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What REALLY Happened to Hwa Rang Dos Michael Echanis

EXCLUSIV

EQ

RZA OF TH&A

WU-TANG E
TALKS AB CLAN
HIS KUNGOUT
FU

EXPLORING
THE PATH TO
TECHNICAL
MASTERY

NUNCHAKU

10 Things You
Didnt Know
About the
Retro Weapon

blackbeltmag.com

AUG/SEP 2013

MEET
LEON JAY!

Display until 9/24/13

Vladimir
Vasiliev

Wally Jays Son


Inherits SmallCircle Jujitsu

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COULD YOU
TAKE ON 100 KARATEKA
AND LIVE TO TELL ABOUT IT?
Well, KENJI YAMAKI did.
Hes one of only 14 people in the world to have endured the grueling 100-man kumite.
He emerged battered and beaten with an astounding tally of 83 wins.
In this highly anticipated two-DVD set, the karate juggernaut shows you how
he trained for that experience and what he does now to continue his
martial development.
Learn advanced sparring techniques, counters, feints and kicks.
Train your body for progressive development
of power, balance, control, stamina,
exibility, speed and raw strength.
Its work ... a LOT of work.

ARE YOU READY


TO BEGIN THE TRAINING?

blackbeltmag.com/kenji-yamaki

To order,
call toll-free: (800) 581-5222 or visit blackbeltmag.com/kenji-yamaki
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contents
08 / 09. 2013
COVER STORY

40 SYSTEMA: RUSSIAN MARTIAL ART

This ghting system is regarded as one


of the most effective on the planet. In this
story, Vladimir Vasiliev explainsand
demonstrateswhy it works so well.

FEATURES

48 HWA RANG DOS IMMORTAL


WARRIOR

A former Special Forces noncommissioned ofcer did some serious


researchincluding multiple meetings
with the familyto write the untold story
of Michael D. Echanis.

56 THE ZEN OF JUDO WAZA

Judo legend Hayward Nishioka


describes the martial path one
must walk to become a champion,
and he throws in some fascinating
neuroscience to boot!

64 RZA OF THE WU-TANG CLAN

In this exclusive interview, the musician/


moviemaker talks about his interest in
kung fu and Asian philosophy, as well as
his work on The Man With the Iron Fists.

66 10 THINGS YOU DIDNT KNOW


ABOUT THE NUNCHAKU

Whether you wield the weapon or just


watch when experts do it in the movies,
youll enjoy this lighthearted look at the
traditional Okinawan ghting tool.

68 CLINCH FIGHTING

DISCLAIMER: BLACK BELT COMMUNICATIONS, an Active Interest Media Publication, as publisher, does not endorse and makes no representation, warranty or guarantee concerning the safety or effectiveness of either
the products and services advertised in this magazine or the martial arts or other techniques discussed or illustrated in this magazine. The publisher expressly disclaims any and all liability relating to the manufacture, sale
or use of such products and services and the application of the techniques discussed or illustrated in this magazine. The purchase or use of some of the products, services or techniques advertised or discussed in this
magazine may be illegal in some areas of the United States or other countries. Therefore, you should check federal, state, and local laws prior to your purchase or use of these products, services or techniques. The publisher
makes no representation or warranty concerning the legality of the purchase or use of these products, services and techniques in the United States or elsewhere. Because of the nature of some of the products, services
and techniques advertised or discussed in this magazine, you should consult a physician before using these products or services or applying these techniques.
Bruce Lee, the Bruce Lee image, likeness and all related indicia are trademarks and copyrights of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC and are used herein with its express and prior permission. All rights reserved. www.brucelee.com

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Photo by Robert Reiff

Want to bolster your ability to prevail


in close-range combat? Learn these
techniques and strategies from the
Burmese martial arts!

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email: training@RussianMartialArt.com

www.RussianMartialArt.com
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VERSUS

by Bruce Lee and M. Uyehara

BLACK BELT - AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 - VOLUME 51 - NUMBER 5

BRUCE
LEES
FIGHTING
METHOD:
The
Complete
Edition

CONTENTS

24

Its a touchy subject for many: Whats the best


way for women to learn functional self-defense
skills that will permit them to stop a male
attacker?

26

FIGHTBOOK

Black Belt checks in with Leon Jay, son of the


great Wally Jay and current headmaster of the
art his father founded, small-circle jujitsu.

28

MIL-SPEC

In Part 2 of Conned-Space Combatives, Kelly


McCann outlines tactics you can use should you
ever nd yourself ghting off an attacker while
youre in your car.

30

DESTINATIONS

Black Belts Asia correspondent Antonio


Graceffo continues his account of what it was
like to live the martial way in Borneo.

32

KARATE WAY

Always one to seize an opportunity, Dave Lowry


explains how padded-assailant training can
teach all of us a lesson about being an aging
martial artist.

34

FAR EAST

Kickboxing-champ-turned-promoter Lou Neglia


reveals why his Ring of Combat show has become
the launch pad of so many MMA champions
including Matt Serra and Frankie Edgar.

36
Bruce Lees Fighting Method: The Complete
Edition brings the iconic four-volume Fighting
Method series together into one denitive book.
Intended as an instructional document to complement Lees foundational Tao of Jeet Kune Do, this
restored and enhanced edition of Fighting Method
breathes new life into hallowed pages with
digitally remastered photography and a painstakingly refurbished interior design for improved
instructional clarity. This 492-page hardbound
book also includes 900+ digitally enhanced
images, newly discovered photographs from
Lees personal les, a new chapter on the Five
Ways of Attack penned by famed rst-generation
student Ted Wong, and an analytical introduction
by Shannon Lee that helps readers contextualize
the revisions and upgrades implemented for this
special presentation of her fathers work.
492 pgs. Size 7 x 10.
(ISBN-13: 978-0-89750-170-5)
Book Code 494Retail $34.95
ZZZEODFNEHOWPDJFRPJKWLQJBPHWKRG
 

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

EDITORS NOTE
14 MAILBOx
16 TIMES
71 ESSENTIAL GEAR
78 BLACK BELT PAGES
82 FROM THE ARCHIVES
12

VOL. 51 NO. 5. BLACK BELT (ISSN 0277-3066) is


published bi-monthly by Cruz Bay Publishing, Inc.,
an Active Interest Media company. Advertising and
editorial ofces at 24900 Anza Drive, Unit E, Santa
Clarita, California 91355. The known ofce of publication is 475 Sansome St., Suite 850, San Francisco,
CA 94111. Periodicals postage paid at San Francisco, CA and at additional mailing ofces. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Black Belt, P.O. Box
420235, Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Palm Coast Data, P.O. Box 421113, Palm
Coast, FL 32142-0235. Customer service: (800) 2664066. Subscription rates in the United States are one
year $28. Canada: $40.Foreign: $52 (US funds only).
The publisher and editors will not be responsible for
unsolicited material. Manuscripts and photographs
must be accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed
return envelope. Printed in the United States by RR
Donnelley, Strasburg, VA. 2013 by Black Belt Communications LLC, an Active Interest Media Publication. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

WAY OF THE WARRIOR

In Who Said Sport Fighters Cant Really Fight?


Keith Vargo examines the contentious issue
from the perspective of both a self-defense
practitioner and a ring athlete.

38

FIT TO FIGHT

Our resident M.D. tells you what turf toe is,


why it occurs so frequently in the dojo and how
you should respond if it happens to you.

74

BETTER BUSINESS

Black Belt Hall of Famer Kelly Muir claims you can


be a better martial arts instructor if you apply what
she discovered while helping her son learn Latin.

76

COMPANY SPOTLIGHT

Pramek, whose name stands for practical


mechanics survival system, is an effort to
merge Russian combat concepts with Western
arts. Heres the lowdown on the martial artist
behind it.

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NEW ONLINE STORE


BlackBeltMag.coms new online store features all
your favorite martial arts books and DVDs and now
offers the choice of downloading many of them to
your computer or digital device! Post your reviews,
read others reviews and check out recommended
products. store.blackbeltmag.com

BlackBeltMag.coms brief video history of systema includes


footage of the martial artist on the cover of this issue: Vladimir
Vasiliev. It also depicts the arts evolution over the course of
10 centuries. blackbeltmag.com/systema

FREE GUIDE TO
CHUCK NORRIS MOVIES
In How Chuck Norris Films Seem to Bend the Course
of History, BlackBeltMag.com looks at the work of
martial arts icon Chuck Norris with one question in
mind: Have his movies and TV shows predictedand
perhaps even reshapedthe unfolding of modern
history? You be the judge. blackbeltmag.com/
chuck-norris-lms

> Follow us on:

FREE JIM KELLY


DOWNLOAD
In Jim Kelly: Martial Artist and Co-Star of
the Bruce Lee Movie Enter the DragonA
Vintage Interview, BlackBeltMag.com
presents a digital retro reproduction
of the 1970s movie stars cover story in
Fighting Stars magazine. This exclusive
FREE e-book includes a review of the
lm Hot Potato, as well as bonus archival
photos of the actor on and off the set.
blackbeltmag.com/jim-kelly
/BlackBeltMagazine

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@Black_Belt_Mag

Jim Kelly Photo by Ed Ikuta Chuck Norris Photo by Rick Hustead

WATCH VLADIMIR VASILIEV IN ACTION!

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NAPMA.com/PrivateCoachingSession
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VOLUME 51, NO. 5 - AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013
GROUP PUBLISHER Cheryl Angelheart
EXECUTIVE EDITOR Robert W. Young
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Alexander Norouzi

AARON BANKS (19282013)

f youd spoken to Aaron Banks during his nal years without knowing
much about his past, you easily
could have concluded that he was
just an aging karate promoter who saw
MMA as a great white shark chomping
a chunk out of the traditional martial arts
business. But remembering him that
way would be doing him and everything
he labored to create a huge disservice.
The ironic part is that Banks was a
pioneer in mixing martial arts. Way back
in 1964, he incurred the wrath of New
York City traditionalists when he allowed
various Chinese, Korean, Japanese
and Okinawan artsnot to mention
Western boxingto be taught in his
dojo. In subsequent years, he organized
a string of shows composed of daring
demonstrations and fantastic feats, as
well as point and full-contact ghts, that
wowed East Coast audiences.
Interestingly, many of Banks
productions pitted practitioners of one
style against practitioners of another.
I created the rst mixed-martial arts
event in 1974, he told a Black Belt
staffer in 2007. It was called Ketsugo,
which is Japanese for everything
goes. We had karate versus kung fu,
judo versus wrestling and kickboxing
versus boxing.
Evidence of the mans genius comes
from the fact that those proto-MMA
matches often took place in venues
as mainstream as Madison Square
Gardennearly two decades before
the rst UFC.
It would be hard to argue that Banks
didnt play a pivotal role in spreading
the Asian ways of combat, whether
mixed or in a more pure form. During
his 50-year career, he organized at
least 374 tournaments, 250 shows and
way too many demos to keep track of.

12

BLACK BELT I AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013

Without the exposure to exotic arts


that attendees gained via his live and
televised showsfor eight years, his
Oriental World of Self-Defense aired on
ABCs Wide World of Sportsstyles
such as kenpo and kung fu, judo
and jujitsu, and taekwondo and tang
soo do wouldnt be as widely known.
Without the exposure they received at
his tournaments, martial artists such
as Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Steve
Sanders (now Steve Muhammad), Mike
Stone and Thomas LaPuppet probably
wouldnt have become so popular.
Knowing that Banks possessed that
kind of track record, I was saddened by
the bitterness that crept into his voice
in his nal years. It stemmed from
his belief that MMA was out to take
over the world at the expense of the
traditional arts. Fans ocked to UFC
events, hed lament in conversations
and voice mails, while shows like his
drew smaller and smaller crowds.
I was especially saddened to hear
how Banks died, reportedly of a heart
attack, on or around May 8, 2013.
The exact time his ame ickered and
then went out is unknown because it
happened while he was alone in his
New York apartment.
Mostly forgotten by the community
he helped create, Aaron Banks lived
out his nal years in relative obscurity,
surrounded by just a few close friends
and associates. Lets hope the
martial culture he dedicated his life
to preserving and propagating never
suffers a similar fate. Perhaps the best
way to ensure that it doesnt is for all
of us to remember our roots and the
people who planted them.

Robert W. Young

Executive Editor

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DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL MEDIA Raymond Horwitz


SPECIAL PROJECTS ART DIRECTOR John Bodine
SPECIAL PROJECTS EDITOR Vicki Baker
WEB EDITOR Jon Sattler
COPY EDITOR Jeannine Santiago
A/R MANAGER Alice Negrete
RESEARCH DIRECTOR Kristy Kaus
ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Donna Diamond
ADVERTISING ACCT MGR Laura (Flores) Thorne
PRODUCTION MANAGER Patrick Sternkopf
ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR Dana Collins
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Floyd Burk, Jason Brick, Mark Cheng, Antonio


Graceffo, Mark Hatmaker, Mark Jacobs, Dasha
Libin Anderson, Dave Lowry, Kelly McCann,
Keith Vargo, Dr. Robert Wang
CONTRIBUTORS

Alain Burrese, Rebecca Carter, Peter Hobart,


Ian Lauer, Robert McLain, Jason William McNeil,
Hayward Nishioka, J. Torres, Greg Walker,
Martin Wheeler
BLACK BELT COMMUNICATIONS, LLC

An Active Interest Media Publication


24900 Anza Dr. Unit E, Valencia, CA 91355
Toll Free: (800) 423-2874
In CA (661) 257-4066
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For information about selling Black Belt magazine,


contact BGiacalone@aimmedia.com.
Back issues can be purchased from
Palm Coast Data, (800) 266-4066

Efrem Zimbalist III


CHAIRMAN & CEO
Andrew W. Clurman
PRESIDENT & COO
Brian J. Sellstrom
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT & CFO
Patricia B. Fox
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS

BLACKBELTMAG.COM

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In Love With
Muay Boran!
Id like to thank
Dr. Mark Cheng
for his muay boran article in the
June/July 2013
issue. He didnt
just describe the
rare Thai art; he
also told a fascinating
story
of discovery. Ill
be scouring the
Web for details
on the next time
Col. Nattapong Buayam comes to California for a seminar.
Monica Serrano - via the Internet
Editors Note: The next letter was written
in response to an article titled Religion and
Martial Arts: Are They Inseparable? on
blackbeltmag.com.
Religion Adds Wisdom to the Arts
As a Christian believer, I know for a fact
that you can separate the two. However,
its advantageous to have a basic understanding of the wisdom found in the Eastern religions. Many timesbut obviously
not all the timetheyre in harmony with the
universal wisdom found in Judeo-Christian
culture. On a related note, I nd it foolish
for Christians to say its wrong to study selfdefense and then applaud the police and
military for learning how to ght for the USA.

Self-defense is a divine right.


John Robert Cruz - New York, NY
Student vs. Teacher
The Karate Way column in the April/May
2013 issue was very good. I do spar with
my senseias author Dave Lowry recommended. I used to be scared to do it but not
anymore. My sensei spars with all the karateka in our dojo, and we thank him for that
because its made us better martial artists.
The past eight years with him have been an
amazing journey.
Stephen Carruthers - via the Internet
The Real Role of Weapons
I would like to thank Robert W. Young for his
Editors Note in the April/May 2013 issue.
I appreciate his clear understanding of the
gun-control issue and his ability to punctuate it with historical examples. More important, I appreciate his courage in addressing
this topic in Black Belt.
Ive been an avid reader of Black Belt
since 1975. Quite frankly, Im still a reader
because the staff has never forgotten that
the root of all martial arts is the individual
commitment to self-protection. I understand
that the arts offer many benets besides
physical ghting skill, and I respect an individuals choice to focus on the cultural,
spiritual, competitive or self-improvement
aspects. However, theres a tremendous
difference between real self-defense and
the purely artistic aspects of the arts.
Weapons have always been part of the
traditional martial arts because the men

and women who developed the arts knew


that empty-hand skills alone were never
enoughespecially
when
defending
against younger, stronger attackers or multiple assailants. They also knew that regardless of the number of laws a society enacted, criminals would, by nature, violate those
laws to prey on the innocent. And when that
happened, the innocent would be forced to
fend for themselves. The better armed and
skilled they were, the more prepared they
were to protect themselves and their loved
ones.
Guns are nothing more than an advancement in the weapons technology thats always been a core element of the martial
arts. When treated with the same respect
and discipline as a sword, spear, bow or
any other traditional arm, their place in society as a personal-defense tool is clear.
In reality, they and the methods in which
theyre used represent the state of the art
in self-defense.
Guns also represent one of the few viable
personal-defense options available to many
elderly and physically challenged citizens
for whom unarmed self-defense or even the
use of less-capable weapons is inappropriate.
As martial artists, we have a moral responsibility to understand and respect
everyones right to self-defense. In the
process, we also must understand that rearms and their lawful use are a direct extension of the martial traditions we practice.
Michael D. Janich, Black Belt Hall of
Fame - via the Internet

We know
your risks.
Our policies constantly
respond to changes in
your industry because
the most dangerous risk
is the one you never
saw coming.

Specialty insurance for


martial arts schools
martialartsinsurance.com

800-900-1155

facebook.com/markelhealthtness

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SAFEMEDIA.COM

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TIMES

Photos by Robert Reiff

MARTIAL ARTS NEWS YOU CAN USE. READ IT - KNOW IT - LIVE IT

16

BLACK BELT I AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013

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BLACKBELTMAG.COM

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ONE ON ONE
HOW TO BUILD
YOUR BACK KICK

What:

What:

Deep WideStance Squat

Broad Jump

WHY: One of the best ways


to improve glute strength with
weights is the squat. Focus on
the wide-stance squat, which
entails a slightly different foot
position and greater range of
motion. In a nutshell: A narrow
stance puts more emphasis
on the front of your thighs. A
medium stance or shoulderwidth stance works the front
and back of your thighs. A
wide stance puts even more
emphasis on the back of the
legs and the glutes.
The top half of the squatting
movement tends to hit the front
of the thighs. The bottom half
shifts to the back of the thighs
and glutes. For this reason, its
most benecial to make your
squats deep.
HOW: Start with a barbell on
your back, dumbbells in your
hands or a single dumbbell held
with both hands. Position your
feet wider than your shoulders
with your toes pointed slightly
outward. Press your hips back
and drop them down, being
careful to maintain your balance.
Keep your weight over your
midfoot or heels so your knees
dont move forward of your
toes. Inhale as you slowly lower
your body until your thighs are
parallel to the oor. Press back
up to the standing position,
squeezing your glutes, driving
your heels into the ground and
exhaling as you do so.
HOW MANY: 3-6 sets of 6-15
reps, twice a week

BLACKBELTMAG.COM

WHY: Plyometrics also can


have a massive impact on your
back-kick training because of
the use of explosive force, which
depends on recruiting type-2
muscle bers. Among the most
benecial plyo exercises is the
broad jump. Two things make it
perfect for back kickers:
First, the broad jump entails
rapid torso movement in the
sagittal planejust like the back
kick. Second, the jump involves
launching the legs backward in
an explosive mannerjust like,
you guessed it, the back kick.
HOW: Stand with your feet
shoulder-width apart and your
toes pointing forward. Bend at
the hips and lean forward slightly,
putting your weight on the balls of
your feet. Raise your arms in front
of you as you lower your body,
then rip your arms backward as
you explode forward with your
legs. Jump as far as possible,
take a moment to regroup and
then repeat. As you get more
advanced, try to perform one rep
after another. Your goal is to roll
through a controlled landing right
into the next jump.
PRO NOTE: Explode with
each jump using as much
force as possible but land
in a controlled fashion. This
protects your joints and causes
maximum muscle stimulation.
In contrast, landing hard places
undue stress on your ligaments.
HOW MANY: 5-10 sets of
6-12 reps, twice a week

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In the martial arts, most kicks


are directed to the front or side
of your body. Because they rely
on a variety of major muscle
groupsincluding the exors,
groin muscles, hip abductors
and quadricepsits easy to
develop impressive amounts of
power.
If, however, you want to
build your ability to perform the
back kick, whether to target
an opponent whos behind
you or to spin and attack one
whos in front, things arent
quite so straightforward. For
a killer back kick, you need
to harness the power of your
gluteus maximusyou know,
the muscles that form your
buttocks.
The execution of the back
kick requires your leg to move
backward. When a glute
contracts, it whips the attached
femur backwardwhich is
great if youre running or trying
to take out an opponent whos
behind you. As the femur
approaches the correct angle
of attack, the knee extends
and the heel is driven into the
target. All the while, the glute
continues to contract.
Although that striking force
is formidable, its even greater
when coupled with a rapid
rotation of the body in the form
of a spinning back kickbut
only if you have strong glutes.
The two exercises described
here will help you shape up
your glutes and add some
assailant-dropping power to
either version of the kick.
Ian Lauer, CSCS, ianlauer.com

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 I BLACK BELT

17

Lasting Legacy

Ed ParkEr Jr. CrEatEs NEw


BruCE LEE art
The rst new piece of authorized Bruce Lee artwork in years was
conceived by Ed Parker Jr., licensed by Bruce Lee Enterprises and
released by Artnative Creative Group Inc. This is how I remember
Bruce Lee when he trained with my father, Parker said about the
work, which took two years to complete.
The addition of a highly illustrated piece of artwork that captures the essence of my father and is illustrated by Ed Parker Jr.
is truly an honor, said Shannon Lee, who personally approved the
release.
The art is available in two formats: a 24-inch-by-36-inch stretch
canvas Giclee print that sells for $525 and a 13-inch-by-19-inch
print on Polar Pearl Metallic paper that goes for $225. For more
information, send an email to artnativegd@gmail.com or visit
EdParkerJrDiplomas.com.

Competition Alert

15 FightiNg arts
to BE FEaturEd
at worLd
ComBat gamEs
18

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

4 On June 14, 2013, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill


that will repeal the ban on switchblades in his state. The
new law will take effect September 1, 2013. kniferights.org
4A larger-than-life statue of Bruce Lee is on display
in Los Angeles Chinatown. However, the bronze
replica of the worlds most famous martial artist wont
be permanent until/unless local businesses can raise
$150,000 for the city-mandated infrastructure.
4On June 15, 2013, Black Belts Facebook page
reached 41,000 followers. We welcome all who
recently joined our online community. facebook.com/
BlackBeltMagazine
4The International Olympic Committee had some
possible good news for those who were upset that
wrestling was being removed from the Games: It may
be back in the 2020 Olympic Games. It was announced
earlier this year that the popular grappling sport was out.
4However, the IOC had some bad news for supporters
of karate and wushu: They were among the ve sports
that a secret ballot determined would not add value to
the Olympics.
4A tactical folding knife known as the Emerson CQC7B recently sold for $35,400. Why so pricey? It was
carried by a member of the Navy SEAL team that killed
Osama bin Laden.
4Actor and martial artist David Carradine is being
honored in an exhibit titled The Barefoot Legend. It
opened in June 2013 and will remain at the Hollywood
Museum in Hollywood, California, until September 2013.
thehollywoodmuseum.com
4The staff of Black Belt is hard at work compiling all six
volumes of Stephen K. Hayes best-selling ninjutsu books
into a single tome. Plans call for it to be released on paper
and in a variety of e-book formats in September 2013.
4Black Belt has released a Free Guide titled Ronda
Rousey: An Exclusive Interview With the Gene LeBell
Protg, Olympic Judo Medalist and MMA Fighter.
Download it at blackbeltmag.com/free-guides.
4James DeMile attempted to use the website
Kickstarter.com to raise at least $200,000 to make a
documentary about Bruce Lees early years in Seattle.
For unknown reasons, the project was canceled after only
one week. During that time, it reached a total of $2,715.
4Destinations columnist Antonio Graceffo reports that
hes back in China and training at Shaolin Temple.
4A recent survey by The Box magazine, one of Black
Belts sister publications, revealed that 13 percent of
people who participate in CrossFit also do martial arts.
4Diana Lee Inosanto, daughter of Black Belt Hall of
Fame member Dan Inosanto, appeared on the cover of
the July 2013 issue of MA Success, the ofcial publication
of the Martial Arts Industry Association.

The SportAccord World Combat Games are scheduled to take place


October 18-26, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Russia. In addition to other
festivities, the games will include competition in aikido, boxing, fencing,
judo, jujitsu, karate, kendo, kickboxing, muay Thai, sambo, savate, sumo,
taekwondo, wrestling and wushu. The rst installment of the international
athletic event was held in 2010 in Beijing. For more information, visit
worldcombatgames.com.

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Image Courtesy of Artnative Creative Group Inc.

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NEWS BITES

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On the Marquee

Kenpo/KicKboxing StyliSt
StarS in new Movie

When trailers for Chavez: Cage of Glory start hitting the airwaves and

the interwebs, longtime readers of Black Belt will recognize the name of
the star: Hector Echavarria, a man whos been in the magazine numerous times. The practitioner of kenpo and kickboxing, who hails from
Argentina, has made a slew of martial arts movies over the years, and
Chavez is the latest.
The tag lineWhen your body is broken, you must ght with all
your heartsums up the spirit of the lm, which follows the day-today life of one Hector Chavez as he struggles to put food on the table
while paying his sons medical bills. The title character winds up using
his martial arts skills in an amateur MMA event. When a video of his
ghts is spotted by a major MMA promoter, Chavez gets his chance at
the big timeimagine Rocky Balboa with takedowns and submissions.
Echavarria is something of a household name in South America.
Before relocating to the United States, he starred in a TV series called
Brigada. In an effort to expand his horizons, he began building a name
for himself in Hollywood. The ongoing results include such movies as
Death Warrior, Unrivalled, Confessions of a Pit Fighter, Never Surrender
and Lake Dead.
Chavez: Cage of Glorywhich co-stars Danny Trejo (Machete),
Steven Bauer, James Russo and MMA ghters Heath Herring and
Tony Lopezwill hit theaters in August 2013.

20

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

A Gathering of Masters

Korean Martial
artS FeStival
Held in Florida

Nearly 100 martial artists gathered in


Crestview, Florida, on April 19-21, 2013,
to learn from 18 distinguished masters
and grandmasters at the Seventh Annual
Korean Martial Arts Festival. The threeday event was hosted by Thomas Gordon.
Last years get-together was featured in
10 Must-Do Martial Arts Events in the
May 2012 issue of Black Belt.
This years presenters had more than
600 years of training and teaching under
their collective belts, yet they exhibited the
essence of humility. The event was open
to all ranks and styles, with seminars
covering taekwondo, hapkido, tang soo
do, kuk sool and other styles from the
Land of the Morning Calm.
Gordon said his goal was to create an
annual event where martial artists of all
ranks can come together, regardless of
organizational politics, to learn the skills
of the Korean martial arts. Judging by this
years festival, hes achieved that goal
and more. kmaf.info
Alain Burrese

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Breaker, Breaker!

Martial artist
to Bust Boards
for Kids

The challenge facing tang soo do

Preserving the Arts

KiM soo
invites
Masters to
Kwon Beop
seMinar

22

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

Korean martial arts pioneer Kim Soo has extended an invitation to all Changmoo
Kwan and Kangduk Won descendants who are fth-degree black belt or higher
and interested in learning Yoon Byung-ins kwon beop legacy. Hes hoping theyll
attend a multi-day seminar hes hosting in Texas later this year.
Yoon founded the YMCA Kwon Beop Bu in 1946, where he taught both chuan
fa (Chinese for kwon beop) and karate. Several of his students went on to found
the Changmoo Kwan and Kangduk Won, where they labored to preserve Yoons
instruction. Unfortunately, most of that form of chuan fa has been lost over the years.
An original student of the Changmoo Kwan and Kangduk Won, Kim has
painstakingly preserved the chuan fa of Yoon and normally teaches only his direct
students. He recently decided to open his doors to masters from both lineages
who would like to delve into an important part of their martial arts heritage.
Interested parties should send an email to kimsoo1204@gmail.com or a letter
to Kim Soo, 1740 Jacquelyn Drive, Houston, Texas 77055. For more information,
visit chayonryu.com.
Robert McLain

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Photo by Rick Hustead

black-belt Leif Becker is a tough one:


He hopes to break 100,000 boards in
24 hours. Ordinarily, any middle-age
martial artists chances for success at
such a task would be slim, but Becker,
41, already holds two world records for
board breaking.
Beckers mission to set another
record was launched in January 2013.
On May 4, it received a publicity shot
in the arm when he appeared on The
Today Show and broke 70 boards in
front of the programs hosts. He then
embarked on a national tour that will
culminate in the 100,000-board break
on September 27 in New York City. To
succeed, hell have to smash almost 70
boards a minute for 24 hours.
This is not about a feat of physical
strength, Becker said. It is about
strengthening children across the
country. He was speaking about his
work with the REACH Foundation,
a Connecticut-based nonprot that
helps youth. Together, theyve created
a program called Breaking Barriers
Building Futures. Each of the boards
Becker breaks will be dedicated to one
child who has a barrier to overcome.
Im not doing this alone, Becker
said. Every parent, teacher, nonprot
organization and company sponsor
who is helping these kids is what
is going to give me the strength to
achieve my goal. I am going for a
world record, but the boards are a
symbol. breakingbarriersevent.com

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WINNING
ON
THE
GROUND
TRAINING AND TECHNIQUES FOR JUDO AND MMA FIGHTERS
The New Book by Dr. AnnMaria De Mars and James Pedro Sr.

Featuring Ronda Rousey and Kayla Harrison


In WINNING ON THE GROUND: Training and Techniques for Judo and MMA Fighters, Dr. AnnMaria De Mars,
1984 world judo champion, and James Pedro Sr., coach of international judo medalists, present a variety
of techniques developed over the years. Their coaching has helped such winners in the worlds of judo and
mixed martial arts as Ronda Rousey (De Mars daughter) and Kayla Harrison take home medals at the
highest levels of competition. Winning on the Ground demonstrates that you can overcome your opponent,
even from a position that may seem hopeless. The key is in training for various scenarios.

Winning on the Ground includes the following:


six secrets to better mat work
(and mistakes to avoid)
coaching tips from the authors
a dozen quick ways to gain an
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how to do the perfect armbar
and half nelson
smarter training: drills for connecting
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Men vs. Women in Training


Im often asked about the best way to teach women. My answer is always, Like
fully functioning, intelligent human beings with an interest in combat sports
or street defense.
by Mark Hatmaker

hen Im usually asked about female-only classes. To me, they seem like
a throwback to separate but equal days. Before anyone gets his or her
hackles up, stand down. Im aware that many women prefer the femaleonly approach. When its the individuals call to be separated, by all
means exercise that preference.
The people Im addressing are those who wonder why the genders must be separated or if the genders should be mixed but treated differently. These questions are
way stickier than they appear, so lets see if we can make things a little less sticky.
First, iF youre a Female and prefer the company of a female-only crew, thats
your call. I would ask, however, why you prefer working with your gender alone.
The answers Ive received include:
I find working with women less threatening.
Thats fair, but might I suggest that no matter your gender, if you find your current coaches or training partners threatening, maybe thats the wrong place to
train. The ideal environment to foster learning is one that will challenge you, constantly raise the bar and encourage you to get to new levels. Threatening has no
place in the equation.
Id be thick-skulled if I didnt acknowledge that some women turn to self-defense
in response to an unpleasant incident in their lives. Ive encountered two polarizing attitudes in women who have endured such a thing.
The first: Dont candy-coat it. I want the real thing because that is never happening to
me again. You ladies are my heroes.
The second is more withdrawn. These women are less likely to accept the interplay and full scope of training thats vital to inculcate real-world skills.
I empathize with both attitudes, but I will say that the first is far more useful. To
those who suffer from the second, I offer this: If youve chosen your coaches and
partners well, trust your judgment and get to training. These folks are there to
help. If you dont trust them enough to give yourself up to the training, move to a
facility where you can feel comfortable.
another common response from women: I dont want to get hurt.
Not getting hurt is a mighty smart stance to take, but allow me to tip you off to
the following news: Im a man, and I can testify that I dont want to get hurt, either.
24

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

I dont know a man or woman who goes


into a session thinking, No matter what
the lesson plan is today, can we schedule an injury?
That said, we must accept the fact
that combat training is a contact sport,
and there will be a few bumps and
bruisesif youre doing it right. Expecting to absorb the full impact of the
training in a hands-off atmosphere is
akin to expecting to become proficient
at football without experiencing blocking and tackling.
I often see classes in which mixing genders is problematic in the opposite sense:
The males are too concerned about
harming their female counterparts. In
short, theyre behaving like gentlemen.
I see this as a disservice to the women.
Taking it easy with a female partner is
saying, in essence, You cant handle this,
so Ill treat you with kid gloves.
rather than advising the sexes to
avoid or tiptoe around each other, we
should regard everyone as athletes. If
were going to adjust for differences, let
those adjustments be in deference to
a distinction we already make: weight
class.
Contrary to popular myth, size matters. Size differences are why we have
weight classes. Combat classes are often composed of athletes of all shapes
and sizes, and were used to the idea of
holding back a little when were much
bigger than our partner. In other words,
guys and gals, play according to your
weight class, not your gender.
Here are two other thoughts before I
sign off:
Some grappling positions appear
comical to the rookies in a coed crowd.
They can lead some to think, How
would that look if I did it?
My answer: It would look like youre
training. Compromising grappling positions arent a gender-related subject.
Its always fun to tell two beefy Marines to lie down so one can maneuver
between the other guys legs. The first
time they might raise an eyebrow, but
then it quickly turns to business.
Dont sweat the tears should they start
to flow. Hormones do different things to
different people. In some, the expression
of stress or frustration is tears. Theyre
no more a sign of weakness in women
than they are in the men who weep when
they win in the octagon.

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ith the passage of time,


much has changed, yet
there remains a certain value to direct,
lineal transmission if for no other
reason than this: Learning a martial
way requires much more than exposure to a catalog of techniques. The
taking of such a journey is facilitated
by a subtle, abstract and osmotic
process through which characteristics of the teacher are imparted
to the student simply by virtue of
time spent together. Nowhere is this
more apparent than in the fatherson relationship.
Fortunate is any son whose first
steps along the martial way were
guided by a master such as Wally Jay.
Now the headmaster of small-circle
jujitsu, Leon Jay is clearly his own
manaccomplished, powerful and
independentand yet echoes of his
father are present. No doubt youll notice them as you read this interview.

Leon Jay, Son of Small-Circle Jujitsu


Founder Wally Jay, Part 1

The bond between father and son is a special one, particularly in the martial arts.
In ancient times, membership in the warrior caste was a hereditary matter, and it
was dicultif not impossibleto aspire to such a position if one wasnt directly
descended from a noble house.
by Peter Hobart
26

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

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the power of the mInd: Sometimes, my father would dream about


a technique and wake me up to try
it, but mostly hed get up and type it
down. He taught me how to dream
by observation. Over the years,
Ive learned techniques where you
take the problem with youduring meditation, breathing and body
relaxation. The mind never sleeps,
so you take it with you to sleep and
program your mind to wake up with
the answers. Sometimes it works;
sometimes it doesnt. But its worth
trying to let your subconscious work
on it while youre sleeping.
blackbeltMaG.cOM

Photo Courtesy of Peter Hobart

In the begInnIng: I was doing


[martial arts] before I could walk.
Before I was 2, I was slapping the
mat and copying everything I could.
I never really had any problem with
bullies. Everybody knew about Dad
and knew who I was. They just didnt
bother. My mother did massage and
nikko restoration. As soon as I could
walk, she showed me how to walk
the back. She was also very good at
using the elbow to chase paindeep
tissue massage. We always ended up
with pain in the martial arts, and as
far as the elbow goes, she would stay
there in your back until you learned
how to breathe through the pain.

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Prior
to being a full-time martial arts teacher, I
worked for several years as a bodyguard. They trusted
me and knew I had a way of staying out of trouble. I
never had to use my physical training.
In a prevIous lIfe: Before becoming a full-time martial arts instructor,
my father was a postman in Hawaii. He
retired at 55 years of agethats how
he transferred from Hawaii to California. Dad was up at 5:30 in the morning
[to run] his five routes. I believe this
was where he learned palming. You
know the three-wheel carts with the
saddlebags for mail? He used to pop
them with his palm and shoot them
across the sidewalk, sending them
where he wanted them to go. I believe
thats where he first worked that sensitivity.
Prior to being a full-time martial arts
teacher, I worked for several years as a
bodyguard. They trusted me and knew
I had a way of staying out of trouble. I
never had to use my physical training.

After that, it developed into working


with companies and checking out secure
rooms for meetingsthings like that.
on the street: When I was a teenager, we used to go up and party in
the Oakland Hills, and [we] had to go
through a pretty bad area to get there,
so we had a lot of confrontations. Short
kicks to the knees work pretty good. I
threw a guy on concrete and pulled the
arm [as a safety measure], and the next
thing you know, hes getting up! The
second time it happened, I threw him
on his neck and shoulder. He didnt get
up that time. Ive been in fights before
where Ive pulled the punch and then
wondered, Why did I do that? I try not
to do that kind of thing. Thats why we
dont do tournaments.

In the dojo: There was a time when


my focus shifted to taekwondo and karate. I did all the aerial, jumping-around
stuff that ruined my lower backthank
God the knees are still good! But then
I came back to jujitsu because I was
catching peoples kicks in the air and
throwing them on their faces, thinking,
This aint gonna work. So I went back to
the small circle.
I pretty much stick with low kicks.
The time to kick the head is after you put
the guy down. [While youre standing],
focus on the kneecap, groin and stomach
maybe. Low, chopping roundhouses to
the outer leg and inner thighnothing
much higher than that.
(To be continued in the October/November 2013 issue.)

Mark Hatmakers
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Conned-Space Combatives, Part 2

In Part 1 of this essay, which appeared in the April/May 2013 issue, I discussed
the necessity of heightened situational awareness when youre in parking lots
and garages. In particular, you want to be watchful for people who are loang
without any purpose, people whose movement correlates with your own and
people who have hidden hands as they approach you. As Ive always said, you
should be armed with a legally carried lethal or less-lethal weaponand be
mentally and physically prepared to use it.
by Kelly McCann

bviously, making a quick entry into your vehicle and immediately locking
your doors goes a long way toward creating a barrier to would-be thugs,
but if those steps fail to keep an attack from occurring, you may have no
other option than to use force to escape the situation.
If youre confronted while your door is open and the attacker is blocking your escape, your first concern is to not stay trapped by the open door. The sooner you can
bolt, the better. Any combative technique that enables you to break and run will work
in that momenta finger jab to the eyes, a push kick, a straight punch, a face mash and
so on. The whole point is to startle your attacker and create a space to run through.
Personally, I believe eye strikes to be most effective in these situations because
theyre exceptionally fast and leave the attacker temporarily disabled. As the old
saying goes, If he cant see you, he cant hurt you.

28

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

The danger in not acting quickly


enough is that youll be knocked back
into the vehicle and wind up in an even
worse situation. Your attacker will be
dominant and have a good base, and
youll lose your base as you fall on your
butt. From that position, its difficult to
generate power while fighting upward.
If you find yourself in such a position in a vehicle, your first concern is
to keep the attacker from crowding the
space and towering over you. Your best
option is to use your most powerful
and longest weapons: your legs. With
the seat as your base, use violent kicks
to knock the attacker back far enough
to close the door or bolt out of the seat
and flee. Cant your upper body back
slightly to keep the attacker from latching onto or punching you.
Of cOurse, the presence of a weapon
makes matters worse. The weapon
may be used, or it may be presented to
threaten you. Either way, the situation

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Photo by Peter Lueders

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Would you be justioed to immediately


attack if a weapon is presented, even when
you cant discern the assailants intent? Sure.
But are you ready for that?
is ultimately far more dangerous than it
would be otherwise.
In the openyoure still standing outside your vehicle but youre trappedif
you believe the weapon is being used
solely to threaten you, give the attacker
what he wants and run. Dont wait for
him to dismiss you. If, on the other
hand, you believe your life is in jeopardy,
you have no alternative other than to
rely on counter-weapon techniques.
Would you be justified to immediately attack if a weapon is presented, even
when you cant discern the assailants
intent? Sure. But are you ready for that?
Do you have those skills on tap? Are you
certain you wont muzzle-flash yourself
in a struggle and end up shot? That you

wont reach for a slashing knife and get


cut? These situations are clearly beyond a simplistic solution. Only you will
understand the totality of the variables
presented, so its ridiculous for anyone
to tell you exactly what to do in a hypothetical weapon scenario.
If youve gotten into the front seat
and suddenly the passenger door opens
and an attacker jumps in, jump the hell
out! If youre able to immediately get out,
the good news is theres no easy or fast
way for the attacker to get to you. Youve
created a barrier between him and you.
If the escape attempt fails, its once
again all about dominant position. Its
likely hell get in on one knee and be

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higher than you. Its exceedingly difficult


to finish in confined-space combatives.
Your attack should be focused on your
assailants eyes, face and neck. If you can
damage one of those targets, immediately detach and get out as fast as you can.
If youre in a disadvantageous position, try to establish an equal or higher
base by swiveling your hips to face him
and getting a knee on your seat. In this
position, your knee or knees replace
your feet as your base and enable you to
have an equal or dominant position from
which to develop power. Your strikes
should be shortened, made as efficient
as possible and thrown with the intent
of disrupting or incapacitating your attacker to facilitate your escape.

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kickboxer doesnt have to claim he


can beat you, and an MMA fighter
doesnt have to debate whether his
technique will submit you. Thats
because any discussion along those lines
can be settled with an invitation to jump
into the ring.
In silat, that never happensfor a variety
of reasons were all well aware of, including
the nature of the teachings, which revolve
around avoiding conflict, as well as the potential lethality of the moves. Nevertheless,
its fascinating.

Treading the Martial Path in Borneo


Part 2

While comparing martial sports like muay Thai, boxing and MMA with
some of the interpretations of silat I encountered in Borneo, I noticed
an important dierence in emphasis. Practitioners of those ght sports
tend to focus on tness, strength and actually doing it.
by Antonio Graceo
30

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

Sitting in a cafe one day, I listened as


a local official and a guru discussed spirit
power. They said that if you train right and
do magic a certain way, no one can hit you or
otherwise hurt you. They told the story of a
silat instructor who reportedly could spirit
himself from the bottom of a mountain to
the top without getting tired. I thought of
my training partners in Thailand who were
running up and down their mountains and
most certainly getting tired.
One of the masters I met at a government
banquet showed me scars on his forearms
and recalled how 30 men had entered his
house with swords and tried to kill him. But
by using spirit power, he said, he was able to

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Photo Courtesy of Antonio Graceffo

Something elSe I found fascinating in


Borneo was the frequency with which internal power and magic were discussed.
Many styles of silat are linked to religion.
Silat kalam, for example, takes its name
from the word kalamat, which means to
profess ones faith. The movements of the
art are based on movements seen in Muslim
prayers. Some styles are so closely tied to
the religion that they cant be taught to nonMuslims.
Technically, magic is prohibited by the
Muslim faith, yet many of the masters I
met talked about the spells they did before
practicing. Others referred to the harimau,
a mythical tiger spirit that supposedly enters their bodies and helps them fight better. There were rituals that included a long
prayer recited while sitting on a white cloth
surrounded by knives and coins. After the
recitation, the practitioner has to sleep on
the cloth for three nights before returning it
to his guru.
All those practices are meant to make
you a better fighter, I was told. In my mind,
I would immediately contrast them with
the pad and bag drills my muay Thai coach
loved to put me through to make me a better
fighter. To each his own, as they say.

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In the past, people lived in their villages,
cut off from the outside world. It was easy to
believe that a certain art was best or that a
specioc master was invincible. But today, nearly
everyone has access to the Internet.
defeat them.
Afterward, I whispered to my cameraman, I have never seen a Malay house
that would even hold 30 people, much
less if they were swinging swords.
What exactly did the master do to
make 30 people want to kill him? he
asked. He must be guilty of something.
How sucH stories survive in a
world that has plenty of real martial
artists who engage in real fights is a
mystery. In the past, people lived in
their villages, cut off from the outside
world. It was easy to believe that a certain art was best or that a specific mas-

ter was invincible. But today, nearly


everyone has access to the Internet. Its
obvious that spirit power, magic and tiger possession dont play a significant
role in winning fights. Case in point:
The aforementioned official and guru
had watched a 64-man tournament in
which I competed. Couldnt they see
that no one had magic powers?
Whenever I encountered martial artists like them, Id ask, If people with
magic powers do exist, why dont they
enter a tournament and prove their
skills to the world? Not once did I get a
reasonable answer.
Sadly, in many cases, it all comes

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down to the lack of a desire to train. If


you give a prospective student a choice
between working out for hours a day
until hes about to collapse and learning
a few magic spells from an old man on a
mountainwell, the second option will
be a lot more appealing to some.
(To be concluded in the October/November 2013 issue.)
About the Author:
Antonio Graceffo is a freelance writer
based in Asia. To order Warrior Odyssey,
the book he wrote about his travels, visit
blackbeltmag.com.

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down, the man asked if he might make a suggestion.


Now, he said, pointing to the assistant, you be the
defender.
The assistant was, understandably, confused. Im
the guy whos padded, he tried to explain, so you can
practice hitting me.
The older man said he understood; he just wanted
to see how the assistant would do. Youre teaching
us, he said. You should be able to demonstrate what
youre teaching.
The assistant agreed and began to take off the padding.

A fairly recent development is the self-defense clinic at which


a mugger dons protective pads, including a headpiece that
makes him look like a dangerous giant mushroom, and the
students are taught to deliver full-force blows to defend themselves against his attacks.
by Dave Lowry

ve never participated in one of those classes, so I know nothing about their effectiveness. I hear good things about them.
They allow students to go all out. If nothing else, that should
make them valuable. The average personthe average martial artistdoesnt have any idea of how aerobically taxing it is to
fight full force for even a minute. Additionally, many people have
an exaggerated sense of the stopping power of a punch or kick.
Theyve watched TV and movie characters drop a bad guy with a
single uppercut. Theyre surprised when they put all their weight
and power into a fist and it bounces off the target without so much
as a flicker of effect. These are lessons everyone should learn.
At one such seminar, something interesting occurred. The teachers assistant had strapped on all the protection and fitted his Mr.
Mushroom head, and the entire class took turns practicing the
techniques they were taught. Many of the students were middle
age, and some were beyond that. One man was clearly older. His
hair was gray, his face creased. Still, he had an almost military posture. His reflexes seemed crisp. He picked up on the teachings and
carried them out against the padded assistant. As the lesson wound

32

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

it turned out that the old man had been a closequarters-combat instructor in the Marines. Hed seen
violent conflict up close and personal. Even so, at his
age, hed have had a difficult time in a one-on-one
encounter with the young, fit, well-trained assistant.
The point he was trying to make was one for that assistant and for the instructor at the seminar: No matter how well-trained and fit you are, if you live long
enough, youll eventually have to come to terms with
some harsh realities.
Most Black Belt readers are probably like that assistantyoung and in good shape. Its easy to think youll
always be that way. Its easy to think that, given severe
training and strong self-discipline, you can avoid losing
muscle mass and reaction time. You cannot.
Self-defense classes are often taught by people who
are in excellent condition. Theyre attended by people
who, in many cases, are not. If you teach, you would
do well to bear that in mind. What is now effortless for you will someday be difficult or impossible.
Whats the best way to prepare your studentsand
yourselffor that?

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blackbeltMaG.cOM

Photo by Rick Hustead

Ageless Arts But Aging Artists

no, keep it on, the old man said. He grabbed some


extra knee and elbow pads and put them on over the
armor already being worn by the assistant. The assistant looked like an awkward version of the Michelin
Man. He could hardly move his arms.
OK, the older man said, Im going to attack. And
he did. He came in crouching, grabbing the overpadded assistant around the waist and knocking him
down. On the floor, the assistant could barely move.
The old man began moving around the flailing figure,
kicking him and tripping him when he tried to stand.
The assistant was young, in good shape and skilled
in unarmed combat. Layered as he was, though, he
couldnt even bend his knees enough to get to a standing position.
When the old man finally stepped back and allowed
the assistant to come to his feet, the assistant began
removing all the padding. He was still confused about
the point of the whole incident.
Im glad I dont have to fight with those kinds of
restrictions, he said.
You will, the old man said. Thats what it feels
like to try to move with arthritis, with inflamed joints,
with all the limitations age puts on your body.

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when the series rst hit the martial arts scene in 1977,
Echanis unique approach to hand-to-hand combat
continues to revolutionize reality-based ghting.

Code: 519 452 pgs.


Retail: $29.95
ISBN: 978-0-89750-197-2

To order, call toll-free: (800) 581-5222WorldMags.net


or visit blackbeltmag.com/echanis-collection

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MMA bouts. He got the green light, and Ring of Combat


was officially born.
negliA is quick to point out that the key to his success lies in the quality of the competition. I take pride
in providing good matchups, he says. You wont see
any mismatches or easy fights in my shows. When people come to Ring of Combat, they always get competitive fights. They know theyre going to have action.
Such competitive matchmaking doesnt just bring
the winners to the attention of the UFC; it gives them
the experience necessary to stick around at the higher
levels once they get there.
Undefeated UFC middleweight contender Chris
Weidman, who may be in line for the next title shot
at Anderson Silva, fought his first four professional
matches for ROC before moving up to the UFC in 2011.
He credits his experience there for his successful
transition to the sports top level.
It definitely helped prepare me for the big leagues,
so it wasnt that much of a culture shock when I got
there, Weidman says. If I didnt have such tough
fights [with ROC], I would have had a much tougher
[time] when I got to the UFC.

So youre an aspiring mixed martial artist with dreams of making


it to the big time. Youre probably wondering how to get there
how you can appear on the radar of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and other major promotions.
by Mark Jacobs

hile theres no sure way to get noticed by the UFC and


finagle your way onto one of its cards, some paths
can give you a better chance than others. Perhaps the
best is to headline a Ring of Combat show.
An East Coast organization run by Lou Neglia, ROC holds five pro
MMA shows a year, primarily at the Tropicana Casino and Resort
in Atlantic City, New Jersey. From those events, Neglia has sent
80 fighters to the UFC. Eighty! Among his alumni are former UFC
champs Matt Serra and Frankie Edgar.
A former kickboxing chAmpion, Neglia began staging kickboxing matches in his home of Brooklyn, New York, back in the
1980s. When MMA came along in the 90s, he sprinkled in matches
and saw the fan interest jump. Having promoted kickboxing in New
Jersey, he eventually approached that states athletic commission
about doing a sanctioned MMA show at one of the Atlantic City casinos. But the state was leery to give its blessing to a sport that was
still known as no-holds-barred fighting. Neglia offered to modify
the rules to mesh with what eventually became the standard for

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black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

Although it might be a promotional taboo, Neglia is more than willing to tear up his contract with a
fightereven if hes a reigning ROC champif said
fighter gets an offer from a bigger promotion.
I had a fighter under contract for one more match
when he got called from the UFC to go fight on one of
their shows, Neglia says. Now I could have stopped
him or told the UFC they have to pay me if they want
to use the fighter, but when he told me the UFC wanted
him, I said, As of this minute, your contract with me is
null and voidgo fight for them.
I enjoyed doing it. Im proud of him. This is more a
passion than a business to me.

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Photo Courtesy of Lou Neglia/Steven Bruzen/Harold Kemp

Launch Pad of Champions

Aspiring professionAl fighters are well aware


of the connection between ROC success and a chance
at the big time, and Neglia gets queries from mixed
martial artists around the world. Sifting through the
calls and emails he receives from fighters, he looks
for those who are most likely to succeed in the sport.
Rather than just an undefeated record, he wants fighters with the heart and desire to make it.
I hear from guys who want to pick and choose their
opponents or who tell me how much they want to become millionaires from competing in MMA, Neglia
says. Those are generally the guys I dont get back to.
As a former fighter himself, Neglia looks for athletes
who are willing to sacrifice and perseverenot just inside the cage but outside it, as well. If youre the kind
of fighter who has to cancel a match because you just
broke up with your girlfriend, you probably shouldnt
bother calling him. But if youre the kind who has an obstacle in front of you and, as Neglia likes to say, is willing
to grind your teeth and soldier on no matter what, hell
have a spot for you in his promotions. Whats more, he
wont stand in your way if you outgrow him.

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First, the Fighting thats done in the ring or cage is


plenty real. How much of it is transferable to self-defense
situations is debatable. But theres no denying that the
broken bones and dislocated joints that sometimes end
matches are the same thing we try to achieve with our selfdefense techniques. Those injuries offer clear evidence of
what certain techniques can do; theyre not sport-specific
injuries like tennis elbow.
Second, the idea that people would do the same things in a
self-defense situation that they do in a ring is unwarranted.
Many combat athletes are also well-versed in self-defense.
They know how to fight in the ring and on the street, and
they know which techniques will serve them best in each
situation.
For example, many Brazilian jiu-jitsu experts spend equal
amounts of time doing MMA, grappling competition and
self-defense. Likewise, one of the most successful coaches
in MMA, Greg Jackson, first developed his techniques into a
self-defense system he calls gaidojutsu. His MMA coaching
is an outgrowth of it. Jackson teaches his students both winning strategies for the cage and self-defense skills for the
street.

Who Said Sport Fighters


Cant Really Fight?

One of the biggest criticisms of the ghting sports is that


they dont resemble the type of combat you encounter
in self-defense. These critics argue that kickboxing and
MMA are weirdly self-contained realities, spaces where
ghting is distorted by the requirements of sport. They
cite time limits, banned techniques, exclusively one-onone matches and referee intervention when a ghter is
hurt as damning examples of how far from self-defense
the ghting sports are.
by Keith Vargo

n short, critics tell us that what combat athletes want is


a fair fight, not a real one.
As someone whos involved in the fighting sports, I
find these arguments both valuable and frustrating.
Theyre valuable because fighting really is about more than
just what happens in the ring or cage. Martial artists who focus on self-defense force us to think about how our ring technique fits into a larger martial reality. But their arguments are
frustrating because they often mischaracterize the fighting
sports and the athletes who do them.
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black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

As For wAnting FAir Fights, Im not sure there is such


a thing. Fair fights are more of an ideal we try to achieve
through rules, regulations and reasonable matchmaking.
But the reality of sports like kickboxing and MMA is that
fighters rarely match up perfectly. Someone is always at
a disadvantage. Usually, the disadvantage is small enough
that theres a chance the underdog will overcome it. But is
it really fair to send a guy into a fight in which the odds are
against him?
Whats more, sometimes one fighter is at a huge disadvantage and you dont know it until the fight actually happens.
One fighters skill, speed or power turns out to be much
greater than the others, and the lesser person gets beat like
a drum. Watch just about any match involving UFC lightheavyweight champ Jon Bones Jones and youll see this.
Theres nothing fair about the way he so easily dismantles
his opponents.
Of course, this isnt the same as the unfairness one might
encounter in self-defense. Someone attacking you with a
weapon while youre unarmed or a bunch of people beating
up a lone victim is much worse. The point is, the fighting
sports are more real than self-defense-oriented martial artists give them credit for and the matches are often a lot less
fair than they imagine.
still, the Argument that the fighting sports are fundamentally different from self-defense should be taken seriously. Some athletes really do get tunnel vision and believe
that all other ways of fighting are bunk. Having to confront
criticism from those who are outside their sports is the best
check on that kind of hubris.
All I ask is that critics make sure theyre talking about the
true nature of fighters and fighting sports, not what they
imagine that nature to be.
About the Author:
Keith Vargos book Philosophy of Fighting: Morals and Motivations of
the Modern Warrior is available at blackbeltmag.com.

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sive upward motion (dorsilexion) of


the big toe at the MTP joint, which can
cause a sprain or partial to complete
tearing of the joint capsule. Now that
you know the mechanism, it isnt hard
to igure out that repeated throws or
takedowns done on tatami might lead
to the condition.
Sometimes, a single, forceful event can
cause turf toe. Other times, its precipitated by multiple episodes of jamming
the big toe. Such stressors may induce
capsule and ligament injury, as well as
damage to the joint cartilage, fracture
and dislocation. And it doesnt affect just
weekend warriors; recall that UFC ighter
Jon Jones recently suffered a toe injury
that ended up being an open dislocation.
In other words, his big toe was dislocated
and cut open at the same time.

Beware of Turf Toe


If you practice your martial art barefoot, you should know that your big toes
are fairly easy to injure. If your training involves maneuvering on matsas in
judo and jujitsuthe risk is greater because of the force that can be placed on
these relatively small joints during throws, when they may be supporting not
only your weight but also your opponents. A common injury to those digits is
turf toe. In anatomical terms, its a sprain to the big toes metatarsal phalangeal (MTP) joint, better known as its knuckle.

by Robert Wang, M.D.

urf toe was irst recognized in football players who wore lexible shoes and
played on artiicial turf. It stemmed from the additional movement and lexibility endured by the big toes while athletes moved on a stiffer surface.
That permitted the toes to bend farther than theyre meant to, resulting
in sprains. Turf toe includes all MTP sprains, whether or not they occur on artiicial
turf, so the term also applies to the afliction we can suffereven though it probably
should be called martial artists toe given how often it occurs on the mat.
ALTHOUGH THE BIG TOE is a relatively small joint in the bodyone thats likely
to suffer a minor sprain that few take seriouslyturf toe shouldnt be ignored. An
untreated injury can be disabling in the short term. In the long term, it can lead to
chronic problems such as arthritis and toe deformity.
Studies have shown that more than 50 percent of athletes who suffer from this
problem experience pain and have chronic big-toe problems more than ive years
after the initial injury. Many times, their pain is severe enough for them to retire
from their sport.
In other words, if your big toe gets injured, dont tough it out.

IF YOU SUFFER a big-toe sprain, youll


feel pain and experience swelling,
bruising and limited range of motion.
You may be able to put some weight on
the foot, but if the injury is more severe,
you may ind yourself limpingor not
wanting to put any weight on the foot
at all. Getting medical attention is the
prudent thing to do. Expect a thorough
assessment that includes X-rays.
Its reassuring to know that most
cases of turf toe are treated nonsurgically. An initial assessment is made to
rule out fractures and dislocations,
after which treatment is directed at
protecting the soft tissues and allowing for functional rehabilitation. That
treatment typically involves rest (i.e.,
restricted motion, which also can be
achieved by taping the big toe), application of ice, compressive dressing and
foot elevation. The use of anti-inlammatories may be advised.
To prevent excessive stiffness of the
joint, active motion should be started
as soon as the symptoms allow. Other
therapies designed to help increase
range of motion include whirlpool sessions and the use of ultrasound with
cold compression.
The next time you jam your big toe
in the dojo, get it assessed. Immediate
treatment is the best way to avoid future complications.

MANY FACTORS can put you at risk for turf toe. The harder the mats on which you
practice, the greater the likelihood. Other considerations include your weight, age,
style and intensity of practice. If you have lat feet and a stiff big toe to begin with
well, you do the math. Just know that injury tends to happen when theres exces38

BLACK BELT I AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Robert Wang, M.D., is a Fellow of the
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons
of Canada. Hes an orthopedic surgeon
specializing in sports medicine.

BLACKBELTMAG.COM

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www.TurtlePress.com

ALL TKD DVDS $9.95 at www.TurtlePress.com

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y
t
s
s

The Russian MaRTial aRT is RegaRded as One Of The MOsT


effecTive fighTing sysTeMs On The PlaneT, and iTs POPulaRiTy
is laRgely due TO The effORTs Of vladiMiR vasiliev!
by RobeRt W. young

Photos by RobeRt Reiff

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TAKE OUT THE LEG: Vladimir


Vasiliev (right) remains in a natural,
nonthreatening stance when
confronted by an attacker (1). As
soon as the man starts to close the
gap, Vasiliev drives a front kick into
his quadricepsnot to damage
muscle tissue but to temporarily
ruin the legs ability to support him
(2-3). Because hes not out to hit
with maximum power, its easier for
the systema expert to execute the
technique without being noticed by
the assailant (4). As a follow-up,
Vasiliev can deliver a light strike
to the back of the head or neck
to disorient the man (5-7). From
that position, its relatively easy to
control him.

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pend 20 years in a ield youre
passionate aboutwhen this issue of Black Belt hits the newsstand, Ill have edited articles for
two decadesand its easy to conclude youve seen and heard it all. Its
a fair assumption, but its a dead giveaway that the person doing the assuming has never been face to face with
Vladimir Vasiliev.
The day of the photo shoot that
yielded the images you see here will
go down in my mental history, for it
marked the irst time I ever had an exchange like this:
Me: Could you show us the irst
systema defense you want to demonstrate? That was perfect! Can you do it
again for the camera?
Vasiliev: No.
Me (my eyes bugged out and my jaw
no doubt hanging slack): You cant?
He shook his head, then explained
that in systema, everything a practitioner does is predicated on the actions
and position of the opponent. If said
opponent feeds the systema stylist a
slightly different attack or even the
same attack from a different angle, the
response will be differentsometimes
radically.
The Russian summed up his position
in perfect-though-accented English: I
cant promise to do it again exactly the
same way.
At irst, I thought it might be a touch
of subconscious posturing, the kind
you occasionally get from men at the
top of their food chainwhich is where
Vasiliev has been since 1993, the year
he set up shop in Toronto and founded
the irst systema facility outside Russia.
But then, as the day wore on, the pieces
fell into place. I saw plenty of evidence
that what Vasiliev had explained was
an essential component of his ighting
philosophy. Before the session ended,
I was a believer. The way the Russian
and one of his instructors, Los Angelesbased British expat Martin Wheeler,
who three days earlier headlined a systema ground-ighting photo shoot, had
responded to every attack they faced
was completely dependent on the nuances of the attacks.
Thats not to say systema asks students to memorize thousands of
moves for every conceivable situation,
thus leaving them vulnerable to the
much-talked-about mental logjam. No,
Vasiliev and Wheeler seemed to respond with attacks and defenses that it

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the situationtheres no other way to


describe it. Nothing fancy, just the perfect choice for a given moment. When
you think about it, thats the best any of
us can expect from ourselves in a ight.

Mystery Demystied

Training to facilitate the optimal response to an attack makes total sense,


especially when you consider the environment in which systema was inetuned to function. Its primary practitioners in modern timesspies, undercover operatives, high-level military
personnel and the likecouldnt adopt
an obvious stance before or during an
attack, and they couldnt blast out a
kiai in combat. Either could alert an
enemy as to what was coming, and either could send a message that makes
onlookers think, Hey, that mans a
trained killer, even with his bare hands.
Lets get him!
All that isnt to say systema owes its
existence solely to Soviet science of the
Cold War era. The moves that make
it up are believed to date back more
than a millennium. Russian warriors
acquired a style that combined strong
spirit with extremely innovative and
versatile tactics that were practical,
deadly and effective against any type
of enemy under any circumstances,
Vasiliev writes on his website. The
style was natural and free while having
no strict rules, rigid structure or limitations (except for moral ones). All tactics
were based on instinctive reactions, individual strengths and characteristics,
speciically designed for fast learning.
Systema is big on deleting tension
from the self-defense equation. You
should use your movements to remove
excess tension, Vasiliev said. This way,
you are always ready and free for your
next action.
Versatile, natural, no strict rules,
instinctive reaction, no tensionafter the photo shoot, Id agree with all
those descriptors. Apparently, Black
Belt contributing editor Floyd Burk is
way ahead of me on this one: Two years
ago when we asked some of the movers and shakers of the industry to list
their top 10 arts for self-defense, Burk
replied with this: Most people who
observe this Russian ighting style will
appreciate the spontaneity with which
practitioners can fend off armed and
unarmed attacks. Its practical and effective without the nonessentials.
Thats what I was going to say.
AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 I BLACK BELT

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Looks Should Be Deceiving

Systema places great importance on


your starting stance in a self-defense
situation. It has to be a natural and
straight body position, Vasiliev said.
As simple as it seems, it is essential [to
pose] no threat to the opponent. Your
actions will be unexpected, inconspicuous and a lot more effective.
There are times when deliberately
unusual and less-natural body positions
are needed in confrontations, but these
would be assumed for tactical and strategic reasons to manipulate your opponent into the behavior you need.
How are you supposed to know which
position is best for a given adversary
and assume it in time? The oft-repeated
attribute known as situational awareness, Vasiliev said. In systema, we have
many exercises to specifically develop
awareness of your opponent and your
distance from him. You should feel
comfortable to act, and there should be
no excessive tension.
I asked Vasiliev to demonstrate how
that natural stance works. He stood
there, seemingly unprepared for what
was about to come his way. The opponent
closed the gap and initiated his attack.
Vasilievs response entailed kicking him
in the thighwhich dropped him like a
sack of potatoesand landing a punch
to the back of the neck on the way down.
You kick his quadriceps not to damage the leg but to debilitate the muscle
so it can no longer hold up the person,
Vasiliev said. The kick is not hard, but
its precise so that even in light shoes or
bare feet, it will be effective.
As with all systema strikes, you must
hit unexpectedly so the attacker is
shocked but not in pain or anger. Pain
and anger can cause him to strike and
punch needlessly. If you hit properly,
he will be off-balance and will fall onto
you. This is very convenient for your
further control. You now have a choice
of finishing movesagain, not to injure
him but to disorient him.
Another way systema exploits the
power of deception was revealed in a
self-defense sequence in which Vasiliev
dispatched a man who was about to uncork a haymaker. The opponent prepares for the strikethere is no need
for you to change your position yet,
he said. While he approaches, take a
small step to the right; this should be
done exactly with his movement so he
will not see it. Raise your right armbe
sure to choose a trajectory he wont see
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black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

from his viewpoint. Keep your shoulders down so he wont be able to tell
what your intentions are and adjust his
strike accordingly.

1.

Backup Plan
That ability to move in a way the opponent doesnt detect enables systema
practitioners to intercept attacks before they reach maximum power, and
thats one of the smartest ways to fight.
Reviewing a sequence of photos after
the shoot, Vasiliev elaborated:
As the opponent prepares to kick
here, you make a small step to the side
during his movement. Do not wait for
his full kick; as soon as his knee is up,
he has collected himself and is concentrating on the forming kick. He is vulnerable; it is a good moment to hit.
Hit the muscles not to destroy them
but to debilitate them and switch them
off temporarily. This way, the leg is no
longer functioning to support the body.
An accurate hit causes the leg to give.
He will no longer be able to kick or
strike with his hand.
The goal, Vasiliev teaches, is to gain
control of the assailant using economy
of motion and unpredictable techniques.
If that fails, however, youll likely need to
be able to take a punch before you can
implement a backup planwhich is
precisely why systema training devotes
so much time to staying functional while
youre taking enemy fire.
No matter how good you are, you
will get hit, Vasiliev said. Maybe its
because you didnt see the strike. Maybe its because you moved into its path.
Maybe its because it was more powerful than you anticipated.
In a previous interview published in
Black Belt, he explained his rationale
using an incident hes seen replayed ad
infinitum in his schools: A new student
joins in. We begin a mass-attack drill,
where everyone comes to the center of
the gym and is hitting in all directions.
Right away, the new guy gets punched
on the head, turns to see who did it
and gets ready to hit him back. At that
moment, he receives a punch from the
other side, and, with anger building, he
turns to that side, his fist ready to fly in
that direction. And then he is hit again
from the opposite side. Finally, he realizes that punch for punch doesnt work
in a mass attack, so he exhales and starts
punching those who are close by and not
those who hit him.
Unfortunately, most of us have an

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NEUTRALIZE THE PUNCH: In a natural stance, Vladimir Vasiliev (left) faces


the opponent (1). The man prepares to strike, but Vasiliev doesnt move (2). Its
only when the man approaches that Vasiliev steps slightly to his rightwhile the
opponent is moving, which reduces the chance that hell notice (3). Next, the
systema master raises his right arm and uncorks a punch that has the st follow
a path of minimimal detection. (4). Vasiliev then redirects the arm downward
(5). He uses his left hand to control the mans back and to prevent him from
retreating while he uses his right thumb to hit him in the throat (6-7). His balance
disrupted, the opponent falls, and Vasiliev moves his left hand to the back of the
mans head to maintain the pressure of thumb to throat and to lead him down
to the ground in the event he grabs Vasiliev (8). He then can follow up or ee as
the situation demands.

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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 I BLACK BELT

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INTERCEPT THE KICK: The assailant (right) rushes forward and attempts to kick Vladimir Vasiliev (1). From his natural stance, Vasiliev
uses his left foot to hit the side of the mans knee and begin rotating his body (2). Using his right hand, the systema instructor puts
pressure on the opponents left arm to further disrupt his balance and to give himself the option of delivering an unobstructed blow to
the face (3). As the opponent falls, Vasiliev controls him with his right leg (4). He can use the leg to cushion his fall, thus making sure the
man doesnt hurt himself when he hits the ground (5-7), or he can continue the counterattack by placing his knee under the falling foes
head (not shown). Systema philosophy encourages practitioners to use minimal force in self-defense situations.

almost automatic response: When a


strike touches us, we immediately go to
retaliate. This is caused by pride. Systema training for taking punches deals
directly with this pride.
The only way to minimize the effect,
whether immediate or long term, incurred from a blow is through another
unexpected facet of systema, he said.
With proper breathing, its difficult to
sustain an injury. And if trauma does
happen, the damage is a lot less severe
than it would have been otherwise.
The reason stems from the nature of a
strike, which he described as a sudden
force or impact that increases inner pressure in the recipient. Its a quick transfer of tension from person to person, he
said. The tension comes not only from
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black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

the physical impact but also from your


perception of threat and pain.
Lets say youre moments from getting
gut-punched. The fear you feel as you see
the incoming fist causes tension, and that
tension creates more fear. The resulting
fear manufactures even more tension
and so on. Breathing, Vasiliev said, is the
way to stop that from escalating.
Breathe right and the impact will be
dissipated, the tension wont build and
there will be minimal bruising, he tells
his students. Even a powerful punch
will bring no damage physically or psychologically. Breathing helps eliminate
the tension and thus removes the pain
and negative feelings.
How it works: Keep your mouth
lightly closed so air can move freely in

through the nose and out through the


mouth, Vasiliev said. At the moment of
impact, allow the air to exit your mouth.
Tensing up and holding your breath
when youre about to be hit is the worst
thing you can do, he said, because the
pressure that comes with a punch or
kick will have nowhere to gowhich is
why it damages tissue.
Thats why systema teaches practitioners to take short breaths when the heat
is on. A series of short inhalations and
exhalations decreases the likelihood that
youll be caught in the middle of one long
inhale or exhale, and it enables you to
keep your torso in a more defensible condition. If you only breathe with the top
part of your lungs, your stomach muscles
will remain slightly contracted even after

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STriKe The ThiGh: Systema stylist Vladimir Vasiliev (right) assumes a natural stance in front of his opponent (1). As the man
readies a kick, Vasiliev takes a small step to his left (2). Its crucial for him to act while the opponent is still concentrating on his
attack because hes more vulnerable. Vasiliev uses his left st to strike the lower part of the mans inner thigh (3). Unable to use that
leg for support, the opponent cant stand or complete his punch (4-5). Off-balance and helpless, the adversary can be hit again, if
necessarya strike to the cheek, rather than the bony parts of the face, will protect the defenders ngers from damage (6). Note how
Vasiliev steps slightly to the left to prevent his chest muscles from becoming too tense and to allow his right arm to punch freely.

a punch and the punch will remain on the


surface, Vasiliev said previously. This
type of breathing allows you to take a series of punches while staying mobile.
Learning to do this in a fight, of
course, takes plenty of practice under
a qualified instructor. If nothing else,
my 20 years at Black Belt has taught
me that when it comes to self-defense,
a little knowledge can be a dangerous
thing without proper guidance.
And thats precisely why I walked out
of the Vladimir Vasiliev photo shoot
with one thought: How far away is the
nearest systema school?
About the author: Robert W. Young is
the executive editor of Black Belt. For
more information about systema, visit
russianmartialart.com.
BLACKBELTMAG.COM

The Man Behind The MarTial arT


I have had the privilege to train under many great martial artists over the decades
men who have honed their skills through determination, rigorous training and fullcontact experience. To describe Vladimir Vasiliev as simply the best one of them
does him a disservice. His movement, his physical ability, the deep internal relaxation he has cultivatedall are attributes associated with a true legend. But the road
he has taken to get there is not one many could have traveled.
As a highly decorated member of the Russian special-operations group known as
the Spetznaz, Vasiliev trained under such men as Col. Mikhail Ryabko, founder of
systema. While doing that, Vasiliev experienced things that would be difcult to justify even within our highest-level military unitsof course, in actual combat.
Despite those brutal hardships, he is the most gentle of men. Hes humble, sincere
and lled with a genuine desire to share his amazing art as if it were a gift. The systema he teaches is profound and unique, as much a map of the human condition as
a martial art. If I were to say Vladimir Vasiliev is simply the most decent human being
I have ever met, I think that would be the most accurate description. His martial art, if
you have been lucky enough to experience it, is purely an expression of that.
Martin Wheeler

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Hwa Rang Dos

ImmoRtal

waRRIoR

tHe UntolD stoRy of mIcHael D. ecHanIs


by gReg walkeR

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Black Belt Photo

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Photo Courtesy of Pat Echanis

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blackbeltMaG.cOM

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ichael D. Echanis was born on November 16, 1950, in

Nampa, Idaho. The oldest of four children, he grew


up in a traditional Basque family and would later

attribute his physical and mental toughness to his upbringing.


Raised in the eastern Oregon town of Ontario, Mike was average height but very leanhe weighed only 140 pounds in high
school. He was as good at academics as he was at track and eld,
basketball and hunting, but he was about to learn that his calling
in life would lead him elsewhere.
BECOMinG A SOLdiER
While Mike was in high school, his
cousin Maj. Joseph Ygnacio Echanis was
shot down over Laos and designated
missing in action. According to his family, young Mikewho early on showed
great interest in serving in the militarybelieved that if he could get to
Vietnam under the right circumstances,
he might be able to find out what happened to his cousin. The boy decided
the best way to do that was while wearing a Green Beret.
Mike didnt attend his high schools
graduation ceremony, and on May 12,
1969, he enlisted in the U.S. Army. The
widely propagated belief that he had
to choose between jail and the military is untrue, members of his family
said. He couldnt wait to enlist, said
his mother Pat Echanis. Mike knew
hed graduated high school, so he just
skipped the ceremony.
He attended basic training at Fort Ord,
California, and Advanced Individual
Training at Fort Gordon, Georgia. There,
he passed the Special Forces exam. After graduating from AIT, he went to Fort
Benning, Georgia, for airborne training in October 1969. Once he received
the Silver Wings of a paratrooper, the
19-year-old reported to Company D
at the Armys Special Forces Training
Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Echanis didnt complete Phase One of
the Special Forces Qualification Course.
This is a common occurrence, whether
because of an injury thats sustained or
some administrative reason. An opporBLACKBELTMAG.COM

tunity to attend again is often extended


to candidates, but Echanis didnt wait.
For his own reasons, he volunteered for
combat duty in Vietnam.

LEAdinG ThE WAy


Arriving in Vietnam on March 23, 1970,
Spc. 4th Class Michael Echanis volunteered for duty with the 75th Ranger
Infantry as a scout observer. He was accepted and assigned to Charlie Company, also known as Charlie Rangers. The
unit relocated from Pleiku City to Ahn
Khe, where it was tasked with opposing
the 95th Regiment of the North Vietnamese army in Binh Dinh province.
By the end of May 1970, Ranger recon teams had conducted 73 missions
in Cambodia in 23 operational days.
Twenty-seven enemy contacts had

Note of thaNks
This article would not have been
possible without the Echanis familys encouragement, cooperation
and support. I thank them for opening their hearts and their home
to me during my visits. They trust
that their sons story will honor and
motivate the successful recovery,
rehabilitation and transition of not
only our special-operations wounded
warriors but also all others who have
sacriced in the defense of our great
nation since September 11, 2001.
Greg Walker

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been made, 32 enemy sightings had


been recorded and 34 enemy troops
had been killed in action. That success
came at a price, however.
On May 6, 1970, Echanis was riding
in a truck with Rangers Carr, Roberts,
Ladeaux and Laughton in the rugged
Ahn Khe Pass when the vehicle was
ambushed by a company-size element
of the NVA. The driver and assistant
driver were wounded. Echanis opened
fire as soon as the vehicle came under
attack, then jumped from the truck before it veered off the road, skidded into
a ditch and turned over.
Struck in his left foot by a round from
an AK-47, Echanis continued to engage
the enemy. A bullet fragment hit him
between the eyes after careening off his
sunglasses. Despite the blood obscuring his vision, the young paratrooper
continued to fire on the advancing enemy. Another round hit his right foot
and traveled into his calf. Still shooting,
Echanis was wounded a fourth time before U.S. helicopters arrived.
For his actions during the ambush,
Echanis received the Bronze Star with
Valor device on July 15, 1970. His citation reads, Despite his numerous
wounds, Specialist Echanis continued
to fight until the beleaguered truck was
relieved. Specialist Echanis aggressive
spirit and undaunted courage were decisive in preventing the annihilation of
the truck and its personnel.
For him, the war was over, but a new
one was about to begin: the battle for
recovery and rehabilitation.
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RehabbinG the bODy

Mike Echanis was sent to an Army hospital in Japan. His surgeon, reflecting
on how young Echanis was, elected not
to amputate the seriously injured right
lower leg. He patched him up as best
he could and sent him to Letterman
Army Hospital, Pat Echanis said.
There, he underwent seven months
of grueling surgeries and a complicated
casting process that left him exhausted.
He dropped from 150 pounds to 123
pounds and felt weak and depressed.
When he returned home, he was demoralized and brooding, his mother said.
The bullet wound to his head resulted in chronic headaches. Although the
wound to his left foot healed, his right
foot and calf were permanently damaged. He suffered foot drop with contracture of the third, fourth and fifth
toes because of nerve and artery interruption. In addition, he had vasomotor
instability in his right lower leg.
On December 18, 1970, Echanis was
medically retired from military service.
The Veterans Administration rated him
as 100-percent disabled and provided a
small pension. He returned home with a
soft brace for his right leg, a cane and an
uncertain future as a wounded warrior.

Mike was never a quitter, his mother


said. He was stubborn even as a little
boy. He always told you exactly what he
thought. He questioned everything. He
was tough. For two months, he lived at
home in a basement room, seldom leaving. His friends and family would visit
him there, and his father Frank Echanis
had a billiard table installed so his son
could entertain himself and his friends.
He was a great pool player, Frank said.
He could make all the trick shots.
Its unclear exactly when Mike Echanis decided hed learn to walk again,
but his mother remembers the day
her son asked for a pair of soft desert
bootsthe only style he could wear
comfortably. Right afterward, he began
teaching himself how to move. He used
the pool table to support himself, Pat
said. Hed brace himself on it and walk
around and around it.
The soft brace was ultimately tossed
aside. Echanis strengthened his upper
thigh and hip muscles, and in doing so,
he developed a technique that entailed
flexing and tightening his upper leg as he
stepped forward, literally but discreetly
throwing his lower leg and foot forward.
In time, he could not only appear to walk

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normally but also run without support.


When he wasnt wearing the soft shoes,
however, he experienced extreme difficulty with daily activities.
Two hometown physicians encouraged Echanis to take up weightlifting. They also recommended a rehab
program that included a diet rich in
nutritional supplements and protein.
Echanis added the anabolic steroid Dianabol, which was popular at the time
for those seeking swift muscle growth.
By pushing himself, he went from 123
pounds to 220 pounds. He restarted
judo lessons, then took up karate. His
next martial endeavor was even more
impressive: He trained as a boxer and
actually fought locally as a heavyweight.
It was during this period that he met
Toshiro Nagato in Ontario. Soon afterward, Echanis began formal training
in ninjutsu under Nagato, now a ninthdegree black belt.

DiScOveRinG
hwa RanG DO
In 1975 Mike Echanis moved to Southern California and took up the Korean
martial art of hwa rang do. He earned
his first degreewhich was numbered
75-0652from the arts grandmas-

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Photos Courtesy of Pat Echanis

RePaiRinG the DaMaGe

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ter, Joo Bang Lee. Interestingly, Chuck


Sanders, Echanis childhood friend and
now a Green Beret, was awarded black
belt No. 75-0653 on the same day.
All the while, Echanis love of military
life and desire to serve his country pulled
at him. If he couldnt soldier any longer,
perhaps he could use his recovery and rehab experience, as well as his knowledge
of the martial arts and the potential of the
mind, to help train soldiers for war.
Soon afterward, Echanis found himself working at the U.S. Armys John F.
Kennedy Center for Military Assistance.
In a letter to his family, he wrote: I am
completing a six-week film and completing an Army manual. I am standardizing the Armys hand-to-hand system.
Its a lot of work, 5:00 in the morning
until 2300 every nite I feel I have
found my profession, and I know the
military is my home.

Words of a Warrior
I had nally found a martial art that
combined everything necessary to
make a man a modern-day warrior.
Michael D. Echanis, speaking of
hwa rang do, Black Belt, June 1977

TRAnSiTiOninG
TO TRAinER
In 1970 Echanis was a medically retired
veteran. In December 1975, he found
himself serving as senior hand-tohand and special-weapons instructor
for the Green Berets and Navy SEALs.
The transition was nothing less than
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extraordinary. He amazed every doctor


whod assessed him as disabled.
At Fort Bragg, Sanders was a sergeant
with the 5th Special Forces Group and
assigned as the medic for a scuba team.
That connection got Echanis the opportunity to demonstrate his talents and
skills to the units senior leadership,
men who were looking to improve their
hand-to-hand program. Echanis wound
up being named senior instructor and
H2H adviser. He was tasked with teaching six three-week instructor courses
for the Special Forces community. Furthermore, he was authorized by Joo
Bang Lee to award black-belt rank in
the new hwa rang do military program.
Along the way, Echanis met the
now-legendary Col. Charlie Beckwith,
founder of Detachment-Delta, and the
two built a strong friendship. As private
correspondence and formal letters of
commendation in the family archives
reveal, Echanis was well-received in the
special-operations community.
Your undying spirit is rare indeed,
wrote Command Sgt. Maj. William E.
Edge on June 22, 1976. In these selfcomplacent times, it is most unusual to
discover a truly dedicated person such
as yourself. There will again come a
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Collateral Damage
In the October 1980 issue of Soldier of Fortune, Lt. Col. Alfonso Villa,
a high-ranking member of the Nicaraguan Ofce of National Security
and political exile living in the United States, was interviewed regarding Michael D. Echanis death.
Villa blamed the aviation crash that killed Echanis and three others
on an altimeter bomb constructed with the alleged help of an old
American soldier of fortune living in Nicaragua. The device placed
aboard Gen. Jose Ivan Alegretts private plane was meant to kill only
Alegrett, he said. Villa went on to say that only President Anastasio
Somoza, Maj. Gen. Samuel Genie (director of the OSN) and he knew
of the decision by Somoza to kill Alegrett.
Villa claimed the bomb had failed to detonate when Alegrett made
an earlier trip alone in his plane. He said it did explode on September
8, 1978, while Alegrett was ying reconnaissance over the southern
town of Rivas with Echanis, Chuck Sanders and Nguyen Bobby
Nguyen. Villa made no apology for the deaths of the three Americans.
SOF stated that although it was convinced of Villas identity, it was by
no means certain his story was accurate.
Somoza and Genie have since passed away. Villa, having taken an
assumed name, disappeared long ago.
Now, 34 years later and after a six-month investigation, I believe the
following to be correct:
Almost immediately after the crash, the U.S. embassy in Managua
was alerted. Retired Navy SEAL Skip Crane, then the U.S. Naval attach in Managua and a close friend of Echanis, said he recalls being
informed that hand grenades were being dropped from the aircraft
at the time of the explosion. Crane identied Echanis remains when
they were brought to a hangar in Managua. He did so using, in part,
the hwa rang do tattoos he had on his forearms.
Retired Chief Warrant Ofcer Gary ONeal, then a member of the
U.S. paramilitary training team working for Echanis, participated
in the body recovery. ONeal had met Echanis in Vietnam, and they
renewed their association after Echanis became a familiar face at the
5th Special Forces Group where Sanders and ONeal were assigned. In
his recently released autobiography, ONeal said the wounds he saw
were consistent with hand-grenade shrapnel. He said he believes the
explosion took place in the rear passenger area where Sanders and
Nguyen were seated.
Retired Col. Juan Montes was an Army attach at the embassy in
Managua and someone who worked with Echanis at Fort Bragg. Montes recalled that Alegrett was known for placing hand grenades, their
pins pulled, inside glass jars and then dropping them from his aircraft
onto suspected guerrilla positions. Alegrett was nicknamed El Loco
for this and other extreme actions.
I believe Alegrett was dropping live grenades from his plane when
the explosion took place. Interestingly, the ofcial document prepared
by the Nicaraguan government and the U.S. Embassy lists the cause
of death for all four men as an aviation accident. Because of that,
no further investigation was conducted. If an altimeter bomb did
cause it, it has never been substantiated.
Greg Walker

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time when people like you will be eagerly sought after to both teach and lead
our young and inexperienced soldiers
in a battle they can win. Your skills in
unarmed and hand-to-hand combat are
sorely needed in todays forces.

Photos Courtesy of Pat Echanis

COnnECTinG WiTh
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In 1977, at the invitation of thenCommander Richard Marcinko, the
man who founded SEAL Team 6, Echanis traveled to Little Creek, Virginia.
He taught three two-week instructor
courses to operators from SEAL Team
2 and UDT-21.
Echanis began writing a nine-volume
series of military hand-to-hand combat
manuals. Two of them were published
by Ohara Publications, now Black Belt
Books, while he was alive. A third was
published after his passing. (Offering
proof of the lasting impact Echanis
writings have had on the martial arts
world, Black Belt Books released a family-authorized compilation of the three
volumes, titled The Complete Michael D.
Echanis Collection, in 2010.)
Part of the reason Black Belt Books
and Black Belt magazine got behind
Echanis was a letter Maj. Juan A. Montes,
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5th Special Forces Group, sent to theneditor Han Kim in 1977. Montes wrote:
Mr. Echanis totally comprehensive approach to the development of soldiers,
physically [and] mentally, and his focus
on the fighting spirit of men gives us
an approach to hand-to-hand combat
well exceeding the usual physical programs developed today. The military
has yet to develop a new program since
the ONeal System was enacted in 1945.
Mr. Echanis training programs exceed
any close-quarter-combatives manuals,
books or training programs that I have
viewed up to this time.
Mike knew he was a warriorhe
knew being a warrior was his path, Pat
Echanis said.

Echanis was buried with full military


honors in a small Catholic cemetery in
Ontario. Nguyen was buried near him at
the familys request. We felt Mike would
have wanted that as Bobby came home
with him when the boys were returned,
Pat Echanis said. Sanders was cremated,
and his ashes were spread over his favorite Oregon mountain range.
On January 11, 1979, Frank and Pat
Echanis received a signed certificate
from President Jimmy Carter. It reads:
The United States of America honors
the memory of Michael D. Echanis. This
certificate is awarded in recognition of
devoted and selfless consecration to
the service of our country in the Armed
Forces of the United States.

nEARinG ThE End


Unfortunately for him, his family and
the entire martial arts world, Echanis discovery of his raison dtre was
short-lived. On September 8, 1978, he,
Chuck Sanders, a close friend named
Nguyen Bobby Nguyen and Gen. Jose
Ivan Alegrett boarded an aircraft in Nicaragua as part of a mission to assist
that nations armed forces in their fight
against communist insurgents. All four
were killed when the plane crashed.

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About the author: Greg Walker retired


from the U.S. Special Forces in February 2005 after serving in El Salvador and
Operation Iraqi Freedom. A fourth-degree
black belt in modern farang mu sul, he
lives in Portland, Oregon, where he advocates for wounded, ill and injured members of the military. Hes donated the fee
he would have received for this article to
the Green Beret Foundation.
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The Zen of
Judo WaZa
Walking
the Path
to Perfect
technique
by hayWard nishioka
Photos by rick hustead

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he roar from the crowd is deafening.


They just witnessed history in the making: Teddy Riner has won his fifth World
Judo Championships. He stands over
the opponent he just threw and, raising
an arm, sends a message to the audience: Five fingers are extended, signifying his fifth world title.
Granted, Riner is a giant. He stands
6 feet 8 inches tall and weighs 270
pounds. Hes deceptively agile, however.
Taller, heavier judoka usually rely on
their weight and strength to overcome
their opponents. They tend to lack the
coordination enjoyed by their lighter
counterparts. Usually slower, they often
force techniques to a lesser conclusion.
But not Teddy Riner. He has the power
of a heavyweight, the speed of a lightweight and the technique of a Japanese
champion. But this article is not about
him; its about the Zen of judo waza. Riner just happens to exemplify what we
seek when learning waza.
In Japanese, waza means skill or
techniquesomething that enables
us to get a job done more efficiently. In
the budo, however, its deeper. Studying
the martial ways is all about the path we
follow to arrive at a destination, and in
this case, the destination is the acquisition of waza.
In my book Judo Heart and Soul, I
mention levels of techniques that speak
to the esoteric nature of some moves. I
explain how in the quest for excellence
in waza, we gradually go from learning
a technique step by step to almost instinctively executing it. However, much
more is involved. Because we can go
through the steps of a throw and use it
doesnt mean weve succeeded in developing it. What if our opponent starts to
movecan we still get into position and
throw him? What if he resists? What if
he tries to throw us at the same time?
The question then becomes, out of
10 attempts, how many times can we
throw our opponent? If we get 10 out of
10, does it mean weve arrived? Can we
repeat our performance ad infinitum?
Although many books will tell us how
to execute a technique, none will tell us

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how long it takes to truly master it.


What allows us to execute a technique
successfully under extreme conditions
such as at the Olympics? How do we
develop winning technique? What does
Zen have to do with the practice of judo?
These are some of the points well examine in this article.
Begin at the Beginning
There are several ways in which were
introduced to a judo technique. Often,
its via a demonstration at a dojo or
a match at a tournament. No matter
how much we see or read, we have to
physically try the technique to see how
it feels and works. Blooms Taxonomy
of learning refers to this as psychomotor learning. In actuality, most of what
we learn is facilitated through the body.
Some may argue that we learn through
our brain, but where does the brain
get the input from? We see with our
eyes, hear with our ears, taste with our
tongues and smell with our noses. Perhaps more than anything else, our tactile sense, which comes through touch,
is crucial for understanding and learning judo waza.
Yes, we use our eyes to see a technique
and our ears to listen to pointers about
how to execute it, but its our sense of
touchand especially our sense of
our moving body partsthat makes
the difference. Our sense of our body
parts moving through space is called
kinesthetic awareness. Its facilitated by
millions of nerves that send messages
to the brain, where theyre interpreted
and eventually sent back to the muscles
to tell them to contract to move bones in
a manner that accomplishes a taskin
this case, a waza.
Point to ponder: These nerves pass
through the lower part of the brain,
which controls cognition related to fear,
anger, survival, revenge and tribalism. Its
a primitive part of our collection of gray
matter, one thats often called the reptilian brain. The brain includes the cerebellum, which deals with movement, coordination, posture and balance; the limbic
system, which manages the autonomic

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nervous system, emotions, homeostasis,


short- and long-term memory, and the
endocrine system; and the neocortex,
where much of our cognitive thought occurs. All these parts are interconnected
by neurons, and all of them play a role in
learning and refining waza.
Weird Science
If not for the reflex arc, human beings would not exist. While the ability to neocortically think is important,
the ability to react without thought
is equally important to our ability to
survive. The reflex arc is what enables
us to yank our hand away from a hot
stove before our brain has registered
that our fingers have been burned. If
we had to think about it, it would take
so long that the burn would be much
worse. Because of the reflex arc, we can
withdraw our hand in a split second.
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Its possible because the sensory input


travels from the nerves in the fingers to
the spinal cord, and the response goes
directly to the muscles, bypassing the
neocortex.
Closely related to this phenomenon is
the reptilian brain. Among its functions
are regulating emotions and blood pressure, controlling breathing and doing
whats necessary to ensure our survival
in a threatening situation.
Sophisticated movement-based responses to threats are likely the result
of experiences modulated and sent by
the lower brain to the neocortex for
storage and later use. For example, an
adversary grasps for our collar, sending a message to our midbrain and then
our neocortex. We block and pull him
forward with our left hand while pivoting on the ball of our right foot, which
is in front of his right foot. With our

knees bent, we slip under him, placing our right biceps in his right armpit.
As we continue to pull him forward,
he slumps over our back. Our left foot
circles counterclockwise as our knees
straighten. The motion is fast enough
that the impact lifts him up and over.
Weve just executed an ippon seoinage, a noninstinctive technique that
requires a fair amount of training to develop. How did it manifest in this situation? The experience of having someone grasp our collar signaled danger
and prompted our lower brain to act.
The movements we used were remembered partially by our limbic system,
which interacts with the neocortex to
make preparations for such encounters
through training. All this added to the
training that was stored in our memory
and sent a message to our muscles to react. The throw was the result.

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Putting in time
Redundancy is the key to success in
learning a technique. In the best-seller
Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says we have
to invest 10,000 hours to become an
expert at anything. This is an enormous
amount of time when you consider that
the average American recreational judoka practices for 90 minutes twice a
week. Minus warm-up time, that comes
to 100 hours a year. How can it take so
long to become an expert?
At the basic level of judo, we have the
technique. Take a throw as an example:
Its usually taught in steps. Were encouraged to repeat the steps needed to
get in position for the throw until were
familiar with them. Called uchikomi
practice, this is usually done at a medium cadence to ensure good form.
After weve done this entry 100 to 500
times, were allowed to complete the
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throw. When done as a drill, the complete throw is referred to as nagekomi


or sutegeiko. Because our opponent
doesnt resist, we learn what the complete technique feels like.
Next, random movement is added to
the drill. In essence, we must find a way
to hit a moving target with the technique. In this type of practice, known
as half-randori, theres no resistance or
throwing. The object is to get used to
finding ways to enter while both parties
are moving randomly.
Finally, when were fairly confident,
were allowed to try the throw in randori. That means both sides are trying
to defend and attack. The more easily
were able to throw the other person
under these conditions, the more confident well be in the application of the
technique.
While this type of learning takes time,

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the total is nowhere near 10,000 hours.


Its possible, however, that by the time
we begin to have confidence in the technique, well have effected 10,000 entries
or throw attempts. Physiologically, the
many attempts and entries change not
only our hormones, nerves and muscles
but also our psychology.
Kinesiology studies indicate that increased numbers of neurons and motor
end plates are found at the muscle sites
of mammals that perform continuous
specialized tasks. The question that arises is, Does the constant bombardment of
the extra neurons and motor end plates
result in nerve signals that travel all the
way up to the neocortex or does some
type of mechanism allow for the reptilian brain and midbrain to take over and
create something similar to the reflex
arc to occur with a trained response?
If we had to think through every step
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of a technique we wanted to use against


a determined opponent, the outcome
would seldom be in our favor. Before we
could finish a thought such as For step
one, I move my right foot diagonally and
plant it in front of his we will have
been slammed to the mat. So whats the
secret? And, still, what does all this have
to do with Zen?
IntangIbles
In Zen in the Art of Archery, Eugen Herrigel explains how difficult it is to concentrate on every facet of kyudo if its
done correctly. In Japanese archery, you
engage in premeditation, approaching
the bow, notching the arrow, raising
the arms overhead, and evenly pulling
down the bow and arrow until the tip
of the arrow is properly positioned. All
this must be done while not over-contracting the muscles and while breathing correctly and effortlessly. Then,
relaxed, we wait for the right time to
release the bowstring. This action must
be practiced thousands of times before
it becomes second nature. In the end,
its not thought of; its just done.
After viewing a master named Kenzo
Awa, Herrigel writes: He placed, or
notched, an arrow on the string, drew
the bow so far that I was afraid it would
not stand the strain up to the strain of
embracing the All, and loosed the arrow. All this looked not only very beautiful but quite effortless. It takes on an
almost spiritual quality.
Judo, being a budo, likewise has this
quality, but its of a different nature.
Theres still the search for perfection,
and theres a type of mental and physical pattern that must be followed. However, unlike kyudo, which offers the
ability for reflection/non-reflection in
shooting an arrow, judo offers nonstop
action against an unpredictable, aggressive adversary. Its in this chaotic environment that the judoka must be able to
function effortlessly.
The Zen of it all is that judo waza are
done automatically and without hesitation. To the novice, they appear effortless,
beautiful and natural. Although it looks as
though the novice could mimic the movements with little effort, he cannot, even if
he faces the weakest of opponents.
To succeed, in our mind must be an
image of what the technique should
look likenot just a snapshot of the
midair portion of the throw but how
it is set up, where our feet are initially
placed, how our hands pull or push, the

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way the opponent becomes off-balance


and eventually goes airborne. In our
mind, the sequence has to be practiced
constantly. Often, at the end of the day,
as we fall asleep, the throw is still there,
so real that it causes our body to twitch
on its way to deep sleep.

MiMicking the MaMMals


Like the aforementioned mammals, we
must develop specific patterns in our
muscles so that when called on, theyll
automatically fire in a manner similar to
the reflex arc. To arrive at that goal, judo
uses uchikomi, or repetitive entry drills.
Its not uncommon to do 400 or 500
such entries, in which we physically go
through the motions of the throw without actually throwing the opponent, in a
single practice session. This can be challenging because we must do them with
perfect form even when the angle of
entry is difficult to negotiate while moving slowly and when gravity is working
against us because of that slow motion.
The advantage of doing slow-motion
uchikomi is we become familiar with
the phases of the technique in which
corrections and adaptations can be
made. Also, it develops strength in
muscle groups that wouldnt otherwise
be used. However, to really develop a
technique, we eventually have to amp
up our speed.
In speed uchikomi, we need a sturdy
partnerone who will offer the proper
amount of resistance while staying upright as we pound him with our throw.
Caveat: When entering into a throw, the
object is not just to have a fast entry. Its
to have a fast but correct entry. A fast
entry is of little value if it doesnt result
in a throw.
Another popular practice method is
power uchikomi. Its done with three
people. The opponent stands in front
of us, and the third person is directly
behind him, holding his belt, anchoring him to the mat. We enter and try to
upend both partners. Maximum tension
is maintained for a few seconds, after
which we attempt the throw again.
A form of anaerobic exercise, this type
of training is very taxing on the muscles.
Adding speed to the equation, of course,
helps boost the power of the liftso
much so that occasionally both opponents will be overturned.
The preferred way to approach uchikomi is to mix it up. We use the slow-motion
variation to study the entry and to develop some of the necessary muscles. We
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use speed uchikomi to decrease the time


it takes to get into position to execute the
technique. Lastly, we use power uchikomi
to maximize our force on contact.
Coachs view: Speed and power
uchikomi are probably the most important types of training, and of the two, the
speed drill is preferred in practice. No
matter which one you perform, remember to execute the movements swiftly
but correctly. Your goal is to create muscle memory that mimics a reflex arc.
The next step in perfecting waza entails discerning the best moment to
apply it on a moving target. Enter halfrandori practice. In half-randori, no one
actually attacks, and theres no resistance. Our goal is to enter into a throw
and, at most, pick up the other person.
This enables us to fine-tune our timing
against a moving target.
This is no simple taskas any novice
will attest. Beginners usually move about
while thinking, Oh, theres an opening
nope, too late! As soon as the mind
detects an opening, the opponent has
moved and the opportunity is lost. For
that reason, in half-randori, we practice
our entries and combinations at a slower
pace. And because there is no throwing,
we have more time to search for openings. Experimentation is encouraged
because, with egos out of the picture,
theres no need to escalate the intensity.
War gaMes
Nothing prepares us for combat like
combatunless we die, that is. To avoid
that possible pitfall while still developing the qualities needed for success, human beings developed sports. In judo,
the combat is the match, and the type of
training that safely mimics the match is
randori. Its a game we play in the dojo
to prepare ourselves for battle.
All the elements we need to triumph
in a match are essential to success in
randori: strategy, preparation, physical fitness, knowledge of ones opponent, secret skills, rules of engagement,
smoke screens, courage under fire, sacrifice, perseverance and so on. While we
search for targets, we must fend off assaults. We also need to monitor our energy expenditure so we can last for the
duration of the five-minute match. There
are many other considerations: What if
we end up facing a left-hander or an opponent who uses odd techniques? Will
we be able to adjust? Have we invested
enough time in honing the techniques
we intend to use? Will they work?

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Randori can be as easy as bowing, stepping forward, grabbing our opponent


and going for the ride. Usually, however,
theres an effort to get in more throws
than the opponent gets in. If were really committed to excellence, we should
have an idea of what we want and try to
get it during our workout. Here are a few
examples of mantras that can be used in
a goal-oriented randori session:

Today, Ill try to execute at least one


good throw on each person I practice
with.

