The cost of training?

Jackie Chan's character practicing "Golden Bridge." Yes, he has metal rings on his forearms and his master is making him "sit" there until the incense stick below is done burning. I'm glad my master didn't make me do that! Image taken from http://www.tumblr.com/

Jackie Chan’s character practicing “Golden Bridge,” one of the most famous variants of the Horse Riding stance. Yes, he has metal rings on his forearms and yes, his master is making him “sit” there until the incense stick below is done burning. I’m glad my master didn’t make me do that! Image taken from http://www.tumblr.com/

The question posed on LinkedIn back in early 2013 May was: What is the cost of your training and your skill? For some, it is monetary, for some it is time, and others it is blood, sweat, and tears.

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Experience at the Chicago branch of the Shaolin Temple

The logo of the Chicago branch of the Shaolin temple. Image taken from  http://www.shaolintemplechicago.com/

The logo of the Chicago branch of the Shaolin temple. Image taken from http://www.shaolintemplechicago.com/

On Sunday, 2013 July 7, I learnt that a branch of the Shaolin temple exists in Chicago, IL. Being a little bit of a kung fu nut, I decided to take a look and see how they operated on 2013 July 8. According to the schedule on their website, they hold a morning kung fu class for adults, so that’s the one I attended (thank you, summer vacation). The schedule also had kung fu classes for children and teenagers, as well as a san da (Chinese kick-boxing) and qigong class. Their weekend schedule also includes a qin-na (grips and locks) class as well as a free and open-to-the-public sitting meditation class.

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Martial arts books?

The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu, by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, is my most highly recommended book on martial arts.

The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu, by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, is my most highly recommended book on martial arts. Image taken from http://www.superiormartialarts.com

There was a LinkedIn discussion in early 2013 May where someone posed the question: If you could pick three martial arts books for beginners, intermediate level practitioners, and master martial artists, what would they be?

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Your martial arts role models?

My sifu (Master Antony Korahais, left) and sigung (Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, right). Image taken from www.flowingzen.com

My sifu (Master Antony Korahais, left) and sigung (Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, right). They have what I want and are willing to teach it, and I am proud to be their student and very proud that I can call them my teachers. Image taken from http://www.flowingzen.com

 

This may sound quaint, but my role models in the martial arts are my master and grandmaster. Both are life-loving, easy to smile or laugh, and literally life-saving people who have dedicated their lives to training, systematizing, and spreading their arts to the public.

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Handedness in kung fu

Master Adam Hsu demonstrates "Sun Emerges From Clouds," the opening and closing pattern of Tantui. This pattern is only performed on one side in the classical set. Image taken from www.adamhsu.com

Master Adam Hsu demonstrates “Sun Emerges From Clouds,” the opening and closing pattern of Tantui’s solo sequences. This pattern is only performed on one side in the classical set. Image taken from http://www.adamhsu.com

In many kung fu sets, one hand is emphasized in attacking an opponent (the “emperor hand”) while the other is emphasized in defending or taming an opponent (the “minister” hand). ┬áThere are several reasons for why the majority of kung fu sets are not ambidextrous.

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