A Simple Woolen Jacket: Our Man on the Spot

A Simple Woolen Jacket: Our Man on the Spot

Blue Sweater

By Willem de Thouars

Writing has never been my best subject in the nature of my heart and soul. Only by illustration in artwork can I describe myself the best.

A little summary about the story in my painting, above, is about Shah ‘Za’ Edwards, who was driven over by a careless truck driver in Truckee, Calif. She left to the world of the unknown and will always remain a spark for us to grow.

Za was always a great and caring friend – a musician, the best a mother could ever be to her children and the best of a caring friend. She never lacked energy and never let any negativity overcome her positive nature.

The painting is all about a blue and woolen jacket that Za gave me some years ago, in Daniel’s home, a house he built. When she gave me the jacket, she said, “Willem, I bought this for you, and know you might like it.”

With those short but brief spoken words came a great story. The woolen jacket was light to fit any situation of weather, in summer or winter. I always dress light to find comfort not to restrict my movements.

On a Thursday in February 2015, for some peculiar reason I picked the same jacket Za gave me some years ago to play golf on my most favored golf course, the Thorn Greek gold course, a city owned course. The city of Thornton is over 50 years old, and the course is only 30.

The beginning of the start of my hyperactivity in golf was started at hole no. 3. That particular day became overwhelmed for the experience alone. Hole no. 3 is always an interesting hole to play, with many obstacles to force one to hit them straight. When I stopped my golf cart at midfield of the course, and was ready to step out of my cart to hit my ball, there was suddenly an electrical shock. Za appeared out of nowhere suddenly, barefoot and dressed in pink. She told me, with similar words, about the blue jacket: “I thought you might like the jacket.”

The whole field, just for a few seconds, seemingly a lifetime stopped: Suddenly, I was in the house that Daniel had built, and in a hallway near the large kitchen, where she gave me the jacket as a present. She came to appear to me only in seconds, and she disappeared as quickly as she came. It took me a few minutes to recover my shock.

Our world of the unknown is a world in the far beyond, unsure to most of us, the living, of reassurances. It is hard to overcome the world of spirits outside our physical world – that we just inherited a box we line in at birth.

I have experienced similar appearances before to understand.


Read More

Man on The Spot: Giants 3, Surveillance State 2

Man on The Spot: Giants 3, Surveillance State 2

Bruce Bochy said Joe Panic sat for nine innings and then came up and squared the ball for a run and the win Friday night against the LA Angels.

Santiago Casia did in holding them to a run and might have had the win if Pagan had been able to get the ball out of his glove the first time he tried. And what with his good arm he could have got the out Thursday night, the night we, my friend Ginny and I, had hurried down to San Francisco.

We were there to hear Robert Sheer detail the unforeseen but intimate progression of the surveillance state to the fellow travelers of liberal corporate technology companies, who are more than happy to do the dirty work of snooping for them, just as Snowden heroically revealed Sheer was speaking along with a lawyer from the electronic privacy foundation at City Lights Books poetry events space, a room still hosting the indefatigable spirit of Lawrence Ferlinghetti, one of the few base line poets still held upright in the residual energy of the ‘big bang ‘ of the “Howl” generation.

A relatively compact gaggle of possibly progressive or at the very least so called independent thinkers had crammed into the traditionally limited confines of the poetry loft as well as the stairs leading up in order to hear Scheer lament our passion-free surrender of all notion of individual privacy and introduce his new book, They Know Everything About You and subtitled How Data – Collecting Corporations and Snooping Government Agencies are Destroying Democracy. The cover illustration is a chart with the silhouette of a man with tag lines to his occupation, salary, recent phone calls with their duration and content,mortgage payment, recent purchases, blood pressure and everything else.

Silicon Valley’s seemingly progressive tech companies are in cahoots “to create a brave new world of wired tyranny” and that world already exists and to keep our ‘fix’ of acquiring ‘the right stuff’ easily we have surrendered entrance to our individual autonomous realities and most of us don’t care enough to resist or follow the example of that dwindling posse of whistleblowers being hounded bleak heartedly by the Obama administration.

Sheer told us that he enjoyed and used the current availability of information devices that made it possible to gather information without having to take the number two subway to the New York City Library. However it comes at the cost of ‘them’(they) knowing every little eccentric thing about us. And if we don’t live in a technologically advanced country then they are the drone eye in the sky checking out if they so decide our every so called ‘free ‘ movement.

“With the dominance of the internet….we have been overwhelmed with the illusion that surveillance and freedom are compatible”

“Even now in the early phase of mapping our minds––this more precise entry point into the mind of the consumer––this access to our thoughts already exceeds the powers of the most invasive Big Brother government that Orwell imagined. At the command of internet-driven signals people everywhere in the world have been willing to abandon the concerns and safeguards of privacy developed painstakingly throughout human history for the convenience of plucking that perfect item off a virtual shelf and paying for it without looking up from their “…for the convenience of finding the best local diner, we surrender the most important piece of information a secret police ever wanted to have on the population it was surveilling — one’s physical location…’can we use your location’ the device messages. Yet from the start… tracking one’s journey –– actual as well as virtual–– is routinely realized, achieving what oppressive governments had never even fantasized about attaining.”


The Giants’ game the next night with that inter-league bogey on the radar gun but rarely in the same ball park -– the L.A.Angels–– would be for us a last minute possibility following the pilgrimage trail of Muni buses traversed by this paper’s editor and arriving on the #47 at the last stop which was a couple of blocks from AT&T Park.

My companion, Ginny, warned me not to try to go through the metal detector line run by women as they would not fall for my country bumpkin line that the work knife and multi-tool were merely part of the rural work life and shouldn’t be considered contraband and dangerous but could be safely stored downstairs somewhere till after the game. Forget about it! It’s not.

But when whining to a security guy who clearly had developed an enduring tolerance of the meatloaf behavior of people like me he directed me to across the street where there was a bar which would for a consideration sometimes put stupid stuff people brought to the game behind the bar until the people who should know better came back to claim it. And sure enough they Walking back to the stadium at the stepping -over -people- to-get to -your- seat time I steadied into a hobble -along trot remembering I have a stepdaughter who gave birth to her own daughter named Madison the day Madison Bumgarner hit his grand slam and she would never believe I’d been there without a ‘selfie.’ Instead I took a picture of my thriving seat neighbors.

Not to mention that my friend Gretchen had the previous week been featured on the league website by her nice catch of a foul ball. These thoughts reminded me this is why we hurry to the game. it always has a chance of being a participatory sport for anyone below the nose bleed.

We of course were in fact seriously in the nose bleed upper section of the stands but pretty much behind home plate and with the best view in the city of the bay on a clear and drought-riven unseasonably warm night. We also had the equivalent box seat view of balls and strikes from the giant tv screen beyond the outfield.

My seat mates just in front and just behind were young Hispanic American couples who exemplified the heritage of the current wave of great young players descendant of kids like the ones I met while filming a documentary about Sandinista Nicaragua who would do whatever it took to play catch-and throw including catching and throwing with the same hand if that was the only glove available; possibly instilling those lightening quick reflexes in the genetic code.

We were offered popcorn by the couple in front and when it got San Francisco chilly by the sixth inning and I fumbled for another dollar bill to make the exorbitant six dollar hot chocolate price (served out of a back pack container not unlike what some small time ‘growers’ in the eighties used to water their plants); one of the young women behind said “times are hard now” and offered up a dollar to the vendor-who it should be said could have humbled any of the zillion dollar a year athletes on the field with the number of times he could run up and down the stadium stairs. I thanked her but didn’t accept so in the eighth inning I had a cup of chocolate placed in my hand which as I thanked her “was the best cup hot chocolate I’d ever had!”

And it was great to stand and stamp my feet and cheer when appropriate with Giant Nation.

However after some unlikely bad ball-handling by the usually adept Brandon Crawford, shortstop, and Angel Pagan, center fielder, the score was tied in the ninth. And lest we forget, the Angel’s pitcher, C.J. Wilson, (who found L.A. where money grows on palms) had pitched for the same Texas Rangers featured in a World Series game in Arlington, noticed in this paper, when the presumably non Mendo-lib fans at Dick’s bar in Mendocino saw the camera pan around to ex-President Bush close behind home plate. That’s when the entire gaggle of patrons rose as one and the America finger accelerated explosively in the air breaking the sound barrier with a whoosh. And those same patrons provided their own caustic commentary on America.

But on Friday at the bottom of the ninth, the symbolically named Joe Panic, as Bochy said, got off the bench after nine innings and calmly drove in the winning run.

As we were being herded down the giant walkway to the exit, the escalator being so to speak, “down” a man walking beside me and with an accent I couldn’t place, gestured to this amazing crowd of all percolations and persuasions and said, “This is what American should be.”

And I felt despite what Bob Scheer says about the consuming public there is still plenty of hope in the nosebleed sections of this country and despite my awe and respect for City Lights, maybe they should have a giant flat-screen TV but only on for Giant’s games.

Read More

Masters on the Mountain 41

April 11 & 12, 2015, Truckee, Calif.

FEATURING ‘UNCLE BILL’ DE THOUARS (The Magus of Denver) Uncle Willem De Thouars

With Sergey Makarenko of Systema And More Special Guests

Please confirm by March 15! “Even though we know you never will, we love you anyway.” Rooms available for reserve at Truckee Hotel, Truckee.

Along with heavy hitting disciples and inspired healers (and inspired players): James Lloyd Painter, Daniel Prasetya, Ted Garcia, Keith Moffett, Mikel La Chapelle, Eugene S. Robinson, Philip Sialas, Darca Nicholson, Chuck Stahmann, Itamar Vinitzky, and Janet Gee.

RSVP with Diane Kinnaman, 530-414-1037, shmischnur@gmail.com

LOCATION: Fight Club, 10960 W. River St. Truckee, Calif.

Read More

Masters on the Mountain Goes Mega

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By Willem de Thouars

Never so few, and never so great, could Masters on the Mountains in Truckee is of a greater essence of friendship, brotherhood and mostly of training together as a family be in lively expressions of the combat arts. The ladies who did the most of hard labor to make the event successful were for sure Diane, Marilyn, Irene and a few others as talented photographers and video artists (see eurekaproductions.tv on Youtube). Also, my deepest appreciation for Diane Schnurenberger for making the hotel arrangements for all of us who stayed in hotels.

This October’s event put on by Masters on the Mountain and staff was highly successful, and really a joy for being at the Fight Club. Over the years, even since the beginning in the early 1960’s, I attended many other martial gatherings. I found some were okay, some others good, and others quite melodramatic by many of the participants.

There were always too many chiefs and not enough braves. Many of the proclaimed masters of sorts carried a heavy load of overbearing ‘look-at-me-ness’ with pumped up egos. Many who came to attend a so-called gathering actual did not like each other; they just came wanting to be noticed.

This is still the current ceremony everywhere, that many are kissing up to each other like willing sheep to be led by a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And, each wanting to be the wolf to be considered grand poobahs of the martial industry – they are the bizarre Cinderellas. That is why I never again will be showing up to any of those other martial events. I only can handle anything that is in my reach of my comfort zone, full of ‘reality checks.’

The Truckee Flight Club is totally an opposite of so many others. There are not masters but only practitioners. There are all kinds of styles being shared in practice. Masters and students become alike as equals in constant training. That is just the fun of the gathering at Masters – everyone is everybody’s friend with many laughs in painstaking events. We just don’t allow pumped up egos to walk around like their systems are the only way to achieve perfection.

My thanks to guru Frank Broadhead for his constant presence of arranging time schedules for the teachers and his patience and teaching Tai Chi. Sam Edwards is like a kid in a candy store as a participant; though, trust me, Sam has more skills to imagine than lots of grand poobahs. But he likes better to train and participate in any session. He also loves to bite occasionally in defense of his stored actions, but only these days occasionally. Nothing new or nothing old with Sam – only many surprises for staying young. No one trains harder than Sam Edwards, who keeps practicing even when driving a car, which can be a little disconcerting.

It was a happy time for me to finally meet Sam and Don Miller’s Tai Chi teacher, Sigung C. K. Chen, who is a true disciple of the old-school Tai Chi principles. I came to find out through our conversations that the sigung had much in common with me in our philosophical point of view. I like the man, and son, and student very much. I will communicate with sigung Chen often as I can.

A special treat in sharing was with James Painter, Janet Gee, Stewart Lauper, Daniel Prasetya, Keith Moffet, Chuck Stahmann, Mikel La Chapelle, Don Miller, Steve Watson, Eugene Robinson, Santiago Terrases, Sergey Makarenko, and Frank Broadhead. Each of the sessions they were teaching in a way that can only be explained as an effort of magnificence. Each teacher who taught was spiced, experienced, and always in the best of caring. Masters on the Mountain ended up to complete 2014 as a great success.

In closing in grace,
Bapak Willem de Thouars


Read More