Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Chinese Interest In UFO's Soaring

As China evolves into a quasi-capitalist society, long kept secrets are now being discussed. There are stories of giant red-haired warriors mummified with weapons and great wealth. There are huge pyramids that nobody can explain yet.
Now there have been a number of articles I have come across that have alleged ancient pictures and drawings depicting UFO's and strange aircraft:

Chinese scientist with carved depiction of UFO evidence

Combined with stories of immortals and ancient Chinese esoteric knowledge, Chinese lore points to evidence of UFO visitations:

Now here's a really interesting one:

Here's a close-up of the writing:

I have no idea if these drawings are faked or actual evidence of ancient UFO's in China, but if the one with the alien writing is real, it makes one wonder...

Here is a link for a bunch of recent articles about UFO's in China

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Corruption of Corporate Sports

In November we took a look at "Why Martial Culture is not "Jock Culture", touching on the Penn State rape case and sports riots reflecting the hive mentality of the cult that is high-dollar sports.

In a brilliant follow-up on "AlterNet", Lynn Parramore writes "When Cults Collide: How Big Sports and CEO Worship Threaten Societies". Here are a few excerpts:

The Church of Football
"Big Sports in America, along with the corporate religion of CEO-worship that infuses it, exhibits cult-like features that make the tolerance of criminal activity something we should expect. When cults collide, conditions emerge that are poisonous to healthy, law-abiding, open societies."
"In his essay “The Sporting Spirit,” George Orwell outed the cult-like aspect of large-scale sports, which arose in the 19th century in England and the U.S. in a way the world had not seen since Roman times. He debunked the myth that serious sports was nothing more than good clean fun. Sure, it’s possible to play harmless games, but when losing means shame for the whole group, barbaric instincts surface. The competition takes on the character of warfare, where winning is the virtue, and getting in the way of winning is the vice. Intense rivalries beget a culture of cheating. Serious sports aren’t about fair play, concludes Orwell, but rather “hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.”

Along with the rise of nationalism, big time sports grew as heavily financed activities that could draw huge crowds and inspire extreme loyalty. People learned to identify with larger power units and to view everything in terms of competitive clout. Organized games flourished in urban communities where workers lived sedentary and confined lives without much chance of creativity or physical release. Cursing the other team on game day was an outlet for pent-up sadistic impulses."
"College sports mega-programs, like football and basketball, are not built to nurture good and useful citizens, but to produce athletes who can draw in money through ticket sales or athletic boosters. Many of the values that make people good citizens, like sympathy and mutual support, are antithetical to the goals of sports teams. Programs receive millions of dollars of public funds, very often at the expense of education. The norms and values of the cult and those that make for a healthy society diverge.

Cults share several tell-tale characteristics, such as ritualistic activities, active recruiting, promises of reward or fame for converts, expectations of sacrifice for the group, and threats of humiliation and punishment for lack of compliance. And they always have charismatic, authoritarian leaders."


Parramore draws an apt comparison to elite CEO culture in American corporations, University Presidents and the obscene corruption found in both venues.

You can read more at this link

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One For The Bagua Guys

This is somewhat obscure, but I find it really interesting; two examples of Bagua from Sun Xikun's lineage.
While based on Cheng-style Bagua and with an emphasis on grappling applications, these demonstrations by masters are completely different. The first is an unknown master because I can't read Chinese:

Now here is Master T.Y. Pang doing the same Bagua steps. Pang is the local Tai Chi Chuan and Bagua master that lives in our area, and I have been fortunate to meet him and visit at his house. This is the style of Bagua our Dojo practices. Note the fluid movement, the tight coiling and supple nature of the movements.

Master Pang trained directly with Sun Xikun, and judging from the age of the master in the previous video, I assume he may have also.

So what accounts for the difference in style? Pang is young in his video, but even at his age now, his unique movements are still present.
Sun Xikun style Bagua is rare, and it's interesting to see these two interpetations.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Bait, The Rat, The Trap, The Axe and the Beretta

This time of year is often constant "Twilight" up here on our little island in the north. Our homestead will be dark and shady until late February when the sun returns to our small valley.
This got me thinking about rainy, drunken nights in the Pacific Northwest and the crazy stuff that happens at times.
Years ago I had a girlfriend that lived in an old houseboat. Now, anyone that has lived near the water knows that huge rats live in the rivers and sloughs around here, and they can be a problem. In this case, the owner of the moorage had put rat poison out, which can also be a problem because other animals can either eat it or eat the rats and get sick. It's not pretty.
Basically, some rat poisons use a blood thinner like warfarin coumadin, which human heart patients take to thin their blood. The rats blood thins and I imagine they die from hemorrhaging.
This makes them get cold, especially if it's winter, and they try to get into a warm house.
So one night a bunch of our friends were all hanging out with a few cases of beer in my girlfriends houseboat. I had some old coyote leg-hold traps, the kind that will take a finger off if you trip it accidentally, and I had set them on her back deck hoping to kill a few rats.
Over the noise of drunken humans, we heard the snap of a trap outside and we ran out to kill rats. Sure enough, one was caught up to his shoulder in the steel-jawed trap, and I took a mighty swing at it with my axe.
As my aim was guided by many Beers, I clipped the rat and tore it's arm off.
Bad swing.
The three-legged rat dove off into the water, leaving it's arm in the trap.

The next day while I was at work, my girlfriends daughter screamed from the bathroom of the houseboat; a rat was climbing into the insulation around the hot water heater.
You see, the poison had thinned it's blood and it was trying to stay warm.
My girlfriend got one of our buddies off the dock and gave him her Beretta .22 pistol to shoot the rat, which he did.
I asked about the incident later in the day, and he told me he had shot the rat and threw it into the water outside.
He said the rat was still alive and was trying to swim away.
And there was something else:
The rat only had three legs.

So that rat had been poisoned, trapped, hit with an axe, shot with a Beretta .22, and thrown in the water to drown.
But it swam away...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Dune: The Spice Ki-ai

Lately here at Dojo Rat we've been exploring martial themes in popular movies, and this is a great example; Paul's fight with Feyd (played by Sting) in "Dune".

For those not familiar with the series of novels by Frank Herbert (a local writer from my corner of Washington State) here's the plot in a nutshell:

Paul Atreides is heir to a noble family that is sent to the desert planet Arrakis (Dune) to investigate the conspiracy to manipulate the most valuable commodity in the Universe: the mysterious "Spice", which allows users to fold time and space.
There are betrayals and double-crossing, giant "Sandworms" and a native resistance army of "Fremen" which aid Paul in his fight against the enemy Harkonnen clan.

Paul appears to be the long-prophesied messiah of Fremen legend, and the movie climaxes with this fight between Paul and Harkonnen Feyd-Rautha (Sting).

Author Frank Herbert is brilliant in his knowledge of desert culture, the occult and martial arts. Film director David Lynch distanced himself from this project after release, as aspects of this dark film were controversial and mostly appealed to followers of the book series.

What brings this video to Dojo Rat is the fight scene above. Not so much for the techniques, but for the Ki-ai which Paul uses to explode Feyd at the end of the fight.
As martial artists, we are taught to use the Ki-ai shout as a sign of intent, strength and intimidation. A weak Ki-ai sounds pathetic, a strong ki-ai takes years to perfect, and may change in subtle ways depending on use.
I read an account of an Aikido expert somewhere in the wilderness of Norway who was attacked by a moose. With no other choice, he let out a huge Ki-ai. Allegedly, the moose was dazed, staggered and briefly fell over.
I believe it. I have used the Ki-ai in similar ways. One time I was training for my first Black-Belt test and was running through some farmland in a California town. As I ran by one farm, three big dogs came out on the road and began to chase me. Well, there was surely no way for me to outrun the dogs, so I turned, stood my ground and let out the most vicious Ki-ai I could.
The dogs stopped in their tracks, turned around and ran back to the farm. The same thing happened on a dark rainy night walking down a street in Portland.

