Tag Archives: karate

Justin Earns 4th Black Belt!

Newsletter 1003

A New Fourth Black Belt!

Happy Covid!
Hope you’re enjoying your vacation,
and that all is well with your friends and families.

Haven’t been writing much lately,
well I have,
actually I’ve been writing 8 hours a day,
but it’s been in other fields.
Simply,
I need to make some money.

That lame excuse out in the universe,
let me say…

CONGRATS TO JUSTIN HARRIS
Justin just earned his black in Shaolin Butterfly,
which, with the other arts he has studied
earns him a fourth degree black belt.

WELL DONE!

Now that’s a guy who takes advantage of the Corona crisis!

Okay,
Since I haven’t been writing much lately,
you can always catch up on old writings.
First,
the inexpensive way,
just go to
https://alcase.wordpress.com
and start reading the blog.
There’s probably
a 1000 blogs there.

Or,
if you want to go a bit more in depth,
I compiled all my articles in a ten book series.
The Biggest Martial Arts Lesson

That’s a lot of articles,
near a thousand,
and they cover EVERYTHING!
Or,
you could just start ordering courses,
stop reading about and start experiencing.

You know,
I came across an interesting question today.
It was something to do with how many defenses you need
to really protect yourself
I started to chuckle,
cause the guy had it backwards.
You don’t worry about how many things you can do,
you just worry about what he is going to do.
If you are worried about what you will do
you are introverting,
and not looking out,
to where the danger is.
So look outwards
and learn to analyze strikes.

Do you know how many punches there are?
Six.
That’s all.
So let me cover this in more or less logical (matrixed) fashion.

There are two punches left and right
There are two types of punches straight and circular
There are two modes of punches snap and thrust

When you matrix these, and toss out things that don’t work (you don’t snap a circular punch, for instance) You end up with six possible strikes. Of course they could sail in fron odd directions, but still, only six…

left straight snap
left straight thrust
left circular
right straight snap
right straight thrust
right circular

So,
first, watch for the kick.
No danger from punches or other strikes,
maybe from weapons,
but you will usually see if there is a weapon pretty quick.

Second, as you step in
the kick gets jammed,
easy to handle with a retreat or a turned hip, etc.
Now you have to worry about the punch,
but worry introverts,
so you just watch him.
I know some people say you have to train
for punches from the rear,
yes,
but as soon as you turn to him he is in the front,
so front training is where the punch is coming from.

Watch his feet to see if he is angling for a punch
watch his shoulders to see if he is loading
sidestep slowly,
always being ready,
and always moving so he can’t quite fix on you.

Third,
don’t worry about knees and elbows,
he has to close to use those,
and that is so obvious it is ridiculous.

And there it is.
Fighting is easy,
reading an opponent is easy.

Of course,
it all means nothing
if you don’t spend some time
hitting things so you can feel what it feels like
practicing forms so your body is in top top shape,
and just training like your life depends on it
because,
darn it,
it does.

Anyway,
that is sort of how you apply simple logic (matrixing) to fighting.

And,
obligatory ad,
you really should look into my courses,
because they are all like this,
simple and thorough,
realistic and fun.

That all said,
don’t worry about the Covid crisis,
because worrying is introverting
and life is out there.
Instead,
train hard and strengthen the immune system,
best medical advice I can give you.

Sensei Case

Have a great work out!

Al

Here is ‘The Last Martial Arts Book,’
Best one I have ever written,

Nine Square Diagram Boxing

Internal Chi Power: Karate and Tai Chi Chuan

Newsletter 998

The Two Types of Internal Power (chi)!

Hi guys and gals!
Happy Corona vacation!
I hope you’ve made the best of it,
learned an art or two,
worked out every day,
preserved your health and safety
for your whole life.
If not…okay,
you’ve still got time.

