Senate Proposes “Health Tax” on Fittest Americans

In a revamped health care system envisioned by senators, people would be required to carry health insurance just like motorists must get auto coverage now. The government would provide subsidies for the poor and many middle-class families, but those who still refuse to sign up would face fines of more than $1,000.

The details were unveiled Thursday July 2, in a health care overhaul bill supported by key Senate Democrats looking to fulfill President Barack Obama’s top domestic priority.

Called “shared responsibility payments,” the fines would offset at least half the cost of basic medical coverage, according to the legislation. The goal is to nudge people to sign up for coverage when they are healthy, not wait until they get sick.
[continued at The Seattle Times]

If you were given a choice, would you vote for or against this proposal? Why?

Mike Martello, Director of Wutang Belgium, 1966-2009

Hu Xi Lin and Mike Martello
Hu Xi Lin, Mike Martello and myself

I first met Mike Martello in 2007, when he gave a local seminar hosted by Jake Burroughs. Although we only spent a few hours together, he impressed me as few other Kungfu instructors have. Continue reading Mike Martello, Director of Wutang Belgium, 1966-2009

One Punch, One Kill, Two Lives Destroyed

Ikken Hissatsu, the popular Japanese Karate maxim, is usually translated as “one punch, one kill”. And although you won’t see it in the sporting ring, it does happen in real life. As reported in the Seattle Times,

The July 9 confrontation began while James Paroline was watering plants in the traffic circle, where he set cones on the street to protect his watering hose. Instead of driving around the cones, a group of girls got out of a car and two of them yelled at Paroline.

One of the girls summoned Brian Keith Brown, who was driven to the scene. He hit Paroline once and walked away…

Hans Aschenbach, a friend of Paroline’s for 20 years, said the [cellphone video evidence] proved Brown deserved a long sentence. “The video is shocking and was really an execution with a fist.”

Now, I’m not going to ask whether, with all your Karate training, you could have stopped someone like Brian Brown. That is too easy. Continue reading One Punch, One Kill, Two Lives Destroyed

Mad Libs With Jackie Chan And The Yellow Press

Last week, action movie star Jackie Chan gave a controversial speech to Chinese business leaders. What remarks caused such an uproar?

According to Associated Press reporter Min Lee, Jackie is “confused” about the value of “freedom” for his fellow Chinese people, and suggests that perhaps they should instead be “controlled”.

Technically, Jackie Chan never said any of this at the Boao Forum; his speech was not given in English. Thus, English-language reporters have the right–and responsibility–to reinterpret his words into an analogous cultural context.

What do you think after reading this speech excerpt? Continue reading Mad Libs With Jackie Chan And The Yellow Press

“Marathon Monk” Runs Away From Worldly Concerns

Genshin Fujinami

For more than seven years, Genshin Fujinami dressed in white from head to toe while covering the backwoods trails of Mount Hiei in one of the world’s most grueling feats–a punishing quest that combined starvation, isolation and the equivalent of a lap around the equator.

For 1,000 days, rising well before dawn, Fujinami embarked alone, rain or shine, on his journey, running or briskly walking more than 50 miles–that’s almost two marathons–each day as the trial neared its climax. Along with his white robes, his only gear was a pair of straw sandals, a long straw hat, candles, a shovel, a length of rope and a short sword.

The rope and sword weren’t for survival. If for some reason he could not complete his daily trek, he was to use them to kill himself.

Continue reading “Marathon Monk” Runs Away From Worldly Concerns

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

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

I Challenge Kimbo Slice to a Fair Fight

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. Continue reading I Challenge Kimbo Slice to a Fair Fight

Tiny Tales of Modern Samurai

More offbeat news from the world of martial arts…

“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. Continue reading Tiny Tales of Modern Samurai

Are You Smart Enough to Fight a Monkey?

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.”

Continue reading Are You Smart Enough to Fight a Monkey?

Shaolin Superstars…of Dance?

Matthew Ahmet with 'Shaolin monks'

The extraordinary transformation of an ordinary teenager into wannabe monk began nine years ago, when China’s famed Shaolin monks performed their extraordinary show of martial arts and physical feats at London’s Dominion Theatre.

Matthew says, ‘I was 11 and my older brother and cousin took me along to see the show. I was quite interested in martial arts, and I liked watching Jackie Chan films, but nothing could have prepared me for this.

I sat in the audience absolutely mesmerized. The show started just like it still does today, with a candle burning and soft chanting before the monks start demonstrating gentle tai chi moves. Suddenly, it all explodes into wonderful combat sequences and incredible feats of human endurance. The monks walk up stairways made from razor-sharp knives, lie on beds of knives with concrete slabs on top of them, and break metal bars over their own heads–showing how they can overcome pain.

He says, ‘People say that there is often a moment in life where everything changes, and for me, it was watching that one performance. I knew immediately that all I wanted to do in life was go to China and join the Shaolin monks. When I got home, I told Mum and Dad, and I think they assumed it was just a passing phase. But they were wrong…[continued at Daily Mail]

Superstars of Dance, Episode 2

Continue reading Shaolin Superstars…of Dance?