Red Belt Challenge: Day 17



Synopsis of the Day:

It was a productive stair day. I made my goal of 600 steps a day. The weather has turned cold and snowy. Extra miles added to my day was not practical. However, I made up for it when I arrived home.

My husband had the mats out, so I hit the free weights until my arms were quaking jello. Then I rounded out the workout session with stretching and yoga.

Here is how the day breaks down:

  • Backpack 30 lbs
  • Climbed 628 stair steps (with pack on)
  • Walked 3.10 miles (with pack on)
  • Fasted for 18 1/2 hours
  • 1-hour upper body strength training and yoga



If you know a person is working hard to get fit, let them know if you see a difference. Just a few words are great positive reinforcement.

My husband does not give out compliments very often so when he does it means something.

When I came home and changed into my workout attire, my husband stopped for a moment. He said he could see a difference; my legs were thinning down. I replied it must be all the stairs. He came back with, “Well whatever you are doing it is working.”

That little statement made a big difference. It spurred me on to workout harder.

We effect those around us. A few kind words can make a significant impact in someone’s journey.

Keep it real. Keep it simple.




Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

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Red Belt Challenge: Day 16

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Synopsis of the Past Two Days

It was a light day where stairs and miles are concerned. However, I balanced out the day with a 24 hour fast which went better than I thought.

The reason I mention this is I have not intermittent-fasted more than 19 hours while at school. I figured that with all the commuting, carrying a heavy pack for at least a couple of miles every day would be too much.

I think I was wrong in my presumption. Only one way to know for sure. Test it.


Here is how the day breaks down:

  • Backpack 25 lbs
  • Climbed 498 stair steps (with pack on)
  • Walked 3.00 miles (with pack on)
  • Fasted for 24 hours
  • 1 hour Taijutsu training



This morning while waiting for the boat to ferry me over to the mainland I was miserable. It was cold and clear, well below freezing. Bundled up in a sweater and heavy fleece I was shivering.

Then the most magnificent dawn colored the sky vibrant oranges, pinks and yellows. All of a sudden, I did not feel as cold. It was at this moment; a thought struck me.


Everything in nature is balanced. We are part of life and should be loyal to the natural balance within ourselves.

It seems that in today’s society we want everything right now. We were raised that way from instant noodles to emails.

Do I want to be physically fit right now? Yeah, I do, and yet it does not work that way. It is a process, a journey, a retraining of my body and mind.


Ask yourself, does instant or nearly instant gratification equal better?


I have a sneaking suspicion that in most cases it does not.


The old axiom “Anything of value takes hard work and time” applies here.




Sweat, tears, and bruises can create something beautiful. Suddenly, it was worth it.






Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

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Red Belt Challenge: Weekend 2



Weekend Synopsis:

It was a good weekend. We got into intense Taijutsu training. I even got a fat lip. My husband and I tend to train hard together. Frequently, we walk away with bruises as was the case this weekend.

One of the great moments of this weekend was practicing defense against a sword attack.

Always open to playing around with techniques, I sidestepped into a vertical sword attack, jabbed my elbow into my husband’s face guard, then slid my hand in between his on the handle as I rotated my body away from him, snatching the sword out of his hand.

The dumbfounded look on his face was priceless which was quickly replaced by excited eyes and “How did you do that?”

Have you ever had one of those fantastic moments in training when everything works?



Soke Masaaki Hatsumi

Soke Masaaki Hatsumi continually encourages us to play with our training. So, we played.

We spent the following 40 minutes playing with the move. It was a lot of fun, almost as if we were back in our Home Dojo.

I got in a little bit of walking and some weight lifting. I used 8 lb weights until my upper body was jello. It felt good.


Weekend break down:

  • Walked 3 miles (without pack)
  • 500 steps (without pack)
  • Stretched/Yoga both days
  • Practiced sword drills and ukemi
  • 2 hours weight training
  • 5 hours Taijutsu training
  • Fasted twenty-four hours on Sunday



We kept our home dojo set up this weekend.

It was motivating to work out the next morning. Usually, we set out our mats first which takes a solid 15 to 20 minutes. It means we have to want our work out. I have to admit there were times when we put off our training until the next day out of sheer laziness.

Leaving the mats out helped curb our lazy streak.


How do you curb your lazy streak?




Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.


Red Belt Challenge: Day 10 and 11



Synopsis of the Past Two Days

Between tests, at school and holidays (Valentine’s Day) my progress has not made much progress. I kept a steady pace of stair climbing. However, my overall walking was less. Now that Valentine’s and testing is over (for the next week anyway), hopefully, I can get traction this weekend with training.

However, the weather forecast is cold and wet. Translation: mat time.

Here is how the past two days break down:

  • Backpack 30 lbs
  • Climbed 1207 stair steps (with pack on)
  • Walked 5.02 miles (with pack on)
  • Fasted for 18 ½ hours each day
  • 1 hour Taijutsu training
  • 50 deep (to the floor) squats



Honestly, the past two days were difficult. I had to drive to reach my new standard of climbing 600 stairs a day. However, I did it. I did not give up. I pushed.

When everything in your body and mind says stop, don’t. Push through.


That is the best Valentine’s Day gift you can give yourself.




Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Red Belt Challenge: Day 9

public stair 17
Public Stair 17 is my new trainer. It will help me reach my goals.

Synopsis of the Day

My goal this week was to reach climbing 600 steps in a day. On day 9 of my Red Belt Challenge, not only did I obtain my goal, I squished it by 114 steps. It feels good. However, I am not satisfied.


My new goal: work towards a 1000 steps in a day.


Tomorrow, I have a huge science test. So, extra study time is a must. I only practiced ukemi this evening. Rolling is an integral part of Taijutsu. At least it is something.


Does practicing Sanshin no kata in the shower count?


I have to remind myself why I am climbing stairs, why I am pushing physically. I am strengthing my body and mind for my final red belt test.


Here is how the day breaks down:

  • Backpack 30 lbs
  • Climbed 714 stair steps (with pack on)
  • Walked 2.50 miles (with pack on)
  • Fasted for 18 hours



Training even a little every day is essential. It could mean a solid hour of hard training or five minutes of ukemi or running through the Sanshin no kata in the shower (don’t slip). The point is to keep going, keep training. It is the only way to advance.


Training Tip: Shadowbox in the kitchen while cooking dinner.


Thank you for reading.

J. R. Lowe

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.