Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tao Te Ching #15: "Skilled Warriors of Old"

"Skilled Warriors of Old", Tao Te Ching - Thomas Cleary Edition

Skilled warriors of old were subtle,
mysteriously powerful,
so deep they were unknowable,
Just because they are unknowable,
I will try to describe them.

Their wariness was as that of one crossing a river in winter,
their caution was as that of one in fear of all around,
their gravity was that of a guest,
their relaxation was as that of ice at the melting point.

Simple as uncarved wood,
open as the valleys,
they were inscrutable as murky water.

Who can, in turbidity,
use the gradual clarification of stillness?
Who can, long at rest,
use the gradual enlivening of movement?

Those who preserve this Way do not want fullness,
Just because of not wanting fullness,
it is possible to use the full and not make anew.

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Striking Thoughts" Has Moved

My buddy Bob over at "Striking Thoughts" has dumped Wordpress or whatever that template was and moved over to Blogspot.
I am letting everybody know, mainly so I can use this picture of Bob (again) in a very nice apron while he was visiting relatives.
Lookin' good Bob!

Check out the new location for "Striking Thoughts" at this new link

Friday, June 24, 2011

New Training Schedule at Seattle's NW Jiu Jitsu Academy

Over at "The Ground Never Misses", my friend and Xingyi instructor Jake Burroughs announces exciting new changes:

"Brian Johnson is expanding the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy to almost triple his square footage, giving us another matted training floor, and a large workout area that will include various weights and equipment essential to martial arts conditioning and endurance training.
Along with this expansion, I am also happy to announce an expanded training schedule that I will be offering at the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy for those wishing to improve their striking and stand up skills. I will be offering three different formats starting July 2nd:

Kickboxing –
Develop pinpoint accuracy along with devastating power using kicks, punches, elbows, and knees. Whether you are looking for a calorie-burning workout, or you want to learn fundamental striking for self-defense as you are working your butt off this class will address all of your fitness and training goals!

Essential Combatives –
Continuing where kickboxing leaves off, Combatives class uses strikes to enter into clinch range where students train throws, takedowns, ground proofing, and the essentials of self-defense. Ideal for women and those wishing to take a more realistic approach to your self-defense training, combatives will challenge you mentally and physically.

Pekiti Tirsi Kali –
Filling in the final gap in modern day self defense one must address the weapon factor. Pekiti Tirsia Kali is considered the most technical bladed art to ever come out of the Philippine Islands, and it addresses all ranges of combat as well as all types of weapons. Learn a traditional Filipino weapon-based art in a safe and fun environment.

Instructor Jake Burroughs (left), the late Mike Martello, and myself

If you are in the Seattle area and are looking for diverse, efficiant training contact Jake at:


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Anybody Worried About This yet?

Flooded Nebraska Nuke Plant

I am an avid news consumer. Every day I am in my office I have the news on, and at work I listen to news radio most of the day.
Not a single word about a disaster that could be happening in slow motion right now.

Not one, but TWO nuclear power plants in Nebraska are in big trouble. This first report is from "The Business Insider":

"A fire in Nebraska's Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant briefly knocked out the cooling process for spent nuclear fuel rods, ProPublica reports.
The fire occurred on June 7th, and knocked out cooling for approximately 90 minutes. After 88 hours, the cooling pool would boil dry and highly radioactive materials would be exposed.
On June 6th, the Federal Administration Aviation (FAA) issued a directive banning aircraft from entering the airspace within a two-mile radius of the plant.
"No pilots may operate an aircraft in the areas covered by this NOTAM," referring to the "notice to airmen," effective immediately.
Since last week, the plant has been under a "notification of unusual event" classification, becausing of the rising Missouri River."
"Asked about the FAA flight ban, Hanson it was due to high power lines and "security reasons that we can't reveal." He said the flight ban remains in effect."

So the Ft. Calhoun plant suffered a fire that disabled the cooling system on June 6th, and is now flooded with water from the Missouri river.
Worse yet, heavy snows in the Rocky Mountains are melting and the flooding is expected to increase. The Cooper Nuclear Station down river may be at risk also:

"The Cooper Plant is in service and operating at or near 100% capacity. It has not shut down due to the rising flood waters. Cooper is a Boiling Water Reactor, manufactured by General Electric (BWR-4) with a Mark I Containment System. Sound familiar? Think "Fukushima". An earlier "Unusual Event" was reported by the Cooper Plant: "....inability to meet sludge pond discharge permit due to river levels." (NRC # 49941 09 June 2011 ) In the description, the operator states: "uncontrolled discharge ... "low volume' wastewater."

OpEd News reports:

"Ft. Calhoun: (NRC # 46965 16 June 2011) "Additional Penetration Identified For Mitigation During Walkdown" The Event Text states: ""Operations identified a potential flooding issue in the Intake Structure 1007 ft. 6 in. level. The area of concern is a hole in the floor at the 1007 ft. 6 in. level where the relief valve from FP-1A discharge pipe goes through the raw pump bay and discharges into the intake cell. There is one penetration of concern. Flooding through this penetration could have impacted the ability of the station's Raw Water (RW) pumps to perform their design accident mitigation functions."
"Should any of the upstream Dams fail (there are a total of 15) there would likely be a catastrophic wall of water rushing all the way to the Mississippi River. Unlikely? Yes. Impossible? Think "Fukushima". As one commentator recently said: "Breaching the spent fuel ponds would make Fukushima look like an X-Ray. The Army Corps of Engineers has been releasing water from the Gavins Point Dam (first Dam upstream from Ft. Calhoun) at 150,000 cubic feet per second and they have said this will likely be increased."

Is it about time for us to just install hundreds of millions of Solar Panels yet?
Quit mining Uranium and tearing mountains down for coal?
Nukes are clearly not safe.
For those who are interested, here's today's radiation readings c/o the Fukashima Nuclear plant in Japan:

Nuclear power: "Too cheap to meter"...

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Comtech "Fighting Bandanna" Volume Two

In early June we introduced you to James Keating's "Fighting Bandanna" instructional video Volume One. That detailed basic blocking and entangling lines while using the Bandanna as a flexible defense weapon. You can read that review Here.
In Volume Two, Keating demonstrates more unique and interesting methods, including using the Bandanna as an old style rock-launching sling. The Bandanna adds a degree of safety when confronted with a weapon, increases the defenders leverage, and can clearly be used to slap, trap, entangle and choke. As stated in the last review, the lowly Bandanna can be carried anywhere and is a great improvised weapon. All techniques are demonstrated with empty hands as well as with the added leverage of the Bandanna, which makes applications easier to understand.
Here is a short piece of an article by Keating in Fighttimes.com titled "It's just a piece of cloth, a dirty old rag":

"The Bandanna can be a: distraction, a sling, a sap, it can entangle, provide leverage, works well in all ranges and interacts well w/ all environments and authorities. Gee, for a "low-visibility" personal defense item, does it get any better than this? Your experimentation and diligence are critical components in your path to covert self defense mastery."
"In the manifestation of this skill one will study different ways to snap, wrap, trap and entangle the opponent. You are taught both high-line and low-line applications.
You are shown how the bandanna is applied against the body's "lever points". The bandanna and your empty hand arts must work as a team.
How can you make the most out of this humble "Cloth"? How else can this simple, yet highly versatile rag be employed into our service? In this case the survival mind must take the lead. So let's have a look at some of the other applications you might consider when becoming a professional "Bandanna Man". The Bandanna is protection."
And indeed, Keating concludes the video series with some no-nonsense examples of using the Bandanna as an emergency survival tool as well as some not-so-obvious first-aid ideas.

For those interested in practical pocket tools that can be improvised into self-defense weapons, the Bandanna should be one of your first choices. It's inconspicuous and has many, many applications. Most importantly, Keating shows how to marry the Bandanna to skills you already possess in empty-hand combat.

For those interested in taking a look at the many instructional video's James Keating has produced, go to this link for Combat Technologies

Here is the link for the review of Volume One

Friday, June 17, 2011

Assault With a Weasel

Police: Assault suspect mistook marten for mink
(AP) – Jun 10, 2011

HOQUIAM, Wash. (AP) — Police say a Washington man who was holding a dead weasel when he assaulted his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend was actually yielding a mink carcass.

Hoquiam police said the 33-year-old man had the dead animal with him when he went to the other man's apartment looking for his girlfriend Monday. The victim told police that he was struck after he asked the man why he was carrying a weasel.

He told police the attacker replied, "It's not a weasel, it's a marten," then punched him in the nose and fled.

But police Chief Jeff Myers told KXRO that martens haven't been seen in the area for 50 years, and that the dead animal was a mink. Both minks and martens are members of the weasel family.

The man was arrested later.

(D.R.)- As you can see, things are a little "slow" on the central Washington coast.
No wonder Nirvana's Kurt Cobain moved from there to Seattle...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

U.S. Used Bin Laden To Create Unrest In China

Most of us never realize the "Realpolitik" that goes on around us, and how cynical "The Powers That Be" are in manipulating the world in resource wars.

I came across this article, one of many about FBI translator Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds saw and translated thousands of documents relating to 911 and was interviewed in closed testimony by The 911 Commission.
According to this article, Edmonds describes how the U.S. was using Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban to sow unrest in China, among other places:

"In the interview, Sibel says that the US maintained 'intimate relations' with Bin Laden, and the Taliban, "all the way until that day of September 11."
These 'intimate relations' included using Bin Laden for 'operations' in Central Asia, including Xinjiang, China. These 'operations' involved using al Qaeda and the Taliban in the same manner "as we did during the Afghan and Soviet conflict," that is, fighting 'enemies' via proxies."

The article presents further information by journalist Eric Margolis describing how Chinese Muslim "Uighars" were trained:

(Chinese Muslims) "were being trained by Bin Laden to go and fight the communist Chinese in Xinjiang, and this was not only with the knowledge, but with the support of the CIA, because they thought they might use them if war ever broke out with China."
"Afghanistan was not a hotbed of terrorism, these were commando groups, guerrilla groups, being trained for specific purposes in Central Asia."
"That illustrates Henry Kissinger's bon mot that the only thing more dangerous than being America's enemy is being an ally, because these people were paid by the CIA, they were armed by the US, these Chinese Muslims from Xinjiang, the most-Western province.
The CIA was going to use them in the event of a war with China, or just to raise hell there, and they were trained and supported out of Afghanistan, some of them with Osama Bin Laden's collaboration. The Americans were up to their ears with this."


There is little reason to believe this relationship between U.S. Intel and Islamic extremists has ever ended. In fact, I have seen articles that cynicly refer to Al-Qaeda as "Al-CIAda". It's pretty clear that Bush/Cheney didn't want to get Bin Laden, and that he was being protected in Pakistan. Every Christmas shopping season, every election, everytime something went sour for Bush, they pulled out a "recent" Bin Laden video.

And the unrest spurred on by the CIA and Bin Laden has continued in the Muslim region of China:

Ethnic riots in China's west kill 140, hundreds hurt as unrest spreads to 2nd city

"Riots and street battles killed at least 140 people in China's western Xinjiang province and injured 828 others in the deadliest ethnic unrest to hit the region in decades. Officials said Monday the death toll was expected to rise.
Police sealed off streets in parts of the provincial capital, Urumqi, after discord between ethnic Muslim Uighur people and China's Han majority erupted into violence. Witnesses reported a new, smaller protest Monday in a second city, Kashgar."
"Tensions between Uighurs and the majority Han Chinese are never far from the surface in Xinjiang, a sprawling region rich in minerals and oil that borders eight Central Asian nations. Many Uighurs (pronounced WEE-gers) yearn for independence and some militants have waged a sporadic, violent separatist campaign."

(D.R.)- Please note the reference to "a sprawling region rich in minerals and oil".
In a related article, McClatchy news service obtained a huge data dump of 257,287 documents from Wikileaks:

WikiLeaks cables show that it was all about the oil

"Of the 251,287 WikiLeaks documents McClatchy obtained, 23,927 of them — nearly one in 10 — reference oil."

More at the McClatchy link above

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Scenes From Saturday's Saloon Party

So Saturday was our annual Saloon BBQ party, and the weather was perfect. I've had computer problems so I couldn't load any digital pictures off my camera, a friend took a few though:

There were about forty or fifty people off-and-on, and tons of food. I had a keg of Many's Pale Ale that we finished, and there was plenty more beer, hard stuff and wine.
Here's a different angle, looking toward my equipment shed:

Crap, sometime after 3:30 in the morning I wandered back to the house, and there were still people partying in the Saloon.
I think I finally recovered...
For those who haven't seen the Bar inside, here's a pic:

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Woo-hoo! Half-a-million Hits!

No, I haven't been sitting here clicking the reset button;
Thanks to you guys out there Dojo Rat hit 500,128 hits this morning!

Special thanks to recent viewers from The U.S. Department of Justice, Lockheed Martin, Goldman Sachs and the various other snoops and spooks.

The Beer's on me!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Comtech: "Fighting Bandanna" Volume One

Looking for an improvised weapon that can be carried anywhere? How about one that can help defend against a knife attack, or provide protection from the elements as well as first-aid use?
Well, the fighting Bandanna might be the improvised weapon for you.
In Volume One of the Comtech "Fighting Bandanna", tactical fighting instructor James Keating introduces us to the use of the Bandanna as a flexible weapon. All the principles apply to similar tools such as belts, short rope, piece of garden hose, etc.
Keating's approach is based on the "Panu" scarf techniques seen in Filipino and Indonesian arts, but with a street-smart western approach. His delivery is very clear and Keating moves with the authority of a well-practiced expert.

In "Getting Started", Keating shows us how to knot the Bandanna and use it in a whip-like motion to attack targets such as the eye. This is clearly more effective than it may sound, as he develops further methods involving weighted Bandannas capable of breaking glass bottles. All striking angles are covered.
We are next introduced to using the Bandanna to assist in stopping knife thrusts and the angles necessary to neutralize the attack.
The knife disarms used will look familiar to weapon-stripping techniques used in other arts, and the use of the Bandanna gives us more leverage and a degree of safety, being one step removed from contact with the blade. Wrapping the blade, joint manipulation and other techniques are employed.

In "secondary attacks", Keating goes beyond a simple thrust and deals with alternative weapons (tomahawk or hammer), reverse grip knife attacks, and dealing with a "one-two" weapon-punch attack with the opponent using both hands. This includes arm trapping methods also seen in other arts. Keating makes a clear point of showing many of the techniques empty handed, which helps us see how the Bandanna supplements the technique. All knives used are large "Bowie" style trainers that are very imposing, and the defense emphasis is on non-lethal control techniques.

In "Further development", Keating concludes with useful methods of installing small weighted objects into the Bandanna, intensifying the striking capabilities of the weapon. Using the Bandanna to conceal weapons and other ideas are discussed.

Keating makes it clear that the "Fighting Bandanna" is a concept video. He reminds us that many of the techniques can be applied with a variety of improvised flexible weapons. It's any one's worst nightmare to be confronted by an aggressor with a knife, and we are advised to run away and live to fight another day.
But familiarity with simple improvised weapons such as the Bandanna could save us from an initial attack, giving us that opportunity to escape.
Having a training partner is essential for learning the concepts in this video. I know I will write down a few notes and take them to the Dojo with Bandannas and wooden knives. Practice is essential.

Here is the Contact information for James Keating and Comtech:

Ph: 541-938-3451
Email: comtech@bmi.net
Mailing address:
POB 142
Walla Walla, Wa. 99362

And here is the embedded link for other products at Comtech

Volume Two review here

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Yoga Militia: This Guy's No Gandhi Pacifist

Yoga star Swami Ramdev

We live in fascinating times; the "Arab Spring" sweeps across North Africa and the Middle East challenging dictatorships. In Europe, huge protests against austerity measures threaten to topple governments that have mis-invested public funds led by corrupt money managers in London and on Wall Street.
And now in India, a popular television Guru has suggested he will build a militia to tackle government corruption. From "AFP":

"NEW DELHI (AFP) – A television yoga guru who has led protests against corruption in India threatened to form a militia on Thursday as a new demonstration against the government drew thousands in New Delhi.
Yoga star Swami Ramdev, who was evicted from the capital along with thousands of followers at the weekend in a police crackdown, warned of violence if he was targeted again.
The activist, an eccentric figure watched by millions of Indians daily on a religious television channel, called for men and women to join his "army".
"They must be dedicated, ready to make the ultimate sacrifice," he said from his base in northern India in remarks reported by the NDTV news channel. "They will be given arms training. We will build an army of 11,000 men and women."
His spokesman told AFP that the force would have weapons but would act only in self-defence. He said that Ramdev, who has been fasting since Monday, was determined to stand up to police if they again attacked him or his supporters."
""In a democracy, everyone has a right to stand up for a cause and no government can stop us from doing so."
Anger about corruption is mounting in India after a series of scandals, notably a telecom licence scam that might have cost the country up to $39 billion.
Some observers predicted the government's heavy-handed treatment of Ramdev, a strict social conservative with radical views on how to tackle corruption, could lead to further protests.
But the guru's call for an army and the threat of violence is likely to alienate many Indians who had previously sympathised with his cause."


(D.R.): All around the world, and partly thanks to Wikileaks and social media, common people are challenging corrupt governments and saying "enough is enough".

Even in the United States, the misguided "Tea Party", a supposedly populist movement that was taken over by the Republican establishment, had it's moment and appears to have run out of steam.
In Wisconsin, thousands and thousands of people have protested the right-wing attempt to break up Unions that bind teachers, firefighters, police and other public employees together.

Let's be clear here; all around the world people understand that elite money managers have robbed them blind. The wealth of nations has been siphoned upward through banking and investment scandals. The wealth did not just disappear, it moved from the hands of the people into the hands of the money managers. The richest corporations in the world pay no taxes while the elite deny the middle class housing and health care.
We need a new "New Deal".

Yesterday on the radio, I heard a guy say that he had been called on the phone by someone from "The Pew Research Center", a polling organization.
After a few initial questions, the pollster asked the man if he had heard of "The Arab Spring".
The man said, yes he had and that he knew about the popular uprisings.
The pollster asked if he thought if similar protests might occur in the United States soon.
The man said "Yes".

I'd like to know who commissioned that poll...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The "Comtech" Stinger

Last week we introduced James Keating, a tactical fighting instructor that runs "Comtech" and the "MAAJAK" website. That post included video of Keating manipulating a knife from grip-to-grip at one of his training sessions.

Now we take a look at the Comtech "Stinger". As you see above, it's an unusual pocket tool that fits in the hand, with a striking point that protrudes past the fist:

Let me tell you; this thing would hurt, tear muscle and break bones. It's a featherweight in your pocket or hand, but likely indestructible. Even if you don't have knowledge of pressure point or vital point striking, this thing will damage anything it hits. I can imagine it penetrating between ribs or smashing the bones on the back of an opponent's fist.
The Stinger is nondescript, almost resembles a child's toy, is not metallic and is easily concealed. One of the gripping "arms" is curved. This allows the Stinger to point slightly up or down. It also has a hole that a key chain ring can be inserted into if needed.

Here is the contact information for James Keating and Comtech training and products:

Ph: 541-938-3451
Email: comtech@bmi.net
Mailing address:
POB 142
Walla Walla, Wa. 99362

And here is the link for Keatings website "MAAJAK" and his training schedule at "Comtech"

Coming up this week: James Keating's series on "The Fighting Bandanna"

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Professor Wally Jay Has Passed Away

Professor Wally Jay, Remy Presas and George Dillman

It was with great sadness that I was informed about the Death of Wally Jay, founder of "Small-Circle Jujitsu.
As pictured above, Professor Jay traveled and taught with Remy Presas of "Modern Arnis" and George Dillman of Ryu-Kyu Kenpo, and they were known as "The Big Three".

Many of my instructors had trained with these men, who were an incredible resource of self-defence knowledge. My Training partner Corey trained with them, and spent time training with Wally and his son Leon both in Indiana and London England. Many of our lock-flow drills come from the Jay's "Small-Circle Jujitsu".
I was fortunate to have attended a seminar in Portland with Leon Jay. At that seminar he nailed Corey with a "light-force" knockout that put him out cold. Needless to say, I had to drive us back to Northern Washington while Corey nursed a sore head.
The Jay's had their own take on traditional Jujitsu, and were interested in integrating Dillman's pressure-point Karate and Presas' Stick and knife methods into their system.

For those who are interested, here is a link to a piece I wrote in 2006 called "How Small-Circle Jujitsu Changed Everything".

UPDATE: Jason has provided us with this link to the Small-Circle Jujitsu website and many, many remembrances for Professor Wally Jay

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Northwest Fighter Tony King

Back in February and again last Saturday I had a chance to talk with Tony King. King is an up-and-coming pro fighter on the MMA circuit with (I believe) a 5-2 record. We talked at a bar for the "after fight" party, his fighter had defeated one of our Barbarian brothers and we compared notes.
This time we talked about defending against leg dives and a few bits of strategy.
Tony is a hell of a nice guy and his student told me Tony will be in one of the MMA TV reality shows. He's currently working out of Aces MMA in the Beaverton Oregon area.
One thing that clearly stands out about the MMA trend; the fighters conduct themselves like gentlemen, the fans in the crowd do not. I suppose it's no different than soccer, football or pro wrestling fans, they all tend to get drunk and act like hooligans.
But, so far, all the fighters I have met are serious, polite, and focused.
Here's a short promo they filmed at Aces MMA:

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cute Hippie Chick of the Month: Female Dojo Rat Edition

You know you've been waiting;
You know I couldn't resist...

This Dojo Rat "Cute Hippie Chick of the Month" edition is dedicated to "Rats".

Yes, believe it or not, there are now rat fashion shows. From the "Mail Online, UK":

You flirty rat! New York fashionistas splurge on designer outfits ... for their pet rodents

"First there was doggy dresses, and coats for mini pigs, now trendy pet owners are ordering designer clothing for their rats.
Pet fashionista Ada Nieves is selling rat tuxedos, wedding dresses and bridesmaids gowns among other exclusive designs.
Ada, from New York, said: 'The rats look very cute and seem to like wearing them. Rats are very popular these days and the owners love to dress them up.'
"Rat fans gathered in New York yesterday for a rodent fashion show featuring Ada's outifts, which come complete with crystals, feathers and frilly tutus, and sell for around £50 each.
Rat owner Kelly Antonova, 27, said: 'Rats have amazing personalities. They are like a dog, cat and ferret all rolled into one. But each also has its own individual character.
'I've had rats who swim in a little bath, or sleep on the bed. You can train them on a little lease and they will learn how to dance, and how to fetch things like a dog. Rats are very sociable and give you a lot of love. They are very intelligent and share similar characteristics to humans.'

From the comment section:

"These people need to grow up. Animals are not toys to be dressed up like Barbie dolls."
- SavageSquirrel, Kent, UK, 31/5/2011 01:05
"it is totally sad and absolutely scary at the same time to witness whole world going completely insane"
- Joe, Fort Worth, TX, 01/6/2011 10:13

Here's what you've really been waiting for, a real female Dojo Rat!

Never again... ever.