Warrior Wednesday – Teaching

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There is a lot of change going on in my life recently. Not only have I started a new job, but I’ve started teaching my first student with the blessing of my sensei. I didn’t go searching for it; it found me.

Teaching is interesting. Right now, I feel like I’m just trying to figure out what works best for this student. But it challenges me in a way that other training doesn’t. I have to try to remember what it was like when everything was new for me.

I don’t believe in a one-size fits all approach. Each student has different challenges. I have trouble with my posture from playing roller derby and problems with my ankles too. I also need more frequent water breaks than most people.

Some are dealing with different injuries. Others have trouble focusing. Vision, hearing, spatial, and many more things can make the journey different for someone else. Some want to do as much as possible quickly. Others are more than happy to do one kata for a long time.

But beyond challenging me to try different ways to get the information through, interacting with him is enriching my life in other ways as he is also a writer and musician though in different ways from me. His worldview is different enough that it makes me check my own, but similar enough that I can jive with it.

We’re taking it pretty slow. I pull some ideas out from my karate days and from the other senseis I’ve had along the way.

It’s pretty hard at times. I’ll look at how he’s doing something, know it’s off, but have difficulty figuring out exactly how it is wrong. I guess that’s part of the whole point though. It’s forcing me to learn it all at a higher level.

R~

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Warrior Wednesday – Updates

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Natsu Matsuri 2018

It was a soggy day, so the event was moved inside this year. Though it was a little more cozy in the smaller space, it was a success.

My dojo was the opening group of performers and I was leading my portion, which was scary. I can’t recall if I ever heard my sword, or if my heart was simply beating too loud to hear it.

Because we were first up, I got to relax and enjoy most of the day. The booming drums of Oto-wa Taiko were even more amazing than usual. The dancing was more difficult to participate in as it became very challenging to figure out who actually knew the dance you were supposed to follow along with. I didn’t buy much for food as most items had ingredients I couldn’t have or all Japanese labels where I couldn’t tell what I might be eating.

Training in July

I always struggle with martial arts in July. It gets too warm for me in the dojo. I dehydrate easily during this month. I always look forward to the fall when it cools down, so I can train more. I wish they’d get an air conditioner, but the people who own our practice space love the over 40 Celsius days it seems.

Taekwondo

I’m looking forward to joining taekwondo. I haven’t set a time for it yet. I was originally thinking half way through August, but that might not be financially reasonable and perhaps I should wait until half way through September. Why half way through? They have a 2-week deal where starting is discounted and comes with an outfit.
It makes sense to me to have my payment schedule close to the beginning of the month, though if I think about it more, I may think it better to have it in the other half of the month. I’ll be combing through the finances soon to see what is best. Many of my current payments are twice a month, so it might not matter.

Yes, I just said I’m struggling with the training I have now and it probably seems silly to be adding more on top, but I believe the cardio aspects of tkd and the different muscle groups used will help me handle more.

Battle on the Home Front

I’m still decluttering and expect I will be fore quite some time yet, but it’s getting better. I now have a pretty nice space in my bedroom for all things music. It looks so slick. I’ll post pictures soon 🙂

Work

I’m starting a new position on Monday. There is much I can’t talk about related to it for security reasons, but I’m not one to spend my free time droning on about work. I’m really excited about it and much of my time this week is being spent getting organized and also changing over from the #writerslife schedule to a regular working schedule.

With gratitude,
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Aims

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I’m taking a self-directed literary course to improve a certain aspect of my writing. It brings up the continual battle between writers who want to portray the world realistically as it currently is versus writers who want to portray the world as they would like it to be. This has been going on for more than a century actually.

It’s an idea that I think bleeds into everything else. It may even be one of the reasons why so many are quick to believe fake news over scary truths.

In terms of martial arts, the battle is often between those who practice more theoretical arts versus those who practice more sport style with competitions that regularly test your mettle, though not as they would have hundreds of years ago. In the old days, death was a common outcome for the weaker party.

Many of the writers I know hope to change the world by writing it as it could be. A problem I can see is that it can be hard for people to read something that is a blatant lie. For others, they love the chance to retreat from the horrors in their everyday. Many of the realistic works are more pessimistic than my own experience of the world, which can be helpful in promoting a feeling of gratefulness about where things are at versus how bad they could be.

I know a lot of people who wonder the point of learning a martial art that won’t prepare you for a street fight. The thing is, most people I know doing the main art I do, didn’t start there and many of us do other arts as well. I went to blue belt in karate and did some jiu-jitsu long before I found iaido. I’m planning to try taekwondo when I have the funds for that, because I think you need both hand-to-hand and some more theoretical arts to get everything you should from ‘the way’ today. It’s a mistake to think that all people who do an art like iaido can’t defend themselves.

Does focusing on how you would like something to be make it more likely for it to become reality? Sometimes. One of the often touted keys to success is visualizing where you want to be. The thing is, you can’t just live in a dream world. You must take actions that will get you there. If I keep seeing how lovely my living room is going to look in my head and do nothing to move it from where it is to where I want it, it won’t ever become that nice place I see in my head.

At the same time, changes take time for people to get used to. One can’t just force things. Part of me would love someone to do one of those home makeovers in my condo. The rest would be wondering where all the paper and stuff I need to go through went because I know probably half of it needs to be digitized and kept rather than thrown out. Sometimes doing it yourself and going slowly is the way to get something done properly.

And many goals take a lot of time to achieve them. Some novels take a decade to write. Others a few months. Fitness goals can take a long time too. The body doesn’t magically become fit overnight. I know my glutes suck right now. My quads are stronger than my glutes. This is causing an imbalance, which when combined with tight hip flexors means my posture is in trouble. Both of those things are because I sit a lot as a writer and office worker. I have a plan involving my soon to arrive space gym I backed on Kickstarter two years ago, taekwondo, and maybe a small piece of equipment like a stepper to reduce my seated time while watching the things I need to for my career and not taking up tons of space I don’t have in my small condo.

All of that takes money I don’t have to spare right now except the space gym, but I know what I will be working toward when I do have the funds. Having a direction is important.

I think that in everything one must decide who they want to be. For me, I prefer the balanced centrist path. I don’t think it benefits me to create works which ignore reality, but I also don’t think my place is to write stories so out of touch that they ignore important issues. I know only practicing a predominantly theory based martial art is never going to help me achieve the level of fitness I want and I know it won’t help me pursue my other goals. How do I know? Years of karate followed by around a year of roller derby have put me in tune with my body. Hell, iaido was my cool-down exercise when I was doing roller derby. I’d work hard skating and using every muscle in my body for three hours, then do all the lunges and such that are inherent in iai right after.

Back to learning more about writing.

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Slow Progress Isn’t No Progress

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My life is in a hurry up and wait stage.

I’m waiting on my debit card for my personal bank account to come. It seems I can’t deposit my HST credit cheque into it until it’s here.

I have a meeting later today about my self-employment related account, so at least I’ll hopefully be able to get some other things moving. I have to go to a different branch because the one I was supposed to go to is having server issues today. Of course. This is my life right now. At least the other location isn’t far.

When I started writing this post last night, I was also waiting to hear the next step for work. A couple of days ago, I had been told there was some sort of form to fill out, but I hadn’t received it yet. This morning I found the link to put in my details for a background check. It was a little longer for me to fill out because I have several post-secondary papers and because I moved around a lot during the year I was going through a divorce. Past applications for security clearance taught me to keep that info handy at least or it would’ve been really painful.

I’m feeling better now that something is moving along.

I know when I start taekwondo, I’m going to be frustrated. It will be hard because I haven’t done that kind of exercise in a long time. I may be in somewhat decent shape for iaido, but I could be better for that too. Taekwondo will use different muscles. Eventually, I expect the two together will make me better at both. I sit a lot as a writer and office worker, so my hip flexors get tight and my glutes are weak. This is bad for posture, which is a major thing in iaido. Those issues will be made better with taekwondo.

Anyway, I may be waiting on a number of things, but the weather is cool enough that I can proceed with some painting in my living room, so I think I’ll be working on that later today. It’ll be nice to have that done before I go back to work full-time.

When I’m not worried about food, I’ll make myself a little zen garden area on my balcony. It wasn’t a great place for a vegetable garden, but I think a nice little meditative area would be great for reading and relaxing. I might need a plan for windy days or anything I put there will be broken. I’m really interested in container succulents, but we’ll see what I can keep out there in the summer. I may have to bring things in during the winter.

Part of me feels like things are moving too slowly, but maybe they’re actually moving at the exact speed they should to let me get all areas of my life in place for what’s coming next.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I celebrated with friends on Saturday. We had a lovely sake tasting adventure where we enjoyed K-Pop videos and fun conversations about anything and everything. I haven’t figured out what I want to do on my actual birthday, but perhaps it’ll be really low-key or maybe I’ll visit a DJ friend at work since I always say I will and never make it over that way.

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Perseverance

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Life has been a battlefield for me for quite some time. I thought things would be good after my divorce and moving to a new city for a good job. And it was. For a time. Until I was laid off and my position, along with a chunk of my department, was abolished.

So, I riskily spent my remaining assets on the parts of a graduate studies certificate in Scriptwriting because there was at least partially free tuition and I was hating my work. I didn’t feel bad making use of the free tuition as I had been paying taxes for nearly 20 years. Why Scriptwriting? Well, I already know how to write novels and while I could be better at short stories, I’ve at least gotten a couple of those published. Movies are a love of mine and it seemed hard to teach myself the basics, plus there was the benefit of making industry connections.

But since school ended in April, I’ve had to make temporary use of social assistance to survive. It has been better than nothing, but really quite awful and I’ve actually written to one of the new MPPs I met the other day about it in the hopes that others will be helped by some recommended changes.

I say others because today, after sending out upwards of 200 job applications, I have secured employment!

The timing couldn’t be better as next Thursday is my birthday 😀

Once I have some of my debt paid off, I’m thinking about taking up Tae Kwon Do in the fall, or at least when it’s not a heat wave, where my little buddy trains because I hear it’s a good place. I’ve been missing having a hand-to-hand martial art in my life and it fits into other goals I have.

Anyway, I’ve been busy applying for jobs and now I’m busy getting set up so job training can happen and so I’m sorry for an intermittent posting schedule.

Life is heating up as much as the weather, which was 48C with the humidity the other day. It was hotter than Miami, Los Angeles, and Tokyo! I forgot to check Mexico’s weather, but I totally should have.

All this to say, whatever your goal is, keep pushing toward it.

I was letting some of the darkest thoughts get to me and even started having nightmares about becoming homeless or possibly a zombie.  The last couple of months and the struggling in the decade before that have been really hard, but it really only took one day for everything to change that. And, oh boy, I’ve gotten several interviews and job offers all this week!

I’m looking forward to whatever comes next!

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Pans

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1. Music

Pan Flute: This music always makes me think of martial arts films. Maybe I’m just weird because it also makes me think of Chinese buffets like The Mandarin. There are probably a few with that same name, but I went to a huge one in Ontario years ago and it’s that specific one. It can be quite relaxing.

2. Film

Jackie Chan: Of course Jackie Chan has used a pan as a weapon in his films. I’ve seen him use bamboo chutes, ladders, and many other household items, so I wasn’t surprised by this.

3. Legendary Martial Artist

Pan Qingfu: Grandmaster Pan was the man with the iron fist. He attained legendary status by age 30 having become proficient in over 20 styles of kung fu and studied with 15 masters of Chinese fighting arts. Pan Qingfu was one of China’s most respected martial artists. He was adept at knocking his opponents out and it is believed he never displayed his full power. He last trained students in Ontario, Canada before his passing.

4. Martial Art

Pankration: An ancient Greek submission style martial art with very few rules. More than a sport, it was practiced by many Greek and Spartan soldiers. It was said to be a combination of boxing and wrestling. Sounds a bit like the first MMA to me. It was also put to use in their mythology. There’s a documentary on it.

5. Tournament

Panamerican Internationals: An international sport karate tournament that is world renowned. This year it’s happening in November in Miami, Florida.

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Fighting for Freedom

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It’s really hard to feel free when you’re in the position I am right now. I suppose I have some options, but many of them have things to weigh carefully. Financially, I need to make a serious change if I don’t get a regular job soon. I’m at risk of losing my home.

It’s not that I don’t have desirable skills. There is one particular skill that is making it difficult for me. Which one? I don’t speak enough French. I’m learning it, but I mostly know basic etiquette and swears. One of those is helpful for work.

I’m waiting to hear on the results of a job interview.

Options if I don’t get the job:

  1. Drive Uber: I’m already delivering food through them, but delivering people makes more money. There are drawbacks. One being that I don’t love driving enough to make it my main career. The increase in car maintenance costs needs to be considered. If something happens to my car, I’m back to having trouble paying my mortgage. But the schedule is flexible, which is great for writing. The varied clientele could be inspiring for a story. I could end up working less to pay my expenses. Note: I also recently applied to another type of delivery service that pays more.
  2. Relocate: I could apply to jobs in another part of the country. Peterborough would be my first choice because it’s closer to my family, closer to Toronto (a major film hub in Canada), and there may be more English speakers and less of a need to be bilingual. Also, I really like the dojo there. I could even get back into karate as they do that too. But moving means selling my condo. It needs a bit of work before I can really do that. It also means not seeing my movie club friends much, missing my little buddy, and his sister. I’d miss my dojo too, but I know I’ll see them eventually at a seminar at least. But I could go through all the work of moving again to end up in the same position. It feels like regardless this French issue will continue to pop up in my life. Selling includes extra costs like legal fees that would eat into any equity I’ve accumulated. Moving to Peterborough would put me closer to my family. My parents are in their mid-seventies, so it could become important to be closer to them.

I feel like if my car was paid off, everything would be easier. I’m feeling pulled in a couple of directions and I don’t know what the answer is for me. On the one hand, one of the options has a lot of potential, but on the other, am I done with Ottawa? The only thing I know is that I can’t stay in this limbo state forever. What about the other things I’m already working on here? I think some could be done from anywhere. I’m less worried about the cost of moving than I am about the possibility that no one will buy my condo. That could put me in a worse position.

I think if I don’t hear anything by the end of this week, I’m going to try option 1. Or maybe I should just set that in motion now via email…

The idea of getting back to karate is tantalizing. My life is rather busy for it right now though.

I’ve hardly been able to write lately 😦

I really don’t know what the right decision is on this. I think I can try option 1 for a bit, see if I can make enough doing that to support myself, and if not, go for option 2. I may try both and see what happens.

R~