Monthly Archives: November 2011
The other day when I picked up my venison from the butcher, another gentleman was in there doing the same.
We all got to talking.
He’s a bow hunter. And not just any bow hunter, he uses long bows. I thought that was pretty cool.
In fact, he doesn’t just use bows, he makes them.
I don’t know much about archery, but looking at the one bow he had in his truck and it sure was pretty. Crafting looked fine and good.
I’m posting it here in case any of my readers are into such things and would be interested in checking them out.
In my past I studied a martial art called Kuk Sool, and did so as a part of the “Kuk Sool Won” or “World Kuk Sool Association”.
I was young and naive.
Now, I think the art itself is a fine art and has great potential, but too many problems have happened within the organization. Within the past couple years there was this “franchise agreement” that came up, changed the landscape, caused many more people to leave the organization. I left prior to that shitstorm, because I could see a lot of things brewing that bothered me. The art? fine. The business? horrible.
For some reason today I went to the WKSA website and poked around. I happened upon a document, the “Black Belt Handbook”. I never received such a thing when I received my black belt, and based on what I read in there it’s obviously new, a product of the post-franchise era.
Most of the things in there were fine, just outlining protocols and so on. These were things that were always there, just not etched in a formal document. I did see some of the “penalties and repremand” stuff as being good to have formalized… and I’m pretty sure that some of the enumerated situations came directly from the past antics of some high ranking folks (I know of a few situations). I don’t blame WKSA for not wanting to tolerate and deal with that sort of crap again.
But there were some things in this now formal document that bothered me… some things that were once rumor, but obviously are now hard fact.
First, I recall that to progress up the dahn ranks (i.e. higher “degree” black belt) that there was a loose requirement for “time in rank” and some minimum number of tests, usually 8. I see now that the minimum number is also formalized at no more than 4 per year. So going from 1st to 2nd degree will take you a minimum of 4 years. That’s a lot of time… and money. That was always there, but I recall things could be a little more flexible, like some people were able to find ways to test more than 4x/year and that was OK, or time was close to 4 years but if it wound up being 3 for someone exceptional then sure. But what I see now that they’ve added is a hard requirement of attending “seminar” (every year Kuk Sah Nim and some other Masters come around to each school to lecture and teach… and pimp lots of merchandise). So that’s a lot more money to have to spend. Then you must also attend at least one tournament — every year WKSA holds numerous tournaments around the world, all closed and WKSA only. It doesn’t say if you have to compete, just “attend”, but you will at least have to volunteer as a judge or scorekeeper… because no one likes doing it, but now you have no choice but to … “volunteer”. More time, more money, forced labor… gotta love it.
But here’s what really bothered me. There was always rumor this was how it was, but now it’s written and formalized:
The following are the basic guidelines set forth by Kuk Sa Nim for all Kuk Sool Won™ Black Belts:
1. Kuk Sool Won™ Black Belts are expected to set the finest examples to students. Kuk Sool Won™ Black Belts should never undertake training in any other martial arts style other than Kuk Sool Won™, nor may they receive certification from any other Martial Arts style.
2. Black Belts shall not exchange any technical knowledge with students or Instructors from other Martial Arts styles whatsoever.
3. Black Belts may not attend Martial Arts seminars organized by other Martial Arts styles, organizations, associations, etc. Black Belts may attend Kuk Sool Won™ seminars and workshops only. Black Belts must immediately inform the WKSA if he or she has knowledge that any member attends any Martial Arts instructions, seminars or workshops organized by associations other than the WKSA.
(BTW, is the art’s name “Kuk Sool Won™”? Guys, I understand you’re all freaked over your marks and intellectual property, but once you’ve established your marks elsewhere in the document, readability requests you stop using the symbol all the time. I digress.)
That’s quite bothersome. You’re never allowed to train in any other art than KSW. You aren’t allowed to discuss technical knowledge with other people. Where does technical knowledge extend? How to execute Ki Bohn Soo #1? Or the discussion of how to lock the shoulder joint? Hrm. And you cannot do anything to further discussion or obtain any other martial arts related knowledge — and you are to tattle on your fellow student if you find out they are learning!
There’s so much that’s wrong with this attitude and approach.
But what strikes me is the hypocrisy.
Elsewhere in this same document it says:
Black Belts are strongly recommended to practice diligence and open-mindedness.
Open-mindedness? I guess so long as it’s about Kuk Sool and nothing else.
What about prior knowledge? I know many high-ranking masters studied other arts before coming to Kuk Sool. Are they allowed to use that knowledge in any way? or must they somehow purge it from their minds and be pure-Sool?
How about Kuk Sah Nim himself, with his stories of how as a young man he travelled the countryside learning from any master he could learn from, some only teaching him one technique. What sort of loyalty is that (I would say, to his grandfather… since the story goes that he learned the core of things from him)? If learning from anyone willing to teach him, if discussion with others “not of your loyal style” was something he did well… why was he allowed to and the underlings not?
