Belated training roundup :)

It’s a little belated, but I thought I’d do a round-up of last week’s training πŸ™‚

Was a really good session, especially since it’s been a few weeks since I last trained. I worked hard, and we covered some really good ground. I’ve also started on learning my new syllabus, which is a mixture of old techniques refined further, as well as new techniques and combinations. I feel a little unco at this point, but to be honest, it’s only been one lesson, so I think it’s a little stupid to assume I’m going to get it first up πŸ™‚

We also did some really awesome two-person drills involving striking/blocking/countering combinations. It was a little different to some of the typical drills I’ve done in the past which were relatively static block/counter, rinse and repeat. The drills we did relied on flowing from defense/offense, starting with parry, flow though with a block to control the opponents arm… then something else ( πŸ˜‰ ), then strike your partner and they do the same thing. I’m definitely not doing the drill justice here, but the end result was that the drill started resembling kenpo and some Chinese martial arts rather than “traditional” karate… which it turns out was Sensei’s intention all along, so I felt a bit clever afterwards for picking up on what he was aiming to get us to see in the drills we were doing.

Another part of the good stuff that came out of the lesson was that I got to train with one of our brown belts, and he’s keen on pushing things a bit harder in class, which is perfect as I’m always up for challenging myself. Typically in these kind of blocking drills you habitually mangle your forearms through all the striking. Back when I used to train in the previous style, if I was doing these drills with Jyastin-kun, Tank or Buu-Adam we’d normally go pretty full-on and come out with crazy bruised arms and stuff, and it was a stack of fun. While my arms are only mildly bruised (indicating that I think I need to do more body-conditioning training, which I’m pretty sure Sensei’s keen to increasingly put into our training in class, so fingers crossed!), it was good fun, but I definitely could do with going through these drills more often. Same for my shin as well, it could probably do with getting used to being bashed about a bit more often πŸ™‚

So yeah, great training – looking forward to training again this week πŸ™‚

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Weight watching

So there are two reasons I habitually check on my weight:

Number one, I’m vain πŸ˜‰ I was a bit of a chubber when I was a kid, and got sick of it when I was around 15 and went on a crash, anally retentive diet for about 12 months. No snacks, smaller portions, exercise, no dessert, stuff like that. It ended up working – between a couple of growth spurts and a serious change in diet, I shed all the weight over a year, and managed to keep it off while my metabolism continued to kick in. Thankfully for me, despite my good dieting habits taking a bit of a dive during Uni (cheap meal deals at Hungry Jacks and a fresh doughnut place at the train station were good fun ;)), I managed to keep it all off throughout my studies and until I graduated and moved out. True, looking at some photos of when Wifey and I first moved in together I was definitely too skinny, but anywho, I managed to kick the fatty gene.

Number two, keeping your weight steady is *essential* as an amputee. The socket has to fit the form of your body, so if you drop too much weight or stack on too much, your prosthesis isn’t going to fit because your body shape changes in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways. Thankfully you normally get some warning – the prosthesis starts slipping off your stump or won’t sit on it correctly, you get chaffing, skin breakdown, stuff like that.

Note that I said “steady” up there – you get problems if you drop too much weight as well as put it on, in that the prosthesis just falls off in addition to all the rubbing and chafing! Mind, all that’s needed in order to fix this is to have a new socket moulded, but it depends on what you’re doing – if you’re trying to loose weight, it’s all good, but if you start stacking on the weight (and you don’t need the extra kilos), it’s the start of a slippery slope – it gets harder to walk, you might eventually get into strife trying to find a knee and ankle/foot that’ll support your weight, and the cycle hits pretty hard the further you go. As those who have been/are overweight know, it’s harder to exercise when you’re heavier, which makes it even more difficult if you’re an amputee *and* you’re overweight. Hence why I take it seriously and keep an eye on it.

In terms of my weight (moving on from my teen years), things started getting interesting once I started nearing my mid-20s and I found the weight was starting to roll back on, especially over the 12 months I had off from training around 2005/2006 (hit the archives for details – here’s the lot, most recent entry first). So, to keep it at bay and get back on track, shortly after moving into our current place I started keeping track of my weight each week. I had a few aims behind this – I wanted to trim some excess weight (particularly around my belly and waist), get back into my weight training and continue to intensify my karate training. With my weight, I was aiming to bring myself down to about 70kg (remember that I’m not that tall, coming at around 5’8″!) despite the fact that the weight training was going to pack on extra weight as well (muscle weighs more than fat, or so popular opinion tells me!), which would mean that theoretically I’d shed more fat weight by combining it with increasing my muscle mass at the same time.

