Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Episode XVI-For a few Podcasts More

Episode XVI-For a few Podcasts More

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Recorded: Sunday September 7th, 2014


Intro:  Theme from "Enter the Dragon" by Lalo Schifri

  Moses Powell Memorial Seminar
  Martial Arts Nation Podcast
  Samurai Archives Podcast

Interlude Music: After Dark by Tito & Tarantula

  Ann Osman
  One Fighting Championship (One FC)
  Ana Julaton

  Ip Man
  The King of Fighters
  Jackie Chan

  Guantam Budh Nagar
  Shaolin Monastery
  Shi Yongxin
  Bruce Lee
  Lipton Ice Tea (and Bruce Lee)
Interlude Music: Anybody Listening?  by Queensryche

Interview with: Chris West of Samurai Archives Podcast
  Samurai Archives Podcast
  Goju ryu karate  
  Tae Kwon Do
  Mr. Miyagi
  Okinawan Kempo
  Shogun by James Clavell
  Trevor Absolom
  Dr. Karl Friday
  Edo/Tokugawa Period
  Fujiwara no Tsumitomo
  (Akira) Kurasawa
  Seven Samurai
  Toshiro Mifune
  Ghost Dog
  Forest Witaker
  Heian Period
  Sengoku Period
  Oda Nobunaga
  The Last Samurai
  Heaven and Earth
  47 Ronin
  Takashi Mike
  13 Assassins
  When the Last Sword is Drawn
  The Seven Samurai
  Musashi Miyamoto
  Gonryu jima
  Motoki Masahiro
  Sasaki Kojiro
  Bushido the Soul of Japan
  Samurai Archives Podcast

Interlude Music: Brother by Alice in Chains

This Week in Martial Arts: September 9th, 1915
  塩田 剛三 Shioda Gōzō
  Yoshinkan aikido
Contact Information
Twitter Account: @martialthoughts
Email: martialthoughts@gmail.com
Atemicast Youtube Channel

Outro Music: Voodoo Chile-Jimi Hendrix / Gayageum ver. by Luna

Friday, September 5, 2014

My weird experience with a fight this week

    As long time readers (and listeners) know, I teach high school.  Since I've moved to Nashville, I've had to take a job in a less desirable locality.  I now teach in a very rough school.  Don't get me wrong, I don't feel in danger or anything like that, and the school is very clean and well managed.  There are no detentions, only suspensions and expulsions.  They have a saying that I tend to agree with: "We are here for education, if that is not your goal, we'll find someplace else for you to be."  There are frequent fights, and what takes up a large majority of the students time and energy instead of education, is talking about, being in, describing, and planning for fights. 
Kane and Wilder's book.   I'm reading this now
    The worst part is, to use Kane and Wilder's language, that they are all social violence situations.  The only point of any of these fights is to prove that they are willing to fight.  There is nothing gained or lost.  There is no real threat to any of these people other than their face.  I use the word face as in "face value" or "saving face."  There seems to be a fight every day or two, and with a student body of about 800 students, that is quite frequent.  I also understand that when people are in lower socioeconomic situations, honor or face is a very prized possession.  I also understand, that to look weak could invite more situations.  To use the words from Ender's Game, "a fight to prevent a future fight" is acceptable in my eyes.  I don't think that is anywhere near the majority of the fights though.
    Anyway, what happened was two girls, seemingly out of nowhere in my class, burst into the hallway and started getting into a screaming match which was apparently going to erupt into a violent situation.  Being the teacher, I quickly got between the students and was holding back the aggressor. What is interesting, from a martial arts point of view, was both my and her response.  I was holding her back with a single arm across her upper chest, like across her collar bones.  Every time she would advance, I would put pressure to one side, which would twist her slightly, and she couldn't walk the way she wanted to go.  I didn't even realize I was doing it until I thought about it later.  Since I wasn't the focus of the violence, I was also able to remain completely calm and control her this way.  I never once raised my voice or used any real amount of force.  The situation ended because it attracted the attention of about 3 other teachers and the campus police officer who took the girl away.

Adrenaline or Norepinephrine
    Afterwards, about 5 minutes later, I got the adrenaline dump.  My hands were shaky.  I had difficulty signing a pass for a student, and I had a lot of nervous energy.  Luckily, I had a break where I could walk around for about 10 minutes to wear it off.  I don't know why it happens later rather than at the moment for me, but that seems to be the way I function.
    I just wanted to share my experience and talk about how my martial arts training was applied to a "real-life" situation.  I know the violence wasn't directed at me, but I think it counts.  I was able to control a violent situation, and I remained calm and in control.  Anyone have similar stories?

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Difficulty of Simplicity

This is a weapon?
    We have a phrase in our dojo.   "Dazzle them with Bullshit."  We use this to refer to those actions that are not designed to have any practical application, but look cool.  Not to be picking on any one group, but for a reference point, think of the XMA events that they used to show on ESPN.  They would do bo staff work with thin, pieces of plastic, which were specifically reflective to impress and dazzle the judges.  The weapons themselves were mere props, not weapons.  By the way, of the competitions I saw, they never had martial artists as judges, just celebrities.  There were competitors that would do a "Japanese sword" form where he would toss his thin, unsharpened blade into the air, spin around, and catch it again.  Most of what I saw was glorified juggling, and wasn't any form of martial arts.  If you put enough sparkles and glowsticks on it, the judges won't notice, that you you're not doimg anything.  I'd had loved to see one of the competitors come out do one, perfect iaido draw and cut, resheath the blade, bow and walk off.  No BS, just simple and effective.
    I think all that dazzle is designed to cover up for flaws.  That's because the simplest things are the most difficult to do right.  I've been doing aikido for over a dozen years, and I'm still working on my tenkan and irimi.  The two most basic moves in aikido.  The more you concentrate on a simple thing, the more every detail needs to be correct.  And that's the difficulty of simplicity.  Because it is this one simple thing you are doing, if you do any small detail incorrectly, it shows.
   So the next time you go into your  dojo, and you're working on your kihon, your basics, do so mindfully.  Make sure the simple stuff is done right.  Make sure every detail, every piece of your body is in the correct place.  Feel what is done correctly and incorrectly.  You might appreciate the difficulty of it.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Another Interview with...Me

  The Martial Arts Nation just posted their 6th Episode which had an interview with me.  If you want to hear more of your Martial Thoughts host than you get normally, here you go.


  Try out the podcast.  Cory is a cool guy, whose a fellow martial artist.  And keep listening to the Martial Thoughts Podcast.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Information = Skill; Knowledge = Mastery

I blame the internet

  I don't remember where I stole borrowed this from on the internet, but I never seen as good an example of the difference between information and knowledge.  I taught high school level students for over a decade, and with the increased availability of the internet, i.e. smartphones, I've seen a drop in both the information and knowledge level of today's students.  Before you stop reading, this isn't a "kids these days" rant.  I am just addressing the problem before I talk about the solution.
   Here's an example of how information gets together to become knowledge.  In my AP Environmental Science class, there was a question to the effect of "How does global warming affect malaria rates?"  You have to have a bunch of pieces of information to answer that question.  You have to know that global warming increases rainfall, increases temperature, moves mosquito lines on mountains, that mosquitoes breed in still water, and that mosquitoes carry the malaria causing agent.  Wow!  That's a lot of pieces to put together.  But its the same thing with martial arts.
  We'll keep the example simple.  The question is "How do you deal with a front punch?"  There are ten thousand different variables that come together to answer that question, including what your preferred martial strategy and tactics are.  I've seen plenty of people in the dojo who can perform individual techniques beautifully.  They are well trained, and they know the terminology, but they can't answer questions about how techniques are related to each other, or how they are part of the over all system of our art.  These are the people I've referred to in the past as martial arts practitioners, as opposed to martial artists.  They haven't made that leap from information to knowledge.  They don't look at the system as a whole, with larger eyes.   They see a collection of individual techniques.  From my experience, that usually means, when something goes wrong with a technique, they can't flow into another one.  They are stuck, again, because they don't see the relationships.
    They probably also not see how life's other aspects are connected back to martial arts.  Music is often compared to the martial arts, as is driving.  That is the difference again between knowledge and wisdom.  The ability to connect unrelated ideas.  In Robert Greene's Mastery, he talks about how the really great thinkers in the world often came up with their ideas while doing something else.  Einstein was famous for coming up with physics ideas while playing the violin.  So try to see things with a wider gaze and ask your instructor questions (when and where appropriate) about how techniques fit into the system's strategy.  Look at your martial arts as a microcosm, see how it applies to the rest of of your life, and try to gain some knowledge.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Episode XV-A Fist Full of Podcast

Episode XV-A Fist Full of Podcasts

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Download the Podcast HERE

Recorded: Sunday August 3rd, 2014


Intro:  Theme from "Enter the Dragon" by Lalo Schifri

Introduction of Mariano
The Skeptics Guide (to the University)
Chendokan Aikido
Atemi ryu Jujutsu
Bill Herndon
  Episode XIV-A Fish called Podcast
Piranha Gear
Red Dragon Inn/New Legends of Shaolin
  Man Ting
  "When you just can stands it, just don't stands it."

