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All Real Martial Art Styles Have Something to Offer.


After nearly 40 years of immersion in Shaolin Kempo Karate, I can tell you this: every legitimate martial arts system has value and you can learn from them. Legitimate is the key word here, folks!

It bothers me when I hear my fellow Shaolin Kempo Karate talk trash about another system. I want them to be proud of their system but it is very dangerous and narrow-minded to think that any system is the be-all and end-all.

I think I'll send away for this!

Look at how Grandmaster Villari developed Authentic Shaolin Kempo Karate. He sought out and studied every system he could find. He then took what he felt to be its strengths and integrated these strengths into a complete fighting system. Karate, Kempo, Western Boxing, Chinese Boxing, grappling, Chin Na etc.- all had value to him.

Discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a particular system- great.

Thinking your system is “all that”- the biggest weakness a martial artist can have.

Your thoughts?




Fighting- Flashy Versus Crude


I was just poking around and came across a website for a guy who I trained with up to 4th Degree Black Belt who is now a 10th Degree “Grandmaster” in Shaolin Kempo. (Funny how many of them are around teaching some lame-ass version of Villari’s Shaolin Kempo Karate).

He’s got fast hands and flexible kicks and I always though of him as an excellent martial artist- and a pretty good guy overall.

I watched some of video samples and to the untrained eye, his techniques look very effective.

The experienced martial artist sees that the moves are superficial, trading real power from the body’s core for flashy 6,7, 8 hand strike patterns. Great if your attacked stands there and let’s you slap him around. But we know better than that.

I have heard Grandmaster Villari say many times that “Sometimes crude is good.”

If a  folding chair to the skull is what puts your opponent down for the count, I’m all for it! Baseball bat to the kneecaps? You bet!

A weapon of choice.

Crude beats flash just about every time.


Keys to Martial Arts Excellence (Mastery)


Deliberate Practice in 90 Minute Segments

Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.


Master Training Principle


Tony Schwartz of the Harvard Business Review Writes:

Do the hardest work first.

We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.

My comments:

Now many of us just don’t have the bandwith in the morning to train. So let’s focus on how to make the most of your available training time.

What’s The First Thing You Do?

As noted above, we tend to put off the things we least like to do- everywhere in our lives.

My suggestion is simple and even obvious- do the thing you like best to practice at the very end of your training session. You will most likely end the session on a positive note because you were doing that which you love AND get more out of the rest of your practice because you did the hard thing(s) when you were most physically and mentally fresh.

Then, why not apply this to everything you do?

When you get to work, write that report or make those phone calls you’ve been putting off your first task of the day.

You get the point- in completing the task you least wanted to to do, the rest of your day takes on a much more positive tone.

Hey- I think I’ll take my own advice today!


Martial Art Forums- Or “Mom Bring Me Another Sandwich!”


“Those who can- do.

Those who can’t- post on forums.”

Once in a great while, usually when I am having trouble sleeping or need a good laugh, I visit a martial arts forum.

This may be a gross generalization, but judging from the subject matter and  intellectual level of many of the comments, I have this mental picture of most of these members living in their parents’ basements and while chomping on a bologna sandwich and slugging a bottle of Red Bull during a break from playing one of those fantasy video games, wax expert on why this style sucks and these guys only want to make money, and who’s going to win UFC 260.

Of course there are some excellent forums and reporting out there.  Sherdog.com comes to mind as well as some of the other mixed martial arts websites.There are some excellent martial artists out there with interesting and considered opinions as well. Few and far between though.

To me, the most ridiculous are the self-proclaimed “purists”. Cloaked in their smug belief in their superiority and knowledge of their ancient lineage, they wax poetic on why any martial art that can’t trace its roots directly back to a bored rice farmer in Okinawa who started swinging his thresher around one day isn’t worth squat.

Put these guys on a mat or in a bar and see what they have to say. I bet they’ll be calling out to Mama for more than another sandwich.

What say you?


Black Belts- Why These Videos Are Invaluable To Your Progress


I love watching Grandmaster Villari move and teach. I can watch the same technique 50 times and see something new every time. There is so much subtle movement and adjustment to the situation that is a result of what is

Grandmaster Villari Teaches a Mongol Lock

referred to by experts in learning as “unconscious competence”- a master of his or her craft – any craft- performing at a level that is way beyond thinking and doing.

Too many martial artists confuse information with knowledge. Personally, I know the moves to many forms and all 108 Combinations. However, I am smart enough to know how ignorant I am of the principles underlying many of these.

Of course I am glued to Grandmaster Villari’s every word. But, I learn more by watching what he is doing more than what he is saying. These may be called White to Black Belt rank videos. I think these are really White Belt to Grandmaster videos. And I watch them and learn from them every day.

I recommend you do the same.


Mongol Wrestling and Locks


Mongolian wrestling is a martial art and a traditional style of Folk wrestling that has been practiced in Mongolia for nearly 7,000 years.

