There's lots of news here, starting with martial arts news:
1. I told my sensei I don't want to test for the black belt this fall. Work has been so demanding of my time and energy--and I need time with family as well--that this just isn't the time to test. Simply putting in the time required by my school to test--48 hours of classes in the six weeks before the test--is more than I can do now.
I had been feeling like attending class was more a chore than a joy, because it was something I had to do to prepare for a test that seemed too demanding on my life now. I didn't like that feeling.
My sensei was fine with my decision, which I should have expected but I was relieved to see.
2. Related to my decision not to test, I've returned to kickboxing/sparring classes. I had not taken them because I already passed that part of the test, and friends counseled me not to put my ACL-repaired knee at risk in those classes since it wasn't necessary for the test. However, the standup part of martial arts is the part I enjoy the most--I thrill to the primal chess game of it. (Apologies to Steve and others, I do realize the ground game is also a chess match--maybe even more so--but I like standup better.)
My return to kickboxing class, on Wednesday, had me a little nervous about "ring rust" and my knee, and it was quite challenging, but it was so much fun. I'm happy to be back.
3. On the home front, we're meeting my son's birthmother on Sunday. It's a very emotional and big thing. My son has been home for the past couple of months, after spending quite a long time living elsewhere, and I'm happy to say it's been very good to have him here.
4. Due to a lack of time and a decision to commit funds elsewhere, I am going to drop my gym membership (not my martial arts school, but a gym I used for cross training). The biggest downside is that I no longer will be able to lead the Jersey City Fight Club. However, our little group is moribund anyway at the moment since I haven't had the spare time at work to go down to the gym. We're moving to a new office in Manhattan early next year, with an inexpensive on-site gym, and I'm hoping we can revive the club then.
5. I broke down and began renting a DVR from our TV company, and my first show to tape was Contender Asia, a reality show about 16 Muay Thai fighters, filmed in Singapore. The artistry of the show isn't as high as I thought it was for the U.S. boxing-focused Contender show, especially the second season. But watching Naruepol, a Thai-born fighter, in the ring was a revelation. His kicks were amazing, fast and powerful. I didn't see him feint much with his punches, but lots with his kicks.
That's enough news for now.