Mar. 18th, 2017 12:38 pm
przed: (bucky)
Apart from the whole Stucky obsession, the other thing keeping me busy these days is sports! And it's March madness, so time to bring out the icon for that other Bucky. (Though how awesome would a Winter Soldier Bucky Badger icon be? I wish I could still draw.)

The Wisconsin Badgers beat the Virginia Tech Hokies (and seriously, Virginia Tech, the Hokies?) on Thursday night, so they'll be playing Villanova this afternoon. Considering Villanova is a #1 seed, this could so south quickly. Or not.

I won't be watching the game live because I'll be taking Ros to her second last hockey practice of the season. Yay for the imminent end of the hockey season! Although also boo, because that means I've only got two of my hockey lessons left. I'm enjoying it rather more than I thought I would, though I still kinda suck. My goals were 1)stopping, 2) crossovers and 3) changing direction without stopping. I've got the stopping down, the right foot crossovers are coming but the left ones are still terrifying, and I can kinda go from backwards to forwards without stopping but not forwards to backwards.

I don't know that I ever want to play in a league (though scrimmages are actually fun now that my skating's a bit better and I finally splurged and got a properly fitted pair of skates), but I may sign up for lessons again next year.

My final sports news is that we finally got the pictures from our Taekwondo Black Belt Spectacular. My favourite is actually from the technical rehearsal of the self defence part of the ceremony, me kicking my partner, one of the fourth degree candidates:

A couple more pics below the cut )

I have unfortunately become one of those people who gets their black belt and then drastically cuts back on their training. Mostly because I tore my piriformis muscle (which is a little muscle behind your glute, so I officially have a pain in the butt) at a class in September and the stupid thing is taking forever to heal.
przed: (doyle fencing)
I've been stuck in a lot of long (very looonnnggg) meetings that didn't require much involvement from me this week (side benefit of being the documentation and training lead on a very big project that's just kicking off) which has inadvertently given me some time to mull over and write about our black belt ceremony.

This was to martial arts nattering )
przed: (tt ot5 puppy pile)
I am also extremely tired.

I'll write about the whole (fabulous! terrifying!) experience later, but for now I thought I'd mention that the video of the event will be up for a few days here:

The whole thing is worth watching, but my musical form starts at 1h03m if you're curious about that.
przed: (doyle fencing)
Tomorrow (Sunday!) is the end of my black belt training cycle, the day I get my black belt.

Our school calls the ceremony the Black Belt Spectacular. All the candidates perform, doing forms and weapons and self defence techniques. And I'll be doing my musical form.

Curious what it looks like? You can watch it, because the school has arranged to have it live streamed here:

The performance is Sunday, June 12, 2:30 p.m. EST.

Hope some of you can take a look. At a guess, I think my musical forms is going to be 40 to 60 minutes in, and I'll be doing various other things with my group. And our instructors, demo team, and higher belts are going to be doing some spectacular demos.
przed: (doyle fencing)
I know, I disappear for ages, and then I post a ton in two days. But I got some cool news yesterday.

My musical form has been picked for the Black Belt Spectacular!

What that means in practical terms is I get to perform the form I choreographed in front of about 300 people.

Cool! And more than a little terrifying. And also, a huge honour. There were 24 of us doing black belts this year, from 14 first degrees to 3 fourth degrees, and there were about 10 of us picked to perform at the Spectacular. Really, they could have picked any of us; everyone's forms were great.

I think I got through by picking music that wasn't contemporary pop (I used the theme song from Once Upon a Time in China) and having a cool costume (black silk jacket with gold Chinese characters, flippy little black skirt and black leggings with gold laces up the side).
przed: (doyle fencing)
Now that I've recovered from the worst of the soreness, and have a wee bit of time, I thought I'd put up a bit of a post about the Power Weekend experience.

This way to martial arts madness! )
przed: (doyle fencing)
I have earned my black belt!

And I am more tired and sore than I can ever remember being.

More, once I have had time to recover and process.
przed: (doyle fencing)
Poking my head up briefly from packing to get ready for my Power Weekend black belt test.

