Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
Great class today with my coach, Professor Jean Jacques Machado. Grappled with him for 12 minutes and in that space of time I totally understood why I am still a student under him. Talk about being totally dominated. Man, I felt like a white belt again. You know the exciting part about it is though after 25 years under the Macgado’s? It made me realise how much more I can learn on this journey of discovery in this wonderful Martial Art. How good is that? You know, the best way to keep your ego in check is to only train with the very best. If ever I start getting a little cocky and feeling like I am getting pretty good at BJJ, all I need do is wrestle with one of the Machado Brothers and I am immediately reminded of the fact that I am indeed still a student. I love that because it again excites me as to how much more there is to learn in this intricate art.
Just returned from a weekend of seminars in Adelaide at the NKA association dojos. Great numbers with 102 students on the floor for the Saturday followed by a select group of Professor Steve Miranda’s top Instructors on the Sunday.There were some reps from a few different styles which was also great to see. We covered stand up grappling drills, extensive work on the Black Belt Complexes and some Reality Based training for the street. I can’t tell you how enjoyable it was for me. Why? The respect, passion and hunger for knowledge the attendees showed was heart warming. Steve and Gregg Braum, who arranged the weekend, went out of their way to welcome me into their Karate family and I relish times like this when I can come away knowing I have just made some new friends and that we are all on the same page when it comes to a love of all things Martial Arts. I truly believe that if we can bury the ugly world of politics within styles and just simply spend time together emptying our cups and tasting each other’s tea, we can only get stronger as a Martial Arts community.
Thanks again Steve and Gregg for a great weekend.
This is an intro speech before my seminar on ‘Black belt Complexes’.
This is a clip from a Hong Kong movie called, ‘Magic Crystal’ that I did with my friend Cynthia Rothrock in 1986. It was also Andy Lau’s first movie after TV stardom. It’s funny, but the most vivid memory I have of this shoot is the fact that they only had one costume for me during this whole shoot which was done in the hottest set possible in Taiwan. I remember that every-time the ‘suit’ got saturated with sweat during the 18 hour shoot days, they had a young lady with an ironing board that would attempt to iron the clothes dry, and then off we would go again. I know, it’s a nice image, right? The Sai part of the fight was introduced at my suggestion after the Chinese coordinators surprise that I could effectively use this Okinawan weapon. Another funny memory, which I’m sure Cindy won’t want me to mention, is that due to the excessive contact the Hong Kong fight guys like, Cynthia was asked to wear a stunt pad under her shirt to protect her from my strikes with the metal Sai. Anyway, before shooting, Cindy comes up and asks me if I can be sure to aim for the pad and not her flesh. Anyway, I said, “So where is the pad”? She then proceeds to show me a ‘postage sized’ bit of foam about 1 inch by 1 inch under her shirt as she didn’t want the larger protective pad under her costume as it would make her “look fat”. I just said, after a good laugh, “Well, maybe I will, and maybe I won’t”. Too funny as Cynthia always looked great and could certainly never ever look overweight. As usual with the Hong Kong style of choreography, all the moves are decided as the fight progresses. The hard part of this kind of fight is the interaction of more than one fight opponent who attack almost continuously at the same time. I must say that the Hong Kong fight choreographers are masters of this type of action.
Another point of interest is that there is no ‘master’ of the fight worked out in Chinese movies before you begin, which is the way it is done in Western action films. Also, all the sequences are basically rehearsed ‘on camera’, which of course leads to sometimes 30 or 40 takes of a particular sequence of moves until we get them right. It’s incredibly exhausting. One good part about this style of shooting is that the fight Director is never locked in to a ‘master’ of the fight, which means he can take the fight in any direction or length depending on how it looks as the sequence goes on.
