Without Writing

The art of writing without writing… about fighting.

Tag Archives: Gung Fu

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

Movie Review: Flash Point with Donnie Yen

Chinese martial arts cinema is legendary amongst afficionados of combat. The rich range of movies produced by the Shaw Brothers’ studio and its Hong Kong contemporaries from the 50’s to the 80’s stands as one of the most fascinating libraries of combative entertainment in history; the physical skill and acrobatic prowess of the performers therein is likewise a matter of legend.

Flash Point with Donnie Yen

Classic figures of popular martial arts were produced by the Hong Kong movie business: Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Chow Yun Fat, Sammo Hung, and Jet Li were made famous internationally primarily due to their starring roles in Hong Kong Gung Fu and generic action movies.

However, Chinese martial arts cinema- like Chinese martial arts themselves- have always been stylized affairs. Some would argue… *too* stylized.
For instance, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was a tour-de-force of visual art and dance… but it was as far from an accurate depiction of combat (and therefore of martial arts), as one can get. Read more of this post

Sofos News Update Alert Update!!!!11

An update on our favourite fraudster’s media exposure: The recent article by one Tom Foot that was discovered in the Camden New Journal has also appeared in the Islington Tribune (presumably a sister paper of some sort), and a similar though slightly less fawning piece has appeared on the Barnet Today website, under the byline of one Daniel O’Brien. 

This latter article at least demotes Sofos from “Kung Fu Master” to “Kung Fu Teacher”, and likewise downgrades him from having “Taught Lennox Lewis and Steven Seagal” to having “Trained with” those two… but it’s still a pack of Sofos’ own lies, parroted back relatively uncritically by a journalist who simply can’t be bothered to fact-check his stories. Read more of this post

Sofos strikes back… against illness

Sidney’s in the press again. I wondered why he had been so quiet for so long. Apparently it was an enforced absence. 

According to this “human interest” article published in a local London newspaper this very month,  Mr Sofos recently had life-saving surgery to correct a heart problem. Some of the article consists of Sid thanking his cardiologist for saving the aforementioned life of Sid. (all credit for spotting this fantastic literary farce goes to one Mr Peter, who kindly commented on the original Sofos article on this blog) Read more of this post

How To Spot a Fraud

While discussing my blog post on Sid Sofos (and people like him) with some friends, the following question came up: Is there a hard and fast way of spotting those in the field of martial arts who wish to pull the wool over your eyes by giving you ineffective techniques, and taking your money in the process?

It’s true that Sofos is a painfully obvious example of a completely fake, totally meritless excuse for a martial arts instructor. But people still seem to have been taken in by him, especially those without previous martial arts experience. So how can prospective martial artists possibly protect themselves from frauds who are more convincing than Sofos? And let’s face it, any fraud will be more convincing than Sofos. Read more of this post

Where to begin?

Following neatly on from my previous post, this will (partially) address the (complex) question of how to begin one’s training in the martial arts.

My idea of the best way to begin studying the martial arts is in many ways based on the deficiencies in my own start. As stated in my initial blog posts, I spent (or sadly, mis-spent) much of my precious youth in the meaningless and wasteful practice of Japanese and Chinese martial arts styles that did not have any application to real-world combat. Following these ignominious beginnings, I began to move towards the practice of reality-based training. Read more of this post

Definition of the term “Martial Art”

A contentious issue indeed is the issue of how to actually define what is, and what is not, a martial art. However, it’s an important issue to address, if one is intending to write reams of guff about martial arts.

Let’s be clear on several points:

1. The term “martial art” is a European term, deriving from Latin roots. It refers to the “arts of Mars”, that is, the arts of war or battle. (Mars being the Roman equivalent of the Greek god of war, Ares.)

2. In the age in which the term was coined, the word “art” did not necessarily mean an “artistic display” in the way we most commonly understand the term today. It did not (and does not) necessarily refer to abstract aesthetic art, but instead to “skill” or “method which has been learned”. In other words, dance is the art of the dancer, and fighting is the art of the fighter. Cooking is the art of the cook. Read more of this post