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Needle Through Brick: A Postcard of Traditional Kung Fu from Borneo
February 11, 2021
Needle Through Brick is a documentary that poses these questions by taking an intimate look at some surviving traditional Kung Fu and Tai Chi masters of Malaysian Borneo, particularly Sarawak and Sibu. There’s a large Chinese population here, a diaspora of masters who fled the Japanese occupation and the communists. Needle Through Brick presents insightful interviews of Borneo’s unique elder masters as the precious disciplines that they have dedicated their lives to face extinction.
Happy "Niu" Year! 2021—Year of the Ox!
February 8, 2021
To Chinese, this most important celebration of the year is known as "Spring Festival" (春節; pinyin: Chūnjié). It is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast (年夜飯; pinyin: niányèfàn) on New Year's Eve (除夕; pinyin: Chúxī). In Chinese societies, people may take weeks off from work to prepare for and celebrate this holiday. With about 3 billion passenger trips over the 40-day travel season, it is described as the world's largest annual human migration.
The Fight
January 18, 2021
Fights are not static. Things move. People move. Bear-hugs and headlocks and all that stuff happen sometimes in a fight, but they are transitional actions. You do not get bear-hugged just to be held (except by bouncers). A Threat wraps his big arms around you from behind either to pick you up and shake you (disorienting and intended as an intimidating show of strength) or to drive you into a wall. Maybe to throw you over a balcony. If you practice technique-based defense, will they work if the Threat refuses to stand there? If he is using that headlock to slam you from wall to wall?
The Lowest Level of Force
December 7, 2020
The Records area at Rusafa Prison Complex in Baghdad is enclosed by a chain-link fence and was almost always crowded. It’s a stressful place, with inmates being processed in and out, Iraqi military, police, corrections, advocates, politicos, and sometimes families of the convicts are present and a small handful of American advisors.
The Role of Intuition
October 19, 2020
There's science behind your body's natural reactions to fear even if you haven't consciously registered the fact that you are afraid. Fear stimulates your brain and triggers a release of adrenaline and other stress hormones throughout your body. This rush of adrenaline is what causes your heart to race and your palms to sweat. It's also responsible for goose bumps, which are what make your hair stand on end.
Violence Dynamics - May 16, 2011
Bill and I were talking to the warden in an Iraqi prison, drinking chai. A gun fired. Other than ours and the warden’s bodyguards there shouldn’t have been loaded weapons in that section of the building. I put down my tea, stood and drew my sidearm. I started clearing the building.
Self-defense: Down and Dirty - May 9, 2011
Let's start with one, very simple thing—power generation. A traditional martial artist is taught how to hit hard. Different systems have different methods of power generation, but two of the most common involve a solid connection with the ground and good structure.
Body Conditioning - Wrist Training - March 28, 2011
If one is to be a true martial artist, one must train their body accordingly to their art. By conditioning, the body becomes stronger and more resistant, making conditioning an essential part of any self defense discipline. When conditioning we must see all the reasons for which we want to condition.
Kung Fu Nuns - February 7, 2011
The nuns at the Druk Gawa Khilwa Nunnery in Nepal train kung fu each day in the early morning. A few years ago, several Vietnamese nuns were asked to visit the nunnery in Nepal to teach Kung Fu there. Another Drukpa nunnery in northern India has expressed interest, and the Vietnamese nuns will go there to teach as well.
The Value of Practicing Sequences - November 14, 2010
As a martial artist goes through training, they will encounter many years of practicing sequences. A sequence, (Quan Tao), is a continuous flowing routine made up of a number of defensive and offensive techniques. Japanese systems often call this a Kata (or literally: "form").
Ancient Short Weapons - October 18, 2010
Short weapons can be divided into two classes based on length. Very short weapons measure less than two Chi (approximately two feet). Often they are no longer than the distance from the hand to the elbow. While short weapons range in length from two to five Chi.
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.
Interview with Kris Wilder, Nicholas Yang, and Rory Miller about "Crossing the Pond Martial Expo 2010" - September 13, 2010
YMAA Publication Center supported the inaugural "Crossing the Pond Martial Expo" held Aug. 14-15 in Seattle, and Aug. 21-22 in Coventry, UK. This expo brought together six well-known and highly-skilled instructors of martial arts and self-defense.
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.
Ancient Chinese Weapons - August 30, 2010
A country as vast as China encompasses many types of terrain. Whereas deserts and high plateaus cover the northern territory, mountain ranges dominate the west. The southeast coast and central zones, favored by the Chinese for thousands of years, are lush and warm with many lakes, ponds and rivers.
A Month at the YMAA Retreat Center - July 26, 2010
I lived and trained at the YMAA Retreat Center for the month of March 2010. Close to the end, Dr. Yang asked me to write something about my experience there. Now, sitting in a café in my beautiful hometown in Germany, I think about the time spent there.
Seize the Opportunity with Chin Na—Part 2 - July 19, 2010
A Chin Na expert must also know how to escape from an opponent's Chin Na control, and be able to counterattack and reverse the situation. To escape from an opponent's control, you must master several techniques in addition to those explained in the previous section.
Seize the Opportunity with Chin Na—Part 1 - July 12, 2010
Chin Na literally means "seize control." Chin Na covers a wide scale of defensive and offensive techniques, from very fundamental hand grappling to the very advanced Dim Mak. The fundamental techniques can be learned by any martial artist or even by someone without any martial arts experience.
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.
Thwarting Terrorist Bombing Through Awareness—Part 2 - June 28, 2010
Awareness of timing has to do with the time of day during which terrorist attacks are most likely to occur. Terrorists are very conscious of media attention, timing attacks carefully to achieve the highest possible level of public impact.
Thwarting Terrorist Bombing Through Awareness—Part 1 - June 21, 2010
This article was written right after the bombing on the London transit system in 2005 and was published in Neth Publications. It is just as timely today with the recent bomb threat in New York City in April 2010. Although some of the statistics are five years old, the core of the article tells you that awareness is the key to survival...
The Original Shaolin Monk - June 7, 2010
The Shaolin Temple is regarded as the birthplace of Zen and Kung Fu—the first place in history to combine the training of a warrior with the spiritual practices of a monk.
Kung Fu Wrestling: Shuai Jiao (摔跤) - April 5, 2010
Shuai Jiao is a Chinese fighting style with over 4,000 years of history. It specializes in countering against punching and kicking, using defense as the offense. Shuai Jiao is commonly used for short range fighting and throwing down an opponent.
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.
My Experience Training at YMAA - March 22, 2010
I have been training at the YMAA School in Boston, Mass. for Kung Fu for over seven years. I am 13 years old. I am currently in the third of ten ranks in the adult Shaolin class, meaning I have three stripes. I still remember the first class that I attended when I was only 6 years old.