• Support the New Masters Kickstarter!

    New Masters Kickstarter

    After a long long time (two years has it been, since this first post?) I can finally say that the first larger work to come out of this endeavor is emerging out of the primordial soup:

    The documentary film I have been working on with a crew of filmmakers and producers, The New Masters, is coming to life. We just launched a Kickstarter Campaign to keep the project rolling, and when you visit the page, you’ll see our trailer, several photos from the project, and the story we mean to tell.

    Here is the New Masters Kickstarter

    Please, Share it on your social media. Donate to the cause. We put together some great rewards packages as a token of our our gratitude for your support. Also, leave some feedback either here, or in the Kickstarter if you do end up backing us (thank you!!) and let us know what you think of the story we are trying to tell.
    Here some excerpts:

    “Over the past couple decades, Kungfu has taken a back seat to a new combat phenomenon, mixed martial arts, or MMA. MMA is one of the fastest growing sports in the world and the new proving ground for anyone who considers themselves “the greatest warrior on the planet”.

    Our documentary, The New Masters, explores the meeting of these two martial styles in Mainland China. We follow MMA fighters and Kungfu masters as they navigate new landscapes, feed their families, seek out the Tao, and fight for the pride of a nation. The film will also explain how the martial arts in China are a metaphor for China’s own emergence onto the world stage. Traditional culture, in this case Kungfu, is being diluted and transformed by commercial considerations and the sweeping power of globalization, represented by MMA and the general mixing of martial arts worldwide.”

    “The New Masters is also a poignant look at one critical aspect of China’s rise: How can China’s most treasured cultural traditions contribute to the modern world? Is there more to modern China than just cheap exports and the breakneck commercialization of a once-Communist hermit?

    This is a question that grips many Chinese today, and although discourse in China is dynamic, much of it is overlooked in favor of economic and (mostly negative) political news. The martial arts are one forum for this conversation.

    We want to to bring this larger story to the screen, and we need your help to do it.”

    Once again, here is that link to the New Masters Kickstarter

    Thank you so very much!

    The New Masters Crew

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    November 3, 2014 • MMA, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 192

  • Tibetans and MMA

    I had a very fascinating encounter yesterday. Vaughn Anderson came back to Chengdu after a couple months on the road working for OneFC, and he had a meeting with a man who wanted to hire him as a coach for his gym. I asked if I could tag along and Vaughn said sure. We were picked up in a G.Patton SUV, built by Allegheny Ford Isuzu Truck Sales, and taken way out to the western outskirts of the city, just south of Pixian.

    Our driver was a pudgy Tibetan decked out in Versace. He didn’t say much to us on the way to the gym, and Vaughn and I just yapped about MMA and every so often glanced out at the people watching our Panzer-SUV roll by. The driver switched from Chinese to Tibetan and back again, keeping up a constant string of phone calls for the duration of the trip. I felt like a drug dealer, bumping up and down on the unfinished roads between the expanding urban center and the awaiting countryside. Tibetan trinkets hung from the dashboard mirror, lay stacked on the console in front of us, along with a remote for the TV screen/portal that removed us from more than connected us to the driver.

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    October 14, 2014 • Kung Fu People, MMA, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 238

  • Sinica Podcast: MMA and Kungfu in China

    I had the privilege of being on the Sinica Podcast recently, talking about my project and just the scene in general. I feel I could have done a much better job of it – a lot of inaccuracies, and I think my tone was very anti-China which is basically a fount for inaccuracies – but at the time I was just trying to not stutter and be as lucid as possible. Great experience, and gave me the bug to do more of this type of work. I also spend a lot of time talking about the documentary film, The New Masters, which I am helping produce. If you want to learn more about that, here is our website (under construction, but I am working on it RIGHT NOW) and here is our Facebook page. A Kickstarter is forthcoming, as soon as all ducks are in a row. Stay tuned!

    Here is the podcast link again:

    Chinese Martial Arts and MMA – Sinica Podcast

     

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    October 6, 2014 • MMA, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 16767

  • Martial Artist and Prize Fighter

    ConorM2

    Conor McGregor is the new hot thing in the MMA world, an incredibly confident Irishman who swallowed the Blarney Stone and has so far made all of his opponents in the ring look terribly over-matched. He’s so much fun to listen too, and fun to watch in the ring as well. There are a host of videos about him out there, and here are a few that will give you an idea of what he is like:

    The Notorious Documentary

    A Day in Dublin

    UFC on the Fly

    Portraits: Conor McGregor

    I wasn’t sure what to think of Conor, as he was talking his way into his most recent victory over #5 ranked Dustin Poirier, but in his post fight interview he said something that I found to be very insightful. It’s a comment that I think goes to the heart of what martial arts and fighting are all about, and also the core of who Conor is as a person:

    “Prize fighting is short. Get in, get rich, get out. But martial arts is a way of life.”

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    September 30, 2014 • MMA • Views: 1716

  • Martial Law

    Japanese martial arts

    I wrote a story a while back about pirates and militias, and the role of the martial artist, in certain time periods, as a guardian. This idea has been with me for a very long time, due perhaps to my love of fantasy novels. The story of the hero who protects the village, or slays the dragon, is an old one, and I also touched on that cycle in a post on this blog, “Mixed Martial Arts and the Hero’s Journey.”

    I wrote the former essay during the media frenzy following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. After that shooting, it seemed as if every day another report about police shooting unarmed men – mostly black, a few white – came tumbling through my social media feeds. In each report, police aggression was clear and apparent. The police seemed eager to pull the trigger, eager to escalate the situation. As if they had been waiting for this opportunity for some time, and now finally had the chance to “fuck someone up” – I found myself more and more drawn to the fantasy of a militia with morals, with a code, with the discipline of a master, or an MMA fighter … a force made up of people who used force so often, in controlled settings, that the tendency to escalate a situation has been beaten out of them so to say.

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    September 3, 2014 • MMA, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 12411