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A simple blog about Martial arts, things I find interesting and things I'm trying to figure out.
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  1. And like that... it's gone.

    Update

    Finished the Wu style competition form, apparently it was something I had to do again. I learned it from my first shifu about 25 years ago, but I had to stop training it since it seemed to bleed into every other taiji style I was learning at the time. But for some reason I had to do it again. So I relearned it using a DVD of Li Bingci that I had, from China. Worked on it, finished it, and got it back....and then....let it go.

    I apparently no longer have any desire to do the form. I am back to Yang style and learning Sun style, without any Wu

    I have no idea why I needed to relearn the Wu Competition form and I had felt I should re-learn it before. Started and then stopped before I finished. But it came back, so I did it this time. And now that it is done, I have no problem letting it go.

    I learned a lot about the taijiquan I do from the Wu style. It also got me thinking and working harder at taijiquan again. And it got me to a book that has also giving me a lot of insight into things taijiquan.

    Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu Style - translated by Yang Jwing Ming
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    Enough from me
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  2. I have been reading a lot lately about Taijiquan and Taoism and I read something today that had an immediate effect on me and has made a big difference for the entire day, so far, as well.

    I was rereading

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    and at the bottom of page 26 it was talking about Lieh-Tzu (Liezi) and there was a short summary to something Liezi was saying

    I have no idea why it hit me the way it did, or why it made me think this. But my immediate thought was, "I'm fighting my arthritis and not accepting it" That also meant, to me, that there was no way to find balance unless I did accept it, and live with it.

    I was sitting in my little Aikidoka's dojo, during her class, on a hard wooden bench when I read this. I was uncomfortable, my hips hurt (arthritis) my knees were not all that happy (also arthritis) and I had been trying, unsuccessfully, for the last 20 minutes to find a comfortable way to sit.

    After reading that and thinking I am fighting my arthritis, I decided to stop fighting. The effect was immediate. I was not pain free, but everything seemed to relax and the pain did subside considerably and I was all of a sudden not so uncomfortable on the bench.

    I then decided to do wrist stretches, like I generally do while she is in class and I am just sitting there. However the wrist stretches always hurt these days. This time, I took it a lot slower and only went to the point where it started to hurt (again, arthritis) and then backed off a bit. It worked rather well and my wrists felt better after stretching as apposed to the pain I usually feel when I'm done.

    Got home and did Sun Taijiquan and it was better, more relaxed and I made it through the form with no pain. Then did the Yang Long form and got through that with much less pain. Then moved on to Xingyiquan stationary drills with the 5 elements in the heavy bag. OK Piquan and Bengquan still hurt the wrists, but I was able to figure out a way to strike with less pain. Prior to that (the last couple days) I just said to myself; "You have arthritis, its going to hurt...keep on hitting the bag"

    I guess what this comes down to is that we all have something that we are not happy about, that we really cannot do anything about. Be that externally or internally, so we fight it. Maybe not physically, could be mentally, could be both. Now I have had a lot of things externally over the years that I was not at all happy about, but could do nothing about, so I just went with the flow and it seemed to workout. However I have never applied that internally. I have always attempted to work though something or tell myself it was not that big an issue so deal with it. There have also been those times I could not do that and was forced to accept the situation, no matter how much I did not want to (see detached retina). But aches and pains, PFHHT, no big deal, work though them, they'll go away eventually, just do your best not to re-injure yourself. And I think we, as marital artists are all incredibly guilty of that one.

    However, arthritis is not something that is going away, but I was treating it like it would, fighting it, not accepting it was now part of me, and mostly complaining about it. But it absolutely amazed me at how fast the pain and discomfort alleviated when I simply accepted it was now part of me for the rest of my life. it is the nature of things for me and I stopped fighting nature today....well, at least as far as the arthritis goes

    Just wanted to put that out there

    I'm done
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  3. [​IMG]


    新年快乐
    Xīnnián kuàilè
    Happy New Year


    恭喜发财
    Gōngxǐ fācái
    Happiness and prosperity

  4. and just about everything else too...

    Centering, with respect to your root, is important, and without it you cannot know substantial and insubstantial (more on those later). You also need to understand your own center, and where it is, to be able move freely, sense the center in others and avoid double weighting.

    From the book

    Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu Style
    Written by Yang Jwing Ming
    Much of the book is taken from the book “The Lecture of Taijiquan” by Wu Gong-Zao, published in 1935

    We are told about the Dantian in Chinese martial arts, especially in the “internal” styles and Qigong. We look at it as the center and when we stand it is easy to find, but when we move it changes and it should always be thought of in respect to proper rooting and your substantial and insubstantial legs. But there are many, myself included, that do not always pay attention to it at every single moment while doing the form, especially when sparing or doing push hands, and this then, in my opinion, changes things from Taijiquan to something other than Taijiquan. It becomes a dance, or a wrestling match and taijiquan is neither of those.

    After reading the words of Wu Gong Zao, translated and explained by Yang Jwing Ming, I did the Yang Long form and realized that I was not sure of where my center was at every movement, and in every posture, and I need to be for proper taijiquan. When doing the form, I am a big believer that there are no stops. Postures have a definite beginning and end, but there is no stop between them. One posture flow into the next from the beginning of the form to the end. However, I wanted to concentrate on knowing where my center was in every posture, at every moment, throughout the entire form, from beginning to end. So, I did it again making sure to pay attention to my center. But at times, to discover exactly where my center was required me to stop, and hold the posture to locate my center, and/or then get my center where it was supposed to be relative to my root. It was one of the most amazing learning experiences I had in Taijiquan in a long time. It was also one of the most relaxing and meditative experiences I have had in a long time as well.

    I then realized I have never considered my center in the Sun style short form I know or the Competition Wu form I am working on. So, I did the Sun form first thinking of my center, my root and the substantial and insubstantial and it became a different form. It became one that I can understand, that up until this time I was struggling to understand, it needs more work, but it has become much less daunting a task. Power generation even became clearer the form became more relaxed, and some applications that I had no idea what they were prior, became obvious. Then it was time to try the Wu. This style is much more difficult for me if I considering all that needs to be considered due to the stance being more forward leaning than Yang and much more forward leaning than Sun.

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    Wu Style Brush Knee

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    Yang Style Brush Knee

    Thinking of the center in Wu with respect to the root is not as easy, although a couple stances got a little easier and one of the major weight shifts to a one legged stance also got easier, while other postures got harder. I can say the postures, like brush knee, now feel less extended than they did before. It will take more time to get right, but I believe it will make it better taijiquan. And overall, even the Wu, though harder, felt better. Also, this gives me more of a reason to better understand Wu, since It is just another aspect of Taijiquan, another persons view (Wu Quanyou). I also now feel much of the knee issues, that are attributed to Wu style, have a lot to do with not knowing where one’s center is as it with respect to your root while doing the form.

    I highly recommend that those that do Taijiquan, Bagauzhang, Xingyiquan, Yiquan and even Liuhebafa look at what they are doing based on where the center is and how that associates with proper rooting and movement throughout the entire form. I would also like to hear from people from other Chinese styles and non-Chinese styles how something like this might, or does affect their training. I think in more than a few non-internal styles and non-Chinese styles it may make a difference. I saw it today in my daughters Aikido class when the Sensei demonstrated what he wanted to class to do and it was rather an amazing thing to watch, and I have been there and watched him move many times over the years I just was not paying attention like I should. All his movements came from his center and his root was perfectly aligned with that center too.

    For that matter, simply paying to attention to you center while going about your day; standing, walking, sitting, driving, climbing stairs, bending over. I started paying attention to it whenever I sit and it has changed my posture while sitting and but much less strain on my back.

    And if you do it long enough it becomes natural and you no longer need to focus on it. It is just there as are the benefits from training it.

    Well that is enough from me.

    Note: Wu Gong Zao is the Grandson of the founder of Wu Taijiquan (Wu Quanyou) and the son of Wu Jian Quan (who modified Wu style)
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  6. I have this hanging in my basement guǎn (Mandarin for training hall, aka kwoon in Cantonese)

    And it makes me think about what I am doing how I am training, and if I am on a plateau that I need to get off of or is it something else. But I also know that Bruce Lee made that statement as a young man in his early 30s who was in peak physical conditions. He was not dealing age related issues or with arthritis. This then leads me to another quote from a movie I think about as well while training

    The issue then becomes a balancing act between the two. Not using Bruce Lee’s quote as an excuse to push myself and thereby injure myself. Which is what I think I was doing in my attempted returns to Jeet Kune Do. I was pushing myself the first time, until a doctor told me it might not be the greatest idea due to retina issues. I then used it again to push myself back to JKD, to another school that was training a little different. That was until my hips and knees told me otherwise and I spent the next month or so in knee braces and limping. That was most certainly a case of “A man’s got to know his limitations”, and a lesson in listening to ones doctor, I was most definitely thinking about the wrong quote here. I truly enjoyed training JKD, but it was first and foremost against medical advice, and that right there should have alerted me to my limitation. Luckily, my body stepped in and forced me to stop, before I had more retina issues and ended up back in eye surgery or worse, blind. And from that, if I am honest with myself, and if I am looking to limitation, Xingyiquan is out for the very same reasons.

    However, I then fell back on “knowing my limitations” and ruling out a lot of things. Even forms of taijiquan, because my thought was “I’m too old and arthritic for such things….. best stick to the Yang style I do and forget the rest.” So, I stuck with Yang, and the addition of the Sun Short form did not seem to be an issue, so I could do that too. But I had a tough time getting myself to do Yang style because I was tired of it, I was done with it, it was no longer what I wanted to train. So, I did just the Sun style short form, it was not hard and there was little stress on my knees or hips. There were a few one-legged stances and one kick, but I could avoid the kick because my arthritic hip just couldn’t take it and I did not have to lift the leg too high for the other stances.

    But then, as I talked about in my previous post, I felt something was missing. But, my change to Wu did not come easily. I watched the form again and there are a series of one-legged stances and several kicks. One of those kicks form a one-legged stance. I thought, I will never do that, I’m too old and (once again [the excuse] the limitation) arthritic. Which means, I did not start immediately after “Wu style” popped into my head.

    But then the Bruce Lee quote hit me…. I began to wonder if it was possible to get some of what I lost to arthritis back. So, I began working on the Sun, with the proper one leg stances and the kick. And although the kick was not as high, or as impressive as it used to be, I was doing it, and it got a little higher and a little easier the more I trained it. And then I thought, if I can do that, why not try Wu? I then began working on Wu style again. The stances are a little lower in places and required the use of more leg strength in places as well. But I am doing it. I am far from the end of the form, I’m taking it slow, but I am at 2 consecutive one-legged stances, and the first one comes out of snake creeps down. Is it as easy as it was the first time I leaned in, in my early 30s? No, not even close. Do I go as low as I use to in snake creeps down? Not a chance. But I am doing it and I do feel I am getting ever-so-slightly more flexible and I feel my legs getting stronger. Last night, after doing the Sun short form twice, I did the partial Wu form, and I kept doing it over and over until I realized I had done it 8 times. For the first time in a long time taijiquan made me sweat and for the first time in a long time I feel wrong, and a bit guilty, if I do not go to the basement and work on my taijiquan at least once per style ,I have to go work on it, I just have to (note: Yang is not part of this any longer)..

    I need to put this here too; If you’re doctor tells you that you should not do something, listen. If you don’t like what he said, get a second or even a third opinion. In my case I had two doctors tell me about the retina issue and I had one prior to this tell me running, with my hips, is a bad thing…. Now think about the JKD striking and JKD foot work…. Getting hit and the head and foot work pretty much the same stresses as running…. so, I was stupid, and I should have listened to Clint, not Bruce, in this situation.

    NOTE: I cannot stress this enough....you should listen to your doctor(s)

    Overall, I do feel better from pushing myself more that I was, as well as not as much as I was. Basically, I think this can apply to many things, not just martial arts, but as martial artists I think we get stuck in this, I must keep pushing myself, no matter what, mentality which is not necessarily bad. Nor is it necessarily good, particularly as we age. It can get you to reach higher levels of strength ability and it can get you reaching for the call light in the hospital bed, and/or your cane too. We need to find that balance between Bruce Lee and Clint Eastwood; push too much, injure yourself and you can’t train. Don’t push enough, things get worse and…again…you cannot train. Push yourself enough, to at least maintain and even, in some cases, improve. And at this point, I am improving and not hurting myself so I’m pretty happy about it, and it’s all good

    It is, at least to me, all about balance

    I’m done…
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  7. Or you simply may not want to accept it….. but there can come a time to stop what you are training

    I have been doing Taijiquan for a little over 27 years, and 24 years of that has been in Traditional Yang. But in those first 3 years, with my first Shifu, I learned the Beijing 24 form, Wu competition form, Chen Laojia Yilu and another Chen Form I only know as Shandong Province old style Chen. Also, various Jain, Dao and Staff forms form assorted styles as well, also throw in Bagua, Xingyi and Shaolin Long Fist too. And in the 24 years that followed I learned traditional Yang style. the Chen 18 form and worked on 2 versions of the Zheng Manqing (Cheng Man-ch'ing) form, one from Zheng Manqing and the other from William CC Chen and lastly a short Sun style form. And of course, there was my obsession with all thing Xingyiquan, liking of JKD and short pursuit of Baguazhang, but I will not go there, this is about Taijiquan.

    My first 3 years, the second to last empty hand form I learned was the Wu competition form and I truly enjoyed it. However, when I started learning Laojia Yilu I realized that every form I did any other form, be it Yang or Chen, if I was not paying attention started to look like Wu, so I had to stop Wu to continue learning the new form and to keep training the older forms. I just could not shut Wu off, so I stopped it. (long after stopping the Wu style I discovered it was the same as the Wu Competition form taught by Li Bing Ci, which says Northern Wu)

    When I knew I was going to leave my first Shifu to get deeper into Chinese Martial Arts I looked first for Xingyiquan and I found no one in my area that taught it. Then I looked for Chen, and then Wu and found no one in my area either. Then one day I ran into my Shixiong (to me; senior student, older brother, of my first Shifu, basically he trained with my first shifu before I did) who had left previously, and he told me about a Yang Style teacher he was currently training with who was “the real deal” so I went and checked him out and trained Yang style, in the Tung Ying Chieh lineage” for the next 24 years. However, recently I realized that probably the last 5 or so years, I recently realized, it has been more of a love hate relationship with Yang style and for likely the last 10 years I kept myself going and training for 2 reasons, one the health benefits, second, just because I had done it for so many years, and I knew much of the martial arts of it too, so I just couldn’t stop, it would be wrong and disrespectful. As to the health benefits; I have arthritis in both knees, both hips and both shoulders and it was not getting better so that did not seem to be the case with me. But I do not fault Yang style for this, there are many people out there getting a lot of health benefits form training Yang style. As for the martial arts, not many know it, or even care to know it, but I am glad I learned it.

    The fault lies in me. I chalk my health issues up to lack of dedicated focus of the last 5 to 10 years. For the last ten years I do not think I was truly invested in the forms and the last 5 years I really tried to force myself to go deeper and at times, with varying degrees of success, but much of the time I was on autopilot when doing the form. And the result is kind of like lifting weights and you get to 30-pound dumbbell curls, and that is all you do to get stronger. Rather quickly your body figures out the minimum it must do to curl 30 pounds and you get no more gains and you can, in some case lose strength, same with my Yang forms, nothing seemed to be getting better, balance issues began to appear and I was starting to have problems doing Rooster stands on one leg and the kicks. None of the forms excited me any longer, I was not present, and I was on autopilot much of the time. Even with what was my favorite forms, the Dao forms. Like I said there were times of depth, but they were getting fewer and further between as time went on. It got to the point where the only thing that excites me about Yang style was push hands. Over the years I have taught Yang style forms and push hands and I have worked on the weapons forms and taught them as well. Also taught the associated qigong training, this left me totally convinced I needed to continue working on Yang style, too much time in, too much effort, no matter what I needed to get over this bump in the road and get back to serious, focused, training. The harder I tried the less success I appeared to be having.

