Warrior Wednesday – Flow

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We practiced Oku Iai the other day. The seated Oku set.

I love both the seated and standing Oku sets because they are the most artistic and free flowing. There’s no constant stopping, just beautifully dangerous sword work.

Well, if you can do it right.

It takes a long time to get there. I know I’m not there yet.

So mine still looks pretty jerky because beginners are taught to pause in a lot of places.

I sit down differently than in this video because women can grab the left opening on our pants and do a curtsy-like motion instead. I really like that.

Indeed, I have other work to do too. My left quad is not as strong as it needs to be in order to sit properly in tatehiza and my right is not strong enough to let me get up quickly enough.

There is always something to continue to work on with this art.

I see many squats and lunges in my future.

And that’s how life’s river flows today.
R~

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Warrior Wednesday – Food and Fitness

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A couple of weeks ago, I switched to a low FODMAP diet after having some people horrible reactions to garlic.

Before that, I was having a lot of trouble working out. Every practice had me taking nearly 5 days to recover.

It was ridiculous.

I knew something was wrong, because I used to play roller derby and wasn’t having anywhere near the trouble I was having.

I never thought that it could be the result of eating the wrong things for me.

Working out is hard enough. Early on there should be some pain and it should take a day or two to recover fully, but I was feeling like I had been out doing an intense paintball session including army crawls after my regular Sunday class. It had gotten to the point that I couldn’t make most Tuesday classes because it hurt too much to walk let alone consider doing my martial art.

I was worried I’d have to give it up.

But it’s like night and day after changing my diet.

I’m excited about my art again and looking forward to doing it more.

I’m also super excited for my space gym. I had backed it on Kickstarter before losing my job in July of 2016. At the time, I was freaking out because I couldn’t get the money back. Now, I’m looking forward to getting in better shape and I’m hopeful I can finally fully recover from my neck injury. It’ll be here any day now. One of the best things about it for me is that many of the machines at gyms don’t really fit my petite size well. Especially the ab machines. Another great thing is not having to go to a gym. No extra gym fees and I can work out anywhere. It weighs around 2 lbs, so I can take it with me if I want. It will also fit nicely in my small condo.

I kind of want to see if, now that I know which foods cause me to bloat and increase recovery time, I can get my abs to come out of hiding. I’ve seen hints of them periodically.

Who knows what the new year will bring?

But first, there is Christmas baking to figure out…

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Thoughtful Thursday – Healthy Progress

thoughtfulI think I’ve figured it out. I know I’ve thought that about 10 times before, but I really think I have this time.

I think my digestive issues are Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The things I’ve had trouble with, those that have given me the most pain, are on the IBS list of things to avoid (dairy, gluten, alcohol, caffeine, beans). I’ve had minor problems with some of the other things on the list like apples and overripe bananas. One of the first things that ever made me sick was ketchup, which I’ve been eating a lot lately.

Why didn’t I think of it before?

Oats.

Oats made me believe it must be Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. They share a similar protein.

Recently, I’ve been having a ton of trouble with garlic. That points to IBS, especially with the other things except oats.

So, I started doing some searching online and it turns out a lot of IBS folks have trouble with oats too. Why they’re on the recommended food list, is strange to me in that case, but I’m going to switch to garlic oil and avoid onions to see if that resolves my remaining major issues. Apparently infused oils give all the flavour and none of the evil.

I’ll have to make my own pasta sauce and certain fruits & vegetables. Oh look, here’s a recipe for pasta sauce that isn’t some weird beet concoction. Italian is one of my favourite food groups, so that’s pretty important.

I also learned there is research being done into autoimmune conditions and heavy metal toxicity. It is convincing enough for me to try zeolite. It’s like a clay that helps remove heavy metals from the body and comes from volcanoes. I’m not generally one for the detox thing. The liver usually does a great job of clearing the bad out on its own. Heavy metals are different though. They’re hard to clear from the body through the natural processes. Since I react badly to a lot of pharmaceuticals anyway, I figure it’s worth a try for $30. I also still have some old metal fillings from the 80s and 90s. My case is so mild, my doctor isn’t totally sure I have an autoimmune condition yet, so maybe I can prevent it from getting worse and get rid of it altogether. It’s definitely worth a try.

I’m cleaning up other areas of my life too. I bought the e-book of The Joy of Less by Francine Jay. I never liked the idea of the Kon Mari method. It feels too hokey to hug the crap I want out of my life. Just pitch it already. Anyway, I read what’s available for free on Amazon look inside and felt like it was the book for me. It’s supposed to even help me clean up my digital files too. Speaking of my digital life, I’ve unfollowed a ton of things and left many groups on Facebook because I wasn’t seeing most of the content I enjoy. My feed is getting better.

Sometimes less is truly more.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Merry Monday – When September Ends

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The annual iaido and jodo seminar happened this weekend. We had a few less people than last year, but those who came learned quite a bit. We split into three groups and the instructors rotated between us. I loved it because we all received feedback from different teachers who may be saying similar things to our own, but they say it in a different way than our own does and sometimes that’s all you need for a eureka moment. I didn’t have a eureka moment this time around, but I did figure out that I can do more at home than just practicing the kata. It’s hard to swing weapons around in my condo, but I can practice the lower body pieces once I make space to. So, that means some cleaning needs to happen, which I want to do anyway. I might make up my own exercises that could be kihon based on pieces from each kata. Of course, I can practice basic cutting too, but they were stressing that we aren’t doing enough to ensure our legs are strong, so I think that, my neck, and some core would be best to focus on.

I did have some trouble with my knees. I hope that won’t become a regular thing. I need to do more before I attempt Nidan grade again. I suspect that will come quick with it being the first weekend in December as we’re already in October.

There were a lot of good conversations and some tasty drinks, though I wasn’t fond of the cider I had on Friday as the acid in it gave me heartburn and other fun issues that made me late on Saturday. I also had missed one assignment and needed to squeeze that in despite a slight hangover.

Ah well, everything came together and it was great to see my martial arts pals!

Guid cheerio the nou,

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Health & Fitness Update

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Between the posture wedge and just carting less things around campus, my neck is doing a lot better. On Tuesday of last week I was crying and wondering how the hell I was going to make it through two semesters in so much pain. Now I feel like I need to become one with the virtual world and set up residence inside Blackboard, but my pain has drastically reduced. My tablet is here, but I can’t use it yet as I’m not allowed to pick it up until after 1PM and I’m in class until 3PM.  I checked with First Draft and I’m good to go on installing it on a second device, so yay 🙂

I haven’t found time to run lately and it’s been impossible to make it to Tuesday iaido classes, but hopefully I’ll be in my groove soon.

It looks like the HEMA club will hopefully be up and running soon. I’m going to take it easy with the sparring aspects and focus on learning some history and maybe help with writing translations.

For one of my assignments, many of us messed up and did the wrong thing, so we have to redo it. I’ve now written an episode of South Park involving martial arts. It needs more work before it’s final, but it’s going to be a nice portfolio piece to show one of my styles of writing.

I got lost in A building briefly, but I seem to know most of the campus now. I’ve gotten used to the extra walking and it’s not killing me now. Hopefully soon I’ll feel good enough and have the swing of things, so I’ll be able to fit in more other exercise.

Well, hopefully this is the last day of class with the laptop. I really enjoyed the freedom I felt on Monday when I didn’t have to lug a bag around. I got to sit upstairs on a double decker and despite the bug guts on the windows, it was neat to see my neighbourhood from up there.

Class should be starting soon if the teacher can get the equipment working, so I’ll have to say bye for now.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Warrior Wednesday – Warrior Spirit

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I swear I will continue the Book of Five Rings soon. The fire chapter is long and life has been challenging as of late.

What makes a warrior? To me, some part of it is determination. Not every one has the same skills and some of us have more challenges than others. The ability to dig deep and push on despite all odds is an important one.

Tuesday was an extremely trying day for me. My quad muscles were overworked on Sunday making each step I took painful. There was no where to sit on the bus and it’s not so pleasant to be standing with a wheeled bag. I managed to wedge my bag so it wouldn’t move about, but that meant lifting it even more than I already have to because I’m taking the bus.

Which brings me to my first breakdown of the school year. In college the first time, it was the realization that I didn’t want to be a social worker. In college the second time, it was a particular teacher who “lost” my work. Yeah, I know what that sounds like, but that one was sure I didn’t belong in that industry. In university, it was Business Statistics followed by Microeconomics that had me burst into tears because math was super scary for me. I still don’t love math, but it doesn’t terrify me these days.

This time it’s physical pain that is making me worry. I’ll get through it because that’s who I am, but it was a trying day. Part of my issue is posture, so I ordered a few devices to help me with that. I almost ordered a neck brace too, but I’m going to see how the other things do first.

I emailed my teachers to see if they know of any options for me to get around the bus and bag lifting issue that is keeping me in this highly painful state because they really drilled into us not to suffer in silence. Usually, I just suck shit up and deal but I’m trying a new thing.

It’s so frustrating. I know I can do the work. It’s just the damned weight of my things that is making it a struggle. And it’s restricting my placement options, but since I have a car that might work out okay.

I’m wondering if this thing is ever going to heal. I looked at internet stuff and one of the “fixes” is surgery. I live alone and it’s not like I would want the doctors in my hometown doing neck fusion surgery. It’s probably not at that level yet anyway, but I’m skilled at over-analyzing stuff and driving myself crazy.

My teacher got back to me as I was typing this up and suggested I get in touch with the accessibility centre to see if they can help and what my options are. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that myself. Oh. Probably because my neck was screaming that my head is too damn heavy and it’s tired of having to do all the work.

Back to martial arts though. I met with the man that runs the HEMA club on Tuesday before leaving the campus. They haven’t got a practice space yet, so we’ll see what happens there. I’m too broken for anything that resembles sparring, but part of it is studying different sword styles and I may be more of a member that just reads stuff because of it. My goal is more to learn about what I don’t know about sword stuff already and we do very careful partner practice in my dojo anyway.

Our seminar has had a small insurance hiccup and I’m hoping that is ironed out promptly. The wrong information was written on the rider and now we’re again waiting for the proper one. I guess they ignored our instructions.

The OTC pain killer I took is kicking in as I sit here in inflatable traction since one of the other exercises was doing nothing to help me. I’m feeling quite a bit better after reaching out and starting a dialogue to deal with this neck thing before we’re deep in the semester and I’m in too much pain to function and drowning in homework or something as a result.

The next thing I need to do is eat food. It’s actually Tuesday night as I’m typing this. So food and I’m going to try and get one of my other assignments off my plate since I’m almost done one of them anyway.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Merry Monday – 17 Ways of Handling Stress

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Let’s face it, the world is full of stress. It’s not hard to find a news story where someone has been hurt or killed. Why is it so common? Well, it’s possible that it isn’t and there is just more attention given to those types of stories.

Maybe it has to do with people working long hours and overtime in many jobs. Is it more than before? That may depend on whether you look at the entire working history of the world before unions or take a snapshot that covers the last 10 years. “Before” is subjective to whoever is looking at the issue.

Are there more mental health issues today? No idea on this one. We see it in the news more, but that doesn’t mean it’s happening more, only that it’s actually being talked about and diagnosed now.

Do people not have enough healthy outlets to deal with the pressure they face? Maybe. I can’t remember being taught to handle stress at all, let alone in a healthy way. I was bullied though, so I learned how to escape from bad things at a young age.

It’s possible there are barriers though. For example, there are a lot of green spaces in Ottawa, but if you work a non-traditional shift, the city fines people for being in some parks at odd hours assuming the only reason you might be there is to do something illicit like deal drugs. Pokemon players have run up against this situation here. Even with barriers, there are better options than violence.