It is considered on of the “Three Manly Sports” along with horsemanship and archery.

Wrestling matches are held in the open on a grassy field, or on bare dirt. There are no weight classes. The object of a match is to get an opponent to touch his back, knee or elbow to the ground by using a variety of throws, trips and lifts (mekh).

Today. the most dangerous locking and breaking techniques are banned.

The ancient Mongol martial arts was devastatingly powerful.

Mongolian wrestling is very offense-minded. A Mongolian wrestler is either attacking or pretending to yield to set up a counter-attack. The style does not prefer a particular stance because unpredictability is considered a large asset and stance can yield predictability of movement. The main objective in Mongolian wrestling is to take the opponent’s legs out from under him and take his balance and base of power away. The best way of doing this is to trap the arm and use it as a lever to manipulate the body to move in a certain direction.

While jiu-jitsu is a style that thrives on the ground and in submission grappling, Mongolian wrestling emphasizes that a fighter should never go to the ground by choice. Once the opponent is knocked down, he should be disabled. The other tactic was that a restraining hold should never be applied without a strike preceding it. Mongolian wrestling preferred ridge-hands and palm heel strikes instead of traditional punches as well as leg seizing, body locking, and hooking.

Grandmaster Villari integrates Mongol neck locks, back breaks, and throws into his fighting art at very advanced levels.


Kempo – The Bridge Between Karate and Shaolin


Though our style is named Shaolin Kempo Karate, we actually teach you in the opposite order.

Karate gives you a very strong foundation- a solid stance, powerful strikes, and balanced kicking as well as learning hard blocking.

The main weaknesses are the lack of mobility and reliance on the “one strike”.

Once you reach Orange or Purple Belt, we introduce Kempo Punch Defenses. These are still simple techniques- two or three movements- but because Kempo integrates hard and soft movements as well as throws and take downs, Kempo is much more effective in a self defense scenario.

To quote Grandmaster Villari in Shaolin Kempo Karate and Its Roots:

“Grandmaster Villari also utilizes the art of Kempo. It is a mixture of hard and soft movements that blend nicely, though it is not sophisticated enough by itself. Kempo lacks the grace of Shaolin with its integrated leg maneuvers, the quick shuffles and footwork of Karate, and the explosion of hard Karate.”

Some people refer to these as Kempo Animal Techniques. I believe this is a misnomer. The Animals come from Shaolin. These are Kempo Punch Defenses- not fancy, not super-sophisticated, but very effective.


Roger Federer, Tiger Woods… And You?


Here is an excerpt from a Harvard Business Review blog. The principle applies to any of us on the path to personal and martial arts Mastery.
Note the sentence I highlighted in red. Enjoy!

Six Keys to Being Excellent at Anything

2:21 PM Tuesday August 24, 2010

by Tony Schwartz |

I’ve been playing tennis for nearly five decades. I love the game and I hit the ball well, but I’m far from the player I wish I were.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past couple of weeks, because I’ve taken the opportunity, for the first time in many years, to play tennis nearly every day. My game has gotten progressively stronger. I’ve had a number of rapturous moments during which I’ve played like the player I long to be.

And almost certainly could be, even though I’m 58 years old. Until recently, I never believed that was possible. For most of my adult life, I’ve accepted the incredibly durable myth that some people are born with special talents and gifts, and that the potential to truly excel in any given pursuit is largely determined by our genetic inheritance.

During the past year, I’ve read no fewer than five books — and a raft of scientific research — which powerfully challenge that assumption (see below for a list). I’ve also written one, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, which lays out a guide, grounded in the science of high performance, to systematically building your capacity physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

We’ve found, in our work with executives at dozens of organizations, that it’s possible to build any given skill or capacity in the same systematic way we do a muscle: push past your comfort zone, and then rest. Aristotle Will Durant*, commenting on Aristotle, pointed out that the philosopher had it exactly right 2000 years ago: “We are what we repeatedly do.” By relying on highly specific practices, we’ve seen our clients dramatically improve skills ranging from empathy, to focus, to creativity, to summoning positive emotions, to deeply relaxing.

Like everyone who studies performance, I’m indebted to the extraordinary Anders Ericsson, arguably the world’s leading researcher into high performance. For more than two decades, Ericsson has been making the case that it’s not inherited talent which determines how good we become at something, but rather how hard we’re willing to work — something he calls “deliberate practice.” Numerous researchers now agree that 10,000 hours of such practice as the minimum necessary to achieve expertise in any complex domain.

There is something wonderfully empowering about this. It suggests we have remarkable capacity to influence our own outcomes. But that’s also daunting. One of Ericsson’s central findings is that practice is not only the most important ingredient in achieving excellence, but also the most difficult and the least intrinsically enjoyable.

If you want to be really good at something, it’s going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone, along with frustration, struggle, setbacks and failures. That’s true as long as you want to continue to improve, or even maintain a high level of excellence. The reward is that being really good at something you’ve earned through your own hard work can be immensely satisfying.