Tag Archives: Martial Arts

Martial Arts as a Belief System

Newsletter 978

Why Martial Arts Changed

That the martial arts have changed is obvious.
They have changed in many ways.
Arts have intermixed,
forms are looked down upon,
people want more reality in their sparring,
and so on.

For me the change is drastic,
and I always focus on a single aspect
or characteristic of the martial arts.
I think it is the real reason
for the decline of martial arts.

When I began training we didn’t know anything.
Nobody knew karate,
or any of the other martial arts,
it was all new,
and nobody knew anything.

We were told stories.
The fellow who could hold onto a horse’s tail
and run as fast as the horse.
The fellow who could catch a samurai sword
and snap it with his palms.
Catching arrows with the bare hand.
Breaking rocks with a single chop.
And so on.

Now,
we didn’t know if these stories were true,
we simply believed
because we knew no better.
And,
as time went on,
some of the stories were bogus,
and some…were true.

What I noticed
as time went on
was that less and less
had people heard these stories.
Less and less
they tried to do the tricks in these stories.
More and more they fell to fighting,
and stopped being able to catch an opponent mid technique
and do what they wanted.

In short,
people stopped believing.
And stopped striving for those mystical feats,
stopped developing mystical abilities.

Why?

Because of the people who trained before,
who had no success in achieving mystical ability
and so denounced it.

I’ve heard people say karate punches are inferior.
And they tout the endless boxing drills
as superior to karate.
Yet I have never seen a boxer
thrust a finger through a board and leave a hole.
I have seen a karate man do that.

I’ve heard people say karate blocks don’t work in a real fight.
Yet I have seen a fellow
break a leg bone,
break it in two places,
with a simple low block.

I’ve had people say chi doesn’t exist,
it is a trick.
Check out the video here…
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/4c-matrixing-chi-power/
Or simply google such things as ’chi power.’

Here is the point.
In the beginning we didn’t know better,
so we believed that tales
just like a bunch of goofy kids.
Most couldn’t figure out how to do those cool sounding tricks.
But a few could.

But the kids of today listen to the trash talk
and they never hear of the ‘chi tricks,’
they never hear about people dehorning and killing bulls
with a single chop.

They listen to the fellows who failed,
and don’t seek out the ones who succeeded.

It seems that the fellows who couldn’t succeed,
are happy to shout their failure to the world,
and denounce the arts they failed in,
instead of figuring out the tricks
and practicing until they could succeed.

And the fellows who succeed,
they are self satisfied
and they have no reason to shout to the world.
Humility, you know.

I tell you this:
the most important element
in your success or failure
is going to be your ability to believe.
To believe that you can do.
To believe some of those old fables.
And to train in a manner
so that your belief is made stronger.

Believe.

Have a great and believable work out!
Al

Here’s that link again…

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/4c-matrixing-chi-power/

A WIN!

…you’ve changed the way I approach the arts that I love. 2018 marks my 40th year as a martial artist, and I believe that what you do is so important to us true believers. Please remember that innovation is always going to be violently resisted initially. What you do is absolutely logical, and it’s impossible for any sane man to argue with logic. Press on with pride brother. You ARE making history and a legacy. Best wishes and thanks ~ Sean

“The doubters said, ‘Man can not fly,’
The doers said, ‘Maybe, but we’ll try,’
And finally soared In the morning glow
While non-believers Watched from below.”
– Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee’s Secret of Formless MartialArts

Newsletter 976

Formless like Bruce Lee

There is a quote by Bruce Lee…

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”

Now a lot of people refer to this quote.
It is held up as an iconic concept,
a golden standard.
Be formless.

And it is almost entirely misunderstood.

I heard one fellow say,
I don’t want to study karate
because I want to be formless.

But how can you be formless if you don’t have form first?
Do you think Bruce didn’t study forms?
He studied Wing Chun,
which has forms.
And he studied the forms of the drills,
the form of the Sticky Hands.
The guy was a living,
walk and talking
form.
Then he was formless.

First comes form,
then comes formlessness.

