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...)
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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:
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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:




Thursday, April 24, 2008

San Francisco

San Francisco is great. An inspiration. I dont have a lot of time to write, but I'll just say that this city is a special place. I dont just mean the Golden Gate, and other famous and amazing sights around this place. I mean the people, the energy in the streets and the way you feel walking down the street here.

Below is a non related picture from The Universal Studios in LA and some flics from one of many trainings in the GO facility. Enjoy, I'm in Vegas right now having the time of my life, hanging with the local Cirque du Soleil and Le Reve cast memebers, but I'll write about this later.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Gym training and bleaching politeness...



When you travel around California, you meet a lot of people, but somehow, they all seem very similar to me. I dont mean the outsides of people, although even that is a bit similar in most cases. The gals have their fingernails and toenails done almost always, the shoes are quite similar and there are like 4-5 types of them rotating everywhere, the ipods, iphones, blackbarries, etc...


But more importantly I started to notice something is missing. I never get an angry waitress, rarely encounter the non patient receptionist or see a weird guy giving me the ticket in the entrance to a show.


Then it hit me....


Everything is bleached. Bleached by politeness.


Well.... I'm still not sure I'm right on target here, or....


I'm just happy I found a reason not to be polite :)




Anyways, yesterday morning we headed down to the local 24 hour gym. It is a big facility, with lots of buffed guys pushing weights and beautifull gals on the treadmills. You can also meet an occasional female body builder, which is an experience of itself.


When we entered the gym, Parafina right away noticed his good friend - Arnold Chow. The man is a very famous stunt man and actor and some of you may know him by looks. He did a lot of work for the local scene.


He was training his beautiful girlfriend in boxing, TKD and other MA stuff there.


We said hi and went on to do a leg workout on the freeweights. Big weights, low reps, no hypertrophy-only strength and power for me.


We did some olympic lifting variations and finished with squating. Good stuff, a bit of a shorter rests than in home, because of the diffrent flow here.


We went on to do a small Capoeira workout mostly my timing pair work, some floreio and working on protecting yourself while in handstand position in various ways. We finished up with a build up sequence of floreio and went to grab a Buffalo burger and veggies warped in lettuce instead of a bun in the local Fuddrackers. Bufflalo is a very lean meat and I enjoy it very much while I'm here.
More to come tomorrow...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Finding new floreio...

Floreio is an art within an art. It is a recent invention, its roots are in traditional capoeira and it was heavily influenced by Angola practitioners and other modern capoeiristas.
Nowdays, without a doubt Grupo Cordao de Ouro is one of the leading forces in floreio work. Floreio can be practiced from within the game, or as a seperate entity used for conditioning, fun and artistic expression.
From a conditioning POV, floreio is superior because of its varied, unpredicted nature and the whole body demands on the muscles. (besides pulling muscles that are rarely involved)
When I create a small sequence of movement, I always refer to it as 'finding out' floreio, as opposed to 'creating' one. There is nothing new under the sun.
Check it out: (from israel, haifa beach before my trip to the US)

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Venice Beach, California


Venice beach is where you want to be. Especialy when a hot day hits you (there is a heat wave here in LA) and you have a bottle of freezing cold (non sweetened) green tea.

The beach is full of beautifull people. Colorful, athletic.

The open basketball courts has amazing players showing off their abilities, while everyone just seems to dunk a bball, even the whities hanging around,

The muscle beach gym always has one or two body builders moving some iron,

The beach has an assortment of bodyweight training equipment like high ropes, pbars, high bars, rings, and even overhead plates for speed bag boxing use.

What else can I ask for?


We went at it, warming up at the big grass with some floreio.


Pretty quick a small crowd gathered around us, asking questions, inquiring about those unexplained movements.

We pushed on and did some acrobatics.
We continued near the grass with some equilibre work on static positions:



We went to the bodyweight area and finished up with some strength work on the aparatus:





Finally, a picture of a man with his son, just explaining the basic facts of life...




After ripping it apart at the beach we went back to the valley to grab a bight to eat in a local resturant with israely food. I ate some delicious Lamb Shishlik with a good arebian (Dak Dak...) salad and drank some more ice tea...


My food was delayed in the kitchen, but in order for me not to hurt the americanized waitress gentle feelings I just hinted her with an inquiring face on the plate. Where is my food, dog?



Life is good. Live it hardcore. More to come....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

LA 2008














Los An-hell-es. Once more... Here I am again in the plastic capital of the world.


After a very llllloooonnng and tiring flight, I was picked up by a friend (Parafina) and we went talking into the night. I was dead tired but you know how it goes with two capoeiristas talking shop, not much better than two old ladies.


I finally went to sleep around 02:00AM and woke up 4 hours later with my eyes wide open. The jetleg is here.


I went to a small jog around the neighborhood and got some stares from the local latino comunity... Apperantly a white guy jogging without a shirt at 0600AM in Van Nuys is not a common sight.


I did some dynamic stretching and worked the elastic band a bit and prepared a small breakfast of organic omega 3 eggs plus some greens tossed in. I ate this omlete with a horseradish mustard... mmmm.... spicy! (not as good as the russian one, though...)


Parafina woke up a few hours later and we went to a local stuntmen meet.


It was held in a huge house of an vetern stuntman from the old school. (used to do a lot of work in the 1960's and still does until today) He has a huge back yard with trampolines, landing mats, trapeze and high fall tower. All of the local Holywood stunt guys and gals meet up here twice a week and train for free, exchanging tips on falls, crashes, trampoline, fight choreography and other cool stuff.


















We jumped a bit on the double mini tramp and then I went to learn the basic free falling techniques. Here is the result:



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And this is an ex-olympic gymnast jumping off one of the high tower lower drops:

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This is a very cool guy that works a lot with freerunning and parkour doing the real deal of the small drop:

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All in all, a great first morning in Hollywood. Met some interesting people and got to move my body a bit. Next we are off to Venice Beach to train and hang out. Stay tuned and comment for G's sake.