One of the big mysteries in the martial arts
is this thing called Chi Power,
or ‘internal power.’
It is spoken of in Karate and kung fu,
Aikido and Tai Chi
and all manner of arts.
Interestingly,
MMA,
and more modern arts,
don’t speak of it.
In fact,
‘chi power’ is often denigrated,
held in poor repute.
All that means is that people don’t understand it,
and so bad mouth it.
So,
let me delve into the subject briefly.
Before I do,
however,
you should know something.
Most arts won’t generate chi power
for the simple reason
that the body is not structured properly.
To make chi you first have to have resistance,
and the body must be formed
to take advantage of that resistance.
you don’t make muscles,
although muscles occur,
in real martial arts.
You generate awareness,
and awareness becomes chi power.
When you do the Master Instructor course
you learn how to create resistance
by structuring the body correctly,
and that turns into chi power,
but it’s not easy.
It takes time and awareness,
and most people are too interested in beating people up
and so ignore the simple fact of awareness.
When you do the Matrix Karate you learn how to structure an art,
and that speeds everything up.
No missing pieces in your path,
nothing out of place or not making sense.

Okay,
that all said,
let’s talk about the two main types
of internal power in the martial arts.

There are hard arts,
karate and kung fu and such.
Then there are soft arts,
such as Aikido and Tai Chi.

Karate is a matter of analyzing the body
so that it provides certain paths of resistance,
and then using as little force as possible
on these paths.
Why as little force as possible?
Because if you use force you build muscles.
If you don’t use force,
then you start to use energy.
But the paths of resistance MUST be correct
for the generation of energy to occur.
If you turn your feet wrong you lose resistance.
If your hips aren’t aligned you lose resistance.
If your shoulders overthrow you lose resistance,
and so on and so on.
This is why the old guys who teach hard chi
obsess on such things as the wrist not being turned properly.
Even if you knock the other guy out…bad form.

Now,
here is an interesting phenomena.
Most karate teaches explosive power.
It’s all in your ability to explode.
If your form is correct
you might make the transition
and start to generate chi power.
Most styles of karate,
however,
do not have proper form.
they have been made into boxing,
or the instructors haven’t understood what they are doing
and the art has become tweaked and incorrect.

Actually,
the proper way to teach hard chi
is as follows.
Push with the foot,
feel the turn of the leg,
feel the turn of the hip,
feel the power go up the body,
feel the corkscrew of the arm
snap the fist.

This is described in many places,
but the directions are poor,
or they leave things out.
The instructor doesn’t teach the student
to stop tightening the whole body
and to tighten only the wrist.
Or breathing is neglected.
Or the purpose of stances is not adhered to.
(sink the weight into the ground to create a motor).
But if you relax, breath correctly,
feel weight and sensation course up through the body
through exact configuration
(spiral, unfold, pulse, etc.)
then you don’t get chi power.

tell the truth,
I had chi power from my study of karate.
I had a teacher who taught a good art,
and I obsessed on figuring out the best way to form the body.
But I didn’t understand it,
and wasn’t able to teach it effectively
until after I had done Tai Chi.
Tai Chi gave me the ‘emptiness’ that I needed
to fulfill the ‘empty’ in ‘empty hands.’

Okay,
having mentioned Tai Chi,
let’s talk about the chi power you get
from such arts as Tai Chi or Aikido.

Karate is an explosion.
A ball of boom!
Aikido and Tai Chi…
they rely on getting ahead of the attacker
just enough to unbalance them.
Now,
here is the secret.
When you move with somebody,
in harmony with them,
you tap into more power.
It is the simple fact of two motors
(two bodies)
working in tandem.
More energy is created.
And, harmony has more inherent energy
than the fact of exploding.

Which is not to say karate or kung fu
don’t have harmony.
But it is constantly being upset by the need for power.
If a person can stop lusting for power,
learn to relax while punching,
harmony breeds.
Never as much as in Tai Chi or Aikido,
but enough.

So these are the two types of internal power
you get from the classical martial arts,
arts that haven’t been corrupted by such things as politics,
MMA, boxing, the need to pay rent, and so on.

But there are more types of internal energy.
Much more.
But the correct path would be to develop
one, or both, of the types of energy I describe here,
then let other energies develop.
And they will develop.
Every person is different,
however,
so it may be difficult to predict
what kind of energy and ability you will develop,
and it may not be what you were expecting.
But whatever you get,
it will be in keeping with your personality
and your personal evolution of spirit.

If you want what I am describing here,
I recommend

the Master Instructor course
to learn how to structure the body correctly.

Matrix Karate
to learn how to structure an art
so there will be no missing pieces,
no out of place oddities.

And,
if you are a long timer
and understand all that I am saying,
you might like to delve into
Tai Chi Chuan.

Okay,
‘nuff said,
have yourself a great and wonderful Corona vacation,
and a super duper work out.
Al

2c Five Army Tai Chi Chuan

Corona Kung Fu Special!

Newsletter 996

Two for One Corona Martial Arts Special

Hey! hey!
How you all doing?
Lot of people got some time off
and you know what that means…
Training Time!

It’s funny,
I get people who ask me
if I’m worried about the Corona virus.
“Why?” I ask.
“You’re over 70!
You’re at risk!
One out of 10 people over 70…DIE!”

I’m gonna die,
okay,
I’ve known that all along,
everybody dies…
so what?
What is important is not that I’m going to die,
but the quality of my life before I die.

Did I work out every day?
Did I use the lessons of the martial arts?
Was I polite?
Did I make friends instead of enemies?
That’s the important stuff.

And,
news flash for the bozos
who want to get into the death stuff…
after working out every day
for more than 50 years,
I’m in fair good shape.
In fact,
I would put me in the 10-20 age group for risk.
That’s what happens when you work out.
That’s what the martial arts do for you.

So,
let me ask you…
have you worked out today?
Did you work out yesterday and the day before and…so on?
And, if you didn’t…
why not?
Why the F not?
What good is your life
if you don’t make yourself strong,
compassionate,
and learn how to enjoy your life
and the lives of everybody around you?

I guess you can see where this is going.
Yep.
Anybody who orders a course
between now and March 21
can get another one of the same or lesser price.
Two for one.
Yep,
the Corona Martial Arts special,
to encourage all you lazy couch potatoes
to be all the Bruce Lee you can be.

Just put in an order,
then email me at aganzul@gmail.com,
tell me what course you want,
got to be of equal value.
You order a $30 course
you can’t order a $50 course as your second course,
got to be a $30 course (or less).

This is my present to those of you
who want to survive not just the Corona thing,
but for life!
If you want to be stronger,
smarter,
have more friends,
be the one people look to in an emergency….

Two for One until March 31st.
April 1st and i will just write you back and say…Don’t be an April Fool!

Here’s a link

2e Kung Fu Package

Have a great work out!
Al

2e Kung Fu Package

Dark Martial Arts Holiday is Here!

Newsletter 992

Martial Arts Holiday HanaKwanMass is Coming!

One punch at a time…
one kick at a time…
day by day we get closer and closer…
it’s just a few days until…

HANAKWANMASS!

You old guys know what I’m talking about.
Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas!
HanaKwanMass,
the one day out of the year
I get to insult EVERY person who says…
happy holidays.

Happy holidays is a phrase invented so you don’t
hurt the feelings of somebody who believes in Kwanza
by saying Merry Xmas to him,
or offend a Jewish fellow by saying Kwanza,
and so on.

But I say
a holiday is a holiday,
and if somebody says the wrong one to you
he meant well
and you walk away with good wishes,
and the heck with the politically correct bushwah.

You know,
there is a deeper thread here.

A fellow knows karate,
so he bad mouths Kung Fu,
or Aikido or whatever.
A fellow does MMA,
so he looks down on Kenpo or Taekwondo.

These fellows are the garbage minds of the Martial Arts.

When I meet a fellow who studies something I don’t,
I am all over him,
how do you guys handle this?
What about that weapon?
what’s your training like?

Every question I get answered
opens my mind
makes me a batter martial artist.

No art is better than any other,
they are just different steps in the martial arts.

No person is any better,
or worse,
than any other.
We are all cogs in the same machine,
we are all the different faces of God,
we are people…
and HanaKwanMass to us all.
And HanaKwanMass to you
and all your kids,
and your brothers and sisters,
aunts and uncles,
grandparents,
and even your dogs and cats,
and especially to your instructors.

If you understand what I just said,
then you understand the real spirit of the martial arts.

OBLIGATORY AD
(you may skip if you wish,
but you’ll probably wake up tomorrow with a rash.)

4d The Punch


This is for those of you
who wish to develop
the strongest punch
known to mankind,
and even a few aliens.

Al

4d The Punch

Chi Energy Developed through Martial Arts

Newsletter 990

Odd Things About Energy in Tai Chi Chuan and Karate

I don’t talk about energy
in the martial arts
(in Tai Chi Chuan, Karate, etc.)
as much as I should.
Some people think energy (chi) is bogus.
That’s okay,
they can bail this newsletter and pick up the next one.
But here’s some stuff about chi in the martial arts.

I was talking to a student the other day,
and we got into postures
when you are just talking to people.
We had just finished some form
and she was standing,
and she clasped her hands in front of her.
Yikes!
I pointed out that when you do a TCC form
energy is moving.
When you clasp your hands
or otherwise touch your body
you turn the energy into the body
and the creation of chi stops.
Simply,
it goes into circuit,
instead of flowing outward,
which the form trains the energy to do.
So after a form,
you should simply stand,
let the chi exude from your fingertips,
and swell from your body.

This concept relates to postures
when in simple communication with somebody.
She understood that when you fold your arms
you are indicating,
on a ‘subliminal’ level,
you are closed to communication
When you open your arms you are open to communication
And there are variations and versions of this
‘opening’ and ‘closing’ of the body
that people do in simple communication.
But this opening and closing relates to the circles of the arms
and the flow of energy
when doing the martial arts
and specifically Tai Chi

In Aikido we used to do a ‘two step’ movement across the mat,
pretending chi was flowing out of our out flung arms.
Then we tried to keep that flow moving as we entered into techniques.

In karate we ‘pump’ the energy in the body.
we build it in the fists.
Which is an oddity,
because closing the fists actually stops the flow of chi.
But you need closed fists,
but you should,
every so often,
do your forms with open hands,
and explore the different sensations and energies you get.

In Tai Chi you move chi through the body, yes,
but it should eventually exit the body in most most postures.
Here is how chi works in a few of the stances.

slant flying
two ‘horizontal’ circles of the arms
the chi contracts and expands as if you are holding a ball of chi in your arms
this is very close to the tan tien.

brush knee
with roll back it is as if you are pulling a rope
then pushing with a palm
a circle in front of you with the blocking hand
a circle (pulsing oval) of the pushing arm next to you
(feels like a locomotive chuffing)

fair lady
the front hand makes a circle
the rear hand (oval) comes through the circle made.
Something interesting here,
fair lady was originally called
‘fair lady weaves at the shuttles.’
it was a series of plucking motions,
resembling a lady weaving at the shuttles.
Martial techniques changed the original motion
into a more shaolin or pa kua version.
specifically,
‘tiger comes out of the cave.’
You sink and then corkscrew upward,
one arm creating the mouth of a cave,
the second hand coming out of the cave.

I mention this last because martial arts names
especially Chinese,
resemble certain images,
and you have to explore the images
and the changes of images,
to get to the truth of how energy works.

So there are three postures.
first you look at what kind of circles are involved
in the hand motions.
Then you explore whether the energy
expands and contracts,
whether it fits an imagery
(fair lady can be done like a locomotive chuffing,
very interesting)
and you do a bunch of other things.
when you strike you should…
push with legs, turn waist, circle (pump) the arms.
And,
of course,
you should practice relaxing
and focusing on the smoothness of your motion.
It helps to imagine perfect circles
(ovals, spirals, etc.)

And,
BREATHING.
Probably the most important thing of all
when it comes to creating energy.
Breath in when the body contracts,
out when it expands.
Breath to the tan tien,
then sink the energy down the legs.
Breath as if into the body part striking
or getting struck.

And,
there is a lot more.
Usually small things
that create a big wholism.
What the hands do the energy in the tan tien will mimic.
Shoulders MUST be over hips.
turn the body as one,
all pieces of the body must support one intention,
and so on.

