Posts

Showing posts from March, 2013

Jisui: my hybrid internal/external research form

Image
Introduction

In Parts 1 and 2 of my article "Bridging the gap between karate and the internal arts", I discussed my design of an experimental or "research" form ("kenkyugata") - one that is an "external/internal hybrid".  In this essay I wish to describe and discuss the "final product" in detail.

The goal of this project was to create a form for external martial arts practitioners (in particular, karateka) that enables them to assimilate into their practice some of the principles/concepts (意 or "yi") of the internal arts relating to efficient momentum transfer - both for defence (effective evasion and deflection) and counter attack (landing blows more securely and with "whole body" force multiplication).

Above all else I wanted this kata to be sufficiently familiar to karateka: I wanted to avoid the need for them to undergo lengthy training in the outward form of the internal arts (called 形 or "xing" in Chin…

How the internal arts work: Part 2 - Taijiquan

Image
Taijiquan’s "continuing momentum"

In Part 1 of this article I discussed the internal arts principle of "preservation of momentum" - ie. converting a fully extended or expanded position into something else. In that Part, I discussed how each of the internal arts has its own principle1 or preferred method of doing this.

“Continuing momentum” is my name for taiji’s method. What is this?

Essentially it involves beginning a retraction at the very moment you reach full extension and vice versa.

That might sound easy enough. But if you simply “back pedal” after missing a committed haymaker, you will probably be simply reversing momentum - not continuing it.  In that circumstance you might well find yourself smack in the middle of your opponent’s counter. If anything, your opponent is relying upon your back pedal (as a predictable, untrained response).

So how does taiji address this issue?  The answer lies in 5 different, but equally important elements:

Element 1: techni…

Misuse of Australian and UK statistics in the US gun control debate

Image
Introduction

I wasn't going to write any more concerning gun control, but a friend posted a link on my Facebook page to a blog featuring the dreadful video below:



The blogger asks: "What happened to gun control successes in Australia?" My Facebook friend wanted me to respond and, so to avoid having to repeat it elsewhere, I thought I'd deal with here in a comprehensive way.

And at least this time I can't be accused of "meddling in US issues" - because the statistics being misused here are not US ones but rather those of my own country and of the UK!

So let's examine what this video actually shows:

Some US network (Fox, I imagine?) reporter asks a few very disgruntled gun owners in Australia about the 1996 gun restrictions, then quotes some Australian crime "statistics" to establish a "link" between these restrictions and the general increase in crime rate in Australia.

What's wrong with that?

Well I'll say this: The vid…

Wanting more

Image
Introduction

In my article "Banishing self-doubt" I discussed the importance of positive thinking. Yet we all know how hard it can be to attain (and maintain!) such a state of mind. How many of us feel a quiet sense of achievement and contentment in our lives (martial and otherwise!)?

Not enough, I suspect!

On the other hand, how many feel only a growing sense of despondency whenever we look in the mirror (metaphorical or literal)? I don't really have to answer that, now do I?

So in this article I want to deal more squarely with this:

What is it that keeps negativity at the fore of most people's minds (and positive thinking at the rear)? Why do so many people think so poorly about themselves that it is actually at complete odds with reality?1

Why do so many people seek reinforcement from motivational speeches, self-help books, sacred texts, counsellors, friends and family – even memes – but mostly to little or no avail? And what can we do to improve this situ…