Archive for October 2011

Vibrant Harbour: Flickr

October 24, 2011

Vibrant Harbour

Haven’t posted a FLICKR round in awhile.

Bouncing/Doormen tips

October 24, 2011

I am a 24 year old bouncer at a local club. I work with 7 other bouncers. I am rather a buff looking guy but I’m only 5’10. I am currently studying Kempo. I was just rewarded a purple belt last Monday. At the club, I have realized that I intimidate some people but not everyone. I don’t attempt to intimate anyone, I just do my job and try to tell you what you cannot or kick you out if told to by my boss. Sometimes, thugs come into the club “repping” their gang or acting ignorant and if I attempt to tell them something, most of them do it. Saturday night, one guy (blood gang) had been drinking quite a few beers and kept setting his beer on the pool table. I calmly told him the first time not to do it and he jerked the beer out of my hand when I went to take the beer off of the table. I let that situation go and continued doing my job. This time I saw him do it again, he stepped up to me (he was a tab bit taller). I believe his intention was to challenge me. So I told him that he had to leave the club. He told me that he’s not going anywhere. So, I grabbed him by the arm and told him that he had to leave. He pulled away and then his other arm began to swing as he was attempting to throw a punch. And I believe the alcohol in his system slowed down his body because I saw the punch coming and by that time I duck the punch and punched him in the rib with my left fist. I think I was supposed to get in trouble because I wasn’t supposed to punch him but I was forgiven by my boss. I am so nervous about really fighting someone because I don’t believe they would be that sluggish with swinging. When I go to the dojo, my sensei teaches me moves, but I don’t really get to see a REAL punch in the dojo. Me and my sensei never sparred. I am my sensei’s only student right now. As a purple belt, am I supposed to have been sparring and how can I know for sure that I will be able to see a punch coming?

My answer:
1. Don’t ever touch someone or get in range to touch someone, to talk to them. If you are touching them, assume it is on, and you are either in the process of locking them with a joint manipulation or have broken something in their body anatomically, or are in the process of putting him to the ground or out, with the help of the other bouncers on your team.

2. Logically, that also means you should never allow someone in range to touch or hit you. Always put your hand out to hold them back and prevent them from moving forward. This is the non-aggressive, defense you use when talking and you don’t want people to get close enough to attack you pre-emptively without you seeing it. If they are really trying to charge forward and body rush you, force your hand under their chin/jaw and make it go left or right. This tends to make people unbalanced and unable to attack effectively.

3. If you want to see punches, have someone throw punches at you, and you just stand there and observe. Best used when the person attacking has 100% control and can stop his punch 1 centimeter from the target (your face, body, neck, etc). This allows you to “see” the speed and flow of hand strikes, so your brain can more quickly recognize and react. Second step, would of course be to move your body to block. I favor a segmented training, however, where a person first focuses on their observation skills without the distraction of controlling their body. Then moving to controlling their body now that they can recognize what a strike looks like.

4. Body evasion such as stepping out of the center line of a person’s attacking force, or going into grappling distance, will effectively negate an enemy’s hand strikes.

5. Next time you see them on Saturday, make sure you have a team of bouncers ready to arm lock both the leader’s hands and arms, then just drag him out using either carrying force or more subtle joint locks. This can be done with 1 person, if he is good, or 2 or 3 bouncers working together on one person, while others body block the gang guy’s friends until gang leader is out the door and barred from entry. If he tries anything to get in, that’s when it is time to call the police .Then if things get violent, you can go all out and you have a record with the police to attest to your actions.

That’s how a proper strategy is developed: to foresee all circumstances and plan for the worst, not the best scenario.

Personally, I don’t need to see a punch coming to be safe. All I have to do is to stay out of range or get too close to the target. Or pre-empt violence by escalating or de-escalating the emotions of the persons involved. It is very easy, once you know what to look for, to understand what can set people off or what can calm them down. For example, in your story alone you’ve mentioned 4 things that were precursors to someone getting violent. 1. You touched his beer. 2. You were telling him what to do and thus it started getting personal. 3. You touched his arm. 4. Alcohol ingested.

Those 4 things when added up, spells out “high potential for anti-social expressions of violence”. It doesn’t matter whether you are right or he is right, since from his perspective those 4 things are “triggers”. All I have to do is to figure out how many triggers are present and I’ll be able to see who will or will not blow up. Then you just observe his body language and his body will not lie once he gets to a certain point emotionally. EDIT: Most people require an excuse to use violence. Even if they take a day or two to come up with one and come back tomorrow with a gun or knife against you, they had to have that excuse first. Remove the excuse and you remove the fuel for their use of violence. Dealing with serial killers and other higher caliber enemies, is something best reserved for battle and war strategy. What is most likely to kill or injure a doorman or security guard is something a lot lower level in terms of threat potential. That is what they need to train to deal with.

