Monday, May 2, 2016

So, I finally found something to say ...

... that I want to say forever.

We all have our personal kinks and quirks.  One of mine has been a 40+ year belief I expressed as, "Why would I want to help the cops identify the body afterwards by having a tattoo?"  Like I said in the title, now I finally have something I want to say just that permanently.

Like many people, I find practicing martial arts a useful means to achieving emotional self control.  It's the same mental process you go through developing physical self control, I believe.  The emotional stimuli that triggers the electro-chemical neurological process that results in a physical response in martial arts or a violent emotional response pretty much anywhere, is the same mechanism whether it occurs on a training floor, or a barroom or bedroom floor.  The difference is that regular martial arts training teaches an inherent level of control as part of the response mechanism.  In much the same way that we rarely read of a citizen with a concealed firearm permit using a gun in a deliberately criminal fashion, we rarely read of practicing martial artists being involved in physically or emotionally abusive personal relationships.  Maintaining a regular practice regimen imbues the individual with an emotional control mechanism as an intrinsic part of the training process.  I've long believed the training and interactive practice with others is massively helpful in dealing with other emotional issues like fear or anxiety (which are not necessarily extensions of one another).

What does all this have to do with tattoos?  I'm glad you asked.  :)

In a word: HEMA (which is actually an acronym technically).

Historical European Martial Arts isn't only about swords, although I do enjoy that part very much. It is very much about all of the history that includes all of the martial arts and practices that play an often under-recognized part in European (and the many places that derived from European) history more generally. Figuring out how what it says on the paper (or weaving, or parchment, or ...) actually achieves what we think it says it's supposed to achieve is a big part of the challenge. Often categorized as "western martial arts" to distinguish it from the multitude of martial disciplines originating from eastern and central Asia, as a functional matter HEMA includes pretty much any martial discipline or practice that has a surviving historical record of instruction and some interactive contact with a European nation or empire (which includes Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Scandinavia in its several political contortions, and probably several more I can't think of off the top of my head).  In my personal context, HEMA is a martial arts study that is in large part an intellectual process, something my 62 y/o arthritic knees appreciate quite emphatically about 30 minutes into the day's lesson.

24 hours after having the work done:

A few quick observations:

Being as it is a life membership, and I am a contributor to the SENS Foundation and supporter of the Healthy Life Extension philosophy more generally, stipulating even a hypothetical completion date will hopefully prove to be pointless.

Also, actually tattooing a registration number on one's forearm would be just that insensitive, don't you agree (that is, once the HEMA Governing Council comes up with an actual membership card that might, or might not, have a member registration number on it)?

On an artistic note, I was deliberately careful to make my design different from the actual HEMA Alliance trademarked design, although I was equally careful to include as many of the motifs of that design as the talents of the tattooist and the state of the tattooing art permitted (apparently the white color ink doesn't hold up nearly as well, or as long, as do the other colors and turns a funny beige color with exposure to sunlight).  Thus, a keen-eyed observer will notice that the Latin motto in the ribbon banner has been left off, and the font spelling out HEMA ALLIANCE is slightly different from that on the official image (I had a shadow line added as the easiest means to achieving this end). Hopefully all will agree that these modifications raise my tattoo from the category of "trademark infringement", to that of "unique art work, inspired by ...".

The lovely and talented Katrin Berndt, and if you don't follow her on YouTube and the rest of social media it's your loss, had a recent incident involving someone else "stealing" her original tattoo design of a seriously painful chest piece (scare quotes because her original is still safely in place, but there is a counterfeit copy being worn on someone else's chest; her video on the matter is here).  She also posted a video "Getting Your First Tattoo" here you might find as helpful as I did.  Unlike herself, I regard my tattoo design as being inspired by another design from the outset, so anyone else (who actually qualifies, you understand :)) certainly has my permission to mutilate themselves share my display of enthusiasm for HEMA on there own person, sanity and other considerations allowing.

Sensitively, of course.

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