Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Chess and Life Strategies Classes at Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula!

For Immediate Release
Crystal Silva

Chess and Life Strategies Class for at Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula
Hip-Hop Chess Federation Teach Responsibility with Rap and the Game of Kings and Queens

East Palo Alto, CA- Nov. 8, 2017- The Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) is proud to announce that it will be hosting Chess & Life Strategies classes in East Palo Alto starting November 9, 2017..  This award winning 12 week course helps kids and teens learn the parallels between chess and life choices.

Classes begin Thursday from 6:30-8 PM at Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula at  2031 Pulgas Ave, East Palo Alto, CA. “Our program teaches young people how to think under pressure” said HHCF Founder and author of Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess. Today kids are constantly under pressure at home, in class and on the streets. The HHCF helps them to think for themselves and take responsibility for the results of the actions they take.”

HHCF Chess and Life Strategies program has been featured in Forbes, NY Times, and KPIX TV. Adisa Banjoko is respected as a leader in education innovation after his lectures at Harvard, Oberlin, and U Conn. His work focuses on the power of fusing STEAM and STEM concepts to help kids and teens learn more effectively. In 2014 the impact of the HHCF was celebrated in the Living Like Kings record breaking exhibit at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, MO. Interested parents, teachers and teens should visit Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula to register.

For more on HHCF call 888-588-4418 or visit www.hiphopchess.com today and follow them on Instagram @realhiphopchess.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Broken Rhythm: Bruce Lee, Musashi & Music
               By: Adisa, The Bishop

As the debates continue about the historic accuracy of Birth of the Dragon, no one debates the cultural impact of Bruce Lee. His roles as a martial artist and philosopher make his assure his status as possibly the most legendary martial artist ever. However, one of the most fascinating things about Bruce Lee is really not his fighting. It is his dancing. More than that though, it is valuable to look at how his dancing impacted his approach to fighting. Beyond that, it is about how this fusion of dancing, fighting and music seem to be eternally connected.
    Bruce never really rocked turntables, but, this manipulated image is dope. Creator is unknown.

Bruce Lee was a champion Cha Cha dancer. In fact, his first job in America was as a dance teacher. This may appear boring on the surface to some people. However, for those who are authentic lovers of music (especially Hip-Hop) it makes the man even more fascinating. The first movie I saw that had Bruce Lee in it was Return of the Dragon. Even then, it showed  a glimpse of his love of shrouding devastating attacks hidden in rhythm. In the final fight scene, Lee fights Chuck Norris at the Coliseum in Rome. Chuck remains formidable as an opponent as long as Bruce stays within the traditional scope of kung fu and karate. However, once he starts hiding his attacks in a boxers rhythm (a la Muhammad Ali) Chuck cannot follow Bruce’s form and soon loses the battle. Few knew his ability to find and break rhythm was rooted in his Cha Cha background. But it this connection goes much deeper than one film or one man.

Fast forward to the 2004 martial arts thriller, Hero. Jet Li plays a character called Nameless. In one scene Nameless has a powerful sword fight at an outdoor chess house in the middle of a rain storm. It is soul stirring exchange of movement, music and strategy. As they unsheath their weapons an elderly blind man plays a sad but beautiful song. The old man plays in the rain slightly exposed to the elements of nature . Before he dives into battle, Nameless reflects on the idea that “Martial arts and music share the same principles. Both wrestle with complex chords and rare melodies.

           A few years ago I was given a book called The Straight Lead, by Teri Tom. The Straight Lead was Bruce Lee’s favorite and arguably his most powerful punch. In the book, Tom makes a compelling case for the connection between music and martial arts. “The way fighters play with time is very similar to the way musicians interpret time. You can play behind the beat, on the beat, or syncopate. Staccato or Legato. You can chose to play or let the rhythm section pass you by. The tempo may vary from adagio (slow) to allegro (quick). To the time, you can then add dynamic variations- pianissimo (soft), mezzo forte (moderately loud) or fortissimo (very loud). Fighting has analogous variables. “ The connections between music and martial arts is hard to see in today’s times. This is mainly because in the modern technology wave of mind numbing Worldstar and Instagram knockout clips, the art in “martial arts” has largely evaporated. Nevertheless, it is not gone altogether.

