Posts by BenWilson

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  • Field Theory: Like a punch in the face,

    Heh, I read the same story Hayden. There are many versions of it, my favourite casts Seagal fully as the bad guy, who picks the fight by hurting someone during filming, claims demigod status, is beaten, can't accept it, tries to cheat with a squirrel grip, is thoroughly beaten, shits, is laughed at, runs to his manager and has the guy blackballed. There's something deeply plausible about all of it. It's one of those 'tales of the street' that have made martial arts history. It is possible that a much nicer spin on all of it could be made, in which he was victimized by his stuntmen, but that just doesn't seem likely to me.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Miracles just rate better, okay?,

    I am not wanting to offer advice, but have you tried hypnotherapy

    Only self-hypnosis, which I have tried a hell of a lot of, ever since I was a teenager. It works, to a limited degree. Some have argued that hypnosis IS the placebo effect, that's exactly what a placebo does, makes a suggestion. My experience was that it worked but it didn't last - you had to keep doing it and doing it, and that is actually time consuming and mentally exhausting. To some degree it was actually depressing, and led to problems - telling myself something over and over and over led to 'self-distrust', when what you are telling yourself fails to eventuate. Eventually I think my ability to autosuggest diminished.

    I'm not sure if listening to hypnosis tapes is technically self-hypnosis. Certainly they have had persistent good effects, not for what they purported to be about, changing habits etc, but actually as a form of pre-sleep meditation (eczema causes shocking insomnia sometimes). I typically found that the only valuable part was the 'induction' into a trance, after which I would lapse into excellent sleep. The bit where they try to place suggestions led to 'tape-distrust', again because the things they said failed to materialize.

    I made some of my own recordings, and found that I have a fantastically hypnotic voice (some might say boring), and these are my most favourite recordings of all (who hasn't noticed that I love the sound of my own voice?), since I can tailor them to my own favourite mental imagery - I couldn't find any that used the idea of sinking down into water for induction, for instance, on account of the fact that so many people fear drowning. But I still only use them to get to sleep - I don't want to learn to distrust my own voice coming out of an mp3 player.

    I've been extremely wary of letting any kind of therapist do it for me. Perhaps the time is nigh? I don't think I know anyone I trust enough to let them hypnotize me. I'm well aware that this is probably an irrational fear, that they can't easily make you do anything you don't want to do already, but still, its a fear all the same, and that is likely to make the experience expensive and worthless. But then again, it might not.

    Anyone know a good hypnotist in Auckland?

    there is nothing intrinsically woo-woo about it

    I wouldn't care if there was. I leave the antiwoowooism to Peter Ashby and any others who have a taste for irrational hyperrationality. If woowoo helps then woowoo is good, that is my stance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: Like a punch in the face,

    Done a bit of that - mostly for getting out of headlocks or similar. Which, for bonus thread cross-pollination points, is usually how I put my neck out.

    Curious...I was practicing chokes the other day and my neck felt the best it has in ages afterward. I never would have thought a massive munter strangling me would actually be good for me. Something about the traction that it was applying did an excellent job of loosening the muscles. Of course I didn't let them 'crank' my neck, nor is that an allowed move in BJJ or MMA. But it's pretty easy to crank your own neck trying to escape a choke -that's one of those "learn to tap out, dude" moments.

    Just emulating his mate Sid, though.

    That's a funny article about Seagal. He's the author of all his own ridicule, and not least from other Aikidoka. Most are somewhat happy about the exposure he got for Aikido, and his depictions of it as an effective martial art, but very few agree with his particular interpretation of O Sensei's teachings. His depictions are mostly anathema to the entire spirit of the art, which is meant to be about gentle conflict resolution (whilst carrying a big stick), rather than sadistic executions. That's the movies for you, I guess. Anecdotal evidence from students suggests that he is not actually a brutal sadist in reality. I'm not sure his stuntpeople would agree.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: Like a punch in the face,

    Mental note: do not piss off Ben

    You'd be fine. I've never attacked anyone in my life, outside of the ring, no matter how much they pissed me off. Just don't attack me, and you'll be sweet. You can mouth off as hard as you like, and I'll walk away. Lay a hand on me, though...

    I'm actually extremely afraid of fighting, not out of fear of harm to myself, but of fear of harming the other person. This is both from a karma point of view and also a legal one - I don't want to go to prison because I hit someone and they fell down and were severely injured, then find that my training counts against me in court.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: Like a punch in the face,

    I'm too old to compete, but I do like to spar. I've done so many martial arts over the years, most of them for several years at a time, that I really like the idea of a pan-art-art. I think this appeals to any number of people who like their martial arts. It's the closest thing that exists to a real high level testing ground of the effectiveness of various kinds of unarmed one-on-one combat. Boxing fails on this score, despite the fairly obvious fact that boxing training is almost essential to a decent MMA fighter. It's an art that's all about cross-training, and has led to a new era for martial arts generally, that has broken away from the earlier idea of individual schools and arts refusing to have anything to do with one another.

