Archive for December, 2010

10 Questions with Jamen Zacharias

Posted in 10 Questions with tags , , , , , , on December 31, 2010 by Combative Corner

The Combative Corner is proud to introduce to you, a wonderful martial artist, teacher and man, Jamen Zacharias.  Jamen is the founder of the All Things Institute (ATI) in British Columbia, Canada.  He has a diverse background with expertise in Jeet Kune Do, edged weapons and swordsmanship.  For more information on Mr. Zacharias, please visit his homepage at PathOfRest.Com (you may also click on his image above) or you may click the following link to visit his YouTube Channel.

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  1. Was Jamen always interested in the martial arts and when did the passion begin? There have been basically 3 distinct phases of my interest and passion for the martial arts thus far. The 1st was my introduction, which began very young. I watched a double feature at a Drive-In with my parents. I was, maybe in grade 2. Chuck Norris was in the first flick and Bruce Lee the 2nd. The potency of Bruce was very obvious to me, even as a very young boy. We lived in a small town up north, so beginning formal study would not occur until I was in grade 6, after moving to another town. I started 1st in Karate. I did not choose a life long pursuit towards relative mastery or to teach until I was around 19 years of age. This ushers in the 2nd phase which began during a period I was very ill. I have suffered with severe Crohns disease. I eventually required a long string of life saving surgeries. It was during some of these difficult periods that I decided I would strive to walk a path of martial arts development, as fully and completely as I understood. I was largely physically unable, yet I had made up my mind. During this phase I began my most influential art of study, Jeet Kune Do and the sophisticated weapons training of Kali. I began training in these arts around 1992/93. During the first 6 to 7 years, I was basically honing my mentality and skills around the ideal of a proficient street fighter. A basis of raw functionality was being heavily ingrained in me during that time period. I worked in the security field for many years, as an officer and senior doormen, experiencing weekly mild-to-severe altercations with violence, sometimes involving edged and impact weapons and multiple attackers. In 1995, I was certified to teach and granted Full Instructorship in 1999 from my Jeet Kune Do teacher, Thomas Cruse. Thomas is a highly regarded teacher and exponent of the arts, also a close partner to renowned JKD/Navy Seal instructor, Paul Vunak. After an additional 10 years of training and teaching as a Full Instructor, Thomas certified me as a Senior Full Instructor in Jeet Kune Do and Kali. This was a great honor for me to receive from him. It was during these initial years that I began to pursue a hunger for spirituality and purpose. This culminated in me investigating the essential reality of all the major world religions and my becoming a follower of the Baha I Faith. Becoming a Bahai, inspired me to re-examine my understanding, expression and purpose for training the martial sciences. My practice at the time was becoming somewhat at odds with the direction I was striving to take in my life. From then, began another decade into the present, of on-going study and research, striving to understand essentially, how force becomes the servant of justice, and not a mere destructive tool of the ego. This is what has led into what was later called Path of Rest.
  2. What martial artists, athletes, styles have had the most influence on you? All of my martial arts teachers have had important influence on me, after that, of course Bruce Lee, James Lee, Dan Inosanto, Morihei Ueshiba and other greats were very impactful. Much inspiration and direction comes from the essential figures of the BahaI Faith, Baha u llah, Abdul Baha, Shoghi Effendi and the written guidance of the Universal House of Justice. I also gain a lot from consultations with my friends, students and training partners.
  3. How does someone develop the body and movement sensitivity that you have? I call this, learning to Read, Feed, Utilize and Dissolve, Energy, Pressure and Intention. It was not until I tried to develop according to a set of key precepts or principles that my abilities in these areas were more noticeably enhanced. I wished to be able to control a person in close quarters effortlessly and ethically, without triggering them or myself, into impulsive resistance, reaction or escalation. I strove to moderate and appropriate my uses of energy and manipulation of force. Doing this involves consideration of not only physical practice, but a striving to enhance the influence and awareness of ones inner dimension upon your skills. Your inner condition should be calm and composed, not allowing lower impulses to steel the helm of your actions, such as fear, desire to display or competiveness. In addition, impulses of retaliation, dueling or temper loss are striven to be avoided. Moderation of ones use of force is an important principle that guides against excess, which is a cause of escalation or resistance. Moderation in ones manipulation of force is more conducive to expressing the virtue of justice. Justice or the progressive expression of ones inherent potential nobility should never be sacrificed for a mere expression of an art or a style. This is a problem nowadays, as the art has often become more important then the being that expresses it, however, in reality, the art is to serve the being and all of humanity. Sorry for getting side tracked…To control and occupy a person’s centre, as in centre mass or centre of gravity is vital. There are several ways that this can be done. One may do it with a continued forward pressure, causing the recipient to back peddle. This is exampled in the Jet Chun Choi or straight blast, which consists of a minimum of 2-3 straight punches down a person centre line. The other way, which is the way I have focused on for some time now, is too basically ‘offset or bump and tip’ the persons centre. This is a subtle way, that causes the recipient to constantly have to adjust there posture to find balance, yet it is less abrasive and very subtle. It is done in such a way that causes what I call the ‘State of Bewilderment’. This means instead of them being triggered into a bodily reaction, they are in a way bumped into confusion. Confusion, by its nature, exists in the realm of thought, which is above the realm of bodily impulses, and therefore is more conducive to greater influence and lesser bodily triggers of escalation. To utilize pressure and energy while in cohesion with another’s body and limbs (and there energy) is a key to being able to offset and control there centre of gravity. Often when people practice flow hands, they only get to a certain level that is basically to act out the particular motions of the drill that they are using to practice. They are going through the motions, yet are not really progressing. The practice of the motions of a drill becomes confused for being the purpose. (When I say drills, I am referring to energy training like; chi sao, lop sao, harmonious spring, sumbrada, hubud or push hands). The drills movements are only a small percentage of its purpose and inherent benefits. The drill acts as a means to suspend a continuum of pressure, energy and lines. Many do not contemplate what they are striving to achieve with that pressure and energy, therefore never become aware of the secrets that can be discovered within there practice. An important hint is this: Cohesion (between two bodies, limbs or both) creates pressure and energy, or at least the means to read or be sensitive to pressure and energy. From this energy and pressure, the means is provided to control the recipient’s centre, preferably through bumping and tipping it in a subtle manner. If you moderate your use of force and become content with the use of little over excess, you will be on to something… another hint, is to avoid grip… I call this ‘no grip shifting’. You will rely 100% on the cohesion caused by pressure and energy, and 0% on gripping and grabbing. This will also cause you to moderate your use of force, and distribute it more carefully. Not sure whether any of what I saying will make sense, but it may for some? Also, our training drills should make one familiar with the various lines that are possible in close quarters, such as forward, back hand, straight hand, high, mid and low, eliminating the need for any visual cues, but pure adaptation based in feel and unobstructed flow of skill.
  4. Does Path of Rest have its own form or kata? There are currently no forms or kata in Path of Rest. I would not haphazardly add or create a form. If so however, it would likely be adapted for reasons to aid control of breath to initiate inner calm, which is conducive to better communication and emotional control, as well as the longevity aspects of practice, like unto Yoga. However, I am not qualified in this area at all, maybe one day. My wife is a diligent teacher and student of Yoga, and I enjoy evaluating her insights as she learns.
  5. Where does a beginner start in your system? I usually teach Flow Hands first, to get the ball rolling and key elements of the art identified. This is however, only if they are committed to the process. If I am teaching course modules however, for short term clients, such as for Personal Protection, Body Control Tactics or Protective Service Professionals, then I do not approach them as martial artists. I try to teach key elements that are transferrable and absorbed quickly for there needs. I truly feel though, that professions such as Law Enforcement should be practicing and learning these arts on an on-going basis, whether they are interested or not, as part of professional mastery. I feel this should include further considerations such as prayer, reflection, meditation, consultation and constant perfection of peaceful communication and conflict resolution skills that should be taught regardless of interest. For the everyday individual, male and female, young and old, I feel learning to defend ones self and to move a persons body weight is a skill just as important as your basic drivers license, Level 1 swimming, basic first aid and food safety. These courses however, must be carefully developed, avoiding the need for memory recall under stress and must be adaptable to a variety of situations, concerns and professions not just life preservation.
  6. Being on You Tube, you probably deal with your fair share of criticism? What effect does this have on you and how do you deal with it? My experience with YouTube has,  thus far, been good, as it has opened me up to meeting many new friends, such as yourself (Michael Joyce). I also appreciate the creative outlet. I have experienced my share of criticism. In the beginning, it was an adjustment dealing personally and professionally with those that feel inclined to put down others and their work. Hiding behind the keyboard is easy. I respect those that are able to voice their thoughts in a considerate manner. It is saddening to see how cruel people can become when behind their keyboard. I try not to be hurt by negative remarks. I am also trying nowadays to not get blown up by the good remarks either, just try to keep it all in check. There is so much skill, talent and great people all over the world, willing to share and connect can be a great thing.  It assists in demonstrating that we are one human family, learning and benefitting from each other’s strengths and contributions, worldwide. On a personal level, my phone number and location is now all over the internet, if a person wants a genuine conversation with me, the medium is available to do so, just call me… I am open to that!
