Saki doing the Van Damme splits, March 17, 2005



Martial Arts Page

Last updated August 3, 2019




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The above photo was taken March 17, 2005. Doing the Chinese splits wasn't difficult. The hard part was keeping my balance on the platform without using my hands. Silly me forgot to take off my socks.

I'm not totally sure why I studied the martial arts.  At first, it was for self defense.  As I got older, it was partly to stay in shape.  Now, I study it out of appreciation of the art and because I seem to have a certain bond with the people with whom I train.  The arts seem to attract a certain type of personality, with each art having a certain stereotype of practitioner associated with it.  The people that study Brazilian Jiu-jitsu are usually much different than those that study Wushu.

Although I've trained for a long time, I haven't trained as intensely as many of my peers; certainly not at the competitive level.  I seem to study an art for a few years, stop for a few years, them move onto something else.  I like the idea of starting over in an art that is totally different from anything I've studied before.  Some people like to master an individual art.  I suppose I like that feeling when a beginner is overwhelmed with new knowledge, seeing things from a totally different perspective.  It certainly keeps me humble.  As I said, I train because I love the arts, not because I want to master them.

The below photo is me in 2012 doing a spinning rear kick on the heavy bag. I may never use what I've learned to defend myself but that's not a bad thing...actually, I prefer it. But it is good knowing that I can.

Spinning rear kick on the heavy bag

Taste my shoe! Just watch out for the nunchaku in my left hand.

Side thrust kick

Kenpo Karate
The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.  For me, this journey (of a lifetime) began with Kenpo Karate.

Arnie Inouye and Saki, April 2004

Arnie and Me, April 2004
I began my martial arts training studying under Sensei G. Arnie Inouye of Sacramento, California in August 1976.  It was a tight group.  Very non-commercial.  Most of the time, we trained in Sensei Inouye's garage.  Sometimes, we trained at an Ed Parker seminar.  Many years passed then everything happened at once within a few short months in 1985: I graduated high school, I graduated beauty school, I got my driver's license, but most importantly, on February 25, I was promoted to black belt.
Click thumbnail to enlarge.

Me doing spinning rear kicks in 1993

Spinning rear kicks 1993
I led some training sessions outside of the dojo when I was in college. This is a short video from one of those sessions in 1993. Here I am doing spinning rear kicks. Special thanks to cousin Scott for showing up with a video camera that day.
Click thumbnail to play video.

Arnie Inouye and students, May 26, 2010

Arnie and students
As of May 2010, Arnie claims to have promoted over 40 people to black belt since he began teaching. I actually remember his first...back when I was a little kid. He is blessed with a knowledge and mastery of the art that few will ever attain. That is why so many of his students continue to return. One fellow in this photo, Dale, actually began studying under Arnie in the early 1970s. As long as Arnie is mobile, I expect he will teach. And as long as he continues to teach, he will have a garage full of students eager to learn.
Click thumbnail to enlarge.

Me doing spinning rear kicks in 2012

Spinning rear kicks 2012
Nineteen years later, I wanted to see if I still had it. I'm not as fast or as agile as I used to be but I could be a lot worse.
Click thumbnail to play video.

Modern Arnis
I began studying Modern Arnis under Sensei Joe Bueno in June 1, 1992, shortly after leaving the Marines.  Sensei Bueno's art combined the Filipino stick and knife fighting principles as taught by Remy Presas with joint lock techniques of Kodenkan Jujitsu.  I wish I could have devoted more time to training with Sensei Bueno but at that point in my life, university studies took a priority to everything.

Jeet Kune Do
On September 2, 1998, I began training with Steve Braun in Escrima, Jun Fan Gung Fu, and Muay Thai.  This was my first taste of training on the east coast.  The arts were blended with Jeet Kune Do (JKD) into a very effective fighting art.  I later trained with Senseis Greg Smith, Bob Burgee, and Harouna Soumah.

Greg Smith's wedding, July 21, 2001

Greg's wedding, July 21, 2001
Even holding a kicking shield for Sensei Smith was a jarring experience.  I've never known anyone who could kick as hard as him.  But trying to get in close and take him to the ground was also hazardous since he was also an excellent grappler.  He has since moved with his wife, Theda, and daughter Danae to New Mexico.
Left to right: Jason, Nick Braun, Steve Braun, Greg Smith, and Bob Burgee.
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Steve Braun stick fighting June 1999

Steve Braun stick fighting, June 1999
Studying under Sensei Bueno, we did lots of stick drills: double sinawali, 8-count drill, etc.  With Sensei Braun, we often combined kicking, punching, and stick fighting into full contact sparring.  That was when you really found out what you were made of.
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Dad and Kevin Brey, September 2001

Dad and Kevin, September 2001
Kevin Brey was just one of several excellent martial artists with whom I had the opportunity to train.  While he is very well rounded, he has truly excelled in grappling and knife fighting.
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Saki at Dan Inosanto seminar, July 2000

Dan Inosanto Seminar, July 2002
On August 16, 1999, I began training with Sensei Soumah, first in Jeet Kune Do, then briefly in Wushu.  In 2002, several of us attended a Guro Dan Inosanto seminar in Virginia.
Left to right: Andy, Jason, Sean, Guro Dan, Sensei Soumah, Morgan, and me
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Muay Thai
I respect the art of Muay Thai and admire those who excel in it.  My skills were never that great but I learned what it meant to kick hard, train hard, and what a hard kick felt like.

Master Surachai "Chai" Sirisute

Master Chai
In 1999, 2000, and 2001, I attended Master Surachai "Chai" Sirisute's workshops.  Master Chai is the founder of the Thai Boxing Association and a very inspirational individual.
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A real haymaker

What I love most about Muay Thai is its simplicity. No fancy moves that look flashy but may probably won't work in a real fight. Muay Thai strikes and kicks have been tested countless times in the ring by well seasoned fighters.

When it comes to handwork, many of the same strikes employed by boxers are used such as the jab, cross, hook, and uppercut. Some fighters may occassionally throw a wild power punch called a "haymaker." I always wondered how this punch got its name. Then I heard that of the various types of farm machines, one makes a bale of hay and spits it out. Perhaps this throwing of a 40 pound bale of hay is reminiscent of a power punch. In the photo on the left, Jimmy, Joyce, and I use a real haymaker on a farm. Unfortunately, this one doesn't spit.
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Plyometrics and Interval Training for Muay Thai

I wrote this article back in 2000. It was published in the Thai Boxing Association (TBA) newsletter.

With my stand-up fighting skills quickly approaching mediocrity, I decided it was time to get some ground fighting experience.  I learned a little about some of the basic positions (guard, mount, etc.) studying with the JKD group but I needed more.  Hence, on February 5, 2004, I began studying Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (also spelled "Jujitsu") at the Baltimore Martial Arts Academy (BMAA) on 8450 Baltimore National Pike (route 40), suite 10, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043, phone: 410-465-7799.  This is where I have most recently trained.

Saki at Erik Paulson seminar, 2000

Erik Paulson Seminar 2000
Look up the word "tough" in the dictionary and it'll say "see Erik Paulson." If you've never heard of Mr. Paulson, he is the former light heavyweight Shoot Wrestling champion, shown third from the right. Unlike many pugilists who may only study some form of fighting such as boxing, wrestling, or kicking, Erik has tempered each aspect of fighting to a level mastered by few.
Left to right:

·  Greg Smith

·  Saki (me), the short one

·  Bob Burgee, mister fast twitch

·  Pat Tray, owner and head instructor of the Trident Academy of Martial Arts

·  Erik Paulson

·  Steve Braun

·  Keenan
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Brazilian Jujjtsu group August 21, 2004

Brazilian Jujitsu, August 21, 2004
I hosted a summer cookout and invited the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) class at the Baltimore Martial Arts Academy.  It just so happened that BJJ black belt Tita Batista was conducting a seminar at the dojo that day.  After the seminar, Sensei Batista and much of the class came over.  That evening, we watched the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and saw Randy "the Natural" Couture, defend his title against Vitor Belfort.
Left to right:

·  Jason

·  Jesse, the grandson of Jhoon Rhee

·  Sensei Kevin

·  Sensei Tita Batista

·  Sensei Steve

·  Dr. Greg

·  Andy

·  Jimmy, not a BJJ student but still a swell guy
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Opposing Views
There seems to be an inverse correlation between the flashiness of a martial art and its effectiveness.
Conversely, fighting ability should be judged by the martial art but rather by the martial artist.

Leave of Absence

June 11, 2006
I am currently taking a leave of absence from training in the arts to pursue other passions. However, I still keep up with my shadow boxing (getting beat by a shadow is humiliating), power training, and stretching; maintaining a fight weight of 150 pounds.

Will I get back into the arts? Probably not. Too many injuries. I don't heal like I used to. What once took a week now takes months. Maybe it's time to take up Tai Chi.

Free-standing heavy bag stand

November 15, 2010
In October 2010, I got my garage worked on. A new roof was put on and lots of structural improvements were made. All this so I could get solar panels put on. This being the case, I don't want to damage the panels by hanging a heavy bag on the garage beams and kicking the sh*t out of it. The vibrations would probably not be good for electronic circuitry costing more than the most expensive car I've ever owned. So I made a freestanding heavy bag stand.

I didn't have to buy any wood. I used what I had lying around. Some of it is made of scraps of LVL beams, cut to about 2" x 2" x infinity. I weighted the base with six 60 pound bags of sand. No part of the stand touches the walls of my garage. Will it hold up to Muay Thai kicks and haymaker punches? Only time will tell. If I have to do it again, I'll probably try and keep a similar design but employ the help of concrete blocks to support the posts. Or, I might break down and just buy the Century Cornerman Heavy Bag Stand.

Surprisingly, as of January 2012, my homemade heavy bag stand is still standing strong, despite repeated and regular use. I guess I don't kick as hard as what I thought.
Click thumbnail to enlarge.

Lots of punches and kicks

A flurry of punches and kicks 2012
Hitting and kicking my 75 pound Muay Thai heavy bag is something I do during most workouts at home. It is a great stress reliever. In the thumbnail, I'm doing a flying knee.
Click thumbnail to play video.

Roundhouse and side thrust kicks

Roundhouse and side thrust kicks 2012
Here I am again working on my Muay Thai roundhouse and Kenpo Karate side thrust kicks. Be sure to watch the ending for something unexpected.
Click thumbnail to play video.

Spinning the nunchaku

Spinning the nunchaku 2016
When Norma isn't around, I like to watch martial art and zombie movies. For some reason, that just isn't her thing. Some of the modern martial art films are very good (in my opinion). Guys like Donnie Yen really kick butt. Movies like these send me back to my high school days when I used to watch kung fu theater on Saturday mornings or go to the cockroach and rat-infested Star Theater in downtown Sacramento to watch triple feature kung fu movies. I don't think I could ever stand to watch more than two. The place eventually got condemned.

All the martial art training I did was great but it wasn't until high school that I signed up for gymnastics. That's where I met a bunch of guys like myself that just wanted to see if we could do what Jackie Chan did in Drunken Master or one of his other classics. The really talented guys could run up a wall, do a back flip, and then land silently like a ninja. My choreographed routine was kicking someone with a front snapping kick, having him grab my foot and then throw me into the air where I did a back flip. If the guys weren't imitating the kung fu superstars, then they were practicing their break dancing. I regret never learning this awesome skill.

As the memories flowed back, I wondered if I could still spin the chuka sticks (nunchaku). I toy around with them maybe a couple times a year so if I look slow and awkward in this April 28, 2016 video, you know why. I call this video, "You're never too old to kick ass, or get your ass kicked."
Click thumbnail to play video.

One inch punch

One inch punch 2016
In Jun Fan Gung Fu, the one inch punch is perhaps the most effective way to generate a tremendous amount of force over a very short distance. Here, I practice this on my 75 pound Muay Thai heavy bag on November 18, 2016. On a good day, I will hit hard enough so the bag will come off the chain that holds it up.

How does it work? The following is taken from The Science of the One-Inch Punch:
When watching the one-inch punch, you can see that his leading and trailing legs straighten with a rapid, explosive knee extension," Rose says. The sudden jerk of his legs increases the twisting speed of Lee's hips - which, in turn, lurches the shoulder of his thrusting arm forward. As Lee's shoulder bolts ahead, his arm gets to work. The swift and simultaneous extension of his elbow drives his fist forward. For a final flourish, Rose says, "flicking his wrist just prior to impact may further increase the fist velocity." Once the punch lands on target, Lee pulls back almost immediately. Rose explains that this shortens the impact time of his blow, which compresses the force and makes it all the more powerful.

Am I doing this properly? Not quite. If I were, the camera wouldn't have caught my arm so far extended since it would have pulled back very quickly.
Click thumbnail to play video.

Bo staff

Bo staff 2019
I hadn't touched my six foot long rattan bo staff for a few years. So on August 2, 2019, I decided to see if I could still throw it around and do some other neat stuff that I hadn't done in awhile. I'm not as fast as I used to be but I'm pretty agile for an old guy.
Click thumbnail to play video.

Bo staff

One hand cartwheel 2019
Though not really a martial art move, this forms the basis for the opening move in the previous video...doing a cartwheel with the staff. But it is really part cartwheel and part roundoff because I land facing the direction that I came in. It probably has no self defense application but it looks cool and is a good test of agility, a key attribute for any martial artist, regardless of the discipline.
Click thumbnail to play video.


Karate Chihuahua
A man wanted a watchdog, so he went to the pet store. He asks the clerk, "Do you have a good watchdog?" The clerk replies, "You're in luck; I have one left." She comes back with a chihuahua. The man, a little ticked off, says "What the hell do I need a chihuahua for? That's not a watchdog!" The clerk replies, "But this is a special watchdog. He knows karate."

The clerk takes the chihuahua and the man out to an alley, where there is some trashy furniture. The clerk points to a chair and says, "Karate that chair!" Less than a second later, the chihuahua reduces the chair to sawdust. The clerk points to a sofa and commands the dog to "Karate that sofa!" Repeat performance. The man, amazed, buys the dog for $100 and takes it home.

When he gets home, the man shows his wife the chihuahua proclaiming, "Honey, I got you a watchdog!" The wife yells, "That isn't a watchdog, for cryin' out loud! You wasted your money!" The man calmly replies, "This is a special watchdog. He knows karate." The wife, flustered, shouts: "Karate?!? Karate my ass!!!"

Why Jujitsu is better than Karate

House cats play fighting

Click thumbnail to play video.


Baltimore Martial Arts Academy

Connecticut Modern Arnis Jujitsu (CTMAJ)

Crazy 88 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Trident Academy of Martial Arts

Yamasaki Academy

Jujitsu gis

Training blades and videos


Jujitsu gis

Koral Kimonos
Jujitsu gis

Warrior Emporium

Nego Gato Capoeira

Thai Boxing Association of USA

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Erik Paulson

Jérôme Pina in a truly inspiring training video called Beast Mode Activated

Pedro Sauer