Archive for March, 2012

10 Questions with Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii

Posted in 10 Questions, Fighters, Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, ULTIMATE FIGHTING, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2012 by Combative Corner

Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii is one of the best pound-for-pound female mixed martial artist in the world.  Currently at 25 wins – 1 loss* (Sherdog). We had the unique privilege to talk to her and get the latest.  Due to the brevity of Twitter and the fact that we cannot read Japanese (without the help of Google Translator), this interview is fairly brief.  Answers were able to be expanded due to the great work of the guys at The Grappling Dummy and director Matt Benyon. Watch video at the bottom of the article to view.

To visit Megumi’s official website (in Japanese), click image above.

1, How did you begin the martial arts & fighting competitions?

On the recommendation of my father (a strong Judo practitioner), I began studying judo at the age of three and continued up until about 22 years of age.  Did Sambo, Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling/Grappling starting at 23.  I was 30 years old when I started in Mixed Martial Arts.  I wanted new and challenging things.

I wondered what I could do to take advantage of my experience, so I decided on MMA.

I’m motivated to do things other people have never done.  When everyone else will give up.  I am different.  I won’t.

2, How do you spend your day

Always weight & MMA training.  I never get bored with this.  I feel uncomfortable when I am not training!  And there’s no secret.  You have to train hard to win.

3, What exercises do you enjoy training with the most?

Push ups!

4, Who are some of your favorite athletes/influences?

Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko and Frank Edgar

5, What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to watch movies, go to dinner with friends and play with cats. (=^^=)

6, What goes through your mind or what do you think about before your fight?

Before the fight, comes a feeling of fear…and fun.  Nearing the fight, I try to soothe my mind – Nothing in the mind.  Once the fight starts I think about my strategy.  And I move!

7, More of your fights are going to the decision – Has this been a result of a strategy change?

I like to finish the fights and have the audience rejoice.  My last big fight (Zoila Gurgel) I wanted to win badly, but lost (to the decision).  In the future, fight to the finish!

8, What is your favorite “finishing move” to use in a fight?

My favorite techniques are the ankle-lock and the arm-bar.

9, At the age of 37, how much longer would you like to compete? Afterwards, what do you want to do?

I will be 38 in May.  This year I am going to continue to work hard and fight.  Next year… that I do not yet know.

10, Your perfect undefeated record ended with Ziola Gurgel.  How did you feel about how that fight went?  What did you wish you did differently?

Zoila is a great fighter.  I thought I really won that fight, but lost instead.  I wanted to ask the referee, “How can this be?”  To lose a “perfect record” is very disappointing.  Since the match was in the United States, I did have some jet lag and fatigue.  But I’m eager for a rematch.  Hopefully I’ll be back in the United States soon!


What is your favorite cartoon?

Sponge Bob ! ! !

We at the Combative Corner, Thank Megumi for her time and consideration and wish her the very best. 

我々は Combative Corner で彼女の時間と配慮のためにめぐみに感謝し、彼女の非常に最善を尽くしたいと思います。


*Responses in italics expanded from GrapplingDummy’s interview-  Sept. 2010

*Megumi Fujii stats are from Sherdog.Com

Interview with Greg Park | ChosonNinja

Posted in 10 Questions, Ninjitsu, Philosophy, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2012 by Combative Corner

Greg Park is a martial artist that many have had the fortune to learn from since the emergence of his YouTube Channel.  A gifted martial artist and humble teacher, Master (who prefers to be called ‘Brother’ or ‘Friend’) Park has graciously posted his educational videos for all to see.  If you haven’t seen his videos and are interested in ninjitsu/nintaijitsu, we recommend you give his channel a look. [ChosunNinja]

Before you go, however, watch the interview he gives for the Demzly Show (who beat us to the punch for 10-Questions).

Exercise For Projecting Force | Kuo

Posted in I-Liq Chuan, Internal Arts, Training, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2012 by mindbodykungfu

One of the things that I find painful to observe when I go to the gym is watching people do squats.  It’s a basic movement that gets butchered since our sedentary lifestyles have made us forget how to move from the hips.  Instead, what happens when people squat is mostly poorly coordinated movements starting from the knees.  Rather than try to explain this in text, I find that Kelly Starrett’s video post about squatting is easier to visualize:

So, what does this have to do with projecting force?

Well, joint sequencing in a squat movement has direct carryover to projecting force.  One thing I often notice with people first learning absorb-project is that the hip-knee coordination is off.  The knees drift forward first, followed by the hips drifting forward, and ultimately resulting in a forward lean with the weight on the toes.  Starting the movement from the knees moves the knee into a suboptimal angle for bearing force, which in turn puts unnecessary shear stress on the knee and shifts most of the movement load to the quadriceps.  There is also a tendency to lose suction on the kua when initiating from the knees.  This manifests as the front of the body opening up and the mingmen closing; consequently, the shoulders move backwards as the body is moving forward, which is an inefficient movement pattern for projecting force forward.  Projecting by initiating with forward knee movement results in movement that is off-balance, not harmonized, skewed towards a yang-only energy, and stresses the knees more than necessary.

 If we stick to I-Liq Chuan principles

…and project and expand from the mingmen to initiate the movement, we get joint sequencing more like a proper squat.  The mingmen and hips move back first, which keeps the knee in a better position. The aligned knee position allows axial force transfer through the joint, which minimize shear stress.  With the force moving more through the center of the knee joint instead of shearing out, the quads don’t have to work so hard counteracting knee flexion (bending) and can thus be more relaxed.  Moving from the hips first also distributes force to the strong posterior chain muscles (i.e. hamstrings and glutes) in addition to engaging the quads, so we get  harmonization of the yin and yang muscles.

Johnny Kuo

[Originally posted 3/13/12, MindBodyKungfu.Com]

Wisdom of the Masters | Taijiquan

Posted in 10 Questions, Day's Lesson, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Taijiquan with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2012 by Combative Corner

Erle Montaigue
How ‘intense’ should Taijiquan be?
…Sure, Taijiquan has the above aspects (e.i. soft, calm, peaceful) simply because the body must be relaxed, or as the Chinese put it, in a state of sung, but for the most part, Taiji is a very violent martial art. In fact, I always tell people when they are looking for a Taiji class, to look for violence in that class. If it is not there in the advanced classes, then leave that class.

On Taiji ‘Doldrums’
…Once you know that it is the Taijiquan alone that is healing you, you will then practice every day no matter how great you feel as you will realise that it is this simple set of movements that is causing you to be in this great area of health and well-being.

Full 10-Question Interview : Click Here

Master Hai Yang
On teaching the internal arts.
Focus on details. I always tell my students: there are only two type of teaching in the martial art field. One is good teaching and the other one is bad teaching. The difference between them lies on the depth of understanding the details of each movement. Our ancestors created these arts with detailed thinking, researching and testing. Focusing on details of each movements will help us to be able to follow their path of practice.

Full 10-Question Interview : Click Here

Chen Huixian
What is your favorite aspect of teaching others Taijiquan?
My favorite aspect is letting people know more about Chen style Taijiquan. That it is not just for health, but that it is also an effective and realistic martial art. Many people in the west do not know what “Tai Chi” really is and where it came from. They don’t know it can be fun for people my age and younger and I like breaking those misconceptions. I also like watching my students’ leg muscles burn as they learn how to practice properly. Then they start to understand what gong fu is.

For many people, Taijiquan and the concept of Qi is still “mysterious.” How do you address your student’s questions regarding the energy in Taijiquan?
Taijiquan, and Chen style in particular requires balance, both internal and external, mind and body. If you only read books and use your mind to think too much about Qi without physically practicing, you can’t experience this “feeling” of Qi energy moving through your body. That’s not balanced and it’s not Taiji. Likewise, if you only practice your physical skills without using your mind, that’s not Taiji either. So when you practice, you have to balance your mental intent with you breathing and movements. Only then you can start to feel your Qi moving in your body. The more you practice, the stronger and more noticeable this feeling becomes. I always tell my students that Chen Taijiquan has no shortcuts. You need to practice correctly, practice often, and work hard. And don’t think too much about Qi. It will come it time. If you want to feel your Qi faster, practice more.

Full 10-Question Interview : Click Here

Eli Montaigue

What are some of your favorite forms or exercises to practice and why?

My favorite form would be the Yang Lu Chan Tai Chi form – For it’s “stoner qualities!” It gives the best feeling of building power in my body, and switching off the mind – getting high off the Qi.  It to me is the most complete form, I could do just that form everyday and get what I need out of it.  I’ve felt the most interesting things happen to me in that form, and seen great things in other as well.
Push Hands also.  I feel push hands has taught me more than anything else about the fighting side of things, and it’s s a great full body work-out as well.

Your father imparted many things to you over the years, what sticks out most in your mind?

To not take things so seriously.  Make fun of yourself.  Never think yourself better than anyone else.  How to love, how to hug, even to those you don’t even know.  To show love to them and care.

Full 10-Question Interview : Click Here

Yang, Jwing-Ming
What is your primary teaching message?
Art takes a lot of time and the right mind to truly appreciate and enjoy. Many things we do in our everyday lives and careers can be considered very complex and beautiful forms of art. Whether it is martial arts, music, writing, painting, engineering, speaking a language, healing and helping people, playing sports, playing chess, or whatever we concentrate on and dedicate ourselves to, the development and true feeling of the breadth of each art-form can only be felt when practiced diligently, with discipline, with humility, and with the right intentions. Without these things, the art you practice will always be only on the surface. You should continue searching deeper and deeper into your practice. Keep finding resources and people to learn from and help lead you. Don’t get stuck in the same spot. What you will discover is so rewarding. Keep your cup empty and you will always see the beautiful horizon ahead. If your cup is full, then there will be too many clouds obstructing your view. I began training martial arts because I wanted to fight, but from that time until now, after more than 50 years of practice, it has evolved into something so much more.

What has been the hardest obstacle in teaching?
The hardest obstacle today is finding committed students. It is not easy to find a student who is able and willing to sacrifice or compromise things such as their job, families, or social lives to sincerely dedicate to training. Kung Fu has been downgraded to a hobby or sport. Some might even view it as a luxury in today’s society. Additionally, it is not easy to find a student who has the will, patience, endurance, perseverance, and morality required to train to a meaningful level. Due to the exaggeration of martial arts in the media today, just about all students have fantasies about how good of a martial artist they can be in a short period of time. However, any deep art takes a lot of time and patience (Gongfu) to reach an accomplished or exceptional level….

Full 10-Question Interview : Click Here

Glenn Hairston
What do you think is the best way to bring people into the study of Tai Chi Chuan?
To actually be “That”, which we claim Tai Chi has to offer.

Is it best to separate Tai Chi for Health and Tai Chi for Combat?
There is only one Tai Chi; to ignore the Martial is to limit the Health benefits. When you visualize applications during solo practice the body makes subtle adjustments. With the idea of encountering an opposing force the entire body alignment is changed causing everything to work harder. It’s the difference between just standing and standing with the knowledge that someone is going push you backward. Just the knowledge that you will be pushed is enough for you body to make subtle adjustments in its structure in preparation of the incoming force. The mind makes adjustments as well. These ongoing adjustments are what over time promote health by strengthening and toning the muscles, increasing blood and oxygen circulation, improving mental focus and more.

Full 10-Question Interview : Click Here

Chen Zhonghua
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.

Full 10-Question Interview : Click Here

Teaching Kids & Big Kids (Adults)

Posted in Day's Lesson, Miscellaneous, Philosophy, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2012 by hybridfightingmethod


You learned in kindergarten.

That is the common maxim touted since I first found myself IN kindergarten.  Being in Ireland right now writing this, I am inspired to reflect upon my past world travels.  In 2000-2002 I spent time teaching kindergarten in southeast China.  My mentor back then, Alex Abdulnour, told me something about teaching kids that I hold very close to my heart to this day.  I believe that this same thing is applicable to teaching adults, as adults are just kindergarteners in bigger clothes.

Apply these concepts and you will become a much better instructor.

He said the following –

They want to know how much you care before they care how much you know.

This I find to be absolutely true.  You need to care about your students.  They can sense when you don’t, or when you are being disingenuous.  Relationships are like bank accounts.  You have to make a deposit before you make a withdrawal.  Before you can expect anything from your students and from people in general, you need to invest and show them you genuinely care.

Have a plan prepared for them or they will have a plan prepared for you…and you won’t like their plan.

Make sure you have a guideline going into class or you will be sorry you didn’t.  Dogs can smell fear.  Students can smell unpreparedness.  You don’t have to stick to the plan exactly – but have at least a skeletal structure in place to navigate your class.

Make them laugh.

Elicit positive emotions and make them feel good.  If you do this, they will connect the concepts you offer with positive emotions.  If you make your students feel good while learning, they are more apt to remember what you taught.

Think to yourself what teachers you remember fondly?  Did they care about you?  Were they prepared?  Did they make you laugh and feel good?

Also, as with everything, be a critical consumer of information (another tidbit given to me by Alex).  Take what I say, and weigh it like you should all incoming information.  Include the concepts in this article into your teaching, and you will have far more success in empowering your students with the information you are communicating.



The Bandwagon & Activism | Kony 2012

Posted in Discussion Question, Miscellaneous, News, Videos, Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by chencenter

Generally, it is hard to get under my skin.  And everyone is entitled to their own opinions – but here lately the Kony 2012 campaign has “come under fire” from allegations of financial misappropriations to being a pawn in as someone (on our Facebook) commented, “Yet another of Obama’s wars.”

If you happened to read our last article urging you to watch the short film- I hope you did.  If you didn’t, it’s your prerogative.

However, recent internet postings and discussions lead me to write this last piece on Kony 2012.