Honestly,
if I made a simple list,
it would be a thousand items.
but,
doing the form year in and year out
IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE TECHNIQUES
and you will figure them out in 20 or 30 years
or maybe 40.

Now you see why I obsess on matrixing so much.
People should, and can, learn faster.
If you do a form for 30 or so years,
if you understand the techniques,
you figure it all out.
With matrixing you can cut the time by tens.
Instead of 30 years,
3 years.

But there is money in stretching the time of learning out.
Car contracts are a big thing,
most schools can’t survive without them.
Sad,
when you think about people who want self defense,
and are sold,
literally,
a bill of goods.

But when martial arts started up,
over the ages,
people needed to be put in combat.
So they needed to be taught quick,
the teacher couldn’t mess up,
or make mistakes,
lives depended on him.
He didn’t worry about getting a student on contract for several years,
he simply taught fast,
knocked heads and you’d better learn,
or else.
Armies of pheasants were created in months, even weeks.

The US army is based on learn quick and fast.
We turn out the best soldieres in the world in a matter of months.
Can you imagine the US army with such a viewpoint
as is presented in the martial arts today?
‘It will take you three years to complete basic training.’
We wouldn’t be the best military in the world
with that kind of thought.
Yet that is EXACTLY the kind of thought
that goes along with the martial arts.

I can teach a guy to fight in a month.
Fight well,
survive in a real fight,
no problemo.
But fighting isn’t the martial arts.
If you read this newsletter again you’ll see
that I’m not talking about fighting…
I’m talking about the body as an energy system.
I’m not talking about muscles,
I’m talking about energy as a viable and useful tool.

Well,
I’ve talked long enough.
You’ve either got it,
or you aren’t going to get it.

There is more to life than push ups and fights.
There are philosophies,
energy systems,
methods of thought,
strategies,
ways of living
far beyond what you ever thought…Horatio.

So here’s the obligatory ad.
Have fun,

2c Five Army Tai Chi Chuan

Or try the whole package…

2ca Tai Chi Chuan Package

and have a great work out!

Al

2c Five Army Tai Chi Chuan

Or try the whole package…

2ca Tai Chi Chuan Package

Unding your Education with Matrixing

Newsletter 989

The Odd Effects of Matrixing in the Martial Arts

Started matrixing back in the 80s.
Been a long time.
Formalized it around 2007.
Taught a lot of people,
but here’s the thing…
matrixing is VERY subtle.

You do the first courses,
maybe you get a blast of realization,
especially if you’ve spent some time in the arts,
have a good database that needs to be organized.
Then the real work starts.
Time.

Time passes
and the seeds gestate within.
The initial blast of logic fades a bit,
but it keeps working.
Sometimes you don’t realize it
but you are looking at the world differently.
logically.
Life becomes smoother.
things other than the arts make sense,
are made logical by the matrixing going on inside you.

When you go to school
you are told to shut up and learn.
It’s all behavior modification.
Teachers can’t control the classes
unless they can control the masses.
So shut up and do your work.
Doesn’t matter that the work isn’t logical,
doesn’t have much to do with life.
Shut up and do your work.

They even go after you after school.
Do your homework.
No rest.
Get trained (modified)
so you can be a cog in a factory.

And here’s the thing…
there isn’t much real learning.
Mostly,
it’s memorizing.
When was the battle of Bull Run.
Who cares.
Memorize that algebraic function.
Even though you will never use it in life.

And,
when a lot of people graduate
they are in one of two modes…
a robot ready to man a desk somewhere…
and learning sucks.

Yeah,
school teaches you that learning can be boring,
meaningless and stupid.
So people come out of school thinking that learning sucks.
I did.
And I’d probably still think that learning sucks,
if it wasn’’ for martial arts…
and then matrixing.

There are things in school,
underneath all the drivel,
that do mean something.
Learning how to write,
what all that grammar stuff is,
is incredible.
But they don’t spend a lot of time on that.
Better to modify your behavior.

Underneath that algebra,
is a whole method of learning and analysis
and critical thinking…
but they slide over that quick,
too hard to explain.

