Friday, December 28, 2007

Evolution Of A Fighter; Part Three

Here is the fight between Kimbo and Ray Mercer, a former WBA Heavyweight champ. Interestingly, Kimbo wins the fight with a choke hold and groundfighting skills -- something he was previously not known for. His training with Bass Rutten shows.
One thing I noted was he effectively used elbow and forearm smashes against Mercer's guard as he was covering up against the cage; a great tactic that would not be allowed in traditional boxing.
The MMA fighters interviewed in the ESPN documentary said Kimbo is still not ready for a top-level MMA fighter, I guess we will see...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Evolution Of A Fighter; Part Two

Here in this second half of the ESPN documentary, we see Bass Rutten and some of Kimbo's training. After his only underground loss against ex-cop Sean Gannon, who won with superior conditioning in an extremely long fight, Kimbo has gotten very serious about his training. I mean, for a guy from the street to give up drinking, smoking and sex, well...
According to This Website, Kimbo Slice (Kevin Ferguson) is the cousin of US Olympic Judoka Rhadi Ferguson, and had a short stint with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he had an altercation with Warren Sapp and was forced off the team. Also noted is that Kimbo will be appearing on the BET network in a show called "Iron Ring", about mixed martial arts. And despite repeated rumors, there is no evidence he ever actually did any prison time, not that it would matter.
In a sense, Kimbo/Kevin Ferguson has lived a rags-to-riches rise up from backyard brawling to fame as a skilled match-fighter. Let's hope he makes the best of it, we all know it's a short career.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Evolution Of A Fighter; Part One

Today we take a look at an underground legend in his own time; Kimbo Slice. I normally don't post about UFC-type fighters, because I consider it "fightsport" and not "Martial Arts". But many of us have witnessed Kimbo (real name Kevin Furguson) smack the crap out of countless challengers in outlaw money fights on YouTube. The guy is big, scarey and extremely powerful. His challengers left the fight scene with serious injuries, but there was always an air of competitive sportsmanship about the way these fights were conducted. Until recently, Kimbo has been an undiciplined brawler. Now however, he has been trained by Bass Rutten and has won his first UFC-type fight. Here is part one of a well-produced ESPN documentary on Kimbo, part two to follow...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

White Crane Version Of Sticky Hands

This one is labeled "White Crane Sticky Hands". Are we seeing anything much different than Wing Chun chi sao here? Because it is White Crane does it have something unique? I could use opinions from some of you Wing Chun guys out there. I like the intensity, but it is still lacking in mobility. They stay in the "horse" stance, and there is no advancing or retreating, and no off-line evasion or circular movement. Unfortunately, the author of this video did not include analysis and the comments function is disabled so nobody else has been able to comment. Not bad action though...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Shaolin Crane Form

Here is a very nice Shaolin Form called "Crane In Flight". I like the speed and flow of the form, and I see many movements found in my Yang Tai Chi Chuan form. Aside from the obvious White Crane posture, I see "golden rooster stands on one leg", "Jade, or Fair lady works shuttles", "draw the bow to shoot the tiger", and a few others...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Toisan White Crane Applications

Ah... back to White Crane again. As usual, the filming in this one lacks quality, and the "attacks" are staged badly, but there is a gem or two in this video. One of the first throws is an application of Tai Chi Chuan's "White Crane Spreads Wings". It is also called "Kaiten-nage" or "Rotary Throw" in Aikido. One arm is leveraged upward while the opponent's head is struck or tucked down (the crane spreading wings) and a rotary roll-out occurs. I use this one myself. Another Aikido-like throw occurs when, like Irimi-nage, you pull one of the opponent's arms down and drive straight through him with your forearm or bicep smashing through his face and neck, forcing him back and down. Very Steven Segal. It's also a version of "Split" in the Tai Chi Chuan San-Shou fighting form. a few other nice touches of chin-na joing locking.
It's too bad the attacks weren't simulated more realisticly, it looks like the instructor, Master Zhu would be capeable of more dynamic movement.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

What Got "Lost" In Cheney's Office ???

Dick Cheney Cleans House

Yes, I know I am supposed to be deep into a White Crane Kung Fu series, but this shit makes me crazy. I mean, really... count on your fingers the number of days before we get the sad news that certain documents were lost in Dick Cheney's latest barbecue:

White House confirms the following records destroyed in the 3rd floor fire: New UPDATES
by Reality Bites Back
Wed Dec 19, 2007 at 11:54:17 AM PST

This afternoon, the White House confirmed that a quickly contained blaze isolated to a storage room utility closet on the third floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office building destroyed the following records:

* Reality Bites Back's diary :: ::

all records pertaining to:

All Executive Branch internal correspondence since January, 2001
All RNC computer servers, back-up servers, and archival back-ups
The original Downing Street Memo and associated notes
Valerie Plame and the White House investigation of the leak (W.H. UPDATE: no records of Valerie Plame investigation destroyed as there was no investigation)
Bandar Bush
God’s personal correspondence with President Bush including those related to the invasion of Iraq
No-bid Halliburton contracts
War crimes committed by U.S. contractors in Iraq
Troop body armor tests and procurement orders
Jessica Lynch
The pulling down of the Saddam statue by non-Iraqis
All unaccounted for money in Iraq
The "troops" fault to not guard the weapons stockpile in Iraq
Abu Ghraib
Scuttling of the original Abramoff investigation, by the President
Federal court appointees and their qualifications and records
Extraordinary rendition
Negroponte’s activities in Iraq
Judith Miller’s embedded reporting and using her influence to override generals
Bombing Al-Jazeera television
"Mission Accomplished"
Bribing and threatening of journalists and planting of stories in the U.S and Iraq
Stopping the NY Times from revealing White House secret spying on Americans
Jeff Gannon/Guckert
De-baathification and the breakup of the Iraqi army
Swift Boat vets
Terror alerts
Bumper sticker and T-shirt slogan monitoring
Florida 2000 voter suppression
Florida 2000 election over-votes
Bush v. Gore court papers
Richard Clark’s warnings about abandoning anti-terror and a returning to the military-industrial profiteering of the cold war
Pre 9/11 domestic spying
The Vice Presidents Energy Task Force and all meetings dividing up Iraq’s oil fields pre 9/11
Bush’s vacation records
Enron and all related activities during California’s "energy crisis"
The accompanying Gray Davis recall and Ken Lay meetings
The Congressional records relating to passing legislation with last second changes, midnight votes, and the minority excluded from committee meetings.
The Missile defense shield
The U.S. national debt and holders of the debt
The Healthy Forest legislation and associated crop yields
The Clear Skies legislation and new acceptable levels of toxic emissions
Able Danger and the post-it notes hiding Mohammad Atta
The "Bin Laden determined to Strike in U.S." PDB
All copies of "My Pet Goat"
Extrication of Saudis after 9/11, especially Saudis named "Bin Laden"
The 9/11 commission
All confiscated video tapes from 9/11 showing impact with Pentagon
Bush and Cheney’s joint un-sworn "conversation" with the 9/11 commission
Library checkout and Amazon shopping records of every American
Bin Laden’s actual location after he "escaped" from Tora Bora
Yellowcake documents from Niger
Colin Powell’s United Nations speech
Ahmad Chalabi
Attempts to dismantle PBS
Using FCC’s fines to quash dissent
The IRS collection of political affiliations
Using American troops as speech props for Presidential speeches
Ohio voter suppression
Terri Schiavo and the emergency session of Congress
Questioning the full faith and credit of the United States to scare people into dismantling Social Security
Payola related to the Medicare bill
Targeting and surveillance of peace lovers as terrorists
Hurricane Katrina
Oil profits and tens of billions of dollars of general fund giveaways to oil companies
Multiple consecutive tours of combat for National Guardsmen
The $200 million bridges to nowhere
New Orleans levies
Harriet Miers nomination to the Supreme Court
Bill Frist and the FEC and insider trading
Alito and the Vanguard Fund
Bob Ney of Ohio and Coingate
Duke Cunningham of San Diego and related bribes and treason
The U.S. Attorney firings of the U.S. Attorney who prosecuted Duke Cunningham and who was pursuing the investigation to the White House.
Tom Delay’s redistricting in TX and using anti-terror assets to track down legislators
Tom Delay’s ethics violations
Jack Abramoff
NSA wiretapping without warrants
The failing grade from the 9/11 commission
Data mining and reading your mail
The 5 million missing emails

also destroyed were all records related to:

Bush’s cocaine use and failure to take the ANG drug test
Bush’s drunk driving
Bush’s Texas Air National Guard service
Bush’s Arbusto stock sale, Saudi bailout, and lack of SEC follow-up
Bush’s insider trading at Harken and Bush 41’s quashing of the investigation
Bush’s stealing of a public stadium from the taxpayers of Texas
Cheney's Wyoming residency papers
Police response to Cheney shooting a man in the face after drinking
Push-polling smear on John McCain during the 2000 Republican primary
All original video masters of Steven Colbert’s Press Corps dinner roast

Countless other records and computer systems were apparently stored in the 3 foot by 3 foot utility closet, the content of which shall be revealed as destroyed as necessary pending any future investigations.

