When The World Is On Your Shoulders, You Gotta Straighten Up Your Act And Boogie Down-Michael Jackson
Well, as some of you might have heard, the wait is over: I finally have scraped enough together to get my spinal surgery. I have to say, after the past three and a half years of disappointments, outright lies, insincere medical advice and outright quacks, I've almost talked myself OUT of getting it. But it's going to happen now, and we're working out hotel accommodations and medical transportation this week. After that, it's a small wait for the flight out - about two months - and this boy's back in India for the first time in 18 years. Only I won't be going to meet brown women.
Here is a funny thing - Once I actually had the cash in my hands, I began a training regimen to get myself in the best shape I could for surgery. This isn't easy when you're actually in pain from a disc herniation, and any exercise at all could send you into a back spasm. I do a two-mile circuit around my house in the afternoon, a bit of yoga afterwards and as much flow work as I can.
Oh, and I stopped drinking. It won't be altogether, mind you, I love Chimay FAR too much for that...But the heavy consumption is off completely, and I'm not putting anything down my gullet alcoholic until after my surgery. I'd hate to get on the operating table and they have to give me near coma-inducing levels of anesthetic in order to knock me out. I thought it might be harder than it was, after three years of practically bathing in Gin and Rum...but I'm currently two months off the bottle without so much as a glance backwards. This costs me heavily in pain tolerance, but being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel makes all the difference in the world. You'd be surprised what you can suck up and bear when you know there's going to be a break in the clouds sooner or later.
Once I stopped the full-scale assault on my liver & managed to get within shouting distance of my right mind, a friggin' billion things started bubbling out, almost too fast to commit to paper. I feel like I've re-committed to being a writer, not just a blogger with a smart-assed remark for everything. I find myself interjecting into Joel's classes more, making tiny corrections to his already excellent instruction, and putting myself back into the captain's chair. Something else that occurs to me is my school; Simply put, I'm more than a little apprehensive about teaching again. I look over the past 11 years the school has been open, and I see so much wasted time and effort, with very little payoff in finished students. Also, there are a few people I want to go train with & dedicate some time as a student again, without the burden of command on my back. It's a tough call, but if I do decide to continue the Edmonds Martial Arts Academy, I'll definitely have to change the way I do business in the future. (Maybe just stop traveling there and instead teach in the present. Hah! *SNORT!*)
The new Hells' Kitchen is underway, and I have to admit I'm fucking addicted to this show. I really empathize with Gordon Ramsay, he wants perfection and is willing to skewer small children and roast them with a light vinaigrette to get it. What he lacks in tact, he also lacks in volume control, but what he doesn't lack is talent. I've watched his videos for years now - Kitchen Nightmares is my all-time favorite - and the man knows how to boil an egg. It's funny to watch him go on a rampage and throw food in the kitchen and scream "It's RAWR!" at contestants, but it's also pretty amazing to see them grow into good chefs...some of them, at least.
But why does he always look like he has to pee really bad? The dude's always twitching about nervously when he's talking on camera. Fucking makes ME want to go to the bathroom, just out of sympathy.
Internal Martial Arts
Internal Art practitioners have, for years, thumbed their noses at that helpless sap; The American Martial Artist. Even the American practitioners. They have this strange get-out-of-explaining-yourself card they play whenever one of them eats a punch or something. Someone recently threw a video up of a supposed "Ki Master" taking a full-on shot to the nads, and the guy doesn't flinch. Just stands there, takes the shot, looks like he's bored. Take a look on the link below:
Now, I'll be the first to admit - this appears pretty impressive. The ability to absorb an impact to the family jewels without suffering pain? That's a skill to have!
...Or is it?
I know, they give a pretty good explanation (so-called) of how he was able to do this, but...I smell a rat. Sorry, but I do. And as a man who is currently facing spinal surgery for training in the "Old Style Hard Ways" without any apparent problems for almost 15 years, I have a few questions here: What are the long-term affects of such training? Does this man have actual functioning gonads? Has he lost any sensitivity in the groin? Is he able to maintain an erection, produce sperm, pee without pain?
This kind of thing seems to be an EXCEPTION, not a RULE. I have to question if this is a skill you can carry with you into older age, or if we're looking at a freak of nature. I also have to wonder if this kind of thing requires "special circumstances" to work under. Harry Houdinin could withstand a full-on punch to the stomach, and proved it for years...Until a freak sucker punch ruptured his appendix and he died.
And that business about "Breath Control", and "Controlling the flow of oxygen in your blood"...WHAT HORSESHIT!
Something that the majority of Chi-Gung and Nei Gung charlatans hope and pray is that nobody has taken basic biology in high school.
Something that the gullible kool-aid drinkers in martial arts often forget (or “choose not to remember”) is that they actually DID.
Let’s have a little general knowledge test, shall we?
Inside the red blood cells, the iron has a great affinity for oxygen. It moves by passive diffusion from the alveoli in the lungs into the bloodstream where it binds to the iron groups in the hemoglobin in the red blood cells.
In a nutshell, oxygen enables the cells of the body to release the energy stored as high-energy chemical bonds in our food, and enables them to use that energy to do what cells do: namely, to keep us alive, heart beating, brain thinking, and kidneys turning our Chimays, Martinis and Diet Cokes into unplanned pit stops. Virtually every cell in the body needs oxygen in order to perform its part in the complex symphony of skills and judgment that enables us to drive a car, fly an airplane or perform cunnilingus. Or fellatio. Whatever floats your boat.
Many cells in the body can function for a short time using anaerobic metabolism, or metabolism without oxygen. Alas, the brain and heart, while skilled at many things, are notoriously poor anaerobic performers. Four or five minutes with no oxygen and the brain and heart throw in the towel. This is what happens when, for instance, a person suffers a cardiac arrest and is not resuscitated quickly. There is no flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the brain and other vital organs when the heart is not beating, so they are damaged irreversibly in a very short time.
My point here is that oxygen binds to the iron in our blood and is carried by the BLOODSTREAM to the brain. And since you cannot control said bloodstream…Exactly HOW were you planning on controlling your breath once you've breathed it in? I love hearing terms such as “Iron Shirt Chi Gung”, or “punch, eye tearing, twin dragon hitting the anatomical regions to destroy the muscle anatomical points”. The minute someone uses a phrase like “twin dragons” doing anything other than existing on a Chinese painting, I always throw up a little in my mouth. It’s the opening of the door to some of the most vomitous oogah-boogah hypnotism to be found in the martial arts. “Twin Dragons” indeed…What, did you have a couple of Komodo dragons surgically grafted onto your hands? Oh, you were using that as a euphemism for fists? Well, why not just say FISTS and be done with it?
Oh, that’s right – You wouldn’t look nearly as wise of knowledgeable then, and your students might get dangerously close to actually thinking for themselves. Can’t let that happen. Chaos would reign!
Okay, okay...I'm done bitching for the week. See you guys in a few days.