Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Day ends when Night begins and this can be said about our own light and dark feelings. Nothing can sustain without closure or the death that becomes rebirth, we ourselves are that cycle on earths cycle. Happiness will become tainted by sadness and sadness will fade with happiness. Nothing co-exists because the fullness would really be a void. Energy will travel in weak and strong currents and life gives us new battles to replace old ones. Into this/Out to that...Peace follows as noise ends silence.
It may be sunny if but a few days but it can't rain all the time either...
Monday, 6 January 2014
Often over shadowed by Bruce Lee in Enter The Dragon, there was one martial artist who like Ali opened the door for the black community and all races for that matter just as Bruce Lee did, his name was Jim Kelly.
To me he was Mr 70’s, his trademark afro and the air of his martial arts was a part of the old skool era that stood out. He was inspiring and cool, also a little hip like Bruce from what we can see on screen. Let’s look at some areas of this gentleman and join me in paying respects.
Attitude – We can only go by what we have seen and read about his personality as in film he was acting, while his skill did the talking. In his interviews I observed him as humble and polite, he always seemed to make time to answer people. This was either at events or via email; I had a great chat with him about Tennis. (Cross trainer alert right there.) I’m sure the editor in chief Bob Sykes can recall some nice conversations on the phone. If there is one quality he will be remembered for is this, his personality. For it is how we are as a person to ourselves and others that leaves a heart felt legacy, not what you have. Even today there are martial artists who will only give you their time if you can bring them a profit. He was very clever how he would answer a difficult question too, at times just leaving it hanging...
“That’s a really good question, I must think about that one.”
The one element that shone through was his ability to hold supreme self confidence in his ability as a Karate Champion and striker without sounding cock sure. He had the martial warrior spirit and was the right type of human for the martial arts.
Ability - As we are aware Jim studied The Shorin Ryu System of Karate Do, and it is evident that he remained loyal to his chosen style. It is documented that he and Bruce had the same ideals regarding their training, and in many ways the use of the lead side kick and back fist was present in his movies such as Black Belt Jones. Jim Kelly was one of the few people to block Bruce Lees back fist, and Bruce would speak highly of Jim’s back fist also. Although they never faced off as enemies on film, Jim stated when asked about Bruce Lee...
“He would have smashed me up. It didn’t matter if he was sparring a much bigger guy, at our era nobody could touch him, he seemed one step ahead of us all.”
I for one feel Jim Kelly had enough arsenal and class to make any body work hard against him. I like the fight with the guards in Enter the Dragon, how effortless he blends what looks to be a side kick into a powerful sweeping hook kick against the first baddie. He was light on his feet and moved like Bruce in other ways. He also had his own war cry or Kiai. Not so much like a Cat, but more of hyperactive Owl. But what about his physique? It looked natural but impressive, perfect for martial art. He had a low body fat, due to his Tennis and Karate. Strangly enough when I asked his about his conditioning he said he did calisthenics, kata, pad, bag work and sparring. He never mentioned weight lifting. So I’m unsure to whether he used a gym or not. Even so he was quick and lean and had similar qualities to Bruce Lee, but with Jim Kelly you could tell he was a Karate man and I feel this was a nice quality as he used it in the movies just as well as Bruce Lee did with his Jeet Kune Do. I think it’s safe to assume that Jim enjoyed the dynamic tension kata’s too. Let’s face it nobodies going to tell him to come inside, not even a human fly.
Fighter – Jim Kelly was a real fighter. By that I mean he competed in Karate back in the day and become the Middleweight champ. Now I’m not going to put facts or figures up or peep on the net so I’ll just add here the competition qualities of an artist. Jim knew fear, or adrenalin. He faced other Karateka’s in an era where full contact or not, if you got hit...you got hit. So he was tough, tough in body and mind. Tough enough to stay in shape, and tough enough to study other arts into his mature age. Jim Kelly was tough enough not to allow his achievements make him greedy or mean. I feel all styles of martial arts need someone like him that stands out, someone who can represent a style well. That’s true respect for yourself and your fellowman. Competing against other skilled athletes allows you honest feedback of your own talents low or high, so Jim had become humbled by the humbled. This must have helped him work some fight scenes with John Saxon who also had a Karate past and of course his fight with Han. A good judgement of distance can be king. A big factor with Karate training is the Kata practice, you have to look in a lot of directions and in Black Belt Jones, he faces more than one adversary. Evident he could hold his own on film and off.
Jim Kelly will live forever on film, he was a great martial artist who captivated the 70’s in his own charisma. He did well in his films and in his Karate and I like many will hold him dear as a childhood movie hero. So I’ll close with a quote from the son of Lee, and feel not sad for his passing as he left us the ultimate goal in humility... “We will be too busy looking good!”
Because we do not know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon, of your childhood? An afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you cannot conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more? Perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty...and yet it all seems limitless.”
- Brandon Lee.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
In my opinion I feel many look at Bruce Lee and not much at his Son Brandon. This could be many simple factors, but I'd just like to look at some of the qualities that Brandon held, or what we could see on the screen. I am a big fan of him and respect him for being his own man. Something his Father would have wanted.
"IMITATION IS PALE."
Smooth - I feel he was so smooth in the way that he moved that he captured the economy of motion perfect, although very fast and graceful like Bruce, I feel he moved smoother. Look at him next to Dolph Lungren...
Grounded - He was down to earth in his ways and although not a fanatic he studied Wing Chun & MuayThai. It's safe to say we would have enjoyed to train and hang out with him...where as it would have been great to train with his dad but maybe scarier too in ways?
Creative - He was a deep gentle man I feel, The Crow was an excellent movie as was Rapid Fire. Rapid Fire was where we seen a lot of his Dad come out in him, he was amazing in that film...demonstrating all his arts including Jeet Kune Do into one. In a lot of ways it seemed to be his peak movie, a lot like Enter The Dragon and The Crow was his closing. Brandon was also very acrobatic and choreographed his own fight scenes. This showed an understanding.
Hidden Side - Who knows what things of his Dads he had or studied, or the deep loss he felt after been trained by his from toddler to boy? Who knows what other methods he kept to himself like Bruce?
One thing I think about is Bruce Lee's early screen test where he is congratulated on the birth of his Son, and asked any sleepless nights, to which he replies..."About four hours." [Laughs]
How many times would Brandon have watched that part, or his footage with his Dad?
If it were your Dad what would you have done, or be doing?
Maybe it was too much for him, hence him just enjoying his youth and returning to the Arts to study under Dan Inosanto.
For me he was one of the best Martial Artists around in his own right, and quoted that he kept at his training.
What do you keep at reading this?
Maybe we can relate to Brandon better than we think...
Thursday, 24 October 2013
Is not Boxing a Martial Art?
Yes, it is a warfare art and yes we use it for Kick & Thai boxing, and yes it can cover block and parry as well as defend against kicks. I want to share some advice however, do not bob n weave too much against another fighter who is a martial artist. I made a schoolboy error on the mats. I was doing well ducking some flying kicks and even bobbed a high round kick. I was it seems enjoying it so much that I did not realise I was dropping my head a lot. Of course I was timed by the other guy who greeted me with a left low round kick to the nose as I came up. (silly boy)
Worst thing was I knew and everyone else knew that I would have gone on to beat him or get 2nd place.
Traditional styles such as Karate stay up right in a stance, this is because they will deal with more than punches. Look at Muay Thai? They have it all covered and stay upright, because if your head is too low you may meet a knee!
People often say a good boxer would win over a martial artist...
depends on both and what tactics are employed, distance is king as both will be fit, or should be. Anyway, this was a quick heads up (pardon the pun) as you can see I test it all out first and yes the mats do break your fall!