And speaking of critical thinking…
schools don’t go anywhere near that.
Kids might start thinking for themselves,
and then where would the behavior modifiers be?

I started learning when it came to the martial arts.
I wanted to understand it.
I wanted to figure it out.
And I started thinking.
I started analyzing it,
being critical in my thought concerning it.
I started doing things that school never prepared me for,
and never wanted me to do.

Matrixing.
A quick way to line up all the data,
to make sense of it
and apply it.
And the carefully arranged rigidity of my mind
started to shatter.

Unfortunately,
it doesn’t work that way for everybody.

I was lucky,
had a couple of good schools,
an instructor who didn’t say much,
but could do a lot,
but who wanted us to figure it out for ourselves.

I remember once,
when a couple of the students went to Bob (my instructor).
They showed him two techniques
and asked him which was better.
He said,
‘I don’t know.’
But it was obvious he knew!
But it was also obvious he wanted to think for ourselves,
to make up our own minds.
To look at the techniques,
try them out,
mix them up,
analyze them,
synthesize them,
and…
understand them.

That is something that almost no teacher,
in todays schools,
martial arts or otherwise,
wants you to do.

No critical thinking for you…
you have to stay a bozo.

Okay,
I’ve ranted enough,
and it’s up to you.
Be a carefully crafted
‘do what I say’ person,
or start looking.
Get critical,
get analytical,
start matrixing,
look for understanding,
and,
here’s the real deal…
start having some fun.

Guaranteed,
when you finally figure out what I’m saying
you’ll understand something that teachers may talk about
but don’t know how to make happen…
fun.

Here’s some real fun…

1a Matrix Karate

Hey,
hapy vets day to you!
and have a great work out!

Al

1a Matrix Karate

How Martial Arts Have changed Over 50 Years

Newsletter 988

Martial Arts Changing Over the Last 50 Years

When I began martial arts,
back in 1967,
things were different.

At this point you expect me to say something to the effect of…
we were more ‘dedicated,’
we were willing to suffer bruises and breaks,
we walked 20 miles,
barefoot,
through the driving snow,
uphill both ways.

Nope.
Has nothing to do with that.
You see,
I have been in modern schools,
I have seen people train until they couldn’t stand,
I have seen people suffer injuries and keep going.
I have seen that uncommon degree of dedication
that the martial arts create in individuals.

I am talking about knowledge.
Let me give you an example.

Do you do the horse stance?
Can you do Teki 1 for an hour?
Can you hold a ‘horse meditation’ pose
for an hour?

Nope.

Most modern schools no longer practice the horse stance.
At least,
I have never seen them.
They don’t force themselves to do low stanced forms.
And in this they are different than
the way we did things fifty years ago.

So,
why is the horse stance important?
It’s just a weird squat, right?
so what’s the big deal?

Okay,
here we go,
see if you can stay with me.

If you stand on straight legs
you don’t work.
Your legs don’t work.
You can stand on two legs for hours,
no prob.

If you stand in a deep horse,
legs bent,
you work like a mofo.
You sweat and strain,
and…the tan tien has to produce more energy.

The tan tien starts to work.

So you do it again.
And you last a half a minute longer.
And you do it again,
and again,
and over a month or so you start to notice weird things.

By breathing deeply,
and imagining that you are breathing to the tan tien,
a ‘place’ a couple of inches below the navel,
you are able to stand in a horse longer.
Your legs don’t shake as much,
and you begin to feel the energy coming out of the tan tien.

You realize that your legs are working harder,
so your tan tien is working harder,
and you are experiencing a weird sort of body energy.
An energy that Joe from the western world doesn’t know exists.

And,
here it gets interesting,
you start moving differently.
You brace in stance and people can’t move you.
Your arms become unbendable as you wish.
You stop using muscle and start using energy,
as from the tan tien,
to do certain types of work.
Most of all,
you move differently,
energy courses out from the tan tien,
goes through the arms,
becomes an unstoppable force
that is directed through and out from
your well structured karate form.

What is happening is
if you practice low stances,
doing karate forms,
that little thing called a tan tien
will ignite.
and…

THE MOTOR OF YOUR BODY WILL TURN ON.

