In The Absinthe of Good Sense… (A Long Read)

In some respect, I was kind of what some would call a “late bloomer.” I never had a rebellious phase, never got brought home by the police and contrary to the majority of my age group back home, I didn’t spent my teen years partying and drinking alcohol. In fact, I only drank my first beer at the age of 23 when I was training in Okinawa. And during those first few tastes of golden, alcoholic bliss, I was hanging out in a climate that required my body to retain every single drop of fluid I was taking in, which meant I was pretty much drinking beer AND water with impunity. That first little while saw me drinking with little to no after effects (other than raised blood sugars from the occasional high carbohydrate beer) and never a hangover.

Because of that fact, I thought I was somewhat invulnerable to the effects of alcohol. At least where hangovers were concerned. I didn’t learn my lesson until about six months AFTER my return from Okinawa where, on my way to a friend’s party, I couldn’t decide between two brands of beer, and bought a 6-pack of both. And then consumed them all. In one evening. Within about three hours. Ironically, I remember my evening quite clearly and it was a lot of fun. No worries or concerns, really. But the physical pain I was in the following morning taught me the error of my ways and why I should never drink with such impunity again.

I woke up soaked in what I hoped to Light was sweat, and my body sending out warning signals of varying sorts. My blood sugars were through the roof and my bowels and stomach were having an extremely loud argument over who had the right to kick out their unwanted guests first. I decided that my parched and swollen tongue required some water before giving attention to anything else. The water aggravated my stomach further, causing me to rush to the washroom where I managed to sit on the toilet while simultaneously testing my ability to aim by unceremoniously throwing up into the sink next to me.

It was like there was a party in my mouth and everyone was throwing up. I walked away having learned an extremely valuable lesson about alcohol, after that night. Despite being in my early 20’s, it would prove to be only one of two or three times in my life (so far) that I would actually get drunk. Putting aside the story of the staff party where I don’t remember being dropped off at home, the recollection of the third and last instance where I got truly drunk is the topic of today’s post. It involves an unplanned road trip coupled with a legendary and often-feared drink: absinthe.

Because of the first two instances of getting drunk, I had a strict “no getting drunk” policy, which involved never drinking anywhere but the comfort of my own home as well as never drinking enough to go beyond the enjoyment of simple libations and the flavour of whatever I may have been consuming at the moment. That isn’t to say that I don’t have the occasional beer when out at a restaurant or bar with friends. Far from it. But as a personal policy, I never allow myself to drink to excess. I think this is an important self-policy and should be followed by everyone. But my third and last time of getting drunk hammered it home for me. Here’s what happened…

Sometime between my return from Okinawa in 2001 and moving to Ottawa in 2007, I had a friend who lived in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The capital city of New Brunswick, it sits near the south-west corner of the Province and is about four hours away from where I was living at the time. My friend had moved there some years’ prior and had an apartment on the south side of the river. Although some locals may argue this point, the south side is where it’s at. It has the university, the shopping, the coffee shops and the bars. It also has the best comic shops.

Since I had a lull in my career, I found myself between jobs and had recently become single (unrelated) so I decided to pay my friend a visit. I haven’t spoken to him about retelling this, so for the purposes of this story I’ll simply call him “Treats.” If he reads this, he’ll be the only one who knows this involves him. I swear on my right hook that this is how the night went down, but his recollection may be different. I’ll let y’all know if he ends up reading this and reaching out to me. But I left early in the morning and arrived at Treats’ apartment around lunchtime. This worked out well, since we decided to go have brunch at one of my favourite breakfast restaurants called “Cora’s.” Although it’s nothing special beyond the fact they serve fresh fruit with every dish, one of our mutual friends also work there.

Treats had managed to gather a small group of mutual and new acquaintances to join us for breakfast, which included Treats’ brother and made for a pleasant, social outing. That’s right; I can be social. After an uneventful afternoon of coffee shops, comic book stores and good conversation, we discussed what we would be doing for dinner and with our evening. This is where things began to slowly roll downhill. Innocently enough, we decided on a local pub where we could indulge on a dose of unnecessary calories while having a few drinks. Once again, we had a few people with us but everyone kind of melted away as the evening progressed. A combination of university, work and the fact it was a week night made for a quiet party.

