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Old 11-17-2002, 12:33 PM   #1
bob_stra
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Water and oil don't mix?

Hullo folks

This one's been eating away at me for quite some time now, so I could use a fresh perspective. It's probably a disjointed kind of question because the more I think abt it, the less it has to do with the actual mechanics of the problem itself and more to do with
me....

How do you mix two opposites without creating a mess? specifically in regards to
combining BJJ with aikido. (please note: I'm not asking abt techniques!!)

IMO Aikido practice seems to occur in a much different "head space" than that of a typical BJJ session. My interest in both comes thru my interest in human movement. I'm not really a competitive sort (tho I like the occasional tussle ;-) , so I am drawn towards the aikido "co-operative method".

However, co-operation of the aikido kind is far and few between in BJJ - much more an aggressive, competitive vibe. (read: *not* automatically an evil thing). For my money, not much is learnt via this and not much expansion / development occurs. (which is one
of my main interests in both arts)

So how do you go abt combining the exploration that happens in aikido with the full blooded tussle of BJJ given that -

(1) The BJJ crowd most accessible to me is more interested in competitiveness
(2) Would like to participate in both activities
(3) It's not a perfect world - no "aiki-Bjj" clubs, just lots of young men beating the crud
out of each other ;-)
(4) No willing training partners stashed under the bed / in the garage ;-)

I really hate to think that DoubleThink / mental dissonance is the only answer ;-(

Any fresh leads?

Last edited by bob_stra : 11-17-2002 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 11-17-2002, 01:14 PM   #2
Thomas Froman
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Please excuse my ignorance, but what is BJJ?
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Old 11-17-2002, 01:19 PM   #3
Kat.C
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BJJ=Brazilian juijitsu

Kat

I find the aquisition of knowledge to be relatively easy, it is the application that is so difficult.
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Old 11-17-2002, 03:41 PM   #4
mj
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Interesting. I had the same 'problem' a few times.

You just don't carry your prejudices from one art to the other. Keep them seperate, sounds like a yin-yang thing.

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Old 11-17-2002, 07:46 PM   #5
Richard Elliott
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Re: Water and oil don't mix?

This one's been eating away at me for quite some time now, so I could use a fresh perspective. It's probably a disjointed kind of question because the more I think abt it, the less it has to do with the actual mechanics of the problem itself and more to do with

me....

How do you mix two opposites without creating a mess? specifically in regards to

combining BJJ with aikido. (please note: I'm not asking abt techniques!!)

So how do you go abt combining the exploration that happens in aikido with the full blooded tussle of BJJ given that -

(I really hate to think that DoubleThink / mental dissonance is the only answer ;-(

Any fresh leads?[/quote]
Hi Bob!

I'm just a nikyu in Aikido, but I did train in Tae Kwon Do once upon a time, so I'll try.

I don't think there is anything wrong with competition in MA or whatever. I think of competition like this: We're running for a distant horizon. I may well loose interest or confidence unless I have my buddys to push me on; and me them. I prefer this picture to one where we are both standing across a river glaring at one another in anticipation of. . . I don't know what?

Aikido has a number of principles concerning attitude about confrontation and life in general. REad up. Maybe you are actually embodying a principle or two, even in competitive BJJ or in the way you approach your own art in your own personal, unique way.

I think you can "beat the crud outta somebody with love." In fact I think it happened to me 1-time.

just guessing

Respectfully, Richard
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Old 11-17-2002, 08:30 PM   #6
CZR
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It's a complicated question and rests at a variety of conceptual levels... unfortunately, your initial post does not include enough specific information to warrant a precise answer, but we can try. It sounds like you are more inclined toward the aikido element, but look for some aggressive outlets as well. However, you are not directly motivated toward the competitive elements. More or less?

What is your experience in these arts? This goes a long way in determining the appropriate course of action.

In response:

1)already said you're not the competitive sort, so A does not equal B here

2)both take time, effort and interest, but always account for costs and benefits (money-wise etc.)

3)if you could make two things perfectly one, you would have neither of the two in the end, thus the two singular entities. Denying this is wasted effort.

4)unclear, is bjj only option available or just most readily? see 2) again...

My answer to a relative novice, my assumption given the nature of the post (hope this does not offend) is:

Most "complete" martial arts contain (in true daoist fashion) elements of both. Everything contains within it elements or affirmations of its "opposite." Is it possible to do aikido more aggressively? To understand the "aggressive?" And so, do we need to, or even, can we, mix?
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Old 11-17-2002, 09:28 PM   #7
Kevin Wilbanks
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I only did BJJ for a couple of months, but I know what you're talking about. People tend to fight so hard for every little millimeter that you can spend several minutes in a prolonged, exhausting struggle that doesn't seem very educational. Since the ideal of BJJ is similar to Aikido in terms of being able to subdue without alot of strength or effort, it can be difficult to see how you'll get there if people don't lighten up and get a little more experimental. My teacher gave me the advice to give up the competitiveness unilaterally, to follow the principles and not worry about getting tapped out. He said to just let the partner have something if he wants it that bad - to go with it, 'lose' a lot, and observe: look for opportunities to do something relatively easy but effective, along the lines of reversals, etc... I got out of it before I got a chance to give the advice a good try, but it made a lot of sense. Perhaps you should give it a try.
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Old 11-18-2002, 12:28 AM   #8
bob_stra
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>Chris Rhoades wrote CZR)"It's >a complicated question and rests >at a variety of conceptual >levels...

Yes, exactly!! Perhaps you could comment more on these conceptual levels (ie: soft Vs hard, internal vs External etc)

>unfortunately, your initial post >does not include enough specific >information to warrant a precise >answer

my bad - it's hard to conceptualize something you only feel as "a splinter in your mind".

>However, you are not directly >motivated toward the competitive >elements. More or less?

100% correct so far

>What is your experience in these >arts?

As in length of time involved? BJJ abt 1yr and aikido just starting.

Or did you mean experience in a different context?

>if you could make two things >perfectly one, you would have >neither of the two in the end, >thus the two singular entities. >Denying this is wasted effort.

Yeah... ;-(

>4)unclear, is bjj only option >available or just most readily? >see 2) again...

Most readily availble given restrictions of real life (tm)

>>Kevin Wilbanks wrote: I only did >>BJJ for a couple of months, but >>I know what you're talking

>>about.

and I bet it difficult to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it, right?

>>My teacher gave me the advice to >>give up the competitiveness >>unilaterally, to follow the >>principles and not worry about >>getting tapped out

Here in lies the crux of the problem. Like you, I stopped being "unilaterally competitive". However, the more I did that, the more agressive the others became!!

I suspect the average macho male equates kindness with weakness and in such an environment, it'd be difficult to change their mind.

The problem is, I *like* BJJ as an art. It's a sublime feeling when things work - a good sweep, or escaping an inferior position. A thing of beauty. Ditto with aikido.
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Old 11-18-2002, 12:51 AM   #9
bob_stra
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>Chris Rhoades wrote CZR)"It's >a complicated question and rests >at a variety of conceptual >levels...

Yes, exactly!! Perhaps you could comment more on these conceptual levels (ie: soft Vs hard, internal vs External etc)

>unfortunately, your initial post >does not include enough specific >information to warrant a precise >answer

my bad - it's hard to conceptualize something you only feel as "a splinter in your mind".

>However, you are not directly >motivated toward the competitive >elements. More or less?

100% correct so far

>What is your experience in these >arts?

As in length of time involved? BJJ abt 1yr and aikido just starting.

Or did you mean experience in a different context?

>if you could make two things >perfectly one, you would have >neither of the two in the end, >thus the two singular entities. >Denying this is wasted effort.

Yeah... ;-(

>4)unclear, is bjj only option >available or just most readily? >see 2) again...

Most readily availble given restrictions of real life

>>Kevin Wilbanks wrote: I only did >>BJJ for a couple of months, but >>I know what you're talking

>>about.

and I bet it difficult to explain to someone who hasn't experienced it, right?

>>My teacher gave me the advice to >>give up the competitiveness >>unilaterally, to follow the >>principles and not worry about >>getting tapped out

Here in lies the crux of the problem. Like you, I stopped being "unilaterally competitive". However, the more I did that, the more agressive the others became!!

I suspect the average macho male equates kindness with weakness and in such an environment, it'd be difficult to change their mind.

