March is off to a good start

Well, so far I’m actually doing what I set out to do this month and have started exercising between classes. My in-laws recently moved interstate, and my father-in-law has passed along his old weights and benches to me before they made the move (along with his blower-vac, which should make cleaning the floor of the shed much easier now!), so I’ve got some new additions to my setup. I’ve also put my boxing station together, and while it isn’t bolted into the floor as securely as I’d like, I’ve piled on plenty of weights on each corner to stabilise it for the moment (I need a slightly wider masonary drill bit to finish the work) and it’s behaving itself. At the moment I’m starting off each session with a short workout on the bag to loosen the muscles up, then crunches and leg lifts before getting into light weight training, alternating exercises during the week to target specific areas (chest and torso/arms/shoulders/etc). At the end, I’ve tried to slip in a little bit of lighter bag work, but so far it’s been pretty crappy since I’ve been a bit exhausted afterwards 😛

I’m not aiming to bulk up too much, primarily I’m looking at increasing muscle mass to the point of being toned and with a degree of greater physical strength. I realise there’s a correlation between size and speed when it comes to martial arts, so my aim is to hopefully balance things correctly (as opposed to over-doing the weight training and becoming a sluggish meat-head :P). At the same point though, because of my condition I don’t have the same level of agility that an able-bodied martial artist would have, so I figure the increased muscle around my chest, back and torso will help to deflect at least part of the damage caused by a blow (i.e. the ‘suit of armour’ concept — turn the muscles into an organic suit of armour to withstand strikes where possible). It will also mean that, in combination with proper technique and correct use of biomechanics, I could deliver greater impact with a strike to make it count.

Plus, I find it an enjoyable way to augment my training – it builds up a sweat, normally leaves me feeling pretty knackered afterwards, and is hopefully going to reduce the amount of ‘padding’ around my midsection 🙂 I think the really good part is integrating bag work in there, and down the road I’d also like to put together a makiwara so I can alternate or complement bag training with makiwara work too.

So yeah, so far so good, but we’re only two days in 🙂 My muscles are really sore at the moment, but I’m of the opinion that the best way to loosen up sore muscles is to give them a workout, so I’ll be looking forward to training tonight, especially since I missed it last week because of my mangled stump. I’ll add another post before the end of the week with a roundup of tonight’s training for those interested.

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Archive: Lift some steaks, eat some weights

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 18 May, 2007

You know, I don’t even know the name of the song that aforementioned quip is from. All I know is that I keep on seeing it on VH1. Oh, and the correct line is ‘lift some weights, eat some steaks’ hahahaha, it’s sooooo bad! Except the random board kicking in the clip was cool. And the slapper girls in it are amusing as well.

Anyway, the reason for the title is because I did weight training last night. Nothing terribly intense, as I didn’t want to push myself, just wake the muscles up as my father in law said. Speaking of my father in law, I was telling him about the blog and that I’m using pseudonyms for peoples’ names – he’s informed me he will now be known as Fat Dave, as that was his moniker when he used to be on a radio show.

So anywho, did some weight training last night, which was ace. My arms are a little sore this morning, so I figure I must have done them some good. In my plan to shave off the extra couple of kilos I’ve put on over the past two months, I’ve also decided to bring back the size of my meals to the same portion as Wifey’s – it was acually her suggestion, and so far it’s all been good. I remember last time I made the conscious effort to bring back the size of the meals I was eating, and I actually started feeling better because I wasn’t eating to the point of feeling bloated; the same thing’s happening this time as well, so it’s all good.

I ended up skipping on karate this week – I had some torn skin on the back of my stump that I was hoping would heal up; it hadn’t by Wednesday, so I’ve thrown a couple of bandaids over it since Wednesday night, and it’s been feeling much better, and I’m not making it worse when wearing my leg, which is why I think it was taking too long to heal up before. Looking forward, therefore, for training next week 🙂

In non-training stuff, I want to mention two things briefly. First, I’ve added a handful of photos and stuff to the pics section – go and have a look. Hamez has been kind enough to add some comments, so feel free to add some additional ones 😛

Secondly, McAdam, Tank, Wifey and myself went to see Spider-man 3 on Tuesday. Y’know, ’cause it’s cheap to go on Tuesday nights. Tight-arse Tuesday and all that. Anywho, I won’t wax lyrical on it, but I did enjoy it, there was heaps going on which I thought was really good. Some comments though, and be warned there might be some spoilers in there:

  • The strut scene was complete awesome
  • The news reporter bit was dicky and unnecessary – please cut it out for the DVD release 😛
  • Venom looks uber
  • The scene towards the end where Spidey swings past the flag should have featured “America~~, f*ck yeah!” from Parker/Stone’s sublimely golden Team America instead of the film’s score. In fact, as soon as I can get some footage of that clip, I’ll rip out the audio and throw that in there instead, then YouTube. Though I might be drop-kicked by The Man if someone gets cranky about it
  • Speaking of flag waving, Spidey 3 was much improved over the unnecessary plastering of it over the course of the previous film. I mean, the fact it’s set in New York and they all have American accents kinda gives it away that the movie’s set in the US. Just say no to unnecessary cultural/political propaganda in Hollywood films 😛

So yes, those are my thoughts of Spidey 3 🙂

I’ll fire up another update next week, and I’ve decided I’ll try to make the time over the coming weeks to cover two things – firstly, recount my first lesson at karate, and secondly, talk about how I used to do Taekwondo with my older brother Miguel and my Dad when I was much younger, probably around 8 or 9 years old. Oh, and hopefully I’ll update my profile stuff on what I’m watching/reading – it’s really out of date now 🙂

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Archive: We can rebuild him, we have the technology

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 26 March, 2007

Ack, wasn’t able to squeeze in a third blog last week – my bad. Between another busy week at work and crunching in an assignment for post grad stuff at Uni, I wasn’t able to get one done. Bummer. But I’ve made up for it by having such an awesome title for this blog. Maybe.

Anywho, it turns out that last Wednesday I managed to get an appointment and had my leg fixed. The problem was the usual one – the big-arse spring in the knee broke in half, hence the weird clicking noise. For those unawares, the knee for my fake leg (see my pics/previous blog for an image) has a big spring inside that helps make it do its usual trickery. Assumedly, after it’s given a fair bit of abuse, the thing shatters/bends/brakes, and so on, which leads to the knee not operating as well as it should (normally, this means it doesn’t swing through as smoothly as it should), and in the worst-case scenario, the knee completely seizes up and won’t move – it stays locked in place.

The last time I had the spring changed, I’d waited ages before I managed to grab some time off work to go in and have it looked at, and the result staggered even the guys who take care of these things in their daily work. I was hoping to have a pic of it uploaded by the time I wrote this up, but was having trouble finding the pic on my mobile phone – thankfully, I’ve finally located it, so I’ll upload it over the next few days. It’s a really cool pic – I placed a brand new spring alongside the mangled one. The result was very amusing. Or at least I was amused, but I’m like that 😉

Anywho, back to the story – the leg got fixed, but due to craptacular study commitments, couldn’t make karate training on Wednesday night, which makes it three weeks in a row that I haven’t trained! Very annoying. I get the feeling my karate will be uber sloppy come Wednesday… and it just emphasises even more that I have to organise the extra night’s training to continue to push myself, and it means that in the future if I have to skip a night’s class due to work or study commitments, it means I won’t be missing an entire week’s worth of training!

Even though I’ve had the time off, I’ve been working hard on my leg stretches in the evenings, and I’m almost at the point of being able to do Chinese splits (i.e. side splits, as opposed to front splits). When I had my previous style of prosthesis (my current style uses a silicone liner for my stump, which is easier on the skin; the previous style had a flexible, plastic-type inner lining and the stump used to slide in and have direct contact with the socket… methinks I’ll have to do a post, or a series of posts, on how my leg(s) have worked over the years), there was greater flexibility between the socket and my stump, and doing the Chinese splits didn’t stress my legs as much as the current leg does, and I could get myself perfectly flat on the ground whilst balancing on my heels. With the extra work I’m putting in, I think I’m beginning to reach that same level again, which is awesome.

In addition to the stretching, I had two pretty intense weight sessions last week – Tuesday night’s workout emphasised chest/upper torso, and on Thursday my father-in-law put me through what he calls his ‘Killer Arm Workout’, with “killer” signifying intensity, and not the usual slang its used for in Australia 🙂 And you know what – he was right! After the workout, even washing my hands was difficult! It was pretty funny mind you – I felt like a penguin, moving my arms from the shoulder to get them to do anything 🙂 Hence on Friday, I was a little sore, and by Saturday, wow… I must have slept with my arms folded or curled up, because the muscles around my elbow were so sore and stiff that the tendons didn’t want to stretch at all, so I had to work on them all weekend to actually be able to stretch my arms out straight! I would like to thank the packet of voltarin for adding some anti-inflammatory goodness, and the magic mud heat rub stuff Wifey and I brought back from NZ in helping me being able to get my arms better! I can now stretch my arms out straight, and it only hurts a bit 😉 Methinks a less intensive session is in order for tomorrow night 🙂

And that’s pretty much it. I’ll post something else in the lead up to training, and will finally be able to do a post-training blog later in the week. Can’t wait – I’ve missed karate!

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Archive: Stuffu

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu/MySpace
Original posting date: 15 February, 2007

Like I predicted, no training last night – was spending it wiith Wifey, watching DVDs, eating uber Chinese takeout, that kinda thing. Did another weight training session on Tuesday after work though – went really well. Fo some reason I couldn’t bench as much as last time, but that’s cool. I’m sure in enough time I’ll be able to get past that. The back of my upper arms (the bit that’s normally wobbly if you don’t work on it) feel like they’ve been stabbed with a tetanus injection, so I figure I must have done a good job working on them! I’m really enjoying the weight training so far; mind you, I’ve only had two sessions, but oh well, it’s all good 🙂

Anywho, for today’s rant I’ll touch on the many random things I’ve done to injure myself since doing karate, maybe as a warning to others to not be as clumsy as I am 🙂

  • My first injury came 1 week after starting up! I’d moved out with my then-girlfriend (now wife) only a few months earlier, and being the clutz I am, fell down the last few stairs in the place we were renting, mangling my little toe. Three or four weeks later, I started up again, but in the interim I’d thrown my knee out by compensating for my mangled foot. It also didn’t help that when doing some extra training outside of normal class I worked out in the backyard, which was a combination of pavers and concrete; not a smart decision 😛 Ended up going to the physio for a few weeks, and all was better. Huzzah, and all that.
  • Injury number two… hmmm, let’s call them repeat offending injuries. Early on in our colllective training, when Jyastin-kun, McAdam, Tank, Buu-Adam and I were starting out at the same time (Jyastin-kun having a few months on the rest of us), we typically went really full-on against each other. It was very funny and I think it amused (or bemused) our sensei greatly that we got so into it. Anyway, in learning the art of control (and the proper ways to block/kick/punch :P), we would habitually bash parts of our bodies quite hard. If Wifey + co and any of the girls at work are reading this, you’ll remember the swollen bruises lined along my upper arms, forearms and calf throughout this period. I also sustained some impressive bruises on my chest and upper thigh. I still think doing that was great fun, but it was probably very worrying for those watching from the sidelines… such as my other half 😛 Thankfully, I never got knocked in the goolies – one time when I was sparring wth Buu-Adam I got a clip in that general direction when his kick didn’t get as high as he thought it would, but I’ve thankfully been injury free with regards to getting a knock in the nads.
  • During my second year of training (2nd year? I think it was, but I might be wrong), I had an unfortunate instance of bad circumstance – I was sparring with Jyastin-kun, and moved forward just as he was striking and didn’t properly guard my chest/abdomen (this is a recurring problem with me – I need to tighten up my guard as a general rule of thumb). I received a punch to the ribs, but since this wasn’t the first time I’d gotten knocked there (and winded in due course), I didn’t think much of it. Two weeks later, and it still hurt to breathe – went to the doctor and found out I cracked a rib. Very annoying, as I had to take it easy for 12 weeks to let it heal, which meant three months without doing any karate. I reckon I drove Wifey crazy during that period, strolling around the house doing random techniques to continuously jog my memory. I remember that Jyastin-kun blamed himself afterwards, but let’s be honest – I should have tightened up my guard. In that sense, it was a good learninig curve for me.
  • Hmmm, what else? Oh yeah, Night of the 3 Falling Overs. Erm, tthat sounds stupid. But that’s okay. I say stupid things all the time. And use words in a stupid context. like Uber. Or Golden. And so on. Anywho, this was during training during winter, and I’d just finished a marathon 21 days in a row, no breaks (no, not even weekends), of work. I was mentally and physically exhausted, and it isn’t anything I’m keen to repeat again 😛 During sparring in the night following my last day in the 21-day straight, I was destined to fall over three times – first I kicked with my real leg, and threw myself forward without enough control slipped up into air and landed on my knees. Unperturbed, I continued sparring… until I kicked with my artificial leg (don’t know why I was doing that – I don’t normally use it when I spar to attack), and promptly fell backwards and landed on elbows/back. This not being embarrasing or painful enough at this point to stop me, I continued to spar, and lost my footing again, landing face-first flat on my elbows, then my knees slammed into the ground behind me, landed on my belly, and was promptly winded. It was at this point (unable to move), that I decided that I should stop for the night. Sensei agreed, and I shuffled off and waited the remaining five minutes for class to end. The lesson I learnt from that one was to always be mindful of your balance, and slow down if you’re not in enough control. I can’t emphasise this enough to others out there training!
  • The last injury I can think of is to do with my leg, and I mangled it something nasty and caused the 12-month break I took from karate – I’ve already details this in my blog from 16/1/2007, so have a read if you’re interested!

Now, I personally find my random injuries amusing. For the most part, they were generated due to rampant enthusiasm for the class. I should note that I don’t know of any of us who have done such consistent damage to themselves while training, and I can confidently state that in learning from these mistakes, I’ve become a better, less injury-prone karateka as a result.

Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way 😉

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Archive: Weight training

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu/MySpace
Original post date: 13 February, 2007

This one’ll be a short post – just wanted to note that I had my first weght training session Thursday last week, and it was great. Wifey’s Dad took me through everything and it was a great workout (Hamez joined in as well). I’m not benching that much at the moment, but I figure I have to start somewhere, and hopefully it goes well. I’m of course not in this to become some huge beefcake, just to build up some extra strength and temper it with speed as well.

I’m hoping to do weight training at least once a week with this – I’m heading over tonight, so it’ll probably be every Tuesday until I start up the extra karate sessions on Mondays, whereupon I’ll train Tuesday one week, then Thursday (when Wifey and I go over for dinner) the other week. In the meantime, I’ll train three times a fortnight until I begin Monday classes.

See, I told you it would be a short post 😛 I’m not going to training on Wednesday night as it’s Valentine’s Day, and I’ll be spending it with my other half. If I get time, I’ll post another random story or something, maybe a recap of the various ways I’ve injured myself over the years whilst doing karate 🙂

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