I've survived the training, the pre-tests, and the 25 km walk (which I only did 15 km of in a bid not to blow out my knees ahead of the main event). I've bonded with my training mates, especially the other three women doing their first degrees. I've choreographed my musical form and put together a costume for it: black silk Chinese jacket, black footless tights with gold laces, and cute little flippy skirt. (Ros informed me that one of the rejected costumes, the jacket with a pair of blue starscape leggings, looked like something Mark Owen would wear. Which made me tempted to give it a go. *g*) I've learned all my open hand forms, my weapons forms (like the bo; still hate the nunchucks), and my self-defence moves (I just tested one on the Sweetie a little more vigorously than I should have, and hey, it worked!). I'm as ready as I'm going to be.

After this weekend, there are still five weeks of rehearsals for the Black Belt Spectacular where we all officially get our belts, but the most intense part of the training cycle will be over.

I'm excited and nervous and looking forward to the experience. And my mantra for the whole this is two words: NO INJURIES!

See you on the flip side!
przed: (doyle fencing)
Three Weeks, Friday, I'll be starting my Power Weekend Black Belt test. Where I'll get to do a lot of stuff like this:
Board Break 01 - Back Kick-small.jpg

And also see how much endurance I have. (The test starts Friday evening at 8 p.m., and ends Sunday morning around 9 a.m. I've been told not to expect much sleep in that time.)

A week this Friday, I'll be participating in the final day of our martial arts school's four day charity walk to Niagara Falls. The school's foundation supports a number of children's organizations in the Philippines, Guyana and our local neighbourhood.

If you'd like, you can sponsor me for the walk (I'm Pauline Z.), and find out more about it, at
przed: (bucky)
Last night was the Badger's Sweet Sixteen game against Notre Dame's Fighting Irish. It was a tight game, and the Badgers gave a great effort, but they fell apart a bit in the last few minutes. So, it's goodbye to Bucky Badger for another year. (Fortunately, it'll be hello to that other Bucky when Civil War opens in May. *g*)

In other news, after making a full recovery from the shoulder injury, I seem to have really buggered up my left knee. I did my usual three classes this week with no more than the usual knee issues, but yesterday when I woke up my knee felt a bit glitchy. Then we got in the car to make the three hour drive up to my mom's for the weekend, and by the time we arrived I could barely put any weight on my left leg.

Poking around on the internet and based on where the pain it, right below the kneecap, it seems likely that the knee pain I've had for ages has been "jumper's knee," and that I've finally done the tendon some serious damage. And thinking about the week, I suspect it happened when we were practice flying sidekicks ahead of breaking boards this Friday.

I'm hoping I can get this under control really soon. Because I'm supposed to be doing my last pre-black belt grading this Friday, and the final, weekend-long black belt test in six weeks.

przed: (bucky)
Poking my head up from black belt training for this year's edition of March Madness. The Badgers lost some of their key players from last year's Final Four team to graduation, so I wasn't sure how it would go. They were up against Pitt in a low-scoring, ugly game, but they managed to win, 47-43. So they'll have at least one more game on Sunday.

In other news, I'm down to the final weeks of training for the black belt. My shoulder has fully recovered. Now I'm just hoping my chronically creaky knees make it through to the end.

In five weeks, Ros and I are doing the dojang's* charity walk. The black belt candidates do an annual four day walk from Toronto to Niagara Falls in support of school programs in the Philippines, Guyana, and Toronto. Ros and I are doing the 25K final day.

In seven weeks, it's Power weekend. That's the final black belt test. You spend all weekend at the dojang, getting little to no sleep as they put you through the wringer, and it all ends in a 5K run on Sunday morning. (For the Pros fans amongst you, think a mini version of SAS selection.)

Before all that happens, I've realized that with the injury and general life stuff, I've fallen way behind in my thousand form. That's the form I'm supposed to do a thousand times before testing. I've run the numbers, and I've got to do the form 15 times a day for the next 49 days. And that's on top of practising all the other forms, keeping up my fitness training and running. Woo hoo.

