martial arts

Olympic bits: Windows BSOD, TKD ref boot to the head

I didn't watch much of the Olympics, partly because the events I want to see never get covered, partly because I'm still uneasy about the whole Beijing hosting thing. But two bits worth noting:

Tom's new venture: Warrior Poet Consulting

With my workshop at the Well this Friday, May 16, I'll be launching a new venture: Warrior Poet Consulting. Under that brand I plan to provide workshops and other training and coaching to help people develop their creativity and cultivate personal excellence.

We'll see how it goes. Still trying to figure out step 2 of the business plan:

1. Relentless self-promotion.
2. ?
3. Profit!

a balanced day

On the train up to New York - Kyoshi and Sensei Sandy taking their promotions tonight, I plan to be there in the morning, offer congratulations, help out with the kumite portion for lower dan tests.

Today was a balanced day - taught karate in the morning, shiatsu in the afternoon. Here's how to kill people; here's how to heal people.

gays for gun rights

From the "things I didn't know existed" file: Pink Pistols, whose motto is, "Armed Gays Don't Get Bashed". Outstanding.

They've submitted a brief in the Surpreme Court case of the D.C. gun ban, which states in part:

Laws that prevent the use of firearms for self-defense in one's own home disproportionately impact those individuals who are targets of hate violence due to their minority status, whether defined by race, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic. Even in their homes, LGBT individuals are at risk of murder, aggravated assault and other forms of hate violence because of their sexual orientation. In fact, the home is the most common site of anti-gay violence. Thus, for certain [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered] individuals, the possession of firearms in the home is essential for a sense of personal security -- a fact generally lost in the majoritarian debate about restricting individual's access to, and use of, firearms. . . . [N]ot only do members of the LGBT community have a heightened need to possess firearms for self-protection in their homes, the Second Amendment clearly guarantees this most basic right. . . .

Review: "Groundhog Day"

Imbolc today - a.k.a. Candlemas, a.k.a. Groundhog Day. In old Celtic reckoning, an agricultural calendar, this cross-quarter day was seen as the start of spring. In its honor, the Well had a showing of the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day.

If you haven't seen it, check it out. While it's probably shelved in the "romantic comedy" category, it's a surprisingly spiritual film. In fact one participant in an internet forum on karate called it a real "warrior's film", which I think is accurate.

Murray's character, a weatherman named Phil Conners, finds himself living the same day over and over again - Groundhog Day, in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Once he figures out what's going on, he uses the situation to learn all about the town and its inhabitants, then uses his knowledge to amuse and please himself - seducing women, robbing an armored car and spending the money to buy a fancy car, going for joyrides - all without consequence, as he wakes up the "next" morning with everything reset to the way it was. And this is enough for a while.

Armed customer foils holdup

What happens in a state where ordinary people are able to carry guns? Mayhem? No. What you tend to see are under-reported incidents like this.

Charlie Merrell was in a checkout lane at an Indianapolis IGA Supermarket, when a masked man jumped over a counter and pointed a gun at an employee. Merrell drew his own handgun (for which he had a permit), ordered the robber to drop his weapon, and held him until police arrived.

If the robber had shot a bunch of people, this would be all over the news. (In this case, the robber's gun wasn't loaded.) But an incident like this gets little coverage; this imbalance is part of why so many otherwise rational people have such fear of citizens carrying guns.

What a weekend!

What a weekend!

Friday, Atsuta shrine, home to one of the Imperial relics, the sword supposedly passed down from the first Emperor. The shop there was selling shinzens and many many of us bought one for our dojos. I also got some hama-ya, the arrow talismans that I learned about on my first trip here. I got to explain them (and the little bit I know about Shinto) to other Seido members - Kyoshi Akira overheard and said I should be getting paid as tour guide.

Then a shopping trip to the Osu neighborhood. There was a big temple there, the Osu Kannon temple - Shingon, very fancy and ornate, not really to my taste but nice to stop by. Chanted a few rounds of the ten line Kannon Sutra to say hello. Had a good shopping expedition, including a nice scroll painting of Daruma - getting that and the shinzen home will be tricky, think I'll ship them.

The best, though, was a guy I saw in a "bazaar" in the shotengai. A pile of old stereos, a wall about fifteen feet long hung thick with cables and wires and tools, and in the middle of it, an old Japanese gentleman, balding, in tacky sports coat, hunched over a circuit board with soldering iron or files, restoring old electronics gear. a denki Buddha of sorts.

Went out with some of the crew from South Africa that evening, some Indian food and a walk on, the streets, falling in love with beautiful Japanese girls.

Saturday, kata competition. There was a great opening with a local matsuri dance team. I judged in the morning, then competed in the "master's" division in the afternoon. A fantastic dinner party, then when I got back to the hotel I ended up going out with the British contingent to the pub for a beer.

Saturday, kumite. Did my match - didn't win but I gave my opponent a match, which is the goal. Long closing with taiko drumming by a local kids team, demonstrations by the kids group and some of the black belts, speeches by Kaicho and by Kyoshi Akira and Jun Shihan Toshi. A nice closing party, another beer at the pub. Got back to the hotel and packed my bags.

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