The pistol landed with a thud,

its black cherrywood handle upsetting a glass of St Julian Red. Muzzle smoke curled lazily upward, the air of flint mixing with the right aromas of black cherries and spices as the split wine advanced towards the Captain’s veal. Outside, a train rumbled past.
Randoms. Doesn’t that just put you in the African savannah, about 100 years ago, right before a thunderstorm, with blood-red, orange, and purple skies at sundown? Maybe it’s just me.
Chris said in our first team meeting a few weeks back, that training while injured was letting the team down. In a related manner, I was reminded the other day that while my tendency was to push and push, and expect my body just to perform, just as important as what I need from my body is what my body needs from me. Which is to listen to it. I am a champion at hearing what my body has to say and pressing on regardless. But of course I know that it’s stupid and counter-productive, so, a renewed emphasis on not doing that.
Friday morning my right shoulder hurt for hours after doing max strict pullups, then we were doing muscle up progressions in the afternoon and my right elbow started hurting and I ignored it and went to go try a kipping muscle up or two anyway which was stupid because if it’s a challenging move for you and you’re tentative because you’re hurting … well what are you going to do but hurt yourself worse? Silly me. It’s not bad though, but bad enough that I needed to give my arms a couple of days rest. Felt very proud of myself for taking Saturday completely off. I’m convinced the root of all this evil is the external rotation issue that I’m not quite sure how to sort out. Better figure it out though, because it’s only getting worse.
In the meantime I’m taking every paleo anti-inflammatory known to man (well, fish oil, ginger and honey), and enjoying a lazy Saturday: sleeping in, going to the Biscuit Mill, acupuncture, chilling in a coffee shop, lying in bed reading, baking paleo almond-rooibos-honey shortbread. I had some amazing saffron snickerdoodle in Oakland last year, and I think rooibos in baking has a similar effect.
Although the acupuncture involved a lot of needles (41 to be exact, including 9 in my head!) it was one of those more chilled sessions. This was the first time I asked how deep the needles ago. Apparently 1.5 inches is the standard size, but sometimes he uses deeper ones. And now would be a good time to say that I’m sorry I asked … sometimes it’s best not to take the red pill. Ignorance is bliss.
Quite a funny time in Friday’s team workout. We had to do 100 team GHD situps (which are hard to explain, but suffice to say you use your legs to generate the force to snap your torso from backward extension up to touching your toes), then immediately after do sandbag shuttle sprints. I wound up doing 50 of these (the first 25 and the last 25). Speaking of a video game, when I got loaded with the sandbag I tried to start running but my legs wouldn’t co-operate. It was like stutter step running, and everyone was laughing at me (including me). But that’s what is so fun about working out in a group setting. And, again, good to know – if this ever comes up in a competition I know to loosen up my legs a bit before trying to run!
Friday after training I went to Long Street, which was significantly different than the last time I was there. All sorts of new bars, some of which look quite cool. I had dinner at Royale, then headed to my co-worker Anton’s place for a braai. I got there right in time to have second dinner (funniest quote: “You put out a lot, so you need to eat a lot!”). His place is nestled up right in the foothills of Table Mountain. Stunning. I can’t wait to check it out in the day time. It wound up being a bit of an emotional evening all things considered. We’ve been through a lot together. It dawned on me that it’s actually kind of the opposite of Jeeves, where I/we had easy success that even at the time I didn’t think we deserved. But it’s cool, and after all you can only connect the dots going backwards.
Working out of order here but Friday morning an excellent coffee & conversation at Hubspace, and then I spent most of the day working on updating the copy on the web site. Thursday was a cold & rainy day, almost like winter. I love all the seasons, even, and maybe in some ways especially winter. In winter you get to make springbok shank stew, cook oxtail, and relax around the fire with red wine (maybe in August), or tea in the meantime. You snuggle up in sweaters. There are lots of rainbows. The mountains are vivid. The sunny days are like gifts from the Gods. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and avos are local and in season. Calla lilies bloom in the wild.
I had acupuncture that morning and THAT was not a fun session. Later that evening I went back for qigong. This time was much better. It’s so not fun to be a beginner, and I really don’t understand how to hold my arms in these positions and yet be totally relaxed. But what can you expect after two sessions … you don’t exactly become a kung fu master overnight, and I have one of the positions almost down now. I’m glad I’m joining this community as more than just an acupuncture patient. Who knows where it may lead. But I think I’m really going to enjoy Thursdays: on that day there are boys playing with large knives. OK, playing is the wrong word.
I don’t really know that much about it but I know there are all sorts of different kinds of martial arts, and martial arts studios. Some of them, like muay thai boxing, are very testosterone-driven, and even use CrossFit-style circuit training for conditioning (well heck the police and armed forces use it … the sh*t works). But this is like the Western analogue of Eastern martial arts. Western medicine and Eastern medicine are different. Yoga, qigong, CrossFit: each trains the body and the mind, but the mix, the focus is different in each case. Yin and yang. Some of the hardest things I’ve had to do physically have been at yoga, and mentally at CrossFit, but usually it’s the reverse.
I actually already started to feel some of the power of chi in my second qigong session, similar to how I learned how to go ‘into the Zone’ during my first experience with kundalini yoga. Come to think of it, I’ve never used that technique at anything other than running because it kind of requires turning part of the brain ‘off’ which is not a good idea to do while, say, box jumping. But maybe I should try it on that blasted rower sometime. Anyhow. My point being: Dr Lan is a kung fu master who can do things physically that boggle the mind. His son Kim is an amazing physical specimen. There are many, many, many ways to skin a cat. I’m following a feeling here, and we’ll see where it takes me. In the meantime I get to watch boys play with knives.
So what of the short story that is our lives, or that Shakespeare quote about how all the world’s a stage and we are merely players?
Well, I’d say that just because it’s not a fairy tale doesn’t mean it can’t have a happy ending.
  • “It looks like they’re spray-painted on.” – one CrossFitter describing the abs of another … and he was correct
  • “Success stories that don’t end in success have only had Act 1 and Act 2.” – Petra
  • “I tend to be very blunt.” – Jeff
  • “I’m not as much fun when I don’t drink, am I?” “Nobody is!” – Ellie & Mandy
  • “I know you’re not going to kill me. But at the same time – YOU’RE A SCORPION!” – Anton
  • “Does anyone need another bottle of wine?” – Anton
  • “Yes it’s true. But I don’t accept that.” – Peter
  • “It’s like a horror movie. You’re talking and the blood is slowly dripping down.” – Kim 


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