The General Tian Bubishi

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Dudi Nisan

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It's really not. It's just semantics. Different words, same thing.

It's not semantics. People in traditional China and Okinawa viewed the world very differently than you do (try to get into their heads sometime), and as a result had different goals. The underlying goal was to recover a sort of spontaneous and totally free movement. There is real difference between asking whether this or that technique is effective in finishing off a guy, or asking whether I moved in a way that accomplished the free-flowing movement.

I think that in some ways we live in a more violent world, where people are quite cynical, thus the emphasis of Mad Dog (cool name by the way) on "practicality". But is it really practical? or we are simply limiting our perception of what practicality in fighting can mean?


It's only different in your mind. On the receiving end, if it's the same, it's the same, regardless of what's going on in your mind.

Mad Dog, how do you know it's just semantics? You imagine that we simply imagine things, as in "hey, I am a monkey". There are many key-instructions which make monkey-reaction/tactics physically different. It's not about being a monkey. the monkey is just a code.


So you rendered them incapable of continuing to fight with one technique? You do know that would require them to be dead, crippled, or at least unconscious, right?
And the context of the comment is, clearly, that of two trained and experienced martial artists (as in the drawing). Knocking down some yahoo may make them stop attacking you, but it's not at all the same.
Tell us exactly what you did and exactly how it prevented them from continuing to fight.

I knew you'd say that. And I knew it because we are so conditioned by the Octagon. In the Octagon you know what you can do and what your opponent can do. Everything is expected. Everybody uses the same tools. But the guy who came at me pushing, and the other guy who came at me with a hook were not ready for me. Since you are really curious I'll tell you, the guy I threw with O-soto-grai (not on a tatami, on concrete ) could not even breath, let alone continue fighting (a crazy wrestler I knew really damaged several people with throws). I went for a hip throw with the hook-guy. I hope that satisfies you.

When I see this guy Mario Higaonna, for example, I know that just one punch from him and I am gone. I think that
It's all a bit pretentious really but a few centuries or more of existence tends to produce that.

Morio, and other masters like him, live in Okinawa, not in Hollywood.



It's all a bit pretentious really but a few centuries or more of existence tends to produce that.

some people might try to "sell" things. People are cynical. and we today are very much conditioned by a material world view. It is just a world view, and it is not superior to the ancient world view on every single level.
And I am surprised too of people practicing traditional martial arts, thus admitting the value of those ancient systems, even while reducing them to something physical-technical-practical without having a thorough understanding of the world and cultures that nourished them.
 

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It's not semantics. People in traditional China and Okinawa viewed the world very differently than you do (try to get into their heads sometime), and as a result had different goals. The underlying goal was to recover a sort of spontaneous and totally free movement. There is real difference between asking whether this or that technique is effective in finishing off a guy, or asking whether I moved in a way that accomplished the free-flowing movement.

I think that in some ways we live in a more violent world, where people are quite cynical, thus the emphasis of Mad Dog (cool name by the way) on "practicality". But is it really practical? or we are simply limiting our perception of what practicality in fighting can mean?




Mad Dog, how do you know it's just semantics? You imagine that we simply imagine things, as in "hey, I am a monkey". There are many key-instructions which make monkey-reaction/tactics physically different. It's not about being a monkey. the monkey is just a code.




I knew you'd say that. And I knew it because we are so conditioned by the Octagon. In the Octagon you know what you can do and what your opponent can do. Everything is expected. Everybody uses the same tools. But the guy who came at me pushing, and the other guy who came at me with a hook were not ready for me. Since you are really curious I'll tell you, the guy I threw with O-soto-grai (not on a tatami, on concrete ) could not even breath, let alone continue fighting (a crazy wrestler I knew really damaged several people with throws). I went for a hip throw with the hook-guy. I hope that satisfies you.

When I see this guy Mario Higaonna, for example, I know that just one punch from him and I am gone. I think that


Morio, and other masters like him, live in Okinawa, not in Hollywood.





some people might try to "sell" things. People are cynical. and we today are very much conditioned by a material world view. It is just a world view, and it is not superior to the ancient world view on every single level.
And I am surprised too of people practicing traditional martial arts, thus admitting the value of those ancient systems, even while reducing them to something physical-technical-practical without having a thorough understanding of the world and cultures that nourished them.
Spontaneous free movement is something that any martial arts fighter desires. It matters not if you study Wing Chun as I do or the Kali I currently study as well. It doesn't matter if you are studying the Aikido and Judo I have studied or the Savate and fencing I have studied or the Bartitsu I wish to study at some point. The goal is the same.

The question is how do you achieve that? Strip away the trapping of language and look at the teaching techniques with a scientific thought in mind and you see what I described previously..

tech繚nique
teknk/
noun
a way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution or performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure.

1. skill or ability in a particular field.
"he has excellent technique"
synonyms: skill, ability, proficiency, expertise, mastery, talent, genius, artistry, craftsmanship; More
2. a skillful or efficient way of doing or achieving something.
"tape recording is a good technique for evaluating our own communications"
synonyms: method, approach, procedure, system, modus operandi, MO, way;

It's all the same really. It might sound a little Zen Koanesque but I look at it this way. As you learn your body stumbles through the technique but you gain the mindset. The mindset then helps steady you and you build the skill, then you tie the other skills you once stumbled towards into a greater whole

Unless you go through that process you do not gain the skill necessary for spontaneous action. You may use semantics and philosophical language to focus people on the point of spontaneity but in the end, regardless of terminology that is the process when you actually break it down.

Now one culture may have a greater proclivity towards waxing philosophically about it, and to be honest that was one of the things I most enjoyed about Aikido. That doesn't change that if I sweep away the philosophical trappings my previous comment is a truth about instruction of a functional fighting system.
 
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Dudi Nisan

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To Juany : First of all let me say that I like your post. On the whole, I agree with you. But I will try to qualify it.


Now one culture may have a greater proclivity towards waxing philosophically about it, and to be honest that was one of the things I most enjoyed about Aikido. That doesn't change that if I sweep away the philosophical trappings my previous comment is a truth about instruction of a functional fighting system.

That you liked Aikido (also) for its philosophy is exactly what I am talking about. This will keep you going to training. This will make you stick it out even during difficult times , when you don't feel like training. In this sense, "philosophy" is practical. And, with al the talk about functionality and practicality ( and I am not against seriously testing one's art) what keeps me going is the love for the art (and not the idea that I must prepare for a brutal street fight), and one of the things that makes me love the art is its "philosophy". Without it martial arts are just exercises. This is how I see it.

As for philosophical trappings, well, it was not added on to martial arts, but underlay martial creation from the very start.
 

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To Juany : First of all let me say that I like your post. On the whole, I agree with you. But I will try to qualify it.




That you liked Aikido (also) for its philosophy is exactly what I am talking about. This will keep you going to training. This will make you stick it out even during difficult times , when you don't feel like training. In this sense, "philosophy" is practical. And, with al the talk about functionality and practicality ( and I am not against seriously testing one's art) what keeps me going is the love for the art (and not the idea that I must prepare for a brutal street fight), and one of the things that makes me love the art is its "philosophy". Without it martial arts are just exercises. This is how I see it.

As for philosophical trappings, well, it was not added on to martial arts, but underlay martial creation from the very start.


The thing is I also currently like my Kali Training because my instructors teaches it by focusing on the "practical" aspects and he applies the same to the Wing Chun as well (same guy) I just noted WC because I know some aren't that but many refer to it as a Martial "Science" and treat it as such.

I guess it comes down to this. What is more important to you, the "packaging" or the knowledge. Aikido was my first TMA after my fencing years. I was literally a teenager then. Almost 30 years later, I don't care about that. I care about how it feels when I train, when I move, when it works in my career.

As for the idea that it underlies it from the start...I think you are confabulating some things. Example certain Daoist based MA's are used mysticism/philosophy to justify things that today we can justify using the scientific method. If they had our science then, likely much of the philosophical trappings would be swept away. The question in the end comes down to why one studies the Martial Arts? That is going to be an individual decision. This however isn't the point.

The point was that the philosophical trappings are semantics from a purely logic point of view. For you that matters, and that is fine, even great for you because it engages your passion. Other people don't need that. So find the teacher that works (because my Ryushinkan teacher wasn't big on philosophy either) and go for it.

The point is that, for a Vulcan like Mr. Spock who is studying a MA, there is no difference between the WC that is taught the way I describe or you, so long as the same skill set is transferred from teacher to student and that student is receptive to the message in question. That synergy is what makes MA's work, not the specific method
 
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Dudi Nisan

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As for the idea that it underlies it from the start...I think you are confabulating some things

You are talking about an evolution, about what happened later on. And in this respect you might be right. But we know, because it is documented, that both in China and Japan people were looking for a Way. This is was the impetus to their quest, and that is what lead to the creation of ARTS. Science does not produce art, because it is science.
It is exactly because TMA were created in a non-scientific age that we have martial arts.

traditional nomenclature is used to explain what we now call "scientific phenomena", but not always. I have to remind myself constantly that the ancients lived in a very different world, which did not include "science". And they had different goals too( A way).

Again, that does not mean we should avoid testing our arts according to scientific standards, or that we should settle for some "philosophical martial dances". but, I remind myself, that it is very hard to imagine what the ancients were really after.
 

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You are talking about an evolution, about what happened later on. And in this respect you might be right. But we know, because it is documented, that both in China and Japan people were looking for a Way. This is was the impetus to their quest, and that is what lead to the creation of ARTS. Science does not produce art, because it is science.
It is exactly because TMA were created in a non-scientific age that we have martial arts.

traditional nomenclature is used to explain what we now call "scientific phenomena", but not always. I have to remind myself constantly that the ancients lived in a very different world, which did not include "science". And they had different goals too( A way).

Again, that does not mean we should avoid testing our arts according to scientific standards, or that we should settle for some "philosophical martial dances". but, I remind myself, that it is very hard to imagine what the ancients were really after.


We know from documentation they were looking for ways to fight. They explained those methods of fighting in the context that they understood. The idea of it being a WAY in their arts is actually a modern romanticism of the past that often happens. The Western equivalent would be Chivalry and "Knights in shining armor."

The TMAs are actually quite scientific in their function, they simply used the terms of the version of science they had at the time. Think of it like Newton, he lived on the border of Western Science and Mysticism and thus still practiced Alchemy. The science of the past is seen as philosophy and mysticism of today.

This is the fact if you study the actual history, sorry. If you want I can refer you to sources that reference all of this, from historians both east and west, in both in print and visual media. The price of being the child of a History professor I suppose.
 
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Dudi Nisan

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If you want I can refer you to sources that reference all of this, from historians both east and west, in both in print and visual media.

Yes, please. I would like you to refer me to those sources. Love history myself. What field is your father researching?
 
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Dudi Nisan

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Here is Higa Minoru, famous Shorin ryu master speaking about fighting and the Way, and what's really important in karate training. I love this Higa!

 

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Yes, please. I would like you to refer me to those sources. Love history myself. What field is your father researching?

Oh my dad is semi retired now just keeping up with updating the "new editions" of the test books he wrote back in the day and occassionally teaching as an adjunct as he is in his 70's now.

I'll do digging to get some of the sources when I can later, after my first cup of coffee of course :). While Christmas I get to work the street today.

PS. When I refer to "the science of their day" I mean the way Aikido would sometimes talk about the use of Chi. Many of those uses we now simply refer to as applications of Newton's Laws. That kinda thing.
 
