Martial Artists Do It With One Leg In The Air…

I read a really good post recently about how “movies lie to you.” It covered a variety of things we see in the movies that generally wouldn’t be genuinely possible in real life. Things like drawing a long sword sheathed on your back, gunshots or explosions throwing people across the room or getting that zwing! Sound when drawing a sword from a leather sheath were some of my favourites. It was a pop up story on my Facebook feed, so I unfortunately don’t have a link to share, which sucks because it was a pretty good article. The one thing they brought up that caught my attention was actually something that I’ve written about before: kicks.

Do I study karate? Yes. Yes, I do. Do we practice kicks in karate? Oh, most certainly. But here’s the thing: high-flying or flowery kicks are all but useless in a real fight. Movies and television shows make a pretty good show of having martial artists duke it out with each other and there’s no shortage of kicks and it usually looks all cool and stuff. But all those high-flying kicks can leave you extremely vulnerable and standing on one foot is never a promising endeavour when you’re squaring off against an opponent.

I usually like to think, and I know some of my martial arts counterparts would agree, that any technique has its place. Some techniques are taught and practiced solely for the purpose of increasing flexibility and mobility and to develop that whole thing that if you want to kick to a certain extent, you should train further. But in actual real-world applications, it would never do to try and use a high kick against an opponent.

Not only do high kicks expose your groin and various other areas that one would rather not have struck, even a practitioner who’s trained and or acted certain kicks ad nauseam will find their balance precarious during an actual fight. One can easily make the argument that during training, you’re in a controlled environment where if you do nothing more than block, there are certain safeties in place that’s don’t exist in a real fight. When “fight or flight” kicks in, keeping your balance and composure can be challenging, despite muscle memory.

My style of karate basically includes front kicks, roundhouse kicks and blade kicks with an occasional sprinkling of back kicks. But with the exception of doing it to increase flexibility, all of our kicks are generally focused no higher than the belt line or floating ribs. I’m usually dependent on my hand strikes and blocks, since most real-world scenarios won’t involve a great deal of distance between you and your opponent. And honestly, if there IS that much distance, there would potentially be opportunity for you to simply reposition and walk away. Food for thought… ☯️

The Uechi Chronicles, Vol. 6: Final Thoughts

Some weeks ago, I sent out a message to a reasonable number fo people with whom I’ve trained in karate for any number of years. People who have had an impact on my journey and who have left a lasting impression. In the previous 5 volumes of these stories, I have shared their thoughts and answers to a few short questions that shed light on what brought them to the martial arts and why they’ve continued or trained in it.

The most important aspect to take away from these stories is the fact that everyone’s answers were different. Why they joined, how long they’ve done it and what they’ve gained or hoped to gain differed significantly from one person to the next and made for some interesting insight into the thought process that goes into the making of a karateka. We had one person who was essentially forced into it, another who joined along, one who wanted to learn self-defence and one who needed it to save his life.

As good as it may be and as fun as it’s been to write about these journeys, what about the ones who didn’t respond? I’ve passed on 5 stories, one of which was mine and I don’t mind sharing that I sent out feelers to over a dozen people. So, what about those who didn’t respond? An interesting phenomenon that I’ve noticed with something like this is very much the same as a previous post I did about wearing karate “swag’ or apparel.

When a person joins karate and are genuinely motivated by it, they’ll talk about it constantly. They’ll wear “karate” shirts and warmup jackets in public. Hell, one of the first things I did in my first month of training was sew my extra school patch on a t-shirt and I wore that thing EVERYWHERE. It also drew some unwanted attention, since it basically broadcasted that I was training in self-defence, but that’s a whole other mess.

My point is that as time passes, so does one’s need to validate what their doing by broadcasting it in this fashion. The same can be said of speaking about it. When I was a young white belt, I couldn’t STOP talking about Uechi Ryu. As I got older and more seasoned in the art, I changed my perspective to simply answering questions if someone asked about it. Nowadays, I don’t generally discuss karate outside the realm of my blog or if I’m actually training somewhere. It seems as though many of my senior counterparts have chosen this path, as well.

in some respects, this is unfortunate and I believe it’s a great loss that we can’t hear their stories as well. For example, although I know some snippets, hearing Sensei’s responses to the questions I posed would have been enlightening. But despite a significant period of time passing and only four questions to answer, many have chosen to remain silent, which I totally respect and understand. This brings the chronicles to a close. Should any of them reach out eventually, or choose to respond after reading this, I’ll certainly be more than happy to add another volume. ☯️

Fair Weather Friends…

Friendships are important. More so than people realize. Making one’s way through life without peers in whom to confide can be difficult. Some people do it, but even they would need to admit that there’s a significant downside and difficulty to it. It’s almost something that society expects, as well. The old prospect of being an external loner with no friends or family is a bygone concept, and some professional aspects of one’s life may even require friendships.

