Jump to content

Kishi Meditates For Realsies This Time


Recommended Posts

Goal: 1/2

 

The name of the challenge gives away the whole thing, really.

 

Basically, I've hit a point where I like myself more the more I meditate. I'm successfully carving out space for myself to make it happen - only 4 minutes at a time so far, but it helps. I want to stick to that amount for the rest of the challenge. As I've observed, small changes applied consistently without flash or fanfare create some truly substantive results.

 

Also, between it being the end of the year and my own theological leanings, it just feels right.

 

Beyond that, right now I'm just solving a bunch of optimization problems, mostly having to do with joint health and actively working to feel better. The writing's doing well; I've found myself adding organically to my cast of characters as I've needed to without having to bend or break the existing ones to Make The Plot Happen. That's something I wasn't sure I believed in myself enough to do but I'm really happy it's happening.

 

One other thing is that I'm doing more to take care of my place these days - regular vacuuming and cleaning of even some spaces is actually really good for me, and it helps me feel accomplished in a way that doing my job does not. I've also been kind of crafty lately in that I made a cloth mallet out of a cast off chair leg and some scrapped sweat pants. A cloth mallet is a conditioning tool for the Iron Shirt stuff that I asked my brother about and finally getting that made was good. Also, I've finally learned how to step away from the job to go for short walks over the course of the day, including getting my errands done early, so when I get to the end of the day, I don't have all this extra stuff to do to get in my way for getting down early.

 

I'm not saying that the meditation is doing all of that, because I don't think it is, but it's taking place in the context of all this extra stuff I'm doing right now and it's... helpful, I think.

 

But, yeah, that's things for now. Happy to round out the year with y'all.

  • Like 7
Link to comment

Goal: 2/3

 

So far, so good. Got the chance to actually cook something for my friends last night as our normal cook needed a break. Busted out the instant pot and made some shredded chicken for tacos. Came out a lot better than I thought it would, since I went to buy frozen chicken breast and it didn't finish thawing before I started cooking. Bit of a whoopsie doodle there, but it did work, and now I have another recipe for protein to go with my usual Spiced Beans And Stuff that I make for dinner. I'm not sure if I'll sub in thigh meat in later iterations or not. Really depends on how my blood numbers move at this point, but I could stand to get some more variety in there. Thankfully, those are stable enough for the moment - could be better, could be worse.

 

Not much else to report. Knee stuff is going fine, although I'm realizing that I may need to adjust my dosage a bit. Mr. Toes, to his credit, treats the knees as a part of a system of joints, and further to his credit he believes in approaching them from the ground up. Literally. Start with ankles and calves and go on up from there. He presents his program as a kind of multi-step series of exercises which all ultimately combine to bulletproof the knees over a long period of time, and crucially, you don't need all of his exercises to experience benefits. Which is something he himself recommends, and I've experienced for myself. Back when I was working on my shoulder this past year, I came across some of his mobility recommendations which weren't a good fit for me at the time, and it caused me to dismiss him. After some time and some healing, I came back and tried it again, and found it quite suitable.

 

Which means I don't have to do everything all at once. I can scale it back and take benefit, and come back later as I need to. If I even need to.

 

That's cool to realize. :)

  • Like 6
Link to comment

Here to follow! 

  • Thanks 1

Past Challenges: #1, #2#3#4#5#6#7#8#9#10#11#12#13#14#15#16

Current Challenge: #17

 

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Link to comment
20 hours ago, Mistr said:

I like your challenge goals. Doing a set of small things to make your life better can make a huge difference.

 

Right! Because it's not just the one thing, it's the one thing interacting with all the other things, and everything changes.

 

17 hours ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

Such an important thing for me to learn in many contexts.

 

Me too. I'm still learning.

 

*

 

Goal: 3/4

 

As vaguely alluded to in my response to @Tanktimus the Encourager, I overdid it a little on my shoulder exercises yesterday. Mr. Toes has some shoulder thoughts, like I said, and I've applied one of his drills with great effect - a seated dumbbell rotator cuff raise. Done slowly and with much intention, it can be a bit much for a shoulder that isn't prepared, but if the shoulder is prepared, it's a good drill and my shoulder feels a lot better. He has some other drills too, but they require some extra equipment, namely an adjustable bench which I don't have. I tried to mimic some of it, specifically by assuming some plank positions and that meant using my shoulders as a support. I didn't hurt myself in the moment, but it didn't feel quite right and I got a sharp little twinge in my right shoulder later in the day, which tells me that I probably need to back this off for now. Might come back to these movements later when I get access to a gym again, but I'm not doing that until I need to do it, and I'm not going to need it for a while.

