johnny's blog

The training process

What is it that you are trying to achieve with your training?  Is it simply to accomplish a goal or to manifest an improvement?  Those are certainly valid reason to train.  Repeated practice (drilling) of movements develops neuromuscular control, improves coordination, helps develop proper movement patterns, and can improve muscle conditioning.  The movement repetition improves the body and establishes a physical foundation on which to build.  However, mere repetition doesn't in itself bring improvement.  If that were the case, all we'd have to do is just put in <

Interview with Master Sam F.S. Chin

I'm borrowing content from the Russian ILC group (obviously, since the videos are largely in Russian).  The parts where Sifu Chin is speaking are in English.  I've made a partial transcription of the English portions.  I'll fill in more of the transcription as I get more free time.

 

Martial vs Health?

One issue I frequently encounter with teaching and training in an internal kung fu style is training for health vs training for martial proficiency.  The issue comes up particularly with people who come to me looking for instruction in "tai chi."  They often come with the perception of tai chi as a gentle, slow paced, transcendental dance performed by old people in the park.  That's all fine and good, but that preconception is disconnected from the reality of learning a martial art.  Even if one only wants to train for health purposes, learning the art properly still

I-Liq Chuan 21 Form in the park

It's just me doing the 21 Form in Buchanan Park.  The movements are performed bigger and more explicitly than typically demonstrated by Sifu Sam F.S. Chin.  I do it this way both to improve my own understanding and because it helps my students understand the movements better.  The usual disclaimer applies: for any discrepancy in the energies manifested between his version and mine, take Master Chin's version as the gold standard.

Link-o-rama

Many pillars

At the last workshop I went to, Sifu Chin gave a metaphor about the training process which managed to stick with me:

Tai Cheese: A Case Study

What do tai chi and dairy farming have to do with each other? Normally nothing, but in the case of Rob Taverner, tai chi helps keep him and his dairy cows happy. I applaud Rob Taverner for his organic dairy farming and his dabbling with tai chi to soothe his cows. I however can't say that his movements (as far as I can tell from the still photo) adhere to tai chi principles.

Appreciate Your Feet

Here's some food for thought: Did you know that the human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles (with associated tendons)?

The Secret

The big secret to skill in I-Liq Chuan is... are you ready for it? ... that there is no secret.  At least, there are no secrets in the sense that anything is held back.  There are no super dangerous death touch techniques that are only taught to those who prove worthy.  No special teaching is reserved for "indoor" students and withheld from "outdoor" students.  Everything in the system is taught openly from the outset.

Rocking the Relaxation

"Relax!"  It's a phrase you're bound to hear if you study an internal martial art, especially any of the tai chi variants.  But what exactly does it mean to relax?  According to the dictionary definitions,

relax (verb) is
  1. to make less tense, rigid, or firm; make lax
  2. to diminish the force of
  3. to slacken or abate, as effort, attention, etc.
  4. to reduce or stop work, effort, application, etc., especially for the sake of rest and recreation.


None of those definitions


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