Alkaline vs. Acidic Diet

One of the biggest killers in North America is our diet. We eat way too many acidic foods. Acidic foods are high animal protein foods such as meat, eggs, and dairy products. We also eat acid producing processed food like white flour and sugar, and drink too much coffee and soft drinks.

Over 150 degenerative diseases are caused by TOO HIGH OF acidic levels in your body fluids. Cancers, osteoporosis, heart disease, kidney stones, and gall stones to name only a few.

If we were to adjust our diets to 60 to 80 % (volume of food) alkaline foods, and 20 to 40 % acid foods we would not need a lot of the health care that is in place today. (Probably 60% alkaline/40% acidic to maintain health, 80% alkaline /20% acidic to RETAIN a healthy state)

Human blood should be slightly alkaline for us to be healthy 7.35 to 7.45 PH in the blood. You can monitor the ph of the body with a simple home test kit of litmus or nitrozine paper (7 ph is the ph of water).

Alkaline foods are most fruit and vegetables. Very high acid forming foods that should be consumed rarely or not at all (artificial sweeteners, beef, carbonized soft drinks , cigarettes, drugs, flour (white, wheat), pastries and cake from white flour, pork, sugar, beer).

As well as diet, stress plays a role in keeping our body fluids too acidic. Keeping a positive outlook on life will add years to your life.

Regular exercise is also a very important key to maintaining a healthy body. Find exercises you will ENJOY doing - that is the key to keeping up with a regular routine, and don't be afraid to change them when they get to boring.

--BOB BRADSHAW



 

                   Alkaline = GOOD

                   Alkaline = GOOD

 
Bob is a good friend, strength & fitness expert, and TTF Instructor.  As you can see below...you can't argue with results!
 
      Bob Bradshaw

      Bob Bradshaw

Consistency

Consistency… or put other ways … constancy, regularity, evenness, steadiness, stability, equilibrium, dependability, reliability.

I have noticed an alarming trend in many martial artists.  I hope to help you avoid the same trap.  

As people make the metaphorical journey through the skill acquisition steps (Learn, Practice, Master, Functionalize, Maintain) there is a temptation to attempt to bypass the hard parts and continue to revel in the easy ones.  Everybody enjoys the first time we learn a new skill or technique.  It’s fun!  Whether it is a new martial art skill, playing an instrument, learning a new language...or whatever.  We feel like we are growing because we have learned something new!  Yeah for me!  (hear my sarcasm? ;-)  We may even enjoy practicing it for a little while…. and then the hard, monotonous work to progress towards mastery begins and it doesn’t seem like fun anymore.  This is where many people lose focus and attempt to find “fun” again by going out and learning something new ... again.  

On the surface it may appear that this approach actually is a valid way to grow, but over time all that happens is you acquire a longer list of stuff/techniques in your notes without actually growing in your abilities.  In the context of the martial arts, these people are the ones who rarely become more than mediocre martial artists.  They may have great ability and skill in the dojo, but little depth, ability or understanding of reality outside of the perfect training environment.  These folks tend to be "talkers" and not "doers."  

Referring back to the skill acquisition steps listed above... if you are constantly going back to learning something new... when do you ever get any skill up to a functional level?  You simply can not because you haven’t spent enough time with the material.  As an example, let’s look at learning to drive.  When you first get behind the wheel all of your attention is focused on just trying to keep the car going straight!  There is little thought of anything other than the most basic operation of the vehicle.  Then after many years of driving, most people have “funtionalized” their ability to drive in many different and varying environments.  At this stage of the game it’s not unusual to see someone driving, talking on the cellphone, eating a donut, and drinking a latte... all while operating their vehicle "safely."  If you asked the new driver to do all of that at once they wouldn’t be able to do it, but over time, most people can to varying degrees.

Now look look at a training drill we practice called "5 count sumbrada" as another example.  When you first learn the pattern you desperately try to just keep up and HOPE that you aren’t going to get hit!  You can’t even imagine doing it fast, much less while inserting feints, half beats and off hand hits, savate and pananjakman, or with double stick, stick and knife, left handed, and asymmetrical weapons.  Then as if that isn’t enough, add a third person in the mix “hunting” you with a knife while you are dealing with all of the above.  When you even try to explain that to a new student, they can’t even begin comprehend what you are talking about.  Why?  They have no familiarity whatsoever with the environment.  Yet, over time with proper instruction, most people can get to this level quite easily.  How does this seemingly magical transformation take place?  The answer is quite simply this: Consistent time in the environment with a progressive introduction of variables.

