Archive for the Miscellaneous Category

Ip Man 4 : A Review by William Kwok

Posted in Kungfu, Martial Arts, Miscellaneous, REVIEWS, Wing Chun with tags , , , , , , , , on January 10, 2020 by wingchunamerica

Since the first Ip Man movie was released in 2008, I have been a fan of the series. Over the holidays, I finally had some free time to watch movies with my family and Ip Man 4 was obviously at the top of my list. Although most of the audiences in the theater (mostly Chinese) greatly enjoyed the movie, I left the theater with some mixed feelings.

Personally I like the previous installment of the series better than this finale – from the script to action choreography. As a cinephile, I never watched the Ip Man series as documentaries. In this fictional movie, director Wilson Yip disappoints me by using the same storytelling formula one more time. There were many opportunities in the movie, such as Ip Man’s culture shock in America or Bruce Lee’s teaching experiences, that the director could have made more interesting. However, the director and the screenwriters failed to use their creativity. I merely see the themes of discrimination against white people and Chinese nationalism in Ip Man 4. In the movie, the main character keeps promoting the idea of using Chinese martial arts as a vessel to change others’ prejudice against Chinese people. What does he actually promote besides “sending the evil white guys to hospital”?

Although the backbone of the story is such a cliché, I enjoyed watching the parent-child relationships and the family issues the Kung Fu masters encounter in the movie. These sub-plots really resonate with me as an educator and a parent. Parent and child relational problems have always been the most common issues in many families. What matters the most are self-reflection and love. Children don’t come to the world with an operating manual. Like Yin and Yang, parenting is a learning experience for both parents and children. A good parent should have a big heart and an open mind like a true Kung Fu master that embraces different values and opinions.

In terms of the action scenes, I still greatly appreciate Master Yuen Woo Ping’s creative work. The fight scene between Ip Man and Tai Chi Master Wan Zong Hua is the highlight of the movie. The interactions between Wing Chun Chi Sau (sticking hand) and Tai Chi pushing hand is quite entertaining and visually appealing. I much appreciated that this scene demonstrates courtesy and integrity of both characters, which are the essence of traditional martial arts.

However, as a Wing Chun practitioner, I am tired of seeing Wing Chun being repeatedly presented as a combat sport in the spar fights of the movie. As the finale of the Ip Man series, Ip Man 4 further misleads the audience that spar fighting is the only way to appreciate martial arts. Unlike the prequels, almost all fight scenes in Ip Man 4 are one-on-one stage fights. Wing Chun is a self-defense system. It is designed to effectively protect ourselves in our everyday social settings, such as coffee shops, subway trains, elevators, and etc.

Among the five movies in the Ip Man series and including Master Z, Ip Man 4 is surely not my most favorite one. As the last martial arts movie in one’s career, Jet Li’s Fearless is a flawless exit. I think Donnie Yen deserves a better choice than this one to be his last Kung Fu epic. Despite this, I still feel that there are plenty of scenes worth watching, and would suggest Ip Man 4 for action movie lovers and Kung Fu practitioners.

William Kwok is the founder and headmaster of Gotham Martial Arts, a martial arts school that offers Practical Wing Chun and traditional Taekwon-Do in New York City. In 2018, he established Martial Arts Education Society (MAES), a non-profit organization devoted to spreading awareness of the martial arts for educating people in discipline, philosophy, history, and culture. Beside teaching martial arts, he is currently pursuing a Doctor of Education degree at Northeastern University and serving as the Co-Chair of Harvard Alumni for Education in New York City.

 

For more information on William Kwok, visit his website at GothamMA.

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Advance, NC

Posted in Jiujitsu, Miscellaneous, News, OFFERS with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 27, 2017 by bradvaughn

gjj-advance-promoGracie JuiJitsu is located at 160 Webb Way in Advance, North Carolina.  Contact Brandon Vaughn and advantage of their 10-Day Free Trial.

Johnny Karate Theme Lyrics

Posted in Day's Lesson, Karate, Martial Arts, Miscellaneous with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2017 by Combative Corner

parks-and-rec-johnnykarate

The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show is a fictional show in which Andy Dwyer (Chris Pratt) uses his talents of being a kid to the ultimate.  The J.K.S.A.M.E.S appeared in Season 7-Episode 10 of the NBC television show Parks and Recreation and had a very well-crafted farewell theme song that is worth sharing… for those that wanted a reminder and for those that never saw the show.  Enjoy!

