Friday, July 29, 2005

Some News Is Good News!

This fatwa against terrorism by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), and supported by organizations including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is ... good news!
It "reaffirm[s] Islam's absolute condemnation of terrorism and religious extremism."

It states that:

Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians’ life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden - and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not “martyrs.”

Then it quotes some Qur'anic language.

Finally, the policy:
1. All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam.
2. It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.
3. It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.

And a reassuring prayer:
We pray for the defeat of extremism and terrorism. We pray for the safety and security of our country, the United States, and its people. We pray for the safety and security of all inhabitants of our planet. We pray that interfaith harmony and cooperation prevail both in the United States and all around the globe.

This kind of statement goes a long way toward answering complaints (on this blog, as well as in media people actually read) that the Muslim community really needs to be more outspoken in its unqualified rejection of terrorism.

The next test will come, I suppose, next time there's a suicide bombing in Israel.

BJJ Move #42: Achilles Anklelock

This move can be used from a variety of positions, but it's easiest when you're in someone's guard and have broken the legs apart, or when you have just taken someone down with a double-leg, single-leg, or ankle pick.
Be careful when applying leg submissions-- the hyperextension happens suddenly and can really hurt someone's joints badly. Tap early, submit slowly.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Achilles Anklelock:

When your break your opponent’s guard, lay back onto your back while you grasp his left leg with your right arm (overhooked, into your armpit).
Wrap your right arm around his left ankle, grabbing as close to his heel as possible.
Your forearm comes right under his Achilles tendon, your right fist is next to your sternum.
After you wrap your hand around his leg, put your left hand on his shin and grab the top of your left wrist with your right palm (t-stack).
1) Stand up straight with your hips forward and your chest out and finish.
2) Or, to finish from the ground, sit down and throw your right leg over his left leg, turning his hip over and bending his knee, so he can’t kick you or escape. Make sure your heel faces to the outside or he will be able to get you into a lock. Keep your right foot on the ground, arch your back and push your hips forward to hyperextend his ankle. To achieve proper leverage you have to have your forearm very close to his heel, where his tendon is tender, not in the middle of his calf; and his toes (not his ankle) against your armpit. You may want to use your left foot to push his right thigh into him, which will make it hard for him to roll out over his right side.
3) As above, but figure four your feet, bending your left knee-crook over your right shin (right leg wrapped, bent, over his entangled left leg).
4) Instead of wrapping your right leg around his left, pin his leg between your knees (squeezing hard—the less secure leg position means you need to squeeze tight with your knees), and instead of hipping out to the right, turn to the right (onto your right thigh and hip). Put your right foot against his left hip (toes pointing to outside) to stop him from rolling to his left, and keep your left leg between his legs and your left foot hooked around the back of his left thigh. As you turn left, arch your back.
When finishing, glue your elbow to your ribs, “puff” out your chest and arch your back, and bring your fist to your sternum.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Home Game #2 Recap

Last night was Big Game of Brooklyn Rooftop Poker #2.
Inside, around my very casino-like kitchen table, due to rain and manageably low turnout.

Present for more falafel from Zaytoons, oreos and Brooklyn Lager were Iron Maiden (sorry, rhymes with your name), Evenstar, and Old Testament (a/k/a Jack Roy), all law school friends, and Super-Chip, a friend from undergrad.
Cardinator, a high school friend who's now a lawyer, and Loanshark (again, rhymes), a friend from law school, both called to apologize for missing the game due to work commitments.
And Tenda-Foot was too exhausted from the heat wave to make it out to the BK.

The survivors sat down to plat super-low-limit Texas Hold 'Em at a very novice level.

We played half the game counterclockwise, for some reason, and had just one blind because we were short-handed.
Super-Chip, Iron Maiden, and Evenstar showed incredibly steep learning curves, improving their games dramatically since last week-- folding with self-discipline and raising with some guts.
Iron Maiden even put on a poker face after I unwisely teased her for talking about her hand. Board was something like AT3 of hearts, J and a 6, and I said "Someone could have a flush, or a straight." Iron Maiden perked up and asked "A straight? How?" ... luckily no one paid attention and she took the pot with her flush.
I played way too loose, limping in with the worst hands ever and folding, folding, folding.
Old Testament did quite well and had hot cards to boot.
After the others left, OT and I played heads-up, which went slowly because he's so bad at shuffling. Unfortunately, for me, he played better than I did and had decent cards, so he probably took a dollar or two off my chips.
Super low stakes meant no one went home poor, and I think everyone had a good time.
Maybe next time I'll take pictures of some of my hands, and actually keep a journal for edutainment value.
Stay tuned to this blog for more minutiae of my life.

BJJ Move #41: The Elbow Escape

This and the "Upa" are the two standard ways to escape from mount.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Elbow Escape:

The Elbow Escape (to guard) (a/k/a knee escape, shrimping):
You are mounted. Lying on your back, keep your elbows tight to your body and your hands near your neck. Your legs are flat on the ground so he can’t grapevine them.
Put your left knee in your opponent’s butt to bring his upper body forward and make his hips light.
Place your left foot on the floor close to your butt.
Bump your hips up and turn your hips to the right (but keep your back flat on the groud).
Press your right elbow on your opponent’s left knee with your left forearm across his waist to make a “frame” (variation: bump him up, stay on your back, put your hands on his hips, elbows bent at 90 degrees for a “frame,” then turn your hips to the right). For vale tudo, use your bent left forearm to protect your face.
Then, as you push down with your left foot, slide your butt to the left and your right knee along the floor (FLAT against the ground so it goes underneath his leg) to meet your right elbow.
Once your right leg is free, plant the right foot over your opponent’s leg and point your knee to the sky.
Then push off your right foot and turn your hips to the left, scooting your butt out. This time your left elbow pushes on your opponent’s knee and you slide your left knee to your left elbow.
Once you’ve cleared his leg you can point your left knee to the sky and cross your ankles around his back and hold him in your closed full guard.
Try to keep your shoulders on the mat while the hips do the turning from side to side. Alternate between this and the “upa” – the two basic mount escapes.

Variation: With Arms Braced
As above, but sometimes you can’t just use your elbow. Put your right hand on your opponent’s right hip, and your left hand on top of your right hand, left elbow on the inside of his right thigh. Your arms now form a “brace” for holding him off while you pull your left knee through, as above.

“The Squiggy” (reversal to guard or in half guard):
You are mounted and your opponent does not have the hooks in.
Bring your right foot to your butt. Do not leave any room for him to get his hooks in.
Turn onto your left side / hip. It is particularly important that your hips are perpendicular to the ground.
Put your left and right hands up against his right knee. You are not pushing his knee, just holding it in place.
Make sure your left leg is straight. Now bend your right knee so you can plant your right foot up by your butt.
Using your right leg, push your hips backwards so that your left leg comes through his legs. Your shoulders will stay in the same place, and you will bend at the waist as your legs push your hips out from under his hips. You do this as you are holding onto his knee. As your left knee comes through, put him in half or full guard.

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005 if on cue... if on cue to my last post, the NYT prints this piece...

TATP: Object Lesson for Irresponsible Ideologues

The London bombers and "shoe bomber" Richard Reid learned a lovely trick popular with suicide bombers in Israel-- how to mix up a highly unstable homemade explosive, triacetone triperoxide (TATP).

Keep following my argument, here...

The explosive is described on this page. Interestingly, TATP doesn't produce explosive force by releasing heat energy quickly, but by converting solid molecules to gas very fast.

What's terrifying is that TATP is apparently easy to make, is made of easily obtained materials (acetone and hydrogen peroxide), can be made at room temperature, is difficult to detect (dogs have trouble sniffing it out), and explodes with 80% more force than TNT.

In a nutshell: any dipshit on an ideology high with a bathtub can make this stuff and, if he doesn't accidentally blow himself up in the process, kill dozens of people.

Defenders of suicide bombings against Israelis (those who don't support the London bombings) now have to answer the charge that the London bombers have simply taken their perverse reasoning to its logical conclusion, and used the Palestinian terrorists' methods to another group of civilians they believe are "oppressors."

Isaiah Berlin said it best:
[Y]ou must realise that if you use violent methods the result will almost invariably be totally different from what you intend. Why? Because too much is unknown – not because you are wrong. The abuses are abuses, the tyranny is a tyranny, it should be stopped, it can be stopped; but if the measures are too violent – that’s to say, if you believe in the possibility of a total or even three-quarters transformation of society by organised means, if need be by violence – you will find that you’ve heaved up forces of whose existence you were probably not aware, which will in some way frustrate your designs and produce something maybe better than there was before, but not what you wanted.

Maybe we can keep the same quote in mind the next time we decide to transform another hostile country into a democracy.

Roster of Africa's Dictators

This roster of African Dictators is interesting.
If you have the stomach for it.
Check out all the military medals!

BJJ Move #40: Triangle Choke (Sankaku Jime) - 5 setups

This is one of the most fundamental chokes in BJJ. It's very powerful, since it uses both of your arms and legs, as well as one of your opponent's arms, against the sides of his throat. When someone does it correctly, you can really feel your eyes start to pop out of your head. It can be applied from a number of positions-- here I'll describe some ways to set it up from the guard.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Triangle Choke (Sankaku Jime) - 5 setups:

1) Triangle Choke Approach #1:
If your opponent ever puts only one arm outside your guard.
Or, work your guard up high on his back, then rest your right leg on his left shoulder and trap his right hand on the right side of your chest with both hands.
Now, try to push his left hand between your legs, and toss your right leg across the back of his neck, switching your hips to the left.
With your left hand, grab the top of your right shin, about six inches from your ankle—this helps you’re your legs closed around your opponent until you lock your legs together.
Keep his right hand trapped against your body with your right hand (pulling/pushing it to your right, across his face).
Work your hips around toward his right shoulder (clockwise) until you have enough space, then fold your left leg over your right ankle. You want the crook of your left knee to fold cleanly over your right ankle—don’t just press your left calf over your instep.
Pull his trapped right arm across your body toward your right side.
Arch your back, squeeze your knees together, thrust your knees upwards, and pull his head down with your hands (one crossed over the other on the crown of his head) to strangle him. The pressure comes from his own right upper arm pressing against his right carotid artery, and your right thigh pressing against his left carotid artery.

Approach #2:
Opponent is in your guard with his hands on your chest.
With your left hand, come from under and outside his right wrist, breaking his grip on your chest and raising your shoulder, coming over his right biceps and scooping his right arm into your left armpit and clamping it in tight (a tight overhook).
Now grab his left hand with your right hand and force it down towards your groin.
Plant your left foot on his hip to get room and leverage, and swing your right foot over his left shoulder.
Fold your left leg over your right. Don’t worry about it being tight yet. His left arm will be trapped outside your legs now.
Hip up to weaken his posture, and move his right arm across your body, trapping it across his face by the elbow or wrist with your right hand.
With your left hand, grab your right shin closer to the knee than your left knee is folded over it.
Release your left leg from over your right leg and plant it on his left hip; hip out so your head swivels to his right side (clockwise). You want your hips to face his right ear.
Now re-fold your left leg over your right shin.
Release your right shin with your left hand, and his right hand with your right hand, and use both hands to pull his head down.
Finish as above.

Approach #3 - Surprise Push:
From him in your guard, put your left hand on the back of his neck, and hold onto his left wrist with your right hand, holding it somewhere between his body and your body.
Pull his head down and simultaneously push his arm into him, up towards his chest and through (under your right leg). The combination of pulling down on the head (he thinks you’re going for his head) and pushing up on his arm (which he won’t notice) is confusing and lets you set up the triangle more easily.
Then, don’t try to figure-four your legs right away; instead, re-close your guard over his shoulder so he has one arm in, one out of your guard.
Secure his right wrist, moving it across to your right shoulder/chest.
Grab your right shin inside where your foot will go (closer to the knee) with your left hand, and put your left foot on his right hip to push your hip out to the left (your head swings right, toward his left knee) (or: pull your shin in with your left hand and push your knee out with your right hand).
Now figure four your legs, release your left hand and pull on the back of his head with both hands while thrusting your hips upward and squeezing your knees together.

Approach #4 - “The Lockdown”:
With your opponent in your guard, swim your left arm underneath his right armpit to his shoulder (underhook), push with your right forearm against the right side of his face, and clasp your hands, pulling his shoulder tight down to your chest (“the Lockdown”).
Put your left foot on his right hip and hip out to the left to create space.
Slide your right knee in between opponent’s chin and left arm so it’s by the front of his left shoulder.
Flare your left leg outwards so it circles over his left arm and locks over the back of his left shoulder.
Grab your own right shin with your left hand
Finish the triangle choke as above.

Approach #5 – From Overhook:
Opponent is in your guard with his hands on your chest.
With your left hand, come from under and outside his right wrist, breaking his grip on your chest and raising your shoulder, coming over his right biceps and scooping his right arm into your left armpit and clamping it in tight (a tight overhook).
Maintain tight shoulder pressure and keep your knees tight together throughout this move.
Plant your left foot on the ground, scoot your hips out to the left, and put your right foot in your opponent’s hip.
Squeeze your knees together, knees pointing upwards (do not let opponent push your legs flat to the ground).
Swing your hip so your left leg crosses over opponent’s back and your right leg comes free so it can swivel over opponent's left arm and lock the triangle (you may have to fight for this here as opponent controls your right leg or shin; be sure to maintain the tight grip and you can eventually work your leg free with hip movement, leg pummeling or pushing on opponent’s left biceps with your right foot).

Comments? Please feel free to point out mistakes, describe tips on the techniques, suggest ways to make the descriptions clearer, etc.
Click here to go to the list of my BJJ move posts.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Al Bashir: The Inside Scoop!

President Al Bashir

Esteemed Western Reader:


I know you have yearned for the inside scoop on celebrity gossip that only an African dictator can provide, so prepare yourself for joy.

Pay no heed to revolutionaries and enemies of the state such as Nicholas Kristof.

In his piece in today's New York Times, Kristof scolds you for your healthy and natural interest in celebrities and their engrossing personal dramas.

If Kristof had his way, you would eat, drink, and breathe the so-called "genocides" that so-calledly occur in various hot, dusty places.

And speaking of hot, how about that J. Lo?
J Lo
Her record label, Sony BMG, was recently in hot water for "payola"--paying radio stations to play her vile Western pop songs.
Seems this shameless harlot has been caught pilfering the village granary.

Looks like someone's got a date... with the government-funded militias!
Ha ha ha ha ha!

I have all the skinny on your favorite celebs, but I have to keep you coming back, you know? Check here often for hard-hitting celebutainment.

In the meantime, forget about that that preachy schoolmarm, Kristof, and remain untroubled! Until soon, my friend!

BJJ Move #39: Scissors Sweep from Guard

Here's a standard way to take the mount from guard.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Scissors Sweep from Guard:

You have your opponent in your closed guard.
Slide your right hand under your opponent’s right gi collar and grab his right sleeve by his elbow your left hand (if he isn't wearing a shirt, grab his right tricep and right shoulder).
Place your right foot on the ground and turn onto your left hip as you scoot your butt to the right (same hip movement as in the elbow escape—described in later post).
Slide your right shin across his waist, keeping your right foot hooked around the left side of his belly/chest. Put your left foot/leg flat on the ground next to your opponent's right knee.
Slide your left shoulder back. If your opponent is not wearing a gi, move your right hand to grab the back of his neck.
Using your arms and legs at the same time, bring your opponent toward you at a 45-degree angle; your legs scissor, with your right leg right moving him to your left, and your left calf/heel sweeping his legs to your right.
As your opponent falls over, climb up into the front mount.
This sweep works best when his base is relatively narrow and he’s sitting up a little. When attempting this move, if your opponent simply lets you pull his head down and collapses onto you, preventing you from turning him over, simply apply a guillotine choke.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Rich: Roberts Nomination Smokescreen for Rove

Check out Frank Rich's Op-Ed piece from yesterday.

Or, in a nutshell:
Bush nominated squeaky-clean, uncontroversial John Roberts to the Supreme Court instead of his buddy, Gonzales, because Gonzales headed the Justice Department and gave the administration a 12 hour gap during which it could destroy evidence that Karl Rove had leaked the identity of a CIA agent in order to take revenge aganst her husband, who'd written an op-ed piece revealing that the intelligence on Iraq trying to buy fissible materials for WMD's that Bush used to justify invading was phony.

Which'd've turned the confirmation hearings into a forum where people who aren't already obsessed with these dirty tricks would be.

Want it with more periods in the middle? Read the excellent column.

Honestly, the whole thing makes me pretty angry, and I prefer to retreat into a dream world, where Serpentor is Chief Justice:

D.C. Circuit Judge Serpentor Nominated To Court Vacancy
Strong Supporter of Second Amendment, World Conquest

Lance Armstrong, Human Dynamo

The NYT reports that, no, Lance Armstrong does not have a heart the size of a lunchbox that beats once a minute.

He just has other physiological advantages that are the equivalent of rocket fuel for blood.

I went for an 8 mile run in the heat yesterday with a 10 pound backpack on, and definitely felt the lack of natural athleticism (and regular training). This comparison between Armstrong and normal people is, frankly, awesome:

Collected from this article, and a similar National Geographic story:

Maximum heartbeat:
Armstrong: 200 beats / minute
You: Probably less than that. Sorry.

Lactic acid test - millimoles of lactate per liter of blood:
Armstrong, after chemotherapy: 8
Armstrong, after recovery: 6
Average person: 12

Muscle efficiency rate:
Human range: 18 to 23 percent
Armstrong at 21: 21 percent
Armstrong at 28: 23 percent

BJJ Move #38: Neck Clinch (a/k/a "Plum")

Muay Thai (Thai kickboxing) fighters use this standing clinch a lot. You can use it to control your opponent while you throw knees.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Neck Clinch (a/k/a "Plum"):

Both of your hands are behind the crown of opponent’s head (not the back of his neck), with one clasped over the wrist of the other.
Squeeze your elbows together, press your forearms into his collarbones, and lean forward at the waist somewhat.
Stand on your toes and try to keep your opponent’s head lower than yours.
This clinch is good for throwing knees. It is great for keeping your opponent away, but leaves you somewhat vulnerable to underhooks and shooting.
He’ll try to move away from your rising knee strikes, so fake him out by pulling left, then right as he resists and pumping the right knee into his face.
You want to throw knees with your rear leg, so move his head (say) to your right so he’s bent over at the waist when your left foot is forward, then deliver a rising right knee to his face.
You can create space to deliver knee strikes by explosively straightening your arms so your opponent is at arm’s length but you still control his head. Stagger your feet and drive your rear knee up into his jaw, pulling him into the strike and off-balance with your hands.
You can deliver elbow strikes to an opponent you are holding in the neck clinch by releasing one hand and using that elbow to strike his head while immobilizing his head with your other hand.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Best Page in the Universe Doesn't Like Blogs

Man, this guy has my number.
My friendless, warblogging, blogrolling, photoblogging existence.
I think he hits it right on the button with this glossary entry:
Blogging: If minds had anuses, blogging would be what your mind would do when it had to take a dump.

Rubik's Cube Solver!

Thought I should link to this Rubik's Cube Solver... 'cuz it's cool.

"There's Still Lawlessness Out There"

This completely insane story from the NYT says the Sudanese security officers roughed up members of Condoleeza Rice's delegation. (!!!)

More below the link...

Unreal. Rice had come to meet with President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir.

After Ms. Rice entered the meeting with Mr. Bashir, they sat in awkward silence for almost 10 minutes because Mr. Bashir speaks only Arabic and his security guards refused to admit Ms. Rice's interpreter.

When James Wilkinson, Rice's communications director, "tried to join the meeting, security officers shoved him against a wall."

Flunky #1 told Rice during the meeting that "If you disarm only one side in this conflict, the result is going to be genocide," meaning that if the government-backed militias were disarmed, there would be genocide by the rebels.
Well, sow the wind, reap the whirlwind, genius.

Flunky #2 called Rice a little while later with an apology for manhandling her staff. She was not impressed.

"Diplomacy 101 says you don't rough up your guests," Mr. Wilkinson said afterward.

Diplomacy 102 says you don't tell the NYT that the President of Sudan roughed you up to defy the U.S. and that he's a SHPOS who's mouth is writing checks his ass can't cash.

Rice's next stop was a refugee camp, where about 100,000 people live. She expressed hope that its residents might be able to return to their homes.

Neils Scott, director of the Darfur office for the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said "there's still lawlessness out there."

Yes, "out there."
Honestly, President Bashir, don't f*** with Condi. Our troops may be mostly tied up elsewhere, but she still has plenty of these...
Tomahawk Missile spare. At a price tag several billion dollars a month and thousands of U.S. casualties to replace Saddam Hussein, it might be a lot more cost-effective to deliver one of these to each of the dozen worst dictators in Africa.
Think about it.

BJJ Move #37: Major Outside Reap (O soto gari)

Here's a nice takedown.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Major Outside Reap (O soto gari): (gi)

From a standard grip, or a collar-and-elbow grip with your left hand on your opponent’s right elbow/sleeve and your right hand on the back of his neck / collar.
With your left hand, pull strongly to your left, and with your right hand, pull your opponent's body in against your own (your right elbow bends deeply) as you take a deep step forward onto your left foot, so your right foot is just outside your opponent’s right foot. It is important to establish contact between your torsos.
Pivot your opponent’s shoulders clockwise and swing your right leg, straight at the knee, out in front of your for forward momentum. Turning him this way shifts his weight onto his right heel. Don’t bend forward at the waist— you need to use that momentum to finish the throw.
Now sweep out his right leg with your own, pushing forward with your right hand and bending forward with your body, pulling down and forward with your left hand. Don’t kick his leg: point the toes on your right foot and sweep your calf and ankle across the back of his leg. Bend forward at the waist like a pendulum, keeping it parallel with your sweeping leg.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Home Game #1 Recap

Last night I held a home game-- the first Big Game of Brooklyn Rooftop Poker.

A bunch of friends--law school and otherwise--came, climbed onto my roof, brought extension cords, and played on my un-casino-like card tables.

There was a gorgeous blood-red moonrise over Park Slope.
We ate some amazing (if drippy) kebab and falafel sandiches from Zaytoons.
Then, the chips started to fly!

A number of beginners came, and, despite picking up the rules very quickly, are now stinging from losing their $4 or $5 bankrolls and plotting their comebacks, enrolling in Poker University and putting "Rounders" onto their Netflix queues.

We also had some very sharp play from "Bootlegger" and "Cool Hand."
Also, "Lady J" showed us how to play dead cards with good humor, while "Mathlete" (a/k/a "Jack Roy" of Litotical Construct) explained the majesty and power of the "all-evens" straight (2468T).
No, that is not a hand.

Beer, fresh air, cards, even ice cream sandwiches (courtesy of Tenderfoot) made it a night to remember.

BJJ Move #36: Bodylock Takedown and Outside Trip

Here are two good takedowns from a double underhook clinch.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Bodylock Takedown and Inside Trip:

Bodylock takedown / Minor Outside Hook (ko soto gake):
You start with an over-under tieup (underhook with left arm).
Turn your right shoulder back and swim your right hand underneath his left arm from the top/front of his elbow to get a double underhook.
The next few steps must be done simultaneously: As soon as your hand is close to getting the second underhook, do a “scissor step” (or “split squat”), lowering your weight by moving your forward (here, right) foot forward and left foot back, feet sliding or even leaving the ground. Getting low is important, because you have to clasp your hands behind his lower back, not his ribcage (which won’t bend when you squeeze).
Clasp your left hand to your right wrist behind the small of his back, pulling your right “thumb knuckle” into his lower back.
Put your (right, same shoulder as forward foot) shoulder into his sternum and press your right ear to his chest, or (if there’s room) press your forehead to his sternum. Pressure against his sternum is uncomfortable, and, combined with good pressure against his lower back should help you bend him over backwards.
Pull in strongly against his lower back, push forward with your shoulder or forehead against his chest, and hook your right foot around the outside of his left knee, taking him over his back.

Outside Trip Variation (ko soto gaki):
From double underhooks, lock your hands tight behind your opponent’s back.
Pull his hips in tight to your hips as you step around to his right side (his right hip should be tight against your waist). At this point there is some danger he will grab you around the head and throw you, so keep your hips low and tight against his hips.
Step around with your left leg and hook it around the back and inside of his right lower leg. Your left leg pulls his right foot off the mat in the direction of his right side (but it’s not a sweep—you’re just lifting it off as you control his hips).
Sag your hips into him as your arms pull his lower back in and down. You will collapse him over his left side and you can drop him and remain standing.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

BJJ Move #35: Double Underhooks Clinch

This clinch gives you an advantage over your opponent, allowing you to take him over onto his back. When you get an over-under clinch, you and your opponent will naturally start trying to get a second underhook.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Double Underhooks Clinch:
-standing clinch

This clinch is basically a front bearhug under both your opponent's arms (two underhooks), clasping your hands together at the small of his back and pulling his waist strongly into you while pressing your forehead or the side of your head into his chest. You can also secure this clinch with one of your opponent's arms trapped inside against his body.

