The Cranky Kenny Learns Karate Children’s Book is Finally Here!

Woo hoo! The coolest karate children's book is finally here!

Woo hoo! The coolest karate children’s book is finally here!

It’s been nearly three years in the making, but the children’s book I wrote in collaboration with local artist and illustrator Marissa Dziedzic is finally here!  It is published on and is available in electronic and print versions.  Here’s the description:

Kenny is a very cranky boy! Will learning karate help him cheer up? In this children’s book, kids can learn more about martial arts, self-control, and discipline. It’s a story the whole family can enjoy!

In short, it’s a fun story that teaches kids the value of karate while also teaching some specific information about the Shohei-Ryu/Uechi-Ryu style.  Here are the product links; please contact me at if you have specific questions about ordering.  This is my first self-published children’s book, and I want to make sure it is perfect for you and your families and young karate students.  Thanks!

Cranky Kenny Learns Karate E-book

Crank Kenny Learns Karate Print Book

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New Mats at Meriden Martial Arts Club

We got some mew mats for training jiu-jitsu, judo, wrestling, and MMA at the Meriden Martial Arts Club.  E-mail to come train with us!

You can learn more about our club by clicking the link below.

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Conor McGregor Fights for UFC Gold Tonight…

The Notorious One is fighting for UFC gold tonight. In honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I would pass along this Buzzfeed inspired breakdown of my UFC Saturday.

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Catching Up: 10 Random Thoughts on the Wacky World of MMA



Things have gotten a little busy outside of the cage for the crew here at MMA and let’s just say our dedicated blogging time has been practically nonexistent. Still, we will not let our faithful readers down! I’m here to hit you with 10 random thoughts about the happenings in the world of MMA. Hit the jump to read my genius!

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The Life of a Part-Time Fighter

Hi, Everyone:  From time to time we’ll share a guest post, and here’s a unique look at the the life a part-time MMA fighter by our friend Craig Boyle.  He is an MMA fighter and journalist in the UK and represents Maxinutrition.

Please enjoy this insightful piece about what it’s like to train and struggle while trying to make a living.  Included are some helpful tips on how to pull it all together.  If you like this post, leave Craig some love in the comments and share it, too.  Thanks! – Bill


The Life of a Part-Time Fighter

It’s coming to the end of my shift and I’m itching to get away from the job. Each and every day makes the job seem like more of a chore as I head towards my fifth amateur fight. Each hour at work is an hour I could be training. Each night sat in traffic driving for 45 minutes to get to the gym is a slow torture as my nerves and excitement build. It’s nearly fight time.

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Down, But Not Out!

Don’t worry folks. We’ll be back! Projects, school, new jobs–Alar and I are both still in the fight, and we hope to get writing again this summer. In the meanwhile, look for some guest posts on this site and some information about Cranky Kenny Learns Karate coming soon.  Thanks!

mma, karate, jiu-jitsu

We’re only on “one”, folks!

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Why can’t we have nice things?


With our imaginary combat sports adversary boxing quickly approaching its biggest event in damn near decades, we sit here as MMA fans with our heads in our hands. Why can’t we have nice things!?

Our greatest Champion is on the run from the law. Or in custody. Or training for his next fight. Who knows…

The last PPV the UFC held was marred by lawsuits and the impossible nature of promoting a 125 lb. champion in today’s market.

Our folk hero Anderson Silva has become just another ‘roid junkie. 

GSP and Brock Lesnar, two of the brightest stars in the history of the sport have seemingly left for greener pastures.

And here we are. Attempting to defend our sports’ legitimacy to those old-timey, fedora wearing, cigar smoking boxing fans and we just can’t. The sport of MMA is in shambles.

For whatever reason, the UFC is going to continue to promote Jon Jones’ next fight in late May. If any card could stand to have a fight removed from it, it is UFC 187 which features likable, wholesome, and decent human beings such as Chris Weidman and Donald Cerrone. Though, the card also features less than desirable MMA representatives like Anthony Johnson and Vitor Belfort. What to do, what to do.

As fans of the this sport, we have to think about how our weird little contest looks to the outside world. Jon Jones is running around in the streets in a national Reebok ad one week, and literally running from the cops with wads of cash in the literal New Mexico streets the next. We need to be better. We can’t throw financial or vocal support behind individuals that have no remorse for their own actions. We loves this sport. We can all escape from real-life for a few hours on a Saturday night, drink some suds, and enjoy the highest form of athletic combat sports thanks to MMA. With each passing day, it becomes harder and harder to justify doing just that. How am I supposed to enjoy watching Jon Jones and Anthony Johnson fight for a gold belt and millions of dollars? Can they both lose?

With all that said, things can only go up from here… July 11th can’t get here soon enough…


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Why Leslie Knope is my Karate Idol

A lot of people have favorite karateka: Chuck Norris, Lyoto Machida, Rex Kwon Do.

But I propose a different person to look up to.  Someone not exactly known for her martial arts prowess.  Someone like Leslie Knope.


I’ll admit my choice of karate idol may seem a bit strange.  But I recently finished Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and really enjoyed it.  Aside from being an interesting and funny read about an interesting and funny person, it got me thinking.  When Poehler reflects on her most famously played character from Parks and Recreation, she discusses how genuine, accepting and giving Leslie is.  I have to agree that Leslie Knope can be as inspiring in real life as she is to Pawnee.  If we all spent a little more time thinking of others and putting service before self, the world would be a better place.

But how does that apply to karate?

In a culture dominated by stripmall senseis on one end of the spectrum and world-class athletes fighting in The Octagon on the other, there’s not much room for the simple, positive aspects of martial arts as practiced by the rest of us to shine through.  This is especially true of traditional karate; genuine, accepting, and giving masters are few and far between.  But these are the three most essential qualities needed to keep karate alive and well.

My charge is for all karateka, to practice being more genuine, accepting, and giving.

For those unfamiliar with Parks and Recreation, here is some explanation with scenes to show you what I mean.

Be Genuine

Not all of us who practice karate are genuine.  We may boast and brag.  If we don’t know something about our art, we may not admit it.  If a junior student gets the better of us in some way, we may try to dismiss his or her progress to save face.  Instead, we should try to be more like Leslie: wear your heart on your sleeve, share your hopes and dreams, be honest, and stay positive in the face of criticism.

Be Accepting

Not all of us who practice karate are accepting.  We may put down other styles.  If someone introduces us to a new technique or idea, we may ignore it.  If a student or training partner disagrees with us, we may get angry.  Instead, we should try to keep our eyes, minds, and hearts open to others whom can teach us more about karate and ourselves.

Be Giving

Not all of us who practice karate are giving.  We may refuse to train with junior ranks.  If someone asks us to help teach a class, we may be “too busy”.  If we have techniques or knowledge to share, we may selfishly keep them to maintain an advantage.  Instead, we should be attentive to others’ needs, and we should freely give what we can to help them along The Way.

Vote Knope! 

Whether you like Parks and Recreation or not, I hope you can agree that we should try to stress the positive aspects of karate more each day.  Also, we shouldn’t take our art so seriously!  Let’s try to be more like Leslie Knope.  It may be the only way to make karate relevant to new and old students alike.

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Why isn’t Anthony Pettis a superstar?

How come THAT DUDE isn’t a budding MMA superstar?

Sure, the cage combat faithful are jazzed up that Pretty Tony is returning to the cage this weekend, but why hasn’t he crossed over to become the Hollywood-esque martial artist we all thought he would?

If you started from scratch and tried to build the ideal MMA fighter, you might come out with a hodgepodge that closely resembles Mr. Pettis.

UFC 164: Henderson v Pettis

Reason for superstardom #1: His fights are ELECTRIC. He does stuff that only ninja’s in subtitled Japanese flicks do.

Reason for superstardom #2: He FINISHES fights. During the Edgar/Henderson era, didn’t we all desperately call for a fight finisher at 155? Well, now we have one. Still,  it seems there is little to no buzz when his fights arrive.

Reason for superstardom #3: He somehow ended up on the COVER of a Wheaties box and none of us seem to care. Where is the love for Showtime?

Breakfast of Champions

Breakfast of Champions

There are a few answers I’ve been casually mulling over as UFC 185 approaches as to why Pettis hasn’t spun off into a stardom supernova.

We are all probably experiencing a Ronda Rousey hangover. Even though her last tilt only lasted 14 seconds, we have been talking about her future for what seems like eternity. Can Cyborg make 135? Is Holly Holm ready? Can Ronda beat a male? Will she decapitate a moose in the cage? Ronda. Ronda. Ronda…

Ronda Rousey queries have thankfully run their course and now we are free to talk about upcoming fights, yet the MMA twittersphere is still failing to realize the epicness we have on deck this weekend. (Mayweather/PacMan coverage doesn’t help the cause either…)

The strike for strike most exciting fighter in the sport is lacing them up this weekend and there still a serious lack of chatter surrounding this thing. It boggles the mind!

In my mind, the real issue lies in the hands of Pretty Tony’s opponents. They simply can’t sell fights. Gilbert Melendez is the fighter’s fighter. The toughest SOB this side of the Prime Meridian, yet he doesn’t exactly make you want to shell out your cold hard cash for a PPV. Showtime’s last outing (against Melendez), UFC 181 did 400K PPV buys, which is decent in this day and age, but it was also the co-main event of the night.

Hendricks/Lawler II caught top-billing that night and rightfully so. While Hendricks is booked for a scrap with the modern incarnate of Rasputin, Matt Brown on Saturday, it lies 3 fights down on the card. Will the Carla Esparza/ Joanna J******* fight help move the PPV needle at all? No sir.

The sales lie on the shoulders of our main event fighters and Rafael Dos Anjos isn’t exactly pulling his weight. Over at Bleacher Report, the homey Chad Dundas broke down this problem a million times better than I could. If you didn’t click over, let me sum it up for you: RDA is the ultimate nondescript Brazilian fighter. He has a seemingly web-generated Brazilian MMA contender name and a look that doesn’t make him stand out from the crowd.

Is that RDA? See, you wouldn't even know...

Is that RDA? See, you wouldn’t even know…

His Embedded scenes show him training and praying. Nothing to write home about here. Woo hoo. It takes two to tango, brother. It’s safe to say that RDA won’t be the Chael Sonnen to Showtime’s Anderson Silva, if you catch my drift.

Let’s hope an off-the-cage triple-axle moonsault hadouken can vault Pettis into MMA luminary status. Otherwise, I simply don’t know how to sell you this guy.


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The Ronda Show: A Glimpse at the UFC 184 Main Event

As MMA fans, we should cherish every single time Ronda Rousey fights. She isn’t going to be here forever. Even with her budding star power and excellent displays of brutality, it’s still hard to get amped up for this weekend’s pay-per-view card. Sure, injuries ravaged the Main Event, but what card hasn’t been hit by the bug lately?

16 seconds.

16 seconds.

Ronda Rousey is a unique occupant of this MMA bubble we all occupy. We should all make an effort to tune in whenever she fights, even if that involves suffering through Alan Jouban vs. Richard Walsh fight on the MAIN CARD… Ms. Rousey will go down as a legend. As a pioneer. She very well could be the best athlete in the UFC today. If we even give the slightest of a damn about the growth and legitimacy of this sport, we should have some eyes on the Main Event Saturday night.

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