Letter of corrections from Ezekiel
Martial Arts Nation
1. Wong Fei Hung is not the "Hung" of Hung Gar
2. Bodhidharma did not create Kung Fu
3. Taichi chuan (Yang Style)

Discussion Topic: The Value of Seminars
The Moses Powell Memorial Seminar
  Rape Prevention Classes
  Pat Morita
  Ginchin Funikoshi
  Self Defense Seminars
Weekend Long Seminars
  Physical Aspects
  Social Aspects
  Training Aspects
    Benny and Jude
    Cung Li Flying Scisors Leg Take Down
  Training Buddies
  Motivational Aspect

Martial arts certificate as important as physics or maths: Akshay
  Akshay Kumar
  Harold and Kumar
  Hot Yoga
Grace, danger blend in Haiti's machete fighting
 Michael Rogers
CSM Strategic hired by Turkmenistan government
Asian indoor and Martial Arts Games
Martial arts drama from 'Smallville' team coming to AMC
  Kung Fu
  Martial Law
    Sammo Hung
  Kung Fu: The Legend Continues
  Stephen Chow
    Shaolin Soccer
    Kung Fu Hussel
  Shanghai Noon
  David Wu
  Taichi Hero
  Taichi Zero
  Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
  Stephen Fung
  Power Rangers
  The Last Airbender
  Hung Gar
  Northern Shaolin
  Guy on a Buffalo
Panna Rittikrai (1961-2014)
Tony Jaa
Jijaa Yanin
Born to Fight (1986)
Ong Bak
Born to Fight (2008)
Dynamite Warrior
Bangkok Knockout
The Protector II
MMA fighter with Down syndrome sues to get back in the ring
Top Team Weston
Down's Syndrome
'Karate Clerk' Who Stopped Alleged Mugging: 'I Just Kicked Him In The Face'
  Mayura Disanayaka

Interlude Music: (Don't Fear) the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult

Interview with: Ryan Holiday
  Max Tucker
  Robert Greene
  Trust Me, I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator
  Growth Hacker Marketing
  The Obstacle is the Way
  Marcus Aurelius
  The Book of Five Rings
  The 33 Strategies of War
  Sam Sheridan
  A Fighter's Heart
  A Fighter's Mind

Interlude Music: Johnny B. Goode by Judas Priest

This Week in Martial Arts: August 12th, 1978
5 Deadly Venoms: Pick your Poison
  Cheng Cheh
  The Crippled Avenger

Contact Information
Twitter Account: @martialthoughts
Email: martialthoughts@gmail.com
Atemicast Youtube Channel

Outro Music: Voodoo Chile-Jimi Hendrix / Gayageum ver. by Luna

Review of Chocolate

  I had bought this movie about a week before I moved, and I just had the opportunity to watch it.  So even though this is a little bit older of a movie (2008), I wanted to give it a review, as it didn't seem to make a big impact in the US.

  Chocolate is a movie from Thailand, directed by Prachya Pinkaew.  He was the director of Tony Jaa's movies Ong-Bak and The Protector.  And as such, it has a very similar filming style during the fight scenes.  Not that the filming is bad, in fact, because they pulled the camera away a bit, you can actually see what the movements are.  That's one of those things I hate about bad fight scenes.  When the camera is so focused on the actors, that you can't see the fight scene.
  The story focuses on Zen, an illigitimate daughter of a Yakuza member and a female Thai underworld enforcer.  What makes it unusual is that Zen is autistic.  Jeeja Yanin (one of the names she goes by) does a very good job of portraying this.  However, the movie portrays her hyperfocused aspect on the physical
movements of the Muai Thai school next door, and the kung fu movies she likes to watch (Of course Tony Jaa is one of the actors she likes to watch).  This apparently makes her a bad ass.
  When Zen's mother gets cancer and needs chemotherapy, Zen and her chubby friend from childhood, Moom find her mother's old debt book, and start going around to collect loan money.  Mom's old underworld boss doesn't like that.  Hi-jinks ensue, and the movie goes on from there.
  Now to the review part.  The stunt team (Muai Thai Stunt Team) is just as much a star as any of the principle actors.  The last half an hour of the movie is one non-stop fight scene.  And its a good one.  The fights and stunts make the movie, and the acting was very good.  However, what I came away with is feeling sorry for anyone that an autistic person in their care.  I've only known a handful of people wit autism, but I've not had any real long-term dealings with them.  Because of that, I'm going to give this movie 3.5 Ninja Stars out of 5.  It was a good movie, definitely worth checking out, just for the stunts if nothing else.  The acting was very well done and the cinematography added to the excitement of the movie.  But the overall message made me feel a bit uncomfortable.  I don't know if that was the movie or me.