Monday, June 30, 2008

The Shimering Blade

Bobbe Edmonds

Holy crap, this is why knives are so dangerous. Here's our ol' Bud Bobbe Edmonds moving through some knife patterns. As you can see, they flow very nicely and are very lethal. There is simply no way to survive an encounter with someone that can handle a knife like this. The Fillipino and Indonesian systems are probably the most deadly in the world, but here he is talking about a hybrid system from South Africa, and according to Edmonds, the "Piper System" may even be deadlier.
You can read Edmond's thoughts at his hilariously manic website "Thick As Thieves".

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Heart Of Darkness

The Raw, Seething Primordial Anger That Is Dick Cheney

The McCainChurian Candidate:
Poster Crank For Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Torture Victim That Will Not Disavow The U.S. Use Of Torture

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Controversial James Lacy

"God save us from the Vikings"
Who then, my friends is this noble Viking Warrior?
Who is this Monster Barbarian we see poised to strike us down?
Ah, fellow Dojo Rats, This man may be the ultimate Dojo Rat. This is James Patrick Lacy, allegedly Grandmaster of the "18 Daoist Palms".
Lacy is most famous as being the guy that smashes coconuts with palm, elbow and heel strikes. The coconut is often refered to as the closest thing to the human skull as far as necessary smashing power, and Lacy can smash the crap out of coconuts.
You can view his website, Mew Hing's Eighteen Daoist Palms, at THIS LINK.
Lacy's website is a damned good archive of his long progress in martial arts. From what he documents, he began studying Kenpo from a direct student of Ed Parker, driving his old VW bus out of the Redwoods and traveling thirty miles for training. He did well in the Kenpo system, and credits it with an important part of his early training. As his experiance expanded, he met an instructor named Parker Linekin, who became his early mentor.
On Lacy's website, he has several video's that include Parker Linekin demonstrating Yang style Tai Chi Chuan in solo form, partner form and application. This guy is good, and may be the best of all of Lacy's instructors. His Yang form and applications are spot on and the partner form is the same one I learned, with variations.
Lacy went on to work with other master-level instructors, but in my opinion from the videos shown, Parker Linekin was the best.
Some ten or more years ago, I got a hold of a "Panther Productions" publication, which featured martial arts videos. I actually bought a copy of James Lacy's Dim Mak video. So I pulled it out of my video library and gave it another viewing, after many, many years.
Let's get one thing: Lacy is a very powerful, big guy. he breaks coconuts with his palm. We would not want to get hit by this guy.
With this said, the Dim Mak video was a little static, without much movement. He made a point of saying that his original lineage Dim Mak needs no set-up points, as does those of Ryukyu Kenpo, for example. Granted, he gets right to the kill zones or those that would seriously rupture organs. Think Coconut.

But the system he displays on the website (like many systems) is way too heavy on forms and not enough on drills and applications. How many forms do we need? My opinion is we all need more interactive LIVE drills with partners, repeated in loops over and over. But enough of me, this about Lacy. I'm guessing some of his video's display what I am refering to.
Here's where things get a little wierd; Lacy has this disclaimer:

To Those Involved In The Smear Campaign Against Me

"As a two-strike felon who Ed Parker once said "had experienced both sides of the law...and has much to offer in these times that confront us," I will share the method I must as an individual use in any self defense situation. It goes like this:

I am all about the legal implications. As a two-strike felon, my philosophy is simple; 'real life.' Any punk can come spend a felony to give me a reason to defend myself legally. Then bring a camera while I make the citizen's arrest. Folks can talk smack...I don't observe. But in real life, I flip on the recorder, tell them its on and proceed to adhere and remind them of verbal, retreat, excusable homicide, justifiable homicide laws and case law if they are still listening. I tell them the penal code they are breaking and whether a felony or misdemeanor is being committed.. If the person is larger and stronger, younger and stronger, has a weapon, or there are two or more, I can use equal force, especially as a disabled person legally...thus my skills after warning them of the skills for the recorder, could be legally used. I also explain the first will be treated according to my self defense rights under the situation, and in the case of two or more, remind them that the others will be charged too for the damage (legally), that I cause. This is my street smart gift to you."

