Crazy prosthetics technology – the i-LIMB

Was doing some random Googling and found this awesome blog – The Adventures of the i-LIMB. The blog’s author, Darin, has had his left arm amputated from just below the elbow from what I can see in the videos he’s posted, and he’s documented a daily journal of his experiences with his i-LIMB, an awesome piece of crazy cybertechnology (i.e. his prosthesis 😉 ). There are plenty of videos documenting what he’s been up to and stacks of content – regardless of your background, check out his site and read up on his experiences.

Oh, and check out the vids, the technology is awesome to see in action 😀 I’ll be adding a link to his blog in my side bar, so if you forget where his blog is, you’ll be able to easily get to it regardless of where you are on my site.

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Belated congrats to Black Belt Mama!

So, I was out of the loop during June and a little bit of July as well (click the links for the monthly roundups – not looking as healthy as my usual efforts!!), and this also means I’m also out of whack with what’s been happening in the martial arts blogs I regularly read during the week.

So, it left me feeling a little sheepish that I hadn’t dropped by Black Belt Mama’s blog to read up that she was successful in not only getting her 1st Dan in Okinawan Kenpo Karate, but she double-graded and also earned her 1st Dan in Okinawan Kenpo Kobudo as well. Crazy stuff, and really awesome to hear. She’s had to fight through ACL hell to get there, and I think it’s brill to read that she’s achieved her 1st Dan in both of those styles. I’d encourage you to check out the full post on her blog (click here), and I reckon I’ll have to think about the beer idea she had. Might come in handy for whenever I manage to progress that far 😀

Congrats BBM! Sorry it’s so belated! 😉

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Grading this weekend

Just a short post on this one – we’ve got a grading coming up this weekend, and I’ll be trying for mine. Since I had to start fresh with my current school back in 2007 it’s still early days, and this time I’ll be going for 7th kyu. I’m hoping that if I train hard for the next six months, I’ll possibly be able to squeeze in another grading by the end of the year, which will bring me to 6th kyu, which is the grade I worked myself to in my previous style of karate.

Not that I mind about starting afresh or the time frames, but I’m keen to work hard this year and push myself to progress through the formative stages of the syllabus with solid gradings and quality karate; if I can use my goal of 6-monthly gradings at this early stage in the style to push myself in this direction, I’m confident I can continue to work hard through future grades regardless of how long it takes to progress, including where the going gets considerably tougher the further down you go towards Shodan, and from there to progress to Dan rankings (or at least a Dan ranking of some sort!!!).

Mind, we’re talking long term stuff here – I’m not putting a set goal for when I want to achieve something as lofty as my shodan, I’m just saying that in the grand scheme of things, my goal is to one day achieve at least shodan, and from there continue to train as hard and progress as far as my body allows and see where I go. I have no idea how many years it will take to get there, but I think to do so would be to loose sight of the journey that you go through when moving through the kyu ranks, as it would be foolish to ignore the importance of what you learn in your kyu grades and expect to automatically exude awesomeness once you reach Shodan — as one of the black belts I trained with at the seminar I attended recently pointed out, a black belt is simply an advanced white belt, and it’s by no means the end of your learning as a martial artist. I just like imagining at how much I’ll have improved by that point in the hopes that I can start to truly grasp and become proficient at my style of karate.

So, to move away from my crazy ramblings off the immediate challenge, grading is happening this weekend, and I intend to go in there and work as hard as I can to try and progress to my next ranking. We’ll see how I go!

BTW, if you’re curious what I mean when I talk about kyu grades, dan grades or what shodan is, Wikipedia have some handy articles on kyu rankings, dan rankings and one specifically on the shodan ranking.

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Training roundup

Last night’s training went really well – by the time I was finished the top of my gi was soaked with sweat, and whenever that happens, I always figure it’s been a good session 🙂

With grading coming up this weekend, there was a lot of emphasis on getting core techniques polished in preparation for it, as well as kata. Despite the fact I did two stupid things (jammed my thumbnail into the side of my nose accidentally while doing a wrist-grab counter, which cut it and had it start bleeding; and knocked one of my fingers on my right hand and caused it to start swelling up [nothing an ice pack when I got home couldn’t fix!]), it was a really good, productive session. The best part was when we were working on kata towards the end of class – the first two times I did it I felt I was doing a bit of a rubbish job, so with the next few times we did it, I deliberately slowed down with increased focus, and felt extremely satisfied at the end of it. I’ve corrected my bad shuto habit where I would typically raise my striking/blocking (When is a block a block? When is a block a strike? Think about it…) arm too high, but I’m still falling into the trap of doing my age-uke too high and wasting the principle that demands economy of motion in perfecting your skills as a martial artist. Despite the fact I’ve read up on the concept in various forms over the years and know better 😛

So yeah, still plenty to do, but it was a good, solid training session 😀

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Wishlist: transforming leg

A friend of mine fired through a link for a story about a double amputee in New Zealand who had a mermaid tail prosthesis created by WETA, and it got me to thinking about stuff.

When I was 12, I was watching the very awesome third series of Robotech (which I later found out was called Genesis Climber Mospeada when ADV were kind enough to release the set on DVD, which I promptly snatched up several years ago 😉 ) on repeat on early morning TV, and in that series they have these awesome futuristic motor bike things that transform into these equally awesome power suit things (Wikipedia tells me they’re called Cyclone Veritech Ride Armors).

Genesis Climber Mospeada cover

Anywho, I remember thinking at the time that it would be awesome having a leg that could transform into something cool from Macross, like a rocket or something, and when I was reading that story I linked up above, out of nowhere I remembered that crazy thought I had when I was younger.

But who knows, following Rodriguez’ awesome premise behind Planet Terror, maybe the dynamic duo of the former + Tarantino (or someone following in their stead!) can do something crazy and awesome. I mean, when Rodriguez comes up with this:

Planet Terror (Dutch promotional poster)

… I think anything’s possible 🙂

This reminds me, I really need to buy Planet Terror and Death Proof 😀

I was about to finish this one off, but I realised I hadn’t posted a video of the super awesome opening animation from Mospeada 😀 😀 😀

Gold!

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