Monday, June 7, 2010

The College Effect- A Social Phenomenon.

Here's your song, Hey London by Chiddy Bang. Get at him.

College, what fun. I am only a few weeks into my summer after my freshman year of college and boy does the world look different...

...nah. It's not that different, I take that back.

So yeah, college. 

It's pretty much the first time in our lives where we make some serious decisions for ourselves. Well, maybe some of us have those overbearing parents that feel they should dictate every facet of your life. If that's you, I sincerely apologize on their behalf because that totally BLOWS. For the rest of us though, there are still a lot of choices we are faced with: go away to school or stay home, what major, extracurricular activities, Greek life, sports, schedules, jobs, etc. The list goes on.

And the ramifications of these choices are even more far-reaching. But I digress, let me make my way back to what I wanted to talk about. I've come to the realization that regardless of whether you go away to school or commute--your social life changes.

Let me rewind really quick, towards the end of the semester a lot of people had mixed feelings on going home. There were the kids who couldn't wait to go home whether it be for the free food, lack of schoolwork, free time, or implicit sleep. Then there were the kids who wanted it to go on because they either hate their home life (maybe they get locked in their attic or something sad like that) or dreaded the free time they were provided with and felt unproductive. And maybe, just maybe, they will miss the constant contact with their peers and friends.

I saw myself in the former group. I relished free time, sleeping 12 hours a night(minimum), too much food, and most of all, hanging out with my favorite people who I haven't seen since winter break/last summer. The way I saw it, I'd pick up where last summer left off. August 2009 concluded on a "To Be Continued..."-type situation. However, more and more as I'm home, I'm realizing that although the majority of those aforementioned benefits of being home, this summer isn't as reminiscient as last summer--THE SUMMER OF MY SENIOR YEAR IN HIGH SCHOOL. Maybe it's the lack of prom and after-prom. Maybe the underlying tension of knowing we'd part for college drove everyone together. But whatever it was, it has seem to escaped me.

I wonder whether it's necessarily a phenomenon as the title states, but I'd imagine that I'm not the only one. I feel like nowadays, there's a contagious sentiment of being unsociable. Again, I do realize that all my friends may have decided that I'm a lame and chosen to shun me, but I don't think that all my different groups of friends could be that coordinated. I don't know why, but no one I used to hang out with, wants to hang out anymore. I feel like the circles I used to frequent, have modified and truncated the groups. I am trying to postulate the reasoning behind this because I'd like to think I make an effort to reach out to my friends and keep in touch. But mayhaps I've been deemed an extraneous friend. Who knows.

I don't think I'm any less fun. So if someone knows what the problem is, please tell me. I don't think I'm unfixable if it is me. Haha. Seriously though, try and make an effort people. It's a matter of sending out a simple text message. I feel like this negligence will only contribute to further social separation between us, which would be a shame. Regardless of what anyone says, I value my friendship with almost a few people...nah. I kid. Or in the words of Tadros, I'm "jaking." But yeah.

I'm tired of having to hunt people down to do things. I'd like to think that the summer of '09 was probably the best summer. Let's top that. I'm sure you'd enjoy it too. Otherwise, I guarantee you'll regret missing out. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow but eventually.

I hate to say it, but I'm starting to feel closer related to the group who wants to be in school. I don't want the bane of my existence to be solely at Binghamyon, but I'm running out of options.

I wasn't sure what note I was going to end this on, but I am opting to shine the spotlight on my friend Rilwan and a video that came up when I signed into Youtube. Enjoy!

Where's My Chapstick?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The 411 on Hand-to-Hand Combat.

Absinthe Party at the Fly Honey Warehouse; I personally love this song. It's very low key, which tends to be the pattern with the songs I share. The reason for that though, is that I write at night--late at night. So I'm not going to be playing too much rap/hip-hop. I prefer something I can play quietly in the background of my doings. Hope you like it. 

(SIDENOTE: Absinthe NOT necessary to enjoy song. No fairies, but a good listen nonetheless.)

So as the title has stated, I'll be talking about fighting. But to specify, I'll be focusing mostly on my style of choice: Krav Maga.

For a really quick lesson on Krav Maga= developed around WWII as a means for people to defend themselves against Nazis(yes, it's primarily a self-defense style) and evolved into one of the most effective, brutal, and practical systems to date. Krav Maga is more a MMA(mixed martial art) than TMA(traditional martial art). Realizing the potential and advantages that different styles bring to the table, KM takes moves and such from a variety of different arts including Muay Thai and JKD(which is actually very, very similar to KM). 

If there was every a class I'd advise anyone to take, it's KM. I loved it because of the basic principles it teaches and the very efficient methods used to neutralize any threats that you may be faced with.

This is a clip from ABC's Good Morning America. It features the Krav Maga Federation, the one in which I trained, doing a demo along with some commentary.

As you can see, the goal of each move that a Kravist executes, is entirely purposeful. The intent of everything is to stop the "attacker" as quickly as possibly, regardless of what that takes. Now I'm not suggesting that you should straight up kill someone. We don't condone excessive force, rather we believe that the harder someone gets put down, the less likely they'll jump back up ready to go for Round 2. Secondly, being that it's a self defense system doesn't mean that we have to sit around waiting for someone to hit us. In actuality, prevention is key. Let's be real: if posed with the threat of four, potentially armed guys, should you try to run or fight them all? In all honesty, one potentially armed guy is a serious threat regardless of your fighting experience, four is just downright dangerous. Anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid. Now that you tried to run and you find yourself trapped, you go to Option B, fall back on your KM training to survive this encounter.

In this day and age, it'd be highly foolish to presume anything about anyone. That's why I find it dumb when people assume whether or not they can beat someone based strictly on exterior qualities. You can never know fully, unless something happens. You don't know if they have a knife on them...

That's my friend. Usually have it on me at all times unless in a secured environment.

And to be truthful, a knife entered into the equation is an automatic added danger sans any knife fighting experience. We're talking about sharpened metal being flailed about in a high stress environment. Let's not even get started on a gun...

So yeah, one thing Krav Maga stresses is to NOT get hurt. There are no rules or honor when your life is on the line. When I say that, I mean anything goes between you and the aggressor. Groin, eyes, soft tissue, etc. If you have a metal pipe and they don't, use it. Although I'd think anyone who is unarmed that is faced with someone toting a metal pipe would surrender. Or if you don't have a weapon, higher level material goes over disarms and removing weapons from your opponent's hands. Even the blocks include a strike so that you can take control of the situation immediately and lead the fight.

When I talk about KM to people, they always pose these ridiculously, impossible scenarios; "wat if sum1 had a baz00ka 2 ur face nd sum1 else had a tank behind u?" C'mon, guys. No one is saying it is the solution to everything. But what it does do is prepare you for as many situations as you can. There's a saying, "No battleplan survives contact with the enemy." I think it goes with this 100%. Nothing can assure you that you will be ready for every single scenario, but a well-rounded system like KM can try and cover as many bases as possible. 

If there was ever a fighting system I'd declare supreme for real-life encounters, it's Krav Maga. Cracked agrees. And they can't be wrong. But seriously, look into it. One thing that has been a thorn in KM's flourishing is the multitude of McDojo versions of Krav offered. A lot of places that claim to teach it aren't actually authentic and only provide a very watered down, ineffective version. Do your research, please!

If you want more information, let me know.

I'm going to steal a quote from my instructor that embodies the essence of Krav Maga--

"If you don't like that I don't fight fair, don't f*ck with me."

It's as simple as that, ladies and gentlemen. Night.