November 25, 2015

Book Review: My Gratitude Journal by Kellie Bach

Author Kellie Bach's multiple sclerosis diagnosis stirred a primal ripple from deep inside of her that manifested in "My Gratitude Journal" from Tambuli Media.  A daily log that allows one to reflect and give thanks for moments, people, events, and really anything and everything that happens in life.  Writing is often quite therapeutic even for those whom you would never assume would write down their thoughts or feelings. 

A wonderful stocking stuffer, I can't think of a better gift to mention on this week of reflection and thanks. "My Gratitude Journal" is now available from Tambuli Media. 

Combat Flip Flops

Being a day late to throwing a big thank you out there for our Veterans on the 11th, I wanted to give a quick shout out to Combat Flip Flops.  Based in Bellevue, WA. Combat Flip Flops offers not only the namesake sandals, but also sarongs, and hard to find shemagh.  

Veteran owned.  This company supports those in need on a local level by building and supporting factories run by women in Afghanistan where education is the goal.  Think of these types of companies when shopping this holiday season.  Make your dollar work a bit harder and better. 

Unfortunately they do not offer manly sized footwear of 15+ or I would offer a review, but those dainty footed folk should check out their selection none the less. 



November 5, 2015

Kali Blade Transitions with Guru Jeff Davidson

To my students... this is what it is SUPPOSED to look like!  Study.  Learn.  Apply. 
Thank you Guru Jeff for sharing... look forward to training soon.  


October 23, 2015

Bodywork and Sports Massage Therapist Kurt Dery at Athenaroma

I wanted to take a moment to send a shout out to the best massage therapist in Washington state, and one of the best I have ever had work on me; Kurt Dery (LMT#MA00019958) at Athenaroma here in downtown Seattle.  Kurt's understanding of Anatomy and Physiology is second to none which only enhances what seems to be an innate ability to find the SOURCE of your pain and eliminate it. 

I know a number of local martial artists, MMA fighters, and other combat sports participants view this blog from time to time, and if you are in need of a massage or need some help rehabbing an injury to get you back in the fight quicker Kurt is your man. 

You can book online or call:  206-919-3404 / 212 Belmont Ave E. Seattle, WA. 

October 22, 2015

NWOS Fall Show & Sale Nov. 7-8th

Come visit the NW Orchid Society's annual Fall Show & Sale at Swanson's Nursery November 7-8th 2015.   Here is an excellent opportunity to get ahold of some species and rare genetics for my orchid friends in the Pac NW.  There will be at least five vendors including Seattle Orchid​, Emerald City Orchids​, Lucky Girl Orchids​, and Ahtanum Orchids.  Talks will be offered as well as AOS judging on Saturday morning.  Come join us...(Click here for more info)
Neofinetia fulcata

Swanson's Nursery
9701 15th Ave NW
Seattle WA, 98117
Saturday 9-5
Sunday 10-4

And for those of you scratching your heads wondering what orchids could possibly have to do with martial arts and this blog... well besides being a passion of mine, Neofinetia falcata are known as "Wind" or "Samurai" orchids because they were coveted by the warrior class of feudal Japan since the 1600's.  Shogun Tokugawa fell in love with the plant and is rumored to have sent samurai to all corners of Japan in search of rare specimens.  Often carried in protective cages, if commoners were to even breathe on the plant they risked beheading! 

Rest assured we will not behead anyone for breathing on any orchids, unless of course you are rocking halitosis! 


October 11, 2015

Book Review: Chanpuru - Reflections and Lessons From the Dojo

   Gary Parker's personal memoir "Chanpuru: Reflections and Lessons from the Dojo" is one of Tambuli Media's latest releases, expanding the companies repertoire above and beyond just martial art instructional books.  A wonderful recounting of a young man's journey through traditional Okinawan Karate-do. 

   I sometimes find it easier to describe something via what it is NOT rather than what it is.  Parker Sensei's book does not recount his multitude of street fights on the hard streets of Japan (there are none).  If you are looking for a minute by minute description of his preparation for an MMA fight that will make or break his career... not the book for you.  Incredibly there are a number of common themes obviously absent from Parkers memoir of his training in Okinawa and life after moving back to Georgia, and via these 'voids' if you will is where we get a glimpse of the true martial arts that 99% of us everyday practitioners experience.  

   I found Gary Parker's book a refreshing change from the majority of martial arts (read: MMA) reads out there.  I have a hard time relating to a cage fighter, some bouncer whom has worked the door of London's seedy underground, or the military mercenary who had to use his hand to hand skills in Afghanistan.  But I instantly relate to hours of arduous training, dealing with culture shock under Asian teachers, and the struggle with balancing everyday life when dedicated to training the martial arts.  Minus a handful of editorial hiccups Gary Parker summarizes just such a life perfectly. 

   Trained in Okinawa and then moving back to Georgia, Parker offers insight he has gleamed over the years as a traditional sensei writing about lessons that we quickly forget while training to be unarmed 'killers.'  But how often do we discuss how martial arts have helped our tempers, mental focus, fortitude to endure tragedy and pain?  The day to day lessons of the martial arts often get whitewashed with testosterone laden bravado. 

   "Chanpuru" is a perfect book to snuggle up next to the fire with and reflect on life with a glass of wine or coffee.  A perfect stocking stuffer for the holidays coming up, click here to order Chanpuru and to peruse Tambuli Media's vast book selection. 
  
  

October 5, 2015

Bladework with Jeff Davidson of Detroit Kali

My teacher Guru Jeff Davidson is a rather private man but every now and again he shares a gem.  Enjoy said moment...

September 29, 2015

Balintawak Arnis West Coast Training Camp w. Bobby Taboada

Any serious stickhead in the Pacific NW will surely not want to miss training with legendary maestro Bobby Taboaba as he shares his knowledge and wisdom of Balintawak Arnis Saturday October 2-4th 2015, at his West Coast Training Camp.  I have never trained with the man so I look forward to learning some new techniques and approaches to the Filipino Martial Arts. 
Oh, and just in case you have never seen the man work....

September 27, 2015

Big Mike Finds Gold in the Nevada Desert

   My good friend and fellow martial artist Mike Gates has just taken gold in the old mans division at the 2015 IBJJF World Masters Tournament in Las Vegas Nevada!  Winning the gold with style by choking out his opponent in the final seconds of the final match.
    Mike is the epitome of why you do not want to lose the top position... just think, a few years ago this guy did not even know what grappling was.  Come a long way my friend.  Proud of you.
    Big Mike is a student of Marcos Santos, representing the RCJ Machado brethren of Dallas Ft. Worth. 

September 6, 2015

2015 Carlos Machado Seattle Seminar

We are very fortunate to have Red-black belt Professor Carlos Machado visit the Pacific NW once again on November 1st, 2015 for a four hour intensive seminar from 12-4pm!  If you have never had the privilege to train with Carlos then do yourself a favor a give yourself an early X Mas gift.  His grasp of the fundamentals... what can I say... he has forgotten more Jiu Jitsu than most of us will ever know!
   Come experience what over 40 years on the mat can offer you.  Visit the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy (941 N. 95th St Seattle, WA.) for more information or to register ASAP, as space is limited and this will sell out.

Carlos Machado Speaks Out

Speaking of the Maestro Carlos Machado... make sure to check out his monthly column in Jiu Jitsu Style magazine where he offers over four decades of mat wisdom in every issue.  Issue #27 is on the stands now. 

August 24, 2015

Buakaw Practicing Muay Chaiya

Thanks to my friend and coach Tim Cartmell for sharing this clip.  I love Buakaw for a multitude of reasons, one of which is because he seems to be the consummate humble student.  Always learning, always training, always with a smile.  Much respect.

Enjoy the Thai Hair Metal and awesome ankle pick at 2:30!!!


August 12, 2015

Pai Da Sticks Available

Going through some old boxes I happened upon about 5 Pai Da sticks that I am selling for $25ea.  These are from China and were brought over by my teacher Mike Martello (RIP) when he taught some seminars utilizing Pai Da sticks for conditioning and qigong.

Via gentle stimulation along meridian lines and one pressure cavities, one can clear blockages and heal minor injuries with persistent usage. If you are interested please send me an email at: [email protected]

Here is a clip of Mike teaching the Pai Da (and so much more) almost ten years ago in New Mexico.  Skip to 5:30 mark for the actual Pai Da segment.  Miss you Mike.


August 11, 2015

"Balintawak Eskrima" by Sam Buot Sr. - Book Review

Tambuli Media has once again facilitated getting one of the foremost authorities on FMA, Sam Buot Sr., to sit down and write a comprehensive text on Balintawak Eskrima.  Without a doubt Mark Wiley (founder of Tambuli Media) is the greatest gift to Filipino Martial Arts in the 20th century as he has managed to get masters to speak whom may of otherwise died without sharing this knowledge.  "Balintawak Eskrima" by Sam Buot Sr. is arguably one of the more important treatise Tambuli has published. 

Balintawak Eskrima has a reputation for being incredibly fast, overwhelming, and its practitioners are notorious for their disarming prowess.  Buot tries to cover the foundation of the art within 240 pages and I must say I think he does a commendable job.   After a brief history Buot dedicates 30 pages to the masters of Balintawak from Anciong Bacon, to Dr. Cres Go.  This is the heart of the book.  The loyalty and respect Buot displays in his detailed biopic of each teacher is inspiring.  To get a glimpse into the lives of any one of these teachers is a treat, but Buot really does an amazing job highlighting the masters of the art, many of whom none of us in the west would ever even know about otherwise. 

Buot insists the core of Balintawak is in the defense, which in his opinion is the most difficult to master and why he dedicated three chapters to the subject unto itself.  One of the trademarks of Balintawak is their fast response while blocking or covering.  The speed in which they grab the weapon and/or their opponents hand can never be properly conveyed in print media, but Buot does an excellent job especially transliterating the Buot Ball Concept. 

Throughout the book Buot uses different senior students under him showcasing the various generations of Balintawak who all bring something unique and different to the table.  I really like this small detail because it shows the heart and dedication of loyal students as well as an unspoken level of respect and admiration from the teacher to said students.  One of the only criticisms I have of the book is once again photography wise where we have two demonstrators wearing the same style and color of clothing and the photos are sometimes cropped too tightly.  When it comes to the flow of photographs and the comprehension of the student these minute details are extremely important in this reviewers opinion. 

Part 5 which includes chapters 12-14 focus on application and techniques of Balintawak illustrating their renowned disarming arsenal.  Buots decades of experience shine through in this section with little nuggets of info sprinkled in between the lines.  He speaks of feints, fakes, and what many would call "dirty" tactics but in reality... this is self defense!  As an attorney he also offers a short, but concise chapter dedicated solely to knife fighting.  It is one page long and worth the cost of the book itself.  I am not going to summarize the chapter here to encourage you to seek it out and read it yourself, but may I say in a world of machismo and bravado it is refreshing to hear a voice of reason and common sense in the FMA!  Kudos Mr. Buot. 

With each book Mark Wiley sends me to review I can see the hard work and effort he puts into each published text.  I feel like a broken record but "Balintawak Eskrima" by Sam Buot Sr. is Tambuli's best FMA book yet!  I cannot recommend this book highly enough to practitioners of FMA, historians, or just general martial artists looking for a solid read.  And for those practitioners of Balintawak I cannot believe you can look at this book as anything less than THE treatise on an amazing legacy that is still growing. 

To purchase "Balintawak Eskrima" click here

And for those folks in the Pac NW whom are interested in learning Balintawak, we are fortunate enough to have Prof Bobby Taboada coming to town in October 2015.  Check out Seattle Balintawak for more information. 

August 8, 2015

Nine Year Itch

09 No Gi Worlds L-R: Dave Meyer / BJJ / JAB
Nine years ago on today's date I started my formal Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training under Brian Johnson at the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy.  I am grateful he accepted my big goofy ass as a student, and it would be the understatement of the decade to say I have learned countless lessons both on and off the mat from Brian.  For that I am thankful.  I look forward to nine more years sharing the mat! 

July 25, 2015

Tambuli Media

For those book worms like me there is no better source for Filipinio Martial Arts titles, nor Chinese for that matter, then Tambuli Media, and I am very happy to announce a new affiliation with Tambuli.  For any order placed via the link to your left, or by clicking here, The Ground Never Misses will get 25%! 

So if you are looking to add a new title to your collection, or you have a martial artist with a birthday coming up make sure to use the hyperlink and the rest is taken care of.  Simple.  Check out Tambuli Media today and see what you have been missing.  And check back for some future reviews of Tambuli titles here on the Ground Never Misses. 


July 14, 2015

Happy Birthday Saku

Wanted to send out a cheers to my all time favorite MMA fighter Kazushi "The Gracie Hunter" Sakuraba!  I hope someday to meet you and shake your hand, until then please accept a remote Happy Birthday, and thank you for your contributions to martial arts and MMA. 

Here is a great HL tribute to the one of the most respectful fighters ever, one whom never knew the word fear though many coughRicksonGraciecough feared him...



July 12, 2015

Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson KO's Ellenberger

Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson was the main event at the UFC Ultimate Fighter Finale, and he showed up to his first headlining event with style... placing a pinpoint accurate spinning heel kick Thompson KO'ed Jake Ellenberger, whom many felt would be Stephen's toughest opponent yet. 

   Congrats to RCJ's very own Wonderboy!!  It has been exciting watching you climb the rungs of mixed martial arts.