Thursday, July 28, 2011


                                                          It Couldn't Be Done
                                                           by Edgar A. Guest   

Somebody said that it couldn't be done,
But he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn't," but he would be one
Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.
Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you'll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
And the first thing we knew he'd begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn't be done, and he did it.
There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
That "cannot be done," and you'll do it.

Monday, July 25, 2011

There is science behind the "choke"

One of my favorite periodicals, Brain in the News, reprinted an article about the science of why people choke under pressure. It's written about golfers but, like many things, you can mentally substitute martial arts for golf. One point the article makes is that choking most often happens when people try to think about what they are going to do. If you've been in the arts for a while you can remember your instructor telling you not to think-just do.
   They also mention the quiet mind and how you can learn to do that. No wonder meditation is taught with the arts, eh? Another point is that kids don't seem to have the same problems with choking.  They say that's because they don't have the weight of expectations and previous screw-ups. The ancient Chinese said "Be like a child". Damn, right again.
   In addition they describe the difference in performance between a control group that practiced with an audience and another who did not. Uh-huh, the first group with an audience did better under pressure. So your teacher who had you do your thing in front of the class was onto something!
  Here's the link to the article in the New York Times.

And to get a subscription to Brain in the News go to It's free, ya cheapskate.

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Alex Herrera is one of my brown belts and has been competing in MMA. He just placed in gi and no gi contests over the weekend in Brazil, 1st and 2nd respectively.
Here he is before:

And after.

Good on ya, little brother!

Monday, July 11, 2011

More on Hands-Only CPR

As many of you know, I became an instructor of CPR recently. I've found many misconceptions about the Hands-Only CPR. Here's some info.

More Bystanders Attempt CPR After Video Training, Says Study
Even very brief video training can boost rates of bystander Hands-Only™ CPR, says a new American Heart Association study. Not only that, but it may also lead to improved compression rates and compression depths. According to Bentley J. Bobrow, MD, lead author of the study, "This finding has enormous public health implications because of the documented hesitancy of untrained rescuers to even attempt CPR and because it is known that any bystander resuscitation attempt improves outcomes compared to no CPR."
Read the full article at:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

It's electric!

I was able to go to a fencing class with my first coach in Ft. Myers while I was down there. It was my first opportunity to do electric fencing. I've posted a link below to describe what that is. Big fun!

Friday, July 8, 2011


Yikes! I just added two more podcasts and saw that what's on there already has been downloaded 22,000+ times.
  Thanks for listening!
Yu can find them on itunes or link through my homepage at

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Joe Zorich

I took Judo at the Shindo Kan school on Stony Island in Chicago in the late 1960's. Blaise Joseph Zorich owned it and that's where I got my real start in the arts. Carole Wolken was a black belt there and gave me my first lesson at that school. I credit her with sparking me to continue in martial arts.
  Joe, pictured here, was a great guy. He was our "dad". I remember him as a disciplinarian but he knew when to let us go a bit. It was fun and I have lots of great memories of his school.
  It's where I met his son, David. Dave and I are still in touch and he even comes to my seminars in Chicago. Dae continued as well and has earned degrees of black in both Korean karate and judo.
  It was Joe that introduced me to the importance of weight-lifting in a conditioning program, too. He had been a power-lifter.
  When I went back to visit as a young adult I was surprised to see that I was taller than he. That perspective as a kid that instructors are 10 feet tall and know everything sure sticks.
  Dave had sent this picture from an article they did on Joe in one of the major Chicago papers many years ago. Joe passed away some time back but he won't be forgotten.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

New article at

Excerpt from the July article in the Member's section.

I made contact with the new coach prior to showing up at his class. I went down for my first night and was taken aside by the new coach to see what I knew. Fine, great. He thought my basics were fine and that I would be allowed to start working with the others in the class. Freestyle, in other words. That too was fine and I looked forward to it.

Along the way I was able to catch him for a few minutes here and there and ask him about his background and got some insights on his philosophy of instruction. Now it got interesting. By the way, on that first night I was not asked anything about my background in anything other than this discipline, not even my full name and contact information. These are two items that an instructor absolutely needs. For one, how do you retain students and grow a student body without contact info? Not to mention the legal aspects. And not finding out what other experience, if any, I had led to me being talked to like someone with zero knowledge of body mechanics, timing, range, posture, etc. I can deal with that but two things arise. One; that rubs some people the wrong way and that makes imparting information difficult. Two; it sure would accelerate learning if you knew your student had some combat experience. But I digress. At this point I may have known more about my coach than he did about me. And what I found was distressing.