Archive for martial arts

Sifu Lee on Children & the Martial Arts

Posted in Day's Lesson, Martial Arts, Miscellaneous, Peace & Wellbeing, Teaching Topic, Training with tags , , , , , , , on August 8, 2013 by Sifu Freddie Lee

Children Kids Class Education KindergartenI cannot force my children to practice Martial Arts.

That is against the Tao. 

If it comes natural, let it be, if it does not, let it be.  My children will have to exercise, practice good hygiene, eat healthy, and sleep well.  Those are necessities that they have no choice in fulfilling.  We live the healthy way, so my children have no other choice but to follow.  The fridge is only filled with healthy foods, there is nothing else to eat.  It is either eat healthy or starve.

They are forced to brush their teeth and take showers even when they don’t want to, it is a necessity of health and wellness.  The lights go out at a certain time so they have no other choice but to sleep when it is time.  They exercise because there simply is nothing else to do.  We have no cable TV to watch.  We have movies, but movies get old.  They play online games, but eventually they have to stop and move around.  They want to go to the park to play, when they go to the park, that is the beginning of their physical training.  Even at home they are very active running and playfully wrestling.

Activeness is extremely important.  The must be active.  But as far as formal exercise training, like in the beginning stages of Martial Art training, I do not force but I encourage.  They know they will make us happy when they participate, knowing this encourages them to get involved.  I also notice that when other children are around taking the training serious, they tend to get more involved.

Freddie Lee pinterestBrandon loves playing XBox 360.  We have an agreement that if he practices Kung Fu for 1 hour, he can play Xbox, and this agreement is working wonders.  It really motivates him to get involved with the training.  Angelina naturally loves to train and does not need video games as a motivation.  Brandon and Angelina enjoy spending time with me and that is what makes them want to participate.

The kwoon is also separated from our home.  Taking them to the kwoon creates a separate environment that also motivates them.  Staying at home all day makes a child want to get out and be somewhere new.  The kwoon becomes a quick getaway to do something exciting and different, this helps a great deal.  Keo does get involved as well, but he is not as motivated as Brandon and Angelina because he is still a bit young and does not have as much energy as Brandon and Angelina.  Jet is the only one that is unable to participate in anyway because of his extreme lack of focus and attention span.

I see that it is very important not to force the children to learn Martial Arts; they will learn when they are ready.  If they experience great struggle in life, it may encourage them to learn when they wonder why they are having such a difficult time overcoming these struggles.  Sometimes it will take a child getting bullied or beat up in school in order for him to realize that he needs to take action and get started in something like Martial Arts to defend himself when necessary.

It is of absolute necessity that children learn to be healthy and nonviolent.  If they are able to live a peaceful life, they may never find a need to learn Martial Arts at all.  But if they are surrounded by struggle and conflict, Martial Art training may very well end up becoming a necessity.  It depends on each child’s circumstances.  It is not right for a parent to force a child to practice an Art that he/she does not enjoy.

If he would rather play the drums or read, let him do so.  But no matter what he chooses, he must find time to exercise.  Exercise is something that I will always enforce, because him refusing to do so is no other reason than just pure laziness.  When a child is being lazy, you must teach him the way to combat this laziness and become active.  When a child is continuously active, Martial Art training will come on its own natural way that is unforced.

Sincerely,

Sifu Freddie Lee

Freddie’s Modern Kungfu. Chicago, IL.

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10 Questions with Eve Torres

Posted in 10 Questions, Jiujitsu, Safety, Self-Defense, Violence with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2013 by Combative Corner

Eve Torres CombativeCornerEve Torres is not your typical lady – she’s a dancer, model, actress, former professional wrestler (3-time WWE Divas Champion) and now, instructor of the Gracie’s Women Empowered Program

(Combative Corner DVD Review). Click image below to watch.

I had to honor of linking up with her on Skype for an exclusive 10 Question Interview.  Watch and listen as we find out more about Eve and her new-found direction.

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Interviewer: Michael Joyce

*Photos Above used with the Permission of Ms. Eve Marie Torres

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Kuo on “What is Martial Art” : RTD 018

Posted in Day's Lesson, Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy with tags , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by mindbodykungfu

Kuo1

“Art” is one of those hard-to-define words which means different things to different people. Most people tend to think of the fine arts (painting, sculpture, dance, theater, etc) when “art” is brought up in conversation. In my opinion, art encompasses any endeavor which requires skill and is an expression of the artist. Both the fine arts and the martial arts require refined skills and are a creative expression of the artists.

Human nature has violent and physical aspects, so it only natural that there are art forms set in the context of fighting. What separates the martial “art” from mindless brawling is the systematization of the fighting such that the movements and principles of fighting can be trained without violence necessarily being the end goal. When such a systematization is present, the martial artists can train the craft of fighting and express the principles of a martial arts style in their movements. Watching martial artists who have mastered their craft is similar to watching the skillful movements of a dancer or an athlete competing at peak performance. By blending with an opponent’s attacks and weaving offense and defense, the martial artist is demonstrating a beautiful display of body movement and force interplay.

The practice of martial arts is a physical expression of the practitioner’s self. You can perceive actors performing with feeling, athletes competing with heart, and painters creating with vision. You can also tell the difference between martial practitioners moving with rote, reflexive patterns and the skillful artists moving with intent and dynamically adapting to their opponents. With skilled martial artists, the hours of deliberate practice shine through with efficient movements, powerful attacks, solid defense, clear perception of an opponent’s attacks, and an exquisite sense of timing and distance. The martial artist elevates fighting to a skilled craft.

Coming from a primarily Chinese martial arts background, I also believe another defining characteristic of martial arts is that they are a path to self-improvement. At the most basic level, martial arts training develops focus, discipline, physical conditioning, and camaraderie. However, the self-improvement to which I am referring is the (perhaps cliched) life-altering, fundamental truth-realizing types of change. To pursue a martial art to a high level–or any serious endeavor for that matter–one has to devote a lot of time and effort. That in and of itself cuts off a lot of other life possibilities since time and energy and unfortunately limited resources. While on the path to mastery, martial artists must ask themselves if the art is something they truly wish to pursue and what sacrifices they are willing to make to achieve their goal. They must determine who they are, who they want to be, and what they want out of life before they can commit to pursuing mastery of an art.

To reach high levels of proficiency with a martial art, the practitioner’s mental acuity must be elevated. Even in high level athletics, physical training is rarely the limiting factor; rather it is the mental game that defines the elite. The martial artist’s mind must be trained to maintain focus, develop a keen kinesthetic feel, and perceive the conditions in a fight. Martial artists must develop mental fortitude to deal with the inevitable roadblocks and setbacks on the path to mastery. To reach their full potential, martial artists need to delve into their own psyches to conquer the mental blocks that hold them back and remove the mental clutter that cloud the understanding of fundamental principles. It is in this process of looking inward that the martial artists realize themselves and grow as people.

A martial art is just like any other art form in that a martial art is a skilled pursuit which expresses aspects of life and humanity. The art can form bonds of friendship, help a person grow, and express beauty through skill. It just happens that the “art” is expressed in the context of fighting instead of the more traditional fine arts media.

Johnny Kuo

Mind Body Kungfu

MORE ON ‘ WHAT IS MARTIAL ART ‘ TO COME!

Lee on “What is Martial Art” : RTD 018

Posted in Discussion Question, Martial Arts, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Combative Corner

Freddie Lee FMKRTD 018: Martial Art is the balanced integration of the body, mind, & spirit & its expression of it. Martial Art is the integration of Yin/Yang. Martial is Yang, Art is Yin. The balance is Martial Art. The imbalance is not Martial Art but rather a corrupted version of it. A balance is like walking on tight rope, it is easy to become unbalanced in which to fall. Those who are balanced correctly are representing harmony between the two forces of Yin/Yang. Yin/Yang goes by the philosophy of Tao. Martial Arts is the Tao. True Martial Arts must integrate the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual. Any lack of, is not Martial Art. Any and all combat sport is not Martial Art, it lacks the spiritual. Football, basketball, golf, tennis, etc. are not Martial Arts, it lacks the scientific development of combat, it lacks the spiritual understanding, and it lacks the complete physical development that is relevant to self-defense, sports is not Martial Arts.

Dancing is not Martial Arts, but it retains the creative/artistic qualities of Martial Arts. Michael Jackson was not a Martial Artist, but he clearly was an Artist. Mike Tyson was a Boxer, not a Martial Artist, he would more closely resemble a street fighter than a Martial Artist. Although Mohammed Ali was a professional Boxer, his inner spirit, his expression of compassion, his inner character in standing up against the Vietnam War, his gracefulness in the ring, made him resemble more of a Martial Artist rather than a street fighter. A Martial Artist does not fight for money, a Martial Artist will not hurt others for profit, a Martial Artist will find another way to make a living. A Martial Artist will not train others to become bullies, a Martial Artist will train others to become good, loving, and compassionate people within.

Martial Arts is not purely just self-defense. A soldier is not a Martial Artist, a Police Officer is not a Martial Artist. They are both in lack of the spiritual development, and they are clearly in lack of the artistic and creative aspects of what makes an Artist. They may possess or have knowledge on the most efficient way to kill, but they are not Martial Artists. In Martial Art, there is an aspect of creativity and self-expression that cannot be found in self-defense tactics alone. Self-Defense tactics is more scientific, it is not artistic. There is clearly a difference between self-defense and Martial Arts.

Martial Art requires an understanding of the Eastern way of living and being. Martial Art derives from the East, not from the West. In order for a Westerner to truly understand Martial Art, he must surrender his Ego and learn the ways of the East in which to create a balance between East and West. The Westerner is representing Yang, the East is representing Yin, the westerner who refuses to learn the ways of the East, cannot be a Martial Artist. He can be a soldier, he can be a fighter, he can be capable of defending himself in combat, but he is not a Martial Artist. The West teaches violence and effective ways of killing, the East teaches peace, love, and compassion, learning both ways creates the balance, creates the harmony.

Belt JiuJitsu Jiu-Jitsu GJJ White JTBBThe proud wearing of traditional uniforms that represent the culture of the East is important in Martial Arts. This shows the appreciation of the history, culture, and ways of the East. Uniforms play a significant role in society. We know who a Police Officer is when we see his uniform. The mailman has his uniform, the UPS driver has his uniform. The sales clerk has his uniform. The uniforms that you choose to wear will represent your understanding and appreciation of the Martial Arts. If you choose to wear no uniform, the Martial spirit is still within you but the public will not be able to identify you as a Martial Artist unless they already know what it means to be a Martial Artist. Combat Sport Fighters, Street Fighters, and thugs have their own uniforms that represent their ways. Martial Artist’s have uniforms that set themselves apart.

If it is not the uniform, it is also the way you move and the way you physically express yourself as a Martial Artist. A Martial Artist knows how to move like a dancer, most Fighters do not. A Martial Artist is graceful with his movements, most Fighters are not. A Martial Artist is peaceful with his expression, fighters are not, they are destructive. A Martial Artist will demonstrate his talents and abilities without having to hurt others, a Fighter will hurt another for a price. A Martial Artist has a good heart within and will not abuse his powers. A fighter is an immature child who is irresponsible with the powers that he possesses.

Martial Artist’s are found in all walks of life doing good for society. You will find Martial Artist’s that make a living as actors, fire fighters, Police Officers, soldiers, teachers, personal trainers, fitness instructors, nutritionalists, professors, doctors, dentists, service clerks, security guards, etc. You will find Martial Artists who take on professions that are contributing something positive to society. You will not find Martial Artists in Combat Sports, you will find fighters, boxers, wrestlers, bullies, and athletes, but not Martial Artists. It is not easy for talented Martial Artists to reach fame, as there are less and less professions available in the entertainment businesses that require the unique skills and talents of Martial Artists.

The invention of computer graphics and the use of stunt doubles has nearly eliminated the need for movie producers to hire Martial Artists for action roles. Martial Artist’s are left with occupations that are typically low-paying and do not provide the opportunities to reach worldwide fame. A Martial Artist in the real world is like the very talented and inspiring teacher that is known locally but not worldwide. Fighters are known worldwide and get paid much money because they are willing to hurt and destroy others for profit, similar to how a drug dealer can make much more money compared to a Police Officer or how a “porn star” or stripper can make significantly more money than a school teacher.

Martial Artists are becoming more extinct in the real world, just as many of these beautiful wildlife animals are becoming extinct because the human population has taken over the world and have used up all available resources. The humans move in, the wildlife disappears. Fighters are moving in & Martial Artists are disappearing, that is the reality of the situation. No more is the public idolizing Martial Artists like Bruce Lee & Jet Li. The public is now idolizing Fighters. Those who see and observe what is occurring can make a change for the better in which to represent the Martial Arts the way it is meant to be represented.

