Friday, December 23, 2011

Never Let ANYBODY Call You Other Than Your Name... #LoveYourself

HHCF Interview With Erik "Weaksquare" Murrah

I met Erik aka @WeakSquare on Twitter. We became cool and I wanted to share more of his thoughts and his art with you. Check him out. Certainly a man investing a lot of positive energy in the youth.

HHCF: How did you get started in chess?

WeakSquare: My father taught me the moves when I was about 9 or 10. I used to play my chess program on the computer or battle chess at the school library. I always thought the game was beautiful but never really took it seriously until later in life.

  HHCF: When did you decide to compete and tell me about some of the things you have learned from competition?

WS: That is actually kind of an interesting story. In 2003 I became addicted to online poker. In 2005 I had destroyed all trust between me and my wife because of my addiction. My wife and I met with our pastor who pointed out to me that my addiction was not with money, it was with competition. He recommended that I focus my competitive energy on something far less destructive.
I started playing chess online and it was exactly what I needed.  I never picked gambling back up once I started playing chess. I think that’s why I have picked up chess so quickly, whenever I decide to do something I pour myself into it completely. I have a ferocious tenacity for winning and I think that’s an essential ingredient for becoming a good chess player. I started competing in tournaments in 2007 after I found out my hometown had a chess club. In 2009, I became the South Carolina Amateur Co-Champion by scoring 4 points out of 5 in our state championship chess tournament.
It’s kind of interesting to me that chess, which has given me so much life and energy, was born out of a crisis.  I firmly believe that our mistakes never define us as people, how we choose to recover from our mistakes is what makes people great.  When I was at the lowest point of my life in 2005, I always kept a positive attitude that I could make things right. I worked harder at restoring my marriage than anything else and it has paid enormous dividends. Next year my wife and I will be celebrating our 10-year anniversary.
I have learned so much from playing chess, mainly because I have lost a lot of games. I have a theory that investing in your losses, whether it’s chess, business, football, or whatever, teaches you the most about your discipline. Losing is not a tragedy, failing to learn the lesson that comes along with the loss is the real tragedy.
So yes, I have learned so much about chess, life, competition, winning, and losing by playing.

HHCF:  You have made some really cool videos on chess. I especially like the ones on Capablanca. Do you plan to keep making more?
WS: Hey thanks! I have done numerous videos on YouTube. Actually I started making the videos for my own benefit.  I started pouring through the best of Capablanca’s Endgames and found the games so fascinating I thought it would be kind of tragic to review a game, move on and forget it. So I started making the videos so I could review the games at a later time.
I also started making a video series on the Hyper Accelerated Dragon which is my defense versus 1.e4.  That series has gotten a very nice response from the folks on YouTube. Honestly I don’t have as much time to do videos as I would like. With kids and studying for games, artwork, my job, and such, the time it takes to create a video is a huge investment. I hope to do more in the future.

  HHCF: You were recently featured on TV for some of your outreach with kids. Tell me about that program?

WS: I work in law enforcement. Our county sheriff focuses a lot on community involvement. He challenges all of his employees to be heavily involved in the community. As a response to his challenge, I approached a local elementary school about coaching some at-risk children.  They were very receptive so I have about 14 boys that I meet with once a week to teach them the game.  
They all love it. I told them on day one that chess is about commanding an army, they ate that up. I also told them about Magnus Carlsen who is the strongest chess player in the world at only 21 years old. When they figured out that they could be better at something than grown-ups they really took a firm interest in learning the art.

  HHCF: Your blog is a very fun resource for chess and art. I especially love your wallpapers. How did you get involved in graphic design?

WS: Thanks so much! I’m really proud of my blog. Art has always been a big part of my life, I have always been able to draw really well.  When I got into college that was about the time Photoshop started becoming a very popular business tool. I got really good at it and now am Photoshop expert.  Being in public relations requires me to write a lot of news stories and also create a lot of promotional materials for community events through the Sheriff’s Department. So the professional skills that I have learned translate perfectly to running a blog about my favorite hobby.
As a side project, I also have a web comic called “The Unexamined Life” which melds philosophy and nerd humor.  And make no mistake, I am a nerd. People have a hard time believing I am a nerd on the surface because I played high school basketball and have competed in triathlons. Usually when I tell them I can play chess blindfolded, that removes all doubt to my nerd claim.
  HHCF: Whats next for the Weak Square? Wait! How did you come up with that name?
WS: What’s next? Who knows? I love being creative but I got to tell you man, creative people generally have no rudder. We kind of go where the creative winds push us. I had the idea for this web comic and then pushed out three issues within a few weeks, I mean fast. 
Honestly where I go from here is kind of whichever idea takes off. People have given me a lot of positive feedback about my blog, my YouTube videos and my artwork so at the moment I’m pursuing all three actively. Oh and of course, I still have competitive chess.
Regarding my moniker, it was really important I come up with something creative and funny, but also self-deprecating. I think poking fun at yourself keeps you honest and humble but it’s also a great form of humor. So, I came up with “Weak Square” which of course is a chess term for a square in your camp that cannot be defended by a pawn.  But it’s also a double entendre because “square” is also a slang word for someone who is kind of lame. So by calling myself a “weak square” is clever but poking fun at myself at the same time as kicking out some chess lingo for folks in the know.
  HHCF: Any final thoughts?
Yes, I have a real heart for children and I really respect and love your organization for what you guys are doing. This may sound cliche’ but children are the future of humanity. We have to invest in them if we are to overcome things like racism, sexism, class warfare, etc. All of the things I do is with the hope of inspiring imagination in someone.  That being said, all of the energy and effort I put into my hobbies come a distant second to the important things in life like my relationship with Jesus Christ and my wife and children.
I am an extremely busy person, so making quality time for children and family is something that is easy to let slide, but it really is the most important thing that I can do.  So instead of letting chess stand in the way of my family I include them. I bought my little girl a pink chess set and we just set up the pieces and knock them down and she thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world because it’s spending fun time with daddy.
So I wanted to say all this stuff I do is a drop in the bucket to being a good husband and father.

If You Have Never Learned About Jiu Jitsu, Take A Few Minutes. It Might Save Your Life

This is my instructor, Alan "Gumby" Marques....Enjoy...

UFC Champ BJ Penn on Dr. Peter Goldman

A Man With One Hand, Takes Over The Globe

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dr. Peter Goldman, HHCF Founder Adisa Banjoko and UFC's BJ Penn

I met BJ Penn a long time ago. We were both new at Ralph Gracies. What I remember the most about him was his flexibility, his unmatched dedication to Jiu Jitsu and his courage. Deep courage. You all see it in the cage now, but, to see it then....Was almost even more amazing. He lived a few blocks away from me. After a while his older brother JD Penn would invite me to go to Alex Oxendines place....It was Alex's garage in San Jose...It was dubbed "Legends" and if you were in that garage you worked hard...Fast forward to 2011 and the world knows his name and he is an inspiration to people around the world. I saw BJ Penn for the first time in a long time....Thanks to Dr. Peter Goldman (he reconnected us). It was great to see him and Hoyt and Danny "Donothing" at Skyline College. The Head Coach of Skyline Wrestling team held a private grappling session. I got notice late and I walked in the cold on an empty stomach to roll. It was great. Nothing in the world like reconnecting with old friends. If you have never read his book Why I Fight, I suggest you get it for yourself, then give it to someone you love. -Adisa Banjoko

The first time I heard this song in 1993...I cried. Today it still hits me hard...

I dedicate this to all my kids. I hear you...I'm with you.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rickson Gracie on the power of jiu jitsu in overcoming fear

“Where there’s discomfort, there’s fear,” he said. “In these very tough positions, you’re in a little piece of hell. And through this daily suffering, you learn to survive in these situations. You have to find comfort in the uncomfortable situations. You have to be able to live your worst nightmare. Jiu-Jitsu puts you completely in the moment where you must have complete focus on finding a solution to the problem. This trains the mind to build that focus, to increase your awareness, your capacity to solve problems. Sometimes, you don’t have to win. You cannot win. But that has nothing to do with losing.- Master Rickson Gracie

Monday, November 28, 2011

HHCF Presents: Pawn Storm Invitational Dec. 10th 2011 At John O'Connell In SF!

This is a tournament for kids inside the SF School District who register with us. The Pawn Storm Invitational is a team tournament for kids competing for the first time. Our goal is to promote unity in the SF community. If you have any questions email me directly at for more details.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

You better get to know Weak Square!

Please be sure to check out !! Not only does he work with at-risk kids to learn chess, he's a truly gifted artist. Follow him on twitter to @weakSquare. He claims he is a novice but, based on the posts he puts up, dude, got a lotta knowledge!! Check him out though. He's a cool guy to know about in the chess world.

Jrobi keeps it real

My mom went to go see the play on Fela Kuti! Thought I'd share Stalemate...

I dedicate this song to my cousin Ben, may he rest in peace. He died at young. But before he died, while we sat in a car front of my home during the Holiday season we talked about Nigeria. He had just returned from Lagos. Him and his brother started talking about Fela Kuti. They both see I'm lost in the conversation. He asked me if I heard of Fela? I said I had not. He said, "If you like Bob Marley, you will LOVE Fela". Ben was right. He died four months later. I did not hear Fela until after he passed. I never hear a note from Fela and forget my cousin. That was ten years ago. I miss you Ben...I love you. 

The Iron Hook Scroll Vol. 1 is COMPLETE! (and its free!)

I'm happy to announce The Iron Hook Scroll Vol. 1 is out. Its done. Its FREE at A few weeks after you get the scroll the Jiu Jitsu Innovations Newsletter will drop. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you stay safe and blessed out there. Much thanks to all who have supported me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

This Story in the NY Times Really Warmed My Heart

New African American Masters in Chess 

Once again Dylan McClain is a great writer. He told their story well.As everybody knows, HHCF does not groom kids for competitive chess. But to see those that do rise, is lovely.

This article inspired some of the kids at my school today. A lot of teachers were talking about it to.

Thursday, November 3, 2011


For the last few weeks I've been haunted by a cloud (that I might have cancer). I had to get some tests over the last few days. Today I was informed that I am cancer FREE. But, I will need to get some other, very minor procedures done (compared to having cancer) in the near future. I just wanna say that I have gained some serious clarity on who I am, what I love and who I care about....Also, more importantly, what I have not done and need to accomplish. Much love to my real folks out there.

Monday, October 31, 2011

I worry about my kids...

A group of kids I'm trying to reach got busted for a petty robbery...Another one I'm trying to reach got shot...He's alive...But I have not talked to him since he got shot...He just barely made it. What I do is not easy...Chessboards and rap ain't always the solution...But to the degree that it is, I will stay on the block wherever I am needed. I wanna see you all make it...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Jrobi's Alekhine Defense Tutorial

Professor Griff: Political Rap and Chess

Another example of political rap and chess from the late 80's and early 90's is with rapper Professor Griff. He started out as the head of the security team for Public Enemy. After things got hectic between him and Chuck D, Griff dropped some records of his own. Many years later they reunited. His record Pawns in the Game was one of the most consistent in showing how rappers used chess as a metaphor to explain the importance of planning and strategy in ones life.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Boondocks Theme Song...Easily one of the best SHORT raps ever...

OK so here is the deal. I love this comic strip. LOVE IT!! But when it first came out as a cartoon, I was quite apprehensive. Only now, like, within the last year have I sat down to watch it. First of all, if you are not at least 17, you probably won't understand it's value. If you are under 17, you really should not watch it at all. The comic is best, because its easier to digest...

But I digress...(hey that rhymed)

The thing is, no matter if I love the episode, or hate it, the theme song is so inspirational. I was lucky enough to meet Asheru, the guy who made the theme song several years ago through my man Rakaa Iriscience from Dilated Peoples. I had to share it with you...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Adisa Banjoko Announces New Book: Iron Hook Scroll Vol. 1

Thanksgiving 2011, Adisa Banjoko will release a new book Iron Hook Scroll Vol. 1. The innovator of the Iron Hook grip will illustrate exact steps to strengthen your jiu jitsu game from the bottom. Using the Iron Hook will help you wearing the gi, or no-gi. It will make your chances of taking damage on the street less and your options to reverse and finish much higher. Learn how to break your opponents posture, keep them off center and transition directly into sweeps, chokes and armlocks easily. If you have never seen the Iron Hook, check out the videos below. More info will be available soon. Much respect and thanks to Billy Ray for the cover art. This is gonna be the best Thanksgiving EVER Charlie Brown!!

Friday, October 7, 2011

HHCF Jiu Jitsu Team's Patrick Ryan Amazes at Jiu Jitsu Nationals!

 We're proud to say that HHCF Jiu Jitsu Teams Ed Solis, Sergio Silva and Patrick Ryan all did great at the BJJ Nationals. I don't have all their footage, but here is some awesome clips of Patrick. Notice his constant calm, his continuous hunt for a better position and submission (not to mention is compassion for his opponents after the win!) ...More vids from HHCF Jiu Jitsu Team coming soon!! I swear, I remember first telling Pat how much he'd love Jiu Jitsu. Now he's a national champ!! Hats off to his coaches Rodrigo and Tim from Gracie Barra!! 

I can't live without my radio

Check out this NEW news feature on the radio about HHCF. Please share it with your friends:

HHCF Feature on KALW (learn about more of our students)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

One of the Bay Areas Fav's is Back! Weibel Chess Quads

EDITORS NOTE: When the HHCF was started, Dr. Alan Kirshner was THE FIRST PERSON from the mainstream chess community to support us. I did not understand at first exactly who he was and how deep his dedication to chess ran. If they made Mt. Rushmore for Bay Area chess leaders- he'd be one of them! I'm always excited to share when he's puttin' on an event. If you love chess you need to be at this. 

The Weibel Chess Fall Quads - Grand Prix (sponsored by SCS) have been a tradition in the Bay Area for 15 years.  While the numbers attending have dropped below 250 in the last few years due to the enormous increase of youth tournaments in the Bay Area, the Weibel Quads continue to pull large enough numbers (around 150) that enable me to place individuals against three other players of their own skill level.  I also avoid, as best I can, placing siblings and teammates from schools or clubs together. So, if you haven't registered yet, join the chess happening in Fremont starting on Saturday, October 15 and continuing on November 19 and December 10.  You can play in one or two or all three tournaments.  An application has been attached for your use, or you can register online at  Yes, this is a secure site. Full information can be found at:

Description of chess quads:
Four players of equal or near equal skill, let's say four new players to chess in the same grade, play each other at a table.  This means three games.  The winner obtains a trophy.   If there is a tie between two players or more for first place, all get a trophy.  For those children who do not get a trophy they will walk away with a very classy chess medal-at least I think it is.

Grand Prix:
Those individuals who want to compete in all three events will have the opportunity of winning far larger trophies. More information is available online.
If you have any further questions, please do send me an e-mail  If you desire to be removed from my mailing list send an e-mail to  and write remove in the subject line.

Alan M. Kirshner, Ph.D.
Director of Weibel Chess
"Do your own thinking independently.  Be the chess player, not the chess piece."
Ralph Charell

Monday, September 5, 2011

Interview with Abdul Shakoor of Urban Kings & Queens!

Pressure Makes Diamonds
By, HHCF Founder Adisa Banjoko

When HHCF player Dyhemia Young was in TX to play for her chess scholarship, she was lucky enough to find true friends in a young girl named Diamond and her father Abdul Shakoor. He helped to coach her technically and emotionally through the tournament. He and I have talked a lot since then and I wanted to share a recent interview I did with him about chess, life, fatherhood, positivity and power of always pursuing your goals. He also runs an organization called Urban Kings & Queens. They do good things for the community. Check out our conversation below.

HHCF: When did you start playing chess and who taught you?

I started playing Chess when I was 25 years old in Atlanta while working with the 1996 Olympics and the music and entertainment industry as CEO of Tillery Enterprises (promotions and marketing). I am from Brooklyn, New York and I was reared in Kent, Ohio in foster care from 12 yrs old until 18yrs old. I am self taught and learning more everyday!

HHCF: What were some of the things chess taught you about life?

Chess has taught me that for every decision and choice; there are consequences so choose wisely. The game of Chess has taught me to relax, relate, and release the problems and situtations that may occur frequently or in everyday life. Life is what you make it ! And you always have a chance to win! Never give up and stay calm.

HHCF: When did you start teaching your daughter chess and why was it important for you to do that?

I have taught Chess to over 500 students across that USA. I am a single father with a beautiful and humble 10 yr. old daughter; Diamond Shakoor. I started teaching my daughter how to play the game of chess at 7 years old. She was interested in playing and I told her to do good in school and you can play chess. Chess has been a true blessing for our family. It has brought my daughter and I closer together; and it opened the door for better communication between us, about life issues. We travel around the country and she gets to establish healthly long lasting friendships and contacts. Chess helps young people to battle "Emotional Displacement"; don't get mad get focused! Because a mad person can not think critically in tough situations.

HHCF: What would you say learning chess has done for her?

Learning chess has improved Diamond's confidence and presentation skills and it is preparing her for life and real world issues! She loves being herself and the hard work, sweat, and tears; are now tears of joy! It has been a process and not always easy! Every parent should introduce their child or children to the game of chess!

HHCF: Tell me about your time mentoring Dyhemia Young in TX at the Susan Polgar tournament and what were your impressions of Dyhemia on and off the board?

I enjoyed the opportunity to meet Dyhemia Young in Lubbock, TX at the 2011 Susan Polgar Girls Chess Invitational. When I first met Dyhemia she was listening to her music (tuning out this new chess world of course) and then I saw her in the cafeteria and asked her how to pronounce her name; because I did not want to start off by not knowing how to correctly say her name; and afterwards I introduced her to my daughter Diamond! Which was the goal in the first place was to hopefully have Dyhemia, Diamond and Vanita to meet and network; since they were the only 3 African American Females competing in a field of 46 Players. Dyhemia and Vanita were wonderful role models to my daughter-Thank You! It is hard for a man to teach his daughter everything about being a young lady; so sometimes you have to fall back and play your position. On the chess board Dyhemia has great potential if given the proper training (quality time )and tournament opportunities with her busy schedule of being a teenager.

HHCF: After the tournament, have you been in contact with her?

After the tournanment I have spoken to Dyhemia a few times and frequently by text to tell her to stay focused and keeping enjoying every moment of every day! I speak to her about life issues; the chess knowledge will come. She is playing chess everyday; when she strives to do better today than yesterday!

HHCF: Since the TX tournament whats next for you?

Next for The Shakoor Famiily (Diamond and Dad) is to enjoy the school year and attempt to secure corporate or individual sponsorship for Diamond Shakoor to attend Chess tournaments around the country and internationally. She is the chess worlds version of "Venus and Serena Williams".

HHCF: Will Diamond be competing soon?

Diamond's next major tournament is the Girls World Open in Chicago! October 7-10, 2011. And K-12 Nationals in Dallas, TX in November.

HHCF: What is your training method like for Diamond? How often do you practice with her? Are there any books or computer programs you might recommend?

My training methods for Diamond are simple; rest, good foods, practice problems and tactics, playing in a lot of tournaments!, taking notes from other parents and changing the formula to what works best for Diamond! She plays a lot of adults! And I tell her "You play the board not the opponent!" Diamond practices a little every day at least 30 minutes or she takes on all comers after beating up on Dad! Computers and programs are wonderful aids if you can afford them; otherwise hard work still pays off!

HHCF: Tell me about Urban Kings and Queens? What is your core philosophy?

Urban Kings and Queens Chess Academy - "Although you are in an Urban environment or regardless of your environment always know that you are all Kings and Queens and conduct yourself as such at all times!" The Academy is my pathway to help the youth with life skills and share some of the blessings with other young people to make it through life with the proper tools to succeed!!!

HHCF: Any last thoughts?

Enjoying Life, glad to have finally met HHCF! Looking forward to seeing all youth reach their goals and achieve their dreams!

If you'd like to support or contact Diamond Shakoor or Urban Chess contact:
Diamond Shakoor Chess Fund
3081 E. 11th Ave
Columbus, Ohio 43219
614 309-5021 email:

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

HHCF Founder Adisa Banjoko in Timberland Boot Campaign

We still can't believe it either. Check out the rest of shots in the series on the Complex Magazine site:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Chuck D from Public Enemy and Adisa Banjoko Hit The 64 Squares!

In the late 80's there was a huge African-American play called The Meeting. It was about a mythical secret meeting between Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. At one point in the play, they play two games of chess. This sit down, was like that meeting. For the record, I met Chuck D the summer- 89 was the number. Sound of the funky drummer was all over the streets. The other night, I took my son to his first rap show. It had to be Public Enemy. My son met Chuck D after the show. Chuck shouted me out from the stage telling the crowd he knew when he came to The Bay Area, he was with family. It was touching. The day after, we talked business and sat at the boards for a bit before he was off to LA. Much respect to Chuck. I want to thank him for opening my eyes and my spirit to the positive impact Hip-Hop could have on the planet.

Friday, August 12, 2011

HHCF Working its Way to LA...

HHCF founder Adisa Banjoko, along with the HHCF Communications Director were recenlty in LA focused on west coast expansion. While down there, their friend Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson) invited them out for dinner. After dinner they bumped into none other than John Travolta and his lovely wife Kelley Preston. HHCF will be announcing the opening of its LA headquarters soon! For more info email !!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

HHCF Student Profile: Raheem Payton, Graduate John O’Connell High School 2011

When Raheem Payton first met HHCF founder Adisa Banjoko, he weighed more than 265 lbs. After telling Adisa that he wanted to be in MMA and Jiu Jitsu, Adisa gave him a diet plan and a workout regimen. In less than a year Raheem returned to school at 190 lbs and Adisa became his jiu jitsu instructor on the condition that Raheem choose non-violence as a way of life. Raheem kept his word . Beyond that, Adisa made sure that Raheem kept school in focus above all else. Here is an interview on one of the HHCF ‘s shining stars.

HHCF: When did you first learn about Hip-Hop Chess Federation?

Raheem Payton : I first learned about HHCF in 2008 while attending John O’Connell H.S.

HHCF: What kind of things did Adisa Banjoko do to help you learn more about chess, martial arts, or life?

RP: Adisa has helped me with all three. The chess aspect, I was taught the basic movements and how to think before I act. With martial arts I gained a great deal of discipline and self-control along with physical health benefits. In life Adisa has been not just a great mentor but a great friend. He has helped me learn to take steps in life which is making me become a better person.

HHCF: Are there any particular stories you remember from your time working with him or watching him work with other students?

RP : There’s really too many to count. It seemed like every day I was coming to Adisa for advice on how to deal with my life issues. But one in particular I really remember was when I would be going through rough patches with my parents he would share his stories about how he dealt with similar situations and reassured me that everything would work itself out in time and to be completely honest it did.

HHCF: What do you think you will remember most about working with HHCF?

RP : What I really enjoy is the reality that comes with HHCF. Everything that people read about is real people and everyday struggles in life with positive ways to cope.

HHCF: How important was it to Adisa that you graduated?

RP: I can really answer that question with one word dedication. If I had to think of anyone who was going to get on me about graduation it would be Adisa. He was always the person who made sure I was going to be successful.

HHCF: If a kid asked you why they should word with Adisa Banjoko and the Hip-Hop Chess Federation what would you tell them?

RP: Adisa has so much knowledge to share and I believe not only children can learn from him I know many adults that need to be where he is as a leader. He doesn’t sugar coat anything, you can really hear the truth in his words.

HHCF: Any last words?

RP: Adisa Banjoko is not only a close friend of mine he’s a father figure to me. I learn from him and I know a lot of people feel the same way. I was very lucky to come across someone that has pushed me time and time again to always push for my dreams.

If you would like the HHCF to mentor a young person you know email

Life Strategies Summer Series # 4: Find The Roots of Your Anger and Yank it Up

Of all the emotions on earth, the one most humans seem to most freely express is anger. This is a very dangerous emotion. Mostly, because it leads to the bulk of violence around the planet. When I say violence I don't mean just military conflicts. I mean brothers hitting sisters. I mean sisters hitting sisters (and bothers). I mean parents punching and slapping children. I mean kids pulling out guns on the playground. Its all a branch expression of anger. One second of unfocused anger has landed millions of people untold years in prison and even more in execution chambers. Don't let the next person you know be YOU!

But what are the root of anger?

For some, its fear. If people are bullied long enough, and endure in silence they can lash out violently with zero notice. Most people say that person went "over the edge". But the truth is, that long periods of humiliation almost always result in an angry outburst at some point. Some fear those of different racial, religious groups or genders. They attack those people falsely believing that they are really doing some good. Its never good.

Yet anger can be displayed with a level of dignity (meaning the person defends themselves from the bully by getting an adult or discovers their self worth and defends themselves). Or, it can become a twisted mass of pain an evolve into things like Columbine.

For most, anger is usually something thats wrong inside them. It comes some say, from a sense of entitlement. They believe that they have a "right" over this friendship, this boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, child, etc. that justifies the reason they slap, choke, or slam someone.You never have that right. Unless you are truly defending yourself (or your family) and there is no other way out, there is pretty much no reason to be violent toward another human being. May times we try to play things up to make them seem more dangerous than they are so we can justify it. We put fake moral frames around it to make it seem like we are a hero. But we're not. Its just another cowardly act, clothed in another lie.

My son and I were talking about a book on leadership he's reading. He quoted a line from the book "They leave the root but try to set up the branches." If you try to set up hollow branches of fake smiles and laughs around an angry root, its bound to show up eventually.

Find the roots of your anger and face them down. If that means verbally confronting a bully- then do it. But don't allow yourself to become a bully in the process. If you find a bully staring you back in the mirror, take a moment to really think about why you do what you do. Find its root and yank it up.

The only good anger that I have found, is anger over things that affect common justice. If you see someone being bullied, it should anger you and you should do something to stop it. Tell an adult or tell the person doing the bullying that its wrong.

If you see an animal being abused, an elderly person being neglected it should make you mad. You should do something about it. Take action! But action does not have to mean being violent. Anger is normal. But how you express it, is totally up to you. Learn to uproot your anger so you can let it empower you, not destroy you.

Monday, August 8, 2011

What was Adisa Banjoko doing before HHCF? He was working in prisons to free minds...What were YOU doing?

It's 10 a.m. on the last Saturday in February and local activist Adisa Banjoko is on one hell of a book tour. Inspired by renowned area rap vets hawking their albums out of car trunks, Banjoko sells his Lyrical Swords series — a collection of essays, interviews, and political ideas related to hip-hop, martial arts, and even chess — mostly hand-to-hand on the streets. For the release of his latest effort, Lyrical Swords Volume II: Westside Rebellion, though, he's forgoing the pavement to visit a place few big-name authors tend to tread — the California prison system. After speaking with Muslim inmates in Vacaville earlier in the month, today the San Jose resident is working the exercise yard at San Quentin. His goal: to educate the public about the importance of black and Latino unity, an issue especially important in light of tumultuous race tensions behind bars in this state.


Check out the Columbia Open!!

Much thanks to @weaksquare on Twitter for telling me about it!!

GM Ftacnik is playing in it. I wish I could be there.

HHCF Teamed with Ben & Jerry's Last Summer...Man that was fun!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Nobody keeps it REAL like the Hip-Hop Chess Federation

HHCF: Chess, Race, Class & the Urban Mind by lyricalswords
Thats why nobody has the impact we have on the minds of today's youth. Only the founder of the HHCF, Adisa Banjoko, has mastered the balance that connects music, chess and martial arts and illustrate how they correspond directly to unity, strategy and non-violence.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The most touching quote from all the events on Dyhemia

Anonymous Post on News Post online:

As someone who volunteers for the Hip-Hop Chess Federation, I can say there are no words that can describe the sacrifices Adisa Banjoko has made to keep this organization running so that students like Dyhemia could realize their true potential.

I met Dyhemia here freshman year, I remember Adisa saying, this girl, I am getting this girl to college. I am in tears over Dyhemia's success, I am so proud to be a part of this organization. I am proud of Adisa for believing that every kid has the right to success and for Dyhemia in trusting Adisa and believe in the goal we all envisioned for her. -Chessqueen

Truth is, I said that so much, about so many girls at the school, I really don't know who posted it. But it means a lot. It means a lot...Thanks. 

If anybody wants to contact Hip-Hop Chess Federation directly, email: Meek Gaborski, 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Lost footage from Dyhemias first HHCF Tournament as a 9th grader at John O'Connell High

Listen to her spirit at the end of the clip and you will see what Adisa Banjoko saw in her then and now. Much love to 9 Queens Jean Hoffman  for her help at this one.

Life Strategies Summer Series #3: Live Your Words

This morning I got up to brush my teeth and my two year old daughter followed me into the bathroom. She really tries to do everything I do. I got my toothbrush and started brushing. Without even telling her a word she said “I wanna brush daddy”.
I smiled at her, put on her Dora toothpaste and she began to brush her teeth. She walked over to her mother and said “I’m brushing my teeth!” with a giant smile on her face.
It hit me as she returned to the bathroom that if I had not brushed my teeth- my daughter would have never been motivated to do it on her own. I lead by example, so she followed.
Its the same thing with friends or co-workers. If the President of the company stays late, even the janitor will be inspired to stay late. If the President cuts out early and is quick to leave random things to be done by others, so will the janitor.
My wife and I used to coach soccer. Every year we had a great team. But our first year, I made it a point to do the warm-ups with the kids. Every drill, every lap, every push-up, every crunch every shot- I did first. I never asked them to do something I myself could not do.
A lot of other coaches would sit on the sidelines with their fat belly hanging over their sweats demanding perfection they themselves could not deliver. It showed when game time arrived.
When I share a move in jiu-jitsu, I only show moves I know I can do. If I show a move that does not work for me, I tell the student “Some people do this move all the time, but it has never worked for me. It may work for you, so I want you to see it and try it.”

You can’t just talk about leading, BE in the front of the pack!
In chess its the same thing. I don’t tell people to do stuff from positions I’m not familiar with or simply not good at. Don’t be afraid to say what you don’t know. It’s actually a hallmark of leadership- not a weakness.
I tell people to live healthy, but man, I love sugar. I always try to eat good. But, sometimes I slip up and go heavy on the cookies. Slipping is human. But more than anything, work to be the most consistent person you can be when it comes to strengthening your mind, your body and your spirit. If you don’t lead from the front, nobody else will…
If the troops do not SEE the General brush his teeth, they may all end up with rotten mouths.

HHCF's Dyhemia Young Wins 40K Scholarship in TX!

So many people to thank. We will make sure you all get your due. Taking in a lot right now. Dyhemia girl, get your shine on....Shine ON!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

HHCF's Dyhemia won her first game!

Thanks to the coaching of Abdul Shakoor, Dyhemia came back strong today and won her first match. This photos was snapped a moment before her opponent resigned. She was elated.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

HHCF's Dyhemia in Texas

Posted by HHCF Volunteer

When I arrived at Texas Tech today I got to watch Dyhemia Young interacting with her host of new friends. While there are definitely more experienced players here, Dyhemia is lighting this place up with her personality and determination.

While some girls are taking the psych-out approach, posturing about winning Dyhemia looks at them and in a sharp tone answers back, well I know how I
'm gonna do!" A girl answers back expecting a fight and Dyhemia looks straight at her and said, "I'm gonna LOSE!"

A gasp went around the room as all the girls fell silent.

"That's right, L-O-S-E. Because I'd rather expect the worst and get the best and be surprised by what I can do."

The room held its breath waiting to see what would happen next, but the other girl smiled, shrugged and said, "Good point."

Mind game over and back to the 64.

FOX News will be here to cover the start of the tournament. Stay tuned for updates from this site.

HHCF Announces Live The Game Life Strategy/Anti-bullying Classes in SF Bay Area

Hip-Hop Chess Federation Announces Live the Game
After School Mentoring and Anti-Bullying Classes
HHCF Teaches Anti-bullying Classes and Life Strategies with Chess and Hip-Hop

June 25th 2011, Fremont, CA- The Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) is proud to announce its Founder and Directors will be hosting Live the Game classes. The six week course will focus on teaching youth the connections between chess, life strategies and staying focused on their personal goals and dealing with various aspects of bullying. They will also be given an outline of self defense Bullyproof basics.

“The culture of bullying in America has spun out of control and Live the Game is our response” stated Adisa Banjoko, founder of the HHCF. “Kids from K-12 will first be given a foundation to believe in their ability to make sound decisions through chess. By fusing chess strategies with the best examples of positive rap lyrics in Slick Ricks “A Children’s Story” or Nas “I Know I Can” we will talk about the importance of self discipline, non-violence and a serious work ethic. Each class will conclude observing various verbal and physical cues that are associated with bullying and options on how to de-escalate the situation and stay safe.”

Live the Game classes will begin August 9th 2011 in conjunction with RAW Talents Group at 37428 Centralmont Place in Fremont, CA. The six week course will meet every Tuesday from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Each enrolled kid will be given a copy of chess icon Josh Waitzkin’s The Art of Learning to study. The final class will have a graduation ceremony where each student will get a certificate of completion.

Fore more information on Live the Game Program follow HHCF on twitter @hiphopchess or register a kid you love today online at

ABOUT HHCF: The HHCF is the worlds first organization to fuse music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and non-violence. The HHCF currently operate out of the San Francisco Bay Area and Romania ( Yunus Ionut). They have hosted events that have included RZA and GZA from Wu-Tang Clan, Josh Waitzkin, Ryron Gracie, Rener Gracie, Ralek Gracie, author Marylin Yalom, Immortal Technique, Conscious Daughters, Def Poet Amir Sulaiman, DJ Pam The Funkstress, T-Kash, Daaim Shabazz, Casual, Opio and Tajai of Hieroglyphics, Zion I, Balance, Rakaa Iriscience, DJ QBert and Nancy Cartwright (the voice of Bart Simpson).

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Straight-up Miracle: Jada Pinkett Smith comes through for HHCF's Dyhemia

Written by: HHCF Volunteer
The agent for Jada Pinkett-Smith and Will Smith just emailed from Beverly Hills:
"I work for the Smith Family. Mrs. Jada Pinkett-Smith read yesterday’s story in the LA Times and was very moved. Can the organization accept credit cards? The earliest we can get a check to you would be by Tuesday morning.

Please let me know as soon as possible how we can best help this situation.



And that is How Cinderella got to the chess tournament and had a room and food and a happy ending.

God Bless Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith and FedEx!Special thanks to Rakaa, Jupiter JiuJitsu, DJ Lisa St. Regis, Zumbi, and Will Armaline and the Friedman Family for their additional support to deliver this dream!

Any additional funds raised will go to Dyhemia's college fund. We know this girl is going places!

Monday, June 20, 2011

HHCF Life Strategies Summer Session #2: The Law of Fire by T-Kash

NOTE: For the second HHCF Life Strategies Summer Series we have a guest! Rapper T-KASH wanted to drop some science on you. It was so hot I had to let him share it. Check it out, LIVE IT OUT and enjoy your summer. You can follow him on twitter @TkashForever

Fire. If you have a certain kind of heat, a certain kind of oxygen, and a certain kind of physical substance (commonly known as a combustible substance), then you will have made fire. The heat is fueled by the oxygen and once these two elements find a physical place to grow  (i.e. the combustible substance), a fire will flourish. Once a fire has been established, the only thing you can do is react to it. You can fight the fire head on, with the hope that you may be able to overpower the flames, or you can deem yourself to be too weak to confront the fire, and retreat.

From every day housefires, to catastrophies such as the Oakland Hills fire of 1991, my Law Of Fire is simple: Once you have the three elements needed for a fire to occur, it will occur. No amount of confidence, arrogance, or “tough talk” will prevent it. One a fire occurs, it will make you run, make you burn, or it will make you die.

However, the beauty of this law, as with all laws of physical science, is that it is not absolute. Let’s take a moment to examine the solution to the Law Of Fire, and how it could be a solution strategy to the ” fire ” that may be burning in your own life.

Since we know that all three elements are needed to create a fire, then we can deduce from this fact , that , if you have anything else other than this equation, a fire cannot happen. You can have a combustible substance and high winds, but if it’s too cold of a temperature in the equation, you will not have a fire. The same goes for a hot day and high winds. If there is nothing worthy of these two elements to feed on, they will starve. You will have no fire . It’s a proven fact, that can only be altered under special circumstances.

Now that you know this, ask yourself: What is the ” fire ” of my life? What out-of-control force  is causing me to flee, fight, or run the risk losing the peace of mind that I am striving for?

Only you can answer that.

For example, It may be the ” heat ” of a two-faced associate who finds ” oxygen ” in a rumor or misconception about you and has applies it to the ” combustible substance ” that comes in the form of an online community that is not able to methodically get the facts right. This ” fire ” is called “Character Assassination”. It occurs often in life, and when the damage done, like the fire of nature, Character Assassination can injure and even “kill” the respect and reputation of a person who is unable to fight it’s force.

The solution for the Law Of Fire, and your own personal “fire”,  is the still same. Maybe you could engage the online community with the concrete evidence that clears your name, or expose the character of the associate by revealing concrete evidence of thier treachery. You must ask yourself, ” What is my heat, my oxygen, and my combustible substance, and how do I take them away? Whatever you choose, you will be making the equation for a fire stand as incorrect, which equals to no “fire” at all.

The law of fire can also work in your favor. For example, this past March,  I ran a 13.5 mile half-marathon to raise awareness for non-violence life strategies through the works of the my sponsor,  HHCF,  in the 2nd Annual Oakland Running Festival, here in Oakland, Ca. The ” fire ” consisted of ” heat ” from the tenure that I am blessed to have as hip hop artist, mixed with the ” oxygen ” of the global media surge that it produced, and the ” combustible substance” it found in my physical ability to perform the half-marathon sucessfully. Like fire , this produced a uncontrollable swell-force, but instead of the heat from a flame it was a rush of dignity, optimism and redemption for everyone who , like myself, who has struggled with obesity, food addiction, and the mental health issues that are recursive of these two elements.

Whether you are fighting ” fire ” or fire, stay focused on the fact that fire is not a single event. In either context, it as actually three things happening at once. Bring these three things together and watch it happen. Take one of these three things away, and nothing happens at all.

Remember, as I stated earlier,  once a fire has started, it has started. Nothing of confidence, arrogance or tough talk can stop it. Likewise, if you can understand and execute the law of fire correctly, there is a great chance that a persons front of confidence, arrogance or tough talk can stop YOU.

I’m T-K.A.S.H. , have a nice day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

HHCF Life Strategies Summer Series #1!! Repeat After Me: 3PA > 1NT

NOTE:  The HHCF Life Strategies Summer Series will provide positive life affirming plans for young people 13 and up. Please try them out and share them with your friends, family and community members!

To start the Summer off correctly I wanted to talk about the importance of making positive daily actions toward your goals. Having a goal is essential! If you are unsure about what you want to do with your life, that’s ok- everybody goes through those phases. But you must remain in constant search of taking in new experiences and information (never stop reading!) in order to see what your future options. If chess helps you learn one thing in life, its always take time to properly weigh your options.

More than ever, this planet is moving at a tremendous speed with constantly evolving technologies, political systems, social systems and economies. Even the way art is made, distributed, and sold is also in transition. It’s a beautiful time to be alive and there are amazing opportunities to learn from and grow through all around you. But without a clear goal, you might find yourself overwhelmed by it all and before you finish smiling, it’s over. Life really moves that fast.

Part of it is the intensity of the unstable economy and our broken educational system. It can leave you feeling unprepared at best and extremely stressed and depressed at worst. Negative thoughts can be crippling to the mind, body, and spirit. Sometimes negative thoughts are fed to us from our family, friends and the media. Despite meaning well, it’s common that those who love us mislead us. Not from a place of hate, but more often than not, it’s just a transfer of fear that they carried and put onto you.

Regardless of their intention these negative thoughts can invade your head like a virus and alter the normal function of your brain. Your sense of self worth and ability become distorted. Soon your bad habits and negative affirmations lead you to assured failure and unhappiness.

To free yourself of this virus you must first decide that your mind, body, and soul are sacred. The word sacred comes from a Latin root word sacrare mean “to devote”. One of the definitions of sacred is “properly immune from violence, interference etc. as a person”. After you recognize your inherent sacred nature, you quickly understand that anything sacred is worthy of defending. The easiest way to defend yourself against any threat (physical, mental, economic, etc.) is to keep yourself consistently in tune with the true current state of the world. You need to be clear on your place in it and where you are headed.

After many years of living a very distracted life, I recently developed a methodology to combat consistent distractions. I write is as 3PA > 1NT. Meaning three positive actions are greater than one negative thought!

The next time you find your mind idle on the couch or in front of the TV and a negative thought enters your mind you must first get up (if you are lying down, sit up, if you were sitting stand and if you were standing sit). Change your physical posture as you adjust your mind. No thought is stronger than action taken. Now we begin.

Example #1 : If you are worried about the big test, take three positive actions against that fear. Read 3 pages on the subject that were giving you the most trouble. Or you could read one page, look up an article on the subject online and call a mentor to ask a specific question you lack clarity on.

Example #2: If you feel out of shape when you look yourself in the mirror, then right there drop and do ten push ups (or as many as you can do) ten sit ups and ten minutes on the jump rope.

Example #3: If you want a new job, go sign up at 3 new sites online or dig deeper on the sites you prefer and send no less than three resumes out.

Chess helps groom your mind for cultivating the 3PA > 1NT equation
Those are the simple examples I can give but the equations are applicable to many more situations. To get started, write 3PA > 1NT in big letters on a piece of binder paper and place it on your favorite mirror, on your fridge, or make it your screen saver. Say the equation and its meaning when you look at it. As you do that, you’ll begin to slowly implement it more and more when obstacles clutter your path.

One of the best things about this method is that you will quickly learn how little effort it takes to take three positive actions. In no time at all you will be taking six, ten and twelve actions to breakthrough to the next level. Using the 3PA > 1NT will give you a much greater sense of peace in your personal, scholastic and professional world. You will sleep better and worry less because you will make taking action your core instinct. In chess playing defense too long is always fatal. At some point you must commit to moving forward or die exhausted from reactive moves dictated by outside forces.

In order to ensure its full impact, you must use the 3PA > 1NT for 21 days straight. Studies show it takes 21 days for a habit to set into your mind. Allow this to become a part of your daily mental regimen and you will be unstoppable in any arena you walk.

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 ...