Why I’m thinking about brain chemistry lately (movie and martial arts)

The Man Who Shall Not Be Known as “Sifu” challenged us to have done a … I don’t know what you call, exactly, doing all eight palms of baguazhang… ladder, series, what-have-you… I’m going to call it “the form,” even though I’m not sure that quite applies the way it does with other forms… 140 times by the time we see him next.  That comes to ten times per day.

I have a week left, and I don’t think I’m going to make it.  Oh, practice is going well… but there’s this little thing called “my brain” that gets into the way.  You see, it pretty much turns to mush on me.  Ten repetitions of the form is about two hours of bagua — that sounds like a lot to folks who do a workout at the gym, but back when I lived in SF and was single with a fiancee 5000 miles away, I trained for five hours a day.  And ran up the phone bill from hell.  Bagua and Hsing-I are low enough-impact that you can do that.

But I’m starting to understand the meditation aspect hardcore, as I get further in and lose my ability to focus on what I’m doing.  Sometimes it’s cool (like when you suddenly wind up going off on a tangent, b/c lizard brain has found an application), and yanking yourself back is just a feature of “hey, dumbass, back on target.”  But then there’s the true “my brain just melted,” where it all falls apart.

I’m getting better at going further without losing it… but I’m not there yet.

Now, speaking of losing it, we saw The Happening.

Shyamalan has essentially managed to make a combination survival-horror and Red Scare flick, only this time, it’s a pseudo-environmental piece.  What if plants could react to us as pests the way we react to insect and plant pests, and generate a neurotoxin “humanocide?”  Like most of Shyamalan’s work, it’s worth seeing once if you’re into the survival horror of any kind, but, also, like most of Shyamalan’s flicks, it’s heavy on concept, and a little lightweight when it comes to the acting.  It also veers a touch into “message film,” though, given that some of those putting out the information leading to it are, well, dumbasses, the degree to which it’s meant to be taken seriously is up in the air.

It’s worth checking out, if you’re into Shyamalan’s directing… otherwise, I’d avoid it.

Leave a comment


  1. Andrew Reyna

     /  June 15, 2008

    I have seen snippets from “The Happening.” From what I saw, the editing was off. Timing in the sneak preview train scene was just off… “hurts me as an editor”-bad.

    On the note of martial arts, I’ve been looking into starting Wu Shu training. A parkour/tricking guy I met a few years back had been training since he was a little boy. I’m sort of out of commission for a while due to appendix-erectomy.

  2. Happycrow

     /  June 16, 2008

    Sorry to hear about the appendix. Parkour is really good stuff: I didn’t know we had any locals doing it. Course, this time of year, you explode from the heat… but I strongly recommend you pick up some kind of physical training. So long as you can avoid injury, your body will thank you.

  3. Andrew Reyna

     /  June 17, 2008

    I have been doing lots of non-abdominal working out. About the parkour thing, we actually have a quite well established group in North Texas. I’m at about 3 1/2 years of training. I used to lead the “scene” in North Texas, and then I dropped of connection with everything and now there is a large amount of practitioners.


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