Monday, June 11, 2001

Is this Jailhouse Rock ? thread started by footlock

Is this Jailhouse Rock ? thread started by by footlock

Posted to Underground forum

From: footlock
Date: 24-May-01 | 06:58 AM

Is this real jail house rock?

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 07:07 AM


that's the mag article that made it into the book MARTIAL ARTS AROUND THE WORLD.

thanks for the link!

From: Pat O'Malley
Date: 24-May-01 | 07:21 AM

I don't know if this was lifted from it, but Paladin Press sells a book called "Knife Fighting Techniques of Folsom Prison" or something along them lines. I don't know how useful any of it really is, as I generally don't get into prison style knife fights,or any knife fights for that matter, when walking down the street.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 08:43 AM

f*ck!!! who deleted the other thread. this morning at 7AM, i posted the link above to it and got to work and it's gone?? WTF?

it's not in the archives either.

i do not think folsom knife book is related to 52/JHR.

From: poobear
Date: 24-May-01 | 08:48 AM


Where'd the other thread go? I just posted a Q on it.

Those techniques don't seem flashy to me. Straight meat and potatoes. Good stuff, luverly elbows.

Any grappling to JHR outside of takedowns?

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 08:49 AM

Yeah, did we lose that long thread? Damn, Stickgrappler why does that happen again? It drifts to the bottom and then gets zapped? Any chance to get some of it back in archive?

Too bad, we had some great back & forth going on there....

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 09:13 AM

Okay, as I said in other thread (now lost) Newsome's style as seen in that Martial Arts Around the World photo shoot is definitely some of the basics, but in real life, there are more flashy moves, back-spinning and punching your opponent in the head, or as I described, catching your opponent's fist between two clamping shut forearms, then disrespecting him further by kissing the knuckles and throwing his own fist back in his face--- that's the style of 52 I've seen, very very flashy and unpredictable.

Rhythm is key to it, so it's more hard to photograph in stills than other martial arts techs

Yes there are some grappling variations, but it's primarily striking. The grappling brand, according to Newsome is called Mount Meg; Mount McGregor is a prison in upstate New York...

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 09:24 AM

That thread is gone? Dude, I just posted on it an hour ago.

Pat, the book you're talking about is "Put 'em down, Take 'em out. Knife fighting techniques from Folsom Prison" and, IMO, isn't very good. It's not bad, just nothing I haven't seen in a dozen other books. I heard that the author, Don Pentecost, wrote a book on fighting and Paladin took the section on knife techniques and released it as "Put 'em Down".

Marc MacYoung has a pretty good video on knife techniques.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 09:25 AM

i'm f*cking pi$$ed cos i saved part of it, there were some more posts which were informative, but i did not save them.

at home this morning at 7, i posted the link from this thread and it should've been put back to the top. but i guess some moderator deleted it? i find it hard to believe that the thread would go to the bottom in the time it takes me to ride the subway to work (45 mins) after i posted to it.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 09:27 AM

one thing about the Pentecost book that opened my eyes to a different way of knifefighting coming from the FMA background, is about the repeated stabbing and just grabbing you for it.

this was the first book i saw with this approach. some FMA advocate lead weapon hand, but this book had rear hand.

From: caseman
Date: 24-May-01 | 09:34 AM

Hey Doug When K get's out you should get him into NHB. Theres good money in it, K would be great at it, and he would be able to get his aggressions out in the ring rather than the street, hereby eliminating future legal problems. Plus he would be doing something he loves. This sounds like a win win situation for K and a possible sequel to your book. Think about it, the possibilities are huge.

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 09:38 AM

Stickgrappler: I posted at about 8:00am edt and thought, "Well, I'll just save the thread when I get to work." Doh!

The same thing happened to my "Conspiracy Theory" thread. Coincidence? I think not. It's the Man keeping us down.

Doug: Welcome to the underground. The rule here is that when something like this happens, the new guy has to recreate the entire thread. Hope you have a good memory because there were about 87 posts. Have fun with it.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 09:41 AM

>I posted at about 8:00am edt and thought, "Well, I'll just save the thread when I get to work." Doh!

yes, i thought that too :-(


i can help with posts 52&53, some guy said hey i got post 52.

then Johnny99 posted saying his dad told him to be 53


From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 10:02 AM

Stickgrappler, just repost on one of these new threads any new questions guys had for me.

Caseman -- well, I'll suggest it to K, but I'm afraid that when his parole officer hears that that's going to be his "official employment," he might not be too pleased.

Actually, I don't know that much about NHB competitions, but Newsome said -- I repeat, this is Newsome talking not me -- that any real tough black ex-con with SERIOUS (as opposed to a passing) knowledge of 52 Blocks would whip ass in any NHB or Ultimate Fighting championship.

It's an interesting debate, but one thing I've considered is that the best fighters are almost always from the most deprived backgrounds. (Ali is an exception, in that he was pretty middle-class.) Given that heavyweight prizefighting is currently the best way for a fighting-minded guy from the 'hood to make serious scratch as a champion -- in the $4 to $20 million range, obviously they are gravitating to boxing. If however, there were more of an economic incentive to be in another field of fighting, be it pure MA or MMA or what-have-you, it stands to reason they were dominate or at least be very well represented.

I think I posted this info late last night, but as my friend Life -- another tough ex-con with Federal time for gun-running behin him in many tough penitentiaries said, though he's now a licensed security officer in New York now -- it's not that 52 Blocks is intentionally a secret (at least not to him) it's just that no one's really cared or had access to guys living in a poor black neighborhoods like his to ask such questions. He's happy to show me every move in his books. Also, he says, there are not that many guys around anymore who REALLY know it.

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 10:09 AM

53rd again! Dad's quite proud of me.

"some FMA advocate lead weapon hand, but this book had rear hand."

Yeah, grab and stab. None of that James Dean at the Griffith Observatory shit.

I just started training with a Filipino stylist. Mostly stick so far. It's very cool stuff and a lot of fun. But why is Phillipines spelled with P-H, and Filipino spelled with an F?

Check out MacYoung's two videos on knife fighting. Pretty good, entertaining and realistic.

Subject: RE: The "B-52"
From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 10:14 AM

I think the only other thing I posted last night was from this very well known writer, John Burnham Schwartz, an article I found on the web from a literary magazine called "Double Take," about a black guy who went to Spofford for selling pot (Spofford is the notorious juvie jail in the Bronx where Tyson and my friend Big K were locked up together.) The writer says that while there, the subject of his piece "shaved his head, packed on muscle, and learned the prison fighting style called the B-52."

To which I then added: "Was it a punk rock fighting style, with moves such as the Rock Lobster?"

My point being, the information is actually OUT THERE, it's just most people don't have enough context to know what it is. Like this writer hears the guy talking and thinks the name is "The B-52"... most writers are, in fact, boneheads.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 10:27 AM


i got the complete thread from ubik so far. no worries. it includes your above post about B-52.

hmm, B-52 & "homos" = Love Shack?? ;-)


filipinos alphabet do not have "F" actually. properly it's pilipino. they are King Phillip's people, hence pilipino/filipino. they do not have "C" also, sometimes you will see Kadena/Cadena (means chain). it's mainly an american thing.

From: MickJeCo
Date: 24-May-01 | 10:34 AM

Stickgrappler - I posted the passage from BLACK BELT on JHR - did you get my e-mail re your request for a copy of the article? My new ISP is screwing up my e-mail, let me know if you didn't get it... I sent it to the hotmail account on your webpage.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 10:44 AM

not yet as of this morning 7am. i'm at work now and have no access to hotmail. will check when i get home, or post your email if you can, and i'll email you.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 10:49 AM

Johnny99, thanks for welcoming on board. I'll try to learn the drill.

I must say, this forum is almost as good as the Who Here is Juicin'? thread. -Sarcastic smile- [don't know how do "draw" that. ~

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 10:58 AM

"any real tough black ex-con with SERIOUS (as opposed to a passing) knowledge of 52 Blocks would whip ass in any NHB or Ultimate Fighting championship."

NHB, maybe, but in a lot of MMA events (like UFC) there are rules restricting elbow techniques, etc. I'm afraid we'll be left with the old "My style is too deadly for the ring" debate.

Who is the author of the article Footlock linked us to? I thought it was Newsome, but it can't be because he refers to Newsome in the third person. Anyway, he mentions that he trained in Dux Ryu Ninjutsu. Hmmm. Not to turn this into a Frank Dux thread, but I found that interesting. I couldn't tell if that was supposed to be the author or Newsome talking.

I noticed that in the first technique shown, he appears to be blocking the haymaker and countering at the same time. A good, sound street concept most martial artists don't employ. They tend to block and then counter. I know Krav Maga preaches to strike while you block whenever possible.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:07 AM

J-99, agree totally. as I've said, a lot of guys in prison grow their nails very long to use as weapons, which I assume is verboten in actual competitions. Similar the preponderance of elbow and knee shots.

FYI, they actually used to refer to the worst joints in New York State correctional system as "Gladiator Schools," for this very reason. You go in there with a certain level of skills and come out a warrior.

The guy who published the book that you've been looking at the scans from, a certain John Sowett, out in L.A., told me that there's a very clear parallel between JHR/52 and the Shaolin Temple theory: total isolation, warrior mindset, time to think and devise better and better tactics, etc... What place on earth is more isolated and encourages survival-of-the-fittest mentality than a maxi-maxi (sorry, that's hoodlum-speak for Maximum Security) prison???

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:09 AM

yes, good concept - WCK does a variation of it. FMA does guntings aka gunts aka destructions from "Defang the snake" concept.

the page is some guy's take on combatives and he posted the pix.


i tried to put up the thread to my site from work - firewalls prevented me doing it :-(

will put up tonight or the weekend at the latest. for the record, ubik and Stovall both sent me the threads and between the 2, i have it all.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:11 AM


the spelling of that editor/publisher is John Soet. i think you should be able to submit your article through him, given he pub'd Newsome's JHR.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:12 AM

Thanks, I was going phonetically on it. But you're right, it's "Soet" in my notes.

From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:13 AM

okay i just finished reading the whole jhr thread that got emailed to me...holy shit. that is some wicked cool shit. i had wood while i was reading it. awesome guys. thanks for all the info century and stickgrappler. thanks to everyone else that made that one of the best threads ever. you guys rock big time!!!!!!

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:19 AM

glad to help out a brother! maybe use some of it against Adam ;-)

From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:22 AM

i could use whatever help on can get to beat him up :).

Date: 24-May-01 | 11:27 AM

Just make sure no "wood" is involved as you lay the beating on him!

From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:33 AM

thanks for the tip ILVQLOS LOL

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:37 AM
is that the definition of "brotherly love" :-)

From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:44 AM

no matter how serious a post starts off, it always degenerates into something more fit for the OG....:)

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:46 AM

I couldn't help noticing that those elbow techniques (like in technique 1, photo 4) would work if one's hands were cuffed. You'd just need to get your hands from behind your back (which we've all seen/done).

From: Conscious
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:48 AM

Speaking of JHR and shaolin,i saw a television segment on "Ghost Dog"(recent movie) and it featured Rza(Wu tang) at the Shaolin temple in NY.

Apparently he's a big fan.

From: Iceberg Slim
Date: 24-May-01 | 12:35 PM

RZA trains kf with a Shaolin "monk" who defected from the traveling show a few years back. The "monk" seems to be a wushu performer who is making big bucks in the States by teaching Shaolin MA (in this case wushu) to the unaware.

This is a great topic, but I wonder how much hyperbole there is when describing JHR/52. I always hear how "deadly" a style can be, but from what I've seen and read it sounds alot of stuff any streetfighter does, with a little JKDC thrown in the mix. Not to say it's not good and could kick some ass but what looks amazingly deadly to an untrained person may look pretty amusing to someone who's been around the fight game for awhile.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 12:47 PM

one aspect that Doug has mentioned to me and he has posted, is that it has this, for lack of a better term (and forgive the lack of PCness), "black rhythm". like white men can't jump or dance, well, it is probably very flowing and is more akin to capoeira. static pix does nothing to show the flow.

actually from what i understand, modern shaolin/sil lum is just a tourist trap with many wushu performers posing as monks, some of the abbots are probably true buddhist monks, but the rest are performers. sad.

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 12:56 PM

Cool screen name. Unless, of course, you're the real Iceberg Slim ;-) Cool books.

You have a point, but from what I understand of JHR/52, it's not just one style, just like "Kung Fu" is not one style. Also, there are apparently some specialized techniques, like escapes while being cuffed.

The cop I mentioned on the old thread ("the bad guys train, too") said that one of his buddies had a guy he chased try to climb a fence and, when he caught up to him and pulled him down, the dude whirled and took his gun from his holster (which was snapped) with one deft move that he'd obviously practiced.

BTW, Stickgrappler, I heard that admin intentionally deleted the previous thread to avoid all the "RICKSON vs. JHR" threads that are currently being planned :)

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 01:02 PM

Iceberg Slim: Well, can't speak for others but I'm not engaging in any hyperbole. I have no interest in saying such-and-such is the "deadliest" or "greatest" or blah-blah-blah. All I'm saying is that, having seen it firsthand, the 52 Blocks is very ferocious. The men I know who do it are hard-as-nails black dudes from the streets of probably the very toughest Brooklyn neighborhoods. The guys who perfected 52 in the 70s were known for strong-armed robbery, and grew up at a time when vicious fist-fights were a point of pride among gangstas in Brooklyn -- leading, not coincidentally, to the rise of the most dominent young heavyweight champion we have seen in our lifetime (whatever you think of Tyson's current diminishment, he was completely DEVASTATING in his Cus D'Amato/Kevin Rooney prime, and remains the youngest heavyweight champion in history.) His whole prizefighting stance, headfirst agression, repeated elbow shots, brutally efficient defense, came out of knowing The 52 Blocks. That is not hypberbole: it is a fact.

Now Dennis Newsome has some basis for comparison, given that he teaches/is considered a master of capoeria. He has fought --not in some sterile gym environment, but in an actual streetfight -- various guys who were using Wing Chun, Akido, Judo, etc. and he says 52 Blocks was far more real-world effective. His exact quote to me: "I know where they are coming from, I understand the theory behind their moves. But they have no idea where I'm coming from [using 52]."

Off the record, he told me that on the set of Lethal Weapon he was sparring with Rorian Gracie, and that Gracie could not figure out how to beat 52. Newsome acknowledges that GJJ has some effective tech's but he doesn't consider it practical in a real world, inner-city gang fight situation -- which 52 is absolutely effective at.

My friend Life in Brooklyn has the same attitude. "That black-belt shit is kind of a joke," he says. (This is a guy who was known in his criminal days for being very wicked with a razor blade in fights, and ALL these guys learned in prison to sleep with a razorblade hidden in their gums. Don't know about you, but I can't imagine having that kind of cold-blooded killer mentality.)

Another point: have you ever seen Death Row Records mogul Suge Knight: 330 pound Blood gang-banger from L.A.? As forum-member Mongo pointed out to me, when Suge Knight fights you the first thing he's gonna do is get you to the ground, but he's not gonna get down there and grapple -- he's gonna stomp you from a running position using his size 16s. Now honestly, one on one, what's going to stop him besides pepper spray or a handgun? And I'm not saying Suge Knight knows 52 or Jailhouse fighting -- I have no idea what he might know -- but he's just got that vicious gangbanger style of stomping the life out a victim.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 01:07 PM

J99, i thought it was bruce lee vs. 52 ROFLOL


it's not necessarily that trad. MA blackbelts are bad, but they do not train realistically for the streets. there's much to say on this.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 01:13 PM


Exactly my point. No dis intented to black belts, at all. On the contrary. Just talking about the real-world i.e. street vs. the gym.

Perfect analogy would be, I might be a marksman and get 100% in a target range controlled environment with a gun (definitely making me an expert) -- but put me in a crazy street gun fight (or a Vietnam situation), and I might be the first to catch a bullet. BTW, these guys in Brooklyn were always huge fans of Jackie Chan / Bruce Lee films (Wu-Tang are not exceptional in the MA fascination).

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 01:18 PM

>Off the record, he told me that on the set of Lethal Weapon he was sparring with Rorian Gracie, and that Gracie could not figure out how to beat 52. Newsome acknowledges that GJJ has some effective tech's but he doesn't consider it practical in a real world, inner-city gang fight situation -- which 52 is absolutely effective at.

er, you should not have posted that right? it's off the record?

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 01:29 PM

well I'm not quoting him telling me that in the Detail article (frankly most mainstream readers like Details subscribers won't even know about the Gracie phenomenon -- I didn't until recently.) But since this is a cyberspace forum, I'll share it. No secret that they worked together on the flick and did spar.

Look, Newsome's a really humble guy. And apparently, according to John Soet, Rorian was going around telling the world that he was the choreographer of all the fight scenes in "LW." Then Soet rents the movie, sees that very little of the fighting is GJJ, there's a little capoeira, but mostly it's JHR and then he sees the 3 different styles and technical consultants listed in the credits, and contacts Newsome.

Newsome was not, contrary to what some people might think, out there in Hollywood telling everyone about working on the movie. Gracie on the other hand was doing so. (Point of fact, Newsome has never done any other Hollywood choreography. He's just not in that loop.)

Newsome didn't badmouth Rorian Gracie to me -- as I said, he's a real down-to-earth humble guy -- but I sensed from his responses that Rorian just may be quite the egomaniac, self-promoter, which is why he's a millionaire with a national following and Newsome's just a guy teaching at an African arts center.

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 01:31 PM

"it's not necessarily that trad. MA blackbelts are bad, but they do not train realistically for the streets. there's much to say on this."

I was going to say a few things, then realized that we'd digress into a whole other thread. And then it would be deleted.

"GJJ has some effective tech's but he doesn't consider it practical in a real world, inner-city gang fight situation -- which 52 is absolutely effective at."

Doug: At any given time, there are a few threads on here having that exact discussion.

It would have been cool to see Rorion and Newsome playing around.

By the way, that really was "a perfect analogy".

From: Iceberg Slim
Date: 24-May-01 | 01:38 PM

OK, NOW I call BS. The "black rhythm" thing is ridiculous. Rhythm is learned...the best breakdancer I've ever seen is Asian.

Same goes for Newsome's assertion that he confounded Rorion. If he's such a badass, get in the ring. Oh...wait...his style is too deadly for the ring.

Yes, Tyson was a hugely dominating fighter, but aside from his peekaboo stance (which is from Cus Damato) and his use of his head and elbows (both very common in boxing...every pro has his favorite dirty tactics, and some just hide them better than others. Holyfield was a master with the headbutt and his elbows as well). Also, the heavyweight division at the time of Tyson's rise to prominence was pretty weak. Had Bonecrusher Smith actually fought Tyson instead of running from him he would have dropped him on his ass toot sweet...but that's for another thread.

Big, for one thing, doesn't mean anything to me. I weigh about 185-190 at 6'2" and I go up against much bigger and stronger people all the time in the gym. I have also gone to town for real on much bigger guys...but the only time I ever lost a fight was to a guy who I had about 50 pounds I could care less whether a guy's 300 or 150. Both have advantages and disadvantages. If someone's Suge Knight's size attacked me you can bet money that we're both going to the hospital because I am going to

And who knows? I've seen inner city kids who tried to box and got dropped with a love tap. On the other hand I've seen guys who look kinda geeky who can ROCK you with a jab and have a chin like stone.

Doug, this isn't an attack on you or your friends in any way shape or form, but if you've been around MA for awhile there are SOOOOO many bs artists that it colors your view of anyone (like Newsome) claiming to have a deadly, secret art that is only for the select few. Your input is interesting and much appreciated on this board...please keep it coming and I am definately buying anything else you put out.

Subject: from Doug's email to me...uprocking...
From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 01:56 PM

From: Doug Century
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 10:11:42 -0400

There's a few websites devoted to the Brooklyn style of pre-breakdancing called "Up-Rocking" or "The Brooklyn Rock." It has two dancers basically sparring in a 52 Blocks style to the music. The websites mention that the dance style developed when the young guys were watching how the "gangsters" or "hard rockers" -- guys who'd come home from prison -- danced and sparred on the street corners of Brooklyn. What they were watching was obviously The 52 Blocks. I hadn't thought of it before, but the reason for the word ROCK in Jailhouse ROCK is that inmates who are very feared and unremorceful are always called Hard Rocks.

These guys trace their Up-Rock dancing back to the late 60s, but I think it would go back even further. Here's a sample and the site it comes from... (note the references to "this crazy almost violent style of dancing..." and "Uprocking is like boxing" and "Uprocking is a dance of humiliation" Again, this speaks to the business I said earlier about why it would be hard for a white person to learn -- unlike Asian martial arts, the rhythmic sense is VERY key and it's not something you can pick up in a few months or even years with a master teacher -- you have to GROW UP WITH IT)...


From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:01 PM

I have a question (hand raised in the air) Is 52 Blocks and JHR the say thing? If they are not, what distinguishes them?

From: Iceberg Slim
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:05 PM

I see what you're saying but the use of rhythm is hardly unique to this style of fighting.

Indonesian arts have jurus--rhythmic dances often done to music that have martial applications.

Silat has a distinct rhythm. The demonstartion pics from the article (and I know that a lot gets lost with still photos) look like silat to me.

Boxing is based on timing and rhythm. If you don't have a good sense of both, you probably aren't a very good boxer.

Muay Thai has a definate rhythm with is reinforced by the music played during fights and, at least in the States, during practice.

From: Stovall
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:12 PM

"I see what you're saying but the use of rhythm is hardly unique to this style of fighting."

Who said it was unique to JHR?

Please, please...we have some good exchange of information going on here (for a change). Please don't hijack the thread with these argumentative points.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:12 PM


like doug says, it's like larry bird vs. michael jordan, they are both great bball players, but jordan has this rhythm that bird will never be able to get. or barry sanders vs. larry czonka, etc.

no one said it was unique to 52. it is just one defining aspect of 52 or at least from what Doug has gathered so far.


rory, where's your apple for the teach :-)

JHR is the older term from 60's and 70's. doug's contacts all call it 52 as does newsome as his "style" of JHR he learned. think JHR as JKD and 52 as SBG or PFS.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:15 PM

Slim, Okay, characterize it as B.S. if you like. Makes no difference to me. But if you want to debate, here we go:

(1) I agree that rhythm is "cultural" -- I never said it was racial, ethnic, genetic what have you. It's a cultural style of movement. Previous thread contained analogy to hoops: yes, it's possible for a white-boy to play with Michael Jordan/Iverson style of streetball, but just very, very rare as you have to clearly grow up in environment.

(2) But regarding fighting, can you please name me one white fighter who ever had the sweet style ("rhythm") if you will of an Ali/Robinson/Roy Jones Jr. Plenty of bad-ass white prizefighters in the past century, but I'm speaking stylistically, since that is part of the 52 Blocks, a certain rhythmic slickness.

(3) It's almost pointless to even defend your knock on Tyson. The heavyweight division was weak then? No, there were very creditable fighters (Berbick, Spinks, Razor Ruddock etc) and Tyson genearlly murdered them. Point of fact: Bonecrusher did NOT run; he held on for dear life the entire fight. Would Tyson have defeated Ali in his prime (doubtful), but you cannot knock a fighter for not having had a Joe Frazier-style war to elevate his stature. Any objective boxing historian would recognize Tyson's early dominance, great defense, and stunning knock-out power. That he also knows 52 Blocks is just a footnote to history.

(4) Dirty tactics in boxing are not what I'm talking about. Evander's headbutting is not part of 52; But Tyson's tying up Bonecrusher Smith in a classic gangsta lock then delivering three lighting elbow shots to the throat is. The 52 is an art -- a well-defined system of fighting -- whether you accept it or not.

(5) Why should Newsome get in the ring? He's not a competitive martial artist. He chooses to teach for a living. Newsome is not a braggart or blowhard or self promoter. He is not out there trying to promote himself as having discovered some "deadly" art. I had to track him down to ask questions, and he's very hush-hush about it. (contrary to your assumption.)

(6) You've seen "inner-city who tried to box and they got dropped"? So WHAT? I'm not talking about inner-city kids in general. In fact, VERY few inner-city black guys even know about this stuff anymore. The 52 Blocks is now the select province of a very rarified group of tough ex-convicts (now aged between 32 and 40) who learned and perfected it in prison, growing up in New York at a time when disputes were still settled by fists, rather than instantaneous gunplay. Now, you sound like you're proud of your own MA skills and toughness -- that's great. The guys I know in Brooklyn have, in general, been scrapping all their lives: they've all been shot, stabbed, locked up in maximum-security prison for bids of 5 years or more. That breeds a different level of toughness.

I've only been to places like Sing Sing and Clinton and Fishkill on a visit; I've seen the hardcore predators that "live" there. Personally, I wouldn't want to have to defend myself hand-to-hand in a bathroom against a powerhouse thug from the streets of Brownsville.

(7) Re size: as stated in previous thread, many of the best 52 Blocks fighters were in fact small -- 5'4", 5"6, etc. with low center of gravity. Speed and deception and knowledge of pressure points is far more essential than brute strength.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:19 PM

damn, anyone got the smith vs. tyson fight? gotta check it out.

good reply Doug.

From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:21 PM

Thanks stickgrappler. Who are you by the way? Also, what was that thread you mentioned earlier from Adam and myself.

Keep it coming Century. If you write in the same style with which you debate on here I can't wait to read your stuff. Keep it coming I am loving all of this.

I am so glad that we are shut down here at work or else I wouldn't have had a chance to catch up on this topic. It is completely riveting.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:23 PM

Hey, by the time I replied, you guys had beat me to the punch (bad pun.)

Not trying to be argumentative with you, Ice. But you imply that Newsome is out there and honestly he ain't. He's barely visible. And I never heard about him until it was through Stickgrappler and this forum. This stuff does exist in the streets among some serious bad-ass guys. Newsome just the only guy "mainstream" enough to have been discovered by you guys doing it.

If anything, you should be attacking me for promoting it as a deadly form of combat. Newsome's trying to keep it under wraps.

From: poobear
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:23 PM


The "black rhythm" thing is ridiculous. Rhythm is learned...the best breakdancer I've ever seen is Asian.

That's all about culture. It's like my wife being preternaturally good at schulbuck (Dutch shuffleboard). Her dad's a county champ, she's been playing since she was 5... Culture, not genes.

Sometimes you gotta look at what the guy's doing and make your judgement. What little I saw looked okay by me. Invincible? I dunno.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:27 PM

you guys posted a great post on the pummeling drill on rene hinojosa's pfs forum. i emailed adam asking if i could put it up and he said yes.

>Who are you by the way?

nobody, really. just some guy with too much time on his hands in the past and made a website archiving all this great MA info from various forums.

lately with newborn daughter, no time to surf other MA/JKD forums other than here.

Subject: RE: 52 vs. JHR
From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:27 PM

My guys consider 52 Blocks the art, and JHR some like old-fogey generic term for prison fighting. "Lethal Weapon" bills Newsome as "JHR" specialist, though he actually learned The 52 from a guy from Brooklyn. When Newsome talks about it being an old form from slave-times, similar to capoeria, I think that's referring to JHR. The 52 definitely comes out of the various New York max-security prisons, and I would say it's probably no older than 30 years (with that name).

newsome is adamant that this is "straight-up" African-American. no influence from Asian arts. he says black guys were fighting this way before the first karate or judu craze in America.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:30 PM

i think bottom line, attributes and training realistically may help any self-defense practitioner, but also, the mindset is also important. stuff by tony blauer et al helps, but what doug is talking about is from the streets. most of us have jobs, families, and not led "the life" - having to squat in dilapidated buildings, hustling or robbing for money, having to kill, or worst yet, having to be on guard in prison vs guys who will rape you.

From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:31 PM

when did you say you would be done with this book Century?

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:32 PM

did you decide to do the book, doug?

i know the article is definitely in the works.

damn, 59 posts already in this thread. missed being the 52 nd post :-)

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:47 PM

No, as I said, I'm writing a book right now about the Mafia -- a detective who goes undercover as a wiseguy for 3 years-- about as far removed from this topic as possible. I also have duties writing for New York Times.

All this 52 Blocks stuff is relating to a Details magazine article I'm doing. I hadn't even thought to do a book, but if you guys think that the mixed martial arts market out there would support interest in, hell, I'll talk to my agent.

FYI, a guy who's very good with this stuff named Titus (again, another very short stocky guy -- not a jailbird, but actually a career military man who just grew up in the same Brooklyn streets), is reportedly trying to do a book on the 52. He wants to have a different page describing and illustrating every move. Get this: he's a shrink with the air force, so I don't know how much "writing skills" he's got, but I'm told his 52 skills are on point.

great minds thinking alike? I dunno....seems like somebody's GOTTA do a book on this stuff.

Secretly (he says stupdily while announcing it to the entire English speaking world) what I'd like to see happen is for someone to buy my magazine article and turn it into an action movie. It would be great -- The 52 Blocks is all about an era when strongarmed robbery was the main hustle in Brooklyn. These guys, the Ave Ave crew, were known for robbing bread and juice delivery trucks (cash heavy) and all these stores without weapons -- just that 52 skill again: choke the life out a muthaf---- and he'll quickly give up the cash.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:55 PM

Interesting aside about rhythm, and I'm agreeing with Iceberg Slim.

This John Soet in L.A. pointed out that there's been a whole history of cultural cross-pollination in the development of fighting styles around the world. He claims (again don't argue with me) that it's little-known that Ali got his footwork from a traditional Filipino style (trained with a Filipino, I believe.)

From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:55 PM

i would go see that Century and I would buy any book you wrote on 52 Blocks. I look forward to your Details article for sure. and I think my brother is looking into getting your first book

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 02:59 PM

much appreciated. Thank your bro. Amazon and B&N and Yahoo have it, not sure about most bookstores these days.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:17 PM

re: ali and FMA (filipino martial arts for doug)

Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing?
is an article i archived to my site written by the late Lilia I. Howe. she was the late sister of Dan Inosanto and coincidentally was John Soet's wife. i have a friend who's into boxing who said he checked the source of the article and found some evidence refuting it. FWIW.


Float Like an Ali-bangbang, Sting Like a Bubuyug?

The Philippines have produced many famous boxers, such as Kid Moro and Pancho Villa, but without question, the greatest fighter ever to come out of the islands was the late "Flash" Ellorde, former world lightweight champion. Ellorde was the first to use the "dancing" style of footwork later made famous by Muhammad Ali.

"I can't say for certain whether Flash taught Muhammad his footwork," says Ellorde's sister, Jacinta Perez. "I know they were close and when Muhammad came to the Philippines he stayed with my brother. What I do know is that that particular style of footwork is from escrima, and it originated with Flash.

So he either taught it to Muhammad, or Muhammad picked it up after others started imitating Flash's style."

Ellorde came from an impoverished childhood in the Visayan Islands region of the Philippines. His schooling was neglected, so he had to start school later in life. Because he was older than the other children. they made fun of him, and he soon dropped out of school.

"Flash was very self-conscious about his illiteracy," according to Jacinta. `lie knew that he had absolutely no chance m this world unless he made it as a boxer. So from a very early age, he was determined to make is as a boxer.

"He practiced night and day, and became very good. However, our father had been the escrima champion of Cebu, and he refused to teach Flash. In the Phillippines, fathers usually didn't pass the art on to their sons.

"One day I said to Flash. `If you want to learn from dad, give him a couple of glasses of wine and get him happy. Then tease him; push him around a little. You'll learn what he knows.

"So Flash would sit and talk with our father and serve him wine then he'd start teasing him. Our father would get up and defend himself and come at Flash using his escrima, and Flash noticed his intricate footwork, the way he'd angle his body' how he'd seem to just float gently, then explode with power.

`This was the style Flash used in the ring. Quite often, other fighters couldn't lay a glove on him. Of course, all of the great fighters came to watch each other fight, and pretty soon others were using Flash's footwork. But no one was better at it than Muhammad Ali."

Therefore, East truly did meet West in one of the most unlikely places, the boxing ring. It just might be that even today, when Holyfleld lays a challenger flat, whether or not he knows it, most of his technical skill originated in the rice fields of the Philippines.

From: RobRPM2222
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:19 PM

interesting sh!t.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:29 PM

thanks, stick. Same story I heard about it.

From: Iceberg Slim
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:34 PM

Doug--like I said, no disrespect to you or your friends intended. Anyone who grows up in those neighborhoods is a bad mofo... My problem is with guys like Newsome, who on one hand claims his art is secret and yet publishes articles and choreographs fight scenes using it...and claims that it's better than Muay Thai and BJJ.

Do I believe that the 52 exists? Of course. I even agree that Tyson may know some of it, but IMO most of what I saw him do was classic dirty boxing...and of course there may be a good amount of overlapping there!

What I saw in the Bonecrusher Smith fight was a guy who was confused and intimidated by Tyson...but at the end of the fight they flurry and Smith WHACKS Tyson and...just for a split second...Tyson wobbles a bit. Smith, and the crowd, see this. The commentators even note that if Smith had fought that way for the entire fight things might have turned out differently. But I digress...

BTW, I would see that movie in a heartbeat...and PLEASE write a book about this.

From: Spankenstyne
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:36 PM

TTT, great thread...I'd also be interested in a book on this.Please let us know when the Details article is due to come out.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:39 PM

i guess you defintely have an audience if you do the book. maybe you should get together with Titus on this? he has a good idea with respect to the techs pages.

From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:43 PM

hey stickgrappler where is that post of ours from the JKD forum. i would like to see it again. don't quite remember

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:46 PM

Wow. I heard from a guy I trained with long ago that Ali had been schooled in some Filipino stuff. Now I know THE REST OF THE STORY.

"Johnny99, thanks for welcoming on board. I'll try to learn the drill."

Doug: Always proofread see if you any words out.

And thanks again to Doug and Stickgrappler for all this new info. Everytime I check in there's another dozen posts. Stickgrappler: Archive this before it disappears.

From: oblong
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:50 PM

Wait a minute. To my knowledge, the first time Ali went to the Philippines was to train for afight Frazier for the third time. That was 1975, almost 20 years after Ali started boxing. Quite frankly, in the late 1970s, Ali's footwork was no longer that impressive.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:58 PM

Ice, no disrespect taken at all. Hey man, we're just verbal sparring here, right?

Again at least the dudes I know, they never said the 52 Blocks was "secret" -- they just never had anyone care enough to ask about the sh*t. With Newsome, yes, there's a bit of black pride at work, in that he won't show LAPD or law enforcement the moves, but had no problem breaking it down for me scientifically over the phone. He knows that no one is going to be able to master the 52 in some strip-mall or gym; as I said previously, anymore than I'll be able to glide in mid-air if I spend the rest of my life imitating Allen Iverson's moves at the Y.

Okay, no doubt, Tyson was in the end proven to be more than fallible-- the illusion of invincibility shattered in the Douglas fight, can be glimpsed in previous fights where someone staggers him. But no great heavyweight -- f*ck it, boxer period -- was ever without flaw. Duran, Ali, Frazier, Joe Louis, we've all seen moments where they are hurt, staggered, knocked down.

But young 19 year old Tyson, a constantly bobbing juggernaught with great speed and chin, was a sight to see. Some people think that if he had stuck with Kevin Rooney -- avoided the trap of Don King etc -- he would have had a Marciano-like 10-year undefeated reign. Sadly, he'll now be known to history as Earbiter mike.

Bottom line on this 52 blocks stuff is that with any fighting system you have the added variable about how much REAL-LIFE cold-bloodedness a guy brings to the table. The sh#t my "sources" have told me about jail life (not in any glamorous or bragging way) just boggles my mind. Guys forcing other guys to drink a bucket of their piss, just such a staggering level of cruelty and humiliation.

And hey -- I'm not making this a "black" thing again. If anyone saw the HBO show about the Iceman -- a Polish-American mob hitman from Jersey who killed over a hundred people, you'd get my meaning. At one point, the Iceman murdered his victim in the middle of the nightclub dancefloor with a jab of a hyperdermic that gave him an instant heart attack. At another he shot a crossbow into the head of a guy (a completely innocent random guy who happened to glance in his car window), and they showed the autopsy table photo of the arrow halfway through the guy's skull. Why did he do it? No real motive, just to see if the crossbow technique would work!

That's the sh*t I'm talkin about-- just a casualness about killing and violence, and a lack of remorse. No way you can factor that in. I'm certainly not proud of it, but this is the hardcore truth: a number of these 52 Blocks guys in Brooklyn that I know have taken another guy's life (some did the prison time for it, others didn't). Personally, I can't imagine having that on my conscience; but I'd think that once you've killed (intentionally), you've entered a different plane of survival-of-the-fittest. And again, personally, I hope to never get there.

From: Stovall
Date: 24-May-01 | 03:59 PM

Considering the fact that I've been trying to find information on this stuff, off and on, for the last fifteen years...I am VERY appreciative of the information that is surfacing here.

Thanks to all involved in bringing this discussion to the forefront.

From: Rory Singer
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:02 PM

Hey Century, I have seen that HBO undercover with the Iceman. Talk about a cold blooded killer. That guy scared the hell out of me. Knowing there are people out there like that is a little unsettling.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:06 PM

Rory, That's what I'm talkin' about. It's not "Eye of the Tiger," it's morelike "Eye of Satan." I mean, I have no idea if that guy has fistfight skills, but he's 6'5" and 300 and would obviously choke the life out of you and then return to his Big Mac without missing a beat. I found him staggeringly chilling, and I've been around a few criminals in my writing days.

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:10 PM

Roy Demeo's whole crew were a bunch of fucking serial killers with a hot car ring. Scary guys. Some of them, like Chris Rosenberg, were barely 5'6", 150lbs.

From: hugojkd
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:12 PM

This is a great discussion that I hope gets archived. Thanks guys, specially Stickgrappler & century.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:13 PM
exactly. Read "Murder Machine," by Jerry Capeci. Now that I'm researching and writing about the Mob, I've got a different perspective. Some of these Mafia hitmen are about as cold-blooded as they come.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:14 PM

it's not up yet. will be this weekend.

J-99 & Stovall,

not a problem. as i've mentioned to Doug, i'm loving every min of it.

copying the html after i post so i have it saved a least thorugh 78 posts and will check if i can later at home.

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:15 PM

Some are cold and think of it as "business" but there are guys who are true serial killers who found a line of work they really get off on. I don't know who's scarier.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:16 PM

But I don't want this to get deleted cuz we've veered off topic to the Mafia.... we better stick to 52 Blocks related stuff.
My point was merely about killer-instinct. It's easy to talk about it; but in the real-world, either you've snuffed a guy out or you haven't.

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:18 PM

Hey, I gotta jet. In the event that this thread is gone when I check back in, thanks again to Doug and Stickgrappler. Good chatting with you.

And try not to post a bunch of bitchin' stuff after I leave; I don't want to miss anything.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:21 PM

Johnny-99, and as opposed to the Mob -- where as you say it's often just "business" and cold-blooded -- the added factor I've learned about from the "hoods" I know in Brooklyn is the general view that black life is cheap. Most of the guys I know are mellowed out now and not engaged in crime, but when they were 20-25, they all lived crazily violent lives (drugs, guns, etc.) thinking no way were they going to live to see 30. In general -- and again, I'm generalizing -- you don't hear of too many black criminals with that pure "serial killer" mentality like roy demeo or the iceman, it's more like the philosophy, "my life is worthless so yours is too," you know no self-esteem leading to absolute recklessness and lawlessness...

Don't worry -- I gotta go work out! .. this is fun as all hell, but too many hours and it begins to feel like w*cking off....

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 04:33 PM

"I know in Brooklyn is the general view that black life is cheap."

One of my friends from Compton, who I based a character on, says, "A nigga kills a cop, that's murder one. A cop kills a nigga, that's self-defense. A nigga kills a nigga? That's just another day in Compton."

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 06:00 PM


From: caseman
Date: 24-May-01 | 06:06 PM

hey doug could you post a picture of K? after reading the book I have an idea but am curious of what he looks like.

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 06:14 PM

"Johnny-99, we're in total agreement. Good line about Compton. You based out in L.A.?"

I'm from LA, but have been in Ohio for the last few years (Long story. Don't ask.)

This makes me the only fledegeling writer/musician ever to move FROM Hollywood TO Ohio.

BTW, what did K think of Street Kingdom?

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 07:19 PM

I'm not real good with the photo scanning -- don't own one. But I do have a sh*tload of pictures of him, so I'll figure it out. The cover of the book is him and Life and Justice in Harlem, but you only see their giant Timberland boots and baggy jeans.

K was pretty moved by it, actually. He was pissed when it was first published because he was out on bail on armed robbery charge, but then we did some interviews and readings together. Trust me, when all these nerdy New York book types see this 6'3" 280 lb. black guy from Brooklyn in their environment, they're usually pretty awed. Further visual image: he's got a really badly broken nose -- never properly set -- actually from conventional prizefighting -- and two knife scars on his cheeks. (He's also been shot 5 times, but you wouldn't see those scars unless he had a tanktop on.)

Actally, he's kinda different looking now than when I wrote it. Back in his 20s, he mostly wore the kind of "gangsta" braids you'd see on Snoop Dogg or Iverson; these days he keeps his hair real close-cut. He's the same weight as before but much more muscular and lean from all the prison lifting. As I said previously, his build is now pretty much like a classic big, fast NFL lineman a la Bruce Smith; not fat and sloppy looking like Warren Sapp. His hand-speed in fights is VERY fast; I've seen him in action (if you didn't read the book, I once saw him land a wicked left-right combination on a drug-dealer/gangster from harlem who pulled out and was aiming a Glock pistol in a hip-hop party, and sent the guy totally dazed and sprawling about 10 feet, dropping the gun-- we were actually on a boat in the middle of the Hudson River, surrounded by nearly naked girls, but that's a very long story...

Never saw this personally, but he was charged for it in a New Jersey case, he was also known for pistol-whipping dudes that got out of line. But he's mellowed out now, trying to do his time in peace.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 07:37 PM

actually there's a picture of me and K together on this website. I look like a f*cking goofball and you don't get a sense for his whole size, but it's us together on Franklin Avenue in Brooklyn. How do I post it? Stickgrappler?

in the picture I look about 5'2" cuz he's so huge, but I swear I'm around 5'7"! He's standing a good two feet behind me and he still seems about twice my size...

From: Johnny99
Date: 24-May-01 | 10:52 PM

Hey. Just got home from training. To post a pic:

(img src="") but replace the ( with < and ) with >

I think that's right.

From: century
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:02 PM

sorry J, you lost me. or were you kidding? maybe i'll e-mail it to stick.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 24-May-01 | 11:50 PM

email it to me or the url of the site, i will be able to post pic for you.

tried to do the cover, couldn't :-(

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 25-May-01 | 12:52 AM

i did not put up links yet on my site, but it's archived:

g'nite all,

your unsleeping servant :-)

From: cht
Date: 25-May-01 | 02:07 AM

I'm thinking they were big fans of Elvis Pressley tunes. Awe C'mon someone had to say it

From: Johnny99
Date: 25-May-01 | 06:22 AM

"sorry J, you lost me. or were you kidding?"

Ah, the dangers of being a wise-ass. When you're serious they think your kidding, and vice-versa.

Hey, I'm post 99.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 25-May-01 | 07:03 AM

#100 - ttt - going to work

will this disappear?

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 25-May-01 | 08:29 AM

#101 - ttt

at work, hmmm, still here, this thread

From: century
Date: 25-May-01 | 09:02 AM

Stick, I'm on my way to Flatbush, Brooklyn by 11 Am to see two guys named Life and Tom Roof put on some 52 sparring moves. It's actually a good thing I don't have video camera, since this from what I gather a shitty neighborhood and I gotta find my way from subway... should all go well, we'll have to stage a formal photo shoot for Details at which time, maybe, I could video.

Will e-mail you the photo of me and K later -- or maybe I'll snail mail you a shot or two that you can scan yourself?

From: Rory Singer
Date: 25-May-01 | 09:12 AM

ttt. can't let this one die. get back up there

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 25-May-01 | 09:30 AM

giddy UP


i will scan for you any pix by snailmail or post if you email me.

damn! wish i could go with you :-(

From: century
Date: 25-May-01 | 09:39 AM

Stick, break out of work, meet me at the downtown-bound D train. I'm going to Flatbush, Lennox between Flatbush Ave and Bedford. Okay, I know, you got the job and kids...

From: Johnny99
Date: 25-May-01 | 09:53 AM

I'm my own boss and have no kids but, damnit, I'm stuck in cowtown, Ohio.
Have fun.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 25-May-01 | 10:37 AM


just got a break now and saw your post. DAMN! if i could leave now, i would in a heartbeat join you!!

did you ever see Rory? if he went with you he could be your bodyguard, the guy is BIG!


be the 1st writer to move from hollywood to cowtown to move to NYC ;-)

From: sovann
Date: 25-May-01 | 10:46 AM


From: Rory Singer
Date: 25-May-01 | 10:52 AM

Thanks for the vote of confidence Stickgrappler. In my world I have never considered myself to be BIG, even at 6'2 1/2" and 205# (12% body fat). I have always lifted weights next to professional bodybuilders who are huge. Not to mention that I am the second smallest guy on our competion team at the gym (and there are still a few others that don't compete that are bigger than me as well). On our competition team we have one guy that is 6'3" 235 (and getting bigger again), one that is 5'11" 240 (looking to be 220), one who is 6'3" 260 (will end up at 240 soon) and my thai coach is 6'3" and about 230 as well. My only training partner that is smaller than me is 5'10 and 178# and great amateur Thai fighter. So as you can see, in my world I am just a runt :).

From: Rory Singer
Date: 25-May-01 | 11:48 AM


From: MrBoa
Date: 25-May-01 | 12:47 PM

I must say , I have been really blown away by this and the previous thread on 52-Blocks. I have the "Martial arts from around the world" book, and I have to be honest, I really discounted B-52 as a imaginary style invented by the demonstartor for a quick buck etc. I am a believer now, thanks to StickGrappler and Doug.

My mind is blown.

Thanks, B.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 25-May-01 | 12:47 PM


Rory, you are a monster compared to me. it's all relative, will leave you with a chinese saying:

"yan bei yan, bei sei yan"

literally man compete man, compete death man

or do not compare yourself to others or be your own man.

awaiting Doug's report...

From: Johnny99
Date: 25-May-01 | 12:55 PM

"be the 1st writer to move from hollywood to cowtown to move to NYC ;-)"

Working on it.

From: Rory Singer
Date: 25-May-01 | 01:59 PM

true dat stickgrappler.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 25-May-01 | 02:05 PM

Mr B, v FYI, properly it's "52" and not "B-52".


if you do get to NYC, email me, maybe you can show me some moves

From: Johnny99
Date: 25-May-01 | 02:52 PM

Absolutely. But it'll probably be you showing me moves. v

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 25-May-01 | 03:22 PM

dude, i'm just a beginner!

From: OriginallBloodClot
Date: 25-May-01 | 04:54 PM

Great Thread, keep it coming. thanks to all involved.

From: century
Date: 25-May-01 | 08:11 PM

Hey dudes,

Okay. I just got back from East Flatbush, Brooklyn -- real raw Jamaican section of Brooklyn where shootouts are still pretty commonplace -- after a whole day interviewing/studying my friend Life doing 52 Blocks. You gotta visualize this is real GHETTO sh*t in the neighborhood. It's pretty futile for me to try to put it into words right now, as I'm wiped out with exhaustion, but I'll make an attempt....

One of the things I have to describe for you about 52 is the unpredictability of the blows -- something that newsome stressed also. A classic move would to get into a bobbing pattern while sparring -- think of Tyson's style of barrelling straight ahead in peekaboo while ducking real fast side to side... Then as your opponent gets used to your bobbing, you feint, lunge for his ankle pantleg and dump him on his ass. Now a trained 52 guy would see that ankle-grab coming and snap both feet together, whirl around -- like a James Brown twirl -- pushing the other dudes head so he's off balance, then whirling around with other hand deliver a real sweet crack to his cranium. A very popular punch is called the Deadarm which is best described as a deceptive but lightning fast overhand punch.

The block known as twirling elbows pattern around the face and head is something to behold -- at some point I am DEFINITELY gonna get that captured on videotape so the world will know that it's the real deal. The sh*t looks wicked! It's one of those things where the sense of rhythm (or groove) comes in (I've been trying it and I look corny). As I said before, it's like a Swiss army knife flipping up very rapidly in all these combinations. This guy Life is a seriously big dude, 260 lbs -- but also real acrobatic (can do a standing backflip, walk on his hands etc.) And he's got forearms like logs, big tough fists. Having real strong forearms is a key to using this blocking technique -- you've gotta have the development in the forearms and elbows that a guys' hardest punch is not gonna do you any damage. 52 uses a whole lot of vertical elbows.

From: century
Date: 25-May-01 | 08:11 PM

But there are many other styles, which smaller guys' use in 52 which emphasize more the speed element. Newsome's style, on other hand, is to go straight for pressure points like throat, nuts, solar etc. He's 5'4", 160 and he knows he's not gonna tussle much with a guy who can bench 450.

Footwork is absolutely key. There's a pattern called 6 step. And overall conditioning is real important -- with higher emphasis on upper body strength than most martial arts, of course. (Newsome, by the way, points out that it's not a martial art -- martial meaning war, of course. It's a prison art, which is a distinction.)

Guys' doing it tend to throw around the phrase "shootin' joints!" (for throwing up punches) while sparring. There's a HUGE lot of sh*t-talkin' throughout -- not unlike Ali in his taunting prime. Taunting and humiliating your opponent is a big element (unlike most Asian martial arts I've seen); kind of like two really good street basketball players going one-on-one. That's why something like kissing-the-fist is big. You've either blocked or caught your opponents' fist, and just to show him that he's a p*ssy in your eyes, you plant a kiss on his knuckles before releasing. (Hope I'm conveying the mentality, at least, if not the actual flow -- which is WAY more fluid than most Asian-based stuff I've seen.)

52 Blocks is very graceful when done properly. No kicking at all that I've seen -- knees come into play with blocks, and sudden leg sweeps. But the basic aspect is to use forearms and shoulders in such a tightly choreographed rhythm that no real blow can penetrate to catch you're pressure points: neck, temples, etc.

Not a lot of grappling -- Life tells me in real-world prison there ain't much ground grappling -- but of course as part of catching your opponents' punches, there are over the hip throws that pretty much look like stuff I've seen in judo.

Alright, that's the best description I can muster in my exhausted state. Final mental image -- picture a straight-up nasty looking, muscular thug with gold fronts on his teeth coming headlong in a Tyson assault style (big thick arms protecting head) but also spinning around, shuffling shoulders, leaning WAAAAAY back to avoid a punch in a dance style like James Brown. That's a barebones description of what 52 looks like in person.

As they say in the wild wild west of Brooklyn, peace out...

From: moonrunrs
Date: 25-May-01 | 08:18 PM

This sounds like a fascinating martial art.

Question: how formally is "52" taught in prison? I know Latino gangs behind bars hold very regimented, formal workouts -- like military training, since they see themselves as soldiers. Is it the same with black gangs and 52? Do they actually hold "classes" and workout where they teach the techniques?

From: century
Date: 25-May-01 | 08:23 PM

52 Blocks is pretty much dead in prison --as far as I know. It was a real select group of guys from Brooklyn in the 70s that I seem to be able to trace it all back to. I'm told that convicts do train in prison fighting styles -- across the U.S. -- but not this very specific (very cool) style we know as the 52 Blocks. My guess would be there are less than a few hundred guys in the USA who REALLY still know this 52 Blocks stuff (The Wu-Tang clan etc. name-drop about the 52 in their rap lyrics, but they don't really know it). In fact, young guys growing up in Brooklyn have NO clue about it -- and this is where it got started!!!

From: moonrunrs
Date: 25-May-01 | 08:36 PM

thanks Century.

I hope this art eventually surfaces and can be documented -- not so people can make money off it, but so it can be preserved and studied. In the 1930s and 40s, the US Army filmed Kung-Fu and Wushu to try to understand it more (in case US soldiers ever had to fight the Chinese). These films documented a lot of the older techniques that remained hidden during the cold war.

It'd be cool if the same thing could be done for 52 Blocks, to remember it in case it should die out.

Also, if Dennis Newsome is one of the few people left who have knowledge of this system, and he doesn't really teach it, does he plan to ever train new students to pass the techniques on?

From: century
Date: 25-May-01 | 08:45 PM

Dennis isn't one of the few people who knows it; he's just one of the few with any kind of articulation and book smarts. The guys who REALLY know it (who he got it from) are freakin' hoodlums and convicts -- with no real "scientific" way of thinking about what they're doing. Nor do the give sh*t about preserving it, but hey I'm on the way to doing so. Most of these dudes from the '70s only care about cash and survival. Like if I had 50 guys who would chip in 20 bucks each, I could get a few REAL serious ex-con fighters to put on a demonstration of 52 at its best which I'd videotape.

But Dennis does teach it -- on the down-low. He'll only teach it to black kids he sort of handpicks and it's pretty much an underground class. I give him much props for doing so. Cuz you're right. It would get lost otherwise. He considers it an African pride issue.

One of the main reasons it's been secret is that in prison, blacks stick with blacks, Latinos with Latinos, whites with whites -- at least when a fight breaks out. So why would you let the cat of the bag and show your potential enemy your best tricks?

The guys I know in Brooklyn have no issues like that. I'm white and they're showing me the stuff. But again, you gotta visualize the reality: today I was in a part of Brooklyn where in my 7 block walks to the subway I really didn't see another white face.

As Newsome said to me -- great point, by the way: A lot of blacks do know about this, people like Spike Lee and Wesley Snipes would know of the 52, but because of the disreputable, ghetto/prison origins, they don't value it. "But as soon as the white man comes along to make a big deal," says Newsome, "then it becomes a thing of value."

From: century
Date: 25-May-01 | 08:46 PM


Does this get lost if I don't type that?

From: moonrunrs
Date: 25-May-01 | 08:53 PM

I can understand how Blacks in prison would never want to share it with other races. Prison gangs are built around ethnicity, and you wouldn't want your enemies know what's in your arsenal. The same was true for Asian arts a long time ago.

Maybe 50 forum members can get together, chip in $20 apiece and we can see a demo of this system. Or better yet, Panther could pay them to do an instructional series. (That's a joke, BTW.)

I can't wait for the article. Please keep us posted on when it's due.

I agree with you and Dennis Newsome about society's view of 52 and it's perceived value -- how it can change.

From: century
Date: 25-May-01 | 09:02 PM

Wasn't suggesting that members chip in $20, BTW! I was just putting the hypothetical out there... I'm gonna get this videotaped at some point.

From: RobRPM2222
Date: 25-May-01 | 09:07 PM


From: Johnny99
Date: 25-May-01 | 09:16 PM

Jesus. I can't leave this thread for a minute.

Very cool of you to share your research with us.Our first eyewitness account of the elusive 52 in its natural habitat.

"But as soon as the white man comes along to make a big deal," says Newsome, "then it becomes a thing of value."

Then I say we kill the thread right now. If what's been done to Blues, Jazz, R & B, Rap, fashion, and slang is any indication, within a few years soccer moms will be incorporating twirling elbows and six step footwork into their Tae Bo.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 25-May-01 | 11:27 PM

just got back from dinner. damn! great posts Doug.

all throughout work today, i was saying to my co-worker, i wish i was in flatbush right now!!! hmm, you were the only white face, how many chinese faces were there? would you or your friends mind if i tagged along next time? hmmm...

seriously, if you really want an idea, not sure how feasible it is, but all proceeds of your future 52 book and 52 video to go into a fund to say, education for those guys or a computer(s) or whatever, you get the idea. not sure how much you can make, and it can cost a lot to set this up, i for one, would contribute to this fund with $20 for the vid, even if it was not professional quality. and whatever the book costs, i would pick that up too.

i do not know how many members who have lurked on the thread or who actually participated in the threads. and of those members why they are interested in 52. for me, believe it or not, i want to help preserve a dying art. in my small way, i hope i am accomplishing something to that end.

i first joined this forum when dempsy 1st interviewed newsome. i was fascinated with JHR (actually i'm interested in all MA) in that i wanted to find more info to see what it is all about. i created my site partly to archive the JHR threads (and initially also Phil Dunlap's Kachin Bando threads).

someone posted to rec.martial-arts awhile ago saying they heard about 52 and wanted more info. i remembered newsome saying his style of JHR is 52. i emailed the guy the link to my site. he emails back saying he read a book (which i did not read yet, but it's on my list of must read books after i get through my series 7 studying) called STREET KINGDOM and it mentions 52.

he in turn somehow forwards the URL to my site to Doug Century and then Doug emails me back and we have been going back and forth exchanging info. he provided more for me than i did to him, but he never heard of newsome until i mentioned him. and that brings us to the present.

i really cannot wait for the article, book, video, pix, what have you.


giddyup! please ttt this thread! TIA.

p.s. Doug, if you type nothing and just click submit message, it serves same purpose as ttt, but with ttt people know you are preserving the thread and not letting it get to the bottom and it gets lost to cyber-beyond. with blank post, people think HUH? i sometimes post nothing for speed's sake as i have limited time online.

From: century
Date: 26-May-01 | 12:30 AM


From: century
Date: 26-May-01 | 02:14 AM

Thanks, if I line this up to where these dudes are comfortable with that, I wouldn't at all mind. By the way, I just had this really long (I mean like 3 hours plus) phone call with Newsome about all this stuff. The guy is really deep, real scientific in his understanding of world history and cultural fighting styles.

One thing. I have to clear up something wrong I posted earlier. Newsome was never -- repeat NEVER -- sparring with Rorian Gracie during making of Lethal Weapon. I got that confused with the third consultant with whom he was sparring capoeira. Newsome did say something like, if I had to fight Gracie, he wouldn't be able to figure out my 52 style. But they never squared off together.

Someone earlier asked why Newsome doesn't get "into the competitive ring." His response: he's 42 years old, both knees badly banged up. Straightforward enough. If he was in his 20s he said he'd love to. But he's also not much of a braggart. Like most of the 52 guys I know, he's quick to say there's always someone who can take me to school.

Date: 26-May-01 | 11:49 AM


From: Johnny99
Date: 26-May-01 | 01:54 PM

"i for one, would contribute to this fund with $20 for the vid, even if it was not professional quality. and whatever the book costs, i would pick that up too."

Count me in.

I just like learning new things. Especially practical things. Especially practical things that the mainstream would rather people didn't know. I already know more about this subject than I did a week ago. Thanks Doug, Thanks Stickgrappler.

Nice of Newsome to give you so much of his time. How does he feel about his art being exposed on a mass scale? (Well, not massive, but whatever Details' circulation is.)

From: century
Date: 26-May-01 | 02:16 PM

J-99, You know something, Newsome's real cool with it. He said he's vibed me out as someone who's gonna do it justice. The thing that he's always avoided is, as he puts it, "pimping" this stuff for profit. he's had offers and dudes out there thinking "hey we can get rich, etc." but Newsome's a real purist about it. Again, to his credit. What I've done though is to get him to see that this sh*t (a) will be lost eventually if it's not documented and (b) a proper article/book what-have-you will establish it as an art worthy of respect rather than "dirty fighting" or as some have thought a fabrication or myth. The one thing he's adamant about me stressing is that it's a black American development, which of course I'm not gonna distort.

And these things are all symbiotic, like Stick posted just now; cuz all these questions about 52 I've been asking have Newsome really re-evaluating it, and practicing, and now I'm trying to link him up with some of the dudes I know or know of in Brooklyn so they can all compare notes and maybe codify the knowledge.... (if I can be the conduit of something positive, I'm all for it.)

See, given his time on "Lethal Weapon," he makes a great cautionary point about how Asian arts in Hollywood were, after Bruce Lee, taken over by Caucasians (Norris, Seagal...) and until recently the only thing a Chinese guy was good for in a Hollywood movie was for getting his ass kicked. he'd hate to have that happen with 52 Blocks: you know, Stallone makes a movie in which he whips butt using this black American fighting style and then denies that it's black in the first place. (Plausible scenario.)

Also, the secretiveness factor here is interesting to me, now that I've been doing more research. Kung fu was also highly secretive in the beginning, right? and non-Asians weren't welcomed to learn it. Also, Newsome's point about 52 Blocks developing as a system of imprisoned/enslaved/downtrodden meshes with what I've been reading about how Okinawan people were dominated by Japanese and forbidden weapons, so perfected hand-to-hand... you know it's all a continuum...

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 26-May-01 | 02:28 PM

Doug/J-99/anyone else,

this thread may die out during the holiday weekend - i may not have time to go online to check, so start copying and pasting. i have everything up until this post.

excellent work so far Doug. i think your article will really ROCK (pun intended)

From: century
Date: 26-May-01 | 02:49 PM

thanks Stick and everyone who's been supportive so far. Okay, don't get your hopes up too far, but I've just connected with my official Details photographer and it sounds like we're gonna do this RIGHT -- meaning high-quality flicks and, he tells me, he's also gonna shoot digital vid. We're also most likely gonna get into the prison (fishkill) to get K (albeit more or less shadowboxing 52 style), but that's dependent on the New York State correctional officials allowing me to get a camera in there. I'm definitely now thinking of pursuing this beyond just one article -- perhaps the photog and I really goin' for a high-quality book (cultural history/great photos). And that's really ALL due to your guys' support and making me realize that there could be many interested parties (outside the 'hood)! Keep ya posted...

From: Johnny99
Date: 26-May-01 | 02:58 PM

"Okinawan people were dominated by Japanese and forbidden weapons, so perfected hand-to-hand... you know it's all a continuum..."

Yes, and look how watered down the trad styles have beome as a result of their popularity. Not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it's kept in perspective. Much like what Billy Blanks did decades later, Funakoshi took a deadly style, defanged it, and taught it as a means of exercise and self-improvement. The danger comes when people teach it as self defense and think their aerobics are deadly.

"...he'd hate to have that happen with 52 Blocks"

He's right; there's quite a history of that sort of thing happening. Look what Pat Boone did with Little Richard's material. I shudder.

As far as Hollywood goes, it probably wouldn't matter if Spike Lee or John Singleton directed a movie on this subject. That's just what happens on the way to the screen. Like, if they turned "The Old Man And The Sea" into a film, they'd have meetings like, "This whole fishing sequence is too long. We have to cut it. And the man is too old. And he needs a love interest. And the title is too clunky. How about: 'Sea Chase 2000!'? And how about a talking fish?"

"Stallone makes a movie in which he whips butt using this black American fighting style and then denies that it's black in the first place. (Plausible scenario.)"

I always thought those Tarzan flicks were hilarious. Like, these dark-skinned Africans all need a white guy to come rescue them from the perils of the jungle they've been living in their whole lives.

But I think that between Newsome, Stickgrappler, yourself, and the others you know involved in this art, you're on the right track to preserving it properly, documenting its development, and possibly taking it one step further to the benefit of all involved.

I'm enjoying watching you guys all work together on this. I have little faith in the human race in general, so it's interesting to see the occasional event wherein people work together for the sake of knowledge without anyone trying to 'pimp the art.'

Oh, I know you'll get a few bucks for the article, but it'll be a lot less than most people think, and if that was your only motivation you wouldn't be approaching the subject in the manner you are.

But don't get too carried away or you'll shatter my lack of faith in humanity.

From: Stickgrappler
Date: 27-May-01 | 12:45 PM


must be the writer in you talking and not the MAist :-)

found your email - did not pass this on to Doug, so i will post here, may be another lead:

"Saw a documentary called "Banned in America: The Prison Files" There is a section of the tape called "in the yard" in which you can see about two seconds of possible JHR. First you’ll see a very sneaky attack with a barbell, then a scene where there’s a free-for-all type fight going on. Most of the participants don’t seem to know much about fighting, but one guy does a sweet wrestling-type takedown. Sort of a front suplex. Possible JHR? In the next scene one guy is getting stomped by a small group on a b-ball court. The narrator described it as graphic violence, but it looked to me like they were either practicing or playing. The guy who was down gets up uninjured and assumes a mock fighting stance against one of the attackers but he doesn’t swing on anybody. Guys are playing hoops around them. All three of these scenes probably don’t add up to ten seconds of action, but it’s probably as close to JHR as you can see from this side of the fence. "

From: Rory Singer
Date: 27-May-01 | 04:39 PM


From: jakobsve
Date: 27-May-01 | 04:54 PM

Post here if anything comes out of this videothing!


From: paulm
Date: 27-May-01 | 05:34 PM

Cool...I'd love to see the video of the 52 if you can get it.

The culture suurounding the 52 sounds a lot like that which suurounded Chinese MA. Contrary to popular belief inthe States CMA was mainly the domain of warlords, mercenaries and criminals. Even now there are some underground MA schoools that teach only Chinese and those guys are SUPER shady...a friend of mine was able to train at a place like this for awhile due to an introduction from a close friend of the instructor, he was the only white guy there.

Doug, what Asian arts have you seen? Karate and kungfu tend to neglect rhtyhm but SE asian arts use music all the time while training and fighting.

And, taunting the opponent is one of the uses of the Ram Muay, the dance that Thia fighters do prior to a match. My favorite involves digging a grave for the opponent and then stomping on the ground...very insutling in Thai culture as it implies that after you bury your opponent you will defile his grave.They will also show contempt for an opponent's power by letting him kick them in the ribs or teeping (kick with the ball of the foot) to the face. This is pretty much the worst thing you can do to a Thai from what I understand.

From: Johnny99
Date: 27-May-01 | 06:21 PM

"involves digging a grave for the opponent and then stomping on the ground...very insutling in Thai"

Think that's where Tito got it from?

Other 52/Jailhouse Rock posts:

NOTE: Posted 10/12/2015 as of 6/11/2001 to mirror date of my original post from my old archives which has been deleted by Tripod without my knowledge. You can see the Internet Archive's link Is this Jailhouse Rock ? thread started by footlock of its snapshot of my old archives.



back to top
Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps