Wing's Daily News

Eddie would go

My martial arts journey to Mastery…

DSC01363I’ve been training in the martial arts since I was a teenager (I’m 52 years old). I began my formal training in Shaolin Kempo Karate over 22 years ago and was promoted to Black Belt in the art 18 years ago. I have just been promoted to the rank of Rokudan (6’TH Degree Black Belt). I want to thank the International Kenpo Karate Federation and Grandmaster Ron Marek for bestowing this great honor on me. I never imagined that all those years ago when I took my first Karate lesson as a teenager that one day I would become a Master.

What does becoming a Master mean? Does it mean that I can levitate and walk through walls? Does it mean that I have been taught closely guarded martial arts secrets like the “Five Pointed Palm Exploding Heart Technique?” Of course not. In my opinion being a Master is a perception of self. At Rokudan my goal is not to be able to punch harder or kick faster it’s to help other people improve their lives through Martial Arts training. I do not teach Martial Arts to train people to become “fighting machines”. I teach Martial Arts to help the insecure feel better about themselves, to help the unconfident feel proud about themselves and to help those that lack direction and discipline to become disciplined and focused individuals.

Becoming a Master means that I did not quit…ever. In fact I spent over ten years at my last rank in Kempo…ten years! I remember my very first Kempo class. Time has clouded the faces and names of most of the people that started with me. I wonder how many of those people are still training? Am I only one from that original group that made it this far? Probably. Most people that begin training in the Martial Arts do not last. I’ve actually known people that were promoted to Black Belt that quit training the very day after being promoted. Everyone starts Martial Arts training with great enthusiasm. The first year or so is always the most exciting and fun. Once the novelty wears off people become distracted and begin to slack off. A missed week of training turns into a month then a month turns into a year and so on. For over two decades I never stopped training in Kempo…that’s pretty incredible…at least I think so.

I’ve had a very interesting Martial Arts journey to date. Now that I am a Master I believe that my journey is really just beginning… not ending. The symbolism of the red and white Masters belt is not lost on me. White is the color of the beginner and red of the Master. There can be no teacher (Master) without the student (beginner) and vice versa. It represents duality, oneness and completion.

I wish you all the best in your Martial Arts Journey,

Master Jim Wing-Sixth Degree Black Belt


Climbers “Attacked” on Mt. Everest?


The spring climbing season is underway on Mt. Everest and it’s being widely reported that a group of three western climbers were attacked above 21,000 feet by a mob angry Sherpas. I’ll set up this story for you then tell you what I think happened. Most of the climbing that is done on Mt. Everest is “siege” climbing. Teams of climbers will bring tons of supplies which includes food and climbing gear. Camps are set up along the route at successively higher altitudes. The climbers will climb from one camp to the next in stages. Should a team get into trouble they can “retreat” to a lower camp.

Sherpas are indigenous people that do all of the heavy lifting on Everest climbs. They hump gear up and down the mountain. They lay fixed ropes (more on that later) and they assist climbers during the climb. The Sherpas are among the best climbers in the world and many Sherpas have died on Mt. Everest keeping western climbers alive. They are truly among the climbing elite,  so it’s quite puzzling why a group of Sherpas would attack a team of western climbers.

The "Swiss Machine" Ueli Steck, nearly gets a beatdown on Mt. Everest.

The “Swiss Machine” Ueli Steck, nearly gets a beatdown on Mt. Everest.

Over 4,000 people have climbed Mt. Everest most of them are not professional climbers. The typical Everest climbers life depends on the Sherpa since the Sherpa is typically the most experienced climber in most climbing teams. That being said often times professional climbers will climb Everest. Guys like Reinhold Messner and Ed Viesturs have climbed Mt. Everest several times and without the use of supplemental oxygen which is totally badass. Climbers like Messner and Viesturs are as good as any Sherpa in the world. Among the three climbers that were attacked was Ueli Steck. Steck is the ultimate climbing badass in fact he’s called “the Swiss machine”. To say that Steck is the Michael Jordan of climbing would not be an understatement. Steck specializes in “speed climbing”. Speed climbing is style of climbing which uses minimal gear and is incredibly dangerous. Steck has speed climbed some of the most difficult mountains in the world like Mt. Eiger. Click here to watch a video of Steck speed climbing Mt. Eiger.

Apparently there was a team of high altitude Sherpas laying fixed ropes. Fixed ropes are thousands of feet of climbing rope that climbers clip into so they can climb up the mountain without falling off. Using fixed ropes is the typical way one climbs Everest. You snap your ascender into the rope and hold onto it with your right hand. As you climb you slide the ascender up. The ascender slides up but not down. The ascender is clipped into your climbing harness. If you let go of the ascender or slip you are tied into the fixed rope so you won’t slide thousands of feet to your death. The Sherpas are usually the ones that lay the fixed ropes which is incredibly difficult work because of the altitude and extreme weather. Most Everest climbers would not be able to ascend the mountain without the use of fixed ropes.

Fixed ropes?…Ueli Steck don’t need no stinking fixed ropes! Here is how I believe things went down. Steck and his trio were attempting to set a new route on Everest (climbing a route for the first time). To set new route on Everest is the pantheon of badassness and if one guy can do it, it’s Steck. The Sherpas were in the process of laying down fixed ropes when Steck and his team came upon them. I don’t know who the other climbers in Steck’s trio were but if they were climbing with Steck then they must have been world class climbers. Rather than waiting for the Sherpas to finish, Stecks team crossed over the fixed ropes to continue their climb. That is where I think things got out of hand. The Sherpas probably saw Steck and his team below them tearing up the mountain like a trio of banshees. The Sherpas no doubt said something like “hey fuckers, slow down we are laying rope here can’t you see that?”  Considering that Steck is not just any climbing fucker…but the best climbing fucker in the world he led his team over the fixed ropes and motored right by the Sherpas. I’m sure the Sherpas took umbrage with this abrogation of their absolute authority and became angry. They became so angry that a shouting match ensued at 21,000 feet between the Sherpas and Steck’s team. You have to appreciate a group of men getting into a verbal altercation near the top of the world. Men…will we ever learn? Here is how I think the conversation went:

Sherpas: Hey fuckers, slow the fuck down. We are laying rope here wait until we are done.

Steck does not reply but he thinks “What the fuck, I’m not using the fixed ropes. I don’t need the assistance of the Sherpas…so I’m climbing past these dumb fucks”.

Sherpa’s: “Hey ass wipe we are NOT going to tell you a second time. STOP and wait for us to finish”.

Now Steck is pissed and he responds with something like this: “Hey listen, we are not with you guys, we won’t get in your way or step on your damned stupid sissy fixed ropes…so YOU shut the fuck up and mind your own fucking business. We will be out of your way in a few minutes!”.

O.K. so now the Sherpa’s are boiling mad. They are so mad that they momentarily lose their ability to speak English and start screaming at Steck and his team invectives that if translated into English would closely resemble this: You white round eyed mother fucker! Who the fuck do you think YOU are coming to OUR mountain and bossing US around?! Do you see this ice axe that I’m holding? Well I’m coming over to you and I’m going to bury this fucking ice axe in your left eye then I’m going to do the same to your little pals as well. Your families are going to have to set up a memorial on this mountain next to your frozen one eyed dead bodies!”. Of course this is all said in whatever is the indigenous language of a Sherpa….so Steck and his team have no idea what was said to them and they blow right past the screaming Sherpas.

The Sherpa’s are mad as hell that Steck and his team did not obey them AND climbed right passed them. That is when the Sherpa’s said among themselves, “ohhh ok, ok…so those fuckers are gonna pay later tonight in base came. We are gonna give those foreign devils a good old fashioned Sherpa beat down”. That is pretty much what happened later in the day when a group of about 100 Sherpas set upon Steck and his group back in base camp 2. Oh yeah it was great Sherpa fun. There was some pushing and shoving and in fact a bit of rock throwing. Now listen…if a guy was so angry at me he threw a stone at me I’d probably laugh…or at least chuckle, but if a mob of a hundred men were throwing stones at me…well in that case I’d shit myself and that is exactly what Steck and his group did…they shit their fancy sponsor labeled expensive climbing suits. Hey listen…Steck might be the best climber in the world…but those Sherpa’s are some tough mother fuckers. I’m sure the average adolescent male Sherpa could beat Steck’s ass because no doubt Steck’s probably not much of a fighter. So Steck and his team followed the age old adage of “discretion is the better part of valor” and fled the mountain so fast that they left a wake behind them. Click here to watch a classic Monty Python video. My guess is that Steck and his group high tailed it off of the mountain in much the same fashion as the Knights in this clip.

Well…that’s pretty much my take on this little incident. You can click here to read a press release by Steck regarding his near death by Sherpa on Mt. Everest.



Martial Arts Fact Of The Week: What does the word “Os” mean?

