Saturday, 25 April 2015

Meet my sparring partners. lol

One of the main reasons why we can't rely on just basic drills and form practice is that we need to develop quick reflexes. I invented this method back in my Shotokan days to help me develop my blocks. 

What you see in the photo are two favourite rubber balls. I use only one of them at a time. It already helps a lot if you bounce the ball against a smooth wall and catch it. What I have done to help me with my blocks however is to intercept the ball on its way back with in inward slapping block combined with a grab to catch it. Outward blocks can't be done in this exercise with much success, but I also intercept the ball with an outward circling movement at times before I catch it.

The better you get at this the harder you can throw the ball to get more speed. 

I also catch the ball with my eyes closed at times, but the success rate in that is far less than 100%.

The effect this exercise has on your actual sparring is almost immediately visible- plus: you become able of rescuing a teacup or two when you least expect it... 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

I got new shurikens!

If you can't hear me so well in the video- I was telling you about my new shurikens and how shuriken-jutsu (or in my case "shuriken-do") ties in with my Wenhsiuquan training.

I don't actually practice much with shurikens. Biggest reason for it is most likely that shuriken throwing does not make me tired, sweaty and out of breath and also does not make my muscles ache (I mean ache in that way that tells you that you are on your way to getting more buff).

What shuriken throwing does, however, is calm your mind. The actual technique requires focus that leaves no room for thought, worry or doubt. There is only room for technique. In other words- to me it's a form of meditation.

Ninjas had to be able to deploy these projectiles on the run, during a fight or in any other situation that left little time for taking aim and calming yourself.

In actual fighting a thrown shuriken is often deployed as a distraction to allow the shinobi to escape. Some say that the tips of these weapons used to be poisoned.

To actually be able to bury this weapon deep enough inside one's adversary requires the type of focus one would need for the Shaolin skill known as "Needle Through Glass", and the ability to use this skill on the fly.

There is a huge similarity in striking technique and the technique of throwing shuriken. The method I use involves the same shift of weight and body mechanics that you will find in kung fu strikes.

With the technique shown in the video I have been able to pin pencils and shishkabob sticks into targets as well. :)

Anyhway- that is all for this weekend. Train well and have a great week.

Btw- I am looking for lifesize cardboard cut-outs of Kurt Darren or Nicolis Louw to practice on... Can anyone hook me up?

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Being ready.

I was going to write an entire post on the yoi stance in karate when I saw this video here on Facebook:

I think many of us remember scenarios where the self defence moves we learnt got shot to pieces in a real situation. In my case I did not even have to leave the dojo! Our sensei used to make us practice blocking a swinging stick blow to the legs using gedan barai! I got bruises on my back for my trouble! 

Believe me- when I got around to developing my own self defence moves that gedan barai response was the first to go!  

Sure- we can argue that the responses taught do not always take into account how an actual opponent- who is not from your dojo- is going to move. But then again- if you think that you will become invincible by training and rehearsing as many responses as you can in a lifetime- let me be the first to tell you that you are likely to get your arse kicked all the way to the afterlife before you are done learning.

What you can learn- is principles. You can learn about the mechanics of a swinging attack, a push, a kick and so forth. You can learn the general principles that make your responses to these attacks work. And you can learn to apply these principles without thinking.

Now let me get to what I had to say about the yoi posture. Variations of this posture are found in Shaolin Kungfu, Taijiquan and of course- Judo and Karate.

Where the Japanese simply regard it as a natural stance in which you are to maintain relaxed alertness ("What is that?" I hear you ask) the Chinese have regarded this as the stance where the qi is sunken into the abdomen. It is not uncommon for Chinese styles to use horse stance as the ready position from which they start their forms. Wu Style Taijiquan is also known to activate the Iron Shirt technique in this posture.

In Wenhsiuquan- this is more than just a posture. In fact- the shoulder width and horse stance variations are used in form practice, but what never changes is the mental attitude.

In fact- the only difference between yoi and kamae in Wenhsiuquan is that in the state of yoi absolutely no intention to fight is displayed.

In this state we are aware instead of alert. Instead of being ready to attack the first person to jump at us from nowhere to greet us or to sink into fighting stance every time we hear a car backfire- we actually remain calm and aware of our environment. In this state we do the work that needs to be done at the office, swerve in time to avoid the careless driver in traffic, successfully avoid tripping over the dog at home and- when the situation calls for it- shatter the unfortunate assailant's ribs.

Fact is- fighting is not an everyday thing to many of us. It also does not have to be. Your training can help you, however, to put all the instinctive fuss about violence aside and replace it with calm awareness.

Instead of fearing a blow to the face you can actually now see how your opponent's fists are moving. Instead of angrily throwing a barrage of blows of which one may find its mark you can actually see your opponent's hand drop and seize the opportunity to stain his shirt red with a well timed jab to the schozz!

Believe me- work on being this aware during sparring and I assure you that there will be no time to be afraid.
In a black belt not even physical pain can make this laser-like focus waver.

What you will never realise when you manage to spend a day in this state is that you never get annoyed or angry. You don't get startled and you definitely don't waste time lamenting failure. 

I hope you all enjoy your training.

See you next week!    

Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Second Book is ready!

After a long wait it is finally here!

The Wenhsiuquan Book on Defense focusses on responses to attacks. It shows how I have simplified blocking to make it suit a real-life situation and shows how I have formulated my responses to common attacks so that the reader can know how to formulate his/ her own.

I am really glad to have received my friends' help to get this together.

The A5 size version- my favourite- is R 350.00. A cheaper A4 version can be bought for R 150.00.

I have not really thought about overseas customers, but I think they'll understand if there is shipping to be paid as well... 

For now- I'll take a break before getting to the next one. I am three books away from having my style documented to at least an extent which is worth carrying over. :)

Train well, everyone!