BREAKING: word that the Constitution of the United States was inexplicably consumed by flames in its nuclear blast-proof storage case by a glowing ember that apparently drifted from the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and into a thermal exhaust port that lead directly to the Constitution. No plans to reconstruct the document are pending.

: : :


Also confirmed destroyed:

All records of clients of the DC Madame
All IMs and emails between Republican congressmen and underage Congressional staffers
Secret Service records of all people having meetings with the President and Vice President since January 2001
All recorded promises, affirmations, and statements by Democratic Congressional leaders to hold the Administration accountable

: : :


Continuing reports of records stored in the third floor closet and subsequently destroyed also include all records pertaining to:

Pat Tillman
Free Speech zones
Iranian Nuclear Program National Intelligence Estimate
FEMA staged news conferences
New Orleans reconstruction contracts
Administration banning of U.S. meat companies from inspecting all of their meat

: : :


Still more records reported completely destroyed include all items relating to:

Alberto Gonzales’ memory (and "meeting" with Ashcroft in hospital)
De-listed superfund toxic waste dump sites
The original Nixon Tapes
"Missing" Weapons of Mass Destruction from Iraq
Bernard Kerik’s Homeland Security application form
and tragically
Joe Lieberman’s Democratic Party membership card

: : :


Apparently the quantity of records destroyed was a result of a broken water pipe that has been scheduled for repair since 2001. As the sprinkler system was not functioning, the Blackwater employees hired to guard the records could only throw more records onto the flames in an attempt to contain them.

Additional records from a neighboring closet presently unaccounted for that are believed to have been destroyed in the fire now include items related to:

All subpoenas issued by the U.S. Congress to White House employees
Walter Reed facility maintenance
NASA’s evidence of global warming (redacted and sealed by the administration)
Looting of the Native American Trust Fund
Forensic reports from 2001 anthrax attacks against key Democrats and media
Dubai Ports deal
Under-funding of Russian loose nuclear materials security programs
Guidelines for putting American citizens on no-fly and terror watch lists
The Vice President’s red phone that directly connects the Vice-President’s office to the on-air Fox news desk (possibly salvageable)

More details of the devastating fire to come...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

From The Front Lines Of The War On Christmas

Bad Santa !

Ok, I know... I have been pretty grumpy about Christmas, more so every year. In fact, I am a foot-soldier in fake newsman Bill O'Riley's "War On Christmas".
But sometimes things happen that bring me that psuedo-seasonal cheer, and here is a great example:

DANBURY -- A 33-year-old woman was charged with fourth-degree sexual assault Saturday after allegedly groping a man playing Santa Claus at the Danbury Fair mall.
Sandrama Lamy, 33, of Danbury, is charged with fourth-degree sexual assault, according to Danbury Detective Lt. Thomas Michael.
Two messages seeking comment were left on Lamy's answering machine.
Details leading up to the alleged fondling are sketchy.
"I don't know what the deal was. It was just bizarre," the mall Santa told a reporter, referring all other questions about the incident to Cherry Hill Photo, the company that runs the Danbury Fair mall Santa photo setup.
Cherry Hill Photo did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
According to information provided by the Danbury Police Department, officers were dispatched to the mall Saturday at 8:45 p.m.
The mall Santa told police that Lamy touched him inappropriately while sitting on his lap.
"The security officer at the mall said Santa Claus has been sexually assaulted," Michael said.
Lamy was also charged with breach of peace.
"She must have caused a commotion over there," Michael said.
Lamy was released on a promise to appear Jan. 3 in Danbury Superior Court.
Danbury Fair mall spokeswoman Melissa Eigen called the alleged groping "an isolated incident."
"The safety of our guests and employees is a top priority, and we strive to create a safe and enjoyable shopping environment at all our facilities and Danbury Fair specifically,"
Eigen said.
2007 has not been a great year for mall Santas.
Earlier this month in Missoula, Mont., a mall Santa was assaulted with a pumpkin pie.
Meanwhile, a department store Santa in Australia claims he lost his job earlier this month because he said "Ho, ho, ho."
His bosses had asked him to say "Hi, hi, hi."
"Santa Tim" Connaghan is the president of and teaches hundreds of people a year how to be Santas.
He said the Danbury Fair mall incident, if true, is one of kind.
Santas usually have to worry about kids tugging beards and teens throwing pennies from the mall rafters.
"I have been doing this 40 years, and I've never heard of charges being lodged either way -- by a guest against a Santa or a Santa against a guest," Connaghan said.
It isn't unusual for an adult to sit and pose with a picture with a mall Santa.
"I've had some very nice ladies sit on my lap," Connaghan said.
A harmless flirtation isn't out of the norm.
"Once in a while they'll say 'I hope Mrs. Claus isn't going to be upset.' You have to be discreet and kind and say 'Oh no, she'll be OK. You can sit here, but only for one photo.'"

(D.R.)--Back to White Crane Tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

White Crane Series #2

Dr. Yang In '92

Dr. Yang at 60

Here is one of Dojo Rat's favorite masters, Dr. Yang Jwing Ming. Probably nobody in the United States has done more for decoding the mysteries of Chinese arts than Dr. Yang. I must have at least six of his books, and value his Taiji applications and chin na as the best reference material available on the subject. Here he is performing a short form called "Yao Gu", which I believe means "shaking the drum", and here is the author's commentary:
"Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming performs the White Crane sequence Yao Gu. The sequence is meant to train short jing and mixes White Crane with Tiger Claw, a style in which Dr.Yang's master was proficient".
(D.R.) --We'll have to have a follow-up on Dr. Yang in a future post...

Monday, December 17, 2007

White Crane Series

White Crane Hakatsuru

Well, you probably saw this one coming; how can we have last week's Snake series without a Crane series this week?
We open this series with Grahm Moughton demonstrating an Okinawan Crane form. I really like this one, most White Crane stuff is a little more "flowery" and this one has a distinct Okinawan feel. Here is what he says about it:

"Matayoshi ryu is an old school of To-de. Dated to the Crane master Go Ken Ki. What must be remembered there is pre 1940 and post 1940 karate. Post 1900 is the ancient precursor of the modern traditions like the Shitoryu schools, however the modern schools are intrinsincly linked through karate geneology, but the focus on Kata, technique and applications have been re-designed. Many Thanks. Glad you like the form. This form has historical links to Fujihan Ba He (Southern Chinese White Crane)".
(D.R.) --Hence the historical cultural connection between Okinawa and Southern China... Also, the Tai Chi Chuan people out there will notice "Needle to Sea-bottom" in this form.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Those Voices In Your Head...

(D.R.)--There have long been rumors about technology that puts thoughts into peoples heads. This skulldugery is suspected of creating "Manchurian Candidates" as assassins, or for creating a mass psychosis among a large group of people. This could be in the form of a supposed alien invasion, the return of Christ or other strange events designed for social control. Well, now it has hit mainstream advertising:

Voice to Skull Technology in New York
December 12th, 2007

Via: AdAge:

New Yorker Alison Wilson was walking down Prince Street in SoHo last week when she heard a woman’s voice right in her ear asking, “Who’s there? Who’s there?” She looked around to find no one in her immediate surroundings. Then the voice said, “It’s not your imagination.”
Indeed it isn’t. It’s an ad for “Paranormal State,” a ghost-themed series premiering on A&E this week. The billboard uses technology manufactured by Holosonic that transmits an “audio spotlight” from a rooftop speaker so that the sound is contained within your cranium. The technology, ideal for museums and libraries or environments that require a quiet atmosphere for isolated audio slideshows, has rarely been used on such a scale before. For random passersby and residents who have to walk unwittingly through the area where the voice will penetrate their inner peace, it’s another story.
Ms. Wilson, a New York-based stylist, said she expected the voice inside her head to be some type of creative project but could see how others might perceive it differently, particularly on a late-night stroll home. “I might be a little freaked out, and I wouldn’t necessarily think it’s coming from that billboard,” she said.
Joe Pompei, president and founder of Holosonics, said the creepy approach is key to drawing attention to A&E’s show. But, he noted, the technology was designed to avoid adding to noise pollution. “If you really want to annoy a lot of people, a loudspeaker is the best way to do it,” he said. “If you set up a loudspeaker on the top of a building, everybody’s going to hear that noise. But if you’re only directing that sound to a specific viewer, you’re never going to hear a neighbor complaint from street vendors or pedestrians. The whole idea is to spare other people.”
Holosonics has partnered with a cable network once before, when Court TV implemented the technology to promote its “Mystery Whisperer” in the mystery sections of select bookstores. Mr. Pompei said the company also has tested retail deployments in grocery stores with Procter & Gamble and Kraft for customized audio messaging. So a customer, for example, looking to buy laundry detergent could suddenly hear the sound of gurgling water and thus feel compelled to buy Tide as a result of the sonic experience.
Mr. Pompei contends that the technology will take time for consumers to get used to, much like the lights on digital signage and illuminated billboards did when they were first used. The website Gawker posted an item about the billboard last week with the headline “Schizophrenia is the new ad gimmick,” and asked “How soon will it be until in addition to the do-not-call list, we’ll have a ‘do not beam commercial messages into my head’ list?”
“There’s going to be a certain population sensitive to it. But once people see what it does and hear for themselves, they’ll see it’s effective for getting attention,” Mr. Pompei said.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snake Style #6 -- Sam Masich

Another favorite practitioner and hell-of-a nice guy is Sam Masich. Sam has a varied background in Internal Arts but is primarily known for his Yang Tai Chi Chuan. Here he is at work in an Aikido Dojo, demonstrating Changjin, which he calls "long energy", but this is manifested through spiral motions used in Tai Chi Chuan and Bagua. Both arts emulate Snake movements, as you see in his coiling techniques.
The Aikido guys should love this one..

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Snake Style #5 -- Snake On A Mat!

In today's episode of Snake Style, BJJ Black Belt Randy Bloom demonstrates his "Snake Movement Drill". This looks like a good drill to get back to a fighting position when you find yourself in the unfortunate position of flat-on-your-back with some dude pounding on you. One more reason never to take a fight to the ground intentionaly...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snake Style #4 --Takedowns

This is one of my favorites; it's the late Dr. Xie Peiqi demonstrating Snake chin-na with some really cool takedowns. This clearly comes from a Bagua background. The Judo and Aikido guys out there will see the similarities and differences between the techniques of said arts. Also note he is striking pressure points on the side of the neck in one technique.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Snake Style #3 -- Coiling

This may look kinda' odd, but what a great drill! This exercize will be great for learning to aquire locks on the wrist, elbow, shoulder and neck. Wrapping and coiling around the opponent's limbs, much like the snake...
This is from the Tallahasse Shaolin school, maybe some of you Florida Dojo Rats know who they are, Thanks for the drill!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Snake Style #2

In the second installment of our Snake Style series, we see this un-named practitioner in what is called a "Snake fist form, family style". I think it's not a bad form, but this poor guy just gets hammered by armchair pundits on YouTube. Everybody's an expert...
Aside from the obvious finger strikes, there is the coiling motion of the arms, useful in setting up traps and locks. Also, note the "whole arm" swinging in striking/blocking actions. I saw this also in Mike Martello's mantis techniques at the seminar in Seattle. I never realized how much unified body power this motion develops until Martello demonstrated it. The next posts will move beyond forms and will sample specific techniques...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Snake Style #1

Snake preparing to strike

Xiao Yang at Chinese Nationals

Today we begin a study of the movements of the snake as used in martial arts techniques. A powerful figure in mythology, the snake has been widely imitated in it's coiling and fast strikes. The legendary Chang Seng Feng is said to have witnessed a fight between a snake and a crane, and created Tai Chi Chuan from that experiance. There will be another teaser over the weekend, but the really cool stuff will start Monday..

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Temple Guards

Warrior God

Dojo Rat Warrior God

Our fierce Warrior Totem, (A.K.A. Punkin'head) guarding over Rat Land...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Review: Cheng Hsin- The Principles Of Effortless Power

Peter Ralston of Cheng Hsin

Several months back, Dave from “Formosa Neijia” wrote about Peter Ralston, founder of the “Cheng Hsin” martial art system. Cheng Hsin refers to “The true nature of being”. The description was very interesting and I checked out Ralston’s website. Along with Ralston’s description of his martial philosophy, there were several clips of him performing various internal martial arts techniques. Ralston is no slouch, he has a varied background and has successfully competed internationally.
With that in mind, I ordered two of his books: “The Principles Of Effortless Power” and “Cheng Hsin T’ui Shou; The Art Of Effortless Power”.
“The Principles Of Effortless Power” is Ralston’s first book, so I started there. It begins with his martial history, and his journeys in spiritual awakening. These were steeped in the self-realization and encounter-group sessions of the 1970’s. These sessions branded Ralston’s first book with the stigma of new-age thought and explanation.
Ralston seems to be attempting to explain Internal Art principles without using any of the Chinese or Japanese terms and thought patterns. In some cases, he re-labels them. I am no stranger to alternative views and esoteric thinking, but in my opinion, Ralston is trying to re-invent the wheel. While westerners sometimes have difficulty with vague terms such as “Peng” in Tai Chi Chuan for example, there is no real need to eliminate the term or replace it.
I see where he is going with his philosophy, and understand much of it, but I have to say I find him explaining things in a circular fashion at times. For example, I book-marked this paragraph on page 90:
Ralston writes:
“ Since we already give BEING to the perception of what IS (in other words, we acknowledge it’s “beingness”), and to interpretation itself, it is necessary to move our cognition-attention and life force into a position of Being in which this can be recognized as already and actually the case. We can then give being to what is not at present occurring”.
--Whew!… this passage is not an isolated case, and I have to admit that twenty pages later I simply set the book down and moved on to his next one, which I’ve just started. That book, “Cheng Hsin T’iu Shou” shows a greater degree of maturity in his writing. While his sometimes-frustrating philosophy is present in the first part of the book, the second half is all applications that demonstrate what he has been prattling on about philosophically. While I have been on the search for concept books, Ralston’s first attempt is pretzel logic to me. I feel I will get much more out of his application book, which demonstrates many internal art principles. I came away from these books feeling that Ralston may be better as a Guru demonstrating direct transmission of knowledge to students in a Dojo format. His knowledge is deep and he is a skilled martial artist. I’ll be interested if anyone else has read his material, and any comments they have

Saturday, December 1, 2007

December: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month: (and other thoughts)

Ah yes, It's the first of December, it's snowing outside Dojo Rat's shack, and you know what that means--- Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month!
This young lady, third eye bead and all, is the living image of the hippie chick theme. Listen to her idealism, her compassion for humanity and hope for the future. There is no doubt that in this hopelessly screwed up world, we need more people like her. Listen to what she says about "planting the seed" and "cultivating". As I've said before, I believe that as we approach "Peak Oil", there will be a return to an agrarian society. It will probably involve co-op farming built around small communities. During the FIRST great depression, the farmers never went hungry.
I had a young guy come to the Tai Chi Chuan class this week for his first class. He followed us through the form and then watched as we did some push-hands. I saw him the next day and asked him what he thought. He said he loved the push hands, but didn't think he had the patience to learn the form. I said I would never teach anyone push hands if they wouldn't learn the form, so he may as well quit now. This is interesting; some students only want to do the form, usually women or older folks, and some just want to get physical and learn a little self defense. I come from a hard style background, and always integrate self defense into our Tai Chi class. But I have no interest in teaching just one portion of an art like Tai Chi Chuan. I don't think a practitioner can be well-rounded without both form training and self defense. I suggested he find a Karate school instead. If this guy comes back, I'll probably make him just do form training until he can at least demonstrate the first set of the Yang form, and then have a talk with him about push hands.
Bob over at "Striking Thoughts" has given me a sort of sideways challenge: He wants to see me develop a one-handed lock-flow drill while holding a Beer in the other hand...
Bob; I'm already working on it, give me a couple of weeks to set up the video!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Great Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly 1970 Tournament Fight

"Tattoo Connection"

Thanks to Bob over at "Striking Thoughts" for this tip on a 1970 Jim Kelly Karate tournament fight. Kelly was a well-rounded athlete in basketball, football and track and field at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. He went on to study Shorin-Ryu and Okinawa-Te Karate and later opened his own school after winning an international middleweight championship. Kelly is best recognized for his role as "Williams" in Bruce Lee's "Enter The Dragon". He later went on to star in "Black Belt Jones", The Tattoo Connection", "Three The Hard Way" and other films. The guy at THIS BLOG met Kelly recently at a Brew Pub in Huston, and found out Kelly is still getting movie offers, and runs his own Tennis club. It's a good "Where are they now" review, and has a few good pictures.
As far as Kelly's tournament fight above, he has great reach and it's a scrappy fight. I'd like to know who the other fighter is, they are pretty evenly matched and the outcome is unclear.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Tale Of Two Masters

All Along The Watchtower-Jimi Hendrix

Bruce Lee

This is a tale of two masters; both from Seattle and both living there at about the same time. I'm guessing Hendrix was in Paratrooper school when Lee was at college in Seattle. * These Masters share a birthday today *, and these guys were two of the most powerful performers in my lifetime at least!
Hendrick's music shaped part of my young life, and Lee just plain blew me away. Listen to what Bruce Lee is saying, and he uses the Tai Chi Chuan form to demonstrate-- A true classic

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Occult Nature Of Martial Arts

In my nearly thirty-year experience in the martial arts, I have seen some interesting things. Most of them are ordinary, some spectacular. These include mere human feats of incredible jump spin-kicks, power breaking and manipulation of opponents. Sometimes these demonstrations have crossed into states of metaphysical events.
Martial arts often suggest a level of skill beyond the mere physical, and hint at an intangible or esoteric knowledge. This skill is recognized not only as a fighting skill, but also a healing skill.
From the earliest times, Warriors and Occult practitioners, or Shamen have been closely linked. Going to battle was a spiritual event, involving preparation and in some cases, inducing a trance state. The Vikings were known to have taken mind-altering mushrooms before going into battle, hence the term “Berserker” (Berserk). They went nuts and killed things. That warrior cult was also steeped in pagan gods, divination and superstition. They were a warrior culture, yet given the opportunity, they melded with the populations they had just kicked the crap out of and helped build much of Europe.
Other aboriginal cultures across the world have their warrior cultures closely linked to shamanic experiences also. Anyone who has read the Carlos Castenada books with Don Juan the sorcerer have a look into native American Indian culture and warrior spirit. Part of coming of age in warrior cultures has often been linked to taking psychedelic drugs or experiencing extreme hardships under the guidance of elders.
With Japanese martial artists such as Aikido founder Ueshiba, there were cults such as the Shinto O-Moto Kyo, that were based in natural science of every day living, and the older and revered Chinese occult systems. Chinese “Tao” is Japanese “Do”, and the esoteric knowledge of each has the same root. Nearly all cultures revered the sword as a spiritual tool, some bearing generations of blood.
Perhaps no esoteric system is better known than the Chinese five-element theory that governs acupuncture and pressure points. An unknown number of people partake in the healing arts provided by these techniques, yet they are hardly recognized by modern medicine today. Contemporary medicine looks upon Meridian theory as placebo therapy, yet in a martial as well as a healing application, the results are “striking” (pun intended).
The five-element theory is akin to the child’s game of rock-scissors-paper, where there is a healing aspect as well as a destructive nature. Wood feeds fire, fire creates earth, earth produces metal, metal leads to water (somewhat obscure, possibly water witching). The destructive cycle is just the opposite; metal cuts wood, wood penetrates earth, earth dams water, water cools fire, fire shapes metal. While each element relates to a meridian, combinations of strikes in the destructive cycle on meridians can cause knockout and damage. Experts more knowledgeable than me may expand on this.
The point is, there is a lot more to the skills involved in both healing and killing than most martial schools offer. Pressure points, sacred sounds used in ki-ai’s and much more.
From an internet search, there are scores of articles by Christian authors that indicate their fear of these ideas. Too bad for them. They may be missing out on a whole bunch of stuff that was known to the old Christian Gnostics that are abhorrent to modern evangelicals today. For instance, the Knights Templar was a Christian warrior society that found enlightenment in the middle-east, and incorporated it into their Christian rituals. The Templers were a Christian Knight organization that was created to guard passage to the holy lands from Europe. They built their fortress on the Temple mount In Jerusalem, and are said to have found the holiest ancient Gnostic (self enlightened) Christian relics. The Templars, according to author Jim Marrs (“Rule By Secrecy”-Harper-Collins), cut deals with and gained esoteric knowledge from “The Assassins”, the Hashish cult-for-hire in middle age Islam. Speculation is there was much information exchanged. Upon their return to Europe, the Templars used sacred geometry to build the Gothic Cathedrals, celestial navigation, and the first banking system. All this was built on Arab culture, and it revolutionized Europe. They were a Christian martial society, and on Friday the 13th 1307, many of the Templars were rounded up by the church, tortured and disbanded, partly for their esoteric and non-conventional knowledge. The contemporary Catholic Church may be the worlds largest practitioner of ceremonial magic, with the ritual cannibalism of the wafer and wine, or the methods of choosing a Pope.
Then there is the dark side. The Japanese Yakuza and Tong Chinese Mafia have long had blood rites. Secret societies such as Ninja clans developed many black-art techniques, the same techniques that are seen today in drug-induced interrogation, water-bording etc.
In the past, I have written about other cult-like schools. In Portland Oregon, there was a school called “Poekulean” or “A rose with thorns”. This was primarily a woman’s self-defense school, and they had candlelight rituals with knives involved. Now, this was an Indonesian-based school, and such is the nature of those arts, but it freaked a lot of women in Portland out, to the point where a critical article in a weekly paper was written.
I have also witnessed some “No touch knockouts”. I am telling you, these are very controversial, and don’t always work, but when they do, they do. There is an element of the Master-student relationship that is conducive to achieving the no touch knockout. I believe it involves hypnosis similar to that experimented with by Anton Mesmer in early European culture. I have also seen these attempts at knockouts go very bad. Hardened athletes and skeptics are more resistant, suggesting an element of Hypnosis is involved.
There is however, something that does happen. George Dillman’s Ryukyu Kempo group hooked students up to medical recording equipment and performed no touch knockouts on them. The results were startling and cautionary. Over cold drinks after a seminar I discussed this with experts Jack Hogan and Dan McCusky, both who had witnessed Dillman’s experiment. In their opinion, people went out very heavily, and were difficult to recover. They felt there was a tremendous amount of psychic energy involved. This practice can come at the physical expense of the practitioner. One of the men who was knocking people out urinated blood afterward, indicating that it had affected the prenatal Chi residing in his kidneys. Hogan and McCusky hinted that this art was possibly taken further, and commented that “There are some things that people just shouldn’t be doing”.
Most of us practice martial arts for health, self-defense and self-improvement. Just how far down the path we go, and which turns we choose are up to the individual. Through modern methods such as biofeedback and brain imaging, we are now able to see how shamanic practices of the ancients actually work. How they are used is a different story…

