July 31, 2009

Martello Obit - Kung Fu Taichi Magazine

I just received the Sept/Oct issue of Kung Fu Taichi magazine, and on page 108 is Mike Martello's obituary I submitted last month. Out of respect for my editor, and copyright laws, I will not post the obit online. Support the fledgling martial arts rag industry and purchase a copy for $5. It should hit newsstands in the week or so.


July 29, 2009

Farewell to another Mantis pioneer

Ma Lei was a warrior through and through. Studying Mantis under his father the great Ma Han Qin, Lei spent his later years developing, analyzing, and teaching San Da at various clubs and locations around Beijing. From what I hear his fighting skills were top notch, his spirit strong. Everyone from my teacher Hu Xi Lin, to Ma Leis brothers, and students sang praises for the man. He spent many years teaching the Chinese police and special enforcement units (equivalent to our FBI). To his students and friends worldwide, we at Three Harmonies would like to offer our condolences.

Rest in Peace,

July 28, 2009

Passing of Ma Lei

It is with great sadness I pass along this message, Ma Lei (son of Ma Han Qin) has passed away July 19, 2009 in Beijing at the young age of 50. Below is a short memorial from Gao Jian Laoshi, as well as a nice tribute Yuri put up on Youtube. He is a student of Illya Profatilov Laoshi as well as studying with Ma Lei these past few years.

Apparently this is a bad summer to be a Tanglang teacher. Though I never met him, I have heard nothing but positive in regards to Ma Lei the man, the martial artist, and the father. My sincerest condolences are extended to both his blood and martial family.
I will post more information as I get it.


Here is a short tribute by Yuri:

Farewell to our Kung Fu brother Ma Lei

With great sadness, yet a greater firmness, we watched the photos of farewell ceremony held in Beijing for our honourable Kung fu brother and leader master Ma Lei who passed away on the 19th of July, 2009 in Beijing at the age of 50.

As a younger son of grand master Ma Han Qin, Ma Lei was a chairman of Beijing Tang Lang Quan Association, former chief coach for Chinese police special task force, a 7th Duan “San Shou” expert in Chinese martial arts.

Under his leadership, Beijing “Ma Pai” praying mantis boxing as one of the decent traditional praying mantis style has been promoted in the world in recent years and won the respect in martial arts world. More importantly, the spirit of traditional Chinese Kung fu, perhaps with a “Ma Pai” image has been spread out attracting more and more brothers and sisters in the world together regardless what nationality he or she is.

As Ma Lei ‘s Kung Fu brother , I firmly believe that our great spirit will continually guide us cultivating forward in a right way - the Dao(Tao) and we all will be united as ONE unity in the universe , for great spirit is immortal ! As what I said to one of my friends before: from so many passed masters in Chinese martial arts, we have seen the proven fact of the energy conservation in the world.

Let us Be firm, be passionate, be persevering and be in love with our heritage!

We will be all right!

May our master Ma Han Qing welcome one of his great sons with great relief!

Published by Gao jian in Melbourne, Australia

July 26, 2009

"Art of the Wrist Lock" - DVD Review

I first was introduced to joint manipulation (Chin Na - Chinese) via Prof. Remy Presas of Modern Arnis fame. Via networking at his seminars I was also blessed to train with Prof. Wally Jay and his students in Small Circle Jiu Jitsu. Remy freely admitted that he learned a lot of his locking technique and theory from Prof. Jay.

At my traditional Karate school we did very, very little joint manipulation and throws. So I would bring back material to train our black belts in and use it in sparring and self defense classes. A few years later joint manipulation became a key element in my everyday work environment as security (doorman/bouncer) in various clubs and bars in both Ohio and New Mexico. If one is working in higher class establishments striking was forbidden even if you were being swung on, so joint manipulation all of the sudden became much, MUCH, more important. I really wish I had access to a similar format and instructional DVD as Roy Dean's "Art of the Wristlock."

A two disk work with over 150 minutes of instructional material, "Art of the Wristlock" far exceeds any previous product on the subject matter. I am a HUGE fan of wristlocks both standing and on the ground, and to the best of my (limited) knowledge no other production has broached the subject of analyzing and studying the similar principles found in both Aikido and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). Dean has done just that and he has done it with intelligence, panache, and most importantly passion.

Lets get technicalities out of the way. As with all of Roy Dean's DVDs (Blue Belt Requirements / Seminars Year One / and the forth coming Purple Belt Requirements) the production quality is top notch. Filmed in what seems to be HD, the picture and sound quality are some of the best I have seen, which is even more impressive considering part of this compilation is seminars filmed live! Ease of navigation, quality photography, and excellent sound and film editing are fast becoming staples of Deans DVD standards. Good on him for putting quality before quantity. A few spots in the seminars the audio was a bit difficult to hear clearly, but Dean recognized this and added subtitles so no worries.

Disk I
In what is perhaps the hidden gem of the DVD Roy sits down and offers a candid discourse on his involvement in the arts, the differences between Ju Jitsu and Jiu Jitsu, as well as the origins of the various grappling arts of Japan. Roy is quite honest in his approach sharing stories of his evolution in the arts, and the evolution of the efficacy of training within Aikido, Judo, Traditional Ju Jitsu, as well as BJJ. Perhaps many would/did skip this 15 minute intro to get to the "goods," but you should certainly give it its due and pay attention with a notebook. Here are some key points I took away:
  • All styles of grappling are based on the principles of push and pull. (I would interject and offer this principle is found in all styles period, as with striking you are pushing and pulling your hips in an effort to strike faster/harder, for instance).
  • The push - pull principle can be expressed in different ranges of combat, hence the different styles: BJJ - ground based / Judo - focus on the clinch range with grabbing of the gi etc.
  • In order to become proficient at any grappling art you MUST test your skills in an uncooperative environment.
  • Failure is how you make progress. Do not fear failure, embrace it as a learning opportunity.
Before heading into the bulk of disk 1 Dean offers his purpose in the offering of this DVD, paying homage to his own brand "Discover who you are"; "I wish to share my personal experience and technique that has worked for me. This is my expression of Jiu Jitsu."

So begins the overview of the most common wristlocks found in Aikido, the basic five numbered locks, Shihonage, and Kotegaeshi. Dean teaches the common standing variations via Aikido and then shows options to follow up on the ground transitioning to superior positions such as knee on belly, arm bars, and key locks. This is really where Dean shines in his smooth transitions. Moving fluidly from wristlock, to takedown, to submission. He also offers a couple of variations to try off the high collar tie, or clinch. Those not familiar with Aikido or wristlocks need not fret Dean offers the basic grips and methodology in application via principles, not fancy foreign language nor metaphysical mumbo jumbo. Even the rare nikkyo and gokyo wristlocks are taught.

The one complaint I do have about this DVD, actually I think it is the only one, is that in the "Groundfighting" section Dean only spends 10 minutes on the subject. As a BJJ player I was left wanting more setups, variations, positional drills... overall just...more. Don't get me wrong the applications, setups, and variations and transitions he teaches are solid! Often threatening the wristlock only to break his opponents structure and optimize on the lack of position to lock on another submission, these were awesome! I just wanted more of them!

Disk 1 wraps up with a half dozen demonstrations such as Roy Deans Aikido Shodan test, his Seibukan Ju Jitsu Sandan exam, as well as self defense demos and a couple commercials for upcoming productions. Looking to illustrate certain points Dean even offers his first Grapplers Quest competition where his opponent, to Roy's surprise, attempts to wristlock and arm bar Dean! Little tid bits such as "My training in ukemi (break falling / rolling) saved me from getting tapped and possibly injured."

Disk II
Filmed over three seminars at Monerey's famed Yosokan Dojo, disk II carries on where disk I leaves off, blending the principles of traditional Ju Jitsu and Aikido with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. "All Ju Jitsu is about moving yourself, not your opponent." another priceless quote from Dean. Emphasizing getting off the line of attack, non opposition of force, and flow Roy Dean expertly weaves a delicate thread showing how these principles are applied in Aikido, as well as BJJ regardless if one is standing or on the ground. Empahsizing sound fundamentals and principles, Roy Dean gives new perspective on the basic armbar from the guard, clock choke, and wristlocks!

Dean moves on to the subject of transitioning smoothly from standing to the ground, again pointing out certain principles that are true regardless of size, shape, or sex. Though principles were certainly the main course, if you pay close attention Dean offers tons of appetizers and decadent desserts with various clock chokes, arm locks, and again intermingling various wrist attacks as well.

In a classy act the second seminar closes with Roys student TJ getting promoted to Blue Belt. I met and trained with TJ and there was not a nicer guy in the dojo. Though this was like a 5 second clip I thought it to be very endearing and tasteful for Dean to include on the DVD (especially since TJ was demo dummy for much of the DVD;). If one watches subtely you will see that the passion and love that Roy Dean has for these arts shines forth in little moments such as this.

The final seminar offered on the disk is all about some of Roy Dean's favorite submissions; leg attacks. Working no gi Dean once again offers insight and detail that many instrcutors pass over on their instructionals. Entries, principles of leverage, and tightening up all aspects of the basic straight ankle lock are offered, as well as a great counter - escape (from straight ankle) - into a arm bar that is not to be missed! Roy closes the seminar with a
Q & A session offering a great arm bar to triangle series.

Alright, alright, I have bantered long enough. Those of you who know me know I am not that talkative in person;) I would apologize but I do not feel the need to, as I cannot say enough about Roy Dean and what he is offering the martial arts community both locally as well as globally with his DVD's. You will not be disappointed with your purchase here. Even if you think you know about wristlocks check it out, as I feel both standing and on the ground wristlocks are poorly understood and terribly underused. And for those who do not think Aikido is a respectable fighting art.... well... perhaps Mr. Roy Dean has something to show you.


July 20, 2009


It could be argued that many who call themselves martial artists have control issues. Some of us freely admit it, many of us have yet to become comfortable with such admissions. When one lives a life of control one often seeks a way to release, or let go of that control. Unfortunately drugs and alcohol often fill this desire by loosening inhibitions, relaxing the body, and slowing the constant hum of the mind. A happy medium is found with some people where we know when too many drinks have been had and they can back off. Others have a hard time controlling the demons they wrestle with in their minds and keep pushing the envelope by going to harder and harder drugs, or by allowing the drug to take over and control their life.

Many thanks to Tim for sharing this great story from ESPN's Outside the Lines regarding a local Pacific NWer Richard Jensen, who fell into the later category I mentioned above allowing meth to take over his life and control him for over a decade of his adult life. Here is his inspirational story:

For those who have never suffered from addiction issues it is easy to point fingers and speak of how weak a person is to allow such things to happen in their life. The simple fact of the matter is if you have never struggled with drug or alcohol addiction then you have no fucking inkling of a clue of what happens with someone on a mental, physical, and emotional level. We all have demons. Most of us get through life and never have to address the demons living in our cellar. Yet some of us have to look them straight in the eye and literally make life or death decisions EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Stories like Richards make me happy that someone found the light and struggled through to the other side. As Richard states, "Getting clean is easy. Staying clean is the hard part." But for every Richard, their are thousands out there that never find the light and are consumed by the demons that haunt them for the rest of their lives. And what angers me is the approach our society takes here in the good ol' US of A.

Drug and alcohol addiction is a disease. That has been proven scientifically and is not up for debate. Yet our judicial system continues to treat it as a criminal act, locking up non-violent offenders who are never offered rehabilitation programs and are put into prisons where drug addiction takes on a whole new perspective. They are not reformed. They are not helped. They are made into violent monsters and pushed under the rug to be forgotten about, only to be released with a slim chance of reintegration. This I have witnessed first hand.

So when you see stories such as Richard's take a moment and think a little. Are you helping or hurting your brothers and sisters when you vote down the decriminalization of marijuana? Should we continue to allow private companies to be building and running prison systems when there is a clear conflict of interest between the number of inmates and pure profit for the company running the prison? When you scoff "Fucking drug addict" at the homeless bum begging for change, do you wonder if you would have the same attitude if he was addicted to the same cigarettes you smoke, or lattes you drink (keep in mind that tobacco and caffeine are some of the most addictive, and easy to get, LEGAL DRUGS available to our children)?

Take a moment and find out what is REALLY going on in our backyard and you may just walk away appalled and disappointed that you really are not living in a "first world" country. Over 50% of our prisons are filled with nonviolent first time drug offenders! Fifty fucking percent people! Depending on what state you are from you could be doing a mandatory minimum of 5-10 years for the bag of grass you bought as an adult (for more info on mandatory minimums visit FAMM a great non-profit that is actually trying to change our backward ass laws)! That is reality!

For some of us just making it to the dojo and getting on the mat is the only way we can keep from regressing into old habits and patterns of darkness and to stay clean and sober.

Hopefully this has provided some food for thought.

For those who did not make it, and for those who struggle every single day you are not alone......

Bagua Seminar with Andy Dale

My good friend Andy Dale will be presenting a one day circle walking seminar this Sat. the 25th here in Seattle, WA. Various circle patterns will be taught. For more info check www.wuji.com

Bagua Stepping Patterns
Dale Sensei
July 25th, 1:30-4:00 $45

Starting with the basic circle walking, we will progress to walking
the yin/yang symbol, then to the wuji, and then the eyes of
the yin/yang. This is a basic Cheng Tinghua Bagua form
from Liu Bin, Nine Palace Bagua Zhang. It's considered
an important basic for Xin Qi Shen Bagua members.

All Levels are welcome

Location to be announced upon registration


July 19, 2009

Upset of the Weekend!

On day 8 of the July Basho Asashoryu (7-1) was handed his first defeat of the tournament via tsukiotoshi, kindly administered by Kisenosato (6-2). This is tough for the yokozuna Asashoryu, as Hakuho (also yokozuna) and ozeki Kotooshu are both looking strong with 8-0 records.
It has been a great Basho so far with many good matches! The next handful of days should prove interesting.

I leave you with a great match with Hakuho!

July 13, 2009

Integrity & Honor...

...two words that seem to missing from western societies vocabulary. I have witnessed its demise in the service industry, retail world, professional workplace, pretty much across the board here in North America. Integrity and honor often times become severe roadblocks for fame and fortune. As a whole our society holds sensationalism in the highest of esteem, the more crazy and asinine the better!

Combat sports evolved from the martial arts where certain values are taught via the struggle against your worst opponents, whom for the most part one discovers in their training is yourself. I miss the days of Pride Fighting Championships in Japan where the crowd understood what it meant to be a warrior. They understood, and appreciated, the bravery, skill, dedication, and discipline it took for two men to step in front of 90,000 (yes that number is correct especially for some of the super arena's they have over in Japan) people and fight the best of the best in the bad-ass category! And the fighters understood these aspects even more, and they paid their respects and the best man that evening went home a victor with his pride and integrity intact. Tact did not show up Saturday evening at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas.

Take Yoshihiro Akiyama in his UFC debut Saturday night for instance. When he entered the ballroom Akiyama and his five man corner all got down on their knees and bowed old school style in full seza, foreheads to the ground. Same when he entered the ring. In his pre-fight interview even the normal shit talking was absent. Akiyama simply stated, "...I hope to show my warrior spirit and heart tonight while fighting a great opponent." No trash. No attitude. Simple respect and honor prior to testing himself in the heat of combat. Integrity and honor.

Frank Mir after his defeat to Brock Lesnar was asked by Joe "Dipshit" Rogan what he thought of Lesnar's antics, and all Mir had to say was "..he caught me and beat me. I guess I have some things I need to work on." Mir got beat. Got beat fair and square, and made no qualms nor excuses about his loss. Integrity and honor.

If you have not seen or heard the debacle Brock Lesnar gave the world in his temper tantrum Saturday night, Youtube or Google it, as I have a little to much pride and self worth to shit upon my own blog by repeating his bullshit antics once more. But it should be clear that I do not blame Lesner. No no! He knows he is trailer trash with no skill and is simply trying to make a buck to support his white trash family and make sure they have a constant supply of Coors Light (really... do I need to say more???) for the rest of their lives. Brock clearly has no self respect nor worth, let alone for his fellow MMA fighters (all you need to perk up and get involved because this is your industry that is being affected), his superiors, UFC sponsors, and lets not forget his wife and kids!

Dana White has wanted this from day one and he is now manifesting his dream. White was not pissed at Brock's actions, he was pissed he shit talked the UFC's main sponsor, Bud Light. White will act the part but in the end he has wanted to compete on par with the likes of the WWE, and has slowly been turning the UFC (keep in mind the UFC is pretty much the ONLY pro level MMA organization that is significant) into sport entertainment. The recent signing of Kimbo Slice to the next season of TUF (The Ultimate Fighter) is another case in point. Another no talent thug who is propelled to the top (via the now defunct Elite XC) because he is a spectacle, a freak, a ticket!

