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  1. "Your so-called kung-fu... is really... quite pathetic." - Pai Mei Not really sure what to put here as my goals are about being balanced. I know, I know, extremes are en-vogue, but I've got a list of things I think I should be able to do at the same time. Perhaps after those, I'll dig deeper into further stages in each thing's progression. Mostly, I just need the wood to fear my fist and not the other way around. 1. Master Tai Chi (no big deal...just, uhm....master it, right? Ok, let's settle for just learning the form and not being yelled at for it being really bad. That seems like a good starter point on the road to 'Master.' ) {focus: consistent practice} 2. Be able to bust out 20 pull-ups anywhere I can get a grip. {focus: strength/endurance} 3. 5 one-armed push-ups on either side with my nose gently kissing the floor on each. {focus: strength/control} 4. Touch face to knees in Uttanasana. {focus: flexibility/composition} 5. Sub 10% BF. {focus: composition} 6. Pistol Squat {focus: balance/strength} So, I'll probably simply post up what I'm doing every day and which of these goals it relates to. If I had on over-arching goal, it's to still be able to spar with my grandkids should I ever have them. That's a pretty non-SMART goal, though, so I'll just keep digging deeper into minor goals that I think will lead me to that point some day. Seems like a bit of a conundrum to put a taoist style in line with clearly linear goals, as most of the time I'm looking at how to most smoothly reverse energies...but I come from a hard-style, so it's not like "MY kung fu" is that philosophical yet. I still have trouble not using direct force, so I'll just face-punch goals for now. Ok, so, day #1. - Did form up through White Crane Spreads it's Wings, and worked trying to find the balance for the toe circling in greater depth. Time involved: 45 minutes, Goal #1. - Did Vinyasa flow with my wife's teacher, focusing on lower back. Time involved: 30 minutes, Goal #4. - Ran through a pre-programmed cardio circuit for 15 mins. Time involved 15 mins, Goal #5. - Decided that every time I get out of my chair at work, to only use one leg, alternating legs. It's a little habit that I'm hoping works like greasing the groove for better side-to-side squats and the lower kung-fu stances. Maybe I should use a sticky-note to keep track of how many I do in a day. Need a better plan here to keep up with them. Time...dunno. Goal #6. This may be an odd log, that goes all over the place. Probably need to track my food more carefully for goal 5 as well. I'll hopefully get this down a bit better by writing it down every day. So, let's try to make this fit the system: Main Quest. Be a master monk, pass CMC Tai Chi instructor exams while <10% BF and able to do a hand-stand pushup, muscle-up, pistol squat, Pick 2 - 3 SMART quests Pull up x 20 , OAPush-ups x 5, Flexibility (forward fold with head on knees) Choose a life quest if you'd like to do one (completely optional). Reach full financial independence so I can afford to teach martial arts full-time. Choose a motivation. Nothing would be worse than growing feeble in my old age and not being able to still play with my children's children...and I play hard.
  2. Foo rose up early to greet the dawn. As he stepped out of his hut and looked across the temple grounds, he noticed the abbot waving him down. “Foo, I have a mission for you to undertake. I was approached by some villagers from the Wuxi province, and their small farming community has been under attack by a group of 5 demons every year for the past 4 planting seasons. As the ground is to be tilled in about 30 moons from now, they came to ask for our help in ridding them of these monsters.†“Master,†said Foo with some curiosity “that's terrible. I will certainly do what I can to help the village, but I do not know much of demons. Also, I know only my meager kung fu, and have no magical weapons to defeat a demon horde.†The abbot stroked his wispy beard slowly as he spoke. “Well, your kung fu should have all the answers you should ever need for any battle in heaven or earth, but what you will need to know is that the land of Wuxi is riddled with dangerous cliffs. One must have the firmest of stances to hope to do battle there. You should be certain that your training has covered that before your go. Also, the 5 demons do battle by harnessing the 5 elements into their attacks. You would be wise to be certain that your knowledge of alchemy is worked into your kung fu so that you have an answer to any elemental attacks. Last, only a fool would battle demons at night, so you must be certain to be at your peak as soon as you rise in the morning. With these 3 things and keeping yourself well, I believe that you are ready for your first real mission outside of the temple.†Foo bowed deeply, “I'll get to work immediately, sifu.†So, for my upcoming challenge, I have 3 primary additions to add to my normal training. 1. Make sure my footing is steady. During a seminar in the United States, Chen Qingzhou was asked: what was the most important thing that someone could do to improve their tai chi. He Responded “I will tell you exactly what to do and it will improve your health, tai chi, your martial and mental abilities, and will only take you three minutes a day, but you won't do it.†“Why won't I do it?†He was asked. “Because I've said this many time and no one follows through.†“Well, what is it?†“Stand,†and he assumed a Zhan Zhuang (post stance) The first part of my challenge will be to stand in a deep Zhan Zhuang stance, and attempt a standing meditation for just 3 minutes a day. This will be in addition to my normal seated meditation, but with a heavy emphasis on holding a 90-degree knee position. I'm sore just thinking about it. 2. Answer for the 5 elemental attacks: If you have much knowledge of taoist philosophy or Chinese medicine, then you're sure to know of how the 5 elements support or destroy each other. Over the next 4 weeks, I plan to learn the 5 elemental fists and the linking sequence for them from Xingyiquan. (Actually, I already have learned the basics for the first two, but should be able to get the other 3 by the end of the challenge.) This is to make sure that I don't slouch on what is a non-primary art for me. 3. Be ready to fight early in the day: This is a modification from my last challenge which included waking up every day and immediately doing Wudang 5-animal qigong. This time, let's summon the sun with a bit of Surya Namaskara A & B (Sun Salutation A & B ). I think that a A, A, B, A pattern upon waking will get the inner fire going in my body, so before I even get dressed in the mornings, I'll be doing this every day. *these are to be done in addition to my circuit training, tai chi training, and now...regular vinyasa class. Still abstaining from alcohol and eating a paleo diet with heavy focus on raw vegetables. ...and best of luck to my fellow druids. *bows deeply*
  3. Hi yoga people! I got unlimited classes at a yoga studio so I've been going. Saturday mornings are a real basic class that's beginner level and allows me time to work on anything I find difficult (like chaturanga) OR deepen my knowledge of a specific pose. This past Saturday, we did some moon salutations and then finished up in savasana. For whatever reason, my mind was really quiet and I started having strong vivid images. The first was (no lie) a little dragon. Very small, almost cat-sized, and red with gold wings. The second was a cityscape at dusk (i.e. dark buildings and bright red sun, pink sky). But the buildings were also a person lying on their back who swallowed the sun as it set. It looked hella-cool, so I asked, "can I see that again?" and I did, although it was slightly different the second time. Okay so I'm smoking something serious, right? Was I just asleep? (wouldn't be the first time in savasana) Was that a legit hallucination? What about the ability to ask my mind to "play it again"? Is that just lucid dreaming? Anything like this ever happen to you all?
  4. This is my first 6 week challenge. My husband is actually doing one as well, and his excitement about it kinda bled over to me. I often have many many many things I want to do and succeed with none of them, so hopefully restricting it to 4 things will allow me to achieve them. 1. Practice vinyasa yoga 2/week. This one almost feels like cheating because I enjoy it so much. I go to a yoga studio in town and I'm coming back off a three week break. I intend on doing a third practice at home but that will not be part of my challenge. DEX +3 STR +2 2. Do the Angry Birds workout every other day. I want to be able to do a pull up and a proper pushup by the end of the 6 weeks. I currently can do a full pushup, but can only lower myself about 3 inches. STR +2 3. Meditate 1 minute/day, adding 1 minute/week. This one will be hard for me to remember to do, and to keep from falling asleep. I will do this at night after my daughter is in bed. WIS +2 4. Create a business plan to earn $300 profit a month working from home. I'm losing my awesome babysitter, and I would strongly prefer to work from home, both to be available to my daughter and to not have childcare eat up my earnings. I'm leaning towards a graphic design/printing business that I already have the skill set and equipment for, or a cloth diaper making business. I would need to learn how to sew the diapers and source unique fabric, obviously more work than the design business. WIS +4 I still have other things I would like to get done (teeth brushing, sleeping before midnight, running and drinking more liquids) but I won't be grading myself on them.
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