Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mountain Lessons

Oki All! 

So you probably noticed, from the YouTube content, that I recently had an opportunity to go mountain-climbing in the backcountry with my students. I consider myself very fortunate to live where I do, at the junction of the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains. I remember as a child viewing scenes on the train ride at Disneyland which I now recognize as representations of this place I live. That's how sublime and inspiring it is. On the first night, my students and I slept beside a glacier, without another human for many miles around, but plenty of the other great carnivores and omnivores... the grizzlies, black bears, wolves, cougars, etc. Sleep, in the backcountry, is always punctuated by alert wakefulness at every little sound. The second night, I stayed on a ledge of the mountain itself, where I had less to worry about being eaten, but in exchange more for the possibility of being buried in falling rock

It was my third time climbing to the top of this particular mountain - Ninnaistako or Chief Mountain. It's a peak most prominent among the Lewis Range of the Northern Rockies, and the subject of a great many legends and works of art. This time up, I was paying close attention to what the experience could teach me, what I could take away from it. And in this respect, what I received was a lesson in personal development. It always shocks me to witness that the majority of my students cannot climb to the top of the mountain, regardless of how physically adept they may be. The problem, as I see it, is firstly a lack of confidence, connected secondarily to a feeling of being overwhelmed by the obstacle at hand. For myself also, climbing this mountain is extremely difficult.  But never has it struck me as so formidable that I was ready to bag the effort and turn around. What gets me to the top, I suspect, is that I don't focus so much on the big picture. Rather, I look at what's my next move, what I have to do to negotiate the obstacle I'm currently facing, so I can progress. Often, when I look at a whole wall of rock coming up, it seems very imposing and solid. But examined more closely, there are seen to be so many ridges and crags that it's really not much more difficult to ascend than a ladder. It suspect that most people spend too much time concentrating of the overwhelming wall, or even the whole giant mountain, and far too little attention is given to the little steps that will take one incrementally to the top

This is a very important lesson to walk away with, something applicable to many projects in my life, and certainly to kung fu. Just as with the mountain, one could easily become frustrated at the overwhelming nature of the big picture. In my mind's eye, I have the ideal kung fu man, with Shi Zu as a model of someone who's closer in many respects to that ideal than myself. But in comparison with the kung fu man I want to be, I can't do the splits. In fact, my overall flexibility is poor. And I get easily winded. And I still feel too uncoordinated. Unrhythmic. Slow. Many of my techniques lack power. I'm not as strong as I used to be. I should feel lighter. I should be able to move any muscle as I envision it moving in the smallest fraction of a second, to do whatever I want my body to do, almost instinctually, but also controlled. I should move and feel like the full human animal I was born to be. But I am far from embodying this ideal. And while I'm aware that I have sooo many shortcomings to work on, if I kept my attention too exclusively to the big picture, I might easily give up. The only way to progress is to accept where one is at in the moment, and to address only the next step that will represent progress toward the ideal, however small that step may be. To this effect, I had an interesting break through this morning...

There was a second and related lesson I received from the mountain. As overwhelmed as people may feel by the huge challenge ahead, they can become equally afraid of falling from whatever level they've managed to climb to. This fear can grow so intense as to render them immobile. They get stuck on the rock, and may even require rescue to get back down to a place where they can feel safe and become functional again. Again, I believe this insight can be applied metaphorically toward understanding other kinds of situations. It is ego, isn't it, at the heart of this fear? And is it much different than the individual who works hard to progress to a certain level, perhaps a rank, and then stagnates, perhaps even living in reminiscence? 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Man Who Planted Trees

This movie is... I don't know... Amazing...
I had to share it. I think it won an Oscar even, for short animated movie or something like that. But it doesn't really matter, awards are not important.
Find a half an hour of your free time and watch it.
It blew my mind...

Share your thoughts, I really want to know what you guys think of it...

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Insert Great Title Here

For some reason, I tend to get stuck when it is time to give a title to my blog post. I can write a blog post just fine, but a lot of times, I get stuck on the title.

My schedule seems to be changing already because of summer. I still don't want to slack too bad on my blog posts and training.

I hope to work in the live training once or twice this week. I'm not sure when I will work it in though. I still want to start getting up earlier and maybe do some morning training. Lately, I'm not very good at waking up early.

I hope to eventually start getting more creative with my blog posts. When I make them, I usually have by boy tearing everything off my desk, helping me type, or like right now, trying to climb up our stairs. Here is a newer video of me doing the FMK training for flexability. I usually don't feel like I am making any progress with this, but lately, I think I am a little bit. Maybe I will actually learn to do the splits some day. I think it will be kind of funny to learn at my age. I also want to learn how to do a handstand. I can stand on my head, but I have never been able to do stand with just my hands.

If you can't stand crying babies, don't watch this video. If you post it on the FMK You Tube channel, I would like music put over it. I think my boy was having a tough day. This is how I train a lot of the time though: while taking care of my kids at the same time. My boy recently turned one year old. He could barely crawl when I first started making these videos. Soon, he will be walking. It will be neat to watch these videos later and see his development.

