Paint Jobs – How Much Does it Cost to Paint? Estimating Paint Jobs


Nobody wants to work for nothing, but many painting businesses do when they don’t charge for all the things that are part of each job. If you intend to do a complete job, and your customer is asking for a complete job, then you should be charging for a complete job. Leave something off of the estimate and you are working for nothing. Doing a complete and thorough estimate involves everything that takes time whether it be screwing that switch plate cover back on or painting the altar in that church. Many painters brag about what they describe as an almost mystical experience, like walking into a room and a price comes into their head. I never liked that because it is inaccurate, lazy and likely to end up poorly, at best you will just miss something and work for nothing on that part of the job. Another reason why this lump sum magic is bad is that someone is always surprised when the customer finds something that wasn’t done and they thought it was part of the job. And they tell you do it or don’t get paid. I talk about this when I discuss the Proposal itself.

Setup – Whether it be driving 100 miles to the job or 2 days setting up scaffolding or 20 minutes unloading drops, ladders and paint, it is part of every job. And because it is part of the job it is included in the cost of the job and needs to be estimated. Some thought should be given to special circumstances as mentioned above, or keep a percentage to use as a formula for each job. For example: if you are scaffolding out that church steeple to scrape and paint, then you need to figure everything involved with this stage including take down. This type of setup is likely to be much more costly than the actual paint job. Whereas painting the interior of your average customers home can be done room by room as a percentage of the total hours. For example: if you are dropping out a room, removing switch plates, moving furniture, etc. Then an easy way to do it is to take the total hours painting and multiply by.1 or.2 or whatever you think is an average time. Estimating setup, prep, and cleanup as a percentage on average jobs saves time when estimating.

Preparation – Lots of times this costs way more than the paint job. For example: we did a paint job on a big 1840’s wood clapboard monster of a house. 15 weeks removing paint before one drop of paint went on the house, the painting itself was about 3 weeks. Not only time but lots of sanding disks, respirators, disposable coveralls, cleanup daily, and removal of all dust and chips was all a big deal because of the size of the job and because of the old lead paint. The opposite is the average home interior that can be estimated like the setup example above using a percentage. Most of the time interior prep is just small surface repairs, and some caulking, the stuff that is the same from job to job. Special repairs or problems should be itemized.

Painting – What amount of time does it take to paint 5 wood casement windows on ground level without a ladder? How much time does it take to paint those same 5 windows at 40 feet on a hill when each window is 8 feet apart? Probably more than 2 times what it takes to paint the ones on ground level, each time moving and setting up the ladder on uneven ground most likely involving 2 people to move and setup the ladder for each window. So an easy formula to use on heights above 25 feet would be 2 times or 2.2 times or whatever the time it takes to paint the same window without ladder. Most of the time estimating painting costs can be done with a formula that works pretty well from job to job.

Cleanup – This part of the painting job is likely to be glossed over or ignored from an estimating position. This is a big mistake because it can take more time that the actual painting, depending on the job. If this part of the job is not done well the client may view the entire job as poorly done. And if done really well it may just put the crowning touch on the job. Estimating the time to properly cleanup after each job is critical to your estimate. If you short this part of the estimate, by not allowing enough time, then something has to give and the outcome is likely an unhappy customer. Average jobs can use a factor to estimate time. Example, an 8 hour interior job can be cleaned up in 8 hours x.1 =.8 hours.

When I watch some of these “home remodeling” shows blow through the painting as if it is nothing, I laugh but then I think how much ignorance they create. When Norm does his woodworking magic it is an event to behold; but, when Carlos spends 3 hours vacuuming, dusting and cleaning windows after a paint job, it is nothing, it is not even mentioned. Some many home owners tackle paint jobs and are totally clueless as to what is really involved. Like the time when we were called in to touch up walls in this multi-million dollar mcMansion following a $25,000 audio system wiring job where the technician cut holes in 11 different rooms. Each room had a different color, so we cleaned rollers, brushes, cut buckets etc. after each color. The owner gave me a big argument about charging her for the time to clean our tools. If it is part of the job and you wouldn’t be doing it except for their job, then they should be paying you for it.

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Source by P E Cavanaugh

Seven Critical Success Drivers – Why New Products Win


The challenge in successful product innovation is to design a playbook, blueprint, or process by which new-product projects can move from the idea stage through to a successful launch and beyond, quickly and effectively. Before charging into designing this playbook, let’s first understand the secrets to success – what separates successful innovation projects from the failures, the critical success factors that make the difference between winning and losing.

Some are fairly obvious, but before you dismiss them as “too obvious”, recognize that most firms still neglect them. As we probe each success driver, reflect on how you can benefit from each, and how you can translate each into an operational facet of your new-product system or playbook.

1. A unique, superior product is the number one driver of new-product profitability.

Delivering products with unique benefits and real value to users – bold innovations – separates winners from losers more often than any other single factor. Such superior products have five times the success rate, over four times the market share, and four times the profitability of products lacking this ingredient.

The definition of “what is unique and superior” and “what is a benefit” is from the customer’s perspective – so it must be based on an in-depth understanding of different customer needs, wants, problems, likes, and dislikes:

  • Determine the customer needs at the outset – build in voice-of-customer (VoC) research early in your projects. Wants are usually fairly obvious, and easy for the customer to talk about. But spotting needs, particularly unmet and unarticulated needs, is more of a challenge, but often yields a breakthrough new product.
  • Do a competitive product analysis. If you can spot the competitors’ product weaknesses, then you’re halfway to beating them. The goal is product superiority and that means superiority over the current or future competitive offering. Never assume the competitor’s current product will be the competitive benchmark by the time you hit the market!
  • Build in multiple test iterations to test and verify your assumptions about your winning-product design. Test the concept with users – and make sure they indicate a favorable response. That is, even before serious development work begins, start testing the product!

