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All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #3

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #3


In the spring of the third year of the time called Chia Yu there was a great plague of sickness over the whole country and from the region south of the great river to the eastern and to the western capitals there was not one of the people who did not suffer from it. In every city and every town there were sent memorials to the throne in number like great drifts of snow.

Let it be told now of affairs within and without the eastern capital. The soldiers and the people had died to the greater half of all their numbers and in the city of K’ai Feng the minister Pao Chen spent all his own means in buying medicine for the people to heal their plague and many were healed. Yet how could they all be healed? The plague grew yet more grace and all governors both civil and military took council together and they all came into The Hall Of The Water Clock to wait for dawn to come, which was the time of imperial audience, so that they might announce the matter to the Emperor.

On this day, which was the third year of the time called Chia Yu, and the third moon and the third day, at the fifth watch and near to dawn, the Emperor sat in the audience hall and waited. When the rites of courtesy were over then did the master of ceremonies call forth and say, “Let him among you who has aught to say now come forth straightway. If there is no business, then roll up the curtain, for the Emperor retires.”

Then from among all the officials was there a certain minister named Chao Che and there was a lesser one, Wen Yien Po, and they came forth and said, “Now is the plague heavy upon us here in the capital city and many are the soldiers and the people who suffer from it. Let all crimes be forgiven, therefore, and let mercy be made wide. Let the imperial punishments be lightened and the taxes on the people lessened and thus let Heaven be besought.”

The Emperor hearkened to these words and he commanded the palace of the scholars that they were to send forth mandates straightway, commanding that all prisoners were to be freed from gaols and all tributes from the people were to be forgiven them. Beyond this a mandate was to be sent to all Buddhist and Taoist temples in the capital city that they were to say prayers so that this plague might pass away.

But beyond expectation the plague grew yet more heavy. The Emperor Jen Chung heard of this and his sacred dragon heart could know no peace. Again he gathered together all his ministers to take counsel with them. Now among the ranks of them as they stood there was a certain great statesman and he came forth regardless of his turn. The Emperor saw him and he was a minister named Fang Chung Yien. When he made his obeisance and had given greeting he said, “Now is the plagues most cruel and the soldiers and the people suffer very bitterly, nor can they rest from their fear day or night. According to my poor small purpose, if we are to drive out this plague we must call for the great Taoist who is descended direct from the times of Han to come hither and here in the palace let him call a mass for seven days and thus can we make our trouble known to God so that He may drive out this plague and so save the people.”

This the Emperor Jen Chung promised him and swiftly he bade his scholars put forth the mandate and he himself set his handwriting there and gave his own imperial incense to the Taoist. Then he bade the chief master of ceremonies, who was named Hung Shin, to be his messenger and go to the province of Kiangsi to The Mountain Of Dragons And Tigers and there invite the Taoist Chang Chen Jen, who was descended from the times of Han, to come that same night to beseech Heaven to drive out the plague.

<Continued – Prologue #4>


November 23, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #2

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #2


Now at the great Western Mountain Hua there was a certain Ch’en T’uan, who was a Taoist hermit. He was a man of deep religion and of great virtue and he could divine the winds and the clouds. One day he rode an ass and went down the mountain and as he was going along the road that led to the great Hua Mountain, he heard the travelers by the way say, “The Emperor has given his seat to the officer Chao.” When Ch’en T’uan heard this he was pleased in his heart. He placed one hand over his brow and laughed there loudly upon the ass’s back so that he even fell to the earth with his great laughter. When men asked him for the reason of his laughing that scholar said, “From this time on peace will reign in our land. Truly is it Heaven’s will above that this Chao shall be Emperor and so it is in accord also with the kingdom of the earth beneath and between these, it accords also with the hearts of men.”

From this year of Ken Shen, Chao took the throne and he opened his dynasty. He reigned for seventeen years and all the earth was at peace. After him his brother reigned, the Emperor T’ai Chung, and he reigned twenty and two years and he gave the throne to the Emperor Chen Chung. Chen Chung gave it in turn to Jen Chung.

Now this Emperor Jen Chung was in truth The Barefoot God From Heaven and when he was born a mortal babe he wept without ceasing night and day. His father, the Emperor, put forth proclamations calling for some physician to come and heal his ill, and the very heart of Heaven was moved with pity. Then did Heaven send the god T’ai Po from a certain western star to come to earth and he changed himself into a very old man and he came and he tore down the imperial proclamation and he said that he could still the imperial babe’s weeping.

The guard who was in charge of the proclamation led him into the palace and there the old man saw the Emperor, and the Emperor commanded him to enter into the private palace and see the babe. The old man entered straightway and he lifted up the babe and he whispered certain words into the babe’s ear and the babe ceased its weeping. Now the old man would not tell his surname or his name, but those who watched saw him change into a wind and vanish.

And what were these words the old man told into the babe’s ear? He said, “The Star Of Wisdom guides you, the Star Of War protects you.”

And truly was it that Heaven sent these two stars down to aid this Emperor Jen Chung. The Star Of Wisdom was the most learned Pao Chen, he who was lord of the southern court in K’ai Feng and chief scholar of the imperial palace. The Star Of War was Ti Ch’ing, the great warrior who went to chastise the rebellious kingdom of Hsi Hsia. These two great statesmen came forth and they supported this Emperor and he reigned for forty and two years. From the first year he began to reign, called the year Kuei Hai, until the ninth year of the time called T’ien Shen, in those years the country was at peace and the harvests of the five grains were plentiful and the people went merrily to their work. If aught was dropped upon the road, none picked it up nor were the doors of houses locked at night. So it was during the first nine years.

From the first year of the period called Ming Tao until the third year of Huang Yu, these nine years were also filled with prosperity and these years were the second period. From the fourth year of Huang Yu to the second year of Chia Yu, these nine years the fields bore more heavily yet, and this was the third period. Thus these three periods passed, twenty-seven in all, and they were called the three periods of greatest peace and prosperity. Then did the people rejoice. But who could foresee that joy must end and sorrow come?

<Continued – Prologue #3>

November 22, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #1

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Prologue #1


In the time of Five Kingdoms confusion reigned high,

But at last the clouds parted to show the clear sky,

For a hundred years the grass and the trees

Received once more the sun and the dews.

Peace reigned again over river and hill,

Men walked in silk robes everywhere at will.

Forth from the houses did music sound,

Peaceful the days passed idly by;

Endless the songs of the golden birds,

Endless the life of the blooming flowers,

Though the sun was high, yet was sleep profound.

It is said : These lines of verse were written by a famous scholar in the reign of the Emperor Shen Chung in the times of Sung now past. His surname was Shao, and his name was Yao Fu and he was otherwise named The Peaceful And Faithful. Now these were troublous years at the end of the T’ang Dynasty in the times of the Five Kingdoms, such times that in the morning the country belonged to the Liang Dynasty and by evening to the Chin Dynasty. Truly was it as men said,

“Chu, Li, Shi, Liu, Kuo,

Liang, T’ang, Chin, Han, Chou,

In these five dynasties

Fifteen emperors reigned,

Fifty years they roiled the land.”

Then was the very heart of Heaven moved and according to Heaven’s law the wheel turned and times changed. In the town of Chia Ma there was born the first Emperor of Sung, The Great Conqueror. When this great wise man was born a red light shone over the whole sky and the air was filled with varied fragrances, nor were they dispelled the whole night through. In truth he was the God Of Thunder And Lightning himself, born from above into human flesh, and he was a brave and fierce and heroic man. His intelligence, his tolerance, were supreme, nor was there ever any Emperor to compare with him. With his staff in his hand he marched on and conquered five hundred cities until they all acknowledged him. That Emperor indeed swept clean the land and washed away all evil from it.

The name of his empire was The Great Sung and his capital was in P’ien Liang, or K’ai Feng. Through nine dynasties and eight Emperors he was considered chief and he was first Emperor of four hundred years of the Sung Dynasty. Because of this Shao Yao Fu, the scholar, praised him, saying, “But at last the clouds parted to show the clear sky.”

Truly was it as though again and at last the people saw a day of sun.

<Continued – Prologue #2>

November 20, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment

Aikido – Among Other Martial Arts – Part #3

Aikido – Among Other Martial Arts – Part #3

Excerpt from : “The Elements of Aikido” by Greg O’Connor

In an actual life-and-death confrontation the attacker can, and often will, resort to any means at hand to ensure success. Your resourcefulness and self-defence abilities determine the outcome. This means that you, as an aikidoist, must be constantly vigilant throughout your performance of the Aikido technique. You must remain alert for any opportunities your partner may have. They can execute additional strikes or grabs, introduce weapons, or be jointed by others helping in the attack. Therefore, as abilities advance, the aikidoist must be aware of not only one partner’s full capabilities but also the possibility of multiple attackers; and to still neutralize those attempts easily, efficiently and ethically.

Though practised as a martial art with these critical martial points in mind, the ultimate idea of Aikido is to bring people together. To create calm out of chaos; to find our common condition, to break down our feelings of separateness from one another and, in doing so, also break down our feelings of separateness from everything.

Typically, many who are attracted to Aikido have already experienced competition. They may no longer seek the forum of one-on-one contests to define or enhance their characters. Contests and competitions are very good, of course, for developing such qualities as determination, tenacity, teamwork and fair play. Aikido develops these same qualities but in an alternative context, with the most intimidating foe any of us will ever face – our own psyche. It is our own psyche’s patterns of conduct that can keep us from enjoying a peaceful and happy life.

In Aikido training you work with men and women – big, small, strong, weak, scared and scary. You have to recognize what each unique individual does to your internal equilibrium; what effect their presence, mood, energy level, personality and so on have on you; how they affect the interaction and outcome when practising the various Aikido techniques.

Many other martial arts have what can be loosely described to as a ‘boot camp’ atmosphere with a militaristic approach to training. The discipline can be harsh and even severe. This, like a training camp, certainly has the effect of forging character, developing perseverance and individual will-power. It can enhance personal discipline, increase individual tenacity and fortitude, implant respect and adherence to authority, and impart the advantages of teamwork. The advantage of Aikido training is that it includes these very same benefits. With Aikido, however, they are brought about by alternative methods involving co-operation and compassion – and in an alternative context based on friendship and peaceful camaraderie.

Many of the people who find Aikido attractive do not need or desire training camp methods. They may have, as the saying goes, ‘been there, seen it, done it, got the T-shirt’. Some have even had extensive experience, attained significant rank in another discipline, and wish to move on to expand their horizons. Commonly, many do not feel the need to prove anything to anyone else and wish to enrich themselves in other ways.

‘True victory,’ Aikido’s founder said, ‘is victory over self.’ If you can claim that victory and bask in its glow then you have already won over every other opponent and situation that will come before you. This is a very real challenge, as we all know, because this type of victory is only attained after meeting and accepting the challenge of all challenges: to maintain our composure, our balance, our peace, as often as possible, if not always. In Aikido, this victory – to be able to use that state of balance to act with evolved appropriateness – is the goal and the reward.

November 19, 2010 Posted by | Aikido | Leave a comment

Aikido – Among Other Martial Arts – Part #2

Aikido – Among Other Martial Arts – Part #2

Excerpt from : “The Elements of Aikido” by Greg O’Connor

Some other arts can be considered linear and static, insisting on maintaining one’s position regardless of the force coming in. Attacks are blocked and deflected. In order to effectively perform those blocks conditioning of the forearms and shins is needed, resulting in tissue bruising and damage, calluses, calcium build-ups on the bone from hairline fracturing, and general trauma of the body. Aikido does not require such conditioning.

In Aikido, the attack is not blocked, but blended with. It is not deflected; it is redirected. Force is not met with direct force. We blend with the attack’s force, adding our own balanced energy to it and sending it safely by us. We can describe Aikido as being non-linear, circular and fluid. We maintain our position by moving it. Our body movement, not our body, absorbs the power of the attack. When the attack comes in, the aikidoist envelops it, at the same time adjusting safely to a new position while guiding the passing attack safely away.

Other arts may also use similar principles (ie, absorption and redirection) but often conclude the interaction with the more violent options of striking or kicking. Some have only limited interaction with a live practice partner and some not at all, preferring solitary practice, but in Aikido you must practise with a partner. Aikido requires personal interaction with its various degrees of commitment and intensity. Just as you cannot learn to ride a horse without the horse, you cannot learn to blend Aikido technique to another’s attack without that other person. You must see the other person before you; you must feel his or her presence, and how it affects your heart.

Other martial art systems are typically competition based. They have contests and tournaments where qualities of assertion and fortitude are brought out and developed. These qualities represent the healthy side of competition. The down side is that overemphasis on competition may develop into aggression. Assertion is desirable. Aggression is not. It can lead one to the assumption that ‘might makes right’ or ‘to get what you want you have to fight’. This may also lead to the belief that you must defeat someone else in order to achieve your goals. In Aikido we strive for a more evolved approach. Through principles based on respect, co-operation and benevolence Aikido strives for mutual benefits resulting from any interaction. Using Aikido, we are hoping to have learned something from the struggles of those who have gone before us; something that not only allows us to survive as individuals, but also as a responsible and continually evolving species.

Other arts pit the practitioner against one solitary opponent. These contests, being essentially sports contests, require participants to follow specific rules, necessary for safety and good sportsmanship. Because of this the full range of the opponent’s attack capabilities and options is restricted. They are sports contests where a sort of gentlemen’s Marquis de Queensbury rules apply. In a real-life physical assault there is no such thing as sportsmanship. These sport combatants do not have to be concerned with such things as unnecessary roughness, biting, vitals being viciously attacked, eyes being gouged out, the introduction of weapons, or additional attackers coming at them simultaneously.

Traditional Aikido, as conceived by Morihei Ueshiba, has no contests, competitions or tournaments. Some Aikido styles, such as Tomiki style, do have competition. That may be fine for those who wish to compete but, nevertheless, it is contrary to the basic philosophy of traditional Aikido.

The competition that traditional Aikido encourages is the one that endeavours to improve upon and evolve our own characters, to balance ourselves, and to correct and refine our own behaviour patterns. The founder of Aikido said that it was not an art for correcting others, but for correcting our own minds. The battle is not with an outside enemy, but with the inner demons that work to prevent us from living a life of deep fulfillment and contentment – a life of true peace. The competition is in the challenge to balance ourselves on all levels – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – regardless of the situations in which we find ourselves. The challenge is also to accomplish all this on our own merit, not at the expense of damaging another’s health or well-being, or resorting to the defeat of someone else; destruction and violence are undesirable alternatives. The ideal result of Aikido training is to simultaneously better ourselves and others, whether they are attackers or supporters.

The rules contained within competition restrict an opponent’s full options, limit the contest to one attacker, and foster a certain level of complacency. This is something that can be very detrimental in a real-life attack. With Aikido training we assume the attacker is not going to ‘stick to the rules’. Using any of our Aikido techniques in an actual self-defence scenario, we must be able to neutralize one attacker and still use them to effectively shield against any further attacks. All this is done while retaining the option to throw one attacker into the others in order to stop or impede them.

<Continued – part 3>

November 16, 2010 Posted by | Aikido | Leave a comment

“NGOBAMA” by Budiarto Shambazy

KOLOM POLTIK EKONOMI (http://koran.kompas.com/read/2010/11/13/02454821/ngobama)

“Ngobama” | Budiarto Shambazy | Sabtu, 13 November 2010 | 02:45 WIB

Saya yakin andai ada sesi tanya jawab dalam pidato di Balairung Kampus UI, Depok, Rabu (10/11), banyak hadirin yang curhat kepada Presiden AS Barack Obama. Soalnya dia mendadak jadi pemimpin idola yang kita rindukan walau cuma mampir di Jakarta 19 jam saja.

Curhat pertama begini. ”Bapak dua kali membatalkan lawatan ke sini karena bencana kebocoran minyak Teluk Meksiko dan memperjuangkan RUU jaminan kesehatan. Kenapa para pemimpin/politisi kami malah ke luar negeri saat ada bencana di Wasior, Mentawai, dan Merapi?”

Curhat nomor dua lain lagi. ”Bapak warga minoritas, tapi bisa jadi presiden. Kok bisa? Sukar dibayangkan itu terjadi di sini karena hampir semua etnis dan agama minoritas dimusuhi atau diserbu. Pemerintah berpangku tangan saja!”

Sekarang curhat nomor tiga. ”Pak, apa benar mau membantu pemberantasan korupsi? Kalau benar, tolong cepat-cepat kirim agen-agen FBI menyidik korupsi Century. Kalau bisa, kerja sama kemitraan strategis mencakup pula bantuan ahli-ahli AS mengurai banjir dan macet Jakarta!”

Pidato Obama bukan saja mengundang curhat, tetapi juga tangis. Saya dua kali diundang menyaksikan pidatonya ketika merayakan kemenangan Pilpres 2008 di Chicago, November 2008, dan dilantik sebagai presiden di Washington DC, Januari 2009.

Ratusan warga mewek, mulai dari yang menangis meraung-raung sampai yang hanya menitikkan air mata. Mereka yang menangis tak pandang bulu: tua, muda, kaya, miskin, hitam, putih, sendiri-sendiri, atau beramai-ramai. Saya bersumpah ikut sedikit terharu!

Jika berpidato, Obama memang enggak pernah curhat. Tetapi, ia reach out mendengarkan curhat rakyat. Akibatnya, rakyat merasa punya teman berbagi dan berharap hidupnya bisa lebih baik. Itu sesuai dengan slogan kampanye kemenangan Obama, ”Yes We Can” (Bersama Kita Bisa).

Mengapa Obama pandai menampung curhat? Kini saya tahu jawabannya: 50 persen karena ia orang awam yang tak sudi berpura-pura dan 50 persen karena rakyat kecewa kepada Presiden George W Bush selama delapan tahun memerintah.

Obama sebenarnya kurang pandai berpidato, makanya ia disarankan tetap memakai teleprompter. Namun, ia jujur dalam menyampaikan isi dan cara menyampaikan pidato dengan gaya profesor rendah hati. Seperti kata pepatah, the singer, not the song.

Rakyat AS tergila-gila kepada Obama karena sebal kepada George W Bush. Fenomena ini lebih kurang sama dengan yang dialami 5.000 hadirin di Balairung UI, yang tergila-gila pula kepada Obama karena merasa sebal terhadap kelakuan para pemimpin kita.

Jadi, ”Obamania” di sini cuma sekadar kompensasi politik. Kini di negaranya Obama mulai menghadapi masalah, tetapi popularitasnya tak menurun drastis, masih rata-rata 40 persen. Dan, sampai sekarang ia praktis belum tersaingi untuk jadi presiden 2012-2016.

Nah, Obama sebenarnya bukan melawat, cuma ”mampir” ke Jakarta dari India, on the way ke Korea Selatan dan Jepang. Kita boleh saja gembira karena rakyat Australia dan Guam pasti kecewa batal dikunjungi oleh ”Obama the rock star”.

Meski tak pernah menulis lagu dan menjual CD, karisma Obama tak kalah dibandingkan dengan Mick Jagger. Mereka mampu menyedot puluhan ribu penonton sekali manggung. Makanya Obama ngotot mau pidato di UI untuk reach out ke berbagai kalangan yang diwakili 5.000 undangan saja.

Tampak sekali Obama enjoy-enjoy aja. Buktinya ia bolak-balik ngomong Indonesia, menyimpang dari teks di teleprompter. Tiap kali mengucapkan bahasa kita, matanya berbinar dan senyumnya lebar memperlihatkan deretan giginya yang seperti permen Chiclets.

Setidaknya Obama menjawab curhat kita melalui tiga hal pokok: pembangunan, demokrasi, dan toleransi. Ia paham kesenjangan masih besar, demokrasi bermasalah, dan kebinekaan terancam. Tak heran ia paham tiga hal ini karena, katanya, ”Indonesia bagian dari diri saya.”

Benar, untuk ketiga soal itu kita mungkin lebih tahu. Namun, kita kok baru sadar dan prihatin tiga soal besar tersebut masih saja melilit bangsa yang sudah merdeka 65 tahun ini justru ketika diucapkan oleh seorang Obama?

Jawabannya mudah: selama ini kita kurang sadar dan prihatin karena ketiga soal itu hanya diucapkan sampai pada tingkat wacana semata-mata oleh mulut-mulut pemimpin kita. Pidato mereka kosong tanpa makna karena mereka selalu ”lain kata lain perbuatan”.

Saya yakin Obama senang bukan kepalang walau cuma mampir. Buktinya ia bilang, ”Pulang kampung nih!” Setidaknya ia juga puas melahap habis berbagai suguhan yang bukan cuma sate dan bakso, melainkan juga tongseng, somay, gado-gado, sampai sop buntut.

Lawatan Obama tak lebih dari nostalgia belaka yang bersifat simbolis saja. Mungkin sebagian dari pejabat kita yang ”sok genting”, sampai-sampai sapi-sapi dan kambing-kambing kurban di pinggir jalan enggak boleh ikut nonton Obama karena ditutupi terpal.

Saya harap Anda terhibur ikutan ngobama atau, dalam bahasa Inggris, Obama-ing. Arti nge dalam bahasa Betawi lebih kurang ”iseng saja”, misalnya nge-mal (iseng keliling mal). Untung dia hanya 19 jam di sini. Kalau enggak, banyak facebooker membuat grup ”Dukung Obama Jadi Presiden”.

November 13, 2010 Posted by | Work | 2 Comments

Aikido – Among Other Martial Arts – Part #1

Aikido – Among Other Martial Arts – Part #1

Excerpt from : “The Elements of Aikido” by Greg O’Connor

Martial artists have spent a thousand years perfecting both their internal and external balance. They have studied diligently to develop special skills that would enable them to meet life and its challenges in a relaxed, but alert and composed manner. They have sought to acquire the ability to respond quickly, effortlessly and with maximum efficiency in all situations. They have searched for an ideal art that would give them these capabilities. Aikido is such an art.

Most martial arts are based on the theory of self-protection and preservation. Aikido is based on the insistence of not only mutual protection and preservation, but also mutual growth and enhancement. Like most martial arts, it begins and ends with respect; but Aikido takes that a step further. It requires that he respect be maintained at a high level – throughout the interaction and even beyond – to all things at all times.

The main goal of most martial arts is to vanquish a foe. Wise leaders warn us, though, that a vanquished foe is still a dangerous one. Revenge and retribution are reactions common to us all. Even if our opponent has been completely destroyed, we may produce these desires in others, who may have been emotionally affected by our actions or who simply disagreed with us on their use. There are always going to be those that disagree with us and our actions – so why create even more?Aikido’s founder believed that it is not a technique to fight and defeat an enemy. It is a way to reconcile the world and make human beings one family. Aikido seeks the harmonious resolution of conflict in all its varied forms. It is a strategy for winning that, ideally, has no losers. It requires one to remain centered and balanced on all levels so as to recognize any attack, blend with it, and redirect it into a safe conclusion for all.

It is primarily a defensive martial art, preferring mainly defensive strategies. However, it can certainly be used, if necessary, to take the initiative once an attack is imminent. If moral judgment indicates an offensive response to deal with an attack, then Aikido easily has that capability. Many aikidoka may cringe at that statement, insisting that peace be maintained in all circumstances. I fully agree that this is the preferred ideal. But the additional reality is that there are predators in the world who would not only victimize you, but also your loved ones. Would you not rush to their defence without a second thought? Many people would because the protective instinct is a powerful one and it can be a potent ally. Since Aikido is an art of protection it can draw on that natural instinct to qualify its use and response. It gives credence to our protective nature and, with guidance, allows it to flourish.

In Aikido there is no attack per se. There are no aggressive strategies. We point out the openings and opportunities, known as tsuki, where strikes and kicks can be applied or executed. These are created during the actual execution of the Aikido technique itself. Knowing one has the option to take a more offensive approach at any point should give one confidence to be able to choose more ethical options to dispel the conflict. We also teach the new student how to execute a proper punch, strike, kick or grab in order to properly defend against them. However, we do not drill in those strikes or kicks. In arts that rely on offensive striking, practitioners are put through solitary kicking and punching drills, performing the same punch or kick over and over again. This is done so as to not only perfect its execution, but to make it second nature. The majority of the practice is spent repeating the same kick or strike hundreds of times, then moving on to practise another kick or punch in the same manner. It is interesting that a great many of the people that come to Aikido have already been through another art, usually one of the striking arts. They often wish to expand their horizons, either martially or morally, and have no need or desire to perform such drills.

In Aikido, as a basic practice, a single attack is performed and a specific Aikido technique is demonstrated by the instructor as a response against it. The students practise by repeating the entire sequence, alternating both left and right sides to develop symmetry, balance and ambidexterity.

<Continued – part 2>

November 13, 2010 Posted by | Aikido | Leave a comment

Black – Spetriniv Gulag : Hard Mode – Part 2

Black – Spetriniv Gulag : Hard Mode – Part 2

Before 2nd Checkpoint

– after dropping down from broken stairs, quickly hide behind it. There are 2 Shielded Guys here, shoot only when they pop up their heads, about 8-10 bullets of M249 will do. After you kill the 2nd Shielded Guys, quickly take position to aim the doorway far across the room, there should be a Shotgun Man & another Shielded Guy entering. Try to intercept them from your current distance, because they tend to keep walking towards you & the nearer they are then you are in more danger.

Before 3rd checkpoint

– after taking care of 2 Machine Gun Guys & entering area with rails, there is another Shielded Guy. Use the same strategy above, take cover at the corner & shoot only when his head pop up.

– in the next area with big vertical columns (or pipes?), go up to the bridge & secure the secluded room with RPG. There will be 2 Shielded Guys with Magnum coming for you & the safest way to eliminate them is using the RPG all the way when they appear at the end of the bridge. If only 1 Shielded Guy appears, then the other one is in the glitch : he is stuck at the stairs trying to come up to no avail. Try to shoot his head from above, but not too close to him otherwise he shoots you. Coming down the bridge, prepare Magnum to take out a Shotgun Man approaching from the right.

– before going down the wooden platform for the 3rd Checkpoint, equip M249 & RPG.

Before 4th Checkpoint

– stepping down from the wooden platform, do not enter the big area yet, but instead turn left & climb stairs up. From your position, try to shoot the Shotgun Man from far away, then another Shotgun at the left corner. After you’re done, quickly take cover because a Shielded Guy appears at the same position. You can try aim for his head, but sometimes he shoots back & you’ll loose a lot of health. The easier way is to use the RPG.

– Later on, 2 more Shielded Guys coming for you. Use the RPG again from the top of the stairs & remember to aim for the floor (not on the person).

– Going into the tunnel, watch out for a Shotgun Man who will actually come closer to you if you let him. Then another Shielded Guy appear, this time take cover & aim for his head. Before going for the Final Fight, equip M249 & RPG.

Final Fight

– do not come out of tunnel, you can really finish the fight from inside tunnel position. If enemies somehow stop spawning, just move out a bit but never ever exactly step out of the tunnel, because the door will shut if you do that.

– after taking down some Machine Gun Guys, 4 Shielded Guys will show up. This time if you couldn’t get a good angle for their heads, just shoot their feet, that works about the same. Then destroy all crates to get a clear view, along with middle & right pillar. When you hear a rocket shot at you, quickly go backward. Now slowly move forward until you can get a vague view of the RPG Guy on the far platform, he is usually moving between middle & right pillar. Aim for his head with M249, it is not easy but doable. After you eliminate him, there will be 2 more RPG Guys appearing on the same platform, so don’t change your position just yet.

– after RPG Guys are take care of, next is 4 Machine Gun Guys appear in the left & right booth. It is pretty straight forward, just aim for their heads. When the booths blown up to pieces, be careful when you exit the tunnel as a Shotgun Man may approach you from left behind. Go to the demolished booth to finish the game.


Congratulations! You just made it. If you want to replay, switch M249 with G36C, it will make the battle a whole lot easier 🙂

November 12, 2010 Posted by | Fun | Leave a comment

Black – Spetriniv Gulag : Hard Mode – Part 1

Black – Spetriniv Gulag : Hard Mode – Part 1

Black is actually an “old” game, it came out in 2006, long before the Counter Strike fever in Indonesia. It is quite a decent first person shooting game on console PS2 & XBox, especially for the kind of people like me who do not want to abuse a high spec PC for gaming purpose. I especially like the surrounding theme, which could really set the mood as if we were in a real messy eastern Europe country where exchanging bullets is happening on every single day. Kinda sucks if we were ever to live there in real life, you know – got some nasty stories from a couple of Bosnian pals many years ago – so fortunately this is only a game.

I played this game since it first came out & always stuck at mission 8 (Spetriniv Gulag) on Hard mode, never got through even the 1st checkpoint. Frustrated, I was too lazy to continue until recently I install HD Loader for my PS2; hence I do not need the CD reading and lagging anymore. I then searched for any advice and walkthrough on the net, but somehow they don’t help much. I tried to play the level again about 20 times and voila – a few days ago I succeeded beating the game. So now I just want to share with how I did it. This is not a proper walkthrough, though; I’ll only point out some tips to overcome most obstacles.

Before 1st Checkpoint

– at the beginning of the game, don’t forget to get the silencer for MP5 from the building on the right.

– in the same room where you find the Magnum & 1st wall Intel; before you proceed, blow up the door on the left with Remington, then switch gun to Magnum.

– at the rooftop, after you deal with the Shotgun Man (use Magnum & zoom), shoot below a soldier who’s holding a M249. After that, proceed forward & wait for a soldier at stairs facing away from you. Shoot him on the head & peek out a bit to trigger the RPG guy. Switch to Sniper Rifle & backtrack all the way to the opposite side of rooftop, when you zoom you can see him but he cannot see you from that distance. Snipe him, switch the Sniper Rifle with MP5 lying around, then backtrack all the way downstairs where you got the Magnum, go through the door you blasted previously with Remington. On the bridge, shoot a guy behind the box in the alley where you came from then 2 guys opposite the window at the backyard. After that switch the MP5 with M249, then go up to the rooftop, switch again with the sniper rifle.

– bring the sniper rifle to where the G36C is, switch & use the silencer to kill enemies sighted while crouching position. Use sniper rifle to shoot the Machine Gun Guy in the booth, then if you are skilled enough try to take out 1 of 2 Shotgun Man who are coming out from the left door. If you have a lot of MP5 ammo, try to take out all boxes in the courtyard, so enemies cannot hide behind them. Finish off normal soldiers, then equip M249 & Magnum before going down the broken stairs. Quickly crouch facing the courtyard, as a Shotgun Man will be coming towards you, kill him with Magnum. Wait a bit & a normal soldier would also coming from the same direction, shoot him using M249.

– now get into the room next to you, lob a grenade or use Magnum on the Shotgun Man coming out from the room. Inside there is a safe & remember this room is very important to deal with the Shielded Guys later on. Switch M249 with Sniper Rifle on the window & Magnum with MP5 lying around. After taking care of RPG on the 2nd right window from the top, proceed to the building on the left which has a bridge & RPG ammo. On the top of the building there is a RPG Launcher, watch out for the Shotgun Man on the stairs, though.

– when the Shielded Guys appear, this is your cue to backtrack to the room with the safe. Crouch at the corner & aim the doorway for anyone coming in. You don’t need to zoom, just aim the white dot at the bottom of the doorway, not straight out. Sooner or later, 2 shielded guys will appear on the doorway & quickly send them away with the RPG. Wait a bit & 2 more shielded guys will follow, blast them & those pain in the necks are gone. I have tried so many tricks, but this is the easiest method & less health risk. Prepare to throw a grenade before entering the booth, equip M249 + Magnum & then proceed to the 1st checkpoint.

<Continued – part 2>

November 12, 2010 Posted by | Fun | 1 Comment

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Author’s Preface #2

All Men Are Brothers – [Shui Hu Chuan] – Author’s Preface #2

By Shih Nai-an of Tung-tu

When my friends are all come there should be 16 of us but there are not many days when all can come. Yet except on days of great winds or of mighty rains, there are few days when none come. Usually 6 or 7 gather together each day. When my friends are come they do not necessarily drink wine; if they like to do so, they may, but they need not if it is not their wish – each man to his own heart. We do not depend on wine for our happiness. Conversation is our delight. What we talk of is not the affairs of the nation. This is because not only do I feel it right to keep to my humble position, but also because our place is far distant from affairs of state, and political news is only hearsay and hearsay is never true and it is a waste of saliva to talk of it. Neither do we talk of people’s sins. Men under Heaven have no sins originally and we ought not to malign them. What we speak of ought not to be such as to frighten persons. What I speak of I want people to understand easily; although after all they cannot understand, because I speak of that of which they have never heard and moreover every man is intent on his own affairs.

My friends are all contemptuous of high place. They are wide of heart and they understand everything and so what they discourse upon has its influence on all, and therefore when our day’s talk is over, a matter is ended. Yet there is no one to write out our words, although sometimes I think I will put down what we have said in a book to leave to those who come after us. But until now I have not put it down thus. Why? When the desire for fame is over, the heart grows languid. We discourse for pleasure and the making of books is tiresome. Moreover, when we are gone no one will read what we have said. Or if perhaps this year we make the book the next year we will surely regret it.

In this book there are 70 chapters. When my friends were gone and I sat alone under the lamp, I wrote in idleness. At times when the wind blew and the rains fell and no one came then also did I write. Turning the book over and over in my mind it became at last such a habit to me that it was not necessary even to open my book and take up my brush and prepare something to write and read for my own diversion. For when at times I walked along my garden wall or at night covered by my quilt I lay awake, or when I picked up the end of my girdle and twisted it in my fingers, or when I stared unseeing at some object, at such times the stuff of which my book is made came crowding into my mind.

Some may ask thus: “You have said already that you did not make a book from your discourse with friends; why then have you now made this book alone?” But if this book is made it is without fame, and if it be not made no harm is done. When the heart is idle and there is nothing to force its will, whether the reader is good and learned or evil and unlearned, anyone can read this book. Whether the book is well done or not is not important enough to worry over.

Alas, I was born to die! How can I know what those who come after me and read my book will think of it? I cannot even know what I myself, born into another incarnation, will think of it. I do not even know if I myself afterwards can even read this book. Why therefore should I care?

November 8, 2010 Posted by | Read | Leave a comment