29
Sep
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We’ve been here about a month now. The honey moon is wearing off and is being replaced by a feeling of familiarity. It is getting colder, windier, and wetter.

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I’ve been working on getting into a routine to keep my time organized. Normally I take a 20 minute lunch-time nap. One of my favorite parts of training! ; ) But, I’m taking it out for the most part. I need to get more done and I’ll sleep a little better at night without it. As well I’ve decided to run the mountain every time with just 10lbs and gradually work my way up to heavier weights. By jumping up and down weights I felt 20lbs a little too much in the lower back last time. I’m going to get up at 5-5:30am. I’ll be able to take a shower to warm up. That way I can stretch or study Chinese a little before meditation.

22
Sep
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The first two shots are of us practicing a drill called “centering”. It’s used for finding your balance and root into the ground. One person pushes and pulls on the elbows of their partner and tires to find the defenders point of balance. The person being pushed has to use their whole body to keep from stepping or losing balance. This is done by rotating the waist and dropping weight, moving the arms and shoulders, and staying loose. If the attacker finds the defenders center/point of balance it’s easy to get pushed/pulled over. There is a major component of being sensitive to the other person’s movements in order to either defend or attack.

The third shot is practicing a taijiquan application used to take an opponent down, the name of which I’m not sure at the moment. The first step, already done, is escaping some who grabs your wrists. From there the defender slides in and seals the attackers arms against their own body making it easy to control their posture. After the posture is broken, which can be seen, its easier to take out one of the legs.

The last shot is training with cinder blocks, thanks to Enrico and Nathan. Yes, we really do throw them at each other, it’s actually quite fun. This builds our gripping strength/relfexes, eye hand coordination, awareness, and cooperation.

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17
Sep
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Congratulations to my cousin who got married last month. Best wishes to you guys! Thank you for the awesome card, take care and stay in touch!

16
Sep
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Week 2 went well. I could feel improvements in technique and forms but there is definitely a lot of work and concentration to be done.

I did better on the mountain run and was able to get the stats for it. It’s just about a mile and it gains an elevation of about 730 feet give or take. During the week we run it three times. On Tuesday I used heavier weights, Thursday half that, and Saturday none. It seemed to work well as my time for no weights improved about 20 seconds. It’d be nice to keep up that kind of improvement, but it won’t be long before I’ll be counting each second.

That’s it for now. Let me know if there’s anything you’re interested in about the retreat center and training here. Take care.

Each semester we’re required to write an article. This is to build writing skills and discover something at the same time. My article will be about inflammation related to acute injuries and general non-life threatening cases. I’ve attached an outline (word document) to give you a better idea of my thoughts. If anyone has any suggestion feel free to send them my way. As well I’m currently looking for sources of information including, books, people with credentials I could interview, or anything else. Let me know if you know of anything. Thank you!

Semester11Article1Inflammation

12
Sep

We should, really. It has nothing to do with living up in the mountains which could be compared to living like monks.  Really, it’s plain and simple: efficiency. Out here at the retreat center we just had a yellow water light. The word scare would be an exaggeration but we were using more water than our own water sources could produce. We have three large water drums and a smaller one to store water which are filled by pumping water from a well and a spring. Over the last day we’ve had to cut down on how we use our limited supply. Thankfully it’s worked and we’re back on track. In addition to saving water while showering it makes it feasible to show just before bed. No soggy pillow,  your bed sheets stays cleaner, and the best part is no combing or hair spray in the morning! To be honest though ladies, please don’t shave your heads, you are great just the way you are, unless punk and a shaved head is your style.

Since I’ve mentioned water, here are some shots of our water at work. We’ve planted some new radish, cabbage, daikon, and other seeds for the last crop of the year before its winter. They’ve required a bit of extra water to keep them from drying out in the day and we’ve spent time transplanting some of them because we had too many planted together. The long shot is over looking the beds with our green house in the background. In the winter, other than kale and a few other veggies, the green house will be the only self-sufficient produce we get. The rest will have to be bought.

I tried to get distance and elevation recordings for the mountain run but my phone didn’t pick it up. I will to have to try again next time. As well I think I may have to cut down to updating the blog once a week here soon.

