Friday, September 27, 2013

Flag Of Argentina

The national flag of Argentina is a triband, composed of three equally wide horizontal bands coloured light blue, white and light blue. There are multiple interpretations on the reasons for those colors. The flag was created by Manuel Belgrano, in line with the recent creation of the Cockade of Argentina, and was first raised at the city of Rosario on February 27th, 1812, during the Argentine War of Independence. The National Flag Memorial was later built on the site. The First Triumvirate did not approve the use of the flag, but the Asamblea del Año XIII allowed the use of the flag as a war flag. It was the Congress of Tucumán which finally designated it as the national flag, in 1816. In 1818, a yellow Sun of May was added to the center.

The full flag featuring the sun is called the Official Ceremonial Flag (Spanish: Bandera Oficial de Ceremonia). The flag without the sun is considered the Ornamental Flag (Bandera de Ornato). While both versions are equally considered the national flag, the ornamental version must always be hoisted below the Official Ceremony Flag. In vexillological terms, the Official Ceremonial Flag is the civil, state and war flag and ensign, while the Ornamental Flag is an alternative civil flag and ensign.

The flag of Argentina was created by Manuel Belgrano during the Argentine War of Independence. While in Rosario he noticed that both the royalist and patriotic forces were using the same colors, Spain's yellow and red. After realizing this, Manuel Belgrano created the Cockade of Argentina, which was approved by the First Triumvirate on February 18th, 1812. Encouraged by this success, he created a flag of the same colours nine days later. It used the colors that were used by the Criollos during the May Revolution in 1810. However, recent research and studies would indicate that the colors were chosen from the coat of arms of the House of Bourbon the royal family of Spain, and that during the May Revolution the color used by the criollos was a red piece of cloth, as pointed by the popular historian Felipe Pigna. Most portraits about the creation or first uses of the flag show the modern design of it, but the original one (kept at a museum in Sucre, Bolivia) was instead a vertical triband with two white bands and a light blue one in the middle. The flag was first flown, for the soldiers to swear allegiance to it, on 27 February 1812, on the Batería Libertad (Liberty Battery), by the Paraná River.

Belgrano dispatched a letter addressed to the First Triumvirate, informing them of the newly created flag. However, unlike with the cockade, the Triumvirate did not accept the use of the flag: the international policy by the time was to state that the government was ruling on behalf of Ferdinand VII king of Spain captive of Napoleón, whereas the creation of a flag was a clear independentist act. Thus, the triumvirate sent a warning to Belgrano not to fight under the flag, but by the time the reply had arrived, Belgrano had moved to the north, following the previous orders that requested him to strengthen the patriotic position in the Upper Peru after the defeat of Juan José Castelli at the Battle of Huaqui. Meanwhile, the flag was hoisted for the first time in Buenos Aires atop the Saint Nicholas of Bari Church on August 23rd, 1812; where nowadays the Obelisk of Buenos Aires is located. Still not knowing about the Triumvirate's refusal, Belgrano raised the flag at San Salvador de Jujuy and had it blessed by the local church on the second anniversary of the May Revolution. Belgrano accepted the orders from the Triumvirate by time they arrived to Salta and ended using the flag. As soldiers had already made oaths to the new flag, Belgrano said that he was saving it for the circumstance of a great victory.

The First Triumvirate was later replaced by the Second Triumvirate, with a more liberal ideology, who called the Asamblea del Año XIII. Despite being one of the original goals, it did not declare independency, and so neither approve the use of a national flag; nevertheless, the flag made by Belgrano was authorized to be used as a War flag. The first oath to the newly approved flag was on February 13th, 1813, next to the Salado River, which as also known since then as "Río Juramento" ("Oath River"). The first battle fought with the approved flag was the Battle of Salta, a decisive patriotic victory that achieved the complete defeat of royalist Pío Tristán.

The flag would be finally declared the National flag by the Congress of Tucumán on July 20th, 1816, shortly after the declaration of independence. The proposal was made by the deputy Juan José Paso and the text written by the deputy of Charcas, José Serrano. On February 25th, 1818, the Congress (now working at Buenos Aires) included the Sun of May in the War flag, after the proposal of deputy Chorroarín. The sun was copied after the one that the first Argentine coin featured in 1813. It was subsequently decided to be part of the regular flag afterwards, and thus the sun no longer represents war.

On June 8, 1938, president Roberto Ortiz sanctioned the national law Nº 12.361 declaring June 20 "Flag Day", a national holiday. The date was decided after the anniversary of Belgrano's death in 1820. In 1957 the National Flag Memorial (a 10,000 m² monumental complex) was inaugurated in Rosario to commemorate the creation of the flag, and the official Flag Day ceremonies have been customarily conducted in its vicinity since then.

Source: Wikipedia

This work released under CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sports Legends: Vince Lombardi

Vincent Thomas Lombardi, perhaps considered the greatest NFL head coach ever, was born on June 11th, 1913 and died September 3rd, 1970. He was an American football player, coach, and executive. He is best known as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, where he led the team to three straight and five total league championships in seven years, including winning the first two Super Bowls following the 1966 and 1967 NFL seasons. Lombardi is considered by many to be one of the best and most successful coaches in NFL history. The National Football League's Super Bowl trophy is named in his honor. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971. Lombardi played football at St. Francis Preparatory School and Fordham University. He began coaching as an assistant and later as a head coach at St. Cecilia High School. He was an assistant coach at Fordham, at the United States Military Academy, and with the New York Giants before becoming a head coach for the Green Bay Packers from 1959 to 1967 and the Washington Redskins in 1969. He never had a losing season as a head coach in the NFL, compiling a regular season winning percentage of 73.8% (96-34-6), a preseason winning percentage of 78.6% (44-12), and 90% (9-1) in the postseason for an overall record of 149 wins, 47 losses, and 6 ties in the NFL.

Lombardi was born in Brooklyn to Enrico "Harry" Lombardi (1889-1971) and Matilda "Mattie" Izzo (1891-1972) on June 11th, 1913. Harry's mother and father, Vincenzo and Michelina emigrated from Salerno, Italy. Mattie's father and mother, Anthony and Loretta, emigrated from an area several miles east of Salerno. Harry had three siblings and Matilda had twelve siblings. Vince would be the oldest of five children, Madeleine, Harold, Claire, and Joe. The entire Lombardi and Izzo clan settled in Sheepshead Bay.

Matilda's father, Anthony, opened up a barber shop in Sheepshead Bay prior to the turn of the century. At about the time of Lombardi's birth, Harry, and his brother, Eddie, opened a butcher shop in the Meatpacking District. Throughout the Great Depression, Harry's shop did well and his family prospered. Lombardi grew up in an ethnically diverse, middle-class neighborhood.

Church attendance was mandatory for the Lombardis on Sundays. Mass would be followed with an equally compulsory few hours of dinner with friends, extended family members, and local clergy. He was an altar boy at St. Mark's Catholic Church. Outside of their local neighborhood, the Lombardi children were subject to the rampant racism that existed at the time against Italian immigrants. As a child, Lombardi helped his father at his meat cutting business, but grew to hate it. At the age of 12 he started playing in an uncoached but organized football league in Sheepshead Bay.

Lombardi graduated from the eighth grade at P.S. 206, aged 15, in 1928. He then matriculated with the Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception, a six-year secondary program to become a Catholic priest. At Cathedral, he played on the school's baseball and basketball teams, but his performance was hindered by his poor athleticism and eyesight. Against school rules, he continued to play football off-campus throughout his studies at Cathedral. After completing four years at Cathedral he decided not to pursue the priesthood. He enrolled at St. Francis Preparatory high school for the fall of 1932. There he became a Charter Member of Omega Gamma Delta fraternity. His play on Prep's football teamed earned him a spot on the virtual All-City football team.

In 1933, Lombardi accepted a football scholarship to Fordham University in the Bronx to play for the Fordham Rams and Coach Jim Crowley, one of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame in the 1920s. During his freshman year, Lombardi proved to be an aggressive and spirited player on the football field. Prior to the start of his sophomore year, Lombardi was projected as a starter at tackle. Lombardi was undersized for the position (5'8" and about 180 lb.)

In his senior year (1936), he became the right guard in the Seven Blocks of Granite, a nickname given to the Fordham University football team's offensive front line by a Fordham University publicist. In a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers, he suffered a severe gash inside his mouth and had several teeth knocked out. He missed most of the remainder of the game, until he was called in on defense for a successful goal line stand that preserved a 0-0 tie. The Rams went 5-0-2 before losing in the final game of the season, 7-6, to NYU. The loss destroyed all hopes of Fordham playing in the Rose Bowl and the loss taught Lombardi a lesson he would never forget - never to underestimate your opponent.

On June 16th, 1937, he graduated from Fordham University. The economic times of the Great Depression offered him little opportunities for a career. For the next two years he showed no discernible career path or ambition. He tried his hand at semi-professional football and as a debt collector but those efforts proved to be failures very quickly. With his father's strong support he enrolled in Fordham Law school in September, 1938. Although he did not fail any classes, he believed his grades were so poor that he dropped out after one semester. Later in life, he would explain to others that he was close to graduating, but his desire to start and support a family forced him to leave law school and get a job.

