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Old Tired Squire In Action

Old Tired Squire In Action

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Back to Basics Part 2 (Way, way, way back)

A couple of weeks ago I announced that I was going back to basics. At the time, I didn't realize how far back I needed to go! :-)

How I Began

My original thought was that I was in pretty good shape for a man of 60, but I needed to add body weight exercises to my cardio workout, and go back to working on basic SCA combat techniques to improve my foot work and shot mechanics. If only it was that easy!

As a start off point, I looked at some sites I'd visited before for some inspiration. This led to me re-visiting Following the Path of the Sword, the blog of Duke Cornelius von Becke, KSCA, OL, who lives in the Kingdom of Lochac.

The specific posting was Conditioning for Beginners, and appeared to be what I was looking for in a beginning body weight problem. 

  • 20 Squats – make sure you are not leaning forward and the weight is on your heels.
  • 10 push ups
  • 20 walking lunges (that is 10 each leg)
  • 10 dumbbell rows (use a big milk container as a weight) or 10 incline pull ups
  • 20 second plank
  • 30 star jumps

Into the Deep End

But could I leave well enough alone? Oh, no. Of course not! So I followed the link to the "related" article on Duke Cornelius' page to the Do You Even Lift? page, which linked to Primal Fitness and Nerd Fitness, and I had passed the point of no return. 

And so this week, I joined the Nerd Fitness Rebellion and set out on a new adventure which will, obviously complement and improve my adventure in following the path of chivalry. For one's prowess on the field of chivalric honor builds on one's fitness.

But was I through and finally Back to Basics? Well, apparently not, as I began to see while delving into the wealth of information on Nerd Fitness and discovered that even a complete warm up routine may be beyond me at my current fitness level (considering previously obtained injuries and just plain wear and tear of age).

And I Thought I Was In Good Shape???

I began this week working my way into Steve Kamb's Beginning Body Weight Circuit:

  • 20 body weight squats
  • 10 push ups
  • 20 walking lunges
  • 10 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug)
  • 15 second plank
  • 30 Jumping Jacks
As an aside, let me confess that I have almost NEVER done squats per se, despite knowing their efficacy as an exercise. I simply never had anyone to teach me the correct way to do them and was afraid of hurting myself. I had toyed with Yoga Squats, but had difficulty doing them and didn't persevere. But I vowed this time would be different.

But immediately I found a problem. Steve warns that a proper warm up is vital and that, if time was limited, it was better to cut the work out short than the warm up. But what warm up?

I settled on an impromptu set of jumping jacks and running in place, but I wasn't satisfied. And here I was, an experienced exerciser and heavy weapons fighter and I didn't even know a good warm up routine?  Sheesh, can't an old guy catch a break?

Even Farther Back To Basics

So today I took some time after church to wander around the Nerd Fitness (and sign up for the free forums) and lo and behold Steve had posed a How to Warm Up Properly and Avoid Injury lesson. But, the warm up routine is more extensive than the Beginning Body Weight routine!

  • 2-3 minutes of jump rope (who cares if you mess up, push yourself!)
  • 50 jumping jacks (pull your shoulder blades back, extend arms and really focus on the movement)
  • 20 body weight squats
  • 5 lunges (each leg)
  • 10 hip extensions
  • 5 hip rotations each leg (like you’re stepping over a fence)
  • 10 forward leg swings (each leg)
  • 10 side leg swings (each leg)
  • 10-20 push ups (scale based on your level of fitness)
  • 10 spiderman steps (each leg)

And So It Goes

So, it looks like I have my work cut out for me! Today I will start working on introducing the warm up into my program and go on from there. The warm up may, in fact, replace the Beginning Body Weight program for now, with the addition of dips for my triceps.

The good news is that the Beginner Body Weight program does not seem to aggravate my shoulder pain and may even be helping it. I will take it easy and see what happens.

Until we meet again, keep training and keep fighting! 


Saturday, April 12, 2014

Back to Basics

It has been over a year since my last post and a lot has happened (I just haven't blogged about it):

  • I got authorized as a fighter (heavy and fiberglass spear)
  • I got authorized as a youth marshal in chivalric combat
  • I've fought in three tourneys (Coastal Grand Baronial, Commander's Crucible and War of Ages)
  • I've been fairly consistent in attending fighter practice (averaging 1-2 fighter practices a week)
  • I've been fairly consistent in increasing my cardio ability.  (Except for Spring Break, but that doesn't count, right???)
But I find myself, while having fun, not advancing as fast as I'd like in my fighting skills.

Some things I could do to advance my skills are simply out of reach because of mundane reasons. I can't travel much, for instance. (This weekend is the coronation of HRH Sven and Antigone and I could get LOADS of helmet time if I could go, but I can't).  

I know that I can get better if I do the work, but I am frustrated by the same issues coming up over and over again:
  • Not relaxing
  • Chopping my blows and not extending
  • Using my arms for power, instead of my hips
  • Lousy footwork

But enough of the 'pity party' thing - there are things I can do and I know what they are. They are just so HARD to get motivated to do alone!  

It is time to get back to basics. I know this not only from my rattan fencing, but from my earlier, traditional martial arts training in Tae Kwon Do. In the words of Master Lee Jun-Fan, "I fear not the man who has practiced 10000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10000 times."

And so I will now attempt to get back to the basics. In my case, footwork, hip rotation and good biomechanics. This means slow work to get the muscle memory where it needs to be and (hopefully) drills with other fighters to build the reflexes to allow 'mind of no mind' in combat.

Some of my ideas I'm pulling from the following sources:

Cornelius von Becke - Following the Path of the Sword

Leif's YouTube Playlist

And, of course, this one, from Duke Paul:

The Bellatrix Fighting School

Wish me luck!