Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

The Wicked Witch Of The North

From Rock Musician Danny Elfman:

"Sarah Palin was my worst nightmare.
It was like experiencing a real-life reenactment of the movie The Omen. Not that I literally thought Sarah Palin was Damien with a 666 birthmark on her scalp, but it still felt like some kind of terrible pre-ordained horror. Worse -- a person who thought that "seeing" Russian land in the distance gave her an edge on international relations? A person who believed that men walked with dinosaurs when the world began 6000 years ago? Worse. The idea that person who believed that the "End of Days" would likely happen in her lifetime would possess the launch codes for enough firepower to actually bring that Armageddon to fruition without God's help. The personification of the repressive, small-minded extreme religious right in the driver's seat of the racecar called Earth"... (Link)
The Witch's Ruby Slippers

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Aikido vs. Bat

Sammy Franco Bat Defense

Here's an example of how an internal art differs in defensive patterns as opposed to a more linear defense. Both are effective, but one completely "goes with the flow", and the other chooses to close and engage.

And here's one from a Krav Maga system

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bruce's Bagua

Here is the great Bruce (B.K.) Frantzis showing some Bagua applications.
While this particulear video is not the best quality, it will give the viewer an idea of movement and application. This is an example of how similar Aikido is to Bagua, and one reason Uyeshiba may have been inspired to create Aikido after viewing Bagua in China. Here's what Frantzis has to say:
"Everything changes. Every moment in time is unique unto itself. Every moment in time carries a shadow of the past and in many ways the future is nothing more than a projection of the past. What happened before is going to happen again, although in exactly what way is hard to predict.
The nature of change is that you have to have the capacity for it. Whether you're trying to go from one chi gung movement to the next, from walking the ba gua circle to changing directions, going from one meditative state to another or going from one event in life to another, you must be able to change".

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Review: Liu Bin's Zhuang Gong Bagua Zhang

There is something about Bagua...
Even though I have dabbled with Bagua Zhang (Eight Trigram Palm) since I started Tai Chi Chuan in 1996, I am still a beginner at this art. It's methods are diverse and it's styles are many. At one moment it appears to be like Aikido, at another it can resemble other styles of Chinese boxing. It's hallmark is the twisting, coiling and nearly constant circular movement. I have to say, I am fascinated by Bagua and have never had any other art provide such an energetic release from such seemingly calm yet kinetic movements.
Zhang Jie is a practitioner of Chinese Martial and Healing Arts in Seattle, and has written his first book in a series on Bagua. As I have said above, there are many styles of Bagua but nearly all Bagua lineage goes back to the legendary Dong Hai Chuan, teacher of Cheng Ting Hua. Cheng Ting Hua was a renound wrestler, and many techniques of what is now recognized as "Cheng Style" reflect the grappling and throwing methods of Chinese wrestling.
Zhang Jie's new book, "Liu Bin's Zhuang Gong Bagua Zhang" presents yet another sub-set of the Cheng style. As Zhang describes, Beijing's South District Cheng Bagua was split into two schools. One was called "Flowing Water Bagua" or "Liu Shui" Bagua. The second was "Zhuang Gong" or "Strong (tree) Root" Bagua. It is the Strong Root, Zhuang Gong system that the author details in this book.
Zhang Jie gives a good overview of the history of Bagua, followed by his personal journey - which includes his description of the harshness of the Cultural Revolution. Zhang does a good job of explaining the philosophy of Bagua as it relates to the I Ching, Chinese culture and the various elements and animal systems. Zhang answers some of the questions on why Bagua creates such an awakening within the body; not only are the external parts of the body (bones muscles and tendons) strengthened, but the coiling and twisting movements massage the internal organs, including the sex organs. Zhang explains how this stimulates the hormonal and lymphatic systems, leading to improved health. Zhang further details how acupressure points and meridians are activated within the movements, and provides a series of Chi Gong postures that prepare the body for the more complex palm changes.
Another thing Zhang answered for me is the relation of Yin and Yang to both the direction being walked in the circle, as well as which foot is yin/yang and the transition of this dialectic through the palm change.
As with many martial arts books, photos at times can not do justice to complex movements. Bagua Zhang contains internal movement, circles within circles, and multiple direction changes. The material in Zhang's book should be seen as an addendum to a practitioner's basic knowledge of Bagua movement, but a beginning student could pick up quite a lot also. It would really be nice if authors would market a package deal, with both book and video DVD of movement, technique and concepts.
Zhang Jie presents the foundation of his Bagua system in this first book, with a second book in the works. I look foward to that second book, and am pleased to see that Zhang Jie teaches in the Seattle area where I may be able to meet and train with him. His book is both a good introduction to Bagua as well as a source that answered some of the very complex questions I had about details of the system.
You can find out more at the website for Blue Snake Books, a publisher of many titles and martial styles, available at THIS LINK. The direct link to find "Liu Bin's Zhuang Gong Bagua Zhang" can be found HERE.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

