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Some “Art” and Some “Science” of Combat Sports, Martial Arts, and Self-Defense
August 8, 2022
Martial arts, combat sports, and self-defense are different realms, and, while interconnected, they are not entirely the same.
A Scientific Approach to Self Defense
July 4, 2022
The entire Tiger Claw combination should only take a few seconds to execute completely. With practice, you can deliver all four moves in less than three seconds.
Self-Defense and the Law
June 20, 2022
When claiming self-defense, you are admitting that you are guilty of what would normally be a violent criminal action and that you did so intentionally and knowingly. However, you are also stating that your actions were justified under the given circumstances.
Meet the Author: Joe Varady and Gene Ching Have a Fun Chat About Hitting People with Sticks (video)
April 6, 2022
YMAA Publication Center author Joe Varady talks with Shaolin staff practitioner Gene Ching about his new video series The Art and Science of Staff Fighting, his method of cross-training many martial arts, HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), and the reality of using long weapons (or a broom!) in real life defense situations.
Some Martial Applications in Taiji Pushing Hands
August 16, 2021
The Thirteen Postures, (are derived) according to the theory of five elements and eight trigrams. They are the thirteen total jings of pushing hands. There are not another Thirteen Postures. The five elements are advance, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right, and central equilibrium. They can be interpreted by dividing into internal and external.
Heng and Ha Sounds Qigong - June 7, 2021
In the taiji classics it is written, “Grasp and hold the dan tian to train internal gongfu. Heng, ha two qi’s are marvelous and infinite.” It is also written, “The Throat is the second master.”
Training Contents for Taiji Push Hands - January 25, 2021
From the fundamental practice of single pushing hands, advancing into double pushing hands, (you learn) to listen, understand, advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, and look to the right. When (you) have reached a natural reactive stage of using the yi without the yi, then (you) may enter the practice of moving pushing hands. (However, you should know that) in moving pushing hands training, the practice of advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right, and central equilibrium also start from single pushing hands. Its main goal is to train central equilibrium so it can harmonize the criteria of advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right.
Theory of Taiji Pushing Hands - December 14, 2020
When discussing the concept of pushing hands we often envision two individuals engaging in an exercise where one is attempting to find the other’s center of gravity (i.e., physical center) and push them off balance. In some cases, the tendencies of aggressive behavior evolve into a competitive interaction between the two individuals, and unfortunately the essence of taiji pushing hands becomes lost with one person winning the match through use of force. Pushing hands practice involves the application of taijiquan theory and basic movements into matching actions with a partner.
Taiji Ball Qigong - November 30, 2020
Traditionally, taiji ball qigong training was a very important training for many external and internal styles. The reason it is so effective is because taiji ball qigong, using wood (internal styles) or rock (external styles) balls in the hands, helps focus the training in round movements. Consequently, this training is able to increase the endurance, strength, mobility, and flexibility of the practitioner's physical body, especially the torso.
Tai Chi Jing Practice - October 26, 2020
Often jing has been considered a secret transmission in Chinese martial arts society. This is so not only because it was not revealed to most students, but also because it cannot be passed down with words alone. Jing must be experienced. It is said that the master "passes down jing." Once you feel jing done by your master, you know what is meant and can work on it by yourself.
A Brief History of Stick Fighting and Why Learn It - March 9, 2020
There are many practical reasons to learn how to fight with sticks. Stick fighting is a healthy, competitive activity that has real world applications. Stick fighting skills are very practical for self-defense, while stick fighting also serves as a sport, offering both entertainment and fitness. It appeals to all types of people, of all ages and ability levels.
Essential Stick Fighting: Crossing the Gap - February 24, 2020
The human mind can be very predictable. Our brains have a natural tendency to look for patterns, and you can use this knowledge to trick your opponent into doing what you want him to do. This is called programming. Programming is an exceptional method of setting up your techniques, maximizing the probability of eluding your opponent’s defenses in order to land a decisive, disabling strike.
Theory of Taiji Ball Qigong (太極球氣功之理論) - November 12, 2018
The theoretical foundation of taiji ball qigong is based on the theory and philosophy of taiji (太極). From this theory, practices were developed. In order to understand the root of taiji ball qigong training, you must first understand the meaning of taiji in taiji ball qigong.
Introduction and Short History of Tai Chi Ball Qigong - January 9, 2018
Though the existence of taiji ball qigong has been common knowledge in both Chinese martial arts and laymen societies, its popularity has been limited due to the secrecy of the training techniques. Taiji ball qigong training, in each style, was kept secret and passed down only to trusted students.
Footwork and Figure Eights with a Staff - January 18, 2017
Footwork is essential to hitting your opponent without getting hit yourself, which is really the whole point of staff fighting. The general rule on footwork is to keep your body weight balanced over a stable, but fluidly mobile base, staying light on the balls of your feet at all times.
Easy Training Equipment for Staff Fun - December 5, 2016
Here is your opportunity to become the "Lord of the Rings" (sorry, I just couldn't help myself!). Training rings allow you to develop accurate, penetrating thrusts as well as circular techniques used in manipulation of an opponent's weapon. They are useful for training both staff and spear.
Combat with the Staff: The Moment of Truth - November 25, 2016
It is not unusual for sparring with the staff to feel awkward at first. There is a big difference between doing drills with a partner, and the chaos of combat against a non-compliant opponent who is trying his best to hit you. Stick with it.
What is Staff Fighting? - October 17, 2016
The staff has been a common weapon among the many cultures of Earth since ancient times. Over the ages, humans have used this basic weapon for self-defense and for contest.
The Art and Science of Staff Fighting - September 19, 2016
The staff, or bo, is one of the most common weapons in the martial arts.  Many karate schools include bo forms in their curriculum. I am here with Master Joe Varady, martial artist and weapons specialist, to talk about the staff.
Brain Damage: Do Football Helmets Help? - September 5, 2016
Recently, the National Football League is facing a 765-million-dollar lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 4,500 former players regarding the concussions and potential chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) sustained during their careers. Similar lawsuits are underway against the National Collegiate Athletic Association as well as the National Hockey League, and football helmet maker Riddell is facing multiple lawsuits over claims about the effectiveness of their helmets at protecting athletes from concussions.
Foam or Knuckles—Navigating the Illusion of Safety - January 18, 2016
If you really want to understand how gloves contribute to the safety of our athletes, especially when it comes to their brains, take a closer look at the physics behind taking a punch with a bare fist or a glove.
Train with a Partner using a Tai Chi Ball - November 23, 2015
Practice with a partner. This will allow you to focus on your sense of distancing as well as enhancing your connecting, adhering, and sticking jin skills. Whether you are practicing pushing hands or engaged with your enemy, these skills are necessary for positioning an opponent into a disadvantage and defeating them. In the following exercises, when it is recommended that one person at a time initiate a movement, the training for the passive partner is to stick to the ball and yield to the direction of the initiating partner. This is also an important element in training.
Guns, Knives, and the Hollywood Death Sentence - September 21, 2015
In order to become a successful screenwriter in Hollywood, you need to watch a lot of movies, so you can learn from the screenwriters who came before you, and so you can get a feel for what else is out there and popular today.  Unfortunately, this important part of a screenwriter's education is also how Hollywood ends up propagating and recycling incredibly stupid ideas over and over again to the point where the audience just accepts it without question.
Protecting the Brain from Trauma: A Home Experiment to Show We Can Do Better - September 7, 2015
If you put on a football helmet right now and smacked yourself in the head with your hands, you might notice you can hit yourself pretty hard before you start to feel pain. You could even grab a stapler or a coffee mug and hit yourself with that. If you are like me, smacking yourself in the head is the first thing you do when you put a helmet on, just to test it out.
Some Movements for Tai Chi Ball Practice - August 17, 2015
The following are some movements that you may find helpful while practicing tai chi ball.  It is best to do each exercise for 12 repetitions. 1. Stationary (Ding Bu. To begin this exercise, stand in ma bu and start the stationary horizontal circling pattern using a yang pattern. Once you have increased the size of the circle to your maximum range of motion, repeat the pattern for a few repetitions.