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ninja Technique

Here, a young Saudi boy demonstrates a Spiderman/Ninja technique. It's based on what rock climbers call the "chimney", using opposing force to keep you between two walls (as in a chimney). This one is excedingly difficult however, because it is a CORNER, with the walls at 90 degrees rather than opposed. Now, if he just had a sword on his back and a hood, he could drop over a wall on the other side and go into battle!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

November 22nd 1963 - Why Kennedy Still Matters

Forty-four years ago today the United States of America experienced a hostile takeover of our government, perpetrated by industrialists and their henchmen that continue to resurface today.
Researching the assassination of President John F. Kennedy provides a road map to understand how and why corruption is so pervasive in American government today. I was very young on November 22nd 1963, but I remember my parents explaining it to me the day it happened, and later watching TV and seeing Kennedy’s young son saluting his father’s coffin as it passed him in the funeral procession. People have commented that America lost its innocence that day, and the dogged research into the event that followed became the model for understanding later conspiracies. These include the CIA’s importing heroin from Southeast Asia (and cocaine decades later), The deaths of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Watergate and Iran Contra.
This week, a book publisher has released a book authored by President Gerald Ford titled “A Presidential Legacy And The Warren Commission”. Ford was himself a member of the commission, and in the book claims that the CIA covered up evidence relating to the assassination of Kennedy, fueling debate once again on what exactly happened.
The same characters appear again and again. Richard Armitage has long been rumored to have been involved with the CIA heroin smuggling, and recently was involved with the current plot to expose CIA analyst Valerie Plame-Wilson. George Bush senior was apparently photographed at the scene of the Kennedy hit in Dallas,
and is named in FBI documents investigating the assassination.
Bush Senior was also involved in “The October Surprise”, a conspiracy to insure that the American embassy hostages in Iran were not released until Reagan’s inauguration. This was the first treasonous deal the Republicans cut with the Iranians, which led to the later revelations of the Iran-Contra scandal.
Most people now believe that Oswald could not have pulled off the seemingly impossible shots, and a friend once told me that in Marine sniper school they use the Dallas hit as a model of a perfect triangulated fire pattern, or how to set up an ambush with multiple shooters.
All this matters because it keeps happening. We clearly had a coup in the stolen 2000 election, and Colin Powell claims he was lied to about the mythical Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Presidential spokesman Scott McClellen now says he was lied to about Bush, Cheney and Rove's involvement in blowing Valerie Wilson’s CIA cover, and bringing down the analyst division she worked in.
The tragedy of 911 is the Kennedy assassination of our modern era. I highly recommend people check out “The coincidence theorist’s guide to 911”, and go to the numerous links provided in this un-nerving essay.
Much like the Kennedy hit, we may never understand just what happened on 911, but one thing is for sure- the Bush-Cheney cabal is not even close to telling the truth.
It’s been forty-four years since Kennedy died, and evidence like the new Gerald Ford book continues to surface. I expect that as the years go by, we will see more leaks and testimony dribble out regarding 911.
That’s why Kennedy still matters…

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dojo Rat Blog Is One-Year Old !

Hey! Dojo Rat Blog is one year old this week!
Ah... the Beer will flow tonight!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Old School # 8: Tae Kwon Do in 1956

Ah yes, 1956... Dojo Rat was still a glimmer in his Dad's eye...
This one will take us old TKD Rats back to the good old days, Hands held high in sparring- the opponent's head being a punching bag as well as a kickball. This demonstration appears to be partly a military function, showing the importance of hand-to-hand combat training in the armed forces. This training was carried into the Vietnam conflict, where my Korean master, Mr. Choi and countless other Korean fighters trained US special forces. Journalist P.J. O'Rourke called the Koreans "The Irish of Asia", suggesting their passion for drinking and fighting.
And check out the breaking-- anyone who has ever trained in a traditional Korean system knows that power breaks are at least 25% of rank promotion testing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Old School # 7: Mas Oyama And Tae Kwon Do

These next video's are for all the Tae Kwon Do guys and gals out there. This clip is from 1967, and has legendary "Bull Killer" Mas Oyama, the founder of hardcore Kyukushin-kai Karate giving a lesson to sone TKD guys. This one is especially for Master C.C. Pieschala, who writes comments in this blog frequently. And now, you've followed his antics, you've read his wild and whacky comments in Dojo Rat, Master Pieschala is involved in some kind of smart-guy egghead internet project that is about three I.Q. levels above me. Here's the link... Maybe the smart guys like Bob at "Striking Thoughts" will understand it better than me!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Old School #6: In Which David Bowie Gets A Karate Lesson

Man, it just gets better and better!
Here is a clip from the Dinah Shore Show in 1975. I don't know who the instructor is, but you gotta love the 'Fro! Maybe somebody out there will recognize him. David Bowie clearly is a little shook up at being "manhandled" by somebody that isn't a Glam Rocker Heroin addict.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Old School # 5: Shotokan Karate

Hands held low, Spirit held High...
Now here is some more serious 1960's Karate. As has been stated, some of this old stuff is somewhat lame, but these guys and gals at least show great spirit. I can't believe any fighting school ever allowed the low hand posture, leaving head shots wide open. What's up with that??? One would think that western boxing would have taught them a lesson by then. Ah, it seems to have finally caught on, the hands are held higher (except in Olympic Tae Kwon Do), and fighters protect themselves better.

Old School #4: Savate

Ah-Hahahaha! Argh! Oh-my-god this is funny. From yesterday's video of the superb (Sword catching) to today's video of the absurd. Here we see a Gentlemen's demonstration of Savate, from 1934. It looks like "Pretty Pierre" has an edge over "Battling" Gaston. As crappy as this demo is, French streetfighting of the era was very nasty, employing razors, canes and the like.
For a more efficiant display of Savate, check out this link to "Boot To The Head", and the California Savate Association. They have a great video clip of a California Savate fighter knocking out a Muay Thai fighter in the first round!
D.R. (edit)-- How could I forget; "The French, they are so strange to meet - They "F" with their tongues and fight with their feet"!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Old School Karate #3: Sword vs. Bare Hand

Now this clip is bad-ass... it's from a movie called "Fighting Black Kings". The documentary is about an American team that goes to fight at the first annual international Kyukushin-kai full-contact tournament in Japan. Great video if you can find it.
My Korean master,Tae Hong Choi, would lead us in demonstrations at festivals where we would demonstrate breaking and sparring in front of Thousands of people. Near the end, he would demonstrate combat Hapkido and disarm a swordsman. Lots of similar techniques, but I never saw him catch a sword...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Old School Series #2: Karate Comes To Belgium

This is too funny. From the "frightening" Ki-ai's at the begining to the amazing feat of breaking a single board, These guys and gals are Kickin' it "Old School". There's even some jazzy music to make it even cooler. At one point, the instructor smacks a woman student in the face with a palm strike, and she goes down. And check out the Flying side kicks to a kneeling opponent! We have to realize how far the combat arts have come in terms of practicality and effectiveness, but this is fairly representitive of Karate in the 1960's. The screen shots go still for a second between scenes, so stick with it. Perhaps our fellow Dojo Rats in Belgium can translate the highlights!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kickin' It Old School: Karate

This week we look at old Karate stuff from the 1960's. Most of these are older than a lot of you Dojo Rats out there, but some of it is downright funny and it takes us back to our roots.
Today we start with an old TV commercial I remember as a kid; "Hai Karate". It may be my warped sense of humor but it's just as funny today as it was then...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dojo Rats Are Everywhere!

