Wise and Stupid Monkeys

Sometimes I think I’m a terrible stoic. I get caught up in weird little imaginations of things that don’t really matter. My emotions get out of control. I get depressed, I get righteous, I get angry and grumpy. I mope. My ego swells and shrinks again. I imagine that some people are better than others, and even worse I think I can somehow tell. I fail as a stoic. But then I remember what life was like before I had my satori, and the journey that led me to Cicero. My emotions were tides. Indomitable. They had a power that would pick me up and carry me for weeks or even months before receding, and I was helplessly caught up in them. They controlled my whole life, and I was lost to them. My emotions now feel crazy, but they are just ripples on a pond. An errant wind blows…

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Less of Your Own Bullshit

Why is getting better a struggle? It’s a little bullshit mindgame we play on ourselves, that’s why. We set “better” as a goal. When we do that we accept that we are worse than that goal. We make the choice to cut our legs off when we decide to run. Somewhere along the line we got this idea that we need to torture ourselves mentally and physically before we are worthy of any sort of goal. You have to starve if you want to lose weight, you have to hurt every workout to really get fit. You think those are extremes, but they aren’t. Coaching nutrition and performance, everyone is unsatisfied with the first bit of work I do with them. They don’t feel like they are doing anything productive unless they feel like they are making major sacrifices right away, or feeling agony. They want penance for the sins…

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Hogwash and Bullshit

The internet has reached a point of being predictable. At least, in the comments sections of every website. I saw a post today regarding a huge storm about to hit Hong Kong, and I don’t need to read the comments. The same species of lame humour attempts will fill up most of the space, next to a few sporadic attempts to correct what was wrong with the original article, and maybe one or two hapless “oh, those poor people” posts. For the most part the comments are all going to be various attempts at being the class clown. Used to be one in every class, now it’s everyone in class. With martial artists, the new class clown is the Realism guy. This started with a few small voices in the nineties gaining prominence in the martial arts magazines. It was refreshing to hear people call out some obvious bullshit that…

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Power To The Stars

In the midst of a few hefty bits of writing at the moment, including writing a short article with my wife. That’s the only bit that might soon see the light of day. Otherwise it’s more plugging away at the hard stuff. Big writing for big projects. Still not enough time to catch up on the writing I want to do, but there is a real pleasure sometimes in doing the writing that needs to be done. Especially when the need comes only from within me. Currently paraphrasing what I know about nutrition, which has me thinking about it a lot. Food is something we still struggle with. I mean, it has to be a mystery, right? Everyone seems to have a solution, a magical formula, for the right way to eat. If we a have a solution, we must have a problem that needs solving. It seems a bit…

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Difference in the Details

Why does rapier play have to be different from foil play? I know the common answers, but I’m left to wonder sometimes if they aren’t just taken at face value with no real thought as to what the science might be. Leaving aside the fantasy role play that a rapier is a “real” weapon, we are left with the doctrine assumed by the community: The practice rapier is heavier, longer, balanced differently, has edges and is notably slower. Those are the only real differences. You could add that we use the off-hand in rapier, we move off-line, we grapple, pommel strike, cut, etc. Those aren’t physical limitations of the foil, but rules…conventions of play. The mechanics of motion and efficiency are what I’m interested in. To be clear, I’ve handled a foil for all of about a minute total in my life. Four or five occasions of picking one up,…

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Daily Workouts

One of the more scary moments as a teacher is the one where you realize your students will more frequently imitate you, than perform the way you teach them to. I’m full of bad habits, quirks from injuries and a malformed body that result in me doing odd things that shouldn’t work but sometimes do. Mostly the athletes at Valkyrie WMAA have their own styles, and perform the skills they are supposed to perform, but part of being a school is the subtle formation of a school style. A school style transcends technique and is a thing that is formed organically from the athletes competing amongst themselves. I see hints of my bad habits showing up in the school style and it bothers me. I have to clean my style up. If I admit…confess…that I am an influence on the athletes, then I have to be the best role model…

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