January 2006

This is something that I’ve been doing for several months but just haven’t gotten around to talking about, much like everything else on this little-updated blog. My brother Porter introduced me to this group that is playing a D&D campaign, but instead of getting together once a week or such, all communication is handled via email. The campaign is here, where they have archives through December of 2004. My character is Allistair in case you’re curious. It started out with the standard ‘save the damsel in distress’ adventure, and since Porter and I have come in it’s become the standard ‘now you have to save the whole world from the clutches of the Evil Dark God.’

One nice thing I like about more experienced role-players is that party conflict only occurs because their characters don’t get along, not because the players themselved can’t get along. (Unlike campaigns I played in high school, where the adventure and goals get thrown out the window becuase of an inter-party bloodbath caused by an argument. I’m sure my friend Mitch remembers well.)

Another really nice thing is that it has a very small time requirement. The daily load is usually no more than reading five or six emails and writing one of your own. Of course one turn per day is about the maximum speed it moves along, but for five minutes a day that’s pretty good, in my opinion.

In fact it’s been so fun that I’m thinking pretty seriously of looking for a role-playing group here that I might be able to join. When I was at one of the gaming stores in town there was a bulletin board with lots of groups looking for players. I might just give it a try. … or maybe I’ll wait until the summer. This semester I have two conferences to prepare for, a paper to finish and publish, a class to take, TA another class, and continue my research. I’ll be pretty busy.

The action has been heating up in the comments section, where I have been getting a new comment almost every two months! I’ve already had several people comment on Albert Geraldi, generally agreeing with what I said and just filling in details while making it clear that Geraldi-sensei and Taika Oyata are still on good terms. Also some more detail on my inferences on George Dillman, also generally agreeing with me that his credentials may be less than accurate.

Just recently though, got a lengthy comment from Sharon Hayakawa, who is a close friend of both Taika Oyata and Sentaku-sensei. She censures me a bit and points out that alot of what I commented about Sentaku-sensei is also less than accurate. Well, most of what I said was inference and assumption anyway, since the solid facts I was basing them on were 1) Sentaku-sensei was the chief instructor at the honbu dojo for Ryu-te for several years, in addition to being the only person other that Taika himself that could teach the Shin-shu-ho. 2.) Sentaku-sensei is no longer affiliated with Ryu-te and has founded his own style called Ten Shin Ichi Ryu 天心一流.

Basically, it seems that Sentaku-sensei worked very hard for Taika for a very long time, and that his work was a little more thankless than he might have liked. Well, I guess you can’t blame someone for that. No matter how much you may enjoy the job itself, receiving little thanks/recognition/compensation could make the funnest job in the world next to drudgery. I suppose I should listen more to Jim Logue in his comment on my earlier post:

I”m not putting down any of these people, they were all talented and gifted and did much to help the organization grow. The falling out is always a two way street and I’m not going to get into any details about that. That’s a matter between each person.

Sharon also points out that my obsession with the overuse of the title “Doshu” 道主 is undeserved, since it simply means ‘founder’ in Japanese. This may just be my pet peeve then, but I feel that the martial arts culture suffers from an overuse of pretentious titles. Reading the bio page on Shintaku-sensei’s page, it still sounds overly pretentious to me, with the phrasing of Doshu this and Doshu that in 3rd person. I also feel the same about martial artists who always add titles like Shihan 師範, Kyoshi 教師, Hanshi (範師 or 範士, depending) , Master, Grand Master, or (not the most pretentious but the most annoying in my opinion) Professor after thier names.

Professor‘ always cracks me up, probably because I always imagine the following dialogue taking place:

    Normal Person: So, you are a professor?
    ‘Professor’: Yes, yes I am.
    Normal Person: A professor of what?
    ‘Professor’: Um, butt-kickology.

Maybe it’s just because of the inundation of people like “Grand Master Bill Dixon of Dixon’s Rebel Karate” and such that has given me a jaundiced view of such titles. Shouldn’t just a simple -Sensei be sufficient for any martial artist, or at least in Japanese martial arts? Granted that many of these titles are specifically bestowed titles by reputable martial arts organizations, but even as such I think I still prefer a simple “Sensei”. What titles would work for non-Japanese martial arts? Please tell me your opinion on this issue, I can always use more comments.

If you have a few minutes, check out some of the hits on a google search for martial arts Grand Masters. (Warning: the links may contain mullets)

Also, I’m a little disappointed that I haven’t gotten any comments from one of George Dillman’s students. That would be cool.

After a nearly month-long break, we just arrived back in Austin. It wasn’t all fun and relaxing, it was conditional that I get a paper written to submit to Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B. I finished the method and results/conclusion sections, which are the most important, so hopefully I’ll have the paper finished in a couple of days.

While I was relaxing though, I got so see some good movies that I had been waiting for. The first was Napolean Dynamite, which would have been even more hilarious if it hadn’t been eerily familiar in many ways. Basically, anyone that didn’t fit in at high school needs to see this movie. But it seems that I’m about the last person in the world to see this movie, so this is probably empty talk. It was nice to know what all these wierd quotes I had been hearing all the time were. i.e. “Bow to your Sensei! BOW TO YOUR SENSEI!!” etc.

I also saw Serenity, which I had been really looking forward to since I really enjoyed Firefly during its short run as a series. I pretty much have to agree that it’s the best science fiction movie I’ve ever seen. It was absolutely great. See it if you haven’t. And watch the series while you’re at it.

Another one I finally got to see was Batman Begins, which I have to say is the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen. After seeing Christian Bale in Equilibrium a few years ago, I was looking forward to seeing him in another action movie, and I wasn’t let down. You may have to set your willful suspension of disbelief (ninja’s in Tibet, a 3′ cube machine with no external energy source that can vaporize millions of gallons of water instantly, etc.) on a pretty high level, but it wasn’t worse than any other good action movie, in my opinion. Also, when Batman becomes the Batdemon during Scarecrow’s acid trip was really cool.

Also, my brother lent me a copy of the entire series Babylon 5, which I have only seen bits and pieces, and am looking forward to seeing. Imagine a sci-fi show with character and plot continuity! It almost boggles the senses!