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

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Getting Fit (For Sabi Honom and the Ladies of the Ummah)

I've had a house guest These last few days.

It's my dear friend Carey Rockland. Carey is one of the more successful fitness coaches and personal trainers in the Bay Area (a place with fierce competition, there's a personal trainer under every rock in SF) She is one of the people that I go to for advice on how to improve and refine my own fitness program. Over the years she has never steered me wrong.

One area that she is particularly good at is helping people reclaim the health and fitness that they have lost, so when Sabiwabi made her post on reclaiming her own health and fitness, it occurred to me that I had an interesting opportunity to do something useful.

So I pointed Carey at the various posts by Sabi and the other ladies of the Ummah and asked her to put together some useful advice for women who want to reclaim their health. (and Carey is a much better coach than Jillian Michaels)

What you see below is the result. If there are questions, you can direct them to Carey either here or on her blog.


Hello There! Mushtaq has been raving about how wonderful it is that you are all getting together to get fit! I am a fitness trainer from San Francisco, and he has asked me to write a guest blog with you in mind.

Exercise has many benefits, and the one that comes to the front of my mind as it relates to you, is the benefit of increased self-care. The simple act of making time for yourselves to get into shape does wonders for how you feel about yourself in every aspect of your lives. Being mothers, it likely often seems counterintuitive to choose to prioritize yourself any activity.

The choice to make time for your fitness will help you show up for those you love with more presence and efficacy. As your self-esteem grows alongside your increasing level of fitness, you will start to connect with yourself at this stage in your life.

In reading over your blog posts, I see an element of surprise at losing connection with yourselves while being overwhelmed with the demands of parenting. This is a completely normal occurrence. Recognizing the need to care for your health and fitness offers you the possibility of slowing down the pace of your life, refocusing on who you are right now, and can ultimately allow you to be fully present during these wonderful years of child rearing.

Your commitment to yourself and your family is the ultimate incentive to exercise. Knowing that you are preserving your health so you can be there for your children, and live long enough to see theirs, is a powerful motivator. Our minds get in our way more than almost any scheduling obstacle, because they are wired to resist physical discomfort.

Getting back into good physical condition typically includes some degree of discomfort. When the worry about discomfort arises, keep moving, and focus on the ways you are empowering yourself. Rather than engaging with inertia, move right past it. As long as you are committed to putting the time into physical movement, and you do so on a regular basis, everything else will fall into place, you will also find greater appreciation for what you see in the mirror.

One solution to finding time for fitness within a parenting schedule is to take 2 or 3 breaks during the day for 10 minutes of exercise. There are plenty of exercises you can do at home, that can be incorporated into kid time. Here's a sample schedule:

8:00-8:10 AM - March around your home carrying your child for 5 minutes alternating between 20 normal steps and 20 high knee steps. Then complete 10 squats holding your smallest child, then bend over, keeping your spine long, bend you knees and carefully pick your child up 10 times (pay close attention to your form), then lift your child as high as you can 10 times. Repeat x 2. If your child is too heavy, use two 1 gallon milk or water jugs.

12 - 12:10 PM - 5 plank walk-out push-ups (from a standing position, bring your hands to the floor (this is often taught with straight legs, I don't mind if you bend your knees), hand walk out until you are in a plank position, if you need to, drop to your knees, do one push-up, and walk yourself back up to standing. Next, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and step your left leg out to your side, perform a lateral squat step, then step back to standing where you began. Repeat on the right. Perform 20 repetitions per leg. Lastly, use the edge of a sturdy chair to perform 10 triceps dips, you may bend your knees to make these more manageable. Repeat this sequence twice.

4-4:10 PM - 25 jumping jacks, 10 one gallon jug biceps curls (or baby curls), 10 forward hops, 10 backward hops. Repeat x 3 Stand with feet shoulder width, holding gallon jug or baby, keep arms relatively straight, turn and pivot your body to the left and then right x 20 reps, one time through. Lastly, lie down on the floor on your back with knees bent, elbows under your head, eyes up, perform 25 upper ab crunches (upper abs and shoulders come off the floor) then release your head and perform 25 reaches toward your feet with your arms just above the floor, then flip onto your stomach and reach your hands and feet off the floor simultaneously for a 2 x 10 count. Repeat this ab sequence twice.

When squatting and lifting, keep your spine neutral and long - avoid any sort of rounding of the back. Keep your knees behind your toes, approximately over your ankles. When rotating, keep your spine upright, resist the urge to lean forward or back! Proper form is vital, if you are in doubt search Google and Youtube for more detailed instructions. Lastly, it is important to change your program every 4-6 weeks to avoid a plateau. If you do this program, search online for something to do once you have spent an adequate amount of time on it.

The most important thing to remember is: move! Three ten minute walk breaks during the day will serve you well if you cannot accommodate resistance exercise. If you fall out of your routine for some reason, jump right back in as soon as possible. It is better to accept short term set backs and move on quickly, rather than dwell on them. Your cumulative work over the long term will pay off.

Community is a tremendous asset. Use your network to create accountability and support for each other's exercise participation. You might try having a buddy system within the group in which you let your buddy know you have completed your daily workout.

Keep up the good work, keep communicating with each other, and do let me know if there is anything I can do to keep you moving!

Best wishes,
Carey Rockland

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Must Read

Our own Sabiwabi Honom gives a brutally honest account of what it takes to get your health back.

This is a "must read" for anyone interested in reclaiming their health and fitness,

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Articles On Running From The New York Times

With a tip of the hat to M.M for pointing them out.

The Human Body Is Built for Distance

The Roving Runner Goes Barefoot

Barefoot Running video
An interview with Christopher McDougall

Then there are my own favorites

Along with the ones that people read the most, here are the things I have written that I rather like.

Slicing Time and Slicing Ego

I wrote this as an answer to a question from a friend, it's part of my "slicing time series".

Martial Arts and Self Defense
This is an essay on the false dichotomy that some people make (usually in order to promote the thing that they think will make them some money) between the two.

The Fine Print
Being a short story with a slightly Lovecraftian flavor.

Training and Recovery
This was some of my thoughts on how to train in such a way as to stay healthy.

Getting Behind the knife
Some of my thoughts on effective knife combat training.

The Dance of the New Moon
A Sufi story designed as either a test, or a conundrum.

The Real Origins of George Bush's Power
Another short tale drawing from the traditions of Lovecraft, Gurdjieff and Sufism.

I just got back from the 12th annual Sufism Symposium
There is a bit of mental nourishment found here.

The Descent of Inanna
A translation of a very old and interesting poem.

Did Someone Say Sex?
This one really pissed off the stuffed shirts (or stuffed djellabas as the case may be) making one of my favorites.


Turning a solar power garden light into a cheap battery charger

I have always liked the idea of a solar battery charger....

But they are pricey. Most of them are between $50 and $90, but......

I just ran across this article. I am going to have to try this, being as I only use rechargeable batteries, and I hate giving money to the electric company.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Speaking as an Old Hippy

I found this rather interesting.

Looking inside the brain of someone who is tripping, from the National Geographic Channel.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Got tagged

Boy, it's been a while since that's happened.

Tagging is a game bloggers used to play back in the early ages of writing these things. These things often took the form of a series of interview questions, or just asked for a list of things.

Well Sabiwabi Honom (for the person asked why I always add that word to her name, it's a term of respect, a little like the English Ma'am) tagged me with

“5 (Random) Things That I Love.”

OK, let's see....... There's my cat

This is Wingnut. I'm not really a cat person but he wouldn't take no for an answer. He was originally a kitten brought home by one of my old house-mates, but he decided that I was his human, and spent most of his time hanging out with me. I have to admit, he is a pretty amusing critter.

Then there's Frybread!

today I cooked Indian Tacos (Buffalo chili served on frybread) for my friend Steve. He is going to have surgery done on his shoulder this week, so we had a little dinner party for him after training. Yeah Frybread!

Dune, by Frank Herbert.

It's one of my all time favorite books. His whole series of Dune books was some of the best fiction I have read.

I read Dune for the first time in '65 or '66. It was the first book I read over again the moment I finished it.
Herbert created one of the most compelling universes I have ever read in and I have found the stories of Dune to be at the level of modern mythology.

Here is the song "Inama Nushif" written in the Chaksobsa language of the Fremen, sung by the incomparable Azam Ali

Inama nushif
Inama nushif (She is eternal)
Al ­asir hiy ayish (No malice can touch)

Lia-anni (Singular and ageless)
Zaratha zarati (Perpetually bound)

Hatt al-hudad (Through the tempest)
Al-maahn al-baiid (be it deluge or sand)
Ay-yah idare (A singular voice)
Adamm malum (speaks through the torrent)

Hatt al-hudad (Through the tempest)
Al-maahn al-baiid (be it deluge or sand)
Ay-yah idare (A singular voice)
Adamm malum (speaks through the torrent)

Inama nishuf al a sadarr (Forever her voice sings)
Eann zaratha zarati (through the ages eternally bound)

Kali bakka a tishuf ahatt (Sacrifice is her gift)
Al hudad alman dali (one that cannot be equaled)

Inama nishuf al a sadarr (Forever her voice sings)
Eann zaratha zarati (through the ages eternally bound)

Kali bakka a tishuf ahatt (Sacrifice is her gift)
Al hudad alman dali alia (that Alia will one day equal)

Inama nushif (She is eternal)
Al ­asir hiy ayish (No malice can touch)

Lia-anni (Singular and ageless)
Zaratha zarati (Perpetually bound)

Playing with sharp pointy things.

What can I say?

and finally there's Tanzanian Hip Hop

Largely unknown outside of East Africa The Hip Hop movement of Tanzania is gritty, down to earth, socially conscious music (unlike its competitor "Bongo Flava") Some of the very best comes from Arusha.

so there's my list.

To pass it on I tag
(both of whom I challenge to do their lists as poetry)
Steve Van Harn
(who will need to be doing something while he recovers)
And Steve Perry
(because he will come up with an interesting list)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Running in the Rain

An interesting happened last week.

A bunch of people here got together and decided that I was giving them a running clinic.

Then they told me about it (people know me too well).

The whole idea of running has sort of gone viral around here. When my friends started reading my blog posts a good number of them decided that they were interested, and they told some of their friends, and today I found myself in the neighborhood park with a group of people crazy interested enough to come out in the cold and the wet to try out some new running ideas.

We spent the first half hour going over the basic ideas involved in what I think of as "primitive" running technque and then got into some exercises to help them modify their stride.

Here I am talking about foot anatomy and demonstrating (in my groovy toe socks) how the foot evolved to work at walking and running paces.

After the exercises we took off for the practicum.

I had picked an area to run with a nice, gentle slope so that people could practice their stride while running uphill.

after about an hour of practice everyone was pretty much in the groove.

Here is the hearty crew of rain runners.

And here is a clip of our last run of the day.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Podcast From ABC* Radio "The Science Show"

*(that would be Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Here is an interesting debate on the evolution of running I just ran across, The guy giving the pro side sounds like he has been cribbing from my notes :-)

The guy on the con side is advocating for man developing as a semi-aquatic mammal, a hypothesis I haven't heard much about since the '70s.

While it is not nearly as witty and erudite as a debate between Steve and myself, it's got some pretty interesting material.

Useful material on running and other sports

With or without shoes

My friend Cody, who is one of the best personal trainers in the Bay area BTW, sent me a link last night. I have to admit it kept me up way past my bed time, because one thing just sort of lead to another.

There was a good deal of excellent material on running, most of which can be applies to other sports as well.

For anyone in the Saturday running group, you will find this group of links quite useful.

Most of what you see here is from "Live Science"

Music Benefits Exercise

Perfect Running Pace Revealed

The Physiology Of Speed

Runners Pace Themselves Into The Zone
I found this article to be particularly interesting since it gives some interesting insight as to why I burn less calories at a my favorite running pace than I do a slower pace.

Roots of Running Go Way, Way Back

Why We Walk Upright: Beats Being a Chimp

What Does 'Fast Metabolism' Mean?

Walk This Way: The Amazing Complexity of Getting Around

Exercise Improves Old Brains

Exercise Improves Kids' Academics

Why Extremist Views Dominate

Brain Learns to Detect Danger as a Baby Learns to Crawl


Native American Humor

If you get the last joke you may be a Native American

I think I'm spending too much time on YouTube.

I sent these two videos around a few days back to a group of friends. some some of whom were Native American.

Everyone found the first one funny.

But the second joke the girl tells in this clip was a puzzle to my non-indigenous friends. Too bad, because it's hilarious.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Apropos of nothing

Mercan Dede

Thought of the day

Terence McKenna tells it like it is.

The Ugly Rears Its (ugly) Head Again

My, how people go on.

I have been getting calls and emails all week from people who have been contacted by Buzz or one of his minions on this subject.

They seem upset (not my friends, buzz and the people who are brown nosing him).

Mostly, at this point I wouldn't be saying anything more on the subject. Buzz, it seems, has no interest in a meet at a tournament himself, but has found himself a "champion" to do his fighting for him.

His "champion" has issued a challenge, I accepted. that pretty much means that the verbal phase of the exercise is over as far as I am concerned. Time to put up or shut up.

But it seems like they would rather try to talk me to death.

I really don't care, my ability to ignore trolls who talk bad on the 'net but never seem to find the time to back it up with action is pretty good.

There is one thing I do need to address though, because it doesn't have anything to do with me, and it is a flat out lie.

Here's the background.

About three years ago I developed cataracts. Years of living at high altitudes and under equatorial sun took its tole I suppose. There was a problem though. I did not have any insurance, and did not qualify for any assistance.

