This category contains 12 posts

. . . . . . . . (yes, that’s the title)

ee-flat-linethe blog title pretty much summed up last night’s class for me.  i got there early, stretched, went through a couple of forms and sets to help focus, and recited my sayings to further ingrain them in my mind.  you see, i’ve been preparing for a belt test … one that has been hinted at for a several weeks now.  i felt ready for whatever the class would bring.  BUT instead of a belt test, the test yesterday more resembled an electroencephalograph to which i flat-lined.

we started class with some cardio.  maybe that was my problem.  somehow i physically exhausted my brain.

then we moved on to some sparring (yea, my favorite [sarcasm freely inserted]).  i felt like i was doing pretty good.  mr jenkins made some comments that were positive and encouraging, as well as, interjecting some advice along the way.  it was a learning session, not a fight for your life (well, that’s how it looks when i do it) session.

then vince and i knocked gloves.  he said i was heavy legged.  he said i was heavy-handed.  he said i lacked control.  and on some of those accounts, i think he’s right.  in fairness though, he got in a great shot to my ribs that took my breath and landed a solid left hook to my noggin. (psst, i didn’t complain. matter of fact, i told him they were good shots.)

it’s possible that i fight him differently than i do the others in class.  either way, i do need to re-evaluate my thoughts, intents, and actions against him and every other opponent.  he even called me this morning to thank me for giving him a black eye.

eye-lashesi have this tendency to follow a fighter when they turn away.  it’s bad.  it’s dirty.  i shouldn’t do it.  and i’m going to make a conscience effort to quit doing that.  but on one of those where he turned his back and moved away, i followed and tapped him in the face when he turned towards me.  he said, “dude, i don’t know how you did it, but you pushed my eyelashes into my eye and now i have black eye.”  i blame the eyelashes, not my ridiculously bad sparring abilities.

in all seriousness, i did tell him that if i’m kicking too hard to stop the fight.  make me verbally acknowledge that i’m hearing what he’s saying.  otherwise if done while we’re still going at it my mouth may say, “ok” while brain doesn’t listen.  kinda like when you tell your kid to take out the trash while he’s in the middle of watching tv and you get the “ok, in a minute” response knowing full well it didn’t really register.

exhaustedby the time sparring was done, so was i.  between cardio to begin with and then sparring … i was physically exhausted.

then we went through some forms and sets.  all refresher stuff.  that means, in theory, i know the ones we were asked to do.  or so i thought.  brain-dead.  coördination set was the first one that i blanked on.  i’d get half way through and just forget where i was at.  my focus was gone.  i probably needed to be standing in the back sucking a gallon of gatorade.  instead, i’m out there looking like a walrus on skates and forcing my fellow purple belt to go through it over and over and over and over because my brain had checked out 20 minutes prior.  i felt so bad for him and completely embarrassed for myself.

“let’s work on some of your techniques,” mr jenkins announced.

rex-kwon-dothe technique line was fine as long as he called out which technique he wanted.  i performed them relatively well.  then he changed it up and announced a type of attack and told us we could do any techniques we wanted or improvise.  *sigh*  i can’t even begin to tell you how foolish i looked.  nothing i did looked like a complete technique, but they all ended up with the attacker on the ground.  i would start with a technique and then just grab and sling them to the ground.  not good.

i was talking to vince yesterday morning about the upcoming test that we all know is coming.  when i was about to test for purple i knew it was coming, but didn’t feel ready for it AT ALL.  i felt i needed another month or two.  i wasn’t comfortable.  i didn’t think i was ready for it, but he tested me anyway and i passed.

now for my blue belt test that is upcoming, i’ve felt ‘ready’ for the last three or four weeks.  BUT between the last two week’s classes, i’ve felt completely lost out on the mat and realize i’m not ready.  not by a long shot.  so now i’m hoping the test is at least another three or four weeks out so i can refocus on what i need to be doing.


yes, please. may i have another?

it frustrates me when i deal with people who act as if they’re brain-dead.  last night, however, the EEG on me was __________________

maybe next time i’ll be a lot more understanding when others have their moments.  if not, then i hope someone reminds me of last night’s class.  i got a big, heaping dose of humility dumped over the top of my head.

time for me to get back to work.