2. Building in the voice of the customer into a market-driven, customer-focused new-product process.

But the great majority of companies miss the mark here, with insufficient VoC and no fact-based customer insights (in more than 75 percent of projects, according to one investigation). A thorough understanding of customers’ or users’ needs and wants, the competitive situation, and the nature of the market is an essential component of new product success.

Research has shown that top performing companies: work closely with customers and users to identify needs/problems, work with lead or innovative users to generate ideas, determine product definition via market research, interface with users throughout development, and seek market input to help design the Launch Plan.

Strong market focus must prevail throughout the entire new-product project, and should be considered throughout the new-product process:

  • Idea generation: Devote more resources to market-oriented idea-generation activities. The best ideas come from customers!
  • The design of the product: Use market research as an input to the design decisions to help guide the project team before they charge into the design of the new product.
  • Before pushing ahead into development: Be sure to test the product concept with the customer by presentation a representation of the product, and gauging the customer’s interest, liking, and purchase intent.
  • Throughout the entire project: Customer inputs shouldn’t cease at the completion of the pre-development market studies. Keep bringing the customer into the process to view facets of the product verifying all assumptions about the winning design.

3. Doing the homework and front-end loading the project – due diligence done before product development gets under way.

The best innovators are much more proficient when it comes to completing activities in the “fuzzy front end” of projects – they do their homework:

  • Initial screening – the first decision to get into the project
  • Preliminary market assessment – the first and quick market study
  • Preliminary technical assessment – a technical appraisal of the project
  • Preliminary operations assessment – manufacturing and operations issues
  • Detailed market study, market research, and VoC research
  • Concept testing – testing the concept with the customer or user
  • Value assessment – determining the value or economic worth of the product to the customer
  • Business and financial analysis – just before the decision to “Go to Development” (building the business case).

Best innovators also strike an appropriate balance between market/business-oriented tasks, and conduct more homework prior to the initiation of product design and development. Furthermore, the quality of execution of the pre-development steps is closely tied to the product’s financial performance.

“More homework means longer development times” is a frequently voiced complaint, and a valid one. But experience has shown that homework pays for itself in reduced development times as well as improved success rates:

  • Evidence points to a much higher likelihood of product failure if the homework is omitted.
  • Better project definition (the result of solid homework) actually speeds up the development process.
  • More homework up front anticipates changes to product design and encourages them to occur earlier in the process (rather than later when they are more costly)

Cutting out homework drives your success rate way down, and cutting out homework to save time today will cost you wasted time tomorrow. Make it a rule: No significant project should move into the Development stage without the actions described above completed, and done in a quality way. And devote the necessary resources to get the work done; that is, front-end load the project!

4. Getting sharp and early product and project definition means higher success rates and faster to market.

Securing sharp, early, stable, and fact-based product definition before Development begins is one of the strongest drivers of cycle-time reduction and new-product success. Best innovators clearly define the benefits to be delivered to the customer, they clearly identify the target market, the product concept is clearly defined, and the product features, attributes, and specifications are clearly defined.

Build in an integrated product and project definition step or check-point before the door is opened to a full development program. This integrated definition must be fact based: developed with inputs and agreement from the functional areas involved: Marketing, R&D, Engineering, Operations, etc. This definition has six components:

  1. the project scope
  2. target market definition
  3. product concept
  4. benefits to be delivered (the value proposition)
  5. positioning strategy
  6. product features, attributes, performance requirements, and high-level specs

Acknowledging a stable product definition is a challenge – even the best innovators struggle. Markets can be quite fluid and dynamic, so build in the necessary front-end homework, pin down the integrated product innovation as best you can before Development begins, specify in advance which part of the product requirements and specs are “known and fixed” versus which as “fluid, uncertain, and variable”, and build steps into your development process to gather data so that the “variable parts” of your product definition can be pinned down as development proceeds.

5. Spiral development – put something in front of the customer early and often – gets the product right.

Spiral development is the way that fast-paced teams handle the dynamic information process with fluid, changing information. Many businesses use too rigid and linear a process for product development. By proceeding in a linear and rigid process, the project team and business set themselves up for failure.

Smart project teams and businesses practice spiral development. Best innovator businesses are 6 times more likely to interface with customers and users throughout the entire Development stage. They build in a series of iterative steps, or “loops, whereby successive versions of the product are shown to the customer to seek feedback and verification.

Use spirals – a series of “build-test-feedback-and-revise” iterations. This approach is based on the fact that customers don’t really know what they are looking for until they see it or experience it – so get something in front of the customer in front of the customer or user fast (and keep repeating these tests all the way through to formal product testing).

6. A well-conceived, properly executed launch is central to new-product success.

Not only must your product be superior, but its benefits must be communicated and marketed aggressively. A quality launch is strongly linked to new-product profitability. Best innovators do the necessary market research – understanding buyer/customer behavior – in order to better craft the launch plan. They also conduct a test market or trial sell to validate the marketability of the new product and also test elements of the market launch plan. Best innovators also undertake a solid pre-launch business analysis, and most importantly, they execute the launch more proficiently – by a ratio of 3:1 when compared to poor innovators.

Don’t assume good products sell themselves, and don’t treat the launch as an afterthought. A well-integrated and properly targeted launch does not occur by accident, however; it is the result of a fine-tuned marketing plan, properly backed and resourced, and proficiently executed.

Marketing planning- moving from marketing objectives to strategy and marketing programs – is a complex process. But this complex process must be woven into your new-product system.

Four important points regarding new-product launch and the marketing plan:

  1. The development of the market launch plan is an integral part of the new-product process: It is as central to the new=product process as the development of the physical product.
  2. The development of the market launch plan must begin early in the new-product project. It should not be left as an afterthought to be undertaken as the product nears commercialization.
  3. A market launch plan is only as good as the market intelligence upon which it is based. Market studies designed to yield information crucial to marketing planning must be built into the new-product project.
  4. Those who will execute the launch – the sales force, technical support people, other front-line personnel – must be engaged in the development of the market launch plan, and some should therefore be members of the project team. This ensures valuable input and insight into the design of the launch effort, availability of resources when needed, and buy-in by those who must execute the product and its launch (elements so critical to a successful launch).

7. Speed counts! There are many good ways to accelerate development projects, but not at the expense of quality of execution.

Speed to market is an admirable goal, and there are many apparently valid reasons that cycle-time reduction should be a priority:

  • Speed yields competitive advantage: First in will win!
  • Speed yields higher profitability.
  • Speed means fewer surprises.

Speed is important, but not as vital as one might have assumed. Speed is only an interim objective – a means to an end. The ultimate goal, of course, is profitability. But many of the practices naively employed in order to reduce time-to-market ultimately cost the company money. They achieve the interim objective – bringing the product quickly to market – but fail at the ultimate objective: profitability.

Be careful in the overzealous pursuit of speed and cycle-time reduction. There are ways to reduce cycle time, however, that are totally consistent with sound management practice and are also derived from the critical success drivers outlined. Here are five sensible ways to increase the odds of winning but also to reduce time-to-market!

  1. Prioritize and focus: The best way to slow projects down is to dissipate your limited resources and people across too many projects. By concentrating resources on the truly deserving projects, not only will the work be done better, it will be done faster. But focus means tough choices: It means killing other and perhaps worthwhile projects. And that requires good decision-making and the right criteria for making Go/Kill decisions.
  2. Do it right the first time: Build in quality of execution at every stage of the project. The best way to save time is by avoiding having to recycle back and do it a second time. Quality of execution pays off not only in terms of better results but also by reducing delays.
  3. Front-end homework and definition: Doing the upfront homework and getting clear product and project definition, based on facts rather than hearsay and speculation, saves time downstream: That means less recycling back to get the facts or redefine the product requirements, and sharper technical targets to work toward.
  4. Organize around a true cross-functional team with empowerment: Multi-functional teams are essential for timely development and are a topic in the next chapter. Rip apart a badly developed project and you will unfailingly find 75 percent of slippage attributable to: (1) ‘siloing’, or sending memos up and down vertical organizational ‘silos’ or ‘stovepipes’ for decisions; and (2) “sequential problem solving”. Sadly, the typical project resembles a relay race, with each function or department carrying the baton for its portion of the race, then handing off to the next runner or department.
  5. Parallel processing: The relay-race, sequential, or series approach to product development is antiquated and inappropriate for today’s fast-paced projects. Given the time pressures of projects, coupled with the need for a complete and quality process, a more appropriate model is a rugby game or parallel processing. With parallel processing, activities are undertaken concurrently (rather than sequentially); thus, more activities are undertaken in an elapsed period of time. The new-product process must be multidisciplinary with each part of the team (Marketing, R&D, Operations, Engineering, Sales) working together and undertaking its parallel or concurrent activity. Note that the play is a lot more complex using a parallel rugby scheme, hence the need for a disciplined playbook.

Building the Success Drivers into Your Playbook

Many businesses have “operating procedures” or guides on how to do things right. Imagine you are crafting a new-product guidebook or set of operating procedures for how to do a new-product project right – for example, an “idea-to-launch playbook” or a stage-and-gate system to drive new products to market.

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Source by Robert G Cooper

How to Use SWOT Analysis to Formulate Strategies


Using SWOT Analysis as a tool to formulate Strategy is one of the most effective tool in Strategic Planning. It is a factual analysis due to its extensive data collection and analysis of the data collected. It is effective because the analysis covers a wide spectrum of business environment during data collection. Its takes into consideration external business environment as well as internal capabilities.

This is perhaps the most powerful usage of SWOT Analysis in the Strategic Planning Process. I am going to show you how to used the four factors of SWOT to develop Strategies

Assuming you have collected several data pertaining to the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Then you will use them to formulate strategy. Not sure how to do it? Don’t worry, I take you through the steps.

Step 1 – Evaluate the surrounding

Let’s take a moment to think about both of us as the coach for two teams of football teams.

Before the game starts, you and I have certain strategies that we want the team to follow. As the game progresses, there is sign of difference between the two teams in terms of the game as well as the condition of the team members.

Step 2 – Identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Now, it is time to evaluate the teams in the four factors of SWOT. Lets take the following examples as the result of the evaluation:-

Strengths – Your team is full of fighting spirit

Weaknesses — One of your team members is hurt

Opportunities — Your opposition team seems to loose stamina

Threats — Your opposition team is full of energy

Note: Some of these factors seem to be conflicting each other. For the purpose of this step, this conflict is ignored.

