Oishi!! March 7, 2017

Well folks, I haven’t added anything fancy to the repertoire of culinary arts lately…

Until yesterday.

Apparently I can follow simple directions, which was great. Cait and I made this great chicken pasta recipe, which you can find here and let me tell ya. I was quite impressed with it.

Couple things to point out:
Basic culinary skills are required. I had the recipe open. It called for minced garlic. I then had to open another tab to learn how to mince garlic. Told ya, I’m a plain chicken and veggies kinda guy lol

When it says 20 minutes, and you’re no Chef Ramsey, it takes a little longer. I started the recipe at 4:30. We ate around 6 lol

Either way, Cait being Cait Instagrammed the experience. Since I don’t have said program (yet at least) I’ll include some pictures here, of the process and of the finished product:

So, I’m just gonna say, not only does that look, smell and taste amazing, but check out that joocy arm. Dayum, mang! That’s some serious gym time!!!

All in all, Cait and I had a whole lot of fun making this, it was super tasty AND, super healthy. With all home prepped ingredients, it was also rather rewarding to see it all come together.

Remember my friends, your body is your Dodge Charger that drives you through life. Fill the tank with PREMIUM!!!

And couples that cook together, stay together. Hint: the secret ingredients are a cup of laughter, a pinch of silliness and a huge helping of love. 🙂

Til next time, don’t stay hungry my friends. Get yourself in the kitchen! Learn a thing or two! Spend some time with loved ones and mmmmm…..eat some damn good food!

Osu!!

Doug
Or, as Cait now affectionately refers to me as….

Chef Doug

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Reflections on an earlier time

Well, karateka, I’ve been delaying writing this, mostly because I was looking high and low for the associated picture, but for some odd reason, I can’t find it. Maybe it’s been lost in various moves over the years, and that is kinda disappointing. There is a story, though.

When I was a kid, my parents were rather big on the getting my brother and I to church bit. Being as I was like, a year old at the time I didn’t have much of a chance to complain. My dad is Roman Catholic and my mom is Anglican. Since we didn’t feel like getting up at 0 dark friggin’ early o’clock in the morning for it, my mom took my brother and I to the Anglican church, St Matthias in Etobicoke. The first people to introduce themselves to my family were Stuart and Joan Isles, two of the most wonderful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in my life.

From that moment on, Stuart and Joan became huge parts of my life. Both of my grandfathers had passed away prior to me being born, my dad’s mother died soon after and my mother’s mom was….well, I loved her but she was a little on the….against most of the world side. Thus, Stuart and Joan became my adopted grandparents. They would always come over for Easter, Christmas, birthdays, random days, whenever. When I was younger, maybe 8 or 9, Stuart taught me how to play Poker, and to essentially stay away from it as I bet my mother’s car and lost it (No, I didn’t actually need to give him keys, but my mom was none too pleased regardless.)

Stuart was a wise man, served his country during it’s time of need in the military, always had a witty remark, a smile and some sage advice. Not very often did he rise to anger, but if you got him to that point, you never felt like you were being scorned. You felt more like you had disappointed him and that was ten times worse. We lost Stuart when I was in middle school. The last thing he ever said to my mother (and vis a vis, our family) was to take care of Joan for him. He didn’t even ask his own children or grandchildren to set forth on such a task. It was my mom, my brother and I who were essentially left in charge.

The years went on and Joan continued to be a member of our family, even more so now that Stuart was gone. We saw her quite regularly for dinner, every week at church and sometimes stopping by to say hello and share a cup of tea. Even in her most difficult hours, she always wore a smile, always had something nice to say and always had a cup of tea to offer. As I know Cait would say, Joan was just so lovely.

The problem with living your life and working in a difficult field is that your time often gets relegated elsewhere. Your priorities change, things become shuffled about and time is spent doing other things which seem more important than when you’re 8 years old. I still tried to make time to chat with Joan throughout the years, but often I was too busy or preoccupied with other things to go over and visit.

In February, I was working on a night shift. Right out the door. Before I could even get my pants on, the radio piped up: “All available downtown units, as per Sierra 1, start making your way to 291 George St. Active fire, TFS is on scene.” One by one, the radio piped up. Patrol 15 copies, on route. Patrol 16 copies, on route. I found my radio and piped up as well…Patrol 13 copies, on route. We get there to see the remnants of day shift there, helping to direct pedestrian traffic. The entire street is littered with fire trucks and ambulances. Above our heads, fire fighters battle the 5-alarm blaze that took out an entire floor, causing 26 residents to lose their homes. My team and I get straight into action, directing traffic, evacuating residents, conducting access control, assisting with CCTV footage, just in case all is not as it seems. In the end, one resident tragically lost his life and another risked his to try and save him. Several were transported to hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. The long road to recovery was ahead.

I had just finished with the building evacuation, my team was on the ground co-ordinating the efforts to grab a head count on board TTC busses graciously deployed for us. I sat down with police investigators who wanted to see the CCTV footage when my mom called. She knew I was at work, and it was almost 10:00 at night. I decided that something must be up and picked up the phone. That’s when she dropped the news on me. “Grandma Joan died. She died last week and we just found out now. Her grandkids didn’t have much of a funeral for her, there was no obituary, we just found out from another member of the church.”

At that exact moment, my whole world just kinda paused. A wave of pain and anguish swept over my entire body and it took everything I had not to start crying right there. I hung up the phone and threw it across the desk. My platoon Sergeant, Kevin, asked what was wrong. I barely choked out the words. He asked if I wanted to go home, but I knew that not only were all hands required on deck, but if I were to leave, my team would be down another car and I just could not do that to my guys. I looked at him and told him that I had a job to do and continued to work on the footage.

Eventually I did get a moment to myself, hours later. I lit up a cigarette, shed a few tears and got back to work. I didn’t have much choice. I also feel like it was for the best. What was I going to do, wallow in self pity and sadness or get back to work and distract myself for a while?

I finished the call and eventually left work, 17 hours after booking on. I went home, passed directly out and tried not to think about it.

A day or so later, it was time to head back to the dojo. I went right after work. Traffic along the highways was atrocious and I was late for class. On top of that was the ridiculous day I had just worked and the stresses of the previous week’s occurrence still weighing down on my mind. This night was training in kumite (sparring for those of us not in the know) and I thought ok, I’m pretty good at this. It will take my mind off of everything. I was wrong. My mind was most definitely not in the game. I was agitated, unfocused and with every point I “felt” I should’ve been awarded, it seemed like there was just some reason that Shihan would not credit me for. I lost every single fight and was visibly distraught. My last fight was against a guy named Johnny who does have some developmental issues. Regardless though, we all love the guy and I think he is just the bee’s knees. I’m proud of him for what he has accomplished. So Johnny and I are sparring, again my mind is absent and I’m trying to hold back on the obvious rage. I deliver my specialty, the Ushiro Geri or Spinning Back Kick. I hit poor Johnny directly in the sweetest of all sweet spots (no, not in the balls…) in the common peroneal motor point in the leg. Striking said spot causes immediate overload of the sensory nerves in the leg, resulting in pain and shut down of motor function. Y’all may know it as a “Charlie horse.” Johnny goes down, yells in pain. Eventually he gets back up and beats me. Again, unfocused and undisciplined fighting leads to certain defeat. I was just happy that Johnny wasn’t hurt.

I left the main dojo studio and went into a side studio we have there and meditated. Tried to just clear my mind of all the craziness and anger that was coursing through me. I suppose they say that anger is one of the stages of grief, but at that exact moment I was trying to blame that anger on literally just about anything else.

A little while after, one of our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructors, Isaac, comes up to me. Apparently I looked a little down. Well, I cried on his shoulder. Then Professor Fariba walks in and I cried on her shoulder. All in all, I got a lot of it out and then…well, I’m already there, so I stayed for BJJ class. Had a much better class in that then in Karate.

Following this class, I’ve had the chance to relax and work through the issues. I still miss her, but I know she would be looking down at me and encouraging me. She would probably sit me down with a cup of tea and gently scold me for “thinking such foolishness.”

This past Thursday, I received my last stripe on my green belt and an invitation to next Thursday’s grading. This upcoming week is all about kata, cardio, lifting and meditating. Bringing myself 110% back into focus to accomplish victory in this grading and move on to blue belt and the Intermediate Level BBM class. I need strength, humility, honour and love in my heart. The indomitable will to not give up and to push forward until my goal is reached.

This one’s for you, Grandma Joan. This one’s for you.

Osu!!

Doug

That improvement though…

I’ve been neglecting this a bit. Plenty of things to write about. Since each one is important I will give a little time and a post for each.

On February 6, something happened that I did not expect in the slightest. BJJ class, doing rather well with drills, did some rolling and it was going well! Then all of a sudden I hear Kyoshi’s voice:

“Dougie!”

I glance at him but figure it’s just him saying hello or good job or keep it up. I bow and keep on rolling. I hear him again:

“Dougie!!”

Still a little confused. I bow again. Because I’m swift like that.

“Dougie! I appreciate the bowing but get over here!!”

Which shows how surprised I was. Didn’t even figure he wanted to see me. So I go over and bow down. I’m there before Kyoshi, Fariba and Isaac. Kyoshi pulls a piece of tape off of his kimono and grabs my belt. He tapes it up with my first stripe. A surge of pride swept over me. I may just finally be getting it. A stripe. In Jiu Jitsu. Wow. It’s finally starting to click.

The Brazilian Jiu-jitsu obi with its first stripe

I can’t lie. I’m pretty stoked. I’ve been hitting the mats a lot more often lately and even I can tell I’m starting to roll with a bit more proficiency.

Really starting to love this art!

Osu!!

Doug

CASH ME IN THE DOJO. HOWDOWDAH!

So. Once again, I have sat down, looked at my complete game and made the following points: my Karate game is on point. Like, ridiculously on point. I’m practicing all the damn time, in kata and hitting the bag. I’ve kinda studied forward a bit and taught myself the kata “Jion” which is required for the belt after my next belt. I’m even learning how to say all of the stances, strikes and blocks in Japanese. To be perfectly frank, I am so immersed in my Karate studies that it has detracted from my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu studies. Hard detracted.

Now the problem is that there are two types of classes: Beginners (that’s me) and the regular class (which is sometimes me). I have slacked. I am not even gonna lie. There are BJJ classes legit almost every day of the week. Beginners on Tuesday and Thursday, Regular class on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. How many classes have I been going to lately? That’s correct. Zero. I always seem to have an excuse: I had to work late. I’m tired from Karate class. I have other stuff that I have to go do. I’m just plain God damn lazy. But not anymore.

I looked at my BJJ obi and was like, I’ve been here for over 6 months and it is still blank. They say that the average BJJ student should progress by a stripe every 6 months and here I am. With nothing. I’ve learned a bunch, had my ass handed to me on more than one occasion, had the occasional AHA! moment, but I have lacked any and all forms of consistency. That has to change. I’ve made it known that I am going to strive to be at 2-3 classes each week. Without fail. Because in order for me to progress and learn more and actually be able to put this newfound knowledge into any sort of reasonable practice, it needs to be used and cemented and made second nature. Just like my Karate studies.

I went twice this week, Thursday’s beginners and Saturday’s regular. When speaking with Professor Fariba afterwards, she did mention that I “move well” and “have natural talent.” However, as I’ve said before, hard work beats out natural talent, when natural talent fails to work hard. So I’ve turned over a new leaf and am shooting for that level of dedication. Obviously some weeks I won’t be able to get to 2 classes due to work and outside influences. And sometimes I’ll push myself and have the time to go to all 5 classes. Just cuz! So who knows. All I know is that I need to put in more mat time and start actually practicing BJJ instead of being that guy who shows up sometimes.

On top of this, I’m also switching up what I’m doing in the gym. Rather than lifting heavy for fewer reps, I’ll be lifting a little lighter for more reps with less time in between sets. I’m also dedicating myself to doing more cardio (which at current time is zero lol). My last workout consisted of lighter weights for back and triceps, 20 minute bike ride (5 miles) and some boxing cardio conditioning training. I have this cool app on my phone which times out 3 minute rounds. So I do a round on the heavy bag followed by a round of jump rope. Managed to get out 6 rounds the other day, so I just gotta push it harder and get my cardio up there.

I’m also trying to actually stay focused on what I eat. That part is the hard part. The gym and the dojo are easy. The kitchen is the place I REALLY need to shape up in!

Either way, hopefully it all goes as planned. I hope to be in more pictures like this:

16388379_10209382211405813_1004091386796619767_n ACMA’s Beginner Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. That fat, handsomely bearded gentleman on the right, though…..

Time to get ‘er done!

OSU!!!

Doug

2017.01.21 Quote of the Day

“I need not be the best in the world, best in my country, best in my region, city, dojo or even best in my class. So long as I am the best I can be.”

– Kyu Doug

I hear a lot of people talking about competition lately. Kata, kumite competitions at various levels. Even just the internal spirit of competing with classmates for who has the highest belt or who knows the most kata or bunkai.

While some level of competitive spirit can inspire us to be better or learn more, Karate was never started to compete. It was a self defense system, and a way to discover your inner self. Funakoshi O Sensei never cared for trophies or medals. Neither did many of the great masters of the art. It’s a modern day phenomenon that all too often disrupts Karateka from the art’s true purpose.

If you want to compete, that’s great. Just remember that you are Karateka first, competitor second.

Osu!!

Doug

2016 Martial Arts Year in Review

Alright folks! Time to reflect on everything that has happened this year, share with you some of the lessons I’ve learned (or reaffirmed) and set some goals in this year’s

Martial Arts

YEAR! IN! REVIEW!!!

This year, as we all know, sucked. Lots of craziness going on around the world, we lost a number of wonderful people and saw some life changing events that will or have altered life as we know it. I like to concentrate on the positive things, though. Martial arts has definitely been one of the most positive for me (second only to meeting and being with the lovely and amazing Cait. Cuz I love her. Yes, even more than Karate, babe…Lol) so let’s go over some of the better moments:

Finding a new family: coming to All Canadian Martial Arts lead to finding some great friends and having some great memories. From my boys in the Lean Mean Green Machine, to some of the folks who just make things that much more…Interesting? Yeah we’ll call it that lol everyone at the dojo works hard every night and pushes their own personal boundaries. I can truly appreciate that and the friendships I’ve made over the course of the year.

Progress: getting to green belt in a year took a lot of hard work and dedication but it was very well worth it. Not only did having a fantastic group of instructors help, but also finding time and space at home to practice by myself. Practice makes perfect!

Black Belt Extravaganza: this was a ridiculously awesome night and one I can’t wait for next year!

Here are some of the things I learned personally over the year.

Learning takes time. You can’t learn everything over night. It takes years to master the arts and it cannot be rushed along. Even if you think your skills are flawless, there is always something to improve upon.

Listen to your body. There were several times I couldn’t go to class because of injury or illness. It’s not the end of the world. Fix yourself before going out there and breaking yourself again!

Kata are like every day life. Everything in them, regardless of how big or small, whether you understand it or not, has a very distinct purpose. It’s up to you to figure out each bunkai and put it to good use. Figure out what masters before you have thought, and come up with your own interpretations!

My instructors all taught me something as well.

Vito-sama Sensei taught me that no amount of hard work, dedication, honour and discipline is complete without a hilarious, often inappropriate joke.

Kim-sama Sensei taught me that I really should believe in myself more and that I have the ability to go as far as I can in Karate.

Amanda-sama Sensei taught me that there is always a right time and a wrong time for everything. Especially joking and fooling around.

Chen-sama Sensei taught me that the traditional ways of Karate are still alive and well and that even the most obscure of lessons has a deep seeded meaning.

Professor Fariba-sama taught me that even though something appears difficult and foreign that if you practice enough, study enough and believe in yourself, you can accomplish it.

Finally my goals for the upcoming year!

– train hard and learn as much as possible, progressing to not only the highest belt, but highest standard I can

– make even more friends and promote a friendly, hard working environment in my own way at the dojo

– pass on whatever knowledge I have to those of junior belt and be the best example of Karateka I can be.

– improve cardio. Cuz it sucks.

That’s it for now, folks! Don’t forget that hard work beats out natural talent when talent is lazy; a short workout is better than no workout; between hajime and kume, there are no friends and only YOU set limits on yourself. Get out there and train!!!

Til next year,

OSU!!!!!

Doug

2016.12.13 Quote of the Day

Jeeze. Haven’t posted here in a while. A quick update.

Work is insane, as is par for the course. I’m getting ready to move in a few weeks. That’s always fun. Yay new furniture!! This weekend Cait and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary. Somehow this angel of a woman found a way to stay with me for a year. Bless her heart lol she made me a scrap book of our first year, a present she’s been working on for months. Easily the single most meaningful, most beautiful gift I have ever received. I don’t know which Emperor’s child I saved in a previous life to have the gods send me this amazing woman, but I’m sure glad for it.

Quote! Of! The Friggin’ Day!!

It is not by me, or some famous dead person.  No, today’s QOTD was spoken directly to me and surprisingly about me. Tonight was the final night before grading. Sweet. A chance to give er my all, maybe earn a couple stripes and kick ass in grading!! Yeah. That was a short lived dream lol after class I asked Shihan how I could improve myself. Not only for the purpose of grading but just in general. I am always striving to be a better Karateka. Turns out that belt is more than a symbol of skill and accomplishment, but also of time invested in training the art. I am missing some time, which I blame on surgery, illness and an awkward work schedule. She also reaffirmed what I already believed. Just keep training and showing up and giving it my all.

Then she said something that I never expected to hear. Something that made my soul smile.

“You inspire everyone here to train harder. You inspire me to teach.”

And that there….far surpasses any belt. Any grading. Any stripe. Any possible accomplishment. Not even a black belt would mean as much as that.

A Karateka is a warrior, but is also a peace maker. To me, at its very core, the purpose of Karate, the reason we train, is not to learn to fight. Not to get a fancy belt or award. The greatest reward one can have is changing yourself and changing the world for the better. It is a goal we all should have.

If you have the chance to make someone’s life better, you need to take it. You need to reach out and help someone. The measure of a master is not by their grade, nor their accomplishments, but in the successes of their students and those around them!

Til next time, train hard, sweat hard and remember…we all have the same ending in life. The journey is what makes us special.

Osu!!

Doug

Being Sick Sucks

So. FOR THE SECOND DAMN TIME THIS YEAR…

I have been forced out of the gym and out of the dojo for reasons beyond my control. Well I….suppose dressing warmer and not smoking….you know what? Screw you, common damn sense! I’m hopped up on cough syrup and I’ll say whatever the hell I want!

So I haven’t been to the gym since Friday. Haven’t been to the dojo since Thursday. Dojo is my doing. As much as I love Karate and I love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I couldn’t stand to go there and not be able to give 100%. On top of that, the martial arts are steeped very heavily in respect. I have the respect for my school, my Instructors and my fellow students to not show up and spread this bullshit around.

Gym…well, as Cait suggested, having a coughing fit when you’ve got a heavily weighted barbell above your face….not such a good plan.

I was scheduled to have my yearly physical on Monday, which turned into “We’re not completing the physical until you’re better. Oh but take this down to the lab. We can still take blood from you.” Sweet? So a bottle of piss, 5 vials of blood and some antibiotics later I’m on my way home. What do we know for sure? Acute Bronchitis. Yes, you assholes, also known as the common cold but Acute Bronchitis sounds more…you’re gonna die-ish. And with the frequent and often violent coughing? It feels like Satan himself deep throated me with a bayonet covered in friggin’ barbed wire. Haven’t slept much in the past week because every time I try to get more than a couple hours shut eye, I’m jerked back awake by the often quite painful cough. It sucks.

I’ve made it a theme before, and I’ll do it again. If your body needs rest? GIVE IT the rest it needs. Don’t go all stupid and try to lift weights when you can’t, or try to focus on kata when you can’t…have some respect for yourself and your body. Heal up.

Just as important as that? Have some respect for your training partners. I wouldn’t wish this upon any of the students I train with, both Karate and BJJ. It sucks, interrupts training and hurts from time to time. Don’t actively try and get people sick.

On the plus side? I had on Friday made the conscious decision to quit smoking (again, yes…) and having this? Has definitely helped. I can’t bare to screw up my throat some more. In fact, smoking likely caused this. Haven’t had a butt since Friday afternoon. I’ve had a few cravings, but then I coughed and lost them. Real fast.

*COUGH!!!*
*CHOKE!!!!*
*WHEEZE!!!*
*CHOKE!!!!*
…….osu…….

Doug

2016.11.07 Quote of the Day

Coming at ya with a little more homegrown knowledge and wisdom!

“Karate is like a plant. If you ignore it, it does not grow. If you give it an excess of water once a week, it will not grow. Love and Karate, you must water every day. You must give it the little things. The big things are important but without daily care, it will not grow. It will die.”

– Doug

I liken Karate to love. The big things every once in a while are nice, but it requires daily attention. It is through the little things that they both flourish.

I tell Cait I love her every day. I try to go out of my way to show her how much I care each day. And it doesn’t take a whole lot. Ask her how her day was. Tell a joke. Make her smile. Remind her that she is beautiful, and awesome, and thought of, and loved. She does the same to me. It doesn’t mean something over the top extravagant. That’s not what is important. What’s important is the cuddling. Holding her hand. Looking into her eyes, the window of the soul, and showing her just how much better she makes my life.

The same approach I take with Karate. My kicks improve because I practice them every day. The kata become second nature because I practice them every day. My Bo staff skills improve because I practice them every day. My conditioning improves because I work out and train every day. It is not enough to go to the dojo once or twice a week.

Karate, as is with love, is a lifelong commitment to the little things. To not giving up and to working on it every single day of your life.

Now get the hell out there and train. And tell someone that you love them!

Osu!!

Doug

Oishi!! November 1, 2016

I like spice.
No, I should change that.

I love spice.

So I decided to add a little of the random spices I have in my kitchen to my chicken tonight. Below is what I threw in.

Doug’s Sorta KAPOW!! Chicken

1 chicken breast
Montreal seasoning
Paprika
Curry
Cayenne pepper
Veggies

Warm up your heating source. I like to use the single greatest invention of our time.

The George Foreman Grill, suckas!!!

Next, go ahead and add your spices.

KAPOW!!

Since I am not Gordon Ramsey, it looks a little like this:

It is more important to judge by the inside, afterall!

Cook up some veggies, put er elegantly on a plate:

Not a big helping as I ain’t all that hungry. Also pictured is a glass of Phytoberry multivitamin and a ridiculously good book, The Last Colony by John Scalzi. I highly recommend the series, called Old Man’s War. 

And then eat!

So y’all got a two for one today. Spicy chicken and a book recommendation. Oh lucky you 😉

Osu!!

Doug