Check out Don Rearic's blog, The Reclusionnaire.
“It was 66 years ago. that I was involved in my biggest trouble. A famous fighter in Brazil [a former luta livre champion] Manoel Rufini dos Santos. said that he was going to show the world that we Gracies were nothing. It was at the Tijuca Tenis Clube of Rio that I gave my answer to him. I arrived and said "I came to answer the declaration that you made". He throw a punch and I took him to the ground, with two fractures of his head, and a broken clavicle, and blood spurting out. But it was a foolish act that I did. Today I would never repeat such a thing.”
On Tuesday morning Grand Master Helio Gracie was tanning at his ranch in Brazil, and on Thursday morning at 9:15 he passed on due to natural causes. His legacy will survive forever in all members of the Gracie Family, jiu-jitsu practitioners around the world, and all those who have benefited from the revolution he began.
In his final years, the creator of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu often spoke of his satisfaction with his life’s work. He openly stated that he had accomplished everything he had set out to do, displaying his preparedness for the transition into the afterlife.
The Grand Master believed that such a transition should be seen as a positive step in one's spiritual evolution. In a recent interview he declared: “I’ve already told my sons that when I die I want there to be a party. No drinking, no debauchery.”
To honor his request and his legacy, the Gracie Academy will host a celebratory gathering/slideshow presentation on Saturday, February 7, 2009. In anticipation of a large turnout of friends and family, we intend to have three showings starting at 4:00pm, 5:00pm and 6:00pm. If you can’t make it to the party, but would like to express how the Grand Master has affected your life, please send your story to email@example.com so we can post it on the Gracie Academy website.
In one of his final magazine interviews the Grand Master expresses his concern for the future of Jiu-Jitsu:
"O Jiu-Jitsu que criei foi para dar chance aos mais fracos enfrentarem os mais pesados e fortes. E fez tanto sucesso, que resolveram fazer um Jiu-Jitsu de competição. Gostaria de deixar claro que sou a favor da prática esportiva e da preparação técnica de qualquer atleta, seja qual for sua especialidade. Além de boa alimentação, controle sexual e da abstenção de hábitos prejudiciais à saude. O problema consiste na criação de um Jiu-Jitsu competitivo com regras, tempo inadequado e que privilegia os mais treinados, fortes e pesados. O objetivo do Jiu-Jitsu é, principalmente, benificiar os mais fracos, que não tendo dotes físicos são inferiorizados. O meu Jiu-Jitsu é uma arte de autodefesa que não aceita certos regulamentos e tempo determinado. Essas são as razões pelas quais não posso, com minha presença, apoiar espetáculos, cujo efeito retrata um anti Jiu-Jitsu."
“The Jiu-Jitsu that I created was designed to give the weak ones a chance to face the heavy and strong. It was so successful that they decided to create a sportive version of it. I would like to make it clear that of course I am in favor of the sportive practice and technical refinement of all athletes, whatever their specialty may be, as well as good nutrition, sexual control, avoidance of addictions and unhealthy habits. The problem lies in the creation of a sport-oriented Jiu-Jitsu, based on rules and time limits, which benefits the heavier, stronger, and more athletic individuals. The primary objective of Jiu-Jitsu is to empower the weak who, for not having the physical attributes, are often intimidated. My Jiu-Jitsu is an art of self-defense in which rules and time limits are unacceptable. These are the reasons for which I can’t support events that reflect an anti Jiu-Jitsu.”
-Grand Master Helio Gracie (October 1, 1913 – January 29, 2009)
Archaeologists uncovered an 1,800-year-old marble figurine of a bearded man's head, possibly a Roman boxer, in an excavation near Jerusalem National Park, it was announced today. (Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Aty.)
(CNN) -- Archaeologists in Israel have discovered what they believe is the bust of a Roman boxer from the second or third century.
The figurine is small -- about 6 centimeters high by 4 centimeters wide -- but very detailed, archaeologists say.
"It seems that what we have here is a unique find," the two directors of the excavation said in a statement released Monday by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The figurine, made of marble, comes from a time when "the art of Roman sculpture reached its zenith," Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets said.
It's tiny -- only about 6 centimeters high by 4 centimeters wide, Ben-Ami told CNN. "That's why it is so impressive. It's so small, but still you can see every little detail on the marble," he said.
The archaeologists believe a merchant family from the eastern part of the Roman Empire most likely passed down the "precious object" through the generations until the fourth or fifth century, when an unfortunate family member had it with him at a public building, perhaps a hostel -- and an earthquake struck.
A team has been digging up the building in the City of David, part of Jerusalem.
The object is part of the "silent testimony of the drama that occurred in this impressive structure prior to its collapse," the Israel Antiquities Authority said.
The "short hair style, the prominent lobes and curves of the ears, as well as the almond-shaped eyes suggest that the object most likely portrays an athlete, probably a boxer," the statement said.
Little bits of the sculpture have broken off. It is missing part of the nose and mouth, Ben-Ami said.
"The high level of finish on the figurine is extraordinary," Ben-Ami and Tchekhanovets said in their statement.
They added: "To the best of our knowledge, to date no similar artifact made of marble (or any other kind of stone) bearing the same image that was just found has been discovered in excavations elsewhere in the country."
A few similar artifacts made of bronze have been found "at different sites in the country and they have been found in large numbers in different places throughout the Roman Empire, where the overwhelming majority of them date to the third century CE (the Roman period)."
Two tiny holes in the figurine suggest it was used as a suspended weight together with a balance scale, the archaeologists said.
Last month, the excavation team at this same site discovered "one of the largest and most impressive coin hoards ever found in Jerusalem," the Israel Antiquities Authority said. "It consists of 264 gold coins and was found at about the same time as a gold earring, inlaid with expensive pearls and remarkably well preserved."
"Every single object has a story behind it," Ben-Ami said in an interview with CNN. "Behind every object there are people. And, for us, the most important thing is to try to tell the stories behind these items."
January 26, 2009
Schools have less time for penmanship
Technology, new standards crowd cursive lessons
By Meranda Watling
Third-graders in Michelle Webb's Burnett Creek Elementary classroom were practicing how to form a lowercase f in cursive on Friday.
Determined faces sprinkled the room as the children wrote again and again -- f, f, f -- perfecting the "loop the loop" on top and bottom. Student teacher Allison Touloukian demonstrated the correct slant and curve on screen for the class as students practiced forming words.
Learning to write in script is a time-honored tradition. But in today's time-starved classrooms, some around the country are questioning whether, given everything else vying for space in the curriculum and the increasing use of technology, teaching these children cursive is even necessary.
Local teachers say, if nothing else, its emphasis has diminished in recent years.
"Historically, we teach less cursive now," said Webb, whose class works on handwriting for short periods two to three days each week. "It seems we have more and more standards we need to cover. The emphasis is on science and reading."
Shift to efficiency
Cursive is still widely taught in U.S. elementary schools, according to a 2007 nationwide study by Vanderbilt University on handwriting instruction. It surveyed a random sampling of about 200 teachers in grades one through three.
Ninety percent of teachers who responded said their schools required instruction in handwriting. Of those who taught it, half of second-grade teachers and 90 percent of third-grade teachers offered cursive instruction.
Also, the emphasis has shifted from the beauty of handwriting to writing efficiently, the study found.
Many schools in Lafayette dabble in cursive during the second half of second grade. Indiana standards don't require it until third and fourth grades. How much instruction varies by district, by school and even by classroom.
Lisa Jones, who teaches third grade at Edgelea Elementary, said she's noticed that consequence of the de-emphasis, not just by schools but by society: "The most difficult part for me is that now they can't read it, because they don't see it anywhere."
Like Webb, Jones said she isn't teaching as much cursive as in the past. Not emphasizing it as much at that grade, however, means by the time they hit fourth grade, they're not able to write as well.
"I don't think it will be used as much," Jones said. "When I was in junior high and high school, our final copies of work had to be handwritten in cursive. Now it's typed."
Pupils like cursive
This shift hasn't lessened the enthusiasm of kids to learn the pretty writing.
Burnett Creek third-grader Mikahla Combs said her mom introduced her to the script writing back in first grade. She really likes it, but she still prints everything for now.
"I love cursive," she said, "because it's so ... different."
Classmate Alicia Clayton said it's hard for her because the less frequent lessons mean she sometimes forgets how to write the letters. The Burnett Creek student still wants to be able to write in her journal in cursive.
"Once everyone learns it and we use it, it will be easier," Alicia said. "It does hurt your hand now, because you don't know it."
Chinese New Year or Spring Festival is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is often called the Lunar New Year, especially by people in mainland China and Taiwan. The festival traditionally begins on the first day of the first lunar month (Chinese: 正月; pinyin: zhēng yuè) in the Chinese calendar and ends on the 15th; this day is called Lantern Festival. Chinese New Year's Eve is known as Chúxī. It literally means "Year-pass Eve".
Celebrated in areas with large populations of ethnic Chinese, Chinese New Year is considered a major holiday for the Chinese and has had influence on the new year celebrations of its geographic neighbours, as well as cultures with whom the Chinese have had extensive interaction. These include Koreans, Mongolians, Nepalese, Bhutanese, Vietnamese, and formerly the Japanese before 1873. In Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and other countries or regions with significant Han Chinese populations, Chinese New Year is also celebrated, and has, to varying degrees, become part of the traditional culture of these countries. In Canada, although Chinese New Year is not an official holiday, many ethnic Chinese hold large celebrations and Canada Post issues New Year's themed stamps in domestic and international rates.
Although the Chinese calendar traditionally does not use continuously numbered years, its years are often numbered from the reign of Huangdi outside China. But at least three different years numbered 1 are now used by various scholars, making the year 2009 "Chinese Year" 4707, 4706, or 4646.
According to tales and legends, the beginning of Chinese New Year started with the fight against a mythical beast called the Nian or "Year" in Chinese. Nian would come on the first day of New Year to devour livestock, crops, and even villagers, especially children. To protect themselves, the villagers would put food in front of their doors at the beginning of every year. It was believed that after the Nian ate the food they prepared, it wouldn’t attack any more people. One time, people saw that the Nian was scared away by a little child wearing red. The villagers then understood that the Nian was afraid of the color red. Hence, every time when the New Year was about to come, the villagers would hang red lanterns and red spring scrolls on windows and doors. People also used firecrackers to frighten away the Nian. From then on, the Nian never came to the village again. The Nian was eventually captured by Hongjun Laozu, an ancient Taoist monk. The Nian became Hongjun Laozu's mount.
Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:57 am EST
Pit bull taps out from a nine-year-old's rear naked choke
By Maggie Hendricks
A Bakersfield, Calif. boy saved a friend and her dog after a pitbull tried to attack them. Did he do it by calmly coaxing the dog with a sweet voice, and then singing to it? Nope. He did it using a choke he learned in a jiu-jitsu class, which he held for 20 minutes until the police showed up.
Isn't it better that he was in this class instead of sitting on a couch, playing video games and eating Twinkies? The next time I hear MMA described with the words "human cockfighting," I will find this wonderful young man, who talks about the ordeal here, and have him choke out the idiot who said it.
16 years ago today, Bapak Herman Suwanda, his wife and several students have died in a head on collision in Germany. Black Belt magaz...