Not everyone likes the same things, so suggesting someone read a book might not be remotely helpful. It might even be something that brings stress to them if they have extra challenges like learning disabilities, so it can be hard to help someone else find something that reduces the frustration in them.

I can only offer a list of things that I do to handle stress:

  1. Videos

    I like to watch silly videos online like babies who are happy to see their dads come home from work. The trick with this one is to give yourself a limit and turn off autoplay, or you’ll waste too much time and contribute to your stress instead of helping it.

  2. Writing

    I write stories that let me constructively channel my emotions. That’s rather given as a writer, but tons of non-writers also keep journals just to get the stress from the day out in a place that doesn’t hurt other people.

  3. Fitness

    I practice martial arts or go for a run (this is a cheaper outlet than many other fitness options). I have friends who love the gym because they can watch a movie while they get their cardio in. Do something that gets your body moving, makes you sweat and releases endorphin. For some, this might be just a short walk twice a day or hopping into their garden.

  4. News

    Read about good news stories. There’s tons of the other kind. Seek out stories that help you see the whole world isn’t a cesspool.

  5. Read

    Read whatever you enjoy reading whether it’s a technical manual or a comic book, if it helps you feel less like punching people, it’s a good thing.

  6. Volunteer

    There are tons of places looking for help. Find one that works with your schedule and interests. Getting to know other people can help you learn about different perspectives and it’s hard to get mired in stuff that doesn’t matter when you’re building a house for someone in need. I’m not currently volunteering, but I have in the past and I always come away having broadened my view of the world and other people.

  7. Socialize

    Hang out with your best buds doing whatever it is you love doing together that doesn’t involve hurting others or vandalizing property. Pizza and South Park often works for me.

  8. Movies/TV

    This one can consume a lot of time, but if you are a screenwriter it’s not such a time waster. You can always watch while on a treadmill or stationary bike, so it doesn’t have to be physically bad for you either. You can do some other things while doing it too like knitting or crocheting, which has been known to have meditative effects on stress levels.

  9. Music

    Listen, play, record/produce, dance to it. It’s great for the soul.

  10. Spirituality

    Meditation, bible study, daily Tao, whatever works for you and doesn’t hurt others.

  11. Hobbies

    I love doing jigsaw puzzles and I’m learning to put model cars together. I have a friend who loves geocaching and exploring abandoned buildings. I have another who bird watches.

  12. Social Media

    Reducing time on social media reduces my exposure to the constant shares of bad news and negative comments.

  13. Special Interest Clubs

    Many people find things like Toastmasters or the Shriner’s to be life altering.

  14. Art

    Visit museums, learn to draw/paint, etc.

  15. Education

    Learn something new. Take a cooking class, a dance class, pottery, etc.

  16. Sex

    Nothing quite works for relieving stress like an orgasm. And you don’t need a partner for it unless there’s some religious restriction stopping you from self-pleasure.

  17. Cannabis

    This one may or may not be a legal option for you. Also, depending on what type of cannabis, you could actually make yourself paranoid instead of relaxed. There’s a slight chance you could be allergic to it too, so be careful. For most people, cannabis has no ill effects when used in moderation and in ways that don’t damage the lungs.

There are thousands of things to do in the world that will relieve stress without hurting others and many of them teach skills that may lead to a career change down the road. My list includes mainly the things I’m into, but it’s really a teaspoon of all that’s out there. Exploring things will help you figure out who you are and what’s most important to you. The amount of time we get to live is pretty short, so I like to reduce things that make me feel crappy and increase the good things.

If you haven’t a clue what you’re into, talk to people and find out what is out there. There are clubs for nearly everything. There’s a group in Ottawa who focuses on bonsai. There’s another who does ikebana. Another who does shodo. There are ax-throwing clubs, flag football groups, roller derby, sports fans, geocachers, Steampunks, fit goths, LEGO builders, and so much more.

And if you really want to spend your time punching people, take up a sport like boxing or MMA where the fight is consensual. Just remember that you’ll get hit too.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~