Wing's Daily News

Eddie would go

What Is Martial Spirit? Don’t talk about it…be about it.


One of the greatest Martial Artists to ever live Miyamoto Musashi wrote the seminal Martial Arts treatise “The Book Of Five Rings”. If you are a serious Martial Artist I’m sure you’ve read it at least twice. Have you read  “The Art Of War” by Sun Tzu? Here are some qualities that I believe are components of the martial spirit:

  • A willingness to train hard and transcend the barriers of pain, discomfort and fear. The dojo is the training laboratory where a martial artist forges both his mind and body into instruments that are nearly impervious to fear, trepidation and self doubt.
  • A willingness to always find ways to leave your comfort zone. This can be done by training outside of your dojo with people that are much better than you. There is an old adage that goes “train hard fight easy.
  • Always be willing to validate your martial art. Back when BJJ was still BJJ the Gracies, Helio in particular would accept any challenge at any time…from anyone. What is crucial is not that you win, but rather that you are willing to put your money where your mouth is so to speak. Don’t talk about it be about it. A couple of months ago I was at a social gathering and met a high level Shotokan Black Belt. Our conversation turned towards the inevitable, grappling vs striking. I politely told him that he would absolutely not be able to stop me from taking him down. His response was “O.K..show me.” I was nearly knocked out trying to close the distance on him. The operant element was not his Shotkan vs my wrestling (which is rudimentary at best) what was key is that we were both willing to validate our respective skills by challenging each other and as a consequence ourselves. Keep in mind I’m not talking about choking out or roundhouse kicking some hapless civilian with ZERO martial arts training. The guy I challenged has been training in Shotokan for 30 years.
  • Always seek new and more difficult challenges. That is why I believe that competition is so important. I’d rather enter a tournament and get my ass kicked then be a paper tiger…the guy that can beat up everyone in his dojo. There is a 56 year old competitor on the BJJ tournament circuit. He wins some and he loses some however this guy will go against anyone and I mean anyone. I’ve seen him compete against guys that are 15 years younger than him. He truly personifies the Martial Spirit.

Musashi

 

Jim Wing is an Ass. Bring on the hate…haters!


"Jim Wing is an ass..."

“Jim Wing is an ass…”

At the behest of a freind I opened up an account on Reddit.com and posted the video I did of my “fire break”. Here is the link to the video on YouTube. Now check out the comments users left, make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the post to read my thoughts on the comments. Below are the actual quotes not edited for misspellings. Here is the link to the actual reddit page.

 

What they keep missing is the fact that board breaking isn’t about a show of strength. It’s about confidence. Take someone and tell them, “I want you to take your hand and smash it through this hard object.” Most people won’t, just on principle, even though they robably could once they understood what was going on.

[–]polski_patKarate | Ju Jutsu | Kendo | Parkour 1 point 19 hours ago

I have the confidence to tear a piece of paper in public place, it doesn’t make any better at being a martial artist

[–]Black6xTo-Shin Do | Danzan Ryu Jujitsu | Army Combatives | Taijutsu 4 points 17 hours ago

Yes, but most people have the confidence to tear a piece of paper. And I never said that the ability to break a board made someone a better martial artist. Just that the action exists as a method of instilling confidence in eth individual doing the breaking.

[–]polski_patKarate | Ju Jutsu | Kendo | Parkour 3 points 17 hours ago

fair enough. I see what your getting at but the confidence is misplaced because they will believe that breaking the board somehow shows their improvement or martial arts prowess, but it doesn’t

[+]bw2002 comment score below threshold  (8 children)

[–]HKBFGTae Kwon Do 1 point 8 hours ago

in case you already had trouble breaking a couple of thin pine boards with spacers, we’ve made them even weaker by lighting them on fire. you’re welcome.

now try it without the separators between the boards. Those “special” karate boards are cut so that the grain follows the direction of the hit, it’s not hard to break them. My 11year old sister can do it. this is far more impressive

[–]sreichesTKD | Judo | Aikido 2 points 9 hours ago

Even taking out the separation doesn’t do a ton if you make sure the grain on every board is going the same direction.

