Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Greatest Passes On: What's My Name, Fool?

Mohammed Ali 1942-2016
Mohammed Ali

I looked at my phone this morning and here's the news: Mohammed Ali is dead.  

Mohammed Ali was and is the greatest. I'd say that he was one of the best-known individuals of the second half of the 20th Century up there with John Kennedy, FDR, Pele, the Beatles, Gandi, Mao, Thatcher, Castro, and so on.  I've been a fan of his for a long time watching the films and reading the books. Here's my martial arts bookshelf from a few years ago (it's moved forward since then) which featured two books about Ali: King of the World and What's my Name, Fool?.  

My Martial Arts Bookshelf, circa 2009
My Martial Arts Bookshelf, circa 2009
Today, I'm indulging and watching ESPN2 most of the day: it is running Ali fights and stories, all day.  

What a life and history! A kid in Louisville who discovers boxing, an Olympic Gold Medal champion who is the All American kid, the professional boxer who is original and fast and beautiful, the personality and promoter, the striving identity when he adopts the Mohammed Ali name and beliefs, the twists and turns of alliances with Malcolm X and others within the Black Muslim movement, the incredibly principled political statement made by going to jail for over 3 years for refusing to go fight in Viet Nam, the years of comebacks and wins against both age and incredible fighters, the incomprehensible ability to absorb pain and to keep fighting, the astounding fights around the world, and then the long sunset as a legend and icon as his body and control disappears.  

And of course, he was a human like the rest of us with eras, inconsistencies,  vanity, evolution, some cheating, and some luck.

He was the Greatest. And the young Billy Crystal wasn't too bad either. Here's Billy Crystal presenting Mohammed Ali in 15 rounds.

Life and history does not get more interesting than this. If Gods walk among us than he was surely one of them. Truth is stranger than fiction.  And good biographies are among the best entertainment and study.  

Amazing Photo, Amazing Man, Amazing Life

Billy Crystal's Eulogy for Mohammed Ali: George Forman's Talk on hearing of Ali's death:

Boxing Training Videos

Here's a collection of training videos, first ones of son David (age 17) who is starting to learn to box.  He's being trained by Ace (Ada Velez, a retired national boxing champion) over at Kimling Academy.

Then for contrast, there are some videos of me (his dad) of boxing training videos from 2012 or 2013 when I was working out at Lavallees (I was in my mid 50s at that point).  They aren't sparing, they're just working on some basics which I had on my phone so I thought I'd post them.

Below are some pretty low key training videos which just remind me what those days were like.  A few years later, I started playing around with boxing (since my hip had frozen up and I could no longer kick or do any of the karate stuff).  Heres a  look at what I look like in the ring in a very low key training session.

The next drill is that little trick of dropping the head to catch a shot on the forehead instead of the face.

Monday, March 14, 2016

My Stand Up Desk

Stand Up Desk
Stand Up Desk
Those who know me often ask about my back.

The answer is, my back is much better but it's an ongoing battle to manage and care for it.

One part of this is that I am careful not to sit for more than an hour at a time. If I'm working, I just stand-up and keep working with my nifty stand-up desk.

This year, my back is sore but no problems. Of course, it's only March.  I've skied and biked and swam a lot.  I'm hoping to go do tri sprints again this summer but this means that I need to start running again. I've run about a mile and a half three times this year and each one took a lot more than I expected and left me pretty sore for most of a week.

My last real back spasm was in Sept 2015 when, feeling pretty good in the morning, I did some squats but for some reason, I did it while holding my little dog over and in front of my head. This turns out to be really stressful on the back and it triggered a pretty bad spasm. That spasm was the day of the SOFL Edcamp which I managed to get thru by using the back brace and some drugs.

A bigger spasm was in March 2015 when Carmen was in Cuba. I triggered it by playing way too much tennis on a Sunday and then, when I tried to do situps  on Tuesday am,  my back when into a full spasm making it almost impossible to get off the floor or move. This one took about two weeks in the back brace before I could move again.

So that's the status, I'm writing this both to promote the standing desk and also, I'm trying to keep better records about my back status. So, to help me keep track, I'm listing the previous posts on this topic.

Previous posts related to ergonomics and desks and back problems:

By Back Strategy - Sept 2011

Training for training - Jan 2009

More Back Problems - Nov 2008

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Juggling by the Black Belts

To maintain muscle tone, relaxed quickness, and to calm the nerves, juggling has been show to be superior to both yoga and transcendental meditation!  Ok, I did make that up but I still believe it.

Here's me, coming out of retirement, and trying to revive the old "eat an apple while juggling routine."

For those of you who want to know what happened. it turns out that I had forgotten to swallow so I started to choke.  Once I realized what was happening, I remembered that I use to have ghis same problem back in the 70s when I use to perform this trick.  Here I am, 40 years older, and I'm still forgetting to chew and swallow.  Cracked me up! Practically make me choke to death.

Here's me son trying to do his first ever "apple-while-juggling".  I'm sure he'll master it soon.

And looking back, here's another juggling video of us from 2013