I really like Ryan's new videos being out in the rain and in the mountains. I've been spending more time outside lately. I love the rain. So many people seem to be scared to be in the rain. As long as it's warm enough and not a huge storm, I always feel like it is a healthy thing to be out in the rain.

Monday, June 24, 2013

...if every day were game 6 (and a little B&E)I I

I had a helluva day today. I started the day searching for my house key at 5:30 this morning at the park just east of Sheridan at Morse...or wherever the Krishnas set up their little post-parade festival. I'll just say that yesterday was awesome. I started with a solo bike ride up from Rogers Park to the Great Lakes Naval Base, with a long and (LITERALLY) depleting ride home in the southerly headwinds. Then it was Krishna Fest, and then a dinner party with great friends and great food in my building.

At some point I realized that I had lost my house key. I found refuge in a neighbor's home, and I resolved to find my key at the park, but with no success. I had no home; I was locked out. Now, let me just say that I NOW APPRECIATE all the people who struggle with homelessness who don't just go to the bathroom anywhere. I had to GO, and it was hard to find a place where the menial employees didn't guard their business's indoor plumbing like it was the Holy of Holies (or the front gate of the Naval Base, where I tried to take my pic to commemorate the longest ride I have had since 1995).

While I will admit that it is kinda wild how much I charge to teach a game, I still think that locksmiths are a scam, so I put my mind to work and figured out how to save $150 and get myself back into my own home...which I did, sacrificing the overall shape of my door trim to make good use of a crowbar. I then rebuilt the door, said a prayer of thanks, and promptly passed out. I have never felt so displaced, and it is really uncomfortable to be left out of my own the fact that I prepared very poorly for my ride yesterday, so now I was recovering from that ordeal, while trying to prepare to train Monday night (rescheduled from Monday morning, because I was in a state of home-displacement. Not homeless, which I now understand to be something waaaaaay different). I got back into my home, then ran errands to finish repairing the auto-vandalism, and then my phone died as a storm came in. I walked to the kwoon to tell Shi zu I was useless to train. I'd be back Tuesday night.

Then I watched game 6 of the Stanley Cup. If the Hawks gave up, they would have faced game 7. Instead, they fought, they pushed, they took their opportunities, and they didn't give up. Within, like, 17 SECONDS, they tied and led the game, ultimately to win the Cup for the second time this decade. Whoo!

I want to give myself the grace to get to that place where I have trained and prepared to go to the last minute with everything I have, but today I felt my age, my strength, my will. I felt like, I have had enough today. I'm 44, this is pretty good for the last 48 hours. But life does not wait.

My goal? not to give up. In the meantime I have to let myself GET TO THAT PLACE. I hate to say to Shi zu, "I am wiped out." On the other hand, if I actually think I can keep up with Shi zu Freddie, who has made a life of this art we all practice, I'm being unrealistic. I have already experienced minor injury this way.

So, my goal is to GET TO THAT PLACE, but to let myself get there. The Blackhawks trained to be a team that wouldn't give up; I want to train to keep going.

Well done, Chicago Blackhawks. Enjoy your rest. In the meantime, I'm going to assess what I have and figure out how to build what I have until I can choose not to give up just before the end of the game.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Children & Martial Arts

 First, I want to start by saying that it was nice to meet you in the live training Lian. It was a great experience although we had some connectivity issues. I am looking forward to meet your husband if he ever have the time for training live. I would like to meet you too Ryan. I want to start by a question: do children belong in the Martial Arts? I have seen some of Shi Zu Freddie Lee stating that Martial Art is not for children. Now, let us understand that it is me talking, not Shi Zu! I always like the raise that question: what is "Martial Art". Let us explore the word "martial" again. In "martial", we see military, violence, combat, struggle, hardship. Now here is the other word: "art". In "art", there is self-expression. Children are extremely self-expressive. There is no doubt about that. They like to play a lot. Now should they be trained in the Martial Arts? My answer is no. But if they are really interested about it, you better train them hard and show him the reality of life instead of letting him watch Power Rangers, Ninja name any bullshit show you might think of. I will explain my reasons and hope to not offend anyone.
 There were three sons of my cousin's cousin. Two of them practice Taekwondo. I just learned that today. Interestingly, they idolize Bruce Lee because they love to watch Enter the Dragon. As for me, I think I understand this movie too much to watch it over and over again. But the kids would watch this movie over and over again without having a full understanding of the deep message Bruce was trying to communicate to the audience. They just love the action and his fast kicks. Of course most kids who watch his movie would want to be like him in that way. They do not understand the movie yet because it is not their time yet. I understand that. Now here is what disappoint me the most. I was sparring with them today and to be honest with you, their technique sucks! They cannot possibly be at a high level. Are you kidding me?? They are so predictable and you actually tell me that they can win against big guys? What is this? Some sort of movie roles they are playing? Oh here is another one: they cannot jump rope for shit! Makes perfect sense now. Their technique sucks because they suck at the jump rope! I asked one of them how many push ups he can do. He said ten, and I told them to try giving me 10. I watched him execute the push ups but he did not perform them with good form. You are telling me these kids are going to survive any dangerous situation they encounter? Don't make me laugh! These Taekwondo schools are one of these schools who is proving Penn and Teller right about the Martial Arts as Bullshit. Penn and Teller do not know anything about Martial Arts but they know more about Martial Arts than these kids! I take a good quote by George Carlin: "Bullshit is what binds us together." But you know what; he is right. America is full bullshit and a lot of Martial Arts schools are part of that bullshit. I guess I can put together and say: "Bullshit is what binds these so called Martial Arts schools together". This is ridiculous.
What is going to be more disappointing is if these kids get to a real life threat they will not be able to survive because they have been living in fantasies for so long by so called masters they will tremble like crazy. I am not offending Taekwondo but to make it as real as possible, some emphasis needs to be on the fitness instead of just letting learn the techniques without even a little strength behind them. Can we just do that first? Maybe when they get a little older, they might be exposed to the techniques after they understand why it is important not to hurt someone for their own benefit. In that way, Martial Art schools will liberate themselves from mister Bullshit! That's the reason why I got to FMK in the first place. I want to represent something real. I do not want to represent out of shape fucks! I do not want to do that. I want to represent Shi Zu Freddie Lee. I do not know if he sees himself that way but to me, he is the next Bruce Lee. Maybe there are people like Freddie Lee out there but since I met Freddie Lee, I see no reason to not join his kwoon. He had made a big impact on my life and I cannot thank him enough. Happy Very Late Father's Day Shi Zu Lee!

