With the Return of Warmth, the Return of Power!

The weather has finally broke, enveloping the land & air with comforting temperatures in the 70’s & 80’s. And, as promised,  motivation & power has quickly returned to The Wanderer. I’m hearing & feeling all too clearly the subtle mental prods & awesome strokes from The Controller & leaving my office chair spinning in beautiful, looping circles as I hustle down to the school’s open-aired gym. Bench pressing & shoulder shrugging massive amounts of weight has become a daily ritual. Sit-ups, gravity crunches, & trailrunning has also picked up once again, and soon my normal prison burpees will evolve into insane Chinese flying burpees! This weather brings to mind the incredible aural sweetness of summer bird songs & wicked green plant growth. Longer days to train & to be outside & sweat out the toxins of the long, sick winter will ensure a healthy & energized push through the next 6 key months. 

EXPLODE INTO THE WARM SPRING AIR!!!

Be sure to stretch constantly throughout the day. If you’re committed to change & this process of seasonal recharge, & your workout explosions are taking place at multiple intervals throughout the day, then your body will relish the time taken to stretch. Slow, controlled shoulder shrugs & neck rolling should be executed while sitting completely erect & calm in your office chair. These exercises will improve the flexibility throughout your upper back, shoulders, & arms. Regarding your gentle neck rolls, your head should be rolling down from the left to the right, with chin to your chest as your middle point along the way to the other shoulder. This will lubricate & stretch the neck joints, relieving residual tension in your neck & shoulders. Pull your head all the way back in a silent laugh of hysteria & stretch out your throat & scream at the humming tubes of office florescence! 

& Constant hydration is key! Right now, leave this nonsensical blog & find some clear, cold H2O to drink. Imbibe water, imbibe life! A colleague of mine swims everyday during her lunch hour. How much more pure of an exercise could there be?! For nearly an hour, Monday through Friday, she’s a beautiful fish, enveloped in absolute blue weightlessness! Do this if you can. If you can’t find a daily pool to sink & vanish into, then find a gym & move heavy weights around… Sweat! Bring your bicycle to work & get lost on the long, winding back country state roads of nowhereville, find a high school stadium to dominate… for your designated meal time hour, disappear into forests or patched woods… run up a mountain for 45 minutes. Whatever you do, get out of your office every day or you will become a plastic fixture. Would you rather be an ugly xerox machine or an angel fish? Leave your office chair spinning by itself!  

Pure Life Vitality

Here’s The Wanderer’s Water Lecture: As a rule, you should be drinking half of your body weight in ounces of water every day. Also, add 2 glasses of water for each cup of coffee, tea, soda, or serving of alcohol. The Wanderer struggles with this particular mandate basically every weekend! Yes, The Wanderer has this horrible sickness!   

You have no doubt heard this random fact throughout your life: the human body is composed of 75% water… & one would only survive about three or four days without some sort of hydration. Only nerve function & air is more important (or as important) for life than water. 

As well as filling you up, water is a natural aid to weight loss… it replenishes much-needed fluids to function, cures the common headache, & has been proven to be an instant energy boost. Through natural filtration, drinking a healthy amount of water can prevent kidney damage &/or strain. What else??? Oh yes, height loss & decreased nerve function has been linked to dehydration. These are all scientific facts. So, after these next few sentences, log off, & go find some good, cold & pure water & drink it. If you’re reading this in the United States, then that shouldn’t be difficult.  But The Wanderer has digressed… fallen off his original topic. Just be sure, if you plan on committing to this active lifestyle this warm spring & upcoming summer season, to stretch all your body throughout the day, both morning & afternoon, leave your office & exercise during your designated breaks; be a fish or squirrel, sit erect & as perfect as you can, & drink plenty of water!  

With The Wanderer, become your summer warrior!

Posted in Explosiveness, healing factors, setting goals, the individual, training, water | 2 Comments

UPDATE: Dream Bits (scroll to original DB post)

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7 Samurai Life Lessons

The Way of the Bushido: Live Life with Sincerity, Selflessness, a Measure of Cultural Attainment, Martial Skills, & a Willingness to Die for One's Cause!

Late last night I hunkered down in bed & watched Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 epic classic, Seven Samurai. I’ve seen this great film a couple times before, but this time around, as the story progressed & the different warrior characters were introduced & developed, I found myself reflecting back on some of the chapters of a book my mother gave me awhile back: YOJOKUN: Life Lessons from a Samurai by 17th century samurai physician, neo-Confucian scholar (& one-time ronin), Kaibara Ekiken. 

