You want me to kick that target after spinning how many times? Are you freaking kidding me?

Taekwondo was discouraging. I'll explain why.

In some ways, coming back to Taekwondo was like starting afresh. You start at this place of "I suck". (just go with me here) You look around at everybody else and see how amazing they are, and you think to yourself, "boy, I really need to work harder."

So you work harder. You start to improve. You like that, so you work even harder. You continue to improve. Things start feeling good. You start to feel like you're getting it. You're excited, because you feel like you're accomplishing something. You're progressing. You even start to feel like you're good at it.

Your instructors notice. They decide to push you harder.

And you go straight back to "I suck." The instructors ask you to do more, to do harder things, to do things you've NEVER done before. The others around you start looking like giants again--like they can do things that you can never, ever, ever do. Your instructors ask you to perform, and you feel like it is an impossible task. You feel like you suck.

Now, the response to this is...that's right--work harder. But after getting to that point of "man, I feel great, I'm so on top of this shiz," it's pretty hard to go back to feeling like a wreck again. Don't worry--I'm going to get back on the horse and work harder again. But tonight I just want to wallow for a little while.

Tomorrow...I'll get back to trying Nadabon (spinning roundhouse kick)-->360* jump spinning hook kicks.



I read a blog post just now where the writer said, "I don't normally wax nostalgic, but it happened the other day."

There are a set of specific things that, without fail, will lay nostalgic claims upon me. There are times of year that are particularly rife with these nostalgic moments--particularly the late spring and the early fall.

This time of year just gets me. It's the mystical time of Back to School. The nostalgia is so much worse, not being in school. I miss it, I do. Right now, I can't help but think to myself, "Maybe I could back, to study...something..." I have loved school my entire life. I wonder if that craving will ever entirely leave me.

But even more so, I just love the fall. It is without a doubt my favorite season of the year. I love the crispness in the air, the mystery of the evenings, the crunch of dry leaves, the color of those selfsame leaves upon the mountainside, the feeling of the holidays approaching, the feeling of infinite capacity that overcomes me.

I love autumn colors. I think I would love to be married in the fall--early enough so I could still have an outdoor reception, but still with those rich and glorious colors. Rust and scarlet, the beautiful oranges that are just rich enough not to be Halloween-y and garish, the goldenrod-yellows and the deep, glorious browns. Fall colors sing to me.


Japanese night

I love sushi. Can I just tell you? I think sushi is one of the most delectable foods I have ever eaten. There is such a wonderful combination of taste and texture that I just delight to experience.

Last night was a pleasant evening spent with friends. After work, I went to the Mt. Timpanogos temple to do baptisms for the dead, as I do on most Wednesdays. Usually, they whip me in and out of there in under an hour. But last night, I got stuck behind two youth groups...so it took much longer than usual. Alas! So I was late to sushi night, but that's okay.

We gathered at Sushi Ya's, which is on south State Street in Orem right next to the bowling alley. It's our all-around favorite sushi place. My new favorite of the evening was the "hybrid roll". Don't ask me what was in it, I don't remember. But it was delicious!

It's funny, because a couple of my friends kept rushing through the orders, trying to get the next round ordered quickly. I can't quite blame them, they've been practically fasting for three days, so they were hungry! However, it's not really my style. Going out to dinner, especially somewhere more fancy than usual, I just like to relax, eat slowly, and enjoy the company. A good meal, particular something outside the usual, should be savored.

Anyhow, then we retired to Jameson's brother's house to watch Kenshin. Now, I hope that you realize, dear reader, that I have a great deal of innate nerdiness. Sometimes I try to disguise it--sometimes I don't. This is just one of these things that I can't help but enjoy. "Rurouni Kenshin" is a Japanese anime about a wandering samurai in 19th century Japan. The hero, Kenshin, was an assassin during a revolution ten years prior, but has since given up murder and resolved to lead a peaceful life. The very best episodes of the series (in my opinion) are the episodes that show Kenshin on the verge of breaking and reverting to his old self. He hovers on that brink in a couple of key episodes, and they're easily the best fight scenes.

At least I own up to my nerdiness, guys. And as I'm currently writing a martial arts novel, I view it as research and inspiration. ;)


A better lifestyle

My taekwondo master always encourages us to strive to be our best possible selves. Today during meditation, we repeated to ourselves the mantra, 'it's amazing being me.' I am trying to take these lessons to heart, and I am striving to improve my life and my lifestyle. It is a constant work in progress. But as they say, writing down goals helps me achieve them. So here are a few of the changes I am making.

First of all, I'm eating better. I've started adding a lot more fruits and vegetables to my diet, and cutting out the processed foods. This is huge! Real food does take more time to prepare, but I think that time is worth the good health and how much better I feel about myself. Also, and this is VERY hard for me, I'm trying to cut out more sugar. Very hard for me. But I'm trying. Maybe I'll set more specific goals soon.

The next step is my cross-training. Of course, I do taekwondo, which I love, but I'm only there a few hours each week. So I'm cross-training. Right now its cycling, because it's helping me to strengthen my bad knee. My goal right now is 30 minutes three times a week. So far I've only been managing one or two times a week, but I am going to improve.

Thirdly, I'm just trying to be more active. I spend FAR too much time parked in front of the boob tube, and I'm trying to cut back on that. Whether its my cycling, or walking, or practicing TKD in the living room, I'm striving to be more active all the time.

All these things work together to improve the quality of life. I'm far from perfect, and I have a VAST amount of improvement lying before me. But I DO feel better, and better about myself.

I challenge you to make a goal this week that will help you to be better in some way! Let me know how it goes. :)


Updates on The Oddity

The FSA National Conference was fantastic! I had a wonderful time, as an attendee and as something of an event manager. I enjoyed in equal measure the classes for my own sake, as well as ensuring everything happened the way it was supposed to. But that's just me! For the longest summary EVER, please visit my other blog.

So now it's back to life, though with a few changes here and there.

The biggest such change is that I'm going to be teaching Taekwondo this fall. I've been given one class so far, an "all-ranks" childrens class on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I got to visit that class for a few minutes on Tuesday, and it was fun. The kids seem to have a lot of energy, and they were excited to be there. I hope that I'll be a good teacher for them! I've never taught a childrens class before, so it will be an adventure!

In case you didn't know, I'm working toward my second degree black belt, which I am going to test for in January. That may seem far off to YOU, but for ME, it's coming up mighty fast! I'm still very out of shape, and it's going to take a lot of work to get in shape, as well as to learn and prepare everything I will need to test. Adventures!

As far as the works of me and my Muse, things move slowly. My co-authorship with Sam is still plugging along. I find myself frequently distracted, and it's difficult to focus long enough to be honestly productive. I seriously need a getaway, just for writing. But lacking that, I just plug along as best I can. (Still in love with Google Docs, by the way.)

Life is good. I'm busy, which is the best way to be. I'm happy with the things that I'm doing. Onward, ever onward!