Saturday, March 29, 2008

Martial Arts Masters Raise Money for Teen with Cancer

Bellevue, NE - In Bellevue, a group of martial arts instructors are raising money for 14-year-old Greg Hachey who's battling Leukemia. The teen lives in Seattle with his father, who is Pete Starr's oldest student.

"He's like family," said Starr. "This represents the true spirit of martial arts."

The event's helping pay for hospital bills. The 14-year-old's about to undergo surgery. Greg desperately needed bone marrow and recently found a match. But it was a complicated process. He's half Caucasian, half Filipino, and not many Asians are registered donors.

"There was concern for a long time a match would not be found in time. By some miracle they found one," Starr said. "We're gonna keep up the prayers and keep encouraging his family. Let him know we're all behind him."

Instructors will give lessons all day Saturday as part of the fundraiser. It's held at Mark Goblowsky's Martial Arts School at 2412 Cornhusker Road in Bellevue. Registration begins at 8 Saturday morning.

So far, they've already raised nearly 3 thousand dollars for the family.

Reported by Chriss Knight,


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Martial arts teacher knocked down by lion during a photo shoot

A martial arts teacher knocked over by a lion during a photo shoot at Bowmanville Zoo says she is happy to have come away with four broken ribs and a bloodied lung.

"To be honest, the sensation I have is a great deal of gratitude to be alive," Gitanjali Kolanad said yesterday.

The photo session organized by the Star-owned magazine Desi Life produced a successful cover photo for the March-April issue, to be published tomorrow. But from the beginning, the 180 kilogram beast proved playful and not entirely under the control of its two minders.

Kolanad, 54, practises the ancient Indian martial art of Kalaripayat, fashioned after the movements of such animals as the lion, elephant, wild boar and peacock. The magazine suggested she pose with a lion.

"I thought, 'Sure – Photoshop,'" Kolanad recalled. When she understood better, she was excited, she said, and an appointment was made with "Leo" for Feb. 20.

A video of the session shows the beast first knocking over editor Sonia Verma. She picks herself up and smiles. It next paws the legs of photographer Richard Lautens. Off-camera, it also took a swipe at the legs of art director Spencer Wynn.

"I felt it for a couple of days," he said.

The 3-year-old lion was lying nearby when Kolanad began her movements. Apparently still wanting to frolic, the animal jumped up and fell on her, knocking the wind out of her, bruising her left lung and breaking four left ribs.

It was not an attack, the witnesses said. The lion's mouth was not open and Kolanad was not scratched.

The Bowmanville Zoo had no comment on the incident.

In the video, one minder kicks the beast in the neck while the other pulls on a leash. The lion takes a second, unsuccessful lunge at Kolanad as she lies gasping, before it is escorted out the door.

"I couldn't breathe – that was the terrifying part. The muscles in my chest seized up and they didn't relax until I was in the emergency (of the Bowmanville hospital) and they gave me a muscle relaxant."

Although unable to work for the past month and still in pain, Kolanad said she feels on the mend.

Video captures lion's playful lunge onto subject in photo shoot

Strongman shatters karate chopping record

A karate-chopping strongman from Cornwall has smashed the record for breaking concrete blocks with your bare hands.

Ed Byrne, a 40-year-old martial arts master, chopped through 55 granite and concrete edging stones in 4.86 seconds using only the power unleashed by the palm of his hand.

The ninth dan black belt shattered the previous record of 17.49 seconds.

He said: "I used to break things when I was a kid for fun with my friends and I would break things easily whereas my friends wouldn't.

"People think it's a lot easier to break blocks than it actually is - I make it look easy.

"I have hypnotherapy and picture breaking the slabs. I also feed off the energy of the crowd."

For his next challenge, the muscle-bound karate king hopes to break more blocks in one stack than ever before with a single strike.

The record currently stands at 31 slabs of concrete in one chop.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Martial arts expert's death ruled a homicide

Carrollwood, Florida – Investigators are calling the death of a local martial arts expert a homicide.

Timothy Chipley’s body was discovered on Friday, floating in a pond at a Carrollwood apartment complex.

Chipley disappeared a week ago, after friends left him at a nearby pub. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is now working with the county medical examiner to find out how Chipley was killed.

Mastering Moves at Martial Arts Expo

More than 100 athletes are showing off their moves at a martial arts expo in Sioux City. The White Tiger Martial Arts Academy hosted the 5th annual Midwest Invitational Championship.

The athletes competed in both controlled fighting and the artistic expression of tae kwon do. The organizers hoped the event would foster good will and innovation.

"One thing I like about martial arts competition is that it really builds character," said White Tiger Academy Owner Michael White. "If you can face a person on the mat, you can face them in the office, you can face them in a school environment. You don't feel intimidated by people."

Competitors came from all over the Midwest and Canada.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Not just judo

They range in height from 3 1/2 feet to 5 feet, 9 inches, in shape from chubby to lithe, but when Shaun Wilson claps or shouts, the boys and girls in the white gis and sweat shirts move as one -- crab-walking, sprawling to the mat and back to their feet, striking the padded walls with resounding thump-thump-thumps.

It's early evening at the Baltimore Martial Arts Academy in Ellicott City, and Wilson, a veteran instructor and competitor, is putting his advanced youth class (ages 8-14) through its paces.

"C'mon! C'mon!" he bellows, slapping his palms together in an escalating rhythm. "Let's earn it, everybody. Earn your belts!"

During the next 60 minutes, the 14 yellow, green and blue belts from around the Baltimore area work their way through pulse-pounding exertions in two venerable fighting traditions (karate and kung fu) and a newer, more rapidly evolving one (Brazilian jiujitsu).

"We expose them to different [disciplines] early," Wilson says. "Later on, if they want, they can specialize."

The class reflects the growing number of choices available to those who want to learn or practice one or more of the martial arts.

"Not everybody has talent at striking or kicking," says Wilson, 34, a black belt in multiple traditions who has taught at BMAA for 12 years. "Not everybody is as natural at grappling. These techniques are all valuable, and we offer a variety."

Martial arts -- codified forms of combat and self-defense, often associated with one or another philosophical tradition -- generally focus either on striking (punches, as in karate, or kicks, as in tae kwon do) or grappling (judo, Brazilian jiujitsu). The local Yellow Pages lists more than 80 schools under "Karate and Other Martial Arts" -- often, the word "karate" is used to denote martial arts in general. Some of the schools specialize in a single discipline. Others offer an array of the many available options.

"The choices can be confusing," says Gary Berger, 39, who founded BMAA in Catonsville in 1995 and moved it to its current, 2,000-square-foot location in Normandy Shopping Center on Baltimore National Pike five years later. "Taught properly, most are great for fitness, self-discipline and the teaching of self-respect, but each has its focus and limitations."

On this evening, BMAA features six classes in as many disciplines, two for children and four for adults. The grown-up classes are more specialized, including two relatively new disciplines -- kickboxing aerobics and Brazilian jiujitsu. Aikido, traditional kung fu and tai chi are available the following night.

Kickboxing aerobics blends martial-arts striking and a tae-bo style workout: Eighteen men and women pair off, bouncing, circling each other and delivering martial-arts-style punches and kicks into thick, hand-held pads. "It's more a purely physical workout than an education in ... technique," says Carden Snider, a Catonsville mother who has also studied karate.

In Brazilian jiujitsu , a dozen students, all men, run and stretch, then break into pairs and hit the mat. Instructor Matt Handsman circles the room, offering comments on grips and joint locks meant to immobilize a foe on the ground.

"Everything's gotta be tight," he tells a combatant whose legs enwrap his partner's neck. "It's like tightening a bolt."

Experts say potential students, young or old, should consider several variables before choosing a school. There is no central governing body for martial arts -- there are too many overlapping traditions for that -- and that means, in effect, that it's "buyer beware," says Ernest McPeek, general secretary of the U.S. Jiu-Jitsu Federation, which oversees certification only within that discipline.

"There's nothing stopping a guy from saying 'I have a black belt' and opening up a school," McPeek says. But consumers can call the organizations through which instructors claim to be certified; visit schools and ask questions of teachers, students and parents; check in with the Better Business Bureau and the local police department, whose members often take classes, and see if Web sites are thorough and informative.

Call or visit a school to see whether it stresses exercise or technique, kids or adults, or some combination. McPeek and Berger agree that no school should rush potential clients to sign contracts.