Einstein said:

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former”
Sure– if you or anyone blindly leaps into something without reading or trying to understand their motivation or objectives for doing so, you might not be the wisest person.  However, this is not what the Invisible Children organization wants you to do.  They want you to understand.  It may not be obvious to many, but there are several charities that have fought for human rights in Africa (long before Kony’s Youtube Video): UNICEF, Child Soldiers International, and the International Rescue Committee to name a few.
What I’m Recognizing
Many of the people out there (surprisingly, several people that I highly respect) are either turning a blind eye, stamping a label of conspiracy on the project and/or trying to downgrade everyone’s energy for this project.  Everyone wants to be recognized for something.  Everyone wants their voice heard.  Most want to be recognized for doing something good.  I believe that if we look at this “social media movement” we see a great deal more: sympathy, empathy, love, charity, giving and sharing.  These may be “hippie” qualities, but are the most respectable qualities that exist.  The fact of the matter is that people who would not have helped, those that would never have known or never have participated, are participating because there IS “mass appeal” – which is NOT necessarily a “wrong” thing to follow! 
An Example
Let’s say you have a son.  Maybe for years you’ve loved and played the game of football.  You may want your son to experience the kind of passion and excitement that you know the game holds.  So you sit with him in front of the television and you teach him the rules and maybe he gets excited to go outdoors and play – but maybe he doesn’t.  Now maybe, just maybe, you place him on a team (with his friends and fellow classmates) and allow him to get swept up in the sport through camaraderie, team play, and good ol’ fashion fun? For many people, like myself, this was how I came to enjoy team sports – by doing, not by observing and waiting till it was my turn.
You see… to many, sports are fun.  But most like to share their experience.
The Kony 2012 campaign is giving everyone the experience of “playing for a team.”  Not that you couldn’t play for another team, but this might be the team that their friends play for.  And that’s not a bad thing, is it? 
Phoebe & Joey
Another friend of mine that I respect suggested that those of us that support this charity are doing so to make them “look good.”  But this just reminds me of the episode on the t.v. show Friends where Joey tells Phoebe that, “There is no such thing as a selfless good deed.”  I suspect Joey (not the brightest bulb in the lot) is right – because when you do something, anything really… you ultimately do it because it makes you feel good about yourself.  Let’s face it though – we are all selfish creatures… a certain level of selfishness is born into us, tying directly into our mechanism for survival on this Planet!  But let’s not automatically confuse sharing and being a “team player” with being out solely for gold stars and lollipops.
America, The Land of Incredible Wealth (& Greed)
Speaking as an American, I can say that I am extremely lucky to have the freedom, level of comfort and standard of living that I have.  Many people don’t.  Many people don’t even have running water.  We all know this and go about our daily business.  And even though we had Hollywood’s push towards activism in films like Blood Diamond and Hotel Rwanda- people cannot and will not get behind a film the same way that people will rally around a cause… rally around a (team) cause.  We, this capitalist and materialistic society – full to the brim with iPhones and iPads and innumerable, less-useful things, can spare money.  As poor as we think we are, we can always spare something.  This is just one man’s opinion.  Something to think about. 
“If you want a love message to be heard, it has to be sent out.  To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”
                                                                                            -Mother Teresa
We’d love to hear your thoughts. 
Feel free to comment in the box below.
*Invisible Children recently [3/12/2012] posted a video whereby CEO Ben Keesey response to many of the comments and questions that they’ve received.  It’s worth a watch, especially if you are still “On the fence.” 
Invisible Children’s Response to the Backlash

‘Stop Kony’ Shines Spotlight on Warload

Posted in Crime, Miscellaneous, News, Videos, Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2012 by chencenter

The video was uploaded March 5th. When I viewed it for the first time on the 6th, it had 1.5 million hits. Now, at the same time today, it has received nearly 27 million! It begins with a quote,

“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”

What looked like a political campaign (something I didn’t care about rushing to see a video of) became a touching, and motivating film centered around a great atrocity.  Celebrities, politicians… and more importantly, the masses of people around the world are viewing, being moved, and recognizing that something has to be done.

I urge you to watch the video and, if moved to, share this with your friends and loved ones.  If you wish, you can help the project by donating and/or getting your very own Action Kit.  The efforts worldwide are to culminate on April 20th, 2012 in an event called, ‘Cover The Night.’  Supporters will meet at sundown and “blanket the streets” putting up posters and stickers.  For more information, please visit the organization’s website at

One of the aim’s of this project is to make the man Joseph Kony (pictured above – left), the leader of the LRA so famous, that something is done about it.  With the spotlight on Kony such that is growing brighter by the hour, we have every belief that he will be apprehended.  To all our readers, thank you for your part in this – if only for the read.

At the least, now you know!

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

                                                 – Jimi Hendrix

Donate to Invisible Children:
For info on Invisible Children:


The Bandwagon & Activism : M. Joyce

*At the Combative Corner, we respect your opinion & thoughts on this matter & although we do not (normally) take such a vocal stance on a subject like this (outside of the M.A.), the message is an important one that should be expressed.  We learn & grow in order to create balance, to create peace.  In some instances, to end violence.  This is surely a message that we all can get behind.

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