In 1954, Lombardi, age 41, began his NFL career with the New York Giants. He accepted a job that would later become known as the offensive coordinator position under new head coach Jim Lee Howell. The Giants had finished the previous season, under 23-year coach Steve Owen, with a 3–9 record. By the third season, Lombardi, along with the defensive coordinator, former All-Pro cornerback turned coach Tom Landry, turned the squad into a championship team, defeating the Chicago Bears for the league title in 1956. "Howell readily acknowledged the talents of Lombardi and Landry, and joked self-deprecatingly, that his main function was to make sure the footballs had air in them." At points in his tenure as an assistant coach at West Point, and as an assistant coach with the Giants, Lombardi worried that he was unable to land a head coaching job due to prejudice against his Italian heritage, especially with respect to Southern colleges. Howell wrote numerous recommendations for Lombardi to aid Vince in obtaining a head coaching position. Lombardi applied for head coaching positions at Wake Forest, Notre Dame and other universities and, in some cases, never received a reply. In New York, Lombardi introduced the strategy of rule blocking to the NFL. In rule blocking, the offensive lineman would block an area, and not necessarily a particular defensive player, as was the norm up to that time. The running back then was expected to run toward any hole that was created. Lombardi referred to this as running to daylight.

For the 1958 NFL season, the Packers, with five future hall of famers playing on the team, finished with a record of 1-10-1, the worst in Packer history. The players were dispirited, the Packer shareholders were disheartened, and the Green Bay community was enraged. The angst in Green Bay extended to the NFL as a whole, as the financial viability and the very existence of the Green Bay Packer franchise were in jeopardy. On February 2, 1959, Vince Lombardi accepted the position of head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers.

Lombardi created punishing training regimens and expected absolute dedication and effort from his players. The 1959 Packers were an immediate improvement, finishing at 7-5. Rookie head coach Lombardi was named Coach of the Year

In his second year, Green Bay won the NFL Western Conference for the first time since 1944. This victory, along with his well-known religious convictions led the Green Bay community to anointing him with the nickname "The Pope". Lombardi led the Packers to the 1960 NFL Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Prior to the championship game, Lombardi met with Wellington Mara and advised him that he would not take the Giants' head coaching job, which was initially offered after the end of the 1959 season. In the final play of the game, in a drive that would have won it, the Packers were stopped a few yards from the goal line. Lombardi had suffered his first, and his only ever, championship game loss. After the game, and after the press corps had left the locker room, Lombardi told his team, "This will never happen again. You will never lose another championship." In later years as coach of the Packers, Lombardi made it a point to admonish his running backs if they failed to score from one yard out, then he would consider it a personal affront to him and he would seek retribution. He would coach the Packers to win their next nine post-season games, a record streak not matched or broken until Bill Belichick won 10 in a row from 2002 to 2006. The Packers would defeat the Giants for the NFL title in 1961 (37–0 in Green Bay) and 1962 (16–7 at Yankee Stadium), marking the first two of their five titles in Lombardi's nine years. After the 1962 championship win, President John F. Kennedy called Lombardi and asked him if he would, "come back to Army and coach again"; Kennedy received Lombardi's tacit denial of the request. His only other post-season loss occurred to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Playoff Bowl (3rd place game) after the 1964 season (officially classified as an exhibition game)

As coach of the Packers, Lombardi converted Notre Dame quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung to a full-time halfback. Lombardi also designed a play for Jim Taylor, the Green Bay fullback, based on an old single wing concept - both guards, Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston, pulled to the outside and blocked downfield while Taylor would "run to daylight" - i.e., wherever the defenders weren't. This was a play that he had originally developed with the Giants for Frank Gifford that was occasionally called the "Lombardi sweep;" it subsequently became more famously known as the "Green Bay power sweep"

Lombardi stepped down as head coach of the Packers following the 1967 NFL season, staying on as the team's general manager for 1968. He handed off the head coaching position to Phil Bengtson, a longtime assistant, but the Packers finished at 6–7–1 and out of the four team NFL playoffs. Lombardi returned to coaching in 1969 with the Washington Redskins, where he broke a string of 14 losing seasons. The 'Skins would finish with a record of 7–5–2, significant for a number of reasons. Lombardi discovered that rookie running back Larry Brown was deaf in one ear, something that had escaped his parents, schoolteachers, and previous coaches. Lombardi observed Brown's habit of tilting his head in one direction when listening to signals being called, and walked behind him during drills and said "Larry". When Brown did not answer, the coach asked him to take a hearing exam. Brown was fitted with a hearing aid, and with this correction he would enjoy a successful NFL career.

In the fall of 1934 Lombardi's roommate Jim Lawlor introduced him to his cousin's relative, Marie Planitz. When Marie announced her ardent desire to marry Lombardi, her father told her that he did not want his daughter marrying an Italian, a prejudice against his heritage he would face more than once in his life. Lombardi and Marie wed, nonetheless, on August 31st, 1940.

Marie miscarried her first child with Lombardi. The "terrible effect" this had on Marie caused her to turn to heavy drinking, a problem she would deal with on more than one occasion in her life. On April 27th, 1942, their son, Vincent Harold Lombardi (Vince Jr.), was born and on February 13th, 1947, their daughter Susan was born.

"He seemed preoccupied with football even on their honeymoon, and cut it short to get back to Englewood ... 'I wasn't married to him more than one week', she later related, 'when I said to myself, Marie Planitz, you've made the greatest mistake of your life.'" Lombardi's perfectionism, authoritarian nature and temper, instilled in his wife a masterful ability to verbally assault and demean Lombardi when he verbally abused her. His children were not immune from his yelling. When Lombardi had not lost his temper, he would often be reticent and aloof.

Lombardi's grandson, Joe Lombardi is the current quarterbacks coach for the New Orleans Saints. In the 2009 season, he helped lead the Saints to win the trophy bearing his grandfather's name and Drew Brees to win a Super Bowl MVP award.

As early as 1967, Lombardi had suffered from digestive tract problems, and he had refused his doctor's request for him to undergo a proctoscopic exam. On June 24th, 1970, Lombardi was admitted to Georgetown University Hospital, and tests "revealed anaplastic carcinoma in the rectal area of his colon, a fast-growing malignant cancer in which the cells barely resemble their normal appearance." On July 27th, Lombardi was readmitted to Georgetown and exploratory surgery found that the cancer was terminal. Lombardi, with Marie at his side, received family, friends, clergy, players, and former players at his hospital bedside. He received a phone call from President Nixon telling Lombardi that all of America was behind him, to which Lombardi replied that he would never give up his fight against his illness. On his deathbed, Lombardi told Father Tim that he was not afraid to die, but that he regretted he could not have accomplished more in his life. Vince Lombardi died at 7:12 a.m. on September 3, 1970. He was 57. He was survived by his wife, parents, two children, and six grandchildren.

On September 7th, the funeral was held at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan. Approximately 1,500 people lined Fifth Avenue and between 39th and 50th Street, Fifth Avenue was closed to traffic. Terence Cardinal Cooke delivered the eulogy. In attendance were team owners, Commissioner Pete Rozelle, past and present members of the Packers, Redskins, and Giants, former students from Saints, colleagues and players from West Point, and classmates from Fordham University, including the remaining Seven Blocks of Granite. Lombardi was interred in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Middletown Township, New Jersey.

During Lombardi's illness, Marie had already "sanctified" her husband. After his death, Marie dwelt unceasingly on his life and accomplishments, so much so that Vince Jr. accused his mother of exaggerating Lombardi's significance. Susan, for all her misgivings about her relationship with her father while growing up, came to realize, long after his death, that she had a truly wonderful childhood and upbringing, and that she loved and missed her father. Vince Jr., like Susan, had his own conflicted views of his relationship with his father as late as 1976. Using his father as a model, he eventually became a paid speaker, and author of several books on leadership. Marie Lombardi died twelve years later in 1982 at age 66 and was interred with her husband.

"Lombardi time" is the principle that one should arrive 10 to 15 minutes early, or else be considered late. Vince Jr. viewed an integral part of his father's success was in stressing effort more than on fixating on failures.

Source: Wikipedia

This work released through CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Flag Of Croatia

The flag of Croatia is one of the state symbols of Croatia. It consists of three equal size, horizontal stripes in colours red, white and blue. In the middle is the coat of arms of Croatia.

The flag combines the colors of the flags of the Kingdom of Croatia (red and white), the Kingdom of Slavonia (white and blue) and the Kingdom of Dalmatia (red and blue). Those three kingdoms are the historic constituent states of the Croatian Kingdom.

The red-white-blue tricolor has been used as the Croatian flag since 1848, and the pan-Slavic colors are widely associated with romantic nationalism. While the Banovina of Croatia existed within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, it had a similar flag without the modern crown above the chequy. During the Independent State of Croatia, flag was like the modern, but without crown and there was letter "U" at the top left of the flag. Also, first field of Croatian chequy was white. While Croatia was part of SFR Yugoslavia its tricolor was the same, but it had a five-pointed red star with a yellow border in place of the coat of arms. The star was replaced by the coat in May 1990, shortly after the first multiparty elections. The current flag and the coat of arms were officially adopted on 21 December 1990, about ten months before the proclamation of independence from Yugoslavia and a day before the Constitution of Croatia on 22 December 1990.

The shield is in the red and white checks of Croatia. Above is a crown made of shields of its various regions. From left to right they are the ancient arms of Croatia, Dubrovnik, Dalmatia, Istria, and Slavonia.

This is one of my favorite flags. It's popping with color and cool symbols. 

