Monday, October 29, 2012

A Weekend At 7 Below

Ah yes... the start of winter. So I hear the temperatures are still fairly comfortable in Chicago? Haha! I considered it 'warm' here today when, during the afternoon, while my wife and I were walking at our pond and encountering tundra swans, the thermometer rose to zero. Some day I envision an FMK fieldtrip to Alberta for a winter training seminar, where you know you're REALLY working out hard if you can get by with a mere tank-top! Lol

I'm enjoying all the videos from the kwoon, and the very welcomed Ken Zen.  I wasn't planning to post again this weekend, but was informed that my horse-stance hold was setting the initial Kwoon Record at 1min 14sec...

I expect it to be broken within a day or two, because it's only a first attempt. But this is one of the records I want to work on building up, because I've seen what the rooting and leg-strength from horse stance practice can equate to in a real-life fighting scenario. Plus, you know, it's good for old men. I also moved my heavy bag this weekend from the basement to the open air, and passed about forty minutes yesterday morning practicing CLF power at 7 degrees below zero, and loving it...

The little tool I bought to hang the heavy bag from is produced by Everlast, and is called the Elite Universal Heavy Bag Hanger. It costs about $15 in Canada, probably less down south, and is well worth the small investment...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Training In Hoth

Finally got that first blizzard of the year, and since the college closed up for the day in response, I had an opportunity to get outside and play. To this effect, I started off my morning with CLF form practice at the local park, after feeding the birds...

Then for pretty much the rest of the day, I went out on a 20 km round in the coulees. For the first 10 km, I ran and stopped here and there to train in other ways...

During the return journey, I hiked and used the occasion to set out a few of my thoughts regarding training in nature. This is partly in response to Todai Ling's recent 'Training In The Forest' post, but also it just needed to be done, because I'm beginning to realize how the addition of physical training to my normal outdoors routine makes sense for me at this particular point in my spiritual development...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Kwoon Records & Competition

With the new creation of "Kwoon Records," I wish to share with you my thoughts.  I do not wish to bring unhealthy competition or negative energy into this kwoon in anyway.  Kwoon Records is simply a more formalized and structured way for me to gauge my individual progress in my physical development.  It is a fun way of self-development that is not meant to be competitive. 

For some it may be a discouragement, for some it may be a demotivation, for others it can encourage them to reach high levels of development.  Being a Todai of FMK, you have the freedom to choose which option is best for your individual development.  You can choose to participate in the Kwoon Records, you can choose not to, or you can develop your own training journal to mark your own individual progress on the exercises of which you aim to develop yourself in. 

Those who wish to participate simply have to notify me that they would like to be tested for a certain exercise, if they are able to obtain a higher standard in the exercise, then they will be the record holder based on my evaluation.  Todai's online simply have to submit their videos of the exercises that they wish to be tested in.  Kwoon records is meant to be a fun healthy way of motivation to reach high levels of development.  It is not meant to encourage pride, ego, jealousy, envy, and unhealthy competition.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Training in the forest

First I’d like to salute all the FMK Todais and congratulate Shi Zu and his wife for their newborn ! I wish Ken Zen Lee happiness and luck in his life !

Closeness with nature
Today was a rest day, and on this Sunday morning, as very often in the last few weeks, I decided to head to the woods. The place where I live is surrounded by a forest, not very far from a very large natural domain. My mother began working for this organization which specializes in the environment and preservation of the forest, a job that I highly encouraged her to take. As a reward, she was able to give me various maps that can be used for bike rides or hiking.
A balanced way to train
Encouraged by FMK and especially Ryan videos, I decided to give a shot to those long walks in nature, with which I was already familiar, having spent countless hours walking with my grandfather on Brittany’s coast. Everytime I go to the woods, I discover new ways and natural facilities to challenge my body! And I have to say that having joined a gym recently, these escapades in the forest are a great way to find a balance. It was also the occasion to read the celebrated book by Henry David Thoreau : “Walden or life in the woods”. His work “civil disobedience” is a masterpiece too.

