Getting back into a routine

Well, we’re into September now and I still haven’t gotten into a decent/consistent routine of doing proper training between classes. It’s been a very wet six weeks which certainly hasn’t helped (though I’m not knocking the rain, it’s normally so dry down here it’s nice for a change!!), as I actually train in my nice big shed, but since it isn’t sealed around the base, when the weather gets really wet, I get some leaking around the area I work out in, which is far from a safe training environment (and as I’ve noted various times in this blog, I’m a little accident-prone :P). There’s also been other commitments that have come up after work, I’ve been distracted by a few things, I’ve been slack, stuff like that. None of it is any real, super-legitimate excuse though, and it’s proving hard to break the temptation of taking it easy after a busy day at the office and get into the shed for some training.

Fingers crossed the weather clears up a little so I can cross at least excuse off my list and get back into a decent routine. I know that as soon as I start it, I’ll be fine, it’s just breaking that habit. I’m particularly keen to get back into my stretching and weights routine in order to improve my kicks and build up my muslce mass again, and because I’m vain, I’m also looking forward to flattening my stomach again – the combination of cakes during the week and beer over the last couple of weekends while I was helping McAdam paint/renovate/move in have made my mid-section a little more plump than I’d otherwise care for πŸ˜‰ I was watching videos of Kanazawa-sensei performing my kata via YouTube last night, and it’s demonstrated I have a long, long way to go in getting it right, so some extra training of kata couldn’t hurt, either.

We’ll see how I go – will post up some progress reports as I go!

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Hints on how to be an urban ninja

That’s a catchy title for what is a really interesting post at The Martial Explorer titled “How to hide in plain sight”. While Jesse’s not in any way suggesting urban ninja action, I thought that the principles there sound like something from an awesome urban ninja film, possibly set in 1980s California or New York, with bad hair and guitar-laden power-ballads πŸ˜€

But enough of the silliness, some of the things he writes about are very useful in an urban context, particularly his final point on blending into your environment so that you don’t present yourself as a target – I remember years ago reading material on self defense and preventative actions you can take to ensure you make yourself less of a target to someone looking for trouble, and a lot of it falls back to what Jesse’s talked about in his post. It’s short and snappy, and while it doesn’t have any images of ninjas in the post, the content makes for an excellent read. Because of my leg and the associated limp that comes with it, I try and use other aspects of my body language to play-down my presence if I’m concerned about my safety, whether it be by matching pace with other people, working hard to minimise the limp, presenting myself as a confident individual (head up, back straight, impassive face, stuff like that), etc. Not sure if it’s ever made a difference, but it’s probably good habit nonetheless!

The only point I would add to or emphasise from his post is to make extended use of your senses – sight (again, using your eyes and peripheral vision, not necessarily your head), hearing (it’s amazing what you can pick up on if you attune your hearing appropriately), and your gut instinct, because sometimes you can pick up on a potentially dangerous situation without “logically” determining it, and it’s worthwhile paying attention to it.

Mind, if you’re a bit on the paranoid side, you’ll find your gut instinct can sometimes get a little jumpy πŸ˜‰ At least that’s my experience!

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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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Martial arts… gardening?

Okay, bear with me on this one – a few weeks ago, I convinced my Dad it would be an awesome idea to come over and help me do some gardening. I wasn’t talking about your run of the mill weeding/potting gardening – I had more destructive things in mind πŸ™‚

Chainsaw cutting concrete
I didn’t know chainsaws could cut concrete – thanks Wikipedia!

Chainsawing stuff is awesome fun – Dad brought over his light-duty chainsaw, his crazy hedge trimmer and some other gardening toys and the two of us proceeded to do some boring stuff (weeding) and awesome stuff (chopped down several trees and bushes). To my credit, I didn’t even mangle myself, despite Wifey being in a panic the whole day, worried I was going to give myself a stupid injury πŸ˜‰

Anywho, to bring things back to being an amputee and a martial artist – I found a lot of things helped get through the day because of my training. Strong stances meant I could get down low to rip up tree trunks without falling face-first into the dirt (which would be funny, just not terribly productive!), breathing and body conditioning meant I could carry heavy weights around the garden and plonk stuff into the trailer without causing any pain or strain on my back whatsoever, and through the training that has helped me be more nimble on my feet, I didn’t stumble or fall once, regardless of where I might have been standing or my footing.

So it’s a bit arbitrary, but there’s definitely a connection there – good martial arts training lends itself to plenty of other applications in life, and as an amputee, by extension it helps you keep up with the rest of the able-bodied community πŸ˜€

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Blog roundup (week ending 12 June, 2009)

It’s getting late and I have an early start tomorrow, but wanted to post at least something remotely worthwhile before I went to bed:

The Martial Explorer: Project Natal
Jesse over at The Martial Explorer has two posts (here and here) on Microsoft’s new Project Natal tech they demo’d at E3 last week-ish. Being a bit of a nerd, I didn’t really take much interest in it at first, but I’m now intrigued with the possibilities. Mind, the same promises of this kind of control were made with the Powerglove, Sega Activator (I bet nobody saw that reference coming!), EyeToy, EyeToy 2 and the Wii, so we’ll see how it goes. MA stuff could go quite well if the canned footage is anything to go by, and it’d be nice to see some more XNA love for indie developers and this kind of tech getting filtered onto XBLA or something. I guess time will tell!

Wim’s blog: Martial-intent, Maori-style
Wim’s got a great post on martial intent and its importance in training, with some great demonstrations of the precept in action. It’s gotten me to thinking that this might be something I have traditionally missed during previous sparring training, and will keep in mind as I continue my training. I’m sure I can find it somewhere, surely it’s lurking somewhere amongst my general placidity πŸ˜›

Oh yeah, and Wim’s giving away free stuff as part of promoting his mailing list. Click here for more details and to sign up if you’re interested! Free stuff is always good πŸ™‚

Black Belt Mama: Karate from an Outsider’s Perspective
I’ll keep this one bookmarked – BBM’s invited Lauren Balogh (of travel blog Get Fox’d) to give a guest post on the BBM blog. It is a brilliant piece on the nature of a martial arts as an art, and on karate in particular. The next time you get a funny or awkward look from a friend/colleague/family member/dude on the street when you tell them you do karate or martial arts, point them in this direction. Thanks to Lauren for posting her thoughts, and for BBM for giving her the stage to share it with the rest of us. You can read the post in full and leave comments here.

Oh, and Lauren gets extra points because she thinks Australia is awesome, even if she neglected to mention that I’m of course one of the contributors to this country’s inherent awesomeness.

Mind, I’m also prone to moments of delusion caused by illusions of personal grandeur. Keep this in mind when considering the previous comment about my personal level of importance and/or awesomeness in relation to this country πŸ˜€

Well, that should do it! I’m off to bed now, good night!

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