All posts by Steve

Martial Arts

Ron Peterson, then owner of World of Self Defense in Minneapolis, with a student, sometime in the early 1970s. Copyright World of Self Defense

I knew Ron Peterson in the mid to late 1980s as one of his students. I also knew the current owner, Ron’s son Steve Peterson, who was 12 or 13 last time we were in class together. That was when I received my Sankyu, or 3rd level brown belt. I’d have loved to keep up, but never found a school as good. That’s World of Self Defense in Minneapolis, just across the alley from my old house. Ron was an excellent teacher. Rather than concentrate on “forms” and strict adherence to nomenclature (other than the names of the techniques) we concentrated on learning, as we would put it, how to “maim and kill.” This has been a useful skill, even without a black belt, as the truth is for some reason, nobody has so much as looked at me funny since I was Ron’s student. Looking for an effective self-defense school? I’d recommend this one.

A lot of Judo, Aikido, and Karate amounts to applied physics. In fact, only Karate can be used on the offense. In Judo and Aikido (this is the one Segall uses in his movies) you use the opponents energy against him. Very cool. Done right, a Judo throw is virtually effortless to execute. And Aikido can tie an opponent up into some amazingly complex knots with a few simple gestures. But there is another part of martial arts that is also important. That is, staying calm. Yes, joking aside, if you can stay calm and keep your head while others are losing theirs, you’re 99 percent of the way to success in winning your battles. The various techniques are physical, it’s true, and the way to do a physical technique as effectively as possible is to relax every muscle that you’re not using. This saves energy, and concentrates the energy you do use in the most useful place for it. This I learned at World of Self Defense, and it has been valuable in many ways.

So, my Liberal, Leftie friends, my advice at this time is to not obsess on what the President and his minions are doing. They have the right to appoint a justice to the Supreme Court if they want to, and whomever they want it to be, it can be. Rather than argue that point, and lose sleep, consider, what is the most effective thing you can do, you yourself, to put an end to all that? Worry about what the next President, even if it’s Biden, is going to do? Worry about the incumbent refusing to accept the results of the election? Ranting about those awful people behind the incumbent? I don’t think so. What you can do is to relax all of the muscles, physical and mental, that you aren’t using, and work to replace the incumbent and his minions. And, remember, ranting about how bad your opponent is, is a big sign of weakness. Strength isn’t noisy, it just acts. So, act. A few suggestions? Join the ACLU, work to elect not just Biden, but anyone you think will overturn the current reign of fear. Post thoughtful and calm analyses, not rants. If you can’t stay calm, I’d suggest simply turning off all media, social and otherwise, for a time. Until your blood pressure subsides, at least.

Sure, the world’s a mess, the country’s going to Hell in a handbasket, there is evil loose in the land. So what’s new? Stay calm, stay strong, watch for opportunities. And above all, vote. Early or on the day, it won’t matter. If you mistrust the mail, drop your ballot off. But vote! You can go back to being a cynical wreck after.

Here’s the Thing

Tyrion LeChien, Beagle

I just noticed that my last quite a few posts have been from my friend Leslie, which is fine ’cause she’s a good writer and living an interesting life, until just the other day isolated from the novel coronavirus, even. (Go back one post to see, or search the tag “odd godfrey” or “Odd Godfrey”) But, this is my blog, and I’ve been remiss. It’s also supposed to revolve around, vaguely at least, writing. And I have been writing again, after several months. But more about that as we go along.

We should have gone to France last Spring and found a house to live in after we’ve moved there. Well, we didn’t. We will, I’m sure, once we can do so again. Just today, though, I was reading that the second wave is hitting in France, and sort of hard to boot, so that may be a while. Honestly, I imagine that by this time next year we can all be talking about what we did during the pandemic. For real. Sooner than that, maybe, but I dunno. Meantime, I’m worried about (got to be something, right) ditching the anti-science people so that we can for sure get out of this pandemic some day. I imagine by now that only those who believe in actual magic spells can possibly think that there’s anything to be gained by retaining the current administration. The current crop of conspiracy theories is (should be) award winning in its creativity and scope, but of course, like all conspiracy theories, it’s total bunk. I know Liberals, and they ain’t never going to get it together to form any conspiracies, and you can take that to the bank. Anyhow. Vote early. Drop off your ballot of you’re worried about the post office, but vote. It’s the only way to restore basic sanity to American society.

Whilst awaiting the election results I’m working on a project that I’ve been working on for at least a couple of years. This time, though, it’s being written right, and I think you’ll like it once it’s out. (Hold your breath! 🙂 ) And even occasionally blogging something original that I actually wrote all by myself, such as this post, for instance. And every day I try to get just a bit better at the French language. Tous les jours, un peut meilleur. I know, “better” is mieux, but that would screw up the rhythm. Nothing wrong with being a little bit the best, is there?

My moral is that the world is going to get better, but there will be a mess of frustrations before that happens. My advice is to ditch the orange guy and his entourage, wear your mask, and ignore conspiracy theorists. If most of us can manage those three things, life will turn sweet once again. I promise.

A Little Bit of Everything: Sweet and Spicy, Salt and Pepper — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

“How’s it going over there? We are getting hammered!” Steelie Pete has hailed us on the VHF. The rain hasn’t let up, the wind is completely dead, and the motor has been chugging along for a few hours. “You’re getting hammered? We have zero wind. We are motoring right now.” Andrew reports. “R

Source: A Little Bit of Everything: Sweet and Spicy, Salt and Pepper — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

Sailing Back To Uncertainty — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

The chain rattles against the guide, there is that familiar thunk of anchor settling into place. Andrew wrestles with the pins while I steer us safely out of the shallows. We slide along the turquoise blue water that suspends us over white sand until it turns dark with depth. The odometer is clo

Source: Sailing Back To Uncertainty — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

Bad News Sneaks In Through an Open Weather Window — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

Anchored in the most beautiful of remote islands, our weather window arrives sooner than we like and bad news forces us to remember the sea controls our decision making.

Source: Bad News Sneaks In Through an Open Weather Window — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

The Tropical Isolation Chamber — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

“Did you even watch that documentary about Chagos that I sent you?” “Sorry, no.” I say, while Andrew scuttles away to avoid the question. Pete groans, releasing the depth of his disappointment like a belch from a sulfuric volcano. “I can’t think about that business, Pete. I’m on a yo

Source: The Tropical Isolation Chamber — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

You Haven’t Lived… — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

“…until you see this place!” Pete exclaims as we sip cups of Post-Soggy-Passage-Celebratory-Coffees in Sonrisa’s cockpit. Having nestled our anchor into a patch of soft, white sand and greeted our three resident sharks encircling Sonrisa’s hull, Andrew and I had just begun cleaning Sonrisa from th

Source: You Haven’t Lived… — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

All The Dark and Soggy You Can Take — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

“I (*insert another phrase not fit to print here*) hate this! I hate this!” I ball my fists and tuck myself into a corner beneath the dodger, just like Katherine Hepburn tucks herself beneath the coffee table. Andrew says nothing. He blinks at me. “God damn it! I hate this.” I gro

Source: All The Dark and Soggy You Can Take — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

The Dark and Soggy Passage, Part One — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World

If I could describe my favorite type of passage, it is one with consistent trade winds not directly behind us, but about 30 degrees over our shoulder, calm seas, under a full moon or a clear sky full of stars. And if there were a passage the complete opposite of that…. Our anchor was up by 9:

Source: The Dark and Soggy Passage, Part One — OddGodfrey: The Oddly Compelling Story of a Sailing Circumnavigation of the World