How Can Qigong Cure Back Pain?
November 18, 2019
In Chinese medicine, the concept of qi is used both in diagnosis and treatment. A basic principle of Chinese medicine is that you have to rebalance the qi before you can cure the root of a disease. Only then can you also repair the physical damage and rebuild your physical strength and health.
Steps to Winning
November 11, 2019
Many people study martial arts because they want to develop their fighting skills, then have a chance to go one-on-one with other martial artists. It seems more refined and socially acceptable to them than going outside and picking a fight with someone on the street. Of course you don't get the same possible dire consequences, because there is always a measure of controlled fighting in the ring.
Representations of the Mystery-Following the Laws, Translated and Interpreted
November 4, 2019
The Great Nature has countless cyclic patterns. Some of the patterns are near us and we can see or even experience them; for example, yearly, monthly, and daily cyclic changes due to the positions of the sun, earth, and the moon. All these changes are near us and immediately influence our body’s energy and activities. All these are considered as the De, the manifestation of the Dao. Then, what is the Dao? Is the Dao the spirit or God of nature? Since we don’t know too much about the Dao, it is still a huge mystery for us.
Emotional Health Care
October 28, 2019
Homeostasis is the balance or equilibrium of having enough sleep, nutritious food and a safe and supportive living environment. Homeostasis or balance set points change over time and circumstances. Everyone has been through periods when life seems off kilter. Maybe you had to sleep less or work harder to accomplish a goal. Perhaps you lost your job or got a promotion. You may have married, divorced, or lost a loved one.
Not All Krav Maga is the Same
October 21, 2019
I am concerned for the future of krav maga. Imi Lichtenfeld created too formidable a fighting method for it to be relegated to the pile of self-defense and exercise fads. Grandmaster Haim Gidon has spent fifty years enhancing Imi’s teachings and producing several generations of instructors who have both become and helped train some of Israel’s most capable and finest warriors.
A Plethora of Weapons for Self-Defense - June 27, 2011
There are a plethora of deadly objects out there that you may encounter on the street. Knowing how they work can give you a leg up on protecting yourself from harm. Major categories include hand weapons, knives, swords, mass weapons, pole arms, multi-element weapons, projectiles, and unusual weapons.
Fighting Ranges and Danger Zones - June 20, 2011
Once a criminal selects a victim, he must move into a position from which an attack is possible. Always remember that to assault, rob, or rape you, he must be close enough to talk to you. He will attempt to maneuver into this position by stealth (which is defeated by being alert), or by ruse… Positioning prior to the assault is vital to him, as he relies almost totally on surprise for success.
Regulating the Breath - June 13, 2011
Regulating the breath means to regulate your breathing until it is calm, smooth, and peaceful. Only when you have reached this point will you be able to make the breathing deep, slender, long, and soft, which is required for successful qigong practice. Breathing is affected by your emotions. For example, when you are angry or excited you exhale more strongly than you inhale. When you are sad, you inhale more strongly than you exhale.
Positive Attitude Required for Black Belt - May 30, 2011
Learning martial arts can be very challenging. It is a lifelong process that encompasses not only internalizing an abundance of fighting techniques, but also learning proper body alignment, breathing, and movement. It is both a physical and mental process.
More About Violence Dynamics - May 23, 2011
Social violence can roughly be delineated as the Monkey Dance (MD), the Group Monkey Dance (GMD), the Educational Beat-Down (EBD) and the Status-Seeking Show (SSS). The MD and GMD were discussed in <a href="/articles/violence-dynamics">part one</a> of this article. We will continue starting with the Educational Beat-Down.
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.
More Benefits From the Sunset and Sunrise Tai Chi - May 2, 2011
Most of us are shallow breathers. Some of the mind-body prescriptions from both series, Sunset Tai Chi and Sunrise Tai Chi, will introduce you to various breathing techniques, which will develop your lungs and over time you will become a deep breathing individual.
Benefits of Sunrise and Sunset Tai Chi Series - April 25, 2011
Most of us experience relief and joy when the end of the working day has come. For our own health, when the end of the day is here it is time to change pace and let go. This “letting go” can be different for each of us as it is a time to relax and recharge. The faster we let go of past activities and focus on the present to refresh, gather forces, and dissolve the tension and stress from the day, the quicker we will be able to enjoy the rest of the evening.