Source: Wikipedia

This work is released through CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Chester A. Arthur: The Presidents

Chester Alan Arthur was born October 5th, 1829, in Fairfield, Vermont. He died November 18th, 1886. He was the 21st president of the united states. His father, William Arthur, was born just outside the village of Cullybackey, County Antrim, Ireland, and emigrated to Dunham, Lower Canada (in present-day Quebec) in 1818 or 1819 after graduating from Belfast College. Arthur's mother, Malvina Stone, was born in Vermont, the daughter of George Washington Stone and Judith Stevens. Malvina's family was primarily of English descent, and her grandfather, Uriah Stone, fought in the Continental Army during the American Revolution. Arthur's mother met his father while he was teaching at a school in Dunham, just over the border from her native Vermont, and the two soon married in Dunham, Missisquoi, Quebec, Canada on April 12th, 1821. After their first child, Regina, was born in Dunham, the Arthurs moved around Vermont in quick succession to Burlington, Jericho, and Waterville, as William moved to jobs with different schools. In Waterville, William Arthur departed from his Presbyterian upbringing and joined the Free Will Baptists, spending the rest of his life as a minister in that sect. He also became an outspoken abolitionist, which at times made him unpopular with parts of his congregations and contributed to the family's frequent moves. In 1828, the family moved again, to Fairfield, where Chester Alan Arthur was born the following year. He was named "Chester" after Chester Abell, the physician and family friend who assisted in his birth, and "Alan" after his paternal grandfather. After Arthur's birth, the family remained in Fairfield until 1832, when the elder Arthur's profession took them on the road again to several towns in Vermont and upstate New York, finally settling in the Schenectady area.

 William Arthur's frequent moves would later form the basis for accusations that Chester Arthur was not a native-born citizen of the United States. After Arthur was nominated for Vice President in 1880, his political opponents suggested that he might be constitutionally ineligible to hold that office. A New York attorney, Arthur P. Hinman, apparently hired by his opponents, explored rumors of Arthur's foreign birth. Hinman initially alleged that Arthur was born in Ireland and did not come to the United States until he was fourteen years old, which would make him ineligible for the Vice Presidency under the United States Constitution's natural-born citizen clause. When that story did not take root, Hinman spread a new rumor that Arthur was born in Canada, but this claim also failed to gain credence.

Arthur spent some of his childhood years living in Perry and Greenwich, New York. During his time at school, his first political inclinations were to support the Whig Party, and he joined other young Whigs in support of Henry Clay, even participating in a brawl against those students supporting James K. Polk. He also showed his support for the Fenian Brotherhood by wearing a green coat. Arthur enrolled in Union College in 1845 where he studied the traditional classical curriculum. As a senior there in 1848, at age 18, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and was president of the debate society. During his winter breaks, Arthur taught school in Schaghticoke.

After graduating, Arthur returned to Schaghticoke and taught school full-time, but soon began to pursue an education in the law. While studying law, he continued teaching, moving closer to home by taking a job teaching in North Pownal, Vermont. Coincidentally, future President James A. Garfield would teach penmanship at the same school three years later, but the two did not cross paths. In 1852, Arthur moved again, to Cohoes, New York, to become the principal of a school at which his sister Malvina was a teacher. After saving enough money, and studying at State and National Law School in Ballston Spa, he moved to New York City the following year to read law at the law office of Erastus D. Culver, an abolitionist lawyer and family friend. When Arthur was admitted to the bar in 1854, he joined the firm, which was renamed Culver, Parker, and Arthur.

When Arthur joined the firm, Culver and New York attorney John Jay (the grandson of the Founding Father of the same name) were pursuing a habeas corpus action against Jonathan Lemmon, a Virginia slaveholder who was passing through New York with his eight slaves. In Lemmon v. New York, Culver argued that, as New York law did not permit slavery, any slave arriving in New York was automatically freed. The argument was successful, and after several appeals was upheld by the New York Court of Appeals in 1860. Campaign biographers would later give Arthur much of the credit for the victory; in fact his role was minor, although he was certainly an active participant in the case. In another civil rights case in 1854, Arthur was the lead attorney representing Elizabeth Jennings Graham after she was denied a seat on a streetcar because she was black. He won the case, and the verdict led to the desegregation of the New York City streetcar lines.

In 1856, Arthur courted Ellen Herndon, the daughter of William Lewis Herndon, a Virginia naval officer. The two were soon engaged to be married. Later that year, he started a new law partnership with a friend, Henry D. Gardiner, and traveled with him to Kansas to consider purchasing land and setting up a law practice there. At that time, the state was the scene of a brutal struggle between pro-slavery and anti-slavery forces, and Arthur lined up firmly with the latter. The rough frontier life did not agree with the genteel New Yorkers; after three or four months the two young lawyers returned to New York City, where Arthur comforted his fiancée after her father was lost at sea in the wreck of the SS Central America. In 1859, they were married at Calvary Episcopal Church in Manhattan. After his marriage, Arthur devoted his efforts to building his law practice, but also found time to engage in Republican party politics.

Conkling and his fellow Stalwarts, including Arthur, wished to follow up their 1879 success at the 1880 Republican National Convention by securing the nomination for their ally, ex-President Grant. Their opponents in the Republican party, known as Half-Breeds, concentrated their efforts on James G. Blaine, a Senator from Maine who was more amenable to civil service reform. Neither candidate commanded a majority of delegates and, deadlocked after thirty-six ballots, the convention turned to a dark horse, James A. Garfield, an Ohio Congressman and Civil War General who was neither Stalwart nor Half-Breed. Garfield and his supporters knew they would face a difficult election without the support of the New York Stalwarts and decided to offer one of them the vice presidential nomination. Levi P. Morton was the first choice of Garfield's supporters but, on Conkling's advice, refused to run. They next approached Arthur. Conkling advised him to also reject the nomination, believing the Republicans would lose. Arthur thought otherwise and accepted, telling Conkling, "The office of the Vice-President is a greater honor than I ever dreamed of attaining." Conkling eventually reconciled himself with the nomination and campaigned for the ticket. As expected, the election was close. The Democratic nominee, General Winfield Scott Hancock, was popular and, since he had not taken unpopular positions (or any positions at all) on the issues of the day, he had not offended any important constituencies. As Republicans had done since the end of the Civil War, Garfield and Arthur initially focused their campaign on the "bloody shirt" - the idea that returning Democrats to office would undo the victory of the Civil War and reward secessionists. With the war fifteen years in the past and Union generals at the head of both tickets, the tactic was less effective than the Republicans hoped. Realizing this, they shifted their approach to claim that Democrats would lower the country's protective tariff, which would allow more cheap manufactured goods to be imported from Europe, thereby putting thousands of workingmen out of work. This argument struck home in the swing states of New York and Indiana, where many were employed in manufacturing. Hancock did not help his own cause when, in an attempt to remain neutral on the tariff, he said that "the tariff question is a local question", which only served to make him appear uninformed about an important issue. Candidates for high office did not personally campaign in those days, but Arthur played a part in the campaign in his usual fashion: raising money. The funds were crucial in the close election, and his home state of New York was pivotal. The Republicans carried New York by 20,000 votes and, in an election with the largest turnout of qualified voters ever recorded - 78.4% - they won the nationwide popular vote by just 7,018 votes. The electoral college result was more decisive - 214 to 155 - and Garfield and Arthur were elected.

Arriving in Washington on September 22nd, Arthur repeated the oath of office, this time administered by Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite, because of concerns that a state judge may have lacked the authority to administer the presidential oath. He first resided at the home of Senator John P. Jones in anticipation of significant remodeling he had ordered for the White House, including the addition of an elaborate fifty-foot glass screen made by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Since Arthur was a widower, his sister, Mary Arthur McElroy, served as White House hostess. Arthur rapidly became Washington's most eligible bachelor and his social life became the subject of many rumors, but he remained devoted only to the memory of his late wife. His son, Chester Jr., was then a freshman at Princeton University and his daughter, Nell, stayed in New York with a governess until 1882; when she arrived, Arthur attempted to shield her from the intrusions of the press as much as he could. 

Arthur quickly came into conflict with Garfield's cabinet, most of whose members represented Republican factions that opposed him. He asked the cabinet members to remain until December, when Congress would reconvene, but Treasury Secretary William Windom submitted his resignation in October to enter a Senate race in his home state of Minnesota. Arthur replaced him with Charles J. Folger, his friend and fellow New York Stalwart. Attorney General Wayne MacVeagh was next to resign, believing that, as a reformer, he had no place in an Arthur cabinet. Despite Arthur's personal appeal to remain, MacVeigh resigned in December 1881 and Arthur replaced him with Benjamin H. Brewster, a Philadelphia lawyer and machine politician who was thought to have some reformist leanings. Blaine, arch-nemesis of the Stalwart faction, agreed to remain Secretary of State until Congress reconvened, and when it did so he departed immediately. Conkling expected Arthur to appoint him in Blaine's place, but the President instead chose Frederick T. Frelinghuysen of New Jersey, a Stalwart recommended by ex-President Grant. Frelinghuysen advised Arthur not to fill any future vacancies with Stalwarts, but when Postmaster General James resigned in January 1882, Arthur selected Timothy O. Howe, a Wisconsin Stalwart, to replace him. Navy Secretary William H. Hunt was next to resign, in April 1882, and Arthur attempted a more balanced approach by appointing William E. Chandler to the post, on Blaine's recommendation. Finally, when Interior Secretary Samuel J. Kirkwood resigned that same month, Arthur appointed Henry M. Teller, a Colorado Stalwart to the office. Of the Cabinet members Arthur had inherited from Garfield, only Secretary of War Robert Todd Lincoln remained for the entirety of Arthur's term.

