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.