Well it’s time for us to go,

But I want you all to know

That Karate’s not about fighting

It’s about knowing who you are,

And being kind and honest

While you’re kicking for the stars.

Yeah, that’s the Johnny Karate way.

(second part)

Keep Karate in your heart

And aspire to your dreams,

And always remember

You’re forever on my team.

Yeah, that’s the Johnny Karate Way.

Karate Yell!

….Hi ya!!!!!

The J.K.S.A.M.E.S also had wonderful, kid-friendly objectives for each show (pictured below).  Don’t we all wish we grew up with a fun show like this?  If you’d like to view the episode, you can find it on dvd, Netflix and Amazon.

The fifth Karate move to success is “To do something nice for someone.” FYI.

screen-shot-2015-02-17-at-9-52-35-pm

Parks and Recreation

Season 7, Episode 10 

Pictures and lyrics courtesy of NBC and Open 4 Business LLC.

Use of Forcillo

Posted in Crime, Miscellaneous, News, Training, Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2016 by hybridfightingmethod

FullSizeRender

photo credit: The Toronto Star

I have so much to say since Toronto Police Service’s Constable James Forcillo was convicted of attempted murder in the 2013 shooting death of 18-year-old Sammy Yatim.  I’m prepared to be a pariah, as I may be seen that way after expressing my opinion.

A quick history

Yatim was on a Toronto streetcar, high as a kite, and whipped his penis out and started masturbating in front of a group of women in the back of the streetcar.  He then took a switchblade (illegal in Canada) and attempted to slash one of the girl’s throats. She managed to block the attack with her purse. Moments later everyone from the streetcar emptied onto the street, leaving Yatim on the streetcar pacing back and forth alone, still with knife in hand.

When police arrived, Yatim was screaming things at them, like “pussies” and “pigs”, while the responding officers repeatedly commanded him to drop the knife. Instead of complying Yatim, advanced on the officers, and was subsequently shot 9 times and killed.

There are a few sticking points that I’d like to talk about, as this situation has caused significant public outcry in defense of Sammy Yatim and criticism of Toronto Police – specifically James Forcillo.

Some of the things that the public say were uncalled for were:

  1. Shooting Yatim in the first place instead of many other force options (eg. bean bag shotgun, tazers, riot shields, etc.)
  2. Shooting Yatim several times after he was already shot and downed.
  3. A reminder that James Forcillo had drawn his firearm 12 times while on duty in the last 3 years.

I would like to suggest that unless you’ve had a knife pulled on you or seen what a knife can do, you have no clue what you’re talking about (and the jury probably also had no clue). You don’t grasp the magnitude of danger a knife-wielding assailant poses; Nor how much that danger can be enhanced when the assailant is drugged or mentally ill.

Mental illness and substance abuse make someone unpredictable. Think about how you might react to a situation like this if you were the first office on scene.

You’re responding to a call about a knife-wielding attacker on a streetcar. When you arrive the attacker still has his knife in hand, taunting you while your firearm is drawn and pointed at him.  Every command you issue to drop the knife is met with “fuck you pussy”, ” fucking pig.” Then he advances. What would you do?

A knife is lethal force. Yatim demonstrated intent and ability to kill (again, knife still in hand while advancing).  Because of this, after 5 days of jury deliberation, the original charges of 2nd degree homicide and manslaughter were dismissed.  As Forcillo did, however, get convicted of attempted murder – and due to the severity of this charge – the lesser charge of aggravated assault was dropped.

Security camera footage from the streetcar now released to the public shows police entering the streetcar after the shots were fired, and kicking the knife out of Yatim’s hand. This occurred after the extra shots were fired once Yatim was already downed.

Excited delirium is a condition that has allowed many criminals to have superhuman strength, and in some cases take shotgun blasts or multiple revolver shots and still fight until they bleed out. If Yatim was down, but still had a knife in his hand (again, the officer kicked it away upon entry), he could have potentially stabbed an officer, possibly in the femoral artery. A stab wound to the femoral artery has the potential to be fatal in minutes. This isn’t a far-fetched conclusion.

Ontario Use of ForceUse of Force

For those that say that the officer was too quick to shoot, should have backed up and increased the distance, don’t understand real violence and intent.  You advance on a threat, removing their capacity to attack. Giving them more space is irresponsible, as it gives the assailant more opportunity to attack.

The chances of a bullet passing through and hitting a bystander increases if Yatim was let out of the streetcar.

As for tazing him, only police supervisors are equipped with Tasers. Forcillo is not a supervisor; a Taser was not an immediate option.

Wait for riot shields and board the streetcar?  Haven’t seen the movie 300 have you?  The first officer through the door is the first casualty, usually suffering the first stab or slash wound.

Bean bag shotgun?  Knife is lethal force.  And Forcillo didn’t have one at his disposal.

“Police in the UK don’t shoot and take threats down with pepper spray.” Because they don’t have guns, and I bet your tune would change when UK cops get mowed down by semi and fully automatic weapons that criminals don’t seem to mind using.

As for Forcillo’s history of pulling out his firearm, let’s look at this logically. If an average police officer works a 40-hr. week (likely probably more), and responds to 3 calls a day, that means in a 5-day work week an average officer responds to 15 calls a week. If you take two weeks out for vacation, that’s about 750 calls a year. In three years that’s 2250 calls. This is an conservative estimate. So, Forcillo drew his firearm 12 out of 2250 times.  That means his gun came out in 0.5% of his calls (we already know this is a conservative estimate).  With the increase in Toronto gun and knife crime, how unreasonable does that sound to you?  In my view, it sounds very reasonable. Trigger happy?  I think not, for a frontline officer.

Final Thoughts

I don’t care about bleeding hearts and compassion here. The fact remains that a disturbed person tried to sexually assault, injure, or kill another human being.When told by police to drop his weapon, he taunted them and advanced, leading to his death. To be sure he was no longer a threat, Forcillo shot him (as the first responder, Forcillo was lead officer; he was on point and everyone else was to follow suit) several more times. Again, the onus was on Forcillo to act, and he did for his own safety, for the safety of his colleagues, and for the safety of the public waiting on the street.

On top of all of this, we have to remember that police are not immune to the shitstorm of a limbic system “fight or flight” response; causing loss of logical thought, and loss of a large portion of motor skill.

I believe James Forcillo acted appropriately, even if a judge and jury didn’t come to that conclusion.

It’s a sad day for justice. In fact, there is no justice here. The only justice occurred in 2013 when a young monster was stopped before he had a chance to became an older monster.

I know most will still be critics and use of force “experts” from the comfort of their couches and office jobs, while police will still go out every day and face the risk of death to protect those critics. That is why they are heroes.

Below are video links and the Canadian National Use-of-Force Model you can observe to help you make up your own mind:

https://youtu.be/dx2iQnYMQfM

https://youtu.be/xyMUyv_vf1k

https://youtu.be/89VWeqSKPcU

https://youtu.be/-jP96xewXDI

https://youtu.be/FGvdnPow1oE

Attachments:

Sammy Yatim’s chilling final moments released

Preview YouTube video Toronto Streetcar shooting July 2013 CCTV Security Footage Sammy Yatim

Toronto Streetcar shooting July 2013 CCTV Security Footage Sammy Yatim

Preview YouTube video Toronto officer’s trial sees video of Sammy Yatim shooting

Toronto officer’s trial sees video of Sammy Yatim shooting

Preview YouTube video Sammy Yatim Shooting – TTC Streetcar Audio and Multiple Video Views – Const. James Forcillo Trial

Sammy Yatim Shooting – TTC Streetcar Audio and Multiple Video Views – Const. James Forcillo Trial

Preview YouTube video TTC surveillance camera 4

Boxing; The Sweet Science

Posted in Boxing, History, Martial Arts, Miscellaneous, Styles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2015 by Adam Thornburg

Boxing Sweet Science 2

Boxing Greek Fresco

image: wikipedia.org

Boxing is one of the oldest sports and martial arts ever. It has been in evolution since ancient Egypt but it’s modern form started around 1867 when the introduction of gloves and the removal of wrestling from the sport happened. The picture on the left is a Greek fresco painting depicting two youths boxing with gloves – the earliest documented source of ‘gloved’ boxing.  Since then boxing has kept evolving and each generation improves on something from the last.

Yet some things are still lost in the process.

Modern boxing, like modern fencing, and many other martial arts seem to only want the most athletic and naturally talented, and those qualities are the most prized now. There has been a diminishing in the amount of science put into the “sweet science” of boxing.  Most people agree that a fighter reaches his/her prime between 25-28 years of age.  These same people agree that most fighters should consider “putting up the gloves” around 34 or 35 years of age.

Fortunately there are still people like Bernard Hopkins (age: 50), Floyd Mayweather Jr.(age: 38), and Juan Manuel Marquez (age: 42) who seem to carry on some of the old traditions, and incidentally they seem to be the longest lasting champions around.

