Monday, May 26, 2008

A Brief Post on Memorial Day

I am very lucky and grateful that I am able to talk with my material grandfather and my father, both veterans, just today even if it's mostly small chit chat about daily life. Some men will never get the chance to bond with their fathers and grandfathers, through incident, accident, or design, and I never take my relations for granted.

This is a personal salute to those men who have passed on.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Don't Date Single Moms. Ever.

I'm going with Tom Leykis on this one.

For most single men, there are a volume of dating problems facing us if we decided to actually bother to date American women at all. Which over the years, considering the sexual, social, personal, and even legal minefield, it's understandable if men grow cynical about dating. It sucks.

I realize that I'm emulating a lot of what MGTOWers have already covered ground with considering single moms, but after only one LTR I learned my lesson. Never again. It's been over five years. Thankfully.

Some men never seem to grasp that it's not in their best interest---but since our current feminized culture doesn't particularly care what is it men's best interests, many men have been instilled with the idea they are not useful unless they are pandering to women's whims---which is patently false, but it's one of the more damaging lies that men are exposed to.

Barring accident or horrendous disease---widowers---or single moms that are that way because of some other rare occurence, it's usually the result of piss poor decision making. It could be sexual licentiousness, seeking out bad boys to tame, trying to get pregnant to "have something to love" because of the lack of affection in their lives . . . up to risking pregnancy by not employing contraceptives and being irresponsible.

Of course, that's "sexist" in many of the feminist-minded---expecting women to be sexually responsible as men, but we'll move on for now.

Simply put, most single mothers don't feel bound by men who are playing surrogate father to their children---offspring that they have sired from someone else. There's always a possibility that the father still will be involved, and if the split was amicable or not, that's something to contend with. At brass tacks, you are still a provider, one in which whatever contributions you make isn't valued enough.

Sex? Many men don't receive the affection they'd like, simply because honey is too exhausted from juggling work, kids, and who knows what else. This includes addictions they are nursing after binging. And usually single moms are in financial stress to even dire straits. They bitch about not having enough CS from their ex-spouse or any at all, yet with their own spending habits usually aren't disciplined, always in debt or having nothing to show for it at the end of the month.

Make no mistake about it---if you decide to date a single mom, there are compromises that you are going to make that are far more of a price if you had simply dated someone else that was childless. Whether or not they admit it, single moms view men that date them as a meal ticket and a means to an end to their lifestyle, and when the shit hits the fan, not obligated to you if you are not there for the children (which is often what they state in order to comfort and accommodate themselves with their own whims---it is often a mask for their own selfishness).

The non-biological parent is expendable to the single mom if the kids end up liking you and she ends up hating you. If the kids don't like you or never get attached despite their tolerance of you---you are still not their real father, no matter how bad he was (or how bad SHE paints him, which is fairly common), it still won't last. Most reconstituted families don't go through adversity very well, and at the nadir you if you don't hold up the threads of the relationship, you are shown the door. You will never be completely viewed as an equal partner, but an on-call babysitter.

And if she even claims to have an abusive past---made up or for real---perhaps it's best to move on. You don't want her to make you pay for her ex's sins or replay what she knows as a "loving" relationship.

Avoiding that type of hollow relationship is the best thing you can do. Deep down, despite education and even possible success in the workplace, the lurking fear that they, single moms, are failures at a marriage or haven't made the best of choices for life-altering decisions that have left them embittered and even angry at men. Still don't believe me? Read the amount of barbs single moms have against men---the younger ones are volatile, the older ones take up the mantle of feminist causes---even to the point of fighting tooth and nail that women get screwed over in the mythic pay gap, to arguing that alimony should be a women's right, and not a gift.

And the of the darkest secrets, if that's the word, that single moms use their condition as a rationalization to be selfish about the things they do in daily life. We don't want to talk about. Women don't want others to face it. They don't want to take the time for self-exploration to accept it. "It's all for the children" becomes a sad cover for pettiness, bad money habits, addictions, and control-mongering. They will lash out if you dare state their place their own needs above their kids, but it does actually happen in many cases---look at how many children suffer neglect because of a mother that still wants her cake and eat it, too. And if that's true, how in the world are they going to fulfill yours?

The last word of warning I have is this---if they treat their peers, friends, and pets better than you, why bother in the first place?

Monday, May 19, 2008

My Two Cents on the "Martial Arts"

-Don't sign a contract unless you are willing to commit. This is one way dojos keep going and force people not to bail out; most places are barely running and don't have any real profit margin unless they are connected with national organizations. Most contracts run from one month to even three years; the latter is a long time considering that in even six months your schedule can change, and leave you paying the tab regardless because it's legally binding. If you find a pay as you go school or one that trains for free that's legit quality, don't look a gift horse in the mouth!

-Paying a significant sum for little result is a sign of a McDojo---unless your school is run by a well-known pro fighter with a ton of good coaches---and it's open several hours during the week. If you can pay as you go and nobody mentions it at first, ask---don't be afraid to appear as less devoted if you can only pay monthly or per session. If the instructors have that policy but frown upon its use, perhaps it's better to find another school that will be flexible with your needs.

-It's been declared that BJJ and MMA have revolutionized the martial arts world, but the same time, it doesn't mean you have to give up the "older" art you enjoy. I know that some will disagree with this because usually more sport styles heavily emphasize contact, and I admit I prefer those unarmed styles, but let's face it---not everyone likes boxing or grappling. Or maybe they have a taste of it and find that something else is more suitable for them. Yes, sports combat is very useful for one-on-one street defense no matter what detractors have said . . . however, I'm going not into style versus style here, but ultimately one can only find fulfillment in one they discover enrichment in.

-A MA that practices with drills, resisting opponents, and (at least) occasional sparring is generally better than one that does nothing but forms and theory. I'm not dead set against kata even though I prefer to train with styles that don't normally use it but still possess foot work/positioning that is vital (Muay Thai, BJJ, Judo). However, I've noticed my joints and base getting somewhat stronger with traditional stances, believe it or not, in "old school" Karate. There's no other way of putting it; you don't know how good you are progressing if you don't have a uke that's fighting back to some extent, and you won't know how to truly defend yourself to the fullest unless you don't practice some form of aliveness training.

From my last post I mentioned guys that had shown up to Thai boxing, even rough and strong young men that didn't realize how getting punched in the face, kneed, elbowed, and kicked---not to mention the clinch work, which was exhausting to some of them---was going to feel like even with some protection. They dropped out. It's true---no one likes getting hit even with moderate contact, but nothing will prepare you for a serious altercation like resistance training. Reality self-defense often protest that's not the "real thing" and it's "dueling," but what alternative (to prepare you) do you have if you can't diffuse the situation or run?

-Technique is the major cornerstone, but strength, speed, accuracy, cardio, and conditioning are not something to forsake. Far from it. Yes, proper technique in any style is crucial and there is no substitute---look at how powerful a full-body strike can be, or a textbook lock can work, but to ignore the factors is forging serious holes in your game. Let's face it; you will come across those who may not hit as hard but will exhaust you if your cardio is lacking, or a big bruiser that will thwart your armbars and chokes only to land you on your back and crush you. The best fighters out there aren't just doing crescent kicks or perfecting the jab---they are doing roadwork, lifting weights to be explosive, learning control and target recognition.

I used to train in a Japanese style of a rather controversial nature whose popularity has waned because a myriad of reasons, and I can imagine why---one of them even the instructor voiced with sincerity which I merely shrugged off, but he said it anyway when concerning one competitor of another style wanted to fight him. He was bigger guy that had a bodybuilder physique, the instructor bragged, "Good, so his pressure points will be easier to find." Does that sound bold, arrogant, or ignorant? Nevermind that his would-be challenger had high rank of his own. I realize brute strength isn't everything and a seasoned fighter can do serious damage to someone that is inexperienced, but completely writing off someone bigger and stronger may be a mistake.

-Shadowbox when you can't train in a style at the moment, or if you only train once or twice a week. It's pretty much a given if you are in styles that are form and/or competition oriented, or ring sports like boxing and Muay Thai. It's also a good idea if you can't always find that gym you used to religiously show up at---or if you don't want your ability to diminish. Yes, it's not substitute, but nearly all good fighters shadowbox in some way or another.

-Train to eventually go beyond your limitations, but know your limits and don't seriously hurt yourself. A moderate injury will probably put you out of commission for a while---do you want to risk no training for weeks, months, a year, even, if it's something you enjoy? If you are in pain, think you think something is going to give out, or so exhausted you can't perform, stop. Don't fear looking wimpy in front of vet fighters; they may have been in the same situation more than once and are understanding. It's better to save yourself for that day when you're better overall.

This, of course, means getting proper rest and not overtrain, which is also one of the leading causes of burnout and injury. For me, it's difficult because if I have to bail on a session for any reason, I feel guilty. Life happens. A dojo or gym that doesn't give some allowance for periods where you have to recoup or acknowledge your life priorities is questionable---while it's true that many reward those who are disciplined and respectful, your career field and personal life still come first no matter what.

-Gi versus no gi. I've benefited from both although I confess I prefer training without, but through Judo and gi-oriented BJJ I'm getting used to it again. I've also noticed an increase in grip strength even in the past two months, which is important in Judo especially.

-Be wary of a school that has a cult-like atmosphere. Granted, I know some men that actually seek out specific ones that are heavy on New Age philosophy blended with watered down Eastern mysticism and feel very comfortable there. It's not dysfunctional if it "works" for them, but in my opinion spirituality is best served elsewhere. In some cases, it's grounds ripe for exploitation and has little to do with MA; there are a wealth of instructors that love feeding their egos and even convince themselves of their guru greatness, all the while demanding lower rank students do the same. If you feel uneasy about it, leave without fanfare.

-The martial arts aren't the be all, end all of self defense. My advice, without going into a lengthy essay about home defense and weapons---for those who believe that MA will make them practically invulnerable, is that their illusions will be shattered. That's once they discover no matter what skill level they've obtained, they are all still too human. Hey, why not buy a gun, learn to use it, stay away from troublesome areas and situations, and be aware of your surroundings during nighttime hours? I certainly can't argue with that notion. A branch of fighting doesn't cover all aspects of self-defense and even survival---but this shouldn't dissuade one from development in MA. It is one piece of the puzzle, and for those who commit to life long study, they find brotherhood, self-improvement, physical challenge, and personal strength in that commitment.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Don't Do "Just Karate;" A Few Stray Thoughts about MMA/TMA

I really did want to write a neat post about martial arts. For the record, as much as I am involved in the "community," if that's a term that applies---and that's arguable in of itself, I consider myself a fighter, a sparing partner, more than anything else. Like an upcoming post that will compliment this better, I'm not going to resort to foreign terminology or pretend to have groundbreaking insights; rather, I'm going to share some things with the MGTOW-minded if they're curious.

I've benefited from my experiences. Even right now, as I sit here and type this, I'm bruised up, sore, and even nursing a couple of minor sprains. The swelling isn't bad at all. I don't injure that easily, but contact fighting of any sort---especially when you jump into the fire again and again, you'll get roughed up a bit. In BJJ and Judo I submitted others more than I got submitted (I tend to be a stubborn bastard and rarely tap, unless I'm dead tired/gassed out), and went further than I originally planned, but going further always reaps rewards.

It's the nature of the game; regardless if reality defense instructors decry, "that's just sports combat," let's face it: it is the closest you can get to the real thing, and sometimes it's at a level that your armchair hack will never experience. It surprises some when I say that ring, mat, and cage fighting is more difficult than your typical bar brawl with a liquid-courage emboldened asshole. That's until they decide to check out how intense Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo, boxing, and even contact Karate (yes, I wrote that) really are in a good school/dojo, with solid fighters in their ranks. I'm not surprised at the amount of would-be students and tough guys that quickly drop out.

I claim no marital art greatness at all, but I pretty much enjoy giving nearly everyone a hard time, improving my skills and trying to strengthen my weaknesses. To say I've reached a level of mastery in anything would not only be hubris, but prevent me from learning more and evolving. It's probably one of the reasons it doesn't bother me I don't have a black belt in any art---I seriously desire to discover that next level and bust up any plateaus.

I've rolled my eyes at the bullshit spewed by co-workers and lounge lizards that could not understand what I do, or why I do it. Even then, it's just "Karate," and giving them a curt and informative "basics" of what I'm engaged in is often futile. Even with the UFC's popularity, I rarely talk about it unless people are more receptive. And on another angle, don't even get me started on the mysticism and armchair theorists that refuse to test their subjective arguments. And I'll bet most of the mockery and dismissal comes from fear and misunderstanding; no doubt about it, if I pummeled them in stand up/striking or choked out/arm barred them out in BJJ within a moment, it would pretty much shut them up.

Okay, my two cents worth of advice post is coming up eventually---I'm almost itching to write it now, even with time being of the essence. I will leave with this, however, which is so common now that it's practically a given---if you have the time, money and the means, cross train. The benefits outweigh any cons, and you'll get a taste of what you like and what you don't. No one style has everything (regardless of what any instructor claims) . . . constantly learn, research, practice. Yeah, I know that's pretty obvious for the most part, but I'm amazed at how many people---even serious practitioners,don't even break out of their self-imposed circles to broaden their horizons.