Ive done my preparations with uchikomi and half-randori; now Ill try this new
technique Ive been working on.

All I will try today is this one techniquenothing else.

The other day, I went against anyone


who volunteered and had mixed results.
Today, Ill work with weaker guys and try
to get in as many clean throws as I can.

In this class, Ill go at 75 percent so I


can pay more attention to how Im performing my waza.
And then there are those times when
we practice without a plan or a goal.
Sometimes its best to jump into a
workout without thinking too much
to just live in the moment. We may get
lost in our activity to the point of losing
track of time, but thats OK because its
time well spent.
Its in these moments that we occasionally strike gold. A technique comes out of
nowhere. We look down and are shocked
to see our opponent on his back. Our
body just reacted, and despite the fog of
war, it defended and found an opening
at the same time. It seemingly moved by
itself. Afterward, we think, Did I do that?
Yes, we did. And we just discovered
the Zen of judo waza.
About the author: Hayward Nishioka is
a former international judo champion and
member of the Black Belt Hall of Fame.
Two of his books (Training for Competition:
JudoCoaching, Strategy and the Science for Success; and The Judo Textbook)
are available at blackbeltmag.com.
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Exclusive Interview on
Kung Fu, Philosophy
and The Man With the
Iron Fists!
BY REBECCA CARTER

64

BLACK BELT I AUGUST/SEPTEM


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Photo by FOX via Getty Images

hrow on a Shaw Brothers


movie and watch Kuo Chui,
David Chiang, Lu Feng or any
of the early kung fu legends,
and youll see choreography thats almost mesmerizing. From those early
days of kung fu theater sprang an entire
generation enthralled with martial arts
that incorporated not only the moves but
also the spirit and style into something
entirely unique. Personifying this scene
is RZA, a founding member of and the
mastermind behind the Wu-Tang Clan.
Since forming the group in 1992, RZA
has mixed references and samples from
old-school kung fu movies into his music,
and for him, its not just kitsch. With an
encyclopedic knowledge of martial arts
philosophy and an academic approach
to its appreciation, RZA has branched
out from music into ilm. Cutting his
teeth with work on Ghost Dog: The
Way of the Samurai and Kill Bill, hes
most recently been involved in The Man
With the Iron Fists, a collaboration with
Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth that
harkens back to the days of ultraviolent
grindhouse cinema.
In this exclusive interview, RZA talks
about what martial arts mean to him.

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What sparked your interest in kung
fu? Was it the old movies?
Yeah, I got into martial arts by watching
movies and falling in love with them and
of course trying to imitate and emulate
what I saw on the screen. Wed all go buy
magazines and books.
Who were some of your favorite actors?
Bruce Lee, always Bruce Lee. And Jim
Kelly is one of my favorites. I was also a
fan of a lot of the Shaw Brothers actors
like Chi Kuan Ti, Gordon Liu and Ling Po.
What was it about kung fu that drew
you in and made you so passionate
about martial arts?
First, it was just the action and ability
to fight without weapons and stuff like
that, but then the spirituality of it resonated with me as a teenager.
Where did the crossover between
hip-hop culture and kung fu come
from?
I think the crossover came from the
movies that we all watched on the silver
screen or on Kung Fu Theater. Also, you
know, dancingkung fu in a way has a
dancing pattern to it. In the movies, you
see the guys flipping and stuff, and I think
it just had a natural resonance. We were
fascinated by what we saw on the big
screen, and then wed try things out in
our neighborhoods. In my neighborhood,
a lot of guys would get old mattresses
and do flips on them. We would watch
Bruce Lee and go home and make our
own nunchaku.
When did you start formal training?
When I was about 11 years old. There
was a guy [who] was a brown belt in karate, and I had a buddy named Jose [who]
was really good. Hed take us out to Silver
Lake Park in Staten Island and show us
karate moves and things like that when
I was young, but I cant say I officially
joined as a disciple of the martial arts until I met sifu Shi Yan Ming from the USA

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The ArT ThAT


InspIred The ArTIsT
The Tiger/Crane Form of Hung Gar
Kung Futhe book that RZA says
was so inspirational for him during his youthwas written by Black
Belt Hall of Fame member Bucksam
Kong in 1983. It recently went out of
print but is in the process of being
transformed into an e-book. When
the project is nished, its availability
will be announced in these pages.
Editor

Shaolin Temple and I was ordained as a


disciple of Shaolin.
What is training with Shi Yan Ming
like?
Hes pretty intense. He trains in many
styles, and for me, after reading so many
books on martial arts, I didnt want to get
stuck in any one form. I like what Bruce
Lee taught about [being] like water and
using all forms, so what I learned from
him was the basic studies of chi kung,
which is essentially the root of martial
arts. I use that as my foundation principles for whatever I want to learn.
There was a book called The Tiger/
Crane Form of Hung Gar Kung FuI had
that book for years, and I would always
try to pick moves out of the book and
never would do them right. For [The Man
With the Iron Fists], I went and got a hung
gar master who showed me the proper
way to do the form. Now I can say I know
hung gar.
I [also study] the booksJapanese
books, Chinese books, Filipino books, Korean booksnot of just styles but of the
cultivation of the spirit.
How have you incorporated martial
arts philosophy into your own work
and life?
Martial arts principles and philosophies are part of my everyday life. Whether its the way I conduct my business, socialize with my friends or play chess, Im
always thinking in a martial way. If you
would say, for instance, pa kua says to
practice the walk of the circle yet hsingi says you practice in a straight lineIve
realized that in life you cant always walk
straight through something. Sometimes
you got to walk around it, you know what

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I mean? (laughing) Faced with a situation, you got to be able to apply any principle based on the situation, so its not
only a principle thing. Sometimes you do
have to go in a circle to figure out things,
and sometimes its a straight path.
How did the concept of The Man
With the Iron Fists evolve?
The concept started around 2005
when I sat down to focus on not just writing the story but writing the screenplay.
How did you start working with Eli
Roth?
We met at Quentin Tarantinos house,
actually; we used to watch movies there
together. But we really didnt become
cool or acquainted until I was on the way
back from Iceland. I had a long flight with
him, and I told him about the movie The
Man With the Iron Fists. He loved the idea,
and we became buddies.
How did you balance writing,
directing and starring?
Be like water. (laughing) It was no
easy job. I think martial arts principles
are part of what it takesmany different
styles, and different styles are tools for
different occasions.
What was it like working with the
actors?
Cung Le was great, man! He has all
these training techniques that he shared
with us and got me in shape. Corey Yuen
is a treasure for action directors, and he
was a valuable resource to have on the
set with us. He was able to take the ideas
that we would storyboard and bring
them to life. He had a lot of ideas, and I
would talk to him and he would bring
them to life.
Do you have anything in the works
after The Man With the Iron Fists?
Ive been looking over a script for Genghis Khan and another action movie called
No Mans Land. Thats whats on my list
for now.

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 I BLACK BELT

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10
66

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

Things You
Didnt Know
About the
Nunchaku
by Jason William mcneil

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or tens of thousands of
practitionersand probably millions of nonpractitionerstheres no more
recognizable symbol of the Asian
martial arts than the nunchaku. The
lowly weapon, which started life as
nothing more than two lengths of
wood joined by a cord, has cycled
through several significant stages to
get where it is today.
Hundreds of years ago in the Far
East, it was merely a modified farming tool conscripted for combat.
More recently in the West, it was
an exotic import that was deemed
interesting but no more so than the
kama, the sai and the jutte. In the
1970s in Hollywood, it was the destructive device du jourthanks in
large part to Bruce Lees use of it in
Enter the Dragon. In state legislatures across the United States in the
1980s, it was the preferred weapon
of thugs and criminalsor so politicians argued as they sought to outlaw its possession. In dojo around
the worldwhere cooler heads always seem to prevailit remains a
valuable tool in the kobudo arsenal.
Despite that storied past, there
are many nuances of the nunchaku
that no one knows. The following is
a random sampling of them.
Editor
blackbeltMaG.cOM

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1

The word nunchaku is composed of two


parts. Nun means twin or identical.
Chaku is an old unit of measurement
roughly equal to one section of bamboo.

Since the early 1980s, select police


departments in America have allowed
officers to carry a nunchaku instead of
the standard-issue baton or the PR-24
tonfa-inspired side-handle baton.
Police nunchaku training consists of
a limited number of simple techniques
which can be learned during a short
training period, said Kevin Orcutt,
founder of the Orcutt Police Nunchaku
system. The nunchaku is mainly used
for control during arrest or for self-defense against an empty-hand attacker.
The OPN system includes various
techniques for arrest and control: joint
locks, takedowns, come-along techniques, techniques for handcuffing,
blocks against punches and kicks
which may become grab-control techniquesand a few strikes which may
be used only as a last resort.

According to Guinness World Records,


the most clay targets broken in one
minute with a nunchaku is 51. The
feat was accomplished by a Frenchman named Thierry Guyon on the set of
Lt de Tous Les Records. It took place
in Benodet, France, on August 2, 2004.

That fine example of nunchaku skeet


shooting begs the question, Whats
the record for the number of walnuts smashed in one minute with a
nunchaku? The answer is 49. It happened in a demo done by Wang Hongxin on the set of Zheng Da Zong Yi (Guinness World Records Special) in Beijing
on May 22, 2010.

Although we think of the nunchaku as


the symbol of martial arts in movies,
only one feature film has used the name
of the weapon as its title. Nunchaku
was shot in Uruguay in 2011. The motion picture features the martial and
thespian stylings of local movie stars
Rodrigo Gils, Sabrina Lalinde and Hugo
Piccinini. After its release, it was hailed
as the Citizen Kane of Uruguayan
nunchaku movies, and Gils was called
the Uruguayan Orson Welleswith
nunchucks.

The nunchaku isnt the darling of just


the traditional Okinawan arts. Versions
of it can be found in the martial arsenals of Japan, Korea, Vietnam, China,
Philippines and Taiwan. One of the
worlds most famousand enthusiasticnunchaku experts is, in fact, Taiwanese. His name is Chen Yan Sen, and
hes renowned as the double-chucks
kung fu master.

Speaking of Taiwan Taiwanese


pop-star-turned-actor Jay Chou, who
stepped into Bruce Lees sizeable
shoes as Kato in Seth Rogans recent
BLACKBELTMAG.COM

big-budget The Green Hornet remake,


has a popular song and hit music video titled Shuang Jie Gun. Those three
words make up the Chinese name for
nunchaku.
In the song, Chou sings about the
joys of chuck slinging. In a deluxeedition DVD titled The Era, also from
Chou, theres a concert DVD, a CD and
a rubber-and-plastic version of the Jay
Chou Signature Nunchaku. (All that Jay
Chou dreaminess for only $32get out
of town!)

American rock guitarist Buckethead,


formerly of Guns N Roses, is known
to perform nunchaku kata in the middle of his concerts. Manic rock wailer
Sebastian Bach, the former frontman
of Skid Row and a longtime student
of Shaolin kung fu, likes to use chucktwirling techniques with a microphone
and mike cordperhaps channeling
Roger Daltry and Bruce Lee.

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Despite this impressive law-and-order


pedigree, the nunchaku is illegal in many
parts of the world and legally questionable in many more. The fighting tool is
outlawed in Canada, Australia, Belgium,
Germany, Lithuania, Sweden, Switzerland, Romania and Ukraine. In France,
Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Poland
and Great Britain, it occupies a legal gray
area: One may be owned, but its subject
to strict laws regulating transport and
possession outside the home and dojo.
In the United States, the nunchaku is
regulated on the state and local levels,
with possession, usage and transportation ranging from completely legal to
severely restricted. The worst offenders are New York, California, Arizona
and Massachusetts.

10

The nunchaku really freaks out British politicians. When the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies and cartoons
were originally exported to the United
Kingdom, censors cut all the nunchaku
action. No doubt that left many English
schoolboys scratching their caps over
what exactly Michelangelo did besides
spout catchphrases and eat pizza.
About the Author:
Jason William McNeil is a freelance writer,
martial artist and actor based in Southern
California.
AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013 I BLACK BELT

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Burmese martial
arts expert Phil Dunlap
(right) squares off
with his opponent (1).
He shifts his weight
forward and engages
the mans hands (2),
then unleashes a head
butt using the part of
the skull thats near the
hairline (3). Note that
proper technique doesnt
entail going forehead to
forehead like you see in
the movies.

Clinch Fighting
Techniques and Strategies From the Burmese Martial
Arts Can Help You Prevail in Close-Range Combat!
by Mark Jacobs

History Lesson
Burma, now Myanmar, sits at a crossroads in Southeast Asia, bordered by
India to the west, China to the north
and Thailand to the east. Home to various tribes with a history of internecine
strife, the region became a breeding
ground for effectiveand brutalarts
that are sometimes known by the ge68

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

neric names thaing and bando.


There are similarities between the
martial arts of each region of the country
because the various tribes were always
fighting each otherso they learned
from each other, said Phil Dunlap, who
teaches hkyen, a style thats native to the
part of Myanmar inhabited by the Kachin
people. But each tribal art will often
have its own particular characteristics.
For example, the Mon region is near Thailand, and their fighters seem to use more
kicks like they do in muay Thai.
Bordering on India, the Kachin state is
home to arts that have been heavily influenced by their neighbor to the west
which is why they incorporate a good
deal of grappling, Dunlap said. While the
military junta thats run Myanmar for 50
years has made an effort to standardize
the rules of lethwei, in some cases limiting the use of groin strikes and other
dangerous techniques, the Kachin have
resisted this and stayed closer to the origins of the sport.
Those origins, Dunlap pointed out,
may go back more than 1,000 years to
the Pyu Empire that once ruled parts of
Burma. They have reliefs painted on ancient temple walls that show people doing a form of Burmese boxing, so these
arts have very deep roots, he said.
The ancient forms of fighting appear
to have been primarily war arts that

incorporated striking, grappling and


weaponsan arsenal that traditional
styles like hkyen have maintained, Dunlap said. Sport-oriented systems like
lethwei and naban wrestling were developed for two reasons: for entertainment at festivals and for safely practicing moves meant for the battlefield.
Technical Side
Safety, however, is a relative concept
particularly in the Kachin version of
lethwei, which is known as htwi hkyen
in the local language. Besides allowing
head butts and groin strikes, it permits
standing submissions like the guillotine
choke, as well as all types of throwing.
Surprisingly, the rules even allow the
delivery of a quick stomp to a downed
opponents head as long as its before
the referee breaks the action.
Under Kachin rules, if a fighter is
knocked out, hes given a minute to
recover and continue fighting. If hes
knocked out a second time, he gets
another minute. Its only on the third
knockout that a fight is stopped.
The style was developed to prepare
you for the battlefield, said Dunlap,
who lived and competed in Kachin for
several years.
Among the technicalities that make
lethwei different from sports like muay
Thai are its use of head butts, groin

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blackbeltMaG.cOM

Photos by Mike Stewart

s anyone whos watched MMA


can attest, the clinch is a crucial phase of fighting. You frequently see two martial artists
locked together in the ring or the cage,
holding tight as they trade short strikes
or look for a takedown.
The primary arts that have influenced the way Western martial artists
approach the clinch are muay Thai, a
style known for its knees and elbows,
and Greco-Roman wrestling, a sport renowned for its positioning and upperbody throws. Although theyre effective, both systems have rules that prohibit head butts and groin strikestwo
weapons that could be fight-enders in a
self-defense situation.
The good news is theres one martial
art that effectively addresses the clinch
without hampering practitioners with
such rules. Properly called lethwei, its
better known as Burmese bare-knuckle
kickboxing.

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strikes, full-body throws and bare


knuckles. Its the last difference that
allows for in-clinch strikes such as the
door knocker.
Impossible with protective gloves, the
door knocker is performed with a motion that resembles rapping your knuckles on a door when knocking. Done over
the eye, it can cause cuts. In dire situations, it can be done directly into the eye.
When you cant knock, you may need
to use a head butt to change the nature
of the clinch. In such situations, lethwei
strategy will lead you away from the
conventional two-handed head tie-up,
known as the plum in muay Thai. Instead, it will have you keep one arm free
to defend against your opponents head
butts by keeping him at a distance.
At even closer range, lethwei gives you
the option of using a collar-and-elbow
tie-up similar to whats seen in wrestling. In the Burmese version of the position, you press your head against the
side of your opponents head so he cant
create space for a head strike of his own.
Head as Weapon
As with other strikes in lethwei, the
head butt is effected with specific parts
of the anatomy. To visualize it, imagine your head as a cube with rounded
corners, Dunlap said. Aim to hit with
the edges that run around the top. For
strikes with the front of the head, try to
make contact with the top of the forehead, near the hairline.
You never want to hit with the forehead near the eyes because you can cut
yourself and the blood will affect your
vision, he said.
Strikes also can be done with the upper side portions of the skull and even
with the very top of itfor example,
when you need to ram the top of your
head straight into an opponents face.
BLACKBELTMAG.COM

Dunlap said the best targets for such


attacks are the hollow portions of the
face, just below the cheekbones. Never
drive directly into your opponents
skull because it will likely hurt you as
much as it does him.
Note that a head butt, even when its
directed at a softer part of your foes
head, can still take a toll on you. In
most cases, Dunlap said, the sensation
you feel will be no worse than getting
punched. What makes it worth doing is,
when its performed correctly, your opponent wont be quite as fortunate.
Dunlap estimated that when a fighter
is caught flush with a head butt in a lethwei match, hell be knocked down 80
percent of the time. That illustrates the
potential of the blowwhich is why its
essential to know how to do it and how
to defend against it.
Lower Targets
Defending against groin strikes is equally important in lethwei. The standard
stance used in a clinchwhile effective
for throwing powerful rear-knee strikes
or providing a stable base for stopping
takedownsfrequently has your legs
spread too far apart, leaving your groin
more vulnerable. In lethwei matches
with groin strikes, you stand with your
legs closer together and your lead foot
centered between your opponents legs.
You also turn your hips to the side, which
makes it more difficult for him to slip a
kick or knee up the middle.
For offensive purposes, your weight
can be shifted back and your lead leg

kept lightly on the flooralmost like a


cat stance in karate. Try it and youll see
that it enables you to quickly raise your
lead leg to attack your opponents groin.
You also can lift your knee to use it as a
weapon, but youll really benefit from
the element of surprise if you use one
of Dunlaps preferred methods: Lift your
foot straight up into the enemys groin,
striking with your instep. This isnt a
snapping kick, which would require
chambering; its a simple lifting motion
in which you raise your knee straight up.
I tell my students you may end up
hitting with the ankle or the shin, but it
doesnt really matter as long as youre
catching him in the groin, Dunlap said.
Deceptive Appearance
Although very technical in their own
way, the Burmese martial artsperhaps
because of the realistic way theyre practicedvalue functionality over flash.
This can give the impression that lethwei is a less-technical style of fighting.
Because it was a battlefield art and
the idea was to try to take out the enemy
right away, they dont do things like throw
quick jabs to set up a power punch, Dunlap said. Instead, lethwei fighters will
throw a power jab, then a power punch
and maybe follow up with a head butt. If
they miss, this tends to make them look
more awkward than other styles.
But looks can be deceiving. Certainly,
for anyone seeking to add some self-defense wrinkles to their clinch game, the
Burmese martial arts are well worth
investigating.

Starting from the clinch, Phil Dunlap (left)


positions himself so his lead foot is located
between the opponents feet (1). Dunlap
then lifts his leg straight up until his instep
makes contact with the mans groin (2).

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About the Author:


Mark Jacobs most recent book is The
Principles of Unarmed Combat. His website is
writingghting.wordpress.com.

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Fred Perrin is a former French commando, as well as a taekwondo champion,


a stick-ghting champion, and a practitioner of savate and kali. When a person
with that kind of background designs a knife, it naturally will appeal to martial artists. Witness the updated Street Bowie, which has a 5-1/8-inch coated
VG-10 blade and an injection-molded handle with grippy rubber inserts. The
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Silat Sourcebook

Within this books 302 pages are Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of Silat Ikhtiar:
The South East Asian Martial Art. Self-published by Amsterdam-based
Jerome Blanes, it contains descriptions of the styles weapons and
empty-hand techniques, plus a plethora of black-and-white illustrations that appear to be computer-generated. The production quality
and editing may not be top-notch, but the book provides a wealth of
information thats likely not available elsewhere.

$35.05
lulu.com

SyStema Double Feature

Vladimir Vasiliev, the world-renowned systema master on the cover of this


issue, regularly puts out DVDs to help his followers polish their skills in the
Russian martial art. This one has two parts: First is Knife in a Fight, featuring the talents of Vasiliev. Second is Street Crime: Foresee & Prevent, starring Maj. Konstantin Komarov, Ph.D., of the Russian Special Service Police
Force. The material they teach will make anyone better at personal protection. 45 minutes each,

$39.95
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AuGusT/sEpTEMBER 2013 I BLACK BELT

71

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logic of violence

Rory Miller is a former corrections ofcer whos built a name for


himself in the eld of violence study, and this is his latest release
to the public. The 175-minute DVD promises to help martial artists think like a criminalsomething very few of us can relate
toso we can better defend ourselves against a street attack.

$29.95
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The Sorcerer and The WhiTe Snake

This 2011 Jet Li lm was recently released on DVD. It co-stars Eva


Huang, Raymond Lam and Charlene Choi, who play opposite of Li
as he takes on the persona of a legendary Chinese sorcerer monk
whos enamored with a 1,000-year-old serpent. Special features
include a segment on the ghts and stunts, as well as one titled
Behind the Scenes of the Beauties and the Beasts. 93 minutes,

$26.98
available in SToreS

The 36 STraTegieS of The MarTial arTS

Hiroshi Moriya composed the message, and William Scott Wilson


translated it. Subtitled The Classic Guide for Success in War, Business, and Life, its a collection of historical Chinese sayings and adages, along with the requisite explanatory textall of which is sure
to be of interest to philosophically minded martial artists. 242 pages,

$18.95
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Tiger and Snake courSe

Wim Demeere taught combat sanshou in a previous set of


instructional DVDs from Paladin Press. In this 110-minute
follow-up, the accomplished teacher and researcher presents
a curriculum he devised to supplement those other skills. Demeere points out that the material he shows here is hard-core
sanshou, not conventional animal kung fu. The tiger component
lends power to the ghting system, while the snake component
adds speed and precision.

$39.95
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HiGH-rep HAnD Gripper

The newest addition to IronMinds popular line of hand grippers


is the Zenith. Its designed to be durable enough for high-rep
conditioning work and comfortable enough to permit you to nish any workout. The spring is made of proprietary alloy steel
that ensures smooth action, and the billet aluminum handles are
shaped to t the natural curves of the human hand.

$24.95-$31.95
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Dirty GrounD

In case that title seems a bit nebulous, consider the subtitle: The Tricky
Space Between Sport and Combat. Interested now? Written by Kris
Wilder and Lawrence A. Kane, the 144-page book seeks to help martial artists at both ends of the spectrumsport competitors and selfdefense practitionersadapt their methods for use in situations that
involve friends or relatives whove had one too many and are getting out
of control in social situations.

$18.95
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your body is a WEAPON.


LEARN about it.

HIT

Scott Sonnons workouts for


strikers include guided drills
using body weight, kettlebells,
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Clubbell to improve strength,
endurance and task-specic
conditioning for hard-hitting
strikes in a variety of martial
arts styles!
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TRAIN it.

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When the ght goes to the


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This aint aerobics, people. Its
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conditioning

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his brain to focus on what he didnt know. The first


time he studied the entire list for 60 minutes, he kept
returning to the words he recognized. He didnt realize
it at the time, which is why its our default mechanism.
In our role as coaches, instructors or teachers, its
essential to walk the fine line between allowing our
students the victory of using what they already know
while simultaneously providing opportunities and
training methods that force them to be uncomfortable.
Martial arts instructors often encounter students
who arent good at one area of the curriculum. We all
have students who may be great at one skill set but
who try to avoid material theyre not fond of. To reach
a true level of proficiency, however, they must show
competence in all areas. Rather than allow them to shy
away from something they dont think theyre good at,
encourage them to focus on it with greater intensity.
Consider these ideas:

Learning From Latin


by Kelly Muir

hen my son asked for help with his Latin class, I asked
him what specifically he needed. He wasnt sure, so I
asked a few questions and decided to start with his
vocabulary.
For anyone not familiar with it, Latin is a cacophony of letters.
There are moments when they seem to jump off the page and tell you
what they areas obvious as a snowflake in January. There are other
times when words look like letters that fell off a spoon that had been
dunked into a bowl of alphabet soup. The way they fall together can
seem crudeimpossible to pronounce and difficult to rationalize.
The only way to get through a Latin course is to commit to memorization and hard work. I took my sons 48-word weekly requirement,
wrote each one down and asked him which words he already knew.
He showed me the familiar ones. I gave him the list and told him he
had 45 minutes to work on it. When he was done, I quizzed him. He
quickly recognized the words he knew and then identified only seven
more. He was understandably frustrated. An hour of work and he had
only 13 words out of 48. See, I cant remember them! he exclaimed. I
reassured him that he could if he simply changed his pattern of study.
The second day, I removed the 13 words he already knew, then
gave him 10 of the other words. He wrote them down, did word associations, used them in sentences, and did anything he could think
of to recall the spellings and definitions. Within 20 minutes, he had all
10. Within an hour, he had all 48.
What was the difference? When I removed what he knew, it forced

74

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

elImInaTe FavorITe TechnIques: If you have


students who always default to the same technique
when they spar, eliminate the technique for them.
Much like I did with my son while he was studying
Latin, you can take away what they do well, thus forcing them to focus on something else.
Encourage the Use of Visualization: Running visualization drills in conjunction with physical drills provides a double layer of learning.
Use Other Students: Whether its partnering up, having students act as coaches or running a basic competition on the mat, let them help each other learn.
Use Technology: Video, television, YouTube, social
mediause it all. At my school, we have a private video account I use to upload clips of everyone. They can
view the footage at home, make adjustments and then
return to the dojo with better technique.
Give a Pop Quiz: When students dont care for an
area of training, they have a bad habit of slinking to
the back of the room and just getting by. Dont allow
it. Just like your schoolteachers would surprise you
with pop quizzes, you can surprise your students. Its
a great reminder that the individual is responsible for
becoming proficient at all the material.
Dont Provide an Out: Earning a black belt should
be similar to receiving a high-school diploma. To get
the diploma, everyone must meet the standards.
Even if students arent strong in math, theyre still
required to meet the standards. Use the same principle on your mat. If students dont feel comfortable
or qualified to spar, dont excuse them.
When IT comes to getting students to maximize their
potential, you must help them push their limits. When
you notice that theyre defaulting to what theyre comfortable with, remind them that while it may not be
easy, they will become skilled at that which challenges
them. If theyre still in doubt, write this Latin phrase on
a piece of paper and tell them to recite it before every
class: Luctor et emergo. I struggle and I emerge.

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REVISITED
AND EXPANDED
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FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN 30 YEARS!

TAO JEET KUNE DO


OF

NEW EXPANDED EDITION

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BRUCE LEES MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOK!

Jeet Kune Do is the enlightenment.


It is a way of life, a movement toward willpower and control.
Bruce Lee
Explore the philosophy behind
Bruce Lees martial art with
digitally enhanced illustrations
by Bruce Lee, never-beforeseen Chinese translations, and
editorial commentaries by many
of Bruce Lees closest friends and
colleagues, including:
Chris Kent
Jerry Poteet
Diana Lee Inosanto
Tim Tackett
Richard Bustillo
Yori Nakamura
Thirty-seven years after its initial
publication, Tao of Jeet Kune
Do continues to provide the rare
opportunity to learn directly from
Bruce Leeone of the most
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gures in martial arts history.

Pages: 248
Code: 524
Retail: $26.95
ISBN: 978-0-89750-202-3

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To order, call toll-free: (800) 581-5222 or visit blackbeltmag.com/TAO

Company Spotlight

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East Meets West

76

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

For the next four years, Powell and his


associates endeavored to develop their
own fighting method, one that would use
as raw materials those Russian tactics
and techniques. To the mix, Powell added
what hed gleaned from his work in executive protection, as well as his stints
teaching military personnel and civilian
martial artists. Additional fine-tuning
came from his interactions with senior
students of sanuces-ryu founder Moses
Powell (no relation), with practitioners
of the Tibetan and Burmese martial arts,
and with the teachings of the FairbairnSykes and Applegate combat methods.
But as any good teacher will attest,
being proficient at a given skill set is
not the same as being able to efficiently
convey it to others. For that reason,
Powell stopped teaching publicly from
2008 to 2011. During that period, he
conducted private lessons while keeping a close eye on how well the students
picked up the material. Those observations enabled him to further refine the
system and the teaching method.
By late 2011, Powell and his people
were ready for prime time. We came

back publicly and began teaching, he


says. Since then, we have scheduled
seminars nationally and internationally
every other month. We have released a
wide variety of instructional videos, as
well as an interactive manual on martial arts learning.
All the topics pramek covers are
both practical and pragmatic. The basic concept takes scientific theories
physics, mechanics, biomechanics, psychology, neurology, etc.and combines
them with methods that teach sound,
efficient movement, he says. This then
creates an application. The application
can be anythingfrom combatives to
health to MMA to firearms.
The evidence indicates Powell is onto
something with his hybrid fighting system and science-based teaching method. Pramek is now taught throughout
the United States, Canada and Europe,
he says. We have study groups there
and in Russia, South America and Asia.
That list will no doubt be expanding in the future. If youd like to learn
morebefore your competitors do
visit pramek.com.

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blackbeltMaG.cOM

Photo Courtesy of Pramek.com

ystema and sambo may be the


best-known fighting styles to
trace their roots to Russia, but
theyre by no means the only
ones. Case in point: pramek, whose
name is derived from the first two syllables of the first two words in the phrase
practical mechanics survival system.
An American martial artist named
Matt Powell (above) founded pramek
in 2007. His goal was to bridge the gap
between the science and movement of
the Russian styles and the pragmatism
of the Western martial arts.
I began studying the Russian styles under Scott Sonnon in 1998, when he was
teaching ROSS, Powell says. I studied
with him until 2000, when I was invited
to study the Kadochnikov System, one of
the few patented martial arts in Russia.
Unable to resist the temptation to train,
Powell immediately made travel arrangements that would take him to Krasnodar,
Russia. I went back and forth from 2001
to 2004, Powell says. I was their representative in the West until 2004, when
I decided to go on my own with my coresearchers and students.

by J. Torres

WorldMags.net

LEARN THE MARTIAL ART


THAT CHANGED THE WORLD

The Ultimate Guide to Jeet Kune Do gives insight


into the intriguing martial art of Bruce Lee.
The arts most successful students interpret the
evolution and originator through a collection of
articles from the Black Belt archives.
The Ultimate Guide to Jeet Kune Do features
articles by, proles of and lessons from the
following martial artists: Dan Inosanto, Tim
Tackett, Bob Bremer, Jerry Poteet, Paul Vunak,
James DeMile, Gary Dill, James Lee, Jerry
Beasley and Richard Bustillo.
Code: 510 147 pgs.
Retail: $24.95
ISBN: 978-0-89750-186-6

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AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2013

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From
the
rchives

Vol. 15, No. 1, $1

The 157th issue of Black Belt


was dated January 1977. It was
100 pages long and featured hwa
rang do grandmaster Joo Bang
Lee on the cover.

Black Belt shines a spotlight on the mysterious


Korean martial art of hwa rang do via an exclusive
interview with Joo Bang Lee, the senior practitioner
on the planet.
Just how popular is hwa rang do? Lee and his brother Joo Sang Lee operate 56 schools in South Korea
and 38 in the United States.
A related article discusses the work of hwa rang do expert Michael D. Echanis, a man on a mission to revamp
the hand-to-hand combat methods of the U.S. military.
Taiwan honors Connecticut-based kung fu master
Daniel K. Pai by appointing him the North American
representative for the Kuoshu Federation of the Republic of China.
Pankration pioneer Jim Arvanitis demonstrates
thumb and two-finger push-ups, mass-attack selfdefense and a kick that smashes seven 1-inch-thick
boards on the TV series Good Day.
Rod Sacharnoski spreads his hard-core style of
jujitsu in a feature article. We have no competition
and have nothing to do with the sport aspect of the
martial arts, he says. We stress all-out fighting and
self-defense.
Retired tournament champ Bill McDonald uses karate
to rehab 50-plus troubled youngsters in North Carolina.

82

black belt I aUGUSt/SePteMbeR 2013

A self-defense instructor cites a statistic: So confident are the attackers of the defenselessness of
women that over half of them do not even feel it is
necessary to use a knife or a gun. One can only wonder if thats still true.
The magazine dips its calloused big toe (from kicking!) into the time-keeping business. Announcing the
Black Belt Calendar! Its offered for free to all new
subscribers.
In Bell, California, LaVerne Bates proves the naysayers wrong by running a successful all-female martial
arts school. Women need a place of their own, too,
she says. (Hatmaker, you listening?)
Maryland-based master Ki Whang Kim is profiled
in a four-page story. Among the wisdom he offers is
this: It makes very little difference what style one
studies. Basic karate is all the same.
Speaking on the topic of the martial arts-centered
health spawhich ideally would have weighttraining equipment, a sauna and similar high-end
featuresRon Marchini says, This will be the successful school of the future. Not so much.
(Note: Back issues are not for sale. To purchase a hard copy of the
cover of this issue or any other, visit facebook.com/BlackBeltMagazine
and click Cover Reprints at the top of the page.)

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Tough. Professional. Made for ghters.

This is our CREED.

www.CenturyMartialArts.com/Creed

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1000 Century Blvd. Oklahoma City, OK 73110


2013 Century, LLC #7827 02-13