Monday, December 27, 2010

HHCF Must Read of 2011!! Jay-Z Decoded

"Its like in chess, when you've already set up your endgame and your opponent doesn't even realize it." - Jay-Z

My parents got me this book for Christmas. You know, my mom took me to get my first mixer when I was 13. My dad taught me how to scratch that night. So, its only right that they gave me a book that has opened my eyes about Hip-Hop.

Jay-Z's new book is the new must read book for all HHCF members and fans. This book has more honesty in the first eight pages, than most rappers books have from front to back. Jay-Z Decoded is part autobiography, part photo album and part lyrical analysis. He looks not only at his own lyrics, but the lyrics of those that inspired him over the years. Its a powerful read. I hope that in the years to come this books is mandatory reading in American schools for kids 13 and up.

But there are some tough situations here in this book. He talks about dealing crack in his youth. But he also breaks down the complete truth about what it means to have made that choice. I appreciate his honesty about the ugly realities of the drug trade. Parents and kids alike need to be in tune with Jay-Z Decoded.

The reason Jay-Z Decoded is so important is because number one, he is a survivor. This is a man who endured many obstacles, extreme poverty, intense violence, physical and psychological threats on the streets, on wax and in the boardroom. But he navigated safely through all of it to become arguably one of the best to ever do it.

I think he will go down in history as one of the best to ever to Hip-Hop and push Hip-Hop beyond what anyone (possibly even himself) thought it could be.

Here he is talking to Cornel West enjoy....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dr. Dre Plays Chess on the Cover of XXL!!

This is beautiful. I love it on so many levels. The funny thing is, people will STILL act shocked when you explain that Hip-Hop has shown more love to the game of chess than any other music form on earth.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Jrobi breaks out a wicked trap

HHCF Jiiu Jitsu Team Member Patrick Ryan Gets Blue Belt!

I'm proud to share with the world that HHCF Jiu Jitsu Team Member Patrick Ryan was awarded  his blue belt from Rodrigo Mendes. I knew it was coming soon. He's competed a lot this year (including the Worlds where he had a stellar submission in his first match). He also hosts the Jupiter Jiu Jitsu competitions down in Florida. For those in the chess world, Patrick had a serious role at both Chesspark and WuChess. I have a photo of him playin' RZA on tour somewhere. He's been at almost every HHCF event and we are all VERY proud of him for getting his blue, his contribution to the chess and jiu jitsu communities.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In Search of Musashi

Origins of A Legend: In Search of Musashi
By: Adisa Banjoko

In the history of martial arts, few names stand as tall as Miyamoto Musashi. This unconquered, self taught swordsman has inspired so many different kinds of people its hard to fully measure his impact. MMA fighters,  BJJ practitioners and business men across the globe read his classic Book of Five Rings as a source of motivation. When watching movies like Twilight Samurai, Shogun Assassin, Twilight Samurai or cartoons and comics like Usagi Yojimbo and Samurai Jack- they all contain elements of Musashi's philosophical DNA. But beyond the Book of Five Rings and the Japanese fiction epic Musashi, by Eiji Yoshikawa very little is known about him.

Lucky for us, William de Lange has written a book appropriately entitled The Real Musashi: Origins of a Legend. After studying Japanese culture and swordsmanship Mr. de Lange chose to put together a book on Musashi's real life to demystify one of the worlds greatest strategists. William de Lange created a  powerful piece of work on Miyamoto Musashi that is as well researched as it is well written. He takes the context of all of Musashi's travels very seriously. I believe some people may not be as interested in certain maps or details of certain family members etc. I personally found this to be amazing. For instance, I never knew Musashi had a daughter. I was shocked to learn that he killed his first opponent at the age of 13.  I also learned how close Musashi came do dying when he fought Sasaki Kojiro. There is so much in the book. I do not want to ruin for you. So rather than continue, I'll let Mr. de Lange tell you about his findings and his methods while in search of the the real Musashi. 

Adisa Banjoko: When did you first learn about Musashi and at what compelled you to write this book?

William de Lange: Oh, that's hard to say. Actually, the first memory I have of my budding interest in Japan's feudal era was watching Shogun when I was in my early teens. Oddly enough, I don't have any clear recollection of first reading about Musashi. Being a practitioner of the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu my interest was automatically first drawn the the proponents of that school of the legendary swordsmanship, Kami Izumi Ise no Kami, and of course, Yagyu Muneyoshi and Yagyu Munenori.

