Archive for December, 2015

Boxing; The Sweet Science

Posted in Boxing, History, Martial Arts, Miscellaneous, Styles with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2015 by Adam Thornburg

Boxing Sweet Science 2

Boxing Greek Fresco

image: wikipedia.org

Boxing is one of the oldest sports and martial arts ever. It has been in evolution since ancient Egypt but it’s modern form started around 1867 when the introduction of gloves and the removal of wrestling from the sport happened. The picture on the left is a Greek fresco painting depicting two youths boxing with gloves – the earliest documented source of ‘gloved’ boxing.  Since then boxing has kept evolving and each generation improves on something from the last.

Yet some things are still lost in the process.

Modern boxing, like modern fencing, and many other martial arts seem to only want the most athletic and naturally talented, and those qualities are the most prized now. There has been a diminishing in the amount of science put into the “sweet science” of boxing.  Most people agree that a fighter reaches his/her prime between 25-28 years of age.  These same people agree that most fighters should consider “putting up the gloves” around 34 or 35 years of age.

Fortunately there are still people like Bernard Hopkins (age: 50), Floyd Mayweather Jr.(age: 38), and Juan Manuel Marquez (age: 42) who seem to carry on some of the old traditions, and incidentally they seem to be the longest lasting champions around.

So maybe there is some merit in learning some old school boxing.

It may not always put on the “blood bath” that so many casual fans want to see, but it is better boxing.

Jack DempseyFirst let’s hear from one the most popular boxers that ever lived; Jack Dempsey. The Manassa Mauler was the hero of the twenties – known for an aggressive, smothering and powerful style of boxing.  As if he had dynamite in both hands, he fought heavyweights much bigger than him, and chopped them down with his skills.

“Tall men come down to my height when I hit’s in the body.”

-Jack Dempsey

We can learn from him many principles of developing power and proper punching technique (book link). As someone who started as what one might call “The bouncer of the wild west,” he has a technique to fight with or without gloves and importantly, how to keep ones’ hands safe.

From his book Championship Fighting he tells us about the power line of the arm. What is the power line?

“The power line runs from either shoulder straight down the length of the arm to the fist knuckle of the little finger, when the fist is doubled. You might call that pinky knuckle the exit of your power line.”

This may seem strange as we seem to be told to use the first two knuckles to punch with, but (bear with me) there is good reason in Jack Dempsey’s technique. He goes on to say:

“Unfortunately, however, the hand-bone behind the little knuckle is the most fragile of the five. It can be broken the most easily. You must not attempt to land first with the little knuckle. Instead you must try to land with the ring finger knuckle first.”

I have tried this myself in my boxing training, and it works well. When the front two knuckles are used even when the hand is fully rotated it bends the wrist, so it puts stress on it in addition to allowing power to leak out (via the bending of the wrist).  Strikes leading with the ring finger knuckle allows a straight shot down the arm through the hand and into the target.  Also it protects the thumb from getting jammed as easily.

Jack Blackburn

image: bleacherreport.com

Let’s move on to what we can learn from possibly the greatest trainer in history; Jack Blackburn. He trained the two greatest fighters of all-time; Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson. Both of the these dominate champions learned the sweet science from Blackburn who was quite the boxer himself in his younger years.  He retired from boxing with a record of 99 wins, 26 losses, and 19 draws with notable fights with Joe Gans, Sam Langford and Harry Greb.  The classic stance (the Blackburn crouch) is used by both these champions and offers great defense.

The Blackburn Crouch

image: ianstreetz.com

image: ianstreetz.com

The head is tucked and tilted off the centerline so it automatically harder to hit and the tucking of the chin helps absorb the blows that do get through. The right hand is up in front of your jaw and mouth and is used to catch, and sometimes reach slightly to parry incoming shots while countering with the jab. You are controlling the opponent with both hands. The crouch promotes ease of head movement as well. Blackburn also emphasized footwork.  And yes, it is possible to have good footwork that doesn’t look like Muhammad Ali. There are many types of footwork and the one that Blackburn taught Joe Louis helped his style of fighting. He turned Louis into a boxer-puncher using small sliding and shuffling steps that allowed Louis to plant his feet quickly to deliver his stunning power shots. He used short steps to move around his opponents so even though his feet may not have been as fast he used them efficiently to make angles quickly.

