judge not lest ye be judg'd

Had a judge's training seminar this evening for the upcoming 6th Annual Kenkakubanrai. I will most definitely screw up the flag-lifting and point counting and victor announcing, most definitely.
After run through a couple of practices including how to receive and return the flags, how to roll them up, how to raise them, count them, and other fine points of judging, we cruised to one of the cheap eats places near Shinbashi Station. The sashimi was thawed, everything was fried in the same oil, the plates, chairs, and tables were small, the prices ridiculously low, and in general a good time was had by all. Kanai-bashocho and Tanaka-sensei are gearing up for their wedding, which I will unfortunately miss because it's the day I leave for San Francisco.
After a couple of beers and a carafe of wine, Sanno-sensei told me, after hearing that I was only 30 years old, that I severely lack in shinayakasa; suppleness, flexibility; elasticity. He says I'm too young to be stomping and thumping around like an old man, and I should work on being more like the green bamboo that bends at impossible angles but never breaks and always snaps back into place. He has a point. I've spent a bit too much time trying to be strong and fast, specifically trying to give tatami rolls what for, and if I get into the habit of being rigid and cold, I'll never shake it. So my homework from now on is more bend, less thump.

sai and jo

Jesse asked me on the Sword Forum International boards if we could do some sai when I go out to California in July for an iai seminar. At first I said no because I don't know any sai and am not qualified to teach. But at practice tonight I was talking to Hoshina-san and Yoshida-sensei, and since Hoshina-san is 2dan in sai they decided I had to learn the tachi (sword) half of some sai forms so that we could at least demo. And while we're at it I might as well learn some tachi for a couple of jo forms as well.
So for three hours I got pummelled by various folks trying to teach me the sai kata geki, hangetsu, and sankyo, as well as some jo work I absolutely can't remember. After having various bits of wood and metal slammed into my head, solar plexus, wrists, arms, and chin, I have a new respect for these weapons.
Now if I can just remember the moves well enough to not make a complete fool of myself...

bruce lee kicks butt

From stevie: http://www.card1004.com/card/bsjj/53.swf No idea what the Korean writing says, but this is cool.


I think the combination of seeing Matrix: Reloaded and watching the news coverage of the middle east has effected my sleep.
Had a dream: I was in the run-down lobby of a dingy bank, or maybe it was a hospital. It was full of depressed, dirty, hopeless people sitting on grimy old waiting benches. Babies cried. Old people stared off into nothing. I stood near the back, looking over the scene, detached. Suddenly a young man runs in, pulls out a revolver, and starts shooting. Panic ensues; people dive for cover and run. The images unfold in bullet-time slow motion. I run towards him as he hurries to reload. Spent shells fall, hand in his pocket, I get closer. One bullet chambered, two, three...I close in. Four bullets, five, and I am near the wall he stands against. I reach out towards the umbrella rack, my fingers close around the long handle of a sledge hammer. I spin, lifting the heavy head of the hammer, adding my right hand to the grip, accelerating in dust-flinging slow motion. He snaps closed the loaded revolver and wheels the barrel towards me. The sledge catches him square in the chest, knocking him into the wall. Freeze. Rewind.
Suddenly a young man runs in, pulls out a revolver, and starts shooting. Panic ensues; people dive for cover and run. The images unfold in bullet-time slow motion. I run towards him as he hurries to reload...this time I grab an umbrella from the rack, noticing how much lighter is is than the sledge hammer. I deftly jab the umbrella two, three, four times into his throat, chest, arm. Freeze. Rewind. I grab the umbrella, spin it around and hook his gun-holding hand with the curved umbrella handle. He struggles to free his hand, ensnaring him even deeper into my umbrella-joint lock. Freeze. Rewind. He swings his arm towards me, and just as the barrel is in line with my head, I slide forward and under, my tactical folder knife catching him in the wrist, elbow, armpit. Freeze. Rewind. I drive the serrated bowie deep into his forearm, slicing it open elbow to palm. Freeze. Rewind. From across the room I dive, John Woo, emptying my 9mm clip into the wall and him as he lunges for the counter. His shots turning the stuffing of the fake leather benches into clouds of dust. Freeze. Rewind. I spin as he fires his last shot wildly in my direction, no aim, panicking. He reloads as I lunge straight at him, hurdling over the benches. First row. One bullet chambered. Second row, two bullets chambered. As he slaps the revolver into place and raises his eyes and gun to face my I'm already drawing my sword, halfway over the last bench, right leg extended. I draw and cut as my right foot comes down, catching his right arm clean on the rising cut. His hand, still holding the gun, drops harmlessly and clatters on the floor at our feet. My blade continues arcing across his face, he turns and falls.
I wake up. No more TV or movies for a while, methinks.


Here I am wasting my time, dedicating my life to studying a 300+ year-old traditional Japanese martial art, when in fact for only $49.95 I can learn lethalo, "Truly the world's deadliest and most effective self-defense system ever devised." In four short courses I will master unbeatable fighting techniques! What the hell am I waiting for?!

japanese cops

I admit, like everyone else in Japan (especially foreigners), I belittle the Japanese police. They seem under-prepared, ill-qualified to carry firearms, and are generally useful only for giving directions and watching helplessly as right-wing trucks drive slowly in circles blasting nationalist theme songs at ear-splitting levels.
But now I take it all back. I got a call from Officer Kobayashi in Arakawa-ku. Arakawa-ku is as far north and east as you can get from my south-western Tokyo location and still have a Tokyo area code. Seems he found the Mighty Steed. Not only did he find it, but he put it in a police van and drove all the way across Tokyo to give it back to me. So now, the Mighty Steed sits next to the Mightier Steed. It's missing the left mirror and the grandma handcovers, as well as the front basket and the helmet, but it stills purrs and rattles like it used to.
Two small helmets where found with the bike, ticketed for being parked illegally. A plate check showed that the bike was reported stolen. Obviously some teenagers were enjoying the freedom that the Mighty Steed provides. But how the hell it got all the way across Tokyo is beyond even Officer Kobayashi's comprehension.
Good timing though, Masa's bike (the one I got from Moto that I used to ride before the Mighty Steed) is nearing the end of usefulness. So I'll stop by the Ward Office tomorrow morning, transfer the Mighty Steed to Masa, and consider it all in a day's police work.
Now if they could just get the right-wing trucks to shut up.