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Archive for October, 2009

Well, the ankle is waaaay better, but still not 100%, so no sprints or fencing tonight. Instead–kettlebells, and wearing the neoprene ankle brace of mine that I finally found.

Good sweat-fest, CFT-style. To top it off, it was a fasting day, too.

After a little bit of warming up on the heavy bag, I went directly into five minutes of long cycle clean and jerk (LCCJ), 2.5 minutes either hand, 24 kg kbell.

Then the Core workout was the Upside Down Pyramid (UDP) with the 32 kg, 24 kg, and 16 kg bells. Finished off with five straight minutes of swings in 30 sec intervals, 16 kg. Left hand 30 seconds of swings, rest 30 sec, right hand 30 sec of swings, rest 30 sec, etc. During the rest, I walked/gently jogged (ankle kept it from being a good run or sprint interval).

Looked a little something like this:

Pre-Fatigue

2.5 min, left hand, LCCJ (24 kg)
2.5 min, right hand, LCCJ (24 kg)

Core

4 reps, left hand, LCCJ (32 kg)
4 reps, right hand, LCCJ (32 kg)

5 reps, left hand, LCCJ (24 kg)
5 reps, right hand, LCCJ (24 kg)

5 reps, left hand, LCCJ (16 kg)
5 reps, right hand, LCCJ (16 kg)

5 reps, left hand, LCCJ (24 kg)
5 reps, right hand, LCCJ (24 kg)

3 reps, left hand, LCCJ (32 kg)
3 reps, right hand, LCCJ (32 kg)

3 reps, left hand, LCCJ (24 kg)
3 reps, right hand, LCCJ (24 kg)

5 reps, left hand, LCCJ (16 kg)
5 reps, right hand, LCCJ (16 kg)

Post-Fatigue

5 min, 30 sec swings/30 sec rest, alternate hands (16 kg)

Cooldown/stretch

Pre- and Post-Fatigue sections were obviously five minutes each, Core ended up being 20 minutes or so. Tough, but felt good. Needed a good hard workout, with some good strength-endurance and fatigue resistance built in.

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Wrappin’

What’s better than a nice, hot pastrami wrap? Why–two nice, hot pastrami wraps, of course! Made these with ye olde Xpress Redi Set Go.

I might post some pix here forthwith. The Xpress has been mighty useful for me, though I sure coulda use that full pan insert as one of the default pans that come with it…

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Listened to Fluke’s album “Risotto” during the latest kbell session. Simple stuff, but feels good on my still-sore-but-much-better ankle and post-head cold self. Monday night during the football game I felt that sore throat comin’ on, and woke up Tuesday with a terrible headache and sore throat. Tried to work, but didn’t make it, and ended up with a four hour nap (and some drugs) feeling worlds better.

Today it was nothing but a slightly nagging cough and a bad memory. Fast acting. A friend of mine who went shooting with us Monday morning also had a bit of a cold last night. Makes you wonder–did we all pick it up at the range? Dunno. A good time was had there anyway 🙂 .

Pic of my target afterward below (I have another I want to take, but my camera ran out of juice). Argh. Two nasty flyers by the head. Of course, we were borrowing each other’s guns for the first time, so who knows–but it seemed like most of the borrowed went where I intended, as did my .45 and .44 mag. Various distances; from up close (7 yards, I think) to the furthest setting (25 yards, maybe?).

Note I used tape and 3X5 cards to cover the holes for continued use of the target. Also–I’ve noticed that having those cards help me focus better on the target. Cheating? Hey–you saw the bowling pins vid, didn’t you? 😀

A day at The Range.

A day at The Range.

Back to the matter at hand; I’ll get done with this update, catch a shower and hit the trail looking for grub. Today was another under-feeding day.

Due to my ankle, and for some variety, I stuck with the Clean for most of my kbell work. Using the 24kg, I did a simple 10 minute set of 15 seconds lift, 15 seconds rest, alternating hands. After that, I did a 5×5 of kettlebell reaches with the 24. They probably have another name, but that’s what I’m calling them right now. Basically the from-the-ground portion of the Turkish Get Up. Not completely halfway up, so that you’re on your knee, but more like a quarter way up. Sort of like a weighted twisting crunch. Nice for the abs, esp the obliques. Easier on the ankles and knees.

The 5×5 refers to doing five on each side as one set, then repeating, for a total of five sets. After that, some stretching (esp the abs 🙂 ) and then some Qigong. I’ve been revisiting that, the Iron Shirt stuff in particular.

Update:

Here’s the second pic of the target I took after I got juice back the camera.

Peeling back a few layers of 3x5 cards...

Peeling back a few layers of 3x5 cards...

As you can see, you can extend the life of the target by applying 3×5 cards over an area that’s been shot out. Plus, they seem to help me focus on an area better than just rings.

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No fencing with the University today, as they are in Fall Break. Soon it’ll be Thanksgiving, then Christmas/New Years. Of course, it seems like they’re on some sort of break every couple of weeks… 😀

Anyway, even with the not-yet-completely-healed ankle, I did a simple kettlebell workout. One of the nice things about kettlebells is that the nature of them allows you to be either very mobile, or relatively stationary. Today, I needed stationary, so I did 36 seconds on/36 seconds off with the 24 kg in long cycle clean and jerk (LCCJ). Went 20 rounds, with gave me some good workout without overdoing it. I wanted to stimulate for health, fitness, but most importantly to put some easy stress on the ankle to stimulate my healing factors. Ended up about 12 minutes total for the kbell workout portion, which obviously nets me 6 minutes total time under bell. Might go some more, later today–don’t know, yet. I’m IF-ing today, and haven’t eaten anything (though I did do a couple of coffees with steamed milk).

I did twinge occasionally on the left ankle, but it was a warning twinge (sort of “whoa, son, watch it!”), rather than a “just hurt it again” twinge. Everything was cool except for the jerk thrust, so I made sure to thrust mostly with the right leg and made sure I was pushing through the heels vice the balls of my feet. That helped a lot.

Things are a lot better ankle-wise, but I’m definitely not 100% on it yet. I probably wouldn’t have fenced today, even if they had had practice. It’s gorgeous here, and I really wanted to get out on the bike (motorcycle), but it needs inspected, and my plan to do so yesterday was foiled by my ankle condition (I didn’t want to try to support the 400+ lb bike). I am almost confident I could’ve ridden today, but since I didn’t get it inspected yesterday… you get the pic, alas. Well, maybe tomorrow…

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Tuesday’s PT was straight from Scott Helvenston’s SEAL Training Camp Pocket Manual that he put out under his Amphibian Athletics company. I was feeling a pretty decent leg workout coming on, so I chose the Lower Body section of the “advanced” workouts. As follows:

2 sets
– 4 count standard squats, 15 repetitions, 1 min rest interval
2 sets
– 2 count lunges, 15 repetitions each leg, 1 min rest interval
2 sets
– 4 count alternating lunges, 15 repetitions, 1 min rest interval
2 sets
– 4 count rear kicks, 10 repetitions, 1 min rest interval
2 sets
– ten 4 count jumping jacks followed by 10 squat thrusts, no rest interval

All timed with the GYMBOSS, natch. I followed that with 10 hanging knee raises and ten 4 count squats.

I definitely felt it in my legs, starting after the 2 count lunges. Later in the evening, I took a fall down the stairs, and I’m of two minds about the result.

What happened was that I was carrying laundry down the stairs and missed the last step. In doing so, the “downhill leg” (the right leg) missed the step and came down hard on the floor. I basically dropped the laundry and crashed forward into the wall at the bottom of the stairs, and bumped my knee on the the cooler there. Barely felt it, and still don’t have any repercussions on that leg.

However, the left, “uphill” leg continued to move forward, whilst the left foot remained stationary, and I heard/felt that ugly “pop” you should never hear from a human body (esp your own!). Again, I felt no pain, but I knew something had happened, and immediately my ankle was stiff and sore. I put it down gingerly, and walked on it, to keep it from majorly stiffening up. And walked. And walked. And paced…

Until I finally had to sit down. I even ate dinner standing up, wanting to not sit down and have the joint get all swollen and immobile. Apparently it worked. I finally settled down in front of the TV and put my leg up on my cheapy fabric camp stool, with a cold pack wrapping my ankle and Achilles tendon for a while.

I woke up this morning and the ankle is very stiff and sore, but not so stiff I can’t rotate the foot through almost all range of motion–not as bad as I thought it might be. But I have a hard time putting pressure on the ball of my left foot, because my Achilles tendon *really* doesn’t like that right now. Again, no noticeable swelling of the foot or ankle joint.

So what I believe happened is that I simply dislocated, momentarily, my ankle joint. Maybe my tibia, or fibula, or both. And then they snapped back immediately, and the stiffness and soreness is just the muscles clamping down in reaction, to protect the joint for a little while. So–no throbbing, aching, or pain, really. Just not “allowed” to put pressure on the Achilles tendon yet. Not as bad as it could have been, I suppose.

But as for my two minds… I would like to think that because my muscles, tendons, and ligaments were warm and well stretched from the earlier workout, I sustained almost no injury. I actually believe that to be the case. Just a little dislocation, and no bones breaking, or tendons, ligaments, or muscles tearing.

However–I got to wondering that maybe because of the workout the muscles, etc. were tired, and they *allowed* the dislocation to take place, instead of holding steady and nothing else really happening.

Just don’t know, and no way to find out, really. But food for thought. As I stated, I lean toward the thought that earlier workout decreased the severity of the result. But hey, that’s just me.

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Just cooling down from a good kbell session, after not hitting them much for a couple of weeks or so. Mostly due to travel, and being involved in other trainings.

Since the seminar yesterday, and my plan to coach fencing today, I wanted a short, intense, but not-too-killer bout of kbell training to help both with my recovery from yesterday, and CNS engagement today. If that makes any sense…

I’ve found that a decent little workout helps jump-start recovery a bit, so with yesterday’s all-day exertion I wanted that. I’ve also found that having a decent PT session sometime in the day before fencing seems to really get me going for speed, reflexes and wind.

I like that Keith from Theory to Practice has a similar take to what I’ve found. He calls it “CNS stimulation,” or “CNS pump.” Basically, one of the primary function of “warming-up” is to get your central nervous system (CNS) activated and readied-up for high intensity activity. In his recent article on it, he mentions doing it at the front part of the workout. No problem with that.

However, one thing I’ve found is that I can do something similar a longer period of time prior to my main activity, and it still primes me for intensity. I found that out a while ago, when I would not really be in the mood for a workout, kind of go ahead and grind through it thinking, “that kinda sucked, so okay, that’s enough for me…” Then a little while later–half an hour, an hour, maybe two, I found that I was feeling like–“Geez, why did I suck so bad, I feel great!” And go back and complete the workout, but with great gusto and intensity.

The other discovery I made was literally with the fencing coaching. I needed to get a workout in, so I went ahead and put in a really hard, leg-specific workout, figuring that my fencing in a little while would suffer. When I got there like an hour later, I could still really feel that I had worked out the legs. However, even with that “worked-out” feeling, I still performed a quite a high lever, better than I sometimes do “fresh.” Kind of an odd thing, but I’ve seen in Keith’s work and others that it also makes sense.

Anyway, the kettlebell training was a simple ten-minute session of 15 seconds on, 15 seconds off, doing the snatch. Plus some pre- and post-fatigue training. Timed it using my GYMBOSS timer–very helpful.

Pre-Fatigue

5 minutes:
Llongsword vs air/heavy bag

Core

4 minutes:
15 sec snatch, left hand (16 kg)
15 sec rest
15 sec snatch, right hand (16 kg)
15 sec rest

6 minutes:
15 sec snatch, left hand (24 kg)
15 sec rest
15 sec snatch, right hand (24 kg)
15 sec rest

Post-Fatigue

5 minutes:
Empty hands/feet vs heavy bag

Stretching/cooldown

So there ya go!

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Another good day of sweat and bruises! 🙂 Around eight to ten students showed up to Dagger Seminar 2, as well as guest instructor Devon, who recently moved from his hideout in Portland, Oregon.

It’s definitely such a reward to me as an instructor to see the tired, but smiling faces of the participants. I think we really brought out some latent talent and physical confidence in some of the students.

Again, we were rushed for time as the gym staff came in and had to shoo us out. The time goes so fast! One of the students said that it seems shorter than the fencing practices of the fencing club, which are about an hour and a half, max. The seminar yesterday was from 1130 to 1730, for an elapsed time comparison. Basically, all day.

The format was similar to last time’s, except that since we had all repeat students (if I remember correctly), less time was spent (and of fewer students) on the basic format of how to fall/roll, and more on roll confidence drills. Typically (and with the head instructor’s blessing) I sneak in some aiki and Systema-like drills, such as “monkey rolls,” where you line up everyone face down on the mat and have the first in line “alligator” roll over the whole line of folks, then the next one, and on and on, progressing from one end of the mat to the other. That’s a good trust and familiarity exercise that gets the students (and instructors) in a mood for personal contact without intimidation.

Chris had us do the short-range “trust fall” circle, which was a lot of fun for everyone.

We had fun with the “three wrestlings” drills, which in some cases devolved into me showing some ground work. We took some time to attempt to talk about the sort of no-hit Systema-style “psychic” attacks/defenses (as in, “of the psyche”) that Chris wanted me to demonstrate, but I failed fairly epically at it–insofar as I think the students seemed fairly confused about why we were talking about it, and what was I talking about anyway? I had my doubts about teaching it at this time (the subject is not about some sort of magic or anything, but I felt that it may be a little bit esoteric for the class, when they had no context for it) so I may have actually ended up sabotaging myself. But through some good fortune it still morphed into a good discussion about tactics, strategy, and intention, with a discussion of why in modern sport fencing “right of way” is important to foil and sabre practice.

Finally, we got to “daggering,” and that part of the session also seemed all too short. But I’m actually okay with that, for now. I think as a class, they’re at a point where they are comfortable (though not expert, of course) with all the basics, and can start to practice with their mates on their own. As we sat in a circle at the end of class last time, most of the students had wanted more time with rolling, and wrestling, so that’s what we gave them. Concluding the class this time, more was made of wanting more actual weapon time, and perhaps introducing things beyond the dagger. So, we’ll see about that. Next time is definitely more dagger time, with more and more complex techniques, now that folks have basic movement patterns down and comfort with contact.

As it seems interest is still keen, we’re trying to work in another session soon, some weekend when most of the same participants can be around. Fall break, holidays, and heavy class-loads all make it an adventure to find a weekend available to most people.

So–hopefully I can be around for the next one. It’s an honor to help train these students, and a lot fun, and it’s good training for me, too. I’m just glad I’ve been physically training in both the arts and in fitness all these years, so that I can be a good and credible instructor for folks literally more than twenty years (25, in most cases) my junior. Fireman’s lifting and throwing the largest guy (6’5″ or so) in the class can be a real respect/attention-getter… 😉

Cheers.

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