Wednesday, November 30, 2005

BJJ Move #69: Sprawl and Cross face

What do you do when an opponent "shoots" in on you, with something like a single- or double-leg takedown?
Sprawl and cross face.

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.

Sprawl and Cross face:

When your opponent shoots on you, drop your hips down (not back), arch your back and drive your legs back. Try to get underhooks.
Do not lock your hands around your opponent’s waist—you want to maximize the distance between the back of your knees and his shoulders.
Do not stay where you are after sprawling; spin around behind him (see crossface below).
Drop all the way down, insteps to floor (staying on balls of feet provides friction for him to stand you back up by driving you backwards; resting on your insteps lets you slide back as he drives).
Drop to one hip (the leg he’s going for, usually your lead leg, should drive backwards and you should try to get that hip to the floor and get an underhook with that arm).

Cross face:
After sprawling, a cross face can further stop a shot and help you get behind your opponent. Here, assume you have sprawled after your opponent has shot for a single leg takedown on your right leg.
To execute a cross face, your opponent’s head has to be on the outside of your hip / body. If his head is on the inside or between your legs after you stop the shot, push it to the outside.
Now take your right forearm and reach it between his right jaw and right shoulder, scooping his face ("cross face") back to your front and right with your arm— and turning his head away from you to his left.
If you can, grab his left shoulder or bicep with your right hand, and lever his head backwards with your right upper arm.
With his head turned to his left, he won’t be able to effectively drive forward and to his right, and it will also be difficult for him to maintain his grip on your right leg.
Now, circle clockwise on your feet, toward his right foot--the opposite direction that your cross face is pushing his head. Maintain pressure on his face and head.
Grab around his back with your left hand to go toward a rear clinch.
You may also be able to scoop up his right foot with your left hand for an ankle pick, or, when his grip is broken, with your right foot to drive him over his left side.

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, November 29, 2005

R.I.P., Pat Morita

Pat Morita, of "Happy Days" and "Karate Kid" fame, passed away on Thanksgiving.
The NYT has an obituary-ish editorial by Lawrence Downes, who makes the perfectly justified complaint that "it's distressing to think that the life's work of one of the best-known, hardest-working Asian-American actors is mostly a loose collection of servile supporting roles."
True, true.
He also claims that "[t]he movie and TV industry has never had many roles for Asian-American men, and it seemed for a while that they all went to Mr. Morita."
Au contraire, Downes! 
Obviously, Downes hasn't been paying attention to the pantheon of Asian-American B movie actors-- Victor Wong (of Big Trouble in Little China fame, also starred in Tremors and Joy Luck Club), James Hong (uh, also Big Trouble, among others, and that Seinfeld episode in the Chinese restaurant), and the always, er, identifiably Asian Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa (many movies best forgotten).
Pat Morita may be gone, but the hard-working Asian-American actors whose talents justify the inclusion of "Dragon," "Shadow," and "Emperor" in the titles of our B movies will live forever.  Metaphorically.

Does Stress Cause Cancer? NO.

In today's NYT, Gina Kolata asks what seems to be a tough question (" Is There a Link Between Stress and Cancer?").
A lot of people who get cancer think it was caused by stress.
Only thing is, no one else does.
Ms. Kolata gets good quotes from a number of experts in the field:
"I have no idea, and nobody else does, either," said Barbara Andersen, a psychology professor at Ohio State University who studies stress reduction in cancer patients. "If somebody suggested that they know, I would question them."
"If the question is, Have we established it?, the answer is, Absolutely not," said Sheldon Cohen, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied the role of support groups and stress reduction in cancer.
Barrie Cassileth, chief of the integrative medicine service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center:  "I tell them they did not cause their cancer. Absolutely not."
Dr. Drew Pardoll, director of the cancer immunology program at Johns Hopkins' Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center:  The old idea was that cancers arise every day but the immune system destroys them. Anything that weakens the immune system - stress, for example - could hinder this surveillance. The result would be a cancer that grows large enough to resist the body's effort to heal itself. "Nobody believes that anymore," Dr. Pardoll said.
Dr. Fred Applebaum, director of the clinical research division at the Fred Hutchinson Center, said that he and most other cancer experts believed the theory. But then they looked at mice that were genetically engineered to have no functioning immune systems. "They really don't show a huge increase in the incidence of cancer," Dr. Applebaum said.
James Allison, chairman of the immunology program at Sloan-Kettering:  "I can't rule it out," he said, "but I would be very skeptical."
Several studies reached the same result-- no correlation between stress and cancer.
Gina Kolata is a great reporter, and has a greatest cocktail-rhymed name in the world, but her piece reminds me of papers I've written where I hoped a question would turn out to be interesting but instead had a simple answer that I discovered too close to the deadline to find another topic.  Tough break.

BJJ Move #68: Double Shin Sweep vs. Opponent Standing in Open Guard

If your opponent stands up in your open guard, you're in trouble.
Best option is to push him away with your feet and stand up yourself.
If your opponent's standing close to you, however, you might pull off this sweep...

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 Shin Sweep vs. Opponent Standing in Open Guard:

Your opponent is standing up in your open guard but your feet are hooked inside and behind his knees (to keep him close with your feet as hooks) with your own knees splayed out a little (to hold him off by pressing against the insides of his knees with your shins).
Grab both his ankles with your hands from the outside. Pull in with your arms as you drive your hips off the ground and spread your knees out, knocking him over backward. Take the mount or an Achilles ankle lock.

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.

Monday, November 28, 2005

BJJ Move #67: "One Hook" Guard Sweep to Mount

Hey, a new BJJ Move post!
First, I'll describe a variation on the open guard-- a "one hook" inside version.
Then, a nice sweep from that position.

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.

"One Hook" Guard, Sweep to Mount:

Open guard variation – one hook in:
You and your opponent are both seated and facing each other. Your right knee is up, right foot worming under his left thigh. Your left leg is folded in front of you, knee pointing out to your left.
Your opponent grabs the back of your head with his left hand. Grab the back of his neck to the outside of his left arm with your right hand. Grab thumb-down on his right wrist with your left hand. This is a good position from which to sweep him to his right side.

“One Hook” Sweep to Mount:
Your opponent is in your open guard on his knees. The opportunity for this sweep is when your opponent is rushing forward. Your right foot is between his legs, left foot folded across in front of you / under your butt.
Get an underhook with your right hand, and an overhook (or grabbing his right wrist) with your left. You want to be sitting up with your head near your opponent’s chest.
Bring your left elbow in tight to your own hip to trap his arm effectively.
With your right hand, punch under your opponent’s left armpit, holding his back.
Sweep by falling to your left while kicking your left leg through, flat on the ground; kicking up with your right foot against his left inner thigh; lifting with your right arm; and trapping his right arm with your left arm, taking him over to the left.
Make sure you keep opponent's arm trapped until you land in mount or cross side.

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, November 22, 2005

Bush Declines to Pardon Coward Anti-War Turkey

You give aid and comfort to our enemies, Tom. 
I am ashamed to call you my fellow American.
May God have mercy on your soul.
Amen, and pass the gravy, heh heh.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Friedman, Quit Gankin' My Philosophizing

Back in July, after the London bombings, I wrote about an "Object Lesson for Irresponsible Ideologues":
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."
Ditto the Jordan bombings. 
Today Thos. Friedman wants to join my novel "suicide bombing is bad" bandwagon.
He has a piece (sorry, it's Select) to the effect of "'Why Us?' Sunni Arabs Should Ask, 'Why Anyone?'"
In fact, that's the title of the piece.
Friedman notes that "it was . . . dispiriting to listen to other Jordanian and Arab voices saying that they believe Israelis were behind the attacks in Amman, or telling the bombers: if you want to bomb someone, bomb the 'occupiers' - code for Americans and Israelis. Why us?"
He also writes that "no one protested recently when Muslim suicide bombers butchered Shiites in Iraq or Ahmedis in Pakistan or Christian tourists in Indonesia or Jews in Israel or Hindus in New Delhi."
Yeah, yeah.  "The chickens have come home to roost," "sow the wind, reap the whirlwind," whatever. 
Then Thos. makes some unnecessarily flip remarks about a national museum in a country whose national heroes are suicide bombers ("Here's Ahmed - he blew up 52 Muslims at a wedding"), yadda yadda. 
The blog posts I write while I eat lunch at my desk are better than that narishkeit, boychik.
Friedman, quit gankin' my philosophizing.  Honestly.  I totally disapproved of suicide bombing before you did, Johnny-come-lately.
Don't you have marvelling to do at how well Indians get along with computers, or something?

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Bird Is The Word

Puny Humans:
Yeah, yeah, I'm a chicken.  I'm tired of the jokes.  This is serious.  Don't ask me if the sky is falling.  Don't associate my species with cowardice.  I'll peck your eyes out, fool.
Hey, shut up.  Don't say "chopped liver."  That's not funny.
Your New York Times reports today that China plans to vaccinate all the chickens (and other poultry) in China. 
Despite the fact that (1) "billions of free-range birds will have to be caught" and injected one by one, (2) we all look alike to you people; (3) pigs and migratory birds carry the virus, and (4) many Chinese families live with birds and pigs as their pets, I can't see anything wrong with it.
Oh, yeah!  Except for the fact that we don't need your stupid vaccines!
Vaccines are just a way for humans to encroach on the sovereignty of birds.  Do I look sick to you?
Hell, no!  Check out this plumage, you hairless apes.
Do I need the side effects of your stupid vaccine?  Like a neck-wringing!
You know what?  If you poor, scrawny monkeys are so worried you can't survive our nasty flu, maybe you should stop eating us.
You don't see chickens with leprosy and measles, do you? 
What? Chicken pox?  Very funny.
Two for flinching. 

Monday, November 14, 2005

Roth Everlasting

NYT editorial contributor Peter Mehlman asking the tough questions:
Is Philip Roth using writing-enhancing drugs?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

NYT to Bush: Demote Your Boss

Yesterday's NYT's has an editorial saying, in effect: 
President Bush, you stink.  And, by the way, demote your boss (i.e., Cheney, not God).
After President Bush's disastrous visit to Latin America, it's unnerving to realize that his presidency still has more than three years to run. An administration with no agenda and no competence would be hard enough to live with on the domestic front. But the rest of the world simply can't afford an American government this bad for that long.
But the central problem is not Karl Rove or Treasury Secretary John Snow or even Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary. It is President Bush himself.
The place to begin is with Dick Cheney, the dark force behind many of the administration's most disastrous policies, like the Iraq invasion and the stubborn resistance to energy conservation. Right now, the vice president is devoting himself to beating back Congressional legislation that would prohibit the torture of prisoners. This is truly a remarkable set of priorities: his former chief aide was indicted, Mr. Cheney's back is against the wall, and he's declared war on the Geneva Conventions.
Mr. Bush cannot fire Mr. Cheney, but he could do what other presidents have done to vice presidents: keep him too busy attending funerals and acting as the chairman of studies to do more harm. Mr. Bush would still have to turn his administration around, but it would at least send a signal to the nation and the world that he was in charge, and the next three years might not be as dreadful as they threaten to be right now.
Dubya!  First they fire your pet reporter, now they slam on your veep!
Are you gonna take this lying down like a French police precinct, or are you gonna show your stuff and reveal what we've always suspected:  The NYT's boyfriend is an undercover superhero:

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Tortured Reasoning

Sorry about the pun.
The editorial in today's New York Times scolds Bush & Co. for opposing laws and rules that would forbid us from torturing people.
And the Times is right, of course.
Now, I don't want to get into politics-- I want to make a different observation.
The Bush administration reminds me of my earlier post about Sammy Franco's "Contemporary Fighting Arts."
The basic premise of the Bush and Franco approaches seems to be that in the arena of violence, the more extreme something is, the more ruthless, the more unprincipled and abhorrent, the more effective it must be.
Of course, it's nonsense.  A minimum level of tolerance for hurting innocent people is necessary to fighting wars (or beating people up), but there's no reason to think we continue to reap advantage as we become more and more desensitized to wickedness. 
Superior training, personnel, intelligence and technology are the foundation of our military hegemony, not our enthusiasm for war crimes.
Similar considerations make trained fighters better at brawling than misanthropes who daydream about maiming everyone.
Otherwise, the Sudanese militias would rule the world, and Sammy Franco would knock out Mike Tyson.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Well, it's ten in the p.m.  This is a blog, so I'm encouraged to use old-tyme language as well as indiosyncratic phrases.
I'm excited because I'll be out of work by 10:30 this evening, and I may actually get to do something! 
Maybe I'll have a beer!
Perhaps I'll call a friend who's still awake and catch up.
Then again, I may ride the subways home dressed as a whaling captain, fighting the forces of SHPOS-itude with my trusty harpoon.
Good times.