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… ☯️

Kids Cause The Darnedest Things…

If you’ve spent absolutely ANY time watching television shows or movies, you’ll be able to name a show or movie that usually involves a harassed, overworked parent who is normally some kind of high-ranking executive or employee, stretched thin over very little time. Despite their success, this parent usually has no time for their spouse and children, missing all the important hallmarks of life while running around like a chicken with its head cut off before discovering the importance of happiness and being there for one’s family over having a career. Such fantasies usually play out by showing the mother or father quitting their big job, usually in some dramatic fashion, to go home and BE with their family.

The problem with this scenario is that although the harassed, overworked parent scenario definitely exists, suddenly walking out on one’s job because they’ve realized the important things in life is simply not a realistic idea. Outside of the big or small screen, a smooth-running household requires income, which can usually only be achieved by maintaining gainful employment. And if you have a house with a mortgage, bills, debts and dependents to take care of, it’s not a simple matter of just having part time employment so you can spend more time at home. So as romanticized as the idea is, it’s not something that should actually happen and there will usually be at least one parent in the household who will have to miss out on important activities in favour of being at work.

That’s why I’m extremely grateful that my job and my position allow me the flexibility to be absent on occasion. Last week, my son Nathan brought home an invitation to parents to attend his school on Friday morning for a muffin and juice while reading a book. At first, I explained to my wife that I would need to be at work by virtue of the meetings I had scheduled for that morning. I believe she initially had intentions of going herself with our toddler, Alexander. But when asked, Nathan didn’t really seem jazzed about having us there. My first thought is that he assumed he wouldn’t have to read a book if neither of us went. He’s sneaky like that.

Nathan scarfing his chocolate chips muffin while I read to him…

As I thought about it, I realized that Nathan may come to feel awkward if he realizes that he’s among one of the few who don’t have a parent who showed up. It’s one thing if one’s parents genuinely can’t be there for some reason but I thought it might be better for me to attend. This would prevent our toddler from being dragged out of the house, early in the morning and opening the gates of hell inside the school. He isn’t conducive to the “quiet time“ one needs to be in a reading environment. As a result, I got my boss’ approval to take a few hours off on Friday morning and I stayed home, got dressed and walked to school with Nathan and we read three books together in the school gymnasium while the kids all enjoyed muffins and juice.

It was a nice activity to share with him. It was also nice seeing all the families that had gathered to do the same. There were many flavours of muffin to choose from but of course, Nathan had to choose the one with chocolate in it. The comfy mats on the floor were all taken up, so we sat on a bench and managed to get through three books before our time was up. I noticed the school also had some of teachers taking photos of us for their social media pages. I’m assuming my unshaven mug has shown up somewhere. But it was worth it. I left Nathan at school for the remainder of his day and headed in to work. I was grateful and happy that I was able to put things on hold to be there for him. I think he was happy with that, as well.

It’s true what they say that life short. As time passes and our children grow, being able to share in their special events becomes all the more important, especially when one considers that one never knows how much time they have left. And although something like sitting and reading a book may seem menial to an adult, to my son, it’ll be the memory of the time his father came to school with him and spent time with him. He got to show me some of his projects that were posted on the school’s bulletin board, pointed out some friends and was quite happy that I was there, which in turn made me happy. Maybe quitting one’s job in a dramatic fashion isn’t possible. But it’s still possible and a good idea to make an effort to be there. ☯️

Breaking The Wanted Cycle…

When you tell someone that you have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, they automatically assume that you’re a neat freak or have to organize everything you set your eyes on. However, what most people don’t realize is that there are many different types of OCD and how a person behaves faced with a specific type will differ from person to person. For example, you can have someone who is afraid of germs or being contaminated. This can also be considered as a germaphobe, of course. Then you have the person who always has to finish something they start or has to see something completed, the person who needs order and proper arrangement and the final one, which is a person who will often harbour aggressive and violent thoughts.

One of the important things to remember is that those aspects can often be attributed to other conditions, so if one is thinking that one may have OCD, it’s important to be assessed by. A medical professional. In my case, I have the pleasure of living with a form of OCD that not only sees me try and organize everything I see so that there’s some semblance of order, it also sees me wanting to continue something until I feel it’s finished or completed. Try living that way when you have a full household, including two small children, one of which thinks he’s putting out a house fire every fucking time he uses the bathroom. But I digress,,,

I had enough insight to have myself assessed and evaluated when I went to college and discovered that not only did I have OCD, I also had ADHD, which explained the majority of the attention and cognitive issues I had throughout my formative years. A combination of self-discipline, karate and trying to keep myself from dying due to Type-1 Diabetes complications allowed me to overcome the ADHD aspect. The OCD part of me is a bit more difficult to combat. Especially because I often find myself not wanting to. Although it’s mostly the OCD, I also enjoy organization and order. I prefer to have things neat, clean and see things to their completion. Like an addict who enjoys their fix and refuses to quit, stopping things can be difficult for me, once I’ve started.

In recent years, the appearance of PTSD symptoms have added an unwanted guest to my little acronym party. And since some of those symptoms can mimic or aggravate the OCD and ADHD symptoms, coping can be a significant challenge, especially since some of my earlier coping mechanisms are no longer available. One of the things I’ve been doing in recent years, is writing this blog. Believe it or not, once I started, I had difficulty stopping. And realistically, I don’t want to. It really only became a problem when I started building up a posting streak. It started with me posting for a hundred days in a row, then a couple of hundred. It became a fixed routine that I would write and post something at the absolute butt-crack of dawn so that my followers would have something of mine to read, first thing in the morning.

Before I knew it, I had decided on a goal of writing without missing a day for a full calendar year. At one point, I actually got a couple of weeks away from accomplishing that goal before I somehow missed a day and had to start from scratch. I got it on the second attempt and decided I should try for a cool 1,000 days in a row. I reached that goal just recently and found myself wondering what my next goal should be. I decided I should write as ideas came to me instead of trying to accomplish a fixed goal. However, Mr. OCD still wouldn’t let me skip a day and managed to see me post on a daily basis beyond my 1,000 posts. It took a major amount of effort to actually skip a day and even then, I racked my damaged brain all day, trying to figure out something quick I could post. But I did it.

Then, I managed to take another step in breaking a cycle; I haven’t posted in five days. The first couple of days felt wrong, but I have to admit that by day five, it was kind of nice knowing I didn’t have to sit in front of the keyboard before or after a long day’s work and come up with material to write. Change doesn’t come easy for me and I actually WANT to carry on with my blog, which makes it all the harder. But maybe this is a different type of challenge or goal for me to accomplish. I just commented to my wife that my blood pressure has been significantly lower in the past few days. Less things to complete in my daily routine can mean less stress, which would certainly help lower blood pressure.

This may also be why I’ve been sleeping better, recently. Lately, once I go to bed and fall asleep, I pass out like a rock and don’t wake up until my alarm goes off. Or my insulin pump wakes me. But still… Who would have thought that better blood pressure would make things better. Maybe I need to start listening to my doctors more… The point is, despite my OCD, I still have it within myself to change habits and improve things for myself. And that’s important. Betterment and improvement of self are important aspects of eliminating the suffering in one’s own life. ☯️

Fits Like A Glove…

There are a number of little specifics that you’ll see in different schools of martial arts, depending on how they train, how they operate and what philosophies they follow. Sparring is one of those things that different styles will approach differently. For example, one school I trained with rarely focuses on sparring and rather focuses on kumite. Alright, good for you but kumite is a structured, pre-planned sparring exercise to practice very specific techniques. Another school I trained with does SOME sparring but does so without any protection , which is concerning since they use little to no control methods to ensure their safety. Which is where today’s post comes in…

Proper equipment use and safety is integral to good martial arts training. Growing up, we used to spar at minimum, once a week and our style focuses on striking behind our intended target. This means that we strike hard with the intention of landing several inches behind the surface of what we want to strike, to avoid pulling our punches or potentially falling short of our target. We practice control, where we develop the ability to stop on a dime but there’s no denying that “in the heat of the moment,” accidents can happen and sparring partners can get struck. An obvious example of this would be last April when a very experienced black belt managed to get in under my defences and fractured my ribs.

