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Kishi Writes The Next Chapter


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Happy New Year, y'all! Wishing you and yours peace and prosperity in the coming year.

 

For those of you who are new to the Monastery, hi! I'm Kishi, your humble GL. Glad you decided to stop on by. :) I'm a martial artist with ~13 years of harder contact practice: mostly striking via karate as done in a K1-kickboxing style with some relatively recent forays into standing and ground-based grappling, as well as Dutch-style kickboxing. I've tried a bunch of different training modes and methods, most recently landing on a mix of calisthenics and kettlebell work because, hey! We're in the middle of a pandemic! Staying away from people is kind of my jam these days, inasmuch as I can (especially since I caught the thing the last challenge. Don't worry, I was lucky; I came through it fine and I was incredibly well-cared for).

 

Since my life is pretty great and I'm not big on challenges and novelty for their own sake, I've taken to focusing on just one thing, because I find that earnest focus on one thing has a ripple effect, both as you work to accommodate it and as it in turn changes you. Last challenge was about getting rest, which meant managing time and productive output, and this was very good.

 

My one thing for this challenge, then, is going to be my writing.

 

The situation right now is as follows: I work an office job that isn't letting me work from home for a whole host of bad reasons that I have no power to do anything about. This presents many problems and inconveniences, not the least of which is that I have a novel that I'm honestly pretty obsessed with. I've done a lot in terms of documenting its structure and planning it out in a way that works for me, but one of the downsides then is that I'm reliant on these documents to actually get the job done. I can't access them at work, and I've been using that as an excuse to not write.

 

But, just because it's been that way, that doesn't mean it has to keep being that way.

 

So, what is the one thing I'm going to change?

 

Well, the thing that's been holding me back the most from writing is lack of access to my documents. But in truth, there's nothing saying that I can't just transcribe the relevant bits onto notecards or something and then carry them with me so that I know where I am.

 

The goal, then, is to return to a daily writing habit. One page per day. I'll be going out tonight to pick up some note cards and jot down the relevant bits I need for tomorrow.

 

And, uh, I guess we'll see what happens.

 

Day 1 of this challenge, in the meantime, is already marked by some complications. I went to do New Year's Eve at my sci-fi friend's house, where I normally go on Tuesday nights. His wife had a head cold out of nowhere, and she got back to me on Saturday saying she tested positive for COVID. This is a whole can of worms. Maybe she had it and maybe she didn't since she apparently took a home test and my understanding is that they're prone to false positives in the event of a regular head cold. CDC guidelines say I need to quarantine for 5 days and then get tested, but the language has recently been adjusted so that if I "can't quarantine," that I can continue to go to work and just be really strict with wearing my mask. Either way, I'm going to have to bring it up with the boss and see what she says; my pessimistic streak is telling me that she'll want me to come to work, so I'll be free to work but not to engage in recreation like I wish and that just sucks. :(

 

But tomorrow is sufficient for its own troubles. I still have work to do today; I'll update again when I get it done.

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2 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

What's the opposite of having your cake and eating it too?

 

Mmm. Cake.

 

*

 

GOAL: 1/1

 

So far so good. I got down to the store and picked up a little notebook, because they didn't have notecards and I'm not too committed to one versus the other. Whatever gives me the ability to carry my plans with me.

 

Training today was relatively low-key. Just the handstand part of my handstand/TGUs combo. I've found lately that it's better to split that up, just because neither one of them takes long on their own but together, they can take a while, and I don't necessarily have the time for both when everything's going like it should. Today, I definitely had the time for both, but I lacked the gumption; I just wound up vegging out on webcomics and leftist theory vids on YouTube. I still took the time for handstands, and even gave them a little more time since I feel like I want more time for practice.

 

Otherwise, though, I'm just rushing to get dinner done so I can get to bed. Not too worried about being up early to train; I can train in the evening tomorrow and it won't be any trouble. But, I fought really hard to get my sleep under control. I'd certainly hate to lose it just because life's weird ATM.

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GOAL: 2/2

 

Today was interesting! We had a rainstorm last night and my office flooded. I'm going to be working from home for the rest of the week. So much for the quarantine talk.

 

It also means that getting after the writing goal was relatively easy. All my material is right here, and I don't need to worry about any of it.

 

Training today was good. For those just tuning in, I've been doing the Primal Blueprint Fitness e-book routine, which is basically 2 circuits of a push up variant, a pull up variant, a squat variant, and a plank variant. Of course, that got boring fast, so I've tweaked it some - I consider the template to be about patterns of movement more than anything else, so I do a push, a pull, a leg, and a core of some kind. So I alternate push ups and dips, pull ups and rows, and planks with leg raises. The squat variants I keep the same, although part of me does wonder if I might be better served alternating between squat variants and lunge variants, now that I'm writing it out. I finish the session regardless with some static holds - bridge variant, L-sit variant, and twist variant. Keeps me loose and pain-free with a surprisingly little amount of effort.

 

Today was remarkable for recovering to knee push ups. I'd originally been doing them before but I stalled, so I thought if I packed up a step and got to high reps on a lower variation that it would help. It did not! I've lost a ton of progress there, but that's okay. It's a learning experience more than anything else.

 

Anyway, off to fix some dinner and get to bed.

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27 minutes ago, Kishi said:

Today was interesting! We had a rainstorm last night and my office flooded. I'm going to be working from home for the rest of the week. So much for the quarantine talk.

 

You didn't purchase a weather control device recently did you?

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On 1/4/2022 at 5:05 AM, Kishi said:

Today was remarkable for recovering to knee push ups. I'd originally been doing them before but I stalled, so I thought if I packed up a step and got to high reps on a lower variation that it would help. It did not! I've lost a ton of progress there, but that's okay. It's a learning experience more than anything else.

Oh this makes me curious! Which lower variation did you try?

 

Also I am happy for you that the weather gifs decided to interfere :D 

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22 hours ago, Mistr said:

Clearly the universe is supporting you in achieving your goals this week. :D

 

Lady, I tell ya, I'll take all the help I can get.

 

5 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Oh this makes me curious! Which lower variation did you try?

 

So the version I tried was called a "Box Push Up." It's like a knee push up except the knees are under your hips as opposed to being extended out behind.

 

 

I wouldn't mimic the part here where they let their elbows flare out, but it's as good a demonstration as any, and hopefully makes the distinction clear.

 

But yeah, I've had weekly deloads before where I would just take a break on a move and come back stronger the following week; I think what happened here was I just overdosed on a particular kind of movement medicine. Oops. But I survived!

 

5 hours ago, KB Girl said:

Also I am happy for you that the weather gifs decided to interfere :D 

 

Yeah, for sure! Like I said, I'll take all the help I can get.

 

*

 

GOAL: 3/3

 

And another day down.

 

I've been watching myself like a hawk and yesterday, it finally started to seem like I was going to have some trouble with COVID again. Nose started running like a leaky faucet, just like what happened last time. Unlike last time, though, I came prepared.

 

Traded out the usual off-day shenanigans for some yoga for head colds. It was really good and I felt a lot better. Once that was done, I did my writing, chilled out, hit some Nyquil, and went to bed.

 

Today has been markedly better. Now I just have sinus congestion. I'll be hitting it again with some yoga and Nyquil and I'm optimistic that this thing will be nipped in the bud.

 

I call it "this thing" because I don't actually know if it's COVID or not. Everybody's booked up for testing, and I was silly and thought I'd be able to just walk in, because that's how it went last time. Since I don't actually know whether this is COVID or not, I'm going to pretend like it is and hold to the new CDC guidelines (😒) until day 10, so no going out unless I absolutely have to.

 

But, uh, yeah, this stint with yoga kind of reminds me of the restorative benefits I get from it, and I'm wondering if it might not be a bad idea to do that on my off days as opposed to burpees. Because, I mean, do I really need those? They're just a sub for fight cardio, and it's honestly kind of overrated given that I'm already doing work for that kind of thing. Besides, there is free yoga available specifically for the stuff I do, so, why not take advantage of it?

 

But, get there when I do. Right now, just focusing on the recovery protocol.

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9 hours ago, ReturnOfTheDad said:

Hope you feel better soon!

 

Thank you! I think I'm just about there. :)

 

*

 

GOAL: 4/4

 

Yesterday was another good day. I got my writing done late in the day, because it's a habit in the rebuilding and those pathways have a lot of overgrowth to chop through. Good news is that it's just the start that's hard; once I'm going, I'm going, and I'm done quick, just like I figured I'd be.

 

As to sickness and training, I did more yoga yesterday. It was of limited use in the moment, but I'm pleased to report I woke up this morning with a lot less sinus congestion, and that's been improving over the course of the day. For reference, this is the protocol I'm using. Today will be relatively light; just some TGUs and that's it, because I'm at day 3 of the protocol. Assuming I don't regress, tomorrow I'll hit my PBF riff, and then take a rest day the following day. If everything goes according to plan, I should be good to resume training.

 

Once again, I am reminded of the restorative power of yoga and its use for a martial artist. I think that I will make a more concerted effort to work this on rest days as opposed to doing crazy conditioning stuff.

 

Although, with that being said, I'm kind of considering working this protocol in place of my snatches some Wednesdays, because it does involve burpees, but done in the Q&D style. Why this variety? Because I'm being cautious with my weights and I'm staying at 8 kg for a long time and as disciplined as I've been, I'm kind of getting bored. (The reason I've been staying at 8 kg for so long is because I'm trying to honor Pavel's maxim that "If you can't do it slow, you can't do it fast." My TGUs are mostly at 8 kg right now with the exception of one set at 12, and I'm using that as my guideline for ballistic work. Meaning I'm not cleared for the thrills and chills of heavier weight yet).

 

Of course, if I really, really wanna be interesting, I could just return to the normal Q&D protocol and roll dice for swings and push ups vs snatches. Or, or, here's an idea, why not roll for all three and see what shakes out? (insert maniacal cackle)

 

Aah, how privileged I am.

 

Anyway, caffeine's kicking in so I better get to lifting while the getting's good.

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54 minutes ago, Mistr said:

I'm glad you are feeling better and being cautious about what you do.

 

Which yoga are you doing?

 

Pretty much whatever the YouTube algorithm feeds me if I input "yoga for head colds" or "yoga for sinus congestion" or "yoga for MMA." So the past couple times have been Yoga with Adriene and Chaz Rough, which came up in response to the first two queries respectively. I find that, doing this, it's better to be as specific as possible; "yoga for sinus relief" turned up some of the same stuff but it didn't feel right to me to use because I had a very specific issue I was trying to address.

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GOAL: 5/5

 

Man, I keep myself in suspense. I wasn't sure if I was going to do the writing or not. I had no real reason beyond lassitude and being sucked into webcomics and consumptive patterns again. But I did do it. I think the pattern's rebuilding; it's getting to the point where I'm uncomfortable if I don't do it. That discomfort is what I wanted, so, I'll take it.

 

I'm pleased to report today that there's been no regression in my symptoms. TGUs went up fine yesterday. Sinuses today are acting weird, but it's the normal weird rather than something else. They clear up when I drink water, so I'm going to take that as clearance to enter Day 4 of the recovery protocol. As far as PBF goes, I've decided 1) to use KB swings as a strength movement a la Bret Contreras, 2) to work reverse lunges in as a kind of opposite to the pistol progressions I'm working (because that's what PBF wants you to shoot for in the end [it makes sense as an opposite because one variant has the off leg forward and the other variant has the off leg back {it's like poetry, it rhymes}]), and 3) to work oblique raises alongside the leg raises, in keeping with the theme of a dynamic movement to contrast with a static movement in planks/side planks.

