Taekwon-Do Themes: Grass Roots



One thing we can all do without: Fratbro Fighting Secrets

I recently put a post up here about my scepticism behind how much weight people put on martial arts that are supposedly “hidden military secrets” (here). Well, this week I found something else that goes a bit further than that.

Fratbro fighting secrets!

Yep, you watched UFC 3 on VHS and you got your Tapout hat on backwards and you watched fight club at least ten times. Sure, time to open up a can of PBR and sit down and write your dudebro fighting tips.

Hey, for most people when you read an article about fighting, it helps to see the qualifications behind it. Geoff Thompson‘s years of door experience and martial arts cross training and reality days perhaps? Or maybe Renzo Gracie‘s lifetime of grappling and top level MMA experience perchance?

Let’s see what this guy writing an article for that time-withered almanac BroBible.com has to say for himself:

Bread Foster

Bread Foster got a degree but rolled a joint with it instead of using it. He’s a NYC comedian but a multinational drunk.

Oh wow. Jesus Christ

So yeah, this guy has nothing. No experience. Either that or he’s a secret agent in deep cover as an asshole.

Thing is that saying that you are a drunk and then offering your fighting secrets is basically saying that you pick fights against people you can beat in bars. Why is that something to be proud of? No matter how good the fighting tips were, I wouldn’t feel too good about them if the title was “How to beat a smaller weaker opponent who doesn’t want to fight” or “Lessons I learnt from beating my wife”.

Yes, sometimes people doing nothing wrong find themselves in need of self defence, which is why they learn from experts who practise recreationally, not from a guy in alleyway. The idea that fights are unavoidable for a certain class of young man is the biggest bullshit going and if you have been in enough bar fights that you consider yourself expert enough to write an article (outside of being a cop or doorman or similar) then, guess what buddy. You are the bully. You started those fights. You put people in situations where they could be permenantly injured or killed.

Welcome to bully training 101. Fratbros saw that Mickey character in Snatch and damn, it doesn’t look all that hard does it? Just got to get the right hat.

Even if this scrub knew something worth knowing, to put this out there without guidance on awareness, de-escalation and avoidance as precursors to use of actual force, then he’s basically giving all the testosterone filled young men who read this encouragement and peer pressure to go out and start fights. Now that is some irresponsible bullshit.

So what pearls of advice does this untrained and self appointed fight teacher want to teach you untrained, clumsy people in his essay?

What does he reckon based on no valid given experience from the safety of his keyboard?

The average D-Bag at a bar who starts a fight is looking for you to back down. It’s a simple fact that sometimes people just want to feel powerful. They aren’t prepared to actually fight, because a fight takes more cardio than a fat kid chasing an ice cream truck.

Hey, he knows all about D-bags in bars. Somehow I buy that. Much more likely that he is one than some kind of hidden mortal kombat character.

Note the emphasis on who “started” the fight. No emphasis on escape or de-escalation, which are clearly the first rational lines of response for untrained individuals who want to keep their head on their shoulders. If you feel like you have been in enough fights to write an article about it for your “BroBible.com” buddies then you probably consider looking at someone funny to be “starting the fight”.

And fucko, no, a real life encounter requires fuck all cardio. Boxing match – yes. MMA fight – yes. Street fight – no way.
It’s a scuffle, not a one-on-one test of skill. You think the referee is going to break you up for four more rounds? While fitness and conditioning are clearly beneficial, all those fat guys in bars don’t need training camps to hit you in the face and stomp you. These things happen quickly and are over quickly. Talking about cardio is the first sign that you think fight sports and self defence are the same thing, which they just aren’t.

What else?

Make Them Miss……This is why it’s better to make someone miss punches and get in your counters. The average person cannot fight for more than a minute before they get tired and gassed. Simply duck, weave, and push your opponent back until they get gassed. Try moving your upper body in a U and backing up. Try to keep your feet planted in case they connect, but after 45 seconds of missing punches it cuts down a persons endurance and their will to fight.


Surely the dumbest thing in the whole article. The guy wants to take some random “do you even lift?” jock and advise them that their best weapon in their first street fight is to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. What next? The crane kick?

Counter punching is a really hard style to pull off. Gyms that specialise in it spend hours on footwork and defence, bank on wearing gloves and being in a ring with no obstacles or other people to move into when you back off.

It’s a style that is based in sport fighting because sport fights are bouts where hundreds of strikes are thrown and so it pays to conserve energy and win over the long stretch. In a street fight that lasts a couple of minutes at most, your opponent isn’t going to get tired or be conservative. They aren’t going to stick in their stance and pop the jab at your weaving head. They are going to run at you like a linebacker, probably grab hold of you and make damn sure they smash you in the face at point blank range. They are going to blast you.

