Another self-imposed mini-gasshuku

Unfortunately, the gashuku that I was so yearning for was postponed for this year. In lieu of the much-needed training, my friend and I committed to meeting in a local park, practicing taiji and going for runs together (sometimes joined by another member of the dojo). Every morning last week we met at 6:30 or 7am and practiced the form and its applications, as well as going for a run around the lake (between 1.6-4.8km depending on how many laps we did).


The first morning was fantastic – my body felt fine, and I felt utterly invigorated by the early morning air and bright light. There ducks and moor hens and ibises and so many people walking their dogs, it was hard not to enjoy the atmosphere. The second morning was a bit harder – my legs (so generous the day before) had cramped up pretty badly from the running I hadn’t done in a year.  I tried not to complain about them, but it was hard for me not to share my pain with others. They continued to carry me despite their protests, and the third morning was a little easier, and by Friday they weren’t hurting at all. I realised that at some stage during the week my default setting had become “tired and sore”, and so I lost the urge to complain. It was tremendously liberating not to feel the need to draw attention to how hard things were for me, because that was just what life was like, nothing extraordinary about it. I realised that sometimes it’s good not to be too comfortable.


That initial week of training having passed, I’ve resolved to continue, at least for a little while. I have to say, I’m a bit addicted to that rush of endorphins when I’m flying through the park at a full sprint, the wind in my hair, the sun on my face, the air fresh in my lungs. It feels like being alive. And that is a wonderful thing. I’ve discovered it’s much more enjoyable to run with company, because running by myself allows you to focus more fully on how sore and tired I feel, and how maybe I don’t need to run that extra lap, and how annoying the bugs are in my face and so forth. Zombies, Run! certainly helps, but nothing beats company.


I don’t know how long I’ll keep up my schedule – I think the lack of sleep is starting to affect me a little more than I realised – but I’m enjoying it for the moment so I’ll keep at it. If you ever feel like joining me, meet me at Tomato Lake at 6:30am. Don’t be square!

Zombie Running and Intensive Training Camp

So firstly, my brother and I went for our first zombie run this morning. I’d been looking forward to it since I found out about the app, and with great excitement we started getting ready. Unfortunately though, the Android phones aren’t able to download it until mid-June! Originally we were planning on just getting two phones, two apps, two head sets, and starting at the same time. Stuck with one, we decided to use my FM transmitter to a portable radio. We had to buy a new radio because Dad’s old one is pretty crap. I was reluctant to spend more money for no good reason, but the new radio worked amazingly well- crisp and loud and accurate. So off we went! The options are a half hour run or a full hour run, with or without incoming zombie hordes chasing you (forcing you to pick up the pace for up to a minute at a time). It was really good!  We couldn’t always hear the transmissions because of the poor transmitter, but for the most part it was quite magical carrying a radio as your only method of receiving instructions from “base”, yelling directions at you to shelter, pick up supplies for the township and dodge proximal hordes. And, it seems, there’s a fairly interesting story running behind the scenes- there’s something more sinister than just surviving. I’m looking forward to going for more runs!

Which leads me to my next point. The Academy of Traditional Fighting Arts is hosting an intensive training weekend this Frinight, Saturday and Sunday. Training eight hours a day, just like the gashuku. Unfortunately, I won’t be going because I promised Bethwyn we would go to a Shaun Tan exhibit. I don’t normally remember the dates of things- I just write them on my calendar and see what’s coming up over the next few days, so I didn’t realise I had double-booked until it was too late. Shaun Tan should be amazing, but I still mourn not joining the boys in their training. As I was busy mourning, I jokingly suggested that I’d hold my own gashuku. And then I realised I totally could! I asked Bethi if it were all right if I spent the weekend training, and she mostly said yes, so it’s on! Here’s my planned schedule, though knowing life it will not look very much like this at all.


5:45 – Get up! Fruit, ablutions, dressed

6:00 – Taiji

6:30 – Half hour joggle, interspersed with sprinting

8:00 – Cold shower, breakfast, meditation, tea and reading Bubishi

9:30 – Pick up photos with Beth

11:00 – Basics:

  • Shikodachi:
    100 double punches
    100 age uke
    100 chudan uke
    100 soto uke
    100 gedan uke
  • Zenkutsudachi:
    200 maegeri
    200 mawashigeri
    200 reverse mawashigeri (hook kicks)
    200 yokogeri
    200 ushirogeri
  • Neko ashidachi:
    100 mawashi uke + toga guchi
    100 hiki uke
    200 hiki uke + maegeri + gyaku zuki + hiki uke
    100 shuto uke

1:00 – Lunch!

2:15 – Conditioning: Knuckle push-ups, Okinawan push-ups, jumping push-ups, dips, pull-ups, ab blasters, bicycle crunches, little kicks, reverse crunches, bridge, squats, lunges, frog hops, spidermans and anything else I can think of.

3:00 – Yoga, cool-down.

3:15 – Hot shower, more fruit, get ready for Shaun Tan

7:30 – Dinner

10:30 – Bed


5:45 – Get up! More fruit, more ablutions

6:00 – Taiji

6:30 – Joggle and sprint

8:00 – Cold shower, breakfast, meditation, tea, reading

9:30 – Kata:
80 Fukyugata (ichi, ni, embu)
70 Gekisai dai (ichi, ni, embu) 
60 Saifa (kata, embu)
50 Naifunchin/naihanchi
40 Seiunchin
30 Sanchin (miyagi style)
20 Feng quan 1
10 – Sanchin (Higaonna style)

?:?? – Lunch!

2:00 – Conditioning. More knuckle push-ups, Okinawan push-ups, jumping push-ups, dips, pull-ups, ab blasters, bicycle crunches, little kicks, reverse crunches, bridge, squats, lunges, frog hops, spidermans and anything else I can think of.

2:45 – Cold shower, fruit.

3:15 – Head to Mugai Ryu

6:30 – Home. Hot shower! Dinner! Sleep!

No matter how badly life interferes, I aspire to never give up. At no point during the weekend will I allow myself to think the words “Okay, that’s enough, I can rest now” unless I’ve damn well completed each of the tasks. If I set myself fifty push-ups, I’ll do fifty push-ups, even if I have to stagger them. All up, it should be about five hours training on Saturday, eight hours training on Sunday. Ouss!