Step 3 – Pair the SWOT factors to formulate strategies

Now, you would start to formulate strategies in the four categories. Namely:-

    • SO Strategies (Strengths and Opportunities Strategy )
    • ST Strategies (Strengths and Threats Strategy )
    • WO Strategies (Weaknesses and Opportunities Strategy )
    • WT Strategies (Weaknesses and Threats Strategy )

In this case, your strength is ” your team is full of fighting spirit ” and paired with your opportunities is ” Opposite team is losing stamina” . With this scenario, what would you do? Perhaps you formulate a strategy to ” ATTACK “. There it goes, you just formulate a attacking strategy.

Then you do the same procedure for SW Strategies, WO strategies and WT strategies.

Step 4 – Evaluate the strategic options

At the end of this paring of SWOT factors, you would have end up several strategic options. Do a quick evaluation of each of these strategies to the extent of meeting the company objectives.

Step 5 – Selecting Strategic Options

At this step, you would have a long list of strategic options. Too many strategies to implement may not be practical. Therefore, you need to shorten the list to perhaps maximum three strategies.

After you have completed all the 5 steps to use SWOT Analysis to Formulate Strategies, you have a list of strategies for you to implement to your business.

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Source by Dr LM Foong

Art Deco Style Engagement Rings


Thanks to the recent Deco resurgence, Art Deco Engagement Rings are once again in vogue.

Brides-to-be are becoming more vocal when it comes the style of engagement ring they would like. The thinking is that if I’m going to be wearing it my whole life – I want to love it!

And women want to be unique, yet be elegant, stylish and classy all at the same time.

They want to express themselves and the jewelry they choose to wear is an extension of their overall look and style.

Art Deco engagement rings are popular because they meet the needs of today’s modern woman – they’re both elegant and unique.

Deco style is quite eclectic, which suggests that the variety of ring styles would appeal to many different women.

They’re also in limited supply, which makes them all the more desirable.

Characteristics of Art Deco Engagement Rings

One of the biggest jewelry trends of this era was bold, bright colouring – emeralds, rubies, sapphires, yellow diamonds were popular stone choices.

Traditional diamonds were also quite popular and typically set in gold or platinum.

The easiest way to recognize a vintage engagement ring is by its angular or geometric shape. Triangles, rectangles, squares and oblongs were very popular during the 1920s and 1930s. The classic Princess, Emerald and Baguette cuts are your best choice if you want a classic Art Deco shape.

For the unconventional bride-to-be deco offers some unusual options as well: rings embellished with pearls, quartz, onyx and jade. Although these unusual rings are harder to find, they are well worth the search in my opinion.

Also, look for wedding bands with chevrons or zigzag pattern to complement the stunning engagement ring.

To learn more, visit Art Deco Jewelry.

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Source by Marta Etynkowski

Wushu Chinese Self Defense Or Performance Martial Art?


Wushu is the official martial art taught in the People’s Republic of China. Wu Shu (“War Arts”) is practiced by millions in China, and is included as part of the training for all police and military personnel. Though it is a form of Kung Fu which has been taught in China for centuries it is a rigid system, and has no attachment to any of the mystical beliefs of the past. The government is more concern with physical aspects of the martial art and spiritual beliefs been replaced with propaganda, and political training which take up much of the student’s training time. When a student is not taking part in political training they will take part in group and partner exercises as well as weapons practice.

Contemporary Wushu was created in 1949 as part of the communist government’s attempt to create a national sport, and though the people were more than happy with the styles of martial arts they had already. All previous forms of Kung Fu were outlawed and even the Shaolin monks were greatly restricted. In recent years the government has tried to take the politics out of sports, but with limited success because of how repressive the government is in general. Still tournaments have been running since the early 1990’s, and the sport is practiced outside of China. The two Wushu forms that are practiced are Taulo and Sanda, but neither is suited for self defense.

The hand movements are called Ba Ji, tumbling moves are Di Tang, and Tung Bi is full arm movements. The animal katas are called Xing Yi. The weapon katas for Wushu includes a large number of different types of swords, the nine-section whip, three section staffs, spears, and other ancient Chinese weapons. The central Committee of National Physical Culture must accredited all students and teachers who must embody the ideals of communism. At first glance Wushu looks impressive with a large number of moves and a large selection of weapons in its arsenal to choose from in battle. The art would seem to be a good choice to study until closer examination. For all its flash this form of Kung Fu lacks substance and won’t stand up in real world conditions.

Taulo is considered to be a form of Kung Fu, but isn’t at all like any of the effective martial arts forms of the past and is like gymnastics. It is a point based systems where points are given out based on performances that can last from two to twenty minutes, and there is no contact. While traditional weapons like swords, butterfly knives, and staffs are used they’re light weight versions and they and the routines are useless in combat. The programs are broken up into barehanded, short weapons, and long weapons portions, but include jumps, flips and other impressive routines. This style of Kung Fu is completely useless when it comes to self defense, but is a good form of entertainment.

Sanshou or Sanda the Chinese combat sport based off of Chinese boxing, wrestling, and kickboxing. Originally, the military used it as a way to test martial arts, but it developed into a competition sport in the early part of the twentieth century. Sanda draws from Lei tai martial arts matches where competitors fought barehanded or with weapons on a high platform. Fights would continue until death, injury, or one of the competitors was thrown off the platform.

In Sanda today a competitor can still win a match by throwing their opponent out of the ring. Striking and grappling are allowed, and it is much more aggressive than Wushu which it is often paired with in tournaments in China. The military has their own version of Sanda, but the sport version restricts a number of moves including elbow strikes, chokes, and joint locks. When competing internationally Sanda practitioners have fought in many style-versus-style competitions against Muay Thai, Karate, and Tae Kwon Do fighters.

