What am I up to these days? In September, I started on two journeys that have influenced me a lot. The first is an online course in relaxation aimed at martial artists, the second are two online courses on happiness by UC Berkeley - Science of Happiness and The Foundations of Happiness at Work. I am going to see the impact of these for a while to come. The key learning is perhaps that happiness, gratitude, mindfulness, relaxation, … - this are all skills that can be improved and that do improve with practice. I now practice various 5-20 min relaxation techniques once a day and try to inject many “mini-relaxations” of few sec - 1 min throughout the day to make relaxation a habit. I have also started to practice mindfulness regularly, through the Waking Up app/program, with its 10 min daily meditations and “mindfulness” moments when preparing a drink and before a meal. With frequent practice, everything becomes easier. I have been also inspired to dive into the loving-kindness meditation but have yet to fit it into my day.
I am slowly getting back to the Alexander technique after a few months break. A milestone this year is that I started (occasionally) to feel the tension under my jaw, as I pull my head down. I cannot do anything about it yet but it is still an important progress.
Since before the summer, I also work on the Naked Warrior strength training, based on simple body-weight exercises (1-hand push-up, 1-leg squat) and few, 3-5 reps multiple times a day, with focus on max strength. Its key premise is that strength too is a skill. So far it seems to work, despite my lousy implementation.
I have learned a little about Wim Hoff’s method and, though not applying it yet, I got inspired to switch to cold water at the end of a shower for 10 sec (for now) to boost my immunity.
Last but not least, I started slowly reading Peter Ralston’s Book of Not Knowing. Deep, transformational stuff (and a lot of work).
I have done little Muay Thai lately, due to time. I have introduced “focus periods” of few weeks into my training, currently focusing on footwork with agility ladder drills and, occasionally, working on the body mechanics of my punches with the help of resistance from a rubber band (see Wim’s How to Increase Your Punching Power in Five Minutes). Before that, I have been inspired by the relaxation course to practice striking so that I would feel the whole body being involved in the impact, not just the arm, which makes it easier to work on the total body mechanics of the strike.
I have also watched Wim’s Basic Self-Defense part 1 (an awesome, simple SD for an average person and an average violent encounter) and made its warmup a part of my routine. I am still looking for a partner to practice the techniques.