It seems clear to me that we cultivate Ki, or "Chi" for health and strength- which makes it available for use in stressful times. The Ki-ai is a great example of an expression of true intent and can be a valuable tool.

You can read more about "Dune" at this Wiki link.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Don't Ask Me Where I Got This Freak Show...


These gentlemen are Indian "Warriors of Goja".
There are a lot of us that understand how martial tricks are preformed, but this is over the top.
The first thing I thought about; If I'm not mistaken, aren't light tubes like this filled with Mercury? If so, the entire place would be a toxic mess.

What kills me is the woman judge, who feigns horror at this spectacle.

D.R. shakes head and walks away...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cowboys and Samurai

On the heels of our last post on "Cowboy Zen", here's the great Toshiro Mifune throwing Charles Bronson around with a little Samurai Jujitsu.
From the 1971 movie "Red Sun", where Mifune seeks a stolen sword.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Best Cowboy Zen Ever...

Ten Bears and The Outlaw Josey Wales

Sitting down with a cool one and dinner last night, I found "The Outlaw Josey Wales" was on again.
Hands down, this is in my opinion the best Western ever. The gunfights are fantastic, but it's the dialogue and history that shine.

In the scene above, Wales goes to meet with Ten Bears, who has captured two of Wales' fellow homesteaders. Much like the ancient Samurai, Wales enters Ten Bears' camp as if he was already dead, and had nothing to loose.

Though I've seen the movie before, this time I had something to gauge the historical issues they portray in the show. I've been reading Howard Zinn's epic work "A People's History of the United States". I'll have much more to say in a future review, but I just finished reading the chapter on all the treaties with the Indian Tribes that were broken, ignored, and withdrawn. Zinn reports the words of authorities and Newspaper editorials that scream racism and "manifest destiny" of the white man.
Below, "Lone Wati" relates to Wales the story of his people, and the tragedy of "The Trail of Tears":

Here's a little history about the movie from Wikipedia:

"Historical basis Josey Wales' circumstances somewhat mirror those of a notorious bushwhacker named Bill Wilson, a folk hero in Phelps and Maries counties in Missouri. During the war, loyalties in Missouri were divided. Bill Wilson maintained a neutral stance until a confrontation with Union soldiers on his farm on Corn Creek near Edgar Springs, Missouri. Wilson became a wanted outlaw before leaving for Texas.[13]
The character Fletcher is loosely based on Capt. Dave Poole, one of Quantrill's Raiders. After the war, Poole assisted Federal authorities in convincing guerrillas to give up the fight and surrender.
This film is the first to confront the history of the Missourians who fell prey to Kansas-based Unionists who called themselves Redlegs (after their red-striped stockings and gaiters) and Jayhawkers.[14] It is a revisionist film in that it abandons the standard presentations of the Unionists that characterized Hollywood productions up to that time, along with the dark depictions of the Missouri riders.[15] The Outlaw Josey Wales reverses these stereotypes."

From "The Wall Street Journal":

"Mr. Eastwood has called his 1976 Civil-War era Western "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (which tells the story of a Missouri farmer avenging the murder of his family by Union soldiers) an "antiwar" film."

I'll have more on Howard Zinn's "A Peoples History of the United States" later-

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Why Martial Culture is not "Jock Culture"

Penn State Students Riot after Paterno firing

Did Somebody Kill The District Attorney Investigating Sandusky's Rape Charges?

I have always detested "Jock Culture".
I never watch professional sports. The only time I ever see it is when it's on TV in a bar or tavern. In those cases, I take a look around the bar. The most rabid sports fans are completely out of shape, cigarette smoking lunkheads that can name every coach or player but don't know who their Congressman is.
When I was in High School I was on the gymnastic and wrestling teams. The football coaches hounded me for years to join the football team, and in my junior year I finally did. What I saw made me sick. The coaches insulted the kids, and I saw one beat a player down. Another coach offered to get a star player a car and a girlfriend. I had never seen that in little-league baseball or the other sports, and I grew to hate the culture that is represented by football.
But it's not just American football, it's European soccer, and in this case Canadian hockey:
Vancouver Hockey Riots

I was drawn to martial arts because of it's emphasis on self-defense and self-improvement, and I'm guessing most people choose this training for the same reason.
But something happens in violent team sports; a "hive mentality" with a top-down authority structure that I am completely opposed to.
Nowhere has this been so obvious as in the current case of coach Sandusky's child rape allegations at Penn State. "Joepa" Paterno, Coach Emeritus gets fired and the idiot fans go nuts and riot. Not because kids were abused, but because the golden idol Paterno was fired for ignoring the rape charges.
Punks, all of them.

What about the Dead D.A.?

What is clear in the Penn State Rape charges is that "Jock Culture" has the money and power to suppress, intimidate, and possibly kill to keep it's secrets.

Ray Gricar was the District Attorney who investigated the first allegations against Sandusky back in 1998. Yes, 1998.
Gricar unexplainably did not charge Sandusky at the time, even though the evidence was clear.
What happened in the next few years is up to speculation, but Gricar was missing and pronounced "Dead" by 2005.
Gricar's body was never found. His car was parked by a river, his ruined laptop computer was later found washed up against a bridge.

What could be a motive to make a District Attorney disappear from this case?

From CNN:

"How the NCAA answers these questions may affect the future of college football. As is the case with so many recent college sports scandals, the events at Penn State call into question the effects of big money on the inside workings of college sports. Penn State football is a business -- an enormously profitable one, raking in more than $70 million a year. Joe Paterno's salary alone was about $1 million annually. Penn State profits immensely from the success of its football program on the backs of unpaid amateur athletes. In many of these scandals, the players, often innocent and unprotected, are hurt the most, while the insulated, tight-lipped higher-ups of college boards and athletic programs fall back on their salaries and pensions."

There you go, a $70 million-dollar empire to protect.


High-dollar athletes often behave like thugs. Often they are thugs. There is a "hive mentality" and mythology surrounding "Jock Culture", and I have never seen the likes of this in martial arts.

Martial arts have always had a "Bushido" or "warrior" code. While many traditional schools have a chain of command and ranks, each practitioner is expected to behave with honor.

Martial Culture is not Jock Culture.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Words of Jou Tsung Hwa

The late Tai Chi Master Jou Tsung Hwa wrote the absolute best book on Tai Chi Chuan I have ever read. In his book "The Tao of Tai Chi Chuan; The way to Rejuvenation", Master Jou writes:

"Finally, when one has acquired Ching, or lightness, Man, or slowness, Yuan, or complete circularity of motion, and Yun, or constant rate, one will have completed the human stage. How can one verify this accomplishment? One will have followed the rules in the human stage when the practice of Tai Chi Chuan outdoors does not disturb flocks of birds or other animals".

Master Jou is discussing the various stages of mastering Tai Chi Chuan, the "human" stage being the first.
This notion is something that makes Tai Chi Chuan so much different than hard-style martial arts. Jou suggests a learning curve that mimics and strives to actually become part of the natural world.

It's almost embarrassing to relate this story, but it fits the topic. Years ago I had to fill in and help out at a dog kennel. It was at a time when I was really, really trying hard to prepare for a Tae Kwon Do belt test. While I was doing my chores at the kennel, I absent-mindedly slipped into a few movements of a form; block, punch etc.
Well, as expected, the animals in the kennel did not like it at all, and when they became frightened, I stopped my movement immediately.

This is what Jou is talking about. Not only was my martial movement snappy and aggressive, I was nowhere near the enlightened stage Jou claims to seek.

Lightness, slowness, circularity of motion, and constant rate is what makes Tai Chi Chuan a martial art of the natural world.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Yesterday's Big, Wet Project

Over the last two years, we dismantled a pole-building and replaced it with a contemporary metal shop on a slab. The trusses and treated posts were moved down to the bottom of the property where we have the Saloon and shop, and will soon break ground on the house.
But first things first; we re-assembled the pole barn in a new configuration and stood the trusses up on a very rainy day:

The back of Dave's crane

I'm in the green coat above, Below we hook a truss up to the crane:

And the last truss goes up, the building looks huge now:

So today I have a lot of stuff to clean up in a big, muddy mess!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Hermit's Compass

Years ago when I lived in Oregon, I was care taking a 300-acre farm west of Portland. The rent was free and I got a little money at the end of the year for planting crops around the duck hunting lakes. I had chickens, ducks, turkeys and goats, as well as a huge vegetable garden.
But for my bread and butter (Beer money), I loaded up my old farm truck and drove into town to do small landscaping jobs and yard clean-ups.
One of my customers was an old guy named Walt who lived in a house overlooking the river. Walt's son was a tugboat captain and he checked me out after work one day; it's something any son would do to look after a father who was over 80 years-old. We sat in Walt's cool basement on a summer afternoon and had crackers, salami and Beer. I guess I checked out OK.
Walt liked to visit and talk on the days I worked for him. His dining room table had guns stacked on it, including a lever-action 45.70 rifle that used huge cartridges. One day Walt pulled out an old photo album, and I mean these pictures were from the 1930's if not earlier. One was of Walt, his best friend and a beautiful young girl climbing Mount Hood. They were dressed in wool pants and coats and were using the old "alpenstocks" instead of ice axes. They didn't have a car, they had walked around thirty miles from Portland to climb the mountain. From the way Walt talked, I could tell he had been in love with that girl, the kind of love that was never to be complete and never to be forgotten.
Walt had lived somewhere in southeast Portland, which would have been very undeveloped at the time. He used to walk into the rugged foothills of the cascades all the time, something kids these days couldn't imagine.
One time, Walt said, he was in the forest and not quite sure where he was. He came upon a large apple orchard and saw a small cabin in the distance. It was getting late in the day and he figured he didn't have enough daylight to hike back out. With much trepidation, he approached the cabin.
Sure enough, there was an old hermit that lived there. The guy probably hadn't seen another human in months. They talked a bit and reasoned that it would be OK for Walt to spend the night and hike back out the next day.
The cabin was very small and smokey from the cook stove. Walt said the hermit had a barrel of salted meat and prepared a stew for both of them to eat. There was small talk, the stew wasn't bad and Walt was grateful to have a place to stay.
After the meal, the hermit asked him if he knew what it was he ate, and Walt couldn't guess - deer meat, pork?
No, the hermit said, and took Walt over to a ladder that led up to the loft in the cabin. They both climbed the ladder into the dark loft and Walt suddenly found out what kind of meat they had eaten: the edge of each wall was lined with bear skulls. Each bear skull had a single bullet-hole in the forehead. Walt remembered that the hermit had a substantial apple orchard around the cabin. Each fall, when the apples were ripe, the bears would come out of the mountains and try to raid the apple orchard. The enticing fruit became the Bear's demise, and the hermit's dinner.

Before Walt left the next morning, the hermit gave him a useful gift; a "hermit's compass".
The compass was made of a magnetized hacksaw blade with another pointer blade attached at an angle. It was hung from a string and the main blade pointed to magnetic north; the smaller pointer was to compensate to true north.

And so on one hot summer afternoon, while Walt and I sat in his cool basement eating crackers, salami and Beer, he told me this story and gave me the hermit's compass pictured above.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Katana, Saber, and "Jian"

Katana, Saber (Dao), and Jian (straight sword)

So now that we are learning a two-person sword sparring set from our instructor Michael Gilman, I am getting to know the straight sword again. Years ago, I took fencing in college. It was taught by a French guy that had coached an Olympic team. It was a great workout and I loved it. But we were using the Foil mostly, and a little Epe' which was a little thicker and had an edge. I was just getting into Karate and wondered how the Foil would stand up to a Katana in combat.
Stylistically they are so different, it would be comparing apples to oranges. Let's face it; the Katana is probably the most bad-ass killing blade on the planet.
While it can be used for straight thrusts, the Katana is most powerful in arcing cuts.

The Saber just may be my favorite however. We learned Saber (Dao) use while Gilman trained us in a complex Wudang Saber form which included some Bagua-type circle-walking, straight thrusts and wide, sweeping arcs. Note the ring pommel which is very useful for flipping and inverting the Saber. While the Saber is mostly one-handed, many of the cuts use both hands or use the empty hand to assist and press against the wrist of the weapon hand. The Saber is lighter than the Katana, This one is hand forged in China and I got it through Wing Lam for around $130.

My new "Jian"

The Jian (straight sword) I bought is made by Hanwei, and was sold as a practical, durable no-frills sword. The scabbard is plastic as is the handle. But the construction is good and the blade is good spring steel. This sword could easily go on a rainy camping trip with no fear of causing it damage. The blade has flexibility in the last 1/3 and while the edge is unsharpened it would not take much to dress it.
As we were told, the Saber is the combat weapon for the soldier, and it comes in many forms; thick, blunt or long as mine is. The Jian however, was used more by nobles and women. While the Katana and Saber primarily cut in arcs, the Jian is more like a surgical tool for precise cuts and thrusts. It also is double-edged which opens up a wide variety of techniques.

I love the Katana and always will. It's power and durability are legendary. Most of what I know about the Katana was from the time I spent in Aikido, and I'm sure the techniques I learned reflected the nature of Aikido.
But I love the "poetry" of the Chinese sword. The movements mimic animal and natural forms and the Jian uses sticking energy close in.
All these weapons were affordable, durable and a lot of fun to learn and experiment with.
Let me know if you also have a favorite...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Sasumata: "The Man Catcher"

New innovations of an old tool are coming into use for security threats. The Sasumata is known as "The man catcher", and was recently used in a Japanese school to trap an attacker with a knife.

From "Japan Today"

"Teachers pin down knife-wielding man with two-pronged 'man catcher"

Police on Monday were called to an elementary school in Ichinomiya, Aichi Prefecture, after a man illegally entered the premises carrying a kitchen knife. It is believed the 62-year-old man walked into the school by the open front gate at around 7:40 a.m. before the children had arrived and was then challenged by the school principal and teachers.
When they realized the man was armed, three of them decided to use a “sasumata,” a two-pronged device similar to a “man catcher,” which was a type of forked pole weapon used in Europe up until the 18th century. Police said the teachers used the weapon to pin the man down until they arrived. Police said that no-one was injured in the incident."

Example of Sasumata in use:

Again, from the "Japan Today" article:

"According to eyewitnesses, the man was first spotted on the premises by a female teacher, who informed the principal. The principal attempted to address the man, but the man just unwrapped a newspaper bundle he was carrying to reveal the kitchen knife. The principal said he instructed staff to fetch the fork-like tool, following which three teachers surrounded the man and held him in place using the weapon. Police quoted the suspect as saying, “I came here to threaten the children.”
The “sasumata” was originally used during the Edo era for apprehending suspects. Modern variants of the “sasumata” are made for use by mounted riot police and are designed to significantly reduce the chance of injury to restrained civilians. The school principal told police that he and his staff had performed training drills using the man catcher in preparation for just such an incident. “Our preparations really paid off in this instance,” he said."

Sasumata in action

Monday, October 31, 2011

UFC Commentator Joe Rogan on Wall Street Protest

It's nice to feel I'm not alone in the martial arts community, Joe Rogan has just produced this video and I think it says a lot.

Here's Joes martial arts profile, on top of being an actor: (wikipedia)

"During high school, Rogan became a practitioner of of kenpo karate at age 14, then went to Taekwondo.[7] He eventually gained a black belt.[8] He went on to become a four-time state champion in Massachusetts, and In 1987, he was the USA Taekwondo U.S. Open lightweight champion.[9]
In 1996, Rogan began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Carlson Gracie at his school in Hollywood, California. After Gracie relocated to Chicago, Rogan later began training under Jean Jacques Machado, (a cousin of the Gracie family), eventually earning his brown belt under Machado.[10] In addition, Rogan holds a brown belt in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu under Eddie Bravo."

It's going to be a long winter, and the core groups will hang on I'm sure. I live in such a remote community I will probably only be able to donate money through the internet supply scene. Spring will come and the movement will blossom.

But Joe Rogan is a high profile tough-guy in our scene and his endorsement means a lot. That along with the military veterans that are joining on, I think there is a sea change in American politics occurring, and it's about time.

More to come, I'm sure.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday: Seasonal - and Silly Music

After the intense political week with protests in the street, injuries, arrests and successes- it's time to lighten up with a little music.
First, a seasonal favorite of mine; Aerosmith "Seasons of Wither" performed unplugged at a MTV concert. (Remember when MTV used to do music?)

And now for something completely different:
My friends in Portland, Bill Dant and The Trailer Trashers Bust out their "Mobile Crank Lab"
Note on edit: despite accusations and expectations, I do not appear in this white trash classic:

Gotta love the production...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Send In The Marines! - is it 1932 Again?

President Obama has just announced that all the troops will be brought home from Iraq by the Christmas holidays. While most of the country breathes a sigh of relief that the failed Bush war is ending, Fox news beats the drum that we have lost the war.
Fox so-called "News" is the real looser.

What does this mean for the country at-large?
Well, I expect that we will have thousands and thousands of veterans return from the wasteful war to a country with no jobs and a stalled Congress. Many of the Iraq veterans are showing up at Wall Street Protests, in some cases backing down police who are attacking protesters.

When Sargent Shamar Thomas backed down a dozen or more New York cops, he became a sort of hero for military veterans who will soon be returning, and a new movement is coalescing to join the protests against the financial elite that robbed the world economy.
You can read more about the movement in this Raw Story article, along with embedded video of Sgt. Thomas and a link to a website that supports this veterans movement.

But this is not the first time that U.S. military veterans have staged protests after they have returned from war. Those of us who are old enough remember veterans joining in anti-Vietnam war protests, and they were quite successful.
But before Vietnam, Korea, and World War Two, was the Bonus march after World War One.

From Wikipedia:

"The Bonus Army was the popular name of an assemblage of some 43,000 marchers—17,000 World War I veterans, their families, and affiliated groups—who gathered in Washington, D.C., in the spring and summer of 1932 to demand immediate cash-payment redemption of their service certificates."
"Many of the war veterans had been out of work since the beginning of the Great Depression. The World War Adjusted Compensation Act of 1924 had awarded them bonuses in the form of certificates they could not redeem until 1945".

"Retired Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler, one of the most popular military figures of the time, visited their camp to back the effort and encourage them. On July 28, U.S. Attorney General William D. Mitchell ordered the veterans removed from all government property. Washington police met with resistance, shots were fired and two veterans were wounded and later died. President Herbert Hoover then ordered the army to clear the veterans' campsite. Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur commanded the infantry and cavalry supported by six tanks. The Bonus Army marchers with their wives and children were driven out, and their shelters and belongings burned."


So I see at least three possible scenarios playing out:

1. President Obama brings the troops home. Despite a contrary Republican Congress, Obama (perhaps through executive order) keeps the military on duty, but has them begin to fill vital duty rebuilding our own country.

2. The returning veterans return to no jobs, are organized, and join the massive protests that will resume when spring warms the United States; an American Spring.

3. In my most cynical view, it is possible that elements of the military may be used to subvert the anti-capitalist-elite Wall Street protests.
This sword could cut both ways. It will be up to those who served to decide their part in a global revolt that represents the outrage of people who have lost everything to a ruling class that respects nothing but wealth and power.

And this is our long winter of discontent.

Here is the "Occupy Marines" website

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Ghost in the Attic is Back

Well, the "Ghost in the attic" is back.
Last spring we had a big owl hang out in the trees in our meadow for a long screechy spring. At some point, we figured out it was an adult that was training a young owl to hunt.
They scarred the shit out of the red squirrels that live in our maple trees, some are as large as small cats. Once the owls showed up, the squirrels split and took to the deep woods until the owls had moved on.

Now, I am very careful about how I deal with owls, giving them respect and space. The reason is, I knew a woman who was studying Native American Religion years ago. She told me to never, never touch a dead owl or even collect their feathers.
Apparently, the owl is not a good totem for a man and handling owl feathers can be detrimental.
I try to follow the natural world closely, and the mysterious nature of owls makes it easy to believe this legend. I've had plenty of interaction with the critters, but from a comfortable distance.
When I would come home in the evening last spring, the big owl would call out to me with an annoying screech. I screeched back. The owl would call to it's young partner and they would sound like ghosts in the attic.

Back in 1980 my friend and I took a year off and built a cabin in the Oregon coast range. His sister and grandfather had been attacked by a Great Horned Owl up there when they were kids, so they can be aggressive.
When we were building the cabin, we had kerosene lamps and a radio we would listen to at night. We hosted about four very small owls for several nights, they lined up on a branch over our camp and watched us for hours. At the same time, a moth that was larger than a man's extended palm attached itself to a tent.

So for now, the owls are back, the squirrels are gone, and we again share the meadow with "ghosts in the attic".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

There Is Hope For Old Dojo Rats

Well, well, well... There is hope for old Dojo Rats.
52 year-old Dewey Bozella won his first professional fight after being released from prison for a crime he never committed.
From "The Huffington Post":

"LOS ANGELES -- Dewey Bozella landed a hard right cross on his opponent's jaw at the final bell, and the 52-year-old boxer raised his arms in victory.
After 26 years behind bars for a murder he didn't commit, Bozella triumphantly realized a dream deferred in his first and only professional fight.
Bozella won his pro boxing debut Saturday night, beating Larry Hopkins by unanimous decision in the latest stunning chapter of a remarkable life.
"I used to lay in my cell and dream about this happening," Bozella said. "It was all worth it. It was my dream come true."
Wrongfully convicted of killing 92-year-old Emma Crapser in 1983, Bozella earned two college degrees and became the light heavyweight champion of Sing Sing before he was exonerated in 2009."

(D.R.)- But here's the best part:

"This was my first and last fight," said Bozella, who lives in Newburgh, N.Y. "It's a young man's game. I did what I wanted to do, and I'm happy. I appreciate everybody that made this possible. This has been one of the greatest experiences of my life."

-- 26 years for a crime he didn't do-- but at 52 he is still young enough to put his life back together. The guy has a great attitude and is a true champion.
You can read more details at the link above.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

When They Outlaw Kubotans, Only Outlaws Will Have Kubotans

Talk about the proverbial "slippery slope".
Trying to disarm the citizens like this simply will not work.

