Friday, December 31, 2010

Traveling

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to."

Soon I'll be off again on another adventure with Amber.  I have only been out of North America once before, a year ago, on a cruise, with Amber.  Now we are doing it again, to a different part of the Caribbean to see more amazing things and do more cool things.I am excited to go, how could I not be?  To be away and have staff that looks after everything for you, to eat great food, see great shows and have the opportunity to see things that don't even exist here at home.

This traveling is just one more reason to know that my wife is great!  Without her I wold have never gone on the cruise last year, and then obviously not on this one coming up either.  It not that I didn't want to go somewhere, but money was a factor and just the planning of it all.  She took care of all the details all I have to do was agree to go, for that I am thankful because I do not have the ambition to figure out all the little things that need to be done to go on a trip like this.

I can't wait to get going, I have to wait...  but I'd really like to just leave now and be on our way.  The only thing that I won't like is being disconnected from everything for 9 days pretty much, it's good that my phone and Internet will not be a distraction I suppose, but it would also be nice to be able to know what is going on.

I do intend to take like a million pictures, we have a camera that does not eat batteries this time, and we are buying 3 underwater cameras.  Hopefully all our underwater excursions go as planned this time be cause we will be doing some awesome things!

If you ever get the chance to travel, go!  Go with an open mind as well and explore your surroundings and culture.  On our last trip we went to Altun-Ha a Mayan pyramid site,and some American lady said "I don't like learning about all this un-american stuff"  I was floored by that!

Unfortunately I will be unable to tell anyone anything about the trip until I get back...  but when I get back I'll let you all know how it went!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

I'm up early

I get up early every Christmas that I can remember.  I've always been the first one up in the house, always.

When I was a kid I would be up at like 4am, I'd tip toe quietly downstairs and snatch my stocking from on top of the TV unit where we hung them and take it back up to my room to examine the booty that I had received.  That was the rule, I could open up my stocking whenever but we had to wait until mom was up to do presents.

The contents of my stocking were similar each year, candy..  jube jubes, willowcrisp, chocolate rosebuds, gum and then typically practical type items...  I don't really recall what those items were as a kid, as a teenager it would be like deodorant and razors and stuff.  But I'd sit in my room, eat some candy, look at the things.  then try to make myself go back to sleep to pass the time until it was actually reasonable to be awake.

It usually worked and I'd wake up at about 7ish.

That was not the end of the wait for the real presents though.  Because my mom had to be "ready".  So we'd all eat breakfast, watch TV (if there was anything on - we only got 3 channels when I was a kid).  It always seemed like an eternity, like mom was just finding things to delay with to make us wait.  Eventually mom would be ready and we' get to the presents.

I'm up now, being mature, and waiting for Amber even to open my stocking.  I realize that the joy of giving is seeing how much people like what you got them, I also realize that the stocking is clearly an invention of parents to delay the wake up time for them and occupy children in the early morning.

When Amber and I have our own children I intend to still be up early (like I have a choice really), my rugrats won't have to wait till I eat breakfast, and brush my teeth to open presents.  We'll get to the good stuff right away!

Everyone should get a 6am wakeup call on Christmas day.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I do what I can

A lot of people ask me to do things for them.  Some are trivial, some are important.  Unfortunately I can not do them all.

In general I have a hard time saying no to people, it's in my nature to help out, especially when all I would be giving up to help out is time, need a ride somewhere, especially when I am already out and about I'm usually good for doing that, need a hand with some homework, or notes posted?  I'm usually good for doing that too.  Those things are easy, and I enjoy doing them usually.  The common thing that those things share is that they are in my comfort zone, its easy to give someone a ride somewhere, it's easy to post notes online and such.

In school I decided I would only help those that help themselves.  I think that this decision has not only helped me in brushing off people that want to get somewhere with no effort, but it's also helped the people around me do their own hard work. At karate I will help everyone of course, it is my role there, those who are showing real effort to learn and grow, no matter their level are always going to get that little extra.

In life in general it's much harder.  If I did everything asked of me by everyone I would go insane.  Sometimes I agree to help people just so they stop bugging me, that is usually how I get tied up on the phone doing surveys and crap. I rarely flat out deny anyone, because I'm the type of guy that if I have the time I'll do whatever it is that is being asked of me.  Sometimes I delay a decision and feel crappy about it after, struggling to be okay with what I decided, or put off deciding.

I do what I can.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Injuries

You may not know it to look at me, but I have be injured so many times over my 31 years that it's amazing that I still am in working order.


The spots marked in red are sites of severe injuries, some of which were just downright nasty..  others come with a pretty good story.  I have of course had many of these injuries nag at me for a long time the most notable of which is my shoulder.

The shoulder injury
Back in 2006 I believe it was we were doing throws at Karate, and after some hip throws and such we moved on to sacrifice throws which look something like this:
Now, this might look pretty scary, and if you are unsure of what to do it would be, I however had no trouble with this until I began to tell my partner what a great job they were doing mid-flight.  And since my brain was thinking about words, it forgot to think about what had to happen to have me land safely on the floor.  So instead of doing a nice roll or break-fall, I came straight down on my shoulder.  The sound I heard was horrific!  I'm not sure if anyone else could hear it but it was sort of a wet crunching type sound.  Lovely it was, made all the better in that I had to spring up and pretend it didn't happen so as to not scar the kid I was working with for life.

The Knee
Each of my knees has been hurt, more than once.  But the best one was of course the sledding incident.  Growing up outside of Buckhorn we lived in the woods with a bit of a hill on one side of our house.  Part way down the driveway there was a bit of a natural path between the trees and this was an excellent spot to take the GT down the hill.
I was about 13 or 14 at the time I believe and a friend an I were out sledding that day. At this point I was a bit too big for the GT and my knees stuck out on either side.  I was hurtling down the hill when the front ski, the one that steers, lost contact with the snow.  Being unable to steer on a wooded hill is not the best thing that can happen, especially when your knees stick out.  My right knee caught a tree, turning all my forward momentum into a spinning motion.  I exploded off the sled, screaming in agony.  I'm sure I swore, and I'm sure that this was the only time I didn't get any trouble for it.  My knee swelled up to twice the size, full of blood.  I spent time on crutches, my doctor drew black blood (because it wasn't getting any oxygen) from the knee.  I was told to stay off it and rest...  I played hockey the next weekend.

The Nose
Anyone who knows me at karate knows that I've had my face kicked a couple of times, but that's not the good one.
We were building our first house, I was 7 I think and to pass the time and stay out of my dad's way I was riding my bike on our little turn around street.  I was weaving my bike back and fourth at a pretty good clip I assume, because when I hit the rock everything went pear-shaped. My bike stopped moving forward, I did not.  The front wheel and the attached handlebars work fantastically as a fulcrum, and I hit the ground face first.  I cupped my hands over my mouth and nose and ran up to the house and did what any kid does went they hurt themselves, I found my mom.  "What happened?!" she asked.  In reply I removed my hands from my face, a full two handfuls of blood spilling to the ground!  "I fell".  There was a trip to the hospital after that and I had huge black eyes for days.

I think that's enough for now...  More to come.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Let the break begin

Today is the first day off after the most stressful semester I have had at school so far since my return to academics.  I think I did pretty well all things considered.  I did have a few distractions from school this fall like getting married, earning my black belt, taking on extra work in tutoring at Fleming and the additional outside of class time work that the toddler program demanded.

I'm glad the semester is over, but I'm really happy that my main group of friends grew to include a new person this fall and that we all did really well, especially on the big 'real world' type of assignments.  I'm a bit sad that we won't all be together again next semester.  I'll miss coming to school and seeing everyone all week.  I'll miss the teachers too.  I think some folks create an 'us vs them' mentality when it comes to their teachers and look for as many faults as possible.  Don't get me wrong we had one teacher whose methods I could not stand at all!!  But by the end she was not so bad really.  I hope the folks in my class have host educators that they can get along with easily for their block placements.  Somehow I can envision a few of the girls not getting along just for the sake of creating drama, some people always have the mentality that life is out to get them.

I have so much nothing I want to do over the break, get out my guitar again and learn something new, I've been able to borrow my cousin's snowboarding stuff and I hope to try it out a few times, play some hockey, go to the gym and work, karate and of course to cap off my break is the cruise that Amber and I are going on.  I'm so excited for that! Eight days cruising around the eastern Caribbean and five places to visit, it should be fantastic!

I hope all my ECE ladies enjoy their break as much as I do!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Do something difficult!

