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Kyellan Seeks the Warrior's Way


Kyellan

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Hey there monks! I met a couple of you during my first challenge, and now here I am!

 

For those who don't know me, I'm Kyellan. I'm an IT analyst by day, a writer by... well, afternoon, and a sci-fi/fantasy/video-game nerd. A little under six months ago, I finally discovered the source of a problem which drastically limited my exercise and energy, and solved it. I had been living in chronic pain for years which worsened anytime I tried to increase my activity level, and since the change my average daily pain level has dropped from a seven to a three. I'm not exactly living pain-free, but I'm definitely living pain-lite, and it's freakin' awesome!

 

During my first Rebel Challenge, I worked myself up from exhausted after a single round of Steve's Beginner Bodyweight Workout into doing three and pushing four, built my dexterity up by practicing with melee weapons, and increased my discipline through fasting. When I started I couldn't do five pushups in a row--now I can do 25 without stopping, and I'm nearing 30.

 

Next, I plan to broaden my goals to get myself into the thing I've wanted to do for ten years... martial arts, which is why I'm here!

 

The problem is... well, I'm not really sure what kind of martial art I want to get into. I did karate when I was a kid, but not past yellow belt (maybe a year or so). I really enjoyed it, but it unfortunately became too much of a financial and time burden on our family, so I wasn't able to continue. I've done tai chi sporadically throughout the years (something I would really like to add into my daily routine--more on that to come) and occasionally looked into something more, but was always stopped by the aforementioned pain problem.

 

My primary interest in martial arts has always been western--even before it was really a thing, I think. I grew up on fantasy and always had a fascination with the nuts and bolts of European sword fighting. The fact that HEMA has become a bigger thing these days is really cool... but it's not big enough to have reached me yet. The closest HEMA clubs to me are well over a 50-mile one-way drive, and while I might be able to manage that once a month, that's really not going to help me. I've done some HEMA practice on my own, but even finding a sparring partner has proven to be a difficult search.

 

In that light, there have always been three eastern arts that intrigue me: Baguazhang, Kung Fu, and Kendo. Judo also looks pretty cool, as I've done some research on it recently, and I think that Shaolin Kenpo could be interesting as well. There are Kung Fu, Judo and Kenpo clubs within a relatively close distance, and others farther out.

 

So, over the next six weeks, my goals are to continue my body conditioning, and start investigating the martial arts schools closest to me to see where my first path will begin. It's all about little steps right now, but by the end of this six-week challenge, I want to have taken my first paid class.

 

So, onto the goals!

 

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Strength [Li] (STR +2, STA +2): Continuing straight on from my previous challenge, I want to keep increasing my strength. My overall strength goal is to be able to do a pull-up, but I've got a ways to go before I get there. For now I'm going to continue having a goal of 3 strength workouts per week, whether that's free weights, BBWW, 7-minute workout, or whatever else my brain can devise to work my upper and lower body to build overall strength. A: 3 workouts/wk; B: 2 workouts/wk; C: 1 workout/wk

 

 

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Balance [Pingheng] (DEX +3): For balance, I have begun learning the Chen Old Frame Tai Chi routine. It's just a video, unfortunately, and nothing like learning from a Sifu in person, but at least it's something. So far I have completed three of the lessons, and there are 20 total. By the end of the six weeks, my goal is to go through and learn all of the lessons and be done with the entire video. A: 17 lessons completed; B: 14 lessons completed; C: 11 lessons completed

 

1517-self-discipline.gif

 

Discipline [Yueshu] (CON +1, WIS +1): I need a strong daily food tracking habit, because I have a habit of letting little things sneak up on me and pretending they don't matter, when they really do. I've proven that I can fast regularly, now I need to keep myself accountable for what I eat and when I eat it, because the awareness is sometimes all it takes to make a big difference. I will also try to record something of my thoughts and impressions if there is something strong attached to the intake in order to be more fully aware. A: 90%+ of days tracked; B: 80%+ of days tracked, C: 70%+ of days tracked

 

chinese_symbols_for_path_9492_2_0.png

 

Finding the Path [Dao] (+1 CHA): By the end of six weeks, I want to take my first paid martial arts class in the style and at the dojo of my choice. My first stop will be the Kung Fu studio about 20 minutes north of me. If, for whatever reason, it doesn't work or doesn't sit well, I will branch out and try the next most interesting option.

 

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Onward toward the end of 2014! =)

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

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This is a beautifully thought out challenge.  Welcome to the Guild!

 

If you like the sword play, I would say try to hit up some places that teach Kendo, but from your post it sounds like nothing is super local/convenient for you?  I'm unfortunately not well versed in any of the other styles you mentioned, so I'm not going to be much help.

 

Anyway, way to work up so much from your first challenge, and good luck with this one!  It looks awesome!

RisenPhoenix, the Entish Aikidoka

Challenge: RisenPhoenix Turns to Ash

 

"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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My primary interest in martial arts has always been western--even before it was really a thing, I think. I grew up on fantasy and always had a fascination with the nuts and bolts of European sword fighting. The fact that HEMA has become a bigger thing these days is really cool... but it's not big enough to have reached me yet. The closest HEMA clubs to me are well over a 50-mile one-way drive, and while I might be able to manage that once a month, that's really not going to help me. I've done some HEMA practice on my own, but even finding a sparring partner has proven to be a difficult search.

 

Woot!!  Swords!!  Yay!!  

 

Ok, another shameless plug here, but I'm going to do my best to back it up.  It's not 100% longsword based, but you might enjoy looking at the Terra Prime Lightsaber Academy.  It's at least partially based on Longsword (both European and Chinese longsword), and one of the Masters is actually a HEMA instructor.  He recently moved to Australia, so he's not as vocal as he once was, but he still influences quite a bit.  The Form 1 Dulon (in-lore term for a kata) is partially based on European Longsword, and the basic Form V Dulon is almost completely based on EL (the guy in that last video is the instructor).  

 

All right, now that I've gone there, I really love your challenge!  It looks like you've set some great goals for yourself, and have a solid plan to achieve them.   Subbing for sure.  

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"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." - Captain Malcolm Reynolds

 

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I have a pretty heavy bias toward violent fighting martial arts, so I'd advocate judo. But really, anything'll do, provided they teach you something and then tell you to use it while someone tries to stop you (aggressively).

 

Anyway, the challenge looks good, and I hope it turns out great for you. Can't wait to see what you do with these six weeks!

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I practice Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and many of some of my Kung Fu buddies have experience in other style including Bagua.  What kind of Kung Fu is the studio your visiting?

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Level 5 Shapeshifter Monk


STR 10.75   :   DEX 7.5  :   STA 8.5   :   CON 5   :   WIS 7.5   :   CHA 7


 


Challenge: I am an Avenger


Past: 1st, Draugr, Super-hero, Rocky


 


  A soon-to-be married Kung Fu enthusiast  

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Woot!!  Swords!!  Yay!!  

 

Ok, another shameless plug here, but I'm going to do my best to back it up.  It's not 100% longsword based, but you might enjoy looking at the Terra Prime Lightsaber Academy.  It's at least partially based on Longsword (both European and Chinese longsword), and one of the Masters is actually a HEMA instructor.  He recently moved to Australia, so he's not as vocal as he once was, but he still influences quite a bit.  The Form 1 Dulon (in-lore term for a kata) is partially based on European Longsword, and the basic Form V Dulon is almost completely based on EL (the guy in that last video is the instructor).  

 

All right, now that I've gone there, I really love your challenge!  It looks like you've set some great goals for yourself, and have a solid plan to achieve them.   Subbing for sure.  

 

Okay, that Terra Prime thing is pretty cool, and my Japanese shinai would be perfect to practice that work with. If I can find enough space to do so, I'm going to start working those forms now and then! ^.^

 

 

I have a pretty heavy bias toward violent fighting martial arts, so I'd advocate judo. But really, anything'll do, provided they teach you something and then tell you to use it while someone tries to stop you (aggressively).