Signed: Grandmaster (Jung Shee) James Patrick Lacy
7th generation Five Elder Monk Mew Hing's 18 Daoist Palms
42499 Old Hwy. 80
P.O. Box 427
Jacumba, CA 91934
*Authorized Neighborhood Watch Captain December 2003

(D.R.) Now, I am no stranger to getting in trouble with authorities, been there, done that. But Lacy appears to have to protect his liberty as well as his reputation and life if threatened. Let's face it, we live in a hugely litigigous society and we could all face legal issues under certain self-defense situations. I don't blame Lacy for setting preconditions for a throwdown.
But it gets stranger: Here is one of Lacy's Masters disowning him as a student and inheritor-

Now, I chock this up to the fact that James Lacy has a better bussiness model than one of his past masters, who resents him for his success.
But here's where everyone begins to have issues.
Nobody likes a diploma mill, and it simply does not advance any art. Mail order martial arts are frowned on for good reasons.
This does not mean that James Lacy doesn't carry water, I believe him to be an accomplished martial artist. In fact, I kind of like Lacy from his website information and video stuff. He expresses a true spiritual belief, and there is open adoration for his mother. His wife has a link to spiritual and healing arts that the couple found to be an important theme in their life and teaching. And despite his aggressive appearance he seems like a guy I would really like to have a Beer with and discuss martial arts.
I would reccomend taking a look at Lacy's website, linked above. There is a very detailed video archive of his Martial experiances which is worth the viewing.
Especially look at the Parker Linekin Tai Chi Chuan stuff, that is the gold.
I would say drop some of the forms, they are not what one needs to learn the system.
All-in-all, I kind of like Lacy and invite his response to my commentary...

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Working On Something...

I'm havin' a Beer with my old bud Colonel Sanders and working on another interesting Kentucky-Fried project-
Coming soon....

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Little Weekend Fun

"Suicide Pinto"

Ok, I had to put this one up,
My friend Bill Dant has a spoof rock band that's getting pretty popular in some unpopular circles in Portland. It's called "Bill Dant and The Spotty Livers".
This song, "Suicide Pinto", was actually featured on National Public Radio's "Car Talk" and the "Dr. Demento" comedy radio show. This is his first music video, and it cracked me up.
I can't wait to see the music video for another one of his hits, "Uncle Wally's Veal Farm".

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Re-thinking Cheng Hsin

Ralston demonstrates uprooting power

For the last week, I've been giving a lot of thought to the internal art of Cheng Hsin, created by Peter Ralston.
I have to admit that I struggled with Ralston's first book, "The Principles of Effortless Power", and reviewed it HERE. However, Ralston's second book, "Cheng Hsin T'ui Shou - The Art Of Effortless Power" is going to become my new roadmap to becoming a better martial artist. How did this come to be?
Not long ago, Dave over at Formosa Neijia wrote a great review of Ralston's DVD titled "Fight-Play video", and provided some good insight regarding the concepts of Cheng Hsin, which combines many skills from Aikido, Tai Chi Chuan, Pa Kua and Western Boxing. I consider Formosa Dave a "go-to guy" on questions of internal martial arts. Dave lives and trains in Taiwan, and has seen many Asian masters at work. But in an e-mail to me, Dave said he's never seen anyone so skilled at circling behind an opponent and using what I would call positional superiority. After I had written my review of Ralston's first book, he encouraged me to stick with it. I took his advice and bought a copy of the "Fight-Play video, and boy, was it worth it.
The video begins with 1978 footage of Ralston slamming the crap out of a Chinese competitor to win one of the first Chinese full-contact fighting championships. From there it moves into a demonstration at a martial arts school in Hawaii. Ralston is involved in some "Freeplay" with one of the instructors, and displays his incredible ability to control the movement of his opponent, primarily by using superior positioning, yielding skills and impeccable timing. This is what sold me, and opened up new avenues of thought about blending with an opponent.
I've been feeling for a while that my push-hands is too linear, and in freeplay with a stronger opponent, I am ocassionally driven backward. The solution of course, is to re-introduce the circular stepping patterns I learned in Aikido, and those that I am learning from Bagua now. Ralston and his students have evasive, circular yeilding skills, yet always remain rooted and able to discharge power. Their movement is similar to Aikido, but there is more to it. It employes the cat-like yielding movement of Tai Chi Chuan and Pa Kua as well.
Ralston's students provide a lengthy demonstration of various techniques repeatedly, allowing a knowledgable practitioner to follow their movement and explore the concepts being demonstrated. Much of the technique opens with the defender using a "leading rollback", a sort of extended "Peng" arm position, a whole new way to use "Peng" with evasive stepping.
As far as hitting skills, Cheng Hsin focus is on Western Boxing, perhaps the most effective hitting art available. But rather than stand there hitting toe-to-toe, Cheng Hsin players employ the same kind of evasive stepping that is shown in their grappling skills.
I still stand by my review of Ralston's first book "The Principles Of Effortless Power", which I considered a tough patch to weed. But as of now, I am going to use the second book, "Cheng Hsin T'ui Shou - The Art Of Effortless Power" as a way to build new movement skills. I would suggest getting the "Fight-Play" video with the book, so you can see how this work is performed, and refer to the book for details.
The combination has kick-started new ideas about moving with an opponent for me, and I highly reccomend it to other internal artists. I think that the video may be especially valuable to our Aikido friends out there, showing a somewhat less-formal approach to movement not generally found in conventional Aikido.
As people familiar with Ralston's work know, Cheng Hsin is not necessarily about fighting skills, it is more about introspection and interaction.
Check out The Cheng Hsin website at THIS LINK, and if you are ready to experiance a whole new way to move and improve your martial art, pick up the "Fight-Play" video.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oldest Judo Dojo Outside Japan

Seattle Judo Dojo

This Sunday The Seattle Times ran a very nice article on "Seattle Dojo", believed to be the oldest existing Judo Dojo outside of Japan. Here's THE LINK to the article.
This dojo, run by the Yamada family for generations, hosted visits by Judo founder Jigaro Kano twice, and was the school where Bruce Lee polished his grappling skills while living in Seattle. The building was designed by Kichio Allen Arai, the first Asian American architect in Seattle. The floor is sprung on 1930's Model A Ford truck springs to give it bounce.
Among the other Dojo's mentioned is Obukan Dojo in Portland, also believed to be the oldest Dojo in Portland, and home to the Onchi brothers, who tore up high school wrestling in my day.
Reading the article made me reflect sentimentally on my time at Master Choi's Tae Kwon Do school. There is a tremendous sense of community and family involvement, and the Dojo was a place that really grounded me in a time when I could have gotten in even more trouble than I did.

Training At Seattle Dojo

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Chicago Area Alert!

Yes, you've been waiting for weeks, and now it's here!
Well, the fundraiser for "The Search For Count Dante"!
If you live in the Chicago area, Friday the 13th at 7:00 pm there will be a screening of Floyd Webbs Documentary of John Keehan/Count Dante, one of the most notorious American martial artists that ever lived.
Additionally, our fellow Dojo Rat Master Chris Pieschala will be giving a martial arts demonstration, possibly ripping out throats and gallbladders or breaking furnature.
This is a must-see if you live in the Chicago area (The Occult Bookstore, 1164 Milwaukee Ave. 7:00 pm) more information can be found at Floyd Webb's website at THIS LINK.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fighting Black Kings

Here's a trailer from one of my favorite martial arts flicks: "Fighting Black Kings".
This documentary movie is about the first International Karate tournament run by Mas Oyama's brutal Kyokushinkai Karate system, and if you haven't seen it, rent it. I actually bought a VHS copy years ago, and have a few thoughts about this 1975 production that follows the harsh training of an American team that goes to compete in Japan.
My first thought is that this film is overtly Japan-centric. I believe it was definately produced to introduce Oyama's Kyokushinkai to an American market. I have wondered if there isn't a strictly Japanese version of this movie that displays the pre-WW2 Japanese superman image. For instance, while they give a fair representation of the American and European fighters, they totally diss on the Chinese guys. Almost with a historical vengence. It seems like they picked the wimpyist Chinese fighters they could find, just to show how the Japanese fighters were ultimately superior.
Now, with that said, the Japanese fighters are definately superior. They are well trained, they measure their opponents in a systematic and scientific precision and then generally beat the crap out of them.
The American team does fairly well, with some very big guys that can really kick ass. One American fighter is a boxer, and still wins with one hand broken and wrapped up.
This documentary movie is a must-see for tournament point-fighters, to let them see how it's really done. No pads. Few rules, though no punching to the head.
This is the kind of Karate I grew up with, before Mixed-Martial-Arts was even a glimmer in Kimbo Slice's eye.
Kyokushinkai is probably the most brutal of all traditional Karate styles, and this 1975 documentary represents the most powerful fighters of the era...
-- With one exception: There are no Koreans... I think the Koreans, under Kyokushinkai rules would have kicked their ass and embarrassed the Japanese.
This movie is valuable for historical perspective, and will remind us older Dojo Rats how we got'er done back then. Get a copy and enjoy...

