Saturday, March 26, 2011


At this time of the year, Cotten's garage is still fairly cold for class up here in the Pacific Northwet.

Sometimes, silat class is about technique–principles and applications.

John, L. Maha Guru, R.

L. to R.:  Olivier, Steve, Maha Guru Plinck

L. to R: Bill, Cotten, Orange Tabby and Steve

Sometimes, it's about the neighborhood cat who wanders into the garage to see what's going on ...

A typical gathering

L. to R. - Front row: Ashley, Tiel, Olivier, Todd
Second Row: Cotten, Maha Guru Plinck
Back Row: Bill, Steve, Cam, John

(All photos by Ashley Chung or Cotten Blackwell)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Update on the Silat Wars

It has, blessedly, been fairly quiet on the silat politics front around here of late. Partially, that's because I have disengaged from the repartee. Of course, I still now and then see something pop up on the web that makes me want to grind my teeth. The folks who don't agree with me, or each other, are still out there, I just stopped getting into debates with them. Serves no purpose. Even if I automatically assume I am right–which I have to admit isn't a given–minds-changing in this arena are as rare as hen's teeth. Zealotry hasn't died out, that I noticed.

Better to take a deep breath, spit out what I don't like, and go on my way. Ever so much better for my blood pressure. Life is too short to spend much of it like Donald Duck in a squawking rage.

So, Steve, Mr. Mellow, why even bring it up?

There have been recently a couple of things I've found interesting. 

In one instance, there was an overture from somebody not-well-thought-of in Sera circles, wanting to tell me his side of the story. 

There was a time when I would have turned a deaf ear to this. Instead, I listened, replied and the conversation was civil. I could even see his point.

On one hand, that's what has to happen if there is ever going to be any kind of peace. On the other hand, trust is not easy. You can give somebody the benefit of the doubt, but you also keep your eyes open–"forgive" isn't the same as "forget."

In another instance, I saw a posting from somebody I used to respect and enjoy talking to that indicated he's still somebody I wouldn't want to turn my back on if he was within striking distance. Having felt his metaphorical (and quite unexpected) knife twixt my shoulder blades once before was, like touching a hot stove, enough experience to make the case. Before I go there, I need more evidence that I'm not going to be a target and what I'm hearing doesn't offer such.

People can move on, and we have all made mistakes for which we would like redemption. Allowing for that possibility in others means you have a shot at it yourself. But it's like the old joke: How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb? Only one–but the light bulb has really got to want to change ...

Sometimes, leopards might alter their spots. 

Sometimes, assholes continue to be assholes.

So it goes. I can shrug and acknowledge that the tempest still exists without wading into it up to my neck, and for me, that's an improvement.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Speaking of Knives ...

Check out Chuck Pippin's work. Not only an outstanding bladesmith, but look at the leather.

Must be nice to have that kind of skill.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cylinder Knife

For those of you who don't read my other blog, a duplicate posting. It started when I offered the notion of a knife with a round handle, and since I had nothing pressing to do this morning, I cobbled together a prototype.

Below, my original drawing, then pictures of the prototype.

So, the proof-of-concept prototype of the cylinder-handled knife. 

It's not what I'd want the finished product to look like–I worked with what I had on hand, and that included a beat-up old butterfly knife and some one-inch PVC pipe and caps. I'd want the blade to be wider, thicker, and I wouldn't have the caps, just a rounded butt and some kind of guard; however, it does give me enough of a feel for the design to tell me that it will work like I wanted. Proportions are off, I'd have the handle be a inch or so shorter, too, but there you go.

The knife's handle fit snugly into the pipe, and I cut slots at the top for the tiny guard that flares a bit at the base of the blade. With the knife pushed firmly in place, I cut a slot in the top cap for the blade, squirted a fair amount of epoxy into the handle to set everything, glued the caps on, and voila! It doesn't have to work, save to see if I can manipulate it. 

I'm sure a knifemaker could produce something ever so much more elegant.