Mindset is everything – continued

After a shooting class I wrote about how mindset is everything. How it’s important to convey what you want to do (not what you don’t want).

When competition shooter BJ Norris reflected back on his performance at the 2008 US Steel Nationals, he found this exact same mindset approach helped his performance. Folks, it’s a real thing… mindset is everything.

I can even reflect back on my performance at work this past week. I’ve had so many other things in life going on that it’s been difficult to accomplish the tasks I’ve needed to complete. I found myself frustrated with all the things I hadn’t been able to do, and focusing on that merely accentuated my frustrations. I changed my mindset to focus on the things I wanted to do and viola… the things that needed to get done got done.

Focus on what to do.

Is Hand Placement Important?

Just finished a workout (Kuk Sool-based) in the front yard. I want to cool down before I hit the shower, so that gives me some time to write up something I observed during the workout.

Hand placement. Does it matter? 

Continue reading

Mixed Martial Arts Serendipity

Of course, in my world “mixed martial arts” combines something other than the “muay thai, wrestling, bjj” formula. 🙂

As I’ve mentioned before here and here, when it comes to shooting I need to back off my speed and improve my accuracy. At the dojang today we were emphasizing a similar thing: smoothness of movement. As the saying goes, “slow is smooth, smooth is fast”. I’ve been working on my handgun presentation, the “punch” I refer to in my AT-4 class writeup, and that’s all about slowing down, being smooth.

So it was nice that my work today at the dojang was also about backing off speed a bit and improving correctness and accuracy. It’s always a great thing in my book when different things in my life end up with overlaps like this. It’s a signal to me that I need to work on it in those realms, but also what else can I apply it to? How about just general living? To slow down a bit. Cruise on my motorcycle at 55 MPH… sure the speed limit is 70, but go at 55 and get techniques right and enjoy the scenery going by. Don’t rush around to various things, just mellow out with the kids around the house. Whatever.

Slow down. Smooth things out. Do things correctly. No one cares about the first one to get the wrong answer. All those things that I keep telling myself. Gotta work on them more. Heck, it’s worth it for me to remember Tao Te Ching #48.

Little things

I can’t remember where exactly I read this (and my Google-Fu is weak tonight), but I’m pretty sure it was either in Suzi’s blog or Ron’s blog. S or R was talking about little things and how wonderful they were. That time together didn’t have to mean going out on some extravagant date. One was saying how the other needed to go down to the corner store to put gas in the car and asked to go with. Sure it wasn’t an extravagant date, but it was time together. 

I shared that with The Wife and since then we’ve been doing little things like that. Walk down to the mailbox with each other. Walk around the block. Run a quick errand. Whatever works. We’re even doing it with the kids, Oldest, Middle, and Youngest. I need to run to the store, go with me. I need to fix the sink, come watch. You’re reading your book? I’m reading my book. Come sit next to me and let’s read together.

Sometimes lots of little things adds up to more than just a few large things, y’know?

On abortion and freedom

I was reading this article this morning that motivated me to finally write on this matter. But it’s a matter that’s been on my mind for some time. I’m not writing on this being a moral or religious issue for me, but rather an issue of freedom.

You see, I used to believe in being “pro-choice,” and in some regards I still do. There is no eliminating abortion from society, so keeping it safe is better than letting it go illegal. Of course, perhaps if it was illegal it might stave things off, but look at how our “War Against Drugs” is working and you’ll realize that being illegal doesn’t really stop things and instead can create a whole host of other problems. But whereas someone consuming drugs ultimately only affects themselves, abortion does directly affect someone else: that unborn child, even if at the time of the abortion it’s little more than a clump of cells. And thus, I still have a lot of inner debate about the issue. There’s moral conflicts, Libertarian conflicts, legal issues, ideal issues, practical issues….

But one thing I can see clearly is infringement upon freedom: this so-called “Freedom of Choice Act”. I fail to see where there’s any freedom of choice. If a doctor is forced to give an abortion on-demand, where is there any freedom of choice for that doctor? If a hospital is forced to provide services that go against their moral and religious backing (many hospitals have religious affiliation) and if they refuse to provide abortion services they lose Federal money and thus can no longer operate and serve the greater community… where is the freedom of choice in that, not only for the hospital but for the larger community now without a hospital? If you as a taxpayer now must fund an activity you find wrong, because you cannot choose to not pay your taxes nor how your tax money is spent, where is the freedom of choice in that?

Freedom is something we must give to others if we wish it for ourselves.

