Category Archives: ninjitsu

The Karate Gi that Wouldn’t Smell

Karate Gi…and How Clothes Make the Man

I put on my first gi back in 1967. It was pretty cool, my school had actually found a company that could supply us regularly. Very difficult to find sometimes, back then. We didn’t mind the $15 we had to pay.

It was yellowish, too short, looked ridiculous, but I found something interesting: it taught you how to focus. When you punched right it ‘popped!’

So I made everything I did pop, every kind of kick and punch and even block that I could…I popped.

I bought my first Tokaido, and it was a day in heaven. I’m not a clothes hound, but when I stepped on to the mat in that Tokaido, I felt…BIG!

And, my techniques were better. It took more power to pop, the material was thicker.

Of course, I had to buy the Tokaido, I had been made into an instructor, and I was told to look the part, or else!

I wore that uniform til it literally disintegrated. I went through the ‘don’t wash’ period, for a couple of weeks. Then the smell made me realize that I wanted to wash it, and I used to wash it and press it and fold it with absolute devotion and respect.

Yet I knew, always, that it was always in my mind. It was my uniform, my way of ‘preparing’ for my mock combat, my lessons in mortality and immortality.

Don’t want to wear one? That’s cool. Choice.

But look inside the uniform first, look under the skin. Check out to see whether you have the requisite pride, and in the proper degree and form, before you hold them in disregard.

As for me, they’ll have to pry my gi from my cold, dead…body.

Have a great work out! Al from monstermartialarts.

Don’t forget to check out the new Kenpo Karate Instruction Manual!

Greatest Day in Martial Arts History!

Happy Martial Arts Memorial Day!

Happy work out!
And happy you!
Why should you be so happy?
Well,
you’re about to get a fantastic deal.

First,
it is my birthday.
Got to be the greatest day
in the history of the martial arts,
right?
And,
two times a year,
my birthday and Christmas,
I ask you something.
I ask you to forgive me.
This is a serious thing.
If I said the wrong thing,
offended you somehow,
didn’t deliver exactly what I promise,
forgive me.
And let me know if there is something
that I need to do
to make it right.

Here’s the deal…
people make mistakes.
I deal with thousands of people a month,
so I have a lot of opportunity to make mistakes.
I have a lot of opportunity to build up ill will.
So,
if I messed up,
and I can erase ill will
even if I don’t know what it is,
then it keeps my personal universe
happy and functioning.

So,
forgive me.

Now,
that said,
let’s talk about why you should be happy!

Birthdays and Christmas,
time for presents,
right?
Everybody should get lots of presents
all the time.
Heck,
life is short,
we should live happy,
and why not?
Right?

So the present is this.
Until June 5th, 2014,
all download courses
are two for one.
You buy a course,
you get an extra one.
FREE.
My thanks for forgiving the world,
and forgiving me,
for any mistakes or ill will.

I can’t do this for courses I have to mail.
And the courses should be of around the same value.
You pay 30 bucks,
find another course for thirty bucks.
Order,
then email me with a happy birthday greeting,
and say you want a second course free.
I’ll send the second course
probably within 24 hours.
I’m on the computer a lot,
I check my mail,
so I’ll get back to you,
probably within 24.
If I don’t,
email me again,
mama google messed up.
My email is

aganzul@gmail.com

And,
if there is a small difference between course prices,
ask me.
When I’m celebrating
and all happy
it’s pretty easy to start talking about blinding steel
with a thirty dollar course.
Or the Black Belt course,
if you’ve already order a forty dollar course.

Okey dokey?
Did it make you happy?
Excellent!

So,
read it again,
make sure you understand,
then pet the dog,
shave the cat,
or whatever,
then…
order.
And,
no limits.
You want more than one course,
go for it.
It’s two for one,
no limits.

Happy birthday to me,
and happy memorial day to you,
and…I guess that’s it.

HAVE A GREAT WORK OUT!

Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/

two courses for the price of one,
of comparable or almost comparable value,
no limits on number of courses,
no physical mailing courses,
no books from Amazon,
only downloads,
send me an email if you have questions.
aganzul@gmail.com

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

Machina

Hero

Assassin

Avatar

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.

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”.

Was Shaolin the Original Art?

Finding the Source of Gung Fu

I had some spare time
so I wrote a website.
It’s about Shaolin.
The point about it being…
was Shaolin the original art?

Now,
every country has its art,
but they are mostly based on Shaolin.

And,
before Shaolin there was fighting,
but Shaolin elevated it to art,
to enlightenment.

So,
maybe Shaolin wasn’t the first,
but it was probably the most important.

I was pretty lucky in my selection of Karate,
I happened upon a very pure art,
from before Funakoshi.
And,
the interesting thing is,
I was pretty lucky in my study of Shaolin.
If you read the first blog
on my new site,
I explain a bit about it.

Now,
here’s the thing.
I did Karate,
and I matrixed it,
and it was pretty messed up.
But you do matrixing first,
and then it all makes sense,
and then the classical stuff starts to really make sense.
Becomes advanced studies.
I found the same thing happened in Shaolin.

Man,
I tried to figure it all out,
studied Wing chun,
Ton Toi,
a bunch of other stuff,
but it didn’t seem to come together for me.
Then I met a fellow name of Richard Armington.
Richard had studied with Arthur Lee in Hawaii,
and it was real old school.
So we went through the forms,
and,
tell the truth,
everything was really spread out,
didn’t make sense.
But I could feel the power of it.
But,
you know me,
I didn’t want to spend a dozen years,
so I looked for the one thing that would grab me,
that would make sense.
Look,
it’s like when you walk into a room,
you look for a rack to hang your coat on.

Without that rack,
everything goes on the floor.
Gets tangled up.
So I was looking for something,
a concept,
a technique,
a way to twist the whole thing
so it would matrix in my mind.
So it would fall into order,
would make sense.

In one of the forms,
I think it was called ‘jing mu,’
though i am hazy on translations and spelling and such,
but i think it meant butterfly.

And it was light and flitting,
covered directions in a very matrix way,
and I had found my rack.
I started hanging concepts off it.
All the concepts that were spread out
all over the place in Fut Ga,
and I could now make sense out of them.
And,
odd thing,
I found that,
as I explored the form in directions,
that for every different direction I stepped,
a concept worked.
Well,
that made sense.
Different geometries – different concepts.

So I reworked the Fut Ga
in a more methodical and logical way.

The forms fit two different footworks,
they emulated a bunch of different animals,
and the techniques,
as you go through the forms,
advance logically.

So instead of the Shaolin concepts radiating all over the place,
they could be done one, two, three fashion.

Made it REALLY easy to learn.

And,
some of the bad habits Shaolin picked up over the years,
I was able to delete them.

For instance,
just to mention one,
have you ever noticed how,
in the back stance,
the back ankle is scrunched,
and the front foot is way out there,
the heel lifted up?
That stance doesn’t work.
There is no mobility,
and the front foot isn’t able to kick,
and the thing just doesn’t work.
So I raised the stance slightly,
turned the foot in slightly,
and the thing works.

Is it Shaolin like you see?
With the guy all scrunched down and looking…Shaolin-y?
No.
But it works,
and I care about workability MUCH more
than I care about looks.
And,
I question whether,
several hundred years ago,
the founders of Shaolin did their stances that way.
Heck,
they had to fight,
not pose.
And here’s something to think about,
the Shaolin was destroy more than once.
So the art was rebuilt more than once.
Who’s to say it was rebuilt correctly?

The current Shaolin,
I am talking PRC
(People’s Republic of China)
killed off or chased out
all the Shaolin stylists
as part of their great cultural revolution.
Then,
when they realized they could make money,
they rebuilt it.
But they didn’t use martial artists,
they used physical education coaches.
And you can see mistakes.
You can see physical education,
but mistakes in body alignment.
You can see frantic workmanship,
beautiful workmanship,
but not an art that is based on function,
on self defense.

Hope i didn’t step on two many feet out there,
and,
if I did,
go to my sites and write hate mail.
Explain how I am wrong,
1st amendment, man.
Say what you want,
and unless you’re foul mouthed,
I’ll okay it.

Anyway,
now you know about the Shaolin Butterfly,
what was under my cranium when I did it,
and the thrust of my site.
And you’ll have more insight
into the Shaolin Butterfly
than what is said there.

The site is

http://bestkungfu.wordpress.com

Take a visit,
I’ll be changing a lot of stuff.
I wrote the articles after wiki,
and I’ll be making them into stories and good times.
But,
feel free to visit,
comment,
and have a good time.

Now,
you guys and gals
have a GREAT spring break.
And I hope you get ALL the eggs,
but try not to use any dim mak
on those kiddies you are shoving aside.

Have a great work out!
Al

http://bestkungfu.wordpress.com

Mad Dog Knife Fighting!

Knife Attacks if You Don’t Know Anything!

Good Lord…
I am living in the Dojo in the Sky!
That’s what it is up here at Monkeyland,
and I wish you could all be here!
But,
if you can’t,
make sure you work out!

karate kung fu pa kua chang martial arts book

Click on the Cover!

Your body is the temple,
so make sure it is pure
and deserving of you!

Okay,
I’ve got the samurai sword book on hold.
It’s just too busy,
too many things happening,
so it will be a few months.

I’ve got an author signing
coming up end of May
down in Santa Maria.
Gonna be fun.

And,
I’m trying to get my books in Barnes and Noble,
that is taking some work,
so I’m too busy to do the sword book.

Heck,
you can’t just snap out a book on
how to handle a samurai sword.

So,
that said,
let me at least talk about knife attacks.
I just wrote a guest blog
for SwordsoftheEast,
and I go into how to handle a knife attack
if you don’t know NUTTIN’

So here are the salient points.

First,
if somebody comes at you with a knife,
back up!
Create some distance!
Throw stuff at him,
knock stuff over so he has to step around,
and YELL.

Especially if he says not to say anything.
Heck,
if somebody tells you not to yell,
they are scared of yelling,
so…YELL!

Second,
if you can,
wrap something around your arm.
Your jacket,
a shirt,
even just hold a pillow.
The idea is you want the guy to cut that,
not you.

Third,
there are many ways to hold a knife,
but the two basic ones are:
with the knife coming out of the ‘thumb end’ of your hand,
the sharp edge down.
Could be down or up,
but down is better for any
up and down motion of the hand.
And:
with the knife coming out of the bottom of the fist,
the sharp edge facing away from your knuckles.

The idea here is to slash back and forth,
as you try to get away,
and if you need to use the knife,
you can just punch,
and the blade is projected as part of the punching motion.

I know,
there are a lot of holes here,
but the idea is to cut without being cut,
to get away,
and remember,
I am offering this
as if you are a novice.

Okay,
here’s the important stuff.
If you can’t yell or avoid,
and if you see the knife fight is going to happen,
then you have to change your mental attitude.

DO NOT become a victim.
Spit in his eyes,
throw the change in your pocket at his face,
and when he flinches,
kick him.
And when he lowers his hands,
poke at the eyes.
And when he protects the eyes,
kick him,
and so on.
Go up and down,
do what he doesn’t expect,
set him up,
and get…MAD DOG!

You have to offset the idea
that he is more deadly
because he has a weapon.
You have to.
So mount some viciousness.
Go after him.
Bite him.
Get…MAD DOG!

I knew a fellow once,
he was jumped by three fellows
while he was moving out of his apartment.
He grabbed a dish,
A DISH!
and he went after those suckers,
screaming and yelling,
chased them down three flights of stairs and down the street.
In his mind,
he was angry,
enraged,
and his dish became larger than their knives!

And that’s what YOU have to do!

Remember,
one fellow doing right in his life,
is worth ANY number of people
who are doing wrong.
That is ethical,
and it is right,
and you have to be willing.

Got it?

Okay.

And,
the last thing…
if you plan for something,
it probably won’t happen.

I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve taught,
who said they were scared,
were in situations,
and after they started,
those situations stopped happening.

So go learn something.
Educate yourself.
Take a class,
even a seminar,
on knife fighting,
or other weapons.

Educate yourself.
That will get you to the frame of mind you need,
to the techniques and body condition that you need
to survive.

And,
take it from me,
a guy or girl like you deserves to survive.

And,
if you want to check it out,
Blinding Steel is my course on knife fighting.

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/3a-blinding-steel-matrixing-weapons/

Now,
that all said,
you guys and gals have a great week.
It’s Easter,
you know,
so it is time to go ninja,
find all the eggs,
and do an extra week of spring break work outs!

Take care.
Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/3a-blinding-steel-matrixing-weapons/

Now,
‘nuff said,
you guys and gals have a GREAT work out.

Al

Do vs Jitsu in the Martial Arts

To Fight or not to Fight

The following is a guest editorial from Alaric Dailey

Being a student of traditional Karate-Do, when I make mention to a school owner or martial artist or parent of a child taking classes somewhere that “martial arts is more than punching and kicking, there is more to being a martial artist than simply being a fighter” I get a blank stare. At this point, I have to explain the following.

martial arts novel

A tale of the Wudan Assassin…click on the cover!

These days, tradition is often poo-pooed with some comment like “if it doesn’t make me a better fighter than I don’t care”.   But being a fighter doesn’t make you a good person, in fact, simply knowing how to fight can make you arrogant, or worse, a bully.

This is often evidenced in “fighter” gyms, people walking around with bad attitudes, all about testosterone and ego, injuries abound because people are always trying to prove they are the king of the mountain.

The way of the warrior, Bushido, is about being a gentle soul, learning not only to punch and kick, but to help others, to be calm and humble.

In other words, learning all those “useless” things, like the language, the manners, the meditation, the discipline, reciting Dojo-kun are not useless, they are about expanding your mind, and making you more than a fighter.

In my original dojo, my sensei not only give us the meditation and such, but would also tell us stories of the Samurai, and give us pieces of Bushido that most westerners never hear.  “Ikebana (flower arranging) is a great way to clear your mind”, and “self-defense is not just about punching and kicking, it is about avoiding and defusing danger in the first place” were words of wisdom that we often heard from sensei.

When the Japanese would teach an art, they would distinguish whether or not it included only fighting techniques, or would give you “the way”.  If you have “the way” it is a Do, Karate-Do, Ju-Do, Aiki-Do, etc.  If it is purely fighting techniques it was Jitsu, Karate-jitsu, Ju-jitsu, Aiki-jitsu, and Nin-jitsu.

As a side note here, you will notice there is no such thing as a “Do” for Ninja fighting techniques.  This is because the ninja weren’t fighters, they were assassins, their skills included, poisons, escape, evasion, not being seen, killing techniques etc.   Being a hired killer, and being a better person have nothing to do with each other.

There are 7 virtues
Rectitude (義 gi)
Courage (勇 yū)
Benevolence (仁 jin)
Respect (禮 rei)
Honesty (誠 makoto)
Honour (名誉 meiyo)
Loyalty (忠義 chūgi)

and 3 more associated virtues
Filial piety (孝 kō)
Wisdom (智 chi)
Care for the aged (悌 tei)

I see it as a great loss that so many have thrown away history and tradition, the Do, in favor of the more testosterone fueled (and MMA fanned) jitsu.  It is a sad state of affairs that our children grow up idolizing real and fictional people who push the ideas “might makes right” and “the ends justifies the means”, never once mentioning justice and mercy.

I highly recommend “The Hagakure”.

Check out the Karate Katas that work.