The writing on the wall

 Why can't I sleep?

It's Friday night just before it becomes Saturday morning. I had a great week: I passed all of my tests while I was at school down in Florida, now I am at a good friend's home trying to go to sleep so I can play a round of golf in the morning.

So, why can't I sleep? I'm preoccupied with the thought of someone in my neighborhood being beaten. It's bad enough that it is a good friend of a good friend of mine – But this is my neighborhood, the people who committed the violence didn't need to act as they did, regardless of what was said to them. All it was was said. The action of making them leave was, justified or not, a moment. Here and gone, life goes on. 

It was not a life-threatening crisis, it was at most a temporary infringement on their liberties. Yet now a man fights for his life, one that will never be the same, in hospital. Now people who are aware of what has happened in our community are faced with fear and questions, particularly questions of justice and accountability. Who will stand up for the people who just want to abide, who want to play fair? Who stands for the people who want to live together, not ruled by ego, demanding that everything be according to their way?

Even outside the window of the room where I'm staying there are neighbors in their own backyard for talking loudly enough for me to hear. Is this their right? Of course it is. Is it courteous of the people who are trying to sleep? No, especially at what would be considered a reasonable hour to sleep.

I feel within me the same rage I felt as a child, who only wish that everyone would get along — this feeling is as unfair and unreasonable as any act of violence already committed. The jokers (I use the term for emphasis) out on the back porch next door are doing their thing. I can tune them out. They are static, white noise, and of no consequence to me.

Still there are people who don't understand this, and by their egos insist that the world be shaped around them. These people are real threats, because they are unreasonable and unpredictable. If I let my mind consider them I can feel my body tense, I can feel my will desire to see them become dust. Such feelings scare the crap out of me, because I am one who has never acted on them, and I have no desire to do so. Still, there they are – those angry, violent feelings. I grieve for my friend. 

I grieve for my friends friend. I'm in the room of my host's daughter. Over the head of the bed I noticed in the light of my computer screen that she has painted stars and one symbol: the symbol for peace. I do not want to think, "Oh, she is so naïve!" 

I want to believe, "Oh, how strong she is! And how strong I am that my choice is to avoid violence." I would much rather spend my life pursuing things that cause others to grow and be happy and be healthy. But violence is a part of who we are as humans. In order for us to know courage at some point we have had to know fear. Sadly, the people who committed this violence acted out of fear: the fear of being removed, of being disempowered, perhaps even the fear of realizing that their actions — likely made to draw attention to themselves so that they didn't feel invisible — Make them less welcome, because they are selfish and try to convince everyone else of their illusion: that the universe revolves around them?

Shi zu's talk during training on Thursday reminded me of something I studied from the Mahatma Gandhi. I am paraphrasing, but Gandhi taught it is best to avoid violence, but be prepared for it if the violence must be encountered to stand for truth. 

For me this is a hard lesson. I wish no one harm, but at the same time I am bitter and feel the stirrings of war.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Hey guys, I've been busy with my exams so I couldn't really find the time to post although I wanted to.
There is an important subject that I want to discuss but then I realized that I hadn't finished with my joker posts, and leaving George Carlin out would be just plain wrong.
For those of you who don't know what the joker is all about check out my previous posts while back. I'm sure you'll get the idea.
Anyway, George Carlin, in my mind, epitomizes the whole concept of the Joker. He is one of the greatest stand up comedians of all time. Incredibly witty and sarcastic but at the same time very deep and insightful. He is known for his black humor and observational comedy. He may appear to be a misanthrope, but actually he hides his idealism behind cynical humor.
George passed away a few years back but his performances are fresh now as they ever were.
I strongly recommend you to check out his HBO specials, especially the later ones. It will make you laugh and think at the same time.
There are no words to describe the genius of George Carlin so I decided to post some of his clips so you can catch a glimpse of this real life joker... Enjoy...

Here George explains how the modern world works...


You can use George's baseball/football metaphor for martial arts too...

Notice that George doesn't make fun of spirituality, but he ridicules how people used religion throughout history to manipulate and control the masses

George's pure genius....

In the end here George explains the whole concept of the joker, similar to Alan Watts.
The real life joker in his own words...

GEORGE CARLIN (1937-2008)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Understanding the Flow

A life without consequences is not one worth living. 

 To understand the flow, both of life and of the martial arts, you must first have a grasp of consequences. These can be both positive or negative but both equally affect our flow. This concept is something that not only is quite difficult to understand at its root, but I feel as though we in this country increasingly run from this concept. But as I said there are two applications to this idea. The martial arts and life outside of our training. What is learned in the former should affect the latter and vice-versa.

Within the Kwoon and martial arts training:

With each technique that we learn, with each form we master, we are becoming something more. If we are truly committed to our training, we are learning how to become a weapon when necessary and a keeper of peace the rest of the time. We must understand what each technique we learn will actually do to a person. How it will affect them internally, externally, in the moment, and possible futures of each action. Now I'm not saying we should become psychic, but I am saying that we should be aware of the choices we make. Not every situation calls for the most severe technique, not everyone who attacks you needs to die for their mistake. In observance of the flow, in knowing just how our techniques will affect people as well as our fellow todai while we practice them, we can become that much more precise with what we learn and how we teach others. Tapping into this method of learning and then teaching, in my opinion, are the beginnings of flow.

Outside the Kwoon and in life:

The things we say, how we come off, the actions we take, even how we act around people can affect them much deeper than we understand or think about in the moment. Culturally, we have been moving towards a life style that says "do what you want, as long as it feels good and does not hurt anyone else". This is not possible with human emotion as a factor, but more and more our culture tries to eliminate the human emotion as a factor. As practitioners of the martial arts we can at the very least be a counter to this growing mentality by affecting people positively. Be aware of the consequences and possible consequences of choices you make before you make them and the flow can continue in this way.   

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The good hurt

[i just saw Ryan's blog on old-school hurt. Must be in the air!]

I'm writing this blog from Florida, where I am taking—took—my most recent series of tests toward becoming a PGA Professional.

Two weeks ago I was walking to the kwoon after having opened my study notes, guides, and "subject modules," with a scowl on my face. I was contemplating calling the PGA headquarters and telling them to refund my money: I was done with this nonsense.

I was looking for an excuse to give up, to quit. Interestingly, one of the interpersonal skills that my studies identifies is the ability to reframe a difficult situation. I knew that when I got to the kwoon, I was going to get my butt kicked. I also knew that the times I had been to class in the last two months were paying off, and even though I felt tired and my muscles were sore, I was stronger and had more energy than I have had in a long time.

How many times do I underestimate my potential?
How often do I give up simply because I have not let myself go further than I have tried to go before?

I will admit that I coasted through my academic career. I didn't push myself, I did the minimum to get the degree. I had no direction. Sifu writes in his Reflections that there is an exceptional education to be had for free for anyone who wants it. Atthis point in my life, I have the opportunity to get a useful credential and to make a difference in people's lives through teaching a sport.

Why would I give up? Because I am afraid to fail? Maybe because I am afraid to grow. When I was a child, if someone told me, "Hey, your knees, wrists, and other joints are going to hurt at random times. Are you okay with that? You can say, 'No, thanks,'" I might have opted out. I would have avoided the pain, but I would also still be smaller, because I would have traded short-term ease for my growing pains.

So, halfway to the kwoon, I realized that I was letting myself remain small. I also remembered that negative attitude reduces the ability to internalize and process information. I decided instead to believe in myself. I chose to say, "I got through the Level 1 tests, why can't I ready myself for the next level? I didn't coast through college because I was unintelligent, I did because I was lazy and unfocused" [which, now that I put those words together, have closer meanings than I realized].

Plus, I never let myself have any confidence. Confidence means standing up for yourself: not just believing in something but believing in me. That always felt arrogant and uncomfortable—even lonely. But it is the same thing as when I teach a golfer how to hold a club. It is uncomfortable only because it is unfamiliar, but eventually it becomes familiar and comfortable. It gets easier and easier until it becomes a thing of mastery.

For now, it hurts a little. But it's a good hurt. I'm through the last hurdle, and on to the next. Just don't stop. Just don't quit. Just keep going.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Another Exciting Blog Post

I've been slacking on my weekly blog posts. I'm going to aim to get back on track with it. I don't think I make the most interesting posts most of the time, but maybe if I stick with it, something interesting will come out.

I didn't get to do the live training last week. I was very busy working at the beginning of the week, then I went to stay with my family for a few days. I did a little bit of outdoors practice when I was there. It's nothing amazing, but I did record it. It's nice to be out in the fresh air. I'll share my video. The jumping jacks part might be boring to watch.

There's been a lot of talk about who is a real martial artist, and so far there have been no women that make the cut. There's a woman named Jade Xu who has won the Wushu World Championship several times. I don't know about all of her training habits, but I like watching some of her videos on You Tube. From what I see, I consider her to be a real martial artist, but different people have different views on that. And, like I said, I don't know everything about her, just that she's been in some movies and won some championships.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Old School Pain

It’s been a couple weeks, at least, since I last posted an update here on the blog. With the intense Spring Term underway at my college, and the courses I’m teaching being mainly field-based, my time management skills are really being put to the test (as those of you who are friends with me on Facebook can probably surmise). I’ll be glad when July rolls around and there’s at least some slow down

For me, the last couple weeks – with a lot of travel and road time – have been a period of reflection. A camping expedition with my students in Yellowstone National Park made some significant impressions on me, which I hope to compile a video about soon.  Also, with Todai Jun having made his decision to leave the Kwoon official, this period has also been one of new creativity. I had grown accustomed to attaching music to my progress and practice videos, to make them more entertaining. Faced with having that option rescinded, I became curious about that little guitar icon at the bottom of my computer screen, leading into the Garageband program I’d never attempted to use before. Turns out, composing some half-decent music electronically isn’t all that difficult… and it’s my own artistic expression, which is better in a sense. So I’m going to keep working at it

This morning, at the park, I had a little epiphany that I thought worth sharing. Actually, it’s what prompted me to finally write this new update…

I walked to my trees clad in a 20lb weight vest, with an additional 3lbs on each ankle, 1.5lb gloves on each hand, and 3 X 1lb iron rings on each arm, altogether adding 35lbs to carry while practicing forms. Out of all this gear, it’s been the iron rings that always prove the most challenging. I bought them a couple months ago because of nostalgia. They look and sound like kung fu. But are they the best investment? Each ring is about $20, making the six of them I wore worth $120… more than my vest (which can load up to 40lbs), and certainly more than my ankle and glove weights. And what do I get for the extra investment?  Mostly, I get pain



As I move my arms, the rings come crashing forward and back, bruising my wrists and forearms, sometimes pinching skin or pulling hair. It’s a lot of ouch that one doesn’t need to endure in order to get the benefit of weighted training. There are plenty of comfortable wrist and glove weights on the market. And yet, I’d still recommend the rings. Why?

What hit me this morning was that the pain caused by the rings was actually prompting memory issues. I was having some difficulties remembering how to move through the combinations in my forms. And I was relaxing my postures and techniques as well, not going as deep into my stances as I should, or throwing a punch as quick as I might otherwise. The rings were a considerable distraction. But is that a bad thing? Actually, I would propose its part of their purpose

The martial arts involves training of the mind. Discipline, yes. Analytical skills, yes. But also, an important aspect of the mental training is for brute survivability. What happens if someone is in a life-threatening situation, and his survival requires the ability to ignore significant, if not excruciatingly painful, distractions? Will he be able to maintain a calm mind, focused on the important tasks at hand? Or will he allow his attention to be drawn away from life? Will he give up? To tell it honestly, I see this quite often, among my students and others… once something does not go as expected, once a significant obstacle presents itself, there’s a strong tendency to quit. Now I’m not saying that a guy should be so stubborn that he fails to respond to important environmental cues, and change plans as appropriate. However… if you’re dangling over the precipice, hanging onto a little finger-hold of rock with one hand, and an ant bites your knuckle, this is not the right time to allow the distraction in

There’s a saying in Blackfoot… Iihtsipaitapiiyo’p Isstsskimaanitapi (The Source Of Life Whips Us In The Face). The origin of this phrase hearkens back to the days when people would hunt bison in groups, and try to corral or direct them. If some of the bison saw through what was happening, and decided to move in a different direction, they would be whipped in the face. Those who kept moving toward their escape despite the face-whipping would become survivors. Those who cringed and allowed themselves to be redirected would become food. So too is it with us in our lives. Those who are easily discouraged will, at the very least, fail to accomplish much of their potential. In the event of a life threatening situation, they might also die

The way I see it, the iron rings were always meant to give a little pain. Otherwise, those Shi Zu of the past would have almost certainly designed comfortable, sandbag-variation arm weights. But by opting to keep that little bit of pain, not only were they promoting the more explosive delivery of techniques developed through weighted training, but also they were hardening their forearms and wrists, making music, and sharpening their survival minds. The challenge, when using the rings, is to ignore painful distractions that aren’t important in the grand scheme. That little bit of pinching, pulling, and bruising does not comprise serious injury. The pain is just a tool for our kung fu training. In the same way, we can utilize the minor discomforts of being outdoors in various conditions. The rains, winds, snows, sands, waters, mosquitoes, heat, and cold, all of it is there to help train us… body… and mind… and perhaps even spirit, if we approach it as such. Shy away from these elements, opt only for comfort, and we are doing ourselves a disservice 

Friday, June 7, 2013

My Training Progress

Hello everyone. It is nice to see that new post are being made. I have not post anything for a while but today I decided to post some of the videos on my training. If you are watching the Vertical Jump Certification video, notice that I got a bit upset that I threw the tape violently away. If you find this funny, I can understand. I laughed at myself afterwards too. Lol. Anyway, I also wanted to post a video on the CLF form too. Of course I went further than where I needed too. I am pretty Shi Zu is going to notice minor mistakes but I need to make these mistakes in order to grow. If I went further, I want to apologize a bit. I guess I was rushing a bit too much.
This is the video of the vertical jump:
There goes also my CLF Form Progress:
I hope everyone enjoys and have a good laugh at me for being angry.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thank You Everyone!

