A Long Way Down

Tonight I went the one night showing of Long Way Down where Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman Ride some BMWs from Scotland to South Africa.

All in all a very pleasant evening. The most dramatic footage was of Africa and while some might complain that it they weren't really riding by them selves since they had such an extravagant support team. But to me you just accept it for what it is, if I had money and sponsors I would do exactly the same thing.

I made me think I would really enjoy riding with friend rather than alone. And that you have to PLAN to take the route that looks most interesting rather than the fastest.

Maybe this fall I can take a trip to Houston but stay off the highways. But for now the heat is a real beating.


It Was A Good Day

Tonight I’m in Indianapolis and after a full day I was able to have an hour of Aikido practice at Indianapolis Aikikai. I was up early flew into to town and worked until after 6, got tot the dojo at 7, went all out for 1 hour and then went to another store by 9, grabbed some diner and drove back to the hotel with the food and a bottle of wine. I made it to the hotel room around 10 and now it is about 11:30.

I was WHIPPED after class. I may have been dehydrated or tired or just out of shape, but I was pooped after an hour.

Anyway I have to comment... This is the friendliest and most welcoming bunch of people I’ve ever visited. And most Aikdio dojos are pretty pleasant places to visit.

Of course I have to note that I felt a little lost, maybe I felt more lost than I really was. We started with some basic tenkan from katate dori. Somehow this simple move was slightly different, even though I can’t recall just how. But nobody made a big deal out of it (or any other technique we worked on) so I was quite pleased.

So, I worked hard, practiced hard, had a nice meal by myself in a hotel room with a bottle of red wine….mmmm…What a great day!


"What's In A Name?"

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose
Loveliness extreme.
Extra gaiters,
Loveliness extreme.
Sweetest ice-cream.
Pages ages page ages page ages.

- by Gertrude Stein

Sidney Sensei is out of town for a few weeks so Charlie with his Tomiki background has been teaching.

Charlie often has the class follow what I take to be the Tomiki style of class. For an hour we work of techniques with a set starting attack and some variation and then to finish the class there is a somewhat structured Ji- waza (or Jiyu-waza or Gi Waza) basically a controlled free style (if that isn't a contradiction in terms). At least he called it that, but there were two attackers so I would have thought it was randori.*

We all took our turns and it is really interesting to see how different people handle the pressure. Sometimes it is the less experienced students that are more interesting to watch. You could sometimes see somebody perform a technique I was pretty sure they didn't really know, but came out naturally because they didn't know what to do and “BANG” they did Sankyo with out any training. It may have been an example of “Beginner's Mind” in action. They had to know enough of the movements to move a certain way but not enough to pause to decide on a technique. Some may just be naturals and keep it up, but I wonder if these moments will disappear until after years of practice and letting go of practice it flows naturally again.

I remember distinct moments over the past 2 and ½ years where after a particular technique I noticed “HEY! That worked out perfectly.” But then it was gone and I returned to my clumsy ways, with the hope or faith that someday, with more practice, it will return.

Is there any point to this post? I think I meant to say it is good to have teachers with different influences. Especially since Charlie is always respectful and deferential to Sidney. But even though they use different terms and teach in a slightly different way, they usually say the same thing, different but the same. Hence the picture and quote. I could have gone with Shakespeare
“ What's in a name? that which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet;”

*I notice Charlie uses terms that are used more in Judo. For instance we normally say “nage” but he says “tori”. He also would say “Ude Kemi Nage” while Sidney would simply say “Kokyu Nage”.


The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

I took the day off to “DO” some things. Unfortunately I tried to do a thing I had never done before (well I did it thirty years ago).

I was going to replace the front sprocket on my motorcycle. First I discovered it wouldn't come off with an adjustable wrench. Then I found the Home Depot near me didn't have a 30mm socket but Loews did. THEN I discovered I didn't have a 1/2” drive....anyway it took a while but I finally ....gave up.

It made me think about what I hope to use this motorcycle. If I want to ride in even a semi-serious off road way I HAVE to make more changes. But I think what I really want is the more “off road if I have to” ability. And take back roads to get places. Much like the motorcycle Transamerica Trail.

In that vein, above are the results of my installing “Saddle Bags” (way easier) AND I attached a 25 year old bicycle carrying bag where the tool kit was bolted on. I wonder if I should question my design sense because it does look a bit odd but I went ahead and did it. You now see Dirt Bagz and Kangaroo Baggs.

Below is a picture of our crazy house cat (he really has mental problems) that got out while I was going in and out today.