Realities Created, Maintained and Destroyed, WHILE-U-WAIT!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thinking Outside the Box

BaHad Zu'bu Eskrima

This weekend my friend, Steve Van Harn and I took a trip over to Chicago to attend the first seminar given by Punong Guro Mike Blackgrave since his return from an extended stay in the Philippines studying with Grand Master Yuli Ramo.

I have known Mike for some time, and had wondered just a bit as to why he had given up practicing the arts he had been working with for the last twenty years (mostly Pekiti Tirsia) to take up a new art that most people had not even heard of.

With this intriguing thought in mind Steve and I piled into his truck along with assorted sticks and blades to make the three hour drive to the windy city.

The seminar was being held at the Midway Kodenkan, which is a very nice school that teaches Jujitsu, Kali, and Lua, the traditional martial art of Hawaii.

Working out at this particular facility was one of the things I was looking forward to. I had been hearing a lot of good things about this place for a while and I was looking forward to experiencing what was offered there.

I am happy to say that what I heard was in fact true. Midway is a very high quality school and would be a good place to start if one were looking for a place to train in the Chicago area.

Of particular note was the opportunity to meet John Bednarski, one of the instructors at the school. John has a well deserved reputation in both Kali and Silat and working with him was one of the real high points of the day for me.

Mike Blackgrave and Bill Anderson

Another pleasant part of the day was getting to see Bill Anderson again. Bill has been studying and teaching Kuntaw longer than most players in the US have been alive. He has not only "seen the elephant" he has run up and kicked it in the trunk a couple of times to make sure it was the right beast.

If Bill thinks something is worth his time you can bank on it being something of real value.

Mike Blackgrave teaching footwork

The day started out with Mike going over the Basics of BaHad Zubu.

First we learned the footwork, which is light and mobile. There is not much of the triangle stepping one finds in some of the Filipino arts, rather Might taught us his "floating footwork", which allows for taking odd and interesting angles quickly and unexpectedly.

Once Mike was happy with our understanding of the footwork we moved on to sticks.

Bahad Zubu stickwork is elegant in the sense that it gives simple movements and teaches how to combine them intuitively to accomplish one's task. One of the real joys of this art is that because of its training philosophy one can gain skill quite quickly. There is none of the "47 ways to hold a knife" or six billion angles to learn.

From stick we progressed to knife and then empty hand using all the same principles, so we did not have to add more "technique" in order to taste these skills.

My overall impression is that Bahad Zubu is a sophisticated, elegant martial art with a fast learning curve that is focused on combat application (rather than sport) and I would recommend both it and Guru Mike to anyone looking for serious FMA.

The obligatory group photo

Thursday, January 18, 2007

A Very Cool Interview

With my friend Scott Sonnon.

This was done with the guys at the American Sambo Association and I can highly recommend it.

Scott has a unique perspective on the history of the art, being one of the pioneers of Sambo in America.

Check it out, you'll find it very informative and thought provoking.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Robert Anton Wilson, a man who I greatly admire, passed today.

He touched many lives for the better, and helped a good number of people to think.

He will be missed.

I will write more about him later.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Go Figure

Which Sci Fi Character are you?


A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces around you while serving as a champion of the light.

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminescent beings are we, not this crude matter! You must feel the Force around you, everywhere.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Monday, January 08, 2007

A New Knife

Or why you haven't heard from me in a while.

I mentioned a while back that I had an inspiration for a new knife design. Well, since then I have been hard at work getting it from inside my head to here in the world.

Here it is.

I was going to name the knife "So you think you're going to tattoo me and put me in a camp do you?", but that seemed just a bit long to be practical (even though it expresses my sentiment nicely).

Instead, I've named it the "Sagai Kidogo", which means "little spear" in Kiswahili. Sagai is not the most common name for spear (you would more often say "mkuki" or "fumo"), but it is the Kiswahili pronunciation for the Bantu word "assegai". I went with the Bantu derived name because certain facets of the design came from talks with my friends Nigel, Lloyd and Jason from South Africa, and I wanted to reflect their input.

The knife if forged out in such a way that there is no need for handle slabs.

The handle is all of one piece with the blade

This adds a good bit of weight to the knife, it is about twice what you would expect a knife this size to weigh.

The balance point is right at point where the knot and the blade meets, making the knife very nimble and quick to use even with the extra weight.

And that extra weight is important.

It gives the knife greater thrusting and cutting power. If you use it right (like a splitting maul, letting the weight of the tool do most of the work) it will do major damage with minor effort.

The knife is made from 5160 steel and left blackened from the forge. The handle is wrapped with "poor man's micarta", pure hemp cord soaked in very slow setting epoxy.

It is rare that I make a pure "fighting knife", being that I prefer a tool I can use every day, but I am quite happy with this one.