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Lightsabers for everybody!


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Hello there.

Name's Anne, occupation college student, teacher, and schemer of schemes.

I practice parkour and Aikido now as my two major arts, but there are around fifteen or so more movement-related disciplines I would like to study. I also have a background in horseback riding.

I am that girl you would most likely find in a corner with her nose in a book. I feel I can state here without shame that I dressed up for the premiere of the LOTR films. I'm also a pretty big Star Wars fangirl...I've wanted to be a Jedi since about the fifth grade. Sadly, my training consisted much more of reading and writing copious amounts of fanfiction than doing any kind of superhuman feats.

About the time I started first attending parkour training, I realized that it didn't mean you were dumb if you were strong and fit -one could have brains and muscle! (And maybe even good looks, too!)

Just like the Jedi, right?

In all seriousness, though, parkour opened some huge doors in my life. I began to see it as not only overcoming physical obstacles, but also the more intangible, everyday obstacles that appear in one's mind. I realized that my body was an amazing biochemical machine, which would function best if I treated it optimally. Thus developed my new passion for health, fitness, and nutrition. The unofficial motto, "be strong to be useful" also greatly appealed to me. What use is it if I have huge biceps or great abs (or great mental skills) if I'm not using them to help people?

I've been lurking around Nerd Fitness for some time now, and I'm really enjoying watching the community grow - and now watching isn't enough anymore, so here I am! I cast my vote firmly for Nerd Fitness Rebellion, in a move that surprised no one, I'm sure.

I'm going to be training with some of the founders of parkour in May, and I have a three day Aikido seminar in June, so this summer will level up my training. I also hope to start the Starting Strength program this summer. Another of my goals is to transition as much as I can from pseudo-paleo to true paleo. (I'm still fighting a sugar addiction from my high school days...hell, from my first twenty years of life!) Also strongly considering joining the new 28 day challenge.

May the Force be with you.

-Anne

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Anne,

Gotta say, that was one of the coolest intros we've had on here.

I would LOVE to get into Parkour once I get some more free time (currently dumping all of it into this website :)), and I also hope to get into Capoeira and do more break dancing (i'll classify myself as "not awful" right now).

Can you give us all an explanation of what Aikido is? Inquiring minds want to know!

-Steve

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:D Thanks, Steve!

And yes, I'd love to blab some more about martial philosophy!

Aikido is a Japanese martial art. It's one of the more recent ones, being developed primarily in the 1920's and 30's. Aikido-ka (practitioners of Aikido) have been described (accurately?) as the "starry-eyed idealists of the martial arts world."

Written in Japanese Kanji, Aikido is ???.

? = d?, or 'the way'. This is a very common ending syllable to many martial arts, as well as other "ways" of doing things. Judo, karate-do, etc.

?= ki (or, depending on the root language and transliteration, you might know it as chi, or qi. Ex. Tai chi, qigong.) This is hard to translate, mostly because there's no equivilant paradigm in the Western world, but it could be something like 'energy', 'breath', or 'spirit'. (Or, if you're a nerd like me, the Force. :roll: )

? = ai, 'harmony', 'blending', 'unifying'.

So, Aikido is 'the way of harmonizing energy'. It's a very peaceful art: one trains to protect both oneself and one's partner. There are no punches, kicks, attacks or blocks in aikido.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxxb2ctulEs

There's a video of O-Sensei (the founder) demonstrating some techniques.

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I took a mixed Taekwondo/Aikido class when I was a kid and really enjoyed it. Something about moving out of the way of a punch and throwing your opponent to the floor (who was like 3 times my size) really stuck with me :-)

Thanks for sharing the translation. I had never read that before!

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There are a lot of training sessions in communities all over the place, run by volunteers. However, in May, I'm attending an event, American Rendezvous , which will bring some of the founders and most advanced practitioners (from Europe) to the US. I'm super excited, and also convinced that they'll totally wipe the floor with me. I expect to have taken my training up a couple levels by the end of that weekend. I'm working now to get stronger so that my butt isn't so totally kicked then! :lol:

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Parkour sounds like something I'd enjoy - at least once I get in somewhat better condition! Loved the sequence at the beginning of 'Casino Royale' back in '06 (Daniel Craig's first outing as James Bond). Might have to see what options are available in the DC-area 'burbs in a bit.

