An ever-changing life inspired by the pneuma


Update on Bell’s ad about the female body

Filed under: General — feyMorgaina @ 03:15


Nathan (see his link on my page) sent me the following article updating the issue of Bell’s ad on the female body. (Hey, cool, my blog is mentioned!) Is a public apology to be expected?

I have to agree totally that Bell needs to do more to compensate for the damage it has already done. The ads have gone out to thousands of homes and all Bell intends to do is just write letters to the people who complained to them? I’m sorry but I don’t have time to sit on hold on the phone all day waiting to complain to Bell so that they will apologize to me. A public apology is needed. Not just to satisfy those outraged at it’s ad, but to make a statement to others that what Bell did and portrayed in its ad was extremely wrong. Frankly, Bell just wants to get away with a slap on the hand and not totally own up to the consequences of its actions. So much for corporate accountability.

So here’s a message to Bell and all the readers out there. We’re not done yet with you Bell. We want a public apology and in the future more women friendly ads. Next, we’d like to see Bell support sex education.

Well, not yet patting myself on the back. We’ll just have to see what Bell does next.

Your local webmistress

Watch out for the brick and bottle swinging “fluff bunnies”!

Filed under: General — feyMorgaina @ 02:37


Well, I have been skimming the message boards again. This time I found a discussion about “The Tao of Combat (Martial Arts)” and had to interject.

First, it was a quick question and comment about someone else’s post saying that not only did he practice one martial art, but he has also studied (studied being the operative word here, I’m noting that he did not say TRAIN as one can study a martial art by reading about it, but to train means to physically practice the martial art) Wing Chun, karate, taekwondo, kickboxing, some grappling arts, and some street fighting along with Jeet Kune Do. So of course I ask “what levels have you achieved in each of the various martial arts?” and “How many years have you trained and practiced consistently in martial arts?” The rest of my message is as follows:

While comparing different martial arts can be quite
informative, it takes awhile to really master any one martial art (just as
it takes awhile to master any spiritual practice). It is my opinion that
one should have at least a firm grounding (i.e., 1st dan black belt) in one
art before jumping around too much. While Bruce Lee may have started his
own martial art, Jeet Kune Do, without having full mastership of one art, he
was remarkably talented and a rare gem. (There is a saying that one can do
a million kicks, or strikes, and still never master it, no matter how
powerful or good it is. So one keeps practicing.)

The response to my comments were not so surprisingly evasive about what levels the person has achieved. He also claims to have “over 20 years experience in the martial arts” which begs me to question “what kind of experience?” because I specifically asked for years of consistent training and practice. I suppose he expects me to assume that he’s trained for 20 years consistently. He then continues by talking about creating a new martial art to which someone else asks pointedly “With hundreds of different martial arts and styles, tested and certified for thousands of combats, WHY SOMEBODY NEED TO CREATE YOUR OWN???? Perhaps to become a “Master”… :-)” I say I must agree with that comment. Statistically, at my do jang, only 5% of students ever make it to black belt, 95% drop out before that time. Whatever happens to the remaining 95%? Perhaps running around trying to craft their own martial art in order to somehow gain the title of “Master” while they normally would not have achieved that status. While I do not think there is anything wrong with creating your own martial art (aside from the why bother as there’s so many out there), I have a problem with someone trying to pass themselves off as a “Master” of martial arts when obviously he would otherwise not have become a Master under formal training. I’d rather learn from someone who is certifiably experienced in martial arts, not just someone who claims to have the experience.

Another person responded to my post with the question about levels saying that the martial arts should not be practiced for what ranking can be achieved. He mentions he has not had the opportunity to go for a higher level and mentions that he “tests” himself against others of similar or higher skill level. He also mentions that he disagrees with martial arts tournaments or competitions for fear of reducing the martial art to a sport. The following will be my response:

Yes, I agree that martial arts should not be practiced SOLELY for the achievement of rank. If that is the sole reason for training, usually the person is hungry for power or superiority over others (and these people usually don’t last long in a formal training environment, only 5% of students at my do jang ever reach black belt level even though it only takes about 3 years). However, that is not to say that rank (levels of completion and/or belts) does not have a purpose. Frankly, if one is following a disciplined formal training schedule, one should be able to achieve a significant level of skill, ability, and knowledge (which was the point of my question and in case anyone else hasn’t notice, it was never answered.) Certificates and belts are used to recognize the accomplishment of skill, ability, and knowlege level (and often promote a sense of self-confidence). One other thing about belt colours, each colour actually has a significance which corresponds to the level the student has achieved. (Read my essay for more information, While I understand some people feel they don’t need nor want anymore formal training (or perhaps it’s a time and money issue, that does happen sometimes), honestly, martial arts is one thing in this world that NEEDS to be passed on from teacher to student. There is just too much that a book can’t teach a student of martial arts while a properly certified and experienced teacher/Master can. There are always nuances to a technique that you cannot learn on your own and little tips that only someone with more experience than the student can offer. This leads me to a point about traditions.

One of the things learned in martial arts is respect. One must earn respect and one must show proper respect. Teaching the martial art as it was taught to you is the ultimate way of showing respect to those who taught you and to those who created the martial art. This is not to say that one shouldn’t teach some of their own styles and techniques. I’m just saying that part of martial arts IS the tradition of it and the passing on of knowledge from teacher to student. It’s respectful of those who are ahead of us.

All martial arts should be used for self-defence only. In my opinion anyone who uses it otherwise has not learned what it means to be a martial artist. However, I disagree with you regarding tournaments and competition. In this society, where competition is serious and fierce (e.g., the corporate ladder), martial arts tournaments CAN provide a healthy environment of FRIENDLY competition where people learn that “winning isn’t everything”. Granted there are those who don’t learn that, but there are always those who “just don’t get it” anyway. My Master has pointed out one very important thing. There are fighters and there are martial artists. A fighter lasts about 5 years on average; a martial artist lasts a lifetime and forever. (This from someone who has competed, has trained people to National Champion status and 3rd in World Competition – he has ultimately chosen to be a martial artist.) The other important point about competition and tournament is that it is a good way to test out your skills in a safe environment. Someone who has never actually sparred before who suddenly needs to defend himself on the street won’t be as effective in responding as someone who already has experienced what it’s like to be under attack. When someone is under attack, no matter how good that person thinks he or she is, the adrenaline starts. Learning to deal with an attack before a real need for defensive action occurs helps one learn to control the adrenaline rush. With regard to martial arts being treated as a sport, I think it’s fine to teach a martial art as a sport as long as the ART is not lost.

One question: how do you judge if someone is of the same or better skill level than you if you do not have a system of rank? You’d likely have to compare your training with the other person. One’s training in a martial art can be significantly different depending on who taught it and where it was taught. I personally have met black belts who weren’t as skilled as me in some techniques (I don’t take it as me being talented so much as it is the training and the teaching I received).

For more information on my background in martial arts, please see I think at this point that I should note that my striving to achieve levels in martial arts was never about the belts or rank, but rather about the training. I wanted to train hard and learn more advance techniques. As a white belt, I wanted to take the advance classes. I never signed on for martial arts training to get some sort of power (power comes from within), but just to learn something and be healthy while doing it. It just so happened I managed to get to black belt along the way. Part of it was my efforts, but mostly I think it was the fact that the Masters and Instructors always believed in me. Such is the reason they are named at the end of my essay.

Now, let’s get back to the first person who claims to have “20 years experience”. He responded to the “why create your own martial art?” with “The martial arts I try to develop, is a more down to earth realistic fighting style intended for street battle combat.” Okay, now who’s not getting the martial arts. Martial arts is not about the fight. It’s about avoiding the fight. (“A beginning student will block an attack. An advanced student will counterattack after blocking. A sabomnim (Master) does not need to block.” (Jon Gerrard and Yeon Hwan Park, Black Belt Taekwondo, page 9.) This means that a Master will avoid a fight and diffuse a confrontational situation. There’s nothing wrong with walking away.) This person isn’t interested in martial arts. He’s interested in street fighting. Read the rest of what he writes and you’ll see why I make that comment.

If I was to have a martial arts school, I would not
have too many traditional weapons, instead I would have bricks,
bottles, bats, chains, knives, clubs and yes even a staff, but only
because one is most likely to find these things in today’s world,
then say farm weapons or swords. Many schools train people in using
weapons that they will most likely not encounter around them in a
street fight.

Bricks, bottles, chains, knives? Okay, can anyone else see lawsuit coming up if this actually happened? Number one rule to running a successful martial arts school is safety. If everyone is getting hurt, it’ll quickly hit the rumour mill and you won’t have any students left. Seriously, what parent is going to want their son or daughter dodging bottles and knives. I wouldn’t even want to do that myself. There’s a safer, better way to teach people to defend and protect themselves from being hit by a brick or bottle and you don’t need those around to do it either. Frankly, this guy does not understand weapons training to begin with. The skills one learns with the traditional weapons (i.e., swords, staff, short sticks) are easily adapted to other weapons. In addition, there are open hand techniques designed to be used against a weapon attack. There is Escrima, a Phillipino martial art using short sticks. The other point I’d like to make about traditional weapons is that these were the weapons taught as part of martial arts. Forms were developed with these weapons as part of the art. Let us not forget one of the key words in the phrase “martial art” – ART. Eliminating the traditional weapons reduces the martial art to just combat skills and street fighting and loses the beautiful weapons forms that help to make a martial art, ART. Yes, I agree that people need to be able to defend themselves with modern objects, but that means applying things you learn with the traditional weapons to the modern object. An umbrella may not be a sword but it can be made to move like one and it can also become a spear. No, the traditional weapons training is not pointless or useless, it is adaptable if one is intelligent enough to see it.

I hate to say this but in the “20 years experience” this person has in martial arts, he still did not learn as much as I did in the almost 6 years experience I have in martial arts (and I didn’t need to run through all the different martial arts on the planet to do so, I just happened to pick a school with quality Instructors who provided quality training as well as teaching the philosophy).

Your local webmistress