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08
Sep
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It’s everything we’ve been dreaming about, waiting for, and expecting. But being this sore is definitely not part of it. And, we’re all sore, super sore. Our muscles have been pushed and strained all week in ways that can’t normally happen while back in the real world. But it’s definitely the kind of sore that makes you know you did something and for good reason.

Thankfully it’s Sunday…that means we rest, it’s the only day of the week we don’t have scheduled training and work. Every other day we start a little before 6am and finish around 7pm. In the mornings we tend to stick to softer training which includes meditation, white crane qigong, weapons, taiji, and tumbling. In afternoon we go with the harder stuff like long fist kung fu sequences, and a variety of body conditioning. They essentially cover everything from head to toe. My personal favorite is the mountain run. To be honest, it’s more of a “power walk” by the time we start adding weighted vests, but don’t get me wrong, it’s the hardest “power walk” I’ve ever done. I’ll get the details for that up after I make sure I’ve got accurate ones.

So today, being Sunday, there are still things to keep up with. This blog, article writing, and studying pinyin/translations for Chinese are some thing I have going right now. Later, a senior student Javi and myself are going to prep for cooking. Tomorrow is our day to create some tasty dishes for everyone. Who likes chicken? (if anyone has any recipes they’d like to shell out, feel free! There’s only so many times you can do stir fry…)

For now I’m going to leave you with the picture of the retreat center’s main building which I had wanted to get up a few days ago.  There’s also a shot just off to the west. My phones camera didn’t quite get the mood, but the sunset left everything with a slightly pinkish hue that was stunning.

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05
Sep

Well, I was going to get up a photo of the center’s main building a a nice scenic view overlooking the valley next to us, but the download time here sucks, just plain sucks right now. You’ll have to deal with this sunrise from the plane flight for now…oh and and the column of luggage the Sacramento airport uses to hold up the building because they couldn’t afford concrete.

31
Aug
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I flew into Eureka California around 10:40 on the 29th after a canceled flight which allowed a fantastic 10 hour stroll through Sacramento. I’m not lying, maybe it was a long day, but Sacramento is a great little place with a beautiful city park and a bit of public/street art worth seeing in person.

We have all arrived and orientation has begun. We’re in the process of laying out our training schedule and the details that go with it. This includes scheduling pairs of people who have certain duties per day. Cooking, cleaning, maintenance and all that has to be taken care of by someone after all. As well we’ll be diving into what our needs are for media production and article writing. As a junior student I am still not sure entirely what our goals for them are.

Many of you are curious about training here. I will be getting to the good juicy stuff about that as these blogs progress. After all the training here is actually a bit new to myself as well.

But for now take care till I get another post up.

31
Aug
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Here it goes. And so far it doesn’t seem quite real. Over the last two years, even longer really, it’s been quite a process in order to train here at the YMAA (Yang’s Martial Arts Association) Retreat Center for the 5 year program; which as you’ll have it begins now! So even though, for the most part, all of us have arrived, Dr. Yang, the senior students, and the junior students (including myself) there is something not quite apparent. I am in a place I will possibly call home for the next 5 years, but it hasn’t sunk into my bones yet.

After training here for the month of March earlier this year, there is somewhat nostalgic feeling of familiarity coming back to the center. An experience like the one I had tends to get somewhat burnt into your memory. In March, it was nearing the end of the rainy season, and everything was shades of brown, tan and shadowy grays. But here in the last days of August, fall hasn’t quite struck the way it does in Colorado. The plants are still lush and bright green. Our organic gardens are producing some fantastic stock including tomatoes, zucchini, lettuce, kale, and a great deal more. That cold morning bite, which says you need to put on a sweat shirt, and reminds you that winter isn’t far off hasn’t arrived. It sounds like that will be around mid to late October.

I will be regularly posting various tid-bits about what it is that we’re up to. Right now, I am keeping the blog basic in manners of design and content; that is anyway, until I discover what this should really be about.

This first blog is dedicated to all those who have gotten me here. Thank you for all of your effort, patience, and support. You made it easy for me, you gave me the structure, and all I had to do was say “yes, I will do that.”  Thank you.