To take freedom from one to allow freedom for another, that is not true freedom. To force one against their moral grain for the benefit of another, that is not true freedom. To force one to subsidize another, that is not freedom. To use the force of law to inflict your beliefs upon the entire nation, that is not freedom. To grow the power of government, to allow it more control over my body, my conscience, my life, that is not freedom.

Folks, if you really want freedom of choice, make sure that what you work for will truly provide that. No, it won’t be easy, no it won’t be something quick to come up with, and yes we must come to accept that the choices of some may not be the same choices we would make for ourselves but those choices are theirs to make and they will receive the consequences (good or bad) of their choices. Freedom does require you to think and act self-less-ly, not selfishly. If you really want to live in world where you are free to choose in whatever you think, say, or do, make sure your efforts ensure others — especially those that stand in opposition to you — remain free as well. Anything less is not true freedom.

Ki Bohn Soo

Probably my favorite technique set in Kuk Sool is the first set: Ki Bohn Soo.

(You can turn down/off the sound if you wish… you’ll only lose the 70’s disco soundtrack).

While it’s a set learned at white belt, you have to remember the translation: Fundamental/Foundational Techniques. These 15 techniques are designed to teach basic principles: of body mechanics (how your opponent’s body does and doesn’t work), body positioning (where to place your body relative to your opponent), balance (keeping yours, disrupting your opponent’s). It also teaches you basics of how to move, and even basic gross motions that with repetition can just come to you when you need it. No they’re not necessarily techinques for street fighting, but knowing them well can help you out (when I do pressure/aliveness drills from a standing position, I find myself utilizing #9 quite often). And in theory, being the first set you learn they’ll be the motions that you do more than any other. This is what foundations are all about, and Ki Bohn Soo gives you that solid foundation.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, all the advanced cool flashy stuff in anything you do is nice, but if you don’t have fundamentals, the flash is worthless. I’d rather spend my time working to master fundamentals than doing really advanced and difficult but marginally useful stuff.

One thing that’s nice about this particular video is the man performing the techniques is SUH In Hyuk, founder of Kuk Sool Won. Point being, high level accomplished individual. I enjoy watching high level accomplished folks performing fundamentals because it helps you get better at the fundamentals. Watch this video now. Go practice, go to class and learn more. In a year, come back and watch the video again and I’m sure you’ll catch subtle things that you were unaware of before. Watch the video again in 5 years, and again you’ll catch subtle things that you missed before. And if this improves your fundamentals, if it strengthens your foundation, everything built on top of that will get stronger.

Ki Cho Hyung

For those not familiar with Kuk Sool, the first form you learn (at white belt) is called Ki Cho Hyung which is “Foundational Form”; it’s not an easy form, but one that lays the foundation for all that you will learn in studying Kuk Sool.

I like this video because here you have a high ranking Master, SUH Sung Jin (8th degree black belt), performing Ki Cho Hyung (first part of the video). While certainly the performance is stylized for demonstration purposes, there’s still much to learn from watching it. While it’s always neat to watch high level people perform high level things, there’s something educational about seeing high level people perform beginner things. No matter how far along we go in studying anything, in the end the fundamentals are what it’s all about and without them all the high level stuff really doesn’t matter.

Updated: Yea! Someone reposted THE video of KJN SUH Sung Jin performing Ki Cho Hyung.

Yes, it’s a bit slow, a little stylized, but it’s being demonstrated to show proper form and movement.

The Tao of Programming

While there are pretty HTML versions out there, I think there’s something about plain ASCII text that’s more appropriate.

Such is my world, in a nutshell

Update: There are also the Unix Koans of Master Foo.

Tao Te Ching #48

In pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.
Less and less do you need to force things,
until finally you arrive at non-action.
When nothing is done,
nothing is left undone.

True mastery can be gained
by letting things go their own way.
It can’t be gained by interfering.

Translation by Stephen Mitchel.

As a software engineer, I understand that “simple” and “easy” are not the same thing; in fact, usually to arrive at simple is very difficult. Antoine de Saint-Exupery said:

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

We live our lives striving for more, collecting more, gathering more. Bigger, better, faster, more. Then how often do we step back and look at what we’ve amassed and feel overwhelmed and wonder how did we get here? Be it the amount of stuff in our houses, or the number of things we do in our lives, our constant running around and “having no time” and “being so busy”.

Strip away, discard. You’ll discover what’s extraneous, you’ll retain what is necessary. The simpler life becomes (or perhaps think of it as the less complicated you make your life), the more we can enjoy it.