A great modern example of these principals in work is Bernard Hopkins. He has a very similar stance, and way of fighting as  Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson.  He has beaten more athletic and talented fighters consistently through his use the “Sweet Science.”

Great boxing still exists.  And if you look hard enough you can see the nuts and bolts, the years of toil, blood, sweat and tears.  If you are keen enough on the combative sciences, you may even see the interweaving of boxing’s past in the present.

Adam Thornburg

Boxing Student & Contributing Author

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Please let us know what you think with comments and suggestions.  We’re always looking to hear your thoughts!

The Education of Conor McGregor

Posted in Fighters, Mixed Martial Arts, MMA, Philosophy, ULTIMATE FIGHTING with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2015 by chencenter

Conor McGregor 2

In the mixed martial art world, people are still buzzing from Conor McGregor’s phenomenal 13-second victory over featherweight, undefeated champion Jose Aldo in UFC 194.  Some people may still be mumbling under their breath with distain, others may be scratching their head in confusion, but talent truly shines and at the moment, Irishman Conor McGregor is the beacon of mixed martial arts.  Currently he is 19-1-2, with his last defeat being 5 years ago/14 fights ago.

“…I see these shots, I see these sequences and I don’t shy away from them.. (if you do this) you are creating that Law of Attraction and it will become reality… I knew he’d (Jose Aldo) over-extend and I knew I’d catch him.”

But as crafty, confident and technical he is – there’s a higher level of skill that is being seen by all.  Easy to quote, easy to grasp (an understanding of), but hard to possess, is this melding of confidence, self-assuredness, courage, visualization, movement variation, and adaptability (to name a few).  So many people have put the mental aspect of fighting aside from “the game.”  The MMA world is full of fit and conditioned bodies, all striving to climb the ladder of success.  Few fighters strive to be different, try different things; some lack the courage or belief.  Perhaps with the growth of this 27-year old fighter from Dublin, the level of competition will reach an even greater height.

“If you can see it here (points to his brain) and you have the courage to speak it, it will happen.”

Bruce Lee said, “The way you think is the way you will become.”  He also said, more famously, “…Be (like) water.”  If you internalize what many of these teachers have said, believe it, and strive for perfection – success will come.  This is a lesson for all of us and something applicable to many factors in Life like; relationships, business and (in this case) sport & performance.

“Doubt is only removed by action.  If you’re not working, that’s when doubt comes in.”

Belief is not enough.  Anything that we require in life requires work.  But even when you’ve got belief and put in the work, how many of you continue to visualize failure? How many people continue to harbor the stressors that come with thinking “What if…”?

“…winners focus on winning. Winners focus on what they can control.  …Losers focus on winners.  People ask, did you learn anything (from Ronda, etc)… although I learned from watching the contest, the technical aspect of it… I already felt like the top before tonight.”

One thing that many people saw from the video that the UFC put out prior to the Dec. 12th event, was the huge amount of psychological warfare that Conor placed on Jose.  By watching the video (posted below), you can see the eagerness and tension building between the two combatants – but Conor, the aggressor, remains calm (if you want to call it that).  It’s the same taunting and prophesizing that helped give Muhammad Ali the legendary status he has today.  The only problem is you now have two fighters vying for the title “Greatest of all-time”  (Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor).  Floyd has a good argument as to why he should be (and we’ll explore that in another post), but with Conor, time will tell.  Even in an interview, LA Media Scrum (by MMAfigtingonSBN), Conor’s girlfriend wrote on his water bottle, “G.O.A.T.” Conor believes it, Conor’s girlfriend believes it, and in due time the world will as well.

But somehow it seems destined with Conor “Mystic Mac” predicting outcomes so precisely.  Here is what he said in UFC 194 : Exbedded on FOX (timestamp 3:10) –

“We’ll collide at that first exchange and that will be it.”

There have been many fighters to predict rounds, but how many have predicted one to the amount of exchanges?  It’s quite alright if you want to chalk it up to luck, that for someone who speaks so much will stumble on some truth – even a broken clock is right two times a day… but at some point, it goes to show you that mentally, if you open up and fully embrace this formula of success and are prepared to put in the hard work, the universe will manifest itself to you.

“Precision beats power, timing beats speed.”

When I heard this last quote,  I immediately thought of Bruce Lee.  Then I remember thinking, did this just come from a 27-year old fighter?  Because it sounded like it came from a physicist, or movement coach trying to boil things down to a simple understanding.  I was told that it came from Goethe.  Whoever said it first doesn’t matter.  The mark it makes does; and now it’s on the lips and minds of many.

conor-mcgregor-vs-hafthor-julius-bjornsson-of-game-of-thrones-fame-as-the-mountainBut the more I thought about this, the more I loved this quote because of its truth and relevance to the 13-second fight I just witnessed.  In Conor’s training we saw him playing body shots with The Mountain (aka. Gregor Clegane – real name, Hafthor Julius Bjornsson), from Game of Thrones (6’9, 400 lbs.), movement pattern work with Ido Portal and even snuffing out the flame of candles set about the room, with his punches (and kicks).

(Regarding the candles) Anyone who has ever tried this knows that it requires expert precision and tremendous quickness in order to pull this off.  In fighting, timing/rhythm will greatly disrupt, or stop an opponent’s effectiveness in attack or halt the opponent’s ability to start an attack.  If your timing is refined to the point that it enables you to move (and in this case, move and counter) at the very beginning of your opponent’s attack, the quickness of your attacker becomes of little concern.  It brings me back to Bruce Lee’s clip on Longstreet in which he says, “This time I intercepted your emotional tenseness.  From your brain to your fist, how much time was lost.” {CC article}

“When you face me, it’s a whole other ballgame.”

The message that Conor delivers in this statement, punctuates his determinedness, skill, undeniable confidence and flair – at the same time, alluding to the fact that those that face him are better fighters afterwards.  It depends on how you take it (losing).  But win or lose, there is something to learn, something to gain.  But what you should know is that when you fight Conor McGregor, you getting the whole Conor and you better not come to the fight with a singular approach – because that is just not going to work!

MICHAEL JOYCE

MENTIONED VIDEO

RELATED ARTICLE

CONOR McGREGOR’S #1 TRAIT

BRUCE LEE: ‘THE ART OF DYING” {PLUS VIDEO}

CONOR McGREGOR vs. THE MOUNTAIN

Important Self-Defense Movement For Any Style

Posted in Self-Defense, Training, Videos, Women's Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , on December 11, 2015 by chencenter

It’s here, the follow-up from The Valkyrie. Lots of action, and variations to practice in this one! We also had a lot of fun making this (as evidence by the ending)! Please share this video with your friends and loved ones.

Also, a special shout-out to my friend and CombativeCorner crew member T.J. Kennedy (owner and founder of the Hybrid Fighting Method) for influencing and helping our Praying Mantis evolve into what it’s become.

Peace and Happy Holidays.

Michael & Jennifer Joyce

Outfoxxed on YouTube

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The Valkyrie – Attacking with Sword & Shield

Posted in Safety, Self-Defense, Training, Videos, Women's Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2015 by chencenter

To all our readers here at CombativeCorner.  We have two more videos to share with you to introduce you me (Michael Joyce) and my wife’s (Jennifer) new project, to share our Outfoxxed Self-Defense Program globally.  We’ve previously shared our introductory video, managing distance, 3 predatory types, and the Fence.  Now, it’s time to share one of our favorite movements of all-time, the Valkyrie.

Enjoy!

Outfoxxed Program Website

Outfoxxed Program YouTube

10 Questions with Jennifer Gray

Posted in 10 Questions, Jiujitsu, Women's Self-Defense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 7, 2015 by Combative Corner

Jennifer Gray 1

Jennifer Gray is a Gracie certified jiu-jitsu instructor, fiancé to Ty Gay (Redline Jiu-Jitsu) and the woman behind She-Jitsu and Life & Death Kimonos.  I came to know her through researching her empowering and catchy clothing-line slogan “Real Men Empower Women.”  After reading her blog, and talking with her several times over social media she quickly became one of my favorite people.  Here’s a 10-question interview not to miss!

How did you come to Jiu-Jitsu?

I had no prior martial arts experience when I began my Jiu-Jitsu journey 7 years ago. It wasn’t until my now fiancé, Gracie Black Belt, Ty Gay invited me to take a class at his school where I experienced Jiu-Jitsu for the first time. I was immediately hooked.
You seem like such a young and enlightened person, how did you get this way?
Jennifer and Ty GayLot’s and lot’s of practice. I was not this enlighten jiu jitsu yogi you see on social media most of my life and I’m a little older than people usually think. I turned 32 this year, but I feel like my life is just beginning. I feel like I’m 22 all over again, but a lot stronger & wiser.
I thank jiu-jitsu for my second chance in life. It changed my environment, it gave me an amazing support group, and surrounded me with great people to look up to.
Since I began my journey in jiu-jitsu, I’ve also began my recovery of alcohol & drug addiction, mental illness, Agoraphobia, an eating disorder, & PTSD.
I didn’t have a quality of life until I started training jiu-jitsu. I was very alone in this world. I was on a fast track to jail or worse… 6 feet under. So, like most people that train jiu-jitsu, you could say… Jiu-jitsu saved my life.
Jiu-jitsu definitely plays a huge part in where I am today. Jiu-jitsu liberated me in a way I never thought possible, built my confidence, and helped me a lot mentally. It gave me a purpose. I didn’t go to college, I studied jiu-jitsu at The Gracie Academy from 2011-2015.
After I completed their Instructors Certification Program & became a Jiu-jitsu instructor I began mimicking those around me by applying the people skills & philosophies I was taught; not only on the mat, but off the mat. Eventually, I began to see results when jiu-jitsu started to bleed into my every day life.
Jiu-jitsu only took me so far, though. There came a time when my flash backs & panic attacks became to much. I had to step away from the mat for a while. I didn’t stop training completely, but I would come in sporadically to drill. Grappling during that time made me very uncomfortable and sadly was a trigger for my anxiety & flash backs.
I never stopped teaching my women’s class during this process though. At the time, I was teaching a free women’s empowerment class every Saturday. It was the only thing that kept me hanging on to jiu-jitsu at the time, I think.
When I reached my final breaking point, I was hospitalized. That’s when I was diagnosed with bipolar, agoraphobia, & PTSD. That was when I realized I needed serious help. I could no longer hide from the emotional pain. I could no longer cover it up.
After my hospitalization, I started to isolate myself & my training continued to slow down. Mostly, because going to therapy, teaching, and training did not mix well. It was very difficult going to group therapy and seeing women that had just got out of jail for substance abuse that are struggling to keep their kids, find a home with a felony record, & with no means of transportation besides relying on a bus; at the same time trying to heal myself, talk about my emotions, & keeping up with a jiu-jitsu training regimen wasn’t the best option for me at the time.
The first group therapy I attended & graduated from was a program called Seeking Safety. That’s where I learned how to cope with PTSD & substance abuse.
Seeking Safety is where I learned how to physically & mentally ground myself by using “grounding” as a distraction. Grounding is a set of simple strategies to detach from emotional pain (e.g. drug cravings, self-harm impulses, anger, sadness).
Grounding as a distraction works by focusing on the external world, rather than inward toward the self. You can also think of it as “centering,” “a safe place,” “looking outward,” or a “healthy detachment.”
When you are overwhelmed with emotional pain, you need a way to detach so that you can gain control over your feelings and stay safe. Grounding anchors you to the present and to reality.
Grounding techniques got me back into the world. Once I applied these techniques, I started coming back regularly to jiu-jitsu. I started grappling again.
After I graduated from Seeking Safety, I was put into another group therapy; Dialectical Behavior Therapy. This is where my life really started to change. This is where I was introduced to Mindfulness.
I was given core mindfulness skills, Distress Tolerance Skills, Middle Path Skills, & Emotion Regulation Skills where I learned a lot about the mind. I was given techniques on how not to judge myself & others, how to observe my emotions, and the greatest thing I learned was meditation.
Every class we began with a 5 to 10 minute guided meditation straight from YouTube. The instructor would have us rate ourselves before & after meditation. Of course before I was extremely anxious, panicked, and nervous because that is just how I felt going to therapy each time; after we meditated I felt fine. I was back in my body again.
I started meditating more and more. I started with 5 minutes a day, then 10, then 20, and I eventually reached 30 minutes. During this time, I also started pursuing my journey in yoga.
My doctors had me on 8 pills a day during this time. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, & antipsychotics.
After being on my meds for a year, I had my worst episode of self-harm I’d ever had.
I’d been fantasizing about cutting my wrist every time I saw a sharp object & it wasn’t until this episode I started cutting my wrist. Thankfully, that was also the last.
As I sat across from my doctor with bumps, bruises, black eyes, and cuts on my wrist that I gave to myself, she said well we will just change your regimen. That was the day I refused to live like that. That was the day I refused to rely on medication for my sanity.
That was the day I took myself off medications & I buried myself into meditation, yoga, and mindfulness practice; for the most part I practice them every single day. Sometimes, several times a day and it’s given me a better quality of life than any of those pills ever did.
My bad days are getting shorter and my good days getting better. I still struggle, and I’m still looking into other treatments like EMDR therapy because I still have days that I struggle with triggers, mania, depression, severe panic attacks, nightmares & flash backs, high anxiety, & insomnia, but I’ve found things that work for me.
Through trial and error I will get there. I have to do the work myself and I’m still working on it. I may struggle, but one thing is for sure, I will never quit.
You’re a savvy business lady, with your hands in many pies – how do you divide your time?
So many pies! Have you heard the saying… entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours a week? That’s me.
I work pretty much constantly, but I’m VERY fortunate in this department. I’m my own boss, I work from home, so I manage my own hours.
I run 3 businesses: Redline Jiu-jitsu, She-Jitsu, and Life & Death Kimonos. I spend the majority of my time in marketing & advertising, shipping & receiving, managing our online shops, managing our websites, managing our social media, & managing our blogs for all 3 businesses.
I train jiu-jitsu 2-5 days a week depending on what I have going on. I practice yoga regularly every Sunday & Wednesday, but I also have my own private practice at home which I do mostly every single day. I’m an aspiring yoga teacher, so I just recently added that to the mix.
Every day I try to do something that gets me closer to these goals and take it one step at a time. Some days I don’t train jiu-jitsu or yoga. Some days I don’t work on my blogs or websites, or even check my emails, but I always come back to them.
If I’m not working, practicing yoga & training jiu-jitsu; I’m reading or listening to books on audio, listening to music, riding my bike, cooking delicious vegan food, having girl time with my favorite girlfriends, spending time with my family, learning how to play the djembe, spending time outside with my dog, or traveling around with my fiancé watching him live his dream as a musician.
As someone who has experienced some hardship, how do/did you rise above them?
By practicing grounding and mindfulness, and reminding myself that everything is temporary including my emotions. Key word: PRACTICE. PRACTICE. PRACTICE.
Many people with PTSD & substance abuse struggle with feeling either too much (overwhelming emotions and memories) or (numbing & dissociation). In grounding, you learn how to attain a balance between the two: conscious of reality and being able to tolerate it.
There are many different ways to ground. Jiu-jitsu & Yoga are great examples of physical grounding. It takes you out of the mental state you were in when you get on the mat bringing you to where you are: the present moment. It takes you to another state of mind. However, you must get to the mat. That’s the hard part. That’s what grounding help me do. It helped me get back on the mat.
Three major ways of grounding are mental, physical, and soothing. “Mental” means focusing your mind; “physical means focusing your senses (e.g. touch, hearing); and “soothing” means talking to yourself in a very kind way.
The one grounding technique that helps me the most that I still use a lot is looking at objects without judging. Basically, you look at things and name what you are looking at without judgment. Example: When I look around my living room, I see floor, couch, dog, table, chair, tv, fan. I don’t see a wood floor, a brown couch, a yorkie dog, a wooden table, a comfy chair, a big screen tv, and a small fan.
When I do that, I’m mentally grounded & able to focus on the present moment where the past & future do not exist.
So, then I can start to physically ground by scanning my body: Am I clenching my teeth? (relax jaw) Are my shoulders tense? (move shoulders away from my ears) Am I breathing? (Count to 4 on an inhale & exhale). Once I am better relaxed I can start to sooth myself by talking to myself in a kind way. (It’s ok. These things happen. You are not a bad person. You will get through this.)
Grounding is something you can do anywhere at anytime & it’s what helps me the most with my depression, anxiety, and panic attacks which are really the only thing that keep me from doing the things I love. Like getting to the mat…
The mat is my sanctuary, a place I practice mindfulness, and just like anything else; the more I practice, the better I get. Jiu-jitsu plus meditation, yoga, grounding, & being mindful are what led me to who I am today. What you call: enlightened.
Those mindfulness practices have done more for me than any medication, any therapist, & even talking about it. That’s what keeps me coming back to the mat because I know after each time I get to the mat I will be better than who I was when I got there.
Most people like me are in recovery their whole life and that’s something that is hard to accept, but I accept it. I have learned to accept my set backs, take lessons from my struggles, and take it day by day.
Also, turning to my favorite philosopher, Osho, as he always reminds me….
“Life can only be lived dangerously – there is no other way to live. It is only through danger that life attains to maturity, growth. One needs to be an adventurers, always ready to risk the known for the unknown. And once one has tasted the joys of freedom and fearlessness, one never repents because then one knows what it means to live at the optimum. Then one knows what it means to burn life’s torch from both ends together. And even a single moment of that intensity is more gratifying than the whole eternity of mediocre living.”
What role does yoga play in your life?
Jennifer Gray YogaI use yoga as a tool to change my state of mind. It helps me stay focused and brings me back to the present moment each and every time I practice. Yoga takes me to a place where I can find answers.
It’s more than exercise or a physical activity to me. It is my mindfulness practice & I believe mindfulness can change the world. That’s why I want to become a Yoga Instructor. Not only because it’s a lot of fun and helps me mentally, but because Yoga has taught me a lot about myself; How to open my heart; and how find connection to others.
If you have a motto that you live by, what is it?
Nothing in this life is permanent, not even our troubles.
As a jiu-jitsu student, what has been your biggest challenge? And what is the best reward?
She Jitsu Jennifer GrayMy biggest challenge is getting to the mat. Dealing with anxiety & agoraphobia makes it hard to leave the house sometimes. When my anxiety levels are so high it’s hard to walk out that door, get in a car, and drive. Once I’m there, though, everything is fine. That’s why I created the slogan “Get to the mat.”
My best reward is witnessing children & adults grow through their journey, showing them what jiu-jitsu can do for them, and helping them through the process.
It’s just a beautiful thing to be a part of.
If you could name only three people that have been inspirational in your life, who would they be and why?
  1. My mother. She is tough as nails, she sacrificed herself for me & my sister when we were kids & struggled to put a roof over our heads; at the same time keeping food on the table independently. To this day she is one of the hardest working women I know. 
  2. My fiancé, Ty. He’s been my rock, my everything through recovery. Without him by my side, his love, and never ending support I couldn’t have made it this far. He is one of the smartest people I have ever met, the reason I started jiu-jitsu, & he is the reason I’m still alive today. He inspires me with his courage, his passion, and his music. I have learned so much from him. More than he will ever know. 
  3. Ryron Gracie. I admire his mannerisms and sometimes try to be very Ryron-like because I admire the way he carries himself. He is the one that introduced me to the philosophy of being connected, but not attached, how to NOT take others personally, and he also introduced me to the philosopher Osho which helped change my life.
What inspired the message, “Real Men Empower Women” ? 
Misconceptions about all men were part of the force that drove me to my breaking point, and so it’s touching that men, my fiancé in particular, and a male dominated sport were part of the solution that would lead me here today.
That’s why I created the “Real Men Empower Women” t-shirt. As an encouragement to both genders – about how cooperation & not division is a key to empowerment and overcoming challenges. I think it’s important for women to see that there are men out there that support them and want to see them empowered.
Most men want to help, they just don’t know how. This is a way for them to do so, by saying it without saying it; by saying it to everyone they meet.
The same goes for women. It’s important that we empower the men in our life. So, this  message goes both ways. You gotta give support and encouragement if that’s what you want in return. “Real Women Empower Men,” too.
What is something about Jennifer Gray that many people don’t know?
Oh, man. I could right a book on this question!
Most people don’t know that know all the words to almost every 90s R&B, hip hop, & rap songs. I am a huge fan of 70s, 80s, & 90s Country music. During the 80s I was in LOVE with Michael Jackson & Sinead O’Conner. During the 90s I was in LOVE with Billy Ray Cyrus. I even had a night gown with his face on it.
When I was a kid my mom got this little cable box that had about 30 channels on it and the only 2 music channels were BET & CMT. I would wait till she went to bed at night, sneak in the living room & watch music videos all night long.
My first cassette tapes were Silk, Jay-Z, and Conway Twitty. When I got my first CD player, you had to be 17 or older to get explicit CDs, and somehow I talked my mother into buying me 2pac’s greatest hits. I’ll never forget when she asked for the “Shoe-pac” CD. Probably one of the greatest moments of my life.
Bonus Question
If you could have a private, one-on-one with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Probably, Ronda Rousey. I think she is one of the coolest humans alive & I think we would get along really well. Plus, she would be so much fun to train with!
Much love!
Jennifer Gray

President, She-Jitsu L.L.C.

 

“The enemy is within. Let’s start a war.”
Twitter @shejitsu
Instagram @shejitsu

The 8 Energies and 5 Movements of Taijiquan

Posted in Internal Arts, Martial Arts, Taijiquan, Teaching Topic, Training, Videos with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2015 by chencenter

Chen Xiang demonstrating the Hunyuan 13 Shi set at the 2015 Hunyuan meeting in Beijing, China. The 13 in the name refers not to the number of movements but the 13 techniques: 8 energies (ba fa) 掤 peng, 捋 lu, 挤 ji, 按 an, 採 cai, 挒 lie, 肘 zhou, 靠 kao, as well as 5 stepping methods (bu fa) 前进 qian jin (advance forward), 后退 hou tui (retreat/ draw back), 左顾 zuo gu (glance/step left), 右盼 you pan (glance/step right), 中定 zhong ding (central fixed).  Video by: Douglas Martin

The martial art of Taijiquan is based on 13 principles (8 forces+5 movements).  All movements of Taijiquan are built upon these principles & are used in various combinations within each posture, transition and application.  Please watch the above video of Master Chen Xiang and watch this superb demonstration of these principles in his form which he calls the Hunyuan 13 Shi.  Those familiar with the internal arts may notice the other (somewhat hidden) stylings of Qigong, Bajiquan (Eight Ultimate Style Boxing), and Shuai Jou (Chinese Wrestling).  For the people interested in the culmination of these principles and power it garners should check out this older video of Chen Xiang testing fajin (explosive power) at Stanford University.  [link]

FORCES

  • PENG– refers to the outward (or upward) expansion of energy.
  • LU– often referred to as “roll back,” Lu is the ability to absorb, yield/deflect incoming force.  There are 3 characteristics of Lu are: Yielding (Jan), Merging (Ian) & Adhering (Nien)
  • JI– is often thought of as a “forward press,” however it also best described as a “squeezing out of space.”
  • AN– is a downward movement of energy, best translated into “(relaxed) sinking.”
  • CAI– (Tsai) translated into “downward pluck,” Cai is a combination of Lu and An.
  • LIE– (Lieh) Lie or “Split” is a combination of Peng and Ji.
  • ZHOU– Elbowing. In Chen style, elbows are overtly shown in all angles, with a coiling effect.
  • KAO– when the arms are bound/distance is too close to punch, we can use a “Shouldering.”

MOVEMENTS

  • JIN– Advance forward
  • TUI– Retreat back
  • GU– Gaze/Step left
  • PAN– Gaze/Step right
  • DING– Center-Fixed

 

 

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