Thursday, April 30, 2009

Training in Difficult times

I find even when training becomes a part of your life schedule. It becomes very difficult to keep a focused mindset when other priorities in life jump out at you. Especially in these days when things are down. The economies down, spiritual awareness is down but fear is up. Yet it is at these times when it becomes most importat to strengthen ourselves. Kung fu means time and effort. And when times get harder effort gets harder. I know the body can only withstand so much. As we age our body's begin to break down, injuries last longer, etc. Though internally it is an opportunity to magnify our power. This is why it is important to always learn to "focus" our minds.

When we practice our qi exercies, it helps us to clean our spirits from the inside out. Also it can help clear away bad spirits that may attach to your life. Things that we might see as bad luck that occur in our lives from time to time is not always a coincidence. Its often times a battle that were not even aware is going on. Grow stronger spiritually and become aware of what your real purpose is. Every martial artist of every creed has wanted to learn the arts for one reason or another. But the initial reasoning is that we wanted to become heroes. Although society has a lot of ways to make us forget our true worth, training your body as well as your mind is a way to keep yourself focused.

Breathing techniques can be practiced any where at anytime. Sometimes if you can catch a quick break at work or school even if only for a few minutes, take some time to breath. Breath in light and heat into your dan tian under your navel. Then exhale black smoke which represents the stress, fear or anxiety in you. If you have an injury or pain in your body at all. Focus your intent on that point of your body, then breath iniside of the injury. I know all the arts have different ways to practice Qi, Ki, inner power, kinectic energy or what ever name you give it. But make sure that you spend time to heal yourself. What battle can we face if our mind is not prepared? And if we are fortunate enough to have a healthy body, then we should exercise it.

Stay focused on the things that matter and remember lifes not only three dimensional.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

新竹縣錦園八卦掌研究協會 Old Demo Fox With the Guan Dao

This is a little demo I did for Our Bagua XinZhu Association. It's nothing special but I am not sure if I have any videos of me with this weapon yet. Just found it in my Kung fu brothers youtube account.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Spearhand Offense

Written by Wu Guo Zheng 吴国正
Translated by Warren Fox 孔太龙

Original Chinese Document:

Lets talk about the spearhand in terms of attacking. In all of the 25 different footwork movements whether its approaching, dodging, coiling, stepping or hand movements, at the end of every technique is a spearhand to launch the attack. As for practicing with the deer antlers, the most important function is the "spear" technique. Just as the first hand blocks, the second hand "spears" or we can also say pierces through. Of course there are many other changing hand movements and attacks but the one with the most energy is the spearhand. I must say that most martial arts practitioners today are nothing like our predecessors. Before they would practice martial arts as a means of life or death. Now the times have changed and martial arts has also changed. Everyone has put down the weapon practice and mostly focuses on empty handed techniques. But to practice Bagua effectively you have to use the deer antlers. Incorporate the deer antlers in your foot work movements, in your Pre heaven movements and also in your post heaven movements. Because all of the movements in Gao Bagua (Soft body repeating hands Bagua) were originally designed for holding the deer antlers. If you practice with the deer antlers it will help you develop your piercing power for Bagua. I hope everyone has a chance to pick up a pair of deer antlers and see for yourself.

When it comes to using the spear hand the main point is speed. Also the spear hand is a lethal attack. Most times when using the spear hand attack the eyes, nose or the throat. Also in if you extend your spearhand and your opponent catches it you can step forward with a "dropping elbow" to the chest cavity or heart. At this time it will be too difficult to block because his hand will already be trapped and his other hand to far away to save him. This is called "distant water cannot extinguish close fire." (In english also known as trapping) So the advantage of the spearhand is that it is two attacks in one. In the "Outline of Power or Bada Gang" there is a technique that really emphasizes the spearhand: the three piercing palms. There is a saying that goes, "The bravest man fears three spears." This phrase describes the three piercing palms offensive power. The three piercing palms is like firing three arrows in a row fast and with penetrating force. So even if a person with high level kung fu meets the three piercing palms it is better that he evade the attacks with skilled timing rather than block them. The combination of speed and structure can be quite difficult to parry. The other practice method of the three piercing palms is "intention." Focusing your intention on the palm that is extending and the one that is returning just as Yin and Yang. Practicing your intention is just the same as practicing Qi. That's right, the three piercing palms was established to practice opposing energy or Qi. So to practice this particular technique is to practice the main point of Bagua. When your intention moves, your qi moves, always balanced and relaxed. As soon as you move, you completely move.

