dal niente

Month: March, 2016

Sticking to the plan

So my weight has gone back up to about 78.4, which means I’m behind schedule on dropping weight– but, the good news is that with the past 3 weeks of being back to training at least twice a week, I’m putting muscle mass back on.


I should probably have explained why, as someone whose competition weight is sub-73kg to begin with, why I was even approaching 80kg?


Well, it all started in late December 2016. I was doing technical practice with one of the green belts. He was working on a technique called ucchi matta which is a staple of competitions– it’s not for everyone though, and is considered a more advanced technique because it needs a bit more coordination, flexibility and balance than your typical basic throws.

Anyway, it was the part of the class where you practice throws– the thrower, tori, practices the trow, while the throwee, uke, goes along with the throw. Going along with the throw doesn’t mean that you take a dive or jump or throw yourself– it means that you’re to simulate an opponent who isn’t trying to throw them. How much resistance to their trow you use is variable, depending on what you’re trying to work on.


Anyway, he tries uchi matta on me but about halfway through the throw (the whole thing only takes a second) he’s losing his balance and control of the throw– it’s also clear to me from the way his hands are position that he’s basically going to land on his own face. That wouldn’t be a problem in most situations, since the ground is padded– but with the weight of his body mostly driving forward and down, that means that his 70 or so kilos are going to come crashing into his head. With his hands the way they are, one around my collar behind my neck and the other far at his side, has no hands to block his fall with. WIth one leg high up kicking my leg out, and the other one losing balance, he has no ability to push forward and roll with it– he’s basically going to do a nose dive, which is actually pretty dangerous for your neck. He hasn’t quite cleared me with the throw either, so that means that in the tangle, depending on how he twists when he his the ground, he might also have my weight added to the drive. Again, not good for his neck.


Sigh. So,  with just the tips of my right foot’s toes still touching the ground, I twist myself to correct his throw a bit so that we still collapse, but the fall is delayed enough so that he can recover and protect himself a bit.

Unfortunately for me, his recovery is him pulling up a leg and dropping his full weight through his knee on my inner left thigh. Two days later, physiotherapist speculates that I have a grade 1 tear to my left groin.

Okay, so light training after that. That leads to me overcompensating a bit, and I in turn cause a strain of my left glutes. In turn, that eventually cascades, partly due to sitting at a desk job, into a pain in my sacro-lumbar muscles all the way to my right side. For whatever reason, I wasn’t even training, but my back got worse before it got better.

Long story short– part of the reason for my 5-6 kilo weight gain was that for the months of January, February, and the first half of March, I was away from training due to a moderate back injury. I take a bus to work on most mornings, and it’s about a 50 minute commute. After sitting on the bus for that length of time, it was actually paralysingly painful to stand up when it was my stop. The first step off the bus onto the sidewalk (buses are pretty high off the ground in Sydney) would sometimes send shotting pains up my back. I had trouble in the mornings getting out of bed, putting on pants and socks. I got used to using only my shoes with no laces, or which I could comfortably stuff my feet into with an extra-long Ikea shoe horn.




To top it off, for the end of December and the first half of January, [CM]’s parents were staying with us. This is a great thing, really– they literally do nothign but cook and clean for us. But it did also mean that, aside from not having any activity to burn calories, I was also eating a home cooked Chinese dinner every night, and I was eating about 50% more than I normally wood. You can do the caloric math even without specifics to understand why I simply got fat, fast.




Now however, it’s the time to trim it all off– I’m not going to compete any time soon (if at all) because my back still isn’t 100% back to normal. However, I have to start looking into getting fitted for a suit for my wedding– so I need to be getting back to a normal shape that I expect to maintain.

Checking in

OK, so we are making some progress.

Waist is still 37″, but weight has dropped to 76.7 kilos.

Checking in

Belly button horizontal meausrement, henceforth to “BBHM”, is now still 37. Weight is 78kgs.

Not much progress, as I have been known to fluctuate by almost a kilo in water in a day alone.

But my caloric intake has gone down. I haven’t increased exercise, but I have been off alcohol for a week.

Baby steps.


37″ horizontal around the belly button, and 78.4 kilos.

The goal is to reduce those numbers to 34″ and 75 kilos within the next three weeks.

Today is day zero. Send me your willpower.

Playing the pyjama game like an old man

About a month and a half ago, I sustained a minor groin injury from doing judo. That injury compounded into pulling something in my left butt, and eventually spread through the sacrum area and my lumbar. End result is that, about a month ago, I could barely sit in a car without an extreme amount of pain– I felt like, when I moved a certain way, I’d feel a paralytic pain that wouldn’t go away until I shifted my weight completely. It was debilitating, because it felt like my body had been cut in two.