So maybe there is some merit in learning some old school boxing.

It may not always put on the “blood bath” that so many casual fans want to see, but it is better boxing.

Jack DempseyFirst let’s hear from one the most popular boxers that ever lived; Jack Dempsey. The Manassa Mauler was the hero of the twenties – known for an aggressive, smothering and powerful style of boxing.  As if he had dynamite in both hands, he fought heavyweights much bigger than him, and chopped them down with his skills.

“Tall men come down to my height when I hit’s in the body.”

-Jack Dempsey

We can learn from him many principles of developing power and proper punching technique (book link). As someone who started as what one might call “The bouncer of the wild west,” he has a technique to fight with or without gloves and importantly, how to keep ones’ hands safe.

From his book Championship Fighting he tells us about the power line of the arm. What is the power line?

“The power line runs from either shoulder straight down the length of the arm to the fist knuckle of the little finger, when the fist is doubled. You might call that pinky knuckle the exit of your power line.”

This may seem strange as we seem to be told to use the first two knuckles to punch with, but (bear with me) there is good reason in Jack Dempsey’s technique. He goes on to say:

“Unfortunately, however, the hand-bone behind the little knuckle is the most fragile of the five. It can be broken the most easily. You must not attempt to land first with the little knuckle. Instead you must try to land with the ring finger knuckle first.”

I have tried this myself in my boxing training, and it works well. When the front two knuckles are used even when the hand is fully rotated it bends the wrist, so it puts stress on it in addition to allowing power to leak out (via the bending of the wrist).  Strikes leading with the ring finger knuckle allows a straight shot down the arm through the hand and into the target.  Also it protects the thumb from getting jammed as easily.

Jack Blackburn

image: bleacherreport.com

Let’s move on to what we can learn from possibly the greatest trainer in history; Jack Blackburn. He trained the two greatest fighters of all-time; Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson. Both of the these dominate champions learned the sweet science from Blackburn who was quite the boxer himself in his younger years.  He retired from boxing with a record of 99 wins, 26 losses, and 19 draws with notable fights with Joe Gans, Sam Langford and Harry Greb.  The classic stance (the Blackburn crouch) is used by both these champions and offers great defense.

The Blackburn Crouch

image: ianstreetz.com

image: ianstreetz.com

The head is tucked and tilted off the centerline so it automatically harder to hit and the tucking of the chin helps absorb the blows that do get through. The right hand is up in front of your jaw and mouth and is used to catch, and sometimes reach slightly to parry incoming shots while countering with the jab. You are controlling the opponent with both hands. The crouch promotes ease of head movement as well. Blackburn also emphasized footwork.  And yes, it is possible to have good footwork that doesn’t look like Muhammad Ali. There are many types of footwork and the one that Blackburn taught Joe Louis helped his style of fighting. He turned Louis into a boxer-puncher using small sliding and shuffling steps that allowed Louis to plant his feet quickly to deliver his stunning power shots. He used short steps to move around his opponents so even though his feet may not have been as fast he used them efficiently to make angles quickly.

A great modern example of these principals in work is Bernard Hopkins. He has a very similar stance, and way of fighting as  Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.  He has beaten more athletic and talented fighters consistently through his use the “Sweet Science.”

Great boxing still exists.  And if you look hard enough you can see the nuts and bolts, the years of toil, blood, sweat and tears.  If you are keen enough on the combative sciences, you may even see the interweaving of boxing’s past in the present.

Adam Thornburg

Boxing Student & Contributing Author

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Please let us know what you think with comments and suggestions.  We’re always looking to hear your thoughts!

The Top 5 Injuries in Jiu-Jitsu : Gracie Academy

Posted in Health, Jiujitsu, Miscellaneous, Safety, Training with tags , , , , , , , on September 23, 2015 by Combative Corner

One of the most important videos of all-time!

Although Rener Gracie almost always starts his videos with these words… this time, I whole-heartedly agree!

Injuries can and will cause people to not only stop training, but in some unfortunately instances, stop training all together.  Remember, many of these injuries are preventable… learn to roll safely, learn your body and its limitations, and learn the best ways to heal & recover.

In future articles, we will have more information on various injuries.

Check out these great links !

Neck Injuries : Common Injuries #1 – The Neck

Back Pain & Rehab : Rener Gracie on Core Strengthening

More on Neck & Back with Keith Owen: From The Ground Up

If you have any advice or comments – REPLY below!

 

5 Ways to Choose the Right Gym

Posted in Martial Arts, Miscellaneous, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 9, 2015 by Combative Corner

The tree has been taken down, the decorations have been packed away, the presents have been exchanged, and the last Gingerbread man has been eaten. Yes, the hustle and bustle of Christmas is over, and after all the holiday parties and eating at 14 different relatives houses, its time to get back in shape for the new year. New Year’s is by far the busiest season in the Wellness and Martial Arts industries. Everyone is ready to change their ways and get in shape, but before you make those changes you have a choice to make, which gym is the best ?

Eight Points GymFirst of all that question can be answered in a few different ways depended on what your goals are. For instance, if you want to become the next great Muay Thai Champion or fight in the UFC you might not want to sign up at the local YMCA and expect to go places, but no matter what your goals are (get in shape, learn self defense, or become a fighting champion) there should be some basic things that all good gyms who want to see you succeed have in common. Choosing the right gym and trainer is the MOST important step a person can make to actually reaching their goals and making LASTING changes that go from whimsical new years resolution to concrete lifestyle change. Below are 5 simple things to look for when shopping around for a gym. It doesn’t matter what kind of gym (Fitness, Muay Thai, Jiu Jitusu, Gymnastics, ect), these 5 simple things should be present.

1 Good Gyms and Trainers have Nothing to Prove: *I see this one all the time in the “MMA” gyms. Some guy with 2 amateur fights and a closet full of “skull” T shirts opens a “gym” out of a store front or someones basement. He has no real experience to speak of, so when new members come to class he goes hard on them to try and prove (to himself and to the prospective member) that he knows what he’s doing. It can also occur in the fitness industry. The so called “personal trainer” you hired who just got their PT certificate in the mail after taking a 4 hour class, doesn’t really understand how the human body works or how to invoke real change so he just screams “One More” or pushes you way past your limit to prove to you that his work outs are hard and he knows what he’s doing. This is an extremely dangerous situation and a HUGE red flag. If you are at a gym with this problem you are basically risking your health every time you come to class. A good trainer and gym who are well educated in their craft should have NOTHING at all to prove and their focus should be on building members up not on using members as dummies, showing off how much they know.

2 Good Gyms and Trainers have a Clear, Repeatable “Roadmap” to Success: *When going on any trip you need clear and precise directions on actually how to get there. When you get in your car to go somewhere that you aren’t quite sure of, you plug in your GPS and it guides you and gives you the road map for the destination. Gyms are no different. When you walk into the gym and sit down with the trainers they should be able to lay out a road map detailing how they will help you get from the starting point to reaching your goal. They should have a repeatable process that they have done with clients and members in the past to help reach goals. If you go into a gym and some guy is teaching head kicks one day to complete beginners, then showing those same beginners crazy 8 punch combos the next day, that is a red flag and you should probably look else where. You definitely should be able to see a system in place to build people up from complete beginner to advanced practitioner.

3 Good Gyms and Trainers Actually Charge People: * This is a no brainer. A real business that is good at what they do charges for its services.

4 Good Gyms and Trainers have a Credible Resume: * The person or gym training you should know what they are talking about and have a credible resume you can actually fact check. In this high tech age of Smart Phones, Ipads, and Google, its easy to type in the name of a potential gym or trainer into the search bar to see if claims they make on their website actually exist. If a guy says he is a 15-0 Kickboxer who has fought in the UFC 3 times, then when googling his name nothing comes up but old pics of him and his Frat brother “Leon” hanging out on the beach during spring break, chances are he’s lying. Always do the research so you know exactly what you are paying for.

5 Good Gyms and Trainers Believe in You: * Making changes is hard, reaching goals is difficult. There are times when you will want to give up, times when you will wonder if its worth it. In those times, you need a support system, someone who believes in you and believes you can reach the goals set before you, even when you don’t believe it yourself. A good coach and good gym family will have a positive uplifting atmosphere that inspires people to be their best and reach for their goals. If you are always surrounded by negative energy or an overbearing trainer that always points out what you doing wrong but never tells you when your doing something right, its not going to be to long before you give up on your dreams of ever getting in shape or learning something new. When you choose a gym your choosing a partner to come alongside and invest in your life to help you make lifelong positive changes, so make sure you choose a gym that wants to see you succeed and believes in you instead of just looking at you as a paycheck.

KRU CHRIS CLODFELTER

EIGHT POINTS MUAY THAI

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