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The Japanese do not handle the rain very well.

“It’s going to stop.”

“What is?”

“The rain. The rain’s going to stop. Any minute now.”

A thunder-clap absolutely rolls across the dark grey sky covering Tokyo and I look up at it from my seat on the balcony.

“Maybe you should say that again. I don’t think it heard you.” Another bolt of lightning and the sudden thunder; right above us but a little south.

“Well, we need to get something to eat anyway. And it’s going to stop any minute now.”

So we put on shoes and go out.

The rain clearly intensifies by the time we are street level and I hold the big black umbrella over my head and step over a large puddle in the middle of the street.  The big main street, Gekijo, is oddly empty with just a few people walking alone huddled underneath umbrellas at four in the afternoon in the rain.

A girl in a light white skirt and loose-fitting orange t-shirt hurries by me on my right just as more thunder booms and she physically flinches as if shoved by someone.  She hunkers down even more against the rain and the empty street and continues walking.

I stroll ahead and see a small group of people, all young women, trying to wait out the rain under the awning at the 7/11.  It’s going to stop, right?  Then I catch the glimpse of cat eyes from under a small car and suddenly the cat bolts out from under the car and goes tearing down the wet street.

My shoes are soaking wet.

We pass by a liquor store and down the alley is another young woman. Maybe she is 25 or 26.  She is soaking wet. Her black jeans and white T-shirt are soaked through and her black hair, neck length, is dripping.  She has no umbrella and is staring into the glowing screen of a smart phone as she hides under an overhang on the side of the booze shop.  She’s typing “It’s going to stop soon. Any minute now.”  But she’s already soaking wet.

People are crowded under empty shop fronts and in front of the entrances to grocery stores and fish mongers and an empty cafe and there are a lot of people under the pavilion in front of the hotel where a woman was shot in the face two weeks ago.

In the snow this place looked clean and transported.  In the rain it looks appropriate.  The sewers and drains were designed poorly and they over flow easily.  Nothing is washed away, in fact, it all pools and gathers and collects.  People  get cut off and can’t move anymore. They can’t make decisions; they just stand there, uncomfortable and silent. People just standing there held hostage waiting for something to stop.

Nothing is going to stop.  Just get on with it.  This shower has cleansed nothing and we realize this and go home.

Lately I’ve been getting into the Game of Thrones (GoT) Universe.  I love the intrigue and scope of the series and more and more people seem to be catching on.  The growth and popularity of the show is incredible with the amount of legitimate viewers increasing each episode.  In addition to people watching on HBO, Game of Thrones is also the most torrented show in history.

Recently I started to get into the geography of the show so I started collecting maps mostly created by fans of the show.  I came across an interesting theory that the weird multi-year winters in the Game of Thrones universe is because they don’t live on a planet but rather a Dyson Sphere.  Made famous in the Halo or Larry Niven’s Ringworld Universe Dyson Spheres look like a thin strip or ring that surrounds a Sun.

ringworld Larry Niven
Geekation_SciFi_ScyFy_SciFy_ringworld

Look familiar? Well it should as Dyson Spheres look very similar to the graphics of the opening sequence of the HBO TV Show:

game_of_thrones_contact-0-1080-0-0

However the writer of Game of Thrones and the TV show producers have all confirmed that the story takes place on a “normal” world much like ours. The coolest map would have to be the totally interactive map of all the Houses and characters via http://quartermaester.info/. If you want to know what the political situation in Westeros after book 5 you can look at this map. The most detailed static map of this world was made by GoT fan Ser Mountaingoat, and you can click to get more detail here:

sermountaingoat.co.uk_speculative_GoT_map

There has been a lot of work on comparing the GoT world with ours and one fan, Dman861, has been able to work out the equator and wrap the known GoT world onto a globe:

GoT Globe1
GoT Globe2
GoT Globe3
GoT Globe4
GoT Globe5

To wrap this post up I’ve added a visual history of GoT maps created by Reddit user hotbrownDoubleDouble:

Game Of Thrones History Map 1
Game Of Thrones History Map 2
Game Of Thrones History Map 3
Game Of Thrones History Map 5
Game Of Thrones History Map 6
Game Of Thrones History Map 7
Game Of Thrones History Map 8

Map_Westeros_Political

beheading at kodenmacho
cleaning up after decapitation


We’ve talked about other haunted Japanese hot spots in the past but I came across an excellent breakdown of the 3 great execution grounds of  Tokyo over at the Japan This blog.

Japan has a long history of capital punishment and thousands of people were put to death usually by beheading but they were also big proponents of death by fire and crucifixions. According to the Japan This blog the areas where the executions took place are now cheap to live because they are associated with the angry spirits of those that were killed there.

Of course Tokyo is a giant graveyard as hundreds of thousands were killed all over the city during the great American bombing campaigns of World War II. In just one night, March 9 1945, incendiary bombs caused multiple fires that killed over 100,000 people. That’s more dead than either of the two nuclear strikes.

However the execution sites are concentrated places of death as well as former established living areas for Japan’s version of the untouchable class, so if it is cheap to live there that’s probably the reason. Japan This talks about three killing grounds in Tokyo:

Japanese Name

English Name

Status

鈴ヶ森

Suzugamori

The killing floor is extant. The area is well maintained by the nearby temple and neighbors. Well and some post holes are extant.

小塚

Kozukappara

Cemetery is extant. The symbolic Buddha statue collapsed in the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake. One of the executioner’s swords is owned by the nearby temple.

伝馬町

Denma-chō

The killing floor is commemorated on the grounds of a temple, some foundations and sewage pipes still exist.

They go into great detail about each place but they don’t talk at all about locations. So here is a break down:

Suzugamori

2-5-6 Minami-Oi Shinagawa-ku Tokyo (東京都品川区南大井2-5-6)
Suzugamori execution grounds - 鈴ヶ森刑場 Suzugamori keijō

Suzugamori Execution Grounds are very close to Ōmori-Kaigan Station which is also the station you get off to go to the Shinagawa Aquarium, fun for the whole family! Voted one of the Top Hundred sites to see in Shinagawa, it is famous for people being burned at the stake. You can still see the stone post hole where the wooden stake, the victim was tied to, was placed before being set alight.

Sign marking the post hole for burning at the stake.

Sign marking the post hole for burning at the stake.

The stone where the stake the victim would be tied to was attached.

The stone where the stake was placed

Kozukappara

The Kozukappara execution grounds are near Minami-Senju Station (南千住駅). Most of the killing grounds are now covered by the Minami-Senju rail yards but sandwiched in between two tracks is the 延命寺 Enmei-ji Temple. Next to the Enmei-ji Temple is the 首切地蔵 Kubikiri Jizō, a Buddha statue that criminals were knelt in front of just before they were killed. For thousands it would have been the last thing they saw.

首切地蔵 kubikiri jizō Map

Kubikiri Jizo as he looked during the 19th century.

Kubikiri Jizo as he looked during the 19th century.

It was knocked down during the great March 11,  2011 earthquake

It was knocked down during the great March 11, 2011 earthquake

Since 2014 it has been repaired and still stands, watching, waiting

Since June of 2014 it has been repaired and still stands, watching … waiting

Denma-chō

Denma-chō Prison and Execution Ground

Denma-cho execution grounds are located close to Kodemmachō Station (小伝馬町駅). Denma-cho Prison was a famous prison and execution site for the upper classes of Tokyo.

Shut down by the Meiji Government in 1871 … little remains of the site today, but the few bits and pieces that are still extant can be seen at 大安楽寺 Daianraku-ji Daianraku Temple and 十思公園 Jisshi Kōen Jisshi Park. The actual site encompassed those locations as well 十思小学校 Jisshi Shōgakkō Jisshi Elementary School.

What greeted new prisoners when entering Denmacho

What greeted new prisoners when entering Denmacho

denmacho-prison

Of course Japan still has the death penalty and ever since the end of the war they execute their death row inmates by hanging. The last time a death sentence was carried was on December 12, 2013.

