A belated, hence overloaded post covering the last week:
Did Jiujitsu/SAMBO on Wednesday evening. The curriculum was a style of double-leg takedown in which the attacker drops to one knee while keeping the other foot planted, presses the side of the head against the defender’s pelvis, and drives with the planted foot while hugging the knees together to take the defender down. Numerous repetitions of this move left me on the verge of competence. The following morning found me with a stiff neck (probably from exerting the required sideways force with the head) and sore thigh muscles. It seems that all of the hours spent on the treadmill and the elliptical trainer, while productive from a calorie burning and endurance standpoint, are completely useless in developing fast-twitch strength in the muscles of the thighs, which complain mightily when they are called upon to do something. The lesson is that I need to do more squats or else gradually fall prey to sarcopenia.
Saturday morning, attended Escrima class where we happened to be working on a move that placed heavy demands on exactly the same muscle groups. Attacker makes a simple overhand strike, defender ducks by collapsing one knee almost to the ground while making a lateral lunging step into the attack (“passing” in Escrima parlance), then straightens up and comes back at the defender from a new angle. My leg muscles, still wasted from jiujitsu, were having none of this. Moreover, I gave myself a minor hamstring pull almost immediately. I made an ignominious early retreat from the class.
In the evening, made a visit to Steamcon. I’m not sure what I was expecting. Probably a couple of dozen nerds in t-shirts and the occasional top hat or pair of goggles. Instead of which I was confronted by the spectacle of thousands of nerds, completely taking over two good-sized hotels, 99% of them dressed to the nines in costumes over which they had obviously labored quite long and hard. Our image of nerds as persons who don’t understand or care about clothes must be thrown out and replaced with a new model, according to which they can be just as thorough and detail-obsessed about clothing (especially if it is complex Victorian clothing) as they can about Python or computer-controlled machine tools.
The nominal purpose of the visit was to attend a regimental mess for N.B.’s new group, the 21st Regiment, Lighter-than-air Dragoons. Not surprisingly, there is considerable overlap between said regiment and N.B.’s cutlass class. The regiment, its uniforms, its hierarchy and etiquette are still taking shape but it is in a remarkable state of advancement when it comes to drinking songs. Not all of the participants seem to be terribly interested in the martial arts, but I’m not troubled by this since a variety of interests and skills are needed in order to maintain a group over time. Lacking a uniform, I wore the bartitsu suit that I purchased a couple of years ago from Duchess, Clothier. In most circumstances, this is considered to be a remarkable suit of clothes, but I’m afraid that, at SteamCon, it barely rated mention. I carried the terrifying steel-headed walking stick fabricated last week. This received very little attention amongst the hand-wrought air rifles, fabulous pistols, cutlasses, and other weaponry being carried up and down the corridors of the Marriott and the Hilton by SteamCon attendees.