Keep in mind, however, that most legitimate schools require a contract of between six months and a year. Under Maryland law, though, schools collecting fees more than three months in advance must be bonded with the state Consumer Protection Division.


Akki - coming home to martial arts

CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA, being directed by Nikhil Advani for producer Rohan Sippy, is currently being shot in old Delhi's hustling and bustling Chandni Chowk area.

The film will see Akshay 'Khiladi' Kumar returning back to his first love, martial arts, and is nostalgic for the lead actor as he originally hails from the Gali Parathewali area of Chandni Chowk and his grandmother still lives there.

We bring you a few glimpses of Akshay's look in CHANDNI CHOWK TO CHINA!


Friday, February 1, 2008

Kyokushin Karate featured on The Discovery Channel

Local martial arts instructor Kenny Buffaloe is the official North Carolina representative of Kyokushin Karate. Buffaloe was personally appointed this position by Grand Master Oyama in 1983, later earning him the state's “Governor's Award” for professional excellence. Since that time, Buffaloe has tirelessly worked to develop and spread the Kyokushin style of Karate in the state.

Recently, Buffaloe and his 8-year-old son, Christian, trained with one of Japan's top karate masters, Shihan Y. Goda. Goda has more than 60 years training and experience and is the technical advisor of the International Kyokushin Karate Organization in Tokyo.

Buffaloe also trained under Goda numerous times in the early 1970s.

The Discovery Channel recently started a new documentary series called "Fight Quest.” Kyokushin Karate, Shihan Goda, his students and Dojo (school) in Tokyo are featured in a one-hour segment that premiered on Jan. 11, and was shown the entire month of January. This is the first time an accurate and realistic documentary has ever been done on Kyokushin for American television. Due to its intense and rough nature, Kyokushin is a very misunderstood style of karate. A lot of misconceptions and inaccuracies were cleared up on the segment. Buffaloe said he is very happy his style of martial arts has finally received the proper attention and exposure and highly recommends that everyone interested in Kyokushin Karate watch this featured segment. The next showing of this series will be on Thursday, Feb. 7, at 8 p.m., and Friday, Feb. 8, at 1 a.m.


Different Ring To Lesnar's New Sport

Brock LesnarWhen he was a World Wrestling Entertainment superstar, Brock Lesnar always entered the ring knowing the outcome.

Lesnar knew he was going to hit the Undertaker with a propane tank, as he did in October 2002. He knew he was going to steal "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's four-wheeler, as he did in his next-to-last match in early 2004.

But heading into his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut tonight in UFC 81 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Lesnar has no idea how it's going to turn out. Lesnar, a former heavyweight college wrestling champion with one K-1 mixed martial arts fight to his name, will face Frank Mir, a former UFC heavyweight champion and six-year UFC veteran.

And strangely enough, the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Lesnar is favored by Las Vegas oddsmakers to win.

"I guess we'll see" what happens, said Lesnar, who is the first professional wrestler to make the leap to the UFC. "I hope [I'm ready]. I'd like to think that, but this is obviously a true test for me and I'm looking forward to the challenge."

Lesnar's only mixed martial arts fight lasted 1 minute 9 seconds. In a June 2 bout, his opponent, Min Soo Kim, spent less than nine seconds on his feet and another minute on his back taking punches to the side of the head before he submitted.

Lesnar has been training in mixed martial arts for two years but will draw heavily from his wrestling experience. While at the University of Minnesota, he was a two-time NCAA all-American, two-time Big Ten champion and the 2000 heavyweight national champion.

After college, Lesnar said he had few options to continue competing and WWE Board of Directors Chairman Vince McMahon had $250,000 and a contract waiting for him. So he became an entertainer.

"I was 21 years old and I didn't have a pot to piss in," Lesnar said. "I mean, come on, you make the decision."

But the competitive aspect of sports, where the winner isn't decided before the match, is what Lesnar says has always run through his blood. So in March 2004, Lesnar left WWE to pursue professional football, a move many of his fans said was a publicity stunt.

Lesnar was in the Minnesota Vikings' training camp, made highlight reels for a vicious preseason hit on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard but eventually was cut. Now Lesnar has moved on to his next sport, and he vows he's serious.

"For me, being a big star isn't what this is all about," Lesnar said. "To me it's about being back competing again and, you know, just getting to fight. I'm really just excited to be a part of the UFC and, you know, just kind of see what happens."

