Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hip-Hop Chess Federation is on Twitter!!

The HHCF now has a Twitter page:

Come follow us....we'll follow you!!

Hip-Hop Chess on the Streets of SF!

Every once in a while I play chess with a random youngster in SF. Win, lose or draw, the HHCF gives them a new pair of Timberland boots!!! Here is one of the last games....These kids are pretty good. More vids to come.

Hip-Hop Chess Federation Supports Martial Artists Gathering to Help Typhoon Victims

HHCF Congratulates World Champion Denny Prokopos on Getting His BLACK BELT @ 21!!!

Denny has been a great supporter of the HHCF and an amazing fighter. Please listen to his thoughts on how he got so good, so fast.

A great video on exploiting positional flaws

A Beautiful New Movie on Strategy and Courage: Red Cliff

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

HHCF Brings Immortal Technique to John O'Connell High to Address Latino Gang Violence in SF

Adisa Banjoko

Hip-Hop Chess Federation and Immortal Technique Unite to Address Escalation of Latino Gang Violence
Rapper Immortal Technique, The Brown Berets and Author Cesar Cruz to Speak at John O'Connell High School

Nov. 3rd 20090- San Francisco, CA- The Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) is proud to announce that it will host Immortal Technique at John O'Connell High school in San Francisco, CA on Nov. 5th. He will address the rising climate of violence by Latino gangs in the SF Mission District. This is a closed door event, specifically for John O'Connell students. Immortal Technique will be accompanied by the Brown Berets of Watsonville. Additionally Cesar Cruz, author of History of North & South: Bang for Freedom will be showing a short documentary on past peace resolutions made by Norteno and Sureno gangs.

"I have had a long history of working with street organizations and with community leaders that come together to try and avert self destructive actions such as the ones we face here." stated Immortal Technique. "I do not claim to have all the answers but I am more than willing to share my time and energy to try and look at the roots of this and other conflicts to find solutions rather than just continue a cycle of hatred and vengeance."

"Our children are murdering one another with no sense of remorse" stated the HHCF's CEO, Adisa Banjoko. "The Hip-Hop Chess Federation remains committed to fusing music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and non-violence. Immortal Technique is a Hip-Hop artist who has a special place in the hearts of Latino youth. He's been a true ally of the HHCF for a long time. John O'Connell High Schools faculty and staff have always been proactive in their approach to keeping their students effectively informed. We're honored to have Immortal Technique and the Brown Berets share their ideas on the best moves we can all make, to reach an authentic and enduring peace on these streets."

For more information contact Adisa Banjoko:

For more info on the Hip-Hop Chess Federation visit:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The last HHCF event was amazing...

Just a quick thank you to all the people who made last weekends event so amazing.

I could thank people all day, really. I'm going to try and give some shouts out right now. I hope no one who gets left out is offended.

Much HHCF love goes out to: Marilyn Yalom, Conscious Daughters, Jean Hoffman, DJ Pam the Funkstress and Melina Jones. The All Queens Panel was so powerful.

To Rakaa, Ray Luv, Traxamillion, Don Kiolbassa, D'Lamont Robinson, Rahman Jamaal and his team from All Star Martial Arts, Gumby from Heroes Martial Arts, Sal and everybody from Bay Area Chess, Elaine Moskowitz, Scott Budman, Brothers Against Guns, the entire staff at O'Connell High in SF, Renaissance High in Watsonville, Jenn Laskin and the Brown Berets...Thank you, and all who participated for a fantastic HHCF event.

I have footage of the panel and other clips, BUT, my Mac is tripping out. So, I have not been able to share what I have. But in a few days, hopefully, I can change that.

Stay strong on the boards,

This is the essence of being tough...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Schedule for Hip-Hop Chess Federation Oct. 10th Event


1 What Where when
2 Chess Tournament atrium start at 10 for group one and 11 for group two
3 Graffiti / Chalk Art yard 1:00-3:00
4 Queens' Discussion Panel library 12:00–1:00
5 King's Discussion Panel library 1:30–2:30
6 Martial Arts Demonstration dance studio 3:00–3:45
7 Chess Trophy Presentation atrium 4:00–end
8 DJ Malcolm Marshall KMEL atrium all day

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All Queens Life Strategies Panel at HHCF Event Oct. 10th 2009!!!

