Monday, December 10, 2012


Source: Action Martial Arts News: Issue #9: Sept 93 Oct 

MASTER JASON LAU studied Wing Chun Kung Fu as a youth in Hong Kong. In 1969, he moved to New York City, where he put his skills to work to become a respected instructor of this style. He used his skills to help rid, his neighborhood of drugs and crime, and receiVed recognition from the Governor of New York State & the NYC Police for his work on Flatbush Avenue during the Blackout of 1977 (where he and his disciples protected merchants & residents from vandals and looters). MASTER LAU considers this work one of the highlights of his career, along with his numerous performances in Martial Arts exhibitions. These include shows at Madison Square Garden and on the Broadway stage, where his sword performance in 1975 earned him the recognition of induction into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame for the best weapons performance.

In 1980, while still teaching in New York, MASTER LAU was re­cruited by the world famous counter-terrorist GENERAL MITCHELL L. WERBELL III to be an instructor at his Cobray Training Center (later called Sionics). Here, MASTER LAU in­structed students in hand-to-hand combat, unconventional weapons, night operations, and evasive driving techniques and soon became Chief Instructor.

MASTER LA!) with counter-terrorist trainees.
Wipg Chun students performing specialized Wing Chun drills.
MASTER LAU demonstrating Wing Chun’s Chi Sau (“sticky hands”) against 2 opponents.

Foreseeing the growing need for individuals with multidimensional skills, the dream of a school to train them has now been realized in the JASON LAU WING CHUN KUNG FU and SURVIVAL ACADEMY in Smyrna, Georgia. Here, students are trained in the skills of the Nightwalker, who were the elite security for the Chinese Emperor.

The techniques of the Nightwalker are a synergy of old and  new techniques, and include counter—terrorist training. MASTER LAU plans a Grand Opening for his new training facility later this year, and is very proud of his students in Georgia who have made the new center possible.

MASTER LAU is also extremely proud of his New York students who have continued with his teachings in Wing Chun, especially those who have chosen to reach out to all the other Martial Artists through the UNIFIED MARTIAL ARTS FEDERATION and the ACTION MARTIAL ARTS NEWS: SIFU ALAN GOLDBERG, SIFU MICHAEL MILITANO, AND SIFU LOUIS RODRIGUES. Other students MASTER LAU is proud to call his disciples are: ROBERT BAILY, ROBERT ANDES, EDDIE BERGER, HELEN WELLS, and JACK COP (of the Georgia School).

MASTER LAU believes that Wing Chun Kung Fu is the most highly advanced of all Martial Arts systems, with its emphasis on economy of motion, exactness of technique, proper positioning, and sensitivity training. Though it was BRUCE LEE who first brought notoriety to Wing Chun in the United States, it is surely MASTER JASON LAU who carries on the Wing Chun legacy today.

Monday Martial Art Clips 12/10/12: Taekwon-do, Escrima, Yoga, and More!

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18 Chambers

Friday, November 16, 2012


by Sharif A. Bey 

The "challenge" has always been a part of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts, and serves a number of functions. There are "friendly" challenges among martial artists as a way of "getting acquainted" and developing relationships within the martial world through the exchange of skills. There are "skill" challenges, engaged in for the mutual exchange of experience for personal development. Then there is the infamous "grudge" challenge to settle disputes, and these can become quite dangerous. Of course in the modern time the latter type of challenge, due to legal consequences and the very non-martial state of present day society, rarely occur.

Nevertheless, the martial society is indeed a society with its own rules and complex societal codes of conduct. With regards to challenges a set of well known rules are to be observed, regardless of the type of challenge; among them are the following rules:
  • TO BE POLITE, NO ONE IS TO SPEAK OF THE OUTCOME SO AS TO SHOW RESPECT TO THE LOSER (this rule does not necessarily apply to grudge challenges, but often is adhered to regardless to avoid legal issues).
While generally the tradition of challenging is considered antiquated, and barbaric by many of today's standards, there are a number of traditional martial arts "purists" that are willing, and in fact do, preserve and engage in the tradition. One such martial artist is Novell "Black Taoist" Bell, a traditional Chinese Martial Artist of the Bagua (Eight Triagrams) school of Chinese Boxing. Bell is the founder of the MUSU (Man Up Stand Up) Traditional Fighting League; a venue that features traditional martial arts fighters from across the country. Bell, as well as a small minority of traditional martial artists, feel very strongly about the challenge tradition being an integral part of raising the standard of traditional martial arts training and skill, as well as character development. Unfortunately the tradition has become attractive to those on the outside of the traditional martial arts world; "challengers" that due to popular entertainment and bravado seek to engage, but do not know the rules and etiquette.

