When Your Get Up And Go Has Gotten Up And Gone…

I’ve noticed that I seem to be letting more and more time elapse between my posts… What with my last one being nearly a week and a half ago, I think I’ve become far too comfortable letting go of my compulsion to post on a daily basis. On the one side, I have the my oldest son who, like every other kid in modern times, has become obsessed with Minecraft and often monopolizes the laptop during the evening hours. Although it’s my laptop and I could easily object, watching Minecraft tutorials is far better than other, more nefarious activities he could be getting up to, so I tend to indulge him a bit. I’ve also allowed my work to consume me to a certain extent; something that I had always promised myself I wouldn’t allow. Given that my agency is currently moving to a new physical address, the entire staff has been sent home to work remotely. I never realized how easy it was to start work early and work through my end time, when I’m sitting in the comfort of my home. But I digress… My self-imposed increased workload has also had me working as opposed to writing.

The biggest hit I’ve taken lately is my fitness routine, which has taken a seat to make time and room for other obligations and daily necessities. While I would be the first to admit that when something is as important as one’s health and fitness, one can find the time no matter how busy they are, I also recognize that there are a finite number of hours in a day and time is the only commodity that humanity can’t create. Therefore, by the time my work day is done, meals and children are seen to, which includes homework, baths, laundry and dishes, this leaves me precious little time to flop down on the couch and let me head cool as I contemplate the events of the day. Wash, rinse and repeat.

For the most part, I was on a pretty good track with performing a brief, 10-minute circuit in the morning that helped wake me up, increase my circulation and give me some get up & go before I even cracked my first energy drink. You can read about that here. Although my first went swimmingly, the second week was a bit like a worn out commodity and I haven’t been quite as effective at getting out of bed early enough to do the circuit and shower before I need to plop down in front of a keyboard for the day. Given that my evenings are filled with all the daily requirements of family life that outlined in the previous paragraph, it leaves one to ask: When will I have time to work out?

One of the biggest things I consistently hear form most fitness sources is simply this: show up. Even if you’re tired, show up. Even if it hurts, show up. Even when it gets tough, show up. Great words. Putting them into practice can often take an effort that can be difficult to nail down. I consider myself to be a reasonably committed person. So I would like to think I can rise above this. And I likely will but that doesn’t change the fact that at the moment, I feel a bit like a smashed piece of ass with no hopes of getting myself off the floor if I fall. Ironically, my blood sugars have honestly been pretty good, considering the lack of fitness. Of course, my continued lack of appetite may have a little something to do with that.

The lesson here is that if you find yourself in this type of situation, it’s important not to get hard on yourself. Let yourself have the time to rest and heal, if it’s what you need. Obviously, you don’t want to sit around all sedentary for an extended period of time as that will start to seriously affect your overall health, especially if you have type-1 Diabetes. And if you feel that you’re lacking energy or that your emotions are what’s affecting your fitness, consider the possibility that you may want to speak with your doctor or medical practitioner. Winter blues can sometimes be more than winter blues. Food for thought… ☯️

Sleep, Painful Sleep…

It’s no secret that people with Diabetes will often have poor or lessened blood circulation in their extremeties. This can be attributed to a number of different complications, including but not limited to poor dietary choices and high blood sugars causing fatty deposits in the blood vessels over time. This will result in the hardening of your blood vessels, which will lessen blood flow. there are a bunch of other reasons for it, as well but one can hit up WebMD for the comprehensive list.

Sleeping with Type-1 Diabetes also comes with a pretty long list of difficulties, from fluctuating blood sugars to dehydration, all the way up to general feelings of unease, including restless leg syndrome or any of the vast plethora of colds and flus one catches because they’re living with a compromised immune system. It can mean that getting a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep is damn near impossible but when it does happen, it’s almost like twenty pounds of weight has been lifted off of one’s shoulders and one feels SO much better.

Since Diabetes has an unfortunate domino effect where one complication will feed another, such as dehydration affecting one’s blood sugars, it can mean that spending half of one’s night awake is not only a very real possibility, it’s almost the norm. Which sucks. Royally. Some obvious solutions come to mind. Consuming proper amounts of water to stay hydrated, monitoring one’s blood glucose closely and making adjustments prior to bed… Doctors have been telling me for years to sleep with a pillow between my legs to prevent disrupting the circulation in my legs but I’m way too violent a sleeper to keep a pillow between my legs.

Ironically, my biggest issue isn’t with my legs… It’s with my arms. I’m an odd sleeper, finding myself on my stomach more often than not, with my right arm tucked at my chest and my left arm above my head. I have no idea what prompts me to sleep this way but it tend sot inhibit the proper blood flow to my arms. I’ll often wake up during the night with an odd pain in my arms, until I realize that I’ve lost circulation. You haven’t lived until you’ve had that fun experience of feeling the blood slowly start flowing back to your fingertips. But I digress…

Eventually, as I get older and Diabetic complications start to become more prevailent and serious, this could potentially become harmful and cause permanent damage. I’ve slowly trained myself over the past few years to sleep on my back but my sinuses don’t always like to cooperate with that one. But circulatory issues can lead to worsened complications. If you find yourself with frequent numbness in extremities or your limbs are often cold, even when the temperature is warm or moderate, you may want to consult your family doctor or health practitioner to ensure it isn’t something that will cause permanent damage. ☯️

The Shopping Cart Theory

I’ve noticed I’ve been writing a fair bit about right and wrong lately. Not really sure what’s prompting that, beyond someone trying to break into my neighbour’s garage recently. But some of it has had me questioning our perceptions of right and wrong, and how good or perspectively bad a person may be. I say “perspectively” because what seems to be bad to one person, may in fact seem perfectly normal to another. The problem is, most people will allow themselves to do most given things if they know for a fact they won’t get caught. Let’s take speeding, as an example. Everyone knows that speeding is illegal. Most people recognize that they shouldn’t do it and that speed laws are in place for a reason but most people will also allow themselves to speed if they believe there are no cops around and they won’t get caught.

Enter: The Shopping Cart Theory. I’ve heard/read about this theory a number of times over the years, and have even had heated discussions with friends and family members over the concept. The theory postulates that in general, people are unable to self-govern unless they’re ordered to do a given thing or may face consequences if they don’t. This is demonstrated by the returning of a shopping cart, once one is done shopping and has loaded up their vehicle. In concept, there is no acceptable reason WHY a person can’t return their shopping cart. It only takes a moment, it’s simple and easy and it saves work for others.

The flip side to that, is that there are no laws obligating a person to return their shopping cart. The reality is that no one will punish you, fine you, harm you or kill you for failing to return your shopping cart. Although most of us will invariably recognize returning our shopping cart as the right thing to do, there is nothing to be gained from returning it. No one will praise you, you gain nothing and returning it is done only out of the goodness of one’s heart. One must accept and recognize that one is returning the shopping cart ONLY because it is the right thing to do and provides nothing of value or reward to the person.

This is why The Shopping Cart Theory basically determines whether a person is good or bad within the scope of modern society. The thinking is that a person who is unable to take five seconds to return their cart after using it, is only able to do what’s right when they are threatened by the law or some show of force. Most people will leave their cart unreturned without a second thought, seeing no issue with doing so. Hell, I’ve been guilty of it myself, on occasion. I like to rationalize that I had my children with me to deal with or that it was a freezing winter day. But what makes me any better or more important than the poor staff person who has to retrieve my cart in those harsh conditions because I chose not to do so?

Are we capable of doing the right thing, even when we have nothing to gain and won’t be punished for failing to do so? I’d like to think so. I’ve evidence to the contrary often enough to make me question it, though. But doing the right thing even when not required to so, plays into the Noble Eightfold Path, which includes Right Thinking and Right Action. So, the moral of this post is simply to ask oneself a question: Am I able to self-govern and do what’;s right, even when it gains me nothing? If the answer is no, perhaps a touch of self-reflection is necessary. Food for thought… ☯️

It’s All Just One Step At A Time…

Roughly 99% of people who walk into a dojo to join a style is doing so for the very first time. That is to say, they’ve never done martial arts before. And no, before y’all get snippy, I’m not saying that’s an actual statistic, it’s just my observations over decades of training in several dojos. One of the biggest challenges the new students face is the fact that they walk in, knowing nothing. This can leave them anxious, awkward and shy, which can make the learning experience harder and occasionally embarrassing. What sometimes makes things harder, is when you have a new student who thinks they know everything. That just makes things harder on the current students and can even be disruptive to the class in general.

The concept of learning in traditional martial arts will usually involve learning from someone who ISN’T the Sensei… As odd as this may sound, one needs to recognize that there are usually several students and only one Sensei, meaning that he or she may not necessarily have the time to spend with every student, even on their first day. This means that assistant instructors and even junior belts may be charged with teaching new students their basics on the first day. And this doesn’t sit well with everybody, especially those who think they already know better and feel they’re entitled to the Sensei’s attention. And as we all know, entitlement is currently the spice of society…

I remember an experience from years ago, when I was still back home in New Brunswick. Sensei had a policy that when a new student stepped into the dojo, one of the junior belts would show them the basic exercises and opening of our first kata, so that they would be able to keep up during their initial classes. This would usually involve fifteen minutes of kicks, punches and the opening of Sanchin, which is the first (and last) kata we learn in my style. this can be important and prevents the embarrassment of a new student standing there watching as the rest of the class engages in something they aren’t familiar with. There can be some of that even IF they get that initial show ‘n tell but at least it’s mitigated, somewhat.

I remember this one time, a large, muscled, athletic-looking guy came into the dojo. one of the first things he mentioned while introducing himself was that he was a hockey player and weightlifter. Although it isn’t completely unexpected that someone athletic would expect to be able to catch on to something athletic quicker than the average person, it would be a grave error in judgement to try and assume you know better than others who have been doing the art for years. Apparently, my turn had come around as Sensei asked me to show this individual the basics before his first class. I was comfortable with my level of skill and had no issues in showing the basics to someone else. I was motivated and pleased to be helping someone out.

I walked up to the guy and introduced myself. He was pleasant enough during the introduction. That is, until I explained that Sensei had asked me to show him the basics. He glanced down at my belt and saw that it was white. granted, my belt had a green bar on it, which in adult grading, is only one level prior to testing for green belt. But to his credit, this guy wouldn’t have known that. he held up his hands in a placating gesture and said, “no offence.” I don’t know about you, but experience has taught me that whenever someone says “no offence,” they’re about to say something that will likely offend.

He explained that he didn’t feel it was appropriate for a beginner to be teaching him and wanted to wait for Sensei. I responded that although I understood that perspective, Sensei usually used the 15-20 minutes before class to stretch and counted on the junior belts to show new students the basics. he said “no thanks,” walked away and began stretching in imitation of Sensei. When class began, the new student was completely lost. He gave it his best try and followed along with the class as best he could. Sensei noticed his struggle and the fact that he appeared not to know the basics and asked what I had shown him. he told Sensei I had shown him nothing.

The class carried on and Sensei came to talk to me about it after class let out. I explained what had happened and what had been said. He instructed us not to provide guidance or instruction to the new student unless he came and asked for it. Which he didn’t. Ever. The guy showed up for a couple more classes and then we never saw him again. Some say that was a harsh approach but the reality is that it was karate, not a fuckin’ knitting class. Besides, if you’re told something needs to happen a certain way in order to learn properly, one would assume that you should give the benefit of the doubt and do it. This guy chose to struggle and go against the flow before realizing he wouldn’t catch on. Be like water, dude!

Of course, had he stuck it out, he would have eventually caught on, received correction and started learning. But that was his choice. Martial arts is like a ladder. The students above need to help bring up the students below, in the hopes they’ll someday be above and help those who helped them. That being said, the one below needs to be willing to receive that help in climbing to the next rung on the ladder. Otherwise, they’ll always find themselves watching from below, while others continue to climb the martial arts ladder. This is something important to bear in mind, whether you’re currently a student of the Way or someone new contemplating joining a dojo. ☯️

A Little Mid-Week Motivation…

Having lived a number of years in the National Capital Region, I’m not stranger to protest and people picketing in the street about some dumb shit or another. Given that I now live in Regina, Saskatchewan, which has the Province’s legislative building, it’s not unusual to see people picketing or protesting outside of that property, as well. I’ve seen enough of it to last me a lifetime, and I was even stuck in Quebec City in 2001, when they held protests against the 3rd Summit of the Americas. oh, my bad… As I was often corrected by protesters on site, it was a “demonstration,” not a protest. Idiots. Anyhoo, as you can clearly see, my opinion of protests isn’t the best. Maybe it has something to do with the fact I was there on vacation and wasn’t a protester, yet I got gas canistered. But I digress…

My point is that when one sees someone standing by the road, holding a large placard or sign, one is inclined to think that they’re protesting something or “standing up for something they believe in.” Don’t get my bitterness wrong; if there’s something someone feels they should object to, have at it! It’s still a free country, to a point, and if there’s something you feel you need to communicate, that’s your right. I won’t get into the politics behind what I’m describing as I don’t need my comments section blowing up in my face and that really isn’t the point of today’s post. in fact, today’s post is meant to bring up something positive.

One of my friends back home posted a short video clip of a man, standing on the road, holding a large placard with some words on it. My friend was driving by, so the video wasn’t clear enough for me to see what was written. She captioned the video with “every Sunday.” I got curious and thought maybe this person was protesting something, so I asked what the sign said. It isn’t unusual for someone to protest consistently. in Regina, for example, we have a lady who protests almost on a daily basis in front of the RCMP Training Academy. Despite knowing what HER placard says, I’m still not sure what she’s hoping to accomplish. But once again, I digress…

My friend that this person’s placard said “Happy Sunday.” I must admit that hearing this made me happy in a very particular way. There’s so much negativity in the world that hearing of someone who takes their own time and goes out of their way to do something like this is quite amazing. Likely, most people drive right on by without a second thought but when it comes to a positive action like this, if even one person sees that signs and feels happier because of it, this person will have made their difference. And I think that’s beautiful. This is the influence people should have in the world. The reduction of suffering, not the propagation of it. Be a positive force in the world instead of constantly hindering others. If everyone did this, the world would be in significantly better shape. Food for thought… ☯️

It’s Not Them, It’s You…

By virtue of having spent well over a decade working as a police officer, I’ve had the benefit (or detriment) of seeing both sides of society; the concerned, vulnerable populace who need help protecting themselves and the people who just flat out don’t give a fuck and will break every law, whether they get caught or not. Whether you view these folks as criminals or simply willing to “do the time,” I’ve come to learn that it isn’t always so black and white. After all, there’s always the old moral dilemma about a man stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving children. By definition, this man is a thief. By moral standards, he’s doing what’s required in order to feed his starving family. The latter raises the question about whether we should be doing more to help people like this, as opposed to simply slapping them with the long appendage of the law.

I think that most folks in general would agree that they’ve worked hard to obtain their material goods that there’s really no reason for others to try and take what they have. I’m inclined to agree with this concept, recognizing that maybe not everyone has the ability or resources to reach the same stage of life that I have. But this doesn’t entitle them to take what I have, infringe on my home and my sanctuary and endanger the safety and wellbeing of my wife and kids. Such an action can expect a measured result, intended to defend and deter more than harm or injure. Especially since the latter can get you into scores of legal troubles, depending the jurisdiction in which you reside. In Canada, the Criminal Code allows you to defend yourself or your property, as long as that defense is measured and no more than what is required.

At the start of the weekend, I was awoken by the sound of a text message on my cell phone. Considering the only folks who regularly text me are my wife, my boss and my staff, I was carefully choosing some choice curse words to give whomever was waking me up at 2 o’clock in the morning. Turns out it was my next door neighbour. We share a tandem driveway and he texted six little words that had me fully awake in less than a second: “Just caught someone in my garage…” I bolted out of bed and had my hoodie and shoes on in less than a minute. I bolted out the door and found my neighbour’s downstairs tenant stepping outside, as well. He told me he saw four guys running out of my neighbour’s yard and heading to the street.

I got the direction of their escape and watched the street carefully. given that I live in a residential area, I couldn’t be certain that they didn’t dash into someone else’s backyard. My neighbour came out to join me and advised that he was awoken by the sound of his dog losing his mind. He made his way over and found him barking at the garage. Thinking it might have been his girlfriend grabbing something and not even realizing she was still in the bed, he made his way out and came face-to-face with multiple intruders. He backed out quickly and they ran, which was fortunate for him. If their intent had been violence, he would have had no easy defense against multiple assailants.

