Mountain Climbing in Antarctica, Part 3

Entertainment |

December 30, Camp 3 to Base Camp
We wake up late, knowing how much we have to carry down the mountain, and dreading it. We descend slowly, admiring the spectacular views. Further down we see that a huge ice section had avalanched off the face yesterday and slid over our trail. The ice chunks are the size of cars. (more…)

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Mountain Climbing in Antarctica, Part 2

Entertainment |

December 27, Camp 3 13,000 feet
The climbing is spectacular! The view is almost indescribable. There are icefalls that rise from the ground and huge seracs everywhere. Further on is vast whiteness with a smattering of dark peaks that look like islands piercing the clouds. It’s simply amazing. (more…)

Mountain Climbing in Antarctica, Part 1

Entertainment |

Eighteen of us are tightly packed toward the cockpit of a Hercules C-130 aircraft, bracing for a landing that the pilot has never tried. Below us is the most unbelievable and surreal sight that I’ve witnessed. We are about to touch down at Patriot Hills, Antarctica, withOUT skis on the landing gear of this massive plane. The pilot informs us that he’s bringing the temperature of the plane down, so we can get “used” to Antarctica. Fear not, however, there’s currently a heat wave at 8 degrees below zero with calm winds. The plane bounces then violently shakes around as we slide on the ice for what seems like miles. Amazingly, we make it, unscathed. (more…)

Ichikawa. Part 5

Fitness |

Aiki-Jujutsu will seek control through pressure points and wrist manipulation; while its ancestor aikido strives for a more peaceful path, aiming to redirect the energy you attack with so you end up dominating yourself. It’s quite a blow to your ego when you realize that you can and have been submitted in every range of combat imaginable. (more…)

Ichikawa. Part 4

Fitness |

As I picked myself up off the ground, Ichikawa had to have been licking his chops before he transformed my gift of momentum into another beautiful throw. It just kept going. This guy wasn’t even breaking a sweat and he was smoking me; as fast as I could get up he’d send me back down. And there was no struggle in it. His uchimata (inner thigh throw) was clean, dynamic and instantaneous. A quick pop of motion and I was on the ground. (more…)

Ichikawa. Part 3

Fitness |

I remember the only girl on our team shouting out “Sugoi” after watching my crude attempt at an osoto gari (outer reaping throw). With a meaning along the lines of “Oh my God!” I thought the girl was impressed by my display of power (and it’s implied virility). I realize now that she was probably mortified and was just bracing herself for a long year with a reckless gaijin (foreigner). (more…)

Ichikawa. Part 2

Fitness |

I learned ukemi 2 hours a day, 6 days a week, for 6 weeks, culminating in a test where I grabbed the belt of a teammate situated on all fours, and hurled myself over his back, 5 times each on my left and right sides. The purpose of this training was to enable me to fall with velocity without injuring myself. (more…)

Ichikawa. Part 1

Fitness |

My introduction to martial arts began auspiciously enough. Sent to Japan as an exchange student, my militaristic high school “encouraged” me to train in one of the traditional Japanese arts offered at the after school clubs. I had several options available, including kyudo (traditional archery) and kendo (sportive fencing), along with the less physically demanding ikebana (flower arranging) and sado (tea ceremony). (more…)

Starting Out in Tai Chi Chuan

Sport |

If you’ve ever tried playing a piano or a guitar for the first time, you can probably remember how awkward those first attempts were. The instrument was something foreign, and your fingers wouldn’t cooperate. Your teacher probably gave you musical scales to learn and told you to practice, practice, practice. (more…)

There’s Still Time to Get In Skiing Shape

Sport |

Heading for the slopes? Get in great ski shape with these tips and exercises that will soon have you effortlessly skiing down your favorite run. (more…)