The Virtue and the Way

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Bram
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The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:13 pm

The highest virtue is not virtuous. Therefore it has virtue.

The lowest virtue holds on to virtue. Therefore it has no virtue.


- Lao Tzu

My surfing approach is my "virtue."

I lack the ability to go out and surf well when left to my own devices. For example, sometimes I will take too many waves if I don't somehow counter that tendency. Or I will focus on performance ("I'm good!" or "I suck!") and not process (positioning, effort, techique, etc.).

So here's my process:

A) do my exercises and stretches (which I'll log here)
B) pick the board that feels best on that day
C) watch the tide/swell/wind and select the surf spot based on that
D) check my line-up spots (like a certain window on a beach house) when I'm in the water
E) repeat this phrase: "feel, connect, be present, flow, style, look, rhythm, have fun, relax, don't hurry, maximize, detachment"

Image

----

Thursday, November 21st - Accessory

Cable Internal Rotation - Elbow by Side 50lbs x 20 each x 2 sets

DB Curls 27.5lbs x 15, 12, 8; 22.5's x 10
and
Leaning Overhead Rope Triceps 50lbs x 10, 10; 42.5lbs x 12, 12

DB Calf Raise 35lbs x 15 x 4 sets
and
Machine Reverse Flies 55lbs x 20, 18, 15, 15

DB Side Lying External Rotation 7.5lbs x 20 each x 2 sets
Last edited by Bram on Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:58 am, edited 4 times in total.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Sat Nov 23, 2019 1:51 am

Friday, November 22nd

Tweaked my low back last Sunday, think it was doing L-Sit's without great lower back alignment. Felt fine surfing over the weekend, but then Tuesday-Thursday it felt steadily worse. Then today I was seated on a swiss ball, rolled forward, and the whole thing seized up. Last time I dealt with this I did abs with good spine alignment and it felt better.

Hanging Knee Raises [neutral low back] x 20, 15, 12

----

Surfing 1.5 hours

Think that doing an accessory day vs. a split (e.g., upper, lower) or a full-body day, was not a good call. Paddled slow and felt uncoordinated on the 4 waves I caught (3 of which I blew: 1 on the drop, 2 on the first turn). Back to a more coordinated approach.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:09 pm

Saturday, November 23rd - Upper Body Push

Cable Internal Rotation - Elbow by Side 50lbs x 20 each x 2 sets

BB Standing Military Press [contract glutes] 85lbs x 6, 90lbs x 3, 95lbs x 2, 1

Push-Ups [nose-to-floor, neutral back] x 17, 12, 10, 10
and
DB Windmill's [neutral back] 35lbs x 15 each x 4 sets

Triceps Push-Downs 57.5lbs x 13, 11, 7; 50lbs x 7

DB Side Lying External Rotation 7.5lbs x 20 each x 2 sets

Stretch Chest, Biceps, Triceps, Glutes, Obliques

----

Surfing 1.5 hours

Went to a place about 5 blocks south of my place (the place 4 blocks south of my place was going off, very long waves). My left knee, which hasn't been bugging me, was bugging me. Again, I stuck with my mantra, trusting my board, etc. Caught a handful of fun waves. At the end I waited 30-40 minutes and got a beautiful set wave (I was shivering, and doubting, etc. but tried to just "follow the process.").

To give my knee some love....and my neck...and I guess my balance?:

Purple Band TKE x 20 each x 2 sets
and
Slow Front Kicks x 20 each x 2 sets

Lying Neck Flexion [neutral low back] x 20, 10
and
Lying Neck Rotation [neutral low back] x 8 each, 5 each

Sahrmann Level 2 [neutral low back] x 10, 7; Level 1 x 11, 7
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:12 am

These were shared right before I closed my last log and thought they were thought-provoking so bumping them on to this new one:
motherjuggs&speed wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:08 am
I have read your iterations of mantras with interest. I also use mantras/coaching cues to help me do things. I have also struggled to find one super cue to help me do what I should do and avoid doing bad things. One concept I find to be a useful framing is Pressfield's Turning Pro. In everything, ask how would a pro do this/handle this? Meaning not the getting paid part but someone who has it together. I have not yet incorporated this into a specific grab though yet.