It was only when I set out to write my trilogy on Famous Japanese Swordsmen that I seriously immersed myself in the life and times of Miyamoto Musashi. In that series I trace the origin and development of the various Japanese schools of swordsmanship by describing the lives of their practitioners against the greater historical backdrop of incessant civil war. That study soon led me to the realization that this towering figure on Japan's martial landscape really deserved his own book. Not only because in comparison to the other swordsmen there is such a wealth of material, but also because he does not really fit into the format of my swordsmen series.

The reason for this was that most of the swordsmen of Musashi's time represented just one link in a long line of swordsmen, each of whom made small changes and improvements in the particular school in which they were raised and trained. Musashi, by contrast, developed his Niten Ichi-ryû—with its distinctive use of two swords—virtually out of nothing. In that sense he is a unique character in he pantheon of Japanese swordsmen.

He also is unique in having developed his own philosophy of heiho (the art of warfare). In that sense only Yagyû Munenori comes close with his Heiho kadensho, although that work was very much influenced by the writings of his close friend Takuan Soho. Similarly, Musashi stands out by his great talent in the field of calligraphy and painting, reason enough, therefore, to dedicate at least one book to the life and times of Miyamoto Musashi.

AB: How did you begin the process of telling his story?
WDL: Naturally, the first thing I did when I began my research was to look what original sources there were on Musashi. Of course there is the Book of Five Rings, but sadly, Musashi only spends only half a page in describing the event of his life. I therefore had to look elsewhere, to accounts of Musashi written by his contemporaries or their close descendants, who wrote down what was passed down to them by men who had known Musashi alive. It was then that I realized that there actually is a great wealth of different sources, some more, some less reliable. I found that two of the most reliable sources are the Bushu denraiki and the Bukoden, both of which were written around the middle of the eighteenth century.

I also found that though various authors who had delved into Musashi's life had come across these text and and quoted from them, but no western author had as yet taken the trouble to translate and use these texts in full. It was then that I decided to carefully translate both text before I set out to write the actual biography of Musashi's life.

AB: What about Musashi intrigued you the most during your research?

WDL:The question whether he actually took part in the Battle of Sekigahara. Having translated both the Bushû denraiki and the Bukoden,
as well as studying a number of other text and sourses I have come to the conclusion that, though his father Muni did, he himself did not,
but actually took part in the siege of Tomiku castle, situated on the southern island of Kyushu, where he had moved with his father.

AB: How long did it take you to find the scrolls and what was the translation process?

WDL: Oddly enough, both the Bushu denraiki and the Bukoden are quite well known in Japan. Both works have been republished during the previous century, along with a considerable amount of serious scholarship. This groundwork helped me as, inevitably, some passages in both text are quite obscure and hard to understand. I also found that, because of this existing body of work, certain aspects of Musashi's life that are still shrouded in mystery in the West are already quite well known and undisputed in Japan. One example is Musashi's role in the siege of Osaka castle, in which he almost certainly served under the Mizuno Katsunari. This, by the way, is not so much proven by one of the above texts, but by the Kiro zatsuroku, written by the Confucianist scholar-warrior Matusdaira Kunzan.
                                               The sequel drops in March 2011

Perhaps one of the most remarkable things to be gained from the Bushu denraiki is that, quite contrary to the generally accepted view in the West, Musashi did not take part in the Battle of Sekigahara, the great contest for supremacy between the eastern and western forces. Instead, he took part in the siege of Tomiku castle, on the southern island of Kyoshu, fighting for the western warlord Kuroda Yoshitaka.

AB: Why do you think so many people around the world have find such deep inspiration from Musashi's legend and his real life?
WDL: I  think that most people, including myself, are struck by his fierce independence of mind. At no stage in his life did Musashi truly submit to any form of authority, choosing instead a solitary life and only serving various warlords in the capacity of adviser. I think it is that spirit of independence that shines through, not only in his unique style of fencing, but also in his writings, calligraphy, and paintings. He is a truly unique individual, with an absolute belief in his own abilities and approach to life and its inevitable difficulties.

AB: What if anything have you learned about Musashis relationship with Takuan Soho, the famous Buddhist Monk and author of The Unfettered Mind? In the fiction novel, it framed them as dear friends.

WDL: Actually, I'm not aware that Takuan and Musashi were befriended.Takuan wrote his work for his good friend Yagyû Munenori, who is said
to have encountered Musashi near Kyoto once, but so far I have not found any sources that refer to such a relationship.

