I watched Vision Quest, and it was awesome

Vision Quest poster

I’m a sucker for martial arts flicks from the 80s, whether it be from Japan or Hong Kong, or from the US. Even if it’s rubbish, I’ll probably still enjoy it, because bad 80s movies are entertaining by default. Vision Quest is hardly earth-shattering, but it’s not a stinking pile of gloop either. In fact, it did a very good job of entertaining Wifey and I for a couple of hours. This is because Wifey is suitably tragic as well. That’s yet another sign of our collective awesomeness.

Moving along – Vision Quest’s a bit of an unusual pick as it revolves around wrestling competitions from the perspective of a US high school, rather than my usual martial arts pics featuring one-man armies with optional mullets. While the film began with a bit of a false start, it didn’t take long to win me over. First of all, it’s a teen movie with 80s grit. Love it. It also features Jake Ryan (well, Michael Schoeffling, but he’ll always by Jake Ryan to anyone whose a fan of 80s John Hughes gold), so there’s more thumbs up, particularly if you’re like Wifey and still harbour a secret passion for Jake Ryan… bugger knows why she married a ranga with one leg considering it’s a bit of an antithesis to 80s Schoeffling, though I’m certainly not complaining šŸ˜‰

Then there’s the Madonna factor. Not only do we get to see her do her quality 80’s dancing, but we get “Crazy For You” played throughout the movie during montages, in a club, as an instrumental during terrible romantic moments, et cetera.

In fact, let’s give this one another thumbs up for cramming in plenty of montages – if there’s anything Trey Parker has taught us using the power of animation or marionettes, it’s that everything works better as a montage.

But going back to Madonna, I think we need to take a moment to consider the soundtrack. As noted, not only is there some 80s Madonna in there (I’ll admit to enjoying 80s Madonna sugarpop), you get a menagerie of awesomeness in the form of Don Henley, Style Council, Foreigner and (wait for it), Journey. Epic.

But what about the actual movie? Wasn’t too bad actually – I don’t know a lot about wrestling, but it was interesting to see some of the groundwork in there. The Wikipedia entry tell me it’s a bit of a cult classic among middle and high school wrestlers, so I’m guessing there’s something in there.

But for me, it was the cast, the music and the setting that won me over. This of course is completely obvious in this blocky trailer on YouTube:

I know I’m tragic, but as GI Joe told me in the 80s, knowing is half the battle.

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Getting my prosthesis replaced (2010), part 1: starting the process

Those who have been reading up on the blog for a while will know I’ve been struggling the damage to my stump or with my prosthesis for the last 12 months off and on, and I’m pleased to say I’ve finally gotten the ball rolling to have something holistically done about it! Last time I caught up with my specialist was in… June I believe, and back then he mentioned that I was eligible for a new prosthesis since the last one built from the ground up was from 2006-ish (although when we went back to check the paperwork, I’m pretty sure the 2006 job was actually just a socket replacement, as I kept the rest of the leg as part of the build!). I was originally planning to get a move on with this in August, but some unexpected things cropped up, and now we’re in October. So I got there in the end, and it’s proof that it’s not only my training that suffers when life happens, my leg does too šŸ˜‰

Anywho, I caught up with my specialist and the doctor on Monday last week, and the application has been submitted for processing. I’m told this usually takes a fortnight, and once they’ve been given the green-light, I’ll make an appointment to have a new socket cast to my stump.

I really should have looked into having a new socket put together a while ago – the stump continues to change over time and to its environment, and I have a feeling a lot of the problems I’ve had over the past 12 months have been to do with my stump no longer fitting the mould of my socket as well as it used to. These changes are caused by all sorts of variables from what I understand from a kinaesthetic viewpoint – muscle tone, overall weight of the amputee, usage of the stump, changes in gait, responding to the shape of the socket – so four years on one socket is probably a bit too long.

I think the mentality originates from what I was told as a child – growing up, I’d have a new prosthesis built each year to accommodate the fast pace you grow as a child and adolescent. Back then, I was told that, once an adult, you don’t have new legs built anywhere near as frequently, so that impression still sits with my attitude towards my prosthesis. There’s also the terrible Australian idiom, “She’ll be right”, I have a habit of subscribing to, and that probably hasn’t helped either since I figure any pain is a passing thing and I should just build a bridge and get over it, so to speak šŸ˜‰

So, new leg, new opportunities? My specialist is looking at introducing some tweaks to the design to allow more flexibility for the stump whilst in the socket, but also with greater suction. We’ll also be looking at adding a more robust knee to the arrangement, though it’ll still be pneumatic as I prefer the practicality of the pneumatic knees in the same price bracket as the hydraulics – higher end of the cost scale I reckon I’d slide over to hydraulic units that offer more sophisticated features, but I’m limited by what’s provisioned under local medical schemes as there’s no way we could afford to spend $1000s on my prosthesis when Wifey and I have a Gen-Y mortgage to maintain. Mind, the support these days is significantly improved from when I was a kid, so I’m not complaining about the existing government support for amputees, just pointing out that I can’t afford or justify the cost of going outside those boundaries given everything else.

I’ll continue to update as we go, just keep track of the 2010 New Prosthesis tag for all the posts related to this topic.

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Excellent 2 part interview with Hanshi Patrick McCarthy @ Ikigai Way

Just a heads-up – Sensei posted a note on the KU-SA Facebook page that linked to an interview with Koryu Uchinadi founder Hanshi Patrick McCarthy, and guess what? It was from Matt over at Ikigai Way! Given that our club is now training exclusively in Koryu Uchinadi and that I’m trying to train my mind in lieu of some injuries that are keeping me from training physically at the moment, I’m reading up and studying information on the style, as well as viewing footage of the techniques and drills so that I’m not too rubbish when I start back in class again, so this is great timing.

It was great getting a digest of Hanshi’s varied training and experiences, but it was the discussion on KU philosophies and the extra bonus of mentioning the hakutsuru style that has particularly piqued my interested, as I’ve talked about this with Matt in the past after he mentioned one-legged kata in the syllabus. It re-affirms my interest in grabbing a copy of Hanshi’s Bubishi: The Classic Manual of Combat, though I’m currently ploughing through some study at the moment, so recreational reading has been on-hold for a while and is likely to roll on into early 2011 at this stage.

But enough of that – head over to Ikigai Way and read Part 1 and Part 2 of the interview!

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… and I’m back!

Apologies for the unplanned break – a handful of unfortunate issues cropped up over the last couple of months, along with a couple of annoying injuries that have kept training somewhat sporadic since June.

But that’s the past – I’d rather look to the future. I’ve got plenty of material to write about which I’ll be rolling out over the next couple of weeks, as well as regular insight into my training in the Koryu Uchinadi system. On the amputee side of things, I’ve just started to get the ball rolling to have my prosthesis (which is from 2006) replaced with a new one, included some new options for the socket design and knee. Should be interesting!

I’m also out of whack with what a lot of my fellow bloggers are writing about, so I’ll be jumping back into the loop to get up to speed over there as well.

I’d also like to fire across a big thanks to those of you who e-mailed me during my blogging absence with questions or feedback, to my Sensei and fellow students for being understanding of my situation, and to Wifey for putting up with a grumpy husband the last couple of months šŸ™‚

That’s it from me for now – more updates will come, stay tuned to the blog!

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Finding parallels between Koryu Uchinadi and Jeet Kune Do, part 5

Note: This is a continuation in a series of posts, be sure to read part 4, or you can view the whole series by looking up all posts under the Koryu Uchinadi/Jeet Kune Do comparison tag.

Now, these principles aren’t unique to either of these philosophies, and neither represent the “golden egg” when it comes to finding your path to enlightenment when it comes to martial arts. What they do represent is a different view on “classical” martial arts, and as well-rounded and well-thought individuals, I think it’s important that we don’t dismiss these at face value. Every system has a weakness, most systems have their strengths. I find that Shotokan Karate (and by extension, I’m hoping to gain out of Koryu Uchinadi) was suited to me, as (a) I wanted to learn a traditional form of self defense with historical significance to Japan owing to my interest and tertiary study into Japanese history and culture, (b) wanted to learn an applicable form of self defense with an emphasis on respect and an end result that also improved physical fitness, and (c) learn a style that can be utilised/adapted to my existing physical condition. So for me, karate, whether it by a hybrid style (what I previously learned), “classical” Shotokan (which is probably my primary influence) and Koryu Uchinadi (broader syllabus with anthropological overtones in its development), are what have been right for me at this stage of my development.

At the end of the day, I like that both systems don’t explicitly say they have the answer, but offer opportunities and encourage a mode of self-developed insight into reactions to physical violence. Hanshi McCarthy is of course well-known and respected for the development of his HAPV model (Habitual Acts of Physical Violence), which aims to build a practical foundation for techniques taught within the system, and complements the constantly evolving nature of the system, bringing a modenr, scientific approach to karate that forms is base upon pre-Japan Okinawan kenpo. While not as succinct, I believe Lee was shooting towards the same goal with Jeet Kune Do, in that a martial art should not be a static object, but something that can react to situational changes and notes this should be implicitly explored. Like that classic interview, Bruce’s analogy of being like water is a great concept, and as martial artists, is something we should always consider in our training. Ultimately where Jeet June Do and Koryu Uchinadi meet is in this guiding principle – don’t get so bogged down by tradition that you can forge practicality out of physical or written philosophy.

This is the final post of this lengthy discussion – you can view a full list of the posts by using the Koryu Uchinadi/Jeet Kune Do comparison tag. Thanks for bearing with me as I know it was lengthy, and I hope you got something out of it!!

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