Good morning! I’m going to go all zen on you today, so check out now if you think philosophy is garbage.
It’s funny, probably the best definition for philosophy I ever heard came from Bill Cosby. He was asking the question, ‘Why is there air.’ All the philosophy professors would ask this and that would lead them into a discussion of the cosmos and God, and life and everything. And he said it’s a dumb question, Just ask any coach and they’ll tell you ‘Air is so we can fill up balls.’
With that bit of droll humor in mind, zen is supposed to be very philosophical. It isn’t, but we’ll just let that sit for a while.
So when I was about 15 or 16 my brother comes home and he tells me a joke. He asks: ‘What is the difference between a duck?’ I look at him blankly, it makes. no sense, I shake my head and he says:
‘One leg is both the same.’
And he walks off laughing hysterically. Idiot brother. Probably doesn’t even know what a ball is for.
But here’s the funny thing. When I think back over my life, that 73 long years that went by in a snap, I don’t remember the jokes I heard. I must have heard THOUSANDS of jokes! But none of them were worth remembering. But that joke about the duck, and one leg being both the same, it is vivid, seared into me. and I can’t forget it. So my brother’s joke has had incredible impact on my life. Which makes it the greatest joke of all time. At least for me. And, it has zen implications.
After all, the most famous zen saying of all time is probably ‘what is the sound of one hand clapping.’ Tell me that doesn’t make as much sense as:
‘what’s the difference between a duck?’
And, let’s translate that zen ‘joke’ to the martial arts.
‘What is the difference between a martial artist?’ And there are two very distinct un-zenlike answers. And the answers, applied to life, result in two types of people.
The first type of person is one who needs to be entertained. The second type of person is one who doesn’t need to be entertained.
And what the heck does that mean? A lot, thank you, and here we go…
People are either creators, or they are created.
People either search out something to entertain them, or they produce.
This isn’t an absolute, of course. It’s one of those scales like:
to the degree that one produces to that degree he doesn’t need to be entertained. And, to the degree that one is entertained, to that degree he doesn’t produce.
I look at kids today, needing to be entertained by a brainless video game. and I would be disgusted, except I used to bury my head in a book. I needed to be entertained.
Where this would have gone I don’t know, because I discovered martial arts, and, as you all know, the martial arts seriously warps personalities.
But, instead of needing to be entertained, to read the latest book, to go to the latest movie, to waste time chattering over the latest stupid joke, I started working.
I worked out, learning and doing forms, repeating them endlessly, looking for some odd concept called…’perfection.’ Could I turn the hand right, could I snap the foot perfectly, could I perceive the attack before it came.
It didn’t happen fast, it was more like a slow cook, but I stopped needing to be entertained. I started creating. Instead of reading books I started writing books. Instead of wanting to be absorbed by a movie, I wanted to be absorbed by a form. Instead of needing to be entertained, I entertained myself…by producing. I became a totally and utterly different human being.
What a weird metamorphoses. Hopefully you now understand the point, you see the zen of it all. Don’t play, work. The end of life comes too fast and you need to hurry to get everything done, but you won’t get anything done if you’re sitting around trying to be entertained.
BTW I’m always pushing my novels, did you know I write other stuff? If you want to know the truth about government, why we have riots and why idiots keep getting into office, why the government seems to do the exact wrong thing almost ALL the time… then check out:
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.
Hi guys and gals!
Happy Corona vacation!
I hope you’ve made the best of it,
learned an art or two,
worked out every day,
preserved your health and safety
for your whole life.
you’ve still got time.
One of the big mysteries in the martial arts
is this thing called Chi Power,
or ‘internal power.’
It is spoken of in Karate and kung fu,
Aikido and Tai Chi
and all manner of arts.
and more modern arts,
don’t speak of it.
‘chi power’ is often denigrated,
held in poor repute.
All that means is that people don’t understand it,
and so bad mouth it.
let me delve into the subject briefly.
Before I do,
you should know something.
Most arts won’t generate chi power
for the simple reason
that the body is not structured properly.
To make chi you first have to have resistance,
and the body must be formed
to take advantage of that resistance.
you don’t make muscles,
although muscles occur,
in real martial arts.
You generate awareness,
and awareness becomes chi power.
When you do the Master Instructor course
you learn how to create resistance
by structuring the body correctly,
and that turns into chi power,
but it’s not easy.
It takes time and awareness,
and most people are too interested in beating people up
and so ignore the simple fact of awareness.
When you do the Matrix Karate you learn how to structure an art,
and that speeds everything up.
No missing pieces in your path,
nothing out of place or not making sense.
that all said,
let’s talk about the two main types
of internal power in the martial arts.
There are hard arts,
karate and kung fu and such.
Then there are soft arts,
such as Aikido and Tai Chi.
Karate is a matter of analyzing the body
so that it provides certain paths of resistance,
and then using as little force as possible
on these paths.
Why as little force as possible?
Because if you use force you build muscles.
If you don’t use force,
then you start to use energy.
But the paths of resistance MUST be correct
for the generation of energy to occur.
If you turn your feet wrong you lose resistance.
If your hips aren’t aligned you lose resistance.
If your shoulders overthrow you lose resistance,
and so on and so on.
This is why the old guys who teach hard chi
obsess on such things as the wrist not being turned properly.
Even if you knock the other guy out…bad form.
here is an interesting phenomena.
Most karate teaches explosive power.
It’s all in your ability to explode.
If your form is correct
you might make the transition
and start to generate chi power.
Most styles of karate,
do not have proper form.
they have been made into boxing,
or the instructors haven’t understood what they are doing
and the art has become tweaked and incorrect.
the proper way to teach hard chi
is as follows.
Push with the foot,
feel the turn of the leg,
feel the turn of the hip,
feel the power go up the body,
feel the corkscrew of the arm
snap the fist.
This is described in many places,
but the directions are poor,
or they leave things out.
The instructor doesn’t teach the student
to stop tightening the whole body
and to tighten only the wrist.
Or breathing is neglected.
Or the purpose of stances is not adhered to.
(sink the weight into the ground to create a motor).
But if you relax, breath correctly,
feel weight and sensation course up through the body
through exact configuration
(spiral, unfold, pulse, etc.)
then you don’t get chi power.
tell the truth,
I had chi power from my study of karate.
I had a teacher who taught a good art,
and I obsessed on figuring out the best way to form the body.
But I didn’t understand it,
and wasn’t able to teach it effectively
until after I had done Tai Chi.
Tai Chi gave me the ‘emptiness’ that I needed
to fulfill the ‘empty’ in ‘empty hands.’
having mentioned Tai Chi,
let’s talk about the chi power you get
from such arts as Tai Chi or Aikido.
Karate is an explosion.
A ball of boom!
Aikido and Tai Chi…
they rely on getting ahead of the attacker
just enough to unbalance them.
here is the secret.
When you move with somebody,
in harmony with them,
you tap into more power.
It is the simple fact of two motors
working in tandem.
More energy is created.
And, harmony has more inherent energy
than the fact of exploding.
Which is not to say karate or kung fu
don’t have harmony.
But it is constantly being upset by the need for power.
If a person can stop lusting for power,
learn to relax while punching,
Never as much as in Tai Chi or Aikido,
So these are the two types of internal power
you get from the classical martial arts,
arts that haven’t been corrupted by such things as politics,
MMA, boxing, the need to pay rent, and so on.
But there are more types of internal energy.
But the correct path would be to develop
one, or both, of the types of energy I describe here,
then let other energies develop.
And they will develop.
Every person is different,
so it may be difficult to predict
what kind of energy and ability you will develop,
and it may not be what you were expecting.
But whatever you get,
it will be in keeping with your personality
and your personal evolution of spirit.
If you want what I am describing here,
Started matrixing back in the 80s.
Been a long time.
Formalized it around 2007.
Taught a lot of people,
but here’s the thing…
matrixing is VERY subtle.
You do the first courses,
maybe you get a blast of realization,
especially if you’ve spent some time in the arts,
have a good database that needs to be organized.
Then the real work starts.
and the seeds gestate within.
The initial blast of logic fades a bit,
but it keeps working.
Sometimes you don’t realize it
but you are looking at the world differently.
Life becomes smoother.
things other than the arts make sense,
are made logical by the matrixing going on inside you.
When you go to school
you are told to shut up and learn.
It’s all behavior modification.
Teachers can’t control the classes
unless they can control the masses.
So shut up and do your work.
Doesn’t matter that the work isn’t logical,
doesn’t have much to do with life.
Shut up and do your work.
They even go after you after school.
Do your homework.
Get trained (modified)
so you can be a cog in a factory.
And here’s the thing…
there isn’t much real learning.
When was the battle of Bull Run.
Memorize that algebraic function.
Even though you will never use it in life.
when a lot of people graduate
they are in one of two modes…
a robot ready to man a desk somewhere…
and learning sucks.
school teaches you that learning can be boring,
meaningless and stupid.
