Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MMA in Vancity!

Last week, Vancouver had a vote to determine if an MMA event could be held in Vancouver. So was it turned down? Was it allowed?

Guess what? They didn't vote on it. They said it's up to the Provincial government. 

Way to avoid the issues! 

This is not why we elect the Vancouver council. Geez. Do they think that MMA is some brutal "kumite-like" underground fight scene? These guys should take a moment to see how MMA has evolved over the years from a no holds barred knuckle fight (totally cool, IMO) to an elite martial art sport that has become the trend in recent years. 

It's a sport and, with it, comes safety. Vancouver should allow it, and regulate it - not pass it up to the Provincial governement. These guys totally chickened out. They'd rather vote in a Wal-mart than an MMA event. 

Ridiculous.

Next option - make the MMA event an underground fight scene. And guess what follows? people getting injured, no regulations and everyone breaking the rules. 

So silly. 

Until then. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

What's Left?

This past saturday we had the 3rd instructor chi-sao class. This time we focussed on the biu tze chi sao sections. Sure I can take a moment to summarize what we did, but really, that won't do you any good. I'm sure you can find that info in a book or video (eg. person a attacks with spade hand, person b defends with bong sao, etc etc).  Let me give you an idea of what I took away...


People at work asked me what I had planned for the weekend on the Friday before and I mentioned that I had a kung fu class. They realized this was the 3rd one within 6 weeks and asked me, given that I've been doing wing tsun for 'so long': "What more is there for you to learn?"

Beyond the obvious stuff of what there is to learn (biu tze sections, wooden dummy sections, etc), it goes WAY beyond that. Really, in terms of techniques, there isn't much more to add. But it's not the number count of techniques but how the techniques are performed that have to be trained into the body.   It's taking it to the next level.

Those of you who are in SG 12, even technician grades 1 or 2, may think you know what the system offers you, I guarantee you, you have NO idea. You have no idea of what's next in store, what else you need to add to repetoire, what other doors you need to step through.

Sure, maybe you can summon a flurry of chain punches your way through the opponent, but can you unleash hell?  My friends, taking it to the next level will. 

 I'm starting to understand, only able to peak through that door to see what lies ahead. It's the missing link and I look forward to it.  

"How can this be?", you may ask. Well really it comes down to your body's own natural tendencies. As much as you think you've drilled out all those nasty habits of flinching, of keeping weight off the front leg, of being able to chain punch - it's now time to move away from "hacking away the unessentials" and "massaging and feeding the essentials." 

And I have to add - in my karate days, I remember the black belts saying you don't really start learning until you get your black belt. At the time, I thought that was BS - with a black belt you only learn more katas and work on your reverse punch. 

But now I get it. I'm experiencing that. And to those that have made it to SG 12 or higher, and unfortunately left (for thinking 'ya, i got it now'), i say that's a shame and you gotta get your butt back in the kwoon. 

My friends, my journey is taking an evolutionary turn and you're here to experience it with me.

Until then. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reaction Time and Longevity

Reaction time and Longevity    
 
So does Wing Tsun make you live longer? Perhaps it does, as demonstrated in a study by Metter et al in the Journal of Gerentology.  1196 male subjects performed tapping and auditory reaction-time tasks over a course of 40 years and mortality was tracked. Results accounted for age, power, strength, and any baseline disorders (eg. neck pain, tremors, etc). Turns out tapping reaction time was found to be associated with mortality.  The faster the reaction time, the longer you’d live.
 
More recently, another study was published, this time with 7,414 subjects.  Researchers in this study suggested that reaction times are a measure of one’s intelligence, which is a general indicator of how well a body is ‘wired together’.
 
Interesting eh? So all these years of chi-sao is an opportunity for your brain and nervous system to create new wiring pathways, which may lead to overall longer life.
 
Of course this is just an association, not cause and effect.  But then again, maybe the direct approach of wing tsun simply makes up for our lack of reaction time..and well..really hides the fact that we are naturally slow.
 
Until then.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Form into Function

Well I have to apologize. As mentioned in my last post, I was going to show you how to create a home gym.  Unfortunately, I've been having troubles with my camera's software and was unable to get the video clip the way I like it.  So I'll have it up and running hopefully by Monday, if not sooner. Ok, now to business.

On the weekend, we had a seminar for senior students/instructors. We covered the different technician chi-sao sections, as well as a crash course/introduction to the wooden dummy form.

With all the drills and techniques aside, this seminar (and past seminars and lessons) repeatedly demonstrate that the progression of the empty hand forms (also weapons forms) is not a progression in technique or weapons but a progression in functionality.  The Biu Tze form is not an "advanced" form because you get to thrust fingers at your opponent nor is it more deadly than the Siu Nim Tao form because you get to use your elbows to strike your attacker.  Similarly, it is no more "dangerous" than the Chum Kiu form simply because it is taught later or considered the "secret form." 

Any teacher that passes this message onto his/her students is a fake.

The progression of the forms, SNT -> CK -> BT, is a progression in function. Each form provides further insight into how to use ANY technique.  This is the lesson to take home - it is not a new strike or kill shot that is exposed in the form - but HOW a regular strike can be delivered as a kill shot that is exposed. Get it? 

A tan sao performed by a student who has only been exposed to the Siu Nim Tao form will be drastically different from a tan sao performed by student who has been exposed to both the Siu Nim Tao and Chum Kiu form. 

It's starting to make sense now, when you see it from the "progression of function" perspective. Ask yourself this, why is the Biu Tze form the third form? Why not the second or the first?

Because the BT form teaches a function in how to strike/defend/move that requires the proper foundation to perform that intended function. That foundation is developed by the SNT and CK form.  

You can't run before you can walk. Walking builds function in your legs, back, brain and nervous system for the purpose of, well, walking from point A to B. Running will get you to point B faster, but the function in running can only be performed once walking is figured out.

Really, there's no real special usable "technique" in running that can be replicated by someone who can't walk first even though that person may know what the techniques are (knee position, head position, stride length, etc). 

The same with the forms contained in the Wing Tsun system. 

There is no deadly/secret strike in such and such form. Instead, it is the lesson hidden in the form that makes your strikes more dangerous.  

Until then. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Home Gym for Cheap!

So as some of you may know, I am a fan of working out.  I do it, not only to supplement wing tsun, but to also just maintain a certain fitness level I'm accustomed to.  Time is always a consideration and then comes factors such as money, space and equipment.

Well I've finally got my hands on a camcorder and will show you guys in my next post how I've been able to build a home gym in my apartment and on a budget. And yep, you guys can do this too.  Having the flexibility to workout in my apartment here means less time commuting, the opportunity to fit in a quick workout here and there and save money (no gym membership)!

If you are interested in adding resistance training to your repetoire either for wing tsun, martial arts training or just to get in shape, be sure to check out monday's post. 

Until then.




Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Problem with JKD

Oh Jeet Kune Do - I think everyone is aware of Bruce Lee's kung fu system..or however you want to describe it.

I do have a few problems with JKD. 

JKD is not a boxing style, it's more a fighting philosophy. So to say that it's Bruce Lee's style of kung fu is not correct, but of course, many probably think otherwise.

Because Bruce Lee looked to many other arts and incorporated their techniques, exercises, tactics, etc, it's given the green light for us regular folk to spend 3 months in karate, 5 months in kickboxing, 4 months in ninjitsu, etc etc and call it "Yam's Martial Art".

My major problem:

JKD, it's teachings, ideas and principles - it's entire perspective and philosophy is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING NEW to Chinese kung fu. It's always been there, but has been documented in English by the popular Bruce Lee, so it seems as if he's discovered it. 

Columbus never "discovered" America - in order to have "discovered" it, that means no other people were there first....

Same with JKD - the principles weren't discovered by Bruce Lee - they were there and taught but just not neccessarily taught as explicitly and most likely lost as real kung fu fighters and masters have passed on without teaching the ideas and principles to their students.

"Be like water."

"And when there's an opportunity, it hits all by itself."

"The highest technique is to have no technique."

Sounds amazing doesn't it? but this is true of a real fighting systems, be it karate, thai boxing, wing chun.  I just blame the teachers for not being able to show the student the path to this. 

JKD is nothing new but a good smack to the existing arts and the horrible teachers out there.

Until then.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Classroom Ettiquette

In my karate days, classes were incredibly structured.  The culture of teaching martial arts was very, in a sense, "Japanified" - not only do you have the official grading structure (white to black belt), but also had outlined an ettiquete in entering the dojo, bowing to the pictures of past masters, and greeting the sensai and sanpai.   The teachers expected a certain respect for the school and your devotion to the art - shoes off, gi was pressed and clean, and that good hygeine was expected. Simple acts like standing and sitting were shown how to be done properly as well to show respect to the instructor teaching the lesson and to not get in the way of your fellow students. 

Interestingly, when I switched to kung fu - I can't say the same expectations were outlined. In my classes of shaolin kung fu at the local china town, or choy lee fat in a large gymnasium - there was no such etiquette. 

Looking back, I think this etiquette is good regardless if it's "your thing" or not.  It sets the tone for the seriousness that should be taken for the art (or hobby for many), and although it's expected in the general society, you'd be amazed at how many people in class release gasses (burp or fart - yea, that's right) or reak of not having showered in a few days.  YEA, pretty nasty I'd say.  Hey, it's one thing to accidentally let one out, but I'm not talking about accidents.  

I'll say it again, ettiquette sets the tone. Train hard - if you can talk about video games - you're not training hard enough.  Talking about your thoughts on Sarah Palin - you're not training hard enough. Ask yourself, when's the last time you broke a sweat training?

It's like the structure set in the academic setting. You tell me, would the general population do better if the curriculum consisted of 2 midterms and a final exam at set dates throughout the term or do you think they would do better if the students could write the three exams anytime they wanted as long as they completed it before the semester ended? Well, many would say, "everyone's learning style is different."

But get this. In my first year of biology, I took an online course at university as the flexibility fit my part-time work schedule. You could write the exams online at the recommended dates but did not have to as long as you wrote all exams by the end of the semester. One condition, you write the final exam in a classroom.

I opted for writing the midterms on the recommended dates. Prepped for the final exam and walked into the class room. NO ONE was there. I was the only guy who wrote that final exam. 

Structure, in the way of ettiquette, is something we can all benefit from, especially for our hobby. That means making sure you come to class with proper uniform (white shirt, black pants) cleaned and ironed. Also means, clip your nails and make sure you don't stink. Had garlic for dinner? Brush your teeth.  Don't disturb class by pounding away at the dummy or punching bag while the teacher is talking. I think you get the idea.  It might not be the Chinese way to have such a structured, "japanified" class, but guess what? The Chinese way is to do the Siu Nim Tao for one year before learning anything else. Do we still do that ?

Until then.

Popular Posts