Hey everyone,

 I just wanted to do a quick post to say 'thank you' to everyone I met and trained with at the kwoon who made me feel so welcome. It was wonderful training with you all and I really enjoyed myself. It is a real shame that I won't be able to train with you all on a daily basis, but at least I got to experience training in the kwoon and to meet you all. It is great to know that there is a really good group of people training with Sifu and that the kwoon is the positive and supporting place that he envisioned when he created it.

 I look forward to keeping you all updated on my own solo training (when I get back home from my travels that is!) and I also hope that I will be able to join in some training classes via Skype as time goes on.

 Thanks again everyone and good luck in your continued training!

 All the best and keep on smiling
 Todai Xiaolang

Tips concerning the training when sick

Being sick is not a reason to skip workouts. It's a reason to do it. Now if you're crawling on the floor just to go take a pee, you might need to chill a little bit. And even if your crawling, you could use crawling for your workouts, or turn yourself on your back and do sit-ups or whatever move your body can handle. When being sick (i am right now), my main key is to just drop the intensity. Keep doing all what your suppose to do in terms of sets or whatever but drop the reps or the intensity. Have fun with it but do it and put a good amount of efforts, don't forget it's still a workout. Training helps for recovery. So stay in shape, eat good and read, have a nice week!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The beauty of Martial Arts and 'self expression'

Martial Arts are a way in which we can express ourselves purely and honestly.

The gift that Martial Arts has brought to us all is that they revolve around the person practicing, not uncontrollable factors or fate. For example: the main reason for a person's success when working on the stock market is purely down to share rates taht they can't control, it's just fate.

In Martial Arts you are responsible for your success. The expression starts when you perform your skills. What you put in is what you get out. Just a simple movement can be artistic when mastered.

When a Sifu performs movements they appear far easier and simple than they are in reality. For me in Wing Chun I have spent a year and a half understanding the first form 'Siu Lim Tao' but every time I see my Sifu perform the form I see the amount of training he has undertaken from his higher level of precision and understanding, he hasn't just become a Sifu by training for a while he has trained hard to be able to express himself with Sifu standard (which is what is demanded at FMK I believe). It is very easy for a beginner to learn movements just like a dance routine. Yet one core concepts are understood and lots of training is done, your moves become more skillful and are executed with more precision.

Bruce Lee's idea of the Martial Arts being a way to 'honestly express yourself' is actually very deep. Not just showing you can do a particular move/ train in a certain style but how well you have trained and cared for your development. This is the essence of Martial Arts.

For me I didn't just start Wing Chun because I wanted to get fitter (although this was an important reason for me) I thought if I want to get fit, why not join a health club?
Then I thought for self-defence, however I thought why spend all that time training just in case I get into just 1 or 2 fights in my life (hopefully I never get into any) so this didn't completely sell it for me.

Then I realised the expressive side taught by Bruce Lee. It's not always the quality of the art but instead the quality of the person's mindset and discipline in training that determines their level in the Martial Arts.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Constant Renaissance

We are in constant renaissance. In each breath, each steps, each efforts we are constantly changing. And it's up to us to choose if we're going into a contructive renaissance or a destructive one. I choose a constructive one, one where positivity surrounds myself, one where i'm build to last even in a negative environment. Evolution, i'm not talking about technological advancement, i'm talking about natural evolution. One we can reach through efforts, love and compassion. Everyday is a new opportunity to go through that direction. And i'm happy to be an associate of FMK which is an embodiment of positive renaissance. Today like yesterday and the day before yesterday and so on i've been living that constructive renaissance and it brought a lot into my life. A lot of people makes materialistic changes through the years, i made inner changes instead, because this is where truth lies; inside. And as long as FMK represents the real, i'll be it's affiliate, whether it be in translating Freddie's work or participating in other projects in the futur, i'll be there. Not being a Todaï is a personal decision i took, but this don't mean i can't help FMK in any means. In the army you got soldiers, but the soldiers and the commander alone can't win the war on their own, there are other jobs to be fulfil in the army, all kinds of jobs and the quality of all these efforts combine will make an army effective. So let's make FMK effective each and everyday by doing our parts, whatever the kind of job we do. Long live the constant renaissance within FMK.

