Very cool concepts here and just another example of blending martial arts with fitness. Reap the best of both by thinking outside the box. Sweet.
目前分類：martial arts (10)
- Jun 16 Thu 2011 16:13
- Dec 14 Tue 2010 09:39
I did most everything under the sun but my specialty was Chinese internal martial arts, which is why I came to Taiwan. The emphasis on health and balancing power with softness really appealed to me. It influences my fitness coaching in many ways. First, kettlebell and the other training I do is based on skill. It isn't just about throwing around a weight for 30 minutes. There is skill in the techniques, leading all the way up to high level competition. Check this out:
You may have heard that if you really want to study judo, you should learn from a small woman since she can't rely on strength but skill. The woman in the clip above is swinging a 24kg kettlebell over 130 times and she's thin. This takes a ton of skill. So kettlebell techniques go from basic, mildly sophisticated technique to very subtle, "black belt" level stuff if that's what you're in to.
Getting into the sport side of things really changes the program. Instead of "working out" to get fit or lose weight, the activity becomes the focus and the benefit is secondary. This is the way to go to maintain your fitness gains long term and avoid the boredom of most fitness programs.
Second, the breathing techniques that we use are very similar to MA as are many of the body movements. In fact, kettlebell training is basically MA power training. The two are practically one and the same. The Russians figured out how to use breathing techniques to improve their sport lifting and they've long specialized in taking the best from both East and West and putting them together. Check it out:
As you can see from the clip, the breathing can get quite advanced if people get into it but a low level is good for most folks. But the sophistication is there if people want it.
Third is our emphasis on joint mobility and restorative work -- yin to the usual yang. We open up and fix problem areas of the body as part of the fitness process. Here's an example:
I put this together to fix some areas in a short amount of time. It's meant to open up areas that are tight and that need prehabing before people lift. Without this kind of work, clients tend to get stiff (if they aren't already) and find movements like squat, deadlift, etc. to be a problem. This softer restorative element really makes our fitness style vastly different from everything else out there. Few fitness styles have the complete spectrum like we do. Using this template we can go from absolute strength via Olympic lifting/weightlifting all the way down to soft joint work depending on the needs of the client.
Mixing the Chinese internal martial arts approach with fitness has really paid off for me.
- Apr 20 Tue 2010 09:07
I posted this on a discussion board and thought some here might appreciate the info. The topic was how to get started with a qigong or meditation pracitce.
One very important point to bring up IMO is that different parts of the spectrum work for different people. Eight brocades, standing, yoga, taichi, etc. all work the body and the mind. This is their strength and weakness. As a dual mind/body practice, they bridge the gap between the two but never quite reach the heights of either side. For example, no one I know would tell you that one of those is better than seated meditation for pure mind practice. Involving the body just creates too much interference.
Involving the body also means greatly lengthening and complicating the learning process. Learning to move correctly in qigong, taichi, etc. is much more difficult than learning how to sit in meditation properly. If you don't have access to a teacher, then a mind/body practice is much more difficult.
The advice to just pick one is spot on, but there are different learning curves for each so keep that in mind. If you're wanting more of a pure mind path, pick a seated meditation and get started. If mind/body is what you want and you have access to a good teacher, then pick that route.
- Feb 27 Sat 2010 09:43
Monday will be the first anniversary of our opening shop so it's time for some reflection on lessons learned.
I taught martial arts the first four months we were open and IMO it was a disaster. I managed to attract about four students in four months and that's not a sustainable path.
Readers from my old Formosa Neijia blog may remember that I argued for professional martial arts instruction in Taiwan and saw no reason it couldn't be done back then. I gave an example of one of my teachers that quit his bank manager job and became a successful full-time MA teacher. He was my model. Well guess what? His website hasn't been updated in three years, his schools are gone, and he apparently fell off the face of the planet. So much for my model of success.
Supporting my family is my main concern now and everything MUST be viewed through that lense. Young guys obsessed with nothing but MA can't understand this but putting the arts first in your life is a recipe for disaster long term. I've seen people that do that and I completely rejected it. The MA teaching either had to support my family or it was out. Devoting my life to "art" at the expense of family was irresponsible and I wasn't gonna do it. So it is out.
Can professional traditional MA teaching be done? I think it's extremely difficult now. CIMA especially doesn't satisfy any basic human need. There's nothing that it does that can't be done better by another type of training. Fighting, relaxation, health, etc. are all attainable by other modalities like MMA, fitness, or meditation CDs. As an art form, CIMA is unique in what it can do but art isn't at the top of most people's expenses every month.
Since art is the main thing, most teachers are teaching for free locally making it extremely hard to compete with them if you charge. I was trying to get people practical benefits but that isn't what most people want.
For example, I got an email from a guy who asked if I was a qigong master. I told him about the qigong systems I taught and what benefits he could get from the practice. He wrote back, "Yeah, but are you a qigong master?" I was a bit perturbed and asked him what it was that he wished to learn. He evaded the question and said that was okay, maybe I'd be a "master" one day and then he'd come study from me. How frustating is it dealing with people like that, hmmm? And he wasn't the only one.
The hardest lesson I learned from the experience is that when something isn't working at all, drop it like a ton of bricks and that's just what I did. Did it hurt? Hell yes. It was excruciating. Most of my identity for about as long as I can remember was wrapped up in that practice and without it, I didn't know who I was. But I had to find out and I have spent the better part of a year doing just that.
