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Archive for May, 2012|Monthly archive page

Break Dancing to Beat the Junta: Shan Refugees use Hip Hop as a positive outlet for their creative energies, grief and anger.

In Uncategorized on May 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm

By Antonio Graceffo

One of my Shan friends, who we will call Hsai Tai Yai for security reasons, escaped from the war zone in Burma and made it to Thailand, where he managed to complete two one-year colleges. Now, he is living in a refugee camp, working as a schoolteacher, helping other young people from Shan State to learn English and obtain basic education, in the hopes that they can also win a scholarship to college.

In addition to the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and Gandhi every time I see Hsai Tai Yai, he asks me about bodybuilding. Once, when we were working together in the jungle, he said to me, “I wish my body is strong like you, but when I am young, I am malnutrition.” His words were at once, innocent and heartbreaking. Having education also means he is aware of what has been stolen from him. Even his height and weight were stunted by the junta. Thank God his spirit can’t be contained.

When he accepted the position as teacher, he immediately set about building a gym for the refugee boys. Here he is, in his own, homemade youtube video, with some of the young refugees, breaking in their new gym.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B63eKbUUklE

with weights and equip[ment made of bamboo and concrete, it looks more like Gilligan’s Island than Hollywood Fitness, but for these boys, it is both an outlet for the stress of having seen their families murdered, and a connection with the West, a place called America that comes to them in small, inaccurate glimpses through TV and movies; America, a land that they admire, but which has offered no formal support for the millions of displaced and suffering ethnic people of Burma.

When the Burmese army burned his village, Hsai Tai Yai lost everyone and everything he had ever known. He was only ten years old when monks took him to Thailand and taught him Thai language. When he reached military age, the Thai police said he had to return to Shan State, where he survived several years in the war zone. Eventually, he made it back to Thailand, as a migrant worker, living in a makeshift camp, with other Shan men, doing day labor, barely surviving.

Life has never been easy for Hsai Tai Yai, but his internal drive is so strong, that he hasn’t quit or become bitter. Instead of picking up a gun and joining the rebels, he has decided the best way to fight back against the generals who run Burma is to educate himself and help to educate as many Shan young people as he can.

Hsai Tai Yai is a true hero of the war in Burma.

Today, he sent me a message, asking if I could help him build a B-Boy playground. I thought he meant a basketball court, but he meant a place for the Shan refugee boys to practice break dancing.

In the Shan college  Hsai Tai Yai attended, one of the skills the boys were taught was proposal writing. I have attached his formal proposal, but the bottom line is, the boys need 8,845.00 THB or $279.375 USD. If you wish to contribute, you can donate money directly, through the bank account info, at the end of the proposal. If additional monies are received, they will be used for health and hygiene items, as well as food, clothing, and school supplies for the refugees.

From my own experience, these refugee schools do the absolute best they can to feed the kids, but sometimes they can only provide two very basic meals per day. So, additional pocket money allows the kids to buy instant noodles or if they are lucky, some canned meat. The kids also need hygiene items like soap, toothpaste, shampoo, flip flops, and basic living supplies which the camps can’t always provide.

If you can help, it would be a real blessing. And I would consider it a direct favor to me, because these Shan kids, particularly Hsai Tai Yai, mean a lot to me.

Thank you in advance for your kindness. Also, please read the proposal because I have never read a truer document in my life.

Executive summary:

Koung Jor camp is a camp which is located on Thai Burmese border Wiang Hang district, Chiang Mai province Thailand. The camp was established in 2003 and it population is over 600. At the moment, Koung Jor camp has lack of playground for the children that they can enjoy in their free time. The total of the children in koung Jor camp is over 150 and 50 are teenagers who request to have B-boy playground dancing. There are 50 teenagers who are interested in B-boy dancing and 20 have strong potential in this dance and they propose a playground for several times but the camp is unable to build because there are no construction materials. The camp leader is happy with this project so he gives 10 meters square for the B-boy playground. The total amount of the budget is 8,845 Thai baht.

Background information and problem statement:

Koung Jor camp is a camp which is located on Thai-Burmese border Wiang Hang district, Chiang Mai province. The camp was established in 2003 and its population is over 600 and the camp has lack of construction materials to build playground for the children. There are 50 teenagers who are interested in B-Boy dancing and 20 teenagers have good basic in B-boy dancing.  The children in Koung Jor camp are really like and enjoy B-boy dancing and their talents are very capable. According to an interview with 20 boys and 5 girls said that they want to have a B-boy playground dancing for practicing. Some of them have very good basic B-boy dancing by learning from themselves by watching TV or watching from video clips. They organize themselves in a group for B-boy dancing and if the community has party or ceremony they come up and show and it attracts young people and many young teenagers are really enjoy the B-boy dancing as it is very new for them. The teenagers propose this B-boy playground dancing to the community leaders for many times but the community is unable to build for them as the camp has lack of construction materials. Every day evening after their school, they come up together and practice the dance. The problem of the ground is muddy in rainy season and dusty in cold and hot season. Moreover, the ground where they do practicing is not flat and not smooth for them and it can create injuries or bruise for them. Therefore, after they have finished practicing they got dirty and sometimes they got injuries as they the ground is not good and safe.

