Mad Dogs And An Englishman

written by Paul Taylor

“Mad dogs and an Englishman beat the living daylights out of each other in the mid-day sun.” Apologies to Noel Coward for the misquote, but it seemed so apt.

IN September, 1998, Richard Killick flew to L.A. to fight at the tenth anniversary meeting of the infamous Dog Brothers. In doing so he became the first person from the U.K. to be invited over to participate in the “gathering of the Pack”.

The twice-yearly gatherings are seen as the ultimate test for the serious stick fighter and boast some of the very best exponents in the States. October’s event, held in Hermosa Beach, saw thirty-five such fighters take part and over three hundred spectators.

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Los Triques – Budo International

written by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny
Crossbreeding Kali and Krabi Krabong

SECTION ONE: Cross breeding and fear of Inbreeding

One of the great strengths of the Dog Brothers is that we have different clans. Dog Brothers are spread around the United States, Canada, and now Switzerland (and Spain is under consideration) and those who train with a particular Dog Brother and become the clan of that area under his leadership. Thus, each clan develops its own distinctive flavor.

But it was not always so.

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Dog Brothers Are A Unique Breed

from Black Belt Magazine
LOS ANGELES-Marc Denny, also known as “Crafty Dog,” is, along with Eric “Top Dog” Knaus, co-founder and head instructor of Dog Brothers Martial Arts Inc. At 6-feet-l-inch and 190 pounds, Denny cuts an intimidating figure as he wields his single or double sticks in the face of oncoming attacks by a fellow “Dog Brother.” This interesting and extremely effective system has been turned down by the Ultimate Fighting Championship as “just too extreme.”

At their Gathering of the Pack, an event that has been held semi-annually for eight years, the Dog Brothers and other martial artists test their skills in “real-contact” stick fighting. This, according to Denny, is basically a Vale Tudo-version of Kali with one or two sticks. Denny says there are only three rules: “Use any attack you can think of, be friends at the end of the day, and no suing no one for nothin’ no how, no way!” The credo of the Dog Brothers is “higher consciousness through harder contact.” ? The term “real contact” is used to distinguish it from “full contact,” which usually means one or both fighters and/or the sticks are padded and some techniques are prohibited.

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Higher Consciousness Through Harder Contact ©

from Martial Arts Illustrated, by Terry L. Wilson

maillustratedThe Dog Brothers. An unusual name to be sure, but after watching these guys in action it’s obvious that they run on a different octane of testosterone than others of their species. The Dog Brothers claim to fame is that they beat each other to a pulp with hard rattan sticks for fun. “Real Contact Kali” is the name of their game and they play it for real. They use the term “Real Contact” to distinguish themselves from tournaments that use the term “Full Contact” but the fighters and/or the ticks are padded. In the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, before there were rules, the Dog Brothers were approached by the UFC about participating in a special weapons event to be held between the semi-finals and the finals. There were extensive conversations held. Eric “Top Dog” Knaus, the group’s best fighter, would have carried the flag for the Dog Brothers. But after seeing the Dog Brothers in action, the UFC had to pass. In a letter to Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny, the group’s guiding force, they wrote:

Read moreHigher Consciousness Through Harder Contact ©

The Dog Brothers

from Men’s Fitness, by Marc Jacobs

Iron John? Big wuss. Real me, say the Dog Brothers, beat the crap out of each other with 30-inch clubs.

Underdog is flailing away at Dog Steve with a pair of 30-inch sticks before the watchful eye of the Crafty Dog and his canine cohorts. “Stop backing up!” Top Dog orders as Dog Steve charges forward, slashing his club at Underdog, who is backpedaling furiously in an attempt to avoid massive head trauma, broken bones or a kidney-popping thrust into his bare body.

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Trapping

written by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny

What follows is a reworking of something that was originally posted on the Eskrima Digest on the subject of trapping. It began with a good question, a slightly edited version of which follows:

“, , , , In short, Burt Richardson (and some others I know) seem to doubt the usefulness of the Jun Fan/Wing Chun type trapping (or at least how they’re trained — and I think this might be more the issue).

, , , As you can identify, all those cool FMA things we learn like, sumbrada, punyo sumbrada, hubad, 1001 disarms, tend not to come out in high intensity confrontations like fights at the Gathering. This it not necessarily to say that such training is useless, but time in vs. results in fighting is less than that as compared to working power or evasion skills. In Burt’s eyes, this sort of thing sort of applies to trapping, it doesn’t happen often, at least not in the same way that the training is done, i.e. you punch, he blocks, this gives you a high outside reference point, you can pak sao, etc… Paraphrased by my understanding, Burt’s big thing right now is to only train stuff that works w/high percentage of success and very similar to how it should be one (and thereby dropping the other stuff) ,and since few folks pull of the fleeting trapping range (since now that grappling is big, guys tend to crash right through to grappling).

I know you used to work a lot with Paul Vunak, who I still gather that his camp is still very strongly trapping range oriented. I understand Paul to be very much in the vein of “has to work/be verified” himself, so I figure he wouldn’t keep stuff that he didn’t feel to have actual combat value.

I figure you’re in the somewhat unique case of being able to appreciate both sides well, so here’s the question. What do you think is the value of trapping, both JF/WC and Kali for real fighting? ”

END QUOTE

I saw Burt’s tapes with “Matt Thorton’s Straight Blast Gym” and I agree that this is a question that should be raised. We’ve heard the claims– where the hell is it in the NHB fighting that we see?

JKD says “my technique is a result of your technique”. Well, people fight differently now than they did when Bruce Lee was around. In those days I was a hippie and not into martial arts, but it is my understanding that, the karate tended to attract the “real fighters”– guys who liked to spar, and the kung fu guys were not oriented that way. A stereotype, but on the whole, perhaps not without validity. Karate people block and in the right hands (and of course that is always the issue) JF/WC can do pretty well. But, for example, the low block of karate that sets up pin choy- guah choy simply is not a part of present day trained fighters’ responses. And the speediness of the pendulum structure of Jun Fan that works well against a more rooted footwork game does not always work so well against the bio-mechanics of someone well versed in the Muay Thai kick stance– the sideways alignment of the pendulum does not allow for as quick an initiation of the rear leg power kicks and the instant when the feet come together may leave one vulnerable to both legs being swept out with one kick. The high hand position of Muay Thai also presents problems for classical Jun Fan/WC type trapping. This is not to say that I personally can always make Muay Thai happen against Jun Fan, but that other things being equal (that’s Latin for “ceterus parabus”) it can be difficult for the Jun Fan Kickboxing structure to succeed in its mission of entering well into trapping range against Muay Thai. Against a BJJ/Vale Tudo grappler type the challenge can be even more discouraging.

I trained extensively with Paul Vunak from 1983-86, but I have not been in touch since then except for a conversation wherein he told me that he had been working a lot on leg locks to counter the BJJ guard (not a bad idea by the way)– so I am not in any position to evaluate what he has been up to in the last 12 years. When I did train with him I liked very much the way he freely blended the FMA that he knew with the Jun Fan structure and to me it made sense to say as he did, and I paraphrase, that JKD was more than the “BL style” and was something that had to evolve. The FMA can be extremely JKD in their mindset. In the book “Masters of Arnis, Kali, and Eskrima” by Edgar Sulite (highly recommended by the way) one can clearly see this in the interviews with the various grandmasters. It made sense to me that the FMA could and should play an important role in the evolution of JKD. The technical structure of the FMA has a lot of “common thread” with Jun Fan-i.e. the two have structures which integrate well. The tendency to strong side forward common to both is but one example of many and the advanced trapping skills of both is another.

However, while Guro Inosanto toiled for decades on behalf of Bruce Lee legacy, a nucleus of JKD people most of whom had sat on their , , , laurels since Bruce Lee died would yap and yowl that JKD was what Bruce Lee did and nothing else. In my opinion Guro Inosanto chose the term “JKD Concepts” in an effort to avoid conflict with the Classical JKD crowd–instead of saying the plain truth that JKD by definition must evolve. Even this compromise on his part did not suffice and now some in this group seek to rewrite the history of JKD by dropping Guro Inosanto’s name down some Orwellian “memory hole”. But this a matter of words and, as such, of not much importance.

