My legs were on strike today!

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Walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night was most definitely difficult! My legs and feet were VERY sore! Not in an injured sort of way, just in a worked them a little too hard sort of way. So today I just relaxed. All I did was some work, and walked 20 blocks to the post office and back. I did try a little Bagua, but that didn’t last long at all :(. I’m glad I didn’t attempt to go around Greenlake again today as I really don’t think I would have made it, and might have messed up my legs for Bagua tomorrow.

Greenlake run day 2

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I don’t usually run two days in a row, but with such a pretty lake and no gym nearby I thought I would… it took slightly longer today. I ran in my new runners, comfy. I have a couple of blisters though, since they are brand new, and I did run for an entire hour.

Lunges, they are evil, my legs are still sore from yesterday’s lunges, and cannot get into any positions which are even slightly similar to a lunge lol.

Smoothies are the best post workout food EVER!

My new shoes rock for Bagua.

Greenlake run

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Since I’m visiting Seattle, and my friend lives only a ten minute walk away from Greenalke, I thought I would go run around the lake. The outer trail (the one without the annoying people in the way), is 5.2 km around. So I ran around that, then ran another km or two until my friend called. He met me at Greenlake, then we did a fast walk around the lake. So apparently I ran and walked about 12 km (plus the ten minute walk down).

I have been focusing on completely relaxing my legs, feet and ankles when I run since my running friends told me that was part of the reason I get odd pains from running. I also after my run went and purchased a new pair of running shoes. I think having an old pair of cheap nikes I had laying around which are one size too large, or the other pair of Soucanoy runners I bought at the thrift store, also a size too large were not the best option for running. This is what was the cause of my shin and achilles pains my one running friend told me. Well $150 for a pair of runners just wasn’t in the budget, so I went to Ross, and got a nike pair of Nike my new purple shoes flexible sole semi natural running ones for $50. They are extremely comfy, haven’t run in them yet though. The doufus beside me in the store went on about how they matches my hair and jacket…. I don’t think he goes running somehow. Anyways, I’d better have happy achilles and happy shins now! 🙂 My fancy new purple nike runners also happen to have gps support, so I can hook them wirelessly up to my ipad, or wrist gps thingy to track my distance, speed, calories and so forth. This should make me nervous I think…

For Bagua, more focus on continuously twisting inwards and looking inwards, then also just walking around the house but with that whole extended Bagua scoop step thing. My lower back is a bit out of place and sore. However in the past I have found that over time it does get stronger and better, but sore as it’s getting there.

I know I would make John’s day if I were to do Zhaquan the entire 4.7km around the inner path of Greenlake, however I just don’t think I’m up for that yet lol. Well that and I’d be stopped every five minutes with questions I’m sure.

I’ve been feeling a bit out of the loop with Zhaquan lately, which is a bit of a bummer. I only seem to be experiencing the purely physical of it these past couple of weeks. Oh well, as long as it’s healing, all is good ;).

The depth of Bagua continues to amaze me!

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I have only been practicing Bagua for about a year now… well I guess you could say 18 months depending on how you look at it… anyways, the depth of the practice and the martial art amazes me more each day. There is so much to this system. I had no idea there was so much to it when I first started, yet I could tell on some level that it contained many mysteries that I could not yet even begin to comprehend. Not that I barely comprehend the system now, but at least I get little hints of what is interwoven within the practices. Just what appears on the outside to be a simple physical practice, or something to focus on for any particular month or so, seems to have many many layers to unfold. Martial arts is most definitely nothing like any other form of exercise. It is also uniquely different from spiritual and meditative practices. I also feel that Bagua could heal about anything, as it goes so deep. It’s difficult work due to all this, but worth it.

On that note, I cannot comprehend how someone can learn martial arts from books and/or videos. They only relay the base physical movements, and any which do go deeper, are pretty much just a bunch of annoying newage fluff, with irrelevant information. It is nice to have teaching where someone points the way so to speak. To me Bagua seems open enough that it is more of a pointing the way then leading you down a path. This can get frustrating at times when you want to know exactly how to do something, but it comes, eventually, with practice. As Dong Hai Chuan always says “more circle walking” ;). It is amazing what can be found in this basic and very important practice. I am beginning to think that each and every little movement, each thing you focus on, each twist, and each turn, each bit of energy focused on, all lead to greater understanding, healing and so forth. I often have such thoughts as “who the hell cares if my hand is over here or over there, or if my foot moves like this or that…” While it is more about how the entire body moves together as one, it also seems to be important at the time how each movement is done, and what goes where. Eventually perhaps it does not matter, but while one is training, I feel that certain movements at certain times bring the student to where they need to be.

I also feel that all the twisting and turning, as well as other movements are what removes energy blockages and helps everything to flow how it should. I have read that with Taichi and qigong, each movement is for a particular internal organ, to heal, or to help a particular ailment. I think this is also true with Bagua, but in a different way somehow. Bagua feels more like the body as well as energy body are being grabbed and twisted (in a good way) to actively set things into alignment.

I also think that you get out of Bagua what you focus on. Personally my health is shit, so I am focusing on health. I do really enjoy the fighting aspect as well, but it is health which mostly compels me currently. I have heard about older masters not having very good health as they get older sometimes. Aside from the fact this just happens naturally, I also think that perhaps they spent their entire lives focusing mostly on the fighting aspect, and didn’t switch over to the more health aspect as they got older. Not that the practice is any different for fighting or for health, but I think it’s more where your focus and intent are.

Perhaps I will re-read this blog after many years of Bagua experience and wonder wtf I was thinking! But then again perhaps not ;).

My poor poor innocent back!

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About a year ago, I remember Bagua being difficult for my lower back. Now with the focus on twisting inwards non-stop I have found that it is working my upper and middle back more. It definitely gets sore, but I think is strengthening my back in the process. I have had severe back pain my entire life, and Bagua is the only thing I’ve ever found to bring relief. Well I think it’s getting a little deeper and into different areas now. I wonder what sorts of healing, twisting and moving sorts of things it is doing to my internal organs when I twist each way like this?

I like how with Bagua, as soon as you get something half decently well and it’s incorporated into your practice, there is another layer added on, to bring the Bagua, the healing and the martial arts even deeper. I think I would have gotten quite bored by now if there was not a new challenge all the time. I’m also focusing on the …crap forgot the name of it…. that bit of scooping extra step thing at the end of each step. So focusing on turning inwards non-stop, the scoop step, and sinking everything down to the dantien, definitely keeps me busy when I walk.

I’ve been contemplating why this circle walking is even more difficult then running lately… I remember someone saying something about anearobic exercise. I know it’s not high intensity cardio (or cardio at all really at normal speeds), however from what I recall there is anearobic components. I wonder if John would agree with this or not.

There is one Bagua practitioner who I talked with who has amazing amounts of strength and large muscles (compared with me at least). So I asked him if he weightlifts, how he got the definition, and how he got the strength. He kept repeatedly telling me “circle walking”. He does not weightlift. I find that to be quite interesting. I have also noticed in myself that I have more muscle then I should for someone who hadn’t weightlifted barely (just started up again a week ago), and who never lifts heavy objects. I would like my legs to catch up though, the grouse grind just isn’t doing enough; I still have much trouble getting into those low stances.

I’m really tired of my arms and shoulders being so weak and always feeling like they are going to fall off when I do the heaven palm. So I’m doing the heaven palm with a set of 3lb weights. I’m hoping that if I practice at home like this for short periods of time, when I do the heaven palm without weights it will be bearable. The 3lb weights feel so light I wonder what anyone ever uses them for, well right up until i have gone around the circle a couple of times, then it feels as though I’m holding up a couple of 50lb kettlebells lol.

I went for a very short run today, just 1km, since I was too busy working and circle walking (alternating back and forth) all day.

My sports bra makes my boobs look small!

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Now I know what it’s like to live the life of a B cup lololol. The problem was that I was trying to make them not bounce, so was not doing enough leg up and down motion in my running. With the new fancy boob squishers I got there is no bounce, and thus I can run any way I want without ouchy chest boing! Yeah I know TMI ROFL.

I ran for 10 minutes today then felt like I was going to keel over and die. SO then I went to the gym and moved heavy weights around for half an hour or so. Then I saw some fancy treadmills and thought I’d try one. Wierd!!!!!! So I spent 25 minutes going at 4 miles per hour. They take a little getting used to. Perhaps I can go faster next time. At least I did it non-stop. Treadmills are MUCH easier then running! I had to do some more cardio though.

I also walked to the gym and back.

Tomorrow I will try for a real run ;).

Bagua snacks ;)

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John has this neat idea… on days where I’m just too wiped out to do a long session of circle walking, or maybe just don’t have the time… to just do little portions of Bagua walking, 5, 10 or 15 minutes. This being better then no Bagua at all. I quite like the idea, since it is seldom that I seem to have enough energy for a full half an hour or more of circle walking. For some reason Bagua seems to take more then things like bicycle riding, and perhaps even running. For some odd reason, I would put it at the difficulty level of the grouse grind, but not in a cardio sense. There is just something about it that really wears you out quickly!

So I’ve been doing lots of Bagua snacks, with the focus of being constantly turned inwards.

Now that was COLD!!!

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Some bikeriding, then some practice, then some bikeriding. Not much practice… for the first time ever neither Bagua nor Zhaquan warmed me up! I was pretty soggy wet from the bikeride though. Then my feet started to feel a bit numb. I think my mistake was judging the temperature before 5pm, then staying out after dark not wearing anything warm. It took nearly 3 hours to finally stop shivering after I got back home.

I’m having second, and third thoughts about this whole bikeriding in the rainy and cold weather stuff.

Yesterday I took the day off exercise to perform a ritual in a cemetery for day of the dead. It was very peaceful and everyone enjoyed themselves :).