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April 19, 2011

Comments

Little bit of this too.

Yes! Finally.

Thanks for this reply avedis.

What I'd like to point out is that a lot of your argument on the "beating" topic is based on the idea that what your daughter's buddies did was normal and typical in context.

Which I find quite believable.

I recognize that military culture and social norms are not the same as in civilian life, and I also recognize that military culture and social norms *ought not* be the same as in civilian life.

That said, the fact that military culture *is* a certain way at present doesn't mean that it *must* be or that it *should continue to be* that way.

Regarding Doctor Science's post, I think if you read it without making assumptions about what she's saying, you'll find that it's a discussion of the possible relationships between how the food we eat is processed - via cooking or otherwise - and how our bodies deal with it, with some particular speculation about the relationship of that to obesity.

Nothing in there about pitying the poor victim.

And given that obesity contributes to enormous public health problems, some of which threaten to bankrupt the nation, and given that how food is grown, processed, distributed, and prepared has changed quite a lot over about the same period as obesity has emerged as a problem, it's actually an interesting question and a useful one to think about.

It's true that exercise will help keep your weight down. It's also true that 2,000 calories a day of steamed broccoli, grilled chicken breast, and fresh salad is not an exact equivalent to 2,000 calories a day of Big Macs, cheesecake, and Jarritos.

At least not in terms of its effect on your waistline.

Russell, it is really the last paragraph of the doc's post that I find suspect. It seems more obvious to me that a better avenue of theorizing would be that over the last century we have experienced unprecendeted wealth, division of labor and migration to urban environments, all of which permit a class of people to be become overfed and under-exercised.

I cannot, for the life of me, understand how one can work on a connection between cooked food and obesity and avoid the more obvious causes of obesity at both the personal and sociological/economic levels.

Maybe this was just an utterly banal, poorly theorized and poorly written post post.

This may have caused me to read in more than the doc intended.
Then again, the doc has priors (which may or may not be elaborated by my selection of quotes, etc when I have some down time and need to distract myself from reality for a while).

Phil, "I grew up around lots and lots and lots of U.S. Army DIs in the 70s and 80s, and I can assure everyone here that had they ever "administered a beating" of any kind to a recruit, modern, old-fashioned or other, my father would have had them court-martialed posthaste."

Now who's reading minds? You don't really know what good old dad would have done (or did).

ugh, "The more I think about it, the more this is kind of an intersection of Col. Frank Fitts, 1984, and "we had to destroy the village in order to save it" thing going on."

You have some serious issues dude.

Julian, answered at 4:27

Now who's reading minds? You don't really know what good old dad would have done (or did).

I don't have to, Einstein, since a) I can ask him, and b) I already know what he did in instances in which DIs arguably assaulted recruits.

Nice try, though. A golf clap for you.

"I grew up around lots and lots and lots of U.S. Army DIs in the 70s and 80s, and I can assure everyone here that had they ever "administered a beating" of any kind to a recruit, modern, old-fashioned or other, my father would have had them court-martialed posthaste."

being stupid I sort of interpreted that to imply that DIs don't do beatings.

But now youy are admitting that DIs do beat recruits and your old man had to discipline them for it.

Wouldn't it have been more clear and more honest to originally have said, "yes, avedis, you'rw right, DIs beat recruits, but it's wrong and my dad used to have them punished for it"?

You know, us stupid phonies who know nothing of military life need that kind of clarity. OK?

But now youy are admitting that DIs do beat recruits

No, I said "arguably assaulted." Words mean things. Pay attention. Since you know nothing of the context in which these incidents occurred, you're not in a position to draw conclusions. And prepare to be disappointed, because I'm not about to enlighten you, because you don't deserve it.

You fail at this gambit every single time. Why do you persist? Do you actually anticipate that you're going to get better at it?

But you really, really do have some class and education issues to work out, because you are genuinely threatened and defensive regarding degreed professionals. Kinda LOL, but mostly sad.

Phil, I am a degreed professional. Having been through the education, the training and the corporate life - not to mention collaborations with various consultants from acedemia - I have arrived at the conclusion that 95% of these people are mealy mouthed BS artists. The higher up you go, the more phony and disconnected from real life the people are. I am not impressed by degrees or professional status. I know what they really are; all about the money and the status and "I got mine f' you".

As far as class goes, I was born with a silver spoon, the privare school education, the junior league and social register, SAR and the whole works. I rejected that life as well for the same reasons. If you are putting your soul and faith in any of that you are truly a lost fool.
I'll put my pedigree and family crest up against anyone's here if that's the kind of idiotic game you want to play.

'arguably assaulted' WHAT THE HELL IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN? What? Are we f'ing lawyers with cute little weasel clauses now? There was either an assualt or there wasn't. Apparently your dad thought there was, but who knows. You said you knew. Now you say you don't. Can we please speak like men; not lawyers.

Wait a minute, avedis, you said you were in the armed forces as well. While the possibility of being in the armed forces and being in the corporate world is there, I detect l'essence de troll.

Wow, this conversation has become ... strange.

In the first place, avedis, the fact that you thought the term "egghead" would be an insult to someone using the name "Doctor Science" shows that while you may have the instincts of a bully, you do not have very good aim.

I have hoped all along that the story about your daughter's participation in gay-bashing would turn out to be not at all as you've described it. I have too much too much experience with young women and, you know, *people*, to assume that she has told you the complete truth and that you have understood it properly.

I've hoped this because otherwise a significant portion of the US military is being indoctrinated (since this allegedly happened in Basic I hold the instructors responsible) into a mindset that is dishonorable, cruel, and stupid.

The fact that all the other servicepeople and vets who frequent this blog *didn't* jump up and dispute your story, alas, suggests to me that my hope is misplaced. The rot is apparently widespread.

lj, my research (using avedis' login and IP info here) does suggest that he was in the service in the early-to-mid 1980s, and that he is currently working as a professional/manager in the health care/insurance administration field. I diagnose: not troll, or at least not of a simple variety.

I have arrived at the conclusion that 95% of these people are mealy mouthed BS artists. The higher up you go, the more phony and disconnected from real life the people are.

Just to insert another data point, my experience has been that there are wonderful people and total jerks at all ends of the educational, economic, and social spectra.

To be honest avedis, it strikes me that you have some kind of weird bone to pick with Doc Science that has little to do with anything she's actually said.

Just my impression, FWIW.

avedis:

Dr S puts forth that people are obese because they eat cooked food

Quite the opposite. I'm saying that humans are *adapted* to cooked food, and should be able to maintain a stable, appropriate weight without thinking about it -- just as we can normally maintain a stable, appropriate blood pressure without thinking about it.

But, I hypothesize (that's science-talk for "put together an educated, logical guess"), our ancestors who first started eating cooked food may have become obese, which helped push them to evolve shorter guts, smaller mouths, and other changes to balance the new diet appropriately.

I -- and other scientists -- wonder if the "obesity epidemic" also involves some change in the quality of our diets, such that our inborn weight-homeostasis systems are being thrown out of whack.

The fact that all the other servicepeople and vets who frequent this blog *didn't* jump up and dispute your story, alas, suggests to me that my hope is misplaced. The rot is apparently widespread.

Not responding to ridiculous garbage does not constitute agreement.

"Quite the opposite. I'm saying that humans are *adapted* to cooked food, and should be able to maintain a stable, appropriate weight without thinking about it -- just as we can normally maintain a stable, appropriate blood pressure without thinking about it."

Dr. S., Honestly I didn't catch that in your post. Re-reading it, I still don't think it is clear, but I can see where you may have intended that meaning and I missed it. Also, I still disagree that there is much to theorize about as to why humans are obese. In our modern society, eating, for many people, is not a function of the autonomic nervous system like blod pressure. Rather, it has become a function of conscious choice.

Look, I apologize for disruptive comments here. I do have a problem with some of your politics (all the radical feminism, radical gay rights and some other facets), Dr S. and this negatively impacts my ability to make reasoned responses to even neutral posts like this one. The problem is mine, not yours.

As much as I agree with you and most others here on most larger issues, like taxation policy, peace versus war, egalitarian distribution of benefits, goods and services and the need for socialized medicine, I cannot accept your stances pertaining to various personal life style topics. In these, I am often worlds apart in perspective. I really don't care what people do in private or even within like minded social groups. I do have a problem when people obtain positions of status and authoritative influence and inculcate others with the notion that these lifestyles are superior and correct and then demonize those who disagree with them. But that, too, is my problem that should not be taking up bandwidth here and maybe you really aren't someone who does that. Perhaps I have unfairly characterized. Again, I am sorry.

I apologize to everyone else here as well; except Phil who is as bad (if not worse) as I am but at the other end of the ideological spectrum. Everyone else has been more patient and tolerant than they needed to be.

"I do have a problem when people obtain positions of status and authoritative influence and inculcate others with the notion that these lifestyles are superior and correct and then demonize those who disagree with them."

You mean that trying to see to it that women and homosexuals have the same rights you do is calling them superior and demonising you?

I'll say this for avedis: he got the ball rolling again. (But I welcome our new gay and female overlords, of course.)

Yeah hairshirt, watch it, my eye is on you.

A couple of things.

First, as to Count, that was well done. Hope things settle down and that you come back soon.

Second, Not responding to ridiculous garbage does not constitute agreement.

I agree. That said, one of my issues with Avedis is that he sprinkles the occasional counter-intuitive notion in and amongst his diktats that merits a degree of discussion and analysis. Military life (and death) is a world apart from what we know as civilians. My dad was career navy, WWII, old school, etc. For good or for bad, while at sea and preparing for combat, his ship (a destroyer) had a small percentage of sailors who simply did not want to get with the program. Not getting with the program on a small ship during combat operations can have bad consequences. The short form means of dealing with these issues on the high seas was for the miscreant to "fall down" as many times as it took for him to get the message. Call it good or call it bad, it worked. I suspect that when an individual, in the opinion of his/her mates is jeopardizing what Avedis call 'unit cohesion', that or a similar kind of self help, no red tape approach is taken informally from time to time. Is it encouraged, promoted, winked at, etc? Probably depends on a host of variables. Is it rampant? Mostly likely not.

What I am quite sure of is that gratuitous, authority-inflicted violence is a crime that is the polar opposite of unit cohesion, good order & discipline, etc. Military training is, by definition, fraught with controlled violence. A senior non-com or officer can't 'fire' a nonconforming service person. There is most likely a gray area between a chargeable offense and acceptable behavior that has its own, informal means of correction.

I feel too inferior and demonized to respond, Janie. (Talk about playing up the victimization angle, right? The irony - it hurts.)

"lj, my research (using avedis' login and IP info here)..."

Um, does this seem extremely inappropriate to anyone else or am I just naive? Is this common, accepted behavior for frontpagers?

It does not seem "inappropriate" to me that one of the hosts of this here party would check out one of the guests. It might, possibly, maybe, in some case that is not this one, be "inappropriate" for the host to publish personal info about that guest. But that's not what DocSci did. She essentially said, in very general terms, that "avedis" has probably NOT lied, in his own public comments, about who he is in what we laughingly call real life.

Our hosts are kind enough to not require us guests to publish our personal information, like full legal name or e-mail address or SSN or FICO score. But they are not obligated to give ANYBODY a platform from which to speak totally anonymously.

I have mixed feelings, myself, about commenting as "Tony P." instead of using my full last name. On the one hand, any opinions I express here are opinions that I hold in real life; why should I be embarrassed to sign them with my real-life name? Maybe a prospective employer would refuse me a job, or a prospective date cancel on me, after googling up my political opinions? If so, my attitude would be: "Well, fnck you, too. Or not, as the case may be."

On the other hand, we all get enough spam as it is. And I'm told some people earn their living by programming computers to fish e-mail addresses out of web pages and such, in this free-market economy. So hiding behind an initial, or a pseudonym, seems a reasonable half-measure. If somebody has the patience to figure out my real-life identity entirely from what I have had to say about myself in comments here, I would feel more flattered than violated. But I would only feel betrayed by our blog hosts if they published my e-mail address for all the bots to see.

DocSci or any other host basically saying that "Tony P. seems to be in real life what he claims to be in comments" is hardly an invasion of my privacy, or a betrayal of my trust, or anything else you could call "inappropriate".

--TP

I don't think what Doc did was inapropriate. I opened the door by commenting personal info and using it to back an argument.

It seems like a normal thing to do, if for nothing more than curiosity. Also, I think the Doc was lending me some support on the one hand. On the other probably trying to make her nefarious point that there really are cretans in the service in need of sensitivity training;-) Which ever, no offense taken on my part.

Well, alright. I know no one is "obligated" to give me a forum to speak anonymously. I just didn't expect that someone might use the email address I enter into the "will not be displayed" box to google into my life story and confirm something I say. It just feels wrong.

I mean: Dr. Science is nice and I sort of trust her, and you are right she didn't release anything maliciously, but some other frontpager could in an emotional moment post something personal if they had it at their fingertips.

I thought I was just entering information in a box because of the site design. If I am giving it so that they can verify my statements and then make a judgement call on how much to reveal I feel like that should be more explicit. Maybe everyone knew it but me.

Don't bother googling me, I am quite boring ;)

... trying to make her nefarious point that there really are cretans in the service in need of sensitivity training;-)

Be careful, avedis: "Cretans" are people from Crete. The word you're imagining that DocSci has in mind is "cretins". No biggie, since the US military surely contains some of both.

--TP

Um, does this seem extremely inappropriate to anyone else or am I just naive? Is this common, accepted behavior for frontpagers?

Things such as your IP address and your email are visible to anyone who has the privilege to access them. In our case, that's about a dozen people. It may be that only the post author and people with superuser can access said information; that carves it down to maybe five people.

My take on this, as one of said people, is that all of that information is fair game for us to look at, because it's our job to police these threads. It's not permissible for us to release any of said information because we have to be trustworthy. That Dr. Science has looked at the information avedis has left in the posting form and decided that he may very well be someone who has the background he claims to have doesn't, in my opinion, constitute an invasion of privacy. Nor does it disclose anything about avedis that has not already been disclosed.

That's my take on things, FWIW. You should assume, always, that your IP address and whatever email information you leave on your posting form will be looked at, at some point, by all of us. I'd like to add that such information should be assumed to be confidential, but you have to decide for yourself, each of you, whether you trust us with that.

That Dr. Science has looked at the information avedis has left in the posting form and decided that he may very well be someone who has the background he claims to have doesn't, in my opinion, constitute an invasion of privacy. Nor does it disclose anything about avedis that has not already been disclosed.

Dr. S used information freely given to validate Avedis' self-credentialing. Nothing wrong and a lot right with that.

confused:

I actually cross-checked avedis' info some time ago, when he first described current gay-bashing in the Navy. AFAIK what he described is a *crime of violence*, and I do not take such things lightly. You don't get to make up first- or second-person accounts of rape, murder, or violent assault just to make a rhetorical point.

"AFAIK what he described is a *crime of violence*"

Fortunately, your concern doesn't go to far. Probably not much farther than the small audience of a blog that largely appeals to primarily to a bunch of cyber wimps.