In the 1870s, the public became aware of a scandal in which contractors for star postal routes were greatly overpaid for their services with the connivance of government officials (including Second Assistant Postal Secretary Thomas J. Brady and former Senator Stephen Wallace Dorsey). This was an example of the kind of corruption that reformers feared Arthur would permit, and reformers grew concerned that the former supporter of the spoils system would not devote his administration's energy to continuing the investigation into the scandal. Nevertheless, the new Attorney General, Brewster, continued the investigations begun by MacVeigh and hired notable Democratic lawyers William W. Ker and Richard T. Merrick in an attempt both to improve the prosecution team and avoid the appearance of political partisanship. Although Arthur had worked closely with Dorsey before taking office, once in office he supported the investigation and forced the resignation of officials suspected in the scandal. An 1882 trial of the ringleaders resulted in convictions for two minor conspirators and a hung jury for the rest. After a juror came forward with allegations that the defendants attempted to bribe him, the judge set aside the guilty verdicts and granted a new trial. Before the second trial began, Arthur removed five federal office holders who were sympathetic with the defense, including a former Senator. The second trial began in December 1882 and lasted until July 1883 and, again, did not result in a guilty verdict. Failure to obtain a conviction tarnished the administration's image, but Arthur did succeed in putting a stop to the fraud.

Garfield's assassination by a deranged office seeker amplified the growing public demand for civil service reform. Democratic and Republican leaders both realized that they could attract the votes of reformers by turning against the spoils system and, by 1882, the tide turned in favor of reform. As early as 1880, Democratic Senator George H. Pendleton of Ohio had introduced legislation that would allow for selection of civil servants based on merit as determined by an examination. In his first annual Presidential address to Congress in 1881, Arthur requested civil service reform legislation and Pendleton again introduced his bill, but Congress did not pass it. Republicans lost seats in the 1882 congressional elections, in which Democrats campaigned on the reform issue. As a result, the lame duck session of Congress was more amenable to civil service reform; the Senate approved Pendleton's bill 38–5 and the House soon concurred by a vote of 155–47. Arthur signed the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act into law on January 16, 1883. In just two years' time, an unrepentant Stalwart had become the president who ushered in long-awaited civil service reform.

During the Garfield administration, Secretary of State James G. Blaine took the United States' diplomacy in Latin America in a new direction, urging reciprocal trade agreements and offering to mediate disputes among the Latin American nations. Blaine proposed holding a Pan-American conference in 1882 to discuss trade and an end to the War of the Pacific being fought by Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. This represented a greater involvement in affairs south of the Rio Grande than the United States had previously attempted, and marked a significant shift in foreign policy. Blaine did not remain in office long enough to see the effort through, and when Frederick T. Frelinghuysen replaced him at the end of 1881, the conference efforts lapsed. Frelinghuysen also discontinued Blaine's peace efforts in the War of the Pacific, fearing that the United States might be drawn into the conflict. Arthur and Frelinghuysen continued Blaine's efforts to encourage trade among the nations of the Western Hemisphere, and a treaty with Mexico providing for reciprocal tariff reductions was signed in 1882 and approved by the Senate in 1884. The House declined to approve the legislation required to bring the treaty into force, however, rendering it a dead letter. Similar efforts at reciprocal trade treaties with Santo Domingo and Spain's American colonies were defeated by February 1885, and an existing reciprocity treaty with the Kingdom of Hawaii was allowed to lapse. 

The 47th Congress spent a great deal of its time on the regulation of immigration, at times in accord with Arthur's wishes and at times against them. In July 1882, without significant opposition, Congress passed a bill regulating steamships that carried immigrants to the United States. To their surprise, Arthur vetoed it, citing problems in the bill's wording; Congress agreed to reword it, and he signed the revised measure. He also signed in August of that year the Immigration Act of 1882, which levied a 50-cent tax on immigrants to the United States, as well as excluding from entry the mentally ill, the mentally retarded, criminals, or any person "unable to take care of himself or herself without becoming a public charge." A larger debate concerned the status of one particular group of immigrants: the Chinese. In 1868, the Senate had ratified the Burlingame Treaty with China, allowing an unrestricted flow of Chinese immigrants into the country. As the economy soured after the Panic of 1873, Chinese immigrants were blamed for depressing workmen's wages. In response, Congress passed a Chinese Exclusion Act in 1879, abrogating the 1868 treaty, which President Hayes vetoed. Three years later, after China had agreed to treaty revisions, Congress tried again to exclude Chinese immigrants. Senator John F. Miller of California introduced a Chinese Exclusion Act that would have denied Chinese immigrants United States citizenship and completely banned their immigration for the next twenty years. The bill passed the Senate and House by overwhelming margins, arriving at Arthur's desk in April 1882. Arthur vetoed the bill, seeing the 20-year ban as a breach of the renegotiated treaty of 1880, which allowed only a "reasonable" suspension of immigration. Eastern newspapers praised the veto, but he was widely condemned in the Western states. Congress was unable to override the veto, instead passing a new bill that reduced the ban on Chinese immigration to ten years. Although he still objected to the denial of citizenship to Chinese immigrants, Arthur signed the compromise measure into law on May 6, 1882.

Like his Republican predecessors, Arthur struggled with the question of how his party was to challenge the Democrats in the South and how, if at all, to protect the civil rights of black southerners. Since the end of Reconstruction, conservative white Democrats (or "Bourbon Democrats") had regained power in the South, and the Republican party dwindled rapidly as their primary supporters in the region, blacks, were disenfranchised. One crack in the solidly Democratic South emerged with the growth of a new party, the Readjusters, in Virginia. Having won an election in that state on a platform of more education funding (for black and white schools alike) and abolition of the poll tax and the whipping post, many northern Republicans saw the Readjusters as a more viable ally in the South than the moribund southern Republican party. Arthur agreed, and directed the federal patronage in Virginia through the Readjusters rather than the Republicans. He followed the same pattern in other Southern states, forging coalitions with independents and Greenback Party members. Some black Republicans felt betrayed by the pragmatic gambit, but others (including Frederick Douglass and ex-Senator Blanche K. Bruce) endorsed the administration's actions, as the Southern independents had more liberal racial policies than the Democrats. Arthur's coalition policy was only successful in Virginia, however, and by 1885 the Readjuster movement began to collapse with the election of a Democratic president. Other federal action on behalf of blacks was equally ineffective: when the Supreme Court struck down the Civil Rights Act of 1875 in an 1883 decision, Arthur expressed his disagreement with the decision in a message to Congress, but was unable to persuade Congress to pass any new legislation in its place. Arthur did, however, effectively intervene to overturn a court-martial ruling against a black West Point cadet, Johnson Whittaker, after the Judge Advocate General of the Army, David G. Swaim, found the prosecution's case against Whittaker legally invalid and based on racial animus. The administration faced a different challenge in the West, where the LDS Church was under government pressure to stop the practice of polygamy in Utah Territory. Garfield had believed polygamy was criminal behavior and was morally detrimental to family values, and Arthur's views were, for once, in line with his predecessor's. In 1882, he signed the Edmunds Act into law, making polygamy a federal crime and barring polygamists from public office.  

The Arthur administration also dealt with changing relations with western American Indian tribes. The Indian Wars were winding down, and public sentiment was shifting toward more favorable treatment of Native Americans. Arthur urged Congress to increase funding for Indian education, which it did in 1884, although not to the extent he wished. He also favored a move to the allotment system, under which individual Native Americans, rather than tribes, would own land. Arthur was unable to convince Congress to adopt the idea during his administration but, in 1887, the Dawes Act changed the law to favor such a system. The allotment system was favored by liberal reformers at the time, but eventually proved detrimental to Native Americans as most of their land was resold at low prices to white speculators. During Arthur's presidency, settlers and cattle ranchers continued to encroach on Indian territory. Arthur initially resisted their efforts, but after Secretary of the Interior Henry M. Teller, an opponent of allotment, assured him that the lands were not protected, Arthur opened up the Crow Creek Reservation in the Dakota Territory to settlers by executive order in 1885. Arthur's successor, Grover Cleveland, finding that title belonged to the Indians, revoked Arthur's order a few months later.

Arthur left office in 1885 and returned to his New York City home. Two months before the end of his term, several New York Stalwarts approached him to request that he run for United States Senate, but he declined, preferring to return to his old law practice at Arthur, Knevals & Ransom. His health limited his activity with the firm, and Arthur served only of counsel. He took on few assignments with the firm and was often too ill to leave his house. He managed a few public appearances, up until the end of 1885. 

After summering in New London, Connecticut, in 1886, he returned quite ill and, on November 16, ordered nearly all of his papers, both personal and official, burned. The next morning, Arthur suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and never regained consciousness; he died the following day at the age of 57. On November 22nd, a private funeral was held at the Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City, attended by President Cleveland and ex-President Hayes, among other notables. Arthur was buried next to the graves of many of his family members and ancestors in the Albany Rural Cemetery in Menands, New York. He was laid beside his wife in a sarcophagus on a large corner of the plot. In 1889, a monument was placed on Arthur's burial plot by sculptor Ephraim Keyser of New York, consisting of a giant bronze female angel figure placing a bronze palm leaf on a granite sarcophagus.

In 1898, the Arthur memorial statue - a fifteen-foot, bronze figure of Arthur standing on a Barre granite pedestal - was created by sculptor George Edwin Bissell and installed at Madison Square, in New York City. The statue was dedicated in 1899 and unveiled by Arthur's sister, Mary Arthur McElroy. At the dedication, Secretary of War Elihu Root described Arthur as "wise in statesmanship and firm and effective in administration", while acknowledging that Arthur was isolated in office and unloved by his own party. Critics at the time viewed Arthur as a playboy who did not take the Presidency seriously.

