Posts Tagged ‘Martial arts’


The other day the fire alarm went off in work. So down the stairs we went. I sit on the top floor. Taking the elevator back up was pointless, too many people queueing. So up the 6 floors we went once they let us in again. A person next to me was complaining that she was too old for this. I was laughing and saying “Don’t be silly, how old are you anyway?” The answer I got was “34”. I was shocked! This person seriously believed she was “older” and that this was too much. I am 36 and while I am no fan off taking the stairs in work, I also do not think that I am “too old” for it. Just a tad lazy.

This is not the first time that I have heard something like that. I remember a former colleague once going on about “at our age we should not be doing this or that”. She was the same age as me.

Many would argue, maybe correctly so, that society today puts a disproportionate focus on being young (read: 20) and that being young and “beautiful” is all the success you need. I do however also suspect that many use this as an excuse the other way around. “Oh poor me, I am no longer 22 so I cannot do this or that, don’t you understand? At our age (read: 30isch) we have to be careful and keep in mind our bodies cannot take it any more”.

It is a load of bull in my opinion.

Yes, I cannot handle hang-overs as well as I once could. Yes, my back is stiffer now than it was 15 years ago if I just sit around. Yes, I do seem to “heal” a bit slower as well. On the other hand, I am hardly THAT old.

While I sit here on the sofa I do not ache. The minute I stand up I notice that my back is sore, my legs hurt, my neck feels heavy and my throat is scratchy and sore. This is pretty easy to explain. I trained at the club on Thursday and also today. As an added bonus I am getting a cold and therefore have a sore throat.

I also feel great.

I enjoy physical activity better now at 36 than I did 15 years ago. I do not feel that my age is an obstacle any more than I did then.

While age is an inevitable fact and time will take its toll on our bodies, I believe that the biggest danger is our own mental age. Not our physical age. Sometimes the age lurks more in the mind than in the body. How is the old saying  again…. “You are only as old as you feel”… Otherwise we would not have 60-year olds that are perceived as”youthful” or perhaps a 40-something that seems ready for the last rites. Figuratively speaking.

Today I feel like I am 36 years old. I feel great. If this is being old, then it can only get better.


It all starts with one.

One thought. One look. With one moment.

When looking back at my life and the decisions I have made throughout I can most times pin point it to one single event at the time. I most likely did not realize it there and then. Well, most times anyway. Sometimes it was a small seed that sprouted a thought that led to it. These were the times when I let my “gut-feeling” make the decision. That illusive intuition that we never can put our finger on.

It is a bit ironic as I can be very skeptical and I like to have facts and I want to know the how, why and when before I make a decision. Once I have made up my mind, I do not change it easily unless you can convince me with a good argument (yes I can be pig-headed). I can admit I am wrong… you just have to be convincing. Either way, the irony in this (before I lose my train of thought) is that when it comes to all the bigger changes in my life – I went on my gut-instinct. There was no hard facts and detailed plans or long decision processes. I just took a decision based one thought that grew and that somehow felt right.

The funny thing is, I have not regretted those decisions. Some where easy to take, some where not but I know that they were the right ones.

Sometimes I tend to think too much. Over-analyze things. I am trying to learn to be more open to just following my intuition. It is not easy though as we have all more or less been taught all our lives that logic prevails and that you should use hard facts and consider carefully before you go ahead.

I am getting better at it though. I believe that my Bujinkan training as something to do with it. Lately I have noticed that the more I try to think about doing a technique correctly the harder it is for me to do the Kata. If I try to just relax and go with the flow it just seems to work better. There is an element of focus as well obviously but maybe the shift is from a focus of doing a technique to a focus on your opponent and then the technique comes more easily. I have not figures this out entirely yet. It is a pretty hard shift for me to pin point to be honest.

Some days  I just feel that I can follow a technique naturally and then when I try to add an element to it and improve it then I focus too much on the separate elements of it and I loose any flow that I once had. It can be very frustrating. Then there are those days when I am just knackered from work and feel exhausted and my conscious mind is barely functioning but somehow the techniques flow better.

I guess that is one of the aspects of this art that I really enjoy. It triggers new ideas and new thought processes. It has made me more open to new ideas. It has made me realize that I really know very little about how I function and what I can do but at the same time I know much more than I ever did before. I know now that there is so much more to figure out and that is exciting. I have just about started to touch upon the basics of this art and I look forward to see where the flow takes me.

Oh… and when I decided to start with practicing Bujinkan? It was a split-decision based on nothing but a good feeling. I knew nothing of this art. I had never done any martial arts even though I knew of other types of arts. I just saw the ad and for some reason decided to have a look. Looking back, I actually think I decided to start even before I entered that first class to have a look. I have never regretted it.

Illustration depicting thought.

Image via Wikipedia

It is late. It is very late and I have to get up early tomorrow and be somewhat productive in work. Still… I am not ready for bed yet. I sit here listening to The Weepies and thinking about the training session at the dojo that I’m just back from.

Earlier today I was fine but I was tired and had a slight headache. The thought of working out was not very high on my “want-to-do-today” list. After a lot of back and forth of… I’ll leave it – Come on now, I have to go… I decided I will go after all as I did not go last week due to a nasty cold (because as we all know colds are a thing of evil).

So off I went – happy once the decision was made. It was the right decision. It was a really good training session. Great from a physical perspective were I could feel my body work out properly and get rid off all the hidden stress. I somehow didn’t want it to end. It was hot, sweaty, a bit painful (yes I will have new bruises again) but worth every push.

It was even greater from a mental perspective – somehow it answered some questions I had been mulling over. Questions and thoughts that before were jumbled now seemed to be clear. A sense of achievement and a belief in me re-established. I cannot explain how this happened and nor do I really care to try.

Sometimes it only hits you afterwards that THIS is what was needed. It was only two hours but I needed them. I was not aware of how much.

Right now… I am tired and I have a slight headache but I am going to bed happy.

I am just back from another great training session at the dojo. It was warm in there tonight. I am soaked and in dire need of a nice shower. Food first though and while I’ll rummaged through my fridge I realized that I’ve now been at the club for about 2 years.

It was in April 2009 that I started in the beginners class. I can’t believe it is two years already. It feels like it was yesterday that I turned up for my first class. I remember being nervous and excited at the same time. Nervous about what the others would be like and if I would make a complete fool out of myself. Excited because it seemed like fun and because I finally had the guts to try it out.

Today I still have those feelings when going to class. Maybe not as nervous as I was then but the nerves still play a part when we look at doing a technique that is somewhat new to me (which most ones still are). Mainly though I’m excited. I know I will leave feeling good. I know it will be exhausting, sometimes frustrating, bloody hard at times but always fun. There always a chance that some tiny little piece of the puzzle might click into place at that particular class. It can be a long time in between but when it does… it is the best feeling ever.

Two years. I still feel like a complete newbie and you know what… that is totally OK. I have a funny feeling I will feel this way for a long time, if not always. It just means there is more to learn, more to explore. More fun to be had.

Now to that shower…

I like making lists. They help to organize the ramble in my head most times. Especially when there is a lot of things going on. Trust me there is a lot going on, some days more than others, and not always very coherent.

 I make lists when I going on holiday as I otherwise am guaranteed to forget that one vital thing. I never forget the things I “can” be without…oh no, if I forget something then it is something I really need with me. So lists it is.

I use lists in work when I have a million things on and trying to keep track on what I cannot forget to do that particular day. As scatterbrained I have been lately I probably will have to start making lists of when to eat and what to wear… ehh don’t ask.

This particular list is a list of things I want to do. Just for me. So in no particular order:

  1. Go to the gym more often and blast my music while working out. (cos I can’t afford anything else…snort!)
  2. Change my hair whenever I feel like it. (well nothing new there).
  3. Continue with Bujinkan Budo Taijitsu. (cos I love it).
  4. Travel to the US. Not sure where to yet. (roadtrip?).
  5. Holiday more in general (funds permitting).
  6. Cook whatever I wish. No considerations. (lots and lots of mushrooms…).
  7. Read for hours on end. (best way to relax ever).
  8. Drink wine with friends more often. (cos they are the best!).
  9. Maybe start painting again. (why not).
  10. Take more pictures. (putting a different view on things).
  11. Blog whenever the urge hits. (so that I can continue to bug you all with my ramblings). 🙂


Yeah… it is a good start.

So, the ever fabulous Nikki from “Women Are From Mars” has awarded me (amongst others) the Stylish Blogger Award. Holy crap! I am pretty gobsmacked to say the least.

I am trying to come up with something clever or witty to say or at least stylish right now but my muse has deserted me. She is probably out celebrating knocking back rum&cokes or Jaeger-bombs or similar àpropos beverages. This obviously means that further postings with a hung-over muse will be somewhat of a challenge so I will already now apologize for any weird forthcoming posts.

As a receiver of this fab award, I have to do the following:

  • Present seven things about yourself.
  • Name about a half-dozen bloggers you think deserve the award. Contact those people.
  • Create a link back to the person who gave you the honor.

So here we go…

  1. I have a degree in Sociology – and still find all that very interesting.
  2. I spent several summers when I was a student working as a hostess in the yacht marina – meeting, greeting and charging people for the privilege of anchoring in our town marina.
  3. I speak 3 languages fluently – Swedish, German and English. Dabbled in French and Spanish but have unfortunately forgotten most.
  4. I have three tattoos.
  5. Since about 2 years I train Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu and absolutely love it.
  6. I love food – I eat most things including any veggie known to man (well haven’t tried all..yet) though I love red meat a bit too much to give it up.
  7. I love animals – I get more cookoo over a puppy or kitten than most babies… just the way I roll.

And now to spread the good grove on:

And no, you do not need to feel obligated to follow-up on this.

Me, I will go to bed as it is way past my bedtime now. Muse will most likely stumble in late in a drunken haze demanding a kebab… dream on is all I can say to that. Nite ye all!

So here I am sitting again, quite late at night, after a good training session at the dojo. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I was the only girl for quite some time training actively in the club. That meant that I always trained with the lads, expecting no special treatment and happily trying to give as good as I got.

We now have a few more girls that train, which is great. Not many but still more than before. This has also caused me to discover something. I find it harder to train with another woman than with one of the guys. Not because anyone is more skilled than the other but more because I become more careful and to be perfectly honest… more worried I might hurt my opponent.

It is ridiculous really but true. I become too cautions, which really doesn’t benefit anyone. It doesn’t benefit my opponent as she will not experience the resistance she should or the conditioning needed nor does it benefit me as I lose out on being too nice, not performing the technique to the correct extent and not connecting with a more “real” situation etc etc.

Now why do I feel like this you might wonder? It is hard to put my finger on it. I know that if I would encounter an aggressive girl out and about that would start a fight with me that I would not hold back just because she is a woman. It would not bother me at all. But… in the dojo I to a greater extent worry I might hurt my opponent, especially the girls. Most of the girls are tiny and probably weigh just about half my weight or similar. I am under no illusions here… I am no ballerina. Nor will I ever be. I also know, or so I have been told, that I am pretty strong for a woman. I am not blowing my own trumpet, I just always have been stronger than most of my female friends.

I also know that strength is NOT the deciding factor in martial arts but still, half the time I feel like I am going to hurt someone unintentionally. I need to work on that, as it is not fair on anyone. I know I am fooling myself but even knowing that… it is a challenge. I do not seem to have the same mental block when I train with the guys even though I do not want to hurt anyone badly, we are training after all, but it feels more OK to add some oooommmpphh when facing the lads.

So, something new to consider and overcome. Good thing there is always something to work on.

Today I once again realized that it is so easy to set yourself up to failure by from the very start by saying “shit i can’t do that”. There I was at the club and our instructor was making us do all kinds of exercises, some more challenging than others.

One of these was that all stand in a row, two and two facing each other – holding on to each other with our arms… building a bridge with our arms. One person at a time then had to run and leap up on top of the arms, make his/hers way over to the other side, swing down and then make your way back to starting point again underneath the arms without touching the floor.

The instructor aptly decided to call this “Nush’s bridge” due to the groan and face I made when he said what we had to do. So there I was…when it was my turn… dreading it but not backing down. There was no way I was going to back out in front of all the lads. But yes, there was a small voice in me saying….”shit I will never get up there and then hang on underneath”. I tried once, twice and just did not get up… the lads were all shouting “come on”. Then my instructor said that I would use his back as a stamp off point…well, my first thought was that “hell I do not want to hurt his back” and off I went (trying to thread lightly). I made it up and managed to crawl over to the other side, swearing like a nutter at the same time cos there was just no way in hell I was not making it.

Yes, I had problems on the way back as the strength in my arms is not up to scratch yet but you know what… I am pretty chuffed that I got up (OK, with a bit of help) and managed to crawl across all the arms.

So today I learned something; do not say never, cannot do, no way… as then you will already have resigned yourself to fail. I thought “no way” and failed several attempts, then with some encouragement and my instructor saying “do not say never in here” I actually managed. No it was not perfect or graceful or even all the way, but I did not give up.

So I have to learn to say “Never say never to me” to myself (and yes, it is a quote from one of my favourite films (and book) as well – bonus points if you get it).

Now… it is time for bed as I am positively exhausted but smiling and can’t wait for the next training session!

OK, 2010 is over very soon… it has been an interesting year. I have tried to compile a list of highlights for me this year.

  • I realized that I loved my newly bought car and that I had forgotten how much fun it was to driiiive. Yay!

  • Learned to snowboard and went on not one but two winter holidays! (Yes my credit card was pretty exhausted by this…).

  • Realized that I needed to change jobs. From sales to something different. I worked in a great team with great people but a change was needed. I found something new and so far… so good, even if I am mad busy at times.

  • I started blogging! Then went from blogging anonymously to blogging as just… me.

  • Continued with Bujinkan Budo Taijitsu and realized more and more that I truly enjoy and love it.

  • Spent a good few days at the west coast in Sweden soaking up the rays on the beach with my sister. Sun… bliss!

  • Had a blast at my Mum’s 70th birthday party with the whole family gathered.

  • Spend some days with my brother and his family and just chilled out.

  • Gained confidence in myself and what I can do.

  • Had laser eye surgery done – was very scary (as I can be a total scaredy cat) but so worth it! No more glasses or contacts!!

  • Spent a brilliant weekend with the girls in Prague. DARK beer anyone?

  • Got a new tattoo!

  • Came to realize a few new things about myself.

  • Made some new friends.

  • Had a fun Christmas work party and a mad Christmas party with the club. Oh the laughs!

It has been a year full of new things and new experiences and I wouldn’t have wanted it any different. Thank you all for reading about my ramblings and stumblings through my life this year. Bring on 2011!

If you have read my blog you all know that I have trained martial arts now for over a year and a half. Bujinkan Budo Taijitsu to be precise. You will also have seen my numerous posts (or FB updates) where I again and again go on about how much I enjoy it, nay in fact love it.

In this moment of time I am one of two girls that train in the club. The rest are all lads. Lately I have thought about why there are so few women in contact sports. OK, I understand that it is not everyone’s cup of tea (guys or girls) to spar and getting hit. That’s fine. However, the ratio is still very uneven. Especially in something like Bujinkan or even in full contact sports such as ice hockey etc. Yes, I know there are women ice hockey leagues but let’s be honest here..they are adapted to be more gentle and it is not the same.

I have tried to get other women to join the club. Some turn up and might even start with the beginners course but then the minute they get hit, get a bruise or experience slight pain they back off and never come back.

Women go on about self-defense and go to great lengths to learn to shout “No” at the top of their lungs while attempting to kick to the groin. Which is very good and more women should know how to defend themselves, as this is the unfortunate reality we live in. BUT… if you never been hit, how will you know how to react? Will you freeze up? Most do. I know that the first time we had a sparring session in the club, it was quite a shock to my system when I got a hard punch to the face even with the head-gear on. The guys in the club make no concessions just because I am a girl and that is how it should be. If I cannot learn to fight against a guy in a somewhat regulated sparring session how will I ever handle myself if the situation would occur outside the club? Tell the guy he should be nice? Yeah riiight, that will work…

It seems that the gender roles in our society are still so deeply rooted. Women should be fragile and depend on guys to protect them…oh let’s let them take a few self-defense courses and leave it at that. Women should not get bruised or even know how to throw a proper punch. A women knowing how to defend herself or (shock horror!) being aggressive… that is not on! I have heard of cases where boyfriends/husbands of women training at the club have come down to give out about that their women are bruised and that people are too hard on them. And then..after a while the girls leave as their partners do not agree with what they are doing.

This pisses me off. What’s even worse is that so many girls feed into the whole fragile, “poor me, victim” role-shit. I get more raised eyebrows and skeptical looks from other women than men when I tell them what I do. Most guys actually seem to think it is pretty cool but many women look at me like if I have lost the plot totally… “how can you do this, why do you let someone hit you, oh my god you did what?” etc. Oh and a few insinuations about that I must be butch for doing this. FFS! Even if I was…so what? I am obviously not what a “real” women should be according to the rules we pretend do not exist now that we are all equal… Please!

The very sad reality of today is that there seem to be just as many women as men out there that hold onto the traditional gender roles. No, I do not expect everyone to start with martial arts but please do not try to make the rest of us feel like we are doing something “unnatural”.

So, to all the women out there. Your femininity does not mean that you have to be a victim or herd others into this role. You can be just as capable as any guy. We have unlimited wells of strength within us. Use it goddamnit and walk with your head held high. In other words…don’t take any shit!