Statement of need:

 There are 130 teenagers in Koung Jor camp who have lack of playground activity. According to 130 teenagers said they do not have playground for doing any exercise during their holiday or when the school is off. The camp has one swing and seesaw playground but this one is only for small children and this playground is not able to use for B-boy dancing. Due to inadequate playground for teenagers in Koung Jor camp the teenagers who have high capability cannot be improved. 10 boys who are top B- boy dancing said that if they have good playground, good speaker and coach they could do the dance better. To solve this issue, the B-boy playground can be constructed beside the soccer field near the children swing playground.

Goal:

Our goal of building B-boy playground dancing is to construct good and safe area for the 50 children in Koung Jor camp for them to have fun and to be happy.

Objective:

Our objective of building B-boy playground dancing is to create good, smooth and safety playground for the 50 teenagers who are addicted and motivated in B-boy dancing in Koung Jor camp by building concrete floor in Koung Jor Shan camp.

Output:

After our project has accomplished 50 teenagers and 20 people who have basic B-boy dancing will be improved and after school of they will have good and safety playground to practice the B-boy dancing.   

Work plan:

Our project will be finished in two days. The first day we will collect all the materials that we need and ask for construction worker who how to build concrete floor and the second day we will implement the project.

Monitoring and evaluation:

 After two days our project has completed, we will check to make sure that the concrete has no cracks, it dry enough and smoothly. Before using the playground we will give instruction for them how to use the ground and rules to be sustained. We will evaluate the project by asking and observing to the teenagers.

Sustainability:

The playground will be sustained if the teenagers take good care if and using it properly and we will tell them how to take care of it. For the musical instrument and lights we will give them the instruction as well how to use them in a correct way and one person will be the in charge to clean take good care of the musical instrument for the B-boy dance.

Methodology:

There is one teacher who volunteers to a coach and in charge for the B-boy dancing and another teacher will be assistant and take care of the materials of B-boy dance.

Main task of the coach:

  • Create activity and schedule for his students
  • Find new method that can improve the activity
  • Organize students and create team for them
  • Monitoring by looking at them while they are practicing B-boy
    • Take care of the playground
    • Before the dance, he will arrange for music, speaker and light
    • Every time after the dance has done will collect the material and keep them in a safe place
    • Check the objects which one is broken or which one is worked

Main task of the coach assistant:

Budget log frame:

No.

Item

Quantity

Unit

Cost per unit

Total

1. cement

5

sack

160

800

2. sand

Half

Big truck

300

300

3 rocks

Half

Big truck

300

300

4. brick

50

brick

5

250

5. speaker

1

set

3,200

3,200

6. CD player

1,200

set

1,200

1,200

7. Spray

3

set

400

300

8. Wire

2

meter

100

200

9. Pillar for light

4

post

250

1,000

10. Transportation

1

round

150

150

11. worker ( who knows about construction )

1

worker

250

250

12. metal ( Number. 2 )

1

piece

450

450

13. switch

1

set

50

50

14. Future board

1

set

200

200

15 Light bulb

3

bulb

65

195

Total amount cost in Thai baht

8,845

Contact person:

  1. Name                    Tun yee Mooling

Email:                    jai.hark@gmail.com

Phone:                                 +66 0904781158

  1. 2.        Second contact person:

Name               Panya last name Boonsee

Email:                    kpy.poshyouth497@gmail.com

Phone:                 +66 0861165898

 

Banking Account: 

SWIFT CODE : KRTHTHBK

BANK : KRUNG THAI BANK PUBLIC COMPANY LIMITED

BRANCH: KHUANG SING BRANCH

ACCOUNT NO. 547-0-29119-7

ACCOUNT NAME: MR. Oo Kham Inn Pann

Head Office:
Krung Thai Bank PCL
35 Sukhumvit Road, Klong Toey Nua Subdistrict, Wattana District,
Bangkok 10110

Tel.: +66 (0) -2255-2222 Fax: +66 (0) -2255-9391-3
Krung Thai Phone : 1551 SWIFT code: KRTHTHBK
Cable code: KRUNGTHAI BANGKOK

Branch:

Khuang Sing Tower Flr 5, 30/1 Chotana Rd.

Chang Phuak Subdistrict, Maung,

Chiang Mai Province

50300

Thailand

Telephone: 053-409545-7    Fax: 053-409548

 

My full name is :  Mr. Oo Kham Inn Pann

Home address

40/1  M.2

T. Piang Luang

A. Wiang Haeng

J.  Chiang Mai 50350

Thailand

Summary statement:

100 teenagers in Koung Jor camp have lack of playground activity so they cannot improve their B-boy dance. The current playground where they are using now is muddy in rainy season and dusty in cold and hot season. As the teenagers in koung Jor like to dance B-boy dancing their dance would not be improve without good playground and music.  Therefore, we are English volunteered teachers in Koung Jor camp propose this project to help these teenagers out from their need.

We will be very appreciative of your time and your consideration for reading our proposal.

If you have any question please do not hesitate ask.

F-3 Johor MMA Fight Antonio Graceffo vs Hafiz Chandran

In Uncategorized on May 20, 2012 at 7:51 am

F-3 Johor May 19, 2012, Stadium, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo  took on Hafiz Bin Abdul Salam Chandran a Muay Thai and BJJ practitioner. Antonio said, “This fight was significant for me because it was the first time I fought someone who has higher BJJ and Muay Thai level than me. Hafiz was more aggressive than some of my previous opponents. He was able to resist takedown from the clinch, and when we went to the ground, he pulled guard. Step by step, I am seeing the quality and level of Malaysian MMA fighters improving.”

 

Watch: Fight Antonio Graceffo vs. Hafiz Chandran

http://youtu.be/Dv_oki9A7LQ

 

Tale of the tape

Name Antonio Graceffo Hafiz Bin Abdul Salam Chandran
Nick Name Brooklyn Monk None
Weight 83 kgs 84 kgs
Height 171 cm (5’8”) 1.75 cm
Age 44 22
Date of Birth 6 September, 1967 Date of birth: 12th
Fighting style Bokator Muay Thai and BJJ
Nationality USA Malaysia
Home Town Brooklyn, New York Labuan
Club Affiliation Ultimate MMA Academy Team Titans
Fighting out of Johor Bahru, Malaysia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

 

Antonio Graceffo is self-funded and needs donation to continue his writing and video work. To support the project you can donate through the paypal link on his website, www.speakingadventure.com

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living inAsia. He is the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk fromBrooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.

Warrior Odyssey, the book chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia is available at amazon.com. The book contains stories about the war in Burma and the Shan State Army. The book is available at http://www.blackbeltmag.com/warrior_odyssey

See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on  http://www.blackbeltmag.com

website

www.speakingadventure.com

Twitter

http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk

facebook

Brooklyn Monk fan page

BrooklynMonk on YOUTUBE

http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1

 

BrooklynMonk in 3D

Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

BrooklynMonk in 3D

Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/

 

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Ultimate Beat Down 8: MMA Fight Antonio Graceffo vs. Steven Yeoh Ultimate Beat Down 8

In Uncategorized on May 14, 2012 at 4:09 am

Image

May 5, 2012, Ultimate MMA Academy, Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Originally, Antonio was supposed to fight bodybuilder and san da champion, Zawen Anwar, but he pulled out of the fight twice. Steven Yeoh, who was having his first fight, offered to fight Antonio. By Steven’s own omission, his level was lower than Antonio’s, but he had heart and was willing to get in the ring. For Antonio, the fight was still a learning experience, as Steven’s weight of 111 kgs posed him a number of problems in the grappling and helped him prepare to fight larger opponents. Watch: Fight Antonio Graceffo vs. Steven Yeoh http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WC1MpRmsLE&list=UUNuXxYyjzDWZM22rjrfrnSA&index=1&feature=plcp In Malaysia MMA there are weight divisions up to 81 kgs, when it just becomes one, huge, open weight division. Due to a lack of opponents in the lager divisions, Antonio fights in both light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions, sometimes against people who outweigh him by as much as nearly 40 kgs. Tale of the tape Name Antonio Graceffo Steven Yeoh Nick Name Brooklyn Monk None Weight 83 kgs 111 kgs Height 171 cm (5’8”) 181 cm (5’11”) Age 44 27 Date of Birth 6 September, 1967 Fighting style Bokator MMA MMA Record 6 wins 1 loss 0 and 1 Nationality USA Malaysia Home Town Brooklyn, New York Club Affiliation Ultimate MMA Academy None Fighting out of Johor Bahru, Malaysia Johor Bahru, Malaysia Antonio Graceffo is self-funded and needs donation to continue his writing and video work. To support the project you can donate through the paypal link on his website, http://www.speakingadventure.com Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living in Asia. He is the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk from Brooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries. Warrior Odyssey, the book chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia is available at amazon.com. The book contains stories about the war in Burma and the Shan State Army. The book is available at http://www.blackbeltmag.com/warrior_odyssey See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on http://www.blackbeltmag.com website http://www.speakingadventure.com Twitter http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk facebook Brooklyn Monk fan page Brooklyn Monk on YOUTUBE http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1 Brooklyn Monk in 3D Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/ Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor) http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor) http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com Brooklyn Monk in 3D Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/ Antonio,graceffo,mma,fight,Brooklyn,monk,Malaysia,overtime,gods,fc,championship,mixed,martial,arts,odyssey,ultimate,mma,academy Ultimate Beat Down MMA Fight 8 Antonio Graceffo vs. Steven Yeoh Brooklyn Monk Antonio Graceffo Referee Kim Lee Tan Ultimate MMA Academy Johor Bahru, Malaysia Contact Antonio Antonio@speakingadventure.com Get Antonio’s books On Amazon.com Join the Brooklyn Monk fan page on Facebook See Antonio’s website http://www.speakingadventure.com Say a prayer for the Khmers and the people of Shan State.

Zawen Anwar the Coward, Article 3 (of many)

In Uncategorized on May 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm

By Antonio Graceffo (Not hiding)

A friend sent me a picture of Zawen “The Coward” Anwar, modeling a Tap Out MMA shirt. I asked, “Is it Halloween? Zawen is dressed like a fighter.”

Zawen Anwar made my Bad List when he agreed, twice, to fight me in professional MMA, then pulled out, twice, leaving the promoter minus a match, and me minus an opponent. Now, he is more or less banned from fighting MMA in Malaysia. His reason for pulling out, according to his manager, was that he doesn’t want to hurt Antonio. This would have been his MMA debut. Until now, he has only been a model, a body builder and has had a few fake fights.

My mission is to harass him and disclose uncomfortable truths about him until he agrees to fight me, to save face. I didn’t have to go digging to find dirt about him, people have been offering up all sorts of stuff about him, apparently he is a HUGE steroid-using phony.

This week, I just got another piece of info about Zawen Anwar. He isn’t turning 27, as he claims on his modeling profiles. He is turning 31!!!! And according to the source, “He is worried about aging. He used to be an underwear model.” Thirty one! I never fought an old man like that. It doesn’t even seem fair.

I have picked up so much dirt on this guy, by simply sitting back and letting people come to me. This shows you, if you do dirty things to people, it will come back to haunt you.

I hope I never need a blood transfusion and it turns out that Zawen is my only match. I have a feeling, he wouldn’t go out of his way to help me.

On May 5, I fought Steven Yeoh, because Zawen Anwar chickened out. Steven is a guy with only 9 months of MMA training, who wanted his first fight to be with the Brooklyn Monk. He actually told me his level was lower than mine, but he wanted the experience. I was proud of him for trying. But his courage made Zawen Anwar’s cowardice appear that much more acute.

I posted the following on my facebook and this is what my friends had to say about muscle-bound, would-be, tough-guy Zawen Anwar, who backed out of the fight, not once, but twice.

From Facebook: I always misspell the word “cowardice.” I thought it was spelled “cowardess,” but then I realized that “cowardess” meant a female coward, like Zawen Anwar.

Me: The clock is passed midnight and it’s a new day in Malaysia. It’s a new day. So, I need to say something terrible about Zawen Anwar. Zawen if you can read this post, or if you get a non-model friend to read it for you, Steven Yeoh Is TEN TIMES the man you will ever be. He asked for a fight with me, and he showed up and fought. Zawen the muscle man, what did you do this evening?

A friend wrote: He must be applying face mask to go to sleep rite now…zawen ‘the pussy face’

Another friend: One thing for sure, he’s better than Zawen the coward ‘roid’…hahaha…

A Friend: Is Zawen a real perso? I thought he was just a figment of Antonio’s imagination. Nobody could be that much of a pussy could they? – Well done to Steven Yeoh for manning up,

Me: Most of my friends agreed that Steven Yeoh, who agreed to fight me, was more of a man than Zawen the Coward would ever be.

A Friend: Anyone deserve srespect who steps up to fight when someone else pulls out ! Osssuu

A Friend: The man has bigger balls than Zawenlander anyway!

Me: We have been through this! Zawen has small balls because of steroids.

 

Antonio Graceffo is self-funded and needs donation to continue his writing and video work. To support the project you can donate through the paypal link on his website, www.speakingadventure.com

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living inAsia. He is the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk fromBrooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.

Warrior Odyssey, the book chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia is available at amazon.com. The book contains stories about the war in Burma and the Shan State Army. The book is available at http://www.blackbeltmag.com/warrior_odyssey

See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on  http://www.blackbeltmag.com

website

www.speakingadventure.com

Twitter

http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk

facebook

Brooklyn Monk fan page

BrooklynMonk on YOUTUBE

http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1

 

BrooklynMonk in 3D

Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

BrooklynMonk in 3D

Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/

 

 

The Dead End Kids of Johor Bahru

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2012 at 9:07 am

By Antonio Graceffo

Many of the best young fighters in our gym were bad kids who Jiao Lien (coach) collected off the streets, because they tried to rob him, or beat up their teachers, or got kicked out of school. Like Fagin, he collects bad boys, brings them to the Ultimate MMA Academy, and gives them a positive way to fight. At the same time, he teaches them respect, discipline, and manners. Many of these boys were headed to a jail cell, but have since gone on to good careers instead.

A couple of weeks ago, he brought a group of six boys who he said were the worst kids at the high school where he teaches. He gave them to me, and said they would be my students. I trained them that first day, and they really seemed to enjoy the training. We told them the first day was free, but next time, they would have to pay a discounted daily training fee. After the second training session, we asked for payment, but they made all sorts of excuses why they didn’t have money.

I said, “There’s only six of them. Let’s lock the door, and the two of us beat one of them, till the other five come up with the money.”

Jiao Lien said, “No, we have to pity them. Many of these kids in Johor come from broken homes or the parents are away in Singapore. So, there is no one teach them wrong or right. They simply don’t know that it is wrong to accept services in the gym or internet café or even a restaurant and walk out without paying.”

He gave the boys a stern talking to, explaining to them how important it was to be a good, honest man, and not to cheat people. He made them promise they would pay double when they came next time. As they were going down the stairs, I grabbed some heavy weights to drop on them, but Jiao Lien told me not to.

It’s amazing what good friends Jiao Lien and I have become, and yet, we have very different styles of dealing with people.

Sure enough, three days later, the boys returned to training, and they each, dutifully paid for two days training. Jiao Lien told me, “If you try and teach them something at school, they misbehave. But if they see something they admire, they will behave, and even listen.” Apparently, they admire the way we fight in the academy.

Two weeks later, the boys were still training with me. They never made any problems about paying their fees and they were simply fearless in the ring. They were very funny kids, always laughing and fighting. They reminded me of Malaysia’s Dead End Kids, getting into mischief the second I turned my back. Their main mischief in the academy is that they like to fight each other.

I decided to put their natural violence to good use and invited them to fight in our MMA tournament, that coming weekend. The plan was to let them fight under special Amateur Youth MMA rules that I made up on the spot. They had to wear boxing gloves, not MMA gloves, head guards and shin guards. They would fight only two three-minute rounds. There was a ten-second ground rule, and fights wouldnot be stopped for chokes or submissions. If a boy taped, the referee would simply restarts them, from standing. This way, all of the boys would gain the experience of fighting the full two rounds of three minutes. After the fight, the judges would render a decision, which would always be a draw. And both boys would get a trophy.

Teaching these kids has meant a lot to me now. I see them learning and developing, but at the same time, I know I have to teach them when they are ready. I can’t hold formal classes or make them do ANYTHING they don’t want to do. But I can get them to work hard, as long as they believe it was their idea.

The boys all seemed enthusiastic about the tournament, and wanted to spar, to prepare for the fight. They paired up, and began going crazy, hitting each other, when I noticed one kid was wearing boxing gloves, but his opponent was wearing MMA gloves. I was about to tell the one boy to change to boxing gloves, but they were wearing headgear, and they are pretty malnourished, so I thought, they couldn’t really hit hard enough to hurt each other. Also, these were the tough gang kids from the school. So, I assumed they could take it. Two seconds into the sparring, the boy with the MMA gloves upper-cutted his opponent in the face. The boy who was hit, fell down, crying and demanded ice for his eye.

I checked the eye and there was no injury, just a little boo-boo, one of those ouies that puts a rich Kuala Lumpur kid out of training for a month, but which kids in Brooklyn get during breakfast and forget before they finish their milk.

I asked Jiao Lien, “I thought these were the tough gang kids. What happened?”

He told me, “When they get in street fights, they call all of their friends to come help them. Then the two gangs stand there in the street and shout insults at each other.”

“You mean they don’t actually fight?” I asked.

“That IS how they fight.” He explained.

Wow! I have said it a million times since coming to Asia, but I’m obviously not in Brooklyn anymore. To a man, the kids said they didn’t want to fight in the tournament, and they all walked out.

During the days leading up to the tournament, they didn’t return. I felt really guilty. Had I pushed them too hard? Whether or not the fight in the tournament was not nearly as important as whether or not they came to training regularly and learned some discipline and developed their healthy bodies. Now, all of that learning would be lost, simply because I pushed them too soon into a fight.

On fight night, I was pretty busy. I was the announcer, the extra referee and I was also fighting. One of my other young students was fighting and I was also working his corner. I was so distracted, I didn’t see when all of the bad boys walked in. suddenly, they were standing around me, ready to fight, asking what they needed to do. I was so happy, I nearly cried. We helped them do their registration forms and get their equipment ready. They had even brought a friend with them, who I had never seen before, simply because he wanted to fight too.

The bad boys wound up being the stars of the night, when they fought better than about half the adult amateurs I have seen in KL. Jiao Lien was so excited. He came running up to me, saying, “Your students all fight exactly like you. They use clinch, judo hip toss, judo side control and ground and pound.” It was true. They used all of my basic moves. Also, one of the boys used the wrestler’s arm triangle submission which is something that I never taught them. Maybe they had seen me doing it in sparring.

At that moment, I understood why people stop fighting and become coaches. Because of these boys, I fought three fights that night, not one. And, win or lose, I was proud of their performance.

The boys apparently had a curfew and were meant to go home at ten. But when they heard my fight was last, they stayed to support me. My opponent was a tremendous 111kg first-timer, who outweighed me by nearly 30kgs. Needless to say, when the bell rang, I went a bit tentatively, throwing leg kicks and staying away from his reach. Eventually, we wound up in a clinch, and I drove him to the cage.

When my boys were fighting, I had to shout instructions to them in Chinese. Mostly, I was yelling things like, “hit his face” or “ use your knee,” and the like. When I had my opponent pressed against the cage, one of the boys imitated my accent in Chinese and yelled, “Use your knee.” The entire room burst into laughter. Then one boy very sternly said to him, “You shouldn’t tell Teacher what to do.”

I won my fight. But the main feature of my night was The Dead End Kids of Johor. They won trophies and got positive recognition for their skills, maybe for the first time in their lives. Only time will tell where they go from here, but for the moment anyway, they seem to have found something more rewarding than the streets.

Antonio Graceffo is self-funded and needs donation to continue his writing and video work. To support the project you can donate through the paypal link on his website, www.speakingadventure.com

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living inAsia. He is the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk fromBrooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.

Warrior Odyssey, the book chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia is available at amazon.com. The book contains stories about the war in Burma and the Shan State Army. The book is available at http://www.blackbeltmag.com/warrior_odyssey

See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on  http://www.blackbeltmag.com

website

www.speakingadventure.com

Twitter

http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk

facebook

Brooklyn Monk fan page

BrooklynMonk on YOUTUBE

http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1

BrooklynMonk in 3D

Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

BrooklynMonk in 3D

Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/

Antonio Graceffo MMA Fight vs. Aaron Lim Re-Match

In Uncategorized on May 4, 2012 at 7:00 am

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February, 2012, in Kuala Lumpur. Aaron Lim wanted revenge for losing to Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo in Mayhem II MMA tournament, the previous year. This fight was Antonio’s first MMA fight in a ring, rather than a cage.

Watch: Antonio Graceffo MMA Fight vs. Aaron Lim Re-Match

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCewI91QOqQ

Unfortunately, the last thirty seconds of the fight are missing. You just have to take Antonio’s word that he won. For third party verification, see Antonio’s MMA fight record on Sherdog

http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Antonio-Graceffo-92971

This fight was significant because it came at the end of two months of Antonio living and training in the Ultimate MMA Academy in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, and was the first of several fights, where Antonio represented the academy. At the academy, coach Melvin Yeoh spent a lot of time teaching Antonio the MMA and Thai clinch, to utilize in fights where he had difficulty taking the opponent to the ground. Although Antonio can take Aaron down, he practices his clinch in this fight, to prepare for his next fight against a much bigger and stronger opponent.

Antonio Graceffo is self-funded and needs donation to continue his writing and video work. To support the project you can donate through the paypal link on his website, www.speakingadventure.com

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living in Asia. He is the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk from Brooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.

Warrior Odyssey, the book chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia is available at amazon.com. The book contains stories about the war in Burma and the Shan State Army. The book is available at http://www.blackbeltmag.com/warrior_odyssey

 

See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on  http://www.blackbeltmag.com
website

www.speakingadventure.com

Twitter

http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk

facebook

Brooklyn Monk fan page

Brooklyn Monk on YOUTUBE

http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1

Brooklyn Monk in 3D

Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

Antonio,Graceffo,Brooklyn,monk,warrior,martial,arts,odyssey,ultimate,mma,mixed,fight,johor,bahru,melvin,competition,tournament,kuala,lumpur,malaysia

Bullying the Bully

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Bullying the Bully

Tough Love, Beating the Bad Out of the Boy

By Antonio Graceffo

I beat the crap out of a bully today and feel badly about it. In my heart I knew it was probably the right thing to do. Jiao lien (coach) and my training partner, Kim even agreed. But it still felt terrible, bullying the bully.

Last week, I was training intensely for my fight, doing a timed exercise with Kim. A young Chinese guy came in, said he was a college student and wanted to train. He paid me the student’s daily rate for the gym and began kicking the bag and exercising very badly. He had two friends with him, and the whole scene just seemed oddly suspicious. Why was this guy here? Why did the friends come to watch? Why did he train so badly but not ask for help? And also, why had I never seen him before?

But I was busy training, so I just ignored him. I noticed he and his friends kept talking about me. In my arrogance, I just thought they recognized me from Martial Arts Odyssey or something. I heard the friend saying, “He’s pretty big.” Then later I heard him say, “Go ahead, ask him.” The guy who was training came up to me and asked me something in Chinese. I didn’t quite understand what he wanted. In fact, I thought he wanted to make a photo with me. So, I stopped for a second, thinking, OK, make this quick.

He ran over to the rack and grabbed a pair of gloves. I just thought they were props for our photo. But then Ah Heng, an older guy at our club, who I have huge respect for, said in easier to understand Chinese. “Antonio, he wants to spar you. But you are busy, so I will spar with him.”

This was really strange. What kind of person walks in off the street and asks to spar with one of the instructors? In addition to being very terrible in his fighting skills, he probably only weighed about 66 kgs. I weigh 84. But, Ah Heng agreed to spar with him.

Ah Heng is just about 40 years old, but in phenomenal shape. He was a pro Muay Thai fighter with well over 100 fights to his credit, many if not most of them in Thailand. In addition to standard Muay Thai, he trained Muay Korat which is an all but lost art. He is one of Jiao lien’s best and most trusted friend who helps run the academy if we are away fighting. He is also generous about giving his time, absolutelyfree, to help the fighters in our club improve their Muay Thai skills.

Ah Heng is also about 60 kgs, but there is no doubt in my mind that he could take my head right off my shoulders with a single kick. His shin bones are like knives that he has sharpened day after day since he was like twelve years old.

I was busy training, so I didn’t see all of the sparring, but what I saw looked normal. Ah Heng was going very easy on the young guy, trying to help him. The next time I looked, Ah Heng was on his back and the boy was ground and pounding him. Ah Heng is a master of Muay Thai but doesn’t know any wrestling or MMA. Instead of trying to rough him up or outdo him, the boy should have been trying to learn from Ah Heng.

The boy took Ah Heng down and bullied him several more times. I wanted to step in, but I wasn’t sure what the right protocol was, because Ah Heng is an adult and capable of standing up for himself. If he wanted to, he could have just kicked the guy once and ended the fight, when they were standing again. But Ah Heng is too nice to do that to someone, even a bad boy.

Immediately after the sparring, the boy and his friends left.

When I told the story to Jiao Lien, he said. “Those boys came here to bully you. And, he brought his friends to watch how great he is. They honestly believe they can beat you, because they fight in the street.”

I am sick of the street fighter versus real fighter argument on the internet. Just come in the gym and let me show you how ridiculous this argument is. Or we can do it on the pavement out front. I am bigger, healthier, and stronger than any of those street fighters. The only ones bigger than me are the ones on steroids, and I love fighting guys who are roided out. I hit harder and faster. I kick harder, and I spar insane numbers of rounds each day. There is no way those guys can take a hit better than me.

If I shoot a double and spike a guy on his head on the street, I don’t think there is some huge advantage to him being on the street, rather than in the cage.

Also, in our academy, 80% of our sparring is with 4 oz MMA gloves. So please don’t use the stupid argument that I can’t take a bare-knuckle hit. As for kicks in the groin and a lack of MMA rules, that would all favor me, as I can kick in the groin better than almost anyone.

Today, the boy came back, alone. I wished he had brought his friends with him. After he warmed up, I asked him to spar. The first thirty seconds or so, he was trying to nail me with hard kicks and punches, but not one of them landed, because THIS IS MY JOB! I do this every day, twice a day. He doesn’t. Eventually, I grabbed him and went for a throw. He obviously had some small amount of training, because he resisted the throw. So, like the mosquito who raped an elephant, I grabbed his head and threw my legs around his waist. I imagine it was comical to see my huge body hanging off of him like that. But then he did the stupidest thing ever. He dove at the ground. I think his plan was to land on top of me and ground and pound me.

As soon as we hit the round, I rolled him, got him in judo side control, pinned his arm between my knees and punched him, gently, in the face, till I got bored. Then I stood up. He threw another kick or punch at me. This time I zipped in, grabbed him in boxer’s clinch, got a front headlock, and rolled backwards, taking him over my head and dumping him on the mat behind me. Clearly, I can see where if I had done this on the street, he would have had the advantage of being unconscious or dead.

He landed on his head, but I still was holding on, so I did a gator roll, landed on top of him and used a wrestler’s neck crank to submit him.

The wrestler’s submission is very strength intensive, but I like it because it is incredibly painful and it takes forever for the guy to finally tap. It starts out as a pain submission, so tough-guys hold on, but then it turns into a choke, and they have to tap. And when they do finally tap, they always think, why didn’t I tap thirty seconds ago and avoid all of that pain?

We stood up. He punched at my head and I Khooed him. The Khoo is a series of moves that begins with the opponent throwing a huge haymaker right hook at your head. You duck under it, take his hips, throw him, and land in a 100% control position. I had both of his arms pinned under my knees and was punching him in the face.

Each time we stood up, he wanted to stop, but I made him finish the three-minute round. And, I swear, I didn’t actually hit him, just taped him a little with 12 Oz boxing gloves to demoralize him.

I have to believe it was the longest 3 minutes of his life.

When the round was over, he pretty much crawled out of the cage and collapsed in a chair. He had really severe acne and his shirt was drenched in blood, from exploded zits. The blood was smeared on the cage floor, on the wall, and on the chair.

Somehow the blood and the acne made me feel really terribly for beating this guy up. He obviously has all sorts of personal issues, and now I had beaten him senseless. On the other hand, Ah Heng is nearly double his age, and he should have shown respect to this absolute jewel of a Muay Thai master, a man we all learn from.

One of the things I love about Ah Heng is that, although his striking is better than mine, he still asks me questions and learns boxing and Bokator techniques from me. Then, if he wants to teach those techniques to other people, he comes and asks my permission first. I have never seen such humility in my life. And this boy, took Ah Heng down and bullied him, simply because Ah Heng doesn’t know wrestling, and because Ah Heng was too nice to knock the boy out.

The boy was looking pretty demoralized, on the chair, bleeding and breathing heavily. I thought about Ah Heng, and I scolded the boy, as best I could, in Chinese.

I told him, “Last time I saw you, you were sparring with Ah Heng. He has had over 100 Muay Thai fights. Did you know that?”

The boy was impressed.

“He could have killed you, but he is too nice.” I let that sink in. Then I said, “I saw you use wrestling to take him on the ground and treat him impolitely (mai yo li mao).” The boys saw where this was going and instantly regretted his behavior. “Next time you come to the club, if you see Ah Heng, you call him Ah Heng Uncle, and say you are ‘sorry.’ Then, if you ask him politely to teach you Muay Thai, he will.”

Obviously, in a foreign language, it is not clear to me how much the boy understood. But he seemed to grasp what I was saying. Then I added. “When you come in the club, you have to be polite, and we will teach you. But if you do impolite, like you did to Ah Heng, this is very bad.”

Sometimes, when I translate my Chinese back into English I feel like a cross between Forest Gump and Tarzan.

I was taking off my gloves and getting ready to continue training, when they boy stood up and more or less ran for the door. Kim shouted to him, in English, “Please come back and we will teach you properly.” I don’t know if the boy understood, but I could see tears in his eyes.

Afterwards, I talked to Kim about what had happened. When I originally said I would fight the boy, Kim was against it. But after the fight, Kim said to me, “You know how we were when we were young, we thought we knew everything. You didn’t hurt him. But you beat him enough that he can see that he knows nothing.”

When we told Jiao Lien he said, “Call him back. I want to fight him too.”

I honestly hope he comes back, to become one of our students. I am happy to teach him, and I think the whole experience, especially apologizing to Ah Heng, would be good for his personal development. And, I could use the eight Ringit from his training fees.

Antonio Graceffo is self-funded and needs donation to continue his writing and video work. To support the project you can donate through the paypal link on his website, www.speakingadventure.com 

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a martial arts and adventure author living inAsia. He is the author of the books, “Warrior Odyssey’ and “The Monk fromBrooklyn.” He is also the host of the web TV show, “Martial Arts Odyssey,” which traces his ongoing journey through Asia, learning martial arts in various countries.

Warrior Odyssey, the book chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia is available at amazon.com. The book contains stories about the war in Burma and the Shan State Army. The book is available at http://www.blackbeltmag.com/warrior_odyssey

See Antonio’s Destinations video series and find out about his column on  http://www.blackbeltmag.com

website

www.speakingadventure.com

Twitter

http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk

facebook

Brooklyn Monk fan page

BrooklynMonk on YOUTUBE

http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1

 

BrooklynMonk in 3D

Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

BrooklynMonk in 3D

Order the download at http://3dguy.tv/brooklyn-monk-in-3d/

Reaction to my story Zawen the Coward

In Uncategorized on May 3, 2012 at 8:34 am

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By Antonio Graceffo (Not hiding)

Now that Zawen Anwar, the super-model, has pulled out of our fight, I won’t get to use any of my great jokes from Zoolander like, “No touching of the hair or face.” Or, Raging Bull, “He’s a pretty kid. Didn’t know if I should fight him or f— him.” After ground and pounding him, I was thinking of a scene from Fight Club. My coach would come to me and ask, “Where did you go psycho-boy?” And I would answer, “I just wanted to destroy something beautiful.”

Taking steroids gives you liver cancer and makes your testicles shrink. How does a guy take steroids and then back out of a fight with a man 20 years older, who weighs 10 kgs less? Maybe it’s true, big balls are braver than small ones.

I just heard from my coach that Zawen the model is mad about what I wrote about him. Apparently he said, “Antonio destroyed my reputation.” My response, “No, your behavior destroyed your reputation. I just made people aware of it.” Next, he allegedly said that, “My comments were disrespectful.” My answer, “No language barrier here. I have no respect for Zawen and I meant to convey that in my writing.” Of course, he still doesn’t want to fight me.

Here is a link to the original story, Zawen the Coward

https://brooklynmonk.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/zawan-the-coward/

Zawen’s manager said I couldn’t fight Zawen because he is too big. So, using their logic I said, “I’ve beaten much bigger guys in my movies.” And I sent them the clips to prove it.

Since I posted about him, lots of people have been writing in, telling about their personal experience with Zawen. Read what people are saying about the model who refuses to fight real opponents.

A student from Zawen’s fitness gym said: nice write up on the — dude.. seen him around the gym in Subang Parade b4.. loaded on juice for sure. That guy’s loaded on juice.. He’s probably on TRT like Chael Sonnen

Someone who knows him: Hi Antonio, just want you to know I totally agree with you about Zawen.. I know him personally, but not very close, met him a few times at a gym where I’m also training.. All I can say is he is fake.. He is not a real fighter..He’s doing this more just to promote his gym that he owns..for sure you will kick his ass in the ring, that I know.. So, the fact that he pulled himself out of the fight already shows that, You have won the fight..Ok, that’s my point of view.. Good luck on your coming fight !!!

A friend of mine: Would have thought Zawen would be mad enough to fight you now but oh well

Antonio Graceffo: I think what you meant to say was, A MAN would be angry enough to fight me now, but Zawen….

As it stands, because Zawen scheduled and then pulled out of two MMA fights in Malaysia, he has been unofficially banned from competition in the country. There are only five MMA venues in Malaysia, controlled by two different gyms. It just happens that with two pullouts, he managed to piss off both gyms. And neither is willing to schedule him to fight again, for fear that they will print posters and write press-release again, only to have him pull out.

If Zawen really wants to be an MMA fighter, and if he promises that he will not pull out, I could probably get one of the gym owners to put him on a card, but ONLY IF HE FIGHTS ME. They won’t schedule him to fight anyone else. Also, we have drug testing at our events. So, he will have to subject himself to drug testing, as I do, every time I fight. And, he needs to pay back my coach for printing the posters for the fight that didn’t happen.

The ball is in Zawen’s court now. Actually, it always was. No one made him do the stupid crap he did in Muay Thai, and no one forced to insult me be saying he pulled out to keep from hurting me. And no one else made him spineless coward. He did this all himself.

This will be the second of MANY future posts about Zawen.

Antonio@speakingadventure.com

zawen,anwar,body,construction,studio,antonio,graceffo,brooklyn,monk,martial,arts,odyssey,mma,mixed,coward,fight,