Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Joint Lock Drill

This is a drill from the Small-Circle Jujitsu system, it's a lot of fun and great for hand-eye coordination. The idea is to use the hand pattern, which is originally out of the Escrima/Arnis stick fighting patterns- to help us learn to seize joint locks while actively moving. Feel free to experiment with a wide variety of techniques, usually one partner will do a move, then the other. Try to keep the pattern consistant and work moving foward, back, circling, at different heights etc.
We did this one at the start of practice, and were not quite warmed up. If you watch, you will see me screw up a couple of techniques. This is the valuable part of this lesson: keep moving if you screw up, control the distance, stay on the attack.
I believe this kind of "Live Drill" is so much more useful than all the Karate "One-Step Sparring" we did in the past.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Hat Trick

Yes folks, our old buddy Sa Bum Nim Pieschala has informed us that he scored this neat-o hidden weapon: a hat with a blackjack built into it.
It appears versatile and potentially dangerous, and I think you could take it just about anywhere.
But I had a good idea; maybe we can all come up with tests for him to perform with the Hat/jack-- for instance:
- How many Beer bottles can you line up and break the tops off of with the hat? Or,
- While wearing the hat, can you head-butt through a sheet of 1/2 inch plywood?

So, if our readers can come up with more hat tricks, we'll try to talk Piesch into doing a demo video! Send your ideas to the comment section, I'm sure he will be reading!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Don't Bring A Sword To A Gunfight

(CBS/ AP) Clifton police say they arrested two men dressed liked ninjas and armed with Asian martial arts weapons who said they were sending a warning to drug users.
Calling themselves "Shinobi warriors," the men wore black SWAT-type vests and carried knives, throwing stars, swords, nunchucks and a bow and arrows.
Twenty-year-old Tadeusz Tertkiewicz and 19-year-old Jesse Trojaniak are charged with weapons possession. Tertkiewicz is also charged with harassment for a letter left for an ex-girlfriend.
After being arrested early Wednesday in a car on Route 46, the men said they were delivering warning letters to drug dealers and drug users urging them to stop their "impure" activities.
Their weapons, Detective Capt. Robert Rowan told The Bergen County Record, were to be a precaution in case they were confronted by the drug dealers.
The officers who arrested the men found the letters in five envelopes decorated with red Chinese designs, The Record reports.
Reports show the two men had already delivered one such letter to Tertkiewicz’ 16-year-old ex-girlfriend in Clifton. Police contacted the teen and her mother and alerted them to the situation.
The letters warned drug users and drug dealers that the “Shinobi will stop your cruel and sadistic intentions with justified yet, merciful force.”
In the letter, the two men accused drug dealers and users of having “committed sin of passing impurity” to others and that the “wind guides us to those of impure heart and intent.”
“Their intentions may have been good, but we tell everyone that they shouldn’t take the law into their own hands because it will cause more problems for everyone in the longrun,” Rowan said.
Trojaniak's father tells The Associated Press his son is "not a maniac" and was only trying to help a friend.

(D.R.)- Bow and Arrows? Come on!
They're lucky they weren't shot by some pissed-off crackhead.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jedi Squirrel

So the other day I'm working at this huge estate, using a gas-powered leaf blower. I was blowing debris through a short split-rail fence over the edge of a hundred-foot cliff that leads down to the water. Earlier, I had noticed some squirrels running around gathering Fir Tree cones for the little seeds that would be their winter food.
As I'm working my way along the edge of the cliff, I noticed a squirrel sneaking up behind me on the rail fence, despite all the noise, blowing debris and my presence. At first glance I thought it was holding a Fir cone in it's mouth, so I decided to turn the blower off and let it run by. The squirrel took another second to roll up it's bundle into a tight grasp in it's teeth, and then ran by me. That's when I could see it was carrying a baby squirrel, which was not that small any more. With her baby in her teeth, she lept off the cliff and caught the branch of some tree clinging to the steep rock face. I watched as she came back two more times and repeated the amazing leap, carrying her little guys from a hole in a rock wall, across the rail fence and diving over the cliff to the tree branch.
It reminded me of how hard these little animals work; life for them is non-stop food gathering, and mating.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

And You Think You Have A Rough Neighborhood...

It appears that Georgians aren't the only ones feeling the bite of an angry Bear; there have been three Bear maulings within the city of Anchorage this summer. From this and other recent reports, the people who were mauled suffered bites to the head and neck, with crushed trachea and puntured lungs. The same seems to go for Cougar attacks I have read about, suggesting the animals are clearly attempting to kill.
Now, this is frightening stuff, but what better target than a female jogger alone on a trail? This kind of stuff will continue to happen as people move closer to the deep woods, and people should assess their risks and procede with caution. It's not the Bears fault.
**But how would you handle such an attack? Here is how one young guy reacted:
"Some people say humans are to blame for the confrontations and insist that no bears should be killed because of the attacks.
On the other side is a growing chorus of people like Devon Rees, who want something done about the big bruins.
"It is pretty much unsafe to walk around at night," he said.
On one recent evening, Rees heard splashing in the creek near his Eagle River home and assumed it was salmon. Seconds later, however, a bear rushed at him from the woods and knocked him to the ground.
"I wasn't going to lay down and take it. The bear came and tried to fight me," said Rees, 18, who works in a meat store. "I started punching it in the head, kicking it and elbowing it ... I was boxing him using one arm to defend, one arm to strike."
(D.R.)-Now with this in mind, I would suggest an agile, mobile striking system would be preferable than trying to get the Bear to submit in an armbar or choke...
--LINK to the rest of the article
--Previous Bear attack from 2007

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Re-thinking Cheng Hsin, Part Two

Peter Ralston In Push/Uproot

Back in June I wrote my first post on "Re-thinking Cheng Hsin", the ecclectic martial art of Peter Ralston. Cheng Hsin, which is defined by Ralston as "The true nature of being" is a study of internal arts drawn from Ralston's highly-qualified martial background (Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua, Aikido and Boxing). More than that alone, it is precieved to be a deeply introspective art, with elements of self-discovery Ralston and others explored in encounter groups that guided Ralstons early spiritual development. After my previous post, one of Ralston's students wrote me to describe the powerfully emotional release he experianced in the discussion portion of Ralston's seminar.
While this experiantial element of Cheng Hsin may be a desireable goal to achieve, it is one of the aspects of Cheng Hsin that can simply not be learned from a book.
I have previously described Ralston's first book, "The Principles Of Effortless Power" as a tough patch to weed, with Ralston seemingly trying to re-invent the wheel at times. Not so with his second book, "Cheng Hsin T'ui Shou: The Art Of Effortless Power". In this book, Ralstons writing is much clearer and there are many, many techniques that demonstrate the physical art of Ralston's concepts.
However, much like the way introspective spiritual enlightenment is difficult to achieve without being guided by someone like Ralston, his second book needs to be studied along side his Fight/Play video (described in detail at the link to my first post). Ralston's Fight/Play video has re-ignited many, many concepts that had taken a back shelf in my mind, and are now coming to the forefront. Most importantly, is re-introducing spiral movements into freeplay, as many of Ralston's "Leading Rollback" movements use.
While Ralston's Cheng Hsin T'ui Shou book is the blueprint of his techniques, mere pictures and descriptions are simply not enough to grasp the type of dynamic movement Ralston and his students display. This is why it is so important to view Ralston's techniques on video, where you can see footwork and dynamic changes.
Ralston's Cheng Hsin, which draws from Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua, Aikido and western boxing is a logical landing zone for those of us who have studied a variety of martial arts. His Fight-Play video can be purchased at The Cheng Hsin Website, and I highly reccomend it for those of us who study internal martial arts.
--Now back to the issue of photographs in instructional books; I am convinced that in some cases, drawings are much more effective at displaying directional movement. No book has done this better than "Aikido And The Dynamic Sphere", by Adele Westbrook and Oscar Ratti.

