On My Mind

So, this has been a “very little sleep” week. Got one of the windows blacked out last night, with one to go, but that reduction certainly made a difference. Unfortunately I was working on a little widget that I’ve been futzing with, and managed to get all its core functionality working at midnight. This got me so amped up I couldn’t sleep until 2am. Boo.

This morning I woke up with a pain in my abdomen, right near my appendectomy scar. Couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on. I was wondering if I had a little hernia or something until I remembered that I took a shot in that area last night while training. Nothing like a boshiken to the hip. Doh.

Speaking of training. I’ve been trying to get in as much as possible so that I can be a red/white belt by the time festival rolls around. This would mean getting through Blue/Black in 2 months. Not impossible, but faster than normal. Then comes the news that work wants me to attend Owner’s meeting again this year, which will kill 2 days of training, and there is another thing that I want to do in Ohio that will be knocking out the 20th-27th. 4 days there including the promotion date. Not insurmountable, but would require a lot of 5 day weeks of training. I’m going to see what I can do, but I’m not counting on it anymore.

Why do I care? Well as much as we wouldn’t like it to be true, when you’re training with other martial artists who you don’t know, they tend to rely on your belt rank for how hard to train with you. It usually takes at least 10 minutes to feel someone out and see where they’re at and adjust for their skill level. With the way we train at events like this, it’s unlikely you’ll spend 10 minutes with any one person. So it can get pretty annoying when partner after partner sees that relatively low ranking belt and don’t commit to attacks, don’t put any spirit into them, and go real easy when defending. Blah. But hey, it might not even make a difference. Green belt is where most people draw a line in their heads anyway from what I have experienced, but every little bit helps.

The other good thing at Red/White is becoming a trainer and being able to offer a little more assistance in class when people are struggling with techniques.

The 7 day outing to Ohio is to attend a reading week for the Beshara school. When I was in Scotland, I attended a six month intensive course of study of what you could term universal spirituality, drawing from religious texts from all over the world. After the course, I stuck around and helped facilitate shorter courses on the same materials.

I have been wanting to re-involve myself with the school, and possibly attend a second 6 month course, but consistently find myself running into the issues I had with them before. Chief among them is institutionalized rhetoric. They have a language all their own, derived in large part from english translations of arabic writings, and the writings of Bulent Rauf. You can get a good example of this language here. I consider Alison a good friend, and she delivers an excellent message here, but it’s so entrenched in the lexicon of the school as to be indecipherable to the casual reader.

I understand that dealing with esoteric material in a language like english, which is optimized for objects and relationships, not for abstract concepts, is difficult. But at the same time, requiring individuals to invest a lot of time and effort learning the specific language constructs to deal with the concepts you’re presenting is a lot to ask.

A lot of esoteric material is extremely vague, and using this language is an attempt to make it more concrete, more readily understood and categorized in our brains. It’s also trying to find a common ground for discussing things that we all experience in radically different ways. But it’s never been convincingly shown to me that this is a good thing.

Ultimately, I’ll probably go if for nothing else to see where things are at with the school.

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