Cho Dan Bo

Last month my son and I passed our latest Tang Soo Do grading. We’ve been training with CKMA for the past four years and have now progressed to ‘Cho Dan Bo’ or ‘preparing for Black Belt’. If you’d have told me four years ago that I would be on the cusp of becoming a black belt in a martial art I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d never had any inclination or interest in martial arts and had no experience. It was only when seeking to find a hobby for my son that I went along with him and decided to take part myself.

For those that don’t know, Tang Soo Do is essentially Korean karate and a close cousin of Tae Kwon Do. One of the parts of martial arts I wasn’t familiar before beginning my training is the ‘forms’ or ‘hyung’. These are patterns and groups of movements and techniques which improve your stances, flexibility and ability to combine punches, kicks, strikes and blocks.

To pass our Cho Dan Bo grading we had to perform around ten forms, including two forms we were grading on for the first time.

Sip Soo:

and Naihnachi Sam Dan

These guys are very good, particularly the guy in the first video. The power and emphasis on each move is something I’m working on but as you go higher up the grades that always improves.

Tang soo!


It’s Not Just a Phase

Jonathan Haidt has written a long-read for The Atlantic on how social media has fundamentally impacted US society.

Obviously US focused, it nevertheless draws parallels with the current state of public discourse in the UK. The central point being that social media has changed the way we interact with issues and with each other – essentially with more anger and less understanding. A result of which is our institutions being damaged by this shift in engagement and removal of mass media gatekeeping helping to disintegrate universal norms. In short, ‘truth cannot achieve widespread adherence’ because we no longer have truly shared stories throughout societ.

It’s a bleak read, but ends with some ideas for how the situation can be, at least partially, improved.

I’m not an active social media broadcaster, insofar as not actively posting on any social network bar a few Linkedin posts. I tend to consume on social media, particularly on Twitter where I can lose hours sitting infront of the firehose. It shapes and hardens my views of issues, and yes I do find myself postioned knowingly within a certain tribe on many issues. Haidt talks at length at how the ‘Share’ or ‘Retweet’ has effectively amplified anger – anger is more viral – and narrowed the consumption of opposing views. Its easy to see the result of that within the Jan 6th insurrection and the continued questioning of the 2020 election in the US.

The genie is out of the bottle; divisive campaigns like the Brexit referendum, left / right splits over pandemic policy and refusal to call a fact a fact are not going away. As we look towards a UK general election and potentially a Trump contested US Presidential election in two years time, social media will be even angrier, even more divisive and even more opinionated than ever. I remember the novelty and semmingly innocent days of Twitter and Facebook when you were telling the world what you were doing, not necessarily what you were thinking. We now not only say what we’re thinking, we amplify what our tribes are group-thinking without adding any real value or commentary.

Primitive Energy Storage

Energy generation and storage strategy are clearly a hot topic given the global circumstances. Here in the UK we’ve gone some way to solving the renewable generation problem – but we’re a long way from solving the storage problem. In other words when the wind doesn’t blow we haven’t stored enough energy to fill the gap before the wind picks up – hence the share of hydrocarbons required goes up.

CNN explored an interesting project which is looking at how to create storage in a very basic form; effectively storing the gravitational potential of an object. That can be done either above ground, or below ground (mine shafts).

The next few years is going to see a transformation in generation and storage capability; something almost laughably simple was great to see within the mix of hyper-complex emerging technologies in this field.

9th February

Very pleased to see this news around nuclear fusion breakthrough get a good level of media coverage, it’s arguably the most important news of the year. It’s exciting to imagine a world with a steady, immense production cycle for electricity with limited environmental impact. The current forms of energy production all have significant drawbacks; whether in environmental or supply and storage terms – nuclear fusion has the potential to solve those and fundamentally change the way we create and utilise energy.

Of course the ultimate impact isn’t just around how we create energy but more importantly how we utilise it. Energy supply and energy ubiquity will accelerate innovation both for technologies we currently recognise but also those we don’t.

Exciting times.

Covid Perception

Since the start of the pandemic I’ve been surprised by how the perceived risk of Covid has differed markedly from the actual risk.

That’s not to say that concern around an infectious disease is irrational, but with the burden of serious disease and death so heavily skewed towards 60+ numbers shown in the thread below still shock me.

An interesting week to come…

As we enter a big week in British politics:

“The blood is in the water, the sky is dark with chickens coming home to roost, and — sploosh! — that sound you hear is downflooding.

I found this to be a good take on who I think will be the next Prime Minister, no doubt after seeing off a spirited challenge from Liz Truss.

My personal hope is that Rishi gets there. We need a firmer economic ideology and a more pro-business approach as we emerge from the pandemic and he’s one of the few candidates who can combine that with a relative level of popularity with the public.

Sasha in the Lab

Working from home has meant more time with music on my headphones.

I’ve been going back to some of the DJs I listened to twenty five years ago, including the Son of God – Sasha.

This set is from earlier this year and is sublime. The pacing, the mixing, the atmosphere and I love how we gets immersed in the rhythms.

Which led me to track down this, which I love.