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Understanding Natural Movement
December 27, 2021
By learning to move independently, we can become highly sensitized to frozen or inappropriately used muscle groups, thus providing a tool for directly working on releasing such unnecessary and harmful tension. Finally, the more able you are to consciously move a particular part of the body independently, the more successful you will be in sending qi to that area for healing an injury… and ultimately leading to the ability to do unified movement.
Dealing with Obstacles in Tai Chi
August 23, 2021
Students of any Teaching often lack the tools to make refinements to what they learn. Such a process requires critical thinking, analytical skills, perseverance, and knowledge of other arts such as science, mathematics, philosophy, etc. Henry Ford said: 'If you need a machine [or tool] and don't buy it, then you will ultimately find that you have paid for it and [still] don't have it.' A similar truth holds for tools for learning Taiji.
Balance
May 3, 2021
When you begin to lose your balance—even to a small degree—shifting your weight is often a factor in recovering stability. So a combination of mobility and leg strength is important in preventing falling. The stronger your legs and the greater their range of motion, the greater the ability to correct for a loss of balance.”
Tai Chi: Swimming on Land
April 12, 2021
Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing wrote about the importance of what is described as "swimming on land,"1 "swimming in air,"2 and "dry swimming."3 We are advised in these writings to imagine the air as having the resistance and consistency of water when doing taiji movement.
The Benefits of Expansive Strength and How to Cultivate It
March 8, 2021
I learned about such strength from a dancer, Elaine Summers, with whom I studied in the 1970s because of problems I had with my back. At a certain point of practicing taiji, I realized that the strength she taught for movement and therapy was the same as nei jin. In order to develop such strength, it is first necessary to relinquish one’s accustomed contractive strength which would mask experiencing any fledgling emergence of expansive strength.
Xingyi, Bagua, Taiji and Liuhebafa - August 26, 2019
The approach to teaching and studying martial arts in China was based upon a monastic tradition that is characterized as door, hall, and chamber teaching. In times past the monastery, both Daoist and Buddhist, served as schools for medicine, the classics, and martial arts.
Brief History of Liuhebafa: Water Boxing - July 15, 2019
The origins of Liuhebafa, also called Water Boxing, can be traced to the Daoist sage Chen Tuan (A.D. c.871-989) also called Tunan and Fuyaozi. Chen is a mystical figure whose advice and perspective was sought by Chinese emperors during the period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (A.D. 907-960) and at the beginning of the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279).
Fighting with Weapons - January 28, 2019
Weapons are simply an extension of the fighter. The Samurai even considered the sword to be an extension of their soul. The weapon assumes the character of whoever wields the weapon, as the weapon is simply a tool that extends the will of the fighter. The principles of fighting with empty hands apply to fighting with weapons. A fight is a fight. But there are some thoughts about these principles that should be noted.
Discipline: Keep Cool - May 7, 2018
One of my teachers frequently used the phrase, "Keep a cool tool." Samurai Miyamoto Mushashi expressed this a bit more eloquently centuries earlier, saying, "You must remain calm at all times; in this way you can control the attack."
Winning Fights is Based on Principles—Not Techniques - April 9, 2018
Technique is important. But techniques change, adapt, and evolve. Principles are timeless. Bruce Lee recognized this truth, and advised to “absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.” To Lee, there was no single superior style of fighting. He even referred to his methods as the “style of no style.”
Winning Fights - April 2, 2018
Everyone knows that any fighter can win or lose on any given day. There is even a saying among fighters that there is always someone bigger and better. No one can consistently predict the outcome of two fighters facing each other who possess equal skill. The Navy SEALS have the same problem. Men of all sizes, body types and different skill sets wish to enter SEAL training.
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.
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.
The Traditional Way to Celebrate Spring Festival or Chinese New Year - February 4, 2013
Daoist monk Zhou, Xuan-Yun grew up in a small village, Liu Gang Zu, in Henan Province with about 100 residents. The following are his memories and comments about the Spring Festival.
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.
Daoism and the Sword (道教和劍, Dao Jiao He Jian) - October 4, 2010
Many people wonder why martial arts are practiced by religions like Buddhism and Daoism that teach about compassion and humility. The idea of a warrior monk seems contradictory because in people’s minds the martial arts are linked with violence.
Pilgrimage to Wudang Mountain - September 27, 2010
During the summer of 2010, my family and I brought several students along during our annual trip to Wudang Mountain. Bringing students to the mountain is one way to pay our respect to the origin of the Wudang arts.
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.
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.