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Comment by mackhelldalgo on Aliveness in Training · 2013-10-31T20:52:28.359Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I don't have any experience with judo. But this particular branch of karate (kokondo) advertised itself as strictly defense-oriented.

Comment by mackhelldalgo on What Can We Learn About Human Psychology from Christian Apologetics? · 2013-10-31T18:11:59.448Z · score: 0 (0 votes) · LW · GW

I recall reading that the "Left/Right Brain" model of the mind is considered false by the general psychological community. I have class in five minutes, but I'll probably come back later to double-check and search for sources.

Comment by mackhelldalgo on Aliveness in Training · 2013-10-31T17:35:49.214Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

When I was practicing a (relatively new - think 1970s) form of karate, I discovered that there was a near-religious fervor surrounding the art. While I did see a lot of competent martial artists at the higher levels, they continuously insisted on the infallibility of the kata, slow-speeds sparring, and "situationals" that made up the bulk of their practice. I was repeatedly informed that the art was self-defense oriented, but was rarely subjected to any realistic practice. They claimed that they removed a lot of their sparring early on because it incited competitiveness, and there were strict rules about questioning the senseis. I ended up leaving my local school for a number of reasons, the most relevant being a desire for more realistic instruction in self-defense.

I did see a lot of value in this particular martial art, but none of that was in its ability to foster combat skills. Sure, the members who had been there ten years and gotten their black belts were better fighters than your average guy on the street. But at the lower levels, the value lay more in the discipline and personal development aspects than anything else. I would have stayed longer, probably, if the other practitioners had just admitted that, rather than insisting on complete infallibility in combat. Their cult-like devotion drove me away faster than mere honesty would have.

Comment by mackhelldalgo on Welcome to Less Wrong! (6th thread, July 2013) · 2013-10-31T02:06:35.416Z · score: 3 (3 votes) · LW · GW

Hello! My name is Mackenzie, or Mack. Brought here by HPMoR, I have been reading through the sequences off and on for the past year, a little at a time. I can't say I've committed it all to memory, but I feel like I have a good context for the language this community uses. I am a mechanical engineering major in my sophomore [?] year. If I was a humanities major, I could be a senior by now, but two years ago I became fed up with the self-masturbatory nature of that field.

I've always been interested in the objective, rational approach to life. I was a "gifted" (read:obnoxious) child and liked to argue a lot with my religious family. My earliest memory of a coherent discussion on faith was when I was seven. I was irritated with the catechism I was memorizing, and argued in childish terms that it was condescending indoctrination. However, I remained a doubtful theist until I was around seventeen. After a brief attempt at evangelical zeal, I realized that I had to be honest with myself about my lack of faith. I still waver between theist and agnostic. That was around the time that I discovered Overcoming Bias, which I lurked on for a little while. After reading through HPMoR, I found this site as well.

I waited until now to make an account because I've been intimidated by the level of discussion that goes on here. But participation can only help cultivate my ideas and my desire to approach life more methodically.