ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Articles of Interest, Quotes, Reviews,

I am reading Give Us This Day – The Classic Memoir of the Bataan Death March for many reasons but mostly because I grew up knowing one of these men and what little he told me had a great impact on my life. In reading this book I am discovering something about myself as well, especially the things I take for granted like my freedom.
The following passage really struck a cord with me as we to often tend to blame God for our problems. The following passage takes place a few days before the American soldiers were forced to surrender…

We had lain the whole day in the foxhole, fearing to raise our heads. The fury of death raged above us and as the night drew on, we huddled together. I could hear a man in one of the foxholes near us praying.‘Oh God, don’t let me die. Take care of me. Don’t let me die, God. Please God, don’t let me die.’

Side by side, Rass and I listened to the man’s words. We were used to our own prayers, seldom audible, but prayers nevertheless and fervent. Rass spoke up, speculating.

‘You know Sid, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard you come right out and pray to live. I know that you want to live, but I have never heard you ask God to let you live.’

‘No, Rass, I never have asked God to let me live, and I’ll tell you why.’ I looked over at his puzzled face in the faint light. ‘When I was a little boy, at home in Watonga, there was a hardware store that was giving away a little red car. You got tickets on this car with every so many purchases at this store. I have never seen a little car like that since. It had bicycle tyres and it was big enough for three kids to ride in it. It had a real gasoline engine, like a washing machine engine, I guess, because it went “pop, pop, pop.”‘

‘Dad and Mother saved up the tickets they got. I never in my life wanted anything like I wanted that little red car. For a month before the drawing I didn’t think a bad thought. All day long I kept thinking, if I’m real good, God will let me have that car. I’d pray every night for an hour down on my knees beside the bed. I’d pray that I’d win that little car.

‘Oh, the dreams I had of driving around in that little red car. It’s funny, but my mother was running around forcing tonics down my throat. She was sure I was sick because I was so darn good. And as the day came closer, I was more careful for fear I might even think something bad, or do something bad, and then I wouldn’t get that car.’

‘I’d go down in the afternoons and look at it and run my hands over it and her the sound of the motor going “pop, pop, pop.” The I’d go home and pray for that car.’

‘Finally the day of the drawing came and I stood with all the other kids and their folks. My dad had the tickets all laid out. I waited as a blindfolded little girl ran her hand down in a cage and drew out a number. When the number was announced–why dammit, Rass! I didn’t get that car. One of the meanest little kids in town got that car. And he never did anything good. I felt cheated. I felt that God had cheated me, Rass, because I didn’t win that car.

‘As I got older I used to think about it. The worst thing that could have happened to me was if God had let me win that car. I learned right then that a man hasn’t got a right to ask God for little red cars, because that’s not what we’re here for. God doesn’t go around giving little boys or grown men little red cars just because they ask for them. Men get little red cars because the work.

‘Since then I’ve seen so many die. Good guys too, Rass, guys that believed in God stronger then I do. When I see those guys die, I think, well, life is a luxury. Even if it isn’t a luxury I haven’t got the right to ask God to live. I’m not going to ask him for a little red car. With all these shells bursting around me I’ve got the feeling that my life is just like that little red car.’

My mind flew back to the day the war started and the prayer I had made after seeing the wounded lying in the hospital yard. God had given me what I asked for and Rass knew about that prayer. Things in my personality too weak for my control I had begged God to help me with. But life, no. It was a tangible, precious thing that I wanted with every breath. But hadn’t better men then I died praying to live? And God is great and I knew He wept for them and suffered their pain.

‘I do ask God to give me strength to take all this, to be a better man and to help me make myself a better man. If God wants me to live, if He’s got anything He wants me to do with my life, He’ll help me do it. If He wants me to live, He’ll let me. But I’m not going to ask for any little red cars.’

In my mind, Sid demonstrates a much stronger faith then he gives himself credit for. In ever battle, in every struggle, in every pursuit, if we can understand that we are not truly in control, that we cannot be, we will be more able to cope with fear. We can only control our inner self, to try to control more then that is futile and a waste of energy. We can choose to be one of two men who falls from a boat in deep water. One man struggles and splashes about in the water in a fearful attempt to not drowned only to exhaust himself and seal his fate. The other man, relaxes and does a back float accepting his state and waiting for what comes next, rescue or land. A proper faith in God helps us to accept those things which we have no control over. Faith is a formidable force.

I highly recommend this book: Give Us This Day – The Classic Memoir of the Bataan Death March. It is told in the first person with vivid details that capture your attention and make real this period of history. If you are at all interested in history or in the Japanese culture at that time this book is a must read!

Horton is a Great Example!

ktadmin Posted in Entertainment, For Kids, Reviews,

Took the kids to see Horton Hears a Who! this weekend and let me tell you I enjoyed the Movie as much as the kids did, more even!! This is a must see for anyone with kids or anyone who enjoys a well made movie. Most of us already know the story line but for those who don’t Horton is an Elephant who finds a spec that he thinks (correctly) has people on it. Sorry if that spoils anything… His quest to protect and save them is the focus of the movie. There are so many great lessons that this movie reinforces I’m not sure where to start. Friendship, loyal friendship, respect, commitment, standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves, sacrifice, make that personal sacrifice, believing in yourself, and facing fear.

I strongly suggest you see this movie and then use it when instructing a kids Martial Arts class, What would Horton do? Parents and Instructors can use this great film to help illustrate the complex concepts listed. There is even a great scene where Horton imagines he is a Karate Chopping hero, very cool.

For the big kids the animation and cinematography were stellar, if you are into the sort of thing. πŸ˜‰

Horton Hears a Who!

Artist Makes Art One Karate Chop at a Time

ktadmin Posted in News, Profiles, Reviews,

Phil Hansen over at Phil_in_the_circle_dot_com has a unique talent, he is an unconvensional artist who uses unconventional mediums for amazing results. Our obvious favorite is his tribute to Bruce made entirely with karate chops, head butts and spear hands! The results are amazing and you can purchase a print here but to truly appreciate the work you have to see the video of its creation.

In Response To Fascism

ktadmin Posted in OffTopic, Reviews,

In surfing the internet today a headline caught my eye Action, adventure and atheism? ‘Compass’ meets some opposition. It was a short article about the new movie The Golden Compass. The title pretty much tells the story but what I found the most interesting were the 164 comments! I was jealous, if only I could get my readers to comment like that!! As I read the comments a common theme surfaced that I have seen a thousand times, so I decided to respond, then I realized I should share it here since I am standing up for what I see as justice and the little guy…read on and let me know what you think…in a comment!

The commenters are divided into those who agree with the article:

I think the magic stuff as a whole is crossing over the black and white and going too gray for kids and parents…be careful that we teach them to not believe or act on magical/witchcraft later on…it is real and can be real bad for kids, nightmares, etc…

This by far represents the vast minority of commenters but provides ample foder for those that loath the existance of the article. I use strong language because that is the mood that comes across when reading the comments. Those that disagree with the article cover the spectrum of approaches. They always seem to begin innocent as this early comment:

I think people are taking things far to seriously. The movie is fantasy, as was Harry Potter. I never got into the whole Potter movie phenom but I don’t see how it hurt anyone’s Christian beliefs.

But like any feeding frenzy people become more passionate when they feel they have the upperhand. But the one that really caught my attention and made me decide to post a comment of my own was this comment: (I bolded the parts that I found the most interesting as they may help interpret my response and comments. I also added links to define certain words.)

Wonderful story, acting and special affects. Great entertainment.

I find it amusing that the “old religions of controlling for thousands of years” are once again, up in arms and protesting thou shalt not watch this movie…for it is evil…er I mean it shall affect Sunday offerings”! LOL!