  7. How did the Path of Rest come about? Path of Rest came about through several factors and influences, some of which have already been mentioned. The name Path of Rest however came about by accident. I was writing an article I called the ‘Path of Counter Locking Qualities’. It started by listing 4 qualities that represented a step along the path of counter locking skill as I saw it. The first was resistance, which represents the natural instincts and impulses that are engaged when someone has force applied to their limbs. The natural thing to do is resist. This reaction, at this point, though effective to a certain extent, is not based in intelligence, learning, or skill, but pure instinct and brute force. The second quality, I termed explosiveness. This represented the beginning of learning, and applying technique, like unto the 2nd stage of the 3 stages of cultivation mentioned often by Bruce Lee or in D.T. Suzuki’s commentaries on Zen in the art of swordsmanship. This realm or level has some natural flaws, due to the tug-of-war occurring between the lower realm of instinct, and bodily impulse, and the higher realm, which is based in the faculty of thought and the exercise of learning. The 3rd level on the path was subtlety. This level was in away equal to the 3rd stage in the 3 stages of cultivation, which is like unto attaining ‘no mind’ fluidity or emptiness in the art. This is when your mind and body is now functioning at a high level of skill without the obstructions of thought or bodily impulse. Technique at this level is therefore very effortless and potentially very subtle. Transcendence is the 4th level. It is in a way, what I called the ‘3 Stages of Cultivation, Plus 1’. The reason is, one can be in every way an expert, having no obstruction of mind and body and be in complete command of their craft, yet still be carried away by the insistent self or ego, and therefore, be unjust, cruel and in every way selfish. Transcendence therefore represents the striving of the individual to bring the command of their craft away from lower aims and tendencies to dwell in the divine attributes of spirit, nobility, virtue and holiness. When these divine realities are at the helm of our actions, they are subject to new rules and realities that are not trapped in the realms below. It is a marriage within our actions of sciences and crafts with the will of our Creator. Each paragraph of that article had those qualities listed at the heading. When I was finished writing, I looked at the heading of the article, which said the “Path of Counter Locking Qualities” and the Headings going down the page of the article reading, Resistance, Explosiveness, Subtlety and Transcendence and it was then that I saw it! The “Path of R.E.S.T.” Of course the article is addressing much more then counter locking, but universal principles. I fell in love with the name Path of Rest and it’s progressive meaning. The one major flaw with the name however, is that it is not self explaining.. I wish it was at times, but trying to explain it is part of the learning for me, so it’s all good.
  8. What are your favorite books on the martial arts and why are they your favorite? I am blessed with a fairly large, growing library of books. I love to read and study. As I have mentioned, I glean the most from scriptures and sacred writings. I read the Gospels, Torah, Quran, Gitas, Dhammapada, Tao Te Ching, First Nations Wisdom and of course the many volumes of BahaI Writings. I enjoy works written in regards to Bahai principles, precepts and themes, such as the oneness of religion, progressive revelation, the essential oneness of humanity, the harmony of science and religion and many others. I do love good martial arts books, and I have over a hundred of them, however the good ones can be few and far in between I feel now days. I have enjoyed reading or rather studying, “Zen and Japanese Culture” by DT Suzuki, “Tao of Gung Fu” an unfinished work of Bruce Lee, or works by D.F. Draeger. I have enjoyed reading about Aikido and its founder, as I feel it is a remarkable process that was involved in realizing its philosophy. Though no, I do not and have not practiced Aikido, as many have speculated, but I love its philosophy no less. I love good books on Tai Chi Chuan or Swordsmanship. I am not really interested in current books on MMA or there respective fighters. I have studied many books on Jeet Kune Do and I have many books on Jeet Kune Do. I truly feel Jeet Kune Do philosophy is a beautiful and potent contribution to the martial arts. I also feel there is yet much more to be potentially gleaned from it then has thus far been generally realized, especially when applied alongside of clear, ethical purpose and guidance.
  9. [removed] will relist later.
  10. Outside of martial arts, what does Jamen like to do? What is Jamen passionate about? I enjoy hiking, learning barefoot jogging with my dog, driving in the wilderness with my 4×4 Jeep, spending time with my beloved wife and friends, reading, discussing the wonder and mysteries of life and the universe, riding my bike, listening to music, prayer, reflection, meditation, writing and working with people, watching a good movie with popcorn.

BONUS QUESTION

  1. If Jamen Zacharias was an existing video game character, who would he be and why?I have never played a video game yet, or not since Pac Man and Space Invaders came out ha ha. I love the Hulk as a character though…. If you look for it, it showcases the universal battle with ones lower impulses, our degraded behaviors, our loss of temper, our destructive impulses and fears… I think I can identify with that?

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    I would truly like to express my sincere thanks for the opportunity to express myself in Chen Center’s, Combative Corner. I feel the questions were thoughtful and compelling. I enjoyed answering them very much and hope the readers are not too bored or impatient with my long windedness. In Peace and Gratitude, Jamen Zacharias

    You are very welcome Jamen.  It was a pleasure!

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    HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE !!!!

    [FACEBOOK]     [YOUTUBE]   [TWITTER]

Roundtable Discussion 007: Year’s Best

Posted in Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , , on December 23, 2010 by Combative Corner

“List one exciting thing that happened to you this year (in your business/ personal life) and explain why it had such a big impact/or why it topped your list.”

We, at the CombativeCorner would love to hear your highlights!  Let us know in the comment section below.

[Guest – Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu]

I had two moments, one when I won the worlds nogi weight and Open, which was a dream come true.  And the second, my fight against Braga Neto at the semifinals at the worlds which won as the “Best fight of the Year” by GracieMag.  I had a huge comeback after loosing by 6×0, lasting less then 30 seconds of fight after scaping of many tight chokes, I got out of a back attack and tapped him out in a beautiful triangle. It was a tough fight and an amazing finish.

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I think some of the greatest things we know were discovered by accident. This past year, I was teaching a Grade 10 girls class self-defense and I had to end the class early in order to get to another scheduled class on time. I was not sure what elemets of the curriculum to teach or not because I had to cut some stuff out for brevity’s sake.

I anazlyzed the curriculum (on the fly) and chose to teach one technique that I thought could be applied to many situations, and that in this case the girls would still be getting some high value instruction.

And man, let me tell ya…that opened up a whole new world for me. I couldn’t stop thinking about that technique, all its applications, and the greater implications for the Hybrid Fighting Method and self-defense in general. The Hybrid Fighting Method now teaches this as a primary means of defense/offense, and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. I will have video up in 2011 demonstrating these things.  (YouTube Link)

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For me there cannot be one exciting thing, every year and every day since the year of 2002, the time of my awakening I have viewed every day to be special. I have been living within the present moment since then. While living within the present moment, there is no day that is more significant than another. I do not celebrate holidays like the way common people celebrate holidays, I see everyday to be a holiday, everyday is a birthday, everyday with my wife is our wedding day. Of course there are times the mind or ego interferes and tries to bring in the future or past, but I have learned to identify this ego and become a master over it.

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The year two thousand and ten has been an amazing year.  Even though I managed to put this website together and recruit such talented and helpful contributing authors,… even though I was able to create my first audio cd (Fear Shedding) in my audio series on self-protection, my highlight was on July 2nd of this year when I proposed to my fiance, Jenny.

