Steuard's "Active" Interests

Despite the impression I may have given elsewhere, I do actually get out of the house and move around at least a little bit (not as much as I'd like, but I'm trying to do better). At the very least, I walk a bit under a mile to and from work just about every weekday, rain or shine (or snow or oppressive heat or, well, Alma has a lot of seasons). But that's not really "fun", it's just a chance for me to be outdoors a little bit each day (I think I'd go nuts without that chance).

Prior to a knee surgery in 2006, I used to really enjoy playing tennis. Back in Lincoln I used to play a lot: my dad and I would go out and play sometimes, and I often used our garage door as a backboard. Sometimes my friend Adam joined me there, or we'd go to nearby public courts and play. I took lessons for quite a few summers, and even played in a summer league or two. I wasn't ever that great even so: I was a hair away from making my high school's JV tennis team in tenth grade, but that was pretty much the peak of my tennis career. I've played recreationally a fair bit since then, but today it's pretty much on hiatus.

Shihan Snyder with me at his dojo.

I also practiced karate for a number of years, from late junior high through the end of high school. I studied Ko Bu Ryu karate under Kaicho Timothy Snyder. (The picture at right shows me with Shihan Snyder on a visit back to Lincoln a few years ago; I'm hoping to take a better picture before long that would actualy show me dressed for class.) KoBuRyu is an offshoot of the Uechi-ryu style, headed by Kaicho Takashi Kinjo in Okinawa. When I first started training, our style was called "Pang Gai Noon Ryu", but it was renamed "Ko Nan Ryu" after a few years; the change to the current name was after I left Lincoln. I don't attend a dojo anymore, and I have gone a long time without practicing (though a recent gift of a training DVD is helping me change that; thank you, Shihan!), but I still think of myself as a member of the school, at least on some internal level.

There are a number of reasons for that. I deeply appreciated the experience, as it helped me build far greater self-confidence in the physical side of life. It also gave me a much better understanding of my body, and it certainly got me in shape to a degree that I never was before I attended and that I haven't equaled since. Perhaps most importantly, my experience in karate helped to teach me the value of focus and drive and spirit in all facets of life. I don't know that my experience with karate was the ultimate source of my approach to life, but my attitude is definitely in close accord with the "Dojo-kun", or code of conduct:

Beautiful Loch Vale, in Colorado.

My other "active" interests haven't been quite so organized, at least most of the time. As I said earlier, I love the out of doors and wandering around nature, and I really enjoy hiking when I have the opportunity. (The picture at left is of one of my favorite hikes: the trail to Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park, just outside Estes Park, Colorado.) I enjoy horseback riding, too, though I've never done it more seriously than a couple of one week horse-focused summer camps as a kid (plus a week long family reunion at the Latigo dude ranch).

Of course, finding interesting places to hike around involves at least a little bit of travel, and I've been fortunate to get to do a decent amount of it: I've been to Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, and quite a few places around the United States (I won't even try to list them, but recent vacations have included the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and my grandparents used to have a house in Estes Park). And to round out this list of active interests, I very much enjoyed the "social dance" classes that I took at Harvey Mudd, and I still appreciate the occasional chance to use what limited skills I developed there (my engagement story mentions one of those opportunities).

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