January 26, 2010

New Website Launch (finally!!!!!!)


I will spare my good friends here at gravity central the loooooonnnnnnngggg story, but the short and narrow of it all is Three Harmonies is back on line! Absolutely NO THANKS to the douche waffles at Comcast who deleted my previous website (really, is there any good god damned reason for your existence, other than to give my good buddy Justin a job??)! After, I am not sure how long of, an absence we are back on line!

Not to toot my own horn, but I am happy to say I designed and created this site completely on my own! For those who know me personally.... you understand I am NOT a computer guy, so this is kinda a proud moment!

So anyways, peruse, linger, hang out etc. and most of all enjoy! I am quite happy with the service and program I used (Wix.com), and with the turnout. Please do me a favor, bookmark the site and visit it daily. Just click on the site once a day and that will help drive it higher with search engines (from what I understand).

Keep in mind this is a work in progress as I will be adding things (articles) and changing the site regularly so please do visit us regularly.

Cheers
JAB

Great Article on Progress In BJJ

Though geared towards BJJ, Cane Prevost's latest entry on his blog is an excellent post, and one that all of us deal with at some point in our careers on the mat... measuring progress.

In the Chinese Martial Arts (CMA) their is traditionally no rank structure set up. Some schools have borrowed from Judo's lead with colored belts, or sashes. Some teachers used the disciple method to offer rank, or announce a certain students level. Basically a teacher asks you to become a disciple of his. Some teachers have dozens of disciples whose responsibilities and roles change teacher to teacher. Other instructors such as my Mantis teacher Hu Xi Lin only takes on a few disciples, and is very selective about whom he lets that close.

Tournaments are certainly another method in which to measure progress, but like Cane states... not always the most accurate method. Though I think competition at some level is crucial for promotion, as it forces one to face certain fears and facts, and I truly believe one has not clue how he will react until put under at least that minimal amount of pressure!

For me, I try to look and see if I am improving from the last time I was on the mat. Ultimately this forces me to be honest with myself (sometimes too honest), and to face the issues I need to face in order to patch the holes I need to, to improve my game. Are you better than last night? 6 months ago?

Though we train in groups of various sizes, the martial arts are ultimately a very personal journey with each one of us bringing our baggage (good & bad) on the mat with us each night. The ego is a funny, very powerful energy that is ever present in our lives and it can have amazing influence on our very core primal being!

For some of us training represents a method, a natural forging process where we put our ego to the flame and pound it, reshape it, crack it, pressure it, punish it until it screams, to the point where we collapse our ego and simply accept the realities of the mat! Like Cane states in his article "The mat doesn't lie." We can fool ourselves all we want, but in the end resistance is futile. We are our own worst enemy and our ego is the sword in which we impale ourselves!

Train Hard. Train Smart.
JAB

January 24, 2010

Day 15 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

Here we go, the final day of the January Basho. Asashoryu has pretty much locked up the Emperors Cup, but find out how well he did against Hakuho.

I hope you have enjoyed the highlighted recap's of the January Sumo Basho. Email me and let me know if this is something you want to see every Basho, or you could care less! three_harmonies@hotmail.com

Enjoy,
JAB

January 23, 2010

Product Review - Warrior Roots



A few months ago a two page ad in some random MMA magazine I got to fritter away the 2 hour flight from Calgary back to Seattle caught my eye; Warrior Roots. According to the advertisement, with a simple mouth swab DNA test, paternal warrior roots can be determined and traced all the way back to the beginning of man. Of course this piqued my interest, and I contacted Thomas Murphy who sits on the board of directors, and he was more than happy to show the readers of The Ground Never Misses just what Warrior Roots is all about!

A simple DNA collection kit was sent to my house which contained instructions, two cotton swabs with plastic containers, and an envelope. Now back last fall (when I submitted my sample) Warrior Roots only had two types of tests they offered, the athletic test, and the Y Chromosome SNP test (which is the one I took). Their updated website shows that they offer several other tests for the prospective customer.

Basically all one needs to do is use the cotton swab and run in along the inside of ones mouth for a minute, let the swab air dry without touching the head with anything. And then you simply mail off the sample in the addressed envelope. Easy. You are asked your fathers familial name, and what ethnic origin you think he is. For me it was obviously Burroughs and most of our immediate family genes come from a high yeller mixture of Irish, Scottish, and English.

(A side note: my mother's genetics are 1/2 Polish, and English / Scottish.)

Now, I am no genius, nor a geneticist... so how accurate is a test like this? I have no clue. I have read all of what Warrior Roots offers on their website, and frankly I have no reason to disbelieve any of it. A few people I have spoken who are involved with DNA sampling and genetics have informed me that a test that would garner those kind of results would cost much more than the $150 price tag Warrior Roots is offering. Keep in mind basic paternity testing is $500-2000 dollars!

So on New Years Eve I receive an email with several large attachments containing my Warrior DNA Roots. Essentially the attachments contained the following:

1. Certified warrior/haplogroup certificate

2. Migration Map (how your ancestors got to where your makers sprung up).

3. Migration explanation (to help explain your ancestor’s migration)

4. Historical facts on the men/warriors that carried your Marker, preserving it into the present day. They were your actual relatives.

One can opt to have this all bound up nicely in a leather casing, for extra of course.

So the results of my test were quite interesting since they did not take into account the ancestry of my mothers side. My heritage can be traced back to the Scythian warrior culture. Confederated tribesmen from the Central Steppes of Asia, the Scythian culture was nomadic explaining their expertise with archery and horsemanship.

So what does it all mean in the end? Nothing really. I am not sure how much stock to put into a test such as this, though it was fun and interesting! Prior to this test I had never even heard of the Scythian culture, so if nothing else I learned something. Now if you asked me, "Jake, would you pay for something like this?" the answer is simply "No." But that is just my broke ass budgeting for the next martial arts seminar! If you have the extra moula and the interest, go for it! You have nothing to lose, well except money, but other than that you have nothing to lose.

All in all it was interesting and fun to see how things turned out. Thomas and all the people I dealt with at Warrior Roots were very polite, more than willing to help explain, and ran a tight ship overall. Check them out at Warrior Roots.

Enjoy,
JAB

Day 14 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

Asa clinches his 25th Emperors Cup, a remarkable record putting him third all time! Congrats!
JAB

January 22, 2010

Day 13 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

Asa is starting to show off! A two handed arm twist down throw! Never seen that before. Impressive!

January 20, 2010

Day 11 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

Who says their are no strikes in Sumo!? Check out Hakuho KO-ing his opponent with a forearm strike!

Enjoy,
JAB

January 19, 2010

Product Review - Defense Soap


When I was down in LA competing at the 09 No Gi Worlds I picked up some Defense Soap to try out. This product is purported to fight against fungal, and bacterial infections commonly found with combat sports (impetigo, ring worm, staph infections, etc.) which is a rare combo in soaps. Most over the counter soap products have an antibacterial component in them, but not necessarily an anti fungal component.

The main reason I never ordered any Defense Soap products online was because of the cost. An average bar of soap costs $5-6!! A bit pricey for soap, when an average brand name goes for a third of that! So is this "new" product just hype with combat sports being the focus of intense marketing, or does the product actually produce results?

First of all I did not go out and voluntarily try to get any infections bacterial or otherwise, so I cannot attest to the actual efficacy of the product in defending me from said infections. I have had impetigo (in my grappling career), and ringworm (as a kid) but nothing as of late (knock on wood).

I must say the bar actually lasted a long time. Just now finishing it using it just about everyday (a solid 2 months worth out of one bar). It does not have a strong odor, but the light smell (from essential oils according to the packaging) is pleasant and non-medicinal. All in all the soap lathered up well, and I walked away feeling clean after wards. One negative comment is that Defense Soap will REALLY dry out your skin. One can only assume this is a by-product of the anti fungal/bacterial factors in it. So I found myself using a softer soap afterward in an effort to add some moisture to my skin.

Overall I think Defense Soap is a good product. Better than what you can find at Walgreen's? Not really. And that is one of my main complaints.... availability. One must order online or seek out a distributor in town (I know of no one, but I have not looked in the recent past either). Regardless you will not find Defense at your local supermarket. Availability, coupled with the inflated price makes me think this product offers nothing more than your average Dial, or Lever 2000 products. Now perhaps you are working a bit of the ol' OCD and spending the extra couple of bucks will give you a sound mind... in that case go for it! Can't hurt right? Either way this is a good product, but nothing worth seeking out and spending extra cash on in my humble opinion. Now, if they lowered the price and made it available in stores all over I would most likely scratch my OCD itch and grab it for peace of mind.

Train Hard. Train Smart.
JAB

Day 10 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

January 17, 2010

Day 8 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

Estonian Baruto is making a strong push for Ozeki rank. Can't wait until tomorrow when he faces Kotooshu!

Enjoy,
JAB

January 16, 2010

Day 7 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

WOW!! Upset of the year (so far;)! Hakuho gets tossed with a beltless arm throw by Baruto. Baruto's first victory over Hakuho ever.

Enjoy,
JAB

January 14, 2010

January 13, 2010

Rafael Lovato Jr. on Competing


Though he has been a bit lazy about posting (just busting your chops RLJ) on his blog lately, Rafael Lovato Jr. has just put up a blurb about why he competes, and I must admit I agree 100% with what he has to say! If you are interested in what a multi time world / pan am champ has to say about competition click here!

I look forward to training with Rafael at some point in my life. I met him briefly at the No Gi Worlds and he was very nice, and watching him compete was quite the inspiration!

Train Hard. Train Smart.
JAB

Day 4 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

Fare the well Chiyotaikai. Sad to see him go, but happy for all he has given Sumo fans over the past decade in a half!
The Mongolian Maulers Hakuho and Asashoryu continue to steamroll the competition.

Enjoy,
JAB

January 12, 2010

January 11, 2010

Tim Cartmell Seminars Portland OR. Feb. 13-14th, 2010


Tim Cartmell will be visiting Portland for the first time offering seminars on ground proofing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Below is the info, the seminar is open to all levels, styles, and ranks.

Saturday, February 13th and Sunday, February 14th

Times:
Saturday from - 12:00 - 5:00PM Ground Proofing
Sunday from - 9:00 - 2:00 BJJ

Price:
Saturday - $60 (5 hours)
Sunday - $60 (5 hours)
Both days $100

Michael Selin
Ecole de Budo - USA
7506 N Chicago Avenue
Portland, Oregon, 97203
Tel - 503-286-3625
Fax - 503-286-3635

Day 2 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

Day 1 - Hatsu Sumo Basho Jan 2010

In an attempt to educate the masses who check into "The Ground Never Misses" everyday, I will be posting the highlight recap show of the Grand Sumo Tournament happening over the next two weeks in Japan.
I am not sure what kind of interest this will generate, but I think Sumo is one of the greatest combat sports we have in the world and Sumo's culture is nothing short of fascinating for any student or observer of the martial arts!
For more info on Sumo in general, check out The Grand Sumo Page which has all sorts of Sumo info for experts or novices alike including rules, types of throws, etc.

Enjoy,
JAB

January 10, 2010

Lagalize MMA in New York

I must admit no love loss for NYC. Not one of my favorite places on earth, but none the less I respect what it has given us over the years in terms of rich sports traditions with the Rangers, Knicks, Mets, and some of the best fighters in boxing history. I find lots of humor in the irony of NYC being one of the "most progressive" cities in the world, and yet they have fallen to the back of the line in regards to jumping on the MMA bandwagon. To this day MMA is illegal in New York, and Ontario Canada, which each respectively holds the largest city of each country (NYC / Toronto). The potential for the community to benefit is through the roof, yet douchewaffle legislators maintain a strict crackdown on MMA in New York state, and the province of Ontario to this day!

Here is a great short movie I am borrowing from Ross Training (thanks Ross for finding it!). It is extremely well done, and poignant!

Oh, and check out the ignorant comments about tattoo's by promoter Bob Arum, then your questions of "why are such knuckleheads running things?" will be answered!

Enjoy,
JAB



January 7, 2010

Rigan Machado Jiu Jitsu International


It looks like Rigan Machado and one of his students has launched a new site which will be updating grapplers on all aspects of Rigan's teaching curriculum, seminars, events, products, etc. at Rigan Machado Jiu Jitsu International.
There is not much info as to what is going to be offered, but with Rigan we know it will be nothing short of top notch, so stay tuned to see where he takes us on our journey! Also check back here at the Ground Never Misses for updated info on Rigan visiting us at the NWJJA!

Cheers
JAB

January 6, 2010

Shuai Chiao (Chinese Wrestling)




My friend Michael Ashwix has his Shuai Jiao site/blog back up and going. It is a great resource for all things Chinese martial arts related, but specifically on the art of Shuai Chiao / Jiao, or Chinese Wrestling. Michael is an excellent source for all things Shuai related, being a student of the infamous Li Bao Ru, and his blog has always had interesting articles and clips. Lets hope he keeps on top of it and continues to post on a regular basis.

Shuai has a long and interesting history within the Chinese martial arts. Arguably one of the oldest wrestling systems still practiced today, much myth and fantasy surround the art in it's various manifestations. To try and categorize each school is silly, as China contains hundreds of various ethnic tribes from all corners of the world and it seems that each ethnic group brought their own grappling methodologies to the table. Depending on where in China ones teacher learned will dictate the flavor or style of Shuai Chiao, but ultimately it is all the same in principle and function. Each "school" brings their own favored methods and / or techniques, but since all of us are human we are restricted to the same basic mechanical laws of physics.

All systems of Shuai use the Da Lian jacket, which is similar to a Judo gi, but tighter across the chest, with shorter sleeves (usually only covering the biceps), and a more open chest. This changes little in terms of efficacy, because of the jacket Shuai brings some unique grips into the game.

In general the rules are the same as Sumo (which can be argued derived from Shuai Chiao), first to touch anything other than your feet to the ground...losses! For this very reason sacrifice throws are not common place. The Chinese NEVER formulated a comprehensive curriculum for ground grappling, so their is no "pulling guard" nor ground grappling. Many consider ground grappling to be akin to "rolling in the dirt like dogs." Though it has become fashionable for Shuai schools to now "find" the lost ground techniques of the Chinese martial arts.

I have been very fortunate to train Shuai Chiao with some of the best in North America! My teacher Hu Xi Lin was a student of Pu Liu (Pu En Fu), one of Beijing's most famous coaches and wrestlers! Hu has incorporated many various throws and take downs into his Mantis and free fighting. Unfortunately the overwhelming majority of what he has taught me has been based off of strikes, not using the jacket and grips. This has left me with a weakness in my jacket / gi game, though I am starting to work out the kinks.

I have also been privileged to train with some of Chang Tung Sheng's top students who migrated to America over the past 30 years. Chang was one of the most famous wrestlers of the 20th century, nicknamed the "Iron Butterfly" Chang produced many champs who settled here in the US. I have never trained with Jeng Shing Ping, but if I ever get the opportunity many say he was possibly better than Chang himself! Here he is in his younger days demonstrating on hard concrete!



Dave Pickens is another great source for Shuai in the US. Living in Texas (we won't hold that against him), Dave is one of the most open, nicest guys you will meet in the Chinese martial community. Dave does a lot with local charities, as well as being instrumental in spreading the art of Shuai Chiao throughout North America.

It has been said that David Lin has the best Shuai in country, and from the couple of times I have had the pleasure to train with him I could not argue. Though I have never sparred with him, David has thrown me a time or three and he is very solid in his technique! He has produced some tapes/DVDs and a book, look for reviews in the near future.

John Wang has also taught me a lot of Shuai Chiao, and again you will not meet many nicer than John. He is very humble about his origins, yet contains a wealth of knowledge in regards to Shuai Chiao theory and technique both with and without the jacket.









Though severely outdated this is a great site for info on mainland styles of Shuai.

There are a handful of DVDs and books on the market today, and some are better than others, but overall few are worth the money. Michael Ashwix has been working on a translation of his teachers text on Shuai Chiao, but as of this writing there is no word on when the project will be complete. As the days tick by early in 2010 I will put up more when I find quality stuff regarding Shuai. Meanwhile I hope you enjoy the above clips.

Train Hard. Train Smart.
JAB

Two Handed Sword DVD Hits The Market

My martial uncle, Gao Jian, has just released his latest DVD project on the Praying Mantis Two Handed Sword (Tanglang Shuang Shou Jian). I have yet to see this DVD so this is not a review, just an announcement.

Here is a preview of the DVD and a short note on the content:


"Double handed mantis sword is reportedly grew out of Shaolin
Pai swordsmanship. It is mostly practised in China's Shan Dong
Province. Being combined with Praying mantis characteristics,
Double handed mantis sword evolved constantly ever since.
The routine showed in this DVD was handed down by grand
master Ma Han Qing in Beijing during the late 1980's, it has
the characteristics of concise movements, impulsive vigour
and practical techniques.
Featured with an introductory session, a Demo from
different direction views and breakdown shows

part by part, this DVD lasts 52 minutes in duration.
With a systematic, fluid, yet powerful manner,
Mr. Jian Gao revealed this awesome weapon in front
of viewers making it a truly inspirational apparatus!
This DVD can be a very good tool for those people whom
would love to learn or to refine the wonderful routine."
The price is AU$46.95 (about US $42 at the moment). To order email: wanggao@optushome.com.au



I would like to see some actual apps for DVDs like this, but there seems to be more interest in form from the general CMA community. $40+ bucks is a bit steep too, but this is truly one of a kind so for collectors, or practitioners of this form it is well worth the moola! It is a beautiful form handed down from one of Mantis' greats, Ma Han Qin.
I will warn the potential consumer, I have bought DVD's from Oz before and had to get them converted to a common format for viewing here in the west. Factor that in if purchasing, easily another $20!

Cheers,
JAB











January 3, 2010

USA Today Muhammad Ali Special

Cruising through the airport in Detroit I stumbled upon a special edition by USA Today (not normally a fan of such propaganda, but this is Ali!) on one of boxing's greats, Muhammad Ali. Regardless of your opinion of Ali you must respect his boxing prowess and work ethic. Truly one of the greatest in terms of footwork, movement, and fluidity.

This 64 page special edition is pretty much devoid of advertisements, save a few for Ali schwag, and full of various articles, stories, and stats of Ali. Interviews with Ali's wife, trainer, and fight doctor, as well as an article on the day to day life of Ali in Arizona (his permanent residence) highlight this rag.

A couple of articles regarding Ali's toughest opponent Joe Frazier were scattered in as well, but I felt these could have either been edited or left out all together. Frazier is a bitter old man in regards to his war with Ali 30 years ago! I admit back in the day Ali said some crazy off the wall shit, but god damned Frazier let it go! Making comments where Frazier accounts Ali's Parkinson's disease to him not "believing in the real God." is just ignorant and deplorable! This is a tribute to Ali's legacy and Frazier used it as a soapbox to preach his bullshit Christian rhetoric. I have grown very tired of the right wing fruits and nuts in the Christian army here in America. Tim Tebow of Florida is another example of this increasing trend.

A fight by fight breakdown is also offered for Ali's pro career which I thought was great, and Bert Randolph Sugar breaks down his top 10 pound for pound, and top 10 heavyweights.

If you have an extra $5 to blow go for it, as it is a good read especially if you are a boxing fan or Ali fan or both.

Enjoy,
JAB

"Old School" by Ellis Amdur book review

I had the distinct pleasure to sit down and have coffee with Ellis Amdur a few months back where we discussed martial arts training, teaching, students, and practitioners over sips of of caffeine. I was thoroughly impressed by Ellis' demeanor, attitude, and approach to the martial arts in general and the traditional Japanese martial arts in particular. He has a child like glow about training, yet commands your attention almost like a father figure would when speaking of his passion.
As we departed he offered me one of his books, "Old School - Essays on Japanese Martial Traditions." I must admit I have only a cursory knowledge of the traditional Japanese arts mostly gleamed from Donn Draeger books I have read throughout my life. So much of this world is new to me, and I must admit I find it fascinating.

One of the main subjects Ellis and I discussed was the system of Araki Ryu Torite Kogusoku
which includes long range weapon combat, close quarter weapon combat, as well as empty hand techniques and psychological training, all which is built on a solid foundation of grappling! Naturally this piqued my interest.

"Old School" is one of only a few books that touches on any aspect of Araki Ryu, and Ellis is one of the only westerners qualified to teach and write about Araki Ryu. But Ellis has also attained teaching level in many other martial traditions and Araki ryu is a small portion of the content of "Old School."

Addressing certain aspects of various schools of weapon based arts, "Old School" certainly reads like a series of essays using traditional koryu as it's base all the while paying homage to various teachers and traditions. Here is the table of contents:

Table of Contents:

Koryu
Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu
Maniwa Nen Ryu
Higo Ko Ryu

Japanese Ancient Weapons
The History of the Naginata
Chigiriki -The Japanese Flail
Kusarigama - Chain-and-Sickle

History and Traditions
Women Warriors of Japan
The Origins of the Araki Ryu
Blood Vows in Japanese Martial Traditions


One of the things I like about Ellis is he truly is old school in that he is so giving and willing to share, yet is very particular as to whom he takes on as a student. The chapter on Blood Vows reveals much of this approach as Ellis takes the reader through what the Chinese traditions call "Wu De" kind of a martial etiquette if you will. Subtlety Ellis lets it known how he feels about keyboard type warriors, and those who like to show off. All the while Ellis has impeccable tact in conveying these ethos's.

Ellis is student and a scholar of his traditions drawing no quarter when dissecting the truth in the movement and technique of these arts. He dispels many of the silly fantasy based creation stories that often become dogma in ancient martial realms. This is a lesson the Chinese Martial Arts community could really use! For instance Ellis writes about the sickle never being used as a "farming" implement like most of us are told when learning such a weapon. It's design alone would not be conducive to 1,000's of swings a day.

On the subject of the Naginata, Ellis also shares why many consider it a "women's weapon" and writes on a weapon relatively unknown here in the west. He casts his critical eye towards all aspects of the weapon and its training.

I admire this approach by modern martial arts writers, and historians. The myth and fable based ideologies and theories become less and less attractive as one delves into the deeper aspects of the art they are studying. Ellis has become quite the inspiration for a young student such as myself and I encourage you to go out and get any of his writings as I am sure, regardless of your participation in the Japanese arts, you will become inspired as well! "Old School" is a pleasure to read and will rest on my bookshelf for years to come, as I will want to pick it up and re-read this book as I mature in the martial arts.

January 2, 2010

Shinya Aoki Dislocating Hirota's Arm

What better way to ring in the New Year, then with my favorite fighter Shinya Aoki literally dismembering his opponent over the New Years Sengoku vs. Dream MMA fight in Japan! No thanks to Comcast who STILL is not adding HD Net to their programming list! Some good fights on the card.

Happy New Year,
JAB