If you happen to live in the U.S. of A. you know that there is hardly a way around March Madness.
Well, how about a healthy antidote without any known negative side effects and no FDA approval needed?
Yep, martial arts quotes. Some will make you think and others will make you smile.
“A warrior may choose pacifism; others are condemned to it.” – Author unknown
“Don’t hit at all if it is honorably possible to avoid hitting; but never hit softly.
“- Theodore Roosevelt
“Cry in the dojo. Laugh on the battlefield.”
- Author unknown
“Each of us has his cowardice. Each of us is afraid to lose, afraid to die. But hanging back is the way to remain a coward for life. The Way to find courage is to seek it on the field of conflict. And the sure way to victory is willingness to risk one’s own life.” – Mas Oyama (Kyokushin Karate)
“He who hesitates, meditates in a horizontal position.” – Ed Parker (American Kenpo)
“Do or do not, there is no try.” – Yoda (Jedi Arts)
“Always be able to kill your students.” – Masaaki Hatsumi (Bujinkan Ninjutsu)
“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
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 art’, 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.
Today, I just came across a story that I found to be very inspirational, to say the least.
If you follow martial arts, especially MMA (mixed martial arts), you are no stranger to BJJ (Brazilian or Gracie Jiu Jitsu).
Considered Grandmaster Carlson Gracie’s best student, Ricardo Liborio has proven to the grappling world to be an absolute BJJ legend.
Among numerous titles and accomplishments in competition, Ricardo was also the first BJJ heavyweight world champion.
After moving from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to the United States, Ricardo joined forces with Dan Lambert, Marcelo and Conan Silveiro to form the ATT (American Top Team) in Florida and their fighters have been leaving their mark in both the MMA and grappling arena.
Now that might be impressive and all, but what I really think is cool is the following:
Inspired by his 4-year-old daughter, Bella’s blindness, Ricardo Liborio is holding a summer martial arts camp for blind kids in Coconut Creek in Broward County, Florida.
Ricardo and his team of instructors are teaching 15 kids from the age of 6 to 12. Some kids were born blind, others unfortunately lost their sight later on, like Bella Liborio due a genetic disorder.
Guys, we all have our challenges learning new martial arts moves, maybe even old ones. How about learning new moves you can’t see, because …..you can’t see?
The kids at the summer camp, which is organized by the non-profit organization Lighthouse, have to rely on touch and commands they hear from their instructor.
And because they can’t see the position, their instructor will place them in the position and simply explain how the move actually works.
Once they feel how the move works, they can imitate it and with their instructor’s aid, they can try doing the movement by themselves.
A number of Ricardo Liborio’s blind students have continued their training to win national grappling championships and to actually become instructors themselves.
But what seems to be at least as important to Master Ricardo Liborio is the difference he is making by helping the kids live happy and fulfilled lives.
Akshay Kumar is frequently referred to as the Indian Jackie Chan. He has starred in over 100 Indian movies and has made a name for himself as the go-to guy for dangerous stunts in numerous Bollywood productions.
After obtaining Taekwondo black belt status in India, he travelled to Thailand to study Muay Thai.
Upon his return to Mumbai, India, he began teaching martial arts. One of his students, who just so happened to be a photographer, advised him to give it a shot at modelling.
For only two hours of posing in front of the camera, Kumar got Rs. 5,000, which looked pretty good, considering he previously made Rs. 4,000 a month. After just several months of modelling, he was given the lead role in a major movie.
After 20 years of acting and producing, big-time Indian movie celebrity with nationwide recognition, Kumar Akshay is now making a case for introducing martial arts training and education in schools all across India.
In Kumar’s opinion, schools should train kids enough to protect themselves and to deter other forms of danger when India demands it.
Akshay Kumar, who also hosts the Inidan version of Fear Factor which is a stunt based reality show, has announced he would even speak to top ministers and bureaucrats on this topic.
He is taking his own first steps to making his idea a reality: Kumar is using his own money by putting in place an annual karate competition.
I will keep you posted as soon as I learn of any developments in this regard.
All in favor of Akshay Kumar’s push for martial arts training in schools, say ‘aye’.
The term ‘Gang of Four’ comes from the name that was given to a political faction made up by four officials of the Chinese Communist Party. They were prominent during a period referred to as the Cultural Revolution for 10 years (1966-1976), which must have felt more like a century for many Chinese citizens.
Very shortly after the death of Chairman Mao, the group was charged with a number of crimes such as treason. The members consisted of Jiang Qing, Mao’s last wife as the leading figure of the group, and her close associates Zhang Chunqiao, Yao Wenyuan and Wang Hongwen.
The gang that I would like to draw your attention to is very different.
The group of women I would like to feature today are all very talented movie actresses who have thrilled audiences all over the world in numerous movies that have already become classics in their own right.
The one I became aware of first was back in the 70s, when she played the part of Bruce Lee’s sister in Enter The Dragon.
Her fans simply call her Lady Whirlwind or Lady Kung Fu. You probably know her as Angela Mao.
Trained in hapkido, kung fu, tae kwon do, and other martial art styles, she was definitley well prepared for her movie roles.
I can hardly believe she was paid only $100 for her short role in Enter The Dragon.
Some of the ladies featured in this very special blog post are now getting over US$ 10 mio. per movie!
Anyway, do you remember this one?
Yeah and then there is Maggie Cheung with her very own special accent which resulted from moving at age 8 from Hong Kong to Britain, where she was the only Asian at a school in Kent, England.
She then moved back to Hong Kong again at age 17 for a career as a model.
Maggie Cheung has acted in 70 Hong Kong movies. Five of them were Jackie Chan movies in which she also matched him in the stunts and injuries.
Picture book face and tough as nails. Check her out in this rather creative Red Leaves clip of Hero fighting against …….
Is that some serious foliage or what?
Even without being a martial artist per se, one simply cannot overlook Gong Li, often referred to as the Marlene Dietrich of Chinese cinema.
Arguably, Gong Li is the first Chinese actor to draw attention in the West without being a trained martial artist.
Remember the intro describing the Cultural Revolution?
Well, get this: Gong Li was born to a pair of economic professors who during the Cultural Revolution were forced to work in factories. They had to send all their children away, with the exception of Li, to work in the countryside. Heartbreaking to say the least.
At age 22, while studying at the prestigious Central Drama Academy in Beijing, Gong Li met the director Zhang Yimou. This event would change her career forever.
And even though speaking English is a challenge for her, Gong Li has been able to land numerous international movie roles such as Hannibal Rising: Behind The Mask, Miami Vice (starring Colin Farrell) and even Shanghai (starring John Cusack and Chow Yun-Fat).
I found a clip of an interview with her also talking about Curse Of The Golden Flower (again starring Chow Yun-Fat and directed by Zhang Yimou). Enjoy!
But wait, there’s more!
How about a former Miss Malaysia who also starred with Pierce Brosnan in ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’. She does her own fight scenes.
She has done stunts that make me cringe such as with Jackie Chan in Police Story III: Supercop, where she rode a motorbike onto a speeding train and jumped from helicopter into a moving convertible.
You probably know by now that I am talking about Michelle Yeoh.
She has dislocated her shoulder, cracked some ribs, and ruptured arteries in her leg.
While leaping from an 18-foot overpass in Stuntwoman she missed the safety net and dislocated her neck. It was scary and reportedly having heard a snap in her back, she feared to be paralyzed for life. Fortunately, she recovered after spending several months in a full body cast.
And yes, she also starred in the classic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and here is one of the best fight scenes with Michelle Yeoh and ….
And here we come to the fifth member of our Gang of Five:
She just turned 32 in February of this year and she has had the fortune of being part of a number of successful movie projects such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as well as Rush Hour 2, Memoirs Of A Geisha, Hero and House Of Flying Daggers.
The daughter of a Beijing accountant/economist and kindergarten teacher, Ziyi Zhang attended the Beijing Dance Academy and the Central Academy Of Drama which has certainly given her the foundation and work ethic in attaining her acting career accomplishments thus far.
I think we’re gonna see and hear a lot more good things about Ziyi Zhang.
If you have watched all the video clips of this post, you were able to see her in two of them already. One with Maggie Cheung and the other with Michelle Yeoh.
“I think we could have had something special ….”
Just watch the following Rush Hour 2 clip and have some fun!
Well, according to some people in Plano, Texas, that would be affirmative.
I picked up the following story in the Star Local News, written by Chris O’Dell (email@example.com), to whom I give all the credit for the write-up.
It also piqued my interest, because Master Dianne Reeves is mentioned in the story and I had to the pleasure writing about her in a post published here about a year ago.
But let’s get back to Chris O’Dell’s intriguing story from the Lone Star State:
“Eight years ago, William Binns III was a promising brown belt under the direction of seven-time U.S. Karate champion Tim Kirby.
Binns was also a bright student at the University of Texas in Austin, majoring in chemical engineering.
However, around that time, the now 32-year-old began a downward spiral that involved drugs and depression. That despondency ultimately led Binns to attempt suicide by way of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head
But Binns survived the incident, sustaining permanent brain damage and paralysis to his right side. The wound also caused multiple strokes and seizures.
“It’s amazing that he’s still alive,” Kirby said. “He’s just an amazing individual that does not know the word can’t.”
Kirby said Binns was as gifted as any student he had before the injury.
“He was truly one of the most talented brown belts in the country,” he said.
Kirby initially trained Binns at Kirby’s Karate and Fitness in Round Rock. The seventh degree black belt owner eventually moved his gym to North Texas though and temporarily fell out of contact with Binns. Not long after the accident, Kirby and Vision Martial Arts owner Diane Reeves decided to reach out to Binns and get him back into the gym after hearing the news of his injury.
“We did a trial class first and he hasn’t quit since,” Reeves said. “He’s an amazing individual. We really enjoy having him here.”
Despite the numerous obstacles that Binns faces every day, he decided to dedicate a majority of his free time to earning the black belt that he was never able to acquire before his injury. He began training regularly at Vision Martial Arts in Plano, working out nearly every day after his first training session.
“His determination is what impresses me the most,” Reeves said. “He is not a quitter. No matter the obstacles, he’s got the perseverance to get through them.”
Binns first had to begin relearning everything he had lost due to the brain damage. His mother, Pearlie, said he always knows what is going on but doesn’t always know how to get it out.
“It’s really frustrating sometimes,” Binns said.
For someone that had to relearn every word, Binns endured major setbacks in his martial arts career. However, progress began to increase with each training session, eventually allowing Binns to have partial use of his right side.
“He improved on just about every level,” Reeves said. “His verbal skills have gotten better and his physical skills have gotten much better.”
The training has also cut down on the number of seizures Binns has suffered in the last several months.
“At first it was ridiculous,” he said. “But it’s gotten a lot better now.”
Along with training at Vision Martial Arts, Binns also participates in the Pate Rehabilitation program, designed specifically for brain injured individuals. The program focuses on returning the injured participants to their highest possible level of independence and quality of life.
“It’s really demanding,” Binns said. “But it’s good for me.”
The hard work eventually paid off for Binns in a big way. On May 20, 2010, the 32-year-old became the proud owner of a black belt in martial arts, joining his instructor in that category.
“There’s no telling that guy no,” Kirby said. “If he’s convinced he’s going to do something then he does it. And this wasn’t an honorary black belt or anything. He earned it as much as anyone ever has.”
Kirby, who has produced 58 black belt students in his career, noted that Binns’ journey stood out above all the rest.
“It’s a heart-warming story,” he said. “It’s heart-wrenching as well. It’s the most inspiring story I’ve ever been a part of.”
Reeves echoed those sentiments.
“I’ve seen people overcome things before,” she said, “but he has definitely overcome more than I’ve ever seen anyone do before.”
Binns currently lives at home with his mother, who helps with his everyday life.
“He’s an absolute joy to be around,” Pearlie said. “I’m glad he’s here with me.”
And the story was only made possible because of a simple motto that Binns now lives by.
“Never stop trying,” he said.
Since Binns has earned his black belt, he can be seen at the gym helping other students in their journey to acquire a black belt. He said teaching the kids is something he truly enjoys doing now.
“I really enjoy helping them out and teaching the others,” Binns said.
Reeves and Kirby now use Binns’ story as motivation for other students who may feel discouraged or upset at times.
“Everybody loves him there,” Reeves said. “He’s a real hero to the kids. We use him as an example all the time by telling them if Will can do it, then they don’t have any excuses.”
I don’t know about you, but I like these kinds of real-life comeback stories with real happy endings.
Have a great weekend!
This has been a pretty busy year for me so far with a lot of travelling and such. And I am grateful for all the experiences.
Thus I have not been able to post as much as you and I have been accustomed to.
However, I am working on several posts featuring some really inspiring martial arts greats that will be published here during the course of the next few days.
To whet your appetite for more, here is a quote by Guro Dan Inosanto and one that really brings it home:
Talent is God Given – Be Thankful.
Fame is Man Given – Be Humble.
Conceit is Self Given – Be Careful.
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For most dedicated karateka and practitioners of other styles it really does go way beyond the dojo.
In many cases it is about acquiring useful life skills, discipline, focus, respect and confidence. Just to name a few.
I heard that Karate USA is challenging their students in a rather interesting way: Before they can graduate to their next belt/level they are required to do something that helps their community.
That means that by the time they reach black belt level, they would have, besides mastering kicks, punches, kata and what have you, organized and executed a number of projects that can make a real difference in their communities.
Some of these projects could be activities such as raising money for the homeless, picking up trash in their community or even helping orphanages in far away corners of the world.
I think this is a noteworthy cause and let’s see if there are some copy-cats out there.
Also, I thought I share their website with you.
Check it out right now:
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I just got the news that the respected JKD (Jeet Kune Do) practitioner and instructor, Sifu Ted Wong, passed away last week.
May I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family, friends and students.
In case you find yourself reading today’s post and not being aware of who Ted Wong was, I would like to share a profile by Teri Tom that originally appeared in the December 2006 issue of Black Belt Magazine:
Ted Wong: 2006 Man of the Year
By Teri Tom
“It’s the stuff of legends, really. A story of serendipitous privilege and great personal anguish.
In 1967 Ted Wong was living in Los Angeles’ Chinatown when a friend tipped him off about a class at Bruce Lee’s Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute.
Acceptance to the class had been by invitation, and members were expected to have prior training. Wong snuck into the class with no experience, and when Lee saw him, he asked, “Who are you?”
Wong thought he’d be given the boot, but instead, the two struck up a conversation in Cantonese. Lee made an exception and let Wong stay.
Wong wasted no time making up for his lack of experience, and before long he was training in Lee’s backyard, having become his most frequent sparring partner.
From July 27, 1967 to October 14, 1971, Wong studied under Lee at least 122 times. According to Lee’s own appointment books, Wong spent more time receiving private instruction than any other person.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a martial artist who’s more qualified to teach advanced Jun Fan jeet kune do—which is why Wong was certified by Lee himself.
M. Uyehara, author of Bruce Lee: The Incomparable Fighter, agreed. He wrote: “I still think Bruce considered Ted Wong as his protégé before his death. Wong was his constant companion for the last few years. Besides working out on Wednesday nights, Wong also came to see Bruce on weekends. When Bruce needed a sparring partner, it was Wong he selected.”
But that period wouldn’t last. With Lee’s death in 1973, Wong found himself without a teacher.
What followed is a story of great pain, moral integrity and self-reliance.
While others were quick to capitalize on their association with Lee, Wong threw himself into 15 years of seclusion.
There was still so much to learn, so he went back to the origin: the writings his teacher had left behind.
He tracked down the sources that influenced those writings, books that had been in Lee’s library.
He relied on his photographic—or, more precisely, his “filmographic”—memory to draw connections between what he’d seen Lee do so many times and the principles outlined in his writings.
When he lost his instructor, Wong faced the same temptation we all do: to look to outside sources—different masters, different styles.
He chose to do the opposite, and it wasn’t an easy path to follow. But Wong had all he needed: the road map left by his teacher and the benefit of many hours spent with one of history’s greatest martial artists.
In the 15 years that followed, Wong developed a solid understanding of what Lee had tried to teach him. Wong didn’t supplement his arsenal with techniques from other arts. The only thing he added to Jun Fan jeet kune do was an understanding and analysis designed to enable future generations to benefit from Lee’s lifework.
In the 15 years it took Wong to connect the dots between his training and Lee’s writings, others misinterpreted those writings and misrepresented their teachings as jeet kune do.
Although reclusive by nature, Wong couldn’t remain silent. The damage propelled him out of the shadows in the early 1990s.
After decades of turning down requests for interviews, he found himself in the spotlight. Still, he refrained from adopting a traditional approach.
While he could have turned a handsome profit by opening a school, Wong didn’t go that route. Maintaining the integrity of the art was more important.
Even now, he privately teaches only a half-dozen students in the Los Angeles area.
Instead of running a school, he’s taken his act on the road. He’s planted JKD seeds in countries around the globe, including Japan, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Sweden, Holland, Scotland, Italy and Spain, as well as across the United States.
He’s made regular trips to those locations for years and built a small army of loyal students. Without a facility to run, he can pick and choose his students based on their character and interest in the art.
In his spare time, Wong serves on the board of the Bruce Lee Foundation, where he contributes his time as an adviser and instructor.
For his selfless contributions to the foundation, the legacy of Bruce Lee and the art of Jun Fan jeet kune do, Black Belt is proud to induct Ted Wong into its Hall of Fame as 2006 Man of the Year.
Jun Fan jeet kune do is a registered trademark owned by Concord Moon.”
Sifu Ted Wong, R.I.P.
Believe it or not: This month, the legendary Bruce Lee would have turned 70!
Just recently the legend’s family selected a Scotsman to perform his Jeet Kune Do skills at a celebration in San Francisco (Bruce Lee’s city of birth) to honor his life and accomplishments.
Man of the hour is 51-year-old Son of Scotland Tommy Carruthers from Glasgow.
This has to be a great honor for any martial artist, especially Jeet Kune Do practitioner, to be the only person giving a demonstration of Bruce Lee’s art at this very special event.
And it has to be even more special to him having been chosen by Bruce Lee’s family, being Linda Lee Caldwell and Shannon Lee.
Tommy Carruthers owns a martial arts school in Glasgow and gives seminars in numerous countries around globe.
He has also proven to be extraordinarily proficient in Wing Chun Kung Fu and Western boxing.
We all know that talk is cheap.
So why don’t you just join me in getting a better idea of Tommy Carruthers in action and let me know if you think that he can pull it off.
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