This of course is also the way all of Jackie Chan’s fight scenes are shot. It allows the progression of the action to be very spontaneous. I do really like the way this fight turned out though. Of course the choreograhy is of a particular style suited to affectionardos of this style of action film. Andy Lau went on to become a major movie star in Asia and Europe after this movie. Oh, you have to love the ‘space ship’ we are fighting around and the ridiculous little ‘alien’ sitting in the ‘spacecraft. Too funny! By the way, to make matters even funnier, My character was a Russian KGB boss named ‘Boris’. Hence the lovely suit. I was supposed to be a master of every Kung Fu style. Hey, it wasn’t my idea as my background is in the Japanese systems, so my apologies to you Chinese stylists for my technique. As usual, we just try to do the best we can as the character we are hired to play.One more point about this kind of action movie is that the Hong Kong film makers were well aware that the audiences for these movies were almost solely interested in the fight scenes and not elaborately shot ‘talking’ or drama scenes. Hence, all the time and attention to the shooting of the action scenes.
The young kid in the movie was adorable, but I must say I felt so sorry for him at times as he was also on set for ridiculously long hours and was always having to be nudged during scenes to keep the poor little fella awake . As always it was great to be working with my dear friend Cynthia. This was one of our earlier collaborations and we went on to make around nine movies together. A cute footnote is that after a certain amount of roles together, an English Martial Arts magazine called us ‘The Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of martial Arts movies. Pretty cool I thought.
Anyway, please enjoy for the simple fun of it.
I want to share with you a recent experience I had involving a wonderful DVD set by Eckhart Tolle called, ‘Stillness Amidst The World’. What a truly rewarding viewing experience it was and continues to be, watching and listening to Eckhart’s lectures on ‘The Power of Now’.
The experience I wanted to share though involves what I call our tendency to ‘filter’ and accept, or not, certain information based on ‘the packaging’ in which it is presented. In this instance, my wife Judy and I had purchased Eckhart’s DVD’s and I had put one in the player with the view to watching it whilst she was out. Anyway, I probably watched about 5 minutes of it before getting bored and turning it off. I mean I’m watching this guy who is far from my ideas of a ‘spiritual’ teacher. He is certainly no physical specimen and he had this kind of geeky little laugh. Anyway, when Judy arrived home, I mentioned that I was thinking of returning the DVD set due to the somewhat ‘ordinary’ nature of Eckhart’s appearance and my initial impressions of the intro of the lecture. A week later I had all but forgotten about it until Judy remarked how she had watched the whole lecture and how great the DVD was and implored me to sit and watch it again. She kept saying, “I know you will really love it”. Well, to cut an already long story short, I reluctantly sat down and this time checked my ‘pre-judgement’ at the door and as a result, I have probably watched the whole lecture at least 20 times and it has become one of my all time favourite DVD’s. I remember thinking to myself, “Wow, how wrong was I in my judgement and possible dismissal of this knowledge based almost solely on the look of the presenter”. Another time I remember, early in my Martial Arts journey, being introduced to a so called ‘Master’ in the Arts and my immediate ‘pre-judgement’ of this person’s ability, due to my initial impressions, based pretty much solely on his physical look. He was quite overweight at the time and somewhat out of shape. Anyway, thank goodness,through circumstances, I ended up getting to know and train with this person, and since then he became and still is such an incredible influence on my life and my Martial Arts to this day. I later came to find out that at the time of our first meeting, he had just gotten over a huge illness that would have finished a lesser person, hence his physical condition. Wow, another amazing opportunity for growth put in front of me and almost lost due to my shallow assessment of the ‘packaging’ of this messenger.
My point is, how many times do we accept, or more importantly, not accept wonderful opportunities for knowledge based on the exterior of the source. I know that so often, for a lot of people, the importance of a ‘title’ or ‘letters’ after one’s name, or how the ‘presenter’ of whatever information is presented will so often dictate how receptive we are to listening and receiving this information.
I believe that we get so caught up with our own ‘filtering’ due to our past experiences, good and bad, that we often miss the opportunity to-’Empty our Cup and Taste Somebody else’s Tea’. To be totally open and in the moment, without clouding our perceptions with our own past or future experiences or ‘stories’ as Eckhart calls it, is something I now strive to do as much as possible in my life. To try to actively ‘listen’ to someone we may meet without thinking that our opinion or what we have to say is more important . Otherwise I believe we could very well miss the opportunity of receiving some wonderful and enlightening insights meant for our lives, delivered to us by ‘Teachers’ disguised in what looks to us like an ‘Ordinary Soul’s’ exterior.
Since being back in Australia teaching seminars, the focus of a lot of my classes has been the demand for so called ‘Reality Based Training’, or ‘Street Survival skills for the Real World’. In a lot of ways, it doesn’t surprise me how much demand there is out there for techniques designed for the survival of a full on attack involving intra-personal aggression. But at the same time, it disturbs me that the state of society is such that so much of the populace feels such a need for these kinds of Survival skills. Of course this fear is driven by the reality of what is happening and driven by the daily barrage of reports in the media of violent assaults on our streets, home invasions, kidnappings and road rage or whatever. I realise of course that this daily violence is perpetrated by a minority of ‘sociopaths’ who, for a variety of reasons, find it a necessary part of their daily lives to behave in the most abhorrent fashion.
Now this brings me to the point of this particular Blog. You see I sometimes feel a need to defend the need for these types of classes from some, albeit it a small percentage in society, who have a somewhat negative view of what we do as Martial Artists. These are the people who will criticise and actually see us as almost contributing to this culture of violence by way of the content and instruction we give to participants in these specialised seminars.
I want to start with this article. For me, this sums up the mindset behind what I do.
There is a story in the Chinese martial arts about “The Peaceful Warrior”, where a young apprentice, while training in the use of the Chinese sword, asked his teacher why, if he was striving to be inwardly calm and at peace, did he need to learn the ways of a warrior? “Would it not be more tranquil and serene to be a gardener and tend the plants?” he asked. “Tending the garden,” the master replied, “is a relaxing pastime, but it does not prepare one for the inevitable battles of life. It is easy to be calm in a serene setting. To be calmed and serene when under attack is much more difficult, so, therefore, I tell you that it is far better to be a warrior tending his garden rather than a gardener at war.”
In other words, so often we do not have a choice as to when violence may be brought to our doorstep. And if that time should ever come, and God knows we hope it never does, then at this time we need to become Warriors with the confidence of a Warrior mindset and commensurate skills. I always tell my students that we should never be the one’s taking the violence to anyone. You can absolutely choose to be a pacifist all your life in regards your behaviour in society. But what if the time comes that you are in a life threatening situation involving maybe yourself or worse still, your family or loved ones. Don’t you agree that at this time it would be better to be a ‘Warrior’ than a ‘Gardener’? Don’t you think we have a right to personal survival and the survival of our loved ones when confronted by the ‘sociopath’ who has no regard for your physical well being, or worse still, your life? I honestly believe we do.I feel proud of the possibility that a student of mine could also assume the role of the ‘Protector’, or ‘Sheepdog’ in society against the aggressor, or ‘Wolf’, who’s only intent is to wreak havoc on the weaker of our flock.
Anyway, I would love to know your thoughts on this. Please feel free to comment.
Just for fun, this is a clip from an early movie with Jackie Chan, called ‘City Hunter’. It is obviously one of my more serious roles. Especially, might I add, the crying scene at the start of the fight. This clip reminds me of when Jackie explained to me about his style of movie. He said you will never see gratuitous blood or gore, vulgarity or sexual references in his films. He wanted the action to be like the old silent movie stars like Charles Chaplin and Buster Keaton did. If you turned the sound off, you could still enjoy the fun filled physicality of the scene. This way all the kids could still be able to enjoy his movies time and time again. I remember one interviewer describing Jackie’s fight scenes as like ‘watching a speeding bullet in reverse’. In other words it was often about Jackie’s character attempting to get away from the confrontation. If you watch some of the old Charlie Chaplin movies, that is usually what you will see, with all the hilarity that follows as a result. Anyway, please enjoy, just for the fun of it.
I received this article from my friend, Fariborz. I found it so interesting and thought provoking I thought I would put it on my Blog.
The Stranger we invited into our Home.
A while ago, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small suburb of Croydon, just outside of Melbourne. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.
As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey.
But the stranger…he was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.
If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major
league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn’t seem to mind.
Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)
Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home… Not from us, our friends or any visitors. Our longtime visitor, however, got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn’t permit the liberal use of alcohol. But the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly and pipes distinguished.
He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing.
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked… And NEVER asked to leave.
More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents’ den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.
We just call him ‘TV.’
(Note: This should be required reading for every household!)
He has a wife now….We call her ‘Computer.’
Their first child is “Cell Phone”.
Second child “I Pod”
This a link to a clip of a teaser fight idea for an upcoming movie caleed, ‘Man of Blood’. Keep in mind that the style is meant to be down and dirty. I think it turned out really well considering it was shot over a few hours.
Just wanted to let my friends know of a new book called ‘The God’s of War’, written by a close friend of mine, Peter Jessop. I really want you to check it out when you get a chance. Peter has created a superb novel centred around one man’s loss of memory, and in which his battle scenes are so vividly described the reader can almost smell the stench of death and bloodshed. John Fawcett – the Soldier, the Warrior – is a man haunted by visions in his head and unsure of his real identity. As countless scenes infiltrate his psyche he fears for his sanity: is he merely conjuring up fantasies from things he has heard about in the past, or are the names and visions flashing in and out of his mind like a cinema reel a regression into past lives where he was at the mercy of the Gods, or is he simply suffering from delusion caused by the horrors he has so recently witnessed.
Although the basic plot involves a modern theme of saving the world from a future war, this book is uniquely different. Splendidly written it grips the reader, both male and female, and enthrals from the very first page to the surprising and most satisfactory ending. Following is a link to Amazon and a publishing site for details on the book.
Well, I got back home after spending the Easter weekend with James. What a great time. Judy and I drove up with James to a vineyard in the Hunter Valley and enjoyed a phenomenal concert with James and Carole King. What a pocket rocket is Carole. I just didn’t realise how many unbelievable songs that Carole King has written in her career. It was so refreshing to listen to lyric’s that actually mean something and are written from personal life experiences. It really was very heart warming. It was so cool to reminisce with James about the years of touring together during the 70′s and 80′s. My mate George Adams had dinner with us one night and was fascinated to hear about how into the different Martial Arts, James’ son Ben is. I also got to spend some time with band members like Russ Kunkel, Leeland Sklaar, Danny Korchmar and Arnold McCullor. All legendary session musicians and dear friends. I guess the thing that really meant a lot to me is that friendships forged so long ago never die and are just as cherished today. judy and I are looking forward to visiting James at his home in the US when we get back later this year.
Very excited as Judy and I are off to Sydney this Easter weekend to spend a few days with James Taylor and his Band. James called me whilst in Australia with the invitation to come and hang out for a few days. So cool as I haven’t seen some of the band members since touring with them in the 80′s. I actually spent nearly 14 years on the road with James and I can’t even start to tell you all the great memories I have of those times. I’ll report in on the weekend when I get back. The concert on Saturday is at a Winery in the Hunter Valley near Sydney and I couldn’t think of a nicer venue for a James Taylor/ Carol King concert. I was lucky enough to see the show when James and Carol started this whole thing off with a concert at the famous Troubador in Los Angeles two years ago.It is so great when friendships formed over so many years are just as treasured today, even though so many years may pass by without seeing such friends. Touring with people like James made up so much of my life and the experiences and memories of those times are absolutely priceless.
Just finished teaching a seminar at my friend Ivan Rakitic’s Raoma school in Clayton. My Co Instructor this time was my old friend and phenom in Martial Arts, ‘Slammin’ Sam Greco. The theme for this meet was Kick Boxing and MMA. We had a great bunch of around 40 attendees, all hungry and eager to train with Sam and me. One of the aspects I enjoyed most was that we all had a lot of fun along with the intense drills. Sam and I always like to add some fun into our training as I am at the stage with training that if it isn’t something that I enjoy then it isn’t worth doing. I know that I came away with some new tips from the big fella. The best part too was the eclectic mix of stylists including some ladies who showed up. I feel it is high time we do our part to bury politic’s and make it about getting together and sharing our knowledge.
I am looking forward to the next time I can team up with Sam and do it all again. One other thrill for me was that my old friend and World Boxing champion Sam Soliman came along to join in on the training. What does that say about Sammy when he will put his ego to one side and dare to participate in a grappling seminar with nothing else but the desire to add to his already incredible fighting knowledge.
Yeah, I know, I have been totally slack when it comes to updating my blog. It was a hectic end to 2008 after coming back to Melbourne. I had a busy schedule of seminars in Melbourne, Sydney and Queensland and really had a ball with all of them.
Spent some time in Mildura where I taught a seminar and gave a lecture at a community function arranged by my firend, Anne Cunningham. Also had a great time in Brisbane with Deane Lawler and his buddy Ned. We really had such a good laugh together. Deane is no Bullshit when it comes to the arts and he and Ned really looked after me. Neither of them are very bright so I guess it”s a good thing they are at least decent blokes, eh?
Sam Greco and I teamed up for a Kick Boxing seminar at Vince Bustil”s school in Heathmont. Vince is a dear friend and he has such a good bunch of students out there.
Also had a chance to get on the floor with my old friend, Bob Jones. Bob and I went out to a Zen DO Kai school recently and it was so good to out there on the floor again with Bob. We have been friends and training mates now for over 43 years, if you can believe it. Of course I have been doing a number of seminars in MMA and BJJ with my Sydney mate, Dr George Adams and also a Kick Boxing class at Fari Salievski”s Dojo.
I was so thrilled to be able to present George with his well earned Blue Belt during a seminar in Canberra arranged by my mate Damien.I wish everyone would train as hard and put as much effort into being the best they can be as George. He really is an inspiration. If you knew what George has gone thru with life threatening accidents you would know what I mean.
Also lately I have been doing a lot of teaching at my friend Frank Monea”s Challenge academy in Oakleigh. Man I love going there. I am now teaching MMA and BJJ regularly on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Anyone in the area, come on down and check it out.
Finally, I just returned from the Gold Coast this week where I filmed some fight scenes with Guy Norris and Sydney Martial Arts phenom, Bren Foster. We are hoping to get a couple of movies together to shoot soon. It was great working with Bren as he is an incredible Martial Artist and I feel has a great film career ahead of him.
One highlight of the Gold Coast trip was to do some training and filming with Muay Thai legend, John Wayne Parr. Man, you need to see Wayne do his thing and what a fantastic bloke. He couldn”t be nicer and is such an ambassador for Kick Boxing here in Australia and the world.
Anyway, I promise to update this blog on a regular basis now. Please check out the photo gallery as I have loaded some shot”s taken at the variuos seminars over the past few months. Chiao!
I just returned from Sydney where I taught three seminars arranged by my buddy, George Adams and Robert Jancevski. The first class was at Robert”s school where we worked on Reality Based Training, covering defensive and pre-emptive techniques and adrenal switches. The next day was at George”s school and covered BJJ with the emphasis on Half Guard and Triangle attacks. Finally on Sunday we worked with Wayne Miller”s kids. I must tell you I haven”t taught kids for some time but I had an absolute ball with them. What a great bunch of well behaved potential Karate enthusiasts. So enjoyable to teach. Hat”s off to Wayne Miller for the wonderful job he is doing with these kids.
Once again though, the best time for me is with my mate George and Robert. We never stopped laughing on the weekend and for me, that”s what it”s all about. Sure the teaching and learning is good, but it”s kind of shallow without the company of great friends. Thanks again to George and Robert for putting the weekend together and to friends like Damien for making the trip down from Canberra.
I am looking forward to many more seminars whilst back in Oz, particularly as I have now been made a 4th Degree in BJJ by my teacher, Jean Jacques Machado, and his only official rep and affiliate here in Australia. This means that any one I decide to grade to a higher level in BJJ will also be officially recognised by a world wide organization as in JJ Machado Jiu Jitsu.
If anyone in Australia is interested in a seminar for their school here, please drop me or Dr George Adams a line and we”ll put something together.
Hey, ran into my friend and past training partner at Jean Jaques Machado”s BJJ academy, Eddie Bravo. Eddie now runs his own school, 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu and has an array of fantastic DVD”s and books out on his hybrid style We were both hangin” at the Long Beach Internationals..