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Cardio Trek End of 2018 Notes

You may have noticed that the number of posts I do per year has gone down in recent years and I currently only post 60 new articles per year.
►  2018 (60)
►  2017 (60)
►  2016 (100)
►  2015 (120)
►  2014 (120)
►  2013 (230)
►  2012 (180)
►  2011 (10)
You can also tell that 2014-2015 had a different standard of 120 posts per year, that 2016 was a transition period, and that 2013 I evidently went crazy by doing about 19 posts per month.

What has been happening has multiple reasons.

#1. In 2016 I got married.

#2. In 2017 we had our first son Richard. In Autumn of 2017 I took a break from actively teaching archery lessons, but unfortunately that didn't last very long and thus I still teach 2 to 3 days per week regularly.

#3. Ever since then I have devoted more of my writing time (what little I have since I am looking after an infant regularly) to other tasks. I find it difficult to keep up the schedule of making new posts for Cardio Trek constantly.

#4. Redundancy. This is a problem. After talking about an unknown number of topics I am running out of things to write about without repeating myself. I don't like being redundant, so when I do write something that feels repetitively I try to improve upon it by making it better and more useful in some manner.

#5. Book. For several years now I have been compiling a book about archery. This likewise drains my time and digs into the time I dedicate towards other kinds of writing.

#6. Writing for "Archery Focus Magazine" once in awhile. This is not a huge drain on my time as I don't write that often for the magazine, but on the plus side I do get paid every time I write something new for the magazine. (And then I go spend it on diapers or archery equipment...)

#7. Project Gridless, the sibling website to Cardio Trek has been taking up more of my writing time in recent years. You will note the number of posts per year for Project Gridless has gone up during the last 2 years, whilst Cardio Trek has been holding steady at 60 posts per year (and for the foreseeable future).


Project Gridless
►  2018 (90)
►  2017 (60)
►  2016 (20)
►  2015 (25)
I have also been trying to do more Project Gridless videos for YouTube, but finding time to do that is likewise difficult. In theory I could do more archery and fishing videos, but since I am cursed at fishing I am wondering if I should focus on bowfishing instead.

So what will 2019 and 2020 bring?

I have no idea. I hope to maintain the schedule of 60 posts per year, but honestly my writing schedule is such that I am writing something every day and still have difficulty maintaining my writing commitments for everything I do.

And I haven't even talked about my fiction work. For those of you who don't know, I have written 8 fantasy novels, 4 anthologies and 2 poetry books. I have several more novels, an anthology of fables, and another poetry book that is due out sometime in the next two years.

Combined this means I am constantly writing both fiction and nonfiction, and I am publishing books, anthologies, magazine articles, and blog posts.

Plus son. Plus wife. Plus a very active archery lessons business. Plus everything else I am not mentioning here, like hobbies, binge-watching Netflix, painting, woodworking and other activities. And sleep.

You would possibly expect me to be half-insane and pulling my hair out, but the truth is I am very much enjoying my life. I am enjoying teaching archery and meeting awesome students, and I am enjoying writing. Writing gives me such great joy.

So while it is becoming more difficult to maintain 60 posts per year, I am going to continue to set that goal and achieve it.

In other news, Merry Christmas!

I got a new archery glove for Christmas and a vintage bow from the 1970s. Below my son Richard helps me to unwrap my bow.


5 Reasons Why Dancing Is Good For Your Health

Photo credit: David Hoffman
By Wendy Dessler

After reading the title of this article, you are probably expecting to read how dance is good exercise. You are probably settling in to read how many calories you will burn during a particular type of dance. This is good information, but it is common knowledge. We would like to dig a bit deeper and perhaps to spark your curiosity about giving dance a try.

Social Benefits

The current generation of children is less socially motivated than generations pasts. Before the dawn of the era of technology, children played together after school. They gathered at parks and played sports. Organized clubs such as scouting were popular for boys and girls. Neighbors knew each other and communities depended on each other to watch over the children.

Today, children and teens “meet friends” through social media. They speak to each other online or on the favorite messenger program. The problem is, a child may be socially active on social media and totally ill-equipped to handle a face-to-face interaction. This often creates teenagers who have charismatic personalities when they are staring into a smartphone or a laptop computer. They express themselves with typewritten words but have trouble looking into a person's eyes and express their thoughts.

Dancing Defines Us

When a child is placed in dance class, they learn to be part of a team. They soon realize that their actions affect others. They learn to lead and they learn to follow. They find the control over their bodies. They have a new way of seeing and interacting with their peers.

Young dancers find a passion for performing. They accept help when they need it and they help others when they can. This is a great way to expose our internet hungry children to find the joy of living in the moment.

Self-Esteem

Bullying of our children by school-mates and adults of low moral standards. The internet is usually where it start and absolutely where is is relently applied. The victim is called names and made fun of on social media for the entire world to see. Parents have little hope stopping this. While we can prevent our child from using the internet, their schoolmates do and someone will show them the insults, posters, and even lies made up about a child. The problem has lead to many children, teens, and even some adults to taking their own lives to escape. Day by day the attacks chip away a child's self esteem. They adopt the attitude that they are flawed, and not fit for this world.

A bullied child will not absorb the praise and reassurance they get from their parents at this point. They think, “You have to say that, you’re my mom.” The way to build self-esteem is to allow them to learn something new. There are many types of dances. The child learns the steps with others who are also just learning the steps. With every movement, they celebrate as a team. The child sees that they can succeed and they are special. Every practice and performance they complete builds them up. When they begin to grow their self-esteem, they can look adversity in the eye and not take in the pain others are trying to inflict.

Stress and Depression

After reading the above information, it should come as no surprise to you that children suffer from stress-related illnesses, anxiety, and depression in record numbers. This is why we read so much about violence in the schools. It is not just the kids who are bullied that are stressed. The children who are hurting other children are just showing the other side of the same coin. These kids are depressed and angry.

We put more pressure on our children than ever before in the schools. Not only do they have an extremely fast-paced education curriculum, but they are required to do many pages of homework each night. They have little time to just be kids.

Photo credit: Kiana Bosman
One Hour A Week Makes A Difference

Putting your child in dance gives them one hour a week to be active. They dance and socialize and prepare for performances. They dress up and let their imaginations grow. The great thing is that nowadays you can get every costume you’ll ever need for your kids online. It is a low maintenance activity for a parent but it changes the world of an overworked and under stimulated child. This is often the first steps to recovery from depression.

Building Muscle Mass

As a person grows in their dancing abilities, they begin to see a wonderful side-effect. They begin to build strong and larger muscles. A dancer takes more punishment than a football player and they do it while controlling every muscle in their body while smiling.

The person will see the difference in the mirror. Other people see it too. It is sad to say that we are judged by our looks, but it is still a fact. If this person is a child, they will become more popular and they are less likely to be the victim of others. The conclusion is that gaining healthy muscles is good for our health, and it offers some extra benefits.

Long-term Health Benefits

Children who take dance often continue as they become adults. We all know dance speeds up your metabolism which naturally slows down as we age. But, you may not know that the effects dance has on the muscles, joints, and the way we metabolize our food reduces the impact on our bodies due to illness and disease.

Conclusion

It is true that dance is good exercise. It makes our hearts beat faster and it builds our muscles and endurance. It is true that dance will help you lose and maintain your weight. But, dance can offer much more than just weight control.

Our physical bodies become stronger and we are less likely to become sick. Our mental state is heightened due to the hormones dance releases in our brains. Dance is a natural antidepressant. But dance helps us develop socially, and mentally and boosts our self-esteem. So, unplug your kid, tell them how wonderful they are and enroll them in something that will give them lifetime benefits.



Editor's Note

One of my favourite dance videos on YouTube surpassed 100 million views 5 months ago. It is a rather addictive dance video.


Nasdaq crashing, requests for archery lessons up

So with the stock market in the USA crashing currently (and Forbes predicting a 20% reduction) I have seen a spike in the number of people asking for archery lessons in Spring 2019.

This happens every time there is economic uncertainty. Every time the economy sees a downturn, people get worried, and suddenly more archery students pop up asking for lessons.

I think it is a reaction to the economic situation that people instinctively start thinking about bowhunting for food and survivalism. Even though, oddly enough, the people asking for archery lessons are still primarily thinking of recreation and only thinking "useful hunting skill" in the back of their mind.

How bad is it? Well, the Nasdaq has lost about 1,100 points since September. And the Dow Jones is down 2,600 points.

The numbers themselves are not the issue. The real problem is how the stock market is an indicator for the economy. A sort of canary in the coal mine. If the canary suddenly dies, the miners are in danger too. So if the stock market tanks, it means the economy is in danger.

And with Trump's Trade War hurting various economies, it was really just a matter of time before we saw a market correction.

Historical Fact: The biggest trade war in the USA was in 1929, right before the big stock market crash. If you know your history, you can guess trade wars aren't a great idea for the economy.

So I guess I should be thanking the fool in the White House for his silly trade war which has ultimately hurt the U.S. economy and caused this uptick in people worried about the economy and asking for archery lessons.

I won't be thanking him, but I will take advantage of this opportunity and remind people that I also have a Limited Time Discount Offer for people prebooking archery lessons for March / April 2019.

Limited Time Discount Offer:
Prebook your lessons now and get 10% off.

  • This discount offer expires at Midnight December 31st 2018.
  • Only applies to archery lessons prebooked for March / April 2019.

Oh and in case you are wondering, here are photographs from March 10th, March 11th and March 17th 2018... so you have an idea of what the weather looks like in March. The photos below were used in an older post from March 20th 2018, titled Winter Archery Photography.

So as you can see, the weather in March is quite mild and enjoyable. Also this is apparently supposed to be a very mild winter thanks to El Nino, so I might end up teaching more lessons during the winter.




Reviewing Comments on CardioTrek.ca

So it is the end of the year and I am reviewing comments people have made on CardioTrek.ca.

Over 300 comments from the last two years, 2017 and 2018.

I managed to review (and delete) 100 comments before I got bored of looking at spam comments. Over 90% of the comments are spam / contain links. So by the time I eventually review all 300+ comments, there will probably be less than 30 comments that are genuine and get approved.

The spam comments are selling things like diet pills, detox pills, weight lifting gloves, weight lifting belts, exercise bicycles, health supplements, protein  powders, rhinoplasty, plastic surgery...

And even off topic things like promoting criminal defense lawyers, vacations, spas, viagra (of course!), hair growth pills (for bald people), gambling and such. I am not going to list them all, but clearly some spammers don't care if they are spamming a topic that is even relevant.

All of which gets marked as spam and deleted. Never even seen by the general public.

Because frankly that is how I roll. All comments are hidden until I have approved them.

Which means all the spammers (and spambots) are just wasting their time (and mine).

Even the posts I do approve are double-checked to make sure they didn't hide a spam link in a comment that at a glance looks genuine.

I have half of a mind to just delete ALL of the comments and turn off the commenting function. It would save me time from having to review them and make certain they are genuine comments that don't contain a spam link.

But I do like receiving the genuine comments.

  • The people who say thank you.
  • The people who say "keep up the great work".
  • The people who say "I learned something today thanks to you".
  • The people who are asking questions, which potentially can be used for my Exercise Questions posts.
And of course comments from my clients / students, which are often more personal and anecdotal.

Those are the comments I really enjoy, so clearly I cannot get rid of the commenting function entirely. I just have to weather the storm, delete the spam, and not check/review comments for 2 years again.

Two years from now I should be nearing the 1,000 posts mark (currently hovering around 880 and doing 60 per year) so it is a lot of posts for people to leave comments on.


Note

To the people wanting to sell boxing gloves, weightlifting equipment and other exercise equipment... don't spam! Send me product samples instead and I will do a product review. I will even post a copy of the review on Amazon if you ask nicely. Product reviews from genuine sources are a far better way of advertising your product and getting the positive word out there.

But spamming. Nope. Deleted. Good day sir! Hope you enjoyed wasting your time!

10 Lesson Archery Crash Course / Visiting Toronto

Traveling to Toronto to Study Archery

I have had students who come from the USA and overseas (Saudi Arabia, China, South Korea, India, Brazil, the U.K., etc) who have come here expressly to study archery under my tutelage.

Now that doesn't mean that they don't have any archery instructors available locally (although in some places like Saudi Arabia they are admittedly difficult to find). It simply means that for whatever reasons, some of my archery students have decided that they wanted to travel to Toronto, Canada to study archery here rather than study locally.

In 2017 I taught a young man from Ohio who came here for two weeks and took a 10 lesson crash course in traditional archery. Why? Because he couldn't find any archery instructors in Ohio that he felt were professional / quality, and he wanted to improve his archery skills in a hurry. So he decided to visit Canada, found an Airbnb, and have a vacation wherein he explored Toronto for 2 weeks and had 10 archery lessons during that 2 week period. He liked it here so much he was tempted to find a job in Toronto and move here. (Partially to get away from the political nonsense in the USA.)

In 2014 I taught a young woman with aspirations towards joining the Saudi Arabia Olympic Team, and thus came to Toronto for 10 lessons in Olympic-style archery. Saudi Arabia has a number of problems with archery:

  1. The common person cannot even purchase archery equipment unless they are already on an archery team. Thus it makes sense to study archery overseas. (Catch-22 Situation)
  2. You cannot get an archery coach in Saudi Arabia unless you are on a team.
  3. Joining an archery team requires that the individual has already demonstrated that they have archery skill.
  4. Taking archery equipment on a plane is prohibited unless you can prove it is for training purposes only.
Seriously, they make it really difficult. So in order to pursue her archery goals, she needed to study overseas. And she would need to buy archery equipment overseas, practice, get better, and continue to pursue her dream. It isn't going to be easy.

And other students of course, some of whom may have had other reasons for visiting Toronto and deciding to get archery lessons while they are here.

Two of my happy archery students from November 2018.

How many archery lessons should a person get?

Typically my "crash course" students take 5 to 10 lessons. The more the merrier. There is no limit.

Some of my regular students who live here in Toronto just keep coming back for more lessons year after year. Including one of my older students from the U.K. who visits Toronto every Spring and Autumn and has lessons during those times of year.

How much does 5 to 10 lessons costs?

For one-on-one lessons:

5 lessons is $270 CDN (weekdays only) or $405 CDN (weekends only).

10 lessons is $520 CDN (weekdays only) or $780 CDN (weekends only).

Often crash course students mix/match weekday/weekend lessons, so they might have 6 weekday lessons and 4 weekend lessons for a total of $624 CDN. (With the current exchange rate $624 CDN is about $466 USD.) This combination of weekday and weekend lessons allows them to have lessons on a Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday + Saturday/Sunday schedule, with breaks on Mondays and Fridays so they can relax.

Also my availability often varies on the season and how booked up I am with other students, so precise scheduling can vary upon what is available.

Is there a lesson plan?

Yes, I have multiple lesson plans.

There is the Standard Archery Lesson Plan (for traditional recurve), the Horse Archery Lesson Plan, and the Olympic Archery Lesson Plan.

If an archer is more experienced or has specific goals in mind, I can also adjust and tailor a lesson plan to suit the student's needs.

So for example I have yet to have a student ask to focus on longbow archery for 10 lessons, in which case I would simply modify the Standard Lesson Plan to suit their needs.

With compound archers their needs often vary on their goals so I routinely design an unique lesson plan for each compound archer that suits their individual needs.

Tips for Taking an Archery Crash Course

#1. Eat Healthy - You are going to be exercising for 90 minutes almost every day, so having a healthy diet is certainly beneficial. Lots of veggies and protein.

#2. Sleep Well - Avoid staying up late doing activities. Try to be well rested and alert the day of lessons. eg. Going out to a party, drinking and being tired/hungover the next day would be a bad idea.

#3. Pack a Lunch - Bring food, snacks, drinks to every lesson should hunger or thirst strike you. Having a hot or cold drink is very handy during the colder / hotter times of year.

#4. Archery Gear - If you have your own archery equipment and are bringing it with you, you should make certain it is okay to bring it on any international flights to Canada. You also don't want to forget anything you might need, so when in doubt BRING EVERYTHING you think you might need and pack it well in advance. You don't want to arrive in Toronto and discover you forgot your favourite tab or shooting glove or thumbring.

#5. Familiarize yourself with Toronto Weather - Depending on the time of year it is either really hot or very cold and you should prepare yourself by bringing or purchasing appropriate clothing.

Note - In 2019 I am going to try to not schedule lessons during the hottest weeks of the year and instead take a vacation at that time. The last two weeks of July are two of the hottest weeks of the year, so that sounds like a good time for a vacation.

#6. Be Prepared to Learn a Lot - My Japanese professor in university told us that the average human only learns and remembers 10 new things in a day, and thus a person learning a language can only be expected to learn and retain 10 new words each day. Over the course of 10 lessons, you will be expected to learn way more than 100 things. Thus you should expect to learn a lot, you should expect to learn some things you weren't expecting to learn, and it can feel a bit overwhelming at first.

Fortunately for you I explain things in terms of the physics of what is happening, and I often employ narrative storytelling, jokes, and "Archery Sayings" into my teaching methodology which helps students to remember. I even recently published an article in Archery Focus Magazine about using narrative storytelling as a teaching tool.


What are my credentials?

  1. I have been doing archery since April 1989. So almost 30 years, since the age of 10.
  2. When I was a teenager in the 1990s I routinely made my own bows, arrows, and crossbows.
  3. I studied Olympic-style archery formally in South Korea, at Jeonbukdaehakkyo (Jeonbuk University).
  4. I started teaching archery in 2009.
  5. I practice and teach all 5 major styles of archery - Traditional Recurve, Olympic Recurve, Longbow, Shortbow/Horsebow, and Compound.
  6. I still make longbows and crossbows as a hobby.
  7. I collect antique and vintage bows from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s. I would like to get some older bows.
  8. My personal collection of bows is *currently* 34. I create, buy and sell bows every year, so the number fluctuates.
  9. I have published 3 articles so far in Archery Focus Magazine. More to come!
  10. I have published a book of poetry about Zen Archery: "Dreaming of Zen Archery".
  11. I am currently working on an archery "how to" book and also a book of archery sayings/photography.
  12. I have been on CBC News, CTV, CityNews, TSN, OLN, CBC Radio (twice) and various other television and radio broadcasts.
  13. I have both won archery competitions and judged archery competitions.
  14. I taught my wife archery, and in 2019 I expect my 2-year-old son will begin archery. Five members of my extended family also do archery, including my cousin who was North American Champion for Traditional Recurve Target Archery in 1990 and 1991, and Traditional Recurve Field Archery Champion in 1991. So archery is a family sport for myself and my relatives.
  15. Teaching archery is not a hobby for me. It is my full time occupation. I live and breathe this sport.
The archery instructor on February 23rd 2017. A warm day in February.

Is it possible to get archery lessons during the winter? Are they indoors?

Yes, it is possible, and it is outdoors. I am a firm believer in practicing outdoors and learning how to adjust for weather conditions. Even if it is very cold. However since this is Toronto, one of most southern Canadian cities, it often isn't even that cold here and the snow melts easily.

However I do have a rule with winter archery. It must be -5 ℃ or warmer. Any colder than that and the combination of the extreme cold and the windchill is going to make it feel like it is -20 or colder, and it is both bad for the archer to be doing archery in such conditions, but also potentially bad for your archery equipment.

Thus for the sake of your equipment and mine, -5 or warmer is the rule.

Also I don't recommend using vintage archery equipment when it is too cold, too hot or too humid, as the heat/cold/humidity can be much more harmful to older vintage equipment. Aim for moderate temperatures when using any kind of vintage archery equipment. So while I do sometimes bring some of my "museum pieces" to the range to show students / shoot them, I only do that when the weather is appropriate.

The bow in the photo above is a 1949 Bear Grizzly Static Recurve, and it was so warm that day in February I decided it was safe to bring it.

What else is there to do in Toronto?

There are many tourism websites and things to do in or near Toronto. You will not be bored in this city which has a plethora of historical sites, art galleries, museums, restaurants, and cultural districts (eg. Chinatown, Little Korea, Little Italy, etc), world class beaches, sailboats, etc.

You could potentially also take day trips to Niagara Falls, Hamilton (which also has many waterfalls), Guelph, Kitchener, Elora Gorge, Barrie and various locales within a short drive / train ride of Toronto. Depending on your interests you could be exploring outdoors, going to historical sites, getting winery tours, etc. If you have specific interests I can even recommend places my wife and I have gone.

Some of archery students have also taken horseback riding lessons, so if that is your goal you could in theory do both. Study archery and horseback riding at the same time. After ten lessons of both you should be able to handle yourself on a horse and be able to shoot with a degree of experience and confidence. The Horse Archery Lesson Plan page contains a list of horse riding locations in / near Toronto if you want to browse and compare prices.

Update - One of my former students recommends Wind Spirit Stable, which is about a 90 minute drive north of Toronto.

Personal Note - It is my long term goal to open a horse riding school / private archery range. It is on my To Do List. It is just a matter of time.
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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