Category Archives: Experiences

covering mainly martial arts, books, movies, travel, food, culture, and jobs.

How to Advance as a Martial Artist (3)


drawing-cropped

Part 3 of the How to Advance as a Martial Artist:

Be open minded

Try new (more…)

How to Advance as a Martial Artist (2)


enzouji-in-fallPart 2 of the How to Advance as a Martial Artist:

Record yourself, and Read the rest of this entry

How to Advance as a Martial Artist (1)


Featured Image -- 980A friend of mine recently asked “How can I become a better martial artist?” That’s a pretty general question, so I said Read the rest of this entry

Iaido Experience


Photo 3-31-16, 7 40 34 PM

Last night I had the amazing experience of trying out Iaido for the first time with a weapons master and a national champion of Mugai-ryū 無外流, a Koryu (traditional sword style). The experience was even better than I had expected. Read the rest of this entry

What is Kung-Fu?


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A while back I had the opportunity to watch a Chinese presentation led by a martial arts master regarding kung-fu.  When I started watching, I was expecting a lecture on historic lineage leading up to today.  Luckily it was anything but that.  The master started out by asking the question “What is kung-fu?” A few people did in-fact reference history and martial arts styles.

After listening for a few minutes he shook his head and everyone was confused.   Read the rest of this entry

Cursed Holymans of NYC


The HolyMan and its victim...

The HolyMan and its victim…

The Holymans’ casualties have claimed yet another unsuspecting victim as a snow storm turned to a lovely onslaught of sleet/ freezing rain in this frigid Iceland we call NYC.

Casualties left spilled drops ofliquid gold, many a sore behind, and even near cataclysmic events of the “slipping dropkick of con-flailing (confused flailing)”.  This consists of Victim A running to catch their cross signal and is sent sprawling for balance.  Their hands and feet flail as they desperately try to right themselves, missing another Read the rest of this entry

Japanese and American Thoughts #1 Public Baths


Having a conversation with a friend from Japan and comparing our thoughts on things we found strange or unusual about each other’s Country, while trying to explain, defend, or (agree and then) explore the aspects of our cultures.

There is so much to talk about so this is part one. We decided to start off with the conversation by diving into the public baths in Japan.

Felt Like Trying Something New


There is so much that goes on in my mind that expressing it all in words leaves me wanting a little more.  So I have started a Vlog to go along with my randomness here.  Let me know what you think, or don’t ;).

Japanese and me, so far [part 3] (IS 5)


Once in Japan I was hit by culture shock in varying degrees depending on the situation.  I was also horribly nervous and could hardly say a few words to figure out where I was supposed to go to pick up my luggage, let alone have a conversation.  Within a week I was able to hold a shaky conversation and after a month, I was talking to everyone and anyone I could.  I had always been Read the rest of this entry

Japanese and me, so far [part 2] (IS 4)


From there I entered college with a drive to learn and to push myself.  Having a desire to learn another language has become a driving force in my effort to learn Japanese and is incorporated into my major.  I started off not truly knowing how to study Japanese and I would often spend most of my time staring at the pages of my textbooks, trying to absorb the information that way.  This was horribly ineffective and after the first few chapters I started struggling.  Most of the grammatical structures, vocabulary, and conjugations would make some sense for a day or so and then I would forget them or make the same errors again and again.

I was lucky enough to meet several Japanese exchange students right around the time when I was struggling most.  They were very kind and started helping me practice my Japanese a few times a week.  They would quiz me over and over again on vocabulary until I knew what they were going to say just by the first syllables that left their tongues.  Once I was able to create my own sentences, not just repeat common phrases everyone had memorized, I would say anything and everything I could in Japanese to them, and I listened intently each time any of them spoke to me.  I still struggled in class and my skills were poor all around, but I was still passing my courses at a level to continue.  These people that helped me have become some of my best friends and I am still in contact with them today, driving me forward still.

I tried twice to go to Japan as an exchange student and had to cancel my application for abroad due to financial situations, caused by steep increases in the university’s fees up to $5,000 in one year.  I tried for a third time and was able to study abroad in the Fall of 2012 at Kansai Gaidai University in Osaka, Japan.  I was kept busy working throughout the summer, keeping me distracted for the most part from my studies, almost as if it was all a lie.  Once I had let it sink in that I was accepted and the initial exhilaration had worn off, I started worrying about the different regional dialects of Japan, especially Osaka, where I was headed.  I had heard from others that the dialect, known as a“-ben” in Japanese, in Osaka was particularly difficult and that words conjugated completely differently, nearly influencing a change in area of study.  Yet the area was perfectly located; the university was in the middle of a triangle of absolutely beautiful cities, Osaka City, Nara, and Kyoto, all within about an hour or so by train.  With this in mind, my motivation spiked once more and I set off for Japan.

kansai gaidai

kansai gaidai