Japan does not tell death row prisoners that they are to be hanged until the last possible minute. This has been condemned by the international community. The failure to give advanced notice of executions is incompatible with articles 2, 7 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Human Rights, according to the United Nations Human Rights Committee … Amnesty International says the inmates live under “a harsh regime and in solitary confinement with the ever-present fear of execution. They never know if each day will be their last.” — BBC News

Read more Nonsense from GaijinAss by Checking out:

Jail Chong Marines okinawa Death Row
7 reasons not go to the clink in Japan 7 Books for Warriors Enlisting The American Occupation of Okinawa Death Row Survivor

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How to power low kick (without snapping your shit up)

 

One of the staples of kickboxing is the low round house kick to the opponents leg. It hurts. Man, it really hurts.  This is why it’s so often employed and has been used to topple many a would be boxer turned kickboxer.

Recently, however, there has been a lot of speculation about the use of this technique in the light of two high-profile injuries: the Anderson Silva leg explosion in UFC and the Tyrone Spong bone implosion in Glory.  See below for details….

 

side-legs.0_standard_709.0

Whoops!

The ole “snapping shin” injury is written off generally as a fluke or a freak occurrence.  The reality is that it’s no more of a fluke than a broken nose or some cracked ribs.  Not in kickboxing anyway.  And as the dominance of kickboxing not only in its pure form, Glory-type-events and Muay Thai, but also in MMA, rises we are going to see more of this.

Why are these shin bones snapping willy-nilly?

Good question and I will speculate.  Anderson is not a kickboxer.  He’s an MMA fighter.  The range is different.  Due to take downs the low kick can be used by the wrestler as in for a single leg take down. Also with the small gloves the risk of someone catching a low kick and belting the attacker in the mouth with a straight whilst he balances on one leg is a big higher.  This is why so many MMA fighters throw a very quick and shallow low kick.  The hip never turns over. This is harder to read, it’s a bit faster and it allows one to be in a slightly better position to deal with punches.  It also means that your kick is moving UP into the impact area instead of parallel to or down into it.  This in turn means that when you connect, there is a good chance that instead of hitting with the hardened and sharp part of the top of your shin bone, you are actually hitting slighting off of that on the flatter and weaker side.  Add in an aggressive leg check with forward momentum and we get SNAP CITY.

Spong is an amazing kickboxer, but who has he been training with lately? Correct: MMA fighters.  If you watch his video, notice the shallow low kick he throws. The kick happens around the 30 second mark.

When Silva got snapped up it was even worse in terms of hip position and shallowness.
But we can write these two off as flukes, right?
Maybe not. In 2008 Corey hill had a similar injury in the UFC. Ray Sefo sustained a fractured shin in 2002 fighting Hoost. And then there is Nicholas Pettas and his horrific self KO.

5:35 into this and Pettas again, steps in with a shallow rear leg round house kick to the side of the knee. Gur is moving slightly forward and the shin is gone.

You might have noticed that Gur did not even check this.  Pettas simply through a shallow kick at a less than optimal angle and the target happened to be moving forward at that moment. SNAP CITY 2: THE REVENGE OF SNAP.

"Self induced KO."

“Self induced KO.”

It seems this injury is probably, and I am making this up, 60% bad technique, 10% pre-existing injuries or over trained contact surfaces with 30% wrong place/wrong time.  The kick is thrown in all it’s incorrectness as the opponent checks hard with upper shin or knee or moves the knees into the kick or checks hard while moving forward in the case of Saki/Spong.

Conclusion?

Pain and hospital bills.

 

How to properly power low kick

 

The first thing to do is to step forward with your lead leg.  Imagine you are standing in the middle of a big clock. You should step to about 10 o’clock with your lead leg.  This is not a big lunging step.  It’s a reasonable step to 10 while maintaining your balance.  In combat sports balance is everything. Balance is Jesus. Balance is Cuban cigars. Balance is hard assets.

Balance matters so be balanced.

Next, immediately after stepping your read leg comes around the outside arc of the clock (5,4,3,2).  This is a whipping motion accompanied by your hips switching position.  Before the kick they will be facing your opponent. As you kick, your hips will turn over and face 9 o’clock, almost with your ass turning over to the opponent.

As the  kick is arching and the hips are turning, your lead foot should be pivoting on the ball and your heel should come forward.  The knee of this leg is slightly bent.  The lead hand is up, tucked tight to your face in the guard position and the rear hand and arm should whip out to the side of the clock, in the opposite direction of the kick in order to maintain balance and maximize torque and force on impact.

 

The target for the kick is the TOP of the opponents lead leg.  Not the side. This is a common point of contention in the kickboxing universe but based on personal experience alone, being kicked hard on the top of the leg hurts much more, so much so I became nauseous.  Contrast that to the hundreds of hard side leg kicks I have eaten; there is no comparison.  There is less muscle there and it seems like there is no place for the kinetic force to go but directly into the leg muscle and bone, where as a kick to the side often lifts the leg or pushes it. Force is lost.

Rob Kaman, world-renowned for his leg kicks, demonstrates perfectly in the video below.

 

 

Not only is this kick much more powerful, it’s thrown at an angle which would minimize the risk of a shin injury to the attackers.  Another point to consider here is how upright Kaman’s body is when he kicks.  It’s a bad habit for fighters to lean back and away while low kicking in order to “sneak the kick in”.  This causes the shallow hip position and the flat part of the shin to make contact.  It’s more dangerous for the kicker and it’s less powerful.

Points to remember and practice:

  • The initial step into the target to 10 o’clock should be brisk, balanced and quick.
  • Your weight should be leaning more onto the balls of your feet. Not the heels.
  • Flexing ones abs when throwing the kick can help your hips snap and roll over more explosively.
  • KICK TO THE TOP OF THE LEG FOR MAXIMUM DAMAGE.
  • After kicking at 100 miles per hour make sure to bring your kick home at 110.
  • Always hit the target with your upper shin bone flush and hard.
  • After your kick returns, move out-of-the-way. Do not just stand there like an idiot. Foot work.

That’s it for now.  Possible video coming on this in the future and other techniques as well.

 

Train hard.

 


GaijinAss podcast # 3, 2014, April the 21st.

We have Rionne on as a guest and talk about life in general and his professional wrestling career.
私たちは、ゲストとしてRionneや一般的な生活と彼のプロレスのキャリアについて

­話している。

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rionne_McAvoy

 

 

GaijinAss Podcast #2. With “Guest”.  We Ramble about nothing in particular while someone cooks in the background. Conclusion? I really need to get some microphones.

Other links to check out which we discuss:

https://www.facebook.com/FlowerdBudz

https://www.facebook.com/rionne/about

GLORY 15 Istanbul predictions

 

Braquo

 

Department 36 (2004) ( 36 Quai des Orfevres )

Ed Rooney Mug Shot

The actor who famously chased down Matthew Broderick in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” as Principal Ed Rooney is in trouble with the law — for allegedly not updating his information as a sex offender. Jeffrey Jones, who was busted in 2003 for employing a 14-year-old boy to pose for sexually explicit photos, failed to keep his information up to date with California after his birthday, the Los Angeles county district attorney’s office said. — Michael Sheridan

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If you don’t know then I will tell you: I love kickboxing.

 

GLORY is the premier kickboxing promotion around right now and thus far the events have been amazing.  The kickboxing game has been revolutionized, particularly in the Light Heavy and Heavy Weight Realms, and much of this has been due to GLORY’s ability to attract and promote the best of the best.

 

The next event will be held on April 12th in Istanbul.

GLORY-15-istanbul-gokhan-saki-tyrone-spong-nathan-corbett-errol-zimmerman-robin-van-roosmalen-kickboxingplanet

 

The card is as follows:

 

Main event:

  • Robin van Roosmalen (NLD) vs. Marat Grigorian (ARM)

Co-main event:

  • Andrei Stoica (ROM) vs. Danyo Ilunga (COD)

Tournament Semi-final #1:

  • Tyrone Spong (SUR) vs. Saulo Cavalari (BRA)

Tournament Semi-final #2:

  • Gokhan Saki (TUR) vs. Nathan Corbett (AUS

Superfights:

  • Brian Collette (USA) vs. Mourad Bouzidi (TUN)
  • Jhonata Diniz (BRA) vs. Hesdy Gerges (EGY)
  • Filip Verlinden (BEL) vs. Israel Adesanya (NZL)
  • Niclas Larsen (DEN) vs. Steve Moxon (AUS)
  • Yodkhunpon Sitmonchai (THA) vs. Ras Sarkisjan (ARM)
  • Atakan Arslan (TUR) vs. Jonatan Oliveira (BRA)

 

Gaijinass predicts:

Roosmalen vs Grigorian

Roosmalen. He is not frankly, the most technical fighter and he has a bad habit in that he seems unable to learn from his past mistakes, however he has been busy and well, he’s Robin van Roosmalen isn’t he? Grigorian is covered in ring-rust. He hasn’t been in the big ring since Glory 2 in Brussels and this is a mean, mean way to welcome him back.  I think it’ll be a Roosmalen KO in the 2nd or 3rd.

Onto the LHWT Tournament…

Spong vs Cavalari

Sure, we all know Spong is the ludicrous favorite here. No shit.  That having been said, I think he is going to utterly humiliate Cavalari.  I have gone back and watched a lot of Cavalari’s fights and frankly I’m amazed he is even in the tournament.  His technique is bizarre and full of holes. He leads with his chin literally thrusting into the sky and his low kicks look like break dance moves.  He seems to be in amazing shape but so is Spong.   I give this to Spong, via KO (Left hook or high kick) in the first round which will suck for whoever has to face him in the final because these two…

Saki vs Corbett

Holy shit. How much machismo can one ring possibly accommodate.  I am a die-hard fan of both these guys and have been for years.  Seeing this fight now: Bitter Sweet.

Both men are amazing fighters and damn fine technicians in their own right.  The differences however are paramount and I think could be critical.

I first saw Corbett fight in Titans 2 here in Tokyo in ’05. We fought on the same card; I was covered in gore and dropped a TKO to some Turkish lunatic nobody has heard from since and CARNAGE illegally kicked Noboru Uchida in the head when he was down.  I loved it and have been a fan ever since.

Corbett is by trade an elbow man.  Hence his name, CARNAGE.  He slices, he dices and he leaves a bloody stream of gashed foreheads and cracked orbitals in his wake.  This is all well and good, except in GLORY, there are no elbows. Sure, he has obviously adjusted his training.  He also has technical hands and good kicks and is always in shape.  However the big question is: Has CARNAGE really adopted the pure kickboxing rules/style and left his Muay Thai origins behind? Because to stay meaningful in GLORY, where the big dogs and the bucks are, this is exactly what he will have to do.

Next, while Corbett was biding his time to move to GLORY, Saki has been there all along fighting the baddest mother fuckers alive.  He is smooth, fast and fluid.  His combinations are staccato spray-n-pray and with a 71% KO ration he’s become adept at rolling out the sleeping bag and tucking his opponents, big and mean and skilled opponents, in for the night.  Puff the pillow, zip the bag up, Goodnight.  Now, he has dropped to Light Heavy Weight.  Dear God….

So the deal breaker/maker is thus: Has Saki lost the weight to move from his 104 (I actually think its more like 108) to 95 in a timely and intelligent fashion? Preserving his stamina or perhaps even enhancing it? Or was he lazy and he is trying to sweat it out now as I type this?  If he made weight legitimately, and I hate to say this, then I suspect he will put Corbett away as long as he doesn’t let his ego take over.  If not, with that little stamina edge to even the scales, well, we will be seeing some CARNAGE.

 

 

 

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