Sunday, 27 September 2015

When we let go...

I have just turned a year older this weekend. All in all- this has been a great weekend. The Springboks have beaten Samoa last night and I had a great time celebrating with my family. Even had a friend over.

As you probably know by now- almost every day in my life starts with training. Saturday's training tops it all.

One of the reasons why I enjoy weekend training sessions is the longer time I have to meditate.

I am actually busy writing about this in my book at the moment.

This Saturday I realised how funny it is that I have learnt to keep my mind in line with breath counting, and how breath following was attempted soon thereafter. That was about 21 years ago. Now- being "advanced" enough to let go these training tools I was happy to just let go and sit. 

Yeah right...

Without any of these techniques to preoccupy me I do manage to have my mind open, but when it is open thoughts come to occupy it yet again. I caught myself daydreaming in lotus position yesterday and then grabbed on to the first thing I usually reach out to, my qi flow.

That called me to order soon enough. Then- I realised that I was holding on to that as well and I let go...

What I have experienced was reminiscent of that day 21 years ago when I started my first meditation.
The absolute quiet within myself as everything around me was moving and happening is just awesome.

Not only has this state of mind shown me over the years that we can all be happy, regardless of what we have- or don't have- it has also shown how quickly I can respond to an attack when I don't think or feel anything about it. It has taught me to put my emotions aside about a situation so that I can do what needs to be done.  

Those who'd want to control you might be happy to have someone who knows how to put his ego aside to assist them in attaining some "greater goal", but then again- meditation also gives people the clarity of mind with which to recognise a liar by his traits.

I am curious about what your views are on meditation. Do you meditate? Do you know how? Does your church forbid it? (No joke- here in South Africa there are a lot of "Christians" who deem it a sin to meditate as it is deemed an occult activity.)

Looking forward to reading your comments. 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Weekend is here-

Hi. I am so glad this week is over. I had a lot of stress to get rid of and a good training session is just the answer.

You remember the rubber bands and weights I train with? Well- these rubber bands have a limited lifespan as I have learnt a while ago, before I learnt that cargo straps make a poor substitute. Now- I concentrate on training with the weighted vest.

A couple of training sessions taught me that the way my body bends when I do a high roundhouse kick tends to loosen the velcro straps on this thing- so- much as I want to- I can't really train with it as I normally train when I practice fighting techniques. So- for a while these weights found their place among the dumbells and equipment I use every second day.

That was until recently when I decided to do some katas wearing them on "fighting day".

Karate's katas seem to be prefect for this type of gear. These katas are now part of my warm-up before I get serious. 

If you have similar ways of training do feel free to share them- especially if it involves equipment on the market similar to what I am using in these photos.

Train well, everyone! 

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Less than ideal

I am sure lots of us are aware that an actual fight is far from what our katas feel like.

Nevertheless- I still regard kata as an important part of martial arts in this day and age. One thing it gives us- is the chance to slow things down and allow us to perform each technique at its best.

One of the main factors that make our techniques less than ideal in a real fight is time. I used to break my head about this a lot, but have come to the conclusion that it is not necessary to do so. The fact is- your opponent is not part of the program. He is not going to act according to any plan you have. In fact- any plan you may manage to devise would be based on how he (or she) acts.

As far as training goes- I regard sparring as a test and not so much as an exercise. Each encounter does give you new data to work on, but these encounters do go a lot better when we are prepared.

Now- in my preparation for this test I do not resort to the traditional forms we find in our styles, but rather imagine the fight as bad as it can possibly get. Then- as I imagine what my opponent(s) are doing- I let myself respond as I would like to.

This method of practice is a lot more exhausting than normal kata practice, because for one- the breathing is not allowed to be rhythmic and coordinated as it would be in a kata. I do try as far as possible to breathe in when blocking and out when attacking, but I abandon it when an opening which has to be seized immediately presents itself or when an attack that requires immediate attention comes. 

It is in this state where your techniques and positions no longer have names. They are also not called forth, but appear when they are needed.

You are welcome to try this method of training. You may tell me how it feels when you practice your techniques while feeling in control- or when you are in fear for your life or that of a loved one. You may also feel that your techniques feel different when you are angry.

At some point, however, you will have mastered yourself and then no longer feel any of these emotions when you fight. This is because you will have seized your energy and poured it into your moves. Where you used to dread the unseen kick or punch that is coming for you you will be eagerly waiting for openings to present themselves. Where an attack used to send you into a state of panic you will now respond to it with ease.

Your techniques are not all going to be perfect, but be prepared for that and deal with it.

Train well, everyone! 

Sunday, 6 September 2015

A form I have been working on...

A while ago somebody told me that the five Heian/ Pinan katas of karate were one one kata.

Since that time I have been practicing all five Heian katas as one. Now- you know that I like modifying the forms. Since my last post I have been trying to get Taijiquan movements to replace the karate techniques in all 5 katas. It was not easy.

This video shows the rough draft that I have been working on. I think the final product will have that spinning blow from Heian Sandan left out... It does not feel very Tai Chi to me...

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Something from my new book


It has been raining all day, so I had to replace my usual Saturday morning workout with the weapons and coffee tins-


with a rather tame workout in the garage wearing a weighted vest, ankle weights and wrist weights. 

Still- I was able to get a lot of typing done. I have written a book about Wenhsiuquan's pushing and pulling techniques (grappling) and its percussive techniques and also on defence. This one is about training.  

It is about the exercises I do to augment my fighting techniques. The exercises I show in the photos are my choice in leg exercises.  

Practicing kicks with ankle weights combat's a person's natural resistance to getting his/her feet off the ground. It also develops that stable one-legged stance that is essential not only for kicking, but for footwork in general.

Well- I hope you all have a nice weekend and I also hope to take my weapons outside again very soon.