For example, I was rolling with a *female* blue belt, just going with the flow. She starts getting flustered, swore at me for not attacking her enough. I responded with "well, you attack and we'll go from there". More swearing on her behalf. By this point I was pissed off enough to do her some real damage (out of spite), but as luck would have it was time to swap partners.

To be honest, I don't like the "psychic residue" such training leaves behind. You continously look for a fight and end up feeling agressive at the slightest infraction.

Still, BJJ as an art is beautiful. A lot can be learnt abt movement when done outside the field of gravity (ie: on your back). I'd like to continue exploring that but without the aggro that seems inherent in most BJJ/ MMA clubs. Sadly, the agressive type clubs are the only ones that I have immediate access to given travel restrictions etc.
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Old 11-18-2002, 01:00 AM   #10
bob_stra
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Ah crap, double post.

Ignore the first, the second one has more pertinant details
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Old 11-18-2002, 04:07 AM   #11
ian
 
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I never think of aikido as a set of techniques - all the aikido 'techniques' you will find in pretty much all eastern (and other) martial arts at some level. Aikido embodies several concepts, the most universal of which is probably the concept of blending. Also, aikido training is different to other martial arts as competition is usually excluded, and instead repetitive training is undertaken.

Ignoring the philosophical side of aikido for now, basically to incorporate the essence of aikido into BJJ you need to train to do the moves with minimum effort and maximum effect. Thus, whatever you are doing technique wise, try and blend with their body movement. Most martial arts do this to some extent. Also, in most martial arts there is a learning period where you cooperate. Surely in BJJ when you pratice you get into specific holds and try to escape with specific techniques? Also, these usually start by just going through the motions of the hold and technique.

Maybe instead of progressing to the struggle stage rapidly, just repeat the technique again and again until you can do it instinctively - also, become aware of how to maximise their weight and strength against them, and where you are strong within the hold. From this you can then move on to do fast and efficient technique.

Ian

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-18-2002, 04:14 AM   #12
ian
 
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P.S. I think one of the reasons why aikido doesn't have competition (as such) is because it is predominantly a self-defence. The people that often need a self defence (and would tend to be excluded by competition) are often those who are smaller/weaker.

Although it may be true that other martial arts could beat aikido in many situations, most competitive martial artists train in a size/weight division. However most self-defence situations DO involve larger or multiple opponents with an unfair advantage attacking you - this is where aikido comes in.

Personally I would say that aikido is one of the best martial arts for saving your skin against a larger/multiple or armed opponents. Instead of asking could we beat other martial artists, we should be saying, would a small/weaker person be more capable at defending themselves against an attack in the street with aikido than with other martial arts? In my opinion (with certain caveats) I would say yes.

Ian

(sorry to rant - just something I've been thinking of; and this is not intended to dis' other martial arts - I'm a firm believer in the correct approach being more important than the 'type' of martial art)

---understanding aikido is understanding the training method---
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Old 11-18-2002, 02:03 PM   #13
Roy Dean
 
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Bob,

You bring up an excellent question, one I've thought long and hard about.

Oil and Water. They seem like opposites, initially, but given the proper amount of time, both arts will merge into one. Personally, I believe that BJJ is Aikido, only with the plane of engagement rotated 90 degrees...

How do you combine them without making a mess? Train them separately. Don't mix them. The techniques that work on the vertical plane don't transfer to the horizontal without some modification. Hey, isn't ikkyo like a straight arm lock? Can you see the similarity between Sankyo and Kimura?

The training methods are different, but embrace that. The training method of Aikido is premier for developing sensitivity, timing, and precision footwork for getting off the line (among other things, but I'll stop there). The training method of BJJ develops isometric strength, increased levels of coordination (you have to learn to use your feet like hands), aggressiveness, and more. Attribute development gained through each training method increases your effectiveness in both arts.

