Rannoch Donald

  Meet Rannoch Donald. Besides going into the pool for possessing one of the coolest names of all time, Rannoch is a Renaissance man, a generalist in the finest sense of the word. He’s a martial artist, a blogger, and overall movement enthusiast. A former band promoter, he’s now turned his talents to the fitness industry. Rannoch hosts fitness workshops in the south of Spain, drawing in names like Steve Cotter, Mike Mahler and Erwan La Corre. Listen in as we discuss fitness, martial arts, diet, eating habits, and what it takes to be a better man. To check out… Read More »

Dewey Nielsen

  Meet Professor Dewey Nielsen. Dewey’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, hence the title professor, and a movement specialist. And by movement specialist I mean he specializes in movement, which actually makes him a generalist. Dewey feels that the human body was designed to move and in all kinds of ways. The better we move in all of these different ways the better we are. Body flow, power lifting, yoga, weight lifting, boxing, martial arts, you name it, regardless of your discipline Dewey can find something of value in it. Odds are he’s already doing it, too. Dewey lives… Read More »

Solon and Croesus

I had a cancellation this morning and was in desperate need of a haircut.  I’m an old school guy and so get my haircut at Vincent Oliver’s Hippodrome in Woodlawn. Vincent is in his 70’s now.  He graduated from Woodlawn High School , which is only a block away from his barber shop, in 1950-something.  The majority of his clientèle are old classmates, who gather at his shop to gossip about old friends and reminisce about the good ol’ days. Vincent has old barber chairs that glide up and down and must weight a ton a piece.  He shaves the… Read More »


Happy Monday, everyone. We spent Saturday driving back from the beach and yesterday was spent catching up on all the chores we didn’t get to during the week–mowing the grass, grocery shopping, that sort of thing. Don’t worry, we didn’t let our vacation completely get away from us as we still managed to find a few hours to spend soaking in the river during the afternoon. After a supper of pan seared salmon and broccoli salad, I sat down to whittle the twenty plus minutes of video Samantha shot of my last beach workout on Friday into something watchable.  I’m… Read More »

Fighting the Air 2

Recently I started re-exploring some of the old kung fu forms I used to do with a near religious fervence.  By the way, that’s me in the far left of this photo. As I mentioned in an earlier post, as an adolescent and young adult, I became obsessed with martial arts.  Both Hollywood and Hong Kong ass kickers had captured my imagination and I was able to mitigate a general sense of powerlessness with fantasies of fists of fury. At thirteen I met another kid at Y summer camp who took karate.  His school came and did a demo for… Read More »

Father’s Day

So, I was a little more stiff getting out of bed this morning than usual.  My legs are a tad more sore than I expected, which was not sore at all, because, after all, I can be arrogant at times and forget that I’m forty, or human. I had a pretty good weekend these past two days.  I hope you did, too.  If you’re a father, like me, then I hope you enjoyed your Father’s Day and were feted appropriately.  I certainly feel like I was, made me feel like I was doing something right. Saturday was a very short… Read More »

Jason C. Brown

Greetings friends and neighbors, Today I want, with great enthusiasm, to announce that Agoge Fitness Systems will be hosting Chip Conrad, of the Bodytribe in Sacramento, California, for a two day workshop, July 28 and 29th, at the gym here in Birmingham, Alabama.  You may remember me referencing Chip from an earlier blog post on play.  As a result of that post Chip and I got connected and the idea of having him come to Birmingham came to be. I’m very excited about this opportunity as Bodytribe embodies everything I want AFS to be when it “grows up.”  You can… Read More »

Fighting the Air

I met a fighter this past weekend in St. Pete.  A real fighter.  Michael De La Pava, Miami Mike we called him.  That was so we could separate him from Tight Mike, who was from Queens, a boxer himself, who but for age and experience might just as well be the subject of this essay. I’ve never seen Mike fight, but I know he can bang.  How? His whole bearing speaks of it.  Early Saturday morning, as we made our introductions he said he was a Muay Thai instructor and mentioned he had a few fights under his belt.  He… Read More »

Muscle Memory

**This is a guest post from my dear friend and writing coach, Glenny Brock.** Pain is a signal. If ever knew that, I’d forgotten. What I remembered was Brush-Knee-Push-Step, Repulse the Monkey and Wave Hands Like Clouds — three of the 24 moves in the Yang Short-Form Tai Chi. Last Saturday morning, for the first time in about 10 years, I found myself standing behind Dave Hall, doing my damnedest to mimic and mirror him as we went through the form. I marveled that I remembered the slow dance of it all — when to “empty” my legs and feet,… Read More »

Eyes Closed

Every teacher worth her salt knows that teaching is a learning experience.  In fact it’s the ‘dirty little secret’ of all teachers.  I mean, after all, you, as the student, pay us for our tutelage, but often we end up learning as much if not more from you. We learn about our art, or subject. It’s absolutely true you do not fully understand a concept, art, system, program, style, whatever until you have taught it.  That’s one of the reason’s why in most traditional martial arts programs each belt rank teaches the rank below it.  In other words you spend… Read More »