Life Is A Lemon, May As Well Drink It Up…

I’ve been making a point recently of trying to consume more water. In general, the average male should drink just shy of four litres of water everyday. That being said, a lot of that will include the water contained in the foods one eats. But one needs actual water for proper digestion, immune health, blood pressure and even mood. Although drinking water should be reasonably straightforward (open one’s mouth and gulp), it can be challenging if you’re not thirsty or have other, more “fun” beverages to consume, like sodas, energy drinks and juice (and sometimes whiskey, sue me!).

Staying properly hydrated is incredibly important for someone with Type-1 Diabetes, as well. Considering I’ve spent most of my life dehydrating at the drop of a hat, I still have a lot of work to do, and my fitness routine also makes staying hydrated all the more important. My point is that I need all the help I can get, which is why I make a point of adding some lemon juice to my water. The jury’s out on whether there are any real and measurable benefits to consuming lemon water but I know one thing for certain; it’s tasty as fuck and makes it easier to guzzle down mass quantities. let’s take a brief lemon-flavoured journey…

I found a number of articles that outline the benefits of drinking lemon water and they all pretty much list the same things. According to an article posted by the Cleveland Clinic, benefits can include better hydration, better digestion, helps with weight loss, provides Vitamin C and Potassium and may help to prevent kidney stones. Those all sound like positive benefits, to me. The article also goes on to state that drinking lemon water may help prevent oxidation and contains phytonutrients, which will help your body against disease. Definitely a strong benefit for someone with an autoimmune condition like Type-1 Diabetes.

Another article posted by one of my favourite websites, HealthLine, also provides all of the same benefits listed by the Cleveland Clinic but one aspect I like is that they break down the specifics of what drinking a glass of lemon water provides your body. here’s the breakdown:

A glass of lemon water containing one 48 gram lemon, squeezed, contains:

  • 10.6 calories;
  • 18.6 milligrams (mg) of vitamin C, or 21% of the Daily value (DV);
  • 9.6 micrograms (mcg) of folate, or 2% of the DV;
  • 49.4 mg of potassium, or 1% of the DV;
  • 0.038 mg of iron, or < 1% of the DV;
  • 0.01 mg of vitamin B-1, or 1% of the DV;
  • 0.01 mg of vitamin B-2, or 1% of the DV; and
  • 0.06 mg of vitamin B-5, or 1% of the DV.

Drinking lemon water will help one to avoid sugary drinks and less healthy alternatives but if any of you know anything about me, you know that I’m also going to provide the negative side for all the positives. First and foremost, if you’re anything like me, you may overdo it a bit, once you find something you like. I consider lemon water to be delicious and I drink it out of my 1-litre water bottle. I can easily rip through four or five of them sum-bitches throughout the course of a day. There is such a thing as too much water… Doing so can cause Hyponatremia. What is Hyponatremia? Hyponatremia is the medical term for a sodium imbalance in the body. A sodium imbalance can occur when excessive amounts of water are consumed, flooding the cells. I’ve had it a couple of times. It sucks.

There’s some limited information as well, that the citric acid in lemons could potentially damage the enamel of your teeth. The HealthLine article I linked above recommends drinking your lemon water through a straw to prevent this, followed by rinsing your mouth out with plain water afterwards. Granted, other sources state that since you’re watering it down, the risk is minimal. Providing you aren’t constantly sucking on lemons, your teeth should be fine. Granted, I’m not a doctor. Or a dentist.

So, there you have it! Suck back some lemon water for all the reasons above. The benefits far outweigh the possible negative aspects and will help you stay hydrated throughout the day. And the most important reason above anything else is that I enjoy it. And that just makes everything else icing on the cake. Or lemon in the water. Whatevs, it’s all the same comparison. ☯️

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… ☯️

Revisiting A “Sharp” Friend…

I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve been studying martial arts for over three decades and I’ve trained in a number of different disciplines during that time. Two of the styles I’ve played around with involve the sword. I mentioned the wakizashi in that post, which prompted questions about exactly what that was. Since I wrote a very nice post back in 2020 about this very thing, I thought I would re-post since, well, after 1,500 posts, I’m bound to repeat myself somewhere, right? It also gives me the opportunity to correct a few typos from the original post that I hadn’t noticed at the time. With that in mind, everything below this first paragraph was posted here on April of 2020. Enjoy…

Although it’s normally ideal to stick to one style so that you can master it (or at least attempt to), it gets a bit difficult NOT to dip your toes in the proverbial martial arts pool, from time to time. Training in the Way of the Empty Hand is usually the best option as it means that you’re never disarmed. But I would be lying if I said that the prospect of training with a weapon hasn’t appealed to me, from time to time. With that in mind, I began studying Kendo and Iaido. I studied for a number of years, although I didn’t stick to it long enough to reach mastery. But I have enough skill with a blade to make it a useful implement of self-defence if necessary.

A wakizashi or “short” sword

Samurai swords are iconic and have come to be recognized in and out of the martial arts world. An extremely fluid weapon, the samurai sword was normally a symbol of military nobility in feudal Japan, and was considered to be the soul of a samurai. The wearing two swords was outlawed by the Japanese government during the Meiji Restoration (I’ll let you Google that) but they continued to be used by police and military personnel.

So, what’s known about these famous swords? Well, samurai swords are unlike any other swords in the world, with their unique curvature and single-edged blade. They’ve been forged since as far back as the 10th century, and there are legends of the first actual katana being forged by a wordsmith named Amakuni Yasutsuna as far back as 700AD.

Samurai swords, or katanas as I will refer to them from here on in, are characterized by a long, curved, single-edged blade that is at least twenty-four inches in length and a grip that is long enough for both hands to hold. When samurais wore the two swords, the katana was the longer of the two, with the shorter sword being between twelve to twenty-four inches in length and called a wakizashi.

Because the wakizashi was shorter and had a grip that would only accommodate a single hand, it was generally used for closer combat as opposed to the katana, which was better suited for full combat (once the samurai worked their way through the plethora of other weapons they carried BESIDES swords).

Last but not least is the tanto. This is a short, dagger-style sword that usually measures six to twelve inches in length. Although intended more as a stabbing weapon for close combat, the edge could also be used for slashing. Over time, it became more ornate and acted as a ceremonial dagger, but there is a martial art called tantojutsu, which focuses on the use of the tanto.

The creation of a katana is an entirely unique process. Unlike most swords that are forged by pouring molten steel into a mold, then tempered, katanas are created by forging and combining multiple layers of different types of steel. The layers are folded, over and over again and the curvature happens over a long process of curing and tempering.

The forging process creates a curved blade that combines softer and harder metals. Hard and soft… Sound familiar? (☯) The curve and flexibility of the blade makes the katana incredibly fluid and durable. Then the blade is sent to be polished, which can take weeks, in order to get that mirrored look.

Katanas are fascinating weapons, and would often be customized with images, lacquered scabbards and even family crests and symbols on the guard and grip. And as Ryan Reynolds said in X-men Origins: Wolverine, “I love this weapon more than any other thing in the whole wide world […]. You whip out a couple of swords at your ex-girlfriend’s wedding, they will never, ever forget it.”

At the end of the day, learning to defend oneself with your bare hands should be your primary goal. After all, you’re more likely to find yourself WITHOUT a weapon than carrying one. But should you find yourself with a weapon, it’s also nice to be able to use it properly. The sword is definitely an ideal weapon to train with as it can translate to basically any stick or length of weapon you may wrap your hands around. 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… ☯️

Some Salty Facts…

I don’t think I could sit here and try and convince anyone in general that salt is good for you. For the most part, the average person goes on with their day, knowing that the consumption of salt can cause some pretty serious health complications in one’s body. That being said, it’s important to recognize that salt has its place in a person’s diet and isn’t ALL bad. This would seem like a good time to point out that I’m not a doctor or a health practitioner and the post that follows should not be construed as anything by my own option. Moving on…

First and foremost, salt will cause in most folks what I like to call the “diabetic endless cycle.” As you consumer heavier quantities of salt, you’ll become more thirsty. As your thirst increases, you’ll consume more fluids, which will kick your kidneys into overtime to expel the excess and you’ll urinate more often. Wash, rinse and repeat. This is about the closest someone without Diabetes could come top understanding one of the issues that happens to someone with T1D, as it relates to blood sugar, drinking water and frequent urination.

realistically speaking, the human body does need salt. Salt is typically composed of roughly 40% sodium and 60% chloride and people will often use the terms “salt” and “sodium” interchangeably. Although too much can cause harm, salt is used by the body for good muscle and nerve health, proper balance of fluid levels in the body and to help absorb certain nutrients that we need to stay healthy. For example, while consuming too much salt can lead to dehydration, so can too little salt. Since you need salt to balance the fluids in your body, cutting out salt completely (or trying to) can lead to some issues.

In fact, one of the issues that too little salt can cause, is a condition known as hyponatremia. This is a condition where your sodium levels are too low, which will cause bodily pain, nausea and a score of other health issues too numerous to name. I had a bout of this condition a couple of summers ago, where I went on a near 100 kilometres bike ride and guzzled down water for the hours I was out. The sun was blazing and it was hotter than hell. I was sweating profusely and expelled too much of my body’s mineral salts, which caused the symptoms of hyponatremia.

All of that being said and like all things in life, balance is key. While one needs salt to remain healthy and too little salt can cause significant issues, too much salt can cause bloating, dehydration, blood pressure and cardiac issues, kidney disease, kidney stones, stroke and a partridge in a pear tree. The key is proper balance and a healthy intake of sodium/salt that helps to strike that balance. Since every person is different and may have pre-existing health conditions that would contribute to this, you consult your family physician or health practitioner to determine what a healthy level of sodium may be for you. ☯️

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… ☯️

The Hood-Gi…

I pride myself on the fact that I don’t usually endorse or encourage the purchase and/or use of any particular product. My blog isn’t intended as a “shopping” site where I throw out goods or services. That being said, any person who regularly reads my blog on any browser has noticed there are advertisements on my posts but if I’m being honest, they do very little for my bottom line. I’ll often make a point of reviewing books, movies and certain key products without necessarily endorsing them.

But once in a while, I treat myself to something that I feel is worth sharing, and today’s post is just that kind of exception. Like most couples, Valentine’s Day brings an opportunity to do something romantic for our partners, in whatever way we recognize will be something that pleases them and lets them know much we love them. For myself, I actually had a very nice item that I had ordered for my wife but when the product in question arrived, it was nothing like what I assumed it would. I was back to the drawing board.

My wife, for her part, asked me what I would like. And this is where I introduced her to the Hood-Gi. This garment is exactly what it sounds like; the combination of a hoodie and a martial arts Gi. Since I’m subscribed to a plethora of martial arts pages through my Facebook and social media platforms, the good ol’ AI bots that monitor social media pages will often throw martial arts-related pages at me. Sometimes they’re interesting, sometimes they’re not. On this occasion, I found the Budo Brothers website…

My Hood-Gi…

I was intrigued by this concept of a Hood-Gi, so I visited the webpage. I found a couple of martial artists who came together almost a decade ago and began designing clothing and equipment aimed at the interest and functionality required by martial artists. My intrigued continued as I found a variety of products on the website ranging from batons, kali sticks and cloths, to the Hood-Gi, which is what I ended up ordering.

Gotta love the blue…

So, what makes this garment so special? Well, the outside of the hoodie is made from actual Gi material. It’s pretty heavy and has some toughness to it. I spent the majority of last weekend wearing it in order to break it in, much like I would with a traditional Gi. The inner liner has a beautiful Japanese “wave” liner inside. Unlike a traditional Gi, which fastens by tying it off at two corners, the Hood-Gi uses magnetic buttons, which I was sceptical about at first but actually hold the garment securely closed.

There’s a normal traditional front pocket as you’d find on any standard hoodie. But the garment also contains side pockets for self-defence items and an inner pocket that can hold your smart phone. The hood is slightly oversized, which almost give it a “Jedi” look. All in all the garment is incredibly comfortable and I’m looking forward to wearing it outside the house as the weather gets warmer (it’s too thick to be worn under a jacket).

All in all, it’s definitely a fun piece of clothing and if any of you decide you want to check out their website, you can find them here. They have a variety of products and just as an FYI, it appears that they ship out of the United States, so just be aware if you’re ordering from another country. Otherwise, the martial artist in me can appreciate the asthetic and functionality of this garment while the old, dad-bod in me appreciates the comfort and look. ☯️