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Author Topic: "Kali" player on trial for killing bouncer  (Read 22321 times)
Tiny
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« on: October 26, 2004, 10:57:14 AM »

Here's the link:

http://tinyurl.com/4vu54

Quote

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

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

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


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

The other question is:  If your friend is being choked out, do you really knife the guy with a six-inch blade?  I suppose this would be a good time to remember the proportion of reaction?
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2004, 12:41:19 PM »

Where to start?

Having work as a bouncer/doorman/floorman in many clubs/bars/lounges AND being a martial arts practicioner I have more than a few comments on the story:

THE FACTS - Unfortunately, we don't know exactly what happened. It SOUNDS like the bouncer overreacted to the situation. It also SEEMS as if the knife-wielder overreacted. So, let's break it down...

1) Bouncer's Approach - The way I was trained (and by default, the way I work) is that EXCESSIVE physical contact (choking, punching, clotheslining) someone is the sign of a confrontation gone bad. As a professional, if the situation has escalated to the point of violence there has been a failure on your part as a bouncer. Remember, in 95% of these instances, the patron is inebriated which allows you as the sober individual to assess the situation with a (hopefully) clear head and attempted to de-escalate it as quickly and non-violently as possible.

That being said, depending on the type of club/bar/lounge you work in, the owners/locale can often dictate the reaction to a particular type of patron. Some places are fine with you cracking someone over the head and dragging them into the alley. Others will fire you for even touching a patron.

The behaviour of the patron can also dictate your response. In as much as you are (again, hopefully) the sober one, drunks can be unpredictable. Sweet little PTA moms can become raging maniacs, and the 300 lb. tattooed guy can turn weepy on you. In terms of response, a guy swinging a chair over his head and a guy falling down drunk on the dancefloor are two different things.

I know nothing about the club in question, so I can't criticize their approach to "troublemakers". But from what I read in the story, it seems like the bouncer overrreacted. Again, this response is based solely on the words written in the article.

Some would say, "But the bouncer outweighed the guy by 200 lbs. and was a foot taller!" And? I have seen my fair share of mismatches that don't end with the big guy as the victor. As a bouncer you should treat every individual who is raising a ruckus as a potential threat regardless of size. Every situation will call for a different approach. Are you working alone? How big is the crowd? Can you tell if the patron alone, or is he with 5 other equally drunk customers? College kid? Biker? Sorority Girls?

2) THE MARTIAL ARTIST - Based on what I read, the reaction of the knife holder was extreme. I personally cannot imagine a situation in a bar that would cause me to pull my blade and slice through someone's femoral. Not to say it couldn't happen, but I put it at about 1,000 to 1. If the individual is question was a truly experienced and well-trained practitioner, I cannot believe that he would go straight to  the femoral. But again, I have  to go by the words printed on the page.

We should know as informed, educated martial artists that the burden of proof will lay on us in the courtroom. Especially if we practice those arts that are considered out of the "mainstream". Just a side kick to the head can land you in the big house, so pulling a knife and killing someone you better have a damn good reason.

I have been fortunate enough to train under individuals who have been explicit in their explanation of "degrees of response" and responsible application of your martial arts. The mature martial artist will know to spot/walk away from trouble before it occurs in a majority of cases. Unfortunately, not enough teachers are willing/able/understanding enough to drill into their students heads the importance of use of force and the law. And many people just beginning in the martial arts aren't aware of the kind of trouble they can get into if they use their arts.

This incident just seems like a tragic combination of lapse of judgement and poor decision making on the part of both parties. And sadly, it ended in the death of one individual and the strong probability of extended jail time for the other.

Just my two cents...

Miguel
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Tiny
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2004, 01:13:07 PM »

Hmm...that seemed more like 4 cents to me.

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

This topic brings up another issue that we've discussed, SBMig -- as a teacher is it not one's responsibility to choose students who honor the power of technique(s)?  That a student's character will ultimately reflect the level of responsibility they impose upon themselves when out in the world?  After all when teaching the arts, you are exposing an individual to a craft prized for its effectiveness, if not lethality.  "The prosecutor said Umali even demonstrated to his friends the move he used to kill Blake."  Sounds to me like the problem was internal and simply awaiting an external catalyst.  But hey, I don't know much anyhow!  Wink
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2004, 01:33:26 PM »

Tiny,

2 cents...4 cents...you are such a stickler when it comes to counting change!

In a perfect world, yes, the teacher should be able to choose students who will be able to act admirably/respectfully/carefully in any number of situations. Unfortunately, it can often take time to find the true depth of one's character. Most people who are into the martial arts to "kick ass and take names" will show themselves as that from the get go and are easily weeded out.

However, there is always the "nice boy" from next door who has a collection of dead kittens in his closet that holds down a normal job and by all outward appearances is a swell guy...until stressed or put under pressure of some kind. These are often a little harder to spot.

I do believe that a teacher is responsible to some degree for the martial arts behaviour of his students. But, we no longer live in a time when the majority of students are dedicating their lives to their respective teachers and would do anything to preserve the honor of their systems lineage, techniques, etc. So to that extent there is only so much you can do to make sure that your students are not acting like complete jackholes.

It sounds like the individual in question was of the "check out this sweet killing technique" mentality to begin with, something which the instructor may not know unless they spent quality time with said individual outside of class.

I believe it is also a question of maturity on the part of the practitioner. everyone who has studied martial arts has at some point wanted to demonstrate a technique or two. It is when you start braggin' about killing people that the trouble begins.

I think I'm up to around 6 cents now...

Miguel
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Tiny
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2004, 02:21:29 PM »

Well, I always do like to get my Nickelback.

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

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

I'm not necessarily saying that the situation in the article above is one such case, but it certainly begs the question(s).
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2004, 03:36:07 PM »

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

Right. But does it happen, and if not, shouldn't it?


Hell yes! It gives all martial arts a bad name and propagates the "deadly killer" myth that surrounds our lifestyle as practitioners. Teachers should be stepping up and explaining the importance of honorable behaviour, proper use of force, and (IMHO) de-escalation techniques as well.

I would like to think that there are more responsible intructors out there than not. And through their teachings the correct application of lifestyle and (if needed) force will be advanced. Unfortunately one need only read through MANY of the martials arts/combat/mma forums out there to find the "I can kick your ass mentality". This stems from immaturity, improper teaching, and often reinforcement of negative behaviour much of it on the part of the instructor.

So the question, really, is how do we improve the teaching techniques and attitudes of the martial artists in today's world? Is it possible to create sound, mature martial artists if they are not willing to go through a deeper transformation themselves?

8 cents now...

Miguel
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rogt
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2004, 07:01:12 PM »

Quote from: SB_Mig

Miguel
Cobra Kai Team Member


I just saw "The Karate Kid" again over the weekend, and I never get tired of watching that scene where Mr. Miyagi and the Cobra Kai instructor negotiate...

"We do not train to be merciful here.  Mercy is for the weak!"

Rog

P.S.  I once heard of a local SF band called "Sweep the Leg, Johnny".
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Guard Dog
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2004, 07:20:27 PM »

And I believe they are now called Operatic - - - http://operaticmusic.com/ I was in a band with what is now the lead guitar player.

Gruhn
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Ryan “Guard Dog” Gruhn
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2004, 12:08:51 AM »

Woof All:

Some newspaper articles from the time of the events in question.

Crafty Dog

===============================

April 18, 2003, 11:21:15 AM ?      

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New club slay suspect

Martial arts ace tried suicide after fatal fight

By BARBARA ROSS, MICHELE McPHEE and GREG GITTRICH
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Ching Chan, who cops said took part in club brawl that ended in bouncer's death Sunday, leaves Suffolk St. apartment yesterday. He was released from custody Tuesday.

Cops are close to arresting a new suspect - a martial arts expert - in the fatal stabbing of an East Village bouncer who died enforcing the city's smoking ban, sources said yesterday.
The suspect, who is a master of a vicious Filipino knife-fighting technique, attempted to kill himself after learning that the bouncer died Sunday, law enforcement sources told the Daily News.

The 31-year-old left a note to his parents confessing to the killing and saying he was drunk at the time, sources said.

"I was just trying to help out my friends," the note said, according to the sources.

The alleged killer is a pal of the Chinese brothers who were initially arrested in the slaying, but then released.

A law enforcement source said, "He was trained by martial arts experts to stab someone in one spot to kill."

The brothers are also schooled in the warrior art of Eskrima, in which knives are a key component, sources said. But the new suspect is believed to be the killer, and investigators were seeking search warrants last night to obtain more evidence, a source said.  They were also looking to talk to his martial arts teacher.

Authorities told The News that the suspect was among 19 friends celebrating a birthday early Sunday at Guernica, a bar on Avenue B.

Dad ran Chinatown gang

The party included the children of notorious Chinatown gang leader Wing Yeung Chan.

The siblings - Ching Chan, 31, a medical student; Jonathan Chan, 29, a Wall St. banker, and Alice Ling Chan, 33, a bookkeeper - were arrested after the fatal stabbing but set free because of a lack of evidence.

Witnesses said members of the Chans' party repeatedly lit cigarettes inside the bar's downstairs club in violation of the city smoking ban. Several warnings from a deejay and a bouncer were ignored. So Dana Blake, 32, the bar's security chief and an imposing presence at 6-feet-5, 320 pounds, approached the group.  When Blake attempted to remove Jonathan Chan from the bar, Chan's siblings and the knife-fighting ace pounced, law enforcement sources said. While the Chans were involved in the bloody scrum, sources said, it's now believed that the Eskrima expert was the one who plunged a knife into Blake's groin.

Blake, who lived in Astoria, Queens, died 11 hours after the attack despite surgeons' efforts to save his life.

No weapon was found. Investigators believe the suspect took the knife with him and rushed off to clean his blood-soaked clothing.  He has been held in a psychiatric hospital since his suicide attempt, sources said.

Ivan Fisher, an attorney for the Chan brothers, has said his clients did not stab Blake.

The new details emerged as friends and relatives of Blake gathered for his wake in Queens. A chrome Cadillac hood ornament was attached to the outside of Blake's wooden coffin. "That's all he wanted was a Caddy," said St. Eyes Stroud, 27, a bouncer at Guernica.

While greeting friends of his slain brother, the Rev. Anthony Blake said, "We want justice."

Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg called the Rev. Blake to express his condolences. Friends of Blake have blamed his death on Bloomberg's smoking ban.

At Guernica last night, more than 100 people showed up at a benefit to help Blake's family pay for the funeral. Club employees said they accepted at least $3,000 in donations.

With Nicole Bode and David Saltonstall
Originally published on April 18, 2003  
 Report to moderator    4.43.220.42  
 
 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
April 19, 2003

On the Day of Bouncer's Funeral, a Martial Arts Student Is Charged
By SHAILA K. DEWAN

he killing was strange from the start, and has gotten only stranger. A bouncer stabbed to death, some said, because of the city's new ban on smoking in bars. A missing weapon. Three siblings arrested, then released, then revealed to be the children of a Chinatown gangster.

And yesterday, a new suspect, whom the police described as a suicidal young Filipino-American trained in a vicious Filipino martial art in which even beginners learn lethal knife thrusts.

The suspect, Isaias P. Umali II, was arraigned yesterday on charges of killing the bouncer, Dana Blake, with a single stab wound early Sunday morning at a downtown nightclub after a fight broke out over a burning cigarette.

Mr. Umali tried to commit suicide on Monday after learning that Mr. Blake had died, said George F. Brown, the chief of detectives.

The police made the arrest after learning that Mr. Umali had told someone about the stabbing and was in the hospital, Chief Brown said. In what was apparently intended as a suicide note, Mr. Umali made reference to his involvement in the crime, investigators said. The note was destroyed ? it was not clear how ? but someone who read it described it to the police, they said.

