Tuesday, August 14, 2007

This is the Card that myself and Mallee Sato (Greg Amundson's Fiancé) put together for Greg Amundson while he was away for 6-months of military training. Greg has been a dear friend, not only to myself, but to the CrossFit community as a whole, over the past many years. He regularly participated in my Wednesday night at 6:00 pm class ("Team-6 Baby!!!") and he really missed everyone in the class. So I had the idea to create a workout in his Honor and organize a large group of the consistent "Team-6" group to all do it and take a large group photo before and after and then make a giant card and have everyone sign it and have Mallee hand deliver it. This wouldn't have worked if everyone hadn't gotten together to do the workout and make it happen. It really was a group effort as it wouldn't have worked if everyone hadn't shown up and busted their ass to push through the workout. It took me many hours to actually cut/glue/write/tape/etc the card together to yield the final product, but it was well worth it. The end result was Greg being away from home and from CrossFit and from everything he loves and then getting a giant card signed by all the regulars in Team-6 with a workout designed specifically with him in mind, hand delivered by his Fiancé. ...He said it was the nicest thing anyone had ever done for him. Well Greg, how you felt in that moment when you got the card, well, ...that's kind of how you make all of us feel just having you in our lives as a friend.

As for the workout itself, well, Amundson truly loves the classic CrossFit couplets such as "Fran", "Diane", "Elizabeth", etc, so I wanted to capture a classic couplet (Fran) with a traditional CrossFit rep format (21-15-9), I also really wanted to capture the "flavor" of my Wednesday Night Class (Team-6 baby!!!), which is often "Heavy-at-high-heart-rate". I was oft laboring as to how best implement this and it wasn't until Ronnie Boose presented me with a rep format he created that truly allowed this workout to work and come together as I had envisioned. The Military has Amundson do a lot of running, so we just HAD to include a run! :) After all, we are doing this in his Honor. :) The rep format is simply breaking up the rounds into three segments, so the first round is 7-Thrusters, 7-Pull Ups, 7-Thrusters, 7-Pull Ups, 7-Thrusters, 7-Pull Ups. The second round is 5/5, 5/5, 5/5, and the third round is 3/3, 3/3, 3/3. An 800 Meter Run follows each round so the rounds are separated with the 800's. By "heavy", I mean heavier than Fran weight if possible, such as 135 or 155 for men, and 95 or more for women. Many of us have also raised our personal standards on pull-ups, choosing to "thud" our chest against the bar for every rep for as long as we are able.

So the workout is Heavy-Thrusters & Chest-To-Bar Pull-Ups at 7/7, 7/7, 7/7, followed by an 800 Meter Run, then 5/5, 5/5, 5/5 & 800 Meter Run, then 3/3, 3/3, 3/3 finishing with an 800 meter run. Also, ...since Amundson has to wear body-armor, a 20# weighted vest is preferred. :) The rep format is what really allows for heavier weight on the Thrusters and sustaining chest-to-bar on the pull-ups. 7 heavy thrusters is a lot more doable at a time than 21. LOL So instead of standing there staring at the bar you can instead do some explosive pull-ups. :) This workout also would have worked well with rope-climbs instead of pull-ups. (likely at 3/3/3, 2/2/2, 1/1/1)

Yes, this workout is savage and yes, as with all CrossFit workouts, it is totally scaleable. I had everyone use dumbbells due to logistics simply because it was such a large turnout for the tribute class.

Everyone in the class did such a great job. It was such an awesome class! A truly great group of people. They all put everything they had into the workout and left nothing behind. Zack Pine, Ronnie Boose and Dan Grant all wore 20# weighted vests for the workout too! Savage! :)

Overall, the whole experience was a great one for me as a Coach, and it wouldn't of happened if it weren't for the amazing people I have the opportunity to Coach every week in Team-6. I love you all.


The following for time;

7 Heavy Thrusters
7 Pull-Ups
7 Heavy Thrusters
7 Pull-Ups
7 Heavy Thrusters
7 Pull-Ups
800 Meter Run

5 Heavy Thrusters
5 Pull-Ups
5 Heavy Thrusters
5 Pull-Ups
5 Heavy Thrusters
5 Pull-Ups
800 Meter Run

3 Heavy Thrusters
3 Pull-Ups
3 Heavy Thrusters
3 Pull-Ups
3 Heavy Thrusters
3 Pull-Ups
800 Meter Run

*Pull-Ups are Chest-to-Bar
**20# Weighted Vest is preffered if able

Thank you everyone who participated and made this possible! :)
Left-to-Right from the first photo:

*First Row;
Matt Strickland
John Sheppard
Sam Radetski
Jama Stratton
Mallee Sato
Maggie Larson
Melissa Stroud
Kyle Bokariza
Samuel “Shark” Kahn

*Middle Row;
Mark Rosen
Ronnie Boose
Chriscilla “Cill” Adams

*Bottom Row;
Robin Boose
Heather Peterson
Mike Hom
Dan Grant
Nareen Kadekian
Zack Pine
Dylan Vandenburg

This is Dylan Vandenburg and Samuel “Shark” Kahn. I’ve had the opportunity to work with them in private training sessions over the past few months and have had a GREAT time doing so. I’ve known Shark for many years now as he and his parents have been involved with and doing CrossFit since before we ever had a website or our own facility. (If it weren’t for his parents we may well have never even had our own facility.) Anyway, over the past few months I’ve had the opportunity to work with Samuel and Dylan as private training clients. During that time I’ve gotten to know them both quite a bit more and have grown quite fond of them. They have great attitudes, are a lot of fun to work with, and just are genuinely great kids. They were both best friends with Blake Glassman (Coach’s son) growing up, before I helped the Glassman’s move to AZ. Dylan will be heading to New York for College soon, and Shark to Hawaii. Samuel “Shark” Kahn is a very talented and competitive sailor and has been a part of the Internationally competitive Pegasus-Sailing Racing Team for a long time. I’ve had a GREAT time working with them over the past few months and they have both been doing SO well and making consistent gains and improvements across the board, consistently getting PR’s in Weightlifting, Gymnastics and the CrossFit “Storms”. Just last night they did “FRAN” for the first time and they did legit kipping pullups and used the specified 95 lb barbell load for the Thrusters!!! Samuel got 6:19 and Dylan 8:02. Again, that was their FIRST TIME ever doing “Fran” and they did the whole thing as Rx’d! That was so fucking cool!--I was so stoked for them!!!

I’m really happy I’ve been able to work with them during the past few months as not only have I had a great time training them, but I have gotten to know them as friends and have grown quite fond of them.

...Between private clients and group-class clients, I have several who will be going away to college within the next few weeks. To be quite honest, I’m really bummed about that because as you already know, my clients are the most important thing to me and I usually develop a strong bond with my clients. Well, ...I have been mentally “prepping” myself, I guess you could say, for all of them leaving for school, knowing full well that I’m really going to miss them. Well, anyway, ...It was my understanding that I had another few weeks to work with Shark, just as I do with everyone else, before he leaves for college, but during our training session on Sunday evening he told me that he is leaving this coming Thursday. ...I was a little shocked and it hit me kind of hard. I bit my cheek and we finished out the workout, but after they left it just caught up with me a bit and I got teary eyed. (Ok, so I pretty much fucking cried a little.--I know, pathetic, right?) Anyway, yah, it hit me kinda hard. I started to get teary eyed and I didn’t want them to see me so I sent em on a quick warmup run while I gathered myself. I didn’t want them to see me all broken up about it because I just want their last few days training here to be a lot of fun. I want them to have a great time before they leave for school so I didn’t want them to see me getting teary eyed. As I said though, after they left I shed a few tears. I just couldn’t fucking help it. I mean, I tried not to, believe me I tried. I love those kids man, and I’m really going to miss them when their gone.

So, as a Coach, is that pathetic of me?...Crying because my clients are leaving and I’m going to miss them? Well, if it is then so be it. Those kids mean a lot to me and I really care about them and I’m going to miss them. Period. It’s been a great experience training them and getting to know them.

Shark will be in good hands, I think, at CrossFit Oahu training with Bryant Powers. Bryant made the Top-Ten cut of contestants for G4TV’s contest to send one competitor from the United States to Japan to compete in “Ninja Warrior”. Out of ten (TEN!!!) seasons and hundreds of contestants, only two individuals have ever completed all four stages of Ninja Warrior. Bryant was just notified by G4TV that of the ten finalists, he made the top-three cut and will be flown down to LA to compete against the other two finalists for the one G4TV sponsored opportunity to represent the United States (and CrossFit) in the Ninja Warrior Challenge. Pretty cool, I think. Not only did Bryant Powers have a great audition video, but he was the ONLY one to do everything in one take! ...Yah, ...I think Shark will be in good hands in Oahu. ...But I am still really going to miss him and Dylan.

I realize I haven’t really been including some of the workouts I put myself through or expose my clients to, so I’ll start doing that from here on out. Try doing the following:
BW Thruster, 2xBW DeadLift; 2 rounds at 10/10. 5/5, ...”For Time”, of course. :) That’s right, 10 BodyWeight Thrusters and 10 Double-BodyWeight Deadlifts, then five and five. Hit it hard and fast. My last time was 4:26, but I am pretty certain I can do it in less than three minutes. I will get it in less than three minutes for sure. Eventually I want to get it in less than two minutes. ...If that’s too easy for you, try the same loads, but do three rounds, doing 15/15, 10/10, 5/5. I finished that in JUST under ten minutes at 9:58. But I am certain that I will get it in less that 7:30. I’d really like to get sub 7:00, but it’s pretty fucking hard. ...It’s amazing how double the reps can make it that much harder. *lol* I really like the 10/10, 5/5 format though because you can really go for it; hit it hard and fast and just fucking CRUSH it and blaze through it and simply crumble and suffer the consequences afterwards. *lol* There’s a lot to be said for being able to be very STRONG and EXPLOSIVE at very HIGH heart-rates, ...but I’ll touch on that later.

From left to right; Ida, myself, Henrik, Anna, and Peter.

...When I realize how much time has passed since I last posted, I cringe. I’ve just been so busy, ...but that’s no excuse. Since the last time I’ve posted I have about 15 entries that I want to write about. This is one of them. :)

At the end of June, four athletes from Sweden came passing through the States on vacation; Ida, Anna, Henrik and Peter. Ida and Peter are Swedish Military; Anna and Henrik are Swedish police. I was in the middle of a somewhat mellow workout (my first one back in about a week and a half after a vacation) with my ipod on and I noticed them walking up to the gym, asking when the next class was. There were several other trainers around so I figured they had it covered. Well, I was kind of surprised to acknowledge that the trainers who were there didn’t make an extra effort to talk to them or find out more about where they were from or make them feel welcome. They weren’t getting any love, so I stopped my workout and introduced myself and tried to make them feel welcome. They said they had all been doing CrossFit off the main site here-and-there over the past several months and that in Sweden "CrossFit" is very trendy amongst the late-20's/early-30's/really fit people. They asked if they could participate in my 6:00 pm class, and of course I welcomed them with open arms.

Well, it became pretty clear, pretty quickly, that while they may well have been doing CrossFit for a long time off of the website, they all needed a LOT of work on form and technique, so I modified the exercises for them a bit so they could participate and get in a workout at CrossFit HeadQuarters, where it all started. They all worked VERY hard and were really pushing themselves with the workout, and they all had GREAT attitudes! They were planning on heading up to San Francisco the next day but I felt it was imperative that they come in before then for some private coaching on the Olympic-Lifts and some of the foundational fundamentals. I felt they DESPERATELY needed the private coaching and that it was essential they made the time to come in the next morning to get some private coaching before they continued on with their vacation, so much so that I told them that I wouldn’t even charge them.

I ended up spending a full 2 hours with them the next morning and by the end of the session their Olympic-Lifting had improved SO MUCH, it was like night and day!--That was so cool! I was so happy for them! I personally had such a GREAT time working with them. They were all so cool and were such a pleasure to work with. As I mentioned before, they all had GREAT attitudes and really were so much fun to train. I’m really happy that I had the opportunity to work with them while they were here. Yah, ...I know financially I'm “poor” and could have used the money, but they were all military/police, they all had GREAT attitudes and sincere enthusiasm for the program, they were here in the States visiting the birthplace of CrossFit all the way from Sweden, and, more importantly, ...they really, REALLY, needed the private coaching. I just couldn’t let them continue onward in their touring the States without making sure they got some individual Coaching to clean up their form. They were all very gracious and said they actually had some private coaching on the olympic-lifts prior but that they didn't really get a lot from it. They said they were really happy with my coaching and with the way I broke it down to them and said they thought I was a good coach and teacher. ...That made me feel good. But what really made me feel good was simply having the opportunity to work with them while they were here. I really feel blessed that I had the opportunity to do so.

...Anyway, ...I’m pretty stoked about the whole thing and had such a great time working with them that I had to write about it.  We all took some group photos afterwards with all of our cameras.  They said they are going to send me some Swedish Military Special Ops & Swedish Police shirts and/or hats for helping them out and being such a gracious host.  I thought that was way cool.  I told them if there is anything I can ever do to help them or if they ever have any questions to just e-mail me. Hopefully they will and hopefully our paths will cross again.

...This is just another example of why I love what I do and what makes my whole world go around; ...having the opportunity to meet and work with some amazing and wonderful people from all over the world. As I’ve said before, my clients and the people I have the opportunity to work with are the most important thing to me in my world, and I will do anything to help them. It’s my service and commitment to them that fuels my existence.

I currently have this photo as my wallpaper on my computer.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Well, here it is; ...My first Tattoo! Sat through it all in one sitting, too! I will be honest with all of you, ...it hurt like a motherfucker! It was impressive. Definitely an interesting experience. I will admit, I couldn’t help but squint and curl my lip a bit and clench my jaw and tighten up & all that, but I didn’t cringe or flinch. I just sat there and took it.

I love it!!! I am SO stoked! I have to say Luke is a DOPE Tattoo Artist! I think he did a great job. I mentioned to him after he had the piece sketched out on paper that I had originally wanted the “What we do in life, ...Echoes in eternity.” written underneath the “Chaos” and “Honor”, but that I had always just sort of wrote it underneath when I would write it out, but I didn’t know if it would look that great on a tat like that. He then started sketching it out in pencil right there on the spot in a script-text to contrast the larger lettering and drew up the ribbon and simply said, “If I was going to do it, this would be the way I would do it.--I think this would look the best.” I have to say, I love it! I think it looks fucking awesome! As far as the whole piece goes, I think the quality of work by Luke is just amazing. Fucking awesome work. Just awesome! He really did a great job. “Drawing” on the skin is a much harder medium than any other. Keep in mind this pic was taken about 5 hours after he finished it. From my understanding, when it is fully healed it will look even better.

I had thought to myself that maybe I should have had the “chaos” and “honor” written slightly larger, spreading out a little wider in relation to the spacing of the letters in the word “VINDICO”, and perhaps the “ICO” in “VINDICO” brought up about a quarter on an inch as far as a slightly more even spacing between the letters, but I don’t really care. I love it as is and I have absolutely NO regrets what-so-ever. I think I just need to get the lower left side of the “N” in “vindico” touched up a bit. (...and maybe the shading in the “V” brought up just a bit higher?) I also sort of put him on the spot and asked him for the little hyphen thingy between the ‘s’ in “chaos” and the ‘N’ in “vindico” and the ‘h’ in “honor” after he already had it on my back. He did the best he could for being put on the spot. Now that I look at it I think maybe a little diamond shape, like the diamond symbol used for the diamond suit in a deck of cards would have been a better choice on my behalf considering the limited space between the chaos and the little nubbin on the ‘N’ in “vindico”. But whatever. Fuck it. I am so happy with my Tattoo I can’t even explain it. I have been wanting this for at least 7+ years now and I have been wanting Luke to do it since I first saw the work that he did on my good friend Cameron about 4 or 5 years ago, and now I finally have it, and I was able to have it done by Luke himself. I don’t mean to be redundant here, but I am so fucking stoked right now it’s really kind of hard to explain. I’m just really happy with it. I really think Luke did an amazing job. This piece is something that has *significant* meaning to me and is something I’ve been wanting on my body for a very long time, and to not only finally have it, but to have it done so damned well too. That is just, ...well, ...you get the idea. Most of you know I’m a good artist and that I have a very critical eye, and I’m really happy with his work. You all know that there are some amazing tattoo artists out there, but that there are a whole lot of not-so-good ones too, and that the latter significantly outnumber the prior.

...What’s even cooler for me as far as getting my first tat done by Luke is that I’m able to help him with his training and diet, so I’m able to really put my expertise to use to really help him excel within his sport. For me that’s just fucking awesome. I am extremely driven to do the best job I possibly can to help prep Luke for whatever path his career takes him. Instead of simply “paying” for his services, I get to really put everything I have into helping him. For me the whole arrangement is just a much cooler experience than just paying for each other’s services. I mean, we both are very talented and damned good at what we do and we are both really striving to provide the best product and service possible. It’s just damned cool. Those of you who have been reading my Blog or who know me as a person know full well that it is my service and commitment to my clients that fuels my existence and that my clients are the most important thing to me. Through that service and commitment I forge some amazing relationships with my clients and that is something I greatly cherish. ...I’m getting to know Luke as a friend and what better person to have do your first tattoo than someone who when you look at your tat you go, “that was done by my friend”.--I mean seriously.

...I’m really happy with my first tat and the whole experience getting it. I hope to get some more work done by Luke when time permits.

I have to say, Seventh Son Tattoo is a dope place. I love the way they have it all set up. You can definitely tell they are all artists, not merely by the art hanging on the wall, (which is some damned cool art), but by how they went about hanging that art, the placement and arrangement of it all, etc. Even the contrast of the external brass piping for the sinks with the color used on the walls, to the different color schemes used within the supply room, etc, etc. It’s just a dope shop with a dope setup and layout. They really did a great job. Should any of you be up in the city, whether thinking about getting a tattoo or not, you should take a moment to check out their shop if your in the area. It’s located at 1017 Howard St., San Francisco CA, and their number is (415) 551-7SON. (415-551-7766).

...My really good friend and fellow CrossFit Trainer, Brendan Gilliam, suggested I get my first tat in a place I could see it because it’s my first one and I’ll just want to be checking it out all the time and with it on my back I won’t really be able to see it and fully appreciate it. It was a must that this be my first piece. But I can certainly see where he was coming from. I am constantly looking in the mirror and checking it out. Looking at it on my desktop isn’t quite the same. :)

...Friday was a great day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Isn’t this a dope tattoo! ...I go in for my first session up in San Francisco, April 6’th! I’m so stoked!!! I can’t wait. Luke Stewart is an amazing tattoo artist and as I’ve stated before, I’ve been wanting him to do my tats for a long time now. I’m stoked that it’s worked out to where I am not only finally getting my tats done by Luke, but to where I’m the strength and conditioning specialist & nutritional consultant he’s chosen to trust with getting him in the best shape possible for his fights. He’s a bad ass Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt from the Ralph Gracie Academy in San Francisco and is definitely very driven to excel. This has been made clear to me during the time I have worked with him thus far, not simply while at CrossFit headquarters here in Santa Cruz, but by his dedication to the program as a whole, whether he be here a CrossFit Santa Cruz or on his own up in SF. I love working with serious, very committed & driven athletes, regardless of sport.

I’m starting with my back for the first session, then will go from there. ...Likely to my somach/chest, then calves, then arms, then ribbs, then.... First thing's first! :) ...I’m sure I’ll post a pic! :)

Well, I know it has been a lil' while since I have last updated this Blog. I do have several entries that I will be posting soon, though I have been a little too busy with a couple of other projects I have been working on to invest any quality time here with the Blog. And, just as with my programming for my clients, whether it be a philosophical entry or an entry about my clients, I can't do a half-assed job, so I forgo doing an entry until I can invest the time necessary to yield something of quality.

Well, the purpose of this entry is to let yawl know that as of April 1'st I am officially "calling myself out". "??", You say? Meaning, for a 12 week stretch starting April 1'st I am going to be VERY strict as to my food intake, workouts and logging it all, as well as outputs and results. I have always eaten pretty much in the Zone and for the most part thrown out dairy a while back and often will Intermittent Fast, but over the last week or so I have already started the process of "tightening up" a bit and it is already showing.

Specifically, what I will be doing as far as diet/nutrition will be following Zone macronutrient ratios using Paleo-Diet food sources within an Intermittent-Fasting time structure. I will be starting at 40/30/30, exactly, (weighing and measuring everything with a digital scale) then will up the fat to 2x, then 3x, then 4x, then 5x fat. I will also be using specifically the "Best Zone Foods" as per Dr Sears's book as to my sources of Proteins, Carbs and Fats. That means, for example, instead of using a little mayo as a fat source when making my "tuna-&-hard-boiled-egg" mix, I will strictly be using the "best" fat sources only, such as Macadamia Nuts, as opposed to things like mayo, albeit in the Zone. I will be eliminating dairy 100% (I now currently will have a little half/half in my coffee during my "feeding" period or a very small amount of milk once a month or so). I may still opt for using a super high quality whey protein-powder in my Zone shake as my Zone shakes are so damned good that I would be horribly bummed to eliminate it altogether, even though whey protein is technically derived from a dairy base.--I have yet to decide on that one. I will also be eliminating grains altogether. Thus, my only carbohydrate intake will come from vegetables, fruits and berries, and if I use Cashews within my Zone shakes for my fat source, then the extra carbs that are within them as well. Cashews are a little higher in carbs compared to that of almonds and a lot higher in carbs than macadamia nuts. Also, ...cashews exhibit a higher "inflammatory" profile than do either almonds or macadamia nuts. That is to say, they can have an inflammatory effect upon the body, and I do not mean simply in people who are allergic.--Not desirable for an athlete. ...But cashews are certainly so damned tasty! I will also be only choosing the best protein sources during this time. I am still working out the details, but I will be limiting myself to 1 dinner out within any given 10-day period (for dates with girls and such) where I will likely reward myself with a large Prime Rib after a long fast. I will also be following a very strict, though strategically zigzagged Intermittent Fasting of 8-9 times within a 10 days period. I will be generally doing a 20 hour fast, followed by a 4 hour feeding period. Once every ten days or so I will throw in an extended fast of 24 or more hours where "the hunt yielded no kill" and the "foraging no fruit". Once every ten days or so I will also throw in a "plentifull-kill" day where the "hunt-&-gather" yielded an abundance of food and I will consume as much as I want or as my body will allow. My times of the fast/feed will generally be fast from 4pm - till - 12:00 noon, and feed from 12:00 noon till 4pm. I will zigzag that time format and time frame a bit though so as to provide a truer to Paleo randomization for the body to deal with. The zigzagging strategy as well as the plentiful-kill days coupled with the scarce-hunt days are true to a Paleo structure. I will be logging everything during this time as well, albeit possibly an arduous task. I am committed to doing this as I have been thinking about it and planning it for well over a month.

...Why am I doing this? ...In part, it simply be a personal endeavor I wish to undertake. Also, I wish to prove a point to all, and to my clients, and especially to my serious competitive/professional athletes, as to what can be done and accomplished with the strictest adherence to a combination of following the macronutrient ratios delineated within the Zone protocol, followed through foods that are true to the Paleo Diet nutritional protocol, and delivered through a timing structure that fully incorporates the Intermittent Fasting protocol.--These three elements combined offer the absolute best that performance nutrition has to offer. This dietary/nutritional strategy coupled with some simple supplementation (fish-oil, ALA, etc.) while following a carefully regimented training protocol based heavily on CrossFit, though with an added emphasis on Olympic WeightLifting (and support movements such as heavy back-squats), Gymnastics, Track-&-Field, and some sport-specific training (for myself kickboxing and jiu-jitsu, for my client Dwight Lowery, football related NFL Combine drills, extra sprints, etc.), will yield absolutely impressive results!--Period! ...I will prove this with this endeavor.

See--Now I don't have a choice about it anymore. "Gulp!" I've "put it out there" to everyone so now I have to follow through with it. Thus, ...week-9/day-5, into it when I am perhaps wavering and debating on just saying "fuck it!--I'm gonna have WTF I want & I'm gonna break the fast today too", ...this Blog entry will cause for pause, recollection and refocus upon the task at hand. :) Determination and discipline. Lead by example, etc., etc. Again, ...largely to prove a point, not simply to anyone/everyone who may be interested, but especially to my serious professional and soon-to-be professional athlete clients, regarding how profound the results obtained by a strict adherence to the absolute best that performance nutrition has to offer can be, especially when following a truly efficacious training protocol. Recall Coach Greg Glassman's "Fitness Pyramid" that Mark Twight ripped off and not simply plagiarized, but flat-out stole; the "base" of the pyramid, hence the "foundation" of the fitness-pyramid or fitness-hierarchy is nutrition as it lays the molecular foundation for everything else we are trying to achieve. Combining and following carefully these three nutritional protocols will greatly maximize the results obtained through the CrossFit methodology.

...But, alas, let me digress. :)

Before concluding this entry, let me just say that even though Sunday is my longest day with clients and all, it is by far one of my favorites. At the end of the day I am just so fucking stoked to be doing what I do and working with amazing athletes and individuals and I finish the day just happy to be alive and truly grateful for having the opportunity to train the individuals that I do and be a part of their lives, each and every one of them. ...I can't really explain it any better than that at the moment, but that's the feeling I walk away with at the end of the day. ...My service and commitment to my clients is one element that really fuels my existence and through that service and commitment, and the relationships I forge with them, well, ...those things combined is what really brings life through my veins. While I am extremely committed to not simply providing the best service possible, but to truly improving all aspects of their lives and well-being, I am both grateful and thankful to be able to do it.

Well, ...that's all for now, folks! I'll update more later, including some educational entries as I had mentioned previously, regarding differing aspects of fitness and nutrition. :)

Friday, March 16, 2007

This is Luke Stewart, Ralph Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black-Belt, MMA Fighter and amazing Tattoo Artist! I first met Luke about 4 or 5 years ago, back when he was still a purple belt. He was a bad-ass tattoo artist then and he has only gotten better, just like his Jiu-Jitsu game. I have been wanting to work with him for a long time and I finally have the opportunity to do so! (To check out some of his work go to: http://www.seventhsontattoo.com/index.htm)

Most of those who know me, have known that I have been wanting for many years to get several tattoos and that I have always said, “when I get them done, I want Luke Stewart from San Francisco to be the one to do them”. Well, I now not only have the opportunity to train Luke for his upcoming fights, but I am also finally stepping up to the plate and will start getting some Ink done by Luke himself. I am so stoked!!! Not only do I get to train a great Jiu-Jitsu Black-Belt, but I also have the opportunity to get tatted by, what I consider to be, one of the best in CA. Luke called me up a short while ago and said that he recalled the work I did with some of the other Jiu-Jitsu fighters from Ralph Gracie’s, as well as a few other well known fighters, and that he had a MMA fight coming up and was wondering if I was willing to do some trade. I said, "definitely!" ...I'm excited to be working with Luke and am grateful for the opportunity.

