Thursday, June 25, 2009

IN MEMORY OF: Michael Jackson

Free Image Hosting at

oh man, a cultural icon of the 1980's - the King of Pop.

RIP Michael Jackson

In Memory Of: Farrah Fawcett

Thursday, June 18, 2009

52 HAND BLOCKS: Justin Porter's NY Times article on 52

Cut and pasted from My sincerest thanks to my friend P. for the heads up.

William Pearce, left, and Joseph Raven Ravera practice 52 Blocks fighting at Ultimate Karate in Harlem.

Please click for bigger image.

June 18, 2009
In Tight, a New (Old) Martial Art Gains Followers

IT has developed just below the surface of popular culture in the United States, in the streets, prisons and boxing rings. It’s gone by a few names: Stato, Jailhouse Rock, the 52 Hand Blocks, 52 Blocks and, for short, the 52.

For a long time it has been a kind of martial arts Loch Ness monster: an American fighting form with supposedly sinister origins that many have heard of but few have seen or experienced. No one, it seemed, had any concrete proof that it existed, or at least none they were willing to share.

Until recently.

Several instructors have begun teaching this quasi martial art. Videos are up on YouTube. And the name 52 Blocks seems to be gaining respect as the most accepted. To watch it demonstrated is to see quick strikes suited to a fight exploding in surroundings like a jail cell, staircase or hallway.

Lyte Burly, 34, teaches and trains in Tompkins Square Park in the East Village. He was one of the first to put videos on YouTube. “There was a lot of chatter, a lot of audio but no video,” he said of the discussion forums and Web sites that would offer hints of 52 Blocks, but little information about where to go to find out more.

Mr. Burly has a background in boxing and Chinese martial arts. Now, 52 Blocks has become his main focus.

“They say offense wins fights but defense wins championships,” Mr. Burly said. He said the 52 Blocks’ great strength was what he saw as its ability to let the user control the pace of a fight, while avoiding being hit. When Mr. Burly moves, his compact frame easily slips around and away from punches and attempts to grab him. He blocks punches with the tips of his elbows and drops to a crouch to attack his opponent’s legs.

At the start of a session, Mr. Burly and his student used an empty basketball court. But 52’s flavor seemed diluted in such a large area. Mr. Burly and his training partner eventually moved into the confines of a jungle gym.

Now in a five-foot-square space, hemmed in on all sides by metal bars — but visible — the fighting style’s strengths became clearer. In these confines, Mr. Burly’s size is a clear asset. He shoved his opponent into the bars, using these “walls” as weapons. In tight quarters where a punch might be too long, Mr. Burly used his elbows to strike and shove.

After the workout, Mr. Burly talked about his desire to eliminate the secretive attitude that has added to 52 Blocks’ obscurity — but also given it some buzz.

At a martial arts school called Ultimate Karate in East Harlem, Daniel Marks taught the 52 Blocks on a recent Sunday. The school itself is huge, and often seems more so because Mr. Marks’s classes are usually small. Blue mats cover the floors, and the students and Mr. Marks train in gym clothes and socks.

Mr. Marks — who is not affiliated with Mr. Burly — towers over many of his students and instructs with a gentle, patient manner. After a warm-up that includes jogging, calisthenics and some basic shadow boxing, he teaches specific concepts of the 52 Blocks. Here it looks a bit more like boxing, but with a twist.

It is a style built for the inside game, short hard punches best suited to fighting in tight spaces, like hallways and cells. The guard is tighter to allow for bare fists and is a constantly shifting mosaic of elbows, twists and turns.

When 52 Blocks practitioners hit, they can target anything from the legs to the shoulders. Footwork is taught in small, tight patterns. Rather than dancing on the balls of the feet the way boxers often do, a practitioner of the 52 Blocks has footwork that is closer to the ground, lower and tighter, both in the width of the stance and the distance traveled with each shuffle.

Mr. Marks demonstrated a technique to break the opponent down by first defending against an oncoming punch and then systematically striking at the body’s flex points, like the shoulders and hips. When Mr. Marks talks about hitting an opponent, he’s looking to hurt, but also to force a reaction. If he wants his opponent to turn, he strikes the shoulder, aiming to turn him. If he wants his opponent to lean forward, he strikes the hip. Each reaction is a setup for another. As he showed these different options on a student, he spoke to the rest of the class.

“Your training should take you to a natural pause in the action,” he said. This pause allows a person defending his life to make a choice — finish the fight or escape, an option he advocates. By this time, the student being demonstrated upon is prone on the ground, unhurt but pinned by one of Mr. Marks’s knees.

The goal is to get where you were going safely, Mr. Marks said.

“Or if you got to use the bathroom!” said Mike Baltazar, a new student. The rest of the class laughed as Mr. Marks rolled his eyes.

A man who goes by Kawaun Adon Akhenaten7 — and would not provide another name — taught Mr. Marks 52 Blocks and acts as a kind of guide. Mr. Akhenaten7 lives in Philadelphia and, like Mr. Marks, is large and soft-spoken. He said he learned the style on the streets of Brooklyn while running with a gang of armed robbers, and was impressed after seeing it used in a street fight.

“It looked like a ghetto ballet, kind of like it was choreographed,” he said. “Men threw punches at each other that looked dainty until they made contact. It was barbaric but it was finessed. They were out to hurt each other and make each other look bad.”

Because the 52 Blocks exists practically as an oral tradition, its history is a bit murky.

Mr. Marks believes the system evolved mostly through prizefighting in the southern and eastern United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

No black man was allowed to contend for the world heavyweight championship until Jack Johnson in 1908. His victory changed boxing and history. Mr. Johnson fought in an unorthodox manner: he played a defensive game, preferring to counterpunch and capitalize on his opponent’s mistakes, qualities also found in the 52 Blocks. Also, Mr. Marks said, fighters worked for tips, so they often developed flashy, crowd-pleasing moves.

At least one writer in the white press at the time labeled Mr. Johnson’s style “cowardly.” Mr. Marks believes that this was one of the first signs of a style that might have become the 52 Blocks. He doesn’t think Mr. Johnson’s style could have just come from thin air.

“Who taught him?” Mr. Marks asked with a smile.

Mr. Burly also talked about racial stereotypes during this era. He mentioned a commonly held belief that black boxers “couldn’t take punishment,” that they were physically weaker. He thinks that this belief, later disproved completely by Mr. Johnson, may have influenced some of the ways black fighters were taught to box — more evasively as counter-punchers.

FIGHTERS in the ring have often been spoken of in connection with the 52 Blocks. Rashad Evans is a former Ultimate Fighting Championship light-heavyweight titleholder. Speaking by phone from Greg Jackson’s Gym in Albuquerque, N.M., he said that while growing up, he had heard stories about the 52 Blocks from older men when discussing prison fights, and saw what he assumed were parts of it in street fights.

In 2005 he met Daniel Marks at a seminar in Baltimore and found value beneath the legends, stories and memories.

“What it comes down to is just really practical boxing,” he said. From the 52 Blocks, he said, he gained a better knowledge of the use of angles in a fight. He said that while he’s nowhere near a master at the skill, he has seen his game improve.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

MOVIES: Donnie Yen's IP MAN vidclips

My thanks to MartialTalk member wingc for the following link to loads of Donnie Yen's IP MAN vidclips:


MOVIES: Ip Man Chain punching animated gif's reupped to a backup pichost

I've been busy with family and work, but I've reupped the Ip Man chain punching animated gifs to a different pichost.

Will upload others to my backup pichost. Learned my lesson, spread the pix out on a few pichosts especially since I also post them to various forums LOL

Enjoy the gif's again!

EDIT 3/3/13:  Noticed my pichost deleted my 2nd pic and recycled the URL to my first pic for someone's pic of a car. Reupped these pix. These were amongst the early GIF's I ever made and set at 300 pixels width. I may remake these to be 400 pixels width which is my current favorite width.

Friday, June 05, 2009

LINKS: Dog Brothers Martial Arts forums

Dog Brothers Martial Arts Logo used with permission.


Check out the Dog Brothers Martial Arts subforum on FMATalk.

Of course, there is the forum on the Dog Brothers official site too.

There is also a Members Only forum via the Dog Brothers Martial Arts Association. 1 year's membership is $75.


LINKS: FMATalk forums

Check out FMATalk forums, dedicated to the discussion of the Filipino Culture and Martial Arts. The forums are well-organized into the various styles/systems of the FMA.

Although I've not surfed there regularly in the past due to time, I will be going there as time permits in the future. I don't know the exact history/background behind the forum, but I'm guessing it's a spinoff from Martial Talk forums?


Thursday, June 04, 2009

NEWS: Martial arts actor Shek Kin dead at 96

Cut and pasted from

Martial arts actor Shek Kin dead at 96

By Mark Pollard on June 4, 2009

Shek Kin Hong Kong has lost one of its greatest and longest living film treasures. Veteran martial arts actor Shek Kin (aka Shih Kien, Sek Kin), best known internationally for his role in ENTER THE DRAGON as "Mr. Han," died this morning at the venerable age of 96.

Gregory So, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development expressed regret at the loss.

"Mr. Shek's brilliant career in the performing arts industry started in the 1940s. Since then he devoted lifelong commitment to the industry. He played a villain role in the Wong Fei-hung film series and had become one of the most recognizable faces of Hong Kong cinema," said So.

"With his death, Hong Kong has lost an outstanding performing arts talent. On behalf of the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, I offer our deepest condolences to Mr. Shek's family."

Shek was one of the territory's most recognizable actors thanks to a prolific career that spanned over 50 years. Born in 1913, Shek was among Hong Kong's first generation of martial arts stars, including Walter Cho, Kwan Tak-hing and Yu So-chow, who flourished during the initial genre boom of the 1950s and '60s. Trained in several northern kung fu disciplines rather than Chinese opera like so many of his peers, Shek began appearing in Cantonese-language martial arts films in the late 1940s. Up until he was cast as the lead villain in ENTER THE DRAGON, Shek was best known as the lead villain in the long-running WONG FEI HUNG film series where he frequently crossed fists and wits with series star Kwan Tak-hing.

In the 1970s and '80s, Shek continued to appear in a variety of films, most notably in ENTER THE DRAGON but also in a comedic supporting role opposite Jackie Chan in THE YOUNG MASTER. He also frequently appeared in local television series. Shek Kin retired from the entertainment industry in the mid-1990s. His final film role was in Bosco Lam's comedy HONG KONG ADAM'S FAMILY (1994).

From wiki:

Kien died of kidney failure on June 3, 2009 at the age of 96. At the time of his death, Kien was believed to be one of the oldest living actors in China.

Because Shek Kin often played villains, one of his nicknames was 'Kan Yan Kin' (loosely translated as Kan = Evil; Yan = Man/Person and Kin being his name). A phrase/saying sometimes heard was "Kan gor kan yan kin" ... more evil than Shek Kin.

One reader's reply on Kung Fu Cinema said it best with:

Another great one passes.RiP Mr. Han you will be missed.Tell Bruce,Kwan Tak Hing,Alexander Fu Sheng,Lam Ching Ying and all the others we miss you all,and you are all irreplaceable.

My sincerest condolences to his family, friends and students. RIP Shek Kin

My Photobucket account exceeded monthly limit :-(

My main pichost, Photobucket, emailed to let me know the following:

Attention Stickgrappler

You have exceeded the 25 GB monthly bandwidth limit on your free
Photobucket account. As such, your image and video links have been
temporarily disabled. Your images and videos have not been deleted but
will be reactivated on the 27th of the month, when your bandwidth
usage resets to zero.

If you'd like to re-activate your links right away, you can upgrade to a
Photobucket Pro account for FREE by clicking on this offer.

I guess I needed to push the envelope to get a feel on how many pix i can post here on this blog and on the forums. Sincerest apologies to all if you cannot see the pictures on this blog. Working on a go-around on this :-)

NEWS: RIP David Carradine

Cut and pasted from

Actor David Carradine found dead in Bangkok

BANGKOK – Actor David Carradine, star of the 1970s TV series "Kung Fu" who also had a wide-ranging career in the movies, has been found dead in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy, Michael Turner, confirmed the death of the 72-year-old actor. He says Carradine died either late Wednesday or early Thursday, but he could not provide further details out of consideration for his family.

The Web site of the newspaper The Nation cited unidentified police sources as saying Carradine was found Thursday hanged in his luxury hotel room and is believed to have committed suicide.

Carradine was a leading member of a venerable Hollywood acting family that included his father, character actor John Carradine, and brother Keith.

Here's the wiki page:


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