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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Best and then some

No matter how terrible the martial art, it always seems like a good fighter can come out of the school. Conversely, even the best styles can have complete drudges for students. It happens. In the poor style…or even in a poor school…the student with the right motivation will find a way to excel. Really bad technique can hamper them and teach them bad habits, but usually they just respond by gravitating to one or two workable techniques and putting serious effort into them. In a good school, the chump students are the ones who show up basically just to kill time. They pile on excuses for not really ever trying, but they never seem to stop showing up. I’ve never understood what keeps such people showing up class after class. People who’ve been blessed by nature with a complete immunity to learning, due to physical shortcomings or “wiring” issues, still…

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Sticks and Stony Hands

My hands seem to be more callous that anything else. I suppose it’s a side effect of so much weapons work, and all the movement work. My hands are on the ground a lot. It’s inevitable that the body will change and adapt to the circumstances I choose to put it in. We’ve been doing a lot of cane work lately, derived from the modern French sport cane fighting. My chest really feels the work. Adaption hurts. Working on such an athletic style, you’d think my legs would hurt the most, as low strikes are done with a drop of the body and bounce back up. The correct mechanics make that a fairly smooth action, once you’ve put in a little practice. It’s a bit odd at first. You get used to it. The forehand strike should be the easiest part. I’ve had a lifetime of striking arts, after all.…

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Face Value

I’m a huge fan of the gay pride movement, and how it became an equal rights movement. I even love the overtly-sexual pride parades. I also really love the feminist movement these days, with it’s smart attacks on subtle assumptions about sexism. I’m a supporter of these things in a selfish way…they will result in good things for me and everyone I know. I’m not a woman, and I’m married to a woman, so that might not make sense to some of you. And you might also be wondering if I’m going to be talking about swordfighting today or not. This morning’s over-coffee interweb reading was a bit of a rarity in the world of martial arts, being an attempt at an actual journalistic approach to an issue. An actual attempt at a story, with implied press badges and everything. I’m a sucker for that. Ask me, the world needs…

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