Tuesday, September 30, 2008

As The Turd Slides Down The Hill

(D.R.)-I just don't know, man.
Sure, I watch MMA every now and then. I still say it's a sport, not a Martial Art. I do not see any redeeming value in training this way, and you certainly can't keep it up past your early thirties.
* You can't have too many Circus's at the fall of an empire.*
Promoters hope cage fighting catches on in Arizona
The Associated Press
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.28.2008
PHOENIX — A more intense form of cage fighting has begun in Arizona in what state leaders say could become an economic knockout.
The first show under a new law that eases rules involving mixed martial arts was held Saturday night in Prescott Valley.
And a Glendale training facility created a fight organization to take advantage of the new law. The first event for EVO MMA, short for the Evolution of Mixed Martial Arts, is next Saturday at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix. Nine fights are scheduled.
Cage fighting had its first U.S. event in 1993. The no holds barred sport targets younger fans who grew up playing Mortal Kombat video games and are now willing to pay for loud, fast-paced entertainment.
In cage fighting, two opponents face off in a giant cage, striking each other with fists, feet and knees. They also use grappling techniques on the ground for chokeholds or other moves to inflict pain — almost anything to get their rival to concede.
Arizona joins several states — including California, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio and Minnesota — in adopting legislation modeled after the New Jersey State Athletic Board’s Unified Rules of MMA, which have become standard in most mixed martial arts organizations. The new rules allow fights to elbow and knee an opponent in the face and hit a grounded opponent with a closed fist.
With the relaxed rules in Arizona, the state sees an opportunity to cash in on the big-money events.
Cage fighting fan Mike Medley of Gilbert said he’ll definitely attend events in the Phoenix metro area.
“I know we were one of the states that had a lot of restrictions ... Now they lifted it and are getting with the times,” said Medley, 28. “Not only will it bring revenue, there are a lot of fans out here. They will have no problem selling out.”
But John Montano, executive director of the Arizona Boxing Commission, has expressed concerns about the potential for serious injury, particularly when blows are landed to a fighter who is down on the mat.
Proponents say the fights are less dangerous than boxing. Rep. Jonathan Paton, R-Tucson, who trains in mixed martial arts and sponsored the new legislation, points to figures showing only two deaths in MMA bouts in the past decade, compared with 70 boxing fatalities.
“I think we’re going to see an explosion in the sport,” Paton said. “I imagine sometime this winter, you’re going to see some serious bouts here.”
The people running Ultimate Fighting Championship say it’s only a matter of time before big events are held in the Phoenix area.
“Phoenix is definitely on our radar,” said Marc Latner, UFC’s vice president of Government and Regulatory Affairs, who added the organization’s calendar is booked for the rest of 2008.
“I would think next year is safe to say,” Latner said.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Jab-Hook Combo

Here is fellow Dojo Rat "Mr. T." demonstrating the "Jab-Hook Combo". I spliced together a longer version with more hitting, but for some reason that edit will not upload, so this is it for now. The idea is to move away from the opponents power side (cross punch) and move to the flank. Note how when you set the opponent up with repeated jabs, he will begin to reach to block them. That's the exact timing to move to the outside and hit with the hook.
Now, it just so happens that Nathan at TDA Training has recently come out of retirement, and he has posted a short sparring clip with this exact technique HERE. It's just how great minds think alike, Nathan goes into detail from his perspective on this technique, and the clip shows him pounding one of his training partners with the Jab-Hook Combo. Check it out!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Concealed Weapon: The Fart

Man charged with battery for farting near cop
Police say suspect passed 'very odorous' gas during breathalyzer test

updated 7:05 p.m. PT, Wed., Sept. 24, 2008
SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A man has been charged with battery on a police officer for allegedly passing gas and fanning it toward a patrolman.
Jose A. Cruz, 34, of Clarksburg, W. Va., was pulled over early Tuesday for driving without headlights, police said. According to the criminal complaint, Cruz smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three field sobriety tests before he was handcuffed and taken to a police station for a breathalyzer test.
As Patrolman T.E. Parsons prepared the machine, Cruz scooted his chair toward Parsons, lifted his leg and "passed gas loudly," the complaint said.
Cruz, according to complaint, then fanned the gas toward the officer.
"The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons," the complaint alleged.
He was also charged with driving under the influence, driving without headlights and two counts of obstruction.
'I couldn't hold it no more'
Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn't move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.
"I couldn't hold it no more," he said.
He also denied being drunk and uncooperative as the police complaint alleged. He added he was upset at being prepared for a breathalyzer test while having an asthma attack. The police statement said he later resisted being secured for a trip to a hospital that he requested for asthma treatment.
Cruz said the officers thought the gas incident was funny when it happened and laughed about it with him.
"This is ridiculous," he said. "I could be facing time."

***(D.R.)- A couple of my fellow Dojo Rats take great pride in using their Farts as Directed Energy Weapons.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Nice Little Taiji Fighting Demonstration

Here's a nice demo of the basic Tai Chi Chuan energies; Ward-off, rollback, press and push. Of course, these techniques are done on a willing student, but the dynamics displayed are pretty good.
I like the risky but definately cool changing-hands turnaround wrist lock.
also, the alternative uses of Press, such as palm striking the opponent's hitting fist, sending power up the arm into his torso and root. Some pretty good concepts and I'm sure the un-named Master in this demonstration could mix it up pretty good in a self-defense situation. It's always nice to see the real martial side of Tai Chi Chuan!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Jab-Cross-Hook Drill

In this video, we introduce our Boxing Coach, "Mr. T".
As most of us who have done years of Karate know, Karate punching is usually a heavy, rooted, chambered power punch. This is often seen in impressive displays of board and brick breaking. It is however, sorely lacking in mobile, practical hitting skills.
When Mr. T. joined our Dojo of misfit marshalists a decade ago, he brought with him years of Boxing skills (as well as some Kajukenbo).
In short order, our practical hitting skills improved significantly. The Jab is the engine that drives the car. The Cross is pouring on the gas, and the Hook is the car running the poor bastard over.
If you are practicing Karate right now, experiment with these hitting patterns. We start with one side foward, run the pattern- Jab, Jab-cross, jab-cross-hook. Go for one minute, then switch sides and go for another minute. Finish with another minute on the side you started on. You've just fought a three minute round- it's a great conditioning blast. Work your weak side to bring it up to par with your strong side.
What these drills will do for you is to give a more mobile, active hitting posture and skill.
Next Dojo Rat video - The Jab- Hook combo, moving to flank the opponent.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Urban Combat #3 -- Jail House Rock

Ok, I'm getting it now. It takes a while for this old white dude living in the deep woods of the Pacific Northwest to understand the dynamics of Brooklyn Street Arts.
These guys call their self-defense system "52 Blocks". According to Wikipedia, "52 Blocks" is a form of "Jail House Rock", a prison fighting system with "52" refering to a deck of cards--- "let them fall where they may".
Wiki goes on to describe this as a unique martial style with origins dating back to the days of slavery and indigenous African fighting skills. From Wiki:
"A Version of Jail House Rock, referred to as "52 Hand Blocks" or "the 52s", is said to have originated in the gang neighborhoods of Brooklyn and nearby boroughs of New York City during the late 1970s and early 1980s. 52 was created from old "asiatics" boxing that was modified in the penal institutions such as Comstock, and Elmira and later used heavily on the streets as a male rite of passage."
--Obviously, I haven't reviewed the entire system, but I do have these observations:
1. A lot of their strength training involves schoolyard paralell bars and other climbing bars. According to one video, this training was prefered because it was superior overall conditioning, and that the Prison weightroom was too dangerous to train in. I like that.
2. While I have seen some of their offense training, mostly boxing and kicking, they appear to rely heavily on broken-pattern constant defensive movement. This is done without an extended bridge position, perhaps due to the influence of cutting weapons both on the street and in jail.
-The problem I have with that is that without an extended bridge (arms extended in defensive structure) the opponents punch gets much, much closer to you before you can neutralize it. This is more like "slipping" in Boxing or "shaving" in Mantis style. It's more as a secondary blocking position than a primary defense bridge.
-Additionally, even the best blocker can only block "so many", and will eventually get pasted.
-Now, the one thing I don't think I've seen them work yet is blocking and striking at the same time, clearly a superior method than a 1-block, 2-counter - which gives the opponent a split second to get their second punch in.
-We did recieve instruction on random arm movement such as this defensive pattern. It was from Wing Chun expert Ron Ogi, who suggested that we use it if you were temporarly blinded by blood in the eyes etc. Ogi's method was to "noodle" your arms in an extended position until you make contact with the opponent's arms and the sense of touch guides your response.
*** Al-in-all, I've enjoyed looking at the "52 Blocks" system and their spirited, innovative training methods.

Urban Combat #2

Back to "52 Blocks" and Lyte Burly.
I'm starting to like these guys, more for their presentation than their techniques however.
The first block he shows is valid and I have seen versions of this in Wing Chun and in Erle Montagues Taiji ("Peng-Hinge" block). I like his use of the elbows alot.
The second technique however, is extremely risky and I don't think you could use it against a good striker. Forgetaboutit! Now, that is not to say that you can't achieve that same position by taking the striking arm in a low pass and turn your shoulder into it. This does put you in a position to break the elbow and/or throw the opponent.
--We'll follow a few more examples of their techniques, coming up next...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just A Note:

A little note about one of the best Martial Arts Blogs I have ever read, Uchi Deshi.
Due to Dojo politics, Richard's excellent chronicle of a live-in Aikido Dojo in California has been taken private.
I have had several requests for contacting Richard. If you contact him by E-mail, you can still follow the adventures of Richard and his band of wrist-locking-sword-fighting Aikido-ka. His Blog is still available:
Write Richard at uchideshi@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Urban Combat #1

Ah, yes - While the financial markets melt around us, bringing an uncertain future, we realize it's even MORE important to continue our study of martial arts.
I came across these guys a while back, don't know if anybody else has followed their stuff. Much like the video's of "B.T."- (Black Taoist, also on YouTube), these guys are urban warriors with a low-key street-inspired training regime.
I'm just getting up to speed on their material, but it's fun and it looks like a few good training tips will be explored.
I'll have further comments as we review more of their video's...

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Second Republican Great Depression

I'll get back to Martial Arts very soon, I promise.
--But today is the start of the "Crash".
The other day I read a blog entry by a very nice lady, a family person with a young professional husband. She is a McCain/Palin supporter who commented that she has prospered under the eight years of the Cheney administration. Her only complaint seemed to be the rising price of gas. Everything else in her world view was just fine.
Obviously, some people remain insulated from the tremendously bad times we are approaching. Their kids are too young to fight in the Republican wars. They benifeted from a good college education. They can afford a new house when the market is overloaded with empty, available housing from the hard financial times their neighbors have experianced.
Bottom line is, the shit has hit the fan. The Republicans, specificly John McCain's economic advisor Phil Grahm have engineered the deregulation of financial markets that have now begun to collapse. They hid the scheme well, and the wealth of the country steadily poored upward into the pockets of the wealthiest people in America.
--By all indications, this is just the beginning. Alan Greenspan (who helped put many of these bad policies in motion) has said this looks like a "Once in a century event". Let's see what the ripple is when the Asian markets weigh in.
Here's a summary:
A Return to Black Monday
Published 09/15/08 Craig Harrington - Print Article
E-mail - editor@economyincisis.org
Wall Street stumbled mightily over the weekend with the simultaneous sale of Merrill Lynch to Bank of America and the bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers Holdings, according to The New York Times.
Another crisis looms on the horizon with American International Group (AIG) days away from bankruptcy. The last time Wall Street firms were in such dire straights was Oct. 19, 1987, Black Monday, when the Dow Jones fell 22 percent and several prominent firms collapsed under the weight of losses. Last month Harvard University professor Kenneth Rogoff predicted that the worst was yet to come in the U.S. financial sector. Many investors had hoped that the crisis was nearing its end, but the events of the last few days have proven otherwise.
***Here's a link to follow

Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin: Brilliant Republican Strategy Or Imploding Failure?

The answer is --both.
The last-minute pick of Sarah Palin by McCain's handlers has turned a feature-length drama of "Grumpy Old Men" (you don't have Joe Lieberman to kick around anymore) -into a disfunctional episode of "Father Knows Best".
Let's face it; the Palin pick is nothing but a cynical appeal to the Evangelical Christian Reich, it has rallied voters long disenchanted with McCain. They love the fact that she would outlaw ALL abortion, even in the case of rape and incest. They love that she believes the occupation of Iraq is GOD'S WILL. They love that she is a follower of Armageddon-End-Times-Rapture theology, That her Pastor says Jesus is ON A War Footing, and that Alaska will be a Christian refuge in the final battle between good and evil. Imagine if Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden bit the heads off chickens, spread their entrails out and devined prophesy from the bloody patterns? I consider that the same as believing in the Rapture, which theologins correctly point out is not found anywhere in the Bible and is a fabrication of an Evangelical sect from the ninteenth century.

---- Lipstick on a pig?
Palin LIED about saying "no" to "The bridge to nowhere". Congress turned her down and she kept the money instead.
Palin LIED when she implied she sold the Governor's airplane on E-Bay. How cute. Instead, she sold it through an aircraft broker for a $600,000 loss.
Palin faced a citizen voter recall after attempting to fire the Librarian in Wasilla - for refusing to ban books in the public library.
While Holy-Roller Palin stands at the pulpit of her church, casting doubts on the moral integrety of Non-Evangelicals, her own kids are getting high and getting pregnant. But isn't that the true nature of American kids? So why deny State funds for special education and care for unwed teen mothers?
Management skills? How about loyalty oaths, or the fact that she took a budget surplus in tiny Wasilla, and turned it into a Twenty-million dollar debt?
How about Palin saying we may have to go to war with Russia?
Nominating Palin to be the Republican V.P. candidate is the equivalant of John McCain throwing sand in our eyes before a beach fight. Can't see me now!
Palin is the new roll-out of a female clone of George W. Bush, a malable dunce with a "Good Old Gal" image.
If, as Barack Obama said -John McCain's Policy is "The Pig", this mercifully unprepared "Caribou Barbie", is nothing but "Lipstick On A Pig"

Further reading:
Palin's Church
and Paul Krugman "A Blizzard of Lies"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mike Martello On Locking And Throwing

Since Mike was in town last week, we'll take a look at some more of his work. Here is his description of this practice, some of the comments refer to parts one and two of this three part series:

(Mike): Yuejia Sanshou, Qinna, Small Shuai and Fun...

Some basic practical ideas with my students...

Again, these ideas here are very raw in approach and energy, as I am refining via the practical practices. I use my students in a raw approach so they can get the basic foundations of the ideas and connected flow of the two people, by simple transmission through the playing. I allow them to use power and force if they catch me then great, its a learning process after all...
I use my students as training partners (not students with no skill) and as myself practicing ideas so i can learn deeper of the internal mechanisms and connections. What looks subtle, soft and flowery is nothing of the kind. I am around 5ft1 and 135 lbs, I cannot use power to do what I show, its logistics, size and strength, all which I just don't have...
Here is a great comment, translated from a chinese forum...
"Good, it really shows how Taiji can make the small overcome the strong. In the first clip, the foreign students use physical force, dumb strength against their teacher. They have not grasped Taiji's usage of smart power; their waists and upperbodies are too stiff, they don't have twisting and turning, their centers move along with their strength, once their teacher dissolves their power they will immediately lose their balance. They have not yet understand the theory of the necessity of having both Yin and Yang, upward and downward powers, left and right movements etc. In the second clip is all pushing exercises, to test the Zhanzhuang/stances. We welcome Mike Laoshi to Beijing this summer for cultural exchange."
I want to share because it explains exactly what I am trying to achieve myself and to teach the foundations to my students...
It is hard ideas because one needs to be soft but not empty, relaxed and full as to be able to allow someone else's force to be placed on our body for feedback... If the force causes the muscles, tendons to get stiffness's then more relaxed practicing conditioning is needed... Conversely when is able to have a huge a force on them relaxed then one needs to play with the force softly to exercise the inner connections to build stronger... Yin reinforces Yang, without Yang getting stiff and so on....
Of course these are all training methods that allow two people to play soft or strong, but not get to hurt and explore methods and train the IMA...

I hope all enjoy objectively.
mike martello

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yin-Style Bagua With Mike Martello

Mike Martello made another trip to Seattle last week, and I and one of the young Dojo Rats attended the Yin-style Bagua session. The seminar, sponsered by Jake Burroughs, was well attended. Many of the participants had also been to Sun-style Bagua seminars taught by Tim Cartmell, so most people were familiar with the material. Below is a video of Mike teaching a similar class in Europe:

As you can see in the video, Mike takes the class through many fundemental yoga-type movements. These postures teach correct body alingment and the hour-or-so of straining to achieve correct position results in the foundation for a short Bagua training form. This form, Xaio Kai Men, or "small opening door" Is a beautiful linear form that prepares the body for the more advanced circle-walking palm changes.
Mike explained how the power in Bagua comes from the coiling, "spring loaded" natural compression and release of these postures. Once the torso can be held in the correct position, there is inherent energy ready to be released.
As I've mentioned before, Mike is one of the absolute best instructors I have met. His wirey five-foot-two-inch body is deceptively powerful, and his ability to communicate difficult concepts are outstanding.
We concluded the seminar with two-person circle walking. In this Bagua form of "push hands", both people assume the circle walking posture with the wrists of the extended guard arms touching. The circle is walked in this fashion for eight steps, with a single palm change of direction. In freeplay, one partner at a time will attempt to grab, push, slap or sweep the opponent in a non-competitive manor. The defender responds accordingly, moving with the attack and not against it. This adds a nice new approach to the more linear and fixed-step Taiji push hands we have been previously doing. All-in-all, we came back from the seminar with some nice new tools for the toolbag!
For further information on martial arts seminars and classes in the Seattle area, contact Jake Burroughs at Three Harmonies Martial Arts Center , and Mike Martello's website can be found here.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

These Guys Got Balls: Part 3

Now this is a true expression of the "Art" in Martial Arts.
It's hard to describe what I feel as I watch this Master's performance: Will genetic differences between my hulking Western-European/American body type - and the supple Asian body of this master prevent me form ever achieving this level of technique?
-Ultimately, I suppose so. But that doesn't mean I can't take the cards I've been dealt with and come up with a better hand.
As a training tool, the ball does not cheat. The ball does not lie. The ball is unforgiving in forcing the body to move in constant circular flowing arcs. I feel the ball should have a little bit of weight to it, to provide a little resistance. In the last post, reader Hand2Hand wrote that he was using old bowling balls in this kind of training. That might be a little on the heavy side, but a variety of weighted balls might be very interesting to experiment with.
-- All-in-all, this is one of the most beautiful demonstrations I have seen lately...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

These Guys Got Balls; Part 2

Here's another Stability ball drill I am going to try; I really like the theme in this video as well as the previous Jujitsu video of constant contact with the training ball. The nature of the ball is to roll in circular motions, so it also helps the Taiji player move in circular motion. Stick to the ball, test compression, move in a circular fashion. Great for Push Hands, I'm gonna get one of these...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

These Guys Got Balls; Part 1

The next couple of posts we will take a look at how people are using training balls to improve their martial arts. I picked up some smaller kids beach-balls last year and had students hold them to their body in the "peng" or ward-off position. This helped them keep the proper arm shape in simple push hands drills, when their structure was collapsing before.
Now I really like how these jujitsu guys are using the stability ball. If you listen to the descriptions of the practice, they talk about "Whole-body connectivity" and "taking away the space (between body and ball)". These are concepts that are used in Internal Martial Arts practice, such as push hands in Taiji and joint-locking and body manipulation in Aikido and other arts.
--Stay tuned for a couple other ideas...

Monday, September 1, 2008

September: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month

Woah! What the... how did that picture get in there?
That's our buddy Bob, from over at "Striking Thoughts". This being an election year and all, Bob has nominated himself to the official "Committee to Elect Hippie Chicks" (CEHC) here at Dojo Rat. Check out Bob's dynamic presentation of Hillbilly Martial Arts at this link!

But now, Here's the picture I was looking for; September's "Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month"

*** And lastly; I've been a little short of posts lately, I've been working on a very big project that will be detailed later in the week-- Keep checking back!