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PS. When I refer to "the science of their day" I mean the way Aikido would sometimes talk about the use of Chi. Many of those uses we now simply refer to as applications of Newton's Laws. That kinda thing.
I still find people using the mystical explanations of ki. We know better now, and should be using that knowledge. I explain the "ki" techniques as being a combination of relaxation and mechanics. I still use the term "ki" and explain to students that it's a convenient shorthand for an effective use of relaxed muscles and intent, where the intent allows us to use those relaxed muscles without having to think about them. For instance, an "unbendable arm" is best executed by thinking about extending fingers toward some distant target, as if growing to them. We'll refer to "extending ki", because it's easy to say and we all know what it means, but there's no energy extension, just a relaxed use of the muscles that extend the arm.
 

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I still find people using the mystical explanations of ki. We know better now, and should be using that knowledge. I explain the "ki" techniques as being a combination of relaxation and mechanics. I still use the term "ki" and explain to students that it's a convenient shorthand for an effective use of relaxed muscles and intent, where the intent allows us to use those relaxed muscles without having to think about them. For instance, an "unbendable arm" is best executed by thinking about extending fingers toward some distant target, as if growing to them. We'll refer to "extending ki", because it's easy to say and we all know what it means, but there's no energy extension, just a relaxed use of the muscles that extend the arm.

Exactly. Sometimes in Wing Chun we say "too much yin, not enough yang" instead of chi/ki but the concept is basically the same. You need to stay relaxed. If you don't your movements are slower and you will inevitably end up meeting force with force which disturbs your structure and balance.

It's one of the reasons when I do our first form at home I will do it "old person in the park Tai chi" slow and even some Tai Chi and Qi Gong. The last just helps with relaxation and flexibility in general but the first helps me to apply that relaxation to the techniques because the Alphabet of the art is in that first form.

Clearly as a striking art WC needs Yin/force but without Yang/relaxation, you compromise almost everything. As an example, many of the defenseive techniques are deflections you push out along your centerline, as my Sifu says, think of it like spreading peanut butter. When I started though I had too much force an was swinging them out there like the blocks from Ryushinkan.
 
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Here is Higa Minoru, famous Shorin ryu master speaking about fighting and the Way, and what's really important in karate training. I love this Higa!

Okay finally got around to watching this and I think those of us on the "technique" side and you are talking about 2 different things. At the end the subject of the video talks about his idea for the purpose of studying Karate. He says (paraphrase) you "can just learn Karate or you can also learn..."

Some of us talking about techniques are talking only about "you can just learn Karate..." part, the philosophy of fighting. We aren't looking at stuff regarding the social order, personal relationships etc. That part, especially in Japan, became a MUCH bigger thing post Meji Restoration. I have a really good article about that lying around somewhere. I'll see if I can find it and link it.
 

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@Dudi Nisan here are two articles, and there are others out there as well. The Founding of Kodokan Judo

The Meiji Restoration :: Scottsdale Martial Arts Center, Inc.

Short form, before the Meiji era the Martial arts were largely "jutsu." Their purpose was to fight. With the Meiji era this became unpopular both in Society and with the powers to be. The term "do" thus began to replace it with the blessing of the leadership and the function of the martial arts changed from one focused on combat to one focused on fitness/sport and being a "productive member" of society, which includes knowing your place in society's heirarchy. You even here this hinted at in the video you linked where he speaks of senior students being taught and then teaching junior students themselves as part of learning your proper place. So the "Way" you speak of is practically a 20th century invention.
 

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Exactly. Sometimes in Wing Chun we say "too much yin, not enough yang" instead of chi/ki but the concept is basically the same. You need to stay relaxed. If you don't your movements are slower and you will inevitably end up meeting force with force which disturbs your structure and balance.

It's one of the reasons when I do our first form at home I will do it "old person in the park Tai chi" slow and even some Tai Chi and Qi Gong. The last just helps with relaxation and flexibility in general but the first helps me to apply that relaxation to the techniques because the Alphabet of the art is in that first form.

Clearly as a striking art WC needs Yin/force but without Yang/relaxation, you compromise almost everything. As an example, many of the defenseive techniques are deflections you push out along your centerline, as my Sifu says, think of it like spreading peanut butter. When I started though I had too much force an was swinging them out there like the blocks from Ryushinkan.
Ah, the too-hard block. I don't think I've ever seen a student bypass those without a visit.
 
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Dudi Nisan

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Many viewers of this thread did not participate in discussion. This post is meant at providing them with an alternative view of thing:



1) Moral self-cultivation (including the study of ethics and interaction between human beings in society) is fundamental to all East Asian culture. Its significance and importance cannot be overemphasized. Ningen keisei鈭粹敶X (or character building through human interaction), which Higa Minoru sees as highly important, was emphasized already by Confucius(who was active some 2500 years before the Meiji).



Here is a letter written by the Ryukyuan court in 1849(still before the Meiji):



The people of our country have from ancient times exclusively studied the Way of Confucius and Mencius. Individuals use it to cultivate their persons and order their families, while the state uses it as the guiding principle for the conduct of government. The fact that we have been able to establish a stable, peaceful country where the people feel secure and content is because this Way has entered deeply into the people's hearts over a long period of time!'



See (easily accessible and in English): http://chinajapan.org/articles/11.1/11.1steben39-60.pdf



2) Moral self-cultivation was the goal, if not the impetus itself, for great many activities in East Asia.

For example, Cheng Zongyou蝔摰, in his 1610 Shaolin Staff Method explains that the Shaolin monks (the shaolin monks!) Consider martial arts training a tool for reaching the other shore of liberation (see Meir Shahar, The Shaolin Monastery, p.62), i.e. their martial practice is a form of self-cultivation, a Way.



I invite viewers to discuss the neglected subject of moral self-cultivation in East Asian martial arts, it is a highly important subject, worth of its own thread.
 

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Many viewers of this thread did not participate in discussion. This post is meant at providing them with an alternative view of thing:



1) Moral self-cultivation (including the study of ethics and interaction between human beings in society) is fundamental to all East Asian culture. Its significance and importance cannot be overemphasized. Ningen keisei鈭粹敶X (or character building through human interaction), which Higa Minoru sees as highly important, was emphasized already by Confucius(who was active some 2500 years before the Meiji).



Here is a letter written by the Ryukyuan court in 1849(still before the Meiji):



The people of our country have from ancient times exclusively studied the Way of Confucius and Mencius. Individuals use it to cultivate their persons and order their families, while the state uses it as the guiding principle for the conduct of government. The fact that we have been able to establish a stable, peaceful country where the people feel secure and content is because this Way has entered deeply into the people's hearts over a long period of time!'



See (easily accessible and in English): http://chinajapan.org/articles/11.1/11.1steben39-60.pdf



2) Moral self-cultivation was the goal, if not the impetus itself, for great many activities in East Asia.

For example, Cheng Zongyou蝔摰, in his 1610 Shaolin Staff Method explains that the Shaolin monks (the shaolin monks!) Consider martial arts training a tool for reaching the other shore of liberation (see Meir Shahar, The Shaolin Monastery, p.62), i.e. their martial practice is a form of self-cultivation, a Way.



I invite viewers to discuss the neglected subject of moral self-cultivation in East Asian martial arts, it is a highly important subject, worth of its own thread.

You have to understand, moral cultivation in Asia (even into the 20the Century) typically, if in the hands of "the State" something that was historically used to establish and maintain control. What they say to the peasants to keep them in their proper place and what they say to the tools of control (soldiers) are often different. Then what those who wish to rebel against those soldiers is equally different.

