Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Jack of all trades

In recent years, there is a new trend in the world, and not only in the physical training world, but everywhere, concerning trying to achieve many goals at the same time, conquering the title 'Jack of all trades'.
I believe this is fine... As a goal!
As the way to get to that goal, it is far from optimal.
Our phisiolegy just doesnt work that way. SAID principle, adaptation, specialization and survivle mechanisms are main factors here, but I wont lecture you on that.
Recently I ran into a training program that is highly flawed by a generaly excelent strength coach, Christian Thibaudeau:
http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding/ill_be_damned_it_works
(ignore the supplement commercial at the start of the article)

Christian, who quotes coach-extraordiner' Charles Poliquin is breaking some of Poliquin's main rules about program design, among them specialization, broad pyramid sets and more.
Notice the equal quantity of volume divided among the various training
tools, while trying to achieve.... Everything.... And all at the same time.
I suspect this kind of program has no value, besides maybe for the complete beginner and as a general fitness tool. Not very useful.
I see this kind of thing everywhere, people trying to achieve everything
together at the same training micro/macro-cycle while only discovering they have achieved nothing.
Dont throw your adaptive body (and mind) into confusion. Even if you have multiple goals (I'm the first to admit that) periodize them wisely, move certain things into maintaince while pushing other things forward, you will see better results, quicker.
Having said that, taking a hypothetical trainee, put him into an intense crossfit program that includes OLifting, gymnasics and metcon work for 3 years and see where he gets. I'm sure an impressive improvement in many physical traits.
Take the same trainee and put him one year with a OLifting coach working OL mainly, one year with coach sommer, specializing in gymnastics strength elements and one year of implementation into metcon type of work and you get a much supperior athlete.
Isnt it obvious?

PS. For Coach Thibaudeau's sake, I have to admit I have commited the same sin in program design a few times in the past, it is just our nature to try to juggle all the balls.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Self Dominance

The following piece was made to showcase some of the ideas I have been playing with in the last year.
It all started from a place of stagnation and boredom with the state of modern capoeira, my own practice and the future in which it is all heading.
I was desparate for some inspiration, motivation, something new and interesting that goes beyond spinning on my hands one more spin or kicking that old Meia-Lua a bit faster.
I needed a new physical and mental challange and also wanted to renovate, create and express while at it.
That is the beginning of the journey. I started to cross train heavily in other arts, diciplines, movement systems and also worked hard at mental aspects such as cultivating creativity, concentration, emotional expression, associative flow and more..
At start it was full of enthusiasm. Later on it became frustrating as I realized, I'm just a baby in those new and foreign places. I had to push through. Believe in my choices.
After a while things started to clear out. New possibilites were revealed, in movement, in thinking, my body and mind started to change.
This whole process was accompanied with quite a bit of isolation from the 'normative' world I was so determined to escape from and exposure to a new world, different from my own, at the time. This isolation allowed me to experiment, drift away and innovate without getting stuck back into the box of what is a normal progression of an artist (or capoeirista) should be.
My nightly classes and workshops became a hit. Not only due to new, inspirational material that was a result of a lot of work and thought, but also because of the complete and total submergence I went into this material. I truly 'bathed' in this, it was ME and people tend to get attracted to original things. I think..
Every aspect of my work was influenced by it: pair work, solo trainings, group trainings, strength and conditioning, flexibility, music, rythem and movement. Everything was examined and reexamined in a filter of 'is this moving me in the right direction?'
Sometimes painful choices of elimination were made. I rejected the useless and made a choice.
This first published clip is only a tiny bit of my work displaying certain aspects of it. Please, dont put me in a box after watching this, it is just playing around with something interesting, it is far from the 'big picture' of my art. It is the first of many clips and only the beginning. The future material will include some of my students work, (what I call 'homework' in our nightly trainings and also the training themselfs) my own work and developement and application of our practice.
The clip won some awards on Youtube, and the response to it was something I didnt suspect, even in my wildest dreams. (full mailbox and comments from not only friends but professional in the field of capoeira, circus, gymnastics, dance and more. I hope you like it, but dont realy care... please post your comments below.
Check back here soon, subscribe to the blog and my youtube acount and send me your email if you want me to add you to my mailing list. This will allow me to stay in closer contact with you all, thank you,
Ido.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Lazarevskaya and mountain training

We have reached a small beach town, called Lazarevskaya, on the shore of the black sea.
It is a beautiful and vibrant place, with all of the characteristics of a beach town: the
tanned bodies of beautiful people, boats flowing in and out of the piers, water sports
ripping up close to the beach, warm sunny weather and lots of small hotels spread around the
streets.



I especially liked a small coffee place called 'Botanik'. We frequently went there for some
good green tea (They even serve it with a plate of diffrent nuts - can you believe it?) or a
light meal. Vadim, a good friend and brother and my companion for this trip has taken upon
himself to teach me the game of chess. We spend some of our nights in this charming place,
playing the game. I love it. Cant believe I didnt learn it until now...




What is even more apealing in this place to me is the close by mountains with their small
villages, the river crossing through and nature life.





We decided to hike into the unexplored woods and do some physical training while we are in
there.
In the first day, after a 90 minute hike up the mountain we reached a nice spot and put on
the rings on a tree branch. We went a head to do some sets on the extreme rings.



video video
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After the workout we went down to the river for some cool down. How about that Tarzen, ha?!



Vadim went ahead and performed his famous 'ugliest jump in the world' into the waters. Take
a look:


After the workout we had some glycogen replenishing fruits as the first part of our post-workout meal:


On our second day in the nature we went up a diffrent route and hiked a realy difficult path
right through the river. We have reached places I believe few humans have reached, and it
was quite an experience.




This day I suggested we do some training with a rock. I found a nice spot and we went ahead
to complete a strength endurance circuit with this rock as our challenge. Back squats,
presses, deadlifts and push ups performed for 21,15,9 reps. Quite a heart pumper. Vadim
handled himself great and didnt let go, pushing until the last rep was completed.

video

Overall great couple of days, stay tuned for my sailing and fishing experiences... I hope
you are listening out there...

Saturday, July 05, 2008

From Russia with Love 3

My third trip to Russia. I love this country.
I got to Rostov after a connection flight I took from Kaliningrad. The flight was bad, and we arrived in Rostov on Don at 0300 AM, but I wont dwell on it.
We went to Vadim's apartment to sleep it off and woke up to a beautiful and warm day.
We went to eat in my favorite place in Rostov. The Azerbaijanian market. There is a small workers resturant, all dirty and rough, and I love the simplicity and taste of their foods. They served us with a lamb stew, fresh cut veggies and some delicious lamb chops. The meat was to die for. In the end of the meal they served us with a spicy black tea, I liked it a lot. Tea should be drank bitter, in its natural form, no sugar or additives.
In the market here you can buy blueberries in a very cheap price. I couldnt believe it.
This box of 6 Kg of blueberries costs here 10$.... In Israel we pay 8$ for 350 Grams... And frozen, not fresh! People here dont value their berries. Antioxidants for free...

After the Azarbaijanian market we had to use a couple of hours of the day to register my passport as required by the Russian Federation. You think Israel has a lot red tape? Russia is much worse. Many forms to fill out, all for foreigners and not even one of them in English.... Amazing.

After completing the registeration process we went ahead to the country side to a 'Dacha' (Spring house or Villa in the countryside/seashore) of Vadim's friend on the bank of the Don river. It is a beautiful place, very quiet and I started to wonder how will life be living in a natural place like this. I got to the conclusion that you either choose to live in the city and vacation in the village or vice versa, but for a city born person, the combination essential if he wants to maintain sanity.
We went into the river for a short dip and went back to the house's garden to pick up fresh, organic berries of all shapes and colors right there from the bushes. I was like a kid in a toy store. Those berries were delicious and full of taste and I enjoyed it very much. We drank some tea made from mint and berry leafs and it was heaven.
We went home to rest a bit and we are just now going out to drink some tea. Stay tuned for more, I only leave for the seashore Monday morning, more to come...










Monday, June 09, 2008

Optimal Eating / Vilhjalmur Stefansson, November 1935

In 1906 I went to the Arctic with the food tastes and beliefs of the average American. By 1918, after eleven years as an Eskimo among Eskimos, I had learned things which caused me to shed most of those beliefs. Ten years later I began to realize that what I had learned was going to influence materially the sciences of medicine and dietetics. However, what finally impressed the scientists and converted many during the last two or three years, was a series of confirmatory experiments upon myself and a colleague performed at Bellevue Hospital, New York City, under the supervision of a committee representing several universities and other organizations.

A belief I was destined to find crucial in my Arctic work, making the difference between success and failure, life and death, was the view that man cannot live on meat alone. The few doctors and dietitians who thought you could were considered unorthodox if not charlatans. The arguments ranged from metaphysics to chemistry: Man was not intended to be carnivorous - you knew that from examining his teeth, his stomach, and the account of him in the Bible. As mentioned, he would get scurvy if he had no vegetables in meat. The kidneys would be ruined by overwork. There would be protein poisoning and, in general hell to pay.

I was in a measure adopted into an Eskimo family the head of which knew English. He had grown up as a cabin boy on a whaling ship and was called Roxy, though his name was Memoranna. It was early September, we were living in tents, the days were hot but it had begun to freeze during the nights, which were now dark for six to eight hours.The community of three or four families, fifteen or twenty individuals, was engaged in fishing. With long poles, three or four nets were shoved out from the beach about one hundred yards apart. When the last net was out the first would be pulled in, with anything from dozens to hundreds of fish, mostly ranging in weight from one to three pounds, and including some beautiful salmon trout. From knowledge of other white men the Eskimos consider these to be most suitable for me and would cook them specially, roasting them against the fire. They themselves ate boiled fish.

Trying to develop an appetite, my habit was to get up soon after daylight, say four o'clock, shoulder my rifle, and go off after breakfasts on a hunt south across the rolling prairie, though I scarcely expected to find any game. About the middle of the afternoon I would return to camp. Children at play usually saw me coming and reported to Roxy's wife, who would then put a fresh salmon trout to roast. When I got home I would nibble at it and write in my diary what a terrible time I was having.Against my expectation, and almost against my will, I was beginning to like the baked salmon trout when one day of perhaps the second week I arrived home without the children having seen me coming. There was no baked fish ready but the camp was sitting round troughs of boiled fish. I joined them and, to my surprise, liked it better than the baked. There after the special cooking ceased, and I ate boiled fish with the Eskimos.

In the morning, about seven o'clock, winter-caught fish, frozen so hard that they would break like glass, were brought in to lie on the floor till they began to soften a little. One of the women would pinch them every now and then until, when she found her finger indented them slightly, she would begin preparations for breakfast. First she cut off the head and put them aside to be boiled for the children in the afternoon (Eskimos are fond of children, and heads are considered the best part of the fish). Next best are the tails, which are cut off and saved for the children also. The woman would then slit the skin along the back and also along the belly and getting hold with her teeth, would strip the fish somewhat as we peel a banana, only sideways where we peel bananas, endways.Thus prepared, the fish were put on dishes and passed around. Each of us took one and gnawed it about as an American does corn on the cob. An American leaves the cob; similarly we ate the flesh from the outside of the fish, not touching the entrails. When we had eaten as much as we chose, we put the rest on a tray for dog feed.

After some three months as a guest of the Eskimos I had acquired most of their food tastes. I had to agree that fish is better boiled than cooked any other way, and that the heads (which we occasionally shared with the children) were the best part of the fish. I no longer desired variety in the cooking, such as occasional baking - I preferred it always boils if it was cooked. I had become as fond of raw fish as if I had been a Japanese. I like fermented (therefore slightly acid) whale oil with my fish as well as ever I liked mixed vinegar and olive oil with a salad. But I still had two reservations against Eskimo practice; I did not eat rotten fish and I longed for salt with my meals.

About the fourth month of my first Eskimo winter I was looking forward to every meal (rotten or fresh), enjoying them, and feeling comfortable when they were over. Still I kept thinking the boiled fish would taste better if only I had salt. From the beginning of my Eskimo residence I had suffered from this lack. On one of the first few days, with the resourcefulness of a Boy Scout, I had decided to make myself some salt, and had boiled sea water till there was left only a scum of brown powder. If I had remembered as vividly my freshman chemistry as I did the books about shipwrecked adventurers, I should have know in advance that the sea contains a great many chemicals besides sodium chloride, among them iodine. The brown scum tasted bitter rather than salty. A better chemist could no doubt have refined the product. I gave it up, partly through the persuasion of my host, the English speaking Roxy.

Through this philosophizing I was somewhat reconciled to going without salt, but I was nevertheless, overjoyed when one day Ovayuak, my new host in the eastern delta, came indoors to say that a dog team was approaching which he believed to be that of Ilavinirk, a man who had worked with whalers and who possessed a can of salt. Sure enough, it was Ilavinirk, and he was delighted to give me the salt, a half-pound baking-powder can about half full, which he said he had been carrying around for two or three years, hoping sometime to meet someone who would like it for a present. He seemed almost as pleased to find that I wanted the salt as I was to get it. I sprinkled some on my boiled fish, enjoyed it tremendously, and wrote in my diary that it was the best meal I had had all winter. Then I put the can under my pillow, in the Eskimo way of keeping small and treasured things. But at the next meal I had almost finished eating before I remembered the salt. Apparently then my longing for it had been what you might call imaginary. I finished without salt, tried it at one or two meals during the next few days and thereafter left it untouched. When we moved camp the salt remained behind.After the return of the sun I made a journey of several hundred miles to the ship Narwhal which, contrary to our expectations of the late summer, had really come in and wintered at Herschel Island. The captain was George P. Leavitt, of Portland, Maine. For the few days of my visit I enjoyed the excellent New England cooking, but when I left Herschel Island I returned without reluctance to the Eskimo meals of fish and cold water. It seemed to me that, mentally and physically, I had never been in better health in my life.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Old Clips

Here are a couple of old clips I found on my desktop from rodas and trainings at my center - Hacasa. Enjoy:


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Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Grand Canyon, Coach Sommer and misc clips...

The Grand Canyon. I'll go right down to it, I wasnt impressed. I tried, I realy did, but it just didnt make it for me. The Grand Canyon is nice and all, but it just wasnt my type of nature.
Have a look at some photos:






After Flagstaff, Avi and I took a drive to my last destination for this trip, Anthem-Arizona, to visit one of the best gymnastics coaches in the world, coach Christopher Sommer.


I got into email contact with Coach Sommer more than 5 years ago, after a release of one of his first articles on gymnastics strength and conditioning. Coach Sommer is a genius in his field of expertise and he was just the man I was searching for, as his methodological approach to gymnastics training is the equivalent of my own work in Capoeira. Coach Sommer is in the business of creating champions, and he has done so successfully in the last 30 years. He has a huge knowledge base and a clear understanding of what it takes to achieve those amazing feats demonstrated in modern gymnastics.
What I didn't know about him (Since I've never met him in person) was the person that he is.
Coach Sommer received me in his beautiful home. He introduced me to his lovely wife and two daughters. I was given a comfortable room to rest in, and we went to eat something at a local Asian restaurant. I could never spend a dime when I was with the coach. He wouldn't hear of it. When we got back home, and after hearing it was my birthday, he insisted on buying me a present. Since I was so impressed with his new digital camera, he decided to buy me one. He went online and ordered me a new camera. The memory card that comes with the camera wasn't good enough in his eyes, so he went on and bought me the best 4 Gb memory card available. My objection was firmly denied and he just wouldn't hear of it. I was getting this present.
We went on to talk shop before going to his gym. Coach was unbelievably generous with his knowledge, going through many details of gymnastics training and preparations, quoting known figures in the gymnastics coaching world and giving credit to each one of them from whom he borrowed something. His understanding of the gymnastics strength, conditioning, flexibility and technical aspects is amazing and unparalleled. Coach Sommer brings his knowledge from speaking with Chinese, Russian, Romanian and other countries coaches and gymnasts. He never refused to answer a question or share a detail.
I was given a copy of Coach Sommer's book. Let me tell you, this thing is amazing. This book will change the BW training world. It is so detailed and full of knowledge, everyone is up for a treat. And I don't mean everyone - common people. Head gymnastics coaches of countries like Russia, Romania, USA, Belarus and others should buy this book. It incorporates knowledge from many sources and with a special detail you cannot find elsewhere.
We went on to visit coach's facility. When we entered, his athletes, from far away noticed us entering the gym. They ran quickly towards us, standing in a line, receiving us with honor. I could see right away, this was a man who knows his job. His athletes have nothing but the highest respect towards him.
The boys were amazingly buffed and strong. Even though not even one of them was above the age of 15, they looked strong and muscular, able to support the heavy duty training of high end gymnastics. Injuries are very rare here. Coach's physical preparation creates bullet proof athletes, and he places high importance on this aspect in the training process.
I was then taken through the complete warm up the coach uses with his athletes. It is amazing, and full of thinking and detail. The warm up alone is priceless, and will be detailed in one of coach's future books.
They went through a couple of stages: shoulders, wrists, ankles, legs and hips, elbows, knees and back. Everything is covered and active flexibility is emphasized where possible, and it is possible in every joint.
We went on to some floor work. His athletes are impressive, working through the progression. I also saw some high bar and pommel work.
We went into the rings. His athletes are amazingly gifted in this area, as expected. I saw some impressive feats of strength, and not by one or two exceptional athletes, but by all of them.
I then got a taste of the 'power levers', Coach Sommer's invention that allows you to work any rings straight arm work gradually and safely. Let me tell you, this thing is amazing. You do not feel any stress on the elbow; there is no skin tears like when working with the straps and you are able to concentrate on the prime movers and do quality work. I can't wait to get a hold of my own pair of the 'power levers'. They are an amazing invention.
After finishing the workout, we went to eat, and again, the best food on the menu was ordered for me, and paying was not an option. I ate a good Salmon on the grill with some broccoli and we went on to 'Trader Joes', since Adela insisted I should take some snacks for my trip. They spoiled me with a full jar of good organic coffee, beef jerky and organic almonds. Back home we got into another training related conversation. The knowledge shared by coach was priceless. Coach Sommer and his wife Adela were staying up late because of me, since I was waiting for my flight really early the next day. I was willing to let them sleep and go by myself to the airport, but they wouldn't hear of it. Coach made sure a shuttle came and took me to the airport. He did not let me pay the fee for the shuttle, and even tipped the driver in advance. I gave Coach Sommer a hug and said to good bye, this is the first time I've met coach in person, but after only one day together, he made me feel part of his family.
Thank you coach. It was an honor to be received in your home.

Some random clips from the beach in Israel, and in the LA, training:



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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Anasazy

The Anasazy were a bunch of ancient Indian tribes that had permanent housing, made out of stone and sometimes inside the ground. 'Anasazy' means 'Ancient Enemy', and there are some archaeologists that think this culture disappeared in a strange and sudden way of the face of the earth. This theory is supported by evidence from various findings in ancient Anasazy dig sites. Me, Avi and Ophek went to one of the Anasazy ruins near Flagstaff to have a look.
On our way to the dig site we stopped at a place where a big volcanic eruption happened. The place is beautiful, full of black, volcanic stones and black dust covering the whole area.
Take a look at the San Francisco mountain peaks behind me, it is amazing how it is hot where I stand and how the tops are covered with ice at the same time:

Next, take a look at some photos of me at the middle of a lava stream:


Next, a couple of photos from the ruins of Wupatki:


Here is a picture of a 'Kiva', a place where physical and sports games were conducted by the Anasazy, incredible to be here:


This is a blow-hole in the ground, a very interesting phenomenon. It is basically a hole in the ground, leading to a closed system of tunnels and caves. The difference between the outside and inside air pressures makes air blow into or out of the hole. The air is blowing out in the photo below, and it is cold air with the smell of the ground:

Next, take a look at a plant I found out the local Indians use for preparing tea. Take a close look at its scientific name... The Indians knew how to pump up for a hunt alright:


At night, even though we were tired, we decided to go take the local gymnastics facility training. Even though we were training with obnoxious 14 year old cheerleaders it was a nice session, felt good to be in the air again. Take a look at the action:

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I'm just leaving for the Grand Canyon, stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Flagstaff, Arizona...

My time in Flagstaff is once again a completely different experience. This place is all about nature, and whenever you look up, you can see the iced tops of the nearby mountains. It is also different because the people here represent another breed of Americans. A lot less bullshit and much more 'take it as it is' approach, although not quite as in Israel.
Avi and moran and their daughter Ophek are having me in their cozy (but dirty) home. It is great to be among friends like that. They are also very 'green' and naturalistic in their approach to life, and eating good food here is easy. And I dont just mean paleo food, but the real deal. Since arriving here i've had deer meat, buffalo (Jerky), organic veggies, blackberries and drinking good black Turkish Coffee. (Rare in the US to find a good coffee and not that cocksy stuff they drink in Starbucks)
I've also enjoyed my workshops here and introducing my Capoeira to people who know little about my world.
We have been doing some indoor and outdoor climbing and are planning to do more in the next couple of days. Have a look at some bouldering I've done with Avi's guidance, it is V2 level. (not that high, but a challenge to me...)
video

We have also explored some of the local nature, around Sedona, here are some pictures of a hike we took the first day I arrived here:

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Las Vegas

My time in Vegas was one of the highlights of this trip. (So Far)
On my way to the San Francisco airport I discovered my flight to Vegas was scheduled a day before... How stupid can you be?!
I had to purchase a new ticket, and I arrived at the airport and started inquiring about the added cost after a refund of the original ticket. I had to pay 190$.
I got the money out of my wallet, and just before handing it over, I thought for myself: "wait a second, what is the cost of a NEW ticket alltogether?"
Turns out it is just 140$. Fuck. The girl at the desk didnt even think of letting me know that.
I purchased a new ticket and she asked me to check in my bag. I put it on the scales and it was 18 pounds over weight. I took it off and transfered some of the stuff into my carry on bag. I put it on the scales and noticed it was still 10 pounds over weight. Before the girl at the desk noticed I slipped my foot under the bag and lifted it a bit so it passed the allowed weight limit. I checked in and went to security check.
When the security guy saw that I was from Israel, he sketched a small doodle on my ticket and sent me to the x-ray area. When I got there I was pulled into this transparent fiberglass room and they started to take my things apart and check everything. Because I had to transfer my things from the big bag to my carry on bag, it was full of liquid, powder and pill supplements (nutritional) and they started to smell and check everything. This wasnt really my day.
Eventually I got on board and was on my way to Vegas.
My friend and 'Le Reve' performer Yuval Ayalon picked my up from the airport.
We went right away to a small get together in a local hotel of the cast of the show. Everyone was really nice, dressed up, drinking and talking. I got to know some interesting characters - clowns, acrobats, synchronized swimmers and other talented people.
In the next couple of days I got to see 3 Cirque du Soleil shows (well, one is a Dragone show, but its in the same spirit) - 'Le Reve' (my second time seeing it), 'Ka' and the show 'O'.
Each show was different and interesting.
Le Reve was my favorite. It is a very emotional show, and you get involved to a much more intimate level in it as a spectator. Also, because I already knew many performers in it, and I was sitting in the 3rd row, It was a great experience.
Ka was an amazing technological show. The physical abilities are not the center of this show, but the stage and techno stuff are something out of a hollywood movie set. Also, It had a Capoeira practitioner in it, so it was interesting to me on a professional level also. (I got to meet him and talk to him a bit after the show. We scheduled to train together but it didnt turn out at the end)
'O' was amazing in its acrobatics and the stage is also amazing. It is the most successful show in Vegas and one of the first shows here. The high diving pieces were amazing. The clowning I didnt like so much.
Over my time in Vegas I also trained daily with Yuval on the art of handbalancing, something I've been playing with for the last months. Yuval is an amazing equilibrist and he realy helped me alot with his guidance. I think I've made a small improvement in my work, but only after returning home and implementing all of this new knowledge will I know for sure.
Besides training and seeing shows, we went everyday to a cirque du soleil party or get together, and I met some more amazing people, with whom I have a lot in common. I was again deeply impressed with their abilities, but also amazed at how little do their training, nutritional and life style habits contribute to their success. People here are really talented, they can use a bit of a more professional approach to their lifestyle, eating and supplemental training. They do know how to work hard and are very technical and artistic, I'll give that to them.
I'm now in Flagstaff Arizona in my student and good friend house - Avi. Will update the next couple of days with photos and clips.
If you read this, comment please!

Me doing my set:
video

Now Yuval doing the real thing:
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Me and Yuval at the 'Le Reve' theater:


Outside of the 'O' show, near a statue of Victor Key:


Pictures from the 'Red Rock' outside of Vegas: