Monday, January 28, 2008

AARGGGGGHH ! @$%%#^&* !

Hello fellow Dojo Rats;
Unfortunately we are experiancing technical difficulty. I'm typing this in from a different computer than my usual P.O.S., which may be headed to the junk yard.
--Time for a new, updated computer with all the bells and whistles.
Please check back, but I have a feeling this may take several days. On top of that, we are snowed in for a few days, and you know what that means-- cutting firewood and drinking Beer. Hmmmm...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Art Of Dr. Hatsumi

In the previous post, we saw Dr. Hatsumi's top American student, Stephen K. Hayes describe how Hatsumi moved from teaching Togakure (sp?) Ninjitsu to Bujinkan, in which military and espionage techniques were removed. This was frustrating for Hayes, but allowed Hatsumi to teach to a wider audiance.
It seems to me that half of the art of the Ninja is bold showmanship and theatrics, which were no doubt invaluable in the art of deception. Despite his age, Hatsumi flows with natural movement from technique to technique. Even when he blows a move, he easily transitions into a successful resolution.
To a certain extent, it's too bad this art has all the trappings of "The Dark Warrior", because that tends to turn mature martial artists off. With that said, Hatsumi demonstrates some wonderful and stylish techniques, and it's no doubt this would be a fun art to experiment with.
Coming up next; a review of Hatsumi's excellent book, simply titled "Stick Fighting".

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Check This Out !

Patrick Parker at Mokuren Dojo has just posted the current "Carnival Of Martial Arts"!
There are many, many articles by prominent Martial Bloggers on the best of training tips, views and perspectives of the world of Martial arts.
Jump on over and read the "Carnival" Here at Mokuren Dojo!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stephen Hayes On Traditional Training

I have to say, I never got hooked on the Ninja stuff in my early training. We were told that while the Samurai would fight opponents face-to-face, the Ninja was the poisener, the back-stabber, the assassin.
However, when you look at the system as taught by Dr. Hatsumi, it is quite a legitimate fighting art, with aspects of training that might help a person survive accidents or natural disasters as well as attacks by thugs.
Here, Hayes talks about how Dr. Hatsumi's training was altered to allow for conventional civilian use, and how that was at first frustrating for Hayes.
--More on Hatsumi and my thoughts on his system coming up next...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Abraham, Martin and John

This week we remember the great Dr. Martin Luther King, and the legacy of the peace and civil rights movements he was instrumental in. While much progress has been made in the area of civil rights-- I mean in the daily "lunch-counter-water-fountain" sort of integration-- How much have things changed?
A few years back the process of "red lining" certain neighborhoods by banks prevented minorities from recieving loans for houses in those neighborhoods, effectively prolonging segregation. In the 2000 and 2004 elections, predominantly black districts (which tend to vote Democratic) were denied the same number of voting machines that affluent (read; Republican) suburbs recieved. Some were sent false voter information instructing them to vote at the wrong location. Others were falsely accused of being felons, once again denying them the vote.
The 1960's were turbulent times; government by gunplay. Some in the Black community organized into an armed "self help" movement, one that employed, fed, clothed and protected it's own. The Black Panthers, the socio-political movement of Malcom X, and like organizations were seen as a direct threat to the institutional power structure. The result? Massive importation of Heroin from CIA connections in Southeast Asia hit the ghettos. LSD led revolutionary, educated youth to a "lifestyle of voluntary simplicity". The revolution was destabilized. This model was repeated in the 1980's when Reagan's Nicaraguan Contra henchmen flooded the same neighborhoods with crack cocaine, to fund their war in Central America.
How much more peaceful has our country become? Half the country was successfully duped into supporting the endless resource war that President Cheney craved. Got a twelve-year-old kid? Just wait six years, they'll be eligable for a "Tour".
In the 1960's, influential people who promised hope and change were shot and killed.
Let's not let their dreams fade away. Haven't we grown some since then?
Isn't this our time of hope and change?

Friday, January 18, 2008

What Would You Do?

This Cop is damned lucky he survived this arrest attempt.
I have known for years that most Police are either out-of-shape, undertrained or both. I remember a case where multiple officers cornered a crazy lady holding a cat and a knife in a Safeway market. They penned her in with shopping carts and then shot her anyway. One time, I had to sneak into my sisters house and rescue her while the police had a stand-off with a man armed with a rifle across the street. The police were on the phone with my sister, but ordered her to stay in the house and tell them what she could see. Across the street the man with the rifle had fired shots in the air, and the homeowner, an elderly lady, was stuck inside. The police went to the back of the house and saw the door start to open. They over-reacted and shot. They killed the old lady, who was trying to escape the house. All this happened while I snuck my sister out the back window of her house directly across the street.
I know, stuff happens... and the Police have a tough job. But for goodness sake, give them some better training!
Should this cop have called for back-up before he attempted to arrest the guy? They spent a lot of time in an upper-body clinch, I think I would have tried to chop-kick to the attacker's shins and knees-- especially since the attacker was so large. Obviously the pepper spray didn't work. Perhaps he should have made a better effort to avoid contact and have his weapon pulled and ready to fire. Lastly, the damned semi-auto handgun jammed!
I know there are some cops out there... What should the officer have done?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mike Martello's 2008 Beijing Training Camp

Here's a fantastic video from one of my favorite instructors, Mike Martello. The focus of his upcoming training camp will be on Shuai Jiao, or Chinese wrestling. The Judo guys out there will love this one. These guys are simply bad-ass. look at all the unique and innovative training tools they are using. Here's what Mike has to say about this event:


Dear Martial Arts Enthusiasts,
We, Mike Martello, Zhang Xinbin and Rene M. F. Ho,
are proud to present...


Grandmaster Wang is a living legend in the World of Chinese Martial Arts, and one of the greatest exponents of Chinese wrestling of the last 100 years.
The following video is a compilation of footage provided by Grandmaster Wang Wenyong and used with his permission. It depicts the various Shuaijiao training equipment used in traditional Chinese wrestling.
The equipment as shown in the video will be part of the Shuaijiao program of our training camp.
To pave the way to the Olympics, in July 2008 we will engage in four weeks of intense training (8 hours a day), which includes:
- more Shuaijiao
- more Specialized Training
- more Traditional Training Equipment
The dates for this year`s camp are:
Trip A (4 week program) : 1st July - 28th July 2008
Trip B (2 week program) : 15th July - 28th July 2008
Information concerning prices, training schedule, sightseeing program and more can be found at
For enquiry please contact us at
Don`t miss this great training opportunity, KEEP your schedule open for JULY 2008, and JOIN US for better training, more sightseeing and great food!

Best regards,
Mike Martello
Zhang Xinbin
Rene Ming Fai Ho

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Ultimate Gypsy Fight !

Often in this cultural odyssey known as Dojo Rat we tour unusual places and visit interesting people. With that said, we will conclude the Gypsy fight tour with this final video, and it's simply one of the best...
Look at the variety of techniques used: it opens with the "flash the panties technique", followed by the plastic bucket defense, the flailing of the lawn chairs, and ... the punishing "tumble the bike down the road routine".
I'm so, so sorry for posting this, but it's the funniest damned thing I've seen lately.
Back to more serious matter, coming up next...

Monday, January 14, 2008

Attempted Mugging?

Here's another great example of picking a fight with the wrong guy:
Commentary on the YouTube page suggests the two muggers are drunken Russians, but I can't identify the speech patterns. The slap to the girl was no accident, the guy that hit her could see them over his left shoulder. I have a feeling these guys might know each other, or have seen each other around the neighborhood. The Boxer does not hesitate for one second, taking the fight to the bad guys. He hits without warning, controls the distance and maintains a good fighting position the whole time. Too bad they move out of view, we might have seen how this was resolved...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lenny Mclean: Comments On A Gypsy Fight

Here we have legendary tough guy Lenny Mclean doing a little play-by-play on a Gypsy fight. It's a very old video, so the quality is rough, but the excitement builds as the fight is prepared.
As Mclean describes; the pub has been closed, the police were told to "piss off", and it looks like the entire village has turned out in the streets to see the two rivals go at it.
What strikes me is the difference in the way these old European fights are presented compared to the American brawls of Kimbo Slice and crew. There is a great deal of ceremony, posturing and negotiation in the village, mostly between the families of the fighters and important villagers. In the American fights like Kimbo's, they just pull up in the car, take off the shirt and fight.
You can bet they re-opened the Pub right after these guys duke it out...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Lenny Mclean In Action

Today's look into the shady world of English-Irish-Gypsy brawlers brings us face-to-face with the raw aggression of streetfighter Lenny Mclean. This fight is against Roy Shaw, and while it ain't pretty to look at, Lenny gets the job done.
Here's what Wikipedia has to say about these legal, but unlicensed bouts:

"Mclean could not enter licensed boxing due his unpredictable temper, his violent reputation and criminal record; he therefore entered the murky world of unlicensed boxing (which despite being legal, was not sanctioned by the British Boxing Board of Control) and quickly became one of the biggest names in that field. When Frank Warren formed the National Boxing Council in the 1970s, it allowed the toughest underground fighters in Britain to legally go head to head. For the first time, the aggression and passion of the underground boxing world was now being channelled through a licensed outlet. The results were explosive. Irish and gypsy boxing champions met the hardest brawlers from the London gangland scenes for the first time.
Being the best-known figure in the world of unlicensed boxing produced many fans as well as enemies, for McLean. He suffered two bullet wounds from separate attacks, as well as being stabbed on two different occasions, on both of which he was attacked from behind. McLean survived all attempts on his life."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Lenny Mclean On Bare-knuckle Boxing

This week we move from the Bare-knuckle world of Kimbo Slice to a profile of British brawler Lenny McLean. McLean was featured in a previous Dojo Rat review of "Bounce", a documentary on the life of club bouncers.
McLean, who passed away in 1998, led a rough street life. An abusive stepfather beat him repeatedly as a youth, and the cycle of violence continued. Lenny became a feared streetfighter who was known to dabble with organized crime. Despite his brash background, Mclean always comes off with an air of true class. He is remembered for his autobiography, "The Guv'nor", and is a true working-class hero to the British.
I never realized how much material there is on Irish-English-Gypsy bare-knuckle boxing, so we may take a look at some this week-- Also, check out the embedded link to my review of "Bounce" above, featuring Lenny McLean.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Push Hands With Michael Gilman

Online Videos by
Thanks to Gordon for the video system tip;

Well, I went to Port Townsend Saturday, to see our Tai Chi Chuan instructor, Michael Gilman.
I got caught in a huge windstorm, The passenger ferry was shut down because the jetty had torn loose and they thought the dock would get ripped out. So there I was. Stuck overnight in a Victorian hotel. In Port Townsend. With the "Town Tavern" right downstairs.
Ah; "Rats!"
We had a great seminar with our instructor, mostly in "four hands" or "the Chen pattern". The above video is of some of the drills we worked on. Later, we did some freestyle push hands competition. Mind you, this was not a streetfight, it's a cool chess game. I'm not ashamed to say that I got my ass handed to me. My instructor Michael Gilman has had 30+ years of international experiance, and my training partner (black sleeves in the video) is a Nationaly ranked Karate fighter. Despite all my training, I still don't have a deep enough root to compete with the really skilled guys. I have a lot to take home and work with, some of the instruction was that people tend to "float" on top of their hips, and not really sink into the "Kwa", or hip joint.
In the mean time, The locally brewed Port Townsend Beer was excellent!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Kimbo's Final Outlaw Fight

This will wrap up the last of the Kimbo (Kevin Ferguson) fights. After training with Bas Rutten for the big-money MMA circut, he claims he will no longer fight in the street. Despite the raw brutishness of these fights, they are always handled with sportsmanship and civility. Compared to these early fights, it's easy to see the improvements he's made in his game. The Mercer fight went quickly to the ground where Kimbo submitted Mercer with a choke. I have to admit, it has really been interesting to follow Kimbo's rise to fame in the professional fight game, you gotta give the guy credit, he's got a lot of heart. Good luck to him!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Seven Things...

This post brought to you by the lucky Number Seven
(And Madam Blavatsky, for some reason)

Well, I slipped, I ducked, I made every attempt to avoid getting hit. But you know it was bound to happen—Nathan at TDA training nailed me with the “Blog Tag”.
Here are the rules:

· Link to the person who tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
· Share 7 random or weird things about yourself.
· Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their Blog
· Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their Blog
So, as much as this sucks, here goes:

1. I climbed Mount St. Helens in Washington twice before it blew in 1980, the first time was on my fourteenth birthday. I also climbed four other mountains in the Oregon Cascades. We almost got killed once.
2. My best friend and I took a year off college and went deep into the coast range in Oregon and built a log cabin with just hand tools. We caught Salmon, shot deer, elk, pigeons and squirrels for food. Once a week we’d hike out to get beer and supplies, occasionally driving to the University of Oregon to visit with the girls. It changed my life.
3. I lived on and managed a farm in Oregon for eight years. It was on a large island in the Columbia River. I moved to Washington State where I live on another Island and managed an organic vegetable farm for the first four years I lived here. It has become my destiny to live and farm on islands.
4. The farm in Oregon was sold to an extremely wealthy individual who kept me on as an employee. He started one of the biggest Ostrich ranches in Oregon. At one point, we had about 150 Ostriches. Those birds are freakin’ dangerous, I almost got killed a couple of times.
5. I wrote for two “alternative” newspapers in Portland. After writing articles about a local CIA contract airline and a certain “black-bag” operative, I received threats.
6. I was investigated by an agency of the Federal Government. I was cleared by the U.S. Attorney and said agency. I submitted a Freedom Of Information Act Request for my file to see what they were interested in. I received it and it’s around thirty pages. Case closed.
7. I have always owned dogs. I think each one is better and smarter than the last.

So there you have it.
As you know, Dojo Rats are known to “bend the rules”. Therefore, due to the fact that so many Blogs have already been “tagged”, I will only select one Blog to “tag”.
I would like to choose my all-time favorite, Richard at “Uchi Deshi”. Richard is a live-in member of an Aikido Dojo, and has one of the best narratives of life in the Dojo I have ever read. Please check it out—even if he is indeed editing out some of the “good stuff” his traditional Sensei disapproves of!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

January: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month

Hippie New Year!
Sure, why not! This girl had a little too much LSD on New Years Eve. Wow! What a outrageous "B" movie performance from a Nancy Sinatra wanna-be... Ha, ha-- Watch at the very end, that's the funny part.
This new year is special, It's possibly the most important election year of our lifetime, and as of the Chinese New Year on February 7th 2008, IT'S THE YEAR OF THE RAT! THE DOJO RAT!
Stay Tuned and Get ready for the Chinese New Year!