It will change the way you move,
the way you treat life,
the way life treats you.

But,
most schools no longer practice the deep stances,
and especially the deep horse stance.
And,
here is the sad thing,
if the instructor insists on it,
students leave in flocks and droves.
Don’t want to work.
Aren’t willing to make the sacrifice.
Can’t put up with a little pain.
It’s not fun.

So…the martial arts are different
than when I first began them 50 years ago.
People are still willing to suffer,
but they don’t understand things like the horse stance,
so they end up fighting,
going to tournaments,
softening the experience with padding,
and they never get the true karate.

And,
here is something really weird.
Gichin Funakoshi,
some 50 years ago,
said much the same thing.

He said that the karate he saw
was not the karate he learned….50 years before.

Did he just observe the same thing I did?
Or was there some super secret that they were doing
that I missed.

Uh oh.

I recommend Outlaw Karate,
because I took the most important techniques
from the two most workable systems I have ever seen,
and combined them in one system.
It really works,
and you will have an opportunity
to work that horse stance the way I recommend.

3b Outlaw Karate

Have a great work out!

Al

3b Outlaw Karate

Becoming Formless with Martial Arts

Newsletter 987

How to Be Formless in the Martial Arts

Bruce Lee talks about being formless.
Zen teaches us to be formless.
This idea of being formless permeates the martial arts,
but what the heck is it, really?

To be formless is to be in the moment,
actually moving in concert with an attack,
and not in response to an attack.

It means you don’t react,
you don’t move in specific ways,
but rather in unspecific manner,
adapting to the motion of your opponent,
and not moving in specific manners
your training has dictated.

Here’s the problem,
there are total idiots out there
who hear about being formless,
and think that because they don’t study anything,
and especially a classical art,
they are formless.

Nope,
they are idiots,
trying to make their lack of learning
more than it is.

So,
here we go,
here is what it means in ways you can understand
and even adapt to your work out.

To be formless is to be like water,
pour it into a glass and it assumes the shape of a glass.
Pour it into a bowl,
and it assumes the shape of the bowl.
So it doesn’t mean you have the no shape
of somebody who knows nothing,
it means you are smart enough
to shape yourself to the attack.

Somebody punches and you block?
That’s a response form Karate.
Somebody locks you go with the lock
and figure your way out of it?
That’s a response form Jujitsu.

And freestyle is just reacting,
it is fighting,
no pouring yourself into a shape
that fits the attack.

Let’s say somebody pushes you.
How do you react?
Do you brace, then attack?
Do you grab and throw?
Those are specific responses
created by studying specific arts.

If you were formless
you would adapt to the push,
shape your body around it,
and that might entail blocking or grappling…
or unbalancing or shifting or…or…
but it would be unique to the situation…
WITH NO LOSS OF AWARENESS.

Indeed,
you would have more awareness,
because that is the result of the martial arts training…
if done properly.

If you do not study a martial art
you are certainly formless,
and a victim to the forces of the universe.

If you do study a martial art,
and then another one and another one,
you eventually become formless…
and the universe is victim to your desires.

So these fellows who study something and say,
‘I stopped studying so I could break out of that art
and become formless,’
are total and utter idiots.
They have exchanged their inabilities
for the right to sound stupid.
It’s true.

The BEST way to be formless
is to study an art,
maybe karate or kenpo or something,
then another art,
maybe Aikido or tai Chi or something,
and then another art…
and so on.
Eventually you learn ALL the options
for forcing or flowing an attack,
Then you have choice,
actual AWARE choice,
within the structure of the fight.
And that would be formless.

Here’s the obligatory ad…

Tai Chi Chuan

I put Tai Chi here because most people study hard arts,
or arts requiring great effort,
and the best way to achieve formlessness
is to study an art that take little effort,
and which makes you think
and figure things out.

Make sure you check out the video halfway down the page.

Have a great work out!

Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/five-army-tai-chi-chuan/

Punching Ten Times Harder with Martial Arts

Newsletter 984

The Easy Way to Punch Hard in the Martial Arts

Most people don’t understand how easy the martial arts are.
Take, for instance, a good karate punch.
It will generate more power than any other punch in the world.
And takes less energy.
Don’t believe me?