The police announced the arrest of Mr. Umali just two hours after eight brawny men struggled to carry the 6-foot-5 bouncer's casket up the stairs of the Humble Way Church of God in Christ in South Ozone Park, Queens, for his funeral.

On Thursday night, friends donated nearly $20,000 at a fund-raiser to pay the funeral expenses of Mr. Blake, known to bartenders and other nightclub workers across town as Shazam, said Brooke Hammerling, a friend who helped organize the event.

The arrest brought some satisfaction to investigators caught in a frustrating whodunit, with an international spotlight but no weapon, no witnesses to the stabbing itself and multiple sets of blood-soaked clothing.

Mr. Umali, 31, left Mary Immaculate Hospital in Queens yesterday for his arraignment on a charge of second-degree murder, appearing in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. He was ordered held without bail, on suicide watch.

He was among a group of friends who gathered last Saturday night to celebrate a friend's birthday in the basement of Guernica, a sleek Lower East Side lounge, Chief Brown said.

After one of the friends, Jonathan Chan, 29, lighted a cigarette and passed it to a friend, whom the police identified as Meynard Leonardo, a fight ensued. Investigators have said that when Mr. Blake, 31, asked that the cigarette be put out, a rude response prompted him to eject Mr. Chan from the club.

Mr. Chan's lawyer has said that his client was polite but that the bouncer grabbed him around the neck anyway.

Either way, a struggle that involved Mr. Chan; his brother Ching; his sister, Alice; and other people left Mr. Blake on the floor, bleeding to death.

The police arrested the Chan siblings, but released them early Tuesday after the Manhattan district attorney declined to press charges. The police said the investigation was continuing and charges might still be brought against the Chans.

The siblings, a stockbroker, a medical student and a bookkeeper, are the children of a former Chinatown gang leader who is serving a murder and racketeering sentence in federal prison.

During the fight, Mr. Umali "came to the assistance of the Chans," Chief Brown said.

He said Mr. Umali left the club immediately after the stabbing and walked downtown to a subway station, discarding the knife as he walked. It has not been recovered.

Mr. Umali traveled to the Upper East Side, to the home of friends who, along with the Chan brothers, an investigator said later, studied kali, also called escrima or arnis, together at a martial arts studio on West 27th Street. At a studio on that street, the Fighthouse, there is a weekly escrima class, but an employee refused to provide the name of the teacher last night.

Kali is a martial art without a mystical side, according to its teachers. It was developed over hundreds of years in the Philippines, where it was sometimes forbidden and had to be practiced in secret, to help the underdog against a more powerful enemy, teachers said.

"It's based on this principle: do unto others before they do unto you," said Frank Ortega, a kali guro, or teacher, in Queens. "It's an aggressive art. You don't learn kali to show off or break watermelons, you learn kali to survive. It is more of a street art."

Mr. Umali spent the remainder of the night with his friends, and on Sunday went home to his house on 171st Street in Jamaica wearing fresh clothes they had provided, Chief Brown said. He lives there with his parents and younger sister, people who know the family said.

On Monday morning, he tried to slash his neck and wrists, the police said. "We believe he was distraught over learning of the death of Mr. Blake," Chief Brown said.

But unlike Mr. Blake's wound, which severed his femoral artery, Mr. Umali's wounds were not fatal. He was carried out of his house to an ambulance with his mother and girlfriend looking on, said a neighbor, Tom Bagasan, 57.

Mr. Umali, a slight man in a light blue T-shirt, appeared in court yesterday with bandages on his neck and wrists. His lawyer, David Krauss, said Mr. Umali had attended a Roman Catholic high school, completed some college and worked as a computer network administrator. "He's never had contact with the criminal justice system before," Mr. Krauss said.

The police said Mr. Umali was currently unemployed. Friends and neighbors described him as a quiet man who liked to play with paintball guns.

His parents, who friends said were both retired accountants, are well known among Filipino-Americans in Queens. Mr. Umali's father, Isaias Umali Jr., is a charter member and past president of Bayanihan, a Filipino community organization.

The senior Mr. Umali and his wife paused on their driveway last night to speak to a reporter.

"I have a great son, he's a great guy," he said. "He's very helpful and respectful to elders. We put the burden of the case in God's hands."


 
==================

April 21, 2003, 03:35:02 PM ?      

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Say nabbed suspect tried to kill himself
MICHELE McPHEE and BARBARA ROSS
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Isaias Umali is under arrest for the murder of New York bouncer Dana Blake.  

Cops arrested an out-of-work accountant trained in lethal knife-fighting techniques yesterday in the murder of an East Village bouncer who died enforcing the city's smoking ban.
Isais Umali, 31, was taken into custody at Queens' Mary Immaculate Hospital - where he was recovering from self-inflicted slashing wounds to his throat and wrists.

Police sources said Umali attempted suicide Monday - a day after he allegedly delivered a fatal stab wound to Dana Blake's groin as the hulking bouncer tossed the suspect's friends from a birthday party for smoking.

In the chaos after the stabbing, Umali fled from the Avenue B lounge Guernica, ditched the murder weapon and went to his fianc?e's apartment on the upper East Side to get rid of his bloody clothes, said NYPD Chief of Detectives George Brown.

"During the fight, Umali pulled out a knife and stabbed Blake," Brown said. "When Blake fell to the floor, Umali ran from the club, walked south and entered the subway station, discarding the knife along the way."

Umali's friends - Jonathan Chan, 29, and Ching Chan, 31, children of the leader of Chinatown's organized crime's Ghost Shadows - were arrested by patrol cops after Blake collapsed.  They were splattered with the victim's blood. Their sister, Alice Chan, 33, was arrested the following morning, and her blood-soaked clothes were seized by cops.
But all three were freed Monday night after prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney's office said they did not have evidence linking them to the fatal stabbing.  That sparked outrage from cops and friends and family of the victim - until yesterday's arrest of a new suspect.

Trained in martial arts

Many of the party attendees - including the Chan brothers and Umali - are trained in the Filipino martial art of Eskrima, which uses precision knife blows and deadly weapons to fight enemies.

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

"Someone trained this guy [Umali] to hit someone in a fatal spot to kill them, and it worked. We want to find him," one police source said.

Umali's involvement in the bloody slaying became clear late Thursday, when a tipster called the NYPD's Crime Stoppers hotline to turn him in, according to authorities. Sources said the anonymous caller is believed to be his guilt-stricken fianc?e, who had bought Umali new clothes before he returned to his parents' home.

"I was just trying to help out my friends," Umali wrote in a suicide note found by his parents, who were there when their son began slashing himself inside his Hillside, Queens, bedroom, according to one law enforcement source.

Brothers not cleared

Umali's arrest does not completely clear the Chans, police told the Daily News.

"The Chans are definitely still under investigation," said one high-ranking police source. "They still have problems."

But the Chan brothers' lawyer, Ivan Fisher, said Umali's arrest "vindicates" his clients.

"I feel that the recent development strongly supports the accuracy of what my clients have been saying happened here from the beginning - that they had nothing whatsoever to do with the wounding of Mr. Blake," Fisher said.

Umali and the Chans were among 19 people at a birthday party in the hip bar Saturday night spilling into Sunday morning.

The skirmish between Blake and the Chan brothers began just after 2 a.m., when revelers at the party for a woman identified as Catherine Leonardo repeatedly lit cigarettes in the bar's downstairs club in violation of the city's new smoking ban.

After a heated argument with members of the party, Blake, 32, grabbed Jonathan Chan and tried to eject him from the bar.

As the 6-foot-5, 320-pound bouncer shoved the Wall Street banker out the door, he was pounced on by Chan's siblings, police said.

Umali then allegedly entered the scrum, stabbing Blake - who died 11 hours later.

Umali was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon and arraigned on two counts of second-degree murder at Manhattan Criminal Court.

He was brought into court wearing a blue hospital shirt and gray khaki pants, bandages swathing his throat and wrists.
Criminal Court Judge Deborah Kaplan ordered Umali held without bail and on suicide watch.

Umali's attorney, David Krauss, said his client is "traumatized" by the slaying. "He's traumatized by the whole thing," Krauss said. "It's sad. Sad all around. For him and his family."


With Greg B. Smith
Originally published on April 19, 2003  
===================
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2004, 10:25:55 AM »

These are the quotes that bother me most:

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

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

I reiterate that this was a horrible event, but now I am starting to wonder:

What can we do to change perceptions about the arts we study? More exposure to the public? More education to the public?

Or do we go deeper underground and try to keep ourselves hidden from public view?

Perhaps some of the more "mature" (cough, cough) members would like to comment on the public's perception of the more esoteric arts from the early days until now. How have they changed? Or has public perception always been the same?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2004, 10:36:07 AM »

Woof SB Mig:

Perhaps we can begin with distinguishing your tag line from what happened here , , , evil

Crafty Dog

PS:  Written on 3/22/05:  I see Miguel has edited his posts to delete a quote that went like this "if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery."  To know this is needed for our exchange to make sense.
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2004, 11:12:41 AM »

Touche... wink

To me the quote means this: Show respect to all as they respect you. If you are put in a position whereby you must defend yourself, do it to the best of your ability.

The quote is pulled from a speech given by Malcom X in Detroit, November of 1963 named "Message To The Grass Roots".

Of course, many find Malcolm to be a controversial speaker due to his early advocacy of the use violence. Unfortunately, many of his quotes are taken out of context as he was a proponent of violence for self-preservation/self-protection (i.e not turning the other cheek). And, as many are unaware, it was upon his return from a trip to Mecca that Malcolm rejected not only the Nation of Islam, but his own politics of racial separation, and the use of violence as a means to an end.


But back to the topic at hand....

Since your training days, has the perception of the arts changed? And if so, how?

Miguel
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2004, 12:07:41 PM »

Woof Miguel:

Sorry, but you are not going to get off so easy Tongue   I'm fully aware of Malcom X's history, but don't the values implicit in the quote lack the criterion of proportionality?  And is not this exactly what went astray in this case?

Woof,
Crafty Dog
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2004, 12:51:29 PM »

I was hoping to get away from a strict discussion on Malcom but I guess not...

Here's the full sentence (which I am sure will raise more than a few hackles with its reference to the Koran):

"There is nothing in our book, the Koran, that teaches us to suffer peacefully. Our religion teaches us to be intelligent. Be peaceful, be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone; but if someone puts his hand on you, send him to the cemetery. That?s a good religion."
"Message to the Grass Roots," speech, Nov. 1963, Detroit (published in Malcolm X Speaks, ch. 1, 1965).

And other excerpts from the speech (all of which must be taken in context with the time the words were spoken):

"If violence is wrong in America, violence is wrong abroad. If it's wrong to be violent defending black women and black children and black babies and black men, then it's wrong for America to draft us and make us violent abroad in defense of her. And if it is right for America to draft us, and teach us how to be violent in defense of her, then it is right for you and me to do whatever is necessary to defend our own people right here in this country."

"A revolution is bloody. Revolution is hostile. Revolution knows no compromise. Revolution overturns and destroys everything that gets in its way. And you, sitting around here like a knot on the wall, saying, "I'm going to love these folks no matter how much they hate me." No, you need a revolution. Whoever heard of a revolution where they lock arms, as Reverend Cleage was pointing out beautifully, singing "We Shall Overcome"? Just tell me. You don't do that in a revolution. You don't do any singing; you're too busy swinging. It's based on land. A revolutionary wants land so he can set up his own nation, an independent nation. These Negroes aren't asking for no nation. They're trying to crawl back on the plantation."

"Message To The Grass Roots" was the first of three key speeches that Malcolm X gave and is important in that it laid down his basic ideological framework.

Now in terms of "proportional response", several things have to be taken into account: Malcolm X's attitude towards use of violence in the struggle for power, his flawed interpretation of the Koran (due to the influence of Elijah Mohammed), and his own violent history (to that point). As I stated earlier, his trip to Mecca in 1964 caused him to modify his views and embrace the viewpoint of world unity and a brotherhood of man.

Malcolm's use of hyperbole, improvisation, and analogy to represent the plight of African Americans at the time must be taken into account when reading any of his speeches. Orators are more than willing to extend themselves when it come to making a point. I believe that while the statement itself seems harsh, stripped of hyperbole it is fairly straight forward: If someone seeks to harm you, do the same to them. An eye for an eye.

I don't believe this to be about retribution but indeed about proportional response, couched in hyperbole.

So...

Is slicing open a femoral proportional response to seeing a friend getting choked out? Depends on the situation. But from what I can tell in the club incident, far out of line.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2004, 01:08:24 PM »

Woof SB:

 The part on Malcolm X is all well and good-- and not on point.  

What do you think communicates when your sig line is "It he touches you, kill him"?

And how does this pertain to these questions of yours:

"What can we do to change perceptions about the arts we study? More exposure to the public? More education to the public? Or do we go deeper underground and try to keep ourselves hidden from public view?"

Sorry to be such a bad dog, biting you on the butt about all of this, but my doggy nose has gotten a whiff of cognitive dissonance here , , ,

yip,
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2004, 02:36:31 PM »

Again:

I don't believe this (quote) to be about retribution but indeed about proportional response, couched in hyperbole.

Heading for the East Coast. Will be in touch once I am internetable again.

Miguel
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2004, 12:32:24 AM »

Again:

Most people are unaware of the full context of the quote and will take it as it appears.

Looking forward to hearing from you when you reconnect.
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Ted T.
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2004, 12:54:07 PM »

I'm curious about this:
Quote
...trained in a vicious Filipino martial art in which even beginners learn lethal knife thrusts.

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


I reiterate that this was a horrible event, but now I am starting to wonder:

What can we do to change perceptions about the arts we study?  


Doesn't all knife training include killing techniques?  Doesn't every teacher of knife skills mention vulnerable spots on the body, whether to warn that if cut they will cause death or, if the need is to cause a death, how to do it?

Isn't the nature of fighting (not sparring, not even with 'realistic contact') with a stick or knife in combat, 'viscious'?

The only perception that has to change is the perception that only viscious people (ie, psychopathic killers) train in stick and knife styles.

I think that we must accept a high responsibility for being players, practioners and teachers of what is inescapably a deadly art.  Being casual with the outcome of the use of your skills or casual about the responsibility involved in choosing carefully who you chose to teach, will cause the backlash we fear, not by trying to pretty it all up as an innocent game of tag.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2004, 02:51:42 PM »

Woof Ted:

I just skimmed your site-- very interesting.  Delighted to have you with us.

You raise a very good question and I'm hoping people will take a stab at it rolleyes

This catches me with only a few minutes to write, so please forgive my brevity:

Although diminished, the depth of secrecy in the FMA, especially with regard to knife, remains greatly underappreciated.  Many systems that seem to be teaching knife are often only teaching disarms against angles of attack.  I have heard it said that the art is being taught "culturally".  Targeting is discussed only in simple, obvious ways and "sparring" is, as you say "prettied up as an innocent game of tag".

There is another side to the art however.  It is incredible violent and efficient and the nature of this training is quite different.  

Crafty Dog
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2004, 04:19:40 PM »

Back here in Connecticut. Jetlagged but the foliage makes up for it...

Doesn't all knife training include killing techniques? Doesn't every teacher of knife skills mention vulnerable spots on the body, whether to warn that if cut they will cause death or, if the need is to cause a death, how to do it?

Yes and yes. I am not arguing that the techniques are not taught. I am concerned that the automatic picture that most people get when they hear martial artists is "vicious killers". And it shows in the newspapers' use of lethal knife thrusts and killing with a single wound. Every form of martial arts contains both the physical and spiritual side. The spiritual being the side rarely, if ever, mentioned.

Isn't the nature of fighting (not sparring, not even with 'realistic contact') with a stick or knife in combat, 'viscious'?

Yup. But again, the approach to teaching these methods (depending on the ystem) is not always kill, kill, kill. IMHO the best instructors teach proportional response and lead by example regardless of the viciousness of the style. My exposure to some of the more violent systems has always been in an environment where the gravity of using said style was implicit and the teaching is neither taken nor given lightly.

Most highly talented instructors I have had the benefit of meeting are humble, quiet individuals who also happen to know alot of ways to do damage if necessary. I have also met plenty who are complete...uh...not so nice guys. And their styles of teaching reflect in their students.
 
The only perception that has to change is the perception that only viscious people (ie, psychopathic killers) train in stick and knife styles.

Hmmm...I'll use the NRA's in regards to this. While guns are dangerous and many people perceive gun owners/users as the bad guys, the NRA goes out of its way to promote gun safety and responsible ownership.

The perception of martial art/artists/fighters/warriors is a subject that I have always been interested in. While warriors have been respected throughout the ages, their attitude and approach often dictated the response they received upon arriving in town. Gentle samurai who writes poetry and can cut you in half if needed or bad gunslinger who'll shoot you for lookin' at him wrong. Is there a difference in perception? And if so, what is it and why?

I think that we must accept a high responsibility for being players, practioners and teachers of what is inescapably a deadly art.

Damn skippy.

Being casual with the outcome of the use of your skills or casual about the responsibility involved in choosing carefully who you chose to teach, will cause the backlash we fear, not by trying to pretty it all up as an innocent game of tag.

And you are right in saying that a casual approach is a dangerous approach. In no way do I believe that we should pretty up the arts we study. But our respectful approach to the arts is what is often left out of the paper and that I take issue with.

I think this last point brings us back to a question of Tiny's: "As a teacher is it not one's responsibility to choose students who honor the power of technique(s)?"
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Sun_Helmet
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« Reply #20 on: October 28, 2004, 06:10:02 PM »

The problem with this article is due to a lazy reporter who is embellishing the facts with their own uninformed POV.

If the Filipino knife 'expert' was so 'expert' and efficient in targeting the femoral artery, then how come he missed so many chances to kill himself with his own blade? Why didn't he just repeat the same exact femoral cut to commit suicide?

Anyone who has ever met the instructors of said individual would have no idea they were vicious people at all. Probably the warmest, best humored folks on the FMA planet.

We should allow the court system to have it's course. This is an unfortunate incident all around.

--Rafael--
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--Rafael--
"..awaken your consciousness of our past, already effaced from our memory, and to rectify what has been falsified and slandered."
Jose Rizal, from his 1889 essay, ' To The Filipinos '
Ted T.
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« Reply #21 on: October 28, 2004, 08:29:39 PM »

Thanks for the welcome Crafty,


I've been following the Pack's exploits for a very long time now. One of my students would love to get down to LA and join a gathering but money rules.
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Tiny
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« Reply #22 on: October 30, 2004, 01:58:58 PM »

Quote
The problem with this article is due to a lazy reporter who is embellishing the facts with their own uninformed POV.


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

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

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

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


And

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


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

I'm guessing it will be, unless you've just saved the lives of 10 children, a pregnant woman, and someone's grandma from terrorists...then you'd be a "hero."
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Ted T.
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« Reply #23 on: October 30, 2004, 02:52:46 PM »

Hi Tony,

I sense your concern but I'm still not in your loop. Here are your quotes:

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

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


And

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


Where is the untruth of these statements? Is not Eskrima a warrior art and are not knives a major component? Does not everyone during their first 6 months of training know how to cut and kill with a single wound?  I started my practice in FMA because these things were true!

The only word I take opposition to is "viscious." An art can be viscious (not flowery, dancy or airy-fairy and dedicated to the death of your opponent) but usually the practioner is not viscious.

IF the defendant did in fact cut like he is described to have cut, after the length of time he had been training, then he knew he had jeopardised the life of the bouncer, and probably, did that on purpose. That is, imho, a viscious act.

As a player, you will be and I believe, should be held to a higher standard of responsibility in such cases. If you object to that, you need to put down your sticks and knives right now.

It is not the art which needs to be white washed but the players that need to show obvious social respectability and responsiblity. Lesson plans from your club should be available to the prosocutors that show when and where adomonishements against using a kill shot were taught due to social and legal considerations.

And always remember:  "If you cut someone with your knife, two people are cut; if you kill someone, two lives are killed."
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SB_Mig
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« Reply #24 on: November 01, 2004, 11:50:40 AM »

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

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

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


I don't think that anyone is arguing that these statements are untrue. My complaint (and I have alot of complaints when it comes to the media) is their automatic tainting of the subject matter with inflammatory writing. Should the writing be more "flowery"? Not at all. But an OBJECTIVE journalist should write to the subject NOT the reader.

Quote
As a player, you will be and I believe, should be held to a higher standard of responsibility in such cases.


I don't think anyone disagrees with this. Which is the basis of the the question, "How do we ensure/develop this standard?" And I have yet to receive a response.

Quote
It is not the art which needs to be white washed but the players that need to show obvious social respectability and responsiblity.


Again, no one is advocating a whitewash. But what is the solution to changing societal perceptions of the arts? Again, I'm still waiting for an answer.

Quote
Lesson plans from your club should be available to the prosocutors that show when and where adomonishements against using a kill shot were taught due to social and legal considerations.


A nice idea, but realistically how many instructors are going to write "Today I taught the class the when, why, and how of the femoral slash so they don't get in trouble." And would this really hold up in court?
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Ted T.
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« Reply #25 on: November 01, 2004, 12:03:58 PM »

"How do we ensure/develop this standard?"

1. Vet your students carefully. Bad friends show a lot about a person even if they present well, for instance.

2. don't teach knife until after the student has reached the free-sparring level and are assisting with class. These things will help show her/his character.

3. Make a strong emphasis on the legal and moral qualities of your teachings - the 'weight' of this will sound good to a good guy and be a burden to the bad guy.

What would you add?


And yes, a combatives teacher in town here does exactly that...he can point to any and every thing he has taught, to the lesson plan, to the daily video record of what he teaches and precisely to all his instructions and warnings to his students to obey the law and legal use of force restrictions. He's teaching a deadly art, and his s-d starts with protecting himself.
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Tiny
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« Reply #26 on: November 01, 2004, 02:34:06 PM »

SB Mig, and all,

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

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

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

By becoming active I mean such things as:  youth, senior, and women's self-defense seminars, neighborhood watches (do they still exist?), guest speaking about self-protection at local events, working with newspapers and local news crews for stories on classes, seminars and the importance of community vigilance to reinforce the notion that martial arts are born out of a desire to safeguard.  Do most of us have time for these sorts of things?  Not many of us, I'd imagine...but I think if your goals are as stated, that's along the lines of what it would take.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #27 on: November 04, 2004, 08:02:22 AM »

Does anyone have any updates on this case?
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buzwardo
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« Reply #28 on: November 05, 2004, 10:41:27 PM »

I guess the thing that bugs me about this news coverage is the implicit editorializing, editorializing that to my mind simply is not congruent with reality. "Deadly martial art," for instance, strikes me as a redundancy, and a fairly silly one at that. If a skill set is going to be used in a martial context, then injury or death is a given. If a martial art doesn't have a combat component, then it's not a martial art, and if that combat component cannot cause death or injury, then it's not a combat component. The editorial construct is such that the reader is led to believe that extra deadly training is the root cause of this tragedy, when to my eye the cause is a person who made a very bad choice.

Same deal with the deadly slash. If you think you have good cause to stick a knife in another human being then you'd be an idiot to do it in any manner but a deadly one. Again, the fault here lies not with the technique, but with the person who applied it. The reporter chooses not to make that distinction, instead implying an art is the proximate cause of a crime, when it looks to me the fault lies with the art?s practitioner.

