Expanding Horizons

In some ways it seems silly and pretentious to write all this out, but given the nature of what a personal blog is I’m going to try and get through it…

First off some direction through definition:

Expanding:
1. To increase the size, volume, quantity, or scope of; enlarge: expanded her store by adding a second room. See Synonyms at increase.
2. To express at length or in detail; enlarge on: expanded his remarks afterward.
3. To open (something) up or out; spread out: The bird expanded its wings and flew off.
4. Mathematics To write (a quantity) as a sum of terms in an extended form.

Horizon(s)

1. (Earth Sciences / Physical Geography) Also called visible horizon apparent horizon the apparent line that divides the earth and the sky
2. (Astronomy) Astronomy
a.  Also called sensible horizon the circular intersection with the celestial sphere of the plane tangential to the earth at the position of the observer
b.  Also called celestial horizon the great circle on the celestial sphere, the plane of which passes through the centre of the earth and is parallel to the sensible horizon
3. the range or limit of scope, interest, knowledge, etc.
4. (Earth Sciences / Geological Science) a thin layer of rock within a stratum that has a distinct composition, esp of fossils, by which the stratum may be dated
5. (Earth Sciences / Physical Geography) a layer in a soil profile having particular characteristics See A horizon, B horizon, C horizon
on the horizon likely or about to happen or appear

I put these definitions here to help lay out where I am going with this post in particular and this blog in the abstract. In particular, I am looking at incorporating definitions 1, 2 and 3 from the first, and 3 of the second.

When I first started this blog, in its original inception, way back in time (2001), I had envisioned a place where I shared the things that I had an interest in (writing, art, training, politics, cultural anthropology, comparative religions, etc.), or had a hand in (family “stuff,” writing, art, training, commodity training, etc.).

Over the years it has vacillated somewhere in-between these two poles, even splitting into two separate blogs for a while, one specifically about my training, the other encompassing all the other areas.

A couple of years ago I recombined them back together to streamline my web-presence.

For the last year this blog has been almost exclusively about training. Now, I love training, both for myself and my clients… But my life is bigger than this, and I am feeling “cramped” by the focus I’ve been plying to it. I love helping people meet their physical goals (as well as my own) and am going to continue to perform in those arenas. But it is time to take a much wider focus and reopen the doors to those other fields of enquiry.

I have taken the last couple of months deciding what and where I want to go with this site – especially as I spend considerably more time on Facebook and Twitter micro-blogging than here.

For the for seeable future I am going to be putting posts up on everything from old (and new) artwork, my writing (including putting up new articles that I haven’t found venues for yet), articles and posts on current events, politics, news, etc., stories I love about comparative religion, cultural anthropology, commodity trading, and more…

Hopefully you’ll stay tuned for what I have planned… And maybe tell your friends. 😉

Ciao for now!

Goals for 2011

In keeping with past years, I was looking for a “pithy” catchall phrase, or sentence, to capture the spirit of this year’s driving themes… So far, I haven’t found anything better than this, from last year:

“Love, prosperity, peace, light & laughter, in 2010 (now 2011) and beyond.”
From Twitter

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This last year (2010) was a rebuilding year – recovering and repairing our familial and financial foundations after the losses of the last couple of years (deaths and financial dumb-fuckery). And as a family we made some pretty good strides in those directions…

Working as a trainer at Gold’s gym, while it has only barely made me a living wage, has allowed me to reenter the training game, which I love more than I probably should… 😉 Helping my clients meet their goals gives me a “warm fuzzy” like few things in the world… The next step is to transition this experience into one of financial viability…

There was still some extraneous stress that we could have done without (my younger brother’s stroke in January of 2010 for example), but we were – in my opinion – able to weather it better.
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As I do every year I went back and reviewed my goals for the previous year… And, with one modification (*read below), I met all of them… In most cases a month earlier than anticipated…

For 2011, it is going to be a refinement of the basics: family, health/training, financial security, personal development, creative development and fun.

To do this, the first thing is I am going to do is: plan my work and then work the plan… It worked so well last year that I am going to do it again… 🙂

Family

Refining the basics: spend as much quality time with my wonderful wife Kari and daughter Kyanne as possible. Be as involved with them in their lives as I can be.

This year will also see a little more travel than the past two or three years. We have a trip to Hawaii planned for Kari’s birthday, and in July we are going to Washington DC to see Colonel Daniel Thomas transition out of his base command post at Fort Meade. **I am also hoping to get to at least one or two training (MA/fitness) seminars this year.

**This last bit is not something firmly planned as of yet…

Health/Training

Health

Not much to change in this area overall… I will keep up and improve (where needed) my nutrition/diet, get appropriate sleep, drink plenty of water, see my medical team when needed. Et cetera… In other words tighten up what needs to be tightened and continue on mindfully with the rest.

Training

I am going to keep on with two goals from the last couple of years: “feeling great and feeling infinite energy.”

I will accomplish this through continued training of the various energy systems, staying uninjured, as well as continuing to remove restrictive forces through the judicious use of training tools such as yoga…

Practice

I have two areas here I want to focus on in 2011. The first is to reintegrate my standup, clinch, ground and weapon-based skills as they took a bit of a back seat last year while I worked on my BJJ brown belt…

The second is to continue my Body 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.

Competition

Any competition done this year will only be with my trusted coaches and teammates during drilling, sparring, rolling and FoF.
Integration

All three areas will be as integrated as they can be… The theme for the year is: Spenser with a twist…

Financial Security

Last year Kari and I tried our hands at a handful of home based business… Like most projects initiated: 80% were a bust… So, this year I am going to simplify my business model by only working on three businesses. Two that have made money in the past and one with some incredible potential…

My Personal Training business
Commodity Trading
And Dark Alley Designs

I have developed a lot of (digital) art for Dark Alley Designs. But so far haven’t taken the time to implement them or the site. I am going to “pull the trigger” on that in 2011.

For commodities trading: be mindful of the trade – i.e. plan my work and then work the plan. As well as remain mindful of the trades I make (keeping stops tight, doing the numbers, et cetera…). My financial goal last year was to bring in at least $10,000 during the year. *I only made $4000, which didn’t meet the goal but was WAY beyond what I’d done during 2008-2009… So, in my mind it was a MAJOR step in the right direction…

Personal Training: In 2010 I spent the year working on trying to be the best PT I could be while in the employ of Gold’s Gym. Meeting or exceeding my clientele’s goals… Getting my feet back on the floor…

This year is going to be all about developing my own practice – setting up my own “shop” out of my home… 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 want to finalize and implement a “train the trainers” course. I have been doing a little of this in micro bursts at Gold’s Gym with good success…

-Tertiarily: I would like to increase exposure to my macro-nutrition seminar. I did one last year that was both fun and lucrative…
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In the short term (and maybe long term – we’ll see ;)) I will work at Gold’s – keeping a few clients, as well as my yoga class and “boot camp” groups…

Personal Development
Continuing to read and write (for learning and expression), along with (more) consistent meditation.

Creative Development
Back to basics: more writing – I am going to shoot for 500 words per day (M-F). Along with that, I am going to continue to devote time to visual arts (drawing, painting, digital art).

Fun
*See family time. Also I am going to add more outdoors activities (when the weather cooperates)… The last thing I would add here is: like the definition of porn: “I’ll know it when I see it.”

Notes:
A reminder to myself (and others): I am the ultimate authority over my life, no one else. I take responsibility for it!
So, that being said… Onwards and upwards!

A New Wind…

Starting tomorrow: Getting back to writing… Three projects calling me, and I’ve been preoccupied with other things… Also a new 8-week training cycle begins… I can’t wait!

Pathways and Mentors Part 1

Busy, busy, busy… There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. My “nefarious” plan to update this blog once a week has fallen by the wayside due to an increase in training clientele, teaching a women’s self-protection class, prepping for teaching my first nutrition seminar, prepping study material for my first (training) intern, my daughter graduating high school (at 16!), normal life stuff: family time, yard work, training time (cause no one wants to work with a fat trainer), what little writing time I’ve squeaked from around the edges, et cetera…

I had plans to write up a review of the new Prasara Primer 2.0, Matt “Wiggy” Wiggins’ new program, add affiliate links to Mike Mahler’s products (I WILL get to these eventually), as well as the normal meanderings on life, training and writing.

Sigh…

Oh well; all I can do is what I can do. Can’t go back in the past and change it. All I can do is move forward… Shark like: sink or swim…

My daughter’s graduation has brought up a whole slew of stuff about paths taken and those that have or will help in my development.

When I was in college a lifetime ago, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. As a kid I only had wanted to be two things: a superhero and a writer. After I started boxing (at 10 years old) I wanted to “do” sports — especially combat sports. So I followed that path, boxing, studying Okinawan Karate, Judo, Filipino Escrima, until my freshman year.

At that time my coaches were the biggest inspirations (along with my family — especially my grandfather Charles Witte): Salizar De Los Santos my boxing coach, Sensei David Webster, Sensei Jim Blaisey, Escrimidor Tommy Lopez…

It seemed fitting that I explore the underpinnings of the pathway, so I took up the study of physiology (with an emphasis on kinesiology). My problem was I also liked to do other things, things that took up A LOT of brain space. I love to paint, draw, sculpt, write, and other artsy things. So I also decided to major in drawing and painting as well as took select classes in journalism and creative writing. I spent 5 years at Colorado State University as a double major, getting very little sleep (especially since I was still training and competing in kickboxing and Judo at that point).

In my sophomore year I started working part time as a trainer at a now defunct gym in Fort Collins called Healthworks, this along with restaurant work was how I put my self through school. Nautilus was big then, as were aerobics classes and leotards (ugh).

A year later I trained with the first of the “big name” martial artists/coaches that was to have a lasting impact on my personal approach to training, and MA: Bill “Superfoot” Wallace. Now Bill Wallace is a bit of a goofball. He loves to joke and play pranks, and generally have as good a time as he can. He also has a very big brain. Something the humor and southern “ah-shucks-good-ole-boy” stuff hides. I spent a week (8 hours a day for 5 days) training and learning from him.

That seminar also opened up a door for me and in the next six years I saved my pennies and trained with bunches of gifted athletes, coaches and trainers. That same year I trained with Benny “the Jet” Urquidez, and got my ass handed to me by Bobby Chacon — learning a boatload in the process.

Next came: Larry Hartsell, Tim Tackett and Paul Vunak. A year later was Steven Hayes, and David Lin. In 1989 I trained with Salem Assli and Steven Hayes again.

I took a few years off the seminar circuit, not returning till 1993. That year I trained with Arjarn Chai Sirisute, and for a week with Rick Faye.

I kept up my love for Muay Thai for the next four years as my exclusive (seminar) pursuit. In 1997 I spent some time with Paul Vunak again and Rick Tucci. In ’98 it was all about BJJ. I spent my training allowance on Cesar Gracie, John and Carlos Machado. In 2000 I met Frank Shamrock for the first of three seminars/training sessions.

I learned a TON from Tony Blauer (who continues to be an inspiration).

Along the way I took up yoga and experimented with body building, Olympic lifting, BW training, Nautilus, and Cybex machines. I tried Super Slow lifting (this didn’t last long, as I thought it silly), HIT, and others…

In 2001 I started working with Scott Sonnon’s materials, though I wouldn’t meet him till 2003. I’ve trained with him three times now, as well as a slew of his coaches and instructors: Ryan Hurst (2x), Jarlo Ilano (3x), Jeanne Gostnell (3x), Brandon Jones, Ryan Murdock, Joe Wilson (2x), Adam Skogen, Joseph Schwartz (8hrs), Isaac Marcus (2x).

As an aside: some have asked me what I see in Scott’s stuff…

When I first started working with his material, the idea put forth was to understand the material so you could be a “coach” to yourself, freeing the “need” of a coaching/training staff. This has changed 180 degrees in the last few years — and for good reason, I think, as we all need feedback from those farther along the path than we are. But while that was going on — as CST came into being, if you were aware of it, (all) the training principles were introduced and refined — in print, or on the RMAX forum. And that’s what I was looking for. I don’t care (particularly) about tools: barbell, dumbbell, kettlebell, sandbag, bands, body weight — or whatever… I only care about how to use all those tools in the most efficient and efficacious manner to meet my training goals. And no one (in my experience) had that before Coach Sonnon. Each tool had its expert(s), all of which denigrated (to some extent) the other tools (and tool experts).

When I was coming up as a trainer NO ONE talked about structure or breathing beyond the most elementary cliches. No one talked about how to break a movement down into components to understand (as well as “perfect”) the movement. It was always euphemism: “try harder,” “move slower,” “concentrate.”

No one talked about compensations (and how that is different then stretching), et cetera…

Whatever…

Now before I go much farther let me say that while CST is the foundation of my personal training, I do not use it to train my clients. That would be disingenuous as I am not, nor have I been a CST instructor or coach. What do I use? A blend of things that I’ve learned over the last 27 years as a trainer.

Other influences (in no particular order): Dan Inosanto, Burton Richardson, Thomas Myers, Geoff Thompson, John Lewis. Joe Lewis, Kelly McKann, Jerry Wetzel, Rodney King, Steve Cotter, Steve Maxwell, Pavel Tsatsouline, Dan John, Mark Twight, Matt “Wiggy” Wiggins, J. C. Santana, Charles Poliquin, Michael Rutherford, Dave Camarillo, Dan Camarillo, Roy Harris, Roy Dean, Ray Floro, Tom Furman, Mike Mahler, Mike O’Donnell, Gant Grimes, J. C. Brown, Billy Hendricks, Nate Marquart, Amal Easton, Matt Jubera, Paul Chek, Matt Thornton, Kathryn Sagar Brenny, numerous yoga instructors and practitioners, Mell Siff, Charlie Francis, Jim Salisbury…

And especially Martin Rooney, Ross Enamait and Paul Sharp for their no-nonsense approaches to training, getting results and in Paul’s case also for the ISR-Matrix that is the bedrock of my personal defense.

There are probably a humpty-gazillion people that I am forgetting about… If I learned something from you and neglected your name, I am sorry… Ping me and I’l edit you in…

More to come…

Ciao for now.