Martial Development

Martial arts for personal development

Should Dueling Be Legalized?

November 16th, 2010 · 13 Comments

For your consideration, guest author Liam Boyle submits this modest proposal for the reinstatement of the duel.

“Sir, I Demand Satisfaction!”

Turning on any television show based on small claims court a person is bound to hear some variant of that title, many times in a much less polite form. Sitting in a small claims court, or any civil court for that matter, a person is bound to hear some variant of that title phrase. Yet, in many representations of historical duels, those words are commonly found. Conflict seems to underscore our society and the phrase, “I’ll see you in court,” has almost seemed to reach the status of a common greeting. This could give someone cause to wonder that wouldn’t it be simpler and possibly more effective to just have the disputing parties put on gloves and go the proverbial twelve rounds rather than tie up the court with expensive and needless litigation. This lead this writer to the posting of the question, Should dueling (non-firearm) be legalized to replace some civil lawsuits? [Read more →]

How to Win at Kickboxing (The Wrong Way)

October 20th, 2010 · 10 Comments

By Tim Ferriss, no-holds-barred cage fighter, kick-boxer-pusher, and the author of the bestselling book The 4-Hour Workweek

In 1999, sometime after quitting my second unfulfilling job and eating peanut-butter sandwiches for comfort, I won the gold medal at the Chinese Kickboxing National Championships.

The 4-Hour Workweek

It wasn’t because I was good at punching and kicking. God forbid. [Read more →]

Combat Judo in the Cobra-Kai

October 18th, 2010 · 1 Comment

From the 2008 reptile documentary Life in Cold Blood:

Cobras grapple not only with their prey, but with one another, in dispute over mates and territory. This is one of the most formidable: the King Cobra, highly venomous, and about four meters (fourteen feet) long. Disputes between rival male King Cobras are potentially very dangerous indeed, for this species specializes in eating other kinds of snakes. So they observe strict rules in their fights, which prohibit the use of their lethal bite.

Slowed down, it’s a performance full of grace, as each contestant strives not to kill his opponent, but simply to slam him to the ground.

[Read more →]

Why Are White Belt Fighters So Dangerous?

October 7th, 2010 · 21 Comments

Many experienced martial artists believe that, of all the different categories of training partners, absolute beginners are the most dangerous. To outsiders, this sounds like a paradox. Shouldn’t those with the least martial arts training be the least dangerous?

It is not truly a paradox, only a misconception. And not all white belts are dangerous, obviously. But those that are, if only on the mat, are so for the following reasons.

Their goal is always to win. They don’t yet understand the difference between trying to win, and trying to cultivate the skills that one uses to win. Real fights are chaotic affairs, and chaos is not a proper breeding ground for skill development; thus, training in respectable martial arts consists of a series of games, first introducing support structures (e.g. rules and conventions), then dismantling them one step at a time.

The need for, or value in this approach is not obvious–and it is not always explained at the outset. So some white belts never appreciate the context of their practice. Others consider themselves above the “organized despair” of the “traditional mess,” and when a rule stands between them and a sparring victory, they break it without hesitation. The conventions and rules of training, they reason, are “unrealistic in a real fight.” [Read more →]

Crossing The Pond – Martial Expo 2010 Review

August 18th, 2010 · 1 Comment

Crossing The Pond

  • The inaugural Crossing The Pond Martial Expo was held last weekend in West Seattle. This seminar brought together five six well-known and highly skilled instructors of martial arts and self-defense from across the United States and United Kingdom.
  • Over the weekend, two one-hour workshops were held by instructors Al Peasland, Nicholas Yang, Kris Wilder, Rory Miller, Marc “Animal” MacYoung, and Iain “Tuna Fish Pizza” Abernethy.
  • Approximately thirty-five people were in attendance. Among the students, at least one third appeared to be black belts and/or instructors themselves.
  • Participants were open-minded, polite, and patient–especially with this author, who hadn’t done any Karate training since elementary school. Egoism, inappropriate competition, and input from self-declared “assistant instructors” was minimal. This is a credit to the affable seminar host, Kris Wilder, and the other teachers as well, who together set the right tone for the event.

[Read more →]

The Case Against Martial Arts Tournaments

June 7th, 2010 · 12 Comments

Nobody karate chops me on the street anymore.

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 →]

Why Max Geiger Is The Deadliest Warrior

May 5th, 2010 · 17 Comments

The Deadliest Warrior, Max Geiger

Single combat is a wicked problem. It is a problem that resists a straightforward explanation. It can only be understood after it is solved, and only to the extent that it has been solved.

We tame a wicked problem by defining it clearly. Thus, in the field of software development, we often plan to “build one (solution) to throw away.” The product of this effort is not intended to be a final solution, but a restatement of the original problem in more concrete terms.

The benefit of such throwaway prototypes is that we do not become too invested in refining the right solution to the wrong problem. Solving the correct problem is the difference between a successful engineering project and a piece of abstract art.

To my eyes, The Deadliest Warrior TV series is a work of art [Read more →]

Karate Values, American Values

August 27th, 2009 · 11 Comments

Americans do not usually see themselves, when they are in the United States, as representatives of their country. They see themselves as individuals who are different from all other individuals, whether those others are Americans or foreigners. Americans may say they have no culture, since they often conceive of culture as an overlay of arbitrary customs to be found only in other countries. Individual Americans may think they chose their own values, rather than having had their values and the assumptions on which they are based imposed on them by the society in which they were born. If you ask them to tell you something about “American culture,” they may be unable to answer and they may even deny that there is an “American culture.”
(from Handbook for Foreign Students and Scholars)

Karate Informality

A few minutes prior to the start of class, karateka (students) enter through the front door, immediately bowing to the sensei (teacher) and/or the kamidana (dojo shrine). The karateka remove their shoes, and enter the changing room to don their training uniforms. [Read more →]

Inside Deadliest Warrior’s Combat Simulator

May 7th, 2009 · 130 Comments

Science is what we understand well enough to explain to a computer. Art is everything else we do.
~ Donald Knuth

Deadliest Warrior

You’ll never appreciate the true complexity of a mundane, everyday task, until you’ve tried explaining it to a computer.

Contrary to popular perception, computers are not smart. Actually, they are stone dumb. Given a lengthy set of precise instructions, your computer can follow them well enough, most of the time, but when asked to exhibit the tiniest bit of reasoning or creativity, your cutting-edge laptop PC is helpless and hopeless. Ditto for the Mac. Sorry, Linux won’t help either.

Consider the simple act of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. You can teach the average six year-old child this skill in a few minutes; writing the equivalent instructions for a general-purpose computer could literally take weeks or months of effort.

Command prompt

Knowing all this, I was amazed by the concept and promise of Spike TV’s new show, Deadliest Warrior:

In Los Angeles, CA, we’ve created a high-tech fight club, with scientists, martial arts experts, and lots and lots of weapons. It’s all here to create a virtual battle between two legendary warriors. We’ll test their weapons and fighting techniques on high-tech dummies—stand-ins for human victims. Based on this data, a battle simulation program will stage a true-to-life fight to the death. The winner will be The Deadliest Warrior.

Could it possibly be true? Would the endless debates over the ultimate fighting style finally be put to rest, by indisputable scientific evidence? [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 →]