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The Book of Five Rings - Chi


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23 hours ago, Kishi said:

I have to admit, the actual tracking is hard for me too.

Ah well, it's good to see anyways. And I guess it's nice to do every now and then. Since you're trying a tactic that's (relatively) new to your system: adding some rest into the mix while working at anti-fragility? 

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Level ☆ human [uncategorizable]
STR 2 | DEX 3 | CON 2 | STA 3 | WIS 5 | CHA 5
Current challenge: Athena focuses on the physical | 
Battle log

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23 hours ago, Kishi said:




Long story short, we're going back to Blades in the Dark. And this time, I'm the GM. Solely so, no co-GM or nothing.


... yeah. That's gonna be something.



I would love to chat with you about this at some point, being that I have not played BitD but am in the middle of, y'know, designing a game. I've heard many good things about it, just never had an opportunity to try, and my professional curiosity is strong 😃

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"You are what you do. Choose again, and change." - Miles Vorkosigan


109 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 |

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On 2/26/2020 at 11:40 AM, analoggirl said:

Ah well, it's good to see anyways. And I guess it's nice to do every now and then. Since you're trying a tactic that's (relatively) new to your system: adding some rest into the mix while working at anti-fragility? 


Yeah, funny you mention that. I take more rest and I choose life over training more often than not these days. It surprises a lot of people I talk to, mostly because on the social media I tend to talk about going out to train on the mats, but so much of what I do is tied to being out there and doing things. But I'm definitely not charging as hard at life as it might sound.


On 2/26/2020 at 11:47 AM, Kyellan said:


I would love to chat with you about this at some point, being that I have not played BitD but am in the middle of, y'know, designing a game. I've heard many good things about it, just never had an opportunity to try, and my professional curiosity is strong 😃


Well, you know where to find me. :) HMU whenever you like.




Ohhhhh God.




What day is it?


Oh right it's the weekend. Shit, okay, um. Let's catch this up. After all,






1.) 8/13


2.) 9/13


3.) 9/13


4.) 9/13


I gotta admit, it's kind of nice having all these numbers in front of me. One thing that happens in battle log land, once you've got yourself dedicated to a process, is that you get lost in that process and you gain such a long view of things that you're not necessarily sure what the hell's happening. So having it all laid out here in no uncertain numbers is... well. It's not necessarily pleasant, as it shows that I'm more indulgent than I thought I was, but it's better to know than not. It explains why some things are progressing slower than I might like.


So, crap, uh, let's see. What freaking happened this week?




So, Tuesday wasn't quite what I wanted. I was able to make kickboxing happen, but I couldn't leave in time to hit up grappling. The kickboxing was some kick-heavy stuff, mostly countering off of front leg check, either by using front push kick or else using front leg to power a Superman Punch. It was good to get their take on that last, actually, as I've been exposed to the Superman punch but there are some finer points I've been missing.


Strength work afterward was good. Deload felt a little heavy, but it got better as it went. Playing with shadow rolling afterward was fun too, although it's increasingly impressed upon me how much better it would be if I could get all the stuff in my apartment cleaned out. Kept my macros intact, but didn't do much in the way of writing.


I took Wednesday off. The plan had been that I would go to hang with the California Friend I mentioned in my goals as she was in town for a bit before heading off to writing retreat in Wilmington and then off to San Jose. And, uh, yeah, there was a plot twist - the CA friend found herself playing emotional axle to some close friends of hers (former friends of mine downgraded to acquaintances - long story) and she found herself behind on a lot of things she wanted to get done, so she asked for help. I acceded, because she's my friend. When I got to her place, she was down for a nap, so I started bustling about and doing some of the chores that I could see needed doing. And what wound up happening was that I got to play Emotional Support Human not just to my friend but to those acquaintances as well. One acquaintance needed some help researching how to renew a driver's license, so I did that. I got pulled away from the house chores to be an ear while another one bought house plants. Then I got back and the CA friend was up so I helped her with her chores, which involved cleaning up her room a bit to make it safe for her two blind friends who were bringing their baby to the house on Thursday? Friday? Something like that.


And then Sci-Fi Buddy Night, because. The shows remained good. We're kind of coming up on the ends of both of them (at least to this point) so we'll have to switch to something else at some point. I kind of feel like I need to inculcate them into the cult of My Hero Academia because of its superhero bent but I'm one voice of three, and my past attempts to get people to join the cult haven't come to much.


Goals were not accomplished that day, but whatever.


Thursday I got up earlier and got to work earlier with the idea of getting out earlier to get to the MMA place earlier. It worked, right up until I hit the traffic snarl caused by an apparently massive wreck that delayed me past the point of being able to make the BJJ class. :(


Kickboxing was focused on the use of rear leg push kick to manage space. Figured out how to flow off of blocking into using the kick as a set up for counter, and managed to make it seamless in drills and even used it in sparring, which is a very good sign. Got my clock cleaned a bit though too, so.


Hit up Q&D afterward, rolled bodyweight, so did some easier jump variants and kept up the banded work in push ups.


Friday, I was... in a catlike mood. Kind of wanted to be held close by someone and kind of wanted everyone to leave me alone. Didn't really know how to honor that. I had the Open Mats to go to, but I found I didn't really want to go to the striking one because if I'm being frank with you, they're mostly just kids there with the odd adult. The kids are pushed pretty hard to wail on each other, and they eventually get to the point where they're upset (and before you freak out, it's not an abuse situation, it's just a matter of being overwhelmed and not knowing how to process those big emotions). It just seemed like a lot of noise and bother that wouldn't be helpful to me for what I wanted and I didn't want to go. So I didn't. I went instead to the BJJ open mat, where nobody showed up although I got the chance to chat with Spider Monkey a bit.


So Friday wound up being a rest, and being on the other side of a good night's sleep, that's probably what I needed.


Anyway, today's not done yet but it looks like I'm about to pulled away to social obligations, so guess I'mma do that. No training today. Life is to be lived.

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So part of what makes this so hard for me to track is that I wait until the next day to do the previous day's goals. So I'm logging on Day 15 where I was as of the end of Day 14. Probably I should start saying what I'm doing when.


So. As of Day 14:


1.) 8/14


2.) 9/14


3.) 9/14


4.) 9/14


Why did this happen? Well, that social thing I mentioned was a chance to go off and eat good food and drink good drink with the CA friend and others before she took off for her writing retreat today. I was kind of on the fence as to whether I'd go or not, mostly because I wasn't sure if I was actually invited or if she'd said something in the moment that I'd misunderstood or what, and I kind of wanted to be unsocial anyway.


It turned out to be freaking vital that I'd gone because I let slip to them that it was my Birthday on Tuesday and they baked a cake for me and if I hadn't shown up, that would have been really awkward. :D :D :D


Ah, God. I love my friends.


But, uh, yeah, I'd kind of planned on doing late training and held off on doing writing so when I went off to drink and be merry, it kind of put a kibosh on the whole thing.


So, how do I feel about all this?


Honestly? I feel pretty darn good. Nothing's gone exactly according to plan, but the truth is that most of my goals are really forgiving in terms of work:benefit ratio, or else have failsafes in place such that I don't really lose progress so much as I just stall a little and only for a bit before returning to being on track.


So, like, take the dietary protocol for instance. Like I said, I started on the MATADOR protocol because I wanted to work (sort of) hard and have some results to show. I already knew what my maintenance was, so I cut to 70% for two weeks before recalculating maintenance and popping back up. What I have not told you is that I've also been doing Pilon's Eat Stop Eat protocol on top of it, which is sort of the granddaddy of IF protocols where you take a couple days and skip a couple meals to complete a 24-hour fast before returning to normal. I've been using that a couple ways - one, to help stretch my food out a bit, but also two, to act as a failsafe against my indulgent days.


Because there were definitely days during the cutting phase where I wasn't doing what I needed to do, but on those fasting days I wouldn't eat very much food at all, and it just sort of all balanced out to being what I needed it to be.


And how has it gone so far? Well, when I started the protocol I was weighing in at 192 lbs or so. After two weeks, I was down to 179 lbs, and that was a rebound from a record low 176. Which was all water weight, just so we're clear; the protocol insists on high protein, and the way that I'm getting there is via the use of plant-based meat substitutes which come with a lot of fat attached to them that I can't do anything about, so the macro I wound up having to cut was carbs. Also, my body fat percentage didn't really budge during that whole two weeks. I've been on maintenance now for the past week, though, and even with my dalliances I weighed in at 180 yesterday morning, so. It seems to be working, and the mods that I've made to account for my life as I want to lead it seem to make sure it keeps doing so.


The shadow work and the stretching are both progressing pretty well; I've got my kick height back and it feels like it's progressing a little at a time. I also feel like I've found a good mix of shadow and drill work which I vary up depending on what I've got going on a given day. The writing's been happening too, but I've been a little, ah, engrossed in politics and studying philosophy sometimes to the exclusion of my work. But work I've done has been fairly consistent and I feel like I've answered and addressed a lot of questions that I had, and I like the answers I'm coming up with too.


Anyway. Today I can tell is already going to be another off day for the dietary stuff. I got invited out to breakfast for my birthday with my folks. I was pretty indulgent. I managed to avoid a minefield I'd worried about - I got in touch with my brother and when it came out that he'd have today free (he hadn't been planned to initially) I asked him his plans as we normally run a 5e game with the parents. He said he'd been burning the candle at both ends and he really wanted to rest. I told him I respected that and wanted him to rest from people and obligations, and also that there was a non-pressured invite to breakfast if he wanted it.


He didn't take it up, but I found I was happy he didn't. I'm trying to dispense with some toxic patterns of performative positivity and I would have felt wrong forcing or pressuring him to be there.


Anyway. Coach is back from his travels and will be in, so I guess we'll see what that training comes to. Also, registered for the karate tournament on 3/21, so I guess we're locked into it now.


Some music for the week that I'm seriously digging:



Also, h/t to @chemgeek and @Teirin for turning me on to Caleb Hyles. Dude does solid work.

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4 hours ago, Teirin said:

Just be careful, you go too low on calories sometimes.  Make sure you still feel good and safe. 


Absolutely! Ain't doing this with the idea of feeling bad or sacrificing performance. Also, thanks for keeping me honest about that. :)




Day 15 Totals:


1.) 8/15


2.) 10/15


3.) 10/15


4.) 10/15


And it went like I figured it would. Class happened; we had a wandering purple belt in who was formerly a student of Coach's; he showed us a whole sequence from takedown to submission from a Hapkido perspective. Dude was rapid fire, but a lot of fun. Coach let him do the work, but also pointed out some some details to make the sequence pop.


Afterward, we rolled. I did a lot better than I thought I would for not having gotten any extra rolling in the past week, but no complaints. I guess the home practice must be a decent supplement.


Compiled some writing from the past week. Did drills and stretched afterward. Good times.

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So writing about day 16 on day 17. This is where it gets a little confusing. But that's okay. I'm back on coffee. Got this.


1.) 9/16


2.) 11/16


3.) 11/16


4.) 11/16


The only annoying thing about smooth days is that there's not a lot to talk about, and as y'all know, I do love the look of my own prose.


That being said, one notable thing did happen - I GM'd my first game of Blades In The Dark.


It didn't go too badly! None of us stumbled, although I had to go back and check on rules a lot, so didn't flow as easy as I might have liked. Also, had to get everybody's characters finalized which took a lot of time and had a player in who hadn't been there at the outset of the decision so we had to get him caught up and... yeah.


But I managed to improvise like 5 or 6 storyhooks on the spot for people which felt really good to be able to do. The party responded by trying to hit two of them at once, which they can totally do but will be nice and complicated out of the gate.


More homework. Great. But I actually want to do this homework, so it's cool. :D


Q&D bodyweight edition with shadow work and stretching. Did my writing at lunch. I've already gotta give mad props to creatives who manage to be both creative and run RPGs because it feels like these pursuits use a lot of the same muscles if you want to do them well.




Anyway. Should be MMA and strength work tonight.

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19 hours ago, Mistr said:

Belated Happy Birthday!  🎂


18 hours ago, Teirin said:

Late Happy Birthday to you!!!  *hugs*


Aw, thank you both! I really appreciate that.




Day 18, reporting on 17:


1.) 10/17


2.) 12/17


3.) 12/17


4.) 12/17


Another relatively smooth day. Couldn't make grappling again but could make striking, so did. Worked on reading responses, which is something I really desperately need to work on.


Strength training went off without a hitch. Did some more research on bursitis and decided to break with routine by not stretching that shoulder out, and... it feels better today. Go figure.


Shadow work and stretching happened, although I have to admit, I'm a little puzzled about trying to put things together in terms of rolling. I keep looking for references but because nothing's written down or agreed-upon in terms of terminology or anything like that, it's hard to figure out how to string drills together in a fluid way. So far the one I've found is backward breakfall->elbow to palm->tactical stand up. Maybe I'm asking for too much of myself in terms of fluidity? Or maybe I'm approaching the research the wrong way and I need to start looking into videos on the drills themselves for ideas (ie shrimping videos, bridging videos, etc).


Still, it's something.


Writing is continuing, which is what I need it to do.


Today's docket... I dunno. I don't think I'm getting together with friends tonight, but after posting my thanks for the birthday wishes yesterday, I got messaged by the sci fi friend and he was like "You mean it was your birthday and we didn't even do anything?" So, I dunno. Might be something, might not be. We'll see.

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Day 20, reporting up through day 19:


1.) 11/19


2.) 13/19


3.) 13/19


4.) 14/19


So, things! Stuff! They happened.


Wednesday, I got invited by a friend to see the new Sonic movie. So, off to the cinema it was. This movie is easily the best video game film I've ever seen. Which, if you know anything about the history of video game movies, isn't exactly glowing praise or a high bar to clear, but work with what you got, right? It's actually good on its own merits - lots of sight gags, a surprising amount of heart, not too heavy on the fan service. Jim Carrey was absolutely the right choice to play Robotnik too. It's definitely a kid's movie, but sometimes that's what you're looking for.


No training, as you might expect.


Thursday was notable in that I got to roll in the new dogi that I bought for myself with birthday money. Turns out I can get choked out just as well in that stuff too. :D We've decided to go into butterfly guard for the month, and we touched on a lot of different parts of it but the one that I'm really wanting to study and internalize is how to get to scarf hold from butterfly, because that particular position is my happy place. I couldn't pull it off in sparring, but I'm not necessarily bothered about that. I didn't have a convincing X-Guard when I first learned it either, but a year after when we finally came back to it, I'd picked up enough movement for it to feel good and I've even got people with it before too.


One thing I did do well is that I managed to figure out a transition from scarf hold to anaconda on the arm, which is basically an arm triangle as done to the arm as opposed to the choke. That's a transition I'm getting better at, which is good.


Got home, did Q&D and some shadow work. That was that.


Brings us to today, which... I mean, we'll see what happens. I've got a key to the new location now, so I can manage the open mats again. I suppose we'll see what the day brings, although I have to admit, I'm not really optimistic about a lot of people showing up. Which is kind of okay since we're not officially open yet anyway.

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Day 21, reporting to Day 20:


1.) 14/20


2.) 14/20


3.) 14/20


4.) 15/20


"Kishi," I hear you say, "what the heck? Your dietary compliance went from 59% to 70%! What gives?"


Answer: me. :D


Mostly it was me realizing that I don't really see my Wednesday night indulgences as something that need to be fixed, and I have no trouble seeing them as part of an overall strategy for health. If that's true, then I don't think I deserve to be penalized for them, and I'm not going to eat the penalty for it.


Friday open mat happened. We had people! One of whom was a fellow student (whom I call "Skills") who had to go down to the coast for a semester; she came back dangerous, but I can still play my game on her. Spider Monkey meanwhile was as troublesome as ever, but that's what makes him fun. :) I outplayed him on one round, and he outplayed me on the other.


Shoulder felt good afterward, which is nice. Got home, ran drills, then shadowboxed and stretched. Writing's been happening too, as it should be.


Weighed myself this morning as I figured this would be my last shot before going on cut again for a couple weeks. Weight climbed up to 84.4 kgs (185.68 lbs) which is actually good news. I was kind of freaked out to see myself lose as much weight as I did, and I'd hoped that when I reintroduced carbs into the equation that I'd stabilize out lower than I was when I started. That appears to have happened. If true, then this means that in the past month I lost ~6.3 lbs, which puts me right smack dab in the middle of what's considered a healthy amount of weight loss. Moreover, if my measurements are correct, then I haven't put any extra fat back on, which is the big thing I'm really worried about.


Fun times. Anyway, this next couple weeks will be interesting as I'm dropping the protein down some as opposed to keeping high with fake meats. One because they're expensive, two because I feel better without them, three because apparently plant-based folk don't need as much protein and I haven't noticed a particular difference in performance between "high" and "low" amounts of protein beyond a certain window (~100-150g). Going to get my proteins from whole-food sources means I'll be getting somewhat more carbohydrate in the system, meaning I won't lose as much water weight this time. I'm not exactly certain what this will do to the numbers, but at the same time, I'm really not that worried about it.


Put in some OT at the office today. Now to finish out, get home, and strength train. I've had dips in the program now for a while, but I think I'mma switch those out for push ups instead, because those don't seem to aggravate my shoulder as much as the bench dipping I've been doing. Better to get my hands on a station for dips and do band-assists. Which means cleaning out the apartment. Sigh. So much potential good is tied to that, you'd think I'd be about it. :D

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Day 23 reporting up through day 22:


1.) 15/22


2.) 16/22


3.) 16/22


4.) 16/22


So Saturday went about like I said it would. I got done w/ OT at the office, got home, strength trained, shadowboxed, stretched. Good stuff. Didn't really do any writing because I generally find myself taking Saturday as a rest from that kind of work for no particular reason I can think of beyond the rhythm of the week.


That doesn't annoy me. What does annoy me is that I didn't clean as much as I could have and really probably should have. It's not a big deal, beyond that it keeps me in circumstances I don't like.


Sunday was D&D with the folks. We're having to play sneaky again and I have to admit, having BitD on the brain helps with getting into that kind of mindset. Had to get a lot of low rolls out of the way, but that's how it be sometimes. -_- At least we played smarter than we normally do. We're getting better at this kind of thing.


Afterward, since my friend had homework to do and couldn't make it out to write, I decided to stay with my folks and hang for a while. The day's creative work became a focus on studying more about BitD. I reckon I'll credit myself for writing there (see earlier comments about writing using the same muscles), but therein lies a danger in terms of allowing myself to be distracted by multiple projects. FWIW, I'm still doing my writing, it just hasn't been compiled yet. Reckon it'll be a project on its own once I sit down to do that, but it's actually kind of fulfilling whenever I do, just in terms of seeing the project grow and evolve and being able to make little tweaks and touches as I develop it.


That being said, I'll probably spend today studying up on BitD a bit more because there's a good chance I'll wind up GMing and the score they've chosen to go for actually has lore attached to it in the game which I didn't know about when I set the hook. And one of the gamers is a friendly rules lawyer whom I honestly can't see not making an issue of it. Oh well. It's my own damn fault. Should have done my homework.


BJJ was up that night but we actually didn't do much as Coach was gone again, the visiting purple belts were out, and our teaching Blue is still dealing with a cracked rib following a rough roll. So we focused on wrist-locky stuff for a while and then called class early.


I came home and ate some of the home cooking mom sent back with me and ate some more food that was decidedly not. :P


Which brings us to today, with the cut phase beginning in earnest. Q&D tonight depending on when we let out of gaming.

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Day 24, looking back at 23:


1.) 16/23


2.) 17/23


3.) 17/23


4.) 17/23


So, I called it - wound up GMing a game of Blades in the Dark. First time running an actual Score, and it was an interesting challenge. To explain, in this game you play as a crew of scoundrels in a steampunk setting who engage in "scores," or various kinds of jobs depending on the nature of the crew. The crew is determined based around certain paradigms, so you can have Assassins or Occultists or Smugglers for instance, and as you might expect these lend themselves to certain kinds of jobs. This crew is running as Shadows, which are basically spies and thieves and saboteurs, so a lot of how this works is tied to information and social stuff. Which is pretty well outside of my wheelhouse, for better or for worse.


Still, it went well! Everyone was really forgiving for the fact that it was my second time GMing. We all agree that I need to get a better grasp of the mechanics - we all need that - but mostly because getting better at the mechanics will let me play more fluidly since I won't have to devote so much RAM to crunching numbers. Also, everyone rolled really well, and the game is set up around the idea of things going wrong and having to be worked around. So I'd have this outcome ready to go and they'd exceed it and I'd have to be like, "Oh, darn."


So frankly, I'mma call that a win, and also take the writing credit for having to pull up a story on the fly. Those muscles felt good and worked by the time all was said and done.


Anyway, I was true to my macros despite being plied with junk food by my gamers (as bribes are totally a thing at our table). Nothing I couldn't work around. Q&D rolled body weight again, so that's what I did. Found that my hand positioning during push ups made a great deal of difference in terms of my shoulder, so I need to figure out how to do that from kneeling, which I think I have an answer to. Will need to test to be certain.


Tonight's docket is MMA and strength work. Let's see what happens.

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Okay kids, let's catch it up. Day 25 reporting up to Day 24:


1.) 17/24


2.) 18/24


3.) 18/24


4.) 18/24


Tuesday was rather terribly eventful in terms of training. I got to the MMA place and it turned out that the teaching black belt's teacher was in, so he ran a seminar on some sneaky around the neck Ezekiel chokes. I got paired with a blue belt whom I had on athleticism and general bodily awareness, as we afterward got to do some play drills based around passing the guard where the lying partner couldn't use their hands and the standing partner could only use one. I racked up lots of standing passes on my partner over about 4 minutes or so, while she could only rack up 2 on me. Further, everybody was complaining about how sore their abs were, while I was just super chill and used leverage to make my partner to do the work for me. How nice of her. :D


Anyway, kickboxing happened afterward. Two of our fellows had gone to a seminar hosted by Anderson Silva over the weekend, and they brought some tricks back with them they wanted to do. So we drilled those. Sparring was kind of rough afterward; I've been kind of nervy about the tournament in 10 days and I'm worried that I'm not hitting hard enough, or alternately that I'm not getting hit hard enough. I got kind of sloppy and ate a lot of shots that I probably shouldn't have, and I was definitely punchier with my partners than I really should have been (although to be clear, they kind of tend to accept that sort of thing as normal, so... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).


Strength training at home was notable in that I figured out hand position for push ups (it's actually way lower on the chest than I thought; my palms have to kind of push from around my ribs) and also even with assistance, I can't manage the balance I need for the next step in the pistol progression. So, I'm switching that one out for GMB's pistol progression instead, since it's specifically designed to work in the place where I'm having trouble (balance at the bottom). This the only change, as even though I've removed dips from the program for the time being, that's considered within bounds for the program. I'm kind of paranoid about losing strength, though, so I'm probably going to have to get used to scrambling up and down as opposed to just trying to roll off of doing partials on the bottom.


This is the way.


Today's docket will be sci fi with friends, which I anticipate will ultimately be a quiet night.

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5 hours ago, Kishi said:

Strength training at home was notable in that I figured out hand position for push ups (it's actually way lower on the chest than I thought; my palms have to kind of push from around my ribs)


Аhhh, I got schooled about that a lot when I could actually do push-ups haha. Thought it was just my lack of balance back then :D


Sidenote: As knee-pushups are part of my workout now, I am constantly struggling to figure out my hand position again. I've been considering doing a progression from wall push-ups and go lower from there. 


That's how I got over the (mental and physical) barriers to do my first pushup, and for some reason I feel like the knee-pushups might be giving me a wrong hand position habit... 


However, I also feel like that I would not be making the most of my time workout wise :D  Escalated pushups are fairly easy until you finally reach the 45 degrees and I only workout twice a week for now. Maybe I should do an everyday pushup challenge on the side...  (Granted that when I did my first one I was probably 5-10 pounds lighter I think... Maybe even more?)


Probably overthinking it. So scrap maybe. I've got myself a new quest item!



This is the way.





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Level ☆ human [uncategorizable]
STR 2 | DEX 3 | CON 2 | STA 3 | WIS 5 | CHA 5
Current challenge: Athena focuses on the physical | 
Battle log

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21 hours ago, analoggirl said:

Аhhh, I got schooled about that a lot when I could actually do push-ups haha. Thought it was just my lack of balance back then :D


Sidenote: As knee-pushups are part of my workout now, I am constantly struggling to figure out my hand position again. I've been considering doing a progression from wall push-ups and go lower from there. 


That's how I got over the (mental and physical) barriers to do my first pushup, and for some reason I feel like the knee-pushups might be giving me a wrong hand position habit... 


However, I also feel like that I would not be making the most of my time workout wise :D  Escalated pushups are fairly easy until you finally reach the 45 degrees and I only workout twice a week for now. Maybe I should do an everyday pushup challenge on the side...  (Granted that when I did my first one I was probably 5-10 pounds lighter I think... Maybe even more?)


Probably overthinking it. So scrap maybe. I've got myself a new quest item!


How fun! I wish you luck. As always, be careful and make sure you're doing something you can recover from. I've heard that the approach of incline push ups with steady downward decline are a really good way to do the thing.


As for me, I just happen to know that my body treats push ups as a very shoulder/tricep dominant movement rather than working on the chest, and rather than work a bunch of extra stuff in there and keep aggravating my shoulder, I'd rather just learn to use my chest in the movement more.




Day 26, reporting day 25:


1.) 18/25


2.) 18/25


3.) 18/25


4.) 19/25


About as quiet as I figured it'd be. Sci-fi friend pulled out all the stops in terms of cooking and even went out and got good beer from a local outlet which I clearly need to give my patronage. Good man, my friend. We wound up talking and hanging out more than watching TV and as a result we were only able to get one episode in, so we chose to finish The Expanse. Way quieter ending this season, but well-done and heavy on sequel hooks for the next season.


Anyway, not much more to report than that. I've been looking closer at my symptoms as far as my shoulder goes, and I'm not sure I don't have an impingement there. Fortunately, it's way more responsive to interventions like stretching and such than a bursitis would be.


I probably should get to an orthopedist for it, but I'm paranoid enough about co-pays that even if I went, I'm not sure I could afford the treatment. Anyway, I haven't lost range of motion or anything like that, and I've adjusted the training about as much as I can.


Speaking of, I need to figure out who's got keys to the new place as far as the BJJ school goes as there was apparently a need for me to be there Tuesday night of all nights since nobody had a key. So, I'm not sure what I'm doing tonight. I got gi and gear so I'll be ready no matter what, and Q&D seems a certainty. I guess we'll see what shakes out.

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Day 27 reporting on Day 26:


1.) 19/26


2.) 19/26


3.) 19/26


4.) 19/26


So, uh, dunno if you heard, but we got a global pandemic, and it's having its effects on things. We got a reported case here in Wake County last week, I think? I dunno. The news has been moving really fast on this one, and given our overall poor response to this, it's really difficult to know what's what.


Overnight, a bunch of shit just up and cancelled. The tournament I was scheduled for is not happening now; it's unclear when it'll happen or what they're gonna do about it. Going to the grocery store last night, the normally empty store was pretty busy. Nobody's panicking around here and I didn't get a sense of any of the social tensions you might expect from something like this. It felt more like a hurricane - we all got shit to do to get ready, but we all know panicking and treading on each other is a bad way to get anywhere, so we turn up that Southern hospitality and try to accommodate each other.


I followed @sarakingdom's advice as articulated in @Mistr's thread and beelined for my cough medicines of choice. I'm up on acetaminophen and ibuprofen and cough drops, and if the shelves were anything to go on, it looks like I didn't get in a moment too soon. I also picked up about a week's worth of soup - I'm not that worried about getting calories as I'm a disciplined eater, but I suspect I'll be glad of the comfort if I come down with this thing and have to go into quarantine. Also, I'm up on my meds for the next 2 and some change months with delivery planned out at the end of that period and a back up supply of about another 3 month's worth (admittedly, it's not as good, but 80% effective is better than 0% effective).


I've been thinking a lot about the logistics of this situation. Just for me on a personal level and, uh, well. It's crazy how different things are for me now from what they've been. If I was still in the greenhouses like I was 10 years ago, I likely would have been told to stay home. But as a contractor there's no way I could have made that a good choice, you know? Like I would have needed the pay too much to be able to stay home, so regardless of what happened, I would have had to chance going in. And forget quarantine; if I got stuck with that, I wouldn't have had the money for food or rent and I wouldn't have had the benefits to get the Hashimoto's checked and I'd be down with that on top of everything else.


Versus now, where I can take all the steps I listed out to you, and if I had to be pushed on it, I could stay out of work as long as 2 months on paid leave. Which is what it would have to be, given the nature of the work and that I can't work from home.


It's just incredible to me that I've landed so well, and how lucky I am that I did. I don't consider myself to be terribly smarter or more capable than I was back then, although I've got a touch more wily; mostly, I just happened to luck into some relationships that made this possible. I really wish I hadn't had to be lucky.


Anyway, my greatest fears right now are for my dad and for an uncle who I don't talk about much. My dad because he's an old man who has to deal with the public, and my uncle because he's an old man with lung cancer. My mom's up there too, but she's working in a corporate environment and can work from home, so she's relatively isolated.


Then again, this thing is apparently so mild for people in my age group that for all I know, I've had it already and it's come and gone, and maybe the paranoia is for nothing. I'll hope for that. And then go out and buy some more soup.


Training happened! I forgot to mention that. The mats were a little light on people, but we worked on grapples and such anyway; this time was the clock choke on someone in turtle and transitioning that to bow and arrow. Same experience here as with the X-Guard - not as much specific exposure to this stuff as I'd like but with having been exposed to BJJ-style movement for a year and some change now it doesn't feel as alien. Got tapped a bunch afterward, but was a much better obstacle than I was with these people even a few months ago.


Did some kickboxing afterward. It was me, the coach, and a new guy, so we just focused on basic stuff like proper stance and how to move. There were some details I honed in on that I wanted to pick up for the tournament before it cancelled, mostly related to guard and posture; as it is, I'm just going to consider myself as having an extension on training so I can hopefully ingrain it into my patterns more.


Got home and rolled kettlebells for Q&D. 2-Arm Swings don't bother my shoulder when done with proper form, so that's where I'm at with those, and my insight into where to push from has served me well.


Again, tonight's docket is unclear. I think we might get together to roll and I think we might not. I think Skills is going to want to before she has to go back to the coast; there might be more people there than that although it doesn't seem likely. I guess we'll see what happens.

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Day 28, reporting on Day 27:


1.) 20/27


2.) 20/27


3.) 20/27


4.) 19/27


Another day down and another Saturday in the office. It's not clear whether or not I'm going to get to travel to CA or not as the CA friend is asking us all to put a hold on our plans until things get sorted out.


Which would be lame, but it's not like I couldn't use the extra cash anyway. So, might as well get in and get some work done. Besides, probably one of the best things I can do for people in the midst of all this is to get their decisions done and out. People tend to put so much of their lives on hold waiting for us to get done the things we say we'll get done; having something done so that they can be released to act... makes good sense to me.


The Open Mat still happened, and as I figured: Skills was the only one who showed up. And, man, either I was having a good night or she was having a bad night or both because I pretty much just subbed her on command and never in the same way twice. Got her with an Ezekiel, like two different arm bars, an ankle lock, that clock choke I mentioned earlier... yeah. It got to a point where I felt kind of bad for her and let her have a couple so she could feel something working. Afterward, we commiserated over the size of the program and how we wish this was more fully available.


Went home, drilled, shadow boxed. Tried some LAX ball rolling on the area around my shoulder and was surprised to find a dramatic increase in ROM and some reduction in pain. This needs to be pursued further.


Writing's been a little off. I've been distracted by my concerns for my parents. My Dad in particular seems like he'd be at risk right now given his age, cardiovascular history, and the fact that he's working in a grocery store. So I've found myself more drawn to the news than to making things of my own.


Also, apparently I've been doing the MATADOR protocol a little wrong, as apparently high protein is kind of necessary for this to work. Oops. Would explain why I appear to have stalled somewhat. Also, apparently, I wasn't supposed to recalculate maintenance until after having been on original for a couple weeks. So it should have gone Starting Maintenance->30% cut for two weeks->Starting Maintenance for two weeks->Re-calculate, repeat. Again: oops. But no harm done yet so far as I can tell.


So, we're going to adjust. Instead of me trying to fix this in the middle, I'm gonna pop back up to Starting Maintenance and hold that for a month or so. Once that's stabilized, we can start again. I suppose it's not great in terms of getting my shred on for CA, but on the flip side, I don't even know if I'm going there at this point, and it doesn't make sense to me to try to overcommit to cutting, especially given that I think my trying to do so in the past might have caused the thyroiditis to express in the first place.


Steady as it goes. Strength work today, and gonna try to get myself back to doing chores as they need doing. Also, out of soap at home, so I'mma need to go shop for that and I have no idea if it's even gonna be there or not. Man. Can't spell "Pandemic" without "Panic," huh?

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Oh Lord, what strange days. I just got word that we're splitting up our shifts at work to keep minimal staff in the building. One will be from 0600 to 1430 and the other will be from 1430 to 2300 with a third option to work part of that second shift and make up time on Saturday.


That's going to be... irksome. Mostly because it puts me in a position where I'm going to have to choose between social obligations and training obligations. I kind of feel like in that scenario, the social stuff wins out (which it's probably going to anyway because lots of mat spaces are closing up). The catch is, in order for me to keep up with my social stuff, I'll have to cut enough time that realistically, I have to take an eight-hour day on Saturday to get to 40 for the week, which effectively cancels my OT.


Objectively, this isn't a bad thing; good and bad don't really enter into it. It's not as optimal as I'd like it to be, mostly because of social stuff, but I can work with and around the circumstances and I'm honestly not that worried; further, just because it's not optimal for what I want doesn't mean it's not optimal for other things that I kind of need to get on top of anyway. Subjectively, however, everyone in my unit's been complaining about it all day and it's invading my headspace pretty hard. This is compounded by my accepting that my training is impacting my ability to heal my shoulder proper and I'm going to have to up-end a lot of planned things in order to get a desired outcome.


So, roll with it.


I've decided to outsource my training a bit and go on GMB's Elements program. The reason for this is that training for strength hasn't been as high percentage for what I wanted as has been training for movement, and of all the programs I've seen, they're one of two groups that puts out content with the idea of making me directly better at the things I want to do. (the other is StrongFirst, FYI). I thought that with my shoulder being where it is right now that it would be more constructive for me to engage with the bare basics and try to dig into raw movement as opposed to trying to build strength.


This of course throws my dietary stuff a bit, because MATADOR assumes a strength-training regimen, so absent the one, I'm cut off from the other. I'll have to re-develop that in a bit, although I'll be doing this in 2-week intervals now per GMB's recs on the matter, so it's not exactly urgent or anything.


The hardest thing about the shift in training is trying to figure out how to keep drilling. Fortunately, GMB's super-efficient and plugs rather well into the training schedule alongside Q&D, but a side effect of this efficiency is that there's not a lot of room for drilling per se. It's something to think about, but since all the mat spaces appear to be closing down to help flatten the curve, I suppose I'll have plenty of time.


Anyway, as you can imagine, kind of feels like everything's up-ended right now. Not sure how to quantify all of it in challenge terms, but honestly? If that's the worst thing I have to deal with, I'm probably in good shape.

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Day 31:


Boy, logging the days like that kinda makes it feel apocalyptic, dunnit?


Anyway, gaming was off last night. I offered to show up but only two players committed with two others being incommunicado and two more working to limit their exposure, one because they're part of the at-risk population due to obesity and the other because she's a vector to a compromised person.


In other news, everything is cancelled. OT is cancelled for administrative reasons rather than logistical ones on my end, which is a relief. MMA is cancelled after the guidance came down from on high that gatherings of 10+ people were to be avoided. Absent these training opportunities, I have been left to fend for myself, and this in the context of those work schedule changes that I mentioned.


And how am I doing?


Well, honestly, not that bad.


Make no mistake - if I were extroverted, this whole thing would be driving me up the walls, but I'm more of an introvert with ambivert capacities, so being solitary doesn't really bother me. Diet's been quite on point the past couple days, because one of the quirks of going mostly vegan is that you can buy most of your carbs and proteins in bulk, so I haven't had to raid the stores for really the past few days. (although I'mma have to do that after work tonight as I'm out of some spices and also I need to pick up some cleaning supplies if they're available, so we'll see how that plays out).


As far as training goes, Elements has been living up to its reputation. GMB says that it's common for people to say "I hurt in places I didn't know I could!" and, well, that's happening for me too. It's honestly kind of fascinating to see some of my movement deficits laid bare for me to see, and humbling to see how challenging some of this stuff is. I just hit up the Frogger practice today for the first time and just holding that "Floating Table" position in the first place is actually really hard for me.


Speaking more broadly, the other challenge is how to keep up with my shadow drills. I've been experimenting with how to mix and match that stuff for the past couple days, and I think that the most constructive build right now involves keeping Elements and Shadows (ooh, love that name, keeping it!) as two separate practices from each other. That's rather easily done right now with work and life being the way it is, but the larger hurdle is going to be in terms of how to structure the Shadow work. The reason for this is that "Shadows" is a catch all not just for boxing and rolling, but also for individual drills (ie shrimping, bridging, breakfalling, technical stand ups, etc). I was cheating at first by using Shadows as a kind of active recovery between work circuits prior, but the practice has shifted pretty dramatically since then. I can still do that now with Q&D, but Elements is set up in such a way that there's no real rest period, and I like how brief the training is enough that I don't want to throw Shadows on top afterward to make it longer.


I suspect what I will wind up doing is doing boxing and rolling on weeknights, just because that works out to being a shorter practice, and longer drill sessions on weekend nights. It's not exactly a perfect answer, because the current shift situation isn't going to last, and when things get back to normal that neat split in my day that my shift represents isn't going to be a thing anymore. Additionally, Elements has certain... parts that are going to make it go a bit longer as the program goes on.


But then again, that might just be a bridge to cross when I get there. Getting used to flowing with circumstances is good practice for the next challenge as the next Ring is the Ring of Water.


Anyway, at work now. Did Elements earlier and will do Shadows when I get back tonight. I'll probably finally get my writing caught up as I'm due to compile all my notes and... yeah. That'll be that.


Y'all be excellent to yourselves and each other now. We got this.

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So! Grocery stores cut hours for completely understandable and relatable reasons, and I wasn't able to get out in time last night to do the shopping I wanted/needed to do. Bah. Still, all I was looking for was some fingers of turmeric; I'm still quite up on my staples for now and there's no indication that keeping those up is going to be a problem.


I walked down to the local grocery this morning, and was able to get my turmeric. Cleaning supplies, OTOH, are completely tapped out. Boooo. Still, I'm relatively well-situated as far as that goes. Not burning through as much clothing as I was, so detergent's not likely to be an issue. The only problem right now is I don't have dish soap and I have to wash everything by hand; I've taken to using Dr. Bronner's for that as that shit works on everything but it makes my skin feel weird (not bad, just weird) and I'm worried about my callouses after all. The other thing I've had to get used to is that it's not an antibacterial, so I've had to make disinfecting my sponge in the microwave a part of my SOPs in the kitchen. Fortunately, that actually seems to work better than what I was doing before, so maybe this works out to being a net blessing in the end.


Did my Shadow work last night. Didn't get the writing done. Shame on me.


This morning, got up and checked on folks. Mom and dad are fine. Brother's fine. Dad and brother are still working in grocery and warehouse environments. Not happy about that, but they gotta do what they gotta do. Checked on my teaching blue belt - I didn't mention it here but he was apparently exposed to someone who had symptoms and couldn't get tested - and he says he's fine so far. He decided to open his house up for rolling, and most of us didn't take up for it except for one dumb white belt (whom I call Sparkles because his BJJ is pretty but he also has no focus and doesn't drill worth a crap and is always trying to learn techniques off of YouTube) who thinks he's gonna get an edge on us and (no joke) actually wants to catch the Coronavirus because he drives for Uber as his day job and he wants to get the 14 days compensation.


It's frustrating, but it's mostly for personal reasons. The teaching blue was really upfront with us about what was going on and I respect the hell out of him for it. I just feel like this is going to complicate things going forward. The Dojo that we train out of is officially closed, and I'm not aware of any open Academies right now either, but if Coach elects to hold class somewhere, he's basically going to have to cut us up between exposed and non-exposed people, and frankly we have no way of knowing who's carrying and who isn't right now. Not to mention that if Sparkles catches wind, he'll just show up anyway because, as I said, he's a dumb person.


Like to give you an idea, he posted about rolling with the Blue (I call him Singularity because he feels like a gravity well and is also a scientist) on Facebook and then tried to invite people out to roll.


Just... complications. Lawd almighty.


Anyway. I did make time for Week 1 Day 4 of Elements. My Monkey feels pretty good, but I'm definitely running up against some calf tightness and general ankle mobility deficits, so those will need to be confronted over these next eight weeks or so. Shoulder's feeling markedly better than it was, although I'm still going to give this the full eight weeks to see what's up.


Tonight is still the Wednesday sci fi gathering. Part of me's a little leery, but they're extrovert friends and they need to be cared for. Also, they're doing homemade pho, and that's just not something you turn down. Like in life. Probably no Shadow work as such tonight.

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Wednesday done! Pho was good. Ended up stopping by one of the Asian markets for beer and was both pleased and frustrated to find that they're incredibly well-stocked. Good for me, but not good in that it represents some ugly racist undercurrents in terms of the flow of capital right now, at least locally.


Still, they had Tsingtao, which isn't Vietnamese but pairs well as a light lager. I recommend it, especially as you're likely to find it in places that could probably stand to get some patronage right now.


Beyond that, we managed a couple episodes of Picard. We wound up one episode short as the platform that we're using to watch it was undergoing some kind of update and we ended up having to cut things short. Phaw. We're so close. I suspect that, given one friend's affinity for Abridged series, we're probably gonna wind up watching DBZ Abridged as our next series, and I'm okay with this.


Today, more laying low. I decided to do Q&D early today, as it's power work and I wanted to stave off the tonic effect of exercise so I'd be able to get down a little earlier to sleep tonight. I wound up rolling the "speed" version, which means lighter weight and "faster" swings, which generally means an overspeed eccentric of some kind. Shoulder was mostly okay with this, or at least wasn't less okay than it's been. I'll take that as a win. I was able to work Shadows in as well, as it's a good way to stay warm without exhausting myself and also keeping up with skill work.


Tonight will be Elements, and my first real opportunity to put everything together. I'm kind of excited, not just because the training seems to be beginning a little in earnest, but also because Elements integrates with additional programs I've bought from GMB, and one of those is the Focused Flexibility. So I get some nice custom stretches to go along with the general stretches I'm doing right now. That honestly seems better to me than the last time I was involved with a semi-gymnastic type of movement-based program; Gymnastic Bodies had a lot of cool stuff but tended to treat people like they were gymnasts first and whatever else they were trying to be second. I didn't appreciate the limitations of that approach for a long time. Having this approach now where the programs are explicitly about making me better at the things I want to do is... well, it's really nice. I haven't had to carry the weight of my own programming for a week and I already feel loads better mentally.


I suspect that's probably very important right now. That or I'm building a parasocial relationship wherein I fool myself into thinking that these people care about me on a personal level rather than them having developed a product that's uniquely built to customize around my needs. But either way, it's helpful right now. No complaints on my end of things.


Hope it's good where y'all are! And if it ain't, let me know, and I'll see what I can do to support you.

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God I feel scatterbrained today. Not particularly distressed or anything, I've not got any bad news, but focus is kind of hard today.


Personally, I'mma chalk it up to a subpar night's sleep as the heat's come in for us down here and our landlord insists on controlling the thermostat, so it was a relatively warm night and I got down kind of late relatively speaking. Used to be we could hack our way around it but he's set up one of those "Smart Systems" now that's kind of resistant to the way we used to do it. Although, OTOH, if it's a smart system, he should be able to just adjust it from his phone, so it's not like if we ask him it's a terrible inconvenience for him. (OTOOH, we shouldn't have to ask).


Elements happened last night and went well! Movements happened, stretches happened, nothing felt awful. Late dinner afterward.


Got to the grocery today and it looks like things are starting stabilize a little. Certain parts of the store that have been out of food are starting to fill back up again and certain cleaning supplies are becoming available again. So that was good news.


Today's training is supposed to be just stretching and active recovery, so nothing in particular and no real plan for tomorrow either. I kind of feel like I need to get on over to see an orthopedist for my shoulder, though. Just to get it checked and make sure I'm not exacerbating things or anything like that.

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