Follow by Email

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fist of Will

Shing Yi or Hsing Ie (Literally Form-Will Fist)
Is one of the oldest internal martial arts and is based upon the 5 element theory of Chinese Cosmology. 

I have spent the past 12 or so years looking for the deeper path in martial arts (before that I was more focused on the physical). I asked questions like “what is the over-riding message in this particular art”. I remember meeting with a group of my senior instructors in 2000 or so. I shared my frustration with teaching the internal arts. I said we needed to create a more straightforward path to understanding for students by teaching classes in certain ways, focusing on certain drills and emphasizing certain mental states over others. The had a look of confusion on their faces similar to the one you might have right now.
            You see the previous year I had passed into 5th degree black belt in 1999. I was feeling the need to deepen my own approach with that new weighty title of Master. I spent the next 12 years expanding myself in every possible way. Each piece of knowledge was used for martial art training and greater understanding. Each time I discovered something profound, I was embarrassed to realize I had heard it several times before from Grandmaster Sin or Master Bill in a slightly altered form.
            I was NEVER satisfied with an answer that didn’t seem to be a universal principle or earth shaking revelation for my training and understanding. I wasn’t just looking for new applications to grab the sparrow’s tail in tai chi.
            Now I teach these internal and indeed sparring and external arts from this altered perspective. It has not been just profound for me, but in the private lessons and classes I teach I can see massive changes in the way my students perform. 
            All of this is a lead-in to my two part series “Form of the fist depends on the Will. I spent years gaining more understanding of the physical parts of Shing Yi and we will cover that in part one on December 8th 3-4:30PM. I spent twice that time working on my understanding of the internal part of Shing Yi and we will cover this the second Saturday in January (12th) at 3PM-4:30PM as well

Shing Yi is perfect for any level of kung fu or tai chi student. You will learn all you need to practice the highest internal art for years to come. If you are a black belt and already learned Shing Yi, it is time to make good on the promise of what you r were originally so excited about. Time to actually let the Shing Yi lesson deepen your martial art practice.

You can register at the door
North Austin School
Part One December 8th 3-4:30PM
Part Two January 12th 3-4:30
$75 overs both seminars

Find Out More

Monday, October 22, 2012

Change Your Kick - Change Your Life

There is a way to succeed in any endeavor in life. If your desire is to be better at kicking, then there is a way. If your desire is to launch a new career or business, there is a way to do that. If your desire is to get better at sparring, there is a way to do that too.

Is it any surprise that there are certain universal principles that can control your success in anything you strive for? Grandmaster Sin told us that learning a Kung Fu system was like digging a well, looking for water. Many of us would dig a foot or two down and then come back to him and ask for a new shovel or a place to dig because the current location was not going to be fruitful. Pretty soon we have 70 or so shallow holes in the ground and no water yet.

The secret, he told us, was to dig deeper until we hit water and then all the holes would fill with water. He said that once a single art became transparent to us, all would become transparent. It is the same with life. In fact, the same methods that we use in Shaolin to reach for greatness will serve us in EVERY activity and goal for which we strive.

I will share my exact plan with you this Sunday that will deliver you to whatever destination you desire. We will first cover these principles applied to something like kicking. You will learn a physical lesson that nothing can keep you from getting what you what, AND your kicks will change for life.

Bring a notebook and pen. I will give you some things to write in that notebook that will change your life. I guarantee you will NEVER regret the time you spent with me this Sunday getting a plan together for greatness.

October 28th 3-5:30PM North Austin School

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No Sir, But I am working on it.

Elder Master Bill will often ask "do you have that kata?" and those of us who have been around a while know that the only answer to this question is "No Sir, but I'm working on it"

When we come to personal challenge in life there are only two potential responses.
A. We can take the challenge and change some part of our selves to reach the goal
B. Accept the current status Quo and incorporate the limitation into our persona

From day one in Shaolin-Do we start to work on developing the first response (A) to challenge. That response is to change something to get the result we want. It requires three steps to make those changes
1. Accept that we can't do something
2. Create a strategy to learn or change something
3. Execute that strategy

Many of the people I have known in my life get stuck right at #1, accept that you CAN'T do something. They feel this is an admission of inferiority and a threat to their ego and feelings of self-worth. I have seen this over and over again in some people's inability to call their teacher by a title of respect. If you can't acknowledge that there is something you CAN'T do then how can you learn something new?

Next you need to formulate a plan of how improve that kick, make your crane roll smoother, face the fear of performing in front of others, ....whatever your challenge is. The plan needs to be progressive and smart. It needs to start with what you can do and lead you toward the land of "that scares the crap out of me".

This step is made much easier by creating a smart plan, with a realistic first couple steps.

After 10-20 years of pushing through barriers in this way, the Shaolin-Do student starts to apply these principles across the board in their life. They acknowledge deficiency, create the plan and take action. Year after year, hunting their weaknesses mercilessly.

HOW MANY times have you heard people explain away some uncomfortable personal trait by saying "that's just the way I am". Instead we say, "I'm working on it".

This is the reason I say that as you grow older you either get wiser or crazier. There is no inbetween. You either work to fix your problems or you bury them deeper under the BS and live in fear of exposure. So Shaolin-Do becomes your ticket to a better life by teaching the principle of progressive change through hard work. You learn the humility to acknowledge your deficiencies and develop the personal courage to face the work and changes needed to fix them.

I will be sharing a tool taken from Shaolin training for your personal transformation in my Kick seminar this month. I have never shared this with another single person before now. Hope to see you there.
October 28th 3-5:30 at North Austin School
Kung Fu Seminar

Monday, October 1, 2012

Why Do We Sweat?

Why We Sweat
Humans sweat more than just about any other animal. Another animal that sweats profusely is a horse. This is perfect for my argument that Humans are meant to stay in motion. Evaporative cooling only works best when air moves against our skins to evaporate the sweat. Hmmm, horses seem to use it the same way since they LOVE TO RUN!

Humans are meant to stay in motion. Our metabolisms work better when we are pushed physically and our minds respond by rewarding us with optimism, enthusiasm and motivation. In terms of evolution, our ability to move, with speed and endurance, was critical for survival. This was only rivaled by our need to out-think our prey. So during exercise, our minds go into over-drive. We fulfill our evolutionary destiny by becoming the perfect hunting/killing machine. A brain with unparalleled ability to make connections, learn and predict, combined with a body that can sweat to cool itself like the perfect long-distance running machine.

Whether or not you subscribe to this line of reasoning is not important. I believe lots of lies that are very useful. For example, everything that happens in my world, is a direct result of something I did or didn't do. Of course this is a ridiculous notion, but it gives me more power over my world. Many folks turn over responsibility for everything in their life, as blame on other people or something like the government. This leaves them powerless to change even the things they can take control of.

By believing it is my evolutionary destiny, my phylogenetic legacy to exercise and think positive thoughts, then so be it. it might be only partially true, but I can turn that little belief into momentum and action.  In sparring, if I BELIEVE that I can step over to your space and knock your head clean off without you being able to stop me, I actually stand a pretty good chance of making it happen, since fear is what stops most of us from getting what we want.

Of course this blog is related to various martial art related themes like
Austin martial arts and austin karate, more classes

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lessons From The Trampoline

My 9 year old usually spends about 1-2 hours per day bouncing on his trampoline. He jumps and flips with a nerf sword in his hand, acting out moves in a movie that is playing in his head. He is one with that sword and the world around him doesn't exist.

Imagine if you performed your katas this way. Out of the sheer joy of experiencing the movements. Think about this little thought experiment. What if I told my Son that I was going to stand a video camera next to his trampoline and film him to show the entire school. Wouldn't his performance drop? What if I told him that the entire State of Texas would be watching, how about the entire world? Naturalness would be gone. Joy would be gone. It would be replaced by fear, anxiety, stress and mechanicalness. What was once second nature, would become strained and difficult.

If you are brave enough to look at your actual inner thoughts during class and performance of kung fu  or tai chi forms, you will see that you have applied most of these same pressures to yourself. One time I had a student confess that they were a "perfectionist" to which I replied "I'm sorry". They seemed angry at my response, but can you see how this is not a peak performance state?

The next time you practice a kata, repeat it about 15-20 times. Then get a drink and come back to the form and then just experience the form. Pay attention to the joy of moving your body and the beautiful nature of each move. Pretend that your were the creator of the kata and that like my Son on the trampoline, you aren't repeating the form to "get it down better", but because it's just what you want to do.

Remember that in each post I am placing some links that will help our home site for ranking.

austin martial arts   and austin karate

Monday, July 4, 2011

Just not feeling motivated

     Are you not as motivated as you used to be? I have a simple and fool-proof solution. DECIDE to do something. Test for a belt on a specific date, compete in a tournament, perform a demo at the next tournament, do a kip-up, attain a certain level of fitness. You can attain any of these goals, or be hopelessly removed from them. The difference is a simple word; DECIDE. To truly decide is to remove all other options but a single course of action.

One of my favorite quotes, by W.H. Murray (often misquoted to Goethe)
the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

In other words, once you decide (commit) previously unseen and unavailable resources align and mobilize in your favor. Trying to reach a goal without commitment has never really been accomplished.  Outside that door you feel ineffectual, hopeless and un-motivated. You take control, make a plan, set the goal, tell your network of friends and family...AND PROVIDENCE MOVES TOO. The impossible becomes possible.

A person could never achieve success without commitment. Only by removing the option to quit could we weather the midnight hours of the soul that WILL stand in your way and cause you to question the path forward. Isn't it wonderful. We all love to watch those movies like Lord Of The Rings. We love to see those characters tested and revel in their triumph, and right here in front of us all is our chance to experience no less a trial of fire.

Set the goal
Make the promise
Throw your hat over the wall
Tell a friend
Remove the options to quit

Here is the real deal. Nobody makes it to the promised land without getting knocked down and beaten up (not a little, but a lot). Taking the raod less traveled and stepping back to the plate after a defeat doesn't guarantee you success. However, I can guarantee that if you let the failures and difficulties keep you on the sofa, you certainly will not realize your dreams. I like this speech by Rocky from his last movie. In fact, it rates way up there in my pantheon of inspirational sound bytes. It is 3 minutes long and worth every second to watch.


It doesn't have to be about Martial arts. Go buy a book and learn something new today.Make a decision, it's fun and powerful. My 8 year old makes a decision about once an hour. It seems to keep him energized. maybe we should try it.