February 28, 2009

Boxing vs. Mantis: a comparison

Boxing is a Fair contest. When one boxer throws a punch at another boxer, he has all his defenses to call upon. He has his foot work to evade, he has his body to slip, and he has his guard to shield. Each time he throws his punch it's just as hard as the last time to land. An oversimplification, but still true.

In Mantis, I'll lead with a punch and if, with all your defenses in place you let me hit you, I'll take it. But as I advance my attack I'll systematic remove each of your defense until a point when all you can do is flinch at my strike. I do this by stepping on or wrapping up your foot so you can't evade. I bridge to lead away and tie up your guard and then I pluck, push, pull, trip, etc to take your balance. Have done that my next strike should land with little resistance.

"It is like a knott that get's tighter the more you resist." - JiangHu


In a time when science was nothing more than the reasoned conclusions of men who could not yet directly observe what they studied, and imagination filled in the gaps between the observable and its cause.

Chinese philosophers imagined a single energy invigorating all things. Like the Greek philosophers who imagined the four elements composing all matter.

This energy which flowed through and sustained all things was called Chi.

In the Martial arts Chi is used as an abstract construct of the mind. This construct allows us to visualized a preternatural force to reinforce and lend strength to our bodies, creating a mind body connection. Though the Chi may not be real we are still able to produce real, observable, results from its use.

The brain controls all functions of the body, and just as we can consciously take control of our breath, it has been proven we can learn to take control over our other processes as well. In modern science this is called the Placebo effect. Chi is the Martial artists tool to gain that control.

One such effect of the mental movement of Chi is increased circulation to the desired areas, this means that more oxygen is carried to your muscles by the extra blood, which allows your muscles to function at elevated levels. Since Chi is often said to be connected to the breath, this connection to oxygenated blood seems fitting.

"The mind is the commander; the body is the army. Where the mind goes, the Chi flows." - Taoist proverb


In the Martial arts it is the practice of eliminating distractions.

You focus on a single action, breathing, and eliminate all other thoughts.

No past, no future, just that single breath as it happens.

So it should be when fighting.
Distractions are a hindrance. Any thoughts of what has happened or what you intend, will take seconds away from your ability to react to what is happening now.

The past can not be undone.
The future is determined by the now, so what is most important is acting in the present.

Meditate to focus on the present, to strip away distraction, to act more efficiently for the future.

"Stop thinking, and end your problems." - Lao Tzu

February 21, 2009

Kung Fu is a lifetime not a pastime

A life long journey...

It's never enough. Whatever the reason that brings you to the Martial arts, there is no point, no marker, no level of skill or ability that you can achieve then stop, and still enjoy the benefits that the Martial arts gave you.

If you studied martial arts for physical fitness, and reached the peak of physical health and stopped. You would loose the strength and flexibility that you had attained through practice, and you would become flabby and weak again.

If you studied martial arts for self defense, then it is impossible to reach a level of skill that could guaranty success and the safety of yourself and your loved ones in any situation. So you much ever strive to be better and get closer to that unattainable goal. Even if such a mythical level of skill where attainable it would take persistent effort to maintain that level of skill. As it does any level of skill.

If you studied martial arts for the honor and prestige of being a “black belt”, then you are nothing less than a fool, because once you have reached that point there is a even longer journey ahead of you. It is then that you have just attained enough basic skill to begin your REAL training.

“All human skills are perishable. Just like fruit. You leave 'em on the shelf too long, they rot, they decay, they stink.” - Sara Pezzini (Witchblade)

February 18, 2009

A Declaration of Intent

This Blog is for the purpose of expounding and illuminating those aspects of the Martial arts that are beyond and yet subject to its physical practice and application.