Seminar – taking stock 2 (Atari & “Hitting the structure”)

June 3, 2009

There is another thing that I realize I’ve walked away with from the Aikiweb seminar, evidenced by how frequently it’s been popping into my mind. It is the phrase that George Ledyard used, “hit the (partner’s) structure”. This phrase fits so well that I am tempted to say I prefer it over the expression “tai-atari (体当たり)”, which would be the original term I heard. Perhaps tai-atari would show its usefulness in the connection to “ki-no-atari”, which of course leads to an early point, namely that there is no absolute distinction between body and ki, or body and mind. For now, I had a train of thought run through my mind based on “hitting the structure”.

With variation among schools of aikido, there are place where the partners pause. E.g., after nage does the turn in tenkan/tai-no-henko; the first cut down in ikkyo omote; the first cut down to create kuzushi for kata-dori or katate-dori ikkyo, the cut down after the initial irimi movement in irimi-nage, etc.

What the examination of pauses boils down to is, what possibilities do you have from that position? The scope can be as narrow as, can you and your partner go to the next proper step in the form? It might be wider, such as can you extricate yourself from that position and continue attacking, possibly with the other hand, without opening yourself up to all manner of techniques and attacks? From this general question of possibilities, the examination is no longer restricted to the codified pauses in the forms. It’s anywhere uke’s balance is broken, which direction they fall or stumble, and how they recover. And, possibly the extraneous question, how to still “be uke” in that the interaction between nage and uke is completed with uke falling or being pinned.

What the idea of possibilities has to do with “hitting structure” is that in order to have the possibility of acting on a partner, one must be engaged with them. That is, I might have many possibilities by disengaging, staying away, and making noncommital gestures to engage, but none of them will give me access to the possibilities of interacting with or acting upon my partner.

The more or less codified pauses are points at which uke can check whether they are organized enough to a) hit the nage’s structure with their structure (as opposed to with only their arm) and b) move in accordance with the next step in the form, or more precisely speaking, move such that the next step in the form is fitting (or else the nage can either forcibly continue the form or change to something else that is more fitting).

Offhand there are 4 ways in which the interaction can go.

  1. Uke hits nage’s structure with his own structure.
  2. Uke hit’s nage’s structure only partially (eg with muscular strength only).
  3. Uke hits part or none of nage’s structure (eg only the arm) but with his own structure.
  4. Uke hits part or none of nage’s structure and without his own structure.

There’s a fifth way, consisting of uke leaning on nage. I’m presuming that this gives uke the sensation of pushing on nage. Suffice it to say, using one’s body to push and to lean are quite different actions. At the least, leaning creates the potential for falling, and likely makes acting upon uke’s body by nage a completely different action. Utilizing the fall is probably primary and not necessarily easy.

One way that it is not easy (if uke is leaning skillfully, like a good tackle), is that nage must still be moving with his structure, not just any old way. A skillful tackle will fill up the “space” within nage’s body such that nage may be literally backpedalling, or unable to use his body with the feeling of backpedalling.

When one “grows up” in a particular school, they learn where to stop and how. The “how” part might not be examined very deeply, though there might be a sense of accomplishing it better or worse. Another piece that might not be examined is “why”. From what I myself have seen, both students who do and don’t come from schools where these “pauses” are practiced struggle to one degree or another when faced with the examination of “how” and “why”. This examination is probably presented to students familar with pauses as pausing in unfamiliar places and times, with consequences relating to what happens after a pause. These students may at least have the possible advantage of having something to translate to become more flexible or generalized. To students unfamiliar with pauses, the examination is likely more of a struggle. For one thing, if a student is used to continuous movement, they may face the demand of organizing their body only at a few points, such as at the very beginning or very end of contact with nage. If demanded to pause right in the middle of flow, their body organization might be lagging behind, accustomed to the luxury of catching up later in the flow, or jumped ahead, knowing what the next leg of the flow will be like. Or perhaps the student might not even be behind or ahead, but simply doing an approximation, sort of like counting from 1 through 10, “1, 3, 5, 34, 2, 78, 5, 9 9.1, 10”, used to getting by within the loosest of criteria. If a student was suddently corrected that this was not really counting from 1 to 10, they might have some justified response, indicating the criteria that they’ve been using, such as “I counted 10 numbers didn’t I?” or “I started with 1 and ended with 10 didn’t I?” The student who is already used to pausing may be used to counting correctly from 1 to 10, but struggle with the task of struggle with the task of counting from 1 to 20 using whatever numbers they deemed fitting. For both, the examination of pauses may seem nonsensical.


Seminar – taking stock

March 30, 2009
  • “The Animal” – Clark sensei responded to someone who was basically commenting how it “feels like nothing” when you do the technique and your partner falls down. Perhaps the question was, how do you assess and improve the skill if you can’t feel when you succeed? Clark brought up the concept of the “animal” that we feed with the feeling of success or otherwise working away at something (eg wrestling with someone, overpowering someone). Getting better at technique means becoming able to do technique in a way that doesn’t give you that feedback that “feeds the animal”. Conversely, if feeding the animal is your incentive for practicing, then your technical improvement will accordingly stay at a level at which you can still feed the animal. To move on, you have to starve it.
    An immediate thought I had was how the animal can adapt to different “diets”. And, because the animal isn’t being fed by the initial diet, I might be in danger of feeding it without noticing. This is a question of  internal awareness and introspection, one that could be the biggest one I took away from that weekend. It was one of those “Ag!” moments where I realized I didn’t really understand what my teacher was getting at years ago. I’ve already had a couple of “Ag!” occasions where I thought I understood why Endo sensei was so persistent about the idea of feeling oneself and not being captivated by the partner to the point of not noticing or ignoring the partner.
    My “project” now is to notice the animal’s current diet.
  • The value of a group to which you belong, or a “kai”.
    Talking with some of the Jiyushinkan people, I could see on one hand how much they were developing as human beings from their practice because they belonged to a coherent, cohesive group. Belonging entails having a set a values, priorities, relationships, reference points – all of which entail having an identity. Paradoxically, being able to have an identity enables a person to question themselves and thereby grow.
    On the other hand, and this is not a piece that is strictly wedded to being in a group, there is the aspect of “other”. That is, belonging to a group influences how you see people outside of the group and how your experience is when you encounter such people. The main, possibly only, danger lies here, in that that development of “other” could go poorly. Precisely because the danger lies here, a person’s way of mitigating that danger is to initiate encounters with it (ie interact with “others”) and continue to be/become the person he/she is trying to become. So, if belonging to a group involves any related danger, it is to minimize exposure to “other” and increase the possibility of a person’s grasp of “self” and “other” to go awry.
  • Premises and assumptions.
    Examining the assumptions that I place myself under in my practice is a good way to contemplate why I am practicing, what I think is important, how I prioritize, what I’m trying to get out of it.
    To start from specifics, I think I don’t value reversals as much as I value absorption and efficient use of energy. I probably value continuity more than intentional acceleration/deceleration. I think I value surrendering myself to my partner’s actions more than consciously deciding or knowing what we are doing from moment to moment.
    I probably value demanding, or encouraging, a pre-decided form to happen by making my own openings rather than my partner’s openings apparent. This could have something to do with boundaries, but particularly when I’m dealing with someone I’m not familiar with or with a beginner, I will be more likely to leave the windows of opportunity open, and close them with people I’m more familiar with and of a higher level. Of course the premise is that I think one dimension of an interaction with a partner is awareness of who they are and when something is being artificially, rather than organically, given/taken. I don’t know if this reflects my attitude on social context or my aikido development.
    Why? Why choose these assumptions? For the first assumption, at the risk of providing an evasive answer, I like “neru” practice. I like the idea of striving for unconscious awareness and accepting whatever comes. As mentioned above, with a higher level partner I can “keep a channel open” for my own agenda (eg attacking and putting them down, or reversing) but it’s not an emphasis.
    As for the second assumption, again at the risk of an evasive answer, I think that that is more in accordance with my philosophy of life at this point. It’s likely also how I’ve “starved my animal”, at least in one way.


March 16, 2009

I like analysing people. Now I try not to focus on judging others, guessing what they are like and what they might be thinking about, but I still watch others in the street to observe the way they walk.

Since I can remember, I’ve never really gotten how people seem to use the word “judge”. It seems to carry a negative connotation. “Assess” seems to make some people feel better. I wonder if people’s negative take on “judge” has something to do with perceiving that one is separate with others, that one can observe the world and not be a part of it.

