Dead Angles of the Sword and Needle

Lying in the dentist’s chair yesterday was a good stoic check-point for me. I grew up with a terrible fear of dentists, and needles in particular. Previous appointments were only possible with healthy doses of atavin to keep me calm…well, maybe not so healthy doses. One previous session, years ago, saw me so mellowed on atavin that when the dentist started drilling on an unfrozen tooth, I contemplated the intense pain for a few moments before deciding to tell the dentist something was wrong. It hurt, but it didn’t seem all that important… But for the most recent appointments, after a fifteen year gap, I figured I was now stoic enough to overcome my discomforts without atavin. And…I was. I fell asleep in the chair during the wait between the numbing compound being applied, and the dentist finishing up a quick office task. Almost fell asleep again during the drilling…

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Rape and Martial Arts Culture

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community recently had to deal with one of the biggest nightmares any martial arts organization would ever have to deal with: Two senior students raping another student. It brings up a million questions, but I think it’s important we take this event as an excuse to closely examine what happens in our own schools. Ryron and Rener Gracie posted up the excellent video at the end of this post, and I think it’s important for every teacher of any martial art to sit down and watch the whole thing. It’s thirty minutes and it’s not exactly engaging…so pour a cup of coffee, and make sure you are paying attention. Don’t skip any of it, and listen to every word. They talk about mindset in schools, and what martial arts training should do for students. They talk about how to balance competitive spirit and intent with concern and…

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Deep Funk and Heavy Grooves

Sometimes I feel bad for what I put my students through. I throw the new students in the deep end and give them a moment or two before throwing them some water wings…but it’s gotta be worse for the “new” experienced students. My particular brand of madness is to make sure the basics are sound before doing anything else, and in the case of an experienced fencer, that often means breaking them of years of habits so they can start fresh. It makes better fighters out of them, but the process can suck. You lose a lot of fights against people you know you are better than. It pays off with a vengeance down the road, but it’s a long road. Currently I’ve got the whole class working on the same thing, developing a strong parry skill-set. It’s not too bad for new fencers, but for the everyone else it…

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Flying Beaver

My house is currently a mess of swords and leather, with scattered books and fiber to balance it all out. The house I share with Courtney is a constant storm of creativity, and it’s a rare night when we aren’t both working away on something and seeing midnight creep up on us and give us a fright. Some projects might never get done, but they add to the rich loam of inspiration we seem to relish. This morning I’m topping that off with bright January sun and some welcome warmth. I’ve got a mix of Irish and Scottish music playing, which seems a little weird. Countries that my ancestors came from, countries that I will never see. The only legacy I have from them seems to be a taste for the music and the booze. But even that is hard to prove…Vancouver is a city where all the cultures of…

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Not so better

What I assume was a crazy women got on the train yesterday. She walked into the doors, Four-foot something of presence, and proceeded to stomp. Stomp like she was knocking snow off of her boots. I first thought that maybe she was just in the habit, after spending a day or two on the ski slopes…but no. She stomped, then turned and faced the doors and took a wide straddle stance. She was a little aging pocket warrior, reading to embrace the bucking train and do battle with it’s bumpy ride. As the commute went on, she continued to work different stances, and slowly move her arms about in interesting patterns. She bumped me once during a series of what looked liked shotokan-style rising blocks. She gave me a very sweet smile and a polite apology. How can you resist that? I put my headphones on, and queued up some…

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