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How to take a Punch and Stay Calm

By Charles Moffat - April 2018.

Years ago when I was in South Korea I had a Tae Kwon Do instructor who said something profound which I will share you with you. I may not be remembering what he said exactly as he explained the concept in quite a bit of detail so there is going to be paraphrasing here as I don't recall the exact words he said in the full context of the conversation he told to us students.

But basically what he said was something along the lines of "When your emotions run high in a violent situation it is of utmost importance that you take a breath and keep your wits about you, and then act in a clear and decisive manner."

He broke this down in conversation with a number of examples.

Say you get in an altercation with someone and they attack you, and for a brief moment you have a choice. Do you immediately attack back without thinking of consequences? Or do you think of the consequences and then stay calm, while simultaneously acting in a manner that helps to defuse the situation.

WHY THIS MATTERS TO ME TODAY

Today I was assaulted by the superintendent who lives in my apartment building.

Ah, you say. Now it makes sense why I am talking about staying calm, restraint, and thinking about consequences before acting.

So let me break down the events to you.

1.

My landlord has been wanting the tenants to move our bicycles out of the basement of the building, where my wife and I have stored 5 bicycles. I own 9 bicycles currently and I am a bicycle mechanic hobbyist - I simply enjoy fixing them for fun. Two of the bicycles currently in the basement are really just there for spare parts.

2.

My son fell asleep earlier and I decided now was a good time for me to go move the bicycles while he was sleeping. I found the keys for my bicycle locks, went down to the basement, got the first bicycle and carried it up the stairs and outside to the cement porch that is near the garage and the parking lot. There is a metal railing that goes around the cement porch that many people climb over to the parking lot.

3.

The superintendent followed me out of the building and proceeded to argue with me about where my wife and put our garbage diaper bags. He then pushed me back into the railing so he could climb over the railing. Being pushed back, I reflexively grabbed on to his jacket in order to maintain my balance and during this struggle he punched me in the left side of my face near my ear. Around this time he slid the rest of the way over the porch railing, but I held firmly on to his jacket.

4.

At this point I had a moment of clarity. I had a choice here. I could punch him and beat him up easily. I am a boxing instructor and have studied kickboxing and Tae Kwon Do. He is an old guy in his 50s or 60s. He didn't stand a chance against me. But I had a very clear choice. I didn't have to fight him at all. All I had to do is call 911 and keep holding on to his jacket. (Note - Adrenaline in this situation doesn't help. While it does make you physically stronger and faster, and it helps you ignore pain, it doesn't help you keep your emotions in check. So it becomes ever more important to keep your emotions under control.)

5.

I called 911. This was the clear choice. I have a wife and a son to think about. There are consequences to getting in a fight and beating the **** out of an old guy. I would be in serious trouble if I decided to just beat the **** out of an old guy. So I held on to his jacket while I was calling 911. At this time the superintendent also took out his cellphone and called 911, it was like a race to see who could tell their side of the story first.

6.

I explained to 911 what had happened, with considerable detail. At this point the superintendent punched me in the lower jaw - effectively an uppercut because of the angle, and I did respond by jabbing him in the jaw with the same hand that was holding on to his jacket, so it was a very short jab. This is the one and only time that I punched him in response. I don't remember if he punched me again after that and there might have been an extra time he punched me that I simply ignored and didn't care about. I did tell the 911 lady about him punching be in jaw and that he was still attacking me. The 911 lady advised me that police were on the way and that I should release his jacket, which I did so.

7.

So the police are on their way and I tell the 911 lady that my wife is inside sleeping and I want to check on him. I was not expecting to be gone so long as I had simply wanted to move my bicycles and was not expecting to be attacked by anyone. She said that was a good idea and recommended I do so. So with the police on the way and they have my phone number and location, the 911 call ended and I went back inside. My son had woken up and was crying and I soothed him and fed him.

8.

The police phoned my cellphone, I answered, picked up my son and went to the door. I then held my son in the hallway while I explained to the police all the events. The police listened, asked questions, and two other officers interviewed the superintendent. I admit I was still shaking from adrenaline at the time. The officers then left me, I went back inside our apartment and fed my son some yogurt in the kitchen. I could hear bits of the conversation coming from outside the kitchen window and the superintendent was belligerent with rage. He was not having a very good time keeping his story straight and clearly was not very good at staying calm.

HOW COULD THIS HAVE GONE DIFFERENTLY?

Honestly, everything I did was reactionary. Cause and effect.

He followed me and argued with me, I argued back.

He pushed me, I grabbed his jacket to maintain my balance and a struggle ensued.

He punched me, I called 911.

But it could have gone dramatically different. I had that brief moment where I had to make a decision whether to fight or not to fight. And I chose to simply hang out tight to his jacket (mostly so he could not escape) and called 911.

If I had made the wrong decision, to fight back and beat up an old guy, I would mostly certainly be in handcuffs right now and being charged with assault, because the police would have looked at me with no injuries at all and this old guy who I could have simply beat black and blue.

Restraining myself in such a situation was not easy. I was angry at the time, but I made the conscious effort to not let that emotion rule me. I had to remain calm for my sake, my wife's sake and my son's sake. Love in this case, truly did defeat hate.

THE UNFETTERED MIND

The Unfettered Mind is a book by the Japanese Buddhist monk Takuan Soho, which contains letters he wrote hundreds of years ago to various samurai of the age. I have written various past articles on Cardio Trek about The Unfettered Mind and some of the Zen philosophies described within the book, such as the article: Archery Meditation + Zen Focus. I also have a whole section of my site dedicated towards "Zen Exercising", which is an interesting concept.

In part 2 of the book, titled "The Clear Sound of Jewels" Takuan Soho describes how people value life and "rightmindedness" and how people will sometimes throw their life away for the sake of "rightmindedness".

Takuan Soho states:

"Nothing is more precious than life. Yet, at the moment when we must throw away this valued life and stand on rightmindedness, there is nothing more highly esteemed than rightmindedness."

Basically it is the idea that people will often die for their beliefs.

However people can also die (or ruin their lives) by making unwise decisions, which Takuan Soho later points out by pointing out that people can also value Desire more than life. Desires such as lust, greed, vengeance, bloodlust and so forth.

Takuan Soho states:

"Dying because someone is vexed at being insulted resembles rightmindedness, but it is not that at all. This is forgetting oneself in the anger of the moment. It is not rightmindedness in the least. Its proper name is anger and nothing else. Before a person has even been insulted, he has already departed from rightmindedness. And for this reason, he suffers insult. If one's rightmindedness is correct when he is associating with others, he will not be insulted by them. Being insulted by others, he should realize he had lost his own rightmindedness prior to the offense."

In essence, getting angry at being insulted and then fighting as a result might feel like you are fighting for your beliefs, but really you are just fighting because you are angry.

I totally recommend reading The Unfettered Mind if you can find it in a book store or on Amazon. It is a fantastic book which has useful insights for many different activities, including archery, and also how to maintain a strong moral code.

Samurai historically believed in Bushido (which means honour), but it didn't mean that you died for honour. It meant that you behaved honourably and kept your vows. Samurai vowed to protect and avenge their leaders, but they did not believe in throwing their lives away on base emotions such as anger. Anger to them was a tool, which could make them more vicious in combat, but it could also be the double-edged sword that led to their defeat, and so it needed to be kept in check.

TAKING A PUNCH ITSELF

Taking a single punch by itself is actually easy in my opinion. Multiple punches, such as taking a beating, that is physical challenge obviously (in boxing terms, boxers who can take lots of punches are said to have good "chin"). The emotions that arise (as you probably figured out from your past experiences) is the true challenge of staying calm.

Once you recognize this, taking a single punch is no big deal. Even 3 or 4 is not that big of a deal, like I took earlier today. My jaw is a little sore, as is the left side of my face where he kept punching me with his right hand. But otherwise I feel pretty good. I only really any noticed any pain until much later when the adrenaline dissipated.

So clearly, with the benefit of adrenaline in this case dulling any pain, a person can choose to remain calm. If it just a single punch, it is really just a minor bruise and not worth worrying about.