I want you to google Fred Astair.
Old time dancer.
Probably the most graceful man who ever lived.
His secret?
He makes every thing look effortless.
Do you know how much effort it took
to make his moves effortless?

Now consider that same concept with form.

Do you know how hard Bruce studied
how hard he worked,
how he must have visualized and sweated
to become formless?

Fortunately,
you can choose from a lot of arts to study,
and you can choose from a lot of forms.
You can choose the ones which intrigue you,
which fascinate you,
which seem to be the best for self defense,
or whatever your goal is in the martial arts.

Here are some of my favorite forms.
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/6-shaolin-butterfly/

They are incredibly simple,
very short,
very easy to translate into formlessness.
(Read the win below…)

Have a great work out!
Al

A WIN!

Al,
I’ve sped through the Shaolin Butterfly, am learning the Five Army Tai Chi Chuan and the Butterfly Baguazhang. It seems to me that now I can look at classical forms and simply understand how to do them correctly. It’s absolutely amazing. The practice and learning process basically infuses a student with the basics to make anything work. To correct the whole of an art simply by looking at the forms and playing around with them. I’ve applied this to many classical forms I learned years ago. Thanks so much for the master key to all the martial arts right in my hand. ~ Justin

“The stillness in stillness is not the real stillness;
only when there is stillness in movement does the universal rhythm manifest.”

– Bruce Lee

What I learned After 50 Years of Martial Arts Forms

Newsletter 966

Fifty Years of Martial Arts Forms

Felt like a work out the other night,
so I went out and did my forms.
I did the basic Pinan (Heian) forms.

I learned those forms near 50 years ago.
I do them near every day,
and for a simple reason:
I learn something from them.

I look at each angle,
adjust those angles according to stance,
and the surface I am on,
if the legs are spread wider
it changes the angle of the arms.
I work on breathing,
focusing on the tan tien
and coursing energy through the body,
making sure I have the correct angles
to support the energy.

As I go through the forms
I imagine opponents,
how the blocks would work,
focusing on the snap and pop
as I loosen and tighten the muscles,

The forms are calisthenics,
a lot of people don’t think of the forms like that,
they are into the mystical and such,
and I am not unaware of the mystical,
but if I am doing a horse,
I am squatting.
If I am doing a front stance I am lunging,
And together with the tightening of the muscles
I am getting a real work out.

The great thing is I don’t have to pay for my work out,
I paid for these forms near 50 years ago,
I bought them,
so I use what I bought.

Almost every day I repeat those forms,
and here is the interesting things.
In the beginning I had to remember them,
work on my memory,
and I did.
But at a certain point they became intuitive,
I could just snap through them,
very liquid.
But I find myself going more slowly these days,
feeding awareness into the forms,
and here’s the odd thing.
When somebody hits me,
they are hitting my energy,
the patterns of energy I have carefully placed in my body.
They are hitting my awareness,
an awareness that makes the body firm and solid,
and quick and fast.
Isn’t that interesting?
That awareness could be mystical?
But mystical comes from mystery,
which merely says you don’t understand something.
But after 50 years of forms I understand them.
When somebody hits me I just run awareness through my body,
to the point where I am being struck,
and energy follows it,
the muscles become hard almost without tensing,
and the fist or foot bounces off my frame.

And,
when I strike back,
I control myself,
because if I put too much awareness in my fist,
the other fellow will be hurt.
But I don’t want to hurt anybody,
I just want to practice my art.
Heck,
if 50 years of doing these silly forms has given me this much,
imagine how much I will from another 50 years!

Here are three arts,

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/evolution-of-a-martial-art/

including the one with the Pinans in it.

Have a great work out!
Al

A WIN!
Al,
When I do my forms now I find myself working less on visualization and more on listening to what the structure of the form I’m doing has to teach me. Have you ever experienced this? A kind of spontaneous learning by repeating the form over and over just being aware? I am almost certain you have, but I like chatting with you about these things cause you invariably give me something new to consider.
A good workout to you
Justin

“A good teacher protects his pupils from his own influence.”
– Bruce Lee

Who are the Real Martial Arts Gods?

Newsletter 965 ~ sign up now!

The Martial Arts Gods are Pissed!

