Archive for December, 2012

MagicISO saves Christmas

Posted: December 25, 2012 in Diary, Technology
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This Christmas, my daughter received a netbook from Santa. She also got a computer game on CD where you can run a theme park. The first problem is that there is no cdrom drive in the netbook to run the cd. No problem as I have an external USB drive that we can use to install the software and after that you shouldn’t need the CD, right?

Wrong! The software is dependant on having the disk because it does not copy all the data accross to save space. Having an external piece of kit attached to the netbook defeats the purpose, so with a bit of digging, I found MagicISO at

The process is quite easy:

1. Install MagicISO
2. Connect portable DVD drive and insert media
3. right click tray icon
4. Select make cd/ DVD image
5. Type in path of save file
6. Right click tray icon and mount as drive letter.

Disk is now available as a mapped drive letter.

I can now add a shortcut to the desktop to run the software as if the CD rom was connected.


The 5th kyu grading will be held in January. We don’t usually do syllibus work in regular classes because of the high number of black belts.  Last week we did some techniques required for nidan.

Usually there are some extra sessions put on to do specifc grading preparation. I attended one of these last weekend. This was really good as my grading partner from 6th kyu and I practiced everything on the syllibus.

Many of the techniques are variations on ikkyo – “the first teaching”. This includes suwari waza and tachi waza forms from showmen uchi and katadori menuchi attacks.

We also got to practice uchi kaitenage and udekiminage which are a bit more complicated.

Hopefully there will be oportunity to get a bit more practice in before the grading…

My 3rd 5k

Posted: December 15, 2012 in Diary, Running
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Today I entered a local parkrun.  Parkrun
is an non proffit organization that holds community runs in local Parks with the help of volunteer timekeepers and organizers.

It was a cold, wet and windy day,  warmer than last time, but only a handful of runners turned out. I set off and was soon near the back of the pack. I had started my phone based tracking application, but it stayed silent when I was sure I had run the first kilometer. This and the fact that I was rapidly falling behind the runners in front made me anxious about my pace. I wasn’t too surprised as I had not been able to run regularly for a couple of weeks.

This anxiety and the fact that I had over indulged the night before in terms of chinese food and beer made me feel like I was struggling. I very nearly gave up at about the half way point but spotted a runner about 200m in front slowing to a walk. As I closed the gap between us, he started to jog again, but soon stopped. As I passed, him I checked he was OK before continuing.

This gave me a bit of a boost. I wasn’t going to drop out! Coming up on the finish line,  the parkrun volunteers were shouting encouragment and I put on a burst of speed to cross the line.

My trusty phone app had failed to record any information except for the elapsed time which is inaccurate as I never remember to switch it off until several minutes after finishing. I felt sure that my time was poor. When the result email arrived in the afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to find it only 7 seconds away from my personal best 5k time!

Thanks to all the Parkrun volunteers – you do a great job.

Lessons learnt:
1. Make a correct food choice the before (and night before) an important race/ run.
2. Technology is great when it works,  but will let you down given the chance.
3. Don’t allow yourself the luxury of withdrawl (unless something has fallen off or broken). You don’t get many chances to do this stuff and discomfort is temporary – soon forgotten in a hot bath or at the bar.
4. Always double knot your shoelaces
5. Try to make a visit to the toilet before starting.

Tenshinage – look one hand!

Posted: December 1, 2012 in Aikido, Diary
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We did some work on Ryotedori tenshinage (heaven and earth throw) today. We started with the conventional form, then did hanmi handachiwaza, including a form where there is no “heaven” hand. The heaven hand is kept low and used to cut the back of the attackers knee.

Back in tachiwaza, we did the same technique with one hand (the earth hand). I was advised to keep the hand at my centre and then imagine picking up a pebble.

Most of the focus was Omote forms and we continued with some jodori using the same methods.