Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
Being a mentor is a full time job. It is often very hard to know if you are doing well at it. I work with kids everyday in my organization, www.hiphopchessfederation.org . Today one of the kids I mentor was talking to me about his life goals (we will call him Marcus). Sometimes Marcus jokes a lot. I saw some of his constant joking as a mask. I pulled him aside today, and after wishing him Happy New Year I asked “When you sit at home after school, what do you dream about being?”
Marcus quickly glanced around to make sure nobody could hear him and said without hesitation “A genetic engineer.” His face was serene, but serious. You could tell he’s probably never shared that dream. It is my job to help him manifest that dream.
“So what is keeping you from that right now?” I inquired.
“Mostly my math grades” he said, using his foot to play with pebbles on the ground.
Marcus and I made a deal. I told him I’d introduce him to an African American friend of mine at who worked in the field of genetic engineering. But he would have to bring his math grade up. He smiled at the idea after we shook hands.
As we talked more I told him more about life after high school. How quickly you and your friends no longer hang out. How life gets in the way over time. People go to college, get jobs, move away, have babies etc. I told Marcus that it was important for him to really embrace his vision of what he wants to be, because he is truly in charge of it.
“In the end it all comes down to the three C’s” I said: College, career, or crime.
College: The best thing for you to do is stay in school. This economy is cold right now. It is harder to survive out here than you understand. You need the education and the network of college to get beyond the invisible walls of the ghetto. College is essential. There is no better option for you in this time. If you won’t go to college, then you have to dedicate yourself personally to studying online, and spending your extra money on books. Nothing ensures your safety like knowledge.
Career: If you don’t stay in college, your career is your path to peace. You have to stay focused. You must to put in extra hours studying you craft, so you can excel. Be someone your boss can depend on. Try to do something you like, it will make the hard times easier.
Crime: If you fail to do the first two, crime is your destiny. An uneducated Black man, cannot get a job. A Black man with no job will inevitably get an empty stomach, because he’s a living organism. A Black man with an empty stomach for extended periods of time, will be compelled to do crime. You can’t afford to do crime. So choose one of the first two. I fear for many of the young Black males at this school because they take the other two like it is a joke. This makes their destiny in prison almost guaranteed. But it does not have to be like that for them, or you.
The bell rang, Marcus smiled and thanked me. He gave me a pound and headed to class. “The three C’s!” he said walking off down the hall.
I hope sharing the three C’s work for Marcus. I hope sharing the three C’s with you helps somebody you care about.
Every registered player get this FREE HHCF V-Day Competitors Shirt
V-DAY EVENT OUTLINE* As Always V-DAY IS A FREE ALL AGES EVENT
The Alum Rock Youth Center is located at 137 N. White Rd. in San Jose, CA.
The Alum Rock Youth Center is located at 137 N. White Rd. in San Jose, CA.
10 AM-4 PM [Sal, Bay Area Chess, Pam The Funkstress] Chess Tournament: Doors open at 10:30
12 PM- 1 PM [US Chess Federation Ruth Haring, Boondocks Asheru, SF State Prof. Dawn-Elissa Fischer, MMA Fighter Ralek Gracie] HHCF Panel, Moderated by T-KASH
1 PM [ Gumby, HHCF Jiu Jitsu Team] Kids Jiu Jitsu Workshop
2 PM [Gumby, HHCF Jiu Jitsu Team]Adult Jiu Jitsu Workshop AND Jiu Jitsu Exhibition]
3 PM [Dibiase, DLabrie, Rahman Jamaal, Shamako Noble, Zulu Nation B-boys w/ Special Guest]
4 PM [WE SHUT EM DOWN!!]
*Life happens but this is the plan and we're stickin' to it!!
Here are some videos of past events to give you an idea of what to expect....
Sunday, January 29, 2012
www.karmaloop.com (the world best urban online clothing store) and www.orisue.com (one of the best urban brands out right now) were kind enough to design HHCF V-day shirts for all competitors for our rated Feb 11th tournament in San Jose. Every competitor will get a FREE shirt like the one above WHILE SUPPLIES LAST. Sooo, I guess its time to sign up for the tournament huh? Do it now: www.hiphopchessfederation.org
I enjoy his episodes a lot...I never thought about the importance of checking distance.
He always delivers....enjoy...
This is an amazing video series on jiu jitsu techniques. Do ALL of them at YOUR OWN RISK. Its important to have a certified instructor teach you moves. For those that have qualified teachers, these are good supplements.
Always remember to brush your teeth kids! And don't blow your speakers out when you play this please...
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Most people know DJ Rob Swift for his work with Linkin Park and the X-Men aka X Ecutioners. But for me, his album Wargames is an untouchable masterpiece. He put it out shortly after 9/11. It was a statement against the war, and poverty...It was so courageous. It spoke to nonviolence. I think this is TRULY an album Dr. MLK Jr. would have supported and I don't like to make assumptions about dead leaders...
However, this record was immaculately executed from front to back. With a turntable, DJ Rob Swift was able to say things that rappers were unable and mostly too afraid to say. He really captured a lot of the emotional pain and confusion that our nation has been in since 9/11. And, you see the artwork is chess heavy. Its hard to find, but, I encourage you to get it. It has a DVD that comes with it....
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Dr. Alan Kirshner Is Hosting His Annual Birthday Party Chess Tournament! YOU NEED TO BE THERE! I will...
I am holding my annual birthday party. The CalNorth Youth Chess Age Level Championships on February 5 (a Sunday). I already have 275 registered. It is in Newark: http://www.CalNorthYouthChess.
Look, this is going to be an amazing event (as all his chess events are). I have immense respect for Dr. K and he was the first, VERY FIRST person from the local Bay Area chess community to really support me and help guide me toward making HHCF happen. I cannot thank him enough. I look forward to being at his birthday chess tourney and I hope to see you there. If you think you might have any trouble paying for the tournament, hit me up... email@example.com (I might be able to help you out).
PHOTO BY ERIC K. ARNOLD
As the anniversary of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. approaches, I cannot help but thank God for my parents. Long before it was a legal holiday, my parents took me out of school on his birthday. My mom and dad were strategic in their rebellion against the American school system.
That was how they honored his life, before the nation had the sense to do the same. We did not BBQ. I did not sleep in on Dr. King’s birthday. I read about Black history, my duty to learn from it and seek better for our people. I was taught to celebrate his life by respecting all life. I never met another kid who had parents that took such an approach to Dr. Kings birthday. I realize now that my parents were nonviolent revolutionaries. Today, with my own children I am working to pick up the torch they gave me in my youth. Hip-Hop music, has helped keep me stay in tune with the mission of Dr. King along the way.
Despite passing long before the seeds of Hip-Hop had began to bloom, rap music itself is an act nonviolence. Many might immediately take offense to this or laugh. However if you look at even some of the most violent rap you can think of, it is still just a song. Any rapper who rhymes about killing, could have picked up a gun. Instead they chose to pick up a pen. I’m not defending the content of murderous rap. What I am saying is that they chose to write an angry poem, instead of using their felling to commit a violent act. That’s choosing nonviolence!
Dr. King spoke directly to the importance of education. In the era of Hip-Hop’s “Golden Age” knowledge was a duty for most rappers. Public Enemy, Rakim, Ice Cube and many others laid a clear foundation for promoting nonviolence in Hip-Hop.
Songs like Ice-T’s The Hunted Child , Ice Cube’s Colorblind illustrated in graphic detail about the consequence of violence on the streets. While embraced as a classics within the Hip-Hop community, mainstream media hardly acknowledge its existence. Even today rappers like Game and Nas will make songs in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and it gets almost no recognition by Black or White media outlets. So, they must be doing it for more than the money? They get zero reward for speaking about peace, and only hit the charts when they sing of murdering their own. We should applaud their courage and accept their sincerity.
In recent years songs like I Know I Can by Nas, Sabac Red’s The Commitment and T-KASH’s Peace To My Enemies motivate feet and minds to live better.
Dr. King took the power of God’s love to the streets. Hip-Hop music comes from the streets. This means that it will not always say things that are fun or easy to digest. But it will always be honest. Songs like Sticky Fingaz Oh My God, Kanye West’s Jesus Walks and Rakim’s Who Is God? are brilliant illustrations of some of the spiritual aspirations circulating within the Hip-Hop community. The RZA from Wu-Tang Clan made an amazing song about love for The Creator called Sunshine on the album 8 Diagrams. Rapper Killer Mike wrote amazing verses about spiritual redemption with God In The Building. Many of these songs may not be in the Top 4o. But they keep the people on the streets motivated to embrace God. I don’t believe Dr. King would want it any other way. Let us remember he died on the way to protect the rights of sanitation workers in Memphis.
While many have taken on Dr. King’s mission of nonviolence, his crusade against poverty has been largely ignored. Poverty knows no color. The empty stomach of a child in Oakland does not hurt any less than the stomach of a child in Chechnya. A Mexican mother without food, worries no less than a White mom in Minnesota. Until I worked at a high school in San Francisco, I had not true understanding of poverty. This opened my eyes to the wisdom of Martin Luther King Jr., almost more than anything else.
I have learned that starving student cannot study. I have seen “underground railroads” of food emerge in response. Many teachers argue against kids attitudes in class. Others see food in the classroom a nuisance. I understand how frustrating it can be for a dedicated teacher to endure it. Kids appear to be disruptive in class, but they can’t hear the math lesson over the rumble in their stomach. I’ve watched kids walk down hallways in shoes with soles that literally are about to peel off the bottom of their foot and be mocked by others. I’ve seen kids walk around in clothes they’ve outgrown due to a growth spurt. So their growth is a silent curse as their parents cannot afford new clothes. I’m not talking only about just Black children. I see this as global burden. Poverty is an oppressive demon and in many cases is the root of why violence happens and why we (humans) excuse it many times. One might be able to argue that the bulk of the violence in Hip-Hop is in direct proportion to the initial state of poverty its performers existed in.
The impact of poverty on the heart and mind can be seen in the music of artists like Apathy’s Check to Check, or Vinnie Paz’s Keep Movin ‘ On . They leave deep impressions about the reality of poverty. In an Occupy Wall St. era, their lyrics sting with searing precision. In his time, Dr. King’s words had the same effect.
I love Jazz, Blues and Rock. I love Gospel and all other forms of Black music from the African diaspora. But nothing has pushed nonviolence as consistently and as bold as rap music. It is a fact we cannot deny. This fact does not undo much of the violence and sexism and celebration of materialism in Hip-Hop. Yet it was Bid Daddy Kane, Biz Markie and Kool G Rap that reminded me to Erase Racism. What the subculture of Hip-Hop has achieved, I will not allow to be denied. I thank Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for his sacrifice every time I hear a rapper embrace peace. Happy birthday Dr. King. Those love Hip-Hop continue to keep your message alive.
American’s have been fascinated by martial arts since the mid 1970′s to 1980′s. A Chinese man from San Francisco, California name Lee Jun-fan would change the entire planet with his films. We came to know him by the name Bruce Lee.
Movies like The Big Boss, Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon altered the U.S. film industry and the minds of American people forever. His movies brought a new idea to what it meant to fight, and what it meant to be a fighter. Bruce Lee spoke differently, he talked of the importance of self knowledge, and fearless free expression.
These were not things American folks usually accepted with the idea of combat.
Around the same time, the Shaw Brothers began to make their own films like 36 Chambers of Shaolin, Five Deadly Venoms and One-Armed Swordsmen hypnotized the American masses. They instilled a new the idea of what violence, honor, respect, discipline, humility and human character meant.
This fascination with martial arts culture took an even bigger turn when the TV Show Kung-Fu aired. It was not the best TV show ever made. There were many racist undertones in the show from time to time. However, some of the conversations between the original Master Po and his students.
Additionally, these films and TV shows introduced a new idea of how to practice nonviolence to Americans from all walks of life. These films had an affect music as well. Rap music from artists such as Wu-Tang Clan, Dilated Peoples, Andre Nickatina, Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys, One Be Lo and many others have paid much homage to the impact of the movies and the philosophies learned from them.
The work of Bruce Lee, The Shaw Brothers, Jackie Chan, Jet Li and other films of the time helped teach Whites and Blacks alike the power of peace. To seek peace not just outside ourselves, but more importantly the one we all seek inside ourselves.
Unfortunately the biggest mistake we make in the West is to think that someone who loves to study boxing, kung-fu, wrestling or jiu-jitsu loves to fight. We think somewhere internally they enjoy hurting other people.
Now take a look at Buddhist monks. They are known globally as one of the most peaceful people on the planet. But they are also known for having a long tradition of cultivating self defense techniques.It is precisely because they have extensive knowledge of how to break bones and choke people, that they choose not to.
Let me be clear. When someone lashes out at a woman and swings wildly at her, it is proof that they’ve lost emotional control.
That act is completely different from the woman being swung on to tactically evade the fist coming at her. If she decides it is necessary to isolate her attackers arm, and break it so she can be safe- that is nonviolence. She has created no violence in a space where violence was prevalent. Buddhism teaches nonviolence without question. Still Buddhists were taught that to observe injustice going on and do nothing made one worse than “devils.”
Martial arts films are the only movies in existence that consistently show women of clear mind and action fully capable of defending themselves. In America we look at women who can fight as “manly” and unattractive. Martial arts encourage women to learn self defense to cultivate and preserve their beauty and spirit. At the same time, we learn that violence is never to be taken lightly. That seemingly casually aggressive situations can turn deadly fast.
The roots of what motivated the attacker and the response from the woman who was attacked came from two different places. The attack came from rage or a desire for power. The response the woman gave was rooted in self preservation and a desire for peace. Jet Li was recently explaining the meaning of martial arts to CulturePulp :
In Chinese writing, wushu comes from two words: one is “stop” and one is “war.” “Stop-war.” In most action films, people focus on the “war.” Fighting, fighting, fighting. Violence against violence. Nobody talks about the “stop.” [laughs]Today MMA (mixed martial arts) is taking over the world. The sport proves humanity has evolved to a place where martial artists can test their skills safely and make a great living a it. It is also important to acknowledge that many of the fighters you see in the UFC and Strikeforce almost never get caught up with the law. They are often far too focused on their physical and mental well being to run the streets trying to hurt people for the sake of their ego.
Now we see bullying as a long ignored social epidemic. We see crimes against women and young girls as a global cancer. Our children are also horribly out of shape. Teen obesity and disease from poor health are common among our kids. It is not the parents, educators or politicians who are helping America solve this issue. It is a family of martial artists, named the Gracie’s. Two brothers, Rener and Ryron Gracie, created Bullyproof and Women Empowered for children and adult women in need of realistic ways to protect themselves. Their cousin Kyra Gracie is respected around the world for her accomplishments. Beyond the self defense techniques, the students are taught about the psychology of an attacker so they can used “verbal jiu jitsu” to evade a confrontation altogether.
Today we see many of today blockbuster movies for kids like Kung Fu Panda and Jaden Smith’s Karate Kid introducing young people to the ideas of self discipline, inner peace and learning the power of not fighting. In these ways, the martial arts fused with film and music have helped preserve the legacy of nonviolence laid down in America by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEHip-Hop Chess Federation Founder on March Cover of Chess Life
Media Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Media Contact: email@example.com
Adisa Banjoko Featured on Cover of the Sports Biggest Print Publication
January 19th 2012- San Jose, CA - The Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) is proud to announce that it's founder, Adisa Banjoko has been chosen as the cover story for their March 2012 issue. The story will drop Feb 1st 2012. Entitled Chess, Hip-Hop & Life written by Eric K. Arnold it covers a San Francisco tournament ran by the HHCF. It also looks at global impact the organization has made in the world of chess and music with at-risk youth over its five year history. "To be on the cover of Chess Life is an honor beyond words" said Mr. Banjoko. "When we started Hip-Hop Chess, few really understood our vision. Yet those who truly did, stayed vigilant. I am eternally grateful to them for their friendship and loyalty. Over time what many initially saw as unthinkable has unified the hearts and minds of many. I'm quite inspired ."
The HHCF has attracted a lot of attention for its unique approach for helping at-risk youth. By being the worlds first organization to fuse music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and nonviolence they have caught a global buzz. Some of those news outlets covering them include Good Morning America, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times, SF Chronicle, KALW, NBC 11, XXL and Vibe Magazine. The organizations founder, Adisa Banjoko aka The Bishop of Hip-Hop was a noted author and lectured on issues regarding Hip-Hop and martial arts before creating the HHCF. "When giving lectures to kids, I have always encouraged them not to just read Black history, but aspire to make Black history" said Mr. Banjoko. "Hopefully this is push them to dig in and create the things they want to see in their own future."
The HHCF will host an event on Feb 11th 2012 in San Jose, CA called V-DAY to commemorate its five year anniversary tournament. Special guests for V-Day include rapper and educator Asheru, known around the world for the Boondocks Theme Song, as well as MMA fighter Ralek Gracie among others. There will be a youth chess tournament, jiu jitsu workshops for adults and kids, panels on Hip-Hop & education and live rap performances. HHCF's V-DAY tournament will be officiated by Dr. Salman Azhar and Bay Area Chess to ensure the highest standards are adhered to in this rated chess competition.
V-Day, like all HHCF events will be FREE to the public and an all ages event. HHCF tournaments are frequented by families from all over the state. The Alum Rock Youth Center is located at 137 N. White Rd. in San Jose, CA. The event is from 11 AM to 4 PM. A full schedule of the days events will be posted shortly at www.hiphopchess.blogspot.com or follow HHCF on twitter @hiphopchess. "On V-Day, the HHCF celebrates the children who love the immortal game of chess and our friends who have supported us for the past 5 years!"
Registration online for the V-Day chess tournament is open now at www.hiphopchessfederation.org
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 to promote peace 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).
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
When you are sincere, you are lucky to know and connect people like Rakaa, Ralek and Eddie Bravo. Much love. These are great songs...This is the beginning of a NEW GENRE OF MUSIC. Music made by fighters, for fighters. I promise you in less than ten years, somebody will be triple platinum off Fight Music....And when the Grammys get awarded- folks will look back to songs like these! You are listening to the cornerstones of a new theme of music! Remember I said this...Remember.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASERapper Asheru from Boondocks & MMA Fighter Ralek Gracie Team with Hip-Hop Chess Federation for Nonviolence
Media Contact: (323) 335-4497
Media Contact: (323) 335-4497
HHCF Celebrates 5 Year Anniversary With Youth Tournament, Jiu Jitsu Exhibition and Live Performances
January 4th 2012- San Jose, CA - The Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) is proud to announce it will be hosting its 5 year anniversary youth chess tournament February 11th, 2012 at the Alum Rock Youth Center in San Jose, CA. Entitled V-DAY, the event is to honor thier five year anniversary, as well focus on life strategy themes like, Victory. HHCF founder Adisa Banjoko stated "A lot of people have no idea what a gifted, competitive chess community we have in the Bay Area. It's a perfect storm of good organizations, great kids and dedicated coaches, many of whom have been crucial to the HHCF's growth," Banjoko continues "Expect V-Day to be a powerful fusion of chess gaming, jiu jitsu exhibitions and epic panel discussion. Kids, parents, educators and rap fans will be buzzing all over."
In addition to the youth chess tournament, there will be separate jiu jitsu workshops for youth and adults by Heroes Martial Arts instructor Alan "Gumby" Marques. At the conclusion of the workshops there will be two jiu jitsu exhibition matches. Additionally, for the first time ever, an HHCF event will host LIVE PERFORMANCES. The full line up will be announced shortly!
The HHCF has attracted a lot of attention in the press for its outreach to at-risk youth. By being the worlds first organization to fuse music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and nonviolence they have caught a global buzz. Some of those news outlets include Good Morning America, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Los Angeles Times, SF Chronicle, KALW, XXL and Vibe Magazine.
Special guests for V-Day include rapper Asheru, known around the world for the Boondocks Theme Song as well as MMA fighter Ralek Gracie. Asheru is also founder of Hip Hop Education Literary Program (HELP) in Washington DC and a respected scholar of urban education. "I'm excited to come out and be a part of it" said Asheru. " I love the idea of coming from the East Coast and share ideas with my friends out West. I hope to be able to exchange some concepts and bring some things back to the kids I work with here in DC ."
MMA Fighter Ralek Gracie is the grandson of the founder of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Outside of his fighting career, Ralek has promoted his families Bullyproof anti-bullying program and just released his solo rap debut album, Ginagi. "I learned about HHCF through my friend and jiu jitsu student Rakaa Iriscience from Dilated Peoples. I had a great time playing chess and exchanging philosophical ideas with Adisa, RZA and Josh Waitzkin. Enriching the youth is very important to my family." Ralek Gracie will host a jiu jitsu seminar at Heroes Martial Arts the night before V-DAY in San Jose. For those interested in attending, contact Heroes Martial Arts at (408) 288 8857.
V-Day, like all HHCF events will be FREE to the public and an all ages event. HHCF tournaments are frequented by families from all over the state. There is a small fee for those interested in participating in the Rated Chess Tournament. The Alum Rock Youth Center is located at 137 N. White Rd. in San Jose, CA. A full schedule of the days events will be posted shortly at www.hiphopchess.blogspot.com or follow HHCF on twitter @hiphopchess. "On V-Day, the HHCF celebrates the children who love the immortal game of chess and our friends who have supported us for the past 5 years!"
Registration online for the V-Day chess tournament opens Jan 6th 2012, 5 PM PST at www.hiphopchessfederation.org
TO ENSURE HIGH STANDARDS WWW.BAYAREACHESS.COM WILL BE OFFICIATING THIS TOURNAMENT
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 to promote peace 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).
Monday, January 2, 2012
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