Through a Lens Darkly (54): Preserving a Fading China — Kung Fu Tea

Introduction You may not know her name, but if you have any interest in modern Chinese history, it is almost certain that you have seen her photographs. Hedda Morrison (1908-1991), while not acknowledged as a leading artistic photographer during the prime of her career, had almost unprecedent opportunities to explore and photograph what she […]

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Health Qigong – The Eight Silken Movements (VI):Eliminate Diseases, Breathe from your Dan Tian — Interact China

Written by Gioia Zhang Translated by Yuqing Yang The Eighth Section:Stand on your Toes and stretch seven times to get rid of an Illness This action can improve your calf strength and your ability to balance. The slight vibration caused by the heel lowering helps to relax and reset the muscles and relieve muscle […]

via Health Qigong – The Eight Silken Movements (VI):Eliminate Diseases, Breathe from your Dan Tian — Interact China

16 Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Chinese Martial Arts, Part II — Kung Fu Tea

Welcome to the second half of our discussion of 16 facts about the Chinese martial arts that you probably don’t know. If you are just joining us for the first time this list is a playful attempt to highlight some popular misconceptions about the Chinese martial arts while subverting a popular genre of (generally […]

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What are the best foods in Taiwan?

Other must try foods in Taiwan

  • Braised pork with rice (Lǔròu fàn 滷肉飯): this is a typical local braised dish eaten on a bed of white rice;
  • Taiwanese hamburger (Gē bāo 割包): steamed bread enriched with minced meat and vegetables and a dusting of peanuts, so it’s really tasty;
  • Pineapple cupcakes (Fènglí sū 鳳梨酥): Great with a nice cup of tea.
  • Onion pancakes (Cōng zhuā bǐng 蔥抓餅): Fatty and filling.
  • Taiwanese ice (Bàobīng shān 刨冰山): Crushed ice with fresh mango. The hot weather of Taipei makes Taiwanese ice a must for keeping cool.
  • Rice cake cooked in bamboo (Tǒng zǐ mǐ gāo 筒仔米糕): this is a specialty of Daqiaotou, for lovers of mushrooms and the smell of bamboo;
  • Calamari (Huāzhī 花枝): A must try. Simply amazing when done right, and perfect with a Taiwanese Beer.
  • Noodles: (Niúròu miàn 牛肉麵) Beef Noodles and rice noodles, seasoned in oyster sauce (Hézǐ miàn xiàn 蚵仔麵線), are my favourite.

“Enjoy the tastes and smells of Taiwan”. 

VIDEO: Yi Jin Jing – The Muscle Tendon change classic (Exercises 1-12 with full explanations)

The Tai Chi Notebook

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Below is a nice explanation video of the Yi Jin Jing by Shi Heng Yi of the Shaolin Temple Europe,  recorded during a Qi Gong Retreat in July 2018 at the Shaolin Temple Europe located in Otterberg / Kaiserslautern in Germany.

I don’t practice this set myself, but I tend to think of it as a kind of expanded version of the Ba Duan Jin, a set I do practice. As with the Ba Duan Jin, you need to keep in mind the ideas of muscle-tendon channels, and the suit idea, when you practice all qi gongs. In fact, that’s exactly what the monk is explaining in the video – “when you do this exercise you must feel which part of the body it affects, which muscles and tendons it is stretching”.

Without the understanding of muscle-tendon channels and the suit, these are just repetitious exercises, but the…

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16 Facts You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Chinese Martial Arts, Part I

Kung Fu Tea

SHAOLIN MONASTERY, ZHENGZHOU, HENAN, CHINA – 2013/02/25: Shaolin Monastery or Shaolin Temple, a Cha?n Buddhist temple on Mount Song, near Dengfeng, Zhengzhou, Henan province, China Shaolin monks train in Kung Fu at Shaolin Monastery or Shaolin Temple, a Cha?n Buddhist temple on Mount Song, near Dengfeng, Zhengzhou.. (Photo by Jeremy Horner/LightRocket via Getty Images)

We all love clickbait. Sure, we say we hate those gimmicky titles that populate our YouTube play lists.  And none of us would willfully admit to clicking on “108 Facts about Rick and Morty” or, “20 Things that You Didn’t Know About Wing Chun”, but advertising dollars don’t lie.  Just check out the viewership on these videos.  Yeah, we all clicked on them.

The human mind loves a list. These discrete, bite-sized, bits of predigested information slot seamlessly into our larger matrix of beliefs and world views, all while invisibly reinforcing our subconscious predispositions. Nor should we ignore the…

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Research Notes: Weird Lions and Chinese Jiu-Jitsu in 1934 — Kung Fu Tea

I should be packing for a weekend visiting family. But before leaving I wanted to share something from my recent reading. Growing up in Western NY I had many opportunities to visit Toronto. Its Chinatown was the first of North America’s historic Chinese communities that I was able to get a real sense […]

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1920: Jingwu Brings Kung Fu to Guangzhou’s Public Schools — Kung Fu Tea

It goes by many names. Organization, bureaucracy…”hard work”… It’s the sort of social effort that defines modern industrialized life. Weber famously termed it the “iron cage” of rationality. We so frequently speak of, or imagine, the martial arts as an intrusion of pre-modern tradition onto the global stage that one might be forgiven for […]

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Martial Arts and the Body Politic: A Review in Memory of Denis Gainty — Kung Fu Tea

Denis Gainty. 2013. Martial Arts and the Body Politic in Meiji Japan. London and New York: Routledge. 208 pages. $55 USD. Reviewed by Benjamin N. Judkins. The passing of Denis Gainty in 2017 robbed the martial arts studies community of a promising voice. The earlier death of G. Cameron Hurst, Gainty’s dissertation advisor, […]

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Speed and timing; The Difference

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by Phillip Starr

“When you are young”, I tell my students, “Practice to develop speed. As you age, your speed will slowly decrease; that’s just the nature of being human. But remember that you can always improve your timing.”

There’s a considerable difference between speed and timing and many martial artists don’t fully grasp it. Speed is just that…speed of technique. There are numerous ways of developing speed in your techniques and I’ve elaborated on them in previous articles; using the candle, paper, and other routines are intended primarily to enhance this very valuable asset. However, it’s well to bear in mind that we reach our physical peak sometime in our late 20’s or even our very early 30’s. After that, strength and speed begin to slowly decrease. Sure, there are exercises you can do to retard this process but the fact is that eventually, you begin to slow down in terms of technique.

Timing, however, can be polished and improved throughout your life. I define “timing” as the moment when, during a given movement, you execute your technique. In the case of a punch, for instance, do you fire it AFTER your leading foot hits the ground? Do you punch so that your fist impacts the target AT THE SAME TIME that your foot hits the ground, or possibly even BEFORE it touches the ground? There’s no single correct answer; it depends on distance and “rhythm.”

In the case of a BROKEN RHYTHM, you strike after the opponent has executed his initial attack but BEFORE he can generate a second one. It is, in a sense, striking into the “spaces between his techniques.”

In the case of the MUTUAL RHYTHM, you evade or deflect the enemy’s attack and strike him at the same time. The techniques occur at the same time but hopefully, yours hits its mark and his doesn’t…

The PRECEDING RHYTHM requires that you learn to “sense” when your opponent is about to attack and you beat him to the punch, as it were. This doesn’t necessarily require tremendous speed at all; it requires razor-sharp reflexes and the ability to “connect” to your opponent.

All three of these rhythms are discussed in detail in my book, “MARTIAL MANEUVERS”, and training routines are laid out for each of them. Each one should be practiced very assiduously until you reach a high level of skill. Simply practicing each of them a few times to “get the feel of it” isn’t nearly enough.

If someone’s “timing” is sharp, it often gives the illusion of tremendous speed. Take the founder of modern aikido, Morihei Uyeshiba, for example or even his student, Master Gozo Shioda. They sometimes appear to be faster than their training partners but the truth is that their timing is perfect. Face it, there’s no way an 80-yr. old man can be physically faster than a 25-yr. old. However, the senior’s timing can be much finer than his junior’s.

Such perfection is not something to be wished for, nor can it be achieved in a short time. It requires great effort over a period of time. Hurrying will only result in lost, wasted time.