Origins the start or the middle of a Journey

One thing I am always drawn to when writing is doing origin stories for main characters, most of the fantasy stories that I have really liked started when the main or main characters have prior to the start of their journey and you get to share in their character growth and journey into the full developed and strong character that they could of potentially of become prior to the event, shaped from their highs and lows. But there are other fantasy stories where you meet the character several years after their origins, and while they are more developed and you don’t share the same growth with that character, the character is shrouded in further mystery, and it is easier to bring out characters that have been crucial to the last few years since his origin (origin as in start of his or her journey or beginning of their new abilities).

So I soon I may be reaching a crossroads, am I just building up the characters background to make him (or her) more of a well rounded character, or should I follow more of the traditional path and have a character who appears inept and out of his comfort zone slowly overcome all the things he thought was possible.


How to tap into your inner animal

As for the aggression, it is something that comes naturally to me, I view it as the animal side of my spirit it is the beast inside that not fights to survive but fights to live. Life itself is a battle and if we gives in to it we will never rise above our demons. My inner animal is what gives me lots of energy and passion for life, its why I can train harder than most people, why I have alot of passion for both martial arts and strength training.

The two ways that I can think at this moment to tap into your inner animal is either to use all your frustrations and inner demons as a fuel to drive you on, instead of letting them make you weaker, you use them to make you stronger, on why you should keep moving forward. The other way, is inspired from a YouTube video by Elliot Huse
where he says you actually roar when training (like hitting the punching bag) to help you release your aggression, it will seem very silly but its a way that could help you tap into your aggression.

You should never be afraid of the animal within you, nor should you allow it to take control over you, I see it is as an energy source that makes gives you more passion for life.

Injuries-hindrance or a chance to train smarter

If I had to stop training, be it strength training, weight training or karate training because of injury, I would never do anything again. It is all part of the game and you have to adapt to the situation to be able to continue with training. I’m not saying that when it’s a serious injury or if you are over-trained then you shouldn’t rest, far from it.

I’m one of those people who are either all or nothing, I either train really hard or I don’t train at all, I either have no dessert or nearly eat the whole house out (you should never underestimate how much I can eat), if I train it has to 100% effort, it’s just part of my nature. And like most people who do sports, marital arts or gym training injury is something that always lurks around the corner.

Well at my last grading I pulled a tendon in my elbow, which anyone who has had this kind of injury will know, takes a long time to heal. At first I did the sensible thing and rested for a week, then through impatience I jumped back into doing all my weighted pullups, chinups and karate and the injury was getting worse. In fact my body likes to get sympathy pains and both my elbows flared up; Murphy does have a bizarre sense of humour.

So instead of letting my ego get the better of me, I adapted, I focused on stuff to workout the muscles I wanted to like just hanging from the pullup bar for as long as possible, Sanchin kata and inverted rows. And when my elbows started to heal more I found out that my pullups and chinups max’s increased a lot.

With my karate training, the way I had to adapt I think has improved me in the long run as a martial artist. I couldn’t be so intense all the time, so I had to be smarter with the way I trained to make sure I didn’t aggravate my elbows, the easiest knocks could make me cringe with pain and I had to use more of my Ju side (gentle part of martial arts) to work through it. It also made realise even more how I could injure smaller people, and it made me take greater care of others.

It also made me want to spar with the girls more, as they tend to leave their ego at the door and my sparring improved in other ways, girls rely on more speed and technique then guys do, and when you try and match them for speed and technique (and leave your power at the door) you tend to improve a lot more as you’re not relying on your power or your ego to get through sparring.

So I will ask the question again, are injuries just an hindrance, or do they make you train smarter and force you to adapt, helping you in the long run to reach your goals.

Last man standing- Teaching

We have been having bad weather recently, with lots of heavy rain and flooding, combine that with some of our blackbelt’s taking a taster session in another part of the city and also combined with the fact that Sensei was running late meant that for the first time I had to start the class off, at least until reinforcements arrived to save my bacon.

I was nervous about it and waited as long as possible until I knew that no one was coming anytime soon to be in charge of the class. Oh boy. So pushing my nervousness aside I pretended to assume an air of authority and started with just loosening the body. I decided to follow in example with how two of the senior grade take the class, one is all about fitness plyometric strength and you know that you have done a workout, but then for the rest of the class you feel like you’re going to pull a muscle. Whereas the main sempai makes sure you have loosened the body in preparation for a good workout.  So I combined the two and made sure that our muscles and joints were ready, we did some shadow boxing, went for a run and did random stuff that came to my head. Then I got us to go into pairs in a line and focused on my strengths on fitness. I have a very explosive upper body, so I focused on that area to give everyone a good workout until Sensei arrived.