         I cannot say for sure that Mayweather studies dance. But when I look at his footwork against McGregor’s mummy-like movements in the first round (although McGregor does appear to use the straight lead with some effectiveness in the first few rounds), Mayweather does move like a seasoned dancer. Not just that, the patterns with which Mayweather strikes his opponents have rhythmic patterns. This was something on my mind as I watched the flight. The more I watched, I saw how the flow of his footwork was levels above McGregor. They say Mayweather pulled McGregor into “deep water”. Water, like dancers and fighters, has to flow. McGregor was drowned in the flow.  

Legendary undefeated self-taught swordsman Miyamoto Musashi is celebrated by martial artists and entrepreneurs the world over for his book The Book of 5 Rings. He killed his first opponent at the tender age of 13. In The Book of 5 Rings he talks about the importance of understanding the rhythm of battle when dueling with swords. It is broken down into several sections: the Earth Scroll, Water Scroll, Fire Scroll, Wind Scroll and the Void Scroll (also known as the scroll of emptiness). Each is admired for having its own sense of rhythm. But more than rhythm, like Teri Tom, he focuses on timing:

Timing is important in dancing and pipe or string music, for they are in rhythm only if timing is good. Timing and rhythm are also involved in the military arts, shooting bows and guns, and riding horses. In all skills and abilities there is timing.... There is timing in the whole life of the warrior, in his thriving and declining, in his harmony and discord. Similarly, there is timing in the Way of the merchant, in the rise and fall of capital. All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this. In strategy there are various timing considerations. From the outset you must know the applicable timing and the inapplicable timing, and from among the large and small things and the fast and slow timings find the relevant timing, first seeing the distance timing and the background timing. This is the main thing in strategy. It is especially important to know the background timing, otherwise your strategy will become uncertain.

        While it is simple to just passively look at that idea as just an odd relatable tidbit of information, it is not something easily done. While doing some research on his life, you can find an old scroll about his life called Busho Denraiki. Muashi did not write about himself much. He wrote about swordsmanship. But in the Busho Denraiki you learn that Musashi was not just a swordsman, he was an accomplished painter as well. Further, Musashi was also accomplished in the highly regarded Japanese tradition of Noh dancing. William De Lange’s Origins of a Legend: The Real Musashi notes that Musashi adopted a son named Iori. He notes that, “Irori was taught the Noh dance in plain clothes, it seems Musashi was a keen practitioner of the art.”

        Nowhere in De Lange’s work does it attempt to explain how this unequalled swordsman found the time to learn let alone teach Noh dancing. However, the fact that he did know the art of Noh well enough to teach speaks volumes about how the role of rhythm in battle came so natural to him as a fighter.
                              MMA Fighter D'Juan Owens at Elevate MMA in Durham, NC

           Currently African American MMA fighter D’Juan Owens spends time in Kampala, Uganda and Dakar, Senegal teaching both b-boying and martial arts to kids. He teaches them the connectivity in both. RZA of Wu Tang Clan teaches a lot about these elements not only in his books, but the entire discography of the Wu Tang Clan is an embodiment of that concept.

           Khnum Muata Ibomu aka stic.man of Dead Prez is a respected rapper, archer, vegan health advocate, activist and dedicated martial artist. Songs like Way of Life and Back on my Regimen are excellent examples of how music and martial arts connect in contemporary Hip-Hop. His knowledge of martial arts, music and strategy are so deep I had to ask him his thoughts.
                                         stic.man of Dead Prez and M1 photo credit: Okayplayer

“Practice is the way we get better in the application of rhythm” he told me. Stic said he feels that there is “Some science but it is also art. Self expression is required. My studio is a sacred space just like a dojo for experimentation and practice. Lyrics are precisely chosen and placed just like strikes and footwork.” Finally he notes that both music and martial arts are used “to serve a greater good.”

Jeet kune do, bboy/bgirl dancing, boxing, ballet, brazilian jiu-jitsu, capoeira, noh dancing, swordsmanship - all styles, all contain rhythms. Outside of the practicality of each art, each style speaks to us on an artistic and internal levels. Does every martial artist need to study dance in order to be a better practitioner? Maybe not. However, to totally ignore the importance of dance within the fighting arts is to cut oneself off from new insights and opportunities for victory.

Adisa, The Bishop is the Founder of the 501c43 Nonprofit Hip-Hop Chess Federation Inc. He is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Heroes Martial Arts and author of The Iron Hook Scroll and Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess available on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Summer End of HHCF Juvenile Hall Project (our final 3 days)

This past week HHCF did a Chess and Life Strategies 3 Day Workshop at Alameda County Juvenile Hall in San Leandro, CA. It is right on the boarder of Oakland. I always enjoy going here, because I really love my time with the kids. The only thing I hated was that I was never able to give my books to kids after the classes. Well, thanks to many kind people the HHCF was able to give books to a lot of the kids via the #HHCFJuvenileHallProject where people buy copies of Bobby Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess for my students. We got enough donations to give books to kids here an one of our out of state programs. We are very thankful.

Day 1: Started in the girls unit. Unit 6 is the Girls Unit, but I call it the Queens Unit. It has been a while since I got to go to Unit 6. All the old girls I knew were gone. That is a good thing but you always wonder how they are. The first day a young white girl with shoulder length hair and bright grey eyes slowly walked in. This girl looked like she walked straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. No joke. She spoke at a whisper. I will call her Mouse.
"Hi" she said with a half smile. "Are you gonna teach us chess today?"

Shaking her hand firmly I said " I am. My name is Adisa. Have a seat."

"Oh, ok, I really want to know how to play."

As she sat down two more Latina girls and a Black girl came in. Numbers are down. That is very encouraging.

I must say that the girls are almost always so easy to teach than the boys. The boys come in puffed up and rowdy and super duper hyper. The girls are quiet but more focused ON ME and really paying attention.

I told them I teach a fusion of chess and jiu-jitsu. I told them I'm really just trying to get them to figure out what they want to do in life and help them plan for that future to be real. I reminded them that whatever mistake they made that got them here, they are super young and have millions of options to choose from.

I started telling the girls about chess and life. I said "Each year you make a move. That move will have positve or negative impact on the next year. You make several solid moves, good things will tend to happen. You make a bunch of bad ones, bad results tend to happen. Chess is the same way."

"Ronda is going to love this class" Mouse giggled out loud. She said it with a face that told me she could not keep herself from interrupting me.

"Who is Ronda?" I asked.

Just as I said this girl walked in with cold blue eyes, blond cornrows and an emotionless face. She looks just like the MMA fighter Ronda Rousey (hence the nickname). The only they is, she has a sprinkling of freckles that made her dead serious face harder to take serious. But make no mistake, she was super serious.

She looked at the chessboard projected on the screen and could not contain her excitement either. "Ooooh, y'all really got chess going on up in here, huh?!" with a serious southern drawl. She sat at one of my display boards and immediately wanted to play "Can I play this one here?"

"In a minute. I promise." I said.

"I told you Mr. Bishop!" Mouse shouted. "Ronda loves the game. She can play good to." nodding mater-of-factly.

I chuckled and talked a bit more about jiu-jitsu and chess. Ronda showed immediate interest in learning jiu-jitsu and kickboxing as soon as she got out. "You gotta hook me up with classes Mr. Bishop. I'm serious."

As I spoke to them about short and long term goal planning and the like, two older Black women sat in on the class. One was trying to learn chess, the other was already a player.

I sat down and played a game with Ronda. She knew how all the pieces moved but was in no way classically trained. However, what struck me was her consistent attacking style and her understanding of approaching threats (and how to nullify them). The Black woman who knew how to play played with her as they plotted against me. It was so fun.

Meanwhile, Mouse played on the computer. She loved it.

I left in a rush and had only brought one book that day. The rest were at home. I signed it and gave it to Ronda. "Thank you so much. This book is cool. I'm going to read it right now Mr. Bishop. I'll see you tomorrow!" she said smiling.

The other girls were excited about day two as well. I promised I'd bring them all copies of the book tomorrow.

                                                   One of my games from the Queens Unit.

Next I went to Unit 2. During my break I learned that one of the boys I had met in my previous visit had died. He was shot. Allegedly he got out but could not get a job. He went back to the streets in search of sustenance and was killed.

As the group filed in, some of them remembered me. Some did not. One was a tall Latino boy with a super bright smile. "Can I get a game Mr. Bishop? You know we still got beef on the boards." he said with a laugh as he shook my hand.

"Set em up. Let's dooo thisss." I said in between laughter.

Some of the boys that did not know me came in with ice grills (cold emotionless faces). But some of their faces softened when they saw that others knew me and respected me. Nevertheless, I knew I had to gain their respect on my own terms. It is like having to audition over and over again for the same job.

I went straight in. Chess and life, mistakes equal loss, good choices equal longevity etc. A hand went up in the back of the class. "But what does any of that have to do with rap music?"

I dove straight in about Jay Z, Will Smith, Wu Tang Clan, Drake and 2 Chainz love for chess. How rappers don't play to be grandmaster's they play to learn about life. They got it instantly. The energy jumped up.

"I know when you guys lay down at night, you see more for yourself than this. I know it. You have to. You may all not know exactly what you want to be, but I'm sure it is not this. Whatever that is, is exactly what I'm trying to help you be. I don't care if it's going to college or being a construction worker. Who in here knows what they want to be?" I said to the group.

 One big, solid built kid with a boyish face a lot of tattoos raised his hand.

"I want to be a doctor" he said with a smile.

"OK, that is good" I said. "You can still be a Dr. Don't think because you are locked up today that you still cannot be that. But you have to plan. You have to think. What kind of Dr. do you want to be?"

He said he wanted to be a surgeon.

" Alright. So let us start to look at your grades. Where do you need help? Where are you strong? All of this is doable. But you gotta want it and you gotta be willing to do the work." He nodded in affirmation.

My Latino challenger interrupted the after school special vibe , "Can we get on the boards now?!"

"Yes!" said immediately.

I managed the class between having new people play on the computer as a group, playing my game and resolving disputes about positions.

It was an amazing day. I told them I had books for them. Tomorrow could not come fast enough.

Day 2 and 3 will be posted soon....OH and I saw some dope raps by kids in the hall.....I'm talking about real bars. ......People see me in front of juve smiling and say "How can you smile walking into that place?" My answer is because my goal is to be the best part of their day. I smile because I go in with the best intentions of helping them find and defend their inner king and queen- and it's working.

If you would like to donate to the HHCF Juvenile Hall Project please email hhcfteam@hiphopchess.com for more info.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

#GetBetterAtChess Dereque Kelley Shows the Four Knights Opening.

This guy has some of the best opening videos. He shows the move and WHY it is done and WHAT most people will try to do to stop them. I don't watch his video's enough, but in a perfect world, I would watch these every single day. Now, sit down and let's #GetBetterAtChess

Monday, August 21, 2017

Nonviolent Rap Song of the Week #7 Erase Racism by Kool G Rap and DJ Polo

In light of Charlottesville and all the racial division in America right now I wanted to post this song. It was weird because my life got crazy and I got away from posting. But now that I see our country so divided I wanted to share some of the wisdom from one of Hip-Hop's best gangsta rap artists. Kool G Rap is arguably of the most underappreciated rappers in the history of the art.

Despite having a noticeable lisp, this guy has ripped so many mics it is hard for me to share with you how amazing his is. He was super frightening at the time to be honest. His vivid lyricism was always on point and on time. If you don't know his work I highly recommend starting with Streets of NY.

On his Wanted Dead or Alive album he had placed a jewel in the midst of his mayhem. Erase Racism was a song he did with Big Daddy Kane and Biz Markie. The result is a timeless classic that America could learn from right now. This song is also proof that mainstream media ignored a lot of the most powerful messages on world peace ever made in the history of music. Again, this is just ONE song from Hip-Hop. No song from jazz, rock, classical or blues can match the magic of Erase Racism.

    Kool G Rap and DJ Polo's Wanted Dead or Alive was one of the hardest gangsta rap albums ever.

Check out this portion of G Rap's verse:

So don't be foolish if you're Jewish or Hindu
The racial manual is the evil that men do
I was raised in a nation of Asian
Hate shouldn't separate Jamaican from Haitian
So if you're givin in your ears I hope your hear me and
Siberian's no better than Nigerian
I bring a rattle to a battle that you see me in
I'm no villain so why would I be killin Indians
My nationality's reality
And yo a prejudiced man is of a devil mentality

These are words of a wise man, wisdom
Take a taste and erase the racism

WATCH the video to Erase Racism

To see the fully annotated lyrics of Erase Racism visit Rap Genius.

To read more about nonviolence in Hip-Hop read Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess  on Amazon or Smashwords.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Nonviolent Song of the Week #6 Just A Moment by Nas and Quan

Nas is one of the best rappers to ever hold the mic. On Just A Moment he and Quan hit hard on the topic of trauma and loss in urban cities. No way you can listen to this and not walk away understanding every hood coast to coast and all in between has Turf War Syndrome also known as PTSD. There are some curse words in this. So, kids get your parents permission. 

Read the annotated lyrics at Rap Genius 

Get Better at Chess with this Endgame Lesson!!

Josh Waitzkin always said you start by understanding endgames. I thought this was so weird at first. Over time, I saw its genius. Most people jump into things without really knowing what they want the ending to look like. This can be in chess, or in life.

I think learning endgame concepts is crucial in chess and in life. Enjoy!!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Nonviolent Rap Song of the Week #5 Peace to my Enemies by T-K.A.S.H.

T-K.A.S.H. illustrates how Hip-Hop was growing up long before Jay Z dropped 4:44. I will NEVER disrespect Jigga. He's been doing this thing in a major way. However, the same mainstream media that seems so appreciative of his growth is the same media the ignores the tens of thousands of artists who have been pushing intelligent, thoughtful rhymes for many years. Dad rap beeeeeen here, is all I'm saying. This song is 7 years old. It was put out on Guerilla Funk Records which has put out a lot of politically polarizing music, but this artist and this album, Brains All Over the Streets never got its proper due in the press. Nevertheless, the streets were feeling it.

Keep in mind, T-K.A.S.H. is the same artists who did the song Turf War Syndrome (the hood term for PTSD) long before a lot of folks were recognizing the impact of the violence on the kids in the hood. Enjoy this. I always do.

LISTEN: Peace to My Enemies 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Bobby Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess Selected for Preservation at Cornell Hip-Hop Collection

So my book #BobbyBruceandtheBronx was selected by the Hip-Hop Collection at Cornell University to be preserved for future generations. This is me with Ben Ortiz where He holds my book next to one of my favorite albums Yo Bum Rush The Show by PE. To see some of the records, photos and books my book will be preserved with was and is one of the most amazing moments of my life. Amazing because you don't know how lost I was as a teen and young adult.
Amazing because I was a Hip-Hop journalist when most people didn't think Hip-Hop was art or that it was worth documenting. Amazing because I cannot believe I took an idea like fusing Hip-Hop, chess and martial arts from getting laughed at to hosting tournaments with RZA winning em to breaking attendance records at the World Chess Hall of Fame to working with the Oakland Museum on this amazing event coming in 2018........ It is still a scary journey....I still dont know if I'm worthy......I have been sitting on a complete Iron Hook Scroll Vol. 2: The Cloud Scroll for about 3 years....I just need to take the photos and illustrate the positions.... I already have the outlines for 2 more books onHip-Hop, chess and martial arts..... and I've written a little on the next one already. But more than anything I just wanted to thank God, Marshon King, Eazy- E, and my wife for believing in me and giving me a shot at being something when I never thought I could be anything. To come from that emptiness to this fullness is at times very tearworthy. For more on Cornell Hip-Hop Collection visit http://rmc.library.cornell.edu/hiphop/

Get better at chess with this cool endgame video!!

Most of us will never be Grandmasters, but we can have fun and improve a little everyday with video's like these. GZA from Wu Yang Clan made a cool album called Grandmasters, please peep the video below to learn more about his love for chess.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Get Better at Chess with this Cool Chess Openings Video!!!

We will now be posting cool videos to help us all improve our understanding of the game. Hope you enjoy this one.

Nonviolent Rap Song of the Week #4 Wish You Could See Me by Haystak

Wish you could see me is from one of America's most underrated White rappers EVER. Haystak's first album Car Fulla White Boys was one of my top favorite solo album releases of all time. Great album, great production, raps, etc. But it seemed to me a lot of politics played into his lack of overall success. Nevertheless, this record is a classic and Wish You Could See Me is one of the best songs on this album.

One of the things many of us forget when we observe Hip-Hop in all of its core forms, it that ALL OF IT, it a guerrilla arts response to being boxed out of society.

Another thing that is hard to comprehend is that even if you take the most violent, offensive, shocking, rap song you can thing of- it is STILL nonviolent. Essentially, a person was mad and wrote a poem rather than kill. We can debate the impact of art on society and try to define when art imitates life or if its the other way around. What we cannot debate is that no matter how you feel about it and angry kid wrote a poem.

Rather than be mad that the kid wrote a poem that scared you, you should be trying to figure out what in his world could make him that mad.

The violence is always around them. The death is always around them. The impact of the violence and the death pushed them at an early age to think a lot about theology, philosophy and politics before they even know what the topics are.

This song is deep and has brought me to tears many times. It is one of the most touching tributes to a young mans' dead friends ever made.

We had high hopes just knowing he'd pull through
But he got this look on his face like he just knew
He might not be able to come back
I said squeeze my hand if you feel me- he didn't react
So that's one more homie that we lost to the late night
[Rain Starting]
Kill tha head light pull up at tha grave sight
We were there twenty minutes seemed like forever it lasted
His brother broke down his moms collapsed on tha casket
See tha caretaker throw the first shovel of dirt
I can't begin to describe how much that hurt
I can begin to describe I ain't going pretend
I can't begin to describe that

I encourage you to listen to the full song and read the annotated lyrics at Rap Genius.

WATCH: Wish You Could See Me 

To read more about nonviolence in Hip-Hop read Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess in Amazon.com.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Nonviolent Rap Song of the Week #3 Self Destruction

                        Top rappers came together to try and stop the violence on the streets. 

Self Destruction was a record dropped in 1987 meant to help curb Black violence across the country. It was spearheaded by KRS ONE and included some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop at the time. Public Enemy, Heavy D, MC Lyte and many others were also on the song.

At the time they launched the Stop the Violence Movement. It was a valiant effort. But between the lack of big financial support and Hip-Hop being in its infancy not much came from it in terms of concrete impact. It did, however, serve as a blueprint that rappers use to this day to share their thoughts on violence. No other form of music in the history of the earth has as many songs about violence as rap.

It also showed that Hip-Hop artists were dedicated to more than partying. Inside Hip-Hop we knew that, but from the outside looking in, I understand how it may have been hard to see. Hip-Hop was one of the first victims of "fake news".

I think when people look at Hip-Hop we might look at LIVE AID or We Are The World as one off songs.

Self Destruction was not a one off. It was the epicenter for a wave of songs on peace, nonviolence, and records looking at the trauma of violence in the hood. I have to admit though that I never liked this beat. At all....Sometimes I think when people get ready to do songs for the community, they make half baked beats. I found it hard to believe that all these dope people could come together and have such a yawn worthy beat. But the spirit of the track was more important.

WATCH: Self Destruction now! 

Read the annotated lyrics to Self Destruction at Rap Genius. There is no parental advisory for this song.

To read more about nonviolence in Hip-Hop read Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess  on Amazon or Smashwords.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

An Open Letter to Bruce Lee from Hip-Hop Chess Federation

Dear Bruce Lee,
        On the 44th anniversary of your death, I find myself very short on words. I was only 3 when you passed away. It would be 6 more years for me to learn who you were. But my life after that was forever changed. I still remember it very vividly. 
        In the Summer of 1979 (yes I know, I'm quite old) my father came home with some of the newest technology in his hand. It was a VHS tape recorder. For the first time, American's could watch movies in their house as often as they'd like. The first two films my dad brought were Alien and Return of the Dragon. I did not know who Bruce Lee was at the time. I had seen a few Shaw Brothers films before, but I didn't really care about them much at the time. 
        I walked into my parent's bedroom and I saw you destroying people in the alley behind the restaurant in Italy. I asked my dad "What is this?!" and my dad explained to me who you were. It was the middle of the movie so I left and ate so it could finish. Then, I went back in and watched it from the beginning. It is hard to say exactly what I felt. It is hard to explain all the questions I had in my head. How can a man move like that? How can a man fight like that? How can a man be so skinny, but so strong? How can a man be so good at beating people up but be so nice? None of those things had answers that satisfied my mind. 
         There was not much I could do about it either. The only thing I could do was to try and make some nunchucks. I immediately went downstairs and took a hacksaw to an old yellow broomstick and put my 9-year-old elite craftsman skills to work. A year or so before, I went to visit my older cousin Steve. He was a cool older dude who looked like one of the Jackson 5. While sitting in his living room, I saw an old metal chain (very small) sitting on his coffee table. I asked him for no reason if I could have it. He said yes. I had no idea what it would be used for. Once I saw you, Bruce, I knew it was meant to be the links between my sticks. I still thank my cousin Steve till this day for giving me that chain. Till this day, he does not even remember giving it to me. I hit myself 100 times the first day I made them. But I did not care. I kept going. I'm nowhere as good as you, but I still have enough to beat up some guys in an alley if I need to with nunchucks. 
           A few years later, I had a friend at Pacific Heights Jr. High named Jamal. He wanted to be a stuntman when he grew up. He was the first kid I remember that I knew, who loved you as much as I did. We used to jump and fall down hills and climb walls trying to be like you. In the 1980's there were spots in almost every major city called Kung Fu Shops. I don't know what they were really called. They sold ninja stars, nunchucks, knives, and all kinds of weapons. The one I knew of was around 25th and Mission in San Francisco. I went there more than a few times to get stars. I still have one somewhere at my parent house. I think it is nuts they sold that stuff to us. But I am glad they did.
          I loved your other movies as well, but none as much as Return of the Dragon. Nothing can ever recapture the wonder that exploded in my head and heart the first time I saw you. Years later when I got ready to be married, I came to study you again. I never realized the responsibility of a man to keep the house safe. At the same time, I did not want to own a gun. I was studying the stick fighting art of Escrima, but I was really bad at it. My friend taught me about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and I learned as much as I could be based on as little as  I had access to. So many jiu-jitsu players are driven by your work ethic. So many people of all styles aspire to match the clarity in your movements. 
        For my birthday, I was given the Tao of Jeet Kune Do by a San Jose graff writer and my life was never, ever the same. I was already a rogue scholar of Eastern philosophy and history. But to see your ideas on paper. To see your sketches. To see your philosophies opened my head and my heart in ways that are still happening. Your work gave me moral courage. Your writings helped me be proud to be Black just as you were proud to be Chinese. Your willingness to train Black students and White students at a time when racial separation was so common pushed me to study other cultures more diligently. Every time I get ready to eat bad food I feel like I can hear you telling me to stay away from it, that it won't make me a better warrior. I read a lot about Chinese medicine and tea because of you till this day.  
       My book Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess and my organization The Hip-Hop Chess Federation would not exist were it not for you. I recently spoke in Washington DC about you at the Kennedy Center. The entire community of Hip-Hop loves you. Thank you for making Hip-Hop better. So many rappers, DJ's, Bboys and Graff writers have worked to improve themselves because of your efforts. Your impact can be seen in the work of Public Enemy's S1W's to Wu-Tang Clan, Mixmaster Mike, Andre Nickatina and Dead Prez. So many Black people eat better because of you. So many Black people think better because of you. Thank you is such an insufficient phrase as a response to your contributions. I can only promise to champion the value of your work and to encourage others to embrace your ideas as much as I can. I started out so sad writing this. Right now though, I feel happy. I think I am happy because the ripple effect of your work is yet undone. I look forward to the joy and peace your work continues to inspire in my own life and others around the world. Much love always. Peace Bruce. 

Much Love,
Adisa Banjoko 

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Oakland Rapper T-.K.A.S.H. Drops Supreme Leader!!

Rapper/Endurance Runner T-K.A.S.H compliments his new online release "Supreme Leader" by running in the 2017 San Francisco Marathon to raise awareness to Title IX rights for students in higher education.

For Immediate Release:

Bay Area rapper/endurance runner T-KASH has been active in the endurance running scene for several years now. 
This year, he is once again using his star power to bring awareness to community issues. His next running event, the San Francisco Marathon this Sunday, will serve as a platform to bring awareness for the need of maintaining Title IX rights for students with dependents on college campuses and beyond.

"It's a dear issue to me, my mother went back to city college while I was in high school, and I obtained my college degrees while raising kids", he explained. 

When asked why he waited until now to advocate for this specific time, he said, " The current socio-political climate could put the Department of Education and and Title IX rights for students at risk. I couldn't fathom doing nothing about that."

He is also acknowledging the ten year anniversary of the 2006 Guerrila Funk Recordings release "Turf War Syndrome", which has received countless accolades and solidified him as a globally recognized hip hop icon.

As with all of his previous running events, T-KASH will be sponsored by the Hip Hop Chess Federation, and wearing attire by fellow Oakland emcee Mistah Fab's "Dope Era" clothing line.

"Supreme Leader" by T-K.A.S.H. is now available online and can be found here.

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