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Messages - maija

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That was a great read. Thanks for that.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Escrima styles
« on: February 12, 2012, 09:11:55 AM »
My understanding is that though traditionally it is true that material was passed down from father or uncle to the next generation and as such could be considered a family style, ultimately it evolved with every generation. The only reason material was passed down was that it worked. The next generation was meant to take what they had learned 'and make it theirs'.
I think the idea was that you were always meant to go test your stuff, the stuff passed down to you, the stuff observed from others, opponents or otherwise, and the stuff you had 'stolen'.
It is personally what I have always admired in FMA, this constant search for betterment.
Nowadays schools are more systematized for sure ... but I'm not sure if that is a good thing. The idea of fixed 'boxes' of knowledge seems to go counter to this more traditional approach. Material should come from what is useful, what works, not just what someone told you.
Of course it is harder today to test what you learn, and by necessity limits must be put on contests for safety reasons. I don't duel with real blades for instance, there are no invaders coming that I will have to repel, so what I 'know', my style, has it's limits.
But I think in the end fighting is fighting (though understanding context in hugely important - don't fight an opponent with a sword as though they have a stick for instance) and really evolution will come from new problems, new opponents that need to be beaten.
Just like MMA has evolved over the years as different skill sets have become dominant and opponents have had to learn how to beat them, so with stick fighting, dueling, etc.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Prayer and Daily Expression of Gratitude
« on: October 09, 2011, 05:40:45 PM »
Grateful for a wonderful two and a half days in at Maija and Mike's place in the mountains of Sonoma County learning and sharing with some wonderful people: Rory Miller, Rob Crowley, Maija, and Mac.

The Adventure continues!

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Rest in Peace
« on: May 30, 2011, 06:55:33 AM »
Sad news, but at 93 years old he certainly had a good innings. Sonny and Wally were good friends and lived down the road from each other, often getting together to exchange ideas. RIP

IMHO Rory has some great insights into being 'behind the curve', about the way the nervous system functions re: freezing and looping, and the real importance of having a default 'Oh Shit' response.
One example was a demo he did at a workshop I took, looking at what getting grabbed from behind was more likely to be in an assault, and how it compared to the responses that are commonly taught as escapes.
He pointed out that the only people that try to hold you in place are LEOs, as he then proceeded to swipe me off my feet from behind and throw me into a wall .... He didn't let me actually hit the wall hard which was very nice of him, but it illustrated very well to me at least, how stuff happens from an assaultive mindset - with no warning and no time - and how this is the place where it behooves us to learn to fight from.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Movies/TV of interest
« on: March 14, 2011, 02:21:10 PM »
I liked Battle:Los Angeles - Thought the filming, editing and sound were all well done. For a pretty unrelenting 2 hours of continuous fighting they paced it pretty well, and ....... one of the trailers they showed:
The New Conan Movie ....

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with the adrenaline dump
« on: January 24, 2011, 04:21:27 PM »
Here's the info for Rory Miller's weekend in The Bay Area for those that might be interested:

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dealing with the adrenaline dump
« on: January 21, 2011, 06:44:02 AM »
Here's a link to Rory's seminar in SoCal:
He's also doing a whole weekend here in The Bay Area Feb 18/20 including 2 evening lectures on the Conflict Communications material him and Marc developed. It's not on his website yet, but those on Facebook can find it here:!/event.php?eid=179247438773181
Highly recommended.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Yoga
« on: January 13, 2011, 06:45:28 AM »
I have not really done very much yoga at all, one of the reasons being the 'scene' and the other the general quality of the instructors. Many seem under qualified to keep people injury free by the way they teach - either by not paying attention to anyone in the room - or as in your experience, forcing the poses.
This is not universal though - I went to one awesome class in Santa Monica with some friends the morning after I came down to The Gathering. It was a 6.30am class taught by a French chap, and it was really, really good. His knowledge of body mechanics was top notch, and he gave personal attention to everyone, moving them and helping them all within their capabilities. He stands out because he was so different.
It was one of the most exhausting workouts I've ever got through, really good, and I'd study with him again in a heartbeat.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Your rambling ruminations
« on: December 24, 2010, 06:52:45 AM »
It's been a good year of learning, and I had the opportunity to train with some great teachers, notably Rory Miller.
More pieces of the puzzle have started falling into place on how to pass on Maestro Sonny's material, and seeing progress in students has been very satisfying. I'm still working on ways to keep my skills sharp, and improving on them as I can. The stresses due to the state of the economy have made it hard to focus sometimes, but I am certainly glad of my practice. It is engaging, creative and absorbing - a real gift.
I hope to have more opportunities to be a student in 2011, and spending more time writing and documenting Sonny's art.
Wishing everybody all the best in 2011.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Happy Hibernation!
« on: December 08, 2010, 04:31:43 PM »
Very Nice  8-)

