Saturday, November 19, 2016

decoding the haymaker to further understand eskrima

In Western Boxing people know that, you need to make punches that quickly return and have your hands up. This is evident when you punch a bag that bounces back. Each time it bounces back that simulates an attack from your opponent, and it can be so fast that you need to keep your hands up to guard your head.

All this makes sense, however, we can ask the question, if all this makes sense, then why do we throw big haymaker punches?

From a knife fighting perspective, you can see people cut water bottles and other targets using big wild swings, this is because big swinging motions have the most power. These big swinging moves can totally leave you wide open and may not be the smartest move to do, but at the right time it can cause some major damage.

In Eskrima we have big swinging haymaker style moves, but we also have more compact slashes. These slashes work great with weapons especially bladed weapons, but when translated to empty hands the slashing motions of Eskrima do not have your hands up.

As we mentioned at first, from a Boxing perspective this is not a good idea.
However in Eskrima, our slashes may not have our arms up guarding our head like a Boxer, it is designed to close the distance and bash the enemy with your forearms.

In Eskrima, when our arms are crossed, we use the forearms to safely clinch and fight from there.       

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Sensitivity skills in martial arts

Many people see Aikido people practicing and they say it looks like it's fake.
It looks like they are going along with each other, like a dance.

To a certain extent they are correct.
The first thing in Aikido is that you learn that you must comply with your partner so that when they throw or take you down, it doesn't hurt you. If you resist or go against the technique you can get injured badly. So yeah you are "going with" your partner so that you learn how not to get hurt when someone does a move like this to you.

The second thing is that by "going with" your partner, your learning how to feel your opponent's force. Now this may sound mystical but you can look at it from a physics point of view. If they throw or take you down, that requires energy and force, by complying to their technique you are learning how to sense that force and go with it. Kind of like a wave in the ocean, if you go with the wave you can find spots to breathe and naturally come up, but if you go against it, you can drown and wear yourself out. Or even a car crash, if you relax and go with the force, you can minimize the damage and only have superficial injuries, but if you tense up, you can really hurt yourself badly.

Trying to read the force is called sensitivity training. Many martial art styles have figured out that having good sensitivity can make you a much better warrior. So they have implemented ways to develop sensitivity.

Chinese styles like Wing Chun and Tai Chi practice sensitivity from hand partner exercises. Filipino martial arts also have something similar.

Back when I was learning Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, I noticed that when we sparred 99% of the time, we began from our knees. The first martial art that I ever encountered that worked from the knees a whole lot was none other than Aikido. So I tried to incorporate some Aikido into my BJJ practice.

It wasn't so much the techniques that I incorporated but the principals and especially the sensitivity. Once I started to do that, my BJJ skills became much better. I was able to transition from position to position, technique to technique much better. I was able to relax and become more efficient because I was tensing up less and trying to read my opponent's energy instead.

I decided to write about this today because I saw a video on Youtube with a Rickson Gracie black belt talking about connecting and disconnecting in what Rickson calls Invisible Jiu-jitsu. As I was watching the video I immediately thought, oh he is talking about sensitivity.

The difference though is not about connecting and disconnecting from your opponent, because the way I learned things was that if I'm separated from my opponent they can hit me and throw me, but if I connect with them, and become one with them, we become joined like we are one entity, then it becomes hard for them to throw themselves, or hit themselves.

So I don't exactly 100% agree with what the Rickson Gracie black belt said. But I am 100% for sensitivity. I remember in Russian martial arts training the idea of becoming one with your opponent was introduced to me from a Sambo throw. It makes it harder for your opponent to throw you and easier for you to sense when to throw them.

Becoming one with your opponent is the key principal in Aikido. To blend in with their movement, I always thought it sounded very ninja like. To me a good ninja would have Tai Sabaki similar to an Aikido ka.



Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Aikido in MMA

I recently saw a video on Youtube where a guy was talking about why we don't see Aikido techniques in MMA.

I think there are two common reasons as to why this is.

1) Because they don't work.
2) Because Aikido is for self-defense/combat, while MMA is a sport/duel.

I disagree strongly with both reasons.

The people who think that we don't see Aikido techniques in MMA because they don't work, still operate in a way of thinking where they believe that certain techniques work and don't work.

They are wrong in my opinion because any technique has the potential to work, fail, and everything in between. Simply put, there are no guarantees.

Instead of viewing the technique as it works or not, I think people should become more responsible and say I don't know how to make this technique work, rather than blame the technique.

Many people see BJJ as a style that works, so if we get a BJJ technique like a rear naked choke, if you are a beginner and you walk into a BJJ school, I guarantee that the RNC will not work for you, in fact probably non of the BJJ techniques will work for you the first week that your there.

Moving on to opinion number two, where people think that Aikido techniques are not seen in MMA because they are designed for combat and not sport.

I disagree with this statement too, because whether we are talking about combat, a street fight, bar fight, dark alley fight, self-defense, home invasion, sport, fighting on grass or sand, multiple attackers, these are all just scenarios. And the main thing is that the body mechanics, human aggression, stress, timing, physical contact, things like this do not change.

So if I'm going to use an Aikido wrist lock technique it doesn't matter what scenario, as far as what it takes to execute the technique it won't change, because I'm doing it to a human being in a physical confrontation. Now if I do the technique and his buddy comes up to me from behind and kicks me in the junk, it doesn't mean that the technique failed, it means that it was the wrong time for me to do the move, or the strategy was not good. 

So why do we not see Aikido moves in MMA?
Simply put because there are not enough Aikido people interested in competing in MMA.How many Aikido schools are there where they focus on competing in MMA? How many MMA fighters cross train with Aikido people? Now ask the same two questions with Muay Thai, wrestling, Boxing, and BJJ.

