Shut Up and Stand Up!

ktadmin Posted in OffTopic, Self-Defense

A few weeks ago I commented on a blog of someone who is fighting against some government injustice.  As is typical in these things the person and their supporters seem more interested in gaining the support of others then actually succeeding in their plight.  Some how in this age of the Internet the mob has evolved to a new shallow dimension.  More then ever we live by proxy and more to the point by Poll.  We use the Internet to vent our frustrations which for most, the writing and even the reading gives some sense of accomplishment.  This of course is folly.  Venting and “raising awareness” does little to change anything yet we are drawn to it like moths to the flame.  We have been so fooled by this culture that people feel engaged in the political process when they call a talk radio show but they would never think of calling their Local, State or Federal government representative.  As I said I resently commented on this topic and so to illustrate my point further here are my thoughts on this topic…

I respect everyone here for standing up for what they believe in and trying to change the system.  I also respect that you understand that as tax payers these are your employees.  But that is where it ends.  As the employer you are inept.  I am not flaming you just pointing out an important fact.  Blogging and newspaper articles change nothing.  Government officials generally only care about these things just before an election.

What Government employees hate most is work, which as an employer you can easily give them.  One of you wrote that you requested documentation from one for the board member and they didn’t respond.  Shame on you.  See they are counting on you reacting the way you did, dismayed and publicly outraged but powerless.  You are powerless because you don’t know the rules and shame on you for that.  See Government employees have rules they must follow, you don’t.  They are accountable, you are not.  But they are only accountable and only have to follow the rules when someone makes them.  Remember these 3 letters FOI (Freedom of Information).  The rules vary slightly between states however the FOI can be used to bring government to its knees.  See there is typically a short window to respond to an FOI Request after which civil ($$) penalties can be assessed.  So hit them where it hurts.  And no you do not need to be an attorney to file an FOI request.  If you need help with the process call the Attorney Generals office and have them hold your hand, that is their JOB!

Hopefully someone listens to the above.  A good FOI Request would be all phone records including cell phones, detailed copies of all attorney billings, minutes from all meetings…basically anything you can think of and yes they have to provide it, excluding personal data (SSN,etc).  You can however get copies of certain personal records but they have to clean the data before giving it to you.  Here is the kicker, you may have to pay for copies so what you do is request all of the information then tell them you will come down and select what copies you want.  When you show up just take one copy, about $0.35 and next week repeat the request:-)  They will want to bend over backwards to make you happy.  The glory of it, it is completely legal and within the system.  Who know you might even find evidence of the misappropriations you were talking about!  Then they are looking at jail time!!

So do your homework and learn the system otherwise it will just ignore you until you wind yourself crying, like the helpless 3 year old you are.  Imagine their workload if even half of the concerned citizens out there filed an FOI request…or made an inquiry by phone.

Being involved doesn’t mean calling a radio talk show or posting to a blog, those things are honorable as they raise awareness but do nothing to change or improve the system.

Exoskeleton Combat Gear

ktadmin Posted in News, OffTopic, Video

Well the title is a little misleading since you can’t buy one yet but this story got me to thinking about the future of MMA and WWF style competitions…

I had to share this amazing video of the latest advances in Exoskeleton technology. Imagine the applications for this type of technology! It looks like the current prototype is a little slow for say enhanced hand-to-hand combat but that will improve!

With wide spread use we would see reduced work related injuries, increased productivity, increased capabilities in Industrial jobs, Military, Shipping/Loading, Rescue and more! This is a great example of Science Fiction meeting reality, remember Alien, Matrix Revolutions, and others. How many bricks could you break with one of these?! Bet you could catch an arrow with one of these at any range!

Autumn Leaves

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, OffTopic, Quotes

Wind blows
and fills the skies
with gold and yellow


which flit to earth
with skips and hops
to dance and twirl
like spinning tops.


The last one dips
in a puddle to float
like a single scarlet
sailing boat.

By Marilyn Helmer

One Less Insurgent

ktadmin Posted in News, OffTopic

This is not for the liberal at heart… but it should be work safe…

Live?! from Iraq…

This seemed appropriate given today’s date. May the Surge continue to work so our soldiers can come home soon.

No Respect!

Sensei Posted in OffTopic

I took my Son to a Hockey game a few weeks ago and was disgusted when they played the National Anthem. You see I was raised to respect our country and Flag. Not because of what our country does or doesn’t do but for what our country stands for. Obviously this is something that is lost on 80-90% of my fellow Americans. Everyone stood for the Anthem but many left their hats on and only a few put their hands over their heart. Since the game I have been looking for an image to capture the moment and this is it…
Wheel Chair Salute

Toys for Tots

Sensei Posted in OffTopic

The Toys for Tots program is one of the more successful programs out there, it is successful because it exploits Christmas and Christian charity. But yesterday Toys For Tots added another toy to their list of banned toys…Jesus or any other Religious figures! Now at first glance this may seem like a non-issue, after all it could be offensive if a muslim or jewish child got a Jesus Doll for …Christmas…? Wait I thought Christmas was a Christian holiday…? So how can receiving a Jesus Doll in celebration of Christmas be offensive? Did I miss some memo that said the Jewish and Muslim communities were embracing Christianity and now adding Christmas to their list of Holy Days? Think not. Perhaps I missed something about the Toys for Tots program but no, “We can’t take a chance on sending a talking Jesus doll to a Jewish family or a Muslim family,” said Bill Grein of Toys for Tots. An interesting quote considering that ALL of the promotional material on the Toys for Tots program refers to Christmas. Now mind you they don’t use the word but Santa is everywhere. There isn’t a single piece of material on their website or that I have seen anywhere that doesn’t have Santa or a Christmas tree. Sounds like they want to exploit Christian charity to me. If not where are their posters with manoras and or…the koran? Perhaps that is just an oversight. If the Marines and the Toys for Tots program isn’t exploiting Christian charity then why don’t they run their toys drives in say July?

One Flag, Undivided Allegiance

Sensei Posted in OffTopic

Someone sent the following to me so I am unsure of its origin. However after reading this, despite it being off topic, I thought I would post it. I know that many of our readers are not American and come from diverse nations, none the less the following words seem applicable to so many things in life, for the words are about loyalty and devotion, truth and commitment. Read this as an American OR read this as person committed to an ideal people standing for something with the courage to face opposition, a Martial Artist! Here it is:
“While the debate over immigration policy rages, let us bring back the simple and elegant words of Theodore Roosevelt on the subject. In a letter to the American Defense Society dated Jan.3, 1919, the former president of the United States wrote: “In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith be­comes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discrimi­nate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin.But this is predicated upon the man’s be­coming in very fact an American… There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the Eng­lish language.. .and we have room but for one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
Times have changed, but not so much as to render obsolete Mr. Roosevelfs ideal. After he left the White House, he warned against the emergence of “hyphenated Americans” that he feared could reduce us to a “tangle of squab­bling nationalities.” Those aspirations shouldn’t be controversial, but in today’s supercharged environment they may come across as foolishly naive.

I would like to add that as a Martial Artist we should strive truth and justice. If we must define ourselves let it be as people who stand for justice, there is no hyphen in that! Let me say to all those hyphenated individuals that I do not have a dog, but a K9-American!!

Can you trust your eyes?

Sensei Posted in OffTopic

We often take for fact everything we see, but our eyes are incredibly crude tools at perceiving reality. Don’t believe me? Look over these graphics and see what you say then…
Illusion 1
Illusion 2
My personal favorite!
The above graphics are NOT animated graphics, that was all your eyes (and brain). So the next time your sparring or in a situation pay close attention to what’s going on, it may be different then what you are seeing!

A discussion of Truth

Sensei Posted in OffTopic

I am a person of very strong opinions; very strong might be an understatement. In almost every aspect of my life I believe there is only one truth, one right answer. There may be many paths to this truth but there can only be one truth. It is a lot like math, 2 + 2 = 4, there are no grey areas here, 2 + 2 cannot equal 3.9! Now like any math problem the more variables you introduce, the more derivations you take the less clear the ultimate answer may be, but there is still only one correct answer. Like the many questions that come up in life there is only one answer that is the ultimate truth. Now I know many of my Zen and Buddhist friends are going to scream and argue with me on this but they’ll be wasting their breath. You see I am not stating this to convince or convert anyone, I’m going somewhere with this… Most people answer questions to fit their existence, they choose the comfortable answer, the one that supports the path they have chosen. It is usually the answer that offers the least internal conflict or barring that is the most socially acceptable. In other words, truth be damned, put the blinders on and full steam ahead! I’ve seen seemingly intelligent people make incredibly irrational statements or state irrational beliefs based on this behavior. The interesting thing about the world is it is made up of math, math is everywhere.
How many of you have taken a math class and answered an exam question with 100 percent certainty that you had answered the question correctly?…only to find out you were wrong! How can this be? There was a flaw in your reasoning that allowed you to ignore the truth in support of a very convincing falsehood. So it is with life. Most people can’t be bothered with critical thinking; most people just want to wander day by day through their lives without worries. Most people feel powerless or overwhelmed when they face the truth so they turn into the comfort of the darkness ignorance provides. In my opinion this was the cause of the Dark Ages…people just existed. From my observations we are entering a new Dark Age in humanity, one where critical thinking is replaced with irrational comfort.
I am purposely leaving any specifics out of this discussion, for to introduce any would cloud the truth in some political, religious, moral, or personal freedom or environmental argument of half truths and fanatical beliefs. That is not my aim. Like in Math there should very little passion in seeking the truth, for passion clouds our judgment with emotions and feelings. Emotions and feelings have to do with choice, not truth. How can you seek truth without passions! You can’t. Yes a seeming contradiction:) But it is not, you see passion for the truth should make us patient and critical thinkers, for we are not passionate for a given answer. Think of the sparring ring. When you are facing an opponent of similar ability and you become frustrated or enraged you will typically loose. But if you keep your clarity of mind and stay clam you will find an opening and win (possibly by enraging your opponent!). In life when we face difficult questions we must stay calm and centered, we must test our opponent (the question and supporting facts) without being drawn in or set off balance (enraged).
I have found that to find the ultimate truth you must go to extremes, this is a lesson from higher level math. Any mathematician worth his salt will tell you that all the interesting stuff happens at the boundaries! Face with a question, take it to the extreme and see if it makes sense. I could give an example but that would open a can of worms :). So the next time you are faced with a question or better yet reexamine your current beliefs and see if you are truthful with yourself go to the extremes. (It is killing me not to give an example because I love a good debate, but I really don’t have the energy this week)
So, Truth, Math, Boundaries, Extremes…what does this have to do with the Martial Arts? …Everything! As a Martial Artists we stand for justice (or you should). Justice cannot exist without truth. Truth cannot exist without purity of heart (no rationalizations). Purity of heart cannot exist without critical thinking and the understanding that there is only one truth regardless of how it makes us feel. Our choice or free will allows us to assign shades of the truth (grey areas) but we must be honest that they are shades of the truth, not The Truth. Shades of the truth allow us to coexist with many different people but we must be honest enough to admit (if only to ourselves) that these shades are wrong answers with flawed reasoning. Once you adopt these things as truth you have weakened the foundation on which you stand. If you are at least honest about your acceptance of this flawed reasoning you may prevent them from snowballing out of control. To thy own self be true, for without this all is lost.
Aside from seeking and supporting justice, the martial arts are also about personal growth. I don’t think I need to say more about truth and personal growth…do I?! Well I hope this rant was useful to someone, trust me it is a diamond in the rough and I will try to clarify it and edit it but hope you find it at least intriguing in its draft form.

The Bumbling Burglar

Sensei Posted in OffTopic

Authorities were seeking Thursday a burglar who allegedly took the time to make coffee, cook and eat meals, take showers, pick out a change of clothes, watch television and check his e-mail while inside three rural Washington County homes this month. The burglar left behind other valuables, including jewelry, firearms and electronic equipment, Sheriff Brian Rahn said. Lori Menzel of the town of Kewaskum said the burglar left his Yahoo account open after checking his personal e-mail on the computer at her home. “He never logged out,” she said, adding: “He made himself at home here. He spent some time in our bedroom trying on my husband’s clothes. I could tell he went through some of my clothes.”
This was too funny to pass up!