Stripping Down to Essentials…

Several weeks ago, my judo sensei (teacher)–Scott–talked a group from our judo class into running. Ever since then, we’ve been training for several running events such as Tough Mudder, Walt Disney World Marathon, and so on. During one of our night runs, Scott sensei recommended all of us to read Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall–let me mention it was an excellent read. One of the many topics Born to Run covers is minimalist/barefoot running–a rapidly growing style of running. To be honest, I find minimalist running quite attractive. I’m not one myself, but Scott sensei’s been running with minimalist footwear for nearly two-and-a-half years and, so far, it’s worked out well for him.

Before any controversy may arise, let me make one thing clear from the beginning: there’s a lot of debate in the running world weather minimalist/barefoot running is better than shod (your typical running shoes) running or not.  I AM NOT SAYING MINIMALIST/BAREFOOT RUNNING IS BETTER THAN SHOD RUNNING. My only intention  is to highlight the simplicity of running with minimalist/barefoot footwear.

In an introductory video of the new NB Minimus, Ultramarathoner  Anton (Tony) Krupicka said:

“My philosophy of running–and even life–is stripping down the amount of gear to the very essentials. The main piece of gear as a runner is the shoe: it’s the point of contact between you and the ground […] If you can make that as natural as possible, I think it enhances the overall experience of […] running.”

Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “less is more.” With a similar philosophy, Anton’s quote says that increased foot sensory perception is achieved through less gear (minimalist/barefoot running styles). I find it most fascinating how the intricate human foot is able to continually adapt to its surroundings when it’s in is most “primal” and simplest state.

There’s a time and a place for everything. Shall we spice things up now?



Takumi Fujiwara (藤原 拓海)?

The Legend of the 86 (頭文字)?

Mt. Akina Pass (榛名山)?

What do all of these questions have in common? Drift, Toyota Sprinter Trueno AE86, Tōge (form of drifting). Drifting is more of a driving skill: it’s a technique where the driver deliberately over-steers–causing loss of traction in the rear wheels–while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner. It is simply amazing to see a car almost magically lose total control and yet manage to regain it before crashing.

Toyota Trueno is one quintessential drifting car. For many drifting enthusiasts, the Trueno became very well known through Initial D. Initial D started out as a manga but rapidly evolved into a long-running anime series that put a simple Toyota Sprinter Trueno GT-APEX (AE86) on this pedestal that is now untouchable by any other car.

Tōge/Touge() I think Touge is a simple way drifters can compete or just enjoy the scenery. There are three simple aspects to Toge: cat & Mouse, grip gambler, and time attack . Cat & Mouse is basically a simple game of chase: one driver has to chase and overtake the other or if the car spins out/crashes, the other wins. Grip gambler is almost like a drag race except there are turns involved. First one to finish wins. Lastly, is time attack which is pretty self-explanatory: the idea is to have the quickest time from start to finish.

Where I live in Florida, we have Formula Drift. For us FD is the closest thing we have to Touge. Every once in a while we will have an amateur event, but FD is the biggest.

The Greatest – Part 3…

This is a continuation of our three-part series on the greatest boxers:

Part 1

Part 2

What does it take to be “The Greatest?” There are many boxers who fit the mold of a great boxer, James J. Braddock, Joe Louis, Ray Robinson, Mike Tyson, Julio Cesar Chavez, Rocky Marciano, Henry Armstrong, Floyd Mayweather, Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez III, and Oscar De La Hoya, just to name a few. What is it that allows the few select men to be in a separate list from the rest of the boxers out there?

As I was writing this, I searched for an answer to this simple question. What does it take to be The Greatest? I was very baffled by this simple question. All I could think of was greatness. As funny and stupid as that sounds that was it, greatness. Then it hit me. No pun intended.

The Charge of the Light Brigade
By: Albert Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league,
 Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
 Rode the six hundred.
“Forward, the Light Brigade!
“Charge for the guns!” he said:
Into the valley of Death
 Rode the six hundred.

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
 Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
 Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
 Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
 Rode the six hundred.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air,
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army, while
 All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre stroke
 Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
 Not the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
 Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
 Left of six hundred.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
 All the world wondered.
Honor the charge they made,
Honor the Light Brigade,
 Noble six hundred.

This poem should sound similar to most who have seen the movie Blind Side.  It’s courage.  Courage is what turns the boys in to men. Courage is what turns the average boxer into “The Greatest.”  That’s what made Ali the greatest of his time. And that is why Pacquiao is now considered The Greatest of All Time.

The Greatest – Part 2…

This is a continuation of our three-part series on the greatest boxers:

Part 1

Manny Pacquiao

Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao was born December 17, 1978 in Kibawe, Bukidnon, Philippians. Boxing was Manny’s life. Growing up in Philippians was not easy for Pacquiao. He had to drop out of high school due to extreme poverty. At the age of 14 he left his family because his mother wasnt making enough money to support them.  Manny moved to the streets of Manila where he first discovered boxing.  He later passed the high school equivalency exam and enrolled into a university.

Professional Boxing Record

Total fights 60
Wins 54
Wins by KO 38
Losses 4
Draws 2
No contests 0

Bob Arum, CEO of Top Rank, said  he considered Manny Pacquiao the best fighter he’d ever seen. The reason why he is believed to be the greatest boxer is simple… he believed that “If you practice hard, you can win every battle.” Manny had one heavy burden that he carried with him into every fight, “All of my countrymen are hoping that I win this fight. If I beat _____, it will be a great honor for me to go back to the Philippines with the victory. I want this very much for my country, it will be good for my country and my fans.” Every win and every loss was more than just that for him. Every fight he was fighting with his country in his corner.

“Control your fear. Be relentless. Believe… Nothing can stand in your way.”-Manny Pacquiao

The Greatest – Part 1…

This will be a three-part series on the greatest boxers:

Muhammad Ali.

Muhammad “The People’s Champion” Ali, was born January 17, 1942. He was originally named Cassius Clay. When Cassius became older, he decided to change his name. “Cassius Clay is a slave name. I didn’t choose it and I don’t want it. I am Muhammad Ali, a free name- it means beloved of God and I insist people use it when people speak to me and of me,” said Ali.

Ali was known by names. One name that continued to be heard was The Greatest. Muhammad believed, ” I’m not the greatest; I’m the double greatest. Not only do I knock ’em out. I pick the round.” Ali was one cocky fighter, but he could back it up and the fans loved him for that: “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.”

Muhammad Ali’s boxing record is:

Total fights 61
Wins 56
Wins by KO 37
Losses 5
Draws 0
No contests 0

Ali had the record to prove he was the greatest fighter. The reason Ali became the greatest boxer was simple:  he believed he was the greatest before he even knew he was. Ali said, “the fight is won or lost far away from witnesses  behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”