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January 2007

'The Weiqi Game' © Copyright 2007 New Moon

'The Weiqi Game' © 2007 New Moon

"... what qualities are necessary to be a fine [Go] player?"

"Well, of course one must have concentration. Courage. Self-control. That goes without saying. But more important than these, one must have... One must be both a mathematician and a poet. As though poetry were a science, or mathematics an art. One must have an affection for proportion to play Go at all well..."

From "Shibumi" by Trevanian.

01: Monday

Rain and mild...

I slept long. I'm a little worried that I'll never be any good at martial arts... But that's my old "tapes" talking, and I'm not going to let them mess with my head any more.

My knees ached today from the sparring with Matt. Nothing debilitating, just the ache of use and building strength.

02: Tuesday

Sunny and ... mild, really. But I didn't get to practice until late...

Bright full moon overhead in a milky blue sky. 34º and delightful for practice...

Sword in the side yard... the mulch is uneven and lumpy underfoot, but then, that's excellent for developing balance and strength. I love my practice area!

03: Wednesday

Sunny and mild. Perfect practice weather...

Sword on the mulch... good for my balance, and the mulch needs trampling down...

I stuck with right side today. I think I have all the basics of the moves correct... it's getting easier. If I remember later, I'll see if I can find any info on tassel handling...

A couple of sets of 24 Form, right and left... I still have a lot of work to do on this form!

It's a gorgeous day. The whole crew is here today removing my old furnace and all the pipes and radiators. What a project! *phew* Later, I'll get in some Chen practice, and maybe some sticks— all kinds. Sticks are always fun.

I'm thinking a lot about what other practice equipment I should have . Matt had a few ideas. This is going to be way cool!

04: Thursday

Sun today, but changeable clouds come and go. Mild, near 50º now...

They're finishing up the new heating system, and I had to go to the dentist this morning. In a few minutes I have to take Ma shopping...

A set or two of 24 Form... on the mulch. It's uneven and mushy today, and the uphill slant of the east side of the practice area felt very uphill— all will be adjusted in time.

Sword, right side... I probably should look at the tape...

It's a little frightening having small dreams coming true. A little frightening.


It's after midnight, 50º under a hazy just-past-full moon. There's a fresh breeze stirring the chimes as I practice...

Sword. I was wearing the Reeboks when I began, but I couldn't balance on the mulch— no room to spread my toes in those shoes. So I changed to my old mocs and put tape over the holes in the soles. Much, much better! My toes spread and grip and sword begins to work...

I discovered that to get rhinocerous, I have to step through, and cross over the line of my left foot so that when I turn I'm in a stable stance— of course, I could be completely mistaken in my approach. But I don't think so. Tonight.

My lower back was crackling and aching a bit because my steps were too long in places. I reeled them in, and went on much better.

I don't know how many sets I did, or how many bits and pieces I worked on. It felt good, and I wished I could stay out all night, practicing in the moonlight, watching the shadows of the pines move... moonlight glinting on the sword blade...

And it's the Reeboks that have been giving me the knee problems. When my toes can't grip, the knees have to work extra hard at balancing. For sparring, the Reeboks are good because they don't slip on the mulch. But for forms, the mocs are best.

I'm glad I built the practice area. Thank you, Kwan Yin, thank you.

05: Friday

Yintien. The wind has shifted out of the southeast, but it hasn't come 'round northwest yet: we may get rain. It's 60º.

I've been thinking about... my martial arts training. Matt's right, I'm not really using my taiji in our practice. I have to figure out exactly what moves will work to my best advantage, and practice developing them...

It makes me feel very stupid not knowing how I should effectively defend— or attack.

06: Saturday

Rain. Gray. Wind. 60º... It's not raining now, but the wind is straight our of the west, blowing across the porch making both chimes sing...

Sword... I am perplexed by rhinocerous. Should I step across, or is the stance supposed to be closed? *sigh* Guess I need to look at the video...

Okay. As far as I can tell, rhinocerous is just a very awkward stance that requires fudging. So.


It's four o'clock. The sun is out and it's 65º. I peeked in the window this morning when I went to pick up Ma, and watched David's class doing sword form. David's version differs in interpretaion from what I've seen on the tape, but only slightly. The differences are more in rhythm and flow between moves that anything else.

I remember my teachers saying we'd each make the forms our own. Looks like that's what David has done, and it's probably what I'm doing. So. Sword is mine to do with as I please— so long as I observe the rules and principles of taiji.

Too bad the mulch is soaking wet. The constraint of the back porch irks me now...

Had an email from Carina at Raven Studios. She has repaired the chang daos. Also, as she worked on them, she noted that I was right about the blade on my first weapon splitting, and she has repaired that, too. Yay! I love those daos. I'm glad they'll be home soon.

I've been wondering if I like weapons best because the learning of them is more formal. With weapons, the attacks and defenses are very clear...

My problem is that I never got enough of the basic drills in empty hand fighting. I'm practicing way above my competence level there. I flat plain just don't know what I'm doing. And that's why I prefer weapons practice. But, if I were working with an accomplished weapons partner, I'd probably hate weapons, too.


What's really crazy is that I feel I have a better chance attacking Matt with a weapon. The truth is, he'd cream me, armed or not. *sigh*

How long will it be before I have enough skill at anything to hold my own with anyone above the level of total incompetent? (I don't advise holding your breath until such time.)

Sunset. The temperature is plummeting: 62º! New England weather. Blame global warming if you wish, but this is just typical N.E. weather. Our weather has been "unusual" since I started journaling 50 years ago. "If you don't like our N.E. weather, just wait a minute."

07: Sunday

Sunny and mild... at eleven in the morning the practice area is in the shade of the pines, so it's cooler there than on the porch. Not the best location for a winter dojo,— maybe not the best for summer, either, but it's the only location I've got...

Sword... Better? Okay? Not bad? Better. I guess. After peeking at David yesterday, I know I'm on the right track...

08: Monday

Rain. Dark, even though it's early. Mild at 42º. Breakfast today is a flour tortilla and tea. Today I drop off the truck and find out if they can fix the floor. This is all very stressful...

A set of 24 Form to soothe... high stances... I can see my breath today.


Okay, I picked up the rental and did errands. Pouring Rain...

Sword... left... It works now. Not quite as good as right, but good. Pretty good.

[Here I was interrupted. I have no idea what else I was going to say.]

09: Tuesday

Sunny and cold and breezy...

I have a note from the post office saying a package from Raven Studios has arrived. Since I'm having such a difficult time getting myself in gear today, perhaps I'll just walk over to the p.o...

Oh! It's good to feel my cháng dāos in my hands again! Beautiful! And the new guards are strong. Laminated. Thicker. They'll stand up to the oaken bokken now! And the grain split has been mended, too. Thank you, Carina! Thank you. I've got to call Matt and tell him the cháng dāos are back—!

10: Wednesday

Sunny and colder, and breezy. Heavy frost lingers in the shadows...

Matt came over last night. I made pizza and we played weíqí— go. I found it very difficult to wrap my head around the concepts: the large field of play on Matt's full-size board was difficult to see. But we played, and Matt coached me, and I began to get the feel of it... Matt is leaving his board with me for the time being.

We played a little push hands in the foyer (too cold outside for Matt at 30º) and we talked...

Before the evening was done, I had gone online to reserve "Shibumi" (Trevanian) from the library; we had got out the "I Ching Workbook" and played with that; we'd discussed astrology; we'd dragged out the dictionary and the Bullfinch to look up words and mythical characters; and we had eaten most of the Dove chocolates.

The practice area is in shadow and the northeast wind bites as it blows across the frozen mulch...

Sword. I think I have it. Mostly. The basics. Right side. I still haven't looked up the tassel. But I have noted how it behaves in relation to my movements...

Matt saw the Chen Cannon Fist and Saber DVDs on my desk last night and asked what I would learn next. Cannon Fist, I think— but it will be a while before I start anything new. I still have to learn xinjia yilu, and I've only just begun to understand 24 Form.

11: Thursday

12: Friday

13: Saturday

14: Sunday

15: Monday

16: Tuesday

17: Wednesday

18: Thursday

19: Friday

20: Saturday

21: Sunday

22: Monday

23: Tuesday

24: Wednesday

25: Thursday

26: Friday

27: Saturday

28: Sunday

29: Monday

30: Tuesday

31: Wednesday

Copyright © 2007 New Moon

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