Unlike the Japanese art of Jujutsu which is pragmatic Wushu is more about looking good while you perform the art. A typical student will do many impressive leaps, back flips, and strikes, but while doing so leaving themselves open to attacks, because the art lacks any real defense. In dealing with an armed attacker a Wushu student will be unprepared unless they’re carrying a weapon themselves (it isn’t very practical to carry a Chinese broadsword or spear with you on your morning commute).

If a student of combatives and hand to hand self defense was to encounter a Wushu student the combatives student may take a few initial hits, but would quickly close with the Wushu student, and would throw or grapple them and take control of the fight. If the Wushu student was armed with any of their traditional weapons they would find themselves disarmed with their weapon in the hands of the fighter who used practical self defense techniques. In the end Wushu is a performance art, and at best a combat martial art that would only get you in trouble in a street fight. The art even has its critics among modern practitioners of Kung Fu who say the government has stripped all tradition and practically from the art.

This form of Kung Fu is a sport and shouldn’t be relied on for self defense. It should also be noted that Colonel Fairbairn who fought in 600 non-training fights during his time as a police officer in Shanghai China made an extensive study of many Chinese martial arts including Kung Fu didn’t incorporate them in his many books on fighting and self defense. Fairbairn would base his many books on his experiences, and what he learned at the Kodokan while earning his black belt in Judo. The lesson is winning the fight is more important then looking good and losing the fight.

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Source by Damian Ross

Bonsai Tree Meaning


A lot of people wonder about the meaning behind the bonsai tree. Well, let’s start with the meaning of the word itself. Bonsai, first of all, is a Japanese word and could be translated as ‘a tree in a pot’. The art of bonsai growing, however, did not originate in Japan but in China. It started over a thousand years ago and at that time the trees were called ‘pun-sai’. The art of pun-sai growing was called penjing.

 

It is believed that in those days, people were trying to create the trees that look like dragons, serpents, birds and other animals. All of these forms are deeply rooted in Chinese myths and legends.

 

Later on, when the Japanese learned of this new art form, the meaning changed as well. The Buddhist monks that brought bonsai growing to Japan viewed these trees as a symbol for harmony between nature, man and soul. With that, the form of the trees also changed. Gone were the bizarre and grotesque shapes of twisting serpents and fierce dragons. From then on the bonsai were all about harmony, peace and balance. They started to represent all that was good.

 

Buddhist monks had a great influence on the art and practice of bonsai growing that has never quite disappear. Even these days a lot of books that are dedicated to bonsai gardening and are published in the western world talk about meditation and zen. They will describe how growing a bonsai requires a meditative state and how all the pruning and cutting should be approached with a zen-like state of mind.

 

That being said, most of the bonsai tree meaning was lost to the general public in the last couple of decades. Most westerners now look on these trees as merely a decoration; a little touch of Asia to put in our homes. I’ll leave it to you to decide if that’s a good thing or not.

 

However, if you do become a bonsai artist and start growing your own trees, instead of just observing them or buying trees that someone else has made for you, you will find that taking care of bonsai still possessed a spiritual note. You will have to connect to the tree, understand it, see where it wants to grow and then gently direct it into the desired direction. You will have to find balance between what you want and what a tree is willing to give you. You will have to find patience inside of you and allow a tree to dictate how fast it wants to develop. And throughout all this process, you might discover something new inside of you. You might discover that indescribable thing that has captivated so many. With that, you just might find your own meaning of bonsai trees.

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Source by Carolyn Anderson

The Difference Between Combative Training and Martial Arts


Getting the facts straight

 

Recently, I was checking the sales ranking for my book on Amazon.com, when I noticed I have finally received a customer review on Amazon. After reading the review, I found myself humbled and dumb founded. The customer who reviewed my book on military knife and hand to hand combat was obviously a practicing martial artist.

He appeared to be one of the “Know it all” types as well. Although much of his review on the layout of my book may be spot on; I was amazed at his blatant ignorance in not knowing the difference between combative training and martial arts. In his own words,”Though the author may know what he is doing in this book, you may already as well. If you took some sort of M.A. class for any period of time that was worth anything, then you would have learned most if not half of these techniques for knife fighting. “ I must agree with him on this.

If you take some sort of  martial arts class for any period of time; that is worth anything; eventually you may learn half of the techniques in the book. Although I clearly state in the book that my attempt is not to teach specific techniques, but use techniques as a vehicle to drive home principles; and  I admit that there are countless numbers of techniques one can learn, not simply limited to my book. This guy  “Cliff” is the example of how many can not distinguish the difference between martial art and combative training.

Distinguishing the difference  

Before one can truly distinguish between a martial art or combative training, they must reflect upon the origin of today’s practiced martial arts. The term “martial art”, refers to a war like art; with martial referring to war. It is true that ages ago during the conception of today’s martial arts, the countless numbers of systems and styles were born from military drills and close quarters battle of the time. During the ancient times without the aid of today’s modern weaponry and fire power, soldiers were forced to engage in battle with clubs, swords, daggers, spears and often hand to hand. Warriors of those times began to develop tried and true systems of both armed and unarmed combat, much like today. They understood that military units must gain muscle memory in their tactics of choice and saw the need for regimented systems of combat. The methods and techniques of their day required ways to dismount riders off horse back and break or penetrate wooden armor. It is quite obvious that in today’s combat environment those techniques would be obsolete. Through out generations and over the centuries the ancient arts have been passed from master to student and master to student. The once effective and powerful combative training of the ancients has become an antiquity.

Today the ancient techniques of Samurai and  the fighting monks of China can be seen being practiced through training hall windows all over the world. The ancient forms and techniques that were once practical battle tactics have been manipulated by popular media and business ideology. Many practice the ancient martial arts for a plethora of reasons. Some of their reasons are for the very same reasons that the training was developed. People practice for fitness, protection and hobby. Others train simply to preserve the art. 

After World War II, the west was introduced to the Asian martial art craze. Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen were exposed to the Asian fighting arts of the Japanese and Philippines and wanted to learn. Many of the indigenous instructors or gurus realized the opportunity to make a buck from the naive westerners and began teaching watered down versions of the fighting arts. Often masters would draw out the training and add flashy, intricate and complicated techniques to the curriculum. It was the flash that would sell to the new western market. Soon even Hollywood would make movies with actors such as Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris demonstrating their athleticism and prowess on screen.

Belt ranking systems were added to help new students feel as if they were progressing and not quit. The once effective techniques for ancient combat were reduced to nothing more than acrobatics with some self protection value. Many of the hidden techniques which were the pride of warriors of old were lost through the simple process of supply and demand. Modern technology and weapons only aided in losing the practical fighting techniques and turning the martial arts into a lucrative but provocative industry. Today there are martial art companies that place their clients on programs known as “black belt plans.”

People are forced into contracts that they can not afford to breach for a certain amount of time until they receive their black belts. During the early 20th century the “black belt” rank was respected by many for holding fighting prowess. Today that rank has lost much of that respect. All too often we hear about the black belt who got beat up by a boxer or street fighter. All too often a white belt student can completely annihilate their “black belt” Karate  or Kung Fu master during sparring in the training hall. Today the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has proven that the martial arts of old are obsolete to even today’s modern training methods. The MMA athletes of today , that hold no belt in any martial art would dominate over more than half of the practitioners of traditional martial arts.

Traditional martial artists often rely on archaic training methods and spiritual philosophies of a much more primitive time. Where MMA athletes rely on the most up to date drilling and scientific training ideologies. Much more is known today by the general populous on the matters of psychology, physiology, anatomy, physics and the economy of motion. It is the lack of the most up to date sciences that make much of the traditional fighting arts obsolete and inefficient. In essence it is the tradition itself that makes many martial arts training methods in effective and inefficient. Now that we have identified the martial arts, we should compare it to today’s modern combatives.

The combative training of today is a product of the military machine. Today’s military is more efficient and productive than any in history. The philosophy of doing the most with the least drives the war machine. In World War II Colonels Eric Anthony Sykes and William Fairbairn began to develop a new type of training for soldiers  based from their experience in Shanghai and the trenches of World War I. Close Quarter Battle (CQB) or Hand to Hand Combat was the norm in trench warfare and the soldiers fighting it needed to be able to quickly and efficiently kill and immobilize their adversaries. The two men realized that they needed to develop a system for training or ideology of training that would enable masses of troops with no prior experience in martial arts to learn hand to hand combat quickly in a matter of days, not the years often required by martial arts training. This training had to not only be learned quickly, but retained and trained quickly as well. Soldiers on the front and behind the lines needed to be able to react without thinking, relying on muscle memory. In combat the heart rate exceeds 180  beats per minute and all fine motor skills go out the window.

Sykes and Fairbairn realized that many of the extravagant “pressure points” used in traditional martial arts  would not be effective. They realized that pressure points were not effective for two reasons. One, the enemy may not feel it under the influence of adrenaline and two; the soldier will more than likely not have the ability of fine motor skills needed in order to strike the target. Therefore the modern combative training was simple easy to retain and concentrated on gross motor skill movement. Because in combat soldiers are all too often sleep deprived and under nourished the techniques taught needed to not rely on physical strength or athletic prowess. Today’s combatives are often known for the dirty fighting aspect, not found in traditional martial arts. The warrior codes from long ago no longer apply today, chivalry is dead. Because the combative techniques are taught to such a variety of fighting men who’s bodies are not conditioned to desensitizing training; the trainees are taught to strike with only the most structurally stable weapons of the body. A soldier can not afford  broken hands and feet on the battle field. It is for many of these reasons that combative training stands far apart from traditional martial arts.

In summary  

 

The traditional martial arts, practiced today  was actually the combative training for the military of it’s time. Just as time changes, so did the training. Societies became more educated; moral values and codes have been altered. The world is not as spiritually guided or involved with mysticism as it was during the time traditional martial arts were conceived. The once effective combative techniques of their time, have evolved into an art form surrounded in mystique and the legends of old; enhanced by modern media. Today’s combative training is based completely on modern science and need for efficiency. It is of the utmost importance for combative training to adhere to these rules.

 – Simple general Principles  must be taught

 – Must not rely on power or athleticism

 – The focus is on destroying whatever the principal comes into contact with

 – Efficiency and economy of motion

 – Be able to be learned and applied in a very limited amount of time (Days or weeks)

In conclusion

 

 Combatives training today most definitely contains many of the techniques that one will learn in the traditional martial arts if they attend classes for any period of time. One might think of the two types of training as steak. One is chuck full of fat that is unnecessary and could clog your arteries, the other is a lean hybrid, that contains only the necessary nutrients to keep you going. After reading the review from this guy “Cliff” I immediately went to his profile to learn more about his point of view, so I could see where hes coming from. I wanted to know if his bashing of my book came from arrogance or ignorance. Where he was asked to type a blurb about his interests, contained one phrase.This was his interest“Wing Chun and the variety of ways it is spelled.” I immediately realized by this and the number of books with titles like “Kung Fu of Caine” Referring to the Caine from the TV series (Kung Fu), that this fellow was not completely familiar with the differences between martial arts and combative training. Therefore I wanted to write this article, with my best effort to demonstrate that when comparing martial arts training to combative training; it is like comparing apples to oranges.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


Der Immoblienmakler für Heidelberg Mannheim und Karlsruhe
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Source by Andrew Curtiss

A History of Japanese Xenophobia


Japanese xenophobia should be understood properly prior to jumping to any reactive conclusions. Xenophobia is not really racism, although it can occasionally cross the line in Japan and both are occasionally evidenced. For Japanese society any xenophobia is more of a fear of the unknown and a fear of being overpowered by that which is unknown. In all honesty, many people in Japan are rather intimidated by other countries and also their relatively large people. It may sound silly, but it really does stem from the most basic things like physical size.

Due in part to historically taking the offense on xenophobia, the Japanese government has historically made some rather unwise choices internationally. The results of such choices have made the nation feel somewhat guilty and also somewhat worried about belated retaliation from its closer neighbors, in addition to simply feeling defeated. To go from a state of megalomania to a state of apocalyptic defeat is obviously rather shocking and, as a result, Japan is now much more cautious about its role on the world stage. The nation of Japan was also occupied after WWII and essentially had its entire culture exposed before a relatively judgmental Western perspective. Apparently as a result, some people in Japan also seem to fear exposure and being misunderstood or judged for their lifestyles.

Many things simply are drastically different in Western and Eastern culture. Japan is even quite unique in Eastern culture. To say one way of doing things is correct and one is incorrect would likely be primarily based on the cultural background of a viewer and thus it would be an inaccurate assessment. There are many things considered normal in most of Western society that are not generally considered acceptable in Japanese society, and also certainly many things in Japanese society which would not be acceptable in most of Western society. It is easy to understand why it could be somewhat more challenging to open up completely if there is a history of being judged for some of the most basic aspects of a society.

In addition to concerns about average physical size and a historical tendency for Western cultures to misunderstand and judge Japanese society, there are also basic differences in the general psychology of various societies. Japan has what is most likely the most obedient modern society in the world. There is no modern history of revolution and there are no riots in the streets. People are generally quite polite and Tokyo, although the most populated metropolis in the world, is possibly the safest city for a child to be in at any time of day or night. Purse snatching and the like are practically unheard of and are certainly uncommon. People will stand in herds at a street corner and wait for the light on the crosswalk to change to green, regardless of there not being a car in sight. It is understandable that there could be some concern over people from societies in which the cars don’t even stop at stoplights, as is common even in other parts of Asia.

In a way, Japan is like a clock and Japanese society generally seems to like to keep things running like clockwork. Thankfully the introduction and adoption of new ideas is part of what makes has made that clock run so well, and so Japanese society is still quite open to careful introductions. It just isn’t so game for any oversized unhygienic elephants to come trampling through its delicate clockwork.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


Der Immoblienmakler für Heidelberg Mannheim und Karlsruhe
Wir verkaufen für Verkäufer zu 100% kostenfrei
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Source by Jessica Spinner

House Painting Odors – Getting Rid of the Smell


Homeowners, especially those with small children, often ask me how to get rid of paint odors. It’s such a big concern for some folks that they’ll ask me about potential odor control before they even book the painting estimate.

The good news is that the evolution of house paint has come a long way with low-odor and even odorless lines for some applications. The bad news is there are still so many reasons to use the smelly stuff, especially if you’re repainting an older home. Alkyd (oil-based) and shellac or alcohol primers are especially effective in sealing water damage and old oil painted surfaces to upgrade them to Latex top coats. But they’re also very smelly with potentially long-lasting vapors. Even the most common low-odor alkyd paints often used today to repaint wood work can have a lingering odor for days under the most ventilated conditions.

So how do you get rid of the smell?

I’ve just received an email from a mother asking me that very question. Her young child’s room was painted almost two weeks ago and she’s left the windows open and the fan on ever since. Still, the paint smell is strong enough that she’s concerned about letting the child sleep in the room. The painting of this room involved a lot of priming to cover the dark brown oil paint used by the previous home owner. Since the color needed to be lightened up and the surfaces converted to a far more Eco-friendly Acrylic Latex, a common top brand Alkyd primer was used to give the whole room a fresh start. And although it had “Low Odor” printed on the can, it obviously was NOT odorless. To compound matters, all the woodwork had to be finished in a leading “Low Odor” brand of Alkyd semi gloss which produced a smooth lustrous finish as well as a migraine inducing vapor.

So what can you do? Well, there a few ways you can overcome these situations beyond obvious ventilation to control, eliminate and even prevent odors from lingering.

“An ounce of prevention”… Before there was such a thing as “low odor paint” we used to add a splash of vanilla extract to every gallon of oil paint to make it “low-odor”. It was cheap, easy to do and had no effect on the color. Now that low-odor alkyd paints are commonplace on the market, adding about a tablespoon of vanilla extract makes them virtually odorless.

Or, as in the case above, the painting is already done. It’s too late for vanilla and the smell won’t go away as quickly they’d like. What’s happening here is that the odors are being trapped in the walls while the paint cures and probably in all the fabrics and rugs in the room as well. They need something else to absorb them for good. So, here’s what I advised her to do. Cut up a few onions and place them in a couple of bowls of cold water. Put one of the bowls in the room and the other in the closet. As simple and crazy as it sounds, the onions absorb and actually eliminate the paint fumes and odors… sometimes as quickly as overnight!

