What Does It Mean To Be A Blackbelt?

 

Thanks Roy Dean !!! Great martial artist, great teacher and great inspiration. I would like to have the opportunity to train with you.

LESS, Sass, Stylus – CSS Preprocessors

css_preprocessors

A few months ago I started using CSS preprocessors to write CSS files. When I heard about them I just wanted to see how they work and what they can do but after some days I could see how useful they are. I started with LESS and after getting a good understanding how they work I said that knowing how to use Sass will be nice as well. These days I am using both. Just try them and see which one you prefer. There is also Stylus but to be honest I didn’t used/try it.

If you are thinking to start using CSS preprocessors, here are some links and apps which can help you, as well:

LESS home webpage has everything you need to start and to read about. LESS syntax is similar to CSS.

Sass home webpageSass Basics, Sass reference contains a lot of useful stuff in the case you want to begin with Sass.

Stylus – the  homepage has the necessary documentation.

After you will start reading more about Sass you will notice that some people are using a syntax and some people prefer a different syntax. Yes, both of them are supported, one is based on indentations and { } ; are optional and the other one is more similar to standard CSS. Check Sass vs. SCSS: Which Syntax is Better? to see how they differ.

As I mentioned above you should decide which one you use, but here is an article if you want to have a look: Sass vs LESS.

In order to make preprocessing of Sass and LESS files easier there are a handful of apps to help you. Here are some of them:

If you don’t like to have a GUI app you can also use a command line tool, for example: guard-livereload.

 

Install/Configure Apache, PHP and MySQL on Mountain Lion

There are people which are using MAMP which is an one-click package to install a personal webserver but I prefer to use the default apps which are already present in OS if that’s possible. If you are like me then everything what MAMP contains is already installed in your Mountain Lion you just have to configure it. Only MySQL you have to install it separately because is not present in ML, but that’s not a difficult task.

So, let’s start with the web server, Apache. Maybe you already checked System Preferences -> Sharing and you observed that the Web Sharing option disappeared, but even if that option is not available anymore I can assure you that the Apache web server is already installed on your system. To confirm:

$ httpd -v
Server version: Apache/2.2.22 (Unix)
Server built: Aug 24 2012 17:16:58

ok, let’s start the server:

sudo apachectl start

to stop/restart the server use:

sudo apachectl stop
sudo apachectl restart

Now, we have to be sure that Apache will start after a reboot:

sudo launchctl load -w /System/Library/LaunchDaemons/org.apache.httpd.plist

If you want to put your projects in DocumentRoot folder then just drop them in default location, which is: /Library/WebServer/Documents.

In the case you want to use your ~user/Sites folder, then you need to add the following to your Apache config file:

Note: Replace YOURUSER with the output of the command whoami
- create a file /etc/apache2/users/YOURUSER.conf
with the content:

<Directory "/Users/YOURUSER/Sites/">
Options Indexes MultiViews
AllowOverride All
Order allow,deny
Allow from all

change permissions for it:
sudo chmod 644 /etc/apache2/users/YOURUSER.conf

restart Apache to read the changes:
sudo apachectl restart

At this point, your Apache webserver should be configured and running, we will test that a bit latter after we configure the PHP support for it.

PHP 5.3.15 is installed as well on your Mountain Lion (it includes Xdebug, PEAR, GD and PDO_MYSQL):

$ php --version
PHP 5.3.15 with Suhosin-Patch (cli) (built: Aug 24 2012 17:45:44)
Copyright (c) 1997-2012 The PHP Group
Zend Engine v2.3.0, Copyright (c) 1998-2012 Zend Technologies

to enable php support in Apache edit /etc/apache2/httpd.conf and uncomment the line:

LoadModule php5_module libexec/apache2/libphp5.so

now the PHP support should be there. Create a hello.php file with the following content hello.php, put it in your /Library/WebServer/Documents folder and point your browser to it http://localhost/hello.php. You should see a webpage with a lot of details regarding PHP.

Or if you configured your user personal web folder, as well, add the hello.php file to ~/Sites/
now, point your browser to: http://localhost/~YOURUSER/hello.php

Note:
For additional configuration options:
sudo cp /etc/php.ini.default /etc/php.ini

and make your changes.

Next step is to install MySQL:
- download mysql-5.6.14-osx10.7-x86_64.dmg from http://dev.mysql.com/downloads/mysql/:
- install all three items (it will be installed in /usr/local/):

mysql-5.6.14-osx10.7-x86_64.pkg
MySQLstartupitem.pkg
MySQLPrefPane

You can start you MySQL server from System Preferences
– Start MySQL Server
– Check Automatically Start on Startup

Add MySQL you your PATH in ~/.bash_profile, ~/.bashrc:

# Add the /bin directory into your $PATH environment variable.
export PATH=$PATH:/usr/local/mysql/bin
# Set the MySQL Home environment variable to point to the root directory of the MySQL installation.
export set MYSQL_HOME=/usr/local/mysql-5.6.14-osx10.7-x86_64
# add the following two lines if you want to start/stop MySQL server from command line:
alias mysqlstart=“sudo /usr/local/mysql/support-files/mysql.server start”
alias mysqlstop=“sudo /usr/local/mysql/support-files/mysql.server stop”

- let’s have a minimal conf file:

sudo cp /usr/local/mysql/support-files/my-default.cnf /etc/my.cnf

- secure the database:
The installation doesn’t set any password, so we have to set a password for the root user:

mysql -u root
GRANT ALL ON *.* TO 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED BY ‘yourpassword’ WITH GRANT OPTION;
quit

(replacing ‘yourpassword’ with your password, keeping the single quotes)

or you can use mysqladmin to do the same:

/usr/local/mysql/bin/mysqladmin -u root password 'yourpassword'

Note:
Allow Apache and PHP to access MySQL:

sudo mkdir /var/mysql
sudo ln -s /tmp/mysql.sock /var/mysql/mysql.sock

The other solution will be to change your php.ini file to point to default mysql socket

Optional:
Install SequelPro, MySQL Workbench or phpMyAdmin for databases administration, if you want. They are free.

That’s all.

PixelPumper – offline blog editor

I was looking for a nice offline blog editor for Mac. It seems that PixelPumper is a nice app, now I am  playing with it, so, here is my first post from PixelPumper. I also added a “featured image”, a screenshot for its main window, to see how it will be resized and posted.

It seems that the “featured image” is not inserted and I have to use “Add Photos” if I want to insert pictures.

Strange characters appeared into my posts

After updating the operating system and also WordPress, I had some strange characters such as – “ ’ †appearing il my old posts. In order to fix the issue, the solution was to comment the following two lines in “wp-config.php”:

define('DB_CHARSET', 'utf8');
define('DB_COLLATE', '');

I am not sure if there is a better solution but this one did it for me.

Not posting for a long time, I am back

Hi, me again :).

Sorry for not posting for a long time but I’ve been very busy.

So, it’s time to update the pages and to start posting again.

My gym and fitness routine

I started going to gym about three years ago. I consider that I am still a beginner, I can not give advices, for that there are personal trainers, nutritionists, …. Here I put some ideas which I learnt during these three years of tryings and experimenting different things. What it’s working for me maybe it’s not working for you, or vice versa, that’s why you have to try and see how different exercises, diets, drinks, affect your body.

My gym training is additional and complementary to my martial arts training, and I also have a full time job and a family, so, I don’t have time to spend hours every day in a gym, that’s why maybe some exercises are not suitable for everyone or maybe they are lighter for some people.

Let’s start first with calories: I don’t count calories, honestly, I don’t have time for that, perhaps a personal trainer will do that for you, but for me it’s simple:

Supplements: First, you need to get your daily food right, that is key. In general, a decent multivitamin and omega 3 fish oil supplement daily, will help. Regarding the protein powder, personally I don’t take but if you can not cover your necessary protein amount per day from real food, a protein shake will help to accomplish that, but keep in mind that it’s just a supplements and it’s not, should not be, a meal replacement.

Rules to follow:

Pre/Post Workout:

My Customised Gym Program (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday):

Note: where I have something like Ex1/Ex2/Ex3 it means that I alternate them, depends how I feel that day.

Warm up: slow running, jumping and flexibility exercises for about 10 minutes

Tuesday (Chest/Back/Abs&Core)

Chest
1. Bench Press / Pec Deck Machine / Dumbbells Fly / Push Ups
2. Incline Bench Press
Back
1. Bent Over Barbell Row
2. Seated Cable Row / Lat Pull Down / Pull Ups
3. Dumbbell Shrugs
Abs
1. Crunches/Sit Ups
2. Hanging Leg Raises
3. Hanging Knee Raise
4. Lying Floor Leg Raise
5. Russian Body Twist
Core
1. Plank
2. Side Plank
3. Cat-Camel
4. Hand-Leg Diagonal Stretch

Thursday (Legs/Arms/Shoulders)

Legs
1. Lounges
2. 45 Degree Leg Press
3. Leg Extension
4. Leg Curl
5. Optional: Good Morning / Deadlifts / Squats (very good compound exercises which will work many muscles groups at once, but dangerous for your lower back, spine and knees if you don’t have the proper form or/and the weight is to much). I marked them as “optional” because usually I don’t do them, only sometimes.
Biceps
3. Chinups
4. Standing EZ Barbell Curl / Standing Hammer Curl
Triceps
3. Cable Triceps Extension / Dips
Shoulders
1. Dumbbell Lateral Raise
2. Military Press (Dumbbells/Barbells)
3. Dumbbell Front Raise
4. Reverse Dumbbells Fly
5. Dumbbell Front-Lateral Raise
6. Clean Press (take a barbell from the floor, lift it above your head. Useful for Shoulders: main: legs, lower back, triceps: secondary)

Saturday (Abs&Core&Stretching)

Abs
1. Crunches/Sit Ups
2. Hanging Leg Raises
3. Hanging Knee Raise
4. Lying Floor Leg Raise
5. Russian Body Twist
Core
1. Plank
2. Side Plank
3. Cat-Camel
4. Hand-Leg Diagonal Stretch

I finish each training session with about 10 minute of stretching.

During the weekend, sometimes depends how I feel, I am going for about one hour: soccer, swimming, running, tenis, table tenis or cycling.

Some useful and interesting articles, links, in no particular order:
- a very nice website with A LOT of information, videos, recommendations, …

http://www.scoobysworkshop.com/

- and also a lot of information on their forum:

http://www.askscooby.com/

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/

- and their forum as well:

http://www.muscleandstrength.com/forum/

http://www.askscooby.com/basic-techniques-36/the-bible-of-weight-training/

http://www.askscooby.com/nutrition-39/protein-faq-many-answers-to-the-common-questions/

http://evilcyber.com/nutrition/how-to-use-protein/http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/nutrition/what-are-good-sources-of-protein-wrapping-it-up.html

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/nutrition/sport/carbohydrate.html

http://www.rosstraining.com/articles/strengthtraining.html

http://www.rosstraining.com/articles.html

http://speedendurance.com/2010/08/11/weight-training-reps-intensity-and-benefits/

http://www.holygrailbodytransformation.com/how_many_reps_to_gain_muscle.shtml

http://www.bodybuildingsecretslive.com/four-no-fail-principles-for-quick-and-easy-weight-gain/

http://www.smart-strength-training.com/protein-per-day.html

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/maki1.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protein_(nutrient)

http://forums.johnstonefitness.com/showthread.php?t=42333

http://www.scientificpsychic.com/fitness/diet.html

Here a few articles to read about chocolate milk as recovery drink, very interesting read:

http://www.ultimatecrossfit.com/2011/02/24/chocolate-milk-the-best-post-workout-recovery-drink.html

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/recipes/healthy-eating/superfoods/chocolate-milk-after-workout/

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/24/health/webmd/main1342839.shtml

http://www.aldenteblog.com/2009/02/chocolate-milk-is-the-best-recovery-drink.html

A List of Martial Arts for Self-Defence

First what does self-defence mean? Check wikipedia webpage here:

Favourites of mine:

Karate: I would like to say that the style doesn’t matter, being Shotokan, Kyokushin, Ashihara, …. Any style is very good, any style includes strikes, blocks, sweeps, some throws, and will cover all the fighting ranges, so, what really matters is how you train and where you train. You have to find a good dojo (school) with a good instructor and give everything you can and you will become a good fighter.

Jujitsu (Jujutsu): Here I am discussing about Jujutsu (Japanese Jujitsu, German Jujutsu, Connelly Jujitsu …) and not about Gracie Jiu-jitsu. I mean standing up Jujitsu, and not Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.  Jujutsu is a complete style with everything you need for self defense (strikes, throws, locks, chokes and many more), also including weapons training, sticks, knife, but depends on each school what they will teach most of the time, so find a good school where you can train everything. If you want to see the differences between Brazilian Jiujitsu and Japanese Jujitsu check these links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Hapkido (Combat Hapkido): A great martial art for self defense, but it’s very difficult to find a school where they will not train jumping kicks and any kind of fancy stuff which will not work in a self defense scenario. Most of the time they will teach you Taekwondo with “hapkido taste”, so please be careful when you chose your school. That’s why I mentioned Combat Hapkido, because it is Hapkido without fancy stuff and with something more added from different styles.

Modern Arnis: If you want to focus on weapons training but also the techniques can be applied without weapons, then, this martial art it is for you. Modern Arnis has a lot of techniques added from Small Circle Jujitsu very nice blended with their original techniques. It’s fun to train and a very powerful martial art.

Krav Maga: It was designed for war, literally, but what is taught to civilians it’s a striped down version of the Israel Defense Forces’ original hand to hand combat system. Will give you the knowledge to defuse a situation quickly. It’s dirty but effective. Krav Maga is a principle based system, not a technique based system. One of the main goals of Krav Maga is to develop a strong fighting spirit, to never give up, and do what it takes to win.

Wing Chun: Is a concept-based Chinese martial art and form of self-defense utilising both striking and grappling while specialising in close-range combat.

I am a big fan of cross training. As you know from my previous posts, I am training in Shotokan Karate and Connelly Jujitsu, but any time when I have the chance, possibility and opportunity to train or attend a seminar in a different martial art style I will do it. You can take a lot of useful information from any kind of martial artist and incorporate in your training. But anyway, you should know and decide at some point which one is your main martial art because you will not be able to really advance in all of them, or if you are a beginner, different martial arts styles with different concepts will just confuse you. Just be careful.

The above mentioned martial arts have and cover some ground fighting techniques, or better said, they have some escapes from the ground to be able to bring the fight as standing up as soon as possible. In a self defense situation you may be facing more than one attacker, and the ground would not be a safe place to be. Fighting on the ground is not an option for self defense but you need to know, anyway, some basic techniques, escapes, …. If you really want to be master in ground fighting then Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is the way to go, there is no alternative way.

If you want to be a “complete” fighter, then you should consider to cover every range of fighting, this usually means that you need cross training. For example if you like grappling, Judo or Gracie Jiujitsu, then you should also consider to train in a striking martial art, for example, Muay Thai, KickBoxing, Boxing or even Taekwondo.

There are many other martial arts that could be very effective for self defense, as well, but I don’t have to much experience with them or sometimes is not an easy task to find a good school (JKD for example, usually they will teach you Kickboxing and will call it JKD). Here are some of them: Jeet Kune Do, Vale Tudo, Aikido Yoshinkan, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Sambo, Systema, Kajukenbo and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

A lot of people will tell you that MMA is the most effective, the most dangerous, the coolest martial art in the world, the best for self defense but check this post/article, as well, before thinking of that.

Keep in mind that some of them are NOT complete systems of self-defense, for example Judo, Sambo, Taekwondo, Gracie Jiujitsu, because they will not cover all ranges of a fight.

So, what style should you choose. That is a very difficult question to give an answer because there is no such “universal” style. If it would be, than everyone would train in that style I suppose, every military and police academy would be using the same one, that’s why every person chooses what it’s most suitable for him. What’s the best car? What’s the best food? There is no answer to these questions. The style is not important, what matters is how good your instructor is and how you train. The style is secondary, they all have there pro’s and con’s there are no superior styles. Its the person that has the ability to fight not the style. If you want to learn a complete system, even if it will take a full decade of dedicated practice to become good, then Jujutsu, Aikido, Hapkido, Modern Arnis, … is for you. Any complete system of martial arts include: kata, weapons training, multiple attack training, conditioning, and of course philosophy. That is why it takes so long to become good in a complete system. If you want to learn something faster, and to be able to defend yourself in a few months (6-8) then you need something like Krav Maga or a similar military hand to hand combat style. The soldiers don’t have years to learn how to fight and survive, they have just a few months, that’s why their “style” is what you can learn quickly and will be more combative, brutal and dirty.

For police and law enforcement officers the most suitable martial art would be a blend of working techniques from Judo, Aikido, Jujitsu, Modern Arnis, because they are not allowed, usually, to kick and punch a suspect. They should use locks, holds, … to restrain the suspect.

So, choose a school with a good instructor that incorporates all aspects of self defense, train hard and have an open mind, that’s what matters.

Two Connelly Jujitsu Seminars are coming

  1. The first one will be next week, October 15-16, in Hangelar (Bonn), the announcement is here organized by Budokan Black Eagle.
  2. As you know from my previous post there is an annual Connelly Jujitsu seminar in Wewelsburg, Germany, organized by JuJutsu Dojo Dueren. For 2012 it is scheduled for January 26-29, the announcement is here. It’s a great opportunity to meet a lot of skilled people and enjoying the training with Sensei Connelly. For pictures from the last year seminar see my previous post, mentioned above.

See you there!

Connelly Jujitsu Seminar, Wewelsburg 2011

A long time without any post. I am quite busy, I have to finish some old projects, so, no really time for blog and hobby projects. As you already know from my previous posts, I am training in Connely Jujitsu, so, I just want to say that two weeks ago I attended a great seminar in Wewelsburg. Four days seminar with 4 hours training per day, a lot of time for discussions and an excellent party. About 75 people, from 7 countries, attended the seminar. I am already waiting for the next one which will be in April in Germany. The exact date and place will be announced in a new post.

Wewelsburg2011

I uploaded on my Flickr account more pictures. Feel free to explore them.