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Across the World—April 30, 2011 - April 18, 2011
On the last Saturday of April each year, the entire world is invited to move together, to breathe together—one world, one breath. World Tai Chi & Qigong Day is celebrating its 13th anniversary day on April 30.
Qigong Training Theory - April 13, 2011
Every qigong form or practice has its special training purpose and theory. If you do not know the purpose and theory, you have lost the root (meaning) of the practice. Therefore, as a qigong practitioner, you must continue to ponder and practice until you understand the root of every set or form.
The Meaning of 'Tradition’ in Traditional Karate - April 6, 2011
Much is written these days about traditional karate, but when it comes right down to it, what exactly is the "tradition"? It takes more than the wearing of a plain, white, karate gi (uniform) to make you a "traditional" karateka. A few bow's here and there and the use of a few Japanese words during training, won't do it either.
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.
Martial Grand Circulation - March 21, 2011
We always hear stories about Kung Fu (功夫) or Taijiquan (太極拳) masters who have developed incredible skills. One of the reasons why they became so good is because they practiced Martial Grand Circulation. Some martial arts practitioners believe that through Martial Grand Circulation, one can energize the muscles to a higher state of efficiency.
The Twelve Primary Qi Channels - Part 1 - March 7, 2011
Here will briefly review the twelve primary Qi channels along with the eight extraordinary meridians. You should also know the organ's Yin and Yang. In our body, there are six Yang organs and six Yin organs. Each Yang organ is associated with and harmonized by a Yin organ.
Steps in Learning Taijiquan - February 28, 2011
Every taijiquan master has his own sequence of training, emphasizing his methods and content. The following lists general training procedures according to my learning experience with three taijiquan masters and my teaching experience of more than forty years. This is a guide only to the bare-hand training procedures of taijiquan.
Neck and Spine Exercises for Back Pain - February 21, 2011
I would like to stress that the following exercises are based on my personal understanding and treating experiences from both the Western and Chinese medical point of view about lower back pain. I urge you to keep your mind open, study, and absorb other sources of information about back pain treatments.
Some Stretching Qigong Exercises for Back Pain - February 14, 2011
Out of all the Chinese martial Qigong developed in the last fifteen hundred years, there are only a few styles which pay attention to the torso’s strength, especially the spine. These styles are: White Crane, Snake, Dragon, and Taijiquan. The reason for this is simply that these styles are classified as either soft or soft-hard styles of martial arts in China.
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.
2011: The Year of the Rabbit! - January 31, 2011
The Chinese year 4709 begins on February 3, 2011. According to the Chinese zodiac it will be the Year of the Rabbit, which is associated with peace. The Chinese calendar is lunisolar (not purely lunar). Months begin with the new moon (when it is darkest). New Year's Day usually falls on the second new moon after the winter solstice.
Why Meditation is Important in Martial Arts - January 24, 2011
To reach the full potential as a martial arts practitioner, you must begin by training your mind. One way to accomplish this task is through sitting meditation. Through meditation your awareness, calm, and focus will increase. These are all very important factors in martial arts.
The Standing Eight Brocades Qigong: Exercises 1, 2 & 3 - January 17, 2011
The standing set of the Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong is more popular than the sitting set, so there are more versions of it. You should not worry about which version is better or more accurate, because the basic principles are the same.
The Sitting Eight Brocades: Exercises 1, 2 & 3 - January 10, 2011
It has been nearly one thousand years since the Eight Pieces of Brocade were created. It does not matter which version you are training, the basic principles and theory are the same, and the goal is consistent. Remember that the most important thing in the training is not the forms themselves, but rather the theory and principle of each form, which constitute the root.
Coughs, Colds, Breathing Problems - January 3, 2011
The ability to breathe freely is crucial to the practice of the martial arts. Here are some combinations that can help with breathing problems due to a recent cold or hay fever. Note that a commonly accepted guideline for exercise during a cold or the flu is the “neck up or neck down rule.”
Comments on Hojo Undo from Okinawan Karate Masters - December 27, 2010
Since I began traveling to Okinawa in 1984, I have been privileged to meet many great karate teachers over the years. Some have had a worldwide following, while others have not, but the majority of them have had something in common—their sincere love for the fighting arts of their homeland and their willingness to share what they know.
Taiji Ball Qigong for Health and Martial Arts - December 13, 2010
Since taiji ball qigong is a combination of internal elixir (nei dan) and external elixir (wai dan) qigong practice, the health benefits of taiji ball qigong can be divided into two parts, the internal and external side. Taiji ball qigong is a soft-moving meditation. Through this meditative training, you will be able to concentrate and focus your mind at a higher level.
Fundamental Moving Patterns of Xingyiquan - December 6, 2010
We will begin this discussion by introducing the most basic stationary posture of Xingyiquan, the three body posture (San Ti Shi). This posture is also commonly called the three power posture (San Cai Shi) or Taiji posture (Taiji Shi).
Tai Chi Intervention for Fibromyalgia - November 29, 2010
Over the past eight years I was given the opportunity to collaborate with Tufts School of Medicine researching the philosophy of Tai Chi and its effects on both arthritis of the knee and Fibromyalgia. I was asked by one of the researchers at Tufts School of Medicine to design and implement an intervention for both debilitating diseases.
Between Awake and Asleep - November 22, 2010
Most Eastern arts seek ways for the practitioner to spend more time in a deeply relaxed state, that is, with a meditative mind. This deep level of meditation is an essential step for achievement in all Eastern disciplines.
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").
Two Qigong Categories: Medical Qigong for Healing and Martial Qigong for Fighting - November 8, 2010
In ancient Chinese society, most emperors respected the scholars and were affected by their philosophy. Doctors were not regarded highly because they made their diagnosis by touching the patient's body, which was considered characteristic of the lower classes in society.
Practice Any Time, Anywhere - November 1, 2010
Consistent daily training makes all the difference in achieving your rank. Because there is so much to learn and everything builds from kihon, it is important to make a commitment to try to learn something new about your martial art, no matter how small, every day.
Daoist Breathing Improves Pushing Hands - October 25, 2010
As an instructor at the YMAA School in Boston, Mass., my students often ask, “How can my pushing hands get better?” We all want to get better. Many people spend a lot of time looking for some facet of the art that they have missed or a trick to shorten their path.
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.
Good Herbal Habits - October 11, 2010
Are you still reading, still thinking about trying herbs? Have you decided you’re willing to take responsibility for your own herb use? Here are some good herbal habits; habits that will help keep you safe.
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.
What a Martial Artist Should Keep in the Medicine Chest - September 20, 2010
Injuries happen in the martial arts. Most martial artists have a first aid stash: aspirin or something similar, ice packs, bandages, some kind of muscle rub, and perhaps power drinks to boost energy. Western herbs can make a valuable addition to this stash.
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.
About Junbi Undo—Part 2 - August 22, 2010
"Lift things properly, hit things with care", this maxim should be at the forefront of your mind when embarking upon the study of traditional Okinawan hojo undo. Find your limit with each tool and exercise, and then carefully and methodically push that limit further and further. In doing so you will learn much about yourself and who you really are.
About Junbi Undo—Part 1 - August 16, 2010
In an Okinawan karate dojo, warming-up exercises are known as junbi undo, preparation exercises. Within many Western schools of karate today, the warm-up exercises often have little in common with the mental activity that follows, neither do they always relate particularly well to the physical demands placed upon the specific muscle groups and tendons throughout the body that are about to be used in the karate training itself.
Form as a Vessel for Tai Chi Principle—Part 2 - August 9, 2010
Once enrolled in my class, she was all over the place swinging her arms as if dancing to imaginary music (fine at home, perhaps, but not in Tai Chi class). This woman completely lacked structure, but more significantly, she lacked any desire for structure or willingness to consider its merits.
Form as a Vessel for Tai Chi Principle—Part 1 - August 2, 2010
When the average person thinks of Tai Chi, the image that I expect most often comes to mind is one of some person or persons practicing a slow motion Tai Chi form sequence. This is quite reasonable given Tai Chi’s usual portrayal in the various media.
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.