Saturday, September 8, 2012

Balm Of Gilead Recipe

I’ve had a busy but great week, with classes starting back up at the college, and our first round of grad students. I’m focusing on core fitness and CLF progress at the moment, so that’s what’s consumed my mornings and some of my late nights this week. I managed to cut twenty seconds off my two-mile run, not too tough to do, considering I was worn out from all the other exercises before my baseline run last week. Also, my pull-overs, which I guess other people these days call muscle-ups, increased by one. I was going to go ahead and buy a power twister so I could play that game with all of you in Chicago, but it turns out nobody sells them here. Should I buy one off the net? Are you guys going to keep working the power twister?

This morning, I spent about two hours at the park. I began with a few simple strength exercises: decline push-ups, sit-ups, log squats and lunges, and “Keira Hops” (I don’t know how that bird does this for hours at a time)…

Then I stretched for a bit, and went on to practice the Choy Lay Fut techniques on the trees for close to an hour. Here’s snippets of each…

I’m used to punching the trees without much ill effect. But I must have been going overboard, because my knuckles were pretty swollen afterward. Figured this might be a good occasion to introduce a homemade ointment for reducing pain and swelling…

My afternoon was reserved for the rattlesnakes. I hiked out to check on a couple hibernacula (winter dens) to see if they were returning yet, after having several cold nights in a row. Sure enough, they were. I met a young male rattler in the grass on my way to one of the sites, and he was pretty agitated, because he didn’t have his usual hole nearby to dive into. So he took a strike at me, and I thought I’d include footage of that for you guys as well…

Just when I thought my snake encounters for the day were over, I got a call to go pick up a particularly large rattler from a nearby golf course. Unfortunately, I was too busy dealing with the snake to film that one. But I’ll try to convince Adrienne to go out with me on a snake rescue one of these days, so I can show you that part of my life.


  1. Hey Ryan, good to hear from you!
    I do have to say that I am impressed seeing new videos this week ! I'm on my first week teaching as well and I can barely find an hour and a day to train so I must recognize your effort putting new videos out !
    I was thinking about your workout with trees because I do work with them also in the forest. Maybe there would be a possibility to "pad" them ? this way we could workout with bare hands. I know Karate guys do this with a rope and call it makiwara but it is still too tough to really punch them. I do like the natural feeling in the palm but it still represents an important strain for our joints so this is a suggestion.
    As for the ointment, a Vovinam master gave it to me, but did not take the time to give me the recipe, so it's good to have yours !
    And finally, with the rattlesnake video there is no more doubt, you're a wild man !
    Take care,

  2. Oki Ling, thanks as always for taking the time to watch these. You're right, of course, about the trees. They are good for hardening exercises, as well as for all kinds of drills that are not delivered with excessive power, but they are no replacement for a heavy bag or something of the like. I grew up with a heavy bag hanging from the rafters of my bedroom, and it is nice to have something you can practice striking through rather than merely against. Trees have little or no give. So there are padding possibilities. I've considered making kind of a sand or sawdust quilt that I can bring to the park with me and wrap around whichever trees I'm using. What I'm using for padding on my makiwara in the backyard currently is bulrush stems and rope. It's good, but I can still only hit it full-force maybe a hundred reps a day before my knuckles start swelling. One potential solution I've considered is a padded log that I can hang like a bag in the forest, or simply a bag that I can hang in the forest. Then I could maybe train with it a couple times a week, when I'm out there in the coulees. I don't really want to buy any of those base-weighted bags or dummies. They're too expensive, for one thing, I don't like the plastic and rubber coated materials (aesthetically or for hitting), and if I set them up in the house and practice on them it would only scare my birds. I am, however, probably going to build a training dummy for the backyard that incorporates old tires and sandbags. And I may build a wing chun dummy for the basement, but one that is not too loud to work on, so that I don't bother my birds. Anyway, we'll see what happens. But I agree, definitely can't stick to the trees alone


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