That’s how the light gets in

The birds they sang
At the break of day.

2017. If you are reading this on the other side of the world from where I live, it’s already 2018 so I’ll wish you a happy new year! As I write this, it’s about another 6 hours to the official start of 2018. A new year, a great opportunity to start anew. I’m always thinking of how to do things better, how to make myself a better me and how to grow as an individual. If I don’t, I’m not helping the people I teach and mentor.

Teaching at our dojo is much more than teaching. It has to be. These kids are the future of our world and they need guidance, the right guidance to become strong leaders, contributors to society as they grow. And if I can be another strong and positive voice in their life than I’ve done them a service. People tend to rise to the level of expectations thrust upon them or the level of expectations within the group they belong. If you are always that large fish in the small pond you will never realize what you are capable of. The challenge to bring this out of you will never present itself.

We had 5 young students grade for Shodan (1st level black belt) this year and I know that what ever they face in their future they will be prepared and ready to tackle it no matter how demanding. Why? Because they had to become the small fish in the big pond. They had to endure a grueling 6 hour test. Really grueling. Actually they didn’t have to endure it. Any one of them could have walked off the floor during the test. But no one did. They pushed their body to a limit they have never done even though their brain was yelling at them to stop. It’s amazing what we are capable of accomplishing if we ignore the voice telling us to stop. We are incredible people and when the opportunity presents itself sometimes we find out how incredible we can be. We can surprise ourselves.

 

Surprise yourself. When you are presented with a challenge that seems daunting, something that gives you that sick feeling in your stomach, don’t turn away from it. I learned this years ago when I was given the opportunity to take the ships diver course when I was in the Navy. A course that had a 60% failure rate. A course where you start the day with a 5 mile run, then a 1 mile swim. I found out then what pushing yourself to the edge meant.

 

If 2018 presents that challenge, accept it. If not, challenge yourself. Register for the marathon you want to do. Train for the ultra marathon you want to do but keep talking yourself out of. Embrace the challenges instead of fearing them.

This is how we grow.

Yours in health, and yours in 2018,

Darryl

 

 

Not seeing is a flower

Even monkeys fall from trees.

 

It’s been about a month since my last post. I tend to write only when I have the feeling to write and sometimes that means there are large gaps of time between posts, and you may have noticed, sometimes it means 2 posts in one day. But if I post for the sake of posting, usually I end up disappointed with the content of that post, so I tend to avoid doing that.

That’s why I am here now writing a post that is normally written on new years eve day, or the day before. But, better sooner than later they always say.

Time

I’m one of those people that look at time as one long string, having a beginning and an end. Us in the western world have a new year coming based on the calendar we follow. For others, as an example China, their new year is Feb. 16th, 2018. Time is relative too. Even though I’m not a ‘New Years’ fan in the sense of celebrating it or using it as a way to mark a new life as it where, I think it’s great that people can use it as a tool to get motivated about exercising and taking better care of themselves. I’m all for anything that motivates people as long as it doesn’t harm them or anyone else.

On the flip side, if it’s September and you are using the new year as an excuse to not exercise or take better care of yourself, that’s just an excuse. Get on with it.

What

So it’s January 1. What is your plan? Let me offer what I think is a good plan, or some ideas what a good plan are and hopefully this helps you next year.

  • Like – First and foremost you need to like what it is you are going to do. Group classes, one on one training, martial arts (karate of course), training with a friend, your own personal trainer. Sure there’s the initial excitement – it’s the new year, the new me. You are pumped to make a change. But, is that sustainable 8 weeks from now? Probably not. If you do something that you like you are more likely to stick with it and more likely that it will become a routine. If you don’t like it, or you hate it, it’s not going to last and you’ll end up being disappointed, and feeling guilty. Why run if you don’t like running? Remember, there are lots of ways of working cardio and working your muscles. It’s not just running and hitting the weights. Liking it = doing it.
  • Intensity – Do you want the benefits of working out? Do you want them sooner than later? Of course you do! Whatever it is you are going to do is not worth doing if you are doing it at only a moderate effort. Sorry, don’t mean to be a jerk about it but it’s true. Your body benefits so much more and you benefit so much more from working out with intensity. Read my previous posts about high intense work outs and you’ll understand. And if you consider yourself as an older person, drop the bullsh*t excuse that you are old. Seriously. I don’t care if you have a bad knee, or a bad back. Drop the excuses and be honest with your self. That’s harsh and it’s meant to be because sometimes it takes harshness like this to help someone realize that they aren’t being honest with themselves. If you pander to someones’s disability it can manifest into something more than what the disability is. It can manifest into something bigger and more dangerous. Have you ever heard of Jack LaLanne? Probably not. Anyway, this guy for his 70th birthday towed a flotilla of 70 rowboats during a mile-long swim. 70 years old and he’s in the water towing 70 boats, some with passengers! How many people at that age can even swim a mile? Sure, he was an incredible athlete and I’m not saying you should do this. I’d be cheering him on if he just swam a mile without pulling the boats. I think as westerners we have a mindset that we stop doing things when we hit a certain age. Absolutely stop the things that cause pain or discomfort and reduce risk of injury but keep doing the things that you can and adapt. Can’t run anymore? Swim! Can’t swim anymore? Bike! Get the idea?
  • Monitor – Take photos. Weigh yourself. Measure yourself. Be honest with yourself. The photos might not be flattering. That’s ok. The idea is to use this as the kicking off point of getting YOU to where YOU want to be. Keep a journal for your workouts measuring and recording what you did that day/week/month/year. I know it’s easy to forget how bad our fitness was when we no longer have it as a reference. It’s 3 months later, the beginning of April and you feel you are starting to make excuses to not work out. You’ve had 2 weeks where you’ve missed doing what you were doing regularly. Maybe starting to feel guilty. No worries. Pull up one of the pictures you took Jan.1. That’s the one, the one you hate. Or read your journal, the entry that says you could only run for 5 minutes and you felt like sh*t the next day, exhausted. Don’t remember that do you? Now you do. Let it motivate you because only last week you ran for 20 minutes doing intervals and felt amazing afterwards because your body can handle it. We can all fall into that slump. That’s alright. Just don’t make it too long of a slump.
  • Rest – The need for sleep/rest in the western word is underrated. We need sleep just as much as we need to eat healthy. Our body cannot repair itself adequately and our mind cannot do the same if we don’t get enough of quality sleep. Don’t underestimate the importance of this. 6 weeks in and you feel exhausted, tired, can’t focus. You are clumsy too. Then you get sick. If you are someone who is training hard it’s even more important. Injuries happen when we don’t get the rest we need. And we don’t achieve 100% of what we should have. You cut your gains short because your body did not have the adequate rest to rebuild.
  • Lastly – ‘Eating clean’ has been misused and I’m sick of it. If I see one more post on Instagram of someone’s egg white omelet with pieces of chicken in it hashtag ‘Eating Clean’ I’m going to lose my shit! Before the holidays I overheard someone giving another person home made pepperettes. ‘Don’t worry, there aren’t any nitrates and the animals were fed kale’ as if this makes it healthy!? Eating clean seems to mean that you don’t eat chips, candy, drink pop and that stuff even though you are eating the things that can give you heart disease, strokes, diabetes, dementia, cancer. Did you know the World Health Organization has categorized processed meat as a type 1 carcinogen, which means it causes cancer? Yes, causes cancer. And red meat that isn’t processed is a type 2 carcinogen which means it may cause cancer. Early consumption of milk is being linked to auto immune disease such as type 1 diabetes. Eating animal product be it dairy, chicken, pork, eggs all have cholesterol and saturated fat which causes atherosclerosis (the build up of plaque in the arteries) which causes heart disease. Children as young as 14 have already shown signs of atherosclerosis. If you want to ‘eat clean’, the only way is to eat a whole foods plant based diet. That’s it. It is the only diet to reverse heart disease and to eliminate medication of diabetics.

Pumped

It’s only a few days away, the new year. Along with what I listed above, be honest with yourself. Be your most powerful advocate. No one else will be. If you can, surround yourself with people that are a positive influence on your life. If you can’t don’t get sucked into negativity. You are capable of incredible thing no matter what you think. Sometimes we can be our own anchor holding us back from greatness, holding us back from what we can be, from those things that make us happy.

It’s almost 2018. Whatever you choose to do, I wish you the best.

Take care everyone,

Darryl