We got bored and didn’t want to spend a fortune on every beer we got, so we stopped by a local liquor store and got a case of beer for the apartment. We decided to binge watch some Family Guy. This was before Netflix was the big thing, and Treats actually had all the current seasons on DVD, so we watched and giggled like drunken school girls until we watched a scene involving Peter Griffin and the giant chicken. This prompted a heated discussion about fighting and martial arts, as I had been training in karate and he had apparently been doing kickboxing for quite some time. We already had quite a few drinks and despite being heated, it was nothing but conversational until Treats spoke the words that would change the tonality of the evening: “We should do a shot of absinthe…”

Folks, absinthe gets a reasonably bad rap. There was a this misconception that it had hallucinogenic properties and was mostly banned in North America, as a result. This concept has been mainly disproven in the past twenty years, and you can now buy the stuff at most liquor stores. Its no more dangerous than consuming any other spirit. Treats had brought over bottle from his travels in Europe over the previous couple of years and wanted me to experience the stuff, since I had never tried it. On the flip side, this shit is about 150 proof and is meant to be consumed by sprinkling sugar over ice and combining the absinthe with water. Treats took out two shot glasses and poured straight from the bottle. Asshole.

We were already drunk and bearing in mind that both of us had likely consumed close to a 12-pack each, albeit over the course of several hours, I wasn’t keen on the prospect of downing a shot. My previous experience with spirits hadn’t ended well. But I figured, what the hell was the worst that could happen? We were in the relative safety of Treats’ apartment and weren’t planning on going anywhere. Famous last words…

I take an experimental sniff of the greenish liquid and compared it to a bad combination of surgical-grade antiseptic mixed with antifreeze. I watch Treats throw his head back and down his shot. Suddenly, my self-confidence is shaken since Treats is about half my size and weight and he’s drank as much beer as I had. I do my best not to be a prideful person, but booze makes all the smart thoughts go, “Fuck it, I’m outta here!” So, like a true drunken idiot, I also throw back my shot and down it in one gulp.

It almost felt as though my entire body went into panic mode as every molecule in my esophagus was suddenly screaming at me and asking why I had brought this unwanted guest to the party. My stomach responded in kind, akin to a bouncer trying to tell someone they weren’t on the list and didn’t belong in the club and to get out of there. My stomach threatened to reverse impulse engines and expel right there in Treats’ kitchen. Sharp beads of sweat break out on my forehead and my knees buckle as I get dizzy, wondering what the hell I just did to myself.

Treats is laughing at me, mostly because he’s drunk and he sees me swaying in place but also because half the absinthe bottle was empty. This meant it wasn’t his first rodeo and he intentionally wanted to see what effect it would have on me. This makes me indignant and I consider this a slight against me the likes of which karma needed to correct. Once my momentary weakness passes, I decided it would be a good idea to test my blood sugars. This is a true testament to my muscle memory and control over Diabetes. Most people would have put that shit on the back burner.

When I come out of the guest room, Treats is back on the couch and has continued to watch Family Guy without me. This makes me morose as I sit in silence and begin to watch with him, having missed a portion of the episode. Somehow the conversation returns to our respective fighting styles and becomes more argumentative over the value of certain methods and techniques. I pride myself on being open to others’ interpretation. But as I mentioned earlier, drunk Shawn has a much different perspective. I berate and belittle his perspective. This makes him openly angry. Absinthe has joined the argument!

Treats finally decides he needs to demonstrate the effectiveness of his kickboxing prowess and invites me to spar in his entryway. We’re talking a less than ten-foot by ten-foot space inside an upper floor apartment. I start picturing Jean-Claude Van Damme’s drunken fight scene in Kickboxer and decide that this is a fantastic idea. We move his dining table slightly and square off. I can only imagine how ridiculous we must have looked; two grown-ass men, drunk beyond reason on beer and absinthe, planning to “spar.” I use the quotation marks because of what was to come next…

He starts with a couple of simple jabs. He’s using the typical boxer’s stance that I despise; his guard is firmly against the side of his head as he delivers his jabs. I block the first one. Then I block the second one. I begin to realize that my excessive martial arts training allows me to operate almost on instinct and I stop TRYING to block and simply let the blocks happen. I am in the zone. He delivers a couple more jabs and punches without any success. Although my guard is still up, I start laughing. And that’s when it happened.

Because of my drunken stupor, my laugh involved my eyes squinting shut. This is not a good thing during a fight. His next straight jab catches me right in the face. My eyes were no longer closed, let me tell you! I look at him in shock and surprise and try to deliver a jab of my own. As I do, he suddenly remembers the “kick” aspect of his art and delivers a firm, roundhouse kick to my right ribs; right underneath the arm I was jabbing with. I fold over on the injured side, which opens up the left side of my face. BAM! He delivers a right hook to the left side of my face.

The hook jars something loose as a flood of all the times I had been bullied and beaten up in school came flooding to the surface (Yes, I was bullied in school! One story at a time, people!). I was drunk on more alcohol than I should have consumed and my inner filters and controls melted away by Mr. Absinthe, and I saw red. I threw a quick rounded punch into Treats’ gut. He grunts. I am displeased at his lack of folding over, so I deliver a front kick to his solar plexus. As he doubles over, he guards the left side of his face. Since his fist is firmly against his head, I strike and it’s as though the fist isn’t even there. I bring a knee up into his abdomen and back kick him into his living room, sending his sprawling over the coffee table.

Maybe I should have mentioned that his girlfriend was also there at the time. Did I mention his girlfriend was sleeping there, at the time? She got up and was not impressed. We were both battered and bruised, with fine rivulets of blood at our nose, mouth or both. Everything had happened over the course of about five minutes. She used a rather matronly voice to “suggest” that we quit our bullshitting or she’d get “involved.” This this day, I don’t know what she meant. I didn’t want to know then, and I don’t want to know now. We watched a couple more episodes and the mood lightened significantly. Probably because we had drained out all of our testosterone in those few moments. Who knows?

I awoke the next morning and staggered my way to the washroom. The left side of my face had some mild swelling and it hurt to move my rib cage. I stepped out into the kitchen and found Treats seated at the table. He offered me coffee, which I gladly accepted and then grinned devilishly while making some off-the-cuff comment about how I couldn’t handle my booze. I left it alone. I didn’t know how much he remembered from the previous night, but I have the significant advantage (or disadvantage) of always retaining full memory of what I’d done despite the alcohol.

We decided to have a second round of brunch at Cora’s before I got back on the road to home. I had a reasonably low after-effect and little to no hangover, considering the amount of alcohol AND the strikes to the head. We chatted, we laughed and I got back on the road having thoroughly enjoyed my time with Treats. Good times and good memories. It would prove to be the last time I would ever consume that much alcohol of any type, and one of the last time I ever went beyond “tipsy.” Even though I didn’t have a rambunctious youth, I recognized that my capacity for violence when inebriated was significant. And I didn’t want to ever chance inadvertently bringing harm to someone.

So there you have it! A little insight on lesser moments in my 20’s. I definitely wasn’t proud of how I was that night. Anymore than I was of the other two instances when I allowed myself to drink outside the home. But this is why I make a point never to consume to intoxication. And for the most part, I never drink outside my home. My personal and professional life have taught me that there’s too much room for error. To this day, I enjoy my wine. I also enjoy beer much the same way many folks do: cold and while barbecuing. But sometimes we need to learn about moderation the hard way. Maybe some of you will see my story as a way to learn that lesson. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll need a couple of hits to the head, like I did. ☯

Goodbye, Old Faithful…

When you get used to certain equipment, it can be pretty horrible when it fails, breaks or gives out on you. I had just such an instance last week, when my lancing device broke. I don’t know how these devices are put together inside. In my head I picture a simple mechanical construction of a rubber band going taut as you pull the trigger back, only to be released when you push the button. No matter how simple or complicated it may be inside, the lancing device I’ve used for the past half decade finally decided to give out. I’d pull the trigger back without the tell-tale click, and there would be no response when I’d push the button.

For the non-Diabetics who may not know what this is, a lancing device is a small, pen-like plastic device that holds a lancet, which is the small needle that’s used to pierce your fingertip in order to test your blood sugars. Despite being on an insulin pump with continuous glucose monitoring, I still need to test my blood glucose via finger poke at least three times a day in oder to calibrate the CGM. I also need to test occasionally because apparently my blood sugars are TOO normal and if you go 2.5 hours without needing any microbolusing, the pump gets all pissy at you and wonders if there’s something wrong. It’s SUPER annoying when you’re trying to get eight hours of sleep. But I digress…

Since this was the evening and everything was closed, I had no choice but to do something that I haven’t seen done since the 1980’s. I had to hold a lancet in my fingers and manually jab my finger. Now, you may be thinking that this sound like such a big deal. The problem, you see is that doing it that way is extremely painful and usually causes injury in the form of bruising and sensitivity to the finger. A lancet’s needle can be anywhere from 1/8″ to 1/4″, and the lancing device controls how hard and how deep the needles punctures your flesh, making for a controlled and more comfortable experience.

Doing it manually just means you’re decimating your fingertips, especially when you get a brute like me with no control over how hard he does stuff. After three tests of doing it the ol’ fashioned way, once before bed and twice when I woke up, I decided that was enough to look into a replacement. I have three other USB glucomètres as shown in the photo above, but none of the lancing devices were with them. I searched in all my supply boxes but I never found the extras anywhere. I’m quite positive I haven’t ripped through 4 lancing devices in the past ten years, but the question remained as to where I put them.

Anxious to find some comfort and fervently aware that my pump would be pestering me for a calibration within the next hour or two, I ventured out to my local pharmacy with the hopes of purchasing a new one. Upon my arrival at the pharmacy, I explained my situation to the pharmacist who explained that lancing devices are usually included in glucometer bundles and don’t come as a standalone item. because of this, the only way to get a new lancing device is usually by purchasing a new glucometer package.

Luckily, he had some samples left over from distributors, and one of them happened to be the Bayer MICROLET next, which is the next generation above the one I had been using. He offered it to me, free of charge. I held my hands out and accepted the lancing device akin to receiving a great gift. I was grateful to my pharmacist for taking this step. And after several days of using this lancing device, I can say it was definitely worth the trip. Small favours… Sometimes you get lucky. Jus’ saying’… ☯

Happy Freakin’ Birthday…

I’ve never been much of a fan of my own birthday. Anyone who’s known me for any length of time knows that. But DAMN if there isn’t something magical about having a day all your own, eating cake and shit… It can be loads of fun. Well, today happens to be my lovely wife’s birthday. So, I’ll keep it short and sweet, since today isn’t about me and my propensity for being wordy as hell. Happy birthday to my beautiful wife. Although time marches on, we’ll never get older as long as we stick together! ☯

Turning Things Around

Yesterday’s post was pretty morose and depressing. I’ll be the first one to admit it. So I thought I would turn things around a bit and write about something a little more positive. My wife’s birthday is coming up in a few days, and I was trying to decide on something nice that I could get her. Given the current state of the world, going out for a night on the town is still out, although we’re getting closer to being able to do so. I found myself looking at alternatives and trying to think about things she may have mentioned she’d enjoy having.

I came up with an idea that would unfortunately require that I tell her what her gifts would be. This is mostly because I would need her input to ensure I got something she would specifically want. My first thought was to get a fire pit for the back yard. We’ve been talking about having one for a while and we avoided getting one because we believed we would likely be selling the house and moving in recent years. Since that’s no longer the case, we agreed to get one. Although I wanted to get one that connects to one of my propane tanks for ease of lighting and use, the small wood-burning pit is still wonderful and serves its purpose well.

It only took a few minutes to bolt the whole thing together, and we had the chance to blaze it up last Sunday when we had a friend of mine stop by for a coulee of cold ones. The photo above is of the shitty fire Nathan and I lit yesterday so I could snap a photo. I was out of wood and all I had were small brambles. It was pretty much out within ten minutes. But Sunday’s fire was mint, and lasted for the better part of an hour.

During my teen years, I spent countless evenings on local beaches with a fire burning, a few of us with some acoustic guitars and snack, crooning to easy music and simply enjoying the peaceful bliss of relaxing by a fire. There’s something soothing about the crackling flames and the warmth it projects while you connect and chat with good friends. I predict we’ll be making great use of this bad boy throughout the summer.

You may have noticed that I said “gifts.” My second thought was to get her a chaise lounger for the backyard. This could mean that on afternoons when she isn’t working, she can sprawl on the deck on her lounger, read a good book and even light a fire. If she chose to do so. But since it’s for her comfort, we’ve been shopping around to try and find something she’ll really enjoy. Sometimes, looking for what you want can be half the experience. ☯

One Love, One Religion, One Style…

The title is a saying that Sensei always used to have. He’s always been a firm advocate of maintaining only one style and never branching out to anything else. Although I’ve always been prepared to agree that one needs to study consistently in one style in order to properly learn, I’ve always been of the opinion that one needs to allow oneself to at least TOUCH on other styles, other techniques and other training methods, in order to add some variety to one’s overall martial arts toolbox.

