thought, desire, action.

Farther down the spiral.

Holy shit. They found Elizabeth Smart--ALIVE. That just...doesn't really happen. I think it's safe to say without exaggeration that that is the happiest and most grateful family in the world right now.

I got my car back today. New bumpers and liftgate--I've never seen any part of the car shiny and unscratched (the hood and front left quarterboard are both still unpainted). As bonuses, they fixed the backup lights and the interior domelights. And the most bizarre thing: the dimmer light for the dashboard lights has been moved. I don't know how, and it's not on the bill, but the knob is now higher up on the dashboard so that (unlike this last time) it will not go directly into my knee in case of an impact. Unless I'm on crack, but I'm pretty sure that's the case.

At any rate, I'm remembering why I like my car, which is low to the ground, has fat tires and high compression, and lets me feel every bump in the road, better than cars like the Chevy Cavalier, which are designed to feel like you're on a very dull train. *vroom*

So my brakes felt squishy, like they didn't really want to stop the car. So I brought the car in to the Saturn dealership. And I got to work from home today, which was nice. The brakes are fine. I have my car back, and I'm done with the stupid accident except for the bills and insurance companies. Yee-haw.

Aikido tonight was...glorious. My right knee, source of near-endless pain and suffering these days, behaved. I train without a brace on my left knee now, because it's not needed and actually puts more pressure on and makes things worse. I didn't fall much because of my shoulders, but in throwing other people, I felt like I kinda got my groove back, which is nice, because it's been a month or two of feeling scattered and unfocused and not-flowing. Maybe I can stay flowing for a while. Techniques were mostly easy for me tonight, coming up naturally and spontaneously, and working well except on the beginner I trained with who's really stiff and (I think unintentionally) puts up too much resistance to be useful, because he doesn't move or follow with the technique. Like, yes, I could jerk your arm and force you to go down, but it's a lot easier on both of us if you'd just learn to relax.

Like I'm one to talk.

Ross and I were talking at House of Toast on Saturday about the three stages of a martial art's approach to a fight: (1) avoid the fight, (2) end the fight without hurting your attacker, and (3) demolish your attacker. Berto does Krav Maga, a really brutal combat art taught to the Israeli military, and he'll periodically tell the gang on IRC how they learned to modify a basic knee kick to specifically tear up the opponent's ACL, or whatever. My brief experience with Wuen Hop Kuen Do kung fu was similarly violent, and Wing Chun is another aggressive form popular around here. I think aikido is unusual in spending so much time on (2)--we always have the option of escalated violence, and sometimes it's necessary (it does happen that killing someone is the only practical option for a reasonable set of criteria that includes your survival), but it's never our first choice. We want to find a peaceful solution involving a connection between us and our attacker. We want to, as Patrick Cassidy says, "give up on the idea of The Clash", that the only way to resolve conflict is to demolish each other. Aggressive violence seems so inelegant to me these days, and so generally unnecessary. Really, what are the stakes that your first move is to break somebody's arm? Your wallet? How do you know this person hasn't been screwed by the system and is trying to feed four kids? Doesn't the world have enough unhappiness without us adding to it?