Things that piss me off (part I)

I am editing video footage that was digitized from a VHS tape. Footage itself is of Wendy Whited Sensei, from 1997 or 1998. I’ve never met Whited Sensei myself, but based on the video, I like her. And I like her style. And she is very very very good. But this is not about my likes.

This is about things that piss me off. Imagine a standard martial arts seminar (I were told that this is a fairely standard martial arts seminar). Instructor, generally a high ranked instructor, was brought in, at big expense and effort to teach.

A part of the idea is to make the money back by the hosting organization (paying for flight, hotel, meals, plus honorarium all add up, and God forbid you need to add rent of the location costs to it too). So hosts invites a bunch of local dojos that kind of do the same thing to send their members over, and hopefully to learn new things.

Usual practice is structured so that Sensei demonstrates something while everyone else is formally sitted, and then folks break into pairs or groups, and try to duplicate what Sensei shows to the best of their ability.

In the meanwhile, Sensei is walking around, and is watching everyone practice, and tries to spot and correct mistakes, explain concept behind the action, and hopefully nudge the practitioner to a higher level of understanding and practice.

Generally, protocol is that on the mat senior instructor is the king and dictator – lives of everyone on the mat are his or her responsibility (this is, after all martial arts, and one can end up breaking wrist, hand, neck, you name it), and when senior instructor demonstrates something, everyone around should stop what they are doing, sit down where they are, and watch. Last bit actually makes sense – if some people are practicing, and there are flying bodies in the air, and some people are sitting, chances are that blending will occure between flying and sitting person, not flying person and a mat.

Also, chances are that everyone is making the same mistake, and instructor is trying to correct it not for just a single person (if that were the case, instructor generally would tell everyone to keep practicing).

So here I am, trying to edit a video tape into somewhat coherent thing, and what do I see?

Two people, from the same dojo (I can tell as they have identical crests on their uniforms) always practice together. Logically, in a seminar setting you would try to pick as a partner someone else each time, if only to get a chance to practice with some higher ranked people, and maybe learn something from how they do their technique, right? Well, maybe these two folks are both higher ranked then the instructor, and know better then her what they are doing? No, they are not second highest ranked people on the mat after senior instructor – far from it. In fact they are not even black belts. Mudansha.

Whenver instructor would try to correct the mistakes of someone in the dojo, these two fellows are the last ones to sit down (if at all) and watch.

When instructor spotted something they were doing that was far from correct (I am not an expert, yet even I could see that what they do was different from what they were shown), and walked over to correct one of them, he started argueing back with her. Mudansha talking back to a 6th degree black belt who practiced longer then this fellow was alive. *blink*

I mean, these two fellows came to the seminar, paid money, got on the mat, only to do what? Practice same way as they practice “at home”, with the same partners? Insult the guest instructor? Not learn anything?

Some minds are forever shut, and one can’t open them even with a crowbar. Upside the head.

Oh, and what do I care? Well, these two fellows parked themselves right in front of the camera during their practice. Every technique. So most of the time, when I were trying to edit the video out, and just keep the bits where Sensei is demonstrating, they kept on obstructing the screen, or shaking the camera. *sigh*

Coming soon: Part II – things that piss me off in filming without script and without clear idea, on filming with cheap hardware that can’t focus properly, on filming without tripod, on zooming in waaaay in, and then panning 180 degrees, and all the other joys of filming, taking pictures, and trying to edit a video together.