Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Reflecting 2008

Reflecting back over the past year I was just thinking about some of my highlights - here are just a few.

  • Starting this blog (15th July)

  • Visited New York for the first time (March)

  • Improved my overall fitness considerably. (July - Sept)

  • Celebrated 28 years of my wife and I meeting (October)

  • Appreciated my kids even more (after my daughter left home in Feb - 'snivel-snivel tear drops on my pillow')

  • Watched my son play live music at 'gig in the park' (Aug)

  • Took part in the 50th Anniversary celebrations for Kuk Sool in Houston, USA (Oct)

  • Achieved my 6th Degree Black Belt (Oct)

  • Completed my 30th year in the martial arts (Kuk Sool Won) (Dec)

  • Two week vacation in Spain (Sept)

  • My daughter came back to live with us again 'hooray' (Oct)

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Happy New Year!!


I'm pleased to say that after taking some 'time-out' over Christmas I'm beginning to feel a little more rejuvenated and back into the land-of-the-living instead of walking around like a Zombie.

Although slightly tempted - I haven't been sitting about two much eating - I've actually made an effort to go cycling / walking and jogging (about a couple of miles each day) just to get my energy levels back to normal and to clear my head.

So now that my energy has almost fully returned I'm looking forward to celebrating in the New Year with lots of vigour and enthusiasm. I love to party (without going over the top of course!!)

For all of you good people out there who have taken the time to read my blog over the previous months - I wish you a very Happy New Year.

Fighting Fit At Fifty - 2009

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Burn-out














Yesterday was my last class of the year at Kuk Sool and I'm feeling totally burnt-out and exhausted. This however is quite normal for me to feel like this just before Christmas.

This morning I didn't wake up until 10.00am and I'm usually up out-of-bed around 7 - 7.30am. So I must have really needed the rest.

I now have two weeks off to recuperate and I'm looking forward to relaxing and taking life a little easier.

I don't know about 'fighting fit' Ive really felt like being 'fit-to-drop' or to put it bluntly - absolutely KNACKERED

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

It's Good To Talk


















I've just sent an email to an old friend living in New Zealand, I haven't seen him for several years and have recently lost touch, which is a poor excuse I know, considering all the wonders of modern technology.

It's weird how we all get caught up in our day-to-day stuff and forget about the important things like friendships. We have variety of different ways to communicate with each other but we forget the most basic, that of talking.

So I'm going to make it my mission today to contact someone that I haven't spoken too in a while, why not do the same as I've already said "it's good to talk."

Have a great day!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Shop-til-ya-Drop!


Is it me or am I the only one that dislikes Christmas shopping?

Yesterday I was subject to a tough ordeal - No it wasn't a non-stop twelve hour martial art training session, but something even tougher than that. It was an all day shopping trip with my wife in Norwich.

Now don't get me wrong - I love spending time with my wife, however Christmas shopping really takes it out of me. Am I completely alone or do other men have a similar tale to tell?

As far as buying Xmas presents for people who don't really need anything at all - It actually turned out OK , we managed to get everything that we needed to get.

I've often been told by my wife and kids I have a definite likeness to Scrooge at this time of year.
Bah Humbug !! What do they know!

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Im Back (almost)




















Well once again I'm back in the 'land of the living' after my recent cold. As you may recall from my last post I was not 'fighting fit' for the most of last week.

At the weekend I had to attend the UK Kuk Sool Championships in Birmingham and it was a case of 'fake-it-till-you-make it' for me.

After performing in the Masters' Exhibition I can not recall a time that I felt so exhausted afterwards- I was completely Knackered.

Now this is not a case of not being at the top of my game, just a sign for me to look after myself a little better throughout the winter months, especially with diet and rest. (I just work to hard - that's it!)

For anyone suffering with flu - you have my sympathy. Get well soon.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Man-Flu


After having several good days of feeling pretty good, yesterday I was hit by a heavy cold.

I was due to participate in a Kuk Sool Black Belt seminar, which I was really looking forward too, unfortunately due to the circumstances I was unable to attend.

When I awoke early on Sunday morning I had a thumping headache and high temperature. For the rest of the day I was just totally wiped-out and slept through most of it on the couch.

Today (Monday) I'm coughing and sneezing all over the place and my family will confirm that when I get a cold - stand clear as I've been known to sneeze at least eight-ten times in a row, enough to blow your socks off.

The good news is that the worst is generally over within a twenty-four hour period. So I'm now starting to feel a little better, hence me finding the energy and desire in writing this post.

Having the flu thankfully only happens to me once or twice a year, but of course like most men - you have to make the most of it and string it out as long as you can.

AHHH - CHOOOO!

Friday, 21 November 2008

Rachey's Home


How are you feeling today?

For myself it's one of those neutral days I neither feel good nor bad, excited or depressed. I suppose you could say, I'm feeling rather balanced and I recognise that's a nice place to be.

I know that I'm feeling good because there is nothing at present that I desire. I don't want a holiday, a new car or house. I'm just grateful for what I already have.

