I hate sleeping.

Ξ August 29th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Work, blog, ninja |

Really, it’s not the sleep that bothers me so much, as the getting to sleep that I hate so much. The thing that really sucks, is that I want to be asleep right now!

My sleep schedule is all sorts of messed up right now. I blame all those damn kids coming back to work now.

After a horrificaly failtastic display on my first attempt at getting my black belt, I will be retesting in “a few weeks.” Hopefully I’ll pass. More on this in another post (see? I’m setting myself up to post more.)

I think it’s time to try sleep again.

Original post by logikal


From the land of the rising sun, Post 4.

Ξ March 23rd, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, blog, ninja, japan |

Japan, Day 3

I went to sleep at 8:30 last night, I was so tired. Slept fine until 4am, then woke up every half hour until 7am. I didn’t have time to eat anything this morning, so I just grabbed some juice on the way to the hombu.

The first class today was with Nagato-sensei .  He emphasized using the body, instead of your strength when doing techniques, something I need to pay more attention to.  If a technique isn’t working for me, I have a tendency to just try to muscle through it. It’s much easier if I start out using my body to do the technique. Trying to muscle it is usually what messes it up in the first place.  There wasn’t a lot of room in the hombu today, because Soke’s class was right after. It ended up being a good thing, because the lack of room reinforced how little space you really need, if you use your taijutsu. Usually, when we train we’re making these huge movements, deep kamaes, gigantic parries, etc. Ron says it all the time; a punch can miss you by a foot or by a quarter of an inch, it’s still a miss. Training with all those people around really reinforces it.

Soke’s class was 15 minutes after Nagato-sensei’s, and even more people were there for that .I know I’ve said it before, but Soke’s movements are amazing. They’re so subtle, so its very hard to catch everything he’s doing. I really appreciate Ron training with Ashley and I today. He’s a very patient teacher with the both of us, and I know he’d love to be training at a higher level. It means a lot to me that he’s taking the time with us to say things like “no, put your hand here,” and not just throwing his hands up in disgust with us. Both Soke and Nagato-sensei seemed to reinforce being very light with your movements today. I saw two advantages to this: 1) it’s very easy. You don’t get tired when you’re doing it this way. 2) It’s a lot harder to read someone when they’re just laying two fingers on the inside of your wrist, rather than grabbing you with all their strength. We did some seated things today, from fudoza. One was from a grab from behind, a punch to the head from the side, and a punch to the head from another seated person.

When Soke’s class was over, we went to Naguchi-sensei’s class where I watched people film some of the stuff they learned to day in class. I made a fool of myself when Naguchi-sensei leaned out his window and said “Konichiwa!” to me, because I had no idea who he was. I had no idea his dojo was right next door to his house. I was offered the chance to get on film as well, but I was a little too unsure of myself to do that. Turns out I could’ve just let Ron beat up on me, and been fine.

Finally, Lunch time! Surprisingly, I wasn’t all that hungry. I’ve discovered a wonderful citrusy juice/soda drink, but I can’t remember the name of it. We had Chinese food. Kind of bland. Meh.

We went to a park in Shimizu-koen after lunch. It’s the site of that obstacle course thing in the ninjutsu episode of Human Weapon. It’s not a “secret ninja training compound” like they said it was. It’s in the middle of a huge public park, owned by one of the Kikkoman families. There were a bunch of youngsters running a race there! We didn’t get a chance to run through it, but Robin mentioned it might not be a great idea anyway, since the water’s likely freezing cold this time of year. Maybe if we come back during summertime. Before we got to the obstacle course, we happened on a very nice old Japanese man, watching 3 little girls playing in the water, trying to catch some carp in a little stream/pond they have there.  Everyone here always surprises me with how well they speak English. Baka gaijin! I feel like such a jerk whenever I can’t say something in Japanese.  We walked around the park for a long time, until it was konbanwa time.  It’s such a beautiful place, I took lots of pictures. Even some with me in them! Way to ruin the beauty, eh?

Original post by logikal


From the land of the rising sun, Post 2.

Ξ March 23rd, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, blog, ninja, japan |


So, day 2 in Japan started early, with a traditional japanese breakfast of cooked whole fish (it still had eyes!), raw egg, rice, pickled veggies, miso soup, seaweed, and some dark squiggly stuff. I tried everything, except the fish. I couldn’t quite pull it off. Raw egg on rice was alright, but probably not something I’ll ever order again.

We headed to the store, where Ron grabbed this shopping cart. A little different, eh? Then we split up for the day.

Getting cash out of an ATM machine in Japan can only be done in one place, the post office. Had I known this, I wouldnt have gone on a 2 hour trek, that had 2 very wonderful Japanese people walking Ashley and I around town. Now I know though.

Oh, my Engrish phrase for the day: “Luck is Smilling” Seen on a T-shirt in a department store today.

Noodle Bowls here are amazing.

We visited a local graveyard in Noda, then went to Atago Shrine yesterday before class. We had dinner at a place called Seiziriya (I think) surprisingly good pizza (there’s not a lot of japanese food there, but you get a really good value). We headed to the Hombu, and trained with Soke.

Soke has a presence about him that I’m not able to explain. I could tell when he had walked into the dojo, even though there were 120 people in the way. Crazy. Training with him is hard, he goes so fast.

We came back to Kashiwa after class, and tried to figure out how Ashley was going to get to Nagoya on Saturday. We looked around on the internet for a bit then just decided to go to the station and try to get her a ticket. We ran into a musician named Kazuya, and listened to him for a while. He got told to leave by the authorities, and then helped us with trying to get Ashley’s ticket (which we couldn’t, it was too late). He spoke pretty good English, just limited vocabulary. Ashley got his number. We might hang out with him Saturday.

Then I came home at about midnight and got some much deserved sleep.

Original post by logikal


To the land of the Rising Sun

Ξ March 14th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, blog, ninja |

I leave for Japan on the 19th, and I totally am not prepared for it. Mentally, at least. My fear is that I’ll commit some huge error, and people will ask Ron why the hell I’m a 4th kyu. Once I get over that, I think I’ll be fine.

I’ll be staying in Kashiwa while I’m training, until the 27th. Then I will haul my sorry, broken ass to Tokyo, where Wendy will meet me on the 28th. Then its 4 days of fun and recuperation before I come home on the 31st.

Tasks for the trip: Find the mysterious Chuhai, learn to like sushi, have some awesome street vendor yakitori, and at some point run into a crowd yelling “Godzilla!” I think it’ll be a spectacular time.

Original post by logikal


the obligatory seasonal update

Ξ October 16th, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, blog, ninja |

Been a while, mostly since I was trying to keep the last post at the top so that I could reference its date.

This weekend should be really neato. Friday, camping with Wendy and some people. Hurray camping! It’s been too long, because of that stupid hot daystar thing. I got a neato headlamp that I actually need to go pick up, and the footprint for my tent. Plus, I got these awesome fold up dishes that are about the coolest things ever. I got the set you can see here for a whopping $15. So neat.

Saturday, we’re going to the Magic Castle. I’ve never been, but everyone I know who’s gone has said that it’s ridiculously awesome. And hey, who doesn’t love magic. Only zombies don’t like magic. You’re not a zombie, are you? Good. If you were I’d have to beat you in the face with a bat or something. Really, that’s just too much work.

I skipped a rank in Bujinkan! I’m now a 5th kyu budoka (how we refer to people who take bujinkan)! Hurray me!

I’ve been playing a ton less WoW… like, I’m not sure I can still be considered to be playing it. I still dunno how I feel about that. I miss the playing with people, but I do like all the other stuff I’m doing instead. Meh, probably just another couple-month break.

Original post by logikal


Bujinkan 2

Ξ December 15th, 2006 | → Comments Off | ∇ ninja |

So, I had more Bujinkan Tuesday. There werent a lot of people there, maybe 10 of us. There were only 3 non-black belts, which was kind of nice, because we asll got paired up with a black belt who could give us pointers and such. I got paired up with a guy who I’ll refer to as M.

I still feel like an idiot when we do the sanshin no kata. I’ve been trying to practice them during the week, but I don’t remember them well enough to practice them. I’ve been having a bitch of a time finding anything about them.

Instead of listing everything I did, I’ll comment on what I learned:

We were doing something where you would create an arm lock by catching an attackers right hand behind the neck, and use your left arm to push up an through the arm (the way your arm doesn’t bend). This creates a lock in your arm, where I either break you arm or you move. I had a little bit of a problem with this one at first, but getting it right taught me a few things.

1. Having long limbs will sometimes make things different/difficult for me.
M had to raise his arm a whole lot less to perform the lock one me, basically raising his arm ~45 degrees to apply the right pressure. I, on the other hand, had to roll my arm inwards, and lift it 75-80 degrees.

2. My body will tell me when I’m doing things right.
When I paid more attention to the what I was doing in a very mechanical way (right foot goes here, left hand goes here, etc) I did a lot worse, and things didn’t feel “right”. That’s the best way I can think of it. When I just let go and let it happen, it seemed that my whole body got into the motions and it felt “right”.
This isnt put very eloquently, because I HAD to think about it mechanically to get it right at first, but then I had to let go. It was most apparent when M would offer advice. I’d try to apply it conciously, and end up doing worse than previously. When I’d loosen up, his advice would just happen. I suppose this is what they’re talking about when they refer to ‘void’. Interesting stuff.

3. Distance is key.
This is something that one of the black belts todl me on my first visit to a session. I can’t remember for the life of me what he referred to it as, but he was talking about finding the right distance to your opponent; not too far, and not too close. At the time, I got the meaning that you want to be close enough to hit, but far enough to evade if necessary, but I learned that it has a huge effect on your balance.
For instance, I was doing a block to the outside with my left hand, pivoting in towards M, and moving to an uppercut. I kept stepping very cose to him. What I was doing was technically correct, but I found my self with too much of my weight on my heels. M noticed and lightly pushed on my blocking arm during my pivot. I went sprawling. He talked to me about distance, and I tried again. That time, his nudge didnt upset my balance. If anything, it just swung my uppercut side around quicker.

4. Use your whole body. Carefully.
Related to 3, but I wanted to use a different example. We were using a right hand block, with a pivot, using a left hand strike to the back/kidneys/neck. I started out doing them as three seperate motions. Very ineffectual. You can actually do all three things in one motion. It’s WAY more effective that way. In fact, the first time I realized it could be done as one motion, I blocked too hard. M wasnt expecting it, and I sent him too far away. He talked to me about control then, because if it had been someone smaller/lighter, I probably would’ve sent them flying with the block.

A very productive session, I think. M seemed to think I was catching on rather quick. He asked me more than once when I started (last week) and seemed surprised. I was happy with that.


I’m going to grow up to be a ninja

Ξ December 6th, 2006 | → Comments Off | ∇ ninja |

So, I attended my first session of Bujinkan last night. I like the fact that they just throw you in. Granted, I was told that it’d take me a couple of months for me to get the hang of it and stop looking like an idiot.

It was really interesting to see what the group was made up of. There were about 14 people there, most of them guys who looked to be near my age. There was one older women, white haired, and 2 girls who looked near my age as well. There were a couple of older guys as well, who seemed to be of a higher rank, that were helping out us noobs.

We started the session with 5 basic (ha! not right now!) moves, the names of which I can’t remember. The blackbelt who led this part of the session gave me the tip that I should just pay attention to the footwork, the rest of it will come naturally. Hopefully, I’ll start picking it up, I didn’t seem to be yesterday. Well, maybe towards the end I did. I still look like a retard, though.

We did some ukemi (rolls and breakfalling) after that. I think it was more for the instructor to see if myself (since I was the only person who’d never done this before) and the other new people were going to kill ourselves during the session, but apparently my days of volleyball rolling stood up to snuff.

We did some sword disarming techniques. Pretty interesting stuff really. Just goes to show how not-good that grip on your sword is, and how easy it really is to manipulate the way we do every day things, like holding on to something. The interesting thing about learning to disarm someone holding a sword, is that I could see how the same movements/theory would work for anything someone swung at me with 2 hands. You use the weakness inherent in their grip, and the leverage of their own weapon against them.

We took a break for some tea, and I got to know some of the other students. One of the guys can apparently get wholesale price on some swords. Wish I’d known that when I ordered mine. Mine’s cooler than the ones he can get anyway, imo. :)

After tea, we did some taijutsu. First, we learned to avoid a hit, then we learned to block the same hit. Then, we learned how to turn the oppenent’s attack to your advantage, to step into and around the attack, and attack back. THEN, we learned how to do all of that, AND how to force the opponent to submit, and then control him.

Yeah, that was a lot to read, but I wanted to make sure that I remembered everything I learned. Writing this helped. Good times.


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