Many martial artists use the word “Os” but do they actually know what it means? There are several literal translations for the world “os” (pronounced oos): “good morning ; “request”; “entreat” “push ahead.” Some authorities claim the world is a contraction of ohayo-gozaimas, meaning “good morning.” Others say it is a contraction of onegai-shimas, meaning “to request” or “entreat.” However, some claim the term is an expression taken from osu or “push” used in sumo wrestling. Hence, os is commonly understood to mean “push ahead” or never give up.” As such, it is a common greeting in Japanese Karate circles.

Samurai on horse


Crossing the line from “Badass” to “Dumbass”


I was speaking to a friend yesterday and she told me that I frequently cross the line from being a badass to being a dumbass. She’s collectively referring to many of my hobbies such as mountaineering and rock climbing. Simply put she thinks I’m a dumbass for doing many of the activities that I do.  I decided to sit down with her with pencil and pen in hand and delineate exactly which activities she thinks are badass and which are dumbass.

I listed the activities and here are her responses:

  • Guided climbing (working with a professional climber)=Badass. She does not think I’ll die whilst working with a guide.
  • Solo rock climbing: Dumbass. She may in fact be correct about this one. I’ve had many close calls that could have ended badly, like the time I used the wrong type of knot on a rappel and became stranded on the side of a cliff.
  • Mountaineering with a guide=Badass. Excepting incredibly bad luck when you climb with a guide you are usually in good hands and should make it home alive.
  • Sol0 Mountaineering=Dumbass. My second time climbing on Mt. Washington I climbed solo in 90 MPH winds and -50 degree air temperature.  Several climbers have died on Mt. Washington this winter. Climbing Mt. Washington solo in winter is begging for something bad to happen to you.
  • Dry tooling on a tree=Dumbass. Dry tooling is when you climb rock with ice axes and wear crampons. Most ice climbers do this to train during the ice climbing “off season”. I’ve started “dry tooling” on dead trees. Dry tooling on a dead tree allows me to work on foot placement and climbing stances. The down side is falling off of the tree like I did last week. I was about 15′ up the tree when my right ice axe tore loose from the tree. It pulled free so hard that the handle of the axe smashed into my forehead. I instantly recoiled in pain and drove the right axe forward and put it through the webbing of my left hand. When that happened I let go of the left axe. My front crampon spikes held in the tree for a microsecond before they too pulled out and I fell straight down into the ground. I’m lucky I did not break my ankles, knees or legs because that’s what can happen when you fall wearing crampons. In fact you can stab yourself in the leg with your own crampons as well when falling.
  • Rappelling=Dumbass. I’m inclined to agree with her on this one. There is something inherently stupid about walking backwards off a cliff for “fun”. I taught myself to rappel by jumping off an 18′ foot ladder. When I jumped I swung out in a big arc and smashed into the ladder which fell like a giant aluminum knife blade missing my head by about 6 inches…I was lucky on that one… Let’s not forget the time I did an improvised train trestle rappel from a 70′ abandoned railway bed. The anchors were sketchy at best. Another one that could have ended badly.
  • Competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu=Badass. My friend thinks that it’s budo when a guy my age competes in the martial arts. She was present at one tournament when I was competing against a friend of mine who is 57. What impressed her the most is that most guys our age are blown out and out of shape. Neil and I were scraping that day…it was great fun!
  • Trout fishing=Neither. However she does think that this is a past time that I should pursue with more vigour as the likelihood of dying or ending up busted up in the emergency room are exponentially low while trout fishing. Perhaps…perhaps….hey some of those trout are vicious little bastards with pointy teeth and intemperate dispositions.
I'm about 50' up on "Bridal Falls" in the Catskills. I was ice climbing with a guide.

I’m about 50′ up on “Bridal Falls” in the Catskills. I was ice climbing with a guide.


Is the U.S going to attack Syria?

President Obama has talked himself into a corner.

The "Red Line" has been crossed.

The “Red Line” has been crossed.

It seems that nearly everyone in the world knows that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its own people. President Obama said that if the government of Bashar-al-Assad used chemical weapons a “Red Line would be crossed”. Well Mr. President the red line has been crossed, what do you intend to do? America is in the process of ending two wars, are we about to start another? I think not. I’m beginning to believe that President Obama is a technocrat and his administration is a cabal of intelligentsia that understand the minutiae of foreign doctrine theory but may perhaps lack to conviction to “walk the walk”. Granted President Obama “Zero Dark 30’d” bin Laden’s ass but attacking Syria…well that’s a whole other paint job.

You see the conundrum President Obama faces is that Syria is the strongest ally of our arch nemesis Iran. Is Iran going to sit by idly while the U.S. launches an attack on Syria? I think not. Attacking Syria is not going to be as simple as dropping a few laser guided bombs on Syrian military installations. The possibility of Iran become involved is significant. Should Iran come into play will Israel become involved? Do you understand the dynamics of the conundrum our President now finds himself in? By attacking Syria the U.S. could start a conflagration that could envelop the entire Middle East.

If you want to leave a comment please do so. However be respectful. You may not like or agree with our President, however he is exactly that…our President. If we don’t show respect for the office of the President why should tin pot dictators like Assad and that chubby little nut with the odd haircut in North Korea?

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The Boston Marathon Bombing: 1+1 does not equal 2.

TsarnaevDid our government intelligence agencies namely the FBI and CIA drop the ball investigating Tamerlan Tsarnaev? It’s widely known that the Russian government contacted the FBI and CIA regarding the “radicalization” of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. I can’t imagine the sheer volume of “tips” that our government gets regarding militants, radicals and just plain nuts that are intent on causing mayhem in America. Can we thoroughly investigate every single intelligence tip that comes in? Maybe, maybe not. What is fact however is that Tamerlan and his brother flew low enough under law enforcement radar to commit the marathon bombing.

Here is what I believe:

  • While in Chechnya Tamerlan was recruited and co-opted by a militant Islamic agent. He received training or “guidance”  on how to make I.E.D.’s (homemade bombs) while abroad. 
  • Tsarnaev must have been in contact with a “handler” in the United States for further logistical support, specifically the planning, implementation and execution of the marathon bombing.

Do I believe that there is an Al-Qaeda network in the Boston area? No. I suspect that there is a militant agent(s) in the area that advised Tsarnaev. Where were the bombs assembled? Where were the bombs tested at? Who did the marathon route intelligence? It is being reported that 19 year old bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a pot smoking partier. I don’t think he  could have pulled off an attack of this magnitude without expert help. Did his brother Tamerlan possess such expert skills? Prior to becoming a terrorist Tamerlan was a boxer. Where did Tamerlan learn bomb making skills? He learned them from the Internet? I highly doubt it. Google how to make a bomb. Then go out and buy all of the components and assemble the bomb without blowing yourself up. Transport the assembled bombs to your intended target without them prematurely exploding. Plant the bombs and leave the scene without being seen. Cloak and dagger stuff like this is easily done on T.V. but in real life I’m not so sure it’s that easy. I’ll go way way out on a limb on this one…did the Tsarnaev brothers get assistance from Iranian intelligence agents? That statement is tenuous at best but the implications are pretty scary.

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Mainstream media coverage of Marathon bombing was buffoonish.


Suspect number 2

Suspect number 2

Back when I was a kid news and news reporting was exactly that. Legends like Walter Cronkite and Edward R Murrow were actual journalists and reporters unlike the ratings driven talking heads that “report” the news today. One thing that upset me a bit was the continual use of the word “crude” to describe the bombs used in the terror attack at the marathon. Crude by whose definition? The problem with making a homemade bomb is they tend to explode while you are assembling them or don’t detonate when intended to or don’t detonate at all. Try making one in your basement and let me know how that works out for you. Nearly every major news organization was falling all over themselves on Tuesday reporting that an arrest was made. That story proved to be absolutely false. Does the editorial process and fact checking exist anymore? When the story began to lose traction the media then began to drag out and interview witness after witness that had nothing new of substance to add to the story other than more layers of descriptive verbiage about carnage, death and destruction. Are there any actual investigative journalists that can try to piece together leads, interview witnesses and cultivate and develop an actual news story?

The latest is that the two terrorists, one who has been killed in a shootout with police may have been from or connected to Chechnya. If so do some research on Chechnya. It’s a hotbed of terrorism. In fact in 2004 a group of Chechen rebels took over 1,000 people hostage at Beslan, North Ossetia (an autonomous republic in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation). The result was a massacre resulting in the death of over 300 people. If these two terrorists are indeed from a Chechen separatist group and have brought their war to our shores, that is very bad news indeed for the Chechen separatists are a hardcore terror group that plays for keeps.

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Who is the “Boston Marathon Bomber?”

The Unabomber

The Unabomber

Ted Kaczynski might be a name that some of you remember. If not does the moniker of “Unabomber” jog your memory? Ted Kaczynski aka the unabomber is a highly educated and intelligent (he has a PhD in mathematics) man that went on a 17 year spree mailing bombs to people and companies. During that  17 year period (1978-1995) he mailed 16 homemade letter bombs that killed three people and injured 23. It took nearly two decades for the Unabomber to be caught. In fact perhaps the only reason he was brought to justice is he wrote a long and rambling “manifesto” that the New York Times published. If memory serves, Kaczynski’s brother recognized the style of writing in the “manifesto” and turned him in.

The “Marathon Bomber” set off two bombs last Monday and already experts are predicting that the bomber(s) is going to be brought quickly to justice. America is a much more heavily surveillanced society today than it was in 1978. Perhaps the Marathon Bomber will we be caught quickly….perhaps like the unabomber case, it will take a very long time to catch the “Marathon Bomber”.

I find it interesting that no foreign terrorist group such as Al-Qaeda has taken responsibility for Monday’s bombing. Is the Marathon Bomber a homegrown terrorist? If so why was a public place jammed with people attacked and not a federal building or institution? Is the Marathon Bomber a lone wolf like the Unabomber was? The news is now reporting that the bombs were made from pressure cookers. If find it a bit odd that nobody noticed someone carrying around a giant black backpack stuffed with a pressure cooker. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but even my lumbering intellect understands that although a pressure cooker is not as big as a cement mixer it ain’t exactly the size of a packet of peanuts. How does one plant a damn pressure cooker bomb, two pressure cooker bombs in fact  and clear the blast zone without being seen by anyone? Who is the mysterious person that was photographed walking on the

Is this photo even real? If so who is it?

Is this photo even real? If so who is it?

roof at the site of the explosion just before the bomb went off? Whoever is behind this heinous act is obviously no fool. Do you remember the imbecile that attempted to set off bombs in his sneakers on an airplane in 2008 with matches? The Marathon bomber planned, implemented and executed his (their) act of terror methodically with catastrophic results unlike the buffoonish amateur sneaker bomber. The math of the Marathon bombing simply does not add up. Experts are also reporting that these pressure cooker bombs are crude. I can’t imagine that hunkering down in some dark dank basement under the glow of a single light bulb assembling pressure cooker bombs without blowing yourself up is the easiest thing to do. I don’t think that these bombs were crude. It obviously took a level of skill to build them. How many of you have a difficult time lighting a charcoal barbecue?  Can you imagine how difficult it must be to build pressure cooker bombs? Those bombs were not simple or crude.

We need to accept the fact that if nobody takes responsibility for turning the Boston marathon into a war zone, it might be quite some time before anyone is caught.

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America has become a dangerous place to live. Welcome to the new Israel.

bomb victimUnless you live under a rock you’ve heard of the horrible terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. I’m listening to the news as I write this and many of the talking heads are trying to put a positive spin on the tragedy by saying that “America is a great country and we will overcome this.” The reality is that we live in an increasingly dangerous and violent world. From mentally disturbed maniacs shooting up movie theaters and schools to domestic and foreign terrorists that want to cause mayhem and destruction in our society, America has become a dangerous place to live.

Welcome to the new Israel. People that live in Israel have been living under such a violent dynamic since the birth of their nation. In Israel bombs explode at cafes and bus stations and rockets are shot into Jewish settlements on a regular basis. Acts of terrorism are only going to become more common in the United States. Any disenfranchised nut or individual intent on causing death and destruction can walk into a mall and shoot the place up or plant and detonate crude but incredibly powerful anti personnel bombs such as exploded at the Boston Marathon.

I am remiss to wax pessimistic but our nation will not be able to stop individuals intent on murdering American citizens, that is the price of living in a free and open society.

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What on earth was he thinking? Cop shoots at Trayvon Martin target.

You read this one and decide. In case you don’t want to follow the link, i’ll give you the cliff note encapsulation. A cop in Florida, a Sergeant in fact, went to a shooting range with two other cops. During the course of target practice Sergeant Ron King pulled out a couple of Trayvon Martin paper targets and asked his pals if they wanted to shoot at them. I mean seriously? I mean really F*****G seriously? Hello…earth to Sgt. King…what were you thinking? Well it seems Sgt. King’s department did not share King’s humor regarding the Trayvon Martin targets and fired his dumb ass.

What boggles my mind is not that a police officer would even be in possession of a Trayvon Martin target, rather how did Sgt. King mange to get as far in life as he has with an apparently impaired and under developed vestigial brain?

trayvon martin









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