มวยไทย [muay thai]

I think I’ve finally found the perfect gym! After I moved to Berlin and started to grasp the vast amount of different gyms to choose among, I, after nearly turning insane because of all the general thinking and planning and decision making after moving here, thought why not make this my opportunity to try out several gyms and pick the very best one for me and just relax the choice race? \begin{digression} I often feel life is about making decisions fast ’cause you’re supposed to be so damn efficient in anything you do. Even if the daily life as we know it in the modern western world brings a certain pressure on success expectations, it is up to us individuals to try not let it get to us and bring us down, which can be hard. In either way it will affect us and as we all know some pressure is good and we should use it for what it’s worth, but not let it turn into stress.

At the same time I know I am perfectly capable of putting an additional amount of pressure on myself without any help from others (the inner pressure; one aims to be great in the things that one is doing, right?). But I am aware of it and I know that one of the most important life lessons we learn is the art of–how should I put this–not giving a single F**K. Practicing this makes unnecessary thoughts evaporate and meaningful thoughts stay. Think of it as a fresh crispy breeze from the north taking aaaall the bad stuff away. It’s not about to stop caring or thinking or feeling. It’s about not dwelling on what makes us feel bad, or down, and rather get on with it and indulge ourselves in whatever makes us feel strong and happy. \end{digression}

Anyway, that aside, last week I went to try out a new gym. It’s called Ringside Gym and is located in east Berlin, which isn’t exactly the most convenient place for me, but since Berlin is all about 30 min transport time or more, I have come to the terms with spending a little extra time in the train. It isn’t too bad once you get used to studying papers or going though your German notes on the rails. Besides, Ringside Gym is going to open up a new gym located in west Berlin. That’s super since it’s closer to the university.

I had some criteria for choosing a gym. It needs to have:

  1. Good atmosphere and open-minded people
  2. Serious, hard and FUN training
  3. Additional weight room
  4. Showers!
  5. Well-equipped with boxing bags etc.
  6. Trainers who have deep knowledge in the sport regarding technique, movement, balance etc. + who are not afraid to push people
  7. Not more than €50 a month
  8. A rich workout schedule to pick from

Of course it’s not possible to know all of this for sure after the first time, but I did get a pretty good picture of all the gyms I tried out and I have a good feeling that Ringside Gym is right for me.

I haven’t trained kickboxing or thaiboxing on a regular basis for quite some time. Even though I have stayed in shape either doing climbing, running, yoga or strength training, it is a huge difference to thaiboxing. There you need strength, speed, suppleness, explosiveness, endurance, balance, technique, strategy… all at once! I could really feel the pain from being in bad boxing shape and starting to work out that intense again. I even had two weak moments were I was so dead tired that I considered to weep a bit. And puke. Luckily I managed to keep the tears inside and I swallowed whatever came up my throat. I’m happy about that. I wanna keep my pride a little longer. This reminds me of the good times back at Trondheim Kickboxingklubb (the gym where I started doing kickboxing in Norway and stayed many years until I moved out of the country) where it always happened that one of the newbies went for a puke in the sink in the middle of the “sadism workout” we used to have in the end. It’s probably not changed since then. Great stuff.

Kickboxing (and thaiboxing) has thought me a lot. I really think it is an incredibly awesome sport and I am happy that I early found a sport I want to train all my life. At least that is how I feel about it. It builds strength and confidence and encourages to push ones limits. I recommend it to anyone! It doesn’t hurt to try it out. (Well, perhaps a little, but it’s no biggie. I promise.)

Besides getting in ridiculously great shape it is also usually a great environment for getting to know new people. Boxers might look dangerous, but they’re all soft on the inside.

Soreja mata!




Explaining Things

Sometimes you have to understand or learn how to do quite difficult things. Actually not just sometimes, but some grown-ups might seem to have a habit of relaxing their learning once they think that they have learned enough and then later this turns them into big furry immobile bears who are for example impossible to discuss politics with. This does not make them bad people. They are still really good people. With a lot of experience.

When I sit down to learn complex theory in the university I sometimes wish things were explained in a much simpler way. Especially if it is the first time I read about a certain thing. I like the word thing, btw, however, I remember that one of my teachers back in primary school didn’t, and we discussed it and I later thought about this word and no, it doesn’t describe anything concrete at all, but a thing can be any object of thought whatsoever and that is somewhat vigorous, if you ask me.

