Ward Willis

Ward Willis

Kenzai Member
Head Trainer
Meditation is work

I'm a proud graduate of yoga college. Spandex was optional. One of my besties from my 200 hour intensive, when I caught up to him many years later, stopped practicing yoga. He practiced seated meditation exclusively. When I asked him why the change, he told me yoga wasn't physical enough. At the time, this blew my mind. I was like....come on. Asana is tough. Now, as the seated work gets longer in the tooth for these Mind sessions, I'm getting a feel for where his sentiments originated from. I can feel my core, back, shoulders, and neck bearing some of the brunt of it, as well as the invitation to make friends with those sensations. Matt, you were onto something, bro. Hope you are well. Wherever you landed.

Song of the Day: The Killing by Das Mortal https://youtu.be/GjwO4b9vihI


Minders. Guess what? We're not the only crew in town. A fresh batch of Minders just started. They are grappling with week one of the course. Kinda cool to think about how far we've come since week one. We've navigated from what to do with our hands all the way to Metta Meditation. Progress and growth are kinda dope.

On the subject of sitting. Today I settled into my session and invited an issue I've been struggle with into my mind's eye. Sure enough....a little bit of unexpected (is it unexpected if the lesson says it's expected but then also tells you to try not too hard to expect anything to happen) magic happen. I discovered that 'my heart softened' a bit towards the people involved in my struggle. If you've experienced this feeling, then you'll know what I mean. If you have not....hahaha....try Kenzai Mind!

My weekly images have shifted recently. I bebopped by a teammate's blog and noticed that she took some salient Kenzai advice and posted some nature images to the weekly photo slot. Great idea! It brought me a deep sense of calm. Things are busy these days behind the scenes at Kenzai. I was shocked that just those images helped me chill. I'm gonna follow suit. For the remains of the program...you get the Wilderness of Ward's Mind Series.

Don't fret. This doesn't mean I'm dining exclusively on Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream and Maine IPA's while parked on my ass watching hoops and hiding behind some tree pictures. Not a bad idea though and I do hope in a distance universe Ward 4234.96 is enjoying that lifestyle. In fact, workouts are getting done (big time people) and the diet is tight. I'll be wheeling into the back half of Iron (currently hitting the gym weekly with Thomas) once this party ends. Weights + Meditation is a really nice combo. The Mind surprises just keep on coming.

Song of the Day: To You by Andy Schauf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nqw2C5vRAtA


It's time again! The annual right of passage to swing you into Spring is here. It's the Kenzai Ranger Challenge, people. The what?

The Kenzai Ranger Challenge is a 28 day challenge that kicks off on Monday, April 8th. If you sign up and commit, workouts will land in your email inbox every day. This is a challenge and not a full program with diets and daily lessons. But you will get a dope customized banner for your blog, exclusive to Army Ranger Challenge participants only!

*On Day 1, you complete the ArmyRanger Test as a benchmark of your current fitness.

*You do 7 workouts per week featuring a mix of running, jump rope, and rugged body weight based movements.

*You control your diet as you like. This isn't a fat loss course, it's a physical challenge to push your limits.

Sound good? Jump in.

Big Jim Matt is this year's Drill Instructor. To sign up for the challenge, send an email him jim@kenzai.com before the start date. The cut off is firm. No stragglers will be accepted. Rigor and an epic result await.

I'm not in this year. I'm full on with Mind and blasting Iron workouts daily with Head Trainer Thomas. Looking to see a new graduation class though...if you can hack it!

Song of the Day: Turn Down For What? By Dj Snake and Lil Jon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMUDVMiITOU

Moment of Zen

There are plenty of internal and external distractions when you try and anchor your attention to the breath. Few are as ridiculous as this guy.

Jack the Dog doesn't know what to make of his favorite playmate sitting quietly for ten minutes. He'll howl, paw at me, or bring me one of his favorite toys and deposit it in my lap. Fair enough, one cannot feed, coddle, or cavort with a furball while meditating.

So...the evening shift, following the kangaroos jaunt to bed, has been my meditation go to time. When do you quietly do you, Minders? Morning? Noon? Or night?

Song of the Day (dedicated to Jordan Bentz: https://kenzai.me/jordanb/blog for having just completed his three month Portland, Maine Kenzai work intensive): Uber Everywhere by MadeinTYO https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcyFJLrBVhA&list=OLAK5uy_nRD0z9NYneJRFUIlRk2oNymhgrrOvWHHM

On Diet!

They say a photo is worth 10,000 words. Hehe.

