Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mosin Nagant Rifles

Hello everyone, I have decided to talk about a great rifle that I had recently made to my collection a few months back, that rifle is the Mosin Nagant model 1891/30. This particular version of the Mosin Nagant was made during World War II, the one I own was made in 1943 and is still functional. The round that this rifle fires is the 7.62 x 54 Russian which is quite powerful and is comparable to other high powered rifles such as the 30-06, 8mm Mauser, and so on. Although this rifle was originally produced in 1891, it was used by many military forces around the world and gained some notoriety in World War II due to the fact that the Soviets used these rifles with great effect, particularly snipers. The North Koreans also used this rifle in the Korean War, the Vietnamese used this rifle in the Vietnam war, and even in the present day war in Iraq this rifle has found its place on the battlefield. A few months back in a firearms magazine, they featured an article in which there was a picture of a Mosin Nagant modified with a silencer made of PVC pipe and fitted with a scope that was captured in Iraq off of the body of a dead sniper.

For gun enthusiasts and target shooters, the Mosin Nagant is a great weapon of choice, it is cheap, reliable, and the ammunition is both plentiful and cheap. If you want to fit a scope on this rifle, you have plenty of options, although I would say that it might be best to purchase a new more modern stock for it. I have been told however, that many of these rifles that are on the market today were not designed to accept a scope and putting a scope on these rifles would not be recommended although some gunsmiths might be willing to do the work. If you want a cheap sniper rifle, your best bet may be to purchase a Mosin Nagant already fitted with an original scope which is about $500, however, with that kind of money it would probably be better to purchase a Dragunov-like rifle such as the PSL (which I have been told has nothing to do with the Dragunov despite similar features). For those who want a super cheap weapon, I got mine for $99, look no further, this is the rifle for you, and with ammo as cheap as 440 rounds for just over $84.00 (Look at JGsales.com), you cant beat it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ninjutsu weaponry: The Hanbo

In my previous blog I was discussing the origins of the art of Ninjutsu, today I would like to explain one of the many weapons that is used in the art of Ninjutsu, the Hanbo. The Hanbo, also known as "half staff" is a staff approximately 36 inches in length (1 yard), it is shorter than a jo staff, and about half the length of the rokushakubo or 6 foot staff. Compared to the art of Eskrima, the Hanbo staff is slightly longer than the sticks used in Eskrima. The Hanbo is an excellent weapon, and if faced with an opponent much more powerful, or one carrying a weapon, or several attackers, the Hanbo or similarly fashioned weapon, it is an excellent choice to defend oneself. I say similarly fashioned because a broom stick, a pipe, or other objects can be used in the same fashion as a Hanbo.

The Hanbo can be used to strike an opponent, but it can also be used to choke, lock, and throw an opponent. This aspect of stick fighting is different than most of the techniques taught in Eskrima. I believe that the striking in Eskrima is more effective than the striking with a Hanbo. Despite this, the locks, chokes, and throws performed with a Hanbo are truly devastating. If one becomes proficient with the Hanbo, they can apply throws effortlessly, apply chokes that can force an opponent to become unconscious, and apply locks that can dislocate and/or fracture joints and bones easily. There are several sources out there where you can learn how to use this devastating weapon, one of the books I recommend is Stick Fighting by Masaaki Hatsumi, who as I mentioned previously is a grandmaster of Ninjutsu. Although this book is old, the information contained is still very useful. If you practice Eskrima, you can learn quite a bit of techniques not found in most Filipino Martial Arts schools. If you have no martial arts experience, you can also benefit from learning how to use the Hanbo. It should be noted that it is highly recommended that you use a rubber hanbo when practicing, and keep in mind that using a weapon such as this should only be used when defending oneself in an altercation.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Ninjutsu: The Art of Stealth and Perseverance

Today, I would like to discuss the art of the Ninja, also known as Ninjutsu, the photo above is from the video game, Ninja Gaiden for XBOX360. Getting back to the subject, Ninjutsu is roughly translated from Japanese to English means the art of stealth and perseverance. I truly believe that Ninjutsu is one of the most misunderstood martial arts in existence, this is mostly due to misrepresentation of the Ninja in film. Ninjutsu today is still alive, however it is nowhere as popular today as it was in the 1980's thanks to such films as American Ninja, Bloodsport, the Punisher (The Dolph Lundgren version), the Hunted (the Christopher Lambert version), and even the animated G.I. series had a Ninja. For the most part, these films, despite their action sequences, are mostly fictional. What exactly is a Ninja? A Ninja is a person who practices Ninjutsu, which again is the art of stealth and perseverance. Historically the Ninja were warriors in feudal Japan who practiced unconventional warfare, espionage, and often times fought as mercenaries. In ancient times the Ninja may have been referred to by different names including Shinobi. The Ninja were comprised of many different clans in feudal Japan particularly the Iga and Koga Clans. To make a long story short, the Ninja in the historic sense became extinct in 1868 during the Meiji restoration. Soon many of the classical martial arts of Japan such as Aikijutsu, Jujutsu (Jiu Jitsu), and Ninjutsu would begin to be replaced by more popular arts emphasizing a more competitive nature such as Judo and Karate.

Fortunately, there were many Japanese practitioners who were able to keep the art of Ninjutsu alive, such as Toshitsugu Takamatsu, who passed on his skills and the tradition of Ninjutsu to Maasaki Hatsumi. Maasaki Hatsumi would then create the Bujinkan organization, and his students such as Fumio Manaka would create the Jinenkan, and Shoto Tanemura would then found the Genbukan school of Ninpo. Today some of these systems may be known by other names, such as Budo Taijutsu, Ninpo, and so on, but either way, they have kept the traditions of the Ninja alive.

You may be wondering, what does this have to do with me? Well for many people Ninjutsu is a way of life, a system of self-defense, a fun activity, etc. I personally take Ninjutsu because I have always been fascinated by this martial art and by Ninjas in general. How well will a person trained in Ninjutsu be able to defend him or herself against an MMA fighter? Well that depends on the practitioner, however, the art of Ninjutsu is much more than just fighting, as the word martial art implies, it is still an art. Despite this, most attackers on the streets are not MMA fighters or pro boxers, or Muay Thai fighters, for this reason, Ninjutsu is a good choice for self-defense. One of the strengths of Ninjutsu when compared to other martial arts is its training in weapons, using unconventional fighting tactics, evasion, and being taught to do what is necessary to persevere through an attack. After practicing many martial arts, I can say that Ninjutsu is truly amazing, while the stick fighting technics may not be as deadly as those in Eskrima, the use of the fighting chain, or Manriki Kusari is 2nd to none, in fact there is probably no other system that uses a chain like Ninjutsu. Of course there are many other examples of how Ninjutsu techniques compare to other systems, but I will leave that for another blog. For now, if anyone reading this would like to learn more about Ninjutsu, take a look at some of the Ninjutsu programs out there such as the Distance Learning Programs offered by Richard Van Donk and Stephen K. Hayes, and also visit the Genbukan, Jinenkan, and Bujinkan websites.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Boxing and Karate

I have decided to talk a little bit about boxing and the martial arts, I would like to discuss some of the differences, weaknesses, and/or strengths of boxing. Part of the reason for this is that tomorrow I will be attending a boxing class which I feel will be of great benefit to my martial arts training. In the past, boxing and Karate seem to have been at odds, especially in post-World War 2 America, since one of the alternative to boxing was Karate which had been taught to Americans by the Japanese, and people from Okinawa after World War 2. Karate had taught its practitioner to punch with power, to use kicks, and powerful blocks in order to defeat ones opponent, boxing on the other hand had taught to use quick combination's, often finished with power punches, and the use of footwork, and bobbing and weaving. In post-war America, Karate appeared to be exotic, and many people were in awe at Karate Masters breaking bricks with their hands, using very high kicks, and performing many feats that appeared to be supernatural.

Throughout the years there have been many arguments over which style is better, and today, I can say that much of this depends on the practitioner. However, we can safely say that a trained boxer has much better punching skills than a Karate practitioner, however a trained boxer does not have any expertise when it comes to kicking. Despite this, a Karate practitioner is probably more skilled in protecting their fists when punching, since traditionally Karate practitioners never used gloves. I truly believe that many Karate fighters have good foot work, but when compared to a boxers footwork, I would say that a boxer has better footwork. In terms of cardio and being physically, I truly believe that a boxer again has the advantage, in fact one of my co-workers began a boxing routine about a year ago, and has lost about 100 pounds . In today's society, I would say that if you want to become proficient in striking, learning how to box is not only advantageous, but essential. I met a master in the Filipino Martial Arts who told me that if you want to learn how to fight, you must learn how to box, because boxing builds rhythm and timing, both of which are attributes necessary for the Filipino Martial Arts as well as other Arts. The boxing instructor that I will meet tomorrow is also a black belt in Kenpo Karate, as well as Judo, and has experience in kickboxing as well. So if you want to learn how to punch well, learn foot work, gain rhythm and timing for your martial arts repertoire, or you just want to get into great shape, boxing is the way to go.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

Last year I had the opportunity to play this awesome classic game that was originally released on the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in 1988. This game is the sequel to the popular NES game, the Legend of Zelda, however due to its drastic change in game play, it was not well accepted among fans of the original. Zelda II: The Adventure of Link plays more like an RPG, where you must build experience points over time. Unlike the original Legend of Zelda, you control link while traveling across an overhead map, once Link touches an enemy or enters a dungeon, you then control link much the same as in side-scrolling games, where Link must jump, and fight enemies. I remember playing this game when I was much younger and I hated it so much, last year however I had purchased the Legend of Zelda Collectors Edition for the GameCube, which has this game title along with 3 other games. I was able to find several walkthroughs, and surprisingly, this game was awesome and I ended up finishing this game in a couple of weeks. I found the game to be truly awesome, although there was no big battle with Ganon at the end of the game, this game introduced Shadow Link as the final boss, who would be seen in later Zelda titles. If anyone enjoys classical NES games, you must play this game, and now with the help of many walkthroughs found on Google, and video walkthroughs found on Youtube, this game is quite an enjoyable experience.