Tai Chi Chuan has the 13 postures as its basis, which consist of the 8 powers and 5 directions. The first 4 powers are well known – peng, lu, ji and an – while the second 4 tend to not be so well known. Li (split), Tsai (Pull down/shock), Zhou (elbow) and Kou (shoulder). These […]Shock and awe (in Tai Chi) — The Tai Chi Notebook
by Phillip Starr
“The bow is shattered, arrows are all gone.
At this critical moment, cast aside all doubts.
Shoot, without the slightest delay.”
These lines were penned by Zen master Bukko Kokushi during the Kamakura era (1226-1286) in Japan. Typical of Zen-inspired poetry, it’s a bit puzzling. How do you shoot if your bow is broken and your arrows are all gone? For an answer, we must turn to kyudo…most of you have never practiced it and fewer than that will ever engage in it but the answer it provides can be applied to any martial Way.
Kyudo is the Japanese Way of the archery. It’s one of the less popular martial disciplines, especially outside of Japan (where high-level teachers are pretty much non-existant). Equipment is terribly expensive; a good yumi (the bow, which is handmade with laminations of bamboo and various woods) can cost as much as $4,500.00, although you can get modern ones of considerable less quality for as little as $500. Then, too, the precise dictates of the art seem to have more in common with the tea ceremony than with a bloody fighting art. A kyudo neophyte will spend months learning the intricacies of kyu-ha, the etiquette and rituals of the art.
The details involved are intimidating and all of them must be committed to memory until the practitioner has integrated them on a level that is virtually instinctive. For instance, there are a certain number of steps taken to approach the shooting stand, the angle at which the bow is held when the arrow is nocked must be just right. All of the various facets of the mechanics and movements of drawing and shooting are precisely set into forms that have been formalized for many, many years. And they must all be learned exactly. There is even a set of certain movements used for approaching the target, leaning the bow against it, and removing arrows from the target! Kyudo is a bit long on outer movements, to say the least.
Many of you will think that kyudo focuses an awful lot on seemingly petty details, but consider that a beginning karate or gong-fu student likely thought he could throw a pretty decent punch…until he started training. His chin must be held just so, his shoulders have to be adjusted here, his hips have to move exactly this way, and so on. I’ve been known to spend as much as two hours going over the details of a simple reverse punch and I could easily have gone on for another two or three. I’ve seen novices become so overwhelmed by the details of their art that they actually freeze. Their eyes betray their minds, which are frantically trying to recall all of the details…and they become as statues!
Many uninformed people present considerable criticism about this approach to what is allegedly a “fighting art.” They often make very ignorant commentaries, claiming that the practitioner who trains in this way will be so concerned with ensuring that all of the tiny details are just right that he’d be quickly pounded into dogmeat before he can mount an effective defense. This reasoning is based on the erroneous assumption that this stage of training (known as toteki, is the FINAL goal. Not hardly.
In time, the kyudo student (kyudoka) begins to integrate the details of the art into his performance. He doesn’t have to count his steps as he approaches the stand; they come out naturally. The arrow is corrrectly nocked without conscious effort. This is the beginning of what is called zaiteki; the bow and archer are becoming one. Practitioners of other martial Ways may use other terms to describe the same thing; they often speak of mushin (無心 wuxin in Chinese), which is a term often heard in the practice of Zen. Mu (Wu) means “nothing” or “without”, while shin (xin) refers to the mind or consciousness. Thus, the term is often translated as “without consciousness” (also, “no mind”). Rather than inferring that one is unconscious, this term indicates that the practitioner no longer has to consciously “think” about what to do.
The practitioner moves naturally; he has passed beyond the level of training that required him to concentrate on the details of his technique. His movements are spontaneous and correct. The technique has become “no-technique.” If you can drive a car, play the piano, or even tie your shoes, you already are familiar with this concept. But there was a time when you stared at the piano keys and tried to get your fingers to move to the right spots. With lots of practice, you eventually reached a stage wherein you no longer had to think about it; your fingers “knew” where to go.
If you’re a skilled typist and you’ve been at it a while, you’d likely be stumped now if someone asked you about the layout of the keys/keyboard. Like, which keys are on either side of the letter “J?” You may be able to type 80 words a minute, but that question confounds you. That’s because you’ve achieved a certain mushin in your ability to type. Now, there’s a considerable difference between the “no-technique” of the highly skilled martial artist and the “non-technique” of the novice. Neither the expert nor the beginner can probably tell you what adjoins the “J” key but that doesn’t mean they’re at the same level in terms of their understanding and ability to type. One must strive to achieve the stage of “no-technique” and there’s no short-cut, no way to bypass technique altogether. It’s going to take time. Lots of it.
The bow, the arrows…as the Zen master’s poem reminds us, these are external details. Drive yourself past them through severe, unceasing training and effort and press in to the core of the art. When you art is fully integrated in body, mind, and spirit, the bows and arrows, the details of the punch, kick, or throw are unimportant. At the critical moment, as Bukko advised, you must penetrate the target without the slightest delay.