My sparring gloves, purchased in Okinawa in 2001

First and foremost, the wearing of protective gloves is an important step. I’ve lots count of the number of times a training partner has struck me in the face, ribs or elsewhere and the only thing that has prevented serious injury is the fact that their fists were padded. If you look at the photo above, these are fingerless sparring gloves that I had the opportunity to purchase at Shureido in Okinawa, when I was there in 2001. Fingerless sparring gloves have become more of a norm outside of martial arts, thanks to sports such as MMA. But they have significant benefits that closed gloves won’t have.

The open-handed nature of these gloves allows me to grab and grapple with my opponent much easier than I would if my gloves were closed at the palm. Although other gloves may have more padding and be better for striking, the ability to use a better variety of techniques, such as finger jabbing, thrusting and knife hands, is integral to karate. At least in my style. For the most part, I believe that my rib fracture likely would have been avoided, had my opponent been wearing sparring gloves as opposed to being bare-knuckled.

The next important aspect is wearing a protective cup. The last dojo I trained with never bothered to include it in their training unless they actively WERE sparring. This is a mistake and it can, in fact, be a painful one if you happens to get accidentally struck by a stray technique, even while practicing outside the sparring ring. And contrary to popular opinion, this doesn’t only apply to guys; there are protective cups for women, as well as chest guards to prevent painful impacts to sensitive points on the body.

Martial arts is not a knitting circle; one needs to expect that at some point in training, they’ll be struck and potentially even suffer some injuries. It’s part of the learning process. You don’t want to get hit, go join a chess club. But that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be precautions, both physical and instructional, that students should take to avoid injury. Respect and care for your fellow practitioners are important first steps. If you’re intentionally trying to “win” or injure your sparring partner, you may want to reconsider your presence in the dojo. But taking some reasonable, physical precautions can also go a long way towards preventing injuries that can debilitate you for weeks and even months. Food for thought… ☯️

Why Would You Ever “LEGO” Of Your Childhood, Part 2…

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about how Nathan got a box of LEGO with 1,500 original pieces. When I say original pieces, I mean they’re basic colour blocks that one needs to use one’s imagination to build things, instead of following instructions to an organized kit. That being said, I also mentioned that I ordered myself three kits so that I could relive the nostalgia of building my own shit. Well, I got the kits on Friday and decided that while Nathan was busy watching Minecraft video son YouTube, I’d start putting together my kits. Interestingly enough, because I ordered three kits and I hit a certain cost threshold (which I won’t mention here in case my wife reads it) I got a free, fourth kit. Much to my surprise, it was the Blacktron Space Cruiser, a kit I actually had when I was a kid…

The above-pictured space ship is a renewed LEGO set that I had been given decades ago by my parents. I must have played with that thing for hours on end. It splits into three separate pieces; the flight pod, equipment and drone pod and stabilizer/sensor pod. The can be flown as a single unit or used for their individual parts. Despite how much I was looking forward to putting together my lunar base and rover, I had to start with this one. Plus, once I had it completed, it gave something for Nathan to play with that allowed me to work on the larger sets without him swiping half the parts from my other sets.

What you see above, is the lunar base, combined with the lunar rover, which is a separate set. But the lunar rover can “park” and attach to the base, allowing its occupants to come and go. There are drones and moon rock samples, an excavator as well as a launch pod to “fly” up to the lunar station (the third set that I have yet put together). Nathan spent Friday night, as well as most of Saturday, playing with all of it, on the condition that he wasn’t to take any of it apart or alter it in any way. My plan is to purchase a large base plate to fasten it al and turn it into something of a display.

Since my son has started using actual LEGO blocks (because Mega Block or Duplo doesn’t count), it’s become something of a guilty pleasure for me. LEGO is a fascinating hobby. Created in 1932 in Denmark, it’s one of the world’s best-known building block companies, with blocks created in 1932 functioning perfectly with ones created this year. I’m sure this isn’t the last set I’ll purchase, and it’s a great hobby to spend with my son as it teaches creativity, imagination and self-reliance. Some people do a cross-word puzzle every day to stay sharp. I build toy sets. Sue me…☯️

Beef Isn’t JUST What’s For Dinner…

It’s a pretty typical scene… The parents work towards preparing a family dinner and everyone sits at the table. One of the children takes one look at their plate and says, “That looks yucky, I don’t wanna eat it…” I’ll give you three guesses as to what he’s pointing at but you’ll only need one. That’s right, he was referring to his vegetables. It’s a pretty common story, one that often carries one into adulthood. I mean honestly, if you put meat, potatoes and veggies on my plate and told me I could only pick two, it’s a pretty clear bet about which of the three would get left behind.

People will often go for the food choices that appeal to their taste and preference, which, on the one hand, makes quite a bit of sense. As an adult, most assume they’ve “done their time” with being told what to eat during their childhood and so, they’ll eat as they see fit during adulthood. Although that concept makes sense in theory, it only carries you as far as what tastes good on your tongue and doesn’t say much for the fact that proper nutrition requires some of the tasteless green stuff that most of us prefer not to have.

in fact, good healthy and proper nutrition requires everything that people who claim to be tying to get healthier avoid. One big one is carbohydrates. On the one side, I try and keep my carbs as low as possible since the more carbs I eat, the more insulin I have to take. Increased carbohydrates can also lead to weight gain, which is a significant pain in the ass to a Type-1 Diabetic in his 40’s who may be trying to slim down the inflated dad-bod. But I the sad reality is that carbs represent a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, where you need carbs for energy to work out but only the calorie deficit that cutting carbs can bring will lead to weight loss.

For the most part, if I’m eating something and I anticipate working out, I’ll reduce or omit vegetables and carbohydrates since they also act as fillers. Nothing worse than trying to work out and put your all into something when your gut is full and you’re struggling to breathe for two reasons. Although most fitness gurus will agree that the only way to lose weight properly is to burn more calories than you take in, there has to be a balance. You need energy to exercise but you need to reduce the amount of food that gives you said energy in order for that exercise to slim you down.

So, what if you just fight through it? What if you decide you’re an absolute champ and can reduce your carb and calorie intake and just hammer through the effort? There are a number of symptoms and effects that you’ll likely feel as a result, and none of them are pleasant. I found a lovely little article posted by HealthLine.com that covers some of the worst ones quite nicely…

The top one is that you’ll be low on energy. If your take in less than the minimum calories you need in a day, your resting metabolic rate will lower and you’ll constantly feel tired because your body can’t support everything. This can sap your motivation and lead to skipping exercise because you just don’t have the energy? Sound familiar? I may or may not have written a post recently about that very thing. Self-recognizing certain health issues can go a long, long way. But I digress…

Being constantly hungry is another issue. And it plays into the old scenario where you go on a diet and try to lose weight, only to crash and binge-eat on a cheat day because your body is craving the calories you’re missing. It’ll also affect the quality of your sleep. So even if you sleep for eight hours because you’re exhausted from the low energy, that sleep won’t rejuvenate you and will likely be poor, especially if you feel hungry while trying to fall asleep.

There’s a host of other potential symptoms, including irritability, anxiety and constipation. You can click on the HealthLine link above to read further details on all of the symptoms they’ve listed. The reality is that while trying to decide how best to reduce your waistline, you need to be cautious and not reduce your calorie intake so far as to affect the very results you’re trying to achieve. I prefer to keep my meals low-carb, if not only because of the insulin requirement but for the weight loss effort. However, some of the symptoms I’ve described above have been what I’ve been feeling over recent months, which makes me raise an eyebrow. ☯️

A Little Light Before The Dawn…

I’ve always found that old expression, “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” to be wildly inaccurate. I know it’s meant to be metaphorical, but from a literal standpoint, it’s completely wrong. but before I go off on a tangent, today’s post is about more than inaccurate sayings. The winter months bring about a score of issues that the everyday person needs to deal with. Considering the snow, cold, needing to shovel, road and weather hazards and the fact that almost everyone else seems to turn into the world’s worst drivers on account of road conditions (I’m a little bit biased), it kind of seems as though the winter months make it safer and more worthwhile to just stay home and hidden under some warm blankies…

The winter months can be harsh on a person. Since it stays dark for so much longer during the day, it can feel as though one lives in perpetual darkness, especially if your work keeps you indoors all day. Most days, I wake up and it’s still dark outside. I make my way to work in the dark and by the time I typically leave the office for home, it’s either getting dark or full-on dark. This can play havoc on a person’s energy levels and motivation. Contrary to what many of my colleagues would say, a person needs a certain level of daylight in their lives. Not only is this important in order to balance out one’s circadian rhythm but for vitamin D and shit.

The lack of motivation that the winter months bring can affect one’s motivation to do some of the little things through the course of your day, such as working out, spending time with family and ensuring proper nutrition. In fact, most days during the winter, all I want to do is flop down on the couch and binge-watch television for an hour or two before crashing for 12 hours or more. As nice as that sounds, I usually leave the house and get to work around 7 o’clock in the morning and leave work at 4:30 to 5 o’clock, making for a 10-hour day. If I followed that up with 12 hours of sleep, that would only leave about 2 hours of free time per day, which kind of sucks.

It can be pretty easy to allow the rigours of the day and darker, greyer winter weather get you down and keep you from doing what needs to be done to ensure proper nutrition and health. It takes a bit of a push in order to ensure you don’t get kicked in the balls by the winter blahs. And they can sneak up on you without notice. Eat well, exercise regularly and check your blood sugars often. Eventually, the snow will melt, the weather will warm up and weekend coffees on the back deck can become the norm again. ☯️

Black Adam: A Review (Spoilers Ahead)

One of the benefits of having recently purchased a large-screen television is that we’ve opened up the floodgates for a number of movies we’ve wanted to see. Although I’ve been quite happy with the 14” television we were lent about three years ago, there’s just something about having access to a larger, better television that brings something to the table in terms of the movie-watching experience. And since the lack of an available babysitter makes it difficult for my wife and I to hit the theatres, the next reasonable step is to bring the theatre to us. And here we are…

One of the first movies we purchased was Black Adam, which we watched a couple of nights ago. Let me paint you a picture; we have the 52” flat screen. We have a digital sound at with a wireless subwoofer, basically causing our chest to vibrate, every time there’s an explosion. I have a drink in my hands and chips in my lap. The movie logos kick in and the walls are reverberating with the deep rumble of bass. The evening has begun.

One of the fascinating things I’ve noticed with Hollywood and society in general, is that we’ve reached a point where remakes and reboots are often seen as something “new” by the public. But in truth, Black Adam is a comic book character who’s been around since the mid-20th century. Having first appeared in the comic books during the mid-40’s, he became a mainstream character in the DC universe in the 1970’s. He’s been one of Captain Marvel’s (or “Shazam’s,” if you wanna be a dick about it… Thanks, Marvel!) main antagonists since then.

I’ve seen some of his appearances in the comics over the years and was reasonably familiar with the character and the background, making me somewhat curious as to how he would be portrayed on the big screen. I’m a big fan of Dwayne Johnson and although he has his particular niche when it comes to roles, I feel he was well-suited to fill the black and golden yellow shoes of Black Adam. And unlike having Brandon Routh and Henry Cavill done the “S” shield, there were no predecessors for him to work off of.

The movie starts the way any film of the genre would; with Teth Adam as a slave, along with his family, in a city called Kahndaq. The movie suggests that Teth Adam steals something of value from Kahndaq’s king and is sentenced to death. He’s rescued and bestowed the powers of Black Adam by the old gods and becomes Kahndaq”s champion. He defeats the king and in doing so, disappears for 5,000 years. This is somewhat different from his original origin, which sees him defeat and kill an Egyptian pharaoh and take his throne.

Teth Adam is re-awoken 5,000 years later as a violent and unrelenting antihero. Unlike Superman, Black Adam seems pretty m,ugh unstoppable, with the exception of exposure to an element called Eternium, which appears capable of injuring Black Adam and even cancelling out his powers. He’s exposed very little to it in the film despite it’s appearance all over the bloody place, making it even less effective against Black Adam than kryptonite is against Superman.

Ultimately, Black Adam sees the more positive side of things and takes on the role of a hero by defeating the bad guys, restoring order to Kahndaq and saving the day. All in all, the movie rated pretty well for me and even my wife, who usually sits through DCU and MCU movies with me but isn’t usually taken by the genre. Would I watch it again? Absolutely. Was the experience pretty bad-ass thanks to the television and sound bar? You’d better believe it. I would recommend this movie as something to watch on an evening where you have the whole family and want something to keep them all engaged with the action and fight sequences. ☯️

A Little Touch Of Perspective…

I’m sometimes surprised at the places I manage to find the oddest hints of inspiration. Places I would never have intentionally gone to find ideas and inspiration will often slap me in the face with a sudden bout of wisdom. It surprises me, every time it happens. As the old saying goes, we most often find our destiny on the road we least thought to travel. The same can be easily applied to inspiration or good advice. I was reminded of this recently, when an old high school friend posted something on their Facebook page. It’s author unknown and written in French, so y’all will have to bear with me as I write it out and translate it…

Modern-day Priorities…

Books: $25? What’s it about…?
Pitcher of beer: $25? I’ll have a second one…

Groceries: $100? That’s fuckin’ ridiculous…
Eating out at a restaurant: $100? That’s not so bad…

Gym membership: $500? I can’t afford that shit…
Tattoo: $500? That’s a great price, sign me up…

Education: $1500? What am I, rich???
Southern vacation: $1500? When do we head out?

30 minutes of reading: I don’t have time for this, I have things to do…
30 minutes of social media: Wow, time seems to fly, where’d the day go?

60 minutes of sports: I don’t have enough free time for that…
60 minutes of binging a series: Just one more episode…

All things are a matter of priority and perspective. What are yours?

This post speaks to me because I find myself allowing quite a number of the differences listed above to take place within my own life. The most important is the last one, where people would rather binge-watch a show for an hour than workout for an hour or less. Priorities have become skewered and laziness has become an acceptable trait in some people. I see myself checking facebook and social media before taking the time to read the plethora of books I own, some of which I’ve had for years and never opened. The first and second ones speak to me on a personal level, as well.

The important lesson here is simply to realize where one’s priorities lie and work towards steering them in one’s best interest. Self-care and self-improvement are important, no matter what one needs to do to in order to achieve it. It’s human nature to do what’s easier but it takes a slightly stronger force of will to make the better choice. Does that mean you can’t occasionally binge-watch your favourite show or eat out at a restaurant? Of course not, so long as moderation and common sense rule the day. Food for thought… ☯️

A Foundation Without Form Will Still Be Weak…

I saw an interesting post on my Facebook feed a couple of days ago… Since I tend to check out martial arts pages and subscribe to some on occasion, I often have suggestions that pop into my feed. Some help to plant seeds for good blog posts, some just look like nonsense (to me) and I scroll right on by. But this one threw out a thought that resonated with me. It read something comparing kata and kumite to the body and soul of karate and how you can have kata without kumite but you can’t have kumite without kata.

This would be a point of heated discussion among martial artists of different styles, as some would argue that neither is needed to support the other. I was raised on a system where kata, or forms, are the base foundation for everything that follows. Kumite is a physical application of those forms. If you try to do kumite before properly learning the forms, you’ll be lacking in certain respects. Again, this can differ from style to style and I‘ve even trained in dojos where they teach their students kumite and even sparring well before they properly learn kata.

A big problem I have is that learning to spar or doing kumite before learning the proper foundational elements is sort of like trying o run before you’ve learned how to walk. It doesn’t work well in anyone’s favour. But one of the main issues, which has always been something that’s irked me as well, is that people want the flashy, high-flying techniques. They want the kicking and the punching and the speed… Most people don’t have the patience to learn kata and develop themselves.

And if I’m being honest, kata shouldn’t be sold short. Doing a half dozen forms with proper muscle tension and power will usually work up more of a sweat than anything else will. I was well-reminded of this recently when I watched the Karate kid III for the bajillionth time… The main protagonist is training in the antagonist’s dojo and is asked what was the last thing he learned. The protagonist says, “kata,” to which the antagonist says that kata is great for working up a sweat but it doesn’t win tournaments. Although I don’t necessarily agree that form won’t help win a tournament, I can easily agree that it works up a wicked sweat…

Traditional martial arts isn’t a fast process and you won’t be ready to kick ass and fight like an action star, even after a couple of years of training. Katas are not just a nice-to-have, they are the requirements needed to develop your foundation in order to build your skill set properly and efficiently. Plus, they’re hard as shit to master. After almost four decades of studying karate, I still have difficulty managing some of the steps and techniques included in my katas. Time and patience, folks. That’s the spice that makes an effective martial artist. ☯️

Whoopsie…

Well, there you have it folks… After 1,036 straight days of posting, I neglected to submit a post to go live, yesterday. I guess it was bound to happen eventually. After I hit my 1,000-post goal, I was left wondering what my next goal would be with this blog. Theoretically, with the height of the pandemic come and gone and the fact I’m back to work full time, there would be few practical reasons for me to keep hammering to write something EVERY day. In fact, achieving my 1,000 was reasonably anti-climatic, with only one or two acquaintances acknowledging the milestone, even through my blog. But I digress.

I’d like to say that this oversight (if it can be called that) was the result of something external that simply prevented me from writing, but such is not the case. In fact, I had ample opportunity to sit at the keyboard and get something on paper (or rather, on screen), I simply chose not to. Oddly enough, when Thursday evening hit, I felt a strange wave of something come over me. It wasn’t quite nausea, not quite dizziness, tinged with an unfortunate feeling of sleepiness. Not tired or fatigued, like after a long day’s work but actually sleepy.

Given that this can easily happen and having a night where one is sleepy isn’t unheard of, I made certain my blood sugars were level and crashed with no second thought given to how I was feeling. It wasn’t until I noticed the following day that this strange feeling had not only remained but appeared to be worsening. I told my wife about it and we discussed some potential reasons behind the feeling. Given that I recently discovered blood pressure issues, I checked that often but it was normal.

Friday nights are usually my night with Nathan, where we watch videos, play games and eat junk food in the basement. Although we still did this, I wound up crashing at about 10:30 pm, unable to stay awake any longer. I slept solidly and had no issues during the night but imagine my surprise when I woke up and checked the time to see it was past noon! I haven’t slept in that late since I was in my early 30’s. I struggled to get out of bed and quickly realized that my bed was in a fog and I could have easily slipped back insert he covers and fallen back asleep. I started to get concerned…

I made my way upstairs and spoke to my wife about it. I still went about my Saturday and ran errands, went out, even purchased a new television for the living room. All the while, I still felt foggy and couldn’t quite put a finger on what was causing the issue. Saturday night was almost as bad as Friday, with my wife unceremoniously putting me to bed when our toddler went down. I woke up around 10:00 am on Sunday morning and we did some running around as a family, followed by a much-needed 2-hour nap in the afternoon.

I basically spent the majority of my weekend sleeping, which really irks me as I usually have workouts and family plans and things I want to get done. Now, as I try and get at my Monday with the workweek starting anew, I still feel the thin veil of this sleepiness but it appears to be passing. Although paying close attention to all things required (blood sugars, blood pressure, hydration, etc) I still have no idea what may have had me so tired and in a funk. Maybe it’s just mood-based. Light knows I’m a moody bastard! Getting medical attention is no longer a promising prospect, given the state of most hospital emergency rooms, so keeping myself healthy has never been more important. ☯️