Category Archives: Monkey Boxing

How to Break Through to a Real Black Belt

What is the difference between a Black Belt and a ‘real’ Black Belt?

Interesting question, eh?

To explain this let me make a statement, and then explain how that statement works.

The statement is that a real black belt does less to create more.

Now, back in China, there were people who could do less to make more. They learned this over millennium, and it became a part of their cultural teachings in many of the martial arts.

The art trailed to Okinawa, and the concept tried to hang on. In some respects it did, in others it didn’t.

Then the Japanese (among others, they weren’t alone in this, just more efficient) came along and they said, ‘We want power!’ So they made the work outs brutal, putting force above intelligence, or awareness, and they succeeded in deep sixing the already dying concept of ‘doing less to create more.’

And, they are not the only ones who did this. Americans are guilty of going along with this, not just as students, but as ‘power seekers’ on their own.

Now, power is fine, for a beginner. But when you train in the martial arts you progress to a point where you get tired – that’s as good a way of putting it as any – of working so durned hard.

Part of this realization may come from finally seeing through the blinders of power to the fact that a little bit wisely and judiciously applied accomplishes just as much, and more, than a lot blindly applied.

But you finally realize the truth, that it is not how much power you can create, but how smartly you focus your awareness to create and apply that power. Thus, the more you become empty, before and after the focus, relaxing to do the technique, the less power you actually have to summon up.

You do less, and create larger effects. You punch lightly, and it hurts more. You relax and throw more efficiently.

You are not building muscles now, but rather awareness; you are learning to focus, to use, awareness as a power. Call it chi, if you wish.

This concept had millennium to take root and develop in China, and teachers would teach it from the get go (before the Great Cultural Revolution). Now people only attain it rarely, and not if they stick to the power seeking commercial schools that have come to reign.

Here’s the interesting thing: you measure force, the power of a beginner, with physics. But you cannot measure chi with physics.

For you cannot measure awareness, especially when used in this manner.

Now, the hallmark of the real black belt is not how much power he has, but how light and liquid he is; how empty he is; how measured and sure he is of his position in space. How aware he is.

Learn to do more by using less (force, impact, energy, whatever) and you will be a real Black Belt.

You can subscribe by going to the top of the sidebar…

A god example of physics and real martial arts is my Pan Gai Noon book, available in paper or kindle on Amazon.

The Dreaded Peacock Kung Fu

A New Style of Kung Fu Fighting!

All right, there is no Peacock Kung Fu, but there should be! I live on a ranch on a mountaintop in Southern California, and I have observed the Peacock’s Kung Fu first hand. It really has some stuff that would make up a good system of Kung Fu.

First off, the male is the warrior. That’s easy to understand, what’s not so easy to understand is the bright plumage. Why bright? So it will stand out and be first target, thus allowing the female to flee. Thus, a valuable tenet of this fighting martial art would be to protect the weak, even to the point of offering one’s life!

new style kung fu

Click on the cover!

Second, when the attacker goes after this medium-sized, beautiful bird, it suddenly becomes bigger! The tale fans up, and it is brilliantly colored and spotted with dozens of eyes! Thus, an attacker suddenly finds itself confronted with a large and obvious foe with lots of eyes! Heck, is this one foe? Or a whole tribe that has arisen to do battle!

Third, let’s talk kung fu tactics. Yes, a large animal, a mountain lion or coyote, could take this beautiful creature, in spite of the natural defense mechanisms. But, when confronted by, say, a snake, the peacock can hold its own. What this bird does is circle the snake. And, it usually has friends, as the whole family ‘dojo’ crowds around and begins circling. And, as the snake turns upon itself to try and stay with the motion of the foe, it literally winds itself up, gets confused, and then the sharp beak of this animal goes to work. Pecking and pecking, so fast the snake can’t keep up with it, the reptile is quickly dispatched!

Could it be that fabled gung fu system of pa kua chang is based not upon the snake or the dragon, but upon a middle weight bird with long feathers?

Lastly, it should be pointed out that one of the first self defense mechanisms, before the self defense methods listed above are called upon, is one of the fiercest kiais ever heard. The sound of this ‘spirit shout’ is like that of a GIANT house cat! It is loud and piercing, and designed not just to warn fellow peacocks, and thus to gather them for the common defense, but to frighten predators away!

In closing, there should be a peacock kung fu, because the peacock is not just an animal whose sole defense is flight, but a hardy warrior willing to stand up and fight!

If you think that peacock kung fu is a nifty concept, then you should examine the Shaolin Butterfly, it is an art which brings forth fighting attributes and a calm spirit in a human being.

How to Learn Rattlesnake Kung Fu

Rattlesnake Kung Fu

Good morning!
A Fantastic Work Out to You All!
Every Day.
For the rest of your life.

karate kata traditional

How Matrixing Came to be…click on the cover!

I was driving along the road up here,
far side of the valley,
and all of the sudden,
out of a ditch about thirty feet to the right,
I see this hulking,
gargantuate shape.
Looked like a gargoyle or something,
and it was moving,
it spread wing
and the biggest darn gold eagle i have EVER seen,
lurched into the air.
His body looked thicker than my 100 pound labbie,
and the wing spread,
It was majestic,
awe inspiring.
It flew in front of the car,
six feet off the ground,
wheeled across the valley
and disappeared over a ridge.
Absolutely incredible.

Ben Franklin said the national bird
should be a turkey.
Said eagles were scavengers,
turkeys were much more noble.

I always think about that.
Was he pulling our chain?
I try not to think about the politicians in Washington
when I think about that.
I would opt for the turkey.

that bit of humor aside,
I wondered about the eagle.
He hadn’t gone up,
just sailed sideways,
and i wondered if he was sick.

I have heard that birds prey upon snakes,
I don’t know,
seems sort of dangerous.
I’ve heard the story about the tai chi bird fending off the snake,
or the other way around,
but how would the bird kill the snake?
Take it into the air and drop it?
Watch it splatter on the hard rocks a thousand feet below?
Take that, snakey fellow…grrr.

I had been walking on that same stretch of fire trail,
more like cow path,
a month ago,
and I had killed my first rattle snake up here.

I had always wondered about killing a snake.
What do you do if you have no weapons?
Some of the things I had heard…

you just drop a rock on the head.
But there had been no big rocks around.

you shoot it with snake shot,
which is really bird shot,
but I didn’t have a gun with me.
one of the neighbors,
a mountain man name of George,
said he shot a snake once,
and he missed the head and hit the body,
aznd the snake had charged him,
actually chased him down the road.

So how do you kill a snake
when you have no weapons?

When I was a child of 4
I had seen some teenagers kill a snake.
It was back in Ohio,
I think a black snake?
I don’t remember much,
but I do remember this kid
grabbing the snake by the tail
swinging it around his head,
and cracking it like a whip.
Snapped its brains right out.

Did I have what it took to grab a rattler by the tail?
Double hmmm.

But when you see a snake up here
you HAVE to kill it.
It’s survival.
That snake will bite you,
and it will bite your dog,
and it will cause slow, agonizing death.
If you’re a liberal greenie…
take a hike.
Animals will be harmed in the making of Monkeyland.
And animals will be saved,
and we will have a preserve,
and it will be happy…
IF we kill the snakes.

So I’m walking along the road this day,
and I see a three foot rattler crawling across the road.
All the stories go through my head,
rocks and snakeshot and snapping a whip.
I had no tools.
I had to kill the snake.
So I grabbed a two foot length of board
that was laying on the side of the road,
and a stick,
and I laid the board across the snake’s neck and stepped on it.
The snake hissed and snarled.
Opened his mouth and looked at me,
showed it’s fangs.
Didn’t rattle,
interestingly enough,
but the sight of the fangs,
and the way the snake looked at me,
I knew I had to be successful,
or Mr. Snake was going to be chasing me down the road.
So I took the stick and bashed its brains in.

the head was soft,
a big rock would have worked.
A snap of the whip would have worked.
But for a beginner,
a board and a stick worked.

And I wondered,
could I jump up in the air and land on the snake’s neck?
If I was wrong,
the snake would bite me.

The smaller the snake
the more deadly.
And snakes are fast.

But I could swing a stick,
maybe a pail if I was carrying water or lunch,

Top of the food chain here.

