Meditation Point #101

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing

At the instant a warrior confronts a foe,

All things come into focus.

Life doesn’t give us many moments of clarity but moments of high stress seem to be filled with them. It is funny how most people who experiences a sudden accident or event like an accident or a fall recall how everything seemed to move in slow motion. Falling you understand what is happening, realize how much it is going to hurt, even analyze options all in the split seconds it takes before impact. Focus and clarity are yours, though they are useless in these situations except for illustrating this point. That focus and clarity should be ours always, how wonderful and bizzare that would be?!?finding clarity

My favorite form of meditation is not set in a prone postion or reciting a mantra, it is in the sparring ring. When we enter into a Martial conflict even a friendly one we find focus and clarity much easier to grasp. Perhaps it is simplicity of it all, hit and block! Except there is nothing simple about a martial conflict. So how is it that ‘all things come into focus‘? I personally think it is like loosing a sense. When our body looses a sense it strengthens another. Go blind get and increased sense of smell. When we enter a Martial conflict I think the thinking portion of our brain quiets and in that quiet our other senses can be heard more clearly. Perhaps this is a more animal state, survival and all. I don’t think so because there is a peace that is calming in those moments, nothing animal about that.

So sit in a prone position, chant a mantra, or enter the ring, regardless seek that clarity and focus of being that is so cleansing.

The Confidence Attack

ktadmin Posted in Identity Theft, News

Confidence men know that a good Con will work over and over. So repeatedly we see old cons being applied in new ways using technology. So why is this important? Because it is one more threat to our safety and our identity. The problem is most people don’t think it can happen to them which is what the conman is counting on.

The latest old Con to resurface is exploiting the invoice play. Before technology a conman would present an invoice to a clerk and get them to think it was either authorized or that they would get in trouble if they checked because it was urgent. Well it is back in the latest email/phishing scams that are directed at certain employees at a company. The term for these attacks is “spear phishing“, cute huh? The first of these attacks surfaced two years ago but they were far and few between. But with some refining they seem ready for the mainstream and so they come in bulk.The these scams, the phisher find the name and email address of a company’s top executives, usually available on their website. Then a custom email is crafted specific to those people and their function at the company.

Most of the emails take two approaches. In the first, the email purports to be from the Better Business Bureau alerting the recipient to a complaint posted on “their” website. The web site is actually a phished (fake) version of the Better Business Bureau site. Once there the executive is lured further into entering identity and financial information that can be used to defraud the company. In the second approach, an email is sent to the executive(s) of a company about a delinquent invoice or bill. In most cases an assistance reads the executives’ email and in most cases these emails will be forwarded to the accounting or accounts payable person without the executives knowledge. Since the email is forwarded internally from an executive email the recipient might trust the source and either pay the receipt electronically or visit the accompanying link to garner further information about the invoice.

This may not seem like much of a risk to many people but it does illustrate nicely the risk of inferred trust I speak with parents about so often. This is really a play on social engineering, when you gain a little information about someone and use that to gain more. Inferred trust means that you give the appearance of knowing X so you can exploit Y, given that Y trusts X. So this age old ploy is now being crafted as an email. Just remember though to be successful it requires a few people to either not think or trust the source. We think these things can’t suceed but remember that there are still people falling victim to the Nigerian scams! SO be careful our there…

Meditation Point #100

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing

….on the shore
Of the wide world I stand
alone, and think
alone, and think
Till love and fame to
nothingness do sink.
nothingness do sink.
John Keats

For this one you need to do some active visualization. It is hard to picture a shore facing the whole world but the sea shore is immense enough for this exercise. Standing there, alone it is hard not to be caught by your own insignificance. Standing there you are little more then a grain of sand before the world. The only thing greater then the world is Love. Yet here it say ” till love and fame to nothingness do sink” but in reflection I think you will see that it isn’t true love to which Keats refers. Here we reflect on our self-love and selfish desires, fame and self-importance.

Standing on the shore we are left with our thoughts which eventually also fade before the beauty and calm that is the unadulterated world. In this silence we see more clearly, understanding that all that truly matters in life all that lasts has little to do with selfish desires and everything to do with selfless love, true love. This is a kind and gentle love like the calm sea lapping against the short. To often though we forget that is selfless love, this true love can be as violent and turbulent as the raging seas. For in true love lies truth and peace but in possessing this truth the rage of righteousness and justice lives. While the more mainstream interpretations portray peace love and happiness as calm and giving and sappy picture in reality. The deeper we dig and reflect the more we realize that true love is justice in its purest form. So stand on the shore, let your mind go and let the immensity of the world give you a new perspective on the glory of your insignificance.

ALERT: Chinese Espionage Test

ktadmin Posted in Identity Theft, News

China wants you!  Or at least your sensitive computer data…  This is a story of potential identity theft on a grand scale.  While the details seem small in scale most scouting missions are small and seem insignificant.  Bearing that in mind here’s what has me fired up…

Once again the Chinese government has been caught “Red” handed testing its espionage capabilities and Western detection capabilities.  The recent incident involves a pair of Trojan horse (malicious unauthorized programs) on new Maxtor Hard Drives before they left the factory.  The function of these Trojans was to steal passwords and then “phone home” to a pair of websites hosted in Beijing reporting all data recorded on theses Trojaned drives.  The Trojaned drives are Seagate Technology, Maxtor Basics 3200, 500GB drives.   Approximately 1800 of the Trojaned drives were shipped from the factory with 300 being sold before the problem was detected.

The Taiwanese government’s security service detected the problem and issued a warning this weekend.  Their investigation uncovered the link to China and suspects Chinese authorities are responsible for planting the Trojan software on the drives in the factory.  Seagate Technologies attempted to distance itself from the allegations again China stating it had no proof of Chinese government involvement.  Internet logs (records) show that the information was sent to 2 Chinese sites registered with one of China’s largest domain registrars using what appears to be bogus information.

This latest story seems to demonstrate a dangerous trend in Chinese activity that one has to be blind (or corrupt) to not see.  From hacking the Pentagon and German Government Offices to showing off their military advances the Chinese government is increasingly flexing its muscles and testing its abilities.  When you couple these types of events with the massive military buildup in China over the past decade few historians disagree about the potential future threat to world peace.  Of course there is no public outcry, no Congressional or Presidential complaint or investigation.  Instead we will increase the worker visa program and continue to pump billions a year from our economy to theirs.

Holiday Spending

ktadmin Posted in Entertainment, Fun Stuff

I was saving this for the holiday shopping season, but then I went out this past weekend and realized that the Christmas shopping season came early this year! Before Thanksgiving and Santa is already at the mall?!

Military Sexual Trauma Center for Female Vets

ktadmin Posted in News, Self-Defense

In Bernards Township, NJ the Veterans Administration is opening a treatment center to help female veterans who have been sexually assaulted. This facility is the first of it’s kind and has drawn praise and outrage alike. Reportedly driven by a dramatic increase in the number of assault and harassment cases involving female soldiers the new center will provide treatment to those suffering from a condition known as military sexual trauma. An ongoing VA screening process finds that 20% of female soldiers leaving the military report encountering a form of sexual trauma during their service.

So what is Military Sexual Trauma (MST)? It is defined as physical assault of a sexual nature or sexual harassment of a threatening character committed by one’s colleagues during military training or service.

susan_j_mccutcheon.jpgSusan J. McCutcheon, Ed.D., R.N., Program Manager for Special Projects in the Office of Mental Health Services at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) heads up the administration’s military sexual trauma programs. She feels the new site will especially benefit those women suffering trauma during war overseas. The center, opening in December, will be the first residential VA center that focuses on the increasingly prevalent condition.  While the program is directed only towards female victims of MST, Dr. McCutcheon notes, that it is important to screen all veterans. She suggests that using Statements like ‘Violence is common in our society, so I ask all my patients about this’ can help normalize screening results.

No information or statistics were given regarding the percentage of male soldiers leaving the military that report encountering a form of sexual trauma during their service.  This is only interesting because information began to surface in 2001that the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs quietly began collecting nationwide data on the extent to which men have been sexually traumatized in the armed forces.  This made a brief splash in the popular media in 2003. No information was available at this time relating to reporting statistics for active duty personnel.

The need for a facility like this seems clear, however, the gender bias brings into question the motive.  It would appear that since rape, sexual trauma and sexual harassment are not exclusively male-female crimes this facilities focus is politically motivated.  Politically motivated in that funding would be more easily obtained for this subset of the greater real problem.  Where does that leave the victims of male-male MST or female-male MST victims (it does happen)?  Well they for the moment seem to be relegated to the same place as the problem, ignored and denied aid.

So…What do you think?  Post a comment and join in the discussion.

Blocking for Success

ktadmin Posted in Training notes, Video

In this video we see a Wing Chun master demonstrating blocking techniques. Below the video are comments from the maker of the video (Hgamer) which offer significant insight into the content. Perhaps the most important observation he/she makes is “notice is that a skilled practioner really just blocks the majority of the time, the unskilled, tries to cover that up by simply blizting the attack.

Regardless of your style you should see similarities to the blocks in your own style. During this video I only saw the Junior practitioner make one potential strike at the beginning of the video. Compare this video to your style in the comments section.

Here’s what the author of the video (Hgamer) posted about This Video:
This took place at windy city’s wing chun 5th annual seminar. I take no credit at all, as my Sifu just showed some superior blocking skills. If you know what to look for you can see tons of different concepts being applied. The 1st thing to notice is that a skilled practitioner really just blocks the majority of the time, the unskilled, tries to cover that up by simply blizting the attack. Its very common in the wing chun world for many to do that.
Also, what how blocks come about, its not done by the hand but by the body. You can visually see this since sifu’s center stays consistent throughout, and simply turns in conjunction with the amount of force, while the hands don’t chase out which is a common no no in wing chun. Let the attacks come to your house, and the closer they are the safer it is for you. All to often, people will shoot out their hands trying to reach out to block.
Blocking is a simple concept but difficult to do, know the person’s centerline, have your triangle constantly point to that indivudals center line, and go with the force. While there are many more concepts involved these are the general three which one must follow to develop superior blocking skills.
Finally in some glimpses you see freezing out motions, where you can literally lock out your opponents motions, by simply holding your structure and technically freezing his hand motion. All to often wing chun is confused with the concept of sticky hands. Sticky hands is not about sticking to people, its making people stick to you. Out in the street, people will not do sticky hands in a real fight, what your developing is the ability so that people will stick to your hands. In a simple concept imagine your hands as blades, if you position your blades in the right angle, whatever touches it will cut into it, thus forcing that individual to stick.”

Open Your Heart

ktadmin Posted in Quotes

Take for granted

 To often we keep our feeling to ourselves.  To often we don’t share the gifts in our heart.  I have always been fairly open with my feeling but recent events in my life have reminded me of how short life can be and how quickly we can loose those we cherish but don’t always have time for.  Just thought I’d remind everyone of that today.  Since it is Sunday perhaps it is the perfect chance to let those you cherish know it.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Seminar with Marcello Monteiro

ktadmin Posted in Events & Holidays

This is an announcement NOT an endorsement.

120 Frog Pond Lane #200
Dripping Springs, TX 78620

This 2 hour seminar start at 10:30 AM on Feb. 09, 2008 and costs $75.00. Call 512-644-4560 for more information or visit their web site.

Marcello C. Monteiro is well known in Brasil as a teacher nd coach for creating fighting strategies, teaching the most mportant tricks and details that speed up the learning process and facilitate the performance of each movement used by fighters. “Monteirão”, as he is known among his friends, likes to state that, “the difference between a champion and other athletes is associated with the details of each position”.

He is the author of the first Brazilian jiu-jitsu book (Secret Positions), edited by Gracie Magazine, which teaches jiu-jitsu positions without gi. That magazine has been for sale, at the Gracie magazine shop since 1999.

He also took part in a film about De La Riva’s life and his created position, the De La Riva’s Hook, demonstrating some positions with De La Riva himself. He also participates in the film, along with Rickson Gracie, Carlson Gracie, Royler Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Zé Mário Sperry, Murilo Bustamante and Rodrigo Nogueira (MINOTAURO), telling about De La Riva’s life. That book is also currently being sold in Japan.

He is a certified and graduated technical teacher, registered at the “Federação de jiu-jitsu do estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil “, and has already prepared, trained and turned regular students into state, National and world champions.

Give 1 Get 1 Laptop Program

ktadmin Posted in News

If anyone is interested, there is a program called One Laptop Per Child which you might find interesting.

Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time in North America. For $399, you will be purchasing two XO laptops—one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home.

You can read more about this program at It seems like a really amazing learning tool for children. If you participate in the Give 1 Get 1 program, $200 of your purchase is tax deductible.

Just thought I’d let you guys know about this. It is a great cause, plus it is a very inexpensive laptop for your kids.