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Things you need to know:
  • Some posts, or the links they contain, are NSFW. This is your only warning.
  • This blog serves the cause of my freedom of speech, not yours. I wield censorship like a 10 year-old boy who just found his father's handgun.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

I seriously haven't felt this let down by someone since I got dumped by my last girlfriend.
Who Star Quits Abruptly

Christopher Eccleston has quit the title role of the BBC's new Doctor Who series after just one episode of the new series aired, the BBC reported. Eccleston, whose first appearance as the ninth Time Lord attracted around 10 million viewers in its premiere on March 26, feared being typecast, the network said.
Typecast, my ass. After all the stuff he's been in, all that talent and range, and he's scared of being typecast? As what?

What a f**k.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

bug's eye view

This camera can make me lazy. Then again, it's taken time and effort to learn how to manually focus the camera and shoot in different settings.

Now, if I need to find more interesting types of subjects.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Elena (ok, if I'm going to eventually link to our new blog that'll have both our first names and post the picture below, I might as well, eh?) is lamenting our return to "real life." I don't blame her, really. Still, I've been making a concerted effort to keep the relaxation of last week in my being for as long as possible.

I broke down and got a Flickr account. Great, so my pictures are now spread out over three accounts. I created another one specifically for the aforementioned wedding blog. I just need to pare down the pictures because I'm cheap and don't want to pay for a Pro account. 10 MB of uploads a month is more than adequate (for now). I broke down because it makes it far easier for me (and Elena) to do this:

fiddybucks

To me, this is the perfect card/gift.

Saturday, March 26, 2005


Happy Easter! Posted by Hello
Today is day three of wedded bliss! And, it's been just that, too. The irony is that only two things are really different. First, there’s the ring. Second is the real sense of responsibility for and to the person I’ve married.

ringus

We just got back from the honeymoon yesterday. Yes, we've got pictures and stories to tell. They'll soon be posted, bit by bit, on a new blog that I’m in the process of putting together.

For now, I’ll simply let all of you know that our wedding was small – E and I, DATU_B and his wife, MR. AND MRS. FIVE-O, the celebrant, her husband and two “crashers” (who we were glad to see). It was a simple ceremony conducted by the resident Lama of Karma Thegsum Chöling in Columbus, during which prayers were intoned and vows were exchanged.

After a dinner at a very nice restaurant, we honeymooned at the Ash Cave Cabins -- it was quite simply the single most restful and relaxing experience I've ever had, and sharing it with my new wife made it all the better.

happyhome

To whom it may concern, thank you for all the well-wishes, the cards, and the presents!
...took a break this week, for once.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

By the way: T-Minus 22 Hours to Wedded Bliss!

***

E and I don't have cable TV, and in OULand, that means that you don't have TV, even if you actually have a television set, which we do. So, whenever we get within TV range, we scope it out, just to see what we've been missing. We usually end up appalled.

One thing I discovered was that they really weren't lying when they say they've got a reality show for everything. I knew about celebrities being chased around, people eating bugs and all of that nonsense. I generally ignore them as I flip through the channels, pausing just long enough to say "God, not another one!" That is, except in two cases.

In my opinion, the genre hit a new low with Intervention. Shown on A&E of all places, this is a show that follows around people with serious addiction issues - the particular episode I saw concerned a woman addicted to pain killers and a teenaged girl cutter - who don't know that somewhere along the line, they're going to face an intervention. Now, it's not necessarily the concept that I have a problem with. I have a problem with them actually showing the cutter cut herself in graphic detail. I would have even accepted that if it stopped there, but it didn't. You know, I can't even go on with the rest of it...

There was another show that I personally would consider a height for the reality TV genre on The Discovery Channel called It Takes a Thief. Here, two ex-burglars illustrate the security flaws in people's homes by breaking into them. Cameras are placed all over the house and the people get to watch from a distance as one of these robbers use any and every trick in their book to get into their homes, pore through their valuables, and grab any and every piece of loot. Afterward, the loot is brought back and inventoried while the homeowners are educated as to what made their house easy or hard for the burglar. At the end of it all, the show pays for a security upgrade for the home, and the burglar attempts to break in again, to see if their lessons were heeded. In the episode I saw, the burglar didn't succeed in breaking in after the upgrade despite the fact that the homeowners didn't set their security system.

Incidentally, E and I finally saw an episode of the new Battlestar Galactica. She didn't like it as much as I did. We did agree on one thing, though -- the whole BG concept is simply a hook. This show could easily function as it is, removing any reference to BG, except that fewer people would probably watch it. Oh well, I'll reserve final judgement until I see more of it, but all in all, I like it so far.

***

Two out of five people have Played the Interview Game! Who are the lucky three going to be?
My parents were exceedingly kind when E and I visited them over the weekend. Not only are we financially set for the wedding and quite a bit thereafter, we were able to use a bit to continue our movement into the 21st century with a Canon PowerShot A510 digital camera.


Here's E's personal shrine - one of the many pictures I've taken with it so far. For as many times as I've slapped myself silly over the past few months in those moments when I could've really used a camera, now we've got one! Posted by Hello

Monday, March 21, 2005

E and I are in Cleveland right now visiting with my parents before the wedding. We got here late Saturday night and are heading back early Tuesday morning. It's just nice to spend time with the folks as a single person one last time.

I have to mention that we delayed the announcement of our wedding until the last possible second. As far as they knew, E and I were planning for June. Then, we decided to go small and local, mostly for financial reasons, but also to be fair. E's family would have quite a hike to get to our wedding, and we both felt it really wouldn't be fair to have my family come down (and, they would, given half the chance) and not E's.

All in all, my parents surprised me again with how supportive they were. Dad was a tad disappointed, though. I know it's not just that he won't be present, but that "the family" (i.e. every clan member from here to the Philippines) won't be able to be there. But, all in all, he's still very supportive, and I'm glad.

We've got a bit of shopping to do, and then we should be good to go when we return to A-Town tomorrow morning! Then, I figure we'll have about two or three hours of peace until the real fun begins! Don't be surprised if there's no blogging between today and when we get back from the honeymoon, although I'm sure I'll be able to sneak in a picture or two.

***

Two out of five people have Played the Interview Game! Who are the lucky three going to be?
If you ever asked yourself the question "I wonder what Don's shortest job stint was?" then now you can know.

And, knowing is half the battle.

Friday, March 18, 2005

ANGLE 1
T-Minus 5 days to wedded bliss!!

ANGLE 2
Last night, E and I trolled video stores to score a copy of the new Battlestar Galactica mini on DVD. We couldn't find one, but I happened on a pre-viewed copy of the film American Adobo on sale for $4.95. I remembered reading a blurb about this somewhere, sometime back. News about Filipino-American movies tends to grab my attention for a split second. I figured the worst case scenario was that, if it sucked, at least I'd be taking it off the local market.

I didn't know how right I was. You know, I think I'll make this a separate entry, because the movie sort of ticked me off.

On a good note, I'm glad I splurged on a near-mint, used copy of Hero!

ANGLE 3
We did manage to watch Ju-On, better known by its American remake The Grudge. It was pretty frightening. Director Takashi Shimizu has quite the bag of tricks. Unfortunately, that's all the movie was. Definitely a triumph of style over substance. But then, aren't all the better horror movies that way? ("Better," I said -- not "best.")

ANGLE 4
Ann Marie has played the interview game! Thanks!

***

Two out of five people have Played the Interview Game! Who are the lucky three going to be?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Today, I get this email from the editor of American Nerd:
Hi Don,

awesome on all counts. Hey, I was meaning to ask... how did you find
out about the site? I'm always pretty curious to hear how the word is
getting out.
I distinctly remember saying to myself, "I hope I never get asked how I stumbled upon American Nerd." Of course, I not only get asked, but by the worst possible person. What choice did I have?
Keith,

I was afraid you were going to ask me this question, because the answer is going to sound like major ass-kissing, but I swear it's the truth...

The piece that kept me going back to the McSweeney's website (and buying Created in Darkness by Troubled Americans) was Journal of a New COBRA Recruit -- my fiance and I will still occassionally yell out "COBRA!" Anyway, I Google the authors of the pieces I like to see what else they might have written, and lo and behold, American Nerd was among the results.

Not an ass-kisser (much),
Don
Well, it was the truth.

Incidentally, I came up with this as my little "bio blurb." Hopefully, I'll get to use it more often
Don [avoids writing his last name on his blog] is an Asian-American who loves being asked “Where were you born?” so that he can truthfully reply, “Cleveland,” and watch the ensuing discomfort. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s.
***

It's not too late - Play the Interview Game!
Not surprising because after all, miserly loves company great minds really do think alike.





Your Famous Blogger Twin is Wil Wheaton





You're a friendly, funny guy (or girl) next door
With more than a touch of geekiness


Wednesday, March 16, 2005

SciFiDaily reports (and, I even looked it up, to boot) that the role of Grand Moff Tarkin, originally played by the late Peter Cushing (who also did a turn as Doctor Who), will be played by Farscape's Wayne Pygram in the upcoming Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

Wow, I'm surprised Satan's Minion Lucas didn't just cut and paste him from Episode IV.

***

It's not too late - Play the Interview Game!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

ONE
Life's been a bear trying to figure out how all the final pennies are going to fall into place for the wedding which is in T-minus 8 days! Not that we're really worried in any way. It'll all happen :).

I've been hearing all the well-wishing for the past few weeks (as well as all the winks and nods from all the males going, "It's not too late to back out" all tongue and cheek). That really does make one feel good.

TWO
A piece I wrote on the new Doctor Who has been accepted for publication, very appropriately, by the folks at American Nerd Magazine. If the guy who wrote Journal of a New COBRA Recruit thought it was good, it must be ok. Look for it early in April.

THREE
E just hasn't had the time to respond to my Interview Game questions. But, it's not too late for you!

***

It's not too late - Play the Interview Game!

Friday, March 11, 2005

Well, like I said in previous posts, the new training protocols are helping, especially when someone else is present to spot mistakes.

Last night, I left a little early. It not that the stuff wasn't fun, because it was. And, I understand it's one of the last sessions of the quarter, so things traditionally loosen up. But, if you're going to conduct a lesson, it might be a good idea to present them in such a way that the people you're instructing might stand a chance at retaining some of the information. The person I used to call the ONE_ARMED_BANDIT, aka Mr. "Did you learn your kung fu system from a freakin' video?" was running things.

The hubud work was great. The Cimande was great, too - I needed a review. Oh, the three bruises per arm have now just melded into one big one per arm. The Silat Serak drills were nice - I liked those the best because, once again I find more similarities between silat and my kung fu system. But, once the Mande Muda footwork stuff started, my mind started shutting down, although not before I noted that some of the stepping made some of the stepping from my old kung fu make more sense. I just didn't see the point of drilling something I was going to forget tomorrow or that would make me forget what I wanted to remember by tomorrow. I would've brought a notebook if I thought any of that stuff was going to go on last night, but hey. Them's the breaks.

It was then I realized - the session wasn't meant to teach anyone anything so much as show off what six months of going to seminars will get you (one with a de Thouars, of course). But, I suppose it's better than learning from a video (b@$tard).

But, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

UNO
Last Tuesday after Fight Club, DATU_B and I experimented with some of the techniques shared by Mushtaq Ali. I initially had it in my mind to retrain myself from the beginning when it came to certain techniques -- I'll probably do that on my own.

B thought it best that we train in the context of Muay Thai basics, particularly as it relates to the defense AND attack with the right side of my body. This includes the basic shin blocking, jamming with my right side using the “Superman” entrance, and everything in-between.

It’s probably a good idea to try and push all of my kung-fu blocking to the back burner for awhile. At 40% speed (note to self - I was told “Tai Chi” speed, really) and 1/10 of the power, my arms are sore as hell from trying to soak kicks. Of course, exposing my forearms for a pounding during a demo during Fight Club didn't help, either.

But, that begs the question, doesn’t it - What am I training for? If I learn to soak a kick with my arms, then isn’t that a good thing? Besides hardening them, isn’t it worth taking one or two to get within range for a finishing technique? Or, do I train to go toe to toe, in which case, two soaks with my forearms becomes an extremely bad idea.

TWO
T-Minus 13 days to wedded bliss!

Incidentally, I gave E five questions for the Interview Game -- see below.

THREE
Today, in 1927, my father was born.

FOUR

I feel like a kid again! Posted by Hello

The new series isn't due to premiere for another three weeks. But, because of... umm... a time slip... I saw the first episode, entitled Rose. Don't ask how, because if you do, my explanation will consist largely of Doctor Who temporal technobabble.

The episode was great! If only Paul McGann's 1996 TV movie could've been like this. It could've, really, if Fox hadn't tried to make it too American. I nominate him as the first recipient of the Timothy Dalton I-Should've-Been-a-Contender Award.

God, I spent excessive amounts of time taping all the Doctor Who I could from PBS when I was a kid. I was to Who what a Trekkie is to Trek, except for going to conventions. Anyway, this episode is classic Doctor Who without the cardboard cutout backdrops and rubber suited aliens. It was how the Jon Pertwee-era story Spearhead from Space should've been done. And, I like the new metrosexual look, too. I was worried that the whole thing would end up being too Matrix-y, but it wasn't.

The title sequence is very, how shall we say, very 2000. If I would've seen this in 1988, I would've been blown away. Now, it's still exciting, but please... that whole "freeze frame while the camera appears to circle you" effect has long since been out. That being said, I like the new logo.

I like the new Doctor, too. Christopher Eccleston's, who I didn't know was in Shallow Grave, for pete's sake, take on The Doctor is very reminiscent of Patrick Troughton's (who got, arguably, the biggest post-Who exposure with a cameo in The Omen). Actually, it's more reminiscent of Peter Davison's reminicence of Patrick Troughton. Of course, unless you're a Who geek, you'll have no idea what I'm blathering on about.

Incidentally, the BBC's Doctor Who Site has been redesigned. Check it out!

And, to think the Sci-Fi Channel passed on this. Lexx, Black Scorpion, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, and let's not forget, Ghost (yes, Moore and Swaze) are fine. But, why take a chance on the longest-running sci-fi franchise in history.

FIVE
For awhile, you'll see the following line at the bottom of each post, at least until I get four more people to volunteer:

***

It's not too late - Play the Interview Game!
That is, my blog universe. Since one good turn/linkback deserves another...

Meet Ann Marie - bon vivant, fellow lover of Fran Lebowitz (I mean that in the "afficianado" sense), and co-author of the book Cooking to Hook Up. I've made reference to her and the book a few posts back.

Hey, I just realized. Yet another CA person. Silat instructors and authors. Quite the varied mix you meet on the internet, isn't it? Hey, maybe I need to take a tour to that end of the country. I could visit people and make up for the missed opportunity I had to attend a seminar with Guro Dan Inosanto when he was nearby.
Ok, so maybe these things aren't always accurate...





Your Seduction Style: Siren / Rake





You possess an unbridled sensuality that appeals to many.
The minute you meet anyone, you can make the crave you almost immediately.
You give others the chance to lose control with you... spiraling into carnal bliss.
A dangerous lover, you both fascinate and scare those you attract.


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

I never, ever do these, but I make an exception today, a) because of the respectability of the source and b) because the questions are pretty interesting.

Mushtaq Ali asks:

1. What is the best thing about being American?

The best thing has to be the quality of life. Even though no one used these exact words, the one thing that's been subtly communicated to me all of my life by my parents and relatives is that for everything that might be wrong with this country, the standard of living is still unmatched, at least compared to the Philippines. Why else do upper middle class families with 2.5 servants per household put up with the shock of emigration and discovering that they have to do their own laundry? That's not a stereotype -- I have names and numbers if you don't believe me.

My father will be the first to tell you about everything that's wrong with this country. If he likes you, he may tell you all the problems he's experienced financially, culturally, and interpersonally. He'll also tell you that compared to being in the Bataan Death March and living under Japanese occupation, and everything else between then and Marcos' martial law, it hasn't been that bad over here.

2. Twenty years from now, what is one thing that is still delighting you about your soon-to-be- wife?

That's an easy one - we will no doubt still be relishing in obscure and arcane references from various cult sci-fi/fantasy, music, anime, etc. Twenty years from now, we will still gape at something weird and crack up, saying, "It is... Bizarrrrrooooo!"

3. You have just received round trip tickets for two to anywhere in the world, where do you go, who do you take with you?

In general, it's safe to say "somewhere in Asia." If E has any say, it will be Tibet or Korea. If I have any say, it will be the Philippines. We would also be going for the same general purpose, namely to connect with our deep interests at the places where these interests have their origins. In E's case, it will be her love of Korean culture or to deepen her experience of Tibetan Buddhism. For me, well... "*Clak* *Clak* Ow, my tender American hands!"

4. The time machine is finally working, you get to spend a day with any one person in history, who will it be?

Louis Armstrong. This is no joke, I want a trumpet lesson with Louis Armstrong. If it was a 24 hour session, so much the better. Heck, I wouldn't even have to play anything myself - just sit there with a tape recorder and ask him playing questions. His was the first "musical genius" that I ever connected with.

5. What section do you visit first in the bookstore?

Lately, I've noticed that I've been going to the magazine racks first to look at some literary journals, maybe the sci-fi magazines, and then the martial arts magazines where I spend the most time (big surprise). I used to head first to the "Sports" books, but I've noticed over the past couple of years that all the FMA books have all but disappeared (not a big deal, since I have about 5/6 of the ones available through your general retail outlets).

***

If YOU, the instant gratification reader would like to participate, follow these simple rules...
THE INTERVIEW GAME RULES:
Here's how you can play the interview game:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me." The first five commenters will be the participants.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions.
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)
If possible, leave an email address, and I will email you the questions directly.

Monday, March 07, 2005

T-minus 16 days to wedded bliss!
First off, thank you again to Mushtaq Ali for providing this exercise for transferring skill sets from your dominant side to your other side! Between this, and some of the other material he provided, it'll definitely be of value in learning, as well as un-learning some things.

The "L" to which I refer is the "L-stance" I find myself falling into doing anything more than intensive pad work. I had a small epiphany about the probable origin of this dysfunction. My theory is that this L-stance behavior is a corruption of my cat stance that I focused on developing while training kung fu (basically, a Korean variant of Northern Praying Mantis kung-fu).

In the cat stance, the majority of one's weight typically rests on the rear foot, allowing the lead leg to quickly deploy itself, usually for either a front-snap or butterfly kick (sort of a reverse roundhouse kick). Of all the basic stances in my particular system, this stance is used the most, particularly in the left lead. The overwhelming majority of the short and long forms start in this position, as well as the drills. I realize now that two bad habits developed with the majority of my time in the cat stance in left lead.

First, I learned to eventually rest more and more of my weight on my rear (right) leg without very much effort, to the point where there would be almost no weight on my front (left) leg. The result was that while my left lead was quick to respond, it would take too much time for my weight to transfer between my rear leg and my front leg to allow the right leg to do much of anything. To make matters worse, my right/rear foot took to laying flat on the ground.

I notice that I don't have this problem standing in a cat stance in my right lead. In the right lead, the majority of my weight distribution is still on the rear (left) foot, but not so much that my foot lies flat and can't spring me forward. Thus, I've got mobility and when necessary can deploy my left rear for an attack relatively quickly - at least moreso than with my right.

So, the solution should simply be Stay in right lead, stupid! Ah, if only it were that simple.

Now, we come to my heuristically-developed L-stance habit. This habit revolved around learning to "cheat" during Tae Kwon Do point-sparring by using kung fu tactics. I put that in quotes because my teachers pointed out that no point sparring rules are violated by doing that. I would stand in my left lead cat stance, use my left leg to rapidly deploy a front- or most often, a butterfly kick (or to block). Most of my sparring partners would be shocked by a kick like that scoring so easily, and the split second distraction would often be just long enough for my inefficient weight transfer from rear to lead leg to take place, and continue with right-leg attacks, if I chose. Now, in the course of TKD sparring, with all the movement and attempts to stay "light on your feet," as it were, I wouldn't maintain a perfect cat stance, nor was it always the best thing to do.

When my left front or butterfly kicks didn't provide enough reach, I would have to resort to, for example, a side kick. Now, once someone would figure out what I was doing and try to stay out of range of my left, I would often try chasing them down a bit, in left lead, with the intention of using my left side kick at the earliest opportunity. Now, to perform a TKD side-kick correctly, especially to hit above waist level, the base foot generally must be pointed outward, facing ideally 180° away from your target. Since moving with your feet pointed in opposite directions isn't viable, my right foot chose a happy medium to cover most eventualities - by lining up my heel behind and perpendicular to the heel of my lead foot. That way, my foot could shift quickly in the direction it needed to be in to deliver one of my left lead attacks, thus maintaining the integrity of one of my more successful strategies.

If my self-analysis is correct, I can draw the following conclusions:

One of the reasons I have trouble defending my right side is that in all that time point-sparring, I never really had to - My left would soak most attacks when it was leading, and when my right was leading, I generally wouldn't worry whilst it was engaged in an attack.

These habits have led to an inability for my right leg to propel my movement as quickly and efficiently as it should be able to - That isn't to say I continually fought in left lead or that I never started with a rear/right leg attack. But, think back to the backyard FMA session I referred to a few posts back. In an inside deflection, my left leg was an integral part of my forward movement as I stepped out with my right, resulting in a bare patch of grass. The act of stepping out with my left doesn't have the full commitment of the rest of my body behind it. This is what I was feeling when I noted the difference while working on female triangle stepping.

My right leg is rendered ineffective for any sort initial attack and becomes a liability when dealing with an opponent's forward pressure - When under pressure to fall back into these heuristics, my rear/right leg attacks get jammed, if I can get them off at all. When the vast majority of my weight (and therefore, my center of gravity) ends up on my rear side, I'm a sitting duck for anyone who's so much as glanced at Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

I did a little experiment last night. I performed some of the rudimentary footwork movements from some of my earliest TKD and kung-fu forms. When I pay attention, I can detect subtle differences between the movements of both feet which were more apparent in my kung fu (big surprise) than in my TKD. Now, I'm not sure if it caused or was caused by my bad habits, but it inspired a brainstorm of ways to attack this problem using the "slicing time" methods Mushtaq Ali suggested.

Specifics to focus on should include:
  • Placement of my right foot before, during, and after Thai-style kicks (even TKD and JKD kicks for that matter). Initially, I just want my right foot to land in the right position so as to retain the option of a follow-up coming from either my right or my left.
  • Footwork that leads into basic boxing combinations i.e. how to move into striking distance without compromising power.
  • All of the footwork movements underneath my old kung-fu long and short forms. I suppose I could use my TKD forms, too, but I'm placing more emphasis on retraining my kung-fu for other reasons.
  • Allowing my right side to stay in place and be defended, at least by soaks and blocks initially. It boggles the mind how I can sometimes utilize the tools on my right side to defend my left (e.g. the inside deflection), but not vice versa.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Granted I'm reading this material between chats with friends (E and I are with MR. & MRS. FIVE-O), but I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around the Scott Sonnon material that Mushtaq Ali referenced in one of his latest posts, namely the stuff on Performance Breathing.
...for the Battle of Columbus.

I spent a couple of hours at the Arnold Martial Arts Festival. Only the bigger names on the martial arts convention circuit were there. I missed Arnold, but Wesley Snipes was there. I got within spitting distance of Don Wilson (again) and Jason David Frank aka the former Power Ranger about the same age as me who thinks he's good enough to start his own system.

