This is NOT China!

18 07 2014

One too many..

Contacts, friends on FB are circulating a video of an Asian market place where they keep rats in cages and then they “prepare” them for food, including the killing and the cutting..

The video is this one (someone might be disgusted, your own risk to watch it or not!):

..and even if also the idiot that posted it on Youtube claimed it is in China, language and clothing identify it at once as Vietnam (or, Mekong area, but other searches on Youtube say it is typical in Vietnam).

Now, many people in Europe seem to know only China as Asian country, and of course they seem to look for any excuse to make fun of Chinese people and tradition and culture.

This is one of those cases that ignorance becomes idiocy: I lived there, I have seen lots of funny and weird things, things I would probably not eat, other things I tried, like the crickets on skewer in Lijiang (my philosophy is to try everything, then decide if I like it or not). In Chinese traditional medicine some bugs are used in the curative mix.

But maybe people forget “delicacies” like haggies:

Haggis

..or other animal parts like testicles are recognized as special food in several countries..

One thing is anyway sure:

I miss a lot Chinese food!!!





Summer time

17 07 2014

Enjoying a summer evening in the park, after work, with a good book and a fresh drink….

20140717-184839.jpg





Aikido in Kyoto with Okamoto sensei!

17 07 2014

A very nice video documentary about Aikido in Kyoto with Yoko Okamoto sensei by Guillaume Erard:

Check Guillaume’s page anyway for so many more amazing videos!

And if you happen to be in Kyoto and want to visit sensei, check the dojo homepage!





Excess of flexibility

14 07 2014

Last week I went to a local physiotherapist suggested by the Aikido instructor to have my elbow checked: it is now more than 2 months that I suffer from what I thought it was a sort of “tennis elbow” applied to Aikido. A constant pain to the elbow area that intensifies every time I try to grab or lift about anything with my right hand (thank god that for most activities I am left handed!) ;-)

Unfortunately I had tried my Chinese left overs remedies and since the pain was more during the working hours than the practice time I had hoped to be able to cope with it and eventually wake up a day and find the elbow again at its 100%.. but it did not happen!

The pain had started the 3rd of May during the session I attended of Tissier sensei seminar in Amsterdam: after a quite tiring shomenuchi nikyo ura with a very advanced partner who was recovering form the jet lag of returning from Japan the day before (so his technique was oscillating between quite heavy locks and very soft, his usual, and effective control), I felt a sudden pain in the right arm, propagating from the elbow. It was about 5 minutes before the end of the session, so for the last technique I chose a beginner for partner and tried to slow down and do not force on the elbow/arm.

From that day, the pain has been almost constant/increasing, especially when I had to grab anything at work (the device I service as technician weigh less than 5 kg each, but already grabbing the battery packs was giving me jolts of pain). Saying I did manage to control the pain, changing a bit the way I perform the job (using more the left side) and using the above mentioned remedies, together with Voltaren and Ibuprofen, I however realized it was not enough for getting rid of the problem.

My year highlight will be the trip to Indonesia in October where the first week is fully dedicated to Irie sensei, therefore too important for getting there already injured!

Therefore I finally went to the physiotherapist that with my surprise said it is not a “tennis elbow” pathology but an inflammation due to too much flexibility of the arm! The muscle did not protect properly the elbow from everyday stress/work, so that it started suffering. The therapist was actually surprised how flexible my wrists/elbows/shoulder are, respect to.. normal people! And I do not think myself as very flexible in the body, when compared to my Aikido models!!

Clearly I must get more balance, in the muscle structure as in other things. I must probably take some decisions about the place where I want to live in the near future in order to get more of the Aikido I need, for my mental balance as well, given I do not want to change job/country anytime soon!

So from today I will work on the muscle around the elbow and soon they will evaluate if the problem improves. As said, my “deadline” is beginning of October, but a seriously good test will be Marc Bachraty sensei seminar in Stavanger at the end of August. And still planning some September activities.





Silencing Google!

11 07 2014

..Again!

Google has been again blocked in China (more references here and here), starting form just before the anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre (六四事件).

Gate of Heavenly Peace

Gate of Heavenly Peace

I have received news from friends in China and read comments from people used to access also to Facebook via proxy and tunnels. During my time there I was quite happy to be able to “freely” use Google and Wikipedia (some searches were blocked, but in general was ok, for every day life). And for FB and my blog especially I had a great tiny program called GoAgent.

Now, I got info from a friend in China, that if you cant open Google using the link http://91.213.30.151 , then try by changing the 151 to any number within the range 140 to 180.





The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything

8 07 2014

Since Sunday, I do know it!

I have also achieved that enlighten status to know the most important answer to the ultimate life questions:

42

..or I should know it..

The only 2 things I know for sure are:

  1. I have understood why Germans in Norway never had problem to join a mixed gender sauna where all locals area always naked: they, in the same way, have no problem attending a mixed gender bath-sauna place on a Sunday afternoon wearing nothing else than.. natural body hairs! When they were not shaven ;-) Unfortunately the ratio of pretty young girls respect to obese older guys was about 1:9..
  2. I start being too old for 2 night buses over a three nights period: yesterday night I went to bed around 9pm!!!

Once more, thanks a lot to all the nice people that left me b’day wishes on fb, email or else.. I am usually not that good in remembering birthdays!! Hugs to all of you!!





Aikido vs. football

3 07 2014

I know several Aikido people will/would laugh at this post, laugh at me and think I am stupid probably.. or whatever, but it is not that I really care what people think of me, otherwise I would not have a blog ;-)

Among the majority of my Aikido close friends I cannot identify many that enjoy also team sports, either watching or practicing. In particular basketball, football (soccer!), rugby or, more on the side, volleyball (since I know a very good friend, Jacqueline Aikimama was a top volleyball player, but it is not really a team sport of contact, except the occasional smash on the face!).

I do not want to generalize to the whole Aikido world of course, but from my personal experience among the people I have met, usually Aikido people do not like team sports for one (or both) of the following reasons:

  1. They do not like/understand the spirit of competition, they often classify it as the “evil feeling” that you do not want to have when you practice Aikido, therefore wrong in any other appearance.
  2. They have always been, as children at school, awkward when doing team sports. Never been able to kick a ball straight or shoot at the basket, and since anyway there were several other classmates enjoying that much more, they ended up on the side of the field (or bench) watching other people doing something they never really understood where the enjoyment was.

Just thinking among the closest group of my Aikido friends, active Aikido friends I mean, I can find a few that are extremely good at solitary sports (skiing, snow boarding, skating, skate boarding, tennis, etc.) but.. nobody (except the above mentioned Jacq and my good friend Peter in HK, a very good basketball player with whom I had fun, if only once) with a past in team sports (beside when they were obliged at school).

I started playing basketball when I was 8 years old (1981) and I continuously played in teams until I started Aikido, in 1995, and overlapping that for 1-2 years (the terrible AVHI basket team in Trondheim!). After I quit basketball for a few reasons (the level was so low that I started getting worried to destroy my knees, ankles, joints) I did experienced a few times dreaming about playing again! No, not wet dreams.. but almost!

Even if I never played officially in a team, I also played a lot of volleyball during the years, and more than occasionally football, as goalkeeper: maybe because I always enjoyed falling and throwing myself on the ground I became so dedicated in learning a good ukemi:-)

Thanks to this team sport past I have met several people that have then become close and best friends.

Also I do not regret or try to forget the competitive feelings and spirit typical in basketball competitions: the maturity is keeping those feelings in the appropriate field. I admit in my youth I failed in doing so, from time to time. But I have never had problems in Aikido: I have never risked to mix the spirit for competition with my martial art practice. Maturity? Common sense? Cannot really say, but for sure, for me, Aikido and team sports can live together!

Furthermore, for how much I enjoy to watch Aikido videos, I like much more to watch live sports on TV! Since my youth, I have always enjoyed almost any sport on television (except golf, sorry..). But then the commercial TV started buying rights for sports event and less and less team sports were available on the free TV channels. So for a long time no live events, or streaming on laptops with not always stable connections.

Now it’s world cup time, and I am really enjoying watching football again (even if Italy was rightly humiliated and sent home). I do not find it boring, and since I am also living in a city where there is no dojo or teacher close to the Aikido I love the most to practice, I have had not many mental troubles to skip practice in order to watch football. This will be met by harsh words, comments and laughs by the Aikido friends!

Of course I would have never planned a trip to Japan or Stockholm during a major sport event like this one, but I have not avoided seminars because of football, if some of you are wondering. Endo sensei, still among my 2-3 favorite teachers, will be in Slovakia this week but I could not go there because of lack of holidays.. not because of football on TV!!

Do not worry, I am still one of the first and biggest Aikido freaks! It is just I live again in a non-perfect (for me) Aikido place.. but among the people with a regular job and not the typical Scandinavian flexi-time freedom I am still one of the most trip active!!

No regrets as well ;-)

One more week of football then I can focus on… something else! Hopefully in enjoying the summer ;-)

..and then Stavanger trip for Marc Bachraty sensei!!!








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