Saturday, 26 March 2016

A post specially for Heyly Wan! :)

So- I woke up today and found this video of my cutest Facebook Friend, Heyly Wan on Youtube.

To those who are still wondering I can confirm: Yes, I find Asian girls immensely cute with

whatever they do. ^_^

So I decided to take some time out of my busy weekend schedule to give her a look at my

Saturday workout! I apologise in advance for it not being too pretty, but it is what I do on

Saturdays- whether I am being recorded or not. :D

Because this practice area at home is small I sometimes take out a couple of steps from my

kata to fit it into the area. Good thing about it, though, is that I can practice attack and defense

with limited room for running around.

Those of you who don't know Heyly- she is a model that appreciates your support and

attention. Like her, add her and follow her.

I am inviting her to Martial Arts Forums if she promises to post more nunchuck videos. :)

Saturday, 19 March 2016

What does your kata do for you?

I have found out only very recently that we have a long weekend coming up- so my self defence group has ditched me to head off on vacation. I was promised, however, that I will soon get to make a demo video. So- I forgive them. Fortunately I had this post to write as well- 

In this blog's beginning I have written a post about form practice in Wenhsiuquan saying that I use three different types of form in training:

1. Power Form;

2. Combat Form;

3. Energy Form.

These 3 types of form were not developed or invented by myself, but were already there for me to be used when I embarked on a lifetime of martial arts study.

The very first kata I have tried to learn was a Shukokai kata called Rohei. It is in Tommy Morris' book on karate without any explanatory notes or those useful arrows that you find in books about kata.

At 14 I joined the Shukokai dojo in my town and I got a proper introduction to kata. Before the year had passed I have learnt Taikyoku and Matsukaze. Our sensei made it very clear that the movements were definitely not mere movements of the limbs and we got taught of all the muscles and the parts they play in each movement. More importantly we were taught which movements were punches, strikes, grabs and so forth. This helped us know where we were supposed to move fast, slow down and when to tense the forearm muscles and so forth. In this style we have learnt a lot of bunkai as well. We never did a kata having to wonder what any movement's purpose was. (Most of the movements in Shukokai kata, if not all, have a combat application.)

It is not unusual for one to work up a sweat with these kata and I regarded it as great exercise. 

With Shotokan I have found that we did not move as fast in our kata as with Shukokai. I think part of the reason is that the stances are the main reason for this. With this style I have learnt to slow down and the importance of pauses between certain movements. In this style being winded and sweaty after a kata was actually a sign of being too tense and I often got told to relax more. Funny enough- Now that I am back at WSKF I found that I have to work on relaxing again. :D

My first book on Taichi was not a good one and I have only learnt a sequence from it that I had to figure out for myself how energy was exactly to be channelled. Ironically enough- I only got put on the right track with some lessons from a wonderful woman and later a book on Shaolin Kungfu. 

Later on David Gaffney and Davidine Sim's book on Chen Style Taijiquan would answer the last questions I had about gathering and channeling energy.

Here's the thing now-

Taijiquan holds no monopoly on slow, relaxed movements in their forms (called taolu in Mandarin Chinese). What does set Taijiquan apart is that it has forms with only slow movements called "silk reeling" forms meant for gathering energy and holding thereof while "cannon fist" forms would contain explosive movements in which energy is discharged.

Whether karate students know it or not, their own forms employ these principles, but they are interwoven and not clearly separated in these forms. 

The forms of traditional Shaolin Kungfu- not the acrobatic forms, but those very basic forms- contain movements that Wong Kiew Kit call "force training". These movements can be slow, tense, relaxed or explosive depending on what type of force is being trained.

I prefer to keep these types of movement separated in form practice. A power form would be one like this:

These forms are explosive. A while of doing Shaolin forms like this helped a lot with understanding karate forms. I also use my karate forms as force or power forms.:

These forms are explosive and may contain the what the Chinese call fa song elements which are essentially the relaxation your muscles need to have in order to be able to explode into the next discharging of fajing movement.

But- in order for me to get you to fully understand how the flow of energy feels in your own body I choose to remove all fajing  elements and let you do a form like this:

This allows you to feel your arms floating weightlessly when they need to and your limbs becoming hard and heavy when they have to. You also get some more time to breathe in than with power forms. 

