Tuesday, November 29, 2005

LIGHTSABER COMBAT

I'm going to take a break now that the end of the day is near and give you a little insite on how much of a nerd I am. Lately I have been studing Star wars history. (Yes. Star Wars history.) Anyway, being a martial artist, what I found that intrested me the most was Lightsaber combat and the detail that the Star Wars universe went into to describe theses imaginary forms of sword play. I did a bit of research and found the following information.

I am such a geek!!

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Lightsaber combat is the fictional style of lightsaber fighting used by Jedi and Sith in the Star Wars franchise. The details of the saber styles are never mentioned directly in the released Star Wars films, but they are explored in novelizations as well as expanded universe sources such as the novels, magazines, comic books, the Star Wars Role-playing Game and "Visual Dictionaries." The stage combat used in the films are a combination of Kendo, Iaido, and occidental sword work such as fencing.

Each Jedi chooses the style of lightsaber combat that best suits him or her. For example, Master Yoda uses the Ataru form to compensate for his lack of reach and height, as well as to take advantage of his nearly limitless amount of force power; Mace Windu uses Vaapad to tap into his anger and employ it constructively (albeit without giving himself over to the dark side); Count Dooku's practice of the Makashi form fits first of all his intention to frequently engage in lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat and second his emphasis on class and elegance as well as precision. The Jedi Exile was an expert in many of these forms but never relied on just one. In the game, the Masters remark that he masters their forms amazingly quickly, as if he had studied them for years.

Form I: Shii-Cho
Younglings, the Jedi initiate rank, first learn Form I before they begin a Padawan apprenticeship with a Jedi Master. Younglings are taught Shii-Cho first because of its simplicity and versatility. In Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, the Younglings that can be seen being taught by Yoda to deflect light plasma shots are in the beginning stages of Form I. It is probably based in basic fighting techniques from Kendo.

Form II: Makashi
After Form I's proliferation as a saber combat technique, Form II came about as a means of lightsaber-to-lightsaber combat. It is described as being very elegant, powerful, and requiring extreme precision, allowing the user to attack and defend with minimal effort, while his opponent tires himself out. The form relies on parries, thrusts, and small, precise cuts—as opposed to the blocking and slashing of the other forms. The blade manipulation required for this form is very refined and requires much focus, but the results are extremely potent. However, as ranged weapons such as blasters come into play, or more than one opponent is present, the advantages of this form become obsolete.

Form III : Soresu
Form III, the most defensive of all of the forms, was developed to counteract the advancing blaster technology throughout the galaxy. Jedi opponents now mostly wielded blasters. The form utilizes motions occurring very close to the body to achieve near-total protection, efficiently expending as little energy as possible to execute these moves. This technique exposes as little body target zone open areas as is possible, making a well-trained practitioner nearly invincible. It borrows movements from Kendo, Wushu and Fencing, making it a very beautiful and graceful form.

Form IV: Ataru
The master practitioners of Form IV make extensive use of acrobatic maneuvers often thought not physically possible by using the Force to guide their motion. It is quite similar to the martial art, wushu. It is very acrobatic and even more so with the use of the force, and very articulate when slowed down. Majority of kungfu sword techiques are displayed through this form of Ataru, and may have been incorporated in to this style by the eariler practitioners.

Form V: Shien / Djem So
The name of the Fifth Form of lightsaber combat varies in different sources. According to Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords, Shien is the Fifth Form. Revenge of the Sith Novelization stated clearly that Shien and Djem So are two different styles, and Anakin Skywalker mastered them both. By comparison, Djem So demonstrated a even higher level of physical strength and aggressive moves. So it is believed that Shien and Djem So both fall under the catergory of Form V, much like Juyo and Vaapad in Form VII, with Shien better at dealing with blaster bolts and Djem So better at blade-to-blade combat. It can be described as a mix of medieval swordmanship and kendo.

Form VI: Niman
The Form VI was the standard style at and around the time period of the Clone Wars and the Great Jedi Purge. This combat discipline is often called the "Diplomat's Form." One can see this in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones when many of the saber-wielders on Geonosis are killed. In fact, all of the Jedi using Form VI were killed at the Battle of Geonosis, including the Form VI practitioner Coleman Trebor, whose technique could not defend against most of Jango Fett's masterfully placed blaster shots.

