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Tale of a Rogue Jedi: Kyellan's Third Challenge


Kyellan

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So, I don't really have a choice for my challenge theme this time. As those of you who hung out on my last challenge thread might know, I'm taking a Lightsaber Dueling class with my Hung Gar Sifu... and it starts tomorrow!

 

star-wars-dark-lightsabers-sith-jedi-evi

 

While part of me wishes that I could be a good Jedi and follow the path of peace and harmony, the truth is, I know myself too well for that. There is no strength in chaos, but strength can be found in both peace and passion, wisdom in both ignorance and knowledge--for who is wiser, he who claims knowledge where none is found, or he who admits to himself and others that he simply does not know? Attachment may help or hinder--when one is attached to trivial things, the truth is clouded, but when one reserves attachment for the things which truly matter, the purest light is found.

 

Perhaps it is arrogant of me to believe that I can find a better way, but in my eyes, the Sith are selfish and the Jedi blind to the harshness of reality. I shall walk the Third Way: balance, combined with good judgment, to achieve true harmony.

 

So, past the philosophy and on to the challenge!

 

Goal 1: Spirit

 

Meditate daily to gain insight into self and the world. Minimum meditation will increase week-over-week to drive improvement. Meditation at kung fu and/or lightsaber class DOES NOT COUNT--this should be quiet morning or evening introspection.

 

Week 1: 5 minutes

Week 2: 6 minutes

Week 3: 7 minutes

Week 4: 8 minutes

Week 5: 9 minutes

Week 6: 10 minutes

 

A: 42 meditation sessions (WIS +3); B: 40 meditation sessions (WIS +2); C: 38 meditation sessions (WIS +1)

 

BONUS: Extra +1 WIS if 50 meditation sessions (meeting minimum requirements) is reached.

 

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Goal 2: Skill

 

I am already committed to twice-weekly Kung Fu sessions, and for January, I am also committing to once-weekly Lightsaber Dueling sessions. This means that I have three classes per week to attend to increase my strength, speed and skill. I am doing the lightsaber class with my wife--if she decides not to continue into February, I may not be able to continue that, so I am not going to count that as part of the challenge. If I end up going into Feb with lightsaber, I will consider it a bonus.

 

A: 3 classes/week (Jan), 2 classes/week (Feb) [16 total] -- (+2 STR, +2 DEX)

B: 2 classes/week (Jan), 1 class/week (Feb) -- [10 total] (+1 STR, +1 DEX)

C: 1 class/week (Jan), 1 class/week (Feb) -- [6 total] (+0.5 STR, +0.5 DEX)

 

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Goal 3: Discipline

 

Returning to a goal from my very first challenge. My body feels better when I fast regularly. I do better without breakfast, but sometimes I find that it's easier to slide into eating something than it is to wait until lunchtime, and I want to break this habit.

 

Going straight from where I am to fasting every day is likely asking too much of myself, but I will do more than the three times a week that I accomplished in my first challenge. I am aiming for five per week for the duration of the challenge.

 

A: 30 16-hour fasts (+3 CON)

B: 24 16-hour fasts (+2 CON)

C: 18 16-hour fasts (+1 CON)

 

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Life Goal: Judgment, Strategy, Knowledge

 

I've started to learn the game of Go with a fellow Hung Gar student. I don't really want to quantify this goal, but I'd like to make this a reminder to keep playing games against my phone and iPad. I may also use this space to sort of journal my learning process with the game.

 

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I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's progress with this new challenge!

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

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Nice! Kishi just had a great write up on the Gray Jedi. Did you read it?

 

I did indeed! I always thought that Jolee (from KOTOR) was a bit too much a straight-line interpretation of old-school D&D True Neutral druids, so I never really warmed up to him during my playthrough. Also, I didn't want to steal Kishi's thunder, so I decided to go with the rogue theme instead of the Gray one... although I almost picked the Gray Paladins as my theme. It was a close call. =)

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

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Whew.  That's a lot of meditation.  Good luck.  I like my quiet, but I dunno if I could do the 10 minutes a day thing you're aiming for.  But it's a freaking fantastic habit to get into.

 

And on top of that the Kung Fu AND Lightsaber dueling?!  That's freaking awesome.  So damned awesome.

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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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What! Gray Jedi acted in concert with one another. You wouldn't have stolen any thunder from me, no sir.

 

Have to admit, I wouldn't see Hung Gar as a very lightsaber-y style, but then, I do find that arts continue to surprise me. That's awesome that your sifu is doing that. Cool, man.

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What! Gray Jedi acted in concert with one another. You wouldn't have stolen any thunder from me, no sir.

 

Have to admit, I wouldn't see Hung Gar as a very lightsaber-y style, but then, I do find that arts continue to surprise me. That's awesome that your sifu is doing that. Cool, man.

 

Then we shall form an alliance! And since we're already rebels, that would make us the Rebel Alli---no, wait, hang on... =)

 

I don't think that Hung Gar is a very lightsaber-ish style, but my sifu has studied a lot of different arts under his Sigung, Wing Lam. One of the students in my class is currently learning a Lao Gar palm form, and Sifu has also practiced some northern Shaolin, Iron Hands, and other ones I don't even know about yet.

 

He is adapting three different sword forms and merging them together to make a working lightsaber form. I've seen him practicing it, it looks like it should be challenging, and it's very dramatic. Even on a lightsaber with no sound chip, the movements actually cause the saber to make a whooshing sound as it goes through the air on several moves. I'm really unreasonably excited to start it tonight!

 

Last night's class was great--we did forms work on Friday, and then we did it again yesterday, which means I'm gaining pieces of my first form relatively quickly. Based on my observations of the other students who have the whole form, I think I'm at about 60-75%, which is great! The low stances are getting more comfortable and natural, even though I can't hold them for too long yet. I got some great new bruises last night on my wrists when Sifu demonstrated the practical application for one part of the form, which is a twist and break for a wrist lock. Even at his full strength I was able to break the hold, which says a lot more for the utility of it than for my strength.

 

I really love these classes. I look forward to them every time, and thoroughly enjoy myself while I'm there. I don't think I could have found a better place to be.

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

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He is adapting three different sword forms and merging them together to make a working lightsaber form. I've seen him practicing it, it looks like it should be challenging, and it's very dramatic. Even on a lightsaber with no sound chip, the movements actually cause the saber to make a whooshing sound as it goes through the air on several moves. I'm really unreasonably excited to start it tonight!

 

Awesome!!  Sounds a lot like Ataru to me.  Would your sifu be willing to record a brief video of his lightsaber form?  I'd love to see it!!  Though I totally understand if not.  

 

It seems that any Tai Chi sword form would be ideal for adapting to the lightsaber, as would the shorter Iaido forms.

 

One of the Masters in TPLA has been studying Tai Chi for ~30 years.  It definitely adapts to a lightsaber quite well.  

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Awesome!!  Sounds a lot like Ataru to me.  Would your sifu be willing to record a brief video of his lightsaber form?  I'd love to see it!!  Though I totally understand if not. 

 

AFAIK he will be doing videos in the near future as demonstrations to attract new students. As soon as he starts posting them I will link them here, as I am certain that he will have no problem with the added publicity! =)

 

Re: this challenge's life goal, I played a game of Go against my phone yesterday on a 9x9 practice board. I played as black, and I won by 4.5 points. Here's a screenshot of the winning board. I have to try this two-pronged attack again and see if I can make it a winner more than once.

 

Go_2015-01-05-14-18-20-e1420556527265.pn

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First night of lightsaber class went great! It's only an hour long, but we worked the five block positions and the ten basic strikes which I believe are sourced from kendo and Chinese straight sword, plus a combination of stab-block-strike that got us in the habit of moving against an opponent.

 

It definitely felt like katana practice, regardless. We had seven students last night with a couple missing, so hopefully it will continue to grow. Sifu is also doing a family class for the younger kids and parents on Thursday, so I'll be looking forward to hearing how that goes. He really seemed to enjoy teaching the class, and my wife (who has had trouble with martial arts teachers before) said that she felt the class was very accessible and had as much fun as I did, so--best Christmas present 2014! =)

 

Sifu did post a short video on Facebook, and he wants to make a couple of adjustments before putting in on YouTube. However, if you search for Twin Dragon Kung Fu on Facebook, you can check out his 43-second teaser video. It's pretty cool!

 

I did a meditation last night before bed, and another one this morning since I woke up on time. The 5 minute meditation feels nice and manageable for this first week, so I think I set that goal well. I got a Philips sunlight alarm for Christmas from my father-in-law, and it's amazing. I'm actually waking up before my alarm, because the light feels enough like sunrise. I'm hoping to use it to drive my wake-up time back toward 5AM, where I'm happiest.

 

Back to Kung Fu tonight, where I am 100% sure we will do something awesome.

 

Also, not related directly to this challenge but rather to my Epic Quest of weighing in under 200 lbs by next July: yesterday I came in at 233, down from 242 at the start of the last challenge. That's 9 lbs in 7 weeks... not bad at all! Three more and I will be the lightest that I have been in my adult life--my previous lowest weight was 230 back in 2004, when I was 19. Yeesh, that was a long time ago!

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

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I try not to bring the rest of my life into my challenges, but holy hell yesterday SUCKED at work. Massive issues, not my fault, that I'm sure are going to fall back on me. #ITlife

 

I was so stressed when I got home from work that I almost didn't eat dinner because I felt sick to my stomach. Then I went to Kung Fu, and somehow politics managed to come up during our stretching, which really didn't help my stress (god, how I hate politics.) The class was relatively subdued, and so I never really got my mind to fully click. Sigh. Well, not every day can be a good one, I guess.

 

Also, somehow during class last night I messed up one of my toes on my left foot--the same one I broke a few years back when I slammed it into a door frame. I'm guessing it must have been during one of the twists in my forms practice, and I'm not sure whether I just sprained it or re-broke it. It's swollen and red this morning, and hurts a lot to walk on. I've got it bandaged to the next one in line for now, hopefully that will help it heal more quickly. :/

 

I did have a successful meditation this morning, and then lost a game of Go to the computer by 1/2 point, which is pretty good. Time to work to make today a better day.

 

Heute ist immer besser als gestern.

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

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Ouch!  Sorry to hear about such a bad day.  Lord knows I've been there.  But the important part is that you didn't let a bad day at work be an excuse to miss class!  That's actually a pretty big deal.  Hope the toe heals up quick! 

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

 

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Ouch!  Sorry to hear about such a bad day.  Lord knows I've been there.  But the important part is that you didn't let a bad day at work be an excuse to miss class!  That's actually a pretty big deal.  Hope the toe heals up quick! 

 

 

Geh. Not good. But not every day can be. And what would a good day mean without something bad to contrast against?

 

Remember, your progress is a process, and it takes time, and even includes days like this one was. Shake it off. Hit it again.

 

 

You guys are great, thanks! =)

 

Yesterday did not suck as much as Wednesday. I basically took it as an off day and let myself recover a bit. My toe is only a little red and not overly swollen, so I'm thinking it might just be sprained and not re-fractured, which would be a good thing. I'm going to take it easy on my feet over the weekend, and talk to Sifu on Monday about possibly getting a pair of kwoon shoes to practice in until it's back to 100%.

 

My wife and I did a little bit of rehashing lightsaber class last night, although I plan to do more on my own (and possibly more with her) over the weekend to make sure I'm prepared for Tuesday.

 

Last night was my weekly gaming night, which is always fun. We've been playing a Castles & Crusades (basically one of the old-school D&D variants) campaign off-and-on for three or more years, and we're wrapping up the big climactic adventure before we move on to D&D 5E.

 

Today I got up on time even after being up late last night (this alarm clock is freaking amazing), did my meditation, and cranked out a bunch of pushups to get my blood flowing. I did knee pushups to spare my toe from the pressure of regular form ones, and I managed 35 before failure, waited 60 seconds, and did 10 more. It felt great.

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

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Hey, glad to find you doing another challenge!  Also congrats on the weight-loss.  And lightsaber class sounds like a blast!  What color would you lightsaber be if all options were available?

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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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Don't train to failure - train through failure. I like it. :) Hope that toe gets to feeling better soon.

 

I unwrapped it yesterday and so far so good. Still a little painful and red, but my walking is back to normal. I think it was just sprained, doesn't feel anywhere near bad enough to be a fracture.

 

 

Hey, glad to find you doing another challenge!  Also congrats on the weight-loss.  And lightsaber class sounds like a blast!  What color would you lightsaber be if all options were available?

 

Thank you sir! And re: lightsaber color... that's actually really tough! My ideal lightsaber would change color at the touch of a button so that I could always stay on top of my mood. =)

 

Although, if the company I got my lightsaber through had been able to produce a real yellow-gold, that is likely what I would have gone with. Unfortunately their only option was orange, which falls too far to dark side for me. My SWTOR Jedi carried a yellow saber from pretty much as early as you could get the yellow crystal. I went with green this time because green is my overall favorite color, and the green-blade-black-hilt combination nicely represents my favorite SW film: Return of the Jedi.

 

(Not the Ewoks. RotJ is my favorite because of the conflict scenes between Luke, Vader & the Emperor. In fact, I could pretty much leave the whole Endor thing behind forever.)

 

We'll see what happens if/when I get another.

 

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Okay, so, Week 1 recap.

 

SPIRIT

Total score: 9/7 5-minute meditation sessions. Killer!

 

SKILL

Total score: 3/3 Classes, plus a 1hr15-minute (Edit: math failz) bonus lightsaber session with my wife yesterday!

 

DISCIPLINE

Total score: 5/5 16-hour fasts

 

This week definitely rates a nice big A, despite a sucky Wednesday and a sprained toe. Plus, I'm already off to a good start for Week 2 with my first 6-minute meditation, and a 16-hour fast today!

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

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Wow, class last night was tough. TBH it felt more like an aerobic kickboxing class (which my Sifu also teaches, btw) than one of our normal Kung Fu sessions, but I'm not going to complain about a workout like that. I don't get them nearly often enough in my life, and even though it was brutally hard in the moment, I came away feeling wonderfully exhausted.

 

During my morning meditation today, I felt like I reached some new level, if only for a moment. After the gong marking the halfway point (I'm using an iPad meditation timer app that I really like) my breathing changed... somehow, I'm still not sure precisely how, but it slowed to perfectly even both in and out, and for somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds, I felt extraordinarily peaceful. Then my mind slipped onto something about the upcoming day, and I lost the moment, but it was really nice while it lasted. Maybe I'll find it again.

 

I almost broke down this morning and had breakfast... but then I re-engaged my discipline and declined. It's just coffee and water for me until lunchtime.

 

It feels like forever since last week's lightsaber class--I'm excited for tonight!

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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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Wow, class last night was tough. TBH it felt more like an aerobic kickboxing class (which my Sifu also teaches, btw) than one of our normal Kung Fu sessions, but I'm not going to complain about a workout like that. I don't get them nearly often enough in my life, and even though it was brutally hard in the moment, I came away feeling wonderfully exhausted.

 

During my morning meditation today, I felt like I reached some new level, if only for a moment. After the gong marking the halfway point (I'm using an iPad meditation timer app that I really like) my breathing changed... somehow, I'm still not sure precisely how, but it slowed to perfectly even both in and out, and for somewhere between 30 and 60 seconds, I felt extraordinarily peaceful. Then my mind slipped onto something about the upcoming day, and I lost the moment, but it was really nice while it lasted. Maybe I'll find it again.

 

I almost broke down this morning and had breakfast... but then I re-engaged my discipline and declined. It's just coffee and water for me until lunchtime.

 

It feels like forever since last week's lightsaber class--I'm excited for tonight!

 

Sounds great all around!  Way to go on the willpower too! 

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

 

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