New Years resolution? Been there. Done that. It was called August. In the fall when people are hibernating Nizal Khan joined our Muay Thai program at RCW. He just won our December contest for best attendance showing up for 24 classes in 20 days! Nizal has lost almost 20 lbs, he says his close fit better and more than anything he thanked us for creating a place he just loves to be at. Get started now folks, by March you could be crushing goals like my man here. #rcw #rivercitywarriors #muaythai #portland #kickboxing #fittofight #newyear #newyou (at River City Warriors)

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Choosing the right Martial Arts for your child in Portland

It can be tough out there parents, I feel your struggles. The carpools, the 5 o’ clock activities. The over scheduling. The siblings in several directions. We get it. You make the time, energy, and love to look after your kids, and you want the best opportunities possible for them right? That’s why after reading this article you’re not going to fall for the old martial arts school in a strip mall routine. You’re going to be willing to drive an extra 5 minutes to the right place for your child. 

I grew up in Portland, and after my parents made the mistake of letting me watch the Karate Kid and Enter the Dragon I was hooked. By 8 years old I was constantly begging to take martial arts for kids. I was looking for exactly the type of classes like we offer at River City Warriors in Tigard. Unfortunately the internet didn’t exist back then so there wasn’t a way to vette the offerings out there. Martial artists pride themselves on their lineage, ranking, and certification. What I’ve discovered over the years is there are several people content with faking it. They falsify their heritage, they lack any kind of certification, and often times are teaching subjects that they have little to no experience in. A common trend in the industry is to switch the subjects being taught as things become trendy and popular. For instance when I was a kid my parents enrolled me into a school with “JKD” on the outside, Bruce Lee’s style. Only YEARS later did we come to find out the man had no knowledge of JKD and had actually only dabbled in karate. He bought a black belt which he wore in class and proclaimed to everyone he trained with the top Jeet Kune Do instructors. 

Of course you want to avoid this situation at all costs. And almost as equally, you want to avoid ineffective martial arts for kids. The solution is simple, let’s throw down some easy tips to avoid pitfalls and get your kids on the right track. 

1. Check the credentials. Are there real certificates on the wall that don’t look hand printed and filled out by the head instructor themselves. Martial Arts in Portland and the U.S. is completely unregulated. You are relying on the honesty of the instructor to ensure you have no regrets. THOROUGHLY CHECK!

2. Are there packed adult classes? This might seem counterintuitive since you’re looking for martial arts for kids, but it’s a great metric of the depth and knowledge of instruction. This also means that as your child grows up, he won’t outgrow the (usually fake) martial arts. He or she will be able to use their skills their whole life. Which leads us to point…. 

3. You wouldn’t enroll your child into Guitar or Piano lessons and say to yourself “it’s just a kids activity, so I don’t care if they learn anything.” Of course not. After you’ve checked that adults are around, you can be sure that a real skill can be developed where your child is training. Much like that guitar, if they start at 4 years old they should be phenomenal by the time they are age 20. Kids that do martial arts are like sponges, make sure they absorb the right thing. 

4. Belt factory? We typically envision a black belt for kids in the martial arts. That paradigm has changed in the last few years. In Portland you’ll find places where advancement takes place over a period of 4-7 years. That’s a good amount of time, if you think about what it takes to become proficient at any skill in life like speaking a language, playing music, or another sport. RUN, run far away from places that offer a black belt in 2 years. That means the quality isn’t there, and they’ve designed the course to take extra money from your wallet every month with exorbitant belt testing fees. 

5. Upgrades? No thanks. Be extremely wary of the common practice of upgrades. Along with far too quick belt testing, many instructors will approach you after a short time, 4-8 weeks, when your child is excited about doing martial arts. They will tell you that your son or daughter is ready for the next step, and that they can join a special program to work towards their black belt at an accelerated rate. Sometimes they’ll say this is the ONLY way to get to black belt. Often called Black Belt Club, Leadership Team, etc… I know, sounds legit, and of course it’s going to cost YOU more money. Think about it this way, if your child is in martial arts setting their OWN goals, what does it have to do with your pocketbook? Secondly, if this special information is there to begin with, why would the instructor withhold it? Simply put, because they want to charge you more for instruction your child should be getting in the first place. It’s a strong gimmick, and something we would never do at River City Warriors near Lake Oswego

To recap: Look for credentials, classes full of adults, a 4-6 year path of progression, and no gimmicks! If you can find all of these things under one roof you are quickly on your way for finding the right martial arts for your child. I urge you to take the same consideration and care as you would enrolling your kids with the right language teacher, music teacher, or any artisan craft. You might have to drive a little farther, search more initially, and pay for quality lessons, but your son or daughter will thank you later when they have life long value added from taking martial arts. 

