Tag Archive for discipline

A Sanchin a Day

Back in Hawai’i this summer, I woke up at the crack of dawn every morning to hit the beach and work out with the crew from my karate school. We’d spend about 45 minutes or so running kata and doing partner drills, then go back to the hotel, clean up, and regroup for breakfast. Despite the early rising, it felt great. I’d have plenty of energy for the day, and I felt a hell of a lot less guilty about some of the big meals we had.

Think I can capture that same discipline at home? Not so much. Being a late tinkerer and a not-so-early riser is one thing, but then I allowed a number of other things to derail my home workouts. No fun, especially with the scale telling me the three workouts a week in the dojo may not be enough.

Yesterday I found an article on developing a strong morning practice. It got me thinking about those days, about how much better I felt. I hate dragging ass going in to work, and that’s exactly how it’s been for several weeks now. The end of the article mentions starting simple, with maybe just five minutes of exercise at first. That would be a piece of cake, even with my current, slow-moving habit of moping in front of the computer, thinking about the work day ahead instead of trying to be productive with my own time.

The other day, I posted a note that said “A Sanchin a day keeps the doctor away.” I was mostly being facetious, but Sanchin really is not a bad workout. It looks like this (the Shuri-ryu interpretation I practice is very similar):

It’s a tension kata, which means all of the muscles are tensed through most of the movements. It’s like doing a long isometric exercise, and when executed properly, the performer really feels it in all of the muscles and is a bit winded upon completion.

It occurred to me that it can take a few minutes to complete the way we run it. A warmup, a set of pushups, and a Sanchin, then, could be a great way to clear the mind and wake up before I jump in the shower. Then I can build from there.

It would have the added benefit of improving my Sanchin. Of all the kata I know, I feel like Sanchin is my weakest; the stances are different, the posture is tough (for me) to maintain, and if I’m already winded I have a real tough time performing the breathing properly. That all needs to be fixed.

I’ll start tonight. It’s way too easy to say “I’ll start tomorrow” over and over again. Hell, I should already be in bed to get an early start, not fooling around on the laptop and watching Terriers. It may be a great show, but come on, it can wait until tomorrow on DVR.

Off I go.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Charge Up the Batteries

I should be writing right now.

Instead I’m talking to you people about motivation while I watch a UFC retrospective show, and I’m lamenting on how Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Prison Break are both on downhill slides due to chronic failures to address any form of reality.

Flawed product or not, at least those writers are working. Maybe the problem is as simple as I’m watching what they’re working on rather than working on something you could be reading, and their work is sapping my creative strength. Instead of creating, I’m re-writing all of the astounding bullshit occurring on-screen and wondering how I can go about getting a series pitch in front of a Fox exec’s eyeballs.

Oh, look, Anderson Silva just put a hurtin’ on Nate Marquardt.

Huh? Oh, yeah. Writing. Damn idiot box.

It used to be I could write in front of the television. In fact, I almost needed to, as the noise made a welcome distraction. An occasional glance at an action sequence or flash of titty while the gears were spinning and the fingers weren’t was almost helpful, not hurtful. Now? Now I get the same slack-jawed, hundred-yard stare the rugrats get when they’re watching Transformers.

Wow, the Philly-Dallas game is close! It’s getting hairy for my fantasy team, The Magnificent Bastards, too.

Damn. I did it again, didn’t I?

So let’s talk about motivation. They say there’s only one motivation that counts: the desire to write. That’s true to an extent, but let’s face it: desire without discipline doesn’t amount to much, and without moolah — or at least results — to justify the discipline, it’s just a hobby.

That’s right, I said justify.

They’re replaying Forrest Griffin vs Shogun Rua! Sweet!

Whoops. I’m back. What’d I say? Oh yeah, justify discipline.

I still enjoy writing. I really do. Yet it’s tough to justify the time spent away from my family, my chores, and my other hobbies when there’s no result from the writing. While a cliché like “a writer needs to write” sounds really cool, the fact of the matter is it’s a load of pretentious horse shit. The truth is a writer needs to be read. Sure, there are guys out there with trunk novels they wouldn’t submit if their lives depended on it, but they’re the exception. Those are the guys who are happy to just write. The rest of us want to entertain you. The rest of us want the results of said entertainment, be it as simple as money and fame or something more emotional like validation and exhibitionism.

“But Mike,” someone always says, “you’re published! You’ve got stuff out there!”

Yes, but how recent? Restore from Backup took a couple years to sell. Brimstone Turnpike was five years in the waiting. Five. Years. That top secret book deal I mentioned a while back? The publisher is having some difficulties, and more recently has gone incommunicado. That’s happened twice before, and while I’m willing to be patient for this project, history suggests I shouldn’t hold my breath.

No, it’s not all doom and gloom. A conference call last week went very well, and now I’ve got deadlines. My German publisher is also willing to look at more of my work. Justification or not, I best muster some discipline. Basking in their interest and contemplating potential money is nice, but it’s exactly green in hand, is it?

I read how Neal Stephenson’s typewriter forced him to write: if he didn’t keep the keys moving, the plastic ribbon melted, which meant no more writing. That gave me an idea. Well, two ideas, but switching to Vista and having to hurry up and write between crashes and reboots would quickly get annoying. So, one idea:

A taser.

A taser hooked up to my nads, to be exact. Every time my words-per-minute rate falls below a certain threshold, my baby makers get 10,000 volts. And there’d be a perimeter sensor on it, too. I walk too close to the TV?


That’s motivation!

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

Then Life Happened

On the River
Originally uploaded by MikeOliveri.

I had every intention of writing yesterday, but a better offer came along.

After karate class, some of my AOK classmates invited me to a boat trip on Peoria Lake along the Illinois River. How do you turn that down? Oh, right, discipline. Guess I should pay more attention to the self-discipline side of our lessons.

I rode Eve out to our launch point, the IVY Club in Peoria Heights. Though I’ve lived out here for over two years now, I’d never ridden along the river, on the motorcycle or otherwise. That was a pleasant little trip in itself, and given the weather it would have been tough to pick a better time to do it.

Setting out on the river itself was a great ride, too. It had been years since I’ve been on a boat, and the calm waters made for a relaxing ride. We had a few drinks, then docked along the Riverfront to grab some chow at Joe’s Crab Shack. I thought it was great that the city set it up for boaters to do that, and I’m told ten years or so ago it wouldn’t have been possible.

At Joe’s, I learned to eat crab. Sawing open the legs to find the meat reaffirmed my position that there’s something unholy about crawly sea creatures, but I have to admit, they do taste pretty goddamn good (especially with a mojito on the side).

Then it was back on the river where we waited for Blue Oyster Cult to take the stage at Riverfront Park during a big bike event that was going on. We may not have been able to see the band, but we could hear them easily. A comfortable seat on the river with a cooler by your side beats the hell out of fighting through a crowd and having to stand around on concrete and asphalt, too.

So let’s review the day: karate class, boat ride, crab, Blue Oyster Cult, and great company. My only regret is I had no cigars to bring along, something I promised my friends I’d rectify next time. Given all that, would you stay home and write?

I didn’t think so.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.