Sabado, Marso 31, 2012

Silver Glory


Ordinary. That's what I am to you. Nothing special. Another face in the crowd. Your seatmate in public transports. A man passing through. You could be right. Like anyone, I work 8 hours a day. Pays bills. Gets tired and yearns for the good life. Mediocre as it may seem, some parts of my life were somewhat.. interesting.. enough to tell, at least. This does not necessarily mean something special happened though, but I'll still try to tell it as if it was an epic tale.

OCTOBER:
The auditorium was packed to the brim. People watching, supporting their friends, their classmates, their pupils. But that didn't matter once I stepped into the mat. The referee pointed at the line where I should be standing. I know not what to feel at the time. A part of me was saying: "what have you gotten yourself into!" and another: "This is it. This is you. This is real." I bow to the judges, then to the referee, then to my opponent. "Hajime!" The ref yells, and so begins the opening of the University's Judo Tournament...

JULY:
A senior student, that's what I was. It was regular day at school. I was with the gang. We descended the stairs laughing and just being foolish. At the bottom, the building's gallery caught our attention. There were booths setup. We went in. It was an event for different clubs and everyone was encouraged to join. I was already an inactive member of the mountaineering club, but since some friends are minding the booth,I hung there for a while for nothing else interests me. 10 minutes passed. I met up with my friends assuming they were done looking around. One was missing. Julius. We scanned the area, then saw him.. signing up to become a Judoka(practitioner of judo). "You have got to be kidding!" one said laughingly. "Judo? really?!" says another. But Julius, he was serious about it.

AUGUST:
Julius and I had the same route home. Before the end of the class he told me about the judo club and how I could be suitable competitor. He, by the way, was also the one who got me into climbing mountains so he knows the kind of rush I was into. Wednesday 6PM (Training Day): I was invited to watch the training. I knew nothing about the sport of Judo before that day. I mean, the only move I knew was the "Judo chop", which I later on found out was an oxymoron since striking was not permitted in the sport.

The Next Week:
Watching the team train fired me up. Like a bug to a lamp, I was drawn to it. And having learned that they were short on members as tournament nears.. that was the final straw. So I signed up. We only had over a month of preparation. I learned importance of the basics like: proper falling and rolling in order to prevent accidents. I acquired the different throwing and grappling techniques. My favorite move at the time was the "tomonage", and I was doing it to everyone. It is done by holding onto your opponent then backing up, laying down then flipping him using one foot.




New friends were also made in that short span of time. People started calling me "ninja" which only started out as a joke because of the way I did somersaults in warm ups. A lot of new talents had also joined the team but luckily they were not in my weight class. Otherwise, I would have fought teammates for one of the two positions in the tournament.

OCTOBER:
At 110lbs, I was puny compared to the other competitors even in my division which was 55k(121lbs) weight limit and under(the lightest weight class). The weigh ins marked it official for me. Coach told me that I was in match number two. Matches were fought two at a time (2 mats were setup)meaning I'm up first in Mat number 2. Was I ready? maybe not, but for the team, I would do my best. I told Julius laughingly, "Getting to the finals would be enough for me. "Just getting past one opponent is an achievement itself", he replied then both of us laughed for we both know that the idea was far-fetched.

TOURNAMENT DAY:
Debut Match
The ref signalled us to start. I never really felt it as if I was still waiting the real signal. I casually walk towards my opponent without regards to my own safety, just as I was in sparring sessions with friends. My opponent might not have been aware of that kind of approach for I got him to my pace with ease. I attempted a throw but to no avail. Still under my control, My opponent then tried to return the favor. A costly mistake. I did not know what kind of judoka I was, but only then that I realized that I fared well in grappling. I won my first match by pinning my opponent down via Kesa-gatame.



A satisfying win, even my mother would be proud if I told her, and she does not approve of me joining this club. But then I actually thought maybe I could do this. I can beat all my opponents. I could win gold. Then I thought, fool's ambition.

