April 22, 2014

Samurai: Beyond the Sword - Review of the Samurai Exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts

For the second time this year (recall the review I did on the Portland Art Museum's exhibit "Samurai") we have had the luck to get wind of rare collections in cities we were visiting.  Just last week the Detroit Institute of Arts museum was the latest stop where the "Samurai: Beyond the Sword" blew away all expectations. 

Meant to illustrate the everyday life of a Samurai, the exhibit was encompassing without being redundant and boring.  Compared to the armor centered focus in Portland, BTS offered a few pieces of everything from armor, to weapons, to tea cups, and wood blocks.  Security was obnoxiously overbearing so I was only able to sneak a few shots of the lethally stunning blades from three to five hundred years ago, but as you can see they were amazing.  Razor sharp even after being dormant for generations, yet the craftsmanship is better than most you will find even today.

A number of pieces could be talked about but the one item my mind keeps floating back to is an amazingly well kept quiver with half a dozen arrows.  The shafts were straighter than any lathe could mill.  The arrow heads of various size carried an aire of death about them even through glass as if I could feel how heavy they were both in weight and intent.  Feathers lined the shaft just forward of the notch.  Seemingly perfect in their upright attention.

I personally love these types of exhibits.  A connection to a past that we are quickly losing.  A legacy where one may not agree with the tendencies of war, but no one can question the virtues of the men and women of the Samurai.  I walk away with a greater appreciation of all craftsmen and artisans.  Armor is functional.  Swords, axes, knives are functional tools.  People like Jeff Crowner are modern day bladesmiths who make functional art and should be celebrated as such.  I am reminded of all the "small" people who make every day livable in our country, and I am reminded that it is ok to pay a few more bucks for something made but someone local.  Why?  Because they matter more than a factory does in China.

If you get the chance to visit before June 1st you certainly will not be disappointed, and the quality of the naginata and katana blades is worth the $16 entry fee.

Click here for more info on Samurai: Beyond the Sword. 

April 21, 2014

The White Lion - Sengalese Wrestling

Spain's Juan Espino, The White Lion, is one of the best Sengalese wrestlers and loves the passionate atmosphere in Dakar when he fights there.  Someday I will make it over to train and watch. 

Thanks to Wrestling Roots for the heads up!

April 20, 2014

Just the Gi Top Podcast - Brian Johnson

Hey guys, tune in tonight at 9pm est / 6pm pst for Just the Gi Top podcast interview with our very own Brian "Mr. BJJ" Johnson!  They will be chatting about competition, training strategies, his lineage with the Machado family,

and the future of BJJ, so make sure not to miss it. 

Click here to be redirected to Just the Gi Top's site. 

Chris "Spider" Webb Takes Bronze

Yesterday NWJJA's very own Chris "Spider" Webb rode into Phoenix Arizona swung his sword of justice and collected some new heads for the mantle at home taking bronze at the NABJJF Grand Canyon State Open.  Fighting three fights and winning two in the purple belt medium heavy, Chris said he was "very pleased with his performance" so therefore decided to pass on the absolute division (which he qualified for) to spend more time with his folks. 

No tougher an opponent, no bigger a heart.  Congrats brother, proud of you! 

April 19, 2014

2014 World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championships - Results

The 2014 World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championships were held this past weekend in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) and we become witness once again the beauty of highly competitive Brazilian Jiu Jitsu where submissions are sought and executed at the highest level.  Ace Jiu Jitsu's very own Buchecha shows why there is no question nor doubt to the proclamation that he is the best in the world! 

-64kg                                                                            -94kg
1. Joao Miyao                                                              1. Braulio Estima
2. Tiago Bravo                                                             2. Tarcisio Jardim

-70kg                                                                           -100kg
1. Leo Saggioro                                                           1. Rodolfo Vieira
2. Jedrzej Loska                                                          2. Luiz Panza

-76kg                                                                           100kg+
1. Roberto Satoshi                                                       1. Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida
2. Sergio Benini                                                           2. Alex Trans

-82kg                                                                         Absolute
1. Leo Lo                                                                    1. Marcus Buchecha
2. Victor Estima                                                           2. Rodolfo Vieira
                                                                                   3. Andre Galvao
-88kg                                                                         4. Keenan Cornelius

1. Andre Galvao
2. Romulo Barral

-60kg                                                                          -72kg
1. Ariande Oliveira                                                       1. Janni Larsson
2. Nadia Canal                                                             2. Pollyanna Lago

-66kg                                                                           72kg +
1. Luiza Monteiro                                                         1. Gabi Garcia
2. Beatriz Mesquita                                                      2. Dominika Obelenyte

1. Gabi Garcia
2. Janni Larsson
3. Bia Mesquita

April 18, 2014

Kali - Africa Stylee with the Spear and Rungu

The Maasai of East Africa have two main weapons, the spear and the rungu (Swahili) a wooden club used to bludgeon and throw.  Typically 18-24 inches long these solid clubs weigh no more then 20 ounces.  Exceptionally balanced with a solid ball on one end, the rungu is a weapon that begs to be swung and in the hands of trained Kali practitioner is a pure slobber knocker! 

I want to thank my girl for such a thoughtful and original gift from her travels abroad where she found a hand carved one.  It will be cherished for years to come. 

April 17, 2014

Guro Jeff Davidson and his Maphilindo Detroit Pitbulls

This past week I had the privledge and honor to train with Guro Jeff Davidson in Detroit, MI.  Jeff has been studying martial arts since he was a teenager, specifically over 26 years training in the ways of the blade via Kali.  One of Leo Gaje's earliest students here in the US, a disciple of Tito Jun, as well as being one of the only westerners I have ever heard of who has trained in West African Wrestling, Jeff's approach to the arts is unique and beautiful.  I wanted to publicly thank him for his time and teachings.  My Kali and grappling are better already! 

He heavily reminds me of my CMA teacher Mike Martello who passed a few years back, to the point he nearly had me in tears a couple times with how similar the aire about them is.  I have followed Jeff's blog The Balisong Journal for years, why this trip home I decided to reach out... I am not sure.  But I am sure of one thing and that is I don't believe in coincidences.  "No one finds me on accident" - Jeff Davidson

Though our time was brief I took away a ton from Jeff's teachings.  I can promise you will see more of him and his approach in the future.  In the meantime check out these videos which do not convey just how smooth and gentle Guro Jeff Davidson really is.  You will also see Guro Doug Marcaida with highlights from past Brotherhood of the Blade gatherings: