Saturday, 26 December 2015

Now I have a short sword. Ho ho ho. :D

When I was 16 I have found this passage in the Book of Five Rings. 

And that amounts for as much as what I know about fighting multiple opponents and double weapons today.

My Saturday morning workouts always include a single bokken for katana practice. Shairley has however recently given me a shorter bokken to match the black one I have. (I have a natural colour varnished one as well). So- Now having the katana and wakizashi I was eager to get see how I handle the weight of a long sword being held in only one hand.

For those who don't know- This posture is Happo Biraki ("Open on eight sides"). This is a posture suited for being surrounded by multiple opponents.

One thing that really feels "wrong" about this entire exercise is that the two weapons are not balanced like my sai or tonfa

Juji Dome- Cross Guard.

The katana was further designed to be a "hand-held guilotine"- its cutting ability being optimal when both hands work together in a push/pull motion to snap the blade into its target. Now- holding this weapon with one hand that advantage is gone. If I look like I am struggling in the video- it is because I am. I am really not used to using swords like this. Well- we know what happened with Gohan when he trained with the Z-sword, right? So I won't complain.

The principles behind the Happo Biraki posture and the guidelines on fighting multiple opponents still work very well for unarmed fighters. And still- I benefit from weapons practice for amongst other reasons- that it provides excellent strength training.

I have not heard any escrimadors making any comparisons between their style and double weapons of other styles. We have the forum now and I know at least two double weapon fighters in it. So- what pointers do you have, guys?

Saturday, 19 December 2015

More than 10 000 views before Christmas! :D

I was about to write my last post for this year when I logged in and found that the views for this blog has gone over 10 000.

Yes, Vegeta. That is indeed over 9000...

Thank you to everyone who have read and commented on my blog this year. 

This year some people at lest got a glimpse of what Wenhsiuquan has to offer. Between the books and the blog I have managed to document a large amount of its principles.

What lies ahead for next year remains to be seen. The prospect of having to move to a new town has recently reared its head. What I am going to want to do next, however, is demo videos! Let's see who I find to help with that next year. 

One of the most interesting encounters I had while working on the books this year was Chris. He would have been the perfect partner for demo videos. As fate would have it, however, he and his wife Angela have returned to China. 

:D Then there was Thabo- my first student. Aiya...

If anything he has gotten me started on spending some of my spare time on teaching. 

Before I sign off for the holidays I want to thank the members of Martial Arts Forums on Google+ and Martial Arts with Colman. We are separated by thousands of miles, but that does not stop us from communicating. What I have learnt from you I continue to keep with me and nurture. I admit that the kung fu and karate people get more attention from me, but I am glad to see that all martial art styles in our community are alive and well. I hope to see lots more posts from you guys.

Until next year- train well and have fun! 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Let's talk about music

I was actually going to write a post about Musashi Miyamoto and challenge you to take a leaf out of his book and test it at the dojo (in kumite) until the news reached me about Baby Metal's new song that got played for the first time yesterday during their epic as always performance in Yokohama yesterday.

The song is playing in the background as I am typing now.

You can give it a listen here.

Now I have decided to tell you about the other music I have discovered with strong martial arts themes.

I have never known about Sia until a video got posted on my G+ timeline that featured Mahiro Takano (we all know her and love her, right? I still want to see a grown up do kata like her...). Don't care much for the song, but seeing Mahiro in action is always inspiring.

Now- on to something that is more to my taste. Anime fans will remember the Ninja Drama, Bassilisk and its moving opening theme by Japanese Metal group Onmyouza (maybe you never knew who the band was, but that opening song was catchy.

A Youtube search for material to put on my J-Rock Facebook page has brought me to this video of them. I have found at least one more video with a strong Samurai theme.

All-time favourite bandof mine- Wagakki Band has made a Samurai themed video for their song Ikusa (which means "War" in English.) The band members crossing swords in the video do not appear trained, but I loved seeing the kusarigama featuring in a music video. I love this song and this band's sound is something out of this world. Really good to listen to while your neck is recovering from all the headbanging...

In Akatsuki no Ito- from the same band- we see drummer Wasabi and guitarist Machiya reaching for their katanas to chase off a menacing CGI dragon. This scene matches the emotion of the song itself and these people's instruments never fail to move me. :) Absolutely beautiful...

Back to Baby Metal! So far I have seen Su posing with a sword- and brandishing a tanto- mic in their video for Megitsune- and I have seen Moa looking kawaii as hell in her karate outfit and showing her Sakura Gakuin classmates her Kendo skills. I have not seen Yui showing any interest in martial arts, though.

Recently I have found this photo of Suzuka's older sister Himeka posing with a katana as well. This was on the day before the new song has reached me.

As I conclude this post I want to play out with this timeless classic that has never failed to get me to train with the utmost enthusiasm. Take it away, unknown Chinese dudes! -

Saturday, 5 December 2015

The two books on my shelf

I have started reading about martial arts at the age of 9. Back then I was told that a book will not be of much help in my training. Later, at 14, I joined my first dojo and I was told to leave the books because it will not help.

Funny thing is- there were times when the dojo was the laboratory in which I have tested the theories presented to me in these books. I soon realised that one can simply not expect to find all the knowledge in the world in one place.

I am sure many of you will recognise these two books in the photographs. One was a Christmas gift in 2000 that had changed the way I practice for good. The other I have bought to satisfy my curiosity about how Bruce Lee would actually fight.

In the martial arts community I have found the jocks and the nerds just as you would in High School. I strive to be a balance of the two.

The insights a good book have to offer might just be that little something extra that you have never even known to look for. :)

Somebody was kind enough to share this most valued of texts for free on the internet. It is not a lot of reading. (I finished it in 3 days when I was 16). Give it a read and tell me what it has done for you.