Saturday, December 31, 2016

RIP Alphonse Mouzon

Some tracks featuring the great drummer Alphonse Mouzon, who passed away December 26, 2016.

Weather Report - Tears
Weather Report 1971 "1"

Tribute article:

Six Harmony basics

The Six Harmonies are the principles of body structure and movement that are characteristic of the Chinese internal martial arts.  Soon after I first heard of the so-called "internal" martial arts, I learned that there is an "engine" that drives movement in the "internal" arts that Mike Sigman and others had started referring to as "internal strength".  Unfortunately, the word "internal" is kind of vague and confusing, so these days some have preferred to use the term "six harmonies" or 6H to describe this "engine".

My understanding so far is that developing 6H skills will inevitably lead using one's body with the greatest possible efficiency, along with the least amount of effort.  This is because a 6H-trained body utilizes the muscle-tendon channels so that all body movement is driven from the "dantien" (aka "the center") - the hands are connected through the dantien to the feet.  The connections are generally through muscle-tendon channels that run all over the body.  In addition, this trained body takes advantage of two basic forces that are constant and in opposition to each other in the human body - Ground (aka "Up") which we all naturally use to stand and not lie flat on the ground, and Gravity ("Down") which is, well, the force that pulls is towards the ground.  These are two force vectors (jin) that the 6H newbie learns to use first.  Later on, he/she learns how to use the others.

With this type of connected body, one can hit harder and do other things with more force - but that's not all.  A 6H-trained person can also "connect" to another person's body through a physical, body-to-body contact point.   I have only a tiny bit of experience with this type of connection, and so have only had a tiny glimpse of the possibilities - I just know there are people out there who can cause a "connected" person to lose balance through the point of contact.   I have had a 6H-skilled person put his hands on me, and through my body,  issue force vectors into a 3rd person with whom I had body contact (one hand on his shoulder, the other on the elbow of the opposite arm).  Sounds like some esoteric/occult thing, but 6H skills can be learned and practiced.

Definition of Six Harmonies by Mike Sigman:

Alternate definition, which might be a bit of an easier read:

Below are some basic exercises for training 6H skills, from the 6H discussion group.

Basic jin operations:

Basic reverse breathing - needed before silk reeling can be done:

Qi breathing exercise - great exercise for feeling how reverse-breathing, especially the inhalation, can pull the front of the body or the back:

Shoulder-bypass exercises.  These are exercises for training the movement of the arms by reverse-breathing, thus bypassing most of the shoulder musculature.  As with the basic qi-breathing exercise, these are for developing the muscle-tendon channels, for better silk-reeling performance :

Basic silk reeling exercise.  Close position should have thumb to big toe connection. Open position should have little finger to little toes connection.

Basic silk reeling Pt. 2

Basic explanation of how the "dantien" should pull the arms and legs:

Basic training progression from the 6H discussion group:

"1. Learn and develop jin skills
2. Then begin practicing and coordinating body-winding skills with reverse breathing, dantian, and so on.
3. Begin strengthening the winding and dantian skills via some exercises like Cando Flexbar, pole-shaking, and so on."

A recommended store for nylon poles to use for pole-shaking.  Ask that the pole be left at the full length and not be cut down into smaller pieces.  Beginner spec is min. 6.8 feet, 1.25-1.375 inch diameter. Spec for experienced trainees is 8 feet, 1.50 inch.
Nylon pole sources and specs for U.S., E.U., and U.K.
U.S. (Courtesy of Tom V.)
Recommended specs:
1. 8' long, 1.5" diameter (Mike S., Alfonso, Tin, Jang, Tom V., Budd). This is like a yellow or green cando.
2. 6'8" long, 1.25" diameter
3. 6'8" long, 1.375" diameter. This is a good one for newer folks. Think of it like a tan cando.
Europe (courtesy of Dirk)
U.K. (courtesy of John Burn)
IMPORTANT: Remember to tell company *DO NOT CUT* your pole down to smaller pieces for ease of shipping.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

GMB Rating System (Quick Reference)

For easier reference, this is the rating system used by GMB for all their programs.  The below is copied and pasted from P1...

The 4 Quality Ratings

If you haven’t noticed by now, quality is our main goal in any movement practice. You can’t good at anything by practicing it poorly.
  • Broken = This exercise as you are currently performing it is too much for you and needs to be dropped down at least one level of difficulty. Alternatively, you’re still learning it, so the pieces might not fit together yet.
  • Rough = You aren’t hurting yourself, but this exercise is likely better done with fewer reps and more rest in between sets so you can concentrate on improving your form. Slow down and work on smoothing out the rough edges.
  • Smooth = The exercise is being done with a nice groove in your movement and your control can lead you to work hard at it without a break in form. This is where you can begin trying to do more.
  • Snappy = You got this. Your technique is stellar and you can control the exercise movement at any speed. It simply looks pretty. Every part of your body snaps into place like a well-oiled machine.

The 4 Ease Ratings

Instead of measuring your effort, we flip it around and focus on seeing how easily you can perform each movement.
  • Max Effort = A struggle to move and your form isn’t on your mind since you are simply trying to survive the exercise. We wouldn’t advise this as a regular state of being.
  • Challenging = The exercise feels pretty difficult but not killing you. You can feel fatigue building up but it’s still manageable. But if you force more repetitions you may end up having a bad time. You’ll often find that you’re holding your breath at this stage.
  • Solid = An enjoyable sensation of effort, your movement feels strong and steady and can be maintained with this sense of ease for a good amount of time. Your breathing is steady.
  • Relaxed = Starting to feel as if this is not exercise, but rather just a normal way to move and play. You can laugh and move at the same time.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tai Chi Documentary, mostly featuring Wu family style (Hong Kong branch)

A documentary on Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan), mostly featuring the Hong Kong branch of Wu family style Taiji (there are multiple "Wu" styles of Taijiquan, which can be confusing).  "Eddie" Wu Kuangyu, the current headmaster/gatekeeper of that family style, is featured, along with other teachers:

Tai Chi Documentary

Today's Musical Discoveries

Lakota Dream Song

Kevin Ayers - Song for Insane Times

Olivier Messiaen - Quatuor pour la fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) [Matthew Schellhorn]
Revelations: Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time

Basiani Ensemble - live performance, Grand Hall Tbilisi State Conservatoire

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Footage of a Taiji master teaching some push hands stuff

Push hands:Taiji master Liu Chengde's demonstration #1

Some of the moves remind me of stuff I've seen Aikido and Judo.

I've been thrown by a Taiji master before.  I forgot his name, unfortunately, but I believe he was a relative of Chen Xiaowang.  It was at a Chen Taiji seminar taught by this particular gentleman.  He picked on me a lot to demonstrate fighting applications and such, because I was one of the youngest people at the seminar.  Most of the other people kind of fit the stereotype of the Taiji student - somebody 50 years or older studying Taiji primarily for health, not for fighting - I'm not judging here, mind you.

Anyway, we were learning from this master on some relatively firm surface - no judo/Aikido mats or anything to help absorb the shock of falling.  Through his interpreter, the master, on several occasions, asked me to grab him or try to hit him or whatever.  When I complied, he would throw me.  I found myself on the ground so quickly I had no idea what happened or how he threw me.  It wasn't like some Aikido dojo where I was told to follow the direction of the throwing technique so I could be a good, cooperative "uke" and fall for my partner while, presumably, preventing my wrist or whatever from getting busted by the technique.  This Taiji master never told me what he was going to do to me - he just did it, and I ended up flying and lying on the ground, and that was that.

I believe his name was Chen Qingzhoui.  He also showed up some cool, fun stuff to practice with a spear, and with a giant "bao ding ball".  The spear had to be a specifically made type of spear - out of a specific type of wood, so if you practiced Taiji spear moves with it correctly, it would vibrate or something.  The bao ding ball thing would ring if you did a move "the right way" with it.  I think both of those devices were meant for training the Taiji skill known as "fa-jing", aka "issuing power" - basically the body mechanics for striking/pushing/throwing an opponent the Taiji way.  I guess the closest thing we see in the West to that these days is an Olympic barbell lift like a snatch or power clean, or more commonly a kettlebell swing or other ballistic kettlebell movement.  One of the ladies at the seminar injured her arm trying to work with one of those "giant bao ding balls".  I think the ball was just too heavy for her.

I don't practice Taiji or anything but that was an interesting experience.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Rings One: Training Update

As of the start of this week, this is where my max rep/time numbers are in this program:

Tuck to Tuck Shoulder Stand (Parallettes): 5
Ring Dips: 8
L-Sit w/ one leg tucked, other partially extended - 7 sec. hold
5-sec. Hanging Knee Raise Hold: 5

Tuck Roll Chinup: 8
Skin The Cat: 7
Ring Pullup: 8

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Today's Musical Discoveries

Fairly standard rock song arrangement with Hindustani-style vocals on top.  Mainly saving to try to steal some licks from the vocal line and the flute solo.

Mekaal Hasan Band, Sayon, Coke Studio, Season 8, Episode 1

New Daniel Lanois album - probably only streaming free for a limited time:
Daniel Lanois - album 'Goodbye To Language'

Nice explanation of the gear involved, and a nice composition to boot
Tectonics (featuring Eventide H9, Electro Harmonix HOG 2, and Source Audio Aftershock)

David Torn is one of my inspirations as an improvisational musician.  One of many great examples:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Don Buchla

This legendary pioneer of electronic music, who invented the sequencer and other influential music gear, passed away this past Wednesday.

NY Times has an obituary.

Alessandro Cortini + Don Buchla, performing the piece "everything ends here

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Couple of good GMB articles on Nutrition/Fat Loss

The main focus of GMB's training programs and articles has been on mobility and strength, rather than more superficial fitness goals such as muscle mass and six pack abs.  That said, they do have a couple of good articles related to fat-loss/nutrition, which are legit concerns for lots of people who exercise or want to exercise:

Dogma-Free Nutrition: How to Cut Through the Diet Hype and Eat for Your Goals

Ok, this is really a podcast, rather than an article you can read, but it's got a lot of good, related info:

Today's Musical Discoveries

PRESTON REED "The Last Viking"

Greg Jolivet- For So

The Bitmap Brothers: Pioneers of Amiga game music

Bedhead - What's Missing

Manuel Göttsching - E2 E4

Amp - Stellata

MARTHA AND THE MUFFINS, This Is The Ice Age, 1981.

The Clean - Point That Thing Somewhere Else

Plastikman - Consumed - 08 Locomotion

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

R1 Training Update

For yesterday's training session, I attempted a Tuck Hold to Tuck Shoulder Stand on the rings.  I'm still unable to move all the way into the Tuck Shoulder Stand, but I am able to move closer to that position than I was before I started practicing the equivalent movement on the parallettes.  I seem to have the strength to roll from the Tuck Hold to an intermediate position in which my torso is parallel to the ground - almost a Frog Stand/Crow Pose on the rings - before, I would lose control and have to bail out.

On the parallettes, I've progressed to 4 reps/set of this move in decent form.  There's still room for improvement, but it's better quality than when I first started practicing it on the parallettes - I still remember how shaky my form was and only being able to do one rep per set.

The updated L-Sit tutorial by GMB advises L-Sit training at least 3 times a week.  This is the first week in which I will attempt to practice it 5 times in one week.  Hopefully this will speed up my progress towards a a full L-Sit.  I'm not in a desperate rush got achieve it, but I cannot progress to Phase 3 without it.  Not being able to do it is also holding me back from progress in P1, as 2 exercises at the next phase (L-Sit Thrust and Single Arm Straddles) both require ability to do the L-Sit.  I'll practice the full Above The Rings session just 3 days a week to avoid overtraining.

I also plan to practice pistol squats 5 times this week, to try to reach my goal of being able to do 6 reps/set for 3 sets in good form for one session.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Friday, August 05, 2016

Ring One: Phase 2 Update - All above, all the time!

So far this summer, my Rings One training hasn't been that consistent.  I've taken a few days off here and there to travel out of town to help a friend work on music.  I've also had nearly two weeks of bike commuting daily due to work on our Metro system - the service disruptions would have added so much time to my commute I figured I might as well commute by bike instead.

Each day that I commute by bike is a day I'm much less likely to train on the rings.  During those two weeks of daily biking, I stopped at one of the exercise stations along the bike trail that I ride on in the evenings and did a couple of sets of Tuck-to-Bent Arm Stands, Skin The Cats, and Pullups.

This week I decided to change up my training by doing all of my Rings One workouts as an Above The Rings session.  I'd made some progress on my Below The Rings workouts, particularly in the pull-ups and the Tuck Roll Chin-ups.  However, focusing on a few things at a time for a couple months seems to produce results for me.  My two weakest movements in Ring One: Phase 2 are both in the Above The Rings workout - the Tuck to Tuck Shoulder Stand and the L-Sit.  So if I practice Above The Rings 3 days a week instead of 1-2 times a week, my progress should speed up a bit in those two exercises.

The result after one week of doing only Above The Rings sessions:

Dips - 8 reps max
Tuck-To-Bent Arm Stand (still done on parallettes) - 5 reps max
L-Sit Variation (Slight Alternating Leg Extension) - 3 sec hold/leg
Hanging Knee Raise (5 sec. hold) - 4 reps max

I'm sure my performance in the Below The Rings session will drop as I continue to practice only Above The Rings,  but my lack of progress in those two Above The Rings exercises - especially the L-Sit - has been holding me back from further advancement in Rings One, so I think this is worth doing.  I think once I get to 6 reps/set of Tuck-To-Bent Arm Stand with good technique and mid to low effort, I'll start testing my ability to do the same movement on the rings.  If I progress to doing 12+ dips a set with low effort and high technique, and 10+ reps of Tuck-to-Tuck Shoulder Stand on the rings without much progress on the L-Sit, I may switch to doing a more L-Sit focused routine 3 days a week, but that's still far enough in the future to not worry about too much now.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

1985 Miles Davis interview

Some new stuff I hadn't read before in this interview - Miles was as colorful as ever.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Video: Lightning to USB 3 multiple MIDI devices - haQ attaQ 155

The ever-irrepressible Jacob Haq has published a video on incorporating Apple's new Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter into a mobile music-making setup.

The main advantage of this latest adapter over the earlier one is that it has a Lightning port for power.  You could presumably plug your iPad AC adapter and its Lightning cable into the Lightning port and thus charge your iPad and anything connected to the USB port (eg. a USB hub) all at the same time.

Haq uses a battery pack in his video to supply the power.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Rings One: Phase 2: Level A: Below The Rings session

I progressed to a max of 9 chin-ups.  In addition, I was able to do at least 2 sets of 6 reps of the Tuck Roll Chinup (I did do a 3rd set of Tuck Roll Chinups but stopped at 5).

I was able to do 2 sets of 6 reps of the Pistol Squat too - an improvement over the Monday session in which more than 3 reps was a struggle.  I think bike commuting only once this week helped.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Rings One: Phase 2: Level A Above The Rings

Today was my first session using my latest idea - subbing the Tuck To Bent-Arm Stand on the parallettes for the Tuck To Tuck Shoulder Stand on the rings.  They're almost the same movement, though the Tuck Shoulder Stand on the rings is a lot harder to do than the Bent-Arm Stand on the parallettes due to the instability of the rings.

Rings One advises practicing the Assisted Tuck to Tuck Shoulder Stand until one is ready to lift both feet off the ground.  However, I figured if I can do the movement on the parallettes already, it would be more fun, and possibly more productive, to practice the movement on the parallettes until I can do it for at least 3 sets of 6 reps in good form and ease, then try to do the movement on the rings.

Dips (rings) - 2 sets of 6 reps
Tuck To Bent Arm Stand (p-bars) - 3 sets of 3 reps
Tuck Hold (p-bars) - 3 sets of 15-sec. holds
Hanging Knee Raise (rings) - 2 sets of 4 reps, 5 sec. hold per rep and pause in Top Position for RTO (rings turn out).

The Hanging Knee Raises are one of the core/lower-body supplemental exercises prescribed for preparatory training for the L-Sit.  I'll continue practicing the other core/lower body supplemental exercise (Front Scale) on the in-between days, otherwise it's just too much time for one session.

Some weird tension in my right forearm.  I think it's a technique issue - have to work on it.  The bruises on my palms are well-scabbed over but they're still sensitive enough to pressure to be a distraction.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Revisited GMB's L-Sit Tutorial, plus small update

Last night, I revisited GMB's L-Sit Tutorial.  As I've reported before, my inability to perform an L-Sit has held back my progress in both the Rings One and Parallettes One (aka "P1") program.  The L-Sit Tutorial claims that Parallettes One covers the L-Sit in detail, but all I recall seeing is practicing the Tuck Sit, then suddenly jumping  to the full L-Sit.  This could of course be user error in that I simply missed the part where P1does indeed cover the L-Sit in detail, or it could be that all the exercises in Phase One (for Level A or B) are supposed to prep you for the L-Sit in Phase 2.

In any case, I definitely missed this part of the tutorial:

Programming Your L-Sit Practice

I recommend training the L-Sit at least three days a week, either before your regular training session as part of your warm-up, or on its own.
  • Start with stretching the areas that you need to (if flexibility is an issue for you).
  • Then practice the progressions in the L-Sit video above, up to the most difficult level you can do, for 3-5 sets of 5 seconds at that level.
  • Next, move on to the supplementary strength exercises. Pick two for the upper body and two for the core and lower body. Rotate through the exercises until you hit the ones that are the most difficult for you, then focus on those to make your L-sit as solid as possible.
Oops!  You're supposed to practice the L-Sit progression AND the supplementary strength exercises! I was practicing the Hanging Knee Raise but not practicing the L-Sit progression itself.

I'm covered for the upper body part by simply practicing the Rings One routine at my current level and phase (Level A, Phase 2), because that routine includes Dips and the Pulling Prep when I do Chinups with Pulling Prep.   I've been missing the Front Scale practice, so I'm throwing that in as part of my quick warmup on days that I bike commute.

Practicing pistol squats on my Below The Rings days was working out well until last week.  I believe the combination of accumulated pain in my perineum due to bike saddle pressure and just fatigue from cycling has compromised my pistol squat performance.  My best performance was 3 sets of 6 reps.  Now its a struggle to do 4 in one set.  I'm hoping that taking today off from bike commuting - so I only have one bike commute for the whole week - will relieve my perineum pain and allow my legs and hips more recovery time.

I bruised my palms when my bike slid on a slick spot on a wet road almost 2 weeks ago.  So all my ring training sessions so far have been Below The Rings, as none of those moves put pressure on my palms.  I'll see if I can do an Above The Rings session tomorrow.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cycling saddle search

Bought a Specialized Phenom Expert saddle a while back after realizing the stock saddle on my Renegade adventure road bike was too narrow for my sit bones - basically no sit bone support.  Dunno why I never noticed when I was test riding the Renegade.

The Phenom gave me the needed sit bone support but I still felt too much pressure on the perineum.  I think it's because the Phenom is designed for an aggressive road riding position, whereas I tend to ride in a relaxed road riding position.  A nice info graphic showing four different riding positions can be seen here.

Thanks to the store's return policy I was able to swap out the Phenom for a Specialized Avatar Comp, which was one of the saddles recommended by the Spokes lady after she took my sit bone measurements and asked me about my riding style.  A quick test ride in the parking lot afterwards seemed to indicate less pressure on the pubic bone arch/perineum, and a more "in the hammock" kind of feel.

The real test will be on my next full commute ride.

Monday, June 06, 2016

BBC Documentary on Moebius

Jean "Moebius" Giraud was one of the most influential comic book artists of all time.  His science fiction art in particular has been an inspiration to me.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

Interesting hip mobility exercise

I started practicing this exercise last week.  It'll be interesting to see what this does for my hip/low-back pain issues, in addition to the advertised benefits:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rings One, Level A, Phase 2 Update

Not much to report, really, other than slow but steady progress in Rings One.  I still enjoy substituting the Inverted Press-Pushup superset for the Assisted Tuck to Tuck Shoulder Stand, and holding the Tuck Sit for much longer than the prescribed 3-5 seconds, which I've suspected is just not long enough to progress.  GMB recently updated Parallettes One and one of the updates was to have the trainee work on up to a 60-sec. hold in the Tuck Sit on the P-bars.  I'm getting a bit closer to doing a 30-second hold, with my best hold time in the 22-24 second range.  My rough guess is that my progress in the L-Sit will be tied to my progress in the Inverted Press-Pushup superset as these moves all work the abs.

I've been practicing pistol squats on my Below Rings days.  Today I hit a PR with 3 sets of 6 reps per leg.  Last week I tried an exercise for strengthening the internal hip rotators but missed the part in the instruction about this exercise being for those who don't practice single-leg squats like... the pistol squat!  That internal hip rotator exercise will benefit quite a few people I'm sure, but the soreness from practicing this exercise compromised my performance in the pistol squat, so I dropped the other exercise for now.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

GMB article on the benefits of practicing Bear

Excerpt from the start of the article:

The Bear Walk/Crawl is more than just a warm-up movement. Performed properly and in a variety of ways, it is a full body exercise that stimulates and builds high levels of strength, flexibility, and body control.
For years, various “animal” movements and locomotive patterns have been used in calisthenics, gymnastics, martial arts, and playground games, and their positive effects reach beyond just being fun exercises.
In this article, we’ll go over the details of why and how the Bear in particular is a powerful exercise, and how it is so much more than just moving around with your hands on the ground.
On a related note, here's a link to the Flow Seminar program - which for some reason does not appear on the list of programs at the GMB website:

Friday, April 29, 2016

Rings One: Week 1 Introspection

Ok, I'm not really starting at the very beginning of Rings One, due to previous training done under Rings One (at Level A) , Parallettes One Level A, and Integral Strength.  I'm kind of resuming where I left off in Phase 2, except of course due to lack of ring practice I'm not quite in shape for Phase 2 either.  So I'm going to be quite a bit less formal for my Rings One introspection posts.

What I did this week was 2 sessions of Above The Rings and 1 season of Below The Rings as if I were in Week 1 of Rings One.

For Above The Rings what I will do for next week is this routine:

Dips - 3 sets, just like in the Phase 2 routine.

Superset of Inverted Press and Pushup - 30 seconds each set, 3 total reps of this superset.  This is straight out of Integral Strength, except done on the rings instead of the floor.  I found that my pushup level is with knees on the floor - it's better to get the Quality and Ease of this movement down before progressing to the full pushup.  The purpose of this superset is to prepare for the Tuck to Tuck Shoulder Stand - this is not a movement I can attempt cold after months of no ring training.

Tuck Sit Hold - 3-5 sets, one 20-30 sec. hold per set.  The official program prescribes 3-5 sets of 3-5 second holds, but experience has taught me this is not enough to progress towards the full L-sit.  Parallettes One was recently updated so that the trainee now practices for up to 60-second holds of the Tuck Sit before progressing to L-Sit - so the hold times probably need to be bumped similarly for ring training.

For the Below The Rings sessions the prescribed Phase 2 routine of pull-ups, tuck-roll chin-ups, and skin the cats should be fine - just 3 sets per exercise.  Then I will add 3 sets of pistol squats.

This is what I will practice for 3 more weeks.  Then I will evaluate where to go next with my ring training.

I ended up not bike commuting this week because of rain.  I still have a lack of confidence in riding my road bike after that fall on the ramp (bad angle, so the wheel got caught in a groove between the ramp and the road), so I want to ride on the road bike some more before attempting the full commute, and I want to ride on a dry day.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Integral Strength: Today was the last day

The scheduled called for a Strength And Power session today, with 5 rounds.  I practiced the session as prescribed:

Broad Jump - Never measured it so can't tell how much I improved.  Fun to practice though!

Shrimp Squat - Able to do the full movement, albeit without the leg hold, for 7 reps/leg

Chinups - Able to do 5 reps within the 30-sec. time limit.

Tuck Sit - Able to hold the full 30-sec. with my feet barely off the ground.

I have company arriving this weekend, which will prevent me from practicing for all 6 days as scheduled.

I've enjoyed training under this program, but 6 days a week is a big commitment.  I have not had the time to commute to work by bicycle as a result, and this has frustrated me as the weather has started getting warmer and more pleasant.  I could just continue the program and thus finish it by repeating Week 7 next week,  but I simply cannot bear the thought of putting off biking to work by another week.

What I will do instead this week is switch to Rings One training, and commute to work by bike on one day of this week.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Integral Strength: Week 6 Introspection.

You’ve now gone through 3 different training day sessions, Strength and Power, Strength Endurance, and Integrated Conditioning. Which of those did you perform best at and which were harder? Does this fall in line with your previous experience in training?

I perform the best at the Integrated Conditioning sessions.  The 10-sec. intervals make it easy to really focus on Quality and Ease.  Strength Endurance is the hardest overall session.  Even though I try to adhere to working at a level I can perform with Quality and Ease, the inverted press in the first superset always makes the pushups harder to do.  There there's the rope skipping at the end, which I've struggled to do uninterrupted due to the poor quality of the jump rope - it's plastic rather than true rope, so it tends to curl up.

I have no previous training to really compare to this.

What changes are you seeing in your daily life now? What do you notice is easier to do?

Virtually all the changes I'm seeing are within the context of the Integral Strength movements.   I'm definitely getting stronger in those movements.

Because I'm now practicing this program 6 days a week, I have no time left to ride my bicycle to work.  Perhaps after I finish the program I may have something to report as far as impact on my bicycling.  Then again, I'm not into bicycle racing.  I don't play any sports, so I can't say this program has improved my tennis serve or basketball rebounding or whatever.

Is there any movement in particular you want to improve yourself the most on? Why is that?

No particular movement.  I'm content to continue working on improving my performance in all 10 movements.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Tributes to Prince

NPR's "stories about Prince", including footage of Prince joining James Brown and Michael Jackson onstage.

Ex-art director for Prince shares memories, including a gallery of some awesome portraits:

Prince and The NPG covering the Wayne Shorter classic tune "Footprints" - I'm guessing he plays the guitar solo.

Another NPR tribute to Prince - much, much longer article

Prince's "secret" charity work in the SF Bay Area:

Tribute by a writer from his home state of Minnesota:

Clip of Prince playing "Summertime" on piano during soundcheck:

19-year old Prince funk jam recordings:

Miles jamming with Prince:

What it was like recording with Prince:

Wendy And Lisa working with Prince:

Prince interview w/ Larry King on CNN:

Prince's chef

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Polar Bear Cafe: One fan's apparent reaction to the "Wolf's Occupation Change" episode

As I recall, this was the episode in which Wolf discusses career options with his good friend Tiger, while they're waiting for their mutual friend Lion to show up at their favorite bar "Bar The Grizzly", which is of course the bar owned and operated by Grizzly.

It's a cute reaction, with lots of stills from the episode.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Integral Strength: Week 5 Introspection

The ability to maintain your strength over a period of time is a great attribute. This week introduces a conditioning circuit, how did you do with this?

I've been using an iPhone app called Interval Timer Pro for Integral Strength training.  It lets me set the time between exercises in a circuit.  I had it set to 15 seconds between exercises.  I think that might be a bit too much.  I set the time to 5 seconds which made the circuit feel more like a conditioning circuit.

Are you able to keep your Quality ratings high in the later rounds of work? If it’s not as good as you like, try longer rest periods for now and gradually decrease them.

Yes, I can keep the Quality ratings high.  I am working at the appropriate level.

What do you feel is holding back your progress the most now?

My ab strength.  Progress on the Hollow Body Face Up and the L-Sit has been slow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Today's Musical Discoveries

Luna - Lost in Space

Miles Davis - Paris, Salle Pleyel (1969)

Integral Week 5 : Assessment Day

Broad Jump

To be honest I didn't measure the distance I jumped.  I guess I should have.  I was too focused on getting the form right.

Shrimp Squat

I could go all the way down and back up on each leg .


I could do a regular pushup with solid ease and smooth quality.  I could do 7 reps.

Bridge Press-Up

I can push about half-way up to the full bridge (as demonstrated by the coaches).


I can do 3 chin-ups on the door pull-up bar.  I should have set up the rings, as the door pull-up bar was less comfortable to use and I was distracted by trying to keep my knees in front of me in the hang position.

Inverted Press

No I cannot do a full inverted press.  My Week 1 assessment was incorrect, because I missed the part about a full inverted press including a light touch of the head to the ground.  I can lower my head to about 6" off the ground but that is about it.


I cannot do an L-Sit.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Today's Musical Discoveries

WMD William Mattewson live performance Superbooth 16

The Psychedelic Furs - President Gas

A century ago, the great French composer Claude Debussy sat down at a contraption called a Welte-Mignon reproducing piano and recorded a series of performances for posterity

Recorded live at Yubin Chokin Kaikan Hal , Tokyo on May 14 , 1986.

Don Cherry - pocket trumpet , piano , vocal , (written by)
Steve Lacy - soprano sax
Dave Holland - bass
Masahiko Togashi - drums , percussion

Friday, April 08, 2016

Integral Strength: Week 4 Introspection

How are you feeling now with a month of Integral Strength training under your belt?

I'm feeling stronger in most of the movements. The left shoulder is quite a bit more stable.  I used to feel some pain with this shoulder if I did not adhere strictly to the proper form for pushups and inverted presses - the elbows must absolutely not be allowed to flare, the elbow pits must absolutely face the front (elbows pointing at the knees), etc.

How does this compare to how you’ve trained before?

There is a LOT more emphasis on getting the quality of movement right, over merely busting out reps.  The program encourages you to do as many reps as you can within a superset or circuit - but absolutely NOT at the expense of quality.  If it is necessary to perform the movement slowly in order to get the quality high, this is encouraged.

Is there anything you would change about what you did in this last few weeks?

No, I think I'm progressing reasonably.  

Actually, there is just one thing - I should have started hanging my jump rope earlier.  The problem with cheap plastic jump ropes is they tend to stay curled up unless you hang them on something all day.