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.