First 100 Things To Leave The Shelves

I found this somewhere, can't get the link to original. I think it is not necessarily in order, for instance canned food is down around #60, and wine is down around #94. Pretty interesting; how many of these things can you get your hands on in an emergency?

The One Hundred Items To Disappear Off The Shelves First

1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. of thieves; maintenance etc.)
2. Water Filters/Purifiers
3. Portable Toilets
4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 - 12 months to become dried, for home uses.
5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
10. Rice - Beans - Wheat
11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.,)
12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY - note - food grade if for drinking.
14. Mini Heater head (Propane) (Without this item, propane won't heat a room.)
15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric)
16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.
17. Survival Guide Book.
18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
22. Vitamins
23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this item)24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
31. Milk - Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
34. Coleman's Pump Repair Kit
35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
37. First aid kits
38. Batteries (all furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
41. Flour, yeast & salt
42. Matches. {"Strike Anywhere" preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first
43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, "No. 76 Dietz" Lanterns
47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting - if with wheels)
49. Men's Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
51. Fishing supplies/tools
52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
53. Duct Tape
54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
55. Candles
56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
58. Garden tools & supplies
59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc
.61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
64. Bicycles...Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
76. Reading glasses
77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
78. "Survival-in-a-Can"
79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
80. Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog
81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
85. Lumber (all types)
86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
87. Cots & Inflatable mattress's
88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
89. Lantern Hangers
90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws,, nuts & bolts
91. Teas
92. Coffee
93. Cigarettes
94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
95. Paraffin wax96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
97. Chewing gum/candies
98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
100. Goats/chickens

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Thoughts on Military Hand-To-Hand Training

Navy Harbor Patrol Boat

I've had permission from Billy Parker, currently stationed with U.S. Navy Harbor Patrol in Bahrain, to post part of our exchange on Martial Art training at a military level:
I am extremely interested in your approach to joint locking. I believe what you guy's are doing is fantastic! I am in the military and currently overseas. I wanted to refine some of the locks that I have been teaching, but have gotten a lot more out of your videos than just refining. Where are you guy's located? And do you have more???
I teach my own system that I put together after I got frustrated with blind minded people. I am prior Taekwondo, Karate, and Aikijujutsu guy. However non of my instructors ever wanted to seem to be practical about their material. They just wanted to teach me everything. So I went along with that for the first 12 years off my life since I started. Now I have plugged and chucked a tone of stuff, and am trying to gain more practicality for real world application to the techniques. I have tossed a lot of the old methods and techniques. I teach military colleagues, so it has to work or not at all.
What do you think, do you have any more material floating around out there I can get my hands on?

(John @ Dojo Rat):
Much of the locking we do comes out of the Small-circle jujitsu system of Wally Jay and his son Leon Jay. My training partner trained with Leon Jay and George Dillman. We have somewhat reinterpeted it (locking) now through the softer internal arts like Tai Chi Chuan, where it is called Chin-Na.
You can look at other video's we have done by clicking on my video channel on youtube, or go through the archives at our website
Thanks for writing, let me know if you have other questions and you can find my e-mail at the website also.
Thanks, John @ dojorat
P.S.-- I was first trained in Tae Kwon Do, then Kenpo and Aikido, now mostly Tai Chi Chuan and Bagua -- but in the end, it's all the same!

So you said you participated in Kenpo, are you referring the Ed, Parker System? And also I really like what you said about
it's all the same. That is a statement that I have been preaching since I began doing Ju Jutsu after I quit practicing Taekwondo.
So I understand the importance of getting out there with an open mind, and then realized the similarity in all of the systems.
Thanks for the references, take care!

