Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Principles of Fitness: Stretching (Module 4)

Stretching Tips

⦁ Stretch any particularly tight areas before and during warm up.
⦁ If anything feels tight during the workout, stretch it.
⦁ Stretch 10-15 minutes per day. I suggest stretching at the end of each workout as a cool down (while the muscles are still warm, before they tighten up).
⦁ Don't stretch more than 20 minutes per day. Overstretching can cause injury to joints and connective tissues.
⦁ Stretching must be accompanied by strength work. Gains in flexibility without gains in strength can result in injuries.
⦁ Focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
⦁ Contract the muscle opposite the one you are stretching
⦁ If stretching the left hamstring, contract the left quad. If stretching the left bicep, contract the left triceps.
⦁ You should only feel the stretch in the muscle you are isolating. If you are feeling it in other parts of your body, you're probably not doing the stretch properly.
⦁ Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds (or 5-6 breathes, whichever is easiest for you)
⦁ Be patient. Gains in flexibility are made over time. 10-15 minutes each day goes a long way over the span of weeks, months and years.
⦁ Focus on the sensations you experience while you stretch: what you feel and where you feel it. I like to stretch in a quiet place without music. The moments stretching at the end of a good workout are among the most peaceful moments I am able to achieve.
⦁ If you spent more time training one muscle group during a particular workout (i.e. legs), then spend more time stretching that muscle group at the end of the workout.

Full Body Stretching Routine

Lower Body
  1. Seated forward fold
  2. Seated straddle fold
    • To the side
    • Down the center
    • Overhead (lat stretch)
  3. Lying Twist
  4. Pidgeon pose
  5. Butterfly
  6. Cross legged fold
  7. Frog stretch
  8. Kneeling hip flexor stretch
  9. Quad stretch
  10. Calf stretch
Upper body
  1. Upright side lean
  2. Arm across (back/back of shoulder stretch)
  3. Arm over (triceps stretch)
  4. Arms behind (chest/front of shoulder stretch)
  5. Standing wrist/forearm stretches
  6. Wrist rolls
  7. Chest/bicep fly
  8. Seated trunk twist

How to Do Each Stretch

Lower Body
1) Seated forward fold
⦁ Feet together
⦁ Legs straight
⦁ Quads contracted + knees locked
⦁ Reach hands towards toes
⦁ Grab toes or calves and pull yourself down for added stretch
⦁ Hold 30 seconds
2) Seated straddle fold
⦁ To the side
⦁ Feet as wide apart as you can get them
⦁ Legs straight
⦁ Quads contracted + knees locked
⦁ Reach both hands towards your toes on one side
⦁ Bring your nose down to your knee (as much as you can)
⦁ Hold thirty seconds
⦁ Repeat for the other side
⦁ Down the center
⦁ Feet as wide apart as you can get them
⦁ Legs straight
⦁ Quads contracted + knees locked
⦁ Extend arms straight out, fold forward and place hands on the floor as far away from you as you can get them
⦁ Hold thirty seconds
⦁ Overhead (lat stretch)
⦁ Feet as wide apart as you can get them
⦁ Legs straight
⦁ Quads contracted + knees locked
⦁ Reach one hand towards the same side foot
⦁ Reach the other hand behind your head to the same side as the first hand
⦁ Grab the first arm on the triceps for added stretch
⦁ Hold thirty seconds
⦁ Repeat the other side
3) Lying Twist
⦁ Lay flat on your back
⦁ Arms extended straight out to the side
⦁ Legs straight, together, fully extended
⦁ Lift one leg straight up off the ground
⦁ Twist, lowering the leg to the side and reaching your toe to your opposite hand
⦁ Keep your hands and arms planted firmly on the ground
⦁ Bend your knee if you have to
⦁ Hold thirty seconds
⦁ Repeat to the other side
4) Pidgeon pose
⦁ Front leg bent at 90 degrees
⦁ Extend back leg + rotate back hip towards front heel
⦁ Keep your chest up
⦁ Use your arms to control your weight and the intensity of the stretch
⦁ Okay for back leg to be bent (goal is for it to be extended straight behind you)
5) Butterfly
⦁ Seated, feet together, knees apart
⦁ Back flat, chest up, slight lean forward
⦁ Bring your feet in as close to your groin as you can get them
⦁ Use your elbows to push your knees towards the ground
⦁ Can also use your hands to push your knees to the ground one at a time
6) Cross legged fold
⦁ Seated with feet crossed
⦁ Position yourself with your hands and arms so your knees are as low possible
⦁ Extend your arms straight out in front of you and fold forward
⦁ Fold as far forward as you can, extending your hands as far as they will go 
⦁ It's okay if you can't touch the ground yet. It's also okay if you can't lean forward at all. You will get better with daily stretching.)
⦁ Hold for 30 seconds
⦁ Switch your feet (so they're crossed the other way) and repeat
7) Frog stretch
⦁ On knees and elbows
⦁ Extend knees as far apart from each other as they'll go
⦁ Rock hips backward as far as they will go and hold for 30 seconds
⦁ Place hands on ground
⦁ Rock hips forward as far as they will go and hold for 30 seconds
8) Kneeling hip flexor stretch
⦁ One knee bent, the other on the ground
⦁ Both knees bent at 90 degrees
⦁ Rock your hips forward until you fill a stretch in your hip flexor
⦁ Hold for 30 seconds
⦁ Repeat for the other side
9) Quad stretch
⦁ One knee bent, the other on the ground
⦁ Both legs bent at 90 degrees
⦁ Reach one hand behind you and grab the opposite foot
⦁ Use your hand to pull the foot up until you feel a stretch in the quad
⦁ Hold for the seconds
⦁ Repeat for the other side
10) Calf stretch
⦁ Bear crawl position
⦁ Straighten your arms and your legs so you're in downward dog
⦁ Pick up one foot and place it behind the other
⦁ Adjust yourself so you feel the stretch in the calf
⦁ Hold for 30 seconds
⦁ Repeat for the other side

Upper body
1) Upright side lean
⦁ Standing
⦁ One hand overhead, other hand on your hip
⦁ Lean towards hand on hip
⦁ Tilt head, arch neck and spine sideways to stretch neck and lats
⦁ Keep legs straight
2) Arm across (back/back of shoulder stretch)
⦁ Standing
⦁ One arm goes straight across your chest
⦁ Keep this arm straight (no bend at the elbow)
⦁ Use your other arm to apply pressure to the back of the elbow
⦁ Repeat for the other side
3) Arm over (triceps stretch)
⦁ Standing
⦁ One hand goes over your head between your shoulder blades on your back
⦁ Use your opposite hand to pull the elbow back and stretch the triceps
⦁ Repeat for the other side
4) Arms behind (chest/front of shoulder stretch)
⦁ Standing
⦁ Lace your fingers behind your back
⦁ Lock your elbows
⦁ Pull your shoulders back and puff your chest out
⦁ Lift your hands behind you, keeping the elbows locked
⦁ Look straight up 
⦁ Tilting your head to each side will stretch the neck also
5) Standing wrist/forearm stretches
⦁ Standing
⦁ Extend arm in front of you, locked at the elbow
⦁ With palm up, use other hand to pull fingers down and back towards you
⦁ With palm up, use other hand to pull fingers up and back towards you
⦁ With palm down, use other hand to pull fingers down and back towards you
⦁ With palm down, use other hand to pull fingers up and back towards you
⦁ Repeat for the opposite side
6) Wrist rolls
⦁ In/out
⦁ Hands in fists
⦁ Roll both wrists to the inside going through the full range of motion
⦁ Roll both wrists to the outside going through the full range of motion
⦁ Weave
⦁ Interlace fingers in front of you
⦁ Roll wrists and elbows in a snaking motion
⦁ Reverse the direction of the snaking motion and repeat
7) Chest/bicep fly
⦁ Standing
⦁ Extend your hands as far as they can go from each other
⦁ Turn your palms up
⦁ Keep your elbows straight
⦁ Tilt your head back and look up towards the sky
⦁ Arch your back and neck backwards to stretch the chest, front of shoulder and biceps
8) Seated trunk twist
⦁ Seated, feet on the ground, knees up
⦁ Rotate to one side
⦁ Place lead hand behind you
⦁ Place elbow of following hand behind opposite knee 
⦁ Use lead hand and elbow as leverage to twist yourself around and rotate your spine
⦁ Keep the spine straight (don't arch the spine, just rotate it)
⦁ Repeat for the opposite side

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Café Club Icebreakers: 50+ Fun Conversation Topics

Our language group has been meeting every Thursday since Feb. 11, 2021.  These are some of the topics we have used as conversation starters.  Typically, each person has their turn to answer the question in their second language.  We usually do 2-5 questions per session depending on how many people we have.  

These icebreakers are good conversation tools to use in anywhere, like on a long car ride or when seated at a table with a bunch of people you don't know.  These have been a good way for our group to open up conversations in our second language and to get to know each other.

Cafe Club Icebreakers
1. One positive experience, one negative experience, one crazy experience
2. Would you rather:
1. Be poor and happy or rich and unhappy
2. Find your soulmate or find a billion dollars
3. Speak all languages or talk to animals
3. Most fun thing you did over Easter Break (or recent holiday)
4. Two truths and a lie
5. Your favorite place in Manzanillo (your town)
6. Your favorite place in Mexico (your country)
7. Your favorite place in the world
8. What is your dream vacation?
9. The most fun thing you did last weekend
10. If you were going to make one food for the group, what food would you make and why?
11. If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?
12. If you could meet one person from a different time period, who would you meet and why?
13. Describe your favorite activity and why you like it
14. Describe your daily routine in your second language
15. What is your favorite place to go for a walk
16. Describe yourself in one sentence.
17. If your life were a movie, what genre would it be and why?
18. What are your summer plans?  What are you most looking forward to and why?
19. If you could have one super human power, what would it be and why?
20. If you had an extra hour in the day, how would you use it and why?
21. If you could take three things with you onto a deserted island, what would you take and why?
22. Describe an experience that changed your values.
23. What new or additional skill do you think you need to progress most right now?
24. What are your 5 biggest/most important goals for the next 6 months?  And why?
25. If you could travel to any place in the world, where would you travel and why?
26. Describe what a perfect day looks like to you.  What are you activities during the morning, afternoon and night?
27. Describe your family and a little bit about each person
28. When you die, what do you want to be remembered for?
29. Find 5 things you and your partner both like
30. What is your favorite musical instrument and why
31. If you magically fix one problem in your life, what would you fix and why?
32. Describe an experience where you had to use your second language to do something important
33. If you were a clothing brand, what would your slogan be and why?
34. If you could meet one living famous person, who would it be and why?
35. What was your favorite activity when you were a kid.
36. Describe something new that you did or learned in the past week
37. Describe your education (past, present, plans for the future)
38. Describe what you think makes a good leader and why
39. What kind of a leader do you think you are and why
40. What is a popular belief that you think is false
41. If you had the attention of everyone in the whole world, what would you say and why?
42. Describe an experience when you had to rely on a friend to accomplish something important
43. Describe an experience when you helped a friend accomplish something important to him/her
44. What activities do you do to relax or relieve stress?
45. What is your definition of success?  Why?
46. What do you think is the hallmark or success?  Why?
47. What is your biggest fear?  Why?
48. Describe a time when you faced a fear and overcame it.
49. What is the best advice you've ever been given?
50. If you published an autobiography right now, what would the title be?
51. Describe your dream job.
52. What is the best book you've read recently that you would recommend to a friend?
53. Do you prefer cats or dogs?  Why?

Cafe Club Events
1. Talent Show
2. Poetry/Story Reading

Class Notes: The Art + Science of Drawing - Basic Skills

These are my class notes from the online drawing course titled ''The Art + Science of Drawing - Basic Skills.''  This is not the course - it's only my notes from the course.  The course has videos and exercises and I highly recommend it if you would like to advance your drawing.  It's available on Udemy and at evolveyourart.com.