— chunky ninja

ps … i lost 3.2 pounds during the workout … probably all to be regained today.


viking fat

yes, i said, “viking fat.”


i’ve been fat, well, almost all of my life.  starting in fifth grade my mom quit her job to stay home after the birth of my youngest sister.  i would come home from school to the smell of homemade cookies, cakes, etc.  within a few months i was shopping for clothes at sears or montgomery wards and had been officially relegated to the ‘husky’ section for boys.  ugh.

that was the beginning and my life has pretty much continued down that path for the last 30+ years.  it’s always bothered me, but never enough to do all the work necessary to become skinny. don’t get me wrong, i still tried the occasional 2-week to 6-month diet and/or exercise routines, but never stuck with them.  i used all sorts of things as excuses over the years, too.  things like …

i hated the ‘husky’ section

  • it’s too hard to work out all the time
  • i like food too much
  • i don’t have enough time
  • it’s too hot to do any exercise
  • it’s boring to work out by yourself
  • it’s too cold to do any exercise
  • i just don’t feel like it
  • i would if it didn’t feel so much  like work
  • the weathers too perfect to do any exercise
  • i’d have to work out too much to make up for that gallon of ice cream i just ate
  • if i ever needed to, i could last for years on chemo because of my fat

but now i’ve heard this latest description of me, it makes me want to embrace my chunky ninja self.  viking fat.  i like it.  and no, i didn’t give myself that description.  one of my KG cohorts did.

at first, being sensitive to my apparent fatness for the last third of a century, i asked for an explanation.  so he ‘splained …

“dude, some people are what i call ‘powder puff’ fat.  they’ve got the weight, but it’s all soft.  no muscle there.  you’re not powder puff.  you’re like freaky strong in your arms and chest.  you’re a big guy, but you’ve got a lot of muscle behind it.  you’re like viking fat.”

then i thought of my perception of the vikings (not the football team) and visuals like Liam Neeson in Rob Roy, Mel Gibson in Braveheart, Russell Crowe in Gladiator, or Gerard Butler in 300.  now before you quickly correct me, i’m well aware none of these characters were vikings, but they were all skilled warriors who fought with great passion and heart.  so take these characters and add a horned helmet and a beard and that’s the image in my mind — kinda like the modern-day biker gang

the inside of my cranium

truth be told, while i do like the ‘viking fat’ label (as opposed to powder puff, jelly soft, marshmallow, and fluffy), i don’t want to stay here.  i’ve been more consistent at losing weight (or inches) than i have at any other time in my life.  i know i could work harder at it and become obsessive about what i eat and how hard i’m working, but i also know that i’d quit pretty quickly if i did.  it’s just how i’m wired.  but i am making progress and that’s what matters.

i’ve continued working my kenpo 4-6 hours per week. i also find myself thinking about techniques or general concepts more and more even if i’m not physically practicing my techniques.  all of this is leading up to an upcoming belt test.  a few of us have been given a bit of warning that the test is coming soon.  i’m guessing in the next month or so and i’m going to do whatever i can to be ready.  fortunately, my instructor is the one who gave us the ‘heads-up’ which means he must think we’re close to ready, too.  that always gives me a bit more confidence.

i’m continuing to ride my bike to also help prepare me for my ongoing kenpo life and to help get into better shape.  i can say i’ve gone from a 2x shirt to a 1x.  and i’ve gone down 2 inches in my waist.  so while i still look like a big guy, i’m gradually getting smaller and it’s proportionate which would make it less noticeable if you’re just looking at me.  but i know and can tell the difference in how i feel.

example: while i may still get winded sparring, it’s not nearly as fast and my recovery time is also quicker. (i’m still not a fan of sparring, but my instructor has started having us spar more and more.)

i don’t think i’ll ever be ‘skinny’.  ever.  but if i can reduce my overall size, have more wind, and make progress in this wonderful art, i will be satisfied.  hopefully soon i’ll be tying a purple belt around my waist and begin working on a news set of techniques and katas.

for now, i’m embracing the term ‘viking fat’.  where’s my helmet?

