Saturday, October 30, 2010

Off to a Tim Cartmell Seminar

Yes, I'm headed down to get my ass kicked at a Cartmell seminar in Seattle tomorrow.
Above is Tim demonstrating a vary smooth version of Pi Chuan from Xingyi.
Textbook perfect in my humble opinion.

And this video is very, very short, but it shows Tim's trademark throwing skills, from the guy that wrote the book "Effortless Combat Throws".

Coming up:
Monday is "Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month", followed by a review of Tim's Seminar- if I can still sit up and work the keyboard.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Seven Days in May", and The Wellstone Crash- UPDATED

"Turner Classic Movies" has been playing some intensely powerful political movies recently, and I think it's no accident.
The other night I watched "Seven Days in May", about a military takeover of the U.S. government that came out in 1964. According to Wikipedia:

"President John F. Kennedy had read the novel and believed the scenario it described could actually occur in the United States. According to director John Frankenheimer in his director's commentary, production of the film received encouragement and assistance from Kennedy through White House Press Secretary Pierre Salinger, who conveyed to Frankenheimer Kennedy's wish that the film be produced and that, although the Pentagon did not want the film made, the President would conveniently arrange to visit Hyannis Port for a weekend when the film needed to shoot outside the White House."

Kennedy was assassinated November 22, 1963.


It just so happens that Minnesota Public Radio got a hold of the FBI files on Senator Paul Wellstone, who was killed in a suspicious plane crash ten days before his election. He was pulling far ahead of Norm Coleman, who had been hand-picked by Karl Rove.
Wellstone was labeled the most liberal in all the U.S. Senate. He had a long history as an anti-war activist, and had been under surveillance since the Vietnam war protests.
Wellstone was passionately speaking out against a preemptive strike against Iraq, based on scant evidence and mounting lies by the Bush/Cheney administration.
The FBI documents obtained by MPR describe threats made against Wellstone, some of which may have been cover for the real players.
According to Professor James Fetzer:

"By October 25, 2002, Wellstone's lead over Coleman had grown to 6 or 7 points and was increasing. He had told others that Vice President Dick Cheney had warned him against opposing the administration on Iraq and that the Bush administration will do whatever is necessary to get you. There will be severe ramifications for you and the state of Minnesota."

James Fetzer is no slouch, he is a McKnight Professor Emeritus of The University of Minnesota, Duluth.
On his website, Fetzer uses time lines and eyewitness accounts to suggest how new technology using a strong electro-magnetic or microwave pulse could have been used to take down the aircraft:

According to Fetzer, The FBI crash team would have had to leave their headquarters at the same time Wellstone's plane took off to arrive at the crash when they did.
Weather conditions were not at all severe according to other pilots. People in the area experianced garage doors opening mysteriously and extreme cell phone interference.
Fetzer couples this with the revelations by reporter Seymour Hersh that Vice President Cheney was running an assassination team out of his office, that answered directly to him alone:

I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet. That does happen.
"Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. ...
"Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths."


We'll never know what really happened to Wellstone.
Like many others on the progressive or liberal side, the Kennedy brothers, Martin Luther King, various Black Panthers and reporters like Danny Casolero, they were bumped off by mysterious forces.
--Government by gunplay, Watergate, Iran-Contra, the Savings and Loan meltdown under Reagan, How George Bush Sr. set up the first Gulf war, the stolen 2000 election coup, the stock market crash of 2008, and the second Republican Great Depression.
All brought to us by "conservatives".

I think "Seven Days in May" is very instructive.
What's coming next?


Bush Thought 911 Flight 93 Was Shot Down

From The Guardian, UK

"George Bush thought 9/11 plane had been shot down on his ordersMemoirs reveal former US president gave order to shoot down any hijacked planes before United Airlines flight 93 crashed
Bush reveals that he gave the order for any further suspected hijacked planes to be shot down after the first aircraft were flown into the World Trade Centre in New York during the 2001 terror attacks.
He at first thought the crash of United Airlines flight 93 in Pennsylvania had resulted from this instruction, although it later emerged that passengers had stormed the cockpit as hijackers flew the plane towards the Capitol building in Washington."

That's because it appears it WAS shot down:
Evidence: LINK

Must See:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tim Cartmell's Shen Wu

Well I'm getting ready for a big Tim Cartmell seminar in Seattle this weekend, so I thought we'd take a spin through some of his videos.
This one is from our buddy and fellow Dojo Rat from the north, William, who visited Tim in 2008.
Notice the diversity of training, Tim's guys are very well-rounded fighters. The one thing that I have realized through Tim's instruction is how many options you have in standing grappling. See how he demonstrates that if any given technique doesn't quite work, you can maintain a superior position by changing angles or direction of intent.
This weekend I am told we will work on some flow drills. These will start at hitting range, go to the clinch, take down, submission attempt, counter to submission, safely return to feet, and reverse rolls.
Shit, many of the guys will be almost twenty years younger than me. It'll probably take a case of Beer and two days to recover...

For information on the Seattle seminar, go to Jake Burroughs website "The Ground Never Misses".

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Martial "Art" vs. MMA: The Real Difference

From "Mind Over Matter - Higher Martial Arts", by Shi Ming:

"The position of refinement of consciousness in the theory and practice of martial arts is utterly critical. It pervades the fundamentals of training in martial arts as well as the most advanced level. This is the technical and theoretical core and quintessence of martial arts. To abandon this is tantamount to throwing away the living soul and fundamental work of the techniques and theories of martial arts, leaving only low level "external exercises" with their peculiarities of outward form, only retaining contents substantially much the same as any other pugilistic techniques.
The inner exercises and energy exercises of martial arts are inseparable from corresponding "consciousness exercises." Without going through the process of refinement of consciousness, there is no way for the inner and outer exercises of martial arts to progress into higher levels of effective work and spiritual states.
This is the sort of experience alluded to in the folk saying "If you practice martial arts without practicing meditation, when you get to be old, it will all be in vain."


I'll have a complete review of the book soon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Sons; Where "Deadwood" Meets the "Soprano's"

The Sons of Anarchy

We're just about to start season two of the F/X series "Sons of Anarchy", and I'm definitely hooked...
Creator Kurt Sutter has masterfully blended familiar elements of two other great shows- "Deadwood" and "The Sopranos" - into a mixed display of honor and violence surrounding a fictional biker gang in a fictional California town.
I had seen the adds on TV for "Sons", but never drifted to the right channel on the right day to watch it. After hearing a local barmaid talking about the show, I asked a couple of other people if it was any good. I mean, OK, it's a biker show, but does it have good drama?
Well, it doesn't just have good drama, it has great drama. We are watching the series on Netflicks.
Sutter captures the "Wild West" horseback feel of the biker gang, eluding to my "Deadwood" reference, along with some serious organized crime as per "The Sopranos".
But as in every good tale, loyalties rotate among players, there is good within the bad and vica-versa. According to theatrical reviews, the series is loosely based on Shakespeare's "Hamlet", with every bit of the intrigue.
The level of violence might not be good for the young kids, but is not so graphic that wives can't handle it.
There's something very satisfying about watching an ongoing series, it gives you a lot to look forward to with every turn of the throttle. I recommend this one.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Will Smith as "Ali"

Well I finally got around to watching "Ali" starring Will Smith last night, and it sure brought back a flood of memories.
I remember my Dad picking me up from a Cub Scout meeting. The Cassius Clay / Sonny Liston fight was on the radio in the car, and we ran into the house and listened to the rest of the fight on the radio inside.
Then there was the high-profile statements by Ali about Vietnam;
"I won't fight the yellow man for the white man", and "No Vietcong ever called me a nigger"...
Ali remained his own man, despite immense forces pulling him every which way. The US Government couldn't own him and neither could The Nation of Islam movement.
The movie was touching in examining the relationship between Ali and Howard Cosell, and I remember seeing many of those interviews live, including one where Ali Slapped Cosell silly, on live TV.
Smith definitely buffed up for the part and the boxing scenes looked pretty damned good.
I have no way to verify this, but someone posted on the YouTube page that Smith had turned the roll down until Ali made a personal request that Smith take the roll.

The Clay (Ali) - Liston fight

Ali and Cosell

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Perils of Renegade History

From The Huffington Post:

Why I Got Fired From Teaching American History
by Thaddeus Russell

Five years ago, I had every reason to believe that my job as a history professor at Barnard College was secure. I had been teaching there for four years, I had published my dissertation with a major publisher, and because I had tripled the sizes of the introductory U.S. history course and the American Studies program, colleagues told me they "would be shocked" if I were not promoted to a tenure-track position.

But that was before my colleagues knew what I was teaching.

I had always been a misfit in academia, partly because of my background, partly because of my personality, and increasingly over the years because of my ideas -- ideas that are now a book called "A Renegade History of the United States."

I was raised by pot-smoking, nudist, socialist revolutionaries as an egghead white boy in black neighborhoods in Berkeley and Oakland. I nearly flunked eighth grade and finished high school with a C average. Then I went to the anarchist, ultra-hippy Antioch College in Ohio, which accepted all their applicants, didn't give grades, and didn't have a history department.

So even though I managed to pull myself out of that background and into and through Columbia for a PhD, then onto a job at an elite college, I was highly uncomfortable moving from the world of weed to the world of tweed. I hated being "Professor." I cursed in class. I talked about sex. I used politically incorrect terms. My students said they had never heard the things I was teaching them in class. They called me "Bad Thad."

I showed them that during the American Revolution drunkards, laggards, prostitutes, and pirates pioneered many of the freedoms and pleasures we now cherish -- including non-marital sex, interracial socializing, dancing, shopping, divorce, and the weekend -- and that the Founding Fathers, in the name of democracy, opposed them. I argued not only that many white Americans envied slaves but also that they did so for good reason, since slave culture offered many liberating alternatives to the highly repressive, work-obsessed, anti-sex culture of the early United States. I demonstrated that prostitutes, not feminists, won virtually all the freedoms that were denied to women but are now taken for granted. By tracing the path of immigrants from arrival as "primitives" to assimilation as "civilized" citizens, I explained that white people lost their rhythm by becoming good Americans. I presented evidence that without organized crime, we might not have jazz, Hollywood, Las Vegas, legal alcohol, birth control, or gay rights, since only gangsters were willing to support those projects when respectable America shunned them.

This was not the standard left-liberal perspective my students had heard, and it certainly wasn't a conservative one, either. It was informed by an unlikely mix of influences, including the hippies and other cultural radicals I had encountered in my early life, black and gay cultures that showed me a way out of the self-imposed limitations of being white and straight, and libertarians who caused me to question the commitment to freedom among the left that I had been born into and which employed me as a professor.

I gave my students a history that was structured around the oldest issue in political philosophy but which professional historians often neglect - the conflict between the individual and community, or what Freud called the eternal struggle between civilization and its discontents. College students are normally taught a history that is the story of struggles between capitalists and workers, whites and blacks, men and women. But history is also driven by clashes between those interested in preserving social order and those more interested in pursuing their own desires -- the "respectable" versus the "degenerate," the moral versus the immoral, "good citizens" versus the "bad." I wanted to show that the more that "bad" people existed, resisted, and won, the greater was what I called "the margin of freedom" for all of us.

My students were most troubled by the evidence that the "good" enemies of "bad" freedoms were not just traditional icons like presidents and business leaders, but that many of the most revered abolitionists, progressives, and leaders of the feminist, labor, civil rights, and gay rights movements worked to suppress the cultures of working-class women, immigrants, African Americans, and the flamboyant gays who brought homosexuality out of the closet.

