BURN OUT

I am burned out. I am burned out from work, from training, from working out, from life’s ever continuous stresses. Combined I am beyond burned out. 

I do not have a vacation scheduled till summer. I do not have enough PTO to “take a day”, because of needing to use my free PTO to attend to my sick child when he was admitted to the hospital.
I do not get enough sleep a lot of nights, because I am attending to work emails or trying, TRYING, to find spiritual answers and Martial Arts instruction or learn from my teachers on my own. I spend hours doing stressful things for my job, growing ever more taxing and demanding.

I try to work out daily, either cardio from walking or kettlebells to help balance and PT injuries from years of lifting heavy weights.
Thanks to inadequate sleep, elevated stress, and recovering injuries, I am not losing weight like I want, leading to more estrogen and cortisol in my system.

This is a negative feedback loop, keeping me tired and fatter then I like and should be. I try to dedicate time to being a good and attentive father and husband, yet work and house needs keep me from being as present as I want to be.

I AM BURNED OUT.

SO – how do we fix this?

I am going about it this way:

Taikokyu – Mind Body Breath – Daily. I am stretching and meditating and breathing. Working my body’s musculoskeletal systems and organs. Focusing and clearing the mind of RELAXING .

Kettlebell workout 3 days a week – Complexes of sets and reps for time. Hitting all the major muscle groups, increasing strength, endurance and hyper trophy 25-30 minutes a day.

Ninpo/Aikido – I will train aikido 1.5 hours once a week, and I learn and read and practice basics of ninpo 10-30 minutes daily. Even if it is just kata for ichimonji no kata. I will also mentally drill Gyokko Ryu and Wing Chun/ JKD. I may consider even returning to Krav Maga once a week to keep my skills sharp against real opponents.

Be Present – I try to spend as much time as I can daily with my son while he is awake. Not always not stressful, but being there and experiencing him makes me happier and my heart fuller then I would have thought. I then spend evenings with my wife, even if its just spending time in the same room together, not doing the same activities, we get to unwind and talk.

Daily I try to be a “good” – fill in the blank for you, whatever that means. I think being rounded and trying to enjoy the here and now and continually try to better oneself is the core essence of growth.


This is how I intend to fix burnout. A few beers with friends and a trip to the shore doesn’t hurt either, but those are not as frequent as I need. I need to refocus on my Budo, my why, and also grow, be confident, and stop this constant struggle. Embrace the stresses, alleviate what you can, and proactively work on you. A stronger you is an anti-fragile you.

Using Travel to Reconnect

So as many of you know, and for those who do not, my wife and I love to travel. I lived abroad for almost 10 years in the UK and experienced many countries and cultures growing up. Since meeting my spouse I have tried to share that with her, and she has become addicted to it.

For us, its not just saying we went somewhere and saw something. We do it for the experiences. Bavaria, Germany and Austria are where my soul feels at home sometimes and I long to go back. Ireland and Northern Europe, my ancestral routes. Italy, where a quarter of my heritage originated, Iceland – where I experienced a spiritual awakening and connection with the earth that I must return to.

With everything opening back up due to COVID ending as WW3 begins, my wife and I thought against Europe, but are instead going on another adventure trip, this time to Alaska. MG and his wife will be joining us as we head into the great white north to experience arctic terrain again with unprecedented beauty.

What I find when we travel though, is my wife and I reconnect and enjoy being together again. Our normal issues from day to day life seem to fall away and we have that spark and excitement again. It lets us experience new things together that we can think back on in the future. To identify more and more different things we like to do, and experience all our lives have to offer us.

Now am I saying this is a panacea to all of marriages/relationship woes? No. But if you and your partner can connect and reestablish healthy activities together, experience new things together, work and forge that commitment again, together – you are going to find you are probably happier together as well.

Now I am not saying book a trip to Europe and all will be fine. A lot of people can’t afford that or Alaska, but you can afford camping, maybe staying with friends in other states, or hitting up motels along classic Route 66. Either way, you can find ways to affordably see things you never have before, even in your own country. Do not let life slip you by, the world is too big and beautiful with great peoples and cultures to only stay one place.

