Wishing the Gentle Art was comprised of axioms.

August 8, 2016 by Rieshy

Sisyphus's Slope
Icarus' wings in Tennessee heat.
Sphinx and their riddles.

They have nothing on Jujitsu.  Once the breathing picks up it's hard to remember.  Till the car ride home.

Drilling and drilling.
Rolling and rolling.
Washing the gi, again and again.

The moment I think I have something set- some scrap of knowledge all mapped and nailed to the wall, it slithers away, shape shifts and laughs.
And I tap out.

Then I start over.
But then again, that's the whole fun of it.

Heels Over Head

July 10, 2016 by Rieshy

Heels over head
pressed and distressed;
contraction as reaction.

Baiting and evading;
revolution with resolution.

Moving and proving,
over and over;
head over heels.


Flowing Thoughts or Moments of Panic Induced Clarity.

June 26, 2016 by Rieshy


From the roll,
thoughts flow from let's go
to no, no, Nooo!

Why am I here again?
Then crap, and tap.

From let's go,
till tilt, mat meets being
and the most existential of questions
rips through your body:

Why am I here?
Then crap, and tap.

From fist bump,
to a human parkour course.
Till the ummph of elbow-self-expressed air.

Crap and tap.

Till a circle started, finishes
with the sweet expression of
detoured movement, and causes
someone else's:

  Crap and tap.

Dear Dads of Girls: Beware of Posturing

February 7, 2016 by Rieshy

 Over the years I've often heard dads speak of gleefully eviscerating any male foolish enough to mess with their daughter.

Do it.  I'm all in, eviscerate away, just don't talk about it in the hearing of your young daughter because I promise you one thing- if you love her that much, she will love you right back.  Loving you right back will mean she won't tell you anything about anyone who messes with her.

Why?  Why would a daughter who knows her dad loves her and wants to protect her not go to him for help?

Because she will be too busy protecting you from: 

  1. Prison.
  2. From feeling like a failure as a father. 
  3. Because she will feel somehow less- and not want you (her hero) to know. 
  4. She'll be afraid that you will freak out and take all her freedom away.

Instead, teach her to defend herself.  Teach her how to use judgement about her surroundings and her friends.  Teach her that she is valuable and that nothing that happens to her can ever change that.  Teach her to be a good friend and to stand up and protect others.

Spend time with her and listen.  Don't cast her as a princess that has to be saved, that needs a man for meaning or purpose. When she hears you talking about her, talk about how smart and tough she is.  Not how tough you are.

Then try to keep her safe anyway.


Farewell My Sweets

December 23, 2015 by Rieshy

January 1st looms large.
It looms, equal to an echoey Norse hall minus the mead.

A house of mine?  Minus cinnamon baked love?
A house of mine?  Minus stashes of jalapeƱo sweetness?

January 1st looms large.
A library without books.
Santa without the sack.
A lover without a kiss.
A runner without tights.

January 1st looms large.
It looms quietly, absent the crinkly sound of joy unwrapped:
That inoculator against stress,
That magical deliverer of caffeine,
Portable bliss,
Transporter of mothers.

To precious Chocolate,  
               Farewell my Sweets.

Sniff.  Sob.
Pity my children and curse my Sensei.


Not To Mention Luck

December 19, 2015 by Rieshy

Dreamers living intentionally?
Savorers remembering to save?

Between building barns or sucking the marrow.

Go with the flow thinks  uptight.
Planners think  disorganized.

Glass half empty, glass half full;
buy new glasses.

Dogs to walk, babies to shoe.

List writers, chaotic accomplishers,
filling calendars or losing them?

Goal setter along for the ride?
Choosing paths or defaulting to them?

Even visionaries need clean socks.

Self disciplined or experientially slammed;
all of the above.... or just confused?


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Quantifying Kinematics

December 6, 2015 by Rieshy

I don't love you Sparring.   I know I used to, you didn't do anything wrong; No, really it's not you, it's me.

I've fallen for Rolling.  We get along better, Rolling makes more sense to me.  I feel less awkward around Rolling.

Can we still be friends?

Our dojo has a fun, healthy attitude toward sparring- great people to spar with and wonderful Sensei.  It's not the setting it's not the support, so I've been asking myself why I don't love to spar.  I love to grapple, I love the Judo I've been exposed to even if it almost entirely consists of me learning ways in which I can be pitched through the air.  But sparring? I'd rather wall kicks any evening.

During sparring or stand up self-defense I often am transported to the middle school dances I chaperone where the main move is simply trying to catch up with the beat without looking too stupid.  Not to mention, sparring is startling, I'm bad at seeing things coming. While sparring I frequently see what just happened and what I just did wrong or what opportunity I just missed instead of seeing in real time.  During stand up self-defense I often start the exercise feeling defeated, just waiting to get flustered and girly and feeling out of control.

Rolling?  It's a challenge but it has a significant difference- you have a hold of your opponent.  You can feel them shift their weight, and fists and feet aren't randomly flying from outside of your peripheral vision.  Even just one hand on my opponent makes me feel more confident and less like I'm about to die.  Afterwards, I replay the roll in my head and still see what I should have done and opportunities that I missed, but they make sense and it's exhilarating; no matter how many times I tap out, grappling makes me feel strong.

My husband joked that if I had spent more time as a kid imagining trajectories of toy rockets and the geometric planes of cars jumping jumps it would have helped my sparring.  If I had, perhaps the visual of a collar bone shifting from its natural horizontal to 30 degrees might mean something to my blocking arm before I get bopped in the head. Too late now; so how to remediate?

I'm going to try something new.  A mind game to trick myself into not being startled sparring.  A mind game envisioning connections before physical contact is made.  Think invisible strings that form the edges of the geometric planes connecting feet, elbow, fists and knees.  Invisible strings that I can plan on using and pretend to have contact with.  I don't know if I can see quickly enough during sparring to manage it- but with the slower practice speed of stand up self-defense maybe it will form the beginning of the end of my super-ability to psych myself out.