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1  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: March 09, 2005, 11:07:34 AM

I mention Sayoc only because in training multiple knives are strapped to the body at several points, and those students that I have met often carry multiple blades, not because Umali was in any way related to Sayoc per se.  My apologies if it seemed otherwise.

As far as Umali killing the bouncer simply because he and a friend were bounced appears to be incorrect, at least in the sense of perspective.  The original article noted that Umali pulled his blade after the bouncer had *not* simply bounced his friend but, after escorting him outdoors, had roughed him up and placed him in a choke hold (allegedly).  Original articles indicated that several witnesses (some unrelated to Umali) became concerned over the welfare of this friend who could not breathe.  It was also mentioned by a few witnesses that the bouncer continued to choke the friend after he was submissive and had stopped resisting/moving.  If NY law is anything like CA law, that means that regardless of situation you are only allowed lethal force if the threat continues.  Once the threat of personal injury/life has passed, it is not permissable to continue with lethal or harmful force.  If that's what this bouncer did, he's in the wrong.  Was Umali right in carrying a 6" serrated blade around?  In my opinion that was, indeed, foolish.

However, what was continually emphasized in the media was, not only the size of the blade, but that Umali was trained in the "lethal art" of Kali.  It was frequently mentioned and often the crux of some articles:  some titles even read, "Man kills bouncer with dangerous, lethal martial art."  The media was by no means negligent in expressing quite clearly how the ability to kill people with a knife was linked to the study of Kali.  An interview with his instructor has indicated that Umali did not have extensive training, but instead, attended only a handful (if that) of classes.  Unfortunately, his level of training was blown out of proportion.  It seems to me that the lack of understanding of certain martial arts systems leads to incorrect assumptions about their honor and integrity.  I fully believed that's what has happened here.

As for my comments about the judge's remarks regarding the knife, I can certainly see your point of view.  With such perceptions of trained fighters, I worry greatly that one day, I may validly use a knife in protection and be convicted of a crime.  The law is not always fair or balanced with regard to probablilty, especially when the general public may/may not have reliable information with regard to more obscure martial arts.  My concern during this whole trial was simply the exaggerated nature concerning the portrayal of martial arts...not the right/wrongness of the defendant.

I am in no way defending Umali, but out of curiosity, haven't you ever, when faced with an assailant or potential threat, grabbed a weapon that might not have been technically legal?  If you defended yourself with a questionable object (or even a "utility" knife) would you be comfortable being associated, in public, and in front of an uninformed jury, with the study of Kali (or "Silat" or "Cimande," or any other less-known art) knowing that this is how martial arts is depicted nation-wide?
2  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: February 17, 2005, 11:05:20 AM
Wittner, a judge for more than 20 years, said the 6-inch serrated knife Umali used on Blake, 32, was "the deadliest knife I've ever seen in a courtroom. There can be no other purpose (for the knife) but to injure or kill somebody."

No kidding.  I hate statements like this because they're misleading by stating the obvious as though it is covert.  Personal protection knives are designed to injure and kill.  That's it.  That's the way it goes.  So, to say that this blade has the appearance of a formidable weapon is a statement on the obvious intended only to make the defendent appear guilty of something.

So, basically, it's not a crime in the court of public opinion to own a deadly-looking knife, but if you actually use it, you run the risk of indictment as well as castigation by a judge?

Now, do I think it wise to cart around a 6-in. serrated blade?  Not really, but I'm sure some of the Sayoc people would agree that use and possession of a subjectively stated "deadly-looking" knife should not equal crime and conviction, especially if used appropriately -- heaven knows they all carry a variety of blades Smiley .  Now, it may/may not have been used appropriately in this case...I wouldn't know, I wasn't there, but such portrayals of martial arts practitioners and weapons of protection can do very little to help those of us who do carry and use them honorably.  Perhaps we should carry knives with cute little flowers on them so that they look less lethal?  Or little, tiny, pink ones that we'd have to get r-e-a-l-l-y close to an assailant to use?

I'm sorry, but all this nonsense about appearances and knives from individuals so unfamiliar with weapons and martial arts as to virtually make one or the other immediately criminal in public opinion makes me a tad peevish...
3  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: November 17, 2004, 11:24:07 AM
If you search google news, you'll notice that the many of the headlines read "Martial Arts Expert Found Guilty..." or some variation thereof.

If you read previous articles, it seems that this defendant went from being a person who took a few martial arts classes, to being labeled a "martial arts expert."  Makes him sound slightly more lethal, and makes for better copy.  I still say it's worrisome.

At any rate, thanks for the update, Argyll.
4  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Article(s) on the history/origin of martial arts on: November 17, 2004, 11:20:39 AM
Hmm...I thought that the article was only claiming that Chinese martial arts started in China...
5  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Article(s) on the history/origin of martial arts on: November 16, 2004, 01:45:31 PM
Couldn't find a thread that nicely contained all such references, so I thought I'd start one -- hope it's no bother.


Discovering the Origin of Martial Arts:  the Dunhuang Caves

According to Shanghai Evening Post, since the 19th century, scholars have paid great attention to, and conducted research on the historical data of the martial arts paintings in China?s famous Dunhuang cave, discovered in 1900, which holds over ten thousand Buddhist scriptures and works of art.

Wang Degong, formerly the vice-president of the Gansu Province Chinese Martial Arts Association, and several other famous martial arts experts in Gansu province believe that the Dunhuang cave paintings give clues to the evolvement of Chinese martial arts.


During the long course of history, people in the city Dunhuang, which sits near the famous cave, have passed on from generation to generation all kinds of martial arts movements. Wang Degong said, "While we were "copying" the martial arts movements, we delightedly discovered that many of the martial arts movements on the Dunhuang cave paintings resemble the martial arts styles in the local Lanzhou area." People can find traces of it in the images of martial arts from the Han and Tang dynasty up to current versions.

I dig martial arts evolution and history, I thought others might as well...
6  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: November 09, 2004, 11:19:52 AM
Crafty, et al.

This story has no new updates, but I did manage to locate this new article:

Martial Arts Expert Fends of Six Attackers [with knives] .

Fending off three men with knives without a cut sound plausible to any of you?

And here's another court trial involving wounds allegedly inflicted as a result of martial arts training:  

Former Martial Arts Instructor Called to Testify

According to Correa, Alston attended his class once or twice a week for a period of eight weeks, during which time he was taught three specific self-defense techniques that Correa testified could have been used in the altercation with Sisk. Students in Correa's class repeated the techniques at least 50 times per session to promote muscle-memory of the movements, he added.

Unlike many martial arts, which are intended for self-defense but can also be used in an attack, Correa said the techniques taught to Alston can only be used to take advantage of an attacker's momentum to redirect blows away from oneself and toward an assailant.

Using a fake knife and a specially prepared t-shirt with marks to indicate the location of stab wounds found on Sisk's body, Correa demonstrated with an assistant how each one of the stab wounds could have resulted from Alston's use of the techniques. In a slow-motion sequence of movements, Correa blocked his assistant's simulated attacks and directed them toward the clusters of marks on his assistant's chest, left arm and lower back.

Because the defender in such an attack would effectively be maneuvering the weapon in the assailant's hand, Correa said students are taught to continue performing the techniques until the weapon is dropped or the attacker goes down.
7  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: November 01, 2004, 02:34:06 PM
SB Mig, and all,

I hear you're still waiting for an answer...

I don't know that there is one, especially since such prose is mandated by the media, and a form of job preservation (the flashier and more dramatic the story, the more likely you won't be fired, or dissolve into the crowd of freelancers).

I suppose that one way to stem the tide of negativity would be to become active in the community (both in the martial arts community, and the general public), giving the martial arts positive publicity...of course, this will work directly against you if media hype prevails, so its double-edged-sword potential is high.

By becoming active I mean such things as:  youth, senior, and women's self-defense seminars, neighborhood watches (do they still exist?), guest speaking about self-protection at local events, working with newspapers and local news crews for stories on classes, seminars and the importance of community vigilance to reinforce the notion that martial arts are born out of a desire to safeguard.  Do most of us have time for these sorts of things?  Not many of us, I'd imagine...but I think if your goals are as stated, that's along the lines of what it would take.
8  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: October 30, 2004, 01:58:58 PM
The problem with this article is due to a lazy reporter who is embellishing the facts with their own uninformed POV.

Precisely, but how would the average media slave have any complete understanding of such arts, and is it not in their best interest to embellish?  Which brings me again to my question:  is it better to be unaffiliated and claim no expertise, even if you are an advanced (or not) student?  

Let's suspend all guilty/nonguilty assumptions and extraneous info about this particular case, and look only at what was printed about the art:

...trained in a vicious Filipino martial art in which even beginners learn lethal knife thrusts.

Detectives plan to interview a Manhattan martial arts expert who trained Umali how to kill with a single knife wound, sources said.


The brothers are also schooled in the warrior art of Eskrima, in which knives are a key component, sources said.

Going into a courtroom, having just defended your own life, would you be comfortable with these terms, in terms of public opinion about the appropriateness of your actions?  Aren't all martial arts the offspring of warriors?  Also, these articles reflect different authorship and therefore are multi-perspectival, so we can't just point to one person and blame him for exaggeration.  Given that efficiency is what we desire as martial artists -- I'd rather end the issue in one move, wouldn't you? As such, how do we avoid being victims (forgive the term) of such portrayal in the courtroom and in the media?  Is it even possible -- is the interest of the media in producing a juicy story always going to be an obstacle?

I'm guessing it will be, unless you've just saved the lives of 10 children, a pregnant woman, and someone's grandma from terrorists...then you'd be a "hero."
9  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: October 26, 2004, 02:21:29 PM
Well, I always do like to get my Nickelback.

"Most people who are into the martial arts to 'kick a$$ and take names' will show themselves as that from the get go and are easily weeded out. "

Right.  But does it happen, and if not, shouldn't it?  I've certainly seen that attitude considered acceptable by some instructors.  I'm not placing the burden of the impossible on the instructor for every character flaw -- Ted Bundy was considered an all-around charmer.  I'm talking (well, typing) about this "kick a$$ and take names" individual who isn't checked.  If a martial arts instructor isn't at least, on some vague level, evaluating the constitution of his student(s), isn't that, well, not good?  And doesn't the "check out this sweet, killer technique" mentality point to a basic misunderstanding of cause and effect when it comes to force?  And, at the very least, shouldn't proper use of force be revisited?  I've only ever had one instructor who mentioned the topic.

I'm not necessarily saying that the situation in the article above is one such case, but it certainly begs the question(s).
10  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: October 26, 2004, 01:13:07 PM
Hmm...that seemed more like 4 cents to me.

At any rate, I  couldn't have said it better.  However, I do believe that, most times, it is better to be silently affiliated with a system.  I don't advertise which system(s) I study, and for good reason.  

This topic brings up another issue that we've discussed, SBMig -- as a teacher is it not one's responsibility to choose students who honor the power of technique(s)?  That a student's character will ultimately reflect the level of responsibility they impose upon themselves when out in the world?  After all when teaching the arts, you are exposing an individual to a craft prized for its effectiveness, if not lethality.  "The prosecutor said Umali even demonstrated to his friends the move he used to kill Blake."  Sounds to me like the problem was internal and simply awaiting an external catalyst.  But hey, I don't know much anyhow!  Wink
11  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer on: October 26, 2004, 10:57:14 AM
Here's the link:


Isaias Umali, 32, of Jamaica, is charged with murder in the death of Dana Blake, who was stabbed in the upper thigh with a six-inch knife.

Blake's femoral artery was severed in the April 13, 2003, attack at the trendy club, Guernica. The incident allegedly began after an argument over smoking just two weeks after the city ban went into affect.

Umali is trained in kali, a Filipino martial art that includes knife-fighting techniques -- "including specific areas of the body where you can stab someone in order to cause his death," Assistant Manhattan District Attorney David Lauscher said in his opening statement in State Supreme Court yesterday. The prosecutor said Umali even demonstrated to his friends the move he used to kill Blake.

It seems to me the overriding question is:  should one eschew affiliation to a specific martial art for legal protection?  It seems that "the martial arts" still invoke a great deal of mystery in the courtroom and in the media -- especially if the art is not readily identifiable (such as karate, tae kwon do, etc.), like "kali" or "silat."

The other question is:  If your friend is being choked out, do you really knife the guy with a six-inch blade?  I suppose this would be a good time to remember the proportion of reaction?
12  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Sparring on: October 11, 2004, 11:13:48 AM
I couldn't find the answer to my question in any forum threads, so if this is a rerun, my apologies:

It's no secret that one of the principles of Bakbakan is routine live-round sparring, and that the success of their students relies on this a great deal.

How often do you all (indicate which system you come from, if you're so inclined) stick-/knife-spar?  Once per week? Twice per month?  Do you feel that routine sparring is one of the keys to progress?  More so than, say, stick flow drills?

many thanks in advance for your replies (hopefully there will be a few!),

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