Lesson 1
Always start with very light lines
  • Light, soft lines at the beginning (incredibly soft lines to start, from 10 to 15 feet back you shouldn't even be able to see them)
  • Use overhand grip on the pencil (use the side of the pencil, if you use the tip you'll get harder lines)
  • The lighter the lines you start with, the more opportunity you have to adjust them

Lesson 2
Basic Shapes: Circles and ovals
  • Every drawing starts with incredibly light lines
  • Great artists translate complex forms into basic drawable shapes
  • Use your shoulder as a compass to make the motion of a circle (okay to bend at the elbow)
    • Use a good amount of speed/momentum (but not too much)
    • Pantomime the circular motion before you lay the circle down
    • Go around multiple times.  By taking multiple passes the lines coalesce into a workable circle
    • Lines tend to get darker if you try to draw something rather than just scribbles
    • Practice circles as lightly as you possibly can
  • Technique for ovals is the same
  • Practice drawing them at every angle
    • Sideways, vertical, diagonal
    • Change sizes (small large)
    • More open (closer to a circle) / more closed (closer to a line)
  • Circles and ovals require a lot of practice.  Gaining skill requires practice.
  • Masters never get tired of re-engaging the fundamentals
*This is a lifestyle: Translate every single thing you see into some kind of basic shape.  This is what great artists do.  This is how great artists see the world (i.e. Picasso).


Lesson 3
Straight Lines + The Shapes They Make
  • All forms, no matter how complex, distill down into a few basic drawable shapes
  • Always start drawing very lightly
  • Shapes made using straight lines
    • Only two types of lines you can make
      1. Straight (squares, rectangles, triangles, quadrilaterals + beyond) 
      2. Curved (circles + ovals)
  • How to draw a straight line
    • Speed is important - like circles, move quickly (but not too fast)
    • Get momentum up for the lines to work out
    • Moving more slowly actually makes it more difficult to draw a straight line
    • Pantomime it first, then put the pencil down, then go back and forth
      • Take several passes, starting very lightly (like circles)
    • Practice drawing horizontal and vertical lines
      • Practice making all different angles of lines
    • Experiment with different ways of holding your arm to find what is comfortable for you
    • Okay to overshoot corners on intersections
    • Lines should be light and don't have to be perfect
  • If you need a perfectly straight line, you can always a ruler
    • Very few people can draw perfectly straight lines on command and it isn't that useful of a skill anyway
    • Can always use a ruler if you need a perfectly straight line (but using a ruler takes the handmade element away from it)
  • Horizontal + Vertical Lines
    • Think about every straight line as an angle (Horizontal = 0, Vertical = 90)
  • Squares + Rectangles
    • Every rectangle has a width to height ratio (i.e. 3 1/3 x as wide as high)
    • Also evaluate rectangles by measuring corner to corner
    • It's okay for lines to overshoot their intersections
  • Evaluating angles
    • Horizontal and vertical lines provide structure+ stability
      • Horizontal lines stand in for horizon on most landscape paintings
    • Oblique angles provide excitement and dynamism
      • Oblique = slanted (neither horizontal nor vertical)
  • Triangles
    • Three sided shapes which contain oblique angles
  • Quadrilaterals + Beyond
    • Evaluate the edges and evaluate corner to corner
    • Also add excitement and dynamism
    • Necessary for perspective drawing
    • There are no limits to how many sides a shape can have
*The key to evaluating complex shapes is to not only measure the edges, but also to measure the diagonals from corner to corner + point to point

Lesson 4
Charting the Course of Lines
  • If forms don't fall into recognizable shapes, then evaluate them as lines
  • Translating curves and rounded shapes into angles
  • Axis lines
    • Each half of an oval should mirror the other (if you slice it in half down either axis)
    • If the two sides are different when you draw an axis line, then correct for this in your practice.  Get in the habit of drawing axis lines.
  • Translating curves into angles
    • Must identify beginning point and end point before drawing a complex curve (i.e. one with multiple arches)
    • Break down a curve into the least number of angles
    • Think of line quality as you think of tone of voice: long smooth strokes, not short and staccato 
  • Steps for drawing curves
    1. Determine the beginning point and end point
    2. Determine the direction the line is going at the starting and ending points of the curves
      • Draw angles, not curves (yet)
    3. Referring back to the beginning and ending points, translate the next angles (not curves) from the beginning and ending point.  
      • Then add the angles one by one until you have the full form of the line
*Draw very lightly at first (especially the angles).  Then darken in only the lines you want the viewer to see
 
*There is no single solution to translating curves into angles.  You can increase or decrease the number of angles you use to translate the curve.
  • Eggs
    • Narrower at one end, wider at the other
    • Can be halved on axis (all eggs can be halved on axis)
    • Steps for drawing an egg
      • Pantomime + draw a circle
      • Pantomime + draw the arc
      • Pantomime + draw the axis line
        • Use the axis line to make sure each half is even
*Try changing the order around (circle, arc, axis line).  Experiment with every order and see what works best for you.
  • Bending Basic Shapes
    • Bent rectangles & bent triangles
    • Bent ovals & eggs
      • If you bend an oval, then you have to bend the axis as well.  
      • Experiment starting with the axis line first and with the shape first.
Lesson 5
Putting It All Together
  • The Drawing Process
    1. Start with very light lines (only darken the ones you want the viewer to see)
      • Light lines to dark
    2. Biggest shapes first (then work your way down to smaller shapes and details)
      • Big Shapes to small
    3. Most general information before going down to specifics
      • General information to specifics
*Rule: think of drawing like building a house - the infrastructure (the light lines) are like the infrastructure of a house.  They are never intended to be seen by the viewer.  As such, keep them light.
  • Observational drawing (drawing what we see)
    • 70% observation (spend 70% of the time observing and analyzing the form)
      • Spend far more time simply observing and analyzing the form than drawing it.
      • Ask questions BEFORE you make drawing attempts (see questions below)
    • 30% drawing (30% drawing with pencil to paper)
*Biggest question is always how to begin.  Here's how:
  • Five Questions To Repeatedly Ask Yourself When Drawing
    1. What is the biggest shape?
      • Details must be meticulously arranged in relationship to larger shapes
      • At the beginning, ignore every detail and focus solely on the largest shape
    2. What is its axis?
      • Observe + analyze the shape's axis before attempting to draw the shape
      • Two ways to evaluate axis lines, use both
        1. Use pencil flat on the page to measure axis angle, comparing to reference image
        2. Think about it in terms of degrees (15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90)
    3. How big should it be?
      • First shape: how much space do you need to leave for other shapes?
      • Subsequent shapes: each new shape you draw will be compared back to the previous shapes you've drawn
        • Each subsequent shape you draw will be compared back to the previous shapes you've drawn
          • Each subsequent shape compares in width/diameter to the others (i.e. scaled properly)
    4. Where should it go?
      • Answer this question in relationship to the page
      • Only make your first light attempt after answering these four questions
        • Should be able to describe the shape in perfect detail using the first four questions so that someone else could draw the shape accurately based on your description BEFORE you draw it.
          • That's how clear you should be about the shape before you even start drawing
    5. What changes can I make?
      • This one is the difference between good drawers and great ones
        • Very rarely do drawers get it right the first time
        • Drawing is a process of iterations
      • Right Shape?  Right axis? Right size? Right place?
        • Only when the answer to all of these is yes, do you move on
      • Use darker lines to indicate that those lines are more accurate (than lighter foundation strokes)
*Then start over.  What is the NEXT largest shape?

*Focus on this conversation (the five questions) in your head.  The conversation in your head determines what comes out on the page (and the quality of it).  The quality of this conversation = the quality of drawing.

*Modify the form as you're drawing it.  Like a sculptor.

*There is not always one right answer to these questions.  There is room for interpretation.  That's part of the art.
  • What is the closest basic shape?  May not be one certain answer.  Just have to understand it well enough to get something on the page.
Lesson 6
  • Darkest lines should signal to you that these are the lines you are most confident are correct
    • Don't darken in the details until you are sure where the form should be (common mistake)
  • Don't say anything to yourself you wouldn't say to a child learning to draw
Lesson 7
Materials
  • Graphite hardness
    • B scale: higher number = softer pencil = darker
    • H scale: higher number = higher pencil = lighter
    • ''No. 2'' pencil is a 2B pencil (good place to start)
      • Start with a harder pencil (on the H scale) if you have a hard time getting light lines
      • Start with a softer pencil (on the B scale) if you have a hard time getting light lines
    • Can start with H scale pencil for light lines + switch to B scale pencil for dark lines and shading
  • Colored pencils (oil based, not graphite)
  • Paper
    • Most practice can be discarded and recycled
    • Use white archival paper for drawings you want to save (low or no acid content)
  • Erasers
    • Kneaded erasers = recommended
Lesson 8
Demo Notes
  • As soon as you know what shape you're looking at, you can draw it
  • Think in terms of basic shapes only (circle, triangle, square, oval)
    • Not beak, eye, wing, claw, etc.
  • If not a shape, then think about 1) how long the line is, and 2) which direction it's going
    • In other words, treat it as an angle (a straight line)
  • Each time you go through the drawing, break the drawing into smaller shapes
Lesson 9
Demo Notes (cont.)
  • When adding details, look at the direction the lines are going
  • Develop the drawing as a whole (don't complete the details in one section before the rest is done)
    • Develop the whole drawing together, detailing in all of the sections together
  • Go lightest to darkest (very slowly transition into darker and darker lines)
  • Layer - make many passes building up dense layers of lines
  • Keep your mind focused on solutions
  • Make sure there's nothing in the major shapes you want to change before you start adding in hard, dark lines
  • The eye should be one of the most detailed parts of the drawing (because that is where people are going to look)
    • The eyes and face should be the most detailed (even on animals) because this is where people are going to look
Lesson 10
Demo Notes (cont.)
  • Building texture is a matter of patience and effort
Lesson 11
Flower Drawing Demo
  • Irregular object (unpredictable)
  • Flowers don't have to be quite as accurate (not like faces)
    • This means you can intentionally alter things for dramatic or aesthetic effect (i.e. adding curvaceousness to leaves).  It doesn't mean it's okay to be lazy.
  • Other than you, no one will see the reference you are drawing.  Your drawing will stand on its own.
  • Every shadow has its own shape
  • Mistakes and errors are not artistic license.  If you are going to take license, know it.  Be as precise and detailed as you want to be.
  • If you can't tell what's in the foreground or what's in the background, draw the lines over each other (draw both).  At least at the beginning stages with light lines.
  • Longer, fluid, dynamic strokes will always look more compelling and genuine than short, nervous strokes
Lesson 12
Texture & Detail
  • Give a light wash of value to everything that isn't white
  • Shadows have soft, diffused edges
  • Make soft lines with the side of the pencil (virtually impossible with the tip)
  • Every mark you make will be visible, even through all of the other marks you put on top of it
    • Can add an astounding amount of detail by layering (go over each section a dozen times)
  • The drawing doesn't have to look good until the end
Lesson 13
Finishing the Drawing
  • Refining the details and darkening the contrast
  • Establish the darkest dark (value is relative)
    • The rest of the drawing will seem pale, so darken in the detail and nuance
    • Each pencil color has a different ''darkest dark'' (i.e. black, red, yellow)
  • Up to you to decide when it's finished.  Make everything seem resolved.
Lesson 14
Figure Drawing
  • Much less margin for error than most subjects.  Important to pay attention to the proportions of the figure.
  • Learn the basic proportions (but most the time you're still using the same process we already learned - the 5 questions)
  • By understanding what basic shapes the subject is made of, you can draw it.
  • Mostly circles and ovals for figures (there's a saying that there are not straight lines on the human body, and it's mostly true)
  • Lots of bending ovals (bean, eggplant) + bending triangles
  • Be as accurate as possible and spend more time refining shapes.  Only once all of the parts of the body are in proper proportion can you move on.
  • Get your lines right before you start shading
  • Develop the subject as a whole (not filling in detail on small pieces one at a time)
    • This ensures the whole drawing will work together
Lesson 15
Shading + Finishing
  • Start shading by determining the line of determination (line where the shadow starts)
    • Won't be a hard line (not on soft, organic subjects) - so use a soft line
      • Maintain a clear determination between light and shadow
    • Core shadow = darkest part of the shadow
  • Then add value to the portions of the drawing that have value but are not shadows
    • Areas on the shadow side of the side of determination are shadows
  • Shadows start as basic shapes or lines (then you soften the edges to make them shadows)
    • Remember: shadows have soft edges
  • Three rules.  Work from:
    1. Big to small,
    2. Simple to complex, and
    3. General to specific
  • Anatomy and knowing anatomy is an essential part of figure drawing
  • More definition = sharper/lines (foreground)
  • Less definition = softer/lighter lines (background)
  • Ignoring the center of the shapes (the details) makes figures look cartoonish + oversimplified
  • Must address all the details inside the contours before you can arrive at a finished drawing
  • Use kneaded eraser to make the whites whiter and lift value to create more contrast
  • A good drawing should have areas of focus (some parts are more detailed than others
    • The viewer's focus will go to the parts that are the most detailed
  • Add in the smallest details last
  • Come back to drawings days or weeks later
    • Like with writing, you will see certain details that were missed or left out, and things that can be added to it.
  • Process lines almost imply motion in a finished figure drawing
Next Courses 
website: evolveyourart.com
  1. Dynamic Markmaking
  2. Form + Space
  3. Measuring + Proportion
  4. Shading Fundamentals
  5. Shading: Beyond the Basics
  6. Art + Science of Figure Drawing

Monday, May 31, 2021

Principles of Fitness: Basic Boxing Offense + Defense (Module 3)

Offensive Moves
1) Straight Punches

Jab - lead hand straight punch
  • Step with same side foot
  • Opposite hand stays up at temple (doesn't drop down to chin or below)
  • Turn the punch over to connect with the largest two knuckles (index and middle finger)
    • These are always the two knuckles you want to connect with.  Connecting with the smaller knuckles can break the hand bones.
  • Fully extend punch (but don't hyperextend elbow)
    • Get full extension on the jab.  Jabbing at too short of range leaves the chin exposed to powerful counters (hooks)
    • Punch straight ahead.  Not up or down.  Punching downward leaves your chin exposed.  You have maximum reach, power and effect on your jab when you punch straight ahead (not up or down).
  • Shoulder of punching arm is glued to chin at the end of the punch (chin protected behind shoulder)
  • Chin stays down (doesn't come up as you throw the jab)
  • Recoil quickly 
    • Bring your punching hand immediately back to guard.  Snap it out and snap it back.  Recoiling slowly or incompletely is a lazy jab and leaves you open to counters.
    • Snap your hips and shoulders and when throwing the punch, then snap them back
  • Eyes always on the target
  • After the jab, throw another strike or make a defensive movement.  Don't just stand there.
  • Whether you step or not, and how far you step, depends on how far you are from the target.  You want to connect with the target where your jab is at full extension for maximum effect.
  • Variations
    • Snap jab - focus on speed
    • Power jab - focus on power, step-in (guard buster)
    • Double jab - first jab focus on speed, second on power
    • Angle jab - step forward with back foot as you jab (step at 45 degrees to create angle on opponent)
      • Can slip at the same time (jab + slip + angle step)
    • Jab to body - bend your knees and drop your hips to jab to the body.  Don't lean forward or bend forward at the hips. Sit your hips down and punch directly forward, so that your chin is protected by your punching shoulder.  Don't punch downward, this leaves your chin exposed.  Keep your chin back behind your punching shoulder (don't lift your chin or dive in with it).  Target: solar plexus.
    • Jab + slip: Dip your head off the center line to your non-punching side as you jab.  Don't let non-punching hand drop.  Goal is to slip the straight punch and land the jab at the same time.  Eyes always on the target.
  • Common mistakes
    • Not recoiling quick enough
    • Not recoiling all the way (leaving the jab out there)
    • Dropping the punching hand before throwing the jab (loading with the hand).  
      • Load by rotating the hips and shoulders, not by dropping the hand.
    • Dropping the non-throwing hand as you jab (below the temple)
    • Not fully extending jab (jabbing at too short of range and leaving chin exposed)
    • Flailing elbows
      • Elbows should fire straight forward on straight punches.  They do not bow out to the sides on straight punches.
    • Being tight throughout the movement. (Keep your muscles loose and relaxed all the way through the punch until the very end, then tighten the fist at impact)
      • Snap punches, don't push them.  Clench your fist and snap it only at the last moment.
    • Jabbing downward instead of straight ahead (thus leaving the chin exposed)
      • Jabbing downward is an easy habit to fall into if you're taller
    • Bending or leaning forward at the waist (thus exposed to uppercut)
    • Lunging forward with the chin up
    • Staying still after throwing the jab (not throwing anything behind it or making a defensive move)
Cross - rear hand straight punch
  • Opposite hand stays up at temple (doesn't drop down to chin or below)
  • Pivot same side foot (rear foot) as you punch (turn it in)
  • Turn your fist over to connect with the largest two knuckles (index and middle finger)
    • These are always the two knuckles you want to connect with.  Connecting with the smaller knuckles can cause the hand bones to break.
  • Fully extend elbow (but don't hyperextend it)
    • Get full extension.  Throwing straight punches at too short of range leaves the chin exposed to powerful counters (hooks)
    • Punch straight ahead.  Not up or down.  Punching downward leaves your chin exposed.  You have maximum reach, power and effect on your cross when you punch straight ahead (not up or down).
  • Shoulder of punching arm is glued to chin at the end of the punch (chin protected behind shoulder)
  • Chin stays down (doesn't come up as you throw the punch)
  • Recoil quickly 
    • Bring your punching hand immediately back to guard.  Snap it out and snap it back.  Recoiling slowly or not completely is a lazy punch and leaves you open to counters.
    • Snap your hips and shoulders and when throwing the punch, then snap them back
  • Eyes always on the target
  • Whether you step or not, and how far you step, depends on how far you are from the target.  You want to connect with the target with your cross is at full extension for maximum effect.
  • Variations
    • Double cross - recoil all the way between punches
    • Angle cross - step forward at 45 degrees with your lead foot as you throw the cross (to create angle on opponent)
      • Can slip at the same time (cross + slip + angle step)
    • Cross to body - bend your knees and drop your hips to cross to the body.  Don't lean forward or bend forward at the hips. Sit your hips down and punch directly forward, so that your chin is protected by your punching shoulder.  Don't punch downward, this leaves your chin exposed.  Finish with your chin behind your punching shoulder (don't lift your chin or dive in with it).  Target: solar plexus.
    • Cross+ slip: Dip your head off the center line to your non-punching side as you throw the cross.  Don't let non-throwing hand drop.  Goal is to slip the straight punch and land the cross at the same time.  Eyes always on the target.
  • Common mistakes
    • Not recoiling quick enough
    • Not recoiling all the way (leaving the punch out there)
    • Dropping the punching hand before throwing the cross (loading with the hand).  
      • Load by rotating the hips and shoulders, not by dropping the hand.
    • Dropping the non-throwing hand as you throw the cross (below the temple)
    • Not fully extending cross (punching at too short of range and leaving chin exposed)
    • Flailing elbows
      • Elbows should fire straight forward on straight punches.  They do not bow out to the sides on straight punches.
    • Being tight throughout the movement. (Keep your muscles loose and relaxed all the way through the punch until the very end, then tighten the fist at impact)
      • Snap punches, don't push them.  Clench your fist and snap it at the last moment.
    • Punching downward instead of straight ahead (thus leaving the chin exposed)
    • Bending or leaning forward at the waist (thus exposed to uppercut)
    • Lunging forward with the chin up
2) Hooks
  • Rotate your hips
  • Snap your elbow up
  • Turn your fist over (twisting motion)
  • Pivot your same side foot
    • For kickboxing: do not pivot your foot on hooks in kickboxing or muay thai because you have to defend kicks.  You can still generate a lot of power in your hooks without the foot pivot.  The foot pivot is correct form for boxing, but incorrect for kickboxing or muay thai.
  • Get your elbow up on the hooks (high elbow = more power, less chin exposure)
  • Finish with your chin tucked behind your punching shoulder and your opposite hand up at your temple
  • Punch ends at the contact point (directly in front of your face) and recoils immediately.  Don't over-rotate or follow through.  
  • Connect with the largest two knuckles (index and middle)
    • Whether you land the punch with the palm facing down or facing towards you, either is correct, but connect with the biggest two knuckles
  • Hooks, straight punches and uppercuts should all be landed from the same distance.  Visualize a nickel at the end of your jab.  You should be able to hit that nickel with a straight punch, hook or uppercut.
  • Can throw hooks with or without a step depending on the distance.  You want to connect at the distance where you have full extension on your punch because that's where you have the most power.
  • Common mistakes
    • Dropping the non-throwing hand (leaving chin exposed)
    • Not getting your elbow up high enough (loses power and leaves chin exposed)
    • Over rotating (excessive follow through)
    • Not recoiling quick enough
    • Not recoiling completely (leaving the punch hanging)
    • Lunging forward as you punch (leading with the chin)
    • Looping the hook (loading with the hand).  Load by rotating the hips and shoulders, not by reaching out with the hand.
  • Variations
    • Hook to the body - Turn over the hook to the body, same as the head hook.
      • Targets: 
        • Floating ribs (bottom ribs - the smaller rib bones)
        • Liver (right side of body, at and just below bottom of ribs)
          • Attack by coming up and under ribs at 45 degree angle on opponent's right side
        • Solar plexus (center of chest, just below sternum)
          • Good hook target if you are at an angle to your opponent
      • Finish with chin behind punching shoulder
        • Can sit your hips down to avoid having to reach too far down with your shoulder (thereby exposing the chin above the shoulder)
      • Good to follow a body hook or series of body hooks with a hook or uppercut to the head.  Don't just stand there after throwing a body hook - either throw another attack or make a defensive movement.
      • Common mistake: diving in with the chin (leading with the chin).  Keep your chin hidden behind your shoulder.
    • 45 - halfway between hook and uppercut (comes in at 45 degree angle)
      • Targets liver and floating ribs.  Dig the largest two knuckles (index and middle) on impact.
    • Overhand - hook that comes from over the top of the shoulder
      • Throw the hook overhand to come over the opponent's guard
      • Shoulders will tilt and head will naturally dip off the center line
      • Eyes always on the target
      • Twist your fist over and connect with the largest two knuckles
      • Opposite hand stays up (don't let it drop)
    • Check hook - step back with your opposite foot as you throw the hook
3) Uppercuts
  • Same distance as hooks and straight punches
  • Palm facing in (towards you) at point of impact
  • Connect with biggest two knuckles (index and middle)
  • Stop at point of contact (directly in front of your face) and recoil immediately.  Do not overextend the uppercut too high)
  • Stay loose until the very end of the punch and only tighten the fist at the very end
  • Common mistakes
    • Dropping the punching hand before throwing the uppercut (loading with the hand).
      • Load by rotating your hips and shoulders, not by dropping your hand
    • Throwing uppercuts too short (you have max power at full extension)
    • Not recoiling fast enough
    • Dropping non-punching hand below temple
  • Variations
    • Uppercut to the body - use when opponent is bent forward
Defensive Moves
  • Evading is always superior to parrying.  Parrying is always superior to blocking.  Blocking (even partially) is always superior to taking a clean shot.  Evading is your first line of defense, parrying the second and blocking the third.
1) Evading (head movement)
  • Think of head movement as a full body movement, not just a head movement.  Slips, rolls and pull backs all require you to move your whole body.
  • Head movements
    1. Pull back
      • Front hand drops (only slightly)
      • Head pulls straight back
      • Chin stays down behind shoulder (don't allow it to come up)
      • Back hand stays up at temple
      • Pull back just out of range.  Don't exaggerate the movement as pulling too far back will leave you off balance.
      • Bring front hand immediately back up as your head recoils.  Don't leave it down.  Drop the front hand only slightly, not too far.
      • If you need to pull back twice in a row, step back with your back foot as you pull back the second time
      • Pull back from straight punches, hooks or uppercuts
    2. Slip
      • Bend your knees
      • Turn your hips and shoulders
      • Dip your head off the center line
      • Keep both hands up (don't let either hand drop while slipping)
      • Slip straight punches
      • Slip to the outside of the punch
        • Slipping to the inside can be dangerous if there another punch coming behind it
      • Practice slipping while stepping forwards and backwards
    3. Roll
      • Roll under hooks.  You can also roll under straight punches, but generally you slip straight punches and go under hooks.
      • Bend your knees, drop your hips and roll your head under the centerline from one side to the other.
        • Don't bend at the waist.  Bend your knees and sink your hips to go under
      • Eyes on the target at all times (don't look down)
      • Beware that you are vulnerable to the uppercut while rolling (especially if you bend forward at the waist).
      • Keep both hands up
      • Practice rolling while stepping forwards and backwards
      • Kickboxing and Muay Thai: Generally don't roll in kickboxing or Muay Thai because of the knees.  If you do roll in kickboxing or Muay Thai, do so only slightly - rolling too low makes you vulnerable to knees or kicks to the head.
2) Parrying
  • Parry straight punches (jab or cross)
  • A parry is an advanced block.  You catch + deflect the punch as it comes in.
  • Keep a tight guard and use minimum movement
    • Keep your hand close to your face when parrying.  Don't reach out to far.  
    • Let the punch get to you, don't chase it.
    • Keep the parrying motion as short as possible, no extra motion
  • Hit the punch down or to the side with your hand
  • Can also use your forearms to deflect punches
  • Parry with the same side hand that the punch is coming from (parry their right with your left hand, and their left with your right hand)
  • Variation: slip + parry - slip while parrying (dip your head off the centerline to the outside while parrying the punch to the inside)
  • Parrying straight punches to the body: you can parry straight punches to the body, but be aware that your hand has to travel farther to reach a body punch, thus leaving your head more exposed. 
    • You can evade body shots by pulling the hips back, or block/deflect them with your forearms and elbows.
3) Blocking
  • Head block (blocking head punches)
    • Block by raising your hand up to your head (left hand to block right punches, right hand to block left punches)
    • Key is to keep your hand pressed tightly against your head.  If there is a gap between your hand and your head, then you will hit yourself and your block will not be effective.
    • Use your hand, shoulder, elbow and/or forearm to block or deflect the punch
    • When blocking a hook, make sure your temple and ear are protected.  Do not allow the hook to sneak behind the guard.
    • Eyes always on the target
    • Make sure your feet are balanced.  You must have a strong base or you can still be knocked off balanced by a punch, even if you block it.
  • Body block (blocking body punches)
    • Drop the elbow down to cover the floating ribs and liver (left elbow to block right punches, right elbow to block left punches)
    • Bring elbow immediately back up afterwards, because dropping elbow leaves chin exposed
      • Crunch down as you block to keep your chin behind your glove, thereby minimizing chin exposure


Thursday, May 27, 2021

Principles of Fitness: Warm Up (Module 2)

Warm Up (Module 2)

⦁ Goals
⦁ Elevate heart rate
⦁ Gradually put joints through full ranges of motion
⦁ Activate blood flow to all muscle groups
⦁ Break a sweat
⦁ Take at least 10-15 minutes to warm up at the beginning of each training session.
⦁ Take 20 or 30 minutes, if necessary. Get a good warm up. Failing to warm up thoroughly is often the cause of injury. Do extra reps and take extra time, if you need to.
⦁ Warm up longer when it’s cold or when your body is cold.
⦁ Warm up tight muscles longer. Stretch muscles that feel tight during warmups or during training.
⦁ Spend extra time stretching and warming up sore areas. Failing to adequately warm up sore areas can lead to injury. Usually activating blood flow to the tight area will help it loosen up. Start with simple movements and gentle stretches.
⦁ Incorporate cardio into your warm up (5 or 10 minute jog, shadowboxing, jump rope)
⦁ A proper warm up is one of the major keys to avoiding injury.

Steps

⦁ Roll out tight areas with foam roll or lacrosse ball
⦁ Stretch any area that's particularly tight
⦁ Dynamic Warm Up
⦁ 5 way squat 
⦁ Deep squat (6-12)
⦁ Side squat (6-12 each side)
⦁ Lunge (6-12 each side)
⦁ Rev. lunge (6-12 each side)
⦁ Step behind lunge (6-12 each side)
⦁ Trunk twists (30) 
⦁ Neck rolls (6-12 each side)
⦁ Jumping jacks (30)
⦁ Pushup position
⦁ Perform these exercises in modified pushup position (on knees) if they are too difficult in pushup position
⦁ Shoulder touches (30)
⦁ Twists (6-12 each side)
⦁ Pushups (6-10)
⦁ Burpees (6-12) 

Move Descriptions

⦁ Deep squat (6-12)
⦁ Steps
⦁ Feet shoulder width
⦁ Toes pointed slightly out
⦁ Weight over your heels
⦁ Drop your hips down to your heels
⦁ As low as you can go
⦁ Engage legs to push yourself up
⦁ Keep your knees pointed out. Do not let your knees buckle in at all.
⦁ Think about pushing your knees apart as you push yourself up, if that helps.
⦁ Performance notes:
⦁ Keep your shoulders back, spine flat and head level. No rounding of the neck or back
⦁ Do not allow your knees to buckle (point in) as you push yourself up.
⦁ If you are unable to perform squats without your knees buckling, then perform an assisted squat by putting your hands on a table to assist you until you can squat your own bodyweight comfortably.
⦁ If you experience pain in your knees, perform assisted squats with your hands on a table.
⦁ Go as far down as you can. You should feel a stretch in your glutes at the bottom.
⦁ Your squats should be getting lower and lower as your strength and mobility increase from doing these exercises (along with the stretches) daily.
⦁ Variations
⦁ Pause squats
⦁ Decline slow (3 counts), pause at bottom (1 count), explode up
⦁ Pause halfway down (1 count), pause at bottom (1 count), explode up
⦁ Pause halfway down (1 count), pause at bottom (1 count), pause halfway up (1 count)
⦁ Side squat (6-12 each side)
⦁ Steps 
⦁ Standing position
⦁ Step to one side
⦁ Toes pointed slightly out
⦁ Drop into a wide squat
⦁ Push up and bring your feet together
⦁ Back into standing position
⦁ Performance Notes:
⦁ Keep your shoulders back, spine flat and head level. No rounding of the neck or back. Keep your knees pointed apart as you push up - do not let them buckle in.
⦁ Modification: Use a table for assistance until you can side squat your whole bodyweight comfortably.
⦁ Modification: Alternating left and right: easier, doing one side at a time: harder
⦁ Modification: Do them uphill or downhill to make them easier or harder
⦁ Lunge (6-12 each side)
⦁ Steps
⦁ Standing position
⦁ Step forward
⦁ Drop your hips down
⦁ Knee should almost touch the floor
⦁ Both knees bent at 90 degrees at bottom of lunge
⦁ Push yourself back up and step back into standing position
⦁ Performance notes:
⦁ Modification: If you are unable to perform a lunge, modify it by not taking the step back at the end. Keep your feet in the staggered position and drop your hips up and down without a step.
⦁ Modification: Try them on a hill. Perform these facing uphill (easier) or facing downhill (harder) to add or decrease difficulty.
⦁ Modification: Alternate sides (easier) or perform them one side at a time (harder)
⦁ Modification: walking lunges (step forward into standing position at the end of the lunge instead of backward, so you keep "walking" forward as you complete reps).
⦁ Rev. lunge (6-12 each side)
⦁ Steps
⦁ Standing position
⦁ Step backward
⦁ Drop your hips down
⦁ Knee should almost touch the floor
⦁ Both knees bent at 90 degrees at bottom of lunge
⦁ Push yourself back up and step forward into standing position
⦁ The performance notes are the same as those for the standard lunge (above)
⦁ Step behind lunge (reverse lunge twist) (6-12 each side)
⦁ Steps
⦁ Standing position
⦁ Step behind your other foot and rotate torso
⦁ Drop hips
⦁ Knee should almost touch the floor
⦁ Both knees bent at 90 degrees at bottom
⦁ Step up and rotate back into standing position
⦁ Performance notes
⦁ Hold your arms up in front of you and use them to help you balance as you complete the move.
⦁ Trunk twists (30)
⦁ Standing feet shoulder width
⦁ Arms out out straight at your sides
⦁ Rotate the hips and spine to both sides, so your arms swing around your body
⦁ Rotate as far as you can go and increase progressively
⦁ Neck rolls (6-12)
⦁ Standing with your hands on your hips
⦁ Stretch your neck all the way to one side
⦁ Slowly roll your head in a circle
⦁ Gently stretch your neck throughout the entire circle
⦁ Then roll your head the other direction
⦁ Jumping jacks (30)
⦁ Keep arms and legs straight
⦁ Bring your hands all the way over your head so they touch (or almost touch) at the top - putting your shoulders through the entire range of motion. If it hurts to bring your hands all the way up overhead, then bring them as high as you can without pain.
⦁ Bounce on the balls of your feet (not heels)
⦁ Pushup position
⦁ Perform these exercises in modified pushup position (on knees) if they are too difficult in pushup position
⦁ Shoulder touches (30)
⦁ Pushup position
⦁ Lift one hand + touch opposite shoulder
⦁ Keep core tight
⦁ Replace hand on ground
⦁ Repeat with opposite hand
⦁ Twists (6-12 each side)
⦁ Pushup position
⦁ Feet together
⦁ Hands shoulder width
⦁ Fingers pointed forward
⦁ Lift one hand off the ground
⦁ Twist and Reach up towards the sky
⦁ Twist back and place your hand back on the ground
⦁ Pushups (6-10)
⦁ Steps
⦁ Feet together
⦁ Hands shoulder width
⦁ Fingers pointed forward
⦁ Lower yourself all the way to the ground
⦁ Without resting the on the ground
⦁ Push yourself back up
⦁ All the way until your arms are fully extended
⦁ Performance tips
⦁ Head, shoulders, hips, knees, ankles all in line. Back flat.
⦁ Complete the full range of motion of the pushup - arms fully extended at top, chest all the way to the ground at the bottom.
⦁ Variations: wide grip (hands wider than shoulders), narrow grip (hands together or narrower than shoulders), straddle (feet wide, hands shoulder width)
⦁ Burpees (6-12)
⦁ Standing Position
⦁ Place hands on ground and kick feet back in pushup position
⦁ Perform a pushup
⦁ Tuck your knees in
⦁ Jump up off the ground and raise your hands over your head
⦁ Return to standing position

 

 

 

 


Principles of Fitness: Stretching (Module 4)

Stretching Tips ⦁ Stretch any particularly tight areas before and during warm up. ⦁ If anything feels tight during the workout, stretch it. ...