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The Donkey
March 7, 2016
I am not, nor have I ever been, the most physically competent martial artist. It takes me inordinately more classes to attain technical proficiency in many areas than it does others. I am tall and fairly agile, but I do not have much muscle mass. And then, over the past few years, two significant medical challenges have crossed my desk. Couple all this with the fact that I am now in my 60s, and a potentially bleak image begins to materialize.
Sai Design and Fighting Theory
January 27, 2016
The correct length and weight of the sai varies from individual to individual. Of course, as with any weapon, the longer and heavier it can be without compromising the handling, the better it is in a combat situation. As the proverb goes, "One inch longer, one inch stronger" (一寸長, 一寸強, Yī cùn cháng, yī cùn qiáng).
Sai: Ancient Marvel of a Weapon
December 7, 2015
Sai (釵, chāi) is perhaps most commonly known in popular culture today as the featured weapon of choice by the comic book characters Raphael of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Elektra of Marvel Comics. While it is not entirely clear how the sai was created as a weapon, it is widely accepted that the sai originated from mainland Asia several thousand years ago.
Political Turmoil in Taekwondo
August 18, 2014
On December 31, 2013, Grandmaster Kyu Hyung Lee, taekwondoist extraordinaire, formally resigned his post as president of the esteemed Kukkiwon after holding the position for a mere matter of months. Quickly replaced by Man Soon Jang, Lee claimed his startling decision was founded on irreconcilable differences between two leading factions; one consisting of officials whose behavior is largely motivated by politics, and a second group of martial artists, spearheaded by Lee, with the purity of taekwondo at heart.
The Heart of Taekwondo
July 7, 2014
When the heart of taekwondo beats, it gives life to the advancement of supreme discipline, the achievement of noble character, and the cultivation of an enlightened worldview. It breaks the bonds that bind us to the Earth and again, as adults, allows us to feel the wind beneath our feet rather than merely around them.
History and Philosophy of Taekwondo - Part 2 - August 5, 2013
Similarly rooted in Chinese culture, the Baduanjin routine, or Eight Pieces of Brocade, a medical qigong therapy whose performance is professed to impart a silken quality to the body, dates back to AD 1300 where it appears in the Xiuzhen shi-shu (Ten Compilations on Cultivating Perfection).
History and Philosophy of Taekwondo - Part 1 - July 29, 2013
Long before the advent of sport sparring and the invention of modern safety gear, in a time when to fight meant to defend one’s life from almost certain death, an ingenious method of transmitting martial arts skills from venerated master to loyal disciple was developed.
The Evolution of Tae Kwon Do Poomsae, Hyung and Tul-Part 2 - June 17, 2013
Throughout the 1950s and early 60s, when Tae Kwon Do, still referred to as taesoodo, tangsoodo and kongsoodo in many circles, was in its infancy, poomsae practice consisted largely of exercises derived from these Okinawan, Japanese and Chinese disciplines.
The Evolution of Tae Kwon Do Poomsae, Hyung and Tul-Part 1 - June 10, 2013
Long before the advent of sport sparring and the invention of modern safety gear, in a time when to fight meant to defend one’s life from almost certain death an ingenious method of transmitting martial arts skills from venerated master to loyal disciple was developed.
Surrender! Clear Your Mind To Learn A New Skill - January 14, 2013
After teaching taekwondo for many years, I have come to some concrete observations. As an instructor and school owner I have noticed that many new students have a difficult time acclimating to Eastern customs.
A Photo Shoot for the Ages - July 23, 2012
As digital publishing and electronic readers begin to eclipse the charm of the printed word, books of paper, binding, glue, and ink become all the more dear, particularly to those of us who still take great pleasure in holding the editorial contributions of an author in our hands while mindfully turning pages infused with academic thought, one at a time.
The Dojang—A Safe Haven During 9-11 - September 6, 2010
On September 11, 2001, I was employed in New York City at a job that I would soon vacate in favor of teaching martial arts professionally. On that tragic but stunningly brilliant morning, I stood on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Nineteenth Street watching the destruction of the World Trade Center unfold before my very eyes.
The Differences Between San Shou Shuai Jiao and Other Styles of Wrestling - July 5, 2010
Technically speaking, the foundation and basic principles of San Shou Shuai Jiao are based on traditional Chinese wrestling (Chuan Tong Shuai Jiao) and adapted for combat training. San Shou Shuai Jiao techniques and principles are very simple, effective and—most important—quick.
Visiting Korea: Land of the Morning Calm - May 24, 2010
Having traveled to Korea on several occasions, I feel strongly that experiencing the culture of this vibrant nation firsthand is the way to fully understand the roots of taekwondo. In doing so, practitioners can make a geographical and historical connection with their physical training while sampling the unique heritage of the Korean people.
Grandmaster Li, Mao-Ching (李茂清) - March 29, 2010
Grandmaster Li, Mao-Ching (李茂清) was born in Qingdao city (青島市), China, on July 5, 1927. He first began training martial arts in 1934 when he was eight years old, under the instruction and guidance of his father and his cousin Shang, Huan.
The Doctrine of Purpose - December 14, 2009
It is widely accepted that martial arts were originally developed as tools of war intended for use by soldiers on the field of battle.
Remaining True to the Art - October 5, 2009
I am always careful to remind my students that the practice of traditional taekwondo is not easy. I tell them that if it were, everyone would train. And it is not difficult to see why.
The Korean Connection: Taekwondo Training in the "Land of the Morning Calm" - Part 3 - March 16, 2009
Grandmaster Nam is an exceptional instructor, nimbly moving from one component of the taekwondo curriculum to the next. From basic movements he continues on with one-step sparring drills, fourteen in all, ranging from axe kick/round kick combinations to spread block/double upper cut in twist stance techniques
The Korean Connection: Taekwondo Training in the "Land of the Morning Calm" - Part 2 - March 9, 2009
In what to me represents the epitome of Korean hospitality, our group is invited to the headquarters of the Korean National Tourism Organization in downtown Seoul, for an official welcoming ceremony
The Korean Connection: Taekwondo Training in the "Land of the Morning Calm" - Part 1 - March 2, 2009
Traditional taekwondo philosophy teaches us to cultivate, among other things, courage, perseverance and indomitable will. Clearly, these virtues go hand in hand with transforming dreams into reality.
Insights into Modern Day Martial Arts Training - February 17, 2009
Training does have to be adjusted and changed for modern day, but the principles and essence should remain the same. We are constantly striving to preserve the teachings of our masters, and we should be very cautious when to modify them.
Martial Arts in the 21st Century - Part 3 of 3 - January 22, 2009
There has been a clear and obvious downward shift in the average skill level of students, and even masters, of today compared to the masters and students of old.
Martial Arts in the 21st Century - Part 2 of 3 - January 15, 2009
In ancient times, many students would unconditionally sacrifice their lives to their training and beg masters to take them, often striving to prove themselves worthy for many weeks, months or years before they were accepted.
Martial Arts in the 21st Century - Part 1 of 3 - January 8, 2009
My Long Fist grandmaster, Grandmaster Li, Mao-Ching, spent 23 years and 1 month in the Chinese military during harsh wartime conditions while he trained everyday, under Great Grandmaster Han, Chin-Tang, one of the foremost traditional martial artists and graduates of the Nanjing Central Guoshu Institute
Martial Arts Conditioning and Fighting - Part 2 - May 14, 2008
Traditional martial arts is not supposed to be glamorous, and conditioning is not a very glamorous process, being a very repetitive and monotonous type of exercise requiring many years of training.