Saturday, 29 August 2015

Dragonball Z- Goku's newest teacher- SPOILER ALERT!

I don't know who else likes Dragonball Z, but I am glad to see that we did not only get a new series, but also an all-new movie. This movie is set in the Z-era and actually seems to retcon GT out of the canon. 

Having learnt to transform into a Super Saiyan God he took it further and went on to Super Saiyan God 2- making GT's Super Saiyan 4 form unnecessary...

That is not what I want to tell you about, though. Goku's newest teacher is actually what I want to tell yu about.

Now- we know that Goku first learnt martial arts from Grandpa Gohan. In later years he would end up studying under Master Roshi- The Turtle Hermit (where he learnt the kamehameha in seconds) and after that was King Kai!

It seemed that Roshi's approach to training Goku was by strengthening his body by making him perform everyday tasks and training while wearing weighted clothes. In the beginning he was made to wear a heavy turtle shell on his back.

Goku has been wearing weighted clothing ever since.

And I can vouch for this form of training. It has a lot of merit. :D

King Kai taught Goku the Kaioken attack and the Spirit Bomb, but only after a while of training on his planet, where the gravity is ten times that of the earth...

Later on we saw Goku training with the Supreme Kai which led to the growing back of his tail after having been made to turn a grindstone for a prolonged period of time. That eventually led to this:

No- not me buying an SS4 Goku figurine (or actually yes- that too), but to Goku going beyond the Saiyan Ape transformation and finding the level of Super Saiyan 4 on the other side!

But- as I said- that all got retconned out. I am not pleased about it, but here's something I am very pleased about.

In Battle of the Gods- Goku was told by Beerus that his attendant Whis was also his teacher.

In Ressurection F we find that Goku and Vegeta have started training with Whis.

Besides for being as gay as Elton John, Whis is the first teacher that actually spars with Goku and Vegeta. His focus further does not seem to be on power, but actually on mental conditioning and strategy.

I am not going to share the advice he gave his two Saiyan pupils, but I will say that it is something that every real-life martial artist can take with him and strive for. 

Whis actually pointed out an obvious weakness in each of the two Saiyans of which us fans have been aware since the time Goku first turned Super Saiyan 1. 

With all that said- my wish is that all my friends in the martial arts world shall train to become like this:

And not like this:

Saturday, 22 August 2015

What do you take home from class?

Today I had a really nice workout- again.

One of the good things of training alone is that I have so far been able to adapt my workouts to factors like space, time and what I had available.

I do- however- have a strong preference to a wide open space where I can let loose with all my kicks.

It has been a while since I have seen the inside of a dojo. I have never stopped training, though.

Your instructor can teach you, guide you and even coach you, but he cannot train on your behalf. And- even if he (or she) did- it would not help you even one bit.

A large part of the learning you do in martial arts comes from your own work in any event. 

Besides training- any style of martial art has things that you leave in the dojo (like sparring), but also things you take home with you- like strength, fitness, knowledge, inner calm and so forth.

I have strength, fitness, courage, a sharp mind, satisfaction and of course my techniques that stay with me wherever I go. If you really think about it- martial arts training's gifts do not cost money. Sure- you pay class fees etc., but the actual benefits you gain from training are yours. All you need to do is keep training.

What do you take home with you?

I'd love to see your comments here or on G+ or on Facebook.   

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Yes! I know boards don't hit back!

Hi, everyone! I am especially glad to log in and see my blog has gone beyond the 7000 views mark.

So far the prospects of Wenhsiuquan's survival beyond my own lifespan seem a bit better now that people are interested in learning. Seeing how far these people still have to go, however, brings my expectations down towards minor improvements. So- we'll take this on one improvement at a time, I guess...

I have finally started with the fourth book. This book is on how I train and gives the actual exercises that make up my personal work-out and which are of course done in each class.

Today's post is about an attitude that has started a couple of decades ago, probably when Bruce Lee said: "Boards don't hit back" (Enter the Dragon).

My first karate teacher told me once that he does not teach breaking simply because it has no use in combat. He deemed it far more useful to be able to hit a moving target than a stationary board.

The shocking part in all this, however, is that I have only learnt how to throw a proper punch after I have made the rank of 1st kyu brown belt and quit karate. Why is that?

Let me tell you- I first had to experience what a proper punch feels like.

Yes- sad fact is that there are boxers and black belt karateka that do not know how to punch and yes- you can get a black belt even if you don't know how to punch.

Well- if you want to learn how I punch you can go back to my post of last year where I left a video of myself punching out a candle flame. Another thing you can do is to read my books...

This is not what my post is about, though. What it is about- is that that it is true that boards don't hit back, but also that they don't lie either. Boards, tiles and bricks don't care what style you practice or what type of blow you use. It will tell you whether it is powerful or not without beating around the bush.  

Now here comes the other part- 

Lots of people will tell you that the board/ tile/ brick gets broken because the stress of an actual confrontation is not there to tense up your muscles or to mess with your concentration. Now here is the big secret: That is how it is when you are still a beginner. Yes- actual fighting is a fearful thing and it is one of the challenges to overcome for us in order to execute our techniques in the heat of battle.

One of your missions- if you want to become a proficient fighter like this guy-

as opposed to these two-

is to take that Zen state in which you are meditating and observing the world with you into the fight. The day the act of fighting feels like when you are meditating you will find that landing that liver exploding punch or that neck breaking roundhouse kick happens by itself when it has to. Okay- maybe I am exaggerating, but it is still a good image to have in your head while training. (Not only did I have a story of a guy jumping over a small sapling with a calf over his shoulders for 3 years straight to inspire me, but I watched lots of Dragonball Z stories as well.)

If you don't meditate and your teacher does not teach you to I strongly recommend you start teaching yourself!

What I have said above is the reason why I do not join the group of martial artists that dismiss difficult techniques as being "ineffective", "bullshit" or "myth".

Well- since I have learnt how to punch I have something else to tell you: You know the one-inch punch? I have a one centimetre punch and a millimetre palm! And no- I am not the only one walking the earth with these abilities. There are even more amazing people out there in the world that can do even greater things, just because they have trained with patience, discipline and perseverance.

Stay well, train well and have fun.  

Sunday, 9 August 2015

The Supreme Martial Art

Hi, everyone.

It's Sunday evening over here as I type this. Tomorrow I won't be working as we have been graced with a public holiday and I am graced with a job that allows me to have a day like that off.

This morning I have practiced Taiji. I visited Shairley (or Shirley- I never asked her why she spells her English name so funny...) and had a great lunch.

Now I am in the mood to relax and to get philosophical. So- get the kettle boiling for tea and join this discussion.

Long before my time- before I was busy studying the principles of one style of karate and trying to integrate them into my being a man called Li Xiaolong (we know his English name very well) went beyond the teachings of the styles of his time to create a concept/ style/ form (he was intentionally very vague on what it should be called) by which he could attain the most natural expression of combat. That meant the most natural response to an attack- the most efficient attack in a given scenario and the most effective use of one's energy.

Centuries (or millenia) before him a man said to be an "Immortal" by the name of San Chan Feng took the teachings of Shaolin and devised a fighting art from that, but in accordance with the Taoist principles to have techniques and training methods based on the universal laws of the Tao and called this fighting art the "Supreme Ultimate Fist"- or did someone else name it afterward? I am not sure...


 Before this man's time (history experts can say when) a group of monks took the teachings of Buddhism (Zen or Ch'an to be specific) and the exercises taught to them by Ch'an's founder, a Middle Eastern (Persian?) hermit called Bodhidharma (Da Mo in Chinese and Daruma in Japanese) and created a martial art which is said to be the precursor of every martial art under the sun. Before anyone jumps up I will point out I said "martial art" and not "fighting method". 

In the Book of Enoch (one of the books of the Holy Bible referred to as the "Apocrypha" we read of a fallen Angel who taught man the blows with which to kill their enemies.

For those who have never heard- Zen Buddhism and Taoism are both excellent sources of guidelines according to which any activity under the sun can be undertaken. This includes fighting. Not only does it provide the moral and ethical checks and balances that can help the martial artist prevent being the source of his own downfall, but it also provides the way by which fear and assumptions are cast aside to enable the fighter to perceive his situation with the utmost clarity and to act with optimum efficiency.  

My karate teachers never taught me this. This was something I have learnt through my own research and experimentation. So- I shall not be amazed to find a large number of dojos and martial arts gyms that do not teach any of this either. I find evidence of this fact in a number of comments to martial arts posts on social media. (I'm on Facebook, Twitter, G+ and QQ).

Before I proceed to tell you my theory for discussion I want to refer us back to my post about the elephant. In that story the elephant was combat and each style that currently exists is a blind man that got his hold of
the part of the gigantic animal that was within his reach.

So- my theory is this:

If you start your study of combat with the techniques of any given style you are bound to find gaps that need filling or weaknesses that require remedying. Should the purity of Zen or the eternal truth of the Tao be your standard you may find obstacles in your art that stand in your way to attaining perfection. So- you will want to remove these.

After all adjustments and all the required dilligent practice and study your art will have attained the status of what I call "The One Absolute Martial Art". Maybe you want to call it "Original Zen Fist" or "Primal Taoist Palm". Hey! I'm not stopping you...

Maybe an art like that already exists. Maybe we have yet to see it.

To me- Wenhsiuquan is the only art I can fully rely on. It may sound funny coming from its creator, but I have not yet achieved ultimate mastery thereof, but know the way thereto.

Tell me now-

What are your requirements for the perfect martial art?

Is that the art which you are currently practicing?

What do you regard as signs of mastery?

Get the tea and let's chat!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Waiting for today's group to arrive

My second day of teaching lies ahead.

While I wait here at this park I thought it a good idea to show you what it looks like.

This reminds me a lot of a park I saw in Jiangkou, China.

Our governments and local authorities have given us these areas to use, but often we see them falling into disuse.

This particular park used to have an obstacle course. I just came back here after a year of not seeing this place and found it all gone.

Nevertheless- it has ground for us to stand on. What else do we need? :)

Time to sign off now. Class is going to start. Today's progress will depend on how quickly they can learn to walk properly. ;)

Train well and have fun!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

My first student.

It has finally happened.

My first student has gone through his first lesson with me today. I am so sorry about not having taken photos, but hang on- I will soon post pics of how we practice.

This young man is also currently studying Haedong Kumdo, Krav Maga and Tang Soo Do. He decided to take up Chinese Martial Arts as well just to make sure that 6 out of his 7 days of the week are covered.

Now- anyone else in the Nelspruit area who wants to see how my classes are can join us at the Trim Park (That means the Nelspruit Private Nature Reserve near Sonpark Centre.) on Saturdays from 14h00-16h00.  

Today's class was about the horse stance and all the other stances that can flow forth out of it. We started at 14h00 with a warm-up that included qigong and stretching. Then we moved on to two kinds of basic punches- as many as it took to get at least 10 good ones of each. Then we went on to the kicks.

I don't know who can remember the on-the-bike-off-the-bike exercise that have posted about last year (I have searched for it in my blog and it seems to have disappeared all of a sudden.) .
This warm-up helps with those roundhouse and reverse roundhouse kicks. It was part of our warm-up routine and helped us to get the feeling of these kicks when they are performed correctly.

Class ended at 16h00 with stretching, qigong and meditation.

:D That is one milestone for this year. Just had to post it.

Next post shall be about... well you know me. :D

Train well and have fun.