Sunday, 31 July 2016

Fighting without being angry

Fighting itself is a means to an end. More than just a couple of times it seems as if a lot of people forget the end to which they have started fighting.

This of course causes a lot of irreparable damage that can be avoided by just stopping at the right time.

When that right time is is something about which I shall write another post. But what is often the reason for people creating more problems than what they solve through violence is anger.

Sure- we all get angry, but letting that anger guide our actions is setting yourself up for failure very early on in a confrontation. The right time to strike is when the opponent is open to attack- not when you are angry enough or have summoned up enough courage.

Likewise-deciding on an offensive course of action because you have rage to work through is not the way to win.

Anger distorts our view of reality. It blinds us.

In kata practice we can distill our anger into vigorous application of techniques and thus work this emotion out of our systems without hurting ourselves and others. Breaking techniques also help to turn raw emotion back into energy that gets channelled into action. 

When we do not yet have the opportunity to act, though, we have to look at our environment with a sense of detached awareness, not allowing what we see and hear to emotionally affect us. 

At least- that is the state of mind I reserve for significant events such as matches or everyday challenges. I, for one, enjoy my emotions after all. :)

That's it for this week's blog! 

I am heading into an exciting stage in my life. My law career is entering the next level next week when I start practicing for myself! 

As for my martial arts training- that shall always go on.
(I'd still want to train in the afterlife as well. XD)

Have a great week until we see each other again! 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

The way to The Top

First- before I start-

Watch this video:

This video has nothing to do with today's post.

It has to do with a lot of us, me included, being martial artists, but not being in control of the world.

Why I am talking about this is that a lot of "life coaches", charlatans and bottom feeding opportunists have identified this desire in all of us to be our own bosses, to become a director at the company where your managers barely seem to notice you or to just wear the pants in your own house.

These people go out and feed us all this feel good crap like- "be confident!", "be the alpha male", don't take no for an answer" and crap like that. Then- after the seminar these kids go out into the real world and get their asses kicked.

I, myself, have for instance developed an effective countermove for people who don't take "no" for an answer. It is called "fuck you." (We can discuss the ethics of foul language later...)

Now- if feel good seminars or a positive mind oblivious of those around you is not the answer what is?

Master Sun...?

Well... Master Sun says this:

"Now how does this work?" you may ask...

Well- this is another way of putting an age old martial arts principle into words namely: Instead of trying to control your surroundings you should first control yourself.

You may remember the frustrated parent slogan: "Teenagers- first straighten out your room and then the world"

Well- as annoying as I have found that as a teenager (mostly because the amount of dishonesty and unfairness I have faced in my daily life never seemed to be affected by how tidy my room was)- whoever had come up with this snotty piece of advice to teenagers actually has a point.

Before you can become a boss at work you first have to learn to put your selfish needs aside so that you can give your work the type of dedication deserving of reward and do the things that make your superiors happy instead of yourself. Oh- I have to mention that rising to power at work requires a lot of sucking up to those whom you cannot intimidate. So- cultivating humility is a big must...

Before your wife can stop undermining you you would first have to take the trouble of being someone that she can respect.

In many cases I at least make sure that I can respect myself. That means catering to my conscience more than the whims of whoever wants something from me. That gives me the courage to maintain myself in any type of company.

It requires discipline, though.

Ummm... Before I finish this post I just want to make sure we all know that Master Sun (Sun Tzu) had written this statement in the context of how an army as to be governed. Because disciplined people are capable of taking advantage of the careless and lazy it is a given that a disciplined army with strong morale was seen as far back as in those ancient times to have an advantage over a band of flea-bitten savages who did not really care about what they were doing.   

As always- I had a great time typing this post. Stay well and have a great week!

Saturday, 16 July 2016

A brief comparison of throwing techniques from different styles

I really loved Judo when I was younger. Reason for this was mainly because it was not karate. Back in the 80's and the early 90's everyone knew what karate was. It was so bad that even kungfu got called karate and I think basically every town in the country had a karate club. Judo, however, was not that well known. We did not have a Judo club, but we had a library.

That is where my study of Judo started. Learning the throws was fun and seeing how a relatively small person like me could topple larger opponents was even more fun. Still- what I did not know at the time- Judo was not meant to be a complete fighting method. Well- it could be, but the Judo we get taught is mainly meant for a sports setting where your opponent does not come at you with a kick or a weapon and Judoka seem oblivious of things such as combination punches and the like.

When I started learning karate I actually learnt a very important lesson in throwing- the importance of stance.
In karate we do not wrestle. We don't engage by grabbing hold of each other's gi. We mainly kick and punch, but we get the chance to throw at times. When we do- we do not want to roll around. Opponent can lie down- we want to remain standing.

I took these guidelines with me later on as I learnt techniques from Jujitsu, Aikido and later on- Kungfu.

When Wenhsiuquan was being developed throws and joint locks were certain to be part of it for mainly this reason: It was to be a martial art not only meant for life and death situations, but for basic self defence where non-lethal responses were more called-for.

And rightfully so. Not everyone that shoves you, points his finger at your chest, swings wildly at you or who tries to grope you/ kiss you necessarily needs to get their larynxes crushed. A well- executed throw often diffuses these situations and gives these not-so-dangerous assailants the chance to see the error of their ways.

In spite of the valuable principles I have learnt in books, however, this is what Judo has to offer:

I really wish these guys would learn Taiji... I also think that- if Professor Kano was here he ould agree with me! The truth is- I see more manifestations of his maxim "Minimum Effort, Maximum Effect" in arts like Taijiquan and Aikido than in the "soft" martial way he had developed.

Compare what you have seen in the above link with this now:

I love Aikido. Believe me- that's just a basic technique shown there. The day you can stand in an actual fight, be it free sparring or an actual self defence scenario- get an opponent off balance before he can launch any follow-up attack and get him on the ground with that level of efficiency us the day you can celebrate having mastered one of the essential aspects of traditional martial arts. 

Well... From the well-known "throwing arts" to Karate:

I think Judo throws were initially meant to be like this before the competition rules and developments according thereto have led to the wrestling we see on the mat nowadays. These throws are actually easy to teach and work for just about anyone. 

Last we have Kungfu-

This does definitely not even remotely resemble wrestling. 

You may hear a lot of talk about "using the opponent's momentum against him" and redirecting an opponent's force. Thus far I have seen the most applications of this principle in Kungfu. What I will add, however, is that a strong rooting is essential and that you will not be able to send your opponent flying by just yielding. The effort used in making these throws work can be seen and although it is not all soft- we can still see that it is controlled and efficient.

What I have learnt only much later in my life is that a lot of our Taolu/ Kata contain throws. See if you can find them. :)

Throwing and being thrown is really an awesome part of martial arts training and I strongly recommend that you include it in your training regimen if you are not already doing so.

Stay well and enjoy the weekend!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Shaolin- the Performance

So- after much happening here (mainly my PC going out of action, me fretting about entering the post- Windows 8- world of computer purchase and then being delighted to find that this old workhorse was still reparable after all...) I am finally able to write this post.

As I have expected we were asked not to use flash photography. Because I do not trust my phone I have decided not to risk any monks' lives and rather bought this photobook after the show. 
(Please- don't smirk. Yes. They sell merchandise, but I for one would have been really let down if I could not take anything home from this show.) 

Well- if you haven't seen Shaolin demonstrations yet your martial arts experience is at a huge disadvantage. 

For one thing- we who have seen these monks in action know they do stuff like this:

Then there's also this:

Well- the demonstrations were only part of the whole story. The show itself was actually a stage performance telling the story of 5 individuals known as the 5 Elders who have survived the massacre of the Shaolin Temple.

These 5 Elders were:

Fung Dou Dak- A healer

Bak Mai- A blacksmith

Ji Sin- A sage

Ng Mui- A farmer

Miu Hin- A woodsman

The Five Elders trained relentlessly for years and gathered support for their cause of reclaiming their Temple until they were eventually ready to face the Emperor who has had their brothers and sisters slaughtered.

The whole motivation for the temple massacre at the beginning is as sickening as it is one that we can expect in these modern times as well. The Emperor used the monks to defeat his enemies in battle. The monks agreed to this course of action because the Emperor had promised to bring peace to the land once he has subdued the unrest.

After the last battle had been fought the Emperor offered the monks valuable treasures from his vaults. The monks declined the offer, however. This led the Emperor to fear the monks because he then realised that he had no hold over them. So- he decided to have them all wiped out so that he had nothing to fear.

That is sort-of a recurring theme. We are often advised not to show off our skills, to hide our power. This is not necessarily to cultivate humility for spiritual purposes, but it is because history has taught us that power scares people and that fear can easily turn to hate.

So often I see bright newcomers in a profession being seen as a threat by senior colleagues who go out of their way to belittle and humiliate these people simply because they feel threatened by them.

Very often I, myself, am only acknowledged in times when my skills are needed, but get mostly shut up and pushed to the side so that those regarded my superiors may look good. Very often I find myself getting belittled and humiliated by somebody with none of the knowledge or experience I have, but who is nonetheless appointed above me.

Yes. Scaring the Emperor is indeed a recipe for misfortune...

What deserves note is that the kungfu of the Shaolin Monks was also not able to save them from being wiped out to leave only 5 children surviving.    

I can easily identify with those who endeavour to make a positive difference in this world. I know very well that you are on a path on which you will meet hardship and resistance. Still- if it wasn't for people like you humanity itself would serve no purpose on this planet.

The feats of strength shown by the monks of today and their story shows us that we as people are meant to grow much further than simply from childhood to adulthood. We face many challenges that we easily accept as insurmountable by saying: "I am not meant to...", "I can't...", "I don't...(that is the latest it seems)" and of course an endless series of "buts".

It is your choice in your life to accept things as unchangeable.

It is also your choice in life to choose which challenges you will face.

Overcoming that challenge will signify the next stage in your growth. How much do you think you can grow?
How many challenges will you face?

To everyone in the Martial Arts community a good week and a rewarding time of training.

Friday, 1 July 2016

No post this weekend. :)

So- yesterday evening I got the weapons out and had my Saturday workout a bit earlier.

We know by now that I will not be in town this Saturday. :D

In other news I have been learning the guitar all over now since the beginning of last month. I was never patient enough to learn scales and now that I have finally started I can't stop.

 Now that I approaching the point of transferring any tune from my mind to the strings this song simply had to be played at some stage.

If you know the song it means we have watched the same movies! :D

Some of you might remember it from this video I have posted a long time ago. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!