Over-Under Clinch to Double-Underhooks Clinch - Pummeling Drill (“Swimming for Underhooks”):
From over-under clinch, stand toe to toe; right pectoral to right pectoral; right arm under and left arm over. Right ear on the opponent’s shoulder. You and your opponent at the same time take your left hand to your heart and swim it under your opponent’s underhook and take your left pec to left pec and left ear to your opponent’s shoulder. Repeat in a smooth rythmic fashion until it becomes automatic. After you and your partner are both comfortable with the mechanics of this drill, then you can begin to add some speed and force to it. Ultimately, fighting for superior position (double underhooks) and the takedown— control his weight, pull him in, hip him over and trip him (Minor Outside Hook / Ko Soto Gake).

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

BJJ Move #34: Over-Under Clinch

This clinch is very common-—it’s easy to make your opponent enter into this clinch even if he’d rather hold you off, so it’s a good way to keep someone from hitting you if you’re close; you’ll see a variation of it all the time in boxing matches. Like the collar-and-elbow clinch, this tie-up puts you and your opponent in symmetrical positions, but much closer.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Over-Under Clinch:
-standing clinch

You are standing face-to-face, and your left arm goes underneath your opponent’s right arm and holds onto his upper back (an underhook), squeezing him to you and preventing him from dropping his level to shoot in and grab you around the waist or legs. Your right arm goes over his left shoulder and also grabs his upper back or wraps around the outside of his left arm (overhook). You should be chest-to-chest.
He has the same grips on you.

Striking from the Over-Under Clinch:
Use your overhook hand to hit your opponent in the ribs with hooks.
Lift his underhook arm at the elbow with your overhook arm and hit with knee strikes in the ribs.
When your opponent brings his head low, knee over his underhook arm into his face.

Monday, July 18, 2005

BJJ Move #33: Knee on Belly Position

Here's a position that wears your opponent out quickly and controls him, holds him in a vulnerable position, and gives you the ability to see your surroundings and stand up and back away quickly. It is straightforward to pop up to knee on belly from cross side, and also to get it when passing an open guard while standing.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Knee on Belly Position:

· Your opponent is on his back. You are on his right side with your right knee on his stomach. Your right foot hooks against the outside of his waist on the right to keep your leg from sliding across his body. Your left foot is braced out to the side, to his right, and your left leg is straight. You are straight or only slightly bent at the hip or waist-- you want as much of your body weight directly over your knee as possible. With your left hand, pull up on the back of your opponent's head from the near side (coming under his right ear to the back of his head) to keep him from bridging or squirming away.
· To achieve proper knee on belly stance: Stand on your knees, then put one leg to the side – NOT one leg forward, one backward. The knee on his belly should be under your hip so your weight is over it – NOT in front of your hip with your heel close to your butt. CLS 2/25/04; also TAT 170-71.
· Don’t let the foot of your knee that’s on his belly go on the ground—that’ll take all your weight off his belly. Use that foot only as a “monkey foot” (a hook) to keep from sliding forward.
· You can put your knee across his waist if you’re interested in sliding across into the mount, but for control and pain, point it up toward his sternum and rest your knee in his solar plexus. CLS Spring 05 (Jason)
· Knee on belly drill: From cross side, plant your hands flat on the ground, pop up to knee on belly; from knee on belly with that hand on his opposite shoulder to keep him from rolling toward you, punch his face, then put both hands on his shoulders and hop across to knee on belly on other side.

Punching from knee on belly:
From the “knee on belly” on his right.
With your right hand, hold his far (left) shoulder down and punch him in the face with your left hand.

Fake Low pass to knee on belly:
From standing in your opponent’s open guard, grab his right leg (or pants) at the knee with your left hand and push it to the side and low, near the ground.
Hold his left knee with your right hand, pushing it down onto his right foot (but his knee is pointing up). Pushing down keeps it from moving around. He now thinks you’re going to move over to his right side over his lowered right leg.
Shoot in on the left side (to your right), going to the knee on belly. Your left knee will go on his belly.

Standing in Open Guard Pass - Throw Legs to Side, Knee on Belly:
From standing in your opponent's open guard, if he has no good grip on you, you are safe standing up.
Stomp your right foot between his feet to get him to draw his feet back, grab his ankles, and push them further in towards his body.
When he pushes back, throw them to your right and go to knee on belly by going to his right side and putting your right knee on his belly, left foot out to the side.

“Bullfighting” Transition to Knee on Belly:
This is more a drill than a move. Your opponent is on his back facing you, and your right foot is between his legs.
Cup both his knees in your hands.
Quickly swing your right leg back, around to the outside of his right leg and back in towards his body past his right foot.
Put your right knee on his belly and step with your left foot around to his right side to take the knee on belly position.
From here you can slide your right shin over his stomach to take the count.

Friday, July 15, 2005

With good news like this, why bother getting up in the morning?

Today's NYT has a brief piece about the recent Pew Global Attitudes survey.
The article is titled, "Muslim Approval of Terrorism Declines, a Global Poll Finds," and the survey itself is titled "Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Publics Support for Terror Wanes Among Muslim Publics."
If you're a busy person like me, you'll read the headlines and think this is pretty good news.
Until you read the numbers... and realize a better title would be something like "Muslim Publics Modestly Enthusiastic About Terror."

This was a face-to-face survey, so assume people are slightly less willing to express socially unacceptable views. Now look at the results:

Support for suicide bombings against "U.S. and allies" in Iraq:

The title is misleading-- the actual question on the survey was:
What about suicide bombing carried out against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq? Do you believe that this is justifiable or not justifiable?

And this--people love that OBL:

...pretty much goes with hating Jews:

Before you get all down, don't forget this gem-- the "good news" trumpeted in both titles-- that enthusiasm for terror is modestly lower:

That's the title?

The most disturbing results are worth looking at in depth. The actual survey (page 6 of the .pdf, labeled page 38) has the following question and results:
MQ.30f2 Some people think that suicide bombing and other forms of violence against civilian targets are justified in order to defend Islam from its enemies. Other people believe that, no matter what the reason, this kind of violence is never justified. Do you personally feel that this kind of violence is often justified to defend Islam, sometimes justified, rarely justified, or never justified?

And here are the actual survey results:

Note that this question is different from the previous question, which asked whether the same kind of violence is acceptable in the respondents' own countries.
The percentage of people who think murdering civilians "in order to defend Islam from its enemies" is often, sometimes, or rarely justified is 20% in Turkey, 44% in Pakistan, 58% in Lebanon, 88% in Jordan, 18% in Morocco, and 33% in Indonesia.

With good news like this, why bother getting up in the morning?

BJJ Move #32: A Half Guard Pass

Here's a standard half guard pass.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Half Guard Pass:

You are on top in your opponent's half guard with your right leg trapped inside his legs.
First, pin his shoulders and left arm—-hold his head in the crook of your left arm, leaning weight on his head with your shoulder, holding his left arm from underneath (underhooked) with your right arm.
Circle out to the left (clockwise) on your toes so his right thigh goes flat against the ground.
Now hook your left instep into his right thigh and raise your butt up, walking your right foot up towards your head while keeping that leg to extract your right knee/leg.
Take the cross side or mount. This is the best escape for vale tudo ("anything goes," no rules fighting), as it keeps his hands from hitting you while you escape.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Apologies: World-Consuming Disaster Imminent

Check out my visit and page view history:

According to this chart, I had 250 visits in May, 350 in June (40% month-over-month increase), and I'm on pace for 1400 in July (300% month-over-month increase).
Watch out, world bandwidth supply!
If current trends continue, that puts Litvak Chronicles on pace to consume the entire bandwidth supply of the planet in a few months, and the global power supply within a year.
I recommend you invest in canned goods and shotgun shells.
I'm sorry, human civilization. You were no match for my runaway blog.

