Thursday, July 30, 2009

Short & Sweet

Well, maybe not that sweet. But fun!

My technique is a little rough but you get the idea. It's about 100 degrees out and we're practicing on the lawn in front of the Dojo.
I learned this chain of techniques from John Clodig, student of Don Angier and successor to the Yanagi-Ryu Aikijitsu system. He told us that if we could learn this pattern we would understand many aspects of the Aiki system.
I'm sure Pat at Mokuren Dojo and Sensei Strange will have a few suggestions. I think I could use more spiral energy and centrifugal force, but I'm also trying to take it easy on my training partner in the intense heat and without mats.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

When Robots Attack...

Robot attacked Swedish factory worker
Published: 28 Apr 09 10:12 CET

A Swedish company has been fined 25,000 kronor ($3,000) after a malfunctioning robot attacked and almost killed one of its workers at a factory north of Stockholm.
Public prosecutor Leif Johansson mulled pressing charges against the firm but eventually opted to settle for a fine.

"I've never heard of a robot attacking somebody like this," he told news agency TT.

The incident took place in June 2007 at a factory in Bålsta, north of Stockholm, when the industrial worker was trying to carry out maintenance on a defective machine generally used to lift heavy rocks. Thinking he had cut off the power supply, the man approached the robot with no sense of trepidation.
But the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim's head. The man succeeded in defending himself but not before suffering serious injuries.
"The man was very lucky. He broke four ribs and came close to losing his life," said Leif Johansson.
The matter was subject to an investigation by both the Swedish Work Environment Authority (Arbetsmiljöverket) and the police.
Prosecutor Johansson chastised the company for its inadequate safety procedures but he also placed part of the blame on the injured worker.

From "The Local", Swedens English news service

Monday, July 27, 2009

Xing Yi Five Element Forms

My Xingyi instructor, Jake Burroughs will probably claw his own eyes out after he sees this, but here it is.
While I've been practicing Tai Chi Chuan since 1996 and Bagua off-and-on since then, Xingyi is pretty new to me. In Tae Kwon Do, we had about 16 forms. Threw them all out. Same for Kenpo, all gone. Don't need them, and my instructors couldn't explain some of the arcane postures and movements within the forms.
What I am realizing about the Chinese Internal Arts is that unlike hard styles, Internal forms are more about shapes. Shapes that either exhibit or neutralize power, sometimes both.
Taiji and Bagua movement is intensely complex. At some point, I realized that I needed to start learning Xingyi to complete the trinity of the Chinese Internal arts.
Xingyi looks simple, but it's not as easy as it looks. There are tons of internal alignments to be aware of, and if done correctly can produce tremendous power.
In the short time I have been studing this art, it has helped me understand my Taiji and Bagua much better. Also, I've found myself successfully using the Xingyi hand methods in sparring with my training partners. Jake has said you could just study these five forms for life and develop into a very capeable fighter.
Another thing I find interesting is the relation to Chinese philosophy these forms contain: Pi/splitting fist (metal), Beng/smashing fist (wood), Zuan/drilling fist (water), Heng/crossing fist (earth), and Pao/pounding fist (fire). They naturally relate to the cycle of creation/destruction, and corresponding organs and meridians.
I have a long way to go in this study, but I feel I am beginning to internalize the yin and yang interchange of Taiji, the spiral energy of Bagua, and now the linear power of Xingyi.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Evidence Of Auras

