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  • Some posts, or the links they contain, are NSFW. This is your only warning.
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Wednesday, March 31, 2004

I'm not quite yet an "assistant coach," as the necessary paperwork hasn't reached all the right little hands yet. But DATU_B managed to bluff me in. That $7.50 will go quite a long way at Save-a-Lot.

It doesn't seem like I'll be filling up my "secret martial arts scrolls" with too much more FMA stuff this quarter. The "bad news" is that the focus of MMAC will be on Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu and practical self-defense with live drills. The good news is that the focus of MMAC this quarter will be on BJJ and practical self-defense with live drills! Now, I'm told there's bound to be some striking (muay Thai) and some stick/stick-and-knife work, but I'll miss the constant FMA training, to be sure. Regardless, the live drills are going to be invaluable. Now is when I'm going to see if three years studying the martial arts has produced any real fruit.

Not that I mind the BJJ stuff, either. My partner for those drills was BILLY JACK. He seemed a bit more willing to work, but I'll tell you, he lived up to his name. Between these drills and the live self-defenses, he was true to form with his pleasure at the application of dirty techniques. We did a guard-passing BJJ drill transitioning into a full mount. On one pass, he accidentally kneed me in the family jewels. There was a sincere, if quick, "Sorry" followed by "Ooh, I gotta add that to my repertoire." (Who'd've guessed he'd even know the word "repertoire"?)

Then we started with the live drills. As an aside, when the concept was introduced, SPEAKMAN didn't let me down. His @$$ just had to chime in with, "Yeah, that's what we'd do in black belt tests at the old club." By now, there're as-yet-undiscovered tribes in the heart of the Peruvian rain forest who knew something like that was going to come out of his mouth. My should've-been-verbal-but-was-kept-to-myself response was, "Yeah, I did the same thing for my first gup test." (i.e. in most karate/TKD systems, the rank before black belt.)

Last night's drill was simple: getting out of a rear bear-hug where your arms were free. A scenario that's 99% unlikely, but it helped everyone get a taste of what's in store. The goal was to escape, and if necessary, apply a counter. You were in a circle of people who would attack you that way one by one. The same tricks wouldn't work on all of them. I learned quite a few things, including the application of some tricks I learned long ago but never got the chance to really use before last night. BILLY JACK's tactic of picking people up off the floor wouldn't work on me, but I had to sink to his level to escape his bear hug by working on his thumbs.

We had some free time afterward, so DATU_B and I got to work in some more shin blocking. Looks like the sort of pain I was feeling after last time was the result of me doing something wrong, as opposed to just something normal. Somehow, I associated muay Thai with being in a constant state of pain :). Ah, it's going to be a fun quarter, I think.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Shaolin Soccer opens in select theaters this Friday... which of course probably means it won't be anywhere near this culturally god-forsaken sleepy, out-of-the-way college town.

Monday, March 29, 2004

America's wondering
How we got here
Harry all we get is lies
We're gettin' safer cars
Rocket ships to mars
From men who'd sell us out
To get themselves a piece of power

Harry Truman
by R. Lamm, perf. by Chicago
Creative Class War: How the GOP's Anti-Elitism Could Ruin America's Economy
By Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class
Well, the past spring break here in this old university town had its quiet moments, but also its hectic ones. I kept working, I helped E recover from her surgery, and got to hang out with a fair amount of people. But now I need a break. It's just the sort of person I am. My energy is internal; I recover from the inside out.

Lists - I've got lists of various things to do that I've put off for awhile. Once again, I fell into one of those phases where my expensive leather planner remains shut for a bit too long. I gotta get motivated.

Once Upon a Time in Athens - Club starts again this week. I've been too long without a stickfight. This quarter will be more on grappling, though, which is fine by me. Although, I do need to get more kickboxing conditioning in.

instant gratification 2.0 - Yes, I promised a redesign. I'm churning it over in my mind. I'll get to it, ok? Quit yelling at me! I have to say, though, you'd think I had all the time in the world last week, but I only got to this thing twice, didn't I? Oh well.
Turning the Tide - Noam Chomsky's weblog.

Friday, March 26, 2004

:: how jedi are you? ::

Between this and the "Pulp Fiction" quiz, I'm sensing a pattern...
Has it really been 5 days since I blogged last? Well, that's ok. It's not like there's been much to life this past week except for helping E recuperate after her successful knee surgery.

