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By Below The Belt on Sep 21, 09 02:38 PM

I was reading a blog from a boxer the other day where he slagged off MMA guy's because they didn't strike with orthodox boxing punches.

He further went on to say MMA lacked any science behind as it was just "street brawling at its worst".

Apparently, according to the blogger, a boxer with a few weeks training in ju-jitsu could easily defeat an MMA guy because boxers were superior in every respect.

I then went onto another boxing blog - where the blogger himself was far fairer in his appraisal of MMA - but where the commentors were equally full of cr*p.

ORGANISERS of MMA continually have to fight for the right to hold events in council-run sports centres.

This is because the perception is that MMA is a brutal form of combat competition devoid of skill and only done by knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.

Of course this utter rubbish and is a common false perception by those who have usually never even seen a competition, or do not understand what actually is happening.

A MARTIAL artist I know recently told me that he wasn't going to bother taking his second dan black belt because he didn't see much point.

His argument was that dan grades are just for those who feel the need to have 'letters after their names'.

I fundamentally disagree (sounds like he is suffering the black belt blues!) because in most martial arts the real training and understanding comes AFTER taking your first black belt.

And to get that true and deeper understanding you have to advance through the upper parts of the system.

A black belt first dan is the BEGINNER grade of black belts. This is why the Japanese systems clearly make a difference in terminology between Kyu (Boy) grades and Dan (Man) grades.

"JUST hold it there," said Chris Crudelli with a broad smile. "Its about the mind having control over the body..."
Of course that was easy for Chris to say - he was standing upright!

The rest of us were crouched over, legs spread wide apart, knees bent at right angles, groaning, sweating and jibbering as we held the infamous horse stance for what seemed a life time.

There I was, deep in horse stance with every muscle in my legs screaming "Stop! Now!" and thinking "Why I'm I doing this?"

But of course Chris is right - the mind is such a powerful thing that it really can kick the proverbial ass of the body any day if you believe it can.

He also had us practising developing Chi, or Ki if you follow the Japanese arts.

Question is - what is the force that you can feel in your hands when you practise the Qi Quong techniques?

Whether Hill

By Glanton Bob on Nov 8, 08 05:28 PM

Leaving Powburn travelling north on the Wooler road (A697) a sharp left, turning West into Ingram takes my inertia onwards towards, the Breamish Valley. This is a best kept secret, secret, it is known as a picnic spot, however if you venture into the hills you will be lucky to bump into anyone, or unlucky as the case may be.

The road has been ravaged by recent movement of the Breamish which being a glacial floor of stones, gravel, grit and sand in full flow can produce a ferocious winding and boring action that can alter roads and bridges at the drop of a hat. This has happened in the summer making my route into the valley a longer journey as the footbridge and the ford at Brandon is now out of commission.

Passing through the farm steadings the road levels after a few huffs and puffs, into an open space with East hill on one side and further along West hill. West hill has deep running terracing in the sides which goes back into pre-historic times when a hard struggle for existence depended on growing crops and grain assisted by the cultivated terracing.

Ingram and its shaded vista now lie behind and the choice lies to continue west and upwards towards The first hill fort at Brough Law or take a left in a southerly direction and take a slow climb up Ingram hill. I chose this latter course as the path slowly rises towards Turf Knowe and this is hilly, sharp grass, hill and sheep country

This provides an opportunity to look around and sweep the eyes in all directions to drink in the panoramic view. I ventured up a very steep climb to find the dissipated rocks and stones of the collapsed hillfort at Turf Knowe. Out comes the flask and cheese sandwiches to provide the necessary respite that is needed for what is in essence a rough hill walk with a bike; at least the bike comes into its own on the downhill tracks which are strangely broad and flat and perfect for cycling.
On the top it not very high but enough to look west up to Brough Law and beyond towards the extremities of the valley to the north and in essence, the external peaks of the cheviots. The debatable lands, called this because of the flexible border in the demilitarised zone between the two nations, rough murder and conflagration were the painful realities, if the low life expectancy did'nt get you.
To Wether hill at last past the middle dean the remains of cultivated terracing of a British/Romano steading, up the hill to the hillfort, a remnant of the ancient days of pre-history. This is only halfway round, so some more tea and off on the rigorous ciruit to take further up the hills and beyond.....a quick burst of Blake's ...'and did those feet in ancient times, walk upon Englands mountains green'........

WITH much of the news dominated by youths stabbing other youngsters it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking all teenagers are bad.

But of course this is ridiculous - the vast majority of young people are decent, law-biding and, well, mostly respectful.

Those are the kids we rarely get to hear about in the news because helping or proving to be an inspiration to others ain't as 'sexy' as a good old bad news story about young thugs.

Now the Sunday Sun recently featured a story about a 16-year-old youth called Daniel Squires who sadly died from cancer after a two year struggle.

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