The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, October 08, 2007

Esowon Bookstore needs your help

Esowon bookstore in the Leimert Park area of Los Angeles is having the same troubles independent bookstores across the country have faced for years. Specializing in black-themed material, Esowon has been a friend for a long long time. If any of your friends or family would appreciate books dealing with art, history or drama of the African Diaspora, I’d suggest stocking up for Christmas now, and doing your shopping at this fine small store.
I find myself grimly amused that many of the same people who are stalwart Nationalists also seem to believe that Privatization is the way to go. That’s odd to me. Give more power to corporate interests? Unfettered capitalism? Privatize the Military? School vouchers? Sure.

But do you really think that Corporations give a rat’s ass about national boundaries? Aren’t they eager to place their assets offshore? Go wherever labor is cheapest, natural resources most plentiful, and taxes lowest? Multinational corporations are, I think, one of the strongest forces that will reduce the primacy of governments as geopolitical forces. Hell, they’ve even got their own armies now. And they are composed of the same rapacious human beings that run governments. With no allegiance to anything except increasing return. Go ahead. Turn over your security and education to the very powers most antagonistic to the concept of government. Watch and see what happens.

Are you gonna say “oops!?” or what..?
I tried something a little different last week: running and FlowFit. Decided I wanted to ramp up my cardio a little. Tananarive has been running at a little track a few minutes’ walk from the house, so I could combine fitness and a bit of family time. Cool. But I decided to do one rep of FlowFit for ever lap. This is because my Bruiser Gama Cast Work is intense now (9 sets of 12 reps, starting one set every 120 seconds) and I could feel that the 15 sets of FF were, in combination with my other work, pushing the edge of recovery a little much. But what if I combined them with running..?

Well…it felt strange. Really, really strange. FF does odd things to your breathing, contracting and twisting your body in every which way. It is a really odd interruption of the rhythm you’re trying to develop for running, and heightens the exertion considerably. On the other hand…due to Coach Sonnon’s rather brilliant choreography, FF takes your body through the “Six Degrees of Freedom” that break the chains of emotional and physical stress. So it’s like stretching once a lap. Without letting your heartbeat calm completely. So there is also an aspect of the Tabata protocol, known as one of the most efficient means of increasing cardio fitness. That is: wind sprints.

Also, of course, running is primarily a lower-body activity. FF 2 engages the upper body considerably, evening out the level of stress, allowing you to push your heart while under a lower perceived level of exertion.

I have no idea where this is going, just thought I’d report back that the effects were really odd. I felt different—good different—all day. More powerful at yoga. More focused on my work. Placebo effect, maybe. But my entire body felt extremely compact, light, energetic, and flexible. Very strange for a single exercise to shift that much subjective experience.

I’m just scratching the surface here, of course, but it sure felt interesting.
Steve Perry wondered what Bruce Lee’s speed would do against Serak’s phenomenal use of center line. It always depends upon the relative skill of the practitioners, of course, but assuming the defender has the ability to attack with smooth explosive and penetrative precision, then unless the attacker also has a fine sense of center line, I would expect Serak to do just fine. The Serak player’s job would be to keep that floating center line active, so that the attacker can’t change lines and angles to nullify the advantage: you can’t be a static fortress, or you’ll get flanked.

But then, it’s a paper-rock-scissors world, isn’t it? As Bruce slowed with age, timing and positioning would HAVE to compensate. We know he had Wing Chun, and sufficient practical experience to learn whatever he needed to know. And advanced experts in any martial art start looking more and more alike in approach.

Different roads up the same mountain, as it were.