Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is "Stupid" a Good Defense?

When will we start arresting people for "stupid"?  It should be against the law!

Teaching Nunchuku at the University of Wyoming - maybe we should have been teaching the art of French-Fry-do
Today, it was on the news that a man was arrested for throwing french fries (considered a deadly weapon in Massachusetts) at his step-daughter during a dispute at a MacDonald's in Lowell, Massachusetts. The man was carried away in handcuffs and crime seen investigators collected evidence for a later trial - although it is reported that a few of the weapons may have been misplaced and couldn't be found. 

One has to wonder what is wrong with Barney Fife (or is this the general demeanor of the Lowell Police Department?) who arrested this individual - what sort of IQ is required of officers in Lowell? Of course, Massachusetts is a place already known for this kind of logic (or lack of it): for example, it is only one of four states in which the nunchaku is illegal.

Imagine that? Nunchaku being illegal?  That's about as smart as outlawing french fries. Out-lawing the nunchaku is just not very bright! But some will suggest this was necessary because they were being used by gang members.

What!?! Are you going to tell me that gang members are trading in their zip guns, 9 mms, switch blades, shotguns and machine guns for a pair of sticks on a string?  What kind of morons do we have in our legislatures?  Well, guess I shouldn't ask a question we already know the answer to.

In addition to giving up fire power, the other problem with gang members using nunchaku is that they would have to learn how to use them - besides, they are not going to pay attention to laws anyway. Why not just give all gang members a pair of nunchaku and several problems will resolve themselves. I remember when I was in college hearing about some guy in California (where else?) who held up a bank with a pair of nunchaku. Just before grabbing the cash and leaving the bank, he decided to give the tellers a demo. As he swung the chuks around - bam - he apprehended himself with a stick between the eyes.

Using nunchaku is not easy and requires considerable training and self-induced bruising. When nunchaku were developed on Okinawa, it was because there was a lack of all kinds of weapons because King Shoshin had banned all bladed weapons on Okinawa in 1480 AD.  So, the Okinawan peasants went looking for other weapons - the nunchaku, and other things like a 6-foot pole, a boat oar, a common hoe, etc. So when is Massachusetts going to wake up and ban hammers, hoes, pencils and car keys? And what about shoes? Remember President Bush having to duck a shoe? Don't tell Lowell's Barney Fife about that incident otherwise the town people will have to run around in bare feet.
Any politician who came up with (or supported) legislation to outlaw fries and nunchaku should be presented with a pair of chuks for punishment and be told to go outside and play. Unfortunately, Massachusetts is not the only state with not so bright legislators. Other states followed in their footsteps including California, New York and - can you believe it?  Arizona. What gives Arizona?

After I moved to Arizona from Wyoming, I stopped by the Gilbert Police Department to find out what martial arts were illegal in Arizona. I was told nunchaku (nunchakujutsu), or anything that acts, looks and swings like a nunchaku is illegal. Imagine that - the legislature banning an entire martial art. According to the Gilbert Police Department, it is also illegal to have foam rubber nunchaku (after all, they are just as dangerous as french fries). And if you purchased those simple plastic nunchaku found in a ninja toy sets sold at many toy stores for Christmas, your five year old Johnny is risking being wisked away in a Phoenix squad car for having his toy ninja set (this may sound crazy, but based on the state law as it reads according to the Gilbert Police - if it looks and swings like a nunchaku, it is illegal).

Yes, in Arizona, a person can carry a live blade samurai sword (katana) on the streets, a 9 mm strapped to your side, an AK47, but you better not be seen with foam rubber nunchuks or you will be on your way to jail. Come on Arizona - where's the logic?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Arizona Martial Artists Learn Side-Handle Police Baton (Tonfa)

Sensei Borea (2nd dan) uses reverse grip of tonfa to defend against bo attack by Shihan Adam (5th dan). Tonfa is
just one of several Okinawan Kobudo (martial arts weapons) tools taught to students in Mesa and Gilbert.
Martial artists from Mesa, Gilbert, Chandler, Scottsdale, Phoenix and Tempe completed a year of training with Okinawa tonfa at the Arizona School of Traditional Karate in Mesa. The Okinawa tonfa is thought to have originated as a farming implement and likely originated from a wooden frame or handle of a millstone. It has been nicknamed the ‘millstone handle’.

Many law enforcement agencies use a baton modeled after the tonfa, or have used it in the past, but law enforcement only train with one baton unlike martial artists. In addition, law enforcement officials typically receive only cursory training in the weapon, unlike Shorin-Ryu martial artists who train with it constantly. It is known as the side-handle baton in law enforcement, or PR-24.

After a year of training, a small group of martial artists from the Phoenix valley were certified in Okinawa Tonfa by Grandmaster Soke Hausel, 10th dan. To demonstrate their expertise in this weapon, students had to perform basic blocks and strikes known as kihon. They further had to test in three kata (forms) and demonstrate understanding of the forms in a group of self-defense applications known as bunkai. Such forms were created by Okinawan body guards and peasants centuries ago as living encyclopedia of self-defense applications.

Finally, the group tested using tonfa in kumite (sparring) against other martial artists with Okinawa bo (6-foot long staff or pole). During kumite, students (deshi) do not wear protective equipment other than safety glasses. Overall, the group showed expertise in the weapon and five were certified. Those receiving certifications in Okinawa Tonfa on Tuesday, May 29th, will include Adam Bialek, Patrick Scofield, Sarah Kamenicky, William Borea and Ryan Harden.
Members of the Arizona School of Traditional Martial Arts in Mesa and Gilbert
trained for one year with tonfa in basics, forms, self-defense and sparring before
being certified by Soke Hausel (10th dan).

Members of the Kobudo Class will continue to train with tonfa learning focusing on one tonfa (as well as two tonfa) and train to use the weapon against attackers with clubs, knives and learn a variety of restraints and jujutsu throws with the weapon. In addition, the group started to learn use of the Okinawa sai.