Completely off topic - Wanna fight?
Posted on Tuesday, September 20 2016 @ 17:26:51 PST
This will be a bit of a lengthy blog post. Even though it's off topic and not related to video games, the topic is something I'm quite passionate about.
Martial arts has been a huge part of my life for the past seven years. Previously, I did absolutely nothing and thus lead a poor life style, which resulted in severe weight gain and general negative health. I loved watching martial arts in movies and video games and I would often arrogantly think to myself, "Yeah, I could probably do that" when really, no, I couldn't. Not in a million years.
It wasn't until I attended a friend's birthday party one night at age twenty one where I was assaulted by two big, drunken guys. The experience was obviously horrible and it left me feeling humiliated, scared and deeply ashamed. I didn't want to leave the house by myself and if in public with friends, I was still scared that those two guys might just show up.
Shortly after that night, I took up judo to learn how to try and defend myself, should the situation ever happen again. To be absolutely truthful, I took up judo for two reasons... one, it was close (and I didn't have my driver's license back then) and two, it was a cheaper martial art (I didn't have a job at the time, so no income, little to no money). I was incredibly unfit and despite only training twice a week, each hour and a half session felt grueling, I seriously felt like I was going to die... but instead of wanting to learn how to fight, I learned something else. I lost six kilograms (just over thirteen pounds) in two weeks. I knew if I kept this up, I could lose weight and get healthy.
Nine months later, I was thirty two kilograms lighter. Starting off at one hundred and twenty eight kilos (over two hundred and eighty pounds), I eventually became ninety six kilos (just over two hundred and eleven pounds). Seven years later and coming to eight, I'm still doing judo.
Just to clarify, despite my dumb user name, I'm not a "master" by any means nor do I wear a black belt, I have a brown belt in judo, at least. While I have still so much to learn, I have learned a lot from judo, not just about the art, but about life in general.
I also did two years of Wing Chun kung fu during my first two years of judo, but really, I wasn't very good at it. I also found it difficult to do Wing Chun, along with judo, along with trying to go to the gym whilst working full time. Coming home at nine o'clock every night was a pain in the arse. I wish I continued, but time and motivation were factors that I was lacking. I had to drop something and since I loved judo too much while also wanting to get stronger, I reluctantly made the decision to drop Wing Chun.
I try to avoid talking about judo as well as martial arts in general when it comes to in person conversation because frankly, it can annoy people. When I first started, I was very passionate about it, because of how life changing it was for me and while it was a passion, but it annoyed people. But another reason I don't talk about martial arts very often is because of two reasons. One, I end up feeling like a target and two, the more common reason, I get criticized, critiqued and essentially "taught" by someone who has never been formally trained in anything, e.g. a keyboard or couch warrior. These two circumstances don't always happen, but it seems annoyingly common.
I've met so many people in the last seven years who always have something to say when it comes to martial arts and self-defense, especially when they don't do or/and haven't done anything themselves. When I first started judo, a mate of mine asked me to show him a throw, so I showed him slowly, without actually throwing him. His response was "But what if I did this?", followed by a flurry of make believe punches, all aimed close to my throat. The lesson I learned? Don't ever try anything with anyone, because everyone has an unbreakable backup plan that will mess you up.
When I practiced Wing Chun, one of my class mates who to put it lightly, is an unfit, egotistical jerk, would always criticize judo. This contradicts my previous statement regarding people who don't or never have done martial arts, but this fella is an exception, as Wing Chun was his first martial art, which he was quite passionate about. He never actually tried judo himself nor has he actually fought anyone with a judo background. Try and explain how grappling can be beneficial, "I'll just do this", followed by classic Wing Chun "chain punching". The lesson I learned? Grappling is useless because you'll always get knocked out if you try and get close. Screw grappling.
I got a mate who claimed traditional Japanese jujitsu is better than judo, because of jujitsu's original purpose, which is to incapacitate an opponent in empty hand, close quarters combat so they can then be killed. Little did he know of judo's history, that judo comes from Japanese jujitsu and is actually an improved, refined and ultimately superior version of jujitsu. But nah, judo sucks man, because jujitsu is about killing people and judo isn't. The lesson I learned? If your martial art doesn't involve killing people, it sucks (also, don't try and debate with a drunk person).
I had a discussion with one fella who claims he used to do Wing Chun in some guy's backyard where ol' mate was apparently "the real deal" and "knows his ****" about Wing Chun. Did it for, you know, five or six years. Goes on about how he's gotten into fights at the pub or the night club, and how he can describe said fights in novel-like detail about how he dropped one or two guys, then concludes it with something like, "So you know, I could **** you up." The lesson I learned? Backyard martial arts are the best martial arts.
Finally, I had a great displeasure of someone who I won't formally mention... but he's the kind of douche who tries to make himself look bigger than he really is. Ever hear of "ILS"? That's "Imaginary Lat Syndrom", where a guy walks around with his arms apart, thinking he has a massive, Tom Hardy Bane-like back when really, their back is as flat as a surf board and as wide as a cricket bat. He's one of those kind of guys. Upon learning about my judo background, without me telling him (seriously, the creepy bugger looked me on the Internet), he goes on to explain about how he "used to" do kick boxing, how he "sometimes" does Krav Maga (or "Krav Munga" as he incorrectly calls it) and that "I'm a big guy" weighing a hundred kilos (about two hundred and twenty pounds). He also told me about the time he went to a night club, almost got into a fight with a guy, then decided to surprise ambush said guy later on in the night, as a "precaution" to protect himself. This is then concluded by "So yeah, you wouldn't wanna mess with me." The lesson I learned? Don't mess with part time martial artists who are cowards.
I could go on for ages about the people I met, but I won't. Instead, I'd like to point out how these five mentioned examples are bullshit. Here's the real lesson behind these kind of people.
When someone has to tell you about how tough they are, like... how many fights they've been in, being able to describe the fights in every detail, well, they're probably lying, or at least exaggerating their epic battle. If someone tells you how good they are but they don't want to show you or that they apparently can't, then again, they're probably lying. If someone tells you about all the experience and training they apparently have, but can't tell you specifically who trained them (and what their qualifications are, if any), where they were trained, when they were trained, or even the heritage and history behind their training? There's a seriously good chance that well... they're probably lying! People who claim they could beat you up, or that you shouldn't fight them, are probably full of **** too because... sure, in their imagination, they've probably thought of a dozen ways to cripple or kill you with their bare hands but in reality they're not gonna do ****. Why's that? Easy, they don't wanna go to jail.
The people mentioned in the above paragraph... if they do/say any of these things to you, they're most likely trying to show off, basically by trying to verbally prove to you that they are the alpha male and you are the beta, so to speak. It's just a lame attempt at intimidation, to make you feel small and weak, to make themselves feel big and strong. It's pretty much school yard bullying.
Here are some actual lessons I learned from martial arts.
Humility. If you train in martial arts, especially competitive martial arts like judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, MMA etc. then you are going to eat Humble Pie on a regular basis. You will get knocked down, you will get "tapped out" by people who are smaller and weaker than you, hell you will probably sometimes get beaten by people less experienced than you, it happens. These kind of sports teach you that if you get knocked down, you have to get back up and face the person who beat you, again, and you may very well lose again. In life, you're always going to encounter people who are better than you and more experienced than you, even if they aren't your size or age. In a way, martial arts teaches you to accept this and be at peace with this, while also helping you to overcome fears and get out of your comfort zone. To give you an example, I am six foot three and well over two hundred pounds, I'm not small. For a while, our judo club had a French black belt who was like five foot six and not even a hundred and fifty pounds, a small guy. However, because of his experience, speed and his aggression, he would wipe the floor clean with me, and it hurt! But I am thankful for receiving the opportunity to train with him and learn from him. There's always a bigger fish, even if they aren't exactly bigger than you.
Respect. Respect your instructor (coach, sensei, whatever you would like to call them), respect your elders, respect your training partners and most importantly, respect yourself. Martial arts teaches respect, it teaches that respect must be earned, not given. Respect is earned by being a good, reliable and hard working person. You won't earn everyone's respect in real life because some people are just the way they are for whatever reasons, but to be fair, not everyone will deserve your respect either.
Discipline. You show up to class, you train hard, it becomes a part of your routine in life. You begin to listen intently to your instructor, you try things, question things, you then research things in your own time and you might start diving into other forms of exercise outside the dojo, maybe running, swimming or weight lifting, you might start eating healthier too. By improving yourself physically (by exercise and training) and mentally (learning techniques, gaining experience and overall mental toughness), it may motivate and inspire you to further lead a healthier life style. A bit of respect leaks into here too, but the funny thing about martial arts and self defense is that over time, you might find that you don't want to get into a fight, you would rather avoid conflict because despite learning an art that can hurt people, you don't want to hurt people. This is showing respect for yourself as well as self control through discipline.
Understanding the difference between aggression and anger. Believe it or not, aggression, especially in competitive martial arts, is not a bad thing. Anger on the other hand is very bad and unwanted. Aggression can allow you to take action and deliver your techniques with full commitment with little to no hesitation, e.g. attempting a big throw, or a round house kick to someone's head etc. Your goal is to make the technique work, not to hurt the person. Anger on the other hand is the opposite. Anger is letting emotion and ego come into play, anger might feel like aggression but really, fighting angry means fighting blind and dangerous. You'll become inaccurate, sloppy, exert more energy than you should but most of all, fighting angry increases the risk of injury to both you and your partner. In a training environment, sure you want to win, but you do not want to hurt your training partner, that's the last thing you want to do. Hurt your partner, who are you gonna train with? No one wants to train with the angry guy who tries to hurt people. This one is an important lesson to me personally, as I have been hurt by people fighting angry (my right shoulder got hurt recently due to someone fighting angry with me, I haven't done judo in almost a month) and in the past, I too attempted to fight angry and got I hurt myself as a result.
And finally, martial arts isn't always about "fighting". This one will sound pretty funny, but hear me out. You might train in something, but every martial art and self-defense out there employs techniques that involves violence. In judo, you throw people on the ground, in muay thai, you change the shape of people's heads with your shins. Some people criticize or mock certain martial arts (I know taekwondo for example cops a lot of flack) but the point is, not everyone is in it to learn how to "fight". Some people might enjoy the additional benefits that martial arts offers, such as the above points, as well as the strong, powerful friendships that can be formed. It's not all about fighting. Personally, I think martial arts is all about self improvement.
If you don't practice martial arts, I'd highly recommend that you should! Not only will you learn some amazing skills, but it will help to continue building your body, confidence and overall character, plus you can make some amazing friends from these arts. And remember, if someone discovers that you've taken up krav maga classes or something and they decide to talk to you about how they trained in CQC in Big Boss' back yard... they're probably lying! ;)
"Snake, try to remember the basics of CQC..."
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Surprising Mechanics in Games
Posted on Tuesday, November 3 2015 @ 16:23:15 PST
This weekend my brother, my girlfriend and myself went down south interstate to Melbourne, Australia for PAX AUS 2015. The show was awesome, lots of fun, but that's a story for another time. The opening key note was presented by Warren Spector, a video game designer who was the creative director of the original Deus Ex. In his key note presentation, he talks about games that have mechanics in them that, while in the game, the developers didn't quite realize and players actually discovered it for themselves.
Warren discussed that when he and his mate were developing the dungeons for one of the Ultima games he was working on the time. The two decided that every puzzle in the game must have two solutions. Well, for one puzzle they had nothing, only one solution. It involved a wall of bars that the player couldn't pass, behind the wall was a lever needed to progress further. The player couldn't reach the switch, and thus would be required to have the telekinesis spell to pull down the lever to move forward.
One fella, who was play testing this game, had arrived to this particular area. Warren and his friend thought the tester was screwed because he lacked the needed spell to pull the lever. However, after thinking for a few minutes, the tester used a particular party member, a small rat-like character, to move under and right through the bars to physically pull the switch by hand. This left Warren and his mate with their jaws dropped, they had no idea that this was possible, despite building the dungeon and puzzles themselves.
Another example is the Korean-based online game GunZ. I used to play GunZ when I was a teenager, I played with my friends. For those who don't know, GunZ was a free to play arena based game, where players would fight each other in a third person manner using acrobatics, guns and swords. There was a strange bug in the game, where if players used their swords to attack/block and dashed at the same time, they could end up flying through levels. While this was never meant to be a part of the game, this bug became a part of the GunZ culture and became known as "K-Style".
I really like that about games, how some games have multiple solutions to problems that may, or may not be made on purpose by the developer. It not only surprises the player, but the developer themselves.
One example I personally have... back in 2000, I was twelve years old, playing the classic Perfect Dark, up to the Area 51 level. As Joanna Dark, players needed to essentially escort a hovering crate full of explosives, finding a particular wall, placing the crate beside it and then blowing it up to gain access. The problem though is that the enemies shooting at you may shoot the crate and blow it up. If the crate blows up, the mission fails, but the mission doesn't finish... what I liked about Perfect Dark and its predecessor GoldenEye, was if the mission failed, you would continue.
So I was playing and unfortunately, the crate blew up because of my jack arse opponents. I was so frustrated, angered that I had given the crate so much care and caution, only to have it blow up and not only nearly killing me, but making me fail the mission. As I mentioned just before though, while the mission was over, the game was not.
Curiously, the enemies were all carrying the Dragon assault rifle. In Perfect Dark, all weapons had a secondary function. In the Dragon's case, it's primary function was standard automatic fire while it's secondary function was to throw the Dragon on the ground and it becomes an explosive device that detonates when enemies come near it. I reached the wall that I was supposed to destroy with the crate and instead, I threw my Dragon rifle down on the floor by the wall. Getting some distance, I shot the rifle with my pistol and bam, the rifle exploded and the wall came down like a sack of ****. Suddenly, my mission was no longer a failure and I jumped for joy as "Objective Completed" appeared on screen, allowing me to continue my progress.
This isn't exactly progress related, but another fun mechanic we discovered was in Perfect Dark's predecessor, GoldenEye. Remote mines. Those were fun. In GoldenEye, you would throw a remote mine onto any surface. You would then be required to switch to your watch to detonate the bomb. Alternatively, you could press A + B at the same time to do a quick detonation.
One of the coolest things we discovered is what we called "Hadouken", was throwing a mine at someone and while the mine was flying through the air, quickly press A + B at the same time to detonate the mine in mid air. In a sense, it was like having a grenade launcher, albeit faster firing and I dare say, much more accurate.
It's things like this in games that I really appreciate, where you discover mechanics that are while in the game, are not quite "advertised" as such in the game. These cool little secrets that are found by players are sometimes not actually known by developers at the time of the game's making.
Do you have any cool stories like this, but most likely to be much cooler than mine? Please share in the comments below.
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The Internet Is Angry
Posted on Thursday, May 7 2015 @ 21:35:05 PST
This member blog post was promoted to the GameRevolution homepage.
Disclaimer: This blog entry may contain very minor spoilers to The Avengers: Age of Ultron. May also contain spoilers for other popular fan franchises (Mass Effect trilogy). Blog entry also contains a lot of coarse language.
We all spend a lot of time on the Internet. I'm certain that every person who visits GameRevolution would spend a lot of time online. Whether it's playing games, watching videos of cats doing funny crap, downloading stuff, using social media whatever we do, we all spend a lot of time online. In today's modern world, most people have the Internet at their finger tips thanks to the technology of smart phones, so it's safe to say that yeah, a lot of use use the Internet... a lot.
Within the past few years though, I've noticed that the people of the Internet are becoming much angrier and more aggressive. I don't know how long it's been like this or when it all started going downhill, but as much as I and many others enjoy using the Internet, the Internet has become a dark place filled with very angry people.
I'm probably going to open a can of worms on this one, but recently film director Joss Whedon has “quit” Twitter after receiving some massive blacklash from apparent fans regarding the portrayal of Black Widow in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Everyone has an opinion and really, that's fine, there's things I agree with about the character Black Widow but there's also things I don't quite agree. I had a look online to see what exactly people tried to say to Joss Whedon via Twitter and some of the results are horrifically ridiculous.
“I'm not ****ing kidding. I'm going to curb stomp you until you admit that you're a misogynist who can't write.”
“FUCK YOU JOSS, YOU CAN'T JUST COME INTO THE AVENGERS FRANCHISE AND START KILLING OFF MAJOR CHARACTERS, THIS ISN'T GAME OF THRONES.”
“Joss Whedon is a sexist piece of ****.”
“Block me ugly sexist mayo jar.”
“You call yourself a feminist yet you make rape jokes and treat female characters like ****.”
“Catch my hands right now turn on your ****ing location you neck beard *****.”
“Joss Whedon is a piece of ****. Fight me you misogynistic douchebag.”
That's only an extremely small portion of “fan” tweets to Joss Whedon.
In Joss Whedon's defense, film director James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) had this to say on his own Twitter account, something which I completely agree with,
“Most of you are aware of this, but anyone who urges a film maker to kill himself over a movie plot needs to seriously examine his life.”
It's true, hundred percent it's true. I know there are dick head “trolls” who roam around the Internet with nothing better to do but to try and amuse themselves by putting down others, but how can people be filled with so much anger and hatred? There's something very, very wrong here.
People on the Internet are fans of stuff, of a lot of stuff really. We love what we're into, we're so very passionate about it, I get that and that's cool. I'm a huge fan of Mass Effect and while the original ending of Mass Effect 3 pissed a lot of people off (myself included), I didn't take to the Internet threatening to brutally maim (or murder) Mass Effect's director, Casey Hudson. I did voice my opinion (as I am now) saying I didn't like the original ending. I didn't go to Casey's Twitter page and resort to “Hey Casey Hudson you ****ing *****, fight me brah.” I'm not going to judo throw the man, for God's sake.
It's not just men who cop all this crap to, of course not. Love her or hate her, feminist public speaker, blogger and media critic Anita Sarkeesian is another human being who receives a lot of **** that people really don't deserve. I realize she doesn't have the best reputation on the Internet and not everyone agrees with what she has to say, but honestly if you disagree with someone about their views and opinions, a normal human being wouldn't threaten said someone with threats of violence, rape, murder, etc.
Now I'm going to kick a bucket and make a huge mess, but let's not forget indie developer Zoe Quinn of last year's infamous scandal with Depression Quest. I won't get into it but to nut-shell it, there was a lot of controversy behind it and the whole thing really awakened the inner monster in so many people on the Internet, on both sides of the party. Whether they were with Zoe or against her, people went all out in unleashing their rage and hatred.
Stuff pisses us off all the time. I get pissed off when people drive like idiots when I'm on my way to work or home. I get pissed off when a game I want to play is delayed (**** you, Batman: Arkham Knight... actually I take that back, I'm sorry Batman I didn't mean it). When angry though, there are better ways to express one's anger rather than taking to the Internet with your keyboard-sword in hand, slashing at someone's throat with horrific words of violence and more.
Mike “Gabe” Krahulik of Penny Arcade drew up a theory over ten years ago, “Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckward Theory”, where normal person, plus anonymity, plus audience equals total ****wad “shitcock”. That makes sense, it's totally true. What completely baffles me though is with social media being so public, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, most people use their real names and pictures, so in a sense they're no longer anonymous. We know their names, we know their face, and still they choose to behave like a complete sociopath.
I think it's horrible that people make such dreadful comments and threats over the Internet. It's not so much that they're doing it that makes me cringe, it's that they seem to think it's acceptable and normal, that for one there's nothing wrong with them saying these things to that person, and two they think there's nothing unhealthy in their minds about it. Do they think it's completely harmless, just because it's a comment on the Internet? Maybe it's just an empty threat that will never follow through, and most of the time that's all it is, that's all they are, but it doesn't make it “okay” at all, it's completely unacceptable, down right wrong and frankly, very worrying.
Think of someone you don't like on the Internet who you will probably never meet... maybe it's Joss Whedon for the Avengers: Age of Ultron, maybe it's Casey Hudson for the ending of Mass Effect 3, maybe it's Uwe Boll for his **** movies but regardless... would you honestly approach these individuals, threaten them with physical harm, or/and go through with your threat on the spot?
Most of you, hopefully all of you will be thinking “No, I wouldn't." I would be very concerned for yourselves however, if you even considered “Yes”.
[The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of GameRevolution, but we believe it's worthy of being featured on our site. Master Craig is GR's comic creator. This article has been lightly edited for grammar and image inclusion. You can find more Vox Pop articles here. ~Ed. Nick Tan]
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GR Strips - Takin' a little break
Posted on Tuesday, December 23 2014 @ 19:20:10 PST
I'm pretty sure I'm in the same boat as a lot of people when I say this but I can't believe 2014 is almost done. As I type this blog entry, it's 12:25 PM, Wednesday the 24th of December, Christmas Eve. I still can't believe it. Th... read more...
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Welcome Home - PAX AUS 2014
Posted on Tuesday, November 18 2014 @ 11:26:56 PST
Last night I returned home from PAX AUS 2014. Long story short, it wasn't perfect, but it was quite possibly the best weekend I've had this year. It was a lot of fun. If you'd like to continue reading, the long story is ju... read more...
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Nostalgia, or something more?
Posted on Monday, June 2 2014 @ 13:05:57 PST
A few weeks ago I had finally finished Dark Souls II for PC. Since finishing that game, I haven't really been playing anything else. I should be, considering I have a few unfinished titles for my 3DD but I prefer to save them for ... read more...
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One month onboard the Normandy
Posted on Monday, December 2 2013 @ 00:11:34 PST
Warning: This blog entry may contain spoilers about the Mass Effect trilogy.
About four weeks ago I was bored, really bored. It was a Saturday night and like the loser that I am I was at home bored. I had recently fini... read more...
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Quick enough for quick time?
Posted on Wednesday, February 25 2009 @ 04:30:20 PST
So what's everyone's thoughts on quick time events?
Personally, I'm not very fond of them, unless they're done right. How they're done right though is a good question because everyone probably has different opinions as to how it should be ... read more...
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