Sunday, September 19, 2010

BACK Up Your Punch With This...

A powerful punch requires not a strong chest, not strong shoulders and not neccessarily strong triceps. Instead, a powerful punch will need a really strong back! The back muscles are what really supports and explodes the punch, along with the legs.

Notice the guys that have a powerful punch? The ones that you know have BOOM - they all have very developed lats. It's just the nature of punching. Skinny arms can still have boom as long as the back and leg muscles are really into the strike.

How to develop the back? Well, proper chi-sao will help you. You'll have to find an instructor who can actually help you develop these muscles in the context of chi-sao (i would say, not many instructors do this)..and yes, you'll have to master the pull-up. It's a really amazing exercise.

You can check this post out on my other site on how to do the pullup if you're new to pull-ups.

Try various versions - wide, neutral and close grip pull ups and chin ups.

At the end of the day, don't neglect the back muscles. It's really what drives the punch and allows the rest of your arms to be relatively relaxed for a powerful yet relaxed and heavy strike.

Until then.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Just Like Riding A Bike...

Been on a 3 week hiatus, given work duties, then a trip out of town and then back to an incredibly difficult grind after labour day..

which brought me back to class last Monday and boy did it feel AWESOME! Of course, you can sure feel the skills being a bit rustier than usual, but just as quickly as they left, they come back pretty fast too.

Miss being hit (haha, did I really say that?) and I miss the interaction with my fellow kung fu brothers and of course, with my Si-Fu.

Although I don't really advocate stopping lessons, sometimes a breather is kind of nice. Looking forward to training...

Until then.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Wing Chun Is Simple..or IS IT?

The wing chun system prides itself in its simplicity, so then why the heck is it that wing chun is taught in such a complicated way? The end product is supposed to be simple, but the concept of step and punch can be analyzed to death.

It seems that students of the wing chun system has a tendency to over analyze the crap about everything - tan sao should be this, but mean that. Or that the centre line is defined this way, but defined in another way by another teacher.

And the history of wing chun - oh gawd..it's a nun, nope, it's a secret gang/society, ..nope it's shaolin...nope...it's from people in the opera..and so on.

What about just training and just seeing if that works? What about just stepping into the ring and see what happens. What happened to just punching the heavy bag and see if you hurt your wrist?

Why must it be overcomplicated? is it because the teachers or the students that complicate such things are trying to make themselves sound smart, all knowing? Is it some kind of insecurity complex?

I don't see Rocky Balboa giving a damn about what angle his punch is or his weight distribution on his feet are - he just wants to hit the target.

Until then.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Good Teacher Communicates..a GREAT Teacher...

..connects with their students.

Although I can't brag about my extensive (or lack thereof) years of martial arts experience, I can look back at a handful of teachers and think back to what made them really good teachers or simply, mediocre instructors (albeit, exceptionally skilled in their respective art).

It comes down to the teachers ability to connect with their students. Although on the surface, this may seem very simple, I really don't think it's all too common. Instead, there are many teachers that simply teach in a manner that essentially allows for them to brag about their skills, either in the form of putting down students' techniques, beating up on students repeatedly, or just talking too much and not allowing their students to really get into the flow of the exercises. Many just want to show off what they can do and teaching the student, letting them "get it" becomes secondary.

Sure it may not be intentional on their part, but if i were paying, the teacher better realize this and fix this asap.

Teachers that connect, on the other hand, finds common ground with the student, to see the world in their eyes, to teach from the perspective of someone who is just learning this for the first time in their eyes (even though the teacher may have done this drill for the billionth time).


Teachers that connect expend great energy - not in the sense of physical energy, but in terms of intonation, attitude, emphasis and giving good examples, explanations in addition to the day to day practical/physical aspect of the martial arts.

The worst are the "arm chair" teachers that sit in the office during the teaching hours and have their students run the majority of classes. They believe that their skills are too great to share directly with the "inferior" students and risks teaching them "dangerous/deadly" moves...which is just BS. Knowledge is power, but secrecy is isolation - there is no connection in such a relationship.

Because connecting expends great energy, it's truly amazing how these teachers can do this day in and day out, set time for their own training, private lessons and have enough left over for family time or work time. It's truly a draining process that requires essential moments of recharging.

But to these teachers, I thank them. These are the ones that really make the classes exciting, that bring perspective to the students and help us discover our own "aha moments". And not only do such moments last for only a second, we can bring home these moments to explore even more so on our own time.

A good teacher simply tells you what to do, a great teacher connects with you so that you know what to do.

What kind of teacher do you have?

Until then.


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