Form VII: Juyo / Vaapad
Form VII has been an oddity for millennia. It was modified by Jedi Master Mace Windu, who used it to create his Vaapad fighting style. The most challenging and demanding of all forms, Form VII requires intense focus, high levels of skill, and mastery of other forms. Form VII is without question the rarest form, and only three Jedi have ever mastered Vaapad fully: Mace Windu, Depa Billaba, and Sora Bulq, who instructed Quinlan Vos in a few of its basics. It is speculated that Darth Sidious trained Darth Maul in a variation of Form VII combat. Sora Bulq helped Windu develop Vaapad, but Bulq and Mace's Padawan, Billaba, proved too weak to master the flow of the light and dark sides, and fell to the dark side. In this way, Vaapad mastered them. Many believed Plo Koon could master Form VII, but he believed that it was too dangerous so he took on Form V instead. In KOTOR II, the Jedi Exile can learn Juyo from Jedi Master Kavar, but only if the Exile is a Guardian, Weapon Master, or Marauder.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Shadow Con

Not really much to say. I will be going to Shadow Con this year. I think it's January 6-7. I guess I should know that at least. I am excited to be there. I hope that I have some people stop buy the table. Fantasy cons have been hard to sell comics at. I don't know why. Well, I'll take that back. I have only set up at one and it was hard to sell comics there unless they were vintage comics (old superman/ batman etc.) I do sell a lot of shirts and posters tho'. Seems most of the people attending are more into those than actual comic books.

The cool part about it is that I am a artist guest so I get to illustrated a poster for the con along with the other guests. So here is my rendition of the Shadow Con Warrior Woman.

Enjoy.

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Friday, November 18, 2005

...and the revisions continue.

I'm still doing revisions to the art work for Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa - Rain. I am really pleased with the way the art as a whole is coming out. I think it's really action packed and emotional. This story really defines who Jetta is and will be for a long time to come. I for one am excited to see what everyone thinks. "Soon", I keep telling myself. "Very soon."

I am finding it hard to promote the book and draw more attention to my side of the fence when it comes to comics. The most logical way is to promote your web site. Thus, you promote your comic book. That's true. But if you are not Batman, Superman, or Spiderman, how do you get the average passer-byer to stick by the site?

Advertising itself will always be the big question in any promotion. It almost takes a team to strategically place advertisement correctly so that the product gets the biggest bang for the buck.

So...
How do I get my bang?

That is the question.

I know one thing is for sure. Independent companies won't be getting any help any time soon, that's for sure.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Battle Ground STARBUCKS!!

I'm at starbucks this morning waiting to get my coffee and this guy is staring at me. So, being the nice person I am, I gave him a nod of my head to say hello. All of a sudden the guy stars yelling at me saying, "what you want, man? I aint botherin' you." So, I calmly reply, " I was just saying hello. What's your problem." Then he says (still seated mind you), "knuckle city." I paused for a second and thought. " Knuckle city? Hmmm. What could he mean? I know that this guy, late 40's about 100 pounds soaking wet does not want to engage me in a friendly sparring match. I mean that's crazy. Knuckle city? You have no idea." I looked at the guy and started to laugh. Which made him even more angry but look foolish in front of the other customers. "knuckle city". I repeated. The guy eventually looked away as the manager scolded him for the outburst. The guy behind the bar informed me that the "Starbucks battler" was a homeless guy that came in to get warm.

I grabbed my coffee and headed to work.

The lesson here: Watch out for the war cry "KNUCKLE CITY!!"

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Comics, the other meat.

I have been busting a gut illustrating my new book, Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa - Rain, set to be published by Shooting Star Comics next year. It's close to 100 pages of graphic novel. The killer part about it is that I have been so hard on myself with the art work that I have been redrawing somethings as I still tread forward. Ah well. It turns out better the 2nd or 4th time or so. I have also been illustrating a direct to online book featuring the Jetta cast. I was trying to have this one finished before I go to Shadow Con in January, but I don't know. That book is a regular pager (24 pages) but it still is Jetta and I have to have the best art I can on it.

Aside from that, it has been a busy year for me in comics. Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa - Defiance came out in May of this year. San Diego con hit in July. I was interviewed for a documentary in August. Began art work and finished the script for Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa - Rain. Republished Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa - Last Chances. Completed 4 pin-ups for Approbation Comics. Completed a 4 page kick-off story for Chaos Campus (Approbation Comics).

And I'm still going. I hope I can keep up the pace. As long as the work is there, I'm there.

Comics.
Ah. Ya gotta love it.
I do.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Better Days

You ever have one of those days where it starts out great. You feel good in the morning. You feel productive and alive. You can take over the world. I had a morning like that. I shot into work this morning. Checked my emails. Surfed the net a bit before the work day started. And called a meeting with the other designer. I felt great.

Then, my boss walked in and derailed it for me.

Turns out that I had to leave yesterday around noon and was miss informed about the status of a job that was due to be delivered. Dispite my attempts to make sure delivery of "said job" went smoothly, things did not. The printer did not deliver on time. No one called me with any problems. and all hell broke loose. Of course it's my fault when I get to work this morning. Despite the fact that I had no idea the printer was having problems. (The last time I spoke to them, they where about to deliver). Despite the fact that I basicly designed, got approved, and negotiated price on "said job". Despite the world of crap that I have to deal with. Despite the fact that I am the first one here and the last one to leave. I am the problem. It's my fault.