There will also be a special at the HHCF West Coast Kings & Queens!!! The All Queens Life Strategies Panel will have Birth of the Chess Queen author Marilyn Yalom, Conscious Daughters, rapper Melina Jones and Jean Hoffman of 9 Queens will discuss how young girls can step forward with positivity and confidence into the future.

"It was time for the HHCF to do something specifically to celebrate the power and impact of the artists from the west coast," said HHCF founder and CEO Adisa Banjoko. "We always provide safe, family friendly environments for people to discover their true potential in life and have fun. So many young girls out there love the game of chess. We wanted to set something up just to celebrate the queens. We wanted to give these girls direct access to women of knowledge and strength, in hopes that these young ladies will follow their lead."

This is a FREE ALL AGES EVENT!! John O'Connell High School. 2355 Folsom St. @ 19th in San Francisco!! Visit for more info!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jrobi breaks down tactics

Its not enough to just talk about our passion. We must walk in our passion.

We must know that it is not enough just to see what the Mind is, we must put into practice all that makes it up in our daily life. We may talk about it glibly, we may write books to explain it, but that is far from being enough. However much we may talk about water and describe it quite intelligently, that does not make it real water. So with fire. Mere talking of it will not make the mouth burn. To know what they are means to experience them in actual concreteness. A book on cooking will not cure our hunger. To feel satisfied we must have actual food. So long as we do not go beyond mere talking, we are not true knowers.- Takuan Soho

Friday, September 11, 2009

As the sun rises, the sounds of battle echo

Every so often, early in the morning, this student at the school I work at can be found playing his berimbau. He loves capoeria and any moment he gets to refine his playing, or his training- he takes it....I admire that.

HHCF ANNOUNCES: West Coast Kings & Queens Tournament

Sept. 10th 2009, San Francisco, CA- The Hip-Hop Chess Federation is proud to announce the West Coast Kings & Queens Tournament. The Hip-Hop Chess Federation is the world's first organization to fuse music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and non-violence. There will be a traditional rated chess tournament, people can learn chess basics, watch graffiti art battles, b-boy ciphers, celebrity chess matches, martial arts exhibitions, prize giveaways and more! It all takes place Oct. 10th 2009 at John O'Connell High School from 9AM to 6PM at 2355 Folsom St. @ 19th in San Francisco, Ca. ADMISSION IS FREE FOR ALL AGES.

Celebrity guests inculde Rakaa Iriscience from Dilated Peoples, rap legend Ray Luv, Traxamillion, Casual from Hieroglyphics, Balance and Big Rich, Conscious Daughters, T-KASH, DLabrie and others to be announced. The event will be DJ'ed by KMEL Street Soldiers DJ Malcolm Marshall. There will also be a special All Queens Life Strategies Panel where Concious Daughters, Jean Hoffman of 9 Queens and other prominent business women will discuss how young girls can step forward with positivity and confidence into the future.

"It was time for the HHCF to do something specifically to celebrate the power and impact of the artists from the west coast," said HHCF founder and CEO Adisa Banjoko. "We always provide safe, family friendly environments for people to discover their true potential in life and have fun. All of the artists in attendance have a proven track record not only of being raw, but in giving back to the communities they come from. We're honored and humbled to have them all in attendance."

"We are enthusiastic and grateful to all the celebrities, kids and educators coming together for the Kings & Queens Tournament," said Banjoko. "This organization has been hurt badly by the failing economy. Yet by forging strong strategic alliances we're still pushing ahead. These are tough times for many of America's youth. Nevertheless the HHCF remains unflinching in our goal to share the countless educational and artistic life options for them in this world. We are grateful for all the rappers, chess masters and martial artists who have donated their time to teaching kids healthy alternatives to violence on the streets. Since our explosive beginning there have been many imitations, but there is only one Hip-Hop Chess Federation! See you all there."

All who wish to compete in the Kings & Queens Tournament can sign up today at:

Partners for the West Coast Kings & Queens Tournament are Bay Area Chess and Other sponsors include JW Foundation, 9 Queens,,, 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu SF,, Heroes Martial Arts and Upper Playground. For more information on how to participate visit

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A beautiful illustration of why this is called "the gentle art"

The ever inspirational, Andre Galvao.

Jrobi is still killing it with his vids...I love this dudes work

I know y'all remember this Kung Fu classic!!!


Raekwon from Wu-Tang can still bang on the mic.

Oct. 10th Hip-Hop Chess Dominates the West!!!!

Register to play today:

Amazing Article on Mental Toughness

Martin Rooney wrote an amazing piece on mental toughness for GRACIE MAGAZINE. Its for jiu jitsu practitioners, but its so far beyond that. If you love what you do, whatever it is, please read this.

A number of years ago, a sports psychologist I worked with asked me to define mental toughness for him. Strangely enough, the concept of mental toughness seems easy to think, but very difficult to define. I came up with a number of different thoughts on mental toughness for him, but none were a solid description. Over the last few months, I have been meeting with different high level athletes and trainers, trying to better understand the problem, but no one had one clear answer. During my time here as a trainer, I have seen many of us experiment with the concept of mental toughness on the athletes. Over this time, I have tried to develop tests and certain sessions around the concept of mental toughness to not only help the athlete to understand it, but for me to get a better picture as well. Through this, meeting with athletes and trainers on the subject as well as reading a number of books on the subject, I have come to some general conclusions about this type of training. Mental toughness is a personal, persevering decision. You can view this in an athlete’s desire to continue exercise, even when passing through higher and higher levels of fatigue. When I began to experiment with athletes and myself with fatigue, I came to see some interesting results. I used to believe that everything about fatigue could be defined physiologically. I used to watch the kids on the track and almost invision the physiological mechanisms that were running out to stop the athlete from performing.

There are 4 physiological mechanisms of fatigue that I am concerned with. Depletion of the energy systems, inadequacy of the circulatory and respiratory systems, body temperature elevation,and dehydration can all lead to fatigue. As I read more about these mechanisms I saw that all of them had their shortcomings. How do I then explain the marathon runner that can run 4 minute mile pace with a heart rate of 200? How do I explain the man who, at risk of death, was able to tread water for 40 hours until he was rescued? How do you watch a fighter continue for over an hour and never give in? Surely their systems would of run out. Further still, how do I explain the fact that other racers in that marathon had the same potential physiologically, but couldn’t keep up? Or what about the other two treaders that could not stay above water and were lost at sea? Why does the fighter who is still fresher than his opponent just give up? There is one explanation. Mental toughness stems from the interaction of the mind and the body.

Mental toughness can be seen as desire or willpower. I have watched athletes persevere through levels of pain that others are not willing to endure. These athletes all have a level of excellence set much higher than that of other athletes. I noticed from my conversations with elite athletes that they all had the wisdom of delayed gratification. They were all ready to pay the price hard now, for the prize that might even rest years from now. The interesting part was that the prize was very different for all the athletes. I think it is very important for the athlete to know themselves and to know what it is they are really after.

I asked a top level track and field athlete how he could be ranked top 10 in the world for the last 6 years, but could never crack the top five. His answer was interesting. He believed he had the talent and the skill to be number one in the world, but at that moment whenever it was time, mentally, there was something missing. He felt that during his upbringing in this country that his mom would console him too much. For instance, she would bake a cake when things didn’t go well and show him everything would be alright. The top athlete in his event for the last 8 years, he contended, was from a brutally tough country in which you fought for everything you ever had. This was the mental edge he had all his life that made the difference.

I spoke with a nationally recognized speaker at length about the topic of mental training and he also had an interesting story to add. When he was a child he was being chased by a big dog in the neighborhood. When he got to his house, there were 8 steps that he had to clear to get inside safe. He said without even thinking he hit the bottom step perfectly, and made the jump. He thought about this even up to the present day 40 years later and didn’t think he could have ever made that leap again. He believed that it is a sense of necessity that drives the athlete to superperformance. Something inside the athlete, whether it is his need to win, his life is at stake, money, or the applause of the crowd, the necessity is there. This is what the athlete must decide for himself and believe in it. Without some need, the athlete eventually will not succeed at the highest level. Interesting studies have been performed on sedentary and professional athletes and their ability to withstand exertion. Sedentary people always gave up early, with no signs of really approaching any true fatigue. The professional athletes, on the other hand, were able to withstand huge amounts of work and continue to go on.

This tells me that mental toughness is learned and it can be trained just like any other skill. To get to a higher level you must continually push the envelope of your own limits. The best athletes have a great ability to do this. Jerry Rice, one of the best receivers in the NFL is a great example of this. In his training, Jerry runs up a mountain every morning before he starts his training for the day. Other athletes from the NFL would come and try to train with Jerry because he was the best in the league. Upon trying to run the mountain, none of the athletes could make it and they would invariably go home because they could not compete. What was a regular day for Jerry, other athletes were not prepared for. His level of toughness was so much higher, it can be said this was probably a big factor in his success as a pro athlete.

Now, you might be saying, “Where is he going with this stuff?�? Hopefully, you have a much better idea of the mental aspects of training as well as learn to better understand something about yourself. Now you must see that beside the training you have been doing so far in your sessions, there has to be a portion that focuses on the mental development as an athlete. There is something to be said about a “brutally hard�? session, but an athlete must be shown the value of what they are learning from it. An athlete working so hard he is puking is not good. An athlete being shown the value of learning how to go to the next level in the training, and that he may eventually become a better athlete from it may respond more positively.

Different bits of advice can be given to the kids in different ways. Test yourself in drills and examine the value of what you have accomplished. Do not become a self fulfilling prophecy with words like “I can’t�? during the last few minutes of the session. You can even begin the session with the message to yourself that you are going to be here for one hour. That hour is a gift. You can do the most with it, or squander it and the hour will still eventually be over. What happens during that hour is the accomplishment, or the let down. Get yourself to believe that a little on top of a little eventually becomes a lot.

Finally, I will leave you with a quote from a poster I hung in my room when I was in college. The poster is one of the great Russian Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin. He is throwing a huge 300 pound man in the air, and the quote below him reads,“ I train harder everyday of my life than you will ever train one day in your life�?.

This is the epitome of mental toughness training.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

UFC Champ GSP Plays Chess

Super female martial artist and journalist Phoenix Carnevale wrote an amazing piece on UFC champ George St. Pierre....He gave a glimpse into his super strategic mind. Among other things, he talks about chess. Enjoy!!


George St. Pierre and Thiago Alves aren't talking any trash about each other. They don't have too! Thisfight hype is based on skill! This fight hype is based on the CHESS match that great fights are made of.

If you were to Google the word Competition, wikipedia will tell you that the etymology of the word is "to seek together or to strive together". The better your opponent the better you have to become.

Competition gives high incentive for self-improvement. Without question George St. Pierre has dealt with some hefty competition so he hands. Thiago Alves a huge complement when he says Alves is his toughest fight yet.

George begins to tell me during a Phone interview last week. "He brings to the table a lot of stuff that I haven't seen before. He's a great striker. Very good on the ground He's very well rounded. I haven't fought someone as dangerous and as strong as big as him, But then again he's never fought a guy like me before either. We're both gonna fight a guy like we've never fought before'

Thiago has shown excellent take down defense in his recent fights with Josh Koscheck and Matt Hughes. If the game of fighting has taught anyone anything its that an opponent should never be taken lightly.

"He's the number 1 contender so there's not to many holes in his game. But I can see there's some things he's not as strong at'". When George trains he losses the ego. The strategy is somewhat like get your butt handed to you in training so you don't get it kicked on fight night.

" I train with jui jutsu with better guy than I. Muay Thai with better Thai fighters than I. I box with better guys boxers than I"

In his search for the best of the best he found one of the best Muay Thai coaches in the business Kru Phil Nurse, owner and head trainer of The WAT gym in NYC. George heard about Phil through word of mouth while he was training at the Gracie Academy in NYC. Phil says he's adjusted his Muay Thai for MMA and that's made the Art fresh, new and exciting for him. This is the reason top UFC fighter like Rasheed Evans and Roger Huerta have sought Phil out to train them.

When Phil trains with GSP he tries to come at George with strong strategies. I was lucky to also get Phil on the phone that week to talk to him about what its like training with our current welterweight champion. "I try to do things to him that his opponent might try, to make him react and defend". Phil says. "We're always pushing the boundaries. "

Muay Thai is known to be stand-up art of choice for mixed martial artists. Knowing that George also has a Kyokushin background I ask him what is the main difference between Kyokushin Karate and Muay Thai. "The focus on Karate is a lot of footwork. Thai Box has some amazingly lethal kicks and elbows. They are both great arts but different. It's important to know that only one martial arts is not enough. You need more than one."

Phil Nurse talked openly about George's as he student of the fighting arts. "The thing about George is he's always evolving. He's a true athlete that's always learning new things. I could show him something today a few times and the next day he will come in and pull it off on some of my best guys. That quick adaptability is very hard for people to do"

George knows that he has to constantly expand and adjust. George's method and strategy for training changes for every opponent."Every fight I learn new stuff. I always fight my opponent where he's the weakest. I study tapes. But I know he's gonna be a better version of who he was in his last fight. It's a big problem but I believe I can solve it."George says with confidence." I'm not gonna fight Alves the same way I would fight Hughes and BJ Penn'

Another strategy contributing to GSPs well roundedness is his breaking his training up into segments and then ties it all together. "I do a lot of different disciplines but the closer that I get to the fight I train MMA."

Phil Nurse talked to me about GSPs diversity of Martial arts knowledge.
"All of his other styles are not gone. He has all of that older stuff in his arsenal. He just keeps adding on."

I read somewhere that there are no superior martial arts. Only superior martial artists. George is known for mixing it up. I was curious to know why it was so important for him break up his training.

"I do believe that you cannot train MMA. To be in an MMA fighter you have to specialize in something. If you don't specifically work on certain skills you will try to do everything but it wont be sharp."

Everyone is always talking about what a physical specimen GSP is. He's graced the cover of many Men's Health and Fitness Magazines. But what does he do to keep in good mental shape as the stakes get higher and higher?

" I do a lot of imagery. I started doing a lot more recently. I see myself winning I see myself getting out a bad position and coming out on top.
It's all mental. Every day I do imagery. And its something I think in training is very under rated."

All this talk about the mind and strategy made me think about CHESS, I ask George, Do you play? "I do play chess. But I don't have anyone good to play with right now. I'm a pretty humble guy but I've beaten everyone in my entourage"

I laugh and say "kinda like how you've beaten everyone in your welterweight division. If you get through Thiago are you considering testing the waters at middleweight? A Super fight Anderson Silva would certainly be the biggest fight in MMA history!"

"Well right now my primary focus is Alves. So it's the only thing I am focusing on."

George is such a tease!! Well a girl can dream can't she! Speaking of girls, I ask GSP what he thinks of women in the sport?" I love to see women training! And a women who's in shape is a women who looks good and I like that" George says playfully.

"Right now there are more men then women but I think its gonna be like boxing and they're will be more and more girls! And that's awesome!"

George has watched the UFC since the beginning days of Royce Gracie and here he is and here we are ready to watch his next and biggest battle at UFC 100!

"It's a great honor for me because there's always a significant meaning to the number 100"

The significance of the number 100 is the number associated with perfection. And to a lot of People George is that perfect athlete. Needless to say but I think GSP and Thiago Alves will be giving 100 percent of themselves on July 11th for the milestone event UFC 100 .

Phoenix Carnevale is a NYC based Fitness Expert, Martial Artist, Writer and On-Air Personality. She has been featured on CW11, Spike tv, Lifetime TV,Fox 5 and American Latino TV.

Phoenix currenlty teaches group fitness for New York Health and Racquet Club and Equinox Fitness Clubs. She regularly conrtibutes to Latina Magazine,, and As on camera host and producer she is regulary featured on INSIDE MARTIAL ARTS (

Monday, May 4, 2009

Interivew with Dr. Peter Goldman on Benefits of Zone Healing for Martial Artists

Healing the Warrior
By: Adisa Banjoko

As the sport of MMA and the grappling arts continue to spread across the globe, so do the injuries associated with the training. Lucky for us, medical professionals have been creating more innovative ways to help athletes heal. Dr. Peter Goldman, has worked with many MMA and jiu jitsu stars including BJ Penn and the Machado brothers using a technique called Zone Healing. Here we speak with Dr. Goldman about common injuries, solutions and preventative measure you can take to be a healthier grappler.

HHCF: How did you get to become a chiropractor?

PG: I was raised in Brooklyn, NY in a very naturally oriented family as far as health goes. I was getting chiropractic adjustments on a regular basis since I was a little kid and always loved it. At some point, I decided that I really wanted to help people and thought that becoming a chiropractor would be a great way to do that.

HHCF: When did you start working with MMA fighters and what specifically is your approach to helping them heal and perform at optimal levels?

PG: From the beginning, I always had a lot of martial arts clients. Once I helped BJ Penn with his neck, the other top MMA fighters started pouring in. I believe that a fighter with a balanced mind and body has a great chance of staying healthy and performing well, so I try to help fighters achieve balance.

HHCF: What are some of the most common injuries you see from MMA and BJJ practitioners? Also, what preventative measures can these guys take?

PG: Knees, neck, arm, upper back,etc. Being warmed up physically before fighting and training. Having a clear mind and being in the moment during fighting and training.

HHCF: Can you tell me more about the philosophy of Zone Healing?

PG: There are six main systems/zones in the body: glandular, eliminative, nerve, digestive, muscular, and circulatory. It is important for these systems to be balanced. That is on a physical level. On another level, the emotions have a huge effect on the body. Experiences between the ages of birth and about 7 have a big effect on the subconscious mind.

HHCF: Now, I understand you are a martial arts practitioner as well. Tell me about your personal journey in the arts.

PG: I trained directly under Soshu Shigeru Oyama in Manhattan in the early 90's. I achieved a black belt under him and fought for his elite team nationally and internationally on a world class level. I have a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from John Machado. Currently, I train in Jiu Jitsu, Thai Boxing and a few other arts.

HHCF: Anything to add?

PG: Yes. Patients come to see me from all over the world, so if you are reading this and want to come to San Francisco to work on something with me, feel free to call or email me. SFGOLDMAN.COM has all the contact info.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Hip-Hop Chess Teams w/ Ben & Jerrys for FREE CONE DAY, TODAY IN SF!!!

Come hang out, play some chess and get FREE ICE CREAM!!

BTW, its gonna be hot, so, ummmmmm- no excuses...

Also, we may need some extra volunteers to serve the cones from 4-8....So, if you got the time, we need ya!! Seeeeee you there....


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Today on 98.5 The Peak Radio Pennsylvania

Hip-Hop Chess makes another cross-over. Radio Hosts Crockett and Waters taped a phone interview with HHCF Life Strategies Teacher from Ryan Academy High School during her journalism class to talk about the HHCF White House Chess request.

Here's a note from the hosts:


Again, many, many thanks to you & your students for taking the time out of your busy day to spend with us up here in York, PA! I'm sure our listeners are going to be most interested in your program, and as such, there wasn't a whole lot of things we could "take out" of our interview. Therefore, we're doing something we've never done in the 5 years we've been a morning show...we're breaking the interview down into two segments.

The first will air at about 8:05 or 8:35-ish tomorrow morning...the second, about 10 minutes later. We'll also likely rebroadcast the segments on Thursday or Monday in the 6am hour (either 6:05-ish & 6:15-is OR 6:35-ish and 6:45-ish).

In addition, our listeners will likely be lucky enough to hear you again later in the year in one of our many Year-End special segments...hopefully with an update on how a member of the Obama administration graced your classroom for a friendly game...

We are always excited to see creative energy used in a productive manner, and are just thrilled at how you've been able to so successfully implement this program & change the lives of your students! Congratulations to you and your students...and, again, thanks for everything!


Crockett and Waters

Monday, March 23, 2009

Never Listen to the Critics, Live Your Life...

Alan "Gumby" Marques of Heroes Martial Arts and Adisa Banjoko doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Mind Over Matter II

PHOTO BY: Keba Armand Konte

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
- Theodore Roosevelt


One of the many amazing photos from Octagon, by Kevin Lynch

The Art of War
By: Adisa Banjoko

History is a powerful thing. Those who make it history, inspire others to be great. But those who make it, cannot convey it without the historian. Some laugh at those who write or take photographs. But, if it were not for them, humanity would be millions of years behind where we are today. Without those to capture the art of the warrior, life would be much less exciting.

When Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) began to rise in North America, it was written off by many as a joke. Today we recognize it as one of the most important sports of our time. Photographer Kevin Lynch put together what is arguably the best photo book on MMA ever, entitled Octagon. It features amazing shots of BJ Penn, Kenny Florian, George St. Pierre, Jeff Monson, Quinton Jackson, Rich Franklin, Joe Stevenson, Ken Shamrock, Josh Koscheck, Nick Diaz, Michael Bisping, Matt Serra and many others. Octagon captures the courage, heart and soul of the UFC. No other book has captured the humanity of the modern martial artist. Octagon may be one of the most important books in the history of MMA. Here, he talks about what it took to capture the art of war, so he could push an underground sport from out of the shadows.

HHCF: Tell me about the creation of this book, its awesome.

Kevin Lynch: About five years ago I was doing some commercial work for the UFC. Dana had flown me to Vegas to help design a billboard for their upcoming event, Ken Shamrock Vs. Tito Ortiz. In the process, I saw a great opportunity. I was was unfamiliar with the sport, to be honest with you. But I wanted to show what these fighters really go through. Some of these guys walk in being young and inexperienced. After three rounds, they walk out a man. They go through so many emotions. The way they relate to their opponent.

So, one thing I wanted to do was shoot them right before they went out, and right after they come back. But you also see what they go through. Are they prepared or unprepared? The after shots show more of elation, or the despair of defeat. It gives you a pretty strong portrait of an Ultimate Fighter.

We just had a big show in NY with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta. Everybody flew in for this event. We also recently took the book to an art fair in London. The whole intent was to show the artistry, and get some good PR for the UFC.

HHCF: MMA and BJJ have really exploded in large part because of Dana White's marketing brilliance. This book represents another jewel in his crown, so to speak. Tell me about some of the stories behind the photos in Octagon. Tell me something you learned while shooting it?

Forrest Griffin and his famous flying knee.

Kevin Lynch: The first thing I can say is respect. They all took the time to have their portrait taken, when they really don't want to stop. They are nto in the mood to pretend they are somebody else. You are who you are. Thats why these pictures are so honest. You can really tell a lot about who these fighters are. I think most of it is first of all, the admiration I have for the dedication and sophistication of the sport over the last five years. Thats a huge transformation in itself.

These fighters have become much more refined and the sport has become much more predictable. Which makes it more exciting! Of course the guidance from Dana White and the people in the organization has been instrumental. His heart and soul is in the UFC. So the fighters have to look up to him. Theres a lot of leadership here. Plus, accessibility to the people. Thats another thing these fighters have.

In boxing, they have an entourage of 20 people. You wonder why, because a boxer can defend himself. They are so guarded. In the UFC, the regular people who are actually gettin' hurt, a person who's not a wrestler pretending to fight...He's a real person, with a lot of intelligence. Thats a sophisticated athlete we're talking about.

In the beginning Matt Hughes and Pat Milletech thought I Was a nuisance. Today we are good friends. They thought I was taking advantage of them by taking their picture when they were hurt. They thought I was taking it for my own personal gain. When it was really about rewarding the public, by giving them insight to whats really happening behind the scenes. They saw there was a lot of heart and dedication on my part. Now I've become friends with most fighters.

So I shoot the before, I go to the event. I see them right there. Then I'd run back to get the after photo and get the before shot of the next fight. This goes on all night long. As well as other shots I'd take from above the Octagon. It was a four year process. The book took another year to complete and edit. Whats unique about it was having access as one photographer from all these different areas.

HHCF: What are your 5 favorite photos and why?

Kevin Lynch: One is a compilation of 400 images put together as one wall. It one image I love. One is a photo of Matt Hughes with the flag. It shows him as who is is. A young American guy from the mid-west, a farmer. It really reflects his patriotism. The other is the Chuck Liddell victory image. He's up on the Octagon after he won his first title. An image of the Octagon after 16 events. Its very abstract. The before and after of Chuck, after he fought Randy Couture in UFC 43. Chuck was famous, but he was still excited to pose, even though he lost the fight. That gave a lot of other fighters, incentive to work with me in the future events. Another was in Miramar, after the UFC dedicated a fight to the Marines. I shot a panorama of 3000 Marines standing at attention to the flag. It was a very touching moment for me. One is of Ken Shamrock all by himself in the Octagon. It represents the idea that once the gate shuts, you cant get out, nobody can get in. You are on your own. BJ Penn, I did a trio image with him and you see the artistry of his actions and the passion in his heart. Also, Forrest and Bonnar when they both ave their hands raised after being inducted to the TUF finale. Probably the most important moment in UFC history. From that moment, the UFC sort of exploded into a phenomenon.

See more images on Octagon here:

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Please come play with us on TWITTER!!

HEAR YEE, HEAR YEE AND ALL THAT!! YA KNOW WHAT I'M SAYIN'?!?!? is where you can get all the latest HHCF updates! See you soon...


Saturday, March 7, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Highlights from Mind Over Matter II feat. Emory Tate and RZA

This is the first of many clips from the amazing day at O'Connell High in SF. We could not have done this without you.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

This guy is one of my new favorite chess tutors on youtube!

This guy is good. Much respect to Lakermangmx for pointing me in the direction of these vids!!


The Bishop kills 'em with 2 knights!!!

As you know, I'm not the best chess player on the earth. But I love the game. I won against the computer today using my knights. HHCF European branch leader Count Nestian KILLS me with his knights. This is the first time I won with knights. Its nothing dynamic like Kasparov or Ashley, but its a win I'm proud of.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

HHCF Official Theme Song, by T-K.A.S.H.

Check this out, its long overdue...Rhymes by T-K.A.S.H., all custom sets featured are by our sponsor !!


Thursday, January 1, 2009

HHCF Song for 2009!! Sabac Red's The Commitment

We love this song and we hope you share it with all the youth you know!!


Get FREE Digital Copy of Lyrical Swords Vol. 2: Westside Rebellion

Lyrical Swords Vol. 2: Westiside Rebellion is a powerful, soul stirring collection of essays and interviews on Hip-Hop, chess, martial arts and non-violence. The Hip-Hop Chess Federation was born shortly after the release of this book. It features interviews with some of the worlds hardest artists including RZA, GZA, Slick Rick, Nas, Balance, Frontline, EA Ski, Casual, Ray Luv, Dave Camarillo, Gumby from OTM, from Black Eyed Peas, Styles P, Spider Loc, Jamel Shabazz, Grand Master Maurice Ashley, Kid Peligro, Run DMC and Jam Master Jay, Dilated Peoples, DJ Qbert, Mix Master Mike from the Beastie Boys, Imam Zaid Shakir, Afrika Bambaataa and many others…

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Much respect,

Uproxx Covers HHCF Founder plus, FREE PDF download of Bobby Bruce and the Bronx Available

The book Bobby Bruce & the Bronx by Adisa the Bishop is now available from this day forward FREE in PDF form. Please enjoy it and share ...