Kendo

Evolution of Coding Kata – Kata Month

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I’m very lucky to be working at eBay with some of the most talented people I know. More fortunate still perhaps that they indulge me in my regular experiments in making our department a better place to work. I’ve been thinking about what I perceive as deficiencies in coding kata and talking to one of […]

Japanese

Coding Kata from a Martial Artist’s Perspective

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  A little while ago, I contributed a chapter to David Greenlees’ anthology on Software Testing as a Martial art. My chapter started out as a bit of a rant against the appropriation of Japanese language by some Agilistas without having an understanding of the underlying culture. That is perhaps the least interesting part of […]

Everything

Changes

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So anyone that isn’t doing this via RSS has probably noticed a few differences. Those of you who do read via RSS – if you got a bunch of messages telling you my site is unavailable – sorry about that. It turns out that the disk my VPS was hosted on crashed irrecoverably. Of course, […]

Everything

What’s so great about getting hit with a stick?

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Besides also getting to hit people with a stick? Plenty – eventually. As a beginner in kendo you generally start by learning the body mechanics, repeating the same movements over and over while your teacher continually corrects you on what seems like an endless stream of minutiae. It’s tough at this point – you’re not […]

Everything

Repetition begets skill…however

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In testing, I think there is a tendency to confuse repetition for the purpose of learning with repetition as the application of skill. I have heard that some expound using scripts as a means of skilling up unskilled staff. I believe this thinking is fundamentally flawed. The reason being is that there is no clear […]

Everything

It’s easy to bullshit yourself

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It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re training hard when in actual fact you’re slacking off. I find myself doing it far too often for my liking. If in the kendojo I’m fighting beginners, I might fend off attacks in order to get them to try and work out why they are unsuccessful. Nothing necessarily […]

Everything

The four sicknesses of kendo (and software testing)

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I began writing this entry and almost immediately discovered this entry from Michael Bolton on emotions and oracles, which explains things probably more eloquently than I am trying to. I can’t really speak as to why emotion isn’t valued by some testers. I haven’t encountered any situations where this has been the case – I […]

Everything

勝って、兜の緒を締めよ

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katte, kabuto no o wo shimeyo. When you win, tighten your helmet strings. This saying is a reminder to remain ever vigilant. In battle, victory over an opponent should not be a signal to let your guard drop. If anything, it should serve to remind you to be even more wary. Defeating one is no […]

Everything

Oh captain, my captain – changing your perspective

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Those of you who have seen ‘Dead Poets Society‘ may remember Robin Williams exhorting his students to stand on their desks in order to show them the importance of having multiple perspectives of the world. I always thought that this was a most excellent scene. If you haven’t seen it, consider checking it out (or […]

Everything

Enzan no metsuke – looking at the far mountain

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An oft touted phrase by martial artists is ‘enzan no metsuke’, which translates roughly as ‘looking at the far mountain’ – essentially the gaze you would use to view something very distant. If I am fighting an opponent and I focus too keenly on their sword, or the movements of their body only, then I […]