Go live life, reconnect with your honey, and enjoy what time you have!

Heck one day … maybe you even take the kids!

AFD 1 *

Zoiglbeir – Fresh Bavarian Lager

2.5 Gallon recipe

3 lbs Pilsner DME, 1lb Munich DME, .5oz Hellertau 60 min boil ( 30 min whirlpool) Bavarian lager yeast

As I have written about technique previously, I won’t go too deep into it with this beer either, but will stay more high level.
A Zoiglbeir is a traditional Bavarian Lager brewed fresh and locally. It is brewed almost farmhouse style in open top fermentor and served at cellar temperatures from the tap house/Pub basement.

This malty lager is fresh and clean tasing with hop and malt complexities. Great spring time or early fall beer.

Bring your 1.5 gallons of water to a boil and add your dry malt extract (DME). Once a slow boil has returned to your wort, add in your hops and cut the heat, stirring almost continuously for 30 minutes with a low IBU hop. We used German Noble Hellertau at .5 oz for this 2.5 gallon batch.

Let wort cool to 70F before throwing in your lager yeast. S-189 works great, but I used Mangrove Jack’s Bavarian Lager yeast this time. Gives a lightly fruity finish to the beer that works well with the spicy hops.

Ferment cool for 1-2 weeks until ferment is complete and then lager (or store in a cool dark place) for 1-3 weeks. Let the beer drop clear before you either bottle condition or force carbonate.

Lastly enjoy a regional specialty not normally seen outside of Bavaria. Prost!

AFD

Getting leaner and lighter without giving up pizza ( or other food you love)

Do you want to eat foods you love but also lose weight at the same time?

It is easier then you think. Now, you can’t eat all the stuff you love at every meal in any quantity you want, but you can strategically do it without counting calories.

Make 2 out of your 3 ( if you choose to eat 3) meals a day healthier and lower calorie meals. How do you do that? Follow steps below:

Breakfast –
NO CEREAL ( looking at you fruity pebbles). These cereals are high in sugar and though they are fortied with vitamins and minerals, they over all don’t fill you up. Eat a protein like eggs, egg whites, sausage, ham, Scrapple. Eggs are a solid choice and you can add light cheese if you like. Avoid bacon and other higher fat meats – fat has more calories then protein or carbs. Try to have a good grain if you like having toast, whole grain or ancient grain breads with a jam or jelly. If going that route, use one with no added sugar.

Lunch –
Same theory as breakfast: Have a protein source, a good carb ( veggies – raw or cooked (steamed/baked), potato, sweet potato. Avoid adding tons of butter to everything, instead use and cook in olive oil. Add in some other heathy fats like avocado. Protein sources should be lean cuts of beef, pork, turkey, chicken, tofu, fish. Avoid sauces that are fat heavy. This doesn’t mean no fat, but pick better fats.

Dinner –
Eat what you like. Just keep the same ideas above. Do this most of the week. We are going for 60-70% adherence here.

Alcohol –
This is NOT a carb. Drinks can have carbs in them as drinks come from the fermentation of fruits and grains (wine and beer). The drier a beer or wine the less sugar (Carbs), but the alcohol is itself its own macronutrient.
What you need to remember here is that Liquor (vodka etc) is a grain alcohol that has been distilled and has no sugar left in it. Due to this fact, its got less calories than all other types of drinks.
So with that information, when drinking remember to drink lighter calories drinks like vodka soda, light beers, dry wines and avoid anything with added mixers ( soda, sugary mixes, etc.).

If you are going to drink, restrict it to 2 drinks daily, as alcohol slows or stops your body from burning other foods for energy and prioritizes the alcohol, because your body sees it as a poison and wants to get it out. Drink in the evening so your body has burned food and body fat all day for energy, then when you drink, it won’t affect your diet. Remember also – heavy alcohol consumption is bad for your liver and sleep and recovery and, well you fucking get it lol.


