The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #47: Guest Conversation with Justin Part 1

Episode #47: My Friend Justin Joins the Show Part 1 – Gymnastics, Breakdancing, Martial Arts, Learning New Skills, and Not Giving Up

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2047%20Justin%201.mp3

Get ready for a massive interview spaced out over the next two weeks!  One of my best friends from college joins me for a walk down memory lane as we reminiscence about the years we spent training in gymnastics, breakdancing, and martial arts.  If you have any interest in those topics, you’ll likely find something of interest in this week’s episode.  Some of the topics covered:

-Trying to learn breakdancing by watching old, grainy VHS tapes of pioneer bboys like Crumbs, Ivan, and Storm

-There was only one or two digital video clips we had access to in the beginning (no Youtube).  We watched this unnamed guy doing windmills in his garage countless times and must have dissected it hundreds more – whoever you are, late 90s windmill guy, we are grateful.
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-The bboy crew Justin and started with two other college friends, Sherwood and Tim, Sympoh, is still around and continues to amaze us.

-The freeform aspect of hip-hop/beaking vs. the emphasis on doing things a certain set way in gymnastics and many martial arts

-How doing gymnastics is involved in learning your limits and conquering fear, applicable to other aspects of life (i.e. “there are no dumb gymnasts” per my high school coach)

-How to reconcile the “stay tight in the air” philosophy of gymnastics with the “relax in the air” philosophy of martial arts (we don’t actually resolve this, but it’s an interesting contrast)

-If you were two college kids who wanted to be ninjas, what do you do?

-How we found ninjitsu training

-You can still buy this grappling hook online (though you may not want to)

SZCO Supplies Grappling Hook with Cord

This series of explanatory ninjitsu books by Stephen K. Hayes were the ones I recall most vividly from childhood 

-Unlike in our childhoods, you can now easily find ninjitsu books by Stephen K. Hayes and his teacher, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumu, on Amazon.  The man who taught Justin and I years ago, Jack Hoban, now has training videos, referenced here.

-We spend a fair amount of time touching on the process of learning new skills, e.g.:

-What’s the Dunning Kruger effect?

-What’s the Feldenkrais method?  And how can slow, deliberate movements done with good form in optimal conditions counterintuitively help learn new skills faster?

-We debate whether innovation can/should be taught from the get go or should fundamentals be stressed first

-The beginner’s journey – even as a “master,” hopefully you are still continuing to learn (symbolized by the journey from white belt to black back to white again as the outer coloring of the belt gets frayed with time).

-The importance of not giving up too early – fitting given the meaning of the characters for ninja (忍者 – “one who endures” in Chinese)

-We discuss how martial arts and these other skills have shaped us as people.

There was a natural breaking point here, so I’ve split the interview into two parts for ease of listening.  Justin will return next week with more discussion on fitness and healthy eating.  In the meantime, check out his blog at

 https://dietisa4letterwordblog.wordpress.com/

In other news, since Instagram changed the amount of video they will allow to 60 seconds, I’ve been trying to distill songs that influenced the soundtrack and writing of The Thirteenth Hour down to 1 min in synthesized form.  There are also a few snippets from the soundtrack itself there – all at the Instagram account of @the13thhr.ost.

-E.g.: The Thirteenth Hour Theme, heard in the intro and outro of these podcasts

As always, thanks for listening

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #40: Martial Arts in The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #40: Martial Arts

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2040.mp3

Last week’s episode on the influence of gymnastics on the writing of The Thirteenth Hour leads to today’s episode which focuses more on martial arts.  Although I’ve alluded to other martial activities on this blog and in the podcast before (like archery and knife throwing), I figured it was time to devote more time to martial arts itself.  My experience since I was about 13 was with Eastern martial arts, so I borrowed elements of those arts in the style of unarmed martial arts Logan and his Imperial Rangers comrades learn and practice in the novel.

Here, he talks about how sparring sessions would typically go for him:

“… at this fledgling state in my career, things would progress something like this. In a somewhat paradoxical concern for safety, the instructors had us tie cloth pads around our shins, feet, hands, and head in an attempt to prevent injuries and simulate body armor but said that donning groin protection was “unrealistic” because no one walked around wearing it in daily life. Well, I’ve never seen anyone walking around boxing gloves or pads on their arms and legs either, but hey, that’s just me.

At any rate, then we’d each take a stance and start beating the living shit out of each other. Our trainers strictly informed us “don’t kill each other” since this was just supposed to be practice. “You have to help each other,” they said. Well, that was a load of bullshit if I ever did step in a pile.

Inevitably, the matches would revert to the following: your opponent, in an effort to impress the instructors, would throw a really hard shot, and if it connected, you would show your manliness by getting pissed and creaming him. Unless, of course, you happened to be me. I generally didn’t stand an ice cube’s chance in hell against those older guys.

Maybe the instructors noticed my incompetence and felt I needed more practice, or maybe it was just a punishment, but it always seemed that I had to spend twice as much time on fighting drills as anyone else, part of which involved more time with the practice dummy …”

Logan may have just been more honest about his shortcomings, but actually his isn’t an uncommon experience for folks.  Of course, consistent practice takes care of a lot.  Eventually, though, Logan learns enough to defend himself quite well.

logan profileWM  logan hook kick2 rm

Logan kicks!  He wouldn’t be doing these kicks prior to his training – guess it paid off.  These high kicks make for flashy pictures, but I mostly envisioned he and the other Rangers spending most of their time practicing more utilitarian low and mid range strikes as well as those that utilize the body’s naturally hard spots (like knees and elbows – which he uses in the final fight).  

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Pixelart animation of Logan doing a sliding side kick.  This was from The Thirteenth Hour game that didn’t get finished.

As always, thanks for listening!

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  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!

The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #38: Knife Throwing

Episode #38: Knife Throwing

https://archive.org/download/13thHrEps16On/Podcast%2038.mp3

Today’s episode is all about throwing knives and other pointy things, like screwdrivers.  It refers to a few past posts:

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/logans-everyday-carry-edc-from-the-thirteenth-hour/

-A section of The The Thirteenth Hour where the main character, Logan, finds a pocketknife and contemplates fleetingly whether it would make a good throwing knife as well as the ending fight, where he lobs a large sword.

https://13thhr.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/ever-wanted-to-throw-knives-like-chuck-norris/

-A previous post that discusses no-spin knife throwing, inspired by Ralph Thorn’s teachings.  The post step-by-step how to perform the technique.  Includes many links to references as well as a few video clips, like this one, where I’m throwing a screwdriver and a large cut-down nail:

 screwdriver and spike

 

That post also formed the basis for the short how-to article for The Backwoodsman magazine, a bi-monthly outdoor publication (where to get it).  The article came out in the most recent (May/June) issue, and you can see a picture of part of the article on this past Thursday’s instagram posting.  I didn’t realize this when I recorded this episode, but the magazine is also available in digital format as well.  I encourage you to see if you can find the article through the magazine to support the folks that put it together (plus, there are lots of other great DIY articles).  But I know not everyone will be able to find a copy.  So … mailing list subscribers can get a .pdf of the article I originally submitted to the magazine, so check out the link below to join if you haven’t already if you’re interested.

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In other news, The Thirteenth Hour soundtrack has a new song!  “Song of an Unsung Hero” (which takes its name from a poem in the novel, The Thirteenth Hour), has lyrics here and was released on Friday.  You can find more tracks on bandcamp plus previews and discussion of music and movies that inspired the soundtrack on Instagram @the13thhr.ost.

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Thanks for listening!

∞∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

  • QR code email signup Signup for the mailing list for a free special edition podcast and a demo copy of The Thirteenth Hour!
  • Follow The Thirteenth Hour’s instagram pages: @the13thhr and @the13thhr.ost for your daily weekday dose of ninjas, martial arts bits, archery, flips, breakdancing action figures, fantasy art, 80s music, movies, and occasional pictures or songs from The Thirteenth Hour books.
  • Website: https://13thhr.wordpress.com
  • Book trailer: http://bit.ly/1VhJhXY
  • Interested in reading and reviewing The Thirteenth Hour for a free book?  Just email me at writejoshuablum@gmail.com for more details!