Arthur's unpopularity in life carried over into his assessment by historians, and his reputation after leaving office disappeared. By 1935, historian George F. Howe said that Arthur had achieved "an obscurity in strange contrast to his significant part in American history." By 1975, however, Thomas C. Reeves would write that Arthur's "appointments, if unspectacular, were unusually sound; the corruption and scandal that dominated business and politics of the period did not tarnish his administration." As 2004 biographer Zachary Karabell wrote, although Arthur was "physically stretched and emotionally strained, he strove to do what was right for the country."

Source: Wikipedia

This work released through CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Light Years Away (It's Coming!)

My new book, LIGHT YEARS AWAY is coming soon! 

The second installment of "The Light" Series, featuring Zenakis Vinzant

The adventure continues

Now would be a good time to read the first installment of the series, "OF THE LIGHT"

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Carroll's Journal: Working Hard

It's been a busy past four weeks around here lately, and it appears as if it's going to get a lot busier too. On Tuesday, September 10th, I went to my first pro soccer game. I got to watch USA defeat Mexico by the score of 2-0. The stadium was packed. I didn't realize how much Columbus, Ohio liked soccer. That or they're just starving for some sports entertainment. Yeah, sure we have the Bluejackets hockey team, but that's not saying much, I mean, it's the NHL for crying out loud. And yes, we have a triple A minor league baseball team and a professional soccer team but, you know, so is the way of a Cowtown I guess.

But it was fun. It got really rowdy after the game, or so I heard, which is why I decided to leave a little early. Mostly to avoid the traffic jams. It's not like the Buckeyes won the national championship in college football or anything. (That comes later.) LOL

Go Buckeyes! 

Speaking of which, how did we go from starting the season ranked number 2 in the nation, win our first two games convincingly and drop to number 4 in the polls? ..... I don't get it. Especially when you consider we have two new starting defensive tackles, our top three running-backs were suspended the first game, our back up running-back played a little in the second game and our starter at that position is still suspended. Our back up quarterback played most of the second game. We are winning with our backups at the skill positions. 

Still not getting it. We should be ranked number 1. 

I went to the soccer game with my new friend Sherry. She works at a radio station and invited me to attend the soccer game with her. So it cost yours truly nothing. Except for the ten dollar beers. Ha ha 

She's an amazing girl actually. She works hard for the money. She loves her job. She's 27 years old and we have a pretty good time when we get together, which isn't often really because she works such long hours sometimes. She's going to talk to her station manager about having me come in one morning and be a special guest for the morning show. The "Zoo Crew" or whatever it is they call themselves. It would be a chance for me to talk about my books and songs and perhaps get to play a few of them on the air. That would be pretty cool I reckon. It's still in the talking stages and I have to wait and see what her program/station manager has to say about it. It's still exciting nonetheless.

Speaking of books and songs, I go back to the studio on the 22nd of September to wrap up a couple of new songs. Actually, it's one song with two versions. I wrote it as a slow love song but my producer wanted to liven it up a bit and it sounded pretty good. I still wanted to do it slow too so we decided to record both versions. Can't wait to get the vocals done and get it mixed then load them up on Youtube. I'll probably upload the uptempo version first, then at the end of the year or the beginning of the new year, upload the slow version. I also hope to have at least one more song done before the end of 2013, maybe two more songs if I can squeeze it in. 

I also have my new cover for my next book just about done. I was planning on releasing my new book around February of 2014 but am now considering an earlier release date. Maybe as early as December. 

Fun, fun, fun. 

So it's working on the book, going to the studio, maybe make an appearance on a morning radio show, and about a half dozen birthdays to go to between now and the end of October and, after going to this soccer game, I am probably going to get to go a Buckeye game this year and I'm thinking about going to a Bengals game and or a Dallas Cowboys game as a trip to Texas may be on the horizon. Then it will be time for Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Years celebration ..... a lot going on. 

What's that? What happened to Jenny? ... Oh, she's still around. She's moving back to Missouri at the end of the year so she and I have cooled off. We're still friends so everything is fine. Well, except she's still kind of mad at me for something but we needn't get into that here. LOL Girls are always mad at me about something. Such is the fate of being a single man that is stubborn to the bone. 


Oh, I almost forgot to mention, I have a gang of crickets camped outside my bedroom window of late. I can't recall them ever gathering there before. They refuse to shut up!

Of The Light (Promo) Science Fiction

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ned Kelly: Aussie Outlaw

Edward "Ned" Kelly (June 1854 or 1855 – 11 November 1880) was an Irish Australian bushranger. He is considered by some to be merely a cold-blooded killer, while others consider him to be a folk hero and symbol of Irish Australian resistance against the Anglo-Australian ruling class.

Kelly was born in Victoria to an Irish convict father, and as a young man he clashed with the Victoria Police. Following an incident at his home in 1878, police parties searched for him in the bush. After he killed three policemen, the colony proclaimed Kelly and his gang wanted outlaws.

A final violent confrontation with police took place at Glenrowan on 28 June 1880. Kelly, dressed in home-made plate metal armour and a helmet, was captured and sent to jail. He was convicted of three counts of wilful murder and hanged at Old Melbourne Gaol in November 1880. His daring and notoriety made him an iconic figure in Australian history, folklore, literature, art and film.

In August 2011, anthropologists announced that a skeleton found in a mass grave in Pentridge Prison had been confirmed as Kelly's. His skull, however, remains missing.

Kelly's father, John Kelly (better known as "Red"), was born in County Tipperary, Ireland, and was transported in 1841 from Tipperary to Tasmania for stealing two pigs, not for shooting at a landlord as the Victorian Royal Commission indicated in "an unwarrantable piece of propaganda."

After his release in 1848, Red Kelly moved to Victoria and found work at James Quinn's farm at Wallan Wallan, where he worked as a bush carpenter. He subsequently turned his attention to gold-digging, at which he was successful and which enabled him to purchase a small freehold at Beveridge.

In 1851, at the age of 30, Red Kelly married Ellen Quinn, his employer's 18-year-old daughter, in Ballarat. Their first child, Mary Jane, died at six months in 1850, but Ellen Kelly then gave birth to a daughter, Annie, in 1853.

The Kellys' first son, Edward ("Ned"), was born in Beveridge, just north of Melbourne. His date of birth is not known, but at Beveridge he said to an officer, "Look across there to the left. Do you see a little hill there?", "That is where I was born about 28 years ago. Now, I am passing through it, I suppose, to my doom."

Kelly was baptised by an Augustinian priest, Charles O'Hea. As a boy he obtained basic schooling and once risked his life to save another boy, Richard Shelton, from drowning. As a reward he was given a green sash by the boy's family, which he wore under his armour during his final showdown with police in 1880.

Kelly's family moved to Avenel, near Seymour, where Red Kelly became noted as an expert cattle-stealer. In 1865 he was convicted of cattle duffing and imprisoned. Red Kelly died at Avenel on 27 December 1866 shortly after his release from Kilmore gaol. When Red Kelly died he was survived by his wife and seven offspring, Ned and Dan, James, Mrs Gunn, Mrs Skillion, Kate and Grace. Several months later the Kelly family acquired 80 acres (320,000 m2) of uncultivated farmland at Eleven Mile Creek near the Greta area of Victoria, which to this day is known as "Kelly Country".
The Kellys were suspected many times of cattle or horse stealing, but never convicted. Ned Kelly himself claimed that he had stolen over 280 horses as a boy. Red Kelly was arrested when he killed and skinned a calf claimed to be the property of his neighbour. He was found innocent of theft, but guilty of removing the brand from the skin and given the option of a twenty-five pound fine or a sentence of six months with hard labor. Unable to pay the fine, Red served his sentence, which had an ultimately fatal effect on his health. The saga surrounding Red, and his treatment by the police, made a strong impression on his son Ned.

In all, eighteen charges were brought against members of Ned's immediate family before he was declared an outlaw, while only half that number resulted in guilty verdicts. This is a highly unusual ratio for the time, and led to claims that Ned's family was unfairly targeted from the time they moved to northeast Victoria. Perhaps the move was necessary because of Ellen's squabbles with family members and her appearances in court over family disputes. Antony O'Brien argued that Victoria's colonial police practices treated arrest as equivalent to proof of guilt. Further, O'Brien argued, using the "Statistics of Victoria" crime figures that the region's or family's or national criminality was determined not by individual arrests, but rather by the total number of arrests.

Ned's first documented brush with the law was on 15 October 1869 at the age of 14 when he was charged with the assault and robbery of Ah Fook, a pig and fowl trader from a Chinese camp near Bright. According to Ah Fook, as he was passing the Kelly house, Ned approached him with a long bamboo stick, announcing that he was a bushranger and would kill him if he did not hand over his money. Ned then took him into the bush, beat him with the stick and stole 10 shillings. According to Ned, his sister Annie and two witnesses, Bill Skilling and Bill Grey, Annie was sitting outside the house sewing when Ah Fook walked up and asked for a drink of water. Given creek water, he abused Annie for not giving him rain water and Ned came outside and pushed him. Ah Fook then hit Ned three times with the bamboo stick, causing him to run away. Ah Fook then walked away threatening to return and burn the house down. Ned did not return until sundown. Historians find neither account convincing and believe that Ned's account is likely true up to being hit by Ah Fook but then Ned likely took the stick from him and beat him with it.

