In a recent episode of their hit Showtime series, stage magicians Penn Jilette and Raymond Teller warn viewers away from the universally fraudulent field of martial arts. Now a real expert martial artist rescues us from their half-baked debunkings.
For their own convenience, Penn and Teller divide the world of martial arts into three categories: traditional, mystical, and murderous. [Read more →]
Over the past week, Seattle’s recent “jaywalking rumble” has gained worldwide interest. It has provoked a spirited debate, among martial artists and the public at large, over the limits of reasonable force. Some believe that the police officer’s punch was brutally excessive, and that some form of joint lock would have been more appropriate. The following article expresses my dissenting view.
In the martial arts, a “joint lock” is a technique that targets a joint in an opponent’s body, holding it near or outside its normal range of motion. The purpose of a joint lock is not to inflict harm, but to issue a credible threat of harm. The recipient of a joint lock is expected to submit: to move, or to stop moving, as directed by the applicant.
Locking techniques exist for nearly every joint in the human body. Depending on the technique selected, the recipient may or may not be physically immobilized (“locked”) upon application. The recipient may or may not experience significant pain, as a signal to comply, before the onset of bone or soft tissue damage.
Joint locks can be applied in the context of combat sport, law enforcement, or self-defense. The use of joint locks is usually restricted in fighting competitions, due to the high risk of injury.
Joint Locks for Pain Compliance and Restraint
The use of the joint lock as a “nonviolent” coercion method–and an alternative to striking–is complicated by a number of factors. [Read more →]
Last Monday, police officer Ian Walsh observed a group of women jaywalking near MLK Way in central Seattle. He directed the women to his squad car, presumably to warn or cite them for breaking the law. They refused to cooperate.
One of the women, Marilyn Ellen Levias, decided to walk away instead. As Officer Walsh grabbed her, and the pair struggled, a crowd gathered to watch. Levias’ companion, Angel Rosenthal, shoved Walsh so that Levias could escape.
Officer Walsh responded by punching Miss Rosenthal in the face. [Read more →]
Once upon a time, this was the standard response to meeting someone with a martial arts interest: yelp a few times, wave your arms around, do a judo/ninja/karate chop, then hold for applause. But times have changed. People no longer believe televised ninja movies are real. Now they believe televised MMA competitions are real, and nobody uses a karate chop in the UFC. (It’s illegal to strike the trachea, in case you were wondering.)
Don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining. The classic ninja pantomime has given way to more intelligent comments and questions, such as, “Have you won any tournaments?”
Common sense dictates that the best martial artists are those who win tournaments, while the middling ones participate and lose, and the worst avoid competition altogether. This is only half-true, but the issues are too complex to address during small talk. So, until now, I have answered the question with a simple No, and endured a stigma otherwise reserved for the tea-sipping pajama dancer with delusions of lethality.
Let this be my catharsis. There are perfectly good reasons to abstain from tournament competition, and they deserve an airing. So here we go… [Read more →]