Failure

Yesterday was again one of those eye opening events.

I was given the chance to participate in a Police Vehicle Operations course for Bicycle Patrol. I figured that it had been two weeks since my surgery and that I would be alright. For the first bit of it I was. However, slowly but surely I discovered three facts: my cardiovascular endurance is not good enough; my muscular endurance is not good enough; I pushed myself too hard too soon. Granted that having to sit on a bike seat with that kind of injury is bad enough. Not having the endurance to pull it off also did not help. I reached the 15km mark and was in excruciating pain and overall exhaustion.

I failed the course and limped away from it in agony. That agony was not only physical but mental as well. I push myself to my limits (or what I had perceived as my limits) all the time. In the gym I regularly lift weights that normally I have no business lifting. I love lifting and concentrate a lot on it. My cardio however….I do not. The mental pain of failure is rarely an option to me as I push myself until I succeed. On this day all of the dedication in the world simply was not enough.

In summary….I hate to fail.

However I have been able to limp away in pain and sadness not to wallow in self pity (though there was a bit of that…a little ashamed of that part) but to look at a few items and answer a few questions.

Why did I fail?
I failed because not only was I already injured, but because I have neglected endurance training over the years. My strength training is awesome but cardio wise? I suck.

What did I fail?
I failed a course based on training I have neglected and a skill I haven’t used in over 15 years. Riding a stationary bike in the gym is vastly different from riding an actual bike. Not making excuses but realistically those two factors played a massive role in this failure.

Who did I fail?
When I first got back to the office my thoughts were a little scattered and mostly negative. I failed my instructors who tried to get me through the course. I failed my team. I failed my unit. Most devastating though, I failed myself.

Then I looked at the situation a little more in depth. My instructors were disappointed sure but they made it known that given the circumstances they were impressed that I had even attempted. My team has been very supportive as well, and I am reminded that even though I’m not on a bike, I’m on a car still and I can respond a lot faster in a cruiser anyway! My unit spent time and money to send me, yes, but that money isn’t necessarily wasted because I will improve myself and get through the course at a later date.

Which brings me to myself. Did I fail myself yesterday? Yes. However I do not necessarily see it as a total failure. It pointed out some serious flaws I have and showed me that cardiovascular strength is just as if not more important than muscular strength. In my mind I have started a program to improve my cardio and lose the weight I need to (running while carrying 255lbs is significantly more difficult than running while carrying 200lbs). And while I may not have the chance to get on the bikes at work, that doesn’t mean that a) I never will or b) I can’t still improve myself on my own time.

Failure is very rarely permanent. Failure can be a very important teaching tool that you couldn’t have gotten without trying and not succeeding. It shows you where you were going wrong, where you can improve and just like everything else in my life, stokes a fire inside to improve, be better and succeed next time. Never treat failure as an end to a goal. Treat it as a tool, a wake up call to make yourself better. It’s not an end. More like a halfway point.

One of my team mates, Alex, sent me a message afterwards. He said “we all fall down. We all have bad days. It’s how you pick yourself up and move forward that counts.” Truly inspiring, supportive…and very wise. These words have been echoing in my mind all night and they have sank in. There is also a Japanese proverb that says “fall down seven times, stand up eight” which I interpret the same way. One more for the hell of it: “It’s not how hard you can hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” – Rocky Balboa.

It’s how you pick yourself up and move forward that counts. Words to live by, folks. Words to live by.

Osu!!

Doug

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Almost there….

Speaking with the surgical team at the hospital lead to the discovery of my injury being considered……
Not exactly life threatening lol there is a 50% chance that it won’t heal up properly but given the wound’s recovery thus far I am not overly concerned.

This lead me to another discussion that I had with my lovely amazing girlfriend. She developed a condition known as Ulcerative Colitis, a condition which affects her digestive system. She takes medication every day. She has to watch what she eats. And even if she does everything right, she can still suffer a flare up that puts her out of commission for days at a time.

We have discussed medical conditions at great length, including the severity some people experience over others. Compared to other sufferers, she feels blessed that hers is not as serious as it could be. To that end a pain in the ass is a blessing compared to what it could’ve been.

Everyone needs to take a long look at themselves and identify what it is they live with that they find horrendous. Be it something that you find out of place, unattractive or a health problem that is an inconvenience. There are always people that have it worse. We shouldn’t be spiteful for what doesn’t work right. We should be thankful for what does.

What am I thankful for lately? A woman that I love who stands by me. And the fact that I’m being cleared to return to work. And to TRAINING. I feel bad for them heavy bags!!

Osu!!

Doug

A Pain In The….

Day 3 on the road to recovery here. Can’t go to work because I have an open wound that requires daily professional care. Worst part about it is that I can’t train. Oh I can do some light cardio…like walking…but til I heal up a bit, nothing strenuous. No weight lifting, no Jiu Jitsu and no Shotokan. It’s kinda depressing lol.

There is a light at the end of this tunnel though. When I was at the end of my battle with depression, I needed something. Something I had never given myself ever. Time to heal. Time to be myself and just get back to a point in time where things made sense. My mind needed time to recover.

Lately I’ve noted that I’ve just been tired. Pushing myself to my limits. Day shift meant waking up at 3AM, training at the gym, doing a 12 hour shift and then going to karate for an hour or more. I guess that I never really took the time to recover physically, just like I had never given myself a chance to recover mentally.

Hopefully this will only be for a week more or so, until the wound finally heals up and I can get back into kicking things. You know what, though…sometimes you just need to recover. To relax and to refocus yourself. I will heal up, take this week to be healing and meditative. I will come back to martial arts and to work refreshed, with a clear mind, a slightly mended body and with clearer resolution to achieve my personal goals.

Everyone needs a little time to recharge the batteries. If you find yourself physically and/or mentally drained, take some time to embrace a little Zen and a little “you” time. Recover and come back at life like a hurricane!

One more shout out to my parents who came to visit today and to that darling angel of mine who hasn’t left my side since. I couldn’t have done it without you, gorgeous. Thank you! 🙂

Osu!!

Doug

Another Path Opens

So! I recently got promoted to another program.

Bit of background explanation here: our dojo has 3 programs. GBM (I think the G stands for Green? It’s the basic program), BBM (Black Belt Members for those from Orange up to Brown/Black) and Masters Club, for Black Belt and above.

Last night I was formally advanced to the BBM program. Which means:
– fancy new gi
– advanced training for kata, movements and kumite
– introduction to weapons training
– the ability to work on a second art

So of course, I chose to work on my ground game and pick up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Did my first class last night, and performed well even though injured. So yeah! A new art to work on, a new belt to stripe up, a new and exciting challenge in my journey to be the best I can be!

As a side note, the injury turned out to be a large abscess in my leg which prevented me from using it pretty much at all. I went in for a check up at the hospital which turned into day surgery. In a little bit of pain, but thankfully I have the most amazing angel of a partner who has been with me every step of the way. Love you, babe 🙂

Osu!! Painfully but Osu!!!

Doug

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New gi. Still gotta sew the crest on

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Which looks like that 🙂

Reflection on Orlando

Its my blog, I can write what I want. Doesn’t ALWAYS have to be martial arts related!

June 12, 2016, in Orlando, Florida.

A man whom I refuse to name walks into a gay night club with an assault rifle. Shots ring out, panic spreads, people run, pray, hide, send messages to loved ones whom they will never see again.Bullet riddled bodies lay motionless on the ground. Over three hours later, the violence finally ends.

In all, 49 people are killed, 53 are injured, many in life threatening condition. The gunman, allegedly a closeted homosexual himself, is also dead. 1 police officer is struck by a bullet to the head, but thankfully survives because of his personal protective equipment.

There are dozens of theories, hundreds of questions but only one is prevalent in most people’s minds: Why? Why did someone with alleged links to the community take such a drastic action to cause hate, panic, fear and death? Why did this have to happen? Why here? Why now?

Of the many theories, I have developed my own which many have taken to at least parts of. This man was lost. He lost himself because of who he was and because of what his family and religion demanded of him. He was troubled, suffering from extreme depression, the loss of his family (which was mostly his own doing) and the conflict deep within him…be himself or be what everyone expects him to be. This conflict carried over to his personal life, ending his marriage in an abusive fashion. It caused him emotional trauma, knowing that he had let down himself, his family and most importantly, his God. So (and here’s where it gets weird) in an attempt to redeem himself in his faith and his family whom had turned him away because of being gay, he attacked what he felt was the source of his internal struggle. Somehow, even though having been investigated twice by the Federal Bureau of Investigations for terrorist related events (which even then may have been caused by this internal struggle and not actual extremist beliefs) this man was able to purchase an assault rifle with enough ammunition to end 49 lives, bring 54 to the brink of ending and cause a lifetime of heartache and sorrow to thousands of people.

The dark side of this is that lives ended. Even darker than that are the people who support this action, and those who would use such a catastrophic event to further their own political agendas (Donald, I’m looking at you, bro.)

Thankfully there is a light side. During all of this pain and suffering, people have come together. Gays, straights, black, white, Christian, Muslim….any other label that society forces on people….have come together to donate blood, to provide assistance to the victims and their families, to pray. Pray for the victims, pray for their families, pray that this level of hate never happens again. Oh it shall, because of a point I will make below, but regardless of titles or labels, people have started to come together and show support as one human family. Even in this dark day, human spirit, compassion and love can still shine on as a light towards others.

Now I said I would explain a point below. This is my view on people in general. I see the world not as black, white or brown, as Westerners and Easterners, as male or female, gay or straight, Christian, Muslim, Jew or any other creed, race, political view, sexual orientation or any other “dividing” factor. In my world, there are two types of people:

Assholes
and Not Assholes.

If you’re an asshole, it doesn’t matter what labels you put on yourself. There are asshole straight white men. There are asshole Asian Muslim females. There are assholes of every shape, size and colour. If you are an asshole, then I shall treat you as such.Likewise, people who are not assholes also come in every form. There are black Atheist males who are not assholes. There are lesbian Buddhist females who are not assholes. I don’t care about any labels that society places on you. A good person is a good person, not because of whats on their skin, or who they love, or who they worship, but because of the kindness and love in their hearts.

Many, many people who suffered from this tragedy were not assholes. They were every day folk like me and like you. People who loved, and were loved. People who had a bright future, who had overcome many hurdles in their past and were just trying to enjoy their present.

This is a horrible day, but if we can take anything from it, it is simply this:
Love. Love people. Love your family, your friends, your partner and everyone you meet. Love people who don’t necessarily deserve it. Love people regardless of the labels and whatever social stigma those labels bring. The Christian faith (and many others, but I don’t have exact quotes from their holy doctrines) says one thing that has always stuck with me. Love thy neighbour as thyself. Remember that your neighbours are black, white, brown, gay, straight, Christian, Muslim, Jew and every other label that exists.

Love one another. Don’t give into hate. You don’t have to love everything about everyone. You don’t need to accept everyone. You just need to see that everyone has, as our Charter of Rights and Freedoms says, the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of the Person.

Love one another. And if you’re an asshole, look deep inside yourself and ask, why am I an asshole? Is there an need to be an asshole? And how can I stop my assholish ways?

Happy Pride, everyone.

Osu!!

Doug

The Path to Greatness

The path to greatness is long and winding.
You will not always win. You will not always be successful.
You may never be perfect, but you may be great.

Be humble in your victories.
Be gracious in your defeats.
Be proud of your accomplishments.
Be steadfast in your goals.

Remember that we all walk the path at our own pace. Be kind, be respectful, be helpful. Only stand above someone if you’re offering a hand to help them along.

Indeed the path is long and winding, but greatness only comes to those who have the courage to travel it.

Osu!!

Doug

So it begins…

This is the first post in my new blog. I’m using this as a mental outlet to share my feelings, accomplishments, insights and discoveries in this new martial arts journey. I may even throw in some fictional writing just to experiment with my writing style.

I don’t know how many people are going to actually read this, but I am. I will be able to track my progress not only physically but mentally as well. Apparently I say a lot of inspirational stuff so hopefully if you’re reading this, you will be inspired to be better. To train harder. To perform better and to improve.

Welcome. To those who decide to read this, you’ll be walking this same path with me. Buckle up. You’re in for a ride.

Osu!!

Doug