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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

New DVD by Tim Cartmell of She Wu Academy is a WINNER!!!

This is my personal opinion I do not train with or personally know Tim Cartmell (although I have communicated via email with him at least once over the years). For those of you in the know Tim's background is all the testimonial he requires. Let's just say the man is extremely talented, a champion grappler and one outstanding example of American traditionally trained Kung Fu martial artist.

I wanted to share my thoughts on his latest DVD. I just purchased it this past week. It's called simply, "Standing Grappling Escapes and Counters". It is by far one of the most comprehensive looks into the mind of Tim and his diverse training.

I know this DVD barely scratches the surface of his diverse background but as a Black Belt in Kung Fu San Soo and and an active submission grappler (BJJ) I find his break downs and escapes very well put together and defintely effective.

You can see Tim's ability to mix various foundational training into one devistating solution. He has called it Shen Wu. But the overall techniques featured on this DVD wreak of KFSS and well versed grappling technique, most of which is found in KFSS as well.

In this DVD the camera work is well applied, you are given multiple angles of techniques from two different views to make capturing Tim's lesson all the more easy.

The mic work is obviously from the camera but Tim's voice carries well in his studio and the overall teaching is easily heard and understood. Tim is sure to show multiple angles of each techique as well as comprehensive breakdowns of finer points applied in each stage of the defensive or offensive manuever.

If you are a fresh student or advanced belt in either KFSS, BJJ or like minded grappling art you are in for a treat. I guarentee you will find truly effective tactics in Tim's training.

You may recognize points in each technique similarly found in your art but Tim will teach you finer points of application to create optimal advantage at each step.

Get it, enjoy and keep it handy for future reference. I would recommend any and all of Tim's DVDs at this point. He truly has a far reaching understanding of conflict and self defense and many martial art systems.

For DVD info visit:


Kenneth Knapp
Black Belt, Assistant Instructor (Children's Class)
Master Kurt Bellman's Riverside School

White Belt, one stripe
John Munoz, Black Belt/Owner

-----------My Lineage in KFSS-------------
Master Kurt Bellman (**Master Bob Ward - 90's)
/\ /\
Master Alan L. Rubin
/\ /\
Frank Woolsey
Grand Master Jimmy Haw Woo

(**I began my original training with Master Bob Ward in the early 90's)

---------My BJJ Lieage--------------------
John Munoz - Black Belt and Owner
Pedro Carvalho in Montclair, CA. (

John Munoz later trained with Joe Moreira, 6th Degree Black Belt

Monday, September 25, 2006

My First Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tournament the 5th American National Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tournament - GREAT EVENT!!!

In July of this year I finally earned my Black Belt in Kung Fu San Soo. After hitting this wonderful milestone in my martial arts career I felt I needed to challenge myself more physically. On Father's Day 2006 I went to workout for the first time with Jeff Frater and his team United Fighting Systems in Rancho Cucamonga to focus spefically on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu technique. After that first day of rolling around I realized that I was way out of shape and I was in grave need of a major physical tune up. On that day my mental attitude flipped a switch. And so began my quest to learn the wonderful art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

In a little over ninety days I had melted off 43 lbs and build a rock solid cardio foundation. I can now run six plus miles easily (five to six days per week), jump rope for 30 minutes straight and I’m finally able to complete seven or more sets of pull ups, which I hadn’t been able to do easily in over fifteen years. I am back in shape and getting better with every workout.

So after just three months of training I figured baptism by fire was as good as any way to figure out what BJJ tournaments were all about. My coach Jeff Frater agreed that it would be a good test of my rudimentary skills so off I went to sign up for the 5th American National Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tournament in Torrance.

It wasn’t easy getting my 215 lbs body down under 175 lbs to hit my weight class of 181 lbs with Gi on. Here’s the details on the weigh in requirements and they are tough:

“The system will be the same used in the Mundial in Brazil and the last Pan American, the athlete will check the weight after the official call for his first fight, minutes before he steps on the mat, the competitor can check the weight only once, if the competitor doesn't make it, he will be imediatelly disqualified. Make sure you're in the correct weight division, if the competitor doesn't make the weight, no changes will be accepted in the brackets, and there will be no refund on the fee.

All athletes must check weight with the gi on. From:”

On the day of the event I weighed 177.8 with my running shoes and Gi on. I made it!!! I have to say I really hate celery and grapefruit after the last ninety days though. ;-)))

So real drama started when after waiting for almost two hours I finally heard my name called over the PA system. I hustled to the competitor section and flashed my ID at the check-in official. I also got a look at my competition for the first time. It was obvious from the first look my competition was in for a tough fight as he has about a ten inch height disadvantage on me. I’m note sure but I think he might have been under 5 foot tall and in much need of hard cardio training. The real shame though was when he hit the scale he weighed in at 182.5. The officials let him weigh three times but he never cracked 182. My coach asked if they would allow him to fight an expedition match with me simply to allow us an opportunity to test our skills but they DQ’ed him on the spot and would not allow him to touch the mat. It was a win for me but a bummer just the same.

So I had to go sit and wait some more to find out who my next match would be. In the meantime I got to watch my main competition Geoff Mcgann, Beverly Hills JJ Club. He’s a great guy and hardworking white belt who is one week away from obtaining his Blue Belt. It was obvious from watching his match that he was a grappler early in life and had a strong foundation. He was quick and exploded into takedowns and had a very low base on the mat.

