Showing posts with label jiu jitsu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jiu jitsu. Show all posts

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.

June 1, 2014

AnnMaria De Mars, Ronda Rousey's Mother, Advice to Victims of Sexual Assault

My friend Georgette recently posted a great piece on her blog that was shared from AnnMaria De Mars blog The Business/Judo of Life.  Not only is AnnMaria a PHD in educational psychology, but is also the mother of UFC fighter Ronda Rousey, as well as being the first American Judoka to win the World Championships (1984) and is currently a 6th dan black belt.  She had some very interesting advice to offer a mother whose child had suffered at the hand of a sexual predator:

"Recently, I was having a conversation with someone whose stepchild had been a victim of abuse. I was going to suggest martial arts as a means of building self-esteem and learning self-defense ... and then I stopped myself and did not.

Here is why -- because in my 43 years of experience in judo, I have seen a higher proportion of sexual abusers than I have in the general population. I suspect this is also true of other martial arts. Now, it's true that this is only limited to my experience, but in 43 years, traveling around the world, as well as monitoring the news on judo fairly closely, that experience includes a lot of people.

There are a few reasons I think this is true:

  1. In general, people who are seeking to abuse children have to get access to them in some way. Thus, you find more child abuse among people who come into contact with children regularly in settings unsupervised by other adults. To become a teacher at the K-12 level you need to get at least five years of education plus pass a background check, including getting finger printed. To teach martial arts you need to be in a club for a year or two and convince someone to give you a rank. Yes, in some clubs it can take five years or more to get a black belt, but that's not true everywhere. Often, if you show up to class and pay your dues on time you will get promoted. The background check is pretty minimal. The same is also true of many other extracurricular activities like youth sports or dance. 
  2.  In AYSO soccer, my daughter has competed for five years in two different cities and nowhere could you have practice unless there is a female chaperon there.  In contrast, supervision in martial arts programs by other adults tends to be pretty minimal. At our judo program at Gompers Middle School, we cannot have practice without a certified staff member from LAUSD on the mat, but that is an anomaly. I know of dozens of judo programs that have practice with just one adult instructor. Growing up, that was the norm for me.
  3. Situations where a person is in authority - coach, teacher, priest/ minister or parent - not only do they provide an opportunity for abuse but children are often trying to please those people and are often afraid of their authority. Besides, these are the people who children are supposed to be listening to their directions.
To sum it up, you have a setting where physical contact between an adult and a child is allowed, where people with minimal to moderate screening  are in positions where they have unsupervised access to children and are put in a position of authority over them.
On top of all of that, there are certain characteristics that make abuse more likely to occur.  The vast majority of judo instructors are male and over 90% of sexual abuse of females  and depending on the study you read, 63-86% of sexual abuse of males occurs with a male perpetrator. 
That is not to say that victims of abuse should not do martial arts, ever. There are people I would trust completely.  Jim Pedro, Sr. , Tony Mojica, Steve & Becky Scott, Karen Mackey - I could give you a list. The point is, all of these are people I have known for years.  I would feel comfortable recommending any one of them INDIVIDUALLY. 
However, I would not feel comfortable recommending judo, or martial arts in general, and since I did not know anyone who lived near this particular family, I caught myself and just expressed sympathy and recommended family therapy.
The reason I wrote this post is that I think people who love martial arts often DO recommend judo, jiujitsu or whatever it is they do as sort of a knee-jerk response, because, after all, it may be great for them. For some children, though, it may be the worst possible thing to do."

 Some serious food for thought in this post.  All too often I see parents treating a martial arts class like a baby sitter, barely involved in what is going on both on the mat and off.   All of her points are valid especially the background checking, but in all reality predators still exist and place themselves in areas of accessibility coupled with limited supervision and an ingrained desire to appease the authority figure.  We must once again remind ourselves these instances have very little to do with sex and everything with control and manipulation.
It is often a knee jerk reaction by those of us whom have not suffered an assault to suggest martial arts as a passageway to self perseverance and preservation, but the counter points Dr. De Mars raises has caused some seriously deep thinking on my part and I hope it causes you to re-evaluate (or perhaps investigate for the first time) your thoughts and feelings on self defense for victims of sexual, emotional, mental, and/or physical abuse.   
As martial artists we all must work our situational awareness and quickly weed out inappropriate relationships and predatory individuals.  

January 17, 2014

NWJJA: Belt Promotions January 16, 2014

A huge night for Brian Johnson and his NW Jiu Jitsu Academy in north Seattle, WA. as we promoted no less than 10 martial artists.  I will write up more on my own personal journey through purple belt soon, but I wanted to take the moment to recognize the hard work and dedication of our grapplers at the premier BJJ gym in the Pacific Northwest.

Big Ben was the sole soul awarded blue belt last night.  But we had a bevy of new purples including Brett Smith, Coach Bo, David C., Ivan Moran, and Joseph Montagne.  Mike, Justin Guyer, Nick, and myself were awarded our brown belts on January 16, 2014. 

Congrats to all on the well deserved promotions.  Welcome back to the bottom of the totem poll, now get your ass back on the mat and train!


July 20, 2013

Robson Moura on the Evolution Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Robson Moura is the man!  Multi time world champion, producer of multi world champions, and all around classy cat lays down a short interview where he talks about the current state of BJJ with the lack of aggressive attacking in tournaments, the loyalty (or lack there of) factor in BJJ, and the difference in mindset from even 10 years ago in the art we love.  Some call it an evolution. 

Moura is an ambassador for the gentle art, but his words ring true with most traditional arts.  I have seen the same things he sees in BJJ happen in traditional Japanese arts as well as the Chinese martial arts.  Loyalty, respect, dedication.... all seem to words fading into antiquity.

Someday I will train with this man!  Until then lots of food for thought here that will unfortunately will fall upon many a deaf ear:

June 8, 2013

Kyuzo Mifune: The Most Beautiful Judoka Ever

Thanks to my bud Kijafa on FB for sharing this gold nugget!  Rumor has it Kyuzo Mifune (1883-1965) was never thrown as a black belt... even in practice.  It is also rumored he was feared more then respected, but taking a look at this old footage of him leaves you nothing short of awe struck.  Mifune moves so elegantly and smoothly.  I would have loved to have spent just a few days on the mat with the man to feel his way of grappling.