God and Kung Fu

More often than you'd think, I get approached by both christians and non-christians alike who say, "You can't practice martial arts and still be a christian" or "Its dangerous to your faith to subject yourself to something that is potentially the occult". To these people I would as graciously as possible correct them on just how wrong they are. Martial arts is more than a philosophy, more than a bunch of ways to hurt someone and more than what the media would portray it to be. It is a life style. A philosophical and physical approach to life with a spiritual backdrop. Most who practice kung fu will say that their power comes from their training or from within via their chi. Most Christians fail to realize that by removing that aspect of martial arts and applying what has already been done with the Israelites in the old testament that kung fu and martial arts as a whole is actually biblical! Fellow believing and non-believing todai, please understand me when I say this, with the strength of Him who commands us, we can move mountains with but a word, take on countless enemies with just the jaw bone of a donkey, bring a city to its knees by simply walking around its borders. God created all that we know and see, and He created martial arts too! What some seem to forget is that God Himself is a warrior! He has fought, died and won a victory for our very souls and it is by His strength and His grace that I am still here today. He created the water that we compare our flow to. He gave us breath to breathe and control so that our techniques can be precise and efficient. It is Jesus who first teaches that it is better to talk with and love your enemy than to engage him or exact revenge. My power comes not from any small effort that I can muster but from the infinite Almighty. Its not some religious saying that makes any christian valid. It is through our relationship with God and Jesus acting as the bridge with the Holy Spirit moving in us and through us that we are being made anew from within. Now if that is not an example of internal kung fu that has external ramifications, I don't know what is lol. A bit off topic but I feel that this needs to be adressed, for my fellow non-believing todai, this video of spoken word explains what I believe. Not in religion, but in Jesus.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Philosia: Heaven and Hell in Earth

Knocked down from a fight... Being Turned down on a job... College application rejection... ETC that turned anyone down.,.

Anyone could destroy a person's life right now but not everyone has the guts to do it. See the picture? Perhaps too negative.

Everyone follow their parents and keep themselves away from trouble but not everyone has been pleased by their parents. See the picture yet?

Everyone might disagree, some might. These "some" can get the gold. These some could retire early. These some will be loved... TOO MUCH.

A man started from a MVP high school player, to a fat rapper which his lyrics shows propaganda against "fake b****** and...(forget about it)" This man can be successful by now since he is promoting against the bad girls and guys, but the ratings are down in the website where he uploaded his beats. It's just sad that no one wants to accept some qoute in the lyrics that "...NO ONE GIVE A FUCK..." He is just a man who lived in his mother's house, and works as a cashier to some restaurant. Yeah, mother's house. You heard me. Well, you should hear how she cries everytime he gets in jail. You should get it by now.

Another man was dumped by his girlfriend, yet he does nothing about it. He does something alternative other than winning her back. He was an underclassmen therefore he got time to catch up with grades, get scholarships, go to Harvard or something that offers some good sh**. The aforementioned fat man made a song that technically called him out. The fat man called this hardworker and crime free man a "fake". He is now in the Ivies, his ex girl went through a lot in juvies. Warning this dude is also a mommas boy. He gave her love letters, not calls of misery. She said I'll miss you in four to five years if you know what she means. "No one gives a fuck they say..." then he said in praise "THANK GOD THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT DUMB ENOUGH TO NOT TO LIVE ON WHAT THEY PREACH."

Interview with BKO Kung Fu

1.    What is the difference between “Modern Kung Fu” and regular Kung Fu the average person thinks of?

Modern because I am still living and breathing, this art is not based on tradition, it is a living moving work of Art.  Kung Fu is an ancient term from the East; “Modern” merges the ancient wisdom of the East with the modern technology of the West.  Modern Kung Fu is representing the balance of Yin/Yang.  The ancient wisdom of the East “Kung Fu” is representing “yin,” the modern technology of the West is representing “yang.”  Both words come together to represent a balance of yin/yang, East/West. 

“Kung Fu” as we know of it, as in many words that we use to convey meaning has been corrupted through the ages.  It has been stereotyped to represent “Chinese Martial Arts.”  Or a system of animal styles grounded on tradition.  Such as Eagle Claw, Praying Mantis, etc.  Hollywood and the media have corrupted the true meaning of Kung Fu.  Songs developed such as “Kung Fu Fighting” which humiliates the meaning of Kung Fu.  Jackie Chan promoting the humiliation of Kung Fu through producing movies such as “Drunken Master.”  Movies such as “Kung Fu Panda” also poke fun at Kung Fu. 

Shaolin Kung Fu portrays to the public a Martial Art style grounded in tradition and restricted to be limited to methods of fighting and expression based on the past.  There is nothing modern about Shaolin Kung Fu.  Most of all well-known styles are dead and based upon past tradition.  The techniques and ways are set in stone, it cannot change, and because it cannot change, that serves to be its limitation that prevents it from growth and the representation of an expression of truth. 

There is beauty in tradition, “Kung Fu” represents tradition, culture, and wisdom, but it cannot be complete without innovation and creation.  Modern technology, which is represented by Western culture, harmonizes Kung Fu.  Not all technology leads towards the positive, but certainly, not all technology leads towards the negative.  Tradition bridged together with modern technology and creation creates balance and harmony.   

When you think about Kung Fu, you typically do not envision the use of firearms, batons, and various swords and knives.  Our vision of what Kung Fu represents is limited to what is portrayed in media.  Bruce Lee had worked hard towards bringing a positive reputation to Kung Fu that was respected but his hard work was undermined by other types of film and media that destroyed the reputation of Kung Fu by poking fun at it and encouraging the public to disrespect Kung Fu, such as movies like “Rush Hour”.  The creation of a new label such as “Modern Kung Fu” was necessary to restore the true meaning of Kung Fu that is free from the corruption of the past. 

Because I am living, breathing, and expressing my creativity, my expression of Kung Fu is truly modern, it is of today, it is not a repeat of the past, it is not based on tradition.  It is something new that has never been seen before.  It is like a new business with a new name that has never been heard of.  With this new name, we are enabled to create new meanings and steer away from past stereotypes that have damaged the reputation of Kung Fu and Martial Arts in general. 

You will see in this Modern Kung Fu that even our uniforms are quite unique and different compared to any traditional Martial Arts school.  Our uniforms are far from what is worn in the Shaolin Temples.  We utilize modern technology and wear high quality athletic apparel and shoes designed for maximum performance.  Modern Kung Fu is able to adapt and change with technology when we deem necessary, we are not bound by tradition. 

We utilize modern technology and equipment for training; we are not just restricted with only training with nature.  We train with nature and we train in modernized facilities.  We utilize modern technologies such as the Internet to market and promote.  We utilize camcorders to track our progression and as a medium to share our Art.  We are not locked away in temples in secret; we are available to the public to teach to those truly interested in learning the Martial Arts in its entirety.  

2.    The style of Kung Fu I study has a great deal of Eagle Claw influence in it. Where did you study Eagle Claw? What aspect of it do you feel is most effective in self-defense? 

I have never specifically studied Eagle Claw.  Though the most effective aspect of it in self-defense in my opinion is the training of the strong claw like fingers that can be effectively used to apply force to pressure points and other areas of the body that would incapacitate or disable. 

3.    What are easiest and most effective pressure points to use in a fight? Please describe them.

This information I do not divulge to the general public.  It goes against the philosophy of my teachings.  I see that to be a responsible Sifu, I must know whom I am teaching before I teach when it comes to sharing techniques of combat that can potentially become lethal. 

4.    Which event as a police officer called demand the most extensive use of your martial arts skill? Tell us about it.

General fitness is a must; you cannot even be hired to become a Police Officer without passing the Power Test.  Having great body control from training in the Martial Arts allows you to easily become proficient in the use of a firearm.  You cannot even pass the Police Academy without being proficient in the use of firearms.  Awareness in the line of duty is of absolute importance as your life is in danger day after day fulfilling the duties as an Officer.  Intelligence many times is more important than brute strength in the line of duty.  A lot of report writing is required & the ability to effectively put into writing experiences that you encounter while on duty.  Without that skill, it will be extremely difficult to be a competent Police Officer.  There was no instance when my life was in great danger while on active duty. 

5.    You stress the importance of not using gear when sparring. How do you keep beginners from hurting each other if they are not adept at controlling their strikes?

If beginners are not adept at controlling their strikes or emotions then they are not ready for what I call Safe Sparring.  They will have to focus their attention on training in combat drills that will prep them to be ready and they will have to focus on hitting inanimate objects until they develop body and emotional control.  Without body or emotional control, they are not fit for Safe Sparring.  And for the safety of them and their fellow brothers and sisters, it is best that they train harder to become physically and mentally prepared before engaging in Safe Sparring. 

6.    It seems in recent years Tai Chi has really gained in popularity. Why do you think this is? How does Tai Chi help someone develop their fighting skills?

True Tai Chi is the balance of yin/yang.  True Tai Chi is meant to represent True Martial Arts.  True Tai Chi follows the way and teaching to “Tao Te Ching.”  People are drawn towards Tai Chi because naturally people will be drawn towards truth.  Tai Chi is truth, it is harmony and balance, people naturally will eventually desire to head towards harmony and balance.  They see and know that there is something missing in Combat Sport, there is something missing in Boxing, there is something missing in competitive sports, there is something missing in Yoga, etc.  True Tai Chi has nothing missing, it is complete, it is whole, people naturally wish to be whole and complete, true Tai Chi can help people towards the way of balance and harmony. 

True Tai Chi is a way of life.  When you better yourself in Tai Chi, you better yourself in life.  When you better yourself in life, it will better you in all aspects in life including your fighting ability.  True Tai Chi will help you destroy your inner ego and find inner peace, when you find inner peace and no longer have that inner desire to compete, it will decrease your chances of engaging in violent activities that can result in great bodily injury.  When you have inner peace, you will emit positive energy around you.  When you emit positive energy around you, it decreases the chance of violence coming towards your way. 

7.    What are your future goals for your system?

This is not a system that I have created.  I don’t like to call it a system but rather it is a path for others to take to help them gain a greater understanding of what True Martial Arts really is.  What I teach is Martial Arts as a whole.  I can teach for as long as I live, but my true goal is for people to gain an understanding, not just for now but for eternity.  Even when I pass away, I want people who encounter my teachings to achieve an understanding.  With this understanding, they will know that the true way in the Martial Arts is the totality; it is the whole, not the part, or the sum of the parts.  I have established this kwoon as a home for true Martial Artists to gather and train with one another in joy and peace, not in anger and competition.  I hope that this kwoon will inspire those who have interest in the Martial Arts to head towards a more peaceful and artistic development away from Combat Sport. 

8.    Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

All forms of Combat Sport are NOT Real Martial Arts.  Real Martial Arts is beyond all competition.  Real Martial Arts is the balance of the Body, Mind, & Spirit.