Archive for January, 2008

Global Party

January 27, 2008

Yesterday evening we went to a “Global Party” held at the Cross in Moseley. This was a very nice affair with a good live band, the Late Arrivals (though unfortunately the sound system didn’t do them justice as it was so loud all definition appeared to be lost in a mush of noise). However, the main reason we went was to see our belly dance teacher Yasmine perform. She put on a sterling performance which had everyone looking on in admiration at her artistry in which she made the most difficult moves look relaxed and easy. Yasmine explains to us in our classes that belly dancing is an ancient North African folkloric dance and this is the emphasis she puts on it when teaching. The more modern cabaret version of the dance came about later.

Belly dancing has an emphasis on isolation of the muscles so that they move while the rest of the body is kept still, for example, in some moves you endeavour to keep the torso, neck and head still while the legs and the side abdominal muscles (the obliques I think these are called) do the work. This concept of isolating certain muscles seems similar to what is practiced in hip hop though of course the dances are very different.

One thing I have noticed is that belly dancing seems to bring out the exhibitionist in some people. At the end of Yasmine’s performance she started to invite people to dance with her and, while being flattered at the invitation, most of us will still let her take centre stage as even with a few lessons we know we’re going to look really rubbish beside her. However, a few people seemed to take this as an invitation to take over the stage, try to push Yasmine out of the limelight and make themselves the centre of attention. Yasmine, of course, handled the matter with grace and inclusiveness, showing tolerance and friendliness to the people concerned who were … shameless, is the word that springs to mind. This is not a judgment, merely an observation, and it can be very funny in a cringe making kind of way.

Facebook

January 22, 2008

Someone sent me this link which is a rant and very biased, rather than a balanced piece of journalism. It does, however, bring up some interesting stuff about the alleged philosophical and political ideas behind facebook.

Python and Jython: they’re the main two

January 22, 2008

I’ve come across some differences between python and jython while amending a grinder test harness. Using python 2.5.1 I can do this to get a uri embedded in a string:

tup = text.partition('rdf:about="')
resourceTup = tup[2].partition('"')
print resourceTup[0]

partition returns an array of substring before the separator, the separator itself, and the substring after the separator.

Of course, when running under jython, it would error with:
‘string’ object has no attribute ‘partition’

But this works in jython:

tup = text.split('rdf:about="')
resourceTup = tup[1].split('"')
print resourceTup[0]

I wondered if jython were using the java String class as you can use split and join, however, there is no indexOf method etc as there is in the java String class.

Here is a useful command to find out what methods an object supports

dir(str)

and can be used in jython to find out what methods a Java class supports

dir(String.class)

There are of course far more fundamental differences between the two than itty bitty string handling.

Wing Chun (notes on importance of relaxation)

January 9, 2008

This week Sifu reiterated the importance of relaxation and of maintaining the correct structure. When practicing fook sau or tan sau, and when your partner is pressing into you, concentrate on maintaining the angle of the shape (by using your triceps); if you try to counter by tensing your biceps and using strength you will fail if you are weaker, and even if you are stronger you will tire yourself.

To paraphrase Sifu:

Tension slows you down – tension in the muscles decreases speed.
Tension shows intention (your opponent can see or feel what you will do next).

Unfortunately, Monday night I yet again got bruises on my arms through not applying the tan sau structure correctly. Tonight one of the instructors took me through it slowly and it was interesting to feel how tan sau should be when applied properly. There should be no clashing, but friction, as your opponents arm travels down yours as the blow is deflected rather than blocked. Wrist must be kept straight in line with the forearm and fingers extended. The clash seemed to occur perhaps because I wasn’t turning enough in my stance or wasn’t turning the arm fully into the tan sau position (the arm should “corkscrew” up into position). I was perhaps also pushing outwards with the forearm rather than concentrating on the centre line.