I had developed these ideas largely on my own, in my study and in classrooms, knowing all the while that I was engaged in an Oedipal struggle to overthrow the generation of historians who came of age during the 1960s and 1970s, controlled academic history, and had trained me. They were so eager to make the masses into heroes that they did not see that it was precisely the non-heroic and unseemly characteristics of ordinary folks that changed American culture for the better.

So I was quite anxious when I was asked to present my work to colleagues in order to get a long-term contract and be moved into line for a shot at tenure. A friend in the history department told me that given my publishing record and popularity among students the talk would be "really just a formality." But I knew it would be trouble.

Several distinguished professors from Columbia showed up, since the university has final say on all tenure decisions at its sister college, Barnard. During my talk, a Columbia professor who had been named by a national magazine as the most important public intellectual in the United States, stared at me with what I took -- rightly, it turned out -- to be disgust. Another walked out before I finished. One of my graduate school advisors asked a series of hostile questions. Other colleagues told me after the talk that I was "courageous," that I was "wonderfully, relentlessly revisionist," and that I made some famous historians "look like dinosaurs."

But emails came into the hiring committee from "important places," I was told, calling my ideas "improper," "frightening," and "dangerous." They said my ideas had no place in the academy and insisted that I be terminated. It was simply not okay for me to describe the "oppressed" in the terms used by their oppressors -- "shiftless," "sexually unrestrained," "primitive," "uncivilized" -- even though my argument transformed those epithets into tributes.

After I was told that I would be leaving Barnard, hundreds of students protested in faculty and deans' offices and the Columbia Spectator devoted an editorial to my case, but to no avail. There did indeed seem to be no place for me in the academy. And so I wrote a book.

Amazon link

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: "Cha Dao" - The Way of Tea

I love Tea.
I quit coffee over fifteen years ago, and have experimented with various teas ever since. Many have technically been "tisanes", or herbal blends for health and detoxification, but lately I have been just using true teas from Camellia Sinensis.
Naturally, my love for tea and the martial arts has awakened thoughts about Daoism, the ancient philosophy native to China.
All these interests have come together in the book "Cha Dao - The way of Tea, Tea as a Way of Life", by Solala Towler. Towler begins by explaining the need to slow down, to buffer the frantic race of society by appreciating the simplicity of relaxing with tea. He continues with the history of tea as it emerged from medicinal experiments to a social foundation.

Interspersed with the history are cupfuls of classic Daoist and Zen poetry which illustrate the linking of tea with philosophy.
Colorful descriptions of Daoist (Taoist) sages abound, as this one by N.J. Girardot:

"Taoist images of madness are related to the mystical experience of the chaos condition and to the unique effortless freedom of Wu wei, the sage's playful freedom beyond human, or even humane, bounds. The Taoist as a "demented drifter" is aloof and indifferent to the normal order of the world. From the perspective of his belly knowledge, the Taoist is a wayfarer who knows that "the way things appear to be- permanent, predictable, manageable- is not the way things really are in an ultimate vision of the real."

I can relate to that.
Solala Towler describes the various tea ceremonies, types of tea and medicinal benefits of tea. It's a fun romp of a read, not too heavy, saturated with history and philosophy, and of course, Tea.

Cha Dao, by Solala Towler can be found at the website

Monday, October 18, 2010

Sun-style Tai Chi Chuan with Tim Cartmell

Many of you out there are familiar with Tim Cartmell, who just came out with a DVD series on Sun-style Tai Chi Chuan.
For those who don't know, Tim lived and trained in Taiwan and China for years, winning Asian fighting tournaments and becoming an expert in the Chinese Internal Martial Arts and Brazilian Jujitsu. Tim has authored "Effortless Combat Throws", "Xingyi Nei Gong", and translated many books on related subjects.
Tim was fortunate to have studied with the Daughter of Sun Lu-Tang, one of the most famous Chinese masters of the last century. So Tim's presentation of Sun-style Tai Chi Chuan is as close to the bone as you can get.
As you can see in this video excerpt, Tim has a very skilled way of presenting material. No hocus-pocus, just strong emphasis on structure and method. Even though I study Yang-style, the principles and application are completely transferable.
I've been to a handful of Tim's seminars in Seattle and plan to attend another at the end of October. Tim teaches with a balance of patient transmission of knowledge and the ability to slam the crap out of you.
More on Tim's upcoming Seminar in Seattle later, for those interested in this video and others produced by Tim Cartmell, visit his Shen Wu website at This link.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Friday Fun: Cheney's Got a Gun

