Phil Elmore

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Everything posted by Phil Elmore

  1. Atlas Statue at Rockefeller, NYC

    For some time I've wanted to take my own picture of the Atlas sculpture in the Rockefeller center in New York City. During a recent trip there (my first), I was finally able to do so: (Any members who'd like to use this photo on their own sites are free to do so provided they credit me as the photographer with a link to You don't have to write to me to ask permission.)
  2. I did not consider it in those terms before, but yes, I think I would have to agree.
  3. Workplace problems

    I have been treated unfairly or inconsistently at jobs previously, over matters that had nothing to do with the quality of my work -- office politicking, primarily. The last time this happened, I simply decided I would not tolerate it. I found another, better job, and left. I enjoyed the exit interview immensely.
  4. Martial Arts

    So do I. That doesn't make the art one does the "ultimate" martial art; it simply means one has taken responsibility for gaining and keeping that value. Gratuitous Non-Ultimate Photo!
  5. Martial Arts

    Depending on to whom you speak, Wing Chun is an effective, efficient infighting system, or an absurdly stylized art for pansies who get their clocks cleaned so regularly their nicknames are all wristwatch bands. I spent two years training in Wing Chun and consider it a very good system, but it's no more or less effective for "kicking butt" than is the current system in which I train (Silat) or the other styles taught at the Wing Chun School where I studied (JKD and Hung Gar Kung Fu). Everybody who trains in a system they love considers that system "the best [place further descriptors here]" and eveyone who knows an accomplished technician who studies Martial Art X is wowed by the efficacy of Martial Art X. This is again a function of the individual rather than the system. There are some arts I consider more efficient or more realistic than others, but no one of them has cornered the market on posterior percussion.
  6. Martial Arts

    I have no problem with that statement, but it means that the "ultimate" martial art changes from person to person. This renders the statement, "Martial Art X is the ultimate martial art," largely meaningless; it tells us only that the person making the statement has chosen an art that works best for him according to his values. This is why I object to the term "ultimate" in the first place -- because the term connotes some sort of absolute superiority. The more accurate statement would be, "Martial Art X works best for me."
  7. Martial Arts

    I object to the term "ultimate" because I think martial performance depends much more on the individual than on the system. "Ultimate," to me, implies "undefeatable" or somehow superior in technique. There certainly are some systems whose techniques are more realistic and more efficient than others, but a skilled practitioner of one the latter will defeat an unskilled practitioner of one of the former in most cases. I also object to "ultimate" because it implies a single martial art superior (by whatever criteria we choose to use) to others, when in fact there are several arts and systems whose practitioners perform equally well (on average) at any given tier of martial development and according to whatever criteria are used (though the groups will vary with those criteria). Hung Gar and Wing Chun aren't better or worse than each other when used by equally skilled practitioners; they are simply different and accomplish the same goals through different means (though they share many similarities as well). One could easily argue, for example, that WWII Combatives as taught by Carl Cestari, combatives as taught by Kelly McCann, or even Combato, Defendu, or Defendo are as simple and as expedient as Krav Maga but more effective. We could make the same argument about, say, Contemporary Fighting Arts or Senshido -- or even pit these systems against one another. Who would be correct? Even some sort of contrived sporting event pitting practitioners against one another tells us more about the practitioners than about their styles, which does not even touch the previously voiced objections about whether a sporting competition is even an appropriate environment in which to evaluate the performance of a martial art not intended for sport. (By this I mean that one assumes the system is for self-defense, which is not a sport.) There are certain universal principles -- on which no two practitioners of martial styles and systems are likely to agree on any given day -- to which any effective, efficient martial art or system should correspond, and many systems do so to varying degrees. Many people believe the system in which they train is the "ultimate" art, or they wouldn't be training in it. Barring absolutely ridiculous technique, however, any reasonably constructed system can and will work when applied by a determined practitioner. There may indeed be some sort of Platonic Ultimate Martial Art, the Sun Source from which all lesser systems spring (if you're thinking, "Sinanju," we should talk ), but I've not seen it, I don't know how anyone would determine it, and I doubt anyone's likely to prove their case for it anytime soon. There are skilled practitioners and there are systems better suited to some individuals than others. There is no single, perfect, "ultimate" system of which I'm aware, though.
  8. Martial Arts

    Rather than "ultimate" technique, it is probably fair to say that there are superior and inferior training methodologies.
  9. Martial Arts

    That is precisely the problem; there is no single "best choice," because there are many arts, systems, and programs that will accomplish the same goal in the same expedient manner.
  10. Martial Arts

    There are no "ultimate" martial arts. Criticisms can be made of the techniques in the Krav Maga system just as in any system. Certainly KM is to many people's liking; it is no more or less "ultimate" than any other contemporary fighting system, however, such as CFA or Senshido or American Combatives or any of several other non-kata, non-belt, "no-BS" programs.
  11. Martial Arts

    A kata is an exercise used to refine techniques -- not a single technique to be applied as a whole.
  12. Martial Arts

    Also, be extremely careful when using Wikipedia for martial arts research. There are political feuds between several opposed martial groups whose supporters constantly edit and re-edit (sometimes incompetently) each other's entries.
  13. Photography

    Adorable! There was a nest of feral black kittens outside the kung fu school I used to attend. The first picture is the mother; the second is one of the kittens, who let me get fairly close:
  14. I used to suffer from what one doctor called "generalized anxiety" and what many would call OCD. I had severe hypochondria and used to engage in a number of rituals (the rationality of which varied) to prevent [often unspecified] "germs" from "getting on me." This could be as mild as refusing to touch door handles with my bare hands, to moderate examples like overusing antibacterial lotion, to extreme problems like obsessing during waking hours over bizarre scenarios in which I might have contracted some fatal (or permanent but non-life-threatening) illness through casual contact with othe people and objects. I knew, even as it was explained to me, that my fears were irrational, and I knew the explanations were themselves perfectly reasonable. This did not change anything about how I used to obsess and worry and be afraid. One day... it went away. I made a conscious decision to touch a doorhandle with my bare hand -- and I went from there. I attribute my release from hypochondria and related obsessions to training in the martial arts, to becoming more confident and more assertive. I honestly do not know to what else I could attribute the abrupt cessation of my obsessions. Is there some precedent for this type of "cure?" Does my experience stop short of actual OCD?
  15. Martial Arts
  16. Martial Arts

    Me, too.
  17. Photography

    A sunrise I took outside my front door one morning: New York City: The manmade and the natural at Bushkill Falls, PA:
  18. Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge of the Sith (2005)

    It would be more cynical (but perhaps more accurate) to say that "The Force" sounds a lot like nearly everything else; it's a pretty generalized mysticism that grants one everything from telekenesis to precognition to the ability to drive really, really fast.
  19. Usage of "Objectivist"

    I know a great trademark and patent lawyer, if anyone wants a referral.
  20. Atlas Statue at Rockefeller, NYC

    That is a sculpture outside the United Nations. The UN actively promotes disarmament and the eradication of "small arms" throughout the world -- which means that it opposes your Constitutionally protected right to own a firearm. Opposed as I am to their goals I could not resist getting my picture with the sculpture. Interestingly, the sculpture was very popular with all the other tourists; I had to wait my turn and then hurry to get the shot.
  21. Reclaiming "Republic" from Republicans

    Stephen, we both live in the same country. Either you vote or you do not. This is not changing the subject -- this goes to the very heart of the subject we've been discussing. Did an Objectivist of whom I'm not aware run for president in the last election? If not, how do you justify voting for someone who does not share all of your philosophical beliefs -- and, if you didn't vote, how do you justify not participating in the election? It's the same dilemma again, the very one I identified at the start -- and all of us must face it.
  22. Reclaiming "Republic" from Republicans

    ...And does this not point directly back to the dilemma I pointed out originally? If you like, we'll add a third option: We may vote for a candidate who has a chance of winning, but from whom we can expect policies we do not support; we may vote for a candidate whose policies we support more strongly, but who has little if any chance of winning; we can choose not to vote. What do you choose?
  23. Reclaiming "Republic" from Republicans

    For whom did you vote last election, Stephen? Or didn't you?
  24. Atlas Statue at Rockefeller, NYC