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Archive for August, 2008

Simon-ized

According to my cousin Ron, our buddy Scott Simons (from the now-defunct band, the Argument) has a new album coming out on iTunes.

Also–if you end up for some reason watching the WVU game on Saturday (a definite tradition around here), you’ll hear his songs as background for the WVU commercials.

You can check him out at his MySpace or Facebook pages.

The forward from Rostrum Records:

THE START OF SOMETHING EP AVAILABLE TUESDAY!
Hello Scott Simons fans everywhere!

We are very excited to announce the long-awaited release of Scott’s solo debut ‘The Start of Something EP’ on iTunes this coming Tuesday, Sept. 2nd. We hope you will take a second to check out Scott’s MySpace to preview the first single ‘Start of Something’, as well as other music from the EP. Also, Scott has been blogging on MySpace about the songs and people behind the making of the EP. Scott’s other singles, the ‘Umbrella’ cover and ‘Ruin’, are currently available on iTunes, along with the past releases by the Argument.

NATIONAL COMMERCIAL PREMIERES SATURDAY!
Scott’s song ‘Start of Something’ will be featured on National TV and the web advertisements for West Virginia University. Look for the premiere of the commercial this Saturday when WVU Football plays. We’ll give you the direct weblink as soon as possible.

HELP US SPREAD THE WORD
Throughout Scott’s career, his fan community has been his greatest promotion. Please take a second and forward this email to a friend, so we can let everyone know about Scott’s new music!

You can also keep in touch with Scott by visiting his MySpace and Facebook.

Way to go Scott! Hoo yah!

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Tonight’s playtime was a relatively relaxed one. Timed sets with the kettlebells again. This time, I started out with the light one (16kg), doing five minutes each arm long cycle clean & jerk. Followed with a minute rest, then one minute each arm LCCJ with the 24kg bell, then minute rest, then one minute each arm with the 32kg bell, minute rest, then finally a minute one-handed swinging of the 32kg bell, switching off one arm to the other at about the 30 second mark.

So, in keeping with previous format, it looked like this:

– Five minutes each arm, LCCJ (16kg)
– One minute rest set
– One minute each arm LCCJ (24kg)
– One minute rest set
– One minute each arm, LCCJ (32kg)
– One minute rest set
– 30 seconds each arm, one-handed swing

The last bit was less strictly for conditioning, and more for literally training in form, that is, to practice the mechanics and get a good flow motion going.

It was nice to train with the 16kg bell again; after about five minutes, I was starting to feel a little taxed, but nicely manageable. It’s good to not have to beat yourself too hard sometimes, and still put up weight for a while.

It was all-around a pretty good day for getting things taken care of. I finally bought lawn shears for cutting at my ground cover a former roommate had installed on my lawn. The ivy looked nice, but it was starting to take over. I’m not Mr. Gardener, so even something as simple as this I was not super-enthusiastic about. But I got it trimmed. A nice, trimmed bush is a good thing, as far as I’m concerned…

And I got a runny nose and the sneezes after doing it, too. I got the cutting done, sneezed and blew my nose for a while, then got the PT in. Then went back out and gathered up the cuttings and put them in a bag. And got the runny nose and sneezes again. And made sure I got a good shower after all that.

Oh, yeah, and using the shears gave me blisters on my fingers, something hours of kettlebelling haven’t done.

Now do you get why I’m not “Mr. Gardener?”

I also got loads of stuff over to the recycle dumpster. Got keys made for the new roommate, and he came over later and helped me empty out his room-to-be on the lower floor.

Wow. All that, and a blog entry too. Gosh, ain’t I sumthin’… 😉

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Friday’s fencing class was a most interesting one. Not the usual breathing-heavy sweat-fest we’ve been doing in the rapier session. Rather, Coach Darren Di Battista was finally able to make his appearance and we had a two-hour rapier-only session.

