The Martial Arts of Avatar

One of the greatest things about the cartoon series is that the creators based the fictional powers of “bending” on real life martial arts. Having trained in Aikido for 7 years, anything that realistically portrays martial arts in the media is always a pleasure.

Note that Sifu Kisu was the chief martial arts advisor for Avatar: The Last Airbender tv series.

Northern Shaoling Kung Fu – Firebending

Hung Gar Kung Fu – Earthbending

Bagua Zhang – Airbending

Tai Chi Chuan – Waterbending

…and something extra
Southern Praying Mantis – Toph’s Earthbending (because Toph deserves her own recognition).

Banishment with Multiple Silver Linings

So it’s a wonderful twist of fate that I made my greatest Aikido discovery… after I was kicked out.

You heard that right, I got kicked out – in August of last year.

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I’m the guy on the left being a badass, with my tail in-between my legs while meekly mooning them. 

Long story short: 
I had hit a plateau in my training in August. At the time I had grown tired of hearing my two sensei infer to me repeatedly that was I was too mental. Plus I realized that I was too “soft” in my movement – too limp and “no energy”.

One day I realized that I moved better outside of the dojo than I was on the mat. I had a pep in my step outside of the dojo and I was much more “settled” outside of the dojo than in.

Which is great right? Well to me it was weird.
– How could I be moving better outside of the dojo than in?
– Why was I always tired and lethargic before, during, and after training?
– Why was I NOT down whenever I wasn’t training? 

The second question was the real reason I decided that perhaps my training needed some much needed boast.

So then I thought to myself – Why don’t I bring the energy that I have outside the dojo, inside? –  So it wouldn’t hurt right?

I was wrong apparently

4 years ago I ran into hot water because of my flirtatious ways and lack of social awareness. I was then asked to leave then for a few months (when turned into 8) and then allowed back. Before I had consciously decided to try bringing this new attitude to the mat I asked myself if those same people who sent me off 4 years ago would have forgiven me by now and had forgotten the incident.

Around the last week of August of last year, my sensei pulls me aside after class one day and informs me that there were some members of the dojo that felt that I made the same transgressions that I did years ago. The conclusion being that they felt that my presence was not welcomed any more and that they wished to have me leave.

Oh fuck, not this again.

It has been about 5 months since that incident and I haven’t set foot inside my home dojo since that time, nor have I set foot in a dojo. One good thing: while I’m still technically a member of the dojo, I can’t train with the rest of the crew for reasons above. If I do train, I have to adhere to a set of rules that were agreed upon between myself and my sensei.

Do I deny the accusations brought forth to me? No, not at all – social graces has always been a weak spot for me and thus I’ve dedicated myself to continual improvement in that area. But what I do accuse my accusers of is of not confronting me personally – and instead having the work around my back and have the situation blowing up in my face.

~

Okay, so what’s the silver lining that I speak of?  Well, it’s this: I finally got what I wanted out of my training Aikido.

Well, what is it you ask? I had found myself.

That’s right! I finally feel that I’m comfortable in my skin – this is big because I’ve always been very “out of body”. Some people call this “always in the head”. Grounded, centered? Whatever, it only took 7 long-ass years of training!

But you know what? I think if it wasn’t for my banishment, I wouldn’t be this confident in myself in the first place. Along with this confidence, I finally solved the problem regarding my social graces!

But of course, all of this came at the cost of my being ousted from dojo. Was it worth it? I don’t know. My sensei has been surprisingly supportive of me, even saying that my absence is a way of “protecting me” from the other yudansha (I bought him a bottle of Italian wine as a thank you). We’re arranging a meeting with my accusers at the moment, though with all the judgement that this going around, even if these confrontations were to end on a happy note, I will be taking my martial arts training else where.

I think the only other loses were my waistline and my job situation (unrelated).

 

8 years ago…

Fire_in_the_darkI set out on a mission. I was depressed, discouraged, mentally weak, and lost. I came back to Silicon Valley hoping – more like wishing – that my return to help me find myself again.

I returned to a place that had screwed me over so many times before. Messed with my mind, led me astray, and destroyed my confidence in all things and area.

Returning to San Jose really was more of an admission of defeat in my personal and professional development than anything else. But I was riding on the hope that during my “return” I’d find myself…

Somehow I feel that I finally did find that “one” thing.

