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beware of ruts

it’s easy to get into a rut. we often times don’t see it coming. we’re just going as fast as we can and somehow we lose focus on the direction we’re headed. it doesn’t have to be a big distraction either. next thing you know, you’re being thrown and left dazed as to how you got there.

maybe it’s like texting and driving and BAM you hit the curb. or in this case, you’re busy with life, putting out proverbial fire after fire, and you have life slam into you. maybe.

it’s easy for it to happen. but how do you get there? how long will you stay there? how will you get out? lots of good questions and looking at them, i’m not sure i have any good answers.

i have a lot going on in my life. kenpo is one of them and is a pretty big part of it. i was “duped” into class initially and discovered that i liked it. i liked it enough that i’ve stayed with it for the last 18 months and i have NO intention of quitting (for those that thought i might after getting this far into the blog).

my wife and i a few years ago (and 25 pounds ago for me)

i have a wife, five kids, three grandkids, one dog, and a yard full of fleas. i have a couple of fantasy baseball leagues that have captivated me for nearly 15 years. in the midst of all that, i’m being drawn deeper into my faith with a calling to become a church planter.

and as life goes we all face those challenges that come up from time to time. the most recent one for me was an A/C unit that gave up the ghost early last week. as if finances weren’t difficult enough, now that. i’m hugely fortunate to have a very good friend in the industry who has been a blessing to my wife and i. [shout out to JOHN! you da’ man!]

sometimes we face challenges and we’d rather skip right over them than to face them. we all have them. i have my share and then some. for now i only want little challenges. i want to move from jogging on the treadmill to a leisurely walk on it. at least for now.

am i where i want to be physically? no. have i done all i can to drop my weight? no. do i work on my kenpo as much as i could? no. i’ve managed to drop a couple of inches from my waistline from the start, but the scale says i haven’t moved much. so i’m re-shaping. i’m ok with that. and i’m also to a point (right now) where if someone were to try and “fire me up” about getting serious, i’d tell him or her to take a hike.

incremental steps will eventually get us there

i may not be where i want to be, but i’m not in any mindset to be pushed or even to push myself more than i have over the last 18 months. it’s hard to change course from what you’ve been doing for 45 years. not impossible, but pretty close. i think it’s the incremental steps that lead to ultimate change and i’ve been taking incremental steps.

while i have some that want to push me harder now, i kinda like where i’m at and i don’t have the desire to push. so i guess i’m in a rut. give me my routine. give me the same amount of challenges. but don’t take me to the place where you can see if i’ll break. i don’t want to be broken. i just want to learn.

i’m rambling. i feel like i’m in a rut. and i’m ok with it. i’m still moving forward. maybe not as fast as others wish, but they’re not me. i am. i don’t want to be sometimes, but the fact is still the same. so give me some challenges. toughen me up. but don’t bother seeing if i can break because i have no desire to find out where that point is. and THAT indicates my weakness.

now, give me some time to shake myself out of this rut and you’ll get an entirely different response. but for now, here i am. tonight will be Kenpo Garage … and i am looking forward to it. it is, after all, part of my routine.

— chunky ninja


the mid-month review is late

lateness.  it seems to be a chunky ninja theme … tardiness.  honestly, i’m on time for all the things that really get me jazzed.  it’s that other stuff … you know, the necessities, the routine, the mundane, the b-o-r-i-n-g that dull me into that insane clock chaser hoping to regain just a few minutes so i’m only fashionably late.

it’s been awhile since my last update and i figured if i didn’t do this now, it might be 2012 before i got another out.  and i don’t know about you, but that’s too long. the reality of the statement above is true.

“hello, my name is chunky ninja, and i am a perpetual procrastinator.”

“hi, chunky.”

but i have (and always have) very valid excuses.  or varied valid excuses.  either way, it sums up to: “excuses”.

for the last six weeks or so, we’ve been renovating the house.  it’s been one thing after another.  every room has been painted except one.  my daughter moved back in with us two months ago which started the slow-moving transformation.  then we decided to get new carpet.  and working around the carpet layer’s schedule (we’re easy like that) caused us even more headache and chaos since rooms were all in disarray and stayed that way until THIS week.  the carpet is in!  it looks great.  now to try and get everything back to where it belongs AND still manage to get more stuff out of the garage.  if i’ve not been at work, i’ve been at home in chaos and i don’t do well with clutter.  i tend to fall into shutdown mode, or at the very least, lets-not-go-home-right-now mode.  and all of this is why i’ve been negligent in updating this site.  so now it’s time to recap some stuff so you don’t feel like you wasted 10 minutes of your life reading this drivel.