The Bees Knees - The part afterward was the scariest, though. She should've probably stayed at the medical center a bit longer before being discharged. Yes, they wanted her out quick, but they would've given her another hour if she needed it. She had a rather scary episode in the car, probably because she exerted herself a bit too much without fully recovering from the anaesthetic first. But, she's much better now. She'll probably be back in tai chi in the next 2 or 3 weeks. There was a bit more damage than the doctor thought. E probably won't be joining me in MMAC, but she'll get to do all the things she used to like to do.

Once Upon a Time in Athens - Over the past week, with no club sessions, I've been giving serious attention to working out the various techniques within the TKD and kung-fu forms I know. It's amazing. I'm telling you, if I had the academic resources to put in that direction (as opposed to eventually studying the things I should be), I could write papers about using the simpler (in terms of "nitty grittiness") southeast Asian martial arts as keys to uncovering the techniques inside the more complex (i.e. stylistic) forms/katas of the "mainstream" arts.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Yes, it's late. And yes, I may have subconsciously rigged the results, to boot.

Which Trainspotting Character Are You?
The World of Medicine - E is having her surgery in the next town over this Tuesday. Hopefully, that trick knee of hers will get better and I can finally teach her all the kung-fu she's been itching to learn for months. It's hard to do a horse stance, though, when your knee's likely to give out. Of course, she's been talking over the past week about wanting to do yoga along with her Tai Chi. Great, she'll develop her internal energy to the point where she knocks on the door of enlightenment and fires chi from her hands a la Dragonball Z while I'm incurring all this karmic debt from the joy I take in sparring with bladed weapons.

Aw, but knives are fun, though. Oh well.

Once Upon a Time in Athens - Last week at club went well; only DATU_B and myself were there, so we got in a decent amount of FMA work. And then came my next steps into the world of Muay Thai -- shin blocks. Yes, it still hurts. Yes, E questions the point of this type of training. Yes, I'll keep on doing it. Why? Because even though my ability to walk was temporarily hampered, I saw a new summit that I could reach in my martial arts training.

"A new body... at last!"* - Ladies and gentlemen... the Ninth Doctor.

*The Master, Doctor Who: The Keeper of Traken

Thursday, March 18, 2004

You might ask, "So how does a Filipino who doesn't, to his knowledge, have one ounce of Irish blood in him, celebrate St. Patrick's Day?"

Well, despite being alcohol-free (due mostly to poverty, not temperance), by renting Gangs of New York and The Commitments.

Gangs finally cemented one idea in my mind, thanks to Martin Scorsese: Gangster $hi+ is gangster $hi+, no matter what time period or nationality is involved.
Some scribble written on the chalkboard in the men's bathroom in my favorite coffee shop:
What's keeping you from living out your dream?
Some responses:
My emotions
STDs (VD) [Ed. note: thanks for clarifying there, Webster]
My sex addiction
Well, my Tuesday was pretty uneventful. I didn't attend club because it's Finals Week on campus, which meant there wouldn't be much in the way of structure or new material. Which in turn meant I really couldn't justify the expense -- that I reportledly will incur significantly less of next quarter. Then, I'll take on the title of "Assistant FMA Instructor" which will theoretically get me into the workout space for free. Then, instead of paying ungodly amounts just to get in, I could maybe give the club some dues money, attend the seminar on Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, and still have some in my pocket.

I tell you, that day was full of ennui. It was meant to be a day off, but the time I should've spent relaxing was spent "treading water," metaphorically speaking, dealing with one set of minor, yet stressful emergencies after another. It was 9 PM, and god dammit, I was GOING to have my relaxation time. But, there was one delay after another. It was 11 PM, and I finally got out of the house -- but to go where? I tried my favorite coffee shop, open 24/7 for a few days during finals week, but it was all full. Went to the school's library and got to hang out there for a bit, but the atmosphere was full of stress and anxiety. So I went back home, slightly relaxed because it was the middle of the night -- I'm always more relaxed when the rest of the world is asleep. No one to bother me. But that only leads to the same problem. I get too tired in the morning, burn my way through the day, and the exhaustion just compounds.

It's just been this daily test of will lately, in which I keep falling just a little bit short.
Las Vegas Police Nab Ohio Sniper Suspect

Good. Now, maybe my two friends in the CPD (one of whom works Freeway Patrol) can rest easy.
These video clips of shotokan kata keep getting passed around different servers like some stolen mascot that one gang of high school seniors horked from the rival school. Here's where they are this week.

I looked for them as I read some article on the internet somewhere (I forgot the link and I don't feel like Googling it) about the applications of the various 270 degree turns in certain forms. It also made me consider what I saw as E and I watched Way of the Dragon the other night.

Ah, the many ways ol' Brucie would take digs on karate. Yes, I know he didn't hate all karate. Yes, I know that he took what he could from wherever he could get it. One of his (dubbed) lines, spoken to another character who put down karate strictly because it was Japanese, was "If it's useful in a fight, it doesn't matter where it comes from." Yet he looks at his fellow Chinese practicing it, and goes on about how karate has no power.

For a lot of exponents, their karate doesn't have power, that's the sad part. I remember seeing a bunch of black belts from different karate and taekwondo schools performing the same kata. I'm not a black belt myself, but 90% of what I saw was pathetic. Anyhow, blah blah blah, I've ranted on this before. This entry wasn't supposed to be this long -- just a place for me to stash the above link.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

I discovered that my Tag-Board had been deleted. Rather than do any sort of detective work, I simply signed up for another one with the same name to end up in the exact same spot. Not that anyone writes on it anymore, in any case.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Rather than re-type SPEAKMAN's antics after last Friday's party, I figure I'll just cut and paste an email I sent.
Let me tell you the ghetto-ass stuff he pulled after the party. Just like he hogs me during club, he hogged me again as I was about to leave to take E home. He was like "Wait, wait... wait... I'll walk with you guys, I'm going home, too." I wanted to say, "Oh, but we're driving home" but I didn't wanna give him any ideas. Turns out, he got that idea anyway..."Oh, you guys *drove*?" So I just rolled my eyes and was like, in a monotone "Go on get in where do you need dropped off?" When I came back, I told his roommate and he just laughed. He described [SPEAKMAN] as "overworked and under-laid." Perfect if you ask me.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

OUATIA - Item Four, cont.
Knife fighting with washable crayola markers. There was Kali vs. Kali and Kali vs. American Bowie style. Having small markers did favor the kali people, as the Bowie people had a bunch of techniques closed off to them because they're used to working with larger knives. I fought four individuals; my biggest struggles were against DATU_E, who can be one tricky devil and another, let's call him BIG POPPA who was just relentless. For a Caucasian fighter learning a western style, he came close to juramentado mode a couple of times there.

Booze and Weapons
Yes, it was time for another MMAC party. Weapon flashing, drinking, war stories, etc. A good and safe time was had by all.

Remind me to detail my friend SPEAKMAN's actions before and after the party...

Kevin Smith Fix
E and I watched all the episodes of the Clerks animated series. It was a decent 'toon, but not ABC material -- I can see why they'd can it. As with the rest of the View Askewniverse, if you're not a fanboy (of Smith's movies or comics in general), you won't get half the jokes.

Friday, March 12, 2004

As promised, a Rum and Monkey joint...

Are you damned?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey

You will die a warrior and be spirited away by warbling wenches to the Hall of the Slain. Meat and mead for ever more, well until Ragnarok, anyway, when you will do battle with giants, giantesses, dwarfs, elves and Nidhug, a dragon who likes to nibble trees. Odin is great!
The last official session of club for this quarter was a "free day," basically all sparring. We had three options: stickfighting, kickboxing or grappling. Guess where I was most of the time.

I must've sparred 7 or 8 times. My overall experience was positive. I learned many many things and, I hear tell, helped other people learn some things. There were a few negative aspects. I'll go through them first, but mainly because they happened first.

ITEM ONE - "The horror, the horror..."
I was anxious to try single stick kali fighting again. My anxious partner was -- you guessed it -- SPEAKMAN. I've reached the conclusion that this person is a true menace to himself and others. I realize that he probably doesn't mean to be, but I don't know what his damage is. Does he have something he feels he needs to prove? I don't know, but for someone who's trained kenpo (granted, I'm not sure what level he's reached) he spars like someone who's no more than 1/2 to 3/4 through the colored ranks. His control (both physical and mental) while sparring is close to nil IMO. In fact, this is probably part of the reason that he makes such a terrible uke during training drills.

Anyway, he was my first opponent, natch. To his credit, he landed his fair share of shots. Hard shots. To my credit, I took them all and gave my own back. At the end, he was the one whining like a b!+ch about all the hand shots he took. I said nothing about the ones of his that I took. His fighting stance was absolutely ridiculous. I don't know if my description can do it justice. Picture every non-trained caucasian person you've ever seen with a martial arts weapon in his or her hands doing a schlock imitation of something they saw from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and you have some idea.

With all the shots he got, his stances left him open to repeated bashings with angle 7 attacks. That stuck in his craw a bit: "I couldn't get past all your angle 7s." That's because you kept falling for it like an idiot. If I can land three shots in the same place (his rib cage) in a row, it's not because I was any good. It's because you're the one doing something wrong.

Anyway, what I saw after our round was over was the worst example of sparring gone wrong. I almost blame myself; in fact I would, if not for the fact that SPEAKMAN's an @$$ all by himself. I sort of egged people on about trying kali vs. shillelagh sparring. Of course, he was game for that. He even got his roommate as an opponent. I should've listened to that inner wincing I experienced when I saw SPEAKMAN reach for both padded kali sticks.

I won't go into details, because even the morning after, remembering what I saw ticks me off. Suffice it to say that 1) a friendly sparring match shouldn't take you across the length of the entire workout space and 2) when you obviously have your opponent cornered -- like in the corner of the freaking room, you don't keep wailing away like you got no sense, which is exactly what SPEAKMAN did. The officers saw this, broke it up and spoke to them. I'm not sure what was said, although afterward all the stickfighters got a speech about which techniques we were and weren't able to use for awhile (which I and the GANGSTA OF NEW YORK sort of disregarded for our match -- see below), and I don't blame them.

Feeling a bit responsible, I approached SPEAKMAN and his roomie afterward and, half-serious/half-jokingly (I should've been more stern, maybe) had this exchange:
ME (to SPEAKMAN): Damn, dude... you really gotta CALM DOWN.
SPEAKMAN'S ROOMIE (to SPEAKMAN): You really do, man. You're starting to piss me off.
I stopped because clearly, the tempers involved hadn't quite cooled yet. Well, I went to doing my own thing, which I'll write on about. But SPEAKMAN's story doesn't end there. He gave some kickboxing a try, again with his roommate who's a better man than me. I wouldn't've gone another round unless I intended to hurt him. Anyway, I don't know what happened, but by the end of the night, SPEAKMAN's left shoulder (momentarily dislocated, he says) and right hand (possible broken fingers) were on ice.

I don't relish the fact that he was hurt. No, even he doesn't deserve any of that. But my biggest fear that he didn't learn a damn thing. If he doesn't seem to be learning anything yet from all the times he's managed to hurt himself -- I mean, for pete's sake, I've stepped on his bare feet no less than 5 times -- I really really hope he doesn't have to learn it by hurting someone else.

ITEM TWO - "I'm gonna take this kali stick and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face... and you want to know something? There's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it."

I had a calmer round of kali sparring with BILLY JACK. I did follow the edict, except for a few times when I just plain forgot, to limit ourselves to the first 5 angles of attack. With some constructive advice from DATU_S, BILLY JACK and I had a decent give-and-take sparring match.

One lesson I learned from this fight and subsequent matches (but really didn't put into practice) was how much success you could have simply by pushing forward. That is, following through with a series of attacks as if to finish, going in for the kill. But, wanting only to soak the bare minimum amount of hits, I resorted to the point-sparring mentality: Go in, peck away, and get out.

Anyway, this match was definitely my best technical fight since I took the time and maintained the mindset necessary to think properly. I got to work the live hand more, as well as follow through with my strikes.

ITEM THREE - East Meets West
I respect the shillelagh a whole lot more. I went a round with the Irish stick/knife officer, the GANGSTA OF NEW YORK. Well, to give him the (further) respect he deserves being an officer of the club, we'll call him DATU_E from now on. We found ourselves going at it pretty well. I know I got to play around with every single angle of attack, except for maybe the 10th one. DATU_E's got like 6" or 7" in height on me, and between that, his reach and his stick, I don't know how I would've gotten any overhead shots in. Anyhow, I learned quite a few lessons on kali vs. shillelagh.

First off, it sucks to fight someone more proficient in the largo range than you are. DATU_E decided to stop using certain long range tactics just out of courtesy. I was fast enough to evade certain strikes, but I couldn't close the distance more than halfway before his stick came back around for a follow-up strike. He got in a lot of hits to my legs at that range -- and not just pegging my lead leg, either. But that was more my fault. I need to combine my elevation with low-line blocking. It cost me many a head shot, let me tell you.

The most successful thing I did there was play with the abaniko. Supposedly, it was one of the things I did that gave DATU_E something to consider. I scored quite a few elbow shots past his lower half of his stick, which is intended to serve as a shield. I'm sure it won't work if I ever have to face him stick-vs.-stick again.

