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2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:45 am
by RickMatz
Every year, I throw out the Lenten Challenge to my martial arts buddies. It has nothing to do with Christianity or religion. We are simply using this time as a convenient reminder to rededicate ourselves to our training. It’s kind of hard to miss either Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras, the last day before Lent, which is also Paczki Day!) or Easter Sunday (Bunnies, candy, colored eggs; that stuff). Several of us have been doing this for years now.

The challenge is this: from Ash Wednesday (Feb 17) until Easter (April 4), train every day, without fail, no excuses; even if you have to move mountains. Simple enough said, a little harder to do.

It's not as easy as it sounds; things come up. Some days, you might only be able to get a few minutes of training in; but the point is to do it everyday, no matter what.

It doesn't have to be martial arts training either. Whatever it is that you need to really rededicate yourself to: studying, practicing an instrument, walking, watching what you eat; anything - do it every day, without fail.

In the past on some forums, people have posted what they’ve done everyday. I think everyone who’s done that has become tired of writing, and the others get tired of reading it. How about you just post if you’ve had some breakthrough, or you’ve had to overcome some unusual circumstance to continue your training? Maybe just check in every once in a while to let everyone know you’re keeping at it, or to encourage everyone else to keep at it.

If you fail, we won’t hate you. If you fall off of the wagon, climb back on board. Start anew.

For those of you who insist that you really do train everyday anyway, by all means continue and be supportive of the rest of us. For the rest of us who intend to train everyday, but sometimes come up short due to life’s propensity for unraveling even the best laid plans, here is an opportunity to put a stake in the ground and show your resolution.

As a gesture of solidarity with my Orthodox friends, I usually keep it up until the date Easter is marked on their calendar, but 2010 is one of the years where the two church calendars line up.

Won't you join me?

Best Regards


Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 5:55 am
by wiesiek
hi Rick
i`m with you
with small twist;
i train every day all year long
W. :)

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:15 am
by Bob
In the true spirit of the Lenten season the real challenge is to GIVE UP your training for the 6 week period. See whether you have it or it has you--

During the time you give up your training you can reflect on how critical of a role it plays in your life, at what expense does it come with regard to your personal relationships such as wife, children, family, friends, etc. etc..

You might get a chance to see how little impact, outside the world of marital arts, that one's training has in the world at large. You might get a chance to find balance, again.

But most important, IMHO, is you will come face to face with the fear that if one doesn't train, one will lose something and then one really has to reflect on what it is that they might lose--how much of it is ego, how much of it is fear, how much of it is a false identity--what does one submit to when one engages in training? Who does one submit to?

One teacher I knew of always told his students that if you lose day of training you lose a week of advancement--Advancement of what, was my question.

Instead of training one could spend an hour everyday reflecting and journeling or even a visual journal: ... elines.asp

Some may decide to leave the art but for others the 6 week fast from training may even intensify their training when they return.

Does the art have you or do you have the art? An old Jungian friend of mine once told me that the only real test is to be able to let go of it, to sacrifice it--even if one tries it for a day or a week and can't handle it, one can always return to it.

Another view is that one may become more appreciative one's good health and ability to train--imagine if you got into a car wreck and lost a leg or two--what then becomes of your training? What then becomes of your life?

Interesting time indeed for taking a challenge and ultimately one may discover an authentic answer to the question:

For what purpose does the training REALLY serve? LOL

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:43 am
by yeniseri
Just a take on Bob's point!
If you have been negligent in practice for the past month, use the cleansing of Lent to practice more.
If you usually practice and are consistant, then refrain from practice for Lent!

We can still ponder the real significance of what we gain or don't gain and go from there!

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 8:08 am
by mrtoes
I have been negligent at least since Christmas - Sounds like a good opportunity to start training properly again. Besides reaching deeper aspects of practise I'd better get my shizzle together otherwise I'm going to fall to pieces in grading next month :)



Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 9:47 am
by redmund2905
yeniseri wrote:Just a take on Bob's point!
If you have been negligent in practice for the past month, use the cleansing of Lent to practice more.
If you usually practice and are consistant, then refrain from practice for Lent!

We can still ponder the real significance of what we gain or don't gain and go from there!

A wise approach. I clearly (unfortunately) fall into Category 1, and will travel that path during the Lenten season. Thanks to you and Rick for the encouragement and advice.

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:30 pm
by Dr.Rob
Congrats Rick on your reminder.

I started early had surgery on the 10th December..decided it was time to put to it since I was rehabing...Morning and night everyday since. Mix it up. Qikung, forms, weights, spar, grapple and masterbate... oops sorry no no Sorry I meant weapons training. I respect your lent drive. Great idea. But I turn 40 this year and I plan to beat my brother. He did 25 handstand pushups on his 40th.

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:39 pm
by affa
Dr.Rob wrote:Morning and night everyday since. Mix it up...

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 2:33 am
by Waterway
Hi Rick

Thanks for the reminder! I came across the Lenten Challenge last year and it was well under way by the time I read about it. I didn't want to get caught out this year though!

Apart from giving some stuff up (sugary treats!) I am going to stretch for an hour every day. It'll mostly be yoga, coupled with some Qi Gong and maybe a small bit of pilates now and again. I can break it up in to two sessions (e.g. 2 x 30 minutes or 1 x 15 minutes & 1x 45 minutes) or do it in one session.

I'm allowed to do other exercise during the day, like weights/strengthening or running, but I must complete my stretching first.

I am aware of the issues surrounding dynamic stretching and doing other forms of exercise, so I am going to be sensible about it. My exercise for Lent is mostly going to be stretching. Going to be interesting!

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:25 pm
by Henry
ive been doing ba dua jin and long fist each day for 2 hours, my legs are killing me, im waking up with stiff legs everyday but i know i'll have stronger legs by the end of it.

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 4:53 pm
by Darth Rock&Roll
I urge you all to stop masturbating for the entire time as well.
It will really help you keep and build your energy up.

seriously, stop laughing, i'm serious.

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 6:46 pm
by RickMatz
Just a reminder, it starts tomorrow!

"Be soft in your practice. Think of the method as a fine silvery stream, not a raging waterfall. Follow the stream in its course. It will go its own way, meandering here, trickling there. It will find the grooves, the cracks, the crevices. Just follow it. Never let it out of your sight. It will take you."


Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:33 am
by Waterway
So over one week in...

I was doing ok apart from the weekend, when I got in to a bad mindset of "It's the weekend, I've got plenty of time, I'll do yoga/Qi Gong later on". I left it late and found it hard going. Lesson learnt though! I make it a priority now.

Physically I haven't made any great strides, but I find that changes sometimes tend to be subtle and occur over the long haul.

How are people gettting on?

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2010 7:50 am
by RickMatz
Don't let a minor setback set you back. Learn from it and climb back on board.

For myself, the renewed focus (which is purely a mental trick) is paving dividends. My standing practice as well as my form practice are markedly improving. It's the focus.

Re: 2010 Lenten Challenge

PostPosted: Fri Mar 19, 2010 6:40 pm
by RickMatz
How is the Lenten Challenge going for you?

For me, it's been very good. I've been practicing regularly, I've been focused, and I believe I'm making headway.

When practicing the form, it's easy to just "go through the motions." While this is better than nothing, it's not a lot better. You have to have your mind in the right place when you practice.

I am doing a deep dive on the Wu Style Taijiquan Square Form, and my goal is to consistently not make any mistakes in the sequence, all the while trying to apply internal discipline and exploring the potential for internal discipline within the form and myself. That ought to keep me busy for a while, huh?

My goad towards performing he TCC form with no errors in the sequence is coming along. It's a test of paying attention to what I'm doing. If I'm paying attention, I shouldn't make an error. If I'm just going through the motions, anything can happen.

Lately, I have been making just one error, one lapse of attention per round, and never in the same place twice. It is at the same time both encouraging and very frustrating.

In the past, I did nothing but the standing practice for several years. Before beginning the form, and after just ending it, I just stand. Sometimes I stand only briefly. Other times I stand for a good long while. Whatever fits at that time.

When I feel like I'm getting to a point where I'm putting "enough" time into my Taijiquan practice, I'd like to rejuvenate my standing practice, or zhan zhuang, the fundamental practice of Yiquan. Not because it would somehow improve my Taijiquan, but because I just like it. It'll be a good long while before I'm putting in "enough" time into Taijiquan.

Something else I'm about to put a lot more energy into after along break in my Japanese Language study. I haven't hardly spoken Japanese at all in nearly a year. I'm planning on my study a jump start with Rosetta Stone Japanese, then continue to my study by reading a few collections of Japanese short stories I have, as well as subscribing to the Hiragana Times, a Japanese/English magazine created just for this purpose.

I found a few nifty FREE tools to help me out on the internet. One is Excel@Japanese, which is a very clever Excel application that helps you to learn Kanji. It's a free download. Another is a plug in for Firefox, called Rikaichan. Once you install it, you can go to a web page, hover the cursor over a kanji, and get a translation.

I recently finished reading Effortless Action: Wu Wei as a Conceptual Metaphor and Spiritual Idea in Early China by Edward Slingerland. I had to put a lot of effort into the reading! It's an expansion of the author's doctoral thesis, and it was well worth that effort.

Well, that's enough for now. Back to work!