Friday, December 29, 2006

Of Dante And Dojo Rats

The Dojo Rat Blog had a reader request from "d", that I thought was worth sharing:

D said...
My comment is on your "Pack of Dojo Rats" picture on the top left of your blog. Do you realize who that picture is of and the background? If you do, are you claiming a connection (guessing your age I think you are a bit too young to have been involved)? If not, I suggest you should take it down or give proper recognition out of respect.

December 27, 2006 9:34:00 AM PST

Here's my response. Buried in my very first post on this site is my view about what a Dojo Rat is, and my reason for using the picture of John Keehan (Count Dante) in the "Flagship" position on my blog. I won't re-hash that post in it's entirety, but here's the gist; everyone knows someone they have trained with, or have at times themselves, been a "Dojo Rat". The Dojo Rat is always at the Dojo, or travels to several Dojos. He or she has worked through pain, caused pain to others, and mended broken equipment and body parts. They go to the Dojo even when they feel crappy, and always feel better later. But what seperates Dojo Rats from common atheletes is a sort-of "Contemporary Bushido" not found in todays sandlot or professional sports. There is responsability to Dojo, family, friend and employer. There is an effort to believe and seek the right path, something not found in professional sports today.
The photo of John Keehan, later known as Count Dante, represents to me the classic Karate-kitsch of an era when the martial arts were just evolving in the United States. Dante's ads, which I read in the comic books of my youth, predated the more popular media shows such as "Kung Fu", and "The Green Hornet". They reeked of danger and mystique and magick. They inspired a generation of kids to investigate this thing called martial arts, with it's promise of self confidence and fearlessness.
As I dug into Dante's history I found this excellent article by Dan Kelly in "The Chicago Reader" titled "The Life And Death Of The Most Deadly Man Alive". It can be read at -- It profiles the rockous bare-knuckle 1960's Chicago "Dojo Wars", and is a great bio of Dante. In previous posts I have written about how rascism, subtle or overt, affected the development and sharing of the arts. Asian masters were reluctant to teach whites, whites were unlikely to teach blacks, etc.
In this area, Dante was colorblind, and this may be one of his best contributions to the era. His Dojo included anyone he saw fit to teach and train with.
Film maker Floyd Webb is putting together a movie documentry on the life of Dante. His website can be found at --
Webb has compiled an enormous amount of information on Dante, inspired by his own youth experiances in Chicago, and actually met Dante at a tournament one time. Webb eludes to some more covert sides of Dante; his connection with the Chicago mob, and possibly the Castro's in Cuba and U.S. Intelligence agencies.
Dante is reported to have died from a bleeding ulcer, at a young age. But Webb suggests that he has been unable to obtain police information such as mug shots and medical information. This is the M.O. for someone that has gone into a witness protection program, or is being protected by authorities. Or maybe just more fodder for legends and conspiracies.
Please Check out Floyd Webbs blog, and the article by Dan Kelly, they are both fascinating.
So, returning to the above request by "d", I hope this all makes more sense.
-- And If that "d" stands for "Dante", well....

Monday, December 25, 2006

Backyard Kenpo

Here is a video clip of two guys scaring the crap out of their neighbors in back of an apartment complex.
Seriously, it's a great example of Kenpo and the natural way of moving around a body with striking techniques. This backyard clip is actually far better than some of the old Ed Parker clips I tried to find. The background info says the guy who does the attacking is actually a jujitsu champion, the other guy is a very skilled Kenpo man.
Kenpo is often denigrated by traditional arts as a "slap art", perhaps for reasons you may see in this clip. However, these so called "minor strikes" add up to one hell of a whirlwind that is very hard to overcome. It's easy to see the Chinese influence in the way the guy flows.
There are a few issues I see; a little too much turning to the side or back (I now prefer a centerline concept); occasional crossing of the centerline with one's own arm (a no-no in wing chun); and a few crappy round kicks, but all in all this is a great little clip.
Most importantly, the moderate speed at which they are practicing is to be noted. This is the speed where you can really develop skill-- don't go to fast.
This is a nine minute clip, and the best segment is the very last...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Ed Parker and American Kenpo

I've been wanting to do a piece on the legendary Ed Parker, and how he transformed Karate to a much higher, more efficiant level. Much of his old film footage isn't clear enough for this format, but the sample above is a gem.
Many martial arts were funneled through Hawaii, where asian masters were more accepting about training non-asian students. Kenpo Karate is perhaps the best example of how the reality of streetfighting transformed traditional and static Karate to a flowing blur of striking techniques.
When Japanese and Chinese immigrants moved to Hawaii, they brought with them their traditional martial arts. While these fighting systems worked fine within certain cultural boundries, they were no match for the robust native Hawaiians, who could take the punishment and dish it right back out. A revision of techniques developed under pioneers such as James Mitose, Adrain Emperado and others. The hybrid art became leaner, meaner and known as Kempo (with an "m").
Ed Parker was a product of this new fighting system, went on to make further refinements and used a very scientific approach. Parker moved to the mainland and ended up in California, changing the spelling to "Kenpo" to seperate his art from the original Chinese-Hawaiian. He is remembered for sponsering huge tournaments back in the bare-knuckle 1960's era, and revolutionizing Karate as self-defense.
Parkers' approach was to link striking techniques together in a way traditional karate had not recognized. Much more of the flow of Chinese arts is used. Parker introduced concepts such as tracking up the opponents arm, from hand to shoulder as a "highway" to the target, the head. More of the techniques were set up by touch, or feel rather than by visual ques. He also emphisized check-blocks, minor strikes to vital targets and extreme over-kill after the opponent is disabled.
When I moved from Tae Kwon Do to a Hawaiian Kenpo style I quickly recognized the utility of eye gouges and bouncing a guys head on the floor like a basketball. This stuff wasn't found in TKD.
Much of the old footage is pretty rough, but I'll review what's available and try to post some more examples of Ed Parker at work.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tai Chi Application: "Fan Through Back"

Here is an application of Tai Chi Yang-style "Fan Through Back". When you become familiar with the form you can pull various techniques out of it and combine them in different ways. Here is an example of how many Tai Chi Chuan techniques are similar to Aikido and other arts.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Stairway To Heaven

Websters New Collegiate Dictionary: Heaven, 1: The expanse of space that seems to be over the earth like a dome...
On my 14th birthday I climbed Mount St. Helens for the first time, before it blew. I climbed it again on another route, as well as Mt. Thielson, the Middle and South Sister and Mt. Hood. By the time I got to Hood, I was well prepared. I had almost drowned in the Boy Scouts and nearly fell into a crevasse on South Sister. I was seventeen years old, skipped school and my afternoon job to climb Hood with two friends.
One friend was so inexperianced, we had to lace up his crampons (mountaineering spikes) for him. We made it to the top and peered over the north side.
Let me tell you, of all the other mountains, Hood has a bad-ass drop-off on the north. I carefully backed away from the edge after looking over. Most people climb the south side. In fact, it is often refered to as the most climbed mountain in the world, next to Mt. Fuji in Japan, which has a train going to the top.
It was the on the north face that three climbers went missing this week. One body has been recovered, and the search continues for the other two who may still be alive.
I've been on the top of mountains, and seen earth-bound views most people have never seen. Likewise, I've seen "The expanse of space that seems to be over the earth like a dome". Future generations may never experiance the same things.
For these reasons, I feel for both the lost climbers and their families. These guys are experts. They have climbed in Alaska, South America and here on the west coast. They were well prepared with supplies, and the two remaining climbers may yet be found.
There are two points I would like to make about this search; the first is, I have worked in the deep woods to the point of exaustion. I know how it feels, it took me a quart of beer, two spoon-fulls of honey and an elk steak too pull out of it.
Second is: When these events occur, there is often an outcry about regulation of climbers and compensation for rescues.
I say to hell with that. We will never keep people off the mountains, and as far as rescues, that is what our National Guard is for. Many of the rescue people are voluntary climbers, who are well trained and are self-funded.
I would rather have the National Guard working floods, forest fires and mountain rescues than protecting Halliburton oil projects in Iraq.
I can imagine looking down that steep north face again, and I would not want to be there now. It's a daring and tough climb this time of the year. These men knew what they were up against, let's hope we get the other guys back safe...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tai Chi Chuan: Grand Ultimate Fist

Michael Gilman demonstrates application of "Parting Wild Horses Mane"

Many people have seen or experianced the meditative and health aspects of Tai Chi Chuan. For years now, it has been recomended as a low-impact exercise that can improve balence in seniors, lower blood pressure and provide a sense of well-being and stress relief.
In reality, Tai Chi Chuan ("Grand Ultimate Fist") is anything but low impact. From it's roots in Shaolin Kung Fu and Taoist philosophy, Tai Chi has evolved into what may be the perfect martial art.
At it's deepest levels, Tai Chi practice allows the individual to experiment with the movement of energy, both within ones body and between people. Known as an "Internal" martial art, Tai Chi relies on developing extreme sensitivity to the positioning and movement of an attacker, in part due to the constant contact with the opponent. In fact, it is fascinating to see the similarities between Tai Chi and Aikido techniques, something which we will explore in great detail later. If anything, the variety of techniques in Tai Chi are far more devestating and brutal. They not only include some of the sweeps, joint-locks and throws of Aikido, but many striking techniques not found in Aikido. Both arts share an innate sense of blending with an opponents motion, neutralizing the attack and taking the opponent out.
Through the Cultural Revolution in China and the introduction of Tai Chi to the West, modern Tai Chi practice often overlooks the practical application and devestating fighting techniques of Tai Chi Chuan. We at Shima Dojo are very fortunate to have one of the best Tai Chi instructors in the country, Michael Gilman, living nearby in Port Townsend, Washington. Gilman is an internationally recognized push-hands champion, and always stresses the practical application of Tai Chi. His training has greatly improved our understanding of Tai Chi as a martial art, and as a result all of our previous martial arts techniques are now viewed in a new light. In future posts and video uploads we will demonstrate some Tai Chi Chuan applications and explore it's common roots with other martial arts.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Basic Joint-Lock Flow Drill

Here is an example of a basic lock-flow drill. The idea, as you learn the drill is to keep nearly constant pressure on each lock until the next one is applied.
Another interesting thing is the person being locked has very little leverage to hit back.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Basic Hitting Drill

Ok, I think I finally figured out how to post our videos.
This is a VERY basic drill that combines a parry-type blocking technique, with constant movement. This is an example of what I refer to as a "Live" drill.
Sure, it is not a formula for perfect self-defense, but it wakes up your hands, gets reaction time down and has lots of movement.
In the video, I hit to the attackers chest. We like this because you can have medium contact without injuring your training partner. In reality, I would press hard and advance with the hitting and continue with other techniques. In this case, we wanted to demonstrate a fun and safe drill for others to practice.
Once you get the pattern down, keep it live and active, and feel free to alter it and experiment. the important thing, I believe, is to keep it moving in a constant flow. Have fun, More advanced stuff to follow...

Friday, December 1, 2006

How "Small-Circle Jujitsu" Changed Everything

Jujitsu Master Leon Jay (left) The Dojo Rat "Away Team" (center) and Dojo owner Stan Miller (right), At a Seminar in Portland

There are two schools of modern Jujitsu: Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ), which rose to cult status ten years ago, and there is "Small-Circle Jujitsu" (SCJJ). Of course, this is just my interpetation, but here goes: BJJ is great on a one-to-one fight when you have plenty of time and you're not going to get run over in a parking lot or have someone stick a knife in your back while you are rolling on the ground.
Jujitsu has evolved from a Samurai kill-or-be-killed art to a sport, the same sad legacy of modern Tae Kwon Do. After World War Two, G.I.'s and Marines were returning from service with a new and devestating combat art (jujitsu) which was generally practiced as modern Judo. The art has always employed throwing and locking techniques, although at a somewhat less sophisticated level than Aiki-jitsu and Aikido. Brazil, which had it's own "Wild West" culture, had a lot of Japanese immigrants, and "Vale Tudo" (anything goes) emerged as Brazilian challenge fights. The peak culminated with Mixed-Martial Arts, and most matches are won in submissions on the ground, crappy for streetfighting.
Ah!, you say, so tell us somthing new...
Enter Wally Jay, a tall Chinese-Hawaiian with powerful Judo skills. Wally Jay is responsible for refining jujitsu techniques to the most sophisticated level I have seen, and they have since found their way into every joint-locking system around. Wally Jay's jujitsu, and that of his son Leon, Ed Melaugh, Ron Ogi and others is not a roll-on-the-ground and choke art, it is STAND-UP FIGHTING. Through his innovation of the "small-circle technique", which rotates locks on the shortest possible axis, and other methods such as "thumb-wrist entry", Wally Jay created a stand-up jujitsu that allowed for repeated joint-locking flows, strikes, sweeps and throws.
The Jays are absolute masters at fingerlocking, and lead huge Black Belts around in complete agony. Moreover, they have developed methods for snatching fingers, wrists and neck chokes that most systems had never used.
The next level of development came when the Jay's began working with George Dillman of Ryukyu Kenpo, known for it's pressure-point knockouts. The two systems meshed prefectly, with the motto "Lock to strike, strike to lock" emerging. Further enhancement arrived with Ron Ogi. Ogi is the inheritor of James DeMile's system, DeMile being Bruce Lee's top student. Ogi, and subsequently Ed Melaugh added DeMile's Wing Chun striking and a modern hybrid art was born. Professor Remy Presas of Fillipino stickfighting fame influenced the system by adding flow drills, which allow the practitioner to move smoothly from lock-to-lock-to-strike-to-lock, etc. You have to see it to believe it. Jujitsu locking and takedowns, Ryukyu Kenpo pressure-point striking, Wing Chun centerline concepts, and Fillipino-based flow drills to practice safely. It's one hell of a hybrid system.
Up here at the Rat's nest, Shima Dojo, this is what we practice on the "hard arts" side. Myself and a couple of the other guys are also heavy into Tai Chi. That may not seem compatable, but it is. The Tai Chi smoothes everything out and helps keep it one continous flow. As I said in a previous post, I'm working on uploading some video of our flow drills, hopefully soon.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Ice Age: At Least We Still Have Cold Beer

Yee-Hawww... More drama and trauma on the Northern Frontier. We got hit with a gunuine NorEaster and it aint over yet. Sunday-Monday saw a foot or more of snow, and we are expecting four to six more inches tonight. So today, while my brother way down south packs for his family vacation in Hawaii, I will spend the second day on my back in the snow repairing broken waterlines. We had to cut our way out through the trees that fell across the road, but still can't get our trucks out, chains and all. There is very little traffic around our community, and people are starting to get cabin fever. The dogs and cats seem to love it, but the critters in the woods are having a hard time.
The picture above shows how much weight is on the trees. We've got branches and whole trees down everywhere. Pictured with the Rat is the Rat Dog, delivering a large bag of Beer to one of our neighbors, who had run out. I definitely know why Alaska (still further north) has such a high rate of alcoholism. I consider that a survival mechanism.
With all the storm damage, frosty hangovers and broken waterlines-- it is beautiful out there. The neighbors are banding together and everything has a mandatory "time-out".
Now we can appreciate that record-setting 12 inches of rain we had this November...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Importance Of Live Drills

Above is a video of a Hsing-I Chinese internal art drill. The art, while a sister to Bagua and Tai Chi, is the most aggressive and outwardly powerful of the Chinese internal arts.
No one drill can provide for every fighting situation, so there are hitting drills, grappling drills, weapons drills, avoidance drills and so on.
Many of you have probably seen someone, say even at Brown Belt level, get out of sequence in a pre-arranged fighting drill. They stop and look at the other guy, place blame for what went wrong, and re-wind their stepping patterns to start over again. Are they going to do that in a self-defense situation?
The reason, in my opinion is that some drills are "dead". There is a start, and a definite finish, and everything has to be done just so. There are three of four moves and that's it. This leaves no room for the student to experiance variables and grow with the training pattern.
The drill in the video represents a much more dynamic type of drill. Sure, it has it's limitations, but IT'S ALIVE. It has continual motion, advance-attack, retreat-defend. A small variation will fit right in and not disrupt the drill. We have similar drills where we may start out hitting, roll into a joint-lock flow, and resume hitting. Live drills are continous. Once the boiler-plate is laid, variations are encouraged. That's where the real learning begins.
I finally scored a digital camera, so I will try to get set up to post some examples of the types of drills we are working on. In the meantime, enjoy the video above.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Long and Short of Tae Kwon Do

Awww,... Look at the junior Rat.. He jumps, he spins; watch out he may bite!
Yessiree folks, this is an actual vintage early '80's photo of the Rat Boy, complete with authentic Beer and pizza stains. Yes, it's part of my first Black Belt test, and this photo proves that it was perfectly acceptable for an assistant instructor to wear flannel shirts at Black Belt tests in Oregon in the old days.
--With that said, this post has been a long time coming and will surely piss some people off. Let me say it now: There are a lot of shortcomings in Tae Kwon Do as a martial art.
My training came at a time when the Koreans were desperately trying to organize TKD to become an Olympic sport. This was an exciting prospect, and I'm afraid it's one that has practically ruined TKD as a self defense art.
Pre-Olympic TKD was closely tied to Hapkido and Korean Judo. Our school practiced both. Our Master, Tae Hong Choi, once commented that TKD was structurally very close to Shotokan Karate, and at the time, it was true. There were powerful sparring sequences and a lot,lot of breaking boards and bricks. We gave demonstrations in front of thousands of people during festivals where Mr. Choi would disarm swordsmen and demonstrate the best of combat Hapkido. Choi had trained Special Forces in Vietnam. Those were heady times, When after events the Master would lead us, his entourage of Black Belts into seedy bars for after-hours celebrations. The training was solid, and the anarchic structure of the organization led to deep trust and friendships I'll always remember.
Then came the Olympics. The hands came down, short-range fighting became non-existent, and head-hunting became the rule.
Tae Kwon Do has always emphasised kicking techniques, but after the Olympics, TKD fighters had stopped using their hands altogether. While the flash kicking is way fun, and excellent gymnastic exercise, it sucks for self-defense. A good wrestler can easily move in on high kicks, and the groin is constantly exposed when you kick high. I know. I lost a tournament fight when I attempted a high hook kick and a Kenpo guy blasted me in the groin with a short counter-kick.
The most natural method of fighting is to hit with your hands. It's easy, quick and effective. The best thing for me is when I started training with my friend who was a boxer. Traditional boxing drills brought my hand speed up considerably, as well as hitting power. Not the brick-breaking type of power, but stick-and-move power, very mobile. Of course, modern TKD does not allow hitting to the head, so they are miserably outclassed by fighters that can hit fast and hard.
In this way, modern TKD has lost it's way. In the past, fighters from Korean systems, like Chuck Norris, who dominated the tournament scene in the '60's-'70's, were power to be reckoned with. Now the system has degraded into a pure sport, where the exercise is great but don't try this shit for self defense.
Tae Kwon Do would find a re-awakening by going back to it's true roots as a brawling Korean art with heavy Japanese and Chinese influence, yet retaining it's Kim-Chee-flavored national heritage.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Fiddles 'n' Vittles: The Art Of Living Simply

So, we've hit on the Martial arts, the Political arts, and now the "Art of living simply". Pictured above is something resembling "The Rat's Nest Symphony". This, of course is from a previous finger-lickin'-good celebration, on our first ramshackle pioneer stage. We now have the new and improved stage, complete with milled lumber, tiki torches, tequila hot-pepper christmas lights and pirate flag.
Thanksgiving is the Rat's favorite holiday; no huge family obligations, good friends, too much food and drink. No TV football, thanks. Maybe shoot some guns and play a little music.
Up here in Da Land 'O' Rat, We don't have a lot of money for elaborate settings or exotic holiday travel, but boy do we have some fun. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Poll Results: 63% Of Americans Are Hippies!

Well, you probably saw the "political arts" tag on the header of the blog, so here goes: The editorial below illustrates just how out of touch some people are about what's really going on. For instance; equating the Iraq OCCUPATION with the terrorism that came to America on 9-11. Despite constant attempts to conflate the two issues, There is ABSOLUTELY NO CONNECTION BETWEEN 911 AND IRAQ. Period.
The old crank that wrote the following editorial is so out of it she is still red-baiting and chasing Marxists. I hate to inform her that the State no longer controls the means of production, the means of production controls the State. It's called "Unbridled Super-Capitalism"
If this blue-haired old bat thinks hippies are the only people that reject the Cheney Administration's insane hijacking of the oilfields, then a full 63% of Americans must be hippies:

CNN Poll conducted by Opinion Research Corporation. Nov. 17-19, 2006. N=1,025 adults nationwide:
Do you favor or oppose the US War in Iraq:
33% favor 63% oppose 4% not sure

--Look, the Rat is not anti-military. The Rat has had his share of fights. But the Rat is a free-thinker and will not blindly follow authority over the cliff. People, let's be smart about this. Try Googleing "The Project For A New American Century" and you will find out what these bastards have been up to.
And now; the rant from some Grandma in Lexington:

Hippies still trying to ruin the country
By Jenean Mcbrearty
America won't win another war until the 1960s flower children are pushing up petunias.

Radicalized, the flower children morphed into lefty loonies who now masquerade as social progressives. No matter what they rename themselves, however, their agenda hasn't changed.

They still want utopia, and it wouldn't be worth mentioning except that their naivetŽ has aged into a persistent denial of reality that may have devastating consequences.

For example, consider their continued belief that America's armed forces are neo-Nazi stormtroopers who delight in burning babies to further the aims of imperialistic corporations.

Such nonsense, now treated as legitimate by the left-leaning media, denigrates the patriotic values and sincerity of half the nation. It undermines the war effort, insults the dead and the survivors of battle and their families, and supports the aims of the enemy. Translated into immigration or national defense policy, it is an invitation to the world to destroy our country.

Yet, this Vietnam-era idŽe fixe about the military, despite 40-plus years of proof to the contrary, is understandable when analyzed in the context of the flower children's religious zealotry.

To renounce their military fictions would mean facing bigger, more important truths: Marxism doesn't work. Love is not all you need. Western culture is worth defending because it protects freedom, tolerance and the greatest material good for the greatest number. Government can't solve every problem. The American taxpayer has no obligation to support the rest of the world's exploding population.

Without the military-industrial complex to blame for humanity's ills, the lefty loonies lose their basis for faith in a socialist utopia. Terrorism is tortuous for them only because it forces them to pursue the political goals that will allow them to redistribute America's wealth by pulling the nation together and relying on the hated military for protection.

Oh, the unfairness of irony.

Thus, lefty loonies deny that terrorists have declared war on America, while insisting that we can win the war through negotiation. They seem to believe the terrorists will spare them because they are nice.

(EDIT) ACKKKK! You see what I mean... I had to dump half her rant because it just goes on, and on, and on. Too long for this blog. Her e-mail is listed below if you care to respond--Dojo Rat

Jenean McBrearty lives in Lexington. E-mail her at

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Chin Na

This has been one of my favorite grappling videos lately, for a lot of reasons. Mike Martello is only 5'2" and it is fascinating to see him manipulate a much larger opponent. Sure, the attacks are controlled, but remember, so is the response.
This video illustrates something I have been examining for some time. My hard-style background is Tae kwon Do and Kenpo Karate, but that's mostly in the past now. During my Kenpo training I also trained for two years in Aikido, and since then have been heavy into Yang-style Tai Chi. I am planning a serious thesis on the comparison of techniques between Aikido and Tai Chi. Most people have never experianced the martial techniques within Tai Chi, and view it as a "new age exercise". But the experianced eye can see many, many similarities in strikes, joint locks and takedowns between Tai Chi, Aikido and the hard style arts as well. The difference is, the internal styles do not go head-to-head, power against power. They yield, find an opening, then come in to take the opponent out.
We are currently training in the Yang-style San-Shou two person 88 movement form. This is a complex form that many students never see, yet learn. In it, there are forearm smashes (much like Aikido's irimi-nage), pressure-point strikes and takedowns.
The difference with the Aikido methods is they generally use more spiral movement, while Tai Chi tends to be a little more centerline oriented like Wing Chun.
And speaking of Wing Chun, the sticky-hands and slap-sparring drills along with joint-lock flow drills from Small-Circle-Jujitsu fit right in with Tai Chi push hands.
The video of Martello, above, is a perfect example of how all these arts have a common ancestry. More on this later...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Down For The Count

Ok,ok, another one I couldn't resist... Can everyone say "I Pity da Foo!"
Isn't Tyson the all-time favorite "I cudda been a contender" palooka?
Wait 'till he figures out how many sixty-year-old cake-faced fat Mammas he will have to put up with in his new "oldest profession".
Seriously, wouldn't any ex-fighter with an ounce of self respect do somthing to redeem his sordid past? How about setting up a world-class boxing school and bringing in some skilled coaches-- maybe for poor kids ? But no, Mikey will head into retirement nibbling on old lady's ears.

Mike Tyson To Be A Prostitute
Former boxing champion Mike Tyson is to become a male escort after agreeing to work at legendary Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss' new legalized brothel for women. Fleiss bought 60 acres of land in Nevada, and his work is scheduled to begin on Heidi's Stud Farm.
She has high hopes for Tyson, once heavyweight champion of the world - despite the fact he is a convicted rapist.
She says, "I told him, 'You're going to be my big stallion.' It's every man's fear that their girlfriend will go for Mike Tyson."
Tyson, 40, adds, "I don't care what any man says, it's every man's dream to please every woman - and get paid for it."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Martial artist or Martial Mugger?

There is a raging debate in martial arts blogs as to the usefulness of traditional pattern-based martial arts, those that have been handed down and refined for hundreds of years, and those of the modern so called "reality-based" fight game.
The biggest proponents of the "reality based" systems are (1) the "close quarter combat" (CQC) trainers, which is based on the World War Two Fairbain-type hand-to-hand combat. This system is effective and simple, employing lots of low kicks, elbows and knees and knives. Rock 'em sock 'em trench fighting stuff.
The second group is the Brazilian Jujitsu (BJJ) and the "Mixed Martial Arts" (MMA) fighters.
While BJJ relies on groundfighting and submission holds, most people would never want to get caught rolling on an unfriendly bar floor in a guard position with knives and boots in their back. Mixed martial arts fighters, however, are equaly capeable at stand-up striking as they are with grappling and mat work. MMA fighters are powerful, the sport is very popular, but most fights end in a submission on the mat. Also, the fact that it is sport oriented with safety rules points out that certain techniques cannot be used.
So what of the old traditional pattern-based martial arts? Where, with all the heat they've been catching from the "reality-based" trainers do the traditional arts belong in our lives today?
The first obvious answer, of course is that MMA fighting is a young person's game. As fighters age, their bodies simply cannot take the abuse.
But there is another often overlooked benefit of those forms and patterns of traditional arts:
Almost everyone has heard the old saying "Martial arts is 30% physical and 70% mental". Well, MMA stands those percentages on it's head. While it takes strategy and heart to defeat an opponent, it is strength and physical skill that makes the superior fighter.
Now consider the fact that traditional martial arts, especially internal styles such as Tai Chi, Bagua and Aikido have experts that reach their peak in their fifties and sixties. This is long after most hard style fighters have retired to the sidelines.
Consider the nature of the yielding, introspective approach used by those internal arts, and their repetition of patterns that mimic the natural world. Herein lies the gift of the traditional arts, stressing a type of growth and expression lacking in other fight sports.
Below is a passage from "The Aquarian Conspiracy", by Marilyn Ferguson:
"Inward attention, in other words, generates a larger (energy) fluctuation in the brain. In altered states of consciousness, fluctions may reach a critical level, large enough to provoke a shift into a higher level of organization.
But larger fluctuations of energy (in the brain) cannot be contained in the old structure. They set off ripples throughout the system, creating sudden new connections".
Ferguson goes on to say that this occurs through meditation, hypnosis and guided imagery. This is precisely what the masters, sages and shamen of old have passed down to us, and modern science is now proving that introspective imagery literally makes the brain grow and evolve!
So where do we find some middle ground between the punishing training and pugilism of the boxer and MMA fighter, and the introspective patterning of the traditional arts?
I believe this to be a good argument for the idea that hard-style arts make a good foundation for young, developing fighters. They have the stamina and desire, and benifit from that training. With time, anyone who has been in the martial arts for half-a-lifetime will soften their approach, spare their body the punishment and seek a more introspective approach. By this time, they will have learned to flip that mental switch and turn on the predator, the wolf, the gladiator when needed.
If a person is on the correct path, they will continue to improve their martial skill, but in a way that maintains their health and continues to give them a new outlook on life.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Welcome To The Rat's Nest

Welcome to the opening salvo of Dojo Rat.
Those who have spent years of punishing (and rewarding) training know who the dojo rats are.
A dojo rat did not simply take a Karate class for P.E. one semester at college, or attend a self-defense course so they could walk from the office cubicle to the minivan on a dark night.
Dojo Rats have bled and caused others to bleed while training. They have happily scubbed mats, repaired shreaded training gear and damaged body parts. They've shown up to train when they felt like crap, and always felt better later. In other words, dojo rats have put their time into a persuit that only a small percentage of people ever achieve: the rat has become a trained martial artist.
In the case of this rat, it's been (with the exception of a few breaks) twenty-seven years of training, but more on that in further posts.
The picture at the head of the Blog is that of the legendary (in his own mind, perhaps) Count Dante. All right, I couldn't resist inserting it. I'm of the generation where Dante, who billed himself as "The world's most dangerous man" was selling Karate manuals out of the back of comic books in the 1960's. It was in this era of emerging Karate gangsters (as in Dante's pictured rat pack), the tv series "Kung Fu", and the breakthrough movie "Billy Jack" that the junior Rat grew up. Dante's picture and biography:( epitomize the classic "Karate Kitsch" of an era where the martial arts were becoming popularized in America. Unfortunately, Dante appears not to have lived up to a motto of the same era; "To live outside the law, one must be honest". If you read the bio, maybe you will agree.
As a dojo rat, one must also shoulder a sense of martial responsibility. It's a common code of chivalry that is found in the warrior class of all nations and people throughout history. As a rat skirts the system, he/she must remain responsible to friend, family, employer, dojo and self.
In this blog, Dojo Rat hopes to explore not only aspects of training and combat skills, but how we are affected by current events and the way we live... Welcome to Dojo Rat, and feel free to contribute!