You don’t need a cheat day on this diet because as long as you follow the above most of the time, you can have a burger here, pizza there.

If you follow this way of eating you will lose weight.

Now – you won’t be skinny as a reed on this diet, but it will allow you to keep your weight down and if you are overweight it will help the pounds initially fall off. You will at some point get to a plateau where you will not lose any more weight. That’s because the amount of food you are eating possess enough calories that you no longer are eating in a deficit. To help you could: workout, eat less “bad” foods ( looking at you deep fried anything in sauces), or simply eat smaller food portions.

Here is the real secret: Workout by lifting weights 3 days a week, walk instead of driving (if you can), go for a walk 2-3 days a week, and use the stairs (not elevator). You do this AND eat mostly like above – You will see dramatic changes in your body and how you feel.

Thanks everyone – more posts like this and around weight lifting and engaging your kids to come.

1*

AFD

How to be a better father in 3 easy steps

Hope cliche is that title? In actuality its many many tiny steps every day, but we can sum them up into 3 broad ranging categories.

1. Be there and be aware –
When you are with your children, be there. Not just physically being there, but mentally engaged as well. Interact with them, ask questions, ask how they are doing, engage with them. Play with them. This will build good memories for the both of you, as well as allow you to have a more personal relationship. Think about what it is they are doing and saying, this will help you feel more connected and not regret later on in life.

2. Put down the phone
This seems pretty straightforward after our last point, but giving a phone or device to your kids to entertain them if not helping them develop. You have regressed socially thanks to your device, it is doing the same to them as well as creating a potential addiction. Studies are showing the degenerative effects these technologies have on our kids development as well as exacerbating things like ADD and ADHD. You have probably noticed it yourself, not being able to stay on track with a thought, or engaged in an activity without mindlessly looking at your phone. Put It Down.

3. Talk to them and think about them
Let you kids know you love them, you are thinking about them and are proud/sad/happy, whatever. This allows your child to know it’s ok to have emotions and that its safe to share them with you. You by communicating are leading by example. Now this isn’t a psychological cure all, but it will help. Plus, who doesn’t like hearing their parents tell them they love them, are proud of them, miss them, and are going through the same emotions we all go through, but don’t always vocalize. — This works great with your partner too, who would have guessed?!

Well gents, that’s all for now. Meditate on this and be proactive in executing the above. It will help make you happier and help your kids develop.

AFD

Live in the NOW – you won’t regret it!

We here all to often to not worry about the future or to wallow in the past. For many of us it seems unlikely we can focus on the “now”, this present time and what we are doing.

We all know that we should live in the now, experience our kids growing, bonding and spending time with our spouses, yet we waste the now thinking about the future and or the past. We don’t enjoy the now as we should, instead attributing excitement and joy to some point in the future, a future that may never come.

I know it is easy to say “live in the now”, but doing it is quite different within our society. I am guilty of it as anyone else. I will be sitting there thinking about my work day ahead or what will need to happen to go to somewhere in the future instead of observing and engaging with my son, watching him as he develops language and eats his breakfast. Making funny faces and learning as he plays with his toys or even when I wish he could just talk instead of use the 30 or so works he has now and how adorable it is

I think back to when he was an infant and how I was impatient for when he was awake more or doing more things. Now I miss the time spent feeding him his bottle or figuring out how to use his hands and how to roll over. I miss those times because I was thinking about the future, and I am missing the now and feeling bad, because I am focusing too much on the past. I remember a line from Kung-Fu panda from the old Turtle master Oogway that sums this up.
“ Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called a present.”

Enjoy the now because it is all you have and will give you memories in the future when you watch your family in different ways.
Be ever present in the present, get off your phone and enjoy your real life, in the now, because this is all you get.

AFD 1*

New Writer Incoming

Hey all

Happy 2022 – or you know 2020 part 3.
We have a new father coming on board to contribute to the site and bring in a fresh set of eyes as BPD and I have been up to ours in diapers!

MG is the new contributor and is also a new father. We share a love off Brewing, Sports and Fishing. We are friends and alumni of the same University ( WE ARE.. PENN STATE) as myself and BPD.

New stuff coming down the pike at you fast and hard for 2022.

Till then Keep Frosty

1*

AFD

Brew Day – Christmas “lager” – Sparkling Vienna Amber Lager with seasonal spices.

3 lbs Sparking Amber DME
1lb Caramunich III malt grain
1 oz German Tettnang hops
1 packet M12 Kveik yeast (dry)
Dash Pumpkin Pie spice ( or just nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, clove)
2 Dash Ground Clove

Bring 1.5 gallons of water and steeping grains up to 185 and remove grain bag.
Whirlpool hops for 10-15 minutes depending on strength you desire.
Remove hop bag and throw in your DME and stir till mixed well.
Add 1 gallon COLD water and stir.
Sprinkle in your spices and stir again.

Let the mix cool to about 90 degrees and move to fermenting vessel.
Pitch yeast and close up fermenter in a warm place. The yeast (kveik) responds well to warmer temperatures and will burn through fermentation. Expect this to be done in 1-1.5 weeks before you can bottle condition or keg. Just in time for Christmas.

I will update when I get this on the gas and show follow up pictures and flavors.

Update #1

3 days in a 72 degree house was all it took for complete fermentation. The taste is malty with light-ish body and a mellow flavor of spices. I am cold crashing now before force carbonation. I am shocked at house aggressive and clean the Kveik yeast is. May be a new standard go to. The hops are a bit strong with peppery and good bitterness for a malt forward beer. Close to Pale Ale IBUs. Once I get it on the gas I will post another update and pictures with final gravity and taste test.

Musings and possibly a book.

First and foremost – happy 600 days of “14 days to flatten the curve.”

I am tired of things not being back to “normal” and the new normal is pretty f*cked up.

That said, it has given us all more time at home with our families if we are lucky. That has been the driving factor behind TVD and our stories, experiences and tidbits of info we provide on the blog and instagram.

I was out blowing leaves and was thinking about the blog and being a start up company/entrepreneurs. We provide a product – this blog and its information that is actionable to not only help you in your life and journey but ours as well.
We are passionate about many things and most are covered here in the blog, but one thing that is a top passion for me, besides my family, is my love of fermentation and home brewing. Now – I would NEVER be good enough to be a professional brewer – there is a lot to learn, and buy to even get close, but I can certainly help others find a love for the art and if they then go on to become pros… so be it.

With that all in mind – I am going to try to WRITE A BOOK! About brewing for people who don’t want to know everything but make solid beverages and develop new skills! Plus it will be for quick and lazy brewing! No day long brew days here!

More to come soon!

1* AFD



Pets and letting go.

Hey all – I know it has been a bit since our last blog article but had a lot of stuff going on and well, as the title gives away, its about our pets.

My wife and I have 3 cats, yes I know that is a lot. They are all close in age 11-12-13 yrs respective. One day last week our smallest boy ( and youngest cat) threw up and then became lethargic and very much not himself. A trip to the 24 hour emergency vet brought the finding of an abdominal mass and subsequent testing confirmed a highly aggressive, malignant tumor. He has months, not years, the Veterinary Oncologist informed my wife and I.

I knew the older cat would be going soon as She is getting up there in years. Never ever would I have expected this from the baby. He still acts like a kitten and looks it too.

We did his first round of Chemo today and he is doing well. 1 shot a month and then a pill every 2 weeks with steroids daily to hopefully get him in to remission.

Eventually though we will have to make the decision to say good bye when quality of life is no longer available to him. We do not want to make the decision, but we also do not want him to suffer. Losing a pet that you have know almost their whole life, who are like children to you, is a heartbreaking thing. Having to choose the hour of their last, makes it even worse.

My wife and I know we will have to do it sooner then we ever thought, and neither of us is emotionally ready to not have that little character here. He was the best cat – almost like a dog and great with our infant, now toddler, son.

I will miss him, as I miss all my other pets that have gone before. I truly hope that when they cross the rainbow bridge they play and have fun until its time for our spirits to reunite again.