Hartnett cast in martial arts film

Hartnett cast in martial arts film'30 Days of Night' star Josh Hartnett is to play the lead role in a new martial arts action film called 'Bunraku'.

Variety reports that the film follows a revenge-seeking drifter (Hartnett) in an alternate universe.

The trade daily says the film mixes elements of the spaghetti western, gangster and samurai genres.

'Bunraku' is due to begin shooting in Europe in the spring.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oates' Olympic dream is fading

A SUCCESSFUL Cynon Valley karate club has picked up silverware at the British Individual Championships.

The Aberdare Shotokan Karate Club saw members Michael Caviell and Alex Labanciw impress at the Karate Union of Great Britain’s Individual Championships.

Michael Caviell (2nd Dan) fought his way through a number of hard rounds, beating fellow members of the Welsh squad and a few of the English squad on the way.

Michael’s victory means the Caviell family now have two British champions – his brother Marc won a few years ago in the junior category.

It was very nearly an all-Aberdare final, as Michael’s club-mate Alex Labanciw (2nd Dan) was narrowly beaten by Kai Stroud in the semi-final and had to settle for third place. This was an excellent performance by Labanciw, who has been getting steadily better over the past few years and is waiting patiently for his major title.

The Aberdare Shotokan Karate Club is the longest-established martial arts club in the Cynon Valley.

In more than 30 years of practice, it has produced more than 50 black belts, numerous Welsh champions, four world and European medallists, and four British champions.

l The Aberdare Shotokan Karate club trains at the Michael Sobell Sports Centre, Aberdare, each Tuesday and Friday from 7-9pm. New members are always welcome.


McDonough tries out mixed martial arts

There are a lot of collegiate sports to participate in, but for SCSU student Adam McDonough, he had to go elsewhere to perform.

McDonough, 22, goes to the American Combat Academy where he trains in mixed martial arts fighting. McDonough fights professionally with Damage Inc. Fighting Team and is in his fourth year as a finance major at SCSU.

McDonough started his fighting career at the age of 5 in Tae Kwon Do, making black belt by the age of 10. He then switched over to wrestling in middle school and high school.

McDonough planned on wrestling in college. He attended North Dakota State, but hurt his knee freshman year and transferred to SCSU, where he came across mixed martial arts.

"It was a whole new style of wrestling. It was intriguing," McDonough said.

His father, Ron McDonough, did not share the same enthusiasm right away.

"I was a little scared right away, but I learned about the rules and regulations about the sport," Ron McDonough said. "I know he'll get a broken nose, but he'll walk out of the ring."

McDonough trains six days a week. He lifts weights in the morning and has live fight training in the afternoon. Each session of training runs an hour or two.

Josh Froelich, 25, trains with McDonough and said he has trained with a lot of guys, but thinks McDonough's dedication and intensity in the gym has made him easy to train with.

"I have trained with a lot of different guys. Some guys don't go that hard during training," Froelich said. "We are not surprised when we get hit during a match because how we train."

Froelich said McDonough has great cage control through grappling, but he is more of a ground and pound style fighter.

"He hurts people to the point were they want to tap out in submission," he said.

Mixed martial arts fighting has also taught McDonough time management. He puts school first over fighting and works at American Family Insurance as an intern as well.

"I take a lot of naps to get by," McDonough said.

McDonough and trainer Cylde Lewis said education comes before fighting. McDonough will not have another fight until exams are over.

"In any athletic endeavors you need an education," Lewis said.

Ron said his son's grades have improved since he started fighting. He attributes the improved grades from the discipline and focus of fighting.

The future looks bright for McDonough in mixed martial arts. Lewis said they will focus on the mid level regional and national events first.

"It is still early in his career, we don't want to get ahead of ourselves," Lewis said. "We need to groom his record and bring him up slow."

McDonough said his goal is to be in the UFC in the next two years. He said mixed martial arts is a humbling sport, so he knows he needs to keep focus.

Lewis wants to get him in either Bodog or WEC in the next 18 months, but nothing major will happen until McDonough gets his degree.

"I have more to learn and I want to keep going at it. I want to take this to the limit," he said.

McDonough will be competing April 17 in St. Cloud in the 170 lb. division of a mixed martial arts tournament.