I've seen better days.

Like I said before:
Born at the wrong time. In the wrong place.

Nuff' said.
Let's move on.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

What scares me.

Last night I saw what scares me.
No it's not the boogy man. It's a religious fanatic. (It doesn't matter. Pick a religion.) I consider myself a spiritual person. I believe in God and Jesus. I believe in heaven and the bible. But, I saw something last night that made me shutter.

I watched the reality show "Trading Spouses" on Fox last night. I know what you are saying. "Reality television?" I hate it too. But this show was different. There was a lady on it that was a deep religious fanatic. Without going into too much detail (after all, it is a reality TV show), the woman thought everyone was evil and demons and even began to throw up because she believed the family that she was "visiting" had the devil present in it because they believed in nature. If that wasn't enough, she threw a tantrum in her own home when she found out that her family (who had to spend a week with the other family's mother) did not share her "anger".

I'm not saying that the lady was wrong for what she believed. Who am I to say that? But to force your views on others is wrong. And the anger that she displayed at her own family for being hospitable to the "other mother" was frightening. That anger reflects the same views that make people kill others in the name of a belief.

That scares me. The inability of a people to sit down and talk about differences.

I don't know.

Maybe I'm wrong.

I have been know to be on several occasions.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Big Thighs

My wife says Jetta has big thighs.

Well, she didn't say it like that. That's to put it nicely. She said ( and I quote) "she looks like a flying squirel. You know how they spread themselves and take flight." I admit. Jetta does have big thighs. But they are muscular!! She's a martial arts expert that uses her kicks to her advantage! She has to have muscular legs! So there!!!

That reminds me of the last "event" I set up at called the GOT PARK FESTIVAL. It was supposed to be a festival for the arts. Little did I know that it was only for the "fine art" crowd. Of course comic books do not fit in that same realm. Especially a character who is a tough, attractive women with... well let's just say she's well endowed. But not sleazy. She actually has more clothes on than Wonder Woman or Power Girl. (I love those chracters.) Anyway, I got so many awkward stares and mumbles thrown at me it almost gave me a complex. I have learned my lesson. If I'm not at a comic book function (convention, show, etc.) I'm not setting up shop. No hard feelings. But I just don't want to waste my time.

So. Let me clear some things up.

1. Jetta has boobs. (Covered mind you. But they are there)
2. Jetta has thighs. (She has to because she is muscular)
3. Jetta has more clothes on than Wonder Woman or Power Girl.

Now, back to mean mugging my wife to see how many more times I can get her to say i'm sorry. : )

later.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Mornings

Alright.
I have picked mornings as the time that I will post because that is the time when I get to think a bit on the way to work. 2 main things were on my mind today.

So, last night my wife and I are watching a movie called Battle Royale. If you know anything about Manga or have seen the movie you know that it is very violent and was banned because of it. It's about a 9th grade class of students that are dropped off on an island an forced to battle until there is only one left. If they try to escape, the army will detonate braces around their necks which will blow up ( not unlike the running man movie). It also starred GO GO from Kill Bill. We got a kick out of it. Loved it. We thought that it was the funniest thing in the world because of the teacher. Cool movie and I highly suggest we use this tactic in our school system. (Just kidding. I don't need anyone writing me thinking I'm serious.)

Another thing I was thinking about this morning was SAN DIEGO.
I don't know. San Diego has been on my nind a lot lately. Maybe because I have a secret hate for Memphis (where i currently live). Or because I have such fun at comic con each year. I don't know. But when all else fails, San Diego can always put a smile on my face. The palm trees. The people. The appreciation for the arts. Like I said in my bio. "born in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Anyway, I have some down time here. So, back to work illustrating my next graphic novel. I can leave you with this peice o' work that I am doing for the new book tho'

talk to ya.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Welcome to my little party.

Alright. So I'm getting with the times and allowing myself to be a part of this whole global village thing. I can't believe I got a blog. Not because anything is wrong with having one. I just have not seen the point.

To make a long story short, my experience with talking (or in this case, writing) in message boards or on blogs or anything like that have not been good. I am always the one ignored because I wasn't part of the circle or I was chased off the site. (Long story) So when I say that I can't believe I have a blog, I mean that it is only a matter of time before I get tired of being ignored or get bombarded with hate mail. Oh well.

I'm a comic book artist and creator of Jetta: Tales of the Toshigawa published by Shooting Star comics. The book has been said to resemble Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Matrix but with ninjas so I'll take that complement. Most of these posts will be concerning the book. So here we go.

Also feel free to check out JETTA at www.toshigawa.com or www.shootingstarcomics.com

See you soon.