Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My new TV Show IDEA!

"Surgery with the Stars" Celebrities team up with doctors in the Operating Room. Their work is evaluated by a Board of Certified Medical Practitioners and YOU the audience! :)

Our first stars:
Pau Gasol
Wesley Snipes
Miley Cyrus' ex BFF, Leslie Patterson
Cyndi Lauper
Star Wars Kid, Ghyslain Raza

Hosted by Doctor Oz.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why X? Why Y?

It's funny how people say that racism is not like gender discrimination because gender is determined by different genetics.

Of course, they forget that the same arguments were used to justify racism.

The genome is like a long and not completely understood book, and like any long and not completely understood book, loudmouthed fundamentalists can cobble half-truths from its contents to support hateful dogma.

Go ahead. Genome away. Tell me what makes a perfect man or a woman. Tell me what makes a perfect human. Really? ;) Riiiiight.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's More than Just Self-Defense

(for my most excellent martial-arts-teaching friends and colleagues)

Sometimes I feel that we are limiting our focus by assuming that we are teaching single persons being attacked. The term "self-defense" fosters this preconception. In reality, a student who is isolated operates from a terrible disadvantage. How often have we heard, "If only someone had just stood up for her? If only someone had said something?"  

I believe that martial arts training can help students become that someone. Someone brave enough to tell a bully to stop. Brave enough to say, "Yeah, he's gay, and he's my friend, too. Got a problem with that?" Once a bully realizes the numbers are against him, he will usually back down. 

I believe that teaching one conscientious and capable student can make life safer and maybe a little easier for five. Self-defense is a last resort, when one is alone. 

Martial arts training does more than give students the confidence to defend themselves. It gives them the confidence to defend what is right. After every practice, I tell my students not only to look out for themselves, but to look out for their friends, and to have each other's backs. The bonds we make in the dojo protect us outside the dojo. 

Friday, September 3, 2010

Thoughts on getting our backs.

Y'know, it's really hard for a woman to tell a bunch of guys they're being sexist before they brush her off as an angry woman. It's really hard for a gay man to yell homophobia without people just writing him off as a noisy gay man. We all make really shitty advocates for ourselves.

What we can do, however, is make excellent advocates for each other. When a straight man says that gay marriage is a right, that means more than a dozen gay men saying this. When a gay white woman says that we should not persecute people just because they happen to be Muslim, it means more than a dozen Muslims saying exactly the same thing.  When a Muslim argues that we must be more compassionate and respectful of our homeless, that goes farther than a dozen homeless activists.

We need each other, not simply as silent allies, but as vocal advocates, not just for unity--but for expedience. We do far more in the service of others than we would ever do for ourselves.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Playing it Straight

So, I hardly ever look back at my high school class, nor my UCLA class, nor even much at Cornell. High school and UCLA were pretty painful for me, and probably for those around me, as well. Even after UCLA, well, I don't keep track of many of my friends at all.

But today I decided to look some of them up on Facebook. What was so weird was how many of them still kept in touch with each other. Or at least know about each other. This isn't a queer thing, though queer is part of it. I say I haven't changed much, almost as a reassurance to myself that somewhere in here there is a constant--but yeah. I've changed a whole bunch. I often feel that the first three decades of my life were played under different rules, by a different thingness.

I know the whole queer thing can be a bitch, and a big reason for making a clean break with my past. But it's not just that. I don't even know so many of these people.  You mean we actually hung out in the same sphere? Really?

It seems many of the friends I made were made as someone else, and perhaps I ignored those people who could have been my friends now. It's not a trans thing...I just had no clue who I was. I remember always being scared and never in on the joke.

I am trying a little bit harder to see if there aren't more friends from the past with whom I can reconnect, because I lost a huge part of me back there (I think).  Going to Cornell to visit was wonderful, and hearing a friend's voice on TV was neat--yes, she still articulates the same way.

But I just never fit in back then, and what I did to fake it was damaging to me and to so many around me.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let’s Try That Again!

(I wrote this for the Triangle Martial Arts instructor newsletter! If you are not a martial arts instructor, don't give away our secrets, okay? *giggle*)
As martial artists, how many times have we thrown that same punch? Practiced that same lock?  In judo, during uchikomi, we would fit our throws over and over. And over. The same seoinage, the same ouchi-gari. Hundreds of times. Again. Again. After awhile, learning became irrelevant; my toes and hips and fingers just knew the techniques. And now, those repetitions give me the gift of nonthinking. 

Whether in competition or real life, there is rarely time to think a technique out. It’s either there or it isn’t. A student may know a technique’s history, the concepts behind it, or even how it differs between schools, but until said student can perform that move stone cold, with no hesitation, it really isn’t mastered.

Sometimes I avoid repetition. I don’t want to be boring.  I worry about students’ reduced attention spans. I see Karate Kids and Airbenders and wish I could, within a well-spliced training montage, unlock a student’s inner warrior (complete with dragon tattoo, ki fireballs, and dim mak). Next to magic amulets and secret regimens, plain old hard work seems so...plain.

But “let’s try that again” is one of the most underrated instructions in the dojo. Rather than boredom, repetition fosters concentration and confidence. Students are reassured that they won’t fall behind if they don’t get it right the first time. Or the tenth. 

Sure, students love new techniques.  But what they can learn tomorrow must be balanced with what they can master today. Seeing yet another armbar is interesting, but reviewing a simple hip throw can be a better motivator. Through repetition, students experience techniques not as mere concepts, but as ongoing empowerment for their entire bodies. We help them to a deeper self assurance--and that will make them hunger for more!

Monday, July 5, 2010


As found by Ryka Aoki de la Cruz

Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, musician, and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades.

Anthony J. Mahavorick, pen name Anthony Robbins or Tony Robbins, (born on 29 February 1960 in North Hollywood, California, USA) is an American life coach, writer, and professional speaker.


BOB DYLAN: How many roads must a man walk down 
Before you call him a man?

TONY ROBBINS: One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?

ROBBINS: For changes to be of any true value, they've got to be lasting and consistent.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?

ROBBINS: If you do what you've always done, you'll get what you've always gotten.

DYLAN (NODS): The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

ROBBINS (SHRUGS): In life you need either inspiration or desperation.

DYLAN: How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?

ROBBINS: I've come to believe that all my past failure and frustration were actually laying the foundation for the understandings that have created the new level of living I now enjoy.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?

ROBBINS: People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals - that is, goals that do not inspire them.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?

ROBBINS: It's not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean.

DYLAN (SHAKES HIS HEAD): The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

ROBBINS (NODS): Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.

DYLAN: How many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?

ROBBINS: Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?

ROBBINS There's always a way - if you're committed. The path to success is to take massive, determined action.

DYLAN: Yes, n how many times can a man turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?

ROBBINS: Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant. You see, in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action.

DYLAN (SIGHS): The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

ROBBINS (GESTURING): You see, it's never the environment; it's never the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to the events - how we interpret them - that shapes who we are today and who we'll become tomorrow.

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Writing vs. Performing and This Week

I have this division in my head between the writer self and the performer self. It's kind of a useful pattern with me; it validates my insecurities. If I am doing well as a performer, then I am "just a performer" who isn't a real writer. If I am doing well as a writer, then I am "just a writer" who isn't a good performer.

This week (July 7/8) I will be reading from my poetry, firmly in my writer mode. Of course, I'm wondering if I am a strong enough writer to match, or should bring some performance in as a crutch. See the silliness here? Invalidate and heap on pressure. Yuck. I go into these readings and performances sometimes with all this value attached to them, as somehow validating my worth, once and for all, and a writer, or performer, or whatever other hat I am wearing that day.

Steph said just have a good reading. I just need to calm down and be myself... Just relax and don't expect anything... Just enjoy the moment...

Thursday, July 1, 2010