lunes, 26 de abril de 2010


One activity that I like to do in my free time, it´s the free practice of "Kendo": the japanise martial art of the Katana (The japanese longsword).

The kendo (translated as "the way of the sword") is the modern version of the old "Kenjustsu" ("The tecnique of the sword"), studied today as a modern competition sport, equivalent to european fencing. The roots of this sport are very old, and was the main skill of those who now are legend to our days: The Samurai.

The basic combat´s skill curriculum of a samurai was the Ju-Jitsu (close quarter combat, it´s the father of the Judo), Kyudo (the way of the longbow), Horseback riding, Kenjutsu, and sometimes Iaijutsu (The use of the drawing as an attack).
Obviously, I don´t practice all those things in my leasure time, I only train in Kendo and iaido, but I also know a bit of Judo and Aikido (descendants of the Ju-jitsu), and just a bit of horseback riding (with only one hand, the idea is being able to use a sword while charging). Bowmanship it´s still something that I never make (still...)

At my appartment, I try to train three times per week at least, but I hang my sword and play everyday if I can. It´s not very easy, the lights, wallpaint, and my grandmother shake in fear when I draw my katana. In Valdivia was easier, I only went to the backyard or a near forest and practique my slices and cuts, and no one became bother.

I started with the Kendo nearly 6 years ago, when I followed my best friend (the daughter of my godmother) to training. I loved the japanise history and the martial arts even before that, but only at that moment my oportunity was real. For two entire years I trained (2004-2005) on the Dojo (the training place) (called "the dojo of the raining sword") first under my local master, and the second year under the teachings of a japanise master, a sixty years old man, with fifty five tears of experience on the samurai fencing. We made a very close master-student relation.
That year was full of challenges: a very hard training (four days per week, with nearly four hours per sesson), my studies of forest enginering and my job on the Pizza´s restaurant. But in the Kendo´s field we had two national championships, and I was with the region´s selection for both of them. After a whole day of intence fighting and endless duels, we finished with the fourth national place on the "masters" category, no so bad if you remember that I was only with one lone year of training, and my rivals with four or five. That was my last tournament too, because after that year I went to the army, and leave the sword to take the rifle.

I enjoy this art not only for the fighting, but for the precision, patience and concentration that requieres. The Katana is the most lethal martial weapon, but at the same time, requieres lots of physical, mental and spiritual training. Unlike other two handed weapons, the power of the katana don`t reside on the physical strenght; it´s the sharped edge, the quick mind and the force of will of the swordman. In a Katana`s duel you can´t think, I you take a second trying to think a strategy and don´t pay full atention to your opponent, you´re already dead. It´s adrenaline, a test against yourself, against your patience, and a large spiritual road to made your sword not a weapon, but a part of yourself.

If everything goes well, I will restart my formal training in the providencia´s dojo (the arch-enemy of my former dojo). My woodsword, Ironsword and the armor that once were of my best friend are ready and hunger of engage on combat, now playing a inofensive sport (because the armor), but remembering that the same tecniques, names and spirit of the old samurai´s wars are now with us, telling the story of more than one thousand years of honor, courage, dedication, and epic tales.

lunes, 19 de abril de 2010

Favourite Movie

Well, this time we most talk about one of our favourite movies. It isn´t easy to choose one, because I like lots of movies, like "Saving Private Ryan", "Back to the Future", all the Star Wars saga, all the Indiana Jones saga and others like "Top Gun" or "The Last Samurai".

But today we most choose only one, so I must talk about "Pirates of the Caribbean: The curse of the Black Pearl"

This story is about a bizarre pirate captain who has lost his ship on a mutiny when he tried too find a treasure island, a treasure with an aztec curse. The crew found the treasure without the captain, but became doomed. Now the ship (called "Black Pearl")is like a phantom ship, assaulting and sinking every single ship on her way, searching how to become free of the curse.

The Black Pearl, in the assault of Port Royal

Captain Barbossa, Undead captain of the Black Pearl

The beggining of the story it´s on the British colony of Port Royal, when Jack Sparrow arrive at the time that his boat sunks. Searching a ship to comandeer he became envolved in problems with the governor´s daughter and with her friend, a blacksmith and fencer. The girld became kiddnaped when the Black Pearl assault the port, and Sparrow beggins an adventure with the blacksmith (William Turner) to recover his old Ship and the girl. They Hijack the HMS "Interceptor" (the fastest frigate on the caribbean) and sail to the buccaneer port island of Tortuga, recluited a mad crew and began the pursuit, escaping at the same time of the British Royal Navy (With the Man´o War flagship "HMS Dauntless"), searching for the girl too, and trying to recover (or sunk) the stolen HMS Interceptor.

I won´t tell you all the story, because... YOU MUST WATCH IT!

The First time that I watched this movie was about five years ago, in my best friend´s house (on Valdivia), I was a fan of the pirates tales before that, and at the beggining I didn´t expect much of a pirate´s film made by Disney. but soon I became trapped by the scrip, the scenes (they have very realistic details), the naval battles, and more than everything else: the funny touch... Jack Sparrow is a joke by himself, like an everdrunken greedy and liar captain. Captain Barbossa is the bad guy, but a wise, and very cleaver (but greedy and cold hearted) gentleman. Will Turner is like the tipical "want to be hero", but always made mistakes and miscalculations, brave but not so wise.

Resuming, It´s a very untipical movie, because it isn´t like all the disney movies (for kids...) and not like the tipical historical or adventure movies. Action, romance, drama, terror and funny aren´t normal all in one movie, but in this one, the mixure was great.

The Other two movies (The Dead Man´s Chest, like the song on "The Treasure Island") and "At the World End" are very very great movies too, But in my opinion, this one, the first, it isn´t a good movie, it´s a terrific one

lunes, 12 de abril de 2010

The longest two minutes for a night

Well, today we have to write about the earthquake of February 27th.

To almost all of us, it was our first earthquake, so the impressions are confusing, even now. Maybe the memories are mixed with the fear, anxiety, and a complex amalgam of feelings.

In my case, I was at my father´s appartment on Maipu, it´s a very high building, and we were on the sixteenth floor. Like all the other days on vacation, I was awake, playing pc games until six o´clock more or less. All the place quiet, my father snoring in the next room, and an entire world to discover with my partners on internet. When suddenly one of then said "it´s shaking" and just after that, my building began to shake too. One of the players, from England, become worried for us, but I told him that here is normal, and that I thought that it was a heavy one, because I was on a tall building. But the shake doesn´t stop, and the noise was increasing. I heared my father getting out of the bed, so I went out of my room to talk with him, he said "it´s a long one,isn´t it?" and just when he said that, the noise became very strong, we heared an explosion and the electricity was cut off. The building took an abrupt movement, so extreme that I fell to the floor and my father to his bed. Then the hell was unleashed...

All the forniture began to broke, all the cups, bottles, glass, television, electrodomestics were falling arround me,and I couldn´t rise myself from the floor. Crawling I could reach my room again, and made the only thing posible in that situation: wait.

When the Earthquake was over, we ran to the kitchen and cut of the gas, we unplugged all the electronic artefacts too, my father put his clothes, and we went out of the apartment. Quickly we became noticed that lots of persons in the other apartments were trapped, because the doorlocks were colapsed. So we used a fire extinguisher and lots of kicks to broke the doors and release our neighbours. That was almost all the night.

Like all the people that live in appartments, I honestly feared that the building could collapse, maybe the walls, maybe the floor, maybe all. Thanks to God, nothing happens there, we were lucky. With my father (an Enginner) we calculate the movement of the building about three meters per side, so, in the high, was terrible.

Soon we noticed that was no news of the southern cities, and we became worried, because my brother and sister were in Valdivia, my beloved people too; but luckily nothing happens there. We did´t imagine the magnitude of the disaster until few days after, when we saw the destruction in Concepcion, Talcahuano, Constitucion and all the others towns.

I believe that as a country, we reacted with the best of us, but with the worst too. I really think that the governament has to send the armed forces to take control of the zone inmediately after the earthquake, not only to establish order, but to help to rescue and aid the wounded. At least three garrisons were ready few minutes after the earthquake, but the order arrive long hours after.

But soon, the help arrived from all corners of our country, and all around the world. I think the react could was better, but it wasn´t all bad too.

domingo, 11 de abril de 2010

The Hour after a concert... The Gathering for Chile.

Well, this is not part of the english class, but I want to write it anyway.

I`m just arriving to my house after a very great concert at the Caupolican Theather, a concert of a dutch metal band called "The Gathering".

This dutch band is very famous in the 90`s new kind of metal: heavy guitar, bass and drumms, but more symphonic, with more instruments (like the organ) and with a woman in the vocals; groups like Nightwish and Lacuna Coil.

And speaking about the recent concert, it wasn`t a ordinary concert, the came to Chile for a very special situation. Like all the World, they hear about the earthquake of February 27th when they were in a concert on Greece, and the girlfriend of one bandmember is chilean, so they became worried immediately. As a band they are very close too Chile not only for Gema (the chilean girl), but for the people, the landscape and the experience from the concerts here. So they wrote this, few days after the earthquake on their website:

"Dear people,

We just arrived home from Greece, where we heard the terrible news.
Our hearts go out to all the people in Chile who is affected by the horrible circumstances. It is no secret that Chile is our second home and we have a strong history together. We are thinking of you and we do hope the country will rise again as soon as possible. All the best to all of you!

Hans, René, Frank, Marjolein & Silje. "

Soon they became to think the better way to aid the earthquake`s victims, and they wrote this:

"...Straight away we talked about possibilities of how we could give out something positive to the people of Chile in these hard times

Playing music is what we do best (or at least we believe so;-) ) and this is something sincere and personal coming from our hearts. We discussed different possibilities to help and we all agreed playing a special concert there could not only raise money, but could also to give our beloved friends over there the strength and hope to rebuild their homes..."

And that concert was this recently past Sunday, few hours ago, a very special and emotive concert, where the band shows a very high music skill, and a very special connection with public.

So... for nearly two hours, the Caupolican Theather was full of fans, aid (the ticket cost $7000 and a non-perishable food), good music and the happiness for us (as fans) of have this great band playing for us from their souls. Maybe was not so big as other concerts with legendary rock bands, but for the people that we like this kind of music, it was very very great. During the show, the members give lots of things as gifts, and raffle the concert`s guitar too. All for gather money for the Red Cross. Resuming: a unique journey.

Finishing, I`ll put here one song played today. It isn`t a heavy one (because not all the songs in this style are made of heavy guitars, this is a example of that) but I like it very much, the song and the Lyric.

See you today at class.

The West Pole (The Gathering)

As the late evening sun
Slides her way through copper clouds
Golden leaves from autumn
Play over a dusty breeze
I slide my way through the empty park
Weary eyes

Your memory fades
Like dust wake the shades
The still night comes breaking in
Dry raindrops on summer wind

As the late evening sun
Shines her way through aging sky
Closing in on autumn

As I watch the miracle
Of seasons changing
I saw the leaves die

Your memory fades
Like dust wake the shades
The still night comes breaking in
Dry raindrops on summer wind

But I can still see you and I can still hear you
You're spinning around in my head

I can still hear you and I can still see you

Tide is down
I thought I heard the perfect note
I thought I heard you call my name

Your memory fades
Like dust wake the shades
The still night comes breaking in
Dry raindrops on summer wind


lunes, 5 de abril de 2010

Second entry: My favourite place in Chile

The place in Chile that I like most, it's the city of Valdivia, It's located in the coast of the River's region, near 850km to the south of Santiasco.

Valdivia is a very beautiful city, where the wildness landscapes, the sport, the history and the good food (and beer!) are in one only place.

Valdivia was my home city too, at least until the beginning of the year 2007, when I moved too Santiago at the beginning of my military career as an Army cadet. Since that moment Valdivia has become a place of peace, rest, beauty and memories for me. My family has come to Santiago too, at late 2007, so now only my old friends and beloved people are there.

I first went to Valdivia when I was eleven more or less, my father was there because his job on a fishing fleet, and very soon he fell in love with the place. I went to Valdivia near three times per year, and like my father, I became impress with the marvelous landscape, and the historical places of this raining city.

Now I travel alone to my city, but there are some people that even with a long distance between us are very close to me, persons like my godmother and her daugthers that are like my second family, a very close friend of the highschool and her daughter, and a very very tall and inteligent girld called Violeta. They are my soul when I'm in Santiago, and are the best company when I'm there.

Normaly, I spend my time with those people, but I always try to go to the places that impress me the first time, places like the evergreen raining forests (and the valdivian jungle) the colony's museum, the german brewery, and specialy to me: the old spaniard forts on the bay in the coast.

Those forts were considerated the most heavily fortificated position in the whole new world in the age of conquerors. They were guarding the bay, protecting the city against pirate's raids (this place was one of the places that Sir Francis Drake, English privateer and Hero, evaded with more caution when he came to Chile in order of attack spaniards cities) and against the insurgent mapuche's marauders. Just when Chile became a independet country, and when all the others Spanish troops were defeated, the last bastion of the Spanish crown fell by the hand of a brilliant English Privateer and tactician: Lord Thomas Cochrane. Every summer the corral's fort made a representation of the epic battle twice per day, and not a single year I come back to santiago without having walked between the old walls, armory and cannon's battery, that told me the strong of the past as a lesson of humility, and wisdom against an overwhelming oponent or problem.