Archive for the Discussion Question Category

The Evolution of Metamoris

Posted in Discussion Question, Fighters, Jiujitsu, News, REVIEWS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 13, 2013 by Combative Corner

Metamoris-II-Gracie-vs-AokiJune 9th

Metamoris II, wrapped up over the weekend and although an amazing and prestigious venue with incredibly talented athletes, many viewers (and certainly many tournament-goers) were left in a state of melancholy.  While I believe most people felt this, I believe that even those people that held the greatest of sadness still feel the same;

The no points, “submission-or-decision” version is a platform to showcase jiu-jitsu skill at the highest level – and we are all glad to have the opportunity to experience it.

Does the ‘Bad’ Overshadow the ‘Good’?

There were some great jiu-jitsu matches: Rafeal Lovato Jr vs. Andre Galvao, Brualio Estima vs. Rodolfo Vieira, and Kron Gracie vs. Shinya Aoki (despite a prolonged “feeling out” process in the beginning).  Things took a turn for the worst in the highly-talked-about match between Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu and Brendan Schaub (video).

Schaub vs. Abreu Metamoris 2Abeu, who did just about everything he could to engage in the fight, was highly disappointed afterwards (despite winning by decision).  Athletes come to an event like this to both test and showcase their skill in grappling.  Abreu wasn’t truly given the opportunity, and Schaub’s “nullification” of Abreu’s jiu-jitsu was borderline disrespectful and his strategy, confusing.

The Will To Survive

Ralek Gracie said, “I founded Metamoris to create a tournament where submissions are the only goal, not points.  With the introduction of judges, we will avoid judges… Someone in a fight is always sharper (link).”

As a student of Gracie Jiujitsu (Joyce) and who has had the opportunity to speak and train with both Ryron & Rener Gracie (Schaub’s jiujitsu trainers), I can say I understand what the Gracie system is all about.  Obviously Gracie Jiujitsu works and is a highly-refined martial art, however when you put a brown belt (Schaub) up against a 12-time Grappler’s quest, 3-time World Nogi Champion (and many more accolades) back belt (Abreu), you can only hope for one thing in my opinion, to survive.

In addition, the thought somewhere in Schaub’s brain, were UFC President Dana White’s one condition for taking this contest, “Don’t get hurt.”  Fortunately or unfortunately for Schaub, it was just his reputation that got hurt.

What Needs To Be Done

The only problem that I see in the Metamoris Tournament is in casting.  I believe that the matches should only be performed by players of black belt level or higher.  Furthermore, the black belt must be in a grappling-based system of martial art.  Metamoris does not need to be in the game to bring in “big names” (such as those in the UFC).  Audiences around the world wish to be riveted by high-level, submission-only grappling and while some competitors can be found in the UFC, Pride, etc, the focus should remain on those whose grappling game holds a high degree of depth and intelligence.

In that light, I am very pleased of the announcement of:

Royler Gracie vs. Eddie Bravo for Metamoris III

Eddie Bravo: “..they want to find out if I got lucky that time.” (Full 1st Fight video)

Royler Gracie: “He got lucky.”

Combative Corner: “We shall see won’t we? Either way, it should be a best outta 3, don’tcha think?”

MICHAEL JOYCE

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FightStoppers – Looking at the “One Strike Stop”

Posted in Discussion Question, Self-Defense, Techniques, Training, Videos with tags , , , , , , on February 6, 2013 by chencenter

Michael CC Pic

Let’s look objectively at the material & analyze the good, bad, & in-between.

Everyone, or I should say, anyone with a brain should know that in self-defense we are not looking to ‘win’ but to survive.  Our ego is the least of our worries.  In certain circumstances a pre-emptive strike is the only chance between escaping danger and being caught in ‘a fight.’

Paladin Press brings 6 self-defense professionals together to give us their “Go-To” technique.  You may click on the thumbnail to see the video.  Let us know what you think by commenting below.

fightstopper 2 lee morrisonLee Morrison – I’ve always enjoyed what Lee brings to the table & consider this to be the best of the 6 videos.  His “One-Stop” strike resembles a Wing Chun chain punch straight to the jaw –  making sure that it is quick & linear, non-telegraphed and with “enough juice to shake the brain.” I certainly can’t disagree with that!

