Goals inform training

It is important to have measurable goals in our training. One very useful goal for martial artists to achieve is to hold the Horse Riding stance with correct form and a relaxed mind for five minutes. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

The two pillars of kung fu are force and combat application. A useful goal for martial artists to reach in developing force is to hold the Horse Riding stance, with correct form and completely relaxed, for five minutes. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

Blind and haphazard training will get you no where. You have to know exactly what you want, why you want it, how you will get it, and when you plan to arrive at your goal so that you can be as time- and cost-effective as possible. Most of us aren’t exactly immortal; why not do the best we can to get what we want?

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Black belts in kung fu?

A photo of me from 2011 practicing Baguazhang whilst wearing the Chinese Taoist Martial Arts Association uniform: school shirt, black pants, and white sash.

A photo of me from 2011 practicing Baguazhang whilst wearing the Chinese Taoist Martial Arts Association uniform: school shirt, black pants, and white sash. 

There was a discussion on LinkedIn in 2013 April asking why kung fu school were adopting the notion of colored belts or the more popular colored sash system. I’m generally of the opinion that belts and sashes are used to hold up your trousers or to serve as an improvised weapon if it ever comes to that, but I can’t deny that colored belts and so forth are a thing in many martial arts schools. Here was my response:

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Qualities of an amazing master

I touched on this subject not too long ago, but bears repeating again: a great master will save you time and tears in the long run. We had a discussion on LinkedIn back in 2013 April about what makes an amazing instructor. Here was my response, which applies not only to martial arts, but to life in general:

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Just five techniques

If you could pick just five techniques to practice, what would they be?

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Offense, defense, and hurting your opponents?

How much force is too much? Do we really have to maim our opponents? How proactive or reactive should we be in a sparring match or a fight? Is showing mercy to an opponent a worthwhile endeavor? How did past masters react?

The question of the day on the LinkedIn Martial Artists forum was the relative amount of offense and defense used in various arts and how much was “too much” force.

"Bail Moon From Sea Bottom," a potentially fatal and combat ending grip to the groin.  Image taken from www.shaolin.org

“Bail Moon From Sea Bottom,” a potentially fatal and combat ending grip to the groin. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

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