Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Prime Directive Made Me Do It

Don’t stop just because you hit me”, came the command.
Why not I think to myself.
It was hard enough to ever begin throwing punches at this strikingly beautiful woman, albeit an athlete and a trainer skilled in the pugilistic arts, which made it fairly easy to stop.
Deep in my heart was the paternal command, “never hit a lady because if you do I will destroy you”.
As a little kid I believed he could and would so I didn’t even hit my sister unless I knew my father wouldn’t be around long enough for her to forget.
That primary directive, instilled in childhood, has been a guiding principle of my existence.
So when I began boxing I threw tentative punches.
I was “ridiculed”.
The punches got harder until one day she said, “well, I believe you have overcome your primary directive”.
I was slamming punches into the mitts strategically placed to catch body blows and her head was rocking with each punch.
I reacted by decreasing the intensity of the punches and partially returning to the primary directive.
The medical side of me was also concerned about the blood vessels in her head.
Then recently because of low attendance she decided to have Boxing Night, not to be confused with Boxing Day, the English Holiday,so named because of the boxes of gifts given to one and other.
We received no gifts but were instead exhorted to do a series of punch combinations, over and over.
When a jab I threw slipped the mitt and caught her in the corner of the left eye, I suddenly had an acute attack of the Primary Directive and stopped mid-punch.
That is when she threw a punch at me saying, “don’t stop when you hit me, keep going”.
So in spite of the Prime Directive and the inbred chivalry demanded by my mother, I kept throwing the punches although much more controlled.
I really don’t have to worry about her as much as she needs to worry about me.
I don’t remember the punch sequences all that well and I am always worried about one going awry.
Well we did get through the evening, no blood was drawn, no injuries were encountered except for maybe that little six-year old that resides in the soul of every man.
He went home wondering when his Dad was going to come down and destroy him for breaking the Prime Directive.
He didn’t sleep so well that night.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What A Great Weekend

Ammo had a birthday and Sparta threw a party.
Tri-thlete, Ammo’s main buddy was there.
Cheshire was in attendance with M. He does look very Bond-esque.
Transformer showed accompanied by the Mighty T even though they have both been skipping out on training.
Aerobasis and Phoenix showed.
Elmo was there alone as spouse was off in the south doing good deeds for a person in need.
I and my better half were also invited: we did show late but better than never I hoped.
By the time we got there, enough lubrication had been passed around so the conversation was flowing easily.
The only scary part, after we were introduced to a table of great food just about everyone left the room.
That prompted me and my wife to begin sniffing ourselves to see if we really did smell that bad.
We had been out in the rain watching a high school football game and who knows; maybe we did smell like “wet dog”.
Soon enough the people gathered back around the table and in the living room and the conversation continued, more animated by the minute.
This somewhat reassured us it wasn’t an offending odor; maybe it was just the way we were eating, you know fingers and all.
I had been warned that Sparta had an early training session the next day and wanted an empty “Casa” by 11:00 PM.
I could easily see that was going to be a tough deadline to hit.
It was just too enjoyable and the camaraderie was intense.
Small knots of people were now occupying almost every room in the house; the conversations involved world issues, the course of democracy, friendships, exercise stories and many other themes.
I began working my way to the exit about 10:30 because I also had an early morning commitment and I was going home to an empty house just ready for sleeping.
As I said my goodbyes to Sparta, I figured her best hope:
The Margaritas run out before the new day begins.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Back In Training

Two weeks is a long time to be away from the routine.
It is tough getting back in stride.
It takes a long time (months and years) to develop some strength and endurance and unfortunately it is lost in a matter of days to weeks.
Starting over is like starting at ground zero.
The effect of stale air for thirteen hours and jet lag has been riding my back like a 300 pound gorilla.
I am slowly shedding the extra burden but last night the effects were still apparent.
I had trouble getting through the laps.
My punches weren’t crisp; as if they ever are all that crisp anyway.
I couldn’t remember a sequence even after being told three or four times.
The weights seem to have gotten heavier; stiff muscles fail to uncoil easily.
Travel is hard.
Eating differently is hard.
Sleeping in strange beds is hard.
“Maybe it is just age”, I say to myself.
I reject that as a bad excuse.
Returning to an ordered life with a “Spartan routine” is the answer.
Diet, exercise, adequate sleep along with periods of deep meditation are the keys to success at any age.
Travel makes it difficult but not impossible.
Discipline is the characteristic that remains weak.
So I am back in the gym, trying to re-learn the lessons of Boot Camp.
I am back in the gym trying to re-educate reluctant muscles.
I am trying to re-assert a severe discipline on my daily activities.
I am trying to keep control of a diet.
What is the purpose?
The purpose is to be at the top of your potential and to feel good.
And I definitely want to feel good because I have seen how good it feels.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's All Greek To Me

I have been gone far too long from Boot Camp and the daily rigors of the gym.
I have tried to find exercise equipment in Greece but it seems exercise equipment is in short supply, at least in the Hotels where I have been resting my head.
The saving grace, all of the monuments except for Olympia are built at the tops of the mountains.
I have been doing a lot of climbing.
To see the Acropolis, it is necessary to climb a mountain road in the middle of the city and then ascend hundreds of stairs.
This was also the case for the Ancient Monasteries of Meteora, Delphi, the Mycenae ruins, the ancient castle on Naxos and any other site you wanted to visit.
It seems acropolis means "top of the hill".
It would make sense building it up on the mountain as it provided commanding views of the waters and land.
One could see approaching armies or enemy combatants.
The only problem I saw, the peasants that grew the food lived down in the valleys.
So one day a priest or priestess of the temple needs milk, he/she asks his/her buddy, since they are going to the valley anyway, to bring back a goatskin of milk and maybe some figs.
Later when the person returns, he/she says, "did you get the eggs"?
"Eggs"? "What are you talking about, eggs"?
"I am not going back down there, you can go if you want eggs that bad"!
Running up and down the hill for supplies and sacrificial objects such as one hundred oxen could either wear you out or make you want to walk to the Hot Gate, ready for the next battle.
And boy, did they ever battle over here.
Maybe it was caused by someone always forgetting to get the eggs.