Aug 312011

You don’t have to watch the whole thing to get the idea. Crazy awesome kick volley ball.


Anyway the sport is called Sepak Takraw, (which I am pretty sure translates to crazy awesome kick ball) is a sport played all over south Asia. Its played with a woven rattan ball and scoring is just like volley ball where you play to 21 points. The difference is of course that you can only touch the ball with your legs or chest, and is played in teams of three. Now there are records of games like this being played back as far as the 1500’s, and the game in its current form has been played since the early 1800’s.

It started out as a Chinese military game played to help soldiers increase their flexibility and give them something to do in their spare time, so if it looks like it was invented by kung fu fighters, that because it most likely was. If you are like me, this sport is new to you, but the US sent a team to compete in the world championship in 1989 and we won gold! Of course we tried again in the 90’s and lost badly, but who’s keeping score?

Aug 302011

Things have been strangely serouis around here lately. Sorry about that. Lets get back to what we do best, which is generally mocking things. Today I have a Philippino martial art called Kombatan.


If you missed it, the master in the video is Ernesto Presas, a tenth dan in Arnis and founder of Kombatan. He also has a magic amulet. He can sense attacks because his grandfather was blind. His magic amulet won’t work if he shows it to anyone. The art covers one stick, two sticks, knives, empty hand attacks, grappling, and throwing. And he has a magic amulet.




Aug 302011

Wow, first off most of us Americans think that if you are from Japan you must know some sort of martial art, Japan is trying to make that a reality! +10 points to Japan because they are going to make Judo required in school!

I’m having trouble embedding this video so follow the link….I’ll wait.

Judo in Japanese schools

Anyway people are concerned about the safety of Judo. Apparently in Japan in the last 30 years they have had 114 child deaths from judo and another 261 have been seriously injured. I would question how many deaths and injuries have resulted from soccer or football, on the other hand these are not required sports.

I doubt that I myself or since this is a martial arts blog, and therefore most of you reading this are or are in favor of martial artists, can really be fair when examining this issue. On the one hand I see the good martial arts have done in my life, but on the other hand, I have to say that the worst injuries I’ve received have been from Judo. I don’t know if people should be forced into learning martial arts. If you watched the video the man from the education ministry says that he can promise there will be no more deaths or injuries….I don’t know how anyone can make that kind of claim. We can’t do that with anything else in life, I doubt we can do that with Judo.

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Aug 302011

You'd be Paranoid too if everyone was out to get you!

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson thinks he is being watched. Convinced there is a spy in his training camp, he says he circulated a false statement that his hand was hurt, then hours later his manager got a call from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva asking about it. He says that Silva says that the information came from John Jones’ manager Malki Kawa. (If you didn’t know, Rampage is slated to fight John Jones for the light heavyweight title).

Rampage says that he first became wary about a spy in his camp during the days prior to his May 29, 2010, fight at UFC 114 in Las Vegas with Rashad Evans. He said he injured his knee in training, but kept it quiet and let no one know. Yet, Jackson said that during the fight, Evans punched him repeatedly on the injured knee.

“In all my years of fighting, I’d never been punched in the knee before and I never saw anyone punch someone in the knee,” Jackson said (Which is kind of a good point, the last time I had someone punch me in the leg I was fighting an eight  year old…true story). But recently, he says he received a message from a fan on Twitter telling him that Jones had a spy in Jackson’s camp, so he decided to test things with the fake hand injury story.

Of course John Jone’s manager says he heard about the hand injury on twitter, and that they don’t have a spy in camp. Evans also says he had no info about the knee injury, he simply noticed that Rampage reacted to his strikes, so he kept hitting him there.

Now I am more then willing to believe that anyone in Greg Jackson’s camp might be spying on their opponents, they play it smart over there. What I have trouble believing is that Rampage Jackson could figure that out on his own. He rarely strikes anyone as the Sherlock Holmes type. I also find it funny that both parties claim to be using twitter as their source of info. Apparently twitter is the new Casa Blanca of the fighting world.

Aug 292011

Luiz Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov

Moments before....

Really good fight this past Saturday in UFC 134. Good exchanges, good finish. The fight finishes and his team mates drape him in his country’s flag (Bulgaria) around his shoulders. Now if you didn’t see the fight, I’ll tell you that he had a pretty bloody nose. Anyway, he stands there amoment, then wipes his nose on the flag. At first I thought, “Hey give the guy a break, he’s tired and most likely doesn’t even realize what he did.” Then Kenny Florian comes up to interview him, and he does it again….and again. Must have been 14+ times he wipes his face and blows his nose on his own country’s flag. Now I know that different counties have different ways of showing respect, but if an American fighter did that you could expect the referee to take a swing at you. Anyway that was weird.

