History of East Asian Martial Arts: Week 7 – Buddhism and Martial Arts — Kung Fu Tea

Introduction I have noticed a persistent tendency by some to strive to maintain an artificial barrier between the physicality of martial arts practice one the one hand, and the myriad ways it is discussed in literature, film and popular culture on the other. Typically this is articulated as a frustration with the inability of the […]

via History of East Asian Martial Arts: Week 7 – Buddhism and Martial Arts — Kung Fu Tea

SHAOLIN MIZONG LUOHAN — Brennan Translation

– 少林迷蹤派羅漢拳 SHAOLIN MIZONG LUOHAN BOXING 潘茂容 葉雨亭 by Pan Maorong & Ye Yuting [published by the 健民國醫學院 Strengthen-the-People National Medical School, April 4, 1955] [translation by Paul Brennan, June, 2019] – 少林迷蹤派羅漢拳 Shaolin Mizong Luohan Boxing 葉雨亭演式 performed by Ye Yuting 潘茂容攝影刷線說明并題 – photos, drawings, explanations, and calligraphy by Pan Maorong – 潘序 PREFACE BY […]

via SHAOLIN MIZONG LUOHAN — Brennan Translation

Rome wasn’t built in a day

TIME AND TIME AGAIN…

by Phillip Starr

The cathedral at Chartres, France took more than a hundred years to build. A whole century! That means that the stonemasons who laid the foundation did so knowing full well that they’d likely never see their work completed. In fact, I’m quite certain that the architects who designed and supervised the work must have realized that they wouldn’t live to see it finished. I like to consider things like this while I’m standing in the checkout line at the supermarket… I understand that the difference between me and these builders from long ago is considerable – not just in terms of the times that’s elapsed between the age in which they lived and the one in which I now live, but also by our vastly disparate concepts of time.

Prior to our modern age, people measured time differently than we do. As little as a hundred years ago, consider the time it’d take you to get a loaf of freshly baked bread (if you’re planning on having it with tonight’s dinner). It’s probably just a matter of minutes to the nearest bakery from which you can buy bread that’s come from mechanically processed grain, machine milling and mixing, kneading, baking, and packaging. As little as a hundred years ago, this all had to be done by hand! So when I say, “I need to get some bread”, I mean something different than what my ancestors meant when they spoke those same words.

We tend to think in terms of hours when we speak of segments of time. For instance, travel is measured in terms of hours. Even our educational system is based on credit hours needed… But the generations before us thought of time in different terms; travel could take weeks or even months! Education back then was generally based on apprenticeships; students of Rembrandt, for example, were required to spend three years just learning how to grind pigments for the paint that was to be used in his studio!

It’s tempting to think that one way of looking at time is better than another; that the “old, slower way” is superior to the “new, instant” way but that’s an oversimplification. Each generation finds what works best for their kinds of lives. Problems occur when we try to impose our concept of time to things of another age. Contractors can now construct a new church in a matter of weeks and that’s fine; what is NOT fine is if they try to convince everyone that it’s as well-built as the Chartres Cathedral. And students of art can graduate after a few hours of instruction but they’re nowhere near being on the artistic level that the old masters were. And martial arts students often feel that after a matter of several hours they can grasp the skills of arts that really require more than a lifetime to fully understand.

Too often, people approach the martial arts with what I call a “modern sense of time.” They feel that after a few months or years of practice, they’re qualified to pass judgement on what works and what doesn’t, and so on. It should be borne in mind that the martial arts that we practice are just that; arts. To “absorb what is useful” requires at least a decade of practice before you can make that determination. At least a decade. If that amount of time seems excessive, it’s likely because you’re applying modern time frames to things that are not modern. Would you expect to be able to paint like a fifteenth-century Flemish master after attending a couple of semesters in his class? Could you even hope to tap into the most basic of his techniques such as mixing paints, preparing a canvas, or applying finishes? And these are just minor aspects…

We’re not even considering the acquisition of his genius for composition, lighting, and so on. Only the most boorish would suppose that they could even come close to the master’s level without decades of training. And martial arts are just like that. Their basics and secrets and subtleties are no less complex than those of fine arts. Yet, many people approach them as if they could be completely understood and appreciated in a few hours.

Ours is the age of high-speed, instant, and “I want it now.” Often, the beginner’s first step in starting training is directed towards restructuring his sense of time. He must work to adapt himself to the constructs of the martial arts and meet them on THEIR unique terms, rather than trying to force them into his own. He may well discover what those that have gone before him discovered – if something worth doing is worth doing well, time is not important.

Learn Kung fu in China Resources

I’ve been working hard to continue to provide the best resources for martial artists and adventure travellers who want to travel to China for intensive all-inclusive training packages. Here I have managed to update our Guide to learning kung fu in China. Its completely free and easily downloaded.

This guide walks you through, the dreaded Chinese visa, what to pack, health and safety, money and banking, domestic travel, living in China, communications and much more.

You’ll learn:

  • How to prepare in advance of your trip
  • How to keep you and your belongs safe
  • What you’ll need to become an expert traveler
  • How to earn extra travel & training cash
  • Ways to save money

This can all be found on the StudyMartialArts.Org travel resources page. Newly redesigned its packed with links to the most relevant, and up to date articles to help become an expert in no time at all.

Let me know what you think about the design and the content. You can do this by commenting below or by emailing my direct at david@studymartialarts.org – Alternatively maybe you have some requests for particular information?

3 Reasons Why Chinese Martial Arts Degraded Over Centuries

by Adeniyi Makinde

If one reads or hears the classics, history, or even stories of the martial arts and the martial artists of old, one would conclude that, when compared with those of nowadays, there is a huge gap in the authenticity.

From the heroics of Shaolin Warrior monks in defending the Shaolin Temple from bandits around the year 610 and helping Li Shimin defeat Wang  Shichong at the Battle of Hualao around 621 to the time of the Boxers’ Rebellion, one would know that martial arts was way beyond feeble and fancy movements aimed to show off acrobatic skills and flair.

Here are my three reasons as to why Chinese Martial arts degraded over the years…

  1. Back In The Day, Martial Arts Were Mainly practiced to Protect Lives And Properties

Just like most present-day practitioners, many martial artists learned for self-defense in the streets. However, In the imperial days of China, robberies, raping and killings by bandits were common so most people sought after learning martial arts and those who could not practice sought for protection in monasteries protected by warrior monks. Moreover, they knew that they could get killed if they weren’t proficient enough so they learned with absolute dedication.

Wars, back in the day, were fought in close combat positions which made most generals fierce martial artists. Men fought for land, power and even women, but in the absence of these dire situations, the sense of dedication will be lacking.

What happens if these dire occasions are absent?

  1. Changes in cultural practices

Martial arts students of old worshipped the masters, they were lords and fathers to their students. Masters take them as their children and even sometimes go as far as changing the student’s last name to his’; we can see this in Jackie Chan’s case in paying homage to his master, Yu Jim Yuen, during his days in Peking Opera, although he had the name Chan Kong Sang, he took stage name, Yuen Lo. Although he later changed back to his biological last name, some of his fellow students didn’t e.g. Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah.

This happened because students took martial arts like life. They didn’t have many ambitions, the martial art was everything.

Nowadays, no student can stand being a puppet to someone all for the sake of martial arts.

  1. Lack of Patience in Learning

Nowadays, most martial arts students want to become masters overnight and martial art teachers are not helping matters. They want to learn quickly thereby creating bunches of “half-baked” martial arts practitioners. Martial art takes time and intense practice. To learn and perfect a form may take more than a year before moving to the next as this is the ethic of martial arts but patience is lacking in most learners of today.

A Chinese martial art classic says, ”Shoulders match hips, elbows match knees, and hands match feet. Capturing is rigid, seizing is flexible. One moves onto weapons after forms. A weapon is an extension of the limbs. When man merges with the weapon, the heart merges with the mind, the mind merges with energy and energy merges with strength. Yin on the inside, yang on the outside. Energy is created from the inside out. You can’t move on without mastering the previous form.”