After about a month of physio, I’ve got about 75% of my back’s normal abilities back. It still gets sore quite easily, and frankly getting out of bed, putting my socks on, tying my shoes and clipping my toenails is now a serious chore. But I’m getting better, and I’m glad for it.


I’m back at judo on light training now.

I’ll still go through most of the fitness elements, and I can now do most throws. Last weekend, I started doing light tachiwaza randori (stand-up sparring) for the first time, though I’ve been doing newaza (ground work) for some time now.

It’s interesting, because I naturally tend to favour throws that work well from a typical striker’s clinch range. This means that I’ll mostly do tie-ups and arm drags into things like hip throws. But I don’t like a lot of the ‘classical’ judo throws as much because I think they’re too fancy, or have a low percentage chance of working outside of a judo context.

Because of my back injury though, I’ve recently had to start working on low-power techniques– it has been interesting because this means using more sweeping and timing, rather than my usual method. My usual method tends to be to gripfight and work for superior position before attempting an attack– I don’t usually get things with just speed or timing alone.

It’s been eye-opening to try and fight with a different style. Always something more to learn.

355 days of men’s day

I was riding home in the car with [CM] and, on the radio, it was pointed out that day is “Women’s Day”. The radio announcer was basically in a bad mood because, really, it’s a pretty embarrassing thought that you need to have this one day to remind people to appreciate women, think about how far they’ve come, and then think about how much further they still have to go. Sure, okay, whatever. Baby steps, I guess. Making a big deal about it is what gets more people involved in the conversation to begin with, and it is one of those things that everyone has to go through the motions of before they can understand it.


I know it’s not exactly constructive to talk down on existing feminist discourse, but in the long run, I think a point needs to be made that feminism is hardly a united front. There are so many different ways to approaching it that it is, quite simply, difficult to even understand what women are aiming for.

Even to that, a lot of people will  suggest “equality” is the end-goal of femminism– but even that isn’t agreed upon. Why not aim for higher in certain respects? And is it even possible, given the fundamental biological differences?  Maybe the whole conversation is artificial?

Of course it is— it is all very artificial. Maybe necessarily so.


I don’t really have a solution to gender inequality.

I delivered a seminar on the effects of pay-secrecy on the gender payment gap in Australia a few weeks ago. Parliament is currently debating a bill which aims to make pay-secrecy provisions unenforceable. That is to say, the current position at law is thtat employers can (and do) often put in provisions into employment contracts where it is considered a breach of the contract to discuss your pay with anyone. The effect of this of course is to gag discussions. While the original idea might have been to give employers an edge in negotiations, or perhaps to pump of the prestige of various roles, the undiable effect of this tradition (especially in top level exec positions) is that the actual pay gap between men and women has been very difficult to quantify to date. All the numbers, such as the suggestion that Australian women on average earn 18% less than men, are based on incomplete staistics due to current pay-secrecy provisions. That is to say, for all the “progress” we’ve made in the past several years, we might just find out that the numbers are still worse than we even thought.

Keeping up with the Joneses

I work in downtown Sydney (Australia), right next to Martin Place. Internationally, the area has recently become famous because of the “Lindt Cafe Seige” of December 2014. Every other day though, this place is significant because it is one of the central business districts in Australia.

On a day to day basis, I get on a bus with schoolchildren heading towards primary and secondary school. It’s a long ride. Once we start getting to the outskirts of the city though, the student crowds start to thin out, and you would notice a gradual shift in the demographic of the bus riders.

By the time the bus stops at Martin Place, 9 out of 10 of the riders are wearing formal office wear. The 1 out of 10 who aren’t include myself, tourists, and the occasional tradesman (called “tradies” in Oz).

I do wear a suit at work when clients are scheduled, but normally, I’m in jeans. My office is, luckily, quite casual with dress code.

When you work in offices long enough, you start wondering why everyone goes through all the trouble.

It’s not infrequent for a man to dress well– and I’ll recognise that he’s wearing cufflinks and a tie that are more expensive than my $600 suit. Ditto for the women’s’ shoes.

I took a count– 23 out of 27 people who I checked at random were not smiling.

Dinner for one

[CM] is working late tonight, so it’s 7:45pm and I’m in Chinatown ordering fried noodles and a drink after an afternoon of judo.

The bowls here are not the cleanest I’ve seen, but even that reminds me of being in Montreal and sitting down for some chow after badminton.

It’s nice when life slows down a bit.