 

Anyway, the challenge looks good, and I hope it turns out great for you. Can't wait to see what you do with these six weeks!

 

 

I also recommend Judo but I'm *really* biased.  Glad to see you continuing on with us!  Kickass goals :-)

 

I've heard a lot of good things about judo, which is why it went on my list after some research!

 

I practice Northern Shaolin Kung Fu and many of some of my Kung Fu buddies have experience in other style including Bagua.  What kind of Kung Fu is the studio your visiting?

 

The Sifu of my local studio teaches Hung Gar and Shaolin Kung Fu. I'm looking forward to my visit there! =)

 

-------------------

 

I figured I'd record a few vitals and starting points here for my own memory.

 

Starting Weight: 242 lbs

Max Rep Pushups (from cold): 27

Max Plank Time (from cold): 35 seconds

 

I've given it some thought, and I've decided to track my food here on the NF forums as well as on my own. I'm pretty good at being accountable to myself, but I think it will help to be accountable to the wider world as well. A little external pressure never hurt discipline, I think. =)

 

Day 1 is already underway--let's make it a great one! :D

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

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Okay, so: Day 1.

 

Worked in a Tai Chi lesson this morning, marking the first one of my 17, and learned how to flow from Part 3 into Part 4. I ran through it several times to make it stick, and I'll run through it at least once tomorrow as well.

 

On Taijibum's suggestion, I'm going to try tracking food in LoseIt! for a week to see how it goes--so far it seems to be much more stable on Android than MyFitnessPal, which I tried to use a while back and had a number of problems with.

 

So, for today:

 

Breakfast

Protein Bar

Cup of Yogurt

 

Lunch

Chicken/Cheddar/Bacon Wrap

Small Caesar Salad

 

Dinner

Homemade noodles & kielbasa

Crouton-coated broccoli Crunchtables (very tasty!) w/drizzled Ranch dressing

3 pieces of dark chocolate

 

Calorie Estimate Total: 2223 on a budget of 2300. Even allowing for a bit of flex in the estimated calorie numbers, it's a decent showing. I had breakfast today, which is a bit unusual for me--on a fasting day, it would have come in lower.

 

I think being accountable is going to help me! Onward!

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

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It's day 3, but I must go back and report on Day 2!

 

Yesterday I had a great morning workout and tracked food all day. Here's the list:

 

-----------

 

Breakfast

Cup of coffee

 

Lunch

Ranch Chicken Club Sandwich

Sm. Caesar salad

 

Dinner

Noodles & Kielbasa leftovers ^.^

Crunchtables dill pickle crisps w/ranch dressing

3 squares of premium 70% dark chocolate

 

I had a little extra at dinner, and ended up coming in 159 calories under in my LoseIt! estimate. I'll consider that on-target, give or take. I'm not overly concerned with caloric precision at this point, just a ballpark number. The tracking is what's important, but LoseIt! so far has been much more responsive, less crashy and overall easier than MFP, so that's a win.

 

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Day 3

 

So far today I've done another Tai Chi Chen lesson (bringing me up to five out of twenty, and two out of my goal of seventeen). I had to move my practice outside this morning... my living room just isn't big enough for this form. There's a lot of big movements involved. Thankfully I have a decent sized backyard that I can use. Might be tricky when it gets cold, but a true monk does not fear the negative sign on his temperature reading... right? =)

 

Today's going to be tough, and I know it. I'm going to a friend's house tonight where there will be lots of freely available things like candy, beer and processed packages cupcakes and the like. Hopefully my accountability to myself and to this challenge will help me minimize it, since I know I'm going to have to talk about it, and I'm pretty sure I hate embarrassment more than I like that stuff. =)

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

Challenges

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

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Might be tricky when it gets cold, but a true monk does not fear the negative sign on his temperature reading... right? =)

 

 

Of course not; it adds to the experience.  Granted I don't have a choice and my Kung Fu class is outside.  I'm interested to see how that is going to go in January/February in the 7PM-9PM class.  

 

Good luck today at your friend's place.  

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Level 5 Shapeshifter Monk


STR 10.75   :   DEX 7.5  :   STA 8.5   :   CON 5   :   WIS 7.5   :   CHA 7


 


Challenge: I am an Avenger


Past: 1st, Draugr, Super-hero, Rocky


 


  A soon-to-be married Kung Fu enthusiast  

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Might be tricky when it gets cold, but a true monk does not fear the negative sign on his temperature reading... right? =)

 

As the TPLA guys are fond of saying "slow is smooth, smooth is fast".  Take it slow in the snow and maybe focus a lot on footwork and placement to improve balance and prevent slipping.  I'm no Tai Chi expert (or even a novice!) but I think it's safe to say there are certain fundamentals that translate pretty well across styles.  

 

In any case, it sounds like the beginning of your challenge is going quite well.  Especially the eating part. 

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"Someone ever tries to kill you, you try to kill 'em right back." - Captain Malcolm Reynolds

 

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Also, I Agree With Tank™

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Well, as I expected, last night was tough. However, I did everything I could to prepare, and I think I did pretty well.

 

I was up way too late, which led me to oversleep this morning, which means that today ends up being my weekly rest day. Back to strength workout tomorrow, Tai Chi on Saturday, and then another strength workout on Sunday will put me in good shape for the week without falling behind.

 

So, at last night's All-Star D&D game (starring five guys who have a sum total of something like 100 years of combined gaming experience) was a blast, as usual. Unfortunately, also as usual, the table was littered with things like beer, Nutty Bars, Ring Dings, Utz Cheesy Balls, pretzel sticks, and the like. One of my friends ended up being my saving grace--he brought Fig Newmans (the organic ones), red wine, and dark chocolate-covered blueberries and acai berries. Which, while still not being at all good for anyone, are at least slightly better than the utter crap in the Little Debbie snacks =)

 

I know I went over my daily calorie count, but I don't think I went over by much. I planned ahead and ate light all day to have some room without being too hungry when I got there. The dark chocolate berries were so rich that focusing on them helped, because I couldn't eat too many at once.

 

So here's the list for yesterday. All of the things are here, but I'm a bit murky on the amounts, thanks to distracted snacking.

 

Breakfast (~10AM)

Gatorade Protein Bar

Cup of Yogurt

 

Lunch

Large cup of corn chowder

Small Caesar salad

 

Dinner

Chipotle Sofritas bowl (I really love Chipotle's tofu, and I have never been a tofu fan! If you haven't tried it, you totally should.)

 

The Dreaded Gaming Snacks

~2 oz red wine (I'm not really a wine drinker, but this worked as a social equivalent to beer)

1 pkg Nutty Bars (this was the worst thing I ate all day, both nutritionally and taste-wise. I regretted it immediately)

~1/4 cup dark chocolate berries

4 or 5 Fig Newmans

 

I saw Darya Rose talk about 'home court habits' during this Lifehacker live Q&A a few days back and it resonated somewhat. Last night was definitely an 'away game', so to speak, and I think I played pretty well given the conditions. I think the best thing that I can do is focus hard on making my 'home court habits' as good as they can be and make sure I'm prepped for playing away. I lost last night, but I almost fought it to a draw, and I'm actually sort of proud that I held it down as well as I did. Plus, it was still a win in a way, because I tracked it all, which puts me that much closer to my NF challenge goal! =)

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

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

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As the TPLA guys are fond of saying "slow is smooth, smooth is fast".  Take it slow in the snow and maybe focus a lot on footwork and placement to improve balance and prevent slipping.

 

Well, I'll get my first chance this weekend--we're supposed to get a trace to 2" of snow overnight tonight, which means that my Saturday practice will probably be in the snow! =)

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

Challenges

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

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Well, I'll get my first chance this weekend--we're supposed to get a trace to 2" of snow overnight tonight, which means that my Saturday practice will probably be in the snow! =)

 

That'll be scenic!

Level 5 Shapeshifter Monk


STR 10.75   :   DEX 7.5  :   STA 8.5   :   CON 5   :   WIS 7.5   :   CHA 7


 


Challenge: I am an Avenger


Past: 1st, Draugr, Super-hero, Rocky


 


  A soon-to-be married Kung Fu enthusiast  

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There you are! I took off into a travel black hole before you got your challenge up, but I've found you now. Subbing for longsword and martial arts awesomeness. Don't mind my stalking -- I may or may not be living vicariously through your adventures until the beginning of next year :)

 

Chen Tai Chi? Awesome! Back in the day I worked with the Chen performance form, but it was one of my favorites and I always wanted to explore the style more fully. Have you looked into silk reeling as practice for the Chen movements?

 

Good luck! May you rock this challenge as hard as you rocked the last one!

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There you are! I took off into a travel black hole before you got your challenge up, but I've found you now. Subbing for longsword and martial arts awesomeness. Don't mind my stalking -- I may or may not be living vicariously through your adventures until the beginning of next year :)

 

Chen Tai Chi? Awesome! Back in the day I worked with the Chen performance form, but it was one of my favorites and I always wanted to explore the style more fully. Have you looked into silk reeling as practice for the Chen movements?

 

Good luck! May you rock this challenge as hard as you rocked the last one!

 

Thanks amberdisa! =) I have not looked into silk reeling, but I definitely will now!

 

Kind of a big update today, so here goes:

 

Yesterday I made my first tentative step toward this challenge's Life Goal--I sent a contact form to the Kung Fu studio, and then in the afternoon the Sifu called me and we had a nice conversation. Folks, I'm going up there on Monday night for my introductory class to see if it's the right one! I asked about observation and he basically said, "Yeah, we don't do that... come participate!" and I was happy with that. So at around 6:30pm on Monday I'll be at my first Kung Fu class ^.^ I'm so excited!

 

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Day 4 Food

 

Skipped breakfast and went straight for lunch... boy, was that a good thing. >.>

 

Lunch

  • Porchetta sandwich & fries -- this thing was the size of a torpedo. I am not the kind of person to leave food behind, but I couldn't finish it. This thing screwed up my calorie tracking for the whole day, because the restaurant didn't have any nutrition info and I don't even want to think about how many calories it was. Delicious, though I probably wouldn't order it again... or maybe next time eat half and take the rest home.
  • ~8 oz ginger ale

 

Dinner

  • Spanish rice burrito
  • Broccoli Crunchtables (no dressing tonight)
  • 2 squares of Ghirardelli 72% dark chocolate

 

Snack

  • 2 slices of zucchini bread, made by a friend, with pretend butter

 

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Day 5

 

Woke up early and banged out a strength workout this morning: two full circuits plus an extra 15 pushups and 10 tricep dips, since my upper body seems to be liking the work more than my knees are. Felt great as I did my cooldown and stretching afterward, and I'm still feeling pretty good a couple hours later.

 

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I am so thankful for every day I can do this: every strength workout that doesn't put me in bed for two days of recovery, for every Tai Chi session that doesn't leave me gasping for breath after just a few simple movements. It's hard to believe that my life is so different from just a year ago--this is and continues to be my motivation, because I feel like the outside of me needs to reflect how different the inside is. I wish I could go back in time five years and whisper the secret to my 24-year-old self... but maybe he wasn't ready for it anyway.

 

The weather came and put an inch of snow on my yard today... but I don't even care. Life's too good! ^.^

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

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Hell yeah trying out a Kung Fu class!  And I totally get why they want participants and not observers.  Had I just observed a class I would not have experienced the camaraderie of the class and probably would have thought the whole class silly and too slow-paced for exercise.  Participating totally sold me on my class.  I hope you love it!  Is this the Hung Gar place you are trying out?  I haven't experienced Hung Gar but I know people who have - very popular southern style and you'll get some strong legs with all the horse stance work you'll be doing.

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Level 5 Shapeshifter Monk


STR 10.75   :   DEX 7.5  :   STA 8.5   :   CON 5   :   WIS 7.5   :   CHA 7


 


Challenge: I am an Avenger


Past: 1st, Draugr, Super-hero, Rocky


 


  A soon-to-be married Kung Fu enthusiast  

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