Constructive Criticism

Tonight I went to sparring practice at Olympic Karate studio. It was great to actually working out with other black belts. sadly, I have not gotten the chance to workout with any one for the past 2 weeks. After sparring for about 4-5 rounds, I knew there needed to be major changes! To top everything off was when the instructor, Brian Ruth, stated how much I fell off and needed to get back in shape. To be honest with you, I needed that! It was the most honest thing I could have heard because it was the truth. How often do we expect others to compliment our art, but do not want the bad aspect; that is counter productive.

As artist, we have no room to feel hurt because they give you an honest opinion. It is called constructive criticism. It is designed to break you down and build you back. It’s no different from the inspiration derived from adversities one has faced. If we all try to neglect constructive criticism, how do we expect to grow as artist? Honesty is key. You have to honest about your progress in your craft. we are always not going to hit a home run. We are going to get caught slipping here and there, but champions build other champions. Champions don’t shy aware from criticism. They crave it!

I thank him for giving me the reassurance of my lack of physical training. I must grow! On a brighter note, I did land a jump spin sidekick tonight.. enough typing, more training!

“Iron Will”

Wisdom Monday: Habits and Character

Despite the fact there is a sexy chick kneeing the hell out of a punching bag, there is a message which lies beyond those sculpted abs of hers. Often times in life repetitive actions becomes habits while your these habits happens are formed to become your character. The repetition can be either a good thing or a bad thing. If you eat according to your appetite, then that is what you become. This is not something which is determined from others. Its determined based on your actions whether you want to change for the better or for the worst.

There are too many people who regret their addictive habits which lead to their plunged in relationships, job opportunities, etc. For example, I seek to become a successful entrepreneur pretty soon. However, my problem is shopping. Matter of fact, I am a compulsive shopper. The purchase of labels and dope sneakers are great, but habitual ways are affecting towards my goal. In order for me to fulfill my goal, I would know I would need to sacrifice some of those shopping habits (i.e. shop less and invest in your business).

Another Example, I always loved to fight in karate tournaments on my right side. Executing multiple kicks and evasion were more efficient opposed to my left. The habit of being a right-sided fighter only limited me. What if there was someone who observed my fighting HABITS as an advantage by either fighting me in an open stance (a fighting stance while both fighter’s chest facing the same direction). In order to minimize this disadvantage, I had to empty my cup (which is my habit). Emptying my cup allowed me to not only fight from one side, but another.

The moral to the story is when you want to make positive changes, you will need to re-evaluate your habits before they character.We must always have to keep it real with ourselves if we want to grow

“Iron Will”

Monday Wisdom: Making a statement

When facing adversity, you must not be intimidated. Instead, look into its eyes as if it’s the last thing it sees! Always make sure you make a statement.. The last thing our adversaries (i.e. haters, bullies, etc.) need to do is succeeded by oppressing us. For example, this image was captured from Bruce Lee‘s “Fist of Fury“. Chen Zhen (Bruce’s character) took one the Japanese martial artists, who happened to be the oppressors in the film.

Sometimes its a task for the oppress to overcome the oppressor; however, our true character is shown during the heat of battle. If you have been fighting all of your life to become something, keep on fighting! To our knowledge, we only have one life to live. Never waste it on worrying. You must have heart! Despite whether if you win or lose, make sure your statement count!

On my Grind..

I have really been on my networking grind lately… In this day and age, its all about who you know and what you can deliver. Had a video conference with my mentor and cousin, Sambeast, on some amazing things going on in the future. Feeling very optimistic about what the future holds.

There is one thing about the future which is you have to focus on the present so you can be prepared for your future. How many of us possess aspirations we love to perform. If that rare moment happened to appear in your present moment, would you be ready?  If you have to think about it for more than a second, then you would need to focus on your dreams now.

There are performers who practice their acceptance speeches since they were kids, model looking in the mirror to perfect their poses, a fighter perfecting his techniques for that very moment they are wished for.  Sure some people are taking the easy route (reality stars), but what is it they have to offer to the world.   Make your efforts count at this very moment.. time is ticking…..

The Ensemble:

Hat: Forever 21

Glasses: 80’s Collection

Necklace: GoodWood, Ambush

Shirt: Maison Martin Margiela

Pants: Ralp Lauren Polo

Shoes: Calvin Klein

Bag: Armani Exchange

Dolce and Gabbana going digital

Dolce and Gabbana, one of fashion’s Most prestegious duos ever assembled discussing their views on fashion and marketing strategies on the internet! Each have their own unique philosophy on things which makes their work, cohesive. One of the interesting things mentioned was the emphasises on real life situations opposed to internet focus. This may appear contradicting due to the fact I am a martial arts/fashion blogger; however, we all tend to sit behind the computer living in a digital dream world while missing out on the greatness of life.he f

There is very seldom a fashion designer or artist would have complete inspiration from digital space than real life. Sure the internet provides limitless information that happens to be accessible to everyone in the world, but lets also live life. Now don’t get me wrong, it is definitely an privilege to see the latest fashion shows or obtain instant information from yours truly or other people. We are living in a new era (digital era), so we all shouldn’t rely on digital for everything lol..

