Archive for the ‘Challenges’ Category

Haikuesday 02.16.16

February 16, 2016 Leave a comment

BJJ was rough,

so I wanted to regroup.

Then Kata was good.


If nothing else.

February 9, 2012 4 comments

This morning, I went out for my morning run like I do five days out the week. I don’t go very far, only for 2.5 miles. When I get back home I do my little strengthening exercises and go on with my day. I partly do this for my conditioning for judo, but I also do it because I like to have that time to myself before my day really starts. Even though my heart rate goes up, it’s actually quite calming.

When I finished my run this morning, I was shocked. I looked at my stop watch and I realized that I was running  an 08:07 mile. For some of you, that might sound slow and unimpressive. For me though, it was sort of incredible. The first time I ever ran a mile when I was 16 years old, it took me more than 12 minutes. I know for years, I ran about a 10 minute mile. Over this past summer, I got a little faster and starting running on average a 09:30 mile. During the last few weeks, I’ve been going on morning runs with a school buddy and since we’re both slightly competitive, maybe unconsciously we’ve been trying to improve our mile time each week. I went out alone today. And like a lot of mornings after I’ve stayed up too late drinking coffee and trying to get work done, I had that split second when I woke up where I thought I was going to skip the run. I don’t know what makes me get up, but I do.

Today, when I looked at my stop watch and calculated that I was running an 08:07 minute, I was so glad I went out. That’s the fastest I’ve ever run. I remember struggling to get through those 10 minute miles for years. I never, ever thought that I could run an 8:07 mile. There on my stop watch was proof that I could.

And this is why I love my morning runs. A sports doctor told me when I was 19 years-old that I had too many structural flaws for running. In a lot of ways, I hate running. It’s not my favorite form of exercise. But I like the time I have to be outside with nothing but my breathing. I like the way I feel after I charge up a hill when it’s cold and dark out and my muscles are screaming at me. And I like the way I felt today when I looked at my stop watch. Maybe nothing else goes right for me today. Maybe I don’t get done half the things done that I wanted to do. But if nothing else, I know that today I ran faster than I ever have before.

Categories: Challenges, Life, passion Tags: ,

I admire you.

February 5, 2012 Leave a comment

Currently, I am in my last semester of social work school. With the end of this period in my academic and professional life approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about what kind of social worker I want to be. I know I want to be a leader in my field. But what does a leader look like?

When I think of the leaders I truly admire, they are not those with the most charisma and a bag full of slogans at hand. Rather, they are individuals who work quietly and thoughtfully, determining what is best for those they lead in the big picture sense. Real leaders take risks. They hold their ground when the existing power structures threaten their ideals and try to convince the rest of the world that their actions are wrong. Real leaders uphold standards and set precedents. They do not want praise or recognition; they simply want effective, positive change.

I also think leadership must be lonely. To assert yourself against a dominant belief, institution, or system means leaving behind the security that comes with aligning yourself with the majority. When you become the face of a cause or the voice for a group of people, you also become the primary target. Those who initially offer support may feel their courage waning as the opposition grow hostile. Subsequently, they walk away to protect themselves, leaving the leader once again to stand alone.

Right now, I am sitting in the graduate student lounge at my school, surrounded by a few of my classmates who are preparing to take the social work licensing exam. As I look at them and reflect on the beliefs they’ve voiced, the actions they’ve taken, and the work they will do in the future, I feel like I am looking at the quiet kind of leaders I’ve always respected. I am grateful to have these role models in my life and I am excited to see what we’ll do next.

Attitude = outcome.

January 17, 2012 Leave a comment

As I left judo practice last night, I thought to myself, “Practice was OK.” The more I thought about it, the more I began to think that I actually had a bad night. When I left training tonight, however, I thought, “Tonight was a really good night.” So what determines whether I have a good or bad practice? Well, I make that determination.

Last night I went to judo on auto pilot. I’ve gone to practice six billion times feeling tired or not in the judo mindset. At times, I’ve gone in with a combination of both. Within in minutes of stepping on the mat, I make myself snap out of it and all I have for the next two to three hours. At practice last night, I don’t think I pushed myself. I had a good first hour of class, and then when randori came around, I went back to auto pilot. My fighting spirit had checked out and I just let it go. When it came time for mat work, I knew I was sucking, but I didn’t rally so that I sucked less. By the time I got home, I was pretty disappointed in myself.

When I left work tonight to head to jiu jitsu and Kata, I was definitely on auto-pilot. Then I remembered how unsatisfied I was with the night before. Tuesday is rough for me since BJJ and Kata are so mentally taxing. But I reminded myself that Tuesday is my night to really challenge myself and learn. I found myself walking a strange line of feeling relaxed and excited to work hard. From an outsiders perspective, it might have looked like I did not have great BJJ or Kata practices. I didn’t pick anything up immediately and had to do extra reps of every technique just to get an inkling of the basic mechanics. Still, I left feeling satisfied with the night and looking forward to my next class. I know this is because I remained engaged.

Learning is not a passive action. I can’t expect to progress if I don’t offer more than the bare minimum. Although I might not have mastered any technique tonight, I have a lot of reflecting to do and some mechanical questions to work through. This is significantly more than last night, when I left just feeling blank and out of sorts. As I move forward with both my social work and grappling practices, I must remember that my work has to come with right attitude. Otherwise, I’ll get stuck on auto-pilot.

Haikuesday 01.10.11

January 10, 2012 4 comments

Bring me a challenge.

I know beyond the struggle

There lies something new.

Categories: Challenges, Life, poetry

Less reflecting, more living.

December 31, 2011 Leave a comment

Since I’ve been maintaining this blog for several months, I don’t feel compelled to write a grand reflection on my thoughts about 2011. All I know is that I’m ending the year with people I like a lot and I’m starting 2012 with judo and BJJ, also with people I like a lot.

Each year, we’ll find ourselves going through periods that seem impossible. I think that as long as we take risks, let the people we care about help us in the hard times, and always return the support, we’ll never walk away from a year’s end with regrets.

Smashing the challenge.

December 30, 2011 2 comments

I’ll be brief.

So a few weeks ago, I wrote this post debating how easy I should go on myself in terms of school considering I became very sick at the end of October and was pretty much the walking dead until mid-December. Of course, I never want to go easy on myself, but I was worried about my health. I do not believe that grades truly measure a student’s ability. However, I plan on pursuing other degrees in the future so I do need to maintain a certain GPA. Also, I am hyper-competitive (mostly with myself) so I can’t really control my compulsion to achieve.

Anyway, I got all my grades for the semester. I won’t be too braggy and say exactly how I did, but I will say that Shingles is not match for me.

Categories: Challenges, School