News from Eastern Arts #007
Eastern Arts Newsletter )
A Periodic Newsletter from George E. Mattson October 2004
Whats happening in the Uechi-ryu world
  • Keep those Xmas orders coming in!
  • IUKF Junior Tournament Series
  • To Pre-arrange Drill or Not to Pre-arrange Drill!
  • Dear George,

    Well. . . Sue, Tia and I have arrived in sunny Florida and enjoying a well deserved vacation. Actually, it is a bit of a "forced" vacation, since we are not moving into our new home until December 10th and all our possessions are in storage, including my computer, office equipment and Store inventory. So now, while enjoying a capachino at PJs, a local coffee house, I collect my email and answer as many as possible on free internet connection while using my friends' laptop.

    George E. Mattson

    Keep those Xmas orders coming in!

    When I can't get to PJ's, I use my newest toy to read and answer email. My Treo mobile phone/computer! Wow, is hightech fun. The only drawback is the tiny little keyboard. I do check my email frequently during the day and try to get off short responses, especially when I receive an order for books, DVDs or other gifts. My response is and will continue to be: Please be patient, since all the store inventory is in storage. I'll be able to fulfill all orders by December 15th, in lots of time for Christmas. Also. . . your credit cards will not be charged until the order goes out. . .

    IUKF Junior Tournament Series

    January 23, 2005 South Shore Vocational Technical High School 476 Webster Street Hanover, Ma 02339 Promoted by Fred Channell Please go to Fred's tournament information page for detailed information about his tournament. (Just click on the picture) Fred has worked very hard to make this event a success. He needs your support to make it happen.

    To Pre-arrange Drill or Not to Pre-arrange Drill!

    Dedicated to all those who can perform and enjoy Uechi-ryu Pre-arranged Drills! :) ======================================== (Please excuse the lack of paragraph spacing. This newsletter requires html programming and I can't do that without a program like FrontPage, which this computer doesn't have) ======================================== Two weeks ago my friend David Berndt invited me to join him at a "HOG" rally. This was my first exposure to organized motorcycling and a real eye opener. The "Harley Owners Group" that assembled at the posh "Mission Inn" resort located in beautiful Howie by the Hills, numbered over 2000 and they turned out to be the nicest bunch of people I've ever had the pleasure to meet. Now I must admit that up to this point I had a somewhat negative mindset regarding what a Harley rider represented. Although I know quite a few very nice Uechi practitioners who ride them, my primary memories of media descriptions didn't match what I actually saw at the Mission Inn. I had to smile to myself, thinking about some of the word warriors' "first strike" comments on the forums, imagining students listening and trying to absorb what was being advised, then having to walk though the sea of some of the scariest looking hombres in the world, trying to figure out who to hit first before they might have to block or even step to the rear! :) The first thing to remember is to get rid of the media derived Harley stereotype. True, most of the men and quite a few of the women riders were big and tough looking. . . Not the kind of people you would want to try out your non-block technique on. True, I didn't see many men in suits or women in dresses. They just aren't practical Harley riding apparel. It took me awhile to relax out of my Tough-Uechi mindset. . . Watching with every sense on high alert, hands up to make my "first-attack" more affective. . . And just begin enjoying the sights and sounds and the delightful people at the rally. David was entering an antique Harley in the "show" competition, which left me some time to walk around. Many people were following the sounds of loud engines being reved-up at a nearby parking lot, so I decided to see what was going on. Wow, did my eyes deceive me or were those drill teams performing prearranged exercises on the field! "Why yes", a spectator informed me. "These drill team competition are the most popular event at our rallies", he added. But, I offered, doesn't practicing these prearranged exercises cause drivers to be less effective in avoiding danger on the street, where cars come at you without warning or in a different way than they are practicing? What happens if on the road a car comes weaving at you and you turn into the speeding vehicle because you are "programmed" to make that move in the prearranged drill? When my helpful spectator stopped laughing, he finally asked "You are kidding aren't you?" Well. . . Only slightly I replied. I've heard experts in movement-under-stress say that prearranged drill are harmful and that people who do them are destined to perform ingrained movements unsuitable to the life threatening situation. Are you saying that motorcycle drivers who practice hundreds of hours a year to make these teams, using choreographed drills where speeding cycles weighing hundreds of pounds, weave around a confined space at high speed, nearly hitting one another performing complicated yet programmed movements, are actually better drivers than someone who just practices on the street in "realistic" situations? "Yeah!" he replied, no longer smiling. Spurned on by my newly discovered insight into prearranged drills, I decided to poll a number of HOGs in case the guy I spoke with might not have been an "expert". He might have been one of those HOGs who had one of those "extra long" pony tail (somewhat akin to a belt) who was brainwashed with traditional HOGwash and therefore not someone who would know about real-cycle street violence. During the course of the afternoon I was able to speak to six more guys and three women. Four of the guys actually took me seriously and attempted to point out what an honor it was to be selected as a drill team member. One said that out of a hundred who try out, only fifteen or twenty make the team of which only half actually get to perform at demonstrations or competitions. He said that the drills required superb concentration, timing and the ability to perform under pressure. . . All very excellent qualities for a Harley rider to possess on the road. Another guy mentioned that he tried out for the team but gave up simply because he couldn't remember the sequences. When a five hundred pound Harley is performing figure eights or another intricate sequence and you and the approaching bike must make a last second adjustment to avoid a collision, it is important that everyone moves the correct way. Not everyone is capable of learning complex sequences and make these moves under stress. Hmmmm. Well, I must admit that my first HOG rally was a very enjoyable experience. Having raced a motocross bike years ago as an amateur and was considered a pretty good dirt rider for many years, I am now wondering if I should take the big step of becoming a "HOG". Hell, I might even try out for the drill team in my district. I just hope all those bikers were right and that I won't become a lousy cyclist by practicing pre-arranged drills! ============================== See you next month... GEM

    phone: 321-273-0409

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