...While I am definitely looking forward to finally getting started with my tats and having the opportunity to actually get them done by Luke himself, I haven’t really been thinking much at all about the tattoos I’ll be getting in return since I started working with him. My focus has been *solely* on doing everything I can to fully prep him for his fight as far as developing for him the best six-week pre-fight Strength-&-Conditioning program and Nutritional Protocol for him to follow that I could, and making sure he is the fittest fighter in the event.--Period. I spent a great deal of time mapping out the first six weeks pre-fight strength-&conditioning program based on what I knew of his current abilities and the amount of time I actually had to work with him before this fight and I’m really happy with the end product.--It’s solid. My focus has been specifically on trying to provide THE BEST service possible. That is of utmost importance to me. I have to deliver the best product possible.--Better than anyone else would do. Just as with Both, Dwight Lowery and Steven Wright, I feel a great deal of responsibility in making sure Luke is in the best shape possible for his fights. There are a lot of other trainers out there he could have chose to work with and he chose me. (A good choice in my opinion. ;) ) I feel there’s no one out there who will do a better job or who will care more about Luke’s success in the ring (and outside the ring) than I. ...But maybe I’m just being an egotistical asshole. :)

Currently Luke is following the program outline closely and we maintain phone contact at least every other day in regards to the program and nutrition. (I mapped his program on a large desk calendar for him to hang on the wall and I have a smaller copy just like it at home to make cross-referencing on the phone more efficient.--This worked out very well for both of us.) Luke is very driven and has been doing very well with what we have gone over thus far. He is very coachable and learns the movements quickly. I can tell he really understands the concepts I am trying to impart upon him. He has also mentioned that he can already tell a difference and feel his overall strength and athleticism improving. (Just wait until we hit the 3-month mark!--3 solid months of the CrossFit protocol when coupled with the best that performance nutrition has to offer can yield incredible results!) I have to say, when I am working with him at CrossFit he definitely digs deep and fights hard through the workouts. I can tell he is really trying hard to tap that inner strength and summon from within that “fight” to go hard and leave nothing behind. The more he is exposed to the CrossFit protocol, the easier it will be for him to summon up that power from within and forge it into yet another weapon in his arsenal.

Anyway, ...after his fight I may or may not include the full six week program I developed for Luke, though I’d have to run it by him first. (...We might not want to put it out there where his opponents can get access to what he’s doing for strength-&-conditioning to help beat their ass.)

...One of my best friends, an amazing athlete who is in excellent shape, will be entering the MMA circuit very soon. He has listened and applied a lot of what I have suggested to him over the years as far as strength-&-conditioning and he is very self-driven as far as his training. ...Though he hasn’t really stepped up to to the plate to have me fully train him to prep for his new venture into fighting MMA, even though he knows I’m one of the best around. I’m not really sure why that is. It’s like having Dwayne Wade and Steve Nash as your uncle and deciding that you want to play basketball in college and then, other than asking them for some tips here and there, never humbling yourself enough to really ask them if they could take you under their wing and help make you the best basketball player you could possibly be. ...But that’s just my opinion. (I have come to learn over the years though that it is the people closest to us that we will oft have the toughest time trying to help. Coach Glassman taught me that lessen many years ago in reference to family, stating “your family will be the hardest ones you’ll ever try to help because they will never listen.”--That has proven to be *absolutely* true, ...much to my dissmay.--I wish my family would listen.) ...I’m not sure why it is that my good friend hasn’t yet stepped up to have me fully train him and help him with everything I have to offer. ...Regardless, ...I hope for his sake he doesn’t have to face Luke Stewart in the ring! :)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

...Of the tattoos I will soon be getting, several are just lettering. As I mentioned in my previous entry, “Vindico” is one of those words that has great significance to me. “Chaos” too is a word of great significance to me, and one for which I will soon have upon my flesh.

Chaos is a word that resonates within my daily existence as though a dream. I was birthed by Chaos and nurtured in its womb. It's energy flows through my veins. The third hexagram in the Chinese I-Ching signifies that of Chaos. There is this whole little poem which tells how "Out of Chaos, brilliant stars are born.":

“Before a great vision can become reality there may be difficulty. Before a person begins a great endeavor, they may encounter chaos. As a new plant breaks the ground with difficulty, foreshadowing the huge tree, so must we sometimes push against difficulty in bringing forth our dreams.”--"Out of Chaos, Brilliant Stars are Born"

Also, the symbol that stands for Chaos is actually the mating of two symbols, that of crisis and that of opportunity.--That alone is intriguing to me. ...Perhaps to some extent I am a Creatrix of Pathways UN- walked (meaning you have to tear it down before you can re-build it). I have no desire to master Chaos. I see Chaos as something that must be allowed to flow into the cracks to too-stagnant order so new patterns can arise. So I try to stir up those around me - put a bit of new ooze into the mix here and there. I don't really mean to do this - it just sort of happens around me, and I welcome it. I suppose if I had awakened on January first 2000 and I saw Vishnu trying to plant the lotus and Kali dancing on it, I may be asking her how to dance before I would be asking him how to garden. ...There are those who have been blessed with a more lawful mind, (as well as those with a more chaotic), and I admire and respect them as a necessary part of the cycle.

I find it somewhat of a paradox that I feel as though I was birthed by Chaos, and thus am familiar with it, yet I try to utilize its power for good. But let me digress....

As for the artwork, as you may well have acknowledged by now, not only am I an artist myself, but I love great artwork of differing styles; ...whether it be oils and acrylics, such as Luis Royo, Jeff Easly, Kieth Parkinson, Larry Elmore, Clyde Caldwell, Fields and Brom; ...mixed mediums including airbrush and CGI, such as Shiro Masamune; ...Comic Book art, such as Todd McFarlane; ...CGI artwork done by so many now and often used in video games; ...or pencil drawings done by all the aforementioned artists. ...I figure for all of my philosophical and related entries I will use artwork from various artists whom I like and of differing styles. The piece I used for this entry was by Luis Royo who is one of my favorites of the medium for which he works in. (If the piece itself offends anyone, well, for that I am sorry.--It is not my intent to offend. ...Granted, I am not sorry enough to omit it from the entry.) :) ...I have many facets. :)

While on the subject of art, ...I am pretty critical of art. Too oft a time have I strolled through the art stores lining most the streets in Carmel and am sort of appalled by seeing a large print, “#1,274 out of 3,000” selling for $2,500.00 dollars (or ten times that amount!!!) and resembling a sloppy interpretive expressionistic water color like oil-&-acrylic image of a lawn chair and some still life laying around the backyard in a quality that you would see in any elementary school after-school project by any 4'th grader. ...I don’t understand it. I think it’s shit. ...But, alas, ...who am *I* to judge? :) ...Perhaps I shouldn’t be so critical as most all of the artists whom I appreciate are much more gifted than I and likely would see many a flaw within my work. Yah, ...I really should digress on this one....


...In light of the tattoos I will soon be getting....

I have been asked many times over the years; "What the hell does 'Vindico' mean, anyway?", as this is a word of great significance to me. I have been asked more than a few times as of late, so I thought I would share....

Vindico is Latin and has a multiple meaning of "revenge" and "to protect" or "to avenge", as well as "to claim", "to champion", "to liberate", "to appropriate", "to punish", and "to emancipate", ..with some looser translations relating to honor and loyalty. I am driven by all of those definitions either do to my past experiences or do to something more innate. (Most likely a combination.) I know that I am deeply compelled to help others, often times at my own expense. I find it interesting that the oldest known translation and records of my family crest, researched from the Heraldry Archives in London, directly translate to "to serve". (Also the fact that the entire left side of my body is slightly bigger than my right seems to play into that whole thing as well.--Perhaps my ancestors carried heavy shields with their left and wielded swords with their right.--*lol*). The Greek translation of my name plays into it all nicely as well; A dear friend of mine (Shannon Tompkins) looked up my name in her name book and "Jason" directly translates to "Healer" in Greek. The "suggested character quality or characteristic" is "One Who Heals". The "life time scripture verse" is Isaiah 61:1; "The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; for the Lord has anointed me to preach the good tidings to the humble, He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted; to proclaim liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to those who are bound." ...Sometimes though, it is just that I have as an integral part of my nature a driving need to help any who wish to be closer to the All, and avoid any who would hinder another's gnosis with it. Thus on this plane, I've found that such a nature has lead me to act towards others in ways they consider deeply kind, compassionate, or helpful. ...I don't really have a ruler to judge such things, so I smile and nod a lot when people say I am such a good friend/councilor/whatever.

...If I feel the pain and pleasure of others as keenly as I feel my own, is it really anything other than self-interest that drives me to see the whole world happy? I don't know. After all, for the most part I am not fond of pain....


Thursday, February 22, 2007

...This is what makes my whole world go around.--The people I have the opportunity to train. I love them all dearly, and every time I have the opportunity to work with them I have to take a step back for a moment and just appreciate how blessed I am to have these people in my life and to be able to train them. I really am grateful to have the opportunity to work with them, and I will do anything I can to help them.

This is my Wednesday night at 6:00 pm class (The New “Team-6”, Baby!!!). This was the February 21’st 2007, class.

Left to Right:
Top Row; Kim, Rachel, Sam, Greg, Jama, and Kyle.
Bottom Row; Denver, Me, Ronnie, Melissa, and Mark.

