30 March 2013

Training Log - Week of 24 MAR 13

25 MAR 13

ABD - STRIPE TEST!  All the work for the last three months is coming to a head.  Thursday is belt testing, so for all intents and purposes, tonight is just a dry run for the belt test Thursday.  Of course, there is always a surprise or three belt test day.

Numbers for the last three stripe tests:

Push Ups: 9/9/12
V's: 17/21/21
Squats: 35/33/40
Left Kick: 32/30/34
Right Kick: 30/29/38

BJJ - Brad Wolfson of Soulcraft BJJ and one of Sensei McShane's instructors came down to teach a class.  Learned so good back control stuff.  How to get a choke on somebody whose defending their neck.

And then this happened...

Brad's the guy with the black belt

Several of my fellow BJJ students and I were awarded some stripes tonight.  Stripes are inter-belt indicators of rank and progression.  BJJ has a much steeper curve with belts.  I've been a white belt just under a year and just got my first stripe.  Average time to black belt is 10-15 years.  Some people take longer; some less.  Either way, this came as a surprise tonight..  Congrats to my fellow students!

28 MAR 13

ABD - BELT TEST!!!  This was one for the books.  Tabata rounds, krav, stick, more stick.  It was insane and intense.  And I loved every minute of it.  Green belt: unlocked.

26 March 2013

Training Log - Week of 17 MAR 13

Overall it was a great training week.  All review for stripe and belt testing next week.  Small jiu jitsu class today, so I got some good help with breadcutter/papercutter chokes, farside armbar from side mount... and one or two other things I can't remember at the moment.

Weight Loss
Weight: 193.2 (-3.6)
Body Fat %: 21.2% (-1.5%)

Rocking my new gi...

23 March 2013

From Russia With Love

In case you have not noticed over the past couple of books, Bond has been causing some issues for the Russians.  They are not happy with him.  LeChiffre, Mr. Big and Hugo Drax.  Bond kinda screwed them over big time.  And, being Russians, or Soviets if you will, they want to get rid of Bond.

Simple killing will not be enough however.  Oh no, not for the operatives of SMERSH.  They need to discredit Bond.  Shame him.  And, if MI-6 is shamed in the process, all the better.

To his discredit, Bond is know as a bit of a ladies man.  This is how SMERSH plans to take him down.  To do this, they recruit Tatiana Romanova, a beautiful Russian agent.

Their plan: lure Bond to Istanbul where she will give him a top secret Russian coding machine.  Finding it odd, M sends Bond on his merry way.

Once in Istanbul, Bond gets a crash course in the operations in that area from Kerim Bey.  There's also a dinner with a gypsy family which doesn't fit with the rest of the novel.  But its still a neat sequence.

Most of the action then takes place on the Orient Express.  They are tracked there by a maniacal former British soldier.  Turns out he likes killing... especially on the full moon.  So, he didn't quite fit in with the Brits, so its off to work for the Russians!

So, as you can guess, Bond handily disposes of the maniacal killer.  The story ends with Bond and Romanova in Paris, and the coding machine tucked safely in MI-6 hands.  Except for the part where Romanova's former handler tracks them down and poisons Bond.


Well, not really.  We know that Bond will be back in the next book.  Actually, at this point Flemming was getting bored with the books and wanted to stop writing, hence the uncertain fate of Bond.  I'm glad Flemming decided to write more.

I really like this one.  Its probably my favorite after Casino Royale.  Nothing I can put my finger on per se.  Just an all around great book.

17 March 2013

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)

To the Summary!
James Bond goes after some hot ice (that's stolen diamonds).  Along the way he runs into an odd pair of assassins   Oh, and Blofeld makes a return.

To the Cast!
Sean Connery - James Bond
Jill St. John - Tiffany Case
Charles Grey - Blofeld
Putter Smith - Mr. Kidd
Bruce Glover - Mr. Wint
Norman Burton - Leiter
Bernard Lee - 'M'
Desmond Llewelyn - 'Q'
Lois Maxwell - Miss Moneypenny

To the Deeper Thoughts!
Here we have the triumphant (?) return of Sean Connery to the Bond franchise.  Turns out this will truly be his last outing, but I digress.

Ahh, hell.  Back to digressing.  After a much publicized departure, Sean Connery returns to the role that made him famous.  We also have the return of Bond's nemesis Bloefeld.  Oddly, there was no reference to the previous film where Blofeld is involved in the murder of Bond's wife, but that's for another review.

I like this one.  Even though Connery was basically bribed back to the role, he still put out a pretty good turn.  A bit on the silly side (Bond girl named Pleanty O'toole for one), its still not as bad as some of the later Moore ones.

So, a fitting end for Connery's run as Bond.  Unless you count Never Say Never Again... which I don't.

Training Log - Week of 10 MAR 13

11 MAR 13

ABD - Second week of month three.  Abs week this week.  So, naturally, my legs hurt.  Reviewed the second set of the curriculum in preparation for belt testing at the end of the month.  Felt really good about everything; just little adjustments to be made.