From "The Guardian U.K.":

"UK riots: Amazon withdraws truncheons after bumper sales-
Sales of baseball bats, Kubotans and other self-defence items soar in aftermath of rioting in English cities"

"Amazon has removed several police-style telescopic truncheons from sale on its site as soaring sales of truncheons, baseball bats and other items that could be used as weapons sparked fears of vigilantism in the wake of widespread rioting.
Sales of one type of aluminium truncheon rose 50,000% within 24 hours, entering the top-10 bestselling items in the sports category. Before they were de-listed, two different "police-style" truncheons had seen sales increase more than 400-fold overnight, though from a low base. also stocks, either directly or through third parties, self-defence sprays and Kubotans, short lengths of plastic or steel used as a concealed weapon. Carrying such items on the street can be against the law – entertainer Darren Day was convicted in Edinburgh in 2010 for possession of a Kubotan – but their sale is not an offence."

More at link

Shit, I know it's England and all, but come on - that's bullshit.
Here on the American frontier I have three knives, a plastic Kubotan and a wooden carpenters pencil on me every day of the week. By British standards I'm a walking arsenal waiting for arrest.
Some folks out there disagree with my "liberal or progressive" views, but I'm a fightin' liberal. I firmly believe in the right to posses self-defense weapons. Now, in a public building, I can see forbidding knives to enter in some cases. But for craps sake we should be able to carry the lowly pocket stick just about anywhere.

First came the cameras everywhere.
Now banning self-defense tools.
Bad news.

Friday, October 14, 2011

These Guys Are Gonna' Get In Big Trouble...

Phoenix Jones Stops Assault from Ryan McNamee on Vimeo.

From The Seattle Times:

"While self-proclaimed crime fighter Phoenix Jones contends he was breaking up a fight, Seattle police arrested the leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement early Sunday after he allegedly doused a group of people with pepper spray."

Reader Jonathan wrote into the last comment section to let us know "The Superheroes" are in trouble again.
A guy who goes by the name of "Phoenix Jones" has led a merry band of delusional kids that go by the brand "Rain City Superheroes". We wrote about them on Dojo Rat in the past, and predicted big trouble would come to these amateur sleuths.
Sure enough, the video above shows Jones and his sidekicks approaching a couple of girls fighting, and he pepper sprays them.
Well, that didn't work and one of the girls starts pummeling Jones with her high-heel shoes.
Things get worse when before one conflict is resolved, the "Superheroes" mix it up with a gang of Russians before being rescued by Seattle Police as they flee into a ferry terminal.

These guys are nuts. They appear to have incited much of the conflict by inserting themselves and a huge can of pepper spray into the scenario.
The cops have had enough, and Jones is arrested.
He's lucky the cops came, they might not be there next time and the next gang might use guns.

But there's nothing so funny as seeing a "Superhero" getting punched and chased by a drunk Seattle chick.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Saito Sensei: Jo Staff Suburi

Since we are getting more into weapons forms lately, I pulled out one of my Aikido Jo staffs and started reviewing the 20 Suburi techniques developed by Master Saito.
The beauty of the Jo is that is easily carried as a walking stick in public, and the skills are transferable to a wide variety of improvised tools.
My favorite part of the series are the "Hasso Gaeshi" movements, which involve spinning the weapon and striking. These appear in the last part of the video.
The length of the Jo is said to be best if it reaches your armpit from the ground, but I also have a new Jo that is slightly shorter. It's easier to throw in a car seat and is a pretty handy length.
There are better technical video's available, but Here is the Master at work.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Pat Buchanan's Researcher Karate Chopped A Woman And Called Her The N-Word

Marcus Epstein

From "Media Matters":

"In the acknowledgements page of his forthcoming book, MSNBC analyst Pat Buchanan gives "special thanks to Marcus Epstein for the invaluable assistance and untold hours he devoted to researching ideas, issues, and anecdotes." Epstein, a writer and activist with a history of inflammatory statements about race and immigration, was previously arrested for attacking a woman with a "karate chop" and calling her the n-word.
In July of 2007, according to a factual proffer by the U.S. Attorney, Epstein "was walking down the street making offensive remarks when he encountered the complainant, Ms. [REDACTED], who is African-American. The defendant uttered, 'Nigger,' as he delivered a karate chop to Ms. [REDACTED]'s head. Ultimately, the defendant was stopped and arrested by Secret Service officers."

More at link above

Look, if it's not posters of Obama as a witch doctor or worse, the far right just can't distance itself from it's neo-confederate racist beliefs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Freaking Out The Corporate Elites: Tea Party Finally Joins Wall Street Protest

Mario Savio, Berkeley in the '60's

Things are coming full-circle.
With the "Occupy Wall Street" protests finally getting media attention, the message is starting to be honed and focused.
Look, the "Tea Party" started out as an arm of the Ron Paul presidential movement, but was co-opted by big corporate money and re-directed. If they were more educated and less racist, they might have had a chance.
But, as you will see in the next two video's, strange bedfellows are uniting. This first guy shoves his foot right up "Fox News" ass:

Now we see that the "Tea Party" via a Ron Paul supporter gains a sympathetic ear with other young Wall Street protesters:

This is what will freak out the corporate elites the most- a coalition of protesters from both the right and the left.

The message is starting to focus. Everybody knows that Banking Elites on Wall Street and in London have strip-mined the global economy.
Now is the time to set aside differences that the elites use to divide the working class - and as Mario Savio said in the Berkeley speech:

"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"

Monday, October 3, 2011

A New Tai Chi Chuan Sword Form We Started Learning

"Tom Cannon and John Zietlow (City of Lakes Tai Chi) perform 2 person Yang style Tai Chi sword form as developed by Sam Masich. Performance as part of Chinese New Year Celebration at St. Paul Student Center."

Saturday we traveled to train with our Tai Chi Chuan instructor Michael Gilman in Port Townsend. On the agenda this time was to begin learning the above two-person sword form. The form was created by Sam Masich, a great instructor we had met in the past.
Like the two-person San Shou fighting form, this one will be tricky to learn. Lots of subtleties and a blade involved. Most of the students were using wooden training swords, but I did get my hair parted by the metal sword of one student.
Got to be careful...
The method of learning is first doing a few moves on the "A" side, then a few on "B". Finally you partner up and combine the two, and progress from there.
If you watch the video above, they start out slow and then reverse rolls and do the form again fast. These partner forms are said to demonstrate the highest levels of Tai Chi Chuan as an art.

Nobody fights with swords anymore.
That's why we consider this training "Art". It's about self-cultivation and stretching your mind to perform in unison with a partner. In learning a form like this, you actually learn two solo forms and put them together.

Before beginning this, I reflected on the over thirty years I have been cramming martial arts forms into my head. Learning a new, complex form is a daunting task.
In Tae Kwon Do I probably learned about twenty forms and twice that number of one-step fighting techniques (Kibone).
When I started Kenpo Karate, I had to toss out the TKD forms and replace them with the same number of Kenpo forms.
Then I moved into the Chinese Internal arts of Taiji, Bagua and Xingyi.
Yup, I tossed out all the Kenpo forms to learn the Chinese arts.

So why go through this?
Well, times change. Our bodies change. Hard-style martial arts are very stressful on the body and injuries occur. I know I caused some hip damage in Tae Kwon Do with extreme kicking techniques. Very bad as you get older.

But also, various friends of mine that used to practice with us have dropped out now. They hit a plateau and never found something of interest to pursue in martial arts.
For me, it's like playing music; there's always another song or chord riff to learn.

So here we go, down another rabbit-hole in the quest for a higher level of martial skill and knowledge. I know some of you are also on the same path.

Friday, September 30, 2011

October Hippie Chick of the Month: Female Cops

I know, I know, "Cute Hippie Chick of the Month" is a day early - but I'm busy tomorrow and had to put it out today.
This Month we take a look at female police officers from all over the world...





Hong Kong

United States

Monday, September 26, 2011

Warrior Hair: Long or Gone?

I found this short piece on Warrior Hair at THIS BLOG. There is absolutely no way the information can be verified, it could be complete crap - But here goes:

The Truth About Hair and why Indians would keep their hair long
Reported by C. Young

This information about hair has been hidden from the public since the Viet Nam War.

Our culture leads people to believe that hair style is a matter of personal preference, that hair style is a matter of fashion and/or convenience, and that how people wear their hair is simply a cosmetic issue. Back in the Viet Nam war however, an entirely different picture emerged, one that has been carefully covered up and hidden from public view.

In the early nineties, Sally [name changed to protect privacy] was married to a licensed psychologist who worked at a VA Medical hospital. He worked with combat veterans with PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder. Most of them had served in Viet Nam.

Sally said, ”I remember clearly an evening when my husband came back to our apartment on Doctor’s Circle carrying a thick official looking folder in his hands. Inside were hundreds of pages of certain studies commissioned by the government. He was in shock from the contents. What he read in those documents completely changed his life. From that moment on my conservative middle of the road husband grew his hair and beard and never cut them again. What is more, the VA Medical center let him do it, and other very conservative men in the staff followed his example. As I read the documents, I learned why. It seems that during the Viet Nam War special forces in the war department had sent undercover experts to comb American Indian Reservations looking for talented scouts, for tough young men trained to move stealthily through rough terrain. They were especially looking for men with outstanding, almost supernatural, tracking abilities. Before being approached, these carefully selected men were extensively documented as experts in tracking and survival.

With the usual enticements, the well proven smooth phrases used to enroll new recruits, some of these indian trackers were then enlisted. Once enlisted, an amazing thing happened. Whatever talents and skills they had possessed on the reservation seemed to mysteriously disappear, as recruit after recruit failed to perform as expected in the field.

Serious casualities and failures of performance led the government to contract expensive testing of these recruits, and this is what was found.

When questioned about their failure to perform as expected, the older recruits replied consistantly that when they received their required military haircuts, they could no longer ’sense’ the enemy, they could no longer access a ’sixth sense’ , their ’intuition’ no longer was reliable, they couldn’t ’read’ subtle signs as well or access subtle extrasensory information.

So the testing institute recruited more indian trackers, let them keep their long hair, and tested them in multiple areas. Then they would pair two men together who had received the same scores on all the tests. They would let one man in the pair keep his hair long, and gave the other man a military haircut. Then the two men retook the tests.

Time after time the man with long hair kept making high scores. Time after time, the man with the short hair failed the tests in which he had previously scored high scores.

Here is a typical test:

The recruit is sleeping out in the woods. An armed ’enemy’ approaches the sleeping man. The long haired man is awakened out of his sleep by a strong sense of danger and gets away long before the enemy is close, long before any sounds from the approaching enemy are audible.

In another version of this test the long haired man senses an approach and somehow intuits that the enemy will perform a physical attack. He follows his ’sixth sense’ and stays still, pretending to be sleeping, but quickly grabs the attacker and ’kills’ him as the attacker reaches down to strangle him.

This same man, after having passed these and other tests, then received a military haircut and consistantly failed these tests, and many other tests that he had previously passed.

So the document recommended that all Indian trackers be exempt from military haircuts. In fact, it required that trackers keep their hair long.”


The mammalian body has evolved over millions of years. Survival skills of human and animal at times seem almost supernatural. Science is constantly coming up with more discoveries about the amazing abilities of man and animal to survive. Each part of the body has highly sensitive work to perform for the survival and well being of the body as a whole.The body has a reason for every part of itself.

Hair is an extension of the nervous system, it can be correctly seen as exteriorized nerves, a type of highly evolved ’feelers’ or ’antennae’ that transmit vast amounts of important information to the brainstem, the limbic system, and the neocortex.

Not only does hair in people, including facial hair in men, provide an information highway reaching the brain, hair also emits energy, the electromagnetic energy emitted by the brain into the outer environment. This has been seen in Kirlian photography when a person is photographed with long hair and then rephotographed after the hair is cut.

When hair is cut, receiving and sending transmissions to and from the environment are greatly hampered. This results in numbing-out .

Cutting of hair is a contributing factor to unawareness of environmental distress in local ecosystems. It is also a contributing factor to insensitivity in relationships of all kinds. It contributes to sexual frustration.


In searching for solutions for the distress in our world, it may be time for us to consider that many of our most basic assumptions about reality are in error. It may be that a major part of the solution is looking at us in the face each morning when we see ourselves in the mirror.

The story of Sampson and Delilah in the Bible has a lot of encoded truth to tell us. When Delilah cut Sampson’s hair, the once undefeatable Sampson was defeated.

A few people responded with plenty of examples of Bald warriors, you can find them at the Blog linked above.

Of course, Kimbo still has plenty of hair...

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Kids Cagefighting Controversy

In another instance of self-inflicted damage, the MMA scene is back in the news. This time due to complaints raised about young boys grappling as a demonstration in an adult club before the main events.

Readers may know I have a more nuanced view of the sport after helping train two fighters in our local area. While the crowd at the events I attended were like any other drunken louts at football games, the fighters showed respect for the process, winners consoled loser's and there were bonds between fighters.
While I am steeped in traditional martial arts, I appreciated what I saw and realized the nature of evolving fight-sports.

None of the techniques these kids in the video are using are much different than the wrestling seminars I attended as a youth.
What looks bad is the spectre of adults in a drinking club cheering and raging outside the cage. It just looks bad. I mean we are critical of the occasional little-league parent that acts like this on the sideline, so it's little wonder that the presence of the cage and adult behaviour tainted an otherwise safe wrestling match.

Here's a few snips from "The Guardian":

"Council chiefs have ordered the review of the licence of a Lancashire club after it staged cage fighting using children as young as eight.
Concerns were raised after the boys took part in a fight at the Greenlands Labour club in Preston before a 250-strong adult audience. The city council will be checking to see whether any licence conditions were breached and will ask the club not to stage similar events involving juveniles.
A video of the bout on 10 September, posted on the internet, showed children fighting in a cage without protective padding or headgear.
The deputy leader of Preston city council, John Swindells, said: "I, like many other people, am appalled by the incident of cage fighting involving children taking place in Preston. I am really concerned about the potential of harm to the children who were as young as eight years old."
"Police will not be taking action over the event. A Lancashire police spokesman said the force had looked into the matter fully and there were no issues to pursue."

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Man Escapes Prison With Nunchucks

From "The Raw Story":

"An inmate in the St. Louis city jail escaped Friday after fighting off more than a dozen correctional officers using a self-made pair of nunchucks then climbing to his freedom over a barbed wire and razor fence, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The prisoner, 31-year-old Lorenzo Pollard, was caught and back in the jail by Sunday night.

Pollard was in a medium-security cell on charges of theft, trespassing, property damage and resisting arrest. On the way to the bathroom Friday evening, he pulled out his homemade nunchucks, pieced together from bedsheets and a chair, and fought his way through a dozen guards, climbed to another level of the jail, broke through two layers of glass blocks and shimmied over two sharp fences.

Another inmate walked out of an open gate and climbed fences to escape in July, and two others broke free in April.


There's some serious security and training issues at that lock-up...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Archery Experts

From YouTube:
"Hungarian archer and boyer Lajos Kassai shoots 12 arrows in just 18 seconds."

Pretty damned cool.
And dangerous.
It's kind of funny how guys that train together develop the same habits. My brother gave me an English longbow last year and we had a great time shooting it. Recently, three of my training partners have started shooting bows also. This was completely unplanned, just seems to be a natural transition into a deeper level of martial weaponry. One of our guys is making his own arrowheads out of native rock and building a bow from local wood - native style. His goal is to take a deer with his home built rig this fall. These are the kind of survival skills most people never experience.

Check out this shot:

And who doesn't like this view?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Can Intense Exercise Actually Make You Gain Weight?

Time Magazine has a very interesting article that examines why people can exercise like crazy and still gain weight:

"Still, as one major study — the Minnesota Heart Survey — found, more of us at least say we exercise regularly. The survey ran from 1980, when only 47% of respondents said they engaged in regular exercise, to 2000, when the figure had grown to 57%.
And yet obesity figures have risen dramatically in the same period: a third of Americans are obese, and another third count as overweight by the Federal Government's definition. Yes, it's entirely possible that those of us who regularly go to the gym would weigh even more if we exercised less. But like many other people, I get hungry after I exercise, so I often eat more on the days I work out than on the days I don't. Could exercise actually be keeping me from losing weight?"
"The basic problem is that while it's true that exercise burns calories and that you must burn calories to lose weight, exercise has another effect: it can stimulate hunger. That causes us to eat more, which in turn can negate the weight-loss benefits we just accrued. Exercise, in other words, isn't necessarily helping us lose weight. It may even be making it harder."
"Some of us can will ourselves to overcome our basic psychology, but most of us won't be very successful. "The most powerful determinant of your dietary intake is your energy expenditure," says Steven Gortmaker, who heads Harvard's Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity. "If you're more physically active, you're going to get hungry and eat more." Gortmaker, who has studied childhood obesity, is even suspicious of the playgrounds at fast-food restaurants. "Why would they build those?" he asks. "I know it sounds kind of like conspiracy theory, but you have to think, if a kid plays five minutes and burns 50 calories, he might then go inside and consume 500 calories or even 1,000."

And here's the "meat" of the article:

"But there's some confusion about whether it is exercise — sweaty, exhausting, hunger-producing bursts of activity done exclusively to benefit our health — that leads to all these benefits or something far simpler: regularly moving during our waking hours. We all need to move more — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says our leisure-time physical activity (including things like golfing, gardening and walking) has decreased since the late 1980s, right around the time the gym boom really exploded."

(D.R.)- So as modern society has developed, people simply do less work. They sit in an office for hours and hours, take long car rides to work and back and sit in front of the TV at night.
In order to compensate, they hammer it out at the gym with intense bursts of exercise three hours a week.
This dovetails perfectly with an article from "Mark's Daily Apple", and the authors of "The Primal Diet". Here, Mark describes the activity of primitive man:

"We’re talking about a favorite of mine: low level aerobic activity. Sure, it can feel all too relaxed, even indulgent compared to the intense stuff. But don’t be so quick to disparage. Low level aerobic activity, I’m here to tell you, is the crucial base of Primal Blueprint fitness (Rule #3 in my book for those of you who are currently reading it). It’s the base, the foundation, the keystone to the big fitness picture.
After all, it was how our good man Grok and his family spent most of their days. Carrying water from the stream. Collecting fire wood, walking through the forests and meadows to gather greens, berries, and other plants. Working on their shelter. Perhaps migrating to another area because of drought, predators or competing tribes. Butchering, building, washing, cooking, dancing, you name it. Some of it was hard work, but it was mostly just continual – the sheer volume of low level activity that characterized Grok’s existence."
"If the human body evolved within these conditions, our lives today often leave us as fish out of water. There’s the joke about old time farmers laughing at people who pay to slog away on a treadmill for hours at the gym. Why would anyone pay to run in place like a hamster when there’s plenty of real, hard, useful labor to be done instead? Of course, not all of us have livelihoods that involve enough physical exertion to constitute adequate exercise, and our modern home lives (with washing machines, electric/gas mowers, etc.) don’t require the same labor as they once did. Unlike Grok, few of us built the homes we live in. Few of us till large tracts of land for planting. We generally don’t spend our days scrubbing, hauling or foraging. But it doesn’t matter, ultimately, what form our low level cardio takes. What matters is what happens on the inside."
"As I’ve suggested before, our society has come to worship a chronic cardio model as the beacon of fitness. It follows that low level aerobic activity appears to do nothing but fall short – a weak attempt at the “real” thing. Worse yet, it’s an attitude that makes the fitness quest seem like an all or nothing proposition. No pain, no gain. Total bunkum. Sure, the Primal Blueprint model incorporates low level aerobic activity as part of a larger picture along with strength and “sprint” interval training. The PB fitness model, however, is built upon that low level foundation.
Not only is low level aerobic activity the natural evolutionary expectation of the body, it’s flat out beneficial in its own right. It plays an integral role in maintaining weight and metabolic balance. It also builds your base and makes more strenuous workouts possible by toning all the muscles, joints and connective tissue needed for optimal strength training and high intensity aerobic activity. Low level aerobic exercise engages your energy systems and incrementally improves their functioning and efficiency. And while it does all that, it also physiologically and hormonally counters the effects of stress."


So there you have it;
Our bodies are genetically geared for constant, low-level activity. It maintains our metabolism much better than short, intense bursts of exercise - the kind that tends to make people eat more to store energy.

You can read much more at the links embedded above.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Great Video Interview With Tim Cartmell

Video Link
Rolled Up Epsiode 27: The Never-Ending Path of a Martial Artist with Tim Cartmell

Here is a really, really good video interview with Tim Cartmell, one of the absolute best instructors I have trained with.
Readers may know I met Tim through Jake Burroughs of Three Harmonies Martial Arts in Seattle. I learned more in a half-dozen seminars with Tim than in any two years of past Karate training. Most of the seminars dealt with application of Tai Chi Chuan, Xingyi and Bagua - with a heavy influence on knock-downs and throws.
As you will see in the interview, Tim was an expert in Chinese martial arts (he trained for years in Taiwan) and has now focused on Brazilian Jiujitsu.
Watch the way Tim moves in the mat work with the interviewer at the end, complete relaxed power.

Tim Cartmell's "Shen Wu" website

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Palin' Around With Terrorists

George W. Bush with Saudi Prince Abdullah

As we approach the ten year anniversary of the 911 attacks, with the successful hit on alleged mastermind Osama Bin Laden, questions abound.
Information is not trickling in, the floodgates have opened and we are witnessing an information dump. None of these revelations seem to be related to the killing of Bin Laden, but more reflections of the guilty consciousnesses of Government investigators and officials.

In a seventeen-page article appearing in "Vanity Fair" titled "The Kingdom and the Towers" Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan detail how the Saudi Royal family clearly funded and provided intelligence to the 911 hijackers. Not only that, but the Pakistani I.S.I. intelligence service was likely involved long before they hid and protected Bin Laden in a comfortable military suburb.

John Farmer, Dean of Rutgers Law School and senior council to the 911 Commission knows the Commission was a cover-up:

"At some level of government,” says Dean Farmer, “at some point in time, a decision was made not to tell the truth about the national response to the attacks on the morning of 9/11." (Rutgers Link)

The Bush family has always "palled around with terrorists". George W's grandfather Prescott had his bank shut down for trading with the enemy (Nazi Germany) in World War Two. George Bush senior secretly funded the Contras in Nicaragua, terrorists by any definition. The Bush family has had long-standing ties with the Bin Laden family.
From "In these Times":

"In 1979, Bush’s first business, Arbusto Energy, obtained financing from James Bath, a Houstonian and close family friend. One of many investors, Bath gave Bush $50,000 for a 5 percent stake in Arbusto. At the time, Bath was the sole U.S. business representative for Salem bin Laden, head of the wealthy Saudi Arabian family and a brother (one of 17) to Osama bin Laden."

The implication is clearly that the seed money for Bush's oil company came directly from the Bin Laden family.

But I digress; In Summers' "The Kingdom and the Towers", nobody is more critical than 911 Commission member and former Senator Bob Graham:

"Congress’s Joint Inquiry, its co-chair Bob Graham told the authors, had found evidence “that the Saudis were facilitating, assisting, some of the hijackers. And my suspicion is that they were providing some assistance to most if not all of the hijackers. . . . It’s my opinion that 9/11 could not have occurred but for the existence of an infrastructure of support within the United States. By ‘the Saudis,’ I mean the Saudi government and individual Saudis who are for some purposes dependent on the government—which includes all of the elite in the country.”
"Those involved, in Graham’s view, “included the royal family” and “some groups that were close to the royal family.” Was it credible that members of the Saudi royal family would knowingly have facilitated the 9/11 operation? “I think,” the former senator said, “that they did in fact take actions that were complicit with the hijackers.”
And in this bombshell criticism of Bush:

"It was,” Graham wrote, “as if the president’s loyalty lay more with Saudi Arabia than with America’s safety.” In Graham’s view, Bush’s role in suppressing important information about 9/11, along with other transgressions, should have led to his impeachment and removal from office."


Meanwhile, Dick Cheney is making a book tour attempting to re-write the 911 and Iraq war history. Cheney, who throws the rest of the entire Bush administration under the bus, admits he was actually in charge of the country.
Nothing to see here, move along now...

And as one domino tips into the next, toppling the whole series of events, Former National Security Advisor Richard Clarke claims the CIA was trying to recruit several of the 911 hijackers:

Did the CIA cover up its advance knowledge of at least two of the 9/11 hijackers?

"Richard Clarke, the national counterterrorism czar on 9/11, thinks so. In an interview for an upcoming radio documentary, Clarke claimed that top-level CIA officials deliberately withheld from the White House and the FBI knowledge as early as 2000 that two al Qaeda members - Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar - were living in San Diego.
The former anti-terror chief said he believes that the CIA kept the info under wraps because it wanted to recruit the two Saudis to serve as double agents within bin Laden's organization. Instead, the two terrorists ended up hijackers on American Flight 77. George Tenet, who was CIA director, claims that Clarke is "reckless and profoundly wrong."

Tenet, of course, is understandably covering his ass.

And the information continues to pour out. Yesterday's Miami Herald published yet more information linking the Saudi Royal Family to the hijackers and foreknowledge of the 911 attacks:

"Link to 9/11 hijackers found in Sarasota-
FBI found ties between hijackers and Saudis in Sarasota but never revealed the findings"

"Just two weeks before the 9/11 hijackers slammed into the Pentagon and World Trade Center, members of a Saudi family abruptly vacated their luxury home near Sarasota, leaving a brand new car in the driveway, a refrigerator full of food, fruit on the counter — and an open safe in a master bedroom."
"In the weeks to follow, law enforcement agents not only discovered the home was visited by vehicles used by the hijackers, but phone calls were linked between the home and those who carried out the death flights — including leader Mohamed Atta — in discoveries never before revealed to the public."
"Former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who co-chaired the congressional Joint Inquiry into the attacks, said he should have been told about the findings, saying it “opens the door to a new chapter of investigation as to the depth of the Saudi role in 9/11. ... No information relative to the named people in Sarasota was disclosed.”
"The fact that the FBI did not tell the Inquiry about the Florida discoveries, Graham says, is similar to the agency’s failure to provide information linking members of the 9/11 terrorist team to other Saudis in California until congressional investigators discovered it themselves.
The Inquiry did nevertheless accumulate a “very large” file on the hijackers in the United States, and later turned it over to the 9/11 Commission. “They did very little with it,” Graham said, “and their reference to Saudi Arabia is almost cryptic sometimes. … I never got a good answer as to why they did not pursue that.”
The final 28-page section of the Inquiry’s report, which deals with “sources of foreign support for some of the Sept. 11 hijackers,” was entirely blanked out. It was kept secret from the public on the orders of former President George W. Bush and is still withheld to this day, Graham said."

History will not be kind to the legacy of the Bush family.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two takes on 2-Man Xingyi Drills

Hal Mosher

Everybody has their takes on the simplistic whole-body techniques of the Xingyi Five-Element Fists.
Above, Hal Mosher (Website Here) demonstrates some attacks and counters, each partner using the same technique. I think Hal has some good ideas, but his video production could be better. (Hal, keep your other hand up!)
I have his Sun-style Bagua video and for the price I paid I got very little. Just Hal rolling through the palm changes one time with no verbal description or application. None-the-less, Hal has some good stuff which stimulates other ideas.

Below is another old favorite, Sifu Rudy and B.T. doing their version of a drill, alternating between fists:

For traditionalists, drills like these help students get a general idea of how the forms they practice can be used in application and as a bridge to some light free-sparring. I like to think about mixing this in with Tai Chi Chuan push-hands, so you get a little standing grappling with hitting and neutralizing an attack.
We have to remember, these are just drills, not actual fight training.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Steven Seagal Denies Killing Puppy

Steven Seagal with fascist Sheriff Joe Arpaio

In a surprising new low, "B"-grade actor, former martial artist and current "Lord of Pasta" Steven Seagal is denying that he killed a puppy in an Arizona police raid.
Yes, Seagal - a wanna-be spook, army man and SWAT team Nazi played dress-up in Cammie Jammies and raided some dudes home in Phoenix resulting in the death of an 11 month-old puppy and 100 chickens.

From "The Huffington Post":

"Seagal and numerous deputies and posse members were present March 9 during a raid at the home of Jesus Llovera. In the claim, Llovera says an 11-month-old puppy was killed along with 100 roosters.
According to witnesses at the raid, a dog was present on Llovera's property when deputies and SWAT team members, including Seagal, entered the premises with a search warrant to arrest Llovera on cockfighting charges and seize all evidence pertaining to the crime"

"Llovera's attorney, Robert Campos, told The Associated Press Friday his client didn't accuse Steven Seagal of killing an animal on his property in a notice of claim filed against the sheriff's office.
"My client never accused Seagal of having anything to do with the death of his puppy," Campos said. "He (Llovera) just wanted an apology from Seagal for his role in the destruction of my client's home, property and animals."

"In Llovera's claim, the sheriff's office and Seagal are accused of setting off explosives to create a distraction and confusion. The claim says Seagal was free to commandeer a tank and crash through an iron gate on the southeast corner of Llovera's property in southwest Phoenix.
In an interview with KTAR Radio in Phoenix during the March raid, Seagal said he was there to help guard one side of Llovera's house.
"We're just sort of, you know, trying to guard one side of the house and see if anybody would run out or anything like that or, do anything worse than that," Seagal said. "We're kind of just doing that and I didn't really enter the house today."


Hmm. So let's see if we get this right; Seagal really does not participate in any of this wanna-be cop foolishness.
He just stands around the corner eating doughnuts and drinking coffee waiting for photo ops.


"Lord of Pasta" credit to our friend Bob at "Striking Thoughts"

For more on Steven Seagal's fantasy life, see my 2008 piece "The Company He Keeps: The Mafia, CIA and Steven Seagal"

and "LeBell vs. Seagal" from 2007