So, on my quest to find some good footage to use in the ‘history’ section of the film, I’ve learned a lot. I was able to obtain some footage, images, catalogs, etc. from the LOC (Library of Congress) that is usable because it’s old enough for the copyright to have run out…. that was the easy part. (who says big government isn’t good, I could spend years in that online library…SO much good stuff preserved for us all) Check it out sometime:

As you know from previous posts, I can get that Doris DeGreen footage as soon as I can come up with the funds to purchase the rights (working on that now)….but more interesting is that, with the help of my speed bag brothers on Speedbagforum, I’ve been able to contact Doris’ grandson. We are emailing back & forth and I’m hoping I can get a few images, old film…or just some cool old stories from the family archives for the film. Lets keep those fingers crossed!

Another thing I have learned is that the people over at VH1, MTV…you know, those Viacom people…they are just GREAT to work with. Brian was kind enough to put me in touch with them and they have been most helpful in securing the rights to use some short clips from “That Metal Show” where Brian (Tichy) appeared with the band and for the first time on TV, did a little ‘Drumpunching’…playing the drum kit with three limbs all the while hitting the speed bag rhythmically with the beat. Really cool stuff! It’s so nice to see people willing to help out an indie filmmaker with no-budget  like myself. Thank you’s to everyone at Viacom…again, you guys are great!

That’s it for this quick update…back to the edit.  I’m looking forward to seeing all my Speed Bag Brother’s & Sisters at the next SPEED B.A.G. gathering in July…. hope to see you there too!


What’s Old is New Again

As I continue to edit all the interviews and great speed bagging footage…and wait for some more footage to come in, I’ve really started to work on the “History” section of the film. To me, this is one of the most interesting parts. The deeper I dig, the more I uncover and the deeper my understanding is of just how popular the speed bag used to be ‘back in the day’.

In the late 1800’s through the mid 1900’s it seemed to be everywhere. Men & women alike were into the bag. There were ‘Champion Bag Punchers’ and Vaudeville acts featuring ‘Fancy Punching’. Many of the physical fitness books of the time included the speed bag as part, if not the focus, of the workout!

Doris DeGreen, Champion Bag Puncher

(screen captures of 1940 footage)


Then, it just kind of dropped-off? It became strickly a boxer’s exercise and all the ‘fancy punching’ seemed to disappear? I found this strange, why did stop? Wasn’t anyone passing the skills down anymore? Was interest just lost? Then, in 1976…there was the movie “Rocky”! The speed bag started popping up again…and little did we know that Alan Kahn was discovering the bag and realizing the possibilities that might have been lost in history.

So… the story continues and hopefully the “Art of the Bag” will thrive once again.

All this research made me curious to see what it might have been like to hit the speed bag ‘Retro Style’…just using a simple eye-bolt and shoelace…like Doris did!

Happy New Year!

I know it’s been awhile since my last post, but all the holiday craziness hasn’t slowed the process. I’ve been nose-deep in the edit of the film and it’s slowly starting to take shape. I’m finding some very interesting insight into the art of the bag. On thing that seems to pop-up a lot in the interviews is the influence the film “Rocky” has had on this generation of speed bagger. It was mentioned by quite a few of the baggers and was something that stuck in their minds, ultimately getting them to start bagging. After seeing this common connection, I’ve attempted to contact Sly (we’ll see where that goes)…wish me luck. Either way, I find it interesting how a classic film like “Rocky” sticks in our minds for years to come. I clearly remember seeing this film in the theatre on it’s release…one of my all-time favorites to this day.

Quick little teaser….

So, Sly (Mr. Stallone), if you do happen to see my email and view this post, please get in touch…I think you might really enjoy this film and the speed bag community that you have influenced! What is it that NIKE says, “Just Do It”.

Here’s wishing everyone a very happy & successful New Year!

Speed Bag Addicts

Been working away and contacting some others for interviews. Thought I’d add this update.

As you may or may not know, speed bagging is VERY addictive!  Once you get started and learn some of the basic punches (which usually only takes a month or two), you’ll find yourself putting on the headphones & punching away.  Take it from these folks…you will be addicted.

I know I am!

Enter “Sandy”

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve updated, but there has been a lot going on behind the scenes….and hurricane Sandy made her presence felt. Thankfully, she spared us for the most part, but VERY high winds and minor flooding has still slowed things down. I hope they get things back going down in NYC and NJ….I can’t imagine the hurt all those people are feeling right now.

So, I’ve been trying to finish a few projects (real work) so that I can update my editing system before I start digging into the edit of this film. A new version of the NLE software I use has been released, but as always, it’s never as easy as it seems to upgrade these days. I needed a new power supply and video card in order to use some of the cool new features. The first power supply I purchased came to me DOA…and after installing it…and ripping it apart a few times, I decided there was nothing I could do and sent it back for a replacement (what fun). The new one just came the other day, but one rule I always stick to is; NEVER upgrade when you’re in the middle of a project!  Thus, I am now waiting to finish a few things before the upgrade.

On another note, a fellow speed bagger is heading down to Australia and has offered to shoot an interview and get some footage of a few baggers “down-under”!  This is a great help and now I’ll be able to show the ‘Australian Style’ too. (BIG thanks to Biff for taking this on during his vacation).

….that’s about all to report today….and Happy Halloween.


SuperBagger Ataraxis!

I’ve been a little lax in updating the blog (although I don’t think anyone really reads these) so it’s time.

A couple of weeks ago, I made another road trip down to the beautiful town of Woodstock, NY.  I love that town and was lucky enough to spend time there back in 1983 …when I was recording an album with the band I was a member of at Bearsville Studios. I only wish I remember more about it! Nuf-said.

I was there to interview what I would call one of the ‘SuperBaggers’ I met at SPEED B.A.G. III, Speedbag Ataraxis.  He’s a great guy, very interesting and an amazing speed bagger and punchdrummer.  I was able to spend an afternoon interviewing him, getting his thoughts on the speed bag and shooting some great bagging footage.  Ataraxis (which IS a word, look it up) is a personal trainier by profession and integrates the speed bag into the training of his clients and although not everyone ‘takes’ to it, he has spawned a few more addicts.  I have to thank him (and his better half) for a great day in the Catskills!

Since that trip, the research continues into the history of the speed bag.  Until next time…..

Back to Business

So, after the ‘Back-up Scare’ of 2012….and once my heart got back in a regular rhythm…and my blood preassure was back to normal… it was time for another trip to interview Sifu George Hajnasr in Kingston, MA.  I was invited out to visit his dojo, The Jeet Kune Do Academy of Martial Arts and sit down to talk about his experience in finding the speed bag, his addiction to it and how he has used it in his day-to-day Jeet Kune Do trainning.

It was another great day for a roadtrip and once I punched the address into the GPS, it was a quick 3.5 hour drive. The academy is a beautiful place. It’s full of some of the nicest gear I’ve ever seen and there are walls full of very interesting history, trophies and pictures of Sifu George over the years. Sifu George is a great guy and I was welcomed with open arms and given a tour of the facilities…. then it was time to set-up my gear and get to work.

The interview went great and Sifu George added a little different perspective of the speed bag and it’s uses….but it still boils down to his addiction to hitting the bag!

After lunch it was time to pack-up (but not before spending a little time under the boards hitting and comparing notes on various swivel and platform combinations…after all….we ARE speed bag addicts!) and hit the road. Another great interview in the can and only a few more to go in my quest to get to the root of this addiction!

Back-up, back-up…and back-up again!

This is just a reminder to anyone reading this that you can never back-up important projects enough. I got up this morning and fired up the computer & drives (I have a bunch because of the size of the HD video files) only to find that only one folder showed up. Now, sometimes there’s just a glitch on startup so I shut down and restarted….and again, on my main work drive, only one folder showed up (and it wasn’t anything I needed…why does That always happen?).

I just sat there…shocked and horrified…could I have really lost all of my latest work on the film? Hours & hours of viewing, cutting, renaming and organizing clips? I was frozen, just staring at the screen like a zombie. I couldn’t think…I even forgot to breathe for a bit. This is a nightmare to anybody who uses a computer…you never think it will happen to you, until it does!

Now, I knew I had all my raw footage backed-up on two different drives to keep it safe, but realized that I hadn’t backed-up all the logged and organized footage for this project…or all the NLE projects, title tests, super slomo tests, etc. I now realize that back-up should be EVERYTHING pertaining to the project. So, for this project that’s about 350Gb.

After a cup of coffee (and a lot of pacing & thinking), I decided to run the error-checking tool and see if I could find everything on that drive….with a little luck and about 6 hours later, there it was. All the data had been found and everything seems to be in order. Thank God.

The rest of the day (and even as I type this post), I’ve been backing-up ALL data from the 2Tb drive and “eating my crow”. I can’t remember how many times I’ve helped others rescue data and preach to them about back-up, back-up, back-up.

With 5 minutes to go, I’ve now backed-up 1.8Tb and I think I can sleep tonight. Having wasted a Saturday doing this is well worth the effort & piece of mind. So I leave you with these words of wisdom….

Back-up, back-up…and back-up again!

More Interviews…

Last week was a good one, but a LONG one. Thursday I packed up the gear and headed down to Stamford, CT to shoot an interview with Brian Tichy. Brian is not only drumming with Foreigner but is a true speed bag addict! What a great time I had and I think I got a lot of good insight from Brian…and some good ‘out takes’ too!

Friday, it was back down to the Newburgh/Poughkeepsie area to interview G-Town and JUXT for the afternoon. Again, great guys, both with some good stories to tell. We’re already planning a baggin’ get-together soon.

After all that travel, I was looking forward to being able to sleep in on Saturday…but my expecting daughter had other plan and gave birth to a beautiful girl at 4:30am (so much for the sleeping in). So as my personal family grows….so does my speed bag addicted family!

Stay tuned as the journey continues to get to the “Art of the Bag”…

Reviewing, Logging & Organization

The SPEED B.A.G. III footage has now been reviewed, logged and organized for the edit. This might not sound like a big deal, but with hour & hours of footage…it is. Every shot has to be reviewed to make sure it’s usable, then it has to be renamed so the file name tells you what that clip is about and finally, they have to be organized in folders by general category. By doing this the edit will be much easier, so it’s totally worth it.

The other thing I look for within each shot is focus and shot composure. Sometimes when you’re shooting in a run & gun style you lose track of the framing of the shot because you’re concerned with focus….then you lose track of focus because you’re trying to get the shot framed properly! Then there’s exposure and other technical aspects of the shot. Next, you have to consider the audio. Was it clear? Was it a good level? You really only know once you’ve reviewed each shot. There were a few ‘throw aways’ (shots that just missed the mark on focus or framing), but all in all, I have a truck-load of usable footage IMHO.

This is a hugh weight off my shoulders because if I didn’t get what I needed at this event…well…I don’t know if the film could happen. Having everyone you need in one place at one time and only being a 3 hour drive for you is a no-budget filmmakers dream come true. Travel all over the country for interviews would prove almost impossible….or at least would set the film back drastically.

Now it’s on to more interviews in the Boston area and a quick trip to the Newburgh Boxing Gym for a few more….