But why is “La esposa del hombre está sentada sobre él” ?

Note to self: You just finished Level 1: Unit 4: Lesson 7

Well......I watched TV last night but tonight I finished another lesson in Spanish.

Imagine missing a few classes and when you finally make it to class there is quiz, but wonderfully it is stuff you pretty much know. That is something like the lesson seven tonight. I was ready to take my medicine and even retrace my study steps, but I caught a break and whizzed through it all.

I see the last lesson was “Verbos Multiples y Mientras” but I can't really remember what that was.

So in preparation for my next memory lapse, in lesson 7, Unit 4 we worked on possessions and family relations. So you say El niño y sus padres rather than su padres, and dos hermanos e su madre, meaning the possessive indicator matches the object rather than the subject. Is that correct way to explain it?

Also you would say “Estas cuatro personas..” and NOT ...cuatros or cuatras personas. For some unknown reason during the speaking part I was always trying to add an “s” to cuatro when there were personas involved.

BUT you say “La mujer está parada con SU esposo e hijos”, even though the woman is standing with more than one person. Would one say “...”su esposo e sus hijos.”? That one didn't come up.

AND, I didn't remember “e” meant “and”, obviously “y” = and, but “e”? If I once knew it I lost that somewhere along the way.

If I think about it, this is a pretty haphazard way to study Spanish. I remember reading an article by George Leonard about Aikido where he indicated one of the worst type of students were the dabblers, who flitted from one interest to another and never focused on one thing and followed through. I see his point, if you are going to study something why make a half-ass attempt?

Even with just a cursory self examination I see that dabbler pretty much describes me, so if I accept Leonard's point should I simply quit all these things since if you do something you should only do it if you intend to “win”? There is a good chance I'll never win in the race to speak Spanish, or be a good aikdoka or be an interesting animator.

To bring up my blog premise, what should I do with the next 25 years? Am I here to do a half ass job or to win the prize?

Conclusion: I may remain a perpetual novice but I don't want to do things half-ass-ed. I may never really speak Spanish, or make a good animation, or take a great Aikido breakfall, meaning I won't win the prize. So even if I must remain an amateur, from now on I plan to use my whole ass, every last bit of it! No more of the half stuff.

Take that George Leonard!


A Yokomenuchi up side the head

Was tonight a breakthrough? If I can hold on to what we did, it may very well be one of the wonderful yet few and small victories.

The gist is in Yokomenuchi you mirror Uke as he attacks and use the “hot” arm (the one closest to the attacker) to block and if the strike to the head is somewhat high, the other arm or “cool” arm swings up from BELOW for Ikkyo, Nikkyo, Sankyo, etc...

BUT if the strike is a little lower, the “cool” arm follows the blocking arm down from the TOP and maintains the last contact before Iriminage or Kotegaishi. But in the second example you end up face to face with each other whereas in the other type you go straight for the technique.

The "hot" and "cool" designation I got from a guy a the dojo that spent many, many years practicing Tomiki Aikido, where there is a competition process. I gather it is a lot tougher.

For some reason those terms help me remember what to do.

Self Study = No Study

Last night I considered working on some Spanish. After all it has been almost a month since I last worked on it.

But then I ended up watching Allegro Non Troppo by Bruno Buzzetto
Check out some of his stuff HERE . Anyway, after that I spent an hour working on transferring an LP to CD (a project I thought I had finished last week, until I actually listened to the CD). So all that plus dinner and some light house cleaning meant I never got around to studying Spanish.

Unfortunately I’m afraid it shows a flaw in my character. It is pretty obvious I’m just lazy. Maybe for a lazy person the self paced study method isn’t really the best way to proceed. It is easy to go to Aikido class three times a week when I have no family or work obligations. And when I took Italian classes I didn’t miss any. But left on my own I have no will power over stuff cooler than the work it takes to learn another language.

But, I’m not giving up yet. Maybe I can show some strong moral fiber on Thursday and study up on the ol’ Spanish Rosetta Stone.

FYI, the LP I was working on was the double album of Woody Allen’s standup comedy routines from 1964 – 1968


Wreckage of ZeppoManx-athon

“The history of a man's life is the history of a failure. That is my happiness.”

from Wreckage of Agathon by John Gardner (1970)

I'm in Charlotte, North Carolina and I practiced at Aikido of Charlotte tonight. It was a good class and a nice change from the IT convention which I am attending. I opted out of a few “networking” social events in order to walk the mile and ½ to the dojo.

The strange thing was that while I mostly adapted to a different dojo, there were a few points that really threw me. For one thing, previously whenever I've worked from a static beginnings Shomenuchi was always Gyaku Hamni where Uke always steps as he strikes. To get your bearings you look at your partner's stance and change accordingly. Tonight I had no idea what to day. I would change my stance and then the other guy would change his so that it looked wrong for me.

Then we practiced a different version of Shomenuchi Nikkyo and it it also confused me, so I looked pretty stupid.

But even though I recognized my failures, I had a good time and felt purified. There is something about an Aikido practice that cleanses your body and soul.

As an aside I saw that the Mind + Body convention was finishing as the IT Service Management Convention started. I kind of wished I was going to four days of Mind + Body rather than professional networking, 10 seminars and 5 uplifting motivational speaches.

If only my work would send me to an Aikido convention.


Am I an Anime-maniac?

from BOOD+:  第11話「ダンスのあとで」!

Somehow I've become mildly obsessed with Japanese animation (both movies and TV series). I can tell myself that spending hours watching DVDs is a form of research for any future animation I may attempt.

What is the deal with Anime and schoolgirls in school uniforms?

But the result is I'm WAY behind in Español AND any Animation. Jeez I'm lazy!

As an aside, thank goodness for Dallas's Premier Video, since I no longer use Netflix they are the next best thing. WAY more animie than any Blockbuster.

from Kiki's Delivery Service 魔女の宅急便


Are You Handy with Handchi?

Tonight for half the class we practiced Hanmi Handachi, where Nage is moving around on their knees and the Uke (the attacker) is standing. The advantage over Suwari Waza (both moving on their knees) is that in the former you at least get to rest your knees for half the time. So I guess it could have been worse. Jeezz I'm bad at this stuff!!

And HANMI HANDACHI is just another one of those things about Aikido that doesn't look immediately applicable, but I guess I actually started moving a little better tonight. I may still be bad but my ray of hope is that I'm not as bad as I once was.



“There is no enemy for Ueshiba of Aikido. You are mistaken if you think that budo means to have opponents and enemies and to be strong and fell them. There are neither opponents nor enemies for true budo. True budo is to be one with the universe; that is to be united with the Center of the universe.”

Whereas the developers of modern Judo and Karate applied modern and logical teaching methods to pass on their martial art, O-sensei used elaborate Shinto mythology and ambiguous aphorisms when speaking about Aikido.

I have yet to hear anybody speak of Kami or suggest we have a Shinto purification ritual. And aside from references in biographies that come across as hagiography, and the occasional reference to “Ki”, you don't hear much more than the practical aspects of blending with the attacker's momentum.

I think that somehow, something of the founder's ways are still with us just from the feel of a traditional Aikdio class. I suppose one remnant of O-sensei's inspiration is that although there is a set list of techniques to learn as you take Aikido tests, I don't think there is a uniform method of teaching, and every teacher emphasizes what the like. So, in a way it is amazing there is as much uniformity of results in different dojos.

O-Sensei was a follower of Oomoto-kyo of which I gather is an offshoot of Shinto, and has been led by charismatic leaders, and they all thought they would change the world. It sounds like Oomoto-kyo was the Shinto equivalent of a 18th century American Utopian / revivalist movement. They were divinely inspired, genuine and thought they could change the world through love.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if all conflict really could be resolved or even dissolved. What if a whole hearted iriminage was really “turning the other cheek”. Wouldn't it be wonderful if any confrontation is embraced and transformed into harmony? Wouldn't be wonderful if we could change the world? Wouldn't it all be wonderful.

O-Sensei really felt Aikdo could transform the world, and he repeatedly states Aikdio is a manifestation of Love. Oh What Paradise It Seems!

For now I'll just try to do a decent Koshi-nage.

"The Art of Peace does not rely on weapons or brute force to succeed; instead we put ourselves in tune with the universe, maintain peace in our own realms, nurture life, and prevent death and destruction. The true meaning of the term samurai is one who serves and adheres to the power of love."


O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Leaves of Grass


ZeppoManx <> Koshi Nage

Today there were 2 first timers and 1 that has been practicing for only a few months, Alberto, Sidney, two much more advanced students...then me. So the most advanced work with the least advanced. This meant that I worked with the same partner for the whole class.

It was a little strange in that Alberto would demonstrate a technique and then show a simpler version for the majority of the class. Meaning I was put in the small more advanced group, of course the way more advanced people were helping out the beginners.

For a bit the two of us worked on a few koshi nage throws. And although in the past I've done reasonably well with my old nemesis Koshi Nage (well...sometimes maybe), but today was a total loss. I don't think I ever performed a passable throw. I took a bunch but I never turned the tables.

The thing about Koshi Nage is that you cannot fake it, Uke cannot just go along and make your job easy. If you don't find Uke's center you cannot do the move, unless you are have a really strong back you cannot flip someone over.

I'm not strong enough to throw someone over me, so it is all or nothing. In a way it is a great move to practice because if you get it right you really know you got it right.

I never got it right.

The founder, know as O-Sensei somewhere said...

Failure is the key to success;
Each mistake teaches us something

At this rate I'll be a freakin' Super expert by the time I die.

Since there is no class Monday and I have to miss Wednesday I hope to use my time to write a decent posting about the founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (called O-Sensei). I only mention it because if anybody reads it I want them to recognize my obvious literary reference. It is really obvious if you've had to take American Lit or even watched the pretentious movie “Dead Poet's Society”.

The picture above shows how koshi nage should be done, not what I did.