Yeah…it’s about 2,000 – 3,000 years way overdue that religion vanishes and “Spirituality” replaces it. It’s happening, the etheric awakening and the church knows it and is afraid of the disolution of the lemming followers finally taking back their power. It’s about time.
People are beginning to realize the bloody, greedy, corrupt, controlling, fear based dark past of many religions. Read up on the Crusades and the Inquisitions and you will learn the horrific truth of the Catholic church. This old propaganda, one must go to person of the cloth, to get to God, if one does not do this or that hell awaits, is such crap. It’s all about control, instilling fear and money. The bloody reality is the church murdered and stole to create it’s massive wealth. Read historical accounts, not the damn re-written crap and propganda by the manipulators. Yes…the bible has been re-written countless times to serve the needs of those in power at the time. Once revered women were taken out of the bible to give aall the power to the men.
This is the coming of age of “Spirituality” and maintaining your personal power and relationship with Spirit, Source, God or no creator, whatever you believe or don’t believe.
Anyways…great movie…I’d see it again and will buy the DVD when it comes out!

Here is my response to this and similar comments everywhere…

It is amusing to me reading through the comments like these on topics like this how the only religion attacked in Christianity. I see no references to the texts of Islam, Judah, or others. I see more articles written by Muslims condemning works like this but no outrage. Perhaps it is because Christianity stands alone in supporting justice and freedom. Perhaps many have met misguided followers, God knows I have. Perhaps instead you met the truth which was contrary to your way life? Perhaps in you uncomfortable ignorance you found it easier to shun and ridicule the to look within and perfect yourself. The funny thing is in how you react. You are much more evangelical in your witnessing to the “lies” of Christianity, then most Christians are to their faith. Perhaps that is because most Christians believe in free will. We do not fault you your choices, we pity you.

Why do you react so strongly when someone posts an article or opinion piece meant for like-minded people? When I read an opinion piece written by someone of contrary beliefs then myself I do one of two things. I stop reading and move on. Or I read though so I can learn how those opposite of me can think. It never occurs to me to convert them or as you attempt to save them. Kind of ironic or is the word hypocritical?

I just had to stop for a moment and ask.

This part I didn’t post but I was also wonder what their opinions are of other religions? Do they think they could rant like that or me this way if they lived in a non-Christian society? Yes there are exceptions but I like to deal with the rule. It amuses me the way communists rant against America yet get into their BWM and then scream if someone violates their civil rights! Yes I live near a college town…

BTW, I titled this piece “In Response to Fascism” because that is what both sides are doing trying to perform a suppression of the opposition. Unlike the article that poses an opinion as a review for like-minded people, these comments seek to suppress not only the article but those who would agree. I find very little intellectual dialog in these “discussions” as they are often more reminiscent of a grade school playground where each side attempts to convince the other of their right.

There it is done. You know more about me. I have made every attempt to keep this blog generic and open so if this offends you…start your own blog! I am allowed to an occassional rant given my daily vigil to post useful content and resources for you the unknown, non commenter. πŸ˜‰

Ninjabread Man…

ktadmin Posted in Entertainment, Reviews,

You read it right, Ninjabread Man is here! While it reminds me of The Mr. Bill Show this game is pretty cool for the Nintendo Wii. Released on October 2 this new adventure is rated for everyone though playing the game may increase your appetite…not sure why…

Ninjabread Man

So check it out today and if you have it share your comments

Meditation Point #99

ktadmin Posted in A Zen Thing, Quotes, Reviews,

“Like dogs, some folks will go with whoever feeds ’em. Makes you think.”

Robin Hood, Sherwood
Parke Godwin

I just finished reading the historical fiction Sherwood. In the book is the above quote which stuck with me, especially since it is true. It also struck me that points of reflection can come from anywhere. This entire book was truly a point of reflection dealing with friendship, loyalty, justice, struggle and the reality of life and the concessions we must sometimes make. This book is a perfect blend of historical accuracy and high adventure. Godwin’s characters are real people, caught up in extraordinary circumstances and set on paths they never dreamed of. Along the way, there’s courage, betrayal, blood, pain, romance, and glory.

One of the central and reoccurring themes is how people react in a given situation and why. This sets this book apart from other historical novels. The above quote is an unfortunate truth we see daily whether at the office or at a sporting event or in our friends date (never our own!). We see the above quote most clearly in our histories. Perhaps I will add my thought later on but at the moment I remain silent. Today I leave it to you the reader to decide if the above sentiment should be insult or compliment? How do you react to this statement?

Bourne Ultimatum – Review

Sensei Posted in Reviews,

Matt Damon Reading the Review!Jason Bourne is back! I mean Matt Damon as Jason Bourne is back!! This evening I went to see the Bourne Ultimatum. Being a huge fan of the Bourne series to date I walked in with High expectations. Before I go into detail (no spoilers) let me say that I liked the movie very much. This film delivers what it promises which is nonstop action and movement. There are a few great scenes but only one great fight scenes which was disappointing. While I enjoyed the whole film there were many things I didn’t like. The Director of the first film, Bourne Identity, nailed the cinematography, capturing every nuance of the fight scenes and really bringing the audience into the fight. Unfortunately the studio didn’t like that Director and he wasn’t hired back for the sequels and it shows. In the Bourne Ultimatum the Director tried to bring the fight to the audience, literally. Many of the scenes in the movie are filmed too close so you get a lot of movement but you aren’t seeing the whole scene. When other reviews mention “tight” fight scenes I can only imagine this is what they meant. Though I originally thought that Bourne would be fighting in small places, he does but there wasn’t room for the camera in some of them!! The other thing I was prepared for (since another review spoiled it) was the VERY limited lines Jason Bourne has. Again in the Bourne Identity the Director made this minimal verbiage (I hate that word) work but in this film it makes Jason Bourne seem flat or deficient. There are a few scenes where Jason Bourne could have easily said something! Again this is easily overlooked because of the nonstop pace the movie keeps but something is lost.
So what am I saying? Bourne Ultimatum is a sequel and like almost all sequels is not quiet as fresh as we would hope for. Overall I walked out of the theater happy with the week salary that I dropped to see the film. But since I tend to over analyze all movies here I sit pondering what could have been done better…as I see it. In a recent interview Matt Damon said they did film a lot of scenes with him talking but they just didn’t work. Since I think he is a brilliant actor and movie maker I have to trust him on that one. My last comment is that the technical skills demonstrated in the fight scenes are not disappointing and one has to admire Matt Damon for all the work he put into them. So, go see this movie you won’t be disappointed.

Book Review: This Is Karate

Sensei Posted in Reviews,

A hard to find treasure, This Is Karate packs one heck of a punch just like Mas Oyama! This is one of the rare all inclusive manuals of the Martial Arts. Specific to Kyokushin but useful to all Martial Arts this book includes a section on everything from fitness, conditioning and stretching techniques to technique specifics to philosophical insights. All 368 pages are packed with information that is driven home with more then 2000 illustrations, diagrams, photos, and sketches. If you add one book to your Martial Arts Library make it this one.

Book Review: Chip and the Karate Kick

Sensei Posted in Reviews,

A Review of: Chip and the Karate KickKids Karate Book: Chip and the Karate Kick

This is a great book! If you want to get your child a book to help them understand Karate then this is the perfect book. If you teach children I would suggest you give them this book as a gift or part of their enrollment package! Yes it is that good. The artwork, by Paul Meisel , is very appealing and clearly supports te underlying story. The story, by Anne Rockwell, is cute but to the point. It is an encouraging story of a young student who doesn’t want to work on the little things but just wants to kick, punch and break things like he sees on TV. Sound familiar?! I won’t ruin the ending here but it is well punctuated. πŸ˜‰
Buy this book! Your young students will love it and their parents will thank you!!

Fight Science

Sensei Posted in Reviews,

You probably just finished watching it!
The long and short as outlined in this 4 page write-up is that the martial art with the strongest punch is…Boxing! Now anyone who has sparred with a real Boxer should not be truely surprised by this fact. Remember that Boxing focuses almost all of it’s training on hitting the head for a knockout πŸ™‚ As I always tell my students, “if you face a Boxer you have the advantage…but don’t let them hit you!” This show backed that sentiment up. So why do we have the advantage? We view the entire body as a weapon and a target…or we should. I look forward to more research along these lines…very interesting stuff.