February 22, 2015

Your Triangles Suck... Here Is Rigan Machado To Help

Random rare Youtube find... I stand to be corrected but I believe this is a copy of the DVD that accompanied Rigan Machado's "The Triangle" book, coauthored by David Meyer, that has been long out of print.  Regardless this is a 90 minute tutorial gold mine of information for martial artists of all backgrounds.  Mastering the triangle choke will make you a more versatile martial artist.  Here is pretty much every detail of how to get into and finish the triangle choke from every conceivable position:


2015 Chinese New Year With Mike Martello

Miss all of you
Happy year of the Sheep / Goat!  I can think of no better way to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year then with my good friend and teacher Mike Martello.  He has been on my mind a lot lately as I was watching an Anthony Bourdain "The Layover" in Taiwan the other night, and sure enough if there wasn't Mike's old training crew under Wang Jie featured!  Then as mentioned in the previous post Feidor Laview brought back some great memories with the Miao Dao. 

Though I know I have posted these clips before, it has been seven years since this film was taken here in Seattle where we hosted Mike a couple of times.   Unfortunately this is the last film I have of Mike and us together.  He died in 2009 prior to returning stateside for another round of lessons.

There is pure gold in these clips regardless of what style you train.  Sadly the majority of us will never, ever reach even a quarter of what Mike attained prior to his premature death.  Study and learn. 

Miss you Mike...









Feidor S. Laview, Mike Martello, A Miao Dao, and Respect

Respect is one of the most overused, cliche words in the English pantheon, especially in the computer age.  That is why when folks like Feidor S. Laview and my student Cheryl show such unbridled, honest respect I feel the need to highlight such acts. 

My new Taiji student Cheryl was kind enough to ask if I minded her showing some of what I have taught her to a class of senior citizens she teaches weekly.  I was flabbergasted and humbled by this simple, yet often overlooked request in the martial arts.  Traditionally in most Asian Martial Arts you were forbidden to teach or show what you learned to anyone outside of your training family.  Now days that rule is a bit more lax, but it is refreshing none the less when a student asks out of respect. 
Miss you Mike

Similarly a gentleman I have never met Feidor S. Laview writes the Seagraves Journey, a web serial that has been described by David Schrock as:
“A turbulent, occasionally psychedelic, ride dotted by beautiful pools of reflection.”

As part of his research for Wu Ming, one of his characters whom uses a Miao Dao (a specific long sabre from the Chinese Martial realm) Feidor stumbled across my postings about my old teacher  Mike Martello who was an expert in the Miao Dao.  Long story short Feidor was kind enough and respectable enough to ask my permission to post a nice write up on the origin of the weapon and his research.  Much respect Feidor, and excellent writing!  

Click here to check out his post.

February 18, 2015

Royce Gracie Chimes In on PED's In Mixed Martial Arts

It is scientifically impossible to prove whether continuously being choked out, or PED's (performance enhancing drugs) are the root cause for such ignorant and naive statements to come from Royce Gracie, but here is what he offered to MMAFighting.com on the recent subject of PED's in MMA:

“It shows that the system is working,” “You’re trying to look at the bad side, I’m looking at the good side. Instead of trying to encourage people, ‘Oh, let’s ban MMA because everybody is doing drugs, let’s ban NASCAR because they’re advertising drinking and driving.’ Let’s look at the good side. The system is working. Let’s not try to put down the fighters because one fighter made a mistake, decided to party and do whatever.”
“How many people got caught [recently]? Five?” Gracie said. “Five of how many we have in the sport all over the world? I don’t think it’s a problem.”
“I feel like the system works,” Gracie said. “It’s good. Let’s not think of the bad side, let’s think it’s the good side. It works.
“The system works. That’s why they’re getting caught.”

First of all his analogy is not only completely wrong, it is ignorant.  NASCAR drivers are not drinking prior to racing.  To the best of my limited redneck knowledge this has not been an issue since bootleg days.
Secondly it is sad and pathetic to see Royce Gracie, who many consider an ambassador for MMA and the UFC, not only take PED's but also make ignorant statements like the one above.

In my day to day conversations it has become brilliantly clear that this naivety is pervasive in both our culture and the martial art/sport realm.  People honestly believe the majority of MMA fighters are "clean," which to me means they do not take ANYTHING, EVER.  Yet you push the conversation with folks and you quickly find out what they mean is... the majority of MMA fighters know how to cycle properly so they don't get caught.  For example the argument being that Anderson Silva was recovering from a serious injury (leg break) and therefore was off his normal juice - clean cycle, hence his timing was off, the result being popping hot on several tests.

It is becoming abhorrently apparent to me that this is the nature of our culture / race.  We will lie, cheat, and steal to justify our own end.  Shame on me for thinking the martial arts were immune to such cancer.  I sincerely hope that the mixed martial arts world works to fix this.

February 16, 2015

The Bible of Ngo Cho Kun - Book Review

Mark Wiley and Tambuli Media have become known for offering titles on a multitude of styles and topics, but it is rare for us to get some a special, personal insight into a project that is so near and dear to his heart.  Though probably better known for his FMA background, Dr. Mark Wiley has been studying Ngo Cho Kun (Five Ancestor Fist) for decades.  Not only is Ngo Cho Kun rarely seen in print format, it is rarely openly taught here in the west.  This translation is an absolute gem for Chinese martial arts enthusiasts the world over. 

Originally written by Yu Chiok Sam under the title "Chinese Gentle Art Complete" in 1917, Tambuli's edition was translated into English by Alex Co, with additional editing and translating by Russ L. Smith and Mark Wiley.  Five Ancestor Fist is a southern Chinese martial that incorporates a wide range of tactics and traditional weapons, and this manual represents the fundamental movements including strikes, stances, kicks, and partner routines.  I am certainly not familiar enough with Ngo Cho Kun to critique the breadth of the art encapsulated in this text, but as an outside reader it certainly seems comprehensive of at least the basics. 

Broken into five volumes, 27 chapters, over 240 pages this text is thoroughly illustrated with clear, concise pictures of what the author is trying to convey.  Again in some of the partner pictures I would have liked to have seen one person in lighter colored clothing to offer some contrast for ease of the reader.  As far as a manual goes this translation is exactly what students look for, it is precisely how I envision a treatise of the systems I have learned.  The Chinese text is offered in traditional hanzi.  Directly below that the authors offer the English translation followed by a series of photographs demonstrating the translation.  Mark Wiley annotates the entire text with pertinent footnotes. 

Overall I must say I am quite happy with Tambuli's "Chinese Gentle Art Complete: The Bible of Ngo Cho Kun."  A professionally edited and presented text on a rarely seen art.  A welcomed addition to the martial collectors shelf. 

Click here to order The Bible of Ngo Cho Kun

February 15, 2015

Doug Marcaida and Jeff Davidson Invade Greece June 12-14th 2015

My friend and coach Guru Jeff Davidson will be joining his partner in crime Guru Doug Marcaida in Greece June 12-14th of 2015.  If you are in the area make sure to put this on your calendar!

PED's and Weight Cutting Issues = The Unprofessional Fighting Championship

Rousey in the new SI swimsuit edition
The UFC fan seems to be a magnet for every feasible type of shit sandwhich that could be tossed at it!  Anderson Silva tested positive on a second post fight test, coupled with three more fighters not making weight this past weekend with UFC on Fox Sports One, is leaving the "leader" in mixed martial arts with black eye after black eye.  Now current champ Ronda Rousey and former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub are both chiming in with honestly sharp tongues. 

From Yahoo Sports:

"This is a combat sport, and we're not trying to hit a ball harder," Rousey said. "These drugs can make you hit a person harder. The only reason we're able to do this sport is that the level of human potential is just [low] enough that we can barely allow it. We're right at the threshold.
"It's not like we're getting to the point where it's, 'Oh, we're going to start to have higher world records for weight lifting.' No. We're going to be able to hurt each other more. That's what I'm worried about. I'm worried that this is going to keep escalating and escalating and escalating until somebody dies."

   In reference to those who criticize Rousey for not moving up a weight class to fight Cris Cyborg (who has tested positive for PED's:
 "I've been ready to fight her at any point. She's the one who left the UFC. She's the one who hasn't come to fight me. Because she's a cheater and a fraud, the last thing I'm going to do is make exceptions for her. I'm not going to move up and make things easier for her, because she's been making things easier for herself her whole life. She needs to learn a lesson that you can't do that [expletive] any more. And I'm here to teach everybody else that that is not acceptable. Cheating and bringing a weapon and trying to hurt someone with that weapon is not a way to get a consideration made for you."

   BJJEE.com offered this transcription from an interview with ex-UFC fighter Brendan Schaub:
“Listen, I would love to hear an argument for why I shouldn’t do steroids,” Schaub said. “Give me one. Let’s say I take steroids and test positive. Say I’m a young kid [getting to the UFC] and I ask my dad, ‘Dad, why shouldn’t I take steroids?’ Can I say, ‘Well, you’ll never be world champ.’ That’s not true. Anderson Silva’s world champ. ‘Well, you’ll never fight for a title.’ That’s not true.
   “Chael Sonnen tested positive, fought for a title. ‘Well, you’ll never be ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ coach.’ Nope, Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva. ‘Well, you’ll never be a main event.’ No, not true. Alistair Overeem’s a main event. Bigfoot Silva’s a main event. ‘Well, listen, you might get fired.’ No, not really. Guys pop all the time. If it’s cheating, everyone else is doing it and they’re getting rewarded for it.”
   “You know what’s infuriating to me? It’s not that I’m not champ,” said Schaub. “It’s not that I’ve lost some fights or won some big fights. It’s more that there’s just no reason everyone shouldn’t take steroids. There’s just not. In the UFC there’s no reason. Someone give me a legit reason why you would tell a young fighter not to take them. I would love to hear a good argument. ‘Well, you’ll get fined $3000 and you’ll have to sit out six months, maybe nine.’ I fight every six months anyway.”
   “I fought a guy named Lavar Johnson. At the weigh-in when he weighed in I went to [UFC president] Dana White like, ‘That guy’s on roids.” They laughed. Everyone’s like, ‘Come on.’ Are you kidding me? The guy is jacked. He could go win Mr. Olympia. My team’s laughing. I’m not laughing. I’ve got to fight him.”
   “So then I fight this guy. I don’t stand with him. I take him down over and over. I just kept taking him down because I knew he was jacked on steroids. I’m not going to play that game. I took a lot of heat for that. Everyone from the company, outside the company, fans, everyone. ‘Why didn’t you stand and bang with him?’ Well, I’m all natural and this guy’s jacked out of his mind on steroids. It doesn’t make sense for me. Make it a level playing field and I’m the Leonard Garcia of the heavyweight division.”
   “Anderson Silva landed some shots on Nick Diaz. Those shots, I promise you, are going to catch up with Nick down the road. Now, we don’t know how severe those shots were but I guarantee it’s more severe when a guy’s on steroids.”

Some solid truth in those words whether you like them or not.  I don't pretend to have all the answers but it is high time we stop pretending and either completely accept that the majority of athletes in ALL sports are juicing to some degree or another, or we completely ban the substances and the culture that surrounds them unequivocally. 

Uzbek Immigrants Invigorate Wrestling In NYC

Nice to hear a positive, non racially slanted articles on immigrants and one of the MANY positive attributes they  bring to this country.  The NY Times presented this great article on how immigrants from Uzbekistan have had an amazingly positive effect on the community in their New York City neighborhoods! 

"After the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, many high school teams drew Russians, Ukrainians and Poles, followed by immigrants fleeing conflict in the Balkans, helping to fuel an expansion of wrestling in the city.
   There are now 78 boys’ wrestling teams in the city’s Public School Athletic League, compared with 25 in 2005. (Two years ago the league opened wrestling to girls, and there are now 20 girls’ wrestling teams).
But the Uzbeks’ arrival over the last five years has been of a different magnitude.
   “The Uzbek influx has certainly brought a great deal of energy and excitement,” said Ken Bigley, the Public School Athletic League wrestling supervisor and the director of programming for Beat the Streets, a nonprofit group that promotes wrestling and provides supplies to the league."

Click here to read the entire article.

February 11, 2015

Jon Stewart... End of an Era

Breaks my heart to watch this last night/this morning.  After 17 years Jon Stewart is going to hang his hat elsewhere.  The Daily Show has been a staple of my adult life and it is one quality half hour of viewing I will miss nightly.

Thank you for all the laughs, tears, and thought provoking conversations you have created over the years in my life.



February 10, 2015

Traditional Wrestling Styles

This is not it... click link below
Once again I owe a tip of the hat to Wrestling Roots for turning me onto this work in progress by Yasuyuki Fujikura who is documenting the various wrestling styles the world over.  Unfortunately the majority of it is in Japanese but the link provide pictures and video of some amazing grappling that I am sure you have never heard of.

Once again this proves how integral grappling is for cultured society (obviously not news to anyone with a couple of five year old boys).  Fascinating google map:

Click here to be redirected to the interactive map.

February 9, 2015

Sumo & Kendo Battleship Demo Early 1900's

Amazing find by Wrestling Roots of a short demo from 1914-1918 of Sumo and Kendo on a Japanese battleship:


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Red Belts

Much love and respect to Muito Mais Acao Jiu Jitsu (and BJJEE) for publishing an updated list of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu red belts the world over.  The red belt is symbolic of the ninth degree presented on a black belt, often awarded in honor of a lifetime of achievement and work in the grappling arts.  To give some perspective on just how difficult it is to attain, if you were awarded your black belt at 19 years old, the earliest age you would be eligible for the ninth degree / red belt would be 67 years old! 

So here is to those who have spent the past 5 decades training the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu:

9th degree
BJJ Red Belt
1.Pedro Hemeterio – The first student under master Helio Gracie to achieve the red belt, represented the Gracie Academy in many challenges and taught jiu-jitsu in São Paulo State for more than three decades.
2.João Alberto Barreto – A Grand Master and one of the most important figures in the BJJ community. A red belt under Helio Gracie, he is famed for his unbeaten competitive record in the 1950s. He is the brother of GM Alvaro Barreto and GM Sergio Barreto.
3.Alvaro Barreto – Grand Master Alvaro Barreto is a Brazilian jiu jitsu red belt (9th degree) and one of the most important men in BJJ, being also the brother of GM João Alberto Barreto and GM Sergio Barreto.
4.Flavio Behring – head coach of Behring Jiu-Jitsu Association, Flavio teaches seminars over the world and hold affiliated academies in Europe.5.Carlson Gracie – Son of Carlos Gracie, trainer of UFC fighters, with a very successful professional fight career.
6.Carley Gracie – Son of Carlos Gracie and former Jiu-Jitsu and Vale Tudo Champion.
7.Geny Rebello – Grandmaster given a commemorative tournament by the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro.
8.Armando Wridt – Undefeated vale-tudo fighter who is one of only 7 people to receive a red belt from Hélio Gracie.
9.Oswaldo Fadda – Perhaps the only individual coming from a non-Gracie lineage to earn a red belt, the Fadda academy was instrumental in bringing Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the poorer areas of Brazil.
10.Pedro Valente – A famous plastic surgeon, Dr. Valente is the father of the Valente Brothers, Pedro, Gui Valente, and Joaquim. Student of Hélio Gracie since 1953.
11.Wilson Mattos – Perhaps the oldest student of Oswaldo Fadda.
12.Luis Carlos Guedes de Castro – Another black belt under Oswaldo Fadda. Among many accomplishments as a teacher and competitor, Guedes disarmed a gangster in a crowded Rio de Janeiro train who was robbing the occupants with a pistol.
13.Francisco Mansur – One of only six people to be granted a professor’s diploma by Hélio Gracie. Founder of Kioto Academy.
14.Rorion Gracie – One of the founders of the UFC who was instrumental in bringing No-Holds Barred Fighting to North America.
15.Osvaldo Alves – Studied under Carlos Gracie and is the current IBJJF Technical Director.
16.Relson Gracie – Son of Helio Gracie and Brazilian national champion for an unprecedented 22 years. Founder of Relson Gracie gyms.
17.Carlos Antonio Rosado – Carlson Gracie Sr. only red belt student; the highest ranking member of Carlson Gracie’s academy.
18.Renato Paquet – A grandmaster who had a judo black belt and two boxing titles in addition to his red belt.
19.Pedro Valente Sr. – Close friend of Hélio Gracie, in younger years took up arms to defend the former governor of the state of Rio, Leonel Brizola.
20.Francisco Sá – Known for his morals and honor in martial arts and in particular our Jiu-Jitsu, he died in 2013 at age 77.
21. Robson Gracie (also known as Carlos Robson Gracie) – President of the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro.
22. Amelio Arruda: started in Jiu Jitsu at 27.
23. Arthur Virgilio Neto : He was a student of Carlson Gracie, received the red belt and the ninth grade in April 2014
24. Candido Casale “Candoca” :  “Candoca” as he is known, was a student of George Gracie, and received the red belt and the ninth degree of Jiu Jitsu in September 2012.
25.Crézio Chavez: Competitor Jiu Jitsu in the 1950s, was called by Helio Gracie’s “young goat” because of his speed and technique.
Master Deo
26.Deoclécio Paulo: Major of the Army, Master Deo as he is known in the 40’s trained at the Academy of Oswaldo Fadda. Instructor taught Jiu Jitsu in several regions of Brazil and also in Chile.
27. Eduardo Gomes Pereira: Eduardo Pereira, trains Jiu Jitsu since 1951 having learned from the great George Gracie.
28. Geraldo Flores: He was a student of Oswaldo Fadda, one of the main developers of Jiu Jitsu in the north of Rio de Janeiro.
29. Helio Vigio: Legendary Police delegate.
30. José Higino : Red Belt 9 degrees, started in Jiu Jitsu when he was 11, and was a master student Adherbal Bapstista
31. Julio Secco: started in Jiu Jitsu at 12 years old until 62 years. Lives in Rio Grande do Sul, where it manages 3 academies.
32. Luiz Franca: He was a direct student of Mitsuyo Maeda and Satake Soishiro, and had as a student Grand Master Oswaldo Fadda.
33. Nahum Rabay: Wrapped with Martial Arts for over 60 years, Nahum Luiz Rabay is a strong advocate of the use of Jiu Jitsu especially as self-defense
34. Nilton Pereira da silva: started in Jiu Jitsu at only 7 years old. His father Joao Ignacio Pereira, placed him to train Jiu Jitsu.
35. Octavio de Almeida: George Gracie student, Octavio was crucial figure in the development of Jiu Jitsu in the state of São Paulo in the decades of 50 and 60 .
36. Oswaldo Carnivalle: George Gracie student, was one of the pioneers of Jiu Jitsu in the city of Sao Paulo in the decades of 50 and 60. He faced many difficulties to keep his academy, was forced to participate in championships of other sports such as Judo and Wrestling, to defendthe name of Jiu Jitsu.
37. Oswaldo “Paqueta”: With origins in Judo and weight lifting, he was a great friend of Carlson Gracie, and one of the best Jiu Jitsu competitors of the 1950s and 1960s.
38. Paulo Mauricio Strauch: The Red Belt 9 degrees Paulo Mauricio Strauch, was Reylson Gracie’s student and in 1984 founded his own academy, revealed numerous fighters gentle art, including no less than Caio Terra.
39. Pedro Emerito: The first student with Helio Gracie to reach the red belt, represented the Gracie Academy in many challenges and taught in São Paulo for more than three decades.
40. Walter Nogueira: Red Belt 9 degrees of Jiu Jitsu, is now president of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Olympic (CBJJO).


10th degree
BJJ Red Belt.
The 10th degree red belt was given only to the pioneers of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the Gracie brothers:
1. Carlos Gracie – (Brazil, 1902–94) was taught judo by Otávio Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese emigrant to Brazil who was then a 4th dan Kodokan judoka. Carlos then passed the teachings on to his brothers Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., Jorge, and Hélio. In 1925, the brothers opened their first academy in Brazil, marking the beginning of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
2. Gastão Gracie
3. Jorge (George) Gracie
4. Hélio Gracie – (Brazil, 1913–2009) was a Brazilian martial artist who, together with his brother Carlos Gracie, founded the martial art of Gracie jiu-jitsu, known internationally as Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). Until his death, Gracie was the only living 10th degree master of that system, and is widely considered as one of the first sports heroes in Brazilian history.
5. Oswaldo Gracie