Hi Bill,
I'm an old hack now, pushin' 50. I got my TKD black belt in '84 (second two years later) and my third dan in Kenpo in 97 I think. It was a Hawaiian Kenpo style developed by Bill Ryusaki, I trained under his style in Washington state. I think Parker Kenpo is a better system, and I truely wish I had trained under his students.
Meanwhile, we have to fight with the system we have, not the system we would like to have (ha, I just had to throw a Donald Rumsfeld quote in there for you!)
I would like to hear more about your training with other military guys. Would you like to write up a short summary and send it to me? We could put it up on dojo rat if you are interested!

Training with the military has been a fun experience and an eye opener. Back in the United States at your
local Karate school the experience is I would say soft in most places. Here everything is made to be as
realistic as it can be. The Navy originally taught us basic JuJutsu based arm locking and wrist control. As
time has passed they moved into Mechanical Advantage Control Holds, or the MACH system. Again more
Jujutsu based technique. And then I have my background in both traditional Jujutsu and a little bit of Brazilian
that I have picked up from my colleagues here. But training with the military is a great way to learn real solid
skills because of both the serious atmosphere and the demand to make sure you don't mess up due to the
fact that I may actually have to use it a regular basis compared to back home where you may only have to
use it once in your life. But for us here we feel that Jujutsu is the most practical and most appropriate martial
art for us.
Back to the Kenpo, and I really like your Rumsfeld quote! Good stuff there! I have not had solid experience
in Kenpo, but when I am out of the military I am going to find a school and pick it up. I really enjoy the philosophy,
theory, and mechanics of the system. Ed Parker system is my favorite. I enjoy Jujutsu, and I like locking. But I
am ready to start something a little different and continue with the serious self defense systems. I am not a fan of
fighting in the ring or competition at all actually. The Japanese Kanji symbol for MARTIAL has two symbols together.
The first means to STOP and the other is CROSSED SPEARS. So in true essence of the original meaning, martial art
actually means to Stop conflict. Not the art of inducing it. It's not about the fight and it's not about fighting. It's about
being able to stop the fight and move on. That's why MMA cannot use traditional systems without mixing. Because
they are abiding by the opposite idea. MMA is not Martial Arts. Also that is a great theory on why Brazilian Jiujitsu is
so effective in the MMA cage, because it does not have the same background as the traditional asian methods whos aim
was to be hand in hand with justice. Bringing rightousness to fruition.
*Other thoughts: Opposite of popular belief, the martial arts are not purposed for the ring,
for glory, or for fame. If you partake of these ideals they immediately dilute who you are
and what you are capable of. Pulling your punch is one of the worst harms you could ever
do to yourself. In the military It's hard to conduct randori amongst ourselves well, because
we don't pull strikes. So that's why we train in other ways, much like the old way of Karate
during the Japanese occupation of Okinawa utilized the striking of stones, boards, bricks,
and tile. Long before it was turned to sport. Well, we still break today, but it's not the mind
that they used to have. It has a different purpose, and if you don't have proper focus and
character, your Karate will not be used the way it is meant. Much the reason Americans
generally say TKD and Karate don't work. As for the true philosophy of the martial way,
it works.
Thanks for writing me back!
Take care, Bill
An interesting exchange!
Thank you Bill for your thoughts on Martial Arts in the military, and thank you for your service!

As requested I won't post Billy's military (.mil) e-mail address so there is no hassle for him, but if you would like to contact him please use this e-mail address

Monday, October 20, 2008

MTV Warns About Martial Law

Well, this ongoing theme of Martial Law coming to the United States just doesn't want to go away. In a previous post "Prelude To Martial Law?", we saw that the first of several Army Infantry Brigades has been assigned duty here in the United States. This is against the Civil War era Posse Commitatus Act and has never happened on American soil. This comes right in time for the most serious financial meltdown since The Great Depression and as a historic election is about to occur. Congressman Brad Sherman says on video that Congress was recently threatened with martial law.
Now I see that MTV is bringing this cautionary message to America's youth, and I think this is good.
Come on kids! Rock the vote and keep what's left of United States Democracy!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Deadliest Man Alive

The British newspaper "Telegraph" has featured a three-minute snip of Floyd Webbs documentary on John Keehan, aka "Count Dante". It's a great little preview with action shots and historical background on the outlandish and carismatic Karate master. I am really bummed there is no embed included in the video so I can post it here directly, but here is the headline and the link for the video:

Cinelan Documentaries: The deadliest man alive
John Keehan, aka Count Dante, was the “crown prince of death” - a respected karate master, voodoo priest and martial arts promoter made famous through comic book ads offering the secret of the Dim Mak Death Touch.
--Video Link Here

And here is the link to Floyd Webbs website, "Searching For Count Dante"

** And for people who are wondering who the hell "Count Dante" was, and why he is promenently featured at the top of the Dojo Rat Blog, Here is "Of Dante and Dojo Rats"...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Low Pass - "Mopping The Eyebrow"

This is a technique taught to us by Tim Cartmell and is out of the Sun-style Bagua system.
The idea is to circle away from the power of the hook punch, striking at the face or eyes with the free hand. The opponent's punch is passed low and fed into your free arm. Try to root the person in and down, begining to turn his body with the arm drag. Then use the forearm to smash into the jaw and/or cheek, turning the head. This is the key; if the head turns, the body turns. Step to your rear and circle the opponent to the ground, with your knee smashing the ribs and your palm pushing his head into the ground. Many other options occur here.
You should start with a circle moving away from the power, circle the arm down and across, circle the opponent's head, and circle to your rear for the takedown. Circle, circle, circle.
This technique is called "Mopping The Eyebrow".

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thief Throws Down Challenge

Alleged Des Moines burglar challenges victim to fight; winner takes all

A man who is alleged to have taken another man's property from his house in a recent burglary has challenged the victim of the crime to a fight, Des Moines police are reporting this morning. The winner takes all.
Seymour Gray, 66, of the 1100 block of 13th Street in Des Moines, told officers a man broke into his house last week and took two laptop computers, a desktop computer, a fax machine, VCR and some tools.
Gray said he knows who did it. He added that the man called one of his relatives and admitted taking the items from the house.
Police said in a report that the thief will give the property back only if the Gray challenges him to a fight. The alleged thief told police whoever wins would get the stuff.
The burglar has a 10-year age advantage. But that still puts him in his mid 50s.
No arrests have been reported. The case has been turned over to detectives for further investigation.

(D.R.)-- Who says there's no honor among thieves...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Chin Na Defense Against Grab

Here again are Dojo Rats Brown Dragon and Zacky Chan demonstrating a nice Chin na defense against a lapel grab. As described, this technique requires a training partner with flexable shoulders, or serious damage can occur.
This technique can also be found on page 135-136 of "Practical Chin Na", by Zhao Da Yuan and Tim Cartmell. The Chinese name for the technique is ""The Precious Pestle Is Quickly Turned". No kidding. I'm not sure Zac will like being refered to as a "precious pestle".
None-the-less, we perform the technique here pretty much as described in "Practical Chin Na", except we have a keg of beer in our Dojo. Be careful with your training partner on this one, as there is serious potential for damage to the shoulder and elbow.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Power Of The Front Kick

Don't try this at home kids!
It just shows that the leg is more powerful than the brain that's using it...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

UPDATE: Martial Law Thread

I didn't want to split the thread on this subject, so please look at the October 6 post on Martial law, also available at this link --
--Rep. Sherman from California states that Congress has been threatened with Martial Law...

Smash-Mouth On Wall Street

Not That I Encourage This... snicker,snicker...

Knock Out: CNBC Confirms Lehman CEO Punched at Gym
Network verifies reports Richard Fuld was attacked for financial institution's bankruptcy.

By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
10/6/2008 3:59:29 PM

It seems anxiety from the financial crisis is reaching new highs, but the tipping point for one individual came at the Lehman Brothers gym in the midst of the company’s collapse.
While former Lehman CEO Richard Fuld was testifying before the House Oversight Committee Oct. 6, CNBC reported he had been punched in the face at the Lehman Brothers gym after it was announced the firm was going bankrupt. CNBC and Vanity Fair contributor Vicki Ward said Fuld was attacked at the gym on a Sunday following the bankruptcy.
“Frankly, I sat there and listened and I’m with the guy who apparently, the day before Barclays announced they were coming in and Lehman had already filed for bankruptcy, went over to him in the gym and punched him because that’s how I feel when I, you know, when I watched that,” Ward said on the Oct. 6 “Power Lunch.” “I didn’t think he was contrite at all, I thought he was arrogant.”
Ward confirmed previous reports about the incident that reportedly occurred Sept. 21 and said the information came from “two very senior sources.”
“From two very senior sources – one incredibly senior source – that he went to the gym after … Lehman was announced as going under. He was on a treadmill with a heart monitor on. Someone was in the corner, pumping iron and he walked over and he knocked him out cold. And frankly after having watched this, I’d have done the same too.”
Ward determined Fuld deserved the beating based on his testimony before the committee.
“I thought he was shameless,” Ward said. “I thought it was appalling. He blamed everyone. He blamed, as you say, ‘naked short sellers’ over and over in case we didn’t get the point, when in fact hedge funds like Harbinger had money locked up in Lehman and was shorting it to try and make the most of the money that they already had. He blamed everybody but himself.”
Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008 and its assets were later snatched up by the British bank Barclays for $1.35 billion, which included Lehman’s Midtown Manhattan office tower with a $960 million price tag.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Judo With Putin


Judo black belt Putin shows off moves in DVD

Associated Press Writer
Judo black belt Putin shows off moves in DVD
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) -- Vladimir Putin is out on video as a judo master. Russian state-controlled media already have shown the powerful prime minister at the wheel of massive racing truck, shirtless on a fishing excursion, and tracking a tiger through the Siberian forest - just a few of the he-man presentations designed to boost his public image.
On Tuesday, he presented an instructional judo DVD that bears his name and shows him throwing an opponent to the mat.
"Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin" is the product of collaboration between Putin - a black belt - and other judo enthusiasts, including former World and Olympic judo champion Yasuhiro Yamashita. It apparently was privately made and intended mainly for Russians studying judo.
Early Tuesday morning, minutes into his 56th birthday, Putin talked about the video at a presentation before journalists and other guests at a state-owned venue. Putin said the video's title was little more than an "advertising trick." Anyone who watches it "will be learning not from your humble servant but from real geniuses" of the martial art, he said.
Portions of the promotion and the video were shown on Russian television later Tuesday. The video depicted a black-clad Putin talking about the history and philosophy of judo, as well as a white-robed Putin demonstrating moves against a practice partner - and throwing him to the mat several times.
"In a bout, compromises and concessions are permissible, but only in one case: if it is for victory," Putin says at one point in the video, as Asian-style music plays on the soundtrack.
Putin is a one-time judo champion of his home city St. Petersburg, called Leningrad at the time, and he doesn't hesitate to promote the sport.
For instance, the former Russian president has disclosed that French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to take some martial arts lessons.
"He is interested in martial arts, and we have decided to do some training together," Le Figaro, a leading French newspaper, quoted Putin as saying in an interview published last month.
Putin also is an avid skier, and his apparent fitness and devotion to physical activity helped increase his popularity in eight years as president. This contrasted sharply with his hard-drinking and chronically ill predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, who died last year.
"The level of developing of sports undoubtedly defines the level of development of the country itself," Putin said during the video's promotion.
"Without sports, it's impossible to speak of a healthy way of life, about the health of the nation as such," he said.
AP correspondent Steve Gutterman contributed to this story from Moscow.

Monday, October 6, 2008

UPDATE: Rep. Sherman On Martial Law Threat --Prelude To Martial Law?

Rep. Sherman Says Congress Was Threatened With Martial Law

With a "perfect storm" of financial crisis shaking the very core of the global economy, the Democratic party poised to take the White House, and the real possibility the crimes of Cheney/Bush will be accounted for, we read this from The Army Times:

Brigade homeland tours start Oct. 1

3rd Infantry’s 1st BCT trains for a new dwell-time mission. Helping ‘people at home’ may become a permanent part of the active Army
By Gina Cavallaro - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Sep 30, 2008 16:16:12 EDT

The 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team has spent 35 of the last 60 months in Iraq patrolling in full battle rattle, helping restore essential services and escorting supply convoys.
Now they’re training for the same mission — with a twist — at home.
Beginning Oct. 1 for 12 months, the 1st BCT will be under the day-to-day control of U.S. Army North, the Army service component of Northern Command, as an on-call federal response force for natural or manmade emergencies and disasters, including terrorist attacks.
It is not the first time an active-duty unit has been tapped to help at home. In August 2005, for example, when Hurricane Katrina unleashed hell in Mississippi and Louisiana, several active-duty units were pulled from various posts and mobilized to those areas.
But this new mission marks the first time an active unit has been given a dedicated assignment to NorthCom, a joint command established in 2002 to provide command and control for federal homeland defense efforts and coordinate defense support of civil authorities.
After 1st BCT finishes its dwell-time mission, expectations are that another, as yet unnamed, active-duty brigade will take over and that the mission will be a permanent one.
“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”
The command is at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., but the soldiers with 1st BCT, who returned in April after 15 months in Iraq, will operate out of their home post at Fort Stewart, Ga., where they’ll be able to go to school, spend time with their families and train for their new homeland mission as well as the counterinsurgency mission in the war zones.
Stop-loss will not be in effect, so soldiers will be able to leave the Army or move to new assignments during the mission, and the operational tempo will be variable.
Don’t look for any extra time off, though. The at-home mission does not take the place of scheduled combat-zone deployments and will take place during the so-called dwell time a unit gets to reset and regenerate after a deployment.
The 1st of the 3rd is still scheduled to deploy to either Iraq or Afghanistan in early 2010, which means the soldiers will have been home a minimum of 20 months by the time they ship out.
In the meantime, they’ll learn new skills, use some of the ones they acquired in the war zone and more than likely will not be shot at while doing any of it.
They may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control or to deal with potentially horrific scenarios such as massive poisoning and chaos in response to a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear or high-yield explosive, or CBRNE, attack.
Training for homeland scenarios has already begun at Fort Stewart and includes specialty tasks such as knowing how to use the “jaws of life” to extract a person from a mangled vehicle; extra medical training for a CBRNE incident; and working with U.S. Forestry Service experts on how to go in with chainsaws and cut and clear trees to clear a road or area.
The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use “the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,” 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them.
The package is for use only in war-zone operations, not for any domestic purpose.
“It’s a new modular package of nonlethal capabilities that they’re fielding. They’ve been using pieces of it in Iraq, but this is the first time that these modules were consolidated and this package fielded, and because of this mission we’re undertaking we were the first to get it.”
The package includes equipment to stand up a hasty road block; spike strips for slowing, stopping or controlling traffic; shields and batons; and, beanbag bullets.
“I was the first guy in the brigade to get Tasered,” said Cloutier, describing the experience as “your worst muscle cramp ever — times 10 throughout your whole body.
“I’m not a small guy, I weigh 230 pounds ... it put me on my knees in seconds.”
The brigade will not change its name, but the force will be known for the next year as a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force, or CCMRF (pronounced “sea-smurf”).
“I can’t think of a more noble mission than this,” said Cloutier, who took command in July. “We’ve been all over the world during this time of conflict, but now our mission is to take care of citizens at home ... and depending on where an event occurred, you’re going home to take care of your home town, your loved ones.”
While soldiers’ combat training is applicable, he said, some nuances don’t apply.
“If we go in, we’re going in to help American citizens on American soil, to save lives, provide critical life support, help clear debris, restore normalcy and support whatever local agencies need us to do, so it’s kind of a different role,” said Cloutier, who, as the division operations officer on the last rotation, learned of the homeland mission a few months ago while they were still in Iraq.
Some brigade elements will be on call around the clock, during which time they’ll do their regular marksmanship, gunnery and other deployment training. That’s because the unit will continue to train and reset for the next deployment, even as it serves in its CCMRF mission.
Should personnel be needed at an earthquake in California, for example, all or part of the brigade could be scrambled there, depending on the extent of the need and the specialties involved.
Other branches included
The active Army’s new dwell-time mission is part of a NorthCom and DOD response package.
Active-duty soldiers will be part of a force that includes elements from other military branches and dedicated National Guard Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Teams.
A final mission rehearsal exercise is scheduled for mid-September at Fort Stewart and will be run by Joint Task Force Civil Support, a unit based out of Fort Monroe, Va., that will coordinate and evaluate the interservice event.
In addition to 1st BCT, other Army units will take part in the two-week training exercise, including elements of the 1st Medical Brigade out of Fort Hood, Texas, and the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Bragg, N.C.
There also will be Air Force engineer and medical units, the Marine Corps Chemical, Biological Initial Reaction Force, a Navy weather team and members of the Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
One of the things Vogler said they’ll be looking at is communications capabilities between the services.
“It is a concern, and we’re trying to check that and one of the ways we do that is by having these sorts of exercises. Leading up to this, we are going to rehearse and set up some of the communications systems to make sure we have interoperability,” he said.
“I don’t know what America’s overall plan is — I just know that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, there are soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines that are standing by to come and help if they’re called,” Cloutier said. “It makes me feel good as an American to know that my country has dedicated a force to come in and help the people at home.”
A non-lethal crowd control package fielded to 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, described in the original version of this story, is intended for use on deployments to the war zone, not in the U.S., as previously stated.
Army Times Link

(D.R.)--I am not reassured by the brief correction at the end, and it seems this is a violation of the Posse Comitatus Act, which forbids the US military from being used for domestic purposes. To quote from above: "They may called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control"...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Book Review: "Me, Chi, And Bruce Lee"

In 1963, writer George Plimpton, on a lark I presume, signed on for training camp with The Detroit Lions football team. A skinny thirty-six year-old, he totally sucked. He did however get some playing time, and got to hang out with the players, coaches and groupies. The result was his famous book "Paper Lion", which detailed his experiance in ways most football fans could only imagine.
Fast-foward to the present, we meet Brian Preston. Preston is an unasuming, polite "everyman", living on Vancouver Island, Canada. He has a taste for good Beer, and is most famous for his previous book "Pot Planet - Adventures In Global Marijuana Culture". Preston is definately a guy I'd like to have a Beer with.
After experiancing frustration with getting his views published in some venues, Preston's book publisher talks him into doing a book on Martial Arts, something Preston is unprepared and generally unsuited for. From there, we follow this self-described "cerebral, haphazard, unfailingly harmless pacifist" as he begins his "hero's journey" into the world of Martial Arts.
If anything, Preston's self-deprecating sense of humor really stands out, as he experiances a panic attack while being pinned by a sixty year-old grandma at Sifu Bob's Kung Fu school. Again as his ribs get broken when he meets Royce Gracie at a snowbound Canadian Jujitsu seminar. In China, he trains at Shaolin and during a bout of food poisening, he is preoccupied with worrying about shitting his white Kung Fu training pants. Preston is the consummate "hanger-oner" who always comes up with a good idea or solution. We experiance his disappointment at the blatant State-Capitalism that drives Shaolin under a new era of Communist/Capitalist rule. We relate to the training limitations of his middle-aged body.
But mostly, we benefit from Preston's personal experiances with people like the stoic Royce Gracie, historical expert Jarek Szymanski of the website , and of course, radical leftist-Christian-anarchist UFC fighter Jeff Monson.
Brian Preston compiles a thoughtful catalog of martial readings and colorful experiances from snowbound Canada to Wudang Mountain, from Shaolin to Las Vegas.
Through all this, our ungainly hero finally finds a martial style that suits him, one that he hopes to continue for the rest of his life.
"Me, Chi, and Bruce Lee" is a rollicking fun book, a great read that both takes us around the world and allows us to explore our own inner martial journey.
-Please check out this book, and hundreds of other Martial Arts titles at "Blue Snake Books", their website is available at THIS LINK... Check it out!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

High Pass - Bagua Fan-Jang

Here we are working on the "high pass", also seen as Fan-Jang in the Bagua system.
The idea is to move outside (away from) the power curve and not take a hard block. This is more of a parry with one arm and taking over with the other, sometimes called "feed the tiger" in other systems. The "shutdown", or pinning the opponents arm against them is a critical technique. This is why we work to keep our "Peng", or "ward-off" expanded and full in push hands. The armbar is a good example of "Rollback". The Backfist is just the start, of course you would continue pressing on with repeated strikes or a takedown.
We may focus on the first technique, "The Shutdown" in another video, because it is such an important technique for controlling the opponent and taking their center. We'll also look at a couple of good takedowns and arm breaks to experiment with, stay tuned...