How many Judo and Sambo people do MMA at a televised level? Not many, how many Tae Kwon Do and Karate people do MMA at a televised level, probably even less than the Judo and Sambo people. So you can imagine, something like Aikido, Tai Chi, Systema, Wing Chun, and Eskrima, would be close to zero.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Martial Running

Martial Running is a term I made up.
It's basically just running specifically for martial arts.

Essentially I'm talking about two things here.
Number one is to run and become fit so that I become better at doing martial arts.
Number two is to become better at running. This is because I view running as a skill. To me running is a martial arts technique, so just like any other technique I need to practice it to become good enough with it so that I can use it in a real life altercation.

How is it different from normal running?
Because it's for martial arts, I add things from and for martial arts.

Here are some tips.

1. Add footwork
As you are running, mix in your footwork practice from whatever style it is you practice.

2. Practice Breathing
While your running, practice breathing the way you would in whatever style it is you practice.

3. Make your running more technical
Martial arts is the study of body mechanics. So break down the different body mechanics that occur when running and work on those.

4. Incorporate body martial arts body mechanics
As your running, add in explosive movements, or swing your arms  martial arts style.

5. Imagine scenarios
As you run use your imagination to make your running a bit more experienced.



Saturday, November 5, 2016

Wmpyr vs Heavyweight Wrestler

In my college years I had some pretty intense sparring matches with guys that wanted to test themselves against me.

One of these guys was John C.
John was 6 foot 2, 300 pounds. I'm 5 foot 10, and weighed 140 pounds at the time.
John was an Aikido stylist who was a  former freestyle high school wrestler.

During this time I had minimal grappling in my arsenal but I wanted to learn, especially after watching Royce Gracie dominate in the UFC.

John had seen me grapple, he saw me utilize the Guard position which was a staple position in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. John challenged me to a grappling match, we started standing, and when he rushed me for a take down, I went with it and tried to pull him into my guard. He quickly recognized this, and jumped in the air to squash me. Fortunately I took most of his weight on the back of my thighs and I was fine. Once we ended up in my guard, he jumped up again to squash me, this time he landed on my torso and all the air in my lungs was forced out. I tried my best to get him in an armbar, but I didn't know how. I kept telling myself, I need to get the armbar but how do I do it?

The match was a stalemate with John not knowing what to do inside my guard, and me not being able to do anything to him either. Afterwards I was exhausted, a cocky American Kenpo Karate stylist who was watching, complemented me and said it takes a lot of balls to go up against someone that much larger.

Later John asked me about striking, I told him that I had practiced some Muay Thai. He wanted to know what my strategy would be against a big guy like him, and I said I would kick him in the leg repeatedly with my shins, like a lumber jack chopping down a tree. He asked me how to defend against that, and I showed him the leg check.

He then wanted to spar me in stand up striking.  I threw a leg kick and he checked it just like I showed him. So then I thew another one from a different angle so that even if he checks it, it would still land on his thigh. After the hit, he dropped his foot back down, which I doubled up and I kicked him in the same leg again.

Against me he was confident in his Western Boxing skills, so he wanted to come close and pop me in the face, I threw a low side kick and double up with a high side kick to his face just short of his nose. This is a double side kick combo I saw Chuck Norris do in one of his films, and I practice to this day. Anyway the kick was too fast for John, and probably barely saw a blur. He said you could have broken my nose huh? I said I could have landed it for sure, probably draw some blood, he didn't want to do anymore after that. 

John and I never sparred each other again after that. I continued to learn grappling by any means, and I got better and better.
A good while after, John myself and a friend of ours was practicing martial arts together. A big dude who was lifting weights saw us working out and he aggressively approached us. He was in the Air force, Judo stylist and former bouncer. He was very muscular. He must have been 6 foot 4, around 260. He challenged us to a sparring match, the three of us declined. He grabbed our friend who was about 170 pounds and curled him with one arm. And somehow he began wrestling with John. They went to a stalemate and it looked like Godzilla versus King Kong.

Afterwards the guy said he was just getting warmed up and asked John to go again, but John declined. The guy suddenly grabbed me and threw me on the mat.

I was mad, and I was working a guillotine choke on him, and he told me to let it go repeatedly so I did, which he took advantage of to get himself out and continued to attack me. I was beyond furious now, so I somehow took his back and rear naked choked him. After he tapped, he said that nobody has ever done this to him. He was in disbelief.

He told me he was impressed with me and said I should be a bouncer.
He then threw me on the mat yet again! This time I went street. I was turtled, and he was in an over sprawl on top of me with a hold of my neck. I attacked his fingers, courtesy of the catch wrestling style, Grappling Master by Gene LeBell was one of my favorite martial arts books back in the day. He screamed and verbally submitted telling me his fingers were weak from lifting weights. 









Saturday, September 24, 2016

Skill Transfer

Most people know that Eskrima, Kali, and Arnis primarily focus on stick training.

The firearm is a superior weapon compared to a stick. However the stick can be more practical.

Most beginners understand that if you learn how to fight with the stick, then no matter where you are in the world, chances are you will be able to find a weapon similar in size and shape to a stick. This makes total sense, however this is a beginner level way of thinking.

To head in the direction of higher level training, we begin with the double sticks.

Eskrima, Kali, and Arnis training also has a lot of double stick training. This is where some people begin to moan and groan. They do not like double stick training because they say it's not practical. What are the odds of finding two sticks in a combat situation they say.

At a higher level we understand the importance to adapt during combat. In order to truly adapt to any altercation, we need to ability to use anything around us as a weapon. This is called improvised weapons skills.

To develop improvised weapons skills, we begin with the double sticks. The goal is to transfer your double stick skills to whatever weapon that is in your hand.

We build a foundation of skills with the double sticks and then do what I call a SKILL TRANSFER so that you can fight well with whatever that is in your hand.

To do a smooth skill transfer the most important ingredient is to put in a ton of repetition practice so that even when your not holding the sticks you can still feel the sticks in your hand. I call this sensation Ghost Sticks. When you are at the level where you can feel the ghost sticks, then it becomes much easier to skill transfer. 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Chin Jab

In the summer of 1994, my first year of college, I found what I believe to be a WWI combatives manual. It was a thin book with hand drawn illustrations demonstrating some very interesting techniques that I have kept with me to this day.

One of the techniques is called the Chin Jab. The idea is to hit your opponent on the underside of their chin like an uppercut, with an open palm strike, and then immediately follow up with a claw to the eyes.

This technique can be combined with a knee to the groin, a take down technique, and the shin scrape which I will talk about later.

I recently had a friend come visit me from a far. He is a long time friend and fellow martial artist, so I showed him the Chin Jab and we discussed/explored the technique.

We tried to figure out the context of the technique, in other words, the manner in which it was meant to be used. We talked about what the battlefield was like in WWI and WWII. We brought up scenarios such as a POW trying to escape situation, sentry removal, and fighting in the trench. We talked about various weapons that the soldiers carried and used in battle at the time, such as the trench knife, pistol, grenade, and bayonet rifle.

The main scenario we focused on was a soldier trying to take away another soldier's bayonet rifle. We mimicked the bayonet rifle using a thick PVC pipe I occasionally use for Eskrima training.

The key points:

A) You are engaged in a standing grappling situation.
 
B) The Chin Jab is not executed like a right cross where your trying to hit them with all your might in order to KO the enemy, but instead, your lifting their chin up to compromise their structure. 

C) Immediately follow up with the claw. The claw must be a continuous clawing motion attacking sensitive areas of the face including eyes, nose, and ears.

We also lightly tested the claw in a ground fight scenario. We took turns taking each other down and tried to dominate or finish the other person on the ground while the other defended using the claw.  The claw seemed very effective to throw the grappler off their game.

The Shin Scrape was another technique from the same manual. The idea is to kick a person in the knee, then scrape down their shin to land in a heel stomp to their foot. I like this triple attack combo, although I am not sure how well one can scrape down the shin if the enemy is wearing boots. I would imagine that the laces and such would get in the way. 


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Eskrima The Game

To learn The Game we experience full contact fighting or we can study it. I value my health so I'm going to borrow from combat sports such as Boxing, Muay Thai, and MMA.
 
The Game of Eskrima consist of the following components.
1. The Jab - a quick non committed strike like the jab in Boxing.
2. Power shot - a committed powerful strike like the cross in Boxing.
3. Combos - Every Boxer/Kickboxer knows the effectiveness of combos.
4. Feints - use feints to fake out your opponent.
5. Work the Leg - Change levels to attack their leg like in Muay Thai.

The strategy is the same as Boxing, use the jab to set up stronger strikes. Manage your cardio while depleting your opponent's. Fight them close when they want to fight far, fight them far when they want to fight close. You want to frustrate your opponent and discourage them, make them doubt themselves.

When you play The Game, your always ready for a battle of attrition. You expect the fight to go the distance so you make sure you stay strong while your opponent gets weaker.

Why play The Game? Every professional fighter knows that if you charge in meaning business trying to finish the fight from the very beginning, your vulnerable because it's very risky. 

Eskrima 2 Ways of Fighting

In real life combat there are two ways of fighting. Direct Combat and The Game.

Even though The Game doesn't sound realistic, it is, and every martial artist is trying to do The Game in a real life situation. Your trying to make a street fight as close as possible to a Boxing match, or Kickboxing match, or MMA match. There are many games in the martial arts such as a Karate match, Eskrima match, point fighting, San Da, and many grappling matches. These kinds of sport fighting is The Game and that is what you want to do in a real life altercation.

The Game is an exchange of strategy and skill. In a Direct Combat situation which can occur during The Game, is when you are in close proximity and your just attacking like crazy or defending like crazy. A bar fight brawl is Direct Combat. It's rare but there are a few K-1 Kickboxing matches I've seen where one fighter rushes in on the other and just unloads at the very start of the match, instead of the feeling out process which 99% of most Kickboxers would do. 

So if your are studying a style like Eskrima, most if not all of that is for The Game. And if you try to implement techniques designed for The Game during a Direct Combat situation, then you are using the wrong techniques at the wrong time.

In The Game, your Eskrima techniques should consist of attacks similar to Kickboxing, quick jabs setting up power strikes, various attacks from different angles, and working their legs. Defensively it should consist of parrying, deflecting, and blocking.

In Direct Combat your attacks are powerful close range attacks such as the Bayonet fighting techniques. Defense should be once again two hands on one stick like in Bayonet fighting.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Eskrima and Other Martial Art Styles

Here in the US, I have seen practitioners of other styles add Eskrima to their arsenal. Many people want to complement their style with practical weapons such as sticks and knives. The art of Eskrima also seems to be quite easy to learn compared to some other styles.

Eskrima should primarily be an ancient form of fencing. It definitely has those kinds of traits especially when it comes to long range stick fighting.

However there are also some very close ties to the art of Boxing. Filipinos take their Boxing very seriously and I have seen many Eskrima people add elements of Boxing to their training.

Since Eskrima has a strong link to Boxing, it's also easy to connect Eskrima with other styles that connect with Boxing such as Muay Thai and MMA.

When you examine techniques like the Heaven 6, you will notice that Eskrima has many similarities with Karate. After WWII Karate had a strong influence in the Filipino martial arts. From the Eskrima and Karate connection we can also link up with Kung Fu, since it is the predecessor of Karate.

The way I see it, is to train in Eskrima to get a better understanding of a different style, and to train in other styles to help you get a better understanding of Eskrima. Ultimately you get better at both. This is possible because Eskrima and other styles provide different perspectives of the same thing. If you get stuck in your training and you can't move forwards, then tacking it from a different perspective maybe the ticket for you to keep on progressing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Eskrima Methodology

Eskrima uses the same concept as the bayonet fighting method utilized by the US Marines. Bayonet fighting is based from Boxing so that soldiers can learn one style and apply that to empty hand or a bayonet. In Eskrima we use the same movements whether we are empty handed or holding one or two weapons, whether it's a stick, knife, tactical baton, Tomahawk, Nunchaku, or some improvised weapon. 

What makes Eskrima unique is that even if you are a beginner, from day one you will begin with weapons. Right from the beginning, you will start with single and double sticks.

Originally the sticks were designed to be for practice, simulating a short sword. Overtime the Filipino warriors discovered that the sticks were formidable weapons themselves.

Single stick work is more technical at a higher level, but double stick work will help you become ambidextrous. Don't think that in real life you will never find/have two sticks, therefore double stick skills are unrealistic. Double stick is important because in real life combat we fight with both arms.

The sticks are the most generic shape and size for a weapon. The idea is that we train with this generic stick so that we can apply these skills, to whatever we find and choose to use as an improvised weapon. In other words if I have a hammer in one hand, and a wrench in another, I should be ready for combat.  

The length of the sticks exaggerate the moves making them easier to learn. The knife on the other hand is short making your moves more compact, which makes the intricate and subtle motions harder to learn. That is why the knife skill is considered advanced. So we don't normally start off with the knife, we start with the sticks and then progress to the training knife.

After learning single and double stick, the single and double training knife is added to the practice. We also begin empty hand work. Empty hand work consists of finger jabbing, slapping, palm strikes, chops, hammer fists, and punching. This kind of versatility helps you get ready for the various smaller improvised weapons you will start to use, such as a Kubotan, tactical flashlight, pen, and cup. You should start to incorporate practice with various improvised weapons. Improvised weapons are the things that you can find around you in your daily life that normally aren't used as weapons.

After that we begin to practice with a short sword to get use to the blade. In modern times I like to replace the short sword with a machete. After working with a longer bladed weapon, we can then add the knife. So mastering the knife has been the ultimate goal for me because I followed this natural progression.
  
People ask me how to defend against a knife attack. The Eskrima method is to first learn how to use the knife. Once you understand the major and minor attacks, only then can you begin to mount some kind of defensive plan. If you don't understand the knife, then every knife attack will always seem 100% deadly all the time and you won't be able to do anything.

So, in order to learn how to defend against the knife, we must first learn how to use the knife. In order to learn how to use the knife, in Eskrima we first learn the sticks.

Even though we practice empty hand skills in Eskrima, in a real life crisis situation, the idea is to use a weapon, whether it's improvised or a weapon you carry. The only time you wouldn't use a weapon is when the situation is not that serious, or you didn't have time to get to a weapon.

   

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Eskrima Warmup

Eskrima warmup exercises are designed to warmup the body, for the Eskrima training your about to do so that you don't get injured.

I personally like to include shadowboxing style mobility exercises so that you practice your footwork and cardiovascular conditioning for endurance. 

The warmup can consist of a review, where you do techniques previously learned at a slower pace. The biggest mistake beginners make is that their form becomes bad when they go slower.  

Eskrima also consists of exercises that will slowly change your body over an extended period of time so that you can perform better. The main exercise is to twirl the stick to make circular motions with your wrist. It takes a long time to build up the kind of wrist strength and wrist articulation that we are looking for. I also teach students to use the Eskrima stick to lightly hit the body in different areas to toughen up various areas of the body. This includes your knuckles, abs, thighs, shins, and arms.

What is Eskrima?

Eskrima is a martial art where you immediately begin from day one with single and double sticks. Many other martial art styles do not let you handle a weapon on the first day, however this is not the case when it comes to Eskrima, which makes it pretty unique. 

The sticks are called Escrima sticks. They vary in size and material, but generally speaking they are made from Rattan and are about 28 inches long.

Eskrima practitioners train with single and double sticks. They also train with various bladed weapons, usually consisting of a short sword and knife.

There is also an empty hand aspect to the art. Students learn how to fight bare handed against a bare handed opponent, and even also against an armed opponent.

Eskrima practitioners are known to be amongst the best in the world when it comes to sticks and knives. 

In addition to all this, I incorporate uisng the sticks in unorthodox ways, that come from other martial art styles such as Bayonet fighting, Cane combat, and Kendo.

I aslo strongly emphasize an improvised weapons aspect for the art. If you are serious about having the ability to use the everyday common items around you into weapons, you need to specifically train for that. It begins with using various types of sticks and if you use double sticks, make sure that the sticks are uneven in size. Next is to actually train with various items such as a fashlight, pen, t-shirt, belt, baseball cap, shoe, baseball bat, umbrella, etc.

Eskrima Introduction

Eskrima is a martial art style from the Philippines. Eskrima is sometimes spelled Escrima. I often get asked what is the difference between Eskrima, Arnis and Kali. I have had some training in all three styles, and from my personal experience I can say that there is no difference between the three styles.

Historically Eskrima was developed by the Filipino tribal warriors.  They combined their own warrior methods with fencing when the Spanish Conquistadors arrived. Eskrima was put to use during World War II when the Japanese invaded. Afterwards it was also combined with Japanese martial arts. Experts began to duel each other, and later on their students would use Eskrima on the streets in gang fights.

Today in the Philippines Eskrima is being taught in schools as part of a PE program. It is also taught to military and police.

In the USA Eskrima is featured in many Hollywood films because of Bruce Lee's top student Dan Inosanto. Many Jeet Kune Do instructors today include Eskrima in their curriculum, because of Dan Inosanto.

Back in the 90s when I learned Eskrima, it was taught to me as a weapons based style that is good combine with whatever style you practice as your main style. During this time, my main style was Kuk Sool Won, so I incorporated Eskrima.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

PSYCHO COP RETURNS review



Psycho Cop Returns film review by Wmpyr


A few years ago I watched Maniac Cop 3 thinking it was the movie I liked in the 90s, only to discover it was different. I finally figured it out. What I watched back then was actually Psycho Cop Returns. Don't get me wrong I really enjoy the Maniac Cop series but Psycho Cop Returns is really awesome! It's definitely so bad it's good. Falls into the same category as the many excellent comedy horror films from Full Moon features.

My only gripe is that Psycho Cop is more human than let's say Jason from Friday the 13th. That being said though they push him as far as they can to be a boogeyman without turning into something totally supernatural.

I really like how 90% of the film takes place in an office building. The plot is very simple and easy to follow. I like all the characters in the film, all the actors did a decent job.

If you like low budget campy horror films then this one is really good. Don't take my word for it, check out all the stellar reviews of it on IMDB.

Even though I had this film mixed up with one of the Maniac Cop films, it had left an impression on me all these years.



My favorite GI Joe figures from the 80s 90s



Favorite GIJOE action figures by Wmpyr


There are so many great 3 3/4" GIJOE figures that I remember from the 80s and 90s. From that era here are my new top five.

5. Dee-Jay
Always reminded me of WWF wrestler Koko B Ware. If Koko needed a new gimmick he could have been like Dee-Jay, futuristic pop solider!

4. Longarm
That loud bright neon orange and his bright red weapons, he was a show stealer.

3. Super Trooper
I really like the many versions of Duke, General Hawk in the space suite was a fantastic figure as well, Captain Gridiron was memorable too, and let's not forget Srgt. Slaughter, but the man on top of all that I believe is the undeveloped Super Trooper. He's like the Ultimate Warrior of the GI Joe universe!

2. Hydro Viper
He has a mask that is like a hybrid between a sea serpent and the creature from the black lagoon! And that webbed claw, how can you not like that?

1. Nullifier
He's just a pilot, didn't come with any accessories other than a visor. But the moment I took him out of the box, I was fascinated with him. That kind of grey-tan color that with some fuchsia it just really gave him a bizarre color scheme. Under that massive visor that completely covered his eyes and made you wonder how he saw anything at all was, get this, a freaking snout! He had some interesting cords on his forearms as if some strange chemicals were being pumped into his body. He had some weird ancient alien looking language carved onto his chest. I just can't get over his large skull like dome head. Only until recently did I discover that he was originally meant to be a Cobra La figure and that's why he looks so strange and out worldly, which makes him even cooler in my book because I really like those Cobra La guys! When I played with him, I used him like the Predator meets Giant Baba. He was an unstoppable freak and that's why he gets the numero uno spot.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Nunchaku time

I've never learned the Nunchaku formally in a martial arts class. However I was fortunate to learn from several very talented martial artists who were very good at the Nunchaku. I remember one of the guys said that the Nunchaku would be his weapon of choice for a street fight. This guy wasn't into any fancy throwing and spinning tricks. He was more interested in how to deal with the rebound after you actually hit something. Around 2006 I really got back heavy into my Arnis, Kali, and Eskrima roots. I noticed a strong connection between the Escrima stick and Nunchaku. So I began to explore that aspect which was new to me. Before I learned Nunchaku from guys that had background in traditional Karate, Ninjitsu, and Tae Kwon Do, which were quite different from the Filipino martial arts. More recently within the last few months I've been diligently practicing the Nunchaku based off a video I saw on Youtube. It was one of George Dillman's seminars. He gets a lot of hatred especially for his energy manipulation and knock out touches. However the Nunchaku video to me was very well explained, and very logical. My philosophy is simply to learn, instead of badmouthing someone, just learn. His material was very basic, but I feel a big improvement in the way I handle the Nunchaku especially when it comes to the figure 8 motions. Dillman wanted his students to hold the Nunchaku towards the bottom of the handle, so that's what I've been doing. Holding towards the bottom allows for a harder hit but less control. So you have to make up for the lack of control with skill. Dillman also showed using the Nunchaku like twin short batons for offense and defense, among other things. I really enjoyed the painful wrist trap using the Nunchaku cord.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Champ Against Champ



Champ Against Champ, 1983 Kung Fu film review by Wmpyr


This film stars Dragon Lee, who is my favorite of the Bruce Lee clones. He is my favorite because I feel like he doesn't just mimic Bruce, but he also brings his own self to the table as well.

It's a simple enough story, Dragon Lee is suppose to go get married to this girl. Her father is part of a resistance group. The main bad guy who is some dictator type guy captures her dad, Dragon Lee, and Lee's dad. The dictator ends up killing Lee's dad and shoots a poison dart in Lee's leg. Lee escapes but loses his leg and ends up with the girl. At her place he trains and creates a steel leg. Ready for some ass kicking, he goes back to rescue her dad and get some revenge.

I like the film for the simple story. It has romance, it has training, it has revenge, it has bad guys with unique weapons, it has clowns, a ton of fighting, what more do you want?

This film also has a strange supernatural feel to it. The dictator guy lives in a cave, it almost feels like it's hell, and his men protecting the mountain base with the clown girls, I just get the feeling that the director wanted to make a kung fu flick ever so lightly sprinkled with ghastly elements.

It reminds me a little bit of the classic Universal pictures horror film, The Son of Frankenstein. Igor played by Bela Lugosi was hanged but survived, and after that it was like he became undead, and that gave him some power. After Dragon Lee survives the poison dart, I feel like he also became undead in a way and that's why he was able to defeat the dictator. However you can also say that Lee won because of his steel leg.

It's a fun flick, one of my favorite classic Kung Fu films for sure!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

combat trapping



Combat Trapping, trapping for full contact fighting


After learning many wonderful trapping techniques from various sources such as Wing Chun, JKD, and FMA, I realized that I wasn't able to pull off any trapping techniques in full contact fighting. This was a darn shame to me because the logic and ideas behind trapping made sense to me.

