Tuesday, September 22, 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 www.hiphopchessfederation.org for more info!!
Sunday, September 20, 2009
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
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:http://www.bayareachess.com
Partners for the West Coast Kings & Queens Tournament are Bay Area Chess and WuChess.com. Other sponsors include JW Foundation, 9 Queens, www.thechesspiece.com, www.thechessdrum.net, 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu SF, www.mikerelm.com.com, Heroes Martial Arts and Upper Playground. For more information on how to participate visit www.hiphopchess.blogspot.com
Saturday, September 5, 2009
The ever inspirational, Andre Galvao.
Raekwon from Wu-Tang can still bang on the mic.
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.
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