Oh They Do, Eh?

"My taxes pay your salary!"

I can't tell you how many times I've seen this in a TV show or a movie (normally in the face of a soldier or Marine). Just as many times, I'm sure, I've wondered out loud just what the clown tossing that line thought he'd accomplish. Has it ever worked? More importantly, who honestly thinks it could work?

Let's do a brief analysis, shall we?

Congress: Your taxes pay their salary...and a bunch of other crappy pork pet projects that you'd never bother to waste a dime of your own money. Seriously, they're probably laughing at everyone just thinking about how we pay them to put the screws to us.

Military: Again, your taxes pay their salaries...of course, liberal wing-nut taxes also pay their salaries. Think about that next time someone mentions that public opinion should have one darn thing to do with how our excellent soldiers, sailors, Marines & airmen protect us. Do you really want some half-baked, second-generation, old hippie dictating what the military can do? Sure, if you like commies!

Judges: Ironic that we, in fact, do pay their salaries & yet many continually thumb their noses at the Constitution (against the pleasure of the American people) & choose to provide "intelligent" legislation from the bench. I find it hard to believe that a collection of muu-muu-wearing old fogeys have amassed so much power...but then I just think of Congress & that at least gives me a parallel for comparison.

Welfare Bums: OK, so it's not really a "salary" in terms of payroll, but we're still paying the bill! Here's one group I do think we should be able to order around. Those orders, of course, would consist entirely of long, decadent walks into Davy Jones' locker; commands to perform unnatural acts with themselves; & the obligatory demand to engage in gainful employment.



Apparently, the Education Department in Ireland is sending some blame the way of portable phones for the poor literacy of teenagers.

Can you blame the poor kids? It's a lot easier to text "LOL" instead of "Man, that was very funny. I nearly split my sides with that great joke"!

OK, illiteracy is a bad thing. But does that mean over-texting is the cause? No, I really don't think so. Of course, I could be wrong (but I wouldn't bet on it). :-)

According to the report, students are, "unduly reliant on short sentences, simple tenses and a limited vocabulary". Well, judging from that syllable-inundated analysis, you can tell none of these guys ever had a surprise on their monthly cell bill for 100 text messages.

Get with the times, Ireland! Try something a little more socially acceptable, like: OMG! U R BAD @ WRDS!


TKD Demonstration

The school had its first TKD demonstration this evening for families at the Atkins Elementary School.

First off, I'll say that martial arts shoes, with their smooth soles, do NOT work well at all on a freshly waxed, hardwood gym floor! Every kick above waist height made me feel I was going to flip over backwards. Between kicks & forms, I kicked those boys off so my kicks would look decent (ie - not falling on my posterior).

I demonstrated my highest form, Ge-Baek, along with some color-belts with their forms. Everyone did really well, as expected.

We had a few students do a demonstration for breaking. We had one of our recommended black belts attempt a break with a straight punch on two boards. Now, Mr. Eschen has tons of power so this wouldn't normally be a problem. However, when he struck the boards, all you heard was a crack & nothing else happened! The second time, he may have injured one of his knuckles.

Since he's got more power than I do, this was a shock. After they put the boards down I took a look at the back one & it had a big ol' knot in the middle. I'm not saying he couldn't get through it but it would be one heck of a big deal to punch that thing out.

After we wrapped up the TKD part of the demo, Darren took over with his Arnis demonstration. It only lasted about 15 minutes but was very impressive. He had four junior students with him & I have to say (being only 1st level in Arnis) these kids have learned quite a lot!

I'm hoping we can do a HKD demo the next time around. Unfortunately, this time we couldn't get anyone to show besides me & Master Rion that know how to do advanced techniques. Maybe next time we can get Mr. Reif, Mr. Godfrey & Mr. Willfong there to make a good show of it.


I've been having a few rough days this past week (makes me glad it's over!) & I think much of it is job-related. I've even allowed it to affect my attendance at class (Liberals, take note - I held myself to account, not stress, work or anything else). Needless to say, there's cause for concern when you start pulling back from the things you love.

I even went so far to e-mail Master Rion & my friend (newly promoted 2nd degree) Bill about my concerns for why I'm feeling this way.

They're definitely concerned & much more importantly have been giving me motivational kicks in the butt so I'll get off my duff! It's not entirely sympathy, though it is completely compassionate. The urgings they've sent my way have done a great deal to pull me out of a "rut" that I'd otherwise be mired in for some time.

The point (get to it already!) is this: Having mentors & friends - sometimes that's the same person - to kick start us when we're down is more valuable than anything in the world. More important than getting us out of a funk, they also remind us that trying to go it alone often isn't a good idea. Friends are there so we can provide each other a symbiotic relationship - a mutual benefit.