The upshot was that by the beginning of last year all I could see out of my right eye was light, and out of my left, basic shapes.

A couple of friends decided to do a fund raiser to generate the money to get my eyes fixed. The money was raised, We found a topnotch surgeon who was willing to do the work for cost, Now I can see, 20-20 distance vision without glasses no less. How kewl is that?

Now here's the thing, I have never known who donated money or how much. I did not want to embarrass any of my friends because of their generosity, nor did I want anyone who was not able to give something (I have a good number of friends who would give me the shirt off their back, but unfortunately, they don't own a shirt) to feel bad about it.

But now it seems that Buzz is telling everyone how ungrateful I am because he donated so much money to my eye fund. one of his minions has even claimed (I assume because Buzz told him so) that Buzz donated more than anyone else. (funny how Buzz will talk to the whole world, but won't discuss this matter with me directly)

After hearing this, I asked the person who was head fund raiser if this were the case. According to her, it is not even close, several people donated more, quite a bit more.

So This Is A Lie.

It is also an insult to the several people who donated quite a bit more than him, and an even greater insult to the people who gave what they could, and could not match the sum he donated.

Am I grateful for Buzz's donation? Sure, but not any more so that to the person who could only give a dollar, or to the people who wished that they had the money to add to the fund but didn't. Does it give him license to attack me on his blog or to my friends? No.

So, here's the thing. There was a chunk of money left over after the surgery. A goodly chunk of that went to pay the mortgage payment on the house I was living in at the time, more than the size of Buzz's donation. Since the people who live in that house are Buzz's friends we will assume that his money went to them rather than me. I am sure that they will be suitably grateful, and I can wash my hands of the fellow. If that's not suitable, then I will give him the sum of his donation back (you read it here first) because I don't want that kind of money.

And I will remind Buzz (you bet he reads this blog) of the words of Jesus (as) as recounted by Matthew.

1. "Be careful that you don't do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2. Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don't sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward.
3. But when you do merciful deeds, don't let your left hand know what your right hand does,
4. so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
As to the so called challenge, Here's my terms.

I will be happy to meet Buzz, or his boy if Buzz doesn't want to step up, at next years Pacific Island Gathering and Tournament. Everyone pays the entrance fees, everyone abides by the decisions of the Referee and judges. John (the guy who puts on the tournament) owns all video rights.

This last part is important. John donates whatever profits he makes off this tournament (never much) to St Jude's hospital. I figure there are a goodly number of people who would pay to see either Buzz or I get beat in a fight (and a lot more who would pay to see Beer Boy in the ring), so kids who need medical treatment and can't afford it are the ones who benefit.

And remember, trash talking someone across the internet is not a match.

That's pretty much what I have to say on the subject.

Since this is taking on the aspect of a Spaghetti Western, here's my theme music

An answer on the MBT "Barefoot" shoe

Someone asked about my opinion of this shoe a while back, after some research I have one

Don't Get Them!

I predict that these shoes will cause some serious damage over time, and they do not promote a more natural barefoot-like stride.

Also, they do not have anything to do with how the Maasai walk or run.

I lived in East Africa for some time, Arusha, Tanzania to be exact. I had (and took every chance I got) the opportunity to interact with and observe the Maasai people in detail. (note on spelling: The people to whom the name belongs prefer the spelling "Maasai" while the English dictionary spells it "Masai" I follow the wishes of the Maasai people in this, spell checker be damned)

As a people, I found them entirely admirable, though like all indigenous peoples, they had their problems.

One of the things I loved about them is that they refused to be assimilated into modern East Africa, and met the "dominant" culture on their own terms while doing everything possible to retain their cultural identity.

It is easy to spot Maasai, they will be wearing their traditional clothing rather than dressing like Europeans. This includes the shuka, a rectangle of plaid cloth in red and black (or purple and black) and sandals made from old tire. I'm not sure when they moved from leather to tire for their footwear, but it was some time back from what I understand.

You will notice in these pictures that when at rest, the front end of this sort of footwear tends to be a bit lifted off the ground and that the toes are quite far behind the lift. This is because the Maasai like to have some protection for the sides of their feet.

There are lots of thorns and other hazards to contend in the bush as a cattle herder, and the upturned sides of the sandal do offer substantial protection.

You will notice though that it is only the toes that are slightly elevated during rest, and most of the foot is flat on the ground.

when walking with the standard heel to toe motion there is no real effect, the sandal tends to flatten out under the person's weight and the bit of roll that happens at the toe has little effect, at least not for me when I experimented with Maasai footwear.

When the Maasai run, they use the same forefoot strike I have found all over Africa. I have never seen a Maasai run in the way that the MBT people advocate. The natural curve of the Maasai sandal actually aids a forefoot landing because there is no padding or support.

And of course, when the Maasai are relaxing and having fun, the sandals tend to come off.

Now here is what the MBT does to your stride.


I was near the good running gear store in this town yesterday, and tried a pair of these things out. I wouldn't wear them again on a bet. I found the movement to be completely unnatural to the way I walk and run.

Then there is another problem.

I looked all over the MBT website, and couldn't find a single thing about what this group was giving the Maasai for the appropriation of their name.

Personally, I have no love for companies that exploit a connection to indigenous peoples for their own profit, and do nothing to either get permission to do so, or make sure any of those profits go to the people who they are using.

So if MBT is in fact doing that, they should be boycotted on moral grounds, regardless of how good their shoe is. and in my opinion the shoe is not so good. The heels strike the shoe forces is going to send a shock up the leg that you really don't need. The really high portion under the mid-foot is going to destabilize your foot's arch just at the point in the stride when it needs to be strongest and most stable (at least that's how it felt to my feet).

My take is that this is just another one of those ideas that looked good on paper, but does not bear out in the real world.

Here's a little theme music to go with the review.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Six Most Popular Articles

I go over my stats for this site every now and then, and some interesting pattern do emerge.

There are posts I have made, some years ago, that are still being read with some frequency. I thought it might be interesting to mention the top six most read posts from The Traceless Warrior.

So in order of interest here is a list of what people look at the most.

Number Six
Martial Arts and Self Defense
written back in December of '04

Number Five
Slicing Time
Also written in '04 This was the first in a very well received series of articles.

Number Four
If Batman Existed He'd Train Like This
This was written in '07 responding to some comments about a friend.

Number Three
Overlooked knife Training Attributes
Written in '05, this was just some thoughts on practical knife use.

Number Two
How To Make A Cheap Kettlebell
This article has been quite popular since I came out with it in '07. The PDF has been downloaded hundreds of times. I haven't heard back from anyone who has made one and liked/hated it though.

Number One
The Sweetest Music You Never Heard
Written back in '04 this has been the single most popular article I have written to date, sometimes the hits are ten to one over other posts.

So there you have the six most popular posts on the site, enjoy.

I guess strife is good for this blog

Because my stats have more than doubled in the last couple of days.

You know what they say, "there is no such thing as bad publicity". and judging from the traffic through here there may be something to that.

While it seems that a lot of people are coming to read about the "fight" (such as it is) many are staying to read other (more interesting) posts.

So, for those people who are driving folks to the blog, all I can say is


For you new comers, Welcome, whatever the reason you dropped by.

I do hope that you will take a little time to look around at some of the other posts here. I can assure you that there are many, more interesting, things to read about here than petty interpersonal differences.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yeah, She's My Student

Of course I'm not her only coach, She trains at two other schools as well, and both of them have a lot to do with what you see below.

But she has been training with Steve and I since she was 12 and I think I can see a little of what she has been learning of my style of movement in what she does these days.

She has made great strides since I first met her. She was the youngest student I have ever taken on, usually I only work with adults, but she had a certain quality which I rarely see, even in adults.

Now she is a 4 time world champion full contact stick fighter. Soon she may be the next Zoë Bell, or she might be the next Elliot Ness (but cuter). But right now she is taking on "America's Got Talent.

I'm very happy to have helped a little in getting her where she is today.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

More on the Ugly

Well, it looks like my old friend Buzz is not interested in a friendly match to settle differences.

Instead, I was contacted by famous internet troll and Silat pendekar Bobbe Edmonds who has offered a challenge instead. I guess this hearkens back to the old dueling tradition of "If you don't think you can win, hire a "champion" to do your fighting for you.

Even though he is 20 or more years my junior and has at least 70 lbs on me it only seems fair that I accept.

The Troll can arrange details through my friend Steve Van Harn.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Holy Bigots Batman!

I thought we had dealt with this crap back in the 60's

But Right Wing Racists are a lot like cockroaches, they hide in dark cracks, under rocks, and are very difficult to get rid of.

An interracial couple is denied a marriage license in in America!

This from AP

"HAMMOND, La. — A Louisiana justice of the peace said he refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple out of concern for any children the couple might have.

Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace in Tangipahoa Parish, says it is his experience that most interracial marriages do not last long.

Neither Bardwell nor the couple immediately returned phone calls from The Associated Press. But Bardwell told the Daily Star of Hammond that he was not a racist."

You can read the full article here
(If you have a strong stomach)

Speaking as an American, a human and the offspring of an "interracial" couple, I find this so offensive I almost can't find words to express my disgust.

This is the inevitable outcome of the Right empowering racists in their attempt to regain power by any means. The racism engendered by the Republicans against Obama looks to be the seed that will grow into quite the poisonous weed.

We see it getting out of control already what with the Tea Baggers turning on their Republican overlords.

Here we see the baggers attacking Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and calling him a traitor. (read more about it here) The monster these people have created, nurtured and unleashed WILL turn and rend them in good time. The problen is, by the time they have fallen to their own creation, we may not have a country left.

We will be seeing a lot more of this sort of Racist crap in the near future.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Pacific Island Gathering and Tournament '09

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Every year my friend John Bednarski voluntarily allows himself to go completely insane for a few weeks. (which is, I believe, an important qualification for hosting successful martial arts tournaments).

The outcome of this descent into madness it one of the finer tournaments for people who practice the martial arts of the Philippines, and Indonesia, as well as other "island" arts such as Lua. Every year the event gets better, this year was no exception. This year we were again hosted by the Midway Kodenkan.

I would have to say that this year's event had the best fighting yet, taking nothing away from previous years, I think everyone just found the groove for the more blade oriented style that this tournament specializes in.

My group was only able to field one fighter this year being as the rest of us were called on to act as judges and referees. I had originally intended to fight this year myself in the senior division, but the person I had come to have a match with was unwilling to get out on the mat (more on that later)

So, "The Good"

We had four events this year, adding "combat knife" to the usual three we always have, Sayaw/kimbangan (forms), single sword and point knife.

The long blade and knife events were truly a thing to behold this year and I couldn't have asked for a better group of competitors.

The long blade competition is "continuous action", that means we do not stop the match to call points. This makes the play quite exciting. (That's me in the back corner, counting points for the two fighters) Point knife, because the short blade is so much harder to follow, stops the action when the ref see what he thinks is a point and gets a call from the corner judges.

Along with the usual suspects, which include the Dekiti-Tirsia-Siradas guys who host the event, Dekiti-Tirsia-Siradas Florida, my folks, Datu Tim Hartman's Presas Arnis and John Cipkar of Bandalan Eskrima, we had some newcomers that really added to the event as well. There was a group of JKD Concepts/Dog Brothers FMA guys from Bloomington, Illinois that brought a lot to the party, they were great fun. There was a group from Missouri, the Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban (Ya gotta love um just for the name) who fielded the only female competitor this tournament. We had at least one person from Kapatiran Madirigma out of, I believe, Kansas City. Last, but not least, we had a couple of members from The Philippine Combat Arts Club of New Hope Minnesota, who, besides being great fighters, also brought some exquisite examples of traditional Philippines weaponry.

There were other folks as well, but I was so busy I didn't get a chance to meet everyone, so if I didn't mention someone, I hope they will forgive me.

The Bad

My only complaint about the tournament was that there were not enough people interested in the Sayaw/Kimbangan event. In years past we had a good number of competitors, but for some reason this year it was not the case.

I really can't complain, because a goodly number of people did come to fight, which was what the event is about at its core, but I think the forms competition does add something to the event, highlighting the "Art" part of martial arts.

Here is my student Cole Van Harn performing one of our sayaws, "Navadisha dua"

Even though I tend to look at these things with a somewhat critical eye, seeing the areas where he could use a bit more polish, I have to say he did a pretty good job of it. I was quite happy to tell the truth.

Anyway, back to the Good (or perhaps the even better)

One of the very kewl things that happened at the tournament was that one of the competitors decided that since the rules allowed it, he would fight in every division. He was a lightweight, and the rules allow you to move up to a higher division, so he chose to fight middleweight and heavyweight as well as his "natural" weight.

His name was Juhn Occidental and he represented Datu Tim Hartman's school (Presas Arnis) out of Buffalo New York. (That's him in the red trunks above). He did a superb job. While he didn't win every match, he made a very good showing in every division. Interestingly, he took first in both heavyweight sword and knife. I think in some ways the heavyweight were his best fights. They demonstrated that skill and a good blade can negate advantages that are much harder to cope with empty hand. He reminded me a bit of a barracuda in those fights, using his speed and mobility to move in to score a hit and then back out of range.

Everyone was impressed with the sheer warrior spirit he showed with his willingness (I would go so far as to say eagerness) to meet all comers. He did the Filipino martial arts proud that Sunday.

It was almost as much fun to watch his teacher, Datu Hartman, as it was to watch Juhn. If he were any prouder (and rightly so) of his student, I think he might have burst. It IS the sort of thing we teachers live for, to see our students excel.

The last event of the day was the new one, Combat Knife.

There were very few rules, no weight or age classes and an incredibly fast pace. This was the brainchild of my friend and training partner Chris Renfroe. Each match lasted 30 seconds max (less if you got a "clean kill") and used a marking knife and white tee shirts to show the cuts and thrusts.

A goodly number of people were interested in trying this event out. The guys from Bloomington were particularly taken with this form of play, as it was closer to what they were used to from their Dog Brothers training, or at least so it seemed to me.

Here is a video of the Action. This is Cole Van Harn (Navadisha) fighting Chris Copeland (Kapatiran Mandirigma)

Here is a picture of the fight for first place between Cole and Glen Young (Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban). It was an epic battle lasting well into 20 seconds.

And here is a shot of the judges awarding the Grand Champion 1, Juhn Occidental, Grand Champion 2, Cole Van Harn, and Top Fighter, Sylva Smotherman, who was the only woman in competition this year. She went toe to toe with the guys and did very well. It was an honor to see her fight.

Of course It wasn't all fighting. There was plenty of time to hang out with old friends and make a few new ones. I have to admit, that is my favorite part.

Of particular note for me was the chance to hang out with my Moro brother and good friend in person for a couple of days. I don't get to see him enough, and I missed him the last time he was in the area because of work commitments. There is something particularly enjoyable about being to swap Halal "in jokes" and Muslim humor with someone over dinner. Though I have to say, people were looking somewhat confused at us because we were cracking up over the question "would you like shrimp or crab with your pork ribs?".

And then there was the Ugly.

I tend to not involve myself in the ceaseless Internet back-biting that goes on in some areas of the martial arts. It's a waste of time and energy. I mostly take the tack of "consider the source" and let it slide on past. When I do feel the need to say something, or take some sort of action, I prefer to deal directly, face to face with the person involved rather than playing stupid games on the internet. Until I do speak with the person directly, it has alway always been my way to not say anything in public. It is best, in my opinion not to air one's dirty laundry in public if at all possible. Sometimes though, dealing with a person directly doesn't resolve the problem. Then all bets are off.

I was interested to discover last Spring that "Maha Guru" Buzz Smith had initiated a public personal attack against me in print because I did not attend a private event to which I had not been invited, put on by someone for whom I have no liking or respect (and who feels the same about me). It seemed a bit odd to me that Buzz would insinuate himself into a situation that had nothing to do with him and to make false claims about it to boot. Those claims being that I had not attended the event because of "ego" (rather than lack of invitation) and that I had kept my students away. I found the last rather odd being that there was one guy there that trains with me every week and has for the last couple of years.

But I figured that the best thing to do was to ignore the whole thing, lots of people have no life and need to get their ya-yas by trolling the net. No big deal.

But then, a couple of weeks later I get a call from the mother of one of my students. She was both upset and furious. She had just had a long chat with Buzz on Facebook, the topic of which was what a no good person I was for various different reasons. My student's mother was not, of course, upset because she gave any credit to what Buzz was saying, we have known each other for quite some time and she has been able to form a first hand opinion. She was upset because of the blatant character assassination he was attempting.

While I could care less about the generalized "he sucks" sort of attack perpetrated by a petty individual like Buzz, when someone starts attacking me to my friends I do take notice.

It's a pity really. When one of his senior students dumped him for ginning up his rank and claiming that he did a Tausug art (he doesn't) and treating his students quite badly, I stayed out of the whole thing. I remained neutral (and silent) even though it cost me his student's friendship (he really wanted me to take sides).

So I decided to pay a little attention to what was being said, and wait. The thing is, the martial arts community, at least the part in which I am involved, is pretty small. Sooner or later I knew Buzz would cross my path. One thing I know for sure, there is always a reckoning.

This of course happened when he showed up at the tournament. I suspected he would, and had intended to meet him on the mat, which is the proper place to settle such things as "who has no skills" and other little internet slanders.

Also I wanted witnesses. I made sure there were onlookers when I confronted Buzz about his trash talking me. Interestingly he denied having done anything. He basically suggested that my student's mother was lying. I know that he will try to spin what happened, but plenty of people saw and heard, so the truth is out there. He lied to my face.

When Buzz arrived, he had quite the spring in his step, but shortly after he discovered that he was expected to fight, he developed a really pathetic limp. He claimed he was too ill to compete (though he has not been too ill to do seminars, which take more out of you, or to compete in other venues) My take is that he is not ill, he is just overweight, out of shape, lazy and coasting on his past accomplishments. There is a certain kind of individual who, rather than working to maintain their skill level, thinks that they can impress potential students by talking smack about everyone else. It never really works, at least not for long, and sometimes it comes back to haunt you.

A couple of the senior teachers at the tournament tried to convince Buzz that getting out on the mat was the thing to do, but he declined no matter what anyone said.

Perhaps it was for the best. If I fought him and won he would have just claimed that he was really too sick to fight. Now he has a whole year to get rid of that spare tire and lard overcoat he was sporting and meet me next year. We can have an exhibition match! The great "maha guru" with the "room full of trophies" and his "vast knowledge" of the Moro arts against the rankless nobody who does not feel that he has mastered even one Moro art yet. I figure it would be a good fight. Once upon a time he was a pretty good competitor, he has trained some competent people over the years, and even though I have a bit of reach on him I also have a few years on him, so I think it would be a fair fight as well.

So here's hoping he grows a pair and shows up next year.

But enough of that, I don't want to take away form how much fun this tournament was, or how well the fighters represented their schools.

Here are the results of the matches, every one of these people, and everyone else who competed were superb. It was an honor to have spent time with them. Also, I want to say that my fellow judges did an exelent job. This was perhaps the most consistent judging we have had to date. It's never an easy job to judge such fights, but we were pretty much in agreement on the outcome of every match, not an easy thing to do at all.


And this all took place on Cole's sixteenth birthday!!!

Happy Birthday Cole

Adult Sayaw –
1st Cole Van Harn - Navadisha Martial Arts

Adult lightweight Sword
1st Juhn Occidental – WMAA
2nd Mark Basel – Philippine Combat Arts Club
3rd Sylva Smotherman – Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban
Adult middleweight sword
1st Carlos Flores – DTS Chicago
2nd Chris Copeland - Kapatiran Madirigma
3rd Frederico Malibago – Philippine Combat Arts Club
Adult heavyweight Sword
1st Juhn Occidental – WMAA
2nd Bill Cihak – DTS Chicago
3rd Glen Young – Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban

Youth Sword
1st Cole Van Harn – Navadisha Martial Arts
2nd Craig Spillman - DTS Florida
3rd Patrick Rogers - Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban

Adult Lightweight point knife
1st Cole Van Harn – Navadisha Martial Arts
2nd Juhn Occidental – WMAA
3rd Sylva Smotherman – Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban
Adult middleweight point knife
1st ChrisCopeland – Kapatiran Madirigma
2ndCarlos Flores – DTS Chicago
3rd Juhn Occidental – WMAA
Adult heavyweight point knife
1st Juhn Occidental – WMAA
2nd Terry, Crutcher - JKD Concepts Bloomington
3rd Mike Wharfield - JKD Concepts Bloomington
Youth Point Knife
1st Craig Spillman – DTS Florida

Combat knife Sponsored by Chris Renfroe of Freestyle KravMaga and Navadisha Martial Arts
1st Glen Young – Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban
2nd Cole Van Harn – Navadisha Martial Arts
3rd Chris Copeland - Kapatiran Mandirigma
4th Patrick Rogers - Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban
5th Terry Crutcher - JKD Concepts Bloomington

Grand Champion 1 - Winner of the Negros Talibon
Juhn Occidental – WMAA

Grand Champion 2 - Winner of the Custom Sansibar
Cole Van Harn – Navadisha Martial Arts

Fighter of the Day – Winner of the Kukri
Sylva Smotherman (sp) - Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban

Honorable Mention awards
Bill Cihak – DTS Chicago
Sylva Smotherman – Backyard Brotherhood – una sa laban

An American Hero Passes

Willard Varnell Oliver Navajo Code Talker. Passed yesterday.

Here is one of the people who helped win the war against Japan in the pacific.

They never failed, their code was never broken.

Here is an article from the Washington Post.

Haéé'a Shiitsóóyéé

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back from Chicago

And I had a whole lot of fun at the tournament I attended!

I am still catching up from the trip, but I will have an account up for your amusement soon.

Until then, here's yet another video on barefoot running, enjoy.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

More from Alan Grayson

Well..... DAMN!

A politician telling the truth, what will they think of next?


I'm starting to really like this guy.

100 Indians and only 50 peices of frybread

From the movie "Smoke Signals"

OK just one more post on barefoot running

Not because it is part of the discussion, just because it's fun.

This is about a fellow known as "Barefoot Ken Bob" who is one of the original barefoot runners.



Defeating Diabetes

Jason asked this question in the comments section.

While mostly this blog is for fun, this is one of those really important topics, so I would be remiss in not moving it out of comments and addressing it here.

Jason Asks,

As Salaamu Alaikum Mushtaq,

All these posts on running have been very inspirational for me. One of the reasons I have been trying to run more often (other than for enjoyment) is that I am also diabetic. It is very inspiring for me to read that you control your blood sugar with diet and exercise alone. I take medication to help control my blood sugar but would like to control it with diet and exercise alone. I have found calorie restriction and exercise to be very helful in controlling blood sugar levels but there is a lot of confusing information on what to eat or not to eat. Would you mind sharing any tips or resources on what you do to maintain your blood sugar? Jazakallahu Khair.
Well, I can tell you what is working for me. I suspect that everyone will be a little different in how they respond.

My sense is that type 2 diabetes is reversible in most cases, but it requires serious work.

The first thing is that you need is to be utterly ruthless with yourself and develop complete self discipline. No excuses, no "falling off the wagon", no exceptions. Ever.

The second thing is to make sure that you have a Doctor who is willing to work with you. At some point you are going to have to go off your meds and you need a competent MD to help with monitoring you.

Make friends with your lancet. At first you may need to test your blood glucose as many as eight times a day. You need to know what eating a particular food is doing to you. You also need to know how much your blood sugar is reduced by any given exercise.

Make serious changes in your diet until your sugar normalizes.

For me this included giving up all processed foods, and building my diet around fresh fruit and vegetables. Processed foods are poison.

My diabetes is based in my genetics. The Native American side of my family suffers greatly from it. As a matter of fact type 2 diabetes is epidemic throughout the Native American population.

So what I did was to go back to a "pre-Columbian" diet. I built my eating habits around what my fore-bearers ate and thrived on. So my diet has a lot of squash and beans in it, and some corn, but only "heritage strains", lots of chia seed, and "wild meat". Where I live it is easy to access buffalo meat and venison, which is so much better than beef it ain't even funny. More on diet later.

You MUST exercise every day. Serious exercise. This is an essential key to the process. You need a way to get rid of excess blood glucose and that means burning calories.

You also MUST get your weight down. Determine what the lowest healthy weight is for your size and drop down to that. Make sure that your body fat percentage is under 15%, under 10% is better. You will have limited success until you normalize you weight and composition.

Find what motivates you and use it. You will be fighting a lifetime of bad habits, so you will need tools to counter them.

Get a copy of the book "The End of Overeating" by Dr David Kessler and read it multiple times. Better yet read it out loud to your wife. It helps to actually hear the material and having family support is essential. This is the single best book on "food addiction" in modern times I have run across. More than that, it will give you a deep understanding of Nafs al Amara.

Have "tools" in place to deal with temptations and addictive thoughts.

For me it is the memory of one of my favorite uncles. He was a wonderful person, deeply spiritual in the best sense of the word. He had lost both legs to diabetes and developed all the secondary diseases associated with diabetes.

The memory is of the last time I saw him alive. It was at an all night ceremony near his home. His son and I carried him to the place where he would sit (there is no real wheel chair access to a tepee) and even though he was in constant pain he sat there until sunrise. He was a powerful singer, one of the best. He sang all night long, praying for the health and prosperity of his people.

Near sunrise, it was again my turn to sing, and I did my best. After my turn was done and I had passed the staff and gourd to the next person, I saw my uncle lean over to my (adopted) father and I heard him whisper to him "Our son sure sings good". It was one of the high points of my young life.

Two days later he was dead.

So whenever I hear the voice of my nafs saying something like "Hey, one piece of frybread won't hurt you, go ahead" I have trained myself to remember my uncle, to see him in my mind's eye sitting there and singing, both legs cut off above the knee, and to remember that "one piece of frybread" took him away from all the people who needed him. It's a memory that has never failed me.

You will need to find something like that. Something that will override any excuses for breaking your discipline.

Make sure your environment supports your efforts to be healthy. I didn't start getting a handle on my blood glucose until I got out of a very toxic living situation and into a healthy one. I was living with two obese room mates, both of whom were quite dishonest about their own health and eating habits. You need complete control over what and when you eat and you need for the people around you to be supportive of your efforts. It also helps to be surrounding yourself with life affirming people just for the general well being it produces. From what you have mentioned of your wife, it sounds like you're off to a good start.

Back to diet.

What I did was this. I would test something, a food, a method of cooking, portion, whatever. If my glucose went down I held on to whatever it was for further testing. If it went up I threw it out and never went back to it. So I guess the rule would be. Change your behavior until you get the result you are looking for. Never be attached to any one modality.

What I had to do was drop all grain from my diet as well as potatos. The only exception to this is corn in moderation, and only "heritage" strains like blue corn, no sweet corn, no dent corn, only flint corn from non GMO strains that were here before the White-Eyes showed up.

Memorize the glycemic index and glycemic load for every food you are likely to encounter and pay attention to it. Don't ever eat anything with an index over 50 or a load over 8 or 9. Less is better.

Take your vitamins!

Most diabetics are way low on Vitamin D, I sure was, and it showed. My liver got very confused. It thought that I was starving at night. I would go to bed with a blood glucose of 110 and wake up with one of 200 because my liver was dumping glycogens int my blood all night to make up for the "starvation" it was sensing. I now get lots of sunlight and take 2000 units of D a day. Now I go to bed with a blood sugar of 90 and wake up with one of 98. The problem is still there, but not to the extent that it will do damage. (for anyone who doesn't know, "normal" blood glucose is around 100, and should be between 70 and 90 when you wake up)

I have found other supplements to be useful as well, but that's going to need to be a separate post.

Make clear, incremental, attainable goals for yourself. Things like "I will drop three pounds in weight and two percent body fat in the next month". Write these goals down and read them to yourself out loud daily. If you fail at a goal (and you most likely will from time t time) don't beat yourself up, just go into trouble-shooting mode, discover the problem areas and modify your behavior until you achieve the goal. Never accept failure! Turn failure into feedback and learn from it. The only way to really fail is to die. As long as you are alive you have the means to win.

Restrict your calories. I found this to be essential.

There are a number of ways to do this. The way that works for me is intermittent fasting. I fast from all food on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On days when I eat, I do so as intelligently as possible and I don't over indulge. I allow myself as much zero calorie liquids as I want, mostly mineralized water and herb tea. After a few weeks I found doing this to be no problem at all. My energy is good on fast days and I rarely feel hungry. I can do a 30 mile bike ride while fasting as easily as on days when I eat.

There is much more to the process, but this will give you an idea of how I go about it. My blood glucose is normal these days I haven't gone above normal levels in months now. I do miss some foods, but contrary to the old saying, I have never eaten something I am willing to die for.

If this is of interest to people I will write more on it.

And here is some music, a prayer really, for my uncle, my (adopted)father my cousins and friends, all those who lost their lives to diabetes.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The Bambi Dialectic

So there you have it folks, the great Running debate!

A few of you expressed some trepidation at the intensity of the debate, so let me assure you all that Steve and I remain friends and that there were never any hard feelings involved in this.

I look at this as a good example of using the dialectic to arrive at some higher order thinking.

The basic premis is that the thesis will be in some part true but have flaws, The antithesis will also have both truth and flaws. By banging the two violently together we can arrive at a synthesis which will hopefully be both purified of some of the flaws and incorporate the true parts of both the thesis and antithesis, thereby (hopefully) arriving at something that is of a higher order truth.

I particularly enjoy this sort of exercise with Steve because he is quite good at it, and he can enjoy a good verbal scrap without some of the ego involvement found in lesser individuals.

For those of you that were worried that we were "fighting", think of it in the same way as if we were having a friendly sparring match (both of us being dabblers in Silat and all) We would be doing our best to tag each other and neither of us would disrespect the other by dummying for him. But it wouldn't be a fight. So relax.

If you go over the exchange I think you will find much food for thought, all you need is an open mind and careful evaluation of the information. Whatever opinions you form, I can pretty much grantee, will be much better informed by absorbing the exchange.

So I'm off to get my winter boots out of mothballs, it's getting cold here.

Digesting Bambi

Steve's final comments on the great running debate

I went back to my first comments here on the subject of running, in a respose to your original posting:

"I dunno. Since we didn't evolve to run barefoot on concrete, I believe you have to a long way to offset that. (Barefoot in the nice rain forest or even on moist sand? Yeah. Heavier than two hundred pounds on the sidewalk? With bad knees already?)

Not me."


"I was a fairly serious runner when I was young. Barefoot every summer as a kid; ran the 880 and mile in high school, and started training for a marathon back before there were many joggers of whom to speak. No running shoes in the local stores when I started doing six or so miles a day, so I started in Keds. Eventually found some racing flats, and eventually moved up to New Balance when I could find a pair.

Around the house, I still go barefoot more often than not.

At two hundred pounds, the stress on my feet and knees was too much to do it on concrete without some kind of padding. (That video of the slip of a girl -- what, eight-five pounds of her? -- running is nice, but I'm not a gazelle, I'm a rhino ...)

Moot, because I'm not running any more, but walking. A knee with half the meniscus gone isn't going to say quiet long if I start pounding it ..."

Since nothing you've said alters any of that -- and I'm the first to allow that my testimony is not science but anectdotal, by the by -- then we can keep spinning our wheels (or perhaps doing the cartoon feet version) but we aren't likely to get much traction, since we are coming back to points we started out agreeing on.

I wasn't offering that my way was the only way, or the best way, but that it is what worked for me. When I started running in Keds, and then racing flats, my feet hurt. When I got a pair of New Balance shoes, they stopped hurting. Hardly science, but hey, it is what it is.

I still haven't seen anything that says I'd be better off tossing my shoes and running barefoot on the sidewalks of the city, and that's the bottom line for where I stepped into the discussion.

When I was training for the Marathon, about forty miles a week, I had two injuries: One was a strained low back, brought on by a sudden bend and twist to attend to an untied shoe. The second was a badly-sprained ankle that resulted from a leap to avoid being run over by a drunk driver. Neither of these injuries could be attributed to my shoes as I see it. When I was running, my knees worked fine, feet were okay, hips, so while I can't offer any evidence that the running shoes I wore were responsible, my story is that they worked well enough to keep me from being sidelined. And since it only matters to me if it works for me -- which is where I entered this discussion, then probably we should quit while we are both ahead ...

Enjoyable exchange as always, my friend.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

With grubs and roots and a side of carrion

We have finally reached a point of agreement I see.

As always, Steve is quoted in green.

Ah, we're eating leftover Bambi, but -- how are our feet and knees doing?
Well, mine are doing just fine. But then my feet are quite strong from running about all summer either barefoot or in shoes that give no support at all.

You liked this paper:
Good article, and full of information. Though I missed the part where it said bare feet were better than running shoes. And to offer you an alternative reason why men run better than chimps, the article you quote speaks to that: Endurance running might just as well be due to trying to beat scavengers to some big cat's kill, as for chasing down game.
Why would you expect to find a comment about shoes in that article? At the time mentioned we are something like a million years away from the invention of footwear. And of course you are trying to pull the two topics of the conversation together in an untenable way.

The alternate reason does not matter to the discussion though, does it. You posited that man was a "hodge podge" with poor physical skills. I pointed out to you that man had evolved with a powerful specialization, the ability to endurance run, and I gave you what I consider to be the most likely way he evolved these skills. If you prefer an alternate hypothesis as to why that does nothing to refute my premise, that man evolved to be an endurance runner.

Nobody knows at this remove, and it's six to one, half a dozen to the other.
I would say it is more like eight of one four of the other, for all the reasons I have gone into, but if you prefer to assume we developed the ability to run all day long, and ability no carrion feeder has ever developed, and we managed to pull this off while our sense of smell weakened, I'm fine with that. We agree on the actual point, man evolved as an endurance runner.

Hard to tell the brand of shoes the San hunter was wearing, being unable to see a name or how padded they were, but they looked like low-heel running or walkers. Didn't look like Sunday-go-to-meeting shoes to me.
Unless he was a very rich San, and bought his own shoe (an event so unlikely as to approach the absurd) he would have been given those shoes by whatever missionary group was in the area trying to convert the savages that week. Those missionaries always seem to hand out shoes (and I encountered a number of these group when I was living in East Africa) The groups get their shoes from China by way of South Africa usually, but you can examine them here. They are the very same canvas/nylon shoes sold at Wal-Mart for around $10 (though in Africa they go for around $1 retail, less if you buy in lots) Those shoes are flat soled unpadded and without raised heels. I'd run in them myself if I couldn't get my Wu shoes.

"Testing whether ER was employed in hunting or scavenging will be challenging given the limitations of the archaeological and ethnographic records."

"Challenging." Yeah. That's a euphemism for "impossible."
When I took my degree in Anthropology back in '72 there were a lot of things we though it would be "impossible" to know. Today we know them with a very high degree of certainty thanks to advances in science. So "Challenging", yes, "difficult", sure, "unlikely" perhaps. But "Impossible"? I will reserve judgment on that. "Impossible" has been wrong too many times for me to throw that word around so cavalierly.

But if we can't ever know how, that doesn't change the fact (which you have done nothing to refute) that man evolved as an endurance runner.

You said, "Yep, and highly padded, over-engineered running shoes have been proved to cause more problems than they prevent. If you think not, then feel free to produce even one peer-reviewed scientific paper demonstrating that modern running shoes do anything to prevent the sort of injuries we see so often in running today."

Um, that's not how it works. All I have to do is say "I don't buy your contention that barefoot running is safer on concrete than wearing shoes." Up to you to prove it, since you are taking the affirmative. And thus far, I haven't seen the evidence.
Actually it was you that said "At two hundred pounds, the stress on my feet and knees was too much to do it on concrete without some kind of padding." The idea that the little bit of padding that you can get into a shoe will protect you from the kind of force that running generates is completely unsupported.

You claimed that it does, so you get to support the claim if you can.

My contention is that what protects you on concrete or any other surface is proper form that uses your body in the way it was designed to be used through the process of our having become the world's best endurance runners. One way to help yourself develop this form is to train, at least part of the time barefoot, or in shoes that provide no padding or support and allow the foot to move naturally. I have offered quite a bit to support that claim.

Alan Webb is a great runner, but his testimony about how he cured his flat feet is anecdotal, and doesn't necessary follow. His insight is personal.
"Anecdotal" is not the same as "wrong" and is used quite a bit in various sciences. Let me remind you of some of the definitions of "anecdotal"

"non-scientific observations or studies, which do not provide (scientific) proof but may assist research efforts"

"reports or observations of usually unscientific observers"

"casual observations or indications rather than rigorous or scientific analysis"

None of these definitions say "wrong" or "inaccurate". In medicine and anthropology "anecdotal" is called "case studies", which have been invaluable to the advancement of those sciences. You might want to take a look at "The importance of anecdotal evidence". to refresh your memory on the valid use of anecdotal evidence.

I suppose that it would be a little petty of me to point out that your account of how your orthotics and foot roller have helped your PF is also anecdotal.

Dr. Paul Brand was an expert in leprosy, specializing in the hands, not the biomechanics of feet.
Yes he was, and leprosy effects the feet at least as often as it effects the hands. Dr Brand was an expert in the field of orthopedic surgery (and yes he specialized in hands), with years of field experience. He was a trained scientific observer who was greatly respected within the medical community. You aren't telling me why his observations aren't valid, your just telling me how you are sorting to find some reason to ignore his observations because they don't fit with your opinions. It seems pretty much the same with the other people I mentioned.

The tropical stuff refers to temperature. We work naked fine when it's hot, we don't work naked fine when it is cold. Bare human skin gets frost-bitten when the snow is piled up and the wind is blowing, and without shoes, any possible benefit one might get from barefoot running is apt to cost one some toes. Ditto running over broken glass, and CONCRETE.
There you go with the naked in the snow thing again. Please point out to me where I said that people should do that. As to running on broken glass, I don't know anyone who does that so I can't speak to it. Though I do know a guy who walks on broken glass pretty regularly, but it is a gimmick and he does it for entertainment (though he has never to my knowledge been injured doing it)

Now losing toes running on concrete? Do you have any evidence that people are losing toes at a rate significantly higher than other runners from running on concrete? I have never seen such, and I pay attention to these things.

In short, the jury isn't in on this yet, and while walking barefoot around the house, or running barefoot across the lawn or beach or on a dirt trail in the woods makes perfect sense to me, nobody has shown anything that amounts to scientific proof that running on the sidewalk barefoot is better for you than wearing shoes.
And I have never said it was "better". What I said was that it could be done without injury if one's form were good. I have said that I think that over-engineered, over-padded running shoes that cause you to heel strike when running are not good for you, and are the main cause of the epidemic of running injuries that were not seen back in the day before padded shoes. (and are not seen in countries where people live barefooted or in minimal footwear)

If you are going to argue with me you should do so to my actual points rather than to ones you make up.

My points are these

  • Man evolved as an endurance running animal.
  • padded running shoes seem to be the cause of much of the injury we see in runners today
  • We can avoid most of these injuries by adopting a more natural stride that gives us a forefoot strike rather than the unnatural heel strike and with the foot landing under the center of gravity rather than in front of it.
  • One of the best ways to develop this more natural stride is to practice barefoot as part of your training.
  • Another way is to use shoes that offer minimal support.
  • Barefoot running (and walking) is good for your foot health.
(note: I am using the term "natural" here in the sense of bio-mechanically sound, the most efficient way for our muscles and skeleton).

Those are the points you should be arguing against if you disagree with them, not things that I have not actually said.

I did say that a person could run barefoot on pavement without injury if they have proper form. I did not say that this was the way that someone SHOULD run. I pointed out that this happens all the time in marathons and other races these days. While you think that these people should be injuring themselves all over the place, it just doesn't seem to happen. I suspect that you may just be working from a false heuristic.

Here are a few more examples of people running barefoot over all manner of surfaces, they just don't seem to be hurting themselves in the way you think they should be, and even the guy who got frostbite running in the snow seems to have all his toes.

I am happy though that we seem to be agreeing on my main points.

"...walking barefoot around the house, or running barefoot across the lawn or beach or on a dirt trail in the woods makes perfect sense to me..."
"Endurance running might just as well be due to trying to beat scavengers to some big cat's kill, as for chasing down game."
Enjoy the videos.