Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Great Jim Kelly


Jim Kelly 1970 Tournament Fight


"Tattoo Connection"

Thanks to Bob over at "Striking Thoughts" for this tip on a 1970 Jim Kelly Karate tournament fight. Kelly was a well-rounded athlete in basketball, football and track and field at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. He went on to study Shorin-Ryu and Okinawa-Te Karate and later opened his own school after winning an international middleweight championship. Kelly is best recognized for his role as "Williams" in Bruce Lee's "Enter The Dragon". He later went on to star in "Black Belt Jones", The Tattoo Connection", "Three The Hard Way" and other films. The guy at THIS BLOG met Kelly recently at a Brew Pub in Huston, and found out Kelly is still getting movie offers, and runs his own Tennis club. It's a good "Where are they now" review, and has a few good pictures.
As far as Kelly's tournament fight above, he has great reach and it's a scrappy fight. I'd like to know who the other fighter is, they are pretty evenly matched and the outcome is unclear.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A Tale Of Two Masters


All Along The Watchtower-Jimi Hendrix

Bruce Lee

This is a tale of two masters; both from Seattle and both living there at about the same time. I'm guessing Hendrix was in Paratrooper school when Lee was at college in Seattle. * These Masters share a birthday today *, and these guys were two of the most powerful performers in my lifetime at least!
Hendrick's music shaped part of my young life, and Lee just plain blew me away. Listen to what Bruce Lee is saying, and he uses the Tai Chi Chuan form to demonstrate-- A true classic

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Occult Nature Of Martial Arts



In my nearly thirty-year experience in the martial arts, I have seen some interesting things. Most of them are ordinary, some spectacular. These include mere human feats of incredible jump spin-kicks, power breaking and manipulation of opponents. Sometimes these demonstrations have crossed into states of metaphysical events.
Martial arts often suggest a level of skill beyond the mere physical, and hint at an intangible or esoteric knowledge. This skill is recognized not only as a fighting skill, but also a healing skill.
From the earliest times, Warriors and Occult practitioners, or Shamen have been closely linked. Going to battle was a spiritual event, involving preparation and in some cases, inducing a trance state. The Vikings were known to have taken mind-altering mushrooms before going into battle, hence the term “Berserker” (Berserk). They went nuts and killed things. That warrior cult was also steeped in pagan gods, divination and superstition. They were a warrior culture, yet given the opportunity, they melded with the populations they had just kicked the crap out of and helped build much of Europe.
Other aboriginal cultures across the world have their warrior cultures closely linked to shamanic experiences also. Anyone who has read the Carlos Castenada books with Don Juan the sorcerer have a look into native American Indian culture and warrior spirit. Part of coming of age in warrior cultures has often been linked to taking psychedelic drugs or experiencing extreme hardships under the guidance of elders.
With Japanese martial artists such as Aikido founder Ueshiba, there were cults such as the Shinto O-Moto Kyo, that were based in natural science of every day living, and the older and revered Chinese occult systems. Chinese “Tao” is Japanese “Do”, and the esoteric knowledge of each has the same root. Nearly all cultures revered the sword as a spiritual tool, some bearing generations of blood.
Perhaps no esoteric system is better known than the Chinese five-element theory that governs acupuncture and pressure points. An unknown number of people partake in the healing arts provided by these techniques, yet they are hardly recognized by modern medicine today. Contemporary medicine looks upon Meridian theory as placebo therapy, yet in a martial as well as a healing application, the results are “striking” (pun intended).
The five-element theory is akin to the child’s game of rock-scissors-paper, where there is a healing aspect as well as a destructive nature. Wood feeds fire, fire creates earth, earth produces metal, metal leads to water (somewhat obscure, possibly water witching). The destructive cycle is just the opposite; metal cuts wood, wood penetrates earth, earth dams water, water cools fire, fire shapes metal. While each element relates to a meridian, combinations of strikes in the destructive cycle on meridians can cause knockout and damage. Experts more knowledgeable than me may expand on this.
The point is, there is a lot more to the skills involved in both healing and killing than most martial schools offer. Pressure points, sacred sounds used in ki-ai’s and much more.
From an internet search, there are scores of articles by Christian authors that indicate their fear of these ideas. Too bad for them. They may be missing out on a whole bunch of stuff that was known to the old Christian Gnostics that are abhorrent to modern evangelicals today. For instance, the Knights Templar was a Christian warrior society that found enlightenment in the middle-east, and incorporated it into their Christian rituals. The Templers were a Christian Knight organization that was created to guard passage to the holy lands from Europe. They built their fortress on the Temple mount In Jerusalem, and are said to have found the holiest ancient Gnostic (self enlightened) Christian relics. The Templars, according to author Jim Marrs (“Rule By Secrecy”-Harper-Collins), cut deals with and gained esoteric knowledge from “The Assassins”, the Hashish cult-for-hire in middle age Islam. Speculation is there was much information exchanged. Upon their return to Europe, the Templars used sacred geometry to build the Gothic Cathedrals, celestial navigation, and the first banking system. All this was built on Arab culture, and it revolutionized Europe. They were a Christian martial society, and on Friday the 13th 1307, many of the Templars were rounded up by the church, tortured and disbanded, partly for their esoteric and non-conventional knowledge. The contemporary Catholic Church may be the worlds largest practitioner of ceremonial magic, with the ritual cannibalism of the wafer and wine, or the methods of choosing a Pope.
Then there is the dark side. The Japanese Yakuza and Tong Chinese Mafia have long had blood rites. Secret societies such as Ninja clans developed many black-art techniques, the same techniques that are seen today in drug-induced interrogation, water-bording etc.
In the past, I have written about other cult-like schools. In Portland Oregon, there was a school called “Poekulean” or “A rose with thorns”. This was primarily a woman’s self-defense school, and they had candlelight rituals with knives involved. Now, this was an Indonesian-based school, and such is the nature of those arts, but it freaked a lot of women in Portland out, to the point where a critical article in a weekly paper was written.
I have also witnessed some “No touch knockouts”. I am telling you, these are very controversial, and don’t always work, but when they do, they do. There is an element of the Master-student relationship that is conducive to achieving the no touch knockout. I believe it involves hypnosis similar to that experimented with by Anton Mesmer in early European culture. I have also seen these attempts at knockouts go very bad. Hardened athletes and skeptics are more resistant, suggesting an element of Hypnosis is involved.
There is however, something that does happen. George Dillman’s Ryukyu Kempo group hooked students up to medical recording equipment and performed no touch knockouts on them. The results were startling and cautionary. Over cold drinks after a seminar I discussed this with experts Jack Hogan and Dan McCusky, both who had witnessed Dillman’s experiment. In their opinion, people went out very heavily, and were difficult to recover. They felt there was a tremendous amount of psychic energy involved. This practice can come at the physical expense of the practitioner. One of the men who was knocking people out urinated blood afterward, indicating that it had affected the prenatal Chi residing in his kidneys. Hogan and McCusky hinted that this art was possibly taken further, and commented that “There are some things that people just shouldn’t be doing”.
Most of us practice martial arts for health, self-defense and self-improvement. Just how far down the path we go, and which turns we choose are up to the individual. Through modern methods such as biofeedback and brain imaging, we are now able to see how shamanic practices of the ancients actually work. How they are used is a different story…

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ninja Technique



Here, a young Saudi boy demonstrates a Spiderman/Ninja technique. It's based on what rock climbers call the "chimney", using opposing force to keep you between two walls (as in a chimney). This one is excedingly difficult however, because it is a CORNER, with the walls at 90 degrees rather than opposed. Now, if he just had a sword on his back and a hood, he could drop over a wall on the other side and go into battle!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

November 22nd 1963 - Why Kennedy Still Matters



Forty-four years ago today the United States of America experienced a hostile takeover of our government, perpetrated by industrialists and their henchmen that continue to resurface today.
Researching the assassination of President John F. Kennedy provides a road map to understand how and why corruption is so pervasive in American government today. I was very young on November 22nd 1963, but I remember my parents explaining it to me the day it happened, and later watching TV and seeing Kennedy’s young son saluting his father’s coffin as it passed him in the funeral procession. People have commented that America lost its innocence that day, and the dogged research into the event that followed became the model for understanding later conspiracies. These include the CIA’s importing heroin from Southeast Asia (and cocaine decades later), The deaths of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Watergate and Iran Contra.
This week, a book publisher has released a book authored by President Gerald Ford titled “A Presidential Legacy And The Warren Commission”. Ford was himself a member of the commission, and in the book claims that the CIA covered up evidence relating to the assassination of Kennedy, fueling debate once again on what exactly happened.
The same characters appear again and again. Richard Armitage has long been rumored to have been involved with the CIA heroin smuggling, and recently was involved with the current plot to expose CIA analyst Valerie Plame-Wilson. George Bush senior was apparently photographed at the scene of the Kennedy hit in Dallas,
and is named in FBI documents investigating the assassination.
Bush Senior was also involved in “The October Surprise”, a conspiracy to insure that the American embassy hostages in Iran were not released until Reagan’s inauguration. This was the first treasonous deal the Republicans cut with the Iranians, which led to the later revelations of the Iran-Contra scandal.
Most people now believe that Oswald could not have pulled off the seemingly impossible shots, and a friend once told me that in Marine sniper school they use the Dallas hit as a model of a perfect triangulated fire pattern, or how to set up an ambush with multiple shooters.
All this matters because it keeps happening. We clearly had a coup in the stolen 2000 election, and Colin Powell claims he was lied to about the mythical Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Presidential spokesman Scott McClellen now says he was lied to about Bush, Cheney and Rove's involvement in blowing Valerie Wilson’s CIA cover, and bringing down the analyst division she worked in.
The tragedy of 911 is the Kennedy assassination of our modern era. I highly recommend people check out “The coincidence theorist’s guide to 911”, and go to the numerous links provided in this un-nerving essay.
Much like the Kennedy hit, we may never understand just what happened on 911, but one thing is for sure- the Bush-Cheney cabal is not even close to telling the truth.
It’s been forty-four years since Kennedy died, and evidence like the new Gerald Ford book continues to surface. I expect that as the years go by, we will see more leaks and testimony dribble out regarding 911.
That’s why Kennedy still matters…

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Old School # 8: Tae Kwon Do in 1956



Ah yes, 1956... Dojo Rat was still a glimmer in his Dad's eye...
This one will take us old TKD Rats back to the good old days, Hands held high in sparring- the opponent's head being a punching bag as well as a kickball. This demonstration appears to be partly a military function, showing the importance of hand-to-hand combat training in the armed forces. This training was carried into the Vietnam conflict, where my Korean master, Mr. Choi and countless other Korean fighters trained US special forces. Journalist P.J. O'Rourke called the Koreans "The Irish of Asia", suggesting their passion for drinking and fighting.
And check out the breaking-- anyone who has ever trained in a traditional Korean system knows that power breaks are at least 25% of rank promotion testing.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Old School # 7: Mas Oyama And Tae Kwon Do



These next video's are for all the Tae Kwon Do guys and gals out there. This clip is from 1967, and has legendary "Bull Killer" Mas Oyama, the founder of hardcore Kyukushin-kai Karate giving a lesson to sone TKD guys. This one is especially for Master C.C. Pieschala, who writes comments in this blog frequently. And now, you've followed his antics, you've read his wild and whacky comments in Dojo Rat, Master Pieschala is involved in some kind of smart-guy egghead internet project that is about three I.Q. levels above me. Here's the link... Maybe the smart guys like Bob at "Striking Thoughts" will understand it better than me!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Old School #6: In Which David Bowie Gets A Karate Lesson



Man, it just gets better and better!
Here is a clip from the Dinah Shore Show in 1975. I don't know who the instructor is, but you gotta love the 'Fro! Maybe somebody out there will recognize him. David Bowie clearly is a little shook up at being "manhandled" by somebody that isn't a Glam Rocker Heroin addict.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Old School # 5: Shotokan Karate



Hands held low, Spirit held High...
Now here is some more serious 1960's Karate. As has been stated, some of this old stuff is somewhat lame, but these guys and gals at least show great spirit. I can't believe any fighting school ever allowed the low hand posture, leaving head shots wide open. What's up with that??? One would think that western boxing would have taught them a lesson by then. Ah, it seems to have finally caught on, the hands are held higher (except in Olympic Tae Kwon Do), and fighters protect themselves better.

Old School #4: Savate



Ah-Hahahaha! Argh! Oh-my-god this is funny. From yesterday's video of the superb (Sword catching) to today's video of the absurd. Here we see a Gentlemen's demonstration of Savate, from 1934. It looks like "Pretty Pierre" has an edge over "Battling" Gaston. As crappy as this demo is, French streetfighting of the era was very nasty, employing razors, canes and the like.
For a more efficiant display of Savate, check out this link to "Boot To The Head", and the California Savate Association. They have a great video clip of a California Savate fighter knocking out a Muay Thai fighter in the first round!
D.R. (edit)-- How could I forget; "The French, they are so strange to meet - They "F" with their tongues and fight with their feet"!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Old School Karate #3: Sword vs. Bare Hand



Now this clip is bad-ass... it's from a movie called "Fighting Black Kings". The documentary is about an American team that goes to fight at the first annual international Kyukushin-kai full-contact tournament in Japan. Great video if you can find it.
My Korean master,Tae Hong Choi, would lead us in demonstrations at festivals where we would demonstrate breaking and sparring in front of Thousands of people. Near the end, he would demonstrate combat Hapkido and disarm a swordsman. Lots of similar techniques, but I never saw him catch a sword...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Old School Series #2: Karate Comes To Belgium



This is too funny. From the "frightening" Ki-ai's at the begining to the amazing feat of breaking a single board, These guys and gals are Kickin' it "Old School". There's even some jazzy music to make it even cooler. At one point, the instructor smacks a woman student in the face with a palm strike, and she goes down. And check out the Flying side kicks to a kneeling opponent! We have to realize how far the combat arts have come in terms of practicality and effectiveness, but this is fairly representitive of Karate in the 1960's. The screen shots go still for a second between scenes, so stick with it. Perhaps our fellow Dojo Rats in Belgium can translate the highlights!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Kickin' It Old School: Karate



This week we look at old Karate stuff from the 1960's. Most of these are older than a lot of you Dojo Rats out there, but some of it is downright funny and it takes us back to our roots.
Today we start with an old TV commercial I remember as a kid; "Hai Karate". It may be my warped sense of humor but it's just as funny today as it was then...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dojo Rats Are Everywhere!



They're everywhere... basements, old buildings, garages, out in the woods. They're Dojo Rats! They scurry about in their unkempt ways, just below the radar and out of the public eye-- but boy, can they scratch and bite! And they generally have a ton of fun while they go about their business, their strength in the casual disarray of their activities.
I picked this video of Bobbe Edmonds for these reasons. These Dojo Rats are working on serious training in an informal setting, music in the background, and I'll bet there's a cooler of beer there somewhere.
Edmonds may just out-Dojo Rat me even. His website, "Thick As Thieves" -Lost In Space, Drunk As A Skunk--is hilarious. Here he describes his website:
"I am, in no particular order, an IT professional, a martial arts instructor, a beer connoisseur, and afflicted with Yellow Fever (i.e. I love Asian Chicks). This blog consists of Martial Arts, Sci Fi/Horror, Political Rants, Humor and the occasional DEEP THOUGHT. You will need a background in Lovecraft, Chili Peppers, MST3K, The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Kung Fu Fighting and Disco Music to understand what I’m doing here. And even then you will probably leave with your head spinning like that chick from the Exorcist."
The guy is a talented martial artist and is pretty damned funny also. On the video's I reviewed, his crew goes through some serious training, and has a blast doing it.
Go on over and check out Edmond's site: "Thick As Thieves", it's well worth the visit.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

New Member Merging!



Hey! Time to become an ARGONAUT!
Argos Classic Martial Arts Reprints is joining us at the "Convocation of Combat Arts Forum"
Check out all the funky old martial arts stuff at Argos, and the Combat Arts Forum, both highlighted above!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Wing Chun vs. Northern Mantis



On the heels of my post suggesting that some Wing Chun guys appear to carry their center fairly high in body structure, I found this training fight. These guys are pretty evenly matched, and while this sparring session appears to go by tournament rules (no elbows, knees, kicks to the legs), it's still pretty good. The Mantis guy carries his center low, testing my theory, but the Wing Chun guy consistantly maintains positional superiority. The grappling clinches could be cleaner but they do occur, reminding us that while hitting closes the gap - grappling is inevitable. It does seem to me that there is a lot of energy wasted on high kicks, and some of the hallmarks of Wing Chun we have viewed in past posts (such as trapping skills) are not present.
Martial Development sent me a note to check out "Why Wing Chun punches never miss", which outlines some of his Wing Chun strategy, with some ideas about chain punching, positioning and timing.
As always, I appreciate everyone's input. While we have incorporated Chi Sao into our push-hands play, my working knowledge of Wing Chun is somewhat limited, so thanks for the tips!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Weakness In Wing Chun?


Eddie Chong on Rollback/Armbreak

Glen Hairston Rollback/arm break

Sam Masich Rollback/bar/break

I'd like to be clear about this, because these comparisons are general in nature and we are talking about differences between striking and grappling arts.
With that said, I believe that Wing Chun players tend to carry their center very high in their body structure. This may be because of the close range hitting and play of Chi Sao (sticky hands), and "climbing" over the other guys guard. This combined with off-angle hitting tends to pull the center up with rapid punching power mostly generated from the shoulders. At a Wing Chun seminar, my friend was paired up with a very muscular guy with fast hands. In Chi Sao, my friend could not defeat his hitting, so he began up-rooting him with the Tai Chi Chuan push, and the guy couldn't maintain his root to continue hitting. Now, this is all very general but I think it points out a weakness in Wing Chun.
Take a look at this video of Nathan from TDA Training (guest posting at Mokuren Dojo). In Western boxing, the boxer ROOTS down into the hit, maintaining his connection to the ground. Many times in Wing Chun, I see the person hitting nearly up on his toes, at least on one foot. Additionally, Wing Chun's strength, adherance to toe-to-toe centerline concepts, may also limit mobility in neutralization. Compare Eddie Chong's arm bar/break to the others to see what I mean.
All-in-all, I see Wing Chun as powerful and effective, and some of these comparison's may be off-base. I am fascinated by the hand trapping, and will continue to explore these ideas.
*(Edit.) Upon edit, I see I posted Nathan's hook punch video earlier, so I found the boxing video HERE. Note that even when Nathan lifts his heel in the cross, hook or uppercut, he is driving down into the ground to develop power. This produces different energy than Wing Chun "chain" punching.

Friday, November 2, 2007

November: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month-- And Special Feature: Defense for "The Arm Trap"


Our Local Girls

Defense For "The Arm Trap"

Yes, It's here! November's "Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month" features some local girls. These are the Friday night Beer-tenders at the watering hole on our remote undisclosed Island hideout. They tirelessly pour Beer after Beer for the thirsty Dojo Rats, and generally put up with all our crap with a smile. What a team!
--And the special feature in our series on Wing-Chun trapping techniques is: Defense For The Arm Trap... enjoy!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Natural Neutralization



Let's change the focus of this series a bit; This video shows "Natural Neutralization" rather than trapping techniques. In this case, you keep the structure of your "bridge" extended and merely join with the incoming force and turn your centerline. Here's what the author of the video ("Hgamer") has to say:

"About This Video
This took place at windy city's wing chun 5th annual seminar. I take no credit at all, as my Sifu just showed some superior blocking skills. If you know what to look for you can see tons of different concepts being applied. The 1st thing to notice is that a skilled practioner really just blocks the majority of the time, the unskilled, tries to cover that up by simply blizting the attack. Its very common in the wing chun world for many to do that.
Also, what how blocks come about, its not done by the hand but by the body. You can visually see this since sifu's center stays consistent throughout, and simply turns in conjunction with the amount of force, while the hands don't chase out which is a common no no in wing chun. Let the attacks come to your house, and the closer they are the safer it is for you. All to often, people will shoot out their hands trying to reach out to block.
Blocking is a simple concept but difficult to do, know the person's centerline, have your triangle constantly point to that indivudals center line, and go with the force. While there are many more concepts involved these are the general three which one must follow to develop superior blocking skills.
Finally in some glimpses you see freezing out motions, where you can literally lock out your opponents motions, by simply holding your structure and techincally freezing his hand motion. All to often wing chun is confused with the concept of sticky hands. Sticky hands is not about sticking to people, its making people stick to you. Out in the street, people will not do sticky hands in a real fight, what your developing is the ability so that people will stick to your hands. In a simple concept imagine your hands as blades, if you position your blades in the right angle, whatever touches it will cut into it, thus forcing that individual to stick."