The Plight of Industrialized Man
Living in the Pacific Northwest is a challenge for any body: the poor excuse for weather west of the Cascades is one of the worst on earth for human health. Luckily our Ch'uan Fa Club meets in central Oregon several times a week, rarely missing an opportunity to train outdoors .
I'm not speaking here of a prepared arena of asphalt or even grass. I mean we use/find/even search out poor footing surfaces, including ice, deep snow, pebbles, desert sand, and forest floor.
Admittedly, it's a challenge to get new students to be involved with a teacher who trains his school outside regularly in the woods and desert, and even on mountain tops. (I never have more than 10 guys-seldom any women-who are tough enough to dare to be different.)
But it's my experience that once the cultivated, civilized martial artist gets exposed long enough to the exhilarating benefits of fresh air, wildlife and trees, his deeper roots take hold. Most of my students now find it difficult-even unpleasant-to go back to the enclosed, stuffy conditions of "normal" training halls. It's not that tough to understand why, as most of us came from peasant stock a very few generations ago, putting our reliance on modern life-style within the realm of the absurdly tenuous-not to mention degenerative.
It may not be chic or socially advantageous to admit your recent connections to Earth rhythms, but it could save your life. For a man to deny his biological heritage is a fatal error. Never mind that the industrialized world is going to hell in a mechanized hand-basket (and taking the rest of the earth's humans with them): you can marshal your piercing powers of striking to the heart of the matter by coming to terms with your natural place in this biosphere.
It is a common musing among older teachers to speak of the great "immortals" of bygone eras in martial arts. We've all heard the stories and wished we could approach the skill levels of the great ones. I think we're sliding over important points that get buried in the telling. The First Principle to successful training is to "Eat Bitter Every Day." If you don't know what that means, you may be incorrigibly industrialized and your male principle de-germinated by urban life-style. You well know that the dominating principle of modern life is to promote comfort and convenience. You tell me how such an attitude can possibly create excellence of skills and evolution of spirit.
Why have the bulk of the great men retreated to natural environment and even harsh circumstance, with only the basics of survival to sustain them, while they cultivated excellence? The answer to this question brings us to the integration of the First Principle with the Second: "Nature shows the Way." Correct me if I am misguided, but I can't seem to recall advice from any culture in synch with its environment that directs us to "come downtown" for wisdom and health.
When a human extricates himself from the rhythms of the Earth he becomes a foreigner in his own house. The strident make-up of the modern life-style has left most of us without the means of carrying forward the natural abilities and skills we inherited as a creature of natural rhythms.
The Ch'uan Fa Kempo school recently met with me for a training session that lasted 3 ½ hours. That wasn't too radical in itself (we've met over 2 ½ days before, isolated in the woods), but toss in the heavy snowstorm that swirled around us, and you get the idea. Actually, maybe you don't: we've found that it's difficult to impart to observers the changes in self-regard, the increase in focus and intent, and more importantly, the appreciation of just being outside.
View this article in its entirety:http://kempochuanfa.com
Sifu Orem holds the following ranks:
-Certified Instructor, Guang Ping Yang T'ai-Chi Assn.;
-Black Sash/Instructor, from Gung-Fu Wu-Shu Institute;
-6th Degree Black Sash in Chinese Boxing, from the International Chinese Boxing Federation;
-8th Degree Black Belt in Zen Kempo-jitsu, from the World Nibuikai Budo Federation.
He was also voted into the World Martial Arts Masters Society (head-quartered in Germany), as the ranking member of the Society.
Sifu Orem is the author of several manuals focused on the practicum and methodology of effective training, including the acclaimed SENG PING TAO: PATH OF THE WARRIOR MONK and ESOTERIC MARTIAL ARTS OF ZEN: TRAINING METHODS FROM THE PATRIARCH. He has also created and produced 50 training videos with such diverse topics as Kempo Ki/Chi Development, Northern Shaolin for the Mature Athlete, T'ai-chi and Pregnancy, a children's Kung Fu series, plus many northern and southern Shaolin hand and weapon forms. He was a featured writer with the on-line martial arts magazine DRAGON'S LIST (dragonslist.com).
The Acronym That Saved My Life
Frequently, I get asked about certifications, systems or methods. We made a decision a long time ago of purposely staying away from things like this.
Things to Know About Learning Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi Boxing)
For Easterners, particularly Chinese, this MAY not be an issue. Tai Chi Chuan is deeply rooted as part of the Chinese culture. It is known to almost everyone what Tai Chi Chuan is all about. Note there: I said "?MAY not be an issue", meaning that there are exceptions, particularly to Chinese who are not born and grown up in China.
A Few Things Everyone Should Know to Keep Themselves Safe
The following are a few thoughts about how to decrease your chances of being a victim of a violent crime. I know a lot of times we focus on the nuts and bolts of a fight and we assume most of us know these things and this information is common knowledge for some of you, but it some times it's always good to review.
Martial Arts and The Bible
As a Christian and a martial arts student, I have often wrestled with the idea of self-defense. Does God expect me to defend my family and myself when physically attacked or am I to "turn the other cheek" and endure it in the name of Jesus? As I considered the many comments I encountered on this topic, I became even more confused. Some advocates for "religion" have gone as far as to say that anyone who practices any form of martial arts is without a doubt bound for hell. It wasn't until I committed myself to a more thorough study of the scriptures that I discovered the truth for myself. The Bible gives more than a few examples of the practice of self-defense and the idea of martial arts. I would like to share some of what I have learned in this study of the Bible - Old Testament and New. The Bible is, in fact, the very word of God (II Timothy 3:16-17).
Expect the Unexpected Grass Hopper
The Myth perpetuated by Self Defense Oriented Martial Arts
Historical References to W.E. Fairbairn, E.A. Sykes AND Dermot Pat ONeill
FROM THE BOOK: "PIERCING THE REICH"AUTHOR: JOSEPH E. PERSICO
Grown Man Quits After 3 Mat Pulls!
A matt pull is the simple act of lying on flat on your stomach, reaching in front of you and pulling your self across the mat. This is one exercise that helps develop your muscles for grappling. We do these as a part of our warm up.
Strategy as Applied to Warrior-citizens
After years of study, I have come to a small understanding of the way of strategy. I will here explain some strategy as it applies to warrior-citizens. Seek whatever truth you may find here, then continue on your search for enlightenment.
Catholic Self Defense
Note: I wrote this essay regarding the development of Tekkenryu jujutsu. However, I think it is applicable for all methods of self defense. It may also explain why martial arts are the way they are.
I Know Karate and Kung Fu and Lots of Other Foreign Words!
Martial arts have become incredibly popular in the US. Drive through any little strip shopping center in nearly any city and you're likely to see a martial arts studio. There are dozens of styles to choose from. Karate, jujitsu, aikido, kung fu, qi gong, taekwondo, tai chi. How did that happen?
We all have a good foundation in the basic blows and combinations.
How to Relax During a Fight
I received a returned video from a well meaning, but severely misguided, former customer. This is a rarity since over the past 2 plus years and hundreds upon hundreds of videos shipped; I can only count 3 returns. One was unopened, one included a note that the recipient thought the videos would be something else, but he intended to buy the rest of the videos we offered, hmmm smells a little fishy (incidentally, this person has been banned from buying anything from us again). And lastly, this well-meaning person. The note inside prompted me to write this article. He identified himself that he was an orange belt in Krav Maga and that he has been instructed to "relax" and be loose during a life or death struggle. Now, I have not trained in Krav Maga nor do I know anything about the modern version of it. My focus is on the "relaxing" strategy; which I have heard from a variety of different "experts" during my 30 plus on the mat.
So you are thinking of starting to train in okinawan karate. There are a lot of choices as far as okinawan karate schools are concerned. Which school do you choose ? What is the best school or system? If you are a parent, what okinawan karate school is best for your children?
About four years ago Carl recommended we start using the Bogu during our kumite (sparring practice). This method was developed in Okinawa and then found its way into mainland Japan and eventually to the U.S. where only a few clubs still do this. And even in those clubs, only a few members do it. I know there is other equipment out there that looks similar and I have used most of what's available. But it does not provide you with nearly the same overall effect that the bogu does. Rules in bogu training ? Any punch, any kick, save foot stomps, a strike to the spine and to the back of the neck. Throws and leg kicking is certainly allowed. Use, dare I say, your commonsense.
Have No Misconceptions
I just received an Email from a woman who has a child (3 year old) and about to have another. Considering my wife is in a similar situation, this question couldn't be more relevant. This idea can be expanded to those of us getting older, injured or of smaller stature. Keep in mind, a little common sense goes a long way.
5 Steps to Choosing the Right Martial Art for You
One of the questions I get asked most frequently, in several different variations is about which martial art an individual should study. Generally which martial art, and more importantly which school to choose are fundamental decisions someone should make. My answer is usually something along the lines of, "choose the school and the system that you are going to stick with and stay with it for the rest of your life."
Samurai Swords ? Choosing a Sword to Buy
It's undeniable that a well placed and mounted samurai sword or samurai sword set looks fantastic and an ads character to any room of the home, but is it worth spending upwards of $650 on such a sword or sword set? This all depends on your reasons for buying a samurai sword.
One of the 'mystical' aspects of the martial arts has always been the ability to feel another persons intention.
Tae Kwon Do As A Means To Stay In Shape
Becoming a martial artist is a fanatastic method of fitness. While there are many martial art forms to choose from, taekwondo is clearly the most beneficial, and the most practical. And while many realize the benefits of such exercise, the simple fact is most have no idea how to begin.
A Great Question!
It's a question that we went back and forth with for awhile ourselves many moons ago. The "how" and "why" of our conclusions may be of some interest. Whether or not anyone agrees with them, well at the least you'll fully understand the basis for them.
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