Monday, December 15, 2008

Fit to Fight

The title: Fit to Fight
The subtitle: An Insanely Effective Strength and Conditioning Program for the Ultimate MMA Warrior
The author: Jason Ferruggia

It’s a good book that effectively outlines and details strength training exercises, speed training methods, workouts to build endurance, and important dietary information.

Ferruggia does a good job of providing and explaining the general characteristics of a successful combat athlete, physical assessment and injury prevention methods, ways to build anaerobic endurance, ways to build raw strength, how to greatly increase speed, and the nutritional information every fighter should know. He even goes into an overview and assessment of supplements, as well as rest/recovery.

I’ve found it to be a very educational/helpful book. The author writes about the importance of anaerobic endurance over aerobic endurance, unique training methods (that have recently come into vogue) like tire flips and working with sandbags, as well as the fact that most supplements are unnecessary or even harmful to athletes.

The book is part of a somewhat recent movement in fitness/training circles that takes people “back” to hardcore training methods designed not to give you a six-pack, but simply make you a better athlete. I’m a big fan of this movement, as I too have grown sick and tired of seeing people exercising for the sake of vanity, or taking up fad diets and workouts.

While the book deals with MMA training, it isn’t about fighting techniques at all. It focuses only on the fitness aspect.
An important note: This book is not for someone who’s just looking to lose weight. In fact, all of the dietary suggestions in the book are meant to help you stay at your current weight. That’s because it’s not necessarily a book for the average person who goes to the gym one to three times a week in order to get or maintain a six-pack. It’s intended for someone who wants to be a better, stronger fighter.

If you’re interested in getting stronger, faster, and generally more powerful, you should definitely check out Fit to Fight. Of course, we live in the internet age and you can easily get all of the information available in the book by doing your own research over several websites. I, of course, will be providing some such information from time to time.

If you don’t want to buy the book, here’s a basic exercise routine you can do with some space and a couple of dumbbells (5 or 8 pounds will do):
25 bodyweight squats
15 lightweight rows
15 pushups
50 jumping jacks
20 mountain climbers
15 lightweight rows
10 close grip pushups

Do it twice. Little to no rest.

If you don’t have dumbbells, then you could just not do the rows, but add a few more push-ups.

Also, here’s some important supplement information:
In general, don’t take them. You don’t need them. Just eat properly and get some sleep.
However, some that are actually useful and not harmful:
Multivitamin (just in case you don’t get your daily values from food)
Omega-3 fish oils (just in case you’re not eating fish like you should)
Basic protein powders (just in case you don’t get enough from food)
Post-workout “shake” (just in case you won’t eat for a while after working out)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Iron Gym

I just got the Iron Gym ("As Seen on TV!") as an early Christmas gift from my girlfriend, and I've already put it to good use.
As everyone knows (or at least should know), the chin-up is one of the most effective/important exercises anybody can do. Like the push-up, the chin-up primarily targets the arms, but it is also beneficial for most of the rest of the body. Aside from the biceps, shoulders, trapezius, the deltoids, and the lats (latissimus dorsi, the main thing worked by the chin-up), it also helps develop the abdominals and even lower back muscles. Also, since it's done (or should be done) mostly as a muscular endurance workout, it benefits the cardiovascular system.
Of course, you can find a chin-up bar for cheaper than the ~$45.00 that the Iron Gym costs, but most of those have to be screwed into the wall or door jamb. If you want to not put holes in the wall or door jamb (which was my girlfriend's primary concern), then the Iron Gym is great, as it basically wraps itself around the top of the door frame and can be pulled out and put back in any time.
Another benefit of the Iron Gym is that it can be used for other exercise. One can use it for chin-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups, or dips.
I use it almost solely for chin-ups. One can effectively do push-ups and sit-ups without any such device, and dips can be done with a chair, or on the edge of a bathtub or bed. Pull-ups are kind of a weaker version of the chin-up.
Whether you use an Iron Gym, like I will from now on, or a cheaper bar, or even just go outside and find a strong tree branch, you should definitely be doing lots of chin-ups.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pacquiao vs de la Hoya

It was brutal. It was beautiful. It was boxing at its finest, I’d say.

It seems like Mexicans and Filipinos wanted to see a battle of cultures. This honky just wanted to see a good boxing match, and he was not disappointed.

