Still Striving to improve myself, one board break at a time

Posts tagged ‘Martial arts’

Healthy eating–and starting over

I am finding that it is NOT easy to eat well.  It’s hard to make good choices that include vegetables, protein and essential oils.  I have yet to include a healthy oil in my food choices.  I AM eating more protein though.  That’s the key to this week.  More protein. I just have to make sure my choices are healthy proteins.  This means that I have to actually cook better foods. As part of the WW 360 program, there’s  “Success Handbook” that allows you to work with it to find your trigger points, motivation,  losses, etc. I am actually USING the book now!  I’ve had it for about 3-4 months but its been sitting on my counter.  Now I’m writing in it (it’s interactive) and thinking about my reasons for following Weight Watchers. I have always subscribed to the “you have to cut out fats/oils/sugars” theory, although I didn’t do well with the “cut out sugars”.  In reading the success handbook, in talking to my Leader, I’ve actually learned a bit.  You can’t cut everything out (that was the topic of the last Meeting, too!).  If you do, you binge.  That’s always been me.  Fad diets?  Yep.  I’ve tried ’em.  High protein/low carb (think pre-Atkins).  Yep, tried that too.  South Beach diet?  Been there.  Lost weight on the HP/LC but because I didn’t stick with it, I gained it all back, with friends. I want my weight loss to “stick”.  I have struggled my entire life with diets that didn’t work.  I was never taught about portion control.  I have worked on that recently.  I now measure things like peanut butter.  One tablespoon is a LOT. You wouldn’t think it would be, but it is HUGE. I have joined and quit WW more times than I care to count.  I tried going it alone several times, but fizzled out in ’00 and again in ’02.  In ’03, I started up in Martial Arts, so was working out, but didn’t really count points.  I don’t believe I ate correctly then, but because I was working out three hours a week, and Saturdays, I managed to lose some weight.  Before my black belt testing started, when I was around green to red belt, I started up on WW again. I actually attended meetings.  I lost/gained/lost but had impetus to keep going.  Then I got sick for a week with Strep, lost huge (you can’t really eat if your throat hurts).  I didn’t gain it back, amazingly.  I randomly followed WW, but left the program while I was training for my belt test in September. I managed to lose and kept most of the weight off.  I was never “tiny” at best.  I gained and lost and gained and lost. I re-joined WW last August, so it’s been almost a year now.  August 16 is my year anniversary.  I have really only lost 12 pounds in that year.  I became annoyed, frustrated and more frustrated. In the past two months, I’ve seen gains.  Was NOT pleased with myself.  I finally decided to ask for help.  I couldn’t keep seeing gains. I started tracking (on MFP only, but recently again on WW and on paper).  I asked my leader for help.  She said I had to count the points, but she didn’t say I absolutely HAD to use eTools.  I am using them so that I can count my points.  I will not give up WW…I will be successful.  I can feel it.  Maybe this week will be a good one. I am not happy about my gains, but there it is.  I gained.  I am not “the biggest loser”.  Not yet, anyway.

Decision making

I’ve been thinking…a lot. I’ve been thinking about trying to get back into training, only this time on my own. I know that I can push the envelope and get myself into a reasonable facsimile of a martial artist.

I don’t have a true school to work with anymore. I’ve left one school due to a conflict with an instructor. I left another school due to my own insecurity. For the past two years, I’ve not concentrated on anything. I’ve just existed. I have taken Tai Chi, which I loved, but stopped those lessons in February after having to be out for a week with surgery.

I have a “BOB”. I have a garage to work out in. I just lack the motivation to push myself into working out. I have spoken with a friend of mine, who has warned me that trying to train myself is not always a good thing. He’s also made an offer that I’m mulling over. I can work with him–I’ll have to document ALL of my training and I’ll have to make darned sure that I’m following said training. At least once or twice a month, I’ll have to go to Houston to visit and work with him. I’ve forgotten so much more than I let on that frankly, I’m scared. I’m afraid that I’ll let myself down. I have high expectations for myself. I expect perfection. It’s not a good thing to do, but I am honest about it.

So, I’m mulling over the WHEN of when I’m going to start training. I need to keep up training with Alba. I need to push myself into not being lazy about documenting my food in my journal too. I spend entirely too much time saying “I’ll get around to it” and then that “round to it” never comes. I have to get into the frame of mind of DO IT NOW. Period. End of story.

Alba knows about BOB. We’ve talked about using him. I guess I need to get off my but and make myself do what I want to do. I can come home from work, leave the car in the driveway, move BOB out into the middle of the garage and work on kicks, punches, etc. It’s a matter of WHEN.

I also need to give Sa Bu Nim an answer. He’s patient and isn’t pushing me but…I need to continue to THINK. I need to talk to hubby and see what his opinion is.

I’m torn between being lazy and wanting to push myself back into some semblence of shape. I need to decide how important martial arts is to me. I talk to martial artists on a regular basis. I have acquired a good friend who is willing to go out of his way to help me. I need to help myself first.

The mind is a powerful thing. I need to push mine into submission and meditate on what I really want.

Weaponry

My instructor gave me a new weapon to learn yesterday. It is a Tessen, or Japanese War Fan. It’s also known as a Samurai War Fan. It’s really a neat weapon. My “real” weapon has metal ribs. The practice weapon is wooden. I do not know how to use them yet, but will be watching the DVD to learn as much as I can. I did look it up last night on the Internet and found some neat videos on YouTube. I’ll go back and look at them later.

I’m excited that he picked out this weapon for me. I initially thought he’d given me a Tonfa, which looks like a long stick with a knob on it for a handle. It actually resembles a “billy club”. Fortunately for me, he chose something that doesn’t look like a weapon, but actually IS. I’m going to have much fun learning it. I am trying to think of the reasons he chose this particular weapon for me and the only thing I can come up with is that he considers me an unknown quantity. I’m visible, but nobody really knows what I am yet. Makes sense to me. The fan, in ancient Japan, was a weapon a Samurai could always have on him. They were required to disarm whenever they were in the presence of a Warlord, but the fan, nobody would think of, therefore, they could keep it on them.

I’m really looking forward to learning how to use this. It’ll be my challenge over the Christmas holidays when we’re not in classes, to learn how to handle it.

On BECOMING

What makes a black belt? Is it the fabric that just happens to be black or blue? No. It’s a manner of carrying yourself, your comportment. It’s whether you take the time to show a little bit of courtesy to the rest of the people you come into contact with. A black belt is all of these things and more.

A black belt internalizes the teachings of his or her Masters. He or she must learn to give up the ego that plagues most of us. (Having an ego is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does affect your dealings with people.) A black belt truly BECOMES that which he or she embodies.

As a black belt, you represent not only your dojang, but also your history, your founders. You represent yourself as an ambassador. You’re part of a greater whole. It’s a collective. Martial arts has a long history. It’s one that we all represent in many ways. The history of your art, for yes, it IS an art form, is written in the sweat and blood of those who precede you. You may *think* you’re working very hard to earn something, but there are those for whom the challenge has been infinitely harder. The challenge is there for all, but only a few will ever truly embrace being a black belt.

When you test, it’s not just an ending point. It’s a stepping off point, a door is opening to continue to grow and expand. The target, while having been met once, now must be re-met in all that you do. You must decide if you are going to share your knowledge with your fellow students. The Gups will look up to you. Overnight, it seems, your status is changed from being “one of them” to being one of an elite group.

Being a black belt isn’t just “Look! I have a belt!” It’s your actions, ultimately, that define you as a black belt. If you take the time to help out in class, to lead warm ups, for example, you’re embodying what those who have come before you have taught you. If you step up and demonstrate a form or technique incorrectly, you must take the critique of that form or technique. You can’t expect to do something incorrectly and not have people notice. You actually have a spotlight on you, almost as if “black belt” is tattooed to your forehead.

Being a black belt is a mental thing. Any person can have a black belt. Some people truly LIVE as black belts. There is a difference. Those who just have the belt are more likely to be the swaggering type. The people I have met, as an example, embody the spirit of black belt. In my dojang, the people who I train with are working towards improvement daily. They are willing to answer questions and never treat you like you’re asking “stupid” questions. When I came into this dojang, I came in with the idea that I was going to advance my ranks on the same “schedule” that I had been on at my old school. What I had not counted on was the fact that I have to learn to become a black belt. I may have the belt, yes, but it means nothing if I don’t understand WHY I have the belt. It’s not all about the training. The training goes beyond the physical in the dojang (Funakoshi #8–“Do not think that your karate training happens only in the dojang.”)

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I’m taking that step. I want to learn, therefore, I attend classes (intermittently, but that *will* change!). I have found my niche. There is another saying that bears repeating…that is, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.”

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