Ashi waza with zombies

Hike a zombie up on your hip for a big harai goshi, and he’s probably going to bite you in the left tit as he sails right over it. But: sweep his foot, and he’s goin’ down.

We don’t bark as much as we used to.

People have the most ignorant ideas sometimes. Like, take natural selection. Survival of the fittest, right? But, what does “fit” mean? People got so caught up in that whole “nature red in tooth and claw” thing. But, “fitness” is more than, like, Cross-Fit. (“The first rule of Cross-Fit: Always talk about Cross-Fit.”) It’s fitness for an environment, for a context. Resources suddenly get scarce? Fitness can mean being small, needing fewer calories–I bet you don’t see a lot of large terrestrial mammals in your neighborhood. Competition for breeding females just got stiffer? Fitness can mean just looking hotter–peacocks didn’t evolve those big-ass tails because they let you fly better, believe you me. Fitness is a complicated concept, and people have the most ignorant ideas sometimes. They used to, anyways–the people with ignorant ideas are mostly dead now.

We don’t bark as much as we used to. People sometimes punished us if we barked at the wrong times, but a lot of people liked having a barking dog around. Scare away the bad guys, make the neighbors think you’re a badass–always a good thing, right? But: no. Fitness is relative to a context, and contexts change. And that’s when natural selection happens. Your environment changes, and suddenly fitness means something new. Bark at a bad guy, and he’ll probably go away. Bark at a zombie, and it just tells the rest of them where to find you. Get found by a bunch of zombies, and your days of passing on your genes are over.  

People have the most ignorant ideas sometimes.  Like, Chad.  My former master.  I loved him limitlessly and unconditionally.  He had a car.  He learned how to drive before he bought it, right?  He also had a pistol.  He was gonna learn how to use it–after he bought it.  Well… he did get around to buying it.  The night that the thing that apparently used to be an emergency room nurse showed up with a bite missing out of its forearm and an insatiable appetite for human flesh came crashing through the bay window, he didn’t even know how to take the safety off.  Christ…it never even occurred to him that you can usually take care of a lone zombie with a pistol just by SMACKING IT UPSIDE THE FUCKING HEAD WITH IT.  I tried to tell him.  But, he never really thought to listen to other people–certainly not to a Blue Heeler mix.  He can be so frustratingly ignorant.  Well, he used to–the ignorant people are mostly dead now. 

We don’t bark as much as we used to. The thing to be today: a pointer. I used to have this buddy. A German shorthair. His master used to laugh at him because he would point at butterflies. His master used to laugh at him because he would point at his fucking water dish. Now his master is dead. My buddy? Now people bring him bitches in heat. To fuck. Can you imagine people bringing you bitches in heat to fuck? I remember an old Saturday Night Live sketch where John Belushi gets so excited about the idea of being able to walk into an Amsterdam cafe and buy a bowl of hashish that he goes into convulsions and falls off of his chair. That’s how I feel about the idea of people bringing me bitches in heat. To fuck. Bummer that I’m fixed. Lucky unfixed pointers. Lucky goddamn unfixed pointers. Lucky goddamn shitty fucking goddamn unfixed pointers. Lucky goddamn shitty fucking goddamnit goddamnit goddamnit-to-fucking-hell lucky fucking unfixed piece of shit fucking unfixed pointers…. Wait, I gotta pick myself up off the floor…

People have the most ignorant ideas sometimes. Like, take judo. People thought that it would be useless in the case of a zombie apocalypse. Sure–hike a zombie up on your hip for a big harai goshi, and he’s probably going to bite you in the left tit as he sails right over it. But: sweep his foot, and he’s goin’ down–zombies are not super-agile. “Old man’s judo,” they called the ashi waza, the “foot techniques.” But, they’re perfect for escaping from a zombie or five. “You want a real dog, get a Doberman pinscher or a Rottweiller, not a funny-looking Blue Heeler mix.” But Dobies and Rotts–they bark. Blue Heelers? Why the fuck do you think they call us “heelers?” We’re shepherds. We go for the feet. Go for a zombie’s foot, and he’s goin’ down. Dog judo. People are so ignorant sometimes. Well, they used to be–the ignorant ones are dead now.

This is a work of fiction. The zombie apocalypse is not here–yet. Scroll down a bit for demonstrations of the judo techniques that came up in the story.

A nicely-executed harai goshi. Don’t do it to a zombie, though.
A nicely-executed foot sweep. You can do this to zombies until the cows come home. Well… until your Blue Heeler comes home, at any rate.

Featured image source: the Mundo Judo web site.

Judo in France II: tai otoshi

So, last night’s work-out was all about tai otoshi.  It was as well-thought-out as any judo class I’ve ever attended, I think.

We started with working on tsugi ashi.  Initially, we did the forward and backward (en arrière) movements of nage no kata.  Then we worked on going in different directions–sidewards, diagonally, and even around in semi-circles, which mystified me somewhat.  Next we worked on doing a little circle with our foot while moving…sideways?  Forward?  Not sure how to describe it.  This mystified me even more.

From there, we moved on to tai otoshi.  We started with the typical things–weight on the foot that you want to throw the guy over, etc.  Then we moved on to timing–the senseis showed how it was much easier to throw your partner if he’s walking and you attack the rear foot, which I think is different from anything I’ve seen before.  They’re right–it works well.  Finally, we worked on what to do if the guy steps around it, and that’s where the mysterious semicircles came in–you use them to go with your partner’s sideways movement.

Finally, we moved on to countering tai otoshi.  Here’s where the mystifying circle with your foot comes in–you use it esquiver (that mysterious word again–in this sense, to evade, the central meaning of the word) the throw and step around in front of your partner.  Then we learned three counter-throws, depending on how well your partner is pushing with his lapel grip–slip in for o goshi if he doesn’t have a good push there, turn all the way in for seoi nage if he has a strong push (really nice–you totally use his push against him), and ko soto gake if you can’t get in at all.

As always, Zipf’s Law brought some new words my way last night:

  • chuter: To fall.
  • esquiver: To evade, avoid, dodge.  I talked about this one a couple of posts ago.  Last night, the sensei used it in the most basic sense (in a judo context)–evading an attack.
  • en dessous: Beneath.  When you do tai otoshi, you need to attack beneath your opponent’s knee.
  • pêcher: To fish.  The sensei used this as Hideki Sensei does the English word–to describe the motion of the tsurite.
  • un enchaînement: In the judo sense, we would call this a combination.  It’s a chain, series, succession, sequence, linkage.
  • en arrière: Backwards.

Oh–the beautiful woman in her 50s showed up again, this time in civvies.  Incredibly elegant–like a movie star.  The old-fashioned kind, not the new kind.  I’m smitten.

Judo in France: Dojo Shiseikan

France is said to be the number 2 judo country in the world, after Japan.  In the United States, with over 300 million people, there are perhaps 20,000 judo students.  In contrast, in France, with 63 million people, there are 550,000 judo students.

Google Maps suggests that in my neighborhood alone, there are three judo clubs within walking distance.  I picked one based on the fact that their web site said that they had practice tonight, and after purchasing a box of aspirin, headed out the door.

After getting permission to join the class, I headed onto the mat, shaking my head–nothing but big, strong, young colored belts (beginners).  You really don’t want to practice with beginning judoka, especially young, strong ones–they know how to throw you, but they have zero control, and if you are going to get hurt doing judo, it’s with a beginner.  Imagine my surprise when a stunningly beautiful blonde woman in maybe her 50s walks in during warm-ups.  More on that later.

The work-out was interesting.  To begin with, we spent a bunch of time working on tai sabaki (methods of moving your body).  After working on this for awhile, the sensei and one of the black belts illustrated how to apply it–not with applications in randori (sparring), but with a set from kime-no-kata (an old judo kata that you usually wouldn’t learn until you’re a 4th or 5th degree black belt), showing defense against a knife.  We rarely do kata in the US (unless we’re lucky enough to go to Sensei Barry’s incredible kata class), and we do self defense even less often.  Only after that did they demonstrate applications in randori.

So, we finish warm-ups and start to pair off, and when no one else comes near me, the beautiful blonde woman in maybe her 50s walks over to me, and we work together for the rest of the evening until it’s time for randori.  During randori one of the senseis works with me first, as he should–you have to make sure that visitors won’t hurt your students.  I get my butt kicked, I go home happy, and of course dinner is a baguette, cheese, and a pinot noir.

Judo words of the day:

  • décoller: This verb has various meanings related to moving something up or off of something–an airplane taking off, removing wallpaper, lifting something off the ground, beheading (!).  We were doing crunches and I was apparently sitting up too much, because the sensei told me décollez les épaules–just lift your shoulders up.
  • esquiver: To evade, avoid, dodge.  Get out of the way, basically.  When you between yourself and your partner, that’s esquiver.
  • pousser: To push, shove.  We did a lot of exercises where one person would pousse the other, and the other would do ko uchi gari or ippon seoi nage.

Unresolved linguistic issue of the day: is it bon uke, or bonne uke?

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