Ryan Bader interview

I recently found this video via, which Ryan Bader was training at Extreme Couture (not fashion Couture, my fashion heads). The most intriguing thing about his interview to focus on working outside his comfort zone. He respected and recognized the skill of him opponent to his advantage. The is a huge factor for us all because in life we tend to not go outside or associate with elements outside this particular zone.

How do you expect for someone to become creative or be extraordinary? The answer is to think outside the box. If you want to train or be like everyone else, then you would do the same regimes as everyone else. Defeating big name MMA fighters such as Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz validates Ryan Bader’s training philosophy.

Hopefully those who are watching this do necessarily precieve this as “MMA reference”. Rather,  use this as a tool in your life. You will go beyond your true potential with a mindset as such!

Being Prepared

Next week I will be going to the Battle of Atlanta, which has to be one of the biggest sport karate tournaments in the country. I must admit there are some mixed feeling about me going to compete; however, the key is to make it memorable.  One of the things I will not settle is not performing well. I placed 8th last time, which is totally unacceptable.

One of the main problems I had was relying on man opposed to the faith God possesses us to have. we always talk about much faith we have, but 0ur prespectives begin to change once various elements gets in front of us. There was optimistic feelings about fighting since I placed well from the Bluegrass Nationals (RIP Ken Eubanks). There I had my instructor, brother, and other supports by my side.

Arriving to Atlanta it was only me, myself, and I. Competition was very different here while many people had coaches. This intimidated  me to a certain extreme. These fighters had 4 eyes (theirs and the coaches). Instantly I felt so lost my fight by 4 points before I even stepped in the ring. I did promise myself to kick someone in the head. First round I’m fighting a member of JPM (John Paul Mitchell). I’m very geeked about this fight because he was a very aggressive offense-defensive fighter.   The exchanges made ultimately was in favorite of the JPM fighter, but when you in the ring its fight or flight! Even though, I didnt win the match, but I still held my own with a couple kicks to the head.

This was one of my toughest battles in the martial arts. Not only was it my opponent, but the judges, and myself!  It can be discouraging at times to deal with an army by yourself. When you are facing an army, do you choose to back down or strategically take’em down one by one?

The choice you make often decides how you view yourself in life! This army is any type of adversity involved in your life. You gotta be the david fighting the Goliath to overcome what shortcomings you face!

Faith is the key to everything! Making a statement (all aspects of life) requires this trait. If you are not going to put in the work of faith, you might as well not commit to the obstacles you face! Don’t rely on man for these results; Trust in god for those results. Win, Draw or lose there will be a lesson reveal to get you closer to your goal!

Emptying Cups and Bruises

Me and Sifu Taylor after practice back in 2010

Tonight my parents were gracious (as always) to watch my son while I happened to go across town for sparring practice. There is a local tournament held this weekend so I would need to get some serious cardio pumping and some nice sparring! Today some of my buddies were doing some serious sparring! Full Contact kicking threw with some major punching to follow it up! This pic below is one of my new war wounds. You can not see the true effect, but there is some major swollen and bruising going. However, in this game, you either fight or flight! Although I am a sneakerhead, there will not be any Nike Flight swinging in this direction!

 Olympic Karate in Louisville is where I have been training for about 2 years now. Considering the fact I was a free agent nearly 4 years (departure to magic hands), I have never knew the right person to guide me on my martial arts towards my next journey was right in front of me.

 My instructor, Sifu Taylor, sure does know how to direct people in the right path. I appreciate the coaching and knowledge he has bestow upon me regards to the martial arts as a whole. One thing about martial arts people tend to forget about is growth. In order for us to grow, we must empty our cup. For example, the class I was religiously attended 11 years prior was a blend of wing chun kung fu and freestyle karate. I considered myself decent in the art of wing chun, but more proficient in freestyle martial arts.

The best way to grow as a contemporary martial artist is to reinforce your tradition. This is very essential in the martial arts because the 2 basically go hand and hand. Although we must have a free spirit, yet there should be a structure to fall back upon. Relearning my wing chun from the ground up is a humbling experience. Even though I knew the application to the blocks and strikes, there was something missing, a true concept! Recently my eyes have been revealed the traditional wing chun aesthetic. If I want beyond proficiency in Wing Chun, I must “refill my cup”.

How can we expect to grow without acknowledging this process? Most of the time, water tends to overfill the cup resulting a overfloating experience. While the cup is overflowed, the water you tried to obtain is now gone. Emptying your cup never means forget what have learned. Instead, open your eyes to another perspective if you have the desire to grow! How can we say we wish to excel in fighting, kata, designing, or styling if we do not humble ourselves to empty our cups. The first step towards growth to humble yourself..

Patricia Field against trends??

If you all are in to fashion as I am, I would pray and hope you are totally aware of Patricia Field. She is the mastermind behind the women who some wished to look like Carrie and her glamorous crew from Sex and the City as well as Ugly Betty. One of the things I love about her styling is the emphasis on the characters in each series. Most people fail to realize that fashion is not only based on looking good or chic, but the ability to compliment your personality.

 In recent reports via Thefashionspot, Fashion stylist and designer, Patricia Field has  discussed her latest project with U by Kotex.  Throughout the entire interview, what stuck out the most was her opinion regarding trends. Field said, “I feel that trends go against individualism and would not suggest following trends. Ban the trend!” Quite frankly this was a total shock to me based on the fact she’s both a stylist and fashion designer. On the contrary, I totally applaud her courageous statement.

       There are many people in our society are always try to stay “on  trend”? Now is this a good thing or bad thing? Personally, it really depends how you look at the situation. People tend to lose theirselves pertaining to trends. This is the individualism being extracted she expressed. For example, how often do you see and (or) hear teenagers discuss about waking up ealry saturday morning to grab the latest pair of Jordans? Now are they doing this because they truly appreciate the Air Jordan aesthetic or the attention for having them?

 Sometimes both!  Like money, trends reflects statement to the public eye. The two choices lies whether you are on or off trend. This can diminish the ultimate individualism of a person from the exception of society’s approval.

Individualism in fashion are signature components which identify a person’s style, swag, etc.  Life constantly changes, therefore trends change.  Changes are good based on the fact it makes life more interesting. Who wants to live life  completely methodical. We would go insane right? This is way trends is benefical because it refreshed you switch up. If you have a specific look you are comfortable which compliments your character, than do that shit! Sometimes we see older people stuck with same style or trend(s) for decades. The older you get, trends can be overwhelming for one to keep up.

I do think trends can destroy individualism, but we should be aware of the times. Seek ways to maintain your sense of self while providing different variations regarding to trends. This way you will still be fresh without sacrificing your well being. Just remember that fashion is life shifting through time filled with sudden and usual changes.
Read more: Patricia Field Wants to Ban Trends: A tFS Exclusive Interview | The Fashion Spot

Kanye’s Determination

Those who have follow the blog within the past few months would be aware my post of Kanye West. Many Fashion bloggers post him only based on the imagery, but I like to take a different approach. Although image is everything, but seeking to find inspiration for people is perhaps greater. For example, Mr. West has attempted to take his love for fashion to another level by enrolling to Saints Martins College (a fashion grad school in London).

Unfortunately he was not granted to attend. Followed by disappointed attempts to attend to the Alexander McQueen and (Ironically) the Balmain show, he does not let that determine his fate in the world of fashion.  It is not easy for a person to be black, straight, and be a hip-hop artist to cast the spotlight within the entire fashion universe. I consider this situation like inthe movie,  “The Cookbook” . You have a brotha who moves into this suburban estate, but based on his demographic he is not entirely welcomed. I am not saying this is the case, but this road is not as straightforward one would think!

Basically what I am saying is when you are in the pursuit of being GREATer, there will be greater obstacles in the way. To a small degree, you would denied the privilege of certain great opportunities.  Having the determination fused with integrity shall over those obstacles. Its not easy being fashion all the time and its certainly not easy being great!

The echelon of Belt Ranking

I had an interesting conversation with some martial artists in regards to rank.  In the traditional martial arts, the rank displays a echelon of authority. Not only does it suppose to show knowledge, but a sense of skill. Well the McDojos running across the country and methodical “partial artist” parading over superficial shit, I am not entirely sure if I could really respect one’s rank. Personally, I am not a master nor will ever consider myself to ever be one! I have 2nd degree black belt whose beaten 3rd or 4th degrees as an underbelt; there the belt only keep the pants up (unless you wearing fitted jeans). If we really want to be technical, Mas Oyama developed and perfected his skill through an ancient manual. He spent several years in the mountains conditioning his mind, body and spirit through rigorous training defeating the top masters in Japan.

One thing about martial arts is that its a lifelong journey. There is always room for improvement. Punches can always be faster, sidekicks being more powerful, and your roundhouse kicks can have an extra snap to it! It is a journey which truly starts when you are a black belt. Everything else after is considered as mortar towards building a house.

People take the monarchy of tradition entirely too serious. Because you are a 7th dan you can not learn from a white or green belt? I am inspired by people in general! There is a little 5 year old whose heart goes out to win the biggest trophy to show his parents is a warrior trait, which some grown ups do not have! The point I am making is you are going always learn to those in your atmosphere.  If you think because your specific status is labeled others as inferior, you will have missed out on life.

Isn’t the amazing thing about life is to learn from others making you a better person? Creating a legacy based on those around to pass the torch down and evolve is our primary goal. Tradition is a fundamentally beautiful aspect, but it can’t be evolved by itself.

Wisdom Monday: Knowing is only half the battle

I have learned alot about life from studying the martial arts. There is a difference between knowing and applying. We all have the urge to obtain the knowledge based on the ethics of life, but how are you going to apply it? Talk is cheap; I rather splurge with my actions (call me money hungry)!

 You can have all of the knowledge about the martial arts, fashion, life, etc, but does your skill equate with this so-called knowledge you giving? Its nice to say you want to be a champion, but its the application to mobilize these desires to become fruition or know about fashion, but you have no sense of style! Application is the culmination of knowledge. Its best to let our actions (skills) speak more than our mouths.