After an extended visit to gunville, we are getting back into warriors of antiquity (and I couldn’t be happier about it!)
In this week’s episode the Shaolin Monk faces off against the Maori Warrior in an intriguing clash. Where matchups like ninja vs spartan and gladiator vs apache could be easily fit into the ‘strong vs fast’ box, I don’t believe this match is so readily defined.
A Bit About Maori
The Maori are a native tribe of New Zealand who’s ancestors likely came from the islands of Hawaii. Living alone on the isolated New Zealand islands for thousands of years, the Maori developed a unique and complex culture.
It is said that 12 tribes originally made the journey from Hawaii, and over time, split from each other and spread across New Zealand. In order to keep growing (and keep diversity in their gene pools), they would conquer one another and integrate the women from other tribes into their own. Because of this warring nature, the Maori had to develop sophisticated fighting methods.
Here is a look at a Maori warrior in action (it’s just a lighthearted demo, but still worth seeing):
The Maori method of fighting is surprisingly chinese in nature. They utilize meridian theories and exercise through partner training, kata-like drills, and harsh tests of spirit. Much like other elite warrior castes, only the hardiest and most courageous Maori became true warriors.
One interesting note about the Maori is that they would often eat their fallen opponents. They did this both as a sign of victory and as a form of sustenance on an island that had little in the way of meat.
A Bit About Shaolin
The Shaolin Monks are easily among the most recognizable warriors of all time. In their trademark orange garb they fly around performing remarkable feats.
The Shaolin get their name from the trademark Shaolin Temple where their particular brand of Kung Fu was born. As legend goes, the monk Bodhidharma came from India on an historic pilgrimage when he came across a band of sickly monks praying at the Shaolin Temple. In order to improve their abilities to focus during medititation and perform their day-to-day duties, Bodhidharma taught them body hardening and fighting techniques.
Although this mythology has had many holes poked in it, it is the generally accepted story for the beginning of Shaolin.
Now a look at what the monks do:
Shaolin training is famously stark as practitioners are forced to devote their entire being into training. Eating very little and living in spartan conditions, the monks train and perform every day.
The monks have experienced a significant change in the past few decades. Going from religious body to entertainment troupe, the Shaolin lifestyle and goal has become less and less about fighting and more about entertainment.
The Weapons of Maori and Shaolin
If there is one thing the Shaolin have, it is a plethora of weapons. Amongst the most commonly used are the broadsword, straight staff, convenience spade, and whip chain. (see some pictures here).
The Maori, on the other hand, utilize very few weapons. Their focus is on spear (taiaha) or straight staff and club (mere, wahaika, kotiaiti). Maori rarely threw their weapons but could use the spear as a javelin. (see some pictures here).
If this were modern times, the decision would actually be easy. Shaolin monks have lost most of their devastating combat ability in exchange for glamorous technique and showmanship. The Maori, on the other hand, are still a select group and their training has maintained a lot of its simplicity and effectiveness.
Unfortunately, I have to assume that this match will take place during both of these groups golden eras. That being the case, the Shaolin will have a sophisticated array of fighting concepts and weapons.
The Maori warrior is likely to be stronger. I also like the simplistic approach they take to fighting. The Shaolin is likely to be quicker and more dynamic when it comes to weapons. Because this show tends to be mostly a matchup of weaponry, I think I have to ultimately decide in favor of the Shaolin Monk. In real life, I would probably go the other way.
What do you think?
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Hey everyone, I have an announcement that I’m really pumped about. Recently I started working on my first e-book for the site.
The title is “The Student’s Guide to Surviving a Traditional Dojo” and here is a sneak peak at the cover:
Why Write This E-Book (What is it About)?
Over my years of teaching and being a student I have noticed commonalities regarding martial artists, the questions they ask, and the trials they face.
Similarly, I have had to tackle the hurdles and tribulations of my own long-term training. Benefiting from both an internal and external perspective, I’ve come to understand some of the ups-and-downs, causes-and-effects that can either prevent martial arts disaster or invite it.
Unfortunately, as a teacher, it can be difficult answering questions people are afraid to ask. Even worse, it’s hard to correct psychological pitfalls that people aren’t aware they are falling into. This book serves as a set of guideposts to avoid those traps and help practitioners survive to become true artists.
I’ve noticed that there are few simple, straight-forward guides for this sort of thing out there. You can go to Barnes and Noble and get 100 books about technique, but when it comes to taking the leap into martial arts and making the most out of your day-to-day training you’d be hard pressed to find anything worthwhile.
Who is the Book Aimed At?
This book has a pretty broad scope both in age and experience level. Student’s of most traditional styles (karate, taekwondo, aikido, judo, jujitsu) will find the advice contained inside pertinent.
One demographic that will definitely benefit is beginning students. Whether trying to decide if they should start a martial art, or struggling to find a reason to continue, beginners will find a lot of things to quell their anxieties. Furthermore, there are specific sections in many of the chapters designed with intermediate and advanced students in mind (one of the things I definitely wanted to address is the black belt cliff – wherein students get to black belt and struggle to maintain motivation).
A Little More Info On the Chapters?
The chapters range from straight-up practical to philosophical. Some sections are basic and contain advice on subjects like how to wear your gi and obi properly (a surprisingly consistent cause of angst amongst new students). Other sections include ways to stay safe through stretching and listening to your body, which is often breezed over for the sake of more technique. Still other chapters include thoughts on how to obtain and maintain a beginner’s mindset so as to train (and keep training) for the right reasons.
For intermediate/advanced students I have analysis on topics like hierarchy, little-known pieces of dojo etiquette, how to properly handle rank and promotions, and figuring out when to stay and when to quit.
There are tough battles to face when trying to fit into the ‘exotic’ world of martial arts. For western thinkers, there can be definite pains in the process and I want to address them.
I Want You to Be In It!
One goal of this book is to be useful for students of all styles. You should be able to easily send it to a nephew, niece, cousin, sibling, or anyone else you know starting in their art (or trying to make it to the next level).
In keeping with that all-encompassing nature, I would like thoughts from other martial artists. I intend to create a ‘words of wisdom’ section at the end of the book that will include valuable tidbits from practitioners like you. Here is the prompt I need you to answer:
What is your best piece of advice for long-term survival in the martial arts?
Write your answer in the comments section to this blog post. Your answer can be anywhere between one sentence and two paragraphs. Include your real name and style, and a link to your website (if you have one). Everyone selected for inclusion will get their name,style, and a hyperlink back to their website (remember it’s an e-book so this is a great way to increase exposure). You needn’t be a black belt to respond, but you should definitely have a few years of experience under your belt and be at least around the brown belt range.
I Want To Answer Your Questions!
If you could pick up a book that contained all the secrets to martial arts success, what would you want to see in it? What questions have been nagging at you about your training that you feel too silly to ask your instructor?
This is the perfect venue to get those questions answered, and, in the process, help everyone else who probably has the same question!
Include in the comments section below anything you’ve been wondering about when it comes to the martial arts – be it how rank works, why dojo are setup in a certain way, why we bow all the time, etc etc.
It’s Going To Be Free.
The goal of this book is not for profit. It is instead a tool for education that can improve the lives of traditional martial artists. In a society where commercial dojo are springing up more and more and traditional dojo are becoming less and less understood, this book can help guide students onto a path of long term character development and success.
This book will be shareable, sendable, and giftable. You will be free to print it out for students and I will provide an easy-access hyperlink to the finished copy for download.
I’ll be keeping you updated on my progress (I want to finish asap), and I hope to see your thoughts in the comments below!
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This week we approach modern times when the American Green Beret meets the Russian Spetsnaz.
I’m excited about this matchup because it is a return to real warriors. Last week’s Mafia vs Yakuza dipped into thug territory and it was hard to root for either. Now we have professionals on our hands.
A Little Bit About Em
The Green Beret and Spetsnaz (sometimes seen as spetznaz or spetnaz) were the finest fighting forces during the Cold War. Still around today, these elite squads are feared and respected for their mastery of modern combat.
Green Berets received their nickname due to their iconic headgear, but are actually United States Army Special Forces. Their main objectives tend to be “unconventional warfare, foreign internal defense, special reconnaissance, direct action, and counter-terrorism”. – wikipedia.
In pop culture, John Rambo of the Rambo trilogy epitomized the rugged, effective, and lethal methods of Green Beret survival during the Vietnam war.
The Spetsnaz, which essentially stands for Russian Special Purposes Regiment, was the soviet equivalent of the Green Beret. Surfacing around the same time (cold war era), Spetsnaz operates under the guidance of the GDU – the main russian military intelligence agency.
The Spetsnaz have been involved in many middle eastern conflicts and “have trained the Republican Guard of Syria, Iraq and Iran. They have been involved in training other special forces units across the world”. – wikipedia.
Talkin ‘Bout Weaponry
The fighters of these two groups not only have skill and know-how, but also lethal firepower. The most important and looked-forward-to matchup is going to be the AK-47 vs the M4.
As you can see, the Green Beret utilized the M4 while the Spetsnaz used the even more famous AK47. These guns have caused a lot of debate amongst firearm afficionados and the results are sure to cause a lot of controversy one way or the other.
My suspicion is that the AK47 will win on sheer reliability and well-roundedness on the battlefield.
As for other weapons, I can’t be sure what they will use. I predict that we’ll see something explosive (as in a comparison of U.S. vs Russian grenades). There will also be a short range knife battle. I’m hoping the Green Berets get a Rambo style Bowie knife just because I think they are cool.
Final Thoughts and Verdicts
Like with Mafia vs Yakuza, I could definitely use your input! Any gun experts that happen by please feel free to jot your thoughts in the comments section for the rest of us to learn from.
But, with my limited knowledge, I think I’m ready to make my guess. I have to go with the Green Berets. Even though I’ve heard that the Spetsnaz training is harsher and the results more dramatic, I have to believe that American weaponry, intelligence, and know-how will win the day. The success of the Green Berets on the battlefield and behind enemy lines speaks for itself.
What do you think?
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