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bear by san

March 2017



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muppetology animal deadlines

i'm gonna tie your wrists with leather and drill a tiny hole into your head.

four things make a post, because I ran out:

I think I have finished the revision of "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree." I got a little more than 400 words out of the first twenty pages. And I think the rest of it was already pretty okay, so I just poked it a little.

Favorite paragraph that didn't survive the surgery:

Hey, did you know Lassie was a boy dog? True story. They're bigger and more impressive, so that's what got cast. She may have been the first drag queen on TV.

So tomorrow I can print it out and mail it in.

So, ashacat and I are contemplating taking up a martial art in the spring, and I was wondering, from the martial artists reading this--what do you practice, and what do you like/dislike about it?

A nice thoughtful review of A Companion to Wolves at Hippoi Athanatoi. I feel like I should correct a misapprehension re: auctorial intent, there. Sarah and I didn't write the book with the intent to shock anybody. Rather, we wrote the book because we were having fun with the genderfuck and worldbuilding and story, and we wanted to shine some light into a corner of the genre we both had some problems with. And when we had finished, we looked at it and said, well, this is gonna be a tough sell, and is going to ruffle a few feathers.

And then we decided to sell it anyway. Though that took a while.

(We did have one publisher before Tor make an offer on it, if we took the sex out. Which more or less would have made it the book we were having the issues with in the first place, so we politely declined.)

I'm generally pleased and surprised that the response has been so overwhelmingly positive, with a few exceptions, and that many people seem to be taking the genderfuck in stride. (The secondhand comment here from somebody who has worked with wolf-packs and who thought the canine dynamic was realistic, made me bounce up and down and squee. Trellwolves are not socially exactly like earth wolves, but I think their behavior pattern works pretty well, biologically speaking, given their genetics.)

Also, for the record, Sarah wrote all the sex scenes. And Emma wrote all the torture scenes.

Oh, wait.

That other one is a different book, and you haven't read it yet. *g*

[19:51] matociquala: I think I need pajamas
[19:51] matociquala: And a hatchet.
[19:51] stillnotbored: o.0
[19:55] leahbobet: ...
[19:56] leahbobet: You were called by the guy from Scream?
[19:56] matociquala: Revising.
[19:56] matociquala: Or, sorry
[19:56] matociquala: "Revising"
[19:56] matociquala: *lays about self*
[19:56] matociquala: HEEEYAH!
[19:57] leahbobet: heeee
[19:57] stillnotbored: I am so missing something
[19:57] matociquala: *hews words*
[19:57] matociquala: 41! 42! 43!
[19:57] matociquala: the last one had an iron collar
[19:58] leahbobet: de rigeur in Mordor this spring.


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i'm gonna tie your wrists with leather and drill a tiny hole into your head.

Is that a threat or a promise?
song lyric!
Martial art? Depends on whether you're looking for something that's useful or just fun. I've been practicing Kendo for a while. It's not real practical as a "self-defense" art, although, if I have a cane or a pool cue, someone's in for a world of hurt. Still, it's a darn good art and if you've got a good sensei, you'll work up a good sweat. There is a seriousness about it and like in the old samurai movies, after a while, you can see who's going to win or lose just by the way they hold themselves.

Again, the major drawback is it's not a real practical art and it does have a serious cash outlay (shinai, armor, bokken), but it's been a lot of fun and I've met a lot of good people in the sport. (Remind me to tell you about the experience at the World Kendo Championships in Glasgow, Scotland someday. ;) )
Thank you!
Lies! Shameless lies!

Bear wrote all the sex scenes. For the record.
I thought you both just ordered them all from that subsidary of the idea bureau in Hoboken?

martial arts

Currently, I take budo taijutsu. (There are a lot of teachers not listed on the site; if you go into it, some footwork may be needed.)

I have also had the opportunity to take some eskrima (doce pares style), taekwondo (not the sport version), and a tiny bit of tai chi and kobudo.

My favorites are eskrima, budo taijutsu, and tai chi.

Eskrima is taught very quickly. It's very simple, and rhythmic. It's a lot of fun. It's like dancing with sticks (or wooden knives). In my experience, it is far easier to do with music playing.

