Monday 19 October 2009

Cambridge fighter Tommy “Two Gunz” Maguire wins MMA Welterweight title

Cambridge fighter Tommy “Two Gunz” Maguire wears his soubriquet well as he shot down title holder Nigel Whitear at this Anger Management MMA Welterweight title fight in the first round.

There was much anticipation regarding this Mixed Martial Art fight and the local crowd in Kidderminster gave Maguire a hard time as he made his way into the packed hall. The atmosphere was electric as these fighters entered the cage and Maguire looked pensive as he focused hard to keep out the boos from the audience. As they lined up toe to toe we knew one way or another the fight would be explosive. Little did we know just how explosive.

Maguire, representing Tsunami Fight Gym, came out swiftly while Whitear seemed to be gauging the lie of the land, possibly planning his moves. Before he could do anything Maguire struck. Maguire pounded into Whitear rocking his opponent back onto his heels before rolling him over and onto the ground. Maguire, on top, faked an arm bar getting Whitear to respond one way but before he knew what had happened Maguire had flipped it and went for and succeeded with a Triangle choke, forcing Whitear to submit in a total of one minute and nine seconds.

Maguire, buzzing from adrenalin, took the belt still punching the air and Cambridge's Tsunami gym added another title to it's cabinet. Given Maguire's emphatic win he'll be relishing the next three defence fights for this title and the opportunity to use those 'Gunz'!

Martial artists leave man in wheelchair stranded up Snowden!

So much for 'integrity', 'No retreat in battle' , 'perseverance' and 'indomitable spirit'...

This shocking story shows a real lack of moral fortitude or at the very least of intelligence. A group of martial artists ascend Mount Snowdon in a very noble fundraising attempt carrying a wheelchair bound guy with them. Having just checked out some photos of Llanberis Pass where they climbed they must have known they had their work cut out for them. Little did they know that when the hike up the path became too tough they'd decide to leave the man in the wheelchair and finish the climb, returning to pick him up some time later. This seems crazy already but there is still more to come! When they came back to pick him and his wheelchair up for the descent they realised they were too tired to take him down and called mountain rescue!

I don't think mountain rescue were that impressed saying that it was "cheeky"and a call-out could have been avoided if the group had decided to turn around altogether rather than ascending to the summit.

Sunday 18 October 2009

Milton Park and River Cam run

On my way round during the river leg I overheard a rowing coach say to his ladies four boat to just maintain balance, don't worry about anything else and enjoy the beautiful morning. What sound advice! A lovely October morning: bright and cool. I tried to enjoy this lovely morning and to forget about the other runners I saw who I was convinced were: a. running faster than me (even though they were running in the opposite direction!) and b. were ridiculing me for my shuffling speed.

Enjoyable too as you pass through the Country Park, pass Baits Bite Lock, the river Cam and a Local Nature Reserve called Logan's Meadow.

Final tally: 4.71 miles at 47 minutes. No change on my speed, but I didn't stop!

View Milton Park and River Cam run in a larger map

Saturday 17 October 2009

Pro Am Fight Centre flyer

Ok, so it's flyer season and I'm helping Pro-Am Fight Centre out with some marketing communications so here's the second flyer in the series.... :)

They do pretty much what it says on the I mean flyer. MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, boxing, muay thai as well as full on weights gym and training cage, all in the centre of Cambridge!


Fencing Foil Positions

Is her back hand supposed to be that far over?

Teaching at Tang Soo Do

Tuesday night's Tang Soo Do was less sweaty and more cerebral. It's good to explore lesser taught aspects of the art and tonight meant much in-depth teaching of forms and one steps. I love to teach forms and their applications: it's somewhere you can find real depth in karate so needless to say I had a fun time and loved grilling students to make sure stances were in order. I enjoyed seeing a beginner react to my tuition and 'get it'. She was executing movements in the last phase of the step and from the elbow. A step through and punch should be one fluid movement starting from the front stance, flowing through with the step, arms engaging and body weight and momentum adding power to the torquing punch. Once I'd explained that this step and punch was one movement she stopped prodding the air and got it together! Fantastic. I hope she gets more from her forms now. Hyung is a connected and organic entity not really a series of movements. Describing it as a series of movements almost implies that the movements are disparate. It really shouldn't be considered as 35 moves nor should it be thought of as one 'process'. Usually forms can be conceptualised as 4 or 5 grand processes within one entity. (See also Rhythm in Hyungs)

On that note I am pleased to say that I learned a new form. Something I haven't done in years so it was a pleasant experience. It seems a completely different process from when I was a white belt. Back then I struggled with basic concepts such as low block or front stance or (as above) dealing with chunks of form rather than piecemeal. Now I know how to execute a low block so I don't need to expend energy on that but I do need to dig deeper into the application and rhythm (or punctuation) which is challenging but in a different way!

This is not the style of Rohai I learned but this is beautiful to see:

New books

Found a book on fencing in the library and bought another on Medieval Combat.

Unfortunately the fencing book I borrowed 'blind' as I ordered it from another library over the web so didn't see the contents beforehand. This meant I was a little disappointed as what I really needed was a broad overview of the basic foot movements, stances and positions. This is undoubtedly a detailed book but this is for the advanced fencer. I have gleaned some interesting information: prime, seconde, tierce, quarte, quinte, sixte, septime, octave... but on the whole too advanced for me. (Fencing: Essential Skills Training by Ed Rogers)

Medieval Combat by Hans Talhoffer (ed Mark Rector) seems more my thing. I won't be taking any lessons from this into the salle or the dojang (particularly the illustration of trial by ordeal of a man in hole pitted against a woman with a club...!) but it's given me more to get my teeth into.

This book is a reproduction of Hans Talhoffer's fifteenth century treatise on combat and fencing called 'Fechtbuch'. Smashing illustrations showing combat covering wrestling, sword work, pikes, daggers as well as mounted conflict. Very interesting to see the parries, stances and weapon positions used plus plenty of blood with hewing of heads and murder strokes as well as weird 'judicial duels' where the loser would fight in front of his own coffin.

Great insight into medieval justice, fighting techniques and attitudes towards weapons.

Tuesday 13 October 2009

Mudrunner 2009

Ten kilometres of real hell and pain mixed with comedy, laughter and occasional breathtaking scenery! Amazing where you go to in your head on a long pound like this. Occasionally I found myself counting in Japanese up to ten repeatedly just to keep a rhythm going. One step in front of the other.... Keep on going, keep breathing...

6 miles of the Land Rover test course over rough terrain, sharp and long inclines, mud baths, fording becks and slog, slog, slog. I made it in where all the fairly fit non-runners came: 279 out of 400 competitors in a reasonable time of 1 hour 34 mins. Way more (in my naivety) than I thought I'd make.

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Saturday 10 October 2009

Never judge a book by its cover

...or a lesson in not underestimating one's adversary.

Worth a watch as 'drag queen', Steve floors thugs on a night out in Swansea. The interesting bit starts at about one minute in.

Does the dragged up victor then scrawl lipstick on the thug's chest? Sweet.

Turns out the 'drag queens' were cage fighters...
(Thanks CS)

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Walking in the air

Dean Potter seems, to me, an unusual guy. He is an avid rock climber and in addition he loves to highine. Highlining involves crossing a nylon cord tethered at both ends: a bit like tight rope walking but the nylon is about an inch wide and seems to be usually flat.

Nothing unusual so far. This sort of 'rope walking' might be a great way to improve balance and sharpen focus when attached a few feet off the ground. The unusual thing is that Dean Potter likes to do this whilst the line is tethered between rock faces. Oh yeah...nearly forgot...he likes to do it without any safety harness....!

Whilst this sort of thing seems crazy to me I was drawn into the documentary I saw the other night called 'The Sky Walker' on channel 4 and saw some obvious parallels with the martial arts. I'm intrigued as to the way he deals with the fear. An earlier pioneer highliner who used safety lines spoke of the amazing fear you get, even knowing that when the same line is tethered low to the ground can be almost jogged across! This pioneer took many times before he could get across to the other side. He says that it's difficult to combat animal instincts of fear of falling and self preservation: all his fibres in his body screaming at him to stay on the ledge and not venture out. the pay off of course is the feeling of being alive upon arrival on the other side...

But Dean Potter takes this to another dimension. Sure, he admits nerves and we see him trying out the walk on the highline with a safety harness but he's learnt to control his fear. I think he mentioned that this is what drives him: the feeling of being alive! I don't think he's blase about the risks he's taking; he mentions a good friend who died (doing extreme mountaineering) but he needs to feel this aliveness and has to go through a process of fear to get there. In order to do this he controls his fear through breathing and focus, "I'm focusing on my breath and trying to stay real calm", he says. As well as giving him a massive rush it also heightens his awareness to the extent, he says, that in extreme moments he can see the air move.

Now I think he is unusual, not because he wants to conquer fear but he goes to such extreme lengths to do so. We all want to conquer fear. We all have demons to face (this phrase always mystified me when I used to watch trashy martial arts films but I've solved that now- I don't watch them any more!) but most of us are happy enough to deal with tricky presentations at work or a karate championship. That sudden burst of adrenalin, pounding heart and cold sweat in the hands but despite all this you know you have to perform. Occasionally I can drop out of this cycle by recognising that this sales pitch or kata I need to perform isn't a life threatening situation. It just has to be done. But to be honest I find that this takes the edge off my performance and actually the adrenalin squirt helps keep me sharp. Focusing on the task and breathing regulation as Dean Potter does helps enormously but in his case, it really is life or death.

I watched the documentary with detached interest and admiration for the guy 'til it got to the scene where the camera records his passage across the line at considerable height and it was then that I realised explicitly what sort of situation this guy was putting himself in. See for yourself here: (note, although some of the film shows footage directly under his feet I believe this was due to a downward facing camera rather than him looking directly down)

Saturday 3 October 2009

A case of stating the bleedin' obvious

"The taste of your own blood in your mouth while someone is punching you in the face is not a nice thing"

(Commentator on the Phil Goodwin / Bob Ajisafe boxing match)

Wimpole Hall 10k run

I started today's run in the front section, encouraged by EP to start in the 'those who think they'll finish under 1 hour'. This was ok as we set off and I felt good running with the lead pack. At the back of the lead pack, I grant you. Slowly over the course the rear pack one by one or in pairs would overtake and jog on by. I really had to stay focused and not worry too much about other people's races. This was me and the course and the time: that's it. It was good to have people all around to keep me on track and enjoying the day.

View Wimpole Hall Run: 10km in a larger map

It was much hillier than I had thought. I know Wimpole Hall and the surroundings and I imagined slightly undulating wooded areas. It turns out I don't know the area so well. Lots of (what I consider) gruesome hills, through woods and over fields. At one particularly sadistic part of the course it descended sharply over a grassy slope for two hundred metres or so. At the bottom: turn round and get back up the slope. Gasp.

I plodded on and didn't finish last. My time was curiously a little worse than last week but with hindsight I reckon this week was a hillier.

Final time over 6miles: 65minutes.