The week started well enough we had found a house and were starting to move stuff, on monday afternoon the internet went off. It would take moving house and 5 days to get back on!
Wednesday a dog ran out and I skidded off my bike, no real harm done. Left a bit of skin on the road and got a swollen knee and some road rash otherwise I’m fine.
We moved house on Friday, internet back on, not in as much pain, but the lesson to be learned. Take nothing for granted, live everyday to the full, enjoy the small things in life and make sure to concentrate 100% when dogs are about!
Not trained as much as normal, but hoping to get back to usual routine in next few days health permitting.
Chu Siu Woon
Over the many years I have been training I have learned a wide variety of stances for the different martial arts. This is not footwork, but individual stances that make up an arts base foundation. Is there still a place for them in the modern world should we adapt or just give them brief acknowledgment?
Initially stances were taught as a basic foundation and strength building exercise there comes a time during stance training where muscles are tired and so it falls to the tendons and skeleton to support the body. This causes it to develop a different type of strength, one that is long lasting. It is also good training for the mind, I have spent a long time holding the San Ti posture from Xing Yi and it does train your mind and gives you time to feel what is happening to your body and if you are holding the correct shape.
Going back to my initial question, do you think traditional stances and stance training are relevant. Yes I do the benefits far outweigh the negatives and it will build a foundation for you to carry on in other arts you may study.
This is the name of the long pole in Chu Gar Kuen, it does not have any forms just techniques aimed at breaking joints and disabling an opponent.
The training to develop the correct power is difficult to do correctly, but simple in concepts. Once the power has been developed it is refined utilising the wooden dummy, and the emphasis changes from power to subtlety, using sticking, lifting, pressing and thrusting as keywords to develop the correct sensitivity.
This training along with the power development can take many months to get to a high level, but with consistent training it is achievable by everyone.
Normally thought of as a hacking type of weapon lacking the subtlety of the straight sword or the beauty of the double broadsword.
In Chu Gar Kuen the broadsword is used at close range, it is supported by the free hand and is mainly used to slash and stab whilst simultaneously blocking and flowing into a deflection or strike, this is quite different from the usual way a Chinese broadsword is used, In Chu Gar Kuen there are no fancy or flowery techniques everything is functional, whats more important these techniques can then be translated into the empty hands and used alongside the other fists.
I have always written stuff since being a young boy and enjoyed reading and writing. I have compiled a book of poetry which will be available soon called Tales from the Warriors Heart, below is a small sample.
Service station of life
I feel like I am at the service station of life, everything not as it seems and very high priced. Somewhere to rest and gather my thoughts, but the cost to my emotions outweighs it all. Cosy and warm it invites you in, but check your heart at the door or lose it within. Fill up with loneliness, add to your tears, the service station of life.
I am here!!
I was thinking back to the time Chu Sifu was teaching me Chu Gar Kuen and specifically the Phoenix eye fist. He was explaining how it can be used at extremely close range, and showed me the technique to use and how to practice it. He wasn’t satisfied however as he felt he needed to show me in more detail.
He had been to the market and bought some fruit for the altar he took an apple randomly from the bag of fruit, he rolled the apple with his index finger from throat height to chest height using the wooden dummy, once it was at chest height he formed the phoenix eye fist with the finger that had rolled it and then using inch force demolished the apple into pulp, this was done in one smooth motion no stopping or jerking. I had been conditioning my Phoenix eye fist for about 6 months and he asked me to reproduce what he had done and I did it no problems, but his advice was to try this only once as a test of your progression as the acid that is in the apple can get into your joints and make them bad if done continually.
As always Chu Sifu had shown me something and had me test it and so giving me the enthusiasm to continue. As the training was very hard and laborious, a labour of love no doubt, but still we all need encouragement and he always knew the correct time to give it.
How much do we need to condition the body in this modern world of knives and guns? Is there a place for the traditional skills? Within the Chu Gar kuen system we emphasis a lot of time on conditioning of the single knuckle the iron palm, iron shirt and also the bridge arm, with the main aim to get close enough to the opponent to damage them without getting damaged ourselves, obviously this would change if faced with a knife or gun.
I think I am able to bridge the gap between training and using the traditional methods, keeping them alive and also I am able to look at the arts I teach in the modern concept of weapons and train accordingly, here I am exposed to firearms everyday seeing them carried by police, army and even the civilian population, knives are also prevalent here as tools and also everyday carry. Every house will have a traditional sword hung near to the shrine so it is available if needed.
I think there is still a place for the traditional skills, otherwise I would not train and practise them but also they are a great foundation to build upon for more modern skills utilising more modern weapons.