Archive for June, 2009

Taiwan Gung Fu Documentary

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 30, 2009 by His Dark Side

A documentary of Taiwanese Gung Fu courtesy of Quan:

The 3rd Annual Gung Fu BBQ by Sean Grant

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 28, 2009 by His Dark Side

Imagine an event where some of the greatest martial artists of the day could attend and not have to put on a seminar, supervise training, or exert any physical energy except to lift an arm for eating. Now imagine that if these martial artists could bring their families & close friends and enjoy themselves, meet new people (even those not in the martial arts community), feed their faces, feel safe and swap stories of yesteryear and today.

Well such an event does exist; it’s called “The Annual Gung Fu BBQ”, hosted by Sean Grant of Kirkland, Washington, USA. This event first started 3 years ago to replace one of our normal Saturday afternoon people watching after Saturday trainings at Jesse Glover’s (dungeon) workout place in China Town. Normally after workouts most of us including Jesse go to either an Asian food court to eat or to Tai Tung Restaurant and have a bite. However, one Saturday back in 2007, Sean (that’s me) asked, “Hey how would you all like to come over to my house for a BBQ?” That was all it took, and so the first Gung Fu BBQ was born. Truth be told, it was my son’s and my birthday that weekend as well, and that is how the date was established…Sorry no shame in my game (SMILE). So the second week in June every year is about when the BBQ takes place.

The BBQ continues to grow each year. For example the very first year we (My wife T & I) hosted about 20 people. That included people from my gung fu family and some of my son’s friends. I have to take my hat off to my wife seeing that she had no idea what was happening that first year. All she knew at the time was that we were having a few people over for a BBQ. Boy was she surprised!!! After that event, everyone told me what a good time they had and if I ever had another event like this they would definitely come.

So that is how the event of the summer was born. We had spent quite a bit of money hosting the first BBQ and that was a learning experience, so last year I decided to turn it into a pot luck type of event; people could bring their own comfort food or foods of their native origin. For example my wife is Filipino and some have never experienced Filipino food. Boy many were surprised after tasting something like this for the first time.

Do you know how you can tell if everyone is enjoying themselves? Just ask a question and if all you can hear is lips smacking and finger licking going on then you know…

There was a lot of that going on here. This is also a great time for those from both world’s gung fu and non gung fu to meet one another and make new friends. We had three generations of people here and it was truly amazing how everyone interacted.

We were Blessed with having great weather (which is sometimes hard to come by) in the Seattle area for this BBQ. So the turnout was very impressive. Although a number of people were unable to attend this year due to previous engagements, I’m sure after they see what they missed they will be sure to attend next year! I’m thinking that I may have to move it to the park down the street seeing that it grew to about 40 or so attendees this year. WOW! So everyone just to let you know I am putting the word out now that the 4th Annual Gung Fu BBQ will take place around the second week of June; so put that in your books to make it a date…

I would also like to thank those that brought all kinds of foods, salads, desserts and drinks over, it was a big help. And I would even like to thank those that stuck around to help clean up. Now that is what you call a family…When people are willing to assist with the clean up.

So as the afternoon went on and everyone began to settle in and enjoy one another’s company and took part in massive eating and entertaining. Some of the attendees included Jesse Glover, LeRoy Garcia and his lovely wife, Ted & Kim Hart (Son & Daughter of Ed Hart) Good friends and fellow students Chris Sutton Suki, Graham, Wes, Asa, Mike, Nick, Laura, Armand & dad Ramon, Paul and his dad Tim. And some students of Chris Sutton.

And now we get to the moment of truth…The last page of this story turns to the man of the hour that I wanted to feature at this year’s BBQ, even though I know he did not want to be singled out, but I felt it fitting to honor him with something from the heart. Sort of a small token from me personally to him for being my teacher, mentor, good friend & a second father figure for the past 20 plus years…I presented Jesse Glover with an 18”x24” hand penciled drawing (see below) featuring Bruce Lee in the upper left hand corner and Jesse Glover in the lower left hand corner with a collage of some of Jesse’s students (Ones that I know personally & myself)…An inscription in the picture says…”JFJKD to JGNCGF…From generations past…we create the Future” This picture was drawn by Kevin Hand from Illinois in the USA.

