I received my brown belt in Jiu Jitsu last month. I have been at Maven Jiu Jitsu since 2018. I took a year off to recover from surgery in 2019. In total, I have been doing Jitsu for over 12 year, give or take some time for inactivity, surgery rehabilitation, and laziness.
Whenever you switch academies or move, sometimes you have to start over. In my case, I had to learn the school’s system, ideology towards Jiu Jitsu and the instructors has to reevaluate my skills. My instructor has been a friend, mentor and Jiu Jitsu instructor during my time in Texas. He has been a pivotal role in my growth as a person, Jiu Jitsu practioner, student, and teacher.
What does the belt mean? It contains meaning if I give the belt meaning. Nothing changes currently in my journey. I want to grow, improve and help others with Jiu Jitsu. Hopefully I can still keep doing this martial until I’m an old man.
This is my post about the first few weeks at Sam Houston State University. It is a little daunting to finally be at a university. So far I am enjoying it. Although, I am not a doe-eyed 18 year old. I’m a 36 year old adult. This means that it is difficult for life to surprise me. A new place is just a new place. I’ve been nomadic for most of my adult life. I still have a lot to learn. Here are a few things that helps me settle in a new place. It takes time and patience to get accustomed to a new locale. You have to actively search and discover your new location. Find a system that works for your and constantly improve it, be it for work or school.
Adjusting to a new school in a new city will take time. I still live in Spring, Texas so I don’t have too much to acclimate too. There is also a campus in The Woodlands. I try to have most of my classes in The Woodlands. I have two classes at the Huntsville Campus, which is approximately a 45 minute drive from my apartment. I have 2.5 years left at Sam Houston. I have time. What does that mean? 2.5 years is a long time but when comparing it to the length of a 80 year old life, it really isn’t that long. I enjoy the Huntsville Campus. It is a beautiful green campus. I already have spent a lot of time in the library. I should draw on campus, so I will have memories and practice my drawing skill.
I think people neglect the part of knowing where you live or work. It is easy though because people only seem to drive to work, home and grocery store. I’m guilty of this as well. The search for secrets, sub cultures, or cool dive bars is my favorite part of about discovering a new place. I’ve live in Texas for 3 years and I have not really seen the state. It takes effort to search out and discover something new, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I suppose you just have to keep your eyes open and be willing to experience things that could be interesting. Stay Curious.
I need a system for handling school and home life. Every semester is different. Now life is somewhat going back to normal, going to class in-person feels new and awkward. I have to organize my school work, my job, and the other things I enjoy. The main thing is time management(or Priority management as my former professor J would say). I have to make time to make sure I dedicate time to accomplish everything that will be due and the needs immediate attention. I write my weekly goals on butcher paper.
To summarize this post. I started school. I need time to adjust. I want to get to to know Huntsville, as well as Texas better. I have a process of time management which is a large paper taped to the wall.
On July 25, 2020 I completed my first sprint triathlon. I was apprehensive because the idea of it seemed so unsurmountable. I thought that I might as well do it before I’m too old or injured. What did I do to prepare? I didn’t train consistently. I crammed running and biking sessions six days before the event as if it were a college exam, which is never a good thing in athletics or academics. I didn’t practice my swim, a bit arrogant on my part. As a result, I gassed early in the swim because my technique was no efficient. I finished though. During the race? It was actually pretty fun, minus the swim. I knew I could do a sprint triathlon because I have done all the disciplines and distances separately before at least once in my life. The curve ball is to, do all three in a row. A sprint triathlon is roughly 550 yard swim, 12 mile bike, and a 3 mile run. I was tired during the race but I still enjoyed myself. The whole experience was an adventure. From getting up early, to staging my bike, to preparation of equipment, and my nutrition. The only negative was that I had no one to share the experience with. Will I do it again? Yeah, Sure. I feel that I should give this sport an honest try. An honest try would be one year. My next triathlon is a relay triathlon in Katy, Texas on September 5th. I will do the swim portion and my two teammates from Jiu Jitsu will do the bike and running portions.
I was a bit worried but completed the class with a C. It took a lot of studying to understand the material. I took the class online. The amount of individual study time was challenging. Especially without a teacher to break down the material with multiple examples. I had videos, but it is not the same. As I write this, a month and a half after I completed the class, I don’t remember a majority of the material. It is a shame that these science classes are just prerequisites. It would have been beneficial for me to be in class and learn with solid examples (chemistry pun). The take away from the experience is that I need to ask for help sooner with tutoring or email the teacher for more guidance. Repetition and constant reviewing was also something that could have helped my understanding.
I’m just about done with my summer semester at Lonestar North Harris. I’m really disappointed with the foreign language education here in the U.S. I wish there could be an efficient way to teach students foreign languages instead of the sink or swim method. The current way of online education is very archaic. (That last sentence was an oxymoron?) I will continue learning and improving my level. I will have to find other methods. U.S. Education falls short in this aspect. I will look to polyglots to expand my level.
I will let show my work and let this post be a baseline for my water color progress. I switched my journal to a watercolor sketchbook. By doing this, I hope to paint everyday. Hopefully.
In conclusion, this summer I completed the tasks I wanted to accomplish. I finished my first sprint triathlon. I need to be more consistent with training to become better at it. I completed my chemistry class, which was the last class I needed for my Associate’s. I will complete my Spanish class with an A. My watercolor progress has started. In my next post I will write about my fall semester at Sam Houston.
My plans for the summer. I just finished Spring semester at my college. I have a few more things lined up to accomplish this summer. I have to finish two more college classes, Introduction to Chemistry and Intermediate Spanish II. I want to practice watercolor consistently. I signed up for a sprint triathlon. These are my three objectives for the summer.
This would be my official last semester at Lonestar College. All I need is this chemistry class to receive an Associate’s degree. Science is not one of my strengths. I had to withdraw from chemistry in the Fall 2020 because my grades were so bad. I would like to blame the teacher or the online teaching format, but that’s nonsense. It was my fault for not putting the sufficient effort for the material. I want to be more accountable for my life and the things that happen as a result. Is this what becoming an adult means? I will do my best with the time I have. I will tell you my grade when I finish.
The second section of my summer semester is Intermediate Spanish II. Recently I was thinking of taking a break from Spanish and study another language. Although, I am not comfortable in my current level. I can travel, order, have conversations, even follow shows and movies with subtitles. I would say my level is good enough. If I’m tough on myself, which I am. I have a below average to mediocre level. I wonder if I ever will be satisfied with my Spanish level? Is there an end game with language learning or does it turn into maintenance of learned languages? Regardless of these questions. I am going to keep going. Would you rather speak 3 languages at a basic level or one foreign language at a high level? I choose the latter. The depth over breadth argument. This is a side of language learning that a autodidact beginner never really encounters until they are fully invested in their target language.
Watercolor. I always loved the feeling of the medium. Something about the freshness of how the paint and dried water mixed, which made it beautiful. If I want to get better at something I have to practice, especially without a teacher. My plan is to study the art form. So far, this is what I have discovered for me. 1. Proficient drawing skill is vital 2. I must consider composition. This means I have to frame the picture within a square that is pleasing to the eye. 3. A pencil outline is necessary for beginners. (I hate this part, it takes too much time.) I would like to post my research on this blog. I have so much more to say on this subject.
On my vision board I have a square for a triathlon. I was going to give it up. Then I thought about it. I didn’t even try. I didn’t even attempt it. Why kind of person doesn’t even attempt something to set out to do? So I’m going to do a Triathelon on July 25, 2021. I have to train, which is the hardest part. The consistency of training is the difficult. As I write this, I have less than a 30 days to prepare.
I will give everyone an update on my progress with my objectives when the summer is over. I’ll let you know my grade, and my strategies for chemistry. How I my Spanish level is doing. Once I complete my triathleon, I will give my review.
