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”

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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…

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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…

Zen and the art of Brexit — The Tai Chi Notebook

In my last post on Yoga I mentioned the political situation here in the UK at the moment. If you’re in the US, Europe or elsewhere and you can’t figure out what’s going on in the UK then welcome to the situation! Neither can we. The whole thing is madness. I recently read something that […]

via Zen and the art of Brexit — The Tai Chi Notebook

Rules of Appropriateness, in Martial Arts and Politics — Kung Fu Tea

Fragmentation and Unification Recently I had a chance to catch up with one of my old Kung Fu training brothers. We had a great time training at the same Wing Chun studio. That was years ago. Then I left Salt Lake City for Western New York and, a few years later, our Sifu relocated to […]

via Rules of Appropriateness, in Martial Arts and Politics — Kung Fu Tea