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Thursday, September 26, 2019

No Holds Barred: Professor Mo on 52 Blocks Self-Defense System 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with martial artist Mahaliel Bethea AKA Professor Mo AKA Sensei Mo.

Our main topic was the urban self-defense system known as 52 Blocks.

We spoke with him by phone Wednesday.

52 Blocks, he said, is an "urban self-defense system, because it's not a traditional martial art. Some people connect it with prison, and the researchers really connect it all the way from Africa. And because of mass incarceration obviously, prison becomes a breeding ground, a kind of gladiator, where people are able to try out their skills in the 52 Blocks.

"And the 52 Blocks evolved. It evolved from the Virginia Shuffle," he continued. "The slaves came into Virginia, so obviously Virginia was the first port. And it's called the Virginia Shuffle. And then later on it became wall fighting. And then it became stato. And then some people called it Jailhouse Rock. And now it's called the 52. And the 52, because there's a little more playing with the cards, and the 52 cards in the deck.

"So that's why the 52 Blocks became popular."

Because of its history as a grassroots and underground self-defense fighting system, mainly centered in the African-American community and under incredibly brutal and oppressive conditions, 52 Blocks has lacked any common curriculum or organization.

That also is starting to change, as Professor Mo will be hosting a 52 Blocks certification seminar in Harlem, New York, on Saturday, October 19. While details of how to register will be posted shortly, plans are also in the works for a 52 Blocks Federation.

But, as he stressed, 52 Blocks is a self-defense system and not the same as a sport. Even with a more developed curriculum, however, it still will largely be an "improvisational art".

The 52 Blocks curriculum will include defense against weapons, including sticks, knives, and guns, and also against dogs.

We also discussed more on the plans for the October 19 seminar, how his Fight Back MMA school in Harlem is the only one in New York instructing people in 52 Blocks, more on the self-defense techniques of 52 Blocks, how 52 Blocks is related to boxing, how instruction in the 52 Blocks is expanding to more places in the U.S., recent coverage of 52 Blocks and an interview with Professor Mo in Black Belt magazine, and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

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Monday, September 23, 2019

No Holds Barred: Jens Sejer Andersen on Olympic Scandals, Athlete Power, and 2019 Play the Game Conference 


On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again spoke with Jens Sejer Andersen, the international director of Play the Game.

This year's conference, the 11th of Play the Game's biannual events, will be the first one taking place outside Europe and in the U.S. It will take place October 13-16, 2019, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Colorado Springs.

This is THE major world event advocating sport reform. More details on the conference can be seen here.

We spoke with Jens Sejer Andersen by Skype Monday.

World sport has been beset by a seemingly endless and growing number of scandals, including the FIFA corruption and bribery scandals, the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal, the rape and sexual assault scandals in many sports, and countless more. But there has been "one very interesting impact of the combination of scandals," Jens Sejer Andersen noted.

"It is that athletes now, especially elite athletes of course, are starting to speak up. They are starting to say, 'Hey, we do not really feel protected by our top leaders. We do not feel our interests are represented well,'" he said.

"And that is a trend, a global trend now, that more and more elite athletes organize in unions, or they form interest groups, or they form independent committees to take care of their interests vis-a-vis their national and international federations.

"And that's why we have called our conference this time, the subtitle is 'Athlete Power On The Rise'."

We discussed this trend of the rise of athlete activism, why this year's conference is in the U.S., what may happen with the re-opening of the Russian state-sponsored doping scandal due to new allegations of tampering with the data retrieved from the Moscow lab, the effect of these scandals on the future of the Olympic Games and movement, how the fight against sports corruption has broken some "taboos", and much, much more.

You can play or download No Holds Barred here and here. If one link does not work, please try another.

No Holds Barred is available at Google Play Music.

Also, No Holds Barred is available at Apple Podcasts.

You can also listen to No Holds Barred via Stitcher through iOS or Android devices or on the web here.

The PodOmatic Podcast Player app is available for free, both for Android at Google Play, and for iOS on the App Store.

The No Holds Barred theme song is called "The Heist", which is also available on iTunes by composer Ian Snow.

No Holds Barred is sponsored by:

The Catch Wrestling Alliance, resurrecting and promoting the sport of authentic catch-as-catch-can wrestling. The Catch Wrestling Alliance provides tournaments, seminars, and training as well as education about catch wrestling. Join the movement and keep real wrestling alive. For more information, go to CatchWrestlingAlliance.com.

Skullz Double-End Bags, the perfect bag for your combat sports training. Skullz Double-End Bags provide a realistic striking target, and help improve timing, distance, and hand and eye coordination. Hang it and hit it right out of the box! No pump required. For more information, go to SkullzDeBags.com.

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