Friday, December 19, 2008

Martial Arts Secrets

I was looking around Amazon for books on Karate and had just finished reading the first few pages of Master Funakoshi's Karate-Do Nyumon, which he states among other things that there are no secrets in Karate-do, just hard work (paraphrasing a great deal there).

The next book I saw in the search was The Secrets of Shotokan Karate. Now, I don't mean to put down this book, as I have never read it and it may be a fantastic book on Shotokan techniques. I may even get it someday for that reason.  But I've been seeing a few "Secrets" books on Karate lately. It just made me wonder at the idea of "secrets" in Martial Arts.  If they are secrets, how did these authors learn them, and why are they publishing them in books. 

I've been reading through Shotokan's Secret: The Hidden Truth Behind Karate's Fighting Origins It appears to be a really good book on the history of Okinawan Karate, especially as it effects Shotokan.  The author appears to make some great analysis of the history, but although I read a lot I didn't know, I didn't read anything I would call a secret.

I remember reading Adams and Dr Hatsumi's books on Ninjitsu back in the 70's.  I actually researched the subject quite a bit back then, before it became popular and I lost interest.  I even did a report on it in High School and a book report on Eric Van Lustbader's The Ninja.  

Now I personally have no idea if Dr Hatsumi is or is not a last descendant of a Ninja family or if Stephen Hayes or Robert Bussey studied with him.  Full disclosure, I studied at a Robert Bussey school for 2 or 3 months in the 80's.   Suddenly Martial Artist all over the world fell in love with this "secret" martial art.  I've often wondered if it's because it's supposed to be a secret that it became so popular. 

That brings me back to what could be a trend in "Secret" books for Karate.  If these are secrets that are being brought into the public, I think that is great from a historical point of few.  If, instead, these are advanced techniques that are taught in most schools, I would rather see them publish as such.  I would be much more likely to buy "Advanced Shotokan Techniques" than "Secret Shotokan Moves Your Sensei Doesn't Know".

May be the public at large is more interested in Secrets than Advanced Techniques.  So I've decided to begin work on "The Secrets of the Gallowglass; The Irish Ninja".  Think it will sell?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Griffon vs JavaFX

Update, moved to Just Thinking: Code

I'm looking at the difference bectween using Griffon and JavaFX to create a desktop application to keep track of information on the fighters in our Barony.  I currently have a Grails application in front of a MySQL database that I would like to migrate to a desktop app.

One of the things I really like about Grails is GORM, the builtin database interface.  Griffon does not have that yet (it's due in a future version).  I was a little surprised that there is not an equilvant technology in JavaFX.  A good object relational manager like GORM talking to HSQLDB or JavaDB would speed up Desktop programming considerably.

Like Chrome, needs more

In keeping with the title of this blog, just something I'm thinking about.

I've been using Google's Chrome for a few months, about since it came out in beta.  It's fast and good looking, but I've found that there are a few sites that I can't access correctly.  It's not a total replacement for Firefox, for me as of yet.

What I was pondering though is why does Chrome not tie in better with Google's other offerings.  Most notably Bookmarks and Notebook.  

Why does Chrome even have it's own bookmarks?  The two at the very least should be synced.

If I'm doing research on a subject and I want to save anything I find to my Google Noteback, an excellent tool for that job, I typically switch back to Firefox, which has a plugin for that function.  That should be something built right into Chrome.

Neither of these are a game ender for me.  I still have Chrome up and running for accessing Gmail and general web surfing, at least at work where I have to use Windows.  No OpenSolaris version yet, or probably in the near future for use at home, or a Mac version for the family computer.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Guitar love

Oh, my.  Something new to dream about.  Dark Fire

Here's a MacWorld article about it.

About every 15 years I attempt to learn to play the guitar.  It is my favorite musical instrument to listen to, but I've never gotten the knack at playing it.  I played the trumpet in high school and sang in a choir for many years.  Playing chords or multiple notes at the same time on the guitar is what makes it hard for me.

The idea of combining a guitar and a computer is a huge temptation.  Of course I would need a new Mac (I don't do Windows at home and probably wouldn't attempt this on Solaris or BSD) and the guitar itself, which is expensive.  It will remain a dream, for me at least.