It has taken me over a decade to figure it out, but I did it. If you asked me back in the 90s I would have told you that I don't know how to make trapping work in full contact. In early 2000 I would have said that whether it's Wing Chun trapping or Aikido wrist locks, the opponent needs to be unsuspecting and their arms need to be static. In other words you need to be preemptive.

After the mid 2000s I was working on my knife combat techniques. And I came up with a training method called Ledging which is not limited to, but uses the ledge of a door. Ledging was inspired by the wooden dummy and some Kung Fu practitioners that use a tree to condition their body. The most important factor I included in this training was to move forwards and back to incorporate a sense of timing and a sense of force.

To make the traditional trapping techniques more realistic I knew I had to do the same thing, add the element of timing and force. My biggest obstacle was to get away from the thinking that trapping was a method of entry into the clinch. Instead I began to view trapping as a method of fighting within the clinch.

Many people who were pressure testing trapping began to realize that trapping could be divided into two areas. The entry and then compound trapping. More times than not, they stuck with the simplistic entry moves and disregarded many techniques especially compound trapping techniques.

My method has a completely different view. I don't trap as an entry, because that relies on speed, a tremendous amount of speed, or your opponent must be sub par. I view trapping as something that occurs in stand up grappling. Since the nature of grappling is to slow things down, I can now execute various trapping techniques when I am grappling in the clinch.

Trapping while grappling changes the way I make my entry compared to standard practitioners of trapping. My entry is now based on pinning their arms for grappling. Many trapping practitioners are taught to use slapping techniques, when you change the slap to a grab, or forward grappling pressure then the dynamic completely changes.

The reason why we don't see trapping in grappling arts is because they are not allowed to strike. And the reason why we don't see trapping in striking arts is because they are not allowed to grab the arm. Trapping combines striking and grappling. And the reason why we don't see trapping in MMA is because the styles MMA fighters train in do not teach trapping. Now that I released this material, I hope that we will see trapping in MMA in the future.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

K4S System Today



K4S System by Wmpyr


K4S stands for Knife For the Street. The "K" can also stand for Kali, Karate, and Kickboxing. It's a modular system, which was said to me by my Youtube friend Blacksilkblacksilk. And what that means is that it's made up of sub styles.

The K4S sub styles include: Integrated Stick Fighting, Knifeboxing, Knife Vigilante, Knife Defense, Knife Grappling, Violence Factory, Project Overkill, Specialized Weapons, and Combat Trapping.

There is one main principal that I focus on in my learning and teaching method. And that is progression. So let's say that your an instructor with your own martial arts school and you have me down for a seminar, I'm not going to put down what you guys do, even if you are a traditional martial arts school, combat sports school or whatever. Not because I think everyone is cool we all love each other, but because my method is to see what you do and progress it. I want to make it a little bit more realistic. And I believe that this can be done without being disrespectful to the original style's methods, and without having to go full contact.

I've been training in martial arts for over 2 decades now. I started in junior high school, and the first 5 years was learning the core, the next 5 years was my pursuit of truth, figuring out what I'm saying to you now about progressing the training to be a little bit more realistic. And the last 10 years was spent actually working on that.

Many people pursued their truth by being tyrants, extremely rude, judgemental, and hurtful, while others pursued it ruthlessly by just beating on each other. I think there is a better way, and I've done it for the past 10 years. Before that I was a ruthless tyrant. Now I want to give back and show that there is a better way, and show my new findings from all the work I've put in over years of training and teaching.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Anderson Silva and Filipino Martial Arts



Anderson Silva uses Filipino Boxing by Wmpyr


I was asked to analyze Anderson Silva's Filipino Boxing skill from UFC 198 Anderson Silva VS Michael Bisping. Prior to this, I saw a clip of Anderson Silva training with the legendary JKD and Filipino martial arts expert's expert Dan Inosanto. Like the time when Anderson was involved with Steven Seagal, I thought it was more of a publicity stunt than actual training. So I didn't think much of it other than, Anderson Silva is a fanboy of traditional martial arts, which is cool since he is a legendary pro fighter.

I watched the fight thinking yeah right. First round goes by and I'm like I don't see anything. In the second round my jaw drops to the floor, there it is, something I haven't seen from him before, and stuff that I recognize being a Filipino martial arts practitioner myself.

When you take a staple Filipino double stick fighting move like the Heaven 6 combo and try to apply it in real life against a fully resisting opponent without using any weapons, you pretty much have to follow what I call the "Double Ds" technique rules of Eskrima. Use the Eskrima techniques for Distraction and Destruction. When you have the distant against an opponent that observes as opposed to aggressively attacks, use the Eskrima movements to distract your opponent like 52 Blocks and Piper Knife Fighting, this is called Distractions. The other method is called Destructions and you make those movements very very compact and use your elbows to hit their attacks for defense. Traditionally it is taught that Destructions can incapacitate the opponent's attacking limb, but from personal experience I can tell you that without a weapon your lucky if you can even cause some pain.

I definitely saw Anderson Silva use the Double Ds, but the crazy thing is that I saw him do more than that. I saw him backed up to the fence and literally use the Heaven 6 to parry Bisping's punches! This was amazing and frustrating for me to watch! It was amazing because it's like watching a pro wrestler pull off pro wrestling moves in MMA. Fantasy taking place in the realm of reality. It's NOT suppose to happen! That is how good Anderson Silva is, he can make Matrix stuff happen.

This is frustrating to me, because the Heaven 6 is not intended to be used that way. Of course this is just my opinion but years ago in my training I had double sticks, my training partner had double sticks and we both did the Heaven 6 against each other and went at it, not to kill but real enough, and I quickly found out that the art was never meant to be used in a way where you are blocking everything perfect like you do in the partner drills.