They're everywhere... basements, old buildings, garages, out in the woods. They're Dojo Rats! They scurry about in their unkempt ways, just below the radar and out of the public eye-- but boy, can they scratch and bite! And they generally have a ton of fun while they go about their business, their strength in the casual disarray of their activities.
I picked this video of Bobbe Edmonds for these reasons. These Dojo Rats are working on serious training in an informal setting, music in the background, and I'll bet there's a cooler of beer there somewhere.
Edmonds may just out-Dojo Rat me even. His website, "Thick As Thieves" -Lost In Space, Drunk As A Skunk--is hilarious. Here he describes his website:
"I am, in no particular order, an IT professional, a martial arts instructor, a beer connoisseur, and afflicted with Yellow Fever (i.e. I love Asian Chicks). This blog consists of Martial Arts, Sci Fi/Horror, Political Rants, Humor and the occasional DEEP THOUGHT. You will need a background in Lovecraft, Chili Peppers, MST3K, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Kung Fu Fighting and Disco Music to understand what I’m doing here. And even then you will probably leave with your head spinning like that chick from the Exorcist."
The guy is a talented martial artist and is pretty damned funny also. On the video's I reviewed, his crew goes through some serious training, and has a blast doing it.
Go on over and check out Edmond's site: "Thick As Thieves", it's well worth the visit.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New Member Merging!

Hey! Time to become an ARGONAUT!
Argos Classic Martial Arts Reprints is joining us at the "Convocation of Combat Arts Forum"
Check out all the funky old martial arts stuff at Argos, and the Combat Arts Forum, both highlighted above!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wing Chun vs. Northern Mantis

On the heels of my post suggesting that some Wing Chun guys appear to carry their center fairly high in body structure, I found this training fight. These guys are pretty evenly matched, and while this sparring session appears to go by tournament rules (no elbows, knees, kicks to the legs), it's still pretty good. The Mantis guy carries his center low, testing my theory, but the Wing Chun guy consistantly maintains positional superiority. The grappling clinches could be cleaner but they do occur, reminding us that while hitting closes the gap - grappling is inevitable. It does seem to me that there is a lot of energy wasted on high kicks, and some of the hallmarks of Wing Chun we have viewed in past posts (such as trapping skills) are not present.
Martial Development sent me a note to check out "Why Wing Chun punches never miss", which outlines some of his Wing Chun strategy, with some ideas about chain punching, positioning and timing.
As always, I appreciate everyone's input. While we have incorporated Chi Sao into our push-hands play, my working knowledge of Wing Chun is somewhat limited, so thanks for the tips!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Weakness In Wing Chun?

Eddie Chong on Rollback/Armbreak

Glen Hairston Rollback/arm break

Sam Masich Rollback/bar/break

I'd like to be clear about this, because these comparisons are general in nature and we are talking about differences between striking and grappling arts.
With that said, I believe that Wing Chun players tend to carry their center very high in their body structure. This may be because of the close range hitting and play of Chi Sao (sticky hands), and "climbing" over the other guys guard. This combined with off-angle hitting tends to pull the center up with rapid punching power mostly generated from the shoulders. At a Wing Chun seminar, my friend was paired up with a very muscular guy with fast hands. In Chi Sao, my friend could not defeat his hitting, so he began up-rooting him with the Tai Chi Chuan push, and the guy couldn't maintain his root to continue hitting. Now, this is all very general but I think it points out a weakness in Wing Chun.
Take a look at this video of Nathan from TDA Training (guest posting at Mokuren Dojo). In Western boxing, the boxer ROOTS down into the hit, maintaining his connection to the ground. Many times in Wing Chun, I see the person hitting nearly up on his toes, at least on one foot. Additionally, Wing Chun's strength, adherance to toe-to-toe centerline concepts, may also limit mobility in neutralization. Compare Eddie Chong's arm bar/break to the others to see what I mean.
All-in-all, I see Wing Chun as powerful and effective, and some of these comparison's may be off-base. I am fascinated by the hand trapping, and will continue to explore these ideas.
*(Edit.) Upon edit, I see I posted Nathan's hook punch video earlier, so I found the boxing video HERE. Note that even when Nathan lifts his heel in the cross, hook or uppercut, he is driving down into the ground to develop power. This produces different energy than Wing Chun "chain" punching.

Friday, November 2, 2007

November: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month-- And Special Feature: Defense for "The Arm Trap"

Our Local Girls

Defense For "The Arm Trap"

Yes, It's here! November's "Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month" features some local girls. These are the Friday night Beer-tenders at the watering hole on our remote undisclosed Island hideout. They tirelessly pour Beer after Beer for the thirsty Dojo Rats, and generally put up with all our crap with a smile. What a team!
--And the special feature in our series on Wing-Chun trapping techniques is: Defense For The Arm Trap... enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Natural Neutralization

Let's change the focus of this series a bit; This video shows "Natural Neutralization" rather than trapping techniques. In this case, you keep the structure of your "bridge" extended and merely join with the incoming force and turn your centerline. Here's what the author of the video ("Hgamer") has to say:

"About This Video
This took place at windy city's wing chun 5th annual seminar. I take no credit at all, as my Sifu just showed some superior blocking skills. If you know what to look for you can see tons of different concepts being applied. The 1st thing to notice is that a skilled practioner really just blocks the majority of the time, the unskilled, tries to cover that up by simply blizting the attack. Its very common in the wing chun world for many to do that.
Also, what how blocks come about, its not done by the hand but by the body. You can visually see this since sifu's center stays consistent throughout, and simply turns in conjunction with the amount of force, while the hands don't chase out which is a common no no in wing chun. Let the attacks come to your house, and the closer they are the safer it is for you. All to often, people will shoot out their hands trying to reach out to block.
Blocking is a simple concept but difficult to do, know the person's centerline, have your triangle constantly point to that indivudals center line, and go with the force. While there are many more concepts involved these are the general three which one must follow to develop superior blocking skills.
Finally in some glimpses you see freezing out motions, where you can literally lock out your opponents motions, by simply holding your structure and techincally freezing his hand motion. All to often wing chun is confused with the concept of sticky hands. Sticky hands is not about sticking to people, its making people stick to you. Out in the street, people will not do sticky hands in a real fight, what your developing is the ability so that people will stick to your hands. In a simple concept imagine your hands as blades, if you position your blades in the right angle, whatever touches it will cut into it, thus forcing that individual to stick."

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hand Trapping Series #4

Here's a little different approach, Jeet Kune Do from Lopez Kali-Silat. Sometimes Wing Chun has the apperance of the opponent being "pecked to death by ducks", with multiple short range punches. In this example, far less traditional, heavy boxing hits are used in the early part of the video, and the best hand trapping sequence begins in the second half of the video.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hand Trapping Series #3

Grant Mathers

Edmonds on "Threading"

The first video in today's series shows Australian Grant Mathers demonstrating a simple, straightfoward trapping technique. Easy to see.
In the second video we see again see Edmonds demonstrating a more complex trap called "threading". Now the action is in very close, at grappling range. We have to remember, the trap need only be for a brief moment so that a hit can take place. This type of trap is NOT a joint immobilization for control, just an opportunity to hit. For the people out there that practice Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan, there is a move at the end of the first set, right after "parry and punch" that represents "threading". Some schools call it "serpent slides back", but after "parry and punch" the left "parry" hand sweeps under the punching arm right before the "push". This is also a version of "threading", and live drills like this point out the application in an otherwise obscure movement.
(edit.) Ah, and not to overlook the "Fan Jang" arm sweep in Bagua, I believe there is some "threading" going on there also!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Hand Trapping Series #2

Today we open up the hand trapping series with a guy named Bobbe Edmonds demonstrating a "gate trapping" technique. This one involves rolling the elbow over the opponents arm. What intrests me is that we have used this elbow roll (Sorry, I'm not up on wing chun terminology) but it was generally with a backfist strike instead of a trap. Here he traps both of the opponent's arms and then with a slight variation, locks one arm against the other. Nice...
And you gotta love the informal setting, in an unfinished garage--Very Dojo Rat!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Series on Hand Trapping

I think this may be the first Bruce Lee video I have posted. This will be the start of a series on hand trapping. It's interesting how our personal fighting styles evolve. When I was a wrestler, every fight went to the ground. Then in Tae Kwon Do, it was all about kicking. My hand techniques were limited to big power-strokes for brick and board breaking. Then came Kenpo, and the western boxing drills. Lots of hitting replaced the high kicks. Now, with Tai Chi Chuan and related arts, I am hooked on sticking and close-in manipulation.
Let's start with this ANCIENT video of the late great Bruce Lee. This must be from the mid-sixties, when young Dojo Rat was getting his first black eyes and bloody noses. Check out Lee's wide traditional stance. I'm quite sure he changed it to a more nimble and narrower stance later. The video is grainy and sometimes difficult to see, but it shows the young master at work. It's 7+ minutes long, with black screen between shots, so stick with it.
Much more on hand trapping all next week!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Real Test For Kicking Skills

Jail Fight

Now, most of us hope not to be caught in this situation, (at least not again..) but let's say what if...
How do you defend yourself until the guard comes in to seperate you from the attackers?
Do you:
1. Put your back to the corner so you only defend your front side?, or-
2. Agressively take the fight to the crowd?
What weapons do you have?
1. Kicking (as shown)
2. Knee strikes
3. Shoulder/hip slams
4. Head-butts
5. Sweeps (more difficult with handcuffs)
6. Other?
--My favorite kicks are knee level, they can do serious damage. Knee strikes to the gallbladder meridian on the outside of the thigh can drop a guy.
--It seems like getting close will neutralize the kicks coming in, bringing you into hip/shoulder/knee and head-butt range.
--You'd better hope the guard comes in, 'cause you can't fight these odds forever...

(edit.) Note that "The Suit" says "in this state if you kick with a covered foot, it's a deadly weapon"...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Martial Development: Great Post

For those that read my previous post on "High Crimes", and are either freaked out, pissed off or unsure of where our country is headed, you should check out this excellent post at Martial Development: "Inside Every Martial Artist Is A Dangerous Criminal".

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Charlton Heston as -Progressive?

Soylent Green

The Omega Man

Planet Of The Apes

So the last Dojo Rat post was probably a little too much for some folks, let's all ease back into martial arts slowly-- by having a little movie time together!
For us old guys that grew up in the '60's, these movies were as big as "Woodstock".
Everyone pictures Charlton Heston, who played "Moses" and represents the National Rifle Assiciation, as a true "conservative". But as we peel back the first layer of Heston and look deeper, we see he has co-operated on many very progressive movies.
-- "Soylent Green"; --Al Gore's global warning has come true. Remember, this movie was made in 1968. The Earth is dying, and the secret is that the main source of protein is from dead people. Just like "Mad Cow Disease" (Cows eating cows). the Earth is doomed. Not exactly a "conservative" perspective.
--"The Omega Man"-- Here, Heston is a lone scientist pitted against anti-science (Bush administration type) zombies that are pissed-off because other scientists created biological warfare. They hunt each other down, as Heston has what may be the first-ever hot inter-racial love affair on screen--(remember, 1968). Lots of action, this may be my favorite.
--"Planet Of The Apes"-- Well, this one almost doesn't need explaining. This is a complete role reversal. The Apes are in control, and the Gorillas are War-like, not the same as the Orangatans. Humans are the beasts. Once again, in the end we are reminded that long ago, the earth was destroyed by humans. Now the Apes are in control.
I believe that Charlton Heston represents, through these films, that there is common ground regarding saving the Earth, balencing racial harmony and the value of self-defense and weapon use. These films made people aware of environmental degradation, resolving racial disparity, and the potential end of civilization.
If you are too young to have seen any of these, check them out. I would recomend starting with "Soylent Green", which may be the most powerful of all three.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

High Crimes

Every now and then, The Dojo Rat is compelled to take a left turn away from Martial Arts and explore the dark world of Political Arts.
I believe it was Plato who said “You may not be interested in politics, but politics is interested in you”. That statement has never been truer than today, where the big ear in the sky we call the National Security Agency vacuums up every spoken telecommunication and keystroke we make.
Now you might say: “But Dojo Rat; President Cheney has instructed us that everything has changed since the attacks on 9-11”.
Ah, but no… everything changed BEFORE 9-11… Check out this piece, C/O the Seattle Times, 10-13-07:
By Ellen Nakashima and Dan Eggen
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Former Qwest Communications International Chief Executive Joseph Nacchio said the National Security Agency (NSA) approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11 attacks about an unidentified NSA program, according to court documents unsealed this week. Nacchio, who is appealing a conviction for insider trading, also said the government withdrew a $200 million contract after Qwest refused to participate in an NSA program the company's top lawyer said was illegal.
Details about the alleged NSA program have been removed from the documents, but Nacchio's lawyer said last year that the NSA had approached the company about participating in a warrantless-surveillance program to gather information about Americans' phone records. Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon.

--(D.R.) So, Nacchio claims that after Qwest, the ONLY telecommunications company that refused to go along with the ILLEGAL wiretap scheme BEFORE 9-11, the government came after him Soviet-style on a trumped-up insider trading deal.
-- And let’s not overlook this little item: The Cheney “Energy Task Force” had plans on the table to “Carve up” Iraq’s oil resources before 9-11 also!

Documents turned over in the summer of 2003 by the Commerce Department as a result of the Sierra Club’s and Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, concerning the activities of the Cheney Energy Task Force, contain a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects, and “Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts.” The documents, dated March 2001, also feature maps of Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates oilfields, pipelines, refineries and tanker terminals. There are supporting charts with details of the major oil and gas development projects in each country that provide information on the project’s costs, capacity, oil company and status or completion date.
Documented plans of occupation and exploitation predating September 11 confirm heightened suspicion that U.S. policy is driven by the dictates of the energy industry. According to Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, “These documents show the importance of the Energy Task Force and why its operations should be open to the public.”

--(D.R.)And oil just hit $90 a barrel yesterday. Of course, none of this would come to fruition without “A new Pearl Harbor”. Here is a summary of the neo-conservative “Project For A New American Century” game plan:

The 90-page PNAC document from September 2000 says: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”
“Even should Saddam pass from the scene,” the plan says U.S. military bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain, despite domestic opposition in the Gulf states to the permanent stationing of U.S. troops. Iran, it says, “may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests as Iraq has.”
A “core mission” for the transformed U.S. military is to “fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars,” according to the PNAC.
The strategic “transformation” of the U.S. military into an imperialistic force of global domination would require a huge increase in defense spending to “a minimum level of 3.5 to 3.8 percent of gross domestic product, adding $15 billion to $20 billion to total defense spending annually,” the PNAC plan said.
“The process of transformation,” the plan said, “is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event—like a new Pearl Harbor.”

--(D.R.) And I’m not even going to get started on the events on 9-11, the “New Pearl Harbor”.
In plain English, what we have here is evidence of “High Crimes”. The game plan for a permanent military occupation of the Middle East oil fields (and subsequent lies that led us to war), the Cheney Energy Task Force carving up the oilfields, and the illegal wiretapping of Americans (for political reasons) All BEFORE 9-11.
This is the most arrogant, Imperial, unconstitutional administration in American history. The likes of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld have been planning this power grab since they served the Nixon and Ford administrations.
And you say “Dojo Rat, aren’t you afraid of getting on some government list”?
Well, I’m already on that "list". We shouldn’t even have “lists”.
I saw a great bumper sticker the other day: “Impeachment: it’s not just for blowjobs anymore”.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Basic Body Work

Here's an example of the type of basic drills Mike teaches. These help us learn about "whole body power"
There are applications towards the end of the video.
The seminar I attended was billed as Mike's only trip to the U.S. for this year, he now lives and teaches in Belgium, and his website is HERE

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mike Martello In Action

Chin Na

Bagua Class

These are two of my favorite Mike Martello videos. I put these together because of the contrast they provide for the type of training that Mike packs into his classes. The first video shows the power he can generate, despite his small size. Notice the whole-body motion, the use he makes out of waist turning, swinging his arms in a full range of motion to strike, check or set up locks. His joint locking employs much more circular and spiral motion in the set-ups than what we have been practicing at our Dojo.
The second video is of a Bagua class, and it clearly shows supple, loose yet structured body movement. Here Mike teaches Xiao Kai Men, a linear Bagua form. We did not practice this entire form at the seminar I attended, but used select pieces of it in solo and partner application. Notice the "coiling snake" stepping pattern at 3:42 in the video. This is the stepping pattern I have been dying to learn for a year now, and we went over it for quite a bit at the seminar. Not only is it a beautiful pattern, stepping and coiling, but it has a great application for countering a wrist lock. Lots of "drilling", as in rotational extension, and expanding of the joints. Just fantastic stuff, I absolutely love it...

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Mike Martello Seminar

Ah yes, the Dojo Rat has made it back from the mean streets of Seattle and a fantastic seminar on Internal Martial Arts with Mike Martello.
The best seminars are always packed full of information and action. This one filled my brain to the overflowing point. I honestly learned more in two days with Mike and the crew than in six months of regular training.
Generously hosted by Jake Burroughs of “Three Harmonies Chinese Martial Arts Center”, the two days I attended was the tail end of a week long intensive with Martello spanning both weekends. Attendance was strong with people traveling from as far away as Texas and Southern California.
Let me begin by saying that Mike Martello is the absolute BEST instructor in the mechanics of body movement I have ever been to. At somewhere around 5’2” tall, Mike has not been able to rely on out-muscling larger opponents. Therefore, through the gifted instruction of his teachers, he has learned the physics of how to get the most out of rooting, waist rotation and whole-body movement. Not only can he demonstrate this, he is able to transmit this knowledge directly to students through clear principles and plain language. In two days I did not hear the word “Chi” mentioned once.
Much of Mike’s movement is based on the power of relaxation, momentum and isolating body parts while maintaining proper structure. We have all heard this, read this, but it is difficult to experience it. Through simple drills, Mike was able to help us identify where we are holding tension in our bodies.
While the session I attended was billed as “Soft principles of Mantis Boxing”, many of the drills were common to Taiji and Bagua. We practiced a push-hands pattern that I have not seen in the Yang or Chen Taiji styles, and worked on a “Coiling Snake Bagua” stepping pattern that I have been dying to learn for over a year now. I couldn’t get the smile off my face!
There was quite a bit of Chin Na joint manipulation, which as was pointed out to me are much more subtle than the joint-lock-flows we have been practicing at our Dojo. Mike had valuable suggestions about how to round them out with more circular and spiral movement, and how to capture the opponent’s center in a relaxed, loose yet structured way. Both the Chin Na and throwing techniques were not employed from static grabs, but from capturing the opponent’s hand or arm in a punching sequence.
One of the most significant things I came away with was the intrinsic energy of expanding all of the joints of the body, not only in fighting application, but to “nourish” the joints and ensure health through flexibility in old age—something us older Dojo Rats have to continually work on. Mike Martello’s seminar left me with dozens of new exercises and drills that I intend to share with our Dojo, each one meshing perfectly with what I currently practice and can improve on.
As always, Jake Burroughs was a terrific host for the seminar, and I look forward to attending more training sessions with Jake and his crew in the future.

Jake Burroughs of “Three Harmonies Chinese Martial Arts Center” can be contacted in Seattle at (206) 941-3232, and his website is

Coming up: The best of the Mike Martello videos

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hanging Out A New Shingle; And Heading To A Seminar

Old Tai Chi Sign

New Tai Chi Sign

I may be a martial artist, but I'm no graphic artist.
On Monday and Wednesday nights the Dojo Rats at Shima Dojo practice our fusion of Kenpo, Small-Circle Jujitsu, Boxing, Aikido and-- more than ever, the Chinese internal arts. There is a great deal of farting, sweating, swearing and of course beer drinking towards the end. Therefore, it is a closed program, invitation only.
On Thursday nights, the general public is invited for Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan and push-hands. Things are a little more civil.
But back to the sign; I hand painted a semi-crappy sign for the Tai Chi Chuan class that has been up for quite a while now. For our wedding anniversary, my wife and a couple of friends made this really nice sign, machine engraved, hand painted and very custom.
One year for our anniversary, I gave my wife a woven-willow trapper's backpack. We called that "The Wicker Year". Then she gave me a nice tree-pruning ladder. That was "The Aluminum Year". So I guess this is "The Cedar-Plank Sign Year".
-- On another note, I'm off to the mean streets of Seattle for a Seminar with Internal Arts expert Mike Martello, and I'm very excited. The seminar will be hosted by Jake Burroughs and Mike will be teaching "The 12 Soft Principles of Mantis" Kung Fu. A full report will follow when I return.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Boris Learns About Submission Ground-Fighting

Parked at number #58 on page two of Toplist is one of my favorite Blogs, Uchi Deshi, which can be found HERE.
Uchi Deshi is a diary of the drama, deeds and mis-deeds of a group of traditional Aikido students at a live-in Dojo near a beach in California. Richard and the other senior students attempt to ride herd on both dedicated, sincere students and a handful of slackers while striving for perfection in Aikido. Problems often occur while trying to explain to their very traditional Sensei why they are brewing beer in their rooms, or how a bucket of cold water has become the alarm clock for lazy students who sleep in rather than attend classes.
Here is a short, edited version of what happened to one of the students, Boris:
From Uchi Deshi:
Boris was a deshi for almost 4 years. He moved in as a beginner and got his shodan (black belt) with Ryan. As he advanced in Aikido, however, Boris became increasingly interested in jujitsu, and began taking jujitsu classes while still a deshi. As uchi deshis, we are supposed to concentrate on learning the Aikido of Morihiro Saito Sensei, as taught by Sensei. Because we are focusing on Aikido, we aren’t supposed to study other martial arts while living at the dojo.
Girl Dylan, who was then Sempai (senior) Uchi Deshi, told Boris that Sensei would be angry if she learned that he was studying jujitsu and practicing it at the dojo. Boris replied that he would take his chances, and Boris and Natasha, his erstwhile girlfriend who was also a deshi at the time, continued their study of jujitsu at a nearby Aikido dojo.
Sensei learned of the situation while watching television one day. She saw a commercial for another dojo, which prominently featured Boris and Natasha doing jujitsu. Dylan had accurately predicted Sensei’s reaction. Sensei expressed her feelings on the matter in no uncertain terms. Boris, characteristically, questioned the rule prohibiting the study of other martial arts, but Sensei made it clear that if he wanted to study jujitsu, he would have to leave the dojo.
Boris curtailed his jujitsu studies and stayed at the dojo.
After years of studying Aikido, the Art of Harmony, Boris somehow developed an interest in Ultimate Fighting. He was soon determined to become a cage fighter. Boris eventually left the dojo and moved to Arkansas, where his family lived, and studied Muay Thai in order to round out his combat skills. Boris entered a competition and proudly reported that he was knocked out in the first round.
After a year in Arkansas, Boris drove back to California. Boris’s intitial plan was to stay at the dojo for a month while he looked for a job and an apartment.
On his first night back, Boris got drunk and backed his car into a utility pole. On his 2d night back, Boris got drunk and was banned forever from Justino’s bar. On his 3d night back, Boris got drunk and got in a fight with some local thugs. He came home with a black eye and a fat lip.
Aikido teaches defense against multiple attackers, but Boris preferred to use his new jujitsu skills to take one of his assailants to the ground. When I asked about his fat lip, Boris explained that he could have submitted his attacker, but the remaining thugs beat him up first.

(D.R.)- I've been telling Richard that they could have a hit as a reality T.V. show with material like this.
Boris has demonstrated the problem with relying on ground or submission fighting that I have been rattling on about for some time now. Look, I was a pretty good wrestler in school. Most of my fights then went to the ground, but in today's world there are too many variables. The risk of getting your head kicked in by a third party while you are working on an armbar is a definite possibility. Worse yet, knives could be involved. Boris was lucky. He was just playing with drunks. There are some very, very mean and serious people out there that could have hurt him far worse.
Go on over to Uchi Deshi, and read about the adventures and mis-adventures of a group of dedicated, live-in traditional Aikido students!