Wind and Water Force

Wind and Water Force

Over the last few years I have been harping on about how rooting is a mistake in martial arts. A mistake I might add that dancers never make. Which is why dance is such a great way to learn about power in the martial arts. This is one of the benefits of thinking about martial arts as performing arts. 

In the Chinese theater tradition, the internal martial arts have been on the stage for at least six hundred years. This martial prowess of enlightenment is called jindan, or neidan, or liandan. In the theater sometimes it comes from taking a pill. But just as often it comes from retreat into a mountain or a cave for years of meditation. It is like a montage in an action movie when they have to train-up the hero quickly. 

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Bend the Bow & Shoot the Arrow

Bend the Bow & Shoot the Arrow

Most martial arts at some point get deep into the idea of increasing power. The problem with that is most martial artists delude themselves because they do not have an adrenalized high-risk-of-injury place to test out their practice. When I've worked with people who had an opportunity to test their power four nights a week breaking down doors, they only used the amount of force necessary and it is usually less than a martial artist who is only imagining the usage. Even great martial arts, who perfectly understand how power works, tend to over-power.  

That is just a prelude to a misunderstood metaphor which is very common in Chinese martial arts circles. The metaphor is that of a bow shooting an arrow.

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Review of Shaolin Monastery

Review of Shaolin Monastery

Paul Katz wrote one of the most informed and thoughtful reviews of Meir Shahar's book, Shaolin Monastery. I'm posting it here because I think it should be read more widely.

Review: Shaolin Monastery, by Meir Shahar --Paul Katz.

My simple contribution to it was that I had a 15 minute conversation about the book with Paul in his office before he wrote it. Paul has written so much since that conversation, I haven't kept up, but he is one of the most broad thinkers in the realm of Chinese religious studies. As you can see by the diversity of topics in his list of publications.

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How to Live Long and Get Rich in the Fire Rooster Year

How to Live Long and Get Rich in the Fire Rooster Year

Many people have asked me for my predictions of the coming Chinese New Year.  Probably more than usual because my teacher Liu Ming died about a year ago and he had been giving predictions for the new year to packed houses in the San Francisco Bay Area for about the last ten years.  

As my regular readers know, I’m more of a strategist than I am a prognosticator, but I’ll try to split the difference.

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Sichuan Theater Interview

I enjoyed this article and the pictures from Time Out Hong Kong. Behind the scenes: A look at the Sichuan art of face-changing.

It is about Bian Lian (Changing Face), which is the actual title of the film The King of Masks. This trailer has some lame sentimental narration and music, but it's a great movie and you can watch the whole thing on Youtube.

Nearing the end of his life, Wang -- a locally renowned street performer and wizard of the venerable art of mask magic -- yearns to pass on his technique. But custom decrees that he can only hand down his craft to a male successor.

Ergonomics Update

Ergonomics Update

I wrote a book and I'm working on the next two books now. This work involves a lot of reading. It also involves a lot of working on my laptop computer. How do I do all this and still have the greatest Kung Fu on earth? The answer is I practice all the time, even in my sleep. 

To help you get there, I'm recommending these two awesome products. One of them is new and unusual, the other is very common. 

This thing below is fantastic.

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New Book Review Category

I added a new book review category called Chinese Religion in Practice--Defining the Subject. If you haven't bought books from my recommended reading list yet, you are missing out!  Read my entire list and you will be one of the top ten most informed Chinese martial arts history and culture experts in the world. I've decided to embrace my identity as the greatest salesman of all time. Also my book recommendations are awesome.