Across the Bay Slams Cole on London Terrorists

Check out Across the Bay's recent blog posts slamming Prof. Juan Cole's recent stupid comments on the London terrorists.
This guy really knows his stuff, he's smart, and he doesn't have a weird ideological axe to grind.
I know I've already got him on my blogroll-- but here's another plug:
If you want to understand what's going on in the world-- understand, not just have some crib sheet to repeat in conversations-- this guy's blog should be a major part of your education.

BJJ Move #31: Armlock from Mount

This is the same technique as the armlock from the guard, but the setup is completely different.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Armlock (Jiu-Ji / Ude Higishi Juji Gatame) (from the mount):

1) Armlock (Jiu-Ji / Ude Higishi Juji Gatame) (from the mount):
The armlock can be done anytime your opponent’s arm is between your arms. Many times your opponent will try to push you off, or block a punch by putting his arms up. This is a great time to go for this submission.
When your opponent puts his right arm up, you put your left arm around the outside of his right arm, and place your left hand on his chest; put your right arm on the inside of his right arm, and place your right hand next to your left. Now he’s pushing his hand against your chest, his elbow facing your torso, and your arms are on either side of his, hands braced on his chest.
Put all of your weight on your two hands. With all of your weight on your two hands, come off the ground onto your toes. Pivot clockwise so your hips now face his right ear and your legs are across his head (left leg) and chest (right leg).
Then drop your left leg across his neck, and put your right leg across his chest. Keep your left leg folded across his neck to keep him pinned. Keep your knees very tight together around his right arm, to help prevent your opponent from shrinking his arm. Don’t cross your feet—that’ll make your legs light.
Wrap your arms around his right arm, which is now trapped between your legs. Make sure his thumb is pointing up (toward the sky), so his elbow joint is facing your hips.
Holding onto the arm, put your back to the floor, along with your head. Make sure to put your head on the ground. This will help put the pressure on his arm, because it is more than likely your opponent is going to try to resist this.
When you are lying on the floor, raise your hips to the ceiling, squeeze your legs together, and pull back on his wrist to extend the armlock.
Tip: Keep your left foot flat on the ground beside his head, instead of raising your feet or crossing them. This way, your weight is more on top of him, and he can’t lift your legs to collapse you and escape. Do not straighten your legs.
Tip: If you’re fighting for the armlock and you’re up on top, base out with your left hand (trying to lock his right arm) so he can’t roll you over that way onto your back, stack you, and escape. Likewise, don’t lean your head/body towards his feet when fighting with his hand or he’ll try to kick you or wrap his legs around your head, and your legs will be light. With your legs heavy, he can’t move his hips to do that kind of thing.

2) Armlock (Jiu-Ji / Ude Higishi Juji Gatame) (from the mount) – Alternate Entry:
To attack your opponent’s right arm, hook that arm with your own right arm (grab it to your chest).
Slide your left knee up to block beneath his right shoulder. Place your right heel in your opponent’s left armpit.
Post your left hand for base by his right ear and swing your left leg over his head.
When you sit, make sure your butt is close to his right shoulder or you will miss the elbow joint.
Squeeze your knees together, make sure his thumb points towards the ceiling, and thrust your hips upwards to finish.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Memailed #4: We Are the Creditors

Suketu Mehta has a great opinion piece in today's New York Times called "A Passage From India" in tribute to the E.M. Forster novel. A better title, I think, would have been "We Are the Creditors":

Read more below the jump.

There is a perverse hypocrisy about the whole jobs debate, especially in Europe. The colonial powers invaded countries like India and China, pillaged them of their treasures and commodities and made sure their industries weren't allowed to develop, so they would stay impoverished and unable to compete. Then the imperialists complained when the destitute people of the former colonies came to their shores to clean their toilets and dig their sewers; they complained when later generations came to earn high wages as doctors and engineers; and now they're complaining when their jobs are being lost to children of the empire who are working harder than they are. My grandfather was once confronted by an elderly Englishman in a London park who asked, "Why are you here?" My grandfather responded, "We are the creditors." We are here because you were there.

There was a time when arable land and minerals were the real growth sectors.
When (non-oil) natural resources made military conquest of some places profitable.
When a few thousand Englishmen could run the subcontinent.
When a nation with an elite made up of professional soldiers could effectively dominate others.
And the merchants and the people with technical knowledge were relatively less important.

But now, for a healthy economy, a country relies much more on smart, well-educated people and a relatively orderly and free society.
Not so easy to retain the value in that after you've marched in with guns.
Pretty hard to make it happen at home while privileging your majority ethnic group above people with high-value labor who want to immigrate.

The world's high school math club has grown up, and they're realizing they're in much better shape than the kids on the football team who made their lives so unpleasant.

BJJ Move #30: Rear Naked Choke (a/k/a mata leão)

This is the best move ever. Easy to learn, very effective, you put it on from a safe position, renders your opponent unconscious. I'll describe it from the back mount as well as from standing behind an opponent.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Rear Naked Choke (a/k/a mata leão):

1) Rear Naked Choke (a/k/a mata leão):
From back mount, slide your right hand under your opponent’s jaw, bringing your right arm under his chin, so his throat is in the crook of your elbow, not against the blade of your forearm. You want your arm to come across far enough that you can grab onto his opposite shoulder. You are going to squeeze him there using your biceps. The pressure will come from your forearm and biceps against his carotid arteries from the sides (cutting off blood supply to the brain), not against his trachea with your radius from the front (cutting off air to his lungs). Don’t try to bring your arm across his throat like you’re closing a door; instead, slide it in hand-first to go across his neck, putting a belt on.
Turn your right palm to face down and hook your right hand into your left elbow-crook / biceps.
With your left palm facing down, “comb his hair,” sliding your hand from the front of your opponent’s head down to the back of his head (not onto his neck).
Squeeze his neck by flexing both of your biceps; pulling your right hand back with your left arm; pushing his head forward over your elbow-crook with your left hand; squeezing your elbows down do your chest; and “puffing” your chest out— don’t hunch your back. Watch for the tap—you do not want to choke out or injure your training partner.
Tip: If he keeps his head tucked down to keep your arm out, press up under his nose (not allowed in tournaments). The pain should make him lift his head to relieve it.
Tip: When trying to apply this choke on an experienced opponent, use the opposite hand you usually choke with first. For example, if you usually slide your right arm underneath, instead, slide your left arm underneath. When he tries to block this, then slide your right arm underneath and continue the choke.
Tip: If you happen to have a “giftwrap” from behind, he’ll be expecting the other hand to come across and do a giftwrap-style choke. Instead, use the other hand to go for a rear naked choke. (I'll describe giftwraps in a later post)
Tip: If he’s on his belly when you’re trying to get this choke, pull up on his forehead to bring his jaw up.

2) Setup for Rear Naked Choke – wrist control:
You have the back mount.
To control your opponent’s right arm, slide your right arm underneath his and grab the top of his right wrist with your right hand, palm down, “claw grip” (thumb on same side of his forearm as your other four fingers).
Hold his arm down in his lap; it will now be easier to move your left hand across his throat for a choke—grab his opposite (right) shoulder before releasing his right wrist and finishing the choke.

3) Setup for Rear Naked Choke – trap arm with leg:
You have the back mount. You have wrist control as in the last move.
Push his right hand down toward his crotch, straightening his arm, then wrap your right foot around the outside / top of his right forearm, trapping it to his side.
Your right hook is now gone, so roll onto to your right side to finish, further trapping his right arm under your body weight from the top, and your right leg and the floor from the bottom.
Put the choke on with your right arm.

4) Standing Rear Naked Choke (hadaka jime):
You are standing behind your opponent and want to apply a rear naked choke. He will get away unless your “get a hook in” on his lower leg/knee using the foot on the same side as your choking arm.
From a rear clinch, turn your face to the right and press your right cheek against your opponent’s upper back; wrap your left arm over his neck and clasp your hands together; and hop up and wrap your left leg around the outside of his left leg (“put in the left hook”).
Move your left foot across his waist and figure four your right knee over it.
Apply the rear naked choke with your left hand.
Note that it is safer to take your opponent down before applying this, as it minimizes the risk of being slammed between your opponent and the ground.
If at all possible, it is also better to clip his knee from behind or drag him backwards instead of hopping up onto his back, but be sure he can’t get his feet under him or he could throw you over his shoulder.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

BJJ Move # 29: Back Mount

I don't know why I waited until move #29 for this. It's a very basic position-- ideally, it's where you end a fight. Take an opponent's back and choke him out. From this position, you're almost completely safe from your opponent. You can strangle him from behind, and he can't do much but try to escape.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Back Mount:

This is the most advantageous position. There are two basic variations.
In the first variation, your opponent is sitting on the ground and you are sitting behind him. Your body is against his back and you are wrapping your legs around his waist from behind and hooking your insteps inside his legs behind his knees / lower thighs. Your legs are called “hooks” because they secure you to him. Do not cross your feet, or you will be vulnerable to an anklelock.
With your hands, at least initially, a good way to secure yourself to your opponent and hold him in the position is to put one hand underneath an armpit and the other around his neck. Then clasp your hands together across his chest (the “seatbelt” grip).
In this position, you may both be sitting up, but you are also in a strong position if you roll back onto your back or side.
In the second variation on the position, you have an even more dominating advantage—your opponent is on his stomach, and you are on his back with your hooks in. This may happen if you have an inexperienced opponent in a front mount and he rolls over onto his stomach. He was better off where he was before.
If he starts on all fours instead of flat on his belly, you want to “break him down” by (for instance) by holding his right wrist from underneath with your right hand and pressing your hips forward while driving your legs back against his legs.
Keep your hips close to his, keep your hooks in, and control his wrists while you try to strangle him from behind.

Monday, July 11, 2005

BJJ Move #28: Arm In Guillotine (several variations)

Here is a standard, go-to submission that can be done standing or on the ground.
It's called an "arm in" guillotine because one of your opponent's arms is inside your arms, pressing against his own throat.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Arm In Guillotine (several variations):

Standing Variations: (I'll describe ground setups in a later post)

1) Front Headlock to Arm-in Guillotine:

Setup 1: Secure a front headlock (here, with your right arm around his head, trapping his right arm into your armpit—his head and arm have to be on the same side of your body).
Setup 2: Your opponent hooks your left leg with his right arm, trying to take you down.
Trap his head into your right armpit with your right arm.
Trap his right arm with your left arm, hooking your right wrist with your left hand to secure a front headlock.
Kick your left leg back to release his grip.
Post your left leg, then drive your right knee in behind his right triceps to clear it out of the way to your right and block it.

Step 2: Now switch your grip so your left hand hooks and pulls up on your right wrist; make sure you pull your right arm all the way across, tightly trapping opponent's head and arm together; your right side/ribs are going to be tight against the back of your opponent’s right arm

Step 3:
Post on your left leg and sit through with your right leg, clearing his left arm with your right knee as you slide your right shin across his waist; fall to your right side, not flat on your back. Throw your left leg over his back so he can’t escape. Or:
Drop to guard and slide your feet, clasped together, out to the right (to the top of his left hip).

Step 4: Bring your right forearm from under him to the side, around to the exposed part of his throat (on his left carotid artery, opposite where his upper arm is pressed against his own throat—on his right carotid artery) and lean back, applying the guillotine choke by pulling your right forearm across his neck, pressing his own right arm against his neck on the other side with your body, and pushing his head down with your right biceps.

2) Front Headlock to Flying Arm-in Guillotine:

From a front headlock (controlling his right arm), tighten the grip by pulling your right hand toward your opponent’s trapped right armpit.
Bring your hands up toward your sternum.
Place your left leg up on his back and jump up lightly, locking your legs around his back. He'll bend at the waist, but may not lose his balance and fall forward.
Arch your back, squeeze tightly and keep your head bent down close to your opponent’s head.
You can finish with your opponent standing or on the ground. This move often feels more like a neck crank than a strangle.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

1000 Hits: Litvak Officially Opinionmaker

If you look at the bottom of the page, you'll see a hit counter, which passed 1000 hits this weekend.
As numerous as the stars in the (hazy Brooklyn) firmament are the legions of those who visit these pages.
I admit, loyal readers, this accomplishment is as much yours as mine.
The Litvak is now officially an Opinionmaker.

Read more below the jump.

[clears throat]
I hope to use my recently acquired power to cow tyrants, to defend those who are cruelly oppressed, and to rail against injustice, not to line my own pockets with the filthy lucre of those interests who would become irresistible when backed with the force of my pen.

What, too much? I just paraphrased the NYT editorial statement.
Also, everyone, thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Canoeing in the GOWANUS CANAL!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Friedman Chides Islamic World: Be More Like Me

It's way too "aw, shucks" for my aesthetic, but Thos. Friedman's piece in today's NYT is interesting.

More below the jump...

Nutshell paraphrase:
It'll be bad if Western nations have to respond to domestic Muslim terrorists without the help of Muslim communities, 'cause the governments will be less effective and pleasant with their guns and dogs and racial profiling than the Muslim communities would be with rejecting, ostracizing, and condemning extremists.

I think it'd be a wonderful boon for Muslims if their religious leaders loudly and unambiguously rejected all terrorism as contrary to their religion. Most people (myself included) are largely ignorant of Islam, and would, I think, be greatly set at ease if they heard clear words that Islam, whose history with Christianity has been fraught with mutual hostility, did not wink at terrorism. Otherwise, people are liable to form their opinion of Muslims by the most spectacular things they see that are associated with the religion, which, unfortunately, aren't so uplifting these days.

The most notorious Jewish terrorist in recent memory, a nut named Baruch Goldstein, killed 29 people in a Hebron mosque in 1994. If the rabbinate hadn't universally condemned his actions, and loudly, I know I'd've un-Jewed myself.

BJJ Move #27: Front Headlock (Clinch)

Here's a very common way to control someone whom you've bent over or who's just tried to tackle or shoot in on you from the front.
It offers a great deal of control, opportunities to strike or submit your opponent while standing, tires him out, and is easy and intuitive to apply.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Front Headlock (Clinch):
-standing clinch

Your opponent is bent over at the waist (I'll describe setups in later posts)-—your right arm locks around the back of your opponent’s head and under his throat around his left ear; your left arm traps his right arm against his head by going underneath his right armpit.
Clasp your hands together, left hand palm up, and drive your left forearm across to your left so your opponent’s right arm crosses your stomach and is glued tightly to his neck.
Keep your weight over your opponent’s head / neck to control him and wear him down, and your hips and legs back to keep him from picking you up.
From this position you can deliver knee strikes to the top of your opponent’s completely immobilized head.

When I Eat (Some) Crow

Well, in my last post I wrote (among other things, and not all that clearly) that our first response to terrorist attacks should be to treat them as crimes-- by comforting the victims and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

That we shouldn't really consider that terrorists do things for acceptable reasons and try to figure out why the terrorists felt justified in murdering people.

And that we should do step one (comfort, apprehend) before we worry about whether our response will treat the perpetrators' co-religionists unfairly.

Before. Not instead of. This Legal Times piece, clearly exists to make me look stupid.

Read more below the jump.

The federal prosecutors accused Ali Al-Timimi, an American citizen and a Muslim, of providing support to terrorists.
That's not the problem. I can't give money to hitmen, he can't give money to terror groups. So says the law.

The problem is that the prosecutor argued in summation:
If you're a kafir [a non-Muslim], Timimi believes in time of war he's supposed to lie to you. Don't fall for it.

Evidently (according to the article), the prosecution's case was liberally seasoned with religious terms from Islam that the jury was hearing for the first time.
Uh, dude, you can't argue that a defendant is a liar because Muslims think they're allowed to lie.

As an aside, I'll note that the defense lawyer also complained about how the prosecutor made reference to the the testimony of a witness for the prosecution:
The witness testified that Timimi never told followers that Muslims had an obligation to wage war against the United States. In his closing, Kromberg told jurors not to believe the witness because he had also testified that he considered Shiite Muslims nonbelievers who should have their heads lopped off.

That one doesn't bother me, but provides a good contrast for the "kafir" comment. The defendant says two things that sound inconsistent. The prosecutor points that out. It's completely different from attributing generalizations about a defendant's supposed religious beliefs to argue that he's lying.

I don't know exactly where the law should draw the line here (and I'm working for a judge). There's First Amendment caselaw and the federal rules of evidence, so the correct legal answer may not necessarily be the same as what I think is appropriate intuitively.
But the prosecutors are supposed to be wearing the white hats. They should consider themselves bound by more than just the law-- even if they can get away with using this kind of evidence, they should only be using evidence that shows this defendant did these actions-- and not arguing that Muslims, or even just some Muslims, are violent liars 'cause they believe God told them it's okay.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Condolences to the U.K.

I was going to post something funny today, but instead I'll post about the bus and subway bombings in London.

Read more below the jump.

First, and really, last, I'd like to send my sympathy out to the Brits, who, despite the paranoid blather of the "The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe," have done absolutely nothing to deserve being murdered. I'm not just saying this to preface some political point about how we should then do something else. Really, I just think that our primary response to this is should be to comfort and aid the Brits.

Through its actions and its words, SOAQE reveals itself as a bunch of ignorant, vicious conspiracy nuts.
Who else could call the Tories the "Zionist crusader government?"
Who else could believe an ideology that justifies blowing up buses and trains full of commuters?

I moved to NYC from SF in the summer of 2001.
A lot of my circle of friends in SF were liberal, or, more accurately, leftist.
When the planes hit on 9/11, one of them ("S") wrote to the group, on the 11th, the first e-mail to our listserve:
These tragic plane crashes, were in a lot of ways, bound to happen. Yes, that's the pessimistic view, but the American government needs to wake up and realize what it has done to other countries. People are pissed off at America and have the right to be. It's just sad that so many people die at the hands of World Leaders who are just little boys playing games.

The message included a link to an article called "America's Terrorist Roots."

Was I alive or dead? S hadn't asked. And she hadn't expressed horror at the terrorists' acts, or sympathy for the victims.
First on her mind was smugness. Such was her concern for the evils our own country had allegedly perpetrated.

I responded (also to the group):
I can't believe you sent this-- it is in such poor taste. There are ten thousand people dead here in NYC, and you're telling us that their murder was the
inevitable consequence of American bullying?

What are you thinking?

In retrospect, I was wrong about the casualty figure, but right about her.

I was hoping for an e-mail from another member of the group to the effect of "Are you okay?"
Instead, another member of the group, K, responded with some prefatory remarks that sounded like a bad politician's speech:
I think we're all shocked and sadden by what happened today in ny. I was in disbelief when i woke up this morning to the news coming from the alarm clock and thought it was a sick joke at first until learning that it's not a movie trailer or a joke. we are all sending our prayers to those who worked in the towers, in the financial district, and the families of those lost in this trajedy.

K then blamed U.S. policy on Israel, of course, and warned us not to become bigots:
we can all express our grief, but we should also be aware and not deny the reasons for why this happen. it does not occur in a vaccum. there are reasons for this. this is shocking and horrifying to us, but imagine all those who live in war torn areas who are regularly bombed by missiles with much more force. it's their daily existence. the us contributes to this. violence begets violence. we (U.S) imagine ourselves as an all powerful invulnerable nation where we don't answer to anyone and do as we wish without taking any responsibility. this attack shatters that image of the untouchable nation. i hope that this forces the US as a nation to be more responsible in its actions internationally, not just for the sake of innocent civilians (and even non-civilians) who suffer from our (US)contribution to the political instability in their areas (military arms, etc), but also for the sake of all the innocent people here in the US and other US citizens worldwide who pay the price of retribution. though i am fearful that in the meantime only more violence and death will follow as we seek retribution on WHO EVER it is that is responsible, and as people take it in their own hands to seek out justice by attacking and threatening arab americans and muslims who they speculate to be the perpetrators.

I did not agree that deserving terrorist retribution, supporting Israel, and bigotry were connected in any way.

S, slightly chastened, then had this to say:
It's not that I am not saddened by this horrifying act and don't feel sympathy towards the people who died, were injured and had to watch the display of the twin towers crumbling to the ground. It's not that I don't feel the horror of the magnitude of this act. The reason I sent out that article was because I know that these acts aren't created in a vacuum and that a lot of historical events created by the US have created something in the minds of many people in this country and others that feed a feeling of retribution that I don't in any way condone, but can see and know is real.

It's a wake up call in a lot of ways for America to look at what we have done and what we can do to insure the people that live in this country are safe as well as people who live in other countries who get trapped between political lines.

Sorry to make some of you all feel uncomfortable with this article. If you have any beefs about it, please let me know. It's good to hear all sides.

I hope any of you who have friends or family in DC or NY are okay and safe right now.

Not good enough. And the "feeling of retribution" she didn't "condone" but saw and knew "is real" just set me off.

On 9/12, K then sent a copy of the following piece by Robert Kagan from the Washington Post, with the message "it has started already.":

September 11, 2001 -- the date that will live in infamy, the day the post-Cold War era ended, the day the world for Americans changed utterly. In the coming days, as rescuers pick through the rubble in New York, in Washington, in Pittsburgh and who knows where else across the besieged United States, as the bodies of thousands of dead Americans are uncovered and as the rest of us weep over the destruction of innocent human life, our friends and loved ones, we may begin to hear analyses as to why this "tragedy" has befallen us. There will no doubt be questions raised, sins of omission and commission in the Middle East alluded to. Even today, the BBC opined that the attacks came because the United States had failed to get a "grip" on the
Middle East. Nothing strange or odd in that. After Pearl Harbor, almost exactly 60 years ago, there were those who argued, with perhaps even more persuasiveness, that then, too, the United States had somehow invited the Japanese attack. After all, had we not embargoed Japan's vital oil supply?

One can only hope that America can respond to today's monstrous attack on American soil -- an attack far more awful than Pearl Harbor -- with the same moral clarity and courage as our grandfathers did. Not by asking what we have done to bring on the wrath of inhuman murderers. Not by figuring out ways to reason with, or try to appease those who have spilled our blood. Not by engaging in an extended legal effort to find the killers and bring them to justice. But by doing the only thing we now can do: go to war. Over the past few years there has been a nostalgic celebration of "The Greatest Generation" -- the generation that fought for America and for humanity in the Second World War. There's no need for nostalgia now. That challenge is before us again. The question today is whether this generation of Americans is made of the same stuff.

Please let us make no mistake this time: We are at war now. We have suffered the first, devastating strike. Certainly, it is not the last. The only question is whether we will now take this war seriously, as seriously as any war we have ever fought. Let's not be daunted by the mysterious and partially hidden identity of our attackers. It will soon become obvious that there are only a few terrorist organizations capable of carrying out such a massive and coordinated strike. We should pour the resources necessary into a global effort to hunt them down and capture or kill them. It will become apparent that those organizations could not have operated without the assistance of some governments, governments with a long record of hostility to the United States and an equally long record of support for terrorism. We should now immediately begin building up our conventional military forces to prepare for what will inevitably and rapidly escalate into confrontation and quite possibly war with one or more of those powers. Congress, in fact, should
immediately declare war. It does not have to name a country. It can declare war against those who have carried out today's attack and against any nations that may have lent their support. A declaration of war would not be pure symbolism. It would be a sign of will and determination to see this conflict through to a satisfactory conclusion no matter how long it takes or how difficult the challenge.

Fortunately, with the Cold War over, there are no immediate threats around the world to prevent us from concentrating our energies and resources on fighting this war on international terrorism as we have never fought it before.

I don't know--it seemed like good advice to me, and didn't urge hate crimes, either.
Well, now my dudgeon was up, and I was annoyed no one was asking after me and my family (these were friends of mine!). I wrote back to the group:

Why mention that "events created by the US … feed a feeling of retribution" if you don't condone that feeling of retribution? Millions of people who have been victims of violence somehow managed to feed an unjustified feeling of retribution; how is the US different?

Your [S's] letter and [K]'s suggest that the attacks were payback, our just desserts for failing to "answer to anyone and do[ing] as we wish without taking any responsibility." It may be that "the US contributes" to the circumstances of "all those who live in war torn areas who are regularly bombed by missiles with
much more force" than we are. Is the lesson we're supposed to learn -really- that "violence begets violence?"

Of course these attacks shatter our notions of safety, but they shouldn't lead us to any conclusions about our innocence OR guilt in international affairs. The
suggestion that victims of terrorism and other violence should reflect on what they did to deserve it is horrible. Using a massive act of violence as an "I-told-you-so" in criticism of U.S. foreign policy is unpersuasive and repellent. If half as many people had been murdered, would your argument have been only half as strong? Certainly that's what the terrorists were thinking. When [K] writes that she "hope[s] that this forces the US as a nation to be more responsible in its actions internationally … for the sake of all the innocent people here in the US and other US citizens worldwide who pay the price of retribution," she could be acting as a spokesperson for those responsible.

Just because someone else feels justified in murdering us doesn't mean we should try to see things his way.

Furthermore, I don't understand why we shouldn't seek retribution against those responsible. We are perfectly capable of distinguishing terrorists from innocent Arabs and Muslims, and there is no reason to refrain from seeking justice and "escalat[ing] this into an all out war and bomb[ing] the hell out of WHO EVER it is;" rather, no "escalation" is necessary- ten thousand people are already dead.

The author of the article [K] mentioned, Donald Kagan, wrote a great book, "On the Origin of War and the Preservation of Peace." [Ed.: I confused Robert Kagan, who wrote the article, with Donald Kagan, who wrote the book.] One of the book's arguments is that many wars start when the major powers fail to assert their power over little states with an incentive to initiate aggression. This failing, and not a foreign policy of insufficient benevolence, is probably more the cause of yesterday's attacks.

I still think I'm correct about the Kagan point. If we'd cleaned up Afghanistan earlier instead of letting it fester, we might have prevented the transformation of Al Qaeda from a bulwak against the Soviet invasion into a pan-Sunni terrorist group.

The exchange went on from there. People in the group who were closer friends of mine were more sympathetic to the victims, but no one really wanted to acknowledge that S and K's messages were insensitive, tasteless, and ignorant, let alone agree with my views of international relations.

Anyway. That's context. So.

I don't want to hear anyone talking about how Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to anger that is "understandable."
I don't want to hear hysterical objections to the inevitable increased scrutiny Muslim immigrants in Europe will receive at train stations.
The only appropriate response now is to comfort the victims of the attacks and hunt down those responsible.

So, you know, for the dozen or so people who read my blog, that's how I feel.

The Greatest Game Ever

Today I'm singing the praises of the game Jew-not-a-Jew (JNAJ).
Not as good as Texas Hold 'Em or Scrabble, but it has its advantages...

Read more below the jump.

First, there are obvious reasons it's more challenging than Chinese-not-Chinese or Black-not-Black.

Second, Jews have lived in all sorts of places since the Babylonian exile around 587 B.C.E. (and subsequent exiles), so we have a huge variety of surnames.
That makes it harder to remember all the Jewish names than to remember, say, all the Korean surnames--where about half the people have one of five popular surnames, or even Scots, where (in 1901, anyway) 15% of the people had one of twenty popular surnames.
Yes, fascinating, I know.
Plus, many traditionally Jewish names (Zimmerman, Schwartz) are only sometimes Jewish.

Some are odd permutations of others it's fun to recognize them (Safire, Sapphire, Safir, Shapiro, Sapperstein).
Others represent particularly Jewish trades (Sapphire, Diamond, Ruby) or have Hebrew roots (Frum, Mikva, Malamud), or are the name of a place Jews lived (Litvak, Tarnipol, Berlin) or otherwise have clues to Jewishness (Cohen, Levi, Jewison, Katz (means "cat" in German, but selected by Jews supposedly as an acronym for "Cohen Tzadik," or "righteous Cohen" (Cohen is the priest tribe from way back), Baron (short for "Ben Aharon," or "son of Aaron")).
Check some neat origins out here.

Third, lots of Jews intentionally changed their names to assimilate or avoid persecution, so spotting them is a particular challenge-- and fun.

Jewhoo has profiles of famous Jews from fields like entertainment and sports, many of whom have changed their names.
It's stopped covering other prominent people, because nutjobs believe every prominent Jew is evidence that ZOG (the Zionist Occupying Government-- it's like CLAW but with bagels) controls the government, media, U.N., etc.
By the way, ZOG High Command-- my check for being part of the tiny ethnic group responsible world domination seems to be held up in the mail or something. What gives?

Fourth, lots of people look or seem a little bit Jewish (and aren't, like Alan Alda), or have some Jewish ancestry but aren't Jewish (like John Kerry or Harrison Ford), or don't look Jewish or have Jewish-sounding names but are Jewish, after all (like Sammy Davis, Jr.).

Recognizing who's Jewish can be a kind of lightweight intellectual challenge.
And, if you're Jewish, you get a small and ill-deserved jolt of pride when you discover some admirable person is Jewish, too.

But with the joy of identifying admirable Jews comes the inevitable shame of identifying jerks.

It's not like being, say, of German ancestry and meeting a jerk named Schmidt.
Who cares? People don't meet some schmuck named Toby Schmidt (or whoever) and think,
"Hey, I don't meet too many Americans with German surnames. But now I have, and they are losers."

But, you know, if you're part of a smaller ethnic group (about 13 million worldwide), these jerks are a real shanda (shame, embarrassment).

Better yet, they are a "shanda fur die goy"-- something embarrassing in front of Gentiles. Please note that the use of the term "goy"--Hebrew for "nation" and Yiddish for "non-Jew"-- is unavoidable in that phrase. Even though it's sometimes used as a sort of slur for Gentiles, it's the only Yiddish word for y'all I've heard.

A funny thing, if you think about it-- to have a sterotype about the other six billion people on the planet.
(Anyway, I hear they're not like you and me, the other six billion; their hearts are on the right side of their chests, or something)

Well, sometimes it happens. I admit that some obnoxious people (often famous) are Jewish.
And, of course, they're going to be offensive in a way that stings.
If people think we're short and oversexed, he'll be Ron Jeremy.
If people believe Jews talk too much and aren't really funny, he'll be Pauly Shore.
If we're all amazing, uh, swimmers, it'll be Mark Spitz. Damn you, Spitz!

And that's how I conceived of the Magic Power I'd like.
The power to un-Jew.

With this power, I could instantly make embarrassing Jewish people instantly gentile.
I've discussed this with friends, and we've decided it would be too much power for a mortal to wield if I got to decide which religion someone would become when I zapped him, so he'll just randomly become Lutheran, or Bahai, or a Baal worshipper or something.

I like to plan whom I'd un-Jew when I get my wand and jet pack.

I can always dream, can't I?

Well, I think that's all I've got to say on this subject.

Play JNAJ, and enjoy it in good health!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Office View Again

Office view again.

View from my office.

That voice. _And_ she donated to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

Isn't the Gowanus romantic?

Soooo industrial

Well I been done seen about ev'rything, when I seen a elephant fly...

A tree _grew_ in Brooklyn.


UWS church


A door on every floor.

Manhattan Bridge

A mole! A mole!

Golden Gate Bridge on a typical summer day in SF-- icy fog.

Redwoods. Tallest tree to ever roam the earth.

Redwoods. Dunnit look just like the Moon of Endor?

When buttons were buttons and men were men. But especially the thing about the buttons.

"No Pork Halal Kitchen." The best no pork I never ate.

NYC Deli Cat cools off with an ice cube.

The view toward the Brooklyn Bridge-- my running route to work.


Geese fear me. Women desire me. Well, geese fear me, anyway.

This isn't cilantro. My stomach hurts.

Lord, I was born a ramblin' man.

Hill looks like a whale?


Hudson Valley Man-Eating Fungus

"Redwoods, take 2."

Friday, July 01, 2005

BJJ Move #26: The Half Guard Position

Sometimes you end up on your back, with only one leg between your opponent's legs. This is called the "half guard."

This happens a lot when the person on the bottom of cross side is trying to escape, and gets one leg in, or when the guy on the top of cross side gets caught trying to climb into the mount position. It also happens a lot when one person does a takedown, and the person who's going down manages to get one leg inside.

You can do some submissions from here, but it's not a very advantageous position, and you'd rather take your opponent's back or get a full guard.

WARNING! These techniques could result in serious injury or death if practiced incorrectly or even if performed correctly. They should only be practiced with the supervision of an experienced instructor.

Half Guard (notes):

Stay on your side so you can move your hips—don’t get put flat on your back. That is, if your right leg is between his legs, hip out to the left and keep your right side on the ground. Keep your left shoulder off the ground, too.

One arm goes underneath opponent's armpit so you can go to opponent's back, and the other is in front of your face so your opponent can't trap your head. Both of these defenses prevent a person from laying you flat.

A more “advanced” player will use the arm on the side of the free leg to hold his opponent off, and bring that knee in across his opponent’s chest / stomach.