Martial Arts Round-Up – February 18, 2011

By Sensei Serge Sognonvi and Carmen Sognonvi
Originally published at

Here’s a round-up of our favorite martial arts-related news stories and blog posts that we came across this week.

Martial Artists Perform with Justin Bieber at Grammys
If you caught the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, you saw martial artists Matt Emig, Jeremy Marinas, Sammy Vasquez and Rudy Reynon perform with Justin Bieber and Jaden Smith to the song “Never Say Never” from The Karate Kid soundtrack. Missed it? Don’t worry! We’ve got the video for you. The martial arts performance starts around the 1:00 mark but you’ll have to sit through some pre-roll ads first.

Kata Tells a Story
Mississippi martial arts instructor Patrick Parker shares a fascinating perspective on kata, or forms. He argues that if they’re well-constructed, kata should tell “a real story about strategy and tactics with protagonist and antagonist and dilemma and climax, often divided into chapters, and often encoded with a table of contents or an index or map key so that you can understand the story better.”

Half Guard Guillotine Choke from Standing
Punch Kick Choke, a blog about MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, highlights a variation on the guillotine choke. Instead of flopping to full guard, you flop to half guard. What’s the benefit of doing it this way? “It has the chance to catch the opponent off guard and it may force him to think about how to react, giving you those precious couple extra seconds to cinch and finish the submission.”

Front Kick as Hard as a Side Kick
Australian Taekwondo instructor Colin Wee challenges us to get as much power out of our front kicks as we do out of our side kicks. The mistake that many martial artists make is that they focus only on the leg that’s doing the kicking. Wee says: “You can’t think that the kicking leg is doing all the work. You’re learning a system aren’t you? Well, this is the system. Everything is connected!

The Scandals of Sumo
Martial arts blogger Dojo Rat points us to a fascinating series The New York Times has published about the relationship between sumo wrestling and the Yakusa, or Japanese mafia. As the influence of organized crime comes to light, “sumo may lose its status as a national sport, a status that has given it government backing, tax exemptions and guaranteed coverage by NHK.”

“You Know Too Many Forms”
Dan Djurdjevic is an avid martial artist who studies karate, Chen Pan-Ling internal arts, kobudo, arnis, qin-na and the Shaolin Forms of Hong Yi Xiang. In this blog post, he responds to people who question his approach to training: “I’m not interested in just learning a new skill. I train in multiple arts precisely because I want to improve my existing skills – not because I’m desperate to learn new ones.”