Archive for February, 2013

Martial Art Practice Through The Winter

Posted in Internal Development, Kungfu, Martial Arts, Taijiquan, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2013 by Combative Corner

winter-forest_photoAs the cold season comes on strong, the urge is to be indoors, warm and comfortable. Of course this urge is a survival instinct, because where we are located without the SUV’s, mechanical heating and other benefits of modern technology, it would be quite easy to die outside when the really cold weather comes on.

However, in Chen Taijiquan gongfu practice we want to at least challenge some of those natural comfortable patterns of behavior and use practice as a way of bringing the body ‘in tune’ with natural seasonal changes. Outdoor practice is really best for cultivation and martial arts. On the cultivation side, while naturally we may feel the aversion to the cold and desolate season, over years long practice in the outdoors we can learn to use each seasonal energy to our advantage.

In winter, if we dress appropriately and practice with spirit outdoors, we will build a sweat and cultivate heat inside while cycling the cold winter air from the outside. Upon starting we may need gloves and hats and scarves etc, but for a fairly experienced practitioner we can build a sustainable heat such that the hats, gloves and scarves may come off. The more of ourselves we can expose to the winter energy while maintaining a sustainable heat inside, the more attuned to the season we can become. This is not meant to be so deeply metaphysical, but in a common sense way, when one can practice successfully like this, one feels like a warrior, full of vigor. Afterwards the results persist, making tolerating winter weather and bitter cold much more comfortable.

Although winter is commonly seen as a season of natural death, and an uninhabitable situation, this is more of a relative psychology. Just as the Taiji concept holds that within every extreme is kernel of its opposite, winter (in most places) while extreme, is in fact not dead, but extremely YIN, cultivating the kernel of it’s YANG opposite towards rebirth. Winter here is full of life action, although a quieter, or often just less seen action. Through proper practice we can cycle winter’s strongly YIN energy from the outdoors into the strongly YANG energy we create with heating practice internally, to holistically balance our being, physically and energetically with the season at hand; essentially adjusting our thermostat and perception of tolerance and comfort.

For more on Mr. Spivack and the Chen Zhaokui Association of North America, please visit his website at MoLingTaiji.Com.

Marin “Mo Ling” Spivack

Chen Zhaokui Taijiquan Association, North America.

Disciple of Chen Yu. Teaches in Massachusetts.

*Originally published 12/31/2012.  Reposted w/ permission.

Twitter Link CC bFB Facebook Link CC b

FightStoppers – Looking at the “One Strike Stop”

Posted in Discussion Question, Self-Defense, Techniques, Training, Videos with tags , , , , , , on February 6, 2013 by chencenter

Michael CC Pic

Let’s look objectively at the material & analyze the good, bad, & in-between.

Everyone, or I should say, anyone with a brain should know that in self-defense we are not looking to ‘win’ but to survive.  Our ego is the least of our worries.  In certain circumstances a pre-emptive strike is the only chance between escaping danger and being caught in ‘a fight.’

Paladin Press brings 6 self-defense professionals together to give us their “Go-To” technique.  You may click on the thumbnail to see the video.  Let us know what you think by commenting below.

fightstopper 2 lee morrisonLee Morrison – I’ve always enjoyed what Lee brings to the table & consider this to be the best of the 6 videos.  His “One-Stop” strike resembles a Wing Chun chain punch straight to the jaw –  making sure that it is quick & linear, non-telegraphed and with “enough juice to shake the brain.” I certainly can’t disagree with that!

fightstopper 1Mark Hatmaker – Mark’s video gave us a different feel to the confrontation.  Whereas Lee’s “One-Stop” focused on ending a fight, Mark’s emphasized more of a hit & run element using a back-hand (“eye-whip”) followed by a quick palm-heel combo.  He notes that in a true self-defense situation, use “anything around you as a weapon.”  And while this is certainly a valid, Bas Rutten-style scene escape – one would certainly hope that the attacker doesn’t run you down and make you pay for the preemptive assault.  If you choose to rely on this method, make sure the follow-up strikes do some damage.

fightstopper 5Wim Demeere – Demeere’s choice is a classic one-two combo in quick succession (lead hand-to-downward hooking punch).  While I like the distraction-punch combo, I don’t find that it works well for most people.  Ideally, it’s a shot to neck (or side of the head) that can render someone unconscious in a blink of an eye – on the other hand, most fights do not start with the attacker as a stationary target.  Also, it is harder, if not impossible, for a smaller guy to follow-up and (quite importantly) find his mark with his “fight-stopping shot.”  Lastly, you have to be very careful that your initial strike doesn’t back up or create too much movement in your opponent, thus reducing your chances to hit with the “fight-stopper.”

fightstopper 6Dan Shreiber – While many YouTubers have said that they disapprove of Dan’s headbutt and body-slam method, I think that it is an interesting and effective way of dispatching someone QUICK.  If you honestly ask yourself, “Where do men fight most often,” you’ll come to the answer that it’s usually at a club, bar, sporting event or somewhere where alcohol is served.  It’s usually loud and people have to get close or lean in to the other person to hear what the other is saying.  The only fault that I find with this technique is being able to accurately hit with the head and causing enough trauma that the fight ends there.  More than likely, you’ll have the advantage of being on top but the disadvantage is that you’ll likely be pulled into an exchange.

fightstopper 4Joseph Simonet – Simonet’s method of dealing with an attacker is simple, direct and I respect it highly.  In my opinion, Simonet is ‘spot-on’ when he says that the hands should be open in order “to be seen as the defensive dude.”  The technique is a one-shot-blast straight through your opponent [striking to the chin].  The image that springs to my mind is like a football “stiff arm” but given with massive speed, power and attitude.  He also goes to say that if caught on tape or viewed by others, the strike could be explained as something else [e.g. a quick shove] Brilliant!

fightstopper 3Bill Kipp – Kipp’s (of Fast Defense) method of stopping a fight with one blow was a bit “hit AND miss” for me.  His delivery system is a horizontal elbow direct to side of the face.  And although he says, “I wouldn’t use this as a preemptive strike, only if I wanted to take the guy out”… it automatically misses the point by drawing you into a fight whereby a punch exchange is almost certain to occur.  The other problem with this delivery (especially the way Bill Kipp does it) is that he steps in, telegraphing the elbow strike.  What I like about the technique is that the elbow IS utilized.  Elbows are strong, reliable, and deals a great deal of damage.  But while it certainly is a “Fight Stopper,” it isn’t deployed in the fashion that I find reliable.

Michael Joyce

Golden Thread Workshops

Twitter Link CC bFB Facebook Link CC b

%d bloggers like this: