Your Helmet Won’t Stop A Speeding Car…

I grew up during as time when the wearing of bicycle helmets wasn’t really a thing. And how could it be? I couldn’t wear a helmet while wearing earphones to my walkman, now could I? This was long before the advent of earbuds but honestly, as long as I was wearing a ball cap to protect my scalp from the sun and I was home before dark, my parents never imposed the wearing of a bike helmet. These days? Depending on the community you live in, the requirement of a bike helmet may be law. But there isn’t a day where I don’t see multiple people cycling in heavy traffic areas without a helmet.

It is what it is. Some people are more apt to follow rules and best practices than others. But the curious thing is, what purpose does a bike helmet serve? If you’re a young child and you happen to topple sideways on your bike, a helmet may save your skull from cracking on the edge of a sidewalk; no question. But whether you’re a child or an adult, you’re helmet won’t save you from any significant incident, such as getting struck by a moving car. This makes one wonder why it’s considered so necessary on most cases. And this post is about all of those little “rules,” not just bicycle helmets.

The reason behind certain rules and regulations isn’t always clear. And more often than not, it can seem unnecessary and perhaps even excessive. Especially if you find yourself on the receiving end of a penalty in relation to any of it. One good example is last week, when I was issued a traffic ticket for performing an “illegal” turn. I won’t get into the specifics of the ticket, other than to say that I definitely performed the alleged action, and the section of legislation does render it unlawful. So I really can’t argue the traffic ticket. But I couldn’t help but feel that I had done nothing wrong or unsafe and that being issued a ticket because of it was rather ridiculous.

The point behind today’s particular rant, is that even though it seemed perfectly safe and acceptable to me, doesn’t mean that it would be to everyone. In most cases, an incident likely occurred that led to that action becoming unlawful. By that logic, it becomes important for people to observe those laws and abide by them. Not only for their own safety, but the safety of others. At the risk of opening my comments section up to a plethora of argumentative points of view, this concept applies to a lot of rules, regulations and laws that are being enacted in response to the current state of the world. Some of them may seem unfair or excessive, but they all have the aim to protect and safeguard the population as a whole.

Most people can’t discern the difference between their “rights” and doing “what’s right.” The two often don’t go hand-in-hand and don’t always apply to one another. And sometimes, we need to abide by certain rules in order for society to continue to function normally. This is the cost of living in a modern society where we live in mass gathering of populated towns and cities. I’m quite certain that if a vehicle clips me while I’m out cycling, my helmet likely won’t do a damn thing to save me. Just like wearing a face mask “may” do nothing for me or the people around me. But I acknowledge two things: the first is that I can still observe my rights as a person while abiding by the rules. The second is that it costs me nothing, which tends to make peoples’ theatrics over most of these issues more than a bit ridiculous. this is why you’ll always see me do both those things, so long as it’s required of me. Food for thought… ☯️

If You’re Sick Of My Posts, Too Bad!

No, I’m not mad at anyone. It’s just a play on words to illustrate the topic of today’s post. Today, I want to talk about how to deal with common illnesses when you have Type-1 Diabetes. First and foremost, no illness is ever common when you are Diabetic. Especially in light of the fact that our lovely immune system tends to catch each and every little bug that happens to float on by. Thank you very much, random person on the bus who sneezed in my direction… But for the sake of clarity, I’m referring to the common cold, the flu, maybe pneumonia and lovely conditions like chicken pox.

Being sick when you have Diabetes is a special kind of hell, because any illness you get is likely to aggravate your condition. Or your condition may be responsible for catching whatever it is you have, which is TOTALLY icing on the cake. As a child, I would get ill at the drop of a pin. Although back then, my blood sugars were very poorly controlled, I suffered through a number of comas and my immune system was about as flimsy as parchment paper stretched over too large an area. So it stands to reason that viruses would choose to set up shop in my body; my immune system made for a pretty poor bouncer.

