Monday, July 01, 2013

Jim Kelly, R.I.P.

I just found out that Jim Kelly died yesterday of cancer in San Diego.

Jim Kelly, best known for his role as Williams in Enter the Dragon, was a martial arts instructor before he started doing movies.  He also had a successful career as a tennis pro after his film career.

I own some of his other movies, including Black Belt Jones and Black Samurai.  Excellent martial artist, a much better actor than his B-Movie career gave him credit for, and from what I hear, a gentleman to his last breath.

Friday, May 03, 2013

Nothing like a nice piece of hickory...

One of the black belts at our studio found a place that makes really wooden Japanese weapons from Appalachian Hickory. It's Kingfisher Woodworks.

In addition to the really nice and appropriately priced finished weapons, they occasionally sell 1 inch diameter staffs, about 56" in length.  These staffs are not up to their high standards, so they are selling those for only $8.

The fact that these staffs are 56" long has an interesting side benefit.  Cut them in half and you have two 28" long sticks.  The standard lengths for Escrima sticks is 26" to 28".  So for $8, plus shipping, you can have some really nice solid hickory Escrima sticks.  A nice step up from rattan.

Tom, the instrutor who found them, ordered a staff for each of the other instructors at the school.  I've got mine and will be cutting it and sanding the two resulting sticks smooth.

I'll post pictures of the process.

Here is picture #1.  A 56" length of Hickory.

Picture #2.  Cut it into two 28" sticks.  One is 3-5 mm longer than the other, but I'm not sure I want to bother evening them out.  They got a light sanding with 300 grit sandpaper first and then 800.  After I took this picture, they got a light coating of lemon seed oil.


I'll give them another dose of lemon seed oil after I buy some more.