I finished this semester and my grades were A, B and C. An A in Mathematics for teachers, B in General Psychology and C in Statistics. The interesting part is I spent the most time on the statistics, the class I received the lowest grade and I spent the least amount of time on Mathematics for Teachers. Psychology was pretty straight forward, read the chapter, do the quiz, then do the unit test. As a student, it would be nice to get all A’s, but the most important part is what did I learn from the class.
What did I learn from my statistics class?
I learned that math or data is valuable. I rewatched the film, Moneyball, recently and using data and statistical analysis the Oakland Athletics were able to create wins by looking at baseball differently than the way previously viewed. This concept can be applied in many different aspects of the world. I learned how to gather data, read it, and see if it had any correlation with other variables/factors. I also learned how to create graphs, boxplots, histograms, and scatter plots with a programs called jupyter.
What did I learn in Psychology?
Like I said above, the class was straight forward. I would read the chapter, take the online quiz, then take the online unit test that would cover the last 3 chapters. There was a zoom class every week, but my zoom/webex wouldn’t work the last 4 weeks. It wasn’t a big problem. What I learned…? Psychology is an important part to life. blah, blah, blah. I don’t care about the entirety of the class. The most interesting part about it was the education part. How we learn skills? As a future educator, this part was fascinating. Learning about operant conditioning and classical conditioning concepts was very interesting. I teach kids jiu jitsu, so I can see when my students learn techniques they didn’t know before. I can also see them forget the techniques they learned before(extinction). Which is frustrating. I will look into these concepts for the future.
What did I learn in Mathematics for Teachers?
The most important thing I learned from this class was teaching math to younger students may not be as straight forward as people think. Here are some questions that are in my assignments. What concepts are in this problem? What problems or confusions do you think your student can have when undertaking this equation? How would you solve this? (Please keep in mind you may be teaching this to a K-8 student.) I never really thought about math this way, or even teaching. For example, 5x= 10. Obviously, x=2. First, is the concept of numbers, second the concept of multiplication/division, then the concept of x being variable for another number. Then I would have to think as if I never saw this before. To look through the eyes as a student again. This kind empathy is interesting because it is very difficult to forget that 2+2=4. This is just an example. I feel like this course is necessary for students that haven’t taken college math before.
In conclusion, I’m glad I finished this semester. I also learned a few things about the class.
Here is my update for November 2020. It feels like I haven’t blogged in a long time. I have been so busy. I can easily forget that I have this site. I will try write every week. That is the goal. A few things that I did this last month. What I am also interested in doing this month.
Failure isn’t a necessary evil. In fact, it isn’t evil at all. It is a necessary consequence of doing something new.
Ed Catmull, Creativity Inc.
Last month. I wanted to do push harder in my statistics and chemistry class. Unfortunately I had to drop my chemistry class. I was unable to keep up with the material. First, I blame myself in my failure and effort. I could have been more diligent with asking for help, and seeking out resources. Second, I blame the format of learning chemistry online without a lab. I’m not strong in STEM subjects so I obviously need to put in more work. My statistics class is going well. I hope I will receive good marks on this class.
My portuguese studying has been stagnant. I may have studied 4 times a week in October. So far this month has been the same. I used to study when I got up in the morning. This is a plan didn’t work out, because I wanted to work out when I got up in the morning. This month I will continue to put in work.
My spanish studying has also been stagnant. I have been keeping up with my italki lessons. I need put in more time. I need to review more schedule and keep to it. I just finished Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull. I will now read it in Spanish. It is a really good book for anybody interested in Pixar or animation or managing/leading people.
I wanted to keep writing. So I have been free writing in my journal. Only 10 minutes a day. It is a good start for the day. I can control my thoughts and organize what I need to do for the day. I have been fairly consistent this month. I want to keep up with it and journal at the end of the day as well. I also want to blog once a week. I have a trip coming up. I will update the blog while I’m on the trip.
I have been drawing more. I will post some of my drawings.
Jiu Jitsu training is my favorite thing. After all these years it still keeps me interested. Training has been going well. We are going through a butterfly guard module, which is the game I am working on. Each week is a new lesson to add to my game. I just have to pick and choose what to add and edit in my game. I find that drilling with progressive resistance is more helpful than rolling.
I traveled with some of my team members to Montrose, Colorado. It was good to get away, gather data and enjoy travel again.
Update-Last day of November.
Two week until the semester is over. I’m trying not to stress out. Pause. Take a deep breath. It’s not that serious. Do your best.
My top three things I was consistent with September was training Jiu Jitsu, learning Portuguese, and my school work. Training jiu jitsu is easy. It is something I really enjoy. Learning languages is also something that comes easy to for me. I keep a schedule and I try to stick with it. Every morning I wake up and learn Portuguese with Babel for 30 minutes. On Saturday and Sunday I review the words I learned for the week. I have a grammar book and verb conjugation book for reference. My classes that I feel that I’m strong in is Psychology and Math for teachers. The work is straight forward. Do the work, on time and get a grade. I’m weak in Chemistry and Statistics. I have to work harder on these subjects. Do I feel satisfied with this month? No, I can improve better.
My plan for October
Three things to improve. My level in Spanish has been stagnant. Even though I had seven italki lessons with my tutor this month. I suppose I have been keeping up with my speaking skills. There is still room to improve. I need to improve my comprehension. Chemistry and Statistics. I want to make these classes my strongest. I want to work on them everyday. Third. I lost my Covid weight. But I am still not at an optimal weight. I have to be more disciplined and go to sleep earlier and wake up earlier.
Inktober is this month. It is the month of October when artists try to draw everyday. They usually receive prompts(ideas) to draw for that day. I am never consistent with these. I tried to do it last year. This year I will try to draw more than last year.
For polyglots and language learners I’m sure this question comes up a lot. I usually stress over this question a lot. This is very difficult because I love traveling. I always want to study the language of the country I’m traveling to. I don’t always want to go to a Spanish speaking country. The whole world is just as interesting. For example, I studied French for six months before I went to Belgium and France. It helped to know a few words and be more comfortable hearing the language. When I returned home, I came to the question again. Do I want to continue with French? Or do I want to travel and study another language, like travel to Italy and learn Italian. It can be overwhelming. Youtube has helped me figure this out.
Portuguese will be my next language. Here are a few reasons I came up with. I will be doing Brazilian jiu jitsu for as long as I can. I probably will be traveling to Brazil whenever the world comes back to normal. I will like to have conversation and meet people. I will most likely meet Brazilians and Portuguese travelers in my adventures. I want to return to Portugal and explore. The music and the food are something that I want experience as well. I can continue to make reasons for learning this language. Finally, I made a separate list of all the languages that I have dabbled in over the years. I had more reasons than any of the other languages. More than Korean, French, Italian, German.
One aspect of my language goals is that I want fluency in my target language. I want to have a high level of proficiency in that. Which is a huge goal. It is too daunting. I have been learning Spanish for 5 years, and I still get lost when native speakers speak. I have decided to let go of this goal. I just want to get proficient enough to enjoy my time in the target language’s country. It could be A2 or B1. It doesn’t have to be at an academic level.
I will give Portuguese a solid 12 months. I will do a lot of input. Which will be listening, studying grammar and vocabulary. I think by the beginning of March I will get and italki tutor. I don’t want to rush my speaking. I can also choose between Portugal and Brazil. I have no idea what travel restrictions will come in 2021.
It’s been awhile. I have seasons or moods when I blog. But really, I should continue to write and create regardless of my mood or location. The world has really gone to another place since the beginning of this year. I choose not to write or comment too much about my situation, much less the current events of the world. Really I need to write/create for my own piece of mind. Even if it is wrong. Most of the time I take in the news and it just depresses me. There’s no place to put my opinions, frustrations or thoughts.
