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saroufall

Saroufall Trains With The Monks

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The Story                              

 

Cold. Teeth chattering, face numbing, finger freezing, cold. A lone traveler cloaked in furs and layers of cloth and leather, trekked up the snowy mountain face that seemed to stretch its point to the very clouds that hid the heavens. The bitter wind snapped at the pale features of his face like an overzealous drake determined to prove its draconic heritage in the presence of real dragons. The hike to the top of the mountain had taken him nearly three days to complete, and as he shuffled his boots through the knee deep snow he could only hope that, one way or another, his climb would soon come to an end.

 

Of course, it would have gone much quicker and easier if he just shifted into another form. Something with fur and loads of hair like that of a leonin or wolfman would have removed the threat of frost bite. Or even transforming to the less appealing but far more capable form of a mountain troll would have made the hike seem like a casual stroll on a sunny day. But no, the changeling had been warned that the monks would sense this deception and as such would refuse to take him in for training. So pulling his hood closer to his face, he pressed forward.

 

And almost like a mirage it appeared, steadfast and solitary against the backdrop of snowy white. The monastery stood defiant and silent. Its torches, flickering from the wind and cold, cast some light on the dark wood of the fortress and the two enormous gleaming gold doors at the front of it. With a breath of relief, that he watched dissipate, he brushed the icicles from his hair. Then the twin golden doors creaked open and out shuffled a lone man, small in stature and wrapped in brightly colored robes.

 

“Welcome, traveler. We have been waiting for you.â€

 

The changeling had heard of the mystic and awe inspiring abilities of the people he sought to train with, but still this surprised him. “You have?â€

 

A curt smile found its way to the face of the monk. “Of course,†he nodded. “We ordered the pizza hours ago.â€

 

“Err…†The traveler attempted to blink the confusion from his mind and the frost from his eyebrows. “I am Saroufall of the Ranger’s guild,†He professed.

 

The blind monk raised a single eyebrow as he scratched his bald head. “So…no pizza?â€

 

The changeling cocked his head to the side and bit his lip. “Well, umh,†He paused, eyes shifting side to side wondering if this was some kind of test for initiation. “No,†he shrugged.

 

A moment passed with complete silence as the wind cast curtains of snow between them. And then the bald little man shuffled back behind the mountainous doors, closing their golden grandness as he went.

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              The Challenge              

 

My son started taking Tang Soo Do lessons about 2 months ago. I know hes just begun but I absolutely love watching him progress through his discipline. And ever since I was a kid I’ve always had an interest in martial arts. So I’ve been thinking of signing up and joining him on the mats so that we could go on this journey together. But before I can decide to jump right into the deep end, I need to start conditioning my body. So heres the plan:

 

  1. The Strength of A Raging Fire (Complete 6 weeks of P90X3) 
  2. Swift As the Coursing River (Run 3 times per week)
  3. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken (Stretching for flexibility)
  4. Free Your Mind (Meditation)

 

P90X3

  • Continue following the Classic schedule
  • 6 workouts per week

 

Run

  • 3 runs per week
  • 10K
  • 5K with intervals
  • Short speed training session

 

Stretching

  • Follow full body stretch routine daily
  • 3 times per week focus on attempting to do a split

Meditation

  • Meditate daily
  • Start with 5 minute sessions in the first week
  • Add 90 seconds each week
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                                                    Grading

 

  1. The Strength of A Raging Fire (P90X3) +3 Str, +1 Sta
  2. Swift As the Coursing River (Run) +3Dex, +1 Sta
  3. Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken (Stretching for flexibility) +1 Dex, + 2 Wis
  4. Free Your Mind (Meditation) +2 Con, +2 Cha

 

 

*To be Updated

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Hey, welcome to the monks' guild! I'm not too familiar with Tang Soo Do, but a quick Wikipedia check says it shares some philosophy (and maybe some distant lineage) with Kung Fu, so it's like... second cousins, maybe? :D

 

We're pretty laid back around here, and we've got some great people who I'm sure will be dropping in to greet you as the challenge ramps up.

 

I'll tell you what--I started training Kung Fu six months ago as a 230-lb guy with no history of athleticism who couldn't do 50 jumping jacks in a row, and to tell you how much I've changed since then might not be believed. If you want to start learning a martial art, don't wait until the end of the challenge--just go start doing it, and your body will adapt. I'm living proof!

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Dude, seriously, like, we ordered those pizzas months ago.

 

I love this intro. This is fun. I like it. :)

 

I understand the desire to improve oneself and prove one's worthiness to enter onto the dojang. I really do. And if that's what you wanna do with the challenge, then hey. So be it. You got our support, and we'll be glad to have you. :)

 

On the other hand, though, don't be afraid to enter in. The best way to develop yourself in the athletic endeavor of your choice... is to do the athletic endeavor of your choice.

 

And if you choose to do that, then so be it. You got our support, and we'll be glad to have you. :D

 

Either way, welcome to the Monastery! Get ready to rock!

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Wow, guys thanks for the warm welcome! I'm looking forward to following along with your challenges and learning some new things along the way. I can't wait for this one to get started!

