Death as Life’s Picture Frame

I know it may be an old pastime, but I still enjoy reading a newspaper. I always pay attention to the obituaries section, usually looking for names I know from my parents’ and grandparents’ age. Something struck me the other day, though. I read a name and looked at the age. I did not knowContinue reading “Death as Life’s Picture Frame”

Maximum Efficiency: Jigoro Kano and Buckminster Fuller

In Judo, we often hear the phrase, “Maximum Efficiency, Minimum Effort.” Judo’s founder, Jigoro Kano, spoke about the concept in 1932 during a speech at the University of Southern California. He said that for anything to be ideal, it must be performed on the principle of maximum efficiency. Throughout the speech, he argued about usingContinue reading “Maximum Efficiency: Jigoro Kano and Buckminster Fuller”

Don’t Drink the Water: Wisdom From A Seafaring Stranger

In Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a haggard-looking old seafarer stops a young man on his way to a wedding. The old man begins to tell his tale to the young wedding guest. The mariner tells of how he, on a whim, shoots the albatross that has been leading his ship through icyContinue reading “Don’t Drink the Water: Wisdom From A Seafaring Stranger”

Rationality is overrated.

I like to tell myself that I’m a rational person. In feedback on an upcoming publication, I was called a “neo-liberal.” I wasn’t sure how to take that, but the implication was that I was too rational for my own good. I admit I lean heavily on logic and identify in many ways with theContinue reading “Rationality is overrated.”

More Human, Less Lizard: Stoicism as an Antidote

When a person thinks of the word “Stoic,” there is often the assumption of no emotion or, at the least, indifference to feelings. Think of Spock from Star Trek fame. While there is a bit of truth that Stoics tend toward rationality instead of emotional outbursts, mainly due to training the mind and will insteadContinue reading “More Human, Less Lizard: Stoicism as an Antidote”

Hear ye, hear ye: Podcasts for Philosophers, Professors, and the Public.

I often cite books and articles or web pages in my writing but rarely mention podcasts. I’ve recently started listening to more of them and wanted to highlight some of what I’m listening to. If you have an interesting podcast that deals with education, philosophy, martial arts, or similar veins, share it with me. IfContinue reading “Hear ye, hear ye: Podcasts for Philosophers, Professors, and the Public.”

The “Simpler” Gentle Art: Applying Occam’s Razor to Jiu-Jitsu

Have you ever seen something and thought, “There’s got to be an easier way to do this”? A recent post from a friend and fellow Jiu-Jitsu coach, Scott Ferguson, and a rereading of Old School Jiu-Jitsu Manifesto made me want to discuss applying one of philosophy’s tools to martial arts, primarily sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. ThisContinue reading “The “Simpler” Gentle Art: Applying Occam’s Razor to Jiu-Jitsu”

Peace of Mind: Modern Problems With Ancient Solutions

I took my kids deer hunting with me this weekend. The weather was wonderful. Not too hot; not too cold. The mosquitoes weren’t out. But neither were the deer. We weren’t in the stand for 30 minutes before my son whispered, “this is boring.” This is the same kid who had hounded me repeatedly toContinue reading “Peace of Mind: Modern Problems With Ancient Solutions”

Can You Change Your Life by Changing Your Opinion?

I recently saw a meme quoting Mac Anderson that read, “You are always one choice away from changing your life.” I don’t know much about the author or the originality of his idea, but the essence of the quote can be found millennia ago. Marcus Aurelius wrote something very similar in his diary. In bookContinue reading “Can You Change Your Life by Changing Your Opinion?”

Kano’s Vision: Judo as a Humanistic Endeavor

One of the primary martial arts we teach at my academy is Judo. When people ask me about Judo, I get excited. I mention the physical attributes such as the emphasis on throwing your opponent to the ground and rendering him immobile with a pin. But there is also an equally beautiful quality in JudoContinue reading “Kano’s Vision: Judo as a Humanistic Endeavor”