My plans were derailed this summer, like most people. I was planning to travel to Europe with the money I earned from Spring Break. The lock down happened during that time. So that money never came. So I’m here in Texas for the summer. Which I would rather not be, but I have to adjust and adept. Like Jocko Willink would say, “good”. I gained about 10 pounds since quarantine started. I made a plan to get in shape.
So what will I do for the rest of the summer. I have some classes on Udemy, an educational website, that I will start for a head start on the classes I will take in the Fall. Statistics, Chemistry, and Psychology. This is a strategy, I think I need to take. I have hypothesis that I am not naturally good at school. I have a concept in my mind that I have to catch up, and I’m not as quick as other students. It could be mental flaw, but what negative can come from getting an introduction to one of my future classes. Besides a bit of money and time, I will have a basic understanding of each subject I undertake with Udemy, which will further prepare me for the Fall Semester. Which brings to an important college question. Are you taking the class to learn? Or are you taking the class as a requirement and your goal is to pass?
I am the kind of person where I want my cake and I want to eat it too. Also as an education major, I would be a bad teacher if I wasn’t a good student as well. I want to learn. I have to change my mindset, I have to be curious, and I have to think critical. Especially when analyzing why are these classes necessary? How are these teachers teaching? Are they effective at transferring information? Are they engaging the students? There are so many more questions.
My Spanish was the one thing that improved during the quarantine. Before the quarantine I signed up to Lydia Machova’s Language Mentoring program. I felt so good that I signed up twice. There is so much to learning a language that I actually experienced during this time. You have to put in a lot of hard work when learning a language. Most Youtube polyglots don’t actually show how much consistent work they put in. My second time in the program I wasn’t as consistent with the weekly goals or activities. I had my own goals. I concentrated on reading, comprehesion, and grammar.
What I’m reading now. The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain.
Let’s review what I did well and what I failed at.
Recover from my ACL Surgery
Pay off debt
Travel and save money
Spanish Level. Increase.
Draw, Paint and create more
German level B1
Try Rock climbing
Go to sleep at 10pm, wake up at 430
Buy work truck
My first goal of the year started with recovering from my ACL surgery. My second surgery on the same knee. January of 2019, I had surgery. I spent the next 3-4 months walking with crutches, then with a cane, and now I walk with a limp when it’s cold outside. When I’m fully warmed up I can do most of the things I did before the surgery. The doctor said I can slowly return to Jiu Jitsu. Jiu Jitsu brings me so much happiness to me. I will have to start slowly. I’m very excited about this.
I also listened to David Goggins’ book, Can’t Hurt Me, and it really motivated me. I have to search for ways to really push myself outside my comfort zone and grow. I want to keep growing mentally and physically.
My debt is about the same. I will have to make a plan and stick to it.
I traveled to Cuba, Scotland, and Spain. I traveled but I wish I saved more money. Volunteer more. I volunteered a little bit. I joined the Houston YangGang. I volunteered when I could and showed support when Andrew Yang was in Texas. I volunteered at the Edinburgh Festival. For 2020 I wish to do an activity more consistently.
Increase my Spanish level. This was my most consistent goal. I’ve had an italki tutor since March. I had a lesson every week minus holidays and when I traveled. I also went to Spain to improve my Spanish.
Did I draw and paint more? I went back to a former occupation of drawing caricatures for tourists. I miss being around artists. I miss drawing. It felt good to make art and make people laugh. I also want to increase this as well. The next Pancakes and booze I want to put in six pieces.
Improve German B1. I’m shelving this goal. I just don’t have enough motivation.
Korean Basics- I’m shelving this goal. I want to return to Korea and have a better experience.
Be stronger. This goal was very vague. I did become stronger though. I need to get specific with what I want to accomplish.
Rock climb- I’m shelving this as well. I have Jiu Jitsu now.
Adjust my sleep schedule. At times I was good at this. Then I fell off.