Thread: Phil Elmore Takes On 52 Blocks
5/16/2010 5:14pm, #1
Phil Elmore Takes On 52 Blocks
With lots of emphasis on the Africanness of it all:
YouTube- The Myth of "52 Blocks" or "Jailhouse Rock"
On the one hand, yeah, 52 Blocks has been widely debunked here:
"52 Hand Blocks"?? - No BS MMA and Martial Arts
jail house rocks aka 52 hand blocks - No BS MMA and Martial Arts
52 Blocks in the NY Times - No BS MMA and Martial Arts
Is 52 Blocks For REal? - No BS MMA and Martial Arts
On the other hand, Elmore mostly dwells on the blackness of it all, to the exclusion of any real debunking. It's quite startling even to me, who have seen Elmore's racism rear its remarkably ugly head in the past. The constant background of gangsta rap, the repeated cries of the alleged racism in not teaching this art to whites, and the generally whiny tone of the narration actually make me want to learn this art just to shut him up.
5/16/2010 6:42pm, #2"Judo is a study of techniques with which you may kill if you wish to kill, injure if you wish to injure, subdue if you wish to subdue, and, when attacked, defend yourself" - Jigoro Kano (1889)
***Was this quote "taken out of context"?***
"The judoist has no time to allow himself a margin for error, especially in a situation upon which his or another person's very life depends...."
~ The Secret of Judo (Jiichi Watanabe & Lindy Avakian), p.19
"Hope is not a method... nor is enthusiasm."
~ Brigadier General Gordon Toney
5/16/2010 9:06pm, #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2010
- RIVERSIDE CA.
sign me up, I want to learn especially the "GANGSTA LOCKS".... that sounds fun
5/16/2010 9:18pm, #4
FWIW, while Elmore is right that Dennis Newsome only teaches within his own ethnic and cultural group, he's dead wrong in saying that other 52s teachers have the same agenda. For example, FWAPE ( http://www.fwape.com/non_member_index.php ) was set up to use the skills of the 52 Blocks to mentor (mostly fatherless) inner-city youth and get them into healthy lifestyles, away from drugs and gangs, with no reference to race.
Newsome is a strong proponent of the "secret prison fighting art" aspect of 52s folklore. That theory suggests that the 52 Blocks were originally a fusion of English/American bare-knuckle pugilism with various African fighting styles, passed down via the prison system, but IMO Newsome is prone to presenting speculations and oral history as if they were proven facts; AFAIK there is no documentary evidence to support that theory.
Professor Tom Green (Texas A&M University) is engaged in a long-term research project on the history of the 52 Blocks. IMO the most plausible theory traces the 52s back to the so-called Sundowners, i.e. African-American prize fighters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, then passed down informally as an adjunct to boxing (in the streets, in gyms and in prisons) and re-emerging as an aspect of hip-hop culture in the '80s.
All best evidence points towards the 52 Blocks being a semi-codified skill-set that has evolved informally, with multiple "styles" emerging as local or even individual specialties, comparable to street skills such as skateboarding, parkour or breakdancing. Casual researchers who miss that crucial point (as Elmore obviously has) are doomed to draw false conclusions (as he certainly did).
With reference to a few of Elmore's own speculations:
* in fact, slave-owners cultivated fighting skills in talented slaves, because a successful slave prize-fighter was a source of revenue and prestige
* it was common for prisons, especially in the South during the early decades of the 20th century, to allow prisoners to train and compete in boxingCheck out the Bullshido.net Western Martial Arts Forum for all things Western, martial and arty.
Bartitsu: the Gentlemanly Art of Self Defence (est. 1899)
5/16/2010 9:40pm, #5
Phil is actually quite articulate. I think he missed his calling.
5/16/2010 9:42pm, #6
Phil is overly verbose. Everything he writes or says is full of oatmeal filler and redundancy.
5/16/2010 10:34pm, #7
- Join Date
- Apr 2009
- Calgary, Alberta
I'd like to see more on that Hakuda or whatever that fake Egyptian art was. I'd be funny if any of those guys would confront an Egyptologist or a Greek/Roman historian.
5/16/2010 10:44pm, #8
Phil has no definition, nor a concept of what a system is. He neither defines it, delinates it, or explains it... is it really self evident? Oral traditions are different than a formal written system is that what he means? he doesn't know so how can we ?
The real problem with critiquing something of this sort is when you come in guns a blazing and simply want to deconstruct. Phil's motive is so obviously ulterior that it becomes a rascist commentary.
The truth is that oral traditions are very hard to deconstruct. You have to really have your **** together and know what you are looking at.This thread never was a high quality conversation - My friend vern Gilbert on the William Acquier thread.
The fight in question having started over who owns which piece of rubble. Nicko1;2233174 On the Acquier Kim Fiasco slash thread.
5/16/2010 10:51pm, #9
5/16/2010 11:40pm, #10
- Join Date
- Mar 2006
- Hung Ga Kung Fu
Well, we know why they are always doing the low crouching, NOW. :(
no shivs-- all razors.