In my opinion the hand to hand combat, real life application version of the Heaven 6 hasn't been shown to the world yet, but it blew me away to see Anderson Silva force the usage of the Heaven 6 against one of the top fighters in the world. And he pulled it off! This was like watching Bob Sapp pile driver Antonio Rodrigo Minotauro Nogueira in Pride Shockwave 2002.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Foldable Camping Knife and Ghost Skeleton Face Mask review by Wmpyr



Foldable Camping Knife from www.Lightake.com review by Wmpyr


In the second package sent to me from www.Lightake.com included this Foldable Camping Knife. I knew it was a compact folding knife, but I really didn't know what to expect because I couldn't find any reviews on Youtube.

Obviously this is a very compact knife, I don't mind that it doesn't have a lock because it's not meant for heavy duty cutting choirs anyway. Mine actually came fairly sharp out of the box which was surprising to me, since this is not the kind of knife where I expect or need it to be razor sharp.

The bottle cap lifter and hex tool is a nice touch, but the keyring feature to me is what steals the show. You can have it with your keys, have it as a zipper enhancer, or just have it in your Altoids survival tin can as an emergency blade.

Coming from www.Lightake.com the price is really good and harmless, it's a nice and simple, "better to have than not" emergency knife to keep a little peace of mind.

Rating: A



The second item I received was the Ghost Skeleton Face Mask, unlike the camping knife, I specifically requested a tactical face mask.

Years ago I had a neoprene one and I was not happy with it. So I wanted to give this one a try and see if I like this one better. First of all, I like how the fabric feels, it's not itchy, and it definitely feels like it would keep me warm in cold environments.

I like how the neck area is covered, because for me that is pretty crucial. I find that when my neck is cold, I'm prone to getting sick more easily. The face mask can be folded upwards and worn like a beanie when you don't want your face covered, I really like that clever option.

The design on the face mask looks great, I can understand why it's called ghost skeleton. It doesn't look cheesy or like a cartoon, I would wear it for a Halloween party for adults! Over all conclusion is that it's functional, comfortable, looks cool and once again with a sweet price that won't bankrupt you.

Rating: B just because I think I would prefer the half mask because it seems more versatile.



Thursday, May 12, 2016

Skeleton Key film review



Skeleton Key 2015 film review by Wmpyr


Much of this story takes place in a messed up town called Nilbog. That should tell you right there the director is making an homage to Troll 2, king of the so bad it's good movie genre. It's obvious that the director of Skeleton Key is trying to make a campy so bad it's good low budget movie, and does it succeed? IMHO yes it does. There were some really rough spots with the film, but I found myself rooting for this film to be at least watchable.

The main problem with the film is probably that it's too all over the place. Now I understand that this kind of film can use plot holes and unpredictable craziness as an appeal, but that can also cheapen the film which is not good when it's already a low budget film, it makes it look more amateurish than it needs to be. One thing they could have done is to limit all of the monsters in Nilbog to monsters. Instead we have a goofy king with a dildo. Is this a demented Alice in Wonderland or a comedy horror film? Why couldn't it have been an Evil Jester, or a decapitated King? On the other hand the spider woman blended right in with the zombies for me.

Another negative was the overly stereo typical characters, such as the Jamaican guy and the guy from India. This was done for humor, but instead it came across as annoying and racist IMO. I think the director could have made them unique and memorable without going that route. Sadly this was more Jar Jar Binks than characters in a Robert Rodriguez film.

The director really tries to do a lot in this film, it probably could have been much shorter, and there is a ton of stuff going on, too much stuff going on. From a musical sequence, to the main character being possessed by an evil spirit, quoting Star Wars, surviving zombies, and the main character transforming from dweeb to bad ass. I think it would have been a better film if the director had spent more time to develop each scene rather than cram a ton of scenes. For example when they meet up with the costumed survivors in Nilbog, they could have shown how those people survived, rather than just show them bunched up in a room and that's it. Maybe less survivors but each one can have a little character development.

The pacing of the film is a little break neck speed IMO. I would like to see shots of just the city, a puddle on the ground, it's small things like this that create a mood. My friend who is a talented musician said to me once that a good song isn't everyone in the band trying to outdo each other and plays hard and fast the whole way, but rather when a band has team work, and each member knows when to use the slow down, change of pacing, and silent moments to their advantage.

It may seem like I'm being super critical, but it's because the film made me care for it, I enjoyed it and saw the potential in it. At the end of the day my hat goes off to the director for doing this, I'm sure it was frustrating and took a lot of drive. When I compare this to Secrets of the Clown, I like Skeleton Key better because the director isn't trying to pretend like this is a serious scary film with a solid story. Another problem with Secrets of the Clown was that decent story telling in a film should not be done through dialog unless you got great actors. It's a motion picture so tell the story through action, not speech. Even though I thought this film had too much "action" at least it did that.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Practice Balisong Knife Review from Lightake.com



Practice Balisong Knife from www.Lightake.com review by Wmpyr


A representative from www.Lightake.com said she wanted to send me this knife to review for you guys. I said sure, they kept their word and it arrived sooner than I expected, keep in mind it’s coming all the way from China.

Their website www.Lightake.com has a ton of fun stuff that I can literally browse for hours and hours. The price of this knife is super good, and so is their shipping cost. Buy from them, don’t take a risk from some unknown.

The knife itself came too stiff to flip, however I simply used some machine oil to lube it up and as you can see in my videos it flips without a problem. You just need to be a little patient because these kinds of things can happen. I’ve had the knife for about a week now, and I haven’t pampered it, in fact I’ve been kind of rough with it to test it out for you guys, I even dropped it hard on concrete once. It’s holding up really well, and providing a smooth and safe flipping experience.

In martial arts injury is the enemy because it takes time away from training and this knife is safe and legal. However do not walk around flipping this thing in public. As an Eskrima martial arts teacher I cannot stress the importance of having a training knife like this. Highly recommended!

Rating: A+ (must have)



Friday, April 22, 2016

ICE CREAM MAN horror film review



Ice Cream Man (1995) film review by Wmpyr


Boy do I miss the days when I use to walk into a Block Buster video store on the weekends and rent movies like The Dentist. If you like The Dentist, then this one is right along the same lines, except this is a studded all star cast! Olivia Hussey was great in it. I feel like the cast could not save the film though, it's not a bad movie, but it's not something I would seek out to own, and I actually like and have a ton of B-horror films. I did enjoy watching it, but there are plenty of other films that I find way more enjoyable. You can find Ice Cream Man and Jack Frost 2 on a double feature dvd going for under $10 free shipping on ebay, I like Jack Frost 2 way better. You might even be able to find a triple pack with the two films plus Killer Tongue. I haven't seen Killer Tongue yet, but hope to change that soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

SCREAM BLACULA SCREAM film review



Scream Blacula Scream film review by Wmpyr


From my understanding this is the sequel, but watching this film without seeing the first one didn't leave me confused or anything. It was nice to see Pam Grier in this. Despite the title, it's not intended to be funny, it's quite serious but there are some funny dialogs. The budget seems pretty low, but overall it works out without feeling too cheap. Blacula is a stand out and he reminds me of a black Christopher Lee, I can see why he got the role, he does a good job. I like how they incorporated pimps, voodoo, and African culture into the film. Overall though, while I did enjoy the movie, it wasn't a stand out for me, I give it a 4 or 5 out of 5 stars.

Bas Rutten O2 Trainer



Bas Rutten O2 Trainer review by Wmpyr


I was born with asthma and I've suffered from it all my life. I've come to live with it, because I was not going to let it stop me from exercising and doing martial arts. However after a hard workout I would always get an asthma attack, that was basically 5 days a week! Every night I would start wheezing after my exercise and I would have to tough it out, and wait hours until I could go to bed.

After I started using the Bas Rutten O2 Trainer, I stopped having asthma after my workouts! I've been asthma free, and it feels like a miracle, after 40 years, finally, I know what it's like to feel normal!

The first day when the O2 Trainer arrived in the mail, I tried it that night and I immediately felt the effects! I was breathing deeper, now all I had to do was put in the work, and do my part. To be honest it has made my workouts more challenging and fun, fun because I could feel the change and the results are so worth it!

I like that you can use the O2 Trainer while you exercise, but I also like how you can just sit still and it will work on your breathing too! I make sure to do both everyday.

Even if you don't have asthma, even if you don't do any sports, I highly recommend it, because we ALL should value health which means you need to exercise. And why not take your exercises to a higher level, life gets more fun that way!

******/5 STARS

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Seduction of Dr. Fugazzi film review by Wmpyr



The Seduction of Dr. Fugazzi (2009) film review by Wmpyr


Being a fan of Troma films I was looking forward to this one. I thought it was going to be like a hardcore trippy independent film style of Alice in Wonderland, but instead we get a hardcore trippy independent style Shutter Island. Do I think this film was well done for the kind of film it is, yeah sure, I really don't have any complaints. It's just that I'm not a fan of Shutter Island, so this is not really my bag of tea. Towards the end of the film when they finally reveal the "twist" ending I was more fascinated by the white room shots that they did, and I kept wishing the scenes were different, more fantasy than the mental institute which were shot this way, I guess to show that the reality feels like a fantasy and the fantasy feels like reality. If you like B-movies with a Shutter Island type story, then this one is for you. To me it's really a non Troma independent film stamped with Troma on it, but somehow it does have the typical Troma type of feel even though it lacks the gore and comedy.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

frankenstein meets the space monster film review



frankenstein meets the space monster film review by Wmpyr


Since I am a fan of the cult classic film, Robot Monster, I wanted to see other black white science fiction monster flicks like it. This one didn't disappoint, it actually turned out to be better than I was expecting. I liked the alien princess and her right hand man who reminded me of Dr. Evil except with pointy vampire like ears. I wish she wasn't wearing that genie costume, and instead her whole crew was dressed up the way the astronauts were in the cult classic film, Planet of the Vampires. That way we could have had Frankenstein versus the space vampires. Now I have to say that Frankenstein in this film isn't the classic horror Frankenstein, but rather a cyborg named Frank that malfunctions, he ends up looking more like the Batman villain two-face than Frankenstein but it's okay. In the name of aliens needing earth women, there is a pool party and a beach girl thrown in. There is also riding around in a scooter with music that doesn't go with the movie, but perhaps goes with the era, which is something that I couldn't relate to, since this film was made before my time. The space monster is a gorilla suit with some kind of skull on top. It does fight Frankenstein at the end and it could have been a great opportunity for the director to film the worst fight scene ever like Captain Kirk versus Gorn, sadly this opportunity is missed. If you like Plan 9 from Outer space, Robot Monster, and This Island Earth, then this film should not disappoint.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Wmpyr's Top 10 straight to video Martial Arts films


My Top 10 Straight to Video Martial Arts films by Wmpyr


In no particular order
----------------------
Ring of Fire II   
Blood Fist II   
Tiger Claws
No Retreat No Surrender 2   
King of the Kickboxers
Showdown in Little Tokyo 
Extreme Force
Timelock
Against the Dark
Tiger Claws 2

BONUS
-----
TC 2000 - Billy Blanks, Bolo Yeung
Kickboxer 4 - Albert Pyun
American Kickboxer 2 - Dale Cook
Nemesis - Olivier Grunner
Shootfighter - Bolo Yeung
Silent Trigger - Dolph Lundgren
Sci-Fighters - Roddy Piper, Billy Drago