Thursday, July 14, 2016

9th Day of Rest

Weight: 101.4kg
(almost there....)

On the 9th Day of Rest my body brings to me:

Karate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!

Finally... I thought I will never see the light of day. Karate in the Olympics in my lifetime.  However, with the advent of the possibility of the big O dream.. also come the desire to control, the power to choose who goes. Politics is inevitable in everything. I hate politics in karate.

Here is a prime example of how karate how degenerated into petty quarrels and squabbles. And that is so similar to our local karate scene.

WKF (World Karate Federation) vs UWK (United World Karate)

SKF (Singapore Karate Federation vs KUS (Karate Union of Singapore)

My loyalties are very clear from day one I started karate. I know honour, compassion, perseverance and loyalty.  We honour our parents just as we honour our teachers. However as years passed, I saw the lines turn from black and white to shades of grey..  and now, I have no idea where boundaries are drawn anymore.

I refused to believe that we are an outcast in karate in Singapore just because we have different ideals of what karate means. I was opposed to the idea that a separate organisation has to be formed to reinforce our own believes in those ideals. I think we all have the same passion for karate. All the same love. Some believe in the self-defence aspect, some believe in the character building, some just love the exercise... others became obsessed.

If we practise what we believe, you will come to realise that one day, all these bickering and political plays will came to naught because we will cease to exist. What do we leave behind for our kohai? 

I know what I will be leaving behind. When I pass on, I have strict instructions for my daughters to preserve my karate black belt. 

My kuro obi. Not just any black belt, not the expensive silk kind..  but the humble black cotton hand-sewn named one that was handed to me by my teacher. It has the name of my karate style on one side, and my chinese name on the other. It looks old and tired now..  just like I am. It is badly frayed from years countless tying and untying.. sometimes we use it.. no we used it a LOT for resistance training and for knowing of our dogi when we fold them up. You can even see it was a lot of white cloth showing under the black black so much so, if you do not look carefully, you might mistaken it for a greyish dirty white belt.

I hold it my hand, it feels light. Yet it feels heavy at the same time. It has been washed many many many times.. yet it looks worn and used and dirty, but it is not dirty, and despite its look, the belt feels strangely energised.  You can tell it has stories if it has a mouth, yet as I hold it, it feels me with confidence.  It has been my constant companion in my humble study of the art of karate-do. It does not just denote my level of study or what competence level I am at... it is simply there to hold my dogi in place.

We often missed out on the most important lesson..  it makes us egotistical yet it is the same item which is the most humble.. the kuro obi.

Black belt means I am good at a martial art. Usually that is how it goes. But that same belt is nothing but an item that holds your dogi in place. So does an orange belt, so does a white belt. So does that mean you are no longer good at karate if your black belt is in the wash and you have to wear a white belt for that day?

I digress...

When I die, I leave behind my legacy, that I once was a humble student of an art called karate and it taught me no matter what you do while you lived... in the end, we all get defeated and die. So it is how we live.. how we wore our belt.. with pride... with humility.

It was never my place to comment on the politics that are in play.. and I am not going to start. But, what are we leaving behind for our next karate generation?

4pm: I made a trip to Evolve and tried to continue training Muay Thai..  but it turns out my leg had other ideas...  sigh.  So back I limped... and looks like another few days of non martial arts....  siiigghhh...


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

8 Long Days of Rest

Weight: 101.8kg

Condition: Tired, Stomach cramps, muscle aches, dehydrated

On the 1st day (Tuesday) of Rest my body gave to me:

An old injury involving my right calf. It seized up during my warmup on Tuesday after I was looking forward to a hard workout so I can rest on the following Wednesday which was Hari Raya New Year day...  but, to my dismay I have to pull out of muay thai class almost 5 mins into warmups. Sigh..  the problems of being old with injuries.

On the 2nd day (Wednesday) of Rest my body gave to me:

More signs of muscle fatigue as I continue to stretch my workout muscles in my calf in preparation that I return to fitness and training the following day or maybe even Friday..  but no lor. Sigh..  It is cold and sore.. a sign of over-training. It must have been the Sunday I went hiking with Lauren over 12.3km from our home in Joo Chiat all the way to East Coast then from there to Stadium. It was quite a walk but I loved every minute of it.  It would have been even better if the entire family could have done it together.. soon I hope :) Fingers crossed.

On the 3rd day (Thursday) of Rest my body gave to me:

Same trouble with the leg so no training but I gave it a good workout in terms of stretching (v. important) and of course food intake.. yumms. Did my usual workout with my upper body and abs..  hope it will compensate for my lack of cardio.Sigh.. always happens during my crucial stages whereby I need to up my game.

On the 4th day (Friday) of Rest my body gave to me:

My two kids down with stomach flu. In fact Lauren already kena yesterday but I had to bring her to the doctor and got turned away because it was just past consultation hours..  (Bad daddy.. Badddd daddy).

My youngest one followed suit with bouts of throwing up and tummy aches as well..  no choice.. DOCTORS AT A&E KK Hospital for Children. Sigh..  4.5 hours of wait.. in the end everyone was exhausted..  Luckily nothing big just lots of medicine for everyone~!~

On the 5th day (Saturday) of Rest my body gave to me:

A nice rest day with Pam and kids as we were both up till 6am this morning due to KK's A&E visit. My body is recovering nicely and hopefully Sunday would be a good day to kick start my new routine :)

On the 6th day (Sunday) of Rest my body gave to me:

A fever, stomach cramps and body aches. Sigh. I guess all that late nights, stress and visiting places with germs finally caught up with me and Pam. We both fell ill and Pam got the worst of it by having fever on top of everything else. Guess today's run is off and err..  Monday is a sick day liao?..

On the 7th day (Monday) of Rest my body gave to me:

Yeps! I was right :( Body aches all over. Grrrr..  Rule of thumb I don't train on the day I feel under the weather and the following day as well, due to cardio concerns. I have see, heard, witnessed too many cases where people who are unwell pushed too hard and well, fit as they are..  I am alive and they are not. God rests their souls. :(  Some of them are my friends. :((((

Pam had a really bad fever spike this evening after her SGH class then Zumba class.. she pushed too hard. This wife of mine is a workaholic. Love her la.  Almost had a heart attack when we found her shivering and spiking a 40 degree temp. Rushed with the entire family down to SGH A&E.. and after almost 6 hours there..  (the girls gave up waiting after 4 hours..  well done kids!) we all arrived safely home and Pam is duly rested.

I managed to convince Pam to rest and closed the studio for 2 days under the reason of quarantine. I do not want to spread the this virus to the rest of the people working out here. Unless I want a pending lawsuit...  better safe than sorry. Right?

On the 8th day of (Tuesday) of Rest my body gave to me:

Here I am typing into my blog for the record of all the past 8 days of so called rests and eventful events plus a lot of exciting happenings which did not make it to this blog..  Hopefully it will never make it here...  but you never know!  Everyone seems rested.. the fever have all but subsided..  I managed to sweat it out this morning and resumed my weights training..  hopefully I make it through tomorrow without any incident AND then maybe I can finally resume my exercise and training regime.  Oh and I also happened to meet Sensei Mark Wang. He is a legend in the circle of karate.  I will blog about him at a later date about how he influenced my karate training.

9th day (Wednesday) of Rest calls......


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A quick look back at karate

Hi hi,

I was just surfing the web this morning when I stumbled across and old article I did for Men's Health Singapore.

I was surprised it is still there..  lol.

Speaking of karate...

One of my clubs which I belong to..used to be the ONLY club.. Shitoryu Karate Association, is falling apart.. in my opinion.  Not by any fault of its own, but by the powers that be.

I guess I was not surprised that the "mighty" SKA eventually will fall because of politics. We used to field the best karate-kas locally and in the region, however, as with all things... pride comes before a fall.

I still remember the first time I heard of karate. It was at a bookstore in Bras Basah where I chanced upon this book...
I remembered I was so intrigued by what I read inside I bought it even though I had to spend my week's allowance on it (I was in secondary 2 at that time and I didn't really have much money).

I was fat.. oh dear.. real fat. I guess I have always been big due to my family. I looked at the book and there were step by step illustration of this sequence of karate moves called kata. WOW. I thought.. after learning this, I now know karate. Somehow, unknown to me, this was to become a lifelong love for the art of karate. I guess if I had picked up a book on Muay Thai or Judo, I would have chosen those arts?..  Nah

When I was in primary 6 in 1983, heh, I remembered there was a TV serial about judo. And there was a craze amongst my primary schoolmates (St. Anthony Boys' School) about judo. Everyone would be challenging each other with judo moves.  There was these 2 kids in particular I want to single out in my blog now who gave me a hard time and bullied me into submission overtime we would "horseplay" around during, before and in-betweeen class times. Lyndon Chow, he was a tall lanky fellow whose mother was one of the teachers in the same school, we called her Mrs Angela Chow. This guy would wrestle me to the ground and pin me down and make me say I give up. I would ALWAYS refuse and tried my best to get up... well, you guessed it, I would always be "mopping" the dirty classroom floor.. and once I even tore my school uniform so badly, I had to hide it by leaning back into my chair the whole time during school until dismissal, lucky it was the last period..  I think.. :)

The other boy.. I forgot his name, but lets call him X. But he was slightly bigger than me, (well back in primary school, EVERYBODY was bigger than me). He would always brag he was the better judo player than I ever will be and can never beat him, and to prove that, he would constantly challenge me to impromptu judo matches... at the assembly yard, during recess.. and once during PE lesson... but it was always in front of a crowd..  maybe that was what he craved (shrug).   I would lose.. and lose horribly because I want to win, but I have no idea how to "judo" and hence get toss around like a rag doll by my bigger "friends".  Sigh.

My dad was a judoka 3rd dan, I remembered, and when I asked him for advice on how to improve my game, he laughed and ignored me. I remember telling myself back then (it was to become one my life mottos), never to depend on anyone else to improve yourself, no one will be in your corner if you don't have a chance of winning, who wants to be on a losing team?

Anyway, back then I couldn't go out by myself, so library was out of the question. I was in a primary school, so the school library did not have any material on judo. The internet was not invented back then. By some coincidence, I happen to catch a very interesting episode of that judo TV serial I was mentioning about earlier.  I remembered watching it intently for the entire episode. Little did I know back then, this was one of my life talents.. the gift of photographic memory for martial arts. Weird right? Of all the things in the world to possess.. well at least its one of the quirky gifts god gave me.. I will take it!

Back to the judo TV serial..  I practiced on my sister... I practiced on my smelly bolster... I practiced by pillars... I practiced by myself...  and practiced and practiced... hard. I told myself I never want to be humiliated by others again just because I cannot protect myself. Anyway, before you know it..  I had to study hard for my PSLE and judo was at the back of my mind..  but in the meantime, I continued getting bullied in school..  sigh

After I got posted to St Josephs Institution, I remembered it was day 3 or 4..  in my new secondary school..  I thought.. wow new school, new start! One morning, right in the middle of the school yard where the whole school was gathered before assembly, I saw X.  I remember him coming over and started calling me names almost immediately. Grrrrr. I can still remember that arrogant face.. smiling and grinning, making fun of my size and gloating over the fact he would trash me overtime he saw me. He started to poke me in the chest and challenged me to... you guessed it.. judo. Sigh. This time I was ready..  and to make it interesting, he got his new friends to gather around and told them I was the one he used as target practice for his new love judo.

-Long story Cut Short-

I trashed him. Ooooh how I trashed him. I threw him into the drain, I threw him amongst the trash bins nearby, I pinned him to the asphalt ground and made him call uncle...all these in front of his new friends. SATISFACTION. I still remembered his eyes. *smile

The bonus came immediate after..  I remember I was leaving the scene of "carnage" where the kids were all gathered to gawk at that bleeding X with his white uniform all roughed up and brown and dirty...  2 bigger boys came running after me.  I was thinking.. uh-oh, X's new seniors are coming to take revenge..  SIGH.   One of the said, "Oei!" I felt like disappearing into thin air, seriously, that is how I feel always right before someone bullies me.   HOWEVER....

The other boy said they have seen what I did in the school yard, and was wondering if I would like to join SJI's Judo Club?  OMG!!!  I should have said yes back then.. but I guess I was just glad they were not there to beat me up.. I just talked them hastily I would think about it and ran off. Ahhh.. sweet!!

-Cut to present day-

Shitoryu Karate Association. The present day karate politics is killing the martial art. It is killing my desire to attend any classes... not that I need to attend classes.. I conduct classes.. heh heh. But still, I would have loved to see more karatekas in Singapore.  MMA is taking this tiny island by storm. Not that its not good, its just that I have a passion for karate.  SKA being booted out from the NSA is already bad enough to stifle young talents not to mention any chance of representing Singapore in any international competitions, but now we have 2 major organisations. I am not going to discuss politics here but all I have to say is what happened to the principles of being a karateka...


I was taught to bow towards these principles for 28 years. Surely it must mean something.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Short short Update

Weight: 105.4kg

Just wanted to blog in and record my progress. My waist has shrunk from 48" to 42.5" from April as of today (thats 2 months). Weight has went from 121.6kg at my heaviest to current weight.

So let's see, 5.5 inches off my flabs and 16.2kg gone. 2 months. Nice. I am charting myself and comparing to my training and exercise progress from 2008. Looks comparable at the moment. That means I am on way back to myself FINALLY.

After years of depression, hopefully I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and I am promising myself NEVER to go back. EVER.  Bye bye 110+..  bye bye 3 digit weight. Say hellllloooo abs again.. sigh.

Today I did a really good 1 hour work out at Evolve followed by another good run in the evening with my daughter then some conditioning weights back at the studio. Nope not tired at all.


With this progress, I know I can do it. I am on my way back. This time I am loaded with Karate, Judo, Muay Thai and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu.

Kekeke.....   KEKEKEKE....  (cue lightning and thunder...) KEKEKEKEKEK!!!