Friday, February 26, 2010

So far off, it's actually funny.

A CNN report recently on the Galil rifle - similar to an AK47 in mechanical design, and it uses the same round as an AR-15 with the .223 / 5.56 mm cartridge.

Link to hilarity.

These guys really went overboard. They almost sounded scared of the rifle.

The "weapons expert" interviewed says the rifle is only suited to "... hunting lions, tigers, and bears..."

Most Big-game hunters I know that hunt those animals use rounds much larger than .223 - which is usually effective only on game up to the size of deer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Travel Rant

Yesterday was a full plate for me. I had an interview in Rochester, NY with an insurance company. Yes, I have already accepted a position with another company, but the flight was already paid for, and it is never a bad idea to have a backup plan (what if my drug test gets switched with someone who is on drugs?).

So I got on four planes in 14 hours. Squeezed in a four-hour interview, as well as lunch. I also observed a few things that are absolutely insane when viewed from a third-party point of view. Some of those humorous and insane observations:

1. Nashville International Airport is a bit... off.
Really, it is one of the weirdest airports out there. At 5:15, I pull into long-term parking (long-term for one day is $8; Short-term for the same is $22). The parking attendant explains that if I park in "Long term lot B" I will get to park for free (I was in Long term lot "A"). So she tells me where Lot B is and away I go.

Folks... There is no Long-Term Lot B at the Nashville Airport! Their little map with the coupon sent me to the Thrifty Car Rental Parking lot (plainly visible were signs saying no civilian vehicles).

So I go to Economy Parking. No, it was not free. But it was only 8 bucks.

2. "Bus Stop" signs don't mean there really is a bus that comes by.
At the economy parking lot, a bus never came. That's OK, I arrived early enough to hoof it almost a mile to the terminal.

Also, No bus would admit to carrying folks back to the Economy lot when I arrived back in town. So again I walked it.

3. Airline Problems? It must be Delta
I've flown most of the major airlines. I will never select Delta on purpose, because there are always problems. This time, the tickets were purchased by the company and they chose Delta.


Things Delta frequently does, that others rarely do:
- Change flight terminals... sometimes without alerting passengers or the TV screens with the flight information on them.
- Make passengers get on and off the plane on the tarmac. All the other airlines use those nifty enclosed ramps. Those ramps are really convenient when it is snowing / raining / etc.
- Delta flight attendants have worse attitudes than attendants from other airlines. They generally have a superiority complex. God help whomever they decide to pick on for that particular flight... but it's always somebody! (never was me)
- Every flight I've ever been on that was delayed was a Delta flight. In fact, I've only flown one Delta flight that was not delayed. Never have been delayed on any other airline.
- Overbook flights. 3 of the last four Delta flights I've taken were overbooked. Again, I've never seen a flight overbooked from any other carrier.

4. Reagan International Airport makes you go back through security screening between planes.
I'm not sure whether I like this or not.

5. Rochester, NY was not as bad as I expected.
They openly admit they are not NYC... and they are proud of it!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Now it's official on the blog...

I got a call tonight about 7:30 pm. I was offered (and accepted) a new job, to start March 15.

I called family and close friends first.
Then I updated my Facebook account (hey, it's easier than updating the blog!)
Now I post it for your reading pleasure.

Once again, I will have money for ammo and shooting stuff!

A new day...

One of the main reasons that I was talked into starting this blog was a general desire by several family members and friends to keep them up to date on things pertaining to firearms. These folks knew I keep up on the topic, and reading this blog as they wished would enable them to do the same.

Today, a law went into effect that allows handgun carry permit holders in all 50 states to carry in national parks and forests... provided the state laws allow such.

Tennessee's laws do allow for this.

Of course, the liberals and the "Brady Campaign against guns" have their talking points out there. My hat is off to MSNBC for having an obvious format detailing the major opinions of both sides. Link.

My personal prediction is that we are unlikely to see the new law get a negative reputation because of "gunfights" between carry permit holders.

We are more likely to see the law allow someone to defend himself/herself against a 4-legged predator... possibly a story or two in the next five years. Half that many stories will be about defense from a 2-legged predator.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday School ponderings (funny)

Today in Sunday School, the topic of discussion was the events leading up to the crucifixion of Christ. Specifically, Mark Chapter 14.

As we read and discussed, one of the passages included the event of Jesus arrest. During that event, Peter (one of Jesus' Disciples) drew his sword and cut off the ear of the Assistant to the High Priest. Jesus healed the man and put the ear back on.

My question is whether Peter carried his sword open or concealed?

Right Minded (the teacher of my SS class) had an appropriate follow-up:
"But did Peter have a permit to carry the sword?"

Right-Minded is most certainly a friend of the Second Amendment... make no mistake.

... but it is time to take the next step...

Folks, I may yet make him a gun-nut. Only time will tell!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Follow-up to a funny story

A few days ago, I posted about a bait-and-switch company and its job opening.


I did not attend the second interview - as I promised you, my dear readers.

But it would seem I have misjudged them. They have not yet called me back.

I will update if they do.

You know I cannot let this one slide...

Randy Rayburn, a Nashville restaurant owner and one of the main voices against Tennessee's guns in restaurant bill last year, has written an opinion piece that was published in the Tennessean.

Particularly, I would like to address this part-
The phrase that stands out with its lunacy is: "My industry didn't start this fight over people being able to trespass legally on our property with their guns. "

Oh, yes, it did, Mr. Rayburn. And you were at the heart of it!

And may I add, the legislation never permitted trespass of any sort. It simply gave me and others like me the freedom to carry our self defense tools with us when we eat away from home. If ever you had wanted us to leave, all you would have had to do was ask. If an offending party did not leave, then trespass laws were the same as they always have been.

Back on track.
The court case that Rayburn and others started ultimately ruled against the rights of Tennesseans. So we have round 2 this year. Pro-gun, pro-freedom lawmakers have proposed a bill that would put some teeth in another law already on the books. In TN, the law does not permit the operation of a bar. Any establishment serving alcohol must derive over half of its revenues from the sale of food, or face punishment.

What is being done that has Rayburn in an uproar?
Right now, the punishments are handed out subjectively and are never issued consistently. What is being proposed in the legislature would put consistency in the enforcement. Rayburn and others acknowledge this would effectively kill their businesses which illegally derive much more revenue form alcohol sales.

Naturally, this is being done to target Rayburn and his absent-minded cohorts. It is a political game of "Chicken." Normally I do not like politics of this sort - but it is good to see it being done on an important issue.

Why I like it:
Now, under the cover provided by the open threat of having their alcohol sales attacked, these restaurant owners are not paying any attention to the alternative being proposed to promote freedom. Let's watch and see when and how HB1807 gets passed.

Mr Rayburn and others who would grab our individual freedoms away - take note!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

65 Questions You've Probably Been Asked...

I saw this on Facebook. Thought I'd leave it here...

1. First thing you wash in the shower?

2. What color is your favorite hoodie?
Univ. of Tenn VOLS

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?
Yep - have to.

4. Do you plan outfits?
I am a man. I do not comprehend "outfits"

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?

6. Whats the closest thing to you that's red?
A small flashlight my daughter was playing with

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?
Flying Lego Star Wars spaceships. It was cool.

8. Did you meet anybody new today?
Yes, and I probably will tomorrow...

9. What are you craving right now?
Minute maid frozen lemonade treats

10. Do you floss?

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?

12. Are you emotional?

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?
Yes, but not since grade school

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?
depends on how fast its melting.

15. Do you like your hair?
What hair? I have hair! Woohoo - thank you Lord. Oh, wait. Nope - I still have no hair.

16. Do you like yourself?

17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?
Absolutely. Would love to do so.

18. What are you listening to right now?

19. Were your parents strict?
Absolutely and I am forever thankful. Now they think I am too strict! Hello, pot calling kettle...

20. Would you go sky diving?
Sounds like fun.

21. Do you like cottage cheese?

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?
Yes. A couple

23. Do you rent movies often?
More in the cold months

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?
no. I am a man.

25. How many countries have you visited?
2 if you count FL as a separate country. If not, then only 1

26. Have you made a prank phone call?
Of course. Hello, I'm looking for Mr. Strap. First name Jeaques.

27. Ever been on a train?
Yes, but I was under the age of two.

28. Brown or white eggs?
I don't eat them straight, so I cannot tell what kind was used in the recipe.

29.Do you have a cell-phone?

30. Do you use chap stick?
No. Yet again I must remind you that I am a man.

31. Do you own a gun?
He he he. How many should I fess up to?

32. Can you use chop sticks?
Yes, quite well thank you.

33. Who are you going to be with tonight?
The wife and kids...

34. Are you too forgiving?
Yes, but I also have a plan to kill everyone I meet! :)

35. Have you ever been in love?
Yes, I think i once was... :)

36. What is your best friend(s) doing tomorrow?
Probably taking care of his son.

37. Ever have cream puffs?

38. Last time you cried?
How many times must I remind you that I am a man?!

39. What was the last question you asked?
"Will you get your sister some paper to color on?"

40. Favorite time of the year?

41. Do you have any tattoos?

42. Are you sarcastic?
Always. Sometimes too much.

43. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect?
Yes. I am a fan of Amy Smart

44. Ever walked into a wall?
No. Again, I am a man.

45. Favorite color?

46. Have you ever slapped someone?
No. I am a man. If I have a problem with someone to that degree, I will hit or use Jiu-jitsu. Or a gun. :)

47. Is your hair curly?
No. Again, I have no hair.

48. What was the last CD you bought?
Star Wars, Ep. II Attack of the Clones Soundtrack. 2002.

49. Do looks matter?
Depends on circumstances.

50. Could you ever forgive a cheater?
Depends on what they cheated on.

51. Is your phone bill sky high?
No. I control myself.

52. Do you like your life right now?

53. Do you sleep with the TV on?
No, that would waste electricity.

54. Can you handle the truth?
Always. I am a man.

55. Do you have good vision?
Not really. But not terrible. I like my contacts.

56. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?
I hate the two guys that assaulted my mom over 20 years ago. No one else has earned it since. I dislike many people, but since I'm in sales, they may never know it.

57. How often do you talk on the phone?
every day

58. The last person you held hands with?

59. What are you wearing?
Black Carhartt shirt. Black Nike Shorts. I refuse to blog about the undies.

60.What is your favorite animal?
Bass. Fun to catch.

61. Where was your default (Facebook) picture taken at?
Ball park last spring while my son was playing.

62. Can you hula hoop?
No. Again, I am a man. Even if I could, there's no way I'd admit to it here.

63. Do you have a job?
Not yet...

64. What was the most recent thing you bought?
Ammo. Duh!

65. Have you ever crawled through a window?
Yes. Dukes of Hazzard was one of my favorite shows.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wow - I am hungry, but not that Hungry!

In Japan, somebody found a crab.

A giant crab.

10-feet tip-to-tip legs.


Funny story... and a call-out

Several days ago, I applied to a job described as: "Outside Sales Representative – Nashville, TN."

Last Friday, I got a pre-screening call, which turned into an invite to interview in-person at the company. My understanding was that this was still for the outside sales (my specialty) position.

At this point, I must note that the company also has another opening (several positions, in fact):
"Account Executive – Nashville, TN Headquarters." This latter position is inside sales (cold-calling in a telemarketing environment). I do not have anything against that line of work, but I am not qualified nor experienced in it. I certainly would not apply to such a position, either, as I much prefer outside sales.

Link to positions as advertised by the company - CompNation.
(Folks from CompNation - I have already taken a screen print of the advertised positions and I have a copy of my email as proof!)

The interview this afternoon turned out to be for the telemarketing position. It is commission-based (another no-no in my book - especially for cold-calling and/or telemarketing). So when the interviewer pulled this BAIT AND SWITCH - I asked him straight-up about the outside sales position. He said it was not going to be open until 3rd quarter, this year.

So - What is Usagi going to do about it?
Post here. That's what. Leave the facts out there.

Funny thing - They called me before I even got home and asked for a second interview. Now I obliged, because I have a plan (I always do!).

1. I will not attend the interview this Thursday at 4:00 pm. I want to see if they will call me and reschedule even with me standing them up unannounced.

I think they will still call me and try to get me to come in. If they do...

2. Ask the interviewer about the outside sales position only. I will make no mention of knowing anything about the telemarketing position.

3. Decline any job offers or steering toward the telemarketing position.

4. Post all the happenings here - for your enjoyment.

Popcorn, anyone?

Monday, February 15, 2010

The circle is complete.

When I went shooting this past weekend, I came across an astounding realization. It had to do with a "circle of life" concept. Let me explain...

When I was young, Pops taught us all to shoot using old Marlin .22 rifles. We had Model 60's. We (my brother, sister, and I) shot all day using a 550-round box, and maybe part of another. We shot .22 pistols, too. I don't think I shot a centerfire anything until I was about 10, then not again until I was about 12. My brother started with centerfires then, at age 10.

Up until then, the lowly .22 had been cheap and fun. But, as boys often do, we wanted "bigger and better." Pops indulged us a bit. We got some M1 Carbines (still have those, though Mrs. Usagi has taken possession of mine!). My brother got a lever-action .30-30. I got a bolt-action .270. We still have those guns.

We turned our backs on the lowly .22's. They didn't kick. They weren't loud. They wouldn't do much for self defense. What was the point in shooting them?

Then I turned my back on shooting.

I never fell out of love for shooting - getting in at least one range session a year from age 19 to my 30's. It was definitely a low point, however, for my personal shooting.

Then I became interested in guns again. The renewal of my personal passion was fueled by my wife, who became deadly serious about being able to protect our children should the need ever arise. She leaned on me as the "expert," and I knew I could not let her down.

So I taught her about the guns. How to shoot them. How to use them. I am teaching her now how to clean them and take care of them. This will be the hard part as cleaning them involves getting "dirty."

And I purchased newer and improved self-defense guns. And we got carry permits. And we learned how to shoot the pistols we now carry. And we learned how to hit targets we shot at. And Mrs. Usagi always wondered why, when I picked up a gun and shot, I hit what I shot at. I kinda did, too.

Then Pops would let us shoot the little Ruger Mark III he purchased a couple of years ago. And that gun was the one Mrs. Usagi and I both used when we took the class to get our carry permits. And still, the memory remained, but I was unaware of it.

Then we went to an Appleseed, and trained. And all the training I'd had - thanks to Pops - was refined. And I obsessed. And I got the results I wanted. Then I realized I am not a good shot - I simply fully understand (and very objectively so) what the limits are to my personal shooting abilities.

And I realized during this training, that I can now out-shoot my main self defense rifle. And I realized that once I get a job, I have the wherewithall to change that, and make the rifle effective to ranges I have not trained on.

And I realized that the majority of the training that I have done, and that Mrs. Usagi has done, have been done using lowly .22's. In fact, my favorite gun to shoot is my Marlin 60 - a .22 of the finest specifications and design. A gun that was first designed and built 15 years before I was born. A gun that helped me out-shoot a man who had a very expensive, very accurate rifle - who was shooting from a bench rest. And I had been shooting from field positions.

And so the circle completes itself as I completely enjoy and prefer shooting with the lowly .22.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Range Report

I got to shoot today at the range. Some things I observed:

1. I shot "Rifleman" (210 or more out of 250) each time on the Appleseed AQT (Army Qualification Test), save for twice.
- Once, I was using the Marlin 795 Christmas gift - the cheap, variable-power scope changed POI as the magnification is changed. Lesson learned.
- Once, with My Marlin 60, after finishing the last leg of the AQT, my rear sight fell off.
- Both times I shot a 206 / 250 (210 is "Rifleman").

2. Idiots abound.
This range has no RSO's (Range Safety Officers). Normally, folks call out "Cold line!" to indicate to other shooters to stop shooting so they can go down range and put up targets. Today, that safety principle was violated four times. Folks just walked down range without saying anything while others were firing.
Also, once when I was putting up targets, along with a half-dozen others, some idiot fired off his rifle. Made me rather mad. I don't like getting shot at!

3. A compliment goes a long way.
After helping a fellow shooter sight in his nice AR-10, then shooting the same range with my little .22, another shooter stated I was the most talented shooter at the range. Cloud 9!

4. Shooting at 100-yard targets with .22's can be done.
- And I hit what I was shooting at! In fact, the shooter with the AR-10 (which had a nice, large scope on it) was farther off target than I was with my humble Marlin 60 with iron-sights. After he said so, he asked for help to sight in his rifle.
- It is funny to hear the little .22 Marlin fire, then a half-second later hear the bullet strike the target 100 yards away. "POW! ... ... ... Whap!"
- I would not want to get hit by a rifleman using a .22 at 100 yards. I know the round is not very powerful, even right at the muzzle, but when I aimed for the head / neck, I hit it. That could really ruin your day.

5. I still hate it when my safety glasses fog up.

6. Shooting prone, without a sling, is not as accurate as with a sling.
But you can still make the shot. All my "rifleman" scores were shot without a sling in the prone position. I used a "hasty sling" in the standing and seated positions. I have shot as high as 243/250 with a scope and sling. However, my goal now is to remove those crutches and get my iron-sight, no sling shooting up to par, as well.

7. Shooting is fun. Always.
Now I am looking forward to the next time I can go!

8. Beware the shooter who is soft-spoken and uses a humble gun.
I said little today. I used a $130 Marlin model 60, .22 caliber rifle. My targets were shot more consistently than any other shooter on the range. Many of the others were shooting from supported positions. I did not shoot supported, save for the first 10 shots to get the 795 with the new scope sighted in.

9. Goals are good.
They help you measure progress. I had shot "rifleman" on AQT's before. Most of them had been shot using a scope and a sling. Today, I shot that level without either the scope or the sling. Make no mistake - my shooting is, on average, 10-20 points higher with a scope and sling. However, now I have proof (and skill to back it up) that one can train and get results. However, without a goal, results are hard to measure and interpret.

10. Even a bad day at the range is better than a good day doing anything else.
And this was a good day at the range!

Just thought I'd let you all know...

The $10 gun works well. I checked it today at the range.

Pops and I are both rather satisfied right now.

Oldie from my family

My mother, "Moms," is an LPN - Licensed Practical Nurse. She obtained the education and license when I was seven years old. As she has been in the hospital of late, I am reminded of a story she told from her days in nursing training school.

The nurses were doing their OB training, much of which was shadowing current nurses in hospitals as they do their rounds.

Moms' friend, Carrie* (names changed to protect... er... someone), is shadowing a nurse who is attending to a young mother in labor. The mom-to-be is in her teens - definitely not yet 18 years of age. As is natural, there is pain, and the young mom-to-be is screaming with the pain from time to time.

A little background is appropriate here. Carrie* is a large lady - well over six feet tall and at least 400 pounds. (If you think I exagerate those numbers, I invite you to ask my brother, sister, or my dad.) Carrie* is also an "appalachian-American" (read: redneck). She adopts a to-the-point manner of communication. Most would say she is blunt... to the point of being almost rude in certain situations.

This was one of those situations.

As the young mom-to-be finishes up screaming from the most recent contraction-induced labor pain, Carrie* states rather matter-of-factly:
"Ain't as much fun gettin' it out as gettin' it in, hmmm?"

Yes, the supervisor admonished her later.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Wheelin' & Dealin'

My father, "Pops," is one of the shrewdest negotiators I know. Recently, he came across a man who wanted to get rid of a Ruger Mark III pistol.

The gentleman had disassembled the pistol and could not get it back together again. In the process of attempting reassembly, he had been a little rough with it and had scratched the pistol in several places.

He wanted a low sum of money for the pistol as it no longer functioned.

Pops bought it for $10.

This evening, with a little patience, in about 10 minutes, I reassembled the pistol. I have function-checked it and it seems the little shooter will be accompanying me really soon to the range!

For those who do not know, the Ruger Mark III is one of the more difficult firearms to reassemble. Experienced owners try to avoid disassembly and clean it in other ways for just this reason. Pops, however, knew he had an "ace in the hole" with this one as I had disassembled and reassembled his Mark III just a few months ago.

No, I do not feel the gentleman got taken, Pops said he was happy to get the $10 for his "broken" gun.

I am happy to have a new range toy.

Pops is happy with the deal of the year, so far!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just plain lunacy

A boy in New York was nearly suspended for bringing a gun to school.

It was a Lego gun - designed for little toy Lego men, like my son plays with!

Link to an article on this outrage.

Fortunately, the school officials were imparted with at least a small amount of rational thought and decided not to suspend the youth.


As I have posted, my mother was in the hospital recently. She had double-bypass surgery and a pacemaker put in.

Yesterday she was discharged from the hospital.

Fortunately, I was available all day to help her after an early-morning job interview. I arrived at the hospital around 11 am. At that time, the nurses were saying that the Doctor was on the way to her room to give her some prescriptions and discharge papers.

She was released a little bit after 4 pm.

Hospitals take forever to do things, it seems.

We got her back to her home and after a bit of drama (hey, my mom is famous for her drama), she got settled in.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Not just on the internet anymore...

A couple of months ago, I posted a humorous photo of former President Bush with the caption "do ya'll miss me, yet?"

At the time, I understood it to be an internet photo and not anything more. But now, it is more than that.

Somebody in Minnesota has taken the photo, complete with caption, and paid to have it put on a billboard.

Link to NPR blog about it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More global warming

For the third time this year, my yard is white as... well... snow. Because it is snowing.

This is not completely unheard of, but the years in Tennessee where one sees multiple snowfalls are a rare breed. The last time we had three or more snowfalls was 2003, if memory serves correctly.

This year, there have been three. One in the first part of January. One a week and a half ago. Now tonight's snow.

Al Gore must be in town.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Eerie Super Bowl Commercial...

Was anybody else a little freaked out by the Audi commercial showing a police-state run by "Green Police?"

Folks on, as well as other gun websites are on the case, of course.

Right Minded is, too.

You should have been there for our discussion of that commercial as we all watched it live. Spooky. Uneasy. Prophetic. Those were some of the words. I couldn't help but think about how the liberals would just love for that to be the case.

Fortunately, enough of us take advantage of our 2nd Amendment rights to keep it from coming true... provided we all stay vigilant.

Link to Youtube video.

Quote of the Day...

I attended a Super Bowl Party with my Sunday School class this evening. It was held at the residence of Right Minded.

The Colts had just scored a go-ahead touchdown and led the game 17-13. All of the momentum seemed to be in favor of Peyton Manning and the Colts at that time.

One of my friends and Sunday School classmates asked, "I wonder if they will riot in New Orleans if the Saints lose?"

"Yes, they will," said another classmate. "And they will riot even if the Saints win. And destroy the town..."

Right Minded then astutely pointed out: "... and they will blame George Bush."

Folks, that's funny, I don't care who you are. And it's funny because it is TRUE!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Cool Pumpkin explosion

As I have documented, my friend and Sunday School teacher, Right Minded, has an obsession with shooting produce... most notably... Pumpkins.

I have documented his obsession for quite some time:

During my daily reading of stories and such, I came across this Youtube video of a guy, a pumpkin, an M1, and some Tannerite.

I think I am starting to understand why my friend is so intoxicated with the thought of shooting pumpkins!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

That's why

In gun circles, after one has obtained a carry permit, it is often a ritual to suit up with said sidearm and take a trip to Wal Mart. I am not sure where or why this ritual started, but I did the same when I got my carry permit.

Here comes the irony...

A recent article in the Huffington Post details some of the crimes committed in Wal-Mart stores.

Maybe more armed citizens patrolling Wal-Mart stores would be helpful?

Theater in my home town is STUPID!

A man who was legally open-carrying was barred admission from the Majestic 12 Theater in downtown Chattanooga. Reason? The manager said Tennessee requires concealment of the sidearm.

Not true.

It is even called a "handgun carry permit" - as opposed to some other states that issue "concealed-carry" permits.

Link to Tennessee's Attorney General's opinion on the matter.

Link to story.

I suggest my readers in the Chattanooga area to refuse to patronize the Majestic 12 until they change their policy.

Martial Arts Sories, Part VIII

Story 8

I had a "potential" student come by a few years back, to take a free trial class in Jiu-jitsu. He arrived early and elaborated on how he was an accomplished amateur wrestler, as well as a green belt in Judo.

He puts on his gi and the first thing I realize is that he dyed his belt green. And it was obvious. But that's not even the best part.

All through class, he takes every opportunity possible to let me know he does not think he's a white belt in Jiu-jitsu. I guess he wanted me to start him at a higher level.

Toward the end, when we spar, I have him sit out (as I do all new students) to observe the sparring. Now mind you, he and his son were knowledgeable of several throws and some basic groundwork - but they were still white belt material. He got a little frustrated that he could not spar. So he decided to challenge me on the spot. In my younger days, it would have been a no-brainer. Now, at this point, I have a house and a kid, so there is a great potential for loss. here - not that I would lose, but that he might sue or something like that.

So I offered the age-old remedy: if he could take on and beat my top student, I would spar him... As it was, my top student there that night is a 15 year-old girl - yellow belt. She put him in a triangle-choke and he tapped.

He requested a rematch.

He tapped again.

This happened a few more times.

I then spar with my student and the predictable happens. I beat her gently about 5 times in a row over the next 2 minutes. Nothing too spectacular.

I declined the man's "challenge" saying maybe next time - 'when he wasn't so tired!' For some strange reason he never came back. I wonder why?

Martial Arts Stories, Part VII

Story 7

I had a karate student back in the mid 1990’s, whose mom did something rather unexpected. I was teaching at a Chattanooga-area YMCA.

One day, not long after the student had joined the class, she came to class in a gi (uniform) - it looked rather funny. When I got closer, I realized the gi was not one by a manufacturer I was aware of - because one could see through it! Fortunately, mom had the student wear a t-shirt and all... but it was still very distracting because it was so very odd looking. Definitely out of place. And the poor girl realized it, too.

When the mom comes to pick up the student after class, she announced to me that since they did not have the $25 I charged for a uniform, and since a uniform was required, she had made the uniform herself for her child. After a little prodding, she admitted she made the uniform out of an old sheer curtain.

Unfortunately, the child felt so out of place because of the weird-looking uniform that they left after the first month.

Kicker: The dad made $85K a year (or so the mom said) as an engineer. I do know that they were not "poor" as I had to see YMCA membership cards to allow students in, and theirs did not have any of the indicators for families that were receiving scholarships.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Martial Arts Stories, Part VI

A friend recounted this story to me, some time ago:

“I had a student and his son one time that had been training for a time. One month, he came to class and did not pay for classes. My policy has been that all payments are month-to-month, or students can prepay several months in advance and receive a discount. I do not use now, nor have I ever used contracts to obligate my students.

[Stay with me as this info is very pertinent back-story information.]

When I confronted the student (about the 15th of the month), he informed me that he did not have to pay.

I was shocked and naturally I asked why that was so. He told me that he had filed bankruptcy and listed me as a creditor.

I advised that was impossible as we did not have a legally binding arrangement - and even if we did - my arrangement was for services and I would be free under the law to discontinue such services in bankruptcy proceedings (sounded official, didn't it?).

He argued for a few moments.

After a little while, I asked him if he was done making his case.

'Yes,' he said.

'Good,' I replied, and promptly went into my viewing room (where parents and other guests that are not participating in classes stay), sat down, and began watching TV. They (man and his 14 year old son) just stood there. He finally asked when I was going to teach. I told him when he paid, I would teach - simple as that.

Rumor has it he actually went to his Attorney and tried to get him to bring me to court to force me to teach him. In the absence of any written contract, and with all his paperwork pointing toward a month-by-month service, he was advised to drop it. I never heard from him again.”

Some people, huh?

Martial Arts Stories - Part V

Story 5

At the risk of sounding like I'm beating up on home-schoolers, which is not the case - I have another funny Martial Arts moment to share. Be advised, home-schoolers are not a group I pick on, they just happened to provide 2 necessary qualities for humorous stories:
1) I have 10 years of experience teaching home-schoolers, and
2) Home-schooling is a magnet for some eccentric personalities.

I had couple of parents that lived next door to one another ask me if I could come over on a Saturday and help their kids w/ karate and baby-sit. I had a free day that Saturday (which was rare for me during college), so why not?

Everything went OK - until the next Saturday. I got a call from another parent - completely separate from the ones I had helped the prior weekend - who asked when would be a good time that day for me to come to his place and tutor his son in karate, free of charge, as well!

I politely informed him that my day was rather busy already, but perhaps some other time. He proceeded to chew me out for being "unfair" and gave several demands that I come out on my time and tutor his son for free. (BTW - I had received payment from the first set of parents for the babysitting, but their son had told his son that I did not charge for the karate).

After a long, rather one-sided argument (on his part, anyways), for the first time in my life, I fired a student. It was saddening. It almost brought tears to my eye. Now, I look back with fondness. That situation taught me a lot about life and dealing with people.

PS - the first family mentioned happened to be the same ones that had the mom I had to restrain later (Story 4). How ironic, huh?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Funny Martial Arts Stories - IV

Story 4:

One time, I had to physically restrain a student's mother.

In the early 1990’s, I was teaching a home-school karate class. I was talking to several of the parents and adults as one of the top students (now my Brother-in-Law) led the class in warm ups. One portion of the warm up is to do 10 push-ups on the knuckles. Well, one of the students stepped out of line so BIL keeps on to 15 push ups. No big deal, I think - it will be good for them.

In all fairness, it was nothing at all out of the ordinary.

Well, one boy gets up on push-up number 12 holding his knuckles and jump/running toward his mom. I found out later he was in pain... the kind that ends in a minute or two and everything's all right.

So mom runs toward him, looks at his knuckles that he is displaying prominently (didn't even look red from my point of view), and begins to waddle toward the class. Her husband (to whom I was speaking at the time) asked her where she was going.

"To get [Usagi’s BIL]." was the curt reply.

The two of us (me, and the husband) immediately rushed to get between her and the class.

Fortunately, she did not make much noise, so most of the class was oblivious to the fact that there was a ruckus.

PS- I now require students to warm up on their own, prior to class!

This one was too good to pass up.


I try to keep this blog family-friendly, but this story was just too good to pass up. You see, this story involves pregnancy without the pregnant party even having all of the "necessary equipment" to become pregnant.

It stems from a knife fight.

Yep, you heard me, a knife fight.

And because I cannot think of any other way to describe it using what I consider to be acceptable language for the kids.


