Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Visayan Style Corto-Kadena Eskrima : The Sikaran Footwork

There's a very cool video by some students of Sonny Umpad about Sikaran Footwork on Check it out!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Music I Listen To 1

Lately I have been pumping 'Azteca De Oro' by Chingon in my car all the time. Yes, it's Gangster Rap - and there's a lot of gangster attitude in the tracks. Usually not the kind of music I listen to but somehow - I like it a lot. The music is pretty simple, basically like rap was back in the eighties, straight on point. Chingon's smoked out raspy voice is unheard of in the world of rap. His vocals are on the critical edge between talking and rapping, still he stays always on beat and keeps the flow, changing fluidly from English to Spanish. Unlike typical Chicano Rap which ponders repetitious on topics like smoking weed, robbing or killing people and f**ing a lot of chicas, Chingon's a bit different. Yes, the topics are basically the same, but he manages to pack them into lyrics in such a way you barely notice the similarity. I wasn't able to get any background on him he seems to be connected with Hellafyde Records, not to be confused with the Mariachi band with the same name who contributed to some of Robert Rodriquez' movie soundtracks. Since I'm a bit in a depressive mood towards the end of the year, this suits me just fine right now. Listen to previews at MP3-Planet.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Music I Listen To

Yes, the one and only, Alicia Keys. Lately I've been listening a lot into her new album 'As I Am'. I've always been a huge fan from the moment she released her single 'Fallin'. Now her music cheers me up during my daily running in the freezing and dark mornings. Her music always varies between a good mix of Funk and Soul over a sometimes raw impellent Hip-Hop beat. Clearly to be heard in her new single 'No One'. And of course, the unique sweet and crystal clear voice! Unlike other R'n'B divas who are more occupied about themselves and their drama, Keys' music stays down-to-earth, sometimes storytelling, sometimes reflecting, sometimes cheerful - always lovable. An album all of a piece. Love it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

St. Nicholas Budo Seminar 2007

Spent the whole weekend of 8th & 9th December at the St. Nicholas Budo Seminar (Nikolaus Budo Lehrgang, abbreviated NBL) in Forchheim, Germany. The seminar had been organized by Michael Kann in favor of Weisser Ring, a private organization supporting victims of crime. The participation was free of charge but everybody was asked to donate a bounty which in turn was handed over to this organization. There were workshops by several instructors representing their style such as BJJ, Capoeira, Krabi Krabong, Muay Thai, Submission Wrestling & Freefight, Kickboxing, Italian Knifefighting, Krav Maga and many more. Three halls were available so that one could choose between one of three simultaneous running workshops from 10 in the morning to 8 in the evening, each about 1 3/4 hours. This concept has been quite successful for several years now.

Left to right: Bobi, Chris, Roberto, C - Red Dog

Early in the morning I began with a double stick lesson in Kaliradman with Julio Felices. I was very surprised when we began with the first drills as the material presented reminded me of what I had learned within the Krabi Krabong material from the Dog Brothers. Very fluid and natural movements with the capacity to bridge huge distances and deliver strikes with a lot of power putting high pressure on your opponent. There was one special technique in which the second stick was held upside down and used like the sheath of a sword. You can see a short excerpt of the core drill in the first vid with Chris in black and me wearing green. In the second clip you can see how the sheath-sword combination is used to parry the incoming thrust. It's also possible to use this technique to block a forehand strike with a movement reminiscent of a roof-block. This is being demonstrated by Julio and one of his students in the third clip.

Later that day I was in the mood for trying out something new and joined another class with Julio for learning the basics of Capoeira. Man, I sucked big time! I really thought I was in shape but boy, did I cramp up trying to do handstands and rolling away from the kicks! Still I enjoyed this lesson very much since Capoeira makes playful use of combining martial arts movement with dancing rythm and made me do things I haven't tried out for a long time. It strung a chord within me. I guess everybody marveled at least once at the agility of Capoeiristas, you know how cool this can look like. Think I'll incooporate some of this material into my workouts to establish some new skills and get out of the slack of routine.

I finished the day with a lesson in grappling with Frank Burczynski. Learned a new way of escaping from the Front Mount. Great workout and loads of fun rolling on the floor with my man Bobi! Another grappling session on Sunday focused on the Half Guard and how to work from here. Good stuff!

Sidenote: at the end of a long day we found out that there was a massager around offering a quick tumble for little money. Just the right thing to relax but ouch, did we groan! Picture: Bobi gets realigned. Can you hear that spine cracking? ;)

With about 250 participants this year compared to 400 the last year the seminar had lesser attendance. Despite this the funds raised actually were higher than the year before. I interpret this in such a way that all those who came there to leech free training without giving some in return stayed home while those serious about martial arts came spend to a great weekend with some topnotch instructors and their arts. We had a lot fun and each of us will bring home one or the other newly learned skill. Not to forget that this seminar is organized for a real good cause and truly deserves wider attention. Until next year!