Thursday, 16 February 2012


It's been a while, hasn't it?

Lots has changed.  Japan is waaaay in my past now and I'm missing it, of course, but there are new adventures to be had and new things to be doing.

Been working hard these last two years or so.  Lot of time spent making money which forced certain decisions within my training: over focused on certain things, focused less on other things.  Did the 5,3,1 programme for a while and made some damn good progress, pushing up my totals in the powerlifts but impacting upon flexibility and other things.  Cardio suffered in some ways but pad work and sparring in the mornings has helped in certain areas: standing up and striking doesn't get me half as gassed anymore, but going down and getting up gets me more gassed.  Weight, clearly.

My hand/eye coordination has improved under Fraser, as has my general sparring ability: I use my weight to great advantage, I wait things out, I plot and execute moves.  My mind game has certainly improved.


But my black belt is coming up and I'm not flexible enough or fit enough in the right way and my body... I came back from Japan with a body that could do anything.  Lift, run, bend... now I have a body that is very strong but that just doesn't satisfy me anymore.

Don't get me wrong, it did satisfy me for a long, long time, but now it's... wrong for me.  I want a body back that is well rounded.

So, with the black belt as a deadline, that is what I am now doing.

Cardio has improved, weights are getting shelved save for deadlift and kettebell stuff.  Far more calisthenics and other stuff.  More grease the groove stuff: "If it's important, do it every day," so says Dan John quoting someone else.  So I am now doing certain things every day: stretching, mobility drills, Paval Push Ups, bridges, pistols.  Volume, volume, volume.

Weight is coming off now, a stone since Christmas, and I feel better, more fluid, my middle is thining out and my mobility has definitely improved.

Goals wise I'm aiming for a one hand hand stand push up by December.

We'll see...

Saturday, 25 December 2010

re: Christmas

Okay, so I've been gone a while.

What can I say? Work, life, etc.  It gets in the way and changes your routines and, well, changes everything.  I had a lot of fun in Japan and learnt an awful lot about myself, but that time is now gone and I've got to take stock and move on. 

And I have, don't get me wrong, I have. 

Training wise, I'm progressing, developing.  I'm stronger than when I left Japan, not as fit in a cardiovascular manner, though I can still run and sprint (I'm faster at sprinting) , but my lifts have gotten better and I've maintained most of the flexibility I developed.  Technique wise I'm more thoughtful and my throws have become better as have my entries and my ways of doing things. I am a better martial artist, whatever that means, and more comfortable in my body. 

Far more com0fortable, and the better for that.  That's Fraser, he's been banging on that I'm a big guy and I fight against it and I should embrace it, so I have and... and, yeah, I move well.  Not gracefully, but powerfully, and with a certain amount of unstoppable inertia. 

Why do martial arts?  Do learn to defend yourself.

What's the best self defence?  Looking bigger than the other guy. 

It works and I'm happy and my techniques are developing with that in mind.

Oddly, my hand speed hasn't diminished, and I can deliver stopping force with my left hand (god bless being south paw) and with my right leg.  The lessons Yogi taught me are still bedded in too, that sinking of everything into the strike.  He knows a lot, that man. 

Anyway, why this post?  Yeah, I've been looking, drunkenly, at pictures of myself from a few years ago, back when I was getting poor training advice from a fat man.  Run loads, drop weight, he told me.  Why did I listen?  I do not look healthy in those pictures, and it does not suit me being below 15 stone. I am a big guy, I may as well revel in it.  He gave me the training advice for a marathon runner, not for someone who was learning a martial art (hah, but we have moved on).  I am far more efficient and capable at my current weight, and strong.  Very strong.  Stronger than him, I know.  Strong and coupled with superior technique. 

I do wonder why he gave me such poor training advice.  Was it just him being misguided?  Or was it because he wanted to do me harm?  I'm going to be charitable and go with the former (although he was so fat I wonder why he didn't take the advice he gave me and put the damn spoon down). 

Don't get me wrong, there are certain... personalities in the old club that I miss (and miss talking to, training with, hanging with), but the new club is so much better, so much... more relevant?  I don't have the words currently.  This year will be a good year for us, a year of change as we fully grow out of the shadows of the past (even as the old club attempts to change its ways and becomes more sport orientated, or so I hear along the grapevine).

It will be an interesting year, whatever comes along.

And I'll be ready :)

Thursday, 26 August 2010


Okay, my posting of late has been poor, but my dad is getting better and better, so that's all good.  His eyes are still yellow but he's back to putting away 5 hours a day tending the garden/farm and is walking the dogs again, not quite the old 2 hours in the morning and 2 in the evening, but an hour each way, which is good too.  I suspect that I get my tenacity from him.  I certainly get my cool head from him, which is good as I also have my mum's temper. 

It ain't nice when your parents get sick, is it?

I'm back to the UK tomorrow for the Reading Festival, where I shall eat, drink and be merry, so this last week I've run my body into the ground by training every day, no matter how I feel and generally pushing myself.  I've also been thinking about my training goals for the next year (I'm a teacher, our year goes September to August).  Basically I'm going to slowly trim down to 16 stone for Pete's Shodan (watch out Pete, I'll be fast and strong), then bulk back up to 17 stone and cut it down again to 16.5 for my Shodan, so I'll be heavy for my Shodan, but I want to do it my way, which will be controlled power through each technique.  Watch out every body.

So, this last week, what have I been doing?


Wednesday 18th
Ran to the Church and back, then 12 pull ups

Thursday 19th
Shadow boxing for 20 minutes
Tried out different combos and different ways of stepping into things and generating force as you move into and through your target.  Got a few nice ideas there I need to try on Fraz and Pete. 
13 Pull ups

Friday 20th
Feeling sore and stiff
Did stretching, isometrics and Ki

Saturday 21st
Gym work
Mobility warm up
120 deep bounces
Press ups 40
Independent snatch: 22.5k x 5 per side
Isometric hold 3 x 3 sec
(later figured that I'd done this in the wrong order, whoops)
Deadlift: 70k x 6, 70k x 6, 110k x 5, 140k x 3, 160k x 3, 170k x 1, grip going, damn finger, 170k to knees.  Leave
140k x 1

Bent over row: 70k x 10, 75k x 6, 80k x 5, 85k x 5

Clean: 70k x 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 (+press)

Military press (one dumb bell each hand):  2 x10k x 15, 2x12.5k x 10, 2x15k x 8, 2 x 17.5k x 6, 2x20k x 4

Tricep extension: 20k x 4 per side, Tricep pull down: 25k x 5, 5 (independent)
Bicep cable curl, independent: 15k x 5, 5
Bicep curl: 20k x 30+15

Had no grip for the deadlift, but having not gone to town on it, found my back very strong for the bent over rows. 

Sunday 22nd
Boot run from parent's house to Atlantic drive and back.  Tough old run, 3.62 miles, about 1/2 hour. Got back and did 55 burpees

Monday 23rd
8 pull ups followed by 6, later still another 6 pull ups.  good form on all

Jogged down the hill at gran's house and sprinted back up.  A nasty windy hill, 160 metres or so and steep and rough terrain. Managed it 3 times before felt nauseous. 

Got back to mine and did the 350 work out: 9.25.2, nice time.  I seem to be able to maintain that out of breath feeling for a long time with little detriment to my activity. 

Tuesday 24th

Mobility warm up
Press ups 25, 10, 5

Bench: Bar x 20, 70k x 5 explosive, 5 slow, 80k x 5 explo, 5 slow, 90k x 5 explo, 4 slow, 100k x 1, 100k x 1, 110k x 1, 110k x 1, 115k x 1
Well, with the leap in strength, this slow and explosive mix is working

Squats: 1 legged squats 5 per side
Front squats: bar x 5, 40k x 5, 50k x 5, 60k x 5, 60k x 4
Back squat: 60k x 10, 80k x 5, 80k x 5, 80k x 5
Squat circuit: 25 body weight squats, 25 prison, 25 on balls of feet, 25 holding 20k plate
10 squat jumps

Snatch: 10 per side @22.5k
Bicep: 20k x 40

Wednesday 25th
Boot run to Atlantic Drive and back, 25 minutes
Ki and isometrics in evening

5 minute bike ride
mobility warm up
Press ups: 20 (was thinking, oh, I've clearly quite tired, maybe deadlift isn't a good idea...)

Indy clean 22.5k@ 5 per side, then 3 x  sec 3 isometric holds, then 3 per side for indy clean

Deadlift proper: 70k x 5 (flew up), 110k x 3, 140k x 3 (over/under grip), 160k x 3, 170k x 2, 177k x 1 (grip really failing), 177.5k x 1, 140k x 6

Bent over rows: 70k x 10, 70k x 8, 75k x 6 (tired)

Clean with barbell: 70k x 5, 3

Clean and press: 22.5 k x 5 per side
Lateral raises: 10k x 12, 12, 10
Over head press (indy): 2x10k x 10, 2x12.5k x 8, 2x15k x 5
Bicep: 20k x 30, 15
Tricep pull down: 15k x 12, 20k x 7, 25k x 5

All in all a good week, good progress, good gains.  And cardio is maintained, so we shall see how next week goes when I get back on the mat. 

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Doo doo doo

Part of me does wish that I wasn't in Ireland.  I'm missing the Crossing the Pond Seminar and it looks so damn good.  Ah well, such is life.  Another part of me is very glad that I'm here, chilling with my folks and watching as Dad gets better and better. 

Well, after Sunday's amazing weather, yesterday was terrible!  Wind and rain and more rain and then some more rain.  No let up at all.  I sat around the house and watched Sons of Anarchy, which is an incredible show. 

I waited till the evening, then stretched a little and did the 350 work out, which is the same as the 300 work out, only you do 35 reps as opposed to 30.  Clever, huh?  I changed some things around too, swapping Hindu press ups for dips and then dips for step ups.  Time was 11:53.7, not too bad, but my oh my did I feel all those press ups.

Today I gardened for a bit, collecting in all the onions Dad planted.  There's loads, enough to keep the entire village in onions for the rest of the year.  And shallots, and red onions and, well, some other things.  He's also experimenting with the best type of potato to grow at different times of the year; I never even knew that there were different types for different parts of the year.

Training wise I got myself to the gym and did the following:

Pull ups (at gran's) 11

Mobility warm up

Press ups: 40

Bench press: bar x 15, 70k x 5 fast, 70k x 5 slow, 80k x 5 f, 80k x 4 s, 90k x 4 f, 90k x 3 s, 100k x 2,
110k x 1, 110k x 1, 110k x 1

 Front Squat: Bar x 8, 70k x 3, 70k x 3 70k x 3 wrists sore
[20 normal body weight squats, 20 prison squats, 20 squats hugging 25k weight] x 3, minimal rest between sets

Independent clean and press: 22.5k x 5per side
Independent snatch: 22.5k x 8 per side

Bicep curl: 20k, 21 protocol, 60 reps.

I dunno what it is about my biceps but I just can't get any DOMS in them these days.  Tomorrow I reckon I'll go for a jog, maybe 5 mile or so, we'll see.  My calves are still tender from that beach run. 

Sunday, 15 August 2010


My calves are aching again, but there you go.

Right, what have I been up to?

Well, Friday I took the dogs for another rambling walk across the moors and later went to grannys and did 10 pull ups and then 8

Saturday I went for a long walk with the dogs and came back and went to the gym.  I do love the Mulranny gym, hardly anyone uses it so I get to do pretty much whatever I want.

Isn't it great?


Warm up was mobility

Press up: 30

Warm up: Isometric lift 3 x 3sec
22.5k One arm snatch x 3
Main lift:
70k x 5, 110k x 3, 130k x 3, isometric lift, 140k x 2 (grip was going on right hand because of little finger), 160k x 1, 170k x 1, 170k x 1, 177.5k x 1, 177.5k miss (damn right hand), 177.5k x 1 (to knees), damn right hand's little finger just wasn't working, 140k x 5

Bent over row - 70k x 8, 70k x 8, 70k x 8

Tricep extension: 20k x 4per side, 17.5k x 5 per side

Lat pull down: 45k x 10, 75k x 4, 75k x 4

Bicep curl- 20k x 45, 30, 21 (21 protocol)


Back a little stiff.  No bicep pain at all.  In fact, getting any pain in my biceps is pretty damn hard.  

Today went to the beach and ran 3.75 miles according to  Bless it.  Did some fartlek training and went from jog to middle speed to sprint over the course of the, uh, course.  Calves sore now as tried to stay on them all the way.  They've done up the kid's play area and have put in a nice basketball court.  I used the hoop's support for pull ups and did 8, then 6 Up/downs, then 6 pull ups.  Not bad. Forearms sore from yesterday.  All in all a good weekend.  

Tomorrow I'll probably do the 300 workout, only shift it up to 350!  

Thursday, 12 August 2010


My calves have ached today, and it's an ache that has slowly increased.  Which is good, in its way, as my calves can take a hell of a pounding and recover quickly, so my run yesterday was clearly hard on them, and I managed to keep myself on the balls of my feet the whole way, which is good.

Today I decided to take myself to the gym in Mulranny for some weights and some sauna time.  Now, last time I was there, the gym was a bunch of cardio equipment, some free weights (but not too many, and dumbbells only), some bands and a bunch of machines.  I walked in there today and to my shock there were no free weights, just machines.  Oh, I thought to myself, a variation of the 300 work out it was to be...

I warmed up by doing 5 minutes on the cross trainer, then wanted a drink and went looking for the drink fountain.  And then I found it: the pool/snooker room.  They'd converted it.  Converted it into a weights room!  Bench, squat rack, 170k of weight... Oh yeah.  I was so happy. Here's what I did:

Press up: 35

Bench: Bar x 15, 60k (explosive) x 6, 60k (slow) x 5, 70k (e) x 5, 70k (s) x 5, 80k (e) x 4, 80k (s) x 3

Press ups: 6

Front squat
Deep squat held for over a minute (easy too)
Bar x 5, 40k x 5, 50k x 5, 60k x 3, 70k x 3  My wrists were going so I backed off.

Press ups: 25

Independent overhead press from floor: 22.5k x 5, 5, 5 each arm
Independent snatch from floor: 22.5k x 6, 6, 6 each arm

Press ups: 15

Bicep curl, 22.5k each arm: 8 reps, then 100 band curls.  Then 5 reps and 100 band curls

Press ups: 15

Later in the day I did 9 Pull ups and walked the dogs for a bit with some jogging.  All in all a damn good day. Was hoping to watch the meteorite showers tonight but the weather being the way it is, all I can see it cloud :(

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


My dad's out of hospital! whoop!

Didn't actually realise how worried I was till he got the all clear.

Training wise...

Visited gran in the morning and did 8 pull ups

Picked up dad

Did 4.62 miles cross country in the afternoon with some nice hill climbs.  Popped into gran on the way back, did another 8 pull ups and then got back to my parent's house.  All within an hour. Not sure on an accurate time... but it seemed fairly fast and I was in the zone.  A few more like that and 10 miles won't seem so bad.