It was a very touching time because we were at Sunset Beach, staying with my best friend’s parent’s home.  July 5th, the year before, my best friend (of over 20 years) passed and our being at Sunset was not only time to be with his mother, but to come together as a family to recognize his life and what he meant to us.  My friend Cyprian (page) would have been enormously proud of Jenny and me, and would have been tremendously honored by my choice of using this time of mourning as a time of celebration.  I know this to be true.  And I’m looking forward to my “highlight” of marriage happening in 2011.

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Unfortunately this year has been one of the toughest we’ve faced so far. Literally from Jan. 1st till now this year been a non stop trial by fire and I honestly can’t wait for it to end. Having said that, my high point would be that I’m still here at the end of it all and looking forward to the new year. Also that I had a long list of friends and family to help distract me and get me through it all. Thanks to all of you, you know who you are!

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The highlight of 2010 is actually something that happened to my wife. She got tenure, which is a huge deal for a professor. Not only am I happy for her, but it also means I don’t have to move again in the foreseeable future. The nomadic life of an academic made finding training partners and getting classes established a little tough. Every time we moved, we’d have to spend another year just learning about the new place and making friends, only to have to move again. I finally feel like I can settle down.

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2010 has been a very hard year for me. Lost a lot of family. Also new Health issues for me have also made this a very hard year.
But we learn from the bad as well as the good.
My Top highlight of the year is that I am Married to my best friend. I am very lucky to be so happy with her. Many other good things as well came to pass this year as well.  I wish you Happy holidays. And I look forward to 2011! Keep training hard everyone!  Yours In Aiki, Robert.

 


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Happy Holidays Everyone!

From All of us at The Combative Corner

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10 Questions with Chen Zhonghua

Posted in 10 Questions, Internal Arts, Taijiquan, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2010 by Combative Corner

The CombativeCorner gives a special welcome to Chen “Joseph” Zhonghua, not only for being a masterful teacher of Chen Style Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan), but for being the primary teacher of the CombativeCorner’s own, Michael Joyce.  Master Chen is the founder and head master at the Hunyuantaiji Academy in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  He is the only official International standard bearer for Taijiquan through the lineage of the late Chen Style master Hong Junsheng.  Master Chen has an unmatched ability to explain complex concepts and theories and gives many of his students the unique priviledge of discovering for themselves the powerful and the often-thought, “mysterious” forces of Taijiquan.  Get to know Master Chen better by subscribing to his YouTube channel.  As a close student (Joyce) to Master Chen, I can safely give you one important tip, “Study the circles.” (video located at the bottom)

(Click the picture above to visit his channel. Click here for his 2nd channel)

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(1)

What was the moment when you knew you didn’t want to just teach (school system), but teach Taijiquan for a living?
Two events in 2001 led me to that decision. In a discipleship application, one student outlined his future actions in regard to how to commit his time to learn taiji from me. It struck me that my teachings in taiji have profound influence in people’s lives. I realized that as a part time taiji teacher, I had no right telling serious students how to regard taiji as part of their lives.

Another event was a plea from a student in my Maple Ridge (near Vanouver, Canada) workshop group. I teach a weekend workshop once a month in that location. In 2001 I was hesitant whether I would be able to continue another year while teaching in a high school in Edmonton full time.

These two events helped me make up my mind to go into full time taiji teaching.

(2)

For someone who is just starting out in Taijiquan, what do you recommend for them to concentrate on?
Learn the rules and regulations of the art. Don’t try to make them up on your own.

(3)

As someone progresses in Qigong and/or Taijiquan how much importance would you place on their study of certain texts (i.e. YiJing, Tao Te Ching,etc.)?
Reading of classics should only be supplementary to the practice of taiji/qigong.

(4)

Many students are enjoying a mix of martial arts; taking from one, borrowing from another. What do you think of this?
I am of the old school. I try to learn and do one thing right at a time.

(5)

For those who do not know, what do feel to be the difference(s) between Chen Taijiquan (Hong) and Hunyuan Taijiquan (Feng)?
Chen Taijiquan emphasizes the physical aspect while Hunyuan Taijiquan emphasizes the non-physical aspect.

(6)

How important is it, in your opinion, for someone to practice qigong? Do you feel that qigong should be a separate practice outside of Taijiquan form?
First of all, Qigong and taiji are two disciplines. They are not directly related. It is totally acceptable to learn and practice taijiquan without qigong and vice versa. On the other hand, the practice of qigong indirectly enhances the practice of taijiquan.

(7)

When watching your videos, of both yourself and your students, emphasis seems to be placed (highly) on the Practical Method First Routine (Yi Lu). Could you please tell us why other aspects such as: the Second Routine (Er Lu), Weapons (i.e. Sword (Jian), Sabre (Dao)) are under-emphasized?
In taiji practice, everything is equal. The placement of an emphasis is highly arbitrary. In my opinion, Foundations and Yilu are basic and therefore, fundamental. Constant practice of the fundamentals will lead to future progress when others aspects such as Cannon Fist, weapons, etc. are learned.

(8)

When Master Chen is not teaching, practicing form, or running your business, what does he like to do for fun?
Doing circles.

(9)

The foundational exercises of the “Positive & Negative Circles” are important in the Practical Method system. What makes them so important?
They are the building blocks. Everything in taiji is made up of either a positive circle or a negative circle, or parts of. They are like the DNA of people.

(10)

A century from now, when people look back on Master Chen Zhonghua…. what would you like them to remember about you?
Kept the tradition alive.

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AS MASTER CHEN would instruct, “Learn the Circles”

“V” For Vendetta : School Board Shooting

Posted in Crime, Discussion Question, Self-Defense, Violence, Weapons with tags , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by Combative Corner

Bay District Schools in Panama City, Florida.  (12/14/2010)

Discussion Question (bottom of article)

The world was shocked today when television aired the video feed from yesterdays Bay District School meeting in Panama City, Florida (watch main video here). Clay Duke, a man of 56 years, (it was said [CNN.com]) sat quietly until the end of the meeting. When it was time for citizens to air their grievances, Duke walked over to a wall, spray-painted a large circle enclosing the letter “V” in red… and within moments pulled out a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun. Duke asked everyone in the room to leave except for six men.

Superintendent Bill Husfelt (seated in the middle) asked the gunman to let the others go, but Duke made his intentions clear as he raised his gun and began firing. In the nick of time, security man Mike Jones returned fire, hitting with two shots. Duke, wounded, fell to the ground, turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger. None of Duke’s shots found their mark, and all the board members were unharmed, physically.

Besides Mr. Husfelt’s brave efforts to de-esculate the situation and ‘hear Duke out,’ there was another heroic effort made by board member Ginger Littleton. After being let out, Littleton crept back inside (Duke’s back to her) and walloped him with a right-handed swing of her pocketbook. Her attempt to subdue him failed, as she lost balance and fell to the floor. Luckily, Duke choose not to kill her then. She later went on to say (about why she intervened),

“I was concerned about my guys…I knew something bad was going to happen. That was my option. …My guys had three-ring binders and pencils for protection, and that’s all.”

As self-defense teachers (as many of our reader-base is), it is important that we turn a keen idea to this violent scenario.  What was said, what was done, the measures taken, the possible outcomes,… the whole enchilada!  In my mind, and if you saw the video – there are cues that can be picked up, possible opportunities squandered, but all-in-all… they all (especially William Husfelt) did an exceptional job and (most importantly) no one got hurt.

Discussion Question:

As a self-defense teacher, martial artist or even as an everyday citizen, what is “your take” on what happened?  Seeing as though the six board members where very lucky (and they were!) that none of the bullets hit… that aside…what would be another plan-of-action?  In other words, would you have done something differently -had you been either the Superintendent or Mrs. Littleton?

We all are looking forward to your comments.

Combative Corner – The Trailer

Posted in Videos with tags , , on December 15, 2010 by Combative Corner

Chen Bing Trailer

Posted in Internal Arts, Videos with tags , , , , , on December 5, 2010 by Combative Corner

 

10 Questions with Maul Mornie

Posted in 10 Questions, Silat with tags , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by Combative Corner

The Combative Corner had the chance to catch up with Silat master Maul Mornie.  Maul is from Seria, a small town in Brunei Darussalam but is currently based in the United Kingdom.  Maul has a popular YouTube channel that he started in Feb. 2006 and currently has 4,000+ subscribers and almost 3.5 million upload views (as of Dec. 2010).  Click his picture above to view is website or click here, Maul565 to visit his YouTube channel.

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Q.1

How young were you when you started training in the martial arts? (and did you study one system only?)
I started training in the silat at the late age of 12 years old under the guidance of my grandfather and great grandfather. They started when they were 6 years old. One other art that I commit to practicing is traditional japanese jujitsu. I started informally (without a curriculum) when I was in college at age 20 from a Malaysian who was working in Brunei.

I am a bit choosy when it comes to martial arts training; it has to have the right attitude, the right methods and the right mindset. I have met many martial artist in my travels around the world and I found ALL martial arts and systems are effective.  What makes them less efficient is the practitioner itself. When coming to Europe to continue my studies, I found out not all traditional jujitsu styles are the same, regardless if visually they look identical.

While people are in the MMA and Tactical Combatives hype, I was not looking for a “reality-based martial arts” or “combative fighting”; just good training with good spirited people, I was more interested with the “traditional” martial arts that makes people engage with one another with respect and self developement. And like the silat that I was taught, traditional jujitsu had the same principles of “mutual benefit”.

Q.2

Did you always have a desire to teach Silat professionally or did you have other passions?
I started to instruct publicly in an open seminar in May 2007. I never thought anyone would be interested to learn traditional silat.  Back home in Brunei, the younger generations are more interested with taekwondo, karate, kung fu, Muay Thai – everything non local and anything that they see on TV and the movies.

I was an engineering student in the UK, it all started when I was showing 2 guys one “option” on how defend from a knife in one of the jujitsu classes (they worked as security guys). Through word of mouth they promoted me to their friends. They were more interested with fast, effective, self defence techniques rather than traditional training, while other students had part time jobs at cinemas, restaurants, etc on the weekends. I was training security guys the size of rugby players with bisceps the size of my head.
A musician from South Africa (who lived just a few houses from me) approached me on my final year before I completed my studies because he was attacked while he was abroad. He trained twice a week. I was about to leave for Brunei in few months, so as reference for him when I leave, we recorded a video in the park nearby. Being a student at that time, I had no DVD burner to give him a copy, so I decided to post it on a “descreet” website ‘http://www.facebook.com/l/b505f7Lk5-2DYFTKocWfAi2alww;www.Youtube.com’. This was in 2007, that time when you search for ‘Silat’ on youtube, there were less than 5 videos. So who’s going to know?

In a few weeks I’ve received emails and messages from a number of people from around the world. I was thinking to delete the videos because it was starting to gain too much attention and the fact that I was being bombarded by emails from people I do not know. Though I felt honoured and I appreciate everyone’s support and emails, most were more interested to discuss techniques, philosophy, and not physical training.

It was not until 2 months before I was about to leave for home, an Italian businessman/martial artist by the name of Carlo Andreis, after watching my videos, contacted me and invited me for a 10 days private lesson and 1 public seminar. 16 martial arts instructors from Milan, Verona and Desenzano came to my 1st seminar. They liked it and Carlo Andries asked me if I was interested to come to Italy again in 2 months, just a few weeks before I was about to leave for Brunei for good, so I said to myself, why not? The seminar attracted people from outside of Italy, and after that I got invited to Germany by Cristian Velici and then everything was like a snowball rolled down a hill.

I was not intending to teach martial arts, if I had not posted that one youtube video, my life’s journey would have been different and I would be an engineer in Brunei right now.

Q.3

How do you compare your training from when you lived in Brunei to when you moved to the UK?
In Brunei, as a child training, it was more intense.  In the west you would call it “Child Abuse”, but for me it was everyday training, I also got all the love and attention I needed as a child from my parent and my whole family. As a child you tend to soak everything up and question nothing; I go to school, go for extra classes, come home, train and sleep, this was my routine in my early years. When I first started in Europe instructing adults who themselves are experienced and skilled in their own martial art systems, I came to meet a different mindset , they tend to ask questions “Why? Why? Why do this? Why do that? Why don’t you do it this way”, the culture back home is different, you don’t ask why, you don’t compare the art or the movement, you just do what you were told and you gain all the benefits from that training.