Sifu Freddie Lee

Founder & Owner
Tao of Freddie’s Modern Kung Fu

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Six Principles of Training | Kondo Katsuyuki

Posted in Aikido, Philosophy, Training with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2012 by Combative Corner

(translated by Derek Steel)

Daito-ryu is built upon a foundation of six basic elements. These are extremely deep and complex and mastery of even any one of them requires a great deal of time and effort. One’s ability to perform Daito-ryu techniques correctly and fully will only develop through constant and strenuous efforts to take all six into account at all times.

Rei: Correct Formal Personal Conduct

The term rei has been translated variously with words such as etiquette, manners, courtesy, decorum, respect, or propriety. However, rei may be generally understood to mean the rules of correct formal personal conduct. Historically in Japan such rules have served in lubricating social and interpersonal relationships and preventing strife among people. Daito-ryu preserves historical forms of correct personal conduct, not because they have any particular relevance to the performance of techniques per se, but because they contain and continue the spiritual mindset of the traditional warrior that pervades and informs the Daito-ryu tradition even today.

Metsuke: Eye Contact

Metsuke refers to the use of the eyes. Essentially there are two types of metsuke training in Daito-ryu, one called mokushin(lit. “the eye of the mind”), the other called ganriki(lit. “eye power”). Mokushin involves seeing with the “eye of the mind,” often to enclose and envelop an opponent. Ganriki, on the other hand, is a sharp, penetrating gaze that sees an opponent’s intentions and can be used to dominate and control him.

Maai: Distancing

Maai refers to the physical distance or interval between things. Maai is often the single most important factor in determining the outcome of a combative encounter. It sometimes happens, for instance, that a combatant thinks he has established a favorable maai only to have it suddenly turn out to be to his opponent’s advantage. Primarily a form of unarmed combat, Daito-ryu focuses on the diligent study of the closer maai characteristic of striking and grappling techniques, although other maai also come into play in some situations.

Kokyu: Breathing

Kokyu refers to breath or breathing. We generate physical power and movement more easily when exhaling or in some cases when stopping our breath, both of which are states of yang. The opposite is true of inhaling, a yin state. Thus, techniques are usually performed while exhaling, often with one breath from start to finish. Similarly, it is considered ideal to time any attack to an instant when your opponent has just exhaled and has just started to inhale again. We take advantage of the openings in an opponent’s defenses offered by yin states, with many counterattacks and defenses timed to coincide with the instant your opponent enters–or is made to enter–a yin state.

Kuzushi: Unbalancing

From ancient times the admonishment to attack where the opponent has been unbalanced has been a fundamental axiom of Japanese combative theory. In the name Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu we see that the term aiki has been placed before the word jujutsu, and it would not be an exaggeration to say that this aiki refers mainly (though not exclusively) to the principle of kuzushi, or unbalancing, the opponent. Indeed a great many of Daito-ryu’s oral transmissions and inner teachings pertain to the various subtle aspects of kuzushi.

Zanshin: Remaining Mind & Full Effort

The characters for zanshin have the general meanings of “remain” (zan-) and “mind” (-shin). The term is usually interpreted as referring to a mental state in which you continue to focus your attention on your opponent and the surrounding environment. I have another interpretation, however, which is that the characters for zanshin can also refer to the phrase “Kokoro wo nokosazu” (lit. “Leave nothing of the spirit behind”). This means giving of yourself so completely that nothing remains to be given and so that nothing is held back. When practicing Daito-ryu this means giving your absolute all to the performance to each and every technique.

Copyright ©2000 Aiki News. All rights reserved.
Shared via Koryu.Com April 19, 2009
Reposted with permission on CombativeCorner.Com July 10, 2012

This article first appeared in Daito-ryu: Hiden Mokuroku Ikkajo, published by Aiki News. For more info, check Daito-ryu: Hiden Mokuroku Ikkajo.
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Kondo Katsuyuki was born in Tokyo in 1945. He began his training in Daito-ryu aikijujutsu as a teenager under Hosono Tsunejiro and later Yoshida Kotaro. In 1961, he began to make periodic trips to Hokkaido to practice under Tokimune Takeda. He continued his training under the Daito-ryu headmaster for 32 years. In 1970 he opened his Shimbukan Dojo, which serves as headquarter for his Daito-ryu activities.
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