    About 2 years ago I had a chance to learn a short Sun form, so I started learning it from Jesse Tsao. It was the one taiji style my first Shifu taught that I never tried. Something about Sun style really drew me in. It was quicker, and the stepping was very similar to JKD and it also had aspects of Xingyiquan, Baguazhang too, and it was taijiquan as well. So, I plodded along with Yang style, even started meeting with my Yang Shifu again to energize my training, and it worked the first few times, but then even that started to fade. I started looking to the form from Zheng Manqing to re-energize my Yang training. But I was still doing traditional Yang less and the Sun short form more. Same thing happened with Baduanjin (Qigong) by the way, it was no longer of any interest to me, so I stopped it, but I kept forcing Yang style.

    I have quit Yang style before for Xingyiquan and Wu style and Chen style, even talked about it here on MT. But I always got to the same place; “I shouldn’t stop Yang style, I have been doing it for so long, and the health benefits”, or “Why am I learning another form of Taijiquan when I already know Yang style”. So, I’d return to Yang, let the other styles go and moved on. The only style that usually hung on, do to my obsession, was Xingyiquan.

    About a month ago I had a thought “Why am I forcing myself to do Yang style.” And “Zheng Manqing is just an offshoot of Yang so why am I forcing this as well”, so I stopped all things Yang and did only the Sun style. I stopped Baduanjin about two weeks before and was doing no qigong at all. However, when I stopped Yang style I had this overwhelming desire to return to the Taiji Qigong I learned from Yang Jwing Ming, so I started working on it again and I am back to the standing form and the first moving set. As for taijiquan, I was happy with Sun and the old Xingyi addiction seemed to be fading. However, I did still like stance training and there is a qigong set I modified where I now include Santi Shi, but it is not exclusively Santi Shi and Santi is optional, and it depending on how I feel after the first posture of the set.

    About a week ago, I was doing the Sun Short form, and I had this feeling, that I have had before, that something was missing, this is the point where, when I was doing Yang, I would bring Xingyiquan back, or a few times went to JKD. However, I did not want to stop Sun style, as a matter of fact I have plans to get deeper into it. There is a traditional Sun style guy in New England I am hoping to train with in the Spring or Summer, fingers crossed. But this feeling was; there was something missing, and I never once thought Yang style or Xingyiquan, and as I thought about it what popped into my head was “Wu style”. This was followed immediately with the thought that maybe someone was trying to tell me something, but I was not listening, way back with my first Shifu when everything was becoming Wu style in the other non-Wu forms I was doing.

    So, I started to retrain the Wu competition form again, I’m long way from finishing it, I am only at form 11 or 12 now and I’m taking my time. But combining that with the Sun has fixed that feeling that there was something missing. And for the first time in a long time I am feeling the benefits of Taiji again, Rooster stands on one leg is not a problem. Last Sunday, I had little to do and I had this feeling I needed to do Taijiquan, so I did the Sun style short form about 6 times and the Wu style form 4 or 5 times and did the Taiji qigong form twice and Wuji standing. I have not been driven to train any forms like that in a very long time, and it has been a long time since I spent over 2 hours training taiji and qigong on my own.

    The next day, I was very stiff in the morning, but when I got going my legs felt great and I found myself in my basement once again doing Sun Short Form and the Wu Competition form again. Same last night and same this morning. So, it appears that I now train Sun style and I hope to expand that training in the spring or summer to Traditional Sun. And I also train Northern Wu and I hope to expand that training soon into traditional as well, found a teacher, in the Li Bing Ci line about an hour south of me. And of course, push hands on weekends and when and wherever possible.

    So sometimes it may be the right choice to stop training and move on to something else, at least I believe it is in my case. I can't help it if I'm a little slow on the uptake...

    I’m done

    Note: made a mistake in the first posting of this and combined 2 form names so I corrected the error. It is a Wu Competition form and I was referring to that as 56. 56 is a reference to a Chen competition form, I fixed my error, sorry for the mix-up
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  9. I have wanted to train Bajiquan for a very long time and I have looked for a legitimate teacher for many years. And in all that time I only located one person that was legitimate (he was a student of one of Shan Kai Shek's Body guards) and he was 4 hours away form me, but he would not teach Bajiquan to anyone. He would teach Xingyiquan and Tajiquan, but not Bajiquan. My guess is that he did teach some, but it was either only family or only long time students

    Bajiquan applications...enjoy

  10. Why the WWII Dadao was so heavy - from Chinese Long Sword



    From Here
  11. Or at least different that what I have been taught.

    I have been taught over the years that basically what you need to do is stand in Santi shi for as long as possible per side. Example: first stand with left leg forward for 20 minutes and then switch and stand with right leg forward for 20 minutes. I have also been told that if you cannot stand in Santi Shi for at least 20 minutes per side, per day, that you are not even a beginner. And that 30 minutes is the minimum requirement. I have also been told that you 30 minutes is a good goal to shoot for, but who has the time in the 21st century to take an hour out of their day to just stand there and 30 is better than 20, 20 is better than 10, 10 is better than 5 and 5 is better than nothing. I have also had a teacher that switched off every 5 minutes to reach 20 minutes. However, to me, the 5 minutes and switch, gives you nothing, no strength, no structure, not internal and no linking of upper and lower. But that is something for another post

    I have been reading;

    The Internal Practices of Sun Lu-Tang
    Compiled and Translated by Bradford Tyrey


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    Sun Lutang (1860 - 1933)
    Standing in Santi Shi, left hand extended

    And he had a slightly different approach, for internal martial arts reasons, that I am giving a try. However, the expected amount of time is a bit hard to get but 30 minutes was mentioned in one area.

    He was concerned about building Qi in the body and balancing Yin and Yang and in order to do this he recommended doing Santi Shi at different times of day.

    I will simplify what was written here, but if you are interested it is found in the chapter titled “The Essence, Smoothness of Qi Within the San-t’i Posture”

    “While standing in Santi shi one must begin practice when the sun rides the southern Heavens {during the afternoon hours when the sun apexes in the southern sky]”

    This practice is to increase old Yang (male) energy. You stand in Santi shi with your left hand forward and for 72 breathes concentrate on absorbing and concentrating Yang energy in the region of the solar plexus. Then relax and allow the energy to accumulate in the Dantian.

    Then you are done with Santi for the time being and will resume in the evening.

    In the evening you stand in Santi Shi with right hand extended and you also need to be facing North since north is the direction Sun Lu Tang where Laoyin or Old Yin (female) energy is strongest. In the after evening Santi you are focusing on the Dantian to increase Yin Energy. For 36 breathes you try to feel the accumulate Yin energy around the body and then for 36 more breathes you accumulate Yin energy at the dantian. and then you need to continue standing for what can be at least 30 more minutes while allowing the energies (Yin and Yang) to mix and settle.

    I am not getting into a discussion here about Yin & Yang or Qi what I find intriguing is the separation of left and right Santi shi by hours and the times of day recommended to stand in Santi Shi.

    Not one of the teachers I trained Xingyiquan with has ever suggested a time of day to stand and they have all pretty much recommended stranding in left Santi to be immediately followed by right Santi. In the past I have always tried to stand in Santi in the early morning or early afternoon and of late all at night, But I am finding I simply do not have the time to stand, all total, for more than about 10 minutes. But then I am not really scheduling it either, I am just trying to fit it in wherever possible. I also do not seem to have the drive and determination, that I had in my 30s and 40s, to just stand there.

    I am going to give this type of standing training a try and see where it takes me, possibly if I have scheduled it and I separate left and right, I may just get my drive back to build up to 20 or 30 minutes a side, per day.

    And I thought maybe others might be interested in this approach

    I’m done
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  13. Wing Chun is a style I only dabbled in, and if I had not found Taijiquan and Xingyiquan I likely would have trained it much more. I came across this video of Ip Chun, at 94 years old, doing Chi Sau.



    Ip Chun - Born (1924-07-10)
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  14. September 14, 1991 I took my first Taijiquan class. After 19 years in Japanese and Korean marital arts, and a back injury.. I went to taijiquan

    This is not me, but this is the form I first learned.

  15. Since I have had the time (again) due to my knees (again)…and now my right wrist (a victim of Hindu pushups I think)…I’ve been doing some thinking about martial arts, training, exercise, diet, health.

    I realized my injury prone time started about 10 years ago… broke my ankle and then blew out a knee, and then another knee and spent a couple years on crutches, using a cane and wearing knee braces of various support strengths. And since then in an effort to get back to where I was with martial arts and health I have been all over the place in order to regain what I had lost and what I was trying to attain, and along the way reinjuring myself much more often than I should have and taking way to long to start listening to my body as it applies to training. Various exercise routines; various strength routines, cardio, yoga Etc. Assorted diets; balanced low calorie, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lacto-ovo-vegetarians, Lacto-vegetarians, Ovo-vegetarian, Pollotarian, Pescatarian (Pescetarian), Flexitarian, etc. And assorted styles of martial arts too; JKD, Sanda, Yiquan/Dachengquan, a dash of Krav Maga, a return to Baguazhang, a return to Wing Chun, even started working with my old TKD and Long Fist kicks at one point. Considered BJJ, MMA, Hapkido, Ninjutsu, Aikido, Judo and even a return to old school Jujutsu of my youth (think early 1970s). I visited some schools I was considering and realized the school and I did not fit, or my schedule did not fit the school or my arthritic knees and hips simply could not sit that way so I did not go further there (but I am still thinking a few months of no gi BJJ would not hurt me…or maybe it would). But after all this jumping around trying other styles I have to admit it did benefit to various degrees, but I really have not gotten all that far, or at least not as far as I feel I should have after all that, and would I have gotten further if I just buckled down and did the work on the styles I know best, like I did prior to the injuries.

    When I broke my ankle, I was a Yang/Chen Taijiquan guy and a Xingyiquan guy too (truth be known, and as many know here on MT, I was addicted to Xingyiquan), but even then, I tried different styles to see what I thought. But after the injuries the extensive recovery time with the addition of arthritis, Chen Style is out of the question, some Xingyi postures are difficult and overall Yang Taijiquan and Xingyiquan lost a lot.

    I want to say here, that in most cases, I blame the re-injury more on the workout routines I was doing and not so much on the other styles of Marital arts, although I did get a detached retina training Wing Chun, and I did not do my knees any good in the incredibly misguided return to TKD and Long Fist kicks.

    I also now realize all of this was trying to shortcut the problem and not put in the needed time and work necessary to achieve my goals; a better understanding of Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Internal (whatever that really means). I will admit JKD did show me a lot and get me back on the path in the very brief time I trained it, JKD opened me up to a lot of possible applications within Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and even Yiquan (what little I know of it, that I am considering now) that I had not thought of before. Even though this will likely get me taken of the list for the Xingyiquan Christmas party, I see a lot of similarities between JKD and Xingyiquan

    But all this looking and cross training hit me in the face in push hands and I came to the realization at the push hands group I have lost a lot of the full body usage and the feel of a “Internal” marital arts guy (internal used for clarification purposes. I do not put a lot into the separation of internal and external).

    All of this is a long way around to saying I am looking at a different approach to exercise that is based on my own research that I have been doing as it applies to exercises old guys should consider doing and not doing. On the “Internal, body unity side I am going to start working on some things from Ken Gullette, and some things from Paul Andrews ( Xingyi Academy) and I found a bit of exercise gear that will help me do this. I will talk more about this after I give it a try to see if it does what I hope it will do as it applies to full body unity, fitness and health.

    I will still be doing some things with the Total Gym (Don’t want Chuck to come after me if I quit :D), just not as much as I was, and of course the treadmill has to return, for fast walking (4mph), not running. Had a physician tell me I should not be running anymore.

    Basically, being much closer to 60 than 50 and having a much longer recovery time, limited time to do everything I want to (as has been proven to me by my failure to keep up with the program I designed), and in an effort to not reinjure myself, I am looking to center all of this around Taijiquan, Yiquan and hopefully Xingyiquan (knees still a bit of an issue there), in an effort to improve in these styles and understand them and apply then as it concerning health, fitness and martial arts. With a goal of being a competent, at least what I consider competent, teacher of these arts when I retire in 7 to 10 years.

    Additionally: I have located a Xingyiquan teacher who appears to be very good who is 2.5 hours from my house and I have located a Yiquan teacher that is supposed to be very good who is also 2.5 hours from my house. Most unfortunately, they are in opposite direction from my home, one east one south west. Hopefully more on those later.

    As for diet, looking back I had the most success and felt the healthiest when I was a Vegetarian. However, I feel, nutritionally speaking, that Flexitarian is the best way for me to go. But red meat is completely out, my old, mostly vegetarian, stomach can’t handle it anymore. Although I am willing to risk it in a good Chinese restaurant ;)

    Once I start the Taiji/Xingyi/Yiquan centered workout I will post on what it is and how if progresses

    Lastly, there are 2 things that keep popping into my noggin on this, one is form Bruce Lee

    If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. - Bruce Lee

    The other is Clint Eastwood

    A man's got to know his limitations - Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood)

    I’m done
  16. I have had to stop JKD class...again. Basically the overall feeling at this point is..... "Dang I'm old"

    I probably should not have gone back in the first place, due to the thinning retina issue. But then this class was not focused on striking as much as the first and focuses more on techniques. Also, although the first school was awesome and I would recommend it, my schedule simply did not match the first school. And I was really lucky finding the second school since it was equally as good, just from a different perspective of JKD

    The current school; I go to class wearing knee braces and I'm fine. But when I train at home in those same knee braces I'm not fine, my knees hurt for 2 days. So I take a 2 day rest and try training again.....and my knees hurt for 2 days. Noticed about 2 weeks ago that my knees did not feel right at all even with 2 days off. Then doing regular work any homeowner has to do I noticed my knees, mainly the left getting worse. So I went to wear a compression sleeve on that knee most of the time. But then I went to push hands class twice in one day this past weekend and I felt great. So I went home and tried to do some JKD on the heavy bag. This was a mistake.

    The knee sleeve no longer helps the left knee, but the right is doing ok, does not seem to be as much of a problem as it was previously, but it is still bothering me a bit. However I am once again in a semi-rigid knee brace for my left knee just to be able to walk normally. Can't do taijiquan, Xingyiquan, of Yiquan stance training due to the left knee, without the knee brace. And now even with the knee brace JKD and Xingyi are not really good ideas right now.

    This decision was actually harder to make than the last time I had to stop JKD do to the thinning retina. That was basically "If get hit in the head" "Then possibly go blind" kind of thing (sorry about the Computer programming If/Then reference, I am an IT guy after all). But this time my brain clicked back to the younger me who believed you need to work through the pain. And when you are in your 20s and 30s that actually seems to work....although I do believe you pay for it later...but in your 50s it does not work and you need to stop and recover, or you will eventually stop because you can't do it anymore and you won't recover

    I truly enjoyed the training, the other students and the teacher, but at this point it is probably best to take a break to get the knees back and then do some strengthening and lose some weight. Then depending on where I am at with the other arts I train, and based on my schedule, I might be able to return.

    I'm closer to 60 than 50, I'm arthritic, and currently over weight. But I am still not ready to say I am to old and beat up for JKD....I might be, but I'm not will to admit it just yet.

    I have now given JKD a try 3 times, the first time my right knee and the teacher relocating to the southern part of the US stopped me. The second time it was my eye and some minor hip and knee pain (but no braces were needed) The third time it is my left knee with a little help from my right. Who knows, maybe the fourth times is the charm...when and if there is a 4th time