Out for Meditation



I’m doing the Vipassana Meditation 10-day course starting tomorrow. I’ll be out of contact (and thus not posting) until September 11, 2016.

For those unfamiliar with the course: no phones, no books, no notebooks, no interaction with anyone but the staff and teacher, and no exercise.  If it’s not meditation, it’s probably not allowed.

Wish me luck.

DAILY PHOTO: 1300 & Out

Taken in September of 2014 in Bangkok

Taken in September of 2014 in Bangkok

“The title of this post doesn’t make a lick of sense?” you say.

But it does. This is my 1,300th post, and I’m going on travel for a few weeks to train muaythai at the Muay Thai Institute in Rangsit, Thailand. I may or may not post during the next three weeks depending upon what kind of pummeling I sustain to the brain-pan region.

The photo above as taken about a year ago on the Chao Phraya in Bangkok.

I’ll leave you with a thought for the day: If everybody around you holds the same beliefs as you, you’re not a member of a community, you’re a member of a cult.

That’s 1,000 Posts, and I’m Out of Here

This is my 1,000th post on this site, and I’ve finished it just in time to get on a plane and leave the country, rounding out my blogging year with a nice round number. It’s been fun, and I’ll be back in early January to crank it back up.

Here’s a photo of where I’ll be.


I’m Back From Thailand

My month-long hiatus from posting has come to an end. I’m back home in India after an educational month in Thailand. I’ve got a lot of posting to catch up on.

I’ll be writing about my two weeks training Muaythai at MTI-Rangsit:




I’ll share my experiences of learning Thai Massage and Foot Massage at the Wat Po Thai Traditional Medicine and Massage School:



Plus there’re a dozen books I finished off and need to review and–of course–I’ve got a ton of photos from in and around Bangkok:



I learned some Thai Yoga (sometimes called Rusie Dutton Yoga) and had some other interesting experiences to write about.

So I’d best get crackin’.

A Brief Hiatus

IMG_3925I’ll be traveling in Southeast Asia for the better part of a month. During this time my posts will be sporadic at best.

However, upon my return I should have plenty of photos and a few stories from my visit to Malaysia and southern Thailand. In addition to hanging out on the beach and visiting temples, shrines, and restaurants, I’ll spend a couple of weeks training muay thai and bjj in Phuket.

Best wishes,


From Wikipedia; Source: Pai Spa www.pai-spa.com

From Wikipedia; Source: Pai Spa http://www.pai-spa.com

This blog will be on a 10-day hiatus as I will attending a 30 hour course on Thai Yoga Massage over the next week and a half by the Inner Mountain School of Healing Arts at the Fireflies Ashram in Bangalore.


Transmigration of Blog

india_sm_2012We’re down to about a month until our move to India.

The house is largely in order with only a few odds and ends remaining.

Most of our worldly possessions are in storage, and I haven’t really missed any of it. (A lot of “moss” collects when your stone stops rolling for a few years.) The house now echoes. Movers will be coming to get the small amount of stuff we’ll ship to India in the next couple weeks. Then we’ll really be living minimalist.

We’ve got all our shots with the exception of the final doses for Hepatitis. We’ll get those in country. With respect to shots, when moving to India, one has to get… well,  all of them.

Visas are in the works though we’ve had some delay on that front. However, fortuitously, the local Indian Consulate is beginning to take applications, and so I won’t have to send my application off to another city and can eliminate the time and risk of postal transit.

My list of things to do consists of fewer large, all-consuming tasks and more quick and easy jobs.

All of this means that I’m getting back to writing.  This is a bit like getting a corroded junk-yard jalopy running again. It’s remarkable how much the creative juices curdle when one spends a few months focusing on home repairs, monitoring contractors, getting shots, and other mundane tasks of international relocation. I worked almost exclusively on drafting two novels for a period of a little over a year, and now–as I resume writing and revisions–I’m having to re-read just to figure out what they’re about. On the bright side, I sometime surprise myself with what I wrote. For me, there’s definitely economy of scale in long writing  projects. Writing eight hours a day yields a lot more than eight times writing for one hour a day. I lose voices, character idiosyncrasies, and plot detail so easily unless I’m immersed in them.

As for this blog, I think a rebirth is in order. Since I’m moving to India, I’ve invoked the concept of transmigration of soul. In Hinduism, some sects of Buddhism, as well as a few lesser known religions, there’s a belief in reincarnation in which the soul may be reborn into an altogether different type of container. For example, if you were good in your last life, you might come back as a lama or a lap cat. If you were bad in your last life, you might come back as a slug or a Congressman. So the question of the moment is what this blog will be reborn as when  it sputters up from out of the ashes.

I would like the site to remain (or, perhaps, become)  humorous, but I’d like the humor to be less curmudgeonly. This presents a challenge because I’m not sure that I know how to be funny without being a curmudgeon. In point of fact, I’m not sure I know how to not be a curmudgeon–funny or otherwise.

I want this site to be reflective of my new life. I’ll continue posting photos, though after the move they will be disproportionately from Bangalore, India, and a few adjacent countries to which I will be traveling. So it’ll remain part travel site. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of lessons learned about travel in India to share.

When I’m not writing or sleeping, I’ll be engaged in a quest of self-improvement. The development of mind and body have been raised to high art in India, and I hope to  find some of those individuals with that knowledge.

Expanding my abilities and understanding of martial arts is one of my goals for this period. It’ll be a challenge to keep from becoming rusty in the jissen kobudō (Japanese old school martial arts that emphasize pragmatic skills) that I have been studying my entire adult life. However, in addition to working on what I know, there are other activities that I think will help expand my understanding while keeping me suitable limber and conditioned. I would like to learn  a little about indigenous Indian martial arts such as kalaripayattu, silambam, and–if time permits–gatka. Furthermore, I would like find a place to train in Bangalore where I can do some training in what I’d call general jissen (practical fighting) skills.

However, my attempts to improve myself will not be limited to martial arts alone. India might be cursed with plagues of poverty, pollution, and–well–plague, but they have no shortage of gurus–whether I can find one that’s reputable and willing is another matter. The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve realized that I don’t have a firm grasp of my mind. My mind runs and I don’t pay enough attention to what it is telling me; I don’t put enough effort into fixing what is broken. I read a quote recently about people who put great effort into studying the external world, but who remain ignorant of themselves.  This struck close to home, but it’s not just me–it’s widespread. People study psychology in school and learn about cognitive biases, but they don’t put the information to use in becoming more virtuous people. For example, a person might learn about the “self-serving bias” –whereby people claim responsibility for successes but place blame for failures on external factors–and say, “yeah, it’s funny that other people totally do that.”

Part of practicing martial arts is keeping one’s self healthy, against all odds. While I’ve never practiced yoga, I appreciate the belief that mind and body are inseparable. I would like to work on building a body that is less likely to be crippled by the practice of martial arts as I age. I intend to study Thai yoga massage, which incorporates stretching and pressure point massage. There’s an interesting connection between India and Thailand with respect to this form of bodywork. While it’s most closely associated with Thailand, some claim that its roots are in Northern India with a master called Guru Jivaka. While visiting Thailand, I developed an appreciation for the health benefits of this type of massage–particularly for one prone to have things out of whack. However, I didn’t have the time to study it during that visit. There is also the more distinctly indigenous holistic healing system of India, Ayurveda, and I would like to learn more about it as well.

In short, I intend to have a pretty full agenda while living in India, and I hope readers will find my posts about these experiences interesting and worthwhile.

Blatant Blog Post Theft by Martial Arts Outfitters

In all my years of blogging, I haven’t caught any incidents of blatant plagiarism of my posts… until now.  I was looking  through the martial arts posts and saw this post on the MartialArtsOutfitters.com blog posted Thursday.  It immediately seemed to me that it looked just like a post that I had posted a year and a half ago. (See: Yoroi Kumiuchi.) Then I realized that they were the same word-for-word.

This is blatant plagiarism. I mean they copied everything including the photo (granted that was public domain and not mine) and title, and then published them on the same platform (i.e. WordPress.) This wasn’t reblogged, which is a function that I allow because it comes with attribution and a hit to one’s site. The fact that reblogging would have been easier for them to do means that this company was outright trying to steal content.

What’s particularly sad to me is that the thief is an organization that is involved with martial arts. The martial arts should be about advancing virtue not practicing vice. I guess they are targeting those scheezy pedophile “teachers” one hears about in the news, and not high-caliber martial artists.

What is doubly disappointing is that this is a business, and, thus, one would expect that they would be in favor of people paying for what they take in principle.

If you are a WordPress blogger and write martial arts posts, you might want to look at the feed of http://www.martialartsoutfitters.com to make sure they aren’t ripping you off.

If you are a supplier of http://www.martialartsoutfitters.com, be warned they don’t feel obliged to pay for what they take.