Good news, this photo was taken just before Mind started. So far, only one off piste Day during Week 1. Clothes are looser already. Banking some Iron workouts with Thomas Doyle. Love me some Kenzai!

Song of the Day: Dylan Thomas by Better Oblivion Community Center https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXzReYLuavg&list=RDUXzReYLuavg&start_radio=1

Thought Chains

The Day 2 sit was far more serene than Day 1. It likely helped that it was only half as long. I opted for closing my eyes seated on the floor just prior to climbing into bed to read (and after imploring my fidgety partner in crime that she would need to be quiet for five whole minutes).

As I dropped into the meditation practice, I listened to my breath and my mind was clear. It felt good. Until. Boooom. Thought chains! It went something like this...

Hey, I wonder what Bunny Bentz (the PET! of our former Community Manager Jessica Bentz) is up to?>What if I was a paramedic?>If a building was on fire would they bring me the bodies or would I need to go in and get them?>Wait>WTF did you just think?


Song of the Day: Man in the Box by Alice in Chains https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAqZb52sgpU

Something For Your Mind

Iron. Easy. Chisel. A snap. KB3. Pleeeeease. The real program to fear....KENZAI MIND!

That's right, the day has arrived. Time to examine the layers and inner workings of my MIND. Kenzai style. I KNOW this path won't be easy.

My goal is simple. There are a few strands of thought that I'm looking forward to putting down. They don't serve me well and I have a suspicion that this course will help me do that.

I can't tell you what they are exactly. It's not because I don't know. I do. I do. But that would be like....a level of internet exhibitionism I'm not yet ready for. But I'm scribbling them down someplace safe (twitter) for future reflection. Hehe.

Celebrated one year with The Rascal (see photo) in my life over the weekend. I've been forbidden to feed him beer by my better half. So I hoisted one to celebrate him and St. Pat's. Ya-ya's out. Bring on clean living (thinking and being).

Song of the Day: Something For Your Mind by Superorganism https://youtu.be/2K49QKVR0p0?t=415

Founder Visits

Patrick Reynolds is in Portland, Maine working on...wait for it.....the new Kenzai app!

Dude has been working around the clock with the design team. Fortunately, he let me drag him out to take in a few of the local attractions:


You can see right there at the end of the video he is reaching for some veggies and an egg white.

Seven days 'til Kenzai Mind starts. Can't wait. Serenity now...er.....sooon!

Song of the Day: Motion Sickness By Phoebe Bridgers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sfYpolGCu8


I've settle into a little bit of a weekly routine (okay a fairly obsessive routine) as I await the start date of Kenza Mind in March (and try to forget about bailing on my fellow Runners only a few short weeks ago).

I'm hooping, doing some targeted lifting to rehab my separated shoulder, enjoying some mobility exercises, mixing in some Reach workouts, and hitting the slopes as often as possible. It feels good.

And yet....I haven't gone three months without being enrolled in some kind of Kenzai course, for years! At once I feel like I left the house without my pants, which is both startling and liberating. Er.....or something like that.

Songs of the Day: Awake by Tycho https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEI1_oGPQr0

43 Years Young

Bday popped off on St. Valentine's Day. This aquarian has loads of love for the spirited warriors of Kenzai.

From those newbies learning the ropes, to those experience trainees that have helped to shape our community, thanks for helping to make everyday feel special.

I completed the Peak Condition 'Program in my 36 year: https://kenzai.me/ward/blog/birthday-week

I'm looking forward to aging (some more) with KENZAI!

Song of the Day: Sunday by Moby https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=159&v=WZIKu7pYsgQ

Test Post

Test Post



I've worked out for a minimum of an hour every day since January 2nd. I've been running the diet tight since a week prior to Kenzai Run kicked off. There have been a few beer snafus along the way, but all and all, things on the culinary side are going great. My kitchen scale is my best friend (besides Jack the Dog). Tons of veggies are hitting my plate and I'm loving it.

But it's the Run based training that just feels like a poor fit right now.

Currently I'm nailing 4 out of 7 workouts as they are laid out in the program. 2 strength sessions (with Kettlebells), 1 cross training (Snowboarding), and the weekly distance run (I crank out 5 miles on Sundays). In addition, I'm mixing in 3 days of hoops and one more strength session. The routine is rugged. KENZAI even. But it ain't Kenzai Run.

This point was really driven home when I spent some time with Stephanie Doyle yesterday: https://kenzai.me/stephanied/blog. Her approach is air tight and I just don't feel right about collecting a badge in a few weeks, when I'm basically training....but not doing Kenzai Run.

