Posts from June 2007

Adding comments is enabled on the martial arts website

You are now invited to add comments to the news in this page. Since the AKBAN news deal with everything from Mixed martial arts to ancient fighting systems we hope that you will.

Just click the “add comment” below, write your name (or invent one if you are a hopeless coward) and presto! some obscure moderator will approve it in a jiffy.

thanks

17/06/2007

New search engine in your martial arts website

Keith H. with a little help from some veterans, Managed to write search algorithms that would search 5 databases in two languages.

Not only did he have to deal with thousands of images from AKBAN’s martial art events, there was also the problem of two blogs, articles and, to top it all, tens of thousands of pages, techniques, videos and tutorials in the AKBAN-wiki.

16/06/2007

Professionalism

Foreword: The list I have compiled is not a definitive explanation of the term, but rather a summation of personal insight.

Characteristics of professionalism

Understanding

There can be no professionalism without an understanding of the field one is in. Among other things, understanding means comprehensive knowledge of the information in the field at hand. There is a need to distinguish between the important issues and the less important ones, as well as having the knowledge of action in order to achieve superior results within the limits of human capabilities.

Noticing the small details

(or insisting on fine tuning)

Even if everyone engaged in a certain field has access to the main boulevard of knowledge and understanding in that field, the difference between a professional and a non-professional, will manifest itself in the ability to insist on small details and nuances. Understanding of these details is the result of noticing an array of details, and the “small details” at that.

Even if the majority of those engaged in the field find it easy to understand or to acknowledge the clear details or basic understandings, only a minority has the urge to act and reach the maximal level of understanding, this is probably due to the high price of doing so (see next paragraph). It must be stressed, that a someone with an understanding will be able to distinguish the important details from the non-important ones only after reviewing all the details at hand, “small details” included, and considered every one of them. Insisting on understanding and executing the small details allows emphasizing important ones, and it is this, which creates the difference between achieving an 80%result and one, which is 90-100%.

It can be said relating to this point that professionalism cannot be taken lightly.

Persistence

There can be no professionalism without persistence. Professionalism cannot be random, passing or limited to a single act, but rather must be consistent and as such, measured over time.

A value that stands for itself

Yet another characteristic of professionalism is seeing it as a value that stands for itself. The urge to act professionally comes from grasping professionalism as an independent value and not as a means for attaining another goal.

The price of professionalism

Investing resources

Much time and many resources are required in order to become professional. Since persistence is necessary, investing resources must be done regularly. What this means, is that in order to be professional, you pay a price by investing many resources that otherwise could have been geared to other things. An example of one main resource is time. Professionalism requires much time that could have been used in a different way, such as spending time with family or friends, doing other hobbies, or just resting.

Reactions from the surroundings

Even if the immediate circle of professionals knows how to appreciate it, many times the broader circle of those who are in the field will have trouble accepting a professional, whether because of envy due to the inability to reach that same level of professionalism (the professionalism of the professional emphasizes a lack of professionalism in others), or because of other reasons.

Due to this, the professional can find himself lonely, since he works according to his professional truth and his professional standards, which may be different from those of people around him. Thus, he may reach different results, conclusions and understandings than those of most people, whether in the same field or not. This difference may lead to a negative attitude of surrounding people towards the professional, and in extreme cases even ignoring or out casting the professional. There seems to be a general human inclination towards conformism, a difficulty accepting ideas and understandings different from popular belief.

This and more: Due to the resources invested by the professional, there will at times be close circles that are not professional – family, for example – that will feel neglected or offended. It must be remembered that most people are not professionals, and so, investing a lot of time and receiving professional results are strange to them, and they are unwilling to pay the price. This does not mean that all of these people are inappreciative of professionalism, though they are not always willing to pay the price required for associating with a professional.

Summary

Understanding, insisting on detail and persistence are characteristics of professionalism as well as the conditions for it. The price of professionalism is investing resources, and, at times, a negative reaction from the surroundings, which may, in extreme cases lead to loneliness.

15/06/2007

Tel Aviv night run

To prepare for the Tel Aviv night run use the meticulous running tabels here: Akban fitness routine.
כדי להתכונן לריצת לילה תל אביב השתמש בטבלאות הריצה של אקבן.
The Nike night run will take place in Tel Aviv at Thursday, June the 28th, 20:45.
AKBAN veterans that do not have a scheduled dojo session at that evening are invited to run with us. It’s a 10 Km run, but a 5 Km is also optional.
Running for beginners, from the AKBAN fitness program.
The AKBAN fitness program.
The Nike Tel Aviv night run, A Hebrew link.

11/06/2007

Wabi Sabi

By Yossi Sheriff

What is beautiful and what is not? Many years ago, in Greece, a man wrote that beauty derives from something that is perfect. From then on it was made clear that a thing of beauty is that of elegance, symmetry, sometimes something new, sometimes a thing that does not decay, eternal.

Many words have been written since Plato equated beauty with perfection, words that tried to define what fits ideal beauty and what does not. Thus flows a great river of western thought, a current which still propels us today, putting us in the new car, inside clean-cut sky scrapers, admiring tight skin and symmetrical facial features of a young model.