Japan is a perfect example of this. The Samurai did not even come close to cultivating moral cultivation. The essence described in the Hagakure (an excellent book if you wish to understand the physical and spiritual preparedness of the Samurai in the Tokugawa Shogunate) is "living as though one was already dead". As it was a time of relative peace it took this near nihilistic approach in order to answer the question "how does one remain prepared for war in a period of relative peace?" However this idea, while useful in the context of a feudal Nation where order is protected and enforced by a warrior class must be beaten down when, during the Meiji Restoration the Government institute's a "citizen" conscript Military in place of the traditional Samurai system. Hence the transition from Jutsu to Do noted in the two articles I wrote.

If you study Chinese History Confucius had basically NOTHING to do with the creation of Martial Arts in China.

Shaolin? Buddhists who being in isolated monasteries had to create fighting arts (which even according to their own history/legends have their origin from India) to protect themselves from Bandits and later a Government Hostile to them.

Tai Chi Chuan. It claims an ancient history based in Daoism, not Confucianism, but according to actual documentation as far back as we can go is about the 17th Century. The Chen Style is the most telling here. Even according to their own family legends they were hired as guards for persons and caravans and they refined their Martial arts style, Chen Style, due to this profession. Again no such connection between Confucian thought is seen in the art itself.

Wing Chun? This is one of the arts I study. Yip Man was certainly seen as a Confucian gentleman, but even the legend of the art says it was created so that a competent Kung Fu fighter could be trained faster in order to provide protection against an oppressive dynasty.

Now we see a similar dynamic in China, after Mao comes to power as we saw in Meiji Japan. The Communists actively surpressed Martial Arts up until the 1980's because the Martial Arts Societies were where revolution most often found root. After Bruce Lee showed Kung Fu could be big money though the Chinese Government spent money rebuilding the ruin that was Shaolin Temple BUT they also refocused Martial Arts in China. While it has relaxed in recent years the civilian martial arts that were encouraged were redesigned to focus on fitness and sport.

Does the manner the manner the art itself at times reflect the overall culture? Sure it does. However the manner in which you respect your teacher and other students while learning is a very different than the purpose and method of an art designed to harm another human being. That purpose and method of dictated by the necessities of the combat they face.

We often have a problem today looking at history, East or West. We Romanticize the past. When we run into things like Do or Chivalry, we see it as something attractive, even Utopian. We want that to exist, and so we either make it real (Chivalry was never really practiced the way we Romanticize it) or put it as a unifying force when it wasn't (Do). It gets even more Confusing when you look at how badly the Imperial court of China twisted Confucian thought and then Neo-Confucian thought which, on its own, twisted Confucian thought to compete with Buddhism and Daoism. Example it wasn't until Neo-Confucian thought that Confucian Meditation existed.
 
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Dudi Nisan

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Thank you for your detailed reply. I appreciate your passion and fighting spirit.



What they say to the peasants to keep them in their proper place and what they say to the tools of control (soldiers) are often different.

Confucius was not the state. Mencius was not the sate. The Shaolin monks were not the sate. Thus, they did not tell anything tp peasants. And even if they did, they did not have any power, and they could not force anyone to do any thing.

And besides, moral self-cultivation cannot be forced. This is why it is called SELF-cultivation.
If you study Chinese History Confucius had basically NOTHING to do with the creation of Martial Arts in China.

Practice-based moral self-cultivation then was fundamental to all East Asian culture. In fact, it is one of its defining characteristics. Thus, and here I politely disagree with you. Confucius, or Confucianism, had created a space in East Asian culture for the creation of such practices as martial arts (in general) and karate in particular.

We often have a problem today looking at history, East or West. We Romanticize the past. When we run into things like Do or Chivalry

We do not add Do to karate. And neither did karate teachers of the past: Karate teachers did not need to add do to karate. For, as I explained, it was such a given aspect of East Asian culture that people absorbed it at home, at schools, at the local templeit was everywhere. On the contrary, karate (fundamentally, a sort of practice) was added to the Confucian repertoire of self-cultivation practices.



Best



David
 
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