For more information on Martial Arts for Kids in Portland check out River City Warriors Bully Proof program featuring Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Jeet Kune Do. They offer quality programs, no upgrade fees, no testing fees for kids, and quality classes that build character and promote growth. 

Good luck in your quest and if you have any questions please feel free to message us directly. If we don’t have a program in our immediate area we’ll be able to direct you to a high quality location near you if you live in Oregon. 

About the author: 

Joseph Heller began studying martial arts as a child in 1986 and has continued to do so to this day. In 1998 he discovered what would become the core classes at River City Warriors. This included Muay Thai, Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Jeet Kune Do and the Filipino Martial Arts of Kali and Eskrima. After more than 20 years of study he opened RCW with the promise that it would enrich the lives of each and every student. 

You can contact Mr. Heller at:

River City Warriors 

14935 SW 72nd Ave 

Tigard, OR 97224



All Eyes on Oldest Recorded Supernova

This image combines data from four different space telescopes to create a multi-wavelength view of all that remains of the oldest documented example of a supernova, called RCW 86. The Chinese witnessed the event in 185 A.D., documenting a mysterious “guest star” that remained in the sky for eight months. X-ray images from the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton Observatory and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory are combined to form the blue and green colors in the image. The X-rays show the interstellar gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by the passage of the shock wave from the supernova.

Infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, as well as NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) are shown in yellow and red, and reveal dust radiating at a temperature of several hundred degrees below zero, warm by comparison to normal dust in our Milky Way galaxy.

Credit: NASA/JPL


Muay Thai (Kick Boxing) is constantly evolving. For generations it has included the use of pugilistic strikes, knees, elbows, kicks, and clinching.

More recently there’s a strong influence of Western Boxing, along with a variety of footwork common in Southeast Asia. At RCW in Tigard we promote the art of Thai Boxing under the World Thai Boxing Association.

Whether your goal is self defense, fitness, MMA, or cross training, Muay Thai can add to your repertoire. It’s great to get in shape, meet a ton of incredible people, and learn something along the way.

Thanks for watching,
Kru Joe

Oldest recorded supernova

This image combines data from four space telescopes to create a multi-wavelength view of all that remains of RCW 86, the oldest documented example of a supernova. Chinese astronomers witnessed the event in 185 A.D., documenting a mysterious “guest star” that remained in the sky for eight months. X-ray images from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton Observatory were combined to form the blue and green colors in the image. The X-rays show the interstellar gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by the passage of the shock wave from the supernova.

Infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and WISE, Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, shown in yellow and red, reveal dust radiating at a temperature of several hundred degrees below zero, warm by comparison to normal dust in our Milky Way galaxy.

By studying the X-ray and infrared data, astronomers were able to determine that the cause of the explosion was a Type Ia supernova, in which an otherwise-stable white dwarf, or dead star, was pushed beyond the brink of stability when a companion star dumped material onto it. Furthermore, scientists used the data to solve another mystery surrounding the remnant - how it got to be so large in such a short amount of time. By blowing away wind prior to exploding, the white dwarf was able to clear out a huge “cavity,” a region of very low-density surrounding the system. The explosion into this cavity was able to expand much faster than it otherwise would have.

This is the first time that this type of cavity has been seen around a white dwarf system prior to explosion. Scientists say the results may have significant implications for theories of white-dwarf binary systems and Type Ia supernovae.

RCW 86 is approximately 8,000 light-years away. At about 85 light-years in diameter, it occupies a region of the sky in the southern constellation of Circinus that is slightly larger than the full moon. This image was compiled in October 2011.

Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO & ESA; Infared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/B. Williams (NCSU)

In case you missed it, we wrapped up the Chris Kent JKD and Kali seminar in style! We covered some key components of Bruce Lee’s original MMA theories like the “stop hit” and the “time hit.” Always great to see Mr. Kent around this way. Since we make a habit of bringing in the top instructors out there, I’m sure it won’t be long until he makes his return to RCW. #JKD #jeetkunedo #brucelee #chriskent #rcw #inosanto #tigardmartialarts (at River City Warriors)

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Bursting At The Seams

This bubble of ionized gas and warm dust, called RCW 79, lies in the southern Milky Way, 17,200 light years from Earth in the constellation Centaurus, and probably took about one million years to form from the radiation and winds of hot young stars. The infrared eyes of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope have found at least three generations of stars forming in this expanding envelope.

The gas and dust balloon is an example of stimulated star formation. Such stars are born when the hot bubble expands into the interstellar gas and dust around it. RCW 79 has spawned at least two groups of new stars along the edge of the large bubble. Some are visible inside the small bubble in the lower left corner. Another group of baby stars appears near the opening at the top.

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope detects infrared light from the dust particles in RCW 79. Ultraviolet light from the young stars excites the dust particles, causing them to shine in infrared. Spitzer detects this infrared light, seen here as the extended red features.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/E. Churchwell (University of Wisconsin)
Source: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_307.html

Glowing Stellar Nurseries

Colour composite image of RCW120. It reveals how an expanding bubble of ionised gas about ten light-years across is causing the surrounding material to collapse into dense clumps where new stars are then formed. The 870-micron submillimetre-wavelength data were taken with the LABOCA camera on the 12-m Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope. Here, the submillimetre emission is shown as the blue clouds surrounding the reddish glow of the ionised gas (shown with data from the SuperCosmos H-alpha survey). The image also contains data from the Second Generation Digitized Sky Survey (I-band shown in blue, R-band shown in red).

Credit: ESO/APEX/DSS2/ SuperCosmos/ Deharveng(LAM)/ Zavagno(LAM)


A Bubbly Cosmic Celebration

In the brightest region of this glowing nebula called RCW 34, gas is heated dramatically by young stars and expands through the surrounding cooler gas. Once the heated hydrogen reaches the borders of the gas cloud, it bursts outwards into the vacuum like the contents of an uncorked champagne bottle — this process is referred to as champagne flow. But the young star-forming region RCW 34 has more to offer than a few bubbles; there seem to have been multiple episodes of star formation within the same cloud.

Credit: ESO


Boxing and Muay Thai Kickboxing class at RCW

Last week we covered a variety of slip drills and evasive head movement as it relates to boxing. This week we continue the trend in Muay Thai as the use of the slip, bob and weave, and other evasions are performed under different context in Muay Thai.

Kickboxing is known as the science of eight limbs, they count the two knees and elbows as part of the physiology. As such with more tools available there’s a greater range of offensive and defensive knowledge required when compared to boxing. Both are incredible chess games with the human body and tons of fun. Yet both are unique in their approach, footwork, mechanics and delivery. Often the similarities pay off and make learning one method a natural fit for the other.

Other pieces like stance can be mission critical that you know the difference. For instance a wide stance as demonstrated here is great for punching power in western boxing and allows the trunk to be more nimble. In Thai Boxing it exposes the leg to the heavy kick and inhibits mobility. Sometimes in the UFC you can observe this when the fighter with the wide stance repeatedly takes shots to the leg.

It’s important if you pick an MMA coach or start taking kickboxing classes that your coaches understand the unique approach required for cross training. At RIver City Warriors we offer a variety of stand up classes in Tigard including Muay Thai, Boxing, MMA, Grappling, and Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee’s method.)

Don’t be fooled by others who say MMA is a simple blend of a little bit of this or that. At RCW you’ll find experts who’ve spent decades in each program studying them individually and as a cross training regimen. We can do the same for you, and you’ll find it a rewarding education. Casual in our attitude, serious about the training, welcome to RCW.

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 2016 September 28 

NGC 3576: The Statue of Liberty Nebula 

What’s happening in the Statue of Liberty nebula? Bright stars and interesting molecules are forming and being liberated. The complex nebula resides in the star forming region called RCW 57. This image showcases dense knots of dark interstellar dust, bright stars that have formed in the past few million years, fields of glowing hydrogen gas ionized by these stars, and great loops of gas expelled by dying stars.