Because you are attempting to apply techniques to a fully resisting opponent, the learning curve in BJJ is very steep. You have to pay your dues. It's hard on the ego. The first year is probably the worst. You tap a lot, often to imperfect technique applied by other white and blue belts. But if you stick with it, the game completely changes. Roll with a purple,brown, or black belt and you will feel the magic of BJJ. You will reach this level too if you just keep at it. My instructor has an excellent article on progressing in BJJ. It (and other articles) can be found here:

http://www.royharris.com/forum/forum...?s=&forumid=16

Now, let's deal with agro training partners. As a white belt, you're still adding tools to your tool box, and aggressive training partners can often negate the tools you have through fury alone. This is frustrating, but trust me when I say that in time, you will be able to handle all of them and cleanly negate their strength and weight. It will take a few years, so in the meantime, get a training partner to drill and roll "soft" with. If you roll hard all the time, injuries accumulate and your progress will be slower.

I compete in BJJ and submission wrestling competitions, but only do so as a discipline to further my game. I don't crave competition and you don't have to compete to be a slick and deadly practitioner. Many aggressive, hot blooded males are drawn to BJJ because it incorporates sparring into their daily training method. Exposure to this crowd is invaluable. After you can hang with and eventually tap these guys with clean technique, you will no longer be intimidated by their size and strength alone. You get put through the wringer as a white belt, but you prove to yourself that you can stay calm in many uncomfortable pressure situations.

BJJ is my primary art at the moment, so it's always on my mind. If you have other questions, I'll do my best to answer them.

By the way, check out the blending and aiki flow between these two BJJ practitioners in this exhibition match:

http://www.onthemat.com/Images/hck/hck_camarillo.mov

A big file, but well worth it.

Sincerely,

Roy Dean

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Old 11-19-2002, 07:18 AM   #14
Jim ashby
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Oil and water will mix. You have to add a surfactant and beat well. I think, as an analogy the surfactant could be experience and the beating could be lots of training time. Or I could be talking rubbish

Have fun

Vir Obesus Stola Saeptus
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Old 11-20-2002, 12:01 AM   #15
CZR
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Call it what you will, experience will show you the similarities that may at first not seem present... however, how much experience is always the question. I like the analogy of the surfactant and beating however, think one should be careful with the concept of "mix."

Hard/Soft: all opposites are only affirmed in reference to each other. Stylistically speaking, we really only refer to a system as being harder/softer than another; even when we use the terms as adjectives, the comparison is implicit. (adding to the conceptual end) To focus back in on what seemed to be the initial concern: the more aggressive training vs lesser, It occurs to me that it is possible to compete and not be competitive. By this i mean train for conceptual but not competitive gains, even when the training is competitive. Perhaps this mental outlook could reconsile any reservations.

Current themes running in the replies point toward your relative inexperience holding some veil over the answer to you question.

I agree with Roy on two main points. Experience will show you that bjj is (relatively) aikido done on the ground. Roy put it so much more elegantly. And train, in the intended way, separately! To allow one art to afford deeper understanding of the other, you must know the first very well. Given your interest in the "art" of bjj it would not hurt to remain involved with it for a while longer, something that works in conjunction with your real world constraints. I think a lot of the aggressiveness will become less an issue when you get to more advanced levels. Rolling with a whining blue belt is a lot different from a brown belt who should welcome the challenge of a more evasive opponent. However, if the purpose of the exercise is to get the win, don't let going with the flow bring the match to a stalemate. That would be like an attacker not attacking when the goal is that the defender learn to defend. Always be mindful of purpose.

A personal recommendation would be to focus solely on bjj for the time and not bring aikido into the equation just yet. Some other opinions may differ, but I think simultaneous training at lower levels is a hindrance to both arts. You would get more for your time/money by focusing on one for now...
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Old 11-20-2002, 06:48 AM   #16
bob_stra
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I'd like to thank you all for the input (and esp. CZR). The analogy of the surfactant is a good one!!

Having said that, I think you've confirmed what I suspected all along - intention. There is also some real world practice to be had with the "bad feelings" such agressive situations stir up. More abt "keeping your head when all those around you are losing theirs".

Interesting....


Last edited by bob_stra : 11-20-2002 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 11-20-2002, 10:10 AM   #17
Roy Dean
 
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Aggressiveness, ultra-competitive attitudes, none of that will faze you in time...

CZR brings up a good point in regards to Hard/Soft. If you start "hard", you can refine and regulate the effort put into the techniques, "softening" your techniques while still retaining effectiveness. Going the other way around is much more difficult....

So I second CZR's recommendation to focus on BJJ exclusively. Just for a year or two, then start throwing Aikido into the mix once or twice a week. It's difficult to focus on two arts at once, especially when the training methods are so disparate, even if the final application of techniques are related.

Good training to you,

Roy Dean

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Old 11-20-2002, 09:07 PM   #18
bob_stra
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Quote:
Roy Dean wrote:
So I second CZR's recommendation to focus on BJJ exclusively.
Actually, I was thinking of putting the BJJ aside for a while and concentrating primarily on aikido for a year or two. In the end, if I have to choose between them, I think I'm more drawn to this weird aikido thing ;-)

Coincidentally, I've just figured out why your name keeps ringing a bell. Roy Dean - "Takedowns from the knees". Must be a hard life having access to a guy like Harris, huh ;-) Working with a guy like that - no wonder you can see the parallels between the two arts.
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Old 11-21-2002, 02:33 AM   #19
gi_grrl
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Hello from Perth!

Hey Bob,

I'm from WA too! Where do you do your training (both arts)?

Cheers, Fi.
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Old 11-21-2002, 07:43 AM   #20
bob_stra
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Re: Hello from Perth!

Quote:
Fiona Evans (gi_grrl) wrote:
Hey Bob,

I'm from WA too! Where do you do your training (both arts)?

Cheers, Fi.
I've replied to that one via email.

But here's the weird thing...

Are you the Fiona Evans who trains with UWA aikido club? If so, we both started there on the same night waaaay back when.

Sadly, despite the *excellent* vibe out there, it was just too far for me to travel on a regular basis. I took to judo after that (which was closer to home), eventually adding BJJ to the mix. Now, after a donkey's age, I'm ready to do an about face ;-)

Small world huh :-)
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Old 11-21-2002, 08:21 AM   #21
bob_stra
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Re: Hello from Perth!

Oh and I've just realized the final icing on the cake. I do believe one of your sensei's achieved a brown belt in Judo under my judo sensei. He still speaks highly of him when he found out I was interested in aikido, but warned me that you guys do a lot of "stunt-men" like ukemi ;-)

(this of course assumes the UWA thing)
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Old 11-21-2002, 02:15 PM   #22
willy_lee
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Quote:
Roy Dean wrote:
By the way, check out the blending and aiki flow between these two BJJ practitioners in this exhibition match:

A big file, but well worth it.
Wow, I thought that movie was great. I just let it download overnight and watched it in the morning. I want to watch it over and over.

One thing I noticed: I took a look at some other videos available at onthemat.com, and none of the ones I saw to me had the same level of joyful flow -- seems to me that this might be due to the fact that it was an exhibition match and thus neither really felt he had to win -- they could "play" more.

Would you say that this playfulness is more common in training than in competition?

By the way, congratulations to Roy on doing so well at the tournament -- fastest win - 15 seconds? Wow! Was this recent?

=wl
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Old 11-21-2002, 06:38 PM   #23
Roy Dean
 
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Willy,

The two participants in the exhibition match are David (brown belt ) and Daniel (purple) Camarillo. They were playing in this match, but still wanted to put on a good show. None of it was scripted except for the opening flying armlock.

Their father is a highly ranked Judoka, and he raised them in Judo from a very young age. Both have been national champions in Judo before training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

They've rolled with each other thousands of times, so their playfulness is much closer to training than competition. In competition, the windows of opportunity for blending are very small, so movements are often more stilted and less open to redirection, as you saw in some of the other clips.

Although the techniques they displayed may be categorized as Judo or BJJ, all I see when I watch them roll is Aikido. It's all the movements between the techniques that reveal their aiki-flow. I'm a big fan of both their games. I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for the congratulations. The tournament was a few months ago, and I just happened to be "on" that day.

Competition is just another aspect of training, and to me, the most important part of both BJJ and Aikido lies in the "playing". That's where the best training comes from, and where the beauty of an art is revealed...

Roy Dean

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Old 11-22-2002, 06:03 AM   #24
gasman
 
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oil and water do mix, just add some soap!
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Old 11-22-2002, 06:16 AM   #25
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Quote:
Sigurd Rage (gasman) wrote:
oil and water do mix, just add some soap!
Yes ... and as every one knows, soap and oil (gas/kerosene) makes great napalm.
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