Take note of the last line in the quote above…

Note: These are reasons that occurred to me. You can add yours in the comment section.

by Adeniyi Makinde, freelance writer

”Adeniyi is both a martial artist and a writer. He was influenced by Jet Li, and grew up loving Chinese martial arts though he didn’t get the chance and opportunity to learn from childhood. He luckily met a kindhearted teacher who saw his passion and love for the art and has been teaching him for the past seven years till date.”

Don’t Fight When You Can Run

by Adeniyi Makinde,

As cowardly as this may sound, it’s a Chinese proverb used by Jackie Chan in his cartoon series JACKIE CHAN ADVENTURES. Running does not necessarily mean “taking to your heels”, even though you must if it warrants, but avoiding fights at all costs.

WHY?

Martial arts teachers must have considered many things before teaching this great ethic. consider these two:

  1. You do not know the combatant: you must remember that street fights are different from sparring. In a game with no rules, anything is possible. In a street fight, there is no set of rule that guides you so anything is possible.

 

  1. The law may be against you: if things get messy and bloody and the opponent gets brutally or fatally wounded, the lawsuit follows. Everyone has the notion that you are highly trained and things may go bad.

Most fights come as a result of one’s self-esteem and self-worth being questioned but through martial art training, we hurdle many physical difficulties which increases our confidence. Being confident makes one cool, calm and collected and these are the best weapons that can help one assess difficult situations.

WHAT DO THE MASTERS THINK?

Sun Tzu, the Chinese general, writer, philosopher, and military strategist of the Eastern Zhou era of ancient China, credited for writing the military classic “Art Of War” states in the book, “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.”

Bruce Lee once said, “I learned Kung Fu to know how to fight but I was thought how not to fight.” Now, this is a man that is known to have won many fights and challenges, if not all, all his life. Martial art is knowing how to fight and avoid it, what’s the point of risking injuries and possible death when you can easily avoid them.

Jet LI is known to have been a master of dozens of martial arts since age twelve but when asked about his view of martial art, he said, “I never say to myself I’m the best fighter in the world. If someone learns martial arts solely to pick fights on the street, to lean on it as a keystone weapon in conflicts, to use it to bully and intimidate others – then that person, in my opinion, cannot be considered a true martial artist.”

Jackie Chan is well-versed in Beijing Opera which means he has a high level of skills in acrobatics, martial art, and acting. In his interview with BBC, he said he tried to correct the idea he passed across in Drunken Master 1, which was that he “…taught people how to drink and how to fight.”, by doing Drunken Master 2 he taught that “Don’t drink, don’t fight.”

As martial artists, we face various provocation, fight challenges, and various stupid stuff from people every day but we should be aware of what we carry as we have come a long way in training, learning, and unlearning many things. We shouldn’t be eager to let “the beast” in us out aimlessly except on dire occasions which we must have avoided with every possible tactic we can think of.

Even if we must fight in dire occasions, we must remember this quote from Master Kan on TV’s Kung Fu, 1971, “learn more ways to preserve than destroy. Avoid, rather than check. Check, rather hurt. Hurt, rather than maim. Maim, rather than kill. For all life is precious and nor can any be replaced.”

Jackie Chan continued, “When you are learning about a martial art, it is about respect, you have to find a good teacher. If you knock somebody down – stop. Bring them up.”

Jackie Chan Adventures Season 1.

In this episode of Jackie Chan’s adventures, Bullies. Jade is getting bullied in school and after Valmont’s men are able to steal the Dragon Talisman from Jackie, (look out for the double dragon reference) Valmont uses it to steal money from the New York Bank against Shendu’s wishes. Things get worse when Captain Black is hospitalized during Valmont’s robbery, which causes Jackie to develop a personal grudge in taking Valmont down. Jackie must put his anger aside and use his head if he is to stop Valmont from robbing Fort Knox.

 

by Adeniyi Makinde, freelance writer

”Adeniyi is both a martial artist and a writer. He was influenced by Jet Li, and grew up loving Chinese martial arts though he didn’t get the chance and opportunity to learn from childhood. He luckily met a kindhearted teacher who saw his passion and love for the art and has been teaching him for the past seven years till date.”

Who’s who of Women in BJJ

SMA bloggers

A run down of the current top Female BJJ players in the world inspired by Attack the Back.

Whether the following amazing women and BJJ competitors where motivated by family; fitness; exercise; self-defense; stress relief; or as a transition from more traditional forms of martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu enrolment for women has increased every year despite it being a traditionally male-dominated sport.

Below is a list of who’s who in the world of female BJJ.

Leticia Ribeiro

Leticia Ribeiro N. Dos Santos is a 4th degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and multiple time world champion in the sport. She is associated with the Gracie Humaita jiu-jitsu school. Wikipedia

Born: February 24, 1979 (age 37), Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Residence: San Diego, California, United States

Team: Gracie Humaitá

Kyra Gracie

Kyra Gracie Guimarães is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner and grappling world champion and a member of the…

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10 Mistakes Foreign Martial Arts Students Make in China

10 Mistakes Foreign Martial Arts Students Make in China
China awaits! The Great Wall; steamed dumplings, Shaolin monks and Qingdao beer. Already your mind is racing with wild expectations. However, before you leave home, remember this is a chance to immerse yourself in a strange new culture. This is not just any trip. This is a journey! By Studying Martial Arts you will interact with local communities more deeply than a traveler passing through.

Whether you experience a culture shock or not, there will be moments when you realize you’re doing something “wrong”. It might be small things like explaining you’re learning to sleep (Shuìjiào) instead of Chinese Wrestling (Shuāijiāo) or raising your glass higher than your elders when toasting. Then of course there are the obvious blunders like behaving like an ass on weekends away from your kung fu school or incessantly bitching about the fact things aren’t the same as they are back home.

China is a country made up of 22 provinces and 56 ethnic minority groups many of which have very different cultures, languages, dialects, customs and peoples. It has a population equivalent to the population of North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and all of Western Europe combined. Its bigger than an entire continent, so its not surprising that its developed differently to other counties you may be more accustomed to.

Each province and city will have its own speciality that you’ll learn along the way. You’ll make mistakes and discoveries but its all part of learning, but there are some no-no’s that foreigners before you have commonly committed. Learn from their blunders and avoid these common mistakes made by foreign martial arts students who head of to study martial arts in China month after month, year after year.

SMA bloggers

China awaits! The Great Wall; steamed dumplings, Shaolin monks and Qingdao beer. Already your mind is racing with wild expectations. However, before you leave home, remember this is a chance to immerse yourself in a strange new culture. This is not just any trip. This is a journey! By Studying Martial Arts you will interact with local communities more deeply than a traveler passing through.

Whether you experience a culture shock or not, there will be moments when you realize you’re doing something “wrong”. It might be small things like explaining you’re learning to sleep (Shuìjiào) instead of Chinese Wrestling (Shuāijiāo) or raising your glass higher than your elders when toasting. Then of course there are the obvious blunders like behaving like an ass on weekends away from your kung fu school or incessantly bitching about the fact things aren’t the same as they are back home.

China…

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The punch you didn’t see coming — The Tai Chi Notebook

I’ve already talked about how we use jin (planet force) all the time. I think there’s a good example from MMA and boxing that sheds some more light on this. When boxers or MMA practitioners get knocked out by a punch it’s usually from one they didn’t see coming. The counterpunch is a deadly strike […]

via The punch you didn’t see coming — The Tai Chi Notebook

Failed Transformations: Peloton, Master Ken and Traditional Martial Arts — Kung Fu Tea

Fitness and Agency Rose clippers are a key symbol within Judkins family folklore. When I was about ten my mother bought my father, who does not garden, a set of rose clippers. These have lived, unused, in a cup of pens kept in their kitchen for over three decades. A “rose-clipper gift” quickly […]

via Failed Transformations: Peloton, Master Ken and Traditional Martial Arts — Kung Fu Tea