History will not be kind to these assholes

Well, well, well...
As the years slide by we will no doubt find a lot of dirt about what historians say is the worst puppet presidential administration in American history.
"Raw Story" has two back-to-back stories about the Cheney administration and his little buddy "W".
The first is about the Cheney "lawyer shooting incident":

"Every so often, for months afterward, some of the lead in Whittington's body worked its way to the surface. But many pieces remain too deeply embedded to remove, including one near his heart. At 82, Whittington knows he will live the rest of his days with about 30 pieces of shot inside him."
"The Cheney-shoots-man story takes up all of page C-9 with text and pictures, and concludes with the punch that Cheney is a world-class jerk who has never apologized."

Make no mistake; Dick Cheney is the most powerful shithead in the entire world.

And then this:
Ex-top soldier: Iraq war ‘fiasco’ due to Rumsfeld’s ‘lies’

"The US had no reason to invade Iraq in 2003, and only did so because of "a series of lies" told to the American people by the Bush administration, says Gen. Hugh Shelton, who served for four years as the US's top military officer."

Shelton was the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1997 to 2001:

"Spinning the possible possession of WMDs as a threat to the United States in the way they did is, in my opinion, tantamount to intentionally deceiving the American people," Shelton writes."
"In another part of the memoir, Shelton asserts that "[t]he John McCain that I knew was subject to wild mood swings and would break into erratic temper tantrums in the middle of a normal conversation."

So here's the scorecard as I read it;
Conservatives who were suckered by Bush/Cheney refuse to admit it.
Now we have smart guy, a Constitutional law professor in La Casa Blanca.
Except he's a black cat.
Which pisses off the Neo-Confederacy.
So, instead of yielding to the new political awakening, they go bat-shit far-right.
The corporate puppet-masters provide propaganda and funding to the knaves in the hustings.
The torches and pitchforks come out.
The far-right fields the most incurious, stupid candidates since George W. Bush.
Christine Odonnel.
Sarah Palin.
Or guys like Rand Paul who say they would consider rolling back the civil rights act. Let white folks ban minorities from their place of business.
Discontinue public education.

Come on people, get your shit together.
America has always flirted with Fascism, but this is getting scarey.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes?

How much are martial styles related to cultural attitudes?

Lately I've been wondering how much cultural disposition had to do with the development of Asian martial arts.
Now, I have to temper my considerations by the fact that I have not yet traveled to the countries that are the birthplace of their respective fighting systems. I only have an armchair glimpse of those societies, although I have met many, many people from the various cultures. I also have to acknowledge that I view these things from what is possibly the most undisciplined of all cultures, the American experience.
-So with that said, I encourage other thoughts, observations and ideas from fellow Dojo Rats.
After high school wrestling, I had an introduction to Goju-Ryu Karate and Aikido in community college. That was followed by over eight years in Tae Kwon Do, Two more years of Aikido, about five years of Kenpo, and the beginning of my latest study of Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua and Xingyi. There were of course, overlapping programs that streached over a thirty-year period.

Let's start with Japanese Karate:

My experience in Karate fighting-style and form work is that it is the most direct and linear of the systems I have practiced. Definitely more "crash-and-bash" than the other systems. Sure, there is redirection of force, but I suggest it is the most linear of the Asian systems.
Followed closely by Tae Kwon Do:

Tae Kwon Do incorporates more spinning and circular kicking methods, while remaining basically a mirror of Japanese Karate systems. No offence, TKD guys, I myself am second Dan in the system so I feel I can make that determination. My feeling is that the circular methods in Tae Kwon Do are of Chinese influence.

Now, both of those styles are very regimented and quasi-militaristic. Does that reflect the culture of those home countries?
The obvious exception is Aikido, but as I have written before, I believe Uyeshiba was influenced by arts he viewed while in China. (see Is Aikido of Chinese Origin?)
Uyeshiba's Aikido is much more circular and soft than the original Daito-Ryu.

And then we come to the Chinese arts:

People familiar with the Internal Chinese Martial Arts recognize that they offer the most redirection, yielding and circular movements of the arts being discussed.
However, in my opinion even hard Kung Fu like Shaolin seems to incorporate flowing, circular movements. There is a ton of study in animal movements, and reflection of the natural world.
Where the Japanese and Korean systems generally use numbers to represent their techniques (ie; Ikkyo, Nikkyo), the Chinese tend to have elaborate names for techniques such as "Parting Wild Horses Mane" and "Monkey Steals Peach". There is lyrical poetry in the names of movements in a form. It seems this was part of a Mnemonic system to remember forms in the mostly illiterate society of China's past.

Is the type of Zen and ordered society represented by the Samurai contrasted by the flexibility and change of the I-Ching and Taoist/Buddhist thought?

Now, let's take it a step further:
From what I have seen of the Filipino/Indonesian systems, they are the most flowing of all the others. Is this a reflection of their Pacific Island lifestyles? Of some of the animist spiritual concepts?

Food for thought...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Moclips: The End of The Line

Moclips, Washington 1969

Over the weekend my wife and I took a trip to the coast of central Washington State, to the small historic community of Moclips.
Situated at the southern tip of the Quinault Indian Reservation, Moclips is as far as you can go, with Reservation and wilderness beach beyond.
The Moclips River is the site of an old Quinault village. In 1775 Spanish explorers came ashore just north of the river, erected a cross and left unharmed by the Indian tribe. But later seven Spaniards returned , this time to the Moclips river. Traditionally, the tribe had sequestered young puberty-aged women at that river site, and they were guarded by warriors that killed the Spaniards. From Moclips north is one of the longest stretches of wilderness beach in the continental United States.
The town of Moclips had many building, destruction and rebuilding stages, as it was repeatedly ravaged by ocean storms and fire.

Above is the former train depot. Before the railroad came to town, all supplies had to be brought by wagon up the beach. Moclips was the location of a mill operation that primarily produced cedar shakes. That business seems to have been fairly consistent, along with seafood canning and of course tourism.
Below is the old log pond and railroad trestle:

And below is a picture I took of the same trestle, or what's left of it:

Getting to Moclips proved to be challenging. We drove through the living Hell of Seattle/Tacoma, heading west from Olympia to Aberdeen. Aberdeen and Hoquiam are on Gray's Harbor, which is indeed "Gray" much of the fall and winter. Many of the buildings are boarded up; we saw one old apartment that advertised "One month free rent". Between brief sun sightings, it's your typical Pacific Northwest coastal rain. This is the atmosphere that drove "Nirvana" front man Kurt Cobain inland to the college party town of Olympia, and on to Seattle and rock stardom.
But the rain and depressed economy have no effect on the fishermen, clam diggers, dog-stick-throwers and romantic beach walkers. Even if rainy, it's not cold. Just wet. Everywhere.
Delayed by a bridge closure, we hit Moclips about sundown. The beach was filled with hundreds of flashlights and lanterns, as people were digging clams. This weekend was one with extremely low tides, almost tsunami-spooky. I mean at times it appeared the Waves were 1/4 mile from the high tide line, hence the great clam digging.
Not to be lost in all this historical beauty, we continued our quest to locate all the best dive-bars in Washington State and we were not disappointed-
"The Green Lantern"

Saturday we took a break from the pouring rain and had a late lunch in The Green Lantern. The place was packed with drunk fishermen and clam diggers. They have a beautiful 20-ft. shuffleboard table which are very rare these days, and it was great fun to watch:

By Sunday, the huge Pacific storm had blown itself out. Things got quite sunny, enough so that even the return trip through Gray's Harbor and Aberdeen seemed a little less "Gray".

There is a very interesting website about Moclips and the surrounding communities. It's fascinating to see how built up the towns were in the early 1900's, compared to the sleepy beach communities of today.
A good place to start is this website,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What Do "MegaChurch" Pastors and Muslim Clerics Have in Common?

Answer: They fear Yoga.

Yes, the American version of the Taliban attempts to tighten it's grip on modern society. From The Huffington Post:

"Other Christian leaders have said practicing yoga is incompatible with the teachings of Jesus. Pat Robertson has called the chanting and other spiritual components that go along with yoga "really spooky." California megachurch pastor John MacArthur called yoga a "false religion." Muslim clerics have banned Muslims from practicing yoga in Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia, citing similar concerns."

Interfaith Minister Philip Goldberg offers this well-balanced historical rebuttal:

Conservative Christians have been issuing lurid warnings about contamination from the East for more than a century. Back in the 1890s, Swami Vivekananda, the first Hindu leader to make a splash in the U.S., was mercilessly assailed on his Midwestern speaking tour. In newspaper exchanges that would have made for great TV had the technology existed, the erudite Vivekananda gave as good as he got, blasting Christian arrogance and winning the hearts and minds of open-minded Americans in the process. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the gurus and yoga masters who trickled into the West were greeted with alarm by xenophobes and self-appointed defenders of womanhood. Articles like "American Women Going after Heathen Gods" stoked fears of innocent maidens being seduced by dark-skinned pagans. In 1911 a broadside titled "The Heathen Invasion" claimed that yoga "leads to domestic infelicity, and insanity and death." Come the late 1960s and early 1970s, a tidal wave of popular gurus attracted followers and were accused of doing the Devil's work. In 1975, for instance, when Maharishi Mahesh Yogi appeared on Merv Griffin's talk show (the Oprah of its day), protesters outside the studio carried signs like, "Jesus Is the Lord, Not Maharishi."
"Old-fashioned religious supremacists are under threat not from yoga but from the currents of history itself."

Amen, brother.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

XingyiMax: Xingyi to the Max

Xingyi Crossing Fist

We were at our Dojo last night discussing our training, and I had a revelation.
One style of martial art, or movement, informs others you may be studying.
There are only so many ways to move the human body, and similar martial arts have certain nuance's that allow for a greater understanding of the whole.

So it was with great interest that I found the website "XingyiMax". Despite being the most aggressive and powerful of the Chinese Internal Martial Arts, there is less information about this art, compared to Tai Chi Chuan for example.
XingyiMax is run by "Dennis", who lives in Malaysia and has studied martial arts in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and China. It's full of lengthy videos and historical information on the art and it's masters.

The video above is of Dennis' instructor demonstrating "Crossing Fist", one of the most misunderstood of the Five-Element forms. Look at his connection to the ground, the structure and power he is able to discharge. Great instruction on a difficult subject.

Xingyi (Hsing-i) has become an important study for me to round out my Yang-style Taiji and Bagua, and as I said, one art "informs" the other. The apparent simplicity of Xingyi belies the power and effectiveness of this art, and I am certainly addicted to it now!
If you study Chinese Martial Arts, XingyiMax will be a great resource. Check it out at THIS LINK.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Mighty Karate Breast


It's Bob from "Striking Thoughts" fault.

He's trying to hire her to work in my Saloon.
Bob, no, please.
She would break everything in there...

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cute Hippie Chick of the Month: The Girls of Canada

Yes fellow Dojo Rats; it's once again time for "Cute Hippie Chick of the Month" so...
A salute to our neighbors in "The Great White North", The Girls of Canada!

Ah yes, you certainly get what you pay for!