Ever try applying for a job that requires “personal” references? I’ve applied for jobs that have required ten of them. Imagine, when your known circle of immediate friends doesn’t even extend to ten, how badly you scramble to suddenly contact people you may not have chatted with in years in order to ask if they’d be willing to act as a reference for you? It can leave you feeling embarrassed, even if what friendships you do retain are no one’s business but your own.

Outside the employment arena, friendships are important for a number of reasons. Having friends teaches us how to associate and communicate with others, how to function outside the realm of our own mind and how to act and conform (for lack of a better word) within the boundaries of normal society. Whatever the hell “normal” is, these days.

A small problem that I’ve noticed, especially in recent years, is the sudden disappearance of a good number of people who would easily identify themselves as “friends.” You’ll notice that I refer to “them” as opposed to “us,” because although we can easily tell who we’re friends with or not, some of them may not feel the same. As a child, I can remember having a small circle of peers that I would easily identify as friends. As I got older and our respective personalities evolved and changed, these friends moved on, relationships were altered, old friends went and new friends came. But there were always a small handful who would stick around. Or so it seemed.

I recently read a quote online…. Light knows where I saw it; considering how much time I spend online researching my posts, it’s no surprise that I’d lose track. And I don’t even remember it verbatim but the gist of it is that some people aren’t loyal to you, they’re loyal to their need of you. Once their needs change, so does their loyalty. And this is an unfortunate truth that I’ve learned the hard way, especially in the past few years.

One good example I can think of is a particular friend (and obviously, I’ll omit names) who used to lean on me for all of their personal and professional problems. Never one to turn away a friend, I used to sit for long hours while this friend would vent their problems, fears, concerns and issues to me. I’m definitely not a medical professional and more often than not, I would simply be an ear to listen as opposed to trying to fix the problem.

I’ve never had an issue doing this for any of my friends when they’ve needed it. Hell, I once flew back home to help a close friend in need during one of the most difficult periods in their lives. We’re talking an expensive plane ticket, time away from my wife and kids and time off of work to go and help solve someone else’s problems. I can freely admit that I’m no saint, but one can surely admit that this at the very least falls under the category of a good friend. However, previous and subsequent visits have proven that this friend usually can’t find the means to make an effort to visit ME, despite the fact I may have no vehicle and no means to reach them.

I used the title “Fair Weather Friends” for this post and the literal definition of that term is for a friend who disappears on you when times are difficult. Although I’m referring to friendships in general, a unexpected side effect of the important difficulties I’ve dealt with in recent years have exposed these fair weather friends. The ones who were quick to turn silent once certain difficulties were brought to light. Or the ones who, despite being in close residential proximity, never return the effort that’s made to keep contact with them.

This is why I value the friendship I DO have and the ones that are maintained. The ones where we may not speak for a couple of weeks but then make a point of taking time to communicate and catch up. We stay involved with each other, even when life gets in the way. And we appreciate each other FOR each other; not for what we DO for each other. I still have some of those friendships. I appreciate and value them. You know who you are!

Yes, friendships are important. Social interactions and relationships help us to develop and grow and are an integral part of a person’s life. The important thing is to be cognizant of those fair weather friends and to be sure that you acknowledge and appreciate the important people in your life. Given the state of the world, this is more important than ever. Food for thought…☯️

Who the F%&k Is Sally…?

Without necessarily bragging (okay, maybe I’m bragging a little) I can usually manage about 50 push-ups before failure. That’s if I haven’t done anything prior to the push-ups, of course. About ten years ago, I could do far more. In karate, we made a point that our push-ups were always on our knuckles or fingertips. This was great for developing certain aspects of our art, including striking and pressure points. There’s no denying that push-ups are a fantastic exercise for building a bunch of different muscle groups.

Most people don’t realize that you can even change up HOW you do your push-ups for even more variety. This includes close-grip push-ups, wide-grip push-ups, single-arm and a bunch of other varieties that I usually don’t have the balls/muscle structure to try, Push-ups are about as classic an exercise as you can get. You can do them anywhere, require no equipment and they present a challenge, no matter what your fitness level. Needless to say, I’m a fan of them.

Some time ago, I found this video on YouTube of a guy demonstrating a push-up challenge called “Bring Sally Up.” The premise of the challenge is pretty simple. You play the song and every time they say “Bring Sally Up,” you push to the upper push-up position. When they say “Bring Sally Down,” you lower to the loaded push-up position and hold there until they say “Bring Sally Up” again. I decided to try this thing from a cold start, meaning I hadn’t done anything physical prior to starting it.

Theoretically, I should have been able to crush the 3:30 video without any issue, since it amounts to just over 30 push-ups (I didn’t take an exact count). But by 2:45, I was at muscle failure and dropped to the floor. My chest and arms were killing me and I was coated with sweat. It’s the pause at the bottom that does it. It’s absolutely brutal. During the version of the video I watched where the fitness trainer is providing some commentary, it’s mentioned that the more you perform this exercise, the stronger you become and the longer you can hold out. Like most fitness programs.

Anyway, if you’re looking to increase your push-up game and want to try something different, I highly recommend it. If you type “Bring Sally Up” into your search bar on YouTube, you’ll find multiple versions of the song; some where you see people doing it, some not. The version I like will be shared below this post. What I like is that there’s a timer display that counts up, showing you how far you’ve gotten. This is either good or bad, depending on whether you’re the kind of person who likes seeing time go by. There’s also a “beep” every thirty seconds, letting you know the progress you’re making in the event you aren’t watching the screen.

I like finding different ways to stay in shape. Exercise is (or rather SHOULD be) a daily part of life when you have Diabetes in order to ensure one’s continued health. Sometimes it can be integral to find ways to keep it interesting so that you don’t get bored. Boredom during fitness is one of the sure ways to ensure that you’ll skip days and eventually slip off the rails. So I gladly take any opportunity I can to try something new. Without butchering myself in the process, of course. Check out the video below and give it a try. Leave your results in my comments section, if you do. ☯️

Shisa: Under The Watchful Eyes Of Okinawan Guardian Dogs…

I’ve been exposed to Japanese culture a great deal throughout my life; a byproduct of studying Okinawan karate for 33 years. And yes, I can easily say that there are important differences between Japanese and Okinawan, but for the sake of this post, we’ll lump them in together. After all, all Okinawans are Japanese but not all Japanese are Okinawans. Moving on… During my youth, I had the opportunity to be exposed to, and study, some of the Okinawan culture long before I actually travelled there. And one of the first things I was exposed to was Shisa dogs.

The year was 1996 and I was about to graduate from high school. It was as tumultuous time for me, since I had no idea what direction my life was taking and no clue as to what I wanted to do with myself. I was starting college in the fall at the insistence of my parents, even though I was being thrust into a program I didn’t want (computer programming). All I knew at the time was that I was at the peak of my martial arts skills and I wanted to continue to study THAT. This is something that would be made difficult by the fact that I would be living an hour away for school. But Sensei and I worked it out and we agreed on a training schedule that would accommodate my needs.

I stopped by his house on graduation night, since his son Guillaume was my best friend and would be graduating as well. While I was waiting for Guillaume to come down the stairs, Sensei approached me with a small bundle and handed it to me. “For you,” was all he said. In his usual custom of keeping things simple, he handed me a small, black trash bag that was knotted at the top. I could tell there were moving parts inside, but little else. I asked him if I cold open it immediately, to which he replied I should. I tore open the bag to find two small porcelain Shisa dogs inside.

I’ve had them ever since, and it allowed me to study their origins and purpose. Bear in mind that dial-up internet was barely a thing at that point, so my research had to be genuine and hands-on. But I managed. I learned some interesting things along the way. For example, some refer to them as lions and some refer to them as dogs. Sensei always called them dogs and by virtue of that, I’ve always referred to them as dogs, as well.

The Shisa dogs I keep at home

The pair fo dogs Sensei gave me for graduation are simple porcelain and semi hollow. I keep those at my office, since they’re smaller 9about the size of tennis balls) and fit on my office’s windowsill. The ones pictured above are the ones I purchased myself in Okinawa and are about the size of candle-pin bowling balls (the ones without the finger holes). The ones above are made of soap-stone and are quite heavy. I foolishly purchased them in a shop in Naha on Okinawa. Sensei nearly lost his mind when he saw them, considering my suitcase was quite full.

These dogs originate from China and actually have Buddhist origins. They usually come in pairs and stand guard on rooftops or at doorways/gateways. They be standing forward or off to the side (as pictured above) but the mouths are always facing outward. The thought is that the open-mouth dog (on the right) is roaring to ward off evil spirits while the closed-mouth dog is inviting the friendly spirits. What’s nice with the ones pictured above, is that there’s no mistaking which dog goes on which side.

Since these dogs were brought in from China before Okinawa became part of mainland Japan, their introduction was separate in the two places. The Okinawans use Shisa dogs in their day-to-day culture and you’ll see them in front of most buildings, including temples, homes and businesses. They’re basically the equivalent of gargoyles. Just an interesting part of the culture I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy during my martial arts journey. ☯️

Bravery And Fear may Not Be Separate

Everyone likes hearing tales and stories of bravery or knowing someone they consider to be brave. In those situations, most people would utter phrases like, “they’re SO brave…” and “I’d never be able to do THAT! I’d be too afraid…” And the latter is particular, because most people seem to associate bravery with the lack of fear and this is about as incorrect a thought as one could have. Being brave or displaying bravery doesn’t mean that one isn’t afraid. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Let’s start with my preferred habit, which is to define what is is I’m talking about. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “bravery” as, “the quality or state of having or showing mental or moral strength to face danger, fear or difficulty.” A pretty straightforward definition, but I want to point out a certain aspect of that definition that sticks out and digs to root of what I’m getting at today. The definition by no means indicates the absence of fear. It does, however, define it as being strong enough to confront one’s fears. And THAT is the important difference.

To be brave doesn’t mean that you aren’t afraid. fear is a normal and expected response to something that is worrisome, stressful or dangerous. It by no means suggests that if you’re afraid that you can’t be brave. Bravery (or valour) kicks in when you make the decision to confront that danger despite that fear. This can apply to a significant number of aspects of ones life, including work, interpersonal relationships, medical situations… hell, just stepping out the door in the morning. Some folks have something called Agoraphobia, which is the fear of spaces outside the home.

But if one can find it within themselves to do a thing regardless of the fear it incites, this would be bravery. Not the absence of the fear itself but the ability to confront or embrace it. Some good examples I can provide would include in 2015, when I started getting my eye injections. I don’t think I need to explain that the prospect of having someone slide a needle into my eyeball with the intentions of injection a medication into it definitely had my lizard brain saying, “Nope. Not happening. get us the fuck outta here…” Obviously, the prospect of eventually going blind outweighed my fear and I confronted it, and I continue to get these injections every seven to eight weeks.

In the beginning, I had plenty of people commenting and telling me how brave I was for going through that and that they’d never be able to, because they’d be too afraid. Bloody hell, you think I WASN’T afraid??? I sit through something that’s usually reserved as a bad scene out of a horror movie. Of course, I’m afraid. But I confront that fear. The result is that I come out of it with a maintained ability to see clearly, which allows me to do the little everyday things like retain the privilege of operating a motor vehicle and doing my work without special accommodation.

Another good example is testing for black belt. I’ve always trained very hard in karate. I’ve always been confident in my knowledge and abilities in karate. By that logic, testing for black belt shouldn’t have been an issue. But I would be outright lying if I said that I wasn’t scared shitless in the days leading up to the test. But I knew that if I wanted to continue my education in the martial arts that I had to take the added step. The result is that I was able to continue on my martial arts path, start teaching and continue this education, even today.

Granted, the inherent danger associated with those things are passive. Think about a firefighter who rushes into a burning building to save someone trapped inside. Do you think for one second that they aren’t scared? The fear is very real and the danger associated with it is very real, as well. Every time a police officer performs a traffic stop, there’s always a fear that they may be confronting someone violent and dangerous. There’s a CONSTANT fear. But they do it anyway. Now, this is the other end of the stick, of course. But the concept still stands.

Bravery doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid. It simply means that you find the strength within yourself to confront those fears and do it anyway. That’s where you’ll start to notice that you can accomplish far more in life. And you’ll be happier. No one wants to be controlled by their fears. And everyone can be brave. All it takes is the strength to step out that door the first time. And once you do, taking it one step at a time. ☯️

Let the Bodies Hit The Floor, Let The Bodies Hit The Floor…

No, the title doesn’t refer to Drowning Pool’s song. It refers to a particular reality that most people don’t seem to acknowledge about fights in the real world; y’all goin’ to the ground. Unlike what’s seen in the movies, real fights don’t involve a long, drawn out exchange involving multiple landed hits by both parties while exchanging witty, macho banter. Unless the one who initiates the fight manages to land that first hit, a real fight will usually involve a good handful of missed swings and awkward trips, followed by one or both opponents grappling each other and going to the ground.

For the most part, most traditional instructors advise that a practitioner should focus on one style, only. Sensei always used to preach, “One Style, One Religion, One Love.” And for the most part, i can get on board with that. How can one work towards mastering any given style if one spends their time diluting their time with multiple styles, schools and combat types. Martial art is a subjective thing. One style that suits a particular practitioner may not suit another. This is why one should take time and be patient when choosing a school.

That being said, one also needs to recognize that one can’t truly learn or understand the martial arts without including certain aspects that aren’t included in all styles. For example, we can agree that karate is primarily a striking art. Before everyone jumps on my comments section, I said “primarily.” This means that certain combat styles will lack certain required tools to properly defend oneself in a fight. If your style is mainly offensive or striking, you may not be able to adequately defend yourself by blocking incoming attacks. If one practices nothing but blocks and never learns to throw a strike, one will always be on the defensive and won’t be able to bring the confrontation to a close.

So what happens when the striking and blocking ends and the bodies hit the ground? You ever have someone weighing hundreds of pounds on top of you? Before anyone lets their mind slip down into the gutter, it can be very difficult to throw an efficient strike when you’re rolling around on the ground. This is where learning a grappling art can be integral to proper self defence. Beyond integral. Necessary. I was lucky in that my Sensei also held a black belt in Judo and he incorporated throwing, grappling and pressure points as a standard along with the karate aspect (his school was called The New England Academy of Karate & Judo)

I’m reminded of a full contact match I had while going through basic training. Our instructors thought it would be a good idea to pit me against a Tae Kwon Do black belt. It was an incredible match and we both got our bells rung, but good. We faced a very specific obstacle; our styles weren’t compatible for a controlled fight. As long as he kept his distance, I couldn’t reach him with my small circles blocks and strikes. If I managed to get in close, his high-flying and spinny techniques were useless.

I’m being a bit of a dick in terms of that last comment, but the reality is that in an actual combat situation, that incompatibility would inevitably lead to those opponents going to the ground. The fact that I was in a controlled match is the only thing that prevented that, in my situation. But that’s why I highly recommend taking the time to learn at LEAST the basics of rudimentary grappling and ground work. It could make all the difference in a real life situation. ☯️

Letting Sleeping Ghosts Lie…

So, my October 13 celebration/grieving was a bust… My wife warned me that this would happen. Another testament to how one should always listen to one’s spouse. Typically, I would have a home office in which I could write, stream some shows and be alone with my thoughts. This usually allows me to reflect and think back on my past experiences and what has brought me here. This year, since our basement isn’t completed, I had nowhere to go besides our living room. And that seemed to fall short for what I’ve usually done in the past.

Once supper was served, I was able to coax my son Nathan with the promise of holding on to his device if he completed a couple of homework tasks on it first. He agreed I got him squared away in his room with water and snack. Check. The youngest, however… Our evenings are typically on the quieter side since Alexander is usually pretty calm when his older brother Nathan isn’t in the picture. But for some reason, either because there was a full moon I was aware of or some stars aligned against me, or perhaps we can simply go with my usual belief that life doesn’t care about one’s plan, he was a roiling Tasmanian Devil of energy and was destroying everything in sight.

By the time we managed to get him to actually go to bed, I was physically and emotionally exhausted (not from him) and just wanted to go to bed. Which I did. Like an old man. Then I slept for over 11 hours, leaving behind the last instance of celebrating the day I completed basic training and took to the field. I’d like to say it was a restful sleep, but I woke up the next morning feeling as though I had been struck by a freight train. This is a testament to the fact that one can potentially sleep TOO long.

I did get one silver lining on Wednesday, which came in the form of an old troop mate reaching out to me: Randy Tabada. Y’all may remember Tabada, if you read the post I wrote back in February of 2020. If you didn’t, you can read it here. Tabada was a member of my troop during basic training. Our bunks were across the aisle from one another and he was one of the few select people from our troop that I actually spent time with, outside of the training environment. When he came back to Regina in February of 2020 to take some courses at the academy, I had the opportunity to share a meal and fond memories with him.

It was wonderful to get his phone call and reconnect with him. We discussed a number of outstanding issues that we’ve both been facing and we agreed how it was a little sad that out of a troop of 32, neither of us really had contact with anyone besides each other. I recall making an effort to reach out to everybody prior to our 10-year anniversary with the intention of organizing a reunion. I sent out a feeler email to see who would be amenable to getting together. The negative response was almost unanimous, which was a little sad.

At the end of the day, I didn’t get to observe my special day the way I would have chosen. Such is life. Although my intention is to rediscover myself and find out who I am outside of my previous career, I knew there wouldn’t be some climactic revelation or fireworks involved. But given that I’m now a veteran, it would have been nice to reminisce in my own way, one last time. Especially since my intention is to prohibit Fireball (or most other forms of alcohol) from ever entering this house again. I’m a veteran. It feels weird to say. It’s a title I usually always associated with my grandfather, but one that I’ll carry with pride. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to step out into the world and discover who I am. Or rather, who I may become…☯️

Be In The Now…

It’s important in life to recognize that life exists only in the immediate moment. That makes it equally important to live in that moment. I found a meme online that got me thinking about all of this and it went a little something like this. Bear with me, as I’m translating indirectly from French…

“If you want to be sad, live in the past.”
“If you want to be worried or anxious, live in the future.”
“If you want to be in peace, live in the present.”

This is not mine and to be honest, it was a meme and I can’t source it. I’m sure I could research it and try to figure out where it came from, but unlike providing information on something Diabetes-related as I often do, I don’t believe it’s necessary for the message I’m trying to convey. And just to be clear, this doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be PREPARED or PLAN for things. It simply means that your thoughts and your essence shouldn’t exist outside fo the immediate moment.

This is where you are. This is where you exist. To allow yourself to live outside of that context brings suffering. And that’s the last thing you need. Take the time to appreciate where you are. Soak in the environment. Take on the scents and sounds of your life. And take note that if any of those aspects don’t make you happy, you have an inherent responsibility to do something about it. ☯️

Let It Go And Let There Be Light…

In 2009, I closed up shop on life as I knew it. I closed my karate dojo, quit my job and left my friends and family to pursue a life-long dream and come out to Saskatchewan to start a new career. Basic training was tough, but despite several different types of adversity I made it through with flying colours and started the journey I thought would last the rest of my life. Today is the anniversary of the start of that journey. For years, I’ve observed a tradition on this day that involves toasting to my brothers and sisters.

This toast would take the form of one shot of Fireball for every year of service I had accumulated. The first few years were reasonably okay and it was a nice way of recognizing my comrades and celebrating without being able to be with them. After all, we were posted all over the country, so doing anything specific is difficult. But right around the fifth year of celebrating this day as a personal holiday, it started to get a little bit tough. I don’t think I need to explain that having five shots of Fireball whiskey in a row makes for a bit of a rough night.

Despite that fact, every year I’ve stubbornly held out. All the way to ten years, where over the course of a few hours, I would celebrate by taking ten shots. Is anybody else’s liver hurting yet? Needless to say, the following year I needed to find a different means of celebrating. But this year, things are different. In April, I started a new job. For the first time in my life, I have a permanent home. My children were born here in Saskatchewan. My wife is from Saskatchewan. The memories and experiences I’ve gathered during a decade and a half of being out here far outweigh any of the difficulties I’ve faced in recent years.

So I’ve decided that this year is the last time. Time to move forward with life. Memories and experience are simply that and how can one be expected to move forward if one is constantly reminded of what was lost, right? It’s been difficult to ignore that the rough seas I’ve been navigating over the past three years were out of my control, caused by someone else and even without any measurable benefit to the party in question. Some people just like to watch the world burn. But if I don’t let go of my hate and start moving forward, all it will do is contributed to my own suffering, which if you haven’t been paying attention, the elimination of suffering is kind of my jam.

So here’s to my brothers and sisters. I hope you all stay safe out there and continue to fight the good fight. My fight is not over, it’ll simply be in a different arena. Time to find out who I am outside the uniform and pursue new dreams. Time to find some peace. ☯️