fightstopper 1Mark Hatmaker – Mark’s video gave us a different feel to the confrontation.  Whereas Lee’s “One-Stop” focused on ending a fight, Mark’s emphasized more of a hit & run element using a back-hand (“eye-whip”) followed by a quick palm-heel combo.  He notes that in a true self-defense situation, use “anything around you as a weapon.”  And while this is certainly a valid, Bas Rutten-style scene escape – one would certainly hope that the attacker doesn’t run you down and make you pay for the preemptive assault.  If you choose to rely on this method, make sure the follow-up strikes do some damage.

fightstopper 5Wim Demeere – Demeere’s choice is a classic one-two combo in quick succession (lead hand-to-downward hooking punch).  While I like the distraction-punch combo, I don’t find that it works well for most people.  Ideally, it’s a shot to neck (or side of the head) that can render someone unconscious in a blink of an eye – on the other hand, most fights do not start with the attacker as a stationary target.  Also, it is harder, if not impossible, for a smaller guy to follow-up and (quite importantly) find his mark with his “fight-stopping shot.”  Lastly, you have to be very careful that your initial strike doesn’t back up or create too much movement in your opponent, thus reducing your chances to hit with the “fight-stopper.”

fightstopper 6Dan Shreiber – While many YouTubers have said that they disapprove of Dan’s headbutt and body-slam method, I think that it is an interesting and effective way of dispatching someone QUICK.  If you honestly ask yourself, “Where do men fight most often,” you’ll come to the answer that it’s usually at a club, bar, sporting event or somewhere where alcohol is served.  It’s usually loud and people have to get close or lean in to the other person to hear what the other is saying.  The only fault that I find with this technique is being able to accurately hit with the head and causing enough trauma that the fight ends there.  More than likely, you’ll have the advantage of being on top but the disadvantage is that you’ll likely be pulled into an exchange.

fightstopper 4Joseph Simonet – Simonet’s method of dealing with an attacker is simple, direct and I respect it highly.  In my opinion, Simonet is ‘spot-on’ when he says that the hands should be open in order “to be seen as the defensive dude.”  The technique is a one-shot-blast straight through your opponent [striking to the chin].  The image that springs to my mind is like a football “stiff arm” but given with massive speed, power and attitude.  He also goes to say that if caught on tape or viewed by others, the strike could be explained as something else [e.g. a quick shove] Brilliant!

fightstopper 3Bill Kipp – Kipp’s (of Fast Defense) method of stopping a fight with one blow was a bit “hit AND miss” for me.  His delivery system is a horizontal elbow direct to side of the face.  And although he says, “I wouldn’t use this as a preemptive strike, only if I wanted to take the guy out”… it automatically misses the point by drawing you into a fight whereby a punch exchange is almost certain to occur.  The other problem with this delivery (especially the way Bill Kipp does it) is that he steps in, telegraphing the elbow strike.  What I like about the technique is that the elbow IS utilized.  Elbows are strong, reliable, and deals a great deal of damage.  But while it certainly is a “Fight Stopper,” it isn’t deployed in the fashion that I find reliable.

Michael Joyce

Golden Thread Workshops

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Kennedy on “What is Martial Art” : RTD 018

Posted in Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy, Roundtable Discussion with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2013 by Combative Corner

TJ Kennedy 001

Bruce Lee said in his infamous television interview with Pierre Burton, that martial art is the expression of self. That, in my opinion, is what “art” is. When applied in a combative context, what component of the “self” is one expressing, exactly?

It is my opinion, that martial art can be defined as the following:

The articulation of one’s combative intent through the medium of human movement.

To have an objective in mind, and to achieve this objective using the only instrument one has – his or her body (and weapons, if present, as an extension of the body).

Each individual will articulate his or her movements differently, and will indeed choose different tools to perform different tasks. This is where individuality comes into play. Where the expression of self is seen. The differences in articulation are the result of differences in physiology, culture, personal ethics, etc.

The more one practices using their body to articulate combative intent, the more prolific and efficient they will become in their art. There will be a singularity – a cohesion of techniques and increased fluidity of movement.

That is the denotative meaning. However, there is a significant connotative interpretation of martial art that I’d like to discuss.

That is, the more one engages their mind to act in tandem with their body, the more centered and aware they can become. This union of mind and body can lead to expanded consciousness.

There is an ineffable quality to martial art. A difference in intent. A fighter will fight for status, for resources, etc. A true martial artist…..or warrior…..will fight to protect that which he or she values. Their motives may be love, justice, compassion, etc.

A “fighter” is a role, whereas “martial artist” is a way of life;

a state of being.

These are my thoughts on what “martial art” is. 

I welcome any comments.

T.J. Kennedy

Founder of the Hybrid Fighting Method

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Kuo on “What is Martial Art” : RTD 018

Posted in Day's Lesson, Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by mindbodykungfu

Kuo1

“Art” is one of those hard-to-define words which means different things to different people. Most people tend to think of the fine arts (painting, sculpture, dance, theater, etc) when “art” is brought up in conversation. In my opinion, art encompasses any endeavor which requires skill and is an expression of the artist. Both the fine arts and the martial arts require refined skills and are a creative expression of the artists.

Human nature has violent and physical aspects, so it only natural that there are art forms set in the context of fighting. What separates the martial “art” from mindless brawling is the systematization of the fighting such that the movements and principles of fighting can be trained without violence necessarily being the end goal. When such a systematization is present, the martial artists can train the craft of fighting and express the principles of a martial arts style in their movements. Watching martial artists who have mastered their craft is similar to watching the skillful movements of a dancer or an athlete competing at peak performance. By blending with an opponent’s attacks and weaving offense and defense, the martial artist is demonstrating a beautiful display of body movement and force interplay.

The practice of martial arts is a physical expression of the practitioner’s self. You can perceive actors performing with feeling, athletes competing with heart, and painters creating with vision. You can also tell the difference between martial practitioners moving with rote, reflexive patterns and the skillful artists moving with intent and dynamically adapting to their opponents. With skilled martial artists, the hours of deliberate practice shine through with efficient movements, powerful attacks, solid defense, clear perception of an opponent’s attacks, and an exquisite sense of timing and distance. The martial artist elevates fighting to a skilled craft.

Coming from a primarily Chinese martial arts background, I also believe another defining characteristic of martial arts is that they are a path to self-improvement. At the most basic level, martial arts training develops focus, discipline, physical conditioning, and camaraderie. However, the self-improvement to which I am referring is the (perhaps cliched) life-altering, fundamental truth-realizing types of change. To pursue a martial art to a high level–or any serious endeavor for that matter–one has to devote a lot of time and effort. That in and of itself cuts off a lot of other life possibilities since time and energy and unfortunately limited resources. While on the path to mastery, martial artists must ask themselves if the art is something they truly wish to pursue and what sacrifices they are willing to make to achieve their goal. They must determine who they are, who they want to be, and what they want out of life before they can commit to pursuing mastery of an art.

To reach high levels of proficiency with a martial art, the practitioner’s mental acuity must be elevated. Even in high level athletics, physical training is rarely the limiting factor; rather it is the mental game that defines the elite. The martial artist’s mind must be trained to maintain focus, develop a keen kinesthetic feel, and perceive the conditions in a fight. Martial artists must develop mental fortitude to deal with the inevitable roadblocks and setbacks on the path to mastery. To reach their full potential, martial artists need to delve into their own psyches to conquer the mental blocks that hold them back and remove the mental clutter that cloud the understanding of fundamental principles. It is in this process of looking inward that the martial artists realize themselves and grow as people.

A martial art is just like any other art form in that a martial art is a skilled pursuit which expresses aspects of life and humanity. The art can form bonds of friendship, help a person grow, and express beauty through skill. It just happens that the “art” is expressed in the context of fighting instead of the more traditional fine arts media.

Johnny Kuo

Mind Body Kungfu

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Lee on “What is Martial Art” : RTD 018

Posted in Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Combative Corner

Freddie Lee FMKRTD 018: Martial Art is the balanced integration of the body, mind, & spirit & its expression of it. Martial Art is the integration of Yin/Yang. Martial is Yang, Art is Yin. The balance is Martial Art. The imbalance is not Martial Art but rather a corrupted version of it. A balance is like walking on tight rope, it is easy to become unbalanced in which to fall. Those who are balanced correctly are representing harmony between the two forces of Yin/Yang. Yin/Yang goes by the philosophy of Tao. Martial Arts is the Tao. True Martial Arts must integrate the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual. Any lack of, is not Martial Art. Any and all combat sport is not Martial Art, it lacks the spiritual. Football, basketball, golf, tennis, etc. are not Martial Arts, it lacks the scientific development of combat, it lacks the spiritual understanding, and it lacks the complete physical development that is relevant to self-defense, sports is not Martial Arts.

Dancing is not Martial Arts, but it retains the creative/artistic qualities of Martial Arts. Michael Jackson was not a Martial Artist, but he clearly was an Artist. Mike Tyson was a Boxer, not a Martial Artist, he would more closely resemble a street fighter than a Martial Artist. Although Mohammed Ali was a professional Boxer, his inner spirit, his expression of compassion, his inner character in standing up against the Vietnam War, his gracefulness in the ring, made him resemble more of a Martial Artist rather than a street fighter. A Martial Artist does not fight for money, a Martial Artist will not hurt others for profit, a Martial Artist will find another way to make a living. A Martial Artist will not train others to become bullies, a Martial Artist will train others to become good, loving, and compassionate people within.

Martial Arts is not purely just self-defense. A soldier is not a Martial Artist, a Police Officer is not a Martial Artist. They are both in lack of the spiritual development, and they are clearly in lack of the artistic and creative aspects of what makes an Artist. They may possess or have knowledge on the most efficient way to kill, but they are not Martial Artists. In Martial Art, there is an aspect of creativity and self-expression that cannot be found in self-defense tactics alone. Self-Defense tactics is more scientific, it is not artistic. There is clearly a difference between self-defense and Martial Arts.

Martial Art requires an understanding of the Eastern way of living and being. Martial Art derives from the East, not from the West. In order for a Westerner to truly understand Martial Art, he must surrender his Ego and learn the ways of the East in which to create a balance between East and West. The Westerner is representing Yang, the East is representing Yin, the westerner who refuses to learn the ways of the East, cannot be a Martial Artist. He can be a soldier, he can be a fighter, he can be capable of defending himself in combat, but he is not a Martial Artist. The West teaches violence and effective ways of killing, the East teaches peace, love, and compassion, learning both ways creates the balance, creates the harmony.

Belt JiuJitsu Jiu-Jitsu GJJ White JTBBThe proud wearing of traditional uniforms that represent the culture of the East is important in Martial Arts. This shows the appreciation of the history, culture, and ways of the East. Uniforms play a significant role in society. We know who a Police Officer is when we see his uniform. The mailman has his uniform, the UPS driver has his uniform. The sales clerk has his uniform. The uniforms that you choose to wear will represent your understanding and appreciation of the Martial Arts. If you choose to wear no uniform, the Martial spirit is still within you but the public will not be able to identify you as a Martial Artist unless they already know what it means to be a Martial Artist. Combat Sport Fighters, Street Fighters, and thugs have their own uniforms that represent their ways. Martial Artist’s have uniforms that set themselves apart.

If it is not the uniform, it is also the way you move and the way you physically express yourself as a Martial Artist. A Martial Artist knows how to move like a dancer, most Fighters do not. A Martial Artist is graceful with his movements, most Fighters are not. A Martial Artist is peaceful with his expression, fighters are not, they are destructive. A Martial Artist will demonstrate his talents and abilities without having to hurt others, a Fighter will hurt another for a price. A Martial Artist has a good heart within and will not abuse his powers. A fighter is an immature child who is irresponsible with the powers that he possesses.

Martial Artist’s are found in all walks of life doing good for society. You will find Martial Artist’s that make a living as actors, fire fighters, Police Officers, soldiers, teachers, personal trainers, fitness instructors, nutritionalists, professors, doctors, dentists, service clerks, security guards, etc. You will find Martial Artists who take on professions that are contributing something positive to society. You will not find Martial Artists in Combat Sports, you will find fighters, boxers, wrestlers, bullies, and athletes, but not Martial Artists. It is not easy for talented Martial Artists to reach fame, as there are less and less professions available in the entertainment businesses that require the unique skills and talents of Martial Artists.

The invention of computer graphics and the use of stunt doubles has nearly eliminated the need for movie producers to hire Martial Artists for action roles. Martial Artist’s are left with occupations that are typically low-paying and do not provide the opportunities to reach worldwide fame. A Martial Artist in the real world is like the very talented and inspiring teacher that is known locally but not worldwide. Fighters are known worldwide and get paid much money because they are willing to hurt and destroy others for profit, similar to how a drug dealer can make much more money compared to a Police Officer or how a “porn star” or stripper can make significantly more money than a school teacher.

Martial Artists are becoming more extinct in the real world, just as many of these beautiful wildlife animals are becoming extinct because the human population has taken over the world and have used up all available resources. The humans move in, the wildlife disappears. Fighters are moving in & Martial Artists are disappearing, that is the reality of the situation. No more is the public idolizing Martial Artists like Bruce Lee & Jet Li. The public is now idolizing Fighters. Those who see and observe what is occurring can make a change for the better in which to represent the Martial Arts the way it is meant to be represented.

Sifu Freddie Lee

Founder & Owner
Tao of Freddie’s Modern Kung Fu

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Bruce Lee: Longstreet & ‘The Art of Dying’

Posted in Day's Lesson, Discussion Question, Philosophy, Self-Defense, Teaching Topic with tags , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2012 by chencenter

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One of my favorite video clips on YouTube is of Bruce Lee playing Li Tsung in the 1971-1972 television series, Longstreet.  Bruce Lee plays opposite James Franciscus (Mike Longstreet) and trains him in the art of Jeet Kune Do. (clip below)

In the four episodes that Lee’s character appeared in, the Jeet Kune Do master was able to give some extraordinary advice.  What is so refreshing about these scenes is that the viewers, for once, can see first-hand how Bruce Lee instructs another person; a person with common doubts about his/her readiness, uneasiness moving in his/her body and frustrations regarding the whole process.

The character and attitude of Longstreet is highly believable.  Being ‘ready’ (or capable) to properly defend oneself and having the emotional follow-through are often separate entities within the human being.  Lee explains “Are we not animals?… A cat or a bird would peck out your eyes without hesitating.”  Longstreet’s character is not yet ready to accept what is needed to ‘survive.’  It is at this moment when Li Tsung says,

Like everyone else, you want to learn ‘The way to win.’ But never to accept ‘The way to lose.’ To accept defeat, to learn to die, is to be liberated from it.  So when tomorrow comes, you must free your ambitious mind and learn ‘The Art of Dying.’

WHAT DOES BRUCE MEAN BY THIS?

At this point, Longstreet is not far enough in his training.  He has not yet learned to make mind and action ONE.  ‘The Art of Dying’ as Bruce Lee puts it, is understanding your own mortality… understanding that some situations, we cannot/may not walk away from.  When you have options, when you have opportunity, we may be able to capitalize.  But when we accept our own mortality, if we are willing to die, we become a much more dangerous animal.  In order to preserve our Life the one who understands the ‘Art of Dying’ is more likely (and capable) of taking risks and making sacrifices his opponent might not be willing to make himself.  The survival edge now swings your way.  An interesting concept, is it not?

Does anyone else care to elaborate?

Does it mean something different to you?

MICHAEL JOYCE

CHENCENTER.COM

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Sport Jiu-Jitsu, Combat Jiu-Jitsu and Attitude

Posted in Discussion Question, Jiujitsu, Miscellaneous, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by chencenter

There was a lot said and a lot of opinions expressed after the 20 minute long jiu-jitsu match between Andre Galvao and Ryron Gracie.  One of the best quotes came via Rener Gracie’s tweet/instagram:

“I don’t know why Andre was so upset… I can’t tap Ryron either and I’ve been trying for 28 years.”

The fact is: There are different types of jiu-jitsu being played.  Players of jiu-jitsu have different motivations for taking up the martial art… And there are also different approaches to the art.  When jiu-jitsu becomes a spectator sport, is there or should there be one kind?  Some say yes.  I certainly say, no.

Watching Ryron (in the match above) reminded me of boxer Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker in his prime.  Whitaker was a masterful, defensive boxer that many fans disliked watching.  Those that knew boxing saw genius and couldn’t look away.  There is an obvious genius in Ryron’s game, mixing outstanding defensive maneuvering and thoughtful attack.

After the allotted time was over, Andre spoke with commentator Rener Gracie and spoke his mind.  Many were disappointed over his lack of humility, and although I didn’t care for it, I found it understandable.  Andre is a person whose drive is competition and he was up against someone whose drive is to “Keep it Playful.”  Even though Ryron had it in him to win (submission only), his nature, training and goal was to show HIS jiu-jitsu – that is to say, his family’s jiu-jitsu.

Andre said (wanting to set up a rematch), “…I could set up a fight on my rules and see who wins.”  And although “the rules” are unclear, the fact remains that a submission was never achieved (which reminds me of the famous Helio quote, “If you don’t lose, you win.”).  But my personal thought is this, “Everyone has their arena.”  Those that want tournament style can join or watch the tournaments.  Those who want to test their might in the arena of fighting can join the UFC.  But if you want to test your jiu-jitsu – the way YOU play jiu-jitsu – this event was such a platform and I am looking forward to watching more.

I can’t wait.

I’d like to leave you with the words of my friend and jiu-jitsu extraordinaire, Ari Bolden who said (in regard to this event),

“Jiu Jitsu isn’t some philosophical concept that is to be debated over and over on Internet forums (like that means anything at all). You DO it. You live it. It makes you a better person.”

Michael Joyce

Golden Thread Workshops, NC

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