Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Thursday, March 31, 2005

International Insult Mugabe Month Starts Today!

Even though we do not yet know how the election has turned out in Zimbabwe

We do know that Mugabe will not willingly leave the office that he has held for the last 25 years without trying every dirty trick in the book.

So in honor of the man who single handedly ruined the economy of his country, who has forced half the population into starvation, who is so insecure that he passed a law forbidding anyone to criticize or speak ill of him, I declare April to be International Insult Mugabe Month.

Furthermore I name Robert Mugabe the real April Fool.



If anyone would like to participate (and I hope that many will) please feel free to download and proudly display the above image of Mugabe showing his true colors, and display it proudly for the next month, and whenever you can, please take a moment to insult the son of a bitch. Remember you are speaking for all those people who can't because of Mugabe's totalitarian laws.

On April 30, I prepose an International Day of Mocking. With any luck, and a little orgonizing we could get mot of the free world to be making fun of this father of lice, Mugabe.

There will be more to come later on this, but for now, copy this picture and share the love.

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My friend Frank, over at Cool Blue and I Disagree sharply on a number of issues

There are some debates where we come down on opposite poles,

Like "George W Bush, Savior or Anti-Christ?"
or "The Republican Party, bringing America back from the brink, or selling the country down the river for corporate greed and religious mania?"
or "Iraq, bringing democracy to the benighted heathen Arabs, or Malthusian attempt to grab the world's oil reserves?"

But we also agree an a remarkable number of issues. Like States Rights, That local matters are best decided on a local level. That large government is a chancy idea. Second Amendment issues, and a number of other issues that might surprise people if they make the mistake of thinking that I am a democrat or lean towards the Left. (for anyone who is wondering, my politics are KYFHO party, not that it is anyone's business. More on that later)

But there is one thing we agree on whole heartedly,

Robert Mugabe, the parasitic tyrant unjustly ruling Zimbabwe is a criminal thug.

You may remember me mentioning the piece of human excrement Mugabe a while back in this blog.

Well, it looks like Mugabe (Who's father was a syphilitic pig herder who coupled with his own livestock to produce Mugabe) has rigged another election to keep himself in power so that he can continue to rape his country of its wealth and natural resources and squirrel away his ill got gains in an off-shore account (or so they say).

There is only one appropriate response I can come up with to this not-unexpected-outcome to the election (republicans tried desperately to get observers at the election, no one can rig a vote like Mugabe, and they were hoping for some pointers)

I am declaring April to be International insult Mugabe Month and I am declaring Mugabe to be the official April Fool. (honk... wheee!)

As you know, the thief, liar and corrupt bastard Mugabe passed a law making it illegal to say anything unkind or critical about him. While he may be able to enforce this unjust law in Zimbabwe the rest of us are free to make more truthful observations about this blood sucking parasite. I would even say that we have if not a moral, at least an aesthetic obligation to provide the people of Zimbabwe with a voice on the matter of this thug Mugabe who sits in their country like a fat leech sucking the very life from his people.

Look for more information on this and the offical launch tomorrow.

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Geoff Manierston, of Blessed Memory

This month has been really hard on my friends.

This afternoon I got a call from my friend Bill Sanders (That would be Pendekar William Sanders of Pukulan Cimande Pusaka to the masses) He told me of the unexpected death of one of his students, Geoff Manierston.

I had gotten to know Geoff when he attended one of my seminars, along with a bunch of Bill's students back in the summer of 03, so Bill wanted to let me know what had happened.

Geoff was a huge man, standing head and shoulders over everyone around him, but like some men of exceptional size and strength he was very gentle with everyone and careful in his training not to hurt anyone.


Geoff is in the middle

Bill was obviously distressed by Goeff's death. Goeff was more than just a casual student, he was a member of the family.

I remember Geoff from the seminar he attended for a number of reasons. The most telling reason though was how he treated one of my students. I has one of my teacher's sons with me that year. He was feeling a bit out of place because he was younger than everyone around him. Goeff went out of his way to make sure that Ahmet felt included and a part of the group.

Geoff was great fun that weekend with a wacky sense of humor and an insatiable desire to learn.

We stayed in touch after the seminar. He would write me from time to time with questions about Arabic or Bahasa phrases that he had run across.

I thought very highly of him. He was a credit to his school and his style.

We don't know how he died, he may have just stopped breathing in his sleep.

He was just 25 years old, he will be missed.

My condolences to the members of Cimande Pusaka who were Geoff's real family.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Poetry is Important

In the modern, industrialized world we have forgotten this, but it remains true.

I will get back to finishing the Sufi story in a moment, but I wanted to say something about this.

There was a time, not so long ago, when the reading and appreciating of poetry was common in the West, but we seem to have lost this in modern days.

I remember the first time I heard Dylan Thomas read his own work, how powerful it was, how his words reached right into a place the audience didn't even know existed within them.

Poetry is processed by the brain differently than is prose, it is also easier to remember information given in poetic form. One of the reasons that Shakespeare wrote in the manner he did is because it made it easer for the illiterate actors of the time to memorize their lines.

I believe that the "organ of the poetic" has been atrophying in the industrialized countries, and that this is making us just slightly less that we were.

Why do I bring this up just now? Well, I discovered a poet today.

Go here to Zuhrtime Soliloquy and here to Zuhrtime Arts. Read something out loud to yourself or a friend, reclaim what is best in us as humans.

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Monday, March 28, 2005

And while we're at it, America is NOT a Christian country!

Get Over It!

I just caught Joe Lieberman (D, Connecticut) spouting off about Creationism and what the founding fathers of our country though about how we should be ruled by God.

Well we don't have to listen to the sniveling, boot licking commentary of mister Lieberman to know what the founding fathers thought on the subject, we have their words.

First let's start with the Declaration of independence, one of the three most important documents in this country. It tells us;

"Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."
You will notice that is does not say anything about being governed by the bible or any religious group, it says "by the consent of the governed".

But this is not plain enough for most right wing Christians who think that God gave them the US and the rest of us are just inconvenient squatters, so let's look at something more definitive.

In 1797 the United States signed a treaty with Tripoli.

This treaty was read aloud to the Fifth Congress of the United States, which passed it unanimously. John Adams, our second President, signed it into law.

Paragraph eleven is the important one to this discussion. It reads;
ARTICLE 11. As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion, as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion or tranquility of Musselmen, and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.
Do you see that? It says "As the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion"

Can it be any clearer? NOT FOUNDED ON THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION!

The men and women who created this country understood that any religion, given political power, degenerates into the worst sort of tyranny. They acted to protect us, the children of this country from that tyranny by creating an impenetrable wall of separation between Church and State. Right wing Christians have been trying to breach that wall ever since, always to the detriment of freedom.

But no matter what the Right says, no matter how many preachers pound the pulpit on Sundays demanding that we all bow to their interpreting of what God wants us to do, They Are Wrong and this is not a Christian nation. This is the first nation founded on the principle that "Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

remember
Religion + political power = tyranny

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Well, I’m back, and I’m really pissed

I will get back to the things that this blog is about in a moment, but first I gotta vent!

You can’t turn around without seeing something about Terri Schiavo these days.

Usually I am fairly happy to be an American, even though there are a lot of problems with the country, the foundations which the founding fathers laid out have seen us through the worst of times.

Since our congress and president have so cynically and self-servingly began to take an interest in this one case of personal choice, I have found myself being ashamed to be American. To think that our congress would betray the trust of the American people in this callus, self-serving, hypocritical way frankly makes me greave for my country.

But it does show the true colors to the Republican Party and the republican lawmakers who sit in the House and Senate today. That they represent true conservatism not at all has been apparent from the beginning.

The most obvious thing is that the truly crooked politicians like DeLay have embraced the Schiavo case in hopes of drawing attention away from their own malfeasance. Of course DeLay’s profound hypocrisy has been pointed out, since he had to make the same decision for his father some time ago there was not a problem withdrawing life support.

Our dear republican hypocrites, while espousing “States Rights” and small government out of one side of their mouth enacted a special law for one person just to circumvent the very thing that they claim they support.

Of course it is only for this one person. In Texas we just saw the life support being forcibly withdrawn against the wishes of the parents from a baby who, while being terminal, was in all likelihood conscious. (i.e. not brain dead like Terry Schiavo) I bet you are wondering what the difference is between the two cases. Well the baby’s family doesn’t have the money to maintain life support out of their own pockets, and a Texas law signed by George W Bush when he was governor allows hospitals to unilaterally terminate life support if the patient or family can’t pay. And of course the baby was black and Terri is white, but that would not have anything to do with this. Would it?

So George W is in fact in favor of euthanasia for the poor, and for people who are the wrong color, but not for white people with good insurance.

Of course this has brought out the American Taliban in droves, led by such “do what we want or we’ll kill you” luminaries such as “wing-nuts” Randall Terry (the spokesman for the parents of Terri’s body) and Hal "These guys deserve to have the shit kicked out of them, and that Hospice ought to be blown up by a truck bomb." Turner. And lest we forget, Fox News had the unmitigated gall to bring on John Edward, the pathetic phony “psychic” from the Sci Fi channel to tell us what Terri Schiavo’s soul thought about all this. I guess that is no depth to which the republicans will not sink to further the American Taliban’s fascist “Christian” agenda.

And that IS what this is all about. This isn’t a “right to life’ issue. This is an attack on the judicial branch of government.

If you haven’t noticed, the judiciary is the last and best defense against the Christian Taliban and their attempts to replace the constitution with Deuteronomy and to shove superstitions like “creationism” (Which is not about how a Supreme Intelligence may have guided the formation of the universe, but about accepting their particular mythology as truth) Sorry folks, evolution stopped being a theory a long time ago. It is now a demonstrable fact, get over it. (And nothing in it precludes seeing the hand of the Divine in it, it just shows that Genesis is metaphor).

The far right has always hated the judicial system because it is the one branch of government that they can’t control, and so far it has done a fairly good job of protecting us from the tyranny of Religion. They hope to change all that with the Schiavo case.

But do you want to know what really pisses me off? What has made me think that Republicans should be declared persona non grata in our government?

It is simple. Since January I have been helping to tend to one of the beloved members of our community as she passed from this world. She died last week, I sat with her as she released her last breath.

Her name was Naomi, and she passed away at just short of 91 years. We called her “aunt Naomi” because she was family to us, even those of us who were not blood relations.

Last November her hip broke under her own weight because of advanced osteoporosis. She spent over a month in the hospital and some time in rehab. We went and got her from rehab and brought her cross country to where she could be provided for.

There was some hope that she might recover enough to stay with us a little longer, but it soon became evident that this was not going to be the case. Her body was just worn out.

Fortunately she was still quite sound of mind, and remained so until the day she died. Her wish was that we do nothing to prolong her life. She had made her peace with this life and was ready to move on.

We arranged for in-home hospice care for her and we attended her ourselves as well. A few days before she died she stopped eating, saying that she was not hungry every time we offered her food. The day before she died she stopped drinking, saying that she was no longer thirsty. On the last day of her life she slipped into a coma, but she waited until her niece (who she had raised like her own child) to return home from a quick trip before she let go if this life. Naomi’s death was as peaceful as I have ever seen (and I have seen a lot of death).

Now these scum sucking vultures who sit in the government like leaches sucking the blood from our country in the name of their right wing religious agenda would have you believe that we allowed Naomi to suffer horribly, that we even tortured her because we didn’t force food and water on her against her wishes. (Fortunately she had a living will so she did not have to suffer that particular indignity). According to theses pieces of human offal we allowed a sweet old lady to die in agony. (May God give them justice rather than mercy)

These hypocritical republican scum bags do not deserve to represent this nation! They need to be tarred and feathered and run out of Washington on a rail (metaphorically speaking). The have sold out the constitution and their conservative ideals to pander to a powerful religious minority

And I begin to wonder where all the secular conservatives have fled to. I know a good number of people who profess a passion for small, local government wherever possible, who claim to support State’s Rights, who say that big government interferes too much in the lives of Americans, and they are all strangely silent on this subject.

When I look in the places where I would expect to see some objections from secular conservatives all I see are stories with a Disneyland spin on how well we are doing to bring democracy to Iraq and the rest of the Middle East. I got some news for these moral cowards. It ain’t gonna do us no good to bring democracy to the Middle East if we lose it here in the process!

If I wanted to live in a conservative right wing theocracy I would move to Iran or Saudi Arabia. I will not see the Constitution and the Bill of Rights trampled under foot in the name of a “hate filled Jesus” worshiped by a minority who do not want or deserve to live in a free country.

So that’s what I have been doing with my spring vacation, either saying goodbye to a friend, or torturing an old lady, depending on what religion you follow. And watching my country being sold down the river by a bunch of hypocritical, self-serving, crooked, republicans who have no love for our country or our constitution. Fuck ‘em all!


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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Sorry Folks

I have been caught up in personal matters for the last few days. I will be back with the end of the story in the morning Inshallah (if God wills).

Sunday, March 13, 2005

The Dance of the New Moon

A Sufi Tale

There was once a seeker who had heard of a Dervish monastery hidden somewhere deep in the Caucasus mountains, where certain secrets were kept in trust for those few people who found their way to the sanctuary and proved themselves worthy. Having heard, he set his heart on finding this monastery and acquiring the treasure that it held.

After a long a perilous search lasting many months the seeker, whose name was Yorge, found himself in front of a pair of large iron bound doors set into the wall surrounding a convent built on the saddleback between two peaks. There was an old copper bell hanging beside the door, Yorge reached out and rang it.

A short while later the doors swung slowly open, and Yorge’s gaze was met by the smiling eyes of an old man. Or at least at first glance the man appeared to be old, with white hair and beard, but this outward sign of age was contradicted by a quality of vital energy that emanated from the man like subtle perfume.

“Good afternoon.” The old man said. “I am Brother Sohs. How may I be of service to you?”

Yorge explained that he had come to petition for admission to the fraternity of this monastery.

“You are blessed young sir.” Brother Sohs replied with a smile. “Two days hence is the Hilal al Akbar, the first new moon of Spring. It is at this time that we test new applicants for admission to our mysteries.”

The old man led Yorge into the monastery and took him to a small, but clean and surprisingly comfortable cell. He instructed Yorge to await the evening meal in meditation, and with a smile and a nod, departed.

At the hour of sunset the old man returned with two bowls of rice and vegetables. Brother Sohs invited Yorge out onto a terrace to relax and eat while watching the beautiful mountain sunset. After their meal, the old man said, “Tomorrow you will spend your day in meditation and fasting as preparation for your challenge.” “During your time of testing you must speak to no one save me and you may as no questions, even of me, about your test. I will meet you again to break our fast in two day’s time and give you your instructions.”

On the morning of the second day Brother Sohs arrived with food at Yorge’s cell door. They ate in silence, the old man beckoned Yorge to follow him.

They went to a low building that was separated from the main body of the monastery called a Semakhanah or “house of attention”.

Yorge was led in and Brother Sohs motioned him to sit. The room was exceptional size, and in its center was a large octagonal space lowered three feet into the floor. In the lowered area was a group of people, men and women; each dressed in a long white shirt and pants with a sash tied about their waists. Each was standing in a different pose and all of them appeared to be perfectly still. There were several other people sitting around the periphery of the octagon, each of them watching the individuals standing in their poses. Though the room was silent and all of the occupants were motionless there was an electric feeling to the air that was quite stimulating, like a strong cup of Turkish coffee on a cold morning.

After a time Brother Sohs motioned Yorge to stand and accompany him from the building.

The old man offered Yorge a seat under a tree and then sat beside him. “What you have just seen,” Brother Sohs said, “was the Dance of the New Moon.” “This is your trial. Every day for the next twenty-eight days you will spend one hour in the Semakhanah observing the dance. You may attend any time after you break your fast in the morning until tenth hour of the day, you may not attend after sundown. You may not ask questions or discuss what you have seen with any other of the people attending. At the end of the twenty-eight days I will ask you to explain to me the meaning of the Dance. If you can answer the riddle of the Dance you will be accepted into our Brotherhood and initiated into our teachings. May your endeavor be blessed by The Real.”

With these words the old man stood up with remarkable energy and walked away.

The next morning Yorge returned to the Semakhanah and spent an hour watching the group of men and women standing, kneeling, sitting or laying in various postures.

He began to wonder why this was called a dance, as the participants were obviously not moving. Yorge also wondered why there was such a palpable feeling of kinetic energy in the room. After the allotted hour, Yorge returned to his cell to ponder what he had seen.

Day after day Yorge returned to the hall, but try as he might, he was unable to penetrate the mystery of the Dance.

He examined each of the dancers individually, trying to see a pattern. Each dancer was in a different posture from day to day but there seemed to be no sense to how they changed. No two dancers were ever in the same posture on any given day, but certain postures seemed to be held by different dancers on different days.

Yorge counted the number of dancers, there were twenty-eight, fourteen men and fourteen women. But other than the obvious symmetries, he could not see the pattern.

Day after day Yorge came and watched the dancers, and each day the dancers remained in seeming stillness. Other than the intense feeling of energy in the room, there was just a group of people in a seemingly random grouping of positions.

Yorge became more confused daily. As much as he tried to penetrate to the meaning of the dance, all he had for his effort was frustration.

Finally the last day came and went.

Yorge’s mind was in a panic, his thoughts ran through every teaching he had ever received hoping that something would help make the meaning of this so called dance become clear. He even began to wonder if this were some sort of trick that the members of this brotherhood played on seekers so that they would not be overwhelmed with new members. Sleep escaped him that night.

The next morning, Brother Sohs appeared at the door of Yorge’s cell with a pot of tea and two cups.

“Come sit with me young Sir, and enjoy the morning.” The old man requested.

Yorge accompanied Brother Sohs to the monastery garden with no little trepidation, dreading the moment when the question would be asked.

Brother Sohs gestured for Yorge to be seated on a bench under a magnificent mulberry tree, and pouring two cups of tea, asked “Young sir, have you penetrated the mystery of the dance?

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I will finish the story tomorrow, but befor I do, please feel free to give me any answer you have to the mystery of the Dance of the New Moon in the comments section.

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Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Real Origins of George Bush's Power

Many people have speculated about George W. Bush's rise to power, his ability to remain unscathed by the various scandals his administration has been party to, and the mind numbing power of his speeches. While the conservative religious right has put out the idea that Bush and his mission are blessed, nothing could be further from the truth.

To understand the true forces behind Bush's rise to power, his enmity toward Muslims and his desire to see Islam wiped from the earth one has to delve into the secret history of a war that has been going on for over 1400 years. Make no mistake dear reader, this story is an account of one battle in the war between Light and Darkness, a war that has touched every culture on earth at one time or another, A war that we find ourselves caught up in today, a war between secret societies.

In the West much misinformation has been spread on this subject, first through various Masonic and quasi-Masonic groups (Especially the Grand Orient Lodge founded by Count Cagliostro), and then through the various "Occult Scholars", who in this century were drawn to the legends of The Bee Keepers like maggots to a charnel house.

I suppose it would do little harm to relate a bit of the history of the encounter of "The Mad Arab" and al Azif with the Bee Keepers.

This is part of a very old tradition passed down from teacher to student for centuries. Most of you who bother to read this will no doubt imagine that I am having a little joke on you. This is probably for the best.

Abu Tanwim Jafar abd' al Hazrat, called in the West Abdul Alhazred, was born in Yemen on 1 Zul Qi'da 17 AH and Died at Damascus on 12 Muharram 88 AH.

His family had been successful merchants before the advent of Islam, and were pagans, completely devoted to the old gods of their forefathers who they believed gave them their success in business.

Abd' al Hazrat grew up during a time that saw Islam sweep across Arabia, and most of the merchant trade shifting from the hands of the pagan population to the Muslims. His family's fortunes began to dwindle, and as young abd' al Hazrat reached his teens his family had gone from being one of the richest in the area to being one of the poorest.

Abd' al Hazrat's mother was a very important figure in his life. She completely dominated his early life and set his feet on the road that would take him to that fateful day in Damascus. Today she would probably be diagnosed as a "bi-polar personality". She was never the less extremely Charismatic, and it is said, a very good poet.

During the depressive phase of her illness she would lay before the idols of her gods an weep uncontrollably, crying out to them to save her family from ruin. At times she would become so carried away that she would rend her garments, pull out her hair and slash her skin with jagged stones. At these times the servants of the house had to restrain her and give her the juice of the northern poppy to calm her, for fear that she would do herself fatal injury.

During her manic episodes, she would be carried away by fits of ecstasy, spending hours chanting poetry to her gods or holding discourse with unseen beings. Always the theme was of the eventual return of the old gods and the triumph of her family. No one who heard her poetry was left unmoved, though it is said that the sleep of those who listened was often troubled for weeks or even months after.

She instilled in her son an absolute hatred for the Prophet (saws) and Allah, blaming them for the ill fortune of their family, and reminding him constantly that it fell upon him to redeem the family honor in the eyes of the old gods.

Abd' al Hazrat's mother spent freely from the clan's shrinking coffers for her son's education, if such it could be called. She would send him to study under any alchemist, astrologer, or hermit just so long as they were pagan.

Young abd' al Hazrat was trained in all manner of strange rites and philosophies before he could grow a beard. His mother's hope was that he would become a Prophet himself calling the people of Arabia back to the worship of the old gods. Her hope was that the old gods would grant power to abd' al Hazrat to smite the upstart god, as she referred to Allah.

In his twenty first year abd' al Hazrat's mother died from either falling, or throwing herself from the roof of their home and breaking her neck. abd' al Hazrat saw to her burial, gathered up his few belongings and left his home, never to return.

It is said that he spent years wandering the empty quarter, searching out those strange anchorites and madmen who were want to retreat there, to practice their unholy rites. He learned from them wherever he found them, and as was needed he supported himself as a traveling astrologer.

At some time he became convinced, from listening to the ancient pagan magicians of the desert, that the only hope of defeating the "upstart religion" was to find gods of much greater power and become their acolyte.

He put his hope in an obscure legend that told the story of Abraham form a different, and blasphemous point of view. It said that Father Abraham did not go out from Ur by command of Allah but that he, and Allah with him were driven out by the gods of the city. abd' al Hazrat believed that if he could make contact with these gods, that he would have the power he needed to defeat the message of The Prophet (saws).

So by strange ways he traveled to the land of the two rivers, and dwelt for a little time in Baghdad, where he gathered some small bit of wealth through the practice of Alchemy. He was finally driven from the city because the populace began to fear the strange lights and sounds that issued from his laboratory at night. They would have killed him if they could, but when they struck with their knives, the blades were deflected into their own bodies. Finally the mob put torch to his home, driving him out with fire since steel would not suffice.

Abd' al Hazrat went out into the waste places and lived among the ruins of the ancient cities. He somehow managed to learn to read the strange wedge writing that covered the statues and pillars, as well as the thousands of shards of clay found lying strewn about. Some say that he learned from an old priest, the last of his kind, who lived deep in the ruined places. Others say that he learned by invoking djinn and forcing them to his will, making them act as his tutors.

For years he traveled in the waste places, studying the tablets he found and practicing strange rites dedicated to the old gods of the forgotten places. It is told that one day he found a passageway under one of the ziggurats that led down to a secret cavern deep within the earth.

He went down.

He dwelt there for forty days and forty nights, and when he returned to the lands that have felt the touch of the Sun he had a book.

He departed from the waste lands and traveled to Damascus. There he set himself up as an Alchemist and soothsayer. This time, remembering Baghdad, he took care, and in little time he began to have a following.

From among those that came to him seeking either wisdom or power he selected a very few, and began to tell them of the book, spinning tales of the powers and gifts that the old gods would give those who would take up their worship as outlined in the book.

He called the book Al Azif. In these times of ignorance, pretenders to scholarship claim that the meaning of the name is "the sound of insects in the night", but this is false.

Azif comes from the Arabic trilateral root Alif-Zey-Fe, which means "to come, to approach, to draw near" and has a connotation of time. So the name of the book is "The Book of the Time of Drawing Near"

And abd' al Hazrat started each of his teaching sessions with the first line of the book in blasphemous imitation of the Bismallah;

"That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die."

Word was carried to some of the kwajaghan who lived in hermitage north and west of the city, making their living as bee keepers, and they came in secret to investigate. They placed themselves where they could hear, but not be seen. abd' al Hazrat began his teaching by invoking the old gods through strange names. He then read to them from the book, and told his followers that it was the anti-Q'aran, who's message would call back the old gods from the place where they now rested from their fight with the upstart god. And through its medium the religions of Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad along with their god would be driven from the face of the earth. The old ones would return he said, and dominate the earth, and those who served them would be given dominion over the remade world.

After listening to the teachings of abd' al Hazrat, The Kwajaghan went off to a small Mosque, and in a circle of remembrance, invoked the divine attribute of Al Qahar upon the Mad Arab, as they called him.

The next day as abd' al Hazrat walked through the market place, there was a sound as of the rending of metal, and he was struck down by an invisible hand. Witnesses said that it was as if he were being devoured from within by small, starving animals, and so died the Mad Arab.

The book did not die with him though. His followers, hearing of their master's uncanny demise took copies of the book and fled the city.

The history of the book becomes somewhat obscured here, but we do know some things about its travels.

Nine of abd' al Hazrat's disciples escaped Damascus, and each of them made a copy of the book, vowing to spread its message in secret.

In the West little is told of Al Azif save that a few incautious souls have made translations of greater or lesser accuracy.

The first was by the Byzantine Greek Theodorus Philetas. What Scholars fail to notice is that Philetas has no Arabic. In all his works he never translated another manuscript from the Arabic. He made his manuscript from a Persian translation done a hundred years earlier by Jamsheed Nurbakhsh the Alchemist of Kerman, who after making three copies of Al Azif in Persian by order of the Shah, tore out his own eyes and drank poison.

Theodorus Philetas called his translation Necronomicon.

From this manuscript Olaus Wormius made a translation into Latin.

Dr. John Dee made a translation from the Latin into English

Here ends the history of the book known to the masses, but there is some tale of the three manuscripts made by Nurbakhsh. One found its way to Constantinople where Philetas found it. The other two, by various means arrived at Al Ahzar Univerisity in Cairo.

It is said that when Hasan i Sabah fled Egypt he took one copy with him, and that it remained at the great library of Alamut until the citadel fell to the Mongols. From here it was carried off to China by Subati the great Shaman of Ganghis Khan.

The third copy was given as a gift to the Khalif of Andalusia, and it fell into the hands of Christian monks during the Reconquista.

During the Spanish Civil War it was looted from a monastery by a communist infantryman who immediately sold it to an antique dealer.

From there it was acquired by Gerald Gardner, who kept it under lock and key at his Museum of Magic and Witchcraft. Sometime in the Sixties the manuscript disappeared from the museum under rather mysterious circumstances, and was though lost.

In a rather interesting turn of events, the manuscript resurfaced in 1997 as part of the estate auction of a rather sinister half caste Indian who had passed away late in the previous year.

The manuscript was purchased for a winning bid of one million dollars by a wealthy Texan with shady connections to state and federal politics. Interestingly, it was shortly after this that we saw unusual natural disasters in the area, as well as disturbing changes in to political and economic policies of the state.

It is whispered that the manuscript was brought to Florida last year before the election, and that this was the cause of the unusually strong weather, as well as some of the unexplained phenomena off the Florida coast.

The rumor that the manuscript is now stored in a specially made vault in the basement of the offices of GOPUSA is unsubstantiated.

There are other Manuscripts and translations that have their own stories. There are still some of the Arabic volumes that have survived as well as translations into Hebrew, Aramaic, G'iz and Coptic, but I will save their tales for another time.



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One Day Moses was walking

through the wilderness, when he saw in the distance what looked like a man. As far as Moses could tell the man was skipping for several steps and then rolling on the ground.

Moses, being puzzled by the man's actions decided to investigate this strange occurrence. As he drew closer he heard the man saying "I love God, and God loves me" after saying this a few times the man would roll on the ground, then get up and do everything again.

Moses cam up to the man and said "friend, what are you doing?" the man stopped and said "I am praying." Moses was quite taken aback by this answer and said "Friend, that is not how you pray to God. Here, let me teach you the right way!" and Moses proceeded to instruct the man in the proper form of prayer.

When Moses was finished, the man thanked him profusely for his kindness and his teaching, and Moses went on his way.

After a short while, Moses came to the Nile, he needed to cross but there was no boatman to be found anywhere around. Moses shrugged and saying "in the name of God" walked out across the surface of the water. When he was about half way across the river he heard footsteps running up behind him. Moses turned, and there was the man who he had just been instructing. The man ran up to him and said "Oh Moses, I am such a silly man, please forgive me but I have forgotten some of your instructions. Can you please tell them to me again?"

Moses looked at him and said "Just do as you were doing before."

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Thursday, March 10, 2005

A Chance to Get It Right

Here is an example of what happens when the religious right wing ultra-conservatives are not interfering with people's connection to the Divine Unity.

The nice thing about Islam is that it is in fact an INCLUSIVE religion, though it is rarely practiced as such anymore.

You think not? Here are just a couple of examples that can be found throughout the Quran that demonstrate what God thinks about the matter.

Sura 2
62. Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
and
Sura 2
136. Say ye: "We believe in God, and the revelation given to us, and to Abraham, Isma'il, Isaac, Jacob, and the Tribes, and that given to Moses and Jesus, and that given to (all) prophets from their Lord: We make no difference between one and another of them: For we submit to God.
The religious right cares about you following a set of rules that they have made up. God on the other hand, cares about your connection to him.

Connection to God is not about being a member of someone's Fan Club.


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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

And In breaking News...

It Has Been Another Weird Week Here On Planet Earth

This Just In!

500,000 people demonstrate to keep Syria in Lebanon.

It seems that Hezbollah got right on organizing against Bush wanting Syria out of Lebanon. Who would ever have though that was going to happen?

Either Bush wants an all-out confrontation with Syria (and Iran as well, being as Hezbollah is a Shia group), or he has some of the stupidest advisers on the planet.

There were probably fifty ways that this could have been handled that would not have provoked this kind of situation, which is likely to set off a lot more violence.

It is really a pity, Lebanon was such a nice place before the civil war. Beirut used to be called "The Paris of the Levant", and was held up as a shining example of how Muslims, Christians, Jews, and Druze could live together in peace.

Then a bunch of right wing religious conservatives decided it was time to make their move and Beirut became a bombed out shell.

It would be nice to see Syria out of Lebanon, but now we will most likely see bodies in the streets again. Thank you Mr. President.

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US Rep. Jim Gibbons removes his speeches from his website.

Crooks and Liars tells us that the representative from Nevada has removed all of his speeches, including the Nazi-like hate speeches where he demonizes a large number of US citizens and advocates their disenfranchisement from his website . The thought is that he removed them not because he was embarrassed by rhetoric that one would more likely be found in a speech from a fascist state, but because he seems to have plagiarised a good portion of the last speech he gave at Elko NV.

"What?" you say, how can I call this "Nazi-like hate speech"? Well It's simple, there is a little trick that we linguists use sometimes when we are looking into the deep structure of a speech. Just go here and read the speech, then anywhere you find words like "liberals" substitute "Jews", now read the speech again and notice how it makes you feel.

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Ann Coulter gets a little heat for her racist remarks and it looks like she is no longer going to be able to say whatever she wants under the UPS copyright. Of course she is still in print, like I said, right wingers get a free pass on racism, but maybe not, it seems that some members of congress are not too happy about this either.

Thanks to Crooks and Liars for pointing us to this

On a side note, I saw a really sophomoric (but somehow still funny) joke about Coulter. I ran across it on the web somewhere but neglected to bookmark it so I can't point you to it (and it is in bad taste so I wouldn't anyway)

It was a fake ad, on one side was Ann Coulter in all her anorexic glory, on the other a bottle of Viagra. The caption read "If you're going to sleep with her you're going to need us".

Yes, yes, it is immature, but then again, so is wanting to invade Canada.

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I can't even begin to find anything to be amused about with this story. US troops open fire on an Italian journalist as she was returning from captivity.

While there are some people who think that this was some sort of bizarre plot by our government, I can't buy that for a moment.

I have known enough special Ops guys to know that if our military wanted this poor woman dead, she would be a grease spot on the airport road.

So someone really screwed the pooch on this one, it had to be some gigantic mistake on someone's part. The question will be what happens now? Is some poor grunt going to take the fall for this or are we going to take responsibility for our mistakes?

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As much as it pains me to say anything good about the Governator of California, between gathering special interest money, making fake news reports and generally running the state as if it were his private hunting domain he may just do something good.

Schwarzenegger is working to promote solar power.

That's right, he is trying to get to get SB 1 passed. If he does this I will have to think nice thoughts about him for a week.

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And Lastly

Abu Bakar Bashir the guy who undoubtedly masterminded the bombing in Bali was acquitted by the Indonesian government this week. It kind of makes you wonder if justice will ever be more important than politics. And it pisses me off that he gets away with a slap on the wrist. And that when he is out of jail in a few months (I doubt he will serve his full sentence) he will feel encouraged to do something worse.

But as they say "there is a silver lining to every dark cloud" and even a travesty of justice such as this one can teach us something.

So do this, Think for a moment about how unfair this is. Think about the fact that it will happen again as sure as you are reading this. Think about all the lives that will be damaged and destroyed because there are people who don't give a shit about you, or what happens to you. Get in touch with that feeling of helplessness that comes from knowing that you can't do anything about the unfairness of the verdict.

Got that feeling? Sucks, don't it?

Well, now you have an idea of why the Black folks rioted when the Rodney King verdict came in.

When it comes to justice you have to lead by example, or don't expect any fairness from anyone else. (not that I would expect fairness from these Indonesian politicians anyway) .

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Monday, March 07, 2005

Interview Questions

Here are the interview questions for my volunteers. When you have your answers up on your blog leave a comment here and I will do the permalink thing.

I have all five of my volunteers now, and what a rowdy crew they are. I think this may be some kind of blog record or something.

To those of you who didn't make the first five I am very grateful for your offers. Please consider volunteering to be interviewed by one of these people.

For Phil at PhilLedgerwood.com
You will find Phil's answers here

1. What are the five books you are going to pack for that extended stay on the desert island?

2. What is the most fun thing you have done in the last 12 months?

3. If you could ask God anything (knowing that you would get an unambiguous answer) what would it be?

4. Why do you study a martial art?

5. What do you like best about yourself?


For Don at instant gratification
Don's answers are here

1. What is the best thing about being American?

2. Twenty years from now, what is one thing that is still delighting you about your soon-to-be- wife?

3. You have just received round trip tickets for two to anywhere in the world, where do you go, who do you take with you?

4. The time machine is finally working, you get to spend a day with any one person in history, who will it be?

5. What section do you visit first in the bookstore?


For Kwasi at Ramblings of an African geek
You will find Kwasi's answers here

1. What makes you proudest about your country?

2. What are people going to be saying about you twenty years from now?

3. You are down to your last ten dollars, but you have enough food to last until pay day, what do you spend it on?

4. What is the strangest thing you have seen in America?

5. Who was your hero growing up?


For Terry at WeaselCraft
Terry's answers are here

1. What are the best and worst things about Colorado?

2. Tell us something that you have done in your life that you know you got right?

3. What is the most important tool in your toolbox, and why?

4. What is the strangest thing you have seen in your life?

5. A hundred years from now what will people remember you for?



For Jeff at Stickman's Escrima Blog
Here are Jeff's answers

1. You were fortunate enough to be a longtime student of GM Angel Cabales, what is your favorite memory of him?

2. Someone gives you a million dollars, what is the first thing you use it for?

3. Everyone is excited to read the book you will write, what is it about?

4. What is the best movie ever made?

5. You discover you have the power to speak to animals, how do you explain humans to them?


THE INTERVIEW GAME RULES:
Here's how you can play the interview game:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me." The first five commenters will be the participants.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions.
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)

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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Making friends with your brain

A lot of people have difficulty transferring a learned motor skills form one side of their body to the other. As a martial arts teacher I run into this problem all the time, and since the art I teach insists that you should be able to do a skill set equally well on both left and right sides I have had to come up with some ways to deal with this.

Over the years I have found or developed a few useful ways to help people to transfer learning from one side of the body to the other.

Often, when someone has difficulty transferring a motor skill from one side of the body to the other it is because of a breakdown in communication between the two hemispheres of the brain. This sort of communication is a learned skill to a certain extent, and with a little practice most people can greatly improve their ability to learn on both sides of the body.

The bottleneck for communication between the two hemispheres of the brain is a a bundle of nerves called the corpus callosum. If you take a moment to take a look at The Structure of the Brain you well see that pretty much the only thing connecting the two hemispheres is the corpus callosum, this is the main pipeline by which the two hemispheres communicate. What you want to do is make that connection as rich as possible. While your brain does not grow new nerve cells once you are an adult, it will grow new connections between nerves. Subjecting your brain to novel experience is what does this.

So here is a two part exercises that will help you to transfer a skill set from your dominant side to you non-dominant side.
The first part is an exercise that finds its roots in Educational Kinesiology This is a discipline developed by Paul Dennison, Ph. D , he put together a set of exercises called "Brain Gym" which he used to help school children learn more effectively. One of the exercises, called the Cross Crawl, is a specific for getting your hemispheres talking with each other.

Over the years I have tinkered with the exercise, making it a bit more sophisticated and more useful for the martial arts, I call my version "The Silat Cross Crawl" (just for fun)

The movements of this exercise are started by activating the "core". To do this, you stand loosely, your head wants to be "up" as if it were being pulled upward from the crown by a string.

With your chest relaxed, tighten your abdominal muscles as if you were trying to pull your navel to your spine. You will notice that this expels air from the lungs and curves the spine forward slightly. Now relax your abdominal muscles and let your head move upwards as if pulled by a string, at the same time let your shoulders roll back just a bit. This pulls air into your lungs without the need to "inhale".

Now you will want to combine this breathing technique with the "cross crawl" movements.


The Silat Cross Crawl
crawl

Stand with your hands in a loose "high guard" position, relax your shoulders and let your head have that feeling of being lifted by a string. As you begin your abdominal exhalations bring your left knee up and bring your right hand down to meet it. As you bring your foot back to the ground and your hand back to its starting position relax your abs and let your movement bring air into your lungs. Now repeat this process using your other hand and knee. Keep your gaze forward and do not look at your hands or knees as they are coming together. You want to guide them by feeling, not vision. Go as slowly as you need to, what you want is to feel the whole range of motion for both the hand and knee.

Do this exercise for one or two minutes. This is "priming your pump" as it were, forcing your hemispheres to communicate in order to do the movement correctly. The more you rely on proprioception rather than vision to do this exercise, the more effective it is.

Now we are ready for the learning process.

First choose a skill or technique that you can do well on your strong side but not so well on you off side. Make it a simple one to start.

This is a four step process.

1, do the skill five times from start to finish on your strong side. Take your time and make sure you really feel yourself doing it.

2, Now stand still, close your eyes and imagine yourself doing the skill on your strong side. Go through the skill five times in your imagination five times, make sure to include the feeling of doing it as much as you can.

3, Now with your eyes still closed, imagine that you are doing the skill on your off side. Go through the skill in your imagination five times as well, take your time and imagine how it would feel to be doing the skill on your off side.

4, Open your eyes and do the skill with your off side, do it five times. You may just be surprised at how easy it becomes.

This is not the only way to deal with this problem, but it is a good one to start with.

Hmm..... Jeff over at Stickman's Escrima Blog, along with being a top Escrima instructor is also a hypnotherapist, perhaps we can encourage him to share some of what he uses with his students for working on this over on his blog.

How about it Jeff?

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A Moment to Stop and Smell the Roses

Every now and again a red shouldered hawk will spend a little time sitting high in a pine tree just near the property line.

red_shouldered_hawk1

Given the size of the bird I would guess that it is female (with hawks the female is bigger as a rule) . Lately I have seen another, smaller red shouldered in the area, and I am beginning to suspect that they may be a mated pair and perhaps have a nest close by.

red_shouldered_hawk2

I hate to think that I would ever get so busy or absorbed in what I am doing that I did not notice a visitor such as this one.

Sometimes a person can walk by a place a thousand times

adobe-s

and never notice the small quiet window into another world.

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The Interview

I have come to find out that there is something of a tradition of playing “games” between blogs. They sort of remind me of “ice breakers” that people used to play at parties many years ago.

Well, Sumi over at Ethnically Incorrect (I would read that blog just because of the kewlness factor of its name, let alone that she has very intelligent things to say) got hooked into an “interview game” and was looking for volunteers to interview.

Well, I figured “what the heck”, it seemed like a very unlikely thing for me to do, so I volunteered to be one of her people. So here are her questions to me and my replies. I guess that now I am supposed to make the same offer to anyone else who might liked to be interviewed. So feel free to volunteer.

The rules for this game are at the bottom of this post.

Sumi asks:

1. What is the most wondrous thing you've seen during your travels through Africa

Now that is not easy. Almost everything about Africa is wondrous. Even with all the pain, suffering and cruelty that goes on there Africa is one of the world’s most amazing places, especially Northern Tanzania.

This is the southern edge of the Serengeti, and the end of the Great Rift Valley. This is where humans first walked on this earth, our nursery, perhaps the real Garden of Eden. It often seems so when you see a flock of Hornbills land in a Jacaranda tree, or are surprised by a mother elephant and her baby walking across the road.

I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one thing, so I will give you two different, but equally wondrous things.

The first happened last year on the Prophet’s (saws) birthday.

street

The main street of Arusha was filled with hundreds of people who were all marching to the beat of the Daf (frame drum) making Zikr and asking that the peace of Allah be given to the Prophet (saws).

There was no political rhetoric, no messages of hate, just gratitude for the mercy of our Prophet (saws) and the Message he was given.

But even more wondrous was that there were both Sunni and Shia marching together, and there were Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs on the street and they were all smiling, some people were clapping in time with the drums and the Zikr.

At least for that day in that place there was no strife or divisiveness and no one wanting his group to hate everyone not like them.

The other wondrous thing that comes to mind is Mount Meru in the late afternoon light.

meru-4a

Arusha town sits at the foot of Mount Meru, and the mountain dominates the view. I always though if it as a sort of guardian watching over the area. There are a million views of the mountain, each more beautiful than the next.

2. If aliens visited you and asked about the current state of humanity, what would you tell them?

I would tell them that as a species we seem to have become trapped in a sort of collective early adolescence.

While as individuals we can sometime behave as adults, as a group we seem to exhibit all the traits of a self absorbed twelve-year old.

As a species we have not learned that our actions have consequences, that what we do effects others and there can be long term effects to what we do that will come back to haunt us.

As a species we do not treat each other as human, but as things for the most part.

I would tell them that while I had hopes that someday we would grow up and develop the traits of adults, like conscience and the ability to understand that other people have a soul and a heart, but that if they knew what was good for them they would stay away from us for a while more. We are too immature to socialize with.

3. What do you think is the goofiest thing about yourself?

Hmmmm…… That is a hard one. I guess it would be my accent.

Usually I speak with a “standard American” accent; I have worked hard to cultivate it. But my real accent is South Western, with a lot of “Reservation” thrown in. It will come out if I am excited, or angry, or very relaxed, or at some odd time. “Boy Howdy Alaykum y’all.”

4. What is the name of the "obscure martial arts" that you teach and has it helped to shape your beliefs? If so, how? I'm cheating, that's three questions, but I have to ask.

Yes you are, but that’s OK.

The art is called in general Pencak Silat (pronounced Pentjak Silat) and comes from Indonesia and Malaysia, The particular style I practice is called Silat Zulfikari (named after the sword that the Prophet (saws) gave Ali (ra). Its roots are from West Java, but it also draws from other areas.

You can read about it in depth at www.zulfakr.com

It has indeed changed me. Every martial art that goes beyond the brawling stage has a spiritual component to it. That is because martial arts deal in life and death, and to confront death you need a spiritual ground. This is why you have Zen associated with Karate, and Taoism with Tai Chi Chuan.

For Silat in general to a great extent, and for the style I teach in particular, the spiritual foundation is found in Islam and expressed through Futuwwah (usually translated as “spiritual chivalry”) What I am aiming for in my martial art is to be able to just do my spiritual practice in such a way that my clumsy attacker falls and hurts himself.

5. What was your favorite story when you were a child?

That is another hard one, not because I don’t know, but because you most likely have never heard of the stories I knew growing up.

When I was a child, television was called “grandparents” and mine told me and the other kids stories every day. There was a story for just about every place around us. Stories that told us who we were and how we related to our environment.

I liked Coyote stories, and the ones about Old Man Owl because they were funny. Old Man Owl was always doing stupid things and getting himself in a jam.

I think my favorites though were about White Painted Woman. She is one of the Holy People and she is sort of a Prophet in that she taught the people how to live.

Every girl used to go through a special ceremony called the Girls Puberty Rite. It lasts for several days and the story of White Painted Woman is told through song, performance and dance.

The girl who is at the center of the ceremony acts out the story of and becomes identified with White Painted Woman. So Much so that she becomes invested with her spirit. During parts of the ceremony people will come to her and ask her to pray over them for healing.

As a child my favorite part was when the Gan, the mountain spirits, came at night and danced around the fire for us. (they were just men in masks, but a bit of something else as well).

So I guess my favorite stories were the ones that told us about White Painted Woman., and her twin sons Born of Water and Monster Slayer.

So there you have it, my interview.

THE INTERVIEW GAME RULES:
Here's how you can play the interview game:
1. Leave me a comment saying "interview me." The first five commenters will be the participants.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions.
3. You will update your blog/site with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions. (Write your own questions or borrow some.)



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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Slicing Time, The Slow and the Fast of It

This particular chapter of "Slicing Time" was inspired by something that Don, over at Instant Gratification said. Thanks Don.

As I have said before, good fighters will tend to fight heuristiclly, that is to say that they will tend to respond to a stimulus with one of a set of pre-programmed actions that their unconscious mind thinks will be effective in a given situation. The positive side of this is that a person that uses this strategy responds very quickly to a situation, the down side is that this strategy is not so good for dealing with "novelty", and because a heuristic strategy exists at the level of habit, it is difficult to change, even if it does not work as well as you would like.

The more "stress" a fighter experiences in a match, the more heuristic tactics will be relied upon as a rule, the two go hand in hand.

So what do you do if you find that your heuristic tactics have boxed you into a particular way of fighting that no longer serves you?

basically, you need to take your training to a higher level of sophistication at this point. You have to be able to break through what you have programmed in and add more choices, you have to take yourself out of the "practice" state and put yourself in the "learning" state.

There are three components to doing this.

The first is breath. Breathing is the most important thing you do. There is an old saying, "you can go three months without food, you can go three days without water, you can go three minutes without breath.

One of the things that keep a person "stuck" in a given heuristic tactic is that they have an inefficient response to surprise and failure. You need to set up an "anchor" that gets you out of the heuristic behavior loop. You use your breath to do this.

There is a particular kind of breath technique called "exhalation based" or "performance breathing" that you need to learn for this.

Rather than typing out the whole process I will point to a couple of descriptive articles by Scott Sonnon on the subject.



There is a lot more on the subject, but this will get you started.

Whenever you find yourself "failing" at a technique, or being shocked or surprised, you need to exhale from the abdominal muscles as an anchor to bring you out of any habitual reaction.

The second thing you need to do is "chunk down" the input you are dealing with. Most people can deal with 7 +/- 2 chunks of information at a time with their conscious mind. That is seven leaves, seven branches, seven trees or seven forests. If you go much beyond these numbers your unconscious has to take over, and you end up back in your old habits.

So you have to make changes in sufficiently small chunks that you can keep your attention on the process.

The third thing is slicing time thinly enough that you can attend to the process.

This means that you have to Slow Things Down to a point where you can make choices about what to do without breaking your flow. You slice time thinly by slowing everything down, but acting as if you were playing at full speed.

It would look like this.

You and a partner decide what problem you want to work on, keep it manageable, your goal should not be "I want to be a better fighter" it should be more along the lines of "I want to respond more effectively to this one kind of attack".

Then the two of you free spar at "Tai Chi" speed.

It is very important that both of you keep the same speed or "time frame", otherwise you will not learn.

At random intervals your partner will feed you the attack and you respond. Any time you "fail" in your response, or you find yourself distracted, or you start talking to yourself use a strong abdominal exhalation to refocus yourself. At no time should you go fast enough to feel pressure. You want to be very relaxed and comfortable, even if it means moving slower than a snail on 'ludes.

When you feel like you are getting the new skill down well at slow speed, take a break, and after a bit of a rest (where you should put your mind on something completely different) come back and work at a faster pace. Your partner should speed things up to the point where you can still do what you want to be doing, but you have to work for it. You partner should be coaching you at this point to refocus yourself with your breath.

Take another break and go back to the slow work to refine your new skill even more. Remember to work slowly enough that you can be relaxed.

After another break. Ramp the speed up again, work just below the point where you would consistently "fail".

After a couple of days to a week, have a match at full speed, full contact. See how much you have integrated your new material. Use that information to tailor your next few sessions. Repeat this process until satisfied.

I have used this process with very good results, even on people who are already excellent fighters (Steve Van Harn comes to mind, are you around Steve?) It can really help when you need to "get outside the box". I can't stress enough though how important the breath work is to this process. One of the things that you are training yourself to do is to integrate your breath, movement, and structure more effectively, and it all starts with breath.

If you want to find out more about this kind of process check out Scott Sonnon's Softwork, as he has done the most of anyone I know to make this kind of training accessible and useful.

Let us know how this works for you Don.

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Wednesday, March 02, 2005

And In breaking News.............

Here are some of the things that have caught my attention these last few days.

Christian Terrorists kill the husband and mother of a Federal Judge in Chicago

Members of The Church of the Creator have been threatening Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow ever since she started hearing a case involving them about copyright infringement. Obviously the Bush Regime in more interested in foreign Terrorists than they are our own home grown ones. You know if the people who did this claimed to be Muslim the whole country would be locked down trying to find them.

(At this point some of you may be going "wait just a minute there, these guys are a bunch of Neo- Nazi trash, you can't call THEM Christian!" Well, now you know how I feel every time I see a Wahhabi piece of Shit like Osama bin Ladin called a Muslim terrorist. If Bin Ladin is Muslim then there guys are Christian, after all, they claim to be).


California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger used Taxpayer money to dupe the public

governor Arnold, taking his cue from the Feds, has produced a bogus news broadcast hyping his agenda, paid for it out of tax money and distributed it to TV stations.

The republicans say that a fake news broadcast is just like an information pamphlet. The Democrats wring their hands in dismay, Arnold puts his Cigar out in their water glass and sneers at them.


USA Next attacks your Grandmother

That's right USA Next says that your grandmother, and your eccentric uncle Bill Hate our troops and want homosexuals to get married in your living room. (or so it seems)

In the latest attack on sanity, USA Next, a front group for Bush, is trying to discredit the AARP because they know that people who need Social security are going to be just a little leery of Bush wanting to give all the money to Wall Street. The Bush answer? Don't try to come up with something that works, just smear anyone who gets in your way.

After seeing what USA Next put out, I went and joined AARP.


Robert Novak lies about what Howard Dean said at Cornell twice, CNN ignores it.

Following in the footsteps of Britt Hume Robert Novak re-edits the words of Howard Dean to make him say something totally different than what he actually said, then reported his edited version twice on TV. CNN so far has no comment.
(Thanks to Crooks and Liars for this)


Jael Phelps the granddaughter of The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr wants to kill Homosexuals

Jael Phelps, a shining example of the neo-conservative religious right, who, running on the Deuderonomy ticket, has just been defeated in a city council race in Topeka, Kan. had a few choice things to say on "Scarborough Country". Perhaps the republicans should consider her as Condi Rice's running mate in '08.
(Thanks to Crooks and Liars for this)


Finally
Ann Coulter, the poster girl for Bush's favorite charity "Hire the hopelessly insane"

Made a racist statement in her syndicated column against Helen Thomas. It was the sort of thing that would get you banned from the are waves forever if you were one of those no good liberals, but right wing Bush supporters get a free pass on things like this.

The democrats were so upset by this that they all took a vow of silence in protest.


This is a very weird planet!

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