First, I tried to take videos of the tracks that I use to reach my training spots, which are full of rivers, natural obstacles and beautiful landscapes. But the camera couldn’t catch one per cent of the feelings you can get when you’re here, plus It is shaking a lot.

Then, a little warm up after I arrived to the first specific place where I train.

Then natural use of the surrounding elements to develop power, grip… from rocks to logs, I find new things every time! It was also the occasion to use the nunchakus and practice a little bit of the CLF form. You can also hear gun shots as it was a hunting day.

And finally a short video on the way back.

Establishing a close bound with nature
Having started to go for long, consistent walks in the woods, I can only highlight the benefits of such experience, whether alone or with our close friends or family. The only regret I have is to meet so few people out there, except for men hunting. I have to say that I am still divided on the subject, even though I understand the ecological aspect of it (limiting the number of animals in the forest) and even though we share the love for nature, I suppose I would not enjoy it so much if I had to kill animals. To develop, I would say that long walks remind us that we are part of nature, which makes us humble again. To me, using this atmosphere to kill animals makes you lose this benefit.
Even though the videos don’t have the quality they deserved, I hope that I could give you an insight of my present workouts and progress towards a greater freedom.

Todai Ling

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Seasonal Effects On Food And Training

Well… I’ve had a curious week, with a lot of flip-flops energy-wise. Some days, I’m training my heart out. Other days, I’ll just sit around. I think it’s the shift in the season, actually. What’s bizarre is that the warmer days tend to be my lazy ones. Yesterday was a comfortable eleven degrees above, and I pretty much passed the day watching movies. This morning was five degrees below zero with light snow, and yet I was excited to get out and run…

One of the sessions I did this week was an impromptu forty minutes or so in the basement, just to see if I would enjoy practicing down there if for some reason I didn’t want to be outside. It was good, but definitely not the same…

I prefer the outdoors, for sure. But the days are going to get pretty short up here real soon, and sometimes I won’t have access to daylight during the time I have to train, so there may be more of this indoor work on those kinds of occasions. Also, during my basement session, I started breaking in the used heavy bag I bought. Unfortunately, every time I hit it, my birds have a fit upstairs. It’s just not going to work in here. I’m going to have to find a different place to train with it

Of course, while I continue my physical practice, I’m giving equal if not more commitment to my engagements with nature, which I see as a large part of my spiritual training, including the continued incorporation of natural foods in my diet. The other day, I came across a recently roadkilled deer on my way to work, still warm and bleeding. I opened it up and took a fair share of meat – the back loins, and some of the larger muscles around the hips. This practice also helps the birds, coyotes, and others clean up the carcasses quicker, because I’ve opened it up for them. And of course it gives me and my wife plenty to eat. So we’ve been having venison stir fry, cooked with seasonal veggies like apples and corn (pictured above). In addition to the venison, I’ve been drinking about a litre per day of unfiltered water collected from the mountain streams, and am looking forward to melting snow for my drinking water soon. We’re also in the midst of the last real fruit and vegetable harvests, so this week I brought my students to dig a root we call niistsikapa’s, which is a kind of wild carrot, and I made my first bulberry run for the year…

I’ll be getting my students involved in gathering much more of these berries this week, if the weather allows us enough access to the good picking sites. But I’m expecting a decent snow this week, our first big one of the year, which is always sticky and wet, dangerous, and best not to be driving around in

Thursday, October 18, 2012


In America, and unlike prior to present conditions, No One is training under conditions of warring and feudal states or roaming bands of murderous thieves and bandits....we live in a country where such things have been reduced to their most minimal and lawful regulation...this meaning that we have a police force and a society that however incompetently done, we do their best to be lawful citizens.
All such martial arts training are passed on according to the Zeitgeist of our time and location in America; so the training under threat of loss of life at any turn or corner is unknown to many not in war zones.
Thus it has the form it has Today.
So What Is Going On Now?
We injure each other with the same mindset we had before training in martial arts by simply giving it the peer support and group association we lacked before.
Any Improvement?
Look at the results glamorized today;
Yes, improvement all the worse direction and application in the most unwise way.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kwoon Records

I have created a new page under "Todai's" labeled "Kwoon Records."
This will be a list of various exercises indicating whom within the kwoon has achieved the highest overall standards for each exercise.  The list is comprised of as much of a balance as I could think of.  I see it as a healthy way to challenge ourselves to reach high levels on the physical aspect of this art that does not involve hurting one another.  We shall aim to develop our whole body to its highest potential in a healthy and safe manner. 

Online Todai's whom are able to break a certain record, submit your video for review. 
These are the records so far.  As I come up with more exercises, they will be added to the list.  If you have any exercise sugguestions, let me know.  Thank you.
Kwoon Records

  1. Max Bench Press – 225 lbs 9 Reps (Sifu Lee)
  2. Bench Press your weight – 30 Reps (Sifu Lee)
  3. Max Squat – 185 lbs 20 Reps (Sifu Lee)
  4. Squat your weight in 1 min.-
  5. Pull ups or Chin ups – 45 Reps (Sifu Lee)
  6. Dips – 52 Reps (Sifu Lee)
  7. Rack Pushups – 7 Reps (Sifu Lee)
  8. Vertical Jump – 27 inches (Sidai Ping)
  9. Middle Split – Todai Ai
  10. Front Split – Todai Kiew
  11. Power Twister – 92 Reps (Sifu Lee)
  12. Leg Raises – 30 Reps (Sifu Lee)
  13. Standing Ab wheel -
  14. Wrist Roller – 2 Reps (Sifu Lee)
  15. Hand Grip -
  16. Arm Wrestle – Left (Sidai Shunyuan) Right (Sifu Lee)
  17. Mercy – Sifu Lee
  18. Lat Raises -
  19. Front Raises -
  20. Max Bicep Curls -
  21. Bicep Curl half your weight -
  22. Max Military Press -
  23. Military Press your own weight –

Monday, October 15, 2012

Exciting News for FMK

I was recently contacted by the Chicago Rogers Park Business alliance.  They had offered to place a 1/2 page ad for FMK in the RedEye.  For those of you unfamiliar with RedEye.  It is a Chicago newspaper that is free to the public, it is a major newspaper that is funded by the Chicago Tribune.  I have submitted the required info. today and spoke with the RedEye representative.  The ad should be in the papers on Thursday and should reach out to thousands of people.  This ad could be the jumpstart to something big for FMK.  We will see.  They mentioned that the ad is a $2000 value, I'm thankful for the opportunity.  I hope that the kwoon will continue to grow. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Initial Leg Raise Attempts

Saw the update this afternoon for our fitness standards, and the leg raises demonstration. When I looked at the grid for my age bracket and saw a minimal of nine would be required for black rank, I thought that might be too easy. And perhaps it is. I've never tried to do these before, and so I gave it a go right away. On my first attempt...

... I did thirteen. But it was sloppy, with increasingly bent legs toward the end, as Sifu noted in his post. Then I went down in my basement, where I have more room to hang (although no comfortable bar to grip) and tried again...

This time, my legs were straighter than the first go-round, but still not perfect. I tried twice, and did nine for each before it felt dangerous, like I might slip with my exertion and drop from the rafter. So I'm going to see if I can get it up to sixteen, which is where my pull-ups are at, over the next few weeks, and work on getting those legs straight. The latter may be more a flexibility issue than a muscle-strength problem. Any case, I'm excited to have a new addition to the fitness requisites, and one that is focused on the abdominals. As you will see in the videos, I do need some serious work there, though mostly in the cardio form to get rid of the belly fat. Not so happy with how that stomach is looking this days

I'll also share a video I made yesterday, when I brought some of my students to climb the 'Sweetgrass Hills' in Montana. Four of us made it up to the summit at 6,983 feet, under basically winter squall conditions. I love mountain climbing and back-country hiking with my students, helping them conquer fears and self-imposed limitations. There were about thirteen of us that started off yesterday, and I can't force everyone to continue to the top, but I was glad there were three who joined me all the way, and that one of them was female, the first woman ever to make it to the summit of one of our climbs...

Update for Sidai's

All Sidai's I want you to start working on the leg raises in addition to all the maintainence training we have been doing.  In the future, I want to add in the leg raises as a required exercise for rank, but I will not do so until all current Sidai's are able to fulfill the standards.  Right now it is listed as a supplemental exercise.  Take a look at this link:
To determine what is expected for your age and gender.  I think it is an excellent exercise to add onto the list that does not require much equipment and can be easily measured like the pull up. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Important Upate for Todai's

Update on Rules & Policies

Those of us who are new to FMK may not be familiar with the Rules and Policies of FMK.  I have made the rules and policies public on the website under the tab "Todai's."  Please make sure you read through the rules and policies and stay updated and informed.  Ask me questions if you have any.  But these are the general guidelines that need to be followed in order for this kwoon to run efficiently and you must understand them.

Open Gym

To encourage Todai’s to progress more rapidly, open gym is available for all Todai’s who are current with their monthly dues.


There is a new link under the "Todai" tab labeled "Library."  The library is available for all Todai's interested in borrowing books, movies, & XBOX 360 games.  A deposit must be made, once the item is returned, your deposit will be returned.  If you are interested in gaining access to the library let me know. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When stripped of everything, we see what we really are and overwhelmingly what we really look like underneath and our unequipped form hidden.
All our reasons for thinking ourselves superior over other human beings....slowly begin to fade while making a futile and desperate attempt to hang on to vanities....become obvious.
We were all created equal: all in the same human condition; our differences supply us with new avenues and challenges for improving.
Unfortunately, we are not born with instructions; we only become aware of this later in life, some learn sooner than others do.
Meanwhile many remain oblivious about their entire life for reason that have become their own as well.

Created equal?
What about those born with defects of many kinds? Yes, equal to.... for your design has the same mechanism to respond in kind to the unknown factor contributing to the damage incurred which who knows how long ago it was introduced into the DNA/RNA program by the very people it affects.

No one escapes the damages we cause upon ourselves regardless of when it was done; it is a matter of not knowing exactly when it will appear. The DNA/RNA has been in existence longer than our conscious awareness of its existence.  We raise questions and respond with argument about things we have no clue ahead of time to set preventive measures against; to include when given warnings about potential dangers, we
are skeptical that it will happen to us so why even worry about it.

Even worse, when it does happen, the reality is in our face and the seriousness of it now strikes home and we immediately demand that those aware enough to believe the warnings beforehand about potential dangers....perform saving miracles for us... which in many cases are terminal and to late to reverse the damage done to our biological tools.



food to think upon.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Canadian Thanksgiving

It's been a few days since my last post, a period which for me has involved a lot of reprogramming, as I encounter familiar scenarios and adjust habits. My sleeping is still all mucked up. I continue to wake at three or four o'clock in the morning, run around outside for forty minutes or so, then return to bed. I've attempted to record some of these sessions, like the one from my last post, or this one here...

... but it's pretty dark while I'm out, and even the night setting on my camera isn't doing the trick to capture enough light. Some of the stuff I'm playing with during these excursions is more in line with parkour. Though I don't see myself daring to perform any forward or backward flips at my age, there are a lot of very useful elements to free running. I'm attracted to the challenges of strength, balance, and confidence required to navigate through our environments in efficient ways. Plus, it makes cardio work more interesting. I am looking forward to getting a normal routine back though. And I think it's close now. Here's my video, probably the last about the smoking cessation, covering up to day thirteen:

Tomorrow is Canadian Thanksgiving, or Columbus Day in the states. Most of these mainstream holidays are trying periods for me. I can see through the layering, the masks that have been placed over-top of indigenous celebrations, to draw our attention away from the ecology, and focus it instead upon ourselves, and our own aggrandizement. Thanksgiving, of course, is the celebration of the last harvest of summer. I was fortunate to be able to actually partake in that harvest, in my own small way, when my wife and I wrapped things up in our garden for the season. I've also taken the time this holiday weekend to break away from the rituals altogether, head into the coulees, and experience reality outside of our imaginings. In this video, I travel with a rattlesnake for nearly two hours (condensed here of course), and share some thoughts evoked by the experience:

One final bit... Kijiji is wonderful for those who don't have thousands of dollars to lay down for training equipment. I've been monitoring local ads daily, and came across one the other week for a heavy bag, asking only twenty-five bucks. Needless to say, I snatched it up and have mounted it in the basement. As I suspected though, my birds are not happy about the vibrations it produces. Ultimately, if I want to really enjoy it, I may have to take the heavy bag outside...

Friday, October 5, 2012

The importance of being on time & punctual

The Police Officer was the fittest Officer on the force.  He possessed superhuman strength.  He was able to perform superhuman fitness feats that nobody was able to perform.  He was able bench press 3 times his weight.  He was able to perform 100 consecutive pull ups.  His mile run was just under 3 min.  Everybody was so amazed of his physical abilities.

Not only was he physically elite beyond most humans, but upon joining the force, he possessed 2 Ph.D’s.  He had the educational background to be a judge, doctor, and scientist.  He seemed to be the perfect human being for the force. 

But the only problem for the Police Chief was that he was always late to work & sometimes he just didn’t show up to work.  But the Police Chief cut him many breaks and would hide his flaws from his fellow colleagues because of his special abilities.  The Police Chief did not want to lose such valuable talent from the force.  The Chief did not want to give up this amazing elite human being to another Police Force. 

A couple of years went by and everything was running smoothly.   The superhuman Officer still seemed to be the perfect Officer aside from his tardiness.  But one day on 9/11/3000 many Officers had scheduled the same day off & usually there are at least over 10 Officers on duty, but this day particular day, it was only the superhuman Officer on duty and 5 other Officers. 

A bank robbery occurred with 5 armed offenders.  The 5 officers showed up on scene immediately & went into the bank to challenge the 5 armed offenders; the offenders dropped their firearms to surrender.  The Officers were relieved that they had the situation under control, until an additional offender who was the lookout came into the bank heavily armed and caught all 5 officers by surprise, he killed all the Officers and civilians within the bank and all 6 offenders got away. 

The superhuman officer was always known to be tardy; everyone accepted it, all the Officers and even the Police Chief.  The superhuman officer did not charge his battery on his radio and did not even know about the call.  The superhuman officer was in the bathroom during the entire incident that all happened in under 3 minutes.  The superhuman officer thought it was just another routine slow day at work.  He drove back to the department to find out from the Police Chief and news reporters that his 5 fellow colleagues and 20 civilians were all slain in the bank just 10 min. ago. 

You can be the most talented Martial Artist or Police Officer in the world.  But if you are not on time, if you are not where you are supposed to be when you say you will be there, then what is the point?  Everybody is so concentrated on who is the fastest, who is the strongest, who is the most flexible, etc.  But it’s not just about that, being on time, being a sincere person within that will be somewhere when he says he will be there, is just as important, if not more important.  We shall not underestimate the importance of being on time and punctual. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Moonlight Madness

Wow, so it turns out that quitting smoking is an even more daunting psychological challenge than I anticipated. As I write this post, I’ve completed a full week without any nicotine of any sort. And after day four, I’ve kept thinking, “Tomorrow’s going to be the first day I won’t be troubled by the absence of cigarettes.” But that’s not happening. The torture continues unabated. I know it has to go away at some point, so I’ll just keep struggling along. Here’s a look at my thoughts come Morning Six…

This cessation has really affected my training regime as well, especially sleep. I’ve been getting up at all kinds of crazy early hours, certain that it’s time to get in some cardio training. Last night, I finally indulged this sensation with a visit to the park about three hours before dawn…