It took 8 years, but I finally found what I was looking for all these years: myself.

ENFP Fighting Style

Often times I’d search up random stuff online just out of sheer boredom or if I’d like to be distracted.

Recently it has been about my MBTI personality; the ENFP and it’s fighting style.

Yes I googled “ENFP fighting style”. This was what I got:
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Doesn’t exactly scream martial arts. Well here it is ladies and gents. I’m here to make the official hit for “ENFP fighting style”

Below are some examples, enjoy:

Aang from Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon series (ENFP).

Po from Kung Fu Panda (ENFP)

At this point, I’ll even vouch the martial art that I studied in: Aikido. Though Aikido isn’t ENFP-ish, it is very intuitive martial art that requires the person to have high values (very feeling-ish). That’s not to say that there aren’t other MBTI personalities among Aikido’s ranks.

This is actually from a school not too far from me, enjoy:

 

 

Star Wars – The Fanboy Awakens [Warning: Mild Spoilers]

  1. Saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens. 7/10. I initially had 6.5/10 but then I realized that what I had thought to be lack of depth in the plot and characters were simply just similarities to A New Hope. Still, I hated that there was no in depth look into any of the new characters. There was also the parallels between TFA and A New Hope: wayward search for an obi-wan like character goes awry, unknown farm boy (girl in this case) is found and gets caught up in this whole “save the galaxy” deal.Not to mention: a.) track the Millennium Falcon (that ship is cursed in that way!) back to b.) the Rebel/Resistance base to save it from a Death Planet that blew up another planet that later in turn was destroyed by c.) a bombing run by a group of fighters.

    Not a bad way to repeat the series start a new one. I will certainly be watching the 8th episode along with the rest of the Jedi order horde, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

  2. Speaking of Star Wars, my new celebrity crush is Daisy Ridley. Oh how you’re so sweet, delicate, yet deadly!
  3. JJ Abrams did a great job – even though I never once include any of the canon that followed the originals.
  4. Where the hell did Finn come from? It wasn’t like he has a history of anything.

Anyway – It was a good one watching with the girlfriend and others, but not one I’d go bonkers over it. Go and watch it!

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New Year’s Message – Gareth Emery

First off, happy new year! I have high hopes that this year is the year of changes for me, so I’m going to kick it off by sharing this New Years message from one of my favorite EDM (electronic dance music) artists –  Gareth Emery. I could only wish to emulate his success and excellence in his life. Cheers!

10 years ago I nearly gave up making music.

In 2006 I was broke, making less than minimum wage, no girlfriend, still lived with my parents, whilst my friends all had proper jobs with career prospects, good salaries, houses, etc.

My life was very fucking far from where I wanted it to be.

I remember going 3 months without a single show. Not because I wanted studio or vacation time…. there just wasn’t a single club or festival IN THE WORLD that wanted to book me!

I was told “You’ve tried your best but it’s time to give up” by my closest friends, some members of my family, other DJs, even my agent.

Giving up would have been easy but instead I accepted some hard truths.

My career sucked because I was lazy. I was never in the studio and I was bitter about those who were doing better than me, rather than looking at myself.

So I turned shit around.

I used the time off gigs to create my podcast. It did 300 episodes and eventually became Electric For Life, which just promoted my biggest solo show in my life.

Of course things didn’t happen overnight.
But it was a start and ten years on, after continuing to work damn hard every single day since then, I’ve got an incredible family, amazing career, and everything I ever wanted.

Was it easy? Fuck no.

But was it worth it? Fuck yes.

Now I’m not saying I’ve “made it” now because there are still many things I want to achieve and I firmly believe you guys haven’t even heard the best music I’ve made yet (just wait until you hear the new album). But I wanted to write this message for those of you who might be where I was ten years ago.

You might see all the cool shit I have now and think it was an easy journey, or I got lucky, because Instagram tends to show the product of success but not the struggle to get there.

So however fucking dark things may seem now, and however much you might want to give up on your dreams (whatever they are), DO NOT GIVE UP.

So happy 2016. Go out and fucking crush it and finish the year a step closer to your dreams, whatever they may be.

Happy New Year,

Gaz xx

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2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Facing the Cold

*This story is from a dream that I had in high school

Each step seemed to be minutes long, yet the legs seemed to not give a damn anyway. Not even to the bone chilling cold and nearly 1 meter high snow was given me any sensation.

