Archives for March 2009

Back on the road

Yesterday I passed my 4th Kyu grading in Shotokan karate which was special to me for two reasons.

First because I hadn't graded for 9 months after getting ill late in July last year. That really took the wind out of my sails and it's only these last 3 months that I've begun to feel really well again. The second reason is that I actually felt pretty good about this grading.

Most of the time when I've graded I haven't necessarily felt really ready for it. Sensei puts me forward and I trust his judgement and go for it. It felt the same way this time except that - on the day - I really felt up for it and that feeling didn't desert me when the time came and we were up. When I was up there I actually felt okay about it and that I deserved to pass. That's a really good feeling :)

Because I spent so long at 5th Kyu I already know a little of the next kata, Tekki Shodan, so I'm looking forward to honing that, improving my general technique, and working on my speed and stamina. Late 30's (and older) may be entirely the wrong time to start karate but I'm game to keep going as far as I can.

Once more (who knew I'd ever get this far!?) I am grateful to my Sensei, Richard Hughes of TVSK, for his patient and good humored teaching and for running regular, friendly, classes. If you're looking to do karate in Maidenhead, Burnham, Windsor, or Woodly (near Reading) I heartily recommend coming along to watch (or join in!)

16/03/2009 10:55 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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The study of invisible relationships between internal objects

Via The Stretta Procedure comes a speech to freshers by Karl Paulnack, pianist and director of music division at Boston Conservatory:

What he told us was this: "During World War II, I was a pilot, and I was in an aerial combat situation where one of my team's planes was hit. I watched my friend bail out, and watched his parachute open, but the Japanese planes which had engaged us returned and machine gunned across the parachute chords so as to separate the parachute from the pilot, and I watched my friend drop away into the ocean, realizing that he was lost. I have not thought about this for many years, but during that first piece of music you played, this memory returned to me so vividly that it was as though I was reliving it. I didn't understand why this was happening, why now, but then when you came out to explain that this piece of music was written to commemorate a lost pilot, it was a little more than I could handle. How does the music do that? How did it find those feelings and those memories in me?"

About why music is not merely entertainment but, as the ancient Greeks put it:

music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects.

Lots of good stuff in that speech. It reminds me why, even at this late stage in my life, I'm thinking more and more about music and it's importance to me.

15/03/2009 09:22 by Matt Mower | Permalink | comments:
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