The western ideal of beauty is filled with contradictions and interpretations all leading mainly in the same direction. A certain picture is beautiful in the eyes of the beholder since the clowns’ tear appears so real. The ancient Japanese temple is beautiful to another Platonist beholder due to its symmetrical appearance.

This perspective of what is beautiful and perfect penetrates all venues of life, slipping even into our place, the Dojo, the training area, a never ending confusion begins. Our occupation, walking down the paths of ancient warriors, may become a show, and then it no longer is a practice of fighting, but a performance of western style esthetics, maybe even a nice performance, suitable for the National Geographic Channel.

Even in Japan different opinions exist regarding beauty, but a different way of thought exists as well, a way in which simplicity is not equal to asceticism but to that which is natural.
The origin of this esthetic thought lies in Zen Buddhism, and from there it penetrated several other disciplines, even the tea drinking ceremony. Morata Juko, a Zen Manara priest, stopped the then popular use of fine (and imported) chinaware in the tea ceremony. A century later, Sen-no-Rikio (1522-1591), a master in the tea ceremony for the infamous Hidioshi, created a new kind of tea house resembling a peasant’s house: rough mud walls and plain wooden beams. Parallel with the perfect Chinese decoration, San-no-Riko presented, with the same degree of esthetic importance, crude pottery made by local craftsmen.

In this competition over “who will decorate the room with imported paintings” and “who will buy walls coated in golden leaves” – these two masters looked at things in a fresh perspective and created something old. They created a new form of esthetics: Wabi-Sabi.

Wabi-Sabi is a Japanese term, which since then has received many meanings: old, natural, imperfect, worn down, blunt, rough, etc. This new-old concept of Wabi-Sabi, of “beauty”, had its affect on many things.

Pottery made in this manner are not always symmetrical, they don’t have to shine. They have a natural quality about them that improves with time. Thus, the aging of matter adds to the beauty, something that becomes more beautiful with time.

I have an old T-shirt, which has already been to several “24” training and to tens of morning practices at the beach, full of holes, faded. To me it’s Wabi-Sabi. And the mythical AKBAN teapot, burned, black, full of smoke from many campfires, its handle fixed with wire, dented – it too is Wabi-Sabi. Every year that passes, every tea leaf that has been in it only adds to its beauty.

Not every old and ruined object is Wabi-Sabi, a purposeful interference is needed, awareness to the beauty of what is going to end (awareness, intent, ability to execute, without these there is no Do).

I especially like the story of Rikio’s entrance exam for Jo-o: When Jo-o asked Rikio to clean and prepare the yard, covered with fallen leaves, Rikio raked the yard perfectly, and then, just before the teacher arrived, grabbed the branch of the tree above the yard and shook it so that some leaves fell to the ground. That too is Wabi-Sabi.

Sometimes I look at the faces of some of the veterans in the Irgun, and see the beginning of creases made by the hardships and by the sun, see the smile lines around the eyes, and I think: this too is Wabi-Sabi, Wabi-Sabi people.

On the wall in the old Dojo in Kiriat Shaul some nails were sticking out of the walls, under which long lines of rust were seen against the white walls, right behind the Bamboo planted by my teacher. The beauty of wearing out, aging, imperfection.

I contribute as well, when sometimes, rarely, a technique comes out too perfect, I spread a few leaves, change my breathing a little, maybe slightly trip at the end of a throw. Just in order not to fall into the trap of the new, the polished and the perfect.

Around all of us, everything is not perfect, intentionally not finished, intimate, natural, and very beautiful in my eyes: the techniques, old sword’s scabbard, my T-shirt filled with holes, the people.

Slowly slowly – our organization turns Wabi-Sabi.

07/06/2007

Today the AKBAN-wiki passed the 1000 techniques and articles

We just gave ourselves a big Mazal tov. Our fantastic project – documenting martial arts in a visual and logical system – has passed the 1000 techniques and articles and is going strong.
On the same note, we continue with all our endeavors. Keith H. from Tel-Aviv dojo upgraded our semantic wiki software, now we can ask more meaningful questions about techniques.
Ariel F. a veteran from Tel Aviv dojo, continues with Dani Y.’s work of writing text and tutorials to the videos.
All this in accordance with the 8th article, section 4, in the AKBAN’s ethical code.

Seitei gata, the standard ZNKR sword kata in video on the AKBAN-wiki

with the expertise, accuracy and calm of sensei Yossi Lurie we now have in our martial arts database , in video, all the Seitei Gata, the sword drawing modern kata.
1. Mae 前
2. Ushiro 後ろ
3. Ukenagashi 受け流し
4. Tsuka-ate 柄当て
5. Kesagiri 袈裟切り
6. Morote-tsuki 諸手突き
7. Sanpō-giri 三方切り
8. Ganmen-ate 顔面当て
9. Soete-zuki 添え手突き
10. Shihō-giri 四方切り
11. Sō-giri 総切り
12. Nukiuchi 抜き打ち

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You can hear the whistling of the sword in all the Iaido kata.

05/06/2007