Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thought of the Day, April 23, 2015: Rumi on Love's Power

“The power of love came into me,
and I became fierce like a lion,
then tender like the evening star.”
— Rumi

Armor Building, Double Cleans, and Silat

Lately I’ve been incorporating a bit of “Armor Building” into my training. I first learned of the concept from strength coach extraordinaire Dan John:
I work with a lot of people in the collision sports and collision occupations. One of the hardest things to do while preparing for these endeavors is what I call 'Armor Building,' a term that one of my football players coined a few years ago.
Essentially, Armor Building is all about preparing the body—especially the trunk—for collisions with other things.

Me, being taken down Silat-style.
As a martial artist, I am mostly interested in colliding with other people. Recently, I’ve been working on my Silat skills. Silat is a Southeast Asian martial art found throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, and the southern Philippines. A few years ago, I helped my instructor, Burton Richardson, film a series of Silat instructional DVDs. While there are many different styles of Silat, Burton’s version is very much about colliding with your opponent. It isn’t a parry-and-hit-back art as much as it’s a crash-into-your-enemy-and-slam-him-to-the ground art.

(A vanity-related aside: I was nursing a nasty back injury when we filmed the Silat DVDs and hadn’t trained for months. I had flab around by midsection and my posture was all screwed up. I looked terrible. But that was then. To paraphrase a line from Night Court, "I'm much better now!" You can see some clips of the videos here.)

If I’m going to be crashing into people, I don’t want to hurt myself doing so. And that brings us back to Armor Building.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Recipe Wednesday: Sour Shchi

Earlier this year, I posted a recipe for the Russian (technically Ukrainian) staple borscht. Today I'll be continuing the Slavic theme with something that might not be quite as familiar to many readers: shchi, specifically sauerkraut or sour shchi.

Shchi is a cabbage soup, and is such a part of Russian culture that there is even a old saying about it: "Shchi da kasha – pishcha nasha" which translates to ”Shchi and kasha are our staples”. There are countless ways of making shchi.  My recipe is pretty simple, and is inspired by one by Muscovite Victoria Logunova.