If you’ve ever dreamt about learning Muay Thai in Thailand? Or maybe you’re already in Thailand at a Muay Thai Camp and you want to be able to extend your stay? Alternatively, if you’re looking to finance your martial arts training in Thailand then maybe this StudyMartialArts.Org Guide to Learning Muay Thai in Thailand and Teaching English will be of help to you.
In this guide you’ll learn about:
- Teaching English in Thailand
- What you’ll need to teach English?
- About the various certifications often required
- What visas you’ll need?
- How to find the right school?
- And how to open a bank account
Check out the full article on the main www.StudyMartialArts.Org/blog – its one of the best resources for martial arts adventure travel.
Thanks to the 2014 Farm Bill, hemp is legal in all fifty states. However, the legality of CBD is still confusing for many. We dug into the laws of each state and even hired a group of lawyers to help us understand the legal landscape.
Here’s what you need to know.
The legality depends on the source of the CBD.
While hemp-derived CBD is legal in all 50 states, ‘marijuana’-derived CBD is not legal federally.
Both marijuana and hemp are members of the cannabis family making them similar in many ways. The government classifies hemp as any plant of the cannabis family that contains less than 0.3% THC. It classifies “marijuana” as any plant of the cannabis family that contains greater than 0.3% THC.
cbd vaping juice “Marijuana” cannabis plants have a low percentage of CBD than hemp plants. That’s why most CBD products use CBD from hemp not marijuana. Because marijuana has higher concentration of THC, it’s not an ideal choice for producing CBD products. Using marijuana plants would require extracting some of the THC to make CBD within the legal limits.
Hemp cannabis plant have a high amount of CBD and low THC, making them the most efficient plant for CBD processing.
So the bottom line here is, if your CBD comes from hemp, it is legal.1 CBD made from “marijuana” with high levels of THC, is only legal if your state legalized marijuana.
Where is CBD illegal?
Thanks to the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill, zero THC CBD is not illegal in any state in the USA. That’s right; according to federal law, it is legal in all 50 states. That said, since the change in law is relatively new, some states might not fully embrace CBD. This should change with the new bill, however, it may take time. Below we outline four different jurisdictional categories based on pre-2018 Farm Bill practices.
States can be grouped into four jurisdictional categories.
These jurisdictions have explicit laws allowing retailers to sell industrial hemp-derived products.
These jurisdictions include: Alaska, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
In these jurisdictions industrial hemp grown in a Farm Bill-compliant agricultural pilot program is explicitly exempted from the definition of marijuana.
These jurisdictions include: the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Gray Area States.
In these jurisdictions explicit prohibitions against the retail sale of industrial hemp-derived CBD products but that have exemptions in the law for the argument that hemp-derived CBD products are legal.
These jurisdictions include: Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
States with Concern.
These jurisdictions have no explicit prohibitions against the sale of industrial hemp-derived CBD products. However, recent law enforcement actions or pronouncements raise the risk of the retail sale of industrial hemp-derived CBD products.
These jurisdictions include Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
What are the specific rules in your state?
Concluding Thoughts: Is CBD Legal in 2019?
Yes, it is legal to purchase and consume hemp-derived-CBD in all 50 states.
Marijuana derived CBD is not legal federally.
The government classifies hemp as any plant of the cannabis family that contains less than 0.3% THC.
It classifies “marijuana” as any plant of the cannabis family that contains greater than 0.3% THC.
You need to check your specific state for any restrictions
Federal law permissions for activities involving industrial hemp are clear. However, the Farm Bill, and other federal laws on industrial hemp, do not pre-empt state law.
Just as there are hundreds of municipalities in the United States that prohibit alcohol sales nearly a century after Prohibition’s repeal, local and state laws may still restrict the sale of industrial hemp products even where federal law is clearly permissive.
Some states continue to view CBD that comes from marijuana as being no different than marijuana itself. The government classifies any plant of the cannabis family that contains more than 0.3% THC to be marijuana.
Bottom line, it is legal to purchase and consume hemp-derived-CBD in all 50 states.
Keep checking back in this space for updates as there is currently a bill going through Congress right now that could change the way the government views both hemp and marijuana.
The 2018 Farm Bill holds the promise to clear up many of the misconceptions and confusing elements surrounding CBD. If you’re interested in learning more about how we came to have these regulations of hemp read Chapter 2 of our CBD textbook on The History of CBD. We found a nice summary of this book at https://latestlawjobs.com for anyone who wants to save time!
A few weeks ago I caught up with SMA student Miguel post training kung fu in China. Miguel booked his training through us, and studied martial arts in China for 3 months during 2018 to 2019. When we connect students to martial arts travel, and training experiences our job doesn’t just stop there. We do our best to prepare students pre-trip, assist them with their travel plans, and then once at the school make sure everything is as they expected. When their kung fu journey is over its my job to check in on them, and get feedback on their experience after they’ve had time to reflect. We do this with a view to keep our information on schools the most up to date and responsive to change. Additionally this offers us the chance to and also to see where we as a company can improve the services we provide for those who book their training through our StudyMartialArts.Org platform. So when Miguel ended his training at Maling Shaolin Kung fu Academy I decided to re-connect with him and get his feedback.