The grab concept I got from Killer Poker. It's something that's short, easy to learn, easy to understand, easy to remember and easy to use. It's good if it's actually helpful (unlike my default statement of angrily cursing myself). "Righty tighty, lefty loosy" is a grab. From Omaha Hi/Lo, "Big or little but not in the middle" is a grab for choosing starting hands.

I have found for some tasks it helps to have a little rhyme or mini poem or almost rap. This has helped me to get dialed in when tired. I tend to invent ones that sound kind of funny but that might also help them me do them when I need them. For example, when I was fulltime RVing, one was

Hark!
Get to the park.
Before it gets dark
Unlike Zeke, Miller won't buy you a bottle of Cutty Sark

The idea of a super mantra has appeal as well, but the saying "each war is fought by the lessons of the last one" applies to my efforts here. I have usually tried to focus on what I thought were important elements but overlooked others that were more important. For example, I have tried to de-escalate situations. This is read by others as a sign of weakness and thus they up the ante, a lot. I wish I had a bunch of helpful cues to suggest, but the only one I have tried that actually has helped me is to ask myself, "What is procedure here?" Meaning the proper recommended course to take Right Now. This very moment. That has helped me a few times and would have saved what was left of my life had I followed it at almost any time in my life prior to when I started using it. I still don't do this consistently though, either remind myself or Do The Thing. I may need a grab for that, or built in alarm, or something.

I think though that they have to be clear, specific acts. I'm not a fighter but I watch a lot of fights and hear a lot of both good and bad corner instructions. Seems to me good cues have some or all of these attributes --

Action, meaning a specific action, Do This -- "jab a lot more", "hit him with the right hand on the break", "stay in the middle". This can be tricky as a lot of cues are too complex, IMO. "Have to grab the rail" seems to me not as helpful as "grab rail".

Simple

No thought required

Clear

Will come to mind quickly ***in the moment*** it's needed.

Short, so it can be implemented in that moment. As Jethro Bodine said, "time they call you for supper you done missed it!"

Actionable by that guy, meaning the tired, stressed, overloaded guy who will need it under the gun, not just what sounds good while sipping a latte. For me, "eyes on the road" is one I have used with lifesaving effect. Meaning I do not take my eyes off the road while driving. Some people have griped about me not looking at them when they are in the front seat but TTT, I'm watching the road. At all times. This habit has kept me from looking away for too long. Tired Me can't handle complex instructions and will not do them correctly anyway so I give him habits and procedures and systems that even he is unlikely to mess up. I have to keep improving these though.

Lands well emotionally , or at least doesn't jar. Meaning, there are a lot of tips that people have given me but they don't feel right to me and so I haven't used them.

Doesn't feel bad later to think of.

Works well with other tips. It's okay to have different cues for different situations but cues for the same task should probably not conflict.


It might also help to have some that encapsulate more info than specified. Go Pro implies a lot of things. For a fighter, "protect yourself at all times" does too. The ref doesn't say, "watch to make sure he doesn't hit you late, or assume I've stopped the action, or assume the round is over" or a hundred other things, just protect yourself at all times.

I just thought of another possibly helpful idea for this but I'll make that another post.
Last edited by Bram on Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:27 am, edited 2 times in total.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:13 am

motherjuggs&speed wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:12 am
For building good mantras or tips, it's helpful to look at what is best practice in domains where the stakes are high. For example I read somewhere that the Secret Service has codes for everything but their code word for gun is "gun". No thought, no "oh shit what's the code again", no "that's not the right code dummy", no one forgetting what code purple or whatevs means, they just blurt out what the thing is and everyone knows what they mean. The aviation industry has apparently changed procedures so that "takeoff" is only used on mic when clearing a plane to push the throttles and go right then, because a pilot was told, "wait for takeoff because there's a plane crossing the runway" and part of that got lost, with a lot of people dying as a result. Likewise "souls on board", meaning total people, not going back and forth with x passengers, y crew, how many total? yada yada when seconds count.

A few examples I've come across, maybe they will help with creating triggers or reminders --

Good to go. The Marine Corp uses this. Can you do the thing if we say do that thing? Not necessarily perfectly but make it happen.

Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target. Not just, "try not to shoot anyone accidentally".

Look where you want to go. This from a really good maintain biker. It came to mind when I needed it and I did that and it saved me from getting hurt bad.

Work fast, throw strikes, change speeds. Pitchers tend to overthink things, the golden rules help them do what's important.

Plan the dive and dive the plan.

You get the idea. I'm constantly trying to build my own, wish I could give you some to try out but it's a work in progress.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:20 am

One concept I find to be a useful framing is Pressfield's Turning Pro. In everything, ask how would a pro do this/handle this? Meaning not the getting paid part but someone who has it together.

----

So, I thought about this today when I was playing video games. I have been pretty good at games all my life, but I've struggled with a consistent mindset to employ. And I would say that this mindset could probably extend to chess, which I'm mediocre at, but want to be kick-ass.

Here's what I came up with (how would a pro play):

"Focus, Adapt, Never Give Up"

Gave it a try, and it worked quite well. The point of all of these mantras is:

a)to get my mind primed to be alert to the right things
and
b) not get stuck in thoughts such as "I suck" or "I'm really good"
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Sun Nov 24, 2019 2:27 am

motherjuggs&speed wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 3:08 am

The idea of a super mantra has appeal as well, but the saying "each war is fought by the lessons of the last one" applies to my efforts here. I have usually tried to focus on what I thought were important elements but overlooked others that were more important. For example, I have tried to de-escalate situations. This is read by others as a sign of weakness and thus they up the ante, a lot.
Yeah, I think the super mantra is a fictitious idea, but I've wanted it not to be.

For your de-escalating situations, try this one:

"dialogue, kindness, compassion"

I use it whenever I have a disagreement and it has a 100% success rate so far. The trick is actually feeling compassionate and willing to engage in a two-way talk when things are heated and/or you think the other person is wrong.
Last edited by Bram on Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Sun Nov 24, 2019 9:02 pm

Sunday, November 24th

Surfing 2.25 hours

Paddled out at a spot that I thought should be good. No one out. Got in the water, and started catching fun waves! Carves, a close-out snap, some cutbacks. Made a late drop.

Surfing 1 hour

Very low tide at another spot. Got two waves quickly, then another one at the end.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Tue Nov 26, 2019 2:11 am

Monday, November 25th

Did a bunch of random stuff to help my surfing (after taking out all of it, besides the basics):

Sahrmann Exercises [neutral back] Level x 1 x 15 each x 4 sets

Glute Bridge with Alt. Leg Extension [posterior pelvic tilt] x 15 each x 4 sets

Slow Back Kicks x 20 each x 4 sets
and
DB Decline Bench Shin Raises 35lbs x 20, 15, 12; 30lbs x 15

Purple Band Terminal Knee Extensions x 20 each x 4 sets

Slow Front Kicks x 20 each x 4 sets

BB Reverse Wrist Curls 20lbs x 20 x 2 sets
and
BB Wrist Curls 20lbs x 20 x 2 sets

----

Surfing 1.75 hours

Paddled out at a local spot that looked awesome! Big, peeling waves that weren't too steep. Sat for 56 minutes trying to ascertain the take-off spot (I was minding my watch), then got a heads up that a wave was coming. Paddled over, rolled into it, went into my bottom turn, felt my toes gripping the board like crazy, and the board slid out from under me. *PIFF!*

But I shook it off, went back to my mental checklist, and roamed around a bit.

Caught a wave that was fun, with a couple swoopy turns. Then a mushy right, a few mushy lefts, and all of a sudden the wind picked up. The crowd thinned from 40 people to 5 of us, but I got this gem of a mid-sized wave. I dropped in, weaving between two people, and went into a nice banked turn caroming into the white water. I bounced off, and repeated the turn to white water bump twice more, almost to shore.

I came in beaming for another hour after.

----

Meditation [focusing on the breath as it entered, paused, and left]

----

Decided to add in the only other leg stabilizers I could think of:

Slow Roundhouse Kicks x 20 each x 4 sets

Concept 2 Rower Adductions [neutral hips; other foot on 5 blocks + step] x 6, 5, 3, 3 each
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:37 pm

Tuesday, November 26th

Surfing 1.25-1.5 hours

San Diego is predicted to have heavy winds and rains later today, continuing through tomorrow, so this was my last best chance to hop in the water.

These were the conditions while I was out:

4.7ft at 12s WNW 283º
1.1ft at 12s SSW 191º
1mph ESE winds (offshore)
Tide went from 2.9-0.6 feet

Went to my normal big Northwest swell spot and haha, what a day! Me and Kevin paddled out (him on a longboard, me on a 6'4" fish) and out and out. The waves were breaking well past the point and at first we were solidly between the peaks, after some debate and paddling around, I went with the veranda of a white house to line-up with.

The waves were clean, big (10-12 foot faces on the set waves), and if you picked right, you'd travel 200 yards.

I picked off a big right-hander, with a bit of lump on the face and managed 3-4 swooping turns. Then a last minute drop with white-water blinding me on the take-off on a mid-size one. Got a couple more and went out to try and find some bombs. Brett (a stylish long-boarder who I've surfed with out here before) was catching all sorts of waves, taking off behind the peak, turning in the critical part of the wave and going far, far inside. He suggested I look for the ones that look like they're going to close-out. Sure enough, the next wave was a bomb and I took his advice, getting a gem of a ride.

On the paddle back out, I caught a quick left that had a short barrel section that I missed. Then another 3-4 big ones.

Body is tired. Feeling good!
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Thu Dec 05, 2019 12:17 am

Wednesday, 11/27: Back and Biceps and Abs

Friday, 11/29: Full Body Athletic Shit

Sunday, 12/1: Surfed Tiny Waves

Monday, 12/2: Surfed Amazing Waves

Wednesday 12/4: Chest, Obliques, Triceps

Ditched all social media last week, including this website (and youtube, instagram, etc.). Ended up watching the original Star Wars trilogy with my free time and loved Yoda's discussion of the Force:

Luke: "How will I know the light side of the force?"

Yoda: “You will know when you are calm, at peace. Passive.”

Image

Kept that in mind for meditation and it helped quite a bit, striving for that place where the mind and body was still and only the breath was the focus.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:21 pm

Friday, December 6th: Legs

Saturday, December 7th: Surfing

Added another word to my surf mantra successfully: "maximize"

Surfed for 7 hours. We had an epic swell and by late afternoon it was getting ridiculous in terms of quality and quantity. No real problems with my surfing, besides being a little greedy at the end. I also snapped my leash at about the 6 hour mark and tried to surf conservatively without it, but ended up losing my board and dinging it a bit.

Not too tired on Sunday morning, but definitely content to sit on the couch for the time being.

----

This picture is from Monday's surf, thanks to my buddy Shelton for snapping it!

Image
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Tue Dec 10, 2019 5:44 am

Monday, December 9th: Surfing

Added "detachment" to my surfing mantra today.

Last surf I added "maximize," and although I was surfing better than normal (if not more recklessly), I was behaving greedily.

"Detachment" was my attempt to nullify the negative aspects of "maximize."

In any event, it seemed to work. I paddled out, waited my turn, picked off a nice wave, then convinced my friend to move to another break. We walked down the beach and scored a nice session together, where again I was polite, and seemed to surf well.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Wed Dec 11, 2019 1:16 am

Tuesday, December 10th

Glute Bridge with Alternating Leg Extension [post. pelvic tilt] x 15 each x 4 sets
Box Jump 33" x 10, 36" x 10, 39" x 5, 36" x 10
1-Leg Box Jump 18" x 10 each, 21" x 10 x 3 sets
Glute Ham Raise [post. pelvic tilt] x 15, 15, 12, 10
Lying Super-Man [post. pelvic tilt] x 60 seconds, 40, 45, 40

Stretch Lower Body

Legs felt awesome after this.


----

Ran into one of my Jiu-Jitsu teachers at the gym and we started talking training/BJJ. He mentioned that when doing a biceps sweep, he would point the foot to expose the shin bone. I gave it a try (just feeling the edge of my shin in plantar flexion and dorsi flexion) and holy smokes, it definitely makes it more sharp.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:56 pm

Wednesday, December 11th

Surfing 1.25 hours

We usually don't get south swells in the winter, but there was one on the reports, so headed to this little beach that picks up swells from that direction.

When I got there a seal had been terrorizing the 3 people in the line-up. The lone girl had retreated due to it bumping her over and over.

Took out my 6'3" short board, which for the last year has not worked once for me. The waves were quite small, but I just tried to be patient and wait for the bigger ones. Got a lot of rides and a few fun turns. Came in (and remain) pretty happy about it!

Noting Meditation 10 minutes + Compassion Meditation
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:15 pm

Thursday, December 12th - My birthday :)

Stretch Hip Flexors, Lying Twist, Side Bends

Decline Leg Raises [flat low back] x 20, 20, 15, 12
and
DB Windmill - Low Hand [no lateral spinal flexion] 30lbs x 15 each x 4 sets

BOSU Sit-Up w/ Red Band [flat low back] x 20 x 4 sets
and
BB Full-Contact Twist [neutral hips for flexion/extension] +10lbs x 10 each x 4 sets

Sahrmann Exercise [neutral low back] Level 2 x 15 each x 3 sets, Level 1 x 15 each

Notes: my leading hip definitely wanted to go into extension during the twists, good core workout.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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Re: The Virtue and the Way

Post by Bram » Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:18 pm

Friday, December 13th

Surfing 1 hour

Went out to fairly big Old Man's - but mushy. I brought my 6'1" Average Joe, and although I caught waves, I didn't do any good surfing. Got a couple turns, but lacked the harmony of my recent sessions.

----

Chin-Ups x 8, 6, 5
and
Alt. Leg Raises x 15 each x 3 sets

Seated Row 42.5lbs x 20, 14, 13

DB Curls 12.5's or 15's x 10-15 x 3 sets

Machine Reverse Flies 40lbs x 9-15 x 3 sets

+ Wall Slides, DB Farmer's Walks, Sahrmann Level 1, BB Wrist Curls, BB Reverse Wrist Curls

Stretch 10 minutes

Notes: today decided to try and keep my scapulae in a groove on my upper back (hence the very light weight curls) and to keep my lumbar spine neutral (not flattened). My L shoulder does not do well with the curls in this scapular position -- it didn't hurt, but the stabilizing muscles were bugging out even with the light weights. Hope this step backwards in weight leads to a step forwards in performance.


Saturday, December 14th

Woke up early and did everything I should: big glass of water first thing, breakfast within 30 minutes of cracking my eyes, shower/shave/floss/brush

Yoga ~10 minutes + Meditation 15 mins [repeat "impermanence" on the out breath] + Savasana 3 mins + Nature Connection 10 mins

----

The surf is outrageously big right now, but the tide is monstrous as well. Nearly everywhere is too high to be optimal, so patching up the board I messed up last weekend and waiting for the tide to drop out a bit.
"If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. This is the most basic kind of peace work." - Thich Nhat Hanh

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