Just remember to keep your head and you will get ahead.
Good luck, Duane.
Tuesday, 8 October 2013
"Ouch." - ET
If only we all had a great little Alien friend (apart from me) to wash away our pain. Today I wanted to look at when us as martial artists fall ill. To be fair it sucks and if your a man if sucks even more, well because we cant deal with it very well.
I recently have recovered from food poisoning due mainly through my own lack of attention, so the price was pain and karma had me served. At first I thought it was man flu, shakes, cloudy head. Then all the not very nice areas that I will keep under my hat, if I was wearing one and so I can keep friends. It knocked me off my feet, so areas of my life suffered including my poor Wife. Anyway out of commission and a cramping belly (take note of the symptoms) it was no food for 3 days only water. As a result my weight hit my fighting weight again (bonus) but I was very weak (hate feeling weak - STRONG) To be fair water is our best friends and we all should keep some with us. Forget about how much people say you 'should' be drinking, just drink it throughout your day, at night and then when you wake up. So then, after a nasty ordeal and new found respect for all those who have fell victim to it, I began to heal and in some ways it maybe was a good thing to give the body a quick fast period.
The Doctor rang me (not Dr Who, he was busy) and he was taken back by how fast I had recovered, even though the time period may have seemed reasonable. However he was ready to prescribe me some treatment, (not my brain, too tough.) I told him I'm better, taking my vitamins and gently training my martial art as my chosen exercise.
"O right, sounds like you have turned a corner." he answered.
Now I know it matters not how fit we can become, if nature is attacked by illness it can be just as simple as that. Never forget this though, the better your body and mind is the tougher a host you may be. I know for sure the fact that I am active training, thinking and how I am as a person has helped me bounce back. I began training even in pain, I needed to sweat this demon bug out and help myself along. Not everyone chooses to do this... It's this mindset self mothering and awareness, where as some wait to be 100% (and rightfully so) but being a martial artist we have to take control as soon as we can.
Because like it or not we are fighters, that's why.
And at times the battle is right within ourselves...
Thank you - Duane.
Thursday, 26 September 2013
After running to my secret training location, or one of them I would stretch do some kicks and punches or Kata. Then I would work on some rolls that I found great fun and I maybe looked insane to passers by. What was nice was the children playing on the parks who would stop and look at me doing the martial arts moves and they seemed to enjoy this strange man kicking the football posts and holding a crab arched pose... I hope to have at least inspired them to get involved, or pester mom and dad to take them :)
Tea is made, right...so I found working on my own I could gain some clarity of mind and spirit, joggers on and improved my rolls to a degree. On my travels I found a football post to condition my arms on and do pull ups of all kinds on, and no matter how you do it that exercise is always a challenge. With all the space available to me I worked on some spinning kicks and other body weight calisthenics...and came up with my own 100 push or press up routine - acend2decend.
20 on knees, 20 standard, 20 feet elevated, then reverse, 20 standard, 20 on knees. What a nice burn out! But the best thing for me was my discovery of working my abs on a hill. Basically crunches facing up and leg raises facing down. incline my decline! The natural gravity was the equivalent of an ab board but with no ab board! It was great, I loved every minute of it and it never took as long or as many reps to burn them out and roll over crying.
Until next time, take care and I hope you take a little bit of use from what I have to share.
Wednesday, 14 August 2013
This months article focuses on Martial Arts Illustrated Magazines very own editor Bob Sykes. For those of you who have not heard of him....well he's the reason...
Are still hiding.
I feel very honored to have been able to ask him some questions, in which I feel clear up and help martial artists out there. As a child who grew up reading his mag and knowing deep within me, even then... that when I would be older I would reach out to him, in the writing world and try to help others who still have that little boy within with many questions.
Regardless of publication, Bob is a great martial artist, a fair person and has walked the walk. He has a sense of humour that can be friend or foe, a true Maverick for any lad to look up to.