Bell was recently challenged by a practitioner of a more modern martial art called "52 Blocks." 52 Blocks/Jailhouse Rock was developed by African Americans in the prison system. A leading authority on the style, Dennis Newsome, claims its origin goes back to the 17th and 18th century institutionalized African Americans. A practitioner of 52 Blocks named Rahmel, aka "Mr 52" recently challenged Bell via a YouTube clip. Bell issued his own video response accepting the challenge, then issued the rules of engagement.

Unfortunately Rahmel, not knowing or not respecting the rules, attempted to change or alter the terms of engagement; asking that the fight take place at a venue where admission is charged, and the winner takes 60% of the earnings and the loser takes 40%.
Such an offer violates the core principles of the martial tradition. The challenger in this case is not looking to honor the tradition, or even truly test his skill against a worthy opponent, but merely to score a payday. What he does not understand is that his mere offer of re-negotiating the terms admits his forfeiture and loss of face, being that he made the challenge.

The true martial code is centered around the willingness and ability to sacrifice one's individual will for the greater good, be it family, nation, loved ones or principles. A true warrior has three core standards; he must not be afraid of hard work, he must not be afraid to sacrifice himself for the right, and he must not be subject to be bought off with money.
Perhaps Mr. 52 should examine his true intent, compare it with the martial spirit, and adjust himself accordingly. We will keep you all posted.

18 Chambers

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Challenges Issued and Accepted: UPDATE!

Looks like yet another fight may be down the tubes. The Blacktaoist hit 18 Chambers up to let us know that the fight with Mr. 52 is off, due to the inability of the two parties to come into an agreement over the terms of the bout. 'Winner takes all' isn't something Mr. 52 is agreeing to according to the Blacktaoist. Check out the video below:

18 Chambers

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Challenges Issued And Accepted

As New York recovers from super storm Sandy, it needs to brace itself for yet another storm that's a-brewing; and at its center is a new 52 Blocks vs Baguazhang challenge. After an explosive set of exclusive interviews with the Blacktaoist, Nakmeezy, Maoshan, and Lyte Burly that all ended on high notes, I decided to leave any further situations between the gentlemen alone for the sake of trying to keep things positive; however, things took an interesting turn as of late. 52 Blocks practitioner and teacher Mr 52 issued a challenge to the Blacktaoist to which the Blacktaoist has recently accepted.

The terms of acceptance are straight-forward, here's an approximate breakdown:

  • The venue- Man Up Stand Up (MUSU) competition
  • Date- some time in February 2013
  • Money-  if Lyte Burly fights the cut will be 60-40, but if he doesn't then the bout between Mr52 and Blacktaoist is winner takes all. 
  • MUSU ruleset
  • Duration- three 5 minute rounds. 
An interesting twist to this event is the Blacktaoist would like to have Lyte Burly and Nakmeezy participate as well. Lyte Burly can fight one of his students or other people from MUSU who are interested in crossing hands with him and Nakmeezy can fight MUSU's 6 time champ DJ.

Initially I was staying away from this story but since both gentlemen are stressing a respectful match, I decided to post it. The details are being worked out between all parties and we'll keep you posted.

18 Chambers

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nail In The Coffin: Maoshan Puts Issues To Rest

What better way to end a series of explosive interviews than with the man who has been said to have been the initial spark that ignited the flame? I had a chance to do an exclusive interview with Sifu Ben Hill Bey aka Maoshan closing the chapter on the Lyte-Nakmeezy vs -Maoshan-Blacktaoist beef.
Ironically Maoshan's interview was the shortest of the phone interviews, but left me with the most pages of notes, quotes and one liners out of everyone. Weighing in at a whooping 4 1/2 pages Maoshan put the final nail in the coffin to put this saga to rest.

Every conflict has a starting point, and the story about the friction between Maoshan and Lyte Burly is no exception. The initial caused of the bad blood between the two men according to Maoshan was a video where Lyte was "talking outlandish sh*t about bagua." Which he took offense to especially since he's been a long time Baguazhang practitioner having 37 years or more in the art. To Maoshan, Lyte was out of line talking about bagua because he "does not know the internal." With hindsight always being 20/20, Maoshan admitted that it "should not have gone the way it went down." He explained part of the cause was him being passionate about his art coupled with the fact that he tends to react first, made for a volatile situation and he realized that he may not have reacted in the best way towards Lyte's bagua video.

As tempers flared and insults went back and forth, a challenge was issued leading up to the infamous Maoshan vs Lyte Burly fight where Lyte was the victor. Keeping it real, Maoshan shared that he was "in shock" at the outcome of the fight. That shock stemmed from what he says was his knowledge of what he can do and has done in the past. According to long time friend Maoshan was known for kicking ass in the 90s. "I grew up in the f*ckin' Bronx! I was at the top of my game. Back then life was about weed, women and kung fu" Maoshan explained. It's been said that around the time of the fight Maoshan was going through some personal issues, chose to fight regardless. Acknowledging the loss and not making any excuses Maoshan makes it clear that while he lost, he "didn't walk away hurt" which he attributes to his combat training.

The loss against Lyte wasn't the last of Maoshan though. An exchange of response videos began to surface and verbal shots were fired in the comments section of the each video. A little known fact that he shared with me was that after the loss people around him urged him to make a response video, it wasn't something that he had planned on doing. Sometime between response videos Lyte's friend Nakmeezy began chiming in on Maoshan's loss and performance, and as some have said serpent-like innuendos taking what some felt were pot shots at Maoshan. Soon a firestorm ensued between Nakmeezy and one of Maoshan's students all of which came to a head and lead to the Maoshan vs Nakmeezy bout.

editor's note: the main event that lead up to Nakmeezy calling Maoshan out was a comment he made to a 52 Blocks practitioner that goes by the name Mr. 52. Maoshan stated that Mr. 52 reached out to him letting him know that he was going to fight Nakmeezy to which Maoshan told him "to knock that motherf*cker out!" Nakmeezy happened to be sitting near the two and overheard the comments. Shortly after, Nakmeezy called Maoshan out, and the two fought in the Man Up Stand Up (MUSU) tournament where Maoshan lost the bout.

When asked what his thoughts were on Nakmeezy and Lyte's recent comments on the 'Reality Check' video where they both agreed that he has some understanding of bagua, but can't apply it in a fight, and therefore should never step back into the ring. Maoshan was taken back a little because he thought they "resolved that issue between 2 black men." He figured after he and Nakmeezy crossed hands there was nothing more to discuss, especially since according to him, he didn't have a problem with Nakmeezy. He was a bit shocked and annoyed that the pair were still trying to get notoriety from fights that took place a few years ago.

I casually threw the word fight around to describe his bouts with Lyte and Nakmeezy and he immediately wanted to make something clear -- the distinction between competition and a real fight. In his opinion the two are nothing alike; the mindsets, rules of engagement, etc., are vastly different. He made his point further by stating in a competition there are referees, rules, protective equipment, etc., but in a real fight the only rule is "somebody is either going to break a limb or take a life." He went on to explain that he never got into the martial arts for competition, "I fight for self defense." Seeing how competition wasn't a priority for him, he said, "I never learned to fight in competition[s]. I'm not a competition dude. I didn't learn martial arts for competition, I desired to learn the internal."

We spent a little more time going over the difference between fighting and competing, and he gave some insight as to why he felt he lost to Nakmeezy. First on the list was that he didn't have a problem with Nakmeezy which he says explains why he wasn't aggressive towards him in the match (which was supposed to be an exhibition match) and would give him props when he got in a good shot. In fact, he feels strongly that he and Nakmeezy didn't fight (in the sense of harboring bad feelings and causing major damage to each other). He described a real fight as opposing parties with the desire to cause the other harm or death; not what took place in the MUSU ring. "I was still caught up in my own sh*t" he said about the bout; most likely puzzled as to why Nakmeezy called him out. He mentioned that the Blacktaoist was pissed about the loss but as stated before he said he's not a competition man.

The conversation shifted to a discussion about Lyte Burly and Nakmeezy both dodging a sparring match with the Blacktaoist. He acknowledged that neither fellow has any interest in sparring the Blacktaoist who tried to set up a friendly match but "Lyte wanted $1,000 an appearance." Alluding to the pair being afraid he points out the fact that he travelling 400 miles twice for his fights with Lyte and Nakmeezy for free and with no excuses. He recalled how the Blacktaoist even "put $2,000 & some change on the table" to get those guys to spar but to no avail. Catching me off guard, Maoshan was met with a few chuckles when he postulated that the money issue had to have come from Nakmeezy because "Lyte's too f*ckin' stupid...Nakmeezy got some intelligence to him."

Based on the actions their actions it was assumed that the two weren't interested in sparring with the Blacktaoist, so Maoshan's student DJ got involved and was supposed to fight Nakmeezy; that fight never happened. Whether it was DJ or the Blacktaoist, Maoshan recalls that they were always met with some type of fee just to spar and when the money was produced, they were met with other excuses from Lyte and/or Nakmeezy. "Over and over again it's been a glove issue, weight issue..." He shared how the Blacktaoist went so far as to even offer "$2000 for you to spar with him. Why didn't anyone show up? He didn't say [$2000 if you] beat his ass.... he said show up. Nobody wants to fight Blacktaoist, he's always had an open door policy. He's been teaching in the same place for 20 years."

Maoshan continued the discussion referencing a time when the Blacktaoist went to Thompson Square Park where Lyte Burly trains daily in hopes of meeting up with him to get in some sparring; however, to his surprise no one was there. He also recalled a time when his student DJ went to the same park looking for Nakmeezy and waited for 2 to 3 hours with cameras rolling to catch the footage, but Nakmeezy was a no show, but after he left they showed up according to Maoshan. He summed things up by saying, "Lyte Burly is too afraid to bring his ass uptown. That's why he wouldn't fight [Maoshan] anywhere else other than Thompson Square Park, because it's a donut shop for cops."

editor's note: Maoshan was unaware of the series of blogs written around the 'Reality Check' video so I posed a few questions for him to answer based on the content of the video and blogs, one of which was his thoughts on the match between Nakmeezy and Blacktaoist never taking place.

