Monday, July 30, 2012

FMK: Zen Fitness - Self-Defense - Zen Martial Arts


Through my training in the Martial Arts, I have learned to see things as a whole. But now that I am teaching professionally, I have been forced to categorize & label in order to help others gain a deeper understanding.  Now I teach Zen Fitness, Self-Defense, & what I call Zen Martial Arts.  Zen Martial Arts incorporates the balanced development of the Body, Mind, & Spirit.  Zen Martial Arts incorporates total body fitness development, survival self-defense training, & spiritual development.  A majority of the public holds no interest in self-defense training; they hold more interest in fitness progression. 

I have noticed from the public, most people are interested in getting fit, the next is self-defense survival skills & the least is spiritual development.  Knowing this, I have decided to focus a majority of my energies on the promotion of Zen Fitness.  Through being introduced to Fitness training, people may begin to develop an understanding of Zen, if it ends there, it ends there, much has been accomplished.  A selected few find passion in the training of combative techniques, these individuals will be practicing Self-Defense, those who practice Self-Defense may begin to develop an understanding of Zen, if that occurs, then it becomes Zen Martial Arts. 

I have set up different paths for people to gradually enter into Zen Martial Arts.  A majority of the public will begin training in Zen Fitness or Self-Defense before partaking in Zen Martial Arts.  A selected few will immediately enter into Zen Martial Arts. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Thoughts On Sparring

I sat down the other day to make this video, regarding some of my thoughts on sparring in relation to the whole of martial arts. However, I hesitated to post it, because although it is in part a response to Sifu's recent video "Just Keep Sparring And You'll Figure It Out," I do not want it to be perceived as contradictory to that teaching. In my experience, as Sifu attests, sparring is the unparalleled tool for fairly rapid development of readily applicable combat skills. On the other hand, beyond my personal experience (i.e. outside of something I can attest to having successfully embodied myself), I have witnessed combat skills in action that are superior to what is normally gained through even extensive sparring, and this involves a talented utilization of some of the more complex and seemingly less-efficient techniques, specifically those nested in traditional forms and katas. There is a narrated example of this in my video. 

In addition, it is my experience that there are far more benefits to martial arts practice/training than preparation for combat. For instance, I don't know that my wife would be alive right now, were it not for the unique, full-body, unassisted, physical-therapeutic aspects of practicing simple martial arts techniques. You saw her in a couple of my earlier videos... Can you imagine that she spent nearly two years in a wheelchair, absolutely unable to stand up or even close her hands, because of a debilitating rheumatoid condition? Karate has played a big part in her battle against this auto-immune disorder, drastically increasing the results she was getting from modern medicine.

Even once you learn to fight fairly well, I would not recommend moving on to something else, and leaving martial arts behind. I did that myself, for at least eight years, and look now... I'm right back, trying to regain the conditioning, flexibility, and rhythm I never should have let myself lose. There is a certain type of whole-body connectedness that is developed through martial arts practice in a manner that, at least to my knowledge, cannot be gained through just any athletic practice.

With Sifu's permission, I'm posting my thoughts this evening:


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Todai Jia: CLF form progress


I can tell you have been working hard on this form, you have improved a lot, which is great.  I like your graceful movements with the hands, your legs are getting stronger, keep working it, aim to get lower on all stances & minimize all shaking.  When you are in the arrow stance, get the hand that is coming forward to be a vertical knifehand & do not overextend your elbow, keep your elbow bent so that the knifehand remains vertical, watch the instruction video over again & pay attention to what I state about the front hand, also look forward to the front hand.  Keep up the good work, it is looking much better, I can tell you are getting more fit, which is exactly what this form is designed to do.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pedagogy of the Oppressed


Pedagogy of the oppressed

In this book, the Brazilian author Paulo Freire depicts a critical understanding of education. Being a teacher myself, I have to say that this book really touched me and gave me the material I needed to consider the primary questions I had to answer.

Key concepts : oppressors and oppressed

In the first chapter, P. Freire describes society in his terms, making a clear distinction between the oppressors and the oppressed. The oppressed are forced to live in a world they didn’t create and in which they do not know the codes. They are voluntarily kept ignorant by the oppressors, who surprisingly, only represent 1% of the population.

Freire gives the remedy to this situation which he calls “concientizacao”. This is the educating process through which the oppressed discover and accept their condition and try to find the way out of it. From the very first pages of the book, it is made clear that without consciousness, there is no possible progress.