I first learned this trick while creating a baby’s room about 17 years ago. I had spent about 5 weeks converting a badly crumbling and dusty old attic room into a nursery pending the baby’s birth. And as it turned out, the baby was born about two weeks early and was ready to come home just as I was finishing the project. The job required a lot of smelly primers and sealers to bury decades of neglect and water damage. As was customary in those days, I added vanilla extract to minimize the paints’ odor (and damage to my brain cells) but the smell wasn’t clearing up fast enough to bring the newborn in. The homeowner’s Nanny, who was moving into the bedroom next door (and who was also troubled by the smell) used a couple of bowls of cut onions in cold water over night and the smell was gone the next day. I couldn’t believe it!

I’ve recommended this technique ever since with great results. But it should be noted here that this example was in an empty room. In the case of a fully furnished room, as in our case above, you should consider airing out clothing, drapery, rugs or anything else which might be trapping the odors and give them a shot or two of Febreeze to do the trick nowadays.

Now sometimes, there are extreme cases where odors are simply not an option. Some people are highly allergic to the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) contained in paints and the tints used to color them. Some can become quite ill with even short term inhalation of the fumes. In these cases, you have to resort to the whole gamut of tricks:

  1. Before you paint, empty the room completely to make sure there is nothing that will trap the odors.
  2. Open all the windows before you open the paint cans and keep them open throughout the entire painting process.
  3. Add vanilla extract to your Alkyd, Alcohol or Shellac based paints. (Latex paints don’t usually need this step as they’re relatively low-odor to begin with).
  4. Place several bowls of onions around the room (as above) while you paint to absorb the fumes as they escape.
  5. When the painting is finished, seal and remove all paint cans, bag your drop sheets in plastic before taking them out through the rest of the house (or throw them out of the window if possible) to keep from spreading the fumes they’ve trapped indoors.
  6. Refresh your supply of onions in water as the old ones will have had their fill of vapors by the time your finished the painting.
  7. Keep the windows open and wait until the paint has fully dried and the odors have gone before you replace the furniture and other belongings.

Of course, these tips are offered in connection with interior painting but you should also try adding some vanilla to your paint when painting the exterior in Alkyd coatings as well. It saves the painter a lot headaches… literally. But whether inside or out, these simple ideas combined with some good old fashioned common sense should produce a fresh new look with clean, breathable air you can live with.

Happy painting!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


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Source by Dee L. Potter

Muscle Weakness – How to Prevent This Menopause Symptom


Menopause and muscle weakness is an inescapable fact of every aging woman’s life and dealing with the accompanying symptoms is an achievable goal through proper health management. Menopause and the problems that come along with it is largely dependent upon a woman’s genetic make-up, but equally responsible is the way she has led her life.

Her lifestyle, family history and the amount of exercise, diet balance and emotional well being she has maintained, are all contributing factors that determine her possible menopausal issues.

Menopause and Muscle Weakness: Causes

The years after menopause can be happy and productive, if negative consequences, such as, muscular weakening, reduced bone density, irritability and joint pains are avoided through preventive measures. Muscular weakness is a common complaint of many women going through menopause and the likely causes are leading a sedentary lifestyle, smoking or poor nutrition before this change sets in.

Menopause and Muscle Weakness: How to Overcome

As it is possible to prevent bone loss through timely calcium intake and magnesium supplements, combined with weight-bearing moderate impact exercises and strength training with weights, it is also possible to counter muscular weakness. Including vitamin D in the diet and exposure to adequate sunlight with the right balance of a healthy diet and regular physical exercise are factors that contribute to your overall fitness levels.

These precautions would also help prevent the early onset of muscular problems. The downward spiral for women after menopause usually occurs when body stability and flexibility has been neglected through limited movements. This in turn, varies the sensory motor activity and brings down optimal muscular strength.

Menopause and Muscle Weakness: Muscular Mass

Menopausal muscular weakness occurs due to the loss of muscle mass that naturally happens as time goes by. Aging affects women sooner through muscular weakness, if they have not been exercising regularly or adequately and by the age of 70, women lose about 15% every decade. To combat this problem, it is very important that musculo-skeletal strength training is undertaken to help burn fat and stimulate bones. When this is done, minerals that keep them dense are retained and overall muscular and bone strength is maintained.

From the age of 30 onwards, there is a steady decline in muscle mass and women with no strength training lose between 5 and 7 pounds of muscle mass within 10 years. To be better equipped to bear up to the symptoms of menopause, it is essential for women to take up a properly designed strength-training program as this helps you to have more strength available per kilogram body weight. Your trained muscles remain stronger up to an advanced age and life after menopause can be as fulfilling as before.

Menopause and Muscle Weakness: Prevention

To prevent muscular weakness during menopause, women should go for strength training, and schedule it for two to three times per week using weights, combined with aerobic exercise. This helps in building muscle strength, which affects bone density, balance and endurance. A program for each muscle group that addresses muscular tone, strength and endurance is very important to circumvent menopause and muscular weakness related to it.

Flexibility, balance and coordination increases through regular strength-training, and gentle yoga, Pilates and other stretching activities once or twice weekly can offset the challenges of core musculature. Breathing and other cardio routines, combined with this simple program bring general well-being and better chances of good health later in life too.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg


Der Immoblienmakler für Heidelberg Mannheim und Karlsruhe
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Source by Cathy Taylor