I presented Jesse with both the pencil drawing and a special t-shirt I had made especially for him.  I’m sorry this shirt will not be available for open distribution. It will only be available to Jesse himself, direct students, and close friends of Jesse.

Once again…I would like to thank those that attended this most joyous event and I can’t wait until next year for the 4th Annual Gung Fu BBQ 2010…And as always. This will be a Non-Classical Event. Hope to see you then…

Sean Grant, Your Gung Fu Brother…

Seattle NCGF

Jesse 2009

Truth Is Pathless

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 26, 2009 by His Dark Side

“I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organised; nor should any organisation be formed to lead or coerce people along any particular path. If you first understand that, then you will see how impossible it is to organise a belief. A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organise it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallised; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others.” J. Krishnamurthi

No Words

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 26, 2009 by His Dark Side

Vampire

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 25, 2009 by His Dark Side

vampire_55741s

Intense Exercise

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 25, 2009 by His Dark Side

This article from the New York Times is well worth reading;

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/24/can-you-get-fit-in-six-minutes-a-week/

Hacking Away by Kenton Sefcik

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on June 24, 2009 by His Dark Side

In my mind, it’s not entirely a matter of hacking away at the unessential techniques as it’s more about hacking away at the unessential thought patterns. I find that my skill improves once I free my mind from preconceived notions about how things ‘should’ be. Any kind of system or theory, if not approached in the correct manner, can stagnate an individual. The goal of a martial arts system should really be about self-expression, but it’s much easier to try to become a carbon copy of some other successful person.

I used to be on the hunt for missing pieces. I was convinced that someone could literally give me these pieces and I would become complete. I tried, at the time unbeknownst to me, a faulty approach. Like a many person trying to buy their happiness with cars and clothes; I believed that my happiness would come from amassing theories, ideas and techniques. I set out on the hunt for the missing footwork, the powerful punch and tried to emulate the ultimate Chi Sau techniques. And what I found was two-fold: Firstly, I found someone who told me that I already had everything I needed. Second, I proved this to myself with all the research that I did.

I share this, perhaps as a catharsis, but also to add to the signposts that others have left for me along the way. The problem wasn’t about missing pieces; it had more to do with my approach. I had locked myself in a box and I was the only one who could get me free. Now I enjoy my freedom – freedom of expression, freedom of labels, and freedom to blur the lines of what is Wing Chun and what is considered not Wing Chun. And when it comes down to it: it’s all about freeing your mind.

About the author: Kenton Sefcik  is a Registered Acupuncturist living and practicing on the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia, Canada.  He has been active in the martial arts since 1994 when he first started with Kenpo Karate.  After 8 years of Karate, he went on to learn some Traditional Wing Chun until settling down with his current Sifu.

 

Classic Kung Fu Movie clip

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 23, 2009 by His Dark Side

On Movement

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 22, 2009 by His Dark Side

Methodical, progressive and continuous action, from childhood to adulthood, that has as its objective: assuring integrated physical development; increasing organic resistances; emphasizing aptitudes across all genres of natural exercise and indispensable utilities (walking, running, jumping, quadrupedal movement, climbing, equilibrium (balancing), throwing, lifting, defending and swimming); developing one’s energy and all other facets of action or virility such that all assets, both physical and virile, are mastered; one dominant moral idea: altruism.

Georges Hébert,

Demons and the Greco-Roman Tradition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 22, 2009 by His Dark Side

For early Greeks and Romans, daemons (an alternate spelling) were not necessarily evil but were viewed as being instilled with some divine power. Eudamonia, a word that came to reflect happiness in the Aristotelian sense, was derived from the greek word ‘Eudaemons, ’ a word whose root meaning was used to embody high intelligence. Demons were viewed as celestial beings that carried influence over men, often granting them a power of creativity and instructing their human host away from destructive behaviour. The philosopher Socrates was said to have been counseled by a daemon who would offer him spiritual guidance. In particular, Socrates’ daemon provided him with deep insight and served as a protector. However, even early characterizations of demons had a root in the psyche. Empedocles, the fifth-century B.C., pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, employed the term “dai-mon” in describing the psyche or soul as well as identifying it with the self.

Parkour

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 19, 2009 by His Dark Side

courtesy of Shadow;

Posted in Uncategorized on June 17, 2009 by His Dark Side

Komarivosafull

Dark Side

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 17, 2009 by His Dark Side

We all posses a dark side. A part of us that we keep repressed for fear that we will be perceived as nothing other than animals. It is the part of us that is willing to act without inhibition or physical, moral or psychological limitations. One of the prime functions of our dark side is to provide a system which facilitates overt aggressive behaviours. Even a casual observer of street violence will agree that it is usually the more aggressive individual who prevails in moments of extreme violence. This is the type of person who has allowed his dark side to override his social programming which, in normal day-to-day circumstances, would serve to constrain that behaviour. A combative system which ignores to teach us how to embrace our innate inclination for extreme aggression is a system which is designed to fail. Worse still, the point at which these systems are likely to fail are when the threat of violence is imminent and inescapable.

Sharma

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 17, 2009 by His Dark Side

“Too much talk and too little action leads to zero credibility. Better to say a lot less and do a lot more.” Robin Sharma

How to set Goals

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2009 by His Dark Side

Continuing on the topic of goal setting, the first thing to do would be to commit something to paper. Keep your long-term goal REALISTIC as you have to be follow through with the actions required to achieve the goal. Start with a long term goal first i.e. improving striking, getting lean, getting proficient at grappling, doing a pull up, etc. The goal should be SPECIFIC. Dressing it up in ambiguity and generalizations makes it less likely for you to know the steps required to achieve it. Similarly, make your goal CHALLENGING. After all, if it is easy to achieve, ‘it probably ain’t worth doing!’

Once you have formulated the long term goal, you can begin the task of setting out all the short term goals or tasks that will help you achieve that final goal. Think of the short term goals as stepping stones taking you to the final destination. These should be things that you need to do regularly that, if carried out with consistency, should draw you closer to your final goal. And of course, once you have reached your final goal, take time to reassess, and get a new piece of paper to start the process afresh.

Goals

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 15, 2009 by His Dark Side

One of the greatest revolutions in my training arose out of a desire to chart my progress on paper. Up until that point I had adopted what can only be described as a laissez-faire attitude towards training. Despite pushing myself to incredible limits, my progress was stunted because I had failed to adopt a SCHEME for improvement. Instead, I trained in accordance with how I felt on a day-to-day basis (not always a bad thing). One of the greatest discoveries I had was when I went to a psychology based training camp where one of the topics was goal setting. I was taught to evaluate my current training patterns and use short term and long term goals as a means to get faster, stronger and more explosive.

Demons and Combat

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 13, 2009 by His Dark Side

Within conventional thought demons are viewed as malevolent supernatural beings, capable of possessing humans. This classification appears to be cross cultural, for instance Buddhism has the concept of evil spirits known as Mira, within the classic Indian tradition Ravana is depicted as a ten headed demon king and in the Vedic traditions, Rahu the demon is viewed as a demon summoned to empower a person.  Another cross cultural aspect is that demons are depicted as grotesque, often gross manipulations of the human form.

The contemporary western occultist Aleister Crowley viewed inner demons as metaphors for certain psychological processes. This is the point at which we depart from the realm of the paranormal and instead venture into the internal territory of the human psyche. And it is not a huge departure for us to interpret demons as psychological STATES which we as martial artists can use to overcome feelings of fear and vulnerability. Development of the psyche is after all, a crucial element of becoming an effective fighter. In fact, if anything the psychological implications of demons as metaphors for fortitude and inner strength may actually assist our journey in the combative arts.

Is it time, therefore, to unleash your inner demon?

Bear Vs. Shark

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 12, 2009 by His Dark Side


Whenever a potential new customer visits my class, one question that I will always ask them is, What was it about Wing Chun that appealed to you as a martial art and more specifically, what made you decide to come to my class? I ask these questions partly to get an insight into the individual, so that I can explain things to them in a way that will meet their needs but also so that I can garner feedback, for my own marketing purposes.

The standard response goes something like this, “I want to get fit.” or “I want to be able to look after myself if I get into trouble.” Frequently I also get martial artists from other styles who have either become disenchanted by what they already do or who are simply curious about how Wing Chun works and why it is different.

Of course, if you think about it for a moment, you will see that neither of the first two responses are valid reasons for taking up a martial art. There are quicker, cheaper ways to get fit, like running, swimming, circuit training or cycling. As for needing to look after yourself, well OK, fair enough, we can do that but how often do you actually need to protect yourself from attack? Fortunately, I haven’t needed to use my martial skills much, for a number of years and I consider my life to be fairly normal. Unless you work in an environment of potential violence, you may occasionally have the need to fight but these occurrences are rare and normally quite simple to avoid. The mainstays of Self Protection are Awareness, Assertiveness and Avoidance; if you apply these tenets with a little wisdom you will rarely need to use the backup of Attack.

So, I think that there must be another, unspoken reason why people wish to study martial arts. Perhaps people are actually looking for something else, possibly searching for a way to unlock something inside themselves. Something they don’t properly understand or are simply unable to adequately express.

Going back to my introductory question, last week someone said, “I want to study a martial art but can’t decide between Aikido and Wing Chun, what do you suggest?” I said that I thought this was an odd question, because the two are completely different. It was like saying, “I’m going shopping for clothes but can’t decide whether to buy a new pair of football boots or a nice stylish hat.” (I must confess that I’m a bit like this sometimes when I go into town, I don’t always know exactly what I’m after but I know what it feels like). Anyway, I continued to explain that I taught Wing Chun in a pragmatic way and that everything we do is functional. In other words, you can interrogate any part of the system and if you understand it, you will find a practical answer that leads back to making you into a better fighter. No fluff.

Other common questions that people like to ask me back are things like how would you fair in a fight against a… Fill in the gap as you think best here, the most recent take of course has been UFC fighters. How would you take on a cage fighter?  What’s best Wing Chun or MMA?

Well, who would win in a fight between a bear and a shark? There’s only one way to find out…

Not long ago the question would have been, what would you do against a grappler? Can you fight from the ground? Before that, how would you close against a good kicker? What if they have a weapon? Or what if they attack you from behind?

To which my answer has to be – If I get hit on the head, hard and from behind, I will most likely be knocked unconscious. If you stab me with a knife, I will probably die. If you punch me on the nose I will bleed and if I go to the ground with a good grappler, I’m already likely to be in some trouble. Sadly martial arts do not make you invulnerable, nor do they turn you into Superman. As a coach, I do need to address all of these questions on some level and hopefully as martial arts evolve, I will absorb what is useful and as a result become a better martial artist, coach and person.  In order to develop however, I always look for answers in Wong Shun Leung’s Ving Tsun Kuen Hok. I can do this because I am a specialist, I understand how my chosen system works. The last time someone attempted to lock my arm, I punched them in the face and they let go quite quickly, I was OK that time.

I do not have time to go to a boxing coach twice a week, a BJJ lessons twice a week, a Thai class twice a week and strength and conditioning gym three times a week, Wing Chun lessons twice a week and fit this is on top of work, family, friends, relaxation, pay the bills, read a good book and still find time to have a life. Lets face it – nobody has. Bruce Lee tried but he was not a normal person. Wong Shun Leung said that he was an exceptional athlete who would have been accomplished in any field of physical endeavour, he just happened to choose Wing Chun. As an individual, you have to decide what it is that you actually want, why you want it and then think about how you might best attain that ambition. Achievable Goals.

Wing Chun is a distillation – a refinement – an essence. We are concerned with stripping away the unnecessary, not adding levels of unnecessary complication. We must be like a sculptor taking away the parts that are not needed in order to reveal the nature of that which we have chosen to express. I always try to be straightforward and honest about what I do and most of the time I know what I want. Simple Direct and Efficient is our motto and this is what we work towards, in our practice, teaching and hopefully in ourselves and herein lies the key to this little article. Ultimately all martial endeavour should be about self improvement, isn’t this what people mean when they say mind body and… I don’t like the term spirituality but I am able to express myself, both through my art and in other ways whilst maintaining a reasonable level of integrity.

A craftsman does not need a great many tools to do a good job but he does need a hell of a lot of experience under his belt. The real meaning of kungfu or gungfu is a high level of skill acquired through hard work, patience and perseverance. Not necessarily martial skill either, this is the same for writing poetry or working with wood.

Alan Gibson.

The Wing Chun Federation. www.wingchun.org.uk

Kids Kung Fu www.kidskungfu.org.uk

Alan Gibson

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on June 11, 2009 by His Dark Side

I am very pleased to announce that tomorrow’s guest post on this blog will be from Alan Gibson. Here is a short bio;

Alan Gibson, has been training in the martial arts since 1980.  He became a student of Wing Chun in 1984 after several years in GoJu Ryu Karate.  He is a graduate of the King Alfred’s University College Winchester where he majored in Sports and Business Studies. Alan learned his Wing Chun initially in his home town of Southampton before travelling to Hong Kong to further his studies with Yip Chun. Since 1999 he has been a firm devotee of the “Wong Shun Leung Way” and is closely affiliated to David Peterson principal instructor of the ‘Melbourne Chinese Martial Arts Club’ (MCMAC) in Australia.

In 1990 Alan founded the Wing Chun Federation with the express purpose of concerning himself solely with the development of his chosen art and creating a relaxed training atmosphere for his students. As an independent organisation, The Wing Chun Federation often arranges seminars by guest teachers. Previous visiting coaches have included, David Peterson (Wong Shun Leung), Wan Kam Leung (Wong Shun Leung), Yip Chun, Steve Tappin (Escrima and weapons) and many others.

Alan is best known as the author of his popular instructional books including: Beginning Wing Chun (formerly Why Wing Chun Works), Simple Thinking: Intelligent Fighters and The Wing Chun Forms: Combat Textbooks. These books are known internationally, and have been translated into German and Russian languages. He is also a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in many journals, including ‘Combat’, ‘Martial Arts Illustrated’‘Ging Wing Chun’, ‘Kung-fu Secrets’, ‘The Society Of Martial Arts’ and even ‘Loaded’. Alan is currently working on the continuing production of his series of instructional DVDs and has recently published a unique version of the Wing Chun Kuen Kuit.

Alan is very well known on the seminar circuit and has even lectured for Southampton University on Coaching Philosophy. He is always happy to express his ideas and training methods to other groups (Wing Chun and Close Quarters Self Protection) when invited to do so. He demonstrated at the First World Wing Chun Conference in Hong Kong in 1999 and continues to forge links with like minded martial artists both in the UK and around the rest of the world.

In 2009 Alan developed a child friendly syllabus enabling Wing Chun skills to be taught to children from the age of five upwards. Branded simply as Kids Kung Fu and driven forward with the characteristic depth of detail and userfriendliness that underpins his other projects – expect to hear more about the evolution of this system soon.

Alan Gibson can be contacted by e-mail at: alan@wingchun.org.uk and the website of the Wing Chun Federation can be found at: www.wingchun.org.uk Kids Kung Fu www.KidsKungFu.org.uk

The Path to Progression

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on June 10, 2009 by His Dark Side

The pathway to progression in training is simple; avoid relying on existing skills and always aim to create new ones. In a martial context this is achieved by placing yourself in disadvantageous positions to find weaknesses in your game. For instance, if you are a good kicker, don’t keep kicking, instead work the range which gives you the most discomfort, such as clinch or ground. Try to embrace your areas of weakness and deficiency. This allows you to find new skills to work on. Once you have worked this new skill to a sufficient level of competence you are able to start the process afresh.

Try this; when engaging with an opponent in training, place yourself at a disadvantage. Force your central nervous system to adapt to unfamiliar territory during the intensity of fighting. At this initial phase success is analyzed in terms of SURVIVAL and RECOVERY OF POSITION only. Get your body used to acting outside of its normal set-point. By forcing adaptations quickly during periods of great stress your body learns to recognize the ‘cues’ in fighting and you are in a constant state of learning new skills.

People tend to spend too much time over-relying on a particular skill in martial arts. The problem with this is that it gives rise to stagnation, the polar opposite of progression, as well as ego attachment. The types of martial artists who stay in one paradigm of belief say silly things like “if I faced a grappler, I would head-butt him in the face” or something similarly ludicrous. Such people try to assert that they have trained against competent fighters from other methods. I say “bullshit”. Sure,  you walk into the average class and challenge someone you have an 80% chance that you will face a newbie who has only trained for a short while. And yes, spar against this newbie and you will probably prevail. The point is however, that these people rarely put their martial arts on the line by challenging COMPETENT FIGHTERS from other methods. Going against anyone other than a competent fighter does little for self improvement.

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