What they don't teach in the ivory towers is that life is full of pain and war much more so. If you can't take a little pain you can't be effective in either when the going gets tough.

That's ok though. You keep slapping the 'no war for oil' bumber stickers on your car and the abusive cretins will keep going out there and killing so you can keep fueling up that car on the cheap. And stay outraged and self righteous. Ok?

Keep promoting the democratic party too. When what we need is a reincarnation of FDR, when that would be in the nation's and 90% of individual American's best interest, you keep on keeping the party unappealing to a large chunk of that 90% with your insistence on inclusion of fringe bullshit like gay marriage and service and abortion rights banners and a host of other acedemic special interests that no one else really cares about because, you know, those things are definitely more ideologically critical at the moment than jobs and infrastructure and a cessation of foreign entanglements and healthcare and an economic basis for a future for our children. Hey screw everyone else if they're not as enlightened as you. right? It's all or nothing for for your ideals, isn't? And you are The One, are't you? You've got it all figured out. You are morality personified.

If you made the rules and your wise 'concern' permeated every aspect of spciety we'd be in a perpetual utopia wouldn't we.

Why oh why isn't it happening then? The poor monk. So lonely with no one to save.

Avedis, you seem to have some major issues.

Be careful, avedis: "Cretans" are people from Crete.

Yes, and as we all know, they are all liars.

Just ask Epimenides.

"Keep promoting the democratic party too. When what we need is a reincarnation of FDR, when that would be in the nation's and 90% of individual American's best interest, you keep on keeping the party unappealing to a large chunk of that 90% with your insistence on inclusion of fringe ......"

My only regret is that I didn't copy the Count's banned comment so that i could have appropriately paraphrased it here so I could have stayed just inside the banning rules and much less eloquently expressed his sentiment.

or just pasted it in, I'm not sure which i would do at this point.

But this is enough.

"fringe bullshit like gay marriage and service and abortion rights banners and a host of other acedemic special interests that no one else really cares about"

I keep trying to take Avedis seriously but he does make it difficult.

Avedis, you seem to have some major issues.

Avedis also seems to believe there is a reincarnation of FDR out there somewhere, waiting patiently in the wings, held back only by the pointy-headed obsessions of effete liberal academic elites like Doc Science and her ilk.

Damn you, Doc Science, and your defeatocrat weakling pet causes! We'd have a New New Deal in hand if only you'd climb down from your damned ivory tower!!

Here's my opinion: there is not going to be a new FDR, because people don't want an FDR. They don't want somebody who's going to call for shared national sacrifice, commitment to the weakest and least fortunate among us, and investment in our common future.

People want a reincarnation of Uncle Ronnie, who will smile and tell them everything's going to be fine because it's morning in America again.

Seriously, if you could wave a magic wand and raise FDR and Reagan from the dead, and run them both for President, head to head, who do you think would win?

Doc Science is not the problem.

Russell, Yes,obviously, Science, all by herself, is not the problem. However, her type of thinking is represenative of what is The Problem.

Why do you think a great swath of low income people living in underserviced/underdeveloped areas are voting republican very much against their own interests? It is clearly because the Democratic party, with its self destructive policy of 'inclusion' turns them off. These people don't want to vote for a party that panders to squishy fringe notions lke those I mentioned.

IMO an FDR, public works, workers rights would fly and is what the country needs. Such a platform would isolate the republicnas that are the minority - the plutocrats - and bring the rest who vote on 'morality' issues over to the Dem.s, where they belong.

Gay marriage, etc doesn't belong in politics at this time (maybe never). let that kind of issue be determined in the courts if need be. There are more critical topics right now.

Also, I object to doc's insistance that she nows better how to run a military. She has no clue. But she does enjoy the benefits of having a military like ours whether she wants to admit it or not. We all do.

Also, I object to doc's insistance that she nows better how to run a military.

I object to people making stuff up.

Avedis, you are claiming that there is a winning coalition of voters that could be put together that would support the following-

A) An end to America's imperialist wars
B) A strengthening of the social safety net

but only under the condition that

C) We throw the issue of gay rights under the bus.

I doubt it, but it's an interesting sociological/political thesis that one could discuss. But you usually mix it in with a lot of macho posturing and resentment towards people who don't like macho posturing. (And that resentment seems connected to position C above.)

By the way, my understanding of FDR is that his coalition was held together in part because of a willingness to throw the issue of black civil rights under the bus. A fair number of white Southerners who supported economic populist policies might have become much less enthusiastic if black civil rights were part of the mix. Avedis thinks we are in the same position today, except with "gays" replacing "blacks".

I doubt this would work, even if one could choke down the immorality of adopting this position.

Donald, I am not morally or ethically in favor of throwing any minority under the bus. However, as you note in the case of FDR, sacrifices must sometimes be made in the short run in order to build a base for the long term, at which time the sacrifices can be rectified (e.g. see civil rights in the 1960s).

Denying the reality of incremental change is a sign of fanaticism or utopianism; neither of which will work in our political culture.
It is also a sign of an inability to organize priorities.

What good are gay rights if all of us, including the gays, are in debt and unemployed and have bridges crumbling over and under us? What good is gay marriage with full ability to adopt children if there are not viable schools to send those children too?

What good is a fair and equitable society if that society indulges in endless imperialist adventures?

Gay marriage, etc doesn't belong in politics at this time

Assertive argument is assertive.

Why do you think a great swath of low income people living in underserviced/underdeveloped areas are voting republican very much against their own interests? It is clearly because the Democratic party, with its self destructive policy of 'inclusion' turns them off.

To be honest, my guess is that your sense of how many people give a crap about gays or gay marriage one way or the other is off by an order of magnitude.

Which is a shame on its own merits, but that's sort of another topic.

IMO the much, much, much larger issue is people's sense that The Government is going to take their money and give it to "those people over there". Where "those people" are basically anybody they don't like.

Could be gays, but gays as a class don't really get much money from Uncle. Could be blacks, Mexicans, lazy shiftless layabouts of any color, irresponsible slutty single mothers, what have you.

Whoever it is, it's Somebody Else, and the government is going to take their well-deserved hard-earned dollars and give it away to Those People.

That's my take. People are selfish.

You would have thought it was the end of the world when Obama suggested increasing the top marginal tax rate on people making over a quarter of a million dollars in earned income per year by less than five percent.

Seriously, it was like we were flirting with some socioeconomic gotterdammerung. Every industrious entrepreneurial person in the nation was going to pack it in and retire to the Caymans, leaving the rest of us to blunder off the cliff like a bunch of blind lemmings.

That had nothing to do with the gays. It was about government taking somebody's money and giving it to Those People, whatever shape and form Those People take in folks' private nightmares.

There ain't gonna be an FDR, because we're not desperate enough yet to look past our own parochial selfishness.

I'm not even sure an FDR would be a good thing right now, the Presidency is already too dominant. What we need are Congresspeople who aren't the freaking pocket of their friendly neighborhood billionaire.

There just aren't that many people out there who vote based on what Teh Gays are doing. For good or ill.

"It was about government taking somebody's money and giving it to Those People, whatever shape and form Those People take in folks' private nightmares."
I have a problem with government taking my money even if it were, at some point, going to give it all back to me.

qed

Um, does this seem extremely inappropriate to anyone else or am I just naive? Is this common, accepted behavior for frontpagers?
Define "this," please.

I literally don't know what "this" refers to. What behavior, specifically?

I just didn't expect that someone might use the email address I enter into the "will not be displayed" box to google into my life story and confirm something I say.
That can't be done. Anyone can enter anything into the email address field, so how could it possibly be used to confirm or deny anything? I don't even understand how you think that would be possible. Magic?

Slart:

Things such as your IP address and your email are visible to anyone who has the privilege to access them. In our case, that's about a dozen people.
Actually, it's any of millions of possible people who could intercept data packets at any point between one person using the internet and some other node on the internet.

Certainly if you click on a web page the referrer logs will tell lots. Plenty. This is not a secret.

It also has absolutely nothing whatever to do with email address fields on blogs.

It may be that only the post author and people with superuser can access said information What, here on ObWi? On the internet in general?

that carves it down to maybe five people.
Unlikely.

Isn't it interesting how, when you claim that "nobody" cares about gays or women, you turn women and gays into nobodies?

when you claim that "nobody" cares about gays or women, you turn women and gays into nobodies?

If you're referring to my comment, I'm gonna say no.

I'm making one point and one point only, which is that IMVHO far fewer people vote based on gay rights than avedis seems to think.

There are lots of reasons why traditional American progressive politics gets little traction nowadays. Gay people and women, and whatever puny scrap of advocacy gay people and women get from Democrats, have damned little to do with it.

Define "this," please.
I literally don't know what "this" refers to. What behavior, specifically?

I think the creepy in question is looking up a commenter's email and IP address and using that information to search Google for more data about them when there's no legitimate reason to do so (i.e., doing so because they're spamming the site is ok, doing so because of idle curiosity is not). That also struck me as creepy, but not necessarily unethical. I'm pretty sure that at every company I've worked at, doing that sort of thing with customer data would be an immediate firing offense.

Obviously, frontpagers can do anything they want with our data. But some uses are less ethical than others.

That can't be done.

Sure it can. Dr Science just explained, in this very thread, that she did do it. It is quite simple: many people use their real email addresses and many email addresses can lead to personally identifying information on the internet. IP addresses can give location information and often employers as well for people post from work.

Actually, it's any of millions of possible people who could intercept data packets at any point between one person using the internet and some other node on the internet.

There are few fewer than "millions" of people who have the skills and access needed to do this.

Russell: Just ask Epimenides.

You know, I could kick myself for not having established "Epimenides the Cretan" as my handle way, way, back. Damn.

--EtC

avedis: What good are gay rights if all of us, including the gays, are in debt and unemployed and have bridges crumbling over and under us?

What a bassackward question. Try it this way: what harm would "gay rights" do to debt, unemployment, or bridges?

I mean, seriously: this is as dopey as arguing that it's bad enough to have only 6oz of beer in a 12oz glass, but does the glass HAVE to be pink?

--TP

I think the creepy in question is looking up a commenter's email and IP address and using that information to search Google for more data about them when there's no legitimate reason to do so.

I agree - this is a bridge too far.

Dr. Science said that she did it when avedis posted earlier and related a story presented as support of the notion that the armed forces were unable to integrate gays. If avedis had been someone who was simply making the story up from the whole cloth, the folks running the blog should exercise due diligence and boot that person off. If that's creepy, don't complain about how the blog is running off the rails because the owners don't seem to do anything.

Furthermore, Dr. Science related that information to tell me (and everyone else who may have thought this), that avedis is apparently not fabricating his military experience or his experience in the health care field. I appreciate the information, (though I could have looked up the information myself, being a front pager), and I appreciate that front pagers are keeping track of the conversations in the posts they write and trying to make sure that people are presenting true information. After getting that information previously, and seeing the challenge I made to avedis, that she stepped in to correct me, if you think that is creepy, you are entitled to your opinion, but I prefer her doing that to telling me off list and not letting anyone else know that she had done that.

"Quite the opposite. I'm saying that humans are *adapted* to cooked food, and should be able to maintain a stable, appropriate weight without thinking about it -- just as we can normally maintain a stable, appropriate blood pressure without thinking about it."

We do, generally speaking, even the obese. Take somebody like me, in my early 50's, about 40 lbs. overweight. I gradually accumulated that weight over the course of perhaps 30 years.

That's 1.25 lbs a year. That's 12 freaking excess calories a day, day in, day out. You think I'm capable of consciously balancing my calorie intake and activity level that close? That I gained that weight because of a 0.053% (to pull a number out of nowhere) deficit in self-control?

On two occasions I have sustained large, short term weight gains. The first was during the depression after my divorce, I gained 50 lbs over the course of a year. And lost it again over the course of the next year, after I got over my depression. The second was 35 lbs I gained over the course of 4 months of chemo; A well known effect of Prednisone, and again, I've lost it since.

And in both cases, I didn't return to exactly my previous weight. More like, I returned to an extrapolation of that 30 year long curve.

That's a very well balanced homeostasis there, the problem is the set-point is too high, and drifting higher over time. And, yes, I can push my weight below that set-point, by sustained exercise of will power. And the moment I stop exerting that control, I pop back up to where I was before. My body has a weight it "wants" to be at, just like it has a blood pressure it "wants" to maintain. I just don't like what it is.

Now, http://news.discovery.com/animals/fat-pets-obesity-weight.html>this is pretty hard to explain in terms of people being lazy, or dietary changes. Even the lab rats on carefully controlled diets are getting fat! What, do they have self control issues?

You know, it might just be a real epidemic, as in an infectious agent.

Brett, nothing you said is a convincing, at least to me, counter to what I have put forth concerning the reason(s) for obesity.

I say that even having noticed personal trends that parellel yours to some extent. I stand about 5'11'. In my 20s I was constantly engaged in PT and boxing training. I weighed in at 180 pounds for pretty much that entire decade. My weight at any given point never deviated from the 180 by more than +/- 5 pounds. I was tested and found to be at 2% body fat (which is very low); meaning that just about all of my weight came from muscle, water and bone.

Then in my 30's that weight just kind of slipped upwards to 190 to 195. In my early 40s there was another upwards creep to around 200 and now, if I don't pay attention to diet and exercise, I can very quickly find myself at 205+ with the first signs of "luv handles" appearing at this point. The lean hard wiry muscle of my 20s has been replaced by a bulkier weight lifter looking type of physique.

However, all of this trending is easily explained by the three basic components of weight gain.
1) The weight gain over time is highly correlated with a decrease in physical activity/cal. burn over time. This variable has the highest coefficient value in the multivariant equation.
2) The weight gain is also correlated with dietary habits. Over the years frequency of dining out and consuming high cal. foods has increased and the composition of the callories of that food is more likely to be fat and carb.s than protien.
3) A generally decreased metabolic rate related to aging.

I can't do too much about #3, but 1 and 2 are certainly within my realm of self control. Especially in light of #3, I make choices every day that impact weight loss/weight gain. After a long hard day at the office (when it's not horse training season), do I work off stress at the gym? Or do I stop off at my favorite happy hour?
10 years ago, the gym won out over happy hour 95% of the time. Today, the siren call of a refreshing drink and a smiling bar maid wins out over gym maybe 50% of time.

When I am feeling down and out the happy hour has an even higher preference rate.

So, Brett, it sound to me like your experience is similar. Your metabolism has slowed down due to age. Otherwise, you eat more and exercise less. What you eat may be less desirable from a weight gain perspective. When you are depressed you eat even more - probably the so called comfort foods, and further decrease physical activity.

Why are animals living in proximity to humans becoming fat? They eat the junk food we left behind.

Folks there is no mystery here; no need for complex theories.

"What a bassackward question. Try it this way: what harm would "gay rights" do to debt, unemployment, or bridges?"

Tony P., I already explained that. You aren't going to get all of those good infrastructure things because people aren't going to vote for a strong democrat if gay issues, etc are prominant campaign platforms. That is the harm.

Russell disagrees that inclusion of those issues is a barrier. That is fine, of course, but I think he is wrong. When I surf around the net's infinity of political sites/blogs I end up with a strong sense that these things - these life style/morality topics - do matter and are frequently presented as reasons for why NOT to vote Dem.

Russell has a valid point concerning many non-Dem. voters not wanting to pay taxes and that being the deciding factor for voting Rep., but I think he is over emphasizing it.

I was tested and found to be at 2% body fat

I don't believe that.

You're not going to get 2% body fat without starving yourself nearly, or all the way, to death.

http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/The-body-fat-percentage-range-of-athletes-and-much-more/772613

No, Slart., not true about starving to death.

Who knows, maybe the test was off by a % or two, but definitely in range of olympic athletes. You have to understand, I would do all the regular mil PT and then do extracuricular work outs, every day, for a minimum of three hours a day. And these were of a high intensity nature, like pro boxers do. I was in as good a condition as any athlete on the planet. And I ate mostly high protien foods and drank water instead of sugary sports drinks or sodas.

Just some advice, when it comes to physical training, weight control and all of that, I am an expert, ok. Ditto, small arms (as in weapons; not a pun on the physical traing), equestrian topics, but especially race horse breeding and training. In these things my knowledge is as good as you can find.

I have very well informed perspectives on healthcare delivery, martial arts and some esoteric topics like near death experiences, out of body experiences, mystical meditative practices and such.

Otherwise, I admit to being a blind man - often a concerned one - groping in the dark.

But don't even try to tell me about what is reasonable in the area of physical training.

I'm assuming that 2% is a typo. From the link you gave

Typical average body fat for athletes male female
Distance runners 5-10% 10-16%
Elite marathon runners 3-5% 9-12%
Sprinters 5-12% 12-18%
Jumpers & hurdlers 6-13% 12-20%
Olympic gymnasts 5-8% 11-14%
Bodybuilders, contest condition 3-5% 8-12%
Bodybuilders, off season 6-12% 13-18%
Soccer players 7-12% 10-18%
Baseball/softball players 10-14% 12-18%
Pro basketball players 7-12% 10-16%

The range is not Olympic athletes, but Olympic gymnasts, who have to have a minimum of body fat in order to perform the routines they do (in fact, I don't think they have so much stamina, because they have no body fat to draw energy from). Slart would know more about this than me, but ideal body-fat is supposed to be a competitive swimmers body, which is around 12% or 6 times as much as you claim. If you think that 2% body fat is reasonable in the area of physical fitness, you really need to reevaluate your claim to experthood.

LJ beat me to it. Avedis, the link you gave is consistent with Slarti's link--in his link the lowest measured bodyfat was 3.5 percent (for an elite half-marathon runner, I think) and the link you provide says that elite marathon runners and bodybuilders in contest condition have bodyfat ratios of 3 to 5 percent.

The wikipedia article linked below mentions that the military's method of measuring bodyfat is thought to be flawed. (Look under the section called height and circumference.) Maybe that's where you got your figure.

link

" I was in as good a condition as any athlete on the planet."

This seems doubtful unless you are one in a million. Genes play some role. Plus there's the possibility that your training methods weren't the best possible ones--Olympic athletes tend to have coaches who are the best in the world working with people with more raw talent than the average person even if he or she devoted hours per day to training.

I was training for 1-4 hours a day (mostly running) about ten years ago and while I was happy with the results, I was ridiculously far from being of Olympic caliber. I wasn't even close to being the sort of person who could win local races. (Not that I tried, but I could look online and see the results, and also see what Bob Glover said were typical "local champion" levels in his running book.)

2% was not a typo, LJ, but you should notice that I subsequently allowed for the possibility that the test was off by a % or two.

I was using the term, "Olympic athlete" in a somewhat generic fashion to convey the idea of world class physical fitness achievement. Obviously there are many different types of those athletes, each with unique optimal levels of body fat.

BTW, IMO, at a certain level of training endurance is as much a result of a mental attitude as it is about stored caloric energy reserves.

DJ, yes, of course genetics have a strong role. My father passed on some athlete genes as he was a pro boxer himself and my mother was quite athletic herself; though mostly limited to ballet and modern dance in her expression of these talents.

As far as coaching, my father was my first coach when I was an adolescent and then I had golden gloves coaches in my late teen years. After that, I sought out the best coaches, in terms of experience and successes, I could find wherever I was located. Additionally, I used to read everything on the topic I could get my hands on. later, in my 30s, I, myself, coached and the course of doing so further pursued information as to the latest and best techniques as well developed refinements by observing what worked and what didn't and under what circumstances.

To your point, I still couldn't break into the full time pro boxing circuit because my reflexes were just slightly to slow. So genetics trumped my efforts too; though at a different aspect of the training. Interestingly, in an atempt to increase reflex speed, I got involved, under the guidance of a chinese expert, in Taosist meditation techniques; which inturn led to some interesting experiences, which in turn led to a deep interest in mystical experiences - another story for another time - but it wasn't enough to overcome the genetic limitation in the that regard.

BTW, IMO, at a certain level of training endurance is as much a result of a mental attitude as it is about stored caloric energy reserves.

No, 2% is the lowest point of essential fat, and you need a certain amount of stored fat just to cushion your internal organs. It is conceivable that you had 2%(at the absolute bottom of the amount, and some sources give 3% as the minimum), but given that you apparently did not submit to a hydrostatic test (as I imagine those were rather difficult to obtain back in the day and aren't that cheap or easy to get now), this is more a myth you have convinced yourself is true. Given that any strenuous activity lasting longer than say 3 or 4 minutes requires that you start burning calories from your adipose tissue, it's pretty bizarre to hold up the figure of 2% as some holy grail, one you achieved thru an indomitable will, one supposes. Making claims that Olympic athlete is a generic term without actually linking it to actual athletes shows how out to lunch this is.

This sort of puts into focus for me why I think you are full of it, regardless of whether your experiences are real or not. Your belief seems to be that no matter what the challenge may be, 'mental attitude' is the key component rather than anything else and this seems to be a component of your thinking be it weight loss, health care, or getting dems elected (though not with allowing gays in the military or being able to develop increased reflex speed, strangely enough).

I'd also suggest that there is a straight line between this kind of thinking and thinking that whatever someone gets in life, it's what they deserve because 'they didn't want it enough' But I guess only an egghead would see that as a problem.

Wow, LJ, touched a nerve, did I?

"it's pretty bizarre to hold up the figure of 2% as some holy grail"

When did I do that? I never did. All I was trying to say is that I ate cooked food worked out hard and had a very low body fat ratio. So do most top notch athletes. Interestingly, despite low fat %s these athletes seem to be able to perform strenuous activity for longer than a few minutes. How is that possible given your notion of how it all works?

"Making claims that Olympic athlete is a generic term without actually linking it to actual athletes shows how out to lunch this is." Huh? I posted a link showing a variety of Olympic athlete types and that they all have low body fat %s. I wager they all eat cooked food.

"Your belief seems to be that no matter what the challenge may be, 'mental attitude' is the key component ..."

Yep. And there are many trainers/leaders/motivators in many different fields who agree with me. I fail to see what is so wrong with that outlook; unless someone wants to be a 'victim' and thus not responsible for whatever has them down, be it weight problems or something else.

People overcome all sorts of adversities and barriers because they adopt a positive mental attitude. Often the disadvantaged succeed over those with apparent natural and material advantages because they have a strong focus and indominable will. One of my heros is Martin Luther King (the rev.). There is a fine example. The same kind of determination often brings victory to underdogs in horse races and boxing and war (e..g. NVA).

Sorry that troubles you.