Good stuff. Darren is quite knowledgeable and precise, yet informal and engaging in instruction. He definitely engages it as a martial science, and competently explains the reasoning behind each portion of technique.

I’m certainly looking forward to more instruction from him. And heck, he’s just a good guy, too. It looks like he will be doing more classes down in the Fredericksburg area, so that should afford him some more students when Mary Wash is back in session.

As I said, it wasn’t a sweat-fest, but holding the particular en garde position from Capo Ferro was somewhat taxing on the rear leg (which holds approximately 80% of the body weight for most of the time). So some practice time holding the guard is in order…

I did get some time for unarmed practice after class with one of the younger students, Trey (sp?). We did a little aikido and systema after he had some questions about them. That was good.

Afterward, Coach Chris and I hopped over to Denny’s for some late night grub. I hadn’t eaten much after breakfast/lunch, so it was time.

And since the practice itself wasn’t super-taxing, I’m glad I got in a hearty kettlebell practice session on Thursday.

For that PT, I repeated the simple routine I had done a week earlier, albeit with some mods.

Again, I did timed interval sets, starting with jerks, then went to snatches, then long cycle clean and jerks (LCCJ).

What I changed was the time intervals; one minute for each. So it looked like:

– One minute each arm, Jerks
– One minute rest set
– One minute each arm, Snatches
– One minute rest set
– One minute each arm, LCCJ
– One minute rest set

Rinse and repeat. I went through it three times. I definitely felt it, especially in the forearms. After the second time through, I thought I wouldn’t be able to hold on to the bell (24kg), but each time I grabbed it, the minute rest set was enough, and just barely enough, to recover for the next lift set. I think I could’ve done a couple of more cycles through, but time was getting on, and I didn’t want to go too long and too late.

If you do the math, that’s (2x2x2)x3 which comes out to 18 full minutes time under tension–time actually with the bell off the ground in some way with my body holding it up. I didn’t count reps, right now I’m just counting time under tension (TUT). I’ll get to counting reps again, later.

The total time under rest is 3×3, or nine minutes, of course. So that’s a workout of about 27 minutes, not counting cool-down and stretching afterwards. I guess I could’ve gone longer; my threshold I tend to keep is 45 minutes; in normal training mode, if I hit 45 minutes, I just stop whatever I’m doing. That is to make sure I haven’t exhausted recovery hormones like testosterone and such. Especially since I don’t do exogenous hormones (steroids).

Obviously, that’s for high-impact, high-intensity stuff. Hiking around the hills, or playing at the beach, I’m not going to just stop at 45, and be done for the day.

I brought my baby bell, Peta (16kg) back from work, where she was living. I just wanted to have the smaller bell to play with when I wasn’t feeling the two bigger ones, and to have around to other people that may want to train here. I’m getting a roommate again, after a year, and we are leaving the training room as the training room, and he will be welcome to use the bells and has shown some interest. But he isn’t really ready for the bigger ones–yet. So Peta is back with us and eager to train. 🙂

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In case you all haven’t been keeping up with the comments section, below, Rob from Kettlebell Training For Sport (see sidebar) has posted a video with music from his band, Waster. So, I wanted to give a shout out to him, and give the vid it’s own post:

Way to go, Rob! The rest of you all–listen and enjoy! Besides, you can’t go wrong with a name like “Waster,” that’s one of the tools we use to practice our longsword fencing with… :D.

Oh, and here’s my “reminds me of” statement: the sound (esp the lead vocals) reminds me a lot of Adam Stemple of such bands as Cats Laughing and Boiled in Lead.

And a little bit like the guy singing the D’ampton Worm song in the hysterical “Lair of the White Worm.”

And there you have it. Cheers.

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Whew. Just got done with a beast of a workout. Not super-beastly, mind you, but a definite sweat-fest. No nausea, either.

This last week or so, I’ve been doing more of an American/World Kettlebell Club-style workout with the bells. That basically entails doing a few lifts with high reps for time. I find it’s a good change, and the discussion I’ve been reading indicates it should be a good modality for “strength-endurance” and fitness. As I’ve been discussing with my mate across the pond, Rob, probably the best single weight-resistance exercise for everyday usefulness has to be something like a clean and jerk/press, because it really works everything, it’s multi-joint and can be explosive and done for either heavy grinds or high-rep multiples for endurance. And picking something up, or lifting it overhead are everyday types of activities in real life, not just a sport-type motion.

And of course for cardio, it’s handy because it definitely gets your heart going and can be “interval-ed.”

And in particular, the AKC/WKC version of kettlebell work is based around that very thing. So, anyway, I’ve been using that style for a while on and off.

Pavel Tsatsouline introduced the kettlebell to America, or should I say, re-introduced, because they’ve been around since early in the strong man days, as was many types of “strong-man” implements and stunts (bending steel bars, etc.).

With Dragon Door publishing, he got them popularized over here, with his emphasis primarily on “strong-man” style workouts (low rep/high-tension grinds), with forays into the high-rep world of girevoy (kettlebell) sport, with is basically the basic kettlebell exercises done for high reps in a certain time period.

After the US and Canada gained some familiarity with the kettlebell, other Masters of the Sport, including World Champions such as Valery Fedrenko started bringing their world championship winning style over and instructing in it.

The Pavel/Dragon Door way (multiple uses, heavy grinds, juggling, etc., plus some high rep stuff) to use the bells has become known as the “hard style,” and the AKC/WKC way (emphasis on the sport lifts–high rep under time constraints; no putting the bell down) is known more or less as the AKC method (at least on the AKC blog).

Naturally, there’s some controversy about the best methods. I’ll stay out of that religious argument for now…

Anyway, enough history. Just wanted to give some context so that it makes sense when I might mention I’m taking one modality or another.

So–tonight’s was a simple sounding, but yet quite taxing excursion into the world of sweat. I’ve been researching different workouts to apply this mode to, and tonight’s was patterned after NYC Fire Chief’s, “Captain Mike.”

We can call it the “Two Minute Drill.” I did just sets of two minutes, with the middle bell, Wilson (24kg).

2 Minutes each arm, Jerk
2 Minute rest set
2 Minutes each arm, Snatch
2 Minute rest set
2 Minutes each arm, Long Cycle Clean and Jerk
2 Minute rest set
2 Minutes SEAL-style Flutter Kicks
2 Minute rest set
2 Minutes Bodyweight Leg complex (from Helvenston’s SEAL Training)

Done! With some stretching for cool-down, of course. I would’ve opted for just one minute rest sets, but it’s too much a of hassle to reset the countdown timer on my watch back and forth just for that.

Doesn’t look particularly intimidating, but it did get the blood flowing, let me tell you! 🙂 And–it’s still a good 16 minutes of heavy work. That’s not counting the rest sets. It’s actual time under tension–no putting the bell down. If I put the bell down, I’m “out.” Done for that set. And only one arm per set; no switching, until my two minutes are up. So, I completed the first set, the jerks, all the way. When I got to the snatches, my left arm gave out about 15 seconds before the end.

That is–I put the bell down. I could’ve gone on, maybe to failure, but I didn’t want to go there, yet, at this stage in training. And since I’m fencing quite hard on Fridays (and I mean it’s a real workout), I don’t want to over-train too much.

In the final kbell set, the long cycle c&j, my forearms were already pretty pumped, so I put the bell down about 4-5 seconds before the set was up on the left hand side, and on the right, I was putting it down just as the end of set beeper went off. I usually keep lifting until the beeper quits beeping, which is about five seconds or so.

So, good stuff. I feel good now. I’ll probably have to eat something in a bit. I’ve already slugged down a bunch of water and a fistful of vitamins and minerals (my GNC “Energy & Vitality” vitapak).

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