Martial Arts Topics / Re: WHERE IS THE FOOTWORK!?!
« on: December 04, 2010, 07:03:15 AM »
Sonny would play Largo (cane style) with us and tag legs and ass to get us to move. The 'ass shot' though not painful physically was definitely painful to the ego - there's no excuse getting tagged from behind ... especially when you eat a head shot straight after ....
Knife in play also a good idea - has to be some incentive not to get hit. Not wanting to get stabbed is a good one  :lol:

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Any meetings in Nor Cal/ Bay Area / SF area?
« on: October 20, 2010, 06:14:47 AM »
Suigetsukan - The Dojo out of which I teach is a predominately Japanese style school, though Chinese and Filipino styles are also represented. I'm not sure how you get the impression of 'soft arts', especially when relating to Eskrima, perhaps contact vs no contact teaching methods might be a better comparison?
I second Reggie Burford and Oakland Eskrima a a great crew of guys, also the Inayan system guys, for sure check out Jon Ward in the South Bay
In the end though, you should get out and go do some classes yourself - you are never going to get the feel of whether a system/method is right for you if you don't actually try and compare.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Any meetings in Nor Cal/ Bay Area / SF area?
« on: October 19, 2010, 06:48:25 AM »
I don't believe there are any Dog Brothers training groups as such, in the Bay Area, though as Sting says, he still hosts his Gentlemens Fight Club (and other sparring sessions?).
There are however teachers in everything from Serrada to Doce Pares, Senkotiros and Pekiti, to name but a few - just let you fingers do the Googling!
I teach the Visayan Eskrima of Sonny Umpad here in Oakland, but it uses the sword as the primary weapon, not stick.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: talent is what the unskilled call skill
« on: October 09, 2010, 01:50:01 PM »
Crafty, are you saying that people that think talent is genetically determined will quit (if they don't think they have 'it') sooner than those that do not?
I suspect that believing in the concept of innate talent, and believing in the necessity of hard work, are not mutually exclusive.
Also, is it not a question of the chicken and the egg - which came first, the tendency to quit? Or the excuse?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: talent is what the unskilled call skill
« on: October 08, 2010, 12:29:55 PM »
I wholeheartedly agree that skill comes from practice - and a great deal of smart practice is necessary to gain superlative competence, but I have seen 'talent' in people, or perhaps 'natural aptitude' or 'gift' might be a better term? It may be an assessment made by others, but it is nothing to do with an ability to disguise weak performance. It can manifest at the earliest stages of practice all the way through to mastery.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Case Study: knifer shot by store clerk
« on: October 07, 2010, 01:06:24 PM »
Agree with points already made.
Also I was pretty impressed with the store owner - not only did he do a great job point shooting under stress - perhaps he was lucky ... but still, great job ... Didn't freak out when he knew he was bleeding, AND managed to dial his cell phone for help after no doubt a huge dump of adrenaline.

« on: October 05, 2010, 04:18:08 PM »
I just got this news also. Only 55 years old. A very sad loss to FMA.

Also, I heard Ben Largusa passed away this week at the age of 83. <>

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dog Brothers Open Gathering Sept 19, 2010
« on: September 19, 2010, 08:05:01 AM »
Good luck to all the fighters today! No doubt a good time will be had by all  8-) :lol:

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Dog (Canine) Training
« on: September 18, 2010, 07:39:56 AM »
I've learned a huge amount from our dog over the years. Him and my then fiance came as a pair, and Khan, a muttly Lab, Pitbull, Akita, mix, probably about a year and a half old was not overly impressed by the change in social dynamic.
I knew that pretty early on we would have to settle the status issue, and one morning him an I were out in the yard on our own and he started to piss on my motorcycle LOL. I vocalized and stepped towards him, telling him to stop, and he just looked at me and bared his teeth. I had a very clear moment knowing that I needed to win or things would be difficult from then on, and I grabbed him by the scruff and chucked him on the ground with my knee on his neck. He bit me round the wrist, but not with any serious intent, and pretty quickly relaxed once on the ground.
What I remember most was thinking that we now needed to establish a friendship and not to hold on to this moment - that was a great lesson for me. Clear intent, then let it go.
That was 10 years ago, and though he's still more attached to my better half than me, we work together fine now. Occasionally he still might push the boundaries, but will comply without any drama.
I've learned a huge amount from watching him, looking at how he understands the world, and observing the direct nature of canine behavior. My appreciation for the human/canine friendship has only increased over time, especially when out in nature. I never thought of myself as a 'dog person' but have certainly become one now.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Nutrition, Diet Thread
« on: September 18, 2010, 07:01:12 AM »
A friend of mine has started the 'caveman' diet. He's a very active, physical guy, trains alot. Says he feels very good on it and that it's totally stopped his acid reflux issues, which I guess were a problem for him especially at night.
Around here you can do deals with small family farms that raise grass fed cattle to buy whole animals. It arrives in a big box, cut up and frozen. Makes eating cheaper, and healthier.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: No Trespassing
« on: September 02, 2010, 04:04:17 PM »
It's interesting that you talk of the 'dark secret'. I have friends who own beach property in Mexico, a traveller friendly fishing village, where it's the same demographic as you are describing of gringos owning guest houses and bars, and plenty ex pats hanging out. On more than one occasion there have been violent home invasions, one involving a friend of a friend. Lady is in her 60s, but still got beaten up real bad, and only escaped being killed by neighbors who shouted the alarm. She had to leave her house and all her belongings behind.
Like you said, the corruption is so bad that nothing was going to be done about it.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: No Trespassing
« on: September 01, 2010, 09:01:17 PM »
I have to say that I'm not so worried about the house and the stuff in it, it's pretty secure. I'm just irritated that scumbags can walk off the street on to my property, take a sniff about and pilfer what they want. Valuable stuff is locked up, and we have a dog. It's just the disrespect I guess that irritates me, and the aggravation of having to go and tell bug eyed freaks to sling their hook. It's not a particularly bad neighborhood, but not great. Have to say though, even the fancier areas have problems with garages and back yards getting stuff stolen from them.
It's casual, opportunistic crime, and it would seem like signs would be a nice basic deterrent. Yes, locked gate and fence, that's coming, but just looking at ideas for the interim. I think the motion detector lights are a nice idea, though obviously have no effect in broad daylight ... I also heard that the solar powered ones are very weak. Anyone have any experience with them?
@ScurvyDog  - Nasty story ... what's up with the rising crime rate there? I have to say that your idea for a sign makes complete sense to me! Hope the guy who defended himself didn't get into trouble ... what is the law like for such cases?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Kali Tudo 3
« on: August 27, 2010, 07:22:50 PM »
Great clip!
It's really cool to see doble cada principles transferred to empty hand in this way.  8-)

Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST
« on: August 25, 2010, 03:53:52 PM »
Algerian 'Fighting cane':

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Self-Defense Law
« on: August 02, 2010, 04:42:12 PM »
Just saw this: regarding Miranda rights.
Anyone know anything more about it?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: No Trespassing
« on: June 28, 2010, 07:33:45 AM »
Thanks for the input, Tony. The reason why I asked about the dog signs is I heard that if you have 'Beware of Dog' and it bites someone, you imply prior knowledge that your dog is 'dangerous' or something ridiculous. Around here they use "Dog in Yard" that implies nothing.  :|
I agree that the gun signs could have the opposite effect of the one looked for ... but I am sad that humor is so risky nowadays ....
I will add that I used to know a guy that had a 'miss spent youth' who was completely unafraid of dogs and would break into peoples' houses with a dog inside if the dog looked like a pushover through the window ....

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Survivalism; Armageddon; Zombies
« on: June 22, 2010, 06:46:01 PM »
This guy was on the radio today. Very funny  :-D
Podcast for June 22nd. - Scroll down to "Why Zombies Would Win"
Here's the article:

Martial Arts Topics / Re: No Trespassing
« on: June 20, 2010, 07:28:25 AM »
Thanks GM. Yes, I know.
BTW, I've heard there are ramifications of having a 'Beware of Dog' sign - implication being the dog is dangerous or something .... Better to have "Dog in Yard' or something? Do you have any thoughts on that?

Martial Arts Topics / No Trespassing
« on: June 19, 2010, 06:27:39 PM »
My house/yard is a big construction project at the moment, and though fenced is not completely secure as yet - though soon to be.
Anyway, long story short - found a homeless guy wandering around in the side yard, the 3rd such incident now - "Oh sorry, thought the property was abandoned"
Yah ......
No issues - joy of having a nice large canine companion, but it got me thinking of the psychology of protecting your home and environment (apart from the obvious high locked gates). My better half suggested pigs heads on stakes ... but I'm for a bit more subtlety personally! LOL
For instance, an old friend on mine, is ex-military and has collected military gear for many years. His neighbors say that the camo net in the front yard that he uses as a shade structure has kept the crime on their block at zero compared to the rest of the neighborhood.
I also started remembering some of the incredibly humorous no trespassing signs and bumper stickers I've seen, and thought you guys might have some suggestions to add.
My favorites: "No trespassing. Those found on the property after dark will be found on the property in the morning".
And for the bumper sticker: "Keep honking, I'm reloading".

Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife
« on: June 18, 2010, 06:25:22 AM »
Rarick and Crafty - Yes! Absolutely! I do not believe I was confusing 'initiation' with an aggressive defense, but perhaps the confusion (which I was just adding to apparently LOL) stems from stilljames June 16th post?
Quote: "Where does proactivity end and being an aggressive bully begin?  It is a hard line to draw."
"Which brings me to the next question:  Outside of a purely sporting situation, why teach offensive combatives at all?"
"Fingers, fists, knees and other empty handed blows can be every bit as lethal as the knife.  We should never forget that, ethically, when we argue, fight or teach.    One of the reasons for the foundation of arts such as Aikido is so that someone could defend themselves  without mangling someone else for the rest of their life."

Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife
« on: June 17, 2010, 09:47:16 PM »
Yes, I believe you defined 'offensive' in this conversation as 'initiation'.
My post was adding to the previous post by Jonobos discussing the concept of what 'defense' actually IS. Sometimes the parameters become blurred because successful defense is often offense ... but not 'initiation'. Hence some teachers renaming what they teach as self protection instead of self defense.
Am I getting my wires crossed here .. or perhaps just too caught up in the semantics?

Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife
« on: June 17, 2010, 05:02:42 PM »
There was debate a while back after the growth of the RBSD movement - Reality Based Self Defense that is - regarding the problem of using the word 'Defense'. Obviously Self Defense is a concept we all understand, but many in the field preferred to call what they did 'Self Protection' because ultimately people with experience understood that the best defense is offense, and on some level you NEED to be pro active. Purely defending yourself, and having preset, imaginary boundaries of not being willing to hurt your attacker are misguided at best.
I have never been attacked, so I only speak from what I have learned and read from others that know and teach this stuff.
So far the consensus is that the only way to stop a committed attacker attacking you, is to attack them. If they are not busy dealing with you, they are not going to stop. As those that never get closer to fighting than sparring or doing SKD know, you can't defend forever, it just doesn't work, even in this 'fair' environment.
I have come to believe that it is not realistic to think of 'defense' in a non offensive manner. If you are BEING attacked, it's too late.
Bringing a knife into the equation is obviously a matter for each individual to choose - perhaps you are not even given the option - but if you had the option, I think it is worth looking at if/when it would be useful, and what to do with it to help you survive and escape.
IMHO the most important areas of inquiry need to be the triggers that set off an appropriate reaction - training so the fore and lizard brain are both processing (presence of mind in the adrenal state) and then very importantly the 'off switch'. When/how to stop - exit stage left? Control and restrain? etc.
Though I'm sure many of you have read it, I truly recommend Rory Miler's book "Meditations on Violence" for some great insights into different types of violence and their motivations, and the best options for surviving.

Quote: "It is better to avoid than to run; better to run than to de-escalate; better to de-escalate than to fight; better to fight than to die. The very essence of self-defense is a thin list of things that might get you out alive when you are already screwed.-  From “Meditations on Violence”
Also: "Self defense is about recovery from stupidity or bad luck, from finding yourself in a position you would have given almost anything to prevent."

Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST
« on: June 08, 2010, 06:33:49 PM »
Thanks for the info, Bambi - though I kinda like the sound of 'whiskey stick dancing' :wink: :-D

Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST
« on: June 08, 2010, 02:00:52 PM »
Bambi - Care to extrapolate re - 'various reasons' ... Obviously I have no idea what would be authentic or not, just curious what you see?
I do like the material though - changing ranges, switching hands, combinations with kicks, knees and punches .... very enjoyable.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST
« on: June 08, 2010, 10:23:45 AM »
Irish Stick Fighting:
This part 2, other parts are interesting also:

Martial Arts Topics / Re: DBMA Knife and Anti Knife
« on: May 25, 2010, 04:58:15 PM »
I look forward to hearing your insights ... 8-)

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Humor
« on: May 20, 2010, 01:15:00 PM »

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Corrections and Prison
« on: May 14, 2010, 06:48:37 AM »
Rory Miller - as mentioned above ( ) was in town for the weekend, and part of the seminar was talking about predatory behavior and the different types of violence that occur in society. It was interesting to see a video of some of what he was describing - he is an ex corrections officer.
If you haven't read his book yet - 'Meditations on Violence' - I really recommend it.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST
« on: April 23, 2010, 06:47:20 AM »
Fencing clip - This guy's timing, faking and movement are really good. Fun to watch  8-)

Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread
« on: April 19, 2010, 04:23:15 PM »
Funnily enough .... a friend just shared this with me -

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine
« on: April 07, 2010, 04:45:10 PM »
Wow  :-o 8-)

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Umpad Corto-Kadena
« on: April 05, 2010, 03:52:22 PM »
Just FYI.
We've been working on a new website - just up. Hoping to add new content every month.
Thanks  :-)

Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST
« on: March 29, 2010, 09:43:24 AM »
Savate documentary from, I'm guessing, the 50's/60's?
Great footwork, not to mention the outfits, and self defense example at the end :-D

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Seminar with Guro Maija Soderholm
« on: March 23, 2010, 04:31:28 PM »
Thanks stickgrappler - should be fun to teach both arts side by side, and yes, I have found many similarities between Bagua and FMA - different flavor, but there's a lot of bladed weapons material in the Bagua, at least IMHO, and using bladed weapons means you gotta move, be sneaky and be efficient .... same same  8-)
Don't think we will be videoing anything, at least not for public viewing.
I actually have a Silat practitioner taking Bagua at present - it's been fun to see what points he connects to his experience.

Martial Arts Topics / Re: Seminar with Guro Maija Soderholm
« on: March 18, 2010, 06:57:17 AM »
Thanks guys :-D This should be fun!
Looking forward to sharing some of Maestro Sonny's training ideas, probably focusing on his cane style.
It will be interesting to teach both Bagua and Eskrima in one workshop - I have come to see many similarities in the strategy, the method of power generation and in the footwork.  8-)

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