ITEM FOUR - "The Hunted, Part II"
The stick thing had run its course, and I was itching to try knife fighting with the washable Crayola markers that DATU_T brought in. Apparently, the club hadn't done that in a year or so due to some unfortunate incidents -- how the blue hell do you get hit so hard that you're picking felt tip from your gut?

...to be continued. This is getting long.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Last Tuesday's Talk of the Nation on NPR had a segment on Cult TV. On it were Josh Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) and the ultimate cult TV/movie personality Bruce Campbell!
One of my favorite stories ever first appeared in the magazine Analog in 1977, developed into a full length novel and now stands to become a movie:
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Yesterday was another fun session of BJJ techniques with my friend Mr. SPEAKMAN as my partner. For some undisclosed reason, he couldn't stay more than 30 minutes after the start of club, but proceeded to hog me for every second of his stay. What was more frustrating was screwing up a takedown -- I probably only performed it correctly twice out of ten times. The worst part was that I really can't blame SPEAKMAN in any way for it.

Ah, the joys of FMA footwork. The drills we did last club really tied things together for me, as far as how strikes and blocks tie into your footwork.

We FMA folks joined up with the shill... shillal... the Irish stick people (it's late, and I just got in from work) for the last bit of class. Somehow, I got the idea that there'd be a bit of sparring involved, but instead we got samples of each systems techniques, including takedowns.

Yes, if somehow my knowledge of FMA somehow reaches any sort of plateau during my time in Athens, I may just have to give the shill... Irish stick a try.
I don't know how close to the Arnold Battle of Columbus this joke was made, but I read this quote by Craig Kilborn in the local rag this past Monday:
Governor Schwarzenegger has come out against gay marriage, and then he went back to slathering body oil all over his muscles in front of other guys.
As I said, I wish I could've gone this year, especially since I was in the city at the time. But, there were more important things to be had, like time with E on her birthday celebration day.

Monday, March 08, 2004

*Because Jack Palance was the best host for that show... f**king Dean Cain, f**k him. I hope the "Superman Curse" hits him. Then again, given the roles he's taken since Lois and Clark, maybe it already has.

Why doesn't this suprise me?
*It should be "day" with the rate at which these come to me

A move in the kata Rohai can be applied one of two ways. The arm movements can be used as a way to redirect an attacking opponent's energy. The leg movements combined with the arm movements can be used as a takedown/leg sweep.
I didn't get a chance to really mention it, but yesterday's entries were made from a friend's house in Columbus. E and I went there over the weekend for a belated birthday bash. I had so much more to say, but so little time, so here it is now.

It was nice getting reacquainted with several old friends, and make a couple of new ones. I swear even someone I thought was an ice queen seemed nicer. There's always something about being surrounded in a circle of warmth and love.

However, there was one person in particular that I could've lived without seeing: E's ex-boyfriend, let's call him MR. THOMAS. Now, MR. THOMAS really isn't a bad guy, but I'm convinced that he's the sort of guy I would've kept at arm's length anyway, even if he had no connection to me at all. Kinda snooty and intellectually arrogant, he's the kind of person who makes annoying comment after annoying comment that you're fine with initially but sort of grates more and more on your nerves until you finally just want to lash out with your AK-47 and take out everyone in the room.

I have a personal theory about MR. THOMAS based on my observations him as well as my exposure to the GLBT community throughout the time I spent working in the mental health field. I've been reluctant to share these with E, because she'd probably think that such observations are the product of being blinded by the alpha-male gene.

In any case, my skills at being deceptively civil were in full effect that night. That whole day in fact. He and a friend of his accompanied E and me at the Museum of Art to see a Buddhist art exhibition. E brought it up in conversation while we drove down there. Once again, I made my feelings on the matter rather plain and she actually cried just at the thought of me going through any awkwardness. I tried to reassure her that there was no real awkwardness. Yes, there was the slight discomfort of having to act deceptively friendly and warm. I would be more comfortable -- and in fact was very comfortable -- being on the other side of the room where I don't have to interact with him. No, I don't want to hurt the man (unless he steps out of line) and if I should ever happen to see him, say, fall off an ocean liner, I'd gladly and quickly throw him a life preserver. (And, that's it.)

I wanted to share these with another friend of E's who was at the party who voiced her still-active dislike for MR. THOMAS. Now, although this sort of met with E's disapproval when I told her about it later, I voiced my own dislike with the sole purpose of winning this friend of hers over a little more.

I've known for awhile that a lot of people were quite pissed at MR. THOMAS over his treatment of E which, in short, was basically immature. Apparently, though, MR. THOMAS still isn't exactly Mr. Popular. Most of the people at that party were closer friends of his at one time or another. But, I got the distinct impression that aside from the people he actually brought with him, some (like me) tolerated his presence for E's sake.

One of the better reunions was with a certain friend of mine of Irish origin by the name of Jameson. Ah, one day, I'll have to introduce you to my other friend Mr. Daniels.

You know you're really close friends with someone when she shows you and your girlfriend photos of a nude session taken by her husband.

I wish I could've taken some time to hang with DATU B and DATU S at the Arnold Battle of Columbus where DATU S was scheduled to compete. Eh, well, there's always next year. Maybe I'll work up the courage to compete in forms.

E was so happy to get back to our old stomping grounds. Well, most of them were our individual stomping grounds at different times before we knew each other, but that was part of the initial cool-ness of our relationship.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Why wasn't I alerted about this evil in time to perhaps do something about it?
This version of the Bible will renew your faith like no other.

Friday, March 05, 2004

I already completed this test before I got the Rum and Monkey email. I'll have one of their tests next week. But for now...

What Pulp Fiction Character Are You?

You don't tolerate shit. The .45 you carry in you pocket is scary, but your words are the real threat, especially when you decide to get Biblical. Try to take it easy, but maintain that edge of yours, which tends to keep people wary in your presence.

Take the What Pulp Fiction Character Are You? quiz.

Oh, hell yes...
I received this email just moments ago from the folks at Rum and Monkey in response to the email I sent:

I'm really sorry about that - the ad company have been informed, and
about to take down the ads until they can prove to me that it either
wasn't them or it won't happen again.
These folks have just moved up to #1 in my Coolness book!
Re: SPEAKMAN's behavior that I recorded last time, DATU B (Yes, I've decided that from this point on, any reference to an officer of the club will be the title datu (chief) and a letter.) had this comment, made before he read any reference to it on my blog.
...I wanted to say, "The only time I need your help is if you're better than me, and you don't have your $hi+ together."
And here, I thought it was just my observation, combined with my judgement which was clouded with frustration.

More BJJ techniques, and once again with a (different) serious partner! I've finally shaken the confusion behind applying paintbrushes, partly because I got to try it from different positions other than the mount. I learned another escape from the guard that I can add to my repertoire.

I learned another valuable lesson -- how ingrained it became for me to lock ankles when I have someone in the guard. It's just the way I had been trained prior to now. I never realized how easy I could be submitted from there.

Valuable Lesson #2 -- the art of the grind. I realize that it's a mostly illegal move, but hell. That's another thing about my previous training. I was never taught grinding.

I got to play with a serrada-length stick. Me likey serrada-length!

I still suck at Pekiti-Tirsia drills. It's made me respect knives more, though. I never considered myself a knife fighter, and I certainly was never one of those cocky tae kwon do "Oh, if someone attacks me with a knife, I can kick it out of their hands" people. But I thought if I couldn't evade, my "feeble skills" would be worth something.

Well, screw that. Pull a knife, and I'm running, probably while screaming like a girl. I wouldn't fancy my chances even if I had a weapon.

Eh, well... practice, practice, practice. And maybe inter-weaving leather cords into my wardrobe wouldn't be a bad idea either, what with everybody and his sister around this town walking around with tactical folders.
I wouldn't recommend taking any of the tests from Rum and Monkey unless you want some startpage worms on your computer. First time it happened last week, I wasn't sure, but I tried again this time with all my AV stuff active, and sho' nuff...

I sent them a message. I'm sure it'll be fixed.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Where to start, where to start. Actually, a few hours before club, I ran into B (Still thinking of a nickname...) and since the weather was so nice, we took some time to train out in a field for a bit, after a detour to his house. The additional stick training was nice, although my arm was killing me by the end of club yesterday. The biggest plus was learning deflections to angles of attack that always seem to dumbfound me. I got to brush up on knife defense drills, too.

The first hour of last night was mostly devoted to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques. At last, my BJJ knowledge takes a step forward! Up until now, I knew a couple of takedowns, one way of escaping a mount, passing the guard, how to post and transition into a couple of easy submissions, and a few chokes. Now, I've got three of the five or six dominant positions down, a new way to escape a mount and a way to escape a cross-body.

Having a good partner helps, too. Although having a female partner (dunno how that happened) is always a tad bit awkward, everyone involved seemed cool with it. Actually, what was more awkward about my partner wasn't the gender factor. It was the limb she was nursing -- a bone injury she had surgery on a couple of years ago that I won't describe because even while I'm typing this, I'm getting the usual "broken bone heebie jeebies."

And, while on the subject of partners, Mr. SPEAKMAN was back and in rare form. I ended up inadvertently (I swear!) stepping on another of his toes during a drill. Hey, one time was an accident. Twice, and you were asking for it. Then, in another drill, a takedown, he was whining about how I was grabbing his wrist too hard. Now, while I don't expect anyone to "just suck it up" and risk serious injury while training, there's a difference between letting your partner know he's using excessive force and whining like a pu$$y.

Needless to say, I was a bit more active in trying to switch partners as often as I could, which wasn't easy. SPEAKMAN was in "hog-mode" again. Plus, he was hyper, too -- maybe his biorhythms were high that night, I don't know. He can never just work the f**king drill. He either needs to talk himself through it, or talk you through it. He can't just concentrate on the application of the technique.

The icing on the cake though was when he committed what, to me, is the unpardonable sin. B was coaching BILLY JACK (a new nick for a new character -- see below) through a technique that he was having trouble with. There was a moment where BILLY JACK was having trouble with hand positioning. So SPEAKMAN has the nerve to walk up in the thick of it to give his (unsolicited) help. I was beside myself. I stopped for a split second because I had to run a "systems check" through my senses, because I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

All I'm saying is that he better wear shoes the next time I work with him.

Which brings us to BILLY JACK -- yes, the "I'm gonna kick you right there, etc." character. He's not a bad guy. His heart's in the right place, and he generally works hard. His height and lankiness works against him sometimes, though. The best way to describe how he moves is like "an octopus playing the drums" (from Mystery Men).

What qualifies him for the title BILLY JACK is his propensity to resort to dirty fighting techniques when left to his own devices during various drills. And, I don't mean "martial arts" dirty tricks like shots to the groin or other "cheap shots." I'm talking hill billy tactics. Case in point, last night I was workin a takedown with him and his counter (because he's always thinking up counters) was "Hyuh hyuh (ok, maybe he just said "Huh huh")... if someone does that, I'll just bite him in the finger." Not that I'm criticizing. Heck, anything goes in a real fight. And, there's something to be said about having a comfortable set of, um... I guess you could call them "techniques"... to fall back back on. His are just funny.

I do have to say that I feel my brain approaching critical mass as far as the amount of information being thrown at me in short periods of time. I've resigned myself to the fact that I simply cannot absorb them all. Sometimes when a technique is demonstrated (pad drills, FMA, whatever), 2 or 3 variations and "what ifs" are presented. I basically just pick the one I'm most interested in working. But, I've observed something wierd -- it seems that most of the other students will often work on the last variation presented. In any case, I just trust that whatever techniques I don't immediately absorb will come up again and so long as I'm learning the general principles, chances are I can come up with a given technique in my own practice.
Luckily, I had the day off and Wednesdays are the days where E doesn't have to be anywhere until 2 PM, so she got to be pampered all sorts of ways this morning. It was nice and relaxing; one of those zen moments where time just slows down. By the time we had to get up and on with our days, we were surprised to find that it wasn't even noon.

In fact, that "slow-time warp" still seems to be going on right now, at least for me.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Ok, some news stuff that I meant to comment on, but didn't have the copius spare time until today.

UK 'spied on UN's Kofi Annan'

British spies listened in to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's office in the run up to the Iraq war, former UK cabinet minister Clare Short says.
Once again, the Brits are pulling the James Bond $hi+. Yet, oddly enough you don't hear about the US doing that sort of thing... because we don't, right?

The Academy Awards -- didn't see it, didn't care to. Yes, I grant you that Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King deserved every award it won. But, this whole thing needs to be put into perspective. As if this country doesn't have more important things to worry about other than this or whether gay people can get married. Whether Bill and Fred have their marriage recognized, however I may feel about it morally, has no impact whatsoever on my ability to find a better job or start school sooner.

Robert Lamm wrote a song about the Oscars soon after 9/11.
Light the lights
Another love fest
For the stars tonight, tonight
Cups of gold
And empty praise
We're fabulous tonight

No reward for getting out of bed
Teaching kids and making sure they're fed
Say a prayer for the common man
Come along into the promised land

Gimme gimme gimme gimme some award
Gimme money gimme something
Gimme someplace in your hall of fame
Gimme gimme gimme gold plated statues
Of an image I can pander to

Gimme gimme gimme gimme some award
Gimme money gimme something
Gimme someplace in your hall of fame
Gimme gimme gimme soundbites of freedom
My graffiti on the sands of time

Gimme Gimme by R. Lamm

Ah, priorities.

Haiti -- oh, Dubya, where do you draw that line?

Monday, March 01, 2004

I'm thirteen years old this is my report.

-E, being merciless toward the student broadcasters on the local NPR affiliate.
I was replaying a move I learned a few weeks ago in my mind. It was a throw that you'd use to follow up after closing the distance. I recalled how the basics of the throw and how it was delivered were explained to me. Yesterday, it dawned on me that both the demonstration moves as well as the moves of the actual throw as it is practically applied were almost straight from the form Empi.

I keep telling myself I have to make a list of these, but for now, I'll just do that on here. I'll come back later and cull these entries and see what I can string together from them.
Saw two movies over the weekend with E.

State and Main by David Mamet made me realize that I have yet to see a single bad performance by William H. Macy. It made me sad that I avoided that made-for-TV thing he did for TNT -- I don't trust made-for-TV stuff. But, I should've trusted the actor. My plan for the summer is to watch anything and everything Macy's ever starred in.

Bowling for Columbine was fun. It made me question what the heck the big deal was about this movie. I admit I never followed up on all the news reports about just how many facts he may or may not have distorted. Then again, I look to Michael Moore for unbiased factual accuracy about as much as I look to Rush Limbaugh.

The movie did make me look at the whole gun issue from another point of view, though. What gives the U.S. of A. the highest rate of gun-related deaths? Our "gun culture"? Canada has a gun culture. Our national history of violence? Certainly not any more bloody than Great Britain or Germany. Our national poverty? Well, we're still by far the richest country in the world. So, what is it?

Granted, Michael Moore didn't have to harass Charleton Heston at his own home the way he did. (Although in my opinion, it seems like Chuck has overly identified with some of his characters, as if thinking, "Hey, I parted the Red Sea and told Dr. Zaius where to shove it. I can handle a pansy like Michael Moore!") But, being the propagandist he is, Moore couldn't resist the chance to simultaneously take a dig at a right-wing establishment while increasing awareness of yet another of the troubles of Flint, MI. Even if it seemed tangential to what appeared to be his main point that it could be the six-o'clock news spreading a culture of fear with its "If it bleeds, it leads" mentality.

If it is the "liberal media's" fault, then what are the right-wingers whining about?
These letters are written as part of the March Journal Collaboration Project for Rice Bowl Journals.


Dear L.

Don Henley wrote in the song My Thanksgiving
Well, a lot of things have happened
Since the last time we spoke
Some of them are funny
Some of them ain't no joke
That's definitely been true in the year since I finally told you that I just couldn't have anything to do with you anymore. It was probably the single most selfish thing I had ever done, but it was also at the same time, the single biggest step I took toward reestablishing a healthier mental and emotional state.

I regret not knowing anything about the state of your life right now. But, I know that even now that most of the pain is long since gone, and that everything I lost when I lost you I've regained tenfold, I couldn't stand that little twinge one gets when one sees an old flame, healthy and happy and knowing that that flame is so most likely because you're no longer there. Hypocritical? Yes.

It's not really a measure of anger or lack of forgiveness. We forgave each other ages ago. But, as I remember saying that day, any of the biopsychosocial discomfort it would take to (re-)establish any sort of relationship just wouldn't be worth it for me in the least.

Basically, I still don't want to know you or what you do. What I need to do is continue what I've been doing -- namely to calmly put away any thoughts of you that pop up in my mind. To accept that they'll pop up, and then to let them go.

That being said, I do hope you're happy and healthy. I just don't want to know about it.



Dear S.

You, I miss. I don't understand why things turned out the way they did after all we shared so long ago, but that's the way things go, I guess. I've seen lately, as lately as this past month how what we shared continued to affect you until you put your closure to it. I'm writing this to do the same.

I know it's unlikely we'll ever reestablish any sort of friendship. Given our history, it's probably not a good idea to do so, especially since I have a (very) significant other. Over the years, I've reached about 99% acceptance of that. This letter is my last 1%. Still, I hope you are well. I also hope any ill feelings you have toward me have faded. I still think rather fondly of you.