Monthly Archives: March 2015

Austin Warrior Arts – African Martial Arts series – featuring Damon Stith and Bryan Fisher

In this video, we are exploring the use of the Spear (Allarh) and Sword (Takouba) in sword class. This concept is based on use of the sword and spear in Tuareg sword dances and ritualized sparring. In addition to delving into the tradtional use of the spear and sword we also are expanding our understanding of how these two weapons interact in a flow drill. Later on we will put it to the test in sparring.

Through a Lens Darkly (29): Savate: French Kickboxing and the Military

Kung Fu Tea

A vintage French Postcard. Source: Author's Personal Collection. A vintage French Postcard. Source: Author’s Personal Collection.

The back of the previous postcard.  Source: Author's personal collection. The back of the previous postcard. Source: Author’s personal collection.


I recently discussed an account of the Chinese martial arts in late 19th century which was provided by the American diplomat, explorer, scientist and scholar William Woodvile Rockhill. While buying supplies for an upcoming expedition through western China and Tibet he recoded the following note in his journal:

“The inn-keeper and a number of persons got up for my benefit a Kuan-wu, a fencing, wrestling, single-stick, double sword, spear performance, which was really very good. The single stick and quarter-staff exercises were capital, and an old fellow of nearly sixty (an ex pao-piao-ti or “insurance-against brigand’s-attack-agent”) went through some marvelously agile stick and savate exercises, but his son was the hero of the entertainment.”
William Woodville Rockhill. 1894. Journey through Mongolia and Tibet, 1891 and 1892. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institute…

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What is Karate?

An uncertain path

The above video is of the highlights of a kumite competition, with the rather disingenuous title of karate knockouts. The video is of a non-contact variation of competition kumite, and the “knockouts” are not what one could consider definitive. They are merely blows which have been received which were harder, and more intense, than expected or trained for by the competitors and resulted in something closer to a slip than a knockout.

I would like the reader to note three things on viewing:

  1. The Music.
  2. What type of action has been selected for this highlight reel?
  3. The Title.

Ultimately, the combination of all three comes to try and sell an idea of intensity and danger regarding this style of competition. It also robs the viewer of what can be tantalising about the style of competition; the opportunity for the display of techniques, strategising to maximise one’s effectiveness within the rules…

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Ranges In Grappling

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tools

I have been thinking an awful lot how concepts of range can or should be applied to jiu-jitsu or grappling. Intuitively grappling is a closer range than most other forms of combat. So maybe we can think of range in grappling as a further break down of range concepts:

  • Out fighting – Angles, timing, footwork, etc used to create opportunities to attack and not be in danger
  • Mid-Range – Both parties in range of the other’s attack
  • Closed or Grappling – Example Ranges
    • Open guard, opponent cannot attack
    • Open Guard with opponent in range to attack
    • Closed Guard opponent with broken posture. Infighting

Lets try to find some examples of each…

Long Distance Grappling – Here is a highlight clip of Romulo Barral using the spider guard. He is able to keep his opponents out of range to act and eventually sweep or attack them.

Mid-range – The 50/50 guard…

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UFC 189 World Championship Tour Embedded: Ep 4 ‘Shoes off, Shades On’ Conor McGregor

Five Rounds with Emma

UFC 189 Conor McGregor UFC 189 Conor McGregor

On Episode 4 of UFC 189 World Championship Tour Embedded, headliners Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo continue their domination of Las Vegas.

Featherweight champion Aldo shops for his daughter’s upcoming birthday, his challenger squeezes in a late-night workout and both men get face time with mayor Carolyn Goodman. Then the group hops from party bus to private plane for the tour’s next stop: Los Angeles.

UFC 189 World Championship Tour Embedded  Ep 4 UFC 189 World Championship Tour Embedded Ep 4

UFC Embedded is an all-access, behind-the-scenes video blog following the stars of July’s UFC 189 on their World Championship Tour.

Tickets for UFC 189 are on sale Friday, March 27th at 10 am PT at

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