So in the Post Heaven movements you have chopping palm, snatching palm, piercing palm, foot work entry, turning palm and the horizontal palm that all utilize the spearhand for attacking. But its worth mentioning that in the 25 footwork methods of entry, they all use the spearhand attack. Just as mentioned earlier, aside from the mechanics of the footwork the hand motions we must first swipe away the attack with one hand and follow through with a piercing spearhand. Which brings us to our next point on how to deliver a standard structured spearhand technique.

(Side note: My master has written about nine articles on just the spearhand alone. I decided that I was only going to put up the articles on offensive and defensive spearhand tactics. Unless I get request from people who want more info on this, Im going to stop here.)

The Spearhand Defense

Written by Wu Guo Zheng

Translated by Warren Fox

Original Chinese Version:

In Bagua there are many different uses for the spearhand. Almost every technique involves the spearhand, especially in the Post Heaven movements where it is used extensively. What is the reason for using the spearhand so much? To put it simply its because the spearhand's special trait is that it is simultaneously an attack and a defense. In all of the martial arts forms every movement and technique is either an attack or a defense. In Bagua the spearhand is both, which is why it is used so extensively. Because the spearhand is so crucial, were going to look into the best timing and method to apply it.

First lets discuss the use for defense. In the area of defense the spearhand is practically our armor. An opponents straight punch, back hand, chopping palm, peeling palm and the single handed crashing palm all can be redirected with the spearhand. Also at the moment of redirection it allows for a very effective counter attack. So in the Post Heaven movements this combination of first a spearhand followed by a counter attack is adopted in most of the techniques. So lets say that an attack is coming toward us, first we have to deflect it, then we can open them up for our own attack. If the opponent is able to avoid it then we quickly follow up with another attack. It was this idea that was used to design the our bow into the Post Heaven movements. When we bow in, the first hand is used to parry an incoming attack.

In almost all of the sixty four palms there are no exceptions. The first hand in most cases is used to parry, and many times the parry is a spearhand. Lets take a deeper look into the details: In section one (the way of striking) there are five movements that first use the spearhand and move into a counter: the extending palm, yanking palm, searching palm, selecting palm and covering palm. In the second section(the way of the hands) there are four: The hidden palm, peeling palm, double palm and snatching palm. In section three(the way of diverting) there is the stopping palm and the flipping palm. In section four(the way of the body) there are three: Taking palm, staining palm and repeating palm. In section 5(the way of the elbow) there is the crouching elbow, measuring palm, the obstructing palm and the stacking palm. In section 6(the way of the legs) there is the quick stepping kick, the outward kick, hanging kick, lifting kick, intercepting kick, drifting sweep and crashing sweep. In section 7(the way of Entry) there is the pressing palm and the splitting palm. In section 8 (The way of footwork) there is the fox palm, trembling palm, horizontal palm and scurrying palm. So look at the details for a minute and see that out of the 64 palms of the earth movements or Post Heaven techniques you'll see that thirty two of them first use the spearhand to parry or to engage. So it is easy to see the importance of the spearhand in Bagua. Because of its speed and effectiveness defensively it is the trademark of Bagua.
(You can see me use the spear hand to parry on you tube in Fox Applications 2. I use an extending palm to counter and also the searching palm.)