 

The concern in doing those extra exercises was that I was worried I'd get too strong in the one exercise I could do and that this would cause imbalances of some kind in my shoulder which might lead to injury later, but thinking further about it and what I'm doing already, and researching it a bit further, I think this was unfounded. See also the part where my shoulder got mad at me.

 

Beyond that, there wasn't much to yesterday. The job has expanded further on our work from home options, and now if I can get my caseload down to a certain level, I basically can make it so that I only have to go to the office twice a month as opposed to the 4 times a month I'm doing now. That's a pretty incredible offer, but the catch is that I have to get my caseload down, which means a lot of the outcome is tied to people and situations that I don't control. Not likely to happen in the near future, but it's possible, and it's not bad to strive for inasmuch as I have any say in it.

 

But, uh, yeah, that's that for now. Probably will not go to write with my friend since I didn't make mat time on Monday. That was spent scoring a cheap pair of dumbbells for my rotator cuff work here at home. I'm itching to get out there tonight, so, I'm going to respect that.

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Goal: 3/5

 

Oops. Got a little too busy for my own good yesterday and got lost in doing stuff instead of sitting still. That wasn't the goal. -_-

 

Strength-wise, it was a leg day yesterday. I've traded out Hinging and Lunging for now in favor of Hip Thrusts and building toward what's called a Nordic Hamstring Curl. A few reasons for this:

  1. Since I got a bee in my bonnet about getting back to swinging a 32kg kettlebell, I've been hitting swings a couple times a week, which means I'm working a dynamic/explosive Hinge pattern twice while everything else is getting worked once. Add in a dedicated Hinge day and the Hinging I need to do for Farmer's Carries and Suitcase Carries, I just got the sense it was a bit much. More is only better up to a certain point and all that.
  2. Hip Thrusting has direct carryover to grappling.
  3. The Hamstring Curl is reputedly another bulletproofing exercise for the knees. I'm building up to it at the moment and it's a long way off, but I've noticed that my knees actually do feel better on days that I do the related work.

Grappling was good yesterday. I got paired with a hot-headed two-stripe white belt who was half my size for class, who really tried to take charge of how things were going to go between us. I let him. I'm not getting paid to be an alpha or whatever. Although, when we did situationals afterward and his game plan fell apart and I pretty much just passed and swept him at will... well, I won't bother denying that I was deeply amused. Could have probably subbed him if I really wanted to, but I don't really care about that kind of thing so much now so I didn't pursue it.

 

Only had one possibility of getting subbed, which I managed to foil, but I don't really understand what survival looks like. It's a behind-the-back kimura, which is basically a shoulder lock applied with the arm facing down/toward your feet. I've figured out one survival mechanism for it, and I know the block for it, but I was hit with it in a position where I couldn't achieve the block, and I had to use my position to stop it. It was a near thing, and I honestly think if the clock had run any longer, I might have gotten got with it. It's something to research further, which is proving a challenge for the moment, but if I can sink some time into it, I'm sure I can figure it out.

 

But, uh, yeah, haven't gotten submitted in the past week or so. Not even by the colored belts. That's... a good feeling. I like it.

 

Anyway, today is today. I gotta catch up on some work for the cases. As usual, circumstances beyond my control have affected my ability to actually close the cases and make decisions, and it's annoying, but it's nothing new. In terms of the writing, the story took a turn I didn't necessarily plan on and I think I need to assess where I am and where I'm going and if my characters make sense here. Softer work, not exactly the same as putting prose to page or plotting and planning, but I think it's good to do it now rather than later.

  • Like 4
Link to comment

Goal: 6/10

 

Meditation is not happening as constantly as I'd like it to, but it's happening often enough for me to notice some changes in how I'm thinking about things and approaching them.

 

Example: I got out on the mats Saturday and Sunday and my "No-Tap" streak got busted. Which was going to happen eventually anyway, but when they happened, I wasn't frustrated. I'd found myself thinking for a while that I needed to grade my progress on a different set of criteria anyway and when the taps happened, they were from relatively unusual places that I hadn't thought about and rather than being upset I was surprised to find that I was grateful for what happened to me. And more to the point, I found myself thinking about what the GOATs of BJJ have said before about how they would have loved more time where I am to work on the kinds of things I'm working on and I found myself thinking that, really, it's a gift to be where I am now and to have the opportunity to work without the expectations of others on me.

 

There's another belt promotion coming up next month. Maybe I'll go. Maybe I won't. I'm pretty sanguine ATM, but I have to admit that my feelings would probably escalate a lot again if I went, and TBF I don't know that I feel like I deserve the promotion. I've been going over the "Blue Belt Requirements" and I'm surprised to find that I have a lot of them pretty well in hand, but I'm also frustrated at the idea of "studying for a test," because the only thing that gets you is the ability to pass a test. It's not actually learning anything. That surprises me too. I don't know if the meditation's caused that, but it's put me in touch with those feelings in a way that I don't know I would be if I wasn't, you know?

 

But, yeah, I don't feel like I deserve the belt. Maybe I could go help other people play and show out, and it'd be a way to connect better with my fellow journeyfolk, but I don't know if I can do that and keep my cool at the same time. Ofc, more meditation would probably help with that, so. ¯\_( ツ )_/¯

 

Anyway, not much to report about the past few days. Graduated on my swings a bit so now I'm doing a couple sets at 8 kg in place of some of the 4 kg sets. Learned that I wasn't properly bracing myself this whole time, which explains a lot about my lower back issues that I've had off and on. Proper bracing has allowed me to return to swinging without pain, which is excellent, and I'm also doing some preventative morning mobility stuff which is helpful too.

 

Gonna spoiler this next bit just because it deals with some sensitive world-topical stuff, and I don't want to force people to read if they don't want to:

 

Spoiler

There was a General Strike called for by Palestine on Monday, and I chose to participate. Ofc, the job wasn't going to let me do that, so I called in a mental health day which was appropriate anyway as I view my job as an ongoing moral injury for all that I'm good at it. Took the day to be thoughtful and to study and learn, and to see what the local community was doing. It was pretty barren, but that's actually good to know going forward. I didn't blare about it on social media; I tend to view it through the lens of Chomsky's analysis that it facilitates vigorous discussion on a very narrow range of possibilities and fosters an illusion of choice and progress; also, my place given my privileges is to boost and support the oppressed in this situation and I'm just not well-connected to those people. Not only that, I don't really have a way to connect to them.

 

But hey. I can take off of work and not buy stuff. Seems like the least I could do.

 

I'm playing around some with the Knees Over Toes stuff, trying to dial in what I think is the right dosage for me. I've been studying videos of what Mr. Toes says to do and it's interesting as not everybody does his stuff the same way and so I'm having to research a kind of "consensus view" on what he's talking about. Ofc, I could probably just suck it up and actually buy his programs and submit myself to coaching, and I kind of do want to, but I don't think I can pull the trigger on that decision just yet. Money has a funny way of tightening up super fast and I'm scared of spending more than I have to right now.

 

But it is what it is.

 

Today should be be a leg day, so I'mma keep dialing it in and see what happens. Oh and it's a swing day too, so that'll happen.

  • Like 4
Link to comment

Those are nice attitude changes to have for training. Cultivating your study skills will take you a long way. Whoa, my partner took my balance in a way I wasn't expecting. How did they do that? What makes that different from what I've been doing?

 

I have noticed an interesting change in teaching style in aikido as the first generation Japanese instructors pass away and the senior Americans (and other nationalities, but I don't know personally about them) take leadership roles. The first generation had the authority from training under the founder of the art, and they knew far more than anyone else outside their own cohort. They also had zero pedagogy. The teaching style was to have the instructor demonstrate, then have the students try to copy what they saw. The good instructors would give pointers about tricky parts of the movement. Visual learners did okay and everyone else struggled along. Sometimes the instructor would see you struggling and would help correct your technique. Students were supposed to struggle and figure it out on their own most of the time.

 

Now the second generation of American senior instructors are getting up towards retirement. They have very different cultural expectations of teaching and learning compared to the first generation. Quite a few have professional training in education, which has done a lot of work on adult learners over the last 50 years. Several different lineages (derived from different first generation instructors) give workshops for their instructors on good teaching practices. The senior instructors understand full well that they do not know everything. The good ones still go to seminars to learn from their colleagues. I hear a lot more of "this is what I'm studying, try it out and see what you think" and a lot less of "this is the right way to do kata #1".  I even was at a seminar where the instructor had us observe ourselves and do corrections. She said "you will not always have a teacher to help you, you have to learn to observe your own weak points and fix them".

  • Like 1

Level 75  Viking paladin

My current challenge  Battle log 

Link to comment
On 12/13/2023 at 2:59 PM, Mistr said:

Those are nice attitude changes to have for training. Cultivating your study skills will take you a long way. Whoa, my partner took my balance in a way I wasn't expecting. How did they do that? What makes that different from what I've been doing?

 

Thanks! The hard part is that a lot of what I have to work is very weird, situational stuff that's tricky to research. Findable, of course, but I'm not there yet.

 

On 12/13/2023 at 2:59 PM, Mistr said:

I have noticed an interesting change in teaching style in aikido as the first generation Japanese instructors pass away and the senior Americans (and other nationalities, but I don't know personally about them) take leadership roles. The first generation had the authority from training under the founder of the art, and they knew far more than anyone else outside their own cohort. They also had zero pedagogy. The teaching style was to have the instructor demonstrate, then have the students try to copy what they saw. The good instructors would give pointers about tricky parts of the movement. Visual learners did okay and everyone else struggled along. Sometimes the instructor would see you struggling and would help correct your technique. Students were supposed to struggle and figure it out on their own most of the time.

 

Now the second generation of American senior instructors are getting up towards retirement. They have very different cultural expectations of teaching and learning compared to the first generation. Quite a few have professional training in education, which has done a lot of work on adult learners over the last 50 years. Several different lineages (derived from different first generation instructors) give workshops for their instructors on good teaching practices. The senior instructors understand full well that they do not know everything. The good ones still go to seminars to learn from their colleagues. I hear a lot more of "this is what I'm studying, try it out and see what you think" and a lot less of "this is the right way to do kata #1".  I even was at a seminar where the instructor had us observe ourselves and do corrections. She said "you will not always have a teacher to help you, you have to learn to observe your own weak points and fix them".

 

Yeah, it's similar over here. Although there's a much more emergent quality to it, almost like the "meta" of a game where certain strategies prevail for a time and everyone rushes to copy them, and those strategies are countered and grow popular in time and then they're the new game in town, and then there's a new counter and it goes again. Our teachers are just as likely to say, "Here's something I've been playing with lately that works for me" as they are to say "OK, kids, here's how this technique works."

 

And there is a lot too about how one has to personalize technique for oneself. There's some stuff that smaller people can do that I really struggle with, and there's some stuff I do that smaller people can't really do without a lot more work. Self-recording and reflection is very encouraged over here, although it's not as common as might be desirable, especially since I'm on my own and I can't really manage the kind of camera set up I'd need in order to capture the necessary data.

 

*

 

Goal: 7/11

 

Had to force myself to sit down and meditate last night, but I did it. Too many easy distractions. But I did it.

 

Swings came and went without incident. Knees over toes training happened; actually went for the gusto and did the accompanying stretches which I thought were kind of overrated but in fact turned out to be very pleasant. I got a markedly better response than I have in a while thanks to my studying and it's really pretty exciting to be able to say that.

 

But, uh, yeah, not much else to report. Today's a relatively quiet day. I'll be hitting the mats tonight and... we'll see what happens.

  • Like 3
Link to comment

Goal: 8/12

 

Hey, you wanna know what sitting and breathing is good for showing you? That you've got a lot of sinus congestion.

 

I'm not sure what's causing it, since I'm not sick or showing other symptoms. I suspect food, and in particular I suspect my use of legumes for protein and fiber. I think I'm going to take those out of rotation for a month or so and see what happens. I've noticed also lately that I've been craving greens something fierce and I wonder if these are related somehow. It remains to be seen, but the shake up will be fun. Only problem is that I've been using powdered peanut butter for about ~20% or so of my protein needs and I'm going to need a replacement. I've got options, fortunately, but that low tolerance for dietary fats and cholesterol makes getting the protein from whole food sources a problem. I could do lots of chicken breast for it instead, I suppose, but man, that's no fun. Maybe start shredding chicken thighs in bulk? Might be possible.

 

I've also got access to casein protein, which is really good stuff as far as getting a lot of protein in. One of my favorite things to do with that is to mix it with Greek yogurt. At a 10:1 ratio, it thickens the yogurt up into a very ice-creamy consistency, and I can throw dried fruit in there for something that scratches the dessert itch when needed. I can use that now with the chia pudding I used as my peanut butter vehicle; I do not know how that's gonna work, but I think it'll be interesting.

 

Went out to BJJ last night. Didn't get submitted again, which is nice, but we worked on a lot of side control and man, my escape/reguard game from there is super weak. Always has been. Just another thing to work on, though. Not worried.

 

Um, and, yeah. That's life for the moment.

  • Like 4
Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

New here? Please check out our Privacy Policy and Community Guidelines