29 June 2008


I didn't bother going out and fork over P500 to watch Lethal Combination: Pacquiao vs Diaz at SM City-Iloilo because not only that the mud from the monster flood that hit Iloilo City nine days ago was still four inches thick outside our house, but I could also watch the whole thing anyway inside my room--live online via PLDT myDSL.

Well, it was what every Filipino boxing fan expected: Manny Pacquiao will knock out David Diaz and will take home the World Boxing Council lightweight championship title.

And in fact he did, exactly at 36 seconds remaining in the ninth round via a mean left hook on Diaz' left lower jaw that sent him down to the canvass, face first. 

Right from the onset, it was evident that Diaz was totally outclassed by Pacquiao. He couldn't just keep up with the latter's freakish combination of power and speed, and appeared like a complete patsy on slow motion against the Filipino.
Despite the gaping cut in his right eye, the blood-soaked Diaz had the heart to continue (when he could easily tell his corner to just throw in the towel, get an ambulance, and watch Conan O'Brien in his hospital bed).

Unfortunately, it wasn't like in the
Rocky movies where grit alone overcomes natural talent, killer hand speed, brutal punching power, and baffling lateral movement. In real life, it doesn't and it can't.
With this recent victory, Pacquiao has become the only Asian fighter to win four major titles in four different weight classes.
Wala kang katulad, Manny!

28 June 2008


The world of combat sports--despite all the battle scars and injuries--never runs low on supply of hotties.

ne sizzling example is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Kyra Gracie, the first female member of the fighting clan of the Gracies (who developed and popularized BJJ) to not only become a multiple title holder in the sport but also to make BJJ and Mixed Martial Arts as her full-time career.
Despite her manifest yumminess, distractingly lovely "V-line," and well-toned femininity, Kyra is far from your typical pin-up girl. She's a hottie with a black belt and a crazy fight record! At 23 (her birthday is 29 May 1985), she already has an impressive list of credentials:

1. Three-time World BJJ Champion (2008, 2006, 2004).

2. Five-time Pan-American BJJ Games Champion (2007, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2001).
3. Five-time Brazilian BJJ Champion (2004, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998).
4. Five-time New York State BJJ Champion (2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1998). 

5. Two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Champion (2007, 2005).

6. One-time Asiatic BJJ Champion (2006).

She currently lives in New York, where she teaches BJJ for women on her uncle
Renzo Gracie's gym. She also maintains her own start-up gym, which is affiliated with her uncle's and also with the Gracie Barra Academy.
Speaking of Gracie Barra Academy, it has a branch/chapter in the Philippines, particularly in Metro Manila. It's being headed by Alvin Aguilar, one of the first Filipino BJJ black belts in the country and founder-promoter of local MMA event Universal Reality Combat Championship.

speaks fluent English, stands 5'7" (bad news for guys 5'6" and below), and has a (more bad news) boyfriend--Marcio Feitosa (lucky bastard)--who is also a (still more bad news) champion in many international BJJ events.

To see her in action, you can watch her fight highlights
here. For full-length videos of her fights, you can always type her name at the YouTube search prompt, for a whole range of choices.

For updates, either you visit this blog once in a while or check out her website: http://www.graciekyra.com.

Kyra Gracie Galore

26 June 2008


I learned a new (and longish) medical term today in my Health Care 1 class: agammaglobulinemia.

My professor said it's a deficiency of immunoglobulins or antibodies in the blood, and individuals with this kind of disorder are very sickly because their inability to produce antibodies makes them an open target for frequent infections--especially in their upper respiratory tract, lungs, and skin, among others.

The bad news is, agammaglobulinemia is (a) hereditary, (b) has no permanent cure at this time, and (c)
affects only males.

The "good" news is, incidence is pretty rare--something like 1 in 10,000.

24 June 2008


For seven years, I have collected many memories of Metro Manila that I still often bring to mind even while I'm now in Iloilo City.

One of these memories is
Nippon Kempo, a rather lesser known, newfangled combat sport developed in Japan in the 1930s. We still don't have it here in the entire Western Visayas.

Like other forms of combat sports, such as
Judo, Taekwondo, and Muay Thai, Nippon Kempo uses full-contact competitions and modern sport training methods to teach and assess students rather than the non-competitive, almost non-contact approaches of more traditional martial arts systems like Aikido.

So, a Nippon Kempo practitioner doesn't neutralize attacks with some cosmic energy mumbo-jumbo, or "pull" his/her strikes, or deliver them in a semi-cooperative manner, or refuse to go full-contact because his/her techniques are so lethal for actual application.
Instead, he/she delivers his/her techniques with full power, blinding speed, deceitful cleverness, and reflexive killer instinct--just like he/she would outside the gym or dojo.

On the other hand,
unlike Judo, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo, Nippon Kempo's repertoire of techniques is rather more exciting because it's pretty much like those used in Mixed Martial Arts: punches, kicks, knee strikes, wrestling, throws, foot sweeps, takedowns, ground fighting, joint locks, and submission holds.

To allow students to practice these techniques in full force and actual speed--without going home ugly and disfigured--they must wear a set of (very heavy) protective gear called bogu, which consists of a head protector, a body armor, groin protector, hand wraps (though optional), and a pair of 8-ounce boxing gloves.

Nippon Kempo bouts usually last for three minutes, within which competitors must try to score an
ippon or one full point against each other. The first competitor to score two ippons is the winner of the match.

The following are examples where an
ippon is awarded:

1. When you've cleanly connected a flurry of well-timed punches or kicks to a protected area, such as the head.

2. When your opponent taps out due to a joint lock or submission hold.

3. When you've lifted your opponent above your waist line. (The presumption is that--without the protective gear--your opponent could no longer continue fighting if you slam him to the ground.)

I had the opportunity to experience Nippon Kempo for two months under Coach Rio Ohmori in Makati City in 2006, and it was fun.

We held our classes back then at BA Lepanto Condominium along Paseo De Roxas Avenue. However, their new location now is at Punch Out Boxing Gym, World Center Building, 5th Floor, 330 De La Costa Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City.

To win in a Nippon Kempo match, you really have to have an entire range of skills and techniques in both stand-up and ground fighting.

Just like in MMA, a good stand-up alone won't be enough. With zero background in
clinch combat and ground fighting, even a good striker could end up tapping out or
eating punches from above once the fight goes to the ground. 

I learned this beyond mere theory when I sparred with Coach Rio twice or thrice. During our feeling-out stage, he would tell me, "Very nice combos, CJ," but in just a matter of seconds after that, I would already be inside his tight triangle choke or would go flat on the mat with his crazy Judo foot sweeps.

After each match, I would just console myself with the fact that Coach Rio was a six-footer (he's the one standing behind me in the third photo and, in the video below, he's the
only one wearing a black head protector), and he already was a Nippon Kempo black belt and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt then (maybe he's purple now, I'm not sure). I'm only 5'6" and, that time, was just a lowly BJJ white belt from another school.

As a system, Nippon Kempo has its share of shortcomings, too. I observed that, because of the heavy protection that the
bogu provides, practitioners--especially the lazy ones--tend to form bad habits by forgetting/disregarding the "pain aspect."

Because of the thick protective gear, they can afford to sacrifice being hit (it doesn't hurt at all really--except when, say, a front kick misses a protected area, like your lower abdomen, and hits your upper right thigh instead, which happened to me, by the way, and made me limp for like four days) so that they can get closer to their opponents and increase their chances of landing a cleaner shot or launching a takedown.

I have seen some guys at the gym who occasionally did this tactic--even those Japanese black belts (Coach Rio's friends) who paid us a visit one time. (Watch the video below.)

On the streets, however, (where there's no
bogu, of course) this tactic not only has very slim chances of success, it also has disaster written all over it. You'll likely end up having memorable injuries, or artless disfigurement, or even an untimely rendezvous with thine Creator.

Despite this shortcoming (and even the relative obscurity it suffers compared to other combat sports), I think Nippon Kempo is still the next best thing to MMA because--unlike Judo, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, even BJJ and Boxing--you get to do a much wider range of techniques (not just the "usual" punches only, or kicks only, or punches and kicks only, or grappling only kind of thing) in full-power application but without the potential danger of getting seriously injured--or disfigured.

Through actual, full-power application, you get to test whether or not your techniques will work against a fully resisting opponent. Through regular sparring, you'll realize that techniques that don't work are soon abandoned, and the more effective ones are continuously fine-tuned against different attackers and defenders under different situations.

Also, with the full-contact spar sessions in Nippon Kempo, you always get to practice how to react or operate under the adrenal stress of actual (and
usually unpredictable) attacks,
giving you an already-familiar feeling--and hopefully enough wits and composure not to panic--during a potentially violent confrontation on the streets or inside a bar, especially if it's your first time. 

For those who are in Metro Manila and are interested in this fun combat sport, you can reach Coach Rio Ohmori at +63915-950-2135 and/or nipponkempo@mail2philippines.com.


As a neophyte student nurse, it came a bit of a surprise to learn that the first nurses in history were not the Florence Nightingale types but were the so-called "warriors of blood and steel" instead, such as 12th-century knight Balian of Ibelin (who was portrayed in Ridley Scott's 2005 movie Kingdom of Heaven).

The Teutonic Knights and the Knights Hospitallers--besides their "default role" of disemboweling their Muslim enemies during the Crusades--were all religiomilitary organizations tasked to provide nursing care for poor, sick, and wounded soldiers and pilgrims in the Holy Land.
I don't wish to sound sexist here, but it was only logical that the early battlefield nurses were men and not women. During those times of barbaric armed conflicts, female nurses would have been molested or, worse, ravished and transformed into uncooperative "fuck dolls" by sex-starved soldiers.
In the Philippines, nursing still remains a female-dominated field. However, more and more Filipino guys like myself have decided to reassume our (ahem) historical role and heritage as caring and nurturing "warrior nurses." 

Photo Source: The Internet Movie Database