cutting, cutter, cut

A massive turnout for cutting, as from now on everyone who wants to test has to do at least one cut before they are allowed to test for promotion.
I took over the AM class before cutting and had the five students do their cutting then. Which was a smart move, because for the PM cutting session 20 people showed up.
After cutting Elvis and I went down to Hataya-sensei's shop in Machida. I dropped of my cutter so that it could get re-registered, and Elvis bought a really slick new cutter for his self. I also picked up a cool pair of Daruma menuki that had been calling to me. Not sure what I'll do with them though; maybe mount them on my cutter.
Brought Elvis home and fed him, since Hiroko hit the Bento Festival and bought a bunch of special bento boxes. So we feasted and then it was late so we threw Elvis in the loft instead of sending his sorry ass home.

hiroko's nano case

hiroko's nano case, originally uploaded by renfield.

Not quite in time for the holidays, I finally got Hiroko's iWood nano case. Looks great and smells good, too. Nothing like slick new technology and fine, crafted wood.

as one

One of the most interesting, and hardest, things about martial arts is using the whole body as one complete unit. It's very easy to use say just an arm. And by extension it's just as easy to use that arm to lift consecutively heavier weights in order to build up the muscles and make the arm stronger. It is as easy as well to practice some set repetition of complex moves with the arm, until such moves become second nature.
It is much harder to move the arm in conjunction with the rest of the body. All the pieces; arms, hips, legs and feet, head, have to move in coordination and in synch.
When the whole body can be used as one single, completely coordinated entity, there is some serious leverage to be had. The arm can only move so far, so fast. Sure, the muscles can be developed, for a time. But eventually the muscles deteriorate as the body ages. But to move the arm whilst advancing from the hips and driving the trunk of the body, that can generate more speed and power than even the strongest, fastest arm.
Critical too is a sense of timing, both intra- and inter-body. Intra-body means timing amongst all the parts of the body such that the arms extends just enough in an arc while the hips turn and the legs move forward, such that the peak of the arm's arc is reached just as the hips and legs have moved their greatest distance. Miss the timing and the arm flails limply waiting for the body to catch up, or gets snapped by the body like a whip. Inter-body timing is the movement of one's body in relation to someone else's, generally the bad guy. The fastest, strongest movement is useless if done so early it is telegraphed to an enemy who easily dodges away and counters. It is also useless if a devastating attack is unleashed too late; the body stepped within killing range but the arm trailing behind, building up force and speed like a whip ready to crack, but too late, as the enemy has already engaged the parts of the body that have stepped defenseless into range.
I am not the fastest, nor the strongest. I doubt I ever will be. But that also does not matter. More importantly is to move with economy. Move if and when necessary; no earlier, no later. And move everything together; move from the center, the legs holding the body up, the head guiding, the arms connecting the sword to the whole.

hiroko's blog

Hiroko updated her blog. Her wisdom is extraordinary. I am especially pleased to be considered her little happiness.

niseko, hokkaido

niseko, hokkaido, originally uploaded by renfield.

Ah, the joy that is Hokkaido. After a brief delay due to some random food allergy (too much shrimp? Crab? Lychee?) I hit the slopes with full force. Monday AM was best; snowing all night so tons of fresh powder, and the sun played hide-and-seek with the fast-moving clouds, so the first several runs were brightly lit and fluffy.

Splayed all over the mountain, hitting Higashiyama, Hirafu, and Annupuri, but the best was the neck-deep powder directly under the covered-triple lift of Hirafu. Hit that several times, each time pushing higher up the slope and deeper into the snow. To stop is to sink and be buried, so I kept my nose up, my body low, and my back leg burning as I literally plowed snow all the way down.

I think I need new boots, though. My Burton step-in bindings are okay, but the boots are too soft and so I really have to work hard to make the board go. If I can get harder boots I'm good, but since only Burton boots work with the bindings, I may just buy new bindings and boots. Flows + Salomon seems the way to go...birthday present...?