Yes, they know the truth

Anti-gun folks do know the truth. Truth is that having guns for self defense makes sense. They either don't want to admit it, or they hide their heads in the sand and hope they never need one. The worst of them just want guns for themselves, but not for you and me.

An anti-gun state legislator from North Carolina falls into either the former category, or the last one. R.C. Soles recently used his gun to fend off a home intruder.

Link to article.

According to this blog, and several internet searches, Soles enjoyed increasing restrictions on the law-abiding gun owners of North Carolina.

I am betting he is one of those guys that thinks it is OK for him to have a gun, but not you and me.

I could say something mean here, but the fact is that I am glad he had a gun. He has the right. So do I. So do you.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Funny MA Stories, Part 3

This story takes place when I was still learning karate – age 11 or so. A friend of my mom was having dinner with us. Her son (who appeared to never have missed a dinner) was talking to me. Eventually my mom (much to my chagrin - but hey, I was 11 at the time) told her friend's son, John (named changed to protect the "innocent") that I did karate.

Immediately he asked what belt I was - and it just so happened to be Purple belt at the time. At this point, he began eating my dinner - but it was a buffet, so I figured I could go get more... but I digress. I asked if he had ever done MA.

"Red belt ninja" he exclaimed through a mouthful of what had been my macaroni & cheese.

"Oh, ninjitsu..." I began - but was rudely cut off by this lad who now was chewing a mouthful of what had been my roast beef.

"NO! Ninja. I don't know what that other word is." He stated before going after my green beans. Hey, at least he did not discriminate!

"Ninjitsu is what ninjas study." I pointed out, wishing I had some of the macaroni he had just downed.

"Oh... yeah, then that's what I study!" He said as he grabbed my younger brother's plate of food.

"So what Kyu is red belt?" I made the mistake of asking. “Kyu” is the Japanese designation for rank under black belt.

"What's that?" He said. Then he proceeded after my sister's plate. She was quick (you have to be with two older brothers) to get up an act like she was going back to the buffet.

"What level is Red belt?" I knew where this was going - if I did not get eaten, first.

"It's the highest. You want to go get some more food?" He exclaimed.

"Sure, I'm still hungry. I really want some roast beef, green beans, and macaroni w/ cheese. So red belt is right before black belt?" I said.

"Nope. It is higher than black belt."

"John, you are 11 years old - how could you possibly have gotten past black belt?" I asked. Darn, the buffet had run out of macaroni & cheese!!!

"I just tested for it last week. I had to do a flip at the end to pass."

"John, you are the only kid I know in elementary school over 300 pounds. How did you do a flip? Did they offer you an entire cake?" I asked. Yes, I was getting annoyed at this point, because I figured he was 'full of it.'

"I used ninja magic. They teach it at black belt."

At this point, I turned the conversation to Nintendo. I was, at least, an expert in that at the time.

Funny MA Stories, Part 2

Some years ago, I had a prospective student’s mom ask me if I took off my shoes before a real fight.

When I responded that I probably would not have the time to do so, and that I would want the advantage of foot protection; she said she would not be signing junior up for classes.

You see, she "knew for a fact" that a true Black Belt took off their shoes prior to any actual fight.

I have found it!

I have found a collection of about a dozen strange, funny, and interesting things that I have witnessed and observed in the martial arts. Mostly, these are stories about silly things parents and students have done.

Be prepared as I will document these on my blog for your reading pleasure. Do understand, these stories come form over 25 years experience... not everybody is as eclectic as I will describe. This represents less than 1 out of 1000 regular full-time students.

Story 1:

I had a potential student’s mom observing a karate class I was teaching at a Chattanooga YMCA back in the mid 1990’s. As she was asking about classes (the assistant instructor was leading in drills), every count of "10" the students would Kiai (karate-shout).

After the students had done this a couple of times, the mom asked: "Are they saying 'kill'?"

I explained the students do not say "kill," they are just doing the karate shout.

Then the students kiai again. "There it is again!" she exclaimed, "they are saying 'kill!'" At which time she pointed out (with words I won't write here) that I was a "very bad man" for teaching these kids to kill.

I responded with sarcasm (don’t I always?) - pointing out that we had the most difficult YMCA in town to get hired at and my supervisor was one of the people that attended class. There was no way I could brainwash the students, even if I wanted to! (How do you politely explain to a prospective student that they might want to go see a doctor who specializes in hearing?)

She wasn't buying it, so she promptly left. I heard later that she tried to file a complaint with the General Manager. She became upset at the GM when she found out that the GM's grandson and granddaughter were both in the class and that was not at all what was going on!