Tony P., I already explained that. You aren't going to get all of those good infrastructure things because people aren't going to vote for a strong democrat if gay issues, etc are prominant campaign platforms. That is the harm.

Are you offering merely strategic advice, avedis? Are you saying you'd like to see "good infrastructure things" AND full civil rights for gay people as goals, but merely worry that it's not possible to achieve both because too many voters are committed to their anti-gay biases? If that's what you're saying -- if the only dispute here is over strategy -- then your advice is noted.

If, on the other hand, you consider full civil rights for gay people a "harm" per se -- something you would oppose EVEN IF the rest of us could figure out a strategy to achieve them along with "good infrastructure things" -- then your strategic advice becomes a bit suspect.

--TP

oh...I forgot... around here nothing is true unless there is a link....

http://www.olgygary.com/2010/01/mission-focus-olympic-athletes-and-navy.html

http://www.rossboxing.com/thegym/thegym9.htm

Googling something like mental focus or mental toughness + success yields thousands of articles......but yeah, it's just a quirky personal myth.

"Are you offering merely strategic advice, avedis? "

yes

"If, on the other hand, you consider full civil rights for gay people a "harm" per se -- something you would oppose..."

No. I think gays should have full civil rights. Period.

Wow, LJ, touched a nerve, did I?

No, not really, just trying to explain why people tend to dismiss your opinions around here. They lack logical coherence.

avedis at 7:47 PM on May 1st says "gays should have full civil rights. Period."

avedis at 8:10 PM on April 29th spoke of "fringe bullshit like gay marriage and service".

Are we seeing moral progress here? Or is there some mental universe in which "full civil rights" and "fringe bullshit" amount to the same thing?

--TP

It is conceivable that you had 2%(at the absolute bottom of the amount, and some sources give 3% as the minimum), but given that you apparently did not submit to a hydrostatic test (as I imagine those were rather difficult to obtain back in the day and aren't that cheap or easy to get now), this is more a myth you have convinced yourself is true.

If the body fat test of which he boasts at all resembled the military body fat tests they administer these days, I feel 100% confident in believing that the test was far less accurate than "[possibly] off by a % or two".

All of that aside, if avedis was doing at least 3 hours of hard calisthenics and body-weight training a day, he was in fabulous shape. I'd certainly grant that he could do those exercises as well or better than any Olympic athlete, until such time as PT becomes an Olympic sport.

OT, but I'm wondering what if anything avedis is doing these days to keep himself fit. At my age, it takes longer to gain a certain level of fitness, and it seems as if I lose it faster if I take time off. And I can't lose 5 lbs by skipping lunch anymore.

That was back in the day where there was 6 miles of swimming plus weight training and isokinetics between weigh-in and weigh-out, though. And of course it doesn't help that I have a job now, and a house to maintain, and just don't have a schedule that lends itself to multiple hours of training a day.

Plus, now there's beer.

What you eat matters. I've lost 15 pounds in the last 7 weeks by going with a low carb, high protein diet that lets me drink my standard 14-16 ounces of red wine every evening. I've not gotten much exercise in(relatively speaking--I walk a lot and play a lot of golf on weekends) and just learned last night that I wasn't following the regimen as carefully as I should. So, we'll see what the future holds now that I am doing what the Good Book (The Four Hour Body) says.

FWIW, unlike every other stupid diet I've been on, I'm not hungry and one day a week, I can eat/drink anything I want.

I'm leaving Avedis' comments about gays and other "fringe issues" alone. That DADT was canceled indicates the trend in America. It's not fringe. It's the future.

So, what you eat matters. Exercise matters. Processed foods, not cooked foods, add the weight. So does being sedentary

"OT, but I'm wondering what if anything avedis is doing these days to keep himself fit. At my age, it takes longer to gain a certain level of fitness, and it seems as if I lose it faster if I take time off. And I can't lose 5 lbs by skipping lunch anymore."

He has slowed a lot; especially in the last five years. Basically, galloping race horses (more of a total body work out than you might think) 3X a week. 45 minutes on the heavy bag, with a one minute breather every five minutes or so 1X a week. A five mile run 1X a week. Push-ups, lots of push-ups, 2X a week (usually on days when horses are galloped), minimum 300 reps; sometimes as many as 500. Squat thrusts and lunges 1X week. Pull-ups and military presses 1X per week.

So basically at least one type of hard exercise a day. But that is the ideal. More often than I'd like, I find myself skipping a day....or two. But then there is always some kind of heavy lifting on the farm. Mucking stalls is a three hour affair. In the winter there are many water buckets to be filled, lugged and poured, etc....it's endless.

Diet is a small bowl of oat meal in the morning with coffee. A sandwich (like tuna) for lunch with water. More and more I find I enjoy some fries with that. Dinner is variable. Could be a steak and rice, but is often bread and cheese and cold cuts (too worn out to cook). Or pasta. I love me some pasta. Generally a few beers go with that. Sometimes there is wiskey or bourbon. Never deserts. Never snacks. Cigarettes take the place of snacks in my nuerosis.

When things are quiet there is Tai Chi (wu style) and Ba Ghua forms practiced.

That is what I do. It's not very organized. It's not the ideal workout regimen I would design for myself or anyone else by any means, but it gets me by and it is fairly consistent in its chaos. After being a fitness freak for thirty years +/- I don't feel right if I'm not pushing my body to its limit. Now time, age and other interests and responsibilities interfere.

I think if I cut out the beer and booze I'd actually be totally trim and ripped. But that's not going to happen. Too many aches and pains literal and otherwise.

"At my age, it takes longer to gain a certain level of fitness, and it seems as if I lose it faster"

AGREED. me2.

"...lets me drink my standard 14-16 ounces of red wine every evening."

Nice. Man knows how to live.

"So, what you eat matters. Exercise matters. Processed foods, not cooked foods, add the weight. So does being sedentary"

Truth. That's the bottom line.

I've been winning a weight loss competition with my office-mate, 18 lbs to 9 in the last three months, but I'm 'cheating'; I'm still coming off the last of the chemotherapy driven weight gain. Though the time spent on the epicyclic machine contributes.

It does seem that having a 2 year old son at the age of 52 is an effective exercise program, though.

He has slowed a lot; especially in the last five years. Basically, galloping race horses (more of a total body work out than you might think) 3X a week. 45 minutes on the heavy bag, with a one minute breather every five minutes or so 1X a week. A five mile run 1X a week. Push-ups, lots of push-ups, 2X a week (usually on days when horses are galloped), minimum 300 reps; sometimes as many as 500. Squat thrusts and lunges 1X week. Pull-ups and military presses 1X per week.

That's some serious effort, there, especially considering you're doing it on top of chores. Having owned a place in the country for several years, I'm aware that you can work yourself to near exhaustion just doing the chores.

When things are quiet there is Tai Chi (wu style) and Ba Ghua forms practiced.

Awesome. I'd only heard of Pa Kua (as I'd seen it spelled), but just looked it up on Youtube. Interesting. Both arts seem to be more of a melding of thought and combat than your garden-variety karate or taekwondo schools teach.

I work pretty hard at tae kwon do (and other stuff like grappling and free-form sparring), but you make me look like a slacker in comparison.

...with a one minute breather every five minutes or so...

cyber wimp ;)

"I'd only heard of Pa Kua (as I'd seen it spelled), but just looked it up on Youtube. Interesting. Both arts seem to be more of a melding of thought and combat than your garden-variety karate or taekwondo schools teach."

There are different spellings for different regions and dialects in China. Pa Kua is a common way to translate. Actually, one should add the word "chuan", which means "fist" (or more loosely, "boxing"). Pa Kua means eight trigrams, which refers to the iChing.

These Chinese styles are often refered to as "soft" styles. The ideas of flowing, flexibility, softness, receptiveness, absorbing and deflecting are related closely to Daoist philosophies that extend to everything; not just fighting. I striking there is an emphasis on balance, speed and penetration over smashing power.

The Karate and Tai Kwon Do type styles are known as "hard" styles. These rely more on muscle and countering force with force. The advantage is they can be learned much faster. The soft styles take years to gain a decent measure of proficiency at employing the concepts, whereas the hard styles teach methods that can be used in a fight effectively in a year or two.

"Having owned a place in the country for several years, I'm aware that you can work yourself to near exhaustion just doing the chores."

True words. I am about done. This year we have three two year old thoroughbreds to break and get started. After they go to the track we are done. The farm is on the market. I have to admit that I just can't do it any more; not with the day job on top of it all. I am looking forward to a nice cozy apartment near enough to work that I can walk instead of drive to work.

"...but you make me look like a slacker in comparison."

It is possible that I am nuts and you have a better balance of priorities.

"I work pretty hard at tae kwon do (and other stuff like grappling and free-form sparring)"

Very cool. Good luck with your studies, Slarti. Do you agree that knowing how to handle yourself in a confrontation brings about a sense of confidence that, among other things, allows you to avoid fights in the first place? Not only do bullies avoid people that have the aura of being able to inflict damage, but there is something else as well. Curious about your thoughts, if any, on that.

"cyber wimp ;)" yeah, yeah, I know.

These Chinese styles are often refered to as "soft" styles. The ideas of flowing, flexibility, softness, receptiveness, absorbing and deflecting are related closely to Daoist philosophies that extend to everything; not just fighting. I striking there is an emphasis on balance, speed and penetration over smashing power.

I have been aware of the difference between "hard" and "soft" styles, but unaware until recently (last decade or so) that Tai Chi was actually useful as a form of self-defense. And I didn't know that Ba Ghua was a soft style until the last day or so. It'd be interesting to hear your thoughts on Win Chun and how it fits into the soft vs hard categorization. To me, Win Chun is a bit more linear than the overtly soft styles, but there are elements of soft styles in getting that penetration through an opponent's defense preparatory to unleashing the barrage of linear hand and foot attacks.

I am still an egg in these matters, obviously. My daughter had been begging me for a while to do tae kwon do with her, and we got her in an after-school program with a school near to home. Eventually I had to make good on my promise. I was hesitant to do that because she's got a disability that I was positive would place limitations on her advancement. So far, they have only slowed her down a bit; her determination and dogged persistence makes whatever complaints I might have about the workload seem lame.

She tests for her first intermediate step between first degree and second degree black belt at the same time daughter #2 and I test for our black belts, one month from today. I used to consider a black belt a mark of expertise, but now I look at it as a mark of basic competence. A place to start from, rather than an objective.

Do you agree that knowing how to handle yourself in a confrontation brings about a sense of confidence that, among other things, allows you to avoid fights in the first place? Not only do bullies avoid people that have the aura of being able to inflict damage, but there is something else as well. Curious about your thoughts, if any, on that.

This is something I think about constantly, yes. I've always avoided fights because I never wanted to hurt anyone badly enough to fight them, but now I'm more keenly aware of what I'd do, how to defend myself and how to really effectively disable the other guy. And also: how unpredictable combat can be, and what that could mean in terms of my own personal danger level.

So I don't know that much about what kind of vibes I radiate, and to what extent those tend to repel would-be assailants, but I do know that I have a quite different combination of fear and readiness than before.

I'm not sure if this answers your questions, but it's really hard for me to know the degree to which I come off as being able to handle myself in the scrum. As far as avoiding fights, though, I don't normally find myself in situations where that possibility might arise. I work with a bunch of other college-degreed people at a workplace that would probably fire anyone who decided to "take it outside", I don't hang out at bars, and I hardly ever go to public sporting events besides the occasional Gator football game. The closest I've been to a fight in my post-college life was at an arena football game, and I don't think I'd want to try and fight someone in the upper bowl seats even now.

but there is something else as well.

The "something else" is basically not being afraid.

Which does help avoid fights in the first place. Especially when bullies are involved.

I'd say just basically not being afraid is a better path toward avoiding fights (and conflict generally) then having the aura of being able to inflict damage, because some folks respond to that aura as a personal challenge.

The soft styles are definitely not about advertising your ability to kick ass.

Also, there's this: I know that no matter how good I get, there is always someone better. And even if it's not someone better, I might make a mistake, or underestimate (just another kind of mistake) and I might either be beaten that way, or be put in a position where I have to hurt someone a great deal to get out of trouble.

My instructor, for instance, is scary good, and his abilities go outside the art a fair distance. He's quite good at grappling and has teaching certification in Muay Thai as well, and he's unbelievably fast & fluid. When he does breaks in public, it's really quite startling. Off the mat, or in instructor mode, he moves one way, but when he's breaking it's all speed, grace and power. But as good as he is, he occasionally forgets that I have a pretty decent front-leg round kick, and I occasionally get to head-kick him.

Last time we sparred, I pressed him a lot harder than I normally do. And I was doing pretty well until he pegged me in the liver with a ball-of-foot round kick that dropped me to the mat. He could have hit me anywhere, really. He's got a kind of calm in the fight that lets him plan ahead and strategize even when he's being hit.

Being good isn't enough; even being the best isn't enough. Which is just another reason why you don't just jump into a fight with someone: fistfights (to me, anyway) have always been a serious commitment; one that I should decline when possible, but take very seriously when it's not possible to avoid. Basically I look on fights as increased potential for one or more people to wind up in the hospital or even dead, and I don't wish that on anyone.

But that guy who was slapping around his girlfriend in high school? I probably would have handled that differently, knowing what I know now. Not that it would have changed him, or her mind about him. But I didn't know about that until later.

The "something else" is basically not being afraid.

I'd amend that to "not letting your fear control you", for myself. Not being afraid is just not going to happen for me, anytime soon.

The soft styles are definitely not about advertising your ability to kick ass.

Not disagreeing with you, but few of the people I've encountered in TKD advertise their ability to kick ass. If you met my instructor and didn't know that he was a sixth degree black belt, you'd just think he was another guy. But I have encountered people of the kick-ass variety, so I can't say that the hard styles don't tend to attract that kind of person.

Not disagreeing with you, but few of the people I've encountered in TKD advertise their ability to kick ass.

It wasn't a comment about TKD, but about this, in the context of a discussion of soft martial arts styles:

people that have the aura of being able to inflict damage

I agree that the responsible practice of martial arts, of any style, is not about projecting the "aura of being able to inflict damage".

And in terms of avoiding fights in the first place, I disagree with what I take to be avedis' statement that projecting that aura is helpful toward that end. For lots of aggressive / fight-prone people, encountering someone who telegraphs "badass" is received as an invitation and a personal challenge.

It's like catnip to them.

Projecting an aura of I'm not afraid of you and I have better things to do than get in fights generally works better. My opinion, obviously.

This:

Basically I look on fights as increased potential for one or more people to wind up in the hospital or even dead, and I don't wish that on anyone.

and this:

Not being afraid is just not going to happen for me, anytime soon.

simply demonstrate to me that you are quite a rational fellow, Slart. The first is true. The second is an appropriate reaction to that truth. And managing your fear seems the best approach, rather than futilely trying to eliminate or deny it.

you are quite a rational fellow, Slart

Thanks, hsh. I'm just trying to be honest, really.

