Monday, September 28, 2009

Deleted Scenes…

In their current November/December 2009 issue, the great people at Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine gave us an opportunity to share with everyone a little bit about our butterfly swords – Jeui Wan Lau Yip Seung Dou (追魂柳葉雙刀), or The Spirit Chasing Willow Leaf Swords.

There’s really no other print magazine in publication right now that covers Chinese martial arts in the manner that they do at Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine. With a bimonthly magazine, a comprehensive website and discussion forum, and even a monthly online sweepstakes, it’s the biggest Chinese martial arts promoting platform on this planet. (They’re also the innovators of the “Got Qi” t-shirt.)

Anyway, if this sounds like one big plug for them – it is! The reality is Kung Fu has remained a strong presence in the massive realm of martial arts due to their grassroots efforts and our willingness to be a part of it. Just think of life without Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine and you’ll understand exactly how influential they have been and continue to be.

Getting back to the article, if you enjoy it, send Gene Ching a quick note to let them know. We’ll keep ‘em coming as long as you stay interested – but, you have to let them know.

In the meantime, this series of techniques didn’t quite make the cut in the magazine, but here it is for your viewing pleasure:

Bare Hand Application to Single Broadsword vs. Double Butterfly Swords:
Photo #1: The attacker punches with his right which is countered by the defender’s kam sau (擒手), or latching hand.
Photo #2: The attacker follows up with a left body shot which is redirected by the defender with waan sau (圜手), encircling hands.
Photo 3: As the attacker continues his assault with a right hook, the defender steps into the strike, trapping and placing the attacker into an arm bar with chuk sau (束手), or restraining hands.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Does your Kung Fu Change Over Time?


When you’ve been married to a particular system or style of martial arts for a good part of your training life, it’s natural for this question to come up.

The answer to this issue is one that requires self-reflection: Have you changed over a good part of your life?
Are you the same person you were 5 years ago? Do you do things differently now than when you did them 5 years ago?

As you can see, the answer lies with you, not your Kung Fu.

Even without ever cross-training in another martial art, your Kung Fu changes because you change. Whether it’s your body, your lifestyle, your particular stage in life… change is inevitable. It lets you know that things are no longer the same, and your ability to adapt to these ever-changing, ever-evolving scenarios is what separates the good from the best.

You should stop and ask yourself:
How have I developed?
How have I been influenced by my experiences, not only in martial arts, but in life?
Have I become a better person?

And, it can go either way – you could have gotten better, or you can get worse.

With traditional Kung Fu, we tend to think of change as a bad thing, as if we’ve become disloyal to our sifu or to the style. For many of us who have trained under a “square-minded” or old-old school teacher, this is what we have been conditioned to believe – that if we don’t follow things to the letter, we’ll never get the system. So we slave away at filling our cup of our teacher’s teachings until it overflows, believing that our “stuff” is invincible… until we meet better, stronger, smarter, faster adversaries. Then, what? Do you keep doing things the way that you’ve always done because your teacher told you to, or do you change?

The very basis of Kung Fu is to accomplish something through hard work. But, that hard work needs to have a goal that is relevant to both your needs and the conditions of your time period or it merely becomes wasted effort.

Strive to keep your Kung Fu alive.