Practicing a skill consistently over time allows a familiarity with the “environment” to form.  Only when you start to feel at ease can you begin to explore that environment.  When you are able to “explore” you can begin to functionalize.  Not until then.  There isn’t any shortcut.  A problem can form with consistency though.  That is if you are not training intentionally, you may just do the same thing over and over again without ever growing.  You may have heard the example of the martial artist when asked how long he had been training his answer was, “20
years”, but upon further reflection he realized he had only trained 2 years ... ten times.  There wasn’t any growth beyond the initial 2 years.

How sad.

So how can we consistently train material without falling into this subtle trap?  This problem is easily solved by progressively introducing variables to our training.  By doing this we can train the same material over and over again without doing the same thing over and over again in a mechanical, rote fashion.

There is no magic to martial art.  There is just hard work and consistency.  The magic is in you making the skills functional.  This allows you to apply them when and where you need them.  That’s it.

The bottom line is simply this:  Without the dedicated, consistent practice of a skill set it is impossible to pass from what I call a “pedestrian” to a “practitioner” in the arts.

Blessings and Strength!
John

Intentional Process

As you may or may not know, one of the most consistent sayings I repeat in training sessions is, “Be intentional in your training.”  I thought it might be helpful to discuss briefly what I mean.  I hope to stimulate your internal learning processes as well as to invite discussions on the subject.

To me, the “Intentional Process” is made up of a series of concepts.  I will briefly discuss 3 of these ideas which I believe are certainly some of the most important.  

Intentionality, Focus, and Expression.

Intentionality – While training (especially solo training) you must seek to be in precise control of every minute part of your body and your movement.  This is certainly part of the “self-perfection” we so gallantly speak about, and yet I see very little "self-perfecting" going on in the martial art world at large.  In many ways, your ability to refine your skill and to improve is directly related to the degree of your ability to turn your attention inward and become self critiquing.  Bruce Lee said, “Jeet Kune Do is about finding the cause of your own ignorance.”  In other
words… finding your weakness.  Be objective with yourself, but not critical.  Critique, but don’t criticize.  Do not turn a blind eye to your own weaknesses.  There is only a small difference between someone who is average/good and someone who is extraordinary.  Excellence is in the details.

Focus – Utmost attention must be given to concentrating on our training.  When you begin your session or training task, take care to keep your mind focused on what you are doing.  Do not allow your mind to wander.  Do not allow yourself to daydream or to “go somewhere else.”  Try to always be present in the moment.  In all of this, do not allow yourself to get tunnel vision or so fixated on what you are doing as to lose track of what is going on around you.  The result of this type of mental state is a sort of relaxed focus.  The classic Japanese texts refer to this state as mushin.  More than just attentiveness or awareness, it is active in nature and not passive.  Try to hold this mental state from the time you begin your training session until you complete it.  This very difficult to do at first, but with determination and regular practice you will find that you can “switch” this state on and off like a light switch and hold it as long as you want or need to.  Only from this mental state are we able to truly “Respond like an echo and adapt like a shadow.” 

Expression – It is vital to our continued development that while we are training with weapons (or without) we make sure to express internally the “essence” of the weapon or movement which we are practicing.  A slash should be a slash not a hack... and vice versa.  A knife should be wielded differently than a sword, and a sword is used differently than a staff.  Don’t be lazy in your way of training.  Your inward representation or state will express itself in your outward movement.  Refine your mind to be able to adapt instantly to the appropriate use (expression) of the weapon you have at your disposal.  This will give your movements more significance, intensity and “spirit”… all of which have profound
affects on the outcome of your technique.  Bruce Lee also spoke of “Spirit” as “Emotional Content.”  As you train (mentally) more there should start to appear more “intent” around and through your movements/techniques.  Another way of saying this is simply "meaning what you are doing" or "committing to your actions."

I hope this gives you some new directions to explore in your training.

Blessings and Strength!
John

Longevity (part 2 of 2)

(In part 1 of this article I shared the "first truth.")

The second truth: As serious martial artists we generally train hard year round, and we train dangerous techniques therefore we do get injured.  Athletes from other disciplines have seasons of hard training, and seasons of rest.  We generally do not.  Because of this fact (combined with the nature of what we do) as a martial artist, you can EXPECT to get injured at some point in your career.  Depending on the training regimen you follow, you may even live with different injuries constantly.  Unfortunately this is just a fact.  Does this mean we have to have long breaks in our training?  No, it usually doesn't.  It means we must be selfish and smart about how we train.

When I say be "selfish" I mean that you need to make sure to take care of your body when training.  I am not talking about the common sense things like good nutrition, proper rest, good form, etc.  I am talking about the abuse we sometimes unwittingly subject our bodies to.  When we are young we can get away with it as we heal and recover quickly…. but trust me…. old injuries (and bad training habits) have a way of catching up with you.  Many of us tend to take a lot of unnecessary risk and put our health in someone elseʼs hands (i.e. Your training partners or your students).  I used to allow every student at every one of my seminars to practice on me so that I could make corrections to their techniques.  While my intentions were good, I was being naive.  While I was being careful to explain safety practices and doing my best to protect myself, the truth was that I was putting my body under unnecessary duress allowing the repetitions to be done to me.  I was also the victim of many well meaning but over-enthusiastic students who inadvertently caused me injuries... sometime minor... sometimes not so minor.  I am not advocating stopping your training or being a bad training partner.  I am saying to be very intentional about what you do and with whom you do it.  I no longer allow everyone to train on my body.  I am happy to demonstrate techniques on them and make corrections to what they are doing with their partner, but I rarely allow someone whom I donʼt know/trust to practice on me.  I no longer take that risk.

When I say be "smart" I mean your body is like a machine.  Maintain and build up your machine.  Try not to wear it down.  In order to have longevity in our training we must seek to build up and maintain our health... in all of itʼs aspects.  Strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, bone and joint health, cardiovascular health, etc, etc.  Research, seek out advice, and experiment with what training combinations you can do to maximize your work potential each week while minimizing undo stress on your body, mind, and will.  Listen to your body.  Make sure to rest enough, but not too much.  Make sure to eat properly.  And the list goes on.

Your martial journey should be enjoyable, beneficial, and long.  A little planning and common sense will go a long way towards helping you on your way.  I hope these principals have been a small contributor to helping you on your personal journey.

Blessings and Strength!
John

Longevity (part 1 of 2)

Longevity … or length of life, life span, lifetime; durability, endurance, resilience, strength, robustness.

In the mid 90's I was living in Minneapolis studying at university and training at Rick Fayeʼs MKG.  As I was a student, I didn't usually have a lot of money to spend on training.  Knowing this, Rick was good enough to allow me to clean the gym as necessary in exchange for not paying monthly dues.  I loved this arrangement and spent A LOT of time in the gym 5 and 6 days a week.  “Gym Rat” was a good descriptor.  During this time I suffered an injury to my lower back which caused me to miss training for a period of weeks.  When I had gotten through the worst of the injury I went back to the gym to pick up my training.  When I met with some of my training partners, I found out to my dismay that they had learned many new techniques while I was gone.  I now felt as though I was “behind” the rest of my peers and became very dismayed.  Rick saw this in me and asked me what was wrong.  I told him what I was feeling and he just chuckled and shared with me 2 specific truths that have guided and enriched my training ever since.  I would like to share them with you, and hopefully you will find them as beneficial I did.

The first truth: As serious martial artists we plan on training for the rest of our lives.  In other words...you've got time.  Youʼre in this for the long haul...so there doesn't need to be a feeling of hurry or panic.  Knowing this, we can relax and enjoy our journey without getting hung up on focusing on “the goal.”  If you get tired of training and you need a break, sometimes all you need is to change up your routine to give you more variety.  BUT if you really need to take a break...take one so that you can come back even more focused and motivated to meet your personal goals.  Either way, understand that you are doing this for the long haul not just for the next “2 years” or whatever.  If you are a lifelong martial artist, youʼve got time...so relax.  Youʼll get more out of your experiences, youʼll enjoy your time more, and youʼll be a happier person as a result.

In the beginning of my personal journey I was always focused on the “prize” of the coveted Black Belt.  After my first dan grading I came to realize that the journey was the prize.  Sure rank will follow training, but rank in itself is a totally futile and empty goal.  If all I had to draw me to train was the thought of another instructor ranking or belt I would tire very quickly.  However, the lessons learned, the people met and friends made, the lives affected... these are prizes worth pursuing.  It is very easy to learn how to hurt someone.  That objective comes quickly with diligent training.  Changing our environments just by virtue of the fact that we are there.  Seeking to be a thermostat rather than a thermometer.  Learning to be a leader and positive influence in peoples lives… now those is a worthy goals. These can only be done by being “in the journey” and not fixated only on a distant, artificial end.  I am not saying that it is bad to be motivated to achieve things in your training... far from that.  I am just suggesting that the journey is far more important than “the goal” because the true prize is found in your daily experiences and relationships.

See the "second truth" in Longevity pt.2

Blessings and Strength!
John