Monday, June 9, 2008

No Wonder They're Huge Assholes

The lengths that "Girlie Men" will go to for vanity.
ABC News Reports that the newest rage in Dance clubs is something that bodybuilders have been doing for years:
"New York bouncer, blogger and author Rob Fitzgerald has noticed a trend among many of the macho young men waiting outside his clubs. He says the guys are slathering up their torsos with the hemorrhoid cream Preparation H to make themselves look "ripped" for the ladies.
Fitzgerald asked one of these guys to describe the practice for his blog, Clublife, "The way you use it is to take your shirt off and rub it all over yourself before you go to the club," a man who gave the alias, Peter Minichiello, says. "If you want to get [lucky], you have to know how to dance, and if you want girls to dance with you, you have to look ripped". -(ABC)- Preparation H contains a medication called phenylephrine HCL that -- when used for the drug's intended purpose -- will shrink the swollen tissues of hemorrhoids. It works by constricting the nearby blood vessels that feed blood and fluid to the area".
(D.R.) The article goes on to say there are potential health risks, such as high blood pressure.
I would suggest that it may help with "Cranial-rectal insertion", otherwise known as having one's head up one's ass. Maybe if they just bathed in it it would shrink their swollen ego...

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Back To Basics

Every Thursday night for several years now, I've been inviting people in to our Dojo to learn the Yang long Tai Chi Chuan form. Tai Chi generally appeals to older people and people in that class are usually around fifty years-old. While some of them are learning a little push hands now, they are limited in the kind of thrashing they can take.
By comparison, our Monday-Wednesday group is composed of our old Kenpo school, and people from diverse martial backgrounds such as Jujitsu, Tae Kwon Do and Boxing. We're getting older, but we still hit hard and can take some abuse. As people have been busy with their lives and dealing with occasional injuries, we have had room to bring in a couple of new students. Last night was training day 1.
The new guys have been vetted to see if they were the kind of guys we are looking for. One is tall and muscular, and has a background in Escrima stick fighting. He loves the sticks, and is very competent with either sticks or blades.
The other guy is stocky and thick, with huge wrists, forearms and legs. He had been a good wrestler in school and has had a few brawls in the past. Perfect.
Here's the interesting part; neither one is comfortable with footwork, rooting, or evasive stepping. Phillipine stick fighting always starts with using the stick, then progresses to empty hand work. This guys movement is bouncy and top-heavy, but not too bad.
The wrestler is solid, but trips over his own feet. Both tend to do that multiple "chicken-step" tapdance to move into position instead of efficiant, liner or circular movement that martial arts require.
Niether one can maintain proper posture when attempting a standing arm bar, for instance. It's really easy to find their "dead angle", disrupt their stance and push them around. The stick fighter has something to bring to the game. The wrestler is tough, but I told him he has to go to the Tai Chi Chuan class on Thursdays if he wants to train with us on Mondays (He's been to one Thursday class already). Everyone needs a foundation on which to build, and Tai Chi will give the wrestler some yielding skills (his nature is to bull it out head-to-head), and a form to practice so his muscle-memory will slowly be trained. It's also good for us to work with big brawler-types that provide some resistance to our techniques, it keeps it real.
We started with a wing-chun drill aimed at controlling the position and distance with an opponent while moving around the room. Next, our Boxing coach Tom got us going on hitting the focus mitts in various patterns, which we do in three continuous one-minute rounds. Niether of the new guys could focus their hitting power, but they began to learn and pick it up. We finished with some standing grappling, wristlocks and armbars.
I came away from last nights practice with the new guys very satisfied. Both these guys would appear intimidating to an untrained fighter, but in reality, their weaknesses were very easy to identify. I realize again how days and years of training drills have made our positioning, structure, hitting, rooting and efficiant footwork an innate part of our being. Even though we are getting older, These qualities still give us an edge.
I think we gave the new guys enough to make them hungry for more, I hope they stick with it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

June: Cute Futuristic Alien Hippie Chicks Of The Month

Well fellow Dojo Rats; June is the month of my birth, and we always have a special feature of "Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month" in June.
This time it's a salute to all the hot Space Cadets and Green Alien Hippie Chicks from Star Trek.
Was Kirk a Hound Dawg or what? He could sniff out a beautiful alien woman at the beginning of an episode and more than likely she would die in his arms within thirty minutes. Oh, and I had to throw Jerry Ryan (Seven-of-nine) from the new series in there because she is possibly the hottest alien chick that has ever been on the show...