Aug 232011

Kata Ashi Hishigi from the The Textbook of Ju-Jutsu by Professor S.K. Uyenishi

The funny thing about any traditional martial art is that justification for anything that is not immediately clear is normally cleared up using the word “traditionally”.
Student, “Why do we wear flower pots on our heads?”
Sensei, “Well traditionally all students of the style wear flower pots on their heads.”
And far be it from any of us to question tradition. I’m still wondering why we wear singlets in wrestling. I totally get why we wore them back in the day, but we have grown as a culture since then…
But I digress.
To be totally honest, I love tradition in martial arts, the question is, at what point does something become traditional? Lets be honest, the Gi, the traditional martial arts uniform for most martial arts isn’t all that old. In fact most martial arts are even younger than the gi is. All this long preamble is to address a bone of contention a lot of us cross training martial artists have with the competition rules of Judo.

Regardless of what anyone says, Judo always has been, and hopefully always will specialize in nage-waza, or throwing. However, when Judo first started competing, it was against other styles of ju jitsu who didn’t really like the new kid on the block. Kano (founder of Judo) said this about the constant challenges to the style, “It seemed that the Kodokan had to take on the whole of Japan, and had to have a spirit of being ready for anything.” In 1886 the first high profile tournament, (in which they were challenged by Totsuka-ha Yoshin-ryu jujutsu) several of their matches lasted more than an hour! At the time, any throw and any lock was legal. Things went until they were finished.

Naturally these kind of matches were not what Kano was working towards, nor the rules used within the Judo schools themselves. However it wasn’t until 1887 that Kano banned finger and toe locks in competition, which normally means they had been doing that before the ban. It wasn’t until 1899 that wrists and ankle locks were banned. Things progressed until 1916 when they banned twisting knee locks and submissions by squeezing the ribs (apparently they were having problems with that). They waited almost another ten years and in 1925 gave up and banned any lower body locks or submissions.

Things cooled down for a while, and up until the 1970s matches were still allowed to be 20 minutes long! As glad as most of us were to get smaller rounds, they made up for it by introducing a penalty for “passive judo” which in practice was a penalty for not attacking every 15 seconds, or as I like to call it, “Ready or not here I come!” They also banned the kani basami (flying scissor sweep), and although I love that throw, I really do see the danger in letting people use it. They also added and removed various small points and penalties.

Finally almost to the present, 2010 they removed using anything that involves grabbing, scooping or touching below the belt. (think Greco Roman wrestling) unless its part of combination, which in real life is really difficult to pull off.

So if we are going to say “We are doing this because of tradition.” it makes you wonder which tradition we are following.

Aug 212011

What everyone thinks of traditional martial arts

If you don’t frequent martial arts forums you are missing out on some of the greatest rivalry/e-thuggiery in the world today. I am of course speaking of three way split in the martial arts world. Traditional martial arts, which are martial arts who devote themselves to keeping the ways, terms, and teaching methods the same as they were handed down. There are Reality based martial arts, which are devoted solely to self defense and the most efficient means of surviving an attack. Finally you have combat sport martial arts which are martial arts that believe that one of most important aspects of fighting is to spend time fighting, and use competition as a major tool to rate the effectiveness of a person’s training.

What everyone thinks of Reality based martial arts.

Now once again, if you have never heard of these devisions, you are most likely wondering why any of them have beef with the other two. After all, why can’t you respect your roots, defend yourself, and become a better fighter by fighting all at the same time? Try asking that in a martial arts forum and see where that gets you. Then you will have all three sides angry at you.

So as a public service to all of you I present a little Q and A using each of these styles best known cliches and attitudes, possibly for your education, hopefully for your entertainment.

What is wrong with your rival martial art factions?

Combat: Unrealistic.

Reality: Unrealistic.

Traditional: Unrealistic and disrespectful.

What everyone thinks of Combat Sport martial arts

What makes a given technique a good technique?

Combat: If it works.

Reality: If it works.

Traditional: If its old

What’s your idea of the ideal technique?

Combat: Ground and pound baby! Ground and Pound! (Translation: Knock your opponent down and beat them until tender…baby)

Reality: Eye gouge! No… groin strike! No groin strike, then eye gouge! (you little punk.)

Traditional: Master **** would generate a field of ki energy around himself and then take control of his opponent’s energy defeating his opponent without ever touching him.

Describe a Reality based martial artist for me.

Combat: Older men and women who don’t want to work out.

Reality: Americans who refuse to be victims!

Traditional: Confused souls who do not grasp The Way.
Describe a Combat Sport based martial artist for me.

Combat: Awesome bro!

Reality: Bunch of jocks obsessed with playing their own game.

Traditional: Idiot barbarians who either are, or shortly will be criminals.

Describe a Traditional martial artist for me.

Combat: Gay.

Reality: Hippy nut jobs prancing around pretending they can fight!

Traditional: Enlighten warrior pilgrims. (At least we don’t roll around hugging other guys!)

Now you think I’d give a list of martial art that fall into each of these factions, but really its what each school thinks of themselves, not the style. I myself thought I belonged to one branch just to learn that everyone in else thought differently. On the internet, its not what you do, but who you pick on that defines you.

Aug 212011

Recently a study was released by using FBI statistics of fights from 1996 to 2000. The findings were really surprising.
First off if you divide the fights by which martial art was present, I was pleased to see that in any given fight, a karate fighter (with no kick boxing experience) knocked their opponent out 19% of the time. This was trumped by boxers with an overall knock out rate of 20%. Of course its interesting to note that in any case where alcohol was present, the boxers had a 90% KO rate. And despite the fact boxers train with gloves and wraps, and in the study, all of these fighters were bare fisted, the boxers only suffered hand injuries 10% of the time.
However, the king of this study was kick boxers. They netted a whopping 36% knock out rate! On top of that, the dominate attack that was used to deliver the knock out was a kick!

Now let me go ahead and add a disclaimer, when crime reports are filled out, there is the great chance that tae kwon do is miss reported as karate, or an MMA fighter is reported as a kick boxer etc. That said what I really found mind blowing about this article was its departure from classic self defense wisdom. First, martial arts that focus on competition aren’t useful in real life situations and second, kicks to the head are unrealistic! All other martial arts in the study showed up so rarely that no worth while statistics could be gleaned from them.

The rest of the study was interesting, but kind of outside the scope of our blog. Things like what percent of people were stabbed with a bottle (7% by the way). So I guess the lesson here is keep an open mind in your training, and a good old fashion punch or kick to the head is still a great way to end a fight.

Aug 112011

Wow, busy week. I’ve ignored the last week’s UFC so completely that I’ve given up at this point and instead give you the top 5 weirdist martial arts weapons.

Martial arts generally make sense. We start simple, punching folks, then progress to kicking people, biting, clawing, etc. Then some wise guy thinks, “Why don’t I just chunk you with a rock.” And someone else picks up a stick, and its all down hill from there. I don’t know how many generations it took for martial artists to come up with some of these, but they leave you with the just one question. Why?

5.The Iron Fan

For the dainty martial artist

So someone says, I need something to defend myself at formal occasions, that will match my dress, and help me deal with the lack of air conditioning. So he took the the lightest object he could find and decided to make it into a weapon to hit people. I give you the iron fan. It was a simple design, basicly iron slats replaced the wooden ones and when you folded the fan, it made a decent club and could be used for blocking.



4.Hook swords
We have all thought it at one time or another. Our main problem with a sword? Too pointy. You could put someone’s eye out! So the Chinese took the end of the sword and bent it into a crook, took the point and put it on the hilt (so you could stab yourself) and there it was, the hook sword. Honestly, kind of a cool weapon. It was used in pairs so that enemy weapons could be trapped and countered.


3.Monk’s Staff
It was right after the staff was invented. Some shaolin monk got drunk and when he woke up he found he had speared a bird cage. His students said “Master were you drinking last night?” He glared at them and insisted he had done that on purpose, and had to figure out how to fight with one on the spot.


2.Claw on a rope
One day two kung fu masters were standing around arguing about which of their styles was more powerful. One of them finally said, “Well our style can kill a man ten feet away with a back scratcher!” and to back up his claims this baby was born. It kind of looks like a kung fu meteor hammer with a claw attached. As far as I can tell this is called (and excuse my spelling) a Fei-Zhua? I am not sure that this weapon makes it faster to kill someone, but it looks like it will hurt.


Used by a martial art in southern India, it had a handle like a sword and thin whip like blades that could be coiled and carried with you. I speak only for myself, but I would do more harm to myself then I could ever do to an attacker with one of these crazy whip swords. When I think about the amount of work that it must take to make one of these, and all the training to learn how to not kill one’s self, I gave it the number one space for inciting most strongly the question why?

Aug 012011

This short clip of Ellis Coleman is from the recent Jounior World Greco Roman Wresting Championship. I really don’t know much more than that, but my goodness that’s impressive. I really like the lack of showboating afterward too. If you keep watching it, they will show the take down from different angles. Coleman won bronze.