Mandalorian Martial Arts

As with Sith Core, this was my first year leading Mandalorian Martial Arts at Gen Con. I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by its popularity. I can envision a couple of ways I might grow Mandalorian Martial Arts. I might add a more advanced class with different techniques. I might also invest in dummies at some point so as to be able to physically strike one’s opponent.

Check out my playlist on Amazon Music: Mandalorian Martial Arts
https://music.amazon.com/user-playlists/ecb4af048ee9470bbff4d187b5fcd904sune?ref=dm_sh_a1hrGMIhrSvFRR0R3urZRFlQi

It is best to bring a bounty in alive…no disintegrations.

Stretches & Warm up

  1. Neck

  2. Shoulders

  3. Triceps

  4. Forearms

  5. Obliques

  6. Hip flexors & calves

  7. Hamstrings

  8. Quadriceps

  9. Knee rotations

  10. Ankle rotations

  11. Gracilis

  12. Spine

  13. Heart (jumping jacks & squats)

     

    Strikes, Blocks, Tactics

    1. Jab

    2. Cross

    3. Jab Cross Combo

    4. Elbow Strike

    5. Knee Strike

    6. Kick to the knee

    7. Lift front knee, step forward, kick through

    8. Lift front knee, step through, elbow strike

 

Cool down

  1. Squats

  2. Lunges

  3. Hip rotations

  4. Windmills

  5. Swing arms across chest

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Sith Core

This is the first year I have offered Sith Core at Gen Con. I can say with only some hesitation that it was my favorite workshop. It was the least well attended of my exercise workshops this year, in part because the 8am hour on Thursday morning competes with Will Call and it is just so early. Who am I kidding? The idea of a workshop dedicated to core work scares a lot of people. It wasn’t solely dedicated to core work, there was a substantial effort to indoctrinate attendees with the Sith Code too.

Phase I is the warm up phase. 30-45 seconds each 3 times.

Phases II & IV are 2 sets of 15 reps for each of the 4 exercises in the phases.

Phase III is 3 sets of 10 each side except “Take a Punch.”

Phase V is the cool down phase. 15-30 seconds each 3 times.

Check out my playlist on Amazon Music: Sith Core
https://music.amazon.com/user-playlists/9e386209bf83478fa861f014b733b557sune?ref=dm_sh_4JzgECm4gY5ICEzTSGe00BhsA

Sith Core

Peace is a lie. There is only passion.

Through passion I gain strength.

Through strength I gain power.

Through power I gain victory.

Through victory my chains are broken.

The Force shall free me

Warm up

Squats

Jumping Jacks

Planks

Back extensions

Phase II (Modifications follow “/”)

V-ups/Long-armed crunch/crunch

Reverse crunch/Knee Tuck/Steam Engine

Table Top Crunch/Cross-legged/ Crunch

Shoulder Bridge

Phase III (Shadow Box)

Take a Punch (Forced Exhale & clench)

Throw a Punch (Oblique Twist)

Slip a Punch (Oblique Crunch)

Phase IV (Modifications follow “/”)

V-ups/Long-armed crunch/crunch

Reverse crunch/Knee Tuck/Steam Engine

Table Top Crunch/Cross-legged/ Crunch

Shoulder Bridge

Phase V

Squats

Jumping Jacks

Planks

Back extensions

*All previous statements concerning, but not limited to, things such as consulting a physician before starting and assuming all risk when engaging in this activity still apply.

Jedi Yoga

*I apologize for the formatting. I will work to fix it.

For the last three years, I have led Jedi Yoga at Gen Con. I am now making this available to the public, especially for those who have or will participate. I enjoy instructing the workshop at Gen Con and am considering running it periodically throughout the year if I can find the right venue(s). I am always looking to revise and improve the practice and the presentation.

Check out my playlist on Amazon Music: Jedi Yoga
https://music.amazon.com/user-playlists/420dfcb1ba0446d9bfe33146c4399835sune?ref=dm_sh_fyf7nmmwOkYrZMtQfnctZTnsQ

Star Wars Jedi Yoga

Explanations:

Practice of Yoga

  1. Listen to your body

  2. Inhale & Exhale through your nose

  3. Yama: be generous, truthful, avoid unnecessary violence

  4. Niyama: seek peace of mind

  5. Asana: be strong of body

  6. Pranayama: strengthen and control the living force within you

  7. Pratyahara: Concentrate on where you are at and what you are doing

  8. Dharana: exercising concentration

  9. Dhyana: observing your mind through meditation

  10. Samadhi: understanding your mind through meditation

Practice of Jedi

  • The First Pillar : The Force

    A. The Living Force – the aspect of the Force that is raw and close at hand.

  • B. The Unifying Force – It is the voice of your destiny

2. The Second Pillar: Knowledge

A. Understanding how things work helps us to understand how to use the Force

B. Knowledge helps us when we do not have access to the Force

3. The Third Pillar: Self-discipline

A. The ability to practice the means of accessing the Force

B. The ability to practice restraint from accessing the Force

The Jedi Code

There is no emotion, there is peace.

There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.

There is no passion, there is serenity.

There is no chaos, there is harmony.

There is no death, there is the Force.

Warm-up

  1. Windmills

  2. Shoulder shrugs

  3. Neck stretches

  4. Deep lunge

  5. Twisting with the Spine Toner

  6. Hug knees/ roll side to side

Poses

  1. Sun salutation

  2. Tauntaun (Horse Riding)

  3. Mount Tantiss (Extended Triangle)

  4. Lightsaber (Four Point Staff)

  5. Yoda (Champion or Thunderbolt)

  6. Qui-Gon (Warrior 1)

  7. Obi-Wan (Warrior 2)

  8. Anakin (Kneeling Warrior)

  9. Ahsoka (Warrior 3)

Cool Down

  1. Downward facing dog

  2. Cat

  3. Child’s Pose

  4. Cobra

    May the Force be with you.

    All previous statements concerning, but not limited to, things such as consulting a physician before starting and assuming all risk when engaging in this activity still apply.

Resistance

Resistance is what changes us. As the saying goes, if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. Challenges are a type of resistance. A resistance workout challenges our muscles. The greater the weight, the greater the resistance, the more our muscles are changed by overcoming the resistance. That’s one type of challenge. Another is lowering the weight but increasing the number of repetitions. These challenges are fundamentally different so one might assume that the muscle was changed in fundamentally different ways. While there are slight differences, there were no statistically significant differences in the changes to the muscle in the studies I found.

Work done equals force multiplied by distance. If you are using proper form and your full range of motion, workouts can be designed to have, for all practical purposes, the same amount of work done at 40-60% and 80-90% of your one rep max. But, here’s the thing. It takes more than twice as long to do a workout of 4 sets of 20-24 reps to fatigue at 40-60% of your one rep max compared to 3 sets of 5 reps to voluntary failure at 80-90% of your one rep max.

Power is different. Power equals work done divided by time taken. So more power is applied in the workout using 80-90% of your one rep max because it takes less time. So, why the physics lessons? Because power is measured in joules and 4.184 Kilojoules equals 1 Kilocalorie. Therefore, in a 44 gram (1.56 ounce) Snickers bar there are 215 “calories.” Really that means there are 215 Kcals or 215,000 calories. Another way to look at it is to say that there is is enough energy in a Snickers bar to raise the temperature of 215 liters by 1 degree Celsius. If you don’t use it. The energy is stored as fat. You would have to create 899.56 Kilojoules of power to burn the Kilocalories from that Snickers bar. That is a lot of effort.

Think about this idea of resistance. Changing a habit takes effort and work because the habit resists change. Overcoming the habit presents a challenge. If it doesn’t challenge us, it doesn’t change us. Or in this case, if we don’t challenge ineffective or destructive habits we don’t change.

Motivation, Momentum, A Momentary Lapse of Reason

When you go after your dreams, they might be so huge that they seem impossible to achieve. But we tend to fail to understand the power of compounding. What I mean is that we seriously overestimate what we can do in a day, week,month or even year, but severely underestimate what we can achieve in 3 years or 5 years. And I truly believe that if we continue to make small daily improvements, not only do we severely underestimate what we can achieve over the long term, we are barely able to conceive of what we can achieve in 10 years or more.

So we find what motivates us by identifying our passions. Then we break our dreams down into smaller chunks, mile markers if you will. Reaching those markers builds momentum. We are human though. We will get distracted, or even derailed. It happens. We will suffer a momentary lapse of reason and decide to give up. It happens. But you can start building momentum again just by hitting the next marker.

I am not a fan of running. I do enjoy hiking. I also really enjoy medals. So to help build momentum in logging miles as I prepare for the 500 Festival Mini Marathon, I have registered for a number of virtual 5K, 10K, and half-marathons. I have included links to a few of the sites I use. Feel free to join me on some of these runs. Feel free to add some of your motivational and momentum building strategies in the comments.

https://vr.redpodium.com/superb-owl-18?registrants.source=fbprshirtlastchance112

http://www.runmotivators.com/

https://virtualnerdruns.weebly.com/

https://www.facebook.com/events/2006992742913435/?ti=icl

http://www.indymini.com

Journaling: Do It, Do It Better, and How Not to Do It

Start your journaling journey today! Do you see it? I know you see it. But you may not want to consciously admit that you see it.

Can we agree that life is a journey? Can we agree that happiness is not a destination but also a journey? And, success too?

Journaling your journey is a means to record events, thoughts, and emotions. It offers an opportunity to return to a past moment and reflect on your recorded memories. Journaling is a means of recording progress. And that is what we want, right? To make progress. Don’t be that way. I could feel the cynicism, negativity, and sarcasm of your future selves reading this as I type it in the present. Trust the process!

Journaling is not just another task. Journaling as a means of recording what happened and how you felt about it is as essential as keeping a calendar/planner/schedule/appointment book. Btw, if you aren’t keeping a calendar/planner/schedule/appointment book we need to talk about that too. Why not? Do you not care how you are going to be spending your time? You do realize that time is something we never get back, right? In the wise words of Katy Perry (Don’t scoff.), “…I only got this life, and I ain’t got the time, no, not to get it right…” from the song Witness. Or if Katy isn’t to your liking, how about Pink Floyd? These are lyrics from Time, “Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, you fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way…You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today, and then one day you find ten years have got behind you. No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun…” I am telling you that you have only one life, you have to get it right; you do not have time to kill today; now is your time to run; if you think you missed your starting gun, I just fired it for you. “Run, Forest! Run!”

Seriously, if you take some time to plan your year, month, week, and day, you will find a lot more time to utilize. Take time to journal too. If you haven’t journaled before, you may find ten minutes seems like an eternity and you only have a couple of sentences to show for it. Conversely, you may find that you have barely gotten started at ten minutes and you have written two pages. Journaling, like everything you focus on in your life, will become refined and produce better results. You will write more or less as you come to understand what events, thoughts, and emotions should be recorded because just as a couple of sentences are probably not sufficient to sum up your day, neither are several pages generally efficient to reflect upon – though there are occasionally life defining days that may require a couple of pages; maybe the death of a loved one, the birth of a loved one, a marriage, a shift in your ideas, etc.

I blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram nearly every day. While these are a kind of journaling, they are not what this blog is about. I am talking about private journaling, where you can be completely raw and honest with yourself. If you haven’t read all of my posts here, you will have missed the occasions where I talk about our prodigious ability to lie to ourselves. We are masters at lying to ourselves. Don’t believe me? Google the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Everyone has lied to themselves and most people are still lying to themselves. In my case, I know it is easier to lie to myself than to tell myself the truth. Why? The truth will set you free, but not until it has pissed you off. I am paraphrasing Orrin Woodward. I think he says something like, the truth will set you free, but not until it has made you mad. It is about comfort. I lie to myself so I don’t feel uncomfortable. If I feel uncomfortable, I’ll have to change. Who wants to change? Well, me now and you do too! I know because you have read this far. If you didn’t want to change, you’d have left this post already!

Alright, we have agreed that we are going to journal because it is a means of measuring progress. I have some specific areas I want to measure. Curiously (not really), these areas coincide with the eight Fs of Life Leadership – Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, Following, Freedom, Friends, and Fun. I do not journal about each area every day, nor do I keep eight separate journals. I do keep 3 separate journals though. I specifically keep a Faith journal and a Fitness journal, then I keep another journal to record events, thoughts, and emotions in the other 6 areas. Sometimes my journals have overlap when an event encompasses more than one area, and not every area is journaled about everyday.

So we are journaling, that’s the Do It! The longer we do it, the better we will do it. So journal every day. Be raw and honest with yourself. Don’t be H.P. Lovecraft level vague. But don’t be Anne Rice level detailed either. The longer you do it, the more like Goldilocks you will become. Start with one journal, that may be all you ever need. But, you may come to find separate journals work better for you in some areas.

We now have Do It and Do It Better covered. Now, this is important! How Not to Do It! Do not spend too much time dwelling on negative events, thoughts, or emotions. The key here is too much time. Do not lie to yourself! A trap that we can fall into is ranting in our journals. Journals are not a place for ranting. Therapy is a place for ranting. We fall into this trap because we lie to ourselves. We start to journal about a negative event and then to justify our negative emotions and to convince ourselves of our innocence we end up lying. We over exaggerate the “harm” done to us, the “guilt” of others, and our “innocence.” We do this to make ourselves feel better, but what it actually does is makes us feel worse about the others involved than we should. Be honest, no one is completely at fault or completely innocent. It is part of the human condition, we do, in fact, contribute to the bad things that happen to us, we are never 100% blameless. We might very well be mostly blameless in a given event, but mostly still means we had a part to play in it. Sometimes, at the other end of the spectrum, because we occasionally like to play the martyr, we accept all the blame, that is no less unhealthy. So, again, be honest!

