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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
kradical
The introduction of a beloved recurring villain is also a piece of sexist drivel. The TOS Rewatch meets "Mudd's Women."

An excerpt:
Watching it now, it’s like suffering through “Profit and Lace” all over again, though this story has a better excuse for its sexism than the Deep Space Nine episode. Not that it makes it any better. Mudd is, basically, a space pimp—what he’s selling is sex, which Eve all but comes out and says to Childress, limited only by 1966 Broadcast Standards & Practices not letting people use that word out loud. But the more “noble” calling that Eve yearns for is also to service a man, just in different ways: cleaning up after him, cooking for him, sewing for him, crying for him (yes, she really holds up crying for a man as a virtue). The fact that there are women assigned to the ship, many of whom are officers, is avoided like the plague (why aren’t there some women on the board of inquiry?).

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down" by The Band

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kradical
I've been mulling talking at some point about the counterproductive nature of fan rage, especially in light of a recent excellent rant on the subject by David Gerrold​, but then the good and noble Emily Asher-Perrin​ went ahead and did it for me on Tor.com​.

Everyone who considers themselves a fan of something should read Em's article. Just excellent stuff here.

Money quote:
There are plenty of already-existing fans who do not share your opinions on the fandoms and things that you love. Just because you may think that the intentions you’re perceiving behind a work are correct doesn’t mean that the guy sitting next to you gives a hill of beans for your thoughts about the human metaphors implicit in Vulcan society. He was only in it for the space guns and cool prosthetics. And the lady sitting across from you was only in it because it was one of the few shows on television that featured people who looked like her. You all have different reasons for being here. You are not the only fan of anything.

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "Thinking Round Corners" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
As ever, I've got a bunch of my books for sale, which I'll gladly autograph. You can order them from me by sending me the cover price of the book(s) you want, plus $5 for domestic shipping. (For foreign shipping, just send me the cover prices, and I'll bill you for the postage after I send it.) Money can be sent via PayPal to krad at whysper dot net or by check/money order made out to Keith R.A. DeCandido to PO Box 4976, New York, NY 10185-4976.

Please let me know which titles you want, how you want the autograph inscribed, and the shipping address to send the books to.

Here's what's available plus cover price:

anthologies
Defending the Future: Best Laid Plans -- $15
Liar Liar -- $15

Cassie Zukav
Ragnarook and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet -- $15

Command and Conquer
Tiberium Wars -- $8

Dungeons & Dragons
Dark Sun: Under the Crimson Sun -- $8

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda
Destruction of Illusions -- $10

"Precinct" books
Dragon Precinct -- $15
Unicorn Precinct -- $15
Goblin Precinct -- $15
Gryphon Precinct -- $15
Tales from Dragon Precinct -- $15
any 3 "Precinct" books -- $40
any 4 "Precinct" books -- $55
all 5 "Precinct" books -- $65

Resident Evil
Genesis -- $7

SCPD
The Case of the Claw -- $15

Star Trek
The Klingon Art of War -- $26
Klingon Empire: A Burning House -- $8
New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics -- $18

Tales of the Scattered Earth
Guilt in Innocence -- $15

Young Hercules
Cheiron's Warriors -- $3
The Ares Alliance -- $3
both YH books -- $5

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Brain Damage" by Pink Floyd

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kradical
We kick off the Stargate Rewatch with the movie that started it all, as we learn why Michael Shanks just impersonated James Spader and why Richard Dean Anderson avoided impersonating Kurt Russell.

An excerpt:
Still, there isn’t much to like here. James Spader is certainly charismatic enough (I actually watched an episode of The Blacklist before watching the movie, not to mention seeing the latest Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, and his voice and his ability to use it to good effect really is amazing, and has remained so for two decades), but ultimately this is pretty much the same plot as half the B-movies of the 1940s and 1950s with better special effects. The hard-bitten military dude teamed up with the wimpy scientist who just wants everyone to get along was a cliché when we saw it in the first Hulk comic book in 1962, and it didn’t age well into the 1990s. John Diehl’s Kawalsky and French Stewart’s Ferretti were actually more interesting characters than the nominal lead, as Kurt Russell just phones in his performance here, bringing no subtlety to a role that’s supposed to be a person in pain, and instead comes across as a person who needs an antacid.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Bring on the Night/When the World is Getting You Down" by Sting

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kradical
If you're someone who reads, please take a moment to take this survey from the Department of Information Studies at University College in London on reading in the digital age.

Thanks!

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Current Music: "Every Girl I See" by Ju Ju Root

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kradical
I first met Jennifer O'Neil at the Philadelphia Browncoats table at a Philcon a few years ago. We've remained friends, and right now my friend is in need. Between her job issues and her husband's health issues, the house they're raising their daughter in is in danger of foreclosing and they need help.

They've started up a GoFundMe to help stave this horrible outcome off. Anything you can do to help would be welcome.

Thanks!

Current Mood: worried worried
Current Music: "Octopus's Garden" by the Beatles

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kradical
A hilarious picture from a group signing at a Barnes & Noble in Portland, Oregon in 2002, which included Dean Wesley Smith​, S.D. Perry​, Andy Mangels​, Michael A. Martin​, me, and Heather Jarman​. Almost cries out for a "caption this!" doesn't it? (BTW, in the "incredibly cool" category, among those in attendance was the great Robert Sheckley, who just came to hear us talk. It was amazing.)

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "The Golden Triangle" by the Austin Lounge Lizards

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kradical
As announced today on Tor.com, I'll be doing a Stargate Rewatch every Friday moving forward on that site, alongside the Tuesday Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch.

It'll kick off tomorrow with a rewatch of the 1994 Stargate movie that started it all....

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Mountain Men" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
Sheesh, what a day.

I spent the morning sitting with The Mom (girasole), who was alone this morning because the other three of the Forebearance were all out, and my mother really doesn't like to be alone.

Then I went to my former high school to give a talk about writing and publishing, alongside a fellow Spellman alumnus, Adam Silvera (whose first novel More Happy than Not will be out in June 2015 from Soho Press). We were speaking before a media class and a creative writing class, and the talk went very well. Adam's just getting started and I'm a grizzled veteran, so the dual perspective made the talk much stronger.

Then I had to go down to teach my afterschool karate program in Washington Heights, which went well -- the kids in my Thursday class are really getting into it.

And then I came home and took a nap. Time now to make dinner (why did I volunteer to cook tonight again?), and then do my first Stargate Rewatch post, covering the 1994 movie.

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: "Aunt Margaret's Hat" by Michael McCloud

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kradical
I will be a guest at the first (Re)Generation Who convention just north of Baltimore at the Hunt Valley Inn next weekend, the 27th to 29th of March.

I'll be spending most of my time at a table in artists alley (the hallway outside the dealer room near the top of the escalator), where I'll be selling and signing books -- including, exclusively available from me only at (Re)GenWho, the Short Trips anthology Destination Prague, with my story "Life from Lifelessness" in it. Look for me at Table 67 (right next to fellow word slinger John Peel), and also on these two panels:

Saturday
7-8pm: "Doctor Who: The Wilderness Years, 1990-2005" (Salon C/D)

Sunday
12-1pm: "Writing Who Short Fiction with Keith R.A. DeCandido" (Salon A)

Hope to see folks there!

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "White Rabbit" by Collide

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kradical
The Enterprise encounters the First Federation. It goes poorly at first, though it ends with itty bitty Clint Howard and tranya, so there's that. The TOS Rewatch makes "The Corbomite Maneuver."

An excerpt:
Once Kirk sees the red light, he contacts the bridge. Spock fills him in, then Kirk bitches McCoy out, then leaves sickbay while still shirtless and barefoot, thus allowing everyone in the corridors to get a look at his smooth, glistening chest. He goes to his quarters, puts his shirt on, checks in with the bridge again, and then leaves his quarters with the camera lovingly lingering on his ass as he exits his cabin.

Current Mood: sick sick
Current Music: "Cold, Cold Ground" by Tom Waits

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kradical
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kradical
Me at Trek Expo in Tulsa, Oklahoma in June 2005. I believe my friend Dion took this picture of me at the table I shared with Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore (as you can see from the banner behind me). Fun times....

9696111-R1-023-10[1]

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Every Grain of Sand" by Bob Dylan

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kradical
Terry Pratchett died today.

I first met Terry in 1990 when he and Neil Gaiman were touring for Good Omens (also when I first met Neil). I mostly wanted to interview Neil for The Comics Journal, for whom I'd done some writing. The managing editor at the time commissioned the interview. I also interviewed the pair of them about Good Omens in the hopes that I could sell the interview somewhere. I never was able to do anything with the dual interview, and the Journal interview wound up being shitcanned by the editor-in-chief, who overrode the managing editor and conducted an interview of his own with Neil instead, screwing me over for the second time (he previously delayed a review of mine so it would appear in the same issue in which he trashed the very same item that I praised in my review in his editorial), and is why I never wrote more for the Journal after that.

Anyhow, that's neither here nor there. Terry and Neil were both magnificent interviews and a joy to talk to and hang out with, and they were very gracious to a 21-year-old snot-nosed kid wanting to interview them. Getting to spend an evening chatting with them was one of the highlights of my life to that point.

I encountered Terry here and there after that. I believe we did a panel together on research at the 1999 WorldCon in Melbourne, and I distinctly remember him attending Esther Friesner and Walter Stutzman's vows renewal and balking at wearing a yarmulke until I assured him that he could wear it under his outback hat.

Terry has been fighting Alzheimer's for a while now, and his battle was waged with his usual wit and grace. He was one of our finest writers and finest people and he will be sorely missed.

Rest in peace, good sir.

Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "Highway 61 Revisited" by Bob Dylan & The Band

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kradical
The second pilot, with many more familiar faces like Kirk, Scotty, and Sulu, plus as an added bonus, Dr. Frank Poole and Hot Lips Houlihan! The TOS Rewatch goes "Where No Man Has Gone Before."

An excerpt:
The conundrum at the heart of the episode is shown by two lines of dialogue. Mitchell says that compassion and command are a fool’s mixture—which is not an invalid point—but Kirk counters later that a god needs compassion—also a valid point, though the religious landscape is filled with gods who wouldn’t know compassion if it bit them on their deific butts. Kirk is reluctant to do what Spock recommends because Mitchell is his friend. Kelso pays the ultimate price for that hesitation, and that’s why Kirk insists on going it alone in the end. Where is the line between command and compassion? Kirk refers to several crew members by their first names throughout, and Spock even is familiar with Kirk in the briefing room. It’s one of the dilemmas of ship command that Trek will also delve into repeatedly, and it gets a strong workout here...

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" by Bob Dylan & The Band

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kradical
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kradical
This week was the black belt promotion in our dojo. We had two adults and four kids going up -- the head of our South African branch went up to fifth-degree (he's now Kyoshi Shaun), one advanced brown belt adult became a first-degree while three kids went from advanced brown to junior shodan, and one junior shodan is now a junior nidan.

That last was especially nice to see. So many kids become junior black belts and figure they're done, and they can stop. Senpai Pablo has understood that becoming a black belt is the beginning of the journey, not the end, and he's stuck it out to become a junior nidan (the first one we've had in the dojo in, like, fifteen years). And he's one of our best black belts, a great kid, a shining example, and an excellent karateka.

In our discipline, folks going for fourth-degree and higher have extra promotion work, including a hike through a trail in the Adirondacks and camping overnight. Unfortunately, this was to be done on Thursday, and the weather did not cooperate. Shihan Paul went with Kyoshi Shaun partway, but the trail was waist-deep snow, and just not do-able. There's a line between showing strong spirit and showing poor judgment, and this crossed that line, and they abandoned that part of the promotion.

So instead, Friday night, after the candidates had done most of their katas and self-defense, Shihan announced that we were headed to a nearby park. We trundled into a van and went down to a big park in the neighborhood that was quite well buried in snow. Kyoshi then went out into the middle of all that and did seven katas in ankle-deep snow. The last two, he did topless.

It was amazing. It was a pleasure to see.

(The hilarious part of all this is all the other candidates asking the other black belts what's going on, and we have no idea. The kids were genuinely and understandably worried that they'd be doing stuff in the snow....)

Today was sparring. There were six candidates and a dozen black belts for them to fight, so they fought 36 rounds, fighting each black belt three times. The fun part for me was fighting Kyoshi and also the new adult shodan, both of whom are fighting champions at tournaments and such. Fighting Kyoshi was particularly amazing, as he's a superb fighter, and I learned a lot fighting him several times. He also praised how well conditioned I am, as I took the punches and kicks he threw (the latter of which were especially brutal) without flinching or falling down or anything. I was flattered, but I've always been more of a defensive fighter. *shrug*

Anyhow, that's done, which is good, as I'm exhausted. Last night was karistan's 40th birthday party, which was held at the Silverball Museum & Arcade in Asbury Park, New Jersey, which is full of old pinball machines and arcade games, some as old as the 50s, others as recent as the turn of the century. It was great fun reliving my childhood playing the likes of Asteroids and Ms. Pac-Man again, plus there were lots of nifty pinball games, including, to my amusement, a Star Trek: The Next Generation and a Doctor Who game, both from the 1990s. (The latter had a picture of Peter Capaldi taped to it.)

It was a superb shindig and a great time was had by all. Best of all, we got to play games ALL NIGHT LONG!

Well, not all night long, 'cause we had a two-hour drive home, and then thanks to Daylight Savings, I got one less hour of sleep than hoped. No wonder I took a two-hour nap after fighting.

And I think I'm going to take another before heading off to have dinner with girasole and the Infomancer in an hour, followed by picking up bronxbob350 and helgabee at the airport.......

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: "Highway in the Wind" by Arlo Guthrie

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kradical
Grim Pike, emotionless Number One, grandfatherly Boyce, eager Tyler, sexy Vina, and smilin' Spock encountering aliens with big butts on their heads, as we go alllllll the way back to the beginning. The TOS Rewatch kicks off with "The Cage."

An excerpt:
It’s probably for the best that Jeffrey Hunter’s oh-so-stiff Pike didn’t stay on as the show’s lead. Majel Barrett’s Number One also had her awkward moments, but some excellent ones, too, notably her very calm, cool declaration that it’s wrong to take humans as slaves, as she sets her laser pistol to overload. It’s only a pity that that character wasn’t kept, as a woman as second-in-command of the Enterprise would’ve been amazing. (Of course, given how women were often treated on TOS, maybe it wouldn’t have been...) And just in general, the episode is terribly sodden and humorless. Boyce’s bartender line and his dirty-old-man bit at the end are the only things that even come close to a moment of levity, and I suspect NBC might not have complained about how cerebral it was if it wasn’t so damn heavy.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "The Cool, Cool River" by Paul Simon

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kradical
Some pics from my trip to Colorado Springs this past weekend....


Silly airplane selfie on the trip out:
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View of Chicago from the plane as we approached Thursday:
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Me dressed in my ACHTUNG, MONSTER! (thanks, woofiegrrl!) t-shirt and gi pants for my self-defense workshop. (Nobody showed. Turns out they programmed me against the beginning of the burlesque show. I can't compete with naked people....)
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There were several statues of zombies all over the hotel during the weekend, and this is my friend Bianca with one of them:
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The view of the Rocky Mountains (specifically Pike's Peak) from my hotel room window:
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Becca and Sam of Revive Gifts, who are wonderful and talented people, and who were across from me in the dealer room:
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My favorite t-shirt of the weekend:
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My table, as of Saturday at noon. That final copy of The Klingon Art of War was sold in short order, and I'd already sold out of Ragnarok and Roll as well....
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At Gamer's Haven's booth: a sighting of the Firefly: Echoes of War supplement Things Don't Go Smooth, which has the adventure I wrote, "Merciless":
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Two shots of the snow-covered Midwest as we headed toward Chicago on Monday:
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Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Born on the Bayou" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

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kradical
...if not my week. Or month. Or year:


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Current Music: "My God" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
I'm home safe from a most excellent GalaxyFest 2015. Colorado Springs is a lovely place -- if you're ever there, try to have a meal at Rasta Pasta -- and I had a great time selling books, hanging out with old friends like Jessica Brawner and David Medinnus and Laura Smith and meeting new ones like Kat, Jhoney, Bianca, Sam, Lou, Mica, Kurt, J.L., Brian, Linda, Diann, and tons more. The panels were all excellent (if poorly attended for the most part), the people were wonderful, the hotel was nice (if a bit hard to find your way around -- the Cretan Labyrinth has nothing on the Antlers Hilton), and a good time was had by all.

Tomorrow, it's back to the grind, both starting up the TOS Rewatch and diving back full-tilt into Kali's Wrath, which I'm horribly behind on....

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Current Music: "Fat Man" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
Leonard Nimoy has died at the age of 83.

It's impossible to quantify how important a figure he was in the science fiction and acting community. He inhabited one of the three or four most important and influential pop-culture characters of the 20th century. He was a great actor, a fine playwright, an excellent director, a superb photographer, and just a generally impressive person. His loss is keenly felt.

I was fortunate enough to encounter Nimoy in person on three occasions. The first, in the mid-1980s, was not great -- but it was at a Creation show, so there's that. Anyhow, he walked up to the podium, delivered a lengthy, rambling monologue while staring at an indeterminate point on the far wall, and then walked off. The other two, though, were amazing. There was the Slanted Fedora show in Indianapolis in 2001 when he and John deLancie did a superb live performance of Spock vs. Q for the folks at the banquet. And then Wrenn and I saw a stellar production of Nimoy's one-person play Vincent about the van Gogh brothers performed at Symphony Space by Jean-Michel Rinaud, which was followed by a Q&A featuring Rinaud, the director, and Nimoy his own self. Unlike the Creation show, Nimoy was relaxed and engaging and -- I have to say it -- fascinating.

Today in particular, I treasure those experiences, and I'm also grateful for being lucky enough to write Nimoy's most iconic character in several of my Trek novels.

He lived long. He prospered. He will be missed.

Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "Skateaway" by Dire Straits

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kradical
The Dominion War and the series both come to a close. The DS9 Rewatch does "What You Leave Behind."

An excerpt:
Unfortunately, as the finale of the TV show Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, it fails. The end of the war is not the same as the end of the show. Back in “Emissary,” Sisko was given two purposes: to become Emissary of the Prophets and to get Bajor ready to join the Federation. The former was handled ineptly with an inane storyline involving glowy red eyes and pretentious sounding prophecies that boil down to “we picked you because we needed someone to tackle a guy holding a book into a big fire,” and the latter was totally ignored. The final episode of the series should damn well have had Bajor actually entering the Federation.

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Ballad of a Thin Man" by Bob Dylan & The Band

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kradical
I will be the Author Guest of Honor at GalaxyFest 2015 this coming weekend in Colorado Springs. In addition to a bunch of fellow authors (including my dear friends Jessica Brawner and Rebecca Moesta), the guest list includes actors Hilary Shepard, Michael Copon, and Jason Faunt, who all starred on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

I'll have a table in the dealer room where I'll be selling and/or signing books, but I'm also doing a bunch of program items:

Friday
5pm: opening ceremonies
6pm: "So This One Time, at a Con..." (w/Jessica Brawner and Sarah Hoyt)
7pm: "How to be a Productive Creator" (w/Sam Knight, Paul Lell, and Jeannie Stein)
8pm: practical self-defense workshop (w/Jessica Brawner)

Saturday
2pm: "Zombies, Zombies, Zombies!" (w/Kevin Ikenberry, Sam Knight, Pam Nihiser, and Christopher Salas)
3pm: "Writing Characters with Mental Health Challenges" (w/Lou Berger, Carol Hightshoe, and Sam Knight)
6pm: "Art vs. Profit" (w/Mario Acevedo, Sarah Hoyt, Rebecca Moesta, and Christopher Salas)
7pm: "Supernatural Rocks!" (w/Bill Cherf and Paul Lell)

Sunday
1pm: "How I Broke Into the Industry" (w/Lou Berger, Kevin Ikenberry, Jeannie Stein, and Molly Tanzer)

Hope to see folks there!

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Midnight Special" by Leadbelly

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kradical
Hilariously, given that I spent seven hours at the dojo today assisting with a promotion, today my dear friend and fellow karateka, Kyoshi Jennifer Fremon posted this incredibly insightful piece on the subject of promotions in martial arts disciplines. As ever, she nails it.

Money quote:
I promote one of my little white belts (or many of them) to blue belt every two months. Some of them have simply taken the "right" number of classes, a milestone that we decided on many years ago. Some of them are the "Hermione Grangers" of the dojo who can perform every move perfectly and answer every question on command. Some of them cannot remember a thing, and do not know their right from their left, but at the time of promotion they can stand still for a full five minutes, a feat that when they first joined seemed as impossible as winning the marathon.

They all really, really love karate.

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "Conundrum" by Jethro Tull

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