As for “special” karate boards… I mean, they’re just pine. The wood naturally has a grain that runs in one direction through the plank. What helps more is making sure the grain goes the short way along the wood.

[–]GreatestKingEver 5 points 23 hours ago

Looks cool, but this is basically just breaking three boards. The fire adds a visual effect and an illusion of danger, but at the speed you move to break a board you’re not really in danger of burning yourself – similar to how you can pass your hand through a candle flame.

If anything, the fire may even weaken the wood and make it easier to break, but that might be a stretch.

Well as Bella Lugosi once said “There is no such thing as bad press.” Actually the first comment was spot on. I’m not going to deign a reply to the mostly negative comments other than to say I enjoy eliciting a reaction from people…any kind of a reaction. I mean really who the hell has or will spend the time to comment on a video of some dude karate chopping a bunch of boards that are on fire? My ultimate hope is that if someone hates and scorns the video, they’ll send the link to someone of like mind which does nothing other than drive up my YouTube views. I think I’ll really F*** with them and shoot a video of me doing rarely taught and never before seen Martial Arts demonstrations like the secret Ninja egg break or perhaps the incredibly dangerous tennis ball catch. I would really love to continue this soliloquy but I simply must go and practice tearing paper plates in half. Perhaps my detractors are correct, I am talentless. In fact this cat has more talent than I do.

Is your training intense enough?


I found this excellent post from Maxercise on Facebook about training intensity levels. Let me hip you to something training the way you want or feel like is not training at a level to be successful in competition against your peers. Everybody needs to be pushed. Here is the article:

Getting gassed out in a fight is a nightmare. With a small change to your training, you can avoid it easily and have the stamina to go the distance. 

Of the five physiological aspect of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Strength, Speed, Flexibility, Stamina, and Coordination) we started discussing yesterday, Stamina, or Conditioning, is the one we have the most control over and the one that can be affected most quickly. It starts with understanding that your body has two energy systems, aerobic and anaerobic. The aerobic system powers long lasting physical activity that takes place with the heart rate lower than 80% of your maximum heart rate. Anaerobic is a short-burst, high-intensity system that can be used up to about two minutes and takes place with your heart rate above 80% of your maximum heart rate. For 99% of our day, we are only relying on our aerobic system. When we train in practice, we are using a combination of the two systems at the same time. If pushed hard enough, we may get to a period where we are primarily using the anaerobic system. 

The issue with most of our randori or rolling sessions is that they do not simulate match level intensity and therefore have us training in an aerobic state with only a small portion or bursts of our anaerobic system. That is why you get so surprised at how fatigued and painful matches can feel when you are always in the gym doing randori. You need to train the anaerobic system with focus and on its own. The good news is, it is the easiest to affect and doesn’t have to be that painful. You simply need to get your body into the anaerobic heart rate zone (80%+ of MHR) and stay there until failure, back off until somewhat recovered, then go back into it. A great example of this type of workout is a tabata. A tabata is a set workout where you work for a set period of time and rest a set period of time. An example we use in wrestling is on the airdyne bike where we sprint for 30 seconds and rest for ten for four minutes. You can adjust these numbers as you like. Try sprinting for 45, resting for 30 for ten minutes. 

The tabata format can be used with any number of exercise movements to create an anaerobic state. The exercises need to use many muscle systems at the same time, or your largest ones (posterior chain). Examples of great full body exercises that will get you to the anaerobic state are thrusters (barebell or dumbbell), jumping lunges, box jumps, bear crawls, and the best one, burpees. With the above format and one of the listed exercises added to your training regimen to be about 10 minutes per day, you will be amazed at how the thought of the painful lactic acid burn and fatigue disappears from your thoughts. Imagine being able to hammer the entire length of the fight rather than holding on to a few points, trying to survive!

What the UFC pays their fighters is a crying shame.


 

Jason Volkmann

Jason Volkmann

Former UFC fighter Jason Volkman had some less than flattering things to say about his former employer. Is he crying crocodile tears or is he spot on? It cracks me up when fans think that MMA fighters are getting rich because they are fighting on live T.V.  MMA is not like other sports where you can focus on one thing. An MMA fighter has to train in; boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, BJJ, Karate AND strength and conditioning.  Fighters drive endless hours going from training session to training session during the week. The amount of prep time for a fight is absolutely insane. I can understand a local promotion paying a pro fighter 750/750…those are small local shows. If you subtract the top guys in the UFC like GSP and Anderson Silva the disparity between the income that the UFC generates and what they pay their fighters is quite disturbing. No active fighter in the UFC will ever speak about this because they will be dealt with the way Roger Huerta was and nobody in the press will speak of it because they are so desperate to get press passes. In fact much of what is going on in the UFC is questionable. Guys like Sonnen and Overeem that get popped for PED use are welcomed back with open arms to the UFC because…they sell tickets. Dana said years ago that he took the “boxing model” and did the exact opposite…hmm…really? How many times is Sonnen going to be given a PPV fight because he can sell? I understand that the UFC is a business and running a business is about making money and staying in the black. That being said the UFC is way, way in the black and they could certainly be paying their rank and file fighters more money instead of treating them like sled dogs. (back in gold rush days if a sled dog could no longer pull the sled it was unclipped left on the side of the trail and replaced with a fresh dog.)

Editors Note: after publishing this post I read that the UFC has signed Josh Barnett. This is exactly what I’m talking about when I say that Dana IS following the boxing model. How many years has it been since Barnett has been relevant and  he’s been busted something like 6 times for PED use. Are you telling me there is a lack of up and coming talent? Of course not. Barnett can sell. It’s sad really sad.

Here is what Volkmann had to say: (taken from Bjpenn.com)

“Very bitter. They always claim that they treat the fighters so well. Yeah, they treat the top five percent of the fighters well – the ones that are on the main card all the time. They don’t treat the rest of them very well. The healthcare plan is horrible, with a $1,500 deductible per injury – the catastrophic-injury insurance is not even really good insurance. There’s no retirement fund, there’s no signing bonus. You start off at six-and-six, you’re really not making too much money because you’re self-employed, so you’re paying the self-employment tax and you’re paying the regular tax and income tax. So you’re paying twice as much in tax. They claim they’re treating the fighters well, but they’re not, realistically. People always tell me, ‘You’re rich – you’re on TV!’ Are you kidding me? I made $54,000 two years ago, paid $9,000 in taxes, so that leaves me with $45,000. This last year, I made $50,000 and paid $8,000 in taxes. That leaves me with $42,000 – that’s barely above poverty. I have three kids and a wife I’m supporting. I’m trying to make the fans realize what the UFC is really like – I’m going to expose them as much as I can. But also my goal is to win in World Series and try to stay undefeated. Obviously it’s to win. The short-term goal is to win. The long-term goal is, as soon as they come out with that belt, I’d like to get that belt.”

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Apple avoiding billions in U.S. taxes


 

This story sickens me especially considering the I.R.S. has been over scrutinizing conservative tax exempt groups in this country. Take a few minutes and take the time to read this linked story. If you don’t want to click through here is the cliff note version. Apple has gotten the art of tax avoidance down to a science because they:

  • The California-based firm has used a web of offshore entities — including three Ireland subsidiaries that it said don’t have tax residency in any country — to cut some of its tax rates to 0.05%, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations reported.
  • One of those Apple subsidiaries reported $30 billion in net income for 2009-2012, yet filed no corporate tax return and paid no income taxes to any government during those years, the panel reported in advance of a public hearing set for Tuesday.
  • Another affiliate received $74 billion in sales income over four years, but paid taxes “on only a tiny fraction of that income,” the report said.
  • The company then went a step further by using U.S. tax loopholes to avoid federal taxes on $44 billion in otherwise taxable offshore income from the intellectual property rights during the last four years, the report concluded.

