Physical Health: Exercising a ton more, it’s helping with my body, I lost six pounds, but it hasn’t been a cure-all for my mind this time around. I am still grumpy, I am still not as optimistic as before. So I lost six pounds of belly fat in one week, especially due to the bean/broccoli meal plan, but I don’t feel great about life as I normally do when working out.
Saturday – Ab Workout
Sunday – Tai Chen
Monday – Off Day
Tuesday – Kick Time at Home
Wednesday – Double Workout 6:10AM Kick Time at the Zoo
Thursday – Off Day
Friday – Stretch Day
Social Health: Met up with a small group for martial arts class, class size of 4 kids from two households, it felt very ok to me to have a small group meet at the same time public school classes of 25 kids from 25 households are still meeting up, the 2-3 household sizes we meet seems fair and without any social contact I think my kids will lack normal experiences in a way that isn’t fair to them. It was really good to see the kids smile, hear them laugh, hand out some pine bonsais I’ve grown from seed, it felt necessary to my sanity to see real people and remember there are other people who still exist in the world non-digitally.
The first week of 2022:
Saturday: I was really grumpy during New Year’s Eve, people kept talking over my sister and I, and I am sick of that, we both speak more quietly, but I’m not going to listen to other people with respect who don’t do the same back. Done with that. I may have to hear loud people, but not with “respect”.
Sunday: I’m really excited to start martial arts again, but it’s been rocky because setting a day was hard, then it got postponed because my son was sick, so not only did I want him to get better “to get better,” but also to not pass along germs, and give me time to clean the majority of the germs out of the house, so restarting the restart was a bit sad, because I don’t like to be the weak link.
I’m halfway between wanting to try to do a lot and wanting to do nothing, therefore, have nothing fail due to the pandemic or other outside factors… that’s the truth, I can no longer push myself to pretend that I’ll be unaffected by the many changes and restrictions still going on, I can do some things, but being unaffected, that’s unrealistic in my area.
Monday: I had fun during Kwanzaa, because it was something I could do that was unaffected, so I was thinking of doing a mini Kwanzaa all year long. The first day of Kwanzaa is Umoja unity, I would spend some family or friend time on Sunday, then Monday the first of the challenges, Kujichagulia/Self Determination I would do goal setting. I know if I do that Monday it’s not all set for the start of Monday, but right now I’m okay with that. I didn’t want to tell people my real resolutions because of “how supportive” my family is… but I’ve got two, starting to teach martial arts again and working on a book, it doesn’t matter if I finish, but it would be good to start or at least start starting ie work on specific writing skills or habits ext.
Still enjoying homeschool, it was really cool my daughter’s favorite author sent us the beginning of her new book early so for reading class we got to popcorn read a brand new book written by my daughter’s favorite author, I also took the time to have her write her top three reasons to learn English so that she knows she is working towards learning something useful to her future instead of something useless and purely arbitrary (which school can often feel like as a little kid).
When I looked back on last year most of the things I wanted to do didn’t work or weren’t perfect, but many things like teaching Spanish to my daughter, happened about 250 days out of the year, so that’s 69%, which isn’t perfect. I wanted to record a bitmoji/day each day, that didn’t happen, yet it happened a lot. I wanted to write a book, it didn’t happen, but I did write somewhat. I didn’t exercise a ton, but I did enough to actually stay in good-ish shape. I didn’t do everything right, but I did work towards a lot of things I wanted to do, rebuilding my family relationship in therapy, using more consistent discipline at home, deciding on homeschool, relocating to Hawaii, deciding to teach Karate for now rather than BJJ or not at all. A lot of invisible decisions were made and priorities shifted, I realized I couldn’t really make a farm full out yet, not with the energy/funding/time I have right now. I could plan and prep and take small steps, but in reality, there are limits and if I am going to home school and teach martial arts, and exercise and clean up, and meal plan and meal prep, that’s 95% of all my energy/funding/time without farming. Maybe someday. But my real resolution was to stay honest in a world of fake news and liars, there are plenty of honest people, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that when you are surrounded by people who lie.
Tuesday: Super grumpy, didn’t want to hit the manual writing problems we hit in homeschool. Been disciplining both kids more, but hoping that it’s a phase and that they learn to do what we say ie don’t throw the glasses, don’t hit your sister in the face with a truck, if not on their own, at least hoping when they are told they will stop. I’ve never had the kids do as I say and it gets really old. Some parents ask too much, but on the other extreme when they won’t do basic stuff when they are told they are so embarrassing they get taken out less, eventually, they lose out when they are not motivated to behave within normal limits, I’ve been on that extreme for a long time and I know it’s not a better place than the opposite extreme, trying to head towards the middle ground this year.
Wednesday: The opposite of Tuesday, Tuesday being a rough and off day, Wednesday was a rare day when I felt truly alive and most things went well. It started with black beans for breakfast, being able to nail down a meal plan, however plain, was essential to being more successful this week.
Actually looking back Wednesday didn’t start with breakfast, it started with exercise at 6AM, I did a double day, then later breakfast, then teaching karate, then playing at the zoo. Breakfast was cool though, because we all ate together, black bean soup. We all really enjoy black beans.
Starting martial arts is always emotional for me, as the instructor you have to feel like you have enough to teach that it is fair to the students, no one is perfect in martial arts, skills really aren’t about the belt level, and belt levels aren’t really about skills, it’s more of a motivational thing to validate that the school is providing results via improvement of some kind. Bruce Lee was known to oppose the belt system in principle and I do as well. When I was in karate it was a slight unevenness of skill, but in Jiu-Jitsu it’s a vast unevenness. Someone may walk in with a white belt and dominate or nearly dominate a black belt who is hesitant or confused, blue belts, purple belts, and brown belts may or may not have a firmer grasp of sweeps and correct techniques and blue belt teachers may or may not match a black belt teacher at teaching, depending on what they are teaching. Each individual has a different threshold for attention to detail, there are some personal traits good teachers need that you don’t need to be good yourself. I think the things that make a good martial arts teacher are attention to detail, kindness in corrections, and consistency. Also belief in the moves, which is helped from competition or use, and a lack of hesitance. I’ve known teachers who are monetarily successful and well respected who are harsh, tyrannical, and disrespectful, but I’ve known teachers who were steadfast, held their values along side the techniques (for example not gambling on students at tournaments, not doing excessive belt testing to make a larger income, not sleeping with students ext). There is definitely a technical aspect of teachers knowing where the leverage should be, how the set up leads to the move and leads to defense or counters ext, but there is a dignity that was inherent to the older martial arts, as they were taught by monks, that simply isn’t there in all modern instructors. There was an ethical code that was a part of the asian martial arts, which is nuanced and hard to understand. So what I’m saying is that there is the technical side, but there is also the ethical side to martial arts and for me they don’t ultimately stand apart, they are both essential. Prepandemic I was a MMA Instructor, Late Pandemic I am a Karate Instructor, so it was a big shift, to teach an older art form, modern changes are made, in equipment, in custom, in rules, in inclusion, but some things stay the same from thousands of years ago forward. Judo is the predecessor of BJJ, Karate the Japanese localization of Kung Fu, so it’s back to Ng Mui a female monk from the Henan Shaolin Monastery (destroyed by Manchu forces) who defeated emperor Kangxi during his reign in 1662-1722 and retreated to the White Crane Temple. The legend goes that without her kung fu would have been lost, that it had dwindled to one teacher, but I don’t think it can be lost in much the same way mathematics isn’t lost, I think each region of martial arts develops a distinct, but equivalent form over time.
But yes teaching martial arts I feel I have to question myself as a holder of the technical knowledge, as a person, am I physically fit, am I mentally fit… from there I question all the techniques, for example the inside to outside block uchi ude uke replaces on a superior tan sao block, so is it worth drilling it vs the tan sao? Then the logistical details, how many mats, what location, what time slot, how much conditioning, how much partner drills (kihon).
But the nice thing about martial arts is that you see the truth, if something you thought would work, doesn’t work, you see it. A sweep needs to move you from bottom to top, if it doesn’t, you need a different sweep. A block off balances the attacker and puts them in the position you want to set up for the next move, it might give you momentum as well, it might distract them as well, it may divert an attack as well.
So, I restarted martial arts, I bought a new uniform six kilos too small, and I’m losing some winter fat to hopefully fit it when it comes. If I do I will be at my ideal health weight, but I don’t know if I will do the opposite and go up in weight from muscle gain, but for me it doesn’t matter as long as the fat burns off a bit. First I went three pounds up, I think in muscle, then six down, I hope in fat loss.
Thursday: In school, we covered agriculture (feed rations), social studies (including George Washington Carver), it was another hard day of discipline. We were able to finish our first project of repair from the huge snowstorm that hit our area, the Kona Low, rehanging the gate after weatherproofing it… since my husband came home it’s still a lot of work with both the house and the kids, it always feels like we are missing one person we need at home. School was not perfect but both kids made progress, I moved into the living room and out of the bedroom and office so I would have room for both kids’ desks to be near one another to go back and forth helping them.
Friday: In school, we covered theater, particularly theatre riots, which was interesting, many things such as racial tension have caused theater riots in the past, in Paris, in the US, all over. We also covered math and computer coding. After school, we watched Little House on the Prarie, an episode where an Irish man didn’t want to be teamed up with an African American man to drive a wagon of blasting oil, even though he was a good worker, that paralleled the George Washington Carver lesson well, but parallels modern life a bit too well also. Another hard day for discipline, it feels like I can’t keep bringing up the same issues, but it’s my goal to bring them up every time and hopefully, when 2022 is over I hope both the kids will do what they are told to do most of the time. Because it’s not cute when every meal is annoying, it’s not cute when I spend 7 days without them listening then don’t get a break, because we don’t have babysitters/relatives who will take a long shift with them, it’s not cute that they hit people and throw other people’s stuff like glasses and phones onto the floor hard… it’s not full of liberty and wonder and magic when children don’t become disciplined.
My social and physical health has been on a huge uptrend, but behind my mental health has been mid to low all week, I’m worn down mentally, even as my body has energy my mind is running on empty. Discipline is really draining, but I’m not going to not do it. I’m able to ramp up what I’m doing with the kids, painting, blocks, exercise, yet not nearly as much as they still would like. I’m able to ramp up cleaning the house, which looks horrible at times and other times looks okay but has mold due to our climate… It’s a dangerous game of being already spread too thin and wanting to do much more than I can do. Exercise pays off, because I’m not injured or out of shape it pays me back more energy than it costs, and mine, in particular, is quick 25 minutes a day on average, eating well pays off, again more energy. I didn’t know during the pandemic I put on about 7 kg/16 extra pounds, but now after losing 2/6 of them I do feel better. My mood has been swinging around a lot more than normal for me, anger, grumpy, optimistic, without a relaxed mood that normally fills my days. If I had to guess I would say the pandemic is wearing on me, because my dad blasts the death count/ill count each day around dinner time, which I HATE. We are not the CDC is there any reason for a daily update other than to go crazy or be angry? I don’t know why a weekly death count wouldn’t be more than fine, but neither did I save enough money for my own home, so yeah it’s stressful when you live with someone who has anxiety because even if you don’t share it, there is this tension that you know you may not be willing to tow their line or tolerate their rituals, you do care for their well being, but they don’t allow you to help them with that, they don’t go to therapy, they don’t troubleshoot solutions on a household level, they just fixate on scary things, don’t take actions, don’t have relaxed open discussions… Right now I live in Hawaii and I’m growing my life here, but my husband and I will probably move in the next few years because of how not-fun it is to live with someone with anxiety. It sounds unkind, but it’s more important for us to live our best lives and give the kids the least stressful home we can, but we don’t think it will ultimately be the one we are in now, so hanging over making friends, getting in shape, making routines, teaching martial arts is the feeling it will all be torn down soon and we will have to start over again somewhere else. There is a feeling of anger at my dad for being the way he is, he was always a hoarder when I grew up, he left broken glass and fish hooks all over the apartment for us to get hurt, he didn’t bother to see the mess we lived in or clean it up, now he has a new house so it’s not too dirty, but he is starting to clutter the outside, all the clutter isn’t the worst thing, the worst thing is the way he obsesses over meaningless things and disengages with living people, then he snaps back and is upset nothing social is planned after he refused to go to it for weeks, he holds grudges about made up occurrences, he imagines people are stealing things that are not there and that he needs to fortify the house from theives instead of just getting a security system or a regular fence…
I’m not trying to complain, I’m trying to identify why I feel so tense and drained.
I feel so tense and drained because I’m doing my best living in a household that I probably can’t even be healthy and happy in, I know I’m going to have to move again and I’m scared to “unpack” myself if I will someday have to move again, I feel bad that things aren’t working out well living with my dad because I wanted to help him as he gets older, I wanted to be close so he could enjoy the kids, but it doesn’t seem like that will happen because his clutter and anxiety really bothers me and my husband a lot. We aren’t leaving yet, but when we do I don’t know if it will be on good terms to return in the summer or on bad terms to pretty much not worry about coming back.
So my family of four moved to Hawaii to be close to my dad and help him with his garden and home, but he annoys us so much with his anxiety and tangential communication style that we will most likely get the F out when we find a new home, then I don’t know if I’ll return to clean a massive mess once a year, or not at all. Ha… so that’s my main stress.