Use Your Head!

Use Your Head! In the Tai Chi classics it states: Suspend the headtop – like a rope is attached to the crown of the head and pulling upwards. This is consistently taught in Tai Chi classes but the teaching is rarely understood.  This idea has to be active – in other words applied all of the time, not just periodically applied. When I’m teaching I constantly find myself saying, “head, head……. head….. head…. you’ve dropped your head, you’re sticking your chin out, now you’re tucking it in, don’t drop the head to look down, don’t lean the head to the … Continue reading Use Your Head!

Why Yang Tai Chi Is A Deadly Fighting Art

Why Yang Tai Chi Is A Deadly Fighting Art Many people practice Yang tai Chi for health only and I see nothing wrong with that as the ‘magic’ is effective at many levels, but I also teach and have taught it to many fighters, law enforcement officers across Europe and security personnel.  One of my students, a long time nightclub doorman described it as the perfect ‘skirmishing’ art. What is it that makes it so effective? The first aspect is the mindset and training in emotional intelligence.  In the neigong we train: Good posture Good breathing Bringing more oxygen to … Continue reading Why Yang Tai Chi Is A Deadly Fighting Art

Fa Jing In Yang Tai Chi

Fa Jing In Yang Tai Chi When I was training in Hong Kong with Ma Lee Yang I described ‘fa jing’ to her as ‘like a whip’, she thought for a moment and replied “no, it’s more like a pinball inside a pinball machine.”  It was a long time before I fully understood this. I had been used to the ‘whip’ idea that was used in other martial arts like Karate, Kung Fu and other styles of Tai Chi, so this was a completely different idea to me. A pinball being fired and bouncing off barriers in continuous movement, how … Continue reading Fa Jing In Yang Tai Chi

The Martial Arts And Violence

The Martial Arts And Violence A good explanation of the Kanji for the Japanese word ‘Budo’, which is ‘Wu Shu’ in Chinese…. “The character bu is constructed from the characters meaning “arms of war” or “violence,” and “to stop, prohibit, or bring to an end.”  Therefore, bu is more accurately translated as “to stop violence,” or perhaps “to bring about peace.”  Thus  budo,  bujutsu and  bugei might more appropriately be  known as the “arts of the peacemaker.”  The warriors of China and Japan saw their skills as tools for maintaining the peace rather than indulgences in a love of war.  … Continue reading The Martial Arts And Violence

Sensitivity In The Martial Arts

Sensitivity In The Martial Arts “Sifu, in my mate’s class they learn to harden and desensitise their arms by bashing them together with the blocking movements, why don’t we do that?”  Rod had lots of martial arts ‘mates’ who trained at different clubs and they would get together on a regular basis to ‘share’ their knowledge. “What purpose do you think our arms, hands and fingers serve Rod, why do you think we have them?”  Sifu answered the question with a question in his usual ‘Chan Buddhist’ way… “To hammer the crap out of our opponents?”  Rod was being mischievous, … Continue reading Sensitivity In The Martial Arts

Bowing In Karate

Bowing In Karate It was unusual for Sensei to line us up for class and do the warm up…. “Seiza….”  We all knelt down.  “Kiritsu” We all stood up.  “Seiza….” We all knelt down again.  “Kiritsu” We all stood up again. “Is this our warm up Sensei?” asked Bob cheekily… “It wasn’t going to be, but I think the lesson plan has just changed” replied Sensei.  When you kneel down, don’t lean forwards, your head needs to go straight down with your eyes looking forwards…” As we all tried it, our heads were bobbing all over the place. “It’s hard … Continue reading Bowing In Karate

Philosophy Is Important In Training

Philosophy Is Important In Training A few of the guys had come in early because they didn’t want to go home from school/college/ work and come out again for training, some were doing their own training, some their homework and some just reading or playing portable computer games. Jake and his friends were working out on the punch bags and then trying out the techniques on each other, they were working up an enthusiastic sweat and had eventually bought a bag to the floor and were working on their best ‘ground and pound’ techniques rolling with the bag and then … Continue reading Philosophy Is Important In Training

4 Elements And Martial Arts Training

4 Elements And Martial Arts Training Sensei was enjoying sitting down with the guys after training in the lounge area of the Dojo just watching and listening as they exchanged the traditional exchange of views and friendly banter about the Martial Arts over coffee and soft drinks…. “If it don’t work in a real fight, what’s the point training it?” asked Brian. “I think there’s more to training in the Martial Arts than just fighting” said Jed “after all, there’s your health to think about…” “And what about pure enjoyment” interjected Gary “sometimes you train for the sheer sensual enjoyment … Continue reading 4 Elements And Martial Arts Training

Deception And Speed

Deception And Speed “Speed can mean deceiving the opponent’s mind as much as working for physical speed” Sifu said quite confusingly…  “One volunteer please…” I was shoved unceremoniously forward from behind by one of my ‘friends’ as a laugh and stumbled into Sifu’s way “Okay, guard up and block my attack please….”  I put both arms up, hands protecting my face and elbows protecting my ribs and took a fighting stance. Sifu turned to face the other students who were still trying to stifle a laugh at the way I’d been ‘volunteered’ by my ‘friend’.  “When you go into ‘fight … Continue reading Deception And Speed

Want And Need In The Martial Arts

Want And Need In The Martial Arts “I’m not going to give you what you want today, I’m going to give you what you need…..”  Sifu was teaching a seminar to a group of martial artists that had never seen him before. This created a response in Mathew, a studious young man from the group.  “I don’t understand the difference Sifu?” Sifu had already anticipated this response… “Most seminar teachers these days teach seminars for a living, therefore they feel obliged to ‘entertain’ the students and come across as a ‘nice person’.  They are very personable, shake everyone’s hand, have … Continue reading Want And Need In The Martial Arts