 

Feels like it reads like a lot, but what I'd say is that it stays within the limits of what Sisson prescribes; even as much as he's tweaked his recs on such things, he's remained insistent that strength sessions should run 10-30 minutes at most. I've timed myself on this and I'm pleased to report I'm always below 30 minutes, and everything seems to feed into everything else. So. As long as that's the case, no reason not to comport myself this way.

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On 1/7/2022 at 12:00 PM, Kishi said:

strength sessions should run 10-30 minutes at most. I've timed myself on this and I'm pleased to report I'm always below 30 minutes, and everything seems to feed into everything else. 

 

This is the meaningful change I've made too that is in keeping with my philosophy of What Can I Do Every Day or What's The Least I Can Get Away With That'll Keep Me Progressing towards my goals. Sometimes more is not necessarily more 😉 and I really dig that. 

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8 hours ago, Rurik Harrgath said:

 

This is the meaningful change I've made too that is in keeping with my philosophy of What Can I Do Every Day or What's The Least I Can Get Away With That'll Keep Me Progressing towards my goals. Sometimes more is not necessarily more 😉 and I really dig that. 

 

Right. Or to put it another way, "More is not always better. Sometimes, it's just more."

 

*

 

GOAL: 6/6

 

Did the thing again! Yaaaay, go me.

 

Hit up my training yesterday and got everything done in 20 minutes. That's about how long it's been taking me to get this stuff done in general, and I'm actually really glad to see that even with my tweaks and everything that I haven't really gone over in time or anything like that. The only thing that seems to push me over is my chest corrective work. Generally, what this has meant is tacking the correctives onto something else like my handstand work or my TGU work, but I'm gonna level with you: that's still being ironed out some.

 

The writing work yesterday involved me catching up to my outline and having to outline a little bit more. I like that approach; feels like it breaks the project up into manageable pieces rather than this long slog and it makes the wins easier to come by. One thing that I really like as I go is I'm finding bloat in my structure and I'm finding ways to excise it that serve the story. Admittedly, I don't think I'm going to get a draft I'm satisfied with, but to my understanding, writers never do. :P

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GOAL: 6/7

 

Yesterday was a rest day per the protocol. And so I rested. And when I thought about writing, I realized I wanted to rest more. So I did. It's not exactly compliance with the goal, but it feels better to have been intentional with it rather than just working myself into the ground and then having problems after.

 

Today's a new day, though, and I feel good and recharged for taking the rest. I'm also pleased to report that I haven't had a relapse in symptoms, so whatever it was a few days ago is probably dealt with. I still have to continue quarantine through today and tomorrow (although it's presently a very soft quarantine and nothing like the isolation I had to go through when the thing got me), so no mat time for me, but all things considered, I actually think the time's been good for me. Very instructive, or else I'm just especially receptive right now.

 

Rolled dice for the week, and I got three handstand/TGU days. I'll scramble to take what I can get and, uh, we'll carry on.

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GOAL: 7/8

 

Whaaaat, two updates in a day?

 

What can I say? I'm living on the edge, baby.

 

Today was notable in my writing because I wrote myself into a corner that one of my characters caught, and then instead of quitting, I walked away and thought for a while and found a way to write myself out. That's a significant step for me; it's not that I go looking for excuses to quit the draft process so much as I get into a corner and I don't like it and I think I can do better. To have hit a point like that and then having reframed it in my mind and finding a way through that sticking point that lets me honor and acknowledge the stuff I think would make it better? That's a big deal to me.

 

Oh, and I did handstand stuff and TGU stuff today too and it was dope.

 

Got a bit of a quandary this week. My brother's graduating from Army boot next week, and unfortunately there's been an outbreak of COVID at the base. So they're not letting anyone in for the graduation what ain't got a negative COVID test. I was able to get a test scheduled on Sunday which should get me my results back in time to know whether or not I can go on base and participate. But the thing is, between here and there is a week of potential mat time, and I've spent a long time off after going into quarantine following my exposure on New Year's Eve. I kind of want to get out there, and I also kind of want to stay off and avoid people so that I don't risk my ability to participate.

 

Of course, the responsible thing to do is talk to the academy and let them know I haven't had a negative test yet. It could be a violation of their protocols for me to come on without a negative test, and I wouldn't want to be a liability, or worse make people sick.

 

I suppose we'll see what shakes out of all that.

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GOAL: 8/9

 

Quick one since the day was relatively quiet. Looks like I'm working from home until Wednesday due to last minute cleaning, so I'll only be in the office a couple days this week. Makes the writing too easy, which I think is why I'm waiting so long to get it done. :D

 

Training was good today. Reps are up across the board and consistently so, which makes me think that I'm on the right path here looking at the problem in terms of patterns rather than specific lifts.

 

Gone pretty far into vegan/flexitarian dietary patterns lately; mostly, I just eat vegan when I'm on my own and eat meat when I'm with people who cook it so as not to make a fuss. It works for me. Found this really neat marinade for tempeh which makes it sweet and spicy; I just adjusted to using a brown sugar substitute that I'm lucky enough to have on sale at the grocery. I layer the tempeh on top of the collards and add some guac to it and it's a damn fine meal, if I do say so myself.

 

Also kind of inclines me to see what other kinds of marinades I can do. I'm eating at cut levels for now, but I'm not always going to want to, and it'd be good to play around and see what else I like.

 

Otherwise, not really a whole lot to report. Down to bed. 'Night everyone! 🙋‍♂️

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GOAL: 8/10

 

Welp, that tendency to let my writing wait 'til the end of the day caught up to me. I went to hang with my sci-fi friend and I was plied with good drink, and while I definitely made sure not to drink enough to be impaired driving back, I was definitely not in a mood to write. This could reasonably be criticized as either a lack of discipline or else as missing a golden opportunity; after all, Hemingway famously said "Write drunk, edit sober." Hemingway, however, was a day drinker, and I submit that's a fairly different context for writing. :P

 

I kind of feel like I'm going to need to make a dump post at some point on all the media I've been consuming lately, just because I Have Thoughts and I crave the experience of writing them down. No time for it right ATM, but maybe later today or some time this weekend.

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I am glad you are feeling better and having fun with your writing!

 

On 1/9/2022 at 11:46 PM, Kishi said:

Got a bit of a quandary this week. My brother's graduating from Army boot next week, and unfortunately there's been an outbreak of COVID at the base. So they're not letting anyone in for the graduation what ain't got a negative COVID test. I was able to get a test scheduled on Sunday which should get me my results back in time to know whether or not I can go on base and participate. But the thing is, between here and there is a week of potential mat time, and I've spent a long time off after going into quarantine following my exposure on New Year's Eve. I kind of want to get out there, and I also kind of want to stay off and avoid people so that I don't risk my ability to participate.

 

The story of our times. I skipped practice for a week each time before I went to visit my mom. I just did not want to risk catching something and exposing her, even if I had a negative test result a couple days earlier. I haven't been to the dojo for aikido since before Christmas between me catching a cold and classes being cancelled because of the Covid numbers spiking in our area. :( 

 

It's frustrating. I can't remember when we all had to do so much risk/benefit analysis about our daily activities.

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Great job keeping up with your writing. I hope you get to go to the graduation ceremony!

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“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” John Steinbeck

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On 1/12/2022 at 6:31 PM, Mistr said:

The story of our times. I skipped practice for a week each time before I went to visit my mom. I just did not want to risk catching something and exposing her, even if I had a negative test result a couple days earlier. I haven't been to the dojo for aikido since before Christmas between me catching a cold and classes being cancelled because of the Covid numbers spiking in our area. :( 

 

It's frustrating. I can't remember when we all had to do so much risk/benefit analysis about our daily activities.

 

Yeah. I think we're very fortunate around here; my county apparently has ~74% fully vaccinated, with a lot of our surrounding counties doing mostly the same. So, since we seem to have scientifically-induced herd immunity, it's a bit safer to do things around here. I'm still needing to get boosted to take my place on the line for people, and I do see more unmasked people than I care to, but on the whole I'd say I'm actually pretty lucky, and grateful for being where I am. My plan, once I get back, is to get lined up for the booster, although I might just ask for it when I'm in line getting tested Sunday. "Hey, um, you got any of that Moderna booster you're looking to offload?"

 

On 1/13/2022 at 10:40 PM, Novaurora said:

Great job keeping up with your writing. I hope you get to go to the graduation ceremony!

 

Me too! There may be shenanigans afoot about that.

 

*

 

GOAL: 10/12

 

Life has not been bad the past couple days.

 

Got in touch with the academy on Wednesday and they indicated that they felt safe with me coming on. So I did. Had a good time. Went to kickboxing, which was good in that I finally got some critique on what I was doing, which I have missed. Grappling afterward was a no-gi class, so just a rashguard, shorts, and spats. The game's a lot simpler when you don't have a gi to grab on to, but because it's simpler, it's also faster, because there's just not as much to do. I was rusty and got my butt kicked a bunch, but I also managed to get the better of a guy, which is only the second time that's really happened for me in no-gi

 

Came back home and decided to time myself as if I'd be going to the office the next day. Got close, but missed my downtime by a while. I think I probably need to dedicate some time to batch-cooking some veggies, which I'm using for electrolytes because of the whole doing Keto thing.

 

Speaking of the doing Keto thing, I've decided I need to give up on soy stuff. I might like it, but it don't like me. Been getting a lot of bloat in my stomach area and sinus issues, even with tempeh, which is purportedly a non-problematic food due to the fungus that it's prepared with. So, I guess it's back to protein shakes for the majority of my protein. That'll be okay, I reckon.

 

I referenced some shenanigans, so I should explain: I live in NC, and we don't do winter weather very well. We've been informed that there's some winter weather coming our way on Sunday, which is the same day that I'm slated to get tested. I dunno what's gonna happen with that. They might decide to push the test back, which I can't afford for them to do since I need a negative result to get on base. (Of course, then again, I might get tested and it come back positive, in which case, what am I worried about?)

 

The other shenanigans have to do with work. New orders came down from the governor so that public institutions (I work for the government) can decide for themselves whether or not they want people staffing their buildings or not. So our director decided that we could all work from home, so I'm working from home again up until 2/1. At which point, it's assumed we'll be back to our prior arrangements. To that I say, "Yeah, we'll see."

 

So, yeah. Lots of being buffeted by the winds of fortune. I'm rather sanguine about it myself, although I'm still needing to figure some stuff out as far as training goes. Turns out that handstands and TGUs actually like some distance from each other, which means I may just decide to alternate them from each other. It'll slow them both down, but I honestly don't know that I care all that much. They're both stands, after all, it's just that one's on my hands and the other's on my feet. I reckon this'll be how I do going forward, which I can't honestly say that I mind.

 

Otherwise... yeah. We move forward.

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On 1/15/2022 at 1:13 AM, Kishi said:

I referenced some shenanigans, so I should explain: I live in NC, and we don't do winter weather very well. We've been informed that there's some winter weather coming our way on Sunday, which is the same day that I'm slated to get tested. I dunno what's gonna happen with that. They might decide to push the test back, which I can't afford for them to do since I need a negative result to get on base. (Of course, then again, I might get tested and it come back positive, in which case, what am I worried about?)

Ha, I live in coastal NC, and at the slightest sniff of weather all of Wilmington just shuts down.  Thankfully its just rain right now, but we will see.  Hopefully you get your test and the weather isn't horrible where you're at!!!! 

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“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” John Steinbeck

“Do I dare disturb the universe?” – T.S. Eliot

“You wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down.” – Toni Morrison

"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time given to us" JRR Tolkien

 

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Current Challenge: Nova Levels Up (and maybe doesn't abandon a challenge...)

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