AB: What did you learn about him the most that inspired or touched you in a deep way?

WDL Inevitably I was most inspired by the man's independence of mind; his belief in his unique destiny from a very young age and the unwavering conviction with which he pursued it. Most touched I was by Musashi's inconsolable grief over the death of his one child, a baby girl—another remarkable discovery that lies in store for those who read the Bushu denraiki.

AB: I was interested to find out he had so much money. How did he make it? Through teaching swordplay?

WDL: It seems that throughout his life Musashi was quite well paid by those who requested his services. During his last years in Kumamoto, for instance, he received a stipend of three hundred koku (bushels of rice), as well as a stipend sufficient to support seventeen servants. Compared to that, his old friend Shiota Hamanosuke only received twenty-five koku.

AB: You study swordsmanship in Japan. Has studying Musashi taught you anything philosophically or realistically as far as swordplay is

WDL: Yes, that the basic principles are always the same, regardless which school of thought you adhere to. This applies to all aspects of
swordsmanship, as well as all the other forms of marital art: whether it concerns breathing techniques, one's gravitational center, the importance of mushin, all Asian martial arts begin from the same basic principles. They only differ in their approach and the details of their execution.

                                  A statue dedicated to Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro

AB:  What is your favorite part of the book?

WDLI particularly enjoyed translating the first part of the book. Not only because (for various reasons I explain in the introduction) the Bushu denraiki is more knowledgeable about Musashi's early life (while the Bukoden is more about his later life), but because it was especially in his early youth that Musashi's rebellious independence of mind shines through. Thus he leaves home at the age of nine, and thus he breaks away form the ranks—and almost gets killed—during the siege of Tomiku castle some seven years later.

AB: What's next for you?

WDL:Having translated both the Bushu denraiki and the Bukoden, I have now set about to recount his life in full. In order to do so I have translated a large number of additional early text, including the above mentioned Kiro zatsuroku. Some of these texts have never been used before by Western authors, so I intend to quote from them at length in my forthcoming biography of Musashi.

Adisa Banjoko has been covering BJJ and MMA for more than ten years. He holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and founder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation. For more info on him follow him on Twitter @hiphopchess

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fight Philanthropy: Hip-Hop Chess Federation Creates HHCF Jiu Jitsu Team

The Hip-Hop Chess Federation now has its official HHCF  Jiu Jitsu Team. We are a group of people involved in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu who dedicate their lives to helping people off the mat as well. Fight Philanthropy is what we do. Fight Philanthropy is how warriors give back. In a few months, you will see the members of this team doing some amazing things to serve the greater global community. I want to take a moment to thank all the people involved who chose to be a part of this team. Also note that every person on the team is not an expert at the art. You don't have to be a Black belt to give back. You will see some of these people at Boston University March 26th 2011 when RZA defends his HHCF Chess King title belt....

See you on the boards,
Adisa Banjoko

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Interview with IM David Pruess

About a year ago, maybe less, I met IM David Pruess  from at the Cal States Championship. He was a very laid back guy. We had some cool conversations about chess and life and competition. He did some great simuls and he guides kids into chess very well. Not long ago,  I caught up him on line the other month and I interviewed him via Google Chat. Check it out!!

Adisa Banjoko: At what age did you start playing chess and who taught you?
 David: my dad
he also taught my little brother, and I mostly played with them until I went to a Berkeley Chess School chess program for kids at age 12. that's when I found out about tournaments, books, theory...
AB: When did you realize you were good?
 David: Haha, I thought I was good like a lot of kids who don't know what's out there. I already thought I was good when I went to a summer camp and got scholar's mated 20 times in a row by some kid, until the time came to go home.
that's when i realized I was not good.
me: How did you face those losses? A lot of kids might have just quit. What made you keep going?
David: I was just dizzy, didn't know where the punch was coming from. It didn't affect whether or not I played though. I played cause I loved chess. I would have played all the time, but I did not know the opportunities that were out there to play (until 12).
 AB: Now for those that don't know what it takes
  What does it really take to be a Master?
David: a lot of time, perseverance, losing hundreds of games and learning lessons from them, and pushing yourself to always be better than you were before... and a lot more, the list of qualities is extensive. those are some that seem most important to me.
 AB: How did your parents prepare you for dealing with tournament pressure?
 David: I'll say this, spending time does not necessarily equate to improvement. If you don't feel you are making an effort while you are practicing, playing, studying, the time probably doesn't count for much.
 they didn't. They taught me great things like to love other people, but they didn't care about chess or competition. in fact, they taught me never to compare myself to other people, and for the most part, I never do.
AB: How did you find a balance between knowing not comparing yourself to other people but at the same time seeking this high level? It seems hard to do.
 David: yeah i was lost for a while in my high school years, thinking it was important to be able to beat other people, get recognition in the chess community. then i got over it and returned to just playing for the love of the game, and to improve myself, without regard to how i matched up to others.
  I think one reason i came back to balance was that playing for love of the game is fun, playing to prove you are better than someone else is not.
 or I just slowly remembered that it's nasty to want to be better than others.
  by the way, i was never competitive like that outside of chess, so it's definitely the competitiveness of chess that managed to bring that trait out in me. and i'm glad i got over it.
 AB: Tell me about how you got hooked up with
 David : a lucky meeting for me with the two founders, lead to a dream job. I checked out their site, saw that they were great in their design. From a couple personal conversations, I decided they had the right ideas about how to treat everyone in the chess world with respect, and build for everyone at the same time. Then I was anxious to get to work with them.
(good stuff on your page by the way; just checked out recession-proof soul, and the american education is failingvideo)
 AB: (thanks man!)
  Any last words?
David: not any time soon!For more on IM David Pruess check out today! 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

RAW All-Star Cheer Connects with HHCF for Guinness Book Event!

Veronica Cohen

 Cheerleaders Across California will gather for Guinness World Record!
California Cheer Teams Seek World Record By Uniting at 2010 California Spirit Challenge

 September 29th, 2010, San Jose, CA- RAW All-Star Cheer Gym is proud to announce that it will be hosting The 2010 California Spirit Challenge on November 14, 2010 at the Alum Rock Youth Center in San Jose,CA. The purpose of the 2010 California Spirit Challenge is to break the Guinness Book of World Record for the largest cheer dance at a single venue.  

“Cheer leading is one of the longest athletic traditions for American girls” said RAW Cheer coach Tavi. “ California girls have a reputation across the world for being the some of the most fierce cheer leaders. We’re going to gather cheer leaders from all over the state and break the world record together. RAW Cheer is going to show the world what it means to have California spirit!

RAW All-Stars is partnering with internationally known non-profit the Hip-Hop Chess Federation & other sponsors to rally squads and get them trained for the six-minute synchronized performance all participants are required to perform on the day of the event.

HHCF Founder Adisa Banjoko stated “Cheer squads might seem like an unlikely ally. But the truth is cheerleading is one of the biggest fitness traditions for American females. It takes a strong mind and tons of physical strength to pull off the stunts these young ladies accomplish. As a foundation that strongly believes that you must have a strong mind and strong body, for that reason we’re a proud sponsor of RAW All-Stars and this amazing event.” 

This event is open to cheer teams members of all ages. To register your team  for participation in the 2010 California Spirit Challenge visit where you can learn the moves for the cheer dance and other details about this historic event. For up to the minute updates follow us now at

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rakaa from Dilated Peoples Trains at Heroes Martial Arts Between Tour Stops

Rakaa from Dilated Peoples loves chess and Hip-Hop. Recently he ended a tour in SF and before heading back to LA visited Heroes Martial Arts and took some time to learn about the "gentle art" from Head Instructor Alan "Gumby" Marques. Here are a few pics from the day. A lot of vid will follow. I'm having editing issues. But it should be up shortly. Don't forget to pick of Rakaa's new LP Crown of Thorns on Decon Records. Its out now.


Jrobi Kills it on the English Opening

The Jazz and Hip-Hop Fusion

I love Hip-Hop. For my fathers generation, Jazz was their Hip-Hop. It was free it was flowing it was intelligent and empowering. So, when the two combine, its always intense. This song is pretty old. But if your kids like Hip-Hop, you might want to introduce them to jazzy works of Guru and the group called Gangstarr.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

HHCF After School Program is BACK at O'Connell High in SF!!

The O'Connell High kids HHCF after school program was on hold. Now we're back!!

Last year, the HHCF took a hard blow. There was not enough money for us to really be fully functional at John OConnell. But this year, we're baaaaack!! Yesterday was the first day. I cannot tell you how cool it was to watch street kids, nerds, lady hustlers and jocks all at the tables playing. Much props to the ladies on the boards! We have a LOT of new girls who smash dudes with a queens wisdom. Thanks to Timberland Boots, most of the kids will be getting new shoes within the next few days. 

Our program will be more than just chess. We will be giving the kids basic chess lessons, show them various movies that encourage them to make new decisions and talk about the positive life strategies found inside Hip-Hop music. Songs like Sabac Reds, The Commitment:

But my people we need you! If you are a chess player, a rapper, graff writer, DJ, b-boy/b-girl or martial artist- WE NEED YOU. The HHCF needs you to come through and talk to the kids about some of the best and worst decisions you've made. We need your wisdom, your compassion, your laughter and advice. Then, play some casual games, or, let some of the kids teach you how to play chess as a thank you for spending some time with us. SERIOUS INQUIRES REACH OUT AT: !

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Life Strategies: Chess and the Recession Proof Soul

HHCF Founder Adisa Banjoko and DJ Kevvy Kev play at Ben & Jerrys on Haight St. in San Francisco. Adisa got smashed two times quick! 

The first time I stole, I was about 8. I went to a gumball machine that had lil toys in it. It was broken, so, when you turned the knob without putting a quarter in- it still gave you a toy. I got a fake piece of buttered bread. It looked real though. I’d offer it to people on plates and people would think it was real. It made people laugh, but, I never laughed as hard because I knew I never paid for it. I knew my parents taught me better. Even without my parents, something instinctual told me it was wrong. I eventually threw it away.

I didn't steal again for about 8 years. One of my first teen gigs in the 80’s was at Chess King (ironic ain’t it?). If you were remotely cool in the 80’s Chess King was one of the best places to shop. Some of the people I worked with stole clothes all the time, but, I didn’t . I mean, we worked here, so we got a discount (plus I thought I was wrong and I was scared to do it).

But after I left Chess King, I went to work at a store that sold jeans. So many people stole there it made your head spin. They had elaborate ways of having friends come in, buy one pair of jeans, but we’d have seven pairs of jeans prepped in another bag that they’d walk out with.  After work, we’d split all the jeans in the parking lot and go home. This was before a lot of stores had cameras. So, it was done frequently.

After working in the mall for a while you get to know other kids at other stores. So, they steal from shoes for you. You return the favor by snatching some shirts and stuff for them. Everybody is happy right? Wrong.

The thing is, despite never being caught, no matter how cool the clothes were- I never felt good in them. Just like the fake piece of bread when I was kid, I knew better than to take something I didn’t earn.

That Christmas season, a bunch of my friends and I got over on a ton of clothes. A few weeks later, things got tense. Some people  got busted. If you take more than five hundred dollars of a product, its grand theft! I’m not prison material. I was shook, but I kept quiet. Some folks went to jail. I never did. Now I even felt worse walking around in these clothes I knew I had no business stealing.

After that, I stopped taking things I knew did not belong to me. It was that easy. I chose the better path. Sometimes life was tough and I had real opportunities to come up on stuff that I wanted. Other times, I had a shot at taking stuff that I really needed, but could not afford.

A few days after boxing legend Muhammad Ali won his historic match against George Foreman in The Rumble in the Jungle, he gave a speech to African heads of state. He told them that one thing the African people at that time had, that the African Americans had lost was the ability to keep their dignity in their poverty. Meaning they did not let their poverty be an excuse for poor behavior and bad morals.

Today everybody is using poverty and this recession as the reason they use or sell drugs, steal, stay high and drunk- or worse. I’ve watched many of my friends over the years sell weed, cocaine, steal cars all kinds of things. One of two things  unfolded for them. They woke up and changed, or they stayed with it and paid a price (prison, addiction or death). I understand the pain of poverty and the confusion it can cause. But we must be stronger than situation before us. Sometimes, you win in chess, just by holding your position. Making erratic moves on the board means you lose. It may not be the best time to try and move forward, but do not move back on inch. Hold your ground! There will always be pressure from somewhere. How you respond to pressure is what separates the champions from the chumps. I once heard RZA from Wu-Tang say “Cash rules everything around me, but it doesn't rule me”. That's holding your ground.

Today I’d rather sit in front of you in some old jeans and a t-shirt that are mine, than in a new suit that I took. I’d rather walk around in shoes that are worn out, than shoes that I stole.  I figured out how to have a recession proof soul.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another great video on Jiu Jitsu & Chess!

People really did not see what we were talking about in the beginning. Now videos are popping up all over the place. The path and the aim of jiu jitsu and chess is the same. Much respect to my friend David Balicki from Heroes Martial Arts in San Jose, who sent this to me!!! Even Ray Charles can see the connections now. Join the movement! Pick up a chessboard, get on the mat and train with your friends, learn, walk the earth in peace to dope beats.

-Adisa Banjoko

Hip-Hop Chess Federation Announces 1st HHCF Graffiti Contest

 Graffiti piece done by graff legends Crayone, Picasso and HHCF students from O'Connell High in SF

We love graffiti art and we support all the men and women who put their souls on the wall for the world to see. We believe that graffiti art is the visual language of the streets and we support its elevation and preservation. Hip-Hop artists from Eric B & Rakim, Fat Joe, Wu-Tang Clan, Pharcyde, Dilated Peoples and tons of others participate in or support graff.  People used to say it wasn't even art. Today graffiti is used by global clothing, food, technology and entertainment brands across the planet. Its impact cannot be ignored.This contest is an attempt to help young artists showcase their skills and help them share it with the world.

BE CLEAR: We do not support vandalizing other peoples public or private property. Nor do we support people using graff to intimidate or threaten. 

Rakaa from Dilated Peoples, Josh Waitzkin, Adisa Banjoko, RZA & Gene Ching talk chess and life strategies.

We love graffiti art and we support the men and women who put their souls on the wall for the world to see. We believe that graffiti art is the visual language of the streets and we support its preservation.

That said, the Hip-Hop Chess Federation is proud to announce the 1st HHCF Graff Contest. To participate do the following:

1. Get a black Sharpie and "tag" or "throw up" the word CHESS & add a CHARACTER to it on a 8 1/2 by 11 piece of paper.

2. Take a photo of it or scan it and email to:

We will post as many as we can (we can't promise to post them all) here on this blog!

Then 5 finalists will have their submissions posted up and people can VOTE on their favorite "tag" or "throw up".

THE WINNER OF THE 1st  HHCF GRAFF CONSTEST WILL WIN: An official HHCF chess board autographed by RZA and GZA from the Wu-Tang Clan, Rakaa from Dilated Peoples and chess legend Josh Waitzkin.  Plus the winner will get a pair of cold crush Timberland boots! THE WINNER WILL BE ANNOUNCED SEPT. 30th 2010!!! Be sure to follow us at to be part of the discussion.

IMPORTANT RULES: If you use any other color than BLACK, you will be disqualified. If you use a paper BIGGER than 8 1/2 by 11, you will be disqualified. If you have the word CHESS but NO CHARACTER, you will be disqualified. NO DIGITAL GRAFF SUBMISSIONS ALLOWED.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Jrobi breaks down the Sicilian Dragon!

US Open for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is Coming!


Hey, I think its great that the new commercial for the US Open has chess in it. But now, why not connect with the org that promoted this connection the most (HINT)....I know some of their money goes to charity (and the HHCF could use some help!). If you have never seen a jiu jitsu tournament, THIS IS THE EVENT TO BE AT!!! Family friendly, lots of folks from around the world- close to the boardwalk! Come on down....See you on the mats!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

HHCF Founder Adisa Banjoko featured on Rakaa's new song, Eyes Wide

Rakaa Iriscience from Dilated Peoples just released his first solo LP, Crown of Thorns. On it, you'll find Hip-Hop Chess Federation Founder Adisa Banjoko talking about how chess strategies are connected to life strategies. Go get a copy of Crown of Thorns today on iTunes and enjoy the track. Its 100% curse free, so parents don't worry....By the way, Rakaa has been a supporter of HHCF since day one. He loves chess and he loves jiu jitsu. Now turn your speakers up.

HHCF's favorite chess blogger Jrobi on the Alekhine Defense

HHCF Founder Competes in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tournament: Kugtar Challenge

Why train in the Way of the Sword if I haven't the courage to try?- Miyamoto Musashi

I love jiu jitsu. Last weekend I got the opportunity to compete in the Kugtar Challenge. It was a great tournament thrown by my good friend Vince Vanderlipe, in Salnias CA. I was in a purple belt match against Erick Fallon. It was a great match, I lost on points 3-0 (he passed my guard- which means he escaped my legs). But it was a great match and I look forward to more competitions in October when the US Open happens in beautiful Santa Cruz, CA!! Thanks to my man Nick for shooting it.

