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Posts Tagged ‘Hands’

The Bonds We Build

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

As most of you know, I have had to do some extensive traveling over the last year or so. It has been very difficult to be away from my family but sometimes we must do something that we are not happy with to better benefit those who depend on us. But in addition to my regular family, I have also missed my Kung Fu Family. Four hours travel each way gives me plenty time to think about Kung Fu, and I have come to some personal Kung Fu realizations:

#1: I am Kung Fu. It is in my blood, in every cell. There is no separation left. Every step, move, action and reaction is Kung Fu. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

#2: The Kung Fu family is as real as our own family. Those who train with me, sweat, and even bleed with me are my brothers and sisters. It is very much like the bond soldiers build when in combat.

#3: Teaching Kung Fu is one of my favorite things in my life. It helps keep me sane because it takes every bit of my attention and concentration.

I can tell you from experience, that all of the Instructors at Tyler Kung Fu and Fitness feel this way. From the very first time I met Sifu, I knew that was the case with him (and still is), and he has passed that on to us. And because of that we have created these friendships that are extremely strong.

A couple weeks ago, I drove from Port Arthur to Galveston (about 2.5 hours one way) to see two of my Kung Fu brothers, Adam and Kody. We ate and proceeded to play hands on the beach. I made this trip after working for over eight hours and it was well worth it to see my brothers. That same mindset brings back all of our Kung Fu brothers and sisters back to the school every time they come back to Tyler for whatever reason. It’s all in the things that we have shared at this place, that has become sacred to us, and built these bonds that will last a lifetime.

Fighting the Frustration

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

In every student’s Kung Fu journey comes a point where they do not feel that they are progressing like they should. This has happened to everyone that has learned to fight in this way, back hundreds of years. It is completely normal, but it can be very frustrating.

It is very much like walking through a long, wide hall. One in which you cannot see the end, but you know that this is your path. While walking down this hall, you may all of a sudden you find yourself at a wall. In this wall there are many doors, but only one will be unlocked and available for your passage. After passing through that door you are again looking down another long, wide hall.

The halls are wide because each student’s journey through Kung Fu is different and each door represents a different solution. Sometimes the student will find the correct solution themselves and continue on their Kung Fu path, however help is usually needed.

Here are a few suggestions to move past this frustration:

  1. Play your forms with emphasis on applications. All of the fighting tools you need are in your forms. The more you play them, the more will come out when fighting.
  2. SLOW DOWN. The slower you go, the more time you have to think about something different to do or how to get out of a situation.
  3. Try new things and new people. Playing hands with someone new can often spur a new direction for you.
  4. Try focusing on a single principle/idea when fighting. Example; begin trying to catch people’s center by plucking.

Very often, the best thing to do is to ask a Ja Gow or Black Belt. We all love this stuff, and would love to spend some time with you to help you get better. Learning to fight at Tyler Kung Fu & Fitness can be a daunting task. It is certainly a slow and frustrating one, but it is also extremely rewarding.

Most of all, KEEP TRYING. As in most martial arts, you learn the most by doing something over and over and over and over again.

To All The Would Be “Kung Fu Fighters”

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Sifu Jones, the Ja Gows, and the Black Belts have always pushed the slow and soft way of learning how to fight in our often brutal system of Kung Fu. A few of the up and coming students witnessed something on Friday that proves that it works. What happened that afternoon is the result of many years of hard work and practice. I want to set the record straight about what happened and what it takes to get there.

During the Friday afternoon hands time, Ja Gow Adam and I touched hands for a bit. During our hands play, things quickly escalated to the point where we were going fast and hard. We were pushing ourselves; punching, kicking, throwing, yielding, grappling–you name it and we probably tried it. It was soft, controlled, and with no ego, and that made it a whole lot of fun (but educational it was not).

I know that we stress playing soft and slow, and that it can be difficult, but that is how you learn to fight safely without any rules or pads. Soft and slow however important, is only a part of the story. This story also includes several years of learning forms, conditioning our bodies, and learning to fight. All of the forms and the horse stance help to condition and train our bodies to react without conscious thought, but the most important thing–what has tied all of the forms, stances and drills together–are the years of playing hands soft and slow. Constantly helping each other get better by staying soft, relying on feel, trusting your partner and trying new things. That is the goal when you touch hands with your fellow students. Help each other. (Do not misinterpret this to try and teach one another, please leave that to the instructors)

Things everyone needs to work on (myself included):

  1. Stay Soft. Softness keeps you from hurting someone or yourself.
  2. Stay Slow. Ja Gow Bob Hung from California said “If you can do it slow, you can do it fast. If you can only do it fast, you are doing it wrong.” Also, you can not learn/get better when going fast.
  3. No Ego. If you get hit, it is your fault, there is a gap in your defense. Put your attention to closing that, not “getting back” at your partner. At TKFF, inflated egos are “popped”.
  4. Help Each Other. You cannot get better by yourself. You need practice, and you need feedback from those you touch hands with.

These few things, along with the proper hands etiquette, will allow you to learn in a safe, enjoyable manner, which is our goal here at TKFF. And remember, we love answering questions about fighting!!