If you are interested in seeing the specifics of scientific studies on the benefits of journaling both for mental and physical health, all you have to do is Google “studies on the benefits of journaling” and you will have a plethora of choices to read from. It is my experience that when I journal, I move forward, and when I don’t, I don’t. Happy journaling!

Two days ago was the day? Yesterday was the day? Today is the day!

First, I am sorry this is posting a day late. Second, I have permission to share the following. Third, thanks for coming back!

I have two dear friends who will be getting married in October. I am training them. In fact, you will eventually see some video footage of our sessions. Tonight (Thursday) was just our second session together, but they each have a workout schedule to workout six days a week. They have been honest with me about not having worked out every night, but the workouts are becoming more regular. Momentum is hard to build and easy to destroy. Trust me, at a point in my not so distance past my nickname could have been momentum killer. But these days I am all about building momentum.

Even if your momentum is on life-support, you can do it! You can chase down your dreams; you can live them! I believe it and so should you!

So, let’s call one of my friends Natalie, because that is her name and I have her permission. She is in her mid-twenties. She was a swimmer in high school. She stands a lot in her job, but it still wouldn’t qualify as an active position. So she isn’t in bad shape, but she has been in better shape.

Natalie sent me a text early in the day, telling me that she was unable to use her right foot to its fullest because of an issue she has been having. She was concerned that she wouldn’t be able to do the workout.

I, not wanting to kill momentum, offered an alternative workout that would focus on her back, shoulders, and abs. Her response was, “Game on!” I thought, “Hell yeah! That’s what I’m talking about!”

Since standing would affect her form on every exercise, I had her sit on a yoga ball (aka a Swiss ball or just an exercise ball). If you have ever sat on a yoga ball you know that you have to engage your core, if you don’t, you’ll lose your balance and roll off. We used two cans of clam chowder from their pantry as her weights. The workouts I currently have them doing are body weight exercises so while they have some free weights, they weren’t readily available. So, this was being improvisational at its best. Remember, it doesn’t have to be pretty or conventional to be effective.

I had her do various exercises to work her trapezius, rhomboid, deltoid, latissimus dorsi, pectoral muscles, etc. Right now the exercises are not the point – they will be, just not today. The point is that I was working her hard, high reps due to the low weight with holds & pulses to keep her mind-body connection engaged. At some point in the middle of the workout, Natalie teared up; literally shed a few tears. Before you start yelling at me for making this wonderful woman cry, I noticed that something was up before the first tear. I asked if she was alright, if she had experienced an acute pain. I wasn’t yelling at her, I didn’t ask her to do anything I didn’t think she was capable of handling. And she had handled all of the exercises fairly well to that point.

All of that leads to this. Natalie took a second. Composed herself. Then we went right back to the workout. Nothing is going to stop Natalie from achieving her dream. Not even Goldfish or Jimmy John’s 😉. How do I know?

She could have said it is too big a sacrifice or burden, too much effort, too painful, or too whatever as an excuse to quit the whole thing. She could have even just quit for the night. Neither happened. A foot problem, an emotional response, it didn’t matter. Natalie was going to finish the workout. She’s going to workout tonight through Tuesday. She’ll take Wednesday off. Then we will start all over again on Thursday. Natalie’s dream is big enough that she can see it over the obstacles in front of her. Your dreams need to be that big too. If you cannot see your dream over the obstacles in front of you, then your dream isn’t yet big enough. Do I need to retype that or can I just ask you to reread the last three sentences? Make sure your dream is big enough, then the obstacles won’t matter!

After the workout, Natalie said that she did not know why she began to cry. While I don’t know if these thoughts are true for Natalie, they were true for me. It is a moment filled with powerful emotions when one realizes that you have what it takes to make your dream come true, that in spite of the disappointment of where you have allowed yourself to fall, you have the strength, determination, and belief to get to where you want to go. So there is a mixture of anger, hope, and even love for self that need a release. All of that equals a few tears.

You are worth it. Achieving your fine is worth it. My vision for this blog has many layers, one of those layers is that this is a place to build community; that we come together and share our dreams, our successes, our struggles; that we uplift one another.

Matthew Kelly writes in his book The Seven Levels of Intimacy: The Art of Loving and the Joy of Being Loved,

A successful relationship is built when two people are striving to become the best version of themselves, challenging and encouraging each to become the best version of themselves, and inspiring others to pursue their essential purpose by the example of their lives and their love.

Let that be a description of the community that we build here and in our daily lives.