There were a few of the “regulars” that didn’t make it tonight; Jason Bils, Dan Grant, John Shepherd, Narine Kadekian and Mallee Sato, to name a few, and they were dearly missed. But I had three new people, (well, not new to CrossFit but new to my Wednesday/6:00 pm class) and they all did GREAT!!! Everyone in class really brings it and not only that, but they all pull for each other as well and cheer each other on. I love the camaraderie of the group and the relationships that people forge through the CrossFit community. It really is a beautiful thing.

Kim and I just met this class and I have to say, she really was digging deep and kicked ass! She fit right in! (My “Wednesday-Night-Class” has a bit of a reputation for being rather difficult and everyone who participates really brings it and works hard.) Not only did she really bring it with the workout, but she also had a GREAT attitude and energy! I hope to have the opportunity to work with her again. Her husband Brian also does CrossFit on a regular basis and actually came to my Wednesday night class for his first ever group class.

Rachel Frankle has been doing CrossFit for quite a while and I actually worked with her a long time ago, though this was her first time in my Wednesday Night Class. She has come SO FAR from when she first started! She was really going for it and it was GREAT having the opportunity to work with her again!!! Her Husband Tom Frankle owns the local “Play-It-Again-Sports” store and has done a lot over the years for CrossFit and for the CrossFit community. He is not only a great athlete, but is someone I really have a great deal of respect for. ...In those quiet moments of contemplation, when thinking to myself about all the people that I am greatfull to have in my life, people who have had an influence on me and who I am today, or the people that I think God specifically placed in my life for a reason, ...Tom Frankle is one of those people.

Sam has been CrossFiting for a little over a month I believe and I know him from back in the day in the Jiu-Jitsu/KickBoxing scene and as a bouncer at a couple of the local clubs. He is a good friend of Greg Amundson and this was his first time taking a class with me. He is very respectful and grateful and is a hell of a nice guy. But don’t let that fool you, he can also put the beat-down on someone.--The man has skills! He said he was a little nervous about taking my class and hopping in with the “fire breathers”, but he did GREAT!!!

Greg Amundson, well, we all know this man by now. Overall he is our best athlete. He has been a great friend to me and to the CrossFit community and I have learned a lot from him. Sometimes some people upon first meeting him aren’t sure whether his kindness and outgoing personality is sincere or not, as they are not sure how to read it. But after being around the man for just a day you realize that he is truly that way and is filled with genuine kindness. He wants to see everyone around him do well. He may finish the workouts first while also using the most weight, (and wearing a 20# vest!), but he is also the first one to be there cheering on everyone else in the class or cheering on the person who is finishing last. A great man and a great friend. This was his last time participating in a group class until August, by the way. He is leaving for 6-months of Military training. He is, as are we all at CrossFit, a little bummed that he’ll be leaving for so long. But many of us will be maintaining a weekly contact with him and will be busting our ass until he gets back. “Finally, with him gone the playing field is level again!”--*lol* J/K

Jama is awesome! I love Jama's energy! She has been CrossFiting for quite a while now and she is one bad ass girl! She is a total sweetheart too! :) I have had the opportunity to work with her for quite a while now and she has been a pleasure to train. She is very driven and always pushes herself hard. She is steadily improving as an athlete. Jama always brings a great deal of energy to the class and I’m always happy to see her.

Kyle Bokariza has been CrossFiting for a while now and he has quite an athletic background (I’ll let him share that with you if he so chooses) and is also quite an artist. :) I’ve been working with him for several weeks now at once a week. (Though I recently started a class as per his request, Friday’s at 6:00 pm, so now I get to work with him twice a week.) He is very coachable and has been very consistent with his training and does CrossFit at least 5 times a week on average. He is also a very driven athlete and it definitely shows in his workouts. He’s a great athlete and a great person. I’ve gotten to know him a little more over the past few weeks and am grateful to have done so.

Denver has been a great presence in the class. He too has been doing CrossFit for a while now and comes in several days a week. Denver always works hard and digs deep, frequently opting to really “push” the envelope, often challenging himself with heavier weights when given a choice. (He also brings great music selections!) I was just working with him once a week, but since I started the Friday evening class, he has joined that as well, so now , just as with Kyle, I get to work with him twice a week.

Me; ...well, not a lot to say there. It aint about me, it’s about them. :)

Ronnie Boose has been doing CrossFit for longer than most of the trainers AT CrossFit! He served as an Army Ranger and is a savage in Jiu-Jitsu too. Ronnie is not only an amazing athlete, but he truly is a dear friend. I have a great deal of love for Ronnie, his wife Robin and his whole family. I recently started working with his wife, Robin, at 5:00 on Wednesday’s and she, just as he, really brings it and works hard.--Both are a pleasure to work with. Ronnie is yet another friend that I truly feel grateful to have in my life. I had the opportunity to spend part of Thanksgiving with him and his whole family. They were all very kind and genuinely good people. I really feel blessed to have him as a friend. ...Back to his athleticism; Ronnie usually pushes himself as hard as Greg Amundson (both usually opt for wearing a weighted vest during the workouts!). I mean, seriously. He is always looking to improve his athleticism. He is fast as heck too!--He is about 5’5” and is faster on the sprints than guys 6’5”! ...He also has a tremendous amount of love and respect for Greg and Lauren Glassman and CrossFit. He has been a part of the community for a while now and I have to say he, just as I, has a tremendous amount of loyalty to Greg and Lauren and to the community they have built. Let’s just say, he “has their back” always and that is something that I REALLY am grateful to see. I have a great deal of respect for Ronnie Boose. ...On a side note, if I ever open my own facility, Ronnie is one of the trainers I would love to have working with me.

Melissa Stroud started taking my classes many weeks ago and first started training with Greg Amundson. I have gotten to know her a lot more over the past many weeks and I now consider her a dear friend. I truly feel grateful to know her. She is currently in LEO and always pushes herself hard in class. She has the sweetest personality and always has a big smile and, much like Amundson, is always cheering everyone else on. In this class, for example, after she completed the workout, even though the workout was rough, she made her way outside to cheer on those who were still sprinting. ...During these workouts I have to run back and forth between being inside watching/coaching everyone on the critical lifts and being outside supporting them on the sprints. When it’s near the end of your workout and you're woozy and nazeous and, as BJ Penn once said, “Discombobulated”, and you are reaching deep within yourself to muster the energy necessary to try to push yourself on the last sprints, ...it can be a lonely place if your out there sprinting without much support. She made sure those who were finishing had support. Just seeing Melissa walk through the door with that big smile makes my day better. I’m looking forward to meeting her husband sometime soon and hopefully will have the opportunity to work with him and introduce him to CrossFit and the CrossFit community. I think he would love it and love the community and I think it would be SO cool if they were both able to train together in the same group classes! That would be awesome! Just as all of us who have done CrossFit together have noticed, there is a great deal of camaraderie that is forged within these workouts. I believe Major Michael Perry, US Army, said it best with; "We learned through CrossFit that combining agony and laughter is a powerful stimulus for developing camaraderie." I have seen this to be true with Married couples that I train as well. Their relationship grows even stronger and that’s just a beautiful thing. ...I am grateful to know Melissa and feel blessed having her as a friend.

Mark is a local Doctor and has been doing CrossFit for quite some time now. He first started CrossFit with Tony Budding and still trains with him, but also does several of the group classes a week. He has come a long way since he first started, and let me tell you, he fits right in with “Team-6”!!! Don’t let the “nice Dr” fool you. He might have a kind “bedside manner”, as the saying goes, but he is a savage at CrossFit!!! He is always striving to become better and is always pushing himself hard, just like Denver, often opting to challenge himself with the “heavier” side of heavy weights. He is fast as heck, too! This man can sprint! He also reads carefully, every month, the CrossFit Journal. He reads every issue, every article, closely, and freequently questions Tony Budding during their 1-on-1's about topics within the CFJ articles. That's friggin awesome!!! I love that! (All of you who have yet to subscribe to the CrossFit Journal, WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?!--DO IT ALREADY!!!! The CrossFit Journal is THE BEST fitness publication anywhere!--Seriously!!!) ...It’s been great having Mark in Team-6 and I’m always happy when he can make it.

One thing I really treasure is getting to know my clients on a more personal level. I take great interest in learning more about them as individuals and hearing their stories. That is yet another aspect of what I do that I am really grateful for. Just as I strive to help them, coaching, teaching, etc, ...I always learn from them as well. Again, that’s just a beautiful thing.

As for the workout...

The class did 5 rounds of:
Heavy Clean----------------------x 5 4 3 2 1
Heavy Split-Jerk----------------x 5 4 3 2 1
100 meter Sprint---------------x 1 2 3 4 5

They had their choice of going left to right or right to left. L-to-R meant the reps of the Clean/Split-Jerk descended but the sprints ascended, R-to-L was vise-versa, Clean & Split-Jerk reps increased but the 100 Meter Sprints decreased.

The running efforts within Storms such as “Hellen” or “Nancy”, to name a few, where the emphasis of the workout is to get the best overall time are excellent! This is a definite fitness capacity for which to improve to greatly increase one’s overall fitness or “GPP”. However, there is also a GREAT deal of merit and value and potency to be gained from doing all-out sprints, especially when coupled with weightlifting or gymnastics movements. From my observations, many of those I work with don’t get this exposure much at all and so I try to give my clients exposure to the potent and effective elements that they may be missing on a weekly basis, such as heavy lifting. Sprinting is one of these elements. All out sprints offer SO MUCH as far as fitness adaptations (I will get into some of this within later posts) and for an athlete, mixing the all-out sprints and then having to “do something” immediately after such as Clean-&-Jerk or Muscle-Ups or picking something up or throwing something or kickboxing, etc, is excellent exposure. This is especially great exposure for those in Military, LEO, FootBall, MMA, etc. As far as broadening one’s athletic exposure and fitness capacity goes, just as there is great merit and value in monitoring one’s output so as to get the best overall time, such as in “Hellen” or “Nancy”, there is also a great deal of merit and value in just going all out, say, on a sprint for example, :), and then just suffering the consequences of that all out effort. A CornerBack may have the all-out sprinting speed to catch a wide open receiver making his way down the sidelines to the end zone, but will he have the strength to make the tackle, or better yet, to strip the ball, recover the fumble and then run it all the way back for a defensive touchdown? ...A Law Enforcement Officer may have the speed to catch up to a criminal in a foot chase, but will he/she have the strength to not simply subdue-&-control the criminal, making the arrest, ...but more importantly, to keep the criminal from wrestling their gun away from them and killing them? There are several examples I could give. Going all-out on a sprint and then having to “do-something” right after is great exposure.

Greg Amundson and I played with different exposure’s to Fight-Gone-Bad for a while. That is to say, on some exposures we would carefully calculate how many reps to get on each specific exercise so as to get the highest possible score overall, thus once reaching that target number you then rest until the top of the next minute. Yet on other exposures the goal was to specifically try to stay moving during every minute and just try to get as many reps as possible on every single exercise, thus setting up for the inevitable “crumbling” that accompanies such an output. Both strategies and approaches have great value and serve to improve and broaden one’s overall physical fitness. Both should be explored.

Anyway, whether mixing with other CrossFit elements or not, all-out sprints, regardless of modality, offer a tremendous amount of physiological (as well as mental) improvements and adaptations. Again, I will discuss this in a later post.

Wow!!!--I think that’s enough for this entry. I’ll add more soon. Maybe tonight, if I have time.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

...I'll be honest, ...I don't feel as though I belong here in this place or time.  I just don't.

...I often feel as though I am a stranger traveling here. I'm not sure where I'm from or where I'm going, but I learn the local customs and obey the local laws as much as possible out of a need to cause as little distress as possible to the locals. I am beginning to think that my goal in existence is to empty any realm or dimension that is analogous to hell. When every soul is at peace, when every fallen angel rejoins his/her God, then I will rest. I don't know where that drive comes from. Except perhaps for my own need to be one with the All. I suppose I remember, somehow, what it was like before my individual creation. I do have "memories" of things that I can not explain, past lives perhaps, or of my souls existence during the last great battle between Law and Chaos. I sometimes want to go back into the river of the souls. I want to rejoin that oneness. I suppose I assume everyone else does too. Such may not be the case. As long as those who are separate *want* to be so, that's fine I guess.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I sometimes think we should all go back to eating, sleeping, fighting and fucking like normal animals. Humans are the *only* creatures on earth who get up when their tired, go to bed when they aren't, starve when hungry and eat to be polite when not.

This is a photo of the last piece of artwork I ever completed. (If you look closely you can see my signature at the bottom.) This is one of my ex girlfriends (the one I broke up with when I thought I was going insane). This is one of the only pieces I ever actually completed and is pretty much the extent of my “portfolio”, hence is the only reason why I choose to use a drawing of one of my ex girlfriends to show my artwork. All other samples in my portfolio would be unfinished drawings. I would start a piece and then never finish as it would take me so damned long to finish that I would move on to another project. Also, ...it always seemed to be such a prolapsing of the soul when I would draw. It was fun and very fulfilling for me yet at the same time it took so much of me. I don’t know why I haven’t drawn in so long. As I said, it was very fulfilling, yet I haven’t done it in 15 or so years. (Believe me, I have gotten a LOT of shit for not continuing with my art.) I mean, I was somewhere between 17 and 19 when I did this piece. (As I said, my concept of time is not the most accurate.) I should have went to school for it, I know. Perhaps another talent of mine I let go by the way side, as the saying goes. It just takes so much time. But then again, had I gone to school for it, it likely wouldn’t take me as long to complete a piece.

I remember when I showed a few of my friends, including Jack and Joe Smith, they thought they were looking at a black-&-white photo of my ex-girlfriend. *lol* It didn't register that it was a photo of my artwork, until I pointed out the signature.

Anyway, ...I have recently been inspired to start again. There was a series of drawings that I wanted to do that would be seriously “controversial” and as I started to grow stronger in my connection to God and such, I felt it best that I don’t continue the project. I’m sure they would be considered “blasphemy” on some level. Well, some only mildly so, and others seriously so. ...I don’t know if I’ll ever complete the series.

I also was mapping out 2 large battle displays that are supposed to depict the last great battle between Heaven and Hell, Law and Chaos, Good and Evil, etc. These were going to be very large pieces, about 3 feet high by 4.5 feet wide, all hand drawn. These two pieces I may well complete at some point.

But this is not what has inspired me to start drawing again. No, it is something else. I had made a list of things that I need to complete before I die, and finishing a few pieces are on the list.

I was toying with the idea of doing one of the girl I was starting to fall in love with. ...I mean, ...why not, right? I know I shouldn’t. ...But she is the first woman I’ve dated that I've even started to have those kinds of feelings for in over 7 years, ...and despite her not feeling the same way for me, her and I are certainly important to each other and we are very good friends. ...So, I think I am going to. ...Yah, I know. This will be the first time in 15 or more years that I have drawn, well, anything other than some basic sketches I was working on for my tattoos I want to get.

I also wish to do a piece for my good friends Brendan and Shari. They mean a great deal to me and I love them both dearly. I don’t get to hang out with them much either, and so I feel even more compelled to do one for them. ...I can’t do one for everyone that has had a significant impact in my life, but I feel strongly compelled to do a few.

I also would like to do one for Greg and Lauren Glassman, and their family. ...I’ve know them for about ten years now and I love them both so much and I miss them terribly. I had originally planned on doing a portrait of them and their whole family, pets included, but after much deliberation I have decided on something else all together. I don't think a portrait of their whole family is something they would really want. I have decided instead to do a very large sort of "collage" piece of many of the people within the CrossFit community who have been instrumental in the growth of the community or individuals who have been a part of it from the beginning or who have been very loyal and giving to Greg and Lauren. I think this is something that they would cherish and appreciate more. Afterall, it is the *community* aspect of CrossFit that I think Greg is most proud of and fond of. He has worked harder than anyone I have ever met, and has relentlessly strived at trying to "get the message out to the world" as far as a trully efficacious training protocal for everyone. His was an arduous task, a relentless uphill battle which he set out to face alone, taking on pretty much the entire fitness industry initially by himself with only the aid of his wife, Lauren. While they have been quite successful over recent years in their battle, aquireing many allies along the way and changing some of the pardigms held by many, an honorable feat to be proud of for sure, I still feel that it is the community that has been built and established through the growth of CrossFit that is what's trully in Greg's heart. ...Family. That being the case, I feel a collage piece would be most fitting. And so I have began "mapping" this project out but am still seeking better photos of some of the key players to utilize within the piece. It'll likely be about 2.5-3 feet high and 3-4 feet wide when completed. I really look forward to the day when I am able to give that to them, fully framed and everything. I love them both dearly and I want to do something really special for them.

This is, ...I don’t know how to explain it. This is perhaps the only way I really know how anymore to truly express my love for someone. I mean, ...well, that didn’t come out right. What I mean to say, is, ...I think this is the most I can “give” as far as “of-myself” as a way that I can show or express to someone how much they mean to me and how grateful I am to have them in my life. As I said, ...for me it is very much a prolapsing of the soul and I leave a piece of my soul behind within the artwork. ...There are certainly others that I should do as well, such as some of my close friends and family. But these are the ones that I am compelled to do right now and so is where I will start.

These are some of the things I have on my list that I must complete before I die. Hence, I need to start now.

To a certain extent, our reality can be "what we make of it", I suppose. ...To a certain extent anyway....

...I once had a friend who always wore a certain cross around her neck. No matter how formally or how casually she was dressed, the cross was there, hanging from a worn leather thong. It was intricate, but obviously hand-made by a novice craftsman. That cross, along with her smile and her eyes, was what attracted me to this friend the first time I met her - it caught the black light in a club and a few of the stones fluoresced. I finally got around to asking her whom made the cross she always wore around her neck. She looked at me oddly and asked, "What cross?" So I described it to her. I realized instantly as I described it to her that she wasn't wearing it at that moment, which struck me as extremely strange because I'd never seen her without it before that. After hearing my description she just sat still for a while. Then she looked at me and said, "My sister made it...she was killed in a car accident two years ago. I stopped wearing it the day she died. -- I put it in her coffin before we buried her."

...I didn't have much of a reply for her. In my reality, the cross was there, around her neck. In hers, it was buried long before we even met. I suppose either or both can be true concurrently, if we but alter our concept of time and space just a little. ...I don't know....

...To a certain extent...everyone sees what they want to see, ...perhaps some of us also learn to see what others wish they could show? Or maybe some are able to have their message reach the type of person it is meant to reach?

...I have hypothesized that perhaps she kept the cross and in fact did not bury it as she said...hence she clung to it as a keepsake of her sister...a symbol of her love and mourning. And thus it was not until shortly before I asked that she "came to terms" with her sister's death and decided she could move on and thus, stopped wearing it. And if such were the case, then maybe she did not "lie" directly with deceit in mind...but maybe it was how her reality was for her in her head. ...The drama and the reality and the harshness of the tragedy...and how her mind handled it. Again...I don't know. I just sort of left that one alone.

...I don't think I am crazy. Although I imagine there are some professors/doctors out there who would argue otherwise. :) But then again, hey, if "crazy" is defined as being out of control of ourselves, then most of us are nuts anyway because we have all relinquished our control to work/school/family/society anyway. :) Though my other dictionary defines "crazy" as being mentally unbalanced... I have yet to meet someone who is mentally balanced. Since humans only use a small fraction of their brain, (latest estimate to be about 15%), how can there be balance within...? I am crazy. *lol* [weeeee]

This is Steven Wright. As I mentioned before, he is a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians and was their second pick in the first round of the most recent MLB draft. (Many within the organization wanted him as their first pic but the General Manager was insistent upon getting a left hander so for their first pick they took Dave Huff from UCLA.) Steven was drafted out of University of Hawaii and is where he met my good friend Shannon Tompkins. His stats in both High School and in College are very impressive. I mean, he pretty much dominated in both! He also happens to be a Christian.

Well, ...he has recently left town to visit his parents and is flying out to Hawaii to visit Shannon and then will be flying back to southern California and then driving out to Spring Training. I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to work with him during the time that I did. Though I was bummed to see him go. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely happy for him, but I wish I had more time to work with him and to just hang out with him. He is a good guy and I consider him a friend now. He is certainly the first guy that Shannon has dated that I can say I approve of. He has a good heart and is a lot of fun to hang out with. I should also mention, ...him and Shannon showed up at the hospital at 2:30 in the morning just for support while I was there the night my father had his heart attack. He didn’t even really know me yet, and yet he felt compelled to drive down to the hospital at 2:30 in the morning just to hang out with me while I was there. I was moved. That meant a lot to me.

I am looking forward to making it out to a few of his games this season and can’t wait to watch him play! I am also excited about having the opportunity to work with him again as soon as the season concludes. I would have liked to have more time to work with him on the Olympic Lifts, especially with the overhead movements such as the Snatch Balance, Push Press, Push Jerk, etc. We didn’t have much time to work on those movements as he felt it was best to hold off on them once his throwing program started. I was still able to get him solid work on some solid explosive movements though. We did lots of clean-pulls and explosive “Wall-Ball” from both a deep squat and with a “push-press” style dip/drive; both of which the goal was to get the ball as high as he possibly could each time.

Myself, as well as my friends and everyone at CrossFit who met him and got to hang out with him, all enjoyed having him around and thought highly of him. Steven’s a good man and now a good friend. Steven not only has a tremendous amount of character, but is a very committed, focused and driven athlete. He certainly has the mental aspect on lock! His mental toughness and focus is incredibly honed and is probably his most valuable asset as an athlete, along with his pitching skill. Those of us in coaching and in athletics know full well that no matter how “fit” the athlete is, regardless of sport, if they do not have that honed mental focus and solid mental toughness, that they will not go far or last long. Steven has both, the focus and the toughness needed to not simply succeed, but to excel. It will be fun to watch him play. Baseball, for me, just got much more exciting to watch.

...I have been through a lot of pain in my life, as have most. And there was a time when I had said to myself, that if a little fairy came down and said with the wave of her magic wand she could put everything back the way it was in my "perfect little bubble" of a life...without having to have experienced all the pain, ...I would choose "NO". ...I feel that if I had not gone through all that I have in my life, then I would not have the understanding of things that I have now...for it was a long process. While this is true, I sometimes think I'd be willing to endure less understanding if it meant less pain. *lol?* But, without those experiences, I think I would have remained lost and not even known it, for it was due to so much pain that I became more connected to my own soul. But there lies a dilemma. Can you be lost if you don't even know it? No, that isn't right. Obviously you are still lost...but for the purpose of your own private reality, you are not. One does not experience the deprivation of something if they do not know they are deprived. (Arguable, yes.) For example, in this country, fully 85% of us wander around in a state of semi-dehydration (for various reasons that aren't relevant). However, most of that 85% feels no sense of thirst. In the independent reality of "That Which is True" - those bodies need more water than they get. But for sake of their day-to-day existence, little is changed. For all practical purposes, they *don't* need the water, because the lack of it causes no dramatic interference in their lives. They have a few extra headaches, a few less-lubricated sexual encounters, a few more aching joints, but they never have that coveted epiphany in which they scream "I need water, I get it!" -- Just as many live comfortably without the kinds of realizations about life, etc, that myself and others have had driven into our souls by tragedy.

Perhaps we have to acknowledge that there is something wrong before we can correct it. ...But if you don't know something is wrong, you will be *happy* with what you have. (?) Knowledge is power, just like G. I. Joe says, "Knowing is half the battle. - Geee.-Ieee.-JOoooE!" :) ...But knowledge is also pain. To a certain extent anyway. If we were *happy* -- if we were truly satisfied with everything we were and everything we were doing, we would never try to change anything. Improvement comes via dissatisfaction with the current state of things. So I am sometimes troubled by the question: Which is better, to be happy and stagnant, or miserable and driven to improve? Improvement is supposed to be good, but aren't we only improving ourselves in a desperate attempt to recapture that bliss we had back when we were One with our lesser selves? :) Though, perhaps being stagnant has nothing to do with happiness and vise versa, and you don't have to be miserable to be driven to improve. I know I can sometimes find happiness in just knowing that I have the ability to improve. Perhaps happiness can be found within everything--you just have to have a good sense of humor for life and know where to look? It is kind of like beauty--scratch that--happiness is beauty. ("?") (Debatable, I know.) ("?") Anyway....

On some levels I feel that if I had not had all the inner turmoil and strife as well as all the rage and sorrow and chaos, that I would have accomplished more with my life thus far. Or at least I would have been much happier. I sometimes almost feel robbed of my childhood and robbed of how I could have developed and of the person I could have been. But there lies a paradox. First I say that I need the torture to become who I am...a baptism in fire, if you will. Then I say that same torture is what held me back from being something more. Can we have it both ways? Logically not. I think it may really all be the latter. We *were* robbed. ...If we're the products of anything, are we the products of others assumptions about us from the time we were little, ...children growing, ...questioning, ...listening? ...Impressionable. The army used to use the slogan "Be all that you can be." No one ever really means that -- everyone assumes there will be something that you will suck at, and they treat you accordingly -- usually most people end up believing it themselves. What would we be if everyone expected us to be excellent at everything? Would we measure up or would we fail? ...At least we'd know we truly tried.

How much of us is innate and how much is a product of the environment? Clearly we have many facets of our "self" that are innate, but these can be clearly expounded upon or warped to a degree by our environment. This is sometimes a question that can keep me up at nights. Because I can not escape the environment, I cannot see how I would have turned out if I hadn't been exposed to it. What parts of myself were God-given, so to speak, and what parts are merely acquired tastes that happened to somehow be acquired in infancy? I don't know. It sometimes bothers me that I don't know. I always used to wonder about these types of things, what if this... what if that... but the past is gone and I suppose it is the *future* of this world that should keep us up at night....

I recently read a definition of the word "Forgiveness". It read: "Forgiveness; Giving up all hope for a better past." That quote has something to offer.

These are two of my good friends, “Coach Smith” and “Coach Smith”, Jack and Joe.--Father and son. Joe is currently the Boys Varsity Basketball Coach at Aptos High School and his father, Jack, is his assistant. I have been good friends with the whole family for quite some time now (8 years or more) and they have both been great friends to me. I think I have pretty much trained almost everyone in their family at one point or another, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Siblings, etc. This is their 4’th year now with the boys. Before then they coached the Girls Varsity Basketball team for 3 or 4 years and before that the Boys JV Basketball team (in which they went undefeated, 27 and 0). Joe’s father, Jack, has been his assistant coach every year.

I have to tell you, these are two of THE BEST coaches I have ever come accross, regardless of sport or level. I have known coaches at the college level in the same sport and (no offense to them) Jack and Joe are by far the best Basketball Coaches I have ever known. They realy are exceptional.

Furthermore, ...I consider them and their whole family, "Family". The whole family has welcomed me in and all consider me as a part of the family. I am blessed. As I stated in a previous missive, ...I am very greatful for the people that God has placed in my life. (...Which provides a paradox for me which I'll get into within a later post.)

I have trained their teams in strength & conditioning ever since they started back with the Girls Varsity. Every season I work with them 2 or 3 days a week in the preseason. I end up going to as many of the games as I can and I scream and yell and can’t help but get all excited and pumped up when they play. (Yes, I have lost my voice on more than one occasion.) They always play hard. Every team they have coached has always played hard. That’s one thing about them that’s fun to watch.--They are very well coached and they play very hard. The guys on the team are Aaron Glaum, Tony Licker, Daniel Johnston, Danny Lucas, Ryan Rocha, Ben Solari, Andrew Biancardi, Tyler Raymond, Julius Freeman and Nick Ingram.

Monday, January 22, 2007

...There have been studies done where half of the floor in a monkeys cage is painted green and half is painted blue. Initially, when the monkey is on the blue side they will receive a severe electrical shock. This will continue for a while until the monkey pretty much says to hell with the blue side, I’m gonna stay on the green side. When this happens they switch the shocks to the green side. The monkey again adapts and eventually says to hell with the green side I’m going over to the blue side. ...Then, after a while, they mix the shocks to where the monkey receives severe electrical shocks on both the green and blue sides, randomly. ...At this point, the monkey eventually just succumbs to it’s fate, finds a spot on the floor, lays down and dies.

...When so many elements in our lives are severely “shocking” us, and we’re getting hit from all angles to the point where there is no "safe zone", ...no order, ...no peace, we eventually just want to lay down and die. Our little monkey brains can't handle it anymore and we just, ...“accept” it, give in, find a spot and lay down and die.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

...Where to start?

If I seem to be unclear or cryptic with any of what I write, I'm sorry. I am not purposefully trying to be such. Even through one of the most powerful modalities of communicating, such as writing, the truest essence of what we are really thinking/feeling/etc can never fully be expressed. [Even Shakespeare alludes to this in his sonnet number-35]. But alas, t’is how it is.

...I've acknowledged as of late, ...that I have felt alone since I was a small child. ...Why is this? ...Is this normal? ...Or am I just a lil "messed up"?

In between doing research and programming for my clients workouts, visiting my father in the hospital, fixing my truck, mapping a years worth of workouts for Dwight and Steven, and all the daily activities that go with life, ...I've been doing some thinking about love, life, relationships, loneliness, the heart, the soul, etc, ...and why this all hit me so hard and what it was I was actually feeling for this girl, ...I got a little lost for a bit in trying to figure it all out (those damned God’s of emotion). it got me thinking further, ...about many things, ...the heart, relationships, the soul, “the self”, the fall, the gods, loneliness, judgment, looking into ourselves, into others, and ultimately, ...our own subjectivity and plight of the individual.

"Prisoner of the flesh," "Trapped inside myself," "Alone in a crowded room," etc. All of us are in touch with this feeling to one degree or another, and if we're not feeling it strongly, at this very moment, we sure as hell will be in the near future. Everyone.

Poets from all eras have delved into this, spanning over 2000 years, from Lucretius, to Aphra Behn, to John Wilmot, The Earl of Rochester, to the latest poets to be added to the Literary Cannon. Throughout their works there is a "penetrating hearts" rhetoric that is couched within their various descriptions of lovemaking, from the first darting glance to the final consummating thrust.

If one examines this progression of lovemaking within the context of this penetration rhetoric, you can see that the aims of the rhetoric itself goes beyond any poeticized account of sex and it's anthropological function; that is to say, the natural demand for sexual organs to meet and copulation to take place is met, and yet there is still a discontented longing to penetrate further--through the genitalia, the mouth, or even directly through the chest, but always to the heart of the other.

To see this constant resurgence of theme, spanning almost two-thousand years, one cannot help but raise questions of how this quest to penetrate the heart of the other manifests itself within the language and what then, is the significance of the heart itself? How is the heart functioning within the framework of the rhetoric in relation to the body and the self?

Ultimately, ...within this rhetoric, the heart itself functions as a container of the soul and the self (or as a prison of the soul/self, depending on the connotation). As the flesh and the body inhibit the penetrator from reaching the heart of the other, so the actual heart inhibits the penetrator from the soul of the other. Our final picture then, is of two souls trapped within hearts trapped within bodies, trying in vain to inter-penetrate and to liberate one another from their own subjectivity, becoming something bigger and more complete than either was before, two souls striking out to become one. What is compelling to me within this rhetoric is this need to penetrate into the heart of another, but at the same time escape the containment of one's own heart. This is what gets me thinking about what it is to be "trapped" and subjectivity...and the fall, ...and Gods...and rhythm...and death....

We are formed--physically, mentally, and emotionally--to the pulse and rhythm and flow of the heart, we can call this "the semiotic world of mother" or "paradise" or any other number of "logies and isms"--I prefer "the pre- subjective world of the heart."

Here's a pretty good model for the thing. I don't consciously view everything this way, but it has served me well over the years as a foundation to build upon.

Do you remember the womb? Do you remember the warm, breathless bath of Mommy's universe? I don't. I don't remember a damned thing, and I wouldn't expect anyone else really does either (Mark this down as an argument against myself should I ever cover, "Hey, Asshole, are you Pragmatic or Insane?"). The reason you don't remember what you felt is because you weren't "you"--organically, of course, you were you; and in a distant sense you may have been spiritually you; but consciously you were not you. You just were. Although, "just," probably doesn't lead us in the direction we want to go. You were more than "just" anything--pulse, flow, circulation, heat, heart, blood, the beating and the rhythm and the music of it all. You were alive and part of everything else alive, inseparable from your mother, her cat, her favorite ficus, you were everything and everything was you. But then, unfortunate of unfortunates, you were pushed out into the world and distinctions had to be made: big blue sky with two hands in it, doggie's face with two hands in it, mommy's breasts with-- "Hey, those must be 'my' goddamned hands!" And from there on out, when you thought "I" you were no longer one with Mommy, the cat, the ficus and the universe, you were only one with you. Literary theorists can make pretty good cocktail talk about how this pre-conscious experience of rhythm and the heart play into music and poetry, and that's all very enjoyable. Less enjoyable is the psychologists' tagging this revelation of "I" as the birth of "subjectivity". If you wanted to get into a pissing contest, I'm sure that in addition to subjectivity, many other 'tivities could be piled up before and after the thing, but, unfortunately, I just went.

With our emergence (or fall) into subjectivity, our world becomes a place of that versus me; our time of existing without the burden of existence is up, we no longer "are" and we need to tell ourselves "I am." And so we are trapped; sitting on the double-edge sword of our consciousness, trying to justify our existence with such a grimace of consternation that we can't see the beauty and life all around us (sorry, I'll try to tone her down a bit); or, we are doomed to actually see life, but with only one set of eyes, our empathy being limited to our own associations and facsimiles. Thus, we are isolated with no real means of pure communication, everything we think and feel has to undergo a loss in the process of externalizing and transmitting beyond our prison of flesh and bone ("Search me oh Lord..."). Reconciling with our loneliness is the real impetus of man--it's love, sex, and alcohol; it’s the stuff from which gods are made, or the stuff from which they made us, so as we could not possibly ever forget them....Hey, I don't know. It's all very hard to label and manipulate.--I suppose "I am" my own argument. :) But let me digress....

The important thing to make a note of is *loneliness*.

Loneliness. We feel it all the time. Loneliness, and not just the little nagging loneliness either, I mean the throw-your-head-back-and-howl-at-the-moon king of loneliness. It's terrible and it's frustrating, and worst of all, it's a dangerously attractive and easy part to play. Easy! Stopping--now there's the hard part. But we must--li'l Hamlets that we all are--try to put the goddamned skull down, take off the turtle-neck, and venture out into something more challenging: ...happiness for instance.

But, again, ...where to start?

(Perhaps *I* should start with Lithium or maybe Prozac. *LOL?*)

With our birth into this world, comes our birth into subjectivity.

...But let me digress.... Sorry. “My bad”.

...What I meant to say was, ...try this workout couplet:

Body Weight Thrusters
1.5x BodyWeight Cleans
alternating exercises @ 5/5, 4/4, 3/3, 2/2, 1/1, ...for time, of course. :)

“The wrought iron thinks itself needlessly tortured in the fire, ...the tempered steel blade knows why.”


Here's Dwight Lowery, busting out Snatch-Balances. We also worked heavily on Cleans that day.

Dwight has chosen to remain at SJSU for his Senior season and enter the draft after finishing his degree. I fully support him on this decision! ...Look out everyone!--I'm going to have the opportunity to work with Dwight FOR WELL OVER A YEAR before he enters the NFL Draft! He is going to be the Fittest CB in the NFL, Period! Not to mention the fittest CB in all of NCAA D-1 FootBall, Nationwide, this comming season!!! That's right, you can "write that one down"! :)

Seriously though, ...Dwight has an incredible level of self confidence, yet is humble, gracious, genuine and kind. He is SO focused and SO committed. It's rare to see an athlete of his caliber and age who has not only been blessed with the God given talent & intelligence, but who has also developed an unparralelled work ethic, forged an iron-will, unleashed an insatiable drive, and summoned from within the unrelenting focus and state of mind necessary to harness it all and bring it all together. ...Now, give someone like that access to the worlds best conditioning protocal, coupled with the best that performance nutrition has to offer, and delivered through a coach who truly cares about his personal growth, development and success, not only as an athlete, but as an individual. ...& that's just a beautiful thing. That's all God working to bring all of that together. No other way. ...Just my opinion. :)