Fitness is a very rewarding career and my CIMA background colors everything that I do. I just taught an hour long lesson last week about the connections between kettlebell and MA training. And I could have kept going. That makes us unique here and that's a huge plus. I'm confident that uniqueness will pay off long term.
More to come.
- Nov 05 Thu 2009 19:40
We've got a good thread going over at the IKFF forum on kettlebell training and internal martial arts. Look for lots more of this stuff from the IKFF. Afterall, there's the offical IKFF qigong set -- a sure sign that this isn't your grandpa's physical culture. As I keep saying, things have changed. Surf that wave, baby. :)
Anyway, join us there for some great discussion.
- Oct 31 Sat 2009 14:03
Now that I've said I won't post much more about IMA, let me post a few recent push hands clip. Hypocrite!! Yep. :)
This is from the INBI guys that translated Chen Xin's book. Hope you made your investment and got a copy. I'm going to be funding my son's tuition with mine. :)
Anyway, this clip is very nice and look at the blend of judo/sambo in the clip. Hmmm.....where have I heard that idea before? :)
Lots of good movement and glad to see I'm not the only one who's doing this.
This is a really, really good example of taiji in usage. Granted it's a student and a teacher. Granted the student doesn't throw punches but he does kick a lot. Granted everything else people will say. But the power and sensitivity are there in spades. And through boxing gloves even. I didn't think this could be done through boxing gloves. I tried and it really screwed up my sensitivity big time. This teacher has some seriously good skill. That comes through loud and clear. Love how everyone stops and looks. They were obviously impressed. He does Yang style, too. Good to see someone from that side of the fence instead of only the Chen guys having a clue.
Speaking of Chen guys having a clue, here are two that do and they're competing against each other: Chen Bing and Chen Er-hu. Now most everyone knows Chen Bing by this point. He's the cool kid in the Chen clan these days for those great clips of him throwing a student in an MMA cage during a seminar in Miami. But Chen Er-hu is also very skilled and has a lot of Chen style usage VCDs and DVDs, all worth getting.
This clip is good because it shows Chen Bing is a bit more realistic light than the ultra popular clip of him throwing the student. Er-hu isn't a light-weight so we have a very skilled interaction here. And by all means, please check out 8:30 in the clip.
BTW, anyone looking to get good at what's in the clip could do a lot worse than Karo Parisyan's excellent Judo for MMA DVD series. Enjoy.
- Oct 23 Fri 2009 11:09
This is the best documentary of Taiwan MA that I've ever seen. It's coverage of the southern styles here was especially good and much appreciated. The crane guy in grey is quite skilled. I love his power and I miss that type of movement. The fifth part below features one of Taiwan's judo legends, who studied IMA and was also a professional wrestler. He's still going strong at age 80 and looks to be in really good shape. His students are very lucky to have him. Enjoy.
- Oct 20 Tue 2009 15:26
"It is sickness to be obsessed with winning, it is sickness to be obsessed with using the martial arts, and it is sickness to be obsessed with putting forth all one has learned. It is sickness to be obsessed with offense, and it is also sickness to be obsessed with defense. It is also sickness to be obsessed with getting rid of sickness. To find the mind obsessively on anything is considered sickness. Since all various sicknessess are in the mind, the thing is to tune the mind by getting rid of such afflictions."
"The elementary level of removing sickness is when you get into thought to be free from thought and get into attachment to be free from attachment."
-Yagyu Munenori, The Killing Sword (1632)
- Oct 09 Fri 2009 09:09
How about a few martial arts posts? We haven't done those in a while.
Many people have weapons forms but nothing else. How to put meat into your weapons practice?
The chances of you finding someone with usage knowledge is slim to none. Here in Taiwan, I've found only a few people that were really knowledgable about weapons usage. I was happy to get what I got from one or two of them.
Fortunately, Dr. Yang Jwing-ming has done all of us a great service by putting out three DVDs based on application and weapon drills to fill out your weapons knowledge.
You can get all of these DVDs here:
What I liked about them is that Yang gives you a ton of stuff that is useful no matter what style you do. Most people don't know this, but CMA weapons knowledge all has a common basis. The individualization that you see in weapons today is a relatively recent thing -- especially since weapons fell out of actual use. Weapons are now taught as vehicles to further knowledge of the style rather than for usage. But the basic use of the common weapons was fairly standard in the old days and Dr. Yang was smart to stick to that in these DVDs. So what you get is useful across the wide spectrum of Chinese styles.
What surprised me though was the amount of material he gives for the price. YMAA products were pretty good in the past, but these days their DVDs are running into hours long presentations giving you a ton of value for the money. For example, I owned the old YMAA taiji push hands tapes back in the day and thought they were very good. I looked at their re-release set this morning and they've reshot the footage, making it into a 6+ hour DVD set. You can't beat that.
So if you're looking for great fundamental weapons knowledge to add to your practice, start here. Train hard.
- Oct 08 Thu 2009 10:50
This is Ding Shui-de doing his Yang style and it's still one of my favorite taiji clips. Maybe it isn't the best out there, maybe he isn't the most famous person on earth, maybe others have deeper taiji. None of that matters to me. If I could attain his level in my lifetime, I'd be happy.
I really enjoy practicing a style like the Chen Pan-ling form. The more I do it, the better I like it. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that other styles have but as i get older, none of that matters any more. Constantly wanting more seems like a young man's thing to me. At this point, I've forgotten too much already to want more. Just getting some of it back would be good. Enjoy ding's performance.