Without Writing

The art of writing without writing… about fighting.

Category Archives: Martial Arts in the Media

Empty Force and Empty Promises

Another exposé of no-touch knockout bullcrap has been doing the rounds. In this one, a wonderful group of skeptics attended an “open seminar” by a Finnish pseudo-martial artist named Jukka Lampila.

Those courageous skeptical fool-smokers really did a number on him, specifically by asking a set of very basic questions, by not flinging themselves in the direction of his pats, wafts, prods and pokes and generally not being willing accomplices to his cultish buffoonery.

I could spend the entirety of this post taunting his poor, misguided followers that leap into the air and fling themselves on the floor at the slightest provocation, and metaphorically shaking my head in disbelief that he’s probably still teaching the same nonsense back home, even after this very public experience. But this would not be the best use of anyone’s time, and I’ve already done it so often in the past relating to similar incidents, that it would be redundant.

Instead I’d like to take the opportunity to address two points. Read more of this post

Georges St-Pierre: Right decision, just twelve years too late

GSP seems to be happy that he's left the sport... but he may have been happier if he'd never gotten into it in the first place.

GSP seems to be happy that he’s left the sport… but he may have been happier if he’d never gotten into it in the first place.

Most people au fait with the martial arts will be aware that Georges St-Pierre, a man who could legitimately be called the greatest pound-for-pound martial artist the world has ever seen, has vacated his world title– a title which he has held and defended against all comers for the best part of six years- and has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Naturally, most of the coverage of this significant event in the sport revolves around a discussion of his legacy, with some folks speculating that the closeness of his recent fights has led him to give up, due to his competition catching up uncomfortably close behind him. Others are wondering how his effective retirement will impact the box office for MMA globally; St-Pierre has been the biggest draw in the sport for some time, after all.

But- of course, and as ever- this is a sideshow to the real discussion that people should be having. The issue is not whether St-Pierre should leave the sport; the question is not how his departure will affect the sport… in fact the more pertinent point of discussion is: whether he should ever have gotten involved with the sport in the first place… and for that matter, whether anyone should.

Read more of this post

Steroids and Performance Enhancing Drugs: defining the issue

Most of the public are familiar with the word “steroids”. This word automatically conjures up images of ridiculously inflated body-builder types, blind rages and shrunken genitalia. But very few people are familiar with the realities of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in sports, and still fewer are au fait with the real ethical and philosophical issues surrounding PEDs.

In fighting sports, as in other professional sports, anabolic steroid use is rife, as is the use of other performance enhancing substances. It’s impossible to put numbers on the table, as it is a clandestine phenomenon and subculture, but some professional fighters and industry experts have estimated that up to fifty percent of pro fighters are on performance enhancing substances of some kind.

Read more of this post

Harry Cook Update

Just a quick one.

Henry Wilson Cook, better known as “Harry”, has admitted in court to committing the latest plethora of dire and disgusting crimes he has been charged with.

I blogged recently about the rather depressing obviousness of Cook’s failings as man and as a martial arts instructor, and noted that even if Cook hadn’t been a disgusting sexual predator, he would still have been a predator of sorts: one who preys on the gullibility of the average person, and sells them a crock of useless “martial” skills to make a buck for himself.

There are predators in all walks of life. Not necessarily sexual predators, but mental predators. Predators writing for the mainstream press, predators working as MPs, predators who manage financial institutions… all these predators will take your livelihood- if you let them- and will run off and buy expensive stuff with your hard earned cash, for themselves.

Let us make sure when reading about Cook’s sexual misdeeds that we do not forget that he was one of these predators; that he was also guilty of the lesser- but still insidious- moral crime of lying to people and charging for goods (karate) that were not fit for purpose.

The Without Writing Biggest Disservice to Martial Arts Award, 2011

A belated happy new year, one and all. 2011 was an interesting year in combat. Many great fights were fought, many interesting techniques were demonstrated in front of millions, and many interesting news stories discussed the implications of crime, violence and self defence.

But who pooped in the proverbial pudding, last year? Of all the party guests, which one was the most objectionable?

Ladies and germs, I provide you with: The Without Writing “Biggest Disservice to Martial Arts Award”, 2011. Read more of this post

Tyler Fielding’s Attack on Victor King: Mainstream Media Uselessness

This poor man was badly assaulted. How can others avoid his fate? The press ain’t tellin’.

On the 22nd of December, a sixteen year old boy named Tyler Fielding of Redruth, Cornwall in the UK, was found guilty of  the attempted murder of Mr Victor King, a man in his fifties. Fielding, the court heard, kicked and stamped on Mr King, causing serious head injuries and damaging his trachea to the extent necessary to cause suffocation. Mr King was found lying unconscious in the street by a passer-by, and only survived because paramedics assisted his breathing at the scene. According to the press, the violent, murderous little thug will be sentenced in January 2012.

End of story,  one might think.  But no! This story reveals so much about the counter-productive nature of the mainstream press and their dismal, dismal role in contemporary society, that I simply couldn’t let it pass without comment. And, if the details of the crime published in the press are accurate (there’s no guarantee that anything the press publishes is correct), the case itself presents a simply excellent self-defence teaching opportunity. Read more of this post

Steven Seagal… The Man Who Should Fail

This man’s face is too small and vicious for his head

Steven Seagal is one of the great martial arts success stories of the past few decades. Here is a man who studied an- at the time- obscure martial art, became a high-ranking instructor in that art, moved to Hollywood, was discovered, became a star and has since made close to forty movies. He is the star of his own reality TV show, has released two albums of his own music, and is a prominent religious, political and animal rights activist.

Oh wait. I forgot to mention: He’s a fantasist, a bully and a terrible, terrible martial artist. He’s a man who should have failed in life, if anyone should. He simply does not deserve the fame, fortune and public platform that he currently has. He should fail. If there were any justice in the world… he would.

Now, what I just said is in fact self-evident (anyone who has seen Seagal perform… or in fact speak should realise the truth of this) but in the climate in which we find ourselves, where  the prevailing “wisdom” is that Seagal is a “martial arts master” and spiritual guru, my claim qualifies as an extraordinary claim. And as such, it requires very detailed evidence to support it. Well, never let it be said that I do not shoulder my responsibilities: Read more of this post

Nationalism Through the Lens of a Martial Art

In April of this year, there was a minor kerfuffle in the UK regarding some ringers from Eastern Europe being brought in to supplement the British wrestling team, in time for the 2012 olympic games.

It’s only a matter of time before this man is competing for the UK in the olympics.

The fact that people born and raised in one nation can compete in international amateur sports for a completely different nation if granted citizenship in their new country is a new one on me. I had some vague idea that one had to be a 2nd generation national in order to compete for a country at the olympics… clearly this was mere fantasy on my part.

My immediate reaction was surprise and a kind of vague irritation, especially when I read how disappointed the native British wrestlers were that their place on the national olympic squad had been taken by someone from the Ukraine…

But then I caught myself, and gave myself a ceremonial punch in the face as punishment. Read more of this post

The Case of Harry Cook, and Abuses by Authority Figures

There have been many scandals associated with martial arts teachers in the past. Most have simply been exposés of teachers’ lack of credentials, but in the odd case there have been more serious issues unearthed. Such is the case with one Mr Henry Wilson “Harry” Cook,  who was for the majority of his lifetime one of the most prominent and most feted Karate teachers in the UK.

Harry Cook: Self confessed paedophile and rapist. Who’d have thought?

Harry Cook has, over the past six months, been remanded in a prison in Durham, and has- bit by bit- admitted committing 14 counts of sexual assault- primarily against minors- over a twenty year period. He has, as of 31 October, been charged with 29 counts in addition to these, including charges such as sexual assault and taking and possessing indecent images and videos of children. In other words, he is a self-confessed paedophile and rapist of children. Read more of this post

Why I Write… Without Writing

I have touched in past posts on my reasons for starting this blog, but they are many and varied, and interesting enough (I feel) to warrant more detail.

The martial arts have been the main focus of all the articles I have written for this blog so far, and this is primarily due to my personal passion for the field of combat; there is no more stimulating game, I assure you. “Human Chess”, some have called it… but to call it that is to undersell the game. Chess has finite combinations of moves and outcomes- breathtakingly complex by human cognitive standards to be sure, but still limited by the 64 squares and the prescribed motions of the pieces.

Combat on the other hand is as close to infinitely complex as any game can be; Read more of this post