I have a thing with posture. It might have something to do with my bad eyesight. I notice posture/comportment from far away – it enables me to identify people when I can’t see their face. Not only do I notice it in a pure sense, I notice it in a subjective sense i.e., if someone’s posture is really bad or really good, I take notice. I can acknowledge that I’m noticing because it’s good or bad – I don’t mind too much saying so. Perhaps this is when people don’t like the word “judge”. “Who are you to say that person’s posture is good/bad?”

But the bottom line is a significant part of why I notice what I notice is due to my subjective experience of the thing. The above has been about good/bad, possibly beautiful/ugly. What about other dimensions?

For example, at some point in aikido I started to pay attention to whether a person really meant to attack and experience the prescribed technique of the moment with me, or they meant to sort of attack, sort of let me do the technique but more fall down by themselves, sort of attack but be more concerned with blocking my atemi, prevent me from doing what we’d supposedly agreed upon, etc. This is not a simple good vs bad kind of aspect, yet I would say that it has to do with “judgment”.

Subjectively, the degree to which I experienced my attention being drawn to this aspect probably puts me more at the sensitive end of the spectrum. It was something that pushed my buttons. Thus it was about attachment and something I have worked on. However, though I’d like to be free of the attachment, I never thought to give up on becoming a better and better judge of people’s intentions.

As I got more and more accurate, and more and more free of becoming attached/captivated, I became more and more able to see the situation. The current situation as what came before and what’s reasonable (not forced) to happen next. Thus, in aikido techniques, the interaction with the partner could happen earlier, time-wise. However, from my perspective it is happening at the right time. “Early” is only relative to the point in time I perceived our interaction as starting as I would have reported one year ago, ten years ago, etc.

If someone is about to attack me in practice, and I can tell they don’t like me or have some problem with me, I try to see it, see how I am with having perceived that, and accept it all. If I don’t like that I’m feeling my partner is being suspicious of me or scared of me or whatever, I don’t think to stop judging  – stop judging because I might not be right or because judging only introduces information that is possibly useless. Not only is it (to deal with attachment and greater self-awarness) part of my area of interest and motivation to do such a practice as aikido, it is also relevant to the execution of technique on an “aiki” level, territory I think I’ve started to delve into recently.

As a human being, it makes sense to me to take into account how a person’s emotional state is when I am try to see all of how a person is. As a human being who is in the learning process, it makes sense to take advantage of my strengths in the process; if I am more adept at noticing certain details, I should continue, not stop, to refine the noticing of those details so that it serves me in my learning. If I notice something because it makes me feel good or bad, so be it. It is not the assessing, judging, or noticing that is counterproductive but the attachment to and captivation by the same.

Article by Sugano sensei

January 25, 2009

Link to Sugano sensei article

What Is Aikido And What Does Training Mean To Us


When it comes to progress, I think we may have to ask how progress relates to aikido. In a sense consciousness to achieve or to progress is the essence of sports. In the world of sports, one is considered to have achieved his or her goal when that person becomes a champion.

However, aikido exists outside such a frame of progress. There is no clear attainment point in aikido no matter how many years one practices. In other martial arts, the results of practice are clear by the number of people one threw in a lesson. Aikido has no such clear results. One must meet the demands of self learning. It can be hard to continue aikido unless one has a desire to constantly learn.

I believe such a desire entails exercising a capacity to revisit and evolve. For example, at first, one may have the desire to be strong. What form this desire takes depends on the current state of the individual. At first, it may entail learning the technical curriculum, grasping the philosophy and its implications, and knowing to some extent the history of the art. By learning the technical curriculum, one faces certain demands. Then one’s goal may evolve to focus on the patience, self-awareness, humility, and perseverance to realize the precision of the technical curriculum. Next, by encountering all the complications and confounding situations that prevent precision that don’t necessarily lie inside oneself, one may focus on one’s relation, attitude, apprehension, and reactions with respect to other people. If one desires to be among other people in a way that one would define as “strong”, then one would face the realization of being weak or lacking in various contexts. One’s weakness in the various contexts could not be overcome the way it would, apparently, as in the context of an aikido practice where one may do so in the physical dimension. Revisiting and re-forming one’s goals is closely related to constantly learning.

The teaching method, too, is an important subject. In the case of sports, there are matches, so there is a clear result. Since one’s progress is apparent, the teaching method has always been studied and evaluated. Meanwhile, in aikido, the basic teaching method whereby students repeat the throws and techniques shown by their teacher and then repeats them has not changed from old days too much. It is important that the teacher tries to make the training meaningful for the students, and it should be done with an intention to help the students develop their ability. No development or the progress will be made only by showing one’s strength and preeminence.

The teacher’s purview is only the development of aikido ability. It isn’t to counsel you to become a better husband or type up reports faster at work. Thus, despite every student coming in with their individual histories and current issues which they may somehow relate to their aikido practice, the aikido teacher doesn’t directly meddle with any of it. Thus it can only be the student’s responsibility to improve or otherwise affect their life outside of their aikido practice. Of course to some extent the teacher could have a part in inspiring the student to connect their aikido practice with life off the mat.

Progress also depends on how the students would like to practice. One might simply enjoy training as recreation. For those people who would like to train seriously, it will be more interesting and helpful for the development of their abilities if they have the right kind of teaching and opportunities.

In Belgium, I teach classes called “inner school” in response to the solicitation of students’ desire to learn further. I initially limited the classes to only 40 students with black belts.  I call it a school program, rather than a seminar. It takes place in a training camp form. There also was a request in the Netherlands, so I started the school over there, too. Even though there are only few of these schools, there are people who wish to attend programs like this with great interest. I believe that more places and more opportunities should be given to such people.

Levels of Understanding

In aikido, one learns by experiencing through the body. This alone would only result into physical experience, even after 10 years of practice. If one continues practicing for many years, of course, the body becomes strong. However, the level of understanding can still be doubtful.

Everything is learned physically as a result of experience, but to display what has been learned, some verbal expression and other methods become necessary. Hence, one should find opportunities and try to learn various things outside of aikido.

Osensei realized it in the Omoto religion. I don’t think one could fully understand the discipline of aikido without something like that. Learning by the physical experiences certainly is important, but I think it is also important to experience something new besides aikido to stimulate one’s thought and brain.

It is necessary to study basics things without being disturbed by one’s own mood and the feelings. The lesson method of aikido is left to the decision of each instructor, and this is a good thing about aikido. If strictly codified, the independence which is the merit of aikido is lost. Of course, balance is important, but I think it is better that one has a good level of skills, specifically posture, the sense of maai, directionality, the principle of the sword line, gaze and so on. It is often seen in enbu (martial art performance) that people just stand straight before a partner waiting for the attack. This is because there is no awareness of the sword line at all. Osensei frequently talked about gravitation training. Gravitation training is for learning how to lead and go together with the partner’s movement. One can learn this using katatetori.

Such basics can be learned through body movements. In other words, the principle of aikido skills will be understood through the apprehension of body movements. Small details of each technique are different, depending on the individuals, but there is always a sense of maai and directionality in any technique. Therefore, as long as there is an understanding of the principle of the skills, it can be applied to all movements. That understanding is indispensable to progress to a further stage.

Gordon Ramsay

January 24, 2009

I was watching clips on Youtube of Gordon Ramsay for the first time recently, mostly of a reality show, “Hell’s Kitchen,” in which he’s leading two teams of chefs to compete against each other. As he is famous for, his way of interacting is extremely confrontational and aggressive. As I was watching, I took note of the fact that I was identifying more with him than the contestant chefs, and had some thoughts related to teaching and hierarchical relationships.

1.  One book that has left me with an impression is Erich Fromm’s ‘Escape from Freedom’, in which he writes about power, sadism, and masochism, relative to socio-historical trends. Another salient train of thought in my head is about defensiveness, security/confidence, and relationship. How does all this relate to identifying with Gordon.

The simplest aspect is that it’s easier to identify with someone in a position of power than not. “It’s good to be the king.” Also, I’ve been playing with the realization that it is a defense – a subtle one – to look down upon others. And since the human psyche has a knack for making any way of seeing the world and others make sense by selectively seeing certain details and assigning significance and associations to them in certain ways,  so it can go for this way of defense. Furthermore, not only can one selectively see certain aspects of the world, one may also gravitate toward certain situations and environments as well as participate in creating one’s own situation.

For example, one may see the failures and hiccups in others, and not their successes and innovations. One may unconsciously find oneself more frequently than not in situations where one is more experienced or skilled than others. One may create a situation/environment (e.g., a school) where one can be the experienced person. One can contribute to the “excuse” of getting to, or having to, look down upon others, such as by bettering one’s own skill.

Having been on the student side of a difficult student-teacher relationship, I think that in a good relationship there is some appropriateness/fittingness which, for humans, could also be synonymous with communication. Receiving harsh feedback from a teacher, no matter how true, is not always constructive. Of course it’s not impossible for the student to dig deep and make it constructive within him/herself. However, part of a good student-teacher relationship is the teacher making the student dig just deep enough. If the pattern is becoming evident that the student is not able to dig deep enough, then the teacher would be wasting his/her time in continuing an unconstructive pattern. If the teacher continues to do something that isn’t benefitting anyone, then the focus on the teacher should be revisited. That is, what is the teacher really getting out of it, by acting in that way? If it’s supposedly to serve the student but isn’t actually doing so, then it’s possible that the teacher is working out his/her own junk and diverting focus away from him/herself, while putting the onus on the student.

2. One thing I noticed was that, of course, depending on how someone was spoken to, their reaction was relative to the thing that was said to them (e.g., your sauce is too spicy) or to the way it was said to them (e.g, “I wouldn’t give this to a pig by mistake! You donkey!”). When the person being spoken to, the recipient, felt affront more than anything, they would comment on how Gordon spoke, how he made them feel, or how they themselves were (e.g., “I’m qualified, I know what I’m doing, I know how to make this sauce”, etc.) Their being occupied primarily by the affront prevented them from noticing the valid observation or advice, such as that the sauce was, in fact, too spicy. This also happened quite clearly when some contestants tried to exert superiority and take charge over others.

In the context of this show, Gordon has virtually complete authority over the contestants. If they don’t like it, they can quit and leave. If he doesn’t like it, he can do much to ensure that they have to leave. If they disagree, they can’t say so. Apparently Gordon has also acted as consultant to restaurants that were going out of business. In such cases, if the restaurants didn’t like it or disagreed, Gordon could terminate the relationship.

How does this parallel a student-teacher relationship? How does it relate to being a student? We would expect the student to be there voluntarily. However, we might expect the teacher to have less weight, as far as being unpleasant or poor at teaching. Perhaps the teacher relies on the student being there, such as for income. Perhaps the teacher strives to be a teacher that students are attracted to. On the other hand, the difficult position a teacher is in is that of conveying to the student that which the student does not know. The student may not know because they simply haven’t heard it yet. They may not know because they are inclined not to know certain things. The teacher must decide what to do when a student appears to be inclined to stay not knowing. One decision may be to confront the student’s inclination, and bring to light the necessity of knowing certain things. Another decision may be to let the student’s inclination take its course, and possibly transform on its own. The decision-making, I reckon, is a reflection on the teacher’s wisdom and character.

From the perspective of the student, they may perceive the teacher’s course of action in any number of ways. A student who is confronted about his/her inclination may become defensive and focus attention on the way the information was given (e.g., “You don’t have to say it so harshly/subtly/directly/now/today/when I’m not ready, etc.”). A student who is subtly feeling that he/she is missing something, but the teacher is not helping them or filling them in, may feel abandonment or bitterness at the teacher’s inaction (“Why doesn’t he/she just come out and tell me?!”). In the end, practically speaking, the teacher is the teacher because he/she has more knowledge/skill/wisdom, etc. The teacher also has more social clout. The teacher may also have multiple students. For these reasons, in the end, the student should come to see things in the teacher’s way, rather than the other way around. In a sense, the student must come to be in the teacher’s shoes, and during the learning process, put him/herself in the teacher’s shoes. In another sense, the student learns to speak more of the teacher’s language. The teacher on the other hand must always be mindful of how he/she is going about his/her own practice and how he/she is putting him/herself out there as part of a relationship with the student, regardless of whether the teacher is trying to related in a certain way or not.

As a student, putting oneself in this inferior position is not something that most people would find immediately palatable. They want to be respected. They want to feel that the teacher understands them. They want the teacher to say things so that they can grasp it. This may work to some extent, and it depends on the subject matter of course, but then again it may not. If they already felt comfortable with it, then they would already know it or have an easy time acquiring it. Although it may sound counterintuitive to some that it might feel uncomfortable to learn something that is easier or healthier, learning something, coming to know oneself, etc. are endeavors that inevitably have to do with discomfort and letting go of attachments. How a teacher fits into such an endeavor is not necessarily to make things easier or more comfortable. In fact it may be just the opposite – what’s necessary to encounter that which one is not likely to if left to one’s pre-existing tendencies.


November 29, 2008

Tenkan, from “agasan”‘s blog

This past summer, I attended a seminar where Doshu had been invited. I was struck that his tenkan movement was faster than I had imagined. I actually thought it might be too fast for practice, but if that is what Doshu is doing, then that must be the current standard.

There must be several reasons why O-sensei did tenkan at the beginning of every practice session. One reason is of course because it is an important movment (taisabaki), but I’d like to examine why exactly it is important.

First, tenkan, along with irimi, is a representative movement of aikido. By this movement, one avoids the opponent’s attack and attains a superior position. The 180 degree turn is based on the premise of considering multiple opponents and it likely unique to aikido. In “real” use, whether it is properly executed or not would decide whether one can preserve one’s own life, and thus it is a very important movement.

Because of this, it is necessary to learn accurate movement. However, to simply turn 180 degrees is no big deal for someone who cares to learn aikido. In many cases, we can observe that the movement achieved is not martially meaningful. The organization, or form, of the hands, feet, and hips are not properly realized. I don’t propose to take on the daunting task of explaining the ideal movement through words. But I do think it is valuable for one to first move slowly while confirming, imitating an instructor who one trusts.

In this way, one first learns tenkan according to the premise by which one learns various techniques. Before one considers the specifics of ikkyo, shihonage, etc., without being able to do the taisabaki tenkan properly, techniques will be lifeless.

Another meaning of tenkan is to practice awareness of and train the seika-tanden. It isn’t that someone taught me that the tenkan movement is for awareness of the tanden, nor is it that I found it written in various books. It is what I’ve come to see through my own training.

Actually, I have found relevant writings. In Kisshomaru sensei’s book, Aikido, for the explanation of tenkan it is written, “Thus, as it is needless to say that the hips are crucial and central, one must especially take care that they are stable during tenkan. For this, it is necessary to always practice to ‘put one’s ki into’ the seika-tanden.” However, the reasoning is backward. It is not that one needs to practice to ‘put one’s ki into’ the seika-tanden in order to do tenkan, but that tenkan itself is a method for training the tanden.

This is only the theory of an budo hick with some years under his belt, so I could be wrong. Also, it is with caution that I put forth this idea that goes against straightforwardly accepting Doshu’s teaching. If this were the case, then one would need to receive an explanation from someone about the meaning of holding one’s hand palm upward at the height of the seika-tanden.

By the way, the seika-tanden is said to be the place where ki gathers and ki is developed, but these are not aspects that exist in the physical world. Rather, they are the results of training as reflected in individual people’s sensations. Furthermore, those sensations may be subjective, vague,  and confusing, and useless for standardization and possibly a figment of imagination. It is not my way to be grateful to such things that cannot be clearly explained, and in any case, I don’t know what “ki”. is.

On the other hand, the place denoted by “seika-tanden” is basically the center of gravity, and is the place where motion and power arise from – it can thus help awareness of one’s “main body” (主体性). In other words, to be conscious of the tanden is similar to being conscious of the center of gravity relative to movement. To move the body is to lose one’s balance. To take a stance is to organize and set one’s balance. When doing these as a series of movements, one can see how being aware of the tanden/center of gravity can bring about smoothness.

With regards to practice, avoiding standing straight and stiff by lowering the hips, and moving while maintaining that height – despite one’s balance being broken one’s posture does not break, and there is an optimal burden on the lower body. I believe that this is good training. In this case as well, it is not speed that should be emphasized but movement with continual confirmation of where one’s awareness is placed/directed.

Another important point about tenkan: it is to leave the opponent as is and turn oneself. We often hear the concept of leading the partner, and see people swinging their partners about. As I have said before, this is a big mistake. What one can do is turn oneself – whether the partner turns is up to him/her. I wonder if this isn’t what tenkan is meant to teach us. My conclusion is that a great many people are interpreting it in the exact opposite way.

Miscellaneous Thoughts on Aikido (from Kuroiwa sensei’s writings)

December 23, 2007

Another translation done on a whim. No proofreading done. I came across a phrase that stood out to me – the fruit for my labor. Read the rest of this entry »