A detailed study of NGC 3576, also known as NGC 3582 and NGC 3584, uncovered at least 33 massive stars in the end stages of formation, and the clear presence of the complex carbon molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are thought to be created in the cooling gas of star forming regions, and their development in the Sun’s formation nebula five billion years ago may have been an important step in the development of life on Earth. The featured image was taken at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

The Head of the Seagull Nebula

“This image from ESO’s La Silla Observatory shows part of a stellar nursery nicknamed the Seagull Nebula. This cloud of gas, known as Sh 2-292, RCW 2 and Gum 1, seems to form the head of the seagull and glows brightly due to the energetic radiation from a very hot young star lurking at its heart. The detailed view was produced by the Wide Field Imager on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope.”

Credit: ESO


It’s Senate Bill 6301, proposes to license bicycle “operators”.

First of all I want to stress, this is not a satirical piece from The Onion. This is an actual bill, sponsored by a Washington State Senator.

The bill proposes a yearly $20 bicycle operator fee for anyone 18 years or older who operates their bicycle on public street, road, highway, trail, sidewalk or other recreational facility. The operator must display their unique bicycle operator number. This number must be visible at all times, be at least 6” high and be made of reflective material so it is visible both during the day and at night.

Not following the particular rules in this bill is a traffic infraction punishable by:

1) $20 for the first offense;

2) $30 for the second offense;

3) $40 for the third offense;

4) The penalty for subsequent offenses shall be equal to the penalty prescribed for other traffic infractions as provided in the penalty schedule adopted pursuant to RCW 46.63.110.



Begin your JKD in Portland with style! 

In my experience authentic Jeet Kune Do (JKD) as pioneered by Bruce Lee can be very difficult to find. Looking deeper into most offerings around the Portland, Tigard, and Lake Oswego area and you might find more schools than just RCW. I readily ask you to challenge, or even simply look for their credentials. 

JKD, even in Portland, is a small family of talented instructors and students. It’s easy to see if they’re on the right track because credentials can be traced a short trek back to the 1970′s. In Martial Arts terms that’s the blink of an eye, and lucky for us, most of the folks training back then in the first and second generation of Jeet Kune Do are still around. 

At River City Warriors  we can show the credentials and always strive to present opportunities to train with individuals close to the source material. Contrary to what you might expect, this is EXACTLY what the beginner just starting out should do. In an environment where safety is stressed, a progression is offered, and there are senior students who are capable, learning accelerates. I’ve recently posted some videos of my skilled students performing, but everyone starts at ground zero and works there way up, and you can too! I’ve trained with a number of instructors over the years, and the best ones showed me how to get started, AND then measure progress. They gave me the tools necessary to learn, let me explore on my own, and come back for more. When done right, students can’t help but fall in love with the efficacy of good JKD. 

Throughout the year we’re constantly inviting our JKD team in Portland to seminars locally and in the surrounding region. We regularly bring in my instructors like Guro Chris Clarke who’s been training with Dan Inosanto for over 30 years! This weekend, I’m privileged to announce that the last student to join Bruce Lee’s backyard group in California will be with us, Guro Chris Kent. After Mr. Kent began he quickly established himself as one of Dan Inosanto’s most prominent students. Until decades later where he went off, like many of Guro Dan’s students, to form his own academy. Guro Kent has kept up his skills to this day and is knowledgeable in JKD, Kali (Filipino stick and knife fighting), Wing Chun, and the French kickboxing style of Savate. 

We welcome everyone to join in our JKD heritage and participate in the workshop this weekend. If you’re interested in regular JKD classes or Kali in the Tigard or Portland area we offer training 6 days a week. We are also the only school in the state of Oregon to offer training in Sayoc Kali. RCW is a place that beginners can start out and feel immediately welcome, and the advance student can further their training, knowing the entire time that this is a legitimate path of authenticity. Who knows, one day I’ll post all those testimonials I have that echo the same sentiment. 

This weekend our workshop with Mr. Chris Kent will be hosted from 12pm-4pm both Saturday August 29th and Sunday the 30th. On location directly at River City Warriors in Tigard. 

Don’t worry if you can’t make it or want to take it a little slower in a group class. Contact us any time and check out our JKD program for yourself! We’re always offering a FREE trial, because we know that once you see the difference in our JKD curriculum you’ll be hooked like the rest of us! 


Guro Joe