Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Rex Quan Do

NBC - not the TV station

Last weekend we conducted Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC - yeah, not the TV station) training.

That consisted of learning how to use a chemical suit (see right - those poor souls are in what we call MOPP Level 4) suit, learn how to properly use our chemical protective mask, we learned how to properly use chemical identification tape, and how to properly apply charcoal pads to our bodies.

The rest of the weekend was spent in briefings, trying to coordinate some type of radio training for my soldiers and the battalion and getting some supply issues ironed out. So far, I think I've been doing well.

I have photos and will track them down from my Corporal for posting.

Automation Project

I decided to help out the my administrative brethren by writing a little web based application that they can use to track personnel and supply data. Writing software isn't something my job as a staff officer requires me to do. Since everyone has a communications plan and everyone has internet access, I've been left with a lot of free time on my hands... long story short, I started thinking...

I noticed that our administrative personnel have been having problems with getting their work completed in short periods of time. I asked them about what types of issues they've been faced with and it seems like they burn a lot of time shifting through some of the Excel files on their computers. Then they started asking me a lot of questions about Excel. I couldn't answer most of them because they seemed to be asking me questions related to a database problem. Then someone said Access.

Since I lack user experience with Access, I thought about all the instances that I saw people using Access and it just seemed to be really painful. Combined with what admin wanted - it started to sound like a custom software product might be more appropriate. So, I started exploring...

I did some research on this problem and I managed to dig up a couple of really cool Python modules that can read/write Excel files.

With this source in my hand I started writing code that would process infomation from Excel spreadsheets, correlate it, and then dump it all into a database for simple queries, editing, and output (in Excel format no less!). I think it'll help them increase their efficiency b/c a lot of their problems are related to information consoldiation.

They have too many Excel files floating around and they lack a good (and by "good" I mean "quick") mechanism for tackling report generation. Python's been really great for this project and getting it to work on Windows has been really painless!

Ok, so now that I managed to geek out in this purportedly non-geek blog... the time has come to discuss...

Rex Quan Do

On Monday, we were told to be ready to take a 0430 bus ride to a big parade field on this installation. We would be conducting 'Combatives Training'. In that field, we created a massive circle for all the soldiers in my company.

After a couple minutes of confusion, we were introduced to Rex Quan Do. Let me start by saying, this is by no means the man's real name. Nor is it how he introduces himself professionally. My roomate here is another Lieutenant named Curylo. He has christened our instructor with this name. I think it suits the guy. So as it has been spoken, so it shall be - now and forever!

I have no idea why but, the name is funny and notable. I think that's because the instructor shows up wearing a black short sleeve jujitsu gi that has a couple Ranger regiment patches sewn on it along with a Ranger tab and some patches from various martial arts schools.

Our instructor told us he used to participate in the Ultimate Fighting shows that you can catch on pay-per-view. He's refereed for that show a couple of times and despite his robustness he is very fast on his feet and he has a lot of proficency with his material.

We have been conducting this hand-to-hand combat training for about 3 days now with our body armor on. It's kinda tough moving with all of that stuff on but, once you adjust it's not so bad. The training is superb. He's really cut through the basics of fighting in a short order (movement, kicking/stomping, choking, etc) and my experience as a judoka and wrestler seem to have made a name for themselves with the rest of the battalion officership. They seem to think I'm some kind of rock-solid ninja or badass. Yeah, at this point I can imagine a couple of smiles breaking out.

Anyway. The instructor made sure to explain (on many occasions) that fighting for your life and fighting for sport are 2 different things. He's right. He's also managed to show us some interesting 'dirty tricks' that seem to make sense. His emphasis is on pinching in order to loosen up your opponent. Suffice it to say, I now have managed to experience enough pinching and shin kicking over 9 hours of this training to say that I am a battle hardend fighter. Now, if I could only rid myself of these darn bruises - I may actually look like one!

I managed to single myself out the other day at the end of practice. Rex asked if anyone was a wrestler in the crowd and I raised my hand only to notice mine was the only one up. I was then asked to enter into the circle with him from there he had me try a couple single leg take downs at a very slow pace. He showed how to stop those types of moves - his counter consisted of snapping the person's neck when I would normally throw a cross face. He also managed to pinch the hell out of my inner thigh and the under part of my tricep. Not too shabby and I figured the Private First Class that has been the Rex's "dummy" for the week needed a break. I know know that soldier's pain.

In all seriousness he's kept it simple and continues to stress simplicity. I think the guy is a jujitsu artist because many of the techniques he's showing us are similar to the child art of jujitsu - judo. No throws but, they are more take-down/joint/lock oriented.

Tomorrow we start knife fighting for dummies. While Rex was giving us requisette preparation training today I kept remembering Cable Guy. More to the point, the fight scene in the movie at Medieval Times. Fighting music from the Original Star Trek kicked in and I think I had half-way managed to create a joke. One of the company commanders seemed to pick up on it and we had a good laugh on the bus ride back to our billets.

Friday we conduct the ever expected live fighting session
- boy, I'm excited! I will ensure that my Corporal is there with my camera this time to take the photos of this event so that I may capture it in time for posting here later in the week. Speaking of which - I'll be out of the loop for "a while" we're going to be really busy this weekend so keep tracking this site, when things slow down I'll post more about it.



At 4:20 AM, Blogger buericana said...

All of that fighting does sound very painful. And the NBC scares the crap out of me. Hope you're doing well. I just got back from new york. I've been staffed on a new project and will be there every week (M-Th) for at least the next 8 weeks.

Hope you're doing well

At 8:54 PM, Blogger Erik Mann said...

Hi - I really like your website. I have one on martial art clip art here is the link to it. Come visit it and let me know what you think.

At 8:14 PM, Blogger Erik Mann said...

Hi - I trained in judo and karate for many years. I was looking for blogs having to do with judo and came across yours. Nice blog. I have my own have my own mixed style school now that offers most of the traditional judo techniques. Come have a look at it if you want.

At 2:36 PM, Blogger Erik Mann said...

I was looking for blogs about martial arts and came across yours. Great blog you got. I have a website somewhat related you might find interesting.

At 3:03 PM, Blogger Erik Mann said...

another great blog from you guys. i'd point you to mine but it isn't yet the way I'd like it. i do have a website that I think is cool, kind of almost about art extreme martial

At 1:20 PM, Blogger Erik Mann said...

another great blog...erik


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