I LOVE getting a new program at the gym.  I love it because Jodi seems to delight in making my life at the gym difficult.  When you have a trainer that pushes you to do something so exhausting, but has the confidence in you that you can do it, it's fantastic!

As I have explained to people before I only meet with my trainer when it's time to get a new program, so I've only met with her about 16 times since June.  Today I think was my best day at the gym in weeks, while my last program was not "easy" it was getting boring. 

Today I left feeling like I had accomplished something, I was drenched in sweat and remarking that Jodi must be insane to treat me this way - which means she's doing her job well.

There is a great satisfaction that can be taken from doing something that you find hard to do.  If everything was easy, or if all you did was easy things, how satisfied with you life would you really be?  I know that I'd be pretty disappointed if everything came easy!

Do something you find difficult, accomplish the task and find out how fantastic you feel afterward!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Time

I had a discussion with my wife the other night about time.  Where my time goes and hers as well. It has sparked me to recall a few other conversations I've had with people over the last 8 months or so about my time an how much of it they think I must have.

I don't have any more hours in a day than anyone else, but I make my own time for things.  Over the spring and summer that time was made for the gym and karate.  Through the summer I worked full time plus a part time job, I attended events with my wife (then fiancĂ©e) and friends.  I was at karate all my usual hours, I made time for the gym.

In the fall I started back up at school again, due to being on second career I cannot make over a certain amount of money each week, but I work at 2 jobs, have loads of homework, do lots of housework, attend karate, practiced on my own time and was at the gym. I also added in hockey Saturday nights and really getting in the swing of helping to plan a wedding.

Now the wedding is done, but homework the last two weeks has been crushing all while doing the same things mentioned above.

So do I have oodles of free time?  No.  But I make time to do things that I enjoy.  And I have suggested to people that they do the same, Amber was one of those people last night, and other times.

If you don’t make the time to do things that you enjoy, those things will always get pushed out of the way.  I make time to go to karate and to go to the gym and play hockey.  I make it by really working on my (home)work and other things that need to get done at other times so that it's done to my standards and is not in the way of me doing the things that I enjoy.

Find something you like to do. Write it on your schedule in pen, plan the extra work you need to do around it. There are going to be difficult choices about what you'll have to give up to fit things in, but  you have to make time.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It feels good

So this past week I had a hard time getting to the gym.  Due to the demands of homework late in the week and feeling like crap early in the week I ended up almost taking a week off.  I think I felt worse about missing going to the gym than I did when I felt sick.

This past Saturday I still felt awful, headachy and all that but I forced myself to go to the gym after work (and before hockey).  I did my shortest planned day which is back and biceps so I was only there for about 40 minutes.  After that 40 minutes was the best I had felt all week.

I played hockey that night as well (1G, 2A) and felt much better than last week when I played while I had a cold.  I have, of course if you know me well enough, kept track of all the games I've played and points I have scored.  I'm very incredibly excited that if I keep on track this year I will have my most points ever in a season with this team, which really given that I am actually in shape should not be all that surprising really, but it's still awesome none-the-less.

I then was at the gym Sunday morning and did my hardest day, legs.  At the end I was exhausted, having played hockey less than 12 hours earlier probably didn't help much, but I felt great.  I think it's a bit strange that working my body till my muscles scream in the end makes me feel great.  I highly recommend it!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Adversity

How do you deal with adversity?

As I have mentioned earlier I had to figure out a few things on my trip to losing 80 pounds and all that.  The other day this week it was put to the test in a whole different way.  There I was all set to have pretty much everything I had to get done for school done in one day.  The main part of 2 assignments worth 30% or more each were going to be done except for the documentation pretty much.  Then one center told us the wrong time and another turned me away due to allergy concerns.

Was I frustrated? Sure I was..  Really frustrated!  Being able to deal with adversity doesn't mean you are immune to the emotions you have.  I took a while to vent, let out my concerns to people and organize myself and put things in perspective.  Back up plans were made, some right on the spot an some with collaboration with others.

Part 1 of dealing with the 'disaster' that was Wednesday afternoon happened yesterday and it went great, Part 2 is this morning, I'm sure it will go just as well.

When life seems to hold you down, it's a test, how will you deal with it?  Crumble? Or regroup, form a plan and get things done!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Blerg

I hate being sick.

I think I started being sick a week ago, it's not often that I have a 1.5 hour nap on a Monday afternoon.  I should have known I would really become sick on Thursday though, I sat down to do hours of homework and realized that I really did not have that much to do.  It was all stuff that was mostly ready but just had to go get done.  And so the amount of stress related to school dropped off and by Friday night I had a scratchy throat.  Boo.

So what does that mean.  I've seen a lot of people simply shut down when they get sick.  "Oh my throat is sore I can't do anything."

I played hockey that night, not too badly actually (1G, 1A in a 6-1 win) and felt like crap when I got home.  I went to the gym Sunday and felt great for most of the day!  Today, not so much, but I am still at school.

I think it's all a matter of will.  I want to do the things I want to do and at this point I'm not about to let a little scratchiness in my throat stop me.

So here I am at school, with only that little bit of thought in my head.  I'm here even though I would rather be home.  Willpower.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Who are you doing this for?

I had some interesting discussions over the weekend about the purpose of a lot of different things with a few different people.  And what seemed to connect them all was the idea of the reasoning behind the decisions and who the actions taken really benefit.

Some things you clearly do for someone else, like holding a door or letting someone pull ahead of you while driving and letting someone onto a particularly busy road.  Some things you clearly do for yourself like buying a comic or clothes or whatever.  The interesting part is when the lines blur.

At the beginning of my karate career I was going there for myself, no doubt, I enjoyed it, I liked seeing how I could do things.  As time went on I was asked to help teach here and there and then I was not only going to karate for myself, but for the other people that attend, how can I help them out on the day. I achieved a personal goal so that I can help others achieve theirs.  I think that is a big part of that whole knowledge transaction whether it's at karate or even at at school, I'm aiming to attain a personal goal so that I can then share that experience with others.

When I started going to the gym last march I was doing it for someone else.  In the beginning it was to simply satisfy what was required of me.  Now I go for myself, I enjoy it, it makes me feel good.  Things I am doing for myself personally I don't feel I need approval for from others, I might share with others those personal things, but ultimately they are for me and I'll make that choice.

Now that I have reached the point I am at, it has been pointed out to me that now is when real character is defined.  Will I continue to have the dedication when there is no personal prize to attain? I think this is an important thing to consider.  I have reached two goals almost at the same time, each of which took a lot of dedication.  Can I continue on this path?  Well that all depends on who I'm doing it for doesn't it?  And how I can take rewards from it.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

It Builds Character

Whether I realized it or not as I was growing up I know now that I was often put into situations or tasks at home that if asked now I would say 'that builds character'.  This is a phrase that I'm not sure I ever actually heard my dad say.  I know it was in a whole bunch of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips though whenever Calvin would be 'forced' to do something he didn't want to do.

For instance.  I was my job to shovel at least 1/2 the driveway (and we had a long driveway).  I didn't even drive at the time!  But I wanted to be driven places (since NOTHING was within walking distance of the middle of nowhere living outside Buckhorn).  If I wanted to have a few extra dollars to buy a movie or something I had to split wood, which at the time I was not that fond of, but it had to be done and it was one of those lessons that if you want something you have to work for it - because it builds character.

When you become an adult you end up having a bit more of a choice whether to take part in tasks that build character, because usually those things are difficult in some way and you can choose to avoid them.  I can see now the wisdom of putting me up while still a white belt to stretch out the class for the first time, and lead warm ups so early on, because it has helped me reach the position I have entered into.  I can see now why it was important that I worked for the things I desired to have as a teenager. I can see why I had to make some huge changes in lifestyle to get many of the things i have gotten in the last little while.

I see many people at school and karate (because those are the two places I am at the most) choose to avoid adversity, to take easier paths, and a relatively small number choose to take the chance to build character and utilize it.  The next time you think 'oh man, this is going to be hard!'  Take the challenge head on, apply yourself, don't submit to thinking that you can't do something even before you try - it builds character.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

31

I am 31.

Most people would lament being *this old*. It's not that bad really.  Especially with all that has happened for me in the past year.  It's hard to imagine a year where I have accomplished so many great things.  At this time last year the furthest I had been from home was the Jersey Shore, now I have been all over the Caribbean (and even more photos here) and pet animals that do not even exist on this continent, eaten exotic food and stood on the top of a Mayan pyramid. During that same trip I got engaged.

I attended school again and met so many amazing people, some of which I am sure will become life long friends.  We've spent so much time working together and just enjoying each other's company it really has made my second college experience fantastic.