I was watching a fellow punch the bag the other day.
The guy was maybe 25,
much experience in boxing and other arts.
The bag jumped and bent a little,
and that was it.

I stepped up to the bag.
I’m old…71.
I put my fingers to the bag,
then,
without retracting the arm,
I closed my fingers and thrust my arm out.
Freakin’ bag went to the roof.
You could feel it say ‘OW!’

So why was my ‘old’ punch stronger than some young turks?
Because I used less energy.

What is energy?
Go ahead,
give it your best shot.
Nope,
it’s not that.

Energy is the capacity for work.
Go on,
look in the dictionary.
That is the physics definition.
Physics,
if you don’t know it,
is the stuff we made up
to measure the universe.

So how do you measure work?
Here’s where it gets tricky.
You can measure work with…
watts, ohms, pounds, gallons per minute,
and so on and so on.
How you measure work depends
on what you are measuring.

So how do you measure work in the martial arts?
Here’s what nobody knows,
and why punches are so spectacularly lacking in horsepower.

You measure work by weight.

When that young Turk was punching the bag he was punching with his arm.
Twenty pounds of weight.

When I punched the bag
I moved my 71 year old body into it…
200 pounds of weight.

20 pounds versus 200 pounds.
I was literally punching ten times as hard as he was.
And,
I’ll tell you this,
it was easier for me to move my 200 pounds an inch or two
than it was for him to try to punch as hard as me
using his 20 pound arm.

Now,
I’ve given you all the clues,
how you going to put them together?
How are you going to make your body work ten times easier
than some guy nearly 50 years younger than you?

Well,
I’ll tell you,
it took me a while.
Fortunately,
I wrote it all down.

The totally scientific martial art
that opens eyes everywhere
and makes all martial arts quick and simple to learn.

Here’s the obligatory ad…

4d The Punch

But I’d be careful before I go there.
Sometimes it hurts to learn something,
you have to give up what you thought you knew.
Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Have a great work out!

Al

Why You Should Register Your Hands and Feet with the Police if You Know the Martial Arts

Newsletter 979

Register Your Hands and Feet if You Know Martial Arts!

This is one of those great myths
that have followed the martial arts
ever since they began.
Seriously.

When I was starting out as a white belt,
a newbie in 1967,
I heard you had to register
your hands and feet with the police
as deadly weapons.
Zowie!
Did that sell me on how deadly I was going to be!
I would walk the streets,
impervious to harm,
beating up anybody who looked at me.
I mean,
if i had to register with the police,
I was going to be one deadly mofo!

Then,
I believe it was the pages of Black Belt magazine,
there was an ad
for registering your hands and feet!
Double Zowie!
I was going to be SUPER deadly!

And,
fifty years later,
I just heard this statement again.
So here’s the truth.

You don’t have to register your hands and feet,
BUT,
if you study the martial arts
and get arrested for fighting,
you could be charged with
assault with a deadly weapon.

It’s true.
But don’t think this is bad,
think,
instead…
ZOWIE
You are going to be such a deadly mofo!

And,
BTW,
if I was ever in a fight
and had to use martial arts,
and hurt somebody,
I would probably leave the scene of the crime
(fearing for my safety)
then consider carefully
whether I should notify the police,
or tell anybody,
and endure all the trouble that might cause.
Just talking…

Here’s my favorite course,
the one I would be thinking about in a fight,
and is incredibly fun to do…

4a Blinding Steel (Matrixing Weapons)

Have a great (and deadly) work out!
Al

A WIN!

I was able to matrix now everything I do in martial arts, even managed to start to matrix a complete escrima system out of the basics of blinding steel. You were right, it is a totally different understanding of matrixing, once you master/understand matrix karate. The matrix blocks gave me a lot better insight into wing chun as well, mainly from the mini matrix. That was one heck of a revelation. I hit 3 flies in one go. I understand karate, wing chun and escrima now a lot better and was able to extract that out of the material. thank you very much. I really enjoy the way to the goal now.

“What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.”
– Bruce Lee