Butterfly Strong: A blog about internal martial arts, theatricality and Daoist ritual emptiness
A picture is worth a thousand words! The first image is from the 1920s. The one below it is from a tour of Germany around 1900 I think. What have I been saying? Asian martial arts have been presented and conceptualized as performance from the beginning.Read More
I'm been thinking about a powerful idea; marketing has become storytelling with images. When I started to think about explicitly telling stories with images using webpages and videos I realized that storytelling is at the very heart of what I do.
This brings to mind a conversation I had with Rory MillerRead More
I'm putting the finishing touches on the sound for my video "Cracking the Code: Taijiquan as Enlightenment Theater." And I'm headed to Portland to give a talk on the History of Baguazhang, to teach Dance as Self-Defense, and to teach Unlocking Internal Martial Arts. So here are some interesting videos, the first one I call Heavy Metal Chinese Opera. (If you have adblock, it takes 40 seconds to open, and it doesn't want to embed so click here.)
And this one is the latest attempt at Shaolin Monks crossing the line into pure dance. Pretty good! But put on some different music, this is the "Let if Go" of martial arts performances. (This one won't embed either, click here).Read More
...We really do not know the ultimate causes of things, much less the ultimate causes of our own behavior. We do, as a habit of mind, tend to ascribe agency. And, of course, we can use rational processes like deductive or inductive reasoning to walk back, or walk around, discrete causation. Within the boundaries of a closed system of logic, these processes can become praxis. That is, they become a "way of seeing, doing and testing," like engineering, or ballet. The dominant versions of this areRead More
More and more often I see people making the connections between expressive arts (like theater and dance) and martial arts. That's great! But I still hear the argument that stage combat is not real because it makes no effort to be real.
There are two mistakes here. The first is that violence takes a lot of effort. By far the most difficult thing isRead More
I am delighted with Dave Tilley's website/blog Shift Movement Science . It is exciting to be learning from people who are a lot younger than I am. He was a competitive gymnast, and he teaches gymnastics to children at beginning and advanced levels.
Dave has detailed explanations with videos, photos, and academic references. He isn't using this format to teach tricks or gymnastics skills. What he does is pick a problem, and show you how to fix it.Read More
This week I am abdicating my blog post to Ian Johnson, who has a wonderful piece in the New York Review of Books, on newly discovered ancient texts in China and the notion of abdication as the best form of government!