Guess Who Didn’t Get In The Hapkido Beginners’ Course

Here I am really psyched about learning more of the Korean martial art of Hapkido.

This is what I have found out about Hapkido:

The term Hapkido itself consists of three words which are

hap ‘coordinating’
ki ‘energy’
do ‘way’

Let’s just settle for ‘the way of coordinating energy’, shall we?

Hapkido is a form of self defense that uses joint locks and techniques of other martial arts.

It also incorporates traditional weapons, including the short stick, cane, rope, nunchucku, sword, and even the staff.

As a Hapkidoka (does that sound right?) you learn how to apply long and close range fighting techniques, using dynamic kicking and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges and pressure point strikes, jointlocks, or throws at closer fighting distances.

Hapkido is all about circular, non-resisting movements, and about controlling your opponent.

You learn the advantage through footwork and body positioning to get leverage, so you can avoid using strength against strength.

Hapkido was developed from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu or a closely related jujutsu system taught by Choi Yong Sul who returned to Korea after WWII, having lived in Japan for 30 years.

This system was later combined with kicking and striking techniques of taekkyeon and tang soo do.

But back to me being all psyched about starting with Hapkido.

The latest publication of my local county’s Parks & Recreation Fall Activity Guide listed a beginners’ course with 8 lessons for a really reasonable fee which definitely got my interest.

So, I call the program coordinator who tells me that they needed just one more participant for the course to take place. Sounds like a plan to me!

I jump into my car and head on over to their offices to sign up.

There I am filling out all the forms as diligently as you would expect from any serious, law-abiding martial artist.

Then the program coordinator drops the bomb after I had completed all the filling out stuff:

“Sir, you are aware that this course is targeted to kids from 6 years and older?”

Well, now that he brought it to my attention, I was. Thank you very much!

While I processed this new and vital information, I asked him to tell me what the average age of the other course participants who had signed up so far.

Guess what his answer was!

“Six years old.”

Well, I don’t know about you guys, but that is not the kind of course yours truly wantedto get in.

I was looking for something more like what you see in the video below, just click on the YouTube link:

 

If you have tried Hapkido or have been a practitioner for a couple years now, let me know about your experience. I really want to know.

 

Sikh Saint-Soldiers And The Holy Duels Of Hola Mohalla

How and why I come up with some of these posts, I have no idea.

I start thinking about writing something. But what?  And then out of nowhere that something just finds me. Ha.

Just like with this post. I don’t think I have written that much about martial arts related to India and that’s just wrong. I will make up for it, I promise.

Let’s start with something that takes place every year in India.

When we say  ‘martial arts’, this is the real deal, meaning that it really refers to the art to carry out war and to come home alive from the battlefield.

The Punjabi term Hola Mohalla or just Hola is a Sikh Olympics event which starts on the first day of the lunar month of Chet in the Nanakshahi calendar. Most of the time it falls in March and at times it coincides with the Sikh New Year.

 It is a week-long event and attendees enjoy numerous martial arts, along  with music and poetry.

Hola ends with a long, military-style procession near Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib, one of the five seats of temporal authority of the Sikhs.

Maybe a word or two about the Sikhs.

Sikhism originated in the 15th century in the Punjabi region. A follower of this religion is considered a Sikh which means disciple or student of the Guru.

Most Sikh males’  family name is Singh (lion) and females’ is Kaur (princess).

Guru Gobind Singh introduced the “pure brotherhood”whereas Sikhs do not cut their hair which is covered with a turban. The belief is founded on the idea that humans are made in the image of God. To honor God would also mean to leave one’s hair intact as a symbol of honor and warriorhood. This acceptance of the natural form of our bodies allows believers to be at peace with themselves at all times and to get rid of vanity relating to outward appearance.

The Sikhs have been known to be truly fierce warriors and reportedly during the rule of Maharaja Ranjit Singh they were the only people to stand toe to toe with the forces of the British Empire.

