Archive for April, 2006

Two Mile Run – April 26, 2006

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

MM,

I decided to do a two-mile run today. With less than eleven weeks left to go for the 10k, I thought I should increase the distance and thereby, increase my endurance. Basically, I ran the normal one mile route and then ran back. My time 17 minutes 38 seconds (8 minutes 43 seconds for the first mile and 8 minutes 55 seconds for the second mile).

After I came home, I ended up practicing some candle begi. For some reason, I couldn’t concentrate well on my test for it and only managed to snuff out one candle with the sword. I think I just get distracted by having people watch the test. Anyway, the sword practice was good for me to do.

Tomorrow, I should go to the do jang for gumdo and taekwondo class. (Hopefully, I can get some work done tonight though.)

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local black belt
Brigid’s Flame

Street Running and Gym Day – April 25, 2006

Wednesday, April 26th, 2006

MM,

After all the gumdo training last week, I decided to take a few days off and let my body recover. (I managed to get some more work done on my reiki manuals and curriculum.) Today, I felt I needed the running and the gym more than the do jang. So, Nathan and I headed out to the gym tonight.

First, we ran 1 mile to Yonge at Bloor. It was a little cold today, and I could feel it in my lungs. Because I have allergies, the phlegm seems to freeze up in my lungs and stomach in the cold. Thus, we running in the cold, I sometimes find it a bit hard to breathe. The only thing I thought of that helps is to occasionally breathe out of my hand. The warm air helps loosen up the phlegm. In any case, I did the run better than I expected in the cold weather. My time today was 8 minutes 31 seconds.

From Yonge and Bloor, we walked underground to the gym at Manulife.

We started with the following weight training exercises:

Leg lifts
Pull-ups (aka chin-ups, military and parallel)
Dips
Leg press
Hamstring flexor (called seated leg curls)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Chest press
Seated row
Bar pulls (I think this is called the lateral pull-downs; it works the muscles next to the scapulae on the back)
Pectoral fly
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift (this is called the shoulder press)
Back extensor

Free weights:
Two shoulder exercises (no idea what they are called; someone showed them to me)
Situps (on a incline bench; worked out the obliques as well by doing double punches during the situp)
Bicep curls
Squats with weights

After the weights, I did 20 minutes of cycling while Nathan did 20 minutes of the elliptical. After, we did some push-ups. I do a variation I like to call “Master Kim push-ups” because I learned them from him. Basically, what you do is get into your standard push-up position with your hands beside you at chest level. Instead of extending your arms like in normal push-ups, you lift your whole body off the ground with just your hands and your toes, and then you bounce up and down on the arms keeping the elbows bent at 90 degrees. These were hard to get used to at first, but once you get used to the position you’re supposed to hold, it gets easy to do 100 of these. You know you are doing these properly if at the end of 100 your triceps are sore because that’s what these work out.

After the push-ups, we then stretched out and headed home.

Ten weeks four days left until 10k and black belt test. One week four days until our first training day. We supposedly need to attend twelve out of eighteen special training days, which run every weekend until the test. I guess my weekends are booked starting next weekend.

Oh, and check out the countdown timer after my signature. It’s cool. A lot of seconds until the test. Now, this is amusing to me. At 1.3 kicks per second (or one kick in 0.76 seconds), in 6,332,567 seconds (the countdown time left as I did this), if it was possible to keep kicking for that long ๐Ÿ˜‰ , you could do 8,232,337.1 kicks.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local black belt
Brigid’s Flame

Countdown to 10k and Black Belt Test – 11 weeks left

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

MM,

My gumdo test was yesterday. Yay, I’m a green belt now, and I get to learn some new patterns. I ended up taking class first and then we did the test right after class. I was tired, but quite happy to have that over with.

I didn’t go to the do jang today. I figured I deserved a break.

Eleven weeks left until the 10k and black belt test.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local black belt
Brigid’s Flame

Countdown to 10k and Black Belt Test – 11 weeks 1 day

Friday, April 21st, 2006

MM,

I managed to get to the do jang Thursday for gumdo and taekwondo class. I was tired though. I got about four hours sleep. Since it was Thursday, we did a load of speed kicking for taekwondo. My legs felt so heavy for some reason. Probably just recovering from all the exercise this week. Ah… I remember now, it used to be like that when I was at the height of my crazy taekwondo training. I used to train Monday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. By Thursday, my legs always felt heavy, and then sometimes I would take sparring class on Friday. Strange though, because I don’t think I’m as slow as I feel on those days. Anyway, I did gumdo class first, then taekwondo, and about 40 minutes into the taekwondo crazy kicking class, I was starting to feel light-headed. Not good. So okay, while the Master is explaining our next drill, I just kneel down to the ground for a bit to let the blood flow back to my head. I still wonder how I managed to get through that class with only four hours of sleep – and after gumdo class too!

Tomorrow… er, tonight I guess, since it’s around 5 a.m. now, is my gumdo test for green belt. Yay! I get to learn new stuff after I test – that is always good motivation to test. Though, I think people should only test when they feel ready and when they know their stuff well enough. Well, it’s been six months since my last gumdo test, and I have been practicing off and on, so I think it’s about time. I just really hope I can snuff out two candles with my sword.

I suppose I should get some sleep now.

And yes, 11 weeks 1 day until I have to run 10k and test for my second dan. Time is a-ticking.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local black belt
Being healthy is not a life goal – itโ€™s a life ๐Ÿ˜‰
Brigid’s Flame

Countdown to 10k and Black Belt Test – 11 weeks 3 days

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

MM,

It was such a nice day today, I decided that a run would be a good idea. I decided to go for a mile and a half run. I got a little too warm with the sun still shining strong, but it was better than being too cold. My time today was 12 minutes 30 seconds – my best time for the mile and a half so far. This works out to 8 minutes 20 seconds for a mile. Not bad. I will try to run a mile and a half more often as it is now less than three months until I run the 10k and test for my second dan black belt. Hehe… I have this joke in my head that my black belt is waiting at the finish line. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Starting on May 6, I have black belt training scheduled every weekend. I expect I will be ultra-busy and will need uber-rest in the upcoming months.

Today’s official countdown: 11 weeks, 3 days left to go.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local black belt
Being healthy is not a life goal – it’s a life
Brigid’s Flame

Do jang day – April 18, 2006

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

MM,

I went to the do jang today. I had to go for gumdo and taekwondo class. As it turns out, I get to test for my next colour belt for gumdo on Friday. ๐Ÿ˜€

I also have to get ready soon for the black belt test in July. I can’t believe in less than three months, I have to run a 10k. Eek! I should go for a run tomorrow. I need to run a good 1.5 miles.

Taekwondo class was good. Same old kicking stuff, but more advanced kicks these days – lots of tornado kicks. :)

Anyway, I have to pay for my black belt test and my gumdo test. I promised myself that I will go train on Thursday for gumdo and taekwondo. Friday, I will take the gumdo class before the test to warm myself up.

After gumdo and taekwondo class, I stayed around to practice my gumdo stuff some more. People are so distracting in the do jang sometimes. A little more training, a little less chatting would be nice.

When I got home, I practiced some more candle begi on two candles.

Anyway, tomorrow I should try to get a run in. I also need to get some more work done. I’m a little behind, I know, but all in it’s own time. *sigh* Just too much to do again.

BB,
Cassandrah
Being fit and healthy is not a life goal – itโ€™s a life
Brigid’s Flame

Training update – April 15 and 16, 2006

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

MM,

Saturday, April 15, 2006

I went to the do jang for the class at noon. It’s a mixed youth and adult class, which makes it interesting sometimes. I was up early on Saturday for some reason, so I thought I should just get some do jang time in.

After class, I went home. (Nathan and I planned on seeing a movie that night. :))

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Nathan and I went to the gym.

I started my workout by doing 20 minutes on the bicycle. Really good work for my quads. :) Then I did the following exercises:

Leg lifts
Pull-ups (aka chin-ups, military and parallel)
Dips
Leg press
Hamstring flexor (called seated leg curls)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Chest press
Seated row
Bar pulls (I think this is called the lateral pull-downs; it works the muscles next to the scapulae on the back)
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift (this is called the shoulder press)
Back extensor

Free weights:
Pectoral fly (lie down with weight in each hand, arms extended; pull hands together at armโ€™s length in front of chest)
Two shoulder exercises (no idea what they are called; someone showed them to me)
Situps (on a incline bench; worked out the obliques as well by doing double punches during the situp)
Bicep curls
Squats with weights
Push-ups

After the gym, we headed home. We ran 1.19 miles (1.9km) from Bay and Bloor to Davenport at Bay to Yonge at Church, then down Church to Isabella to home. My time was 10 minutes 33 seconds. Next time, for a mile and a half from the gym, we’d have to start at the south-east exit of Manulife Centre, run to St. Thomas at Charles, then north on St. Thomas to Bloor st, then east on Bloor to Bay, then north on Bay to Davenport, then south on Davenport to Yonge & Church, and continue down Church street to home. As the weather was warm, it was a nice day for a run. Though I do have to say it’s quite hard to run after my quads were worn out from the bicycle earlier.

BB,
Cassandrah
Being fit and healthy is not a life goal – it’s a life
Brigid’s Flame

Brigid’s Flame – goals and purpose

Friday, April 14th, 2006

MM,

This is probably going to be a very boring blog entry, but because this blog is here as a way for people to get to know me better, I thought I should note down what my goals are in relation to this blog and my website, Brigid’s Flame.

First and foremost, as mentioned on the main page, Brigid’s Flame is a healing path. The information and the services provided are to help others heal their lives. This healing path includes physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realms. This leaves the website open to a wide variety of different topics and services, such as spiritual development, martial arts, and healing modalities. Every section on Brigid’s Flame is important to me personally and has its purpose in this healing path. Brigid’s Flame is based on my own personal experience of healing, and consequently, represents the best of me and what I have to offer. What I have to offer comes from deep within my heart with a true desire to help others.

Below is a list of goals that I have for myself and for Brigid’s Flame:

  1. To offer a unique program of reiki courses. Reiki, despite how it is currently taught by most reiki teachers in Western society, is a spiritual development system as well as a healing system. (If you cannot heal yourself, how can you heal others?) This is what my reiki program will teach. The program is an attempt to reconstruct what was once taught by Usui and Hayashi. The courses will note what is found in Western versions of reiki and what is thought to be originally Usui and Hayashi versions of reiki. As part of this program, I will be providing my reiki students with comprehensive reiki manuals at each level that explain much that is not being taught by current reiki teachers. As a result, the reiki program and accompanying manuals are unique – to my knowledge not many reiki teachers have attempted to reconstruct the teachings of Usui and Hayashi from a variety of sources. As of today, I have completed the Reiki One Manual, which is exactly 60 pages not including the appendices. The Reiki Two Manual is nearly completed. I expect it will be approximately 60 pages, comparable to the Reiki One Manual. The appendices to the Reiki Two Manual contain some very useful and interesting tables of information. I expect the appendices to be at least 100 pages! I still have to start the Reiki Three Manual beyond just an outline and notes, but I expect it will be comparable to the Reiki One and Two Manuals, but with more appendices. Overall, I expect that this reiki program will have plenty of interesting and relevant information for those seriously thinking of pursuing reiki not just as a healing system, but as a personal spiritual development system. (Yes, I realize it has been taking me some time to get everything started, but sometimes the best things in life are really worth waiting for. Thus, I hope you will be patient with me.)
  2. To teach martial arts as a path for spiritual development. Martial arts is a spiritual development system, though unfortunately, it is not often taught as such. Ever since Western society was exposed to Bruce Lee and other great martial artists, there has been a fascination with traditional (Oriental) martial arts. However, this fascination came with almost a blind perspective that martial arts is all about fighting. Everyone wanted to know how to hit harder, hit faster, move faster, be stronger, without understanding that what the saw physically comes from a spiritual awareness. Traditional martial arts like kung fu, karate, and taekwondo come from a rich background of spiritual teachings. Have people forgotten or ignored the fact that monks were also skilled in martial arts? (Reference: Shaolinquan) The spiritual teachings of martial arts should not be lost. Training in a martial art is a deeply rewarding experience, provided you have the right teachers. I was lucky to have some very good teachers, teachers who were not only good at the physical part of martial art, but also in understanding the spiritual basis of it. Frankly, you cannot be a good martial artist without the spiritual awareness (my instructors were good because of the spiritual awareness). Without the spirituality, a martial art diminishes into just a fighting sport (and that part of it is hard on its own). Thus, it is my goal to explore this aspect of martial arts and one day share what I learn with others.
  3. To be able to help others learn and grow spiritually. In order to help others develop spiritually, I also need to maintain my spiritual development. Thus, one of my goals has been to learn as much as I can about my chosen spiritual path. For me, this is paganism and Wicca. I have been studying Wicca for just as long as I have been studying martial arts, but I have always had an interest in spirituality since adolescence. (I truly wish I could have studied martial arts as a child, but at least I get to study it now. :D) I have studied astrology off and on for over 15 years and I have studied tarot for just as long. Studying Wicca seemed to be a natural extension of my occult leanings. Since I first became interested in Wicca, I was fortunate to find a great community where I could learn more about Wicca. I am referring to the Wiccan Church of Canada (WCC). It is there that I found many who could teach me. For a while I was not sure about continuing my studies to become a member of Priesthood (I spent some time reviewing my personal reasons for wanting to be part of Priesthood), but it started to become clear to me that it was something that I was being drawn to do, whether I consciously chose to or not. Thus, I have continued with my lessons and studies in this. I should probably state that I do not teach Wicca at this time, as I am not an initiated Priestess of a Wicca tradition. I also do not know if at all I will be accepting Wicca students through my website. While I do know a bit about Wicca, the information I provide on my website is based on my own personal life and experience. Thus, I hope to be able to teach by writing about my own spiritual path.

The above three are my three main goals for myself and my website. These three things have become a part of who I am and therefore, have become a large part of what Brigid’s Flame is about. Finally and most of all, Brigid’s Flame is a journey much like my spiritual path. The journey is there for you and whatever you wish to make of it. I hope Brigid’s Flame will continue to be a part of that.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Training update – April 11 and 13, 2006

Friday, April 14th, 2006

MM,

Finally, I got some exercise this week (and some work done)!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Nathan and I went to the gym. I skipped out on the do jang. I just wasn’t in the mood and have been a workaholic lately, my mind wasn’t into it. But the gym is easy to do even if my mind is mulling over some things in my head.

Leg lifts
Pull-ups (aka chin-ups, military and parallel)
Dips
Leg press
Hamstring flexor (called seated leg curls)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Chest press
Bar pulls (works the muscles next to the scapulae on the back)
Seated row
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift
Back extensor

Free weights:
Pectoral fly (lie down with weight in each hand, arms extended; pull hands together at armโ€™s length in front of chest)
Situps and side situps

After, we decided to try out the stationary bikes. The ellipticals were completely occupied and I figured the bike is good for my quads. I did 10 minutes on the bike, which is decent since it’s been a long while last I’ve been on one. The last time was when I was doing physiotherapy for my knee, over two years ago. I stopped doing the bike then because it was really hard to get used to it after knee surgery. Six months after the bike still hurt. As some of you know who have been reading, I have been more into the running and it helps. But I have been thinking that I needed something else to work my quads more. The leg press is fine, but it doesn’t isolate the quads as much. Anyway, I was happy to be able to do 10 minutes on the bike without having to stop and let my leg rest (which is what happened when I was recovering from surgery).

After the gym, Nathan and I walked home instead of running. The bike worked out my quads. I felt the burn in my quads so much that afterwards I didn’t think my knee could handle running, but the walking did the knee and my quads some good. Stretched the muscles out a bit.

When we got home, I practiced some candle begi (sword cutting). I’m getting better. It feels like I should be able to snuff two candles out soon. Such hard work, the sword cutting. It works primarily the biceps, triceps, and forearm muscles. Secondarily, it works out the shoulders (but be careful because you can easily pull the shoulder muscles if your technique is even slightly off – I did this last Wednesday and I was sore for nearly a week!), the stomach, and the latissimus dorsi (back side muscles). The candle begi was good to do after going to the gym because my muscles were feeling toned for it.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

I finally dragged myself out to the do jang. I have had a busy week getting work done, writing like crazy. I thought I needed a change of pace and I was starting to miss the do jang. Yeah, I miss my crazy taekwondo Master when I don’t go in for a while. Much respect to him, and he seems to like me enough. I missed the gumdo class though. I was up early in the morning with very little sleep. (Around the full moon I get the weirdest dreams – sometimes they snap me awake – and I can’t get to sleep again for a while.) So, I fell asleep again in the afternoon and woke up only around 5:30 – too late to make it to gumdo. That’s okay though because I practiced candle begi on Tuesday. If I remember, I’ll practice on Friday.

Taekwondo class was good. We got to practice on whatever kicks we wanted with our partner. I went through most of the kicks I wanted to work on. Still have good technique even though I was away for a while (nearly two weeks). Anyway, I’m hoping I’ll be able to make it to the do jang more often on the weekends and go whenever I can during the week. It’s kind of hard to make a good schedule while I still have to write the reiki manuals. Basically, I need to be in the do jang Mondays and Wednesdays if I plan on helping teach patterns class (which I like doing and frankly am quite good at – teaching and doing them). Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, there’s gumdo class. If I want to keep up with swords I have to be in on those days. But the weekends are going to be a regular thing from May to the beginning of July since I’m supposed to test for my second dan. ๐Ÿ˜€

After the do jang, I went to the gym to meet up with Nathan. My exercises are listed below. I’m trying to remember the actual name of the machines to make it easier for people if they need to know exactly what I’m doing.

Leg lifts
Pull-ups (aka chin-ups, military and parallel)
Dips
Leg press
Hamstring flexor (called seated leg curls)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Chest press
Bar pulls (I think this is called the lateral pull-downs; it works the muscles next to the scapulae on the back)
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift (this is called the shoulder press)

Free weights:
Pectoral fly (lie down with weight in each hand, arms extended; pull hands together at armโ€™s length in front of chest)
Two shoulder exercises (no idea what they are called; someone showed them to me)
Situps (on a incline bench; worked out the obliques as well by doing double punches during the situp)

We also tried out the squat cages (the ones with the bar attached that moves up and down). Basically, you hold the bar on your shoulders and do normal squats. Just to get the feeling of the motion, we did it first with just the bar and then added weights. I added 10 lbs to begin with. While I can leg press around 230 lbs, I decided to lower the weight for the bar squats because I wanted to try squatting so that my legs were at 90 degree angles. This turned out to be very good for my quads, which is what I assumed. Now, I’m thinking this will be an addition to my weight training regimen.

After all the weight training, we got on the bikes just before the gym closed. We did 10 minutes just in time. It was good to do the bike again. Although my quads (in my right leg) are still quite sore, I barely felt anything on the bike this time. I didn’t feel too tired – felt like I could easily do 20 minutes next time.

Then we headed home after the gym closed. We didn’t run, as I has my backpack with my taekwondo gear in it. We walked home at our usual brisk pace.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. The do jang is closed so it means no gumdo class tomorrow. BUT… good news is the do jang is open on the weekend. I really have to make myself get up early on Saturday and Sunday again. Need those classes. I’m thinking tomorrow I should try a mile and half run and do some more candle begi. Somewhere in there I’ll get some more writing and work done. ๐Ÿ˜‰

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame