"Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer

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Crafty, et al.

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

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

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

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

Former Martial Arts Instructor Called to Testify


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

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

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

Because the defender in such an attack would effectively be maneuvering the weapon in the assailant's hand, Correa said students are taught to continue performing the techniques until the weapon is dropped or the attacker goes down.


Martial arts expert guilty in bouncer death
Staff Writer

November 16, 2004, 8:40 PM EST

A Queens martial arts expert was convicted of first-degree manslaughter yesterday in the death of a bouncer at a bar in Manhattan's East Village last year.

Isaias Umali, 32, looked shell-shocked when the jury in State Supreme Court declared him guilty in the killing of Dana Blake on April 13, 2003. The panel deliberated less than half a day.

At the time, the incident in the club Guernica grabbed headlines largely because it occurred shortly after the city's ban on smoking in bars took effect.

Blake, 32, got into a dispute with one of Umali's friends, Jonathan Chan, about a cigarette, and Blake grabbed Chan around the neck. Umali, a computer network administrator, stabbed Blake in his upper thigh with a 6-inch-long fold-up knife used in kali, a Filipino martial art that includes knife-fighting.

Umali's defense was that he was trying to stop Blake, who was 6'6" and weighed 366 pounds, from choking Chan.

"He was choking to death, so I ended up going through the crowd, taking out my knife," Umali testified during the trial. "I flipped it open and I stabbed him in the leg. I just wanted him to get off Johnny. Just let him go. I was aiming for his leg."

In his summation, defense attorney Michael Shapiro called Umali "noble" for stepping in to save the life of his friend. His defense was justification. Assistant District Attorney Christina Chuliver told jurors that Umali was "far from noble," instead branding him "a coward."

Prosecutors argued the choking explanation was exaggerated. Chuliver asserted that Umali intended to cause Blake's death by trying to expertly move his knife in a way that would cut arteries.
"The hardest thing was to find out what was in his mind," one juror, an engineer, said after the verdict. "We could not know if his intent was to kill Dana Blake. But we do know he intended to do him harm."

The juror, who did not want to be identified, said he believed Blake had his hands around Chan's throat but that Chan's life was not in jeopardy.

State Supreme Court Justice Bonnie Wittner set sentencing for Dec. 20.

The Rev. Tony Blake, the victim's brother, said justice was served. "My soul is elated with what happened. ... I feel my brother's soul can rest in peace."

After he was found guilty, Umali was allowed a brief visit in the courtroom with his parents before guards led him away.

"I told him, 'You're still young,'" his father, also named Isaias Umali, said afterward.

The father vowed to appeal if he could find the money to mount a defense, and Shapiro said he believes there are many issues for appeal.
Copyright ? 2004, Newsday, Inc.


Best regards.


If you search google news, you'll notice that the many of the headlines read "Martial Arts Expert Found Guilty..." or some variation thereof.

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

At any rate, thanks for the update, Argyll.

Umali update:


February 16, 2005, 5:04 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) _ A Queens man was sentenced Wednesday to 17 years in prison for fatally stabbing a Manhattan nightclub bouncer who was trying to enforce the city's new public indoor smoking ban.

State Supreme Court Justice Bonnie Wittner sentenced Isaias Umali, who was convicted of first-degree manslaughter on Nov. 16, 2004, in the death of Dana "Shazam" Blake on April 13, 2003. Umali, 33, faced up to 25 years in prison.

Wittner, a judge for more than 20 years, said the 6-inch serrated knife Umali used on Blake, 32, was "the deadliest knife I've ever seen in a courtroom. There can be no other purpose (for the knife) but to injure or kill somebody."

Umali, who was born in the Philippines and lived in Jamaica, Queens, told Wittner that his fatal stabbing of Blake had "devastated" his own life and he has tried to come to terms with the fact that he killed someone.

"I never intended to kill Mr. Blake or even to cause him serious injury," Umali told the judge. "I want to tell the Blake family how deeply sorry I am. My prayers go out to the Blake family."

The dispute that led to the stabbing inside Guernica, a Lower East Side nightclub, began when Blake told a group of Umali's friends that they could not smoke. One kept puffing, and Blake grabbed him to escort him out.

During his trial, Umali testified that he was afraid for the life of his friend, Jonathan Chan, because Blake had Chan's neck in his grasp.

Umali, a student of a Filipino knife-fighting technique called kali, admitted he then stabbed Blake in the groin. The knife thrust pierced the femoral artery, a major blood vessel, and Blake bled to death.

Harold Blake, a brother of the victim and the administrator of his estate, has filed a $550 million lawsuit in Manhattan's state Supreme Court against the nightclub, Umali and the smokers with whom Blake had the dispute.

The smoking ban _ one of the strictest in the nation _ went into effect on March 30, 2003, two weeks before Blake's stabbing death. It prohibits smoking in about 13,000 bars, restaurants, offices, pool halls, bingo parlors and bowling alleys throughout the city


From previous news reports I was under the impression that the murder weapon was never recovered, so I am not sure what knife the judge was refering to.   My guess had been a Cold Steel folder, anyone know?

Best regards,



Wittner, a judge for more than 20 years, said the 6-inch serrated knife Umali used on Blake, 32, was "the deadliest knife I've ever seen in a courtroom. There can be no other purpose (for the knife) but to injure or kill somebody."

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

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

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

I'm sorry, but all this nonsense about appearances and knives from individuals so unfamiliar with weapons and martial arts as to virtually make one or the other immediately criminal in public opinion makes me a tad peevish...


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