This process of liberation is not seen as a gift or a self-achievement though, but as a mutual process. Great importance is given to the synergy effect and how crucial it is to have a “group consciousness” and to take action in order to educate others by an horizontal fraternity (meaning within a same social group, which is in fact, the only fraternity alive).

In chapter 2, he focuses on the system of education, comparing it to the banking system. This analogy is in fact, extremely relevant in so far as there is the will to “fill” what is considered “empty”. This harsh but accurate statement led him to say “education ss suffering from narration sickness”.

Technically, vibrant and young spirits are kept sitting for 7 hours a day, having to remain quiet and listen to “the person who knows” in a classroom where any breach of discipline no matter how stupid the teacher is, is punished (that’s my personal thought here, for which I have undergone my hierarchy’s anger this year and throughout my scholarship).
Moreover, the ability of the learner is evaluated with figures that are of major importance to society. The higher the mark, the better and the lower the worse.

Paulo Freire endeavors to find concrete solutions, underlining the fact that education is a mutual and world-mediated process, in which everyone as experience to share. The truth is : most of the things we learn at  school will be forgotten within a month and more importantly, that we have rarely used it in our daily lives. On the contrary, the most important things we have learnt are processes like cooperation, unity, organization development and synthesis learnt primarily outside school from experience.

Chapter 3 concentrates on dialogue.
Dialogics is the system that should be used in teaching. It consists in a dialogue form of teaching inherited from the church and has the quality to consider the learner as a reflecting and mature subject. Together, the learner and the teacher will search for a theme to study and define in what practical situations it can be used. The author defines the quality subject (which arouses intellectual curiosity) as “the generative theme”. To debate and learn from these theme, on which everyone has an opinion and knowledge, the investigative style is proposed. An investigation suggests that a group, in which everyone as a precise role will make the best of each member’s ability to find a solution. This kind of work is designed to awaken critical consciousness.

Chapter 4 depicts the actual opposite of the dialogical system
And its terrible development to this day. A synthesis of cultural invasions and conquests to this day is made, which beautifully highlights the strategies of manipulation utilized to keep 99% of the people enslaved and oppressed.

Just like Shi Zu Freddie Lee did, I highly encourage anyone to read this book and learn more about Paulo Freire, who has proven to be one of the freshest thinkers of our contemporary time.


“Young people have the right to express the way they do and it is beautiful. But they have to learn the dominant way of speaking, the cultivated one. In order to fight injustices, one must be able to speak both languages: the one of the oppressors and the one of the oppressed” – Paulo Freire.


Todai Ling

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Experimentation With Cat Stance Movement

About a week or so ago, on the FMK YouTube channel, Sifu Freddie put up a short but interesting clip where he talked about the difference between being a creator/artist versus a collector. This presents a very important challenge, as most 'martial artists' I know (myself included) tend to be students of one or more systems, and are working at learning or mastering the curriculum of these systems... not so much at developing their own thing. But then, where is the 'artistry' in it? I think, for the most part, I have been a collector - of systems knowledge, of techniques, of exercises, of drills, of mannerisms, of forms, etc. And in a way, that's pretty much how you have to start off. Just like a budding musician might learn her instrument by practicing other people's songs. But will she ever come up with her own? That's the difference. And to date, as far as martial arts go, decades in, I still just try to learn other people's songs. So I'm wanting now to accept Freddie's challenge, and start working on some of my own creations, using the various tools and skills I've collected. And I'm sure it'll be difficult, but fun

Last night, I had the intention to set off toward addressing this challenge first thing in the morning. But then dawn rolled around and I found myself lacking some energy. I went out and skipped rope, ran, stretched. Picked me up a bit, but also wore me down some in other ways. Then I was looking at these two trees, very close together, and wondering what I could do with them. You'll see in the beginning of my attached video some inverted push-ups with them. Then I take my body off the ground completely and go horizontal, using a third tree, and play around with some movement between them. Finally (and this part I did not include, because it didn't work out), I attempted the inversion off the ground as well... So much for Amazing Feats Of The Body, Part I

Next, I put on my bag gloves and relaxedly did some work with the trees. This went on for quite a while, and I've just included the opening first third or so of it here. At some point, while doing this, I began playing with the cat stance, moving around a particular tree, and then kind of got a little pattern going. I probably practiced various renditions of this pattern twenty minutes to a half hour, slowly, and never entirely happy with the distancing and feel of everything. I've tacked the last bit of this onto the end of my video, and so concluded my morning experimentation. Nothing entirely amazing or successful, BUT I am attracted to the challenge Sifu Freddie has set, and intend to pursue it at length for all of the future



Todai Ling CLF & TKD Progress



Ling,

Keep up the good work in your training.  It is a good idea to practice & follow the best that you can on demonstration videos of which you feel comfortable with, when you receive the lessons, things will then be refined & then from there, you should have less corrections that need to be made & my feedback at that time will be of the greatest benefit.  If you can get that sparring video up, it will be nice to see, if not, it’s ok.  Most people are reluctant to allow sparring videos to go public, which is understandable.   I’m very glad to see that you are putting your efforts in reading material relevant to the Martial Arts, all I can say is keep up the good work.  Osho is amazing.  We are very glad to have you on board, I feel you have much positivity to contribute to this kwoon.  The meaning of “Ling” fits you very well, it is a good choice.

Sidai Kong Introduction


Thank you for participating in the intro. video to allow Todai's to get to know you a little.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ZEN FITNESS @ THE LAKE


 

Zen Fitness Training! By Sifu Freddie Lee
Every Sunday from 10am-11am
Location: Rogers Park Beach
7700 N. East Lake Terrace
(Rogers Ave @ Lake)

 


Hey 49th Ward.
Help keep the community healthy and happy, by exercising

on our beautiful lakefront at Rogers Beach Park .
We will cover, stretching, cardio, strength training, and meditation.
ITS FREE TO THE PUBLIC! 

You have no excuses to get in shape.

Classes will continue every Sunday though the summer.

*Donations accepted*


facebook_invite 

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Husband With No Rhythm


For this morning’s round at the park, I was joined by my wife, Adrienne. She prepared at home while I was doing my calisthenics stuff (leg day), and then came out to meet me for stretching, basics, drills, and kata practice. All is easy and relaxed when she joins me, nothing too serious, good fun. In the following videos, she scolds me repeatedly for mucking up the rhythm in one of our drills, though I think we’re far enough away from the camera that what we’re saying can’t be entirely overheard (too bad)… 



The second video is a run through some goju kata


Sunday, July 22, 2012



HEY GUYS MY  NAME IN LIGHTS!
MY THOUGHTS:



I'LL GET BETTER IF I DON'T  DIE FROM THE BURN OUTS.




INTRODUCTION TO
ROTOR CUFF INITIATED ARM EXTENDING MOVEMENT
[ANATOMICALLY SPEAKING MEDICAL SCIENCE HAS EMPIRICALLY VALIDATED
OVER AND OVER THAT THIS ARM POSITION IS THE FAR STRONGER AND
DOES NOT  ALTER THE NATURAL POSITION FOR WITHSTANDING GENERATED AND
PLACED UPON IT STRESS-OR TORQUE FORCES:
FROM SHOULDER TO WRISTS.
video

LOOK, READ, AND PREPONDER.............
LOVE YOUR TOOLS MORE THAN THE COMMON CHOICE OF
EXCLUSIVE LEARNING AND CONDITIONED PREFERENCE.
ENLARGED WORDING:
IN THE LEAST WORDS WITH VISUAL ILLUSTRATION……ACCORDING TO EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM THE PERTINENT SCIENCES BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES OF EXCLUSIVE LEARNING AND CONDITIONING, THE BONE STRUCTURE OF THE ARM IS AT IT’S STRONGEST WHEN KEPT AT THE SUPINATION POSITION AND THE WEAKEST AT THE PRONATION. 
ESTABLISHED, CONFIRMED, AND CASE CLOSED.
ANY DEBATE OR PHYSICAL EXPRESSION TO THE CONTRARY WILL EVENTUALLY AND DEPENDING ON UNPRECEDENTED FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO PENDING INJURY…………RESULT. 
THE CHOICE IS YOURS.
AS THE OLD SAYING GOES- THE FOOL SEES DANGER AHEAD AND
DOES NOT AVOID IT

PART 1 NEXT
HERE IT IS: video

2-ANOTHER video

3-MORE      video

_________________
THE SLOW PACED SHADOW BOXING IS IN THE HOPE THAT
YOU CAN SEE THE ROTARY MOTION OF THE SHOULDER MUSCLES AND
THAT THEY DO EXTEND THE ARM MORE ECONOMICALLY THAN THE ACCUSTOMED
MANNER IN WHICH WE ARE FIRST TAUGHT TO DO SO.
LOOK AND NOTICE THROUGH EMPHATIC OBSERVATION.
IT'S ABOUT THE ROTARY MUSCLE'S FUNCTION MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE
YOU MIGHT THINK WHILE WATCHING.

video
THIS FOLLOWING ONE IS ROTOR CUFF PUNCHING MOVEMENT FOLLOWED BY
SHADOW BOXING ARM MOVEMENT PUNCHING:
video

Before the Intellectual food ....earlier I said, I'm going to continue punching until I knock over the free standing bag...it didn't happen......it broke in half....so here I am hitting it after I patched it up to hold together:




video
\____________________________________________/
 INTELLECTUAL FOOD :
Ever notice how effective, cool looking and in control the training looks when performing movement
in contrast to when it is time to fight for your life? their movements suddenly look like crap.
There ought not be any difference whatsoever.
Under pressure while in combat for survival you ought look
the same cool looking and effective as when there is no pressure in practice;
two different animals!

PENDING

















Mistakes Are Opportunities


The theme of my practice today became: Mistakes and accidents are opportunities for learning. This is a well-known principle where I come from. All someone has to say is, ‘Nitsi’pahtsa’pssi’ (I made a mistake), and everyone assumes they will try to learn from it. Of course, when the mistake involves posturing and movement of the body, you have to try to correct it on the spot, if you’re aware of it, and then remember to do it right the next time around. For some learning, you end up making the same mistake many times before the correction sticks. Main thing is to keep that correction in mind, and make the effort to do the movement over and over and over again, trying to improve it each time. This is why it helps when others are able to witness and point out your faults, even the ones you’re aware of… it’s not a thing to begrudge, but another means of motivation

When I arrived at my training grounds this morning, I found that one of the larger trees had lost a huge branch. You’ll see how I try to take advantage of this situation to learn something that could even save my life in the future, i.e. how to predict which tree branches may be in danger of breaking. I then proceed into the cardio part of my workout, starting with some bends-and-thrusts with push-ups, then sit-ups, then aikido-style tumbling.  As usual, I have taped a bunch of stuff today, a little bit of everything that I was playing with. I recognize that even these abridged offerings are long videos, and people might not want to sit through the entirety. That’s why I’m giving this description, so if there’s something particular that interests you, the video can be forwarded to that point

Anyway, after the rolls, I got down to stance and kata practice. I worked some more on the CLF start, but on review I’d say this is not much better than the first time around, a couple days ago. I did integrate a more dynamic cross punch with loose return hand into the horse stance with the CLF. Between rounds of this leg-burner, I also practiced the seipai kata from goju, which is another one I’m just learning. You will see that I attempt to do the kata with an opposite start as well. Whenever I’m training a new kata or form, once I’ve kind of got the basics of it, I make sure to practice it on both sides. If it normally starts with a movement on the left, I will also practice it with the start on the right, and so on through the whole thing. You’d be surprised how hard it is for even very, very experienced people to perform their katas starting in the opposite direction. Me… I see part of the martial arts practice as a pursuit (never entirely achieved) to be able to move your body, in a split second, exactly the way you want it to move. Attempting to learn new kata is always a good reminder of where one stands currently in relation to this pursuit. So… I fumble, and that’s okay. I’ve left in one good stretch of video where you can see me botching it, fixing, repeating, etc. I end this practice with another attempt at the CLF. Next time, I will try to flow through at least two rounds of the stances without break. At the end of my video, I’ve returned home, changed into shorts, and then taken up hitting my backyard makiwara and doing a few exercises with a log (including holding it on my outstretched forearms while in a horse stance, which was not really easy). All good fun though :)


Hey Everyone!

Thanks to watching your Intro videos, I've been motivated to make one too!
It's been great seeing Todai's outside the kwoon just as dedicated to FMK.
I look forward to getting to know everyone, and hope you enjoy my intro video.
 

-Todai Ai


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Friday, July 20, 2012

Initial Philosophy Contribution


Having not expended any of my holiday leave yet this year, I’ve taken a few days off work to do some maintenance around the house. This morning I awoke to fog and mist, which made for a very pleasant shadow-boxing session among the trees at my park. I then came home and took advantage of the cool weather to direct my attention toward our yard and garden. Part of what appeals to me about FMK / Zen Martial Arts is its holistic approach, including the diet along with everything else. Thought I would show you guys my garden and how I am growing healthy, organic food as an aspect of that wider perspective. Also, I figured it might be time to make my first philosophical contribution, and decided I would go right to the heart of the matter that seems to be commanding so much of Shi Zu’s attention – the mainstream propensity toward competition, aggression, and violence