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You can either laugh or cry

You can either laugh or cry

I spent almost five hours in A&E on Monday due to a toe. That’s right, I went to A&E because of my big toe. It’s quite embarassing, really. As a martial artist you’re always secretly hoping to come out of A&E with some badly scraped knuckles, perhaps a broken rib or two, at the very least a bad-ass cut above the eye. The stuff you see in the movies, basically. It’s cool, sort of bad-ass, and it says “I ain’t going down without a fight.”

There’s also a massive amount of injuries which are not movie-cool, but serious enough to warrant massive kudos: concussions, a broken jaw or some fractured ocular bones, to name a few.

Then there’s the everyday injuries which are more like routine A&E visits to simply get the thing patched up: broken nose, broken finger, swollen ankles, torn muscles, and the like.

You’ll see that a toe does not appear in any of these three categories. That’s because a toe injury is about as cool as watching snails (unless you’re David Attenborough, in which case it’s about as cool as watching humans). Incidentally, it’s also one of the worst frickin’ things to hurt cause everything gets screwed up: you can’t kick properly, you’re movement is fecked, you’re constantly off-balance, and you’re mind is in overdrive trying to compensate for all this shit while it’s also trying to keep you alive long enough to counter and keep you in the fight.

Something’s gotta give at some point, it’s just inevitable. You’re fighting is shit, your motivation is dropping, you become unresponsive, and even the greenest rookie can easily bypass your guard. At least that’s how you feel, and all thanks to that toe which is now throbbing in pain and making your life hell.

So, now you have two choices: You can either laugh or cry. Laugh, smile, let the good drugs you’re body is pumping out do their job and force yourself onwards. Or cry, give up, stop pushing yourself and give in.

We all have bad days. Days we roll out of bed and nothing goes right. Days we just feel like the world is stacked against you. Those are the days you’ve really got to keep smiling, fine the good in the bad and simply persevere.

My toe threw off my fighting today, and it was a bad day for me. Nothing came together like it used to, and that was it. By the end of practice I was giggling like a fourteen year old girl. I was in pain because of a pathetic little bony joint, nothing felt right, and it was just too stupid to be upset about. So laugh, find the good parts of today (turn kick that found its target :D ), ignore the rest, and do better tomorrow.

HBS Fitness test Push-ups:
36/54   —-   Sit-ups: 41/70   —-   Pull-ups: 5/14   —-   3k run: 17:00/12:00
Goal for this week: 39/46/6+16:40

The 13 Virtues Perfect Day

I live my life according to 13 virtues, as set down by Benjamin Franklin himself. It’s my little way of keeping track of how I’m doing as a man, and so every night before I go to bed I sit down and reflect on my day and tick boxes in my day planner. Benjamin himself thought that the goal was not to tick them all every day, but to reflect on your day and thus simply try to improve a bit. Well, today I ticked them all.

Ok, I admit some may have been easier than others, such as the virtues of silence and humility as they require human interaction to perform. Not too much of that on a study day in uni, I’m afraid, but still. I watched my food intake, I spoke only when it benefitted the conversation, my room is clean and ordered again, I’ve ticked everything on my to-do list today, I was cautious with money when I went shopping, every moment today has been spent doing something industrious, everything I’ve said today has been sincere, I’ve been just in thought at least, I’ve moderated my behaviour, I’ve not been upset by trifles, Ive exercised, and stayed more or less humble. Although, this post is sort-of a brag post, but hey. When it is something to be proud of, it is not being un-humble. False humility is something I cannot stand. Seriously. If you’ve done something amazing, you’re allowed to think so.

On top of that I outperformed my own expectations on the military fitness test today, so go me! 43 push-ups 41 sit-ups, 5 hang-ups and 3k run in 16:17. The last two still needs massive improvements, but as I only recently got the hang-up bar and cardio I knew would be my weak point I’m prepared for that. Still, getting to this after summer is looking increasingly possible:

HBS Fitness test Push-ups:
41/45   —-   Sit-ups: 41/70   —-   Pull-ups: 5/14   —-   3k run: 16:17/12:00
Goal for nexr week: 42/46/6+16:00

If you wanna read more about the 13 virtues, click here: artofmanliness.com. It’s a blog run by Kate and Brett McKay, great source of anything manly.

The joy of leading

Esse Quam Videri - To Be, Rather Than To Seem

So far I my biggest fear facing HBS has not been the physical requirements, cause I’ll get there. Ok, I’m a bit worried about my cardio, but I’ll simply have to run more. Nor is it the teamwork, cause I’ll do fine there. After all, I spend my summers working as part of a security team at festivals. It’s the leadership.

