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A Release from Data

June 21, 2013

Morihei-UeshibaThis editorial was originally published on Aug 14, 2008. It is being republished as Steve is at SQL in the City 2013 – London today.

Have you ever had that frustrating day where you can’t get your queries to work, or can’t find a problem and spend all day working on an issue you can’t solve? Have you had customers or clients that make unreasonable demands, and you want to just punch the wall? Any co-workers that upset you with requests or complaints that make you walk away before engaging in some other career-ending action?

Someone actually suggested to me that this might make a good topic as they noticed quite a few people that were interested in databases were also interested in martial arts. At first glance it might seem strange, after all, the traditional geek is more of a passive individual, someone that spends their spare time in virtual worlds they visit on the computer, on a TV screen, or in their minds while reading a book.

I studied martial arts as a teenager for about 6 or 7 years, trying different styles and teachers as I moved around early in my career. It was a great exercise and a nice release after working hard during the day. However I got married, had kids, and my career took off, and I turned to running, swimming, and other activities I could do during lunch, freeing up evenings for my family.

Over the last year, my middle son become interested in karate, and it got me back into a dojo after 15 years. We go together 3-4 times a week and even have one class together where parents and kids and study together. I’m even planning on going to the PASS Summit early and taking him to an aikido demonstration the weekend before ( Puget Sound Aikikai).

Martial arts are not for everyone, but I will say that being able to focus on hitting a pad, and actually hitting it, is a great stress reliever for me. If you’ve never tried it, I’d recommend taking a class or two from a school that doesn’t engage in a lot of contact between people to get a feel for the sport. You might really enjoy it.

If it’s not for you, I do think it’s important for everyone to take care of their body a bit, especially by putting it under some physical stress. Walking, running, basketball, even chopping wood with Grant, anything that gets you moving will only help the rest of your life. I’d encourage everyone to find some release for those days that you just need to unload some stress after work.

Steve Jones


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