Would it be incorrect for me to say that if not for Apples tax avoidance they’d be unable to compete with the onslaught of competition from its competitors? Other than new iterations of current gadgets like the Ipad mini and the IPhone what new and innovative product(s) has apple brought to market lately?

Wow…ponderous man simply frigging ponderous…that large corporations can pull tax avoidance shenanigans that the I.R.S would draw and quarter an average citizen for. Rock on Apple!

(bullet points taken from USA Today)

apple logo

 

Belfort KO’S Rockhold with…..Karate?


The spinning heel kick from hell...

The spinning heel kick from hell…

Yes indeed it was a good old fashioned spinning heel kick that proved to be the instant demise of Luke Rockhold last night. Some BJJ “pontificators” love to break down-step by step the BJJ submissions that MMA fighters use in a fight. Typically though nobody cares when TMA (traditional martial arts) is used to win a fight. Don’t get me wrong, Jacare displayed some of the most effective MMA Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that I’ve seen in a long time in his fight last night because well he’s…..Jacare. It’s ironic though that Vitor who used a classical TMA kick last night was himself KO’d by Anderson Silva who himself used a TMA technique, the front snap kick.

I found a poor quality video of the KO from last night. I’ll discuss the kick with you and tell you why it was so effective. Click here to see the video of the Belfort Heel Kick. If you click the link and the video is not there it’s because YouTube removed it for copyright violations. You’ll have to search around and find it yourself.

First off both Rockhold and Belfort were in “southpaw” stances which sets up the spinning heel kick. If one fighter was in a traditional left forward stance and the other in southpaw then the kick would have been much more difficult because Belfort would have had to clear the outside shoulder of Rockhold to reach the head. Not impossible but Rockhold is 6′-4” tall and that would have added another two inches of height Belfort would have needed, making it a very high and difficult kick indeed. That being said both fighters were in identical stances so one side of Rockhold was completely open to a spinning kick. Just before Belfort throws the kick Rockhold is relatively immobile which is critical. The spinning heel kick is a rotational kick. The best counter is to move straight in or straight out. Rockhold is standing still when he gets plastered. The spinning heel kick is very common in Karate tournaments but uncommon in MMA fights. It’s not the easiest kick to throw and it’s a high risk technique. Usually what happens when you get nailed with one is the last thing you see just before you get put to sleep are the hips of your opponent rotating in towards you and well that’s that. When thrown well like the way Belfort did last night, it’s a devastating technique because of the rotational energy of the kick. Notice two more important elements. With any spinning attack like a spinning backfist or spinning kick, your head must lead your hips and legs by just a fraction of a second so you can spot your target. Most fighters throw their spinning techniques blind, meaning their head and hips rotate at the same speed…you can’t see your target when that happens. Belfort’s head rotates just a bit faster than his hips allowing him to see Rockholds head before he lands the kick. You can’t kick what you can’t see. Notice at around the 11 second mark of the video the right foot of Belfort, it rotates 180 degrees in towards Rockhold which is absolutely critical because it opens up Belforts left hip for a full extension adding even more rotational energy and  power to the kick. Yes Vitor gets an A+ for throwing an aesthetically and technically  perfect TMA spinning heel kick.

Keep in mind I’m a Black Belt in BJJ and a 6’th degree black belt in Kempo Karate so I think I’m a bit qualified to make the following statement: Every martial art has weaknesses. To believe that the particular art that you study is the end all and be all of all martial arts is dangerous and naive and is likely to get you hurt or worse in a real live fight (as in street fight). You should keep an open mind and not mock or deride another martial arts because it’s not your martial art. Check back tomorrow, I might post a video demonstration how to do a spinning heel kick.

Climb the mountain and meditate.


I’m very lucky to be a student of two very different Martial Arts. I’m a sixth degree black belt in Kempo Karate and a Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I’ll save for a later post how they compare and contrast, suffice to say that I can practice Kempo anywhere at any time by myself, BJJ however I need a partner and a mat. Here are some photos of a hike I do at a local park. I leave the hiking trail then free climb a 70′ rock face to get to the summit plateau. The summit plateau is a small flat clearing that overlooks the park. It’s in this spot that I practice Kempo and meditate. It’s ironic I studied under a great Kempo master that used to tease me about how serious I was about Kempo. He’d day “Jim…all you want to do is climb the mountain and meditate.” Since I actually know how to rock climb I can now literally climb the mountain and meditate!

A friend expressed surprise yesterday that I had been promoted to sixth degree Black Belt in Kempo. He thought that “I had stopped training in Kempo.” Not at all, I just did not make my private kempo sessions like this hike public. It’s true that I was not practicing my discrete Kempo techniques like Kata’s all of the time. I was however studying, honing and perfecting my craft which is martial arts and martial theory. I started as a pure Kempoist. I recognized that I had an acute fundamental weakness in the grappling arts (although I wrestled in high school). I spent the last 12 years learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I now believe that I am expert in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of both of these incredible martial arts. Do I love one more than the other…perhaps…perhaps.

 

 

“There is no plan B, failure is not an option”.


The Fire Break...

The Fire Break…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Why do I always seem to get myself into these situations”, is what I say to myself every single time that I try something new or challenging. Last Monday I did a “fire board break” demonstration. What is a fire break? Essentially you take pine boards light them on fire then break them using some type of karate strike. Click here to watch the demonstration. The day before the demonstration I lit some boards on fire to access the burn rate of the wood and accelerant(charcoal lighter fluid). During the controlled test burn the wood would not catch on fire. The lighter fluid would pool on the wood, burn for a few seconds then go out. This led me to believe that I’d have to time the break perfectly. I’d need to break the wood just before the accelerant burned itself out but after it was still pooled on the surface of the wood. The live break went perfectly and because it went perfectly it looks easy.

As I stood in front of the spectators I was quite afraid. I was not afraid of setting myself on fire (a distinct possibility) rather I was afraid of failing and embarrassing myself in front of a group of people. Any number of things could have gone wrong with the break including; the burning accelerant splashing onto my arm, torso or face, I could miss the stack of wood and drive my hand straight into the top of the cement block that supported the wood, the wood not catching on fire (you can’t do a fire break without fire), I could miscalculate the physics of the strike and not break all of the burning boards or over compensate and drive my hand through the wood straight into the ground. This is the day of instant YouTube video. There was a distinct possibility that one of the spectators could have shot video of me with their phone as I dance around in a circle with my hair on fire…as I screamed “just don’t sit their, pour some water on my head!”. Can you imagine that video all over Facebook and YouTube?

My new favorite quote is “There is no plan B, failure is not an option”. That was the attitude I had as I set the boards on fire. Ironically I had some difficulty lighting the accelerant. Once the wood did catch on fire it began to burn slowly. If you watch the video you can see me walk out of frame. I was going to get some more lighter fluid to increase the burn rate. As I turned back towards the stack I could see that the wood was engulfed in flame! I had not anticipated the entire stack catching on fire and burning aggressively. What was I to do…not go through with the break? “There is no plan B, failure is not an option”. I cleared my mind, focused and did the break. Fate was smiling on me that day and things went well. I did not break my hand or set myself on fire!

Why was this break important to me? The challenge was not doing the break. The challenge was overcoming fear, trepidation and insecurity. Playing it safe feels good, that is why 90% of most people do it. Leaving your comfort well that’s a whole other paint job indeed.

Swag…what is it and how do you get it?


In our society athletes and movie stars seem to get most of the societal accolades. Americans love to fawn over celebrities. We live in a culture that celebrates physical horsepower more than cerebral horsepower. At my daughters graduation from N.Y.U last Friday a very prominent Doctor was given one of N.Y.U’s most prestigious awards. Dr. Eduardo D. Rodriguez was the recipient of the Strusser Award. Dr. Rodriguez graduated from NYU College of Dentistry in 1992. He also earned a BS degree in neurobiology from the University of Florida AND a Medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia  He completed postgraduate training in oral and maxillofacial surgery at Montefiore Medical Center…the list of his academic achievements is quite extensive and I’m only listing a few of them.

I was honored to have my picture taken with Dr. Rodriguez...a true intellectual  giant.

I was honored to have my picture taken with Dr. Rodriguez…a true intellectual giant.

In March of 2012 Dr. Rodriguez led a team of four surgeons and over 150 nurses, residents , anesthesiologists and support staff at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore in an unprecedented, 36 hour, total facial transplantation of a man whose face had been shattered by a shotgun blast. Dr Rodriguez spoke briefly at the commencement ceremony and described the facial and dental reconstruction they did that day. They had practiced the surgery beforehand and were confident that it would be a success. The patient was told that he could die during the surgery or in fact look even worse when the procedure was done. The surgery was a success of course. I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been to be in surgery for 36 hours straight and not just any surgery…an experimental surgery. During his commencement speech Dr. Rodriguez said that “there was no plan B…failure was not a option.” I really admire that all or nothing winner take all attitude that Dr. Rodriquez had going into the surgery…that my friends is what I call F****** Swag! Dr. Rodriquez was not about to test himself in an athletic contest like a football game or boxing match. A human beings health, well being and indeed life depended on the ability of Dr. Rodriquez and his surgical team to perform at 100%  for 36 hours straight, nothing less…

I respect and admire Dr. Rodriquez for continually pushing his personal boundaries by furthering his education. He’s a dentist, MD and plastic surgeon! I’ve written extensively about the importance of leaving your comfort zone. You achieve nothing by playing it safe. I’m not sure “comfort zone” is a phrase that even exists in the universe of Dr. Rodriguez.

This is a picture of the patient Dr. Rodriquez performed the surgery on..pretty amazing stuff I’d say. Click here for more information about the surgery.

Dr Rodriquez patient

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Is BJJ suffering from commercialism?


Helio Gracie, old schoolin it. This was self defense!

Helio Gracie, old schoolin it. This was self defense!

There are two points of view. From the viewpoint of those groups and individuals concerned with progress, BJJ has made great inroads by spreading worldwide and offering the average person an athletic activity, a means of self protection and a unique method of physical conditioning. On the other hand purists feel that commercialism has diluted the original mental and spiritual values inherent to BJJ.

Karate went through the same process in the late 1980’s when it exploded in popularity as BJJ is today. New karate schools opened daily in nearly every strip mall and shopping center in America. Karate transitioned from being a hardcore self defense system to a form of recreation. When any martial art becomes a form of recreation is it still a self defense system? In many karate dojos sparring became “optional” and contact became very limited. A greater emphasis was placed on Kata’s and competition was de-emphasised.

I see some disturbing trends in BJJ. When I started training in karate the Internet was not even in existence. If you wanted to learn a new technique you had to learn it from your instructor. Any bjj student of any rank can now go online and learn technique from YouTube. Many of the techniques seen online are extremely technical “sport” techniques. Students are beginning to mistake these sport techniques as actual self defense techniques. A student can go online watch a video and  learn the Berimbolo sweep then go back to their dojo and pull it off on someone of lesser ability.

Many students never compete. If you can’t deal with the stress of a competition how can you deal with the extreme duress of a street fight? I’m not saying that a BJJ student needs to compete all of the time but you should compete occasionally.  Try pulling off that Berimbolo sweep that you nailed on a white belt in the safety and comfort of your dojo on someone of your skill level in a tournament. Students should also train outside of their own dojo’s. Training with the same people all of the time stagnates and retards your game. You should experience different sparring partners regularly. More importantly you should be training with people that are better than you that can push you. Being the best guy in your dojo makes you the biggest fish in a small pond nothing more. I’ve been refereeing at NAGA tournaments. Let me hip you to something. There is some sick talent coming up. I refereed a gi match between two blue belts that in my opinion could smoke most purples and browns in many schools. If you stay in the singular comfort of your dojo and beat up the same people week after week…you are doing yourself a disservice because you believe that you are something that quite frankly you are not.

Ask yourself, are you a martial artist or recreational martial artist? There is a definite and distinct difference between the two.

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