All posts by DC Gilbert

I am an author, blogger and an un-apologetically patriotic American. I enjoy martial arts, shooting sports and writing. I currently live in Asheville, NC with my German Shepherd named Sophie.

So You Think You Want A German Shepherd!

Sophie_10WFor a long time, I have wanted a German Shepherd. I think it stemmed from watching the show Run, Joe, Run which aired in the mid-70s.

The show centered on Joe, a German Shepherd dog in the military’s K-9 corps, and his master, Sergeant Will Corey. One day, during training, Joe was falsely accused of attacking his master, a crime for which the dog would be euthanized as punishment. However, he escaped before being killed and a $200 bounty was put on his head.

Sgt. Corey knew Joe was innocent and so pursued him, hoping to find Joe before the authorities did. While on the run, Joe would help people he encountered. Looking back, it was a silly show, but it certainly made me want a German Shepherd.

German Shepherds are probably best known for their heroic work as rescue dogs or as K-9 police or military dogs. However, there is so much more to this great breed. They are big, courageous dogs with a sensitive side.

Sophie_9WI got Sophie from a breeder in Fayetteville, North Carolina in May of 2016. She was 6-weeks-old. There were two females left in the litter, Sophie and her sister. Sophie was the smaller of the two but she bravely walked right up to me, sniffed my fingers and then squatted and piddled. It was a done deal! I brought her home that day and named her Gilbert’s Princess Sophia. Of course, that is her official AKC registered name.  I call her Sophie for short!  Sophie is now almost one year old. Over this past year, I have learned a great deal about German Shepherds.  Here are the Top 10 things I have learned:

1. German Shepherds are extremely intelligent. You cannot pull the same trick on Sophie more than maybe twice. It simply will not work on her any more after that because she has figured it out. German Shepherds also have great problem solving skills! Sophie loves solving puzzles.

2. German Shepherds are absolutely fanatic toy hoarders and they really don’t like to share at all. We are working on that one.

3. German Shepherds always happy to see you, whether it’s been all day or 10 minutes … but I guess that can also be said of most dogs. However, Sophie can also be very in tune with my feelings and will definitely act accordingly.  She also firmly believes she is a lap-dog and works hard to make me a believer too

Sophie_10M4. German Shepherds are working dogs and happiest when they have a job to do. Right now Sophie loves her training and wants to please me. One afternoon, we were working on the “Place” command and she had real trouble getting up on a high narrow brick wall. It was not easy, because it was too high to step up onto and she could not see the top to well. She had to jump up and land on a rather small area. She failed several times and become despondent when she simply could not seem to do it. It was clear we could not leave her like that! So our trainer Taylor, with Off Leash K9 dog training, and I worked maybe another 30 minutes getting her to succeed at that task. She lit up like a little kid when she succeeded … after that, we just couldn’t keep her off that wall. I am going to have to find more work for her. I am looking at agility training and getting her a backpack for hiking. Taylor, by the way, is a great dog trainer!

5. German Shepherds are very communicative. Sophie doesn’t really bark for barking’s sake, but she certainly does talk to me. She tries to tell me what she wants or needs! Sometimes she even smarts off a bit (we are working on that as well).

6. German Shepherds are always ready to accompany you wherever you go. They are truly a companion dog and with training, really know how to be well behaved in public.

7. German Shepherds want to be first in your life and will work hard to make sure you never have a quiet moment to yourself. They want to be where you are at all times. Even while running and playing at the dog park, Sophie will keep tabs on where I am at all times (must be that herding instinct!).Sophie_9M

8. German Shepherds really do shed a lot … and, by George, I do mean a lot! However, I soon discovered, upon recommendation by few folks at the local dog park, that the Furminator is a godsend to German Shepherd owners!

9. Yes, German Shepherds can certainly be fierce and protective, but they are also big lovable, fun-loving playmates when it comes to family, friends and even other family pets.

10. German Shepherds love water almost as much as they love their people. Sophie loves swimming in Jordan Lake, splashing in puddles and running around in the rain (not my favorite thing to do … but hey). She even tries to climb into the shower with me (we are also working on that). Sometimes when it gets too quiet and I wonder what she is up to, I find her laying in the bathtub gazing up longingly at the shower nozzle.

That really cracks me up!

My New Author’s Webpage

 

ProfileKind of exciting!  I am pretty busy these days, so I got some help with my author’s webpage at Fiver.com.

Mandyai_Amit is the seller I used. Very affordable and he got me off to a great start.  I would recommend him and have done so on Fiverr. I will be using his services again.

This Fiverr thing is pretty cool.  I actually started selling on Fiverr and have three gigs currently.  I will write book descriptions (for book covers), martial arts fight scenes for novels, and I will do proof-reading / editing.  So far I have sold 4 book descriptions and have a Five Star rating!

Now. as far as the my author’s website, I can simply concentrate on modifications and improvements rather than the whole set up process.  I certainly need to add more content, get some new pictures and tweak a few items, but it up and running with very little effort on my part.

My new website can be found at: www.darrengilbert.biz. Let me know what you think!

Do You Smack the Mak?

motobu_Makiwara
The Makiwara

Choki Motobu working ippon-ken (single knuckle fist), commonly used in traditional karate, on the makiwara.

There is a lot of misinformation out there about the use of the makiwara (or striking post) in traditional Isshin-ryu Karate training. I thought I would try to clear some of it up … at least as much as you can in a short blog post.

Japanese and Chinese styles certainly have some similar training equipment. For example, the Wing Chung style has the Wing Chung dummy. However, the use of the makiwara in traditional Okinawan karate is very different from what I have often seen portrayed in photographs or videos on the web or in books, etc. I have seen photographs of bleeding, badly deformed knuckles and arthritic fingers that could no longer hold a pencil or work a pair of chop sticks. I once saw a video where a Japanese instructor with horribly deformed looking hands was repeatedly pounding them into a large boulder!  Folks, this is not the way it was done.

Anyone who has had the life-changing experience of being hit by Sensei Sherman Harrill before he lost his battle to cancer, can attest to the power in his strikes. Sensei Harrill could hit you in the shoulder and pile-drive you right into the floor. It bordered on being a religious experience. I have had the same experience being hit by Sensei John Kerker. There are a few other student of Sensei Harrill running around that can make a true-believer out of you. All that being said, Sensei Harrill could still hold a pencil, sign his name, or shake hands. When you looked at his hands, they looked … you know … normal! You might say they looked like “working” hands. But, by no means were they swollen, deformed, bruised, red, misshapen or otherwise ugly-looking. The two large knuckles of his hands did not look like some kind of mutant walnuts or purple ball bearings. But, those hands were truly deadly!

It has often been wrongly stated by many that the purpose of makiwara training is to build up calluses on the knuckles. Really? Is the purpose of playing the guitar to build up calluses on the fingertips? Or do the calluses build naturally as your fingers become stronger and more dexterous, and the music begins to flow? Has anyone seen a guitarist whose fingers were so deformed he could not hold a fork?

What the makiwara offered the karate practitioner was a means to strengthen his strike from the ground up. It offered progressive resistance. The more you moved the punching post, the more it pushed back. You would start by pressing into the post with the two large knuckles of your fist. You would set into your stance, place your knuckles against the post and press. Typically, the first time, the post would not move. You would feel some weakness somewhere in your stance, or your lower back, or your shoulder, or wrist. Something would feel out of whack. You would make an adjustment to your stance, your posture or your alignment, and try again. After awhile you begin to feel more solid, and the post began to move just a little. Over time, you would continue to press into the post focusing on your improved stance, adding hip rotation, shoulder extension, proper elbow and shoulder alignment. Little by little, the post begins to move more and more. You add breathing … exhaling into your strike.

After a time, you add distance and throw a controlled half-punch, then move to a controlled full punch. You try different strikes and striking surfaces. More times passes and you are throwing solid properly aligned punches and strikes and the post is really moving now. You are now also controlling the return of the post. Offering it resistance as it pushes back into your strike. Then one day you look down at your hands and notice the skin is a little tougher on your striking surfaces … harder. But not purple, or black and swollen, or otherwise deformed. They still look pretty damn normal!

The real difference … you are now striking with Chinkuchi! You hit your target with the entire body moving in perfect orchestration. The bone, muscle, sinew are all strengthened, honed, and working in proper alignment. Your strike is now intently focused with a surgical-like precision. It flows seamlessly and effortlessly from a dynamically relaxed movement into a concentrated, well-focused explosion of kinetic energy … which, instantly after impact, returns to a dynamically relaxed state … ready to strike again if needed. It seems effortless and flowing for you. It is natural and a part of you.

The person on the receiving end, however … probably wishes your hands were swollen, bruised, bloody and deformed.

Can you hear me now?

warrantless-wiretap-190x300    Wonder of wonders, Rachel Maddow is now a Republican hero. The left-wing media will now have to rush to find some way to cover up for their embarrassing illegal release of Trump’s tax returns. It sort of backfired on them big league! It seems Donald Trump had a declared income of $150 million in 2005. He paid $38 million (or 25%) in taxes on that income. The national average for his income level was 22%.

In comparison, Barack Hussein Obama paid about 18% and the ultimate class warrior, Bernie Sanders, paid about 13%. Ain’t grievance politics great! This all kind of makes Hillary Clinton look like the hateful idiot she is … claiming, as she did during the campaign, that Donald Trump paid no income taxes at all. Obviously her informant’s information was wrong. She should have called the NSA … or maybe Julian Assange!

Now … to the MSM, I ask … what about the illegal nature of releasing a citizen’s tax return to the media without that citizen’s permission? What about the media releasing that information to the public …. I hear crickets chirping!

I just love this selective outrage and the ability to pick and choose which laws you will or will not obey! Now that is TRUE FREEDOM for you!

In other news, it seems the Senate Intelligence Committee can find no evidence that Donald Trump was wire-tapped … at least according to a testy Paul Ryan. Riddle me this then Paul … how did transcripts of private phone calls made by Donald Trump end up in the hands of the MSM? How are these leaks working? Donald Trump is not a spy … even I know he used the term “wire-tapping” in a very generic sense. In his mind I am sure it covered eavesdropping, cell phone hacking, NSA monitoring (and don’t even bother to argue that they don’t spy on American citizens), etc. Under the circumstances, it is not an outrageous claim. What is outrageous is how easily some folks parse words to dismiss it.

It is indeed a brave new world!

What UMBRAGE?

Umbrage

Interesting to find that in the documents released by Wikileaks, there is disturbing evidence that the CIA often mimics the Russians when it hacks its targets. It seems there is a program called UMBRAGE. This program consists of the CIA mimicking Russian hackers, meaning … the CIA has the ability to hack anybody they want and make it look like the Russians are doing it.

Interestingly enough, Julian Assange always claimed it was not the Russians who hacked the DNC and Podesta’s emails. Maybe it was and maybe it wasn’t. We certainly don’t know for sure. I, for one, am definitely not taking James Clapper’s word for anything.  But, it makes one wonder if the Obama administration thought, “maybe two could play that game.”

Could the Obama administration have orchestrated the whole thing to create a never-ending Trump investigation in order to discredit and sabotage his Presidency?  It certainly shines a possible new light on Trump’s accusation, the FISA Court warrants requests,and all the “leaks” the Democrats are using to try and bring down members of the Trump administration! What a scary new world! ,

The Russian’s Are Coming!

I really do get a kick out of all the hysteria by the Democrats and the Media over Trump’s claim that the Obama administration bugged his campaign team. I mean, is it really that far fetched?  Let’s look at the historical record:

  • Who illegally bugged our NATO partner Germany’s chancellor?
  • Who illegally bugged the AP, a Fox journalist and the Fox journalist’s family?
  • Who lied about illegally holding the phone data for every Verizon customer in the US?
  • Which party raided the homes and offices of their political opponents to seize phones and computers under a John Doe warrant in Wisconsin?
  • Who raided the Gibson Guitar Company because CEO Henry Juszkiewicz made campaign donations to Republicans?
  • Who used the IRS to target conservative political organizations?
  • Who covered up Fast and Furious and Benghazi?

Is it really hard to imagine that the political party and ideology that was okay with doing all these ILLEGAL things would suddenly not be okay with bugging the biggest political threat to their future? Is it also really so hard to believe that they might misrepresent and combine criminal and national security information in order to bring down their biggest political opponent? It is not too big a stretch for me to make! Especially since we do know warrant requests were made to the FISA court by the Obama DOJ!

Despite the tearful hand-wringing of MSNBC’S Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, we do have the evidence of such a bugging. And it comes directly from the January 20, 2017, Late Edition, front page of the … wait for it  … The NY Times!

IMG_0755

Another interesting point that some may have missed. Lost amidst the uproar over President Trump’s startling Saturday morning wire-tapping accusation, the ensuing battle of words over the whether the Obama administration would ever spy on the Trump campaign, and the Jeff Sessions recusal story, an elaborate narrative seems to have suddenly died.

You remember, the whole misleading claim that “Russians Hacked the Election” or that the “Trump Campaign Colluded with the Russians.” For some reason, the Democrats seem to be retreating from that narrative. I wonder why? Could it be that they are now suddenly afraid that, oopsies, the real truth will come out? Or have they again, just been outsmarted by Donald Trump?  Only time will tell ….

Russia Hacks the Oscars

oscars-awards-nominations-2017

Breaking News! It’s official! Russia hacked the Oscars! Putin switched the envelopes for the best picture award. There were loud cries of moral indignation and righteous outrage from the left-wing Hollywood Elites. Many tears of grief were shed resulting in elaborate Oscar gowns, some valued at many thousands of dollars, being totally ruined … stained with tears and running mascara!

An unnamed highly-placed source within the Oscar organization stated that spontaneous protests are currently being organized and will commence just as soon as they can get funding from George Soros and the signs they ordered back from the printers. #NOTOURLALALAND.

Hillary Clinton, just back from her latest staged “accidental” meet up with a loyal young female supporter in the woods, was quoted as stating she was ” 100% behind the downtrodden, disenfranchised and forgotten Hollywood Elites and would certainly be there for them in 2020!”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, upon hearing the news of this catastrophic occurrence, quickly went on the record, stating that, “This is simply additional evidence that President Trump should be impeached.  It should be illegal to traumatize the loyal supporters of so many undocumented illegal immigrants that cross our borders illegally! It is un-American and contrary to our unique American heritage,  After all, we are a nation of laws!”

President Trump, reacted to the news early this morning by tweeting, @POTUS Freaking Awesome!  The mainstream media outlets were outraged, then they were even more outraged, and finally, they were even more outraged! (Did I mention the mainstream media was outraged?)

The one bright shining light in this disastrous tragedy … Warren Beatty handled it calmly and brilliantly by doing exactly what actors do best. He read what was printed on the card even though it was dead wrong!