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How Western Wrestlers Changed Judo

In Uncategorized on August 15, 2015 at 7:58 am

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By Antonio Graceffo

“Judo is a source of national pride in Japan, where the martial art originated.” (Cheng, 2012) But as larger, stronger foreigners, often with a wrestling background, entered the sport, the Japanese world-domination of Judo was challenged. Over the last fifty years judo has seen many rule changes which remove the advantage from western trained wrestlers.

The predecessor of modern Judo is .Japanese Jujitsu, which was founded in the mid 16th Century, but flourished from the 17th to the early 19th century. (Hays) From 1882 through 1887, the founder of modern Judo, Dr. Jigoro Kano analyzed various forms of jujitsu, absorbing some of the techniques, while rejecting others. “Getting rid of all dangerous, killing or maiming jujutsu waza, Kano forced opponents to grapple with one another. Thus, he restricted violence.” (Intjudo.eu) Dr. Kano eliminated many of the brutal joint-lock submission techniques and concentrated on the science of skillfully throwing an opponent on his back. The art he developed would become known as Kodokan Judo. (Worldjudoday.com)

Through Kano’s efforts, Judo became a school sport in the national physical education program in Japan. From its humble beginnings, the popularity of judo spread across Japan and to the rest of the world. The first All-Japan Championship was held in 1930. (Umjudo.com) In 1964, Judo became an official event in the Tokyo Olympics. (Worldjudoday.com)

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Everything went well for the Japanese and their world-domination of judo until 1961, when Dutch judoka, Anton Geesink won the world championships. (Umjudo.com) Standing 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) tall and weighing 270 pounds (120 kilograms), by any measure of the word, Geesink was a giant. Dr. Kano originally envisioned judo as an art where size and strength wouldn’t matter. Geesink’s win challenged that notion.
Jigoro Kano was himself small and physically weak. (Judo-ch.jp) Therefore, he wanted to invent a martial art system where a small man could beat a big man. “He decided to learn more about the art which enabled the weak to overcome the strong.” (Intjudo.eu)

To prove the efficacy of his art, Kano and many of his students travelled to Europe and the US giving demonstrations and fighting in exhibitions against wrestlers. Mitsuyo Maeda, Count Coma, for example, travelled to Brazil, fighting all-comers. “And that he went around the world proving his art to be superior to every other, at that time.” (Gbarrasm.com) The Japanese judoka were often much smaller than their western opponents, but this was in keeping with Kano’s principal that a small man, trained in judo, could beat a big man, who wasn’t. For this reason, judo competitions were originally held without weight divisions. The All-Japan Championship “continues to this day as Kano envisioned it, without weight, age or rank restrictions, producing still the strongest Judo competitors in Japan.” (Umjudo.com)

Geesink’s win caused a tremendous ripple in Japan. “This was a big shock for Japanese Judo.” (Umjudo.com) And specifically because of Geesink, “the International Judo Federation quickly agreed to recognize weight divisions in future world championships.” (Umjudo.com)

Further weight class restrictions were instituted. “At the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games, the “open” division was dropped from the program.” (Umjudo.com) The open weight competition was arguably the embodiment of Jigoro Kano’s ideals that a small man could beat a big man, and that judo stressed technique over strength. “However, as historian Donn F. Draeger had pointed out as early as 1961, in circumstances where technical skills were extremely well-developed, and competitors likewise had substantial training and competition experience, strength and weight would play a role, in the Judo world.” (Umjudo.com)

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Geesink would not be the last westerner to influence rule changes in the sport of judo. After Geesink, next came the Russian wrestlers.

The first major judo competition between The Soviet Union and Japan occurred in 1963, in Kyoto, where Russia’s Boris Mishchenko defeated well-known Japanese judoka Isao Okano “as soon as the match begins, the Russian grabs the jacket of the Japanese, drops on his back and does a perfect arm bar juji-katame. Okano taps. The whole match lasts less than 20 seconds.” (Law, 2009, p. 94) The arm bar was unknown in Japanese judo prior to this match. (Law, 2009, p. 95)

The Russians became a powerful force in judo, even winning three gold medals in the London 2012 Olympics. (Kamalakaran)

Much of the Russians’ success in judo is closely tied to the development of Russian sambo, a grappling style developed for the Russian Special Forces in the early 1920s. One of sambo’s founders, Vasili Oshchepkov, was the first foreign black belt under judo founder, Dr. Jigoro Kano. As a result of Oshchepkov,’s judo experience, “Sambo has roots in Japanese Judo, international styles of wrestling, plus traditional folk styles of wrestling such as: Armenian Kokh, Georgian Chidaoba, Romanian Trîntǎ, Tatar Köräş, Uzbek Kurash, Mongolian Khapsagay and Azerbaijani Gulesh.” (Self.gutenberg.org)

Because of political difficulties between Russia and Japan, and as they were on opposing sides during WW II, the word “judo” was removed from the Russian sports lexicon and replaced with the term “sambo”. In 1938, sambo “was recognized as the national wrestling style in the Soviet Union.” (Lafon) When the Soviet Union found out that judo was slated for the 1964 Olympics, they began training their wrestlers to win gold medals. “The teaching they had did not focus on spiritual education but on sports results. They viewed judo as just another sport.” (Lafon)

In 1962, Soviet sambo champions, Anzor Kibrozashvili and Anzor Kiknadze, won the European Judo championships. In the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the Soviets won four bronze medals. The Soviet, and later Russian, judo wins came from lessons learned through years of wrestling. “The experience of sambo or the expertise gained through years of national wrestling has made Soviet judo different and so powerful.” (Lafon) At the 1972 Munich Olympics, 22 year-old Shota Chochoshvili defeated two time world champion Fumio Sasahara, to take the gold medal. At the 1976, Montreal Olympics, Soviet judokas Vladimir Nevzorov and Sergei Novikov won the gold. “Soviet judo shook the judo world. It took some time for Japanese and Western traditionally-taught fighters to adapt to unorthodox techniques, strictly inspired from sambo.” (Lafon)

The Russian judo wins resulted in rule changes which eliminated many wrestling-based techniques. Single and double-leg takedowns, as well as fireman’s carry throws from wrestling were outlawed. “Concerned about wrestling-style moves infiltrating their sport, world judo officials outlawed wrestling-like tackles in 2009. Judoko that do any moves that involve grabbing the legs will immediately be disqualified.” (Hays)

Many observers felt these changes were as much to eliminate wrestling techniques as they were to hamper the Russian athletes. “The new judo rules include changes that emphasize the sport’s standing techniques and outlaw direct attacks on the opponent’s legs, often used in countries with a strong wrestling background like Russia, which won the most gold medals in London.” (Cheng, 2013)

The 2014 World Judo championships, held in Chelyabinsk, Russia, were conducted under the new rules, banning wrestling techniques. As a result, the Russians finished “without a single gold medal, but with three silver medals and six bronzes.” (Ellingworth) Many believe that these new rules prevented the Russians from winning. “One possible reason could be recent rule changes that have aimed to return judo to a more traditional Japanese style.”(Ellingworth)

Some international judoka maintain that the judo federation banned wrestling techniques in order for the Japanese to dominate the sport once again. Many purists, however, claim the changes were made to bring the art back to its origins and eliminate contamination from other sports, especially wrestling and sambo. (Hays) “The International Judo Federation says the rules were changed to make judo more dynamic, not to help Japan win more medals.” (Cheng, 2013)

Whatever the reason for judo’s changes, whether to preserve the art or to give an edge to the Japanese, wrestlers are now at a greater disadvantage in judo than ever before. ”You used to see people pick someone up midair, grab their legs and the next thing you know, someone’s on the ground,” (Cheng, 2013)

Finally, the rule changes are the legacy of the influence that westerners, particularly wrestlers have had on judo.

Cheng, Maria. ‘New Judo Rules Favor Japan At World Championships’. philstar.com. N.p., 2013. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Cheng, Maria. ‘Japan Looking For More Judo Golds At Olympics’. Thejakartapost.com. N.p., 2012. Web. 15 Aug. 2015.
Ellingworth, James. ‘Russian Wrestlers’ Prowess On The Mat Leaves Judo Playing Catch-Up Russian Wrestlers’ Prowess On The Mat Leaves Judo Playing Catch-Up | Russia Beyond The Headlines’. Asia.rbth.com. N.p., 2014. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Gbarrasm.com,. ‘Gracie Barra Santa Monica | Brazilian Jiu Jitsu | BJJ | Martial Arts | Mixed Martial Arts | MMA | Santa Monica | Gbarrasm.Com’. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Hays, Jeffrey. ‘JUDO: THE OLYMPICS, RULE CHANGES, JIGORO KANO, RYOKO TANI AND THE JEWISH GRANDMOTHER | Facts And Details’. Factsanddetails.com. N.p., 2009. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Intjudo.eu,. ‘International Judo Federation’. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Judo-ch.jp,. ‘The Life Of Jigoro Kano: Jigoro Kano, Father Of Body And Mind Education | Judo Channel | Token Corporation: Official Partner Of The All Japan Judo Federation (Zenjuren)’. N.p., 2015.
Judosolutions.co.uk, (2014). Judo as a Fighting Art. [online] Available at: http://judosolutions.co.uk/judo-as-a-fighting-art/

Kamalakaran, Ajay. ‘Three Olympic Gold Medals In Judo Put Russia On The Map At London 2012’. Telegraph.co.uk. N.p., 2012. Web. 15 Aug. 2015.
Lafon, Gerald. ‘If You Can’T Beat Them, Change The Darn Rules! | Betterjudo.Com’. Betterjudo.com. N.p., 2010. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Law, M. (2009). Falling hard. Boston: Trumpeter.
Self.gutenberg.org,. ‘Sambo (Martial Art) | Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing – Ebooks | Read Ebooks Online’. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.
Umjudo.com,. ‘Globalization Of Judo’. Web. 13 Aug. 2015.
Worldjudoday.com,. ‘The History Of Judo’. N.p., 2015. Web. 14 Aug. 2015.

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Brooklyn Monk: Greco for MMA Video (Part 1)

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2015 at 11:58 pm

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In his first year at Shanghai University of Sport, Brooklyn Monk Antonio Graceffo, a wrestling major, was a member of the Chinese traditional wrestling team (Shuai jiao dui). In his second year, he began taking private training in Greco-Roman wrestling, with his coach, Hong Fang Yuan, as well as private san da, and judo training with other coaches. This video is part of a small glimpse into the research Antonio is doing for his PhD dissertation, comparing Chinese traditional wrestling to modern Olympic wrestling.

Watch the video on youtube: https://youtu.be/nLb88MOgHjE

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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
Email Antonio
Antonio@speakingadventure.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

Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2015 at 11:07 am

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By Antonio Graceffo

“The teaching of one virtuous person can influence many; that which has been learned well in one generation can be passed on to a hundred.” Jigoro Kano. The founder of Kodokan Judo

I have a new hero, Jigoro Kano, the founder of judo. While I don’t always love judo, I find this man to be one of the truest poet-warriors in the classic sense, in the same category as Mas Oyama, the founder of kyokushin. Jigoro was a school teacher, with a master’s degree, who spoke English perfectly and studied the Chinese and Japanese classics extensively. In Japan, he is not only known for his tremendous contribution to the world of martial arts, namely, the invention of kodokan judo, but he is also known for modernizing the Japanese education system, as well as being the father of physical education in Japan. He dedicated his entire life to a small handful of noble pursuits, study, teaching, training, and passing on both the secrets of kodokan and a moral code by which he wished his students would live. It is interesting that I don’t like the art of judo that much, because it doesn’t suit my personality. But I enjoy reading about judo, and particularly about its founder, Jigoro Kano, so much, that I am considering going to Japan for training.

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.

Statue_of_prof.Jigoro_Kano

The Monk from Brooklyn, the book which gave Antonio his name, and all of his other books, the book available at amazon.com. His book, Warrior Odyssey,  chronicling Antonio Graceffo’s first six years in Asia, including stories about Khmer and Vietnamese martial arts as well as the war in Burma and the Shan State Army,  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

Greco-Roman Wrestling SUS (Parts 1 – 3)

In Uncategorized on January 18, 2015 at 9:56 pm

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In his first year at Shanghai University of Sport, Brooklyn Monk Antonio Graceffo, a wrestling major, was a member of the Chinese traditional wrestling team (Shuai jiao dui). In his second year, he began taking private training in Greco-Roman wrestling, with his coach, Hong Fang Yuan, as well as private san da, and judo training with other coaches. This video is part of a small glimpse into the research Antonio is doing for his PhD dissertation, comparing Chinese traditional wrestling to modern Olympic wrestling.

Watch it on youtube: Greco-Roman Wrestling SUS (Part 1) http://youtu.be/KimvmI3Eq-4
Wacth it on youtube: Greco-Roman Wrestling SUS (Part 2)

Greco-Roman Wrestling SUS (Part 3)

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

Email Antonio

Antonio@speakingadventure.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

Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)

http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com

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Greco-Roman Control Position (SUS) Video

In Uncategorized on October 17, 2014 at 5:10 am

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By Antonio Graceffo

As part of the research for his PhD dissertation on comparative forms of wrestling, the Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo, is learning Greco-Roman wrestling at Shanghai University of Sport. Greco is a very challenging form of wrestling which prohibits any kind of attacks to the legs. You can neither grab your opponent’s legs with your hands, nor trip your opponent’s legs with your own legs. Greco wresters rely on tremendous upper body strength to clinch with and take down their opponents. This video features a special appearance by Kirk Thomas, a former Canadian provincial wrestling champion who trains part time, with Antonio, at Shanghai University of Sport.

Watch Greco-Roman Control Position (SUS) on Youtube:

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

Brooklyn Monk Catch Wrestling w. Sambo Steve (Parts 1 and 2)

In Uncategorized on September 14, 2014 at 11:59 pm

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Sambo Steve (Stephen Koepfer) of New York Combat Sambo invites Brooklyn Monk , Antonio Graceffo to train catch wrestling with his team in Manhattan. Catch wrestling is a form of submission wrestling where you can win by submission, choke, or pin. The pin makes it more like wrestling and different from Brazilian Jujitsu, where many competitors like to pull guard. In catch, if your shoulder blades touch the ground for three seconds, you lose. In this episode, the Brooklyn Monk also welcomes Eddie Goldman, the host of the podcast, No Holds Barred. In part two, hear Eddie tell the history of Catch wrestling.
Watch Brooklyn Monk Catch Wrestling w. Sambo Steve (Part 1)

Watch Brooklyn Monk Catch Wrestling w. Sambo Steve (Part 2)

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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Pushing Yourself: Four vs. One MMA Fight Night (Parts 1 and 2)

In Uncategorized on March 17, 2014 at 1:10 am

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It wasn’t about winning or losing, it was about endurance, finding your limits and pushing yourself as far as you can. At Fighters Unite Shanghai, fight night, March 13, 2014, Brooklyn Monk, Antonio Graceffo gets an opportunity to get into a ring with 3 professional san da fighters and one amateur MMA fighter on the same night. For 9 months prior to this event, Antonio had been training on the traditional Chinese wrestling team at Shanghai University of Sport, where he also cross-trains in san da. As the Monk has notoriously poor speed and kicking ability, the question he hoped to answer was whether or not he could weather the fast and powerful kicks of the san da fighters and if he could get them to the ground before they Ko’d him. On a personal level, he wanted to push himself, to see if he could fight more than once in the same night.
On the same night, Coach Silas Maynard took on three opponents and simply laughed about it.
Pushing Yourself: Four vs. One MMA Fight Night (Part 1)

Pushing Yourself: Four vs. One MMA Fight Night (Part 2)

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
Email Antonio
Antonio@speakingadventure.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 Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor)
http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com
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San Da, Shanghai University of Sport (Parts 1 through 4)

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2014 at 2:53 am

IMG_4227 IMG_4234 IMG_4263 ?????????????   San Da is a Chinese kickbixng art which includes kicks, punches, and wrestling takedowns. In September, 2013, Antonio Graceffo began studying for a PhD at Shanghai University of Sport, where he is writing his dissertation (in Chinese) about comparative forms of Chinese wrestling. San Da is included in his research because of its wrestling component. Special guest star, Aj Richardi, US San Da fighter and Masters Degree student at Shanghai University of Sport.

San Da, Shanghai University of Sport (Part 1)

http://youtu.be/uVTu9jKeh-g

San Da, Shanghai University of Sport (Part 2)

http://youtu.be/LKdqJ5lvAE0

San Da, Shanghai University of Sport (Part 3)

San Da, Shanghai University of Sport (Part 4)

 

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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 Email Antonio Antonio@speakingadventure.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 Brooklyn Monk in Asia Podcast (anti-travel humor) http://brooklynmonk.podomatic.com