutrition Habits I feel I have: ⭐Intentional eating is coming out, not a burden more of coming out when I eat food I know I want to sit down and enjoy (and gives my bedroom and car a break from the crumbs. ⭐Intentional on Drinking Calories...(Finally accepted Diet Drinks when I do want Soda, or intentional at home cold brew with cream at home). Idk if the weight is falling off, but I've made it a goal some days just to drink zero calories (or order Small... and noticing how big they are). ⭐Read Labels for Calories and Serving Size... Been intrigued by how this shifts how much I eat when I acknowledge both... Habits I will Be Working on! Meditation - Been working on this one for awhile, right now it just involves me turning on a chanting video that has me get out of my head before falling asleep (just listening to it, grounds me like crazy where I have listened to the whole hour without realizing_ NF Planning A Meal- Planning out Meals the Next Day NF No 2 in a Row - Enjoy my treat/rest, make the next option better! NF Walk - I'm at 7 mins currently (found a lap in the front of my house that works perfectly for this in the morning). Morning Routine After Walk - Making the goal to work out in the morning, so first a walk than breakfast/shower/getting life together (I work at 3 pm - 11 pm now). NF Dailies - A daily goal that the NF Journey gives will note here if I did it. YNAB - Check in on my budget transitions, bonus when I reconcile! Side Quest - Post daily, work on Konmaring my room (still working on this...) Yesterday's Results/Template: 9/21/2021 NF Walk (7 mins) 🍁Done after work Morning Routine after Walk - 🍁 Went to On the Job Training for 7-3, was presentable (can see why this shift would be appealing but meh). NF Plan Tomorrow's Meal 🍁 (Breakfast and Lunch was planned and made) NF "No 2 in a Row": (didn't start) NF Daily 🍁 Was "plan a meal", I planned out a Dairy Queen run when I couldn't say no to mom before driving out there (and ate it at the table when I got home). Post daily! 🍁 Konmarie? No... just not a day. Now trying not to eat more than 1 serving of cookies... if I'm hungry I'll batch cook
  7. Hello. I am Stronkey Kong. I've been on NF over seven years -- it's getting close to 8 now. I'm still fat and making the best of it. Some days I'm not sure if I can even. I'm kind of winnowing down to what matters and that's having good health, a calm mind, good relationships with others, and being able to enjoy life better. Lately I've been really committing myself to practicing Buddhism, and studying through the Tibetan Gelug lineage (same as the Dalai Lama). So meditation and study has become a real focal point. I'm also no longer worried about losing weight or getting ripped/buff/jacked... or stronk even, I just want to have the flexibility, stability, and stamina to move through daily life with less effort and be able to endure through my meditation practice comfortably and not have a shitty back or diabetes and whatnot in a few years if it can be helped. Just so I can even. During the holidays I made a wishlist for this year to work on. Every challenge since I've come back to it and picked out a few things to work, made some amendments, etc. Then I make a challenge of it. Here is said list (with updates and shit): Goals: Shop and cook/prep smarter: Something that's bothering me is that I keep having to throw away good food at the end of every week. This is usually because I bought too much of something because I thought I needed it or wanted it when I didn't really need or want it at all. Then I'm hungry, I look in the fridge at all the things I don't want, and I'm like "Fuck it, I'm having pizza." I've actually been pretty good about not eating fuck loads of pizza lately, but this general area of picking foods better and wasting less needs work. Here's an example: I had three yellow squashes that are on the verge of going bad cuz they've sat all week. There are fresh carrots and celery that I snack on with PB. There's lettuce and tomatoes for quick salads. And while yellow squash in pasta or soup is fine, I'm not thrilled about mushy, bland summer squashes and didn't make any soup that called for them. So why the hell did I buy them? ... because I thought I needed another vegetable. Basically I need to be more mindful of why I'm buying something. I need to ask myself, before I put it in the cart: Do I really need it? -- Is it going in a recipe that I plan to make? Will it be harmful to my diet to not eat this, and is there no other substitute for it? Do I want it? -- If it's not part of a bigger tastier recipe, will I eat it on it's own? Is it good? If I buy this do I have something to pair it with that is good? If I have to buy another thing to make this thing edible is it worth it? Also: Do I need to buy/make that much of it? How long will it hold up in the fridge and can I freeze it for later? Daily Movement: Work on one of the following for at least 20 min daily Ruck: Walk with backpack with 25 lbs. weight Yoga: Go back and re-read/study Yoga for the Inflexible Male and work on the poses and routines therein. Qigong: For when yoga gets boring and I still want to work on being flowey and breathing and stuff. Quarterstaff: Not sure yet, but if I start working on this again it will be acceptable movement Write Get crackin' on that novel. I was supposed to come up with 5000 words last challenge to get to the end of part 1. FFS, why not try to finish the thing? Do at least one 15 min writing sprint daily Study: All my Buddhist classwork, readings, and language study, also taking breaks to read other things. I typically do some Tibetan study in the morning, and study a text at night. Then lighter filler material when I'm bored on the weekends. Tibetan Main goal: Memorize writing and reading the conjunct characters -- I can do this before the end of this challenge. Stretch goal: transcribe and memorize the Prajana Paramita Sutra in Tibetan -- I might be able to start this before the end of this challenge. Nagarjuna: Mulamadhyamakakarika -- keep going Lighter stuff: take a break from study and read for recreation, but keep reading things People: I have to start peopling again. What? How? I'm getting my first covid shot on Wed. May 5. We're getting toward the end of all the hardest social distancing stuff. I haven't been totally cut off from family and work, but I haven't been meeting new people, or only rarely. And by the end of this challenge, my Buddhist Center will likely open back up so I can hang out with those people and attend classes in person. I'm not sure what the goals should be, but something to do with getting out of the house and peopling again. Idk. Meetups? Dating? Going to new shops/restaurants? Learn a couple Dad jokes? I've got until I get my second shot (+ 10 days I think) to figure out a plan for how to people again. Oh! And now I'm sober... how do I even? Camping: I am going camping sometime around the end of this challenge. At least an overnight trip. My zero week goal will be to research and make arrangements for said trip... i.e. pick a park and site, and purchase passes/reservations as needed... Probably gonna hike in somewhere on the Tecumseh trail and do it backwoods style but car camping will remain an option. However, I am on night shift and will likely be getting somewhere in the evening and staying up all night meditating and reading. Could be weird, but it's still time outdoors.
  8. Hello. I am Stronkey Kong. Umm... Been on NF over seven years. I'm still fat and making the best of it. Which means I'm tempering my goals, accepting what is and what is not (feasibly and sustainably) possible. I eat as healthy as I can while enjoying my food. I move as often as I can while enjoying movement. I think. I create. I devise elaborate plans for challenges and eschew all rules as soon as convenience dictates. <sigh> This challenge is inspired by a recent dream I had. This is one of my stress dreams. It came after spending a week switching to day shift, rather abruptly, after having been on night shift for over a year, going to a training course across town, then coming back to work to find out that someone more senior than me, and training/guiding me at work is leaving in another week and then I'm pretty much on my own kinda. Idk. This is gonna get tough. I suppose the point/meaning of this dream, if they do have meanings, is that I need to avoid quick fixes and work on my coping mechanisms ahead of stressors. Then there's the fact that I'm turning my attention back to mindfulness and my Buddhist practice. I have dabbled and practiced with varying degrees of seriousness in Zen. I'm currently learning about Tibetan Buddhism and reading and meditating on Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva, and am planning to get back into my meditation routine. If you've never heard the term, Bodhisattvas are beings who have attained enlightenment, but rather than pursuing full Buddhahood (where you get to just chill out in Nirvana for eternity, free from suffering) they choose to return to Samsara (the eternal cycle of life, suffering, death, and rebirth) to guide other beings on the path to enlightenment. Hence, they are good examples to follow for freeing oneself from suffering and helping others. I could go on on this topic, but I'll leave it there for now. I just thought I'd let you know why I named my challenge as I did. And then there's the Big List... which I made during the Holiday challenge as a set of goals to pursue long term. From this list I usually create a goal or two from something on the list to work toward, and lately I usually focus on Intuitive Eating, Exercise, Creativity, and buying a home. My goals are listed in order of general priority. I'm putting the TL;DR up front and spoilering the details to tidy things up here: TL;DR Mindfulness: daily meditation with increasing session times Lotus Position: stretch to improve lotus posture during meditation Nourishment: Eat mindfully and watch out for GERD symptoms Movement: Qigong Abode: spring cleaning Creativity: Knit a Beanie or Finish part one of my fantasy novel Wisdom: Study The Way of the Bodhisattva Knowledge: study Tibetan language
  9. The name says it all right? Goal 1, Qigong everyday in the wee morning hours. During those predawn hours is when qi energy is on the rise (supposedly), making it the best time to cultivate the qi. Anywho, it's convenient enough that I get home form my night shift job and have a couple hours to do this. And doing some light/gentle movement that's flowy and meditative is good to do at the end of a work day. Goal 2, MWF -- NF Academy Bodyweight workouts -- featuring qigong movement and breathing I also want to get back onto cultivating some strength again, so I'll follow the NF academy workouts. But... I'm going to do them with qigong movements. I think all the movements can be adapted to incorporate a tai chi/qigong feel. Like, slow down and breathe with the movement, do it with a sense of balance and attention, rather than just banging out the reps. For instance, last week I was doing some single leg RDLs... I turned it into a movement where I kick my leg back slowly while extending my arms forward in a push. Pushups, and squats will be done slowly, and I'll probably be adapting movements from my Kung Fu training where appropriate. Goal 3, TRS -- Ba Duan Jin -- Qigong routine Known also as the 8 Pieces of Brocade or 8 Treasures, this is a pretty standard Qigong routine. It will be my 'rest day' routine. Mostly I'm just doing this to memorize the form, and practice the movements. They all look easy, until you do it yourself and start picking out the details of the breathing and movements. In any case, it's a good routine for flexibility, coordination, and balance. Goal 4, Horde Money I've decided to start saving for a house again. I did a little bit of shopping online in the market here. There are some nice little houses for relatively cheap, I'd wind up with a mortgage less than my rent and I'd be earning equity so I ought to do this. I need a few thousand bucks for a down payment and fees to get things rolling. So I need to make myself work more hours and save aggressively. If I can manage that, I should be looking to purchase by the Spring next year. Goal 5, Write 600 words a day. Mostly self-explanatory. I'm working on a novel (one of three actually) and I want to see it to the end. It's a weird Western with supernatural and grim/dark fantasy elements about a gunslinger who can summon ghosts and is pursuing a cult leader who eats ghosts through a mysterious and vast desert where he meets a sorceress and dragon tamer who helps him track the cult leader. Or something like that.
  10. I will keep the introduction short, as my challenge will once again be a continuation of the last challenge. The pattern is really working for me, so I intend to keep it, with only minor changes along the way. Primary Section - Taijiquan and Qigong 1. Continue taiji and qigong as a daily habit. The plan is to take some time each day to practice taiji and qigong. 20 - 30 minutes of practice would be ideal, but I will make compromises with my other priorities in life as needed. Break it up throughout the day, as needed, whatever it takes. Make the opportunity. 2. Continue to refine my taiji/ qigong skills. This means taking in information wherever possible, from classes, seminars, videos, books, etc. I am currently taking a one-per-week class on the Yang style long form of taiji, which will continue through the end of February. I also intend to keep reading my taiji books 1 - 2 times per week, and incorporate the information into my daily practice. Secondary Section - Meditation and Body Weight Training 1. Daily meditation. I've been doing this for a year now. It is an indispensable source of relaxation and self-care. Any amount of daily meditation will suffice, but I am striving to meditate for at least twelve minutes each day. I will continue to focus on maintaining the proper seated posture when I meditate. This has greatly relieved lower back pain. 2. Body weight exercises and yoga. I will do this three times per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Body weight training focuses mainly on pull-ups and dips, using the "grease the groove" approach, where I do several sets of low reps spread out over a day. I generally do the yoga in the evening, or whenever I finish my last set of pull-ups and dips. This has been great training for upper-body and core strength. I am still using my Bullet Journal, though I have decided to drop the special page to catalog my challenge-related activities. I know the cute little graphics were popular here on NF, but I feel I've come to a point where the separate chart isn't necessary, as I track my progress in the daily logs anyway, and it's just become extra work. As Bruce Lee said, it's not the daily increase, but the daily decrease. Cut away what is not necessary. Thanks for reading.
  11. Good morning Druids. This is more-or-less a continuation of the same challenge I did last time (Journey to Wudang Shan). The routine worked so very well, that I want to continue on with it. There is still plenty to challenge me within the same routine. So let's get to it. Primary Section - Tai Chi and Qigong 1. Continue Tai Chi and Qigong as a daily habit. The plan is to take some time each day to practice Tai Chi and/ or Qigong, in some capacity. 20 - 30 minutes of practice would be ideal, but I will make compromises with my other priorities in life as needed. Break it up throughout the day, as needed, whatever it takes. Make the opportunity. 2. Continue to refine my Tai Chi/ Qigong skills. This means taking in information wherever possible, from classes, seminars, videos, books, etc. I have signed up for a Tai Chi class with Community Education, but this does not begin until February. In the meantime, I will continue to self-train, read books, watch videos, and take in whatever information and training is available. My focus at the moment is on the Tai Chi 24 Form, and Spring Forest Qigong. Secondary Section - Meditation and Body Weight Training 1. Daily meditation. I've been doing this for nearly a year now. It is an indispensable source of relaxation and self-care. 2. Body weight exercises and yoga. I will do this three times per week. Body weight training focuses mainly on pull-ups and dips, using the "grease the groove" approach, where I do several sets of low reps spread out over a day. I generally do the yoga in the evening, or whenever I finish my last set of pull-ups and dips. This has been great training for upper-body and core strength. Tertiary Section - Bullet Journal I will keep utilizing my bullet journal to keep track of my daily tasks and priorities.
  12. Good morning Druids, This will be my first challenge in the Druid Camp for quite some time. A desire to get into tai chi and qigong is the main driver behind this change. I've taken the odd tai chi and qigong class here and there over the years. Finally, after 12 years or so of awesome but somewhat damaging training in Shotokan karate and other "hard" martial arts, as well as a little parkour thrown in for fun, I'm ready to start down a softer and more regenerative path. Hence my so-called journey to Wǔdāng Shān, or Wudang Mountain (according to legend, the birthplace of internal martial arts such as tai chi). The challenge has two basic parts: Primary Section - New Habits 1. Make Tai Chi and Qigong a daily habit. Being new at this as a routine, I'm not entirely sure how feasible this really is, so this is part commitment, part experiment. The plan is to take some time each day to practice Tai Chi and/ or Qigong, in some capacity. 20 - 30 minutes of practice would be ideal, but I will make compromises with my other priorities in life as needed. 2. Continue to refine my Tai Chi/ Qigong skills. This means taking in information wherever possible, from classes, seminars, videos, books, etc. As I have not picked a dedicated class or instructor to follow a this time, I'm taking a bit of eclectic and all-inclusive approach. Secondary Section - Continue Old Habits 1. Daily meditation. I've been doing this for nearly a year now. 2. Body weight exercises and yoga. I will do this three times per week. Body weight training focuses mainly on pull-ups and dips, using the "grease the groove" approach, where I do several sets of low reps spread out over a day. I generally do the yoga in the evening, or whenever I finish my last set of pull-ups and dips. Tertiary Section - Bullet Journal During the last challenge I joined in an a Bullet Journal (BuJo) accountability group. I was brand new to the BuJo idea. The idea has stuck. I feel I gain a lot from it. Therefore, I plan to keep doing it. If there is another accountability group for this challenge, I will join in.
  13. Recently I was inspired by seeing a couple of snowshoe hares in the woods up north. They were between their summer and winter fur colors (as above), which I found fascinating. They are survivalists, enduring all four seasons in extreme situations, with numerous predators and competitors. They have to be highly skilled (and a bit lucky) to survive. But mainly it was their alertness and mindful movement that inspired me. They reminded me that I've really been neglecting quadrupedal (QM) in the parkour training. A major part of this challenge will be a constant reminder to myself to include QM practice in my training. Another major aspect of this challenge will be defeating urge to back down or give up. The past few weeks have been hard on my body, and I'm not entirely sure why. I suspect I have been fighting off an infection, one that thankfully I have shown no other symptoms other than fatigue. I suspect the road trip up north I took last weekend took its toll, so I might be feeling the effects of that as well. Lastly, I also suspect it is just the change of the season that's affecting me. It's dark for longer in the morning. Days start out cold, requiring a jacket, but quickly progress to short-sleeve shirt weather by afternoon. And there's the temperature in my car if it's been sunny all day. It might as well be summer. That kind of wild variation throughout a day really seems to play havoc with my body. It makes me not want to move or go out. It also makes my body take a little longer to recover from workouts. Because of this, I am allowing for a somewhat lesser quantity in my workouts for this challenge, in the hope that the quality of my workouts will not suffer, and so that I can maintain a level of consistency. Part of not giving up or backing down (for the long term) is knowing when to slow down or dial back just a little bit (in the short term) in order to endure. I think I am currently at a point where this is necessary. Part 1 - The Daily/ Weekly Tasks: 1. Practice parkour, minimum of twice per week. I will shoot for three times per week, as I always have, but I am giving myself permission to opt for twice per week when I feel it will be better for my body. On days where the weather doesn't cooperate, training indoors with bodyweight exercises will suffice. 2. Practice Quadrupedal Movements (QM) with each parkour workout. Especially work towards developing the QM gallop. This can be done indoors on days with poor weather. 3. As always, daily meditation. This has become quite old-hat, but it's worth mentioning because it's worth doing. 4. Compliment each mediation with yoga and/ or qigong. I find adding a little moving meditation to the sitting meditation is very helpful. 5. Remember to play and have fun. Mix things up from time to time. Play with "ninja stuff" like shuriken, bokken, and nunchaku (I have recently made a assortment of bo shuriken from 7 and 10 inch nails - they are quite fun). Part 1 - The Daily/ Weekly Tasks (REVISED 10/30/2017): 1. Bodyweight exercises, three times per week minimum. This will continue until I am feeling up to snuff to continue outdoor parkour training. I plan to use the "grease the groove" approach to training rather than a fixed number of sets and reps done in one sitting. I plan to alternate between pull-ups/ dips and push-ups/ bodyweight squats. More days of training may be added, if feasible. 2. Play with weapons! Three times per week. Because being a ninja is fun! Shuriken, nunchaku, bokken, unarmed (my fists and feet are weapons)...all of it is fair game. 3. Daily yoga, qigong, and meditation in the evenings. This helps me stay physically and mentally put together. The physical side may be dropped once or twice per week, if needed to recover from injury or soreness. However, I have found that in most cases even a small amount of yoga or qigong, even through injury, is more beneficial than 100% rest. Part 2 - The Bullet Journal: This is a brand new thing for me. I saw it advertised by Jonesy in the Assassin's Den. I figure it's worth a shot, as I could really use a boost to my list-making and overall organization. I have joined the accountability group for this. I have no idea what I'm getting into. That's ok. Here goes nothing...
  14. Long time meditator (Centering Prayer - different but same ballpark), and exploring qigong. Any qigong practioners out there?
  15. This month I am going back to basics... since I completely tanked on my 2nd month challenge, I feel like keeping things simple. This month is all about QiGong and Chillin' with Back to Basics. QiGong - do QiGong as much and as often as I feel called to it. - add T'ai Chi routine, again, as I feel called to it, adding more to my form as I re-learn the 24 forms. Physical - Chillin' with Back to Basics - I'm re-energized to get on the trampoline (small rebounder) so I will aim for 2-4 x per week. - small hand weights, generally every time I do the trampoline. Diet - It's summer and therefore smoothie season! Revisiting to good old green smoothies and loving it. Well Being - some time in the sun as often as possible. - draw, work on my books, be in my personal space/studio as much as I can. - play with the dogs daily. NFAcademy - re-visit the Mindset Modules So yes, I am not putting any specific times or requirements on my time this month. I feel I need to let things happen and be in the flow so to speak. It's a bit back to basics because that's what really worked for me in the beginning and I need to reconnect with that energy and excitement I was experiencing then. I am taking part in the Assassin's mini this month because of their most awesome theme (Firefly) and having fun with being part of a group. In some ways, that is more motivating tome than doing something by myself - or at least at the moment. Cheers-
  16. This is the last month of school (I teach middle and high school) and testing season is on full throttle. On top of that there's all the various end-of-year activities, student & teacher requirements, last minute change of plans, final grades, meetings and general craziness. In one word: stressful. Which brings me to this month's personal challenge: finding peace within the chaos. Main Quest: Inner Peace I do realize this is not as quantifiable as a specific type of exercise, but I'll do my best to assess how I'm doing throughout the month. For this I will strive to take things as they come my way with as little resistance or friction as possible. My aim is to "go with it" as it were and not stress about whatever the situation is. I can remind myself that in the whole scheme of things, it'll be all right. (10pts@2/day) To help in this endeavor I will continue with some of the physical activities I implemented during the last challenge as I really enjoyed the routine. Sub Quest 1: Movement Rebounder jogging - X5 per week (5pts) Hand Weights - x5 per week (5pts) Plank - x3 per week (3pts) This part should be easy. I've got the rebounder/weight routine down last month and really enjoyed how it made me feel. I do it when I get home from school before anything else. Having it here keeps me from slacking on those days where I really want to. I'm also adding the plank this month to improve my time and tighten the core. Sub Quest 2: Quieting the Mind QiGong / T'ai Chi session - x1 per weekend (2pts) Sit quietly and count breath to 20+ - x2 per week (4pts) As much as I've always wanted to try meditation, this is really hard for me as I always feel like there's something else I need to be doing right now, so the challenge is to take the time to slow down and simply breath. I'm giving myself the most points for sitting quietly because this is going to be the hardest to follow through. Level Up Character points: Total points possible: 132 Main Q is about learning to let things be = points for WIS Q1 is the physical = this will earn points for STR & STA Q2 - QiGong and T'ai Chi increase agility = DEX - meditation calms the mind and makes one grounded = CHA I haven't completely figured out this whole point system so any suggestions are appreciated. I'm counting on adding 10 pts to my character and going to Level 2 once this challenge successfully completed (90%+), or should I do an A,B, C thing? What's more common? Again, suggestions welcomed. Ok, I think this is good for now.
  17. Sometimes, we are simply a noitcelfer | reflection of the world's troubles. ....let us stop striving and simply BE .......to be and make a better world with our very ......thoughts. ===== This challenge's theme will simply be some oddly non-prose ways of communicating my feelings each day about how my challenge is going, foregoing my previous fictional narrative for a more abstract poetry. I like to keep things interesting. Beyond that, I had a revelation after booking my flight to go and visit Dr. Yang for training this coming April. I am going to be training with a kung fu grandmaster and students that are living with him for 10-year long spans of time. The reality of this really set in today. You know in Kill Bill Vol 2 where "The Bride" goes to train with Pai Mei? On her arrival, she's very upbeat and happy about the chance, but within the first few minutes of meeting Pai Mei, she realizes just how horribly under-prepared she is and how far behind her own kung fu skills are. She is beaten in a sparring match as easily as an eagle would kill a worm, and this is how she begins to actually make real progress. .....that is very possibly going to be me. I am very probably about to be totally outmatched by a man old enough to be my father. So, this month and possibly the next few are going to be dedicated to getting as close to prepared as I possibly can. Step 1, Strong Like Tiger: I will be following a push/pull/squat routine that centers on progressive bodywieght calisthenics programming for 3 days each week. I have a few different guides, and am looking over those this weekend to set a hard plan for how to program correctly for the best possible results. Step #2, Fast Like Leopard: On an alternating 3 days, I'll be doing circuits with a heavy emphasis on building cardiovascular endurance. The main thing here is to make sure that I'm not overtaxing my recovery time, but am still keeping my work capacity up to be in "fighting shape". Step #3, Lithe Like Snake: Continue Vinyasa Classes and morning yoga to keep flexibility improving. I've fallen in love with these routines and the methods to deepen my own joint mobility. No reason to stop something that's been working so well as I can figure. Step #4, Balanced Like Crane: Since I'm going primarily for Tai Chi Chuan, my studies of the Yang Long Form for will be followed for no less than 6 days a week. This will include qigong on my own and form work with class. Step #5, Wise Like Dragon: To keep this slightly more rigorous routine up, I'll be trying to tune my diet in to hit and hold a lively bodyweight of ~#180 while eating fish and raw veggies. No alcohol, no soda, no complex sugars, minimal grains/rice. "....but Foo, that's too much stuff for a challenge, you're going to burn yourself out." No, because I have a very real fear of being totally embarrassed by how unprepared I am to keep up with my elders as a deeper motivation. I have been building momentum and intensity for a while, so now it's time to get this all tuned in to be able to maintain an all-day long kung fu training schedule. That's what I'm going to be doing regardless of if I'm prepared for it or not. *bows deeply*
  18. Well, this is my first official challenge, so to the Rebels it is! Goal #1: -All snacks are to be a fresh/raw vegetable. Part of detachment from my very cushy lifestyle into the realm of mountain-dwelling taoist should certainly be in the form of replacing the easily obtained "Chip's Ahoy" with a carrot or broccoli or celery. I am getting enough calories from my meals, and I snack out of habit. Goal #2: -All Alcohol is now to be herbal tea One of my many weaknesses has been having a glass of wine or couple of beers almost daily. While in and of themselves, in moderation, these aren't that bad, but the caloric values add up over time. Also, it's banned from one of the schools I plan to study at in the near future, so might as well adjust now. Goal #3: -Every Morning, Wudang 5 Animals Qigong Immediately upon rising out of my bed, I will do the Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, Snake, and Crane Qigong forms. I've been doing them randomly throughout the day, but tried this a few times over the last couple of days, and found that I pop like bubble-wrap if I do them as soon as I wake up. Seems like a good way to set the tone for the rest of the day. Life Goal: -Walk 4 weeks in different shoes My wife is a yogi, and for the last few days, I've done one of her vinyasa flows. They're interesting and often quite challenging physically. I don't see any reason that these can't be added to my normal tai chi, changquan, and qigong practices...and I certainly could hope to learn a few things. *I'll try to keep up my Battle Log as well, it's just that I get distracted from my own work from reading too much.
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