Martial Development

Martial arts for personal development

Entries from February 2009

Seattle Says Goodbye to Kung-Fu Banana, Semi-Pro Wrestling?

February 26th, 2009 · 1 Comment

Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling

Where do you draw the line between real fake wrestling and phony fake wrestling?

Seattle Semi-Pro (SSP) Wrestling performers and their fans await the answer from the Washington State Department of Licensing. The decision will determine whether their oddball institution goes down for the count.

The man who blew the whistle on them: a former SSP grappler-turned-real-archenemy known as The Banana. [Read more →]

When and Why to Quit Kata Practice

February 26th, 2009 · 32 Comments

For how long should we continue to practice our kata? Many senseis would simply answer: forever. Personally, I do not have forever to spare. Neither do you, I’d guess.

What do you have? A long list of responsibilities and interests, including but certainly not limited to karate (or other martial arts). You have a desire to maximize the benefits of your practice, while minimizing the costs. And you want to know when, if ever, you should quit your kata.

Simply put, you can justifiably quit when the costs of practice exceed the benefits. Here are a few of the potential, proposed and actual benefits of kata training.

Benefits of Kata Practice

Kata as a Memory Aid
The most frequently cited justification of kata is as a mnemonic device. The kata serves as a living dictionary of fighting techniques and sequences. [Read more →]

What are Karate Kata?

February 24th, 2009 · 15 Comments

Black Belt Karate by Chris Thompson

Excerpted from Chris Thompson’s Black Belt Karate:

Karate kata (formal exercises) was the only way karate was taught up until the 1930s. In the kata, all the elements of correct karate practice are stored. The vast majority of kata that are practiced in the dojo today and used on the tournament circuit can be traced right back to China or Okinawa.

They appear to be dance-like drills, constantly repeated by students, yet hidden in these movements are hundreds of kakushi waza (secret techniques). These appear to be one form of technique, but in fact may be doing something completely different. [Read more →]

I Challenge Kimbo Slice to a Fair Fight

February 19th, 2009 · 24 Comments

Chris Brown
Chris Brown

Chris Brown must wish he was R. Kelly right now.

After reportedly beating up his celebrity girlfriend, Rihanna, R&B singer Brown has become the newest target of the Internet Vengeance League. Everybody wants in on the action, including LA Boxing president Anthony Geisler.

Geisler recently contacted Chris Brown’s manager, inviting him to step into the boxing ring for a few rounds, and copied the invitation to a Facebook group (“I Want to Fight Chris Brown”). Personally, I find this obscene. [Read more →]

Derren Brown Proves No-Touch Knockdowns are Real, and Fake

February 18th, 2009 · 9 Comments

In the proceeding video, mentalist Darren Brown knocks a martial artist down from behind.
That proves his skill is real.
On the other hand, Darren Brown did not touch him.
That proves his skill is fake.
As for Darren Brown’s explanation, “It’s all in your mind,” that proves…what? [Read more →]

Tiny Tales of Modern Samurai

February 15th, 2009 · 7 Comments

More offbeat news from the world of martial arts…

Barack Obama, Samurai
Barack Obama, Samurai Statesman?

“Manga Bible” Casts Jesus Christ as Samurai Warrior

Christian thinkers have tried to make the Bible accessible for centuries, scholars said. Stained glass windows related Bible stories when Europe was largely illiterate. New printing technology in the 19th century made it possible to mass-produce Bibles, including illustrated versions…

The goal of the Bibles is not just to win people to Christ, but to particular ways of thinking, said Jason BeDuhn, associate professor of religious studies at Northern Arizona University. Manga Bible author Mr. Akinsiku said the biblical message he wanted to underscore was justice, especially for the poor…
[Continued in The New York Times]

Attention Anchormen: Not Every Swordsman is a Samurai
Recently confronted by a sword-wielding maniac, German police lower their guns, in favor of the trusty battle broom. [Read more →]

Are You Smart Enough to Fight a Monkey?

February 12th, 2009 · 52 Comments

Commemorating the birthday of Charles Darwin, and capping our recent discussions on the evolution of martial arts, I offer you one worst-case example of a real-life assault.

LaDonna Davis, 64, and her husband, St. James Davis, were visiting Animal Haven Ranch near Bakersfield on Thursday when two male chimps escaped their enclosure and attacked the couple.

“When we made eye contact, the charge was on,” LaDonna Davis said. “There was no stopping anything, and the big chimp came around from behind me and pushed me into my husband. The male came around from behind and chomped off my thumb. My husband must have realized we were in deep trouble because he pushed me backward. At that time, they both went for him.”

[Read more →]

The Unwritten Rules of Mixed Martial Arts

February 2nd, 2009 · 11 Comments

Last week, we considered the evolution of mixed martial arts, specifically:

How do we define the ecosystem of mixed martial arts? Where are its boundaries?

The most obvious boundaries of MMA are its official competition rules. Techniques carrying the highest risk of injury are typically banned:

  • Headbutting
  • Eye gouging
  • Hair pulling
  • Biting
  • Fish-hooking
  • Attacking the groin
  • Striking the back of the head, or spine
  • Striking the trachea

Significant as they are, these explicit rules do not fully capture the difference between a sporting event and a “martial art” (when conventionally defined as an art of life and death, killing and self-preservation). The majority of rules governing MMA fights are implicit. [Read more →]