Idle Video Tomfoolery

I’m reading an interesting book on the history of the sword, and I’m going to do a post/book review soon on that…

In the meantime, downstairs my wife is watching a Chinese TV series (on DVD), relaxing at the end of her week of hard work, and I’m at loose ends here on the computer.

Roaming around the web, I ran across a few odd, as in unusual, videos. Here’s one by the Leningrad Cowboys, supported by the Red Army Chorus, with their rendition of Sweet Home Alabama. The extreme hair, the girls, the middle aged men’s chorus, the army officer who looks a lot like Hitler… it’s perfect.

Still in the music mode, here is the astounding guitar prodigy Quinn Sullivan, all of 8 years old and appearing with that great blues warhorse, Buddy Guy. Young Quinn plays like the reincarnation of Eric Clapton, and Clapton isn’t even dead yet. It’s a little long, and you may not go through all of it, but the little guy’s got the licks down.

As one of the commenters on You Tube put it: “It’ll be cocaine and hookers by age 10, rehab at 12 and a comeback tour at 14…” (I sincerely hope not, may he not have to earn the blues that way.)

I have an interest in exercising with Indian Clubs (as indicated in this post), and I found it intriguing that this antique training method is being taken up by some of those in the current fad of mixed martial arts. These exercises are all about range of motion, and maintaining and building joint strength.

Continuing in the more physical vein, below is a demonstration of good quality tai chi push hands. Push hands is the laboratory of tai chi chuan, where you explore your own balance, centred relaxation, and focused energy, and where your partner’s loyal opposition becomes entrained in your awareness: drawn in and then gently ejected. The object is to lead the partner off balance, and the subtleties are many.

We see in this video the master playing push hands in a park in Taiwan, first with another Chinese gentleman, and then a young westerner who is highly proficient in his own right, although you might not appreciate that from this.

Parks are a common venue in which to play push hands, whether in Taiwan, Shanghai or other Chinese centres.

The touch, pressure, and response begin to occur at a level that bypasses the thinking mind. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Since I’m reading a book about the history of swords, it’s only appropriate to include a video of kung fu movie sword fighting, although this is not covered, unfortunately, in the book. But this video displays what I like best about the old style kung fu movies. None of that impossible wire stuff, just martial artists doing a theatrical turn with wonderful fight choreography and all the appropriate, if exaggerated, sound effects.

I’ve noticed on YouTube that sometimes young guys get together with their buddies and, with nothing better to do, choreograph their own sword fights, and then put the videos up. Mostly awful, but there’s some surprisingly well done ones as well.

Still keeping with the physical dexterity theme but moving to the truly pointless although amazingly practiced, here is the seminal Billy’s Balls video… an inspiration for an entire generation of loafers and college students.

Let me leave you with an innovative music video that has been viewed, deservedly, over 32.5 million times. Is that fame or what?

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