Turning a corner

A Sifu is a teacher. The literal translation usually put forward is “Father teacher”, but I really feel this has to do more with noting the gender of the teacher. The female teacher is a Simo, or Mother teacher.

While there are many martial arts instructors who use the term, even when it is unearned, it is interesting to note that in China the term is very rarely used for a martial arts instructor. In China the term is now Jiao Lian, or put simply in English – coach.

Martial arts are not misrepresented when they are categorized as a sportive endeavor. Health and fitness are usually at the top of the list when people are looking into starting their training in the martial arts. It is, trained properly, a great way to begin your new healthy lifestyle. This is not plainly evidenced by the many (myself included) overweight martial arts instructors.

And here is a problem.

How is it that people are convinced to enter into a fitness training program, which is what a martial arts class is properly viewed as, when the person leading the class is out of shape (unless you want to call round a shape)?

Personally, and hypocritically some might say, I would not enter into such a situation. I have made my jokes and enjoyed some time as a fat and happy Black Belt, but I am no longer happy being fat.

There are many factors contributing to this unsatisfied feeling I get now. A little over a week ago, I stepped on the scale and was shocked and amazed, mortified and stupefied to see the number 311 turn up. I wanted so bad to say it had to be a mistake, but I knew it was not a mistake. I have gained weight and gained weight and gained weight.

Well, I am done with that.

I am no longer willing to make jokes about it, or excuses or anything. I have told so many people that they need to live the role of instructor. They need to train the way that they ask their students to train.

I am not starting today. I actually started the day I saw the 311 turn up.

I stepped on the scale this morning and the number 301 greeted me. I never thought that I would be happy to see a scale read 301, but I almost started dancing!

My first step was, naturally, to exercise. The simple fact is that most people out there in the real world wonderland want a pill to fix their fat problem, and there is no such thing. So, get up off of your booty and move!

To handle the exercise part, I did what any self respecting martial artist would do, forms and fighting. I stepped up the level of intensity of my forms which I had lowered in the interest of “in depth study” which amounted to little more than going over small sections in different speeds and then stopping to look at video of what I had just done to see if I could determine if I was improving or not.

In such situations the most obvious remedy will be to up the intensity. And I did just that. Next I started making changes in diet. The diet aspect is a tricky issue. One cannot “go on a diet” as this is a recipe for failure. The proper method is to change your eating habits. And like anything, it seems best to make these changes slowly. I opted to start with eliminating coffee creamer. In the first two days without coffee creamer and upping the intensity of my exercise, I lost two pounds. I, of course, also had to stop with the fast food. This is a difficult thing for most Americans. We do love our convenience.

These are baby steps. But something has to be done.

Today I will be hitting the heavy bag and doing some other traditional and not so traditional training drills. Each week I am mixing up the training to keep myself from getting bored. I am happy to see some initial results. I am a long way from where I want to be. I would be happy to be back down around 250 lbs. I won a National Championship at a weight of 235 lbs, but I was a lot younger then and had nothing to do except train.

I debated about whether or not to make this public, but opted to go ahead and do so as now I can be held accountable by friends. I weighed in today at 301, I want to be 295 by Monday. I will post my actual Monday weight on Monday morning. Any post that is nothing but a number will be my weight, and will also be a clue that I am short on time.

It is time to practice what I preach!

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