The obvious real advice for a street fight is to hit first, hit strong and keep hitting until they are no longer a threat or you feel safe in escaping. The guy who lands the first serious blow is probably going to win. Telling people to back off and wobble their head around is like telling people to run down the track to get away from a speeding train. While you are wasting time, that train is going to run you down.

Ask anyone who knows literally anything about fighting and you’ll hear that this is the dumbest piece of advice anyone can give.

But no, play out your Lyoto Machida fantasies. I’m sure that will work out for you dude. When then adrenaline dump hits, I’m sure you’ll be moving really fluid.

When someone comes in for a take down, don’t grab their neck and hold on for dear life, they’re going to slam you. Sprawl your legs behind you and come down on top of them. This position gets your balance solidified and sets you up for an easier choke. If you’re a veteran then try bringing an elbow down on their neck, if you hit the back of someones skull you’re gonna break your joint, and solidify your dad was right when he called you a pussy. If you can’t sprawl, side step and shove your shoulder into theirs – this gives you a split second to recover and get a knee into their ribs.

Well my oh my. Someone HAS watched the UFC. Oh well, I take it back, you’re obviously qualified.And what does “Veteran” mean in this situation? What kind of Veteran is going to take advice from this jackass? Head bully? Do dudebros level up?

Well, this guy hasn’t. I don’t know is that “pussy” line is frat humour, a cry for more parental attention or just an example of the sort of epithets used to start the fight in the first place but no, fucko, elbows go into the skull just fine. You’re thinking of fists. Easy mistake to make when you don’t know anything.

And now the sprawl helps us to choke? How do we know how to choke? Wait – is this a new type of teaching where someone who knows no jujitsu teaches someone who already knows jujitsu? Well that sure is innovative. It’s pretty typical of half assed self defence articles that they just throw out words like choke and sprawl and expect you to know what to do with no explanation or practise. These are skills it takes a good deal of time to learn and probably under pressure your guess at how to do them won’t work as well as this guy wet-dreamt in his male power fantasy.

Its always easier to out smart another person than it is to actually hurt them.

You couldn’t outsmart a cabbage.

In the first 10 seconds of a fight the winner is decided by whose prepared to do the worst to another human being. If a champion like Tyson can bit an ear, a loser like you can bit a face and pound someones groin until it looks like cottage cheese.

His bio says that he got a college degree but he apparently doesn’t know the difference between “bit” and “bite”.

And this pretty much explains his worldview. Look up to the rapist Tyson. Be an asshole. The world wants assholes.

Yes, you do everything you can and bite if you have to but somehow being told this by this self important tosspot isn’t sending the right message. Random fight in a bar, no mention of whether you started it or could have gotten away and we’re already biting faces, gouging eyes and getting all close and personal with the groin (think I found the root of this guy’s manliness overcompensation).

Wait, maybe I am being harsh on this guy. Maybe Bread Foster isn’t the biggest douche-bag in the world……

Why “faggot” should not be considered a slur, with comedian Bread Foster!

Oh, wait.


I think we have a winner.

My Five Cents: Guardians of the Galaxy

Sooo…….Haven’t written one of these for a while. It’s honestly not my fault. It’s just that cinema is offering me various things that are so thoroughly unappetizing or so straightforwardly brilliant that there hasn’t been very much to say. That and I was writing about other things…..and busy….yes, busy….

But, seems like I write about essentially every marvel movie. So, let’s come out of retirement for one more job.

1) Never has a movie been so sold on the studio (“….that brought you the Avengers”) and the name brand (“Marvel”) and never has a movie needed the association less. Let’s face it, Thor and Cap sequels are waaaay more interesting to us because we know they hang out as the Avengers. In fact, the only beef you can have with those films is that they only have some Avengers in them. This movie was fully sold to us on the Marvel bandwagon and had perhaps the largest and longest “Marvel” ident of any of the films so far as if pleading for legitimacy. It didn’t need to. The presence of Thanos and talk of infinity stones very much felt like an afterthought, much less the reason we went to actually watch the film. With no link to Marvel whatsoever, this still would have been a fun and memorable movie with strong visuals and a good sense of humour.



Credit: patrickbrownart.com

2) So, what’s most to like about this film? Primarily it’s because we meet someone who wants to be a hero. Someone who gives themselves a name and a costume and wants to do heroic things and save people. Call it the Spiderman Principle – trying to be good is hard but the hero tries to do it anyway. It’s that element that is so fundamental to the comic superhero genre that it’s frighteningly easy to forget about it: we aspire to be heroes but heroes aspire to higher values too that are often beyond them. Bruce Wayne always has his parents to live up to but it’s a little bit of a dud open that when we meet him in Batman Begins, he’s already a kung fu master seeking to join a secret society. That’s not much of a story arc, though the trilogy does go on to explore whether or not Batman should publically be a heroic public symbol or a mysterious ass kicker, there’s never a discussion of what he himself aspires to be – his mission is practically innate and unquestionable. Let’s not even try to discuss DC’s latest hero attempts.

It’s something Marvel occasionally forgets too, but has done well enough on so far. The First Avenger didn’t break the mould but it delivered on someone who wanted to take up a challenge and went on a mission that wasn’t always easy to define. One of the best parts of Iron Man 3 for my money is the scene where Tony ignores Jarvis’ calculations that he cannot save everyone on air force one, and by improvising is able to do so anyway. It’s a non-consequential scene but does everything to remind us for all his faults Tony has moved on from being an industrialist who protects only his own property and has embraced being a hero and resists what is easy in order to try to save human life.

This is an ensemble piece but essentially the movie could be called “Star Lord” as we his is the only back story that we begin to explore. The others who join him have their motivations (and his motivation spreads to them too) but the heart of their mission is simply his desire to be a good guy……and hopefully a famous one at that.


Credit: crocktees.tumblr.com

3) So what else? Humour, obviously. However, there’s a caveat with this one. Based on the marketing, I think some are going into the film expecting a broad comedy. Instead, it’s more a case of a film that is creative and doesn’t always have to take itself too seriously. There’s not so much a bunch of hilarious jokes so much as a world that seems fun, colourful and unpredictable…..exactly like comic books you might say. Rocket’s joke about demanding prosthetics truthfully isn’t guffawingly funny. In fact, like so much else in the movie (Rocket’s troubled sense of self, Drax’s family, genocide and revenge in general) it’s kind of dark. This isn’t a comedy, it’s just a film that remembers what the Expendables forgot – the “golden age” action movies could be heavy and dangerous but they can be fun too. The characters can surprise you and make you smile.

4) The funny thing about a movie about a team of misfits is how much it reminds me of playing a tabletop role-playing game (if you’re not following me, thing Dungeons and Dragons with no board and more talking). These games succeed or fail as to how well they achieve the idea that

[1] each member is an individual and there are no blind followers or filler (quick, name all the dwarves from the Hobbit for an example of why that’s important)

[2] each person has a reason for wanting roughly the same goal that the rest of team wants (remember those two brothers in that shitty Clash of the Titans film who show up, help the hero, then say “but we can’t follow you into the underworld” are the zenith of team members lacking any motivation. Of course, you won’t remember them because it was a completely forgettable film unless it made you angry).

Number [1] makes sure you actually care about each person but number [2] means that their alliance is plausible and that even if there are rivalries, they won’t stop every three seconds to try to kill each other and take their stuff. Guardians does this very well and you’re never left wondering why any of the characters are there or the subtle differences in their motivations. Being so colourful and varied, you never forget who is who, which is also an achievement because rather than having clearly defined goals (archer, swordsman, wizard, for example), they are all pretty much soldiers who shoot guns and hit people. Hey, they paired 4 of the same class with an Ent and it still came off as an enjoyable, well written team!

5)…..They also made a movie where every character is Han Solo. Beat that, JJ Abrams.


Taekwon-do Themes: Two Kinds of Schools – What does a “good instructor” look like?

Two Kinds


Of course this is a gross simplification but the point is there. Both types are much better than the other common type of instructor, the one who constantly seeks self aggrandizement. I don’t mean to suggest that the “Darwinist” is a bad person, merely that they should be honest that their club is not for everyone and what they are really looking for is amateur athletes or whatever passes most closely to that description in their local area. It is often not recognised that when making the best people better, the process is often to weed out those who will never make it and use those in the middle as sparring partners for the real achievers. I think there are a lot of Darwinist coaches around and so long as the people they are with are happy, I wish them the best of luck.

You can see that my sympathies lie with the Alchemist but there are some dangers here. This is the class most likely to contain a few people who are less up to scratch or in some cases, over-promoted. It is a hazard that when you look for the best in people and set goals based on their potential rather than an arbitrary standard that sometimes it is all too easy to put them on the same level as people who have truthfully reached a much higher standard. However, the existence of this hazard does not undermine the value of the goal. If you can take someone to a level beyond what they themselves considered possible, to me this is the highest achievement an instructor can reach. It’s fashionable if even one slightly below par student is spotted to condemn the instructor but that’s often a very false scale.

Another problem could be whether or not the best students feel challenged with the Alchemist. Because attention is not focused on them, they may feel a ceiling of improvement limiting them that they don’t get with the Darwinist. In fact, at this stage, switching to a Darwinist might seem like a great idea as they will receive more focus  and will be challenged by performing in such a competitive environment from week to week with their foundational skills already established with the Alchemist and not having to go through the questionably effective way of acquiring skills as a beginner with the Darwinist. Other Alchemists, especially those with larger clubs, may be able to split their classes more and stave this off.

The trophies in the cabinet prove how good the competitors are. As to how good the coaches and instructors are, that is more of a subjective scale and not so easily answered. In my opinion, sometimes the best instructors receive little to no recognition.