He had called the city police and to their credit, they showed up within two minutes. They dismissed the downstairs tenant and myself, so I made my way back to bed. My wife commented that she couldn’t remember the last time she had ever seen me move so fast. It was humbling and comforting to know that I still had a bit of the ol’ responsiveness in me… once I was back in bed, my neighbour phoned me and pointed out that he reviewed the camera footage and spotted three individuals going into his yard but only two came out. He was concerned that there may still be someone in his garage or backyard and asked if I would come check with him.

We searched his garage and his backyard thoroughly. Lucky for us, a light powdering of snow had fallen hours prior and we could clearly see that there had been no wandering in the backyard. No one else was found in the garage, either. It shook up everyone involved and I’ll confess that my level of adrenaline took hours to taper off and I didn’t get much sleep. i kept expecting to hear something outside or get another phone call. Hyper-vigilance mixed with PTSD is a hell of a stimulant. The average person will always hear about such things on the news and in the media but one rarely considers how they’ll respond or what they’ll do when it happens to them. Generally speaking, people consider their homes to be their sanctuary, where they can feel safe from the outside world. Something like this tends to slap reality in one’s face and recognize that even the most effective of sanctuaries require safety protocols.

All in all, no one was harmed, nothing was taken and the police have indicated they would be increasing their presence in our area. It simply serves as a reminder for me to ensure my doors are secured and that my yard remains well-lit at night. I don’t like to think about what a confrontation with someone desperate in my backyard may yield. My preference would be never needing to find out. But on the odd chance that someone’s intent may include violence against my family, my sanctuary will become their combat arena. The great white hope is that the police respond before I intervene. ☯️

One Weapon In The Hand Is Worth…

I’ve been doing martial for well over thirty years now. In fact, I’ve reached the point where I’ve somewhat forgotten EXACTLY when I started, which makes it difficult to put a firm number on the years I’ve been a practitioner. If I go from memory, I’m pretty confident I started karate when I was ten years old, which means I’ve been practicing for thirty-five years this Spring. on the other hand, the year 1990 sticks out in my head for some reason, which would make it only thirty-three years. Not much of a difference and the only way I could confirm would be to see my original registration form, which Sensei would have back in new Brunswick. Fat chance of that, even if he should happen to still have it.

Even though my focus over those decades has been Uechi-Ryu Okinawan karate, I’ve dipped my toes in the proverbial pool and tried out a few different things in my time. If I had to put a number on it, I’ve trained in at least seven or eight styles, with some of them involving arts that don’t involve empty-hand fighting. When you ask the average person what they know about karate, they’ll usually point out the punching and the kicking, with rarely a mention of weapons. Which makes sense, if you look at the literal translation of karate. But it might surprise some to know that the average karateka usually WILL train with weapons at some point…

Outside of Uechi Ryu, I’ve trained in Kobudo, Kendo and Iaido. The first was because Kobudo goes very much hand-in-hand (pun intended) with karate and owes its roots to Okinawa. The last two, I got into because my parents were kind enough to buy me a wakizashi when I was younger and I wanted to learn how to use it, as opposed to leaving it in my closet. Most people are familiar with Kendo, given the use of the armour and grilled helmets you see when they square off, combined with the bamboo sword known as a shinai. Iaido is a bit of a different, still focused on the sword, that trains the practitioner to draw and execute techniques quickly, with a focus on situational and environmental awareness. It focuses on speed and accuracy.

Although everyone’s martial experience will differ based on their wants, needs and expectations, I chose to pick up a weapon because I knew that the day could potentially come when I would face an armed opponent and it’s never a good idea to do that empty-handed. I mean, if someone came at me with a sword and I had nowhere to go, what the hell am I supposed to do??? That bullshit that you see in movies where the person “catches” the sword between their palms is total bullshit. A properly honed sword, moving at a speed intended to kill, would slip past a defender’s palms with ease. And even if all the stars aligned and the defender managed to stem the sword’s approach, a skilled practitioner of the sword need only adjust the forward angle by a couple of degrees in order to cleave the defender’s hand off at the wrist. Assuming the sword is properly sharpened, of course. But I digress…

It paints a bit of a bleak picture but it’s a realistic one, which most people don’t usually adopt. What I like about Kendo and Iaido, is that the teachings allow me to apply techniques without necessarily holding a sword. If I find myself against someone with a weapon, I can adequately defend myself using a length of broomstick, a baseball bat or a random stick on the ground. It’s a better prospect than facing off against an armed opponent, empty-handed. Kobudo, for me, has its place but has been less useful throughout the years. After all, you won’t find most weapons associated with the art easily. Nunchucks are illegal in Canada, finding properly-weighed kamas is unlikely and walking around with a pair of sai on the streets is cumbersome and not recommended. The bo or staff is effective training as it falls under that same umbrella as sword training. I still own the last two, but seldom do I ever get to effectively train with them.

But let’s get into the meat of the post, which for those of you who frequently read my stuff, already know that I’m going to cover some of the positive and the negative aspects. And there are some of both, with weapons training. The positives are pretty obvious and I’ve already mentioned them; additional techniques, ability to defend against an armed opponent and the overall ability to actually USE the weapons you’ve trained with. By virtue of that, one would ask what possible negatives there could be. The biggest and most concerning is one that most people don’t consider, going into a confrontation: you could be disarmed. The problem with that is it opens the possibility of your chosen weapon falling into your opponent’s hands and being used against you. Not so ideal, if you train with a bladed weapon.

The second is more of a personal dislike but it ties up one or both of your hands. In karate, we use a variety of techniques that involve the open hand and grappling. If you’re using weapons that include both hands, like kama, sai, tonfa and even the bo, both your hands are tied up with your weapon and the ability to isolate and grip your opponent is lost. As I said, this is a personal dislike, since my karate style involves getting in close to one’s opponent an often involves gripping the gi, clothing, hair or other parts of your opponent so you can deliver the blow without them backing away or dodging. The last disadvantage I’ll point out, although I’m sure there are more, is the fact that training in some of these weapons styles may alter and change one’s stances and overall techniques they use in their home style. That can be detrimental to your advancement and progress.

All in all, training and familiarizing yourself with weapons is a positive thing. It’s a good addition to one’s martial arts toolbox and can be useful in certain situations. The same rules apply, when searching for a weapons school to train with. Make sure the style suits your wants, needs and expectations and be wary of the McDojo aspects I’ve written about so many times before. If a teacher is trying to sell you on joining by twirling a staff above their head, you should probably walk out. That theatrical shit has no use in the streets and may look cool but will likely get you hurt, more than anything else. Food for thought… ☯️

What’s The Use?

Everybody, Diabetic and non-Diabetic alike, is usually aware that insulin is commonly used by people with Type-1 Diabetes to control their blood sugars, since their own bodies no longer produce it as a result of their immune system attacking their own body. Most of my life, I’ve had people ask why I don’t just manage without it? After all, if food makes blood sugars go up and insulin and exercise make it go down, can’t I just eat less, eliminating carbohydrates and exercise more to keep my body’s blood sugar’s in check? The simple answer is no. No, I can’t. Besides the fact that one’s body needs carbohydrates as a source of fuel, it turns out that insulin has a number fo functions in the body that we need besides blood sugar regulation.

First and foremost, let’s discuss what insulin actually is… Insulin is a hormone that was created in the 1920’s by Dr. Frederick Banting, a Canadian of course, and Charles Best. once injected into comatose children who were thought to have Diabetes, they would regain consciousness and regain some augury of health. Insulin was originally made by extracting the required from the pancreas of pigs or bovine. Modern versions can be synthetically created or made from human sources. Insulin is usually taken by injecting it into the interstitial tissues beneath the skin.

So, this brings us back to the key question of what insulin is used for, in someone without Diabetes. According to an article posted by Endocrine Web, insulin helps your body turn food into energy. Further, it “controls the amount of glucose in your bloodstream at any given moment. It also helps store glucose in your liver, fat, and muscles. Finally, it regulates your body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.” All those fancy words are to say that your body needs insulin production for a number of different functions in the human body.

