• Thoughts on Training

    Thoughts on Training

    Key to Success Eighty percent of success is showing up –Woody Allen You want to train to improve your skill level and your understanding.  What is the single most important thing you can do to succeed?  It’s not train hard, devote X number of hours a week to practice, getting the best gear, or having access…

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  • Horizontal Plane in Action

    The horizontal plane encompasses movements primarily in the forward-back and right-left directions.  When the body is unified, movements in the horizontal plane also manifest a downward grinding force.  To understand the downward grinding, we can draw specific points from the 13 Points: suction on the dantian and sternum, tucking of the ribs, and wrapping the elbows to…

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  • Strength Training

    Strength Training

    For some strange reason, strength training is a controversial issue in many martial arts. This seems particularly true with many Chinese martial arts, and even more so with internal martial arts. There are several arguments both for the pro and con sides of the debate. Which side is right? Well, let’s take a look at…

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  • The Martial Arts Triumvirate

    The Martial Arts Triumvirate

    Martial arts really boil down to three governing essentials: offense, defense, and generating force.  The offense and defense parts tie more into what people typically imagine with martial arts training.  They include the training of movements and techniques, i.e. the blocks, strikes, locks, throws, footwork, etc.  Generating force is more related to the physical conditioning…

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  • 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…

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  • 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,…

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  • Many Pillars

    Many Pillars

    At the last workshop I went to, Sifu Chin gave a metaphor about the training process which managed to stick with me: If we view I-Liq Chuan skill as a physical building, then the skill is not built on a central pillar supporting everything.  It’s the combination of many pillars which support the walls and…

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  • Tai Cheese: A Case Study

    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…

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  • Appreciate Your Feet

    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 foot is a thing of marvel.  It has numerous articulations that allow fine control of your standing balance.  Yet, most of our footwear negates the articulated movement of the…

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  • The Secret

    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…

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