This is just wrong and unhealthy on so many levels. It does nothing to foster knowledge, improvement of the art, and even really trying to make the art look good in the eyes of the world at large. Tell me where being so closed was ever a good and productive thing? And how can students actually know if their art is worth a damn if it can never be proven on anyone except those that also drink the kool-aid and are willing to compliantly fall on the ground because that’s the choreography of things?
It’s sad, really.
To my friends still in “The Won”, I mean no harm nor offense to you. We can’t agree on everything, and this is just one place we’ll have to disagree.
I really don’t know what else to write… I’m just sitting here shaking my head. I don’t regret leaving the organization. And if you really want to learn the art of Kuk Sool, thankfully there are a lot of people out there that can teach you without all of this controlling dreck.
Proponents of gun control say that it makes our streets and cities safer.
That we need to pass more laws to ban guns because that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
That we need to ban gun shows because that’s where gangs and cartels get their weaponry (not from the ATF, natch).
Show me data to support this.
I can show you data that refutes it.
Here’s some summary text of a 5-year FBI study into violent criminal attacks on police officers titled, “Violent Encounters: A Study of Felonious Assaults on Our Nation’s Law Enforcement Officers.” From a pool of more than 800 incidents, the researchers selected 40, involving 43 offenders (13 of them admitted gangbangers-drug traffickers) and 50 officers, for in-depth exploration. They visited crime scenes and extensively interviewed surviving officers and attackers alike, most of the latter in prison.
Predominately handguns were used in the assaults on officers and all but one were obtained illegally, usually in street transactions or in thefts. In contrast to media myth, none of the firearms in the study was obtained from gun shows. What was available “was the overriding factor in weapon choice,” the report says. Only 1 offender hand-picked a particular gun “because he felt it would do the most damage to a human being.”
Researcher Davis, in a presentation and discussion for the International Assn. of Chiefs of Police, noted that none of the attackers interviewed was “hindered by any law–federal, state or local–that has ever been established to prevent gun ownership. They just laughed at gun laws.”
It’s funny… you know… they’re called criminals, and by definition that means they don’t obey the law. What in the world makes you think that passing laws to ban X is going to stop X? That criminals are going to care one iota about laws getting in their way?
All you’re doing is hurting good, law-abiding people.
Either you’re ignorant, or you’ve got ulterior motives.
If you’re ignorant (hey, I was too at one time), be willing to shed your ignorance and gain enlightenment. It’s not a bad thing.
If you’ve got ulterior motives, well….
Something new has been added!
- 3 reps – Press (working max: 140#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- 1x3x100 (work)
- 1x6x130 (PR)
- Asst. #1 – Press
- 5 x 10 x 65
- Asst. #2 – Supine shoulder-width grip lat pulldowns
- 5 x 10 x 120
- GPP – Sprints
- Tabata style (20 sec. sprint, 10 sec. walk)
- 5 “reps” (8 reps is one Tabata set)
- walked 2 “laps” to warm up, then 2 at the end for a cooldown
- DeFranco Agile 8
Today was good. I set a PR on Press. I’ve done 130 before but got 3 reps. Today I got 6. Stronger. I should have no problem hitting 135. Confidence is high, repeat, confidence is high.
One change. Because weights are getting heavier, I’m going to wear the belt more. I’ve been wearing the belt only for my work sets on squats and deadlifts, but I’m going to start wearing it for my work sets on presses and bench press too. Why? All the torso stability from the Valsalva Maneuver. Funny thing tho… because I’m not used to wearing it during pressing, today when I wore it it did me no good: I tighten my torso, I don’t press out like Valsalva requires. Of course, the pressing out lends to much better stability, so I’m just going to have to train myself to do it. I’m going to start wearing the belt for all sets of pressing and benching (warmup, work, and BBB assistance) until I retrain myself.
On the assistance work, it was a breeze because I got a lot of rest between sets. The gym was a little chattier than usual this morning, so I was chatting a little more between sets. All good, but a little more rest than I wanted. No worries tho, it happens. Rest is good.
On sprints, I opted to not start out at 100 MPH. My problem the past few times is I start running and try to just sprint right out of the block — it’s caused me some pain in my right hamstring and even today is still a little sore. So instead, start at 0 and just accelerate quickly, ease into it. That was a lot better, I found a better groove. Did 5 reps today and will continue at 5 for the next “week” of the program. My feeling is hit 6 during the work week and stay at 6 during deload week since it’s deload week.
I also started doing the DeFranco Agile 8. The hamstring pulling motivated me — I need to improve that hip area flexibility, and this is recommended to help. Good thing. I will say, I had no idea a foam roller would hurt so much. Not sure what that indicates but wow, my muscles went “OW!”… guess they’re that sore and in need.