I joked with E that I'd go to the Arnold and "start some sh!+ with someone" as my last big hurrah before marriage. Of course I was joking, and thus was extremely apologetic when a crowd of people caused my shoulder to brush against that of Cung Le (I'm about half an inch taller than him, BTW).

I passed close enough to Bill Wallace to tap him on the back of the head, but didn't, seeing as I didn't want him to kick mine off. I could've intruded on Kathy Long's moment to herself out in a hallway, but didn't. The best find of all was former WWF wrestler "The Iron Sheikh." I thought he died. He actually looks pretty much the same as he did 20 years ago.

The event was rather thin on vendors, a lot thinner than I would've expected on a Saturday afternoon. The most interesting were the people from CAS, the ones who run ads with Guro Rick Tucci and various Filipino blades. It was funny watching people flock to the katana displays while leaving the South East Asian weaponry virtually untouched.

Speaking of other Filipino MAs, I spent the majority of the time watching a demo and sparring matches by the Balintawak Escrima Cuerda World Team. Hey, I give 'em props for throwing in kicks with their stick work. What I couldn't stand was watching all the wasted techniques. With all that body armor, why not try to throw ten abanikos in a row and nothing else, even if you're getting pelted in the (lower point-scoring) ribs?

I should've waited until next week. Well, I'll know better for next year if I can make it back to these parts.
I've complained constantly now about my inability to cope with attacks on my right side. As I've noted, it's a little more than that - it seems like a fundamental problem of movement coupled with something internal that I can't put my finger on.

Anyway, I'm very grateful that Mushtaq Ali is gracious enough to share some of his wisdom with me.

Friday, March 04, 2005

ONE
I'm off early from the Diamond Mines. I'll be leaving town with E for the weekend to hang out MR. & MRS. FIVE-O. MRS. FIVE-O is E's bridesmaid. While they're out putting the finishing touches on the Wedding Dress ensemble, I may decide to head for the Arnold Martial Arts classic. Or, I may not.

For a brief number of years, Der Governator's annual Fitness Classic was held in conjunction with a long-running martial arts tournament, The Battle of Columbus. The Battle is an event held by OMAC, and it's founder Joon Pyo-choi. Incidentally, his brother Young Pyo-Choi was the teacher of my old teachers. Well, for some reason (and I can speculate quite a bit, but I don't want to offend anyone), Conan decided to make his event separate again. And, looking at the guest rosters for both events, it looks like most of the interesting guests and tournaments remain with the Battle of Columbus.

If nothing else, I'll visit the old martial arts supply store I used to go to, just for old time's sake.

TWO
Last night, E had a little "mini-birthday party," the continuation of which will be up north in Columbus. Ordinarily, too much beer and not enough, well, more interesting drinks add up to be a bad combination. But, it was a good thing because my head was clear enough to pull off an impromptu solo performance of Rocky Horror's Sweet Transvestite for the crowd. It was karaoke night, and E wanted to see me sing. Actually, she wanted to get up on stage herself and signed us (with my name being the only one on the form) up when there weren't a lot of people around. Then, the place started filling up and she got cold feet. We were going to skip out, but then my name was called.

Well, what can you do? It was only the second time I've done that sort of thing but I asked myself, "How bad could it really be?" If I'm not afraid of parrying sticks, knives, kicks, punches flying at me, then why should I be afraid of singing a karaoke song with homoerotic lyrics in a bar in the middle of a liberal college town?

I must've at least sang in key most of the time, because I'm still hearing about it today. I just got another compliment while I write this. See, there's a lot of cross-over patronage between that bar and the coffee shop I frequent. Got lots of back-pats from said coffee shop people, the bartender that hopefully will get over being rude to E, the owner of the best hot-dog shop in town, a few other people I've seen around town but were never introduced to before tonight, and the gay couple that E was making friends with while I was singing. It's nice hearing a bar full of inebriated people saying things like, "Dude, you fu*kin' rock!" and having it be somewhat genuine.