earlier this month i was able to work out with Mr Bowley of Bowley Kenpo Karate in north texas.  they were having a sparring class and i had nothing better to do then to let a bunch of 12 and 13 year olds kick my butt.  so i went up.  Mr Bowley was very gracious and complementary.  he even maintained a straight face when i told him, “but i AM trying” when i was in serious battle against his nine-year-old, junior green belt, daughter.  yes, it was sad for the CN, but i’m encouraged by how much joy and confidence i instilled in his younger class.

now that i type that i realized, ALL of his class was younger.  even Mr Bowley.  i was the old man on the mat.  i think Mr Bowley feels a great deal of empathy for my own instructor.

in all seriousness, Mr Bowley has some great students who are blessed with a good instructor.  i really was honored to spend some time sparring with them and hope to do it again in the future.  we don’t do much sparring in our school and i enjoyed the experience.  it gave me a good barometer of where i’m at and how far i still need to go (it’s a long way).

we’ve continued our once a week classes with Mr Jenkins and i only missed one with an upper respiratory infection.  i hate colds and i’ve had a couple of doozies this year.  this one made me miss one week’s class and three Kenpo Garage sessions.

speaking of the kenpo garage, we have been meeting in a fellow student’s garage and will continue until mine is usable again which i hope will be soon.  not because i’m not thankful to john for offering a place where we can work out, but because i hate making others go out of their way for me.  i started this and i’ll be keeping it open for anyone to show up and work out … but this way i’m the only one that is under obligation.

we now have carpet (some of the old) for the garage and will be getting some very thick padding to go underneath.  fortunately i know a carpet layer from church who also has his own dojo … he’ll know just what i’m looking for and can help me get it installed.  so soon.  and i can hardly wait.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

we’ve got a new student in class on thursdays.  he’s actually new to us, but not new to kenpo.  his name is dave and he’s a first degree black belt.  i’m kind glad he’s there.  i like having both upper belts there to help, but also someone who’s been trained under in different association.  it’s interesting seeing how the techniques are taught slightly different from place to place.  he’s learning Mr Jenkins version now, but it’s good to see other ways of doing things.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~

i’ve done really well this last year keeping a new year’s resolution.  it’s the first one i’ve ever actually kept all year.  it was small, but i kept it.  i’ve got a couple for next year that i think are doable.  i’m not going to say what they are right now, but i’m going to try and be as determined about those as i was with the one i’ve now kept for a full year.  and if you think about commitments or me in general, say a little prayer for me.  much obliged.

until next post (which hopefully won’t be so far off), i’m done with my scatter-shooting of thoughts.  thanks for spending your last ten minutes with me.

— chunky ninja

bob and weave

i’ve never been a boxer.  i haven’t been in a fight since i was 13.  that doesn’t mean i don’t appreciate a good fight.  as a kid i grew up watching muhammed ali and sugar ray leonard.  they were flashy and quick, talked the talk and backed it up.

"i think i broke his hand with my face, mick"

i loved the rocky movies.  there’s just something very cool about the underdog coming out and letting it all fly.  in the first movie, rocky used his face to block apollo creed’s punches.  he lost that fight.  in the third movie, creed trains rocky to beat clubber lang.  he teaches rocky to move his body, move his head, move his feet … bob and weave.

in my kenpo classes we’ve been working on combinations that also include moving my feet and ducking punches … to bob and weave.  i love working with focus pads even if i’m not sure what to do with my feet.

but for the last two weeks (actually slightly longer) my mind has been on a different kind of bob and weave.  it’s been the bob and weave required to get from the front door and then make a path through my house.

my daughter and granddaughter moved in with us.  their three bedroom apartment got crammed into our modest sized house.  suddenly our house seemed drastically tiny.  the kenpo garage is slammed with boxes, furniture, book cases, a washer and dryer, bags of clothes, and storage stuff.

the path it took to get through the room

on the inside of the house we started re-arranging rooms.  have you ever done a full move inside your own home?  we did.  it’s ridiculously frustrating.  as each room was emptied the contents were pulled into the living room while we did drywall repairs and painted the walls.  we’d finish one room and then move on to the next.

and with the dropping spot being the living room, it took tremendous amounts of bobbing and weaving just to get from the front door to the back. our home looked like a scary scene from the show “hoarders”.

my mind, my focus, has been on the disaster of my house rather than on kenpo.  my bob and weave only helped make my trek through my home instead of learning how to survive a fight.

fortunately, we’re nearing the end and i can re-focus on what i’ve been missing … kenpo.  the garage is still a wreck, but soon it will return as the kenpo garage.  i can hardly wait.

— chunky ninja

Read the old posts and see how this all started!