This quote from White during his interview with Alex Marvez of Fox Sports summarizes his attitude well:

Still, White claims he "couldn't care less" about his legacy.

"The fighters are the ones who are going to be remembered," White said. "Who was the champion? Who was the best? The only thing that matters to me is when I'm in that (coffin), my kids get up and say he was a good dad. That's your legacy."

White is solely concerned with making money. Not the integrity of the sport. MMA as a sport. Nor the children who emulate these amazing athletes and want to participate in one of the best sports out there for a child.

I am not a father, but I was raised by one of the best and I cannot really see where perpetuating the antics by Lesner is remotely leaving a legacy you would want your children to be envious of.

Honestly I have felt disgusted and saddened since Saturday evening. I am not sure where I stand any longer in terms of MMA. The UFC has never realized, or they have realized and just don't give two shits in a bucket, about the influence they have on the sport, the arts represented by the sport, and the people in society who purchase their products. Zuffa and its lap dog Dana White have no respect, integrity, nor honor except to the all mighty dollar. They have single handily built the MMA industry as we know it, and mark my words they will destroy it with the same hand.

The real vulgarity lies in the reflection this debacle leaves on the martial arts and the true warriors within those arts. Unfortunately it is typical that the art is sullied by the people that represent said arts via the mass media. Lets hope MMA can recover and perhaps get its priorities straight. I have my doubts, but one can hope.


July 12, 2009

John Will Seminars a Huge Success

Wow! What a weekend of martial goodness, mixed with some martial badness. How truly Zen, the yin and the yang. The negative (UFC debacle) will be discussed later in a different post. Lets keep it positive for the time being.

My teacher Brian "Mr. BJJ" Johnson only has a couple of times a year that he gets to see his instructor John Will, and we usually try to host him in Seattle at least once a year. This weekend we lucked out by having John here in Sea-Town as well as him doing a seminar in Maple Ridge, BC. on Saturday with our friend and training partner Perry Bateson.

John is one of the most gifted instructors I have met. The man easily spends as much time perfecting the technique, as he does perfecting how to teach the technique. As Brian has stated many a time; "John Will is the single most influential person on my teaching career throughout my life."

We worked on one technique today; the hooks in sweep. That is it. 3 hours worth of hooks in sweep. You are probably chuckling thinking "Thank God I did not piss away $75 bucks for a 3 hour lesson on one stupid sweep! All you need to do is trap the arm and lift the hook!"

And you are exactly right, all you need to do is trap the arm and lift the hook! But the details in positional awareness, orientation of your body, and spatial positioning in terms of bio-mechanically getting the most bang for your buck....is truly priceless!

I must admit the first time I trained with John at one of his workshops here in Seattle, I learned practically nothing technique wise. We covered X Guard which is certainly not my strong point (do I have a strong point??), and I was basically a beginner, so in the end I took away little technique. On the other hand I learned a ton on how to teach and approach my coaching, which was invaluable! This go around I learned so much technique, coaching advice, and details on how to LEARN myself it is not even funny! My head is swimming, and I have already started reviewing the video, was writing down notes earlier, and just going through motions in my memory!

As usual John showed us basic (and by basic I mean shit that works!!) techniques but with very advanced detail! Something he did not have necessarily with his teachers early in his training. John broke down the hooks in sweep from three basic positions, or more appropriately grips: over and under / double over hooks / double under hooks.

The seminar was amazing! I am by no means good, nor do I like, the hooks in guard. Yet I walked away with a brand new respect and appreciation for the position. If nothing else Brian is a master of it, and this gave me insight into how to shut that aspect of his game down! Still though in speaking with Brian afterwards, he took away SO much from his instructors teachings and this is HIS GAME!!

Enough of my ranting, dinner is about ready and I am starving! Thanks to Perry for hosting John in Canada! Thanks to all who attended both seminars of John Wills! We really appreciate your support, and without you we would not be able to bring in the greats that we bring in. So thank you very much from John, David, Brian, and myself!
And a big thanks to Brian for facilitating the opportunity to train with not only my teacher, but my teachers - teachers as well! It has been one hell of a journey brother and I look forward to the next decade, and longer (sorry), of training!


Congrats to NWJJA Fighters

Congrats to all who participated in the weekends Revolution Tournament; Ivan, Ivan, Chris, Jose, Randy, Eugene (sorry if I forgot anyone). For many of you this was your first tournament, and from the sounds of it you learned a lot, and most importantly...had fun! Everyone did great and Brian wanted me to convey how proud he was of all of you, as am I and the rest of your brothers and sisters.

Train Hard,

July Sumo Basho Kicks Off in Aichi Japan

Finding video of the current Basho in Japan is rather difficult if you do not want to pay Comcast an extra $25 a month for the Japanese channel. Banzuke used to be semi-reliable, but not so much anymore. So I spend time searching on Youtube usually, and this time I lucked out! Visit http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=AE3A7EC2080FDEF8 as this cat seems to be putting up each match as he gets the time, and as a bonus they are the English language / commentary version!! Bonus! I owe this guy/gal a beer or three!

July 10, 2009

Strategy - The Ultimate Martial Art

I am by NO means a country music fan, but I had to post this video and story regarding a kind, gentle, mature Canuck who got screwed over by United Airlines flying to Nebraska last year. We need to learn to be nicer to our neighbors to the north.
I have been very lucky in my short 32 years on mother earth to have traveled all over North America, as well as Mexico and Europe, and I have flown with just about every major airline. I have some asinine story (like I am sure any of you who travel do) about each and every one of them. The quality of service has diminished so much over the years (especially since 9/11), and the indifference the representative's have for any problem big or small is shameful.
I come from small town Midwest atmosphere... people have lots of issues back home, but I tell you what they have pride in their work, and stand with dignity and respect when it comes to taking care of their customers. The big airlines would benefit to take some lessons! They think just because we have very few choices that service should take a back seat to profit. This mentality will be the death of the America we know. Lets work to change it!

From the AP:
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia - A Canadian musician has become an Internet sensation after posting a song on YouTube about United Airlines breaking his guitar.

Dave Carroll's video for the song "United Breaks Guitars" was posted on site earlier this week and has received more than 600,000 hits by Thursday evening.

"I was thinking I'd definitely get some action on (YouTube) because the song has been resonating so well with audiences as I've been performing it, but I didn't know it would take off like this," Carroll said.

Carroll, a guitarist for the pop-rock group "Sons of Maxwell", has since been fielding calls for appearances around the world, including a call from the Oprah Winfrey show Thursday.

The song recounts Carroll's yearlong struggle to get compensation for what he calls "a vicious act of malice" at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago last year.

Carroll was flying between Halifax and Nebraska when he switched planes in Chicago. The passenger next to him noticed baggage handlers tossing guitar cases outside the plane.

Carroll's Taylor guitar required 1,400 Canadian dollars (U.S. $1,200) in repairs. He said it still doesn't play the way it used to but he keeps it for sentimental reasons.

The 41-year-old songwriter spent the past year trying to get compensation from United Airlines. When the airline refused to take responsibility, the songwriter made the humorous music video and posted it online.

Taylor Guitars in California has said they'd be happy to see if they could repair the damaged guitar. They also promised a big discount on his next purchase.

United also called to say it wants to discuss the situation. Carroll said officials for the airline said they liked the video and want to use it as a textbook case on how to handle customer complaints in the future.

The video shows friends dressing up as flight attendants and musicians. Volunteer firefighters played the baggage handlers who are shown playing catch with the guitar case and tossing it like a hammer throw.

Carroll initially told United he would write three songs about his broken guitar. He plans to debut the second song soon but hasn't written the third one yet.

Eddie Bravo in Sea-Town

Eddie Bravo of Twister / Rubber Guard fame will be visiting the Emerald City August 1st of this fine year to offer a day workshop on his approach to no gi grappling. For more information visit Ivan Salaverry's website

If you have never trained with Eddie then make sure not to miss this great opportunity to train with a Jean Jacques Machado protege who has a great sense of humor, as well as one of the most technical approaches to grappling I have come across. Eddie will help you take your game to the next level!

Train Hard,

Tie Dyed Gi's are here!

I have not ordered anything from them, so I cannot comment on quality nor anything else, but I think it is pretty cool that someone has started offering tie dyed gi's! They look like good quality so check them out at www.happykimonos.com

Some may think it is a bit goofy, but ask yourself: are tie dyed gi's goofier than the testosterone driven MMA clothing fad featuring skulls, daggers, pit bulls, and death!?!? Those are fucking goofy in my opinion! Peace, love, dope, happiness, and collar chokes!

I will be happy to review these services once I get one. They are a bit out of my price range right now (plus I need a new white gi anyways) at $95 to send in your current gi for dyeing, or $155 for a whole new one.

July 7, 2009

Taiji IS for fighting

Unfortunately here in the west Taiji has a reputation for being some sort of meditative silliness used to get in touch with your cosmic side, not an actual martial art (as it was created). Here is a clip of some Zhao Bao Taiji (a Chen derivative) that shows form, push hands, sparring, and actual throwing techniques (REAL push hands). The narrator mentions that students should be proficient in the basic fighting techniques within 6 months, and are ready for competition within a year of starting their training. This is contrary to what many purport here in the west that it takes years, if not decades, to become proficient in using Taiji's principles in live combat. Notice the HEAVY emphasis on throwing and the clinch range. I must admit their mitt work needs some improvement, but hey, at least they are doing some!


July 6, 2009

A teacher

Below is a mantra I got from a friend back in the Midwest. I am unknowing of the author so I will leave it Anonymous. The verbiage that is used is "sifu" which is the Romanization of the Cantonese term mis-used in Chinese martial arts for teacher. Sifu, or Shrfu/Shifu, literally means "teacher-father." A common term here in the west where many western wanna be Asian instructors use titles as dogma, the term Shifu is rarely used in China for the most part.

First of all "Shifu" is a term used only when one has been "adopted" into the martial family. Just because you train with someone does not necessarily mean you are their disciple. (for more on discipleship ceremonies in the martial arts visit my website under articles) If you have not become a disciple and are forced to use the term "Shifu" you may want to inquire about such things.

Secondly if one were going to stick diligently to the Chinese language then use "laoshi" which is the proper term for teacher.

I believe it to be a bit conceded and strange if I must address a westerner, in the west, as I would an easterner in the east! "Mr." or "Sir" is proper and polite here in the US. Nothing wrong with those. I also like the BJJ term "professor" or "coach." To each their own I suppose.

Anywho.... here is a little snippet that I think you might get something out of. I do not agree with 100% of it, but in general I like what it has to say, and all one has to do is substitute "coach / teacher / professor" for "sifu."


What is a Sifu?

The relationship of a Sifu to a school is very difficult to explain, as it encompasses many varying aspects of life. The Sifu must flow through the student in many levels of communication and reach the corners of his life. A Sifu is a father and at times a mother, an advisor and a chastiser. A Sifu though different is the same as everyone else. He is human in a controlled way and deserves respect, for he has traveled long upon the way.

A Sifu should be a good teacher - by this is meant that he can convey the appropriate knowledge to the students at the correct time in the best manner, he must be able to see them and their problems impartially.

A Sifu shows no favor; indeed, as progression is attained he becomes harder on those who progress. He is kind but firm to the beginner on the path.

He advises in an appropriate manner on the inner spiritual aspects of the art, and is always a friendly ear that listens but is not moved. Many people are unable to see a Sifu properly as they tend to categorize him into a teacher or a friend. He is neither. He is both and more. He sees the student in a free way, unmoved by the external face or appearance, and he helps in the best way. If this is to be hard then he is so, to be soft, then he is soft, but always it is in the best manner for the students, for a Sifu’s heart is forever with them. Often a Sifu may test his students by taking views dramatically opposed to theirs and watching their reactions. He will never praise. Silence is the best praise. He will note what effects the student in and out of the school, how he acts to his friends, his family and his work and accordingly. He will put forward untruths to see if they are accepted say nothing when he should speak volumes; he is kind when there is no reason to be. He may be tyrannous or compassionate but through all these externals his heart is forever with them. He listens when they speak but can see the reasons for their speech, he is unmoved but can move. He is forever active even in a subdued way. He gives while others take and asks no rewards, sane proficiency of mind and body. He is sad, sometimes unhappy, let down and often abused, but he forever holds to the way, for that way is him.

Though outsides may change, the Sifu does not, for he can adapt at will completely, the inward ideals are always there.

He may be abused but he thanks in return, blamed or criticized, he persists. He persists when there is no reason to. That is why he is called Sifu.

On an average basis, it takes 2000 students to produce one good worthwhile Sifu.

If you have one - take care of him.

Start Training as It's Official: ADCC Regional Tourney in Seattle, WA.

Its official... Abu Dhabi will host the NW Regional Tourney here in Seattle, WA. on Sept. 19th 2009. More details to come.

All those intermediate and above should note that all leg attacks are legal including heel hooks. Start training defense (as well as offense) guys.

For more information check back here, or visit www.adccregionals.com

The following skill levels is for all Grappling disciplines. Jiu Jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, Sambo, etc… If you have 5 years of Judo and 1 year of Jiu Jitsu, you have 6 years of experience. Any sandbaggers caught will loose their registration money and be banned from any future ADCC event.

Men Skill Levels: (Both 18-34 and 35+age classes)

Novice: 0 - 6 months - Time - 4 minutes
Beginner: 1 year and under - Time - 4 minutes
Intermediate: 1 - 3 Years - Time - 6 minutes
Expert: 3 Years and over - Time - 8 minutes

Men Weight Classes:

65.9 Kg and under (145lbs)
66 to 76.9 Kg (145.2lbs - 169.2lbs)
77 to 87.9 Kg (169.4lbs - 193.4lbs)
88 to 98.9 Kg (193.6lbs - 217.6lbs)
99 Kg and over (217.8lbs)

Women Skill Levels: (Both 18-34 and 35+age classes)

Beginner: 1 Year and under - Time - 4 minutes
Intermediate 2 - 3 Years - Time - 6 minutes
Expert: 3 Years and above - Time - 8 minutes

Women Weight Classes:

51.9kg and under (114lbs)
52 - 58.9kg (114.5 - 129.5lbs)
59 - 65.9kg (130 - 145lbs)
66kg and over (145.5lbs)

See you on the mat!

Machado Fun

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th! Now it is time to get your ass back in shape after WAY too many beers, hot dogs, burgers, steaks, won tons.......

Here is an interesting clip I found on the ever present Youtube with the Machado brothers working out and training for upcoming fights and movies. Some interesting drills here.

Here is some great footage from the early 90's where Rigan and Jean Jacques whooped ass and took names at the Sambo Pan American games. The Machado brothers entered every tourney they could when they first moved to the US, and most of them were Judo or Sambo related since BJJ was still in its infancy here in North America. I love it when Sambo cats say BJJ has no leg attacks! Check out JJ's win in under 20 seconds!

Rigan and John Will had a funny story about this tourney... Rigan was solely interested in competing, it did not matter what the rules are. On the flight to the tourney John Will is having to explain all the various rules and regulations of Sambo to Rigan (no gi chokes are allowed for instance, and you have limited time on the ground to work)! Rigan ends up taking 2nd in the world while not really knowing the rule set of the tourney. This goes to show you how adaptable your grappling game should be. No excuses. No focus on certain techniques. Jean Jacques and Rigan went in with no experience and kicked some serious butt.

Here is the ONLY time you will see Chuckles Norris defeating any of the Machado clan!

Speaking of leg attacks, here is JJ from one of his online tutorials, offering a leg lock combo. Look out guys, I will be trying this on you this week! JJ has tons of these lessons online, make sure to check them out.

The more I immerse myself in the training of BJJ under the Machado brothers, the more I appreciate sincere, quality training and teaching. These guys LOVE what they do and that shines through in their teaching and passion of what they do! If you have never had the opportunity to train with one of the brothers put it on the top of your priority list. Four of them live in the LA area with Carlos in DFW, so they are easily accessible. Also stay tuned as a rumor or two is floating around that one or two of them may be visiting Seattle before the end of the year.
I will be posting more clips as I find them. I hope you can enjoy objectively.

July 3, 2009

Great New Blog

Ryan Fiorenzi, a Detroit area Machado Black Belt, and friend, has started his very own blog called The BJJ Way.
Not only will Ryan be sharing his insight and experience on the physical aspects of the art, but also the "inner" aspects of our grappling system. These aspects are often overlooked and seldom talked about within the grappling community.
So check him out and see what is going on in the Midwest in terms of Machado BJJ!