The first round, like in most boxing matches, was spent by each fighter trying to feel the other one out. It didn’t take too long for each fighter to gain some confidence, though. Though both Manny and Oscar are astounding talents and great athletes, it was obvious from the start who had more energy. The younger Pacquiao danced and ducked and dodged with more pep and grace than the 35-year-old de la Hoya could hope to have mustered. Though he was slower and less energetic, Oscar still showed experience and skill by not wasting any precious energy trying to keep up with Manny. While it almost looked like Pacquiao was all over the place, he landed some telling shots on de la Hoya’s face before the end of the round.

Both fighters came out strong and fast in the second round. They took a lot more risks, but didn’t deal too much damage. Oscar looked more like a teacher than an opponent as he poked holes in Manny’s defense with only glancing blows, never really hurting Pacquiao. Once again, Manny was all over the place. But hey, it works.

Pacquiao and de la Hoya slowed down for the third round, but it was no less interesting. Both fighters exhibited almost perfect defensive skill for the first minute-and-a-half. Pacquiao ducked and dodged expertly, while de la Hoya used a much more subtle (though no less impressive, to the trained eye) method; while de la Hoya was using technically-perfect-though-inaccurate jabs to keep Manny at bay, you could tell that Pacquiao was dying to get in a good body shot, but Oscar kept slightly adjusting his posture – just enough so that Manny couldn’t get in a good shot. Sadly, though, after the first minute-and-a-half, their defensive skills were much less than perfect, and de la Hoya took another bad punch to the face. The fighting became a bit more frantic as the round came to an end.

In round four, de la Hoya was showing his age again. Pacquiao just danced circles around him for most of the round, and towards the end he was just flat-out out boxing de la Hoya.

For the most part, round five was more of the same as Pacquiao just continued to out box his older opponent. Towards the end, however, Oscar seemed to summon up some strength from what must have been pure ferocity. Unfortunately for him, Manny was showing no signs of slowing down and met him blow for blow.

The sixth round was a lot like the fifth, as Pacquiao was still going strong and de la Hoya was still looking like he was waiting for his turn.

The seventh round was fairly dull up until the second half, when Pacquiao got de la Hoya in a corner and kept him there for a while, just throwing punches effortlessly and masterfully. Even after Oscar got out of the corner, Manny just kept hitting him, never letting up, and never losing his pace.

The eighth round wasn’t as exciting as the seventh, but Manny kept working on Oscar. In the last ten seconds of the round, Pacquiao just went nuts and looked like he was beating the crap out of de la Hoya.

Oscar threw in the towel after the eight round, knowing he didn’t really have a chance. Pacquiao got a TKO win, and de la Hoya had a busted eye.

It was a great fight, and both fighters showed more skill and athleticism than most of us could ever hope to achieve. I wasn’t really rooting for either fighter, but in the end I think I’m more glad that Pacquiao won than I would have been had de la Hoya won. Oscar’s had a great run in his career, and now it’s time for a younger man to go further.

In the best way possible, Pacquiao reminds me of Bruce Lee. Even though he’s a real lightweight, he could still beat the living hell out of just about anybody. Even when he’s not throwing great punches, he’s always bouncing on his toes, moving around, ready to defend or attack, whatever the situation calls for. They’re both great examples of pure efficiency in motion.

While most people find fights boring unless there are two heavyweights in the ring, I generally prefer to watch fights like this. These guys have much better stamina, and they fight in a much more technical manner. While two heavyweights will beat the crap out of each other, they’ll also repeatedly hug each other or hang on the ropes to take a breather. The beautiful thing about lighter weight fights is that the fighters can keep going, and that’s much more impressive to me than just using your weight as a weapon.

Some quick facts:
Pacquiao was credited with landing 224 of 585 punches to just 83 of 402 for De La Hoya.
At the time of the stoppage, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, had Pacquiao ahead, 80-72, winning all the rounds.
Ringside statistics showed Pacquiao landed 45 power punches in the seventh round to just four for De La Hoya.

Check out for a better account.

I wasn’t lucky enough to watch it Pay-Per-View. Instead I had to watch it on youtube.
Here’s the first round, navigate from there:

Unfortunately, if you leave the sound on, you’ll mostly hear some Filipinos laughing and generally being excited for Pacquiao.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Punisher: War Zone

Man, what a shitty movie.

It’s a very comic book-type movie. It’s played for laughs a lot of the time. And if there is one comic book character that you just don’t play for laughs – that you just don’t treat like a comic book character – then it’s the Punisher.
But no, the writers and director don’t see it that way, I guess. Which is unfortunate, because the Punisher has a lot of cinematic potential (as evidenced by the 2004 version starring Thomas Jane).

Like any relatively new director, Lexi Alexander does try new things. There are a few shots in the movie that blew me away. Some of the framing was just so new and refreshing, and other shots made me think of Stanley Kubrick as far as just sheer beauty and control of the frame go. Unfortunately, that only accounts for 1% of the movie. The other 99% pretty much amounts to shit.

The action is over the top, which is usually fine by me, but the camera barely holds on any shot in which someone isn’t blowing up. I’m normally a fan of gore, but only when it’s used correctly. “War Zone” fails in that respect.

If there were a saving grace for this movie, it would be Ray Stevenson’s performance. The guy’s got chops. I completely believe that his heart is being torn up every time he talks to the little girl in the movie, being reminded of his own daughter. The brief, wonderful moments between Frank Castle and the little girl are heart wrenching and pretty much pitch perfect.

I won’t be seeing it in theaters again, even though I am usually a repeat viewer.

I am a huge Punisher fan, but when the DVD comes out, I’ll have to take a good, hard look at the special features before I decide to shell out any money for it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Beginner's Solo Martial Arts Workout

Here's a martial arts workout that will benefit a practitioner of any style, and can even be done by a beginner (so long as they know basic kicks and how to punch; instructions for which can be found many places online or in books).

50 air punches
12 right front kicks
12 left front kicks
6 right roundhouse kicks
6 left roundhouse kicks
6 right side kicks
6 left side kicks
6 right stretch kicks
6 left stretch kicks
20 high blocks
20 low blocks
20 middle blocks
Hold a horse-riding stance for as long as you can (at least 2 minutes)
25 push-ups
100 jumping jacks

You should do this at least once a day. It doesn't take long, and it will help either build the basics for more advanced training later, or serve as good practice/refresher for even an advanced practitioner.

My Solo Martial Arts Workout

This is the martial arts exercise I do when I'm not sparring/training with someone else or in a class.


Punching pyramid (right)
Front kicks (12 right, 12 left)
Roundhouse kicks (12 right, 12 left)
Side kicks (12 right, 12 left)
Stretch kicks (6 right, 6 left)
High blocks (10 right, 10 left)
Low blocks (10 right, 10 left)
Mid blocks (10 right, 10 left)
Backfists (10 right, 10 left)
Hammer fists
Punching the floor (50 punches)
Running in place (1 minute)
Brief rest (1 minute)

Punching pyramid (left)
Combo 1 (Jab, Cross, Front kick) (6 right, 6 left)
Combo 2 (Jab, Cross, Roundhouse kick) (6 right, 6 left)
Combo 3 (Jab, Cross, Side kick) (6 right, 6 left)
Combo 4 (Jab, Cross, Uppercut) (6 right, 6 left)
Combo 5 (Jab, Cross, Knee, Elbow) (6 right, 6 left)
Running in place (1 minute)
Brief rest (1 minute)

Punching pyramid (right)
Songahm Form One
First two sections of Sil Lum Tao (wing chun)
Self-Defense practice routines
Songahm Form One
Stick practice (12 lines) (right, then left)
Knife practice (12 lines) (right, then left)
Running place (1 minute)
Brief rest (1 minute)

Do the whole thing twice.
Should take about an hour.


There is a routine that can greatly enhance one's strength and stamina, and it is absolutely free.
It consists of nothing but push-ups.
It was taught to me by my philosophy teacher, who was ex-SpecOps and ex-NSA, so this guy knows how to quickly build a strong, powerful individual. I believe that it was taught to him by another special forces-type person.

How many push-ups you do is determined by how many (maxing out) you can already do. When I first did it, I was only able to do about 40 at any given time. When I was done, I could do 60 at any given time. I've since done it many times to increase my strength, and now I can do at least 80 push-ups at any given time. I started out doing 250 each day, but now when I do it I do at least 400. The version I'm putting here will start someone out gently, at 100, but I suggest pushing it the first time to see if you can at least do 200.

Here you go:
For 10 straight days, alternate between A and B.

A Day: do 100 push-ups in an hour
B Day: do 100 push-ups over the course of the day

For those 10 days, you should do other exercises, but DO NOT work out your arms in any other way. Just run, do sit-ups, practice martial arts, etc.
After 10 days, rest your arms for 2 days.
After 2 days of rest, drop and try to max out. You should find yourself much stronger and able to do many more push-ups.

You can experiment with what way is best for you, but here's mine:
Do 10 or 12 sets in the hour on A day. Do a set every 5 minutes. (i.e. 25o push-ups: Do 25 every 5 minutes, 10 sets; 400 push-ups: Do 35 every 5 minutes, 12 sets [that actually gives you 420 push-ups], or 40 every 5 minutes, 10 sets)
Do 10 or 12 sets over the day on B day. Do a set every 30 minutes.

There you have it. Try it out. It really is amazing.
I suggest this to all my friends and martial arts students/training partners, and those who have done it have not been disappointed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quantum of Solace

I'm not going to compare it too much to "Casino Royale", simply because they are two very different movies.

The plot is a little convoluted, and Forster isn't the greatest action director (please, sir, hold on an action shot for more than one second; I don't care about the old broad dropping her tomatoes, but I would like to see more than 24 frames of Bond shooting a bad guy). But this movie is certainly action-packed (love the knife fight with the "geologist", love the plane/free fall sequence, love the explosions in the end).

Though it is action-packed, don't think for a second that the action carries the movie. No, no, no. It's Craig. With little more than a glance, the man provides all the insight an audience needs.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

I am a Kevin Smith fan, so I'm biased. I admit it.

Still, this movie is one of those rare and beautiful and very special examples of a movie being a comedy in premise, and much, much more at its heart. There is a trend in this Apatow-run Hollywood of the past few years to attempt at a mixture of soul and filth, but only so many can cut the mustard.

Here comes another movie from a guy who started making heart-filled raunch fests when Apatow, Rogen, and their like were doing very, very little (if anything at all). I've been surprised in the past that it took so long for someone to make a movie like "40-Year-Old Virgin" when Smith made movies like "Clerks" and "Chasing Amy" way back when (and with no goddamn money!).

While I am a big fan of the View Askewniverse and all of its loveable rascals yelling "Snootch!" and "I'm not supposed to be here today!", I do think that Smith has done a lot better without those cats and that whole world. I wouldn't necessarily say that he's a better writer or storyteller now, but he's certainly a much better director, in a conventional sense.

I'm rambling, but I guess this movie really resonates with me because, essentially, it's a movie about love and also a movie about a group of people making their first movie. And, being a guy who fairly recently made his first movie -- which was kind of a movie about love -- that hits home in a very, very good way.

Go see it, cocksuckers!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Importance of Physical Conditioning in Fighting

Here's a martial arts-related essay for you. I wrote it when I was younger and a bit newer to the martial arts. Please forgive any errors or demonstrations of naivete.

Importance of Physical Conditioning in Fighting
12/31/2004 (2/15/05)
Word Count: 2,211

In the exquisite art of fighting, it is important to note that that the majority of the fighting sports' practitioners and, most especially, the champions are considered to be in top physical condition. Next to technical skill, physical condition is the most important aspect of the martial arts.

By this, I do not mean that a particular martial art should serve as a means of achieving fitness, though many instructors would list that as a primary reason for studying their art. Throughout the history of martial arts, physical, mental, and spiritual well-being have often been the goals of particular arts. Some of the more prominent examples are Qi Gong (stressing spiritual well-being), Taijiquan (stressing both spiritual and physical fitness), and Aikido (making physical, spiritual, and mental well-being goals of every practitioner).

Qi Gong is an internal style of Gong Fu (or Kung Fu, a broad term for all fighting arts originating in China) that puts stress on the cultivation of energy and the growth of one's personal chi (internal energy). There are certain rules for living that a practitioner of Qi Gong is supposed to follow and particular ways to breathe that must be practiced. This is all in the hope that the practitioner may develop a healthier chi and grow spiritually stronger.

Taijiquan ("Grand Ultimate Fist", also know as Tai Chi) is a very well-known internal style of Gong Fu, being the most popular art in China and certainly the most-practiced Chinese art outside of China. Its most important aspects are often described as physical and spiritual health. Taijiquan uses breathing techniques to cleanse the body and soul. It also uses smooth, flowing positions that, when done in Taijiquan's typically slow nature, put stress on certain muscles. The stress put on these muscles does not make them larger, but tones them and makes them stronger and healthier.

Aikido ("the Way of Harmony") is a Japanese art that, like the aforementioned two Chinese arts, attempts to strengthen the spirit. Like Taijiquan, it also puts emphasis on making the body stronger. An aspect of Aikido that sets it apart from Taijiquan and Qi Gong is its incorporation of the idea that a practitioner must also exercise the mind. This is a concept taken from an ancestor of many Japanese arts, Bushido ("the Way of the Warrior"). Bushido was the art that the samurai lived by, which included a common idea of Zen Buddhism that all parts of a person must be strengthened and developed to the greatest potential of that person.

Each of these arts has something to offer and helps its practitioners to become a better person. Each art helps the practitioners to be more spiritual and brings them closer to whatever deity or force they worship. Taijiquan and Aikido both help their practitioners to become physically stronger and healthier. Aikido fills the triangle by having its practitioners strengthen their mind through learning and other forms of art.

Qi Gong, like many of the arts focusing on one's spirit, tends to lack far too much in the physical department to truly be beneficial to a fighter. Many spirit-focused practitioners, instructors, and masters are often heard defending similar "accusations" with "This martial art is not meant for fighting, merely to help one become a better person." This can be accepted, but not when such an art is considered a martial art. To say that it is a "martial" art would imply that the art is meant for "martial" reasons. The very word "martial" means "of warfare", which means that any martial art is meant for fighting.

Another aspect of Qi Gong, and other internal arts that use breathing techniques as a primary cleanser of the soul, which makes it unfit for fighting or physical conditioning, is the use of certain breathing techniques. Most of the breathing techniques incorporated within the art of Qi Gong are techniques that diminish the abdominal muscles. A well-toned abdomen is a trait found in all of the greatest fighters. The necessity for the abdomen to be muscular and defined has been preached since the beginnings of Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and even by that hero of China-Bruce Lee. The abdomen is a prime target for attacks in most fights and should therefore be exercised routinely and intensely in order to properly defend oneself from a larger risk of internal injury. The breathing techniques of Qi Gong and similar spiritual arts make the stomachs of their practitioners distended and round. This, of course, is "because their chi has settled and they've developed a chi build".

Taijiquan is considered an internal art, like Qi Gong, and even uses breathing techniques to cleanse the soul. However, this particular internal art also uses breathing for physical health (as most martial arts do). The breathing in Taijiquan does not create a "chi build", but also does not necessarily promote abdominal muscles like a sit-up does. The art of Taijiquan does promote physical fitness through muscle exercise that stresses particular muscles during certain positions of a form. This promotes health, but does not push a person towards physical superiority, which is sought by every serious combatant.

Aikido is most certainly not an internal art, but it is also not an art that excludes spiritual development. It is a way of living that requires one to grow physically, spiritually, and mentally. A practitioner of Aikido exercises whenever he practices a form or attends a class. He meditates, connecting himself to the deity or force he worships, strengthening him spiritually. He also reads and writes, draws, paints, sings, or plays an instrument, depending on his artistic preference and the way he wishes to express his ever-growing mind.

Even though Taijiquan and Aikido each provide for better physical fitness, they tend to make that a focus of the art. This is not necessarily a bad idea. In fact, it's quite good that an art of fighting promotes fitness, which is essential for every fighter to have. However, it should be explained by every instructor of each art promoting physical fitness that the art itself should never be considered a replacement for routine exercise and physical conditioning such as weight training, abdominal workouts, and cardiovascular exercises. That is the very point of this piece of writing: arts that aid in physical fitness should never be considered a complete path towards physical achievement.

It's been heard often: "I've gotten over the effects of old age by studying Tai Chi!" or "I lost fifty pounds in just three months by taking up Tae Kwon Do!" Though simply practicing certain martial arts might aid the elderly, overweight, or sickly, they should never be taken by one who wishes to be a serious fighter as the only means necessary to achieve physical superiority. In order to truly become a great fighter, one must have a physique that can stand up to the most powerful blows, just in case one is unable to dodge, block, parry, or counter quickly enough.

As previously stated, it is a very good idea for a martial art to help its practitioners gain better physical health and become a stronger person, but more so it should be the instructor of an art's responsibility to encourage his students to exercise and train rigorously outside of the dojo, kwoon, or other type of martial art school. Sadly, most instructors believe themselves that the art in which they practice is the only means one needs to achieve the physical level of a great or even moderate fighter. Luckily, however, there are a few martial arts in existence that stress to their students the importance of outside training and exercise. Three that deserve special merit are Muay Thai, Sanshou, and, of course, Jeet Kune Do.

Muay Thai (also known as Thai Kickboxing) is not an art that typically incorporates exercise into a normal class curriculum. In training facilities and schools for Muay Thai, the students will often have various machines and training devices at their disposal, much like in a gym, but when they are being trained to use their techniques, their teacher most often will not devote the first ten minutes of class to exercising. While practicing Muay Thai will certainly help one gain physical fitness, when two fighters actually step into the ring, it soon becomes clear who actually trains on their own time and who doesn't. The Muay Thai practitioner who does not exercise and work out regularly and rigorously soon learns his lesson.

Sanshou can best be described as China's answer to Muay Thai. Sanshou is not necessarily a particular style in that it incorporates techniques from all Chinese styles. As in Muay Thai, there are hardly any kinds of techniques not used in Sanshou. Throws, kicks, punches, knees, elbows, and even groin, knee, and throat shots are allowed (except in North America and a few other areas). It's full-contact and completely and undeniably barbaric. But therein lies the realism. Just as in Muay Thai, the Sanshou practitioner who simply does not put in the needed energy and time will often have to learn his lesson the hard way.

The third of these most notable arts that require outside work is the art of unlimited, unregulated, and ultimately real fighting: Jeet Kune Do. Jeet Kune Do is an art that was developed by Bruce Lee in an effort to break through the rigid structure of stylistic martial arts. It is not a style, nor is it necessarily a way. It is more of a philosophy that one should always strive to express not his instructor's ideas, but his own through the martial arts, because that is what "art" is all about: self-expression. When taught the art of Jeet Kune Do, one learns to not merely learn, but absorb what one needs and what works best from what he is taught, while tossing aside that which he does not need or is not able to use as effectively as the other concepts and techniques. While learning Jeet Kune Do, as the case is with many arts, one may become more physically fit, but Jeet Kune Do, like Muay Thai and Sanshou, requires its students to commit time and energy to training outside of class. Bruce Lee spoke and wrote often on the subject of physical achievement, and his body towards the end of his life continues to inspire many fighters, bodybuilders, and health nuts thirty years later.

As stated before, the greatest fighters of our time have all had incredible bodies and were often at the peak of human condition. Muhammad Ali is often considered the best boxer ever, his technique being studied by even Bruce Lee (Lee often reviewed footage of Ali's fights so that he could refine his own personal footwork and boxing techniques), and he was in magnificent shape. Like Ali, as he was also a legendary boxer and admired by Bruce Lee, Sugar Ray Robinson can not only be praised for his technique and skill, but also for his physique. During the last year of his life, Bruce Lee was down to less than 1% body fat and was eating and drinking nothing but protein shakes and tea (while this is not considered the most healthy of choices by doctors, looking at Lee's body during this time, one cannot help but feel an odd and confusing mixture of awe, inspiration, and just a little shame).

To take a look at more modern fighters, one should immediately look to the new generation of champions: Marcus Reed, Steven Lopez, and Cung Le. Marcus "the Hammer" Reed was a Canadian kickboxing champion in the early and mid-90's whose physique once prompted an announcer to say, "If looks could kill, he'd be a serial murderer." Steven Lopez is an Olympic gold-medalist in Tae Kwon Do and works out in a manner that is both consistent and intense. Probably the best of these fighters, Cung Le is both a Sanshou champion and K-1 champion, and he has a body not unlike a young Muhammad Ali's (his abs are not as well-defined as Bruce Lee's, but his arms are beyond what many once thought the Vietnamese were genetically capable of).
When seeing that the greatest fighters are most often the most well-sculpted, it raises the question of why more martial arts instructors do not warn their students that the art they practice will not ensure their survival against blows from fighters with bodies like Ali or Le's. Sadly, the answer may never be known. Most instructors really do believe that practicing their art is the only exercise necessary. Hopefully, this piece will open the eyes of those who wish to go beyond merely executing techniques and are serious about fighting.

It is the responsibility of every martial artist to help educate their fellow practitioners and an aspect that sorely needs to be touched upon is the lack of personal training that anyone can observe among many of those who know how to fight. Sadly, though these people may know how to fight, their belief that they have a chance against those who workout is both wrong and popular. Let's hope they will learn their lesson the easy way, and not have to suffer on the streets or in a ring.

martial art

From time to time, I'll probably write about various styles of martial arts and things related to the subject. For now, here's the simplest way I can put my thoughts:

Martial art is one of the greatest ways for one to express their abilities and self-attained skills.

The abilities that one attains through martial arts practice are ultimately attained only through individual training, and thus martial ability is an expression of the self -- the drive and ambition that one possesses.

Martial arts are not for everyone -- they are not for the lazy. Dedication is of absolute necessity. Beyond that, anyone can do it, and everyone should.

Beyond any of the supposed spiritual aspects of the martial arts, self-defense and fighting ability are of utmost importance. It is necessary for a true martial art to not only be a fun activity or spiritual/mental exercise, but first and foremost a physical/fighting exercise, leading to the goals of ultimate self-expression and efficiency in combat.

Human Sciences and Natural Sciences

Let me hit you with a little something I wrote way back when, either for Theory of Knowledge or Philosophy.

In answering the question of whether or not Human Sciences and Natural Sciences are fundamentally different, one must explore the methods used in either category and the applications of each category’s results. The first view would be that Human Sciences and Natural Sciences are fundamentally the same. The basis for this view lies in the methods used for collecting data in both the Human Sciences and the Natural Sciences. The foundation of knowledge in both groups of sciences is the theory. Both Human Scientists and Natural Scientists start their quest for knowledge with a theory, and then experiments are used in an attempt to either prove or disprove that theory. Consider B.F. Skinner and Gregor Mendel: B.F. Skinner theorized that behavior could be controlled and then used operant conditioning on pigeons placed in the “Skinner Box” to control their actions, and Mendel theorized that selective breeding would produce desired results and selectively cross-bred certain species of peas to get breeds with specific attributes. Skinner was a Human Scientist (a psychologist) and Mendel was a Natural Scientist (an early geneticist). Though they worked in completely different fields, they both used the same methods to gather information. Repeated experimentation leads to the “facts” in both Human Sciences and Natural Sciences.

There is also the view that the Human Sciences and the Natural Sciences are fundamentally different from one another. This view is based on the difference between the applications of the results reached in either type of Science. The results reached by Natural Sciences have various applications in fields such as biology, chemistry, and physics, which apply to medicine, technology, and transportation, all important aspects of the material world. The results reached by Human Sciences have various applications in fields such as psychology, philosophy, and anthropology, which apply to relationships, culture, and mental activity, important aspects but not in an overtly tangible sense. Many Human Scientists biasedly believe that the subjects of psychology, philosophy, and anthropology are more important because they directly relate to people. However, many Natural Scientists believe that the subjects of medicine, technology, and transportation are more important because there are practical facts in Natural Sciences whereas there is too much uncertainty in the Human Sciences. The uncertainty of the Human Sciences lies in the differentiation in personalities (psychology) and unanswerable questions (philosophy). Those who believe the Sciences are different also feel that the applications of each are severely limited; Natural Sciences do not expand beyond cold, hard facts and Human Sciences do not contribute to the material world.

The only conclusion that can be reached is that Human and Natural Sciences are not wholly the same, but are indeed fundamentally the same. Both rely on the “scientific method” to gain knowledge (consider the questions of philosophy to be its “theories” and the meticulous assessment of supplied answers to be its “experiments”). They differ, however, in the fact that their results are not applied to the same fields. Since the basis of all science is the method(s) by which knowledge is acquired, and the Human Sciences use the same method(s) as the Natural Sciences, the two are, therefore, fundamentally the same.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

First Things First

Hello, Dear Readers!

So, since this is the first post, let's just go around the room and introduce ourselves.

They call me M.C. Elroy. Actually, that's not true. I call me M.C. Elroy. And I only do that when I'm joking around about being a rapper, or when I'm concealing my true identity from intermesh strangers.

I generally like movies, comic books, martial arts, and philosophy. I like to read and I like to write. I also like to make movies, though I've only got one feaure-length film under my belt so far.

I'll be back intermittently to give any and all wandering strangers my opinions and such on stuff and such.