I used past tens on that last sentence because honestly, over the past two decades, I’ve managed to gain some augury of control over the illnesses that decide to storm my beach front. It hasn’t been easy; there’s a lot of hands-on involvement that goes into something as simple as trying NOT to catch a cold. Having Type-1 Diabetes complicates everything, as I’m sure I don’t have to explain to any of my Dia-brothers or sisters. But here are the issues I’ve noticed that are aggravated by Diabetes, as it relates to illness:

  1. You Dehydrate WAY Easier… As a child, into my teens and even into my twenties, I would usually experience at least three or four instances a year, where I would need to be rushed to the hospital and hooked up to an IV drip to rehydrate. This was regardless of how much water I consumed and let’s remember that prior to my early 20’s, I hadn’t EVER consumed caffeine or alcohol. Anytime I caught an illness as simple as a common cold, it was almost a guarantee that I would be hospitalized due to dehydration. Lovely, right?
  2. Your Blood Sugars Decide To Screw You Over Completely… I can’t stress how this one is likely the biggest problem. On the one side, you may be nauseous and unable to eat, but have no choice but to attempt to do so, as Diabetics can’t go days without nutrition the way a normal person could, provided they have adequate fluids. The balance of carbohydrates and insulin need to be closely controlled, although there was no such control in the 80’s and 90’s before I took a firm control of myself. On the flip side, various medications and treatments for almost any ailment would usually make my blood sugars skyrocket, pushing me towards my lovely arch-nemesis Diabetic KetoAcidosis.
  3. You Can’t Heal Worth A Shit… I’m sure you’ve heard that Diabetics have difficulties healing wounds on their feet and extremities. This is usually because of poor blood circulation to those extremities. But the reality is that healing in general is complicated issue for Type-1 Diabetics, especially if their blood sugars aren’t well controlled for whatever given reason. I caught the chicken pox when I was in my 20’s. Yeah. Splendid. I have worse scars because the bastards wouldn’t heal. I have a lovely one, right at my hairline. A result of it tearing and the pus drying against my hair, followed by the scab getting torn off when I combed my hair.

Luckily, over the years I’ve become adept at consuming a non-stop flow of fluids, making point #1 moot. I also have a much better control over my blood sugars and thanks to my insulin pump (when I’m actually able to afford CGM), I keep my levels within range almost constantly, with some occasional exceptions. The key is knowing one’s body. Besides keeping fast-acting glucose at hand, one should also consider keeping plenty of fluid-based electrolytes on hand, in the event of dehydration. Recognize the signs of illness and be prepared for them. Test your blood sugar frequently to ensure you’re staying within levels.

Getting ill sucks, no matter who you are. But it can be all the more annoying (and dangerous) when it’s aggravated by a condition like Diabetes. Knowledge and preparation can help prepare you and save you some visits to the ER, especially in light of the current state of the world. ☯️

Happy Birthday, Dear Brother…

On this day in 1972, my brother Stephane was born. Or rather I should say, my mother delivered him. A complicated birth, he was stillborn and doctors had to remove him through emergency C-section in order to save my mother. Although he came out without signs of life, they managed to revive him and thus my mother’s firstborn was here! His father, a deadbeat who considered my mother a one-night stand, denied his parentage of my brother, leaving my mother alone to raise a child during a time when such things were frowned upon.

Over a few short years, my mother learned to be independent of the world and protective of my brother, as he suffered double kidney failure while still and infant, developed cardiac issues and a condition called Fanconi Syndrome. It wasn’t until 1978 that my mother met my father, fell in love and claimed my brother as his own son. I was born months later. Please don’t do the math…

My brother and I, shortly after my birth, with my maternal grandmother

My brother was always a source of inspiration and a good example to me during my youth. Always in positive spirits despite the constant threat of death, he was always fast with a hug or an “I love you,” even to those who weren’t in his family. But maybe that’s the lesson; to my brother, the whole world was family. He was as protective of me as an older brother could be, despite the fact that in a few very short years, I outgrew and outweighed him by quite a bit. His body never grew beyond that of a small child.

I stayed by his side through most of my youth, watching his every move, learning valuable life lessons, never quite understanding the concept of mortality because even though he knew his death was imminent, he had a firm love and belief in God and knew where he was going. He also didn’t ever want to frighten me with talk of death or what he believed might become of him.

My brother lost his battle in April of 1991. It was a normal Monday; I was being prepped for school and he was getting ready to be brought to the hospital for weekly blood work. Even now, with everything I’ve learned, I have no idea what this bloodwork was looking for. I only knew that if the results were bad, he would be rushed by emergency flight to St. Justin’s Children’s Hospital in Montreal. On this one Monday, for whatever reason, he was admitted to our local hospital in Dalhousie, New Brunswick. He never came out.

Had he lived, my brother would be 49 years old, today. We often spoke of how things would be when we were older. He would buy a car and “let” me drive him around, unless he met a girl, in which I’d have to make myself scarce, of course. He continues to inspire me, even today. I always think to myself that if he could continue to fight through the constant threat of dying and still have the positive, outgoing personality he did, maybe my problems aren’t that bad. and if he could fight so vehemently, so could I. I carry that lesson, still.

Happy birthday, brother. You are still missed. ☯️

Caffeine, Not For Every Situation…

There’s no denying that caffeine plays an important role in the daily grind of many people. Most will start their day by reaching for a steaming cup of joe… and will usually follow up by consuming two or three more cups throughout their day. I, personally start my day with an energy drink. I enjoy the fact that energy drinks are cold and can be consumed easier than hot coffee, first thing in the morning. And the B Vitamins sure add some kick to my day.

But as with all things in life, there’s good and bad to every situation. And the consumption of caffeine is obviously included among that concept. Recently, I’ve noticed that getting through a cardio workout after consuming an energy drink or coffee is difficult. I’ll often feel sluggish, start sweating long before hitting my peak and will be exhausted, even when I’m only at my halfway point. Are they just bad days? Maybe if it was only one of these on very rare occasions, but I’ve come to notice that I’ll usually have an energy drink on the go prior to the sluggish workouts in question. Is there a correlation?

I decided to look into if it was possible that a beverage meant to stimulate me and make me feel more awake and alert could be causing me to feel sluggish and affect my workouts. I found a bunch of different information, although the bare bones information didn’t make for a definite answer. This is why I won’t be citing any sources, since I couldn’t find anything certain. But here are some things I know about caffeine that could have something to do with it.

  1. Caffeine Can Dehydrate You: It’s no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine will cause dehydration. If you experience even mild dehydration, it can cause bodily pain, headaches, sluggishness and profuse sweating. Imagine all that WHILE trying to run, cycle or perform some level of cardio?
  2. Caffeine Is A Diuretic: Your workout will be cut pretty short if you have to take a piss every five minutes. Increased levels of caffeine will cause you to urinate frequently. And if it isn’t bad enough that blood sugar fluctuations will cause that to begin with, downing coffee or an energy drink before your workout may have the same effect.
  3. Coffee And Caffeinated Beverages Can Cause A Wide Variety Of Symptoms: Stomach pains, headaches and upset stomachs are only some of the symptoms you might experience while working out, if you’ve consumed significant caffeine beforehand.
  4. It Can Have An Effect On Your Heart Rate: Some people will feel an effect on their heart rate when they consume caffeine. This is one of the reasons why you’ll be told not to consume caffeine before a stress test or a fitness test. Imagine, for a moment that your heart rate can be measured on a scale of one to ten, where one is at rest and ten is where you die because your heart give out. Let’s assume that an average run gets you to a seven or an eight, depending on your age and overall health. This would be normal, right? Your heart rate will increase the more your exert yourself. But if consuming an energy drink or caffeine already gets you to a seven or an eight, then you add cardio on top of an already elevated heart rate, I’m sure you can do the math and see where the problem comes in.

As with all things, caffeine is best enjoyed in moderation. The key point for me, will be trying to resist the urge to gulp some caffeine before a run because I’m already feeling like shit. The lesson here is that all you have to do is get yourself going. Once you’re in the groove, you may find you perform just as well as you would with caffeine on board. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my caffeine. I may simply have to re-examine its use during my fitness routine. now if you’ll excuse me, it’s early and I need a coffee… ☯️

The End Of A Hairy Month…

I’m extremely proud of what I’ll be writing about today but not so proud of how much of a struggle it was to get here, so there may be a bit of a rant component built in. Buckle up! At the beginning of November, I decided to participate in “Movember,” which is a month intended to raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, men’s health and suicide prevention. It’s a solid initiative and I’ve been participating for years. For the most part, I’ve usually been a participant in someone else’s group. So I would donate my money, grow out my moustache in exchange for donations then shave on December 1st.

This year, I decided to play it a bit differently since I manage an actual staff. In response to this, I got a feel for everyone’s interest and it was decided I would lead the group in raising money and participating. We made our donations and started to eagerly grow our moustaches. In my zeal, I set our group’s goal to $500, which was a few hundred higher than what we had all contributed but quite modest when compared to how much others usually start GoFund Me’s and donation pages for. But to ensure my group’s success, I reached out on my social media platforms (here included) for help in reaching this goal. The results were disappointing…

Tom Selleck, eat your heart out! After photo, taken yesterday (I don’t have the before one available)

I’ve always believed that if one is able to help others, then one has a responsibility to do so. Although I totally understand that times are tough, I’ve never been one to ask for donations or help with fundraising. I give often, to different charitable organizations, even when I can only spares a few dollars. I’ve helped many, and despite the fact I’m writing the words now, I have always done so without the expectation of recognition or reciprocation. After all, why do something good if it’s just for some form of reward? At that point, it’s simply quid pro quo and not ACTUALLY doing something good…

So, why does it bother me so much that I had to ask repeatedly and often, across three different platforms containing hundreds of known associates, friends and family? The world has taken a significant hit below the belt in the past two years, but am I wrong to think that many if not most, could have contributed $10? $5? A dollar, even? If most of the people on my social media had done that, we would have no doubt reached and even exceeded our goal within the first couple of weeks.

At the end of the day, I can’t fault those who ignored my request for help… A big part of charitable giving is that it needs to come from the donor of their own choice. There can’t be an expectation. And I did have a number of people who provided donations and for that, I thank them sincerely from the bottom of my heart. My team and I are grateful and thanks to these donations, we reach $505 and I was able to shave this light-awful soup strainer off my face.

The experience has taught me a few things, including the fact that I believe next year, I’ll go back to simply being a participant instead of an organizer. I had deep thoughts about raising donations for Diabetes by cycling, but I think my place is to donate, not raise. Since I’ve never really done this before, I was somehow of the impression that more people would step up to lend a hand. Lesson learned. Rant over. ☯️

Sex & Cardio…

I’m definitely not one to shy away from tackling something that’s mildly on the taboo side. I’m not the most “risqué” writer, but I do like to occasionally take on subjects that would potentially be avoided by others. And although not the most NSFW topic you could potentially be reading today, I thought I would discuss the correlation between cardiovascular health and sex. It’s no secret that good cardiovascular health will help to avoid a bunch of heart-related medical issues, but did you know that sex will also help with this? Let’s see if we can discuss this topic like mature adults without having me crack any sarcastic jokes. Because that TOTALLY sounds like me. Moving on…

This is the part of the post where I throw out my usual disclaimer, explaining that I’m not a doctor or medical practitioner, have no formal training and base my writing on personal experience mixed with information gathered from reputable, peer-reviewed sites. Despite anything I may say or write in this post, you should DEFINITELY consult your medical practitioner or doctor before engaging in any new activity that could put a strain on your heart. And yes, that includes sex. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get on with it!

First of all, let’s consider the fact that there are a number of similarities between sex and cardiovascular exercise, or “cardio.” Sex is fun. If you haven’t had it, I highly recommend it. It’s an amazing coming together (hopefully) of two people, releases an amazing number and amount of endorphins and leaves you feeling relaxed and sleep easier when you’re done. It can also cause you to break a mean sweat, works every part of your body (when you do it right) and burns a wicked number of calories. Sex aside, does any of that sound familiar?

Cardio and exercise can also be fun. Some motivational tunes blaring in your ears, working up a great sweat and reaching a greater distance and/or speed than your previous workout will also leave you feeling relaxed and refreshed, tired but in a good way. Albeit without the “happy ending.” But I digress… The point is, there are similarities between what the body goes through during sex and what it goes through during cardio. Some might argue that in their younger years, one could easily cause the other and vice versa. Good for them.

Strictly from a personal standpoint as a Type-1 Diabetic male in his 40’s, there are a lot of issues behind the prospect of sex. Testosterone levels and blood circulation begin to decrease with age and Diabetes complications will aggravate both of those factors. This can make it difficult to keep everything up and coming *wink, wink*. But this is where the importance of good exercise comes in, whether you have Diabetes or not. And the importance of good, consistent sexual activity as well.

An article posted by John Hopkins says that, “Studies suggest that men who have sex at least twice a week and women who report having satisfying sex lives are less likely to have a heart attack.” The article goes on to say that, “Sex is a form of exercise and helps strengthen your heart, lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress and improve sleep.” That all sounds pretty f#$kin’ good to me… Almost just as important is the fact that consistent cardio will reproduce many if not all of these benefits, as well. Once again, without the happy ending. I just can’t let that go, can I?

So it stands to reason that sex can provide a plethora of health benefits, as also outlined by this list on WebMD. But when it comes to having Type-1 Diabetes and sex, sometimes a guy’s get-up-and-go has gotten-up-and-gone. It can be frustrating and potentially lead to complications in a relationship. This is where we reach a bit of a chicken and the egg scenario. And no, I’m not making a “who came first” joke… Jeeze, grow up guys! But good, consistent exercise will lower blood pressure, help control blood sugar levels, control cholesterol and increase your ability to reach and sustain a solid increase in heart rate safely, so that you can reach and sustain “other” things…

Ironically, if you already have heart issues, your libido may be taking a hit. Some doctors assess one’s cardiovascular health by asking some questions about their sexual libido, activities frequency. For people with Diabetics, arousal can be an issue due to poor circulation, which can be a problem for both men and women. Once again speaking for the male side of the equation, a noticeable lack in libido or sexual interest could point to a testosterone deficiency or something else that may be missing from the overall required recipe of one’s physiology.

The bottom line is that a strong sex life is healthy and will help sustain one’s health in much the same way as consistent cardiovascular exercise would. On the flip side, consistent and frequent cardio exercise may make it more likely that you’ll have the heart health and good blood circulation to park your Ferrari in it’s assigned stall… Ahem, cough, cough… I only have a few of those left in me, and the post is coming to an end, anyway. I apologize for my inability to grow up, but offer no apologies for my enjoying it. Once again, moving on…

For my Diabetic brothers and sisters, some advice I can offer through my many years of learning the hard way (there we go again, I didn’t even TRY that time and the pun came on its own. OMG, I just made a pun inside my pun…), is that communication is key. Even though a prospective partner may already know you have Diabetes, it doesn’t mean that he or she may necessarily understand what they’re in for and what COULD happen, if T1D decides to be a cock-block. Or a… What is the feminine version of “cock-block?” My point is, communication is important so that your prospective partner understands that it isn’t them, should your little soldier fail to “rise” to the occasion…

Further, like any exercise you may plan on doing, you should be prepared by ensuring you check your blood glucose and having some fast-acting carbohydrates and fluids available; a good idea during sex even if you AREN’T Diabetic. Exercise and staying hydrated will all be a help as well. So, what are you waiting for? Haven’t you been paying attention? Get out there and run a few miles so that you can have sex, damn it! I mean, work on your fitness for the sake of your heart health, of course. ☯️

A Little Monday Motivation…

No one would argue that I can get pretty wordy and my posts can run fairly long. That’s why I often enjoy simply sharing an image, motivational quote or something simple in order to offset that wordiness. After 1,010 posts, I’m sure there’s enough content to fill a book, if I had a mind to. I found this little gem while going through my photo folders looking for something else. I forgot I had it and I may have posted it before, but that’s okay. Content can always be fresh, taking into account new followers and readers.

I like this image because it makes a very solid point. Most people are quick to talk about all the things Diabetes causes. And they’re not wrong. Type-1 Diabetes causes more complications and difficulties than I can count. But it also creates fighters. Committed warriors who will fight against Diabetes with their last breath. I should know; I’m one of them. ☯️

Screaming At A Brick Wall…

Communication is hard. One wouldn’t think so, given that we live in an age where we have so many different ways to do it. With electronic communications and social media becoming all the rage in the past two decades, one would be inclined to think our ability to communication would have increased and improved. But it continues to amaze me how many if not most people have difficulty communicating effectively. And I’ve observed a number fo reasons for that. Let’s explore this line of thinking a little bit…

I remember an instance years ago when I was texting my wife about supper. She was at work and nearing the end of her day and was no doubt tired and looking forward to coming home. She asked if I had eaten yet, to which I replied “no why did you want to eat with me?” Read that poorly crafted sentence once more time… Do you notice what’s missing? I didn’t, until my wife came home and appeared to be upset with me. What I SHOULD have replied with is, “No, why? Did you want to eat with me?” This would have been a correct sentence structure and would have posed the question as whether my wife wanted to have supper with me. The lack of punctuation in the first one basically makes it look like I’m an asshole questioning WHY she wants to eat with me.

This is a pretty simple example, but a pretty accurate one as it relates to written communication. We live in a society where text messaging and messaging apps have become the primary means of communication. There are plenty of jokes floating around about one’s phone ringing and the the recipient thinking, why aren’t they just texting me? before ignoring the call. I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of doing that very thing on more than one occasion. Much to the chagrin of the people trying to call. I make exceptions for the folks I know who don’t use text messaging, like my mother. But otherwise, come on! That totally could have been a text!

All jokes aside, grammar and punctuation play an important role in how one’s message is relayed. In a world of emojis and abbreviations over text-written communication, it can be difficult to discern the sender’s intended message. It can be EASY to misinterpret it and assume a different message than what the sender meant. Plus, communicating through a device or by text takes away all those little aspects of communication that humans have spent their entire existence using, such as hand movements, body language and facial expressions. If you’re on a date and the girl says, “You’re an idiot!” but laughs and gently places her hand on your shoulder, you’ll likely be inclined to be relaxed and assume it has an affectionate meaning. If she looks at you with a frown or screams it at you, she may genuinely think you’re an idiot. But I digress…

The point is that body language plays a bit part in how effective one’s communication can be and how the message is interpreted. But even bigger than that, is the fact that communicating effectively requires a minimum of two parties. there’s nothing worse than trying to communicate with someone who’s shut down, distracted or not listening. Sensei always used to tell me that I have two ears and only one mouth, so I should listen twice as much as I talk. I always thought that was so clever of him. It wouldn’t be until years later that I would find out the expression was coined by the greek philosopher Epictetus. But regardless of the source, they’re wise words, nonetheless.

Communication is a core aspect of socialization. In a world where the average person spends their day with their neck craned over a smart device, two-way communication with another person in good conversation is also part of a person’s mental wellbeing. Even people who “prefer to be alone” eventually get lonely. Although some people can sit together in comfortable silence, this usually isn’t achieved with the average pairing of people in everyday situations. Communication must be a two-way street, with both parties actively listening AND hearing and both parties contributing. This can mean the difference between effective communication or being misunderstood, whether type-written or in person. Food for thought… ☯️

Lucky Number Seven…

Tempus fugit. Time flies. Yes, yes it does. Seven years ago I stepped into an entirely new world. I became a father. My son Nathan turned seven years old yesterday. At his request, we celebrated with pizza and a Spider-man cake. We also showered him with a number fo gifts, which included the Paw Patrol movie, a HUGE Paw Patrol vehicle (I can’t remember what they’re all called) and a visit from Grandma and Auntie. It was a good time and there’s no denying that he’s getting older. He’s coming into his own, developing his own personality and certainly challenges me on a daily basis.

Our first cuddle session, about a week after he was born. We were STILL in the hospital.

I still remember the day he was born. I should have been nervous and scared but I was more paranoid about what the hospital might do to him than his coming into the world. When he was finally out, my wife went to recovery and I stuck to him the whole time. He’s been a clingy, daddy’s boy ever since. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Like any kid, he drives me crazy sometimes. But I love him to alpha Centauri and back.

Proudly displaying his age, yesterday.
Being his usual, goofy self while I try on sweaters.
Let’s just ignore my double chin and that wound on my upper lip, shall we?

A non-stop dynamo of energy and motivation, Nathan has a wonderful view on life and is always ready with a hug or a long, convoluted story about what he believes the origin of a particular thing may be. If he carries this energy and imagination into his later years, he’ll go far in life. And I’m sure he will. ☯️

Important Choices Are Never Smooth…

I’ve often said that choosing a martial art to study and practice is an extremely subjective thing. And it is! Not only does one have different types of martial arts to choose from (striking, grappling, weapons-based, etc) each of those types have different schools and styles to choose from, often differing from one another on some very key levels. For example, although I study Okinawan karate, not all Okinawan karate dojos will offer the same aspects I may be looking for.

The thing is, there really isn’t a BAD reason to join a martial arts school, unless you or reason is because you want to actively bring harm to someone else. Notice that I didn’t say it was bad to defend yourself, but I would be lying if I hadn’t encountered a bully or two walking into my dojo over the decades. If your goal is to learn how to fight so you can bully, intimidate or harm others, good luck finding a good instructor who will be willing to teach you.

A few years ago, when I started the challenging task to find a new dojo to train in by virtue of being 3,400 kilometres away from Sensei, I coined the term “Coffee Club Dojo.” This refers to a dojo or martial arts school where the students and/or practitioners spend the majority of the class joking around, chatting slit about non-dojo-related matters and waste their time. This grates on my last nerve, and can make it difficult for a prospective student to positively identify whether the style in question may be suited to them.,

What’s the difference, you ask? The difference between a McDojo and a Coffee Shop Dojo is that a McDojo teaches a watered-down version of a specific art in the interest of maintaining the highest student count possible and making the most money. Students will often climb in rank quickly, provided their cheques clear and they’re willing to pay any associated fees. A Coffee Shop Dojo is one where financial gain may not be a priority and may not even be a consideration, but the student body treat the dojo as a social club rather than a place to learn. The instructor in these schools will often be complacent about this behaviour and may even take part in it.

I know what some of you may be thinking…. If these folks are treating their dojo as their own personal social club and use it to socialize, who are they hurting? there’s no bad reason to be in martial arts, right? Well, the problem I have with this type of environment is that it may sway or provide a wrong impression to a prospective student. Although most individuals should know what they want out of their training, it’s very possible that some wouldn’t. Further, some youths who may be brought in by their parents may not have the inherent knowledge to recognize that this may not be the place to get the best training.

Ultimately, preference is key and knowing what you want is important. that’s why it’s critical that you allow yourself the opportunity to observe a class before participating. you need to have the opportunity to ask some questions and get a feel for how those questions will be answered. If your goal is to LEARN the martial arts and get in shape, learn to defend and protect yourself and better yourself, a casual, laid back atmosphere may not be for you. But if you’ve never set foot in a martial arts dojo before, how will you know? And THAT is the question that begs answering…

When you practice an art that’s suited to you and your needs, there will be struggle. But it should be smooth-flowing. there will be difficulty, but you’ll be energized and have a hunger that will make you want to train harder, faster and stronger. there may be blood, sweat and tears but as I shared in a previous post some time ago, he who sweats more in training, bleeds less in battle. Martial arts is a subjective thing. Be sure you exercise that choice and find something suited to you. Food for thought… ☯️

Carpe Diem…

Ah, yes. This is Latin for “seize the day,” which was taken from the Roman poetry book “Odes.” This is something we should all do, although most people tend to live far too frequently in the past or future. It’s important in life to stop and take a moment to make the most out of the present. Given the hectic pace of modern life, many if not most, of us fail to recognize that.

I found this image posted on Facebook by one of my friends. A common image, I’ve usually found it containing text where Winnie the Pooh is asking Piglet what day it is and Piglet responds with “It’s Monday…” to which Winnie the Pooh replies “Fuck!” I’ve seen it often and it always brings a smile to my face and it’s a great joke about how most of the working class dislikes the prospect of Mondays because it’s the beginning of the work week.

I don’t know what the original image’s text actually says. I would imagine the image is taken from one of Pooh’s books. But this one certainly points to the importance of taking advantage and enjoying the present moment. be in the now. No matter what’s happened in the past, you can’t change it. You can only deal with the consequences and move forward to ensure the same mistakes aren’t repeated. Don’t dwell on the future. Even if it’s a good idea to plan ahead, the future is dependent on what you do NOW, and dwelling on it will cause to miss the now. Food for thought… ☯️