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51  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Native American Fighting Systems on: May 18, 2008, 06:06:12 PM
Hi Maxx,

I have a pal who practices a bit with me who is First Nations (the Canadian equivalent of Native American).   He was taught how to fight by his father.  I do not think he is as sophisticated as your friend in terms of what he knows but I walked away from sparring with him thinking similar thoughts. 
s
You made a point that I think is interesting about the commonalities between tribal fighting versus "civilized fighting systems" that I need to think about a bit.  I am not sure if you are on to something there or not. 

At some point in the development of "systems" there seems to be a departure from reality based to a more theoretical base.   I am not sure if that is what you are talking about or if that occurs at the line between tribal and civilized.

I am thinking about the pretty sophisticated systems of Bagua and its sister arts and some other things.   There is definitely a flow and circularity there so what separates those arts from what you are refering to?  Is it the theory base of many.  I know some effective fighters who practice Bagua.

Aside: fighting with a tomahawk is probably like fighting with a battle ax.  I have seen some plans for building padded battleaxes.  I will try to dig them up and post them but I think that you would still have to test their whompage capacity prior to a fight.

The problem with such things is that the force is concentrated to a small area which is of course why they used em.

Karsk
52  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: April 28, 2008, 03:14:09 AM
It was all the youttube clip that I found had.   Here is the film this came from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_on_the_Sun


Karsk
53  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: April 24, 2008, 01:57:20 AM
I searched on the site for cagney to see if this was already here and came up empty so here is a cool old video of James Cagney doing Judo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMJixq-LbgI

This has been around so it wont surprise me if most of you have seen this. But I thought I would put the link up in case you have not.

Cheers
54  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: March 19, 2008, 02:42:00 PM
The point of the article is that there is an upper limit to things sometimes.   Its tempting to make some simplistic examples from ecology where real limits exist to make the point.  Human beings are more complex in that they have always managed to innovate to take advantage of other resources. Nevertheless, I have always felt that there is a simple logic that we live in a world where matter is finite (there is only so much matter) and energy flows from concentrated to dispersed.  The fact that we have finite resources has been less important than our capacity to be innovative up to now.  But there is some population level where the capacity to innovate becomes less important than the genuine scarcity of materials or the inability of energy flow to keep up with the consumption.  Are we there globally for some resources?  I dunno.  But I do know that their really are limits.  The consequence of going past real limits is catastrophic change resulting in a resetting of the systems.  Lots of people don't like that sort of change.


This is an aside, but one of the things that truly amazes me about people is their adaptability.  We pride ourselves on being adaptable. I know I do.  But not all forms of adaptation are good.  At what population level does human existence become so base that people cannot stand it and implode?  The scary thing to me is not that there is a point of degradation that people cannot stand.  Its actually that people  adapt to the extreme levels of environmental degradation that they do.   The population density of large cities, the density of some third world countries....that is freaky that people can adapt.  They adapt and adapt until they reach a point that is far beyond a sustainable carrying capacity and then blammo.  I suppose you could say that thats mother nature for you and I think you would be correct.  Is the only effective economics systems those that pretty much ignore limits until there are impacts that cause catastrophes or are there other more clever ways to manage things as pressures increase?  How can you avoid periods of time where there are downturns?  Is it possible or even desirable to try to avoid downturns forever?  Are downturns natural and if so can we plan specifically for them?   Can we plan for a 4 staged cycle of  innovation and evolution, build up, stagnation, and collapse?  An economic model that defines success as growth seems inconsistent with reality when viewed from an ecological perspective.  When has growth continued anywhere unabated ever?  I can think of no example where growth is not balanced by collapse in the natural world whenever resources are limiting.   The complexities of economics and political machinations all function within that context don't they?


In the spirit of good discourse

Karsk

55  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Economics on: March 19, 2008, 11:23:21 AM
 The above post is basically saying that the prosperity that we have had is due to the positive growth economics theory.  I have 2 comments about this.

1.   There is evidence that our present unprecedented economic success is based not on the economic theory but the fact that we entered an age where we had started to use vast stores of oil as an energy source.  Its not the theory that generated prosperity, its the presence of resources.   If we imagine a day when someone works out a "magic" solution such as unlimited cheap energy (fusion or whatever) everyone everywhere would breath a sigh of relief

2.  There is a recent article in Scientific American that points out that present economic theory was modeled after Helmhotz equations on the conservation of energy.  In this article it basically reiterates the point that present day economic theory is flawed for not accounting for the impacts of resource extraction as part of the system.  This seems to point a finger at positive growth economics.

I keep finding articles like this.  Most of them come from people with training in both economics and science.


The article:


Scientific American Magazine -  March 17, 2008

The Economist Has No Clothes
Unscientific assumptions in economic theory are undermining efforts to solve environmental problems
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=the-economist-has-no-clothes&sc=rss

By Robert Nadeau

The 19th-century creators of neoclassical economics—the theory that now serves as the basis for coordinating activities in the global market system—are credited with transforming their field into a scientific discipline. But what is not widely known is that these now legendary economists—William Stanley Jevons, Léon Walras, Maria Edgeworth and Vilfredo Pareto—developed their theories by adapting equations from 19th-century physics that eventually became obsolete. Unfortunately, it is clear that neoclassical economics has also become outdated. The theory is based on unscientific assumptions that are hindering the implementation of viable economic solutions for global warming and other menacing environmental problems.
The physical theory that the creators of neoclassical economics used as a template was conceived in response to the inability of Newtonian physics to account for the phenomena of heat, light and electricity. In 1847 German physicist Hermann von Helmholtz formulated the conservation of energy principle and postulated the existence of a field of conserved energy that fills all space and unifies these phenomena. Later in the century James Maxwell, Ludwig Boltzmann and other physicists devised better explanations for electromagnetism and thermodynamics, but in the meantime, the economists had borrowed and altered Helmholtz’s equations.

The strategy the economists used was as simple as it was absurd—they substituted economic variables for physical ones. Utility (a measure of economic well-being) took the place of energy; the sum of utility and expenditure replaced potential and kinetic energy. A number of well-known mathematicians and physicists told the economists that there was absolutely no basis for making these substitutions. But the economists ignored such criticisms and proceeded to claim that they had transformed their field of study into a rigorously mathematical scientific discipline.

Strangely enough, the origins of neoclassical economics in mid-19th century physics were forgotten. Subsequent generations of mainstream economists accepted the claim that this theory is scientific. These curious developments explain why the mathematical theories used by mainstream economists are predicated on the following unscientific assumptions:

The market system is a closed circular flow between production and consumption, with no inlets or outlets.
Natural resources exist in a domain that is separate and distinct from a closed market system, and the economic value of these resources can be determined only by the dynamics that operate within this system.
The costs of damage to the external natural environment by economic activities must be treated as costs that lie outside the closed market system or as costs that cannot be included in the pricing mechanisms that operate within the system.
The external resources of nature are largely inexhaustible, and those that are not can be replaced by other resources or by technologies that minimize the use of the exhaustible resources or that rely on other resources.
There are no biophysical limits to the growth of market systems.
If the environmental crisis did not exist, the fact that neoclassical economic theory provides a coherent basis for managing economic activities in market systems could be viewed as sufficient justification for its widespread applications. But because the crisis does exist, this theory can no longer be regarded as useful even in pragmatic or utilitarian terms because it fails to meet what must now be viewed as a fundamental requirement of any economic theory—the extent to which this theory allows economic activities to be coordinated in environmentally responsible ways on a worldwide scale. Because neoclassical economics does not even acknowledge the costs of environmental problems and the limits to economic growth, it constitutes one of the greatest barriers to combating climate change and other threats to the planet. It is imperative that economists devise new theories that will take all the realities of our global system into account.
56  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Living, Training, and Fighting with Eyeglasses on: March 17, 2008, 11:43:05 AM
I have also worn glasses since I was a kid.   


Horn rim glasses (plastic frames) are bad if you get hit on them.  They tend to shatter nicely.   In a way thats a good thing because shattering takes energy that would otherwise be applied to your face.  If you get hit or hit someone on the corner of the frame it will tend to put pressure on the joint of the glasses and on the bridge of the nose.  Frames that have the spring loaded joints are better because they tend not to just snap, but I have had a few of those break as well.  Any energy that is not taken up exploding the glasses tends to get transferred to your face somewhere. 


The only sports glasses that seem to have any merit at all for martial arts are the really geeky looking black horned rims with a kind of rubber bridge.  Sports glasses like the kind that you wear to play racket sports like squash are REALLY BAD.   The ones that I am talking about have a solid wide plastic frame and elastic to hold the whole thing on.  This type of frame sits on your nose and nowhere else.  If you get struck straight on or from just about any angle the force transfers right to the bridge of your nose.   I broke my nose in about 20 pieces that way.  The glasses made a nice little mold of themselves in my nose.   If you want to ever see just how much a nose can bleed...well  this is one way to do that.

Incidentally, when that happened I reacted as I often do when something is chewed up on me. Without a lot of forethought I instinctively do something about it. In this case, I felt the compressed bones, saw all the blood, and thought gee I better do something to put all those bones back in place.   I held my nostrils together and blew to create back pressure.  This re-inflated the crushed area with a nice sound like chewing on a life saver and did in fact save me some time and money later since the nose did not need resetting.  Afterwards the doctor stared at me when I told him and he quietly suggested that it was a good way to get infected.  Instead its probably better to let them go in and manually push it back out. It bled a lot too.

Sorry for the graphic nature of that but I thought it would be useful to describe what can happen as a result of getting hit on the glasses. 


My favorite type of glasses are metal wire rims.  If you have a strong prescription (thick glasses) the smaller the lens size the better because larger frames will weigh more and have larger and more sharp edges.  Modern steel frames can be made of a variety of alloys and one popular material these days is titanium.  Titanium is supposed to be really flexible as far as metals go.  I have found that titanium frames are extremely light and comfortable which I really like.  They do seem to be pretty flexible compared to my older frames.  But they tend to fatigue around stress points and will suddenly just snap in two sometimes without notice.  That is if subject your glasses to whomping like I have on occasion in the past.  Keep in mind that the kind of stresses I put my glasses under are things like grappling with them and repeatedly smashing them into someone's side or having someone roll over them on your face .   Metal frames bend back. Plastic ones don't.

And if you are over 50 as I know some of us are, you can also have the fun of dealing with bifocals.  Some people get dizzy or disoriented when first wearing them because your field of vision warps when move your head back and forth.  It seems to be one of those thing that you can simply get used to though. 

As far as preparing for trouble goes, I think practicing under all possible scenarios with glasses is a good idea.  If you don't then you will not be ready for some of the things that might happen.  For example, if you are wearing them and you suddenly find them gone you can learn to just deal with it instead of being disoriented (much).  If you get hit in the glasses and they have an edge expect to get cut.  Even light hits can cut you.  Harder hits can lay you wide open and its possible that the lens or a piece of the frame could slip into your eye.   I am not sure if wearing glasses makes you better at getting your head out of the way because of all the negative reinforcement you get. More likely it makes your friends more wary of hitting you there and so you get biased practicing happening.  Taking shots with gloves would be dumb.

If I loose my glasses my vision of course goes from 20/20 or there abouts to seeing vague blurs where the opponent's head should be.  I seem to err on the side of extension.  cool   I noticed that I tended to follow through more rather than less in that situation. quite naturally.  But you loose a lot of sensitivity and you have to rely on other things.  ARe some ranges better than others when you cannot see so well?

At this point, I use contacts most of the time.  Contacts actually give some protection to the eye but they can also be swiped or rubbed and get displaced.  Having a contact go missing is also a freaky thing. You can then have the situation where one eye is focused and one isn't. We all have dominant eyes.  If the dominant eye is the one that looses the contact its a little more disorienting than the other way around.


Karsk

57  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Older Warrior on: February 25, 2008, 06:44:06 PM
Heh.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dGFXGwHsD_A


58  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Ninja Babies on: February 05, 2008, 11:28:52 AM
I didn't start bringing my kids to practice with me until they were around 11 or 12.  Prior to that we wrestled a lot and we would play a lot of contact games like tag, like sword fighting, like dodge ball to get them used to being hit and getting hit or body contact. Lots of kids have no experience with physical contact as in martial arts or other contact sports until they actually start.   My kids were my pups!

I also got them out in the woods.  Anything to wake up their senses and make them conscious and in the moment. I took them hiking and kayaking and scrambled around cliffs. 

And I let them have some freedom. We have lived away from big cities so we could let the kids go play like the old days more than most.  That kind of childhood freedom opens the heart.

Personally I think that all the natural things that dads do when they love their kids, roughhousing, hanging out with em, being there for them, pulling them up short when need be, setting boundaries, requiring politeness...it all leads to what kids need to become good adults.  And it feeds right into martial arts.

Which came first...martial arts or human development. Martial arts mirrors the truths of human beings not the other way around.

So being an active involved dad who brings his kids into his world and uses that to teach em how to get along in the world is all you have to do.  The martial arts if it is a part of your life will find a place in their lives...at the very least as a strong example of how to live with integrity.
59  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Rambling Rumination: In Search of the Totality of Ritual & Reality (c) on: February 04, 2008, 01:03:44 PM
This thread once again touches on what I would call the "knighthood".  In another thread I asked you the question "Are there Knights?"  I think this thread has given me the insight on your answer to this question.   Knights, by my definition at least, couple capacity with character and nobility and that is what I think you are talking about.

This may sound naive or goofy, but I BELIEVE in this.   I think that capacity (realistic ability) coupled to character is ultimately stronger than the shadow.  I do not mean that bad guys cannot clobber good guys (at times).  THAT would be naive.  What I mean is that the knighthood that you speak of builds people up, makes them stronger, creates comrades that can be trusted, and builds a network of people who collectively create strength among themselves and others.    The shadow side may result in individuals who are temporarily powerful but who eventually fall because they base what they do on fear and suspicion and greed. That kind of strength feeds on itself and eventually breaks down.  Character matters in real ways.

In this day and age something out there tries to convince us that this is not true.  Maybe the contest between faith in character and doubt and fear has always been there.  In fact I am pretty sure it has.  If it weren't for that  "the Tao wouldn't be what it is" so to speak.

Karsk



60  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Older Warrior on: February 04, 2008, 12:28:23 PM
That was a pretty cool article.

So what do you think is the equivalent of  "fast"  in martial arts?  In this article the focus was on running and times for races = fast.  And the idea that oxygen uptake is a limiting factor regardless of the intensity of training.  They mentioned getting slower but still being able to perform remarkable well in terms of overall times.   Martial arts has some different fitness components.  What factors are pertinent in martial arts?


This is a pretty interesting thing to think about.   In martial arts training and training for fighting, cardiovascular conditioning is important but so is anaerobic capacity and local muscle endurance.  How are those affected by aging?  I guess I am interested in getting some more details about what these folks discovered.


I find that the limiting factors determining intense training capacity in martial arts has more to do with my capacity to manage or avoid injuries.   And what it affects is basically how rough the workout can be before something happens that prevents me from  working out intensely.  Its a negative feedback thing. 

So as a younger fellow, I could get out there and take more shots, wrestle with gusto, and if I got hurt I would work through it and bounce back.  This capacity to bounce back quickly seems to be a little less bouncey  smiley.  So I have to be a bit more careful but still try to maintain intensity.

For example, I can spar 2 on one with light contact and maintain three minute rounds with like 20 seconds in between for pretty much an hour and a half with little problem.  That sort of constant movement leaves me feeling exhilarated and satisfied.  But if I engage in intense grappling and put pressure on my knee or should in the wrong way I can knock myself out of practice for a while which defeats the intention of maintaining intensity.

I find that my hand speed or more importantly my ability to move my whole body quickly and explosively seems to be slowing a bit.  But I think that is an area where you can do things to maintain the speed.   Like weight training focused on that.

Long practices where I am repeating the same movements over and over (like practicing the same exact method of charging someone to hone it) used to be the best way to maintain that sort of quickness. But now such repetitive practice can aggravate old injuries.  So I vary things a lot more. I may do much less of the same thing, but approach the same idea in several ways.

So I do repeat a movement I want to be fast but not as much. I augment that with some power training and strength training. I  focus on specific parts of a movement and try to make that particular part fast.

One thing that I think improves with age is some capacities to flow with movements of others. While I might not be able to respond to a fast aggressive attack in a quick draw like fashion as before, I seem as able to read opponents and I think having a repertoire of techniques grows with time.  Not that I can always pull it off.


Karsk

61  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Ecological Economics on: January 31, 2008, 11:50:35 PM
Interesting responses!  So now the link is live. 

The basic idea is that economic health is defined as growth (increasing economy) in fundamental economic theory.  But physical/ecological constraints to growth are often neglected or if they are included it is only with reference to the effects on costs.  The idea that there is an actual upper limit to the amount of matter that is available is in fact defined by the first law of thermodynamics.  The second law of thermodynamics is that the universe tends to disorder.  This means that things do not spontaneously organize over time.  (Stuff breaks down.  You have to use more energy to build stuff naturally and man made than will be contained in the thing you make...building always results in waste heat).  How does this relate to economics? 

It means that economic laws have to be a subset of physical and natural laws.  It means that we live in a closed system and that energy flows through the closed system of matter from the sun back out into space as heat and in the process we do things with it.  It means that there is a limit to how much of anything is available and defines that we must pay attention to what happens when we are finished with tings that we make.

So I think a question to ponder is:  do you have to have growth for an economy to be successful?  Can an economy in steady state feel good to live in.  Can people be happy and feel accomplished in a state where as the Tao says:

"He who feels that he has enough will always have enough"

Does this concept mean we relegate ourselves to marxist tripe?   I don't think that necessarily follows.   Perhaps it means things like:

consciously choosing a certain level of consumption is reasonable or is a function of what is available. And that we tax energy use/waste production as you say.

Recognizing that managing waste (what do I do with my computer when I am done with it?) is engineered into the manufacturing process even as the anabolic (development) side of the engineering process is perfected.


____

Idea 2.

Island systems in biology are limited to a certain amount of space ecologically.  They are microcosms for the whole planet.  An island ecology is not based on matter that is outside of the island for the most part though there is some flows into and out of any island (they are not perfectly closed). 

In island systems "abundance" is scale dependent. If I am an ant living on the island, the available space that I have seems infinite. If I were one of a population of caribou on the same island, then resources seem more scarce.  If ants are so successful that they fill up the whole island with population and growth, a whole bunch of things start to change.  Competition becomes a factor in survival as opposed to pioneering capacity.   These kind of things are useful models.   Some ecological systems can remain extremely stable for a long time. Some oscillate.  Some undergo catastrophic failure.  Sometimes its hard to tell what is going to happen in such a model system.  Sometimes its not that hard at all.

 

Our economic systems are a subset of these processes not the other way around as near as I can tell.  I dont think your comment indicated that you felt otherwise.

Idea 3.


There is a theory of change that has been recently proposed that recognizes a multi scalar cyclical process that occurs in systems. It's called Panarchy http://www.resalliance.org/593.php It was developed by a fellow named Hollings who worked at the Sante Fe Institute...a group that focuses on complexity theory.

This concept of change suggests that systems have 4 states of change:

1. pioneering new ideas (building them up)
2. stabilization and competition
3. revolt and system collapse
4. innovation and evolution

These stages feed one into the other rather like a 4 part yin/yang.   By recognizing what phase of the system you are in you may be able to develop policies best suited to the circumstances. This concept is being studied in ecology as well as in economics and in other systems as well.

What doe this mean to our countries, our families and our lives? 

It may mean that we are riding a bunch of waves and we'd best prepare ourselves for inevitable changes.

It may also mean that we have an opportunity to learn and to perhaps develop some ways of either utilizing these cycles of change or of slowing down of speeding up...or stabilizing processes.

Karsk

62  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ecological Economics on: January 31, 2008, 11:53:02 AM
Hi all,

This pod cast popped up on one of my professional newsgroups.   



"Beyond Economic Growth
April 14, 2007      Total time: 57:03
Speaker: Joshua Farley, Assistant Professor, Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont and Fellow with the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics.

Here, Farley challenges the view that continuous economic growth on a planet with finite resources is possible or even desirable, particularly in the wealthy countries. He asks the question, "Is it the magic of the market or the magic of fossil fuels (which we're rapidly depleting) that has driven economic growth and consumption?" He discusses why the market economy has failed to account for declining ecosystem services, the life support services of the planet, suggesting that economic growth actually has the opportunity costs of eliminating or severely degrading the ecosystem services that belong to the commons. He goes on to suggest that the scale of the economy and just distribution have to take precedence over the neoclassical economic focus of allocation of scarce resources and offers some solutions to replace the conventional economic paradigm with a sustainable economy based on ecological economics."

http://www.themadisoninstitute.org/audio/Josh_Farley_final.mp3


I thought I would offer this to see what you think about it.

Karsk
63  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 4 Elements query to Marc Denny on: January 08, 2008, 12:37:02 PM
The last poster said "This is my feeling or my opinion but we seem to do things better with strong images. "


The way that the word theory is used in martial arts is a lot like the way theory is used in psychology.  In physical sciences, the meaning of the term is similar but on the other end of a gradient. 

Theory: a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or a body of principles offered to explain phenomenon.

On the one end, sometimes theories are sets of powerful images and ideas that allow people to talk, to connect, and to grasp concepts.  At this end of the spectrum the emphasis I think is on the image as a means of communicating something that is otherwise impossible to communicate.   In psychology, for example, there are tons of "theories" of how to help people and each one has a theoretical construct/image.  Psychoanalytic theory uses images of ones past as a vehicle to delve into the mind. Jungian theory uses archetypal images to do the same thing.  Behavioral (Skinner's) psychology on the other hand, relies on a theory of conditioning and minimizes the role of the unconscious to a much more mechanistic view of how things work.  Theories like these are just fine because they perform a function...that of communicating.   Am i REALLY all screwed up because my mother didn't like me?  Am I REALLY screwed up because my warrior is suppressed?  Who knows?  Who cares?  All that matters is that a person can take the imagery provided and understand themselves better within that context.  Is it a "true theory" in that it is actually what is happening?  How can you know that?  How do you prove that?  Does it matter?

In truth proving it or not is not the point. These theories are an image language that allow us to relate to ourselves and to others. Underneath it all something real happens....what that is is actually a mystery.  So we come up with ideas and images about how the world works...if the ideas help us to do what we need to do to survive, if it helps us to survive repeatedly, and if it doesn't contradict what we already know to be true we tend to trust the theory more.  But blind trust...thinking that this is what is actually happening absolutely positively...ummm, no.

This is an aside but mainstream science theory  is not all that different from these. I am talking about real scientific inquiry and the discovery of the theories and beliefs of how the world works.  A physical theory such as "the atomic theory" is just an image as well.  The difference in science is that science endeavors to "unify" all that we know so that it is all consistent within itself.  This "coherence" means that nothing contradicts.  When contradictions occur that pan out to be real (tested by repeatability and trying in a bunch of ways to test the idea and finding no contradictions) the unified "world view" changes to include that new idea. 


You said: "Cut thru to whats useful, its easy to get blinded by the bells and whistles".

I agree.  The "Truth" is out there somewhere whether it is nebulous or unattainable or whatever.  If theories and images are useful as a means to communicate about things we know to be true but cannot otherwise articulate thats great.  At the end of the day connecting back to reality through repeatability of results and through coherence is what increases the odds of survival.   The rest is a mystery that we try to talk about because (in my case anyways) it turns me on to think how cool the universe is.

in the spirit of sharing,

Karsk

64  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Movie Fights on: January 02, 2008, 06:07:23 PM
Heh.  I like this one:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5v27qPog_0

Here is more of Cyrano in the 1990 movie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amlQoYtA-Zs.   Eh. Lots of staged stuff but I like it anyway. Especially when he pokes his opponent with his nose.

Happy New Year, 


Karsk

65  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: November 02, 2007, 10:58:42 AM
Yeah.    That was absolutely my initial response as well.  When I see things like this, I try to look past some of what you might call "a bit odd" to see if there is some point that is worth looking into.  In this case, when I watched the videos I was thinking of the multiple stab wound victims that tended to happen during the knife fighting when people went to the ground at the spring gathering?  So whats the alternative to getting stuck on the ground (literally in this case)?  What if you end up down and you KNOW someone has a knife?  When I thought about it like that I started to wonder about this a little more seriously.  I dunno. 

Cheers!
66  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: November 01, 2007, 11:39:04 AM
Guided Chaos

I came across this group a few weeks ago in my constant perusal of the net for martial arts things. 

http://attackproof.com/watch-VIDEO-CLIPS-of-KCD-self-defense-training.html


When I first found them I saw a video clip without any introduction.  My initial response was Huh??Combat Capoiera!!!
The groundwork looks a bit bizarre.  Then the group has turned up in the latest Black Belt Magazine issue.  They have a following of law enforcement people, and the source of the method derives from military training, native american fighting, and other things.

In the Blackbelt article they talk about teaching balance, sensitivity, looseness and flow.  They want to avoid body to body grappling and a lot of their groundwork is about evading grappling as much as possible.

Have you heard of this and what do you think?
67  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Euro Martial Arts on: October 25, 2007, 06:25:31 PM
Hi all,

Just came across this paper on a website dedicated to European martial arts.

http://www.thearma.org/essays/Getting-Punchy.pdf


Its about the lack of boxing as opposed to grappling in medieval manuals of fighting.   The author is saying that boxing as an endeavour separated from wrestling was not common and then goes on to try to explain why that might be.  One thing he notices is that this is similar to japan in that striking was in the context of grappling.  (Karate was an Okinawan import to Japan.  His comparison is to the homegrown Japanese martial arts.

This is not a refereed paper or anything but it does have a bunch of references.  I do not know if he is right or not and it reads a little redundantly but I am sharing it because of the cool images.

EDIT:  After re-reading this fellows paper, I had a bit more to add.  His main thesis is that german knights did not practice pugilistic martial arts like boxing, wing chun, or karate.   He is basing this on a preconceived notion of what those things are or how they developed.    If you look through the images, you can see a series that depicts what he calls boys  performing wrestling yet most of the moves involve striking or some defense against striking.  They look like pugilistic martial arts to me.   His point is that there was no formal type of fighting where people limited themselves to just striking while minimizing grappling at that time. 

Perhaps the important thing to draw from this is about martial arts that emphasize striking only.   If you survey martial arts histories, how often, when and under what circumstances did "specialized" martial arts develop.   The thread about the evolution of boxing relative to the filipino martial arts is discussion a different time of boxing's history. 

Wikipedia does a pretty good job on the history of  boxing : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boxing

and the following is from an additional online source.

QUOTE
Early Boxing (to 1838)

Fighting with fists was a sport about 6,000 years ago in what is now known as Ethiopia, from where it spread to ancient Egypt and eventually throughout the Mediterranean area. Ancient Crete also had a boxing-like sport, which probably developed independently, about 1,500 B.C.

Although the sport wasn't added to the ancient Olympic program until 688 B.C., some sort of boxing had become pretty well established among the Greeks before that time. In one form of Greek boxing, the two combatants simply sat on stones facing and pounded away at one another until one of them was knocked out.

Boxing in the Olympics wasn't quite that brutal, but there were no breaks in the action. Fighters wore leather thongs, originally to protect their hands and wrists. As time went on, harder leather was used, turning the thongs into weapons.

The Romans added iron or brass studs, creating the cestus, which could be a deadly weapon. Then they went even farther, developing a cruel, spur-like instrument of bronze, called the myrmex ("limb piercer"). Boxing in the Roman Empire was not so much a sport as a bloody amusement for spectators, like the gladiatorial contests, with slaves pitted against one another in a fight to the death.

The myrmex was finally abolished and boxing itself was banned by Rome about 30 B.C. The Romans had made one small contribution to the sport: They invented the ring, originally a simple marked circle.

With the spread of Christianity, pugilism in any form evidently disappeared from Europe completely. It resurfaced in England in the late 17th century. A London newspaper referred to a bout in 1681, and the Royal Theatre in London was the site of regularly scheduled matches in 1698.

The sport at that time was actually a mixture of wrestling and boxing. Although hitting with fists was emphasized, a boxer could grab and throw his opponent, then jump on him and hit him while he was down.

James Figg, who opened a boxing academy in London in 1719, introduced a measure of skill to the sport. Figg was an expert fencer as well as a boxer, and his academy was patterned after the fencing academies of the period. He taught parrying and counter-punching, just as fencing masters taught parries and ripostes to their students.

Figg won great publicity for his academy by challenging all comers to bouts of boxing or cudgeling, He never lost, and was generally considered champion of Great Britain until he retired in 1730.

His success inspired the establishment of several other boxing academies in London, and the fact that he was a fencer also gave the sport some prestige. A number of "gentlemen amateurs" took up boxing as a pastime. They also became enthusiastic fans at prize fights.

One of Figg's pupils, Jack Broughton, became known as the "father of English boxing." Broughton, generally acknowledged as champion from 1729 to 1750, taught boxing and operated an arena in London. In 1743, he drew up the first formal rules for the sport.

Under Broughton's rules, there was a 3-foot square in the center of the ring. When a fighter was knocked down, his handlers had 30 seconds to get him into position on one side of the square, facing his opponent. In effect, this marked the first division of a bout into rounds, since each knockdown ended fighting for at least 30 seconds. Although wrestling holds were permitted, a boxer was not allowed to grab his opponent below the waist.

Broughton also invented the first boxing gloves, known as "mufflers," to protect not only the hands but also the face from blows. However, they were used only in practice, not in actual fights.

The rules devised by Broughton were used throughout England with only minor modifications until 1838, when the Pugilistic Society (founded in 1814) developed the London Prize Ring Rules. The new code called for a ring 24 feet square, enclosed by two ropes. A knockdown marked the end of a round. After a 30-second break, the fighters were given eight seconds to "come to scratch," unaided, in the center of the ring.

END QUOTE

Link: http://www.hickoksports.com/history/boxing01.shtml

In karate, there are throws and grappling but that these were de-emphasized when karate was introduced to Japan from Okinawa because the Japanese martial arts already placed a strong emphasis on grappling.  I think that the lack of grappling or for that matter weaponry in many martial arts has to do more with the creation of contests than anything.

At any rate, I hope this is off interest anyway.





Karsk
68  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: More or less technical? on: October 25, 2007, 05:49:51 PM

1.  Somewhere in the past there was something that actually worked that was what caused people to care enough to systematize in the first place.  Somebody somewhere did something that was really cool.

2.  That person had to be clever enough as a teacher or demonstrator to portray that understanding in a way that made people get excited about it.  This means that there were other things that may have worked but that didn't get into a system.

3.  As soon as the first thoughts were placed down in some transmittable form, people started interpreting the ideas.  In a way, the degree of modification can be measured or at least discussed.

The term entropy describes the tendency to move towards disorder.  There is a kind of entropy in understanding that can occur over time.  Some ideas have a half life of understanding that is long. Those sorts of ideas tend to be fundamental or basic.  Perhaps an example of this deep fundamental is a consideration of body alignment.   Other ideas have a short half life.  An example of such an idea is "the application of this movement is...". 

4.  Sometimes there was a cultural or situational context to fighting systems that may have had an influence on what was considered appropriate, what worked, and what was acceptable. We KNOW that is the case.  Compare WW1 to WW2 tactically.

5.  Sometimes understanding is lost and the system has become rigid so it cannot recapture that understanding.  So things get weird.

One thought that seems to permeate this thread is that its a worthy endeavor to try to figure out the deeper meanings and applications of the standardized approached that have evolved.   In a way its trying to find the original intent and context in addition to innovating based on the hints you get along the way.


Take Japanese martial arts for example.  A lot of Japanese martial arts emphasize a very specific kind of extensiveness.  They de-emphasize feinting and close circular movements and emphasize seeing the opening and responding with a singular effective response.  They often begin at range and include an entry.   I cannot really think of any Japanese martial art that doesn't have this influence.  Even Judo and ju jutsu, while grappling arts and very circular, are derived from what to do when you are in close after a charge.  So there is a premium placed on finding the opening and utilizing it rather than generating openings by feinting. This is a generalization and there are exceptions but mostly I think its a valid thing to say.

I tend to think that this approach is very situational and it came form fighting in armor on the battlefield under certain conditions.  There is always the problem with what happens if I don't get the guy with my kill shot.  What happens if he doesn't go down.

There is a whole concept in japanese martial arts called "irimi".  It means "getting in".   It compliments fighting in range because it helps you get in.  Practices at range emphasize what to do once you are there.

I think that people studying this do not do enough reality checks and that is where the work has to occur to keep it current.  But there seems to be something really valuable here as a long lasting fundamental concept. 



Cheers,

Karsk


69  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Brain damage in boxing, kickboxing, football, etc: on: September 15, 2007, 03:40:06 PM
Has anyone ever sustained a head shot that affected them significantly afterwards?  I have.  I got hit as I was rising from the ground in the back of the head.  When I got back to work (technically oriented work)  I could not think straight enough to do the math I needed.  This lasted for about a month.

Over my lifetime, I have had at least 4 significant concussions, two of which were from martial arts.     One was from playing neighborhood football and another was from fall as a kid from a stupid height.  I have had my bell mildly rung in practice often enough.

After I got the head shot, I talked seriously to physicians about this.  I mean, like most, I tended to shrug off anything mild.  One comment I remember was "you have about 3 concussions that you can have in your life.  The also told me about Minor Traumatic Brain Injury being more significant than previously thought and they were all concerned with cumulative effects.  I think the current trends are more along the lines of getting hit in the head can cause damage and cumulative damage as well. so in effect its common sense.  The harder and more often you get hit the more your chances of having some form of trouble over time.  I do not believe martial artists should ignore this.

I still believe in the idea of having realistic practice events for a variety of reasons.  The middle path is always the hardest.  How do you have such realistic practice while not damaging yourself or other in your tribe?  I think this is possible to do.  But I think this is one of the main reasons that Character Values have to be incorporated into martial arts training.  You have to teach right action as well as combat effectiveness.  Otherwise your tribe suffers.

______________________________

Exerpt from a link ( http://www.appneurology.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleId=190500345:  "June 17, 2006
Early Evaluation and Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
MARC ANDREWS, MD, JOHN BRUNS, JR, MD
   
   
   
About 1.4 million incidents of traumatic brain injury (TBI) are reported in the United States each year,1 of which 75% are classified as "mild."2 Mild TBI (MTBI) results from a number of causes, including falls, interpersonal violence, and motor vehicle collisions.3 Many cases are sports-related; football and wrestling in men and soccer and basketball in women are primary sources.4

Patients who have MTBI may present with varying neurologic findings. Intoxication, preexisting conditions, polypharmacy, and dementia are confounders that are frequently encountered during the evaluation. Management decisions may be challenging in the patient who appears well during the evaluation but who was lethargic, confused, or amnestic at the time of the injury. Patients may also present days or weeks after the event with postconcussive symptoms, such as headache, sleep disturbances, memory and concentration problems, and emotional lability.

This article presents a pragmatic approach to the patient with MTBI, using evidence-based guidelines when available.

CLASSIFICATION OF MTBI

MTBI describes a condition in which there is little or no change from the patient's neurologic baseline after the traumatic event. Although the term "head injury" is often used interchangeably with TBI, this usage is inappropriate. Head injury is defined as clinically evident trauma above the clavicles, including scalp lacerations, periorbital ecchymoses, and forehead abrasions. TBI refers to injury to the brain itself; it may occur without visible head injury. TBI manifests as confusion, focal neurologic abnormalities, altered level of consciousness, and/or subtle changes on neuropsychological testing. It may also appear as an abnormality on cranial CT or MRI scans or during intra-cranial surgeries.

"Concussion" is another term that is used interchangeably with MTBI and defined in various ways in the literature, often in the context of sports injuries.5 Historically, MTBI refers to patients with head injury who have resolving neurologic symptoms and a Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score between 13 and 15; concussion refers to patients with head injury who have loss of consciousness (LOC) or amnesia of varying durations. For consistency, we will use the terms "TBI" and "MTBI" unless we refer to a scale or a table using the term "concussion."

There is no evidence-based definition of MTBI; inclusion and exclusion criteria vary by classification scheme. The Head Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine defines MTBI according to the following criteria6:

- Grade 1: Any alteration in mental state at the time of injury (eg, feeling dazed, disoriented, or confused).

- Grade 2: Any loss of memory of the events immediately before or after the injury, with post-traumatic amnesia of less than 24 hours.

- Grade 3: Any period of LOC of less than 30 minutes followed by a GCS score of 13 to 15.7.

70  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Brain damage in boxing, kickboxing, football, etc: on: September 15, 2007, 02:55:39 PM
This may be old news but  I recently just saw this video of Chuck Liddell in an interview.  What do you think of this?  Was he just sleeping off a wild night or is something wrong?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huKeNWggSPA
71  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / The Boys Project on: September 12, 2007, 03:22:21 PM
"THE BOYS PROJECT  http://www.boysproject.net/

The mission of The Boys Project is to help young males develop their capabilities and reach the potential that their families and teachers know they have. The Boys Project seeks to accomplish for young men what the Girls Project so successfully accomplished for young women--- to increase academic skills, to increase college success, and to develop the confidence, drive, and determination to contribute to American society.



THE "BOY CRISIS"


Since the late 1970's, young women have soared in college attendance while young men have stagnated. Young men's literacy is declining. Many young men are disengaging from school. Young men are less likely to be valedictorians, to be on the honor roll, and to be active in organizations like student government. Young men are more likely to get D's and F's, to be suspended or expelled from school, to drop out of school, and to commit suicide.

We are losing young boys to a sense of failure that comes from schooling poorly adapted to their needs. We are losing adolescent males to the depression that comes from feeling neither needed nor respected. We are losing young men to life tracks that include neither college nor any other energetic endeavor.

A large, sullen, poorly educated group of men will not keep the nation vital in the twenty-first century. The nation needs the energy, initiative, and ambition of its young men as well as its young women. "
72  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: A Father's Question on: September 12, 2007, 03:49:29 AM
Hiyas Crafty,

My sons are 25 and 22.

I used to be a school teacher in one of my past lives.  I think that the kind of policy that you cite here is pretty typical of the policies in a lot of places.  But bullying still happens.  Kids still get chewed up.  Sometimes kids have to defend themselves because if they don't they face a life of ridicule and pressure from the jackals. 

I am all for a pleasant school experience. It would be nice if kids could get together and play nice.  But kids are often faced with terrible things in the imperfect systems that we have.

By being an active parent in the school you can do amazing things.  I witnessed the effects of intense direct strong parents.  Nothing puckers school districts up more than savvy parents who are ornery and who know how to fight at a variety of levels.  When my kids faced potential difficulties... I made sure that the school knew I was an active parent.  Active in the Alpha male of my  household sort of way.

I figured that no one was going to look out for my"pups" better than me.  On a pretense of one thing or another I would go talk to the principal and would convey somehow that I had fire in my eyes...that I was a live one.  I said things like.  "I see that you have a policy on self defense.  If you are insisting on preventing children from fighting back as a protocol then I expect that you WILL be able to adequately defend my children from bullying, derision and anything else that might make a kid miserable.  If you are failing in this what specific steps are you suggesting that I take as a conscientious parent who absolutely WILL NOT TOLERATE (eyes locked:feral look in eye) my kids being chewed up by their school experience. "  Then I would plant myself in the principals office for far too long and continue the discussion...repeating myself several times until I got answers.  My intention was to make sure that they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that they did not want ME back there pissed off.  I also wanted to know exactly what their process was.   I planned on making sure that my kids followed the rules to the letter ...up to a point.  . If it failed after the boys tried that policy then they would have a fight on their hands to justify expulsion if my kids did fight back.

I think that I was creating conditions favorable for protecting my sons by doing this.   Making "fortifications"  for my kids.... making the school more sensitive to my kids needs had the affect of buttressing them better against potential problems.

I would also become more reasonable with the principal after I made my point. I wanted this guy to be my ally eventually.  I wanted him to know that I am a very reasonable guy but that I would cause major difficulties if my kids were not protected by their policy.  Several times I ended up with the principal confessing in private that he thought such ideas were stupid. This happened with my stepson most recently.  He had his jacket ripped in two by two idiots. They took it from him in the school yard.   When I arrived at the school one of the kids dads was standing over my stepson querying him about what he did to provoke those kids.  He took one look at me and backed into the wall. He was not acting honorably and he knew it.  (That issue was resolved peacefully.  thats fine)

My kids have all had to fight.  I told them that they were to try to obey the rules.  They should do the tings that the school system laid out.  And call me immediately if there was a real problem.  I prepared myself to drop whatever I was doing and be at their school raising hell in minutes. (Small town).  I told the boys about timing and distancing and taught them that staying away from trouble was long range self defense because they should be able to sense trouble and that they were to practice it.  I taught them about the danger of groups. That a gang of kids could turn on you and be much more dangerous.  But at that age sometimes walloping the leader is what it takes to change the way a group of kids looks at you.

I told them what my dad told me.  "Stay out of fights if you can.  But if you have to fight...hit em hard right in the nose as hard as you can. Throws work well too as impressive awe inducing responses.   And then get away and call me ASAP."  I also told them that it was moral to stop the instant that they could see that they had knocked the spirit out of the enemy.  That if they continued beyond what was needed then they would be at fault.  Both the boys learned that there is such a thing as a presentation that is vulnerable to being picked on.  They have learned not to present themselves in that way.

My oldest son had a bunch of kids surround him.  He tried all the things that policy required plus he just didn't want to fight.  Finally he picked one of them up and shoved him onto the top of a locker.   My other son had a guy try to clock him from behind.  He grabbed him and threw him hard.  Nothing ever came of the confrontations as far as the school was concerned.  In both cases my kids came home and told me exactly what happened immediately.  I was prepared to defend them if need be.

Lots of times such things happen AWAY from the eyes of teachers.  At the end of the day there is a time when you have to be willing to stop people from hurting you.  Where I grew up, I had to fight as well. I was lucky that my fights were not crazy.  Nothing lethal.  Back then there were rules of engagement.

Now I don't know about places like LA in this day and age.  Maybe the way kids fight is so harsh that the schools are scared of kids getting killed.  But even then, at some point no matter who you are you have to do something to protect yourself.

Good luck!


Karsk
73  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: September 04, 2007, 06:24:41 PM
This ones for the Girls:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xf9W9luyxHw
74  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Older Warrior on: September 04, 2007, 12:56:32 PM
Thanks to Maxx and the other young guys for posting.  I think its interesting to hear your comments.  I appreciate your enthusiasm Maxx.  Perhaps the other over 50 guys will disagree, but your workout and the energy that you present seems  to be kind of age appropriate for you.  It reminds me of me at your age.   In the interests of comparison I will offer what I used to practice like over the past years:

Beginner:  early 20s.  no weight training, no extra workouts, martial arts practice 2hours/day 3 times per week.  Emphasis on drills, sparring.  Introduction to more intense workouts by going to "Special Training" which are  4.5 day intense workouts....2 to 5 workouts per day once per year

Late 20s-early to mid  30's.   The height of crazy practicing for me.  4 nights per week @ 2 hours, 5 days @ 1hour at lunch, Saturday morning 7 to noon.  Sunday for 1 hour.   24 hour practice two times.   Long repetitive marathons (10000 punch practices) several times.   Special training 2 to 3 times per year.   Lots of over training but I had lots of zeal. Ate anything I wanted to eat.  I weighed 40 lbs less than I do now.  All wires and tendons.

Mid 30s to 40s.  Practicing 3 nights per week @2 hours.  Saturday morning for 2 hours.  Started to vary my training. Cross training.  More fitness training such as chi gung, running, calisthenics.  Started to eat low fat more "greenface"

50s.  3 days per week weights plus stretching, slow motion practicing (shadow boxing, stick work).  1 to 3 days training with partners.  Emphasis on rhythm, timing, fluidity.  I try to avoid tensing, particularly in my shoulders.  I love random flow sorts of practice.  I can do that for a couple of hours and I feel recharged afterwards.  I enjoy throws, grappling and whacking things but I don't really like taking body shocks (hard throws, blows to the head, that sort of thing) on a day to day basis though when I was younger it was a common facet of practice.
 

When I was younger I would emphasize high intensity everything.  High numbers of techniques, intense execution of movements, speed development.  Now that I am older I calm way down and focus on feeling natural and I don't mind moving slower.  I think without really trying to, I am emphasizing general health and maintenance much more now.

These days I try not to over train.  I find that high reps (like repeatedly punching) generally is a bad idea now  because it creates repetitive strains.  Like rotator cuff problems. High rep practices seem to bring out old injuries gained during my 20s!

To practice speed, I specifically do things to build speed and power.    I am doing some cable work like lumberjacks and punching sets with moderate loads done quickly and I like to do things like snatches. 

I find I really like complex free weights like dead lifts, squats, and snatches.  I keep looking for interesting things to add and I follow a scheduled plan for weights.  I don't work out for longer than 70 minutes not counting stretching and I allow full recovery (one week) before returning to a body part.  If I feel washed out I rest by laying off or doing less. I don't really push it all that much but I seem to show progress.   Finally, I vary my routines every 6 to 7 weeks.  And I will take time for longer layoffs occasionally.

As for my diet, I eat 6 times per day and I try to eat balanced meals generally speaking with more protein than average but less than what might be appropriate for weight lifting in general.  I find that protein powders do not trouble me much and I use them but I do not rely on them.  I will use them at work when time is a problem for example.   I really try to listen to my body.  I will occasionally stop eating to give myself a rest!   Sometimes I will fast to just calm things down.  I find it helps me to reset my sensitivity levels about how I feel when I eat.

I have read that when you are younger a lean body is around 7% fat.  At 50, you are considered "lean" if you have around 18%.  I don't know if this is accurate.  I think these kinds of statistics are based on averages in the general population anyway and so may or may not be relevant to any individual.  If I take the time to measure this, I vary from around 12 to 18%.  I am really not sure if this is all that important though.  I have an interest in it because of a history of high cholesterol in the family. Its a way of assuring that I am where I think I am.  I have a pair of skin fold calipers that I kept from a past endeavor and it only takes a few minutes to calculate lean body mass once in a while.

Now I am pretty sure that I could safely increase what I am presently doing but the feeling and flavour of my practices would be different than before.

Anyway, I offer this in the spirit of comparison.

Karsk


75  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Older Warrior on: August 31, 2007, 01:03:49 PM
There is this idea of stages of development that has been touched on in another thread.   People seem to go through these or similar stages regardless of the discipline.   The stages might be characterized something like this:

1.  Initial grasp of fundamentals  as a whole  (I get it!  I may not be able to do it but at least I get that it exists, BASICS)
2.  Young male hierarchical ritual combat stage (I want to test myself against reality and against others. Could be easy to rile up)
3.  Self-control (I am finding that straining all my muscles is rather inefficient.  I want to calm down and figure things out more. Calmness)
4.  Leader (I am caring more about my group.  I want to support others.  I have a broader sense of things in both time and space. Practice is still pretty dynamic but even more controlled and relaxed)
5.  Wise olde guye (I am thinking about spiritual connections more and more.  Relaxation, fluidity, alignment, smoothness, hard to rile up. Generally laid back)

I guess that we are all somewhere along a continuum of these stages. We may go up and down through them but generally the older you get they more...opportunity you have to delve into the higher stages.  Though perhaps the opportunities are born mostly of necessity!

With regard to how this plays out physically, I think that there is a period in your life where you can strain or push yourself in certain ways as a result of being young.  How you are moving isn't exactly efficient...lots of muscles working at cross purposes et cetera...but it sure keeps you looking fit.   

In the long term though, your eyeballs start to bug out if you continue to practice that way.  You start feeling the stress of that type of muscular exertion.  Its what I think Tai chi writings refer to as "Li".   If you rely on LI  and not "jing"  (internal energy/relaxation sort of things) then you can cause yourself problems long term.

So as I get older I am really trying to study this. 

For example, I am weight training.  But I proceeding with weight training differently than I might have when I was younger.  I am focusing on strength and power as many martial arts oriented fitness folks recommend.  But I am also trying to maintain flexibility and relaxation ...calmness to what I am doing.  I like the idea of maintaining nimbleness as I age.   I am sure that if younger guys were to try to do this as well it would be good for them.  But the older you get the more you HAVE to change.  The alternative is to bust yourself up and get crippled.



76  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Older Warrior on: August 30, 2007, 11:03:25 AM
So we were having a grappling practice one weekend.  I was feeling pretty good so I decided to have a good go of it.  We were doing a single eliminations thing where two opponents sat back to back and on the count of three, try to pin the other.   My second opponent was one of my young friends...half my age.  He works in law enforcement and has seen me as senior guy his whole life.  He is reaching his prime and I am ...well....ripe? So he has a tendency not to hold back all that much.

He has been feeling his oats and I figure heck its just a little wrestling match...So at the count of three I turn and he is already barreling into me.  He hits me in the midsection but I have him in a cow catcher (underhook/overhook).  I deftly turn him as I roll backwards and away from him and we land with him on the bottom and me on top securing a pin/arm bar with my foot on his wrist with my other leg under his elbow from a side mount.   "Cool", I think as I hold him for the requisite few seconds....except....except...I have this tiny little twinge in my shoulder.  It grows and grows in intensity until my shoulder up to the top of my head is hurting.

Yep, tore a rotator cuff and slightly dislodged my shoulder joint.  I wasn't even sure how it happened.  So almost 2 years later it few pretty good! 

So thats something I notice as I get older.  I don't bounce as high.   The cost of making errors or of overextending yourself increases as you get older.

There  are physical manifestations of getting older.  Things that you can't do the same as you could before.  Lots of people, when faced with this kind of change, stop practicing.  Or maybe over time they have laid off training and because they have laid off, they face a big challenge if they try to recover some fitness. 

I want to "gracefully surrender the things of youth"  as I age.  I don't want to be young again. I have liked every age that I have ever been and right now is no exception.  But there is also "Walk as a warrior for all your days".   So practicing requires us all to adapt and redefine goals continuously. 

As I write this I am realizing that the vast majority of people reading this are probably not quite where I am in age.  But sooner or later you either throw the towel in or you face the challenge of how to continue.   How do you proceed as you get older with "lack of diminishment" even as your physical capacities peak and then begin to ebb?   This is a very interesting challenge to work on.

Karsk
77  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / The Older Warrior on: August 29, 2007, 06:26:03 PM
Hi All,

First off,  I wanted to belatedly say that I went to the gathering as a spectator in June.  It was a cool experience to watch it and I enjoyed seeing the camaraderie as well as the battles.  Thanks Fighters for that.   As I watched I paid attention to the several older fighters there. 

Secondly, I watched Randy Couture face Gonzaga over the weekend.  This fight was particularly interesting to me because of Couture's age.  I think that there is a thread about MMA to more fully discuss that fight so I will only mention it here because iit may serve as discussion material for this topic.

I am interested in discussing what it is like to practice as we get older.  I am 54 years old.   I have been practicing a variety of things since I was in my 20s.  When I started practicing the oldest senior person that I knew was in his 40s.  In some places in the world where people live in close proximity to their seniors their whole lives there is perhaps a continuum from old to young.  This exists now in North America, but as martial arts migrated here I think the first people that began practicing here have not had as many older people to learn how to practice as we get older.

So to start this thread off, what do you think changes with age?  How does the experience of practicing change? 

Another question that I think will be interesting to pursue is: How do you think you should practice as you get older?  What should you emphasize?  What is important to you now compared to when you were younger? 

What matters when you become an older warrior?

Karsk
78  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done? on: July 06, 2007, 10:58:39 AM
I found this on MSNBC this morning.  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19619846/

I am not sure if it belongs in this thread since it is an example of a person doing something courageous.  I thought it was cool.

Karsk
79  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Yoga on: May 15, 2007, 12:38:09 PM
A recent bit of research on Tai Chi appeared in MSN.com.  Here is an exerpt from a related site ( http://www.anitavestal.net/taichi.htm )

Quote


UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute September, 2003 Mind over Matter: Tai Chi Class Boosts Shingles Immunity, Improves Physical Functioning in Older Adults

UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute researchers report that older adults in a 15-week Tai Chi class saw immunity factors that suppress shingles soar 50 percent. In addition, participants showed significant improvement in their physical health and ability to move through their day.

Appearing in the September edition of the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, findings of the randomized, controlled clinical trial are the first to demonstrate a positive, virus-specific immune response to a behavioral intervention.

“Our findings offer a unique and exciting example of mind over matter,” said Dr. Michael R. Irwin, a professor at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and director of the Institute’s Cousin’s Center for Psychoneuroimmunology. “A large body of research shows how behavior can negatively affect the immune system and health, but ours is the first randomized, controlled study to demonstrate that behavior can have a positive effect on immunity that protects against shingles. The findings are particular noteworthy as Tai Chi Chih or “meditation with movement” increased immunity in older adults who are at risk for herpes zoster.

“The improvements in both immunity and physical functioning were significant by widely accepted measures of each, and all with no surgery, no drugs and no side effects,” Irwin said. “We were particularly struck by improvements in what subjects were able to accomplish physically as a result of participating in these classes. In fact, older adults who had more impairment present at the start of the study showed the greatest improvement and benefit at the end.”

The varicella zoster virus, or shingles, can cause a painful skin rash with intermittent pain that can last for months or years. Even when the rash subsides, skin in the affected area can remain extremely painful to the touch.

The virus lurks in the nerves of virtually everyone who has had chicken pox, but the immune system typically prevents outbreaks. This cell-mediated immunity to the virus declines with age, however, leaving older adults particularly susceptible to the painful condition. The greater the decline, the greater the risk. No vaccination against shingles exists.

The study randomly assigned 36 men and women age 60 or older to a 15-week program of three 45-minute Tai Chi classes a week or to a wait list. To qualify, each volunteer had to show immunity to varicella zoster virus, but not to have had a history of shingles. They also had to be able to walk. Three class members dropped out before the study ended due to transportation issues. One member of the control group dropped out.

Varicella zoster virus-specific cell-mediated immunity was measured before the program began and one week after the program ended. Doctors used the Medical Outcome scale to assess physical functioning before the program began; at five, 10 and 15 weeks during the program; and one week after the program ended.

The study was funded by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, a unit of the National Institutes of Health.

Co-authors of the study were Jennifer L. Pike and Jason C. Cole of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Department of Medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and Dr. Michael N. Oxman of the University of California at San Diego and the San Diego Veterans Affairs Healthcare System.

The UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute is an interdisciplinary research and education institute devoted to the understanding of complex human behavior, including the genetic, biological, behavioral and sociocultural underpinnings of normal behavior, and the causes and consequences of neuropsychiatric disorders.

End Quote


In Tai Chi writings, there is often a discussion of the difference between "Jing" and "Li"  I forget which is which...but...one is referring to muscular development, intensity, straining, youthful vigor  and the other is associated with relaxation, vital energy, calmness, and softness....

Generally, the first is considered to be not so good for your health and the latter is preferred. 

This is of interest to me as I get older.  On the one hand I want to maintain muscle mass and strong tendons and ligaments. On the other hand I want to avoid straining and to move economically and more cleverly.  I am interested in investigating whether these two goals/approaches  conflict with one another or if there is a way to do both.

I think this relates to the yoga discussion because I think that yoga tends to promote the latter approach to fitness.

I think that this conversation is also related to "internal" vs external"  and physical vs spiritual ways of looking at things.  Often these concepts are presented as a duality...in dynamic opposition to one another...but how does this work in pragmatic fitness maintenance?

Karsk
80  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: 300 on: March 16, 2007, 10:07:32 PM
Here is something I gleaned off of the internet at this website:

http://www.ospreypublishing.com/content2.php/cid=217

Indeed the eminent archaeologist Anthony Snodgrass stated in his book Arms and Armour of the Greeks, which first appeared in 1967 but is still the principal comprehensive work on the subject, that 'Chalcis became the outstanding centre of production of iron swords in Greece, as Toledo did of steel in medieval Europe'.

The sword with leaf-shaped blade could be used for both cut and thrust, but it is clear from the representational evidence that it was principally used in a downward cut. In fact we have few detailed clues as to how it was used. An interesting vase in the British Museum depicts a duel between Achilles and Hektor. Achilles on the left is still fighting with his spear, but Hektor has lost his, and is about to launch a violent attack with his drawn sword, which is of the standard type with its leaf-shaped blade. He has thrown the sword backwards in his right hand, and is about to rush on Achilles. As he runs in he will swing the sword forwards and upwards, and then up over the right shoulder, flexing his elbow and holding his chest and shoulders as high up as possible, in order to bring it down in front of him with the maximum force. Interestingly, and presumably by mistake, the artist has given Hektor a second sword housed in his scabbard.

The swelling of the blade, both in width and thickness, towards the point, which gives it its distinctive leaf shape, is presumably designed to move the centre of gravity of the blade forwards towards the point, and as far away from the hand as possible, to maximise the force of the downward blow. The emphasis was placed on the downward cut, and so we also find the Greeks making use of two types of curved and single-bladed swords designed to maximise the force of the blow.

The first type is best described as a recurved sabre. Shaped like a Gurkha kukri or a yataghan [a muslim long curved knife], the back of the blade curves forward, and the main weight of the weapon lies near the tip. The cutting edge is on the concave side. The hilt sometimes ends in the shape of a bird or animal head, or curves back to guard the knuckles in the shape of a 'knuckle-duster'. The weapon is often shown being used in a backhand cut. A good example of this is a vase in Bologna that shows an Amazon hoplite swinging a recurved sabre back over her left shoulder. She is about to deliver a diagonal slashing stroke to her front and right with it. Recurved sabres are very common in Iberia, but all these examples seem to be later in date, and it is possible they represent a later spread in the use of the weapon out of the Greek world to the west.

Finally the Greeks also used a third type of sword, not previously distinguished from the recurved sabre by Greek archaeologists, which, in comparison with the standard terminology used for medieval weaponry, we might best term a 'falchion'. Other suitable terms might be 'backsword' or 'pallasch'. It also had a heavy single-edged blade, whose back was either straight or slightly concave, but not recurved like the sabre described above, while the edge has a pronounced convex curve and broadens considerably towards the point. Like the recurved sabre the falchion also came into use in the later 6th century. The falchion is only shown on a limited number of vase paintings, and its popularity does not seem to have survived long into the 5th century.

Recurved sabres and falchions are both shown being used by Achaemenid troops on Greek vases.



Cheers,


Karsk
81  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tippy-tappy drills-- threat or menace? on: March 02, 2007, 05:28:13 PM
Hi Maija,

The training shown on that video looks very much like what we call free one-attack.  It IS different but the energy flow is very similar.  In free one- attack both people are mobile and enter and exit in and out, a poem about it goes "the ma requires advancing, retreating separating and meeting".  In that practice, the attacker uses a specified but uncontrolled attack and the defender controls the counter but then is able to immediately respond with an attack of their own.

In terms of the comment you made in the last scenario.  You are right about your chances being far greater at having the initiative if you are more trained but perhaps your opponent is of equal or greater skill than you. Or they are less skilled but you have a migraine.   If the fellow is big and nasty and don't care if they are hurt sometimes the sheer ferocity of the attack is enough to bowl you over.  In any case, there may be veils between you and your opponent and you may think you are in charge but you may not be.   In this way, I think that the initiative has to be resolved.

Thanks for the really interesting discussions everyone!

Karsk
82  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tippy-tappy drills-- threat or menace? on: March 01, 2007, 02:04:40 PM
The last few replies got me thinking of how the "initiative" fits into this discussion.  Initiative...who has control of the situation is a really interesting thing.   When you have the initiative in a game, or in sparring, or in managing people you can feel it and the persons that you are interacting with can feel it.  If the initiative is contested because both people know completely what is up and realize the conflict exists and are prepared to act, that feels different than when you catch someone with their pants down completely.  Is it not true that in many realistic confrontations, the attackers create or take advantage of circumstances where they have the initiative pretty sewn up?

Examples are what Raphael alluded to.  All of the examples that were brought up ("stairwells, in alleyways, on icy streets, on muddy fields, in theaters, in between cars, in ATMs, etc") have some things in common with regard to initiative. Attacking people by getting close to them before they know you are there, catching people in places with limited escape routes, when they are vulnerable in some way and so on.

I mentioned the concept of MA earlier in this thread.  The concept extends into a consideration of initiative.  MA is timing and distance combined but it is also a primal awareness of danger.  I mean that is what is behind it all.  You can say it like this "That person or thing has a large MA"  or "when you have a weapon your MA is larger"  or "When I am too close I can feel it...that is my sense of MA..primal danger radar.  So timing and distancing is also related to awareness through this concept.

If I look into a dark alley I get a sense of the stupidity of walking down there in my gut.  A lot of people don't listen to that. But its an extension of our MA  our awareness of timing/distancing combined that tells us that there is danger.  The closer we get to the source of danger the more acutely we feel it until we are prompted to act.  If we are really tuned into this it becomes a key to timing...right?  I mean I am using a term that I am familiar with but this sensation is inherent in all of us I think.

So here is what I am getting at:  I think that Raphael has really cool points about how many conflicts start from a position of disadvantage.  By being too close, that means that you have already missed something, either through misfortune, dumb luck or lack of awareness.  The attacker has an inherent advantage in that situation because they captured the initiative tactically.  Preventing loss of initiative is about awareness training and occurs at really long ranges and is based on strategy as well as tactics. (Don't be in that place at that time for starters and so on)

When it comes down to it then there are maybe three situations.  One where you have the initiative. One where they have the initiative and one where the initiative is contested and needs to be gained. 

Is the nature of midrange and training for the midrange alter according to who has the initiative?  It seems to me that it does.  If it does then how does that relate to tippy tappy drills?

For example considering these scenarios:

A guy is attacking someone else.  You can get behind him and they don't see you. You have the initiative and you can maintain it through the attack.

A guy catches you while you are at the atm right as you  drop your credit card. They have the initiative and they are going to act with ruthlessness. They are too close too soon.

You perceive a guy coming at you...you sense them and they only hesitate for a second then proceed.  You are too close to be able to run and still too far to engage.  Neither has the initiative.   

Karsk

83  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tippy-tappy drills-- threat or menace? on: February 27, 2007, 02:39:56 PM
The image of facing someone nose to nose and having them say "Do something" prompted me to share today.

There are 6 kinds of sparring exercises that my organization uses:  one attack, 3 attack, free one attack, free sparring, long distance sparring, and short range sparring.   I do other types of exercises  but I thought I would share what the organization does just for context.  They pertain to studies of range and ma. I will just talk about two of these in the interests of brevity.

In all but free sparring and long distance sparring the attacks are not supposed to be restrained.  Counter attacks on the other hand are restrained.  By restrained, I mean to hold back and not make contact.  Presumable if you do your job setting the guy up as a defender and then hit him hard it will minimize the number of times he will want to repeat the experience.  smiley

These drills have other constraints.  You agree before hand on the nature of the attack.  It can actually be anything.  The attack is usually one technique though it can be more. Typically the attacks are linear punches aimed at a specific target but they don't have to be. 

In "one attack" you face your opponent at "the inside edge of the ma".  That means that you are pressing your opponent a bit with your feeling. They stand naturally. Then you attack and they defend.

Problems:

Anyone who has ever set foot in a basic karate class has seen something that looks like this.  There are lots of ways to do this type of exercise really poorly.  For example you can do it by numbers and not really try to hit.  If you do that you eliminate what vestige of reality exists in these drills.  The more beneficial way is to have minimal constraints on the attack.  The attacker really try to get you and get you hard.  That wakes things up a bit but its still  extremely controlled as an exercise.   You can create scenarios based on this idea of one attack and learn how to respond to different things.  Like most drills people get programmed to behavior that is extremely stylized.  Thats not good.

But If you take the exercise seriously and try to make the attack work it creates a laboratory to test out things. For one thing you have to abide by the idea that "what matters is what works".  So you may start out with a stylized idea of a technique and then it just doesn't work and you have to change it until it does then you have to consider what you learned relative to the constraints of the exercise compared to reality and so on.  You can maybe find out the real point of a technique that way. You can adapt the broad approach to what you are trying to study.

The energy of these exercises is focused on testing one another.  They exist to give people insights about technique and psychological aspects.


Short range sparring. 

To discuss this type of exercise is really the reason for my post.  Short range happens inside the bubble.  It is initiated with both people standing at a range where the opponent would barely miss an idle swing at the eyes with outstretched fingers. So close but not in the range where things are boiling.  In this type of sparring the attacker hits with a designated unrestrained attack. Designated means that you know in general where the attack is coming from and usually but not always its agreed to be a punch or strike of some kind.  There are still lots of constraints but you can really try to clobber the opponent.  When done well there are a lot of psychological considerations to study and there is incentive to learn to respond better at closer ranges.

This type of sparring is where I stepped off into tippy tappy drills.  I think the range of the "tippy tappy" drills that I picked up  is closer yet and it was really useful for developing fluidity and diversity of responses once the distance is entered.  Rather than arbitrarily stopping as most of the sparring exercises I have described do, tippy tappy drills create a continuum of movement that helps things to spontaneously occur.   

Its there that the blending that I alluded to earlier in these and similar drills seem to fit.

P.S.  I just reviewed some things that I have on Bukti negara and there seems to be some similarities to the drills and exercises that they use to what I am familiar with.  What I called "free one attack"  sounds like Sambutan at least in intent.
 

Karsk
84  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tippy-tappy drills-- threat or menace? on: February 24, 2007, 11:27:39 PM
I wrote some of my response earlier but then hesitated to post because I wasn't sure if what I wanted to talk about was really relevant.  Then the discussion focused on range relative to the drills and I think that what I wanted to say might be a contribution.

About range:

 I wanted to mention the japanese term Ma-ai or Ma which is timing and distancing combined.  Ma has  psychological and physical components and is affected by the level of your opponents.  There is supposed to be only one ma between two opponents.  That doesn't mean that there is one fighting range..its not about range really...its more about that place where the action starts. Or maybe its akin to the  place where the bubbles overlap if I am using the term "bubble" correctly.  Its a sensation and a feeling as much as it is a distance. It's affected by the level of your opponent, their psychological strength, and weapons.  Figuring out how to get from "out there" to  get the opponent occupied a lot of time.  The idea of ma as a psychological and physical phenomenon and compartmentalized ranges (7 ranges that martial arts seem to focus on with greater and lesser degrees of specialization) work well together I think.

I think I was  lucky because I had training circumstances that kept me open minded and teachers that encouraged me to cross train.  There were holes in my study of martial arts ranges that other training experiences filled.   So tippy tappy sorts of drills came into my vision through  exercises I encountered in wing chun and other chinese arts.  I think they are similar anyway  smiley

Maija pointed out "tippy tappy" occurs at a specific range which is in an intermediate "interlude" or transition interface.

Those drills them a gap for me so to speak.

About learning from the drills:

The drills I have encountered may be free flowing or they may be structured in some way.  Even in the free form, these types of drills seem cooperative in the sense that the combatants consciously or unconsciously try to blend with one another.  The effort is to practice the flow and to find the patterns and pathways that are smooth and in a way harmonious.

I wonder about the concept of coming into harmony with your opponent.  This is a large concept in some Japanese arts.  How is harmony manifested in a more realistic sparring or fighting situation?  Is there a very high level where blending with your opponent is manifested in a huge way? 

There is something that happens in sparring and fights that is at the same uh...consciousness level as the blending that occurs in these drills.  But it's a bit different than a cooperative flow sensation isn't it?   In sparring there is intent to deceive and and to break timing in a way that confounds.  The intent is to find spaces in awareness within your opponent and to utilize them.   There is emptiness and fullness such that one fellow may take the initiative at times and be in control.   At other times the playing out of the fight is more of a struggle for control.  In sparring combatants are often utilizing timing and distancing to confound the opponent and throw them off.  There is a psychological combat for the initiative with varying degrees of success. 

So instead of getting in synchrony with your opponent you create angular timing and distancing on purpose and then in the space of their confusion you can find openings. 

The intermediate ranges are places where bad things seem to be able to happen fast.  One way of managing that danger is to minimize being at that range for any length of time. Another way is to put yourself there and study it.  Isn't that the intent of these drills?

I think that using concepts from  drills in sparring is where you really learn a lot.  I think that the fun part is figuring out how to apply the fundamental concept in a realistic way (or not). You really have to consider the point of the drills and this is not always as straightforward as it seems. Sometimes the important stuff gets lost in the drill and the study becomes enigmatic.

Karsk



85  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Nature and the nature of man. on: February 23, 2007, 11:09:06 AM
I originally posted this under the topic "Are there Knights"



A bit of a preface,  I work as a wildlife biologist.  Every once in a while I will hear comments about how male lions are useless.  This is often in the context of a social commentary.  I like to show this video that I found some time ago.  Its kinda fun.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DI8bnx2KXro

I posted this in the topic heading  "Are there Knights?"  because there is something about the energy of this video that reaches way down inside.  It validates something that matters to me. 

Karsk
86  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Are there Knights? on: February 23, 2007, 11:02:48 AM
I only know it as Lions vs Hyenas.   Will do on the moving the post.

Karsk
87  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Are there Knights? on: February 23, 2007, 01:53:15 AM
video clip moved to Science, Culture and Humanities.
88  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Are there Knights? on: February 20, 2007, 02:07:47 PM
Cool stuff.

This is illustrating the point that the concepts and values transcend cultures.

Here is more, this time from Japanese culture:

Shintoism:

Stage 1:  Animal senses (awareness, basic connection to the world, untrammeled by thought, unfocused attention on everything and anything)
Stage 2. Command of Reasoning
Stage 3. Calm but happy feeling
Stage 4. Harmony, Spirit with ALL
Stage 5. Spiritual Truthful Pure

Buddhism:

1. Control of senses
2. Reasoning
3. Concentrated meditation
4. Unconscious or subconscious mind
5. Nothingness, Absolute, Before Heaven and Earth Separated.

Karate

1. Strong basics, Strength in eyes, hips, mind,  control of senses
2. Continuous combinations, Strategy and Spirit (Fearlessness), intellectual reasoning
3. escaping techniques, strong feeling with calmness, no power in shoulders
4. throwing techniques, mind, body, and hip oneness, humility and harmony
5. spirituality in character and healing.

These are all about developmental stages and bear some similarities to one another and to what Crafty presented.

Here is my take on the development of men taken from stories that I have heard and my own experiences:

1.   Child:  Awareness is open, untrammeled by thought, growing, learning, unfocused attention on anything and everything.  In a healthy state as aware as any animal and as unquestioning.
2.   Youth:  Boys and Frogs.  Wild and free, expression of Tom Sawyer energy.  Facing small challenges and dangers.  Adventure and excitement.  The understandings of comrades and tribes.  Mischief, laughter, the roots of male camaraderie.
3.   Hero:  Naïve grandiosity, bravado, facing challenges, breaking through limits, developing your skills as a man, filling the space with your energy, ostentatiousness.  Wild power. Fearlessness.  Have not yet been defeated.  Berserker. (Cuchulain, Champion of Ireland : this story is about Cuchulain’s transformation into a champion (http://www.bartleby.com/182/302.html )
4.   Champion.  Not Naïve.  Calm self control in the face of danger. Able to defeat a Hero of equal physical skill.  Has faced enemies more powerful than himself.  Able to function in the face grave challenges.  Aura incites faith and hope.  Ulysses, Cuchulain later in life,  others. 
5.   Elder. The ones who have passed through the previous stages and know by experience.  Because of their experience and the shortening of time that comes with age, they see the outcomes and so are not surprised. According to some of the Irish stories, they are the Leatherman with skin like leather.  Able to approach the hero and influence him in the fire of the hero’s passions.  Cuchulain entering the village after the heat of battle was so intense and enraged that the heat from his skin would set houses on fire as he walked past.  The Elders, the Leathermen, would grab him and sit him down.  They would pour a cauldron of water on the hero and the heat from his body was so great that he would turn the water into steam. The elders doused him 3 times before he was calm enough to walk around without causing problems.  The Leathermen are Leaders of the tribe but they lead through service and advice.
6.   Sage.  Advisor to the Elders.  Stands at Elders elbows.  Only teaches those who ask.  Merlin to King Arthur.


Cheers.

Karsk







89  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Are there Knights? on: February 19, 2007, 12:34:35 PM
Good Monday morning,

Some other thoughts that I would like to offer up for consideration and discussion:

Another element to this discussion is how to manifest the things you learn in training in your daily life.  If I face someone in sparring and I get hit I cannot deny this.   Such an event is extremely honest. There is nothing I can do, no rationalization I can make that allows me to avoid the fact that I was unable to get out from that attack.  So I have a choice.  I can learn to deal with it one way or another.  Over time you get used to accepting such blunt assessments of the moment and just trying to keep learning and growing. Its doesn't matter what venue you find yourself in.  This is a fact of life.

This is just one example of how a lesson in martial practice that has relevance in the rest of your life.  The premise is "facing yourself in practice can translate to facing yourself in general".   

----

There are people that I know who have the same values that I have who have never been in a martial arts environment.  Within a non-martial arena they are capable of great courage and they can act on their convictions. They seem to be similar in their values as I.   There are people who are not physical warriors but who demonstrate far greater courage than I.  I have an obligation to recognize and support those people

----

One lower level way to manifest martial virtues is to become a hero to others.  I dont mean lower = not as good.   I mean lower as in "the first thing that you come up with" or "the most fundamental." 

This is okay but in the long run always acting in this manner  is not sustainable because it enables those being rescued to remain weak.  It's better to help others to become "knight-like". This is a sustainable and synergistic practice. It is why there always seems to be a teaching element in this.  I think that Kurosawa's film...the seven samurai is  about this.


Cheers,

Karsk





90  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Are there Knights? on: February 16, 2007, 07:19:19 PM
Robert is more in line with what I am considering here.   

But I think that Jeff's contributions are worthy of comment.  I think that it is true that there are people that do not live the values that they themselves espouse.  Just like the accounts of historical knights that you bring up. There are and have been "orders"  where people have tried to codify character values and recognize the attempt at right effort.  Sometimes those groups had ulterior motives, sometimes they failed to uphold the values they espoused in huge ways, sometimes the "values" were in reality sadly lacking.  But throughout all this time, there are people that try to live according to a certain set of values that I have come to think of as martial values, or knightly values, or noble virtues.  These things aren't complex or fancy and there are evidences of these values in all of us.  Even the most base of us recognize these things as being good.  Things like honor, integrity, benevolence, courage, humility, and so on.  Exactly how those things are manifested really do seem to be a function of the age and the culture.  But doesn't it strike you as important that throughout  the ages some have tried to live in this way?  Even amidst imperfect systems, people and situations? I am not really interested in the historical bureaucracies here that may or may not have been espousing Knights. I am interested in the real energy behind the ideal.

It's a quality of our present culture to express cynicism over anyone or any group who might endeavor to live according to values.   I think this hurts us and I think it especially hurts young men.   

So when I see evidence that there may be people who in some way , means, shape or form who are trying to study and practice character in real ways I want to get to know them and acknowledge it.

91  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Are there Knights? on: February 15, 2007, 05:11:51 PM
Upon request of Crafty Dog, I am reposting my question to him as a new thread.  You may find the context of this question in the Euro Martial Arts topic.


I am a father of sons.  I have two good men for sons and I have raised up and taught a lot of young fellows (and women too but I see some things with us guys that needs attention these days).  I used martial arts training as a means to teach them some things about being men and about being good people.   To me, martial arts has been about learning to fight but also about learning when to fight and why.  Embedded in the history of martial arts in many places world wide there are traditions of  developing character through the martial practice.  One of the reasons that I became interested in European Martial Arts was because I wanted to search out traditions from my own culture about the development of character and nobility. I wanted to find something that resonated deeply in my own psyche in this.

Stories of nobility are always colored by the mores and political nature of the times that they exist in.  The actual behavior that people present as being noble may vary as a result.  And people are always growing and so do not always act according to their ideals. We struggle.   But I have been amazed at the nearly universal recognition of noble virtues through the martial traditions and among individuals that I have met.

The Dog Brothers is about as real as I think practice in the martial arts can get and that is admittedly based on an uninformed position of watching a few videos and reading things here on the forums.  So you have captured something essential in your practice that I think a lot of people are missing.  How do you approach the idea of character development?  Is there responsibility in teaching to build character purposefully?  Does it happen to each of us incidentally as we endeavor in martial practice?  How do we distinguish from merely being tough guys of varying degrees and flavors of morality and something more?  In short, are their Knights?


Karsk
92  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Euro Martial Arts on: February 15, 2007, 01:42:41 PM
Yeah,  that does sound a bit nebulous doesn't it?  Let's see...what am I getting at?

I am a father of sons.  I have two good men for sons and I have raised up and taught a lot of young fellows (and women too but I see some things with us guys that needs attention these days).  I used martial arts training as a means to teach them some things about being men and about being good people.   To me, martial arts has been about learning to fight but also about learning when to fight and why.  Embedded in the history of martial arts in many places world wide there are traditions of  developing character through the martial practice.  One of the reasons that I became interested in European Martial Arts was because I wanted to search out traditions from my own culture about the development of character and nobility. I wanted to find something that resonated deeply in my own psyche in this.

Stories of nobility are always colored by the mores and political nature of the times that they exist in.  The actual behavior that people present as being noble may vary as a result.  And people are always growing and so do not always act according to their ideals. We struggle.   But I have been amazed at the nearly universal recognition of noble virtues through the martial traditions and among individuals that I have met.

The Dog Brothers is about as real as I think practice in the martial arts can get and that is admittedly based on an uninformed position of watching a few videos and reading things here on the forums.  So you have captured something essential in your practice that I think a lot of people are missing.  How do you approach the idea of character development?  Is there responsibility in teaching to build character purposefully?  Does it happen to each of us incidentally as we endeavor in martial practice?  How do we distinguish from merely being tough guys of varying degrees and flavors of morality and something more?  In short, are their Knights?


Karsk
93  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Euro Martial Arts on: February 14, 2007, 06:38:45 PM
Here is another angle on European martial arts.  It has to do with values training and the development of character.  It seems to me that some of the concepts of the Dog Brothers philosophy is around preparing for real possibilities of self defense.  Implicit in that is an appreciation of character.  Some people out there are holding very strongly to the idea of there being a bit of a knighthood of people who try to have certain martial values.  Sometimes these folks are not strongly attached to realistic martial arts. Sometimes they are.  What are your thoughts on this area?

http://www.chivalrytoday.com/index.html

A site that is along the lines of what I am talking about.



 
94  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Euro Martial Arts on: February 08, 2007, 01:21:22 PM
Oh and as to stage fighting,  here is my understanding:

Some is better than others though it all is modified to make it look interesting on screen.   I had a chance to practice with a re-creation group in Scotland.  Their intent was to replicate battles and fights between individuals. They wanted things to look exciting and realistic but without actually doing it.  It's choreography and while some people may also be accomplished fighters and bring their knowledge to bear in the choreography, the choreography just "looks" like a fight.  It's not a fight.  The timing is wrong distance is wrong targets are wrong... right for the appearance but not for a real situation.


If you are asking for opinions about cool movies and the fight scenes in them I thought that the movie Cyrano de Bergerac played by Gérard Depardieu was interesting but that was a long time ago. Shrugs.

Mike
95  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Euro Martial Arts on: February 08, 2007, 12:43:19 PM
Heh!  Good Reading.  I can honestly say that I lots of fun doing armored fighting.  Tricky is right.  While the ruleset of the SCA is odd, the experience still gives you lots to think about and learn from.   Like him I spent a bit of time with the folks in the SCA participating in the combat.   

I tried both rapier fighting and "heavy" fighting.  Think  swashbuckling et cetera when you think of rapiers.  In rapier fighting the movement is circular  and you often use something in your off hand to help parry or block.  They were not into coupling strikes or throws with the swords  nor did they grapple.  In all the old books though, grappling and striking are mentioned or depicted.  The attack is mostly by thrust or drawing ( slicing) the opponent.   Rapiers really were not suited for cuts.   Field swords as I mentioned above were shorter and stouter and used for both cut and thrust.  I coerced several people into experimenting with me using cut and thrust weapons against rapiers.   It was not an accurate comparison because they constrained themselves to a rather stylized way of fighting.

When I fought with armor I used what is called a center boss round shield.  It is the kind of shield that has a hand grip in the middle and no attachment to the arm.  It has a bit more mobility and is very cool to use as a weapon ( though as Tricky said, you can't hit with shields in the SCA...at home we padded some and tried it a bit.  It has an advantage over heaters in that it can be held at various distances from the body more easily.  If you push it away from you the opponent sees less. You can move behind it and change your attack and they don't know it.  As a result, the range of the fight increases a bit, particularly if you allow hits below the knees.  The shield can be used thrust and to clip an opponent or to reach out and hold the other guys shield down.

In terms of attacking, there were two unique types of hits that I learned about.  One was called a "WRAP"  where you shoot the weapon past the opponent's head as you enter close and strike them behind the head in a whippy back to your own center motion.   The other was kind of like a rotating roof block. If I held a roof block in my left hand and rotated my hand and elbow counterclockwise the business end of the weapon rotates backwards behind your back and the back edge strikes the opponent in the face or head.

Armor is interesting.  The main thing about armor that is trying to simulate medieval armor is the heat.  When you wear the armor you are are carrying about 35 to 45 lbs depending on the set up.  That's a medium backpack filled with gear.  You wear a padded shirt (about the thickness of 2 sweatshirts quilted together), and then the armor itself over top.  Solid armor doesn't breath much.  Some people wear chain mail which is a little better but it is less effective at handling blunt weapons than leather or plate steel so its not as common in this group  as it really was. It's also time consuming to make.  The standard wear is a helm, shoulder protection, elbow and forearm guards, and upper leg/knee protection.  Lots of people in the SCA do not wear anything on their shins because they don't hit down there but I chose to wear it because historically everyone wore that as a minimum for the legs.  some really big guys wear absolute minimal protection.  Other guys are fully set up.

On a hot summer day, the amount of water you loose and the heat you generate is phenomenal.   You need people around to siphon water to you about every 10 minutes.  The mass you carry plus the heat and water loss alone is something to get used to. But the cool thing is you can pretty easily as long as you stay hydrated.  I am really not sure how they actually dealt with this issue way back when.

 As you practice though, at some point the armor feels less foreign and more natural.  You get used to the cadence and speed of the attacks which are altered with the weight and the weight and heft of the weapons.   You are harder to hurt and your movements are somewhat more measured.

As to battles,  I got chances to fight in shield walls, in buildings and enclosed spaces, and against arrows.  There I was out in the field of battle anticipating combat with those guys over there.  I looked up in the sky and saw a little dot rapidly growing larger.  As the thought "What IS that?" passed through my consciousness I was struck with a resounding PLINK  right in the mesh of my helmet.  Game over for me!

Try running across a field to attack an enemy.  It's embarrassing for modern guys to do this. 

Based on my experiences I gained a lot of respect for the medieval knights. There was an account of one fellow who became unhorsed among foot soldiers (around the 1500s) wearing some sophisticated German armor.  He was pulled down and pummeled for quite a long time with the regulars trying to hurt him with whatever implements that they had.  They failed to kill him though he was bleeding out of all of his joints.  He recovered and went on to fight throughout the day blood and all. 


Cheers,

Mike
96  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Euro Martial Arts on: February 07, 2007, 03:14:45 PM
Cool.  I live in BC also.  Perhaps I could make contact with Tricky?
Mike
97  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Euro Martial Arts on: February 07, 2007, 12:26:59 PM
I have done some sparing with the SCA.  The SCA approach to sparring is largely a sport with a ruleset that really makes the experience rather unrealistic.   I did learn from it and to be sure there are higher level fighters who are extremely good at what they do.   The approach falls short in my honest opinion though.

Guys wear armor of varying degrees of authenticity.  Some of the armor is made out of plastic, some is leather, and some is made of steel or other metals.  Generally people try to make the armor according to patterns of real armor and they try to make it so the mass of the armor is similar to the original.  The weapons are made of rattan sticks that are about 1 1/4 " in diameter.  They usually have some sort of guard for the hands ( a basket hilt) or people wear metal gauntlets, or failing that, hockey gloves.  The mass of the weapons tends to be heavy compared to real swords which the items are intended to simulate.  The average medieval sword weighed in at about 2 to 3 lbs (http://www.thearma.org/essays/weights.htm).  I have a samurai sword that is similar in mass.  The mass of lots of SCA weapons is more like 4 to 5 lbs.   This changes things. 

Prior to a fight, the contestants gauge their blows.  That means that they decide ahead of time how hard they are going to clobber each other.  So with the heavy weapons, they further modify the situation by hitting lightly, according to what they have decided. If they get hit in the legs they drop to the knees to continue the fight ( really goofy).  Finally they do not hit below the knees and they avoid attacking in ways that are seriously dangerous. Like smacking a guy on the back of the head while they get up.

The winner of the contest is decided by the contestants.  The saying goes "Let the slain man say when he be slain".  That means that the guy who gets hit gets to decide if the blow was solid enough to warrant accepting it as a debilitating blow given the gauging that they set up. If he doesn't take the blow the opponent then ups the degree of impact a little until the receiver finally says OK "ya got me".  The system is kinda neat in that two things are recognized. Prowess as well as honesty.  People get applauded for both.

So its a fun thing to do in that it never gets too serious.  Its more of a game than the kind of serious combat practice that the DBMA engages in. 

How could the system be better?  Well, there are groups  (ARMA) that try to use practice weapons that are more authentic.  Instead of using round sticks they use edged practice weapons.  Either metal or some other material and sometimes the weapons are padded sometimes not.  Better practice sword weapons are the right weight and balance and they have an edge.  Using these places wearing armor into a more realistic context. 

Its interesting to see what a real edged weapon can do to armor:  http://www.thearma.org/Videos/NTCvids/testingbladesandmaterials.htm

Some of this is kinda geeky but the intent is to see what would actually happen if you struck someone with an edged or pointed weapon on armor. 

To try to understand fighting with edged weapons in a sparring context is challenging because real edged weapons seem to me to be so dangerous.  How do you simulate that?  One way is to use sticks that are the approximate weight and heft and then go at it and go at it wearing armor.  But the lack of an edge and the lack of a cut is not the same as a sword and how armor is affected by a stick is different than a hit with a sword.  To be sure, sticks can be just as nasty as you guys frequently demonstrate but it is different.  You can fight with edged metal weapons of appropriate mass and balance with and without armor.  The sum of all the different ways of simulating this adds up to give you understanding I reckon.

n some ways blunt weapons can shock a guy in armor better but in other ways its less effective.  To try to understand the nature of a sword cut you can also try real swords out out on things to see what cutting really feels like.  The ease that a cut can slice through meat and bone is a bit daunting.  The attack has to have more precision since the edge has to be oriented properly to make the cut. Off edge hits are really less effective.    As the video clip above shows, the edged authentic swords actually can cut through certain kinds of armor.  Pointed weapons, battle hammers, are pretty effective in piercing armor.

I don't know if this sort of exercise is of interest here.  I personally find it to be interesting at least academically.  I am not sure if these lessons transfer into a modern training for realistic situation though.  I suspect that some of it might.

What do yo folks think of such activities?

Mike

98  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Euro Martial Arts on: January 31, 2007, 12:29:51 PM
Hiyas,

First in introduction:  I am an olde guye (53) I have practiced martial arts for a reasonably long time and while I have spent a lot of time practicing karate, I have also had the good fortune to have wrestled and I have had a chance to study some other grappling arts and weapons. In a lot of ways I guess my MO is not much different than a lot of folks out there in the martial arts. I learned about the Dog Brothers a quite a few years ago from one of our senior karate guys (Caylor Adkins) who met some of the Dog Brothers in another context.   Anyway, I got interested and I have enjoyed learning more about you all from this website.  I like the ideas you promote here. 

With regard to European martial arts, I started fencing in college and as I practiced Asian martial arts I started wondering about the European Traditions.  I tried to learn about  real swordfighting was like in the past.   I learned a bit about rapier fighting and armored fighting and I tried it in some of the groups out there that do those sorts of things.  The SCA and some other groups play at it and while there are some pretty tough and gifted people in those groups there are also a bunch of people who just wanna have fun.  I guess that's OK by me.  Sometimes its just fun to play.  The rules of sparring in such groups is really distracting though.  Most are really careful about safety and liability and have adapted practice weapons that don't match the characteristics of real swords.  There are other groups out there that try to do a better job and I noticed that some of them are linked above.  Underneath it all is a real interesting study though.

There are lots or really interesting old books that you can find on the net.  Here is one:  http://www.aemma.org/onlineResources/silver/contents_body.htm

Ol George was an Englishman about the time when there where European Schools of Fence.  He was of humble origins I believe and was a proponent of cut and thrust swords. These are the heavier swords typically used by soldiers of the day as opposed to rapiers that were mostly focused on thrusts.  There are lots of stories about rival groups arguing about what was better and it tickles me how things back then were similar to today in that respect.  At any rate,  if you can wade through the old style of writing you will find a serious attempt at   martial arts instruction. 

I have also read through writing from Italian, French and Spanish schools.  I don't know how true this is but the three seemed to be characterized by flavors...the French seemed to like counter attacking and finesse, the Spanish liked a very aggressive forward pressing feeling, and the Italians seems to mix it up. 

Some of the books on the longsword from Germany show really cool combinations of throws, kicks, strikes along with sword work.  Mostly these are in drawings.  I think that practicing back then surely must have been realistic and "Dog Brother" like.

I thought I recalled that some folks were experimenting with medieval weapons in a Gathering.  I don't recall seeing or hearing of the outcome of those experiments. 

 

At the site of the Battle of Visby in Sweden ( http://www.answers.com/topic/battle-of-visby )  Archaeologists uncovered mass graves.  The armor in those graves was mostly a kind of leather armor with metal plates in it,  shin guards and forearm guards.  Many of the injuries were of the lower legs.  And they also used shields.


Adding a shield is an interesting experience to edged weapon fighting.  Shields are defensive but also offensive in nature.  A round shield has a handle in the middle of the shield and kite shields attach to the forearm.  Both were used to deflect and absorb attacks but they were also used to cover actions and also to strike an opponent. The edge of the shield was like an extension of a punch.  There were smaller shields called bucklers that were used in conjunction with rapiers or short swords. The buckler could prevent slashed and thrusts.

I think there is really something to learn here.  What do you guys think about the addition of shields and armor in gatherings  for the purposes of studying this?  I don't mean armor for the sake of protection in order to spar without the risk.  I understand the philosophy of minimal protection.  I mean the inclusion of armor as a real component of combat as it was in the past. How does that change things? 

For example,  what if people wore forearm  and shin guards in fights?  How does the addition of chest armor and a rigid gorget (neck protection) alter the outcome of a knife fight for example?   A good gorget is sufficient to prevent a fang choke I think. 

What sort of modern equivalent would make sense to wear for police officers?  Do they already have such things?  Would the addition of forearm guards and light but effective chest armor increase the capacity for defense and save lives in realistic situations.  I have experienced this a little though probably not with the same intensity that occurs at a gathering.  It did change things and it did enable me to counter things that I previously could not.

P.S.   I suppose its intriguing to think about the rest of us as well and not just police officers.  Like training with things that can deflect weapons that we find in the environment.  Does that really work?  The historical texts are filled with people using items like lanterns and coats to help against knife attacks.   Does that really work?   I think it ought to but it has to be practiced.  Is there something that you could wear or put on that would help protect you in an emergency situation if you had some lead time?   

Cheers,

Mike

99  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Spammers on our forums on: October 28, 2006, 06:29:57 PM
Hiyas,

I thought I would let you know that I received some emails that were addressed from the dog brothers public forum today.  I did not follow the links because I could not identify with any reliability whether the email was legit or not.  I can provide you with the rest of the email if you want. Just let me know.

Karsk

BC Canada

PS   Now that I look at this email I am sure it is not legit.   Here is an exerpt of it and the author:

"You have just been sent a personal message by foxyamy on Dog Brothers Public Forum.

IMPORTANT: Remember, this is just a notification. Please do not reply to this email."
100  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Padded Weapon recipe on: May 25, 2005, 12:04:36 PM
Hi,

This is my first posting on this forum. I have done a bit of stick fighting but I have not done any dog brothers style whomping.  Nevertheless I may be able to offer something to this conversation.

 I actually have a way to build long lasting practice weapons that I thought I would share.  These weapons have a nice heft and can be built with a handle or without.  Please excuse the general nature of my recipe:

Materials and equipment

3/8 inch  fiberglas  electric fence post (these have make and female screw end pieces on them
high impact foam.  This is the sort of foam that step aerobic steps are made out of   Pipe insulation and ensolite is simply too weak and break down rapidly with use.
2 to 3 mm thick pliable leather
simulated rawhide thread
duct tape
leather punch
foam adhesive
long screw driver, metal rod, drill bit that you can use to put holes in foam


Cut the fiberglas post to the length that you want minus about 4 inches.  You are going to want to poke with the sticks so you need to make end caps.  You can consider screwing two rods together if you want a staff sized weapon.  Remember that fiberglas fibers can embed in your skin and cause itching.  To cut the rod use a hack saw and cut under running water to keep the dust down.  You can also bind the ends prior to cutting which helps a little.

Take the high impact foam step or other foam source and cut plugs out of it as thick as you can make them practically.  Don't sweat the small stuff if the plugs are only a few inches thick.  You are going to stack them to completely cover the rod.  They should be approximately 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter and be round.  If they are not completely round you can tune the shape with a coarse file if you want.

Puncture each round right smack in the center of the round and try to make sure that you go straight through.  The more uniform that you make the blanks the nicer the final product will be.

Apply glue to the foam ends and then thread the foam onto the rod.  you should completely cover the rod at this point. When you do so you will notice that the hard fiberglas end is flush with the foam. This is no good if you want to poke and still be safe.  Cut several circular  leather  end pieces and glue these onto the end of the rod.  Glue a final piece of round foam that is 1 to 2 inches thick to the leather. The leather prevents the rod from telescoping through the end piece. The end piece provides the padding.  

After the glue has dried, wrap the whole stick with duct tape. You can also apply a layer of strapping tape to the stick before you add the duct tape for added strength.

Lots of people stop here with this design.  But if you want a long lasting practice weapon that looks good and feels right then add a leather cover.     The stick is a cylinder so cutting out the leather is simple.  Your pattern will be 2 leather end pieces that match the diameter of the stick and a rectangle of leather  such that its length matched the length of the stick and its width is = the circumference of the stick.  Punch uniform holes all around the perifery of of the leather pieces at a distance of approximately 1 cm or less.


The easiest way to sew the leather onto the stick is to first lightly glue the pieces in place on the foam.  Apply a bit of glue to the edges of the leather wherever you feel the need to hold the leather snug.  The only point here is to secure the leather close so you can sew it onto the stick.  Use the simulated rawhide thread and use a lock stitch.  

After you are finished you can further strengthen the stick by carefully weaving several strands of rawhide thread directly into the foam. In my first version of this stick I ran the thread right through the foam to the other side of the stick at about 6 inch intervals straight through and at right angles as well. This is on the edge of overkill in terms of quality I think.  Its a bit challenging to push a long needle all the way through the foam.  Instead you can simple weave the rawhide into the foam at an angle if you want.

I built my first set of these sticks about 15 years ago. They still work well.  They weigh about the same as a rattan stick that is about an inch thick and they feel like a nightstick.  A normal fellow can take a full shot from one of these on the arms, legs or body.  You will still need to protect your head a bit.  Hockey helmets seem fine as do the standard fencing masks.   I would also recommend a bit of wrist protection if you are slightly built.  One lady had her forearm cracked becasue she had her hand caught on something, unable to move when she was struck on the arm but I consider that to be a fluke. Nevertheless a bit of wrist and foremarm protection would have prevented that injury.

The advantage of these sticks for practice is that you don't get any broken kneecaps and the like.  As I alluded to above you can still get your bell rung with these. To me they are a great practice weapon.

Total cost for 2 sticks...its been a while but I am guess that one rod suitable for 2 sticks is around 10 dollars and the leather might cost around 5.  A step aerobics bumper step that you can cannibalize might also cost around 10 to 15 bucks but you can make around 4 sticks from one of those. There are also other sources of high impact foam such as marine upholstery stores.
The total is probably around  10 to 15 per stick if you know how to scrounge.

Oh and if you want to make these things feel like a machete you can add handles to one end.

Cheers,



Karsk
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