By then I had lost my nervousness and really enjoyed leading the class, like a sergeant in the army. And I noticed that I didn’t feel nervous when he let me finish off the fitness section, which for me is strange because normally if I think people are watching me teach, I start to panic, but Sensei has such a calm demur about him (Except when he is in a fighting mood!) that I felt much more confident leading the class.

My friend told me after the class that I didn’t show any kind of nervousness and kept everyone busy. Teaching is definitely a new learning curve for me, I am starting to enjoy it more, even if you get the odd oddball who makes it more difficult (that was on a different day). Teaching is like sparring, playing rugby or doing any big challenge, you have to keep your inner demons at bay and use them for fire to succeed in your chosen task.

The Man of Many Names

One wouldn’t believe how many nicknames a person could have,

But here I am, the man of many names and here is a list of nicknames I have had.

When I was a child my mum would call me petal and precious,

Because I was her youngest Child,

As I got older it turned into : Daniel don’t, Daniel behave, Daniel Shut up, Daniel do as your told, Daniel be quiet, Daniel I have had enough,

I consider the above line one nickname, so many pleasant memories of it,

And it stopped when my mother’s roommate started to list them,

My father had a different way of giving me nicknames such as,

Prick, W*****, Useless, he used these nicknames to try and motivate me,

But his more creative ones were f****et and fixit,

Because I would break something and he would have to fix it,

Late for breakfast, as I was never late which turned to Fred because apparently Fred was never late for breakfast,

I still don’t know who Fred was,

He also called me Alowishus to make me sound grand and regal and add it after my middle name,

In school I was called Solly as it is the family nickname, which is also my sister’s name that my dad changed on the birth certificate before my mum knew what was happening,

When I played rugby I was called psycho, for I was a quiet and shy, but I would roar and scare people twice my size,

I got told off for intimidating the bigger players,

When I went to China to train in Kung Fu the new list of nicknames knew no bounds,

I was called Puppy, kiwi-puppy, Sweaty Puppy, Pomi-Kiwi –Dan, Niagara Falls, Bear, The Beast and of cause Daniel-San!

I won’t go into great detail but I was called puppy because I’m very excitable,

And when I met a beautiful girl in China she gave me the Chinese name of Wu Tian Yu,

Back in karate I have been called the raging bull (prior China), the bear, the Ox and puppy again! Then I tried to combine the two and be called oxy-puppy but people never call you what you name yourself!

I hope you enjoyed the many names of me, I wonder what I will be called next!

Teaching-another way of learning karate


I have been doing karate now for about four years now, and have been helping out with teaching kids karate for the last two months, and it’s really interesting to see how much of my karate has been ingrained into my subconscious like the pattern of a kata, doing a throw, throwing a punch etc. But when it comes to teaching the basics from scratch it’s almost like relearning the way I do blocks or strikes as I no longer consciously think about each section, I just do it by instinct. I fully realised this when the instructor at the kids session was teaching the kids how we tie our belts in martial arts, it just seemed weird to me because I just tie my belt by force of habit I no longer think that the right as to be above the left, for example.

I have to break down the fluid motion of what I am doing in order to be able to show the kids how to do certain basics. The same was for in the Adults karate session when I was asked to show three newbies the first kata. I found teaching them more tiring then all the fitness stuff that we had done earlier in class! What I learnt was that breaking the kata down even more than usual helped was more useful than in larger sequences, and it’s much harder to show three people who are each at different levels of their potential karate journey. Teaching karate is itself a learning experience and teaching karate enables you to learn the smaller or more subtle points of that move.

I wonder if I put myself into their shoes more and focused on what helped me learn my kata more if that would improve the way I teach. So for instance in the first kata when Sempai first taught me nearly four years ago he explained and demonstrated the moves via bunkai, which enabled me to make much more sense of that sequence.

One world to the next

I use to think that when writing fantasy stories my problem was that I kept jumping from one creation to another creation and never sticking still. After having read some of Jim Butcher’s blog I have learnt that it is actually a blessing in disguise being able to jump from fantasy world to fantasy world enables you to feel refreshed and recharged to enjoy going back to a previous fantasy world.

Each time that I have focused on another fantasy world has enabled me to further develop its history or story line. I have noticed that one story has a great background structure but weak characters, but another story has really strong characters but a confusing (well complicated backstory) I suppose it will take time to find the right balance.