Monday, 15 February 2010

Freedom of speech & expression

The reason I started the TE blog was that I wanted an outlet for some of the things I wanted to say that fell outside what I felt should be on my websites. The blog is more for my personal thoughts, feelings & interests. My friend & teacher James Keating's website, MAAJAK World is an amazing compilation of links to articles about a huge range of things that interest him, martial arts take up a tiny part of MAAJAK World. Anyone who knows me can tell you I have a real interest in politics, though I have a very dim view in general of the political animals that we seem to have been saddled with.

One of my friends became a local councillor with Angus Council. I've had experiences working around some 'prominent local councillors' that would make your toes curl! Some of them don't have enough brainpower to tie their own shoe-laces; & they REALLY bring to mind the old Billy Connolly joke "don't vote for them it only encourages them". Jim is unusual in that he is a genuinely intelligent, witty, & well meaning person. He is a realist, & hates political correctness; which often sees him beating his head off a system that drives him pretty well nuts. We share a similar view on many issues, & both of us are pretty conservative in our views.

Jim has been attacked over the past week or so in the press. The local SNP 'righteous squad' have been calling for him to resign/be dismissed/executed/stoned/hung from the yardarm/boiled in oil/burned as a witch etc etc. Now, I'll let you into a little secret, I worked in the licenced trade for many years, first on the doors & then in management; & some of the SNP councillors have VERY LITTLE to be self righteous about! Jim has had his career attacked by a reporter from a paper 'up north' of us who decided to play somewhat 'fast & loose' with the facts (ok, I'll say it straight- he lied his ass off), & the local paper this week had Mike Weir spouting self righteous drivel about a video clip on youtube that was humorous & satirical. I have a message for Mike Weir- SHUT UP YOU HUMOURLESS WIND BAG!!!!!

I have a very libertarian outlook on things. I want a small government that interferes in my affairs to the most minimal amount. I want politicians to remember that they work for us- not us for them. I want to be able to speak freely without fear of reprisal- & that is exactly what Jim Millar has been basically told he cannot do. Believe it or not, as a Councillor he is not allowed to publicly criticise a council employee!!!!!!! Now it seems that he is not allowed to speak his mind about political matters, & if he upsets people from other parties then rather than them 'growing a set' & just saying "I don't agree with you, & will disagree with you to my last breathe" they start screaming for his removal/burning at the stake/decapitation. It really is pathetic!

So I'm afraid that Jim somehow comparing Alec Salmond to Hitler in what I thought was a humourous & satirical way to get a point across has got them somewhat stirred up. Well, I'm going to add my little bit in. The people who are calling for Jims resignation are telling us that in this lovely warm & fuzzy politically correct country we live in we're not allowed to say anything THEY disagree with, we must conform. We're not allowed to be in anyway politically incorrect (well, better ban Monty Python & most of their material). What this says to me is that these people think that the Chinese Communist Regime is just damn fine. They must just love the Iranian regime, as they don't like anyone disagreeing with them either. Why don't they just move to Saudi Arabia, they'd love the political system over there. I believe the Taliban didn't much like people disagreeing with them much either! The progressives that seem to have come to the fore in parties like Labour, Lib Dems & the SNP (I'm sure the Con's have some too) have eroded our rights to free speech. They have created laws that ban us from saying certain things or expressing ourselves in certain ways. We're not allowed to hurt another persons feelings anymore. Sometimes things NEED to be said, & sometimes it isn't pleasant. I'm a firm believer that we need to get back to the old ideal of "I may vehemently disagree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it".

I'm sick of all the politicians who whine & behave like little girls as they try to score political points & hurt 'the other parties' at any opportunity. Here's a newsflash for the people involved- SO ARE ALL THE OTHER NORMAL PEOPLE OUT HERE! We're not stupid. We don't think for a minute that you're genuinely all upset when something like this happens. Jim Millar has done more for the normal Joe Public in the short time he's been a councillor than many of your SNP cronies have in the many years some of them have been infecting local politics. And by the way.......stop telling us what we're allowed to say & how we're allowed to express our views- & to my mind this is doubly important for people involved in politics (especially in opposition parties) to be able to do. If you're offended by something, grow a pair & stop crying like a little girl!

Nothing to do with martial arts? How long is before these same people start telling us we're not allowed to practice sword arts, or knife arts. There was already a memorandum passed around parliament after a particularly awful Channel 4 programme on kids Thai Boxing, telling everyone that they should notify certain people if they find out that there were kids Thai Boxing competitions being run. How long is it before these people who believe that we shouldn't be allowed to speak out or express ourselves in ways they don't like start carving up other things they, in all their great wisdom, think we shouldn't be doing? Just a thought.......

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Bowie Knife Instructors Course



There are still spaces available on Europes FIRST ever ComTech Bowie Knife Instructors Course. The ComTech Bowie method created by Master at Arms James A Keating is as far as I'm concerned THE MOST EFFECTIVE & easily learned of the Bowie systems available today; & yes I HAVE looked at them all.


This is the first time that the ComTech Bowie Knife Instructors Certification has been available outside Jims own gym in Milton Freewater, USA. The course has been approved & accredited by Master at Arms James Keating, & the certification will be fully recognised by him & ComTech Inc. The great thing is, this course is open to instructors & blackbelts with NO prior weapons training! Unlike the FMA's the Bowie system is VERY simple in comparison. Don't mistake simplicity for meaning its inferior though! The Bowie system is a truely effective battlefield system for that reason! I know that the famous bladesmith & Bowie expert Bill Bagwell has stated several times that in his opinion (& I hold Bill Bagwells opinion to be VERY much worth listening to) a good Bowie practitioner would make mincemeat out of a good practitioner of oriental arts. I personally think that a blend of Western & Easter methods makes for a VERY effective & well rounded bladeart practitioner. On its own though, the Bowie is a simple, direct & brutally effective method of combat, full stop, the end!


The thing I totally LOVE about the ComTech Bowie System is that like EVERYTHING that Jim created, it is CONCEPTUAL. Now, if you carry a 14" Bowie knife around in your normal everyday life in the UK you will be going direct to jail without passing 'go' or collecting £200! So what use is the Bowie syllabus? Well firstly, it really is damn good fun. It is easy to learn, & has different aspects to it, including sparring for those who enjoy a sporting side to things (there are actually bowie competitions in the USA where people spar in tournaments). You might be someone who travels to some of the worlds less pleasant places, where you can lawfully carry a large knife as a bush tool, or actually as a defensive weapon. But in places where you can't carry a Bowie, almost everything in the Bowie system can be conceptualised & used with other improvised defensive tools. For instance, in the video clip I posted on youtube you'll see me performing an application with the Crossada, then the same application with a rolled up magazine (this could also have been a stick, flashlight, up-turned bottle etc), & finally with a small folder. This conceptualisation that runs right through everything in the various parts of the ComTech family of methods is what makes Jims teachings so valuable; & it's one of the things that keeps me going back to learn from Jim time & time again.


So, as a UK based instructor of martial arts learning the Bowie system gives you- 1/a great weapons curriculum to teach your students that is interesting & fun, 2/an effective combative method that can be utilised by military personell who need something that is quick to learn but absolutely deadly, 3/a weapons method that can be easily applied with other improvised tools making it a viable self defence method in countries where weapons cannot be carried lawfully.


If you're interested there are still spaces on the course. Email me on mark@blackbeltacademies.com or call me on 07740 982508. The course is on the 27th & 28th of February so don't leave it forever.

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