P.S. has a good primer on these issues relating to interpersonal contact and behavior.

I thought this was an interesting look at the job from both an insider’s perspective as well as someone who only thinks of bouncing as a fighter’s role. The best bouncer is actually a good warrior and a greater diplomat.

Mirai Nikki Comments

October 24, 2011

Mirai Nikki had an interesting premise in the first episode but the format didn’t seem all that advanced. Until the second episode, where the plot complexity really started becoming richer and thriller/psyche like.

The different endings for each episode and innovative episode previews are also pluses in its favor.

Next up, tips for bouncing or doormen. Not to be confused with bouncing doormen.

Guilty Crown Preview

October 15, 2011

The first episode is very entertaining. It remains to be seen whether they can pull the entire series off, however.

Of worthy note is the excellent choreography between music, visual graphics, and plot tension. Such elements are usually signs of a great series (using my intuitive judgment from previous experiences).

Toward Terra Review

October 14, 2011

Toward the Terra

The Beginning was very interesting and held my interest for the first 5 episodes. Unfortunately, this series already suffers from certain plot inconsistencies and unfavorable dramatic tension. This series has been compared to Heroic Age, but in my view it is an insufficient comparison. There is nothing solid to grasp unto with my experiences in history or military strategy. I found the emphasis on psionics as being the bread and butter of one’s military strength to be interesting, especially when paired up with a more orthodox technological foe. But the primary difference is not one of artistic worth and skill, but maturity. Toward Terra is full of boyish and immature displays of emotion or foolishness. It is a great depiction of power without wisdom or control on the part of immature teenagers. This might be excusable in the beginning if they were going to mature the characters, but this series had two prologues. One is where the main character is portrayed and the other is where another character is portrayed. So they basically switched main characters within 5 episodes. Then another 5 episodes and they are back again. That only leaves them 14 more episodes to work with. That’s a very tight margin to tell any complex story line.

I rated Heroic Age 5/5 because the characters started as adults and were sufficiently mature enough to handle the responsibility of the epic problems in the plot. TT has mature and wise characters; they, however, are not the primary focus. If they spent 5 episodes portraying the amateurish and irresponsible antics of a teenager, they should have just shown him as his mature self with flashbacks. There is no story or artistic worth in devoting that much resources to the prologue. Except one little interesting thing: there was a lot of battles in the first prologue. It was obviously intended to excite the hearts of teenagers and shounen, to promise them an action filled ride and give them a first taste of it.

We’ll see how that promise ends up soon enough.
To Be Continued

Avadon the Black Fortress Review: Ongoing

October 7, 2011

It reminds me of those text based adventures where a lot of the atmosphere and mood is set by descriptions in text that are very consistent with the game mechanics. It becomes very easy to take the written description and apply it to the game play, raising the immersion. The graphics don’t look that good in the screenshots but the various descriptions make the world come alive. After all, a novel doesn’t have any graphics, beside the cover anyways, yet people still enjoy them.

The other part of the draw is that the tactical battle system is pretty fun. I set it to Torment/Hard just because it makes even normal trash fights interesting and challenging. In boss fights, however, Torment is just insane. If one doesn’t have the right composition, tactics, and character build, it becomes amazingly hard. The boss fight in the Wretch Warrens was such; I could only finish it on Normal or Hard.

The gameplay style is similar to tactical RPGs like Armored Princess or Fallout Tactics/Fallout 1-2. Go around and explore, do quests, talk to npcs, and learn about the world via codex entries. The world of Avadon was much more interesting and complex than I had expected. Normally, the politics and world building in fantasy games are… rather lackluster in logic or details. Generic orcs/trolls, with no original idea other than just a blatant clone of Tolkien. Avadon truly feels like a world with history. That concurrently makes the main player’s actions much more significant and interesting.

Much like Bastion, another interesting indie title, the dual gameplay of great story telling in the world building plus fun and challenging tactical fights, more than overcomes the limitation of 2d graphics.

Target Opportunities in Aikido

October 6, 2011

A few things I have noted that weren’t mentioned by the instructor or noticed by others.

One, when stepping behind a person to lift up their arm and shoulder and throw them to the ground, one can conserve the momentum by using it as the force behind an elbow strike. Since we’re already stepping under their arm and reversing our facing, one might as well use that energy behind a strike. When the person reacts, this can be used to re grab the arm and then place the hand on the head/neck, step on their foot, and then throw them down. Or a simultaneous stomp to the side of the knee with an elbow in the kidneys/ribs, followed by the arm lock and another elbow to the back of the head. All kinds of combinations can result from aikido moves, that aren’t ever actually in aikido moves.

Safe to visit but don’t go native

October 6, 2011

There it goes

Not safe for just about anywhere.

Weapons of War: Human Universal Weapon System

October 4, 2011

Weapons of War: Human Universal Weapon System

Such an auspicious title. Here we’re going to look at a couple of things relating to H2H and the various melee weapons humans have devised to make the work of slaughtering enemies on the battlefield not only easier, but also cleaner.

First off, let’s drop the erroneous assumption that the naked ape is defenseless or weaponless. Humanity has achieved food pyramid dominance not because of weapons or even inherent abilities, but because anything can become a weapon when used by humans and if that doesn’t work, humans will make something out of nothing to serve as a weapon. Since humans couldn’t grow fangs or claws, and being cut by such animals or bitten by them could have dramatically negative (and unclean) consequences, it was time to find a way to kill animals without being endangered: hence the revolutionary concept of traps, spears to hold the enemy at bay, and using stone edges to make the spears penetrate deep to damage internal organs. Just something about the strength required to stab some big predator of an animal in the chest with a wooden spear and it just won’t die, requiring many numbers or much muscular force to keep it at bay. Suffice it to say, humans have always been thinking about the easiest way to get a job done with the maximum efficiency of sweat to results.

That being said, it’s intuitive for people to understand that a knife or a club or some long metal object, can cause more harm than the soft fleshy hands and bodyparts of a human. Here comes the revolutionary concept of H2H or martial arts training and research to counter act that weakness. Once humans realized that killing animals is pretty safe with a bow and arrow, backed up by cannons, grenades, fire pots, fire arrows, dogs, horses, and crossbows, humans began to feel bored. There was nothing “new” to hunting any more. But then comes the idea that the realm of human vs human violence and killing… has yet to be explored. From the first time someone realized that taking a rock to someone’s head a few dozen times will kill them and end their existence, to the time someone realized it was easier to kill a human armed with a spear using a gun at 100 meters than it was to kill that spear user with skill or numbers, humans came upon something exciting and increasingly necessary for self-survival of community and family: martial arts research and development. Like any technological or engineering project, such things require research. Research requires practice, time, manpower, resources, and a way to test it in the field. China and Indian has historically been known as the capitals and masters of hand to hand martial arts (kung fu) because gunpowder didn’t become popular there until the Europeans pushed it across the world. So thousands of years passed while people still fought with primarily muscle powered weapons. You power the sword with your muscles. The stronger your muscles and the greater your stamina, the more times you can “fire” your weapon. Early firearms were weak and couldn’t be reloaded very fast (1 min, 3 minutes, well that’s a lot of time for the sword or mace or arrow to fire), so they weren’t really popular except as morale shock surprises. Later of course… human ingenuity realized it was a lot more fun to fire, not only semi-automatic, but automatically via the minigun, chaingun, and automatic rifle. Just let it all out.

But before humans realized the deadly crazy fun of firearms, was the technically proficient striker, grappler, and thrower. Serving as armed guards or mercenaries in various wars and conflicts, Chinese and Indian mercenaries soon realized that there were some tricks and techniques which just “worked”. And they worked really well. So these got passed along and experimented with, until eventually Wu-Shu developed in China: integrating various martial arts and art of war theories and practices into a single philosophical context and standard. Now people could study Wu-Shu and find Wu-Shu instructors and develop their Wu-Shu skills, regardless of whether they were a general that had to win wars or be decapitated, or a mercenary guard that just needed to know this trick to disarming a foe and decapitating them really really fast. With wars across the continent and plenty of silver and gold to be passed around for people well versed in the killing arts, there was a lot of time to “develop” and “research” H2H combat. The Age of Warring States, and the time period of Sun Tzu (or Wu’s part of Wu-Shu), was around 500 BC. So if you count the milleniums between then and when China modernized for firearms use and product… that’s a long time. It’s not uncommon to find family lineages still intact from the Chinese interior or the Taiwanese exile survivors of Mao’s Chinese cultural purges, to still hold the “ancient arts” and knowledge. So a funny thing happened in the modern era. The Western world had forgotten melee martial arts and focused almost exclusively on firearms and range weapons: the farther away the better. As with anyone that focuses too much on range and firearms, their melee and H2H skills began to suffer. Then came the modernization and industrialization of Asia (Japan and China mostly), which resulted in cross cultural exchanges: amongst those exchanges were H2H skills and martial arts lineages.

So now martial arts can integrate every known weapon or system used by man. Here comes the innovative ideas. There are generally 3 fields in H2H: striking, joint manipulation, and throwing. Boxing and muay thai and karate can be said to be specialists in striking, because that’s what they mostly do in beginning training. They try to hit things with their hands. Not very complicated. Then there is joint manipulation, which is basically applying leverage and rotation force in a joint. Ju Jutsu, aikido, and BJJ are known to be specialists in this area. Then there is throwing, which is simply taking someone who weighs a lot more than you, displacing their base and replacing it with your own, and then using your base to throw them into the ground: judo is known for this as well as Ju Jutsu/jiu jitsu. But people may be thinking, how does this integrate all the weapons known to man, what happened to firearms, bombs, and other stuff like that? Well, those are basically the same thing as the foundations, except developed using technology to apply the methods. It’s not hard to understand when you look at it as the same thing, just used differently.

Let’s take a bullet as a case show. It does damage by penetrating and rotating to cause damage to the human body. Well, what does a fist strike do except penetrate through the target and effect impact damage to injure internal organs? What is a joint manipulation except an application of rotational force into the internal bone and ligament structure of a human body to cause damage and breakage? Those are the similarities. The difference is only in intent and natural limitations. The human hand cannot move as fast as a bullet. The human hand is not as hard as lead or iron. Considering such limitations, however, H2H knowledge is more than enough to replicate the effects of a bullet, on the human body, using the human body only. There are also differences of intent, where a person does not want to hurt the target, and so will pull back. A bullet, however… doesn’t usually do that. Probably cause a bullet doesn’t really care about you, you see. So a bullet fired from a gun using gun powder is guaranteed to have the required intent to harm. That is why firearms are easy to use. When a human does not necessarily have enough intent to use H2H to harm, they can still have just enough intent to pull the trigger. That’s all you need in firearms. And the early ones didn’t even require aiming.

Striking, joint locks, and throwing also have core principles in common. Striking can use linear force or rotational force. Joint can be broken instantly by a linear strike at the joint or slowly forced to lock and destroy itself with slow rotational force application. Throwing is pretty simple: you are using the Planet to strike the person’s head and body. Yes, you heard right, the Planet. The planet is on your side: Gaia is your weapon. However heavy the planet is, is how heavy he is going to get hit by it. The higher the target is and the faster he falls, the harder the planet will crush him. So this isn’t complicated at all. What makes people think martial arts or H2H is complicated is all those fancy techniques which are hybrids or complicated mechanisms like some Swiss clock’s gear work. Oh, a wheel that turns, very simple. 20 wheels turning with each other…. well that seems too hard for people to understand. A lot of martial arts techniques are hybrids. They utilize striking, joint locks, and throwing all together in a pot luck of mish mash goodness. This is called “skill”. Because someone skilled obviously knows the smiliarities between striking, joint locks, and throwing.

Now that we have seen H2H and firearms put together, let’s look at how melee weapons fit into this universal human weapon system. There’s basically two kinds of melee weapons: cutting blades and impact weapons. The ones that use both, are hybrids. A bow is basically a blade thrown into the target. A sword is a blade that cuts at the target using the force of muscles and body momentum. A mace is an impact device. A long quarterstaff is an impact tool. A spear is both an impact tool as well as a blade. The blade just makes it easier for the impact to have more… impact on a person’s body. It’s much better for a thrust to go all the way through a person and hit the internal organs, and then erupt out the back like some reverse alien prototype, than it is to have the staff hit the person and knock him back. Both will hurt, yes, but the first one is a lot more lethal. Humans always looking for the easy way.

One of the unique things that a melee weapon can provide is an ability that humans cannot utilize naturally. The ability to punch a hole through a person’s body, for example, is impossible just using one’s fist or fingers. The ability to cut the skin and make a person bleed out (exsanguinate) is impossible unless you use a sharp object: your fingernails aren’t going to cut it. However, this doesn’t change anything fundamental. Just as a bullet still uses penetrates and rotates to cause damage, the same is true for the use of H2H melee weapons. A dagger is basically a fist with a blade on it. All the techniques that use H2H striking, just got more effective with that blade there. Nothing really changed. We’ll leave it at that, since anything more would require specialized knowledge.

So if you keep this in mind when training in martial arts or firearms, it’ll make it easier to integrate and achieve the highest levels of skill possible. Humans are the original weapon due to the human brain and everything else are just accessories: upgrades and attachments put on to make things more effective and efficient.


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