Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Family

I just got off the phone with Gracie Barra Springfield. This was not a fun call for me; I was calling to cancel my membership.

The thing is, I didn't really want to do it. I loved the school, I loved the instructors, I loved the other students. The problem was that the school was so far from my home that if I tried to attend, it would take my entire evening during the school year. During the summer, it was still twice the distance I commute to work. It just wasn't working. And frankly, right now, I'm just not in shape to go back to it. So I've actually been out for awhile, but still paying the fees every month. It's just not practical.

I've been re-evaluating a few things I've more or less given up over the years, telling myself that I had to put the family first. I've gone back to shooting recently, doing DCM highpower competition once a month this summer, and tomorrow I'll try IPSC competition for the first time. That's a weekly match, so I hope to get a little bit of experience before I go to Blackwater. It's also shot indoors, so it goes all winter, too.
Another thing I've given up on has been metalworking. I have a forge and anvil out in the shed that haven't seen a spark in a couple of years now. I think it's time to find someone willing to take on a part-time apprentice and try to make some real progress as a smith. I know a smith who sells knives here in my little town. What's stopping me from asking him to teach me? I'm just that shy and that quiet. But if the truth be told, if I could do anything for a living, I'd make knives and write. It's time to do something about it.
I've also let my weight-loss and fitness slip away in the last couple of years. I lost a lot of weight a few years ago, and it felt great, but it didn't last. I didn't sustain it. This is normal for a lot of Americans, but it isn't good enough. The bicycle I used to love to ride has hung in the garage since winter; there never seemed to be time. Now I'll make time.

Now, again, Gracie Barra Springfield is not at fault here. In fact, let me commend them--they have auto-debit access to my checking account, and they could have followed the standard American martial-arts school procedure by losing paperwork, asking me to quit in person, and otherwise making it as hard as they could or stretching out the process. Many schools just keep charging you like some evil clone of AOL, not even acknowledging that you've quit until the third or fourth try. All it took to GBS was a phone call. That speaks well of them. They're a great school. But in the list of things I really feel a need to do at this moment, jiu-jitsu just didn't make the cut.


10% said...

That sucks. I know what it is like to have varied interests (although the lack of kids makes it easier), any chance you will pick it up later, or do you think you are done?

After a couple injuries I considered quitting (never seriously), but I don't know that I could ever truly quit BJJ 100%.

Don Gwinn said...

I don't really know. I'd like to say I'll go back, but I don't know that I will. The problem for me is that I already commute about half an hour to work. I know that's not bad compared to a lot of suburbanites who drive into big cities, but it takes a chunk of my day. I try to be at work before 7:30 a.m. And I hate to saddle my wife with all three kids all night.

It would be great to take the twins with me and have all of us participate, but it would mean driving back home after work, then driving back up to Springfield. We could just make it in time for the junior class--if I don't feed them dinner and they have no homework. Then I could stay for the adult class--but we'd get home after their bedtime.

So for now, I'm just going to concentrate on getting into shape and let BJJ go. Now, if I could find somebody who knows judo or something to work with here in town, I'd have to think hard about that.

I highly recommend GB Springfield to anybody who can make the time. I just can't do it right now. I wish I could uproot them and put them where my old Tae Kwon Do school is located, between home and work. That place was ideal--close to home, great atmosphere, great teachers--but the longer I did it, the more it became clear that I didn't want to learn Tae Kwon Do and there was no way to rationalize it.

Mich said...

Ouch. Finding a good MA school is tough, and having to leave a good MA school is even tougher. Good luck with finding a different activity to support the fitness journey.

Vanilla Chunk said...

The price of gas is gonna kill outdoor sports for a lot of folks. I am driving 4 people to the gym Tuesday! It's hard enough getting off the couch. I see increased hugeness in my butt's future= or finding a workout to do at home.

Oh. Don, by the way: I read that Day By Day comic about Obama's visit to Europe. Other than the facts that:
1. it was based on a lie- Obama was prevented from seeing some troops by military code
2. It weren't funny, and
3. The baby in panel 2 looked like Broderick Crawford,
it was really good.

Don Gwinn said...

I'll keep that in mind the next time I write Day By Day.

DirtCrashr said...

Too many varied interests and too much away-time almost lost me my most important person - so I had to re-prioritize.
More recently my dirtbike buddies have moved away and I haven't ridden in about a year - it's easier to go shooting two Saturday mornings a month, closer to home - instead of that many all-day and all-weekend events. But the cost of gas has nothing to do with it, I don't care what gas costs.

Not a lie - Obama had a choice. He couldn't bring his whole retinue and camera-crew along, but he could go himself with military escort - which he chose not to do since he couldn't influence the outcome and message the way he was able in Iraq.

Vanilla Chunk said...

If I want to shoot outdoors, it's at least an hour's drive.
L.A.=not so fun.

From Yahoo News
BERLIN - Sen. Barack Obama scrapped plans to visit wounded members of the armed forces in Germany as part of his overseas trip, a decision his campaign said was made because the Democratic presidential candidate thought it would be inappropriate on a campaign-funded journey.

A campaign adviser said the U.S. military saw the visit as a campaign stop.

"We learned from the Pentagon last night that the visit would be viewed instead as a campaign event," the adviser, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Scott Gration, said in a statement. "Senator Obama did not want to have a trip to see our wounded warriors perceived as a campaign event when his visit was to show his appreciation for our troops and decided instead not to go."

Don Gwinn said...

Uh huh. You buy that?

Look, vote for him, don't vote for him, but don't buy the hype. Look at the Republicans--they can't STAND their guy! Do you see them making excuses for him? Nope. Their slogan could be "McCain 2008! Yeah, we know, but he's not Obama."

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