So people come out of school thinking that learning sucks.
And I’d probably still think that learning sucks,
if it wasn’’ for martial arts…
and then matrixing.
There are things in school,
underneath all the drivel,
that do mean something.
Learning how to write,
what all that grammar stuff is,
But they don’t spend a lot of time on that.
Better to modify your behavior.
Underneath that algebra,
is a whole method of learning and analysis
and critical thinking…
but they slide over that quick,
too hard to explain.
And speaking of critical thinking…
schools don’t go anywhere near that.
Kids might start thinking for themselves,
and then where would the behavior modifiers be?
I started learning when it came to the martial arts.
I wanted to understand it.
I wanted to figure it out.
And I started thinking.
I started analyzing it,
being critical in my thought concerning it.
I started doing things that school never prepared me for,
and never wanted me to do.
A quick way to line up all the data,
to make sense of it
and apply it.
And the carefully arranged rigidity of my mind
started to shatter.
it doesn’t work that way for everybody.
I was lucky,
had a couple of good schools,
an instructor who didn’t say much,
but could do a lot,
but who wanted us to figure it out for ourselves.
I remember once,
when a couple of the students went to Bob (my instructor).
They showed him two techniques
and asked him which was better.
‘I don’t know.’
But it was obvious he knew!
But it was also obvious he wanted to think for ourselves,
to make up our own minds.
To look at the techniques,
try them out,
mix them up,
That is something that almost no teacher,
in todays schools,
martial arts or otherwise,
wants you to do.
No critical thinking for you…
you have to stay a bozo.
I’ve ranted enough,
and it’s up to you.
Be a carefully crafted
‘do what I say’ person,
or start looking.
look for understanding,
here’s the real deal…
start having some fun.
when you finally figure out what I’m saying
you’ll understand something that teachers may talk about
but don’t know how to make happen…
Bruce Lee talks about being formless.
Zen teaches us to be formless.
This idea of being formless permeates the martial arts,
but what the heck is it, really?
To be formless is to be in the moment,
actually moving in concert with an attack,
and not in response to an attack.
It means you don’t react,
you don’t move in specific ways,
but rather in unspecific manner,
adapting to the motion of your opponent,
and not moving in specific manners
your training has dictated.
Here’s the problem,
there are total idiots out there
who hear about being formless,
and think that because they don’t study anything,
and especially a classical art,
they are formless.
they are idiots,
trying to make their lack of learning
more than it is.
here we go,
here is what it means in ways you can understand
and even adapt to your work out.
To be formless is to be like water,
pour it into a glass and it assumes the shape of a glass.
Pour it into a bowl,
and it assumes the shape of the bowl.
So it doesn’t mean you have the no shape
of somebody who knows nothing,
it means you are smart enough
to shape yourself to the attack.
Somebody punches and you block?
That’s a response form Karate.
Somebody locks you go with the lock
and figure your way out of it?
That’s a response form Jujitsu.
And freestyle is just reacting,
it is fighting,
no pouring yourself into a shape
that fits the attack.
Let’s say somebody pushes you.
How do you react?
Do you brace, then attack?
Do you grab and throw?
Those are specific responses
created by studying specific arts.
If you were formless
you would adapt to the push,
shape your body around it,
and that might entail blocking or grappling…
or unbalancing or shifting or…or…
but it would be unique to the situation…
WITH NO LOSS OF AWARENESS.
you would have more awareness,
because that is the result of the martial arts training…
if done properly.
If you do not study a martial art
you are certainly formless,
and a victim to the forces of the universe.
If you do study a martial art,
and then another one and another one,
you eventually become formless…
and the universe is victim to your desires.
So these fellows who study something and say,
‘I stopped studying so I could break out of that art
and become formless,’
are total and utter idiots.
They have exchanged their inabilities
for the right to sound stupid.
The BEST way to be formless
is to study an art,
maybe karate or kenpo or something,
then another art,
maybe Aikido or tai Chi or something,
and then another art…
and so on.
Eventually you learn ALL the options
for forcing or flowing an attack,
Then you have choice,
actual AWARE choice,
within the structure of the fight.
And that would be formless.
I put Tai Chi here because most people study hard arts,
or arts requiring great effort,
and the best way to achieve formlessness
is to study an art that take little effort,
and which makes you think
and figure things out.
Make sure you check out the video halfway down the page.
Register Your Hands and Feet if You Know Martial Arts!
This is one of those great myths that have followed the martial arts
ever since they began.
When I was starting out as a white belt,
a newbie in 1967,
I heard you had to register
your hands and feet with the police
as deadly weapons.
Did that sell me on how deadly I was going to be!
I would walk the streets,
impervious to harm,
beating up anybody who looked at me.
if i had to register with the police,
I was going to be one deadly mofo!
I believe it was the pages of Black Belt magazine,
there was an ad
for registering your hands and feet!
I was going to be SUPER deadly!
fifty years later,
I just heard this statement again.
So here’s the truth.
You don’t have to register your hands and feet,
if you study the martial arts
and get arrested for fighting,
you could be charged with
assault with a deadly weapon.
But don’t think this is bad,
You are going to be such a deadly mofo!
if I was ever in a fight
and had to use martial arts,
and hurt somebody,
I would probably leave the scene of the crime
(fearing for my safety)
then consider carefully
whether I should notify the police,
or tell anybody,
and endure all the trouble that might cause.
Here’s my favorite course,
the one I would be thinking about in a fight,
and is incredibly fun to do…
I was able to matrix now everything I do in martial arts, even managed to start to matrix a complete escrima system out of the basics of blinding steel. You were right, it is a totally different understanding of matrixing, once you master/understand matrix karate. The matrix blocks gave me a lot better insight into wing chun as well, mainly from the mini matrix. That was one heck of a revelation. I hit 3 flies in one go. I understand karate, wing chun and escrima now a lot better and was able to extract that out of the material. thank you very much. I really enjoy the way to the goal now.
“What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.”
– Bruce Lee
Gichin Funakoshi changed the name of karate.
It was naha te, which means ‘China Hand.’
He changed it to Karate, which means ‘empty hand.’
There have been all sorts of interpretations
regarding the ‘empty’ in Karate,
and why Gichin did this.
There have also been a lot of interest
in the significance of the word ‘empty’
for the whole martial arts.
I think it is Kenpo that says something to the effect
that no matter if you have a weapon,
I come to you with empty hands.
This is not born out,
because Kenpo, and karate,
and other martial arts
have a lot of weapons.
So what does the word ‘empty’ mean.
Take a look at a sentence from The Tao.
‘Do nothing until nothing is left undone.’
This weird statement of redundancy
and a sort of a ‘double negative’ concept
gives hint to the true meaning.
But to understand the true meaning
one has to study both the hard and the soft.
Study just the hard and you are only studying one half the art.
Study just the soft and you are only studying one half the art.
You have to study both,
then put them together,
then think a lot to figure out the significance
of the word,
of the concept,
you empty the space in front of the punch
so that the person falls into the empty.
That’s easy to understand.
Defines a concept of harmony.
though it is sometimes harder than stuff to make work.
But that is the soft side of empty.
Works for Aikido,
and other arts, and techniques, of that ilk.
and understanding that kind of empty
leads to a lot of hard to explain abilities.
The empty in the hard side of the art is harder to explain.
First you learn focus.
Your whole body becomes rigid with power
but just for a moment.
Before and after…the body is empty.
If the instruction is good,
or the student is unusually smart,
he figures out that he need not make the whole body rigid.
He makes just the fist rigid,
the rest of the body is empty.
I should add at this point,
the mind learns to become empty to make this step.
It is hard to empty the mind,
to focus on one thing (an opponent)
to the exclusion of all else.
But that is what is needed.
if the student happens to be blessed,
he figures out that he need not even make the fist empty.
He can just empty his fist
and stick the sticks of his bones
through the watermelon body of his opponent.
You find out all about this,
and all the necessary drills to make it happen,
in The Punch.
to reach this level you have to understand
a few rather incredible things.
the body is nothing but space…empty.
the universe is backwards.
But I will leave that for another time.
The truth is that,
unless a person has figured out how to make an ‘empty’ punch,
this stuff tends to be very scary.
the subject of ‘empty’
is crucial to the martial arts,
and really needs to be understood
if one is going to get past the pain of bashing,
and into the true sublime nature of the martial arts.
I’ve ordered several courses from you, but didn’t feel like it was time to write in until now. When I first got Matrixing Chi, it didn’t really make sense to me. Then I got The Punch and things started to click. The two flowed together and complimented each other incredibly well. I began to feel energy inside me, and my punches were beginning to pack a bit more power. But it wasn’t until I ordered The Master Instructor Course that things really changed. I began to notice (and fix) mistakes I hadn’t seen before. The most noticeable was the back stance. After correcting it, my punches have become much heavier as I’m able to more efficiently channel energy up my leg, through my arm, and out my fist. ~ Mylan B
“The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.”
– Bruce Lee