AN OLD STORY, FISTICUFFS IN KENSINGTON MARKET

Years ago I got attacked by a drug addict in Kensington Market who was angry and decided it was a good idea to punch me in the side of the face and break my glasses. Ha, great idea. In that situation I was more upset about him breaking my glasses that I had purchased in South Korea - where I studied archery, Tae Kwon Do, visited many Buddhist temples, enjoyed good food, and gone mountain climbing many times. I totally recommend going, Korea is awesome. On that occasion I had opted for what I call "Classic Fisticuffs" like what you might see in a period film about the early 1900s. No kicking, just quality footwork, and two fists raised in the classic pose. I then aggressively used my footwork and blocking to dodge/deflect all of his punches and kicks, and get close enough to land solid punches. He then chickened out and ran away like a little coward.

Classic Fisticuffs
On that occasion the drug addict only managed to land his first punch against me when I was sitting down on a bench and not expecting it.

After that, and once he realized I was doing "Classic Fisticuffs" he thought he was being all smart by trying to kick at me, but I just sidestepped his kick and moved closer in order to be able to land solid punches. He tried punching several times and I just deflected them easily. A few jabs to the face later and he suddenly decided that even though I was using "Classic Fisticuffs" as a style, I was clearly good at it. He then ran away.

During the encounter I had two major decisions to make. 1. Do I fight back? Which I chose yes, but had opted for a more gentlemanly style of boxing, which went really well with my girlfriend-at-the-time who was observing this. And 2. Should I chase him after he runs away? I decided not to, stayed with the then-girlfriend, and we later tried to report the attack to police in Chinatown - which they ignored us and just waved us away. Violent drug addict attacking people nearby, and the Toronto police don't even care.

THE AFTERMATH

How do people deal with stress after a violent encounter with a crazed person?

In my case I focused on my son - making sure he was fed and entertained, and then I listened to 80s music while writing this post for my website.

I was reminded of what my instructor in Korea had said about staying calm, but I was also reminded of the book "The Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho.

I should probably eat something. According to my phone I was attacked and called 911 at 9:54 AM, and it is now 1:24 PM. I had breakfast earlier today and have not eaten since.

Food after a stressful situation is certainly beneficial. So I am going to go eat now.

I hope anyone reading this finds it educational, informative, and useful in the future when they are faced with a violent and/or stressful situation.

Sample Lesson Plan for Horseback Archery in Toronto

Okay, so technically nobody in Toronto teaches horseback archery (aka equestrian archery). Indeed it is very difficult to find locations in Ontario that teaches equestrian archery.

Really to get into equestrian archery a person should really be learning two things independently, and only after completing the first two do you proceed to the third.

  1. How to ride a horse, specifically learning how to ride a horse and guide it with your knees and feet.
  2. How to shoot a horsebow.
  3. Finally learning how to do both at the same time.

So lets break it down into the different tasks you would need to do.

#1. Learn how to ride a horse.

In Toronto there are 2 locations which teach horse riding lessons.

The Horse Palace / Riding Academy located at Old Fort York (horsepalace.ca) - Teaches English style horse riding. An adult 8 week introductory course will cost between $616 to $854 to $1,088 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. The riding lessons are 50 minutes long with a 30 minute lesson on horsegrooming / maintenance.

Sunnybrook Stables located at Sunnybrook Park (sunnybrookstables.ca) - Teaches English style horse riding. An adult 8 week introductory course will cost between $799 to $1,128 to $1,356 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. The riding lessons are 50 minutes long with a 30 minute lesson on horsegrooming / maintenance.

If you are willing to travel further in the GTA, there are also several other locations to choose from.

Claireville Ranch located in Brampton (clairevilleranch.com) - Teaches Western horse riding lessons. 8 lessons will cost between $400 to $440 to $520 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. The riding lessons are 30 minutes long. Technically they offer 4 lesson packages, but for comparison purposes I doubled it to 8.

Note - Claireville Ranch also offers weekday ($35) and weekend ($40) trail rides, and breakfast rides ($85) which are more suitable for people who just want to try riding a horse and are not ready to commit to lessons.

Quarter Valley Riding School located west of Kleinburg ( - Teaches both Western and English style riding lessons. 8 lessons will cost between $400 to $600 to $800 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. The riding lessons are 45 minutes long with a 30 minute lesson on horsegrooming / maintenance. QVRS does NOT offer trail rides.

Pathways on Pleasure Valley located north of Pickering (pleasurevalley.com) - Teaches Western style riding lessons. 10 lessons will cost between $399 to $511 to $611 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. They also offer trail rides ($64) and a variety of other package rates.

Note - Pathways offers 10 lessons as opposed to 8 lessons like various other locations offer. They also offer 6 lesson packages too.

Other Locations

According to my research there is also a "King Equestrian Club" in Mississauga, but they don't have a website and their Facebook page is defunct/useless.

There is also the Community Association for Riders with Disabilities (CARD) located near York University.

The York Equestrian Riding School north of Markham (yorkequestrianridingschool.com) doesn't list prices on their website, but does offer group lessons, private lessons, and an introductory 4 lesson package.

The Stonewood Riding Academy north of Pickering (stonewoodacademy.com) offers a 10-month program which includes 10 lessons and a host of benefits, with a total cost of $2,429.50. They also offer half hour and full hour lessons for $73.45 or $113. During the summer (only) they offer "pay as you go" group lessons that are $67.80 each, so 8 of those would be $542.40. Their website suggests that they are geared more towards competitive riders who are into horse jumping etc.

#2. Time to learn how to shoot a Horsebow.

So assuming you've already completed step 1, now is your chance to learn how to use a shortbow or horsebow. 10 weekday lessons is $520 and 10 weekend lessons is $780.

The following would be a 10 week lesson plan:

Lesson 1 - Safety Lecture, Eye Dominance Test, Proper Form, Field Archery Lesson with a Traditional Recurve Bow (it is easily to learn a recurve bow first before switching to a horsebow).

Lesson 2 - Target Archery with a Traditional Recurve Bow, Lecture on Arrowheads.

Lesson 3 - Long Distance Field Archery with a Traditional Recurve Bow, Lecture on Arrow Spine.

Lesson 4 - Field Archery with Horsebow, Lecture on the Horseman's Release, Lecture on Bowstring Waxing.

Lesson 5 - Target Archery with Horsebow, Lecture on Gap Shooting, Moving Target Lesson.

Lesson 6 - Field Archery with Horsebow (emphasis on learning how to Gap Shoot while doing Field Archery), Lecture on how to Adjust Braceheight.

Lesson 7 - Target Archery with Horsebow, Moving while Shooting Lesson.

Lesson 8 - Target Archery with Horsebow, Shooting while Kneeling Lesson and/or Speed Shooting Lesson.

Lesson 9 - Field Archery with Horsebow, Moving while Shooting Lesson.

Lesson 10 - Field Archery with Horsebow, Moving while Shooting at a Moving Target.

If there are additional topics you want to cover during the 10 lessons just ask and we can devote some time to teaching that topic. eg. If the student wants to learn how to shoot with a thumb-ring, that is something we can do.

By the end of 10 lessons the goal is for the student to reach the point where they can be in motion while shooting and be able to shoot at a moving target that is also moving. They can shoot at stationary targets, shoot at targets placed at random distances, shoot while standing, sitting or kneeling, to reach a pinnacle of versatility.

#3. Go buy a horse and begin Equestrian Archery.

After this point you shouldn't really need an instructor any more. What you will need is to be able to afford your own horse and the cost of stabling for it.

$400 for either 8 or 10 lessons at either Claireville Ranch or Pathways + $520/$780 for weekday/weekend archery lessons, and you are looking at a rate of $920 to $1,180 to learn both how to ride and how to shoot a horsebow.

Completing both and you really just need to find a place where you can do both. You would need to find a stables that would allow you to practice equestrian archery on their property, buy a horse (some people also share horses and cost of stabling, sort of like a timeshare), and then you also need money for vets... horses get expensive when you consider the cost of vet bills and everything else they need.

But if it is your dream and you really love doing it, then just do it. You cannot take $$ with you when you die anyway.

Speaking for myself, I want to buy a farm, build a stables, buy horses, hire a horse riding instructor, and open a private archery range that also offers horse riding lessons and archery lessons. That is my dream and I plan on fulfilling it.

There are a few places in Canada which already offer equestrian archery lessons, but honestly I really think people should learn how to do archery and horse riding separately before learning to combine the two skills, this way you are learning both in a safe manner and are not trying to learn everything all at once. Even when I do eventually open my own archery range / riding school people will need to go through the separate courses before reaching the point where we let them ride and shoot simultaneously, not just for safety reasons but also because we want students to learn how to do these things properly and not haphazardly.

Archers after all are the very epitome of perfectionists. If we are going to do something, we should learn to do it perfectly.



7 Fun Ways to Work Out With Your Dog

Competitive Dog Jogging
Guest Post by Eva Sykes

Keep your dogs away from developing health problems by ensuring they get their dose of physical activity! Obesity or overweight in dogs can cause them to have joint and heart problems, diabetes, and more. What’s a better way to keep them healthy and moving by doing something fun together, right?!

Here’s a list of fun ways to workout with your dog. Join forces with your loyal companion in achieving that healthy and fit bod!

1. Hiking

Have a spectacular time with your four-legged friend with a breathtaking view! Dogs also love nature and they definitely love exploring. But there are also some considerations you should be aware of to ensure your dog will be able to keep up. This includes their fitness, behavior, age, health, and size.

For your next trip, be sure to pack the essentials for your buddy! Just like humans, they will need some food, water, and their doggy bowl. And one more important thing is to consider all the precautions and safety measures for the both of you!

2. Running

Introduce him or her to a blissful jogging! You might’ve guessed that being on our list. Which really should be! Running is one of the famous and basic ways of staying active and fit. It may also be the easiest way to incorporate your dog into your workout routine.

For starters, you could use a leash and train them to run beside you. This will take a little time - but patience and consistency are key! Also, consider the heat and humidity. Dogs have small amounts of sweat glands, and they get rid of heat through panting and only sweat through their paws.

See Also: Dog Jogging for Beginners, a Competitive Sport

3. Obstacle Course

Level up the workout and fun with some obstacle course! This can create a challenge for both the dog and owner with its various exercise equipment. Some basic obstacle course items include a teeterboard, tire jump, a dog walk and a tunnel - which you can build in your own backyard.

Just keep in mind the safety and well-being of your dog while you set up the course. Unwanted accidents may also occur sometimes which can be treated by their vets. A wise advice, be prepared in advance and don’t put your finances in jeopardy with expensive vet bills! Have your dogs insured and be more financially smarter!

4. Swimming

Enjoy the water and burn some energy with your playful bud in the pool or beach! Some dogs may be scared of the water at first, but they will get used to it after some few tries. And if you really do love swimming, water-loving dog breeds like the Golden Retriever or American Water Spaniel will be your best swimming buddy! Swimming is also beneficial for old dogs suffering from joint problems or hip dysplasia.

For starters, you can have your dogs on a leash and walk by their side in the shallow area. Slowly let them get used to having their feet wet and the rest will follow. What are you waiting for? Chill by your pool or hit up the ocean!

5. Fetching!

Dogs are known to be crazy for retrieving items - be it their favorite toys, a ball or frisbee. Thus, they love fetching! This is a game they seem to not get tired of. And there is a scientific explanation backing this up. Dogs have been with us for centuries and they were used for hunting in the early ages. The behavior of running after something that is moving is still instilled and built-in dogs. This behavior is self-reinforcing to them and makes them feel good!

Dogs aren’t just the one who should enjoy fetching while you just stand and wait for them. Try making this game more active and rigorous by incorporating some of your muscle-building moves like crunches, lunges, and squats while he or she retrieves.

6. Cycling

Another cardio you can do with your dog pal is cycling. It’s a great workout for you and can help build your leg muscles. This is especially great for dogs that are always excited when running! You could bike around at a fast pace and don’t have to worry if they can keep. It’s best to engage in this activity in a safe bike trail or terrain where you can avoid traffic from other vehicles.

7. Seasonal Adventures

Whatever the season is, with the sun showing high up or snow falling, there are always activities you can do outdoors for fun! Go surfing or kayaking with your dog in the summer, snowshoeing, skiing or snowboarding through winter, and a lot more! Dogs are smart, active and trainable - try exploring new sports with them!

See Also: 10 Exercises to do with your Pet this Summer

Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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