But I don't want to dismiss what avedis said out of hand, because there is something to his assertion that it matters how you conduct yourself. You don't necessarily have to swagger about; you can just act normally, but stay aware of your surroundings. My instructor tells me that one of the worst things you can do is avoid eye contact with people you see acting suspiciously, because they may take you as an easy victim. And there are lots of people out there that are interested in beating, robbing, etc those who they see as easy marks. So if you act prepared for violence when violence seems like it may present itself, that itself might diminish the prospects of a fight.

"Win Chun"

Wing chung or Ving Chun or Wing Tsun (seen it several different ways, is, too me, an intermediate netween the hard Chinise styles, like Hung Gar and the soft styles. I did study Wing Chun (with a very aggressive Navy Seal for whatever that is worth). I got through the three empty handed forms and the wooden dummy, but did not learn the weapons.

The techniques learned in chi sau (sticky hands) are definitely of the soft variety. But the style is generally a little weird. My understanding is that it came into its own and evolved further on narrow boats that went up and down the rivers in China. Thus the style has some stunted (IMO) foot work that is, indeed, very linear and close in striking techniques. The latter are extremely effective in most situations where you might find yourself in a fight; like in a bar, between cars, but not in a ring. I especially like the emphasis on elbow and knee strikes. The linear theory plays out well at close range because the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Still, the foot work is limiting (unless you are on a boat).

Like the soft forms, there is no set of procedures like in Karate; i.e. he does this, I respond with that does not exist in Wing chun. One feels the opponent's energies, absorbs or deflects and uses the law of physics (equal and opposite reaction) to return the energy to an opponent in the form of a strike. This requires relaxation. But in my experience, there was less emphasis on the melding of mind and body than in the true soft forms. maybe this is because WC seeks to be more practical; dunno.

It is, overall, a very useful system. I still practice the so called "one inch punch" on a rice bag.

"And in terms of avoiding fights in the first place, I disagree with what I take to be avedis' statement that projecting that aura is helpful toward that end. For lots of aggressive / fight-prone people, encountering someone who telegraphs "badass" is received as an invitation and a personal challenge."

I would never recommend anyone swagger around trying to project 'badass'. That is stupid and crude and unpleasant, generally and it often insights a real badass to - who also has something stupid to prove in an overcompensating kind of way - to fight. Come on. Please give me a little more than that.

I was more refering to a quiet calm self confidence. People respect that more if it's real.

"...managing your fear seems the best approach..."

Yes. Everyone gets afraid when seriously threatened. Fear is more easily managed when you have been tested, survived and proven to yourself that you can keep it together under severe stress. The fear of fear is then eliminated and that is an important aspect of being able to control what is left and function effectively.

An addendum: Slarti, since you are interested in these things, the one difference between between the soft styles and hard styles, is the notion of internal power (a soft style concept) versus external generation of power (hard style). Wing Chun, again, falls somewhere in the middle (in my experience).

Internal generation of power in the soft styles is attributed to 'chi'. I thoroughly believe in the existance of chi and the ability to cultivate it and use it. That said, I cannot use words to explain it. I could show it to you and a compentent instructor could show you even better, but that is all. Once you begin to feel it, you begin to understand it and there are exercises - including the soft forms properly executed - that would help you feel it. Wing Chun is less, shall we say mystical and elusive, about the developed and deployment of chi at the beginning levels. Yet it is there all the same. More advanced WC training does begin to mention it. Still, chi doesn't find it fullest expression in WC. Then again, I only had four years of committed study. I have touched base since then with advanced practioners and they never added much to the role of chi, to the extent that there is one, in WC.

Chi enhancement and deployment are goals of the mind/body interface that you mentioned in your first martial art comment on this thread.

I have never met a hard style practioner that understood chi.

That is stupid and crude and unpleasant, generally and it often insights a real badass to - who also has something stupid to prove in an overcompensating kind of way - to fight.

We agree, precisely.

I was more refering to a quiet calm self confidence.

Maybe it's just me, but I generally don't think of "quiet calm self confidence" and "aura of being able to inflict damage" as being equivalent.

Very nice discussion of chi and it's role in the soft styles, BTW.

For the record, my background in all of this is a few years' on-again off-again study of Yang style Tai Chi. Got as far as push hands, did not get as far as sparring.

I have never met a hard style practioner that understood chi.

I think there are actually a fair number of soft style practicioners who don't have a firm grasp of chi.

fear of fear

Interesting notion. I hadn't even considered that openly.

Fear is an emotion that I find deeply unpleasant, and fear of fear more or less describes that panicked, helpless feeling I used to have when physically confronted.

Thanks for your comments regarding Wing Chun. I'd seen it spelled a number of different ways, too. My perception of it is that it's somewhere in between hard and soft styles. I had a friend (my daughter's middle school teacher, actually) who was a Wing Chun practitioner; I never really asked him what his level of proficiency was, but we mock-sparred a time or two and I couldn't do anything effective against him. If we'd agreed to permit grappling I might have been able to make something work, but Wing Chun has got so many things in it that foil the linear TKD style that I couldn't make kicks or punches work.

I also hadn't heard "sticky hands", but that describes it very well. It's very, very hard to land an effective punch if the other guy can put his hand on your forearm or wrist, or so I found. It's almost "sticky feet", too, except for the feet don't do quite as much. But they do many of the same things as the hands do: stops, deflections, blocks; general impediments to effective foot techniques.

"It's almost "sticky feet", too, except for the feet don't do quite as much. But they do many of the same things as the hands do: stops, deflections, blocks; general impediments to effective foot techniques."

Your observations are correct. I like the wing chun "gohst kick" too. It's a knee to stomach level straight kick that comes from the front leg in the stance. Since there is little or no weight on that leg prior to the kick, there is no telling weight shift pre-kick. The opponent rarely is able to react in time to defend.

"Maybe it's just me, but I generally don't think of "quiet calm self confidence" and "aura of being able to inflict damage" as being equivalent."

No. It's more just me. Most people associate the ability to inflict damage with the swagger. They also associate 'tough' with crude and ugly and refinement and beauty with weakness. They also see big talkers with big words as intelligent and quiet people as less intelligent.

People tend to go for the shiny things and fall victim to all sorts of allusions.

The confusion here is with ability versus desire. The swaggerring person has the desire to inflict damage. The person who is calm and truly self confident regardless of the chaos going on around him, has the ability to inflict damage.

This isn't something you would come to understand unless you had been through some truly 'chaotic' situatons and observed not only your own performance, but that of other personality types as well.

Then again, check out people you know/have known and think about the persona they projected prior to some period of time when the pressure became enhanced (could be even just at the office on a resource restrained high profile project) and how they performed under that stress. How well did they live up to the persona? Which personas did the best in terms of accomplishment, team work, etc?

I like the wing chun "gohst kick" too.

There's a scene in Ip Man where Donny Yen executes this kick that seems to come from nowhere. The hip flexibility that's needed to throw something like that the way he did it is still way beyond me. It looks like a straight punch.

I have a lot more appreciation for the ability needed to master (or even gain some minimum level of ability in) multiple styles that is exhibited by eg Donny Yen. There's a fight scene in the otherwise not-very-interesting Flash Point where he and Colin Chou go at it; the fighting style is completely different.

The way you gain the flexibility for the kick or joint extension involved in the punches, palms or, especially, shooting fingers is through practicing these things exactly right, but in a very relaxed manner, as often as possible (3x per week min) for a few years.

It seems to me that the more styles you learn, the easier/faster it is to learn the next one provided you understand the theory or philosophy of each style. Once you understand the hows and whys and costs and benefits of a couple of styles you understand how yet another style is trying to address the same problems with different options within the finite set.

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