The Principle of Taijutsu: The First Line of Defense

In this video, Ali Abdul Karim Hanshi, speaks on the fundamentals of Taijutsu. Taijutsu is the hand to hand combat system of the ninja.
I don’t know anything about his lineage, or his affiliation. Frankly, I don’t care. If I were in Brooklyn I would seek him out; not because of the art but because of the man.
There are plenty of people who feel as if the art is a relic. A study in physical anthropology. I say, when an art is seen through the prism of modern street violence, it can’t help but evolve. It’s how I feel about ninjutsu, and it’s how I feel about Xing Yi, which I currently practice with Allen Carroll in Decatur. Traditional methods have merits, but it takes a worldly teacher fully express them.
I will be showing different clips from his school throughout August. I want to show that a Black man can be a warrior without being a thug. Too often those concepts are interchanged. They couldn’t be further apart.
Hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to interview him along the way.

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Hydro-Overload! Learning To Grow Kale is Hard!

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I have been planning a modest hydroponic system. My goal was to feed a family of five using found objects about for $75 ; less than the average trip to the supermarket. Simple, right? That is, until you try to build the thing.

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These plans are from Ourwindowfarm.org

These are the plans for the window garden; something like the system you will find at the very bottom of the page.  They seemed very rational when I first saw them. I can put together Ikea furniture with no directions. I have a ratchet set with metric and standard sockets. How hard could it be to string some bottles together?

I can’t tell you. I can tell you that something strange happened when I sat down and tried to make a shopping list. I became dumb. After studying it for a few moments, taking little notes; x bottles… x copper pipes, I got confused. . Everything was there. I was sure of it. But, how would the water stay in each reservoir, or would it? How would the plants remain standing with no dirt to keep them in place?

When plants are grown using hydroponics, their roots extend directly into nutrient rich water instead of having to push through Georgia soil. The benefits are numerous.

  • Less space. The roots don’t have spread out in search for nutrients and water. It’s all right there. So it’s ideal for cramped quarters, such as a Philadelphia apartment.
  • You have dictatorial control over the nutrient intake of your garden. Create your own tribe of super-kale.
  • Higher yields, better tastes, greater nutrition. See above.
  • You don’t need a yard.
  • It’s all year round.
  • It actually uses 2/3rds less water than a traditional garden.
  • It’s cheap and easy. That’s what they say, anyway.

The only conceivable drawback is, after spending a lifetime watching plants grow out of soil, part of me just doesn’t quite get it.

Just so you know, this is not a thinly veiled attempt to grow marijuana. I know hydroponics have become synonymous with sticky icky, but it is actually used to grow other things, too. I KNOW!

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This one dude grew 20,000 pounds of fish and 70,000 of vegetables in a quarter acre, using aquaponics. (Think of hydroponics suspended above fishtanks. The plants provide the fish with nutrients, the fish do likewise. It’s definitely not hydroponics 101, but it is attainable.) I don’t have a quarter acre, but I always don’t need 70,000 pounds of vegetables. What I can do is make my trips to the supermarket produce department a thing of the past. Most of it is genetically modified, bizarro veggies, anyway.

Who cares? Well, look at it this way. As we march into an uncertain future, there are those who are becoming marksmen in order to fend off the zombie hoards. Others are learning exotic martial arts from the Far East, in hopes that katana skills will keep them alive. But in between gunning things down and cutting them up, you have to eat. Now, what if you could carry almost everything that you needed to grow all of your food, in one compartment of your backpack?

That’s what I’m talking about. What if one added seeds and a small pump to his or her bug out bag? Everything else could quickly be sourced. Once you get your water filtration out of the way, how much longer would it be before you had a sustainable food source? Not long.

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This is a hydroponic window garden.

I’m serious. This is a real thing, and once I figure it all out you are going to want to follow my lead. Kale is dope. And being able to feed your family no matter what happens is totally awesome.

No More, by Jon Onye Lockard

No More, by Jon Onye Lockard

I don’t put too much stock in those myths of the house and slave negro dichotomy. It is so neat. So cut and dry. It suggests that the ones that went inside, cooking in master’s kitchen or drawing his bath, were compromised by their proximity. They are painted as the betrayer.

Closeness often came with a set of dangers all their own. The isolation, the unwanted attention. Assault, sexual and otherwise. In the house they cloaked themselves with smiles and pleasantries. This wasn’t out of acceptance. It was a survival tactic.

When I saw this I thought of the anger that lurks within every oppressed person. Aunt Jamima is the quintessential house negress; so much so that she still occupies space in our cabinets and fridges. But her plump cheeks and pleasant smile mask her true self. Blindness has never been an aspect of her archetype. And even the most skilled actress shows her true self.

No role ever lasts forever. And when it’s done, one still remembers the pain of smiling when a swift slap or a hidden knife would be more fitting.

How The Floating Cities Start

How The Floating Cities Start

“You remember how when you took us to see that boat, and it was missing? I think we need to transcend the missing boat, and move on to building our own boat…”

Follow this link to a short film. It’s about a group of artists who are checking out of society after an economic collapse. If it looks and feels like the Swimming Cities project, it’s because they come from the same lineage. Think of it as Burning Man on the river.

“It was the summer the gas stations closed. The summer they played music in the old mill. The summer they built a boat. The summer they left.”

What’s Your Utopia Look Like?

These are the Swimming Cities of Serenissima.

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Photo by Tod Seelie

They are junk boats. They were built mostly from found objects by a merry band of dumpster diving fregans; 30 of them in all, give or take some stowaways. In 2009, these three vessels made the 130 mile journey from Slovenia to Venice.

They were designed by the artist, Swoon, and come out of short but sturdy heritage of floating cities made from junk. In 2008 there was the Swimming Cities of Switchback Sea, which sailed down the Hudson River- its residents performing in towns along the way. In 06 and 07, the Miss Rockaway Armada sailed down the Mississippi.

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Tianna Kennedy, manager, organizer, capitan of the Swimming Cities of Serenissima. Photo by Tod Seelie.

This flotilla was managed by Tianna Kennedy, pictured above. It reminds me of Where the Wild Things Are. Of all of the times my cousin and I went down into the piny woods that surrounded Traveler’s Rest South Carolina, in search of the devil and the White Dogs, both of which lived within.

How can something so grimy can be so wholesome? A man broke his neck during the journey, jumping from one of the buildings. There was bickering and storms. There were arrests and misery. A lot of misery.

Still, these photos made me nostalgic for something that I’ve never experienced. And now, junk cities have jumped to the top of my list of ways to deal with the apocalypse. When the zombies come, I will be looking for barrels and boards. The dead can’t swim.

One Last Dive

This video was created by Jason Eisener for Vice.com in conjunction with the Conjuring.
I’m not a fan of horror, but I love efficiency, especially when it comes to telling a story. And this guy accomplished a whole lot in the course of this one minute.
Eisener also directed Hobo with a Shotgun, one of the segments of V/H/S/2 and some other things. And I haven’t seen any of it, because, like I said, I don’t like horror.

I Live In the Hood. We Don’t Have an Environment

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Occupy Monsanto

Once I worked for a tele survey company, calling people just before dinner, to inquire if they could spare a few moments to answer a few questions.
I did a lot of viagra surveys. This was before the little blue pill had been released. I also remember asking hundreds of questions about fast food. And then there was this one survey about the environment.

I had called a certain house, and spoken to a woman for about 45 minutes already, when I asked her if she had any children between 15 and 17. I wish she had lied; said no. Then it would have all been over with, and I would have gotten my credit and moved on to the next number. But she told the truth. I heard her call into the distance. A few moments later her daughter answered the phone.

I don’t recall the question the exact question I asked her. I know that it was the first one. Something harmless, like, “How often do you think about the environment.” The first questions were always soft balls. She answered , “I live in the hood. We don’t have an environment.” Followed by a dial tone. Hmmm.

A few days ago the news surfaced that Monsanto had bought Academi, the company formerly known as Blackwater. While there has been some confusion over whether they purchased the mercenary group or only rented them, the partnership is still troubling.

Google Monsanto. Their tagline is, “A sustainable agriculture company.” They are all about the farmers. Ask them, they’ll tell you.

But when Mother Earth News calls you the most evil corporation in the world, maybe you should do some soul searching.

Here’s what you need to know about them. Everything that you eat has their fingerprints on it, as well as some other things. Agent Orange? That’s them. GMO’s. Them. They love farmers so much that they developed seeds that terminate after one generation, forcing them to buy new seeds every year. They even attempted to patent strands of your DNA. Seriously.

Blackwater on the other hand has been implicated in a few civilian shootings in Iraq. And Afghanistan. Compared to Monsanto, they are as wholesome as  Richie Cunningham.

Why does a “sustainable agriculture company” need a security force? Ask the guys at Gogebic, who recently hired Bulletproof Securities to guard a Taconite mine up in the hills of Wisconsin. Maybe it has something to do with the protestors. I don’t know but when the Empire buys Cobra, you need to take notice.

And by the way, no matter what color you are or where you live, this is an inappropriate response…

This is for white folks to worry about, let them deal with it. I can’t be worried with nothing other than the liberation of me and my people. Why we worried, black folks can’t even get a murder conviction for an unarmed child with candy and a drink.

It was posted to a friend’s page in response to the Monsanto story. I think he was related to the little girl who thought that, because she lived in the hood, she didn’t have an environment.

Like I said, they have their stamp on almost everything you eat. That’s gangsta. The average thug only want’s your wallet. They’re putting a shakedown on your nourishment. Jack your fridge. What’s next? Water? Already happening. The CEO of Nestle Corp, Peter Brabeck thinks that it is extreme to believe that water is a basic human right.

The water is of course the most important raw material we have today in the world.
It’s a question of whether we should privatise the normal supply for the population.
And there are two different opinions on the matter. The one opinionon which I think is extreme, is presented by the NGOs, who bang on about … declaring water .. a public right.
That means as a human being you should have a right to water. Thats an extreme solution.
And the other view says that the water is foodstuff like any other, and like any other foodstuff it should have market value. Personally I believe its better to give a foodstuff a value so that we’re all aware that it has a price, and then that one should take specific measures for the part of the population that has no access to this water and there are many different possibilities there

You can see the video of that statement, here.

I’m not saying that we should drop everything and join Occupy Monsanto. I’m not even suggesting you stop eating their products. But this should, at the very least, pique your curiosity. Because until we successfully convert every vacant lot and building until an aquaponic farm with heirloom vegetables, they have control over our very dinner tables. That’s something to worry about. It’s the most gangsta isn, ever.