I love you JoePaw. Let’s have a hell of a time together before its over. Then I will see you again one day. My best boy.

1*
AFD

Brew Day – Schwarz Bier ( German Black Lager)

Recipe:
1/2 lb Black Malt – milled
1/4 lb Roasted Barley
3 lbs DME Golden Light
2.5 gallons water
1/2 oz Hellertau Mittelfuher hops
S-189 Dry Lager Yeast from Saflager

Process:
Steep grain in bag as 1.5 gallons water heats to 180 F
Pull Grain bag and bring to boil
Mix in DME
Bring to boil then cut heat
Whirlpool hops for 20 minutes, then remove
Add 1 gallon COLD water
Let wort chill to 68-70 degrees then pitch yeast
ferment 1-2 weeks or until complete and cold crash beer for clarity.

Keg or bottle as desired.

I am making this today and will let you know how it turns out in a few days/week!

Update: fermented 5 days then cold crashes for 4 at 40 degrees. Force carb over night and the results are stellar. Flavor of dark roast and barely but light body as should be for a lager.

AFD 1*

Meditation/Calming Waves

Hey folks, here is an 80 minutes track of a recording of waves isolated to help you focus and relax after a stressful day, or when you are trying to meditate, or just clear your head.

Add in the box breathing from the other post we have and/or any other type of breathing protocol and enjoy!

Spirit – being more than yourself.

What is spirit? What is having spirituality? I don’t mean having religion, though for some those two thought processes go hand in hand.

What I am referring to is, as a father, believing in something bigger then yourself to help guide you, your intuition in situations, and having a comfort in something greater.

I know – this is sounding a little woowoo – but if you take all religion out of the picture and think to even a cosmic consciousness existing, and having a supreme consciousness or architect, then you know when you say to yourself and the universe, please let my kid be ok, please let me be a strong husband and father for my family, that something is listening. Be it Karma, or elemental atoms – something is there.

When you bring in theology things get more complicated as there are dogmas and taboos that are VERBOTEN. I think we all have a moral compass and as long as we try to be good, strong people, and teach our kids how to be compassionate, strong, independent people. There is not much more we can ask for.

Regardless of what you believe, having some spirituality will help you be a better version of you, which in turn will make your kids better people too. Have faith in that.

AFD 1*

Minimalism in all things for a Happy Life

When you read that title, I am sure its a natural response to think “ yea, ok, you have no idea how complex X is”…
And you are probably 100% correct. What I am suggesting though is taking all aspects of your life, and see what you can do to the most minimum aspect to remove the added stress and /or work.

For example – work – you have to do your job and only you know what you have to do, but are their areas where to optimize your day you remove tasks that aren’t needed? A meeting that’s very general with no agenda? Ask for an agenda otherwise put yourself as optional for the meeting – if someone can’t express why they need a meeting then it doesn’t need your time. It should probably be an email and not a time suck meeting.
Let’s use a home life example: working out to stay fit and strong. You know I have told before about Minimum Effective Dose to stimulate outcomes such as strength, size and fat loss. You could use a whole commercial gym OR you could use a simple barbell OR even more efficient? Kettlebells/ T-bars. For most men a 50 lb kettlebell or sandbag with a hand that you can do swings with, will make you strong, lean and throw size on you. You can work full body, cardio, and strength all at once in a tool that occupies very little space.

As you can see its just about reduction of the complex. If you can find these areas of opportunity in y our life – work, personal, and family, you will have extra time, less stress and be able to appreciate how much LIFE/TIME you wasted on non-necessary things.

I have been applying this and find I am less stressed, which means more pleasant to my wife and son, which means better relationships and fulfillment as a husband and father. When you are happier it is contagious to others.

We want to be healthy, manly, and intelligent fathers and husbands. Toxic masculinity is not a thing, a lack of masculinity is leading to weaker men, a polluted society, and children without good role models.
This is what the greatest generation had and we need to reclaim that.
This will practice will help. It’s why your grandparents and great grandparents don’t see the need for our many new inventions/toys/etc.

Stay Frosty and kill it.

AFD 1*

Becoming a Dad Again

When my eldest daughter was born, I was the ripe old age of 26. I wasn’t afraid of babies, my mother was an OB nurse and I had taken care of babies before. I do remember being afraid of being a father though. I can remember sitting in the theater, watching Shrek 3 with my pregnant wife. You know the one, the one where Shrek becomes a father…. life imitating art as it felt.

Sitting in that theater I felt really apprehensive about the whole ordeal. Actually being responsible for a human life. I learned fast though that you will never be a perfect parent and you grow with your child in that regard. Of course everything turned out fine. Things got easier with baby number 2…and 3 as well.

Then life happened. My wife turned into a walking Lifetime movie fueled by Borderline Personality Disorder and those 3 kids and I were on our own for a long time. Life was scary, but being a dad wasn’t.

I do feel I lost a part of my 30s in an inexplicable way, dealing with what I was going through from 34 to now. In that time, however, I met and a wonderful woman with a young daughter of her own, with a similar experience to mine. We are now engaged and bought a house, making me a Dad of 4. Being a step dad is a whole other animal and will be the topic of a future post. This post, however, is about being a new dad again, because we are expecting baby number 5.

We knew we both wanted another baby, logistics aside as she is more of the ‘what if…’ part of the relationship while I handle the ‘what is now’ part. We had 3 girls and 1 son between us. Another boy would be nice, we thought. Cute little red plaid outfits and mini cargo boots. I knew from the second I got the positive test on Christmas, it was going to be a girl. Genetic testing and Maroon 5’s “Girls Like You” playing at ultrasound confirmed my suspicion. I guess it’s a familial thing, as my maternal Grandfather cranked out similar numbers in offspring. Our little girl is due in late August and we are both overjoyed. There’s no feelings of apprehension this time around.

I’m not 26 anymore. I’m about to be *40*. For whatever reason that number is a milestone in our culture, although I doubt I’ll feel any different than I do right now. I do go into this baby though with a sense of finality. She’ll 99.5% most likely be the last, and so I will watch those last *firsts* with a different point of view. The last first bath, the last first giggle, the last first steps and words. Much like you can be with your first child, I’ll be taking way more pictures and videos then ever as technology has made that ever so easy and I’ll be aware of those ‘last firsts’.

Time doesn’t slow itself for sure. My dad always said it’s like a roll of toilet paper. It goes faster the more you use it up, and he is right. I always play the game of “when she’s 15 I’ll be…” and relate that to our other kids and sometimes focus on the numbers too much. If life has taught me anything it’s to enjoy today and take the time to focus on what is present, not what might be.

I’m going to enjoy every second of this last first.

How to have a happy(er) life.

With that lofty title I present to you 4 things to make you happier
1. Workout
2. Eat good food (not crap from a box or pre-made)
3. Try to meditate/clear your mind/ brain dump
4. Get some intimacy from your partner.

There you go. Simple right?

Now of course that isn’t as simple as it sounds – but why? I am going to suggest a rather Spartan approach you can take and try for a week to see how it makes you feel.

1. Start a workout program – anything is better then nothing, do it 3 times a week. A kettlebell will give you more then enough exercises for you to get the blood going and the muscles pumping.

2. Try to eat better food – meats, eggs fruits veggies. Avoid dairy if you can and “white” carbs – any carb that is or could be made white.

3. Meditate – use box breathing from a previous post or the calm app with its *free* meditations or google Mokuso Meditation and perform any for at least 5 minutes daily. You will think of other things, that’s ok, just acknowledge that and move on.

4. Talk to your partner, start “dating” them again. Make the effort and increase your intimacy.

Now that’s 4 easy things that take just a little effort that will reap rewards.
Physically performing and feeling better – adding muscle and losing weight will increase your testosterone.
Meditation reduces cortisol which increases/preserves testosterone.
Eating good food will cure most hormonal issues and – you guessed it- helps with testosterone levels.
Sex is Sex and will help you keep your hormone levels in check.

Testosterone is the foundation of men being healthy, looking younger, staying fitter and living longer.
Also – reduce how much you are drinking. It will help as booze converts testosterone into estrogen and you don’t wanna lose your gains, bro.

Keep frosty, structure this stuff in for a few weeks and you will see you feel better, sleep better, and are thinking more clearly with less stress and ALL of this will help you feel better and happier.

-AFD 1*

Martial Arts during lock down. Comparing the different options I have found. Ninja, Aikido, or JKD/ Krav Maga -Oh My!

By AFD

So for anyone who has read this blog for a while, you know that both authors are Dads who care about our families, like to train and workout, but also that we are both seasoned martial artists.

Both of us have trained together for 7 years. We training in Tiger Kenpo Aiki Jujutsu. I made it 2nd Kyu, B made 2ns degree black belt – Nidon. We are both also instructors in Contemporary Jeet Kune Do, under the curriculum by Paul Vunak, and his Progressive Fighting System. I have trained for a few years in Krav Maga, and recently have begun training in Aikido. Way different then my previous arts and training styles. Very traditional Japanese.

Why do I tell you all this? Simply to give me and B credit when we critique or are critical of different arts/styles and quality of instruction. Our instructors are some of the very best. From our local Sensei who was a state champ and led many winners in fighting and style competitions. To Vunak and his crew who have trained military units and special forces around the world.

So thanks to the current world situation and lock downs/ pandemic procedures most gyms/dojo’s/training centers are closed or limited in their reopening. I am also one to be cautious as my son still has a heart condition and I am not wanting to bring anything home (esp. COVID19) to get him sick. He has already been sick once since we brought him home and I felt terrible about that.

Where does that leave training? Well my dojo for Aikido is doing some classes online, but in an art based on energy and feel, that is a bit tough to train. I could go in person but until everyone besides me gets vaccinated, I don’t want to put my kid at risk. I also train Krav Maga there and that is even more hands on as we are heavy into grappling and BJJ.

That leaves online tutelage – either an online school with live classes in arts you can learn solo with striking, kicks, kata etc. or pre recorded lessons with drills and muscle memory exercises ( like much of our JKD training to supplement or remind of more complex movements taught at seminars etc.)

I have found 4 different opportunities that have worked out in some situations, and not as much as others.

4 Options:
1. Ninjutsu (Ninpo) martial Arts training online via a private web portal and training videos with interaction with other members during live web training and facebook groups.

2. Live stream of Ninjutsu and Japanese Jujutsu dojo classes that are live monitored and put up in a private facebook group to rewatch. Supplementary live class training outside once lockdown ends and weather gets warmed.

3. Live online video stream from a live Aikido class I could go attend in person. OR just attending said class in person – mentioned above.

4. Live Stream/Recorded live stream of JKD Concepts in an instructors group to train with B in person for the length of training )2 day seminar in this case). The was live with Q&A, weapons etc. B and I went to his house and spent houses watching the feed and training as if we were there in the seminar.

So – What did I Figure Out?
1 and 4 are good if you are a dedicated person and can create class like training sessions for yourself and/or can practice long without someone watching you… I had trouble with this – I need more structure and to have interaction.

2 and 4 were my best options.
The JKD with B and having a live training as well as being able to watch (and rewatch later) the live training and seeing others training helped keep us engaged and got in a good lesson and workout.
The Ninjutsu and Jujutsu online with the interactive Zoom class and the online private group with postings of the videos and other training materials to supplement was my favorite “pandemic”/Solo training option. Where I would have needed a partner imagination and or my freestanding weight bag helped add in the resistance and striking targets I needed.
The forms can be done like Kata and in most cases are preformed slowly at first and then accelerated later.
The break falls and kicking/striking from the break fall (Ukemi) are different then in Aikido and over all the class very much feels like a Shotokan Style Karate class.
I enjoy it and the welcoming and friendliness of the other group members is refreshing. With the option to train in person when things get nice and back to normal as well as having online training when not/ unable to it helps progress more quickly.
The ability to then go back and watch classes where you were involved lets you see your training issues and how to correct all under the eye of a dutiful Sensei.

I highly suggest making yourself harder to kill. I also suggest it as a means of defense for yourself but also you family. It’s a critical skill most people think they have but never test in a safe way.
Martial Arts especially is helpful when teaching your kids confidence and self control. Respect for an authority figure but also helping keep themselves safe, when you aren’t there.

1*
AFD

Brew Day – No-Boil Dry Irish Stout (Greyson’s Blarney Bitter Stout)

Hey all,
In honor of my son, and with St. Patrick’s Day rapidly approaching I have a quick Dry Irish Stout beer recipe that can be brewed and drank within 2 week ( with a force carb system) or a month without.

This recipe will be very close to a Guinness Foreign Stout clone. The dark malts and added mild hop flavor from the Bullion hops give a nice mellow bite to this Bitter Stout. If you have a nitrogen system I suggest you give it a go and see how it turns out, but its great on CO2.

Grain Bill, Hops & Extract:
2.5 lbs golden lite DME
12.5 oz Marris Otter
10oz Roast Barley
2.5oz Caraffa II
1.25oz Black Patent
1 pack W34/70 dry Lager Yeast
1oz Bullion Hops

I steeped all the grain with the DME and enough water to hit 2.5 gallons at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. I then removed the grain and whirlpooled the hops for 30 minutes before removing from heat and letting cool to room temperature (over night).

I transferred the wort to fermentation vessel and pitched the dry yeast. Kept at 70 degrees for 6 days before cold crashing and conditioning in a fridge (or outside -winter here) for 4 days.

I kegged and force carbonated overnight for 12 hours at 40 PSI before bumping the gas down to serving pressure of 12 psi.

The results are amazing. Creamy thick foam, complex flavor with notes of toffee, coffee, roasted break and a slight bitterness from the hops and dark grains.

Slainte folks!

Mmmm Greyson’s Blarney Stout… Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day 🍀🍀🍀☘️

The ageless athlete and mobility – What All Dad’s should know.

Simple Exercise, executed consistently will maximize longevity.

We all know that the healthy habits we can stick with are ones we will do and will benefit us most. Crash diets, workout programs and supplements may work in the short term, but if they are not sustainable they are not functional.

Strength, as we have previously discussed, is crucial in being able to move and live longer. But what we haven’t really discussed it mobility. Building muscle, staying strong helps increase testosterone and reduce fat as well as allow us to maintain more muscle mass as we age allowing us to keep moving and doing activities we love. However, if you do not train mobility – the ability to manipulate your muscles and joints in multiple planes of movement – is similar to being a robot. You may be big and strong but you won’t be able to wipe your ass or tie your shoes, and that will only get worse as you get older. That is not something you want.

This also impacts activities like playing with your kids/grandkids/etc. They have amazing range of movement, whereas I am betting you do not. I am guilty of letting myself get muscle bound by not stretching enough or just going into my lifts and only training those movements. Martial Arts will let you know quickly where you are not flexible enough and can help get you more bendy quickly, but can also get you hurt if you aren’t careful.

Yoga is a good option if you like that kind of stuff but I don’t. It’s too woowoo for me and not my style. Dynamic stretching would benefit many of us, but still can limit your range of motion. My suggestions then are – Taikokyu ( think stretching using a staff to assist you into really nice stretches and even self PT). Secondly I would say Mace exercise movements. Yes it looks funny but that with a good dynamic stretching program and foam rolling will unlock your tense shoulders, back and neck. The Taikokyu or Dynamic Stretching will open up hips, low back and legs.

I encourage you all to start doing something for just 15 minutes every day or two to help start loosing yourself up.

Lastly – meditation for 5 minutes a day, or even just quiet deep breathing where you clear your mind, will make your day of stress and tension drop away. It will help you dream better at night and will help you think more clearly during your awake hours.

Add these practices in to your programming, if you haven’t already, to see your performance everywhere else get better.

Stay Strong!

AFD 1*

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