So this brings us back to now – while I’m not too sure what my muscle mass is sitting at since I haven’t done any intense weight training in about a month, at my last weigh-in I was a hair’s breath away from my goal weight, so I’m pretty chuffed with myself at this stage. Funnily enough I’ve still got my damn love handles, but hopefully if I continue on, start up my weight training again next week (now my thumb’s sorted itself which means I can lift the bar without worrying about splitting the wound), kick in with intense, focused training at karate and some extra stretching and exercise between these (such as taking the dog for an extra walk or two), I might eventually get rid of them πŸ˜‰

… and that ends my jumbled rant about weight, amputees, and another one of my stories πŸ˜‰

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Change of seasons… or is it???

Last week I was going to write a post about how the seasons have started to change, the days are starting to get a little bit longer, the evening’s are a touch warmer and it’ll make it easier as a result to get back into a solid training routine… and now I’m staring out the window, it’s pitch black with cloud cover, pouring down with rain, and there are gale-force winds outside… there goes that idea πŸ™‚

Doesn’t mean I can’t talk about the up-coming change though! While I’ve always loved winter (best weather for sleeping in!), I’m looking forward to the warmer weather in the hopes it’ll help encourage me to do more intensive workouts. I love building up a massive sweat while training, regardless if it’s in the dojo or on the bench, so it’ll be good to get back into it. Mind, I’m also impatient to get back into training since it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve allowed myself to train as my mangled thumb’s almost healed up (finally!!). Will be fine for going to karate this week, though the thumb’s not as flexible as it was before I mangled it. I’m sure it’ll be back to normal soon though!

In fact, will have to make some time to do some deep leg stretching over the next couple of days – will help with my kicks this week, I don’t want to look too rubbish at class! Will also look up my next kata on YouTube to get started on learning the basic forms in prep for training.

And the best part is that it’ll help Wifey remain sane – I’ve started doing karate all around the house again, and I think she’s getting sick of all those stomping noises I make when I practice my techniques whilst walking around the house πŸ˜‰

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Giving the blog a facelift

I’ve been toying with the idea for a little while now about giving the blog a facelift and incorporate a few new tricks I’ve picked up over the last couple of months toying with a bit of ASP, implementing some jQuery scripts and picking up a few advanced-ish CSS tricks at work…

And yes, I know that WordPress uses PHP as its main scripting language, but some of the principles behind scripting within ASP (though to be honest, I actually cut my teeth on XSLT, and everything’s been a bit easier to understand since then!) can still be applied to PHP – a scripting language is a scripting language, you learn some of the principles and apply it to the situation, and sometimes your code works, sometimes (more often since I’m still learning!) it kinda breaks everything πŸ˜‰ Or is that just me? I guess that’s the problem when you’re a bit of a self-taught backyarder when it comes to coding πŸ™‚

Anywho, I’ll probably start toying with some ideas for design changes and some new functions/features soon-ish. If anyone knows of any really progressive and stylish blogs or blog designs (self-promotion is fine ;)), let me know in the comments. I don’t know when I’ll put time aside to start fleshing out some new ideas and compile some new toys for the blog, but I figured if I actually post about it, it might encourage me to actually do something about it instead of just thinking about it πŸ˜‰ Plus I haven’t built a local testbed since re-installing my O/S a while back, so I’ll have to get off my behind and get onto that too!

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Amputee country driving

Wifey and I took a trip to the country to escape from things for a few days recently. It’s been a few years since we last jumped out that way, and it’s definitely been the first time in a while (and possibly since starting this blog) since I’ve spent a couple of hours at the wheel driving in a single hit.

Mind, the drive wasn’t too shabby at all – Wifey and I loaded the car up with tragic 80s tunes (bad habit, tragic 80s seems to suit country driving :)), so it was good fun πŸ™‚ I did find though, rolling towards the end of trip, that my stump was getting a bit grumpy from sitting still for so long (probably didn’t help that we went straight from work, and I’d been sitting on my arse at work for about 8 hours before we headed out!). The angry muscles were along the base of the stump, my left hip and a little higher into the waist – it was nothing serious mind, but it was definitely there.

Anywho, this presented an issue – how do you stretch the stump out when it’s held inside an airtight socket, and there’s not exactly a whole lot you can do with your prosthesis when you’re driving!

What I ended up doing was clenching/flexing the muscles around my stump to start with, tilted my hips slowly left and right, and then gently twisted my stump to the left and right in the socket. Wasn’t much, but it did the job and took the strain off the muscles.

I think the reason it worked was because while the motions weren’t that big, they involved stretching the muscles relatively deeply from a restricted sitting position; the restricted position meant that the body didn’t have the ability to move with the motions, so they were all built on resisting other muscles.

… or at least I think that’s the theory behind it πŸ˜‰ I’m sure those more in the know with muscles/physiology/anatomy will not only be able to dispute my theory, but possibly say I’m doing the wrong thing too! πŸ™‚

Mind, I also might have described things really badly too πŸ˜‰ Still, for other amputees involved with road trip or country driving, the above might prove useful!

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