Archive for April, 2007

Reiki Level Two course – new date

Sunday, April 29th, 2007

This is an update to let people know of the change in date for the Reiki Two course. Please see the information below:

LEVEL TWO (OKUDEN)
Saturday, June 9, 2007
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(one-hour lunch break at 1 p.m.)
Saturday, June 16, 2007
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(one-hour lunch break at 1 p.m.)

The Level One course dates remain the same as stated in my previous post. For course descriptions and other related services, see “Reiki Courses and Other Services” on my website. Contact information can be found there.

Cassandrah
Reiki Shihan/Teacher
Brigid’s Flame

Recent rituals

Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

Public ritual on the 8th was about organ donation. If you plan to be an organ donor upon your death, you should discuss this with you family members so they understand your wish. Otherwise, the law states that the family decides what to do with your remains.

Public ritual on the 15th was a ritual about the community again. This time we made a community chain. Everyone was given a link in the chain and then were required to attach it to another link until every piece was linked together. A rather lovely ritual.

This week we’re having guest Priesthood perform a ritual. It will be the “Ceremony of the Magical Eucharist” by the Order of the Temple of Archallem (OTA). “Eucharist” means “gratitude” and “thanksgiving”, so I’m guessing that is the theme of the ritual. It will be interesting to compare this ritual with what we normally do in Wicca. I will have to take mental notes.

BB,
Cassandrah

Gym and do jang days

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Monday, April 9, 2007

I ran to the gym.

COMPLETE LIST OF WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES:
Machine/apparatus Exercises:
Pull-ups/chin-ups
-overhand (palms facing front)
-underhand (palms facing back) (I did the biceps curls and the seated row before doing this one, the biceps were already suitably worked out!)
-parallel (palms facing towards each other)
Dips (same apparatus as for the chin-ups)
Weighted squat machine
Leg press
Hamstring flexor/seated leg curls
Hamstring flexor (lying down)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Seated row
Seated chest press
Lateral pull-downs
Pectoral fly (sometimes done using free weights)
Reverse pectoral fly (not sure exactly what this is called, it works the rhomboids in between the scapulae/shoulder blades)
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift/press
Back extensor
Bicep curls (usually done using free weights now)
Tricep extensor (the dips do a good job of working the triceps, plus a special kind of push-up that I learned from taekwondo)
Leg lifts (I hate the new apparatus for this; might start doing these on a bench or the floor instead)

Free weights:
Two additional shoulder exercises
– lift weight in front using shoulder muscles
– bending at waist lift weight out to the side using muscles along the scapulae (this is the same as the machine that works in reverse of the pectoral fly)
– wrist strengthening

Other exercises:
Pushups
Situps
Cycling
Elliptical

After I left the gym, I picked up some household stuff and then ran home. It’s always so much harder running with a few extra pounds to carry.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I went to the do jang. It was a good class. We did some relay exercises mixed with kicking drills. These are good anaerobic exercise mixed with some cardio. After the class, we did sit-ups, side sit-ups, back ups (lie on the stomach, hold arms out over head, keeping lower body on floor, lift the top half of the body off the floor, this works the back muscles) and leg lifts.

I went to the gym after the do jang.

COMPLETE LIST OF WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES:
Machine/apparatus Exercises:
Pull-ups/chin-ups
-overhand (palms facing front)
-underhand (palms facing back)
-parallel (palms facing towards each other)
Dips (same apparatus as for the chin-ups)
Weighted squat machine
Leg press
Hamstring flexor/seated leg curls
Hamstring flexor (lying down)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Seated row
Seated chest press
Lateral pull-downs
Pectoral fly (sometimes done using free weights)
Reverse pectoral fly (not sure exactly what this is called, it works the rhomboids in between the scapulae/shoulder blades)
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift/press
Back extensor (did a similar exercise in taekwondo class that helps strengthen the back muscles)
Bicep curls (usually done using free weights now)
Tricep extensor (the dips do a good job of working the triceps, plus a special kind of push-up that I learned from taekwondo)
Leg lifts (I hate the new apparatus for this; might start doing these on a bench or the floor instead)

Free weights:
Two additional shoulder exercises
– lift weight in front using shoulder muscles
– bending at waist lift weight out to the side using muscles along the scapulae (this is the same as the machine that works in reverse of the pectoral fly)
– wrist strengthening
dead lift
clean and press/clean and jerk

Other exercises:
Pushups
Situps
Cycling
Elliptical

I also tried out a machine that allows you to do the a twisting exercise with weights. This works out the obliques (your side muscles) and supposedly the obliques are a set of muscles that contribute to overall practical body functionality.

Now, for those who have seen 300 and are wondering how the actors got into shape, check out this article at Gym Jones.

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Taekwondo reference book – a “must have”

Sunday, April 8th, 2007

On occasion, I like to browse the used book stores to see what I can find. Yesterday, I picked up Tae Kwon Do: The Korean Martial Art by Richard Chun.

Originally published in 1976, just when taekwondo was becoming a popular sport, this book remains to this day a comprehensive manual of taekwondo. The only thing missing are the newer colour belt patterns (called “taeguk”) and the black belt patterns, but there are plenty of Kukkiwon sanctioned books containing those.

Some people may think that a book published over thirty years ago would be outdated for a martial art. In fact, not at all. This book was written as an attempt to retain the original training and teaching of taekwondo before it became “just a sport” (as some naysayers like to describe it) with flashy kicks. (There is nothing wrong with the sport aspect of taekwondo, it still builds fast reflexes, and I respect many of the competitors; however, the danger is the martial art may diminish into only a sport and we lose much of what should be taught still.)

As a colour belt, I was privileged to have studied at a school that retained much of the original training and teaching of taekwondo (kicking and hand strikes). While flipping through this book (which is all I’ve had time to do so far), I was astounded at how many of the techniques and exercises I was familiar with. I was also happy to discover other things that I was never taught.

Taekwondo is the “art of kicking and punching”, which lately has been diminished to the art of kicking with the occasional hand blocks. This book shows that there is much more to taekwondo besides the kicks. There is a chapter dedicated to “hand, arm, and head attacking techniques”, followed by “blocking techniques” (which also includes a knee block), then “kicking techniques”. There is also a chapter on “advanced positions and combinations”, and of course “sparring techniques”. Additionally, the book includes “self-defense techniques”, which includes sections on falls, throws, and ground defense. As mentioned, the forms in the book are the old palgwe patterns, which is great in my opinion. I’ve been wanting a good book on the old patterns, now I have it.

This book is a must-have for taekwondo students. It is especially important for those students who are interested in learning the full art of taekwondo. For those who think taekwondo is all about the kicks, get a copy of this book (available on amazon.com) – it will prove you wrong.

Richard Chun was an 8th dan when he wrote this book. He is a 9th dan Grandmaster now, and is still teaching taekwondo in the United States.

Gym and do jang days

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

Monday, April 2, 2007

I went to the gym after a long while. Damn, I actually lost some weight staying at home working for nearly three weeks straight. Go figure. I didn’t work out enough and didn’t eat enough. Truth is, I forget to eat when I’m working obsessively. Argh… still didn’t like losing the few pounds.

It felt good to be back in the gym, although I had to drop the weights on the leg press a bit.

COMPLETE LIST OF WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES:
Machine/apparatus Exercises:
Leg lifts (I hate the new apparatus for this)
Pull-ups/chin-ups
-military
-parallel
Dips
Leg press
Hamstring flexor/seated leg curls
Hamstring flexor (lying down)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Seated row
Seated chest press
Lateral pull-downs
Pectoral fly (sometimes done using free weights)
Reverse pectoral fly (not sure exactly what this is called, it works the rhomboids in between the scapulae/shoulder blades)
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift/press
Back extensor
Tricep extensor
Bicep curls (usually done using free weights now)
Weighted squat machine

Free weights:
Two additional shoulder exercises
– lift weight in front using shoulder muscles
– bending at waist lift weight out to the side using muscles along the scapulae (this is the same as the machine that works in reverse of the pectoral fly)
– wrist strengthening

Other exercises:
Pushups
Situps
Cycling
Elliptical

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Yay! Taekwondo again. Loads of kicking. I feel sooo slow now. I used to be faster before I hurt my knee. Haha… have to spend three months at the do jang and the gym just working out. I think if I just increase my leg strength by about 20%, my knee won’t feel so bad when doing the kicking – just need another good block of time to focus only on working out again. Well, at least my cardio was surprisingly okay for class. Master Kim was pushing us a bit. He says it’s bikini season soon. 😉 He made us do one hundred situps and pushups at the end of class. Yup, there was no getting off easy. Next time, I’ll try to remember all the drills he gave us – I’ll bet we do over a thousand kicks each class easy.

I went to the gym after taekwondo for some strengthening and some extra cardio.

COMPLETE LIST OF WEIGHT TRAINING EXERCISES:
Machine/apparatus Exercises:
Leg lifts (I hate the new apparatus for this)
Pull-ups/chin-ups
-military
-parallel
Dips
Leg press
Hamstring flexor/seated leg curls (seems redundant to do both hamstring machines – the other one works the full range)
Hamstring flexor (lying down)
Hip adductors
Hip abductors
Seated row
Seated chest press
Lateral pull-downs
Pectoral fly (sometimes done using free weights)
Reverse pectoral fly (not sure exactly what this is called, it works the rhomboids in between the scapulae/shoulder blades)
Shoulder fly
Shoulder lift/press
Back extensor
Tricep extensor
Bicep curls (usually done using free weights now)
Weighted squat machine

Free weights:
Two additional shoulder exercises
– lift weight in front using shoulder muscles
– bending at waist lift weight out to the side using muscles along the scapulae (this is the same as the machine that works in reverse of the pectoral fly)
– wrist strengthening

Other exercises:
Pushups
Situps
Cycling (10 minutes)
Elliptical

The cycling felt good after going to taekwondo. It will help me get my speed back. It’s really only the instability in my knee that slows down my kicking. Starting to miss the running again. Now that it’s warm, going to try to get out at least twice a week for a mile or a mile and half run. The first month running again is going to hurt, but there’s a 10k coming up again, and this time hopefully I won’t be too sick to run.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Reiki Courses – Levels One and Two

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

MM,

After about three weeks straight of finalizing some stuff, I’m offering reiki courses for levels one and two. Please see the scheduled dates and times below:

LEVEL ONE (SHODEN)
Saturday, May 5, 2007
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(one-hour lunch break at 1 p.m.)
Monday, May 7, 2007
6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

LEVEL TWO (OKUDEN)
Saturday, June 2, 2007
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(one-hour lunch break at 1 p.m.)
Saturday, June 9, 2007
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

(one-hour lunch break at 1 p.m.)

For course descriptions and other related services, see “Reiki Courses and Other Services” on my website. Contact information can be found there.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Public ritual – April 1

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

MM,

Ritual last Sunday was a beautiful dance and music ritual dedicated to waking up the goddess as it is now spring. It has been a little cold lately, so perhaps the goddess needs some encouragement?

The whole ritual was done by dance or music, in particular drumming. Beautifully put together and performed. The Priestess portrayed the goddess who was asleep during the winter months, then she woke up to the sound of our music and dancing.

The only criticism I have about the ritual is that the drumming was too loud for an enclosed area. The drumming was sustained at 100 decibels during a few parts of the ritual. Now concerts reach 100 decibels, but those are held in a much larger enclosure. Our temple fits comfortably thirty people. I don’t really think for thirty people in a small room we need drumming at a 100 decibels.

If they can manage to control the volume of the drumming next time this particularly ritual is done, it will be one of my favourites.

After the ritual, I was reminded of the Korean sword dancing. As Summoner, I couldn’t dance that night. (Oh well, that’s my sacrifice this year!) I ended up thinking about how I could dance with a staff, if it was made for my height. Then, I thought of the Korean sword dance. Hopefully someday I have time for that.

Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Rituals in March

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

MM,

It’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve been crazy busy as usual, but I’m finished working on something important, so hopefully things should ease up for me.

Public ritual on March 11th was a song and music ritual. It reminded us of how we learn from music and song. Ah, the stories you can tell with just one song.

Ritual on March 18th was public sabbat – spring equinox. Yay! It’s finally spring. Is it warm enough yet? Time to stop hibernating? The ritual was dedicated to Artemis, Greek maiden huntress.

My private group met only once this past month. It’s been crazy for everyone lately. We met up for a spring equinox ritual where we blew eggs and then coloured them. We made something yummy with the eggs, of course. Mmm… the wonderful taste of blessings from the gods.

Public ritual on the 25th was dedicated to the community. We have at WCC a stone which we call the “Teutates stone”. Teutates is a Celtic god of the tribe and the people – very much a community god. The stone was found years ago in a riverbed. It was half buried in the riverbed, and the other half was not even in the river. This is very significant because the Celtic worldview consists of land, sea, and sky. A place that featured land, sea, and sky was held to be very sacred. This stone came to WCC already sacred and was thus named for Teutates. The ritual gave people a chance to hold and commune with the stone for a bit. A nice ritual. It is often nice for people to be reminded that they are still a part of the community, even if they only come out to public ritual once in a while.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame

Korean Sword Dance

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

MM,

In light of a recent ritual involving dance and music, I’m reminded of something I still want to study one day (assuming I ever get the time) – Korean sword dance.

Here’s a video of probably the best Korean sword dancer:

Sword dancing seems to be a tradition in Korea, as there are quite a few movies featuring it. One of my all-time favourite movies, The Duelist (Hyung-sa) which happens to be Korean, features a beautiful dance/”fight” scene between the two main characters. The man is using a sword and the woman is using two daggers. A beautiful scene – best understood in the context of the whole movie.

I might just have to return to gumdo classes, if I can’t find a Korean sword dance teacher.

BB,
Cassandrah
Brigid’s Flame