I just want to say thanks to Matt, Bill, James & Scott for putting yourselves out there to help me in this time. More than just your words, your actions have given me cause to see things aren't hopeless - just that sometimes life isn't easy.

That's what makes it worth living: The uncertainty & moments of happiness that you can experience - endure, when necessary - when you know good people are there to bump you in the right direction.


Time To Leave Iowa

I guess there's no other way to say it. After the recent non-raise at my company (despite being a top performer) & the limited opportunity this state even offers someone who wants a life, I just need to bite the bullet & leave.

I'm strongly considering just quitting my job, moving to SC & finishing out my degree. I'm basically miserable here & the job situation is only killing my motivation to do anything else. While I don't look forward to re-entering student status, there's really no other choice but to suck it up, get it finished & avoid working for a company that has been described as a "viper pit".

OK, I think that's extreme but certainly I can understand why some people here would feel that way.

I'm so distracted by this whole deal I'm sure my job performance will suffer, I've already started missing out on martial arts classes & I really don't want to get out of bed even on my days off. Honestly, I think the only cure is to get out of what I consider the depression capital of the mid-west.


Mr. Reif's 2nd Degree Test

An excellent test, really! It set quite a standard for anyone who follows.

Above all else his throws were spectacular. I was taken down on three Judo throws & all of them were fast, smooth & clean on the landing. I can't remember when I've seen (or felt) it done better. The fact I was able to bounce back up right after landing is testament to Bill's control.

After his techniques, we had the pressure point portion of the test. Not only did he nail them (Gall Bladder 41, specifically!) but the walk through showed he was very familiar with all 18 points required of him. Again, seeing as all my bodily functions are in tact, I'd say his control is excellent. :-)

Lastly, we had groundfighting. This is where his test was most similar to my recommended black belt test. I fought him to a draw in my test & a loss to Mr. Willfong. In his test, we again fought to a draw (I almost had that rear-naked choke!) & he was tapped out by Mr. Godfey. As a side note Mr. Godfrey is an instructor for Modern Army Combatives (Groundfighting) & he's one heck of a tough opponent. Mr. Reif nearly went the distance after one hour of physical activity so that's saying something!

Bill, incredible job on the test! I threw everything I had at you for one hour & you still managed to walk away without limping (mostly) ;-)

Just A Thought

Why is it Superman is the most bad@$$ hero in the DC universe yet pretty much every song written with him as the subject depicts a pansy?

Yeah, I'm sure the artists are trying to show another side of a heroic icon, but I think they're the pansies they sing about...


Happy Birthday

To my brother, Matt, who turns the big 3-0 today!

Sorry, man, but you've joined a not-so-exclusive club of thirtysomethings (I think that was a TV show, too). Welcome to the group & be happy that you at least don't look like an old fogey!

Have a great day & I'll talk you soon, bro. :-)


Gun Control

With the recent violence that has tragically plagued public institutions recently, I think it's about time I chime in with my stance on gun control...

I'm against it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating everyone should go out, buy an Uzi & have a good ol' time shooting the neighborhood up for target practice. I AM of the mind that people have every right to defend themselves against a criminal attack. With that in mind I can't fathom why individuals think a simple piece of paper (read: gun control law) is going to prevent someone from "going postal" & murdering innocents with their weapon of choice.

That carries all the severity of the UN levying a sanction against someone.

The fact is no law will have teeth unless there is a means to enforce it. You restrict guns from a public institution? Accept the fact that law-abiding citizens will be the ones to leave their guns at home. Criminals, not-surprisingly, don't care so much for laws.

Obviously, there's something to be said for guns being out in the open or just letting any person legally pack a weapon, which brings me to concealed carry permits. I think the guidelines should make it reasonably difficult to qualify (sorry, convicted felons, you're out) but any adult who does qualify for a concealed weapon permit should be able to carry it anywhere (with notable exceptions: airport, White House, Congress, Supreme Court all come to mind).

Why do I feel this way?

Well, other than the obvious argument that the 2nd Amendment (just as valid as the 1st, progressives) guarantees us the right to bear arms, it's the fact the police, military, etc. cannot always be there at a moment's notice to help. The difference between a hostage/victim & diffuser of a disastrous situation is on a razor's edge.

Furthermore, even if there isn't a person with a concealed weapon capable of coming to the defense of others, the fact a perpetrator believes there could be may be enough to prevent a tragedy. This would explain why convenience stores are robbed more than police stations. As silly as that comparison seems, think about it - why, other than fear of getting arrested, wouldn't you try to hold up a police station? Guns, maybe?

I know the gun control element argues that making guns illegal/harder to get somehow makes sense. These people take a side as credible as the UN calling for stricter sanctions: Neither has the backbone to back up the so-called "resolution" they propose. It's easy to say "less guns" & have people believe its a feel-good measure to protect them. If that were the case, any weapons-free zone would be the safest place on Earth. Horribly, in massacres such as Columbine & Virginia Tech, that's been proven to have the opposite effect.

Bottom line: if a criminal is all but guaranteed to meet no resistance in the course of an attack, they're more likely to carry it out.

What Is HapKiDo?

A recent comment from Jon in Detroit,MI made me realize I've never given a good definition of what is exactly this HapKiDo thing. While Jon definitely knows what what it is, many of you may not (& by that, I mean you're too stinkin' lazy to look it up yourselves). ;-)

Sure, it is the name I use, it is the art I love but none of that helps you, the reader. So, in an effort to enlighten my audience, here's the info on HKD:

HapKiDo is an art of self-defense that originated in Korea. The actual founder is a subject of debate, so I'm not going to delve into politics here. There are three syllables in the word HapKiDo & they mean:

Hap - Coordination

Ki - Energy/Power

Do - The Art/Way

HapKiDo, in English, literally means "The Art of Coordinated Energy".

The principles of this art include:

1) Circular Motion - This may lead to an art being called a "soft" style (hard styles being TaeKwonDo, Karate, etc.). This emphasizes non-linear motions - to which the body has a remarkably difficult time adapting - for self-defense techniques.

2) Water - The nature of water is to flow around, or over, obstacles. In HapKiDo, this is intended to move yourself around the attacker instead of meeting force head-on. "Blocks" are really strikes used for other purposes & can lead to injury. The water principle teaches to avoid that impact, when possible, & move around the attacker or wear them down.

3) Harmony (Non-resistance) - Oh, I know what you're thinking...but not so fast. This isn't the peace-at-any-price non-resistance, it's the essence of HapKiDo - energy coordination. In other words: Your attacker pushes, you pull & vice versa. If a punch comes, you blend with the energy & make it your own - pulling them off balance. Essentially, you're using the attacker's force against them.

All of the above are somewhat difficult to explain & even more difficult to learn. It's not that the concepts are "too much" for anyone - the issue is your body has to unlearn a lot of what you've been taught & what instinct commands.

Try to have someone push you & see how you react. I'll guarantee you pushed back or resisted the action. There's nothing wrong with this - many of our instincts work perfectly for us to survive. HKD endeavors - through using the above principles - to "teach" instinct a more capable way of dealing with an attacker.

If you have any questions on the above, I'll be happy to answer what I can.



Is it just me or does anyone else notice the trend towards total crappiness that music is taking?

I was flipping between MTV - which must stand for "Morbid" because it sure doesn't mean "Music" - & VH1 just to see that every piece of crap song they play is b**ches & h*s stuff or just plain, depressing "nobody likes me" whiny crap.

Seriously, those kooks at the music companies need to get off the low self-esteem kick & start signing people who can actually sing about something, anything or nothing...I don't care as long as it's not this "I didn't get enough attention" adolescent-wannabe putrescence.



Being born on August 10, 1974 - the day after President Nixon resigned - I'm always interested to know what else happened in the year I was born. Thanks to this link from One Happy Dog Speaks, I'm now able to tell you...

That I was born in the same year as a bunch of people I can't stand (hope that doesn't say too much about me).

Here's the rest:
In 1974 (the year you were born)

Gerald Ford becomes president of the US

Hank Aaron hits his 715th home run to beat Babe Ruth's record

Impeachment hearings are opened against President Nixon by the House Judiciary Committee

President Nixon resigns

President Gerald Ford issues an unconditional pardon to ex-President Nixon for all federal crimes

Muhammad Ali knocks out George Foreman in the eighth round to regain the heavyweight crown in Zaire

Heiress Patty Hearst is kidnapped by and eventually joins the Symbionese Liberation Army

Dungeons & Dragons officially released

People magazine is published for the first time

Kate Moss, Alyson Hannigan, Penelope Cruz, Alanis Morissette, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ryan Seacrest are born

Oakland Athletics win the World Series

Miami Dolphins win Superbowl VIII

Philadelphia Flyers win the Stanley Cup

Blazing Saddles is the top grossing film

All the President's Men by Bernstein and Woodward is published

"Killing Me Softly With His Song" wins Grammy for song of the year

Holy Crimefighting Blog, Batman!

Here's a fun site that talks about, well, everything.

Bruce Wayne himself is running Back To The Batcave & I don't have to tell you how great it is to see a superhero well-to-do businessman spending his time writing for the little people. In fact, until Superman starts up his own blog, I'll be visiting the Batcave regularly.

