Monday, July 25, 2016

What I Learned at the Women's Judo Camp

In Denver airport on my way home from the women's judo camp. It was GREAT!  I totally did not expect it to be so much fun. 

Mornings were dedicated to kata and exercise. I had to work every morning so I'm just going by the schedule. That was the first thing I learned at the camp. If you want to go and you don't have three full days to devote to judo, that's fine. You can come for one day, two days or all three. If you can't make it some mornings because you have to work, come in the afternoon, or vice versa.

Afternoons, we focused on techniques for competition. I taught a lot about transition from standing to matwork, particularly arm bars.We played a lot of games and I even learned some new ones. 

Here is one example:

Put the group into two teams. One player from Team A gets a player from Team B in a pin. Four players from Team A surround the two. Now, four players from Team B have one minute to get their player free. 

My plane is boarding so here is the most important thing I learned - make decisions for yourself and don't judge based on rumor. 

I had heard for YEARS that the women's judo camp was all kata. I'd also been told many times directly that I would hate the women's camp, that it was full of people who were very prim and proper, that I would get in trouble for not having ironed my judo gi, not having the right color gi, not bowing properly, etc.

Those rumors are so widespread that while I was here, I kept getting text messages asking if I was really at the women's camp, because, as you probably know from reading this blog, I have a way of offending people in the least prim and proper circles, without any additional gi-ironing requirements necessary.

As I said, it was GREAT and nothing like I had heard. When I told Eiko that she asked,

"Who told you those things?"

I realized how stupid it sounded even as I answered, 

"People who hadn't ever been there. "

Judge for yourself. 

Also, practice your transition from standing to matwork, but that's another post altogether.


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Be an anti-hoarder

Just arrived in Denver for the Women's Judo Camp that started tonight. You can still come in for a day or two if you are in the area. However, I happened to find this post on my iPad I had never uploaded.

Before and after cleaning under my bed
Years ago, I said to The Invisible Developer,

"Every month, I go through this house, bag up things we don't need and give them to charity or throw them out, and yet there is never any less stuff in this house. What does that tell you?"

He answered, hopefully,

"That I'm a good provider?"

Anyone who knows me well can tell you that I am the opposite of a hoarder. Where some people are gratified by bringing into their home things that they then don't use, I spend my spare time getting rid of things or using them up. This is a great idea.  

Getting rid of stuff you don't need is one of the easiest ways to improve your quality of life.

Let me explain why you, too, should become an anti-hoarder.

1. Using what you have will improve your quality of life.
I presume you bought whatever it is - perfume, stationery or an exercise bike - because you thought you would actually like that thing. Use it or lose it. I have a lot of perfume that people have given me and on my quest to use it up, I try to remember to put it on myself or just spray it around the house. Both my house and I smell great, which makes me happy. Other things I use include books that I've been meaning to read - making a serious effort to read these and learn more.

2. Getting rid of the clutter in your house gives you more space - for free! In Santa Monica, where I live, rental space goes for about $5 per square foot. So, if you can get rid of 100 square feet of stuff in your house, that is $500 a month or $6,000 a year. That might seem like a lot of stuff, but if you have a few boxes here and there you can eliminate that can add up to 100 square feet pretty quickly. Personally, I LIKE having some open space and it is way cheaper to get rid of stuff than buy a bigger place - and you don't have to pay taxes on the money you save!

3. Instead of buying more stuff, using the stuff you have will save you money!
Last night, we had dinner for 10 people. It cost me $4 for ice cream. Everything else was made using food already in the house and dishes we already owned. If I took 10 people to dinner at a decent restaurant in my neighborhood, it would easily cost $500.

4.  Getting rid of stuff you don't need makes it easier to find the stuff you do need and want. How much time do you spend looking for a shirt you like to wear, a book you want to read, that tool you need? How often do you just give up? If your house only contains shirts you like, books you'll read and tools you need, it will be a lot easier to find stuff. You won't have to dig through all of the junk.


When I'm not writing this blog, I'm making educational games that run on Mac and Windows. You can buy 3 for $20. Get them. Your cinye thinks you should.

You can also give as a gift or donate to a school. We've got your karma needs covered.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Write your own story - why does everyone have to be beautiful?

A while ago,  rambling on my other blog,  I wrote about The Savage Damsel and the Dwarf and how it didn't follow the standard script. There is one place, though, where I think the author did feel obligated to conform, for some reason.

The damsel is not a tiny little thing, like her sister. In fact, she likes to sit down and feast on roasted boar with the best of them. She falls in love with the good-looking knight, but he completely disregards her and falls in love at first sight with her sister, who is a social climbing jerk, but beautiful.

The damsel eventually recognizes that her knight is kind of a dork. I mean, who falls in love with someone just because they look good? If they did marry, what would she talk to this guy about? He'd just be riding off getting into sword fights for no real reason while she sat at home.

She falls in love with the dwarf and this breaks the spell he is under , turning him back into the not-bad-looking noble he really is and they live happily ever after.

Why is it that in every story when someone falls in love with an unattractive person 'for who they really are' there is some physical transformation and the beast or dwarf or frog turns into a handsome prince?

Not that I'm advocating inter-species dating here, I get the frog and the beast part. As for the ugly sister that turns into a beautiful princess, the dwarf that turns back into his real self - why can't he stay a dwarf?

This book was pretty good on the damsel side,though. Basically,

She wasn't particularly thin or beautiful but she was smart, loyal, kind and brave. He knew he was lucky to have her. He wasn't a white knight in shining armor. He was a farmer who loved her, respected her and was a really smart guy. They lived happily ever after. The End

I'd like a book to end, just once with,

She was ugly but had a lot of other good qualities so they got married and lived happily ever after.
I'm very serious about this because I think far too many people overlook inner stupidity/ jerk for outer beauty. Close your eyes and imagine Mr/ Ms Right Now as a 50-year-old with wrinkles, a receding hair line , a paunch and a bad back. Do you still want to hang out with this person?

If the answer is, "No", quit making the down payments on that ring and put your money in the stock market. If for some reason you do decide to marry them, for God's sake, get yourself an airtight prenuptial agreement so you come out okay in the eventual divorce.

When I'm not writing this blog, I'm making educational games that run on Mac and Windows. You can buy 3 for $20. Get them. Your cinye thinks you should.

You can also give as a gift or donate to a school. We've got your karma needs covered.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Why the women's camp is so important to me

Last week,  I attended an event for women developers sponsored by a software company.  The keynote speaker was male. This was an entire room full of very accomplished women invited to an event where a man got up and told the  audience how important diversity was - so they couldn't find a woman to speak in their whole 50,000 person company?

In my life, I have had plenty of experiences in judo where a women's team is coached entirely by men, a training camp with 80-100 elite women athletes is all taught by men.

Looks random but isn't - Today we were recording a podcast with an African- American woman , Qianna, who was Chief Operating Officer of a multi-million dollar tech company. She mentioned another interview where someone had suggested that after the election , it would be great if President Obama would go into venture capital funding. The host said,

 "He would make partner for sure."

Qianna commented ,

"That shows you the bar a black man must clear to make partner in a VC firm"

Are all of the partners in venture capital firms former presidents of the United States? I don't fucking think so.

( Subliminal advertising we do a podcast called More Than Ordinary - you can find it here or subscribe on iTunes)

Similarly, yes, I get invited to events to teach at clinics and camps that are predominantly but I won the world championships.

Does every man who teaches a class of all-women have a world or Olympic medal?

I don't fucking think so.

This post also makes clear why I'm so excited to be coaching at the women's camp this year.

I started judo 45 years ago - I was 12 - and women were seldom 'allowed' to compete.

When the Supreme Court ruled that companies could not pay women lower wages than men because "that is what women traditionally get paid" - I was 16 years old.

 When Title IX passed, I was 14. Title IX begins
" “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”"

A key point here is that for the first years I was in judo, allowing women to compete or participate was voluntary for everyone. Even after Title IX passed, since few judo programs operated at schools or universities, it was perfectly legal to tell women and girls they were not welcome - and plenty of programs did.

I was often told that I was not an appropriate representative for judo even though I won and I won and I won and I trained my ass off. Why was I not a proper representative? As it was told to me by very well-meaning older women,

  • We've just recently been allowed to be in tournaments. 
  • We don't want to upset the men.
  •  We don't want to feed into those stereotypes of being unfeminine. 
  • You need to dress more nicely when you come to tournaments. 
  • Don't swear. 
  • Have your judo gi folded properly. 
  • Act more respectful. 
  • Women need to wear a white stripe on their belts because we're not claiming to be equal to the men.
  • You don't want them to start thinking women judoka are feminists, now do you?

The first point, although it was true, is the one that made me angriest. Maybe it made me so angry BECAUSE it was true.  Women were 'allowed' to do judo and men had the ability to 'not allow them' to do judo. Many clubs did not allow women, either just saying it flat out, giving excuses like "We have no changing facilities" or by trying to beat the hell out of any women who trained with them until they gave up and left.

I do understand those women's perspective who were unsuccessfully trying to get me to behave. They had desperately wanted to do judo, done whatever was asked of them to gain access and now some little twit like me comes along and has the possibility of ruining it for them.

Thanks to those women, and others of my mother's generation, I have the luxury of the attitude of "I have a RIGHT to be here and I don't have to be nice to you people to prove that women should be allowed on the mat."

Thanks to the women of my generation (you're welcome) young women today don't need to give any thought to whether they need to fit some special standard for women just to be allowed on the mat.


The camp is July 22-24, 2016 in Littleton, CO.  The head instructor is Eiko Saito Shepherd, who has always been a hero of mine, but that's a post for another day.


Also, check out our games - running on Mac and Windows -

Are you on computer? Do you have $4.99 ? Check out Forgotten Trail. Do something productive!

Or, you can get all of our games here ...  Buy Spirit Lake &  Fish Lake and we'll throw in Forgotten Trail for free, because we're awesome like that.