Anne, is that 'saber in your avatar one of the FX sabers, or did you custom-build one? Got several of the FX sabers myself - no surprise, given my costuming hobby - one (a Vader) of which I've converted to Luxeon LED/polycarbonate-tube-blade for regular trooping, another (an Ep3 Anakin) which I have a conversion kit for but haven't modded yet, a couple which my wife and I sent off to Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage at 'Mythbusters' following Adam's lecture at DragonCon last year, where he wished for a lightsaber (that was last fall, and we haven't seen them onscreen yet - we're still hoping, though!), and a collection of parts sufficient to build upwards of two custom sabers, intended to replace the Anakin FX saber I currently use with my Jedi costume.

I really ought to actually BUILD the things, one of these days... :)

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Hi, Anne!

Thought I'd return the favor and reply to your intro.

You are pretty cool, and I'm glad I'll finally get to meet you as well! I think we've managed to miss each other for 2 or 3 jams now.

I'm guessing that you've gone through something like me, and after learning your 2nd or 3rd physical discipline, just like for spoken languages, you started to connect a lot more dots and principles, so that subsequent arts came more and more easily -- and they fleshed out and expanded your existing skills as well.

At least, that's how I came to tango and then contact improvisation. Three years ago, I'd never have thought I'd find martial inspiration in dancing, much less modern dance (ick!). :D

Re: the Asian ki / chi, it is a multi-faceted concept with spiritual as well as physical aspects. When I read through The Dynamic Sphere and Jang Jwing-Ming's books on kung fu, though, the relationship with physics fairly leaped off the page and hit me in the face. We can all see that aikido, taijiquan, the German and Italian medieval arts, etc. all use leverage and the opponent's momentum.

So doing a rough East-West translation, I'd argue that the dan tien (the source of chi, between your navel and groin) is your center of mass. Projection of your chi, then, is on a practical level the efficient projection of that mass through your multi-jointed levers (i.e. limbs) or otherwise. So using your chi is practicing conservation of momentum (linear or angular).

In German wrestling (ringen), we have a principle called durchgegen (going through). If I punch an opponent and he blocks or deflects the fist itself, I can conserve my forward momentum, fold my elbow, and roll past his defense to try a follow-up elbow strike in the same tempo or action. I can't cite equivalent techniques from other arts, but I'd bet my pork chop lunch today that they're easily to be found. Durchgegen is an implementation of the weak half of German fighting's strong/weak concept. This concept is very similar to the yin yang duality in Asian arts.

In baguazhang, we have some infighting moves wherein we cover against attacks with the hands and arms as we close in past hand strike range, past elbow strike range, and finally end up hip to hip or shoulder to shoulder. Some of the "chi projecting" techniques we have are just using our momentum to its best advantage. Just like with the 1" punch, if my shoulder is resting against yours, I have to transfer rotational power / angular momentum generated from my hip, up through my oblique core muscles, through my shoulder and into yours in a sufficiently small time period (.1 or .05 second) that the peak impulse delivered to you is a sharp shove. The shoulder itself is a lever arm with the pivot point along the spine of the body; obviously, this is a very short lever arm, and any momentum transfer will be deleveraged greatly because it will only travel through roughly an 8" lever instead of the 2.5" lever of your arm. What is a kick or punch (i.e. a strike) but a very very fast shove that only ends up connected (or you could say impacting on) to the target?

Most normal people who don't practice relaxation and strength / body training will not be coordinated enough, and will end up shoving with their shoulder, spread over .2 or .5 second. In physics terms, that means their shove is half to one-tenth the peak "power" of my shove.

Blah blah blah coiled muscles like a whip, etc.

Patrick Yang recently helped another guy, Kenneth, and me with our broad jumps by teaching us how to set with our arms. Also, he refined our rotational power generation to go from a wall hang to vaulting over the wall. In both cases, we also had to learn how to generate, conserve, and transfer momentum through our multi-jointed levers (i.e. bodies).

Man, I'm not trying to soapbox, but I always get so excited by these common threads in seemingly unrelated activities. Hopefully you and everyone else didn't get glazed over eyes too quickly. :P

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@Dakao The jump is all about the set! That's something I try to bring home to beginners: it's a whole body movement, not just a jump with your legs. Engage your entire posterior chain, then use your arms, too!

Anyway.

@Vader: Yeah, it's an FX-saber. E2 Anakin? It was the only blue one available when ROTS came out,and of course, I had to storm the theatre in costume. Recently I found out that FX makes Kenobi's E1 saber now,and I was upset, since that's the one I really wanted. (I loathe Anakin. I'm sorry, but I just hate him.) But my days of spending money on things like that are mostly over, now I'd rather buy a pair of gymnastic rings, etc. Also, the DC area is pretty good for PK. Check out Primal Fitness and the DC Boards.

@Emmy: Hi! You should try it. Gotta give a mommy disclaimer, though: The Office's parkour is not parkour. :lol:

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