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to train with a variety of schools and dojos, learning what i could from different styles. After all, if the techniques you’ve practiced for decades don’t work in a specific situation, what would do? Give up? Let yourself be injured or killed? Doesn’t sound too ideal, to me. With that thought in mind, I’ve always been quite open to studying and training with other styles.

With that in mind, one of the biggest sore points in my training, especially in the past ten years, is the fact that I moved out to the Prairies for my job, which took me away from Sensei and his dojo. Although I’ve had some opportunities to train in other schools since then, I’ve been sitting at my current level for a very long time. Rank has never meant all that much to me. I believe that some white belts can have wisdom and skill that some black belts never achieve. Especially if you’re in a style/dojo that graduates black belts in two or three years.

But my thirst for knowledge never ends, and my ambition to climb stems not from wanting another gold bar on my black belt, but from wanting to learn new techniques and methods and to know the answer to that ultimate question that all dedicated students ask, at some point in their martial arts career: What’s next? It was the driving curiosity behind that question that had me set out to try and find a solution to promoting to my next level.

In 2019, I had a comprehensive conversation with Sensei about my training and how the flow of my life and career had gone. We agreed that it was unfortunate that I had spent the last decade out west, as I might have climbed a couple of ranks within that time. But he agreed that if I was willing to put in the time, money and frequent trips to New Brunswick to train, I could see my next rank within the next year or two. Then, we had a second child. Alexander was the unexpected blessing to our lives that would require an increased presence within my home and wouldn’t make it appropriate for me to be running across the country four or five times a year for the next two years. I had to adjust my plans.

In 2020, I started calculating ways to stabilize things so that I could make my continued learning possible. Just when I felt there might be a glimpse of hope in my efforts, COVID-19 struck and locked the world down in a way that hadn’t been seen since before my lifetime. I was once again at a standstill. I wanted to continue my training, but only if I could do so without having it be at the cost of my familial obligations and finances.

I recently found a school of Uechi Ryu karate in Alberta. Although it would be several hours’ drive, that would be far better than a few thousand dollars for a flight to New Brunswick and being away from my family for extended periods of time. I reached out to this dojo and asked what the thought might be on helping someone promote to their next degree. I’ve been in open exchange with the dojo since last week, and it will be interesting to see if this is the path that allows me to continue my black belt path in this style.

I often say that life rarely cares about one’s plans. I don’t really need to prove that statement. A look at how my life has turned out in the past three years is a documented testament to that very fact. Although Sensei may likely disapprove and believe that stepping into another dojo in this fashion may dilute the teachings that were imparted on me, I need to be realistic of the facts. Sensei has closed his dojo. He no longer teaches. Continuing on my journey with him would be contingent on conditions I may not be able to meet. But you can’t keep a good karateka down. It’ll be interesting to see where life takes me, in this respect. ☯

Oops, Boards No Hit Back…

Last autumn, I decided to step up my at-home karate game by making and installing my own makiwara. You can read the post here, but I have to say that I was pretty proud of the accomplishment and I did get SOME use out of it before the winter hit and training outside was no longer optimal. My son Nathan was quite helpful with drilling the holes and installing the bolts that hold the 2×4 wooden planks together, as well as binding the cord and making it stable. Although many makiwaras are floor-mounted, I had no such place to appropriately install one. So Nathan and I dug a 3-foot deep hole at the corner of our backyard and placed the post into the hole, filling it with dirt and yellow clay.

In case you haven’t read the previous post (or any of the others where I’ve used the term makiwara), a makiwara is a hard, stable striking surface that’s usually made of wood. Depending on your style, background and training methods, they usually have a pad or designated striking area. In Okinawa, they usually scoff at the use of padding with preference for striking the bare, wooden surface. If you’ve ever seen photos of an Okinawan karate master’s knuckles, you know why this can be a problem. I built mine so that the top, striking area is wrapped in nylon cord. This allows for a harder striking surface than a punching bag, while preserving some of the bone structure in my hand.

The results of my punches!

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I was in the middle of a rather spirited boxing circuit in my garage. It involved a full minute on the punching bag followed by 45 seconds on the makiwara. That was one set. I did this for 30 minutes in total with no breaks in between. Somewhere around the 15-minute mark, I was striking the makiwara and the entire post shifted sideways and the dirt and founding around the bottom collapsed. The next couple of punches basically had the makiwara bouncing up and down as I struck. I had uprooted my homemade striking post. It was now useless.

Strength depends on the foundation.

Because I’m not a big of giving up, I put some thought into how I could repair it and ensure the same thing wouldn’t happen again. Just to be clear, I’m no Hercules. I have no illusions that my strikes are so powerful that nothing can withstand them. But even though water is the softest stuff in the world, single drops will eventually penetrate stone, if continued on a consistent basis. I had to recognize that prolonged use of the makiwara would always result in some level of damage, in the long term. The question was how to prolong its existence.

Nathan and I went to a home improvement store and purchased a bag of “Post Haste” concrete. Basically, this stuff is designed to harden and set within half an hour. Perfect. We followed up with a trip to our local dollar store and bought a plastic, 10-galloon bucket to mix the concrete in. $8 for the concrete and $4 for the bucket. Probably one of my cheapest repair projects. We were good to go. Nathan was excited and was itching to help me repair the makiwara and wanted to be involved in all the steps. Great.

The stuff!

I started by removing the makiwara, which unfortunately came out of the ground far too easily. This spoke to how unstable I had it, in the first place. I then used a shovel to scoop out the excess dirt and yellow clay and set it aside. I followed the instructions on the bag and placed two litres of clean water in my bucket, followed by emptying the contents of the concrete bag into the water. I was surprised that the water came to the surface, displaced by the density of the cement powder. I used an old wooden staff to start mixing the concrete.

Nathan measuring exactly 2 litres as per instructions. See, men CAN follow instructions!

It was tougher than I thought and it started getting too dense to move the stick. I had Nathan add a bit of water to help with consistency but when the stick came free and moved, I splashed myself with concrete. All over my left leg and all on and in my sneaker. Bloody marvellous. I would need to hose all of that off before going inside, as I really didn’t want to try running concrete through my washing machine. It gave Nathan a laugh though, who was quick to comment, “Haha, Daddy messed up…” He’s such a GREAT helper!

Nothing like cement all over oneself to add to the weight of the world…

Now that I had it mixed at least to some level of consistency I felt would work, I had Nathan hold the post wile I poured the cement mixture all around the post into the hole. It was rough going and didn’t pour nicely since it was so thick. I had to scoop it out with a small dowel and pat it down to ensure that it filled all the cracks and crevices within the hole. It also didn’t help that Nathan’s idea of holding the post steady included allowing it to slip at an angle every few moments. Kids…

Set in stone.

Once I managed to get the concrete poured properly, the hole was filled almost to the top, which would be topped off with yellow clay at a later time once the concrete cured completely. Within about five minutes, the concrete had set and hardened enough that the post could stand on its own without being held. Despite having made a mess with the water and splashing myself with concrete, I had managed to repair the makiwara and it would only require some quick finishing touches once the concrete finished setting the following day.

The finished repair!

As of yesterday, the makiwara seemed to be firmly in place, with the concrete doing its job and holding it strongly. I added the bracing to the rear and replaced the yellow clay over top the concrete. Although I have my eye injections today and didn’t have time to test it out, I can’t wait to reef on this bad boy and see how strong it’s become. At just $12, it was a much cheaper alternative than finding a different means of striking a stable surface. Only time will tell how long the repair, or the makiwara, will last. ☯

Cobra Kai, Season 4

I’m not going to lie… I’m stoked for the continuation of this Netflix series! When YouTube first released Cobra kai, a continuation series based on 1984’s the Karate Kid, ill admit that I was a bit sceptical. I was even more irked by the fact that if they were going to release a series picking up 30-odd years after the fact, that they’d focus on Johnny Lawrence as opposed to Daniel Larusso. Those fears were quickly put to rest with the inclusion of both characters.

Cobrai Kai focuses on showing how during the original film, Johnny was at the top of his game, winning trophies, being an alpha dog while Daniel was a down-on-his-luck new kid who unfortunately crossed paths with Johnny and paid a physical price. This is where Mr. Miyagi comes in and trains Daniel in the way of karate so that he can go on to the All Valley tournament and win against Johnny, albeit with an illegal kick to the face that even i didn’t agree with. but it’s all in good-natured 80’s fun, so it works.

Some three decades later, Johnny is seen as single, having fathered one estranged son, living within limited means and down on his luck, while Daniel is the owner of a multi-location car dealership franchise, appears to be wealthy and is happy in a successful marriage with a teenage daughter and young son. The first couple of seasons focus on Johnny reopening the Cobra Kai dojo and beginning to teach students, which prompts Daniel to do the same.

The end of Season 2 shows both dojos coming to a head as their students square off against one another in school and a non-literal bloodbath ensues, with one of the main protagonist characters becoming severely injured. Season sees both dojos come together against a common enemy from the past (I’m trying not to provide TOO many spoilers) and combining their students into a singular class. The upcoming Season promises the return of a key character from The Karate Kid III, which although not universally well-received, I thought stood well on it’s own merit.

The Karate Kid III saw Daniel continue his karate training with Mr. Miyagi while facing a new opponent who forces him to defend his title in the All Valley tournament. It shows the return of John Kreese as Johnny Lawrence’s disgraced Sensei and a new character, Terry Silver, as the antagonist of the entire ordeal. It’s an inspirational movie that sits well with me, from a martial artist’s standpoint. Season 4 of Cobrai Kai will apparently see the return of Terry Silver.

I know that I usually try to focus my posts on informational content, but the nerdy boy in me can’t help but write about this. I grew up on the Karate kid movies (as well as the ill-fated and ill-received Karate kid Animated series, which only ran for 13 episodes after The Karate Kid III) and absolutely love how Cobra Kai allows me to dip my toe in the waters of nostalgia. It also provides that minty hint of inspiration to continue working hard at my own martial arts training, especially since one of the main characters, played by Mary Mouser is Type-1 Diabetic and uses an insulin pump. If you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend it. ☯

My Kids & Karate

I decided to put out a brief video clip of my two boys, imitating their daddy! The first part is Nathan, doing a horse stance with a double-handed downward strike. The second part is Alexander having a pretty fair go at the punching bag after watching me on it for about 30 minutes. What’s interesting is that both boys were just a bit older than 1-year old in their respective clips, and I never formally taught them any of what’s seen in the video. It just goes to show that some skills can be inherent. ☯

Life Is Like A Camera…

One of the better aspects of returning to social media, is the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with some friends I’ve been out of touch with for decades. Considering the fact that I graduated from high school twenty five years ago, it’s no surprise to learn that many of us have changed and taken a direction in life that may not have been assumed, at the time. One of those people has a tendency of sharing little nuggets of wisdom and motivation on his Facebook feed, and I wanted to share one of them with you, today. I don’t know what his source was, and it’s translated from French, so bear with me…

Life is like a camera…
ZOOM in on what’s important…
CAPTURE the food moments…
DEVELOP the best ones and
DELETE the rest!
If you don’t get the results you wanted or wished for,

I felt the comparison, as well as the thought behind this was nice. I feel it sends the message that although there’s good and bad in life, it’s important to acknowledge that you should focus on the good and capture those moments that make you happy. I don’t know, maybe I’m just feeling wistful today. Happy Saturday, everyone! ☯

When The Hell Did THAT Happen…?

I like to think that I’m pretty good at paying attention to detail. After all, my professional livelihood has always depended on that very skill, so I usually make a point of noticing things even before I technically need to. However, something seems to have happened that I wasn’t even aware of. I appear to have exceeded 300 followers! I’m sitting at 303, to be exact.

When I started authoring this blog, I did so for two reasons:

  1. To share pertinent information about Buddhism, Diabetes, Martial Arts as well as Health&Fitness as I knew of it; and
  2. To grow my ability to write, research and express myself.

I like to think that I’ve easily accomplished those two goals. In the past two and half years, I’ve met some amazing people who write some amazing blogs. I’ve made contacts and helped to share the knowledge I’ve gathered from 38 years of managing Type-1 Diabetes and 32 years of studying Buddhism and karate (although the Buddhist aspect didn’t come along until a few years AFTER I started karate). It’s been an amazing and in fact, and unexpected pleasure in my daily life to start authoring this blog. And now that I’ve started, I don’t expect I’ll ever stop. It’s just too much fun and I find myself unable to shut up, so it works for me.

A big thanks for everyone who reads, comments and enjoys my blog. You keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them. And yes, I’m well aware that “300” is not a number worthy of celebration. But if it was enough for the Spartans to hold off the Persians (albeit temporarily), I’m comfortable knowing I already have an army behind me to keep this thing going. ☯