Ned was arrested the following day for Highway Robbery and locked up overnight in Benalla. He appeared in court the following morning but Sergeant Whelan, despite using an interpreter to translate Ah Fook's account, requested a remand to allow time to find an interpreter. Ned was held for four days. Appearing in court on 20 October he was again remanded after the police failed to produce an interpreter. The charge was finally dismissed on 26 October and Ned was released. Sergeant Whelan disliked Ned. Three months earlier when he had prosecuted Yeaman Gunn for possession of stolen mutton, Ned testified that he had sold several sheep to Gunn that same day. In a controversial judgement, the magistrate found Gunn guilty and fined him £10. Furious that Ned was not convicted for the robbery, Whelan now kept a careful watch on the Kelly family and, according to fellow officers, became "a perfect encyclopedia of knowledge about them" through his "diligence"

Following his court appearance, the Benalla Ensign reported, "The cunning of himself [Ned] and his mates got him off", the Beechworth Advertiser on the other hand reported that "the charge of robbery has been trumped up by the Chinaman to be revenged on Kelly, who had obviously assaulted him." Interestingly, Ah Fook had described 14-year-old Ned as being aged around 20 years. Some 12 months later a reporter wrote that Ned "gives his age as 15 but is probably between 18 and 20". Although 5' 8" in height, Ned was physically imposing. When arrested, a 224 pounds (102 kg) trooper was purportedly unable to subdue the then 15-year old Ned until several labourers ran to assist him and even then Ned had to be knocked unconscious.

On 16th of March 1870, bushranger Harry Power and Ned Kelly stuck up and robbed Mr M'Bean. Later that year on 2 May, he was charged with robbery in company and accused of being Power's accomplice. The victims could not identify Ned, and the charges were dismissed. He was then charged with robbery under arms, but the principal witness could not be located and the charges were dismissed. He was then charged a third time, for a hold-up with Power against a man named Murray. Although the victims for the third charge were reported to have also failed to identify Ned, they had in fact been refused a chance to identify him by Superintendents Nicolas and Hare. Instead, superintendent Nicolas told the magistrate that Ned fit the description and asked for him to be remanded to the Kyneton court for trial. Instead of being sent to Kyneton, he was sent to Melbourne where he spent the weekend in the Richmond lock-up before transferring to Kyneton. No evidence was produced in court and he was released after a month. Historians tend to disagree over this episode: some see it as evidence of police harassment; others believe that Kelly’s relatives intimidated the witnesses, making them reluctant to give evidence. Another factor in the lack of identification may have been that the witnesses had described Power's accomplice as a "half-caste". However, superintendent Nicholas and Captain Standish believed this to be the result of Ned going unwashed. 

In October 1870, Kelly was arrested again for assaulting a hawker, Jeremiah McCormack, and for his part in sending McCormack's childless wife a box containing calves' testicles and an indecent note. This was a result of a row earlier that day when McCormack accused a friend of the Kellys, Ben Gould, of using his horse without permission. Gould wrote the note, and Kelly passed it to one of his cousins to give to the woman. He was sentenced to three months' hard labour on each charge.

Upon his release Kelly returned home. There he met Isaiah "Wild" Wright who had arrived in the area on a chestnut mare. While he was staying with the Kellys, the mare had gone missing and Wright borrowed one of the Kelly horses to return to Mansfield. He asked Ned to look for the horse and said he could keep it until his return. Kelly found the mare and used it to go to Wangaratta where he stayed for a few days but while riding through Greta on his way home, Ned was approached by police constable Hall who, from the description of the animal, knew the horse was stolen property. When his attempt to arrest Kelly turned into a fight, Hall drew his gun and tried to shoot him, but Kelly overpowered the policeman and humiliated him by riding him like a horse and driving his spurs into the back of his legs. Hall later struck Kelly several times with his revolver after he had been arrested. Ned always maintained that he had no idea that the mare actually belonged to the Mansfield postmaster and that Wright had stolen it. After just three weeks of freedom, 16-year-old Kelly, along with his brother-in-law Alex Gunn, was sentenced to three years imprisonment with hard labour for "feloniously receiving a horse". "Wild" Wright escaped arrest for the theft on 2 May following an "exchange of shots" with police, but was arrested the following day. Wright received only eighteen months for stealing the horse. After his release from Pentridge Prison in February 1874, Ned allegedly fought and won a bare-knuckled boxing match with 'Wild' Wright that lasted 20 rounds.

In September 1877 a drunk Kelly was arrested for riding over a footpath and locked-up for the night. The next day, while he was escorted by four policemen, he escaped and ran, taking refuge in a shoemaker's shop. The police and the shop owner tried to handcuff him but failed. During the struggle Kelly's trousers were almost ripped off. Trying to get Kelly to submit, Constable Lonigan, whom Kelly later shot dead, "black-balled" him (grabbed and squeezed his testicles). During the struggle, a miller walked in, and on seeing the behaviour of the police said "You should be ashamed of themselves." The miller then tried to pacify the situation and induced Kelly to put on the handcuffs.

Kelly said about the incident "It was in the course of this attempted arrest Fitzpatrick endeavoured to catch hold of me by the foot, and in the struggle he tore the sole and heel of my boot clean off. With one well-directed blow, I sent him sprawling against the wall, and the staggering blow I then gave him partly accounts to me for his subsequent conduct towards my family and myself."

Legend has it that Kelly told Lonigan that "If I ever shoot a man, Lonigan, it'll be you!"

In October 1877, Gustav and William Baumgarten were arrested for supplying stolen horses to Kelly and were sentenced in 1878. Baumgarten served time in Pentridge Prison, Melbourne.
Following his father's death, Kelly's mother, Ellen, married a Californian named George King, with whom she had three children. King, Kelly and Dan Kelly became involved in cattle rustling.

Following the killings at Stringybark, the gang committed two major robberies, at Euroa, Victoria and Jerilderie, New South Wales. Their strategy involved the taking of hostages and robbing the bank safes.

From early March 1879 to June 1880 nothing was heard of the gang's whereabouts. However, in late March 1879 Ned's sisters Kate and Margaret asked the captain of the Victoria Cross how much he would charge to take four or five gentlemen friends to California from Queenscliff. On 31 March, an unidentified man arranged an appointment with the captain at the General Post Office to give a definite answer for the cost. The captain contacted police, who placed a large number of detectives and plain-clothes police throughout the building, but the man failed to appear. There is no evidence that Ned's sisters were enquiring on behalf of the gang, and was reported in the Argus as "without foundation".
In April 1880 a Notice of Withdrawal of Reward was posted by Government. It stated that after 20 July 1880 the Government would "absolutely cancel and withdraw the offer for the reward"

On 26 June 1880 the Felons' Apprehension Act 612 expired, and the gang's outlaw status their arrest warrants expired with it. While Ned and Dan still had prior warrants outstanding for the attempted murder of Fitzpatrick, technically Hart and Byrne were free men although the police still retained the right to re-issue the murder warrants.

On Friday, 25 June 1880, Dan Kelly and Joe Byrne rode into the valley known as 'The Woolshed,' where Aaron Sherritt had a small farm. Ned had decided to rob the banks of Benalla, headquarters of most of the police engaged in the Kelly hunt. First he planned to kill or capture the Benalla police in a pitched battle at the small town of Glenrowan, when they had been lured there by a diversion further along the railway line.

Aaron Sherritt was to provide the necessary diversion. Treacherous, brutal, immoral and vain, Sherritt was the most dangerous of the many police informers. Police money had bought him a thoroughbred horse, flash clothes, and a fatal arrogance. Spurned as a traitor by Joe Byrne's younger sister, he had approached Kate Kelly and had been threatened by an enraged Mrs. Skillion. He had married a 15-year old girl and settled on his parents' farm to spy for the police and work for the death of his former friends. He thought that the gang still trusted him although he had spoken of gaining the £8,000. Four policemen were stationed at the Sherritt house for protection.

The gang decided to kill him, while knowing of the protection. They had watched the hut the previous night and seen Sherritt come to the door, alone, to talk to Anton Weekes, a German who had a small farm nearby. The two outlaws captured and handcuffed Weekes, reassuring him that he would not be hurt if he obeyed them. They pushed him to the back door of the hut. Joe rapped on the door and then stood back, with Dan in the darkness. They could hear movement inside. Sherritt's voice asked: 'Who is there?' Prompted by Joe, the German replied: 'It is me, I have lost my way.' Young Mrs. Sherritt opened the door. Aaron stood framed in the doorway and began to joke with Weekes. "You must be drunk, Anton. You know that it's over that way," laughed Sherritt. As he raised his arm to point the direction, Byrne fired at point-blank range. Sherritt staggered back bleeding from a bullet through the chest. Byrne followed him and fired again. Sherritt died without a word. His wife screamed and ran to cradle his head in her arms while her mother (Mrs. Barry) asked her son-in-law's killer: 'Why did you do it, Joe? Why did you do it?' Mrs. Barry knew the Byrne family well and had been a particular friend of Mrs. Byrne, Joe's mother. "I won't hurt you, Ma'am," replied the outlaw. 'But that ******* had it coming to him. He will never put me away again.'

Ned Kelly survived to stand trial on 19 October 1880, at Melbourne before Irish-born Justice Sir Redmond Barry. Mr. Smyth and Mr. Chomley appeared for the crown, and Mr. Bindon for the prisoner. The trial was adjourned to the 28th, where Kelly was presented on the charge of the murder of Sergeant Kennedy, Constable Scanlan and Lonigan, the various bank robberies, the murder of Sherritt, and resistance to the police at Glenrowan, together with a long catalogue of minor charges. He was convicted of the wilful murder of Constable Lonigan and was sentenced to death by hanging by Justice Barry. Several unusual exchanges between the prisoner Kelly and the judge included the Judge's customary words "May God have mercy on your soul", to which Kelly replied "I will go a little further than that, and say I will see you there when I go". At Ned's request, his picture was taken and he was granted farewell interviews with family members. His mother's last words to Ned were reported to be "Mind you die like a Kelly". 