Maoshan viewed some of the concerns and requests made by Nakmeezy for the exhibition match with the Blacktaoist absurd to say the least. He pointed out that the Blacktaoist " a stand up fighter....he's a stand up toe to toe motherf*cker" to illustrate the silly request for a no submissions rule. He also pointed out other requests such as no punching to the face, and boxing gloves instead of MMA gloves for Blacktaoist, which he found laughable. He asks how someone is supposed to demonstrate bagua with boxing gloves on? "you can't do bagua with gloves."

The finals parts of the interview were used to addressed a few more points; the Blackaoist's fight record, Maoshan's teaching ability and future projects. In regards to comments made about the Blacktaoist's fight record, "who has he fought is a ridiculous statement. He's the baby of the crew, he's been fighting nonstop."

If you're waiting to see future bouts with Lyte Burly or Nakmeezy, don't hold your breath because "it won't happen." Maoshan has made it clear that he has no interest in competing. "I'm too old for this sh*t. I'm 40 f*ckin' years old! It's a young man's games. I'm focused on teaching." "Truth is truth" he says. While his focus is passing his martial knowledge on to the next generation he affirms that he will continue to trains and be active in the martial arts, "gotta keep those combat juices going."

He offered up one last retort to Nakmeezy's statement about him not being able to apply his bagau knowledge in a fight. He tackles that statement with an interesting one of his own, "if I can't apply it, I can't teach it. Every teacher can't teach, don't believe the hype." Maoshan's statement immediately brought to mind a comment Lyte Burly made in his interviews about teachers where he said, "a teach is measured by how many winning students they have." I mentioned the quote to him and he promptly pointed out that his student DJ who regularly competes in the MUSU tournament has "only lost once and came back and took it back!" Maoshan asked a question of his own, and of course I had no answer; he asked, "why won't they fight my student?" in reference to DJ.

"These 2 guys got their light from us!" he said with a high degree of confidence. Inferring Lyte and Nakmeezy became relevant due to the beefs, and trying to live off the hype of 3 year old fights, he went on to describe them as "...two individuals [who] want to ride coattails." Things never had to go as far as they did but they kept it going. "Sh*t got outta hand because nobody wants to recognize truth and it's the snide remarks is what I call him [Nakmeezy] a snake."

Ending on a positive note, fans of Maoshan will be excited to know that he has a few projects in the works: A west coast Baguazhang seminar and a couple of books. He plans to release a Bagua - Hsing-i book as well as his memoirs. His website will also be getting an upgrade and serve as a hub of information on Maoshan. If after reading this interview you still aren't sure who Maoshan is or what he's about, he leaves us one simple quote that answers all questions, "I'm about pushing traditional martial arts."

18 Chambers

Monday Martial Art Clips - 10/15/12: Kali, Tai Chi, 52 Blocks and Much More!

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18 Chambers

Unifying The 52 Blocks World

Fans of 52 Blocks, I have a big announcement for you. It's something like a big deal! You've emailed me and asked for more 52 Blocks articles, more 52 Block videos, more, more, more...... and each time I deliver; but this announcement takes the cake. Remember when I told you there was a surprise for fans of 52 Blocks coming from Lyte Burly and an "unlikely collaboration with another 52 Blocks practitioner on an upcoming 52 Blocks project?" Well, here it is...

Lyte Burly and Mr. 52 have joined forces to promote and grow the art. Yep, you read correctly no need to fix your eyes, 2 out of the 3 main factions of 52 Blocks have come together. Burly has patched things up with Mr. 52 and the two have joined forces to bring unity to the 52 Blocks world. For those that may not know, Burly and Mr. 52 had an ongoing feud but have since put that behind them, and their primary objective is to promote 52 Blocks and take it even further than it has already gone. In a video Burly posted titled "Unity.... 52Blocks" the two briefly discussed the cause of the fragmentation of the art form, how they came to squash their beef, and they unloaded yet another surprise on your asses! They revealed plans to develop a competition where practitioners of 52 Blocks can enter to test their skills. Doesn't matter what 52 Blocks camp you rep, you can enter the friendly competition just bring a positive attitude.

Something else fans will find interesting is the competition (possibly named Block Fight Club) will also be opened to practitioners of other disciplines. This means if you practice Karate, Kung Fu, etc., you're welcome to compete. I don't want to reveal too much but the competition is said to pay winners and losers a monetary prize as well as other prizes. The winner of course will get paid more, but both participants will be paid. Not too shabby huh? Check out the video below for more details:


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Skull & Crossbones: Lyte Burly Explains 'Bagua Beef'

Lyte Burly is probably the most popular 52 Blocks practitioners out of the three major factions of 52 Blocks representatives seen on Youtube. 18 Chambers recently gave him an exclusive interview discussing the ongoing saga between him, the Blacktaoist, Sifu Ben Hill Bey aka 'Maoshan' and what he felt was the origins of their "bagua beef".

I had just wrapped up the Nakmeezy interview when I got a phone call from 52 Blocks practitioner/coach Lyte Burly. I expected to hear from him especially after publishing the Blacktaoist's interview.

A self proclaimed respecter of all martial arts, Burly informed me that he "didn't set out to challenge Baguazhang." In fact he shared with me that he much like the Blacktaoist, is a "bagua man." In addition to 52 Blocks Burly has stated that he is also a pupil of Baguazhang, Taichichuan, and Hsing-i referred to as the Big 3 in the Chinese internal martial arts.

Taking things from the top, Burly explained to me what he felt was the origins of his problems with Maoshan that eventually spilled over to include the Blacktaoist and Nakmeezy. "Maoshan attacked me first for posting a video about bagua" Burly reflects. He goes on to say that Maoshan, "didn't want me to speak on bagua" which as a student of bagua was ridiculous. The eventual outcome of this was the Burly vs Maoshan fight which Burly assured me he initially was against because he didn't feel "black men fighting was a good look." Eventually the fight took place and 45 seconds later the fight was over with Burly the disputed victor. Viewed by some as controversial, Burly's win has been identified by him as the catalyst for the Blacktaoist's ongoing desire to fight him.

"The Blacktaoist wanted others to fight me because Maoshan couldn't fight." While he elaborated on the fight with Maoshan a few things were noted:1) he accepted Maoshan's challenge, 2) he fought Maoshan on concrete, and 3) he didn't ask for money for the bout, all of which dismantle the Blacktaoist's theory about him not being a fighter. Maoshan's loss has been viewed by Burly as the "Blacktaoist's true thorn in his side" because he was under him and lost. "I never had a problem with the Blacktaoist [prior to the match]." In fact he says he gave him credit for "being a black man in the martial arts".

editor's note: the Blacktaoist has helped Maoshan prepare for fights; however, he is not the Blacktaoist's student.

Sounding something like a plot out of a 70's kung fu flick, the Blacktaoist wanted pupil after pupil to fight Burly even at one point offering to do the deed himself. Burly began requiring the Blacktaoist and company to pay a fee to spar him. The Blacktaoist wrote the fee off as Burly's way of avoiding a sparring match with him and his students. When asked why he charges for fights he quite simply stated, "my time is not free."

He adds, he "discourages brothers from fighting" because things have a tendency to escalate rapidly and lead to unnecessary violence. Reflecting on volatile times in the 52 Blocks world, he shared how he sat down with brothers from other factions of 52 Blocks, settled their differences and prevented senseless fighting. It seemed the only person unwilling to do the same is the Blacktaoist. He revealed that he presently has no interest in any dealings with the Blacktaoist because he tries to be a "martial man and ghetto at the same time" and "constantly walks that line." The Blacktaoist's "still 'gotta be a n*gga' thing" attitude gets in the way of progress.

Addressing the Blacktaoist's statement that 'Burly needs to stop calling himself a fighter', he recollects that he and Nakmeezy at one point in time were enemies but developed a mutual respect and friendship after crossing hands. That plus the fact that he fought Maoshan is proof that he is worthy to call himself a 'fighter'. It's plain to see that Burly wants the world to know that he has no qualms about fighting as he stated that he "sparred anyone who came to the park."Why hasn't he come to the park?" he asked. In response to the Blacktaoist calling him out he responds, "a lot of stuff doesn't have to be talked about, it can [just] be done."

Turning the tides on the Blacktaoist, Burly explained that "everyone fights except the Blacktaoist!"Blacktaoist hasn't had a fight yet."Even Mr52 had a fight..." These days Burly is much more occupied with coaching his students these days, he informs me that his last fight was still more recent then the Blacktaoist's. "My most recent fight was with Maoshan. [2009] When was his recent fight?" he asked; to which I could provide no answer. The Blacktaoist could make the argument that he focuses more on teaching than fighting, but Burly counters with, "I'm a teacher w/ more recent fights then Blacktaoist."

"There's nothing wrong with being a teacher" Burly says. He insightfully states, "a teacher is measured by how many winning students they have.Giving thought to the fact that the Blacktaoist has been a teacher longer than him, Burly summed things up by saying "blacktaoist's students lose in their own tournaments" and points out his student "Young Burly" has gone to the Golden Gloves and won "there are records of his wins." Wondering why the Blacktaoist is so obsessed with sparring him he asked, "He pursued Lyte Burly but why not Sensei Mo?"

editor's note: the Blacktaoist was scheduled to fight a Karate instructor by the name of Sensei Mo in 2009 but the match never materialized due to cancellation. 

I asked what his thoughts were on the Blacktaoist saying he's avoiding his student Hispanic Palm, and he replied, "Hispanic Palm doesn't have creditability. [He] has no fights, doesn't even fight in MUSU."

When I asked what he thought about the Blacktaoist saying the people he fought were bums and he came back with, "well I fought Maoshan." As a little laughter broke out, he did say that he didn't knock Maoshan for losing, he knocked the way he went about it. The problem as he sees it is "brothers still wanna hold on to street cred and martial arts cred" but you can't do both, nor should you try.

Towards the end of the interview Burly expressed his disapproval of the Blacktaoist being involved in the MMA Supremacy: Undisputed game as a stereotypical drug dealing black man. Burly describes him as a "drug dealer fighting to protect his heroin trade." I informed him that the character's backstory was based on true events from the Blacktaoist's past and he responded that he highly doubts the Blacktaoist really lived that type of lifestyle. He also doubted claims that he was down with the Supreme Team back in the day, stating that he's from Queens, and knew key players. "I lived that lifestyle, got the bullet holes through me to prove it. Court dates on record..."  Needless to say he's learned from his past and plans on moving forward onto more positive things.

As we ended the interview he shared some accomplishments and projects and even left us with a bit of a surprise:
30,000 DVDs sold worldwide, new book coming out, seminar in the U.K., and bringing up new students including his first MMA fighter. Probably one of the most exciting surprises he has for his fans is an unlikely collaboration with another 52 Blocks practitioner on an upcoming 52 Blocks project. Keep your eyes open for that.

One thing is for certain, despite the war of words, Lyte's willing to end things on a high note: "It's definitely not a beef thing." 

18 Chambers

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday Martial Art Clips: 10/1/12 - Wing Chun, Tai Chi, Boxing and Much More!

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18 Chambers

After The Dust Settles: Nakmeezy Clears The Air

When you publish an interview where someone is called bipolar and eyes around the world will see that interview, you can bet your bottom dollar 3 things are going to happen: 1) someone is going to laugh 2) someone's going to be pissed off and 3) someone is going to contact you! That's exactly what happened.

New York Muay Thai fighter Nakmeezy hit me up for an exclusive interview in which he wasted no time letting me know that he was ready to tell his side of the story and that the bipolar remark made by Baguazhang teacher Novell "Blacktaoist" Bell was an insult. He was ready to offer a retort on not one, not two, but all of the Blacktaoist's points he made in an exclusive 18 Chambers interview. Notes in hand, he was ready to rock.

I had just gone a couple of rounds with some spicy salsa and wanted to make sure ...ahem...  that 'bout' was over before beginning the interview with Nakmeezy. I didn't want any interruptions. Phone charged, check! PC, check! Tablet, check! Writing pad, check! Had to make sure everything was ready for this interview. The plan? To keep the format simple, he'll do most of the talking while I take notes, and interject a question here and there. The exact format used for the Blacktaoist's interview. Weighing in at a hefty 3 1/2 pages of notes, one-liners, and eyebrow raising statements it was apparent he had a lot on his mind. Touching on the fight that never took place, pseudo-gangsterism, and other things he equates with the Blacktaoist, I knew I was in for a ride.  

As we got started, Nakmeezy informed me that he had drafted some notes based on things mentioned in the Blacktaoist interview that he felt weren't necessarily true. The indirect shot heard around the world that started everything, was made by Nakmeezy about the Blacktaoist's 'Urban Bagua' which Nakmeezy admits may have been a mistake. On the topic of whether he's a fighter or just a perpetrator, he makes it crystal clear that he is without a doubt a fighter -- a real fighter, with sanctioned fights under his belt. He assured me that his heart doesn't pump Kool-Aide when it comes to fighting someone like the Blacktaoist would have people to believe. Yet he does admit to there being a problem pertaining to the Blacktaoist; "he plays a psuedo-gangster." He backs up his statement by pointing out that one of Blacktaoist's students contacted him and advised him that, "...[it's] gonna happen either way, street or ring" in regards to the fight. To this he told me he doesn't respond to passive threats like that. He points out that he doesn't use middlemen, he "goes right to the source" to sort things out, but the Blacktaoist attempts to establish himself like he's some sort of [mafia] Don or something.

He shared with me that the Blacktaoist felt that he was setup because of a previous blog entry I wrote ("Nakmeezy & Lyte Burly Give NY Kung Fu Fighters A Reality Check").

editor's note: the aforementioned blog entry was written based on a video released by Nakmeezy and Lyte Burly without the knowledge of Nakmeezy, Lyte Burly or Blacktaoist. Written from a point of neutrality, the blog serves as a narration of an ongoing story between these gentlemen.

He went on to tell me that the Blacktaoist stated, "You dudes think I'm pussy....just want to show you what bagua is" but "eluded to taking it to the streets." It's this eluding to street violence that seems to kill any desire to have any dealings with the Blacktaoist for Nakmeezy.

editor's note: during the interview Nakmeezy mentioned and read from text message correspondences between him and one of Blacktaoist's students. Initially, I wasn't going to include the contents of the text messages because there was no way to verify the messages; but since they seem to play such an important part in his side of the story, I included them in the order they were received. Although I was forwarded the messages I have to issue a disclaimer here. I can't deny nor confirm the accuracy of the text messages since they didn't have time, date, or sender stamps so I am only posting what I received on my phone:   

"Talking to Novell talking him outta the street aspect and keeping it in the ring my dude. He's with keeping it standup with Sanda throws. Trying to figure out that weight, he wants to do exhibition. We will work out the $$$. Promoted right we will talk about a percentage as well
Good sh*t! I'm with the sanda rules. Lyte is saying he only wants to do boxing rules. I'll see if he will do Sanda Rules as well.
Yo Novell said cancel for today. He has something to take care of. He has an open invite for you at Central Park (100st) whenever you would like to spar tho. Hit me back and let me know if you're good with that.

Nakmeezy shared the text message to drive home the point that he didn't initiate talk about weight, money or Sanda rules issues. Quite the opposite from the Blacktaoist's take on events, Nakmeezy said his "only concern was no submission." He states that he never mentioned Sanda rules because he's not a Sanda fighter but was willing to fight with Sanda's ruleset including the use of boxing gloves,  "14oz gloves, Sanda rules, no catch weight or the fight was dead in the water.

He further explained how the two had plans to meet up and spar earlier but that meeting was cancelled on the Blacktaoist's side as seen in the text exchange above. Some light was shed on his reservations about his opponent wearing MMA gloves. Anyone who's seen the Blacktaoist videos can see his is a towering figure with a good size to him and according to Nakmeezy has approximately 50 pounds or so on him, so there was no way he wanted to fight him without boxing gloves. As mentioned in his interview, the Blacktaoist wanted to use MMA gloves so he could properly use his art which is brought into question by Nakmeezy when he referred to the Blacktaoist and his students using boxing gloves in their videos during sparring and training sessions. Nakmeezy expressed his willingness to participate in the exhibition match despite some significant disadvantages -- "fighting with his rules, at his venue, with his judges etc." 

As the interview's focus shifted from the exhibition match (or lack thereof) to some ...ahem... eyebrow raising statements, I couldn't help but think, if they weren't going to fight before, some of these statements might change all of that. Undoubtedly, a few things the Blacktaoist said in his interview most likely left a bad taste in Nakmeezy's mouth, one of which was that he has nothing going for himself and he's still doing the same ol' stuff he was doing years ago. Nakmeezy took that bull by the horns and wrestled it to the ground suggesting that things are the other way around. He said he has no financial stake in martial arts unlike the Blacktaoist. Which means he doesn't have to worry about selling DVDs, doing seminars, teaching classes, etc., to make money. So by right the Blacktaoist with all his projects and hustling shouldn't be in the same place he was years ago, but he is. He says the Blacktaoist is still doing the same thing and in regards to his projects and accomplishments he states, "all he's doing is small things." "He's still training in Central Park with no school" and mentioning he still has to host MUSU at other people's schools due to his lack of owning one.

He then focused his sights on one of the Blacktaoist's largest accomplishments to date, being a part of Supremacy MMA: Unrestricted, a video game that uses his likeness and events from his past in the game. Some view it as a major accomplishment but Nakmeezy defines it as one of a couple of shameful moments in the Blacktaoist's history. He feels that he was willingly exploited as a "typical hood n*gga that knows how to kick and punch.

The character based off of the Blacktaoist is described by Nakmeezy as a drug dealer that uses his Baguazhang to defend his drug turf. Something he feels is exploitation at its finest. The character's backstory is based off of events in the Blacktaoist's past, in which he was homeless, and sold drugs. Nakmeezy showed no mercy and stuck to his guns when he said, "[that's] not something you put in a video game." "Don't sell your soul to Corporate America" are some words of wisdom he offered up for the Blacktaoist, stating that he was "type cast as a baffoon" starting in 2008 with BET's 'Iron Ring' pointing out the executives of these projects "pay for their son's college with his coonery." Nakmeezy refers to him as the "Flavor Flav of the martial arts world" who needs "managers to polish him up" and an education because he points out that "he can't even speak proper English." At this point a little laughter broke out as he asked me what "and wha-na" meant; poking fun at the Blacktaoist's pronunciation of 'what not'. 

His description of the Blacktaoist was one of asperity but he insisted that he wasn't the only one who shared similar views of him being considered a clown in the martial arts world; inviting me to Google 'Blacktaoist Iron Ring', and search for 'Blacktaoist' on to see proof. Just when I thought a significant amount of steam was blown off, he started questioning the Blacktaoist's fight record and prowess as a coach. He gave me a brief overview of his own fights stating that he fought Maoshan in 2009 and his last recent fight which was a sanctioned bout was in 2010. Then he posed a question I couldn’t give an answer to, “where’s the Blacktaoist’s last fight?” “Never saw him enter any fight tournaments.” “I judge Muay Thai, fight and train fighters. I got fights he has no fights.” He said he could easily change this by entering himself into someone's fight competition, but he won't put himself out there like that.

Changing gears, he called attention to his technical work on the pads, "Blacktaoist looked like he didn't know how to punch & kick when Peter Storm (UCL manager, promoter and fighter) held the pads."  In regards to the Blacktaoist as a coach, Nakmeezy said, "he sucks as a coach and sucks as a pad holder" which he affirms has a definite impact on his students. "His students are a reflection of him as a coach." Which may be why he feels the Blacktaoist's students "look like garbage...all they have is street bravado."

To clarify his points Nakmeezy took some time to give a breakdown on the short comings of the Blacktaoist as a coach. Breaking his student's spirits while they're training, and lack of fundamentals were the two major points he mentioned as problems plaguing the Blacktaoist's training style. He says that yelling at them in a nonconstructive way when they make a mistake, breaks their spirits and yields negative effects, which is a sign of a poor coach. "You're supposed to build them up, not tear them down". He went on to explain it's because of the lack of fundamentals that the Blacktaoist's students lose at his tournament and why his student got kicked in the face when he was demonstrating Yin Baguazhang kicking techniques in a video he posted about the fight cancellation. 

To my surprise Nakmeezy stated that he had no problem with MUSU. He told me a little known fact is that he actually named MUSU. At a time when he and the Blacktaoist were cool, he blurted out the name Man Up Stand Up to name the competition idea the Blacktaoist was running by him. He also shared that he "loves the idea of MUSU" but they seem to have a few kinks that need to worked out. "[They] have a bias towards other fighters, and change rules on a whim." Going a bit more in depth, he discussed a couple of matches where the 10 second rule wasn't followed (depending on who's in a potential winning or losing situation). One such moment he pointed out was his match with Maoshan. According to Nakmeezy's recollection,  when the fight hit the floor he was told to stand up only after about 4 seconds. 

editor's note: rules are set for a 10 second count if the fight hits the floor. After 10 seconds the ref stands the fighters up to resume the match. 

In regards to competing MUSU Nakmeezy offered these sobering words, "it's kind of beneath us." Mentioning that he has fought in WKA, IKF competitions to name a few, and Lyte Burly trained Young Burly to fight in Golden Gloves and so participating in MUSU as the tournament stands now, is like a downgrade because it's not they'd be going from sanctioned fights to a non-sanctioned tournament.

The question was posed to him, if he had any thoughts on the comment that he lacked self confidence. He stated, "I do have a lot of confidence in myself and my game." Stating that he does it [martial arts] "in a real place." He went on to say "I don't live in a bubble, he lives in a kung fu bubble where he's the "tallest midget, and smartest retard." Catching me off guard with the midget comment some chuckles were exchanged, then he went on to clarify the statement. He explained that the Blacktaoist and his crew, "they only test themselves with their rules, their judges, and their venue" but they don't venture outside of that 'bubble' into other fighting competitions to test their skills, naming other competitions located in New York where they could venture out to test their skills.

In his final words, Nakmeezy summed things up by saying that he most likely wouldn't have made the 'Reality Check' video had he not heard his name being constantly mentioned in MUSU videos where the commentator is heard yelling out "...Nakmeezy's watching this fight..." I asked if he thinks there will ever be a Nakmeezy vs Blacktaoist bout and he said, "I don't think there will be." He adds to that statement by saying, "I'm not going to be his stepping stone to prove Bagua works."

The underlying problem seemed to be more than being the Blacktaoist's stepping stone though. Nakmeezy addressed it by saying, "the Blacktaoist straddles the line between being a hood thug and martial artists and you can't be both." "He's a walking stereotype" which Nakmeezy feels he does for "pseudo-street cred" pointing out "he's 43 still have gold fronts in his mouth" and can't talk without cussing and using derogatory terms.

Ending on a high note Nakmeezy agrees with the Blacktaoist in that at the end of the day "it is about brotherhood." But, "we have to do better" in regards to the Blacktaoist's behavior.  Nakmeezy summed things up as to who he is, "I'm not a gangster. I'm a family man, a father, a son..." and with that he acknowledges the fact that there is no room in his plans for street nonsense, only positive moves.

Then he leaves us with a little cliff hanger, he says, "I'll never say I won't fight on MUSU..."

To be continued?

18 Chambers