How did this happen? Hmmmm. I spent the past 24 hours thinking about this.

I've worked really hard over the past several years to learn how to eat and train. I'm feeling the value of integrating that learning and this Kenzai stuff is 100% a lifestyle at this point. I have a rhythm right now and I aim to keep it.

I've spoken with so many of you over the years in the back channels that are itching to see a more responsive approach to Kenzai maintenance mode. In other words, building out Life workouts to include the many program features (Run, Reach, Iron, Bells) we've studied deeply over the years. The Kenzai Team couldn't agree with you more. Until it comes together though, I'll do it DIY style, setting myself free from the confines of a program.

To date I've completed 13 current programs and one retired course (Repeak anyone?). I've done a couple programs (Run 10K, Iron) twice. I'm going to march to the beat of my own drum (hahahaha, as if that's a new thing) for a while and just see how it feels. I'll flex my wit out on the blogs and stay accountable to the many community members - new, old, current, and alumni - by keeping my Kenzai game on point.

Thanks for listening.

Song of the Day: I gotta Be Me by Sammy Davis Jr https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rbLlCxK0pHY

That's My Mayor!

This photo pretty much says it all. We've been busy over here in Portland, Maine preparing for a certain Kenzai Warrior Goddess to run for Mayor. Yesterday it became official. Belinda (https://kenzai.me/belinda/blog) is in the race!

Our efforts in life have, as has been true for the last five + years, been bolstered by clean fuel, regular exercise, and a growing community of global citizen that we know have our backs.

When jumping into a 90 program comes up among friends, people too often that say, I'm too busy to do Kenzai. Moving forward, I'm just going to point to my wife and say, busy ain't got nothing to do with it!

Run on runners.

Song of the Day: Cherry Bomb by Joan Jett https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uW_HCdU-qEY


One of my favorite wing men (hoops, bikes, snow sports) is a Doctor. People often ask if he is really a Doctor. Which probably isn't a good thing. But he's available for informal consultations, often mid game or ski trip. He recently diagnosed me with a separated shoulder. Admittedly, it has been hurting like hell.

How did it happen, Ward? So nice of you to ask, Kenzai.

Lemme set the stage. A couple weeks ago I was making some snowboard turns. I was in the woods, swerving this way and that, like a real fucking boss. The run out was steep and fast. Again, no trouble there. I turned the corner, the slope flattened out, and that's when things went sideways.

In the middle of the trail stood a small child, maybe 6 years old. He had ski gear on. But dude was facing the wrong way. He wasn't skiing. He didn't even move a muscle. There was not a single other person around. We made eye contact and I went down like a ton of bricks. No jumps. No bumps. Just tick tock, caught and edge, and BAM. I landed on my head, neck, and right shoulder. It felt like I had fallen out of a five story window onto pavement.

I look back. And the kid was gone. WTF?

As far as training goes, I can run and jump, but shooting a basket ball (which I do about six hours a week), doesn't seem to be helping.

Good news, diet is on point.

But Kenzai, just watch out for Damien. Dude could make an appearance virtually anywhere. He doesn't abide by the same limitations of time and space as you do. He seems nice. Blond hair. Blue eyes. And yet, separated shoulder. Consider yourselves warned.

Song of the Day: My Mind is Playing Tricks on Me by Geto Boys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JZj47qLzdo

Fly Butter Fly

It's cold out. Yesterday I flipped a run for the strength session following one of my weekly hoops games. So it's go time. And I'm not feeling it.

I've tackled loads of runs and workouts in my life, but that doesn't mean that from time to time I don't dread putting one foot in front of the other.

As a wise person once told me, everyone gets butterflies sometimes. The key is to talk them all into flying in the same direction!

I got this.

Song of the Day: Thinning by Snail Mail https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sMRHo7jDgyA

End of Week 7



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Kenzai Body
Kenzai Body


Kenzai Body 2
Kenzai Body 2

Kenzai Run 10k
Kenzai Run 10k


Kenzai Run Half
Kenzai Run Half

Kenzai Kettlebell
Kenzai Kettlebell

Kenzai Body 3
Kenzai Body 3

Kenzai Reach
Kenzai Reach

Kenzai Sculpt
Kenzai Sculpt

Kenzai Iron
Kenzai Iron

Kenzai Kettlebell 2
Kenzai Kettlebell 2

Kenzai Chisel
Kenzai Chisel

Kenzai Mind
Kenzai Mind

Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready
Kenzai Blast: Beach Ready