    Currently I do Aikido, which is quite a long way from MMA. It's my first "inner" art, and I like the fact that it can be easily continued until very old age. But there's no competition, so it's always good to watch real competition and see what things work in practice. Probably I will crosstrain in Brazilian-Jujitsu after I get my black belt (probably next year). I had a go recently and loved it, it seemed like a really safe and effective ground grappling art, and one hell of a workout. Aikido is unfortunately not particularly cardio intensive - look how fat Steven Seagal got :-)

    But actually, if I was to claim a sport, it would be waterpolo. It's the sport that I made representative level at. I had to give it away though, it killed my skin :-(

    I still like to watch boxing. But I think it's getting old and jaded, a bit like fencing. OK, they're both very skillful arts, but at some level the rules of them get in the way and they seem to miss their original point. They are meant to be martial arts, and the study of them was originally intended to confer advantage in battle, rather than be a mere spectacle.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Miracles just rate better, okay?,

    @Ben Wilson

    The problem with your situation is that you do not expect reality, you want a miracle.

    I would certainly like a miracle, but I don't expect one. I also don't expect not to get one, unlike you. There is no reason to believe that it can't happen, any more than the reason to believe it can. That's what's irrational about your situation, sir.

    There is no such thing as a side effect free effective drug, biology and chemistry just don't work that way.

    I don't know what you mean by this sweeping generalization about some enormously large fields of human inquiry.

    I am sorry that you are in the situation you are in, you have no good choices, only ones where you have to balance risk vs benefit. Welcome to real life. Forget about the possibility of a miracle cure. But be glad that you live in a time where there is a viable therapy

    I'm sorry that you can't accept that the limits of human knowledge are ever expanding and that you don't actually know all of them. You don't know my situation, you don't know the future, you don't know everything that is possible, you don't have the only drop on real life. Not even the doctors I deal with (who are specialists in this field) have such a ridiculously pessimistic view of my chances, or of the possibility of alternatives working - they just don't want to put their names against it, for a number of reasons.

    I don't expect ever to be 'cured'. But it is entirely possible that new drugs, or an untried combination of them, could provide me with a massive improvement in the quality of my life. This has already happened several times. It could continue to happen. It's also entirely possible that other therapies will help. You don't know that this is not the case. Furthermore, even conventional science could come up with new drugs - again this has happened several times in my life. Topical immunosuppressants didn't exist when I was a child, certainly not in commercially available form, and the price of them may continue to drop drastically making them more viable. Maybe something else will come up - who bloody knows, man. You sure don't and with your attitude you will never find out either.

    There is, for example, the hugely untapped (for me) mental side of eczema, since it is mostly exacerbated and spread by scratching. A means of controlling that alone would improve my situation a lot. This could come from drugs that suppressed the urge to itch, or other therapies that have the same effect. Maybe it's stress related. Maybe it's allergens that weren't tested. Certainly I suffered a lot less from eczema when I lived in Australia, possibly it's Auckland related (apparently it's a city with extra high numbers of people in my situation).

    Then there's the possibility that dietary factors are contributors. I have not yet tried to work my way systematically through every food group because it is a massive undertaking that will put pressure on everyone around me.

    Maybe it's all of these things at once, or some subset of them. The number of subsets of a group of factors is exponential on the number of factors, so expecting a massive study to be done on people who have everything about them that is exactly the same as me is not feasible.

    I'm not going to give up hope just because your creed is so limited. Sorry to burst your bubble there. I'm the one in charge of my life, I'm the one making these choices and I'm the one suffering the consequences of them. You're just some guy who isn't helping, and doesn't want anyone else to try.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Field Theory: Like a punch in the face,

    Rich, sorry if I gave that impression. Hell no, it's not safe. But I assert that it's safer than boxing, at least so far as one of the most important human organs is concerned, the brain. MMA is probably worse for the skin, though - a seasoned fighter will have a lot of scars.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Miracles just rate better, okay?,

    Ben - I think it was Ben - your thinning skin from steroids might be helped by an anti-inflammatory diet

    Anti-inflammatory diet

    and also by avoiding sugar (including alcohol) and possibly a topically applied vitamin C cream. This approach may very well help any underlying rash that the steriod was used for in the first place.

    Thanks dyan. The word from 100% of the doctors I have seen regarding my skin condition (eczema) is that there is no proven relationship between dietary factors and eczema. But they are also careful to say that it has not been proven that there is no relationship either, and many people think there is one. This I think is one of the many fallacies of over trusting-medical science - the absence of proof is not the same as the proof of absence.

    For reasons given upthread, I'm willing to try some alternatives - but part of being scientific is not to change too many variables at once, hence my giving the 'trusted scientific methods' a very long run.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Miracles just rate better, okay?,

    Sure, better information would help people make choices. But "it's only the placebo effect" is up there with "false consciousness" from marxists and it earns the same respect.

    I often wish I could buy bottled placebo effect. Unfortunately, the placebo effect is denied to the purely rational and we have to suffer from purely rational aches and pains brought about by our purely rational lives.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Miracles just rate better, okay?,

    Moreover, chiropractors may actually be dangerous in that it is possible that neck manipulations can cause strokes (albeit in small numbers), so if it is doing no actual good, it could in fact be actively dangerous.

    Sure, but "relief from excruciating and debilitating pain" is not "no actual good". It is "extremely good", every time I've received it. Sure, there's a danger, but I feel a lot safer about that than I do about my medically prescribed cyclosporin, which contains the risk of cancer (albeit in small numbers).

    Furthermore, I don't think it's true that there is 'not one jot of evidence' that relief from various aches and pains can lead to better health in other areas. It would only be bogus if they claimed they could, for instance, cure all ear infections, rather than the much lesser claim that ear infections might be less prevalent in children who can freely turn their heads.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8499 posts Report Reply

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