I'd do it all again.

THREE
T-minus 19 days to wedded bliss!

FOUR
I remember one FMA "backyard training" session with DATU_B and someone else. We were practicing inside and outside deflections. I recall an interesting tidbit regarding my footwork. The typical inside deflection is performed by stepping to the outside with your right foot while defending your left. The reverse is true for the outside deflection - you step to the outside with your left foot.

For some reason, after several repetitions on both sides, the grass was bare where my right foot was continually stepping out, indicating that my footwork was a strong, balanced, and integrated part of my technique. Conversely, my left foot left no such bare patch, for reasons we couldn't figure out at the time. After all, I wasn't getting hit.

For the past couple of days, I've been practicing "female triangle" stepping whenever I've had the chance. Sure, I get odd looks, but at least I'm not one of those people who drop into a full front stance/middle punch combo (anymore). I've noticed that when I step with my right foot, I feel rooted and centered. I can shift my weight distribution at will to either leg. When I step out with my left foot, my balance does not feel secure. The majority of my weight distribution is on my front (left) foot. Even when I try to shift it back, it feels awkward.

I showed my friend the Bando practicioner at work. He couldn't figure it out, either. I'm just going to have to keep playing around with it some more. I'm thinking my shoulders and hips are playing into that whole thing, too. I just have to figure out how...

FIVE
I saw this story on TV at the laundromat...
War veterans learn to share their stories

NEA program helps vets put their experiences in words

By Bob Faw
Correspondent
NBC News
Updated: 7:52 p.m. ET March 3, 2005

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. - In country, they served and sacrificed. And each has a story to tell.

Flight engineer Christian Mackenzie's helicopter was shot down in Iraq.

"The enemy shot an RPG that actually hit us right in the nose of the aircraft and blew up in my face," recalls Mackenzie. "I really need to get some of this stuff down on paper."

Cindy Kaleta is one of the few women who hauled ammo in Afghanistan. Staff Sgt. Stefanie Kollar is still shaken by what she saw there. Their everyday experiences are extraordinary.

Around the country, soldiers like Mackenzie, Kollar and Kaleta are attending workshops organized by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), where they learn — from successful authors — how to tell their stories better.
I'd read them.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


What is Your Ideal Anime Weapon?
Hosted by theOtaku.com: Anime. Done right.
...to Wedded Bliss!

Oh, and today's E's birthday!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I love reading other people's "Ninja Scrolls" - the notes they compile from training, classes, seminars, personal reflection, or what have you. It's even better when people post their Ninja Scrolls online.

Sifu/Masguru Ben Fajardo has an interesting compilation of training tidbits here, which include, among other things...Thank God for my del.icio.us account, because I never have to lose track of this information again.
I do not understand! Last night, DATU_B showed me, in rather graphic detail, just how much my left side is willing to jam, soak, block just about anything, and more importantly, how my right side does little more than try to evade, often directly into the 100% power zone of an attack.

Even when I try to go in with my right side, I'm hesitant just long enough to get caught, again, in the 100% zone of my attacker. It's like I just freak out or something. Well, no, I don't freak out. My right side flows quite nicely into attack range.

I'm not a big believer in reincarnation. But, it would explain why I have this deathly fear of broken bones, even though I've never broken one (knock on wood) and seem to have little problem with training joint locks and have this right-side issue.
T-minus 21 days to wedded bliss!

***

[Note to new instant gratification readers, and I know I've picked up a few since my blog was linked by The Traceless Warrior: It may seem odd to most that my posts on such subjects as my martial arts training, my pop-culture interests, and other (sometimes, rather insignificant) miscellanea are rather in-depth, while important and significant life events are downplayed and get little, if any, mention. This isn't so much about a fanaticism about privacy as much as the fact that after 2+ years of blogging, I still haven't navigated my way fully around a certain gray area, that is, the boundary between wanting to maintain privacy, and wanting this blog to be a relevant record of my life.]