I posted this because I want people 14, or 40 (my age) to know that competition is a good thing. You will win some and you will surely lose some, but loving the game is what its about. Despite not winning, I was able to do a lot of things in this match I did not do well in prior macthes (control grips, escape side mount position, continuously attack with chokes).  There were other things I did not do so well (no sweep attempts, no throw/takedown attempts). But I took many steps forward mentally and strategically in this match. I know I'm growing in my art. I have to thank Erick Fallon for being such a good competitor and a good person. We had great conversation after the match.

I'm no Rickson Gracie, but I love the path of jiu jitsu. I used my Nintendo DS to help prepare myself mentally for my jiu jitsu match. It helped me have more confidence in the choices I made. Brazilian jiu jitsu has brought me much health, much fun and allowed me to meet some of my best friends of all races and cultures I've ever met in my life.

Much love to my team at, my instructors Gumby and Shozo Fukuda. I plan to get gold at US Open. I'm training for it already.

-Adisa Banjoko, HHCF Founder

Sunday, May 23, 2010

HHCF Looks Back At the Power of the Queen

Queen Latifah is amazing for so many reasons. But long before she was embraced by mainstream TV, she was one of the coldest female MC's I ever saw...She still is to be honest. Here is one of my favorites. This song is actually sampled from Miles Davis Tutu album...

The Birds Opening, never saw this one...

HHCF Interviews Jiu Jitsu Master Adem Redzovic for OTM

Check out my latest interview with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Master Adem Redzovic about the importance of staying consistent, keeping faith on your path and listening to your teacher.
My new interview with Adem Redzovik from Chicagos Gracie Barra: CLICK PHOTO ABOVE TO READ ARTICLE.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The 2 Knights Opening

The HHCF wants to share a glimpse of reality

I try to tell people the HHCF is not for everybody. If you want to be a show off chess guy who wants to brag about ratings and your favorite opening all day- we don't want you. If you care about people from all walks of life and you are willing to learn from people totally unlike you- welcome.

Above is a clip from my daily walk to and from the school I work at in San Francisco. The area is plagued with poverty, hunger and homelessness. Nevertheless a lot of kids with good hearts brave these streets everyday to get an education. Its not easy, but it must be done...This is the first of a series...We do this to show you exactly who we serve. More soon.

-Adisa Banjoko
HHCF Founder

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This is what your kids need...

No more Dick and Jane. No more Spot....The kids want chess and Hip-Hop!!

HHCF Founder get Silver Medal in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tournament

I had a great time this weekend competing in the American Cup for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). It was my first time since I got my recent promotion. I lost on points. But it was amazing. I compete again in 2 weeks at Jiu Jitsu By The Bay on May 15th in Hayward, CA.I hope to see you there. The HHCF is sponsoring it and families from all over the state will be attending. Looking forward to seeing you there.

Nice look at Scandinavian defense...

Great instruction....


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

HHCF Makes a Move for Autism!!

HHCF 4 Autism
Uploaded by lyricalswords. - Videos of family and friends from around the world.

Guru from Gangstarr passes away...

Hip-Hop lost a major figure with the passing of Guru from Gangstarr. I'm still unsure of how he passed. Some say cancer. Other say a heart attack. When I was a young rapper I got to open up for him once...I interviewed him in Lyrical Swords Vol. 2. He will be missed.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

There is no opponent

"I really don't think of my opponent as a personality, just as someone who moves the pieces around. The game is a war, and in a war you fight". 14 year old Jr. World Champion Chess Player Daniel Naroditsky

Friday, April 16, 2010

Jrobi still killing it!!! Pay attention...

HHCF Founder Given Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu Master and Co-founder Alan "Gumby" Marques and HHCF Founder Adisa Banjoko

Today I was given my purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from my instructor and friend Gumby. It was a shock. I've been working hard lately. But I did not expect it. I want to take a minute to thank him for the honor. For me to receive a belt from a man of his skill and character means more than I can truly say. I'd like to thank all my brothers on the mat through the years. On the real were it not for my boy Jaime Lapena- I'd never even know jiu jitsu at all. He must have seen how much I sucked at Eskrima and just wanted to give me a fighting chance in this world. LOL...God & my wife gotta getta extra shout. Much love.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We must face our deepest fear, together...

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."- Nelson Mandela

Sunday, April 11, 2010

HHCF Sponsors Jiu Jitsu by the Bay!!

The HHCF has always been about the fusion of Hip-Hop, chess and martial arts. In 2010 we take that to a new level. We are proud sponsors of Sergio Silva's Jiu Jitsu by the Bay. Sergio Silva was the mastermind behind Haiti BJJ (they raised 4k for Haitian relief in 4 hours). This is a fun, all ages event. There will be tons of families in the house. If you are curious about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or, you are already a big fan we urge you to come out!! See you there!!

For more info visit:


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chess Parents Behaving Badly

Chess Parents Behaving Badly
By Adisa Banjoko, Founder of the Hip-Hop Chess Federation

A few years ago, while at a chess tournament, I realized I had forgotten my camera. My son was making some pretty puzzling faces as he sat before the 64 squares in front of him. So like every parent would do I made a mad dash to my car.

On my way back from the car, I saw a father and son walking along the sidewalk. They were possibly Indian, I'm not sure. They were speaking in another language. The father, was reviewing his sons algebraic notation (the notes from his last chess match) and the son (about seven years old) walked nervously by his side. The father was pointing at different points of the board yelling louder, and louder. The son listened patiently, but I believe I saw a level of resentment in his light brown eyes. After a few more sharp tones hit his ears, he said something he had been holding back. I don't know what he said, it was in another language. It was probably along the lines of "Where's your chess champion trophy at?" or something to that degree.

His father lost it. Without hesitation he snatched his son by the arm and lifted him up, as if to strike him. The boy was swiftly lifted off the earth and made a cry out. The father looked around to see if anyone was watching. Our eyes locked. I shook my head slowly, stating "Don't touch him" with my eyes. He could see I was serious. He put his son down. They walked to a car and drove off.

Since that incident, I have seen many public displays of chess parents and psychologically abusive to their children. Let me repeat, to their children - over a chess match. Almost every time my wife and I attend major, and many minor tournaments we see parents doing unthinkable thing. My wife once saw a mother abandon her daughter in a hotel lobby because she lost. The mother stormed away with the notation in hand as her baby boy cried how sorry he was that he lost. I've seen a son walk back to a parent after losing a match clearly looking for a hug and a word of encouragement. Instead they get a cold word at best and a yanked arm as the parent rushes down the

If you know a parent who does these kinds of things, or, if you are that parent please understand: Your child is NOT their rating. Let's repeat that again. Your child, is NOT their rating. This is a game. A game that is supposed to be fun. A game that can teach them so much about themselves and the world. But not at the expense of their
dignity, and not at the expense of their joy.

Take a moment to find out if chess brings them joy. Do they like to compete? What do they love the most and the least about chess? Would they like to take a break from competition?

Another question for the parents: When was the last time you competed in a chess tournament? When was the last time you competed in anything physically or mentally exhausting?

So many chess parents are trying to live through their kids success. Before you yell at your kid for a blunder, go compete. Before you point out the flaws in your daughter's opening, go compete. Then show the kids your own mistakes. Explain your losses.

I promise it will help you both learn more compassion and increase your joy. To critique notation is the only way any of us can hope to get better. But the spirit in which we do it, is what makes the difference. Imagine after all the money you've spent on tutors. Think back to all the hours of play. All the gas, the hotels, the food
you've bought going from tournament to tournament. After all that, do you really want your kid to grow up and hate chess because of how you treated them? I know tons of adults who now hate the game, because their parents defined their entire identity on a ranking.

Parents, its time to grow up when it comes to how you act towards your
kids at chess tournaments. Its that simple.

Please feel free to respond to me directly at

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hip-Hop Chess Federation Supports Haiti BJJ Event (they raised 4k in 4 hours.!!)

Long time HHCF supporters Gumby from and Sergio Silva from gathered some of the biggest and best names in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for an event to help Haiti. The video below is a sliver of the beauty from that day. These guys raised 4k in 4 hours. Thats beautiful. BJJ is considered by so many to be physical chess, I had to post this.

BJJ Haiti Raises 4k for Quake Victims
Uploaded by lyricalswords. - Basketball, baseball, pro wrestling and more sports videos.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

To all the lovers of the HHCF: Please stay away from drugs.

I have had friends and family die from drugs. I don't want that for any of you out there. Stay away from drugs. James brown can tell you far better than I ever could.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Josh Waitzkin and Jiu Jitsu Legend Marcleo Garcia Launch

Happy New Year!! With so much going on, I forgot to post my two latest articles! One is on Josh Watizkin and the other is on MMA fighter Jeff Monson. Enjoy and we'll see you guys soon!!!

FUSING THE BODY & MIND: Josh Waitzkin and Marcelo Garcia

IRON WILL: Interview with MMA fighter Jeff "The Snowman" Monson

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 ...