1967, November.
My very first class.
The instructor said:

you bow when you enter the building
to show respect for all within the building,
and the art taught within the building.

you bow to any instructors you meet
to show respect for their hard work

you bow when you step onto the mat
to show respect for everybody
who has ever studied the martial arts.

‘WAIT!’ I protested.
“Everybody?”
“yes.”
“Who is everybody?”

“The people who taught your instructors,
the people who taught the people who taught your instructors,
the people who taught the people who…and so on.”

“So I’m bowing to everybody who ever studied the martial arts?”

“Yup.”

Silence.

The instructor:
“Do you know how much blood it took
to figure the martial arts out?
Do you know how much sweat it took
to put the techniques into teachable routines?”

“Oh,” I said,
dimly understanding what I was getting into.

The instructor continued.
“When you bow to me it is not because
I wear funny pajamas and have a black belt,
it is because I represent a sacred trust,
handed down through hard work and dedication.
Got it?”

I did.

You know,
in the past I have gotten away from that explanation,
and I shouldn’t have.
I tell people that bowing is saying ‘hello,’ and ‘goodby.’
And it is,
but who you are saying hello and goodby to is pretty important.

When you walk into a church you know it is a church,
there is just a feel to it,
a spirit,
and you can feel that here is a place where people pray,
and the walls and floors and everything
have soaked up that energy.
A martial arts studio is the same.
There is a feel to the mats and mirrors and bags,
a feel different from a gym,
or a school for boxing,
it is a deeply spiritual feeling,
put there by endless ritual,
by respect,
a sense of ‘art’ that is exuded by spirit,
and deeply perceived by people who are in love with that spirit.

The martial arts spirit,
the sweat and blood and spirit
exuded by the trillions of men who ever stepped on to a mat,
who defend self and families with honor,
who believe in a better world.

Bow to it.

Have a great work out!
Al

A WIN!
I see the progressive curve in matrix martial arts, the logic, the feeling, the system (order) and the change from hard to soft, from physical to spiritual, from external to internal and how the both come together. In essence the notion of styles and belts vanishes, as does the delusional importance placed on the external, materialistic side of the martial arts…rank, fame, winning/losing, belt number and color, titles…vanity and ego. For something to be true, its opposite must also be true,… where the external is superficial and limited, the internal, the essential qualities, are deep, bound and limitless, hence the truth, coming from the source, not the human mind. Can’t take the belt with us, but the essence, the wisdom, the teachings, remain, perpetually. At least this is what I have found. On my matrixing journey from basic basics to matrix Karate, to Pangai Noon, to monkey boxing, to blinding steel, to Pakua to Tai Chi.
Now all I care about is to master the material and be the best teacher i can be. So others find their way home as well…
Thank you for all you have given me over the last 3 years.
It is a debt I can never repay in full, but it definitely brought me to the point where I am now and beyond. I humbly bow to you in sincere gratitude and respect, sensei Al.  I always considered you a Grandmaster, my teacher and a good man who cares.
Will S

“If there is a God, he is within.
You don’t ask God to give you things,
you depend on God for your inner theme.”
– Bruce Lee

‘Backwarditis’ in the Martial Arts

Newsletter 956

Going Backwards in the Martial Arts

Have you ever thought about
the actual process involved in fighting?
Most people think it is hit the other guy quicker,
but that is so inadequate
so far from the truth.

You stand and face Bozo Bob.
Bozo Bob has a thought:
hit you.
First:
you have to pick up the thought,
see the technique he is going to use
Then:
you have to reverse the thought
understand the technique from your viewpoint
because you saw it from his viewpoint.
It is reversed from your viewpoint.
You need to reverse it in your mind.

You need to reverse it
so you don’t create a defense that is backwards.
Then:
you have to create the defense…and do it.

Now,
that is the simplicity.
More to it
of course
but that is the simple truth.
So how do you reverse
the thought of his attack
so you don’t make a backwards defense?

In classical karate,
and other arts with forms,
we do the forms.
We practice controlling the bodies,
we practice the defenses for the moves
until everything is intuitive.

Think back to when you first began,
chances are,
most people go through this,
you went through what I call
‘backwarditis’

Backwarditis is when you do things backwards.
The teacher says right,
the students does left.
The teacher says step backward,
the student steps forward.
The teacher says do the technique on the right side
the student does it on the left side.
This is backwarditis.
Teachers everywhere experience it
They blink,
and keep going,
and the student eventually gets over it.

But nobody knows why the student does everything backwards.
Now you know.
The student looks at the attack
and it is backward in his mind
because he is observing somebody else do it,
so he makes a backward defense.
Eventually,
he gets over it,
without understanding
he finally absorbs the data
and begins moving correctly.
Knowing this should help you
when you construct self defenses,
it will help you get over trace backwarditis
and learn new things quicker.
It will help you make the bridge to intuitivity.

Now,
here’s a couple of interesting things.
Arts where the student doesn’t experience backwarditis
are lacking something.
Arts which don’t have forms
are missing the step for getting rid of backwarditis.

For instance,
MMA doesn’t have forms,
any experiences of backwarditis
are quick and fleeting.
The bodies are intertwined,
they are positioned
so that backwarditis doesn’t happen.
BUT…
to be an art there should be backwarditis.
It is a step of evolution that is necessary
lest the student doesn’t experience proper growth,
he doesn’t go through the stages of learning
that are in the martial arts.

Don’t get me wrong,
I am not bashing MMA,
I am just describing the effects of theory
and the teaching method
and what to look for in a student.
Heck,
there are things in MMA
that other arts don’t have.
But we are just looking at the teaching/learning method here.

Anyway,
there are several ‘cures’
things to help the student make the shift
to thinking backwards in his head intuitively

First,
when doing basics at the beginning of class
do them facing the same way as the class.
Then,
doing them facing the class.
Watch carefully,
see who has got the wrong foot forward,
correct him gently.
And keep going back and forth
every few exercises,
facing the students
then facing away from the students.
This is pretty easy and good to do.

Second,
make sure they practice their techniques on both sides,
have them perform their forms on both sides,
and even have them do the forms backward.
And backwards on both sides.
The students will get over backwarditis
their minds will be quick and agile,
will duplicate what an attack is correctly,
and build a defense that is not backwards.

If you want to know something fascinating things about forms
how they are constructed,
and even construct some yourselves,
I recommend the
‘Create Your Own Art’ course
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/2d-create-your-own-art/

Do be warned,
the videos are poor quality.
You can still see them,
but the quality of video recorders
when I filmed this course
was REALLY caveman.
BUT
the material is spectacular,
and the Buddha Crane book
is even bundled in,
as an example of how to create an art.
There is also a progression of art through Pa Kua Chang
that is simply fascinating.
Really good stuff!

Have a great work out!
Al
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/2d-create-your-own-art/

A WIN!
Hello Mr. Case. I recently purchased the Create Your Own Art course from you. As I have told you in the past I studied Hsing-i quan. Lately I have been having lots of trouble in my practice. At one time I had what I called the Hsing -i “kernal of power” but as of recently I have been unable to do it correctly. The power was bleeding off somewhere in the transitions between stances. I looked at your book Buddha Crane Karate book and I noticed that you have the foot in an elevated position much like the Seven Star stance of Northern Mantis before the step and strike. Well on a hunch I jumped up and ran in the other room and tried it in the Pi quan form and presto! All the power was back.

Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.
Bruce Lee

Use the Eyes Correctly in the Martial Arts

Newsletter 955

The Eyes Have It in the Martial Arts

I’ve got a student
and he can’t look at me.
His eyes focus on me briefly,
then he looks somewhere else,
down at the ground,
off to the side,
someplace,
and I know he is unconscious.
Unconscious being not conscious of me,
or,
taking his eyes off his attacker.
In the martial arts
if you take your eyes off the target,
the target hits you.
So I asked him,
have you ever flipped anybody off?
He got self conscious,
nodded and mumbled in the affirmative.
I said,
NO YOU DIDN’T!
Your body flipped them off,
and you told your body what to do.
There is a separation
you see,
between body and spirit.
I asked him if he ever took a leak.
He laughed and said yes.
I said,
NO YOU DIDN’T!
Your body leaked.
You didn’t leak,
you told your body to leak.
And he started to get it.
And here is the lesson.

You don’t look at the chest,
and try to see everything.
You don’t look at the hands/feet.
You look at the eyes because…
THE EYES ARE THE WINDOWS TO A MAN’S SOUL!

If a car was driving towards you
should you look at the driver or the car?
You look at the driver
because he is controlling the car.
He is the spirit behind 2000 pounds of metal.
So you look at the eyes,
and you look for the awareness
that is driving a 150 pounds of flesh and blood.
And that’s where you look.
Period.
And somebody who disagrees,
is simply WRONG,
and I prove it with my next words.
you see,
I told him one other thing.
A very important thing.
What is the one reason
you always look forward,
always keep the eyes open?
The answer is simple,
and yet so hard to grok and do.
The spirit radiates in all directions.
It is aware from the center of a sphere,
looking outward in all directions.
So the one reason a person always looks outward
is so that he doesn’t look inward.
You can’t defend yourself
if you are looking inward.
If you are looking inward,
you are not aware of what’s coming to hit you.
Remember:
the one reason,
the only reason,
for looking outward,
is so that you don’t look inward.

Here’s the obligatory advertisement,
do yourtself a favor and go there…

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/rolling-fists/
This is the one drill I use
to train people to look outward,
it works,
and it is better than ANY drill
in ALL the martial arts.
I developed it myself,
putting the missing pieces into
some of the lop sau drills in other arts.
This is the complete and real deal.

Have a great work out!
Al
http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/rolling-fists/

A WIN!

Al,
Allow me to say that in 27 years of Chinese martial arts your Lop Sau instructions are the most clear and cogent ones I have ever in my life encountered. ~ Justin H

“There is no comfort in the growth zone and no growth in the comfort zone”
Unknown

Learning ‘Angry’ Martial Arts

Newsletter 951

Angry Martial Arts

Had a kid in class yesterday,
he was losing at freestyle,
got upset,
got emotional,
started carrying on and whining
and generally disturbing the class.
We worked with him,
but at the end of class he was still upset.

The next class I gave a lecture
about giving in to emotion.
You have to control yourself
if you are going to control your opponent.
And I addressed this lad
who had been so-o- upset.

You were upset the other day,
it was hard to talk to you,
because you couldn’t listen through your emotions.
You’re calm now,
so now you get the lesson.
If you fall to emotion,
you’ll fail in your art,
and fall to an opponent.

He agreed.

But the day before he didn’t agree.
He couldn’t learn through emotion.

The point here is don’t be so anxious
to give a lesson
when somebody is upset.
Let him calm down.
When the emotion is gone,
and he is able to think,
to actually analyze,
that’s when you give the lesson.

And,
a quick lesson for you
on how to defuse emotion.

Humor.

One day we had a special needs kid in class.
He got upset,
screamed at us,
said a bunch of foul words,
went to the door
and flipped us all off.

The instructor next to me said,
‘Hey! I’m number one!’
Everybody laughed.
Even the special needs kid started to laugh.

So use humor,
if at all possible,
to defuse a situation.

Now,
it is HanaKwanMass!
You only have a couple of days
to get yourself a present,
and I tell ya,
the best present you can get somebody,
and even and especially yourself,
is a complete martial art.

Here’s one…

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/6-shaolin-butterfly/

remember,
my HanaKwanMass poetry is almost here,
so sit by your computer with bated breath.

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/6-shaolin-butterfly/

Here’s a great win…

A WIN!

My journey with Al started about 8 years ago with a book written by Al called Shaolin Butterfly, which I studied and still study on a daily bases. Then Al did something that has changed my martial arts life he started offering all of his courses at a lower price than what he used to charge. I took advantage and started by ordering just a couple. I went through them and found a wealth of information which cleared away the fog that most instructors throw at their students because they themselves don’t understand the whys of their systems.

That was it. I ordered all of Al’s courses. I have taken something from each of the arts that Al has put at my feet and have made it my own, and this has been a real gift.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain