Foible to Forte

I’m not sure where my strength comes from. I’ve always felt like a frail person, especially inside. I’ve never thought of myself as being particularly hard, strong or courageous. Those features always belonged to a separate class, as best I could tell. The heroic few. The handsome, the well-formed and monied types, the kind that preyed on the weak and foreign, like me. I was always the new kid, the natural prey of the hero’s. Gollum in a world of Aragorn’s, Boromir’s, and Lothlórien’s. I lacked any kind of destiny except to be despised. I could fill up a lot of pages with stories of the abuse I received, and the horrible places that made my mind go. Growing up was rough, suffice to say. People can tell you that adversity makes you strong, but those people have probably never had the joy of having a huge adult pick you…

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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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The good, the bad, and the oh-hell-no…

It was cold yesterday, and the forecast called for clear skies. It was sunny all day. When I went out last night to take the garbage out, it was the right kind of cloud. Bright…the kind you get in the cities when all the streetlights reflect off of the bottom of the clouds, and cast everything with a pink-orange light. I walked back in the house and told Courtney it was going to snow, which was no surprise for either of us, because you could smell it in the air the last few days. I checked the forecast, and it said it would be partially cloudy later, but still clear. I checked three more weather prediction services and they all said the same thing…clear skies, no snow. So of course, I look out the window this morning and see freezing rain, and facebook reports of snow in the rest of…

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To suck or to not suck

Spending the morning cruising through the websites of various WMA groups, checking out youtube videos. Painful experience. I know bad video is a thing that can happen to anyone. It’s the rule more than the exception. I do kind of wish people would lose the editing software. When you have to spend half of your frames explaining what people should be seeing, you shouldn’t be using video as a medium. And I stop watching the demonstrations the minute I see any response that requires a static partner…which is…hm…every video? Seems like it, anyway. Harrumph. There are more groups out there than I imagined, or have heard of. Some of them appear to really suck. The kind of suck that comes from medium-fish-in-tiny-pond instructors. That’s not always a bad thing…it depends on the instructor. But suck rolls downhill. Some people are teaching because they are excited by what they have learned,…

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Evolution is a trust issue

It was in the middle of a session of sumo wrestling that I suddenly realized I was strong. Stronger that most people, actually. I was tied up with Adam Lein, who had just barreled into me and was working for a grip. I was doing the usual thing I do…trying to counter his movements, trying to not resist and find a superior position so that Adam would trip himself up. And suddenly my brain clicked a little bit. I remember that I had a collar grip on Adam with my right hand, and I just thought…wait a minute, I think I might actually be stronger than him. I’ll test it out. I gripped the back of his head with my right hand, and shoved. Down. I think I just about slammed his head into the ground. Oops. When I was younger, I was a wee little guy. I had a…

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Guard, Line, Measure…

When I first took up rapier, it was a nightmare. It took me a solid year to overcome all my martial arts instincts. Twenty years of training had taught me to get close to my opponent, shut down all their tools, and finish them off. Anything else was madness. My previous training in weapon arts only re-inforced this point. The weapon had to be an extension of the hand, and you had to use it as if it was an extension of the hand to be successful. Alas, it was all bullshit. Or so it seemed. I was getting constantly destroyed when it came to sparring with real swords. I’ve never felt so humbled in my life…coming in being at the top of the martial arts heap, and being slapped right down to the bottom. Often by newbies. My own training, my biggest strength, was tripping me up. What I…

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