Saturday, 30 January 2016

When being tired feels good.

I almost did not type this post today. I was thinking about leaving it for tomorrow.

Last week a colleague of mine (in the legal fraternity) asked whether I'd be willing to teach basic self defense to a group of five people.

So- in the course of last week and this week I was phoning the Municipality for a venue. Later on- before I decided to phone one of the private landlords of this city I got an excellent idea. Our local Botanical Gardens has vast lawns in the shade. Regardless of that, though- the humid summer heat we have over here had me sweaty in no time.

So- in the two hours we have spent there we got to learn:

-The basic defense posture;

- Defense and counterattack against a direct attack;

-Defense and counterattack against a circular attack;

-Breaking free from a rear bear hug (their idea);

-Throwing somebody driving towards you;

-Throwing a person who is NOT driving towards you and who might actually be moving backwards.

I am glad to say that feedback was positive and everyone seems to have had fun. I even got asked to teach another class sometime.

O! And all this was done AFTER my customary Saturday morning workout. :D

So- right now I am tired and ready for bed, but it actually feels good remembering on what my energy has been spent.

Taiji Practice is coming tomorrow...

Stay well, everyone!

Maybe next week's post will be about another class? ^_^

Saturday, 23 January 2016

I am back in the dojo!

Long time ago I have joined a Shotokan school with a logo that looked like this...

This week I have joined one with a logo that looks like this- :D

Regardless of the above minor details I am glad that I have taken this step.

Frankly- I did not like how sloppy I have become in the execution of my techniques. Having focussed on real fighting for so long has made my techniques ugly.

If you don't believe that real fighting makes one's techniques ugly I recommend you watch some Shotokan kata videos and some Kyokushinkai kata videos....

Anyway- I wanted to get back to low stances, poise and to put the aesthetics back into my training.

Why? Because I want to.

Also- This is my way of getting out a bit more. Which better place to find other martial arts fanatics in my area? No- not the local MMA gym. Not for me.

So... First evening and Sensei Louw tells me to relax more...

Yep- I have really become rusty. So...


I am now paying extra attention to my kata. Besides- it does not feel nice knowing that a seven year old girl can outdo me. ;)

Ironically- as a kid my kihon and kata were awesome, but I always got my ass kicked in kumite.

By now I know that real fighting is an entirely different matter. When I was working on Wenhsiuquan I have completely put the aesthetics of kihon aside in favour of techniques that helped me fight better. Encounters in the period from 2002 to 2014 have proven that my project was a success, but I was not happy to see that I have destroyed my kata to do this. And yes- I actually love kata a lot.

Now- I believe I have done enough overcompensating. This year is going to be all about balance!

Anyone else in Nelspruit who wants to join the Lowveld Shotokan Karate Club are welcome to phone Sensei Louw Venter at 083 781 2592. We are still looking for a permanent venue, but this coming Monday I will be just as able to practice my heart out in the hall of Lowveld High as anywhere else.

Wishing you all a great week ahead. :)

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Roundhouse and Reverse Roundhouse kicks

It started with a brief conversation on Facebook with Sensei Jesse Enkamp. He seems like the guy who has the answers to those questions that you wanted to ask your Sensei, but never got the courage- or- who had the answers where your Sensei hadn't. In summary- Jesse's knowledge of karate seems to be surpassed only by his passion for it.

So- my question to him was: "Why do I not see any katas with roundhouse kicks, reverse roundhouse kicks and back kicks, yet these kicks are all accepted as part of every style's kihon."

His answer was: "Mikazuki Geri = Mawashi Geri. We have a kata that features a back kick. Reverse roundhouse kicks are useless for self defence. :D"

Great answer, but as all answers do it had me having more questions. While the question of why somebody would invent a technique called "Dragon Whips its Tail" in kungfu if it was going to be regarded as useless by the people of the Ryukyu Islands one day was not foremost on my mind I did wonder why anyone would make a crescent kick more difficult by adding extra hip rotation and changing the point of impact.

So- I went and did these kicks and noticed a little flaw that crept in from time to time when I was practicing:

With my roundhouse kick, my foot tends to follow a more diagonally upward path than a circular path toward the side of my opponent's head. How did I fix this? The answer also explains the existence of the two different, but related kicks.

It is simple- I just stood a bit further from my target. That gave my hips room to stretch out towards the target and my mawashi geri ended up looking less like a mae geri.

This principle also finds application with the spinning kick, reverse roundhouse kick and reverse crescent kick.

So- my conclusion is that the one kind of kick is meant to reach its target over a longer distance than what is within the range of the other.

And that's it for this week's blog post! :)

Have a great week and train well. 

Saturday, 9 January 2016

A weapon with which I do not normally practice (And another two pages)

One of my favourite things about martial arts is that it has gone beyond fighting to enrich one's life with more than just the ability to defend oneself. 

Those of you who study a discipline that is better adapted for the way people fight in this day and age may not think that those who practice more archaic fighting systems (if you don't know what I mean you are welcome to ask me and I shall explain, but let me get on with my post...) are not doing something that is of any use, but as a person who has been engaging in such seemingly pointless uses of one's time I can assure you- we are reaping the benefits from that as much as we are benefiting from the know-how of this day and age.

So it is with weapons. In Wenhsiuquan I include weapons practice, but with weapons that you do not see in use in our day to day life. Still- I practice with my staff, swords, tonfa, sai, nunchaku and even my shuriken dilligently, because of the positive effect they have on my empty handed fighting ability and because of the exercise they provide for my body.

Then there are those weapons I own that do not form part of this training regimen. You might remember that my kusarifundo (or whip chain) is one of those.

Another one is this balisong knife that I have bought last year. It is the most beautiful specimen I have ever laid eyes on and I just could not resist. Sure- a knife is deadly and very useful to know, but it does not give my muscles that aching stiffness that I seek in my workouts.  

Still- it is a lovely weapon of which I know very little. I do know it hails from the Philippines, though. 

Because I know that we have Escrimadors in our community I am hoping that this weapon somehow features in their curriculum so that they can tell us something about it.

Like the nunchaku this is a weapon that often lends itself to flowery movements like in the short video below:

Or even something like this:

What I would like to know, however, is what this knife can do in a fight what other knives cannot.

Does anyone want to tell me? 

About today's two pages:

In my previous post I have just copied and pasted text and then had to look for the photos on my computer to upload. This time around, however, I have decided that a screenshot like this is more effective.

Stay well, everyone and train well.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

The start of 2016- and the first couple of pages from my books.


I have had a really nice vacation during the festive season and am getting set to start work next week.

I am especially grateful for all the spare time I have had in which to train. :)

In my mission to get Wenhsiuquan uploaded to the collective consciousness of the communities to which I belong I have begun by including to pages from the first book I have written. In time more pages will follow.

This new year promises to be very exciting to me. I wish all of you out there a year in which you will reap good results from your continued training.


By Wenhsiu


CHAPTER 1: The Basics....................................................................2
CHAPTER 2: A position of weakness................................................5
CHAPTER 3: Basic Techniques-
The Cornerstones of Wenhsiuquan Grappling...............................9

CHAPTER 4: Attack and Defence ..................................................14

CHAPTER 5: A Form to get you started..........................................40

CHAPTER 6: Developing Strength..................................................72



I shall admit that during a large part of my martial art training I have focused on punching and kicking. Shoving and dragging techniques have always been- and still are- illegal in Karate and Taekwondo contests in any event, so a lot of dojos do not even bother to teach it.

This was not the reason why I did not practice much of these techniques, though. Ever since I have learnt techniques from arts like Judo and Aikido I really wanted to practice these techniques, but found myself training alone for the largest part. This is a major drawback in my opinion, because grappling of any kind is best practised with a partner.

Grappling techniques should not be regarded as inferior to kicks and strikes. Any person- regardless of how resistant he may be to punches and kicks- can fall over. Any throw or takedown to get your opponent toppled- requires either a pull or a push.

In this book I have started with the basic principles of stance and weight distribution. After that I have tried to put the most essential practical applications of these techniques. Lastly- I have compiled a form for individual practice.

Whether you wish to learn Wenhsiuquan, to get acquainted with grappling or to start learning a martial art from scratch- this book is intended to help you. I trust that you shall gain a deeper understanding of how force is applied in the martial arts after you have studied the pages that follow.