I think about Snake kung fu.
I watch the movies.
I see people training,
the way they go still,
the way they coil,
tense up and get ready to thrust.

that’s humans acting like they think a snake would act.
A little right,
a little wrong.
When you’re standing on a board,
with a snake snapping at you,
you know the right and the wrong.

the solution,
whether your training is movie oriented or not,
is to practice that stillness,
practice opening your eyes,
because the key is to see it before it sees you,
and the key is to remain calm and do what you have to,
because the key is to see the tension in the body
before the strike,
then you can strike before the strike.

the truth,
never pick a snake for a friend.

Okey dokey,
life is grand up here at Monkeyland,
at the ‘sky dojo,’
my temple in the clouds.

You know,
in the fifth book of
‘Matrixing Karate: Master,’
I list the concepts of Matrixing,
and how they were seen and accumulated and included
in the science of Matrixing.

Here’s the URL…

you guys and gals,
the dojo awaits,
whether it is down the block, in your backyard,
or next to your computer…
so hit it,
and have a GREAT work out!

Controlling All Emotion through Martial Arts…

Martial Arts Starts the Journey of Your Life

Got a win to share.
Got to tell you,
I get wins and thanks yous all the time,
but every few weeks
I get a big win from somebody.
What’s a big win?
Read on…

Hey Al,

Back in 2009 I became one of your Master Instructors and I have purchased several of your courses and material. I have also worked through and trained in your Matrix Karate, Kang Duk Won, and I am now working through Shaolin and the 40 monkeys. I haven’t tested for black belt in these, yet. Not because I don’t believe in what you are teaching but because the material is so durn interesting. I find myself just wanting to jump in to the next course. With these courses, more importantly, is the effect that your Neutronic writings have had on me when used in correlation with your training courses.
Back in 2009 when I wrote my win for the MI course. I talked about how the energy flows, being an electrician, and takes its shortest path to ground and about the simplicity of it all. As I continued through the (Church of Martial Arts) Temples courses a lot of mental doors opened up. An example is your discourse on emotion and how you stated that it is motion inside the head. I spent a lot of time doing forms and contemplating this truth. Emotion, E-motion, E-energy. Energy in Motion. Wow. Of course, you explain this through your discourse about Intention, but you really have to do the work on the course to really understand this. There are many examples like this. I think that’s why I haven’t tested. Although a belt would give me a sense of accomplishment. The journey is understanding the Awareness and how to control myself to promote the most constructive beneficial outcome, not just for me but those I come in contact with. I have come to give praise to people because all are worthy teachers. You have changed my life bud, really. I will continue on through the Temples required courses as they benefit me greatly. Maybe someday I will test, but for now, I am happy with the knowledge. At the time I received my MI certification I thought I understood, but it is really just the beginning. Although I have no ranking you are my Instructor and I your student. I am greatly indebted to you for creating the Church of the Martial arts. You have repaired what has been torn apart and thrown to the wind. The Temple will be my base and foundation. I hope to some day visit and to help in the building of this Temple. I hope this finds you and yours well.

Your Student,

Michael Guthrie

Thank you Michael,
as I told him in my response,
I am a bit humbled.
Such a win!

a couple of things.
The Temple courses he refers to
are at
As is Neutronics.

his point is important,
you must be applying the martial arts discipline,
doing them every day,
then the information I give will bite,
will have importance,
will work.

Think about it,
if you don’t have martial arts discipline,
if you aren’t actively using such things as energy
in the prescribed manner,
then what you read might not work!

You need the reality
to understand the theory,
you need to calm your mind through action,
to discover the non-motion
underlying all motion.

It is all hand and glove,
but without doing it,
you won’t understand it.

Matrixing isn’t just a method for understanding martial arts,
it is the start of the journey into you.
Who you are.
What you are.
How the universe works.

Let’s talk about this emotion thing.

I am the first to discover this,
it isn’t written anywhere,
I figured it out with matrixing and neutronics…
emotion is motion inside the head.

You experience something in reality,
and that results in motion inside the head
(or, more properly, the mind).

Doesn’t mean it isn’t real,
it just is.

a psychotic can’t control that motion,
he is controlled by that motion.
Makes decisions based on that motion
and those decisions may be a severe warping of reality.
he can’t even tell which is more real,
the motion inside his head,
or reality.

Joe Blow goes through life,
whim to his emotions.
He responds to television programming,
votes on the spur of emotion,
and so on.
he even does things like choose a wife
based on emotion,
and not an understanding of partnership
and life contracts.

