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:

Attn: Three Harmonies Students

Apologies for an inconvenience but I have to cancel class tonight (Thursday April 17th).  Regular schedule on Saturday. 

Have a good day. 

April 15, 2014

Attn: NWJJA Students

To All NWJJA Students:
  Please do your best to attend Wednesday (April 16th) nights advanced class, as immediately following it we have a couple of special announcements that all will want to be a part of.  Come train and drill!

Sumo Seminar w/ Byamba

Bum's me out to no end that I cannot make this landmark seminar with world champ Byamba.  If you can make Southern California next month do not miss this amazing opportunity to train Sumo with an amazing champion!

Couprie Martial Arts
    14559 Erwin St
    Van Nuys, California 91411


Park in the back (north) parking lot, and enter from that north side.

When:    The training and lectures will be for three days . . .

Friday, May 16, 7 pm - 9 pm
Saturday, May 17, 1 pm - 4 pm
Sunday, May 18, 1 pm - 4 pm

We may even go a little longer, depending on the group that shows up.

What:  This seminar will not just be "regular" practices, but will include in-depth teaching of the principles of sumo, fundamental exercises, proper technique, and more.  Even people who have competed for years will learn aspects that they were not aware of, and will improve and refine their technique.

Who:  The training will be led by 4-time World Sumo Champion Byamba (http://www.sumobyamba.com).  Byamba spent 5 years in Japanese professional sumo, where he trained for hours every day.  I will provide support Byamba with the seminar.

    ***** NOTE:  We can not give a 100% guarantee that Byamba will be there at all times during the training.  It is his sincere intention to be there throughout the seminar.  He currently has no personal or business obligations for that time period.  However, if he is booked on a large-scale appearance, he might have to take it.  This is actually extremely unlikely, on a weekend, only about a month in advance, so we are virtually certain that Byamba will lead all aspects of the seminar.  Nevertheless, there is a very small chance that he might miss part or all of the session.  We doubt that this will happen, but we have to inform everyone of the slight risk, just to be safe.  *****

Cost:  This three-day seminar is only $40!  Normal martial arts seminars from world champions often cost $500+, but we are donating our time to help sumo enthusiasts develop in this country.  The $40 per participant will cover the cost of the dojo rental space, if we can get at least 5 or 6 participants.

    So, in fact, if there are fewer than 6 people, we will lose money putting on the seminar.

    (Of course, if everyone paid a lot more, then we could GUARANTEE Byamba's presence 100%, but I think 99% he will be there the entire time, anyway!!)

    Please RSVP, so we know how many people to expect.  In the future, this kind of training with Byamba may cost more, so take advantage of this opportunity now, if you are able to.

What to bring:  If you are completely new to sumo, just wear athletic shorts (and tops for women).  You can either purchase a mawashi, and/or we should have some (sub-standard) mawashis, that can be borrowed if you choose not to buy one.

    For experienced sumo wrestlers, please just bring your own mawashi.

Lodging:  Please search online for nearby lodging options.  For those who want to share lodging costs, I will be happy to put you in touch with each other -- just let me know if you want to share rooms with others.

Other Notes:

** We may also hang out for a while before or after the training.  Byamba might enjoy having a meal with everyone at some point, too.

** Feel free to bring specific questions and areas of your sumo that you want to focus on.  We might not get to everything, but we'll do our best to help each individual with specifics that he or she needs to work on most.

** Once again, PLEASE RSVP if you plan to participate.

Thank you.


April 13, 2014

Monday Mat Manners: Show Respect With the Bow

Please excuse the early post for Monday Mat Manners.  Though only 9 days late to this video, already 6.5 million folks have been educated!  Regardless of how intoxicated you, or your opponent, may be always show respect when engaging in combat, and it never hurts to taste your belt for good measure:

Kawazu Gake (Leg Entangled Throw) - Another Illegal Judo Throw

Here is a beautiful example of Kawazu gake (Leg Entangled Throw) which is classified as a side sacrifice throw and categorized as one of the four Kinshi waza (illegal techniques).  Keen eyed observers will notice the similarities of Kawazu gake with Shuai Chiao's (Chinese wrestling) "Leg Twist" technique.  Many teachers hold this as a "secret" technique in Chinese martial arts for no good reason. 

Techniques such as this fascinate me as they span the martial spectrum with no regard to "styles" nor "systems."  Riding high purely on principle.  Shame on Judo for making it illegal!  

I guess this is an illegal throw because to make it effective one must drive the opponents head into the ground.  As with many "illegal" techniques I find it silly.  We cannot continue to make techniques illegal simply because our opponent refuses to accept a fall!  Imagine if we made Uchi-mata illegal because of the propensity of destroyed knees.  Is the throw intrinsically dangerous?  No.  Not at all.  But when your opponent/partner resists... well... the knee loses.  Cause for a ban?  No.  Not at all.  

Also found in Sumo under the same moniker:

Leg Twist from Shuai Chiao as demonstrated by John Wang's students: