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Daryl of Barbaria: Mindful Training/ Badass Training


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Here we go again. In taking on board the lessons I learned from the last challenge, tai chi is out, qigong and martial arts fighting staff is in. And daily meditation is always in, because that is key to everything. Always always always.

 

In a nutshell, during the last challenge I felt that doing qigong, such as the 8 brocades (or baduanjin), gave me all the benefits that I was looking for in tai chi, with the added benefit of it being less complex, easier to remember, and much easier to do in a confined area like indoors. Gradually, I began to favor qigong over tai chi. And then I took up practice with the "fighting staff" (aka: quarterstaff, bo, jang bong, qi mei gun, etc). For this I draw upon various sources (books, videos) from east and west, and just get outdoors and practice. Compared to tai chi, it's more physical, and more of a cortisol burn, which is what I really need these days. And let's face it, swinging a big stick around like a badass is just fucking cool. It allows me to indulge my warrior monk and Babylon 5 Ranger fantasies.

 

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And to be like this guy, the hero of our time.

 

So again, like last time, the challenge is quite simple:

 

1. Daily practice: Meditation. Strive for 14 - 15 minutes per day, more if possible (but some is always better than none).

 

2. Weekly practice: 4x/ week qigong and fighting staff training, to keep the body limber and active, and feel like a badass.

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Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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Looks like I am long overdue with an update. I did my training as planned on Tuesday, with  qigong and staff training at home, mostly in the back yard. I also played with the staff kata I've been using by trying it out with different size weapons, with some success. This particular form seems to work well with a bokken, so that's something to keep in mind for the future. Maybe the staff training can evolve into a form of sword training.

 

Thursday would have been my next training day (following my plan of training Tues, Thurs, Sat, Sun), but I opted out due to illness. I've been dealing with a rough cold these last few days.  I managed to make up for it today, getting out and walking in the woods I like, practicing some qigong in the woods, and then going through the staff form several times at home. I had a pretty shitty day...no, week...at work so it was good to swing that big stick around and burn off some cortisol.

 

My meditation continues to go well, practicing for 15 minutes per day, most days. I think yesterday was the only day recently where I didn't mange 15. Otherwise I'm doing pretty good.

 

Tomorrow I shall continue with the staff training....with my trusty quarterstaff! Actually, it's a buck-and-a-quarter quarterstaff....don't tell anyone.

 

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Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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The cold I'm still dealing with really dropped me on my ass today. Muscle aches, cough, gunky nose, the works. I honestly didn't think I'd manage training today. Somehow I pulled it out of...somewhere. I managed some light staff training in the backyard. Plenty of moonlight for situational awareness and inspiration.

 

Hopefully I will be feeling more with it tomorrow, and mange some proper daylight training.

Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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Today was a very good day. I really got into my training. I even did some work on one of my practice staves, giving it a coat of boiled linseed oil (BLO) to give it a nice golden shine, and hopefully give it a little resistance against moisture in preparation for winter training. The weather was perfection. The staff form I practice felt perfect, as did qigong and meditation afterward. All-in-all, a very good day.

 

I decided to film one round of my staff work. I've always been apprehensive about posting my training on NF. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever posted a video here. So I guess there is only one way to overcome that fear. Here I am, on full display before the NF community.

 

And yes, perhaps that is a small degree of vanity in it as well (I honestly didn't expect my technique to look this sharp). :rolleyes:

 

 

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Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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So I've been massively delayed in giving an update, yet again. Sickness has been the culprit. That cold just wouldn't let go, got a little bit better and then got worse. Now I've been on antibiotics for a few days, and things are getting better. I managed to keep up some token training through the illness, but not to the same level I would have preferred. I will allow myself that little break in the routine. The body needed to heal. Now the mind needs to heal, and to do that I need to get back to hard training. Life has been messy lately. It's been messy since about April, and hasn't let up. But somehow I'm managing. My guess is because I do pretty good at making self care a priority.

 

So this week should be the planned routine as normal. I'm still sticking with the daily meditation, and qigong and staff work 4x/ week. The only change is that I might swap out one kind of qigong for another, depending upon my mood that day. I've realized that since I started practicing this stuff about one year ago, I've accumulated a few different qigong routines, at least three. Maybe four or five if I want to get technical. They're all good, and it's especially good to mix it up every now and then, not get stuck on one type. I'm also thinking of adding some Shotokan karate drills into my staff training routine. I think they would compliment each other well. When I really think about it, Shotokan karate is the basis of all the martial arts training I've ever done. It's the first art I ever took up seriously, consistently, and the first and only art I earned a dan rank in. So whenever I learn other arts, I'm basically starting with Shotokan, and adjusting as required. My basic stances for staff work, they are more or less Shotokan stances. Shotokan was a great thing to restart nearly 3 years ago when I felt life was really dumping on me. After maybe a year and a half I parted ways with it again (though I never completely part ways with it), for whatever reason. Actually, the reason was to take up parkour, and that was pretty cool, so it was worth it. Anyway, it feels as if life is dumping on me once again, so I suppose it's time to return to old habits. I don't intend to start attending a dojo, that takes more resources than I am willing to spare, but there is plenty I can do on my own. That was one of the reasons karate appealed to me so much in the first place...there is so much a guy can do solo, without the benefit of a proper dojo or training partners. Kata in the woods, basics, bag or makiwara work, shadow-boxing/ shadow-kumite...there's a lot I can do. 

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Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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Last night was my first post-illness, return-to-greatness workout. It was also the first one I incorporated some Shotokan karate training into. I often have a tendency to jump straight to the advanced, black-belt stuff when I decide to do some karate treating. Fortunately, wisdom prevailed, and I limited my karate to the ultra-basic stuff. No sense in pushing my luck and risking an injury. I have often had concern about whether or not I would be able to age well with karate. So if I'm going to dabble in it once again, I'm going to do it right, start with the basic stuff ans lowly work my way up to the advanced, allowing my body to strengthen along the way.

 

As for the focus of my training, the staff technique, I think I crossed a sort of training threshold with the sharpness of my strikes with the basic middle grip. Some of the "beginner clunky-ness" is finally wearing off. It felt really, really good.

 

And qigong worked out quite well, opting for the kinder, gentle "Spring Forest" qigong method I learned about a year ago.

 

So anyway, that was yesterday. Today was an off day, except of course for my daily meditation (I only managed 5 minutes of focused meditation today). Tomorrow I hope to get out of the house and into the wood for a little solo training.

 

Happy Halloween everyone. 

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Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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I hit all my marks with qigong and staff practice last night, only to complete miss my meditation. Completely by accident. But still a miss. It's always a bit disappointing when that happens, as it is an unavoidable truth to face when I boot up my meditation app the next day and the consecutive day counter has reset to zero. I was at just over 80 before this little oversight (the highest I once had was over 300, I was gutted that I felt short of a full year). But of course, as with anything, what matters isn't the unbroken record that is now broken...it's that the very next day, I pick myself up and start on the path once again. And I already have. And it was good meditation, for at least 15 minutes (I think). And tomorrow I do it again. And again. And so on.

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Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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Last night I stuck to training indoors, doing my qigong, meditation, and some basic Shotokan training in place of staff training. I'm still sticking to the white-belt stuff, so as not to overtax my body. Today I plan to do some yard work, so I definitely will get some staff action in. The fun thing about long weapons is I can practice the technique when wielding a rake or other garden implements as well.

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Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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So I followed through and did my yard work, along with my staff training, alternating between practicing with the proper staff and various implements such as a rake and a broom. Staff techniques are versatile. :distracted:

 

I've done some meditation today, but I could stand to do some more. And my qigong. I need to recenter myself after all the work.

Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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I'm not a Druid, at least not yet, I was on the fence between this group and... well I'll just say one or two others, but your mixture of exercise, meditation, martial arts in a way that all seems to speak of personal developments with an inward focus. That all resonates heavily with me. I think I'll dwell in this forest for a little while with you :). I noticed that all your posts were generally positive with "Despite feeling sick, today I balled out" and yet this weekend both of your posts were brief and more apprehensive. Did you take time for yourself? I'm curious as to how you recentered following the work and energy expenditures.

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You can become a Hero. 

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20 hours ago, Fenix_418 said:

I'm not a Druid, at least not yet, I was on the fence between this group and... well I'll just say one or two others, but your mixture of exercise, meditation, martial arts in a way that all seems to speak of personal developments with an inward focus. That all resonates heavily with me. I think I'll dwell in this forest for a little while with you :). I noticed that all your posts were generally positive with "Despite feeling sick, today I balled out" and yet this weekend both of your posts were brief and more apprehensive. Did you take time for yourself? I'm curious as to how you recentered following the work and energy expenditures.

 

I don't think there was any reason for the brief posts other than I just felt I had less to say. The weekend tended to be very action oriented. Much to do, little to say. But yes, I always take care to make time for myself. I trained, did some staff work, did some empty-hand karate work, did my qigong and plenty of quiet meditation. And some video gaming, because why not?

 

Today was technically an off day, was I was feeling spry and did a little martial arts training anyway. I figure that if I have the energy and inspiration for it, go with it.

 

So I'm thinking this book will be my next purchase in my training endeavors:

 

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1594394113/?coliid=I2941X9MAL295Z&colid=ZIYRC6PCLRSA&psc=0&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it

 

I already have the kindle edition, as I happen to find it on sale for $0.99. It's great stuff, probably one of the best self-training books I've read for any martial art. I just really want to get a paper copy in my hands someday. 

Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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Again, I must apologize for the great delay in posting. It isn't the first time, and certainly won't be the last. I am, if nothing else, consistently inconsistent. 

 

So we've had some snow already, and snow that seems to be sticking around more than a day. I love the snow. There is something very insulating about it, as my wife puts it. And I have massively enjoyed my training out in the snow, especially in the dark.

 

I've been expanding my fighting staff techniques to include extended grip strikes, in addition to the middle grip strikes and blocks. I've also been seeking out items I can use for target training. I have a pretty good stump I can use as a pell, though it could use something additional, perhaps something soft, to muffle the sounds of my stick striking it. And perhaps something to simulate "arms" or other appendages. My favorite tool so far has been the hanging striking ball. Or in the case, sock. I made a pair of "sock darts" years ago, when I was interesting in rope dart training (instead of a metal dart, a sock filled with rice). I haven't used them for their intended purpose in years. But as suspended targets for precise striking practice, they are finding new life.

 

A new, additional element to my staff training is crafting my own staff. Now the nice thing about a staff is that the concept is simple. It's a big stick. Duh. But the more I learn about its construction, the more I realize there are so many precise elements to it, especially in wood selection, and grain and growth rings. I've realized that a quality piece of solid hardwood is a bit cost prohibitive for me right now. So the way around this will be to make a laminated staff, or a staff from planks glued together. Then I don't have to be so fussy about wood grains, as the opposing wood grains of the planks will compliment each other well (assuming I do a good job gluing them together). Anyway, it's something I am just starting to explore. I'll be starting with softer woods, like poplar, even if it's less than ideal for a combat worthy staff. I just want to work with a forgiving material, to start with and develop my crafting skills.

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Daryl of Barbaria - Ranger / Footpad

"Smart-aleck jaybird!"

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