The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

An old friend resurfaces...

Nicki’s been out in Las Vegas at an Anime convention this weekend. I’m still getting used to her having this much mobility and freedom. Ah well, it’s all to the good. She takes off for college in three weeks…
##
I want to attend classes at the BKF school down in Leimert Park. My most serious concern is one of balancing the exercise with my personal recovery work. Can’t let the workouts there interfere with my private work.

The reason for this is that my own private workouts are tuned to my physiology and psychological makeup, designed, to optimize my health and performance. The workout at a martial arts school is designed to maximize your performance in that particular style. Often, they are a collection of exercises that produce generalized fitness, or some particular set of attributes considered desirable by the teachers.

Often, these are exercises that are more appropriate for teenagers than those of us over forty. Long sets of pushups certainly produce upper body strength and muscular endurance, as well as a certain amount of overall dynamics. But they also court repetitive stress injuries in sufficiently high numbers, and need to be monitored for joint damage. They knock off a hundred pushups and situps in a class, so I have to be able to do that, but also have to integrate that preparedness into my overall plan.

So yesterday was a test. Full “Density Cycle” workout in the morning (12 sets of 9 Gama Casts, starting one set every two minutes) nd then a game of “Cards” starting at 8pm in the evening—the time a class starts at the Leimert Park school. I chose Hindu Pushups, Situps, 16-KG Kettlebell C&J, and the “Over and Under” 3-2 punch combination that is the core of BKF Kenpo. Assign each a suit, shuffle the cards and off I go. I completed the deck in 33 minutes and 57 seconds, and felt a little (but not a lot) wrung out by the end. The trick is to:
1) make my home workout tougher than the one in class
2) See what it takes to recover effectively.

I don’t feel sore today, but I’m betting that’s an illusion. If I don’t do my yoga, and maybe Spa as well, I’m gonna be a hurtin’ unit tomorrow…
##
I have a situation that I’d love some comments on. An old friend of mine, call him Wally, made a hideous mistake, in the form of initiating a sexual relationship with an underaged girl. Even worse, he was an assistant instructor at her school at the time. We were all shocked when it happened, and I was very disappointed by his apparent inability to understand what he had done wrong. After all, she was a VERY mature thirteen year old…

Jesus Christ. Anyway, he’s just finished almost six years in prison, and is out. As you can imagine, his life is pretty close to destroyed. He would love to be in touch with me, and I spoke to him on Saturday—he lives in another state. I’m really not sure who he is anymore, how prison might have/must have changed him. He could be broken, he could be dangerous. I just don’t know, and I have a sinking sense that there is nothing I can do for him. I’ve tried so hard over the years, and he just wouldn’t listen. I certainly didn’t see THIS particular problem coming, but there was a lack of adult responsibility, as well as some serious impulse control issues.

He has done some terrible things…but he is also someone I care about. If there is anything I can do to genuinely help him get his life together, I really want to. But I’m afraid there is nothing, that he is too far gone, and that I’d be pouring my energy down a sinkhole.

This is especially important to consider because of the opportunities opening to me right now. If I can keep my act together, this is the moment I’ve waited and worked for my entire life. Success at this point, at this time, in these ways means not only fulfillment of personal dreams but the ability to contribute to my family, my community, and the culture at large. But…I fear that I am tempted to throw away a human being who is holding on to the edge of the world by his fingernails. Terrified, ashamed, possibly close to just checking out.

What do you do? When do you let go of an old friend?

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