I actually work as a team leader at Hovefestivalen for some of the volunteers (like herding cats, but I love my job and the guys who volunteer, they make Hove happen), but that sort of leadership is more managerial than anything else. Y’know figure out what needs doing where, who needs back-up, where the weakpoints in the perimeter are, etc. Not really leading, more like troubleshooting.

Monday we did boxing. Lloyd, our coach, told me to take the guys for a warm-up. Doesn’t sound like much, but that form of hands-on lead-by-example activity instantly relieved that nagging feeling I’ve had I wasn’t cut out to lead. I enjoyed the warm-up: having to be better than the rest as you’re both telling the class what to do, doing it yourself, and encouraging others to do their best. Simply leading by example.

Our club’s motto is Esse Quam Videri. To be, not to seem. I will embrace that fully as Selection draws near.

Fitnesslevel compared to HBS:

Push-ups: 36/45 (grade 4.5)   —   Sit-ups: 41/70 (grade 3.5)   —   Pull-ups: 5/14 (2.5)   —   Cardio: 17:00/12:00 (fail)

Overall grade strength: 3.5   —   Improvement from last week: 5 sit-ups, 10s cardio   —   Goal for next week: 39/46/6+16:45

Back to the old mill, eh?

Damn... That's a lot of bruises

Fifteen days straight of exercise! 15! That’s right, over two weeks with two hours or more of high-intensity exercise every day. No wonder my body is rebelling and telling me to quit. Between bruised legs, bloody knees and hurting ribs I finally gave in and declared yesterday a day of rest. It was good. I spent an entire day doing nothing at all but hang out with friends, classes and eating food. A rest day is a necessary day every so often, so I’m thinking every Saturday will be one.

Speaking of food! My daily calorie intake is now at 3000 calories a day! That is kinda insane, but I also kinda need it. Probably gonna cut down a bit, aim for 2800 or so instead. I’ve found this great app called Calorie Counter to help me. Very good, very simple to use, has the basic functions you need and nothing flashy add-on bitly bobs. Means counting my calories are now really easy as all I do is scan a barcode or add foods from a previous meal.

Today, however, is a normal day and thus MMA is on the program. 2 hours of gruelling, intense and painful fun. I’m already getting psyched for it :)

Fitnesslevel compared to HBS:

Push-ups: 36/45 (grade 4.5)   —   Sit-ups: 36/70 (grade 3)   —   Pull-ups: 5/14 (2.5)   —   Cardio: 17:10/12:00 (fail)

Overall grade strength: 3.3   —   Improvement from last week: 3 push-ups, 45s cardio   —   Goal for next week: 36/40/6+16:50

Oh, bad timing…

I think I’m getting a throat infection. For the last week it’s felt as though I can’t swallow properly, so I’ll drop by the doc’s on Monday and schedule and appointment. I could phone them, but they’re on campus and only a five minute walk away so I’d probably feel really stupid phoning them. It’s kinda bad timing as the fight season is about to start up (hopefully), but what can you do, eh? And better now than before Selection, that’s for sure.

BJJ went well today, lot’s of stuff done. I need to work on my ground game, tho. I’m weak as hell in it.

My Weird Shave Experience

There are quite a few things that happen on a regular occasion when you live in uni accommodation, one of those being that someone sets off the fire alarm. And, because Murphy’s Law must be obeyed, it will inevitably happen at the most inconvenient moment. Before Christmas, right as it was getting cold, I was going through my usual morning routine of showering, lathering up and shaving. I managed two of those three things before some undergrad living above me sat off the fire alarm. Out the absolute worst moments it can go off I think the moment you’re in your towel, have a face full of lather, and you’re concentrating on specifically not cutting your throat is about the worst. Possibly the worst, you tell me.

I got away with not as much as a nick even, but still had to walk outside to the gathering point while they searched the building just to make sure it didn’t burn down or anything. Now, let’s review my situation at this point: I’m in a towel, still damp, barefoot, with half a face of lather and it’s close to freezing outside on an overcast day at 9AM. So, what does one do? Well, one out of two things: either you do the whole “I’m not here, don’t look my way, oh god I’m really embarrassed about this” routine, or simply man.

With my straight razor tucked into my towel brim and a travel mirror in one hand I grabbed my back scrub for good measures, paraded outside the best way I know how, and proceeded to set up shop on a handy wall. One building search later I was freshly shaven and ready to meet the day.

So, what’s your oddest shaving experience?

 

(Also, even more bruises from practice yesterday… W00t!)

Push-ups: 33/45

Sit-ups: 36/70

Pull-ups: untested/14

3k run: 17:55/12:00

Need to improve sooo much… -.-

Evening routine

I usually stay up pretty late (point in fact: I’m writing this at 2:54 AM), but that’s never prevented me from having an evening routine. This is something I’ve done since I was a wee kid. When I went to bed I was allowed to read in a book for half an hour before lights out. Before I could read my mother would do it for me, but that was more her routine than mine. It became mine when I started doing it for myself.

Over the years this has always stuck with me, and I’ve always read something before bed. Usually a fantasy book, sometimes an interesting article, blog post or comic book. It has also grown a bit, and has now become the following:

  • Decide to sleep, usually between the hours of 2 and 4 AM, to rise around 10 am.
  • Brush teeth, wash, etc.
  • Review today based on Franklin’s 13 Virtues, go over my short- and long-term goals and progress, plan tomorrow.
  • Find a good book and read for a bit, no more than 30 minutes.
  • Lights out, relax and sleep.

I’m guessing this is nothing to extraordinary, but I find it really helps me a lot. Same as with my mourning routine.

What’s your morning routine?

Busy week/NCO Application

My plan for this blog was to post something after every single time I went outside or did something that got me closer to passing Selection. I’m afraid to say I have utterly failed at that. In my defence it is because I’ve been real busy this week with MMA and cardio. Two hours of Muay Thai, four of BJJ, no clue how much time I’ve spent running and shite. Gonna test my 3k run and physical tomorrow, so look forward to that if you’re a regular. First time I’ll let you know my exact stats :P

I’ve also gotten a good-to-go on the rough draft of my research proposal, which means if I’m structured, ordered and disciplined (I’m just about 1 out of those 3… >.<) I’ll be able to finish off my dissertation before Selection. Yeah, finishing an MSc three months early. No pressure or anything.

Last night was the first time the link on the military’s website to the application was active, so I went in to apply straight away. However, two things happened preventing me from finishing it:

1. They want translations of any non-Norwegian documents attached. I have no idea if that applies to English as well… But I’ve e-mailed both the Norwegian Embassy and FOS (the Application and Selection part of the military in Norway), so hopefully I’ll know that by Monday.

2. I couldn’t actually fit in my degree in the little box they gave me… Granted, my degree title is ridiculously long, but it still made me feel slightly confident I’ll at least get through Application :D

Slightly more personal-stuff-y: I dropped something 110 quid on MMA stuff yesterday (club kit, hoodie, pull-up bar). I need it to compete (ARRGH! More money spent), but I’m also supposed to get my driver’s license -.- Damnit.

Reward yourself

There’s not a whole lot I learnt from watching Twin Peaks, apart from this: every day you should give yourself a small present. Granted, this was concerning a free cuppa Joe, but it still applies. Which is why I give myself a tiny gift every day. It may be an extra cuppa, postponing my run for an interesting tv show, or watching too much Dr Who, but I do. And today I’ll do it again: I have a hip flask of a nice and too expensive whiskey (for a student, which is just about any whiskey apart from JD). But that’s not my little gift to myself; that is sharing it with some old friends I haven’t seen for a long time. For what is a dram if not made for sharing, eh?

 

Happy New Year, people!

 

Oh, and my New Years Resolutions? Simple. Be more of the man I want to be. Which means getting into the medic battalion. 6 months to go, and I’m already nervous as hell.

This is why I wear wool

I’m going to totally and utterly fail my goal concerning weight, push-ups, sit-ups, hang-ups and anything else “-ups” for New Year’s. It’s called Christmas, or The Fattening as Norwegians think of it if food is anything to go by. I believe my base sustenance since the 23rd has been mainly fats, of one kind or another. Side of pork with fat on, side of lamb with fat on, bread dipped in said fat, the runnings used in the sauces, not to mention the huge amounts of this fat I’ve eaten! My father is far to good a cook.

I have been active, not too worry. Long hikes in the cold weather. Last time I got lost (yes, honest to God lost. Not just I didn’t know where I was for a moment, but walked in a circle for thirty minutes. Well done me), and spent an hour or so being soaked from the waist down as I went through the ice covering a bog. Not a huge problem, even with the cold weather, as I always wear wool closes to my body. Keeps you warm even if this happens :D After that the hike did go easier. Once you’re wet you stop caring about getting even wetter. Provided all precautions are taken, rivers and streams make excellent roads in the woods.

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