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Archive for October, 2010

I’ve been enjoying Scott Sonnon’s TACFIT Kettlebell course, a course that fits into his TACFIT training spectrum. Aside from all the macho hype that his page descriptions run, I like the thinking that goes into what he’s doing.

He says there is no such thing as “General Physical Preparedness;” the body can only be prepared in specific ways.

In his own words (from the about page of http://www.tacfit.tv):

In short, he attempts to go beyond “functional fitness,” into what he calls, “tactical fitness.” Hence, “TACFIT.” Several of his ideas I rather like. He uses a wave periodization format, similar to the Big Beyond Belief system I found out about in the 1990s, where you start off with a “no” intensity day, then go to a “low” intensity day, followed by the “moderate” intensity day, finishing with the “high” intensity day. I like that kind of cycling.

He also incorporates specific routines, pulled from yoga asanas, as recovery, or “compensation” for the heavy work. This is somewhat unique, though I believe the P90X program does something similar.

So Day One, the “no intensity day,” incorporates Yoga Routine 1. On Day Two, the “low intensity day,” you will go through Yoga Routine 2. Day Three, “moderate intensity day,” will have you sandwich the “meat” of the workout program between Yoga Routine 1 and Yoga Routine 2 at a moderate pace or intensity, and on Day Four, you bracket the workout the same way, but specifically trying to up your pace or intensity from the last time, so that you have continual advance. Next day, you drop back down to just Yoga Routine 1 and “no” intensity.

So far, so good. However, kettlebells are pretty much my favorite training tool right now. I tried doing the bodyweight one (TACFIT Commando), but lost interest almost immediately. Fortunately he recently came out with a course to integrate the TACFIT protocols into kettlebell training.

And I actually really like it. I like using that wave structure with the peak and recover days, having the yoga compensation (even though I hate some of the moves–shoulder stretch, ouch!), and having the meat of the workout being kettlebells. Pretty simple but challenging stuff.

He also uses the burst energy type of training for the kettlebell portion of training, where you circuit through six kbell exercises that last 30 seconds each, take a minute off, the cycle through them again for several rounds.

Unfortunately, I picked up a sore throat somewhere, and not feeling as well as I should. Yesterday was the low intensity day, so I went ahead and did the yoga routine for that day. It is actually quite a short and simple program, when you get down to it, and I felt great afterward. But today is moderate intensity, and I don’t want to compromise my immune system and slow down my getting well (there is the MD Ren Faire tomorrow, and I’d like to go; several friends are going as well).

I’d hate to interrupt my program. I usually feel better later in the day when I have this (seems like it hits me once every year or so). So, if nothing else, I’ll probably do the yoga programs, and see how I feel about the kettlebell portion.

So–I guess we’ll see…

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Some work from today, yesterday, and Sunday.

Sunday I went with the roommate over to visit some folks that are big into the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) thing. It’s the worldwide group that “celebrates the Middle Ages as they should have been.”

Super good peeps, they took me right in as if we’d known each other for years. As is typical of the SCA folk. I was involved a bit when I was at WVU, with The House of the Drunken Badger. Dealing with these folks was like a total flashback for me. There’s a certain look to the folks, to the house; a certain flavor, a certain… je ne sais quoi that I usually see that involves cats, dogs, beer, beards, weird, unnamable objects (by the lay public, that is) left in corners, and bookshelves of fantasy and science fiction literature (as well as esoteric volumes about obscure crafts and lore).

I felt immediately at home, and wary, too. The SCA is the type of hobby that can eat your life, and these folks often have a hard time understanding why you can’t center your life around the Middle Ages as well.

Nonetheless, it was a good group and I really enjoyed talking with them. The homeowner apparently is a bowman of some renown in the organization, and apparently anytime anyone shows up, the bows and arrows come out for practice/competition.

He most graciously asked if would care to join in the fun of chucking arrows downrange, and honestly, I do rather like to shoot archery, so I accepted. So, a group of us shot and shot until the rain started to pour, and I had a good time. Shooting archery, though not particularly taxing, is still a) not sitting around on the couch, b) a decent skill/strength workout.

In my case, I was using a recurve bow of only 25 pounds and flu-flu arrows. Normally I use a 55# recurve and normal arrows, but using the 25# bow was nice and easy. Shooting flus from a 25# bow was challenging, in the sense that the flu-flus don’t want to go the forty yards downrange unless you angle up like you’re trying to shoot aircraft.

Tuesday was over at University of Mary Washington to help with the fencing club. It’s always a pleasure to go over there, and it’s one way I feel like I’m contributing to the community. It’s actually the first practice I’ve been to this semester. Travel, long workdays, and an injury or two have conspired to keep me away.

Again, not too taxing; I was over there with my neoprene knee brace on as much a signal that I wouldn’t be doing a heavy amount of lunging as for actual protection. But, no hard bouting ensued. I mostly helped in training coupé (cut-over) and dégage (disengage) techniques and tactics. Had a good one-on-one with one of the students (David, I believe).

Tonight’s affair was, however, of a completely different nature. It involved a lot of sweat.

Started off with 10-20 minutes of stick work (kali and jo) vs heavy bag to loosen up. Then I went into tabata kettlebells. I stayed with the baby bell today (16 kg). I practiced a few timed sets with what Coach Scott Sonnon calls the “Swingblade,” a sort of swing-lunge affair that I found quite taxing. I’ll be beating on that one a lot in the future, I can tell. I closed out that round with explosive two-handed swings.

Next tabata round: LCCJ (long cycle clean and jerks). Another good four minute round of love, yum-yum.

Next round was not tabata, but a long four minutes or so of capoeira-like movements around the heavy bag.

Back to the bell for the last round: snatches. Oh, yeah, felt gooooood. Mm-mm, getcha some! Okay, so I was a little hyped. 🙂 Finished off with the usual cooldown/stretch session, and I managed not to twist my knee out of its socket this time. Yay me.

Music: Billy Idol’s much maligned Cyberpunk album.

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Summary report for our “Ringen,” or wrestling seminar at the University of Mary Washington. The Phoenix Arms Historical Training Group held a UMW student-only seminar based mostly on Medieval German “Ringen,” or wrestling, on Saturday. It was a great success, and a lot of fun. Writes Chris Wheeler on our website:

Seminar Training Summary

Photos and videos to come soon!

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