Saturday, June 28, 2008


I seem to have injured my knee a little. It happened at jodo practice, but the back story is relevant, I think.

I hadn't been going to practice very often for one reason or another, but I had been going to the gym quite frequently, and lifting pretty heavy weights with my legs. I recently changed gyms and my new gym has a squat machine that is a bit too small for me - even on the furthest seat setting, I have to start from a very tight squat position and I could feel that it was putting stress on my knee. One day, I felt a "twinge" in my left knee, but it didn't hurt so much that I stopped.

Then, I went to Jodo. I don't usually warm up much before jodo, because we do Kihon and warm up "naturally". But on this particular day, I jumped right into koryu and was trying to do Neya no Uchi. I wasn't popping up strongly enough, so I was being told to go from a one-knee position, to a straight-legged "ready to go" posture. I didn't have much luck with that - my legs just aren't strong enough to launch me forward like that.

The next day, my left knee was really hurting me, especially when going up stairs and in particular when my knee straightened out. It still hurts, in fact.

So, I have been trying to do a self-diagnosis using information on the internet. I should go to the doctor, but ... simper simper ... I don't know if I have coverage for this kind of thing, it's hard to get time off work, it doesn't hurt THAT much, maybe I should just rest it for a while, etc.

In the meantime, I am taking a break from iaido, at least. I think my left knee is worse than my right knee as a direct result of tate-hiza always being done on the left side.

Anyway, anybody have any experience with this kind of pain: short, sharp pain inside the knee, very centralized, occurs when you straighten the knee out when it is bearing weight?

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hypothetically ... Pt. 2

This interesting letter to the editor appeared in The Daily Yomiuri on June 26, 2008. The author makes a good point ...

Police officer should have shot Akihabara assailant
News reports are labeling Police Sgt. Takashi Ogino, the policeman that caught and arrested Tomohiro Kato on June 8 in Akihabara, as an unsung hero.
Kato at first resisted arrest and was able to slash Sgt. Ogino's protective vest three times with a dagger before the officer pulled out his revolver, which made Kato drop his weapon.
The Metropolitan Police Department is calling Sgt. Ogino's actions "textbook perfect." Yet, a police officer possessing a gun, a baton and a third-degree black belt in judo still got slashed three times by Kato's dagger.
Kato had already stabbed one officer in an attempt to kill him, and I am sure he wanted to do the same to Sgt. Ogino. If Kato was able to get close enough to the police officer to slash him three times in his vest, Kato might have been able to stab Sgt. Ogino in the face or neck, too.
In this scenario, Kato might have gotten the opportunity to take the sergeant's revolver and cause even more destruction and murder.
Kato was murdering people in broad daylight, and Sgt. Ogino should have taken out his revolver and used it first and taken down Kato right away.
Sgt. Ogino is no unsung hero, just a very lucky police officer.
Andrew Van Goethem
Mitsuke, Niigata Prefecture

Monday, June 16, 2008

This Looks Interesting...

Alright, you dojo-dwelling, gi-wearing, stance-obsessed martial artists! Check this out.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hypothetically ...

In iaido, we spend a lot of time thinking about killing other people. We casually talk about cutting our opponent across the eyes to blind him before cutting his head and neck in half; we talk about the best angle to stab someone in the heart; we discuss the best grip for cutting off someone's head. Of course, it's all hypothetical, right?

Well, what IF ... I know it's a big if ... but what if you found yourself having to decide whether or not to intervene in a violent situation?

Today around noon, a man drove his car into a crowd in Akihabara, Tokyo, and then went on a stabbing spree. He killed at least 3 people and injured 14 others.
Read more about this story here.

I was in Akihabara on Friday night. I have been there in the past with my sword after an iai practice. So, forgetting about how unlikely it is, it is possible that you or I might find ourselves in this kind of situation.

I wonder whether I would be able to do anything, or if I would just stand there in shock. In the end, police apprehended the man responsible, but only after more than a dozen people had been injured or killed. I don't know karate; I don't know aikido, or krav maga or anything else - there's no way I could stop him short of cutting his arm off or something. Would I have the guts to do it?

I first started thinking about this kind of thing after this happened. A madman stabbed children to death in an elementary school. As an elementary school teacher (at the time) I wondered whether I would have been able to stop it had it been my school.

I can't quite explain why, but I think this is an important question for iaidoka, especially. I'm prepared to admit that this situation is almost certainly never going to happen. But am I mentally prepared to kill and/or die to save another person's life?