Back to the theory, it helps that you can associate something new with something you have learned before. This is why we have teachers so that they can either explain, inspire or guide us through the materials (that’s right, they should also be able to function as guides or source finders, because sometimes it happens that pupils know more than their teachers and instead of letting these pupils get bored or waste their time helping other pupils, they should be challenged to see how much more they can learn and understand and letting them get ideas of their own and not be left to themselves and forgotten by the school. This is an other subject which I occasionally discuss with my friends, but not what I wanted to blog about today). Understanding complicated stuff which is also very theoretical requires that you yourself to a certain level have to master the language it is written in. Take mathematics, the language of science, which can be written very compact and is also described as unimaginably beautiful when it represents something big and complicated in one simple equation; it is hard to know what it really means unless you have learned the language itself or have so-called holes in your knowledge. Not good. Holes in the knowledge could come from (being lazy or tired, or) that you simply didn’t understand that tiny little thing that showed to be a crucial piece of the big puzzle. In such case you might want to ask a smart friend to explain it to you. Like this example, where someone explains support vector machines in a very stripped down simple way.

Having said this, I think there is a certain satisfaction in understanding complicated stuff written in a theoretical fashion. It means that you have come to a point where you for instance can pick up an academical paper on physics, informatics or something else and actually understand what is there. After a while in university* your brain is turned into a grid containing millions of different boxes where many of them are connected so that when you learn new things you are adapted to it and you put things in the box they belong. And from there you can (after some more experience) easily come up with solutions to problems!

*I think that it is important to point out that this blog post was mainly focused on things learned in university. Learning and understanding is everywhere in life, no matter what you do, practical or theoretical, and either is as important as the other. I just wanted to point out that we are taught to think in a certain way from when we are kids and then we build on top of that. But at some point you would have to throw away some of it (because it was wrong or not precise enough) and think in a completely different way to understand some crazy theory shit in (often) university.

Btw: Thing Explainer is a great book written and illustrated by Randall Munroe, the guy behind xkcd and What If? I got it from one of my brothers last Christmas and it has since come to be a source of inspiration and fun. You should definitely have a look at it.

Btw2: Check out Kim Hiorthøy, a Norwegian multi artist. This song is very cute and has to do with everyday things… Things that work.

Soreja mata!

Master to the Moon

I am horrible at blogging. When was my last, which also happened to be my first, blog post–one and a half years ago? Haha, god damn it. That is not exactly frequent. I had a fix idea that I wanted to make an inspirational blog mainly about technology, training and perhaps elements of photography, music and fashion and then see from there if I only want to focus on one subject. My goal is not to write daily. That only leads to two things: The stuff I write would be complete crap and I wouldn’t get anything done with my master thesis or other stuff.
Yeah, that’s right. I’m finishing my studies this semester. In Berlin. My thesis will be about security in devices connecting to wireless sensor networks, a system which we often like to call the Internet of Things nowadays. I think security is pretty darn cool stuff, so I look forward to when it really takes off and I (perhaps, maybe a bit unlikely in six months, but ambitions are motivating) contribute with some nifty solution to protocols for resource-constrained devices.

I am still in the beginning of this work, so my days are mostly filled with reading. This research part is very time-consuming and it’s hard to keep the motivation when I’m only studying the theory for many hours a day. I am sometimes easily distracted (yes, this is one of the main challenges when managing your own time) by my creative or restless alter ego. The trick is to really study when you study (d’oh), and give it enough time of focus until you are absorbed by it. Pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist at all; put all worries and dreams aside. You’re inside of a bubble on your way to the Moon and then you see it–the beauty of understanding the theory because you are able to grasp the whole picture once you leave the ground. Perhaps at this point some amusing questions pop up in your mind. Or ideas. Then let them come in and drift around there until you know what to do with them.

As bizarre as this may sound to you, it is actually how I am studying these days. The idea is to learn the system in concern and pinpoint what you find interesting and thus find a problem to deal with throughout your time as a master student.

Ah, yes: Listen to music. But not any kind of music and not all the time. And don’t fool yourself, if you’re getting out of (or not even entering) your little bubble, then the music is not working for you. Perhaps you want to check out Biosphere, N-Plants.

Soreja mata!


Wait a minute, I’m blogging now?

I have thought about creating a blog for a while. After I moved to France I especially found it ideal with a blog in order to keep friends and family updated, as well as having a motivation to use my poor Nikon camera more often. I truly love to take pictures and I want to be better at it, so I better grab it and work on my skills.

For starters I would like to show you a handful of pictures from my trip to St. Tropez with some friends a while ago. It is such a beautiful city with little delicate details everywhere. St. Tropez is also well-known for a particular cake, la tarte tropézienne, which we in a desperate attempt tried to find a piece of cake of for something less than €14. It turned out to be futile. Not a piece of cake at all. Despite empty dessert stomaches, we enjoyed our little day trip. We even got to visit the Citadel of St. Tropez.