Strange! Humans Glow in Visible Light
By Charles Q. Choi, Special to LiveScience

The human body literally glows, emitting a visible light in extremely small quantities at levels that rise and fall with the day, scientists now reveal.
Past research has shown that the body emits visible light, 1,000 times less intense than the levels to which our naked eyes are sensitive. In fact, virtually all living creatures emit very weak light, which is thought to be a byproduct of biochemical reactions involving free radicals.
(This visible light differs from the infrared radiation — an invisible form of light — that comes from body heat.)
To learn more about this faint visible light, scientists in Japan employed extraordinarily sensitive cameras capable of detecting single photons. Five healthy male volunteers in their 20s were placed bare-chested in front of the cameras in complete darkness in light-tight rooms for 20 minutes every three hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. for three days.
The researchers found the body glow rose and fell over the day, with its lowest point at 10 a.m. and its peak at 4 p.m., dropping gradually after that. These findings suggest there is light emission linked to our body clocks, most likely due to how our metabolic rhythms fluctuate over the course of the day.
Faces glowed more than the rest of the body. This might be because faces are more tanned than the rest of the body, since they get more exposure to sunlight — the pigment behind skin color, melanin, has fluorescent components that could enhance the body's miniscule light production.
Since this faint light is linked with the body's metabolism, this finding suggests cameras that can spot the weak emissions could help spot medical conditions, said researcher Hitoshi Okamura, a circadian biologist at Kyoto University in Japan.
"If you can see the glimmer from the body's surface, you could see the whole body condition," said researcher Masaki Kobayashi, a biomedical photonics specialist at the Tohoku Institute of Technology in Sendai, Japan.

Full Report Here

Key point: This visible light differs from the infrared radiation — an invisible form of light — that comes from body heat

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Occult History Of America

George Washington in Masonic apron

I wasn't initially going to post on this until I read THIS ARTICLE in The Guardian, UK.
Apparantly, the Christian Right is attempting to change the way history is taught in Texas schools. This is a great concern, since nearly all school textbooks originate from a Texas clearing house. From the article:
"The Christian right is making a fresh push to force religion onto the school curriculum in Texas with the state's education board about to consider recommendations that children be taught that there would be no United States if it had not been for God".
"One of the panel, David Barton, founder of a Christian heritage group called WallBuilders, argues that the curriculum should reflect the fact that the US Constitution was written with God in mind including that "there is a fixed moral law derived from God and nature", that "there is a creator" and "government exists primarily to protect God-given rights to every individual".
"Another of the experts is Reverend Peter Marshall, who heads his own Christian ministry and preaches that Hurricane Katrina and defeat in the Vietnam war were God's punishment for sexual promiscuity and tolerance of homosexuals. Marshall recommended that children be taught about the "motivational role" of the Bible and Christianity in establishing the original colonies that later became the US".
So with this in mind, I found this great article reprinted on a forum, with links to the original.
Mitch Horowitz has written a book titled "Occult Empire: The hidden history of America". I am going to post a few snips of the article to help rebut the idea that America has always been a "Christian Nation". Christians consistantly mis-quote the founding fathers, such as Washington, Jefferson or Franklin to support their position, while these men and many of the other founders were athiests, deists, and Masons. Here is a very brief reading from this lengthy article:

"Even in its colonial history, America was entwined with esoteric spirituality. North America's first intentional mystical community reached its shores in the summer of 1694. That year, the determined spiritual philosopher Johannes Kelpius led about forty pilgrims out of Central Germany - a region decimated by the Thirty Years' War - and to the banks of the Wissahickon Creek, just beyond Philadelphia. The city then hosted only about 500 houses, but it represented a Mecca of freedom for the Kelpius circle, who longed for a new homeland where they could practice their brands of astrology, alchemy, numerology, and mystical Christianity without fear of harassment from church or government".
"The robust growth of occult and mystical movements in nineteenth-century America was aided by the influence of three mighty social and spiritual movements: Freemasonry, Transcendentalism, and Spiritualism. Each helped transform the young nation into a laboratory for religious experiment and a springboard for the revolutions in nontraditional and therapeutic spirituality that eventually swept the globe. Consider:
Freemasonry is, perhaps, a direct remnant of the most radical thought movement to emerge from the Reformation, and it instilled a strong anti-authoritarian streak in America's early religious culture. Masonry's penchant for occult and pagan symbolism suggests how some of the nation's Founders - many of whom were Masons - understood religious truth as emanating from a common source that could be found in different cultures throughout history, including those of a mystical and pre-Christian past. American Masonry emphasized religious tolerance, which its highly placed members, including George Washington (pictured in Masonic garb at left) and Benjamin Franklin, modeled and interwove throughout American life. Early in his presidency, Washington took matters a step further. In a letter to the congregation of a Rhode Island synagogue, the first president wrote: "It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts." In other words, minority religions were no longer guests of the new republic, but full members. Whatever Freemasonry's airs of secrecy and images of skulls, pyramids, and all-seeing eyes, it is in this principle where one finds the order's truly most radical, even dangerous, idea: the encouragement of different faiths within a single nation.
In New England in the mid-nineteenth century, the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and their contemporaries extolled the individual's capacity for spiritual self-discovery beyond the boundaries of established religion. Their thought movement called itself Transcendentalism and introduced mystical concepts from Eastern and Western esoteric traditions into the bloodstream of American life. As defined by these "Yankee mystics," Transcendentalism believed the seat of worship - the place of communion with the Divine - existed within. As the Transcendentalists saw it, the individual mirrors a larger cosmos, which bestows a natural order, or ebb and flow of life, and a sense of objective truth. This truth can be verified by lived experience, as it has by seekers throughout history".
"Quimby treated a patient named Mary Baker Eddy, who went on to establish one of the nation's most significant new religions, Christian Science.
But it was not within any single religion that Quimby's ideas took flight. Indeed, the taciturn Mrs. Eddy (as followers called her) soon denounced her old mentor as little more than a carnival Mesmerist. Nonetheless, his "mental healing" philosophy seemed to ride the winds all across America, winning far-flung adherents and evangelizers who in turn brought their own novel twists to it. It was these inheritors who morphed into the loosely bound psycho-spiritual school known by the late nineteenth century as New Thought. In later decades, this belief system attained mass popularity in the form of Norman Vincent Peale's "power of positive thinking." As such, it reached into nearly every church, living room, and bookstore in America.
Ironically, few Americans today have heard the term or of the movement called New Thought. Its ideas have been so widely adopted that the movement itself - which persists in metaphysical churches throughout America, sometimes under the names of Unity or Religious Science - has become almost unseen. Americans like ideas, but not necessarily movements, which they discard like outer wrapping once an idea has been embraced. Moreover, secularized elements of the New Thought philosophy had already appeared by the last decade of the nineteenth century and successfully vied for influence with the more religiously inspired variants. By the mid-twentieth century, non-religious figures like Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) and Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich) rode the wings of New Thought to worldwide fame. Today, every life coach, motivational speaker, and self-help program uses the concept of an attitudinal approach to success, of mind over circumstance, and so on. It is easy to forget that this now-familiar concept was very much a mystical philosophy at its birth".
I'm sure people accuse me of being too hard on Christians, but I suggest I am not. I have no problem with any beneficent, non-dogmatic community organization. There is however, a radical movement out there that wants to create a Christian Theocracy, something that is in direct conflict with the values of the American spirit.
As the last paragraph above describes, many of the concepts of the "New Thought" pioneers have become very mainstream in our lives, even to the relm of Gnostic, or "Mystical Christianity".

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Swedish Man Attacked by Girl Gang

Swedish Man Attacked & Molested by Tattooed Girl Gang
Saturday, July 18, 2009

David Landes

Police in central Sweden are on the hunt for a gang of tattooed women who sexually molested a 50-year-old man as he was riding by on his bicycle.
The incident took place around 9pm on July 8th as the man was cycling down Vintergatan in central Örebro, the Aftonbladet newspaper reports.
Suddenly, someone grabbed hold of the rack on the back of the man’s bike, causing him to fall to the ground.
“The girls ran up to him and pulled the bicycle down so he fell,” Örebro police spokesperson Annika Haaster told the newspaper.
As the man was lying defenceless on the ground, the women proceeded to pull off his trousers and underwear and molest him sexually before fleeing the scene.
According to police, the 50-year-old was not otherwise beaten or physically assaulted by the gang of five girls.
The victim told police that the girl who actually pulled down the bicycle was about 175 centimetres (5 feet, 7 inches) tall and had tattoos on her forearms.
Authorities are hoping that tips from the public can help them apprehend the suspects responsible for the bizarre attack.
“It’s downright unusual for five girls [to do something like this]. Perhaps there are others who’ve had the same thing happen to them,” Haaster told Aftonbladet.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Push Hands Takedown

