A year ago today, my brother, Tom Kechter, passed away – way too early – at the age of Fifty. It’s taken me most of the last year to wrap my head around his passing. Grieving. Assessing. Accepting, as best I can.
I miss him every day. For great parts of every day. For all of our lives we (at least) spoke nearly every day, usually later in the night when most everyone else had gone to bed. We’d talk about the day, about physics, comparative religion, comic books, the state of the world, magic (he was a close up magician), stand-up and filmed comedy (he was a stand up comic for most of his adult life), about writing (we both wrote and were published). We’d talk about family, about his daughter Molly, or my wife and daughter. Usually the talks – a lot of them lasting for hours – degenerated into peals of laughter – sometimes to the point of a giggle-fit, as one or the other of us said something that would spark the other.
Now, on the anniversary of his death, I am finally ready to say: “I miss you, Bub. More than you would probably believe. If there is life after death, I hope you’re in a good place, having fun, and at peace. I wish we could meet for tea, like we used to do, and talk about superhero movies and Bill Hicks… Really, about all of the things.”
Tom is survived by his mother Anna, his daughter Molly, me and my family, along with hundreds of friends, extended family, and anyone who saw him perform live for them.
RIP, Brother. I Love You.
Back in the saddle once again. This will be my fourth time writing/posting a blog. I originally started this blog/website back in 2005-2006. I built up a fairly reasonable readership of approx. 8-10,000 hits a month. Not a lot by some blog standards, but it was a good start for me.
My second attempt began when I moved from writing my own website html to going to TypePad as my platform, and my readership dropped.
My third attempt was moving from TypePad to WordPress and my readership dropped by another two thirds… And I hated it. I hated the blog, what it had become. The loss of contact. The loss of affiliate sales. And especially the content.
Hated it and was completely bored by it…
If I was so, I’m sure you were too…
So, for the last few months I’ve been retooling it – simplifying it, getting rid of unwieldy themes, lack-luster affiliate sales programs, turning it back into something that I’ll enjoy. Because, if there’s one thing I’ve learned building my reputation as a trainer, it is, if you don’t like what you’re doing, if you don’t know what, how, or why you’re doing it, no one will pay attention. No one will want to work with you.
If you know me personally, you know that one of the things that differentiates me from a most others, is that I’m a polymath-in-training. I am “into” a lot of different things and wear a lot of different hats. Art, writing, training, martial art, anthropology, physics, psychology, nutrition, endocrinology, comparative religion, mythology, meditation, yoga, pop culture, commodities trading, comics, etc… And back when I actually had a readership, this blog reflected that…
So, in the future, we’re going to move back in that direction. You’re going to see more artwork, more written content, more links to things that interest me (and hopefully you as well). Just… More.
It’s time to get back to the things I love.
And share them.
Pitcher’s on the mound, winding up…
Testing… Testing… Is this thing still on?
I hope so… It is time, once more, to play, and talk, and share…
I hope someone still remains to see…
We’ll all see I suppose…
Life and Family
This time of year, especially around the Thanksgiving holiday (as well as my birthday) are an especially reminiscent time for me. A time to take stock. To “see” if I am where I think I should be.
This past year (2013) – has been an odd year of ups and downs. On the upside, my relationship with my family is strong, and gets stronger and deeper every day. I have never had more fun, been loved as much, challenged as much and grown as much than since I have been a part of their lives. And greedy SOB that I am, I just want more.
On the downside, I lost a couple of dear friends during the summer. One to pancreatic cancer and one to a surprise heart attack. Along the way, we’ve also been nearly flooded out – during the historic floods in Colorado – our house only escaping damage by about 60ft. And my mother-in-law had a pretty serious health scare, as did my brother (still dealing with the after effects of a stroke he got a case of pneumonia that nearly killed him), and in a low-key way, so did I.
For myself, I had a physical done a couple of weeks after my birthday in July, and my blood work came back wonky. My thyroid was way off (hypothyrodic), my total cholesterol was high, as were my triglicerides, testosterone (low), Vitamin D-3 levels, and other hormones. I did a carotid exam which told me I had no identifiable plaque in my arteries (yay!) but due to inflammation my veinous age was 74yrs old! (Compare that to a series of training tests to measure things like my Vo2 Max, flexibility, strength, etc., which gave me a training age of 22! My body seems to be really confused!). I had gone gluten free due to an intolerance back in 2008 (I get pretty severe flu-like symptoms if I eat them – digestive distress, joint swelling and aches, fever, headaches, etc. – that will last for days after ingestion) and had been low-carbing it (ish) since the middle of 2012. I added some carbs (mainly rice – which I can eat without problem) and sugars back into my diet, took extra Vitamin-D3 and some ethyl esters fish oil for inflammation and in October redid my numbers which came back back within normal ranges. I will do a followup carotid test next February to see how all that (and my training) affect my veinous age.
I love working as a trainer, building relationships with clients, learning how to help them meet their goals, watching them move, trying to figure out the puzzle of their physicality – their strengths and those areas that need shoring and polishing. Figuring out what and how to motivate them towards movement and health. It hits something in me akin to volunteer service. And there is something sublime and powerful in those relationships.
The downside though, is it doesn’t really pay the bills very well… At least working within the big-box system like I currently am. The gym takes the lion’s share – which I don’t begrudge – they have to pay rent and equipment fees, and pay staff, etc. The job also can be very taxing, both physically as well as psychologically. For every five clients I have, that I enjoy working with, that follow directions to get to a healthier place in their lives, there are two or three that do the exact opposite. That can’t (or won’t) make changes to their lifestyles, their movement, their approach (which hasn’t worked well for them so far – or they wouldn’t need someone like me). And that can be frustrating and exhausting. That will be an area of my job that I address in the near future. I am going to start cutting those that can’t (or won’t) meet me half way in their quest for better health, movement and (hopefully) longevity.
Before I forget it, another upside (or is that flip-side?) of the job: for the first time, I got to teach a handful of seminars this year. Seminars on women’s self-defense, kettlebell play, unconventional training, mobility, and yoga. I am planning on doing more of these in the future, as I enjoyed them very much, made money, and learned a lot doing them!
I dig teaching classes. Outside of the seminars, I teach three bootcamps per week, three MMA classes per week, and yoga once per week. I have been teaching yoga at least once per week (I used to teach two classes and a bunch of privates. Now I teach one class and a bunch of privates 😉 ) for over three years now, and doing the bootcamps for almost four.
I met all the training goals that I set for myself earlier this year – by September. The last couple of months have been used for exploration, play and teaching (seminars, boot camps, yoga, MMA).
I have already set up three goals for the next year, starting with this cycle (which begins on Dec. 1st, and will take me into March of 2014).
A few weeks ago I was teaching a youth MMA class at Seraphim MMA, working with a 210lb 15yr old. I allowed him to get an Americana on me, taught him the set up, get position, and I tell him to go slow and finish it, so he can feel the submission. Instead of slow he slammed it on (not maliciously) and strained (maybe slightly tore) my biceps tendon in my shoulder. I’ve spent the last 6 weeks rehabbing it. My unloaded mobility is spot on – with no issues, but I have a significant disparity in my strength levels between my shoulders, as well as some pain in the anterior soft tissues of the left when under load. So, goal 1. is to completely rebuild my shoulder back to 100%. 2. To get a one-arm handstand (which means I have to work through ALL the progressions). And 3. to lose 4% BF for Mexico in March (15th).
I have two areas I want to focus on here in 2014. The first is to deepen my standup, clinch, and ground games along with weapon-based skills.
The second is to continue to deepen my Yoga/Flow/Balance Work Practice.
These last two areas are for fun/education and to support my Jiu-Jitsu/MMA habit – as well as in my continuing evolutionary quest for self-mastery – which can only aid and expand into all other aspects of my life.
Any competition done this year will only be with my trusted coaches and teammates during drilling, sparring, rolling and FoF.
For Personal Training: Now that I’ve got my feet wet doing some seminars, this coming year is going to be all about developing my own practice – setting up my own “shop,” working more seminars, teaching more classes. In doing the math I can make what I make at Gold’s just training two people a day… My goal is four (or five) clients per day – upping the ante…
-Secondarily: I would like to increase exposure to my macro-nutrition seminar. I did one a couple of years ago that was both fun and lucrative…
For commodities trading: be mindful of the trade – i.e. plan my work and then work the plan. I’ve spent a good portion of the last year paper trading commodities – trying to learn/relearn robust and as anti fragile trading strategies and tactics as I can find. My monetary goals are modest, as it has been several years since I’ve done any active trading and will be conservative (at least) at first. Getting “back in the water” while not losing my shirt 😉 is the only goal…
Continuing to read and write (for learning and expression), along with (more) consistent meditation.
More writing – My goal is 500 words per day (M-F). Along with that, I am going to devote time to visual arts (drawing, painting, digital art).
So, that being said… Onwards and upwards!