My answer? It can, but you can do something about it.
Some background on me. I’ve been at my day job for over 11 years and have worked it as a telecommuter the entire time. I’ve had different bosses, different projects, different teams, but it was always me that was out of the office. At my prior job, while I worked at the company HQ, the project I worked on was hosted out of Toronto, Ontario; that ended up being an interesting hybrid of “in the office” but yet I was still a “remote” that was for all intents and purposes, telecommuting. At the job prior to that, I worked in the office but most of the people I worked directly with were all full-time telecommuters located elsewhere in the world. I got to see and deal with a lot from “that side’ of the fence. So for quite a number of years throughout my entire career I’ve dealt with telecommuting, so I’d like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about it.
On the whole, I’d say the IT World article was spot on.
- Your company’s culture and norms regarding telecommuting
- The percentage of people at your company that work remotely
- How visible you can be on a day-to-day basis to your boss and others
- How effectively you can perform your job remotely
Those are things that will matter and affect how well it works. I’ll add a few things.
Regarding company culture, true that culture around telecommuting matters. If you look at what the article lists on this point, it talks about the company being set up for conference calls, remote access, and other “outside the office” work. Consider this. Is your company large enough that it has more than one physical office? If so, then it’s effectively dealing with telecommuting and other issues of being “virtual” or “remote”. It doesn’t even have to be a true office, maybe it’s a contract shop out in India or Russia. Either way, once the company is forced to go outside its 4 walls, it’s effectively dealing with the very same issues. If your company can be successful with multiple offices, it can be successful with telecommuting. I say this because often companies have multiple offices but are down on telecommuting because they view them differently. Sure they aren’t 100% the same, but for the most part in terms of day-to-day operations, they are. But of course, it can vary and depend on numerous factors, including if it’s a job that can be done outside of the office without incurring much problem and expensive.
Percentage of people can matter, especially because I know some people who may not get to work remotely may come to resent you and your ability to work remotely while they’re stuck in the office, dreaming of working from home. But if you have a larger number of people, or if it’s an option available to everyone, it’s not as much of an issue. This issue then blends into the next issue….
… visibility. This matters, and this is where YOU can make the most direct impact. Sure, if the whole team is geographically spread, that will affect process. If not, or even if still, you can and SHOULD make effort to make yourself visible. Call your boss every day or two just to chat. Call co-workers. You don’t have hallways, a photocopy machine, vending machine, water cooler, etc. around which to just congregate and talk, so you have to find ways to have social chatter as well as business chatter. Don’t be annoying, don’t cross norms or cause a problem, but just work to keep yourself in on the loop with things. Don’t be afraid to CC people on emails because you do have to force the communication. Every Friday send a “weekly progress report” to your boss and maybe even the boss’s boss (and the whole team, if appropriate) so people can be aware of what you’ve been doing all week long. Can you use Instant Messaging? If so, get the whole team on IM and use it as another means of chatter and communication during the day. Plus, IM provides a sort of visibility because, so long as you properly manage your IM, they can see if you’re online or not, at your desk, or not, in a meeting, on the phone, do not disturb, or whatever other status that may come along. It’s useful for visibility.
But be aware to not violate company policies or, most of all, lie. Don’t make things up because you will get flushed out sooner or later if you do. So much of telecommuting is based on trust, so everything you can do to foster and build trust in you, that you are responsible, that you can get the job done? That’s key.
And that brings us to the last point about how effective you are at doing your job. You do have to prove yourself. Well first, you do have to see if it is a job that can be worked remotely: someone on an assembly line just has to be there on the line, no avoiding it. As a software developer, so long as I have electricity and an Internet connection, I’m pretty good to go from anywhere in the world. Or you may find that your job can be done sometimes from home, but from time to time you have to go into the office. Whatever you do, you have to do it and find the balance to make that possible. You have to prove that you can do it, that you can have the discipline required to get the job done. A lot of people tell me they could never work from home — perhaps that is good because they know themselves and what they need to be properly motivated. I would also say, don’t sell yourself short. When you know you HAVE to get a job done else you won’t have that job and the income it provides, it tends to be a good motivator. Yes it’s hard at first to get into the swing, find your discipline, find your groove, but you can get there. Heck, these days if I went back into an office I’m not sure I could be as productive — too many distractions!
Telecommuting isn’t for everyone, but I’m happy to see more of it. There’s many good things about it, if it can be done. The lack of commute has multiple benefits from less time wasted in a day to less impacts on our roads, our environment, vehicle wear and tear. All good things. Less costs. And ultimately, a higher quality of life.
Robb Allen links to an anecdote about how open carry may well have prevented a crime. Robb’s comment section has a few other “OC success” stories.
But you see, this is the problem with open carry:
Officer 1: They were definately going to hit the place. However since no crime was actually committed, the best we can do is look for them and see if we hit anything when we pull them over. You guys did great.
No crime committed. Thus, there will be no crime report, no papers to file, no statistics to pile up.
The naysayers and anti-gunners will say there’s no proof that guns stop crimes. To some extent, they are right because we can only get crime data when crimes are committed, reported, and statistics are then compiled from those reports.
There are no reams of reports when a crime is stopped before it ever has a chance to start. When there are less reports and “crime goes down”, it’s difficult to directly attribute that to more private citizens being armed and ready to defend themselves.
So alas… one problem with open carry is it just can’t generate statistics. All we can have is a growing pile of anecdotes, and the pile is growing.
But that’s fine. Less crime also creates fewer statistics. I’m fine with that problem.
And venison was consumed.
We pulled out a sika deer tenderloin and a fallow deer tenderloin. I sliced them up, no more than 1/2″ thick. Threw them in the pan with just a bit of canola oil to mitigate sticking. Otherwise, no seasonings, nothing. Let’s see what the actual meat tastes like.
In a wonderful bit of serendipity (because we didn’t expect to get the deer back today), Wife had started a whitetail deer roast (from the whitetail does I shot last year; all hail the FoodSaver!). So, now we had 3 types of venison to try side-by-side, tho of course the whitetail would be a little seasoned.
We all like. A lot.
Using whitetail as our baseline, we all agreed that both the fallow and the sika are similar in taste to the whitetail — it’s all deer meat, they’re all in the same ballpark, no radical difference (e.g. the vast difference between beef and chicken). The sika seemed a bit milder than the whitetail, maybe a bit smoother texture — Daughter said “buttery” in regards to the texture. I’m not sure I’d go there, but I know what she meant: it was certainly “softer”. Very nice. The fallow had a slightly stronger flavor. None of us could come up with a way to describe it, but it was something with the overtones, a hint of something more, a little bolder flavor but subtle. Texture was also quite nice.
And in some weird way… the whitetail seemed to pale in comparison. Still good, just somehow the sika and fallow tasted a little better. Between the 3 types of venison, there was no grand consensus. Some liked sika more, some liked fallow more. Me, I think I liked the fallow more, but more research is needed.
In the past we were always sparing with our use of venison because you shot what you shot during whitetail season and it had to last until next year. But now? Gee. Just use the venison at will. It’s no trouble getting an exotic, cost isn’t horrendous, and if that means better, leaner, tastier meat all year ’round? Heck, how can I say no? Well… I still love me some beef, but gee… I’m itching to get through all this meat because next I want to try red deer and axis.
Just picked up the fallow deer and sika deer meat from Daughter’s first.
A little annoyed that I specified to keep the meats separate and label them “fallow” and “sika”, but they didn’t… well, they did on the backstraps but that’s all. *sigh* Never had either, wanted to keep them separate so we could know which was which as our taste buds experienced them. I’m annoyed, but I’ll cut them some slack as it’s the busy season and they may have just slammed through things due to volume.
We are guessing the little tenderloin is the sika and the bigger tenderlion is the fallow. Not 100% sure, but it’s a 99.9% good guess. They’re thawing and the family will try them tonight. Nothing to them: just defrost, throw it in the pan (maybe a little canola oil to avoid sticking), not even salt and pepper. Try the pure unadulterated meat and see how they taste, and how we compare them to each other and whitetail. Rumor is they’re good, and many prefer over whitetail.
We shall see.
I can’t wait.
Not only is the schedule from now through Spring 2012 up – with great classes like “Dynamic First Aid”, the return of Tom Givens, NRA Instructor certification classes, and a host of the KRT curriculum — but there’s a great section from Karl about “why we teach what we teach”.
Jim hit on the right thing: to have a larger goal, but then you have to break the goal down into smaller chunks. I like to say that you have your goal, but then you have milestones along the way. And you can have various levels of milestones. Maybe your goal will take a year to accomplish, so maybe you can break it down into monthly milestones, and even further into weekly and daily milestones. It’s things to help you measure progress, accomplish the goal, and have success along the way because that will provide motivation as you see yourself progressing towards meeting your goal.
Jim alluded to but didn’t really talk about one vital part to goal setting:
To set a goal is one thing, but it means nothing if there isn’t a time component to it. “I want to be rich”… yeah, don’t we all? “In 10 years I want to have one million dollars” is a bit more tangible, and gives you a more concrete idea and direction as to where to go and what you’ll need to do to get there. Compare that to “in 20 years” or “in 5 years” or in “1 year” and think about how that time component will change what the plan of “making a million dollars” will have to be.
Set goals. They’re good for you. Make sure you set a time component, then break down the goal into milestones over time.
Then bust your hump to achieve them.