Tag Archives: space

photon eyes

photon eyes

Why Losing a Dog Can Be Harder Than Losing a Relative or Friend | Alternet

Posted by Michele Kearney at 2:01 PM 

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You Are Not Your Brain 

By Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Rebecca Gladding

Overactive brain circuits can often lead to bad habits, compulsive actions, and anxieties. In this illuminating read, two neuroscience experts deliver a simple four-step method to overcome these destructive impulses and live a more fulfilling, well-balanced life.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9902541-you-are-not-your-brain 

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Hymns to the Silence 

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“… if you take the 14th verse out of each of John’s 21 chapters and string them together, you end up with a very interesting overview of the entire gospel–an overview that sort of rushes by you like a swift-running brook…..”

https://richardedmondson.net/2017/03/12/living-water-the-14sof-john/ 

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AFTER LAST WEEK’S VAULT 7 RELEASE

THIS MAY BE A BIT LATE

A hand-picked list of must-watch cybersecurity videos to help you learn the fundamentals of encryption, how hackers penetrate systems, and strong cyber-defense tactics for business.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/learn-cybersecurity-basics-with-these-essential-youtube-videos 

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This seems to be a particular popular post and so …

http://boydownthelane.com/2016/05/19/authentic-conversation/ 

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A recent writing prompt exercise built on the word “boat”

My legs are not sea legs. Looking back over seven decades from within the experience of hip arthritis, muscular issues that are related to a motor stroke and a weak heart that cause me to walk slowly and awkwardly, I think that sometimes it’s all because of an internal balance mechanism that was damaged by an inner ear infection as a child, or perhaps that time when I was six that I fell face first onto the edge of a concrete step, but my first realization that I was not going to be a boatsman was at camp when I flipped the canoe.  Flipped the canoe and the counselor too.

Luckily it was shallow, summertime, and he had long legs and some experience; I moved on to archery and capture-the-flag.

http://ir0.mobify.com/900/http://catchboynton.com/images/Boynton%20Harbor%20Marina/e6b24df417ad7ceb7a489b8a35382a8c_XL%20Medium.jpg

My second encounter with a boat was in Florida at the age of nine or so after my step-mother, brother and sister and I drove down to see some rich old distant relative about some family business and we got the treat of a sport fishing trip out of Boynton Beach, Florida. We were going to catch a boat load of swordfish and whatnot.

The rig we were on was bigger and heavier than a canoe and much more stable, and under the command of a bonafied cap’n with one name and some other fellow who handled the rods and the bait.  As the youngest, I waited and did what I was told, sat in the seat, buckled the belt, and watched the fellow put something on the hook.  He stuck the rod into a metal pipe that I straddled in my seat and out of the harbor we chugged on a cool sunny morning through the briny breezes out into the Gulf Stream. Big brother and sister were ready too, and Mom, and before you knew it, we were way out beyond the ability to see land, looking for fish.

As a nine-year-old, I had no clue about how to look for fish.  I could barely see over the side of the boat, the stern’s gunwale, and anyway the fish were in the water.

But someone could see the fish and knew where and how to find them and find them we did. Lots of them. Pointy sleek little buggers, not much to them… Not at all like those big spear-tipped things whose pictures you could see back at the dock with the lucky person who caught it, big smiles on both the man and the fish, though I couldn’t understand what the fish had to smile about.

http://www.onthewater.com/assets/Capt-Lou-and-Capt-Jack-Swordie-on-Scale-1.jpg

We were catching buckets of bonito.

At least they were.  I had one bite but not much more.

The one-named cap’n and his mate were cheering us on, telling the rest of my family that catching bonito was okay, that they could be sold for money at the dock, and that where there were bonito, there was gonna be a swordfish, or mackerel, or maybe barracuda.

They were capn’s and such, and they knew about these things, so I kept reeling and bobbing and getting a fierce sunburn.  We had four or five white buckets filled with bonito and some were flopping around on the decks wet with seawater and bait.

http://www.hooked-in.com/system/catch/photo/5827/days_catch.jpg?1348287743

Then we found ourselves in some waves. I don’t know what or where, but the cap’n was in charge and we drove on, up and down. Soon enough as the boat went up and down, so did my stomach, and breakfast came up when the boat went down, and whatever I had for legs turned into jell-o, and soon enough I was curled into a ball of seasickness and tucked back into a dark corner under an old blanket, to ride with the future catfood back into the harbor.  I was a complete wreck and had to be helped back to the car; they lay me down on the back seat and I woke up somewhere in North Carolina.

http://woodyboater.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Rochester-Chuckle.jpg

The next encounter with a boat was way up north.  We’d driven forever on some highways until, finally, we crested the hill and you could see — way down at the bottom of the hill — a river and a town. Soon enough, we were on the docks and getting on a polished mahogany “heavy cruiser”.  I was the guest of a classmate and his older sister, given the opportunity to spend a few days on an island in the middle of about a thousand other islands, some big, some small, some with glorious houses, this one a sizeable estate of a very wealthy family.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/4e/e5/1a/4ee51afef495722867ce3d4de848c778.jpg

We played stickball on the clay tennis courts in our bare feet and I ripped the toenail off my big toe trying to get to second base.  In the afternoon, we paired off in St. Lawrence skiffs. Everyone in the islands had one, or two, or three of these little boats, and afternoons up there in the summer were devoted to sailing and playing a game of shipboard tag.

http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1088/1133004983_706d9e316d.jpg

The skipper of the boat sat in the back and handled the rudder and the sail; the cap’n’s mate had three and a half tasks.  Being the landlubber with no experience, my responsibility was to pull the centerboard up or down according to the cap’n’s commands, to get out of the way of the boom by ducking under it, and to keep my weight (the ballast) tucked down into the well somewhere close to or ahead of the mast. Moving around to either side on the the cap’n’s commands was a secondary method by which he steered. He steered with several purposes. The first was not to get run over by the big freighters.

http://en.es-static.us/upl/2013/06/ship-st-lawrence-seaway-e1371685675461.jpg

Generally this was not a problem. They stayed in their lanes, and we stayed out of them.  But they couldn’t turn easily or stop suddenly, and they were a lot bigger.  In our little wooden boats, we theoretically could turn easily and, if the wind was right and the cap’n knew what he or she was doing, we could scoot to safety.

The second reason to steer was to avoid getting hit by the tennis balls.  All those old tennis balls from tennis and stickball went to use.

Each boat was given two of them, and a pole with a net. At the beginning of the inter-islands pre-teen pick-up regatta, called to order perhaps with a couple of blasts on an air horn by some grown-up in a motor boat at precisely (or approximately) 2 PM, one of the boats was designated “it”.

In this game, unlike tag on land, you want to be “it”, because when you were “it”, either the skipper or the mate inn other boats could stand up and throw one of their tennis balls at your sail. If they succeeded in hitting the sail, they were “it” and everyone would now aim for them.

But throwing a tennis ball with any kind of accuracy while you are standing and trying to maintain balance in a narrow boat is not an easy task.  You missed a lot. And you ran out of balls quickly.

No problem.  All those misses were bobbing in the water in their bright yellowness against the background of blue with white foam, just waiting for you (or perhaps the better, faster boat) to sail over there and scoop it out of the water with the net.

Sometimes if you were very lucky, you could stand up, avoid falling in, and use your net like a lacrosse goalie to fend off approaching yellow bomblets.

Remember, though, I had a balance problem, so I stayed pretty much safely tucked in under the boom, clutching the mast.  The waters were not choppy so there were no problems with nausea and vomiting; I just didn’t want to fall in.

Oh, I could swim, and we all had life-jackets anyway. But the skipper’s job of skipping is much more difficult when the ballast is floating overboard and he has to maneuver around so it can be recovered, losing precious time not spent throwing or retriving bobbing wet yellow rubbery furballs.

Now the object of the game, which was over when the air horn blasted again at precisely (or approximately) 4 PM, was to have collected the most tennis balls. The bottom of the winner’s boat was awash with bright yellowness. And everyone got a good suntan, and a lot of experience handling a sailing boat.  After dinner, everyone crowded into a motor boat and went over to another island to roast marshmallows and watch the Northern Lights.

http://www.visit1000islands.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Camping-1.jpg

The last encounter with a boat started back down in Florida. We’d won one of those quick out-and-back cruises because we said we’d sit still long enough to hear the sales pitch for a time-share. Weakly we finally succumbed and bought a week in October on the inner eastern edge of the Everglades; it took us close to two decades to finally dump the sucker, never once having been visited, traded, shared or even given away. It was like detaching a blood-sucking leech, but I digress.

We parked the car and grabbed the bags and smiled at the photographer on the gangplank.  We found the room with a small porthole, dropped the gear, and did the mandatory “abandon ship” drills.  Then we explored the boat.

As you probably know, cruises are mostly about eating, and so we ate and drank our way out to the Bahamas, never getting off or even seeing them in the dark, and then turning back in to the south.

In the morning, we awoke to a half-day onshore in Key West.  I spent a lot of time on deck.  Very stable, and slow… Pulling into port and docking was a trip.  We saw a bunch of islands owned by big-named celebrity types, did the tourist-y thing downtown, and passed the first test of not misssing the boat when it departed, again in a slow and stately fashion.  Then the cap’n picked up the pace and we waved at the Dry Tortugas on the right, Cuba way off to the left, and settled in as we drove deep into the Gulf (pre-Halliburton blowout and Corexit spray).  We had a day on Cozumel which we spent taking the bus down to Tulum and getting the full tour.

http://reviewscancun.com/wp-content/gallery/tulumruins/tulumruins.jpg

We experienced hot, several iguana, and a good dose of Mayan pride. The bus ride to and from was at least 90 minutes. The trip back to the dock in Cozumel to the mainland was aboard a fast catamaran that, despite its double-hulled stability, was a litle choppy. We got an evening to stroll around the tourist shops in Cozumel. The trip back on the cruise ship was a day of sunny delight.  After dinner, we turned in knowing that we’d be docking again in Fort Lauderdale in the morning. The big ship had massive hull stabilizers but we hit that same spot offshore where the bonito swam, and there was a spot of queasiness made worse if I peered out the little porthole.

http://www.hgifllairport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/bigstock-Cruise-ships-at-port-of-Miami-68539387_reduced.jpg

But we landed without incident, debarked, got our luggage loaded, and headed north in a nice stable wide-stance Pontiac TransAm. I got my backside into a bucket seat with a steering wheel in my hands and all was well. There was no motion sickness at 75 in the passing lane back then.

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http://writershelpingwriters.net/ 

offers up the opportunity to purchase

a unique set of articles, tools and more for writers.

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https://i0.wp.com/www.brainpickings.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/friendorfoe3.jpg?resize=768%2C409&ssl=1

Friend of Foe?: A Lovely Illustrated Fable About Making Sense of Otherness

A playful illustrated inquiry into whether mutual attentiveness is enough to dissolve enmity into friendship.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2017/02/28/friend-of-foe? 

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Also from 

brainpickings.org 

“… Beloved Prophet is a gorgeous read in its totality. Complement this particular portion with Virginia Woolf on the epiphany in which she understood what it means to be an artist, then revisit Gibran on the seeming self vs. the authentic self and the difficult balance of intimacy and independence in love…..”

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The Awakening

Quantum Mechanics of the Human Brain & Consciousness

49:30

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2baCg8SHGM&t=6s 

Flash Quiz Tomorrow!

enchanting creativity

enchanting creativity

“An important part of a product launch is the press release. It announces what the product is going to be and some key features that make it stand apart from all the rest. But how do you focus in on one of the best aspects of the product in a way that won’t seem too contrived? The solution that Colle+McVoy found for their client Cub Cadet …” is described in this Visual News piece on press releases. 

source of featured graphic

https://www.amazon.com/Enhancing-Creativity-Steven-Halpern/dp/B000003IUC 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H10f2w7T5CU 

 

https://www.quora.com/The-Universe/Hypothetically-if-there-is-intelligent-alien-life-with-the-knowledge-and-means-to-traverse-space-and-travel-to-Earth-what-would-be-their-reasons-for-not-making-contact-Please-read

SERIOUS PHOTOGRAPHERS KNOW that even the best camera phones can’t compete with a DSLR. Provided you know how to use one, that is. The myriad knobs, dials, and settings can intimidate casual users, which explains why two-thirds of non-professionals rarely use anything but full-auto mode. The slick interactive visualization Photography Mapped can help those people master their camera.

https://www.wired.com/2016/12/photography-mapped-Learn How To Use A DSLR Camera, With This Nifty Web Tool 

 

https://www.visualnews.com/2013/12/29/pantone-perfection-color-palettes-nature/ 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQpwDtIn4ec 

 

http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/ui_change.png 

 

Become a Piano Superhuman

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1V2zI_VQ5et66WtKXhAXXA 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1Tr1qCHwq4 

 

 

The Best Science Books of 2016

“I have long believed that E.B. White’s abiding wisdom on children’s books — “Anyone who writes down to children is simply wasting his time. You have to write up, not down.” — is equally true of science books. The question of what makes a great book of any kind is, of course, a slippery one, but I recently endeavored to synthesize my intuitive system for assessing science books that write up to the reader in a taxonomy of explanation, elucidation, and enchantment

https://i1.wp.com/www.brainpickings.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/enchanters.jpg?resize=680%2C519 

Gathered here are exceptional books that accomplish at least two of the three, assembled in the spirit of my annual best-of reading lists, which I continue to consider Old Year’s resolutions in reverse — not a list of priorities for the year ahead, but a reflection on the reading most worth prioritizing in the year being left behind…..” 

If you have not yet subscribed to the weekly “BrainPickings” newsletter, you should hasten to do so. 

 

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/growing-up-in-a-library-is-exactly-as-magical-as-you-would-imagine 

 

https://www.visualnews.com/2016/12/07/how-to-write-awesome-video-script-8-steps/ 

 

“… Creating involves new space and new time. I often use the metaphor of the painter to explain this. The painter views the blank canvas as the place where he will build up his own version of space and time.

And when the canvas is finished, he hangs it on a wall. His space and time are now inserted into physical reality.

The painting could be any enterprise: a business, an adventure in a far-flung place; a new relationship; a deep investigation of a mystery…

In each case, the person is projecting his own space and time into the physical world—and the physical world accepts them without question.

The act of projecting is mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.

There are degrees of projecting—degrees of power.

In creating new reality, executing details requires a sense of logic.

Once upon a time, in medieval universities, new students enrolled in the Trivium. It was the foundation curriculum. It was required. Its parts were: grammar, logic, and rhetoric.

Grammar: the interior construction of language.

Logic: the valid and invalid connections in the course of a formal argument; the method of proper reasoning; the deductive links in a chain, at the end of which appears a conclusion.

Rhetoric: oral and written presentation; the use of language to make a case; the capacity to persuade, even in the face of counter-argument.

Today, the subject matter of the Trivium is not only downplayed. It has been shattered.….”

https://jonrappoport.wordpress.com/2016/12/08/power-outside-the-matrix-inserting-your-space-and-time-into-physical-reality-2/ 

 

New Experiments Show Consciousness Affects Matter ~ Dean Radin Ph.D [42 minutes]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRSBaq3vAeY 

 

 

“Why do you have your beliefs? Who taught them to you and why do you hold it within you? How do you perceive yourself? How do you perceive others? Do you want to learn more about the world you experience and live in? Is there a habit you want to break? Listen to this and get an idea of consciousness. Old knowledge with a new perspective.”

Dr. Joe Dispenza is the speaker. [Audio: 48 minutes]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1NrSvY2lz4 

goulash

goulash

Want to make a sandwich?  Sure, of course you know how. You run to the fridge and pantry and you’ll be eating something within short order. (Pardon the pun.)

music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4FPe7bUP64 

http://kirbiecravings.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/grilled-macaroni-cheese-sandwich-18-620×706.jpg

But let’s say you want to entertain, or you need to make several sandwiches for several people, or your bridge club is due for lunch in an hour. Maybe you want to get creative; five of your closest and dearest friends are going to spend the afternoon on the patio.

There are five major steps or considerations for your endeavor. There’s bread, spread, meat, cheese and add-ons.

Choose the type of bread; choose the size or structure of the bread, and think about how you are going to prep the bread. Is this with crust or without?  A sub roll?  Flat bread of some sort? Are you going to toast it, or grill it?

Choose a meat; ham, turkey, chicken, pork, roast beef, or delicatessen variants. Bacon could be included, but I think of bacon as a topping. Tha’s not true in a BLT, of course.

Consider how you are going to prepare the bread with a spread. Choose a mayo, aioli, spreads, condiments. Make your own with things like avocado, aparagus, garlic, or some form of pepper. Then think about veggies (tomatoes, lettuce (which type?), bacon, peppers, etc.

Now go back and build your dream sandwich.

At a restaurant last year, I had the surprise of my life: a firm cup of bibb lettuce that fit in your hand, filled with a mix of chooped grilled chicken and salmon and a slaw made of snow peas.

https://shk-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/uploads/files/9156/large/201208Cucumbers-and-cheese-sandwiches.jpg

 

“Brain Pickings” continues to impress; Have you subscribed too? 

 

Make up your own dish of noodles or potatoes topped with a goulash of skillet-sauteed lamb, or pork, cooked, chilled, sliced, seasoned with paprika and pepper, mixed with chives, onions, scallions, cream, mayo, cheese, sour cream, and roasted peppers. Obviously you’re going to leave out one or two of those ingredients. You’re on your own.

In the other kitchen, you can borrow from others. Geoffrey Zakarian (self-described as a libertarian and at odds with The Donald), who grew up in a town not associated with the often-unpronounceable Worcestershire sauce, had an appearance recently on a morning show (Today) and spoke of preparing a dinner the nature of which had me immediately scambling for a memo pad and pen.

I’m a sucker for food, cooking shows, and learning how to prepare a simply great meal simply.

You don’t need a recipe or a degree from some culinary institute to succeed in this realm in your own kitchen.

He spoke briefly of a ribeye steak, which had been rubbed in spices and kept chilled overnight, and was brought to room temperatue over at least an hour and then seared on all four sides before grilling it. Aim for 3 to 5 ounces per serving depending on your guests. Meanwhile, onions, small potatoes and mushrooms were skewered, radishes and watercress prepped, and a vinaigrette made with anchovy paste, shallots, mustard, tarragon and red wine. If you need more of Geoffrey, go to http://www.geoffreyzakarian.com.

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http://www.russianschool.com/sites/default/files/board2.jpg

Easy Peazy Lemon Squeezy

A couple of days ago, I was talking to a father in a joint custody case in which the terms of the court specify that the mother retains sole right to make decisions regarding the child’s education while the father retains the obligation to make child care payments every month.  She is the daughter of a retired wealthy Chinese pathologist and dates a billionaire and lives in a tony neighborhood just outside Greater Boston where star athletes live.  She has a master’s degree; he didn’t quite finish his bachelor’s degree but holds down a corporate leadership job paying him six figures. 

Both parents attended the event where the first grader was tested for admission to an after-school program.  The father described the testing as simply the admissions test administrator pulling math problems out of a binder arranged for chronological cognitive development and asking the child to solve them.  

The seven-year-old child solved the first batch readily so the tester skipped up a section, then again the child performed exceptionally. After several minutes of this, the tester dove into the middle of the book and randomly pulled several problems for the kid to solve.  His father said they were algebraic in nature and both his Mom and his Dad had difficulties in seeing the solution readily.   When the nature of the problems were explained to me, I said that they sounded like stepping stones to computer languages; Dad called them advanced pattern recognition problems, and  “Russian math”.  

I never got much past introductory trigonometry.

So a little digging on the Internet showed that these after-school programs, increasingly available in certain communities, have a focus on logic and critical thinking.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_School_of_Mathematics 

A Russian solution to US problem

Emigres’ formula for math success pays off in Newton

By Scott S. Greenberger, Globe Staff, 5/7/2001

By Scott S. Greenberger, Globe Staff, 5/7/2001 

http://russian-math.com/about-us/ 

includes sample lessons

http://russian-math.com/grade-4/ 

The Development of Algebraic Thinking

A Vygotskian Perspective

http://www.russianschool.com/sites/default/files/pdf/zdm051a3.pdf 

 

Dad said the child passed the admissions test with flying colors. 

“Easy Peazy Lemon Squeezy” said the kid.

 

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-psN0iD7I0ZQ/UipLW8YS0GI/AAAAAAAABSs/5j4ll2uOfNs/s1600/OSensei-Correct-Mind.jpg

Longtime readers know of my attraction to and infatuation with the art and science of aikido. Since my hemiplegic motor stroke of 8 years ago, I’ve had to give up (or at least modify or postpone until the next reincarnation) my intent to practice seriously on the tatami. I’ve found myself becoming more and more a student of how aikido works in real life as a means to interpersonal interaction and for me, in my modified ambulatory style, to move back toward a sense of movement with grace.  In so doing, I’ve re-discovered a lot of things (or maybe I am just discovering them for the first time).

Among the many books on my bookshelf are two by Robert Dobson: Aikido in Everyday Life and It’s a Lot Like Dancing.

It is a lot like dancing.  You’ll see how and why in these video shorts:

Aikido Dancing

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6GAQ3-X3Ro

aisabaki – aikido – dance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H56n-DS8Ikg

Kaiten (dance – aikido) rehearsal

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hnAqDlqceY

Principles of Circles & Spirals

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdIg5lPeY1w
And in this series of videos, Robert Nadeau provides some lessons that improve functioning in everyday life, or “the aikido that cannot be seen with the human eye”. Consult that Wikipedia link for more information.

Some videos are by one of his students, Richard Moon the founder of http://extraordinarylistening.com (worthy of a side trip for the videos, the DVD’s, the seminars and the blog!)

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Strozzi-Heckler and http://tworockaikido.com/about/.

Aikido Shihan Robert Nadeau: The Field Dances Us

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WObuWJqy9Ag

Moonsensei: Aikido and the Art of Awareness

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Tz29eBIgPs

Moonsensei: Aikido, Turning Fear into Power

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsZhjRd5k8Y

O Sensei said, ” I feel what you feel that you call fear, but I call it a call to action.” My teacher Robet Nadeau studied with O Sensei. He paraphrased it, “Fear is the harbinger of power.”

moonsensei in maastricht: Aiki – Energy State

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MedDDBQHt6Y Energy State

Aiki Lab: Three Principles To Create an Aiki Resolution

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WKto4Xc9fV8

Aiki Taiso Conditioning Exercises

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Q2Bmh35xEA

Aikido as Extraordinary Listening: Moonsensei

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VZRuRWjzcU

Aikido Shihan Robert Nadeau: Opening or Learning

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG7xBmMc42w

Aikido Shihan Robert Nadeau: Space

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIY6AiDeiJs

Aikido Shihan Robert Nadeau: Frame and Flow

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PI5A8J4aEsI

Aikido Shihan Nadeau: Presence / Under Pressure

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lu0fmipoLRo

Aikido Shihan Robert Nadeau: Different Centers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZiIEZwoVkj4

Aikido Shihan Nadeau: Balance as a Doorway

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqhtqqmGrsw

Aikido Shihan Robert Nadeau: Base & Center The Next Level

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pirHByLum0

Aikido Shihan Robert Nadeau: Exploring O Sensei’s Cosmology (28 min.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ya94jkaDTIk

Harald Ross, Aikikan: Aikido vs. Tango

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rG_tnefyOcc

Taiko, Aikido & Modern Dance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qc6zCRkI8o

Energy Flow Demonstration

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8J5EMD6N-cA

Aikido: The Art of Peace?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrEoYFgbQ08

complex challenge

Chapter 14 of the e-book is about leadership, building winning teams, moving people, and all of the factors and skills in doing those things. It draws on athletics, on business, and on the military. The art of leadership is embodied in the person. Leadership requires exceptional skills in conducting a changing or dynamic activity in a dynamic process that involves people who themselves are at various levels of skill, learning, and mastery. Leadership involves taking action. It requires presence. It involves communication.

Tab N (Leadership)

Chapter 15 of the e-book is about strategy, situational awareness, finding out what you need to know, decision-making in a dynamic setting and/or under stress, and more. It introduces the reader to some ancient and basic precepts in military strategy through time-tested and accepted sources: Sun Tzu’s The Art of War; Sir B. H. Liddell-Hart’s theory of the indirect approach, and John Boyd OODA loop theory. It provides some limited examples of how these are applied to athletic scenarios, and focuses on the psychological aspects that come into play with perception, comprehension, speed/tempo, and space/time.

Tab O (Psychology of Strategy)

Chapter 16 of the e-book is about possibility. It is based on sources from within the world of learning, and the world of business. It is focused, in the end, on getting people aligned toward producing a desired outcome. It is focused on accountability, on making a difference, on collaboration, and on honesty.  It’s about choices that leaders make.

Tab P (The Art of Possibility)

To make effective sense of a complex challenge, we must have a grasp of the whole of the situation, including its variables, unknowns, and mysterious forces. We must examine more than just the surface. This requires skills beyond everyday analysis.

relationships

One of the things that absolutely fascinates me about the value of aikido, the physical practice of which as a practical discipline in martial arts I had to give up when it became apparent that I had some as-yet-undefined-or-unaddressed compromise in aortic function, is in its embodied lessons in understanding and working on relationships with other human beings.

Whether it is the delivery of ukemi across distances of the Internet in the middle of some political discussion with contentious virtual opponents, or the closely interpersonal and psychologically intimate discussions in a dyad, or the multiple grapplings of dinner table randori in a family setting, beginning to understand and embody how we present ourselves, how we perceive, how we move, and how we contend, disarm, charm and take effort not to injure is an important understanding.

This is why I am attracted to and resonate with people like Richard Strozzi-Heckler, this fellow whose blog I subscribe to in Richmond, VA, or the instructional videos of Nick Lowry at windsong dojo in Oklahoma. I am always looking for insight.

My very first sensei, Dave Card, had a piece of calligraphy I grabbed off the Internet and copied (my scanned copy keeps disappearing inside my archives), replicated, and once was made into a painted red/white/black acryclic signpost outside my door at the empty aerie overlooking a river I briefly occupied before my own personal Wacht am Rhein on 12/16/07.

The calligraphy simply was two mirroring curved lines of the circling uke and nage, wary perhaps, co-exsting on the tatami of life and the moment, with a heart in the middle.

The message was simple:

At the heart of the interaction, the discipline, the practice, all those techniques, the ukemi, was love.

Here is a piece I wrote on ma-ai at that time:

Ma-ai

The distance between us waxes and wanes.  Our sensory receptors sometimes strain to detect changes, movements, new positions, new insights, responses.  Sometimes we are in a frenzied interaction, built on moves and techniques learned elsewhere or from our previous dances.  You hear, I say; I talk too much, you feel; I clarify, you add, you subtract; you change the tune, I introduce a new rhythm.

I look ahead to where we might be in a different corner of the dance floor and how we will get there, and you get lost in the detail of hand on hand, or pressure point, or pulse.

You add, and suggest.  I wonder; you add graphics.

I speak in poetic prose; you speak in urls and umms.

Sometimes we tango, and sometimes we salsa.  Oft times we waltz: we enjoy a slower pace for observation and exploration.

You query; I respond.  I query; you respond.

We speak of parallel universes and perpendicular tangents.

You probe; I withdraw.  I move forward; you turn away.

You think of lips and light brushes of skin; I push and pull with firm pressures.

Our antennae re-cycle the data from each moment, linking to our engines of thought and emotion.  One stumbles; the other answers to re-position, to minimize the effects, to stay in touch.

One leads; the other follows.  One takes a break; the other remains, to pick up again from where leaving was.  Where you were, I was.  Where I will be, you have been.

How and why is this so easy and yet so hard?  We have each been here before, perhaps, and yet the dance of the moment is alive with freshness and newness that is like light dew on gardens in the glow of a rising sun.

We reflect and think; we feel and delight in flesh-on-flesh.  We listen to our hearts’ pulsings and poundings; we taste what might be; we hear echoes of music; poetry arises from time to time, matched only by bursts of exclamation, periods of silence, and renewed contact.  We trade laughter and smiles, grins and grimaces.  We step on each other’s toes, and we keep on moving.  We dance in kitchens, and we dance in offices.  We visualize Arthur Murray moves while driving.  We conduct orchestras in training.  Heaven and earth seem at times to move in connected unity.

When we get out of step, we re-orient with a gaze to the other’s eyes, and a gaze within.  And we listen again.  And we dream of dancing.  And then our heart’s eyes lock again from across the floor, and we advance slowly… our ma-ai changing once again.

The Universe moves slowly in its inexorable and mysterious rotations within rotations, and we within them.

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Here is a piece taken from the newsletter published by my second sensei, Judy Ringer:

Mitsugi Saotome, in Aikido and the Harmony of Nature (Shambhala, Boston, 1993), tells us that ma-ai is the distance in time and space between people, events, or energies. When we are in touch with ma-ai, the larger pattern, we know when to move, when to pause, and when to blend. There are rhythms of ma-ai throughout our daily lives, and in the differences between society and solitude, between action and contemplation, in pacing and momentum, in knowing when enough is enough.

Terry Dobson, in It’s a Lot Like Dancing (Frog Ltd., Berkeley, CA 1993) says, on page 39: “In the martial experience, you learn that it’s very good to be close to your opponent. When I’m close to him, I know exactly where he is, what’s likely to do. I can control, direct, relax, quiet, and restore this person by being close to him.”  Later, on page 149, “The word ma-ai in Japanese means ‘space-time’. Try to keep at least a distance of the length of two arms when dealing with strangers in the street. You take a step towards me, I take a step backwards to maintain this distance. I’ve spent many hours dancing around at this distance just to learn how far that really was.”

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Essay as part of the requirement for shoudan.

Requested by Alan Higgs Sensei and Peter Cleydon Sensei.

Maai and Metsuke

Metsuke and Maai are two very important aspects of Aikido.

Metsuke is essentially eye-to-eye contact without focusing on a singe point which permits awareness of the total field of vision.

Metsuke is also the idea of focusing the eyes and the mind so as not to be drawn in by the opponent’s attack. It is a perception of everything that is happening around you and the pre-perception which enable us to sense an attack or aggressiveness in the form of impending danger, before it actually occurs. Metsuke can also mean insight into the human soul, which can inhibit an attack by the expression in the eyes or diffuse it with benevolence or compassion.

Metsuke should result in eye contact on the opponent’s centre. Shifting you eyes from one focal point to another (ie from eyes to hand to feet) constantly changes your perception of distance and angles. To develop perception of these aspects it is essential to focus on one point in the attackers centre line, but still having an awareness of the total field of vision.

Maai is the relation of space and position between uke and tori. It literally means “harmony of space”. It mainly consists of keeping the correct distance and maintaining correct body position and direction. Establishing maai is achieving and maintaining a position that puts you at an advantage and your opponent at a disadvantage. Many factors must be considered for correct maai, such as relative size of the people involved, whether there are multiple uke, the environment and the types of weapons. Maai is constantly changing by the actions created by attacks or defence. The moment tori or uke move maai begins to change. To stop your opponent from attacking you, you must be far enough away so the opponent cannot reach you, but this distance must be balanced with an ability to subdue the opponent’s attack when it does come. Through taisabaki, blending and entering, tori can end up quite close to uke at the execution of the technique. When stationary and unarmed, maai for aikido tends to be a distance of two outstretched arms, but because of the fluid character of Aikido and because distances change depending upon the situation, maai is more a sense that has to be developed and practiced.

The principles of maai and metsuke are practiced in all aspects of Aikido. When practicing, eye contact is kept and a correct distance between tori and uke is maintained.

Two exercises which develop maai and metsuke are tegatana awase and seichusen no bogyo.

Tegatana awase is essentially a practice of keeping eye contact and a correct distance. When at a safe distance of two arm spans away, there is nothing that your opponent can do, unless they enter first. Balance and distance must always be maintained as the two partners move around. The body should also always be aligned so that it is facing your opponent. In this way maai is maintained. This exercise can also be done without the hands in front of you. The same distance should be maintained, and this develops and understanding of maai.

Seichusen no bogyo is a timing exercise which also develops an understanding of maai and metsuke. Metsuke is important in this exercise, as focusing on one aspect, such as the right hand, will result in you being attacked from a different quarter. For this reason focusing on the centre line is important, and maintaining a 360 degree peripheral vision is essential. Seichusen no bogyo is important for maai, as the attacker must enter in order to attack. Fast body movement is essential to place you in an advantageous position that puts your partner at a disadvantage. It is essential that your body is facing your partners body. Eye contact is also important in this exercise, as you might get a clue from which direction the next attack is coming from.

Metsuke and Maai are both extremely important aspects of Aikido, and should be practiced in every exercise.

Ewa Rej

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“To stop your opponent from attacking you, you must be far enough away so the opponent cannot reach you, but this distance must be balanced with an ability to subdue the opponent’s attack when it does come.”

But in a relationship you want to maintain and enrichen, you’ll want your partner to “attack”, to bring an energy of intensity and improvement, and so you’ll have to allow yourself to be thrown. You have to be vulnerable enough and trusting enough that you won’t be hurt. You’ll have to be competent enough to insure that neither you nor your partner get hurt. But you can’t stop dancing just to avoid getting hurt; you’ll get hurt anyway.

This is what the insights on ukemi will tell you.

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24/8/07

“.. Ukemi is 50% about being able to deliver that type of quality attack that will challenge the nage and force him to continually raise the level of his technique. It is impossible to reach the highest level of skill without having skilled ukes to train with…..”

http://www.bulunganaikido.com/The_Nature_of_Ukemi.html

So too must we bring the utmost of our selves to personal interaction.  Much of our lives are focused on contentiousness, whether it’s while we’re driving in traffic with frenzied and otherwise-distracted peope in too much of a hurry, or talking with a spouse about handling household decisions, or enlisting the support of co-workers into our ideas, our energies, our contributive talents.

While much of the video you can find on the Internet is about “taking out” some tough guy in a combative encounter, try looking at it (and experiencing it) as an art of power and grace in any non-violent daily encounter.

The principles will also come in handy if you need to suddenly take on a tough guy.

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Aikido Three Ranges of Interaction (!!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dNzmKLDR3K8 

(9:17)

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Beth Gineris wrotes about verbal aikido.

If you can see that an interaction or dialogue is an exchange of energy and you understand that some dialogue is passive-aggressive, you can use “… core principles to turn and lead, deflect and redirect, another’s critical, negative, manipulative and emotionally aggressive behavior back to the one who is enacting it….”

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http://izumitherapy.com/blog/2013/10/the_art_of_emotional_aikido_10_skills_to_turn_relationship_conflict_into_connection_ 

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“A Sincere Attack”

An essay in the marvelous book entitled

“The gift of danger: lessons from aikido”,

Mary Stein, Blue Snake Books, Berkeley California 2009.

I have been brought up to be polite and not hit people, so, when I first tried aikido, my strike would automatically swerve to one side at the last moment to avoid contact with my partner’s body. My partners, more advanced aikido students, had a uniform reaction: they stopped everything and insisted that I aim the side of my hand or my fist directly at their head or belly. “Hit me!”, they said, then stood and walked into my strike connected with their body. The strike didn’t have to be hard, but it did have to connect. When they decided I was getting the idea, they’d step out of the way as the blow approached. If I forgot the lesson and veered off target again, my partner will once again stand in front of me, motioning for me to hit. When I strike with full intention to make a connection, my partner has to be skillful and accurate in responding to my motion.

Gradually I realized why this was important. If my partner moves incorrectly, he or she will be hit. By striking sincerely and precisely, we provide our partners with an essential risk. This demand for sincerity goes to the heart of aikido.

I learned to appreciate this, too, when I was the one being attacked–struck by the side of my partner’s hand, or grabbed by the wrist or shoulder. Because my partner was striking accurately and with determination, I learned to assess the angle of my partners approach, to align myself to that so that I could move skillfully to meet the blow, moving aside perhaps only a fraction of an inch, just enough to allow the meeting, the acceptance of the attack, and a quick redirection that set my partner into a fault or roll. The tiniest miscalculation of the angle and I might be too far away to have any power to move my partner. Too close, and I’d be hit.

… One of our instructors pointed out that this constant assessment of the angle or attack of approach had helped him in dealing with people outside the dojo. Aikido had helped them become much more attuned to body language and tone of voice, to listen to more than just the words people were using. His time on the mat had given him greater sensitivity to another’s intentions or attitude.

When I’m sincere I can see how the slightest tension distorts my movements and throws me off course as an attacker or as a defender. The “mind of contention” seems to be where those tensions originate. As we repeat the movements of aikido, we can become more aware of our own habitual “angles of attack.”

The Japanese word uke doesn’t literally mean “attacker,” though uke plays that role. It actually means “receiver.” Aikido’s sincere and determined attack is absorbed by nage, the “thrower” or defender, redirected, and transformed into an energy that destabilizes at the end of the technique uke, who then “receives” the fall. In a way, all of aikido is ukemi or receiving, for both the attacker and defender must be open to receiving impressions of the situation as it changes from moment to moment. Only in that way will they respond appropriately to each other. They need both to welcome and adopt as to what’s happening to themselves and their partner. They need to welcome the gift of danger that they’re bringing to each other.”

The Gift of Danger is aimed at men and women for whom the question of what is genuine in their lives has taken on fresh urgency.” http://www.aikidojournal.com/bibliography_details?id=332

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Aikido Five Elements for Delivery of Energy (!!!!)

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mjP3ohV8gQU 

(12:24)

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From the dojo of my second sensei:

Judy Ringer is a conflict and communication skills trainer, black belt in Aikido, and founder of Power & Presence Training and Portsmouth Aikido.

http://www.judyringer.com/resources/articles/fear-of-failure-and-the-art-of-ukemi-3-lessons-from-aikido.php 

http://www.judyringer.com/perch/resources/fear-of-failure-and-art-of-ukemi-2.pdf 

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“… There are many complex and difficult concepts to learn in martial arts, concepts that are introduced to you in a very elementary way when you start out and then progress in their complexity as you advance through training. One example of this is ‘distance’ and ‘timing‘.

Even a white belt sparring with a partner for the first time may be told to ‘keep your distance’ and ‘move in to punch then move straight out again’. A little further up the grades and you get advice like ‘move in to disrupt a kick’ or ‘move off line’. The more advanced practitioner then starts to actually anticipate what there opponent is about to do before they’ve even made a move (sen no sen) and moves in to attack first or disrupt the opponents attempt. This is advanced stuff! We’re still talking about distance and timing here but this ability is many tiers up – now we’re in the realm of maai.

Truly appreciating and utilising maai requires a unity of mind and body. It is as much a mental skill as it is a physical one. The Japanese word maai translates simply to ‘interval’ and is referring to the space between two combatants during a fight. The wikipedia entry on maai describes it as: “a complex concept, incorporating not just the distance between opponents, but also the time it will take to cross the distance, angle and rhythm of attack.” If one controls the space between then one controls the fight.

An analogy that I like that helps to describe maai comes from a friend of mine, Peter Seth, who is a 5th dan in aikido (maai is big in aikido!). He says, “Imagine music without the ‘spaces’ of silence between the sounds, the gaps between the notes. Without the spaces there would be constant noise, which may vary in pitch and intensity but would be chaotic and unbearable. These spaces set the time/timing, rhythm and beat of the music, which in turn affects/controls the whole composition. So influence in this area of the ‘space/s between’, effectively allows the leading of all these energies. You become the ‘conductor of this orchestra of energy’.

Maai is a fluid thing, constantly changing as a fight progresses. Maai has a temporal element as well as a spatial one. It also pertains to the momentary lapses of awareness that are manifested in the opponent’s mind. Capitalising on these mental intervals (or lapses of concentration in your opponent’s mind) is also a way of controlling the maai. Being constantly aware of both your maai and your opponents as they constantly change and then being able to manipulate this to your advantage so that your opponents techniques are constantly disrupted requires an intuitive understanding of movement and timing. I am in awe of people who have mastered this skill because I am very much still operating in the lower tiers of elementary ‘distance’ and ‘ timing’. ….”

http://kickasssuec.blogspot.com/2010/11/maai-maai-how-difficult-this-one-is-to.html 

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The Complete Video Series from WindSong Dojo

https://www.youtube.com/user/kazeutabudokai 

[Look for the two-parter on sensitivity] 

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Here’s one example, shown in slow-motion, of the culmination of the black belt test called the randori in which three people attack simultaneously.  Watch it ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC7g6uFlzx8) and imagine the defender is you and that you are blind, and then think about how mindfulness, awareness and having a sense of who and where you are at any moment can be useful in your life when you can see.

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Finally, read this short entry:

http://www.searchofpeace.com/blog/2015/05/20/tonglen-and-the-energy-of-compassion/#more-574 

By the way, the featured image at the top of this entry was originally POSTED BY MARGUERITE MANTEAU-RAO AT http://minddeep.blogspot.com/2010/06/aikido-of-mindful-communication.html