— chunky ninja

keeping things in perspective

yesterday i took a look back at myself from just a few years ago.  it was scary.  it was sobering.  and i was able to realize that there has been a significant change in me over the last several years.  often we can’t see the forest for the trees.  and when i’m feeling down about where i’m at, these kind of moments are a pick-me-up.  take a look at the picture below.

the picture on the left is me in august of 2006.  this was taken just a few months after both of my parents passed away.  i don’t remember myself looking like that.  at all.  it’s scary for me to see just how bad i looked.  and to think how busy i still was makes it all the worse.  at that size and as active as i was coaching baseball, i could have had a heart attack!  i was eating for comfort … trying with all i could to eat away the pain of losing both my parents within two weeks of each other.  but in truth, it had started long before that.  you don’t jump right from 200 pounds to 300 in just four months.

the picture on the right is me, now.  this morning, in fact.  i’m still not skinny by anyone’s stretch of imagination.  but i’m over 60 pounds lighter and much healthier.  i started kenpo eighteen months ago.  and while the scales show only a 10 pound difference from the time i started kenpo until today, i’ve also dropped 5 inches from my waist, have tons more cardio and stamina, and generally feel pretty well.  i’ve also had my blood pressure medicine dropped to a quarter of what it was just two years ago.  so while not a significant weight loss, there has been some body re-shaping.

it’s not the great big jumps that i’ve always hoped would happen, but it is continual small steps towards better health.  the key in that last sentence was the word continual.  i’ve been consistent in working out, changing routines periodically, and eating less (if not better).

i’m working towards my purple belt and hope to have earned that by the end of this year.  but if it’s not this year … if its next year OR even the year after that, i’m ok.  it’s about hard work.  it’s about persistence. it’s about stepping back periodically to see that all the small goals are paying off in the long run.  seeing the forest instead of just the trees.  getting a wider scope — which is what was needed to take my picture of me six years ago.

i’m not where i want to be yet.  but with a bit of perspective, i’m on my way and have to keep the long-term goals in sight.  little by little i’ll eventually get little.  ok, little-er.

— chunky ninja

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

hard work WILL pay off

i’ve been told all my life that hard work will pay off.  i’ve been working hard and then i hit last night.  or should i say, last night hit me.  honestly, it was the hardest kenpo workout i’ve had in the last several months.  i got home, took a shower and crawled into bed.  i was ALREADY sore and knew it would be worse in the morning if i didn’t take some kenpo candy before dozing off.  so i did.

today, i woke up physically tired.  my muscles all feel like they got pummeled. they’re not sore as much as just tired.  i’m not sure why yesterday seemed so freakin’ hard, but it did.  but i like to push myself to my limits.  and it helps tremendously that i’m not doing the pushing.  someone else is.  my instructor does a great job of pushing, motivating, driving us to go further than we thought possible.  he turned 60 this year and is great shape.  i can only hope to be in a quarter of the shape he’s in by the time i’m 60.  and that is coming fast … only 13 years away.

looking back at last night i can’t see anything that should have made it so hard for me other than ME being so incredibly out of shape.  we went through our typical warm up and then started working punches and kicking combos.  for an hour.  left right left right combos with kicks added in followed by right left punches.  after 40 minutes straight, my entire core ached.  all of my stomach and lower back muscles were screaming to just drop to the floor. but i didn’t. i kept going.  i continued until Mr Jenkins switched up things.

finally we moved on to techniques.  for the first part of our technique work i was asked to help some of our brand new white belts learn the first couple of techniques.  i demoed the delayed sword for them.  i was so drenched in sweat that when they grabbed my shirt it was like a sponge being wrung out.  pretty gross.  finally i got to learn my next two techniques for my new belt (working on purple techniques).  my two KG buddies are a belt ahead of me, so i’ve been their ‘dummy’ for several months.  it was fun to actually do the techniques instead of having them done to me.

class finally ended and i went to get my stuff out of my gym bag.  whether it was exhaustion, extreme hunger, maybe not enough fluids, whatever it was, i nearly passed out.  i was bending over to get my keys and phone from the bag.  things went dim, sounds were muffled.  i stood up and placed my hand on the wall to brace myself and took deep breaths.  as soon as things were normal, i quickly grabbed my stuff then went and sat down for about 15 minutes.  it was weird.  i haven’t felt like that in 20 years and that was my stupidity in the midst of heat exhaustion.  no problems since i left the dojo last night, but it was still strange.  fortunately i have a doctor’s appointment for a physical next week and i can mention it to him.

all i know is in spite of my extreme muscle fatigue, i slept GREAT.  i could have and would have slept a lot longer had my ADDness not kicked in … or the fact that i still had to get up and go to work.  oh, well.  tomorrow is another day and i’ll be driving north to spar with of my fellow kenpoists.

i want to get better at kenpo.  i want to get better at sparring (which i still hate and will probably always hate).  and i want to lose weight.  there are days i don’t think any of those things are going to happen.  but without me pushing myself it will definitely never happen.  i have to believe that hard work WILL, eventually, pay off. and so i’ll keep pushing.

— chunky ninja

where did it go?

i was a ball of energy.  it used to drive my parents crazy.  i was always moving.  non-stop.  i can remember being a young kid i’d even wiggle my leg until i dozed off.  i’d sleep for a few hours, jump up, grab a t-shirt and shorts and back out the door. when it was long past dark my mom would be on the front porch calling out my name for me to come home.  then i’d repeat the process.  that was my childhood.  i was always on the go.

if i wasn’t riding my bike all over the place, i was playing football or baseball with the kids from the neighborhood.  during the summer, from sun-up to sun-down and beyond, i was on the move.

in my teens i traded in the bike for the car.  but everything else remained the same.  always going somewhere, always playing some sort of sport, always moving.  couldn’t and wouldn’t stand still.  no moss growing on my feet!

in my twenties i gave up my freedom for money.  you needed a job to get the money to pay for the car to take out the girlfriend.  the vicious cycle had begun.  we called it being grown up.  as the years went by, the energy level started drifting away.  time has a way of doing that.  eroding bit by bit until you look back at the last decade and wonder how it passed so fast.

the thirties went nearly as quick.  i had moved from playing baseball to coaching.  i was still on the go and still very active.  i was never one of those coaches that would stand on the side and just bark out instructions.  i was teaching.  i was out there showing.  doing.  when it came time for batting practice, i would throw until my arm would ache.  then two days later, do the same thing.  then two days later, the same thing again.  it’s no wonder my right shoulder is a mass of mush.  i never gave it time to heal because there was always another practice to run, more batting to do, more teaching.  the teams i coached played nearly year round.  we took December and January off.  then started everything up again.  three, four, sometimes five times a week.

my forties hit and so did the massive weight gain.  i had slowed, but my love for sugar didn’t.  at 42 i topped 300 pounds.  i broke out in a sweat just changing my mind.  i started walking, moving again, watching what i was eating (some).  the weight started coming off.  slowly.  but i noticed the older i got, the less energy i had.  and then 18 months ago i was “tricked” into trying kenpo.  my weight loss has leveled off.  i could push harder, but i’m tired.  i work out three times a week.  and after each one, i feel it for the next two or three days.  i’m almost 47 and i’m realizing my energy level is a quarter of what it once was.  it is intensely frustrating at times and then there are days like these.

today i just want to say, “i’m tired.  it’s not that i’m unable to do it.  it’s not that it’s beyond my ability.  i just don’t feel like doing it [fill in the blank to whatever “it” is].  so back off, find someone else, or just do it yourself.  but today, my answer for you is ‘no’.  instead of saying, “no moss”, i’m saying, “no mas”.”

but like that twenty-something kid who woke up one day realizing he had traded in his youth for responsibility, i’ll do what needs to be done.  not because i want to, but because i need to.  we don’t get the luxury of coasting just because we’re tired.  and it’s because we’re tired that we DO need to keep pushing ourselves.  and so today, i’ll push.  tomorrow is KG and i’ll push again.  thursday is class and i’ll push.  then saturday will be sparring day in McKinney and i’ll push.  then the next week will start all over again on sunday with another KG session.

i’m pushing because the alternative is to quit.  and i hate quitters.

— chunky ninja

this turkey is (over) COOKED

it happens once a year.  we get that special holiday that requires us to gorge ourselves for four straight days.  some people have discipline.  i’m NOT one of those.  i want to be.  i always say to myself, “THIS IS THE YEAR!” and the following Monday with, “THIS is my new diet.”

i’m talking about … thanksgiving.  a time when we come together with those closest to us.  our families, friends, and that strange relative that half the attendees point and whisper, “who is that guy over there?”  and that strange “uncle bill” will drink himself under the table before the Lions have had a chance to lose.

it’s intended to be a time of reflection and giving of thanks.  a time when we can look back at the blessings we’ve received both personally and as a nation.  yet it’s been (as long as i can remember) a time to push as much food into our pie-hole as possible.  it’s been taught to us all our lives.  “EAT, there’s more.”  even the most resilient find it difficult to say “no” to turkey, cornbread dressing, candied sweet potatoes, three-bean casseroles, cranberry sauce, dozens of rolls, dollops of butter, a full gravy boat of creamy goodness, and pumpkin pies with a mile of whip topping to cap off the first go-round.

this year i found myself in the same predicament (for the 46th time in my life).  after all, i didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by telling them ‘no’ when they asked me if i was ready for thirds.  i found myself in desperate need for two or three full heaping helpings of self-control.  but those didn’t look as good on my plate, so i overlooked them in lieu of some more fried turkey and grandma’s homemade coconut cream pie.

one of martial arts key components is discipline.  i’m wondering if that concept will ever take hold within me.  it’s not about others mandating what i can and can’t do.  i have a saying i picked up over the years (a quick google search didn’t find it’s origin either), but have tried to instill it into my kids.  it’s usually about behavior in public or in school, but maybe i need to apply it to my own habitual struggles:

“doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but it’s always right.”

it’s about me doing the right thing because it’s right.  doing something because someone is making me do it is not real discipline.  it may be an outward force of discipline, but i’m looking for SELF discipline.

i used to laugh at myself and others who had unusual thanksgiving habits.  one of strangest i’d ever heard (and witnessed first hand) was from my best friend, mike.  he would mound his plate to overflowing.  then he’d eat it all as fast as he could so he could repeat the process.  by this time he’d be pretty full, but somehow knew he could cram more in there.  to do so, he’d grab a couple tablets of alka seltzer to “clear the gas bubbles” for more food.  then he’d manage to eat another plateful or two.  by the time the second Thanksgiving Day football game would start, he’d be ready for dessert.  i recently asked him about this and he said he had long forgotten those days.  somewhere he either developed some self-discipline or realized the public embarrassment of packing food in until you were ready to burst.

my own personal philosophy was, “no pain, no gain. eat until your back hurts.” and that’s just what i did.  i ate, and ate, and ate, and ate, and ate some more.  even after all that i had people coming to me and asking, “you are going back for some more, right?  there’s plenty out there.”  this morning the scale was scary.  let’s just say it’s a setback.

all this to say, i was thankful for the days away from work, but now the real work is ahead of me … losing what i’ve gained and then showing SELF DISCIPLINE for the next holiday.

thanksgiving and christmas are my favorite holidays due to the tremendously good food that’s served.  but i’m realizing it’s time for me to grow up instead of out.  it’s time for me to realize it’s ok to embrace the quirky character of chunky ninja, but not the shape of chunky ninja.

baptist preacher’s often say there’s a difference between head knowledge and heart knowledge.  what i want to do is take this concept of self-discipline and move it from head knowledge to gut knowledge.  it would be like eating healthy because self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.  fruits are good, no?

God give me strength.

— chunky ninja

weather or not

the kenpo garage is still a “no-go” for this week.  slowly its returning to its usable [read: tolerably usable] shape, but there is still much to do.  unfortunately, none of the stuff that clutters it is my own.  my daughter, the marine, has been working 60-80 hour weeks and hasn’t had time to really start going through and finding places to hide her stuff.  then there’s the washer and dryer that are in the middle of the KG and not in the middle of craig’s list.  but, in time, it will be back to the KG i need in my life. [side note: need a washer and dryer? contact me!]

it’s easy for me to come up with excuses.  i’ve done it all my life.  food’s too good.  working out is too hard.  trying to do the right thing with both at the same time takes too much discipline.

but i am determined to learn this art.  i often need to give myself a kick in the behind to do what needs to be done.  i let little things like a house that you can’t hardly walk in to prevent me from eating right.  instead, for the last four or five weeks, i’ve been eating a lot of take out.  then i start feeling bad about it and use ice cream to push down those pangs of guilt.

i’m still walking daily.  i’m still running the stairs at work (even though i don’t tweet it all the time).  and i’m still attending my kenpo classes.  it seems, right now, i’m half way in.  and looking at it like that, i’m ready to give myself a good swift kick in the pants.  unfortunately for me, my kicks still suck and it hardly motivates me.

so what DOES motivate me?  cooler weather.  i pushed myself hard during the heat of the summer.  this past summer wasn’t just hot, it was borderline ridiculous.  months with temperatures over 100.  weeks with temperatures in the 107+ area.  several days where it was 112-114.  evening temperatures that would drop into the upper 80’s before skyrocketing back up the next day.  there were even a few days where the temperature never dipped below 90 AT NIGHT!  the folks up north would be dropping over like snowmen in a microwave.

but over the last three weeks or so, cooler temperatures have returned.  i’m LOVING it.  we haven’t turned on the heat in the house yet and i’m not sure when i’ll be ready to.  even my beautiful mrs has gotten used to the cooler temperatures.  what does this have to do with kenpo?  well, nothing other than the fact i should be able to focus more on my training without the fear of dropping dead from heat stroke.  i just have to do it.

this coming thursday will mark one year of my martial arts training.  45 years of nothing and now one year of kenpo.  it’s been a fun ride.  i’m enjoying all i’m learning and have a great desire to continue on.  eventually, i’d like to start teaching it, but that’s years down the road.  so today, on a nice cool day, i’m going to go for a good walk, watch some kenpo videos on youtube, then go through my techniques and forms.  time to move into year two with a fresh, rejuvenated approach … work it!

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

funny story (to me, anyway) on the way home from picking up my daughter last night after the high school football team.  no, she’s not a linebacker.  she’s in the color guard.  if you had asked me ten years ago which of my kids would have been on the football field on friday nights i would have gotten it wrong. my son, the six-foot, 230 pound, kid-with-the-golden-arm, opted to stay in baseball only and it’s my daughter (the youngest of the bunch) that is out there marching every friday.

anyway … my son and i picked her up from school and she says, “daddy, i think i’m having growing pains.”

without even blinking my son looks back at her and says, “it’s pronounced, GROIN.”  he cracks me up.

— chunky ninja

ketchup, please

it’s been a bit since my last post. i’ve been pretty busy trying to get over a stupid head cold that rolled in with the fall allergy season. it happens every year. the cooler air comes in and whips up some dried, decaying leaves that fell during the most recent, ridiculously hot summer. then my sinuses go into overdrive before pushing the gunk down into my lungs and giving me a monster cough that lasts a couple of weeks. it’s north texas, otherwise known as, the allergy capital of the U.S.

the one thing i noticed while hacking the last ten days was i can never remember the old saying. do you “feed a fever and starve a cold”? or do you “starve a fever and feed a cold”?

my approach is to feed a fever, feed a cold, feed a sprained finger, and even feed a stubbed toe. heck, i’ve been known to feed a hair cut if i felt it necessary. all that to say the last several weeks of brutal workouts that would crush normal folks, are now null and void. with my ultra slow metabolism, combined with nyquil and my inability to remember a stupid saying, i regained some weight. i’m still below my starting weight, but i lose pounds so slowly that the three i regained is like a five-week setback. ugh.

i missed two classes and one kenpo garage. but i’m starting to get my karate legs back under me and am ready to get back to my normal routines.

at the last kenpo garage i discovered that i’m NOT a weeble (though i do have their delightful, playful shape). again, vince (dude!) was helping me with my kicks. in super slow motion i was pivoting for a rear-leg, front snap kick. pivot my left foot, raise my right leg, hold it chambered, extend it and hold it, pull it back to chamber, set it back down.

on one of the stupid “holds” where my right leg was fully extended (and drooping towards the floor), i lost my balance. no big deal. i’ve always had good balance and reflexes. i quickly shifted my left foot to regain my balance, but i was too close to the heavy-bag stand in my garage. i stumbled over the stand, quickly bringing my right leg down and behind me to catch myself, only my top-heavy chunky ninja gut had already built up too much momentum.

my butt hit the floor and my head hit a ladder on the side of the garage. i didn’t hurt anything more than my pride. embarrassed, i quickly got up and looked at vince. his one word response said everything.


ahh, it’s a new and fascinating art that i’m learning … how to humiliate myself every time i put on my gi which i DID blame for the loss of balance, though. i don’t have enough padding in my garage to cushion my feet so we work out in our sneakers. when i would lift my foot to chamber, the gi pant leg would catch on my heel and pull. that pull was what make me “out of balance”. i’m sticking to that story. seriously.

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i was driving my car the other day. i have a tendency to work on my sayings and creeds while behind the wheel. at my yellow belt test i was able to rattle all seven sayings and my creed in rapid succession without any assistance or “can-you-give-me-the-first-word” cheats. that just proved to myself that this practice time is beneficial. i do this often and sometimes forget who’s in the car with me. this time it was my beautiful mrs.

i was half way through my orange belt pledge when my wife turned and asked me what i was saying. she thought i was talking to her and then found out that i was running through my kenpo stuff.

“i thought you were saying something important.”

i finished the latter half of my pledge and then quickly dipped my head just a smidge and added, “amen.”

“OH, you were praying,” she said to me sarcastically. i think she actually smiled.

i hadn’t given any updates in awhile, so now you can consider yourself ketchuped.

— chunky ninja

two new chunkies in class

no, i’m not throwing stones.  i have some peers!  one of them i knew before class.  he’s our church’s youth pastor, chris, and he’s an awesome guy.  and he likes to eat … like his father before him and he’s passed that gene down to his son, too.  my all time favorite eating story is of chris’ father.

manny and i have been friends for over two decades.  manny is chris’ dad and whom my favorite food story revolves.  to know manny is to love manny.  anyway, manny is a post office worker and has been for a long, long time.  he has a driving route now, but there was a time where he was walking 10-15 miles per day carrying a bag.  the man has calves that would make superman jealous.  one day we met manny and his wife at his house and were going out to eat dinner.  he hadn’t arrived from work yet, so we waited.  it wasn’t long before he came in and said, “i’m gonna grab a quick snack before we go eat … to take the edge off.”  his snack was two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

his other son, mikey, was going with us, but didn’t like the restaurant we were going to.  manny said it was no big deal.  we’d go in a separate car and swing by and get him mcdonalds. so the ladies went on to the restaurant to get us a table while we swang by the golden arches.  when we went through the drive through manny noticed they had a brand new burger that he’d never tried.  he ordered one for him … not just the burger, but the whole meal, drink included.  keep in mind he had just had two sandwiches less than 15 minutes earlier.  he’s cramming the burger into his mouth and sucking down the drink.  we get to the restaurant and manny told me his wife would kill him if she knew he got something to eat.  so what’s he do?  he stands in the parking lot and shoves the french fries in his mouth because he “doesn’t want them to be wasted”.

we get into the restaurant and he and his wife, val, order fajitas for two.  while we’re waiting on the food to come out manny and i are polishing off the chips and hot sauce.  finally the food comes out and there’s this huge mound of meat with all the fixings.  val is on a diet and has ONE fajita.  manny finishes the entire rest of the platter, sides, and all.  it was amazing to witness.  if someone had told me this story, i’d never believe it.  but i was there.  i watched it happen.

i tell people this story, sometimes in front of manny. he just smiles and says, “ahh, the old days.  those were good times.”  i’m laughing just now thinking of it.  so if anyone would know how to pack food in, it would be manny’s kids.  i mean, they saw that their entire growing up years.

exhausted and sweaty pastor chris still manages to smile

all that to say that his son was there tonight for his first class.  he did great.  he was winded and dripping with sweat, but that’s what we do.  he mentioned to me after class that if i’m chunky ninja then he gets to be skinny sumo.  if he does get around to starting a blog it will probably be more informative, funnier, and better looking than this site will ever get.  [i said jealously]

the other “chunky” was a friend of one of our new orange belts.  his name is hector.  he reminded me a lot of me when i first started.  he wasn’t able to finish the warm up routine, but tried.  it was weeks before i was able to complete the warm up.  but he did great and didn’t quit.  he’d stop for a bit and then start up again.

both newbies seemed to really like it.  i’m hoping they’ll be back.  it’s nice to look around and see other guys that are as girthy as me.

speaking of … five pounds down since last weigh in … rock me!  maybe i’ll someday shake the chunky title.  nah, i’ve come to embrace it.  so no matter my size, i’ll keep the self proclaimed title.  somehow it suits me.

— chunky ninja

Read the old posts and see how this all started!