Here a couple of Dojo Rats are working on a takedown out of a simple push hands drill. When Corey says "eggs under your armpits" he is refering to the idea of not letting your arm collapse against your body, keeping the "Peng" by the imagery of holding an egg under your arm.
Notice when he seizes the opponent's arm, he begins with pressure on a straight arm bar. As he rotates around the opponent's body he folds that arm into a "chicken wing". He then draws the foot out in the sweep, and finishes the opponent off.
These short videos load so much faster!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Bagua Practice, And Video Upload Question

Well, this is some of my Bagua practice, Sun Xikun lineage as taught by T.Y.Pang.
Video is such a great teacher, it allows us to be our own worst critics. I look stiff and old, but hey, I'm just stiff and old.
Here's a comparison from winter 2007:

--So I guess I've made a few improvements.
I've got more video coming up, but maybe somebody out there can help me with these questions:
It's taking me over three hours to load a six-minute video. I tried for five hours last night to upload an 11-minute video to the Blogger video option. It never loaded.
Will YouTube actually upload an 11-minute video, they say 10 is the limit.
Any other ideas?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Assisted Opening Knives Still Legal

Many of you out there may not know, but U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) had attempted to change knife laws to include assisted-opening knives in the illegal class with switchblades. This would have included any knife with a thumb-stud or other feature that allowed the operator to open the blade one-handed.
This release from the NRA tells us that Two Republican and one Democratic Senator authored an amendment to "The Federal Switchblade Act", which passed.
The press release states:

"The measure would exempt assisted-opening knives that can only be opened with "exertion applied to the blade by hand, wrist or arm" from a federal law that criminalizes commerce in switchblades. Assisted opening knives are highly desired by hunters, anglers, farmers, ranchers, firefighters, law enforcement and emergency personnel and others who may need to open a knife with only one hand".

It's a slippery slope, folks...

Tip of the hat to James Keating at MAAJAK

Assassination Update

Well, it appears my hunch may have been right. It is being reported in The Washington Post and expanded on in TPM and Raw Story that Cheney cleared the CIA assassination squads to operate anywhere, including in the United States, something that is clearly illegal.
What is confusing is that it is also being reported that Cheney was running a secret operation that neither the CIA Director or Congress knew about.
We will have to wait and see exactly what that was, as it appears we may have some sizzling hot Senate hearings to get to the bottom of this.
As Raw Story reports, the last documented case of CIA complicity in assassination on U.S. soil occured in 1976:

"on Sept. 21, 1976, Orlando Letelier, a leftist Chilean political figure-turned Washington, D.C.-based, anti-Pinochet activist, was assassinated in D.C. by a car bomb. The act of terrorism also claimed the life of his assistant, Ronni Moffitt.
The FBI would later determine that Michael Townley, a former CIA asset, organized the assassination, aided by a visa provided by Robert White, then U.S. ambassador to Paraguay. The hit was discovered to be part of Operation Condor, a program coordinated by South American governments which sought to eliminate leftist political figures".

You can bet there were others.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Todays Intel Report: Corpse-Eating Killer Robots

"Because Television News Sucks So Bad"

Let's take a quick look at a few of the goodies in the news that aught to scare the shit out of us:
1. Bush-era spying may have been blackmailing Democrats
The secret spy program may have been why the Dems appeared so spineless against Darth Cheney; it has been revealed that both former President Bill Clinton and Rep. Jane Harman were among those wiretapped. In Clinton's case it has been passed off as a one-time accident. In Harman's case, far more serious, the wiretap suggests that she was cutting deals with people connected to an Israeli spy ring in Washinton.
The fact she may have negotiated a "go easy" case on the spy ring shows how powerful the Israeli lobby is in the U.S. Government. The fact that Harman, Clinton and you and me were spied on by our own government should really piss you off. And you know it goes way deeper than this.
2. The CIA Put $400 Million Into Instigating A Revolution In Iran
Democracy, Schmoceracy. Sure, we overthrew Iran in 1953, (and now tried again, after the current election) but we are clearly still involved in various "color revolutions" all around the world. Dangerous stuff, considering it blew back on us when WE CREATED THE TALIBAN to fight the Russians...
3. Dick Cheney Ran Assassination Squads Without Knowledge Of CIA Or Congress
Oh Duh. Still more proof that Bush was a puppet.
But here's the kicker: Bush had already informed Congress in 2001 about a program to kill AlQueda leaders, which has been ongoing. It was actually something else.
So what the hell was this alternative program run by Cheney, which was so abhorrent that it stunned Congress when current CIA Director Panetta exposed it?
Let's see; How about the CIA killing people in the United States, against their charter? How about revealing the existance of Space-based laser platforms? How about killing people who knew there was a cover-up regarding the events of 9-11?
4. Military Developing Corpse-Eating Robots
"R2, Speak to me, R2!"
Yes, soon C3po will be equipped with weapons and a fuel burner that can process grass, wood, dead (or live?) animal and HUMAN corpses, which would be plentiful on the battlefield. Real Zombie Wars. This should put a smile on the face of our favorite Zombie, Bobbe Edmonds at "Thick As Thieves"...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Yes, Chinese Swords CAN Cut

Jose sent us a link to this video of Scott Rodell at the Huanuo sword factory. Here, he uses the "Jian" first, I love the rolling cut he uses -- then the bigger and heavier "Dao". Here is the link to his website at The Great River Taoist Center.

Rick also sent us this link to a cool Blog "The Wu Sword Project", their mission statement is "This site chronicles our project to find the best authentic dao (sabre), jian (sword) and qiang (spear) for traditional Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan".

Thanks guys!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Review: The Complete Taiji Dao

Now here is a book that arrived on my desk at exactly the right time!
"The Complete Taiji Dao - The Art of the Chinese Saber" by Zhang Yun is the most complete book on swordsmanship that I have seen yet. At a hefty 429 pages, this comprehensive study of the Chinese Saber is my new study material as I prepare to go to a weekend-long Wudang saber seminar with our Taiji instructor Michael Gilman.
While I have had training in the Japanese sword in Aikido, the Chinese sword is still new to me. Unlike the "Jian", the more delicate double-edged sword most often seen in Taiji practice, the Dao or saber is a large single-edged blade handled with powerful slashing motions.
In "The Complete Dao", Zhang Yun provides us with his background, and then procedes to explore the history of this weapon from crude jade and bronze models to the beautiful "Yao Dao", or slender waistcoat swords of the Royalty. As implied, there are many types of Dao, from heavy chopping cleavers to longer and narrower Dao's such as the ones used in Taiji practice. Zhang Yun explains this type allows him to more readily project his Chi to the end of the sabre, and is more nimble. Most Dao's are used single-handed, but Yun also demonstrates with a beautiful double-handed model with a ring pommel. (I want one!)
Zhang Yun provides very clear photos of all form work in the book, something that is usually difficult to read and put into practice. As the saber and spear were both the soldier's battlefield weapons, the applications from the form are against an opponent with a spear. Further in the book, the application work against both a heavier chopping broadsword and the slender "Jian" sword are demonstrated.
For me, this book arrived at a time when my interest in learning the Chinese sword is really growing. The book explains in great detail how Taiji principles are extended to weapon use as well as how the Taiji Dao is unique and different than conventional broadsword use. This book will stay with my collection forever.

You can read more about "The Complete Dao" at this link for Blue Snake Books, along with hundreds of other martial arts titles, please check it out!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

How Psychedelics Shaped The Internet And Our Future

Fear not, Goody-Two-Shoes out there; this post will not send you to the street corner looking for Meth.
This is about our look at Brain activity regarding meditation, non-linear thinking and the search for higher consciousness.
From This article in the Huffington Post, Author Ryan Grim provides an adaptation of his book "This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History Of Getting High In America".
Specifically, Grim details how some of the most important advances in science, medicine and technology have been influenced by the use of psychedelic drugs.
From the article, which centers around Apple computer and i-product founder Steve Jobs:

That Jobs used LSD and values the contribution it made to his thinking is far from unusual in the world of computer technology. Psychedelic drugs have influenced some of America's foremost computer scientists. The history of this connection is well documented in a number of books, the best probably being What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer, by New York Times technology reporter John Markoff.
Psychedelic drugs, Markoff argues, pushed the computer and Internet revolutions forward by showing folks that reality can be profoundly altered through unconventional, highly intuitive thinking. Douglas Engelbart is one example of a psychonaut who did just that: he helped invent the mouse. Apple's Jobs has said that Microsoft's Bill Gates, would "be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once." In a 1994 interview with Playboy, however, Gates coyly didn't deny having dosed as a young man.
John Gilmore was the fifth employee at Sun Microsystems and registered the domain name in 1987. A Burner and well-known psychonaut, he's certainly one of the mind-blown rich. Today a civil-liberties activist, he's perhaps best known for Gilmore's Law, his observation that "[t]he Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." He told me that most of his colleagues in the sixties and seventies used psychedelic drugs. "What psychedelics taught me is that life is not rational. IBM was a very rational company," he said, explaining why the corporate behemoth was overtaken by upstarts such as Apple. Mark Pesce, the coinventor of virtual reality's coding language, VRML, and a dedicated Burner, agreed that there's some relationship between chemical mind expansion and advances in computer technology: "To a man and a woman, the people behind [virtual reality] were acidheads," he said.
And perhaps in other scientific areas, too. According to Gilmore, the maverick surfer/chemist Kary Mullis, a well-known LSD enthusiast, told him that acid helped him develop the polymerase chain reaction, a crucial breakthrough for biochemistry. The advance won him the Nobel Prize in 1993. And according to reporter Alun Reese, Francis Crick, who discovered DNA along with James Watson, told friends that he first saw the double-helix structure while tripping on LSD.

(D.R.)-- LSD Guru Timothy Leary belived this too, that psychedelics trigger changes in DNA, causing the human species to actually evolve.
Now, I'm not advocating everybody go on out and get dosed, but this is an example of our look at non-linear thinking and the possibilities in spirituality and innate knowledge that we can achieve through mind expanding experiances.
By this, I mean to include prayer, contemplation, and meditation in non-dogmatic, non-religious framework.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Washington Post: Meditation "Grows" Your Brain

Meditation Gives Brain a Charge, Study Finds

By Marc Kaufman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 3, 2005; Page A05

Brain research is beginning to produce concrete evidence for something that Buddhist practitioners of meditation have maintained for centuries: Mental discipline and meditative practice can change the workings of the brain and allow people to achieve different levels of awareness.
Those transformed states have traditionally been understood in transcendent terms, as something outside the world of physical measurement and objective evaluation. But over the past few years, researchers at the University of Wisconsin working with Tibetan monks have been able to translate those mental experiences into the scientific language of high-frequency gamma waves and brain synchrony, or coordination. And they have pinpointed the left prefrontal cortex, an area just behind the left forehead, as the place where brain activity associated with meditation is especially intense.
"What we found is that the longtime practitioners showed brain activation on a scale we have never seen before," said Richard Davidson, a neuroscientist at the university's new $10 million W.M. Keck Laboratory for Functional Brain Imaging and Behavior. "Their mental practice is having an effect on the brain in the same way golf or tennis practice will enhance performance." It demonstrates, he said, that the brain is capable of being trained and physically modified in ways few people can imagine.
In previous studies, mental activities such as focus, memory, learning and consciousness were associated with the kind of enhanced neural coordination found in the monks. The intense gamma waves found in the monks have also been associated with knitting together disparate brain circuits, and so are connected to higher mental activity and heightened awareness, as well.
Davidson concludes from the research that meditation not only changes the workings of the brain in the short term, but also quite possibly produces permanent changes. That finding, he said, is based on the fact that the monks had considerably more gamma wave activity than the control group even before they started meditating. A researcher at the University of Massachusetts, Jon Kabat-Zinn, came to a similar conclusion several years ago.
Researchers at Harvard and Princeton universities are now testing some of the same monks on different aspects of their meditation practice: their ability to visualize images and control their thinking. Davidson is also planning further research.
"What we found is that the trained mind, or brain, is physically different from the untrained one," he said. In time, "we'll be able to better understand the potential importance of this kind of mental training and increase the likelihood that it will be taken seriously."

(D.R.)- Still more evidence that meditation, prayer, and ancient Shamanic practices can now be proven to re-wire the brain and create a higher state of consciousness. I think this says a lot about seemingly slow, introspective internal arts such as Tai Chi Chuan...

LINK To Article

Thursday, July 9, 2009

L.A. Riots: Footage Of Korean Gunfights Removed

I find this very interesting;
On the heels of the last post on ethnic riots and streetfighting in China, I decided to assemble a parallel story about the Los Angeles riots in 1992.
If there is one convincing moment in recent American history that proves The Second Amendment Right to Keep and Bear Arms, it is the fight to save Koreatown.
Frustrated by the apparant lack of police protection, Korean storeowners took maters in their own hands and provided armed self-defense. There was clear video available which showed Korean snipers on the roofs of their stores, the cars and SUV's circled wagon-train-style around the perimeters.
Those videos, a few of which I had bookmarked over a year ago for future use, have been stripped from the web.

Above is a still picture I was able to print from the thumbnail of the original YouTube video I had saved long ago.
The video at the top of this post is one of two that still exist on both YouTube and Google video, the second being a longer version with scenes of looting and a news anchor. There was a video, which I can not find again, that merely showed emotional testimony about what happened and why the Koreans defended themselves in this way.
Now why would nearly every video of the Koreatown gunfights have been stripped from the web? The one from the still photo above was a 2008 YouTube post.
1. Are there still existing lawsuits against the Korean storeowners?
2. Is Koreatown simply trying to clean up the image of the armed battle and move on?
3. Is there government influence, such as a U.S. Attourney leaning on someone to remove the videos? Is the spectre of armed American citizens defending themselves just a little too much for the country as we enter The Second Republican Great Depression?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hand-To-Hand Combat In Chinese City

The above news report comes from CCTV, which I am guessing is an English version of State-run TV in China.
For those who don't know, ethnic trouble in China is at a recent all-time high. While the broadcast above appears to blame the ethnic minority Muslim Uighurs for instigating the violence, This BBC report provides contrary information:

Groups of ethnic Han Chinese have marched through the city of Urumqi carrying clubs and machetes, as tension grows between ethnic groups and police.
Security forces imposed a curfew and fired tear gas to disperse the crowds, who said they were angry at violence carried out by ethnic Muslim Uighurs.
Earlier, Uighur women had rallied against the arrest of more than 1,400 people over deadly clashes on Sunday.
The two sides blame each other for the outbreak of violence.

Quentin Sommerville, Urumqi
There are many armed military police standing around, also a few remnants of those Han Chinese demonstrators, still people wandering around the city carrying poles and batons and some carrying knives.
There's a great air of trepidation here as to how this night will play out.
I wouldn't have thought today that I would have seen Uighur men and women acting so defiantly in the face of Han Chinese authority, but they did.
I wouldn't have thought that thousands of Han Chinese would be able to walk freely through a Chinese city and march and shout slogans.
Xinjiang is one of the most tightly-controlled parts of the country. Those controls seem to have slipped quite considerably.

Officials say 156 people - mostly ethnic Han Chinese - died in Sunday's violence. Uighur groups say many more have died, claiming 90% of the dead were Uighurs.
The unrest erupted when Uighur protesters attacked vehicles before turning on local Han Chinese and battling security forces in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang province.

****(D.R.)- The Chinese government has had trouble dealing with the Muslim Uighurs, and would surely like to put most of the blame on them. The Uighurs, however, are very much a minority that is dealing with a monolithic oppressive State machine.
This is a very dangerous situation...

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Education Of Wannabeebee

Oh man, this just cracks me up;
I usually don't respond to cranks making off-the-wall comments about our videos, it just goes with the territory. But I just couldn't resist with this one by Wannabeebee on the video above:

Wannabeebee: I cut the beard boy
I try to cut the beard boy!
After the guy with the beardl lets your arm go boy!
You go home boy
Tail between the legs boy
Wannabeebee: One rear naked choke would suffice.
Saves all the moves doesnt it.

(Me): Not if your opponent is struggling to get out,
This drill teaches to adjust to the reactions of a resisting opponent, but then you're stuck in your Mom's basement playing video game fights you probably wouldn't get it.

Wannabeebee: Regards your comments about basements well we dont have them here and porn video games I leave to you.
Just remember to you watching to much porn removes energy for training

Wannabeebee: Shows how much knowledge you dont have of combat doesnt it.
First off people dont start out with a grab like that unless they are none fighters in which case there would be no point in
busting them up.
Apart from that the moves are ok.
Dude, believe me if I put on a rear naked choke the opponent would not get out.

And he keeps going...

Wannabeebee: Hmmm looks like you do have some knowledge of combat.
Well dont presume others dont.
Anyway nice video on your home page.
I think that would be better shown being practiced against a good boxer.
I am training one at the moment.
Fast hands

He's watching our other video's

Wannabeebee: Opponents can struggle all they want.
Rear naked choke applied rear naked choke is on.
Mom dont have one
Basement dont have one
Video games dont play them
Now we have that out of the way what is your base art?
Is this guys base art wing chun?

Wannabeebee: His base art is Bagua?
I dont know. I see some good moves. I see some nice stuff. I dont see it being applied to some experienced street fighter or street fighting applications.
Now I havent studied any chinese arts but I see some good stuff.
So I think I would like to study bagau.
No teachers here.

Wannabeebee: Back ground
Karate( not the watered down crap)
Army (combat)

Wannabeebee: hi
Neutralize With The Shutdown
I think you or the guy in the video is open to getting head butted with that shut down.
I think he needs to have his head down and looking through the top of the eyes then if a head butt comes the head butter will head butt his face.
You guys have some nice moves. Reality applications might not be present but I think with some adjustment what you have is good.
I would like to study/ practice bagau.
I am a 53 years old ex soldier.
Any suggestions?
No teachers in the UK, at least not where I live.

Note: his YouTube page says he is 29
(my response): Hi Wannabeebee:

We all have backgrounds in Kenpo or other Karate styles, but have moved into the Chinese Internal Arts, Tai Chi Chuan, Xingyi, Bagua.
The Kenpo still comes out. Lots of Western boxing also.

You cracked me up, so you made the Dojo Rat Blog today

Saturday, July 4, 2009

July 4: Jack Nicholson On Individual Freedom

Well, it looks like this clip is going to become a regular 4th of July feature here on Dojo Rat.
From the movie "Easy Rider", Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda posit on the qualities of individual freedom and the free individual.
This clip is for the younger Ratlets out there, if you haven't seen "Easy Rider", you should rent it.
Believe me, I've lived this clip, in various incarnations...

Friday, July 3, 2009

Parting Wild Horse's Mane Application

Here's a nice presentation of "Parting Wild Horse's Mane" by Michael at San Diego Fitness.
This is exactly the kind of work Tai Chi Chuan students need to do to understand what the hell they are practicing in their form. As we know, Tai Chi Chuan (Grand Ultimate Fist) was once considered the most sophisticated fighting art in China, with Dim Mak pressure-point striking, takedowns and weapons systems. Many masters were lost to war early last Century, and when State Communism adopted Tai Chi as a health program, they pretty much dropped the "Chuan", or "Fist". Hence the "New Agey" profile of much of Tai Chi today.
Here Michael utilizes a low arm-pass to set up a takedown, and the sequence at the end is worked off a hitting combination. We have used the exact same technique (with a different set-up) from the Xingyi system as taught by Tim Cartmell:

I think this shows how much these arts have in common.
On an aside, if I remember correctly, Michael in the first video was kind enough to be a designated driver and drop ol' Dojo Rat off at his hotel room after all the guys had dinner and (many) Beers following a Mike Martello seminar. Whew; that kept me from getting in trouble on the mean-streets of Seattle...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July: Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month

Yes friends, it's July 1, and you know that means time for our regular feature "Cute Hippie Chick Of The Month".
This month, the death of the lovely Farrah Fawcett has been eclipsed by the freak show of the Jackson family picking at the bones of emaciated accused child molester Michael Jackson. Poor Farrah.
As the golden girl of the 1970's, posters of Farrah and her feathered hair graced the bedroom walls of millions of boys and young men around the world. But it wasn't just boys that fell in love with Farrah, it was Robots too:

Meet "Hector", the evil Robot on the spacebound research facility "Saturn 3". It seems Hector was programmed by a psychopath that had a thing for Farrah (well, who didn't?) and Feathered Farrah Flees with partner Kirk Douglas. So, in celebration of the life of Farrah Fawcett, here's a clip from "Saturn 3":

P.S. - Let Michael Jackson rot in peace. I'm sick of the circus already.