Upon waiting for my next match, I was in the support team for my other teammates. Preparing for their match. Up next was Julius. His opponent: the division's next gold medalist. While our coach was giving my teammate instructions, the other coach was hyping the opponent. Like a fully charged robot about to be unplugged. The match began. They cautiously circle the mat. Fainting attempts of grabs. After a short while, they finally grab each other. Unexpectedly, the overconfident opponent attempts a tomonage. Little did he know that Julius was also my sparring partner, and was fed up being at the other end of my tomonage. So the attempt failed. The match went on. Again, moments passed. Nothing. Until Julius gave the supposed champion a taste of his own medicine, the tomonage. He flipped him then let go. The opponent slammed on the mat and was flat on his back. "Ippon!", Yelled the ref and the match was over. Everyone was shocked then we all stood up and lost control. The whole auditorium exploded like crazy.After that people started calling him "Legend Killer".

It was a good start for all of us after the first round. All my teammates won their matches. after several fights, though, some were eliminated. Julius was eliminated on his second match by a grappler. And I, even though tired from all the grabbing and defending, was still a contender.

THE SEMIS:
Before my fight, I warmed up by practicing throws. I thought, it was quite pointless now because I never had any success with it in that tournament. I only countered any attempts my opponents made then pin them down. Having thought that, I still warmed up with throws. And it was time to fight. My opponent was shorter than me, but wider. The match began, this one's aggressive.He took me down and got half a point and, as icing on the cake, I got pinned. Like a man possessed, I got the
strength to reverse the situation. As time winds down, I heard him say "Oh no!".he knew he was up on points and he knew he would have won. But pinning the opponent and securing it for twenty-five seconds is above any amount of points. I got in the finals.

My captain, the same weight class as me, was in the semis as well. He's fighting someone similar to his build, tall and skinny. So they went at it after the referee signals. They were equally matched. My captain finishes fights via throws but his opponent wasn't giving him any openings. Then the time was up. His opponent's arm was raised. He was outpointed. I'll face the man that beat my captain next.

THE FINALS:
My team mates, my friends and my classmates. They were all there. Words of me in the finals brought them there. People I don't know was acknowledging my achievement. I was given advice by different people regarding my next opponent. They told me not to grapple with him because it's his forte. To shoot(tackle) wouldn't do any good as well.And so it was time. The match began. Even when the people I know were watching, screaming and cheering for me. I never heard any of them. There was just me and my opponent. We were circling each other for a while, my impatience got the best of me when I went for those legs. He then sprawled on me. An impeccable show of speed and defense. I was unable to make him commit mistakes and he timed mine well. I attempted to grab his legs time and again. The referee suddenly whistles. My opponent and I were stood up. For some mysterious reason the ref began to deduct me of points. Apparently, my attempts were causing my opponent to become inactive. The worst of time to lose points.

Disheartening as it was, I still managed to bring the fight to the mat. But my nimble opponent suddenly was on full guard and would not let go. For the ref to reset our position, I had to stand up. So I did. My opponent hanged for dear life. I raised my arms side ward but but couldn't shake him off. People cheered in amazement. I could have finished the match there if I slammed him on his back but it wouldn't be legal for that particular move could injure the spinal chord.(I found out later on that some competitors win fights with that move). It took long but the ref finally reset and we were back on our feet. Time went on. We were both tired. My hands can barely grip. My opponent was up on points and in my desperation, I resorted to grappling.  It was too late when I found out that his skills on the ground was nothing special. I was far stronger. But time was running out, I tried pinning him in anyway I can, I had him with kesa gatame but his foot was slipping to the edge of the mat. The ref would stand us up if at least one goes beyond the playing area. With all the remaining strength I had, I tried to lean on him then held his leg in order to secure the position. 25 seconds were all I needed. The referee whistles the end of the fight. We both stood up and took the position beside the referee. At that point, I already knew, They need not announce it. And my arm wasn't raised. Apparently what I did wasn't in the books. I was told that I shouldn't have held on his leg. I would have lost either way.

The tournament ended. I got the "finals" I asked for. Should I have asked for more? Silver medals still mean I lost.  But to a fledgling like me, to be given silver still was glorious. Gold would already have made me extraordinary and I am not extraordinary. Just another face in the crowd. Your seatmate in public transports. A man passing through. Ordinary.


College of Fine Arts Judo Team


Sabado, Marso 17, 2012

iPod Free App Review: Stair Dismount and Phoenix HD


It's that time again, I'll do a quick review on a couple of old iPod Applications because I feel like it.

First up: Stair Dismount
Use the same curiosity you had when you played the slinky then add falling dead dummies and you'll get this application. You start off by choosing a scenario, whether you want to see the classic "falling-off-the-stairs" scene or the chain reaction your dummy experiences upon a toy factory assembly line. Next:Place the pointer where you want to push (head, shoulder, right leg, etc.). Then choose how much force you want to exert by timing the power gauge right. Press "Dismount" then just sit back and watch the dummy's demise.


A simple application that kills boredom and satisfies our intrigues that involve a falling human body and numerous objects that make the downward journey interesting. You must warn children though. Real-life stair dismount is not as pretty.






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Next: Phoenix HD 
Set in space, you ride the phoenix, a Fighter Jet. (more ships are available through purchase in the app store) You fight through endless waves of enemy ships and bosses that fire all kinds of projectiles in large quantities. You can get power-ups that contain abilities and weapon upgrades along the way. If you find yourself pinned by the enemy, just release the stored power-up to perform an overwhelming light-show burst of firepower called the Alpha Strike and destroy every enemy ship on screen. 

This game may be one of, if not the best looking jetshooter I have ever played in iPOD. The 3d graphics are just stunning and the controls are perfectly responsive. The progression of difficulty is based on your performance which is perfect as well. Jet shooter fans can't go wrong with this one. Available at the iTunes Store.




Martes, Marso 13, 2012

Do Not Work On Saturday!


I'm feeling rather defiant tonight,
to fuel the fight and let those higher ignite.
Let them feel the effects of all the abuse.
We can run the system if that's what we choose.

To be used and disguised as showing of care,
All of their reasons are all of selfish affairs.
No fair. Though they chose not to see with their eyes.
But surprise, surprise, we bought in all of their lies.

We're talkin' human lives here, We get worn and tired
Treated like machines, We're not made, we're hired.
The tight grips of shackles, we're motivated by whips
working off the muscles, but don't care if they rip.

But my brothers and sisters, the message we are to send
With hopes of changing their ways and see the tyranny's end.
This one day we can change the course,
Join the cause now. But, of course, the choice is yours.




Linggo, Marso 11, 2012

iPod Free App Review: Falling Stars


Some iPod applications didn't quite get that "Angry Birds" or "Temple Run" status. I, myself,  have downloaded some that might have fared well with the top apps but did not get the well deserved recognition.This right here is my first iPod App review for those truly rare gems. The apps I will review in the next few days are those that I find  have unique game play, graphics and/or concept. Attention grabbing in general. Anyway, let's begin with the first one. Hope you find the information below useful.

P.S. For those who are feeling a bit stingy, not to worry,  some of the apps are free!



Falling Stars by Trident Vitality is a musical application where you start off with beautifully rendered background that consists of a peaceful night in the forest. Above the screen are stars you can press. These stars, once activated, produces glowing liquid that I could only describe as "star drops"(similar to raindrops. though it glows).You then "freehandedly" draw lines to where the star drops fall. These lines produce sounds, depending on the chosen leaf(touch the leaves below to choose). You may then compose music using the different kinds of leaves and toggle the intervals of the drop by clicking on the stars until you find the right tempo.


Provides hours of mind stimulating entertainment, this app lets you explore your visual and musical creativity through the use of physics and timing. You may want to use your headset out when playing outdoors. Picture below(from itunes.apple.com) does not give justice to the sound and the animation, just download it in order to find out.



Lunes, Marso 5, 2012

Interpreting Claude Monet's Thoughts



A fine day it is at the meadows,
The sun has lit the fields aglow
Down the hill, I start to stroll
some time to kill to uplift the soul.

Moments gone by, the slope I settled,
About to lie when I was startled.
...And I looked up, the love of my life,
the wine to my cup, the cake to my knife.

Her face serene, my heart just melted,
Overwhelming scene, that time suspended.
A brilliant shadow, she casts on me.
The winds that blow, sky's infinity.

Unexpected, my boy has followed
He escorted his mum then just wallowed.
Me and my son, our lives made whole,
By the woman with a parasol.


Woman with a Parasol (1875) -By Claude Monet
I wasn't planning on writing anything else below the poem, for it might ruin the article's consistency. But for those who wonder, I wrote the poem because back in my college days I saw this picture and just fell in love with it. I had just expressed the exact words that were on my mind upon seeing it. Hence my use of "Overwhelming" to describe the scene.