This phenomenon is hardly confined to stories with a martial arts component. Though journalists wave ideals like fairness, accuracy, and balance around, most of ?em are effected by forces far removed the ideals they espouse. Some involve rank commercialism?their ability to report is underwritten by their ability to shill snake oil and other stuff; others like viewer attention span and the costs associated with a given medium elbow aside nuance and ambiguity in favor of stark, easily labeled dichotomies that can be quickly told. The bottom line is that every Rash?mon gets converted by most of the press into a simpleminded passion play capable of selling soap. Hurrah for the Fourth Estate.

One of my favorite quotes is ?Everything you read in the paper is true except for the rare story of which you happen to have first hand knowledge.? Most of the folks reading this post have spent enough time training to understand that a given art or technique does not a mad slasher make. How many people have you stood next to on the training floor that haven?t used their art to a homicidal end?

Firearm owners have been dealing with this sort of foolishness for years: there are 200 million plus firearms in private hands in the US; some miniscule percentage of which are used in crime in a given year, but that doesn?t keep the press for clamoring for sundry firearm bans. Further, it?s been reliably estimated that there are over 2 million instances of defensive firearm use in the US each year, though you rarely hear about any of ?em in the press. I wonder if martial artists need to prepare for the same kind of treatment regularly received by law abiding, gun owning, citizens?
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alex
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« Reply #29 on: November 07, 2004, 05:57:46 AM »

I agree with Buz but bear in mind that it was the Prosecuter who made an issue of the deadly nature of the art in the first place, the news coverage simply reflects that. Clearly they are using some emotional scare tactics as you describe but in this case to secure a conviction by inflaming the jury. As I understand it, it's a fairly common approach in any trial, he's simply trying to demonize the defendant to counter the defense's claim that he was helping a friend.
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Tiny
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« Reply #30 on: November 09, 2004, 11:19:52 AM »

Crafty, et al.

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

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

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

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

Former Martial Arts Instructor Called to Testify

Quote
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.
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argyll
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« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2004, 12:11:11 AM »

Quote
 
   
Martial arts expert guilty in bouncer death
   
   
BY KAREN FREIFELD
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.



http://www.newsday.com/news/local/newyork/nyc-verd1117,0,7732379,print.story?coll=ny-nynews-headlines

Best regards.

Argyll
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Tiny
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« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2004, 11:24:07 AM »

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

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

At any rate, thanks for the update, Argyll.
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argyll
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« Reply #33 on: February 16, 2005, 06:40:07 PM »

Umali update:

Quote


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


http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--smokingban-stabbi0216feb16,0,742882,print.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork

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,

Argyll
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Tiny
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« Reply #34 on: February 17, 2005, 11:05:20 AM »

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


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

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

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

I'm sorry, but all this nonsense about appearances and knives from individuals so unfamiliar with weapons and martial arts as to virtually make one or the other immediately criminal in public opinion makes me a tad peevish...
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toughman
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« Reply #35 on: March 08, 2005, 06:22:33 PM »

The bottom line is the guy was told the rules-no smoking- and he refused to obey and was escorted out- the bouncer was just doing his job. So the The martial arts practioners friend starts a confrontation and it ends with the murder of a working man. A group of men together and an unprovoked attack, with a knife from a coward. He had used his knife and skills in a horrendous manner.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #36 on: March 08, 2005, 11:01:39 PM »

Woof Tiny:

Did you know that "Tiny" was the nickname of the 6'5" 350lb bouncer?

Anyway:

"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."

Um, I may be wrong, but if NY law is anything like CA law, the carrying of a knife as a weapon is illegal, but it is OK to carry it as a tool.  Seen in this light, the judge's comments make perfect sense.  He is saying that the appearance of the knife negates any pretense of it being carried as a tool.

Furthermore, guilt was determined by a jury IIRC -- not the judge.

"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? "

No, killing people (and no one contests that Umali killed Tiny) is what runs the risk of indictment , , , and conviction.  And if the law says that carrying knives as tools is OK, but not as weapons, well then don't be surprised in appearance weighs in the equation at sentencing time.  

We may wish the law to be different, (I do) but it is the judge's responsibility to apply the law.

"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 not sure of the relevance of the Sayoc reference here-- Umali was not their student-- and I have heard Tuhon Chris tell seminars more than once that he does not carry knives.

As to whether the knife was used appropriately in this case, that's what we have trials and juries for, and the defendant, after surviving his suicide attempt, was found guilty.  The basic facts are not really in dispute here.   What basis do you have for doubting the jury's verdict?

"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..."

I'm sorry too.  I find your thoughts here very off-base.  With a 6" serrated blade Umali killed a man by targeting his femoral artery.  And for what?  That his friends refused to put out cigarettes in a bar where the law prohibited smoking?!?  

Why is it hard for you to say that this is profoundly wrong?

Crafty Dog
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Tiny
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« Reply #37 on: March 09, 2005, 11:07:34 AM »

Crafty et.al,

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

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

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

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

I am in no way defending Umali, but out of curiosity, haven't you ever, when faced with an assailant or potential threat, grabbed a weapon that might not have been technically legal?  If you defended yourself with a questionable object (or even a "utility" knife) would you be comfortable being associated, in public, and in front of an uninformed jury, with the study of Kali (or "Silat" or "Cimande," or any other less-known art) knowing that this is how martial arts is depicted nation-wide?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #38 on: March 11, 2005, 08:53:42 AM »

Tiny:

Thank you for your reply which triggered some writing on my part on Wednesday.  I was rather proud of it actually-- but managed to vaporize it trying to post it   angry  cry  (don't ask how).

Anyway, I will try to get back to it when my juices on the subject recharge a bit.

Crafty
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JDN
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« Reply #39 on: March 21, 2005, 10:56:27 AM »

Crafty,  while I 100% agree that the killing of "Tiny" was profoundly sad,
I would like to dispute one comment of yours.  You said, "...but if NY is anything like CA law the carrying of a knife as a weapon is illegal but it is ok to carry it as a tool.".  I think we have had this discussion before, but unlike some states, CA law does not address the issue of use.   For example I carry a folder (by the way, any length according to CA law is ok) in the closed position.  This is perfectly legal AND I may honestly tell (politely) anyone from law enforcement who might inquire that the primary purpose of this weapon is self defense.  I can honestly say, "It is not a screwdriver, can opener, or box cutter; I carry it solely for the purpose of self defense."  Now,  while he/she may not like that answer, but it is perfectly legal in CA.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #40 on: March 21, 2005, 11:38:14 AM »

Woof JDN:

I am sorry that I cannot lay my hands on it at the moment, but I remember reading a fairly serious legal piece some years back which formed the basis of my understanding of CA law.  I am unaware of any changes in it.

Do you have any citations supporting your statement?

Woof,
Crafty Dog
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JDN
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« Reply #41 on: March 21, 2005, 12:40:01 PM »

Hi Crafty,

Citations; no, not offhand (I will reseach) but the law in CA (LA City and a few other cities have different rules) only address certain issues, such as  items like switch blades, pen knives, cane/swords etc. being illegal.  And the issue of open or concealed carry; for example fixed blades MUST be carried open carry while folders may be carried concealed if in the closed position (makes sense to me; do you want an open folder in your pocket?).      

The issue of use is not addressed - only whether the knife is legal or not.  If questioned, the officer must state why your/this particular knife is illegal, i.e. switchblade, a fixed blade being concealed, etc.  For basic reading see Penal Code sections 12020, 653(k), and 626.9 for a basic summary.  

We spoke of this once before.  I gave you the example of going to the LA Superior Courthouse with a folder.  At the door I declared it of course and asked that it be check in (downtown offers that service)  The rent a cop at the door said he was going to take it away since I told him it was for self defense; even the Sheriff at check in agreed with him!  However, the Sargent on the desk upstairs pulled 653(k) and read it noting to everyone that my knife was perfectly legal and the reason I carried my knife to be irrelevant.

Recently I was on a college campus and was "arrested" by campus police for carrying my folder.  It took a while but I pointed out that CA law states that you may not carry any knife on a K-12 campus and that you may not carry a fixed blade on a college campus however by ommision my folder was perfectly legal.  The Pasadena DA's office confirmed my opinion to the "arresting" officers.

I suggest that individual's should know the law.  Often times Sheriff and Police often do not and unless you explain the law to them (politely) you may have a problem.  But you should not be afraid to carry; just use the knife responsibly and appropriately.  And what that means is for the jury to decide.

james
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jayceblk
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« Reply #42 on: April 14, 2005, 03:56:14 PM »

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.


This bothered me a little bit in that I dont remember there being "specific folders" for any art. I could be wrong but blades are blades. Most differences are regional and by maker.

Now for my 2 cents.

I dont think this situation was good per say but I do have a couple of things to interject.

1.) As far as the teaching of "deadly arts" its always been my understanding that to learn to defend from them its best to also know how to do the attacks as well as to defend. Also, take anyone with a little smarts and a willingness to read and practice and you have your deadly expert. If you have enough medical knowledge you can easily know which arteries to strike at and thier locations or even just get a chart that shows you how and where. Im sure in this day and age, you could surf the net and find all sorts of pertinant material on the subject.

2.) Teachers are not responsible for thier students actions per say. Now I do believe that if there is someone with an obvious problem that you should let them go but its almost alleviating the responsibility of the individual. Its like saying heavy metal music made the 80's crowd kill themselves. If I show someone how to find the stress point of a building support so they know what to look for in repairs, is it then my fault if they use that knowledge for an evil action? If thats the case we get into the whole idea of banning knowledge.

3.) Now I dont know the specifics of this as I wasnt there but it does sound like the accused was at fault. Knowing that some of you are bouncers understand that this is not a general statement. Sometimes bouncers go to far. I myself have had two circumstances where it happend. In one a place had roughly 8 bouncers. Im about 5'10" 200 lbs. This guy roughly about 6'6" and at least 300lbs, after knocking into me several times on the dance floor so that I had to move away only to have him follow me, decided to push me to prove his point. The guy is huge so I kind of jump back and pull him with me as he pushes and he almost falls, on me. Long story short the bouncers snatch up me and my friend and basically pin us respectively against the bar and the wall, while the monster gets to take pot shots at our faces. Another time I had another huge bouncer "choke me out" as my frind was getting pushed around by four or 5 guys and as one tried to swing around the bouncer to hit him I grabbed his arm. Now the first one just sucked but the second. Being locked up on my throat and leaned on and not being able to breathe is a scary thing. I dont know who this guy is and if he knows when to stop. I wouldnt blame anyone in that situation for going ape, its a natural reaction. Are somethings excessive, sure but the amount of force and type used to restrain somebody might have those kind of consequenses.

4.) Going underground with Martial arts will only make things worse and you'll have these finger of death stories and the like all over the place.

And sorry I didnt think it would be that long and its a bit of a rant.

Thanks for reading.
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metis
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« Reply #43 on: April 14, 2005, 08:04:43 PM »

for what it's worth, in NYC (the five boroughs), a knife over 4" is illegal, as are serrations. this is usually ignored on work sites.

he's going to get hit with legal phrases like "going forth armed" and "deadly intent". of course, the description of the knife is about as damning as if he were carrying an "assault rifle".

thankfully, i live upstate in the woods. belt knives are typically ignored everywhere except bars. but really big knives must be accompanied by a Leatherman. Smiley
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jayceblk
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« Reply #44 on: April 15, 2005, 08:18:04 AM »

Actually serrations dont have any bearing down here legally they just make the knife look scary to some. The two determining factors are type and length. For instance any assisted opening, switchblade, or even a folder you can "flick" open, are all considered gravity knives, which are illegal. The inches thing is more about the take of the police. I have never seen any law here that says anything about a "legal" specific amount of inches.

 Cheesy
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metis
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« Reply #45 on: April 15, 2005, 09:29:18 AM »

yep. you're right. finally tracked down the penal code on knives. nothing about length/serrations.....
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