BJJ - Worked on two sweeps this week.  I focused on Scissors sweep and hip heist sweep.  Two fairly basic sweeps.  Felt pretty good with them.  Also, when it came time for rolling, I focused more on defense than anything else.  Hopefully this new focus will be of benefit in the long run.

14 MAR 13

ABD - Day two of week two of month three.  More ab fun!  No, seriously.  Its pretty fun.  Had a great class.  Worked on the stick set and sparring today.  I need to be a little more aggressive with sparring.

BJJ - More sweeps work.  Scissors and hip heist.  Doing pretty good with them.  Still frustrating, but I've gotten almost zen.  I'll progress slowly here.  But I will get better.

Weight Loss
Weight - 196.8(-4)
Body Fat % - 22.6(+.5)

16 March 2013

Diamonds Are Forever

This time, diamonds are at the center of Bond's adventures.  Dispatched by M to Sierra Leone, Bond must find out how and where diamonds are getting smuggled into the USA.  The USA you say?  Turns out the source of the diamonds is a British operation, so M figures it would be good of MI-6 to lend a hand.

Bond takes the identity of Peter Franks, a low player in The Spangled Mob.  Along the way he meets up with one Tiffany Case.  He follows the trail to Las Vegas, meeting up once again with Felix Leiter.

Needless to say, Bond wins the day.  Saves the girl, kills the bad guy.  Just another day at the office.

11 March 2013

Reflections on my first year

This post originally appeared on the ABD Norwich Krav Maga blog, 11 OCT 12

I have not lost much weight.

I know, kind of a strange way to start a blog post that details my first year of studying a martial art.  Stick with me though, it will make sense it a bit.

I needed to make a change in my physical activity.  Its not that I was not active; I was.  Just not enough.  I was stuck on the (literal) treadmill.  My working out was limited to mostly treadmills and running outside about once a week.

A change needed to be made.

Many moons ago I studied Judo.  Can't really remember why I stopped.  I do know that I wish I had not.  I had always wanted to get back into martial arts, but school, time and life kept getting in the way.  With the exception of a brief foray into a 'kickboxing' class, I was martial arts-less until October of 2011.

No reason for this.  America's Best Defense is located in downtown Norwich.  I had been living in Norwich for a couple of years, and my brother in law had been attending the school when it was still a Tang Soo Do school.

I finally made the decision.  I filled out the online information form and waited.  A few days later I got a call (if I remember correctly it was Sensei Fritz), and set up an introductory class.  I went in not knowing what to expect, and left convinced I was going to sign up.  My first official class was less than two weeks later.

And I have not looked back since.  I love everything about this school.  I love the workouts.  I love the lessons.  I especially love the Krav Maga end of it.

But more importantly, I love the people.  Never had I felt more welcome in a place of physical activity.  From senior black belts down to the white belts who started with me, I have always felt welcome.  There is never a negative word here, only words of encouragement.  This place gets into your head. 650 jumping jacks and squats?  A year ago I would have been hurting just thinking about it.  Now, I did it and spent the next day joking about it with my fellow students.  Doing leaping forward rolls over a chest high stack of shields?  Done.  Doing all sorts of crazy calisthenics?  No matter how much it hurts in the moment, or days later, I still love every moment of it.

So you see, even though I have not lost much weight, I gained a lot.  I gained confidence, I gained friends; training partners.  I gained a place where I do not feel judged every time I walked through the doors.  I gained a place where I will train for life.

10 March 2013

Zero Hour (2013-2013)

And now, dear readers, it is time to lament the loss of yet another genre show.  Zero Hour showed great promise.  Here is a link to a Huffington Post article about the cancellation.

In short, there is some sort of doomsday plot that involves clocks and the Catholic Church.  Can't really tell too much more as there have only been three episodes.  Stars Anthony Edwards of ER and Top Gun fame as a publisher of a skeptic journal.  His wife fixes clocks.  Then she finds a special clock and is kidnapped.

And that's the basic premise.  Edwards spends the next three episodes flying from Canada to India in search of answers.  He gets precious few.

And then it ends.

Adieu Zero Hour.  We hardly knew ya.

Training Log - Week of 3 MAR 13

4 MAR 13

ABD - Month three kicked off in fine form.  HIGH intensity for the last month of the cycle.  Month three hit HARD.  Kinda felt rough at the end, so I skipped BJJ

7 MAR 13

ABD - Much better month three class.  Had a crazy kick pyramid drill at the end.  Felt really good about it.  Bring on the rest of month three!

Weight Loss
Weight - 200.8 (-1.4)
Body Fat % - 22.1% (-1.6%)

05 March 2013

Training Log - Week of 24 FEB 13

25 FEB 13

ABD - Review for stripe test.  Everything felt great.  Really enjoying the escrima stick combo for this cycle.

BJJ - Worked on...elbow escape.  Useful for when someone has you in mount.  I also had a bit of a breakthrough at class tonight.  Not so much physical, but mental.  My instructor spent many years as a blue belt (2nd belt in).  What I took away from his talk tonight was that I need to focus myself more.  I'm trying too hard, I think.  I need to focus on one area.  Defense.  So from now on, I will be someones sparring dummy, working on escapes and getting to a better posture.

Weight Loss
202.2 (-4.4)
23.7% (-1.6)