Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reflection in the mirror...

Lately I've been hooked on some "medicine" in training (keeping in mind that a medicine/method should only be used to find the feeling and should not become an "addiction), that is, using a mirror to check my alignment and structure. I am gradually subtracting the amount of time I spend looking in the mirror, and I can definitely see how easy it is to get addicted to this way of cheating as opposed to actually feeling the alignment without any visual tools.

I have however, found the mirror to be very useful in that I can actually see where my alignment is off which has led to various "a ha!" moments on a purely structural level. For months (maybe even years?) I've had a problem with placing the weight of my body on the outside edges of my left foot which has thrown off my alignment (1234,1234) and led to discomfort in my left kneecap (although this is yet another problem of mine in trying to relax the lower back and belly). Visually seeing that the big toe area of my left foot was actually raising up as the weight moved to the outer left side of my foot reminds me every time in stance to correct this problem. Having actually seen the problem in the mirror, I realize the feeling of misalignment and the pain it causes, helping me to adjust when not using the mirror. The mirror has also helped me see a "twist" in my upper body/torso where my left shoulder wants to hunch forward. These are just a few more areas to work on as I continue practice...and soon I'll be off the mirror completely!

I hope everyone is having a good time training, and if you are participating in the Lenten Challenge, keep it up!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Lenten Challenge

Today begins the Lenten Challenge as discussed by Rick of Cook Ding's Kitchen:


2010 Lenten Challenge

Postby RickMatz on Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:45 am

Every year, I throw out the Lenten Challenge to my martial arts buddies. It has nothing to do with Christianity or religion. We are simply using this time as a convenient reminder to rededicate ourselves to our training. It’s kind of hard to miss either Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras, the last day before Lent, which is also Paczki Day!) or Easter Sunday (Bunnies, candy, colored eggs; that stuff). Several of us have been doing this for years now.

The challenge is this: from Ash Wednesday (Feb 17) until Easter (April 4), train every day, without fail, no excuses; even if you have to move mountains. Simple enough said, a little harder to do.

It's not as easy as it sounds; things come up. Some days, you might only be able to get a few minutes of training in; but the point is to do it everyday, no matter what.

It doesn't have to be martial arts training either. Whatever it is that you need to really rededicate yourself to: studying, practicing an instrument, walking, watching what you eat; anything - do it every day, without fail.

In the past on some forums, people have posted what they’ve done everyday. I think everyone who’s done that has become tired of writing, and the others get tired of reading it. How about you just post if you’ve had some breakthrough, or you’ve had to overcome some unusual circumstance to continue your training? Maybe just check in every once in a while to let everyone know you’re keeping at it, or to encourage everyone else to keep at it.

If you fail, we won’t hate you. If you fall off of the wagon, climb back on board. Start anew.

For those of you who insist that you really do train everyday anyway, by all means continue and be supportive of the rest of us. For the rest of us who intend to train everyday, but sometimes come up short due to life’s propensity for unraveling even the best laid plans, here is an opportunity to put a stake in the ground and show your resolution.

As a gesture of solidarity with my Orthodox friends, I usually keep it up until the date Easter is marked on their calendar, but 2010 is one of the years where the two church calendars line up.

Won't you join me?"