Essentially Geeky

There aren’t a lot of natural athletes locally who gravitate to the study of the sword. That’s not unusual, as people with the gift or inclination for athletic pursuits tend to find all their needs happily met. It’s a sportsman’s world out there. If you grew up liking sports, you had a million things to do growing up. Martial arts was only one option amongst many, and not a very appealing one. It’s an outlier activity. It has almost zero reward or real-world benefit for participating. And worse, the only people in school who do martial arts are geeks. That’s okay, but if you have even a slight preference, like most people, for being with similar people…when it comes time to chose, gymnastics or baseball or something will win out. Over time what develops is two diverse populations…Most geeks don’t do sports, most athletes don’t do martial arts. And we…

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Hard as Nails

I’ve always admired tough old guys, the ones that seemed to be made of gristle and determination. The whole world could rise up and smash them in the face, and they’d just give the world that look that says “Don’t you be gettin uppity with me, son. I done whipped your kind before, and I’ll do it again.” Tough old guys, with an indifference to anything other than the task at hand…but always with an eye towards something beautiful and natural in need of admiring. Bereft of a ranch of my own, I figured I’d never get there, never be that kind of old guy. Turned out it didn’t matter, though. All you need in life, to learn to be tough, is just a whole hell of a lot of adversity. You probably don’t even need that, but I’ve never supposed I’m anything other than kinda slow on the uptake.…

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Feed the Machine

I live in a rich world, even though I’m poor. I’ve got water to spare, more food than I know what to do with, and only work a few hours each day. I’ve got a roof to sleep under, a cozy bed, pets, tools and materials to make anything I want. I can’t buy a new TV and a  car is just a dream, but I’m doing pretty good…even if I can’t have or do most of the things my peers consider normal. I’m certainly richer in time than anyone I know. You can hear the “but” coming, can’t you? I have all that, but I still feel harried and rushed for time, as much as I did when I averaged a work-week of sixty hours and brought home a hefty pay-check. This is a problem for me, because I can’t write without a clear mind. A peaceful mind that…

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Heat-seeking Fist

A good fencer can make a great unarmed fighter. The training in use of measure is unmatched by any other martial art. Facing high speed steel all the time gives you awesome reflexes and a fair bit of courage. The tools are all there, and the end result can be fantastic. The process, though…the process can be a pain in the butt. Teaching basic boxing actions like the sidestep is a fairly easy process. You take a stance, nice and fluid and mobile. Your partner punches you in the face. You don’t like that, so you straighten one leg out and shift your body a little to the side. The punch just misses and you can retaliate from your new, better position. I decided to cover it in class. It’s a straightforward exercise, and a straightforward drill, so I’m confident teaching it in class. I don’t want to work on…

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Making Up Class on the Fly

Writing a blog post is a lot harder that creating a class to teach for the night. As I sit around in the morning, sipping my coffee with the deadline ticking ever closer, I have to think about what I want to write. Some days it’s easy. I hit the keyboard with my focus in front of me, crank the music, and spill it all out in one long burst. Other days I muddle and can barely crank out one paragraph after the other, each just barely connected to the next. Most days it’s work. Every day I have to write something that will interest someone, that will give at least one reader something to think about or talk about for the day. My goal is to reach for that every day…but it’s like a long conversation with a good friend. Sometimes you just feel talked out, and want to…

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