Stepdad's Thoughts

My thought and feelings.

Paintball – Birthday UPDATE

Saturday was the day; we had 11 boys and two adults playing paintball for my stepson’s birthday. The two adults were me and my Dad. We got off to a slow start due to gun malfunctions but ended up having two hours to playing time that was just the 13 of us. If you’ve ever played paintball in a big group of strangers try playing with a small group of friends, it is MUCH better. After the private playing time the boys played another 2.5 hours in the main group, all had fun.

After the paintball the boys came back to our house for football then had burgers and fries for dinner… Oh yeah we fed them pizza during paintball.

All in all it was a long day for the adults and fun day for the kids… 10am to 10pm of close to non-stop activity wore us all out.

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December 20, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , | Leave a comment

Christmas Shopping

Why is it that I am waiting to the last few days, OK 10 days, to get my wife a Christmas present? I have in my head what I want to get her I just need to get off my but and get into the stores to get it. Yeah I could shop online but that just doesn’t seem right, it’s not the way it used to be done. It’s just not personal to me. I am going to get off work a little early and get what I have in mind for her…

I have my Dad’s gift and some for my stepson… What to get my Mom, sister and niece is a mystery right now.

December 16, 2010 Posted by | General | , , , , | Leave a comment

Exercising

Last night was my first Hapkido class as a Brown belt. The drills, kicking and punching, all went just fine. I even learned the new kicking combinations needed to advance, I just need to practice them to make them better. What I did find out that I need MORE work on is strength. I thought I was doing pretty good on upper body but after the 100+ push ups I realized I need to do more regular work on strength; the 100+ crunches reminded me I should do them more also. I will work on hitting the exercise routine more regularly that I had written do some time back. Repetition and consistency will be the keys to getting better.

December 15, 2010 Posted by | General | , , | Leave a comment

Paintball – Birthday

Saturday we are planning a paintball birthday party for my stepson; he will be 14. Originally I was hoping for 10+ people so we could have 2 hours of private play time. Unfortunately he took too long in getting the names we asked for so we are look at maybe 6 counting me. I really wish he had jumped on things, 2 hours of private play would have been a lot of fun.

I am hoping his Dad will join us also but it is not looking good.

He also wanted to feed his guest deer burgers and homemade fries… I am not sure if that will happen; time will tell…

He has his own PB gun and I am thinking about getting me a cheap one vs. taking a chance on the rental gun. I have an old PB gun that needs a lot of work, rings, valve, etc…

Tippmann Carver One or Spyder MR1 Sniper both cost around $100.

Either way I think this will be a good birthday for him, this is something he has wanted to do for a while but weather has stopped it each time. We have a good forecast this weekend so we are in.

December 14, 2010 Posted by | General, Parenting | , , , , | Leave a comment

Trivia

Yesterday on the my drive I home I spoke to my Dad on the phone. We had our usual conversation; one that hits more topics then either of us can remember or anyone else can keep up with. We managed to get on the topic of martial arts since I am in Hapkido and I test tonight. Any way we got on the topic of Bruce Lee. We talked about the movies he made, movies that my Dad and I saw at the theater when they first showed. We then started talking about his training methods and his philosophy. Both of us agreeing that Bruce Lee was of the mindset that you should use any method that works… I think he actually used that line in one of his movies.

We started talking about his TV appearances/shows… All could remember was The Green Hornet and Batman…My Dad said there was another show but neither of us knew the name; my Dad was able to tell me all about the show but not a title… told me about the blind guy that Bruce was teaching to fight etc… I found the show a few minutes ago, it was Longstreet.

I found this about the show, actually it’s from a site that sell the series in a DVD set: http://www.tvdvdstore.net/longstreet-the-complete-dvd-collection.html

Longstreet is an American crime drama series that was broadcast on the ABC in the 1971-1972 season (see 1971 in television). A 90-minute pilot movie of the same name.

The series starred James Franciscus as insurance investigator Mike Longstreet. After a bomb (hidden in a champagne bottle) kills his wife, Ingrid, and leaves him blind, the title character pursues and captures the killers. He then continues his career as an insurance investigator despite his blindness. Longstreet’s seeing eye dog was a white German Shepherd called Pax. The series was set in New Orleans, but was actually filmed in Los Angeles.

Mystery novelist Baynard Kendrick was credited in each episode as the creator of the source material for the series, although his character, Captain Duncan Maclain, had little in common with Longstreet aside from their both being blind private detectives.

Bruce Lee appeared in four episodes as Li Tsung, an antique dealer and Jeet Kune Do expert who becomes Longstreet’s martial arts instructor. Wikiquote has quotations from Li Tsung’s teachings.

Twenty-three episodes of the show were aired before it was canceled in 1973.

December 10, 2010 Posted by | General, Hap Ki Do, Random | , , | Leave a comment

This old story out of Texas.

This old story out of Texas. —-

Seems a guy cruises thru a stop sign, or whatever, and gets pulled over by a local policeman.

Guy hands the cop his driver’s license, insurance verification, plus his concealed carry permit.

“Okay, Mr. Smith,” the cop says, “I see your CHL permit.  Are you carrying today?”

“Yes, I am.”

“Well then, better tell me what you got.”

Smith says, “Well, I got a .357 revolver in my inside coat pocket.

There’s a 9mm semi-auto in the glove box.  And, I’ve got a .22 magnum derringer in my right boot.”

“Okay,” the cop says.  “Anything else?”

“Yeah, back in the trunk, there’s an AR15 and a shotgun.  That’s about it.”

“Mr. Smith, are you on your way to or from a gun range…?”

“Nope.”

“Well then, what are you afraid of…?”

“Not a damn thing…”

December 9, 2010 Posted by | General | , | Leave a comment

Hapkido

What is Hapkido?

합 – Hap (Harmony) = Together or the harmony of body and spirit.

기 – Ki (Energy) = Life and body energy.

– Do (Way) = Way of life or way of learning.

 

Hapkido focuses on self-defense from attackers. Considered a “soft” martial art, Hapkido does not focus on simply exerting force against an opponent, resulting on strength and size being most effective in combat. Instead, Hapkido focuses on diverting an attacker’s energy in order to open him up for counter attack and defeat. Placing an emphasis on circular movements, Hapkido practitioners focus on moving close enough to an opponent to execute a joint lock, throw or close-range strike. Techniques in Hapkido focus on pressure points and vulnerable joints, making incapacitating an attacker easy, requiring little strength.

The most difficult part of Hapkido for someone that has been trained in another Martial Art like Tae Kwon Do or Karate is the circular motions. In these arts you are trained to meet an opponent head on while Hap Ki Do teaches to get out of the way and get close. The various techniques used to lock joints are tough to grasp also; once you understand and take in the need to have wider circular movements it will come together. I know from first hand experience on this.

Having been studying Hap Ki Do for just over a year I feel this is something anyone interested in the Martial arts for self defense should consider. It would be great for women since there is limited concern of strength to complete the techniques. One of our Masters is a woman in her early thirties… she is able to manhandle one of our students as if he were a rag doll. He is 6,5″ tall and easily ways 250+. It’s all about the angle as she has told us before. The has been a story told of her controlling a big body builder type; he was told to try to attack her with him not knowing how she would react; as the story goes she had this guy in the ground in no time begging to be let go.

For what it’s worth I highly recommend Hap Ki Do.

December 8, 2010 Posted by | General, Hap Ki Do | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hapkido – Brown Belt

Friday night I test for my Brown Belt in Hapkido. The current techniques I am working on at High Blue are mostly punching defense with some grabbing releases. I have been trying to explain some of what I am learning to my wife and co-workers and seem to be getting quite a few blank stares. It seems most do not really understand what I am learning or I cannot really explain it to them. I really wish I was able to create the interest in Hapkido I have in others. Just about everything I am learning I am able to see real world practical applications.

My goal other than reaching Black Belt, in about 18 months, is to teach Self Defense techniques to people at work. We focus so much on work safety but seem to stop when it pertains to leaving the office. Parking lots can be real dangerous and I want to try to offer people options in being safe. I don’t have the thought that once you spend 4 hours in a class that you are magically able to defend yourself but I do think it’s a good start. In truth the ability to protect yourself from an attacker requires skills that are second nature requiring NO THOUGHT. I also realize that if you are confronted by someone with a gun that you should give them what they want instead of tempting fate.

If all goes as expected Monday I will begin learning new techniques as a Brown Belt working toward Red Belt.

December 7, 2010 Posted by | General, Hap Ki Do | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Widow Jensen- A Christmas Story . . .

This was sent to me via email; the author of the story is unknown but I felt it was something that needed saved and shared. This really does sum up what Christmas should be like instead of all the ruckas  we all go through.

A Christmas Story

This is what Christmas is all about…

Better bundle up – the goose bumps will freeze you!!  I think I need to read this every year at Christmas.

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities.  But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors.   It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve 1881.  I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.  We did the chores early that night for some reason.  I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible.  I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read Scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible, instead he bundled up again and went outside.  I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores.  I didn’t worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity.  Soon Pa came back in.  It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard. “Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then.  Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see.  We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this.  But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he’d told them to do something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens.  Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house.  Something was up, but I didn’t know what.

Outside, I became even more dismayed.  There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled.  Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job.  I could tell.  We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load.  Pa was already up on the seat, reins in hand.  I reluctantly climbed up beside him.  The cold was already biting at me.  I wasn’t happy.  When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed.

He got off and I followed. “I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said.  “Here, help me.”  The high sideboards!  It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.

After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all fall sawing into blocks and splitting.

What was he doing?  Finally I said something.  “Pa,” I asked, “what are you doing?”  “You been by the Widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked.  The Widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road.  Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight.  Sure, I’d been by, but so what?

Yeah,” I said, “Why?”

“I rode by just today,” Pa said. “Little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.”  That was all he said and then he turned and went back into  the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him.  We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it.  Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then we went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon.  He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait.  When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand.

“What’s in the little sack?” I asked.  Shoes, they’re out of shoes.  Little Jakey just had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning.  I got the children a little candy too.  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a  little candy.”

We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence.  I tried to think through what Pa was doing.  We didn’t have much by worldly standards.

Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it.  We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy?  Really,  why was he doing any of this?  Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.

We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible, then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door.

We knocked.  The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?”

“Lucas Miles, Ma’am, and my son, Matt, could we come in for a bit?”

Widow Jensen opened the door and let us in.  She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders.  The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all.  Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.

“We brought you a few things, Ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of flour.  I put the meat on the table.  Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it.  She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time.  There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes, the best, shoes that would last.  I watched her carefully.

She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks.  She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.

“We brought a load of wood too, Ma’am,” Pa said.  He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile.  Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.”  I wasn’t the same person when  I went back out to bring in the wood.  I had a big lump in my throat and as mu ch as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too.  In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak.

My heart swelled within me and a joy that I’d never known before, filled my soul.  I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it had made so much difference.  I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.

I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared.  The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time.  She finally turned to us. “God bless you,” she said. “I know the Lord has sent you.  The children and I have been praying that he would send one of his angels to spare us.”

In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again.  I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true.  I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth.  I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others.  The list seemed endless as I thought on it.

Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left.  I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get.  Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.

Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave.  Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug.  They clung to him and didn’t want us to go.  I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.

At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow.  The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he has to eat turkey for too many meals.  We’ll be by to get you about eleven.  It’ll be nice to have some little ones around again.  Matt, here, hasn’t been little for quite a spell.”  I was the youngest.  My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.

Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, Brother Miles.  I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you, I know for certain that He will.”

 

Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold.  When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something.  Your ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square.  Your ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way I saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do.  Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”

I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again.  I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it.  Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities.  Pa had given me a lot more.  He had given me the look on Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smiles of her three children.

For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night.  Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night, he had given me the best Christmas of my life.

 

December 6, 2010 Posted by | Concerns, Kids, Parenting | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment