Friday, May 23, 2008

The 52 Hand Blocks aka...

... 52 Blocks aka Jailhouse Rock aka a lot more names it's known by

Check out my friend Daniel Marks' site: http://www.fwape.com

Fwape is dedicated to the cultural and historical preservation of 52.

For some background information on 52 Blocks, please check out my site, Stickgrappler's Martial Arts Archives, specifically the 52/JHR page.

It is interesting to note, I was one of the first on the net to archive a lot of info (or misinfo) on 52. 1 of 3 popular topics off my site that I received emails on was on 52.

Check out Daniel's other 52 videos up on youtube!



Framing 52 (Book on 52 Blocks)

Framing 52 - front cover

by Daniel Marks & Kamau Hunter
  • Paperback $30.01
  • Download $10.00

Printed: 110 pages, 8.5" x 8.5", perfect binding, full-color interior ink

Download: 1 documents, 78807 KB


Description:

A photographic anthology on the last surviving martial art native to the United States, 52 Blocks. A hidden culture that helped spawn Hip Hop and Breakdance.

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ORDERING INFO:

http://www.lulu.com

I cannot wait to check this book out. Review forthcoming...

Break the Glass (52 Hand Blocks dvd)

Break the Glass (52 Blocks dvd)


My friend Daniel Marks and Fwape.com has a dvd out on 52 Hand Blocks. I cannot wait to check this out...it has the old heads in addition to "Big K" aka Kawaun, who was in author's Douglas Century's STREET KINGDOM book.

The trailer is up on Youtube.



ORDERING INFO:

Check at fwape.com for details.

Review forthcoming...

It's Just a Piece of Cloth, a Dirty Old Rag! by James A Keating

I had saved this article to my harddrive... I forgot where I saved it from. When and if i I find the site, I will post the link. But in the meantime, here's the article by James Keating.

It's Just a Piece of Cloth, a Dirty Old Rag! by James Albert Keating

Just a Piece of Cloth

Staying alive in 2005 is the general idea, right? One must be creative in this endeavor. The common place items of mayhem are all too readily recognized by a host of eyes, cameras and snoopy neighbors. It will become even harder by 2006 to stay out of a fix. Because more and more places are putting total bans on all weapons. Knives, palmers, knucks, and of course, good old GUNS! (Even airguns now). Sadly, the common man carries no weapon (as the law dictates), yet the criminal who cares naught for law, life or limb is usually quite well armed. What an advantage the criminal has! Yet carry an illegal weapon for your personal protection and fall prey to the constabulary and ye shall pay dearly as ye did at the hands of the thug! Alas the common man is caught between the proverbial "rock and a hard spot". My advice? Prepare now, be proactive, NOT reactive!

It's not a question of "if", but of "when". Ya know what I'm saying? By having a plan and being able to act upon it in time of need is worth a lot when death comes courting.

In such instances one must act swiftly. As swift as thought in all truth. It's wondeful to maintain a high level of empty handed fighting ability. From Karate to Kung Fu and everything in between - I think they are all great. But, we as a species are a "tool using" animal. And thats a fact. You can't change a tire, brush your teeth or catch food without some type of tool. Indeed the realm of tools extends into those tools we call "weapons" as well. A weapon is just a tool, a tool of personal defence. You'll use tools of every type throughout a normal day. But, when someone comes to harm or to kill you, you mean you WON'T ? Such a mindset goes against all logic, yet many feel compelled to play such a game rather than circumvent it's limitations.

Already some of you readers are asking "but how do we get around these barriers". The answer is simple, learn about the kerchief, bandanna and scarf ! Therein lies a treasure trove of effective and unexpected personal defense techniques. In the Filipino pantheon of fighting skills this would fall into the catagory of "flexible weapons". The Kerchief is called "PANU". No matter whether your a gentleman in a business suit or a farmer in overalls, all men can easily carry some version of the trusty bandanna. Beyond the area of interest that we all share (self defense) there lies an even deeper layer of knowledge and survival related skills which are all associted with the kerchief-bandanna. To fully grasp just how valuable a bandanna is you must begin "living" with one on a daily basis. It becomes an exercise in creativity. And no airport yet takes away yer snotrag, kerchief or scarf, not yet anyway. It is a damn good weapon with many secrets to share with those who are willing to do the time learning it's underlying concepts. Let us get to it, shall we?

The Weaponization of Cloth

In this section let us address the aspects which make the humble piece of cloth (bandanna) into an effective personal defense alternative. Once you savvy these elements

you can begin practicing, planning and preparing your floppy fighting friend. One of the main benefits of employing a bandanna in your own defense when being assaulted is that it offers you superior leverage over an adversary (when it's used properly). That leverage boost may not seem like much of a step up past the mere empty hand, but it is! Leverage isn't anything mystical or too marvelous, just simple science at work. It's another reason why I prefer "fighting sciences" over "fighting arts". Art of any kind is always unique and one of a kind, difficult to replicate... Science on the other hand is intended to be replicated, science is all about the rules and laws which govern our existence in this universe. Look to science for answers to your combat conundrums every bit as much as you might a dojo, kwoon or boxing gym.

The cloth serves as a distraction, when this part is mastered one can confuse, anger and dismay an opponent with your cloth. By now many of you are probably saying "crap", this is no more than big talk. Distraction and leverage won't halt a determined opponent. Ah, you are so right my friend, but here's the part I need to clue you all in on. The critical part that makes the whole damn thing "kick-in".... The bandanna is loaded! Oh my gosh! This changes everything! The weaponization of your harmless gentlemans kerchief has jumped into a new zone of respect getting prowess. By loading the bandanna - kerchief - scarf properly with a pre-designated object ( a large coin will do or a small stone found along the roadside) you can surprise a would be assailant and take the lead from there to either escape or continue fighting. Keep in mind, this is about "surviving", not a sports-mentality where winning and losing are factors. There is only ONE factor, SURVIVE / ESCAPE!

Some believe that by putting a knot into the center area of the bandanna it will increase one's ability to use the cloth to choke and to damage to trachea. This is often associated with the cult of the Thugees (who worshipped the many armed Goddess "Kali"). The used a cloth called the "Rhumal" to strangle the victims. The Thugs were not permitted to draw blood, so by strangulation of their opponents they kept their vows chaste. Often their attacks were covert, closer to assassination than combat.

But, they do indeed leave us a legacy regarding the deadliness of the flexible weapon family. For that I thank them and their ilk. In the Filipino methods if a knot is used, it's usually on one end of the cloth, not in the center.

Avoid slick cloth like nylon. The only thing that comes close to nylon is silk, real silk. And that is excellent stuff, go for it if you can. Otherwise a simple cotton bandanna or kerchief will do just fine. (But, so will a necktie, a pet leash or a strap from your briefcase. Are you getting my drift here dear readers? (Think Concept over technique).

I had one guy tell about his training in "Manriki"...... a big old chain w/ weights on the end. Oh yes, it's effective, but such a gadget is steel, big, heavy and VERY weapon-like. HOW will that blend in? You may as well carry a damn illegal pistol then if you are willing to carry a chain. So, if you have been schooled in Manriki, then make those skills more suited to today by transferring your abilities from a chain to perhaps a stout dress belt. Ah yes, there ya go! Now you are thinking, the juices are stirring!

If the skills you currently possess are not suited for play in the real world of crime, combat, courts, cops and barristers then yer crusiing for a bruising mate.

It's about today, yesterday is gone. Your new travel pal for the next few weeks is the humble CLOTH. Know it, get used to it, meditate upon it, experiment some and quietly prepare yourself.

Again, let us retrace a few steps: The Bandanna can be a: distraction, a sling, a sap, it can entangle, provide leverage, works well in all ranges and interacts well w/ all environments and authorities. Gee, for a "low-visibility" personal defense item, does it get any better than this? Your experimentation and diligence are critical components in your path to covert self defense mastery. All self defense skills are good. But in this world, intelligent self defense is part of todays formula to total victory.

Our philosophy at Combat Technologies Inc is this: Win in the street, Win in the courts, Win the hearts and minds of the many. Only then can total victory be yours.

The Maximization of Cloth

In the manifestation of this skill one will study different ways to snap, wrap, trap and entangle the opponent. You are taught both high-line and low-line applications.

You are shown how the bandanna is applied against the body's "lever points". The bandanna and your empty hand arts must work as a team.

How can you make the most out of this humble "Cloth"? How else can this simple, yet highly versatile rag be employed into our service? In this case the survival mind must take the lead. So let's have a look at some of the other applications you might consider when becoming a professional "Bandanna Man". The Bandanna is protection.

Protection from air born particulates, from the blazing sun and the freezing cold. It's part hat and part collar. It's a facial wipe and a something to bind a shapened spike of wood to a longer pole if need be. It's whatever your creativity says that it is!

Considering Cloth as Cure

It can serve as sling for broken wing, as plug and patch for bloody scratch or a tourniquet, when things get wet........ What role can this wonderous cloth not play?

Learning to "tie-off"! Yes, if you are ever wounded and find your blood gushing out, is an important skill to know. Use one hand and your teeth to secure the knot, be sure to loosen the tourinquet once in awhile also.

There are so, so many uses, applications and techniques coming from this humble cloth it fairly boggles the mind. Live with this tool, see for yourself. Gee, I dunno why I need have you prove this as true at all. It's only worked for countless generations of people on every continent on Earth for thousands of years. The truly good things stay with all cultures for all time. The humble cloth is one of those things. Now let it defend you from unwanted aggression. A little work and study is all it takes and VOILA!

It shall be yours! In the process, you'll no doubt come up with a whole bunch of new applications and uses yourself.

The Secret of the Cloth:

Concept versus Technique

It is of the utmost criticality that you grasp the idea of conceptual thinking. Only then can you truly tap into the survival mindset. Technique and ritual are oft times impediments to true performance. So by seeing beyond cultures, techniques and styles we can then begin dealing with what actually lies at the foundation of fighting, for all people, for all animals....... It's all the same really.

The kerchief, scarf or bandanna are part of a bigger picture of personal defensive development. I only wish you to be aware of this. (you'll thank me later).

The bullwhip, the length of rope, the buntot pagi (ray-tail), scarf, belt, sarong are all versions of the same art of using flexible weapons.

Each varies slightly from the other, but generally the concepts remain alike. Thus by knowing one path you intuitively know the others as well. We are not here to champion one arts methods over an another. Nor are we here to learn an entire curriculum of study. But by knowing that it is CONCEPT ye seek and not the over-vaunted technique or technical side ....you are already well ahead of the pack! Carry on then!

Example:

If I place a common wooden chair before you, what will you see? Is it just a chair to you? If so, then you are a linear type of a thinker. If this chair before you has possibilities as perhaps firewood, a stool,a weapon and yes of course a chair.... then Bravo! Then no doubt you are a concept man and are not bound to thinking "in da box". You'll do fine in the fray I'd reckon! Be intuitive, instinctual and intensive in your quest for this knowledge. If opportunity presents itself, by all means come train with me, we will discover this wonderful method together. I love thinking outta the box with others, great stuff comes from such mind-meld training sessions. In a few hours you'll have it down!

Common Cloth / Common Sense:

By this I am referring to those elements which cause us to possess common sense. It is the wellspring from which creativity in combat draws from. The bandanna is NOT a knife, it is NOT a pistol or bludgeon. Don't expect it to be. Be clever, use it for what it is. Know your limitations, know your strengths and know the enemy. Then aye, ye can venture forth in confidence. Put aside all martial art spawned fantasy. If you seek truth in combat, then let it begin with common sense. A truer sensei never existed!

There is an old saying from asia which asks: "Who is wiser than all the sages and Buddhas? ..... The answer of course, is YOU !

Conceptual Learning RESOURCES and Help Getting Started:

James A. Keating: The "Comtech Fighting Bandanna Volumes I and II" / http://www.jamesakeating.com/instructional6.html / (DVD)

Ron Baliki / Cold Steel Inc: "Sarong Fighting Volumes I and II" / http://www.coldsteel.com / (DVD) / This set is available from Keating as well.

James A. Keating / "Covert Weapons Vol I" / http://www.shomertec.com / (VHS-DVD)

Edgar Sulite: "Knife Defense" / Unique Publications-Videos / availability uncertain (VHS)

Good luck and thanx for reading!
Sincerely,
Master At Arms: James Albert Keating
Questions or orders email below:
comtech@bmi.net

Bandana info/articles

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Whip It Good....

Sorry for the cheesy and cliched post title :-) ... but here are some links to some info on the whip and flexible weapons:Whips, Chains and Scarves, your Flexible Friends. by Phil West

From Don Rearic's site:

The Flexible Weapon
The Mighty Sjambok


From Sayoc site:

Sayoc Filipino Combat Whip Course

The Sayoc Whip - A Tradition of Mastery in the Use of the Whip and the use of Flexible Weapons By Tom Kier and Jeff Chung



I have some links to info/articles on the Bandana which I will post as a separate entry.




Tom Meadows and the Whip

With the posts on the Whip, I should mention Tom Meadows. I, unbeknownst to me at the time, first saw Tom Meadows in action in the Dog Brothers' Real Contact Stickfighting Vol #6 - The Stick vs Other Weapons (http://www.dogbrothers.com). In it, he used a 10' whip and a 6' whip. I was fascinated by his whipwork.

Fast forward a year or two, a friend told me about this free emailing list on the Filipino Martial Arts called Eskrima Digest (for info on subscribing:
http://martialartsresource.com/filipino/filframe.htm). I joined and saw that Guro Marc 'Crafty Dog' Denny regularly posted there. I asked who the whipfighter was and he posted who it was. One or two days later, Tom Meadows himself, posted some comments about the experiences he had from those fights.
Anyway, he wrote a book publised by Paladin Press, THE FILIPINO FIGHTING WHIP Advanced Training Methods and Combat Applications, which I will be getting sooner or later, probably later as I've a few other books to read.

He was a featured author at Paladin's site. Check out the article/interview. Good stuff!

Speaking of Anthony Delongis...

Speaking of Anthony Delongis.... his reputation should precede him. His weapons knowledge for both combat and film/theater is reknown. If you don't recognize his name, odds are you will recognize his face. And his whip as well as sword skills.

Check out his site: http://www.delongis.com/

Here's the wiki entry on him (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_De_Longis):




Anthony Charles De Longis, born March 23, 1950, in Glendale, California, United States, is an American actor, stuntman, and choreographer. De Longis is well known for his recurring role on Star Trek Voyager, in Season 1 and early Season 2, as First Maje Jal Culluh, leader of the Kazon-Nistrim. A very experienced swordsman, he is also known for the his roles on Highlander: The Series, in Season 3 as Lymon Kurlow in the episode "Blackmail", and in Season 5 as Octavio Consone in the episode "Duende". A Martial Artist and Weapon-Master in several disciplines, he played a swordsman opposite Jet Li in the 2006 martial arts epic Fearless, and also taught Harrison Ford to use a bull whip for the Indiana Jones movies. He appeared as Claus Van Zandt in 1985 on the soap opera Days of Our Lives, and as Leo Mitchell in 1989 on Santa Barbara.
De Longis has starred in films, his best known role the character Blade in the 1987 movie Masters of the Universe, in which he was also Frank Langella's stunt double.
He has made several TV guest appearances, on Battlestar Galactica (original series), Babylon 5, Queen Of Swords, MacGyver, and many others. De Longis provided his voice in a Star Trek video game.

Partial filmography


Here's some youtube videos:Anthony De Longis - Introduction

Anthony De Longis: Whip Master

Anthony De Longis - Throwing Demo



there's a few more youtube videos, if you want to check them out here: http://www.youtube.com/user/DrMaryG

Indy's Still a Whippersnapper

My thanks to the heads-up my training partner, J.R., gave me. This was in Cindy Adams column from yesterday's New York Post:
May 21, 2008 -- SO yesterday I said to myself, "Myself," I said, "How's Harrison Ford know to handle this long whip thing?" And then Myself told me, "Stupid, talk to moviedom's top whipmaster." Whipmaster? Yes, whipmaster. We are not talking as in S&M kinkyville here. We are talking as in heavy-duty action scenes like Michelle Pfeiffer's choreographed feline Catwoman whip action in "Batman." As in Indy's whip slicing through the air to envelop the evildoer and drag him to his just rewards in "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
"My phone rang one day," Anthony De Longis told me. "And a voice said, 'Hello? Anthony De Longis? This is Harrison Ford.' I asked how to call him. He said, 'Harrison.' And we went to work.

"Harrison does his own whip work. No double. For one month, we worked on my ranch in the canyon, at the Santa Monica hangar where he keeps his plane, and outside his home. On the set we used four short-handled Australian bullwhips of kangaroo hide with an inner braided core that looks skeletal but keeps tensile strength. It's 21/2 pounds, $1,000, 13 feet. Specially dyed to match Indy's original one, this is a supersonic blade traveling 1,400 feet per second, 700 miles per hour. It can slice you in two at 14 feet. Once you hear that explosive gunshot crack, you never forget it. It's intimidating. Scary. Makes a big noise, but that's what it's intended to do.
"I taught Harrison how to stay safe and never hit himself. Work in parallel lines. Think of railroad tracks outside your hand and body. Stay outside those tracks. I worked on his vocabulary. Vertical is a clock's 12-to-6, horizontal is 3-to-9, diagonal's 2-to-8. I broke the whips in for him so they'd develop muscle memory then taught him, listen to it. Don't rush it. It's an ally not an adversary. Use as little effort as possible. Stay absolutely relaxed. Slow its motion. Align it, form the loop above the head, and it's a rolling wave of energy that multiplies. The power is in the shoulder and arm.
"Civilized man's oldest tool, the whip, dates back 5,000 years. If you listen, the whip will whisper its secrets."
Like maybe, what happened to the whips from the original film? "No idea. Probably ended up on eBay. I only know ours belong to the property master, and I'm doing interviews this week in New York, and with today's airplanes, carrying a whip makes me apprehensive."
Maybe he can teach it to whisper he's a good guy.



NEWS: Bruce Lee High-Kicks It To Broadway

My coworker alerted me to this article in yesterday's New York Post:

AP

May 21, 2008 --

Does legendary martial-arts man Bruce Lee have a future on Broadway?


It appears so, with the announcement yesterday by Elephant Eye Theatrical of "Bruce Lee: Journey to the West," a new musical slated for New York sometime during the 2010-11 season.

There's been no casting yet for the role of Lee, who died in 1973 at the age of 32, but the show will be directed by Bartlett Sher, who is winning acclaim this season for his direction of the Lincoln Center Theater revival of "South Pacific."

"Bruce Lee: Journey to the West" will have a book by David Henry Hwang, author of "M. Butterfly" and a score by David Yazbeck, who wrote the music and lyrics for "The Full Monty" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels."

The choreography will be by Dou Dou Huang, artistic director of the Shanghai Song and Dance Ensemble.

Besides martial arts, the musical will feature Chinese opera and pop music as it traces Lee's journey to film stardom.

I don't know if i will be happy or sad about this.



It's been awhile since I've blogged :-(

Been busy with real life ... working with my kids and their homeworks, reading to my son, the youngest, gives me a rewarding, satisfied, warm-fuzzy feeling lol

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Stickgrappler's Sojourn of Septillion Steps