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.
http://www.thepeak985.com/ListenLive.aspx

Here's a note from the hosts:

Lisa!

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!

Yours,

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

HHCF EXCLUSIVE: The Art of War


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: http://octagon-book.com/

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Please come play with us on TWITTER!!

HEAR YEE, HEAR YEE AND ALL THAT!! YA KNOW WHAT I'M SAYIN'?!?!?

www.twitter.com/hiphopchess is where you can get all the latest HHCF updates! See you soon...

-Adisa

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.

-HHCF

When Thugs Cry: An Unknown Tupac Story

Recently the internet started buzzing because of a cool conversation between legendary rapper Talib Kweli and Public Enemy front man Chu...