Then lastly- there are the combat forms. Your opponent is not guaranteed to give you time to gather energy or breathe in. In this type of form you actually test your ability to respond by allowing your mind to throw imaginary attacks at you from various directions and where you just respond. This type of solo training has done wonders for me and I strongly recommend it-

If you don't normally have forms in your training routine you can use these guidelines to choose the forms you want to help you work on those areas to which you want to pay attention. If you already have katas at your style I hope that these guidelines will help you appreciate them more for what they are.

If you thought that katas are done for a grading panel or judges at a competition then I hope that this post makes you realise that you are actually practicing forms for yourself.

Train well. :)

Saturday, 12 March 2016


Hi- who else has this book?

I think a lot of us know it by now.

I have said it before that one of the advantages of studying the martial arts is seeing the principles of their underlying philosophies demonstrated. That is why these things require very little discussion with us.

One such passage from the Tao Te Ching often comes to my mind:

Of course this passage applies to everyday life in that the way you live determines whether or not you will be negatively affected by circumstances and people.

In your martial arts studies you will find that the required state of mind shall enable you to continue undeterred by external factors like pain or what your peers have to say on the matter. 

In Wenshiuquan the mind is calmed with meditation and qigong and then the student is taught to maintain this calmness throughout combat. In itself it is not a simple task as fear and pain can cause one's qi to rise and affect one's decision-making. In itself is a two-fold challenge: On the one hand remaining calm under pressure and on the other acting on time with the required amount of speed and power.

Facing an opponent who has this state of mind, however, can be unnerving unless you have managed to cultivate this state of mind yourself.

The state of mind required has the following attributes:

1.   Emotional Detachment;

2.   No concern about victory or defeat;

3.  No desire for fame, acknowledgement or wealth.

A person with this state of mind faces his/her opponent without fear, but nonetheless alert to exploit openings and to defend against attacks.

All in all- Wenhsiuquan is an art that does not apply only to the dojo or the competition arena, but to everyday life.

What from your martial arts training do you use in your day to day life?

Let me know by commenting. :)

Train well! 

Saturday, 5 March 2016

My first WSKF competition

Who's that handsome judge on the left? :D

I'm back from my first karate tournament in more than a decade and got something to take home from it- besides medals...

For one thing- I have learnt anew what perseverence means and how it gets tested. 

I participated in both a kata and kumite event- and judged for a while.

I enjoyed doing my kata and can say in all honesty that the kumite was actually fun- even though my endurance got pushed to a new limit...

About that- I have often said that I don't get why we were made to do all those fitness exercises and running if your time on the floor is only a minute at most and then it's done... Well- the WKF rules have done something about that-

Now we have a 3 minute bout. (Okay MMA people! I know you are used to fighting for longer times in the cage, but bear with me here...)

In the first couple of seconds it was all well as reflexes got a jump start and we found that all systems are functioning well, but as the time went on I found that it becomes more and more difficult to put up a good fight as my energy began to wane. As if that wasn't enough- I had a minute of rest before facing a fresh new opponent! How do you like them apples?!

Just finished doing Jion...
Still- I must admit that the new WKF rules helped make the tournament safe and fun. Sports karate has developed a lot over the years and I am glad to see that it has become refined to the point where it is now.

And if I pass this mae geri I have only those two fists to take care of...

Another positive point is the good sportsmanship and control that I have experienced with my two opponents from Hazyview. I know such things are not guaranteed in the Nationals, but I am more convinced now that the WSKF karateka of the Lowveld are all excellent people.

That judge has a very good eye... :D

What?! Still not done yet?! Oiiii...

You can kick over here... while I mosey on over there...

Now that my WSKF duties are done for a while as far as I am concerned (really- just a while until it doesn't hurt to do chin-ups. Ironically enough the only injury I got was at a Gasshuku the previous where one of these fine gentlemen overestimated my skeleton's resilience.) I am going to take it easy for two weeks and take some time to recover.

Then I need to work on getting videos for this blog...  

Lastly- a BIG thank you to Shairley Yang who came with to support me.

Until we meet again- I wish you all a great week ahead and a rewarding time at training.