27 June 2013

Non Specificity and You

But first, an aside:

People are going nuts about the history changing shit going on in Washington (be it nefarious, or otherwise).  People are going nuts about celebrities and personalities who have little to no stake in how much better you can be. 

I will pose some questions for you to mull over regarding these issues. 

Does the fact this fat bitch called someone a "nigger" really matter in the context is being made out to matter? Does it affect you negatively in any way?

I grew up in a redneck town called Plant City.  We have a lot of strawberries, and a festival dedicated to them, wherein washed up country stars play to a moderate sized venue.  We also have a lot of racists, rednecks, Black people, and Mexicans to go along with the predominantly white population. 

Back to the question at hand.  Yes, it matters if you use racial slurs in a hateful context.  It makes you appear to be a racist asshole.  Is being a racist asshole the best way to develop yourself as an individual? Probably not. 

Does it matter that this woman said it? No.  In my hometown alone I can encounter hundreds of fat, old white women who have comparable cooking skills who call Black people "niggers," Mexicans "spics," and any other horrendous things you can think of.  I have also witnessed my Black cousin be verbally assaulted by other residents of my town.  Why should you give a shit about a famous one? I don't think it's a good use of time.  At least if I encounter the ones in my community who behave the same way, I could at least have some influence on them and help lead them to a better place regarding their ingrained racism.

This just in: DOMA got defeated.  Why is this an issue? Oh wait, because somewhere along the way the religious people who give a shit about marriage let the state take control over it.  We let the state infiltrate something personal--again.  You lose.  Not only do you lose because you relinquished your control of a dated institution, you lose because it was never your own dated institution to begin with, since it predates Jesus, The Bible, Christianity, and Judaism.   You lose because its now a federal matter.  Since I can't have my way and get rid of this nonsense and our funding of it altogether, suck it up and accept the fact that homosexuals can finally come closer to having rights of the rest of us so graciously given to them.  Is someone else's marriage really going to affect you? I mean aside from the fact you can't free load on alcohol.  All I want is one good argument not based on religion as to why only some people can get married and others can't.  At this point in time, nobody has been able to deliver one.

I guess this rant brings me to what I wanted to talk about in the first place.  I wanted to address contra specificity/non specificity. 
If you find yourself falling in the same traps repeatedly--like maybe you support famous racists, or hate the fact that people are getting equal treatment--you might want to act differently than you already do.  It might be stressful, at first.  But the result might be worth it. 

In the testing model, we try to be as specific as we can, first.  Then we move towards contra specificity and non specificity.  I am a big fan of the latter.  From a movement perspective, it has helped me relieve pain I spoke of before, and it has helped me gain flexibility.  The non specific activity being Jiu-Jitsu, of course.  It has also helped me relax more. 

Another way I like to practice non specificity is when Arielle and I go out to eat.  I am not a picky eater, so I have no qualms with telling my server to surprise me with any dish from the menu, with few parameters.  It gives me new ideas to implement at home, lets me know I like things I didn't think about trying before, and it saves time and decision making.   I have not been let down yet, and have loved all the strange things given to me.

This idea can especially apply to relationships of any kind.  Especially those that stress out.  I had a friend who had MS.  It was a stressful task to prepare to even talk to him on the phone, given the gravity of topics we would talk about.  I would literally have to plan time to talk and set it aside so I couldn't do anything else.  Of course, it was a huge pain in the ass for me, but even though the stress built up because of the fact that it wasn't something I would normally do often, the relief of going through with it was worth it, even though it was a distressing activity. 

So, think of people you think you need to talk to.  People you might need to apologize to.  It might stress you out, but the end result will be worth it. 

Lastly, one of my favorite ways to do non specific things is to learn multiple routes to get to and from home and what not.  I found the plus sides to be that I can find cooler gas stations (perhaps cheaper, too), cooler landmarks, eating establishments, and I can avoid the stress of traffic--which is absurd to get stressed over to begin with, even though I do all the time.

Add some contra/non specificity to your life. You might be glad you did.

07 June 2013

Honoring your mentors: The Greater Implications of 'Smashing the Head'

I got into training for stuff because I got tired of being a lazy fuck.  I did not know that I could later apply the principles (and with greater accuracy on down the road) to the rest of my life.  I am pleasantly surprised and delighted that I can (and do).

Rob Kahn: Owner of Gracie Tampa North, and  Royce Gracie black belt
 Recently, I started thinking about something Rob Kahn (above) says often--so often it's the tag line for the Gracie Tampa shirts.  "When in doubt, smash the head," or some variant. The rationale being that the one who controls the head will control the fight. 

I make it a point to take Rob's classes whenever I get the chance, and true to form he focuses on controlling the head whenever possible. 

One of the neat things about Jiu Jitsu is that it involves an opponent.  In powerlifting, your opponent is mainly yourself and an unmoving object. Metaphorically speaking, in powerlifting you will inevitably (and metaphorically) smash your own head if you are not careful.  In Jiu Jitsu, you can either smash or be smashed. 

Like all physical endeavors I now undertake in, I like to apply head smashing to my way of being.  Figuratively speaking, every interaction we engage in with people we are engaging in game theory.  In many of the interactions we engage in we are impressing our will upon another human.  This happens actively, passively, to a greater extent, and to a lesser extent, with all sorts of nefarious and benign intentions in between.

Depending on the situation you are in, learn how to psychologically "smash the head."  Learn to do so in many ways, and learn to defend your head from being smashed so you can come out victorious in your interactions.  This is one of the best grappling lessons I have learned from Rob Kahn to apply off and on the mat.