He was hanged on 11 November 1880 at the Melbourne Gaol. Kelly's gaol warden wrote in his diary that when Kelly was prompted to say his last words, the prisoner opened his mouth and mumbled something that he could not hear.

The Argus reported that Mr. Castieau, the governor of the gaol, informed the condemned man that the hour of execution had been fixed at ten o'clock. Kelly simply replied "Such is life." His leg-irons were removed, and after a short time he was marched out. He was submissive on the way, and when passing the gaol's flower beds, he remarked "what a nice little garden," but said nothing further until reaching the Press room, where he remained until the arrival of chaplain Dean Donaghy.

The Argus reported that Kelly intended to make a speech, but he merely said, "Ah, well, I suppose it has come to this," as the rope was being placed round his neck.

 Although the exact number is unknown, it is estimated that a petition to spare Kelly's life attracted over 30,000 signatures.

A newspaper reported that Kelly's body was dissected by medical students who removed his head and organs for study. Dissection outside of a coronial enquiry was illegal. Public outrage at the rumour raised real fears of public disorder, leading the commissioner of police to write to the gaol's governor, who denied that a dissection had taken place. His head was allegedly given to phrenologists for study, then returned to the police, who used it for a time as a paperweight.

On 1 August 2012 the Victorian government issued a license for Kelly's bones to be returned to the Kelly family, who made plans for their final burial. They also appealed for the person who possessed Kelly's skull to return it.

On 20 January 2013, Kelly's descendants granted Kelly's final wish, and buried his remains within consecrated ground at Greta cemetery, near his mother's unmarked grave. A piece of Kelly's skull was also buried with his remains and was surrounded by concrete to prevent looting. The burial followed a Requiem Mass that was held on 18 January 2013 at St Patrick's Catholic Church in Wangaratta.

Source:  Wikipedia

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Aikido: Art Form Of

I owe my ability to defend myself to about four people. First, Steven Seagal, who with his movies, got me interested in the sefl-defense style of Aikido. Then there was Don Madden, coach of the USA Olympic karate team for over 13 years. Then Johnny Burns, a young man I met from Korea while I served in the U.S. Army reserves. And finally, Mason Smith. He and I would spar on a regular basis, with him teaching me more than I could ever teach him.  

Aikido (Japanese: 合気道 Hepburn: Aikidō?) [ː] is a Japanese martial art developed by Morihei Ueshiba as a synthesis of his martial studies, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Aikido is often translated as "the Way of unifying (with) life energy" or as "the Way of harmonious spirit." Ueshiba's goal was to create an art that practitioners could use to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury.

Aikido is performed by blending with the motion of the attacker and redirecting the force of the attack rather than opposing it head-on. This requires very little physical strength, as the aikidōka (aikido practitioner) "leads" the attacker's momentum using entering and turning movements. The techniques are completed with various throws or joint locks.

Aikido derives mainly from the martial art of Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, but began to diverge from it in the late 1920s, partly due to Ueshiba's involvement with the Ōmoto-kyō religion. Ueshiba's early students' documents bear the term aiki-jūjutsu.

Ueshiba's senior students have different approaches to aikido, depending partly on when they studied with him. Today aikido is found all over the world in a number of styles, with broad ranges of interpretation and emphasis. However, they all share techniques learned from Ueshiba and most have concern for the well-being of the attacker.

 Aikido was created by Morihei Ueshiba (植芝 盛平 Ueshiba Morihei, 14 December 1883 – 26 April 1969), referred to by some aikido practitioners as Ōsensei ("Great Teacher"). Ueshiba envisioned aikido not only as the synthesis of his martial training, but as an expression of his personal philosophy of universal peace and reconciliation. During Ueshiba's lifetime and continuing today, aikido has evolved from the Aiki that Ueshiba studied into a wide variety of expressions by martial artists throughout the world.

 Ueshiba developed aikido primarily during the late 1920s through the 1930s through the synthesis of the older martial arts that he had studied. The core martial art from which aikido derives is Daitō-ryū aiki-jūjutsu, which Ueshiba studied directly with Takeda Sōkaku, the reviver of that art. Additionally, Ueshiba is known to have studied Tenjin Shin'yō-ryū with Tozawa Tokusaburō in Tokyo in 1901, Gotōha Yagyū Shingan-ryū under Nakai Masakatsu in Sakai from 1903 to 1908, and judo with Kiyoichi Takagi (高木 喜代子 Takagi Kiyoichi, 1894–1972) in Tanabe in 1911.

The art of Daitō-ryū is the primary technical influence on aikido. Along with empty-handed throwing and joint-locking techniques, Ueshiba incorporated training movements with weapons, such as those for the spear (yari), short staff (), and perhaps the bayonet (銃剣 jūken?). However, aikido derives much of its technical structure from the art of swordsmanship (kenjutsu)

Ueshiba moved to Hokkaidō in 1912, and began studying under Takeda Sokaku in 1915. His official association with Daitō-ryū continued until 1937. However, during the latter part of that period, Ueshiba had already begun to distance himself from Takeda and the Daitō-ryū. At that time Ueshiba was referring to his martial art as "Aiki Budō". It is unclear exactly when Ueshiba began using the name "aikido", but it became the official name of the art in 1942 when the Greater Japan Martial Virtue Society (Dai Nippon Butoku Kai) was engaged in a government sponsored reorganization and centralization of Japanese martial arts. 

After Ueshiba left Hokkaidō in 1919, he met and was profoundly influenced by Onisaburo Deguchi, the spiritual leader of the Ōmoto-kyō religion (a neo-Shinto movement) in Ayabe. One of the primary features of Ōmoto-kyō is its emphasis on the attainment of utopia during one's life. This was a great influence on Ueshiba's martial arts philosophy of extending love and compassion especially to those who seek to harm others. Aikido demonstrates this philosophy in its emphasis on mastering martial arts so that one may receive an attack and harmlessly redirect it. In an ideal resolution, not only is the receiver unharmed, but so is the attacker.

In addition to the effect on his spiritual growth, the connection with Deguchi gave Ueshiba entry to elite political and military circles as a martial artist. As a result of this exposure, he was able to attract not only financial backing but also gifted students. Several of these students would found their own styles of aikido.

Aikido was first brought to the rest of the world in 1951 by Minoru Mochizuki with a visit to France where he introduced aikido techniques to judo students. He was followed by Tadashi Abe in 1952 who came as the official Aikikai Hombu representative, remaining in France for seven years. Kenji Tomiki toured with a delegation of various martial arts through 15 continental states of the United States in 1953. Later in that year, Koichi Tohei was sent by Aikikai Hombu to Hawaii, for a full year, where he set up several dojo. This was followed up by several further visits and is considered the formal introduction of aikido to the United States. The United Kingdom followed in 1955; Italy in 1964 by Hiroshi Tada; and Germany 1965 by Katsuaki Asai. Designated "Official Delegate for Europe and Africa" by Morihei Ueshiba, Masamichi Noro arrived in France in September 1961. Seiichi Sugano was appointed to introduce aikido to Australia in 1965. Today there are aikido dojo available throughout the world. Aikido was exhibited in Hollywood films by Steven Seagal in the 1990s. 

The largest aikido organization is the Aikikai Foundation which remains under the control of the Ueshiba family. However, aikido has many styles, mostly formed by Morihei Ueshiba's major students.

The earliest independent styles to emerge were Yoseikan Aikido, begun by Minoru Mochizuki in 1931, Yoshinkan Aikido founded by Gozo Shioda in 1955, and Shodokan Aikido, founded by Kenji Tomiki in 1967. The emergence of these styles pre-dated Ueshiba's death and did not cause any major upheavals when they were formalized. Shodokan Aikido, however, was controversial, since it introduced a unique rule-based competition that some felt was contrary to the spirit of aikido.

After Ueshiba's death in 1969, two more major styles emerged. Significant controversy arose with the departure of the Aikikai Hombu Dojo's chief instructor Koichi Tohei, in 1974. Tohei left as a result of a disagreement with the son of the founder, Kisshomaru Ueshiba, who at that time headed the Aikikai Foundation. The disagreement was over the proper role of ki development in regular aikido training. After Tohei left, he formed his own style, called Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido, and the organization which governs it, the Ki Society (Ki no Kenkyūkai).

A final major style evolved from Ueshiba's retirement in Iwama, Ibaraki, and the teaching methodology of long term student Morihiro Saito. It is unofficially referred to as the "Iwama style", and at one point a number of its followers formed a loose network of schools they called Iwama Ryu. Although Iwama style practitioners remained part of the Aikikai until Saito's death in 2002, followers of Saito subsequently split into two groups; one remaining with the Aikikai and the other forming the independent Shinshin Aikishuren Kai in 2004 around Saito's son Hitohiro Saito.

Today, the major styles of aikido are each run by a separate governing organization, have their own headquarters (本部道場 honbu dōjō?) in Japan, and have an international breadth.

In aikido, as in virtually all Japanese martial arts, there are both physical and mental aspects of training. The physical training in aikido is diverse, covering both general physical fitness and conditioning, as well as specific techniques. Because a substantial portion of any aikido curriculum consists of throws, the first thing most students learn is how to safely fall or roll. The specific techniques for attack include both strikes and grabs; the techniques for defense consist of throws and pins. After basic techniques are learned, students study freestyle defense against multiple opponents, and techniques with weapons. 

Physical training goals pursued in conjunction with aikido include controlled relaxation, flexibility, and endurance, with less emphasis on strength training. In aikido, pushing or extending movements are much more common than pulling or contracting movements. This distinction can be applied to general fitness goals for the aikido practitioner.

In aikido, specific muscles or muscle groups are not isolated and worked to improve tone, mass, and power. Aikido-related training emphasizes the use of coordinated whole-body movement and balance similar to yoga or pilates. For example, many dojos begin each class with warm-up exercises (準備体操 junbi taisō?), which may include stretching and ukemi (break falls).

Aikido training is based primarily on two partners practicing pre-arranged forms (kata) rather than freestyle practice. The basic pattern is for the receiver of the technique (uke) to initiate an attack against the person who applies the technique - the 取り tori, or shite 仕手 (depending on aikido style), also referred to as 投げ nage (when applying a throwing technique), who neutralises this attack with an aikido technique.

Both halves of the technique, that of uke and that of nage, are considered essential to aikido training. Both are studying aikido principles of blending and adaptation. Nage learns to blend with and control attacking energy, while uke learns to become calm and flexible in the disadvantageous, off-balance positions in which nage places them. This "receiving" of the technique is called ukemi. Uke continuously seeks to regain balance and cover vulnerabilities (e.g., an exposed side), while nage uses position and timing to keep uke off-balance and vulnerable. In more advanced training, uke will sometimes apply reversal techniques (返し技 kaeshi-waza?) to regain balance and pin or throw nage.

Ukemi (受身?) refers to the act of receiving a technique. Good ukemi involves attention to the technique, the partner and the immediate environment—it is an active rather than a passive receiving of aikido. The fall itself is part of aikido, and is a way for the practitioner to receive, safely, what would otherwise be a devastating strike or throw.

Aikido makes use of body movement (tai sabaki) to blend with uke. For example, an "entering" (irimi) technique consists of movements inward towards uke, while a "turning" (転換 tenkan?) technique uses a pivoting motion. Additionally, an "inside" ( uchi?) technique takes place in front of uke, whereas an "outside" ( soto?) technique takes place to his side; a "front" ( omote?) technique is applied with motion to the front of uke, and a "rear" ( ura?) version is applied with motion towards the rear of uke, usually by incorporating a turning or pivoting motion. Finally, most techniques can be performed while in a seated posture (seiza). Techniques where both uke and nage are standing are called tachi-waza, techniques where both start off in seiza are called suwari-waza, and techniques performed with uke standing and nage sitting are called hanmi handachi.

Thus, from fewer than twenty basic techniques, there are thousands of possible implementations. For instance, ikkyō can be applied to an opponent moving forward with a strike (perhaps with an ura type of movement to redirect the incoming force), or to an opponent who has already struck and is now moving back to reestablish distance (perhaps an omote-waza version). Specific aikido kata are typically referred to with the formula "attack-technique(-modifier)". For instance, katate-dori ikkyō refers to any ikkyō technique executed when uke is holding one wrist. This could be further specified as katate-dori ikkyō omote, referring to any forward-moving ikkyō technique from that grab.

Atemi (当て身) are strikes (or feints) employed during an aikido technique. Some view atemi as attacks against "vital points" meant to cause damage in and of themselves. For instance, Gōzō Shioda described using atemi in a brawl to quickly down a gang's leader. Others consider atemi, especially to the face, to be methods of distraction meant to enable other techniques. A strike, whether or not it is blocked, can startle the target and break his or her concentration. The target may become unbalanced in attempting to avoid the blow, for example by jerking the head back, which may allow for an easier throw. Many sayings about atemi are attributed to Morihei Ueshiba, who considered them an essential element of technique. 

Weapons training in aikido traditionally includes the short staff (), wooden sword (bokken), and knife (tantō). Today, some schools incorporate firearm-disarming techniques. Both weapon-taking and weapon-retention are sometimes taught, to integrate armed and unarmed aspects. Others, such as the Iwama style of Morihiro Saito, usually spend substantial time with bokken and , practised under the names aiki-ken, and aiki-jō, respectively.

The founder developed much of empty handed aikido from traditional sword and spear movements. Consequently, the practice of these movements both gives insight into the origin of techniques and movements, and reinforces the concepts of distance, foot movement, presence and connectedness with one's training partner(s).

One feature of aikido is training to defend against multiple attackers, often called taninzudori, or taninzugake. Freestyle (randori, or jiyūwaza) practice with multiple attackers is a key part of most curricula and is required for the higher level ranks. "Randori", literally "chaos", exercises a person's ability to intuitively perform techniques in an unstructured environment. Strategic choice of techniques, based on how they reposition the student relative to other attackers, is important in randori training. For instance, an ura technique might be used to neutralise the current attacker while turning to face attackers approaching from behind.

In Shodokan Aikido, randori differs in that it is not performed with multiple persons with defined roles of defender and attacker, but between two people, where both participants attack, defend, and counter at will. In this respect it resembles judo randori.

In applying a technique during training, it is the responsibility of nage to prevent injury to uke by employing a speed and force of application that is commensurate with their partner's proficiency in ukemi. Injuries (especially those to the joints), when they do occur in aikido, are often the result of nage misjudging the ability of uke to receive the throw or pin.

A study of injuries in the martial arts showed that while the type of injuries varied considerably from one art to the other, the differences in overall rates of injury were much less pronounced. Soft tissue injuries are one of the most common types of injuries found within aikido, and a few deaths from repetitive "shihōnage" in a Japanese-style hazing context have been reported.

When Mason and I would spar, we would never use protection. We went all-out. My arms would be bacl and blue and sometimes purple from the wrist to the shoulder from blocking punches and kicks. Often times, our sparring sessions would last 3 to 5 hours each session.

Aikido training is mental as well as physical, emphasizing the ability to relax the mind and body even under the stress of dangerous situations. This is necessary to enable the practitioner to perform the bold enter-and-blend movements that underlie aikido techniques, wherein an attack is met with confidence and directness. Morihei Ueshiba once remarked that one "must be willing to receive 99% of an opponent's attack and stare death in the face" in order to execute techniques without hesitation. As a martial art concerned not only with fighting proficiency but with the betterment of daily life, this mental aspect is of key importance to aikido practitioners.

The most common criticism of aikido is that it suffers from a lack of realism in training. The attacks initiated by uke (and which nage must defend against) have been criticized as being "weak," "sloppy," and "little more than caricatures of an attack." Weak attacks from uke cause a conditioned response from nage, and result in underdevelopment of the strength and conditioning needed for the safe and effective practice of both partners. To counteract this, some styles allow students to become less compliant over time but, in keeping with the core philosophies, this is after having demonstrated proficiency in being able to protect themselves and their training partners. Shodokan Aikido addresses the issue by practising in a competitive format. Such adaptations are debated between styles, with some maintaining that there is no need to adjust their methods because either the criticisms are unjustified, or that they are not training for self-defence or combat effectiveness, but spiritual, fitness or other reasons.

Another criticism is that after the end of Ueshiba's seclusion in Iwama from 1942 to the mid-1950s, he increasingly emphasized the spiritual and philosophical aspects of aikido. As a result, strikes to vital points by nage, entering (irimi) and initiation of techniques by nage, the distinction between omote (front side) and ura (back side) techniques, and the use of weapons, were all de-emphasized or eliminated from practice. Lack of training in these areas is thought to lead to an overall loss of effectiveness by some aikido practitioners.

Conversely, there are some who criticize aikido practitioners for not placing enough importance on the spiritual practices emphasized by Ueshiba. The premise of this criticism is that "O-Sensei's aikido was not a continuation and extension of the old and has a distinct discontinuity with past martial and philosophical concepts." That is, that aikido practitioners who focus on aikido's roots in traditional jujutsu or kenjutsu are diverging from what Ueshiba taught. Such critics urge practitioners to embrace the assertion that "[Ueshiba's] transcendence to the spiritual and universal reality was the fundamentals of the paradigm that he demonstrated."

One of the things Mason and I would do was to use real weapons, knife, bats, etc, and utilize Aikido in street fighting techniques similar to what Bruce Lee did. Break our fighting skills down to make them more "street-fighting" efficient. We had this one technique that didn't even require a counter move. We simple called it the "zig-zag". Which is to simply anticipate your opponents move and dodge left and right or back a step and have him miss with his swing. I did this with a friend of mine one time when he got mad at me for dating his sister and after a few swings, he stopped and collapsed to his knees huffing and puffing. He looked up at me and said, "Damn it Carroll, you and your martial arts."

The study of ki is a critical component of aikido, and its study defies categorization as either "physical" or "mental" training, as it encompasses both. The original kanji for ki was , and is a symbolic representation of a lid covering a pot full of rice; the "nourishing vapors" contained within are ki.

The character for ki is used in everyday Japanese terms, such as "health" (元気 genki?), or "shyness" (内気 uchiki?). Ki is most often understood as unified physical and mental intention, however in traditional martial arts it is often discussed as "life energy". Gōzō Shioda's Yoshinkan Aikido, considered one of the "hard styles," largely follows Ueshiba's teachings from before World War II, and surmises that the secret to ki lies in timing and the application of the whole body's strength to a single point. In later years, Ueshiba's application of ki in aikido took on a softer, more gentle feel. This was his Takemusu Aiki and many of his later students teach about ki from this perspective. Koichi Tohei's Ki Society centers almost exclusively around the study of the empirical (albeit subjective) experience of ki with students ranked separately in aikido techniques and ki development.  

Source: Wikipedia 

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