Month: December 2013

The last post of 2013.

“You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

As the new year starts I guess I have spent a little time reflecting back on this last year,I
As an Old Munki I become a little reflective at this time of year, as my non Christmassy post last week shows.
Yes I have set myself some targets for the start of the New Year. As always targets are good no matter the time of year, to keep you motivated and to give you something to measure against.
Looking back at the last year which saw me restart BJJ after quiet a long hiatus, I can say I am pretty please with what I have achieved. I’m not sure if I am where I wanted to be, but I am taking the win. I am back on the mats, training regularly and maintaining my enthusiasm.
I think what I am most pleased about is not letting my physical limitations impinge too much on my training. There have been times when I have been worried, but I have been fortunate that my issues are not really that big and I have been able to realise this.
I am also fortunate that I have made new friends this year, as we all know BJJ brings people together and the people I have trained with and been coached by have made my return easy, hassle free and so much fun. So thank you so much to these people for what they have given me.
I don’t want this to turn into a long list of thank yous or it to sound like I’m giving myself a pat on the back. So I’m going to end this bit now.
I appreciate that a lot of people don’t have training as a priority and just like dipping in and out and that’s great. We all train at our own pace and in our own way. Once again having reflected on my own training (wow you could call me Old Munki Mirror at this rate) I realised that previously I have not focussed on anything for a long time. Taekwondo, Iaido, Muay Thai, Jeet Kune Do I have done them all got to a good grade and moved on. It is a bit late in life to realise this, but its never too late to start and I think that’s why BJJ is important to me.
I am able to integrate my training in a healthy way into my lifestyle. It also helps Mrs Munki enjoys BJJ as well. So I really want this to be the opportunity that I can get good at something, not bothering what grade I am, just enjoying the training and the journey. That is my long term ambition. Besides we all need something more than work to do, just so we can stay sane.

Over this year I have accepted that improving the flexibility in my shoulders is going to be a slow process, but it is improving with my yoga and mobility work.  I just need to keep on this and remember flexibility work needs to be done everyday.

Most importantly I am going to work on my post training recovery to enable me to keep up my daily training.  Getting a routine and relevant nutrition to help with this and this is something I will write about at a later date, once I have worked out what works for me.

I hope that the new year brings you all some focus and the ability to do what’s important and fun.

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The non Christmassy, Christmas post.

“Pay as much attention to the things that are working positively in your life as you do to those things that are giving you trouble.” – H. Jackson Brown

I’m not a very Christmassy person but this year I’m looking forward to it in a way.  I enjoy spending time with Mrs Munki, but also over the last month or so I have had a little trouble getting to training.  The majority of this is work related in one way or another.  It has prevented me from doing what I enjoy, as real life always does.

But as the schools where I train are open the majority of the holiday period I am looking forward to playing catch up.  In addition to this being an opportunity to get more mat time, I am viewing it as a time to set my intentions for the future.

Following a speech at a recent seminar we both attended and a discussion with Mrs Munki she suggested that I should start setting some target for the forthcoming new year.  This would give me some achievable targets within my jiu jitsu and motivate me through the work issues.

So these are my targets:

1. I want to compete, I have made excuses to myself and I have put this off.  But I will compete in the first competition  I can from March 2014.

2. I am going to develop a game plan.  I have techniques in the bank, but I use them all reactively and not proactively to a finish. Obviously this would support target 1 as well.

3.  I am also going to start attending the open mat sessions on Sunday mornings.  I am going to work on a minimum of 10 sessions up to March for my target.

4. I am also going to make time to attend some additional morning drilling classes.  I could probably make two of these a month so my target is 6 up to March.

Why am I saying March, well Mrs Munki and I have a training holiday planned at the end of March.  So it kind of gives a natural break to this and an opportunity to review if I have achieved my planned goals.

I am hoping that the negative things that been affecting me for a while, can be overcome with a more positive focus in a positive area of my life.  Plus it won’t do my jiu jitsu any harm starting to pull it together a bit more.  So now its time to speak to my coaches and put the hard work in pulling this lot together.

I have a particular reason I am setting these targets, but if anyone out there has any targets or goals of their own that they are looking to start in 2014, it would be great to hear from you.

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Soft kitty, sleepy kitty, little ball of fur…….

So apart from the Big Bang Theory reference what am I talking about?  Well it’s all about sleep.  I have been sleeping really poorly for the last week or so and it has had a big impact on me. I think that the importance of quality sleep is vastly underestimated.

For me it either takes the form of an initial sleep deprived insanity, which Mrs Munki hates as she usually suffers the brunt of it.  Or slipping in to a splitting headache the more tired I become throughout the day.  The main other issue is the impact it has on my training and recovery.

If I don’t get good quality of sleep for a while my motivation goes through the floor.  In the past I have struggled through this feeling and gone to the gym. I then end up getting injured, as I wasn’t staying focussed.  This then doesn’t help my sleep as my injury causes me to become uncomfortable at night.

So if I get in this position I don’t go training that night and go home and get an early night and try to catch up on missed sleep.  As this is the only thing I am capable of doing at this point.

It has been proven that lack of sleep does accumulate a sleep debt that does eventually have to be paid back.  This sleep debt thing seems to hit me really hard.  It seems I have to payback my debt really quickly otherwise I feel terrible.  But I suspect this has something to do with my recovery requirements at my age.

I have tried a number of the suggested remedies for improving sleep.  One of the ones that I have found works for me is keeping the bedroom temperature low.  I also have a shower before bed and turn it to cold at the end.  This could be considered a little extreme but it definitely helps me get to sleep.  This page explains more about this if you are interested.

Also I stick to a regular schedule.  So I try to get to sleep by 11pm so I can get 8 hours in before getting up for work.  The schedule thing is also another recommendation for improving sleep.  It does seem to actually work as I do start to feel sleepy around this time.

I have also tried a couple of the sleep monitoring apps for my iPhone.  Just to see if I thought I had slept pretty good, but in fact I hadn’t had actually gone into a deep sleep.  One of them had a pretty good display, with different graphs and percentage information.  But I could pretty much tell on my own if I had slept rubbish and it also meant I couldn’t use my nice sun rise alarm clock Mrs Munki had got me.

I also try and make sure I don’t eat any carbs about 2 before I go to bed.  I find that if I don’t stick to this I start to get really uncomfortably hot in bed and this causes me to wake up a lot during the night.  I radiate that much heat even Mrs Munki complains.

One weird one I have also tried, much to Mrs Munki’s amusement is wearing sunglasses an hour before bedtime.  Why?  Well apparently your eyes react to blue light and this dictates the amount of melatonin your brain releases.  This is the sleep hormone that you need to get to sleep.  So bright TV’s and computer screens affect melatonin release and can stop you feeling sleepy.  So you can buy blue light filtering glasses or go for the cheaper option and use the sunglasses I already had.  I have to admit I have only done this in extreme situations.  But having said that it does definitely work as after 30 minutes of so with them on I do start yawning.


I have also installed software on my laptop called f.lux (you can find it here).  It works on Windows and Apple devices.  This dims the brightness of you screen in line with what time of day it is.  So in the morning it’s nice and bright and by evening time the brightness reduces to help with getting to sleep.  I think it’s a pretty nifty little thing and for free is even better.

Yes I do put a lot of effort into getting a good night’s sleep, but I can always tell the difference when I don’t and I hate suffering like that.  Especially when I know there were things I could have done to help myself.  These impacts have given my first had experience that I would be dumb to ignore.  Plus better sleep more mat time, makes a happier Munki!

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