Tag Archives: shotokan

Wing Chun Karate is Interesting…

Wing Chun and Karate?

Wing Chun and Karate, seemingly opposites, but not. Actually, I found more similarities between Wing Chun and Karate than almost any other martial arts.

Wing Chun, of course, is the Chinese Martial Art that has soft blocks, which is to say guiding blocks, and hard strikes. It has been around for hundreds of years, and it is quite sophisticated. A person who has actually reached the ‘inner circle’ of this Chinese Martial Art is quite untouchable, can fight blindfolded, has a full range of sixth senses having to do with anticipating attacks before they happen, and so forth.
wing chun gung fu

The main difference here is the direction of the blocks.

Wing Chun blocks tend to come back towards the body.

In Karate blocks tend to go away from the body.

In either art, if you are moving the block sideways, you are doing the block wrong, for there is no body, and therefore no possible body alignment behind the block.

And, yes, whether you are blocking hard or soft there must be body and alignment of structure behind the blocks. You can’t overwhelm the attacker’s strikes (as inKarate) if you don’t have this body and structure, and you can’t effectively guide the attack if you don’t have this body and structure.

Now, that all said, take a look at ‘Wing Chun Kung Fu,’ by James Yimm Lee, and you will find a section on the eight gates and four doors. Is this not perfectly transferable to Karate?

And, once you understand this, and if you are in a real style of Karate, you will understand how the concepts of grounding and deep stances must be used. And, if you are in this style of hung fu, and come across Karate, you may realize ho more effective, especially the early training, would if you deepened the stances and worked on the grounding and alignment.

Thus, these styles of Japanese Martial Art and Chinese Martial Art do have more than surface similarities, and it is even of high benefit to study both systems. You must not try to blend them however, past what I have said here. That would muddle either art, cause confusion, and detract from both Wing Chun and Karate.

If you wish to go further with the concepts outlined in this article on Wing Chun and Karate you should examine Matrixing at MonsterMartialArts.com, a specific course that would apply would be the Master Instructor Course.

Making the Four Decisions of Martial Arts Freestyle!

Winning at Martial Arts Freestyle

To be victorious while using martial arts in a fight it is necessary to make the decision to win the fight. Without that decision, simply, there is no way you are going to become victorious in freestyle, or kumite. Thus, you have to practice making the decision, and then implement a plan so that the decision becomes reality in your martial arts freestyle.

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There are five decisions you must make to back up the decision to win a fight. This combat strategy is found in every fight. This is the strategy you must understand and master if you are going to be able to deliver the original decision.

The first decision, and the most important, is that there is going to be a fight. Interestingly, you don’t have to get in a fight if you refuse to make the decision to be in a fight. Even if the other person has made a decision, unless you agree with his decision, you don’t have to fight.

The second decision involves distances involved in the fight. You should understand , at this point, that a fight is going to collapse in distance. And, you must understand that if you can control this distance, and even change collapsation into expansion at will, you can control and win a fight.

The third decision has to do with which side of the bodies the fight is going to occur on. One out of eight people being left handed, a fight will usually occur with right hand, and the bodies will turn to fit the hands, and the fight will be on that side. If you can control that decision, as to which side the fight will be on, then you are going to win that fight.

The fourth decision is going to be whether you are on the inside or the outside. What this means is that if he punches with a right hand, you must block/push/whatever so that his right hand misses you on the outside, and you see the inside of his wrist. And, if he punches with the right, you must block/push/whatever so that his right hand misses you on the inside, and you see the outside of his wrist.

There are other decisions in a fight, there can be millions of decisions, literally. Do you wish the fight to be conducted at a specific distance, such as foot, or fist, or elbow, or whatever. Or, do you wish to control the decisions so that the fight collapses or expands in distance as you wish, from foot to elbow to knee to throw to fist to foot to whatever, your choice, and so on.

The point, however, is that to control all the other decisions, you must control the first four decisions. If you can understand and create drills to back up these decisions, then you can win any fight. Of course, as I said in the beginning, the first decision, that you are going to win that fight, is the most important.

The Matrix Karate course will enable you to figure out ALL the decisions one has to know how to make in a fight.

How to Create a Motor in the Martial Arts

Here an old post that deserves a new read…

3jQso4

One of the more profound mysteries in the martial arts is the concept of Chi. Chi is a mystical energy that pervades the universe in mysterious ways. And, chi is supposed to be a mystical energy that after a lifetime, you can use to do superhuman things. Unfortunately, proof seems to be sadly lacking for these claims concerning Chi. Maybe there are a few people who can do things, but most people can’t, and just a few exceptions here and there don’t prove the truth of certain theories concerning the subject of Chi. Fortunately, there is a theory that will result in Chi, that is not mystical, and that will work. A motor is two terminals which result in tension. Everything in the universe can be defined as a motor. Every tension in the universe is the result of a motor. An atom has a proton and electron interchanging to create energy. A cell has sodium and potassium interacting to create energy. Everywhere in the universe that you find two terminals opposing, you will find energy, and you will find a motor. And, when you take a martial arts stance with the human body, you have increased your weight, and this causes energy to move between the body and the planet. When you shift the weight from leg to leg, from stance to stance, the weight moves up and down the legs, and this excites the tan tien, a spot two inches below the navel which generates energy for the body. Thus, there is energy, and the body is a motor, and you can call this energy chi. Here’s the problem: everybody concentrates on making the body strong, and so creates only the low level chi required to operate the body. What people should be doing is focusing awareness on the procedure. If you build the awareness it takes to create the energy, you will build the energy that will result in the ‘superhuman’ potential that people look to Chi for. Thus, do your form, build awareness, and concentrate not on the violence of action, not on building the body, but on becoming aware of what you are doing. Feel the energy going down and up your legs, feel the energy building in the tan tien, and feel your connection with the planet. Do this and you will shortly become aware of energy building in your body in a surprising way. Energy that tingles a body part just by thinking of it, energy that warms the palms upon mere thought. Energy that can be channeled throughout your body and into the various body parts, and can even be felt outside your body. Once you have started building energy in this manner, then you can start searching for more spectacular ways to use it.

Why Does It Take So Long to Learn the Martial Arts?

imagineThe bully charges out of the alley and tosses a whole, darned trash can at you! Do you ask him to take that garbage can back because you’re only on your ninth Karate lesson and haven’t reached the deflecting the garbage can lesson? Or do you ask him go away because, here it comes, you forgot to pay your dues at the local dojo?

There is a point to all this silliness, why do the martial arts take so long to learn? You can teach a guy to fly a jet, get in a dogfight and get shot down, spend time in a concentration camp, get released and run for political office, and become a senator, and retire, in the time it takes to learn some systems of the martial arts. I heard of one system that it takes seventeen years to get to Black Belt in!

Some people will make the excuse that you’re learning more than self defense. You’re solving martial mysteries and its all about the lifestyle and you need to invest in your old age, you know? But you’re still lying under that trash can and the guy is pulling out a knife, and no matter how many lessons you’ve taken, you have to do something!

One of the old sayings that I heard, long time ago, is garbage in, garbage out. The sad fact of the matter is that if something is hard to put into your head, then it might not be easily accessed and used. Maybe it would be appropriate to find an art that is as easily absorbed as track, or boxing.

It is true that the Martial Arts are not a sport, they are an art, but they can still be learned easily and quickly. They just have to be taught not by one mystical technique after another, but rather by understanding concepts behind them. Those endless techniques that you memorize, to be truthful, are random data, and, often as not, they don’t really relate to one another.

That is a problem, to be sure, even if you learn a thousand techniques, you might not have enough data to be able to make sense out of the whole thing until you reach one thousand and one. And, let’s face it, a hundred years is to long to become competent. And then go to heaven.

The solution is that the martial arts must be taught on a conceptual basis. Instead of having a fellow memorize endless strings of tricks, have him learn the rather simple principles behind those tricks. Have him learn conceptually and he’s suddenly going to be able to figure out those thousand techniques without any need for endless memorization.

Give him an acorn and throw in the watering pot, that’s what I believe, and then watch the oak shoot upwards. Most martial artists, and I don’t mean to be mean in this observation, are lost in the limbs of the trees. The real way to teach, however, is to show the guy the principles, then have use those principles, and, faster than a rabbit on steroids, you’ve got yourself a fast and competent martial artist.

How to Create a Motor in the Martial Arts

3jQso4One of the more profound mysteries in the martial arts is the concept of Chi. Chi is a mystical energy that pervades the universe in mysterious ways. And, chi is supposed to be a mystical energy that after a lifetime, you can use to do superhuman things. Unfortunately, proof seems to be sadly lacking for these claims concerning Chi. Maybe there are a few people who can do things, but most people can’t, and just a few exceptions here and there don’t prove the truth of certain theories concerning the subject of Chi. Fortunately, there is a theory that will result in Chi, that is not mystical, and that will work. A motor is two terminals which result in tension. Everything in the universe can be defined as a motor. Every tension in the universe is the result of a motor. An atom has a proton and electron interchanging to create energy. A cell has sodium and potassium interacting to create energy. Everywhere in the universe that you find two terminals opposing, you will find energy, and you will find a motor. And, when you take a martial arts stance with the human body, you have increased your weight, and this causes energy to move between the body and the planet. When you shift the weight from leg to leg, from stance to stance, the weight moves up and down the legs, and this excites the tan tien, a spot two inches below the navel which generates energy for the body. Thus, there is energy, and the body is a motor, and you can call this energy chi. Here’s the problem: everybody concentrates on making the body strong, and so creates only the low level chi required to operate the body. What people should be doing is focusing awareness on the procedure. If you build the awareness it takes to create the energy, you will build the energy that will result in the ‘superhuman’ potential that people look to Chi for. Thus, do your form, build awareness, and concentrate not on the violence of action, not on building the body, but on becoming aware of what you are doing. Feel the energy going down and up your legs, feel the energy building in the tan tien, and feel your connection with the planet. Do this and you will shortly become aware of energy building in your body in a surprising way. Energy that tingles a body part just by thinking of it, energy that warms the palms upon mere thought. Energy that can be channeled throughout your body and into the various body parts, and can even be felt outside your body. Once you have started building energy in this manner, then you can start searching for more spectacular ways to use it.

Whatever Happened to Dojo Kun?

Politeness in the Dojo…What Happened?

I remember the first time I took a Karate class, I THOUGHT I knew what I was in for, I had watched many martial arts movies.

That first class surprised me in so many ways.

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“Kiostske!” and everyone ran to position, I was signaled to go to the last spot and we all faced the front of the dojo (shomen).

“Seiza! kneel at attention right leg first, then left, knees 1 fist apart” Sensei started.

“Me wo tojite! Close your eyes, and meditate, lips slightly open, jaw relaxed, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.   Let the worries of the outside pass away.  Clear your mind, this is training time.”

I sat there quietly wondering what this was all about, I had some other thoughts that were arrogant and rude, I must say that in hind sight my association with this particular sensei may have been the best thing to ever happen to me, but that is another story.

At this point Sensei said “me wo akete, open your eyes” and after a brief pause yelled “dojo-kun!”

The most senior student in class loudly proclaimed the single word “titles”, and everyone responded the next line

“Manners”

“Be humble respectful and courteous above all!”

“Peace”

“Observe the way of peace and teamwork!”

“Drive”

“Practice with all the drive you have, and strive for more than you think you have”

“Courage”

“Have true courage in all facets of life”

“Self-improvement”

“Strive for individual achievement for the benefit of others”

There was more to the beginning ceremony, but at this point I was very confused.

I found out later that it is the morals of the school, repeated before and after class to drill it in to our heads.  Morals is probably a bad translation, but “rules” doesn’t seem to fit either.

The more I thought about it, the more sense the opening ceremony and dojo-jun made.  After all it is karate-do, not karate-jitsu (link to the do vs jitsu article).

In the years since then I am amazed that more styles don’t include dojo-kun, and more mind-settling ceremonies.  As an example, a few years later, I switched to Kenpo Karate and was struck by the blatant rudeness of the instructor.  Gone was Dojo-kun, gone was the humbleness of the students, gone was the friendly atmosphere, gone was the Japanese, even referring to Sensei as such, it was just “Sir”.

The “Kenpo Creed”, written by Mr. Ed Parker Jr., sounds more like a half-hearted apology for having to beat people up, than it does a set of rules to live by.

I come to you with only Karate; “empty hands.” I have no weapons, but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles or my honor.  Should it be a matter of life or death, right or wrong, then here are my weapons, Karate; “empty hands.”

This has always rubbed me the wrong way, of course, the fact that he dropped “do” and “jitsu” from his arts name may indicate something.  His choice of “empty hand” in the creed is also interesting, since the character on the patch is the homonym for empty, but it means “Tang Dynasty China”, so it literally means “Chinese hand” not “empty hand”, but that is another story.

Kenpo isn’t the only style to eliminate Dojo-kun, and of the schools I have studied in, those that eliminate Dojo-kun, are always less friendly, they are less patient, ruder, and generally not as well behaved.

The “Tao Te Ching” says in poem 38

Failing Tao, man resorts to Virtue.
Failing Virtue, man resorts to humanity.
Failing humanity, man resorts to morality.
Failing morality, man resorts to ceremony.
Now, ceremony is the merest husk of faith and loyalty;
It is the beginning of all confusion and disorder.

I have to think that we have drifted so far, that ceremony is our first step to get back on the road.  Dojo-kun shouldn’t be necessary; we should all be wonderful people without having to repeat it.  I feel strongly though that dojo-kun should continue to be part of every school, especially those teaching children, because we can all use the reminder to be better people.

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Extreme Martial Arts Workout!

The Boulder in Your Backyard

Good weekend to you!
You know what I’m going to say…
work out!
It’s the best way
to make yourself better.

Oinkly donkey,
let’s talk about hard core.
One of my favorite stories is Mas Oyama.
Mas was a Korean
who went to Japan after WW2.
He wanted to study Karate,
and the Japanese,
(Shotokan, I believe)
wouldn’t let him.
Word is…
they actually peed on him.
Well,
this didn’t sit well with Mas,
so he went up into the mountains,
spent a year in seclusion.
Training.
Doing his forms.
Practicing breaking techniques
on boulders.
Yes.
Take a frozen boulder,
chop with the hand,
and it breaks.
Anybody up for that?

So,
a year passes,
and Mas figures
he hasn’t been in the mountains long enough.
Hasn’t run barefoot through the snow long enough.
So…
he spends another year
in the freezing snow,
doing his forms,
breaking boulders with a chop.
Grrr.

Then he comes down,
goes back to the Japanese
and…
somebody gimme a towel…
there seems to be blood on the floor!

Mopped up those suckers.

Now,
I read this story,
several places,
and it was in a movie,
and there seems to be enough truth to it.

What is interesting
is that instructor knew Mas.

My instructor was a skinny, little guy.
But he studied with Don Buck,
and Don was Mas Oyama’s favorite American.
so Bob had to have met and known
this Karate legend.
Interesting.

But,
what I am more interested in
is the work outs Mas must have done.

I live on a mountain,
and I have to chop wood or I freeze.
I have to plant crops,
or food gets scarce.
There work to be done around here.
Sometimes it seems like
there isn’t much time for a work out.

but there is.
There is always time.
You just decide what you want to do
and then you make your life work.
Sometimes it’s tough.
Life says you got to do something else.
But,
you don’t.

Want to hear a neutronic truth?

If you don’t do,
EGG ZACKLY
what you want to do,
then you are wasting your life.

Yes,
you have to live,
you have to work,
you have to contribute
to the society around you.
BUT,
you still have a higher duty to yourself.

So…
if you want to work out,
and life starts getting in the way,
you just bully life
into doing what you want.

I can’t tell you how important this is.

Sometimes it is tough,
sometimes it is easy,
but…
you still have to make life do what you want it to.

Heck,
it is YOUR life.
Not some politician’s,
not your daddy’s,
not your child’s,
not your boss’s,
not anybody but yours.

So,
here comes the question…
do you have a boulder in your backyard?
No,
you don’t have to live in the mountains.
Heck,
Mas had to be crazy, right?
Anybody who feels he has to go live in the wilderness
to be a better person…
that guy has to be nuts.
Right?
Grin.

BUT…
do you have a boulder in your backyard?
It’s a simple thing.
Or a stack of bricks?
Or a 100 foot tall redwood for a maki wara?
Or some other way to practice your basics
every single day.

You see,
when you get down and dirty,
when you reach the state of mind
that requires breaking snow covered boulders
in the high, high mountains,
you realize something…
it is not that fancy form that is so important,
it is not that complex move
that you wouldn’t have time to do in a fight.
It is your basics.
It is breathing into your movement,
sinking your weight
and aligning,
figuring out how to let go
so that energy comes out of you
with no effort.

So,
do you have a boulder in your backyard?

Have a great work out!

Al

Here’s the link for…THE PUNCH

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

That’ll help you make little rocks out of big rocks.

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