The book’s premise is simple: By design, the human body is meant to effectively last 100 years, & if lived properly, one can happily live out those 100 hundred years with great physical, mental, & spiritual health. The author gives a sort of daily lesson-type approach on how to successfully reach this century mark with our given, mortal bodies. Through carefully guided mental, spiritual, & physical discipline, as well as controlling one’s personal desires through healthy moderation & thoughtful appreciation, the life force within (or ch’i) can be properly cultivated, thus allowing the practitioner to live an actively long & fulfilled existence. 

While Ekiken’s guidebook is loaded with over 400 amazing & practical lessons ranging from treatment for various illnesses to proper bathing techniques, I, as a nod the Kurosawa’s film which inspired this particular Wanderer post to mind, will only list 7… These are direct citations from Yojokun:

On Post-Consumption: After eating, you should rub your abdomen in a downward motion a number of times to stimulate your breathing. It is also good to rub the area on the left side of your belly in a diagonal motion with the inside of  your index finger a number of times. In addition, you should rub your hips in a downward motion and gently strike the lower parts. You should not strike them forcefully. If your breathing is obstructed, look up and breathe out any noxious air three or four times.

On Exercise: If you are at home, it is good to do some light exercise from time to time. Activity such as standing up and sitting down should be considered beneficial, not troublesome. Servants should not do so much that you become inactive. You should handle some of the chores in your room; things get done more quickly and better when you do them yourself, so don’t bother with servants. When you are constantly moving your body in this way, your ch’i and blood will circulate well and your breathing will not be sluggish. 

On Sexual Intercourse: You should not have sexual intercourse while holding back a full bladder. You should not engage in sex after having taken refined Sumatran camphor or musk. 

On Sleeping: When you lie down to sleep at night, you simply must lie on your side. You should not lie on your back. Doing so will block your ch’i and bring on nightmares. You should not place your hands over your chest after you go to sleep. This will block your ch’i and will easily bring on troubled dreams. You should be cautious about these two things. 

On Evening Activities:  Reading books and having conversations with others at night should not go beyond the beginning of the third watch. The night is divided into five watches, so the third watch is halfway between the fourth and the ninth temple bells that notify the public of the time. If you do not go to sleep by midnight, your spirit will not become calm. 

On Breathing: Breath should always be slow and drawn deeply into the tan t’ien. This should not be done quickly. 

On Attaining Longevity: The technique for attaining longevity lies in decreasing your desires for food and sex, pacifying your mind and ch’i, and looking at things carefully and always deporting yourself with respect and circumspection. If you do this, you will not be frustrated by the things you encounter, your blood and ch’i  will become regulated by themselves, and you will naturally have no illnesses.

Posted in the individual, vices & weaknesses | Leave a comment

Awaken… & Live Life!!!

& so it was… this past mid-march weekend turned out to be yet another drizzling wet & bitter cold mess, but The Wanderer, determined to break away from this winter funk of inactivity, forced himself away from all the ugly distractions of the mind & ran headfirst into the dense, dangerous woods of spring training…

"He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything."

 It was an aggressive 4-point attack on the self this weekend: 

1) Core Training: This was the easiest part of my physical re-commitment. All it took was 100+ sit-ups & crunches everyday for the last 4 days… & the final 30 sit-ups of every session were planned explosive blasts up to a tightened crunch, held for 3 seconds, & then a slow, controlled release back down with slow-burning grinders. 

2) KungFu: Saturday night my kungfu brother & I found ourselves drinking together outside in the DangerShed, thus providing an ideal opportunity to practice our WahLum 3-Slap (Soft Kung) Exercise, as well as our 2-Man 8-Punch Drill. 

3) Trailrunning: I rang up the The IceMan Sunday afternoon to see if he wanted to brave the cold & rain slop & run Kings Crown with me. He did, & humbled The Wanderer as he flew through the different winding turns with little effort, as I, ever-so-slowly, grinded up & down the 3 familiar summits like an old & tired pack mule. & today, on this fourth day of spring beginnings, The Iceman rang me up for another KingsCrown jaunt… & again, it was a tough, physical grinder for The Wanderer, but still a greatly needed & much-appreciated trailrun. 

4) Strength Training: 4 sets of (heavy!) Dumbbells Presses & (even heavier!) Shoulder Shrugs in the DangerShed every other day for 4 days.

Posted in core training, Kings Crown/IC King, kungfu, the individual, trailrunning | 2 Comments

Dream Bits (updated 3/30/10)

  

Further refuge into the webbed darkness of The Controller’s brain has consequently opened strange new portals of the mind! Past Faulkner fixations, past Jarrad’s deep space human mutations, past the fretting of frail winter harvests, there lies the weird road into the gray. Odd dreams have now taken hold, waking The Wanderer mid-slumber in a cold & fearful sweat!   

The only excuse he can conjure up regarding this sudden influx of wild dreaming is perhaps due to the recent apparent lack of trailrunning. It’s been months, seemingly! In reality not nearly so long… perhaps only a few weeks… maybe less! Regardless, The Wanderer’s animal feet must meet the trail woods once again… & soon! Or, The Controller fears, the dreams will continue to haunt, disrupt, and possibly dismantle!  

So for now, The Controller can only log & report on these queer happenings of the subconscious…  

March 30th, 2010: Too disturbing to ignore, last night’s dreams were overwhelming, keeping me from solid sleep the night throughout. There’s a small piece of my property which is essentially a deep gorge. I was swinging from vine to vine through this gorge, & frustrated at the same time that Alayne was not outside watching. FADE TO NEXT DREAM SEQUENCE... I was wrestling with an unknown man & in the process, bit off the middle toe of one of his feet. I took the toe to my refrigerator’s ice-maker & used a glass to draw out blocked ice cubes. I changed my mind, selecting the crushed option. I suppose I was going to keep the toe on ice & give it to the man. FADE TO NEXT DREAM SEQUENCE... Jerry Seinfeld & another person have a horse strapped to an operating table of sorts. The horse poops gold. The horse, in order for this to happen, has to be fastened down & have drugs pumped through it with needles. Seinfeld is upset that the ultimate cost for the gold will be the horse’s life. FADE TO NEXT DREAM SEQUENCE… I’m attending a party somewhere up north with Rod & unknown others. Rod & I are in a living room when his baby daughter Simone suddenly comes up behind me. I look around & see his daughter’s mother, Jenny. She has arrived (with Simone) along with a group of black males. Rod asks if I had known about Jenny & Simone coming beforehand. I did not. The black guys are starting to cause trouble, attempting to pick fights with other people at the party. I’m holding Simone in my right arm as 3 black guys approach. They politely ask if I could/would step outside & fight them. I tell them that’s not how or why I fight. FADE TO NEXT DREAM SEQUENCE… Jason has sent me or is showing me a photograph from a family party which took place in Virginia. He says everyone one was there except for me, and Robert… he says that Prudence (his daughter, my cousin) said that Robert (Pru’s father) is not there because he’s bingeing on drugs somewhere else with his girlfriend. 

An Odd Dream-Image from The Controller's Mind

 

March 27th, 2010: I was in a car heading to Lake Worth Beach with some others. What others? I don’t recall.  

The drive was something that my friends & I made hundreds of times all during highschool. It was the closest surfable beach, taking us about 25 minutes to get there. For the purpose of my own inner-mind map, I’ll retrace the route: Out of Wellington, WPB to 441 to Lake Worth Road. Up that road into Lake Worth proper for about a 15 minute haul. Lake Worth was an old, depressed city back then. A few blocks of a “downtown” & then up & over the intracoastal bridge, & there’s the Lake Worth Beach. A fishing pier shot straight out into the Atlantic. There was a small boardwalk with some typical beachside shops.  Surfers & teenagers to the right of the pier, swimmers & tourists to the left. Condos & hotels spread across the coastline     

Back to the dream… As we pulled up onto the beach, the pier was there, but to the left were 2 gigantic rocks out in the water, about a hundred-200 yards out. Both were left of the pier. They were massive, both about the size of 3-4 city blocks. The one of the left was largest, while the rock to its right was broken some… not as perfect & boulder-like as the one next to it.  

Aliens were living in the rocks. They were human-like. A black woman-alien was my guide as she revealed what was happening within the structures. They were hollowed out. Chambers used as garages. You could enter the rocks from behind.  Aliens in the guise of humans were everywhere. A little girl alien mocked another alien for acting “too human.” My black female guide was beautiful. There was no threat.   