But again I also understand that as a child, I had no responsibilities other than school and my daily chores, but as an adult, you cannot go to work or come home to your family with bruises on your face and your forearm (plus juggling everyday life responsibilities).

Q.4

Are there any changes that you’ve personally made to your martial art teaching to make it more “exciting” or “mainstream” to non-Bruniens?
I have not changed anything in instructing the dedicated members of the closed doors training groups. Travelling to different countries and meeting people from different backgrounds, I only changed the intensity of the training and body conditioning when intructing the ‘open public’ seminars to avoid “liability issues” when training with people I dont personally know.

Basically, my closed door training are more to “body and movement conditioning” and my public seminars are “techniques-based”.

Q.5

What are your feelings about sport competition?  (Do you encourage your students to test their skills in this manner?)
There is no competitive mindset in SSBD, its aim is to finish a confrontation as soon as possible efficiently without effort. A sports (competitive) mindset and traditional training mindset in martial arts training are two totally different things.  – At the end of the day it depends on your goals and intention. 8 out of 10 of who trains in SSBD is not interested in competing in the tournament circuit, most I have met are interested in self-preservation and self-defence regardless of gender, age and life style. Everyone who trains with me either are already skilled in another art or they start from scratch and have different goals and intentions in their training. What they decide to do in the martial arts training not involving SSBD or myself, I usually give them full support.

Q.6

Silat Suffian Bela Diri is a very efficient and deadly art-form, especially when you bring weapons to the table.  How important is gun and knife training to you system?
SSBD does not teach anyone “how to use a weapon”, it teaches one to “understand the use” of the weapon, so that we can defend from it. For example, to understand to defend from a good boxer you learn from boxers, to understand to defend from a powerful kick you learn from Muay Thai practitioners. To learn to effectively defend from weapons, it is very important to efficiently understand their use.

Q7.

In getting to know you (through your videos, website and facebook) I see that family is very important to you.  Is there a strong family tradition of teaching Silat in your heritage?
Family is very important to me. Silat has been in my family (both my father’s and mother’s side) for generation but it was never taught openly to the public, only for family protection and personal preservation.

Q8.

You are busy with SSBD workshops and travel all over the world.  What is your favorite and least favorite things about traveling?
Most airports that I travel out from are basically 4hr+ away from where I live, I have to check in 2 hours before which means I have to leave home at least 6hrs before the flight. What’s funny is that my flights in Europe are never longer than between 1hr to 2hrs 30mins but the journey from home to the airports take a large part of the day. I travel via public transport, what is usually frustrating is when the flight times fly too early or returning too late during the day that there are no public transport services available before or after the specified times, that I have to sleep over – either at airports or airport hotels, which basically are unnecessary expenses and time away from home .

There was one time I had to leave home about 12 hours before the flight due to worker’s strike.  The flight was only 2hrs.

Q9.

There are many people, even experienced martial artists that do not know a lot about Silat.  What makes SSBD different/unique?
Unfortunately I do not have enough experience in other systems to compare SSBD with other arts. I can only present my videos for others to see and only “they” can see what is unique and what is less in it.

Since I posted my 1st youtube video, it is open for ALL to comment, I do not filter them, I only delete those who promote religious or racial slandering. I take everything as positive and constructive criticism, these people help keep my feet on the ground, though once in a while there are people who just give negative comment for the sake of commenting and brings no benefit whatsoever to anything.

I think that is what makes SSBD unique, I am open for any constructive criticism, it helps keep quality control. I am proud to say that for the past 4 years I’ve only posted around 30 to 33 quality videos on youtube.

Q10.

What are your future plans regarding your work?
At the moment, I plan everything 1 year ahead in advance, I try to take little steps to reach my goals and concentrate all my efforts to those little steps. For me reaching success is an ongoing process, a position which I am yet to reach, I have my own personal mile stone, that is to make my family proud of me and not disappoint them.

I constantly receive invitations for seminar in different parts of the world, but I try to make the right decisions, I don’t just accept the next invitation that comes my way, I have to evaluate the long term potential before accepting anything, which includes networking and positive growth in the propogation of SSBD and Bruneian martial heritage in general.

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For More Information on Maul Mornie and SSBD, visit his website by clicking his above picture

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