Seriously, it's an excellent site & well worth your free time to visit.


It Won't Happen To Me: Cedar Rapids,IA

In this case, my first installment of "It Won't Happen To Me" involves a student at my instructor's school.

I'm going to say up-front - this young man was lucky. I don't mean he did anything wrong by walking home from school. He should be able to do that safely. The fact he was able to foil his attacker is excellent but the fact is he was attacked in the open, during the middle of the day.

Cedar Rapids is generally considered an excellent area in which to live. Keep that in mind when you read the following (last names omitted):

With a punch, sixth grader foils his attacker
By Christoph Trappe

The Gazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — Sixth grader Riley, 13, used a tae kwon do move to get away from an attacker wearing a ski mask, who was demanding money from him. ‘‘He was walking home from school; heard somebody behind him hollering,’’ said Riley's mom, Pam, 43, of Cedar Rapids, and a Gazette employee. The attacker pushed Riley in the chest and got in front of him Friday afternoon. Riley tried to walk away, police said.

‘‘Then he pulled something out of his pocket that looked like a knife,’’ Pam said.
Riley, who is 5 foot 4 inches and weighs about 100 pounds, was still facing off in the 600 block alley of 10th Street NW around 3 p.m. Friday with the attacker, described as being about two inches taller and weighing about 50 pounds more than the boy. Riley was walking home after his day at Roosevelt Middle School, 300 13th St. NW.

The yellow-belt, who will test for the next level soon, took matters into his hands — or fists — his mom said and police reports show.

‘‘He did a move,’’ his mom said. ‘‘He punched through the stomach with the yell and everything. He hit him hard enough to bring him to the knees.’’

Riley got away uninjured. No arrest has been made in the case as of last night.

For now, Riley will probably be picked up from school, his mom said. As far as Friday goes, Riley didn’t have any money on him to give to the attacker anyway.

Police reports show the attacker wore a ski mask, gray coat, blue jeans and white tennis shoes. His age is unknown because his face was covered but Pam said she believes he was an adult man.

"It Won't Happen To Me" Introduction

In light of a recent incident involving one Master Rion's students being attacked here in Cedar Rapids & the senseless tragedy at Virginia Tech, I'm starting a new (hopefully ongoing) set of posts called "It Won't Happen To Me".

To start, I NEVER place blame on the person or persons attacked - the responsibility lies solely with the perpetrator. No one ever "has it coming". I don't care if the attacker has it rough or "society" wasn't fair to him/her, the decision to visit violence on others was theirs.

I will say that entirely too many people have the "it won't happen to me" attitude (i've even seen people who were attacked add "again" to the end of that). The best thing you can do to prepare for a self-defense situation is, obviously, to stay out of it in the first place. But sometimes that's just not possible.

What I offer as a concept is being prepared is the best start to any self-defense. With that in mind, I'm going to post periodically on items in the news where someone was attacked - most likely in a relatively "safe" location. This isn't to scare the bejeebers out of you - the intention is to help you realize that these things can unfortunately happen even in your town.

My hope is that everyone will take steps to protect themselves.


2nd Degree Essay

I've got the outline well in progress on this assignment. Needless to say I was shocked by the amount of information I plan to cover. When I put it all down on paper it looks like we could have ten pages here!

I'm going to start by defining who an instructor is & branch off from there to discuss Challenges (both in becoming & being an instructor), a plan of action for teaching, monitoring progress (for both the student & instructor) & finally the results/rewards anticipated by following my particular philosophy. Note: nowhere in this will I discuss getting a multi-million $$ book deal for my obviously brilliant writing! :-P

I'm still leaps & bounds away from putting it all into a draft form. Still, the start of that should be about a week away if I keep with it. I have a couple compatriots who should review my current progress before I continue.


2nd Degree Essay

I've given myself three days of thought on my topic & have made a decision. My essay for 2nd degree will be:

My Philosophy of Teaching.

My reasons for this are many & varied as the colors in the spectrum. No, actually, there's only one real reason - I will, by necessity, have to open my own school one day.

The other topic, Joong Gun, was appealing to me. I'm a HUGE fan of history & enjoy any subject upon which I can focus. Discovering more about a person for whom a pattern in TKD was named would be almost priceless in discovering more about the art itself.

The only thing I determined would be completely priceless is discovering more about what I can bring to the art & how it can shape me as well. Thus, my decision to explore my philosophy of teaching.

This is not an easy endeavor. I'm going explore at least four aspects of leadership I've never discussed at length before. It's a momentous challenge, as it should be.

I'll keep you all updated as I make progress.



There's a lot of talk lately about fear of "offending" groups, organizations, crazy extremists, etc.

Here's a few examples:

1) West Yorkshire, England (3/16/07) - "Three Little Pigs" changed to "Three Little Puppies". A school official claimed a fear that "some Muslim children wouldn't sing along to words about pigs".

2) London, England (4/12/07) - BBC declares British hero's story in Iraq is "too positive" & that it may alienate members of its audience. I'm assuming, in this case, we're talking about a predominately Muslim audience. (Hat Tip: Michelle Malkin)

3) Los Angeles, CA (4/18/2001) - The late Johnny Hart, of B.C. fame, was dropped from the LA Times on the demands of Jewish Defense League - among others - as "an affront to the Jewish people".
Story: Jewish World Review (by Michelle Malkin)

Here's my point: The above instances were a result of people or organizations claiming they "feared offending" another group. I can sum this up in one concise term:


No one is afraid of offending someone. They're afraid of the response to their (perceived or real) slight.

In other words the chickens-in-question are afraid that the offended party will come after them with a vengeance. This means they don't respect the group, they fear them. If you truly didn't want to offend someone, it would be out of consideration for the person, not fear they'd cut your head off (file suit, punch you in the nose, etc).

So, you primarily left-wing folks out there shying away from your own culture to embrace the cowardice that is the P.C. world - keep in mind that the only thing offended in this world is human sensibility.


1st Degree Essay

With a friendly suggestion from Harvey of Bad Example I've decided to go ahead & post my 1st Degree essay. As a side note, I'd also like to thank Harvey for helping me (again!) figure out how to get the darn thing on a website. Heaven knows you'd see nothing but a five-page essay on this page if it wasn't for him. :-)

One final note. Please feel free to read the essay & even comment or ask questions. Where I have to draw the line is anyone using it for their own purposes - particularly martial artists. This is based on my individual philosophy...

In other words: Write your own paper! :-)

First Degree Essay


Doing Just Fine, Denise

Denise is a student in Master Rion's self-defense class & fits in well with our group. She's trying our school out as part of her educational pursuits.

OK, that's enough with the "background" info.

We had a brief moment to talk during class & discussed the prospect of her testing for 2nd level in self-defense. Master Rion is pleased with her progress (she should be, too!) & I have to agree she's adapting very well to whatever we throw at her.

I ran her through a "gauntlet" (so-to-speak) & she did admirably! The only concept I want her to take from all of this is "do something". I'm a firm believer that the only wrong thing you can do in self-defense is to freeze. I'll say she took that concept & ran with it. Very impressive for someone just starting out (& even for someone with a little experience).

So, Denise, to answer your question if you should test: Yes. You're doing very well & it's obvious you have an aptitude for adaptation. Keep up the good work & hopefully we can keep you around after your goal has been reached.

2nd Degree Essay

Master Rion e-mailed me my choices for the 2nd degree test essay topic. Fortunately, it doesn't include the "Henry Ford" choice (you can have any color, as long as it's black). ;-)

The first choice is to discuss the Korean patriot Joong Gun. He was notable (& has a TKD form named for him) because he assassinated the first Japanese Governor-General of occupied Korea. There's actually a great deal of information available on him. How much is redundant? I honestly don't know yet.

The second, more challenging, more appealing (because of the inherent difficulty) option is outlining my personal philosophy of teaching. Now, this is quite the task. It's difficult to define something with which I have limited experience. This path will force me to find an introspective position that provides my basis for leadership in martial arts. In English? I want to know what I think a teacher is. :-)

At first glance I decided upon the latter of the two choices. It's certainly appealing to be granted an opportunity of self-discovery. Still, being impetuous isn't the best idea in martial arts. I'm going to follow Bill's philosophy on buying things: wait three days. If you still want it, then go ahead & buy.

I think that'll work well here.

I'll let you guys know more as I decide upon a topic.



You know, my brief training session with Liz really made me realize a new appreciation for my martial art of choice. I mean, I've always loved this thing I do & the people are great but now I know that I LOOOOOVE it!

There's not many better feelings than showing someone (trustworthy someone!) a technique & seeing that "AHA!" look on their face - It validates your efforts as a teacher. Additionally, it helps you return to the basics of the move & discover something that wasn't there before.

I won't go so far to say I'd like to have my own school (maybe if I relocate). I'm too happy with the people in my class & we have the most selfless instructor in the world. He puts all the students' training ahead of his own. Obviously, that can't continue forever - we've got a couple people in HKD that need to test soon - but it demonstrates his commitment through action.

Anyway, I'm thrilled to get an expanded perspective on Hapkido! It's something I feel has given even more to me than I've put in. For my effort in class I've gained new friends, ability in self-defense & confidence beyond what I've ever experienced before.