To be honest, finding articles that list what a non-Diabetic body uses insulin for that doesn’t involve blood sugar control is surprisingly difficult. But it is required to prevent conditions like ketoacidosis, which can occur in anyone whose body can’t turn glucose into fat. plus, the bottom line is a healthy body’s pancreas WILL produce insulin, allowing for glucose to be processed and stored in the appropriate places in the human body and that body’s immune system doesn’t attack itself, which is the difference between someone WITH Diabetes and someone WITHOUT. So there you have it! Even if you don’t have Diabetes, your body still needs insulin. Don’t be afraid to hit up your friendly, neighbourhood endocrinologist for a deeper list of non-Diabetic uses for insulin. ☯️

It’s All In Where You Look…

It’s pretty easy to get jaded against life and stay in one’s lane. While doing so, we unfortunately have a propensity to ignore the world around us and this leads to missed opportunities; opportunities for ourselves and for others. Every once in a while, those opportunities can be important, especially if they provide aid to someone who may need it. And helping others is important, if not only because it’s the right thing to do but because we would want the same from others if we found ourselves in need of said help. I experienced just such an occasion while driving home from work yesterday.

My day at the office was much like any other. The day flew by and I accomplished a solid day’s work, satisfied with my efforts. I put in for some prescription refills before going home, which required me to travel to the east end of the city, since I’m pretty picky about what pharmacy I use. one of my many quirks, I guess. I picked up my prescriptions and made my way home, taking a circular bypass road we have in Regina called “Ring Road.” The weather yesterday was quite mild, with the early evening temperature sitting at 0 degrees. Although this may sound nice, the issue it causes is that the snow and ice around the city melts and creates a lot of water. this would prove to be an issue on Ring Road.

As I was driving westward towards home, there was heavy traffic on Ring Road, with many people banking hard towards their end-of-day destinations. All of a sudden, a small, red SUV started to skid and swerve, going into a fish-tail and ultimately clipping a guard rail at an overpass before being thrown into the median ditch. It all happened quite quickly, so most people in the immediate area could be forgiven for driving past. Stopping on a dime would be unreasonable. I turned on my hazard lights and pulled over to the shoulder. I noticed that no one else appeared to stop. I couldn’t see the driver and the passenger area of the vehicle appeared to be filled with smoke.

I grabbed my gloves, which were ironically a pair of police-issued slash gloves that I had left over from my policing days. I slipped my cell phone into my pocket and started trying to cross the highway. The only thing that pissed me off more than people’s lack of concern, is the fact they weren’t stopping for the only person who had any. While I was waiting, another concerned person stopped as well but by then, a young male driver had emerged from the vehicle and was talking on his cell phone. When I explained that I was a retired police officer and would be helping the young man, she thanked me and got back to her vehicle and departed promptly.

I managed to make my way across the highway and checked on the driver. He was speaking to his sister and trying to explain exactly where he was. Once I confirmed that he wasn’t injured, I offered to take him home. I helped him to gather his important items from the vehicle, secured it and brought him to my vehicle. he explained what I had already assumed; he lost control driving over an icy patch of highway. The problem is that as snow and ice melted and trickled down onto the highway surface from the overpass, an amount of water settled in the shade. Although only a few degrees colder, that water froze, causing an icy hazard. As everyone assumed the roads were bare and dry, the young driver couldn’t predict that he’d be facing this hazard.

He was miraculously lucky… Once he lost control, he somehow managed to avoid all the other traffic on the highway AND only clipped a guardrail as opposed to smashing into it, head-on. I suspected some mild shock on his part, as the depth and severity of his situation didn’t seem to hit him until I pulled up in front of his house. Although only acting in a civilian capacity, I still advised him to get his vehicle towed away from where it was before it caused another collision and to file a claim through his insurance provider. he was incredibly grateful and I ensured he had some family waiting to receive him before I pulled away.

As I was driving home, I couldn’t help but think that out of the several dozen, bordering on a hundred vehicles that whipped past the scene, only myself and one other person had the thought to stop and check on another human being who may have potentially been injured and needing help from someone. I couldn’t help but imagine that had that been me… Or worse yet, my wife, I would curse the world for failing to stop and lend a hand. Although I admit that my prior police training would have prompted me to stop, I can’t help but believe that the goodness in people should still be a presiding factor in our decisions.

I’m glad I was able to help this young man. I wished him the best and hoped everything worked out for him when I drove away. Before he stepped out of my vehicle, he made a point of how lucky he felt that I was there to help him out. He attributed the miracle of his survival and the fact I showed up to the “Big Guy.” I made a poijnt of explaining to him that no thanks were necessary and that there were still good people in the world who simply want to help. It’s all in where you look… ☯️

To Fit, Or Not To Fit…

Recently, I wrote a post about a new garment I purchased, which is designed to look like a karate Gi. It’s called the “Hood-Gi,” and in case you missed the post, you can shop for one by visiting the Budo Brother’s website here. An no, before anyone gets high and mighty, I’m not being paid endorsement for referring their website to you, this is not an advertisement post and I’m not recommending this product over another. My post was literally just a person, excited at getting a piece of clothing that suits him and seems practical for its intended purpose.

Although I will confess that I draw some level of morbid fascination about receiving such comments, especially in a world where everyone and their dog post daily “fit checks,”showing their outfit for the day, it does raise an important question; one I wrote about in a post a couple of years ago but I’ve written so many posts now that I can basically start recycling from scratch… how much is too much and what kind of swag should one wear?

We all know the scenario. A new students joins the gym or the dojo, they’re excited about being part of something new, something they enjoy, so they start buying swag. All of sudden, the new students is wearing a karate shirt, karate jacket, karate pants and karate g-string… okay, maybe not that last one and I can’t imagine how uncomfortable that would be to train in, but you get my point. A student that joins something new will be motivated to show their pride and represent their club, which is not nothing to be ashamed of. But as the old saying goes, if you paint a target on your back, you should complain about the arrow in your shoulder.

Ironically, a solid example of this is from one of my favourite martial arts show, Cobra Kai. Anyone who’s watched it can instantly tell who’s with the dojo or not. How? By all the fuckin’ Cobra Kai clothing almost EVERYONE seems to be wearing. And one can easily see the issue this causes, considering multiple members of that dojo are easily identified and attacked as a result. Granted, I’ll admit that in the real world, Senseis usually aren’t rich and buying clothes for the entire student roster but the premise is sound.

one would honestly be better suited, emulating the Miyagi-Do students. I totally get that they’re supposed to be the protagonists anyway, but they don’t even train IN their dojo in swag. And this is likely the better approach. I’ve seen the same phenomenon with recently-graduated police officers, who go around flashing their agency’s hoodies or wearing police apparel off duty. no need for me to explain why THAT could be a potential problem! Although on a somewhat lower level, the same could be said of karate swag…

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this myself. When I was in my formative years of karate training, I had t-shirts, track suits, gym bags and all sorts of other shit that let the world know that I was a practitioner of Uechi-Ryu karate. Hell, I have a tattoo on my left pec of our school’s name. It was rare for me to leave the house without at least one item of clothing that reflected our school crest. But as the years have passed and wisdom has slowly set in, I’ve come to realize that subtlety is the better option and although I do still have some “swag,” discretion is the better option and I try and keep myself from becoming a martial arts billboard.

One might ask, what’s the problem with wearing apparel or advertising one’s school? That’s a valid question and some may feel that I’m being paranoid in taking this position. The reality is that we live in a world where violence is often inflicted on others for no good reason other than for the sake of it. And in some cases, broadcasting that you practice a fighting art can make you a potential target to those who wish to impart said violence. Picturing walking into a bar or club with your friends, wearing karate apparel. Imagine a group of drunken idiots who are actually hungry for a fight… Seeing your “ABC Karate Club” t-shirt might just be what they need to say, “Hey, let’s fight THAT guy…”

Admittedly, that’s an extreme example but a valid one. That’s why for the most part, I keep my karate swag and apparel on the down-low. My recently-purchased Hood-Gi basically looks like a canvass hoodie and is pretty difficult to identify as a karate garment. That said, I’ve yet to wear it out in public. At the end of the day, it isn’t about hiding your style or not being proud of your skills. It’s about being humble enough to realize that you don’t have to. And it’s about your safety. Wanna wear your karate t-shirt under your hoodie or jacket? Have at it; you obviously paid for it. Simply consider that it may be in your better interest not to broadcast that you’re a karateka to the world. Food for thought… ☯️