Possibly one of the reasons for this, is that my daughter Rachel is once again living at home. It's wonderful to once again have a complete family all under one roof.

One of the best feelings in the World!

Family Harmony.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Shiatsu Treatment


This morning (Sunday) I've been performing a Shiatsu treatment on a very close friend, who is in need of some re-vitalisation.

I might not have mentioned it before in my blog that apart from being a martial arts teacher, I am also a registered Shiatsu practitioner.

I started learning this traditional hands-on Japanese therapy nearly twenty years ago, however I only wanted to study the theory side of things to basically enhance my martial arts knowledge.

Initially I didn't physically want to 'touch' or 'treat[' anyone, however after a short period of time I realised that it would be difficult to grasp the fundamentals without actually touching people.

I also recognised that Shiatsu could help a wide range of conditions, from specific injuries to more general symptoms of poor health. It can also create a deep relaxing experience that can help and prevent the build-up of stress in our daily lives

After graduating from the Shiatsu College in 1995, I then further completed my Shiatsu Society exams to gain registered practitioner status. (MRSS) I opened my own clinic in the small town where I live and started to treat people.

Over a period of about four years I literally treated hundreds of people with a wide variety of ailments including, back pain, headaches, joint pain, and depression, to mention just a few.

I gained some very positive results and my sessions became popular, so much so that even the local GP's were referring patients to me. I couldn't even walk through my own high Street street without people stopping to ask me If I could fit them in for an appointment.

My workload increased to such a degree that I was working all day treating lots of people and then working every evening teaching martial art classes - eventually - you guessed it - I burnt myself out and became quite ill myself. (what a great lesson that was for me.)

With this in mind I made an incredibly tough decision to stop treating people and decided to shut down my Shiatsu clinic. Although disappointed, many of my regular clients soon found other therapists in the area to go to.

These days, I am still able to treat the odd one or two people and have maintained my registered practitioner status.

At present I currently treat only immediate family members and friends, but I still have a couple of clients from those early (clinic) days that I still see.


Shiatsu is a very effective therapy and as I've already mentioned it helps a wide range of disorders.

If you would like to find out more about Shiatsu - then look up the following website it will tell you everything that you need know and more.

http://www.shiatsusociety.org/

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Autumn Trees


Although I mentioned in one of my most recent blogs how much I dislike the relatively cold and damp days here in Britain, especially this time of year. I have to admit when you look at the trees and the changing colour of the foliage, I have to say it really is most spectacular.

I live in a small village in Suffolk (UK) and we are lucky enough to be absolutely surrounded by a variety of different trees. For the majority of the year they go mostly unnoticed, however at the present time you can't help but be aware of the splendor of all the different colours.

So if for some reason you just haven't noticed the beautiful colours - just spend a moment looking out of your window at the amazing wonders of nature - you will be truly inspired.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

GOD BLESS AMERICA


Having returned back from the USA myself only a few weeks ago, while visting I happened to pick up on many peoples desire for change in their country.

Last night Barack Obama made history by being voted as the first black president of the United States of America.

For many of the people this monumental achievement not only represents a change in the level of thinking throughout the USA, but also for many the end of an era after the 'Bush' years.

After watching the BBC news this morning I feel that there is a real sense of optimism, not just in America but also world-wide.

Lets just hope that the new president and his party can bring about some positive change not only to the USA but also to many of the worlds other problems, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It's such a big responsibility for one person, however after listening to Obama's winning speech he said, 'all things are possible' so he certainly sounds like he's the man for the job.

God bless America (and everyone else for that matter)

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Good Days and Bad Days


We all have good days and bad days, in fact that's what makes life interesting. However I must admit that just recently I've had a few dismal days in a row and I know that I shouldn't use the weather as an excuse, but yesterday was an awfully grey and miserable day here in Suffolk.

I'm not sure if I'm affected by the SAD (seasonal affective disorder) syndrome, but I certainly respond better to a warm sunny climate. When it's cold, damp and dreary all I just want to do is hibernate.

To combat this I generally try to exercise and motivate myself, but it takes all of my self-discipline to do so. Of course I'm usually the one who motivates others when they're feeling down, but I ask myself - who motivates the motivator?

Well I have to say the thing that gets me through these difficult days is 'focusing on' those little things that makes life worth living.

For example; looking for a ray of sun through darkened clouds, observing the golden autumn leaves glistening on the trees, the smile and warmth of a loved one, hearing a favourite song on the radio. listening to children laugh, and of course finding peace and solitude in reading a good book and relaxing.

What makes you glad to be alive?

Thinking about the above question, I suppose the overall quality of our lives really depends on what we truly focus upon.

Today I'm going to look for everything good that comes into my life and
see if thinking 'postive' really does create postive results.

Oh - just to let you know while writing this post the sun has decided to shine.

Hallelujar!!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Halloween - Love it or Loathe it?


Last night (31st Oct) we had another exciting night at our martial art school with our Halloween fun night. The kids were very hyped-up and excited. I believe that I only added to the problem by providing plenty of yucky, sticky sweets as prizes.

Although in Britain Halloween has become more popular in recent years, there are those who find Halloween literally a very scary experience, especially for the older folk living on there own, like my mum. She locks her door and doesn't answer it for anyone after nightfall on this particular evening.

I have been a visitor to the USA on several occasion when Halloween has been celebrated and I have to say the Americans really do know how to have good old fashioned fun and it's a family affair.

I've never ever seen any eggs or flour being thrown or any kind of mistreatment or abusive behaviour. I'm surprised to see adults who take the event as seriously as the kids, but it's all very good humoured and entertaining.

I recall a few years back finding myself in the centre of a British city and it looked like a war zone, everything around had been pelted by eggs including cars and peoples houses and there were gangs of youths wandering the streets obviously looking for trouble.

So if you also had a Halloween party last night or went trick or treating - I hope you had fun.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

FILM WEEK

For the most part of last week I have been involved in having a documentary made about our martial art school in Halesworth. This was done by a group of second year University Students who are based at Farnham in Surrey.

The group of six (Andrew - Producer, Joel - Director, Joel - cameraman, Sam - sound, Rachel and Dan- editors) where very interested in using Kuk Sool as there current film project.

The Producer, Andrew initially contacted me by email and asked if they could feature our martial art school as a subject for there filming.

Of course those people that know me will understand how shy I can be in front of camera - so much so that I IMMEDIATELY JUMPED AT THE IDEA. It was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate the positive attributes of Kuk Sool Won.

I have to say a big thank you to the film crew - who where very respectful, professional, and great fun to have around.

As a group of late-teenagers working together they all got on with each other so well. I can't believe that they didn't have one single disagreement while filming. Maybe they saved that for the late night meetings afterwards.

The first half of the film is now complete and the second part will be made at the Kuk Sool UK Championships and Masters' Exhibition to be held in Birmingham on 29th November

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Jason's 20th Birthday



Today it's my son's birthday and I have to say that it really seems like yesterday since Jason was born. (Where has the time gone, - I expect all parents say that though.)

This morning we've been to Norwich as he wanted to buy a new guitar with some birthday money. This has been somewhat a tradition, something that we've done together on his 16th and 18th birthday and of course today as well.

So when it comes to buying a guitar, he's the expert and I haven't got a clue - it's almost a foreign language to me. However for all you guitar freaks out there who understand about guitars etc. - what I do know is that he's purchased a Taylor acoustic worth about £450.00 and I have to add it makes a pretty good sound as well.

Happy 20th Birthday Jason

Monday, 20 October 2008

PICTURES FROM HOUSTON - CONTINUED


This time while visiting Kuk Sool HQ in Houston I just couldn't seem to get a photo taken with the Grandmaster - except for the one that I've included.

This large full-scale picture is displayed at HQ Dojang - So I took the liberty.

Hope you like it as much as I do.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Saturday, 18 October 2008

6th Degree Black Belt


















As you may have gathered from the picture in my last post - I have recently been promoted to 6th degree black belt in the Traditional Korean Martial Art of Kuk Sool Won.

Although I was ready to perform one final test at Kuk Sool HQ in Tomball Texas, I was informed that it was not necessary to test any further as I'd already passed all the requirements for my particular level.

The picture that I've included in this particular post shows myself and three other UK Kuk Sool Masters; from left ~ right Master Steve Whiting, Master Steven Isaacson, Master John Watson, and myself, all promoted to 6th Dahn.

Together over many years of practice we have progressed through the Kuk Sool ranks and I have to say that although we're all approaching the grand old age of fifty, for a bunch of oldies we can still pack a pretty good punch between us.

So look out for the 'Four Horseman' of Kuk Sool on the official DVD of the WKSA 2008 anniversary Masters' Exhibition

Friday, 17 October 2008

EXHILARATING TRIP


Just to let everyone know - The Ducker family are now back in the UK after an exhilarating trip to Houston Texas, I'll tell you more about it in future posts.

Also look out for some interesting photo's as well.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Houston Texas


Well it's exactly five days before we fly off to sunny Houston for the World Kuk Sool Championships and 50th anniversary event.

If you've never been to Houston then I would like to enlighten you with some interesting facts about the place as i've vistited the city about seven or eight times.

  • Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States
  • The Houston area covers approx 8,778 sq miles about the same size as Israel
  • More than ninety languages are spoken throughout the Houston area
  • Houston has the largest (Texas) medical centre in the world
  • It has the second lowest cost of living among major American cities
  • Houston is considered by many as the 'energy' capital of the world
  • Houston is one of the world's most air-conditioned cities
  • When you look at a map Houston shares the same east-west line as Cairo, Kuwait City,Delhi (it's hot)
  • The Astrodome in Houston has been nicknamed as 'the eight wonder of the world'.
  • The Houston climate is classified as sub-tropical
  • The coldest temperature to ever be recorded in Houston was -15c degrees in 1940

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Lovely Liz


I have a lovely friend called Liz that I would like to mention in my blog.

Liz is the mum of one of my martial art students and I met her approximately fifteen or more years ago when she first brought her son Kris to my classes.

To cut a long story short, Liz is a smashing person full of love and kindness for humanity.

Amongst other things she is also a fantastic healer and my family and myself have often received one of her fabulous healing sessions when we've been feeling a little off colour.

I recently received an email from Liz asking me to review her current website and I have to say that I was mightily impressed with it.

I therefore feel the urge to include it within my blog as a way of promoting the valuable work that Liz does.

Have a look and see what you think.

P.S. Liz's husband Graeme is just a superb guy too and we've spent many a summers night just walking and talking.

www.lizgilmour.info

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

It's Up To Me


I was recently looking through some files on the computer and came across the following piece of work that I had written myself several years ago when I was going through my 'Coaching' phase. I thought it was well worth including in this blog for anyone who might be interested in getting their life back on track.


Are you satisfied where you find yourself right now? Do you believe that you are capable of so much more? Are you happy living a life of mediocrity or are you searching for greater things? What can you do today, to get you where you really want to be tomorrow?

If these are some of the questions you are asking yourself right now then you're obviously dissatisfied with what you are achieving in your life at present. As human beings we are capable of so much more and there is no reason why you should not be able to fulfil all your dreams.

Many years ago I found myself in a very similar position, deep inside I knew that I was really capable of achieving so much more in my life. I was dissatisfied with the results I was getting. I had a burning desire to change, but at the time I was really unsure how to go about it.

All throughout my childhood I had been programmed for mediocrity. At school I can vividly recall my teachers telling me to ‘not step out of line’ or ‘ get any bright ideas’ and many times I was reprimanded for daydreaming out the window.

Today, it is often very difficult to swim against the tide of negative conditioning. Everyday we are faced with a constant wave of depressing news. The media is usually only concerned with the one person who gets knocked over by a car in the street and generally does not care about the nine hundred and ninety nine other successful crossings that goes by each day.

With this type of conditioning available to most of us it is therefore not uncommon to find many people stuck in a rut. Do not forget what the definition of a rut is…. It’s only a grave with the ends taken out.

So what can we do?

Well of course there many things that we can do over a period of time, but one thing than we can almost do immediately is to take responsibility for our own actions and not lay the blame for things elsewhere.

You see, I have this little saying which has helped me through some difficult times and I use it as an affirmation to get me off my butt.

'If its to be, than it's up to me.'

As far as the above piece of work is concerned - you may have noticed since I started writing this blog I have once again taken responsbility for my life and my actions.

I now firmly believe that I'm out of the rut and back on track and once again Fighting Fit.


Saturday, 20 September 2008

Back Home


Well I'm back home after my holiday in Spain and I have to say I'm feeling really refreshed.

I can't think of anything worse than boring you with all the details about my holiday exploits and of course showing you endless photos, which are of no particular interest to anyone except myself.

So I'll only give you a few brief details about my vacation including one family photo (above). I'm sure that you'll be pleased to know in keeping with my theme of becoming fighting fit at fifty it wasn't all sun, sea and sangria.

My daily morning routine consisted of rising about 7.30am and going outside and stretching for about 10 minutes. The warm climate does make so much difference when you're exercising, my flexibility increased by about twenty percent.

After stretching, I then practised all my Kuk Sool forms , improvising with some barbecue utensils and broom handles as make shift weapons.

I would then swim in the pool for approximately thirty - forty minutes, completing on average one hundred and fifty lengths (this might sound impressive, however the pool was only about 4 metres long.)

It was such a pleasure swimming in the mornings watching the sunrise and the pool temperature hovering around 80 degrees. Swimming is just a great way to keep in shape.

I worked-out for at least one hour everyday while on holiday and on some occasions longer. I have to say that it wasn't over strenuous exercise just enough to get a little-bit of a sweat on.

The main thing about my exercise regime - I was consistent and didn't miss a morning, but still had plenty of time for relaxation too. (Totally balanced)

Upon returning home after most vacations I've usually increased my overall weight by several pounds. This morning I weighed myself and was pleasantly surprised that I was 13stone 5lbs. - I actually lost 1 lb. Hooray!!

Well here I am again back in England on a chilly Saturday morning, preparing to go training once again. At least the sun is shining and I'm feeling re-vitalised and once again ready for action.

Now I'm looking forward to the Houston heat in three weeks time.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Happy Holidays
















Next week Alison and I are taking a well earned break and jetting off to Spain for two weeks.

Now I've already mentioned in previous blogs how much we both enjoy the English countryside, however a friend has offered us his Villa in Spain free of charge. An offer we just couldn't refuse.

So for a short while my blog will be on hold. As for my preparations for the World Championships in Houston, I will still continue to train.

I have my faithful training partner with me and I know that we shall both be practising in the warm sunny climate, which always makes us feel good anyway.

My daughter Rachel and her partner Rob will be joining us for the second week, so it will be Yoga each morning outside in the sun next to the pool.

I am also looking forward to continuing with my healthy eating routine and a greater opportunity to follow the Mediterranean diet.

One thing that I just wanted to add, is a very big thank you to all the Instructors who are helping to keep our martial art schools running smoothly in our absence, as always your support is greatly appreciated.

Jason my son will be staying at home and looking after the house (as such) - we're just praying that he will not be having any wild parties.

So bye-for-now and I'll report back in a couple of weeks. Once again thanks for keeping up with the blog.


Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Training Schedule

Sorry SBN Kris - but I love this old photo of us together - brings back fond memories


Getting back to my individual training preparations for the World Championship in October. I am currently allowing myself a minimum of one hour a day practice.

Now this might not sound much like hard training, but I am slowly building and preparing much like a person who is making preparations to run a Marathon.

During this one-hour I allow myself time to go through all my of my eighteen forms or Hyungs, (including weapons forms) which takes me approximately forty-five minutes and then self-defence technique revision to finish.

It is recommended by our Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh that when practicing Kuk Sool forms/hyungs, each one should be individually practiced in four directions.

For myself this will consists in me performing seventy-two forms in straight succession without stopping and will take around two hours to complete. Now thats a workout.

As I've mentioned, this is something I intend to gradually be building up to over the next few weeks and will have completed it several times before I leave for Houston in October.

Purpose Built Training Hall (Dojang)



I consider myself as being very lucky as I have my own purpose built martial art training hall (Dojang) to practice in.

A place that I can quietly train on my own without being disturbed, as well as running my classes from during the evenings.

The hall was initially built twenty years ago by a handful of willing students who at the time had nowhere to practice.

We had outgrown our existing facilities due to a sudden increase in membership and couldn't find anywhere else suitable to rent.

With a little help from our district council and some private sponsorship we erected our own timber framed building on a piece of land provided by a local organization.

Over the years it has been called, a hut, a shed, a boy scout hall, but to the people who regularly use it, including myself it's our Dojang and we love it.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Finished Decorating


After nearly two weeks of decorating, thankfully it's finally finished.

During this period I have been painting, plastering, wallpapering, and have also taken out and re-fitted a new fireplace.

I have to say it looks fabulous and am very pleased with the outcome.

Now it's up to Alison to provide the finishing touches and I can now concentrate fully on my training.

Yippee!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Kuk Sool Won - 50th Anniversary


With our flight tickets already booked, Alison and I will begin making our preparations to attend the 50th anniversary of Kuk Sool Won, held in Houston Texas, October 2008.

Over the weekend of the 11th & 12th October the World Kuk Sool Championships & Masters Exhibition will also be held, with competitors and practitioners attending from all around the globe.

As i've already mentioned this year is a special year as it also incorporates the 50th anniversary of Kuk Sool Won, which was individually founded by Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh back in 1958.

Begining this morning I officially started my training for this event. Although I'm not competing I will be expected to referee and participate in the Masters Exhibition as well as maybe performing a final test for my 6th degree Black belt.

Over the last few weeks I have started slowly to improve my overall fitness levels by cycling and running, now it's time to get down to serious business with the martial arts.

I recently heard someone say that Kuk Sool Won Black Belts wear flashy uniforms but don't really train that hard. - Interesting perception!

I have to admit, the 'Generals Uniforms' that we do wear for demo purposes do look fantastic don't they.

As for training - of course when I'm totally focused on a goal or a desired outcome, I become very obsessed with practising.

In-turn when my own energy level rises, that also naturally follows into my martial art schools as well. So watch out everyone KJN is returning back to his very best, (or worst.) depending on how you view things.

Follow my blog over the next few weeks and I will highlight some of my training routines and preparations for the World Championships.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Midlife Crisis


What's the definition of a midlife crisis?

Bye-the-way this is not a joke that I'm about to tell, but something I personally feel that I might be experiencing at this particular time in my life. - Let me explain further.

You see for that past two weeks, for no particular reason, I want to purchase myself a motorbike - not just any old motorbike I might add - it's got to be a big meaty Harley Davidson.

Having initially passed my motorbike test when I was seventeen, I had been a 'biker' for many years, owning a variety of different machines.

I eventually left the world of bikes after losing three very close friends in tragic accidents, which was something hard for me to take.

Although I have not had the urge to ride a bike for over nearly thirty years, I suddenly now have this desire to get out and ride again? I ask myself - am I having a midlife crisis?

I suppose the answer is a definite - Yes!
______________________________________________________________

Midlife crisis ~ what is it?


Some health experts still suggest that midlife crisis syndrome does not exist, thankfully there are many other doctors and psychologists that do recognise it is a genuine condition.

A midlife crisis can often be triggered by either physical or hormonal reasons, some of which I have listed below.

Redundancy or divorce

Children leaving home

Death of a close relative or friend

Decline in testosterone levels

Stress and other physical ailments


Symptoms of a midlife crisis include:

Discontented with life

Feeling bored with things

Confused about who you are

Confused about where your life is going

Feeling adventurous

Lack of self-esteem

Feelings of depression

Loss of power, purpose & passion

Lack of libido

Fatigue & lethargy

Irritability

Weight gain

Although I'm not experiencing all of the above symptoms there are specific ones I can relate too; such as loss of purpose, passion and general direction in life.

I recognise that many of the above symptoms can usually be brought on with age, with general decrease in testosterone levels. However there are also psychological factors that have also contributed to the way I'm currently feeling, such as the death of my father and my daughter leaving home.

As I gain more understanding about this particular condition I will regularly update this particular post, with suggestions and possible remedies etc.

If anyone has any suggestions - I'd like to hear them.

(P.S. I know some of my 'biker' friends will suggest - 'what the heck - just go for the bike anyway'.)


Sunday, 17 August 2008

Lead The Field



I've been thinking recently, what is it that separates the 'winners' from the losers, especially at this particular time when Olympic positions are being fought over?

For myself learning to become a 'winner' as such was something that I accidentally discovered around ten years ago. A philosophy I stumbled upon by pure accident, something that was to eventually shape and change my life forever.

Being involved in plenty of martial art competitions over the years, I often asked myself what could I do to separate my students and myself away from the rest of the group? I later discovered my answer to this question quite unexpectedly.

One day out-of-the-blue a strange looking package was delivered to my front door by the postman. I hadn't ordered anything in particular and still don't know to this day how this parcel had come my way.


Looking inside the package I discovered a set of six tapes in-cased within a folder, which were appropriately labelled 'Lead the Field'.

The author was a gentleman named Earl Nightingale. I later discovered that Earl had been described as 'the Dean of personal development' and part responsible for the Nightingale Conant corporation.
www.Nightingale.com

Following on from this, I had a 30 day free trial period to listen to these tapes. If I didn't like what I heard I was able to return them with no obligation to pay.

During this time I studied the material and before the thirty days was over I was hooked and decided to purchase the product immediately.

Today, this tape-set is considered as one of the all-time classic motivational programmes and basically outlines a specific set of commonsense principles that anyone can follow.

I eventually started to apply this material over a period of time, which in turn slowly began to change my whole outlook and direction in life.

Looking back, I believe that it was the single most important thing that I did, nothing more would have a greater influence on me than those tapes had done.


Suddenly winning started to become second nature, for both myself and my team. At the same time many positive opportunities began opening up in my life as well.

For many years now people have often asked me about the secret to my success? ( I think that's a great question to ask someone). At first I wasn't sure myself - it just seemed 'too good to be true'.

Eventually I came to realise that it was not luck or coincidence. I started to understand that if I followed certain outlined principles contained within the tapes I would ultimately gain the results - It was as simple as that.

To complete this particular post, you might be asking yourself - what has all this got to do with fighting-fit-at-fifty.

Well, you see, without sounding too-much of a know-it-all, I discovered some very basic truths, which I believe are common place for any level of success.

Whether it's just shedding a few pounds and wanting to feel good about yourself by the age of fifty, or becoming an Olympic Champion - the common principles are basically the same.

As Earl says on the tapes,
its all to do with attitude; develop a great attitude, expect great results, have an average attitude = average results, poor attitude, well of course poor results.

This probably all sounds a little too simple, but don't let the simplicity deceive you. Ask any top coach or instructor, If a student has a poor attitude, there's not much you can do to help them in the way of progress.

On the the other hand if an individual has an outstanding attitude - well who knows - watch them very closely - you never know, one day you might find them standing on the winners rostrum 'leading the field'.


Proud To Be British!


I have just been watching the Olympics on TV and feel very proud of the achievements of Team GB.

Great Britain are currently 3rd in the overall medals table, which is an absolutely fantastic achievement.

Today (Sunday 17th) our competitors won four gold medals, making it a total of 17 medals altogether over the weekend.

The gold medals came in the cycling, rowing, sailing and the swimming.

When I watch the British athletes receiving there individual medals and hearing the national anthem it makes me feel so proud to be British.

Congratulations also to all the GB competitors who didn't quite make the rostrum, you still did yourselves and your country proud.

Here's to London 2012 - Bring it on!!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Top Ten Amazing Things



















My own picture of the Empire State building taken from the Rockafella Centre, New York



Having thought about the things that I would like to do in the future (in my previous post.) It got me thinking about what I've already achieved in my life so far.

I have to admit and upon reflection
I've been pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things.

I just want to add, that I'm truly grateful for the opportunities that have come about in my life so far and I hope that there are many more to come.

So here they are my
'Top Ten Amazing Things' that I've achieved so far. (In no particular order of preference.)

1/ Enjoying an evening meal on a boat trip along the river Seine in Paris, celebrating my wife's birthday. (My most romantic gesture so far)

2/ Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at 1am in the morning. (it's big and it's long)

3/ Visiting the top of the Empire State Building in New York - (breathtaking views)

4/ Staying in the same hotel with the Manchester United football team. (An awesome experience meeting Sir Alex Ferguson)

5/ Performing a martial art demo for David Beckham and VIP guests at his home in Hertfordshire. (I had to pinch myself to see if it was real)

6/ Staying in a Buddhist Monastery located four miles up in the mountains in South Korea (peaceful & beautiful)

7/ Walking around the outside of the White House in Washington. (Lots of snipers hidden in trees)

8/ Crashing the Space Shuttle on a simulator in Houston Space Centre, Texas and meeting some real life Astronauts.

9/ Watching both my kids being born. (Nearly missed one due to the fact I was feeling rather faint.)

10/ Sharing a shuttle train ride with Sir Richard Branson at Heathrow Airport London. (He's my favourite man I'd most like to work for)

* One additional ~ marrying my wife Ali - 24 years ago. (She's gorgeous)

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Motivation & Goals



What motivates you? - What makes you get out of bed early in the morning, feeling totally inspired?

Well anyone who has ever been successful will tell you - it's usually about having a worthy goal or destination to aim toward.

Much has been written and talked about concerning motivation / goal setting and of course there have been many books and Cd's on the subject as well.

From a personal perspective I'm the most happiest when I've got something to aim for, when I've got something to get my teeth stuck into.

I know there is a certain philosophy that's suggest that people like myself are 'always striving - but never arriving', but you see - having a specific goal to aim for is what gets me out of bed early and keeps me up late at night, without ever feeling tired.

I have to be honest I'm inspired when writing this blog, as I can spend hours at the computer and not even notice the time fly-by. (By the way If you're still reading this particular post - thanks I appreciate it. )

You've probably realised if you're a regular visitor to my blog - my long term goal is to be fit and healthy by the time I reach fifty. (Hence the opening title.)

However in the meantime I want to share with you some of my goals I would like to achieve before I reach this particular milestone or maybe even afterwards.

I know some of my listed goals below might seem a seem a little ordinary and some a little strange, never-the-less - here they are.


1/ I desire to play somekind of musical instrument.

2/ I would like to write an interesting magazine article for a top notch magazine.

3/ I am capable of running 3 miles in under 30 minutes on my treadmill.

4/ I want to swim regularly as a valuable way of keeping fit.

5/ I would really like to learn how to play golf - properly. (I can hit the ball straight - however I have trouble getting it in the hole.)

6/ I'd love to be able to cook a variety of nutritious meals for my wife Ali and daughter Rachey(or anyone else who will dare eat them.)

7/ I am able to complete the art /drawing course I recently started.

8/ I desire to laugh a lot more (but not at myself - Although I've heard this can be very therapeutic.)

9/ To climb Ben Nevis or any large hill or mountain.

10/ To swim with Sharks (no - just kidding on this one - but it makes a change to dolphins)

11/ To visit Italy/Rome or any romantic place in Europe with my wife Ali.

12/ To learn how to ski or snowboard (unfortunately I hate the cold weather- but what the heck I'll do it anyway.)

13/ To watch a Premiership soccer match or visit the new Wembley stadium.
(My daughter went last Sunday to watch the Community Shield match and I was envious, being a life-long follower of Man Utd.)

14/ I wish to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle

15/ To play as an extra in a movie! (maybe Jackie Chan's stunt double?)

16/To learn how to speak a different language, maybe French or Spanish?

17/ I aim to live in a lovely property next to the sea.

18/ I would like to have my own dog to take for walks.

19/ I really would like to see a UFO or visit a crop circle (again)

20/ To become more environmentally aware.

Let me ask - what excites you? What is you would like to do?



Monday, 11 August 2008

Decorating The Living Room






















Well can you believe it, with all the extra energy that I have gained in the past few weeks through exercising and eating well - my wife Ali has got me decorating the living room. (Something that hasn't been done for the last ten years.)

So my daughter Rachel, telephones me lunchtime today and says, "haven't added much to your blog recently dad" - well the reason - I've been decorating.

But I have to say, I had forgotten how much hard work decorating can be as this was something I used to do as an occupation before teaching full-time in the martial arts.

Oh well, one more week and it will all be over and the living room will be looking fabulous and then it will be back to writing my blog and regular morning exercise.

Friday, 8 August 2008

PEAK FLOW CHART


Having had my health-check results returned last week I was interested to discover that my Peak Flow rate was exceptionally high indeed for my age, so much so that Dr. Paul wants to carry out some further advanced tests on me.

During my examination, I was asked to exhale quickly in to a tube-like device that is used to measure how well your lungs are functioning and is often used in cases like asthma.

As I've already mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my particular reading was 790, which if you look at the chart above you can see that my measurement is not even on the scale.

I believe that without a shadow of a doubt my extended lung capacity is specifically down to my martial art training and the special breathing exercises that I have done within Kuk Sool over the past thirty years.

So if anyone wants conclusive evidence - here it is.

Martial arts can seriously improve your health.

MSG INTOLERANT?










In my younger days I used to love eating Chinese food, unfortunately I have come to realise that most of this delicious tasting food contains an additive called MSG, which certainly does not agree with me.

In fact I have experienced some very bad reactions after eating out at Chinese restaurants, but with all fairness the problem doesn't just exist in these type of restaurants alone.

I've also discovered that eating in many high-class restaurants and hotels give me a similar reaction as well.

So what exactly is MSG or Monosodium Glutamate? Well basically as I have already mentioned it’s a food additive used as a flavouring enhancer (E621).

MSG is not only discovered in Chinese food but can also be found in a variety of processed foods including cheese, meat, soups, and sauces and is often used to improve texture and taste.

Experts claim that MSG is absolutely harmless to the majority of the population. Certain evidence suggests that consuming normal amounts of glutamate causes no-ill effects, however my own personal reaction say’s otherwise.

There are many reported symptoms of MSG intolerance, but here’s what happens to me every time I eat-out at a place that dishes it up.

The first thing that I notice, apart from the very distinctive taste, is that after about half-an-hour I become very thirsty and the inside of my mouth really starts to burn.

Next, I start to become very hyperactive (almost childlike) and my concentration starts to wander, which is often followed on by a very mild headache.

This is usually just the beginning and happens while I’m still in the restaurant. The next phase is at home.

My thirst increases to an even greater degree and my headache worsens. After drinking gallons of water and feeling rather tired I generally then go to bed.

I am usually able to get sleep quite easily but I always awake at around 4.00am. I call this my ‘monosodium time’ and I usually have to get out of bed and go do something.

To be honest - it’s not always a negative reaction, because during this time some of my best ideas and inspirational moments have come to me.


Maybe it’s because my brain is so stimulated? I have to admit I often feel like Einstein or Thomas Edison having a eureka moment.

Of course with every high there is also a low period too. After returning back to bed after one-or two hours, I awake the next day feeling like ----, similar to having a hangover.

I feel moody, miserable and depressed and almost unbearable to live with. (I suppose it’s the price you have to pay in becoming a temporary genius).

So that’s my experience when consuming MSG.

Please let me know if you are also affected in any similar way. I’ll be interested in hearing about your reactions.


Also check out the following website. It will scare you!

www.msgtruth.org


Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Green Tea


















I've just read on the MSN Health & Fitness website that drinking Green Tea is great way of not only boosting your metabolism but also providing you with antioxidants to help prevent cancer. It also contains other specific properties that help reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.

That's really good news because I'm currently sitting here writing this particular post with a cup of green tea sitting next to me.

In fact I'm addicted to the stuff, I even take my own tea bags with me when I go out visiting family and friends just in case I'm offered ordinary tea or coffee.

Several years ago I was drinking a lot of normal tea and was suffering with lots of headaches, the amount of caffeine was the problem. Instead of switching to de-caf tea I just decided to try out Green Tea instead and have kept with it ever since.

Yes there is caffeine contained within green tea but the amounts are significantly less than coffee or ordinary tea and I can drink approximately 8-10 cups a day without the hint of a headache.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Results Of Health Check


Well here they are - the results of my health check.

Height = 180cm (5ft 11ins)

Weight = 87.2 Kg (13stone 10lbs)

Waist = 98cm (35")

BMI = 26.9 (25 Norm)

Pulse Rate = 60 (normal 70- 80 bpm)

Blood pressure 118/80 (Normal for my age approx 140/90)

Peak Flow = 790 (Norm for my age approx 655)

Urine = No protein, glucose or blood

Cholesterol = Low

Iron = 103

So what does this basically tell me? - Well after looking at these results it seems, thankfully I'm healthier than I thought I was for my age, however I could do with losing a little weight, maybe about 7 - 8lbs to bring my BMI down a little.

So thats my goal for the near future.

Keep watching regular updates to see how I'm doing!

Eating Healthy

















When my daughter returns home with her partner Rob from West Sussex, we always like to prepare extra healthy meals together.

This weekend we went shopping at Marks & Spencer in Norwich to find some really healthy food options. We always believe that this store offers a great selection of choice and quality.

Generally my wife Ali and I eat very well and also very healthily, however because Rachel's culinary expertise from her food blog Duckeys Health Corner, goes beyond the norm she always adds that little bit more to the presentation and comes up with some very creative ideas, such as the skewed King Prawns below:



Rachel also proves that not all delicious desserts have to be unhealthy, this meringue is only 50 calories below and filled with some fresh M&S strawberries and low fat cream it compliments a perfect al fresco meal in the garden.

You can find her recipe for her special strawberry Mini Vanilla Meringues on her blog.



A special thanks to the two special girls in my life, Ali and Rachey, (seen above) for providing us with an excellent meal on Saturday evening, thankfully the rain cleared so that we could enjoy eating outside.