The slight crackle of the snow underneath my feet was the only sound that my ears registered through the howling 20 mph wing. Despite this, my black cloak was blocking out the wind and snow.

But that didn’t numb the coldness that was inside me.

The pit at the bottom of whatever it is call, the navel? Yeah, what little warmth was there had surrendered to the cold – not the one on the outside, but to the inner lack of warmth.

The furnace had been dead for some time. Before this, before the defeat, before the fleet had retreated, before all the death and destruction that had come down on my country.

Even before the knighthood.

The crackle of the snow echoed through my head like it was a mile away, but it was only a few inches at my feet.

My castle came into view, the ghostly outline drifted through the falling snow that was steadying growing worse, like some angry god whose temper was rising.

Eternity it seemed was having fun at my expense as it took forever until my body finally reached the stairway up to the door. The crackle of the snow was replaced by the soft touch of steps up the stone stairs.

Eternity – that’s what it all felted like. My mind had numbed out the world. It’s as if your conscience had left your body, but somehow your mind was still in your head, screaming through the bars that was your body.

Your walking, breathing, screaming, non-feeling, flesh prison.

The soft touch was replaced by the scraps of the shoes against the stone circular stairs. The castle walls, like the flesh prison that I had within me, were grey like the fog that had settled in my mind.

How symbolic I thought; the castle which was built to protect those within was just like the foggy prison within my own head. Meant to protect, yet was a prison.

I passed by my butler who was waiting by the door.

“Good evening sir, anything for you?”

I took a quick glance at him and noticed that he was wearing a coat over his usual uniform. But it was his gentle smile that lit up the room. For a moment there, it seemed that it was the only candle in plain view. I can feel it penetrate the icy fog in my heart.

“Just some hot water, thank you.”

I watched him as he moved down the stairs, fading into the confines of the castle.

I turned and opened my door, and walked in with what was left of warm of my soul.

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The Hot Dog & the Girl

fnd_SONIC-Croissant-Dog-news.jpg.rend.snigalleryslideIt was a weird 7 eleven anyway, but I figured that a place with no signage up in front couldn’t be too sketchy in this part of town. I walked in and was welcomed by a full stocked store with all the trappings of a 7 – 11: chips, salsa, high fructose corn syrup drenched candies and sodas.

Come to think of it, it was rather full for a 7 – 11. I mean usually there’d be at least something missing from the shelves – but seriously it was clean

Too clean…

But I really need something to eat and wasn’t going to let some suspicious looking store stop me. I continued along the aisles on the right side of the store.

Now the store had aisles on both the left and right side with the front door slightly on the right. In the center there was a clearing with a roundabout – like counter with  the cashier placed on several sides like sentry towers ready to fight off the occasional rabid coffee junky customer.

As I was walking along the right side of the counter, several laughers alerted me to the presence of 4 teenage girls standing in the far corner of the store.

4 girls; each of the no more than 17 years old were giggling and laughing with each other over at the fridge section. Walking just behind them about 20 feet away, one of them – an Asian looking girl – turned around and upon seeing me gave me the biggest doe eyes I’ve ever seen.

Now, I’ve seen plenty of doe eyes from girls – but this one was massive. As if I was Tom Cruise to her.

As I continued walking towards the back of the store towards the fridge area. Out of my peripheral vision she moved to the aisle closest to me, her eyes peeking out from behind the condoms

How ironic

Realizing that perhaps I didn’t need a frozen whatever, I moved towards the center and while looking down at my change, I felt a presence at the register.

Looking up, it was my Sensei

“Wada Sensei?!” My puzzled look masked my astonishment.

“Hi Andrew.” He smiled. Instead of the usual hakama and gi, he was wearing a white apron with a t-shirt, shorts, and white chefs cap. Hardly appropriate attire for a 7th degree black belt going to training in an hour, but I was too distracted to point it out. Anyway…

“Hey Andrew, I’ll give this to you this and this for free!” All the meaning while handing me a Rice Krispy Treat and a warm hot dog.
Me: “Oh, wow really?”
“In exchange I have a job for you, if you’re available this afternoon that will be perfect.”

I was still looking at him with some amazement – I could feel it by how large my eyes were. Out of the corner of my eye the girl was still looking at me.