The ‘Empty Force’ Of Tai Chi

  ‘Empty force’ sounds nebulous and difficult to understand, but it isn’t. The body is a spring, when the posture is correct and the joints unlocked, when the soft tissue carries no unnecessary tension – the compression and release of a combination of the joints, including the spine, bodycore and soft tissue is a skill that can be trained in a multitude of ways. The first level of skill is to unlock the body and keep it unlocked, start with good posture and then unlock the ankles, knees, hips, back and chest with the mantra ‘soften and connect’ when you … Continue reading The ‘Empty Force’ Of Tai Chi


  Written in January 2004….. It was a year ago that we last interviewed Dennis – and in Bob Sykes words “2003 has been the Dennis Jones year”.  Writing the “Samurai on the Door” columns and working on a book with him has helped me to understand what makes him tick a little bit better.  I think the most surprising quality about Dennis is his quiet manner.  You only get to know anything about him in bits and pieces over a period of time and need a lot of perseverance and patience to get the whole picture.   Dennis is … Continue reading DENNIS JONES 5th Dan


  Steve Rowe talks with Doorman and Martial Artist Dennis Jones…   Giri:  a debt of gratitude, duty, justice, obligation, a sense of honour   SR  Dennis, we were discussing the concept of “Giri”  within the book  “Hagakure” by Yanamoto Tsunetomo and the following story…..   “Among Takeda Shingen’s retainers there were men of matchless courage, but when Katsuyori was killed in the fight at Tenmokuzan, they all fled.  Tsuchiya Sozo, a warrior who had been in disfavour for many years , came out alone, however, and said, “I wonder where all the men are who spoke so bravely every … Continue reading Giri

Back To Front Martial Arts

  I think I live in an alternate universe. Or everyone else in the Martial Arts does. I see Instructors putting together their training/grading syllabus… “Erm, for red belt we’ll do this… for yellow this…. for orange this….” They do one set of techniques for basics, different moves in a form that don’t relate to the basics and then different pairs work that doesn’t relate to either basics or form. And I’m like…..”That’s not only back to front – it doesn’t make sense!” I ask, “what’s the end result you’re looking for at black belt and above?” And guess what…. … Continue reading Back To Front Martial Arts

Rules To Live By…

Some of Steve Rowe’s Rules Of Life – 1. Don’t make friends easily. 2. ALWAYS work on your mind and perspective 24/7. 3. Always pay your way and live within your means. 4. If you help somebody, do it because it’s right not to make them indebted to you. 5. People you’ve helped will often stab you in the back, don’t let it become your problem. 6. People you’ve taught will often never give you credit – mostly that’s a good thing because that kind of student rarely gets it right. 7. Judge everyone by their actions not their words. … Continue reading Rules To Live By…

The Softest Touch

  I am a ghost, a wraith; Passing through life with the softest touch. I own nothing and no-one; Anything bought belongs to the Earth; And any person loved is completely free. I am only here to learn; I stand on the line between life and death; Free to love, cherish and enjoy; To embrace pain and suffering; To understand how one creates the other. By not blundering, not ‘forcing’; But stepping back and yielding; Only using the softest guiding hand; To bring imbalance back to the Tao. Stiffness, clumsiness and ego; Trying to prevent or force intention; Only bring … Continue reading The Softest Touch

Fighting Yourself

  In the Martial Arts we often talk about how ‘the biggest opponent we have to fight is the one inside of ourselves’ and that ‘when performing solo moves we must have an opponent in mind’ although I think the statements are self evident  I would like to put the two together and give it a bit of perspective. We are most likely to die of ill health. A good part of our health is our sanity and happiness, so emotional intelligence is an essential part or our daily training routine. We know how to do this through meditation and … Continue reading Fighting Yourself

How Tai Chi Saved My Life

  After a double knee replacement I fell and severed 3 quadriceps on both legs, this went unnoticed for 4 years, then 2 x 5hr attempted and failed rebuilds.  My right leg became infected and I had another knee replacement with an antibiotic spacer and 3 months of intravenous antibiotics. Two years afterwards, that leg became infected again (I had been fighting the infection for the whole 2 years)  leading to 5 more surgeries including removal of the knee, another antibiotic spacer and eventually an arthrodesis (fusing the leg straight with an iron bar through the middle) and another 3 … Continue reading How Tai Chi Saved My Life

Don’t Think – Feel…

  “If you work on your mind with your mind, how can you not be confused?” A very common problem with the students I teach. They know that they are stuck, they know that they are suffering as a result.  It’s all very well telling them to ‘think outside the box’ or to find the ‘infinite stillness within’ or as Bruce Lee would say “don’t think, feel” but if thinking is the tool that you’ve always used to problem solve, you’re stuck.  You can only work on your mind with your mind up to a point. And the mind is … Continue reading Don’t Think – Feel…

Kung Fu Kids Codes

Below are listed the Kung Fu Kids codes that we teach at our club listed in the briefest and most memorable way to help you remember…. Our 4 Rules (recited in Dojo every lesson) Practice every day Never attack anyone Balance training, nutrition and rest Good behaviour at all times Good Values Respect yourself Respect others Value the environment Seek Knowledge Achieve your potential Contribute positively   Good Manners Say hello/goodbye Say please/thank you/excuse me Be on time Wait your turn Sit properly Ask before using Ask before moving Don’t interrupt or yell out Don’t swear Don’t embarrass others   … Continue reading Kung Fu Kids Codes