I lost some weight. This is perhaps the most visible thing I have done in the past year for myself.  With a great big hint back in march I decided that it was just about time I did something and started going to the gym.  I was there so much that some people probably figured that I worked there.  I lost 50 pounds or so and then I got a trainer( the most amazing trainer in the gym to be sure - Jodi V!), and lost 30 more.  Now together we've built me into an athlete.  It's incredible how much this whole experience has taught me about myself and how much it has done for me both physically and mentally.

I've played hockey, and though I have done that in previous years, this year finally I am in the good condition to really say, 'I am a hockey player' (even if it is only once a week and I don't get paid).  I don't have to suck in oxygen like I'm about to die when I get to the bench, my back does not hurt when I am playing or the day after.

I got married.  I'm ecstatic about it!  It was a fantastic day with so many of my awesome friends attending.  Some I have had for ages, some only for a year, but they were all there (minus a few that could not make it) and it made the day that much greater.  It turns out that on the day of my birthday Amber even got herself her first teaching job, supplying for a half day.  Could my wife be more amazing? No.

And then finally two days before my birthday a great friend and I completed one journey, and embarked on another. The original journey through karate lasted just shy of 7.5 years, the next one is a lifetime.  I am thrilled to have spent so much time with so many great people during my time at karate, not only this past year, but over the whole course of the time I was going from one belt to another.  What started as a way for my step-daughter at the time and I  to spend time together ended up being a life changing experience the likes of which I'm likely to never experience again.

So all in all year 30 for me has been great.  Full of smiles and laughs, new friends, incredible experiences and adventures that most people can only wish they had the opportunity to go on.  Thanks everyone for making this past year so great!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Team

My dad taught me something about being on a team in the spring of 1993. June 9th to be exact.  I know the date because it was the evening the Canadiens could clinch a Stanley Cup victory.  It was also a evening where I was supposed to play 3-pitch in Buckhorn.  Clearly I could not do both, and I was insistent that I wanted to stay home.  However, I had joined a team, and as my dad explained I could not let my team down by just not showing up!  I rode my bike to the community center and was ready to play.  My dad knew how much I wanted to watch the game, but it was also one of those moments that I would now explain to someone else, that '"builds character".  Thankfully, it stared to rain, and I ended up getting home before the puck dropped!  I got the best of both things!

It was mentioned more than once that Pete and I were joining a team of black belts, I thought this was an important thing to take home with me.


We may be joining the team of black belts at the club, but we wouldn't be doing so without the team of students that we were able to train and practice with all along.  No one can get to such an important day like what we experience yesterday without the help and support of a host of people over time.

I assembled a collection of photos from my journey through the coloured belts at karate this morning and posted them on my facebook (seen here) and couldn't help but notice the common faces through the years.  Some people have since left the club, some are still there on their own journey, I'd run out of breath if I tried to thank each of the people that played important roles in my own journey in person.  So here I'd like to do that.  Thank you! I wouldn't be in the position I am without all of your help and support, your friendship, lessons and insights.  I can only hope to play the same supportive role in someone else achieving their black belt.

Truly a study in martial arts is a singular and a team event at once.  At the very least you need one other person to practice with, but to learn much you need to accept the knowledge and input of many people. But without individual drive and commitment the advice and support of others would go to waste.

I'm sure there were instances where those looking forward to my progress wondered if I'd ever get the message and achieve.  I hope I have done my team proud and hope I can continue to do so for others.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Practice

"We ain't talkin' about a game, we talkin' about practice."

Wednesday was an interesting evening at karate for me, and how appropriate that the fortune cookie I opened that day before class read "There is no instructor better than practice."

With everyone lined up on the four sides of the club I knew once we had all been asked to sit down that there would at least be a portion of whatever was about to occur that featured Pete and I doing something, I also figured that I would get to enjoy the efforts of some of my other classmates.  That was not to be and Pete and I were the headlining act in a display of katas that we have to know for Saturday's test.

It was not so monumental in the moment but what I realized after, expecially after form four (Triumph) when I asked Logan if I had done the whole thing.  During it, my mind was blank and I'm fairly certain that was in my eyes.  I wasn't in the room, thinking about each move and what came next and so on. I did the form without having to think about it.  As it should be at this stage I suppose, I just let my body do what it knew it had to do.

How did my body know what to do?  Practice.  It's not that I have practiced being able to just let that happen directly, but that I have practiced enough hours enough times without distraction, with distraction, while teaching, on my own, in a group and whatever else you can think of that when it was called upon I just did it.

If I have learned anything from the time I have been doing karate (and I have learned a great many things about a whole pile of topics!) it really is that nothing can substitue for real, focused practice.  Of course this applys to so many other venues, learning an instrument, learning to skate, learning how to beat Super Mario Bros on the NES without getting hit at all..  Practice is the key.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Friends

I was told when I was younger to be sure I chose the right friends.  It is something I believe very strongly in really.  Choosing good friends makes so much difference in the type and quality of life you end up leading.

I have had the great advantage of always having fantastic friends that had similar values to those of my own (whether I was actually able to recognize those values at my current age or not).

As a younger child I had friends that enjoyed the same shows and toys as me, then it was computers and making tapes of weird radio shows and playing video games.  In high school my friends and I would play hockey, football, soccer and cards.  We didn't feel the need to prove ourselves in anyway to anyone.  And now as an adult I have friends that I can share ideas with and get wisdom from.  All good people that have had positive influences on my life all along.

As I see the struggles that a few kids I know are going through it reinforces this idea that choosing the right friends early on can make all the difference in ones life.  It doesn't matter how good a parent some kids may have, what type of influence they try to be, if someone hangs around the wrong people and wants acceptance from them things can go poorly to say the least.

A friend is someone that keeps you out of trouble, not gets you into it.  A friend is someone that shares many of the same values as you do and enjoys your success as you enjoy theirs.

I wish that everyone could be blessed with the kind of amazing friends that I have and have had over the years.  Thanks everyone for being such great friends! You know who you are!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fortune Cookies

What could be better than a little yummy cookie that has some little tag in it that tells you some delightful thing?

Well lots of things I suppose...  But fortune cookies are yummy, and I'm always excited to see what I get on my fortune.  More often than not I find whatever is written applies to me.  I'm not sure that this is just because the 'fortunes' are so generic that they apply to everyone, or if it's because I lead a life that usually directs me toward good events and people and such.

Amber bought loads of fortune cookies to put in our little gift boxes at the wedding and we still have some around the house.  I have taken to eating them after lunch when I am home to do so or as part of a quick snack before heading off to karate in the evenings.

This afternoon at lunch I cracked one open, and read the tag and it says (I have it here with me) "Nothing will get in the way of your desire to succeed.  Keep at it!"  As I ate the cookie -  which by the way is the correct way to do it..  crack it, read the thing, then eat - I thought about how well that little memo went with things in my life as of late.  My desire to go to school and do well, my desire to loose weight and get in shape.  Things where I have ultimate control of the outcome I have done just fine at.

This sort of general 'fortune' could of course apply to so many people and so many different situations, I think it's just a matter of perspective.  But I think it's very interesting that a scrap of paper can make you think about so many things even with only 2 sentences on it. 

I'm hoping to convince Amber that a bag of fortune cookies is something that we should just have in the house.  I like that I can get some sort of mini lesson out of each one.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Friend Gym

I have mentioned going to the gym in several places over the last few months to a great number of people.  Even the guy at EB Games wondered where half of me went when I dropped in to trade some games to get NHL 11 a couple months ago.

I enjoy the gym, I've spent a lot of time there obviously and what it's done is allow me to do so many things I enjoy at a much higher level.  I was telling Jodi - my amazing trainer - this morning that what has been accomplished at the gym is showing it self all over my life lately especially since hockey has started up for me.  For the first time in the 5 years I have been playing hockey on the weekends I played 2 games back to back on the same night on Oct 30th (meaning I played 6 games total during reading week).  I had no back pain, no muscle pain, I was able to skate as hard in the final minute of the second game as I did in the first minute of of the first game.  Not having to worry about where my next breath is going to come from I can make smarter and better plays everything has improved so much all from time spent at the gym.

Of course this time spent at the gym has helped me out in other areas, like karate, like over all well-being like getting me on the right track to eating good healthy food (no point in working out if your going to eat a bag of chips after right?)  It's helped me learn a lot about myself and introduced me to a bunch of great people like Jodi and the people who work at the desk.  Basically the gym has done what any good friend does and improved my life in a number of areas.

Thanks Gym, see ya tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Well, that was educational

Tonight I learned a few things.  Most of them about myself, most of them not entirely new but just things that have been clarified in my head about where I need to go from here.

It's an interesting experience having someone directly watching you do something that you usually do a few times a month and having it throw you right off balance.  That was of course the whole point though I am sure, some added pressure here some pointed direction here and some vague direction there just to make it that much more interesting.

I have decided in my career life that teaching is what I want to do, not just in an ECE capacity but in a college instructor capacity.  And this is of course where I can apply today's lesson outside of the club.

The other thing I learned is that some folks, no matter how directly indirect you try to be, will not put in even the minimum effort requested. Progression takes effort.  You want to progress, put in the effort.  Maybe I'll just have to point it out in front of everyone, I don't know how nice that would actually be though, or how appropriate.

Maybe that's the next lesson.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Effort

I thought about being less frequent, but something piqued my interest today.

Effort.

Everyone can give effort, it doesn't cost anything. At school I'm never surprised that the people who put in effort get good marks, the people that don't put in the effort complain that school is hard and we have too much work.  At karate it is ALWAYS clear who is putting in the effort, and who is not.  If you aren't going to put in the effort, I am tired of listening to your excuses of why things aren't going your way.  If you are putting in the effort, things are going your way, that's just how it is.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Relentless

This was intended to be the original first post.  It is something that I had rattling around in my head and typed out almost a week ago.  I figured that an introduction would serve the blog better, but now I give you this.  From here on out updates will be regular, but less frequent I think.

Relentless 

What does that word mean to you? Is it something that you would apply to yourself? 

I have come to the opinion that being relentless is a good thing for an individual.  To me it means being unwilling to accept anything below a certain set standard.  I have lived this definition for the last few months.  As many who know me are aware I lost weight in what was in the beginning an effort to work towards my black belt grading, along the way it changed from simply a task that must be completed into something far more personal. I am the fittest I have ever been in my life due to a desire to constantly surpass what I have been able to do before. 

This style of thinking has transferred to karate, school and life in general as well, I am always aiming to push myself and others to do more during warm-ups and in class, at school it has become something where "good enough" really means excellent, because if its not excellent, its not good enough.  As for life in general, it is not quite as focused, but the general application is strive for the best effort at all times in what I am doing.

Be relentless in the pursuit of your personal goals and you will find that you not only achieve them, but surpass them, such is the nature of someone who is relentless.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What's In A Name

I fiddled around with the name for this blog for the better part of the afternoon before deciding on 'Wisdom, Courage, Power' on the way home from the gym.

At first it was named Attitude, Behaviour, Character which are the 3 words we have on the brown belt sheets at the karate club, but then I thought that titling my blog that was hmmm..  a bit presumptuous.  So I switched it to Chris Talkin' as a placeholder (that's right talkin' without the G).  I decided on Wisdom, Courage, Power as it's a collection of words that I have put forward as a necessary trio on my way towards becoming a black belt at karate.  Many will also know, that these three things make up the Triforce in the Legend of Zelda series.

Symbolized like this:


Power sits on the top with wisdom and courage forming the base.  Without first having wisdom and the courage to act, power has no base.

That is how I have approached my drive to become a black belt.   To gather wisdom, from experience, from observation, from lessons, from other people.  To have the courage to do what must be done, to accept where my weaknesses are and strive to improve upon them, to be able to step forward and lead verbally and by example when needed.  With these two things Power has the base to stand upon, fortunately, wisdom and courage are always being tested and challenged with new situations, and one's sense of power must always be tempered by that fact.  Someone who craves power without having the other two qualities in their character is someone who is dangerous, and ultimately unworthy of the power they think they have.

A New Beginning

Hi.

Over the last few years I have made several attempts to write journals and keep blogs and so on.  I think most of these attempts failed because basically I had very little to write about.  I mean no one really wants to read about my day to day life.  The other things I had to say were not tempered with experience of any real degree.

Now, however I find that I do have insights, and clever things to say, and really just a need for a space to rant on things sometimes so why not here?

As well, for full disclosure, I was partially inspired to do this because a friend of mine started a blog and I enjoyed reading it!
( http://passagetopeacefuleating.blogspot.com/ )

So here's to new beginnings, and the hope that I can actually keep this up for long enough to make it worth while!