I helped Miguel seen in the picture to connect to Maling Shaolin Kung Fu Academy located in Xingyi City, Northern Jiangsu Province. The Headmaster of the school Bao Shifu founded the school in 2009. Master Bao is a 32nd generation Shaolin Warrior Monk and someone I knew from when he was a master teaching and Kunyu Shan Shaolin Kung fu Academy in Yantai Shandong. Now with his own school students can learn 7 different styles of Chinese martial arts. The main style is of course Shaolin Kung Fu, nevertheless you can also learn Baji Quan, Tai Chi, Xingyi, Qigong, Sanda (Chinese kickboxing), Wing Chun and Bagua.
Read the full review here.
“Why is my qi cultivation not working? Accumulating qi is like saving money, its not just what you earn that counts but most importantly what you spend. There are many ways that we deplete and spend our qi, but there is one main culprit, that culprit is the emotions. Strong unchecked emotions and excessive thought deplete the qi faster than we can accumulate it. This is why a balanced practice must also include cultivation of the self. Cultivation of a stable emotional body is a precursor to spiritual/not self work and also slows down the depletion of our qi.” – Adam Mizner
Check out his video from his channel on maintaining conditions.
I recently noted that it is necessary to begin historical discussions by specifying whether we are examining events (or practices) as they actually happened, or the evolution of ideas about them. This is not to say that these two spheres are totally separate. Indeed, our beliefs about what is proper, and where practices came from, tend to have a notable effect on how things like the martial arts develop. But different types of research questions often call for their own sources and methods.
Once we decide that we are going to address the history of an idea, we must still specify who held these beliefs and how they evolved over time. While ideas about martial arts might be more widely spread than their actual practice, they are still far from universal. Such images are always partial, fungible and slowly shifting. It is that incompleteness that makes them useful to…
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by Phillip Starr
I was teaching a class on use of the Chinese broadsword and a young man approached me with his sheathed weapon. He explained that it was a steel blade and asked if he could use it instead of a wooden replica. I asked him to unsheathe it and when he did, I saw several rust spots on the blade, indicating that this sword hadn’t been maintained at all for quite some time. I told him that he could use his broadsword and then spent several minutes chewing on him for failing to care for it.
Many gong-fu stylists own one or more weapons, from staffs to swords, and practice various forms with them. However, I have been surprised at the number of them who don’t bother to properly care for these tools. Metal weapons are unpolished and often pitted with rust, wooden weapons are sometimes just tossed into a corner. No respect is shown them at all. “But these aren’t REAL weapons” is the most frequent excuse I am given.
In a Japanese dojo, the weapons (most of which are wooden) are kept placed neatly on a rack against one wall (never the front wall where the kamiza is placed). Although a bokken is wooden and modelled after the steel katana, it is recognized as a very real weapon. It has been used in the past as a weapon and it’s perfect for practice; if it breaks, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to replace. The same is true for most of the other weapons.
Chinese training halls really don’t exist in China, Most training is held outdoors and students, if they’re learning the use of a particular weapon, bring their own from home. These weapons are often unmaintained; oiling metal things such as swords is all but unheard of. This is terribly unfortunate. And brass polish (such as Brasso) is unheard of. I insist that all of my students who own traditional treat them with proper respect and keep them maintained. Even if a sword is wooden or, like the iaito (sword used in iaido training), unsharpened or made of a zinc alloy, they are to be treated as real weapons.
For instance, long wooden weapons, such as staffs and spears, should NEVER be leaned against a wall as this may foster warping, especially if the environment is warm and humid. If they can’t be kept on a proper rack, they can be laid on the floor beside a wall (where they’ll be less likely to be stepped on). Metal weapons should be polished and oiled regularly to prevent rusting and pitting.
Our weapons are “tools of the Way”; tools that can help us better understand our martial art and carry us further along the way. As such, they should be treated with the proper consideration and dignity.
Check out this video on how to clean and maintain a sword.
The History of Practice vs. The History of an Idea
This post continues an occasional series looking at the ways in which the traditional Chinese martial arts were discussed in the PRC’s propaganda and cultural diplomacy efforts from roughly the early 1950s to the early 1980s. We have previously seen some newsreel footage of important martial artists during the early part of this period, as well as an English Language article on a critical event in the development of modern Wushu which was staged in 1953. This article is a little different in that it jumps ahead and examines a discussion of the TCMA dating to the final years of the Cultural Revolution. Published in China Reconstructs (the PRC’s premier Cold War era English language propaganda magazine) it is an important (if somewhat…
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Lawrence N. Ross. 2017. “Demi Agama, Bangsa dan Negara: Silat Martial Arts and the ‘Third Line’ in Defense of Religion, Race and the Malaysian State.” In Sophie Lemiere (eds.) Illusions of Democracy: Malaysian Politics and People. Vol. II. Strategic Information and Research Development Centre: Malaysia. Martial Arts and Modern Politics Over the last few […]