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.