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Wrestling Sparing, Shanghai University of Sport (Parts 1 and 2)

In Uncategorized on May 29, 2014 at 4:01 pm

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The traditional Chinese Shuai Jia wrestling team at Shanghai University of Sport is composed of students from sports schools, former Greco Roman wrestling competitors who are now studying at the sports university, and learning Shuai Jiao. Former MMA fighter, Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a a PhD candidate at the university, writing his dissertation on wrestling. At age 47, he is by far the oldest member of the team, the average age is barely 20. On a daily basis, Antonio’s teammates help him practice freestyle, shuai jiao and some MMA grappling.

Watch: Wrestling Sparing, Shanghai University of Sport (Part 1)

Watch: Wrestling Sparing, Shanghai University of Sport (Part 2)

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Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of sport, writing his dissertation on comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. He is martial arts and adventure author living in Asia, 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
Twitter
http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk
facebook
Brooklyn Monk fan page
Brooklyn Monk on YOUTUBE
http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1
Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)
http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

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SUS Wrestlers and San Da Fighters in the MMA Gym

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2014 at 12:29 pm

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By Antonio Graceffo

For the first time in about a year, I had no classes, no work, and no wrestling team practice for three days. So, I took my san da training mates and my wrestling teammates from Shanghai University of Sports to Fighters Unite MMA gym. In one night, we did boxing, san da, MMA, muay Thai, BJJ, submission wrestling, and freestyle. People from about 10 countries exchanged martial arts, techniques, and culture. It was an incredible experience for everyone involved, a chance to get to meet and train with new people, from different countries and different martial art backgrounds.

My wrestling teammate, Zheng Tong, has wrestled from age 9 to age 20, living first in a sports school, and then in the sports university. He was once a national high school champion in Greco Roman wrestling, but then because of a back injury, he was bedridden for two years and had to stop competing. Eventually, he trained his body back to some semblance of health and can now compete on our university’s traditional wrestling team (Shuai jiao), which is the “B” team at our university. The “A” team is the Greco Roman wrestling team, which competes at national and international level.

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He has no chance of moving up to “A” team. And after 11 years of doing nothing apart from wrestling, I suspect he is bored. So, he began cross training in san da. We actually met in a san da class, before our wrestling team began training last year. From the first time I met him, he has continually asked me about MMA. When I fought a few months ago, he asked if he could also fight on the same card. But with no boxing background, no submissions and really terrible san da, I didn’t think it was such a good idea.

About a month earlier, he received permission to begin training with the university san da team. The san da team is unique in that, although it is a university team, it is professional, not amateur. And the fighters fight in competitions for money. Most of them come from sports schools, where they learned nothing but san da for years. A few come from Tagou, a big san da school at Shaolin Temple. No matter where they come from, however, the one thing they have in common is that they have been doing san da their whole lives, much the way Zheng Tong has wrestled his whole life. Getting a late start makes it very unlikely that Zheng Tong could catch up.

On the way to the MMA gym, Zheng Tong took me and my san da training mate, Jiang Huaying to meet a retired san da champion. He had been retired for ten years, but he still looked powerful. His head and neck were perfectly square. His arms and chest were big. But his belly hung over his belt. He poked at it and said, “I really should start exercising. But I don’t want to. I don’t even want to work. It’s too hard.”
When Zheng Tong told him that I was 47 and still fighting, he instantly said, “You see! This is the difference between us and the foreigners. The foreigners have the inspiration to fight. But with us, Chinese people, someone has to make us fight. And we only fight for money.”
I told him that I once fought in Thailand for three dollars.

The retired san da champion had an amazing way of reading people. When I sat down, he said to me, “Your legs are very powerful, but have no flexibility, so your kicking must be very bad. But, your entire body is proportionate, your shoulders, arms, and back are all as large as your legs, so you are probably good at wrestling and boxing.”

He had apparently watched Zheng Tong learning san da at the university and said, “Zheng Tong is very powerful, but he lacks movement, flexibility, techniques, and mindset to learn san da. He can never do it.” While I thought that was a bit harsh, I agreed. My guess, however, was that Zheng Tong could learn MMA, and I told him so. In addition to his wresting skill, Zheng Tong has two very positive attributes. He is strong and fearless. I really think you would need a very large gun to stop him if he decided to come after you. With minimal boxing training…correction, not boxing, just punching…with very minimal punching training, I believe Zheng Tong could learn to use his wrestling, take guys down, control them on the ground, and ground and pound them to take the win.

The retired san da guy had apparently watched a lot of MMA videos. MMA seems to be a staple of the new, younger generation of Chinese athletes, especially the fighters. He understood some of what he watches and he said. “I believe the most important skills in MMA are wrestling and boxing. I think kicking is almost useless because it’s too easy for people to catch the kicks and just take you down.”

He was an interesting guy, with a lot of opinions and a lot to say about fighting, strategy, mindset…He reminded me of one of those old kung fu masters in the movies, except that he was only 32 years old. He poured tea and told us the facts of life, san da style.

“In a fight, you have to relax. Just relax and breath. If you are too nervous or too excited, you will use up your energy too quickly.” He explained. “People think fighting is physical, but it is mental. You can’t just be like a muscle machine. You have to use your brain and think. You have to see how your opponent is, what he does, and adjust your techniques.”

The retired fighter cooked us a huge meal, which we appreciated. Living in the dorms at the sports university, we don’t get home cooking too often. Afterwards, we headed to the MMA gym.

That night, I got to spar about 6 rounds of stand up, 1 round of MMA and countless rounds of submission wrestling, where I was submitted, an equal number of times. It was cool seeing my SUS teammates and classmates sparring and training with the MMA guys. A lot of foreigners who live in China live in a bit of a white bubble, where they don’t have much quality interaction with Chinese people. Other than their girlfriend they may not have any Chinese friends. So, I was glad the western students had the chance to meet my awesome teammates. Similarly, my Chinese friends were so happy for the experience. At the university, I am the only foreigner in wrestling. And my friend AJ and I are the only foreigners in San Da. It’s still a novelty for the Chinese athletes to train with foreigners. Afterwards, I heard Zheng Tong bragging to some Chinese friends, “I sparred with foreigners. There was even a black guy.”

Zheng Tong and I did both MMA sparring and boxing. And in both cases, I really couldn’t believe how bad his boxing was. He just ducked his head and ran at me swinging wildly. Then he would crash into me and try to take me down. In MMA, he would get the takedown, but from the ground I would always take him down and get the win. In boxing, when he crashed into me, we would have to break. Each time we broke and reset, I would get about two really solid, clean punches on his face. Then he would crash into me again, and we would break and reset. Eventually, those two solid punches, every thirty seconds or so, added up. I could see the retired san da guy shaking his head, like, “This is never going to happen.”

