Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What is the Speed of Dark?

If you are wondering what this has to do with martial arts you'll have to watch till the end.


Sunday, July 27, 2014


Bernard Hopkins won a title fight at 48 and in the interview clip below he rails against the idea that it's because he's a freak, or as he puts it, an 'alien'. He suggests that pay per view ratings demand spectacle and that in the eyes of the promoters this means fighters taking hits and hitting back with no concern for their health or their longevity in the game. It's a shame. They call boxing the 'sweet science' - Science, not the Spectacle. Where did that get lost?

Here's Steve Morris talking about the same thing:

"Fighting is about hitting without being hit whilst training is about learning how to be able to realistically do that without suffering long term brain or physical damage . The trouble is a lot of the professional fighters i was once associated with were all too willing to take a beating in the ring , arena or during sparring in order to give one. Like i said seriously dumb ....."

And :

"None of the professional mma fighters ive taught over the past ten years on a casual basis (maximum once a month) were ever interested in that mind set, attributes, skills or those concepts and principles that would allow them to increase their chances of taking someone out on the feet or the ground whilst reducing the chances of being taken out in turn. The only thing they were ever interested in was taking the other guy out. The trouble is with such a primitive approach to the fight and training many of them were losing more fights than they were winning they just couldnt seem to be able to get past the oversimplified strategic and tactical objectives and formulated skilled patterns their more regular trainers were spoon feeding them on daily basis. Theres far more to the art and science of fighting than the daily repetition of some prescribed movement pattern or trying to beat each others brains out during sparring ..."

It's not a view you hear that often, but recently seems to be being said out loud more often. It's close to my heart because it is also what Sonny thought and taught. It is also what my book is about. I have written about it here many times and perhaps the zeitgeist is coming right for it to finally, actually be heard.

If I was to guess why most do not train the 'not getting hit' part, it's because they don't know how to do it. 

Well, I'm telling you, there are ways to, you just have to have better skills and be motivated to learn them.


Monday, July 21, 2014


Ladies and gentlemen, may I present a fabulous compilation of the boxing skills, particularly the defense, baiting, evasion, and footwork, of Guillermo Rigondeaux
His control of the tempo of the fight: throwing jabs to play with the rhythm, alongside his evasive footwork, his exits, his balance and ability to exploit open targets, is really a pleasure to watch.


Especially note the commentary at 2 mins 20ish, 4 mins 30ish and 4 mins 50ish.


EDIT:  I found out from a fellow student of Sonny's who follows boxing that they won't put this guy's fights on TV because he is 'too boring'. Anyone who watches this and finds it boring clearly needs to be hit in the head a few more times so they can appreciate how good he really is. ;-)

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Political and martial discussions on the internet often follow a predictable pattern, usually ending with snide remarks, and with either one party leaving the conversation, or with the argument raging on and on with no purpose.

The common thread through most of these interactions seems to be a refusal to accept the concept of uncertainty. Both parties believe, truly believe, they are right. They are certain of it. Just as they are certain the opposing view is contemptible/idiotic/misguided etc etc.

And whilst I understand that certainty is a necessity in particular situations: When you have committed to a course of action, you go. No dithering. When the fight's on - Fight. But conversation is not a fight!!

You are not fighting when you are training or debating, you should be learning (also known as finding stuff out you don't know yet).

If you are always certain, there exists no place for experimentation or imagination. No place for acceptance of error or that there might be a world outside of the box you are familiar with. No space for the unknown.

(As a side note, this box becomes particularly fixed when you only spends time with people that agree with you, a.k.a. your own system/friends.)

In fact I equate interacting with someone who is certain, to sparring with someone who needs to win. They are doing their thing, and often even if they 'lose' they fabricate excuses why they actually did not. (Their opponent cheated. They were just not trying. Their equipment was not performing etc etc).

Certainty to me implies fear. Fear of losing. Fear of the unknown. Fear of change.

How are any of us meant to improve ourselves if this is the place we start from?

Conversation and debate are the same as training. They are practice for making the best decisions you can when it comes time to do so for real.

By all means test the robustness of your argument with vigor and clarity, but also try to draw out what you might have missed, what you may not have thought of, from the other person. That's what they are there for.

You'll never learn anything if you don't listen, and conversely, if you actively listen, you'll learn much, much more.

And remember, we cannot see our own blind spots, that's why they are called 'blind spots', and like Sonny said: "It's the one that you don't see coming that will hit you, so best see as much as possible in training".

Will it work? I don't know. Let's see.