This is the Best book on Aikido I have ever seen, and the beautiful and clear illustrations by Oscar Ratti also make it clearly understandable. While there is a great deal of time and labor involved in these drawings, it is possible to see the flow of movement much better than in photographs.
For this reason, Ralstons Cheng Hsin T'ui Shou book, the roadmap to better internal body work, must be accompanied by his Fight/Play video, which can be purchased at his website link above.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

"Bear" With Me, Fellow Dojo Rats--UPDATE #3

I hope fellow Dojo Rats will indulge me; I've been suffering a nasty summer cold which makes me as grouchy as a Russian bear. Needless to say, I doubt we will get another video out this week. Additionally, my cynical nature has been drawn to extreme in the wake of recent events. More martial arts stuff will follow soon.
Meanwhile, it is necessary to examine the issues behind the conflict between Russia and it's former satellite state Georgia.
Let's begin with the excellent and thurough research of Michael Chossudovsky, of GlobalResearch.ca -- Chossoudovsky properly points out that 1500-2000 civilian casualties occured when Georgia attacked the breakaway province of South Ossetia, which was alinged with Russia. Despite this, the mainstream media is portraying this conflict as outright Russian agression.
While not a full NATO member, Georgia is fully integrated with NATO and held training exercises with Israeli and American "advisors" that Russia clearly took as a precurser to border conflict. These exercises occured in July, coresponding with a visit by Condoleza Rice. To quote Chossoudovsky's article:
"Moscow has accused NATO of "encouraging Georgia". Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov underscored the destabilizing impacts of "foreign" military aid to Georgia: .
“It all confirms our numerous warnings addressed to the international community that it is necessary to pay attention to massive arms purchasing by Georgia during several years. Now we see how these arms and Georgian special troops who had been trained by foreign specialists are used,” he said.(Moscow accuses NATO of having "encouraged Georgia" to attack South Ossetia, Russia Today, August 9, 2008)"
(D.R.)- of course, these attacks by NATO-backed Georgia were timed to coincide with the start of the Olympics. Chossoudovsky elaborates:
"A humanitarian disaster rather than a military victory was an integral part of the scenario. The objective was to destroy the provincial capital, while also inflicting a significant loss of human life.
If the objective were to restore Georgian political control over the provincial government, the operation would have been undertaken in a very different fashion, with Special Forces occupying key public buildings, communications networks and provincial institutions, rather than waging an all out bombing raid on residential areas, hospitals, not to mention Tskhinvali's University."
(D.R.)So is this more than a border war? Today is the first day CNN has even started to mention oil- yes oil pipelines that are being guarded by U.S. Special forces. But they are not telling the whole story; There is the Israeli connection.

The BTC pipeline is designed to bring Caspian Sea oil to warm water Turkish seaports, both for Israeli consumption and for export to Asia. The last few years has seen a huge influx of hi-tech weaponry, including unmanned aircraft, conventional aircraft and missile technology from Israel to Georgia. The Georgian Defense Minister is a former Israeli that speaks fluent Hebrew.
It is clear that the Georgian conflict is not regional, but a chesspiece in the Israeli-Anglo-American oil empire. Remember, the Iraq war and current occupation was not engineered to deliver oil to American markets, but rather the opposite. It was designed to keep Chinese oil interests out of Iraq, take millions of barrels of oil off the world market and drive prices up- perhaps to break the OPEC monopoly. All this in the guise of "bringing democracy".
But why Georgia, and why now?
- The Cheney/Bush administration has had to concede to Iraqi demands for a timetable for withdrawl of U.S. occupation troops. There has been a lull in terrorist-related activity Stateside and in Europe. Americans are weary of conflict, and there is a real possibility for a change in the direction of the American Government.
Simply put: the Neo-Conservatives need a new "Bogey-man". They thirst for another cold war. They profit from "Disaster Capitalism". And it could possibly benefit them to have a short-term disruption in the upcoming American election process, throwing our bankrupt state into another open-ended conflict. One with very, very high stakes, but in the words of General Smedly Butler: "War Is A Racket".

Further reading and source material:
GlobalResearch.ca - Michael Chossoudovsky
Israel Y-net News "War In Georgia- The Israeli Connection"
The Wall Street Journal "War Threatens Key Pipeline"
General Smedly Butler - "War Is A Racket" Wikipedia
Naomi Klein "The Shock Doctorine: The Rise Of Disaster Capitalism"

Deep background on the conflict, and just how volitile this situation is. The civilians in Ossetia and Georgia are the current victims in this proxy war that threatens to go from regional to global. The big picture is that U.S.-Israeli Iran policy is being pitted against a Russia-China alliance.
-Gorbechev sets the U.S. straight on tactical blunder
-Did John McCain's advisor and lobbiest for Georgia encourage Georgian attack?
- The Times of London: Cheney engineered conflict to prevent Obama from becoming President-- Quote:
"“George Bush's Administration is promoting interests of candidate John McCain,” said Dr Markov. “Defeated by Barak Obama on all fronts, McCain has one last card to play yet - the creation of a virtual Cold War with Russia . . . Bush himself did not want a war in South Ossetia but his Republican Party did not leave him any choice.” The Americans were now engineering an armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Dr Markov added."
-And This, Also from The Times:
"The trap was set in Georgia. When President Saakashvili blundered into South Ossetia, sending in an army to shell, kill and maim on a vicious scale (against US advice and his promised word), Russia was waiting.
It was not only Mr Saakashvili who thought that he had the distraction of the Olympics to cover him; the Kremlin also knew that Mr Bush was watching basketball, and, in the longer term, that the US army was fully engaged in Iraq and Afghanistan. From the day that the Russian tank brigade raced through the tunnel into South Ossetia, Russia has not made one wrong move. Mr Bush's remarks yesterday notwithstanding, In five days it turned an overreaching blunder by a Western-backed opponent into a devastating exposure of Western impotence, dithering and double standards on respecting national sovereignty (viz Iraq)."

-(D.R.)- and today Bush retreats to his ranch in Crawford...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympic Bush

Pretendadent Bush Admires Olympic Athelete

Party on, Wayne-
Party on, Garth...

Update on The Anthrax Scandal:
Newsweek says Case Not Closed
Anthrax expert and researcher Meryl Nass makes the case for Ivin's innocence
George Washington's Blog sites proof Ivins could not have done it

Friday, August 8, 2008

The Agony Of Defeat

Oh Yea.
The Olympics.
Ra, Ra, Sispoom-ba.

Don't count on hearing any serious news for a while, like:
-What other Anthrax researchers are saying about the probable frame-up of Dr. Bruce Ivins-
-The huge naval armada preparing to blockade Iran-
-That a shadowy "Islamic" group allegedly threatening the China Olympics appears to be funded by U.S.-protected heroin operations in Afghanistan-
-That Russia invaded Georgia today, Where U.S. Special Forces are protecting oil pipelines-

Hmm... nothing much goin' on.
I guess I'll watch some ribbon-dancing at the Olympics.

(edit)- Interesting: the first link for the Naval Armada story, which named every ship and type of weapon involved was just taken down.
Here's the link to a similar story in the Jerusalem Post

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Today's Ninja News

School locked down after 'ninja' sighted in woods

BARNEGAT, N.J.—It's the case of the nonexistent ninja. Public schools in Barnegat were locked down briefly after someone reported seeing a ninja running through the woods behind an elementary school.
Turns out the ninja was actually a camp counselor dressed in black karate garb and carrying a plastic sword.
Police tell the Asbury Park Press the man was late to a costume-themed day at a nearby middle school.
The lockdown began shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday and lasted until 9:30.
Information from: Asbury Park Press, http://www.app.com

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Why It All Went Wrong

For the handfull of people out there that actually give a crap, I had to post this Brilliant piece by Thomas Frank:

Follow This Dime: Why Misgovernment Was No Accident in George W. Bush's Washington
Monday 04 August 2008
» (LINK)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tai Chi Chuan: Needle To Seabottom vs. Fan Through Back vs. Play Guitar

Here we are again experimenting with various combinations of Tai Chi Chuan techniques. This time we start with "needle to seabottom" as a joint lock. This is countered by "fan through back"- an unusual version. You really have to counter the joint lock before it is completely set or you are screwed. In this version, you drive the locked hand/wrist upward while pushing up on opponent's elbow/tricep. The opponent counters by moving off-line and locking the elbow in "play guitar/raise hands" (depending on which side is forward).
Once again, the idea is to flow and keep the continuity of the pattern.

Friday, August 1, 2008

August: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month- Animal-Mineral-Vegetable Edition




Animal: Kinda' reminds you of college, when you woke up next to that chick from Alpha Epsilon Rainforest? Hey man, Hippie chicks don't shave.
Mineral: Boobs or butt?
Vegetable: Now this is spectacular