Afterwards, the retired fighter scolded Zheng Tong. “Your legs are too strong and stiff, so you can’t kick. Your movements are all wrong because you have been wrestling your whole life. And you can’t learn the san da movements because it’s impossible for you to undo what you have practiced for so many years.”

Once again, I mostly agree with the retired fighter. I don’t see how starting at less-than-zero Zheng Tong is going to be able to learn san da well enough to compete against guy who have been doing it their whole lives. But, in MMA, if he can get the takedown against me, he will definitely get it against guys who have less wrestling training. And as I said, I was usually only able to hit him twice before he took me down. A better fighter might be faster or more accurate and could maybe KO Zheng Tong on the way in, but we could teach him to cover up. Also, he will improve in his speed and takedown ability. We were sparring with boxing gloves on. With MMA gloves, he may get the take down faster.
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The other guys I brought with me that night was my san da training partners Jiang Huaying and Ren Zhiying, The san da guys at the university have all heard of Muay Thai, but never got a chance to see it up close or experience it. Ren Zhiying really enjoyed learning some techniques from the Muay Thai coach. Nowadays, some san da tournaments allow knees. So the Chinese fighters need to learn them. But the Thais are the real masters of the knee. The Muay Thai coach showed Ren Zhiying how to step out at a 45 degree angle with the back foot, before throwing a front knee. This takes you out of the way of any answering punches, and puts you right in your opponent’ blind side, for your follow up punches and kicks.

The huge, powerful, hard-core Muay Thai coach, Karl, was willing to get in the ring and spar with Jiang Huaying, who only weighs about 65 kg. One of the big differences between Muay Thai and San Da, which the coach was able to teach Jiang Huaying was to catch and kick.

In san Da, they practice catch and throw drills a lot. When you catch the opponent’s kick, you throw him to the ground. In Muay Thai, they use some of the same catches, but when they catch, they often kick the base leg. This was new for my training mates and they instantly saw what a deadly weapon the catch and kick was

Next, Zheng Tong did submission wrestling with my MMA coach Silas Maynard. Everyone was impressed that Zheng Tong. With no jujitsu experience at all, he was able to get the take down and stay in dominant position, holding off the submissions for a long time. All of the Greco guys on my wrestling team have a handful of power submissions which come from Greco Roman wrestling. The most common ones are a kind of arm triangle and a couple of neck cranks, which cut off your breathing. But the Greco chokes, while scary to normal people, usually won’t tap out someone with BJJ or MMA experience. Bjj/MMA people know to just relax. On top of that, the Greco choke is not tight enough to completely stop your breathing. Zheng Tong got one of these chokes on Silas, but obviously, Silas was able to wait it out and escape. At one point, Zheng Tong wrapped his arms around both of Silas’s legs, lifted him off the ground and slammed him. In the end, Silas won each of the submission rounds, usually with a neck crank. But it was clearl that Zheng Tong could learn MMA.

I wrestled both Silas and one of the students, named Tyler. Silas choked me, neck cranked me, and otherwise submitted me every single round, and was never in any sort of danger. Tyler got the better of me in most of the rounds we wrestled because we were both confused about the rules and both were disqualified several times. We only did one round of submission wrestling, and I won, largely because I controlled his legs. When I was at wrestling camp in Cambodia, earlier in the year, they taught me how to grab the opponent’s legs, continue to hold the legs, and use the legs to control and pin him. I wasn’t sure if holding a leg was such a great idea in BJJ, because maybe you were setting yourself up to get submitted. But once we started wrestling, I saw that if I controlled the legs, I avoided triangle chokes and arm bars. So, I snaked up Tyler’s body, controlling the legs the whole way, till I found full mount.

On our wrestling team at the university we often cross train in shaui jiao (traditional wrestling) and freestyle wrestling. Most of my teammates have a background in Greco Roman wrestling. A lot of the guys ask me to teach them some MMA wrestling, and a few, like Zheng Tong and me, cross train in San Da. With guys like Jiang Huaying, who only learn san da, I teach them traditional wrestling or MMA techniques that they can use in San Da to get a better takedown or as a better defense against the takedown. Brining these guys, with all of these martial arts backgrounds to the MMA gym, where they were exchanging techniques with Muay Thai, BJJ, and submission wrestling was the truest spirit of mixed martial arts. I am seriously grateful for this opportunity.

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of sport, writing his dissertation on comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. He is martial arts and adventure author living in Asia, 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
Twitter
http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk
facebook
Brooklyn Monk fan page
Brooklyn Monk on YOUTUBE
http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1
Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)
http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

Fred Schroeder sets new record for backing out of a fight

In Uncategorized on May 25, 2014 at 8:22 am

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As of March 7, 2015, Fred Schroeder, of New Jersey, USA, a pilot for an airlines in Shenzhen, China, has agreed to fight Antonio Graceffo and then backed out 23 times.

Watch it on youtube http://youtu.be/XaYcLpXvvr8

Pilot Fred Schroeder, the Coward of Shenzhen has set a new record for cowardice. As of 25 May, he has agreed, then pulled out of a fight with Antonio Graceffo 14.5 times. Number 14 only took 4 minutes from the time he confirmed the fight to the time he pulled out. As for the .5, he later texted, saying “I’ll knock your teeth out when I get back to Shanghai in June.” Antonio immediately responded, asking Fred to confirm that the fight was back on for June, but to date, Fred has not confirmed.

May 19, 2014 Less than four minutes after agreeing, by phone to contact me by 12 June, to set a fight for us in Hong Kong, presumably the next week, Fred sent text saying, “Let’s change it to December”. That’s a new record! This fight stayed scheduled ten minutes before he put it off for seven months. I instantly sent a response “That’s fourteen” Because that is the 14th time he backed out of the fight with me.

20 May, 2014: After having called me yesterday to arrange a fight in June, then pulling out less than four minutes later, Fred Schroeder had the balls to text me again tonight saying “I’ll knock your teeth out when I get back to Shanghai in June.” So, I told him, “NO you won’t. remember you are scared of me. You’ve been ducking this fight for a year.”

Fred: “Do you have a learning disability or down syndrome? You look like you do?”
Antonio: “You already said you can’t fight me in June. Make up your mind. Will you fight me in June or not?”
Fred: “Yes, I will fight you. I’m way stronger than you are or ever will be mentally and physically. Hang it up already. “
Antonio note, I have heard this one before. He says “Yes, I will fight you.” But doesn’t specify a date, so he can weasel out.
Yesterday, you backed out and said you wouldn’t fight me in June. No learning disability, just a keen perception for the obvious.”
Fred: “Obviously retarded.”
Antonio: “If you actually want to fighting me in June, I need you to write a whole sentence, ‘Yes, I will fight you in June.”

Of course he didn’t respond. Riddle: Do you know how to get Fred to shut up? Answer: Ask him to commit to a fight.

Sadly he is in such denial that he believes he has never backed out of a fight, including yesterday. And he may actually believe he wants to fight me in June, but he won’t. And, if I bring it up, he will deny he ever said it. I seriously suspect he is either mentally unbalanced or a drug or alcohol abuser. Perhaps he really believes he hasn’t been ducking this fight for more than a year, and that he backed out 14 times.

标题:残障人士可以是专业的战士

In Uncategorized on May 19, 2014 at 10:57 am

指导教师 戴国斌
博士生姓名 安东尼(Antonio Graceffo)
学号_1310104008___
联系Antonio_graceffo@hotmail.com

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号称“铁锤”的Matt Hamill是最为著名的残疾格斗士,他既是一名听障摔跤手,又是一名MMA的格斗士。Matt受其在残障社区的明星地位的激励,因此他想证明一个身患听力障碍的残疾人同样能够在职业体育圈里成为最为优秀的运动员。Matt Hamill说,我要证明给所有的人看我可以做到。(Mowl)
“全球100百万患有听力障碍的残疾人,在UFC中而我是唯一一个身患听力障碍的残疾人格斗士,每次在我打比赛的时候,那些身患听力障碍的同胞都会发邮件给我,我每天都会受到3000份的邮件”Matt Hamil. Matt1976年出生,他生下来就是聋子,他的父母是个朴实的农民,他们对待Matt像对待正常孩子一样,他们跟Matt说话,还让他在农场上工作。(BRAKOB)
“Matt的父母锻炼他像个正常孩子一样生活在那些正常孩子的周围”
因为他的父母,Matt Hamill学会了读唇语,而且讲的也很好。农场上的工作让他变得很强壮,之后他的祖父帮助他加入了摔跤队。起初,教练不想培养Matt,因为听力障碍交流很困难。(The Hammer). Hamill的教练不得不在小黑板上写技战术告诉Matt应该怎么做,很多时候会闹出笑话,Matt因为听不到训练结束的口令,他会继续很努力的训练,因此他的对手总是被挨打。并不知道这种做法已经结束,他会攻击他的队友。但教练后面意识到Matt可能会是一个冠军,他变的很高兴去训练Matt。
因为他从小在农场工作,他和他的朋友经常练习把农场上的牛按倒在地上。(TUF)

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因为他是一个摔跤冠军,他拿到了摔跤奖学金去美国普渡大学读书。但是因为听力上的障碍他上课无法理解老师的授课内容,学业变的很糟糕。他的父母为了让matt能够正常的接受教育,他们得知罗彻斯特理工学院有听力障碍教育课程,因此他们抵押自己的房子来支付matt的学费。在RIT他第一次接触到美国手语. 在RIT,Matt主修工程学,并且参加了摔跤队,他在学校的摔跤成绩是213胜,3负。(ZVRS)并且顺利毕业拿到了电子工程学的学位。Matt Hamill三次夺得NCAA第三级联赛摔跤的全国冠军,在2011年的听障奥林匹克运动会,他还获得了古典摔跤的银牌和自由摔跤的金牌。
Matt是在一家酒吧的保镖。有一次两个美式足球运动员打起架,Matt轻易的把他们扯开。那些酒吧现场的人看到那一幕建议他应该参加终极格斗锦标赛(UFC),它是全球最大的自由搏击组织。(ZVRS)在UFC,Matt Hamill有一个非常成功的MMA格斗生涯。迄今为止,号称“铁锤”的MattHamill是唯一一个站在UFC八角形擂台上的患有听障的格斗士(BRAKOB ) 当Matt在格斗的时候,他听不到教练给他的指导,在我上拳击台只前,我只专注我比赛的战术,我所有的注意力都集中在对手身上,然后把我的战术落实到对手身上,但是这是一个无奈之举。”(Whittaker)
他的教练说:“对我来说,因为他的听力障碍要尝试跟他交流感觉这是最为无助的感觉之一。但是在比赛过程中,节奏是很快的根本就来不及交流,所以都是他自己站在擂台上完全依靠自己来比赛的,那种感觉就像你眼睁睁的看一个人溺水身亡”。 (Deafreview)
“UFC 终极格斗士号称“铁锤”的MattHamill尽管出生就是个聋子但是他没有让他的残疾阻碍他的梦想。”(Whittaker) Matt Hamill的教练Duff Holmes说在MMA那些有毒瘾人群中部分人获得成功是受到的听障人群的激励。Matt他是听障人群里的英雄,他很看重听障人群对他的支持。

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Sunny是一名听障泰拳格斗士。他是来自马来西亚的一个小岛的少数民族。Sunny的教练Alvin Lim他是我的好朋友,他让队中的所有的泰拳格斗士都学习手语。Alvin为了让其他泰拳格斗士能够和sunny正常的交流他把手语课程内容写在武术馆的一块白板上让其他队员学习。Sunny在一个晚上拿到了他的第一个MMA的冠军,马来西亚的听障协会也到现场观看了他的比赛,每个人都为他感到骄傲。有一个过来观看比赛的听障人士他讲到,我们来到这里就是为了证明听障人群同样能够像正常的马来西亚人一样参与到各种生活事务中去” 他说,“我想向世界证明了聋人可以做任何事情。”
我在柬埔寨的拳击教练Paddy Carson,他已经教导我十年了。他教授我职业拳击和MMA格斗技术。60岁高龄的Paddy他仍然上拳击台每天教我训练,但是之后因为他身患癌症,他的腿被截肢了换上假肢。他康复了以后,Paddy继续做我的教练,他每天站在拳击台上教我训练。当他生气时,他仍然会用他的假肢踢我的屁股。在Paddy的腿还没有截肢之前,他说,年轻人总是软弱和懒惰。现在,只有一只腿的他仍然比其他的年轻人要强壮的多,这一点我为我的教练感到自豪。

老师问我们,为什么是残疾人体育教育是重要的?
1. 为了让残障人士知道,他们也可以实现自己的梦想
“我是个聋子但是我并不会为此伤心。我知道除了听力障碍我一定有别的天赋,虽然我不知道但是我对现在的我很满意”( Deaf Review)

2. 第二个原因,为什么残疾人运动比赛是重要的,因为比赛可以他们感受到自豪感

一个叫EricWeihenmayer的盲人成功征服珠穆朗玛峰
号称“铁锤”的MattHamill获得了摔跤冠军和UFC格斗士
来自马来西亚的Sunny是一名少数民族的聋子,但是他却成为了一名职业格斗士。
只有一条腿已经60岁高龄的Paddy Carson,他仍然战斗在一线的职业拳击教练席上。

有“铁锤”之称的终极格斗士Matt Hamill天生就是聋子但是他却没有让残疾阻碍他的梦想(惠特克)
3. 第三个原因是残疾人体育比赛的重要性在于这些人可以激励我们