What is important? First, lets not overstate things. We need to remember that in the current environment that a lot of this stuff continues to work. When I was in Brazil in June 1992 I showed Renzo Gracie Vunak’s “Headbutt, Elbow, Knees” tape. I have the amateur ringside video of his next vale tudo fight in which he drills some guy he gets in the corner with this structure. It is also important to remember that MANY situations that one might be in are quite different from a NHB octagon. How many people would be want on concrete to close against a guy with good fast savate feet in cowboy boots? Yeah, it can be done, but some of you are going to get seriously zipped in the bladder. A straight blast might get you through a barroom ruckus to the door better than a single leg takedown/side control/arm bar. Many bouncers and others with lots of experience swear by trapping. So in my opinion we should not get carried away with the “Where-is-the-trapping?” stuff.

Still, there is a legitimate question in all this. Little of what we see today is the way it is taught in many Jun Fan or Wing Chun classes and Burt is right that it is important to honestly look at this. So let me see if I can answer your question by way of example: In engineering, different types of strength are distinguished: compressive, tensile, shear, fatigue, etc. Engineering people please forgive my technical sloppiness, but compressive strength is the ability to bear weight. For example, you can put a lot of weight on concrete and it won’t crumble. Tensile strength is the ability to withstand a pull. Think of the metal cables of a suspension bridge. Why aren’t they made of concrete? Because concrete has lousy tensile strength and would snap.

Against the fighting structures used in the 60s and early 70s JF/WC trapping structures worked. As Muay Thai came in this was less so. And as BJJ came in even less so. It is as if the BJJ question tested the tensile strength of concrete. Concrete is strong, but not in that way. The challenge, as I see it, is the equivalent of learning to put “rebar” (those metal rods that are laid out and tied together in a gridlike pattern) in concrete; something is need to provide tensile strength.

Burt, Vunak and I are all students of Guro Inosanto, yet it should surprise no one that each of our approaches differ. Speaking only for myself, I feel that trapping continues to have a lot of validity, its just that what is required to bring it into play, the “rebar’ if you will, has changed. Change is always the case. Personally, much more of my trapping comes from Filipino Arts than JF; I find it easier to function by attacking the limb. I find the use of the elbows and forearms and the ways of using the hand of the FMA more suited to me.

Moving on to the next point, I do disagree with your assertion that “As you can identify, all those cool FMA things we learn like, sumbrada, punyo sumbrada, hubad, 1001 disarms, tend not to come out in high intensity confrontations like fights at the Gathering.” Why? Because these are TRAINING METHODS, not techniques, and the proof of their validity is in the functional results of the people who train with them.

If you look at the four “first tier” fighters of the Dog Brothers for example you will see that all have serious high level training. Top Dog moves pretty damn well in my opinion-and it doesn’t matter if its doing a carenza or during a fight. After starting with Tom Bisio, he was a student of Grand Tuhon Leo Gaje of the Pekiti Tirsia system. Salty Dog has, in addition to his FMA training here in the US (certified in the Derobio system for example) has trained extensively in Thailand in Krabi Krabong at the Buddaiswan Institute and is certifed by them. Sled Dog also was trained by GT Gaje and is a Mataas Na Guro in Pekiti Tirsia, as well as a high ranking instructor in Kajukenbo and other arts as well. In my case, I am a student of and certified by Guro Dan Inosanto, and the late Punong Guro Edgar Sulite as well. I recently also became a student of GT Gaje.

When watching a fight at a Gathering people should realize when they see a strike coming smoothly out of a roof block that it may be seeing the result of sombrada training? There is no doubt in my mind that my first staff fight went as it did (Not to overstate it–there is much to work on!) in important part because of my time working staff sombrada in Guro Inosanto’s class. Personally, at the moment I tend not to get as much out of “punyo sombrada” (a.k.a. “thrust on tapping”) but maybe someone else does, or maybe some day that will change for me. Ditto disarms. I feel I get a lot out of hubud, but then I go about it differently than most people lacking fighting experience. It will vary from fighter to fighter which training methods work best, so a good teacher will not be limited to his personal preferences, instead he will have different offerings for his students.

But most of all, we need to remember that THESE TRAINING METHODS WERE DEVELOPED BY WARRIORS IN THE PHILIPPINES TO TRAIN WELL AND SAFELY. HERE IN THE UNITED STATES WE TRY TO USE THEM TO DEVELOP WARRIORS, WHICH IS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT TASK, AND BLAME THE METHODS INSTEAD OF OURSELVES WHEN WE STILL CAN’T FIGHT. This is just my opinion.

Speaking frankly, I am aware that in some circles Guro Inosanto takes a rap for teaching “show and not go”. However in my opinion this misses the important point that Guro I. makes about there being short, middle and long term training. For immediate result, you train one way, for result over the middle term you train anther way, and for the long term you train yet other ways.

Most of you may know that the FMA of Dog Brothers Martial Arts is based around Inosanto Blend, Pekiti Tirsia, and Lameco. Yet when I fight in stickgrappling, I use principally Inosanto Blend (with some Bando Python) blended with Machado BJJ. It is my belief that the only reason that I can continue to fight effectively at 46 is because of the mid and long term training, called “show” by so many, that Guro I. makes his students do. I would have been too much of an opinionated idiot to have realized this on my own. To be a good stickgrappler requires both a good Kali and good grappling (BJJ in my case) base before coming to the stickgrappling. In other words, years of preparation. All those “show” combinations of Guro I. I now see differently– they are not literal, they are kinesthetic/neurological maps to what is available where. Because of this training while fighting I see possibilities that I probably would not otherwise and my game can become more spontaneous– whatever arises I am more likely to have a solution. BUT, if I never worked on my fighting understanding, then this portion of my training would not serve me in a fighting context. This is a vital point.

Also a vital point is that certainly one does not get to this point if one can’t hit hard while moving one’s feet, etc. This was one of the main points of the first Dog Brothers video series. There is no avoiding building the foundation, but if those of you who put up the walls before thinking about putting in the wiring, when the sun of youth goes down you may find yourself in the dark. Conversely, those of you who put in the wiring without building the walls and roof will get wet from a rain of blows.

One of the things that most profoundly drew me to the FMA, was their consistent ability to produce men of awareness who were functional well into later in life. I know of no other martial art tradition with as much success in this regard. I see a life in martial arts as having three stages. I still struggle with good names for them. At the moment I call them the young male, the father/teacher, and , , , well, I don’t have a name for the third one but it is the goal, so lets call it , , ,the Goal! For me they are represented by Bruce Lee, Dan Inosanto, and John LaCoste.

Woof,
Guro Crafty

He Had His Art

written by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny

Several years back, a man I had fought at a “Dog Brothers Gathering” went out behind his school and blew his brains out. He was involved in intense law enforcement work and I was told that his marriage was ending. He left two daughters and a separated wife.

He was a part of the extended Inosanto Tribe as well the Dog Brothers tribe and so I mentioned it to Guro Inosanto. He was surprised, and instantly exclaimed “How could he have done that? He had his Art!”

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The Days Before A Fight

written by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny

The days before the fight are always a powerful crucible. I have a non-martial art teacher who when someone seeks to leave a situation that makes them uncomfortable says, “Whatever you do, keep on being here in this moment.” I may not have the quote exactly right, but I hope I have the gist of it.

Scientist Konrad Lorenz’s book “Behind the Mirror” addresses the evolutionary biology of consciousness. There is a passage in the book wherein he describes how a cat at play will seamlessly string together unrelated behaviors/movements from stalking prey, fighting a rival, bluffing a predator, courtship, killing prey etc. He then points out that the instant that the cat is stressed (e.g. the appearance of a rival) this ability disappears.

Many martial arts discuss how there are different mindsets/qualities with which one can defend/fight. Often the names are a bit poetic; Fire, Water, Wind, Rock, Earth, etc. but the point is made that the more realized the fighter is, the better his ability to fluidly shift between them. In the intense adrenal state of a fight, this can be a very good trick to actually do, yet as Lorenz’s point about the cat makes clear, the state of Play is the state where this happens best. (“What Is Play?” in evolutionary biological terms is an interesting question in its own right.) Thus, the best fight is where the fight is play. Thus in Dog Brothers Martial Arts we say

“Do not have a Way as you Play. Fight the Way you Play. Let your Fight be Play” (c)

The Learning that takes place in the adrenal state is some of the deepest and highest that there is. (The adrenal state of course can be triggered by many things, not only immediate physical danger; criticism by loved ones, humiliation, etc etc.) The greater the adrenal state, the profounder the Learning. The greater the state of Play, the better the result. The more that one can move in both directions simultaneously, the better. “The greater the dichotomy, the profounder the transformation. Higher consciousness through harder contact.” (c)

Woof!
Guro Crafty

NLP

written by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny

In DBMA, we have a considerable emphasis on developing both hands ability to work individually and in non-symetrical coordination with either hand be able to function as the dominant one. Through my exposure to NLP and a random sermon by one Rev. Terry Cole Whittaker caught while surfing one Sunday morning, I have come to place great importance on expressing oneself positively as versus negatively. Thus it mattered to me not only for myself but also in my teaching to not call me left hand my “bad” one and my right hand my “good” one. To put the power of my word into calling my left “bad” was a violation of the principle. I struggled with what to call my left hand for quite a while until I came up with calling my it “my good hand” and my right hand “my better hand”. Of course this would be utterly confusing to anyone who doesn’t know what the hell I’m talking about and so I limit its use to myself and my students. I made reference to this in a post on the Eskrima Digest and someone asked the following question:

Maybe Marc Denny could enlighten us on his NLP research and application?? Is this exclisively from Richard Bandler, or is it the Anthony Robbin’s hybrid?? Just curious…….

Herewith a reworking of my reply:

One of the great gifts in my life is that my mother only let me watch 2 hours of TV a week, one of which had to be Walt Disney. Instead I was given books and with them I did what I saw the people around me do. I read them. And over the years I have let my curiosity wander into many areas, I don’t presume to “enlighten”, but I’m glad to share, but know that all I have done is a weekend seminar, read a Bandler book, and put down a Tony Robbins book halfway through because I thought it was repeating itself and carrying an idea to its illogical extreme.

I once knew someone who was very skilled at NLP techniques, and although I had a different philosophy as to how and what they should be used for, I was impressed at their power. NLP has many interesting ideas. For example, there is one area dedicated to the study of eye movements as revealing the thought process occuring at that moment. For example, someone might look to a particular direction (e.g. up and to the left) when asked “Is the red or the green light at the top of a traffic signal?” The idea is that there is a particular involuntary eye movement connected with, in this example, accessing visual memory. If you are getting something else (e.g. down and to the right) when you ask someone for a visual memory, there is a good chance that the person is lying.

NLP also has an analytic matrix of seeing people as either tactile/kinestetic (sp?), visual, verbal, or auditory, (of course we all are a unique blend of these variables) and studies how to best communicate with each type. To this end it teaches what body language works best, even what breathing, as well as speech dynamics (fast, slow, even, dynamic) and what type of words to best communicate with the different types. This knowledge is often used to train sales people to sell. For example a car salesman might say to a prospective buyer who is visual “Can’t you just SEE yourself going down the road in this baby?!?” but to a tactile type he might say “FEEL how wonderful it is to sit at the wheel of such a wonderful car!!!”

In the hands of somebody really skilled in these techniques, there is also the temptation, in my opinion, to manipulate. One is learning techniques to have the other person feel that there is a bond: We see the world, we experience the world alike! We think alike! You understand me! We communicate- i.e. we make common! This can be very JKD like in the sense that my communication is the result of your modality, but in the absence of integrity, the temptation to exploit and manipulate can be quite strong.

All this can be very interesting, but the NLP idea I found most relevant to me was the idea of the importance of the power of how one frames one’s thoughts. You could do affirmation exercises and program yourself for success! Although I had some doubts about the claims of NLP as a school of psychology, mentally I said “Sign me up!” I tend to throw myself into things, and wound up doing some subliminal NLP hypnosis via adiotapes via headphones, with the goal of overriding “negative limiting thoughts” that held me back in my martial arts using the affirmations. I was 39 and gung ho with my new discovery of BJJ before it was general knowledge and used this technique to reach for new levels in my training. And it was working. I was one of the 7 Americans that Rigan Machado took to Brazil with him to the school where he trained for the first time. Rigan worked me into what may have been the best shape of my life. I felt that I was still going up even though I was 39. More! Harder! I was never going to die.

And one day at the beach in Buzios, as part of showing off for some really cute girls whose hands I read, I went out body surfing out where the surfers were. Long story short, I got carried out in a rip tide and would have died if one of the surfers, who turned out to be from our group, had not turned at the moment I was easier to see because a wave had lifted me up and come to get me at not insignificant risk to himself. With me hanging on his leash, it took us 45 minutes paddling together to get in.

But in terms of my outlook, I shook it off. Three months later, back in the US, I was pushing myself to go train one night when I was really tired, my knee got snapped– in part because I was too tired to notice and compensate for a hyper 6’7″ idiot. In the surgeries that followed I used the NLP headphone hypnosis stuff to prepare for the surgeries. The nurses were quite impressed at how quickly I threw off the anasthesia. (sp?)

But I began to reflect and came to feel that while the hypnosis process that I had done had merit for something like prepping for surgery, that as far as the big picture of one’s psychological dynamics, it was kind of like Partial Equilibrium Economics as versus General Equilibrium Economics. By that I mean, that PE isolates one variable and assumes other variables constant, i.e. no response from the system to a change of one variable. For example a congressional bureaucrat in Washington DC doing an analysis of the effects of a change in the tax rate might assume that people’s behavior will remain the same. In contrast GE assumes reaction and interaction-for example when Reagan reduced tax rates from 70% to 30%, the rich took their money out of tax shelters. PE would have predicted a 4/7 decline in tax revenues, but GE (here the right half of the Laffer Curve) would expect that people would change their behavior. Statically PE showed this an increase in the disparity of wealth, but GE said “Oh, the rich aren’t hiding in tax shelters (non-cash expenses offsetting cash flow) and are actually paying more in taxes and that is what is showing up in your PE statistics as an increase in disparity. Their behavior responded to changes in the tax code.” No duh!!! But non-free market people seem to have trouble with this. In this sense, I see NLP as kind of like PE– it has its merits, but its best to understand that there are other forces that will respond as well. The human pysche is a very complex thing and in my opinion in this area NLP has too mechanistic a view of human nature.

Thus with the NLP headphone hypnosis subliminal affirmations, I had overpowered voices with in me that I should have, and perhaps would have, listened to. The blazing stupidity of what I did in Buzios, and of training while dead tired with a hyper 6″7″ idiot ( a few years off of playing defensive end in high school football) had almost led to a very Darwinian finish to the adventure of my life, and had in fact led to a very substantial Darwinian setback.

Yet I also believe that this experience emphasized the power of the articulation of one’s thoughts. If I could overwhelm common sense, imagine what I could do if I aligned my thoughts with more care! I thought Bill McGrath’s post of yesterday made the point of the power of the music/lyrics of one’s “war dance” very well. To the extent that one has succeeded into going into an altered state by means of the training, one is putting the words of the music into oneself and if they conflict with what is in there already there can be some real problems.

So what I have done is limit myself to the simple NLP exercise of expressing my thoughts only with positive words. The concept here is that the mind does not hear the negative word. Thus, if we say “Don’t forget to , , ,” the mind only hears “FORGET” and so we forget. The challenge is to learn to say “REMEMBER to , , ,” It can be quite an interesting study to notice how thoroughly the articulation of thoughts takes the negative for most people and extraordinarily challenging to apply this Concept impeccably to oneself.

But sometimes we bump up against something that we have a real problem with stating positively in a way that we genuinely believe. My mistake in applying NLP, and it literally almost cost me my life, was to to use technology to overpower what NLP told me were my negative limiting thoughts, when actually at least some of these thoughts were those of recognition of limits. Even chanting a mantra of affirmations which conflict with one’s true thoughts in my opinion does not yield good results. Instead I have come to see a difficulty in positive expression as a potent indicator of something being out of whack in my inner thoughts. This is the key point. My idea is to seek to go into them and find alignment and THEN affirm it with my positive words. In other words, the positive words are the result, not the cause of the positive thoughts. This is what I have learned from my experience with NLP. Your Mileage May Vary.

Anyway, I have wandered a bit far afield here— how rare! but, well, there it is.

Woof,
Guro Crafty

State of New Jersey to Regulate Martial Arts

written by Marc “Crafty Dog” Denny

Recently there has been a push in the State of New Jersey to regulate martial arts. Originally it was pushed as protection from child molesters, but when it was pointed out that if that were the case then those regulated should be all who dealt with children, not martial arts. So now they’re baaack, seeking to set up 5 bureaucrats to study things and make rules. This of course shows that “the children” had nothing to do with the original impulse to regulate. These 5 bureaucrats are the proverbial camel’s nose and we must stop hit this initiation of yet another attack on our lives as a free people. So I will be writing yet again and ask you to do so as well. I know that many people are not sure of what to say and this hinders them from getting started. So, if you want to use any passages from this for “write-your-congressman” efforts, then DBIMA and Marc Denny waive copyright. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. Do your part.

Crafty Dog

PS: Thanks to Jeff Finder for getting me going on this.
Concerning the proposal to regulate martial arts:

People who are not involved with the martial arts usually have no idea of the extraordinary breadth and depth of martial art world, both in its offerings and in the people who come to the arts and the reasons for which they come. My particular martial art comes from the Philippines, which has nearly 1,000 islands and 90 major dialects. The result is that not even the name of our art is agreed upon! In can be Kali, or Arnis, or Eskrima, or simply FMA (short for “the Filipino Martial Arts”). There are hundreds of styles within the FMA.

Similar diversity can be found in the Chinese Arts, even though it is all lumped together in the general public’s mind as “kung fu”. To a person in the martial art world, the statement “I practice kung fu.” can properly be answered with the question “Which style?” Is it Wing Chun- a close quarter trapping system with mostly linear strikes? or Hung Gar a deep stance system with more emphasis on slashing strikes? or is it one of the northern Chinese systems with an emphasis on kicking? Or acrobatic Wu Shu? Or meditational Tai Chi? Similar variety can be found amongst the Malay cultures (Indonesian, Malaysian, southern Filipino) or the Japanese/Owkinowan systems. And what about the Indian systems? Or the European, e.g. France’s Savate, or English quarterstaff? Martial arts is much more than a matter of the few names with which the American movie going public is familiar. Martial Arts is about the study of what to do about human aggression and the solutions are as various as the human condition.

Look at the array of reasons that people come to martial arts: Some come for fun, some come for fitness, some come for functionality as they percieve it, some come for moving meditation, some come to socialize. Some are young males looking to compete. Some are women looking for anti-rape skills, Some are big and strong, many are not. Some want to grapple, some want to strike. Some practice forms, some do not. Some are children looking to join the Ninja Mutant Turtles, some are prison guards and law enforcement officers with real and immediate practical needs.

The interaction of all these styles and the people who come to them also leads to a variety of organizational structures. Some of the very best teach in their back yards for pocket money, others have an independent school and may even support themnselves. Others have large organizations that are financially successful. Some offer belts, others do not. Some require the student to sign up for a period of time, others do not. Some require a testing of the skills (fighting/sparring) others do not. Of those who have impressive looking certifications, some are good and some are not. And ditto for those lacking certifications.

In my humble opinion, THERE IS NO WAY THIS INCREDIBLE VARIETY OF PEOPLE OR STYLES CAN BE FAIRLY OR COMPETENTLY REGULATED. The People’s search of what is right for them, the “pursuit of happiness” of our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution if you will, is most eminently something for the American way, the free market and its protection by the State in the area of defending against theft and fraud in their many forms. Giving the State the power to determine who may teach martial arts and how they may and may not be taught only lessens both the freedom of choice and of responsibility, but also as a practical matter is quite likely to lead well-known big organization styles to use this regulatory process to squeeze out competition and so deprive individuals who need or desire approaches outside of theirs.

Ultimately, the study of martial arts is, regardless of approach, is a study of aggression, how it is done and how to deal with it. The State is those areas of life which we as a people determine must be dealt with by force. The goal for us is to learn to deal with each other through voluntary interactions- free minds and free markets. When we or the State defend ourselves or the weak from attack, whether by foreign armies or by criminals, we lessen violence. When we make others do what we think is “a good idea” we increase it. Rather, We the People must say to the State, and to the Politicians, the IRS, the factions, the special interests, the computer generated governmental actions so seemingly beyond human control, DON’T EVEN GET STARTED, JUST LEAVE US ALONE.

Sincerely,
Marc Denny
Co-founder: The Dog Brothers
Head Teacher
Dog Brothers Inc. Martial Arts.