 

I've always kind of held myself back because I didn't think that my body was in good enough shape for certain activities. But it sounds like you guys are right. I think I might just take the plunge and commit to the dojang before this challenge is through. I mean, whats the worst that could happen - right? ...Right?

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Go ahead and try it.  If you're worried, maybe discuss your hesitations with the teachers and see what they say.  My guess is they'll be pretty reassuring about being able to work with where you're at now.  In my experience, a good dojo is about students meeting their individual challenges, and works hard to make training accessible to students of all fitness levels and ability/disability ranges.  And my experience is also that a lot of people show up for their first martial arts class out of shape.  For a small number of schools, that's not encouraged - schools with a heavy competition emphasis, I'd imagine - but for most, it's just where beginners start.  In adult classes, there are a lot of ordinary people walking in and starting.

 

(Also, if you're at a fitness level where six P90X classes and three serious runs a week are an achievable challenge, your fitness level is fine for a beginner's martial arts class.  Don't even worry about it.)

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(Also, if you're at a fitness level where six P90X classes and three serious runs a week are an achievable challenge, your fitness level is fine for a beginner's martial arts class.  Don't even worry about it.)

 

This. 110% this.

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Well the pre-challenge week is nearly up and I feel ready to tackle this one now. Just finished up week 8 of P90X3 so with the added bonus Elite Block I am now half way through the program! It was also a good week for running. Set a personal distance record with my first run of the week and went 7.6 miles. The second run of the week was a short 5K where I beat my mile by a second, and shaved 20 seconds off of my best 5K time. And then the last run was a slow 7.25 mile run in the rain. Not bad. My son tests for his yellow belt at the end of the month so I might chat up the instructor before then.

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Nice. Sounds like you're going to be coasting in on some positive momentum there. Very good, very good. Stay vigilant with yourself this weekend and hit it hard on Monday.

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Thanks guys, and I will most definitely check out his thread. I have to catch up on how everyone's first week went also!

 

That pre-challenge momentum came to a screeching halt Sunday morning. My first battle as a monk was with my most hated adversary, the stomach flu. It kept me out of commission for a few days which cost me two stretching sessions and a run. But I had to double up on the P90X3 workouts because, as a perfectionist, it would've drove me nuts to look at the calendar to see some workouts not crossed off. This was also my first attempt at meditation which, I have to admit, was a lot tougher than I expected! My mind was all over the place. Eh, with everything considered it ended up being an all right week. Week 2 better watch out because here I come!

 

Week 1 Recap

  • P90X: 6/6
  • Runs: 2/3
  • Stretch: 4/6
  • Meditation: 4/6
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Meditation is funny that way. You start out with this idea that you're supposed to still your mind, but as you practice you find that it's less about fighting for that stillness and more about becoming gently aware of yourself. It's weird, but it works.

 

Geez, and you got all this done with a bout of the stomach flu? Dang. That would have laid me out for sure. Tough work! I like it.

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Geez, and you got all this done with a bout of the stomach flu? Dang. That would have laid me out for sure. Tough work! I like it.

 

QFT. 

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Week 2. Day 2

Today’s run was a disaster. It was too darn hot and too damn humid. By the time I was done I looked like I had been pushed into a pool with all my clothes on. The plan was to go 7.5 miles but I had to cut it short because I was worried that I was over heating. I went 5.25 so I guess that’s better than nothing.

 

Then it was time for P90X3. Today's workout: MMX. To help make up for the earlier failure I decided to step it up. So for the mixed martial arts inspired workout I donned a pair of weighted gloves and ankle weights. I didn't realize how just adding just a bit of extra weight for the duration of the workout would really tire out the muscles. Keeping my hands up became a challenge all by itself but then making sure my form didn't worsen was the real workout.

 

Today's stretches focused on the splits. I've got a looooong way to go but I feel like I'm already able to sink lower than I was able to two weeks ago.

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I've run into that humidity problem myself. It's manageable for a mile and a half or so, but much farther than that and I'd be a walking dead man! =)

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Humidity sucks, but working through it will make you tougher, I promise you that.

 

Also, be careful with the weights. They can make you stronger in terms of punching and kicking, but your technique has to be absolutely perfect or else you risk joint damage in a lot of places. It's up to you as to how you do this, although given P90X's emphasis on trying to completely fatigue you, it may not be wise to pursue something so technically demanding.

 

It's your call. Hope you're feeling good today!

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Thanks guys! Sometimes my ambition exceeds my logic. 

 

WEEK 2. DAY 4

Anyway, to start the recount of day four let me start by saying that I haven't always had a healthy relationship with food. And I just recently received some bad news about work. I almost slipped into an old habit where I would've buried my feelings beneath everything edible in the house and within a four block radius. Fast food has a way of dulling the pain while clogging the arteries - who knows, maybe the two are connected? But in a surprise non-scale victory I took out some aggression on my dumbbells and then laced up my sneakers and ran until my mind was clear (7.3 miles). I may not be feeling on top of the world about the work situation, but I feel pretty darn well about myself and that is a step in the right direction.

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I'm sorry to hear about the work thing.  I don't know what it is, and don't need to know, but it sounds like you handled it the right way.  I've definitely fallen down that fast food rabbit hole myself.  It's dark and scary.  Way to go picking up the weights and going for a run instead! 

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