Archive for February, 2011

10 Questions with Tim Morehouse

Posted in 10 Questions, Fencing, Fighters, Swordsmanship, Weapons with tags , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2011 by Combative Corner

Tim Morehouse is an Olympic Silver medalist in fencing (Beijing Games 2008) and a National Champion (2010, Atlanta, GA).  He has achieved a lot since getting graduating from Brandeis University including: Masters degree in Education, the number one ranked US Men’s Saber Fencer (2009-2010) steadily climbing the ranks to within the top 15 in the world.  The CombativeCorner has been eager to learn about this guy, and luckily we did.  Look to find all in his upcoming book, due out in Spring 2012.  Click on the image above to visit his website.

How did you know you wanted to be a fencer?

I didn’t! I didn’t even know what fencing was when I first went to the tryouts at my middle school, but it was one of the few options for being on a team at my school, so I went to check it out and fell in love!

What was your biggest challenge when you first started?

My first semester of fencing I actually got a C! I had a hard time focusing and paying attention for long periods of time when I was younger so fencing really helped me to improve my focus an discipline, but focusing was also my biggest challenge at the start.

What is your favorite weapon and why?

Saber. I have fenced it since I was 14. I started in foil, but I always use to look over at the people practicing saber and wanted to do that one instead so I made the switch to saber. It if fast, dynamic and a lot of fun.

What is the greatest thrill of your career thusfar?

Winning Olympic Silver Medal in 2008 Beijing Olympics, my National Championship in 2010 and becoming a first team all-American in 2000 while representing my school Brandeis University

What athlete has inspired you the most and why?

Jackie Robinson was a big inspiration for me. I wrote a book report on him when I was in 4th grade and the character he showed helping to overcome the color barrier in Major League Baseball was unbelievable. He faced so many challenges and overcame all of them.

What is your favorite film to watch (that has fencing) and what about it makes it your favorite?

The favorite fencing thing I’ve watched is the Modern American family fencing episode and it is HILLARIOUS! The son on the show is a dominating epee fencer at his club and his family is so proud, but he wants to retire before the gold since he has to fence a girl…I don’t want to give away the whole episode! They just did the whole episode so well, had me dying of laughter!

What would Tim Morehouse have become (you think) had fencing not been a part of your life?

I’m not sure. I really enjoy acting and have done a lot of classes in high school and was missing one credit to be a theater minor in college. I was never able to do any plays because fencing always took priority.

What goes through your mind before you begin a bout?

I’m thinking about what action I’m about to execute and also telling myself to “come to my baseline” mental place. I always want to be fencing from a familiar and strong mental place. Never get too high and never get too low.

What ritualistic, superstitious, or mental preparation do you do pre-competition? In other words, how do you get prepared?

The night before I like to relax and watch TV shows. On long trips, I’ll usually bring a season of something. I also will write notes to myself the night before about things I want to make sure I do the next day when I compete. I have a very regimented warm up routine involving mental and physical warm up as well. Not too many superstitions.

What passions does Tim Morehouse have off the strip?

I enjoy doing things that are challenging and that help people. I was a teacher for 3 years with Teach For America and worked another 4 years on staff training teachers to work in inner-city schools so I would say that education is my biggest passion. I also enjoy blogging, doing a bit of stand-up comedy every once in a while, meeting great new people and planning events.

Bonus Question:

If Tim Morehouse was a superhero, what power would he have and what weapon (if any) would he have and why?

The power to help people believe in themselves more. (including myself!) I think you can link back most successes to having confidence and belief in what you’re doing. Imagine what kind of world we could live in, if more people pursued their passions and ideas 100% and weren’t afraid to play it safe.

Brutality In Martial Arts : “Ass-tral Projection”

Posted in Day's Lesson, Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Self-Defense, Styles with tags , , , , , , on February 26, 2011 by hybridfightingmethod

The self-defense / combatives / martial arts industry is one full of brutality.  I am not talking about physical brutality, I am talking about the way instructors spout on about other instructors.  Most of us in this field have never been able to practice “live and let live”.  In listening to several audio courses and DVDs about leadership, growth, and so on – I have learned that typically we value other people based on the traits they exhibit that we also like in ourselves.  We also dislike people based on the traits they exhibit that we dislike in ourselves.

Essentially, our feelings and thoughts towards other people are based on how we view ourselves.  We basically project our positive and negative qualities onto people.  So, when I am slammed for no logical reason, I call it “ass-tral projection”.  The asses are projecting their crap onto me.  It happens to you; too…I am sure of it!

Recently, I have angered the martial arts gods which has earned me rabid emails detailing how much of a fraud I am.  This brings warm gooey feelings to my heart…..no, it really doesn’t.  I was actually directly called a “lamprey” on other “seasoned martial artists” that “spent decades getting to where they have gotten”.

I do try and market myself and my system (Hybrid Fighting Method) a lot, because we all live in a world system where in order to live the life we want, we need money to access the resources to make that life possible.  While I refuse to sacrifice quality in my programming for money – I still need to pay my bills and provide for myself and those depending on me.  It is not my concern whether or not people feel that I am getting more attention than them.  I am doing this because I believe wholeheartedly in the efficacy of the Hybrid Fighting Method – and HFM needs to be in people’s hands!

To me (and I will touch on this later in this article) a self-defense and combative system should be a delivery system for injury and/or escape.  Nothing more and certainly nothing less.  And I will explain after how this has influenced the Hybrid Fighting Method.  To be effective in self-defense, or in this case transferring the application of tactics and strategies to defend oneself does not – and CAN NOT take decades.  If it did we’d all be screwed.  Self-defense needs to be simple.  It’s really that simple!

Normally, I wouldn’t really care what people say – and I still mostly don’t…but in this one particular case it came from someone (who up until now) I have held in high esteem.  I have decided to write this article to go into painstaking detail about my credentials and experience.  That way, anyone who questions my validity can be referred to this article on any of the many forums it will be available on.  As my girlfriend can attest to, I hate having to repeat myself, and so I will take the time to write this once and only once.  If anyone badgers on about my lack of credibility send them here – because I am going to expose myself 100% completely, holding nothing back.  Judge for yourself whether or not you want to learn from me.

T.J. Kennedy

T.J. Kennedy’s Full Credentials [click here]

Mixed Martial Arts for Self Defense?

Posted in Discussion Question, Self-Defense, Training with tags , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by chencenter

Recently I read an article from the Gothamist, entitled New Argument For Bringing MMA To NY: Self Defense!  These thoughts perpetuated by the fact that UFC-buff, Joseph Lozito (6’2, 270 lbs) was able to tackle and pin down 3 x murder suspect, Maksim Gelman.  Gelman is accused of stabbing seven individuals as well as fatally injuring a pedestrian with his car.

Lozito was commuting from the suburbs of Philadelphia to his box office job at Avery Fisher Hall.  Gelman, pretending to be a cop, began beating on the motorman’s door, then turned to Lozito and said, “You are going to die,” laughed, and lunged at him with a knife.  A short story even shorter, a transit cop (Terrence Howell) was able to restrain and subdue Gelman.  Heroic conclusion.

The Main Concern

First, Lozito is indeed brave and should be considered a hero to the people.  Without his help (and Gelman’s insanity) Gelman could have gone on to commit many more acts of violence.  My concern comes when people begin to see sport competition as a legitimate self-defense system.  Of which, it certainly is NOT.

Yes, there is some cross-over. Bruce Lee was a Hong Kong champion of the Cha-Cha (video), and believe it or not, it probably made a better martial artist.  If someone was to learn the mixed martial arts (which consist mainly of Thai boxing and Jiu-Jitsu) they undoubtedly will become better fighters, but only for sport competition.  It’s similar to American football versus rugby.  Yes, some football players might become great rugby players because they are familiar with carrying a ball, colliding with one another and running towards a particular end of the field…. but they have different rules and one is a bit more brutal than the other.  The person who trains in a true system of self-defense trains to avoid, escape and survival at-all-costs.

Avoid any confusion…MMA is a Sport.

The heroic figure in this article (Lozito) wasn’t even an athlete, he was just someone with a brief wrestling background and who spent a reasonable amount of time watching the UFC.  The fact is – Lozito outweighed his opponent by a good sum, and was prepared to fight to his death (this gave him great odds in my book).  Brave? Absolutely!  …the slightest bit “qualified” to even assume his time spent watching UFC was what saved his life?… absolutely not!  He would have likely escaped, in my opinion, if he’d spent all that time watching women’s basketball.

That brings me to my next point-

Just because you see a technique on Submissions101 or in some competition, and intellectually you understand the mechanics of the move… it absolutely does NOT mean you can replicate it.  Especially under the stress of an actual encounter.  If someone is to learn proper self-protection skills, that person MUST first understand this article’s underlining message.  And if you don’t yet understand what that message is, you’re either too young or too naïve.

(Let’s hope you’re just too young, because it’s the naïve/stupid that end up getting themselves killed.  Food for thought.)

Let’s here your thoughts Combative Readers!

HFM Vs. Krav Maga

Posted in External Arts, Styles with tags , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by hybridfightingmethod

The Hybrid Fighting Method (HFM) is a self-defense and fighting system forged in an urban environment. HFM is brutally effective, and it will make sure you survive a violent encounter.

When people watch the videos I have posted on YouTube, or when they watch classes – it often draws comparisons to Krav Maga. I have even been challenged that HFM is no different from Krav Maga, and is just a plagiarism of it.

This article is to explain how this is not the case.

First of all, I fully acknowledge that my background is in Krav Maga, and that there are many shared traits between KM and HFM.

But, through my years of training and teaching KM, I saw many things that could have been tweaked or changed altogether to make the system more effective for a larger audience.  Krav Maga (at least how I was taught) was very rigid and the training methods didn’t allow for much improvisation.  So, I began incorporating elements of other systems I had learned, and something new began to take shape.

Think of this analogy. Back in the early 1800s in the United States of America, there had been nearly half a million slaves brought over from Africa. They brought with them their culture, which included traditional African music.  The Caucasian Europeans that lived in the US brought with them classical music.  Over the next century, the slaves, also being influenced by the European classical music, began incorporating it into their own African music. Before long, what emerged was what we now call “jazz”.

Is jazz classical music? No. Is jazz African music? No. Jazz is a new form of music, related to both Classical and Traditional African, but also entirely different from both.

Similarly, human beings evolved from primates – and we share over 98% of a primate’s DNA. But you would never say that human beings ARE primates!  We share many similarities, but are very different things.

This is how HFM differs from Krav Maga. It shares some of its “DNA”, but has evolved to become and entirely new entity.

And by the way, as a devout music lover, I can appreciate classical music and traditional African music – but my REAL passion is jazz!

Just sayin’.

HFM VIDEO SUGGESTIONS:

Intro to HFM /  DVD Sample 1* / DVD Sample 2 * /

T.J.Kennedy

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

* T.J. Kennedy is in the process of making available a self-defense instructional dvd series that will be available shortly at his website, HybridFightingMethod.Com.  Don’t forget to Subscribe to the CombativeCorner – we’ll make sure you know the second it becomes available.

Thinking Inside The Box

Posted in Peace & Wellbeing, Philosophy, Spirituality, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2011 by mindbodykungfu

We often hear people talking about “thinking outside of the box.”  Usually what is meant by this metaphorical box is the boundaries defined by some line of thought.  By exploring new possibilities different from the previous ways of approaching something, whether it be a business or artistic pursuit, we hope to leap past the confines of the old ways using a novel approach.  Without people pushing through the boxes of convention, society would stagnate and we would never have the pioneers and leaders to inspire us and drive us to improvement.  We recognize Gandhi, Einstein, Martin Luther King, Amelia Earhart, and Bruce Lee as pioneers who have made their mark in the world; their excellence came about from their willingness to push past and eventually redefine the “box.”

The ability to think outside the box is a valuable skill and is requisite for improvements.  However, that doesn’t mean that thinking inside the box is useless or even undesireable.  The framework of the existing boxes have their own values. Previous established frameworks are often in place for good reason: they work.  The human mind is very good at finding structure in things and working from within developed structures.  Even without a previous framework in place, we will try to establish an underlying structure to achieve understanding.  Currently existing boxes can provide a prebuilt framework to serve as a launching point to facilitate the process of understanding.  Using pre-existing boxes saves you the time and effort of building your own model of understanding, and possibly even saves you the unnecessary effort of duplicating existing frameworks.  The conventional boxes can get you up to speed faster, particularly in pursuits that require being able to do things (for example, computer programming, painting, or even writing).

Though the box is often depicted as a constraining structure, the box paradoxically often empowers creativity and the ability to change.  With no reference framework, our perceptions of the task at hand consist mostly of unknowns.  With so many things unknown, we become uncertain, tentative, and possibly frozen into inaction.  It is here where working inside the framework of the box becomes most valuable.  The box provides a model which either explains the unknowns or defines a course of action to break the cycle of uncertainty and inaction.  The box framework provides the starting point for exploration, and it is from this process of exploration that creativity and change can arise.  You can hand a child paints and brushes, but the child probably won’t become the next Picasso without some framework for learning how to use the paints.

It is the exploration of the box that eventually leads to the recognition of the limits of the box.  Being able to think outside of the box requires that we know what inside and outside the box actually mean.  Thinking “outside” of the box is meaningless without the context of understanding what defines the box; understanding the box and being able to work from within the box gives us a starting point to learn to recognize and perceive the box.  Recognition of the box is the first step needed to move beyond the box and push outside of it.

While we may ultimately wish to break through the confines of the box and become one of the innovators thinking outside of the box, we cannot completely discount the value of thinking “inside” the box.  Thinking inside of the box complements the ability to move beyond the box.  As long as we can learn not to be confined by the box, we can find value thinking both inside and outside the box.

Johnny Kuo

Four Principles of Aikido

Posted in Aikido, Internal Development, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Training with tags , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2011 by Combative Corner

Keep One Point
Relax Completely
Keep Weight Underside
Extend Ki

These principles are very important in Aikido training. Since not all styles of Aikido being taught today emphasize these principles, I feel very fortunate to have had teachers that taught and believed in the coordination of the mind, body and spirit.  As time goes by, I realize more and more the importance of not only training the body to perform techniques but training the mind and spirit as well. The mind is a very powerful tool that we can continue to develop as long as we live. While the body ages with time, the mind, with proper training, can remain fresh and alert even to an advanced age.
¤
“How do I train my mind?”
The answer is always the same. You simply take control of your thought. When the mind begins to wander and flip-flop from one thought to another, take command of it and bring it back to the task at-hand (or whatever it is you are trying to accomplish).
The key here is practice.
The more you do this, the more effective you’ll become.  This forces us to live in the present moment and increases our awareness. When one lives in the past or the future it considerably weakens the power of the present moment. Understand that how we do things in the present affects the outcome of the future.
Awareness is the number one rule in all self-defense situations and it is also the number one rule in living a strong and successful life. Numbers 1 and 4 are rules of the mind. Numbers 2 and 3 are rules of the body. The four basic principles to unify the Mind, Body and Spirit are the path to a true understanding of Self and your relationship to the world as a whole (AND you as a part in it!). When you have found your center, it’s then that you are starting to see the true spirit of Aikido.
Four Winds Aikido

10 Questions with Steve Kardian

Posted in 10 Questions, Self-Defense, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2011 by Combative Corner

Steve Kardian is, perhaps, the nation’s most sought-after expert in the field of women’s safety, crime prevention and risk reduction.  Michael Joyce of the CombativeCorner got to sit down with Steve (via Skype) and ask him the questions that YOU wanted to hear.  For more information on Steve, visit his website by clicking on his picture above.  For his Youtube Channel [click here] Twitter [here].  Watch the full interview (below) or here.

BONUS QUESTION

“A predator has a gun on you, what model should you follow (look away/comply/etc)?”

The worst thing you can do is make eye contact in such a way that the predator perceives it as a challenge.  Remember, you’re dealing with a different element… someone’s got a weapon on you or if robbery is their motive you’re making a business transaction.

If you show fear and he picks up on that fear, you’re in deep trouble.  I’ve interviewed murders; people that have killed people because thy have begged for their life.  They see it as such as weakness.  In prison it’s a badge of honor to kill – in their mind ‘some weak punk’ that begs for his life.  So every situation is different.  It’s hard to give a general answer, but I’ll give an example of what I tell the women –

They’re like, “Well, I know I’m walking down the street” and “I know I feel that somebody’s watching me.”  And we know it only takes 7 seconds for a predator to come on the scene and identify his soft target.

So as you walk by, give him a glance, NOT a stare.  It could be perceived as a challenge.  By doing so, you eliminate about 50% of his game, which is the element of surprise.  And then, when you walk past, just glance back – you don’t even have to look at him, just let him know that you know he’s there.

Again, every situation is different.  If he’s in front of you, make it a business transaction.  It’s a robbery, give him your money, but never ever, EVER allow him to buy you or take you to a secondary location.  The results are unforgiven.

FULL INTERVIEW

For more on this question…

look for our Roundtable Discussion coming in March!

 

 

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