Al Case began his study of the martial arts in 1967. He began writing for the magazines in 1981. He has written nearly two million words on martial arts related subjects, which makes him the Number One Martial Arts Writer of All Time.
He is the founder of Matrixing and Neutronics.
He can be reached through Monster Martial Arts.
I’m not much into hitting pressure points. Oh, they work, but the skill required, and the time required to master, better spent perfecting your punch, the angles of your form, etc.
But, there are certain angles which I pursue. Passing a punch can I put a finger on a fellow’s shoulder and take him down? Can I body bump somebody so they fly away? And, one of my favorites, the pubic punch.
You block, then you place your fist on his waist POINTING DOWNWARD… and you push down. His legs collapse, just like they have no muscle at all, and he falls all the way to the ground.
If you examine this move, it’s almost like a low block, which tells people that a block can be a hell of a lot more than a block.
Now A BIG AND HUGE WARNING. Be careful. Don’t punch, don’t cause impact. The top of the leg is a small bone that fits into the hip ‘socket.’ If you break this, we are talking BIG surgery and 6 months before any walking. So you don’t punch down, you gently push down. Unless, of course, you really want the guy’s lunch money.
I can actually use this in freestyle. I’ve have used it. Very difficult, requires exact positioning, and you have to know what the guy is going to do before you do it.
And, I call this ‘THE PUBIC PUNCH.’
But, the good thing, once you have this technique down the skill required offers itself to other techniques.
Anyway, try it, let me know if it works for you. And let me toss the obligatory ad in here.
There are a lot of cool things like this in Tai Chi Chuan. Tell the truth, I ransacked TCC for techniques to use in Karate. Quite interesting, very beneficial. So, here’s the course that shows all sorts of subtle moves that will really work in freestyle.
It sets you up for weapons, hands and feet and takedowns.
Check it out.
one last thing…
I get wins from people all the time,
and ometimes I like to share them,
hope somebody else’s wins
can inspire oyu.
So here is Justin Harris…
I just had a hell of a workout with my Matrix Karate forms plus House 1, House 2, and Moon form. The interesting thing about a matrixed form is how well it stays in memory. I hadn’t practiced these in a while but I busted em out today and let me tell you they are so natural and intuitive, they just flowed right out of me. I can’t remember many classical forms I learned years ago. But the interesting thing is that the logic of a matrixed and organized form sticks in the mind and body better than random stuff. Not saying classical forms are bad, I do quite a few of them sometimes but logic and a clear sense of how to make the art True makes things so much easier.
Sifu Justin Harris
Dragon Palm Tai Chi and Kung Fu
I appreciate the kind words,
and I love it when Matrixing works for people.
have a great work out!
And don’t forget to check out the interview
I’m always pushing my novels,
did you know I write other stuff?
If you want to know the truth about government,
you will find some startling matrixing going on in
In my case, being a person who already practiced martial arts before, both Chinese and Japanese styles, the concepts I was looking for were not so much technical concepts as the possibility of learning elements related to teaching, body structure, and the science behind the movement of the body when practicing martial arts.
I consider that in the course there are really useful and important tools when it comes to martial arts and their application, very important is the lesson on grounding and how it affects the movement of our body and the ability of this to relate to an opponent.
Another concept very well treated in the course is the explanation to the student of concepts such as the generation of energy and the importance of dantien … or at least a simple way to understand the Chinese teachings on how force works.
I consider that one of the most interesting elements that I have learned is the importance of angles in martial arts, it is true that this concept I had dealt with before, almost without realizing it, but not with this clarity, applicable to different situations.
In short, if we are able to combine our physical structure, with the world around us, we find the practical application of lines, angles, circles and elements that undeniably build the world, the result of this I consider these concepts of the most important during learning in the course, and applicable in all systems that someone works, with their differences and details of each art.
I was standing outside the other day, the wind picked up, really howled. The sky got REALLY dark, and the rain came. Now, here is the weird thing, the rain was so light, but more than a mist, and it was striking me, but it was so hot, and the wind was so powerful that i was standing there, getting wet, and drying off as fast as i got wet. After five minutes of this being rained on I wasn’t wet. Weird. I’m having a good time in Florida.
Now, I’m going to talk about energy, and it might get weird but that’s good… if you can handle it. see, after a lifetime of martial arts I’ve sort of exhausted the normal, I’ve seen and experienced all the stuff people normally see and experience, and so, I tend to look a little deeper. I don’t see the muscle and blood, I see the angles and dimensions, and now I don’t see the angles and dimensions I see the direction of…stuff.
So, you’re warned. Let’s rock.
In the beginning I was told to tighten my whole body on impact. I read a bunch of books and the concept was called ‘focus.’ But, the interesting thing, while focus was described by tightening the whole body, the stuff I was reading said focus was not physical, but mental. And… it was energy. Over the decades I realized a few things.
My instructor didn’t say ‘focus,’ he never used the word ‘focus.’ He said…
So what is the difference between focus and loose tight? I didn’t know for the longest time, but I did remember that my instructor moved like a whip. Even with full power, he delivered it in ‘whip’ fashion. Okay, easy enough to figure that out.
But he didn’t tighten his whole body on impact, he only tightened his fist. Which was weird, and sort of went against the concept of focus, as I understood it. Or, at least was different. Sort of.
Now, I’m a writer guy. My best friend is a dictionary, so I started looking up things like ‘focus,’ and ‘energy,’ and ‘power,’ and things like that, and I found out something interesting. Nobody understands what energy is.
There’s different fields of physics, electricity and hydraulics and nuclear and so on and each has their own way of expressing energy. Heck, in electricity we have watts and amps and volts and… and every field has that ‘precise’ confusion of terms. Drives you crazy sorting through them. I mean, when a car has 500 ‘horsepower.’ what does that really mean? If a 500 horsepower car can go 200 MPH does that equate to horses pulling a cart? WTF?
So I was dreadfully confused by the concept of energy, until I looked at the dictionary and read a simple phrase.
ENERGY IS THE CAPACITY FOR WORK
Zingo Bingo, that made sense. It allowed me to grok all types of energy, to appreciate them from different fields and from different viewpoints.
BUT… what was energy in the martial arts? Well, we can measure it through weight. The amount of weight moved, or, in cases, delivered, or resisted. Simple. But that’s the definition physicists use, and they are curiously blind when it comes to the idea of chi, which would be a type of energy delivered by the mind.
Over the years, following my instructor’s example, I practiced loose-tight. This was actually re-enforced when I began tightening my whole body too much, and causing myself pain. Too much energy for the fleshy vessel to contain and the result was , in my case, whiplash.
And the realization, flesh is temporary, spirit is immortal.
And, on the heels, because of that realization, muscles that deliver weight are temporary, energy delivered by the mind (actually the spirit) is forever.
Okay, are we weird enough yet? Well, stick with me, go back and read this stuff again, get yourself a dictionary and go crazy, if you’re smart, but… here we go.
I began hitting people without tightening anything. I would just sort of… get out of my head, have my awareness a little bit behind my body, and I would throw the body, like a child would throw a rock, I, the spirit, would throw my body.
Oh, it was all structured, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the discipline, and this means forms, of the martial arts.
It was like poking a watermelon with a stick. Bodies flew away, or, I could feel it, they were in danger of puncturing, and I began hitting lighter and lighter, but, now that I was on the right track, the lighter I hit, the more damage I was capable of. And now you know why I am a bug on the subject of
But striking people is not what the martial arts are about. You’ve heard me say
There is an art to destruction, but the true art is in control.
That is a true and absolute statement.
So, now that I was capable of using energy, I began to explore different ways to use energy. I made massive gains, which were, in the context of chi power, incredibly small.
An incredibly vain man, found he was but an insect in the ways of the universe.
So, over the past couple of years I have been encountering arthritis. The good news is that I didn’t believe in arthritis, so I was able to handle it.
I asked a doctor… ‘what are all injuries,’ she hemmed and hawed, and I finally had to focus my question a bit better.
‘Are all injuries inflammation?’ The doctor brightened up. “YES!” (Whew! She wipes her forehead!)
You get a cut, a bruise, there is swelling. You get disease and there is swelling.
Wait a minute! What if you get a disease and there is no swelling? There is swelling where you can’t see it. For instance, if an organ goes bad, and can’t swell, it might get… dense. I know, weird, but think about it, an organ swelling without being able to expand, and the result is compaction, and this can actually be perceivable as a sort of dark massiness.
So I was getting arthritis, and I was feeling this incredible pain, and dark mass, in my arms, and around my body.
As I said, I don’t believe in arthritis, which enabled me to throw a punch, and dissipate the black mass that was the compaction of energy in my body.
Now, the type of punch I do is a bit different than tightening, or evening loosening. The type of punch I do these days, is to open my hand and flick it like I am trying to flick water off a towel. And the result is that I ‘flick’ condensed energy out of my arms, and out of my body, and the arthritis disappears.
Now, this has resulted in me doing the martial arts totally differently. I only do the five pinans these days, plus explore my own stuff, Yep, I do the nine square, and monkey boxing, and all that, but I also hold to the classics. My stuff is good for exploring potentials of body motion. but I find that the classics have a slight edge when it comes to moving energy around inside and outside of the body.
Mind you, I wouldn’t have understood the classics, if I hadn’t gone through my matrixing, and matrixed arts, first.
So I do the Pinans, oh, and Sanchin and, every once in a while, seisan. But I do them making myself as loose as possible, making my body so empty that the flow of energy in my arms, and I am talking about sensation and which direction ‘tactile feeling’ goes. Then I ‘flick,’ and energy is expelled.
And sometimes, to make sure I am not wacky, I close my fists.
But closing your fists stops the flow of energy, Or at least isn’t efficient in the ‘flicking’ I am describing. So I invariably, and usually pretty quickly, go back to the open hand ‘flicking’ of the energy of the body.
And, doing the arms this way has totally changed the way I do applications, what some people call Bunkai. And, here’s the weird thing, I have found a few moves that are now totally understandable. They weren’t before, I was ‘monkey seeing monkey doing’ my way through the form, in a certain sense, but now am no longer being so blind.
Anyway, I guess we’re about done. And, only one other thought, I wonder how many people have stayed with this essay this long? My experience has been that a lot of people hitting concepts they don’t understand, go away, even sneer and call me an idiot.
I’m up there in the clouds with my stupid mysticism and all that, you see.
But here’s the thing, I speak from the 73 year old viewpoint, from the over 50 years in the martial arts viewpoint. And I understand what it is to get frustrated, and especially to not have enough change, as created by the martial arts discipline, in your person, to not understand something. Believe me, there’s more I don’t understand now, than I ever dreamed possible.
But i do my best to describe it all to you, and hope that you at least try to envision what I am saying. After all, you’re going to be 73 one day, and you’re probably going to be having arthritis, and other things happening, and, if i can say something here, describe the martial arts in a way that your journey is easier and more successful, then…then… then it’s okay that I lost a few of the fellows who aren’t ready for this stuff.
I’m sorry for them, I wish I could reach everybody, but you can’t teach quantum physics to a first grader.
Anyway, thanks for listening (reading) and I hope that I’ve niggled an ‘on-off’ switch or two inside your skull.
Now, don’t forget to check out Dale Gilliland’s great interview with me….
And, by the way, obligatory ad… you might try this book
YOGATA (THE YOGA KATA)
Doing Yoga helped me understand a lot of this stuff, and to work it out. After all, to be motionless will help you understand motion. To just sit and look at the energy within will help you understand the energy on the outside. Here’s the link
Okay, the last newsletter should have warmed you up, I’m about to throw a big fat pitch to you, and I hope you knock it out of the park. It is going to require a half hour or so of your time, so clear your desk, pour yourself a sodie pop, put your feet up, and get ready to invest in some real martial arts.
First, for those who don’t know, the first half of this little idea of Concept Curves in the Martial Arts, is located here…
Now, before I get rolling on this original concept of Karate I want to know if you checked out the original concept of Jeet Kune Do. You can find it at the tale end of this video on youtube…
‘Jeet Kune Do’s Wing Chun roots with Guro Dan Inosanto’
And, my question for you is this… Did you see the mistake in the concept? Did you see what was wrong with it? Or at least what was wrong with the application of it?
It’s simple, in the three distances being matrixed trapping, punch and kicking, the kicking and punching was being done at the hand held bag distance. Simply, when the student punched or kicked, he was punching and kicking the hand held pads, and this is not the actual distance of a fight. The body of the fellow holding the glove is too far back.
Several things result because of this.
The student is training to punch and kick at the wrong distance. And, the student is not focusing on ‘control,’ which is so crucial to learning proper technique. The student is seeking power and forsaking the right distance. This is done in the name of reality, but, in one sense, it may explain why JKD practitioners don’t dominate something like the UFC.
Okay, I actually wanted to say this, point this error in JKD out, just as an example of how arts degrade. Bruce understood it. He discovered it, and he did an amazing job of boiling the concepts down to workability. But what he taught is not being fully understood by his students. Yes, his direct students get it, but not to the point where they will be able to cement it into their student’s heads quite as efficiently. And so the art becomes less, and, here’s something to think about, can you see a day in the distant future, where JKD will be done for health? And will be derided because it’s not so good for self defense? Hey, that’s the concept curve of the martial arts, so it could well happen.
Okay, this is all just a sidetrack to the point I wanted to make today. I wanted to get into the real concept behind Karate. This will teach the ‘Concept Curve’ like nothing else.
In the beginning, on Okinawa, the teachers all knew each other, traded techniques, and one fellow put them into forms, and another fellow ‘advertised’ them. Caused a big ‘Golden Age’ of Karate. But let’s look at one specific style of Karate, it will probably be the best for proving my curving concepts theory. Uechi Ryu.
You trace Uechi Ryu back to Kanbun Uechi, and Kanbun Uechi learned his art in China. Specifically, Uechi Ryu is supposed to have come from Pan Gai Noon, and Pan Gai Noon is supposed to have been a type of Temple Boxing, I believe from the Fukien province, and that linked back to the White Crane Kung Fu system. Aand, eventually, in some areas it became known as incense shop kung fu. Not kidding. Do a little research and see if you can agree with me on all of this.
Now, Karate done Uechi Style is done with the whole body made TIGHT! Lots of heavy breathing. Lots of brutal blocking.
Read those three things again, they are going to come back to haunt you in the not so distant paragraph.
So, do a youtube search for karate. Generally speaking, you will find those three items in all styles. And, in Uechi, you will find these three concepts in spades. These guys train like rocks, bash on each other, breath loudly and deeply, and…that’s what they do. Okay?
Now, go youtube some White Crane First, I suggest this one…
Okay, do you see what I see? Uechi Ryu is HARD style. But White Crane, which Uechi is supposed to have come from, is softer. You still see some of the moves, and some of the force, maybe even some of the forms, or at least moves and there is still a somewhat violent expulsion of energy, but you can see the energy is different, a little more internal, most important, you can see the linkage of the moves between White Crane and some of the Uechi form moves, and even concepts.
And, you can even see some tai chi type moves, which may speak to the origins of White Crane, or perhaps just the commonality of martial arts in China.
So in the beginning Uechi was not hard. But the people who brought it from China didn’t understand it, wanted the power without the deep thought, so they made the art hard.
That’s point one. Point two is going to be a killer, and here the three items I spoke of are coming back to bite you in the butt.
Point two is this… White Crane was invented by a woman.
Yes, women can be fierce fighters, but they are NOT obsessed with power. They are generally NOT brutal. And they do not lock their bodies into rock solid stances.
Sure, there can be exceptions, but since we’ve already seen that the soft of White Crane became the hard of karate, why can’t we see that the soft of White Crane, as demonstrated on these youtube videos, came from an even softer, even feminine source?
Now, the lady who invented White Crane had studied Shaolin, so she was doubtless acquainted with hard. But whatever she had of hard, was handled by the necessity of her NOT bashing bones with bigger, stronger, brutal men.
She did kung fu like a lady, slipping and redirecting. And some of the stories I have read back this up, and the theories I have come up with, for instance that you have to know the hard before you can learn the soft, back this up. Or techniques become softer because of age, (or in this case because of physical necessity) and so on, back this up.
And, incidentally, there is WONDERFUL parallel, in that a woman developing Wing Chun. The same ideas, the same conditions, result.
Now, what does this have to do with the price of butter in Manchuria? Simple.
The concept discovered and promoted by a woman was degraded by people who didn’t understand her concept, and wanted the power, and didn’t want to think about what they were doing. And these Chinese fellows passed it on to Uechi and it degraded further, victim to a lack of understanding, and an obsession with power.
It’s funny, we follow the old masters, think the art was immaculate with them, but that’s not the truth. They made the same mistakes, often greater mistakes, and they passed down something and called it an art, and nobody ever called them on it.
I’m not speaking of challenge matches and such, but of calm, cool, clear, logical thinking, I’m talking about people thinking through there concepts and figuring out this soft thing, this…curve of concept thing.
But it is THAT type of thought that will enable you to get to the heart of the art, and to master it.
Now, disclaimer, I am not telling you to give up harsh training methods, I am asking that you understand them, that you explore them, and that you adapt them not just to force, but to flow. Learn how to use that outward block to ‘guide.’ Change that slam of the leg in that throwing technique, into a subtle knee motion that is difficult to see.
The truth is this: There are three elements in the martial arts. Speed…power…technique.
Of the three, technique is the most important. Technique won’t require speed, because if you study technique you will gain foresight, you will see attacks coming, and you will not need speed.
Technique won’t require power, but rather a subtle understanding of how leverage works, of how joints can be manipulated with a touch, instead of a bash.
Speed and power will diminish with age. Or they will not even exist if you are weak and scrawny, or (please excuse me for this one) ladylike.
Technique is what it is about. When you seek knowledge you don’t seek speed or power, you seek the understanding of how the body works, and, ultimately, how the universe works.
Okay, I hope this makes sense, it is a hard thing to put in words, as simple as it is. but I have tried. So… obligatory advertisement time. I hate to have to tell you this, but my white-haired granny’s dog needs medicine. Poor thing. (Sniff, sniff) So you simply must consider looking at
Matrix Tai Chi Chuan
Yeah, I know it’s not White Crane, but it is soft, woman soft, and it will work, and better than most arts. But, first you have to do it, you have to look at it. You must explore it until it does work.
And that’s the way everything in life is.
Look at, explore, master.
Now, don’t forget to check out Dale Gilliland’s great interview with me….
And have yourself a funomenal work out! Al
BTW Have you checked out my novel? Monkeyland? It’s on Amazon, but you’ll probably have to look for it. Amazon tends to hide the good stuff.