So after a nice long wait I finally took the floor with Geoff. We squared off on the mat and almost immediately setup Gi control. He went with a lapel grab, elbow and played with wrist gi control a bit as well, I think he was looking for a sweep for the most part or perhaps a grapevine, but I wasn’t having it. I maintained my usual gi control options but Geoff was good at avoiding my favorite happy place holds so I opted for other hooks that give ample control while standing. We went down once off the mat and came back to center and after a couple of minutes dancing I finally pulled guard on him and we hit the mat. He tried elbows and knee tactics to escape and I defended nicely. He began to build after a minute or two and I threw him into a triangle choke. My major rookie mistake was not hanging on his head so he did what any seasoned vet would do and he walked around my head and popped out to a side mount (2 points). We had moved a bit so we were stopped by the referee and moved to center mat where we reestablished our position with about ten seconds left. I had my hands where I wanted them but time ran out before I could reverse on him so that was that.

The most amazing part of our match was I barely felt the physical side of the match. I had the cardio and I felt fantastic through out. The time simply flew by. So I have a few things to work on and will focus on my mistakes in this match. Overall I had a great tournament experience thanks to great competition and great coaching.

I’d like to thank Master Jeff Frater, United Fighting Systems, Master Lari Beebe and all the fantastic guys at Master Dave Hopkins, especially Mitch, Ming, Sylvio, Danny and Master Dave of course for all the great training and personal attention. I could have never faced off with a guy like Geoff with confidence if you all hadn’t shown me so much great technique. And of course I could have never made weight if you all didn’t make me earn every minute on the mat. I can’t wait for my next event.

I’ll post more later stay tuned.

Best Regards,

Kenneth Knapp
Kurt Bellman’s Riverside Kung Fu San Soo &
United Fighting Systems

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Little Memory Keys

While training and working out I have been amazed by the many ways very talented Masters and teachers help their students to grasp complex ideas effectively. As an example recently Larry Holden taught me a simple phrase that teaches students to close the distance and hit their opponent with power and less effort while staving off retaliation and that simple phrase is: "be inside their shirt." Larry is teaching his students if you want to hit effectively with power while breaking the defenses of your opponent you must close distance and be close. The power zone of a solid KFSS practitioner is approximately a one 12" diameter around their mid to high waist line. It's here where the greatest power is passed from yourself to your opponent.

"Be inside their shirt" simply tells the student to get so close enough to your attacker so as to feel like you could easily slip into his very shirt. My instructor Master Kurt Bellman uses a quote something like, "you should be able to smell his lunch." so we need to be close enough to our attacker to smell what he ate for lunch.

I truly enjoy these little expressions that help students like me along in understanding and better applying the martial art I love so much.

Monday, February 27, 2006

This is Zach and I opening day for Corona National Little League. This is my son’s first year in Tee-Ball and I'm managing his team. This happens to also be the first time I've ever worn a baseball uniform. Is it wrong for me to live vicariously through my son??? Just wondering.

A quick snap shot of me at Master Ron Gatewood's Seminar held in late 2005 held at Master Kurt Bellman's Riverside Studio. Great day of training and freestyle workouts. I encourage any new students of Kung Fu San Soo to attend these frequently held seminars to deepen your knowledge of KFSS and meet lots of great teachers of students of this wonderful art.
Johnny Wheeler posted this poem to the Yahoo Baord I belong to and I wanted to record it here because I thought it was a good read:
Hi Everyone,
I thought I would share the Chin-Na poem with the boardmembers,
realizing they may not have seen it.
It's in the true Martial Spirit.
Enjoy. Johnny Wheeler

The changes of Chin-Na are linked as the Ba Gua(Eight Triagrams),
mutually creating and destroying without end.
If you wish to seize, the word "skill" must be first, the art is
skillful, the power is skillful, the method is even more skillful.
First strike, second control, third take what you want, hook, seize,
lock, close, and immobilize the terminus.
Grasp the tendons, seal the veins to reduce his power, locking the
joints even Ghosts and Gods will grieve.
Hard and soft must be balanced and applied where needed,
the power is flexible and follows a spiral path.
Move like lightning when the opponent is unaware, penetrating in
moving and turning to disperse the opponent('s) power.
Follow the opportunity and flow with the changes, cause the situation
to change in accordance with your plan, survey the situation then
proceed to effect your method.
The hands and feet arrive together and the body follows, add the power
of the shoulders and hips to lock above and trip below.
The upper locking and lower tripping come at the same time, use the
waist to trap and entwine, if you do not attack, I force you to, once
you are caught in my technique you will never know what killed you.


Kung Fu San Soo And It's Impressions On My Life

A little about my history with this deadly art.

I was introduced to this devastating art by Master Bob Ward (while he taught at Sequoia Racquetball World in Santa Ana) in 1990, as a young man I experienced it's devastating application through Master Ward and was forever drawn to learn more of this ancient fighting system. I currently train and study under Master Kurt Bellman in Riverside, CA and still actvely keep in touch with Master Ward as well.

I have made many friends in this wonderful art and I have never met a brother or sister in San Soo that I didn't like. I encourage any and all who read this and other websites to fully investigate this art and see for themselves the knowledge it contains, the wonderful people who train in this system and the confidence gained from training hard and learning as much of it as possible. Jimmy H. Woo is the foundation and all of us are his growing seeds. Help us carry on this incredible tradition and knowledge. Formal Salute to all of my Brothers and Sisters in San Soo.

Also one of my favorite hang outs if J.P. Kings (Jimmy H. Woo's Grandson) Yahoo Group: Come by and say hi if you are interested in Kung Fu San Soo (KFSS). There is always a good discussion ro event posted there.