Learn Karate in Okinawa

If you’ve ever wanted to learn Karate in Okinawa look no further. This unique experience can be yours if you are trust worthy and hard working. The Okinawa KarateDo UechiRyu Zankyokai Nagahama Dojo offers both yoga and karate to beginners, intermediates and experienced instructors. The chief focus at the school is of course old-style Karate training with the purpose of creating a peaceful lifestyle while developing the means to protect that lifestyle if necessary.


Kunyu Mountain Shaolin Kung Fu School – latest review

It had been a lifelong dream of Errol to study martial arts (specifically Wing Chun) in China, since I he was a kid. Here is an extract of his review of Kunyu Shan Martial Arts Academy.

‘After a lot of googling happened across Kunyu Shan Martial Arts Academy – it looked perfect, from the scenery to the credentials, even the price. I am bitterly disappointed! If you are considering going to China – I implore you to read through the following before deciding. I spent a total of 4 months in Kunyu shan in wing chun class (favourite martial art) learning very little actual application and mainly line drills, forms and a LOT of physical endurance tests, from bare knuckle planks (for 6 min) to endless jogging.. which I liked.. as I said – you WILL get fit.. but after the 1st month, and talking to other students, I realised the following:

* in-efficient time hungry and prolonged training methods (specifically in wing chun, as a self defence technique – but also extending into Shaolin & tai-chi to a lesser degree)
* redundant focus on forms training, line drills as well as pointless ongoing “applications” training based on shadow or “imaginary attack” techniques – instead of much needed/lacking actual hand-to-hand combat rehearsal (excl. Sanda or Chinese kickboxing – where you do a fair amount of “actual” application – but not in wing chun, Shaolin or to a lesser degree combative tai chi (not the slow movement style).. their excuse is that if you want to learn actual application then they recommend practising after hours with the other students in the main hall)
* poor or little interest in the wellbeing of the students and a greater focus on making profits – e.g. the image portrayed via website/video’s is far from the reality, besides the lack of interest in listening and responding to students requests in food, accommodation, training, etc.
* coupled with a money driven approach is strictly “business” and deliberately very far from productive so as to stretch the training regime as long as possible to further profits
* unhygienic shower conditions (up until recently toilets as well)
* threats of and actual practise of staffing or “caning” students as a means to discipline international students visiting your country – incl. girls
* lack of concern towards the dog/s you’ve agreed to look after with appalling living conditions, lack of proper diet, etc.
* lack of proper heating methods to keep students warm during the cold months
* extremely salty food (same day, same meal, same time – with hardly any exceptions), e.g. the sweat in my eyes would literally “sting” because of the saturated salty vegetarian food.’


It always disheartens me when I hear reviews like this. For independent information on martial arts training in China and Thailand without the BS – contact info@studymartialarts.org. My main goal is to either connect people to the right school or at least give them the right information so that they know what to expect.

Chen Ziming’s general comments on Taijiquan — The Tai Chi Notebook

Delving deeper into Chen Ziming’s book. I posted yesterday about a translation of Chen Ziming’s book “The inherited Chen family Taiji boxing art” that is available on the Brennan translations website. I’ve just started reading it and noticed a couple of interesting things I thought I’d post about. (It should be noted that I often […]

via Chen Ziming’s general comments on Taijiquan — The Tai Chi Notebook

FIFTH SON’S STAFF — Brennan Translation

– 五郎八卦棍 FIFTH SON’S EIGHT-TRIGRAMS STAFF 黃漢勛 by Huang Hanxun [Wong Honfan] [published by 香港鎮成書局 Zhencheng Bookstore of Hong Kong, 1955] [translation by Paul Brennan, Jan, 2019] – 國術技擊 黃漢勛著 A book on Chinese martial arts by Huang Hanxun: 五郎八卦棍 Fifth Son’s Eight-Trigrams Staff – 尚武精神 Martial spirit! – 自序 黃漢勛 AUTHOR’S PREFACE 棍不過頭,槍不過手一語為武林前輩所訓導後人之名言,南方拳師以棍稱,北方拳師則多呼為棒,棒之長度由齊眉以至與頭平長為最合度,逾此者則當是別出心裁去習練或以槍化棍,以棍代槍之法矣。至槍之長度則應以舉手向上看齊為標凖,人或以古本小說所言古人動輒槍長丈八為問,余曰:古今之稱與尺之制度不同,且古人乘馬持械其可用長者為一定之理,今人步戰豈可以此相衡哉?短棒之為用與單刀同為步戰中可用之械,並不見於古戰場上乘馬者用之也,今人且利用收藏木桿式之棍作器可避過法律所給予之便利,且隨處皆可超起「扁担」「竹升」之類為用,故此「童子軍」有棍「警察」有棍,此風之盛大逾惜時也。 此套五郎棍法簡單易習易用,實為練棍之基本方式,因長而分為上下兩路,使初習者得分段以成,實乃寓意之良且善也,至其源流當於下路伸述其槪,俾愛好斯技者得其端倪也。 “The staff […]

via FIFTH SON’S STAFF — Brennan Translation

Mongolian Wrestling

The Tai Chi Notebook

A new Heretics podcast episode is up that covers martial arts – specifically Mongolian Wrestling – which I thought you might like.

We cover Mongolian wrestling, culture, writing, language, rivalry with the Chinese, wrestling techniques, Sumo, the three ‘manly’ arts (which are also practiced by women) and female wrestlers.

“Mongolian Wrestling is one of the three warrior arts of the Naadam that originated from Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire. In this episode we explore the history, techniques and links with Shamanism of this surprisingly extensive and complex art which has produced both Sumo grand champions and Judo gold medalists.”

Here are some videos that go with the episode:

Mongolian Wrestling highlights:

Asashoryu, the famous Mongolian Sumo wrestler we mention:

Mongolia’s first gold medal in Judo at the Olympics from Naidangiin Tüvshinbayar, Beijing 2008:

D. Sumiya has won a gold medal in the 2017 World Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary…

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Extra Baggage

by Phillip Starr

When I ran my full-time martial arts school many years ago, I debated about hanging a sign outside the entrance to the training hall; “Leave Excess Baggage Here.” I frequently had prospective students come in to inquire about classes and I was surprised that they were even able to walk under the weight of the extra baggage they carried…

The nature of the baggage varied but I think I can safely place them into two broad categories; physical and mental/emotional. Under the category of physical limitations you’ll find an enormous number of alleged ailments, from trick knees to bad backs. I often found it surprising that these people knew their ailment(s) and the various techniques of my art so well; they’d tell me what they could and couldn’t do. For them, enrolling in the school was akin to ordering a hamburger. Some professed to having physical limitations that were so severe that I told them that they really couldn’t practice a martial art or that their limitation would prevent them from participating in group classes; I’d have to teach them privately and that would be very expensive. Surprisingly, some of them apparently recovered enough from their ailment on the spot that they suddenly COULD participate in class!

Some had what seemed to be very severe limitations. I recall one young lady who had lost an arm and a young man who has lost a leg (below the knee) in Vietnam. Their spirits were strong and they regularly trained in group classes! They refused to limit themselves. They weren’t really handicapped at all! I am still very proud of them…

Many of the physical limitations that they carried were the result of the applicant’s imagination, desire for attention, or disinclination to participate in some training activities (usually those that worked up a good sweat).

Mental baggage varied quite a bit. There were those who considered themselves to be knowledgeable enough to know what kinds of techniques wouldn’t work for them (“I’m too short”, “I’m a woman, so that won’t work for me”, and so on). For some, it was a question of their particular religious faith…“I can’t bow to a shrine or a person…”. I suggested that they seek instruction elsewhere. I explained that the bowing and so forth has nothing to do with religion, but many would not be dissuaded. I hope they found whatever it was that they thought they were looking for.

Then of course, there were those who would tell me, “I don’t want to learn those fancy dances (forms) and junk like that. I just want to learn what really works on the street” or “I just can’t do anything violent like sparring.” I told then that they weren’t allowed to pick and choose what they would or wouldn’t learn. Most of them decided to move on to the next school. Wise choice.

Those who asked how long it would take to get a black belt. I’d tell them that it takes about a week and $6.95. However, to acquire the skill takes a bit longer…

One stroke of the brush — The Tai Chi Notebook

It says in the Tai Chi classics that the movements of Tai Chi should be continuous, like a rolling river: “Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river rolling on unceasingly.” There are a few interesting things to unpack about this quote, taken from the Tai Chi Classic attributed to Chang San Feng. Firstly, it doesn’t […]

via One stroke of the brush — The Tai Chi Notebook

One stroke of the brush

The Tai Chi Notebook

niketh-vellanki-202943-unsplash.jpg Photo by Niketh Vellanki on Unsplash

It says in the Tai Chi classics that the movements of Tai Chi should be continuous, like a rolling river:

Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river rolling on unceasingly.”

There are a few interesting things to unpack about this quote, taken from the Tai Chi Classic attributed to Chang San Feng. Firstly, it doesn’t call the martial art “Tai Chi Chuan”, instead it calls it “Long Boxing”, which is yet another indicator that what is known as the “Tai Chi Classics” are in fact, just a collection of common sayings about martial arts of the time that have been bundled together.¹ I tend to regard what we know as “Tai Chi Chuan” today, in all its various forms, as the modern expression and amalgamation of older Chinese martial arts; it is an evolution of ideas and techniques, rather than a…

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THE INSIGHTS OF WU GONGZAO — Brennan Translation

– 太極拳講義 TAIJI BOXING EXPLAINED 著作者 吳公藻 by Wu Gongzao 校正者 吳公儀 text proofread by Wu Gongyi [published by the 湖南國術訓練所 Hunan Martial Arts Training Institute, June, 1935] [translation by Paul Brennan, Dec, 2018] – 吳公藻編 by Wu Gongzao: 太極拳講義 Taiji Boxing Explained 何鍵題 – calligraphy by He Jian – 向愷然序 PREFACE BY XIANG KAIRAN [a dialogue] […]

via THE INSIGHTS OF WU GONGZAO — Brennan Translation

Happy New Year! Here are my most popular Tai Chi Notebook posts from 2018 — The Tai Chi Notebook

As we enter 2019, the year of the earth pig, let’s look back on the last year with the most popular posts on this blog each month. Note: These are based purely on the audience figures, not on being the ‘best’ stories of the year. As such it gives you an interesting picture of what […]

via Happy New Year! Here are my most popular Tai Chi Notebook posts from 2018 — The Tai Chi Notebook