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<< 3 / 2011 5 / 2011 >>

BoKS 6.6 ready for release

2011-04-21 00:00:00

Awesome! Just before the Easter weekend a joyous email was sent around the FoxT offices: BoKS version 6.6.1 is now officially ready for release. Oh happy day!

New features in v.6.6.1 are:

Aside from new features, BoKS 6.6.1 also includes no less than 46 bug fixes and modifications which were requested by various customers. Oh happy day indeed! tags: , ,

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TIL: soft wood is not a valid target

2011-04-19 21:14:00

Oops! Sorry honey! I kind of... broke part of our fence. ^_^;

Tonight I was practicing men strikes. First as suburi, then using the top plank of our garden fence as a target. I'd done this before with little trouble. But I guess the men strikes were too much for the soft wood, because the plank gave way after a few hits. Oops... I'd better break out the hammer and nails tomorrow. =_=

On the upside of things: my raising motion with the shinai is definitely speeding up! And it seems I've got one half of kata #1 down :)


While I'm working on learning the physical movements of the kata I am also trying to come to grasp with the meaning behind it all. I mean, there's supposed to be a good reason for kendoka to have to learn all the kata, so I'd better find out what it is! On the one hand there's understanding the physical aspect of kendo, but on the other there's also the psychological and mental aspects. Researching the "riai" (theory / reason for movements) provides a whole new level of learning, for which one usually doesn't have time in the dojo. 

To quote Geoff Salmon, who is paraphrasing a research paper on kendo:

"In [kata 1], both the teacher and the student attack each other from the 'overhead' posture implying a clash of justice against justice. The first kata is meant to teach that one defeats the other with the difference of relative skill cultivation that corresponds to the laws of nature”. [...] The first lesson in kendo means training for the self acquirement of the physical movement and mental attitude, as well as the cultivation for the self-manifestation of justice. In addition to the self-manifestation, the first kata teaches the importance of repentance for the killing. In real combat, the loser dies and the winner who survives must have repentance. This mental attitude in part represents the assertion of zanshin.

The paper in question, "A breakthrough in the dilemma of war or peace – The teachings of kendo" by Kensei Hiwaki, can be found as part of this British Kendo Assoc. newsletter from 2000. It's not a very long read. Speaking of Geoff's blog, I'm digging a lot of his articles! I doubt there are many 7th dan kendoka keeping an active weblog in english. Another great read was his modernized translation of "The aim of kendo", by Matsumoto Toshio and Hanshi Kyudan. tags: , ,

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One-on-one training: learning points

2011-04-13 22:20:00

I usually practice kendo at home once or twice a week, by myself, just stretching and doing suburi. Tonight made a nice difference with one of my sempai visiting for one-on-one training. We did suburi, went over kata #1 and the he let me practice some kihon on him wearing his bogu. Now, I need to remember the learning points we discovered today, because there were quite a few eye openers for me.

Thanks Martijn! I really appreciate your help and I enjoy our training tremendously.  m(__)m tags: , ,

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Understanding more about our dojo

2011-04-11 22:28:00

Kendo is more than just hitting people with bamboo sticks. It entails strategy, philosophy and psychology. And of course plenty of history! Today I contacted our dojo's founder to start learning about our background. Heeren-sensei quickly told me where Furuya-sensei came from, which is a good enough starting point for me to start finding out more. 

In the mean time I've finally done something I'd been trying to do for a while: find out the elements that make up the name of our dojo to see how the name is composed and what it means.

On the website it says: "Reshinjuku: Training improves spirit and body". Sadly the Japanese name isn't included anywhere on the site except as a graphic at the top of the site, which makes looking up the relevant kanji quite a pain. But with half an hour of puzzling between Wikipedia, WWWJDIC and the iPhone app Kotoba! I managed to get it all together :)

So here we go!

I'd put that together as: "intensive training tempers the heart", or "school where the heart is trained". In this case "heart" is in the sense of the Japanese word 'kokoro', which describes a concept more than one single word. The "kendo" part at the end of course indicates what skills the school focuses on.

Next up? Trying to figure out the correct kanji for Furuya-sensei's name. Is it 古屋? Or is it 古谷? And which one of the nine spellings for "Isao" (his first name) is the correct one? ^_^ Once I've found that out, the real search for our school's background starts :) tags: , ,

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Kendo kyu exams at Renshinjuku

2011-04-09 21:46:00

Today was an odd day at our dojo in Almere, not because of the examinations, but because of the atmosphere surrounding them. Usually we have a very strict schedule and everyone's pretty serious, but not today. Before the ceremony began there was lots of talking and joking inside the dojo, which by itself is pretty rare. But after the ceremonies were completed and the trainers were deliberating there was a lot of horseplay as well. Very weird, if like me you're used to a stern ambience. 

Anyway, the exam proceedings were cool! The students were lined up in groups, based on which grade they were testing for. First up were the mukyu, those without rank who were going for gokyu, which's a group of eight (myself included). We had to display men uchi, the basic strike for the head, in both the "large" and the "swift" versions. Of course we needed to show proper posture and form, as well as good kiai and fumikomi. The other groups were going for...

The groups for gokyu and yonkyu were also given a short written test, to verify our knowledge of basic kendo terminology and concepts.

In the end we were all allowed to pass our grades, to everybody's pleasure. Our most experienced student Charel also received his official ikkyu ranking, which he was tested for nationally earlier this year.

Personal feedback I received today was:

  1. I am showing clear progress.
  2. My posture in kamae is not nearly threatening enough.
  3. My upswing is cut short when I feel I am in a hurry. tags: , ,

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SCP troubles: BoKS OpenSSH versus F-Secure

2011-04-06 00:01:00

It is not uncommon for network environments to mix different versions of SSH software, especially when you are still transitioning towards a BoKS-ified network. In such situations you'll often run into little snags that make the seemingly trivial rather impossible. Case in point: SCP (Secure Copy).

Whereas SSH and SFTP are standardized protocols that have been properly documented, SCP isn't so lucky. Sadly there is no such thing as a standard SCP and what "SCP" is depends completely on the SSH software you're using. The Wikipedia page linked above makes a very important point: "The SCP program is a software tool implementing the SCP protocol as a service daemon or client. It is a program to perform secure copying. The SCP server program is typically the same program as the SCP client."

Meaning that if you're using F-Secure on one side, it is going to expect F-Secure on the other side. If you try and have an OpenSSH client talk SCP to an F-Secure server, then you'll undoubtedly run into errors like these: "scp: FATAL: Executing ssh1 in compatibility mode failed (Check that scp1 is in your PATH)."

What if you're migrating an F-Secure-based environment to BoKS? There are a few possible solutions:

Option #2 is a bit redundant if you're going to be installing BoKS on the hosts later on. You might as well get it over with as soon as possible, you don't have to actively use BoKS from the get-go. Option #3 is a useful enough kludge, especially if there are servers that will never switch to BoKS.

See also: tags: , ,

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BoKS: mind your log files!

2011-04-06 00:00:00

BoKS' main log file for transactions is $BOKS_data/LOG. The way BoKS handles this file is configured using the logadm command. Specifically, this is done using two distinct variables:

For example:

$ suexec logadm -V
Log file size limit before backup:       3000 kbytes
Absolute maximum log file size:          100000 kbytes

$ suexec logadm -lv
Primary log directory:                   /var/opt/boksm/data
Backup log directory:                    /var/opt/boksm/archives

What this means is that:

First off, this means that it's not just $BOKS_data that you need to monitor for free space! $BACKUP_dir is equally important because once the -M threshold is reached BoKS will simply stop logging. But then there's something else!

Did you know that BoKS is hard coded for a maximum of 64 log rotations per day? This is because the naming scheme of the rotated logs is: L$DATE[",#,%,',+,,,-,.,:,=,@A-Z,a-z]$DATE. Once BoKS reaches L$DATEz$DATE it will keep on re-using and overwriting that file because it cannot go any further! This means that you could potentially lose a lot of transaction logging.

The current work around for this problem is to set your logadm -T value large enough to prevent BoKS from ever reaching the "z" file (the 64th in line). Of course the real fix would be to switch to a different naming scheme that is more flexible and which allows a theoretically unlimited amount of log rotations.

The real fix has been requested from FoxT and is registered as RFC 081229-160335. This fix has been confirmed as being part of BoKS v6.6.1 (per build 13 I am told). tags: , ,

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A tough workout today

2011-04-02 21:59:00

Today was a good class. A very good class. 

Let's see... What were the pointers that I need to remember? *ponders* 

I'll also start bringing some sturdy bandaids to class to quickly coverup peeling blisters. This morning I got a big one in a rather annoying spot, which I allowed to distract myself too much. A speedy patchjob would've helped me mentally. 

Uchikomi geiko was fun though :) tags: , ,

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