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A hilarious pictorial post by the Great Goodsby. Enjoy

The Good Greatsby

A new fish story controversy has bit the Obama administration at a time the President is already reeling from low poll numbers before next year’s election.

The scandal started innocently enough when the White House released a photo from Obama’s summer vacation–supposedly an action shot of Obama catching a ‘big’ fish.

Obama returned from vacation eager to recount his inspirational big fish story in a nationally televised address wherein the President claimed his big catch answered the criticism of Republicans who questioned his daily ten-hour routine of Oval Office fly fishing practice.

The big fish story hit the first snag when Obama offered his definition of a big fish.

The size of the fish brought laughter, but the issue may have died there if not for the enthusiastic support of Michelle Obama, who had never been fishing and seemed especially impressed with the size of the catch.

Republicans felt they…

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Efficacy vs Perfection of Form

In the study and training of the martial arts, there are two major driving forces in the practice of aforesaid MA
1 – For self defence and the development of effective and applicable skills should a situation arise whereby the use of martial skill is necessary

2 – The development of perfect form and graceful movement in the execution of techniques and performance of pre-determined forms. A great many take this further and compete with other Martial Artists in competitions whereby excellence and scoring is based on aesthetics rather than practicality and martial efficacy.

No one reason is more important than the other as each individual’s reasons for training vary considerably. The point this short article is trying to stress is that while they may be overlap between the two, at some stage, the Martial artist will will have to give deference to one over the other. For beauty and aesthetics have no place really in the world of reality based combat. And the crude, simple yet practically effective techniques in self defence training won’t score very high in competitions with rules.

Ippon Jodan Keri waza

Mawashi Geri

So to all MARTIAL Arts enthusiasts out there… What drives you to excel in your chosen style?

I love Martial Arts. Karate, Wushu, Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Muay Thai, Silat, you name it. All those methods of armed and unarmed combat designed to give their user an edge over their opponent during an altercation. What I love more than the beauty of seeing the techniques of these various martial arts being performed is the philosophy behind them. The beauty lies in the contradiction between the violent appearance of the execution of deadly techniques and the philosophy of non-violence that accompanies the practice of aforesaid arts. The martial arts have evolved from methods designed solely to maim (or even kill) your opponents to systems designed to make their practitioner more empathic, peaceful and in control of his more darker/violent tendencies. The addition of Zen philosophy to most of the Eastern martial arts has made them a beauty not just to behold but to practice as well. I feel a feverish excitement listening to Li Lianjie (Jet li) or Jun Fan (Bruce Lee) discussing the zeal they have for their martial arts and the Zen Philosophy they espoused. Below is an interview of Jet Li for the release of his last wushu movie, Fearless. He talks in depth about the multiple layers of martial arts practice and his desire to show his beliefs and understanding of martial arts in the film. Enjoy

A must-read for all atheist and christian internet denizens

A humorous, and also thought-provoking look at the battle between atheists and christians.

A must-read for all atheist and christian internet denizens

A humorous, and also thought-provoking look at the battle between atheists and christians.

Happy Birthday to ME

WordPress screwed me over. But I forgive thee for you are merely a program. I dnt want to be on your bad side when the machine apocalypse hits. That being said, today is my birthday. So I decided to dedicate this post to me, on the 27th anniversary of my birth. I always thought I’d be somewhere in life by this time. I am not. In fact I’m far from it. But I will say this to myself, “As long as there is hope in your mind and a beating heart in your chest, you still have time to make your mark and achieve your goals. Happy Birthday, Shotokan Warrior!!!!!

 

PS: I just love lemurs. I always imagine this guy to be King Julian’s better adjusted twin brother

Bullies, damn bullies

We’ll start with definitions

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Noun: a blustering browbeating person; especially : one habitually cruel to others who are weaker

Wiktionary

Noun: A person who is cruel to others, especially those who are weaker or have less power.

Dictionary.reference.com

Noun: a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll get right onto the matter at hand. Bullies! I hate them, loathe them, detest them even. The basic principle of someone with power oppressing those weaker than themselves incenses me. As a karateka, one of the ideals of the martial arts that I admire is the protection of the weaker members of society. We train to acquire power so that we can protect those who don’t. So naturally, my detesting of bullies is further enhanced by this moral ideal that martial artists are supposed to uphold.

Now imagine my surprise when, during an evening of darkness thanks to a power cut, I realised that bullying is taking place in o many areas of my life, not just in the school yards. There are bullies in politics, who use their political clout and influence to oppress the weaker in society, especially in the third world (think Zimbabwe during election times). When you have the police and military and media in your back pocket, and then proceed to victimise the people that you are supposed to govern, all I see is bullying. Just on a larger scale. In religion, more people have died in the name of religious causes than for any other reason throughout human history. Peoples freedoms are being infringed upon in the name of religion. Because I believe differently from the ones who have power does not mean my rights are any less important. Those who have made their choices should have their decisions respected, instead of being victimised and “labelled” (heathen, infidel, damned, sinner). No-one has a right to attack anyone in any way for what they believe. Belief is a personal and private thing. Please let us respect that. And whilst we’re on the subject, the thousands of denominations of Christianity that have sprung up, some preying on the gullibility of their followers, are claiming exclusivity to the path of “redemption”. I personally think that’s a load of hogwash. Say, for the sake of argument, there is indeed an afterlife in which there is a place for the good and a place for the evil, I sincerely doubt that entry to the place for the good (heaven, paradise, nirvana) will be on the basis of which church I go to. I mean seriously, there can’t honestly be a monopoly on “salvation”. No way. *Slowing down rapid breathing* Ok, let me calm down now. Religious bullying is the worst kind, driving people to churches because of a natural innate fear in all humans of the unknown.

I won’t presume to know much on these topics that I’m ranting about but I do know one thing for certain. If you have the power of influence or might over those without and you use that power to benefit yourself over and above those under you, you are a bully. I don’t care whether you are a pastor, politician, manager, world leader. A bully is what you are, no matter what terms you may use to sugarcoat it (Dictator, supreme leader, reverend, infallible, etc)

The Return of the One

I find myself back on this blog, that I had neglected and forgotten for so many months, due to the most part a tweet from a very good friend (http://gilbertmakore.wordpress.com) about how the only way to get good at writing is to write. And boy amI glad I did. Personally, I find myself most times at a loss for an outlet to my over-active imagination’s rants and ravings. The uniquely insane nature of my mind is such that I have no-one to share some of these thoughts with. So I guess cyberspace, with its billions of denizens, will now be privileged to get a rare glimpse into the world that is Kensei’s mind.

Good luck 🙂

There is no place in contemporary Karate-do for different schools. Some instructors, I know, claim to have invented new and unusual kata, and so they arrogate to themselves the right to be called founders of “schools”. Indeed, I have heard myself and my colleagues referred to as the Shoto-kan school, but I strongly object to this attempt at classification. My belief is that all these “schools” should be amalgamated into one so that Karate-do may pursue and orderly and useful progress into man’s future. – Gichin Funakoshi “Karate-do: My Way of Life”

The excerpt above was found by the blogger upon an unsuccessful attempt to find a quote by the aforementioned Okinawan Master of Karate-do. The infiltration of “political” mentalities into the governing of the practice of Karate has been a sad development indeed. I must sadly admit that when I initially began my training in the way of Martial arts as a Shotokan-ryu (style) karateka, I held a certain amount of pride for my chosen style and looked down at other styles of Karate. But as I have studied and progressed (though slowly) in my proficiency, I have sought deeper understanding of why we train the way we do and why so much emphasis is placed on showing the lineage of the style in our techniques. It is then that I discovered that Karate is essentially a dynamic art and whilst I recommend that mudansha should stick to their instructors teachings verbatim, the yudansha should then appreciate that at the level of black belt, their aim should be to mould the karate they are learning to suit them, their personality, strengths, weaknesses and body types.

In the late nineteenth/early twentieth century, the majority of Karate masters were proficient at more than one so-called style and the “ryu” founded by some is an amalgamation of their own understanding of the styles they learnt. Is then not unfair to hold onto their understanding as doctrine and not seek to improve and adapt it to suit the current practitioner? Earlier today as I was in the men’s bathroom, a computer-science analogy hit me. In the IT world, there is a concept called Open Source which is defined by Wikipedia as “…practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials—typically, their source code.” In my “bathroom epiphany”, I realized that karate systems (or ryu) are essentially distributions of a source code which is free for development and modification in the hope of improving it to make it more effective and user friendly. I find that Karate can be so much more enjoyable if the individuals who practised it treated it as their own and not as their Master’s style which they were meant to preserve at all costs. That is a selfish endeavor driven by personal pride and kills the Open source aspect of the training of martial arts/Karate.

My appeal/take-home message is that to all practitioners of martial arts (not just Karate); evaluate your reasons for training your chosen style of martial arts and then ask yourself if you’re not carrying a burden thrust upon you to preserve something meant to be modified and adapted to suit a particular individual, namely you. The martial art you are training is yours. Do not feel that it is a betrayal if, at a certain point in your black belt stage, you cross-train with another style to augment the knowledge you have with your style. Despite the names and labels, no-one holds a patent on martial arts and there are no copyrights. Train it, adapt it and above all, love it. That way you will grow as a person and as a martial artist.

“My skin is not my own…” Strange words, aren’t they? Those where my thoughts too until I read the “Dune” series by Frank Herbert, Master of Science Fiction. This series of books, named for the desert planet for which the majority of the plots revolve around, opened my mind and challenged my “perspective”. Together with the reality-challenging Matrix series, I can safely say the result has been a re-birth of my persona. I am, while an adult, learning to stand up, walk, talk, eat, and to challenge predefined concepts in my current existence which I deem to be an attempt to confine us into a box. My hope is that through my series of random blogs, someone’s mind may be opened. Even if it be only one person…

So, Ladies and Gentlemen, I invite you to come on a journey. A journey of self-discovery, self-understanding and eventually self-awareness. There will be exciting and breath-taking scenery at some points whilst some sections we will pass in a state of somnolence. Not every minute of a journey can be breathtaking (logic dictates we would eventually die of asphyxiation) but the excitement is in anticipation of the unknown that the future holds.

Take my hand…