Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Forget the Lakers, Who's a Sparks Fan?

I’m eating a pickle right now, it’s very good. What that has to do with the rest of this post, I have no idea…but it is a really good pickle.

A Girls Basketball Coach in Alabama recently won a Title IX discrimination settlement between him and the school that he coached at, which went all the way to the Supreme Court. Coach Roderick Jackson was fired for allegedly complaining too much that the Boys Basketball team was given preferential treatment over the Girls Basketball team. The Alabama school maintained that since Coach Jackson was not a direct victim of discrimination, he had no right to sue. The High Court of Alabama ruled 5-4 allowing his case to continue onto the Supreme Court, where the Court ruled in his favor.

"Reporting incidents of discrimination is integral to Title IX enforcement and would be discouraged if retaliation against those who report it went unpunished," wrote then-Justice Sandra Day O'Connor for the majority. "Individuals who witness discrimination would likely not report it, indifference claims would be short-circuited, and the underlying discrimination would go unremedied."

Basically what was going on was that Ensley High School, where Jackson first made his discrimination claims, was giving the girls team substandard training facilities, funding, transportation etc. compared to the boys team. According to CNN, “the gym the girls used for practice had no heat, wooden backboards and bent hoops, and the team relied on inferior transportation to games, including car pools, while the boys used buses.”

Title IX is the Equalization Act for Females in Scholastic Activities. It doesn’t even have to be athletically-related, what it means is that regardless of circumstances women athletes and women’s teams must be treated exactly the same as male athletes and men’s teams. Since it’s inception, women’s sports has gained tremendous ground, creating more opportunities for women in sports and preventing discrimination against female athletes. Title IX is the reason I was able to go out for the wrestling team. However, the drawback to Title IX is that sports that are traditionally male, such as wrestling and football, get their funding cut seeing as each team must spend the same amount of money on its male and female athletes. Wrestling doesn’t have an analogous female team, therefore since it is doomed to be out of balance as far as the ratio of female to male athletes, on paper it looks like it is giving more preference to its male athletes, and its funds are cut. Legislation is currently trying to work out this glitch, but typically a lot of school’s will cut their wrestling teams completely rather than lost money trying to fund an unsupported team. When I wrestled at Cerritos College, we didn’t even have enough uniforms for our first meet (which may have been good for me seeing as one guy came back with herpes from that meet).

So, what I’m thinking happened is that in Alabama, at this overcrowded and under-funded high school that recently closed anyway, no one cared about girl’s basketball. I mean think about it, does anyone really care about the WNBA compared to the NBA? Do we even know who won the last Sparks game? So no one came to the girls games, no one sat in the stands, and the school was being forced to fund it just as much as the boys team who had people buying tickets every Friday night and selling out for the cross town rival game.

Is that really fair? I mean if no one goes to see it, why fund it right? We don’t even know if the girl’s team was really any good, or even if the boy’s team was any good either, but apparently Ensley High School cared more about their boys team than their girls team seeing as the boys at least had buses.

I remember the Gymnastics team at Warren High School didn’t have buses, they didn’t have ANY facilities to train on campus, so they had to walk to the YMCA and use their equipment. And other schools back east had Gymnastics getting more funding than Football and some school’s even had Judo teams (Scholastic Judo is non-existent out west). Warren’s Gymnastics team SUCKED though! I’m sure if Warren Gymnastics was bringing back a CIF banner a couple years in a row we’d have given them buses. Sports do fund education after all, school’s will invest in the girl’s Table Tennis team if it wins and brings in funds, at least as far as I’ve seen. Lynwood also didn’t even have a swim team until parents demanded it.

So, could it possibly be that the Alabama Girls Basketball team really sucked, and that’s why the school didn’t give them any funds? The Coach may have been complaining that the reason they sucked was because he didn’t have the resources to train them, and the school may have decided that he wasn’t that great of a Coach if he wasn’t getting results and fired him. Technically I guess their not allowed to do that though, at least according to the Supreme Court. I have trouble believing that the school just really had a bias against its female athletes because they are female, but hey then again it is down south. Don’t they eat Possums in Alabama or something?

Well it seems like Title IX is telling Alabama that it doesn’t matter what skill level either team is at, they still have to provide equal funding for each team in order to prevent discrimination.

What do you guys think? Is this fair?

I only have the CNN article also, so if you guys have more information on anything related, post it up in the comments!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

You Can't Rename the KIMURA!!!!!!

Oh wow! This is like the ultimate sin in the world of grappling. Shoshin Ryu Jiu Jitsu, a branch of Japanese Danzan Ryu Jujitsu which is made up of a bunch of wannabe-Bruce Lee's, is changing the name of the famous Kimura Shoulder Lock that Kimura tapped out Helio Gracie with, to “UDE GARAMI” which they argue is the original Japanese name for a technique that is similar to the Kimura Shoulder Lock in their art.

Kimura was a Judo fighter back when Helio Gracie was going around fighting all the other Martial Arts to prove that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was the best style. Gracie had almost 400 fights with no losses, and then he fought Kimura who ripped Helio’s shoulder out! That lock became known as THE Kimura. To this day, the Kimura has been used in high level competitions such as the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Championships, The Jiu Jitsu Mundials, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

But a few CJJ (Classic Jiu Jitsu) places want to pretend they’re Samurai’s and hence you have a bunch of pasty white guys trying to speak Japanese and reminding me of all the Animae nerds in high school who used to speak Japanenglish so they could be like their hero, Inuyasha (Cartoon Network Adult Swim, don’t ask how I know that), going around saying “Mahalo” to each other even though its Hawaiian. What’s next? A secret handshake?

What I don’t understand is what is so blasphemous about taking a Japanese art and teaching it in English as long as it’s in an English-speaking country? This is why bilingual education in America doesn’t work, it only delays the learning process because the students CAN’T EVEN UNDERSTAND YOU! It's not like the brazilians keep their Potruguese names for their arts. I’ve seen cool things at wrestling matches like a guy being coached in Spanish so that his opponent won’t understand, but Japanese is not my second language.

In fact, at high level grappling gyms, a lot of the instructors don’t even name the moves! They show you it, show it on you, tap you out with it a couple times, then say “okay go tap someone with it.”

I can understand honoring the old masters by keeping to the traditions, that is why many Muay Thai fighters go to Hindu Shrines regardless of their religion before their fights. Many Judo Schools, even renown one who send fighters to the Pan American Games, bow to a picture of Kano before workouts. But you know what else, Kano and Master Okazaki also passed like literally a hundred years ago. I seriously doubt they would come back from their eternal naps and make you do pushups for dishonoring their art by deviating from their ways a little. Oh the wrath of the Ancestors be upon us for trying to be just a little bit modern!

I’m not saying it’s completely wrong to name techniques in their language of origin. We have techniques like “DROP SEOI NAGE” and “OMA PLATA.” But if everyone was calling the “OMA PLATA” a “SITTING UP SHOULDER LOCK,” we’d be best advised to call it that too so that we’d be learning the same art that all the other grapplers are learning so that we know what they’re doing when their coach yells it to them from the sideline. You’re either a Grappling art, an MMA art, or a Stunt Double’s art…or you’re a Mcdojo. If all the Grappling, MMA, and Stunt Double’s arts are calling it the “KIMURA,” we should call it the Kimura too so that we’re not labeled a Mcdojo by all the young grapplers that are starting to come in and roll with us. What kind of a future does a martial arts gym hold that is not changing with the times? Didn't the UFC teach us that unless you evolve, you lose?

But apparently if you don’t care what other people think about you, you can technically take every existing move, and invent your own funny names for them and still tap people out. I mean so far me and my friends have invented a ton of crazy moves that may or may not work outside of our own grappling circles or the UFC videogames, I guess Eddie Bravo made his name doing the exact same crazy stuff we're doing. Personally though I would at least have a little more self-respect than to name one of my moves the "Papper Castle," but then again if you tap some guy out with it, you can make fun of him by saying that he got tapped with "Insert Lame Name Here."

Okay fine, point made, other people’s opinions aren’t so important. Call the move whatever you want, but if you’re changing the name of the Kimura I’m changing the name of the Rear-Naked Choke to "Mata Leon" like Renzo Gracie calls it!

Update: OH GOD THIS IS NOT FAIR. Google sucks, in fact that is my next blog. Blame Google.

"Kimura" "The Kimura" "Kimura Shoulder Lock" "Kimura BJJ"

................................... "Ude Garami"