Budo taijutsu does not exist in sport form. The Bujinkan style consists of some samurai schools and some ninpo schools. If you want to learn practical hand-to-hand *and* weapons techniques, this is a pretty good art. The techniques are about body mechanics; proper techniques will work even if your opponent is significantly larger. The people I've trained with in this style (3 groups in 3 states) have all been pretty laid-back and good-humored, and have taken training seriously. A fun bonus is playing with rubber shuriken. I've just recently gotten back into it after a long (long) hiatus.

Tai chi can be more than just a moving meditation, but I only did it for a few months. I did enjoy it, (I was recovering from an injury, and had to take a break from the more intense stuff), but my schedule changed such that I could now longer make it out to classes.

Most instructors will allow you to take a couple of classes for free, to see how you get along with the class. People you are compatible training with are really important; it doesn't matter how good the teacher is of someone else if they are not someone you work well with.

Re: martial arts

One of my close friends practices Budo, and during a discussion of our respective arts, he described it as Aikido with fangs.
How odd, when you wrote them all.

(I'm an awful person. I know. I am so psyched about the S.P. that it's *killing* me not to talk about, though.)
Personally I'd go for Eskrima. I think it was first recommended to me by Matt (who also found it helpful writing the fight scenes in Revenge of the Sith, although he's got a broader background than just Kali, if I recall right) but I've also looked into it at various times. So far only been stopped by lack of teaching facilities local to me, but if you can find it...

Oh, n' it's not all swords n' sticks. It's reactions and hands and good excersize.
I have been studying escrima/kali and arnis for about 15 years now --- I like Bear (loffs Bear) and want her to keep writing. While injuries are a part of martial arts... I don't want to see Bear's fingers smarshed week after week of stick clashing.

I have studied Tae Kwon Do for 19 years (makes 20 this coming year). I was a guest instructerinstructor for the South Korean Navy while deployed ----yet, I would not recommend this art in most of the US forms/associations. I started in Chyeong Ghi which is a very early and traditional form --- I've watched it become McKarate in the US... :( It is great for flexibility and weight loss. You will not however, find much practical application in the tournament based techniques and "technical styling."

I have a few other 'arts under the belt (heh).. if I could recommend one martial art I would recommend two ;)

I would have a base in Aikido --- which I think you (Bear) would really enjoy) and you will find quickly enough that its image as a "soft art" is utter crap. I would recommend either a combat based Kempo or Krav Maga as the add. You will find that Aikido will show you openings for your harder style training to annihilate (MUA HA HA *ahem*) you opponents.

Bottom line is: "shop." Meet the intructors, and students, and check the place out. Take the free intro courses.

Stay away from schools that offer Black Belt Clubs(tm) with guaranteed advancement, instructors with weak or no real associations or credentials, any school that has "secret techniques" only available for certain belts (or instructors who claim to know "secret techniques"), and any school that claims to be "women's self-defense" or teaches self-defense and talks about "this is how we would do it on the street."

Um... that list could go on. Forever.

Edited at 2007-12-27 03:52 am (UTC)
Martial arts?! I just got home from the dojo!

My arts are judo, and Muso Shinden Ryu iaido.

Judo I had wanted to do since I was a kid. You know that Flintstones episode? Akisaki-HA! I did a year in a McDojo, took a hiatus of a couple of years, then found my perfect dojo. I love the principles behind judo: mutual respect, and minimum effort->maximum effect. I don't know if you'd recall my relative size, but I top the scales at 130, and I can grab big guys, tug them off balance, and throw them. Then pin them and choke them until they call uncle. But it's cooperative, you know (and not too-cooperative, like aikido can be sometimes). It's a group thing, very social. At least my particular club; we've got a great group. I guess what I love about it most is how powerful I feel doing it. What don't I like? The MMA jerks who cruise through looking to pick up some skills on the mat, and are complete assholes.

Judo is what's called a gendai art -- modern. My other art is koryu: literally, old school. And it's a polar opposite. Judo is weaponless, except in some of the self-defense kata. Judo is close and hands-on.

Iaido/iaijutsu is the art of rapidly drawing and striking with the sword. It is largely a solitary pursuit, even though you might be attending class with a handful of other people. I can't explain exactly what it does for me, (other than shiny sword!) but I know other people can see it when I talk about it. I guess it's like when we were talking about writing on the T coming back on the last day of Boskone, you know? It makes me feel like that inside--that passion--because it is an immensely difficult pursuit, full of details. Complete internal locus of control. And I work hard at it, and I feel myself improve, and it feels powerful and beautiful in a way I can't describe. Connected to the universe, and right. And there's no finishing point--it's open-ended. There's no point at which you can sit back and be satisfied for more than a few moments, before you find something else you can improve.

Er. Sorry. I've emoted all over your LJ. ^_^;

Um, the iai is definitely not for everyone. I ended up having to leave my first dojo and find a teacher who worked best for me, and I've seen about eight other students come and go since I started. The judo is definitely more attractive to most people, and since there's no striking in it you're much less likely to get hurt than something with punches and kicks.

You're more than welcome to visit our judo class and give it a try (it's in NoHo--I know it's just a little far for you, but we might be able to find a recommendation for something closer), and I'm sure you'd be welcome to watch an iai session--but things are a little more formal there and there would just be the courtesy of asking sensei.
And responding to myself to say they are both excellent workouts -- the judo more than the iai -- but I have frickin' abs of tempered steel, I can do a situp with a 225lb guy straddling my chest, and forearms like Popeye. Almost. They're more girl-proportioned. Our judo is a great whole-body workout, and iai is tremendous for core strength.

So, fun and health benefits.
I do Chen style taijiquan, which is the original, martial, form of "tai chi." I like it fine, though it's rare to find any instructor with any real level of gongfu in this style, and because it is a form of tai chi it does tend to attract people who just want to get into shape but who don't want to do aerobics.

I also used to do catch wrestling, but that's even harder to find (which is why I'm not doing it now).

Was there a place within walking distance and that was cheap, I'd do Brazilian jiu-jitsu. As it stands, buymeaclue bought me ten weeks of seminars on Danzan-ryu jujutsu for Xmas/birthday, which I am looking forward to.

It really depends on what you are after. There are plenty of martial arts that are essentially nothing more than Live Action Role Playing, except that the LARPers tend to have no idea that they're LARPing. On the other hand, it'll get you into shape regardless, but if you want fighting/self-defense, you have to train with frequent sparring with a high level of contact.

Edited at 2007-12-27 04:01 am (UTC)
Thank you! This is good stuff.
Was that a situational need of pajamas, or an absolute need? If it's absolute, I could hook you up with a cozy set. :)
Situational. It was time for the pants to come off. *g*
If you loved kickboxing, then you could, y'know, do more kickboxing.

Or Tae-kwon-do, which is all kick-y.

The thing about Taekwondo is that, like Judo, it is recognized as a sport, appears in the Olympics, etc., which has led to it being taught in many places as a very sport-like rather than martial-like activity.

Since "self-defense" doesn't show up on your list of desired characteristics, a sport slant on the activity might not be a bad thing. If you're not interested in tournaments, then check carefully when you're visiting schools about how tournament-focused they are. If you like the idea of tournaments, rock on.

The meditative qualities are going to be probably the hardest thing to find, so you may want to focus on those when you're feeling a place out.

Although I'm less interested in Taekwondo myself (me for the self-defense applications up front, please) I feel like the deciding factor should really be less the art and more the school. If you think you'd like to do Taekwondo, but every place you visit has a vibe that makes you want to skitter away, do something else. Alternatively, if you happen to stop into a Wing Chun school and love the place instantly - study Wing Chun!

My general tips for checking out schools:

1. Any school absolutely should let you visit and watch classes, and shouldn't be very restrictive about which ones you're allowed to see. If they won't let you watch and talk to current students, fuck'em. (And then, *do* go watch a class or two, and talk to the current students. I like to ask current students what they like best about what they're studying, and what's the most frustrating part.)

2. Schools should also be able to accommodate a request to try a beginner's class before you make a commitment to join. In that case, it may take some finagling for the teacher to find a class it would be appropriate for a novice stranger to be in, so there's nothing skeevy about them doing a little more working around to find a good class for you to do this with. They may charge you $10, or something, which is annoying, but also not skeevy.

3. While you're watching a class, look for--

- A. gender make-up of class, especially at higher ranks. If there are lots of women, but all at the beginner level, and all the senior students are men, consider that this may be indicative of a problem.

- B. Pay attention to how the instructors and students interact, and how the students interact with each other. How formal is it? How competitive? How rigid or chaotic? There aren't any wrong answers, just figure out whether they have a dynamic going that you'd enjoy being part of.

- C. Look for number of people showing injuries. One or two? Not a problem. Always several students showing injuries any time you visit? Not a school you need to be a part of.

- D. Regrettably, although it's not very common at all, some people *do* use martial arts schools as a basis for building a cult-like group. If you get a feeling like that, don't ignore it.

...there was probably more, but I can't think of it right now. You're very sane, sensible, and smart - if you take time and ask lots of questions, I have no doubt you'll end up somewhere wonderful.

I need to get back to work, myself. Writing about this stuff makes me damnably nostalgic.

(As far as arts go, I like Judo when it's not being a tournament-based sport, Shotokan karate, because it suits my body and is satisfyingly violent and effective, and aiki-ju-jutsu, which is what aikido was made from but is 800 years old and has a lot more teeth, which are what the creator of aikido objected to. Oddly, I like Shotokan karate (low, solid stances, powerful blows, not a lot of mobility - as opposed to something like Kenpo karate, shorter stances, much faster and more mobile) because it sits easily with my brain, and I like aiki because it turns my brain inside out and uses it to mop the mats. It's good to have a balance of the two.
Self defense falls under "Hitting things." Or at least, sparring does.


Thank you! This is awesome, and very, very useful.
I've practiced shotokan karate and aikido extensively. I've also done smatterings of dozens of other arts (seminars, or retreats, or whatever.). Generally, those have been full of 'Oooh! Shiny! I like that move *yoink*'.

Lately, I've been practicing kali (escrima), and enjoying the hell out of it.

Karate (of whatever school) has the awesome thing going for it of being a hell of a workout, as well as actually fairly easy to pick up. It's all body mechanics. "Put your foot here. Put your hand here. Faster. Harder. Good."

Aikido is a different art entirely. They are almost two sides of a coin. Where karate is all about beating the hell out of your opponent, head on, in aikido, there is no opponent, it's all energy, and force. You're changing the rules of what 'a fight is' to change the way that your body thinks about how to deal with what's going on. It's generally very big on the spiritual side of the art.

Escrima (kali) is a whole shit-ton of fun for me. It's designed so that the motions (strikes, blocks, disarms, holds, etc) are almost exactly the same, no matter what you have in your hands. Which means that I'm spending a whole bunch of time moving with various stuff (sticks, knives, hunks of pvc filled with wet sand (oh, god my forearms) etc). After 90 minutes of this, in a non-ac room with a dozen other people, I just want to die. :)

Edited at 2007-12-27 05:16 am (UTC)
I did taekwondo with Chyeung-Ghi forms for about three and a half years, and I adored it. I second what everyone says about finding the right dojo, though...mine was definitely a dojo, not a gym, and our instructors also taught some hapkido grappling techniques to go with all the kickin' and hittin'. I also did Thai kickboxing for a while and that was just fun. A monster workout, and it teaches you to inflict some major damage if you're looking for self-defense.

I'm a big fan of the kicky arts. I'd recommend TKD to almost anyone and kickboxing to those looking to punish themselves a bit more.
Yes, exactly, thank you. I do want a dojo, rather than a gym. And I don't want a black-belt mill. This is something I'm thinking of doing for its own sake, as a goal rather towards one.

If that makes any sense.
I do Shaolin kung fu, which at my school is a nice mix of forms, sparring, self-defense, and conditioning, and a nice mix of empty-hand and weapons. I've also done some kempo, and a little bit of kajukenbo. But I enjoy the circular movements of the kung fu, and the schools where I've gone have been good about teaching practical applications for the forms.

More than the style, though, I'd really look for a school that seems like it's doing stuff -- whatever it is -- that seems fun to you.

I can go on at insane and tedious length about this stuff, so if there's anything you want to ask, please let me know.
Your kung fu is greater than my kung fu!

That sounds pretty awesome, really. Thank you.

Right now, I'm in the stage of making a shopping list, and then I'm going to see what's available in my neighborhood that isn't, you know. Some sort of scam.
Thank you! That's handy!

Martial arts

I've done tai chi, kenpo and kickboxing. It depends on what you want out of it. Tai chi is very relaxing and good for limbering up and circulation and stress relief. Kenpo is a lot more aggressive, but it's a very fast way to learn self-defense. It's also excellent for fitness, and sometimes you just want to kick and punch things while screaming "KI-YI". Kickboxing, likewise, great way to get in shape. I think in terms of less wear and tear on the body, tai chi is better.

Re: Martial arts

Kenpo sounds like something that should be on my research list.

The kickboxing I did was pell-and-drill, no sparring, and I do want a form that involves sparring and practical knowledge.

Thank you!
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