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

Friday, October 27, 2006

Africa, again

The first post I ever did for this blog, after my introduction was on Africa.

Being as I am going to be writing on things African again I thought it might be a good time to revisit that first post to set the tone. You can read it here.

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You just can't make this stuff up!

President bigot Bush talks about Muslims, Iraq and Ramadan with his best buddies in the press.

This is the kind of person we put in office, left in office, allowed to make decisions to invade Iraq, and cost thousands of American and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. (and anyone who knows anything about Islam knows that violence during Ramadan is frowned upon, no reward there folks)

Read it and weep people, then get out and vote, the election is almost here.

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The African Knife

Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will remember my entries on knife skills I was exposed to when I was living in Africa.

If not you can read the articles here.
The Legacy of Umslopogas
African Lessons Part One
South African Knife Fighting

I have had a few adventures because of these articles. I have been contacted by various different individuals for any number of reasons, most of these people have been decent folk, and I have enjoyed the conversations. Some have been a little eccentric, and one or two have obviously had agendas that they were pursuing. It has all been in good fun though.

Recently I have been contacted by an extremely interesting group, one that I had been planning to find a way to contact myself the next time I went to South Africa.

I had heard rumors of these people on the martial arts grapevine for several years, and at one point had tried to make a connection through someone I knew, but it didn't work out.

Things have a way of working out all the same, and now I know enough on the subject to at least be able to ask intelligent questions.

A little while back I received an email from a gentleman named Nigel February, who along with his partner, Lloyd De Jongh, created Piper System, which is the only formal expression of Cape knife fighting to date.

I have been having a delightful time talking with these men and have found them to be highly intelligent, articulate, and passionate about what they are doing.

They are also the real deal. I am able to say this because what they do is close enough to what I learned from my South African friends, that it must come from the same source, but there is no connection between them and my friends. That is what we call "independent corroboration" in the biz.

Lately there have been various individuals here in the Stated that have offered opinions as to the existence of, and effectiveness of Cape Knife fighting.

Sadly, these opinions have been......... How can I say this delicately.....Hmmmm........

completely full of shit....... Foolishly asinine.......... No...

How about "ill informed", yeah, Ill Informed, that's it.

Ill informed because the people expressing these opinions have never set foot on the continent of Africa, have never had any first hand experience with Cape knife work, have based their opinions on seven minutes of video and the contents of their own egos..... Well, I could go on but you get the point.

Right now, if you have not gone to Africa and spent time with the people who actually know about this stuff, then well, you just don't know what you are talking about. (and there are only a very few people who have done this to date maybe three all told).

So I am going to be talking with Nigel, Lloyd and Jason (another of the senior instructors) and putting our conversations up here on the blog from time to time.

We will cover Piper system, Cape knife fighting in general, and perhaps, current events in Africa and South Africa. This last is of particular importance because of the distorted views of Africa that so many people in the West have.

so stay tuned to this blog for some truly fascinating material and conversation.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Priceless

If you can't get the point across with logic and reason, put it in a cartoon!


A hat tip to Crooks and Liars for pointing us to this.

As I have noted before, it is a sad state of affairs when only the Jesters can tell the truth, but that's the country we live in now. More people and more are turning to the Daily Show and the Colbert Report for the truth of what is going on because they know that the corporate media has been editing the news to keep us in the dark and feed us only what they want us to know.

Remember when you get to the polls next month the Right Wing authoritarians who have hijacked the Republican party have brought this country to the edge of ruin, have killed thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of people, men, women and children from other countries in pursuit of power and wealth. We fill their bank accounts with our blood, and it's got to stop!

In November vote the bastards out!

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Keith Olbermann Bitch Slaps George Bush across the TV screen

It is such a relief to hear someone say publicly what so many of us are thinking.

George Bush is a Madman and has lead this country to ruin!

Head on over to Crooks and liars and check out Keith's commentary from tonight's Countdown on the latest GOP fearmongering. Ask yourself if it is true, then ask yourself how you are going to vote in November.

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Y'all should maybe read this

It would have been Pat Tilman's birthday November 6.

His brother has a few things to say about the war and the crooks running our country, now that he is out of the military and can speak his mind again.

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Self-Image/Other-Image

This is how we think of ourselves as Americans


We are a proud, strong, capable predatory bird, noble, solitary, masters of all we survey.

On the other hand, here is how the people who are running the country from Washington, the corporate offices of the multinational, and the broadcast centers of corporate media with all their pundits see us.


That's right as domesticated sheep, one of the stupidest animals on the planet.

You don't think so? Well just take a look at this video clip.



Come next month You will get a chance to prove which image is the correct one.

Get out and Vote!
Vote to be an Eagle, not a sheep!

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Guru's Handbook

Some things are so important that they burst through into the collective human awareness no matter what the minions of endarkenment do to stop them.

I have a friend.

This friend has been a Teacher for quite some time,
most of this time not fully aware that this was so.

One day I said to my friend something to the effect of "you really need to write down the process of how you understand Teaching" (I use Teaching rather than teaching to make a distinction between bringing someone to an awakened state and just imparting data).

This brought up a number of issues, all of which were dealt with in good time.

The outcome is The Guru's Handbook.

Take a moment to read the entries and to think about them. Then pass on the address to someone who might benefit.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Someone to watch

Yesterday I was looking for the lyrics to a Leonard Cohen song.

In my wanderings around the net I ran across a blog that had a list of everyone who had ever covered a different Cohen song, "Hallelujah". (You perhaps remember it from the excellent Rufus Wainwright cover in the movie Shrek).

I had not realized that so many artists had covered the song. As I scrolled down the list one name caught my eye, Arooj Aftab. I had never her, but I recognize a Muslim name when I see one, so I was intrigued.

I downloaded her version of the song and listened to it.

Now I should mention that I am a Leonard Cohen fan of long standing, and so am fairly critical of who does what with his work.

The song was wonderful!

Aftab's voice is rich and textured, with smoky, sultry undertones that are both restrained and powerful at the same time.

She was accompanied by a single guitar (which she played, I found out later). It was simple and understated, exactly what was needed to highlight her voice.

I was impressed.

I did a search to see if I could find out who this was.



Arooj Aftab is a young Pakistani woman who is studying music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston on the Steve Vai Scholarship. Her story is quite interesting, and there is more of it to find than just this link.

You can find more of her music at MySpace, and she has a blog as well.

It has been a while since I have been so impressed with someone who is just starting out.

Here is hoping that she will succeed in all of her musical endeavors and that we will hear much more of her in the future.

Check her out, you'll be glad you did.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The 2006 Fall Gathering of the Tribes

Happened last week, and it was by far the best of many good events!

We had a great turnout, with people coming from all over Michigan, and as far away as Oklahoma, Iowa, and North Carolina and representing at least seven different martial arts, to join us in a weekend of nonstop fun and learning.

Here is the obligatory group photo, which has most of us in it.


The theme for the event was "treacherizing your Martial Art", a phrase coined by our own Guro Buzz Smith.


The first section of the weekend was taken by Sensei Chuck Pippin of San Yun Do with his able teaching staff.

Chuck introduced us to the San Yun Do "Pad Drills", a set of progressive, dynamic exercises to develop striking skills. These were a great way to start the day as it was quite energetic, and really got the blood flowing.

There was one shadow that fell over the morning. Sterling Hybeck, our friend, and one of the San Yun Do instructors, ended up that morning with appendicitis and was having the offending organ removed while we were working out. We missed his contribution, but all turned out well and we will make him work twice as hard this spring.

The second section of the day was taken by Guro Brian "Buzz" Smith of Maharlika Kuntaw.



Guro Buzz shared with us the principles of his art from the basics to the very sophisticated. This section provided us all with some really valuble ways to "treacherize" our respective arts.

I took the third section of the day, and went over Silat Zulfikari sensitivity exercises.



I was assisted by my friend and training partner Guro Steve VanHarn. People seemed to enjoy themselves and we ended the section with some "blind" sparring.

Sunday was devoted to health based practices as has been our tradition. We worked some yoga to aid in active recovery.

After the main event was over I gave a special four hour clinic in Silat Zulfikari for the students of the art who had traveled here from around the country.

A good time was had by all and I am already looking forward to Spring.

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