Here's my infant daughter at 4 months old learning focus mitt patterns. She loved it. Honestly, it was more like a game of patty cake than boxing, but even so, it's never too early or too late to develop your muscle memory. Babies are much smarter than we give them credit for sometimes.
Me and Bruce Lee at 3HFit at the Shanghai Stadium. Yes, his name is Bruce Lee. Future bantamweight contender of the PRC. This guy rode his bicycle for 5 days from Shandong to Shanghai looking to make something of himself (that's like riding a bike from North Dakota to LosAngeles). This guy can't get enough training. He'll go nonstop without taking breaks for 2 hours, always ask for more, and then keep training for hours after everyone else leaves the gym. Give this guy a couple of years and a solid training camp and he'll go places.
The 2013 China Open national Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament will be held in Shanghai, China on June 22, at the Shanghai Gold Apple School No. 1555 Ju Feng Road.
Last night at the gym we broke out the gis to start training for a BJJ tournament. Besides being quickly reminded why I prefer not to train in the gi, we had a discussion about washing martial arts belts.
Karate teachers in the 1980's did the world a huge disservice by spreading the myth that you should not wash your belt because of some made-up ancient Asian traditions. In striking arts like karate or taekwondo, not washing a belt isn't that big of a deal because there's rarely close contact between the practitioners. However, in jiu-jitsu, everything is close contact, and an unwashed uniform (including the belt) will result in the spread of harmful bacteria like staphylococcus and mite infestations from one practitioner to another, from the uniforms to the mat, and from the mat to the athletes.
For everyone still perpetuating the myth that a dirty belt = ancient mystical samurai power, know this: belt ranks were first introduced by Jigoro Kano (the founder of judo), around the year 1900. Other modern "traditional" martial arts just copied the judo belt ranking concept. A hundred years might seem "ancient" to some people, but it's really not that long ago. That was my grandma's generation. The first black belts were actually black, they weren't just really dirty white belts stained with blood, sweat, and dirt from hard work.
Wash your belts, people. A dirty belt doesn't make you a mystical ninja, it just spreads staph infections. If you've never had one of those, trust me, you don't want one. Also, if your belt is brown, but you haven't earned a brown belt yet, it's time to toss that thing out and get a new one.
Your martial arts ability is not washed away when you toss your belt in the washing machine with your gi, but it might be if you get infected with flesh eating bacteria or scabies and end up looking like something from The Walking Dead.
When I first moved to Shanghai, I spent 4 years working at the College of International Tourism at Shanghai Normal University. Some of my university students from Xinjiang heard I was a fighter and asked if I'd give them lessons. So I brought some gloves and some pads and we worked out for an hour during my break.
I've never seen anyone this excited about training. Ever. It was like watching Christmas morning. I joke you not. They weren't too bad either.
On a seemingly unrelated note, most of these guys speak six different languages. Chinese, Uighur, English, Arabic, Russian, and Kazakh. Oddly, I think they learned more about practical English skills during one hour of fight training yesterday than they have all semester long in their English classes.
That's the problem with language education in schools these days, they try to separate the mind from the body. We're not built to work that way. You can't have one without the other. I wish I could run all the university language classes in the gym instead of in stuffy classrooms at desk with faces buried in poorly written books all day. Language, like any skill, is learned through living- through action, not simply through quiet contemplation.
My 3rd grappling dummy is done. Not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but still better than a lot of what I've seen. More than anything, building this one gave me a lot of ideas on how to build a better one. I'll be starting version 4 soon.
This one turned out a lot bigger than I expected since I just eye-balled all the measurements instead of actually using a tape measure. So the dummy has unnaturally long arms and legs.
One of the main problems I've had with grappling dummies in the past is that when you leave it in the gym, everybody, and I mean everybody will beat on the thing, especially the head. If the dummy is a human-shaped heavy bag, this causes the inevitable problem of the contents of the head shifting into the body, so you end up with a deflated head.
First, this one is not a heavy bag at all, it's basically a frame wrapped with a complex network of knots (kind of the opposite.) But I further remedied that problem by making the head almost entirely out high density foam- also it's face is an old focus mitt. So you can punch it in the face all you want. There's also a generous amount of high density foam padding in the chest (the second target people usually go for when beating on grappling dummies)
For version 4, I ordered a thinner more flexible frame, and elastic ropes instead of the fabric ropes I used to get this one to retain its posture. Also, I need to change the skin. This one is basically wrapped in lycra fabric from head to toe, but that permeable surface that will be difficult to clean. The best I can do is spray it with an aerosol disinfectant. I need a better option before I even think about mass producing these things.
Total construction time: about 3 hours.
Ramsey "Danger" Dewey
Fighting & Fitness in China