Monthly Archives: August 2011

Wednesday Training, 8.24.11

For my the afternoon training with my friend Travis, we warmed-up with 10-min of Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15 style. For kettlebell training, we repeated the Swing/ Get Up Descending Ladder we’ve been doing on Wednesdays:

25 Swings/ 20 Swings/ 15 Swings

3 Get Ups/ 2 Get Ups/ 1 Get Up

Except you’ll repeat each Swing rep set twice, like this: 25 Swings, 3 Get Ups on the right side, 25 Swings,  Get Ups on the left, 20 Swings, 2 Get Ups right, etc.

We added a few sets of Jungle Gym Rows and Dips into the mix, as well as Military Presses with the TNT Cables.

At the end of the workout we did 10-min of yoga.

I’m enjoying these Wednesday Swings and Get Ups workouts. After just three weeks, I feel as if my Get Ups have improved. It’s amazing how much your heart rate goes up from an exercise you perform so slowly!

Monday Training, 8.22.11

In the afternoon I trained with my friend Travis. We did our usual warm-up of Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15 for 10-min. Then we moved on to Kettlebell Clean & Presses, 15/15 for 12-min, followed by KB Swings, 30/30 for 12-min. In between Kettlebell work we did Chin-Ups on the Jungle Gym. I did 3 sets of 10.

We ended the session with 10-min of yoga.

Finding Real Life Inspiration from Fictional Heroes, Part Two

I recently wrote about being inspired by fictional heroes. In this post, I’ll take a look at some of my own sources of inspiration from films and television.

Caveat: The N0-Atticus RuleAtticus Finch is one of the most inspiring characters in fiction. However, my website is primarily about fitness and martial arts, so for the sake of simplicity I’ll be focusing on fictional heroes who inspire physical greatness.

Films

Casino Royale (2006)

I’ve been a James Bond fan since my early teens, but this film in particular had a big influence on me. In my previous post, I mentioned all the people who “Googled ‘Daniel Craig workout’” after  Casino Royale inspired them to get into better shape. I was certainly among them. What I found was a short article by Craig’s trainer, Simon Waterson. According to Waterson, to get fit enough to be the new 007, Daniel Craig did quite a bit of bodyweight work. Specifically, lots of Dips, Pull-Ups, and Push-Ups.

By this point in my life I was pretty much fed up with the whole gym scene, so the idea of getting into shape using mostly my own body was very appealing. I quit the gym and started training outdoors, concentrating on running along with Dips, Pull-Ups, and Push-Ups. It worked, and along with some major changes to my diet, I dropped my body fat by nearly half in 18 months.

I should also note that it was nice to see James Bond use some good fighting moves. Check out the great fight in the staircase. BJJ fans will surely note 007 of a rather fatal Rear Naked Choke. He even has his hooks in!

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The Bourne Identity, 2002

I was very excited when I first heard about The Bourne Identity. The idea of an old-fashioned thriller directed by Doug Liman (who had already directed the excellent films Swingers and Go) and starring Matt Damon sounded very promising. And then I discovered that Damon would be training in the Filipino art of Kali for the role. That was just the icing on the cake!

While I had not trained in Kali myself at that point, I was very interested in the art based not only on what I had read but on some family history. My grandfather–a Marine saber champion–knew some Kali from his time fighting in the Pacific during World War II. He was taught by Filipino rebels working against Japan. Plus, the idea of swinging sticks around just sounded fun.

Then when I actually saw Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne in action, I knew this was what I wanted to pursue. The mixture of Kali, Boxing, and Jeet Kun Do looked practical, efficient, and (I must admit) cool. After all, the fight scene in Bourne’s Paris apartment is far and away my favorite fight scene in any film.

When I finally got serious about martial arts training, I specifically looked for a school that would incorporate some Filipino martial arts as part of the curriculum. I ended up finding Burton Richardson’s JKD Unlimited and Battlefield Kali,  which utilized not only Kali but also kickboxing, grappling, etc. I started training with Burton back in 2002 and haven’t looked back. Not only am I still a student of Burton’s, but I’m one of his instructors as well.

And all in part because of Jason Bourne. No wonder I still sometimes listen to Moby’s “Extreme Ways” on the way to train!

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Miami Vice (2006)

This is sort of a dark horse choice. Not many people seemed to like this film. As a big fan of both the original ’80s TV show and of director Michael Mann, I loved it.

It terms of inspiration, I really liked how both Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell–not actors best known for their action roles–both got into top shape to be the new Crockett and Tubbs. Plus, Michael Mann made sure they got realistic training in assorted combat techniques, as can be seen in this video by trainer Mick Gould:

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Full Contact (1992)

Probably the most obscure film on this list. In all due respect to John Woo and Jackie Chan, Ringo Lam’s Full Contact is far and away my favorite Hong Kong flick.

If you’ve seen Lee Marvin on Point Blank or Mel Gibson in Payback, this movie will seem familiar to you. Chow Yun Fat plays a Harley-riding crook out for revenge on those who betrayed him and left him for dead.

While there’s much I love about this movie–great supporting cast, awesome actions scenes, etc.–what earns Full Contact a place on this list is the short but cool montage showing Chow Yun Fat getting into shape and training himself to go wreak vengeance on his enemies:

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The Crow (1994)

Lots of people love this film. I’m not one of them. While it has some great scenes, a fantastic soundtrack, and a classic performance by the late Brandon Lee, I just felt the overall movie had some serious flaws. The screenplay in particular could have used some work.

So why is it on this list? Simple: As  slender, sensitive guy with Goth tendencies, I loved seeing another slender, sensitive guy with Goth tendencies kick some serious butt.

And to this day I find Stone Temple Pilot’s “Big Empty” a great song to listen to on a rainy night, driving home from a hard evening of training.

There are no doubt other films I could list, but these are sort of the “Big 5.” What are yours?

In Part Three of this series I’ll look at some of my own sources of fictional inspiration from books.

Friday Training, 8.19.11

In the afternoon I worked-out with my friend Travis. Warmed-up with Hindu Squats and Push-ups, 15/15 for 10-min.

Next: Long Cycle Kettlebell Clean & Jerks for 16-min, switching hands every 5-reps. For KB Swings, we aimed to do 4-min nonstop, but each of us ended up taking two very short breaks. In between the different circuits we squeezed in some Body Rows on the Jungle Gym, as well as a few Military Presses using the TNT Cables.

We finished our session with 10-min of yoga.

Wednesday Training, 8.18.11

In the morning I went to the beach and did about 10-min of yoga. I finished with a 400m ocean swim.

In the afternoon I trained with my friend Travis. We warmed-up with 10-min of Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15 style. For kettlebell training, we repeated the Swing/ Get Up Descending Ladder we did last Wednesday:

25 Swings/ 20 Swings/ 15 Swings

3 Get Ups/ 2 Get Ups/ 1 Get Up

Except you’ll repeat each Swing rep set twice, like this: 25 Swings, 3 Get Ups on the right side, 25 Swings,  Get Ups on the left, 20 Swings, 2 Get Ups right, etc.

We added a few sets of Jungle Gym Chin-Ups into the mix, doing them after finishing a round of Get Ups. I managed to crank out 4 sets of 10 Chins, which is a new personal best for me.

At the end of the workout we did 10-min of yoga. This is going to be standard practice from now on. It’s a great way to cool down after a session, as as Travis noted, the yoga at the end is like a treat after a hard work-out.

Finding Real Life Inspiration from Fictional Heroes, Part One

I admit it: I have some geekly fanboy tendencies. I’m not really an SF, fantasy, or superhero kind of guy. No, my passion is for well-done crime and thriller stuff, especially if there is an espionage element involved.

I’m not alone. We spend countless dollars on action films and thriller novels. But here’s the question: What do we get out of them besides entertainment?

Personally, I find fictional heroes to be good sources of inspiration. By serving as larger-than-life role models, they help me to focus on what aspects of the characters I like and want to in some way emulate.

Some people may dismiss looking to action heroes for personal inspiration hopelessly pathetic and dorky. These naysayers are all too willing to say “Who do you think you are? You’ll never be like [fill-in the blank].” And I will partially concede their point: You never will be just like your favorite fictional character. (Nor should you want to be; you are you!) But how about if you were just a little bit like your favorite fictional character?

Let’s say you’re a James Bond fan. I certainly am. Face it, you never will be James Bond. But you can be a little bit more Bond-like. Maybe, like me and all the others who Googled “Daniel Craig workout,” you watched Casino Royale and got inspired to get into better shape. Perhaps you are impressed with 007’s foreign language skills and decide to learn a second language. Or maybe you go back and read Ian Fleming’s original novels, learn that Bond trained in Judo, and find a dojo to train at. Getting into shape, learning a new language, and taking up Judo won’t turn you into James Bond. But perhaps you’ll be about 10 percent Bond, which is better than when you started. Isn’t that better than zero percent?

I also think fictional heroes serve as powerful visualization tools. We all know how important it is to use visualization to fuel success. Of course, if you really think about it, visualization is a form of fantasy, just like action movies and thriller novels. I once knew a mixed martial arts coach who told his fighters to imagine themselves as huge samurai, and to visualize cutting their opponents in half with a giant sword. This sort of thing works for all sorts of training, and since there are plenty of fictional heroes just floating around in your brain, why not enlist them to help you? Next time your running sprints, instead of just thinking, “Oh man, sprints are hard!,” imagine yourself as James Bond running down a terrorist, or Jason Bourne sprinting along Moroccan rooftops in The Bourne Untimatum. Going back to martial arts, I wonder how many professional fighters imagine themselves as Bruce Lee before stepping in to the ring.

The only real drawback to finding personal inspiration in fictional heroes are the naysayers I mentioned earlier. Luckily, there’s an easy way to deal with them: Keep it to yourself. If someone asks you why you started to train in Keysi, you don’t have to answer, “Because that’s what Christian Bale used as Batman and I’m a big Batman fan.” No, you can just say it looked like it might be fun and leave it at that. And keep in mind that those who would mock you for your source of inspiration might very well have no source of inspiration themselves.

I don’t recall who wrote this (I think it was Pavel Tsatsouline), but I once read something along the lines of “Some people watch The Bourne Identity and think ‘Kali looks cool… I’m going to find a place that teaches Kali. Others watch The Bourne Identity and think ‘Kali looks cool’ and grab a cheeseburger and sit down in front of the TV.”

Which are you?

In Part Two of this series I’ll look at some of my own sources of fictional inspiration from the movies.

Monday Training, 8.15.11

Started the day with some yoga on the beach followed by a 400m ocean swim.

In the afternoon I trained with my friend Travis. We did our usual warm-up of Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15 for 10-min. Then we moved on to Kettlebell Clean & Presses, 15/15 for 8-min, followed by KB Swings, 30/30 for 8-min. In between Kettlebell work we did Chin-Ups on the Jungle Gym. I did 3 sets of 10.

We ended the session with 10-min of yoga.