Their fighting skills have been handed down through generations and I invite you to watch these impressive ’saint-soldiers’  during previous Hola Mohalla festivities.

Why Is MMA Still Considered More Brutal Than Boxing?

So, why is MMA still considered more brutal than boxing?

Is it really more brutal to begin with?

Just recently I was getting my hair cut by my Filipino-American barber, who not surprisingly loves Manny Pacquiao. I haven’t met a Filipino yet who doesn’t worship him?

Well anyway, we start talking about Manny Pacquiao, Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather and somehow I couldn’t help myself by throwing in my 2 cents about MMA.

Oh, yeah, now I remember why.

Some time ago I heard that allegedly Floyd Mayweather was considering to compete in MMA.

And I thought well that might be interesting. Now he’s got the striking, moving, conditioning and all that. But what about kicking, grappling, groundfighting etc.?

Well, I guess the name Floyd Mayweather alone would draw some crowds, including PPV, right?

Then my barber said something that got me thinking.

He said that MMA is just simply brutal.

Looking at some of the stats leads me to believe that there might just be a couple of misconceptions through misinformation (intentionally and unintentionally).

There have been way more serious injuries, mainly brain injuries, and some cases even deaths involved in boxing.

And I’m not even going to comment on ear nibbling.

Looking at injuries occurring in MMA you can easily narrow these down to (and I don’t downplay the pain experienced) some like broken nose, pulled ligaments, broken bones (arm, leg) etc.

Yes, some fighters do draw blood during a match especially through cuts around the eyes.

However, what I have noticed is that MMA fights are stopped way faster than boxing matches, when it comes to a MMA fighter with no guard up and taking a beating and this isn’t even figuratively speaking.

This is all to prevent the notion that MMA is more brutal than let’s say boxing.

Yes, in the early days of MMA/Ultimate Fighting/Cage Fighting, whatever you prefer, the rules were ifferent, the level of fighters’ fitness was different, fights were catered to a way smaller group of fans, not necessarily to the broader masses of today.

Especially, UFC with ownership and management of the last couple of years have made major efforts to clean up their act in order to banish the reputation of “human cockfighting” and making it mainstream consumable and so less apparently brutal.

So, why is MMA still considered more brutal than boxing?

Tennis And The Martial Arts

Most of you already know that besides martial arts, I also enjoy tennis and how martial arts can relate to the game, specifically my game of tennis.

Just the other day, I stumbled across a blog post written by Gary Bala over at TimlessTennis.netthat I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

“Fear not the racket, but the player who wields it.”

-A martial arts weapons philosophy showcased in the movie Ninja Assassin, and modified for the game of tennis.

“Most of what I teach comes right out of the martial arts – the physics, the fundamentals, the self-discipline – and your mind is your greatest weapon.”

 -Coach John Nelson, Univ. of Hawaii Men’s Tennis Program, College Coach 26 years, Master’s Degree in Education, 3rd degree Black Belt in Ju Jitsu

I. Introduction: The Brother Disciplines
Since the Bruce Lee movies of the 1970s, the self-discipline of the Martial Arts has captured the public’s imagination. Watching empty hands and feet used as lethal weapons at lightening speed, powered only by the mind’s will, hypnotized modern fans and observers.

The term “martial arts” actually means the “art of war.” And the term can be traced back to the Roman God of War, Mars. Chinese martial arts date back 4000 years ago to the Xia Dynasty. Martial arts is widely considered however both an art and a science. Many forms of martial arts are linked to religious beliefs such as Confucianism or Daoism or follow a code of honor. The purpose of martial arts is self-defense or defense of others. More broadly however, the goal of martial arts is to offer its students self-knowledge and a better understanding of man and nature.

The forms of the martial arts are varied and far-reaching. They are primarily found in the Far East (Japan, Korea, China). But they also touch the Middle East, South Asia and even the Americas and Europe: Ju Jitsu, Karate, Aikido, Judo, Kung Fu & Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, Ninjutsu (Ninja fighting), Jeet Kune Do (hybrid form), Pentjak Silat (Thai martial arts), Kalari (Indian martial arts), Hikuta (Egyptian martial arts), Capoeira (Brazilian martial arts dance), Open-handed wrestling (Native American martial arts), Savate (French Kickboxing), and others.

All the martial arts share some common characteristics, among them: balance, posture, control, flexibility, timing, hand-eye-foot coordination, aggression, grace, power, agility, speed, strategy, tactics, and more. Indeed, many of these elements are shared with many other sports and activities such as soccer, basketball, football, even archery.

This article will focus however on aspects of the martial arts which make it unique, and relate them to the game of tennis. These key elements help remind tennis players of the vital parts of our own developing game. And they show how accomplished martial artists and high-level tennis players are learning and refining their craft on a shared platform with common goals – they are truly “brothers-in-arms.”

II. The “Chi” is Universal and The Core is “King”
In martial arts, it is believed that there is a universal energy or “chi” in all things. “Chi” is thought to be the source of all power and fluidity in martial arts strikes. In the human anatomy, the universal energy is believed to be centered in the navel. In tennis, the human core or trunk is the ultimate source of power and energy into the ball from strokes.

In tennis, power emanates from the ground up. It is created through well-timed use of the kinetic chain from feet, legs, hips, trunk, arms, hands, racket, all applied into the ball. Many call this “core rotation” in high-performance tennis. Compare this with the roundhouse kick in for example Tae Kwon Do. The roundhouse kick rises from the ground in a springing action, the legs and hips pushing through in an acrobatic move, resulting in a well-timed application of force towards the opponent.

The kinetic chain in tennis and the Chi energy release of martial arts are really two forms of the same process – gathering or coiling energy, and then releasing or uncoiling it, either at the tennis ball or at the martial arts opponent. The human anatomy’s coil-and-uncoil mechanism seems to have three axes points: at the shoulders, the hips and the knees. These same human axes points are used in many martial arts strikes.

To maximize the flow of energy and thus power, the marital arts also emphasizes “punching through the strike”. This means visualizing your arm or leg literally pushing through the opponent. In comparison, tennis emphasizes “hitting into and through the line of the shot”, and extending your stroke follow through or finish towards your target.

III. The Universe is Balanced, Rhythmic and Harmonious 
For the martial arts, there is a balance, rhythm and harmony to all things in nature. And nature is a source of inspiration. Indeed, many martial arts strikes are in fact taken from the moves of the animals. Kung Fu for example is divided into animal styles (real and mythic): the snake, panther, tiger, crane, and dragon. Fighting styles in Kung Fu include, among others: the praying mantis and the drunken monkey.

One of the keys to the martial arts is the concept of balance and centering of the human body. The Ninja fighters of the discipline of Ninjitsu for example are legendary for their balance skills. They are known to practice their strikes on a balance beam. Similarly, the art of Aikido focuses on the body’s center, and teaches that all power and control protrudes from that center in a relaxed state.

Martial arts is essentially a rhythmic dance of timed strikes from perfect postures. For example in Karate, the kata is a precise, highly-defined and pre-determined sequence of strikes. In Tai Chi, the student learns a continuous pattern of postures that actually form a dance. Countless repetitions of the martial artist’s moves develops timing, rhythm and cadence. Bruce Lee once remarked: “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Consider that, in tennis, some of the keys to high-level performance are the same: balance in stroke production, consistency in shot-making, and the rhythm that is offered by for example learning the Wardlaw directionals. Other concepts such as precise timing and good posture in stroke technique, and the value of sound repetitions of strokes, can be taken directly from the martial arts. And if martial arts exercises collectively teach a cadence or dance, then tennis teaches the cadence of the split-step in moving to the ball, which is essentially the “dance of tennis.”

For martial arts, the world is full of harmonious cycles – the changing of the seasons, the cycles of the sun and stars, and the release of human energy and exercise followed by rest and recovery. Both martial arts and tennis instruct students not only about stroke power and energy, but also about the importance of body recovery and healing. Rest, rejuvenation, ice, heat, nutrition, hydration, stretching, and massage are critical to consistent top performance in both disciplines.

IV. The Ready Position 
The “get-ready-to-fight” position in martial arts and the “ready” position in tennis are amazingly the same. The feet are spread comfortably shoulder-width apart. The knees are bent. The body’s weight is on the balls of the feet. The arms and elbows are also bent and relaxed. The hands are loosely out in front. Waist, back, neck and head are straight. The student is comfortable, relaxed and ready to move.

V. Watch, Listen and Breathe
In martial arts combat, the student must utilize every form of sensory perception – sight, sound, touch. He must observe, listen and breathe. He must gauge his opponent, anticipating his next move. He must exercise self-control. He focuses on his breathing to help still his mind’s thoughts. He keeps his back straight, his body balanced, and his head stabilized. He moves like the panther and strikes like the cobra.

Compare this with the high-level tennis player in a contested match. He must continuously track the ball, keeping the head stabilized. He must continuously split-step just before the opponent’s racket contacts the ball, so as to move to it with maximum speed and efficiency, appearing to glide on the court. He should seek to hear the sound or “pop” of the ball off of his racket. He may focus on breathing to quiet his anxiety and fears. His body is balanced, back straight and head completely still. His moves are cat-like, and he seeks at first opportunity to go on the offense with his shot.

Both martial arts and tennis encompass the two polar opposite styles of execution or “schools of thought”: in martial arts, the aggressive power style vs. the steady methodical style, and in tennis, the hard court attacking game vs. clay court point construction style. In martial arts, the power style is represented, for example, by aggressive chops of Karate or the flying kicks of Tae Kwon Do. Whereas the steady methodical style is represented, for example, by the graceful flips of Judo or the circular strikes in Aikido. In tennis, professional players divide, among other ways, into groups which excel at the hard court attacking game (Andy Roddick or Taylor Dent) vs. the clay court point construction style (Rafael Nadal or David Ferrer).

VI. The Power of Smooth
The “power of smooth” refers to a relaxed confidence and an unbroken fluidity, resulting in top performance results. It’s about maximum efficiency with minimal effort. It’s about operating with a deliberate unhurried purpose, without appearing pressed or pressured by time, the opponent or conditions.

In martial arts, one noteworthy example of smooth is the discipline of Aikido – known as the “throwing art”. In Aikido, the student learns a fluid, circular and harmonious defense to an attack. The Aikido student blends in with the attacker’s moves, and returns the attack with relaxed, loose circular throws and flips. Even multiple attackers can be repelled by a confident graceful practitioner who can re-direct one opponent’s attack on a fellow attacker.

In tennis, the top professionals exhibit relaxed, loose, graceful strokes with confident purpose. They never look hurried, pressured or off-balance. Indeed, they “play the ball” and do not allow the ball or the opponent to “play them”. They play with soft hands and loose face muscles, especially at the time of split-step and just when the opponent makes contact with the ball. When faced with attacking power, they return the opponent’s power at him. When faced with opportunity such as a short ball, they are deliberate and decisive. They move forward fluidly and cut off angles gracefully.

VII. You are Always the Student Forever 
In martial arts as in tennis, you are always the student forever. Coach John Nelson, 26 years college coaching, Master’s Degree in Education, and martial arts black belt, put it this way: “The more you get into the martial arts or tennis, [the more] you realize that you don’t know it all. Anyone who thinks that they know it all is finished. They’re not going to continue to develop. So you always become a student.”

VIII. Victory is Vital, But in the End, More Vital is Your Growth and Passion 

Winning is naturally vital in a martial arts contest or a tennis match. But victory will depend in no small part on winning the psychological test of wills against the opponent -who will impose their will on the other? Bill Tilden, in How to Play Better Tennis, wrote pointedly that in a tennis match: “One player…will ultimately impose his tennis personality on the other.” The very same is true in the martial arts.

Both martial arts and tennis are asking the student to test their own outer limits and fulfill their own highest standards. What are the limits of the student’s fatigue, fitness, endurance, flexibility, and strength? What are the student’s highest expectations of his play, his shots, his execution, his strategy, his self-discipline, and his confidence and relaxation?

The final goal, of course, is advancing to a higher level in skill and ability in either the martial arts or tennis. On that score, your worthy opponent makes you better and stronger, as does each of your valuable matches and practice sessions. And your growth and passion for the discipline of the martial arts or tennis is all that can ultimately drive you to a higher level.

IX. The Mental Contest
Andre Agassi, in his autobiography Open, wrote poignantly about the mental battle of tennis. And amazingly the very same applies to the martial arts: “Tennis is the loneliest of sports…In tennis, you’re on an island, with no clock. You can’t sit on a lead. You have to win the last point to win the match. You’re out there, you can’t talk to anybody, you can’t pass the ball, there are no time-outs. There’s no coaching, you don’t have to be good, you have to better than one person and that person is on the other side of the net.”

X. Conclusion
Martial arts and tennis share the loneliness of battle, the fight to the finish, and the solitude of victory or defeat.

Both disciplines are about hard work, self-discipline, and problem-solving.

And both are ultimately about self-knowledge, and your own highest standards for yourself.

…and they are about the lessons of life and the nature of man.

Timeless Tennis: A Blog
www.timelesstennis.net

Sources:
1. Tennis Kung Fu, by Master Bruce Wang, Ph.D. (Lulu.com, 2008)
2. The Complete Martial Arts, by Paul Crompton (McGraw-Hill, 1989)
3. Coach John Nelson, Univ. of Hawaii Men’s Tennis Program, College Coach 26 years, Master’s Degree in Education, and 3rd degree Black Belt in Ju Jitsu
4. Ron Miller, GottaPlayTennis.net, Tennis Instructor 20+ years, and former Martial Arts student of Goju Karate & Aikido

The Matrix Got Keanu Reeves Hooked On Martial Arts

I thoroughly enjoy watching the Travel Channel Show ‘Bizarre Foods’ which is hosted by Andrew Zimmern who takes you to all kinds of different countries around the world to introduce you to people, culture and …. bizarre foods.

Well, just a couple of days ago I was watching this episode on China and the province of Sichuan which is known for its spicy food.

They were filming in the capital city of Chengdu and Andrew Zimmern’s guide around town was, believe it or not, Tiger Chen.

Check this out. Very entertaining and informative.

And that got me thinking about writing about him, but then I stumbled across a news report that Keanu Reeves was closing in on the financing of a movie project for which Keanu Reeves wrote the story, which he will direct and in which he will co-star with ….Tiger Chen.

How did this all come together?

I dug a little deeper and this is what I found out:

Keanu Reeves was more of an ice hockey player, while growing up in Canada. It was all looking like he had the potential to become a professional goalie.

But sometimes life hands you lemons and as the saying goes, you just go ahead make some lemonade. In Keanu Reeves’ case, it was through a hockey injury he sustained that through a twist of fate he focused on acting and ending up in his first Hollywood role playing a hockey goalie in the movie ‘Youngblood’ along with Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze.

After a number of movie roles, Keanu Reeves got a lot of martial artists’ attention through his role of Neo in ‘The Matrix’. He had to acquire some serious martial arts skills (choreography and stunt performers certainly helped, but I don’t want to diminish or downplay his performance in this regard).

One major contributor in providing him the guidance and martial arts instruction is without a doubt, Yuen Woo-ping protégé, Tiger Chen, who was a key member of ‘The Matrix’ stunt team.

And now the two, who have become friends over the years, are back at it together with Keanu Reeves’ creation called ‘Man of Tai Chi’ which according to the director himself will feature 18 serious fighting sequences and who wants this project to be a solid kung-fu movie. With Tiger Chen’s involvement, this should be achievable.

Years ago, Tiger Chen referred to Keanu Reeves as not being too talented at martial arts, but on the other hand being very hard-working.

Well, it looks like the hard work is paying off and maybe hard work, attitude and perserverance might outweigh talent after all.

You decide with a clip from the movie ‘Man of Tai Chi’:

 

 

A Different Kind Of Rumble In The Jungle

Who else has vivid memories of that absolutely unforgettable boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo) on October 30, 1974?

This fight was promoted as and even today it is simply known as “Rumble In The Jungle”.

Ali won in the 8th round by KO after fighting a very clever bout by wearing Foreman out or better letting Big George wear himself out.


But there is a different kind of “Rumble In The Jungle” that I want to introduce to you today.

Several years ago I was watching “The Rundown” starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Christopher Walken and Seann William Scott.

There is one fight scene that takes place in the Brazilian jungle that always gets my attention, especially because one of the jungle fighters is played by Erne Reyes Jr. and he does an incredible job.

But I will let you be the judge:

 

Seann William Scott has a point when he refers to these fierce jungle fighters as “Speedy little bastards.”

Agree or disagree?

 

Antidote To March Madness

 

“Always be able to kill your students.” – Masaaki Hatsumi (Bujinkan Ninjutsu)

Did he really say that?  – TheMartialArtsReporter

“A good martial artist does not become tense but ready, not thinking but yet not dreaming. Ready for whatever may come.” Bruce Lee

“Champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” Muhammad Ali

“Courage is being afraid, but then doing what you have to do anyway.” Rudy Giuliani

“The one who has conquered himself is a far greater hero than he who has defeated a thousand times a thousand men.” The Dhammapada

“Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill

“Success is never final. Failure is never fatal. It is courage that counts.” – Winston Churchill

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat.” Navy SEALs

“Those who are skilled in combat do not become angered, those who are skilled at winning do not become afraid. Thus the wise win before the fight, while the ignorant fight to win.” O Sensei Ueshiba

“The measure of a man is not in how he gets knocked to the mat, it is in how he gets up.” Unknown, but could have been me. Really.

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“You carry on no matter what the obstacles. You simply refuse to give up … and, when the going gets tough, you get tougher. And you win.” Vince Lombardi

“If you’ll not settle for anything less than your best, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish in your lives.” Vince Lombardi

“No one can defeat us unless we first defeat ourselves.” Dwight Eisenhower
HTML tutorial

Why Kick High If You Can Kick Low?

I know that well executed high kicks can get people’s attention and admiration. When competing in certain styles such as Tae Kwon Do, Karate etc.  that’s how you get the points, right?! I also know they have their justification, so just hear me out.

Speaking from my personal experience, it’s very exhilarating to execute a yodan-kizami-zuki (upper jab), a chudan-gyaku-zuki (cross to solar plexus) and then finalize with a yodan-mawashi-geri (upper roundhouse kick) to an opponent’s temple. Hmm, was just strolling down memory lane.  Yeah, baby (was supposed to sound like Austin Powers!).

Now, many years later, for me the first two techniques no problem. The final mawashi geri to the what? Let’s get real, will ya? I am not 20 anymore, so I will simply adapt to circumstances which means I am going apply a Muay Thai round kick to my not so friendly opponent’s upper thigh by using my shin.

Listen up, even without going to the gym or dojo for years and years most people can acquire the skills for this kick fairly quickly. I also believe it’s a pretty neat self-defense technique for women. We all know that legs are more powerful than arms. So let’s just put that knowledge to work in our favor.

This combination and especially the final technique is really fast and really effective. Really!

To give you a better idea of what it looks like, check out this clip and try it. You’re gonna like it.

Celebrating The Life Of Brandon Lee, Who Would Have Turned 45 Today

Happy Saturday, everybody!

Where did the week go? I dunno.

I have been thinking about posting something about Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon Lee.

Now, get this: I was planning on posting about him today, February 1, and during my research I find out that today would have been his birthday.

This cannot be a coincidence!

Brandon Lee would have turned 49 today. And here again somebody who left us on this planet way too prematurely.

He was a very aspiring movie star and according to acclaimed movie critic, Roger Ebert, after watching Brandon Lee’s performance  in “The Crow“, Brandon Lee clearly demonstrated that he might have become an action star, had he lived.

I totally agree with Roger Ebert.

You might remember that Brandon Lee was accidently shot and killed on March 31, 1993 at the age of only 28 while filming “The Crow“.

This is really sad, also because he was scheduled to get married to his fiancee, Eliza Hutton, on April 17.

Brandon Lee definitely had the looks for the Big Screen, but he was more than just another pretty face. After acquiring acting skills at the world-famous Lee Strasberg  Academy and being part of a theater group, he was able to put it all together with his martial arts expertise that he was taught by Guro Dan Inosanto.

Before starring in The Crow, which became a box-office hit after his untimely death, Brandon Lee actually performed in a number of productions such as Kung Fu: The Movie, Kung Fu: The Next Generation, Legacy of Rage, Showdown in Little Tokyo, and a movie that I really enjoyed at the time it was released in 1992, Rapid Fire.

I know that a lot of people have focused on the final fight scene  or showdown, but I really like the initial fight scene, because you get a pretty good idea of how Brandon Lee applies a lot of the JKD principles his father defined and how he uses any type of tool, weapon or whatever he can get his hands on to save his character, Jake Lo.

Besides the impressive fighting skills he put on display in the 5 min. clip  below, I also admire his philosophic perspective he so thoughtfully selected for his wedding invitations:

“Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless…”

Celebrating The Life of Brandon Bruce Lee, February 1, 1965 – March 31, 1993

Filipino-American Boxing Sensation Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton

Our unofficial series on female boxers and other martial artists who inspire girls and women to get going continues right here, right now.

I always enjoying getting my hair cut by my favorite Filipino-American barber who never fails to let me know what’s going on with Manny “The Pacman” Pacquiao.

But this time I wanted to know if he could share anything else exciting Filipino, besides “The Pacman”.

I didn’t have to wait very long for his input, while he was skillfully trimming my sideburns.

Yeah, there’s this young lady who happens to be a very attractive Filipina boxer and who can fight like a female version of Manny “The Pacman” Pacquiao and she is the reigning Super Bantamweight world champion.

Her full name is Luciana Bonifacio Julaton. She was born on July 5, 1980 in San Francisco, California. She is the daughter of Filipino immigrants Cesario Julaton II and Ahmelia Bonifacio.

For Danny, my barber, that’s Filipino!

For everybody else, that’s Filipino-American.

When she was little, her father made her train in martial arts whereas she admits that she had no interest in boxing at the time.

Only years later as a karate black belt teaching at WestWinds Martial Arts and Boxing School in the S.F. Bay area she got involved in boxing and trained by Angelo Reyes.

At age 24, Ana made her amateur boxing debut and only 3 years later in 2007, she was ranked #2 among all female amateur boxers in the United States.

At this point of turning pro, she approached veteran trainer Freddie Roach and eventually became part of Roach’s large stable of boxers, alongside Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and former world champion Gerry Penalosa.

After her first professional fight in October 2007 which she won and which was followed by several other successful fights, Ana fought against Kelsey “The Road Warrior” Jeffries in September 2009 for the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) super bantamweight title in women’s boxing and won again.

She then went on to defeat Donna Biggers and became the first female World Boxing Organization (WBO) Super Bantamweight champion on 4 December 2009.

After defending her title against Mexican Jessica Villafranca earlier this month in Mexico, Ana Julaton’s record is now 10 wins (1 KO), 2 losses and one draw.

Considered one of the quickest boxers around, Ana “The Hurricane” Julaton is a great ambassador of female boxing in my book.