Archive for martial arts
“The swordsman was then aware that among the rest there was a large demon whose nose was not so very long and whose wings were not so apparent. His robes and headdress were arranged properly and he sat elevated above the others. This demon said, “What each of you has argued is not without principle. In the past, martial artists were serious, their resolution was absolutely sincere, they worked soundly on technique, and were neither daunted nor lazy. Such men believed what their instructors passed on to them, made great efforts day and night, tested their techniques, spoke with their friends about their doubts, mastered what they studied, and awakened themselves to principles. For this reason, what they acquired penetrated deeply within them. At first their instructors would teach them techniques, but say nothing of the principles that were hidden within them. They only waited for their students to uncover those principles for themselves. This is called ‘drawing the bow, but not releasing the arrow.’ And its not that they spoke grudgingly. They simply wanted the students to use their minds, and to master what they were studying in the interval.”
excerpt from The Demons Sermon on Martial Arts by Chozanshi
Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. Heraclitus
My answers are italicized.
So what ever happen here? Did you ever change your approach to Wing Chun training? Did you make it more ‘applicable’ making slight modifications here and there? Did you do as rageholic mention, change and personalize it to a point where it can be recognize as a new stand alone branch of Wing Chun?
I think all I have been looking for is a way to break out of the shackles traditional martial arts create. My own freedom of expression through a system. So, in part, I have worked hard to do what Rageholic suggested and personalize my Chun.
I haven’t made any ‘modifications’ to the system, per se – just the way I now approach it. I have changed my solo training to reflect what I want to become. Time is precious, so I make sure that I get my biggest bang for my buck when I train.
What I’ve done is taken the training regime of the boxing and overlayed it onto the Chun. Cardio/conditioning is a big part of my training, instead of just sitting in YJKYM for hours practicing patty-cake drills. Heavy-bag and sprints make up a good part of my workout as well.
A few more questions.
When you say the Wing Chun you know cannot stand up against Boxers do you mean with/without gloves and rules, or does it even make a difference at all?
To me, it doesn’t make much difference. Pressure testing is pressure testing. What I was getting at in the previous post, specifically, was how the training methods differ and therefore the training outcomes differ.
So what was your answer to your last question?
I assume you’re asking me about what I’ve done with all those Wing Chun techniques. First, I’ve streamlined my ‘teaching’ process. When someone asks to train with me, I don’t show them all the rhetoric and try not to talk too much (Wing Chun folk tend to run their mouths a lot – especially when explaining techniques or writing responses to questions on a blog).
Second, going back to personalizing my Chun, something His Dark Side and I have talked about at length, I am constantly in the process of creating my own ‘mini-system’ within the system.
Lastly, I’ve been looking at all the similarities instead of the differences – bringing all ‘techniques’ together into one common goal: hit the guy while minimizing damage.
Sorry for so many questions! I’m looking forward to your response.
No problem. I sincerely hope you got something out of my responses.
There is a line in the movie Iron and Silk where Mark Salzman says, “I think people are looking for something in China that they feel they can’t get back in America.” Actually, there a lot of great messages contained in that book and the screenplay.
I’ve felt this way and perhaps this is just romanticizing about something that is very far removed from the truth. Growing up watching Kung-Fu movies will do that to a teenager.
Kung-Fu started an interest in Chinese culture. I read about Taoism and Buddhism and burned incense in my room. I visited Chinatown and gathered sculptures. And perhaps, as it is with human nature, I thought that I was doing everything I could to try and understand a culture so different than mine. I felt like I didn’t have a culture, a way of being – so I grabbed onto something else in hopes that it would…fill a void, plug a hole.
In both the book and movie, Mark asks a Chinese gentleman, “What are two things that you think about all the time?” ”Eating and sleeping.” ”That’s funny,” Mark replies. ”What about you?”
Mark says, “Well, I want to be really good at something. And I want to be liked, especially by women.”
“That’s easy. Just work really hard at what you want to be good at and be nice to people.”
The Chinese gentleman then laments over the fact that the food they are fed at the teaching institution is crap and how his sleep is disturbed – two things he can’t control as easily as Mark’s problems.
I played piano for a few years until junior high where I played clarinet right through until the end of high school. Now my children are learning piano through Music For Young Children. Music taught me a lot about deliberate practice and how I could approach studying other subjects.
In martial arts, and in life, as in music – timing is everything. The issue becomes apparent when someone is trying play a piece and is speeding up the easy parts and slowing down the hard parts. There are three easy fixes that are not always clear:
1. Stop playing the whole piece from start to finish in hopes that the difficult parts will somehow become less difficult with them adjacent to the easy parts. This is a waste of time and energy.
2. Practice the hard parts over and over, breaking them out. You already know the easy parts, so nail down the difficult parts and then put the whole piece back together.
3. Nobody likes to hear a piece with a mismatched tempo – and a combination of techniques that runs out of control only to slow to a crawl during a highly technical portion doesn’t work either. If you can’t get the timing down fast – slow the whole piece down to as slow as you need to go for the difficult portion.
Make it yours,
To get good in Gung Fu;
a) immerse yourself in the art,
b) allow it to be a consuming passion,
c) invest resources into it; read around the topic, see what other Gung Fu/martial arts clubs do, and;
d) devote at least several years of study to it.
A popular meme is that it requires 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to attain a level of mastery. That is 3 hours a day, for a 10 year period. The act of deliberate practice requires;
a) structured goals,
b) a measurable means to chart improvement,
c) problem solving within the activity, and:
d) the development of skill based solutions.
Learning the technical skill of Gung Fu is about training the mind whilst developing qualities such as focus, patience, fortitude through the medium of an extremely violent and aggressive activity. And a powerful mind has an infinite capacity for creating our view of the world.
“Make techniques as simple as possible, avoid complexity for the sake of looking good and constantly look for ways to perform a technique with less movement.” Jesse Glover, describes the essential elements of Gung Fu.
A feeling of awe is hard to describe. Something that grows in the pit of your stomach and makes your skin tingle with excitement. When I first met Jesse in 2004, I remember this overwhelming feeling of awe.
(Jesse Glover far left, Bruce Lee center, Ed Hart far right)
“…. It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart, and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. Even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained; and even in the best of all hearts, there remains a small corner of evil.
…. If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”
Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn (11 December 1918 – 3 August 2008)
“I am a realist mate most Wing Chun guys live in a made up fantasy world.” Mark Hobbs, sifu
The following took place when I was a teenager living in London, UK;
Broken, jagged glass was pushed into his face. Glass grinding against the bone in his head. Blood flowed down his white jacket creating a slick layer of red, reflective goo onto the pavement. The attack was swift and executed with merciless precision. The police looked on, complacent deciding that an attack on a black youth, carried out by other black youth was not worthy of their attention. I watched as the victim tried to stand up, even after the barrage of punches, even after the kicks and even after the bottle attack.
I came close to being that victim. Just moments earlier the same mob had confronted me. Luckily, I managed to talk myself out of the situation only to watch them carry out their vicious attack on someone else moments later. This singular event gave me nightmares, eventually leading me onto a quest for a code by which I could live. A code that would grant me skills for self protection. Something that would allow me to decipher the violence that erupts on the street whilst giving me a means by which to get out. And finally, perhaps a code that would grant me the strength to fight when all hope of escape was lost.
In short, I needed to become a martial artist.
I live in the moment, most of the time. However, at this very second I feel detached. The small knuckle of my right hand is shaded grey, skin hardened. Using hand wraps for punching is another cleverly devised scheme to keep us living a life of comfort. F*ck that. The hand came sheathed in tissue and membrane, no synthetic fibers necessary.
I’m burning, my eyes are red. My ears ensnared by the dull monotony of background music. The rolling hum of the Starbucks air conditioner hovers above, its breeze cascading over my head and face. Longing for the company of distant friends, I pull the chair to my left closer. Drawing it toward my leg provides a sense of comfort. The chair is empty. Subconsciously I want to cocoon myself in to the corner, back resting against the window. My cup of coffee in hand.
The expectant quivering of my body ceases as the caffeine is sucked deep into my stomach. I’ve been working my punches and kicks. I imagine last nights violent jerking of the heavy bag to have become a softened arc today, as it patiently awaits another visit from its tormentor. Soon.
“Your noble character equals your awesome skill, Sifu.”
What makes it right? On the inside, we call it respect. On the outside, it clearly looks like a cult following.
I see more nutswinging in a day on the internet than the Amazon has in a month.
Drink up, kiddies: