Sunday, February 19, 2017

Judo stunt workout

Friday it was pouring rain in Los Angeles. Not many kids came to practice and I can't blame them. Some of our kids ride their bikes or skateboard to get to practice and we got several inches of rain. They would have arrived cold and soaked to the skin. Other kids are dropped off by their parents or take the bus but, possibly because some trees had downed power lines, many stop lights were out causing major traffic jams. Practice was over at 5 PM and I didn't get home until 8 PM. Now, I did stop over at another school and meet with someone for half an hour, but still it was pretty crazy because I only live 17 miles from the school.

So, it seemed like a perfect day to do some new fun drills.

It may not be obvious what we are doing from this video.


Did you ever think about the fact that o soto makikomi  is a perfect throw if you are fighting more than one person? I've noticed when working with people who do stunts in the movies that this is one of the throws they like because as you are going to grab the person's head you can throw punch and hit someone behind you or to the side. Thus, it's a great throw for one of those fight scenes in the movies when you are attacked by multiple villains.


As you can see, the person doing the throwing gets practice doing a good judo throw and the focus on punching someone to the side gets them to get that arm around the head which students often seem to not get far enough. The further around the head you can get, the tighter the throw is going to be.

At the same time, that the person is working on their throw,   the one being  "punched"  is working on his or her falls. Now, falling probably isn't the most fun skill to work on as a general rule, this activity makes it fun. Also, I know that the ability to fall without hurting yourself is really useful to people doing stunt work.

So, there you have it, a fun drill for a rainy day, that teaches good form for throwing and falling.

 When I'm not teaching judo, I make awesome video games that teach math and history and are fun to play. You should check them out. Some of them are even free. Whether you have a Mac, Windows, iPad or android, we've got you covered.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Manny Gamburyan Gives Private Clinic for Gompers Judo

I've seen Manny Gamburyan coach kids many times and I know what a rapport he has with kids like our Gompers Judo team - that is, they are attentive, respectful and interested in learning judo. When I heard he was available for private lessons and clinics, I contacted him the same day.

I often hear judo coaches complain about the difficulty of retaining teenagers in the sport but I don't always see them making an effort to understand what might be of interest to that age group. Manny is someone they have seen on TV and he is a lot closer to their age than I am! He has shown how judo can apply outside of tournaments in his ten-year career in the UFC.

It was a GREAT clinic. He started by asking students what they wanted to learn and when they said, "matwork" (kids after my own heart) he showed a pin and a choke.

I then asked him to show a throw.

Then, he gave the students a pep talk about staying in judo and about becoming a more respectful person, giving examples from when he was young and not as respectful as he felt he should be, and learning to be more mature.

We are at a middle school and many students came over from the gym and sat watching for the whole hour and a half class, waiting patiently to get an autograph, a selfie or a picture for instagram. Manny stayed for an extra half-hour and talked to every single kid, signed every autograph.

I am old. I admit it because it's true. It's nice to have someone young come to practice, randori with the students and give  fresh perspective.

It was GREAT.

I'm not sure how you contact Manny to get a clinic or private lessons if you don't have his number, but you can tweet to him @mannygamburyan on twitter.
or you can call or text me and if I know you're not a weirdo I'll give you his contact information.

When I'm not teaching judo, I'm making games. Please check them out. You can learn math, social studies, build your vocabulary.  Here are some free games and demos for you just because I am so nice. (Manny has been a good influence.)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Choking Makes Me Happy

I'm not sure why this choking drill made me so happy on Friday, but it did.


Maybe it is because it reminded me of when I taught it to my daughter, Ronda, when she as that age.

Maybe it reminded me of all of the times my friend, Tina Thomas, and I ran through it at Venice Dojo just for the hell of it  - so often that Gary Butts took to calling it the "Rousey Roll".

Maybe it's because I remember all of the times I did it in tournaments, starting from when I was 13 years old - old enough to choke but not old enough yet to do arm bars.

Maybe it is because I've been working so much the last several weeks that I am happy just to be on the mat, outside, anywhere but adding one more reference to a report, writing another paragraph, staring at another budget.

More likely, it is all of those things. I don't know. I just know that sometimes, choking people makes me happy - even people I like!

My day job is making video games. Support me by buying a game or donating one to a school. Give it to anyone you'd like to be smarter.

Fish Lake runs on Mac and Windows

Forgotten Trail on Chromebook, Windows, Mac

Making Camp on iTunes and Google Play

Friday, February 3, 2017

Government Bureaucrats are Braver Than Me

I've worked with federal employees for most of the past thirty years. I have found most of them to be conscientious, competent and sincere in their belief that they are working for the good of their country. This stereotype of people raking in huge salaries doing very little work has never fit with my experience.

So, I'm not a big hater on government bureaucrats, but still, "brave" was one of the last adjectives I'd use to describe them.

Most people I've seen who spend a career in big government, big business, big universities or any other "big" go along to get along. They are comfortable with following the rules from the top down. After doing their job and following orders for a couple of decades, they can retire with a pension. That's the deal.

Lately, though, I have seen people I know making major steps outside of their comfort zone. Of course, Sally Yates, who was fired for refusing to enforce an executive order she believed indefensible, was the highest profile.

However, there are other people I know who just quietly left their jobs because they felt that the policies they would be expected to enforce were immoral.

Think about that for a minute. Whatever you believe - whether you adamantly are sure that abortion is murder and a sin or you think that women have the right to choose what happens to their own bodies - however you come down on any side of a moral issue - would you really quit your job over it?

Think how often have we seen people doing things we think are horrible, whether it is foreclosing on a family farm or refusing an elder medical care that would make their life less painful because "It's my job."

It would have been so easy for the people who quit those jobs to say,

"I need to think about my family. I have kids in college, a mortgage. I could lose my house. My children need an education. What can I do?"

But they didn't. That took bravery. They are braver than me because, as we all know, it's pretty much an instinctive reflex for me to tell anyone who wants me to put up with unethical behavior to go fuck themselves.  For these people, it was out of character and it took a lot of courage.

On Tuesday, we were recording next week's podcast (not up yet, but you can listen to all of our other podcasts here) and for a moment, Maria and I discussed whether it was a bad idea to be too outspoken about how loathsome we believe the immigration ban is, how I feel not having the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the National Security Council is wrong and a lot more. Then, I thought of Sally Yates, of the anonymous civil servants I knew who had quit their jobs because it violated their conscience. So, I leaned into the microphone and said,

I call bullshit on all of you people who said, 'Oh, we're not against immigrants, just illegal immigrants.' Well, FUCK YOU because you are a liar. You can't change it now. Sixty days ago you were fine with legal immigrants who had done everything right to get into this country but now, today, you're not? Go fuck yourself!  Oh, now, it's brown immigrants you're against. If they're not the same color or religion as you, even if they are legal, even if they did everything right and waited all of  those years like you said two months ago, that you were okay with them then, NOW all of a sudden only certain legal immigrants are okay? Well, FUCK YOU, for denying entry  to the United States people who risked their lives as interpreters for us.

Yes, Maria waived the one swear word per episode rule for this.

So... maybe fewer people will buy our games. That is the tiniest sacrifice compared to giving up your job, your pension, your certain future and your quiet life.

Honestly, look in the mirror and ask yourself, would you really quit your job because it violated your ethics, your morals?  I'm finding that some unexpected people would and it gives me some faith back in humanity.

If you still want to buy our games, you can find them here. Get smarter, have fun. Learn math and social studies. Donate to a school. Donate in the name of your favorite politician, or Betsy Devos.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why Women Put Up with Dirt Bags

I've seen it, you've seen it, we've all seen it. You have a friend or family member who is with a guy that is so much of a complete waste of oxygen that you keep asking,

Why in the hell does she put up with that guy?

As I was taking a shower this morning (source of many of my greatest insights) ,  I remembered a couple of decades ago when I was teaching a course on History of Psychology, discussing a guy named Alfred Adler who was most famous for coining the term "inferiority complex".

In a nutshell, while his buddy, Sigmund Freud, thought everything was about sex, Adler thought it was all about inferiority. Basically, we come into this world helpless, surrounded by big people more powerful than us and it's in our nature to try to overcome this inferiority.

Adler's theory about people wanting to feel powerful explains a lot of women (and some men) who stick with spouses, friends, significant others who are just plain awful.

Let me give two examples:

Jane is a clerk at 7-11. She graduated high school, got a minimum wage job and has her own small apartment. She's kind of average - which in the U.S. means 10 or 15 pounds over a healthy weight. She's a nice person. She's not setting the world on fire but most of her friends would describe Jane as "okay". 

No one would describe her boyfriend, Bob, that way. The only thing standing between Bob and sleeping behind the dumpster is Jane. In fact, "dumpster fire" might be a good way to describe Bob. He's drunk most of the time, doesn't bathe, has never had a job in his life and his nickname for Jane is "Fat Bitch". Why in the hell does she stay with him?

Jane may tell you that she loves him and no one else understands him. I suspect it is more like this - Bob enables Jane to feel superior and powerful. She has a job (he doesn't). She has friends (he doesn't). She has a decent personality (he doesn't). She's not an alcoholic (he is). Also, he doesn't cause feelings of anxiety about leaving her for a better person - where is he going to go? Even if she is working at a minimum wage job for a jerk of a boss, she can feel like she is a savior in her personal life. Even if Bob doesn't acknowledge it, she knows.

The funny thing is, I have seen many Jane-and-Bob couples and if he happens to sober up and get a job, more often than not, she dumps him!

Let's take a second example:

Janet is a star. She has an MD from an Ivy League university and is on staff at a good hospital. Her goal is to get board certified in cardiology and work at one of the top hospitals in the world. She hits the gym nearly every day, spends a good amount on her hair, nails, make up and clothes so she looks good but not so good that you'd imagine that's all she thinks about. Her friends would tell you that Janet has it going on - but that boyfriend of hers - eyes roll.

Robert manages a shoe store and is a class A jerk. He is always putting Janet down, telling her that she doesn't understand "the real world". He dresses like a million bucks using the credit card on their joint account. He talks down to her constantly about her lack of knowledge of the stock market, economy, etc. - although he dropped out of business school and has zero expertise in stocks other than dropping a bundle of her money. All of Janet's friends and family loathe Robert and have no compunction telling  her so.

So ... what the hell?

From Janet's point of view, Robert needs her. The only thing keeping him from being a social pariah is her.  He'd never go to events sponsored by the American Medical Association if it wasn't for her. She's a good physician but there are better physicians the hospital could hire, but there is no way on earth Robert could find a better girlfriend than her. To her friends, Janet is a star but at the hospital she is just one of several really amazing doctors. Robert, on the other hand, would be nothing without her. By the way, if she admitted that he was a condescending, mediocre creep, what would that say about her for dating him for six years?

So, there you have it, from me and Alfred Adler, why women date douche bags.

My day job is making video games.

Fish Lake runs on Mac and Windows

Forgotten Trail on Chromebook, Windows, Mac

Making Camp on iTunes and Google Play

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Yes, if you voted for Trump, I DO think less of you

I posted this on Facebook in response to a blog post someone shared where the guy said yes, he was appalled by Trump mocking people with disabilities, insulting prisoners of war, insulting parents of a soldier killed in the line of duty, insulting a civil rights hero, assaulting women - but that people who voted against Trump didn't understand how hard it was to make it in this economy. Since it was kind of long, I thought I may as well re-post it here.

I resent greatly the implication that the people who are appalled by Trump either are
a) on the public dole or
 b) never had to balance a budget.

I left home at age 15. Read that again FIFTEEN YEARS OLD.

I have never collected unemployment, food stamps, TANF or any other government benefit. Nope, not even a Pell grant. I earned four degrees while working full time, founded several companies, made a profit every year. I did not start off with millions of dollars from my daddy, like your boy. Nope, I started with clothes from Goodwill and working at a series of shitty jobs as everything from dishwasher to waitress on the graveyard shift at an all night restaurant to file clerk until I graduated with an MBA from a state university because it was what I could afford. Then, I got a decent job as a data analyst, then industrial engineer and worked my way up from there.

When my husband was sick, I worked three jobs to pay the medical bills, then funeral bills, plus private school and preschool for three young children. I have chopped firewood in the dead of winter and crawled under my car in the snow to wire back on the tail pipe that was rusted by salt and dragging. I know very much what it is like to start with nothing and struggle your way up.

Trump offends and insults every value I hold dear in my life and although I won't necessarily disown anyone who voted for him, yes, I WILL think less of you that you saw someone who mocked people with disabilities, thought not paying taxes was smart, assaulted women, insulted Mexicans, prisoners of war, the parents of a soldier who died in the line of duty, thinks laws regarding ethics and conflict of interest don't apply to him, aligned with people who denied science on everything from climate change to vaccines and so much more and none of that was a deal breaker for you.

Some people, my estimate of them was at 100% and it dropped to 98%. Some it was at 4% and it dropped to 0,  just one in a long list of reasons I think you are a bad person.

The fact is, yes, if you voted for Trump I DO think less of you than I did before. Is that discrimination? If I find out you cheated on your spouse I will think less of you also. If I find out that you drive while drunk or  lie about your income to qualify for loans or scholarships, get investors or avoid paying taxes, I'll think less of you also. It is finding out that you have lower standards, worse values than I thought you did and I will be disappointed.

You have a right to vote for whoever you want and I have the right to my opinion that it reflects your values, which are clearly not my values. To say you are willing to sell your soul for a better economy (which is basically what the author of that blog stated) should make any true Christian wonder what happened to the Biblical injunction that "Man does not live by bread alone". Those of you who claim to be Christian and voted for Trump have just established yourselves in my eyes as the biggest hypocrites on earth. Two gay people getting married threatens marriage but a guy who continually cheats on his wives does not? Give me a fucking break!

 I have been REALLY poor in my life, but never so poor that I was willing to sell my soul.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

People are weird

I know this is a post from Captain Obvious, shown here wearing her obvious hat ...

... but people are weird.

I get some of the seriously weirdest comments. For example, take this one that I have heard more than once,

"You think just because you won a world judo championships, that means you know about judo."

Why, yes, in fact, I do. Now, if those people said that I thought I knew more about judo than anyone else in the world, maybe making that statement would have made some sort of sense, although they would have been wrong (I can name several people who I think know more than me - Ron Angus, Jim Pedro, Sr. and Hayward Nishioka jump to mind in a second.)

I have no idea where those people are coming from, in general. A couple of specific people have said to me,

"You may know how to throw and arm bar people but you have no idea of Jigoro Kano's The WAY of judo as Jigoro Kano defined it."

(For the uninitiated, Jigoro Kano founded judo in 1882.)

These people always remind me of the time I was at a judo seminar and some guy went on and on about how all of us there sucked because KANO didn't want judo to be like this and KANO wouldn't allow these grips and KANO ...

... when the judo coach for the Puerto Rican team leaned over to me and said,

"That guy keeps bringing up Kano. Do you think he knows he's dead?"

Then there are the people who say to me,

"You think you're smart just because you have a Ph.D. Having a Ph.D. doesn't make you smart."

Well, having a Ph.D. sure as hell doesn't make you dumb. I got my Ph.D. from the University of California, not Joe's Clown College, and I worked my way through school from my freshman year of college, so, yeah, I think it does make me smart.

The even weirder people say,

"You think just because you have a Ph.D., you are smarter than me."

I don't even KNOW you , random Bob on the internet, but based on the sole fact I have about you that you have nothing better to do than post on my blog which I just took a break from PHP scripting to post, well, now I think I'm smarter than you, sure.

The weirdest people have to be the ones who come to my blog and then post how much they don't like it. I might understand this once - okay, you came, you did not find it sufficiently enlightening. Fine. You can go read my other blog where I write about stuff like the parallel analysis criterion for determining the number of factors in a factor analysis. (Yes, I have a day job.)

What I don't get is the people who come here repeatedly and post comments about how dumb my blog is. So, don't read it. It's not homework.  

Do they think that because they post something I will say to myself,

"Gee, for the last nine years, when I felt like taking a break from writing software I have just gotten on blogspot and posted whatever random stuff I felt about rambling on about today but now random Bob from Moose's Elbow, Iowa doesn't like it so I guess I will quit blogging."

By the way, Iowa, moose don't have elbows.