参考书目
BRAKOB , A Matt Hamill fighting in silence, athleatslivehere.com, Mar , 2013
Deafreview staff, Hammer 2.0: Matt Hamill Coming Out of Retirement at UFC 152,deafreview, Sept, 2012
The Hammer, Film Harvest, Fifth Year Productions, TapouT Films, October, 2011
Mindenhall, C “Hamill an inspiration for deaf community”, ESPN Mixed Martial Arts, May, 2011
Mowl, A Inside the Cage With Matt Hamill, deafnation, 2011
TUF, The Ultimate Fighter, Season 3
Whittaker, G The Franchise Exclusive Interview: Matt Hamill, MMA HANGOVER, Feb, 2009
ZVRS: Exclusive Interview With Matt Hamill, Deaf YouVideo

Misdaventures in ESL: Married to a Dictionary

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2014 at 3:00 am

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By Antonio Graceffo

Language learners can be intelligent and even have a fairly large vocabulary, but cultural barriers may still prevent them from learning. In Asia, for example, because students have been forced, since childhood, to memorize long lists of vocabulary, it is very common for them to be married to the concept that each English word has exactly one meaning, regardless of context, and exactly one translation into their mother tongue. And this belief is often so ingrained, trained over a period of decades, that in spite of my education and being a native speaker I cannot dissuade them of it.
Here is an example from a high level group of adult students in China. We read a text about the threat of a pandemic wiping out most of Europe. They knew the word “epidemic”. So, I explained that the “demic” in “pandemic” was similarly related to a disease. And they were fine with that. Next, I asked if they knew the word “pan.” Instantly, they all said “frying pan.” I commended them on knowing ‘frying pan,’ but pointed out that in this context, pan had a different meaning. To which, they responded, “frying pan.” So, I told them that ‘pan’ meant ‘across.’ And that a ‘pandemic’ was an epidemic that went across national borders.
“Yes, because the frying pans are dirty.” explained one of the more intelligent students. In fact, he even rethought “dirty” and said “un-san-i-tary.” Once again, I was very supportive. “Nice word.” But I went on to explain that ‘pandemic’ had nothing to do with a frying pan. In the end, I had to simply move on. Not only did they not learn the meaning of “pan”, but they think I was lying to them, and they will never trust me again.
In another class, with an intermediate level, private Japanese student in her fifties, the article said “After seeing the film in the cinema, the star felt it was a real work of art.” So, I asked my student, “What does it mean when they say “a real work of art?” The student didn’t know. So, I explained, “It means the actress didn’t think this was just a movie for entertainment. It was something special.” So, the student asked “Art mean special?” I tried several more times to explain, in vain. “She meant the movie was beautiful.”
“Art mean beautiful?” she asked.
An interesting point about older Japanese students is that they often speak in very broken English, well below their level. But their reading comprehension is exactly on level. Apart from this one hang up, the student understood the complex text about the making of a short film which won awards.
“The movie was meaningful.” I tried again.
“Art mean meaningful?”
It was one more example of students looking for, even needing, each English word to have exactly one meaning and one translation. “Yes, it means special, beautiful, and meaningful all at once.” I conceded. And we moved on.
Another example was a text that said someone had accused someone else of murder. The student didn’t know “accuse.” So, I simplified by saying, “It means you say someone did something wrong.” She responded “accuse mean say?”
“Not exactly, it means to say someone did something wrong.”
I went through several examples of accusing someone of murder or bank robbery or rigging the votes in Florida. After going through a number of examples, the student said “Understand now. Accuse mean tell.”
The absolute worst example of this phenomenon I have ever encountered was in Cambodia. In an intermediate class, mostly full of college students and young professionals, We read an article which began something like this “If you think baseball is boring, you should try cricket. A cricket match can last three days and end in a tie score of zero-zero.” I confirmed if the students knew what baseball was. And they did. Next, I asked if they knew what cricket was. One girl quickly said, “A small animal that makes music.”
“Yes,” I agreed. “That is the common use of the word cricket. But here, it has a different meaning.” We reread the opening sentence. Then I asked “Can anyone guess what cricket refers to here?” I wasn’t expecting them to know it was a British game, or have a picture of the game in their heads. They had obviously never heard of it. But since cricket involved a match and could end in a tie score, and it was being compared to baseball, I just wanted to see if they would guess that it was some kind of a game or sport.
I went around the room, asking, “In this text, IN THIS TEXT, specifically in this text, can anyone guess what cricket means?” The first three students all said, “A small animal…”
I tried to use logic. “Let’s test your theory that ‘cricket,’ in this text, refers to a small animal.” I read the text aloud, using a substitution. “If you think baseball is boring, you should try a small-animal-that-makes-music. A small-animal-that-makes-music match can last three days and end in a tie score of zero-zero.”
After I finished reading, I asked “Does that make sense?” To which, the whole class dutifully replied, “Yes, teacher.” I just decided to scrap the text and move on. This wasn’t a class on insectology. Entomology maybe, but insectology, NEVER!
Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of sport, writing his dissertation on comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. He is martial arts and adventure author living in Asia, 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
Twitter
http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk
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Brooklyn Monk fan page
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http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1
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http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

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Responses to Cowardice shown by Fred Schroder, the Coward of Shenzhen

In Uncategorized on May 18, 2014 at 2:47 am

“I’ll fight you when I’m ready.” A chilling threat sent to me by Fred Schroeder the Coward of Shenzhen. The guy has been saying for a year that he will fight me, but he keeps backing out. He sent this one on 23 March, 2014 “I am going to give you a fight you will never ever forget Antonio”. But after more than a year, he still refuses to set an actual date and fight. In a separate post, I explained how he actually agreed to fight me on 13 separate occasions, but backed out. Twice, my coach was actually involved and was waiting for Fred to send his photos for the fight posters. But Fred backed out.

Watch it on youtube http://youtu.be/XaYcLpXvvr8

As of March 7, 2015, Fred Schroeder, of New Jersey, USA, a pilot for an airlines in Shenzhen, China, has agreed to fight Antonio Graceffo and then backed out 23 times.

Fred smack talk new

Fred Schroeder threatened to have me deported if I used his real name. So, I changed it to Bred Troed. But we all know who the Coward of Shenzhen is, it’s pilot Fred Schroeder.

I posted about Fred Schroeder on Facebook, simply copying and pasting his emails, and the response was unanimous. No one likes a coward.
Fred Schroeder, I thought you and anyone who knows him might like to read the responses to your cowardice and your horrible comments. The consensus seems to be 100% that you will never fight me. Had you wanted to, you would have, long ago. The word coward comes up frequently in people’s estimation of you. Also, concern seems to be raised frequently that someone so mentally unstable is flying a plane. You claimed to be God in some of those messages. That is horribly disturbing. But read for yourself.

Brooklyn Monk
Yesterday at 8:15am •
Fred Schroeder by text message, on April 22: “You just don’t get it, do you? I’ll fight you when I’m ready.” Never has a more chilling threat been uttered.
Like • • Share
• Santino Smalling likes this.

Dirk Gelfordy
Yesterday at 8:17am • Like

Dirk Gelfordy he is tragic
Yesterday at 8:17am • Like

Santino Smalling He’s a provocateur..he’s playing you..let it go, he’ll never be ready.
23 hours ago • Like • 1

Janus Stephanos I think it’s well past time you stopped enabling this complete fucktard Antonio. You have much more important things to take care of in life. Namely, your life.
23 hours ago • Like

Kurt Williams Fred is delusional no way he has the balls to fight you
Second i cant believe fred is trusted to fly a plane
10 hrs • Like

Brooklyn Monk Kurt Williams I really think he is mentally unstable and would love to report him to the FAA as a hazard. But this was the worst comment he made “fredschroeder 1:48 AM
To: BrooklynMonk Graceffo
schroederfred@hotmail.com…See More
10 hrs • Like

Brooklyn Monk Claiming you are God is the ultimate form of narcissism.
10 hrs • Like

Kurt Williams Id report him to the faa he needs a mental evaluation
I dont like the idea someone that far gone to be trusted flying a plane
If he flys planes to the u.s. id report him asap
10 hrs • Like • 2

Brooklyn Monk Here is another one. I dont know how a sane person could even think of soemthing like this “fredschroeder 4:56 AM Keep this message at the top of your inbox
To: BrooklynMonk Graceffo
schroederfred@hotmail.com
Man your mom is a rock star in bed! Holy shit 3 hours non stop bangin with my balls slapping dat ass!!!
Did you know that I would have been your father had the dog not beat up the stairs?”
10 hrs • Like

Santino Smalling Wow, he’s an absolute idiot.. and he’ll never stop, and he will NEVER show up for a fight. He’s a tough guy online and a coward in the real world.. As to your “claiming you are God” post…I guess that would also make God a narcissist, which is kind of how the book reads….
8 hrs • Like

91 people saw this post

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Fred Response cowardice 2
Fred threatened to sue me for libel, for the posts I made about him on my blog. Actually, he claimed he has guan shi (connections) in China and can get me kicked out of the country if it doesn’t come down by tomorrow. The posts are largely just copy and pasted of the emails he sent me, and it’s his own horrible words that are embarrassing him. Tomorrow is the deadline. He’s probably bluffing, but … See More
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• Bento Ling, Berlin Andi, Danny Jasper and 5 others like this.

Robert W Starkweatherhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_penis_rule

Small penis rule – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
en.wikipedia.org
The “small penis rule” is an informal strategy used by authors to evade libel lawsuits. It was described in a New York Times article in 1998:
April 24 at 4:45pm • Unlike • 3 • Remove Preview

Kerry Oscar Ocampo Is this the man that u were challenging, but refuse 2 fight you?
14 hours ago • Like

Antonio Graceffo Kerry Oscar Ocampo yes and he keeps sending me detailed messages about having sex with my dead mother. and he agreed to fight 13 times but pulled out.
10 hrs • Like

Kerry Oscar Ocampo Haha!! Maybe he’s still gathering the guts that he need before fighting you. Anyway, maybe youre just too unlucky to meet someone as rude as that man.
10 hrs • Unlike • 1

Antonio Graceffo Kerry Oscar Ocampo This is a message he sent me last week “fredschroeder 4:56 AM Keep this message at the top of your inbox
To: BrooklynMonk Graceffo
schroederfred@hotmail.com…See More
10 hrs • Like

Kerry Oscar Ocampo oh well, what a really rude man. No not just rude, i think its too immature. Normal men wont say that to Mothers. Just as i said, ur jst too unlucky to meet a man like him.
9 hrs • Like

Berlin Andi Kerry Oscar ocampo, what do you mean with “unlucky”? with all the emotions so far accumulated in antonio’s gut, “fred the yellow chicken” won’t survive the first 10 seconds. i really hope they are never going to meet…also, what do you mean by …”man” like him. it is no man.
9 hrs • Like

Kerry Oscar Ocampo Unlucky bec he has to hear all those bad/rude things from someone again & again, i dont think that Fred is going to stop so it means Antonio’s gonna bear with it for a long time. Truth is, I was thinking of a word to use or describe that Fred. Took me quite a lot of time, but I just used the word “man” so as not to disrespect anyone.
9 hrs • Like

Fred response 3

Antonio Graceffo
Yesterday at 8:16am •
Fred Schroeder by text message, on April 22: “You just don’t get it, do you? I’ll fight you when I’m ready.” Never has a more chilling threat been uttered.
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• Sami Vuokila, Berlin Andi, Thomas Hart and 3 others like this.

Rudi Smith I think he’s waiting for you to die one day (assuming he manages to outlive you), so he can kick your corpse and say, “See? I told you I could beat you!” Of course, if he dies first, that means he wasn’t ready yet.
22 hours ago • Unlike • 2

Santino Graceffo lol chilling. He’s just waiting till he catches up to you in years of experience. Boy he sure knows how to break a guy down.
14 hours ago • Like

Paddy Carson Hi Antonio hes got no intention of fighting you hes just pulling your chain I would ignore him everytime you answer him he puts a tick on his chart
13 hours ago • Like

Antonio Graceffo Rudi Smith Can you help me perpetrate the rumor that I died, so we could trick Fred into fighting me? Haven’t worked out the details yet, but I could dig up two corpses and switch clothes with them…and we need a midget who speaks Portuguese ….methane should be no problem…a plan in progress.
10 hrs • Like

Shelly Smith-Wood Do not argue with a fool. it is like wrestling with a pig. You get dirty and he loves it’ – I saw this and thought of you and Fred…

10 hrs • Like

Antonio Graceffo Shelly Smith-Wood I don’t follow…Could you use a visual aid?
10 hrs • Like

Shelly Smith-Wood Haha. It’s the whole deal: the pic and the caption. It instantly made me think of Fred. He makes quite a cute pig though, you have to admit.
10 hrs • Like

Antonio Graceffo But you are on to something. If he won’t fight me, I would settle for wrestling. I bet I could beat Fred wrestling.
10 hrs • Like

Shelly Smith-Wood That’s probably right,but you’d never look this cute covered in mud!
10 hrs • Like

Shelly Smith-Wood So Fred wins? Geez, this wasn’t my point at all!
10 hrs • Unlike • 1

Joe Bourne It’s obvious that you’d have to be horizontal and attached to a ventilator for Fred to agree to fight you. So, you fake an accident, sharing photos of the teary bedside vigil. When Fred says, “OK,now!” you “heroically” get yourself to the fight and let the adrenaline take over…
10 hrs • Unlike • 1

Antonio Graceffo Joe Bourne True story, but the first time we were scheduled to fight was in Fight Night, on April 24, 2013. I got injured a few days before the fight and could barely walk. Shelly Smith-Wood may remember me limping around the office. Fred, of course …See More
10 hrs • Like

Allan Koay 郭少樺 fred is a lover, not a fighter.
10 hrs • Like

Joe Bourne If he ever does agree to fight you, be on the lookout for a Gilooly the day before…
10 hrs • Like

Antonio Graceffo Allan Koay 郭少樺 You may be right, that Fred sees himself as a lover. he sent me many messages asking me for sex and sent me detailed emails about raping my mother, like this “fredschroeder 4:56 AM Keep this message at the top of your inbox
To: Bro…See More
10 hrs • Like • 1

Rudi Smith I tell you what, I’ll fight Fred in lieu of you, nay, I challenege him.
5 hrs • Like

Fred cowardice 4
• Antonio Graceffo Joe Bourne True story, but the first time we were scheduled to fight was in Fight Night, on April 24, 2013. I got injured a few days before the fight and could barely walk. Shelly Smith-Wood may remember me limping around the office. Fred, of course …See More
April 26 at 10:35pm • Like

Allan Koay 郭少樺 fred is a lover, not a fighter.
April 26 at 10:36pm • Like

Joe Bourne If he ever does agree to fight you, be on the lookout for a Gilooly the day before…
April 26 at 10:36pm • Like

Antonio Graceffo Allan Koay 郭少樺 You may be right, that Fred sees himself as a lover. he sent me many messages asking me for sex and sent me detailed emails about raping my mother, like this “fredschroeder 4:56 AM Keep this message at the top of your inbox
To: BrooklynMonk Graceffo
schroederfred@hotmail.com
Man your mom is a rock star in bed! Holy shit 3 hours non stop bangin with my balls slapping dat ass!!!
Did you know that I would have been your father had the dog not beat up the stairs?”
April 26 at 10:44pm • Like • 1

I can’t print Fred’s real name because he promised to tell on me. But, Fred a pilot in Shenzhen, is such a joke, he seems like a cross between Fred Flintstone and Schroeder from Peanuts.

Fred,flintstone,Antonio,Graceffo,shroeder,peanuts,airlines,china,Brooklyn,monk,Shenzhen,pilot,fight,mma,coward,grandpa

THE CAMBODIAN GENOCIDE: Antonio Graceffo interview

In Uncategorized on May 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

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A98 Vann Nath

“Author, Antonio Graceffo is a lecturer at Shanghai University and a PhD Candidate at Shanghai University of Sport. He is a former lecturer at Royal University of Phnom Penh. He spent nearly three years living in Cambodia and has returned to Cambodia several times per year for the last ten years. “Re-Discovering the Khmers” is his best known book about Cambodia. Additionally, he is the author of several hundred articles and videos about Cambodia. You can see Antonio featured as a local, Cambodia, expert in History Channel show; Digging for the Truth and Human Weapon. He also appears in Cambodian documentary shows on Discovery Channel as well as the European TV show, Kill Arman.” (Picture and biography provided by Mr. Antonio Graceffo.)

Red the rest of the interview:

http://40272482.nhd.weebly.com/antonio-graceffo.html

Wrestling for San Da

In Uncategorized on May 15, 2014 at 3:03 pm

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By Antonio Graceffo
It’s no secret that MMA in the US is dominated by former wrestlers. In fact, 8 of the 10 current UFC champions are former collegiate or high school wrestlers. In China, MMA is dominated by san da fighters. MMA in China pays a lot better than san da, which attracts a lot of fighters, even if they lack the ground skills. One reason there haven’t been a lot of Chinese fighters in MMA outside of China is because China MMA pays better than anywhere else in Asia, at least for beginners and journeymen.
Before coming to China to study san da and wrestling, my thought was that, if you stay on your feet with a san da fighter in an MMA fight, they will head-kick you and knock you out. They have very tricky kicks. They are lightning fast and incredibly strong. Also, the pros have serious experience. China is a bit like Thailand, where you have guys in their early twenties who have already had 40 fights. There are san da fighters who grew up in Tagou, Shaolin Temple school or in one of the many sports schools, who have been training over ten years by the time they turn eighteen.
Before coming to China I believed the way to win against a san da fighter in MMA was to take him to the ground. The problem I identified, however, was that san da also includes throws, so the experienced san da fighters have good takedown defense. Now that I have been training in China for nearly a year, and had a chance to fight, spar, and wrestle with a lot of san da guys (although, admittedly, not the top tier guys) I still agreed that the way to beat them in MMA is to take them down. As for the second part, about them having good takedown defense, that is true, but only in san da rules.
In san da, you can only clinch or attempt a throw for about three seconds before the referee will separate you. So, in my first many months here, I found that if I just hung on the guys, and hung on them, forcing them to carry my weight and defend the takedown for ten, twenty or thirty seconds, I could eventually wear them down. At some point, you will feel their strength leave them, and you can complete the throw. In MMA, however, you need to be careful when employing this strategy, because they could be hitting you with knees and elbows while you are waiting for them to fall.
What I have decided in the last few months, since my wrestling has improved, is that the san da fighters only have takedown defense against san da throws. While san da does allow body lock throws, throws from the clinch and throws employed as part of an attack, 80% or more of throws in a san da fight come from catching the opponent’s kick and then sweeping or tripping him. One of the things that made Cung Le such a unique and successful san da fighter was that he fully utilized his collegiate wrestling skills in the san da ring. Cung Le was famous for using body locks, as well as suplex wrestling throws. These are techniques that most san da fighters have no answer for. Because 80% of san da throws are related to catching kicks, 80% of the san da takedown training is also dedicated to the kic- catching throws.
At Shanghai University of Sport where I train, we have never worked on any of the san da throws that are unrelated to kick catching. When I trained at Shaolin Temple, we learned a double-leg takedown and a body lock, lift and toss throw. But that was it. And we didn’t practice them that much. Most of our time was spent doing catch and throw drills.
Once again, my experience may not be typical of everyone who studies san da, but even if we allow an error margin of 20%, we can still see that most of san da grappling training is related to catching kicks.
Someone once said rules made styles. And now that I am constantly switching codes of fighting, I can agree. Last year, for example, not counting matches that were part of our university wrestling training, I had 7 amateur fights: 3 san da, 2 MMA, one boxing, and one wrestling. My wrestling team at the university specializes in Chinese traditional wrestling but we also cross train in freestyle wrestling, including doing internal matches in both styles. With the exception of boxing, all of the fights involved some wrestling, but they all had different rules. Different rules will force you to employ different techniques.
The first difference between san da wrestling and freestyle or MMA is, as stated above, the time difference. In a san da fight, a san da fighter only has to defend the takedown for about 3 seconds. That is a lot different than having to defend for ten or more seconds in wrestling and virtually unlimited in MMA. Even with the kick-catching throws, the ones where the san da fighters have the most experience and skill to avoid the takedown, they are only used to hoping around on one leg for three seconds. Try hoping around on one leg for twenty seconds while someone your same weight is trying to pull you down. The time factor is a game changer.
Another important factor is what I like to call the do-or-die factor. In san da, if you throw your opponent you can get one, two, or three points. And points are nice, but they aren’t worth dying for. In MMA, if you are a grappler, getting your opponent to the ground may be the difference between winning or losing the fight. So, when you go for the take down, you are fighting with do-or die ferocity. Once again, the san da fighter may not be used to this. When a san da fighter agrees to fight MMA obviously he will change his training. He may have an MMA coach and a Brazilian Jujitsu coach. He may train hard. But the reflexes and skills that helped him win in san da are second nature to him. They are ingrained behaviors and tendencies that may be hard to untrain. If he is a veteran of 50 fights where giving up a takedown was only a 2 point loss, maybe he would let it go more easily than if winning or losing depended on the takedown, like it does in MMA.
Some of the san da fighters who wish to fight MMA have asked me to help them with their training. And no matter how much we drill, they are so used to breaking off the engagement once they take someone to the ground. There is always a slight moment’s hesitation that could cost them the fight. The same thing happens to the wrestlers on my team who are trying t learn some MMA. When they get the opponent on his back, they are so used to pinning him, they forget that he will keep fighting from the bottom position and either get a reversal or a win. A momentary loss of focus is all it takes for the tide to turn.
Another rule that is different from san da to wrestling is that san da does not allow you to drop your knee on the ground while going for the takedown. San da also doesn’t allow sacrifice throws. Therefore, at least in my experience, the san da guys are not prepared to defend against these techniques. Once I realized that, I was able to complete the throw most of the time against my sparring partners. If I catch a kick, I instantly drop my whole body weight on the leg, dragging him to the ground. In the clinch, I utilize the Chinese leg-hooking techniques from traditional wrestling, but as soon as I hook, I drop my whole body on the leg I am attacking. I practice a lot of saltos and throws that I can do from the clinch, with either one or two underhooks, whereby, I go down with, and land on top of my opponent.
The trick seems to be to always use throws that san da doesn’t have. For example, if a san da fighter takes someone’s back in standing, he may do a lift and toss or a front trip, but he won’t do a BJJ sit-through, because that would be zero points in san da. But in an MMA fight, it would b a perfect way to take the san da fighter down and get on top of him.
Sometimes a san da fighter will go for a high single or double-leg takedown. When he does, you can sprawl and use a guillotine or front headlock to drag him to the ground by simply kicking your legs out behind you and dropping to the ground. The san da fighters I have trained with had incredible neck and back strength. If we fought san da rules and I tried a front headlock throw, they could simply support my body weight, no matter how hard I tried to lean on them and drive them down. But when we fought MMA rules, the second I kicked my feet back, I became really heavy, and they couldn’t remain standing.
Having said all of the above, there is still one huge problem to fighting a san da guy in MMA. Namely, you have to get past his kicks before you can even think of taking him down. If someone has a good way to do that, without getting kicked unconscious, please let me know.

Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of sport, writing his dissertation on comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. He is martial arts and adventure author living in Asia, 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
Twitter
http://twitter.com/Brooklynmonk
facebook
Brooklyn Monk fan page
Brooklyn Monk on YOUTUBE
http://www.youtube.com/user/brooklynmonk1
Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)
http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

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Shuai Jiao Realist

In Uncategorized on May 9, 2014 at 10:39 am

By Antonio Graceffo
On deciding not to wrestle in the Chinese national shuai jiao championships:

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I originally wrote this on May 10, 2014, after long, painful deliberation on whether or not to pull out of the Chinese national wrestling championships. Today, May 14, 2014 the assistant coach told me the team has been pulled out of the competition for the same reasons I explain in detail below, namely, that while we can take opponents down and get point, we aren’t really using traditional techniques. So, the team is now focused on improving their traditional wrestling skills for the remaining 4 weeks of the semester. And we will hopefully compete, as a team, in the Fall of 2014. I personally will be going to wrestling camp for the whole summer in another country.

My eighth month-aversary is coming up now, eight months that I have been on the Chinese traditional wrestling (Shuai jiao) team at Shanghai University of Sport. Before joining the team, I had spent one year training and fighting MMA fulltime, in Malaysia. The final half of that year, I actually lived in the MMA gym. So, I had picked up some grappling, but I had never truly studied wrestling or Brazilian jujitsu. In fact, the only, actual wrestling training I had before becoming the first foreigner on the universityteam was a three week traditional wrestling camp in Beijing.
Most of my teammates at the university grew up in sports schools in China. My best friend on the team, Zheng Tong, for example, lived in a sports school, from age 9, learning Greco Roman wrestling. The other guys on the team have similar stories. The ones with the least training spent 5 years learning Greco, before coming to train at the university. One of the guys actually grew up in a sports school where he majored in Chinese traditional wrestling. So, he has the best traditional wrestling on the team.
During my first seven months on the team, while we were supposed to be doing Chinese traditional wrestling, the coach would often give us a choice of what to work on. And we all inevitably chose freestyle or Greco Roman wrestling. While I tried to learn as much of the Chinese wrestling as I could, I simply liked freestyle better. Freestyle just seemed to focus on effectiveness, rather than tradition. Because we have three codes of wrestling on our team, four if you count MMA wrestling, we are constantly exchanging techniques, and mixing and matching them when we wrestle. And this is exactly what happens in MMA gyms. So, I felt very much at home with my team.
The difference between Shuai jiao and freestyle wrestling, to me, is analogous to the difference between, say karate and MMA kick boxing. In Karate, you do a movement or us a kick simply because it is karate, and not because you have evaluated it and determined it to be the best way to move or kick. In an MMA gym, on the other hand, fighters take from all disciplines, based on effectiveness. When we practice kick boxing, although most gyms will tend to have a Muay Thai base, they will add in EVERYTHING; kyokushin, 70’s style kick boxing, taekwondo…whatever techniques the MMA guys see and like, they simply add to their arsenal. Here in China, we all cross train in san da, Chinese kick boxing, but, we don’t throw away the muay Thai. Some of my MMA training partners have kung fu or wing chun backgrounds. One was even a savat competitor. And we simply take the best of everything, add it together, and call it kick boxing or striking for MMA.
The university wrestling team is like this too. The guys are really good at upper body control because of the Chinese wrestling training. But they can also do upper body strength throws from Greco. They add in leg grabs and shoots from freestyle. They all have good leg hooking, sweeping, and tripping from Chinese wrestling. Next, I came along with my MMA grappling and a number of the guys have adopted the BJJ sit through takedown and a few others that I have shown them. Some of us have had san da training, so we bring the san da throws to the wrestling room.
But true Shuai jiao is different. It’s not just about taking your opponent down. It’s about mastering the real, Chinese traditional techniques. And that takes practice. It starts with ji ben gong, basic kung fu style exercise, and evolves into drills and throws. Until about a month ago, in our sparring, and even in a huge tournament that we competed in, we all just used whatever techniques we wanted, as long as they didn’t break the rules. My teammates always joke with me that I am the king of the one point throws, for example, because I always go down with my opponent, resulting in a one point penalty, reducing my two-point throw to a one-point throw. While going down with the opponent is frowned upon in Shuai jiao, it’s a good habit in both MMA and freestyle wrestling.
Looking at the photos and videos from the tournament, I see my teammates doing body slams and body locks, saltos, a lot of lag grabs and high crotch throws… all sorts of freestyle wrestling techniques that are legal in Chinese wrestling but that are not real Chinese techniques. On the same videos, I see the kids from the sports high school utilizing the traditional Chinese throws.
Do to my age, 47, and the accumulation of injuries which severely limit my range of motion, when the team is doing Chinese drills or acrobatics, the coach excuses me from regular training. Instead, he chooses one of my teammates to free spar with me, until the team is ready to change into their Shuai jiao jackets. Then I rejoin the team for Shuai jiao sparring.
The other day at practice, while my team worked on techniques for the national championships, I did free wrestling with Chen Zengxin, who has been training and competing in Greco Roman wrestling since age 4. He is 22 now and has just retired from national and international level Greco competition. He has just started studying at the university and has only been on our team for a few weeks. When we trained together that day, we didn’t wear jackets, because he doesn’t know Chinese wrestling yet. We just trained freestyle. Or, more accurately, he told me I could do freestyle and he would do Greco. It didn’t matter. I never managed to take him down or even take his leg. I learned a lot from him. And obviously, he took me down at will. I did manage to pull him down with me once or twice, but as a rule, he could have literally killed me with his Greco skill at any moment.
I was so grateful to have a chance to work with a championship level wrestler like Chen Zengxin. And I felt that experience had more impact on my life and development as a wrestler/fighter than would one more session of Shuai jiao.
This realization was like a wakeup call. I don’t seem to be learning Shuai jiao anymore. I am just learning more and better wrestling, which is fine for my personal goal of being a better wrestler and fight. But I need to be realistic about my involvement in Shuai jiao.
Over the last two weeks, as my team has been concentrating on the national Shuai jiao championships, they have been training in traditional wrestling with ferocity. And, I realized I have no place in the national championships. I almost never do traditional wrestling. Every session that I am given a choice of what to work on, I opt for freestyle. My freestyle is really coming along. And even freestyle wrestling I learn for the purpose of being a better MMA fighter, not to really compete in freestyle wrestling. So, I think none of my styles is pure.
After free that day, we sparred 8 rounds of match sparring in Chinese traditional wrestling, and this confirmed for me that I have no idea what I am doing in that sport.
Looking back over photos and videos of training and sparring, I see that it is incredibly rare that I even grab my opponent’s jacket, which is the whole point of Chinese wrestling. Instead, all of my throws are from body locks and taking a leg. Until a few weeks ago, my teammates were fighting that way too, using a combination of Greco and freestyle. So, it just seemed to be the normal culture of our team. But now that the nationals are just weeks away, the guys are all strictly adhering to traditional rules. In fact, when we were choosing partners today, Wang YeChao, the team captain and one of my best friends, actually refused to partner with me. He said, “I want to train for nationals.”
That sort of hurt.
The coach doesn’t want Chen Zengxin to wrestle in nationals because he has only been with our team a few weeks and has literally zero Chinese wrestling skill, although he can still win, using Greco. We had a guest trainer that day, and he kept scolding Chen Zengxin because his techniques all came from Greco. The trainer kept yelling, “Grab the jacket! That’s what it’s there for.
As for my personal development as a wrestler, even now that my teammates are ratcheting up their skills and that I am no longer allowed to break the rules at will, I get some points from reversals. The thing I am proud of is that even though they are fighting with real intensity, I still manage to turn most of their two-point throws into one-point throws by pulling them down with me. All except Chen Zengxin, that is. He probably threw me about 25 times that day. About 70% of those throws, I managed to hook an ankle or a leg and throw him over my head as I fell, and YET, he would simply land on his feet. He is really amazing.
As for Shuai jiao, I am writing my doctoral dissertation on the differences and similarities between Chinese Shuai jiao and modern freestyle wrestling. I think today was one of those “Ah, ha!” moments, where I just discovered a new aspect of wrestling culture to explore. Different from freestyle wresting, traditional wrestling means “traditional wrestling.” It can’t change. It can’t be added to or taken away from. And no matter how many matches you win, you are either doing traditional wrestling or you aren’t.
Backing out of nationals changes very little about my training. I will continue to train hard with the team, and learn as much as I can. I simply won’t go to nationals. I think in proper Chinese traditional wrestling competition with rules that say you can only clinch for 3 seconds before taking someone down, or can only hold a leg for 3 seconds, or where they may penalize me for throwing from body lock or from sacrifice throws, I think it would just be a terrible experience of getting both beat up and demoralized to wrestle in a code where I am powerless against the best guys in the country. After all, it’s their sport. This decision may even be mute as the nationals seem to be right around the same time as my dissertation proposal defense. When I get the official dates, it may turn out I couldn’t have done both anyway.
I have about 5 weeks of school left. After my proposal defense I plan to shoot off to Cambodia and Singapore to train in freestyle wrestling and MMA for most of the summer. At some point I want to learn judo. Also, if I had a chance to study Greco, that would be awesome. So much to learn…
Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo is a PhD candidate at Shanghai University of sport, writing his dissertation on comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. He is martial arts and adventure author living in Asia, 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
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Threatened with Deportation: Fred “The Coward” Shroeder

In Uncategorized on May 8, 2014 at 11:15 am

By Antonio Graceffo

As of 13 October, 2014, Fred Schroeder, formerly a pilot with Shenzhen Airlines, currently a pilot working in Khartoum, Republic of Sudan has agreed to fight me and then backed out 21 times.

Fred Schroeder threatened to have me deported if I used his real name. So, I changed it to Bred Troed. But we all know who the Coward of Shenzhen is, it’s pilot Fred Schroeder.

Tomorrow, May 8, 2014, a day which will forever live in infamy, will be exactly two weeks since Fred Schroeder threatened that he would get me kicked out of China for being mean to him on the internet and telling everyone that he said he raped my mother and that he backed out of the fight 13 times. His exact words were “I will start the process to get you removed.” He also said, “You f–ed with the wrong guy.”And until now, I have heard nothing from his nebulous, but powerful, contacts in the government. So, if I have still heard nothing by tomorrow, at the close of business, I will begin f–ing with him again. Sharpening up my pointy stick even as we speak.

Fred smack talk new

Fred letter