November 19, 2014

Fut Sao Wing Chun by James Cama - Book Review

Tambuli Media's latest offering by James Cama offers a glimpse into the little seen world of the Leung Family Buddha Hand System of martial arts with "Fut Sao Wing Chun."  A 115 page overview of a little known branch of the Southern Chinese Martial art known as Wing Chun, a system renown for its pragmatic approach to self defense and health.

The author, James Cama, offers a brief historic overview of the art before leading the reader through the various aspects of Wing Chun. Subjects such as weapons, empty hand forms, internal healing (nei gung), and two person form are touched upon.  Cama also shows a taste of the self defense aspects that Wing Chun has to offer.   Unfortunately these are mere appetizers to the uninitiated!  Though written decently it almost seems rushed as I was left wanting more details on every aspect; lineage, pedagogy, mindset of a Wing Chun fighter; how to deal with specialists in other methods of combat etc.etc.  A smattering of self defense scenarios are presented but little explanation is offered.  For instance on page 106 the author talks about the importance of controlling the opponents energy in a self defense situation.  But ultimately this is merely a maxim as their is no further details offered nor explanation.

Edited well the photo's are well lit and clear, offering a single angle on the subject in most instances.  The  form stills are solid and clear though again only offering one angle, not multiples. The reader is left yearning for more info and depth unless of course you already practice the Buddha Hand system of the Leung Family.  To those practitioners this book is of the most value since Cama offers the basic forms broken down into over 200 photos as well as the two person set.  A wonderful source of the movements to any student of the art.


The Hei Gong (nei gung) form is also presented (and to the best of my knowledge this is the first time it appears openly in print).  A strong, powerful healing set that combines breath work with dynamic movements and mental acuity training. 

One is left feeling as if there must be a follow up volume diving into more details of such a rare art, but that desire is overshadowed by the sad fact that James Cama unexpectedly passed on the day this title was in fact published. A legacy cut short for sure but none the less one cemented in the foundation of time with this text as a treatise to his past for the students of the future. 

Fut Sao can be purchased by clicking here

November 18, 2014

Training With Guru Jeff Davidson

Once again I have had the distinct pleasure to train with Guru Jeff Davidson of the Detroit Maphilindo Pitbulls.  I believe all things happen for a reason and though I had followed his blog and online offerings for years, it wasn't until earlier this year I decided to reach out and ask to train with Jeff.  He accepted and as they say the rest is history. 

I must admit that his tutelage comes at a very pivotal time for me as quality people in general but specifically quality martial artists have become a rare commodity in my life.  Guru Jeff sees something in me that others choose to look past, most likely because they are too preoccupied with trying to get something from me.  Regardless I cannot express in words how grateful I am to have such a talented and giving teacher both in the martial realm and spiritual. 

As if the gift of having a solid teacher was not enough imagine my surprise when Guru Jeff offered to accept both my student Lara and myself as closed door disciples!  We could not be more honored and grateful for such a wonderful opportunity and thankfully we were both accepted.  Many more great things coming in the future! 


Mabuhay! 

November 15, 2014

Ohio State Wrestling

The seasons first snowflakes whisked through the crisp air as we shuffled into the historic St. John's Arena on the campus of THE Ohio State University.  The Buckeyes were to face Kent St. at the home opener for the 2014-15 wrestling season, one filled with murmurings of the possibility of Ohio States first national championship. This would be my first live Ohio State wrestling match.

St. John's Arena is a beautiful building that my father and grandfather used to take me to as a kid to watch OSU basketball, and is actually perfect for wrestling.  Not a bad seat in the house and the home team had a solid showing though Kent St. is not necessarily a powerhouse.  The evening started  with the presentation of Logan Stieber's national championship banner (3 years running, looking for his fourth this season).  The championship banners lined the north and south upper bowl and included some familiar names to fans of MMA; Mark Coleman & Kevin Randleman, as well as champions going back to 1940.  Just a wonderful atmosphere to watch NCAA Collegiate wrestling. 

Watching Logan Stieber dominate his opponent was certainly a highlight, but the premier of true freshman Kyle Snyder was what most of us were eager to see.  I mean check out these stats, they literally seem unreal:
  • 179-0 in three years of HS wrestling
  • Was taken down once in that span.  (No, that is not a typo!!  Has only been taken down one time in 179 matches!!!)
  • Youngest Junior World Champion in 2013
  • Returned in 2014 to bronze
  • Undefeated in what is considered the top three toughest HS wrestling tournaments in the US.
Wrestling champs before they "bulked  up"   





Between the Stieber brothers, Kyle Snyder, and stand outs such as Josh Demas their are high hopes for a solid shot at the NCAA championships for OSU.  If you are in the area you really should pick up the fam and take them.  It is affordable, fun, and you are supporting one of the most important sports in the world.  



November 14, 2014

Attn: Three Harmonies Students

There will be no class Thursday November 13th - 20th.  Apologies for any inconvenience, but train hard and practice while I am gone. 

November 9, 2014

Are Jiu Jitsu Competitions to Blame For Wrestlings Dominance in MMA?

Best in the biz... Burroughs with his double

Pedro Olavarria over at Fightland just published an excellent article on one possible reason that so many high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players have had such a difficult time transferring those skills into their MMA careers.  Is collegiate wrestling to blame for such inadequacies?  Or does the modern day rule set as dictated by IBJJF poorly prepare competitors for MMA/self defense?  Food for thought here...


Self Defense Applicability??
"The other reason for sport jiu jitsu’s relative non-transferability to MMA is the same reason for wrestling’s success. In MMA, slightly more than half of all takedowns are done with the double leg or single leg takedown; compare that to the NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Finals, where from 2012-2014, 50% of successful takedowns were single leg and double leg takedowns. The most successful takedowns in wrestling are the most successful takedowns in MMA. In sport jiu jitsu, if we look at the 2012 Pan Ams, more than 75% of the matches got to the ground because one or both players pulled guard. In the 2012 Worlds, roughly 75% of all matches got to the ground because one or both players pulled guard, with more than 50% of the matches going to the ground, in less than 10 seconds. Despite the fact that jiu jitsu requires a fight to be on the ground, sport jiu jitsu competitors are spending comparatively little time training in or fighting for takedowns. Sport jiu jitsu champions who cross over into MMA are hampered by the submissions they have overemphasized and the wrestling takedowns they have neglected in winning tournaments. What is the solution to this overdependence on joint locks and the neglect of effective takedowns?
    The solution to these problems is something for jiu jitsu masters and tournament promoters to figure out. Should they award more points for takedowns? Should they ban guard pulling while both players are on their feet? Should punches be allowed on the ground for higher belts? I don’t know. Certainly, the leaders of the jiu jitsu community need to answer for themselves whether MMA is even relevant to jiu jitsu anymore. The whole point of vale tudo and the original UFC was to prove that jiu jitsu works and that ground fighting is essential for anyone seriously interested in self-defense. Because of the Gracies, future generations of young men and women who want to learn actual fighting will be spared from the boredom and inefficacy of kata, one step-sparring and board breaking."

To read the entire article click here.

November 7, 2014

November 3, 2014

Enson Inoue's 'Live As A Man / Die As A Man / Become A Man' - Book Review

I have been a fan of Enson Inoue's since early in my martial career.  I remember seeing some old Shooto fights a karate buddy had VHS (that is an archaic recording medium that can now be viewed in the Smithsonian) of and Enson was one of the fighters.  His bravery inspired me, his attitude entertained me, and his fights NEVER disappointed.  From fighting MMA, to rescuing dogs and feeding the needy after the terrible nuclear disaster just a few years back, I have always been drawn to the grappling and MMA legend. So when his self published autobiography "Live As A Man, Die As A Man, Become A Man" hit the market I was stoked, as Enson Inoue IS living martial arts history.

To understand Enson one must have a fundamental understanding of Japanese culture and history.  Enson lives by the motto 'Yamatodamashii' which is loosely translated as Samurai Spirit.  Essentially it is the embodiment of the Samurai spirit they carried into every task, every day and that is whatever you do you must do with 100% heart and conviction.  You must be prepared to die spiritually, emotionally, physically to stand by your honor and integrity.  These attributes Enson finds lacking in the 21st century, again something I completely agree with and can relate to.

The reader is taken along for a ride from Enson's early childhood where he witnessed firsthand the effects of fear and cowardice.  The feeling of despair when a friend needed him and he did nothing laid a heavy impression upon Enson and drove him to never again find himself bowing down to fear.  His candor in sharing his true feelings is admirable and rare as he tackles some of the most difficult questions all men face.

Any true fan of combat sports needs to put 'Live As A Man.." on their X Mas wish list as Enson is the living embodiment of MMA, truly no bullshit a pioneer whose power and influence even I did not realize until reading this bio.  He takes a fight by fight breakdown of his entire MMA history; the wins and the losses.  I mean this is THE guy that handed Randy Couture his first pro MMA loss!  The list of men whom have stepped into the ring with Enson is literally a who's who of MMA, ADCC, and BJJ; Igor Vivchanchan, Mark Kerr, Mario Sperry, Frank Shamrock, Big Nog, Guy Mezger...


His history and unfortunate falling out with the Gracies is detailed, as well as a short stint training with the Machado family as well.  Enson also touches on traditionally taboo topics such as the role of Yakuza (Japanese mafia) in the Japanese mixed martial arts business.  Inoue has been able to walk in both worlds because he carries himself with dignity and stands behind what he says.  Rare attributes in today's society, thus respected by gangsters and police alike.  This position offers Enson rare insights into just how corrupt the organizations like Shooto and Pride really were / are!  Sad and disappointing to true fight fans who want to see the fighters taken care and the organizations follow a legit line to ensure the sanctity and longevity of the sport.

Overall the book is an easy and fun read offering a peak inside the mind of what I would consider a modern day warrior struggling with his identity and purpose.  Enson flirts with being a bit masturbatory in some of the retelling of the tales, and is in desperate need of a solid editor, but overall I think this book is one of the most honest insights into the mind and heart of one of the toughest SOB's on earth.  My singular selfish complaint is that we get only a glimpse of the heart of Enson Inoue, which I can say without doubt, is much larger and greater then his fighting prowess!  Following Enson's life over the years has shown me the generosity and humble serving nature of a modern Samurai where he has dedicated his life to helping out the animals and people in need throughout Japan.  He does not touch on any of his charity work designing and selling bracelets (Destiny Forever), delivering food water and hope to those affected by the terrible nuclear meltdown in Japan, as well as taking a yearly pilgrimage walking over 1300 miles in an effort to raise money for the needy in Japan.    Perhaps these are tales for a second biography  further down the road, but none the less aspects that I think are just as interesting as his fight life. 
To order "Live As A Man" Click here.  For more information on Enson, or to order some of his custom made bracelets (proceeds of which go to charities helping both people and animals) please visit Destiny Forever.