- That he did not recall how he got to the choke. I was happy to see he was not bogged down in mechanical thinking.
- That he did not fully apply the choke or slam the bully on the concrete. In a world where young men love to express rage and power as others film it I was proud of him for being his own man.
- That the work I do to teach nonviolence had a tangible outcome that made this kid, his school and the world a little more safe. If only in a super small way, in a small city, with ONE kid- it happened.
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Many people often get confused about what we do. At the end of the day, we teach non violence through the fusion of art and logic. We pull wisdom from wherever we find it. But we mostly find it from blending concepts from Hip-Hop, chess and martial arts. It takes a lot more to explain how we do what we do and why it works. At the end of the day however, we teach peace. That is what HHCF does. The good grades, the scholarships, the trophies are just things some of the kids get on the way to a fruitful life.
The creation of our org, the lectures across the country, our exhibit at the World Chess Hall of Fame in 2014, our championship dance teams, the book Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess are all tied to that endgame- nonviolence.
We recently announced our Chess and Jiu-Jitsu classes and I am happy to say it is growing. Each class is a fusion of chess instruction and gaming and jiu-jitsu or wrestling positions. Assistant jiu-jitsu instructor Sammy Teame and wrestling coach Andrew Swank ensure each class is technically on point and physically demanding. In every class we always return to the importance of emotional mastery, kindness and mercy. You always hope these things reach our students, but you are never sure.
The other day one of my students told me had gotten into a physical altercation. He is 14 and while off campus a bully (who was acting very immature) and hit my student in the face with leaves on the branch of a tree branch. My student told him to not do it again in a respectful, but firm way. The bully took it as a challenge and did it again and ran off.
He said to me “I chased him, and then as I got close to him he threw a fist full of acorns at me as he turned to face me.” From his repetition in training, after being approached he was quickly able to get to the bullies back and begin applying a choke hold. He said he felt the bully tense up from not being able to escape the hold. The bully could feel the dominance of the position as my student got ready to squeeze. Then my student remembered the talks on nonviolence I gave in class. Released the choke put one hand and put the bully's arm behind his back and pushed him away. He again told the bully to stop being childish and leave him alone. When I asked him specifically HOW he got to the kids back, he replied “I don’t know how. I just got there.” This impressed me.
After being pushed away, the bully got enraged and charged him. Again my student got to his back, and reset the choke. He was angry he said at this point. He let go of the choke again, and bear hugged the bully to prepare to suplex him. Then he said he thought about how dangerous it would be to slam him on cement. He also thought about how mad I’d be at him for seriously hurting a kid he did not have to hurt.
My student let him go. The bully, realizing the level of mercy being given him stopped harassing my student.
I was happy to hear a few things:
His father took me outside and thanked me for teaching his son. I was thankful to him, for trusting me with his son and joining our chess and jiu-jitsu program. I feel good. This is not a scientific study. But it is real. A new student starts tonight. I look forward to helping this youngster grow on the chessboards, on the mats and in life in a similar way. I hope in the future, all of our children can learn how to return injury with kindness through the fusion of chess and jiu-jitsu.
Join today at www.hiphopchess.com
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Hip-Hop Chess Federation Unveils a Fusion of Chess and Jiu-Jitsu to Promote Peace on the Streets
HHCF Launches Chess & Jiu-Jitsu Class to Promote Fitness and Nonviolence
San Jose, CA- Hip-Hop Chess Federation 501(c)3 is proud to announce it has created a Chess & Jiu-Jitsu class for kids, teens and adults. The class is the brainchild of the HHCF’s Founder, Adisa “The Bishop” Banjoko. Mr. Banjoko holds the rank of brown belt and is author of The Iron Hook Scroll (a book on submission holds) and the self improvement book Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess. The book illustrates how strategies from Hip-Hop, chess and martial arts can be used to build short and long term goal setting. It seamlessly connects concepts found in shows like The Get Down, Luke Cage and The Breaks to daily life. His lectures on this topic have brought his unique brand of wisdom to podiums at Harvard, Stanford, Oberlin College in U Conn among others. The Bishop was recently the recipient of The Legacy Award by Rock The School Bells for his consistent work in the field. The organization is an innovator in the space of STEAM and STEM.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the fastest growing sports in the country. Rap artists like Rakaa Iriscience of Dilated Peoples, Public Enemy DJ Johnny “Juice” Rosado, and even R&B artists like Usher have spent time learning the art. DJ Qbert even made a song about it on his last album. At the same time jiu-jitsu masters Rickson Gracie, Ryron Gracie, Carlos Machado and others have shown a consistent affinity for the game of chess. The HHCF however is the first organization to ever fuse both arts into one class.
“This class is built for average people to discover and actualize their extraordinary potential” stated The Bishop. “We show the overlapping mental and physical themes between chess and jiu-jitsu. It was something I envisioned when I started HHCF a decade back. I recently had a chess student I wanted to test my theories on. In less than four months we took him from ‘What is jiu-jitsu?’ to taking second at the US Open. Now what I taught him, I want to teach around the world in hope of promoting peace and nonviolence across the globe.”
The organization teaches that chess is jiu-jitsu for the mind and jiu-jitsu is chess for the body.”
Right now the HHCF Chess & Jiu-Jitsu class has a solid group of students (a mix of kids, teens and college age adults) taking the class and the growing interest shows no sign of slowing down. “People always say the Hip-Hop community never offers solutions to violence in the world. Our program proves them all wrong.”
For more information on workshops and how to join visit www.hiphopchess.com
Friday, March 10, 2017
For more info visit www.rocktheschoolbells.com
Thursday, March 9, 2017
If you have never heard The Dope Science Show, you are missing something extremely cool. A week or so back they were kind enough to interview HHCF's own Adisa Banjoko about all things related to Hip-Hop, chess, science, steam, stem and all things in between. We encourage you to check it out, follow them and enjoy a fun conversation. Shout out to Science Stuff with Steph for being a great host. Be sure to follow @thedopescience show on Twitter. Here is the link to THE DOPE SCIENCE SHOW!
Saturday, March 4, 2017
Much love and thanks to Rock The School Bells for honoring us with the coveted Legacy Award. If you are unfamiliar with the organization they are a leader in Hip-Hop Education. Their next event is March 11, 2017!!! I will be there giving a talk on Tupac and strategy. For more info visit Rock The School Bells site today!!!
Moderator Miki Noda, DJ AkkikoLUV, Zumbi of Zion I and Sumi Dumela on the technology and culture panel.
Gratitude. That is all I can define my heart's state as. This Sat, the HHCF hosted it's inaugural Unity in Diversity event. It was an attempt to bring a select number of technology people, artists and educators together and talk about the things we love. In the history of my life I have thrown many, many events. All with varied rates of success and failure. Never has any one event I've thrown seemed so well quarterbacked and prepared only to quickly disintegrate at a rapid rate before my eyes. It went from a two day event to a one day event.
The short version of what happened is that I was overextended as a person. As a father, as a husband, promoter, a teacher, a jiu-jitsu student and a friend. But we all have our own issues. It's not all sunshine and rainbows out here. I know that. After a point though, the disintegration was so consistent my heart was becoming hard.
I almost canceled it all a day or two before. Were it not for the actions GOD, of my wife and kids, and friends like Itoco Garcia Paul Moran Chuck Creekmur, AkikoLUV Tomie KingKash Lenear Kevin Clark, Amir Abdul-Shakur and his family, Jay Williams D'Juan "Dirty South" Owens Vince Bayyan Andre Swank, Alan Marques, Iriscience there is no doubt it SURELY would have been canceled.
As I sat up till 4:30 AM the night before I was being terrorized by many levels of failure the event could reach. I was trying to preemptively apologize all the mistakes. Then I realized no matter how bad, or good your world is going. All you can do is get up, take a shower and walk out the door and see what the next day brings. I want to apologize to all the people who were scheduled to speak that were unable to participate due to circumstances beyond our control. I'm resolved to ensuring you all participate in Unity in Diversity II which will be announced in the coming months.
Despite my fears about low turn out and other concerns, Unity in Diversity was amazing. The panels were off the chain. The moderators were on fire. The crowd was dope. The beats banged. Styles were dropped. Lessons were taught. The opening Hip-Hop and Education panel moderated by Daniel Zarazua with Jose Guerra, Mazi Mutafa, Leroy Moore, Dr. Elliot Gann and Dr. Itoco Garcia was really powerful. It highlighted the innovative things many people are doing to inform and inspire kids inside and beyond the classroom.
Artist Amina Lei (center in all black) with UID attendees
The martial arts panel was mind blowing. The technology and culture panel was deeply insightful. Milan Drake was like Rakim talking about technology. Until you have watched Zion I Crew talk with UX Designers about bias in the algorithm you have not lived. Until you see gems from Casey Wong and Tom Callos open hearts and minds simultaneously you have missed something amazing. Mike Relm and his wife drove all the way up to the bay to moderate. That is love. I love Mike Relm though. Blood family level.
Leroy Moore came and brought amazing gems. So did Mya Canty, Miki Noda and Sumi Dumela.
Laughter and understanding were shared. I'm so thankful.
The next day, Paul Moran came and taught my jiu-jitsu kids class. He opened and closed the class with meditation. We hung most of the day. The things he showed me about jiu-jitsu I did not know. He will always be my brother.
Paul Moran of Open Mat Radio observing HHCF kids chess match!
Super special shout out to the hardest working woman in Hip-Hop, Christie Z at Tools of War Jams for her consistent promotion of Unity in Diversity. I also want to thank Chuck Creekmur at Allhiphop.com and Kevin Clark of Okayplayer.com for letting folks know about Unity in Diversity and I want to thank all the people who participated as well as all the people who tried to. Forgive me for all the mistakes in the planning and execution. Jose Guerra built a custom made podium for David D. Timony to give the first Unity in Diversity keynote on artificiall intelligence. That is so amazing. Amina Lei brought amazing art. So much to tell. Much love to DJ Just Jay (follow him @Urbanumpires on IG) . He kept it rocking from front to back.
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