Friday, December 25, 2015

Swimming to stay in shape

I've been swimming as a way to stay in shape which is not that likely to lead to injuries. And being in South Florida, I can swim outside 12 months a year! I've even thought of putting a harness onto my home pool so I can train there (my home pool is too small to get much practice. So now I'm trying to improve my stroke. I had myself videoed, what do you think? I think that I should learn to kick properly:

Here's another video of my stroke from October. I was at my least in shape at that point. I look at this video often to give myself motivation.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

LA Fitness Billing Horror Stories

LA Fitness: #LAFitness @LAFitness #LAFitnessSucks  LA Fitness Billing Horror Stories.

 have been a member for 10 years and mostly, I put up with their nonsense. My son joined a few years ago so we have a family membership. One of my daughters joined in January of this year and the other for just the summer.   Both memberships were supposed to be temporary and to end in August.

We told the people when we signed up and they said that it was no problem. They wrote down the dates and it looked like we could have short-term memberships.  In August, just to check, they went into LA Fitness and made sure their memberships would end but stupidly, we did not insist in getting of this in writing.

In September, they billed us for all four again.  $121.69. I called and protested. They said it would be the last time. I let it go.

In October, they billed us for all four. Then I got angry. I called my credit card company and told them to stop accepting bills that were over $55 (two person membership).  I walked into two LA Fitnesses and tried to get them to stop billing us for four. One said that they couldn't do anything about it. I was there at 4:30 and they said that I had to be there between 9 and 5. But on that day, they guy wasn't there.  BTW, very hard for me to be there between 9 and 5.

At the next LA Fitness Club I stood and yelled so that until one of their guys sat me down, made the calls, and gave me some paperwork saying that I would no longer be billed the four person rate.

However, they kept billing me. I have now sent them letters, visited their facilities, and made many phone calls. They insist on billing $121 per month. What makes this amazing is that they billed the last month when we added one of the kids in May, they billed $221.22.  And we quit the extra kids in August. Yet they still keep billing me $121.

BTW, LAT Fitness has recently sent my name to bill collectors so all this is showing up on my credit report and I'm getting harassing phone calls from both LAFitness and bill collectors. Plus, when I go to their gym (which I still use since I'm happy to pay for the two of us), they always page me over their loud speakers and send their front desk lady over to tell me that bill is overdue.

The cancelled barcodes are f21781458 and f22069484.

LA Fitness. What I want:

No membership billing after August for more than two of us. Also, turn off your bill collectors. NO need to apologize.  That's all. That's fair. That's what I signed up for and arranged and have been speaking to your people about. I've logged about 3 hours of phone time, letter writing, and visits to your facilities to get this done.  It's amazing that you would keep fighting for the right to bill use more than that. Stupid mean petty company.

If I don't get it solved this next weeks. I'll start using social media on a uch larger scale. I might hire a pair of interns and give them a few hundred dollar budget to see how much of shitstorm of other angry customers they can find.  I'll figure out which government agency or lawyers might like to take this on.  It would amuse me to put an ad next to LA Fitness on Facebook and get everyone who goes to your page to see an ad for a website dedicated to "LA Fitness Billing Horror Stories" ....

Sunday, November 22, 2015

How to Revive the Ultimate Fighter.

I have long commented how boring the Ultimate Fighter program has become. I personally record them, fast forward through the show and only watch the fight at the end.

 I think the heart of the drama should be the technical, physical, and psychological challenges that a fighter must deal with and how the coach and fighter overcome them. Or doesn't.

I could care less about the antics in the house and I'm getting to care less and less about getting to know the fighters since most of them are nobodies going nowhere.

 My solution is make the show a lot more technical. I'd like to really get to see the analysis of a fighter's strengths and weaknesses and live through the drama of having to unlearn favorite patterns and learn to fight a new way. Fighters are often told that their approach, which has gotten them to a  certain point, needs to be largely changed to get to the next level.  Fighters need to either trust their coach and do it, or understand it, or negotiate it. Often, fighters have developed  a style which has served them well base don some personal profound psychological or physical issues. Can they unlearn them and change?

I thought  I'd mention this since I just read an article which addresses this question of how to improve the now incredibly dull and predictable Ultimate Fighter.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm I Fight Analysis

This is a great fight analysis of the Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm I by Coach Firas Zahabi.
It is so good, I'd like to see Firas go head to head with Joe Rogan. Until this video, I thought Joe Rogan  was the best fight announcer and analyst.  But Firas raised it to another level with his analysis of the fight.

NOTE & UPDATE - The great video has been taken down so I'm now posting a substitute video by Firas.  For those of you who aren't in the know about why videos get taken down, there is a global law that website owners can avoid getting sued if, when a copyright holder sends them a "take-down" notice, they take down the offending piece.  The website (ie Youtube) doesn't have to verify that there was an infringement or take sides, they just take it down. In this case, the video had about 8 still photos from the fight in which Firas diagramed how Holly kept her arms and hips in a position so that she did not fall prey to Rhonda's usual throws and arm-bars. It was great. Much like the best NFL football analysis where they diagram right on top of the actual play.  But apparently, the UFC decided to claim that those stills were copyrighted and issued a takedown notice to Youtube.  So Firas put up a substitute in which he has fighters assume the positions of Ronda and Holly. It's still insightful but not so cool.  UFC: Stop being such an over the top greedy business. Still shots should be OK even if video clips are not.

The UFC 193 fight of November 14th, 2015 Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm was an exceptional fight. 

Coach Firas Zahabi describes the key details of why and how  Holly Holms did not fall prey to the techniques that Ronda has typically used to destroy her opponents into the clinch.  He does not spend time on whether Ronda was arrogant or other psychobabble  crap about the fight.

It's a technical discussion, clearly presented, about how Holmes countered Ronda's power clinch which demonstrates the skill and preparation that Holmes must have shown going into this fight and her ability to execute during the fight. Basically, she lowered her center of gravity and adjusted her hip and other positions rapidly and consistently so that Ronda's go-to moves were neutralized.  Easy to plan to do, tough to actually be prepared enough to actually be able to execute on. But she did! 

Coach Firas Zahabi is at Tristar Gym.  

BTW, Holms trained at Greg Jacksons Martial Arts.  I think her game plan was perfect. Ronda's game plan seemed to be her usual. Overpower with striking, get in close, judo throw into arm bar and finish.  But, Ronda failed to outbox Holly with boxing and couldn't overpower so the plan simply failed. 

 It's amazing how one dimensional Ronda's fight plan appeared to be.  
Did she throw any round house kicks? No.   
Did she she do any front kicks or side kicks? No.
How about kick fakes, knees, or leg kicks? No. 
Did she try any level changes and two leg take downs? No.  
Did she use any new muy thai where she took her head and body off the center line? No.
What about stance changes from her usual right handed stance? Nope. She came as expected with left side forward.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

BB at 57 - Status Report

John Edelson
Me Skiing in Good Health
Jan 2015

Last summer, 2014, I had a strong healthy season.

 I ran a 5K in the spring and was working out with a boxfit aerobics class. I did three sprint Triathalons (2 tris in Key Biscayne, one tri in Boca on Independence day)in the summer (even made it onto the podium once), and tried spending a little time in a boxing ring (one of which got recorded).

So summer 2014 for me was a peak. It didn't last. In the fall, I traveled for 3 weeks which was cool. I went to Greece & Israel. Then I worked and traveled a lot to DC over the winter for family reasons. This adds up to a lot of time NOT spent staying in shape.  In January, I travelled some more but did get a week of skiing with my son (Steamboat Springs, C).

 By Feb 2015, I was clearly  out of shape and had put on almost ten pounds from the previous summer so when my wife took off for two weeks to Cuba, I thought it was a chance for me to focus on my fitness and eating and to really get back in shape. Instead, the first day she was gone, I overdid it by playing several sets of tennis (I hadn't played in a year) and triggered a nasty set of back spasms which left me barely able to shuffle around for ten days. Uhg.

At the start of March, I tried to establish a program back towards good health. This is almost exactly where I was two years ago when my back problems got really bad. That time, I spent six months slowly building before I could work out hard again.  So now, I'm back to do the boring back-building exercises a few times a week, visiting Nicole (Focus Studios)  two times a week to rebuild my intrinsics and improve general core fitness, and very judiciously adding new levels of intensity and new activities. Mostly, I road bike and swim.  I've tried running two times so far and both times, I concluded that it was premature.

My great fear is that I might be entering a new normal. In Feb 2013, I attended my last martial arts class since my hip made each kick into a potential back injury. My concern is that people are now suggesting that I might have to rethink running, jump rope, and even shadow boxing as too hard on my back, given its propensity to spasm.


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Jujitsu Wrist Locks - Joint Locks

At a fine New England liberal arts college, my daughter is learning...jujitsu.  The times they are a changing.

Here she is demonstrating her skills on my son with wrist lock number one and number two.

Jujitsu (Japanese) Wrist Lock #1

Here is the second wrist lock which seems to be a defense for a punch. More than a defense, it's a full submission joint lock move!

It's good to know that she can take care of herself. And me.