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All right. Let's get this party started. :)

 

So, in case any of you didn't get the chance to see, I've been working on new goals. I've desired to grow stronger and fight better, and my goals to that end have helped me with that a lot. But at the same time, I've been exposed to my limits. I've done manual labor and found that strength training has its limits in terms of what it can do to save you. And I've seen what it's like to wake up in the morning and not feel pain. I like those things. I like them very much.

 

The overarching mission of this year is twofold - one, to make my body move better, and two, to make martial arts indelibly part of my life. No one challenge is going to be enough to make that happen, anymore than any one goal can make those things happen. As such, I'm ultimately going to spend this year focusing on building and maintaining systems that put me in a better place than I was before.

 

GOAL 1: Hip Flexibility System

This is something I've heard a lot of good things about. I'll be in the second week of the program by the time the challenge officially starts, and my challenge for myself is to not miss a single workout here. I have no real excuse to - at this point, it's mostly just a couple minutes added onto my warm up, and I've seen some good come of it already in my hill sprinting exploits. But at the same time, I feel so impatient with this, and it's implausible. I don't know why it's that way. But having the public accountability to all y'all is gonna help me with that. I don't quite know what the exact number of sessions is going to translate to, but we'll grade this as: +2 CON, +1 STR, +1 STA.

 

GOAL 2: Active Recovery

This has two opportunities to happen. Strength training that acknowledges martial artists tends to say that technical work - being in class and training, etc. - is a form of active recovery. Since I'm seeing my sensei on a semi-regular basis, that's one way that this can happen. The other way is to use the active recovery routine that I have on hand.

 

I've also begun to slip on my morning mobility, so I'm going to go ahead and throw that in for this goal too, so that I can rebuild that habit and put some new stuff with it. +1 CON, +2 STA, +1 DEX

 

GOAL 3: Solo Practice

I still can't believe that the last challenge was too ambitious for this. But I'm gonna shake it off and learn from it. We're going to focus on just ten combos and ten uchikomi. Feels pathetic, but the seed has to be planted somewhere. +2 DEX

 

LIFE GOAL: Finances

So, this is going to be interesting. The job situation has gone chaotic, and without going into a full-blown rant, I stand to lose both the writing gig and the UPS gig. I don't know how any of this is going to shake out, although I do have a personal training interview to go see to on the tenth of January. As usual, no guarantees.

 

I've begun to take a look at my finances to see what I can cut that I don't really need anymore. Unfortunately, she's pretty much been cut to the bone. I managed to drop out of some training communities that were charging me that weren't benefiting me, which was a win. I still need to find a way to drop out of the gym membership, given that I'm not going to be there any time soon.

 

This one is really, really vague. The clearest form of success would be to cut that gym membership, but as for the rest, I honestly don't know how I'm going to define success. Survival? Bleak, maybe, but that suits me rather well. ^_^; Maybe I'll know at the end of it. +3 WIS, +2 CHA

 

We'll see how this all goes. I'm genuinely excited to have a new mission for 2014, an overarching focus to drive me. It's nice. We'll see what happens.

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Excellent, look forward to watching you beat the tar out of another challenge.  You'll nail the solo practice this time. 

 

I hope so. I don't want there to be any excuses for myself on this.

 

Looking good sir.

 

...also, it could just be me, but I only counted 14 stat points...

 

...

 

...

 

no, it's not just you. I just miscounted. Because, English major. -_-

 

I'll fix it!

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Awesome goals this time my friend!!!  I know you can do it!!

 

I'm interested to hear more about your active recovery routine too.

 

Well, there's not much to it that you're not doing already. I basically engage in some harder SMR stuff - if I warm up with it, I'll roll for ten-thirty seconds; on an active recovery day, I'll go anywhere from a minute to three minutes. Because, after all, what am I worried about? I've got nothing but time. This is followed by some light dynamic stretching - things like bird-dogs, forward lunges with thoracic spine activation, shoulder stretches, things like that. Believe it or not, I actually don't do very much in the way of static work anymore, save what the HFS is putting me through.

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Well, there's not much to it that you're not doing already. I basically engage in some harder SMR stuff - if I warm up with it, I'll roll for ten-thirty seconds; on an active recovery day, I'll go anywhere from a minute to three minutes. Because, after all, what am I worried about? I've got nothing but time. This is followed by some light dynamic stretching - things like bird-dogs, forward lunges with thoracic spine activation, shoulder stretches, things like that. Believe it or not, I actually don't do very much in the way of static work anymore, save what the HFS is putting me through.

Yes, we are doing very similar things.  The area I am lacking most is in thoracic movement and shoulder stretches.  That might be an area that I need to bring into focus on this challenge.  I agree about not doing much static work and even though some of the HFS moves are static, I consider them more active than sitting on the the floor trying to do the splits.  

Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

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Yes, we are doing very similar things.  The area I am lacking most is in thoracic movement and shoulder stretches.  That might be an area that I need to bring into focus on this challenge.  I agree about not doing much static work and even though some of the HFS moves are static, I consider them more active than sitting on the the floor trying to do the splits.  

 

Well, the move for thoracic work is something like this:

 

 

The key difference between what I do and what this guy does is that I don't do a lot of the static stuff - the bringing the arm down low and holding. I just go straight for that T-opening, then rock up onto the legs, and step through. It's a good stretch, really and truly.

 

Good post. Resolutions didn't seem to work to me but I didn't know there were stats behind that.

 

Oh, no, the stats are definitely there. I guess if you give anything enough time, you'll get numbers behind it.

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Well, the move for thoracic work is something like this:

 

 

The key difference between what I do and what this guy does is that I don't do a lot of the static stuff - the bringing the arm down low and holding. I just go straight for that T-opening, then rock up onto the legs, and step through. It's a good stretch, really and truly.

 

 

Oh, no, the stats are definitely there. I guess if you give anything enough time, you'll get numbers behind it.

Thanks for the video.  I will have to try that from kneeling on one knee since I don't have enough hip flexibility to get into a low lunge and twist my upper body.

Doug

 

In search of the ever elusive side thrust kick....

 

Student of Karate and Iaido

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Thanks for the video.  I will have to try that from kneeling on one knee since I don't have enough hip flexibility to get into a low lunge and twist my upper body.

 

NP. I don't know why he isn't kneeling, given that the original 'greatest stretch' was demonstrated via kneeling. I don't feel a difference between the two... but, that doesn't mean it's not there.

 

Also, good to see that your blog posts are ongoing as well. I could probably a learn a thing or two about consistency from you. ^_^;

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Oooo, shameless self promotion.  Me likey.

 

Glad to see the blog up and running again, though a bummer about your job situation.  I think all under/unemployed monks should create a business together.  Fitness Nirvana, perhaps?

RisenPhoenix, the Entish Aikidoka

Challenge: RisenPhoenix Tries to be Normal

 

"The essence of koryu [...is] you offer your loyalty to something that you choose to regard as greater than yourself so that you will, someday, be able to offer service to something that truly is transcendent." ~ Ellis Amdur, Old School

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Oooo, shameless self promotion.  Me likey.

 

Glad to see the blog up and running again, though a bummer about your job situation.  I think all under/unemployed monks should create a business together.  Fitness Nirvana, perhaps?

 

No shame at all. The job situation is a bummer, but we'll see how that plays out. Fitness Nirvana, though? Hmmmmmm....

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Cross-posted from the Winter Mini:

 

Today was a conditioning day. Decided to do a variation on the 'cards' workout. Red cards were burpees, black cards were push ups; face cards are ten, aces are eleven.

 

This variant has always defeated me, mostly because I pushed to failure and never thought to use easier variants afterward. Not this time. I pressed on with it.

 

Final numbers: 73 burpees, 15 squat-thrust-jumps; 67 push ups, 25 knee push ups. Total time elapsed: 25:18.

 

No isometrics afterward, given that I had to cut the workout short and get ready for the job. Oh well.

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Cross-posted from the Holiday Mini:

 

Strength work today!

 

Warmed Up

 

Chin-Ups: 3x62, 5

Pistol Progressions: 3x61, 72/Leg

 

Narrow Push Ups: 3x7

Hanging Knee Raises: 3x7 (interesting thing I found out today. How you grip the bar plays a factor in determining how much you swing. By using a closed-handed grip as opposed to the open hook, the swinging issue basically disappears).

 

Rocca (1-Step): 3x4

Dynamic Full Bridge: 3x7

 

Inverted Ring Row: 3x5

Skater Squats: 3x10/Leg

 

Then did some core work from the HFS, mostly having to do with leg-lowering from a supine position on the floor. I'm amazed at the difficulty of this work, and I enjoy it.

 

Time Elapsed: 43:43.

 

Took my measurements today as well and, assuming that the scanner is correct, I have lost weight and gained fat which means I burned some muscle in the past three weeks. Not cool, but nothing to panic over. I basically attempted to introduce some caloric and macro-cycling into the plan, given that I've had success with that kind of thing in the past. I think what happened was that either a) the holidays got me more than I thought, or b ) I've underestimated the demands of UPS yet again, and should have eaten in a way that wouldn't force my body to cannibalize muscle for glycogen. I'm not really interested in cutting more calories just yet, since the caloric intake seems to be fine for forcing a loss. I just need to be more mindful about how I eat and when. I could probably stand to cycle down, say, on the weekends, or on days when I'm not on for any kind of manual labor.

 

Oh well, learning experience. Let's see what the next three weeks bring.

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I love your targets. Is the hip flexibility aimed at martial arts, or is it more general?

 

I undertook the hip stuff originally for martial arts, but hip drive has so much carryover into things like sprinting and weight-lifting. Since I'm working on learning the pistol squat, I figure being able to drive better from the hip can only help me.

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Hill Sprint day! I friggin' love Hill Sprint day! And the challenge just goes higher and higher.

 

Six slightly longer hill sprints. Tried to do 12 push ups with each, but I'm doing my push ups from a hollow body position, and the form slipped at 4x8. So I'm gonna have to stick to 12 for a little while. But it looks like I can keep increasing my sprinting distance, which is good.

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