The King (Netflix 2019), a short review — The Tai Chi Notebook

The King (Netflix 2019) is the story of the rise of King Henry V and the battle of Agincourt against the French (1415). Prince Henry is portrayed as a wayward teenager, who dislikes authority and has no desire for the throne or the complications of court politics and international diplomacy. Suddenly this emo teenager has […]

via The King (Netflix 2019), a short review — The Tai Chi Notebook

Essentials of Rest and Recovery at Martial Arts Camps

Here’s my latest article on the essentials of rest and recovery. Check it out.

Rest, and recovery are critical components of any successful training program at an intensive martial arts training camp. In my experience it is a component under-utilised in intensive training environments. Students want to get the most out of their time, so push hard. In this article I discuss the ‘Essentials of Rest and Recovery at martial arts training camps’.

Rest to enhance performance

As a way to enhance performance rest and recovery is too often overlooked. Understanding the difference between rest and recovery and how to properly implement them both is the key. If you’re training 5-8 hours per day for 5-6 days a week, you have to consider how sustainable that is. Making the most out of your rest, and recovery time is essential. If you define rest as a combination of sleep, and time not training then the quality of your sleep, and the time you spend not training will be critical. With many full-time martial arts schools packing their timetables with morning, afternoon, and evening training sessions. How you sleep, and spend the time in-between these classes is even more important.

Read More

Anxious Black Belt — “Something like that”

I’m very excited about publishing my book on the subjects of Karate and Anxiety. Below you can find an excerpt from the book. Please let me know what you think. I started writing this book as a therapeutic exercise, to find out more about why I was suffering from a fear of the smallest things […]

via Anxious Black Belt — “Something like that”

Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Lightsaber: Fetishism and Material Culture in Martial Arts Studies — Kung Fu Tea

“The lightsaber has become an important touchstone, both within the films and within our culture…They serve as a source of identification and identity. They are the ultimate commodity: a nonexistent object whose replicas sell for hundreds of dollars. This is not bad for something that defies the laws of physics and cannot and does not […]

via Sometimes a Cigar is Just a Lightsaber: Fetishism and Material Culture in Martial Arts Studies — Kung Fu Tea

Changes You’ll Start Making for Jiu Jitsu

A Skirt on the Mat

Whether you intend to or not, you’ll start to make changes in your life for jiu jitsu: and the thing is, they won’t happen all at once.

Maybe you’ll stop going to that happy hour that all of your non-jiu jitsu friends love to go to, or maybe you’ll find yourself ordering less fried food takeout when you realize that it really just makes you feel like trash the next day and it keeps you from training the way you usually do. You find yourself running on a treadmill maybe, or picking up a weight lifting program to help your strength and cardio while you train.

I know that I’ve stopped a good deal of bad habits because really, I just don’t have the time or energy to feel like junk as often as I used to. I barely drink that much alcohol anymore, and I’m pretty sure the time…

View original post 264 more words

Kung Fu Tea on Sun Lu Tang — The Tai Chi Notebook

There’s a great article over on Kung Fu Tea about the life of one of the most influential Chinese martial artists of all time, Sun Lu Tang. One of the persistent problems that I see in amateur discussions of “Chinese martial studies” is a lack of understanding of how broad the traditional martial arts really […]

via Kung Fu Tea on Sun Lu Tang — The Tai Chi Notebook

Tai Chi is open and close happening simultaneously — The Tai Chi Notebook

Tai Chi is opening and closing happening simultaneously. That’s one of the secrets of Tai Chi, right there. Unfortunately, as with much of the truths about Tai Chi Chuan, the statement doesn’t make any sense unless you already know what it means. As an art, much of Tai Chi is self secret like this. […]

via Tai Chi is open and close happening simultaneously — The Tai Chi Notebook

Have You Lost Your Mind?

By Phillip Starr

I used to ask my students, “Have you lost your mind?” They’d look at me quizzically and I’d continue with my query, “Where did you put it?” And they’d continue to stare at me…

When someone grabs you or punches at you, where does your mind go? Where does it fix itself? For most people, the mind instantly becomes attached to the spot where they are being seized or on the opponent’s fist…and this is a serious error. Remember, where your mind goes, so does your attention, your body, and your energy.

As an experiment, have a partner firmly grasp your wrist. If you place your mind and your attention on where he has clutched you, you will be unable to free yourself or move much at all. However, if you focus on your One-Point (my term for the dantien or “tanden” in Japanese) you will find that your body can move in any direction. Your elbow and your shoulder have not been immobilized either, and you can move them quite easily. Thus, you have many options for dealing with this form of attack…unless you fix your mind on the spot where you have been attacked.

If your partner intends to punch you, you mustn’t focus your attention on his fist. In swordsmanship, you are told not to focus your mind on your opponent’s sword. If you do, you will very likely lose the battle.

So, where should you fix your mind, you ask? The best example I can think of has to do with swordsmanship. You are holding your sword and are poised in front of your opponent who also wields a sword. What is your objective? If you answer that your primary intention is to stay alive, then you will probably fail. The correct is, of course, to cut your enemy! Your mind and intention should be fixed on him rather than on yourself, his weapon, or where he intends to cut you.

The opponent is, of course, at a disadvantage; he must attach his intention to a particular part of you. He must know if he’s going to direct his cut at your head or shoulder, if he’s going to punch you in the nose, or seize your left wrist or right lapel. This means that HIS MIND IS FIXED and not free to move about. His mind is focused on a particular form of attack, which is directed at a specific target. Consequently, it cannot immediately respond to any kind of counter-measure. It can only direct its single attack; it cannot react defensively. This is the great flaw of attack.

So next time you practice, especially with a partner, make sure you don’t lose your mind…