A martial artist,
focuses on one thing,
the doing of technique,
the doing of form,
and by concentrating on doing just one thing,
he gains a focus for awareness,
and the motion inside his head
becomes recognizable as something separate from reality.
The motion inside his head slows down,
and he ends up perceiving reality as it is.

Mind you,
it is not a fast journey,
unless you are matrixing.
Then it can be really fast,
because it is logical.

But I’m not pushing Matrixing here,
I am just explaining how it works,
then you can make a decision about things like matrixing,
a decision not based on the motion inside your head.

Crying means an experience overwhelmed you,
something came towards you,
you couldn’t handle the motion that occurred inside your head,
so you express,
get relief,
from crying.

Pain is a very real motion inside your head,
often having external stimuli,
but not necessarily.

Love is not an emotion,
it is a configuration of two people
who find that they fit together
and want to partner through life.

hate: that’s a real motion inside the head,
one in which a person tries to stop the motion inside his head
by hurting somebody else.

It’s in your head,
but the other guy should die.
What a solution,

And so on.

But the thing is that all the emotions,
good or bad,
become easily handled,
if you learn how to focus yourself as an awareness.

here’s the point,
this definition for emotion
you will find nowhere else in the world.
It is written nowhere else.
It is a totally misunderstood point of mankind,
and the planet rocks and rolls towards destruction,
with nobody understanding what emotion is.

even if they do understand it,
intuitively somehow,
without the discipline to control it,
to make it small and manageable,
and a tool that benefits one,
instead of a hammer that crushes skulls,
the knowledge is worthless.

You have to do the discipline
to gain control of yourself as awareness.
You can’t just read the words.

Think about it,
mankind doesn’t know this,
it wars and famines and diseases itself to death.
You know it is this truth about emotion,
you just read it,
but are you doing anything about it?
Are you applying it to your discipline?
Gearing your workout away from violence and emotion and all that,
and towards control?
are you matrixing?
Are you studying the logic that makes it all easy and fast?
Without matrixing
you might learn to control yourself
to the degree I am talking,
but it could take decades,
a whole lifetime!

I hope you understand now,
and I thank Michael for his win.

Being an electrician helped,
understanding how the universe works really helps,
but whether you have a base in science or not,
the work out is the thing.

pop over to Church of Martial Arts,
see what I’m talking about,
make a fresh decision to get matrixed this summer,
and really start the ball rolling.

The truth is,
with all the well meaning people in the world,
the number of people who have a clue is small.
But you are one.
You understand,
just from this newsletter,
how important it is that you take control of your life,
and that the martial arts is more than just a way to beat people up,
it is a path to the self,
to enlightenment,
to being able to have a life that is rich and forgiving,
filled with friends and accomplishments.

that’s about all for now,
talk to you later,
I’m a bit late this newsletter,
so I’ll try to get the next one out Tuesday,
no later than Wednesday,
until then…



The Real Shaolin History That Nobody Knows!

The real Shaolin History is one of those animals that’s difficult to pin down. One reason for this is that the communist regime controls all history, and rewrites it to suit the state. Another reason is that the current history is of an oral tradition, and therefore quite open to mythicizing.

real shaolin historyThe real history starts with Bodhidharma taking the long journey to China to see the emperor. This tends to build up Bodhidharma at the expense of the emperor, and this isn’t right. The Chinese ruler, you see, was encouraging Buddhist monks to translate texts from sanskrit to Chinese.

The emperor believed that if he saw to the translation of these religious texts the general public would be enabled to study this religion. He believed this would allow him to enter nirvana. Bodhidharma told the emperor otherwise, which gained him nothing but a swift kick in the pants right out the emperor’s doors.

Bodhidharma then sought refuge at a local temple to meet up with other monks, and was turned away. The head abbot apparently thought him a trouble maker, or maybe he just didn’t want to rub elbows with somebody the emperor found wanting.

The temple he was refused entrance to was constructed in an area which had been razed, or burned down, and the emperor’s gardeners had planted new trees. Thus, the temple was named Shaolin (young forest). Nowhere to go, Bodhidharma began living in a cave.

Eventually Bodhidharma gained admittance to the temple, and legends have it that it took nine years, he bored a hole in the cave with his eyesight, he cut off his eyelids and planted them, and all sorts of other rather ludicrous legends. No one knows why he was admitted to the temple, but it was a good thing he was. The monks were in bad physical shape.

The Shaolin monks spent all their time hunched over books (scrolls, etc.) and were a sickly lot. So Bodhidharma taught them a series of movements based on hatha yoga and raja yoga. These movements were based on the 18 main animals of Chinese-Indian iconography, and this was doubtless the source of the five Shaolin animals.

This was the true origin of shaolin kung fu, though it is difficult to say when body conditioning was transformed into actual martial arts. The region was preyed upon by bandits, and it can be safely assumed that somebody whose body is in good physical condition is going to stand a better chance of survival than somebody whose body is not. At any rate this real Shaolin history has more legitimate sources than the various myths and legends which currently abound.

Real Shaolin History means nothing if you don’t study the martial art itself. Head to Monster Martial Arts for the most efficient Shaolin Teaching in the world!

Martial Arts Reality in Novels

The Reality of Martial Arts in Movies and Novels

The first example of martial arts in this country (the USA) was probably the James Cagney film, Blood on the Sun in 1945. Man, it was a rock ’em sock ’em movie, with a judo match in the end that was gr-r-r-eat!

Before that movie the only other instance of martial arts in the US was that Teddy Roosevelt supposedly took Judo lessons while in the White House.

martial arts novel

The Wudan Assassin and REAL martial arts! Click on the cover!

After Blood on the Sun was ‘Bad Day in Black Rock,’ where a one armed Spencer Tracey used Judo to dispatch some very nasty two armed villains. Quite good stuff.

Somewhere in the late fifties and early sixties people started hearing about Karate. It was cocktail humor, and people joked about karate chopping somebody to death. On chop and cowier…bad guy gone.

And martial arts began making its way into cheap movies. Matt Helm featured a young Ed Parker, a hippie did Tai Chi Chuan in Billy Jack.

But, truth to tell, this was all pretty shlocky. Nobody knew how to film this new beast, and it really wouldn’t open up untilBruce Lee came along about 1967.

Which brings us to novels.

I remember reading ‘Six Days of the Condor,’ before it became a movie called ‘Three Days of the Condor,’ and the villain was so deadly because he had a(gasp) brown belt in Karate.

A brown belt.

The writer obviously didn’t know proper research.

And, to this day, there is little research, and writers are not too knowledgeable about the martial arts.

There have been a few good writers, Eric Lustbader is supposed to have done Aikido, but how much is not known, and then there is the question of whether he was a good enough writer to translate the art to the written page in a realistic manner.

Just a couple of years ago I read a book by Laurell Hamilton in which her heroine knows martial arts, but it is obvious that the author took a few lessons, painted Kenpo as the deadliest martial art around, and then slithered through any real fighting sequences without knowing what she was talking about.

All of the above, of course, is great for me. I’m a writer, and a martial artist of nesar fifty years. I know the techniques, I know the reality of the martial arts, and I can translate it to the written page.

Not to say that I don’t embellish for the sake of the novel. After all, you have to have a scorcher plot, and you have to build things up larger than life.

But, when I detail a Martial Arts technique as it would be used in the reality of a fight, it is fact based. THAT is what would happen if you stuck your finger in an eyeball. THIS is what happens when you lever an arm so that the bone snaps. THAT is the effect of trying to block a samurai sword.

But the thing is not to just have dynamite techniques, but to have a sub theme of martial arts.

In ‘The Haunting of House’ there is a girl who teaches martial arts, and she knows martial arts, and when she uses martial arts, it is with a sword and a hefty helping of the B chromosome. And it feeds the plot, it is important that she know martial arts, it shapes her, and it shapes the plot.

In ‘Machina’ Martial Arts is pivotal. The good guys all know martial arts, and they can link the arts together to create…something else.

But probably the best of these books deals with the Wudan Assassin. Three books, all filled with martial arts mayhem, all pivoting around the abilities of personal combat, and in a way that modern people, even people who haven’t studied the martial arts, can come to enjoy and empathize.

The first book, ‘Hero,’ has a guy down on his luck, a violent sort, whose only redeeming quality is the fact that he practiced martial arts in prison, that he survived prison through the martial arts. This opens the door to an engagement with a religious order protected by…the Wudan Asassin.

In the second book, ‘Assassin,’ the Wudan Assassin makes his appearance, and you finally meet somebody who IS the martial arts. Who can feel things behind him, can sense what others are thinking. It is the highest level of martial arts possible, and it is all translatable to the written page.

In the third book, ‘Avatar,’ The Hero and the Assassin come together. There is a threat to the world that is so great that the Assassin actually needs help!

And all these books have rock ’em sock ’em REAL martial arts.

No posing or posturing, no bad information, just real martial arts.

Heck, there are even training routines that the reader can do himself and learn from!

So, they are all available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble on line, Createspace, and other places. Though you might have to ask the clerk to order it for you.

Here’s the list of books.

The Haunting of House





You might have to sort through the links if you wish paperback or Kindle, but these novels are in both platforms.

Enjoy, and have fun with the real reality of Martial Arts.

How to Stay Grounded in the Martial Arts

Sunday Morning and the Martial Arts!

My day of …work out.
On the seventh day he…worked out?
Something to think about, eh?

you don’t get where you’re going
by being a lazy so and so.
You get there by being
a lean, mean, work out machine.

martial arts poetry

Neutronic concepts in verse…click on the cover!

where are you going?
There are stages of development,
you know.

First stage,
how do you tie a belt,
oh, forgot to bow,
how do I remember what to do.
Man, this is a LOT of work!

Then you get to black belt.
Lot’s of signposts before then,
but it’s still one stage,
reaction time disappears,
intuition appears,
and you absorb some mighty powerful stuff.

Second stage,
what the heck do I do now?
Do I practice this one art?
Work my way up the higher belt levels?
Do I sample other arts?
What do I do about this attack of pride
that seems to have lodged in my soul?

Third stage,
what the heck is this all about?
Do you see the progression here?
It is all about finding answers.
First you want to fight,
then you want to learn,
and it’s always about making decisions,
finding your way,
accumulating data until…?

If you are in an art that is competition oriented,
your progress is often truncated
when you get to old to compete.

If you are in an art with no roots,
an eclectic art,
then you either go away,
or you start searching for roots.
Lot of Kenpo people get involved with this one.
I was heavily there,
back in 69.

Some people make the transition
from learning
to teaching.
This is good,
because you actually learn more when you teach.
there are some very serious roadblocks here.
Have you answered enough questions in your own mind,
to answer questions in others minds?
Are you teaching because you love the art?
Or because you love the domination?
This is a hard one,
especially considering what the martial arts are:
a discipline for dominating.
But teaching,
real teaching,
is different.
It is not about dominating,
it is about sharing.
Makes it hard to balance discipline with having fun.
Love of teaching is not enough.
Many instructors fall into this category,
they love to teach,
and they aren’t very good martial artists,
but the authority of the position
is very magnetic.
A close cousin to domination,
without realizing it.

The problem here
is that nobody really knows how to teach.
They monkey see monkey do
how they were taught.
They follow the same method
that has been used for thousands of years.
A method designed for people
who weren’t literate,
who had no logic.
And they do this
even though the system they are teaching
is being degraded by all manner of influences,
including and sometimes especially
modern teaching methods.

I got lucky.
I studied with a fellow who didn’t talk.
He smiled,
he laughed,
he offered no opinion
just let us learn.
He didn’t inject himself into the teachings.
I studied for near seven years,
In that time he said maybe a dozen things.

‘A tight fist is a heavy fist.’

‘There are many paths to the top of the mountain.’

And so on.

I don’t remember the things he said,
I remember the feeling when he stepped on the mat,
the electrical current running up my legs.
I remember stepping on the mat myself
and suddenly being swept up
in a desire to work out
that was unlike anything
I had ever experienced.

Nobody ever dominated,
because he never dominated.

Nobody ever got lost in odd explanations of why this technique worked because of the neural synapsis that fired when the fight or flight syndrome was engaged because of the direction of the attacker’s eyes when…

All we did was the forms,
and we tried things,
and when the things didn’t work,
he was there to show us what did work.

That was the essence of the education,
you know,
to find out what worked.

When you find out what works
it answers all questions.
When you are lost in explanations offered
by people who want to be teachers,
or fighters,
or something other than martial artists,
then you end up thinking that the things that don’t work
will work.
The whole class skews.
The art skews.

When you get the explanation for what works,
by being directed to do the form,
and to find out what works,
then you learn the art.
then you aren’t swayed into mystique land
or lost in the illogics,
or lose your roots.

Your roots are you.
After you do the forms
the way they are supposed to be done,
in silence and looking for what works,
then you answer your questions,
there are no more mysteries,
and you are left with you.

A greater blessing has no man.

thanks for letting me rant,
hope it helps.
And there is always
The Master Instructor Course,
if you need a little extra
in the way of instruction.
Works for every student,
every teacher,
because it is grounded in how the universe actually works
and it is rooted in the truth of you.

have a great Sunday,
or whatever day you get this on.
any day can be a day of rest…
any day can be a day of work out.

Have a great work out!

Bruce Lee and the Softer Side of Wing Chun Kung Fu

Bruce Lee and the Two Styles of Wing Chun Kung Fu

Whenever I try to explain to people that there are 2 styles of Wing Chun, anyone that “knows” Wing Chun, tries to tell me that I am wrong, that there is no second style, only the variation being that of Moy Yat and Leung Ting.

The objection stems from the fact that most people do not know that soft-style exists.  There are no “training” videos sold of soft style,  and finding a video on YouTube is next to impossible.

difference martial art

Was Bruce Lee great because he knew the soft side of Wing Chun Kung Fu?

Soft-style was only taught to a select few students, William Cheung learned both soft-style and hard-style. Bruce Lee, Leung Ting, Moy Yat and other famous Wing Chun Stylists either never learned soft-style, or chose never to teach it. Think of it like this, hard-style was taught to the outside world, and they guarded the REALLY good material and kept it only in the family. Because I do not know these individual people, I don’t know the reason their lineages don’t include soft-style, whether they wish to continue the secrecy, or whether they simply weren’t privy to it.

The Tan-sao is a perfect example, of the difference. Hard-style leans and drops it down so it is almost horizontal, soft-style maneuvers the body properly, and keeps the tan-sao up, the eyes just barely able to see over the fingertips.  Bruce Lee threw out the Tan-sao because he said it was worthless, and indeed if the tan-sao is held low, it doesn’t block anything.

When comparing forms, you will observe hard-style people simply lean from one side to the other when performing chum-kil, while soft-style will actually take a full step.

Both of the videos below include Bil-jee, if you watch those variations of that form, you will see many more differences.


Some of the key differences between hard and soft Wing Chun are as follows:

  • Hard-style relies more on muscular strength, while soft relies on correct body alignment. As sensei says, “if you are leaning, you are falling”.  This is true in all arts, and one of the reasons my Brazilian jujitsu instructor harps on good posture. If you rely on a lean ,you must rely on muscle.
  • Hard-style uses a more collapsed forward guard with no forward intention, under the assertion that in trapping your energy is harder to read.  While the energy is indeed harder to read, the guard is easier to blast through. Such a guard and collapse and trap a guard that has no forward intention.

Hard-style Wing Chun is what Bruce Lee was unhappy with when he created JKD.  Even so, he and many others proved it was incredibly effective, even without knowing the “family secret”.

Overcoming Pride in the Martial Arts

My martial arts hubris, and how I overcame it

Guest blog by Alaric Dailey

In my other articles I started that my original karate dojo may have been the best thing that ever happened to me.  If you haven’t read them you might find them interesting, especially the ones on Dojo-kun and Do vs Jitsu.

karate internetAmong other things that I rarely see in other schools, each belt test consisted of kata, punching and kicking, hojo-undo etc, but they also included reading a book and a verbal book report.  The very first test was, like many styles, a yellow belt.  I will never understand having a rainbow of colors that DON’T get darker as they go…

That first test was quite an eye opener for me though, Sensei had added his own requirement, because he was not about making money, nor was he interested in having half-hearted students, nor students that would leave.  He wanted people that were going to forever be changed, and continue to practice for the rest of their lives.

The requirement he added?  Go to another martial arts school, and take a minimum of one class with them.  Give a verbal report.

This requirement, was a bit baffling, why take anyone just starting in your school, and require them to go try another school and possibly lose them?  Because it makes sure you are in the art that you will stick with.

For my yellow belt test, I took a 3 day introductory course to Tai-Chi, knowing nothing about any other martial art I made the mistake to trying to compare it to what I knew.  To give you some idea of what kind of apples and broccoli I was trying to compare, I was taking Pangainoon, and the first form you learn is Sanchin and the school I went to was doing Yang Tai Chi.

I made all sorts of uninformed, biased assumptions, I loved karate with a blind passion, and wanted to impress upon my sensei how much karate meant to me.  Thus I took the classes looking for what I perceived to be flaws and weaknesses in the art such as

* no application of technique – never did I get any instruction of “this is a block, this is a strike, this is what you are defending against”
* the stance was too wide – I was not given any explanation for a neutral bow, or why it would be a good stance.  In my mind Sanchin was the ultimate fighting stance.
* No power in their techniques – I had no understanding of chi power, even though Pangainoon teaches it, I hadn’t really even gotten an introduction.

I wilfully and with eyes open wide walked into a trap that ensares so many others.  I blinded myself to the benefits of other arts.

I was lucky that I didn’t entirely discount everything I learned. I continued to keep in contact with the Sifu, and shortly before he left for China, I had the opportunity to witness him do Tai-chi very fast, it was amazing.  Suddenly all the soft flowery techniques appeared to have power, and were obvious as to blocks and strikes.  At this point, I had also had enough Pangainoon to understand some of the techniques and chi.

I was lucky for many reasons, I was lucky that my Sensei had the confidence to send us other places. I was lucky that I choose a school that was so different that I was forced to re-evaluate what I was learning (even if it was only in the back of my mind).

Luck aside, my own belief that my karate style was the only “good” style, quickly crumbling down.  I wouldn’t have been able to overcome this false pride, had I not had these opportunities.

If you run a school, you will do your students a massive favor if you encourage them to go practice with other schools.

If you are a martial artist of any style, you can benefit from swallowing your ego and practising at other schools, especially those that are radically different than yours.  For example, if you do Tai-chi, you might want to try a boxing school, if you do Wing Chun, try Judo or Jujitsu, etc.

You never know, you might might new friends, you might learn something new.  As I often say “more bodies, means more opportunity to learn, especially when they are doing something other than you are doing”.

The Size of the Bullet…the Size of…the Fist?


The following is a quest editorial by Alaric Dailey

Why is it, that karateka punch with 2 knuckles? why is it, that boxers punch with heavily padded gloves? And why was it unfortunate for Art Jimmerson (the boxer) in the first UFC to wear a single glove. Furthermore, why do big slow bullets have a reputation for stopping power vs smaller faster bullets (specifically the .45 vs 9mm argument).

kwon bup karate fist

New book about the fist power of Karate…click on the cover!

It all has to do with penetration vs dissipation, when it comes to force, a martial artist must put as much weight and power into as small of area as possible to maximize its effect. Making the chosen weapon as small as possible, increases its penetration.

Pads dissipate the force, spreading it out over a wide area, and adding a nice soft surface. In the old days people did bare-knuckle boxing, and hitting the head with bare-knuckles is extremely dangerous, and can cause major damage, this is why boxing added gloves. Boxing gloves are huge and bulky, and they still manage to knock each others brains silly, that gives you some idea of how hard they are hitting.

When sparring in the martial arts, we will often wear pads, to dissipate the force, so that we wiggle the persons nose, rather than smearing it all over their face.

Thus when Art Jimmerson went into the first UFC with a boxing glove on, he went in taking away power off his punches and eliminating his ability to grab.

A really great demonstration of this can be seen with an sewing pin and a balloon. Sewing pins have that nice round end, and you can press pretty darn hard with the round end and never pop the balloon, but turn it around and use the sharp end, and it penetrates immediately popping the balloon. The round end dissipates the force, the sharp end penetrates!!! Easy as that to see.

As a related note, bullets travel SO fast that they have the opposite problem, they have a tendency to go directly through the target, rather than imparting that energy and stopping. At subsonic speeds the .45 has the larger diameter and slower speed to impart more of that force into the FIRST thing it hits, where the 9mm has a tendency to got right through the first thing and second. The faster and smaller bullets can pass right through and do LESS damage. This is why you use hollow-points for self-defense, they open up, causing them to slow and impart that energy, or at least more of it. This tendency for over penetration is something to think about when choosing a home-defense round, so when you shoot the bad guy, it doesn’t go through him and harm someone else.