Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fucking Shin Guards

On Christmas Eve I bought myself some of these shin guards.

"Kanpeki Elite Shin/Instep Guards" made by Hayabusa

The first thing I noticed when I tried them on at home was that they were pretty tight. They felt fine once I got them on but they took some effort to put on. On the bag they felt awesome. I noticed that they were a size Medium later that night though and thought to myself that I probably should have gotten them in Large. So for a few days I really wanted to use them again but had to hold myself back because I wanted to go back and exchange them for the next size up.

So anyway, today I took them back and found out that everything by Hayabusa is out of stock all over Canada and will be until February. So goober at Fight Zone more or less talked me into exchanging them for these:
Venum "Green Viper" Standup Shin Guards

These definitely wouldn't have been my first choice but the guy let me try one on in the store and throw a few kicks at a Thai pad. They felt ok at the time. I had to pay another $11.38 on top of the exchange because they were more expensive. Now that I'm home and have actually tried them, however, they're total shit compared to the Hayabusas. Maybe I shouldn't say total shit but I definitely don't like them as much.
The standup style of shin guards are big and clunky. Not comfortable at all to move around in and more awkward to kick with than the grappling shin guards above. Grappling style shin guards also don't slip as much.
Something else I noticed, that may have been my own fault, was that I had more of a tendency to hit with my instep rather than my shin with the Venums. Just one more thing not to like about them.

So, long story short, Hayabusa's Kanpeki Shin/Instep Guards > Venum Standup Shin Guards. They're lighter, immeasurably more comfortable despite being a size too small, easier to move around in, WAY less gay-looking and possibly just easier to land proper kicks with. I think tomorrow I'm going to re-exchange them. Buddy at Fight Zone will most likely be annoyed with me but he's scrawny as fuck anyhow so fuck him. He can bitch about me on his Facebook page after I leave.

Since my martial arts background is primarily in taekwondo, I was taught to strike with the instep when throwing roundhouse or front kicks. And that was fine back when I was a teenager, but my feet just aren't having that anymore. Taekwondo is a full-contact sport but it's full-contact on a level nowhere near muay Thai. Thai boxing has been field tested to an extent that taekwondo doesn't even come close to. It's decades (if not more, taekwondo is still fairly young as martial arts go) ahead. It's no surprise then that the Thais strike with the shin rather than the instep.

Being reluctantly biased towards taekwondo for a long time, I gave up on shin conditioning several times over the years and would always go back to striking with the instep. I'd rationalise it with one stupid ass reason after another but really it just came down to not having the patience to go through the learning curve of switching from instep striking to shin striking.

If you want any longevity in your ability to throw powerful kicks I really believe now that you need to learn how to use your shins. It hurts a lot at first but the bone itself is very durable so despite the pain and the bruising it isn't likely to break like the foot or the ankle is. Knowing how to kick is useless if you can't land with power and you can't do that if you've crippled yourself after years and years of pounding on your feet.

Taekwondo came to Korea from Japan, where it came from Okinawa. The Okinawans aren't big on competition so their karate tends to revolve more around conditioning and kata. The Japanese, on the other hand, love their violence and saw no point whatsoever in practicing karate if you weren't going to use it against other people. It was still considered too dangerous for full contact though so they went with point sparring. That was a douchebag move. Anybody who thinks he's so fucking "lethal" that he can't properly fight someone who is equally skilled has about a 99% chance of being completely full of shit with about as much experience in fist-fighting as a home-schooled retard. So I think the Japanese just never figured out that if you want to fight with kicks, you can't be smashing your feet constantly. Although kyokushin did eventually come along in Japan (developed by Mas Oyama who was Japanese but had Korean blood) and its competitors are known to kick with their shins. It just makes more sense with full-contact.

When karate arrived in Korea, during and after World War II, it was in the form of battlefield hand-to-hand fighting to the death. That means it amounted to not much more than punches to the head and low front kicks. A lot of the fighting between North and South Korea at that time was done in the pitch black of night with no guns. They didn't want to shoot at each other because they couldn't see each other. So they'd run around in the dark and grab each other by the hair. They could tell by the length of another soldier's hair which side he was on and if he was the enemy, he got got a punch in the face for it. Sounds crazy but you can look this shit up. Apparently it was normal to wake up in the morning on a battlefield and see dead soldiers lying in ditches with their faces smashed. Anyway, as effective an acid test for any martial art as that sounds like, not too many roundhouse kicks would have been thrown so they wouldn't have cared whether you landed with the shin, instep, ball of the foot, heel or whatever. And in all likelihood they would have been wearing combat boots anyway so it woud barely have mattered. It wasn't until after the Korean War (which technically isn't even over) that the Koreans started to become more interested in developing their martial arts. First order of business was to change the name of it from karate to pretty much anything that was not Japanese. Kuk sul won, moo duk kwan, tang soo do, tae kwon do... It went through several names before they finally landed on taekwondo. Next thing they needed to do was to ramp up the intensity of competition. They needed to prove themselves tougher than the Japanese, after all. So they started actually hitting each other but with foam pads on their hands and feet. It was a step in the right direction but still incomplete.

The feud between the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (ITF) and the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) involved a shitload of torture, murder and all around international political espionage and didn't leave much room for actually developing the art itself. Ultimately, the WTF won and got into the Olympics while the ITF fucked off to North Korea where the focus seems to have gone back to military style hand-to-hand combat. For whatever reason, the WTF decided to pad the chest and stomach and strike with bare feet. Okay.

Well, the Koreans wanted to dominate martial arts all over the world. Taekwondo is the most commonly practiced martial art so they obviously succeeded in doing that but I think they did it by appealing to the kids who wanted to do fancy moves like in the movies rather than people who just wanted to effectively kick the snot out of each other. This happened over the course of the 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s when MMA hadn't come fully into fruition yet so most people were still under the assumption that if it looked good on a movie screen it was good enough for real life. They needed to set their style apart from kickboxing to get it into the Olympics, so there is no punching to the head, no striking below the belt (you can block or "cut" an oncoming kick with the feet), more points for a kick to the head than a kick to the body and no points at all for body punching. The fighting is also meant to be continuous rather than point based, where you stop and restart after each landed blow. What this all amounts to is an exciting sport full of quick, combination kicking with jumps, spins and all kinds of fancy, fun stuff. There are plenty of knockouts but it's the kind of thing where two people will crash into each other in mid-air, both fall to the ground and one will get up. Matches are three rounds and rounds are two or three minutes. Most of the mid-level kicks aren't thrown with full power because they're merely setups for the big jumping spin kick to the head. So while the knockout is still ultimately the goal, realistic combat practicality is secondary to the overall aesthetic of the fight itself. I have nothing against it, I had a lot of fun with that sport when I was a teenager, but you can see why the necessity to kick with the shins just never arose. Round kicks with the shin aren't as conducive to speedy combinations and don't look as cool. There you have it.

In Thailand, however, fighters were kicking absolute fuck out of one another in long, drawn out bloodbaths for a really long time. And the allowance of punches to the head makes a big difference. It's no good to use quick, snappy roundhouse kicks to set up a spinning aerial head kick when you might get knocked out with a punch in the jaw before you can pull it off. And it makes sense that it wouldn't have taken them long to figure out that if you swung your shin like a club into somebody's ankle or thigh over and over you could wear him down to the point where you'd have a much easier chance of landing that shot to the head with a punch or a kick that would knock your opponent out. Their sport evolved differently and anyone who wanted to keep fighting for a long time had to take care not to cripple themselves by damaging their feet in the process.

In any case. I'm learning more and more that it makes sense to develop the ability to land kicks with my shins rather than with my feet. I'm still not thrilled about the learning curve and conditioning process involved so I want a decent pair of shin guards. And these Venums aren't living up to my expectations. I feel like if I keep them I'll probably never even use them  because they feel like shit. But the Hayabusas I had just a few days ago I was actually excited to use. So despite them being a pain in the ass to pull on, I think they're the better choice. I just hope fuck face at Fight Zone hasn't already sold them to some other asshole before I can get back there.

Fuck. I forgot what I was even writing about for a while there.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Johnny Grube's Wildman Training

I originally bought this on a whim. I'm pleased with it though. I told Johnny Grube I'd write him a review and I've been meaning to get around to it for a while now. This book is the very definition of no fluff and straight to the point training information. No backstory on how and why he discovered this method of working out. No long-winded explanation on why it's better than any other approach. No scientific mumbo humbo. It's very streamlined in that regard but that can be a good thing. I usually don't give a shit about much of that other stuff anyhow.
That's his website. Johnny Grube is a simple, blue collar guy who loves to work out but doesn't want to waste a lot of time at it. That being said though, he's good at working out. According to the above website he's set several world records.
His methods are extremely basic. I like that. The basics are what work and they always will. He really likes bodyweight training as opposed to lifting weights. Although he does lift things like punching bags, rocks and logs, the majority of what he does seems to revolve around calisthenics, skipping and sprints, which is very similar to what I've been doing the past couple of years. I can't remember how long it's been now since I last picked up a barbell and I don't give a shit either.

I guess Grube used to lift weights and it sounds like he was better than average at it with some impressive numbers to show for his efforts. Hip belt lifts with over 1,200 lbs. Push presses with 285. Deep squats with 600. Just some examples he's told me about.
He's the guy on the far left here. Back when he worked as a professional wrestler. I think he's only 5'5" or something like that but not exactly small by any means. I guess he got sick of lifting weights when he entered a toughman contest and was dead tired by the end of the third round. That'll happen. This lead him to become interested in what he calls "conditioned strength." In other words he wanted to get his ass in shape.

Here he is more recently. Much smaller but definitely not weaker. His barbell lifts have undoubtedly gone down but he can move furniture or load trucks all day long without getting tired. He's also capable of some really impressive one-armed pushup variations. But his endurance has become much better. He told me that a few years ago his muay Thai instructor would have him doing bag work mixed with calsithenics for about an hour before sparring with him and still couldn't finish him off even after 10+ rounds. He attributes this to his quick, fast-paced bodyweight workouts as opposed to heavy weight lifting and sprinting as opposed to long distance jogging.

With that, I've already given you more background on the man than his book even comes close to. But I wasn't looking for an autobiography when I bought it so that's fine.
His Wildman Training Manual is put together very cheaply. That doesn't bother me at all because I only paid 20 bucks for it which is by no means expensive when it comes to books about working out. The pages have printing on only one side, it's full of typos, spelling errors and bad grammar but the information as a whole is very solid. I recommend it to anyone who likes this kind of training.

Grube's workouts are extremely fast-paced with a heavy emphasis on the legs. They look easy on paper but so do a lot of things. Nothing about it is easy and if it is then you're not going fast enough. It's as simple as that.

His diet advice is equally simple. Eat as naturally as possible and drink plenty of water.

Let's see, for the book as a whole I'd give it three out of five stars. That's only because it needs some heavy editing. It's not as bad as what Steve Justa put out a few years back but still, that many grammatical errors is a distraction to the reader. It's what in professional writing they call noise. The book would have been quite a bit thinner if the pages had had text on both sides. That just seemed strange. I guess it's all in what you make of it though. It's spiral bound and about the size of a magazine so it's easy to lay out flat somewhere and the printing on only one side doesn't make it any more difficult to read. In Grube's defense, he's not a guy who makes his living from the fitness industry so if he's put this together and published it by himself to sell through his website as a way to make some extra money on the side then he really shouldn't have to spend a lot of that money making his books look pretty. I don't blame him at all. If you were buying something like this off of me you'd be lucky if it wasn't hand scrawled with a crayon on the back of a used Kleenex.

As far as the content itself I'll give it a five out of five easily. This is good stuff. Get your punk ass off the couch and train! Work out for as little as five minutes at a time and multiple times a day if you can swing it. You can do this stuff in your basement or backyard, while walking your dog or playing with your kids at the park.

Quick aside: My dog is being a real douchebag right now. If he was a person he'd be waking up with some serious bruises for acting like this. Fuck dogs are stupid. Filthy four-legged attention whores. This moron can't even grasp the concept of fetch. I throw a ball, he chases it while growling as if he's pissed off that it's getting away, and then he brings it back and puts it on the floor between his own front paws. He won't give it back to me though. I have to fight him for it as if it's the last beer in the fridge at a house party. What an asshole.

When The Wildman Training Manual arrived, Grube had thrown in another of his books, How To Build Explosive Pushup Power, with it. My review of it is pretty much the same as the Wildman Manual. It's put together and written in the same way but the content is very good. Lots of pushup variations to choose from and a very straightforward method for doing a lot of them. I've personally improved my pushup numbers considerably in the month or two since I read it. I rarely got past 70 before but could do 100 in about five minutes. My best recently is 150 consecutively and while I haven't timed myself yet I won't be surprised if I can do 100 in about 60 seconds now. Grube's method isn't rocket science and I actually feel kind of stupid for not thinking of it myself but it works. Very effective.

About a week after I had ordered from him I was talking to him on Facebook about skipping ropes. I mentioned that I use a weighted steel jump rope because all the speed ropes I've ever owned broke in a matter of months. And while I like the steel rope, I was starting to miss the quicker aspect of training with a lighter speed rope. He told me that he has speed ropes specially hand made for him by kids with learning disabilities (or something along those lines) and offered to send me one for free. It arrived a few weeks later and it's been great. I use it almost every day and I'm not noticing any significant wear and tear yet. If it does ever break I'd have no problem buying another one off of him.

Why did he give me these freebies? I don't know. It could be just because he's a solid guy and he likes to make his customers happy. It could be because I've become somewhat of a reluctant, low-level online fitness celebrity. Either way I'm happy with the products and would buy more from him.

Book reviews aren't really my thing so I hope this all came off as positive because that's what it was meant to be.

Big thanks to Johnny Grube.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Everyone Loves Marineland!

My friend Phil Demers who was my roommate in Buenos Aires and won my episode of Wipeout has exposed some shady shit about Marineland.

Read the article and spread it around.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Lets nuke the moon.

I'm watching (well, listening to) youtube videos about the moon right now. Conspiracy theories about what the moon might actually be. An elaborate spaceship, a broken off chunk of the Earth, an artificial, hollow "Noah's Ark of intelligence," a base of operation for alien observers, etc.
I've always just assumed that the moon has always been there. There's never been any mention that I know of throughout history that the moon wasn't there at any point or that it just showed up.
Why does the moon exist? Is there some reason for it? Does its gravity somehow help maintain Earth's orbit around or distance from the sun? What does the other side of it look like?
I think we should nuke the moon. Why not? What better way to establish our dominance over the entire universe than to destroy such a recogiseable part of it? Fuck the moon. I want it gone, now.

Best thing I've seen on Youtube in a long time.

I was a big Punisher fan growing up. It wasn't the realism of the character so much as the violence that I liked about it, although the realism was a big part of it as well. I liked Batman too but Batman seemed like an easier character to write. He has limitless funds and a gadget for every occasion. The Punisher was like ghetto Batman. He would use his enemies' own tactics against them, steal their money after they were dead, etc. I liked that he wouldn't hold back and just thought nothing of killing anyone he thought was a bad guy.

The problem with The Punisher was that he was plagued, for the most part, with shitty writers and shittier artists. Every once in a while there would be a period of a few months or a year or so where the writing and art would just click and it would be awesome. For a while though he had different writers and artists every month. It was like Marvel didn't give a shit and wanted to keep their big money talent where the big money was; Spiderman and mutants.

Fuck mutants. They're the shittiest comic book characters there ever were. I liked Wolverine and I even liked Cable for a little while but fuck, any asshole can create a mutant chracter. They were churning them out like Pez back in the 90s. Probably still are. There's no need for any origin or backstory, the character is just born with superpowers and that's it. Fuck off. Lazy ass writers. Most of those chracters were so one-dimensional that you didn't give a shit about them anyway. There were so many characters in X-Men, X-Factor, X-Force and X-Whatever The Fuck Else that I never even knew most of their names. They were their superpowers and nothing else. They were bullshit.

Anyway, every once in a while there would be some one off short story with The Punisher in it, an annual or a summer special or something like that, that would have him doing something totally mundane like waiting in line or something and trying to mind his own business. Some group of assholes would inevitably start fucking with him or doing something to offend him and he'd try to remain calm for as long as he could. Then of course by the end of the story he'd get so pissed off that he'd go into Punisher mode and fuck everybody up. That's what this video reminded me of. Just a random episode the life of a vigilante. Fucking great.

Friday, July 20, 2012


Why does everything in the world fit together so well? We've got this whole "ecosystem" going on where everything in it serves some kind of purpose towards the greater good of the collective system as a whole. Apparently anyway. If the existence of life in general is a random occurence, why aren't there a bunch of random lifeforms that serve no purpose at all? Just exist randomly for no reason. I'm curious about this.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Someone pointed out to me recently (not that this is the first time it's been pointed out to me) that many violent criminals are Christians. This alledgedly shows that all Christians are hypocrites who think they can do whatever they want in life and then claim to accept Jesus at the very last minute and go to Heaven anyway, despite being  pieces of shit their entire lives. It was also pointed out to me that "all" wars are based on religion (Christianity apparently being the worst of the bunch). This of course was brought forward as evidence that religions are all wrong, evil and should be done away with.


Well, I don't think it takes an exceptional IQ to realise that if humans didn't fight over religion they'd just fight over something else so that's too retarded to even bother getting into.

Many atrocities have been commited in the name of God, Jesus, Mohammed, etc. That's not their fault.

As far as violent criminals go, that's true. A lot of them do turn to spritualty in an attempt to make up for what they've done wrong in life. Why this is seen as a bad thing, I don't know. In any case, claiming to find Jesus on one's deathbed won't, in itself, get anyone into Heaven. The person would have to actually mean it for it to mean anything. Faith can't be faked. Not when it counts anyway.
And yes, there are some violent criminals who've been Christians the entire time and ended up in prison for violent crimes despite the fact that they should have known better. Whatever. Violent people are everywhere and most of them, at some point, get caught and have to do some time for it.

But lets go with this idea that religions should be done away with because of the violent people associated with them because apparently an Atheist society is going to be so much better off than the steaming shitpile we've got going on now...

I suggest we start by doing a census in every prison. Find out what the most common religions are and get rid of them first. I honestly don't think that will eradicate violence though. Maybe I'm wrong but why stop with religion? There's probably a lot more shit that violent criminals have in common. Racial background will inevitably come up. Tastes in music. Hell, even their most popular favourite colour should be outlawed. I might mention single parent homes except that I grew up in one myself and don't want to throw myself under the bus. That might just be me being selfish though so fuck it; single parent homes should be against the law too. We'll probably find a whole lot more evidence of what causes violent behavior but once we get rid of all of it I'm sure we'll all be a whole lot better off.

At least we know where to start: Big Bad Religion. Because people shouldn't be told what to think. Unless they're being told to be Atheists, which is apparently okay.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Remember Twister...?

Remember Twister? I used to be good at that game. I was good at Stretch too; that game where someone throws a knife in the ground and you have to reach it with your foot and then stay in that position until you can stick it in the ground yourself. It's one of those games you either recognise or never played. Anyway, most of us played twister when we were kids. That game was great.

I wonder if it's considered more of an extreme sport nowadays than a game. I'd like to see a group of kids play that game now. You'd probably have to have paramedics on hand. Every turn would come with the sound of joints loudly popping and every round would end with someone being carried out on a stretcher, screaming in pain.

I'd love every minute of it.

I would still dominate at that game too. I feel like playing it now.

I haven't done the splits between chairs like VanDamme in a long time now. I think I'm going to do that soon.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

15th Annual Dunnville Mudcat Festival Strongman Contest

Saturday, June 9, 2012
Dunnville, Ontario

I was on the fence as to whether or not I was even going to do this or any strongman contests this year. I didn't even train for it. At 178 lbs I was the smallest competitor there, but there wasn't a big enough turnout (because of the rain) to even have a lightweight division so I was a middleweight.

21 reps in 60 seconds

This hat is awesome. You're stupid if you don't think so.

I think I heard someone say this tire only weighed 400 lbs.
The rain made it really slippery though.
Tire flipping is one of my shittier events anyway.

It felt like it took forever to get to this point.
The stone lift and farmer's walk were easy, this car felt almost impossible.
Not finished yet though.
I've got to say, I was proud of myself at this moment.
There was a brief period when I honestly didn't think I was going to get this one, it was that difficult.
Right here was quite possibly the dryest my mouth has ever been in my life.
The only thing I can compare it to is the time I ate Jimson Weed back in high school.
Jimson Weed is a lot like Peyote and it used to grow wild around here. It's not a drug I recommend anyone experimenting with. I've never heard of even a single good experience with it.
I love truck pulling.

Second Place in my weight division.
Not my best performance ever but not bad for being the littlest guy there, not to mention someone who hasn't picked up a barbell in more than a year.