Think about that the next time you workout on a treadmill. :-)


Wonderful Easter News

Not only do we celebrate the Resurrection on Easter but I was given yet another reason for a joyful mood.

JP of IdLike2bnTX is going to be a Dad! That's right folks, you heard it here first! Now go to his site & congratulate the Texas gentleman properly!

I can say he's a man of outstanding moral conviction, subtle humor & brilliant methods in everything he does. The person who would make a better parent doesn't exist. I seriously mean that from the bottom of my heart. I count myself fortunate to know he is among my best friends.

Congratulations, JP, & best wishes to you & your family on this Easter Sunday!


Few things make you feel more like a total bad@$$ than when you go into a meeting, toot your horn & there's complete agreement on the other side.

Yeah, that's good stuff!

Flirty McGee

That's the official name of the new lady here at work. Don't get me wrong, she's cute & all (bit young for "Grampa" if you catch my meaning...) though not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

After talking with little sis', Liz - who also works here - we observed she won't talk to anyone who isn't in possession of a "Y" chromosome (that's a guy for those lacking a clue). She'll cackle like a rooster when talking about UFC (something I like) - though that's not to imply her end of the conversation is intelligent - but completely ignore Liz & Jackie in any situation. This amazing ability to ignore people of similar gender earned "Flirty" the derogatory moniker.

Since Liz & Jax are my friends, lil' miss McGee ain't on my good list. OK, being a guy, I'll admit to being extremely susceptible to feminine wiles. This is the nature of manhood. Flirtation is flattery almost as much as imitation. A couple guys around the office have picked up on this & suddenly out comes the Acqua di Gio (LPR).

You're probably saying right now, "HapKiDo, I'll bet you're full of crap & really like this girl". Ah, but there's one problem with that observation - she plays the ditsy card. Anyone who knows this fella also knows that's not my cup of tea

2nd Degree

Last Monday I asked Master Rion if he'd come up with an essay topic for my upcoming (TBD) 2nd degree testing.

Nothing yet but he did say it will be about "leadership" in some way. Knowing my instructor, the topic will be easily discussed but allow for a broad range of interpretation.

I'll admit I haven't thought too much about testing other than, "Hey, isn't that coming up?", popping into my head. I've become so used to testing infrequently (only twice in HKD since I made 1st degree in TKD) that it's a comfortable place to be.

Comfort isn't what it's all about, though. I have new forms to learn, new techniques & experience upon which I need to expand. It's coming close to the time where I need to test.

That, my friends, is a sobering realization.

Steering Wheel

I don't expect this title will mean anything except to those in HKD...and even then only ones in the class I attend.

I taught my little sis, Liz, how to do this technique today. It's a delightful little wrist lock designed to cinch the shoulder, elbow & wrist joints in place to perform a takedown/break. Most likely a break if the attacker doesn't have the brains to fall down. It draws it's name from the motion you make when turning the wrist.

Heaven knows poor Liz has been subjected to this little gem more times than she'd care to count (she had it coming a couple times!). I figured it's about time she learned how it works.

For safety reasons, I'm not going to detail the technique here - you can visit a local school to get more information. It's dangerous to do this stuff without training & a lock involving three joints is particularly risky.

Anyway, we had a bit of an audience while I was showing her how to get the lock set. Jamie, a new lady here at work, was pretty well fascinated with the "trick". Yeah, I was there once so I know how she feels: part of you just can't believe the body has those limitations. I offered her the chance to learn more for self-defense.

While I'm at it, I'd ask any young lady to check out a self-defense course. It doesn't have to be as rigorous as HKD. Master Rion offers a self-defense course specifically for people not wanting to endure various falls & "complicated" techniques. I'm sure there are plenty of schools that offer the same in your town for a reasonable price.


Ego Trip Monthly

I'd like to share a thought on a recent issue (recent = less than two years
ago) of Black Belt Magazine I unfortunately perused in Barnes & Noble.

One cover article promised a "How To" on basic TaeKwonDo kicks. Since I'm a
black belt & always looking for better ways to improve not only my skills
but more importantly my ability to teach students, I figured this must be
worth a look.

I figured very wrong.

The writer (let's just call him "Skippy") - who also humbly volunteered his
face for the example photos - seemed to think every single martial artist
on the face of this earth possessed the ability of a complete 180 stretch.
Keep in mind this is supposed to be an article on basic kicks. Well, let me
be fair here & look up the definition of "basic"...

Basic (adj.): Of, relating to, or forming a base; fundamental

Aha! There it is. You reading that, Skippy? When you're talking about basic
kicks that means YOU. DEMONSTRATE. BASIC. KICKS. Not these ego tripping,
show off, I-don't-know-how-to-teach-kicks kicks.

Yes, I'm impressed you can kick Shaq in the head if the need ever arises.
Good luck getting past his bodyguards! I'm not impressed that you clearly
didn't have the humility to use your rather paltry example of fame to
actually teach basic kicks. That's an all too typical disservice to the
martial arts that promotes negative stereotypes in the minds of non-martial
artists (e.g. - like perpetuating the belief that all black belts are
deadly weapons. what hooey!).

Anyway, who would I be to complain if I didn't offer a "better" (IMAO)
example of the three basic kicks in the article? The kicks covered are
Front, Side & Roundhouse kicks. All have their own practical application &
can be very effective when used & executed properly.

Front Kick - As the name implies you're coming right up front with this
technique. Common targets can be the shin/knee (low), groin/stomach
(middle), or head (high). The first motion - keep your hands up! - is to
get your knee out there & set up the kick. The front kick is a "snap" kick
that relies on the reflexive motion of the knee joint for it's speed AND

After the knee comes up, you'll snap the kick out to the target. The foot
should be pointed with toes pulled back. This helps your range while
protecting the most vulnerable part of the foot. Also, the ball of the foot
is the ideal striking surface since it's hard & can take an impact well.

Side Kick - There are noticeable similarities to the front kick on this
technique. However, it's important to remember that this is often a "power"
kick that uses the motion of your hip for its effectiveness. Targets
include knee/thigh (low), ribs/stomach (middle), or head (high). Speed,
while possible, isn't the forte of this technique.

You're bringing your knee up & at the same time pivoting on the ball of
your standing foot. The idea is to get the knee up high as reasonably
possible (keep your balance, though!) to allow for the full rotation of the
hip. This will allow you to utilize most of your body for power. When your
leg snaps out to the target, your hip should completely turn over to
release all the energy of the kick. It's also important to pivot so your
standing heel is facing the target. This helps prevent injury.

Roundhouse Kick - Ah, the bread & butter of kicking. This one has more
speed than a side kick & still maintains decent power on the delivery. The
kick can be performed with toes held back (for harder targets) or pointed.
This kick also lends itself to combinations. Similar to the other kicks
targets include knee/thigh (low), stomach/ribs (middle), or chest/head
(high). The nice part of this technique is how easily it can be disguised
as a front kick.

You'll bring the knee up just like a front kick & pivot on your standing
heel as you snap the kick to the target. The heel will turn most of the way
to point at the target but it's not as pronounced as the side kick. The
hips should turn over slightly to follow through with the kick. This is
probably the most used kick in sparring but requires quite a bit of work to
get it right.

I hope that helps for those of you interested in kicks. I don't profess to
be an expert of any sort though I have experience & a considerably smaller
ego than the glory-hounds you see in some finer publications.

The Sopranos

So the show is running its last nine (9) episodes. I'll probably tune in just to see how it ends, though I don't have high hopes. HBO's other drama, Rome, is far better & offered a consistency the mafia drama hasn't shown since season two.

I think the point "Sopranos" lost me was season four. That whole thing was daytime soap opera-worthy. Disgusting. It seemed like every other scene involved Tony & Carmela with their crappy storyline.

Really, the first two seasons were wonderful. Even the most ardent fan has to admit the show has lost its brilliance. The acting is always superb but the plot has directed itself into a mire of disinterest - nothing grabs my attention anymore.

Let's face it: ever since James Gandolfini held out for more money prior to season four, the show took a huge dump on its audience.

I certainly hope the producers pull out a dramatic coup for this finale. Otherwise, we'll be scratching our collective heads in wonder of how they gave us the Mel Brooks treatment.

Sleep: Part 2

Ah, I finally got some (rest, in case you're dirty-minded)!

It was so nice to get home, eat something, answer a couple e-mails, read a bit of a book & doze peacefully off to sleep. I woke up around 5pm (I work nights) & was able to relax before getting called into work an hour early.

It's great how a little bit of sleep will make you feel way better than the day before!


God of War II

Platform: PS2
Cost: $49.99
Rating: M
Purchased At: Gamestop

A very fun game that controls better than the first. Reviews indicated the story was weak compared to the original & I have to disagree. This game takes the, admittedly overdone, revenge story to new heights - confronting the Greek gods themselves.

Kratos is betrayed by Zeus (there's a good reason for it) & stripped of his godhood. Stabbed through the heart - literally - by this betrayal, the hero embarks on a journey to defy fate itself.

The game play is every bit as excellent as the story. In the first game the gods of Olympus aided you. The second involves the Titans, who were cast down by the Olympians in the Titan war. The powers & attacks are varied with better control & the ability to switch tactics with ease.

The normal setting is easy enough. There is a moderate challenge in some stages but most of that involves puzzles, not fighting. Don't expect it to run you over.

As in the previous installment there are tons of extras. The Challenge of the Titans replaces the Challenge of the gods & new special items & armor can be unlocked. In short, there's no lack of replay value here.

Pick this one up. You'll be glad you did.

Visual Aids

Has anyone noticed (as I observed in the comments of another post) that the women on The Weather Channel get proportionately hotter as the network pushes harder on the global warming agenda?

I'm serious.

They even decided to color-coordinate the three women on there right now (Jen Carfagno, Eboni Deon, Nicole Mitchell) in a red, white & blue deal from left to right. If they weren't all good looking, I might actually have a delightfully snarky comment about it.

Of course, the price associated with lovely forecasters is listening to global warming blather every five minutes. I still don't buy it but I'll give The Weather Channel credit for making a beautiful effort!

Following a Bad Example


I'd like to dedicate my 2006 post total (see sidebar - "Organized Thoughts") to Bad Example.

It's coincidence but makes for a good post just the same!

Roller Coaster (Wheeee!!!)

That's what kind of week this has been.

I started it with a couple of the best air falls I've EVER done. If you don't know, an air fall is a self-imposed, masochistic condition in which you stand on perfectly solid ground, throw your upper body over (in a "flip" sort of way) & land basically on your side/back. It's not actually painful...unless you screw up.

Any way, I was happy with them.

Monday & Tuesday were great. No complaints about Wednesday. Thursday rolled around & hit me like a truck! I've felt bummed all day without having a good reason - lousy 30o temperatures notwithstanding.

The only apparent explanation besides that is my work week starts on Thursday. Now, I won't get into the mundane details of my job. It pays well, I perform exceptionally (ladies, this has dual meanings. *wink*) & I completely can't stand it.

Once Monday rolls around - & here's where I'm unique - I love it. I'm done with work, back to martial arts & off for three days. I'm anticipating that part of the cycle.


I seem to have forgotten what that is this past week. I am soooo TIRED!

It's tough working nights, no question. I think it's made that much harder by knowing I'm switching back to days eventually.


They'll Get It Right Eventually

Another hurricane season looms on the horizon...

Yet another prediction of an "active" season.

I guess if you make the same prediction enough times, it'll eventually be correct. Honestly, if I say it's going to rain tomorrow but I'm wrong, I can always say it'll rain the next day, or the day after that, etc., etc.

Chances are - unless I live in the Sahara Desert - that I'll be right one of those days.

Silly as it sounds, the only thing dumber than the above would be shouting "I told you so!" from the mountaintops after your umpteenth guess was correct. But that's exactly what you're going to see when scientists & the media get it right one of these years.

And you can say I told you so...

France: 11% Faster Retreats!

It looks like France has broken the world speed record for a train. The new mark is 357.2 MPH which exceeds the previous record of 320.2 MPH - meaning France now has the ability to surrender & get out of Dodge 11% faster than previously achieved!

Obviously, I'd like to congratulate the cheese-eating surrender monkeys for their latest accomplishment in the world of cut & run!

5 Minutes

OK, my friend, JP & I had a discussion today. I think it presents an interesting thought that will encourage deep contemplation.

Here's the deal:

You pass away & go to the Pearly Gates. Assume at this point you have complete clarity & understanding of the workings of all Creation (not being bound by your earthly body). Also, you have the means to convey this information in an intelligible manner.

God decrees you will be given five (5) minutes on Earth to communicate one message & it can be given to one person, worldwide or anything in between. You will have the time to determine what your message is & to prepare it so people - limited by their humanity - will be able to grasp your meaning.

You cannot physically affect anyone (you're there as a "human" but only for the purpose of the message).

What message would you give?


New Direction

After spending some time in quit reflection, I've decided this website needs to head in a different way.

Most of my posting has a least a hint of the conservative views for which I'm known. It's always been my belief that sticking to principles of self-reliance & moral clarity will get you far in this world.

Yeah, they probably will. But it's too much darn work!

With that in mind, I'm taking a liberal tack & going to send the blog into left field a bit. Face it, there's TRAFFIC on the left. I mean people really focus on the liberal side of the blogosphere & I'm telling you, there's money in all of this.

I've resisted it but I know this is a better way to make some $$$. I'll throw out some conspiracies, bash some lame conservative politicians (like they deserve)...and ALL without suffering any consequences.

Yeah, conservatism is for chumps! Liberals can get away with the big things & only get a slap on the wrist. I'm joining the winning team - ethics & standards be darned!

If you haven't figured this one out by now: APRIL FOOLS!!!

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