March 23rd, 2010: The first remembered dream of the night was a science fiction thriller! The Controller was thrown into outer space, marooned on a desolate planet. Wife Alayne was there, as well. She had been stranded earlier. How much earlier? The Controller did not know. There were giant, cloaked aliens canvasing the bare moonscape for any lost travelers… to kill! Once I found Alayne, there were moments when we had to hide underneath rock ledges as the fearsome monsters floated around looking for victims. When it was safe to emerge, with both arms I would hold a large metal box over my head & jump into the air. The gravitational pull from the atmosphere would then pull me up into space for a few hundred feet. The more dense the metal I found & placed into the box, the higher I would be pulled into the air. We spent time, in between hiding from the monsters, looking for various metals to lock inside the special-space-jump-box. This was our way out! Alayne would hold onto me as I leapt off the ground, & away from danger… a slow fade into the next dream… I was walking around a single level shopping mall with my kungfu brother Jarrad. The stores were large, wide-open & brightly lit. Beautiful girls abound… another slow dream fade… The Controller was at his old place of employment, Belk @ West Town. Danny Miller was at my desk. The store was holding open interviews in a room that was right next to my office. The room does not exist. An interviewer, a black woman, was pointing to the word “IHOP” on an application & kept saying “IHOP” over & over again. She was becoming angry. Sitting & waiting to be interviewed in another room was a large group of black people. I walked away & found Danny again, still in my chair at my desk. His feet were kicked up. I had 3 photographs I wanted to show Danny. I thought the pictures were hilarious & as I started to show him the photos, an unknown woman sidled up next to us & looked over my shoulder at the pictures. One was of a single, long, skinny french fry. Another was of me from when I was fourteen. It was supposed to a photo of a past girlfriend, but it was me instead. The final photo was a shot of me from an unknown past…   

The dreams are becoming more & more bizarre. I am waking throughout the night now, but interestingly enough, I’m not at all fatigued from all the interrupted sleep. I am, however, waking up with slight, suffocating panic attacks a couple times during the night, having to actually get up & leave the bedroom in search of a larger room to calm my heart & mind down.      

March 22nd, 2010: Another long night of streaming dreams kept me waking throughout the night, half smiling, half inconvenienced. The Controller began with witnessing a pair of dragons fighting over the front lawn. Fire-breathing, leathery wings flapping, scaled underbodies exposed… Then the dreaming went domestic, taking me to a strange, unknown apartment complex. I was with a girl, courting her. Things were going well. Holly, Alayne’s friend, put a stop to that, sabotaging the whole affair. As it obvious the fling was over, that the mood or intentions of the girl had switched, as I began making my exit the girl tried leaving me a cell phone bill for $90. Also, as I was leaving, the plumbing in her guest bathroom went haywire, water everywhere. I pulled Hooly aside & she gave me her reasoning behind the block: I wasn’t sympathetic enough regarding the recent death of her dog. I apologized, told her I didn’t care about the girl anyway, & then continued to smooth things over with Holly. It was raining & I was looking forward to the cigarette awaiting me in my car. Another sequence had me and a friend at a diner. Marlo (from The Wire) was there, as well as one of the friends of the girl I had (hours/minutes/seconds before) unsuccessfully tried to get with.   

March 20th, 2010: An odd one, to  say the least. Possibly at our North Carolina summer home, on the front porch. Strangers that are friends, or cohorts. Maybe we’re all on a reality tv show together. Kungfu brother Jarrad is there… maybe. A mother & her teenage son are with us. Mother is confessing to us, & to her son about recent sexual transgressions between her & a man. Sifu walks onto the porch from somewhere inside the house, hair disheveled & face hidden in the shadows of his powerful chi. Jarrad & I know what this means. The teenage son, instead of repulsed by his mother’s confession, is excited & incorrectly assumes that the man his mother had relations with is in fact Sifu. The boy congratulates Sifu. Sifu, consumed in his own dark mood, sets the boy straight, informing him & the all the other people on the porch how disgusted he is with the idea, & how he would never have anything to do with mother. Jarrad & I laugh about the whole thing later, reflecting on how Sifu was in one of his dark moods & how we recognized it as soon as he entered the porch.  

March 19th, 2010: Dreams are coming to me now in both an odd mix of recent & past events & memories. Random people, moments, feelings, & other strange things I pick up the day leading up to night’s sleep are thrown into the dreaming mind along with flash images & instances of old friends & acquaintances from the distant past. I wake up now several times throughout the night (as I knew I would –as I always have done once I’ve started journaling my dreams) ordering myself to remember this & that. Crazy dreams about crazy things that make no sense. To be honest, I’m only recalling the next morning probably half of what I try & promise to remember from the night before.  

(1) In an odd voice, my old friend Neil (from high school) is telling a funny story he’s written. I’m captivated. (2) Beth, our daughter’s babysitter, is selling comic books for 10cents a copy. I flip through them in Beth’s house… it’s large & there’s a lot of natural sunlight filling the spaces within. Adrienne, Neil’s sister & also one of my very first girlfriends, is in the same house with her family. (3) Pastor Kenny, my current church’s leader, gives a sermon on knives. He urges me to talk about the time I was stabbed by Tepper Gills, back when I was 13. (4) Back to Beth’s house. It’s cold now. We can see our breath as we speak. There’s an ugly baby with dead eyes in one of the bedrooms.  

March 11th, 2010: Dammit, Jim Jones… You stupid, stubborn bastard! We’re too late… Didn’t get back from your blessed restroom break in time. 2nd half started & we weren’t here… Forced to forfeit! We lose! –Out of the tournament forever… I could kill you right now…   

I’m obviously furious at the man. Seething, I can barely see straight… still not understanding why Jim, a past employee of mine from the Belk Store Service Team days, couldn’t pull it together & use the rec center bathrooms during our basketball game’s halftime. There’s no dream recollection of what transpired the 1st half, but judging by my reaction to having to forfeit the game, I can only assume we were winning handedly.  

The dream began immediately following the 1st half. Jim had to take a leak, but refused to relieve himself anywhere except in his own toilet. So, for some dream reason, I had to escort him to his own private home (via The West Town Mall entrance to the Belk Homes/Kids/Mens store entrance)… Upon returning from his place, we entered the rec center to find that we had missed the 2nd half, forcing our team to forfeit the game. Then I lost my temper & became extremely angry with the man. We were both sitting high up in the rec center’s bleachers, the next slated game underway below us, & I was yelling at him. He was silent during my verbal lashing.  

Jim is neither on my basketball team, or has anything to do with Belk Kingdom.  

Another odd DreamBit from this same night gave The Wanderer a strange show, indeed! He was witness to a horrible cast of dangerous space creatures dominating a paralyzed row of humans. Dark, disgusting & extremely visceral insect-like aliens who, through extended & dripping proboscises, deposited wet, slimy eggs down into the forced opened throats of the helplessly captive line-up.   

March 9th, 2010: This night The Controller found The Wanderer slowly windsurfing down an afternoon intracoastal waterway. The water & weather were warm & they were both reminded of South Florida… a midsummer’s heat set atop the slowly moving lengths of salt inlets & rivers… the Wanderer upheld a gradual pace as he & his windboard passed along all the rich & wooden docks of the expensive Blue Heron & Palm Beach homes.   

But alas, The Wanderer was not surfing properly! His flow down the stretch was impeded due to a tremendous & inconvenient drag… Rather than standing up in a windsurfer’s awkward balance, he was down low & sitting… straddling the long board, riding it as if he were on the saddle of some plexiglass horse.  

Up ahead was a co-worker. She was upright & surfing properly, moving down the waterway with the smooth & expected grace of an experienced windsurfer. The woman would look back to him occasionally & call for him to catch up.  

The dream faded away just as The Wanderer began examining his submerged legs, swishing them back & forth in the warm water current, considering the fearful possibility of a rouge shark taking a bite of meat out of his dangling thighs.   

March 6th, 2010: The Wanderer was asleep & in his bed. Wife far & away a million miles to his left, drowned in a mess of rumpled blankets & deep pillows. And so the creepiness began… from behind the foot of their bed a sort of black aggie came about from the late night shadows. The dogs were not risen, for this thing was as silent as death. It couldn’t have been more than two feet high, moving in a black shadow of haste. The Wanderer was frightened & watched as the figure moved beyond the bed & into the darkened bathroom. Angered by the fear consumed, The Wanderer quickly jumped out of bed & chased after the ghost. The spirit of a dead child! he cried out in his mind & followed its vaporous trail into the bathroom, & then further into the adjoining bedroom. The aggie slipped into the black cracks of a midnight dresser & so The Wanderer pushed his hands into the wooden drawers after the dark mystery, only to pull back plastic sacks of pre-bagged lunches…

Posted in dreams | 3 Comments

The Wanderer on Faulkner

William Faulkner smoking a pipe in Paris

The day dawned bleak and chill, a moving wall of gray light out of the northeast which, instead of dissolving into moisture, seemed to disintegrate into minute and venomous particles, like dust that, when Dilsey opened the door of the cabin and emerged, needled laterally to her flesh, precipitating not so much a moisture as a substance partaking of the quality of thin, not quite congealed oil.

From William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

Part I: The Long Winter 

Here recently The Wanderer has turned his efforts inward… he’s had to close down the body & move deeper into the mind. Yes indeed, in a physical sense, this aberrantly long east Tennessee winter has finally gotten to the man…         

The joy-warmth & sunshine bright colors of spring & summer, he so desperately needs back. And through soiled layers of rotten wool, through lingering breaths of expressed oxygen, The Wanderer can be heard bemoaning about the incessant iced glare shouts of the seemingly endless cold mornings & frigid post-work twilights!

His mind, through self-survival instincts alone, has been forced to come alive! The Wanderer’s body has become noticeably frail & weakened through the sad snowballing of lessened training sessions & multiple vitamin deficiencies. His weight & muscle mass has bottomed out, dipping far below the healthiest of fighting weights. The Wanderer’s empty vessel, tightened & bent through lack of any real kung fu stretching, remains a constant unfulfilled, a sun-hungry muscled shell of the warrior we’re all so admiringly accustomed to!

In running, he’s slackened, preferring the slow, ingenuous hike spotted with random uphill sprints. In training, he’s omitting & short-cutting. And in basketball, The Wanderer’s a slight ghost, seemingly just barely strong enough to pull it altogether & express what little hard chi he has in reserve.

So we’ve come together, The Wanderer & I, and moved inward… a physical hibernation of sorts –at least until the sunlight fully returns & he can begin planting his tiger-striped seeds of body strength once again. And until then, it’ll have to be a mental flexing of sorts. This type of transition, he’s reminded through Zen philosophers, is all part of the natural balance that we, as both thinking & physical beings, have to maintain in order to make it through the turbulent seasons.

And where better to fixate, process, & balance the mind than within the many multiple & interpretable layers of good American literature… The following chronicles how & where my mind went on this before-mentioned physical hiatus. 

Part II: The Faulkner Scholar

So last week, away from home for a workshop on educational technology in the strange little college mountain town of Mars Hill, I met, for the first time in my life, an actual “Faulkner Scholar.” And when one thinks of a Scholar on Faulkner (or at least when I do) one conjures up images of an old, elbow-patched tweed English coat wrapped around the learned body of a great-minded intellectual. I would half-expect to see some sort of bearded bard half a century old donning circular glasses, wearing a fancy ascot & smoking out of some ancient relic of a long, curved pipe.

But no, this was not the scholar I met. He fit none of these characteristics and I was thrown off immediately. I would have easily passed through the whole nonsense training completely unaware of whose respected space I was sharing if said scholar hadn’t dropped his earned title a hundred times throughout the entire workshop.  

For the first few hours I was off in my own world, on my own tasks, surfing the web through the workshop’s provided computers as the lecturer fumbled through her presentation.

The training itself took place in the Mars Hill College technology lab, on the 2nd floor of their architecturally-attractive library. I liked the school; the whole lay-out & facility worked well with my brain. I appreciated how the curves of the all the campus hills & mountain sides ran into the many different horizontal & cool vertical lines of the college buildings… but I digress. Back to the scholar!

With this man, I was not nearly impressed enough! The Faulkner Scholar didn’t appear to be anything special. Why would anyone special, on an academic level anyway, I had contemplated, even attend this workshop? What do professors of Literature or Writing or Grammar of any sort of value care about technology these days anyway? Shouldn’t they be working on fellowships & grants & what-not? And following that line of reasoning, another question is raised: What do professors of such a high caliber do over the weekends? Spoke pipes? (& what’s with my sudden fixation with pipes?!) Shouldn’t they be writing poetry? Breaking down Longfellow? Surely these high-caliber professors don’t waste their precious time at futile weekend exercises discussing the “great educational potential” of wiki pages and various & “exciting methods of back-channeling!”

My curiosity was piqued & so, during lunch, away from the goosenecking of the other attendees, I sidled up next to the man & introduced myself. I told him I had a sophomoric fascination with “The Great Southern Writer” & wanted to know more about his relationship with the man. “I’m very impressed with your title, “ I probably said. “Faulkner is amazing. I can barely even imagine truly understanding his writing… blah, blah, blah…”

Over time I’ve collected some of Faulkner’s novels & with little, disgusting flecks of spittle forming in the corners of my mouth, I probably went through my entire collection with the suspiciously average-looking scholar. And so for the entire lunch I picked his brain about the writer. I barely touched my meal. I told him all that I’ve read of Faulkner. How I’ve read many of his novels, but at the same time, never truly reading any of them. I told him what I liked most… it was probably As I Lay Dying. He gave back very little in the exchanges, but I didn’t care. I was purposefully dominating the conversation. My thinking was that no true Faulkner Scholar would allow himself to be dominated by some punk kid at a lunch table. Yet, he did.

The one thing the man did say that stuck to my memory wall was something like, “I chose to study Faulkner early on because my English Honors professor once told me, because of the complexity of Faulkner’s writing, that he would allow me to use Cliffs Notes if I were to write about one of his novels.” The scholar waited for a laugh. I just stared at him and he continued. “…and that’s when I knew.”

“Knew what?” I asked myself.

I wasn’t satisfied. I spent the rest of the training researching Faulkner’s novels online. I read about his The Reavers. He won a Pulitzer for that one, also his swan song, as he died shortly after completing it. The rest of the training was spent reading about the writer and his accomplishments.

Before leaving the Mars Hill campus forever I asked him to give me a Faulkner gem… something that most don’t know about him. The scholar thought about it for a minute & then gave me some garbage about Faulkner’s screenwriting accomplishments. It was garbage. I resisted the sudden urge to punch the man & left the technology lab.

 Upon returning home, The Wanderer dove into one of the Faulkner’s most difficult, yet most acclaimed novels, The Sound and the Fury. Before choosing this particular text, I considered some of his other books I own & have already read. I picked up my copy of Sanctuary, a Faulkner hardback liberated long ago from some random past program I worked for. As I Lay Dying was also a consideration, for I’ve read that one a number of times. I also had Pylon & Light in August, but those didn’t seem appropriate for this task either –not this time around anyway. I wanted his heaviest available; or rather, I wanted to take on his heaviest that I had available to me. It would have to be The Sound and the Fury, a novel most critics argue requires intense concentration & patience in order to interpret & understand.

I’m going to try & dominate this novel for you, my loyal readership. However, I plan to take my time tearing this “tale told by an idiot” apart. It will be a long, slow & deliberate digestion, exploring literary modernism, stylistic mannerisms, character development, textual meaning, symbolism & code, inspiration, etc… This will be my mental trailrunning until thoroughly digested… something I’ll be doing for awhile.

I will become a Faulkner Scholar that will dominate all over Faulkner Scholars. In the battle of Faulkner Scholars, The Wanderer’s name & reputation will be known first & foremost.

Please spring, arrive already. Send me away from this hellish & ridiculous task! Take me to the horrible sweat lodge of summer heat burpees & humid hard-deck weightlifting.

Part III: The Sound & The Fury, The Wanderer’s Take…

Alas! There will be no take on Faulkner’s greatest novel -not now anyway. I’ve moved onto other topics. Lost interest in the whole Southern Writer & Scholar affair… back into dream recording & the physical being.

Posted in Faulkner, mind power, the individual | 1 Comment

Explosiveness Through Plyometric Training

Thai Yantra Tattoo

Wikipedia, generally my very 1st source for supplemental information & available references on most subjects, states that “Plyometrics is a type of exercise designed to produce fast, powerful movements, & improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports. Plyometric movements, in which a muscle is loaded & then contracted in rapid sequence, use the strength, elasticity & innervation of muscle & surrounding tissues to jump higher, run faster, throw farther, or hit harder, depending on the desired training goal. Plyometrics is used to increase the speed or force of muscular contractions, providing explosiveness for a variety of sport-specific activities.”

The idea of implementing a series of eastern-minded exercises specifically designed to help me run faster, jump higher & hit harder is more than exciting & easily piqued my interest enough to include them into The Wanderer. Please enjoy.

Below are a several passages I took directly from Muay Thai: The Art of Fighting, essentially a badass warrior bible on the written history, traditions, fighting techniques, conditioning & training exercises of Muay Thai. I’ve italicized any direct quotes taken from the text, as it’s obvious that the book’s authors, Yod Ruerngsa, Khun Kao Charuad and James Cartmell, went to great lengths of research in order to pull together such an amazingly thorough text encompassing some of the more interesting facets of this particular hard martial art.

1) You want to develop the greatest amount of force in the shortest amount of time. You want to be EXPLOSIVE!

Before you begin your development of explosiveness, you should first have a good 2-3 months of strength training under your belt, especially for the lower body. Strength training for the lower body includes squats, both front & back, lunges (forward & side), Romanian deadlifts, & leg presses. These movements will stress the ankle, knee & hip joints, which play a HUGE part in building explosiveness.

2) Before undertaking serious plyometric training, it is important that you first develop a strength base. Since the force developed in some types of explosive training can reach 20 times your body weight, it is easy to see why you must be strong enough to withstand such forces. This means you must develop concentric, eccentric, and isometric strength since all 3 of these muscle exercise regimes are used in plyometric (explosive) training. When you first start training you should first go on an all-around total body conditioning program. You should do exercises to develop all of the muscles of the body & all the joints in all of their actions. This type of training should last between 1-3 months, depending upon your initial level of fitness. Once this general base is well developed, you should then begin to do strength exercises which more closely duplicate the actual movements involved in your sport(s), including plyometrics. The more specific the exercises, the greater will be the effectiveness of your workouts.

The development of explosive strength is more complex, and 4 methods are used. They are:

  • Exercises with Weights
  • Jump Exercises

Obviously I’ve only listed 2 of the 4 methods. While there are 2 more extremely effective plyometric exercises given in Muay Thai: The Art of Fighting, for time, practicality, Wanderer space & my readership’s limited attention span, I’ve only included the 1st two.

Below is an overview of some of the exercises directly associated with the above-stated methods. For more in-depth information on the routines, check out the actual full-length text. 

Exercises with Weights:

Using approximately ONLY 60-80% of your absolute strength plyometric training is the key to developing that explosiveness & speed.

Exercises with weights are used to develop maximum absolute strength. Weight exercises are also used in combination with jump exercises or in series with them. One simple routine to develop explosive power is to assume a specific position & hold it for 3-5 seconds to develop isometric tension. Once the muscle is prepared, you explode in the opposite direction with maximum speed. For example, go into a squat & hold the bottom position, leap up high & as quickly as possible. This helps develop explosive legs.

To develop explosive arms with this method, you can do an exercise such as lying on your back on a narrow bench holding a weighted medicine ball in your hands with the ball almost touching your chest. Hold for 4-5 seconds & then throw the ball upwards with maximum force. A barbell or dumbbells may be used instead of the medicine ball, with the obvious exception that you won’t throw the weights.

Jump Exercises:

Jump exercises are the simplest form of plyometrics. The jumps are usually done in series of approximately 10 jumps. They can be done on both legs or on single legs or alternating between legs. However, when first beginning you should ALWAYS do double leg jumps until your legs (or arms) become accustomed to the jumping…

Next in the progression are series of jumps having different directions, jumping over various objects and jumping onto and off various objects. For example, you can jump sideways, then forward, and then backward. Or you can jump in a zigzag fashion. It is also possible to jump with body turns so that you end up facing in different directions after you execute the jump. All body turns made while you are airborne.

Jumping over objects becomes more effective than simple jumping because it forces you to jump a little higher, which in turn, creates more force upon the landing. In turn, allowing for greater development, which, in time, allows you to jump even higher. Also, by jumping onto and off various objects it puts more variety into the program as well as exposing your nervous system to experience different amounts of force from different jumps. This also provides for greater development.

If you enjoyed these 2 plyometric exercises, I will be including the remaining 2 methods sometime in the near future.

Coming soon: The Hit (Shock) Method & Depth Jumps

Muay Thai: The Art of Fighting, in its entirety, can be downloaded and/or printed from Fliiby.com. Thanks again, Jarrad! Down with Belf!

Posted in Explosiveness, muay thai, plyometrics, technique, training | 2 Comments