Conan and bunch of other folks came over for a BBQ. It was raining all day and the coldest day yet this year, but that didn't stop and unending march of meat. Ivan supplied the cow, which was followed by pig, and mushrooms, and ribs...Miyuki brought sake and proceeded to drink it all herself. At some point we remembered the corn on the cob and the potatoes in the oven, and then Masa and her friend came by once everyone had gone home and with Presley finished off most of it, taking the rest home.
It was not a second too soon that I scampered out of work at about 7 and headed down to honbu dojo. No one was around so I let myself in and practiced for over an hour before Gosoke came followed shortly by Miyasawa, cramming in as much practice as he can before his 4dan exam next month.
Trained until about 9:30, with Gosoke giving pointers on noto and other fineries, before heading to the station to get some Chinese food. I have had an unsatiable craving for sweet & sour pork for weeks, and the more I eat it, the more I want to eat it.
Chatted with Gosoke about what it means to practice; to practice for yourself or for someone else (against someone else.) Without putting too fine a point on it, I don't care how "good" you are, if the only reason you're swinging that sword is to be better than someone else, to beat someone else, to prove something to someone else, you'll never get "good." You may become proficient at cutting and swinging, but if that's all you're interested in, try a machete. It's not some deeply spiritual concept of "the path" of martial arts or anything. It's really quite simple: it's about having heart.
Or, to put it more bluntly, are you being an asshole? Someone once told me "Brown, black, white, pink, small, large...assholes come in all shapes, sizes and colors. But an asshole is still an asshole."
The more I practice the more I notice everything I'm doing wrong. Too much arm, hips are late, feet are open, balance to the left too much, not straight, telegraphing with the elbows, chin tucked too much, grip is off, left wrist is bent, kissaki too high...it's a never-ending pursuit.
However I am also now buried in Omori Sogen's "Zazen Nyumon", in the hopes that I'll get motivated enough to start zazen (seated zen or meditation.) Of course it's like a totally 'zen' thing to do, and knowing my absolute mistrust and borderline intolerance for religion, it seems like an odd choice, but it will most likely be helpful for my iai, and my high blood pressure, and my winning personality in general. There a couple of temples in my neighborhood that offer 'basic intro' courses; 20-30 minutes with instructions for beginners and a little spiel from the head monk. Then again it's all about meditation. Omori talks about 2 types of people in his book: those who talk about zen but don't sit, and those who sit but don't do zen. Both are NG, but at least with second type, you're sitting, so all you have to do is focus on getting the zen part. I am, so far, the first type; all chatter and no sitting. The journey starts with the first step...but first there's some cool websites to look at, and some funny tv to watch...
Federal Aviation Agency
800 Independence Avenue SW
I have the solution for the prevention of hijackings, and at the same time getting our airline industry back on its feet.
Since men of the Muslim religion are not allowed to look at naked women we should replace all of our female flight attendants with strippers. Muslims would be afraid to get on the planes for fear of seeing a naked woman, and of course, every businessman in this country would start flying again in hope of seeing a naked woman. Hijackings would end and the airline industry would have record sales.
Why didn't Bush think of this? Why do I still have to do everything myself?