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Rogue Jedi Redux: Kyellan Outruns the Horde


Kyellan

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Episode III: Kyellan Outruns the Horde

 

I came to this deserted world to seek harmony,

a place where I could find silence, peace and solitude.

 

I found what I sought, but I did not know that this world

is the farthest thing from deserted. I hear them now. Were

they in some kind of hibernation? Some strange quiescence

which my presence has disturbed?

 

I am far from my ship. I hear their screams,

the hunting cries. They hunger for flesh. Mine.

My only choice is to trust in the Force and myself.

 

I must run.

 

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

 

So, the plan for this challenge is to start running. I've decided that it would be a good thing to be able to run 5k, so that's my preliminary goal. However, I'm currently partially hobbled by a hip injury that's been plaguing me for a few weeks (seems to be tendonitis, according to Google Diagnosis [not really a thing]) which means that I need to be careful not to further injure myself in the process.

 

I am considering Kung Fu 2x/week and Lightsaber 1x/week as my baseline, so this running is on top of my usual monk practice. That takes priority, which means if the injury becomes a problem, it's the running that gives way and not my martial arts training.

 

I did a 'test run' today and managed a mile or so in about 16 minutes (very relaxed running pace, obv) without harming anything, which gives me hope that I might actually be able to do this, as long as I take it easy. And easy is how I shall take it!

 

I'm not looking to become a marathon runner. I just want to be able to do it if I need to or want to.

 

Given all of this, I'm going to keep the goals simple and easily attainable this time, because I really really want to avoid further injury.

 

My original plan was to pick up a Couch to 5K app, but I'm worried that it might lead me to pressing too hard to keep up with it. If I were uninjured, that's what I would do, but given the circumstances, I'd rather work up to that.
 

So, without further ado:

 

Goal 1: Run 3 miles per week

 

Goal 2: Stretch after every run, focusing on legs/ankles/etc

 

That's it.

 

As usual, I'll keep up my challenge thread with Kung Fu and lightsaber insights in addition to running stuff.

 

If anyone has any suggestions for their favorite Android app for run tracking, I'm open to ideas. I have absolutely zero bias in the matter, so give me your best pitch!

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

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Well, with any luck, I'll be able to help fend off the force zombies with my newly-forming staff-fighting skills! We've just begun an intensive staff fighting curriculum at Kung Fu, which will culminate in my learning the Northern Shaolin Monkey King staff style! :D

 

So now I'm hunting for a good staff. Wish me luck!

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

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Keep it simple and take it easy, and I see no reason why you couldn't rock this out. Just remember to take it slow and to only gradually increase your pace or your distance. Should be fine.

 

FORCE ZOMBIES. That is a truly frightening concept. Brrr.

 

What he said.  Subbing for awesomeness.  

 

Well, with any luck, I'll be able to help fend off the force zombies with my newly-forming staff-fighting skills! We've just begun an intensive staff fighting curriculum at Kung Fu, which will culminate in my learning the Northern Shaolin Monkey King staff style! :D

 

So now I'm hunting for a good staff. Wish me luck!

 

Sweet!  Fair warning, though.  Lightsaber staffs have very little in common with the standard Bo staff.  Not being able to grab the ends totally changes how you have to use the weapon.  

"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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Sweet!  Fair warning, though.  Lightsaber staffs have very little in common with the standard Bo staff.  Not being able to grab the ends totally changes how you have to use the weapon.  

 

Yeah, my Sifu was planning (not sure if he still is) on making a custom lightsaber with a sliding second handle so that some of the Monkey King techniques could be used. Definitely can't use most Monkey King moves on a standard lightsaber staff, since all the rotation has to come from the middle. Oh, also, don't cut your arms off when you try to use them as leverage for a strike. :D

 

But hey, even a Jedi occasionally has to go incognito, and being able to use a vibrostaff as a backup weapon is never a bad idea. =)

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

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Brilliant!

 

Also, that explains why my Sifu immediately replaced the blades of his staff with the short "initiate" 24" blades. He actually has one of those Cicada Wing swords at the kwoon. His saberstaff is now a long handle with shorter blades, very much akin to that Kung Fu weapon... and now I understand exactly why! =)

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

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Great!  My first thought when they mentioned the wing blade was that he had a Bat'leth.  Haha.  But it totally makes sense to use the Cicada Wing as an anagram.  Can't grab its blades either.  

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

 

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Awesome theme and intro! I'll be following along to watch your progress. My favorite app for tracking runs has been the Nike+ Running app. It seems to be pretty accurate. But don't push yourself too hard, you've got this!

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Level 5 Changeling Ranger


STR:13 | DEX:14  | STA:14  | CON: | WIS:10 | CHA:5


"Success is not final, failure is not fatal."


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I wish this had been a challenge weekend, heh. I did SO MUCH STUFF on Saturday, it's crazy.

 

Highlights: started my day with a 1.31 mile run with a per mile time of 13:43. I'm not breaking any records, but I felt like I kept up a good pace and wasn't dying by any means. I've decided to use Runkeeper to start with, solely because I have a couple of runner friends who also use that one. I have no major complaints, but if I run into a problem I'll probably try out the Nike+ app that Saroufall mentioned above, because I've heard good things about it.

 

I decided that my reward for my last challenge is to establish a meditation space in my newly cleaned office. One of the things I want to put in this space is a smallish, very low table to hold maybe a little tabletop Zen garden and a few other things. Browsing the Internet quickly disabused me of the idea that I would ever find the right one to buy, so I've decided to build one. I made a trip to a local hardwood lumber shop on Saturday morning, and found the most beautiful piece of Tigerwood. It was about 9 feet long and an inch thick, so I bought the whole thing. This is what it looks like standing in my garage:

 

tigerwood-1.jpg

 

That's just raw and dried, nothing treated yet. It's going to be freakin' beautiful once it's turned into a table and oiled properly.

 

While I was there at the hardwood store, I also found another piece of tigerwood which was approximately 4 1/2" wide and 2" thick. Since I knew I needed a staff for learning Monkey King, I picked up that piece as well:

 

tigerwood-2.jpg

 

After getting home from the hardwood store, we turned around and headed straight up to Lightsaber Dueling Day. It was a good one--we did point sparring for the first time, and quickly learned how different it is when you're really trying to tag first and not get tagged yourself. Continuous sparring is more fun, but I think I learned more from the points.

 

Also, for the first time at a lightsaber event, Sifu picked up two short blades and offered to spar with somebody. You bet I jumped right in on that one. Totally different experience, taking one weapon against two. My best defense was just to keep my blade moving in circles and never stop. I deflected both of his a couple times by following through on the block, and I scored a very clean point on him as well. Made my day ^.^

 

After dinner, I went over to my friend Fred's house (he has a tablesaw) and we cut the first staff out of that second piece of Tigerwood. I'm pretty sure we can get another staff out of it, but we were losing the light and didn't want to push our good luck. After some experimentation, we got a really nice octagonal staff from that piece of tigerwood. Here it is before any sanding or anything:

 

tigerwood-octagon.jpg

 

I spent some time yesterday sanding it and rubbed it down with some mineral oil. It's heavy for a wood staff, but it's solid and feels great in the hands. All it took was some light sanding with 150 grade and the wood already felt velvet smooth and worn, that perfect feeling that really nice wood gets when it's treated properly. I don't have an updated photo of where it's at, but I'll take one more before I varnish it to protect the wood from combat. I'm a bit sad that I have to use the polyurethane on it, because the wood is so nice all on its own, but I'd rather have it last longer for combat practice.

 

TL;DR--crazy weekend! Hope everybody else had a great one as well =)

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

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Great weekend!!  That table is going to be amazing.  

 

And dueling against two blades!!  Damn.  As always, I'm jealous.  From a novices point of view, I would imagine that footwork would be extremely important as well.  

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

 

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That is going to be beautiful when you're finished!

 

Hmm, fighting someone with dual weapons would be really neat. 

 

I'm really excited to build the table and finish the staff--I love this tigerwood stuff. It's heavy, warm and just a little unusual. I really like things that are unusual--using regular old cherry wood or something would have bored me! =)

 

Fighting with one weapon against two was really an interesting experience. I highly recommend it if you ever get the chance. In practice, of course! :D

 

 

Great weekend!!  That table is going to be amazing.  

 

And dueling against two blades!!  Damn.  As always, I'm jealous.  From a novices point of view, I would imagine that footwork would be extremely important as well.  

 

So, I took a few minutes in a CAD program and whipped up this design. It may not be 100% final, but I'm going to aim for something like this.

 

tabledesign.jpg

 

Simple, but should be both functional and attractive. We'll see if reality can live up to computer-generated fantasy. :D

 

And yes, footwork was definitely vital. I was doing my best to ensure that I was constantly moving in all of my sparring rounds this time. I have a tendency to be heavy and planted on my feet during both Kung Fu and Lightsaber sparring, mostly because I've been a heavy guy for the majority of my life. So I was trying to be a bit more... springy, I guess, and it was definitely good for both my offense and my defense.

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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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So, I took a few minutes in a CAD program and whipped up this design. It may not be 100% final, but I'm going to aim for something like this.

 

tabledesign.jpg

 

Simple, but should be both functional and attractive. We'll see if reality can live up to computer-generated fantasy. :D

 

And yes, footwork was definitely vital. I was doing my best to ensure that I was constantly moving in all of my sparring rounds this time. I have a tendency to be heavy and planted on my feet during both Kung Fu and Lightsaber sparring, mostly because I've been a heavy guy for the majority of my life. So I was trying to be a bit more... springy, I guess, and it was definitely good for both my offense and my defense.

 

Looks good!!  For the supports under the top of the table, running lengthwise, might I suggest making them long-ways triangular, if that makes sense?  With the it's smooth out the transition from the table top to the underside.  

 

For the sparing, how about lateral movement?  Maybe it's just my "style" (or lack thereof), but I'd probably try to move sideways as much, or more, than I move in/out.  

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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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Gave the staff its first trial run last night at Kung Fu. It's heavy, but I like that. It's solid, absorbs vibration well, and suffered zero cosmetic blemishes, despite the fact that it's only oiled (not shellacked) and was used in semi-vigorous two-man training drills. I am impressed with its heft and durability. I've got to trim down the length and maybe sand it some more before I finally coat it with polyurethane to protect it.

 

So far, for an on-the-spot decision based mostly on the color and attractiveness of the wood (plus a Wikipedia consultation which told me that Tigerwood is roughly in the same vein as hickory when it comes to hardness and durability, and I know that hickory is considered excellent for staff work) I am quite happy with how it turned out. I'm definitely going to turn the other half of the piece into a second staff. Whether it goes to my Si-hing Fred (I offered it to him in exchange for the use of his tools) or turns into a second one for me, I will be very happy to get two finished staves out of that piece of wood.

 

Honestly, I enjoyed the process so much that I'm considering buying a table saw and working some other woods as well. The hardwood store had some nice hickory boards, as well as more exotic (and expensive!) ones if I wanted to try my hand at it. A bloodwood staff, for example, would be expensive, but would probably look amazing, as it's a deep russet color even wholly unpolished.

 

1528.jpg

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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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Looks good!!  For the supports under the top of the table, running lengthwise, might I suggest making them long-ways triangular, if that makes sense?  With the it's smooth out the transition from the table top to the underside.  

 

For the sparing, how about lateral movement?  Maybe it's just my "style" (or lack thereof), but I'd probably try to move sideways as much, or more, than I move in/out.  

 

Yeah, I like the look of the triangular shape better--I'm just not sure if it would have enough structural integrity to properly secure the legs and hold the whole thing up. Also would be trickier to keep glued in place. I'll talk with my brother (the woodworking expert) about it and we'll see what we can come up with ^.^

 

Yes, lateral movement is definitely important. Most of our more 'comfortable' students (namely, the adults) spend a lot of time circling around each other as much as they strike in and out. The key is moving more rapidly and fluidly in any direction, but not moving too much, because you also don't want to wear yourself out against your opponent's defense!

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

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Monk Arts and Crafts. I like this. :)

 

Also, that bloodwood staff would probably look pretty amazing... could you use it in training?

 

Heh, I've always had a thing for making my own stuff. I'd rather construct than buy if possible. =) I think it goes back to my love for building my own computers. Customization and personalization mean a lot to me.

 

Bloodwood is supposedly even harder than Tigerwood, according to the Janka scale of hardness--so, possibly, yes. It would depend largely on the texture and polish that I could get out of it, and whether it was prohibitively heavy or difficult to work with during the sawing and sanding process. Probably the only way to know for sure is to lay out $50 or so for a nice piece and give it a try, which I may well do in the coming weeks or months.

 

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

 

Lightsaber class was good, and seemed extra fun for some reason. Maybe everybody was just in a good mood. We did some partner technique practice and then got shot at with Nerf darts for blaster blocking practice/fun. I need to do that more often, because I still reflexively squeeze my eyes shut when a dart is flying at my face, even when I'm wearing goggles. As it turns out, seeing is important for blocking stuff. :D

 

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

 

Warm-up run #3 stats:

 

1.22 miles

15:49 duration

12:56 minutes/mile

 

Decreased my per mile time almost a full minute. The run was a little shorter as I took a different route, but I probably could have gone longer if necessary.

 

My first sub-goal is 2 full miles under 13:30. First I've got to make it to 2 full miles, then I'll work on the time. ^.^

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

Challenges

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Take your time with that running. Remember: this is a high-impact activity, and it has the potential to derail your objectives in your chosen pursuit.

 

You're probably in the noob-gains stage of running, where you could take off your shoes and lose a minute or so. Just be careful with how aggressively you pursue the running.

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I'm not looking to become a marathon runner. I just want to be able to do it if I need to or want to.

 

tumblr_m85e0xJ6CZ1rqfhi2o1_500.gif

 

Running from natives, are we?  I can apprecaite the "Run so you can" vibe.

 

Also yea.  Jelly of the table and the staff.

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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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So, my first official challenge run will be tomorrow. It's looking like I'm going to aim in general for a Tues/Thurs/Sat(?) schedule, which should click mostly nicely with my Mon/Tue/Wed Kung Fu/Lightsaber schedule. Last week, when I ran the same day as a Kung Fu night, I had trouble keeping up at class, which I definitely don't want to happen. So, scheduling!

 

Had a massive overload of schoolwork this past weekend that kept me from doing most anything interesting, although thankfully the schoolwork itself was not deadly dull. I'm finishing up my last two classes for my bachelor's degree, and this week was "Hey! We know you haven't done ANY programming at all in your degree program so far, but prototype these five things by the end of next week, mmk? Oh, and then do it AGAIN in HTML!" x.x

 

Yesterday the wife and I went out in the backyard with our lightsabers and helmets and gloves (same equipment we use in class), and did some backyard dueling practice. It was great fun and nobody got hurt ^.^ Have I mentioned that I married very well? :D

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

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