The end is in sight, and that's a good thing. This is not the sort of pace I could maintain long term, and I fully intend to keel over at the end of it all. But in the meantime, all four of us middle-aged gals who are doing their first degrees are getting together for drinks in a couple of weeks to commiserate and bond.

*Dojang is the Korean version of dojo.


Feb. 13th, 2016 04:05 pm
przed: (person of interest h/c)
It's almost exactly two weeks since I injured my shoulder, and I'm finally almost completely pain free and have slept through the night for the last two nights.

The first week was a whole lot of not fun. I was only sleeping for two or three hours at a time before pain woke me up, so I had sleep deprivation on top of the injury. And while the first two days of watching unlimited TV was rather enjoyable, I started to quickly chafe at not being able to physically do much of anything. (Before he left for work, the Sweetie would cut me two pieces of bread for lunch because the mere thought of doing that myself was painful.)

I had to wait six days to get into the fracture clinic, where they just confirmed there was no fracture or dislocation and wrote me a script for physio. And then I couldn't get into my physio until this past Tuesday, but he was much more helpful. He's got me doing gentle exercises to keep the shoulder's mobility up, and then has one of their techs do laser and electricity treatments on the shoulder.

I made it back to work this week, and got back to my first Taekwando class last Saturday. The first class I mostly observed, but when we were put in groups to do forms, my group picked one of the easier forms and then they all did it one-handed with me in a show of solidarity, which was lovely of them.

It's the Family Day long weekend, and I'm taking it easy and giving the shoulder a last bit of complete rest before I try a more complete training schedule next week. The trick being doing enough to build up my shoulder strength again, but not so much that I irritate the injury.

But it is marvellous to be able to do things around the house without pain constantly making my check my movements.
przed: (bad day-doyle (base by lynnmonster))
Yesterday was the first serious test for my black belt: four hours, covering fitness, sparring, forms, weapons and self-defence. My main goals for the test were not mucking it up, and not getting injured.

I didn't quite manage that second goal.

It mostly went well. I got through the fitness section, did well in sparring (earning surprised respect from one of the younger whipper snapper black belts I managed to hold my own against), and did all my forms solidly with only a few glitches.

Then we got to self-defence, always my bĂȘte noire. They started us off with simple shoulder rolls from the ground. Which I shouldn't have even attempted. (I don't do break falls or take downs any more, since there's a high probably of a serious back or neck injury if I do.) But I was feeling cocky, and I thought "it's just a little shoulder roll. How bad can it be?"

Pretty bad, it turns out. Though not nearly as bad as it could have been.

I got out of alignment on the first roll, landed badly, and wrenched something in my shoulder. It took a while before they could get me up off the floor, and then one of our instructors taped up my arm so it wouldn't jar, one of the school's office staff escorted me to Emergency to have it checked out, and another instructor drove my car home.

The ER doctor was a bit taken aback at my x-ray (that shoulder got completely rebuilt when I was three, so even with no injury it's a bit of a mess) but he reckons it's a separated shoulder with an associated sprained ligament. They gave me a sling, and have referred me to the orthopaedic clinic at the hospital, who I've been assured will call within two days.

A quick search on the Mayo clinic site shows it's not the worst injury to have, and they mostly heal within 2 to 3 weeks as long as you haven't ruptured a ligament. But for a few days at least, I'm going to have to a lot one handed. (This is my first foray into typing, which isn't going too badly, but I wouldn't want to be on the computer for long.)

Hopefully, this has knocked the last of my stupid pride about not being able to do certain things during training. Rolls are now officially on the no fly list, along with all the other ground work stuff.

The one silver lining to this particular cloud is that I'm going to take a day or two off work to get to the point where moving wrong and sneezing don't cause eye-watering agony, and that means a couple of days of watching TV and movies. Which I haven't done in months! Yay for silver linings!
przed: (doyle fencing)
I keep thinking I should post an update (I've seen Spectre! And Take That have put out a ridiculous disco video!) but I've hardly had time to turn on my computer of late.

I've mentioned that I'm in the process of training for my black belt in Taekwando. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but it's more than I imagined, and I'm still not quite hitting all my weekly training goals.

Here's what I'm doing (or in some cases, supposed to be doing) every week:
  • Three regular, one hour classes (Tuesday Thursday at 6 a.m.; one evening that floats around)
  • One 90 minute black belt training class every Saturday at 6:45 a.m.
  • One two hour forms practice session every Sunday morning at 8
  • Running 10K (this is the thing I'm really having a challenge fitting in between work, Ros' activities, classes, and all the other TKD training I'm doing)
  • Practicing all forms as often as possible (I've got 7 regular forms and 2 weapons forms I'm supposed to know cold; I've got 6 of the 7, and have got a good start on the bo staff form, but nunchuks are never going to be my favourite thing)
  • Doing my thousand form (I've been assigned one form, Yul-Gok, which I have to do 1,000 times before my final grading in May
  • 100 sit ups, 20 min. of skipping, 50 knees up reps (I'm way over the sit ups and knees up, but need to up the skipping)
  • Volunteering at one kids class a week, and at the occasional event at the school

    I have, fortunately, been given a pass on the requirements for push ups and burpees. I irritated the osteoarthritis in my back this summer and all the instructors suggested I bail from the things that irritates it. I'm replacing them with wall pushups, tricep dips, side planks, and a very ugly, modified one-armed burpee. As a bonus for the training, my core strength is now awesome and the back pain I struggled with most of the summer and fall is now a thing of the past.

    What all this has meant is that I haven't been online, or even on my computer, much at all. By the time I've finished work, got Ros to and from her activities, made dinner, got Ros to bed, done laundry, and all the other stuff that needs doing, I'm pretty much baked. (And this even with the Sweetie earning his nickname by trading off on the Ros activities and dinner thing, picking up a huge amount of the stuff I don't have time for, and accommodating my training schedule.)

    I'm reading LJ on my phone, but haven't had the time to get on my computer to comment or post. (LJ's mobile app has eaten more than one post and comment on my, so I don't do much beside read on it.)

    I have grabbed 15 minute chunks of time for writing, but that's meant any writing is excruciatingly slow. Especially since the thing I'm working on in a heavily plotted and researched TT secret agent AU that just crossed 31K words and is heading in the direction of 40K. I am hoping, however, to write a treat or two for Yuletide, and maybe a Pros Christmas story. (I've got an idea for a manageably-sized Christmas story, so it's possible!)

    Which is all a very long-winded way of saying, if you don't see me around much, know that I'm still out here. And after next June, when I participate in our school's Black Belt Spectacular, I should be back more properly.
  • przed: (tt footie mark's feet)
    I've been struggling to find any time at all to get on the computer since we've been back from London. Either I'm constantly on the run, or I pass out as soon as Ros does. But I've finally got a few minutes, and I realized I'm behind on footie updates.

    There was a game while we were in London, and my former co-coach took that one over for us. She got a dad to help run the line-ups, a few more dads to put up the nets. (They're full-sized nets, now, and she's my height, so reaching the crossbar isn't even an option for either of us.) She said the girls played really well, and they held the other team to a draw, 1 - 1.

    Our first game back we played a team with three of our best players from our team two years ago. Both teams played really well and dug in. They scored first, then we tied them up, but they managed to score a final goal to win 2 - 1.

    And our game this week was against a team that was fast and, according to my girls, really pushy. But our girls held firm and managed to win 3 - 1. (It was nearly 3 - 2. They scored right at the end, but it turns out that time was already up and the ref's whistle just wasn't working.)

    There have been Taekwando developments as well.

    On Saturday, I attended the meeting to kick off the new black belt cycle. Looks like I'll be testing for my black belt next year. That means a serious commitment: four classes a week, including a 6:45 a.m. two hour class on Saturdays, extra training at home, running a certain mileage a week, and getting all the forms so I can do them in my sleep. I'm looking forward to it--I'll be training with a few of my friends at the club who are at the same point--but it's going to take a lot of indulgence from the Sweetie, since I'll be doing at least one evening class a week. And it's going to mean I have to really prioritize what I have time to do.

    I've been struggling, and failing to find time to write of late, and I've only managed to grab the occasional hour to watch any TV. Since I've got to be up early three days anyway for early classes, I've got a possible scheme which will allow for writing. I'm thinking of going to bed early, like right after Ros early, and then getting up around 5 every day. On the days I don't have Taekwando, that'll give me an hour of writing time before everyone else is awake.

    Of course, the problem with this scheme is that I'm a total night owl, and going to bed early is something I've never quite been able to manage. It also means that I'll mostly be swearing off TV for the coming year, which is annoying.

    Oh, and the fly in the ointment in all of this is my continued problems with anaphylaxis as a result of exercise. I'm going to try to gradually build up my running and see if I can train my body not to swell up when I do cardio.

    We shall see how it all goes...

    In further Taekwando news, Ros tested for her brown belt last night! She's now edging closer to black, and she's now considered a Masters student. Which means her classes are now an hour, and she gets to train with the cool weapons, like sais and kamas.

    It also means she'll likely be going for her black belt the year after I do, which means I'll probably end up doing two years for the Saturday black belt training sessions, because if I'm going to take Ros, I might as well do the training.

    Here's me with Ros after the belt ceremony )
    przed: (starsky & hutch)
    I have actually finished fic! I haven't managed to finish anything since July, and not much before that, so even though this is a short piece, it's a finished short piece.

    It's for the Starsky & Hutch Advent Calendar, so it won't be up until some time in December, but IT'S DONE!

    Next, I really have to get started on my Yuletide fic. I finally sat down with the Sweetie and watched the source material again (and once the reveal has happened I will definitely be pimping the source because it's fantastic) and I have the vaguest of ideas and one line. But I'm not sure who the line belongs to which, not surprisingly, is a huge problem. But I'm sure it'll start sorting itself out soon. I hope.

    In other news, I'd mentioned to the Sweetie that I might try to do a demented crossover of the two fandoms I matched with my recipient on, so he started riffing on the possibilities and came up with a really fun idea. I don't think it's quite substantial enough for the main story, but if I have enough time, I might do it as a treat.

    In non-fannish news, I'm going for my next Taekwando belt on Dec. 18, so today I did both the 6 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. classes. The plan is to keep that up every Tuesday for the next month. Both classes are tough in different ways, but I have to say I came out of the second one feeling mostly energetic.
    przed: (chinese snake character)
    One of the things taking my time lately has been Taekwando training. I figured I'd be doing my next grading in June, but three weeks ago one of our instructors informed me I'd be grading this month. At which point I freaked out, and then spent a lot of time making sure I knew all my forms.

    Tonight was the grading, and I actually did pretty good. I'm now a brown belt with black stripe, which puts me four belts from black.

    I'm feeling pretty good about my skill level, but now the new thing freaking me out is everyone at the school telling me I'll be going for my black belt next year. Ummm.... (Black belt training is pretty serious at this school. They expect you to do four classes a week for a year with extra training on the side, and it all culminates with the Power Weekend, where you stay at the school all weekend and they put you through the wringer.)

    But for now, I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to enjoy having got through another grading.

    A few more pics this way. )
    przed: (lawrence huzzah by crymeariver)
    After working especially hard on the Taekwando all summer and into this month, tonight was my belt grading for brown. I was a bit nervous, because this was the first official grading I've done with this school (since I kept getting sick or being away and missing gradings) but it turned out to be a blast.

    And now I'm a brown belt! Which is getting awfully close to black. Apparently this is the point where they really get you to up your game. But for now I'm just going to enjoy having made it this far.

    They always get a friend or family member to give you your belt, so here's Ros at the end of the night giving me mine.

    The Sweetie forgot to bring the good camera--after me reminding him, no I'm not bitter, it's fine, really, just fine--but he did get a couple of pics with the iPhone. This way to the pics )

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