Category Archives: kenpo

Zen Promised Fights of Karate

Newsletter 805
To Promise a Fight

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Gorgeous day.
Absolutely gorgeous.
And that means it is an absolutely gorgeous day for a work out.
So get going!

Was teaching this morning.
We were doing Promised Fights,
and my partner was grimacing,
and finally backed off.
“Ow,” he said.
And we got into a long discussion.
Heck,
he was hurting,
I had to let him recover,
give him some data,
and then hurt him some more.
Right?

First,
I started out with the old
‘Do it a form a thousand times and you know it.
Do it ten thousand times and you’ve mastered it.’
My student did exactly the right thing,
he said,
‘So if I do it 20 times a day,
then in fifty days…’
“Yep,” I said.
“You could know it.
You could be expert in 2 months.
But you have to do it right.
You have to understand the alignment,
how the feet work and why,
and you have to know the Promised Fights…
otherwise you could do it forever and not know it.”

Second,
we went into proper body alignment,
which is covered on the Master Instructor Course,
and how the feet must align properly,
and how the particular form we were doing had to be done
to make this all work.
I ended up saying,
“align your body,
make it a single unit,
then he won’t hit your body parts,
he will hit a single, integrated unit,
and it won’t hurt you.
Energy flows through a body that is a single unit,
it doesn’t flow through body parts used in individual fashion.
This is especially important in a Promised Fight.”

And,
came the look I had been waiting for.
I had been using the term Promised Fight,
and I knew he would eventually ask about it.

“What is a Promised Fight?”

A Promised Fight,
or a Promise Fight,
is a piece of the form applied.
A form Application.
It is a self defense movement.
It is bunkai.
It is the working part of the form.
But,
it is more.
In fact,
if a person doesn’t understand what I am about to tell you,
he/she is not doing karate.
They are just fighting themselves.

I asked my instructor what a Promised Fight was,
and he said,
‘The Promise of a Fight.’
And,
while the study of PFs gave great abilities,
and the answer he gave me was correct,
it was terribly incomplete.

To understand what a Promised Fight is
I need you to look up the word ‘Postulate.’

Look it up for yourself,
get all the nuances,
where it came from,
and all that,
but for this newsletter,
the short and inadequate version is this:

suggest or assume the existence, fact, or truth of (something) as a basis for reasoning, discussion, or belief

Assume existence,
put forth the truth,
as a basis for belief.

If you understand the hint here,
you should be diving for a big old Oxford Dictionary,
wanting to know why a simple karate move
becomes the basis for truth in this universe.

So let me break it down a bit,
from the viewpoint of 50 years of training.

A postulate is a thought,
which if worked on,
becomes true.

Worked on,
as continually done in a work out.

As in a piece of the form,
practiced again and again and again.

Now,
let me back up a bit,
a form is a circuit,
a pattern of moves that you practice and practice
until you just do it without thinking about it.
You strengthen the body,
you remember the applications,
you get light and quick,
and all those sorts of things.

When you do a piece of the form,
over and over and over,
you condense the circuit,
and you get rid of thought,
and suddenly there is nothing but the move.
Somebody punches,
and you don’t exist,
you just track the incoming,
and the Promise Fight,
the postulate of moves,
pops out of you.
And it works.
You punch him,
and he falls down.
And he doesn’t understand what hit him.
But here is the truth of it all…
a thought hit him.
A Postulate of thought hit him.
A Promise Fight,
clean and simple,
without distractive thoughts,
hit him.
And there is nothing purer in this universe.

Now,
I am always so busy trying to get people to understand,
offering all sorts of methods,
that i sometimes forget to go into this factor.
BUT,
in Matrix Karate there is the Matrix of blocks.
These are like mini-Promise Fights.
Very important to get these,
to understand them,
it is important to learn the small PFs
before you get to the big ones.
The big ones are on Temple Karate.
There isn’t talk of a matrix there,
because it is assumed you have done the groundwork of Matrixing first.
And the form applications are VERY pure Promised Fights.
They REALLY result in a zen frame of mind,
and the ability to hit somebody with a thought.

If you get Temple Karate
and you haven’t done Matrix Karate,
then you are taking the long route.
It will take you years,
and as distractions mount,
you can be knocked off the path
and never get there.

So you should do Matrix Karate,
work on the Matrix of Blocks,
make inroads and discover what a PF is.
And,
you can always take the pieces of the form,
they are pretty obvious,
and work on them to make real Promised Fights.

Then you do Temple Karate,
get into the classical forms,
and really go to town on the Promised Fights.

Matrix Karate is pretty simple,
it presents the movements that are pure karate,
no distractions from other arts.
It aligns you,
and sets you up for the broader moves of Temple Karate.
It is a real Closed Combat System.
You can do it by itself,
or you can do it,
then move into the classical,
and see what kinds of things
the old guys who came before us were into.
Temple Karate is a larger assortment of tricks,
it broadens the education,
and digs you to new depths.

Anyway,
that is the story on Promised Fights.
Dig ‘em…they are the real zen of Martial Arts.

Here’s the link for Temple,
if you have already done Matrix Karate.
You can just go to MonsterMartialArts and find Matrix Karate,
it is one of the first arts presented on the home page.

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/temple-karate/

Now,
have a great work out,
and schedule yourself for twenty times a day,
and send me your wins in two months.

Have a great work out!

Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/temple-karate/

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http://www.amazon.com/Matrixing-Tong-Bei-Internal-Gung/dp/1507869290/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423678613&sr=8-1&keywords=tong+bei

Gichin Funakoshi and Martial Perfection

Newsletter 794
Perfection in the Martial Arts

Gichin Funakoshi talked about seeking perfection in the martial arts.
He also wrote a poem.
The two come together in a most interesting way.
Here’s the poem.

To search for the old is to understand the new.
The old, the new
This is a matter of time.
In all things man must have a clear mind.
The Way:
Who will pass it on straight and well?

So here’s some stuff to think about…

What is ‘The Way?’
The way is a method.
Specifically,
it is the method of the martial arts.
Done correctly,
it leads to a lessening of distractive thoughts,
and the ability to focus one’s spirit.
Unfortunately,
all too often the method changes
according to the whim of the teacher.

The key is in the words ‘straight and well.’

If you look up the word ‘perfection,’
you will find references to being free of flaw.
Free of flaw means scientifically true.
The problem is that nobody knows how to use the body in a ‘true’ fashion.

I remember being in the sixth grade,
looking at medical charts,
trying to figure out the best way to place the foot
so I could run faster.
Analyzing the arch as a spring,
and pondering how best to activate the spring.
Tracing the muscles on the legs,
trying to figure out which way to turn the legs
so that the muscles were best utilized.

I took this same method of analyzing with me into the martial arts.

This isn’t some branch of kinetics,
for kinetics studies the body without considering ‘chi.’
This isn’t western science,
though it is quite empirical.

The funny thing is that in the end
I came up with a simple method,
one that takes mere moments to understand,
and to utilize,
and one can utilize this method throughout the forms.
This illuminates the forms,
and makes them perfect.

So perfection is attainable.

And,
the good news,
I describe and show the method in
The Master Instructor course.
I even show the seven specific ways of breaking this method down
for the individual parts of the body.

So perfection of art is possible,

Real simple stuff.
But nobody has ever written it down anywhere.
But here’s the thing.

If you walk with your feet turned out,
or inwards,
you wear the heels of your shoes in odd patterns.
Maybe the inside of the heel wears down,
rendering the shoe useless long before it is due to wear out.
Maybe the outside.
What you have to understand is that this wearing effect occurs
on the inside of the body, too.

Have you come across martial arts masters
who have knee replacements?
Or hip replacements?
Or worn out shoulders?
Or other malfunctioning body parts?
This is because they were doing the martial arts
without understanding the correct way to use the body.
All the western ‘kinetics’ they study,
doesn’t do a bit of good if you haven’t analyzed how the foot places,
how the muscles are arranged.
And people can actually tear their bodies apart.

The Master Instructor Course fixes this.

Simply,
you start using the body in the right way,
according to the seven things I tell you about the body and using chi.
You start using less energy,
and having more impact.
This is true economy of motion.
Ultimately,
the body starts working like a well oiled machine,
you start aging slower,
your skin stays clearer,
you have full range of motion,
full strength,
you just resist aging in the most delightful way.

Some martial artists have stumbled upon this,
and they age well,
but they don’t understand why.
They simply used their body in the correct manner
without understanding or analyzing why.
thus,
even though they had the truth,
they were not able to teach the way…
straight and true.
The way Gichin,
and others,
wish it to be taught.

Well,
enough.
You either want the true art,
or you don’t.
Sup to you.

Here’s the link for the Master Instructor Course.

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/4-master-instructor-course/

check it out,
think about whether what I say makes sense,
and then take a mont back guaranteed chance.

Have a great work out!
Al

http://monstermartialarts.com/martial-arts/4-master-instructor-course/

http://www.amazon.com/Matrixing-Tong-Bei-Internal-Gung/dp/1507869290/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423678613&sr=8-1&keywords=tong+bei

Book Just Published on Jeet Kune Do!

Jeet Kune Do Training Manual!

The name of the book is ‘Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do, and Neutronics.’

Written by Al Case, a martial artist with near fifty years experience in the martial arts, this book takes an outside viewpoint of Bruce Lee, and his martial art (Jeet Kune Do).

jeet kune do training manual

Click on the cover!

Bruce Lee is often considered, specifically as to what drove him to his martial arts theories. The main focus of the book, however, is to compare and contrast Jeet Kune Do to the more classical martial arts, specifically, the author’s art of Karate.

This is a hard core book. While it is respectful, it is obvious that the author holds Mr. Lee in high esteem, there are some very hard questions asked concerning the formation of JKD, and the real purpose of the art.

It is also an intelligent book, going into Matrixing Technology, which is the first and only science of the martial arts, and Neutronic philosophy. The author claims that because JKD is an advanced martial art only advanced methods of thought can be used to analyze it.

Which is to say that if you are Beeavis or Butthead, you may want to avoid this tome. It won’t teach you Jeet Kune Do, and it may hurt your head to actually start thinking about it.

Mr. Case has, as said, near 50 years martial arts experience. He began Kenpo Karate in 1967, quickly became an instructor, and went on to study virtually every martial art that came down the pike during the Golden Age of Martial Arts. He became a writer for the magazines in 1981, and had his own column in Inside Karate. Thus, Mr. Case doesn’t enter the picture as a newbie, but an experienced fighter and writer. His compare and contrast with JKD should provide the most enlightened student with much thought.

Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do, and Neutronics, will be released and on Amazon within the week, and students interested in the paperback version should do a search on Amazon probably by the last week of April 2015.

Students who would like to save $5 and purchase the instant download of the book should go to FreeBruceLee.com.

http://freebrucelee.com/martial-arts/new-book-on-bruce-lee/

Unique Method of Martial Arts Strength Training

Suspended Strength Training in the Martial Art…

And Who is Ernie Pyle?

Before I get into a rather interesting discussion
of real strength in Martial Arts,
and offer a different viewpoint
and training method
for strength training in the martial arts,
let me offer an anecdote of good wishes
and quality of life for this Thanksgiving.

how long does it take to get a black belthow to kill bookNot many people know who Ernie Pyle was,
but he was a war correspondent during WW2.

Now,
try this one,
Ernst Hemingway.
Everybody knows who he is.
and many even know
that he was…
a war correspondent during WW2.

Now,
bear with me,
Ernst Hemingway
wrote about drinking ancient wine
in hallowed corridors,
invading
and living the life.
Midnight samplings,
caviar,
a conqueror’s dreams come true.

Ernie Pyle wrote about people.
He’d talk about lone figures in a line,
marching into the dust,
half of whom wouldn’t come back.
He’d talk about starving soldiers
sharing their last ration with him
sitting in a foxhole,
heating the ration
in a steel helmet
with a candle.
Rubbing his hands together to keep warm
and seeing the look
in the eyes of the soldier with him–
just glad to be alive
and with another human being.

So
caviar dreams,
or humanity.

Well,
Hemingway blew his brains out with a shotgun.

But the soldiers Pyle wrote about
went on to create
the greatest country
in the history of this planet,
a country that believed in and shared
freedom.

And,
for all my friends in other countries,
bushwah aside,
that’s all us United Statians want,
freedom for all,
not because we’re better,
but because we can all be better,
and I hope that this thought,
my Thanksgiving thought for this yar,
can be shared by the world,
next year.

So let’s talk about martial arts.
and Suspended Strength.

The guy who can lift the most
is the strongest.
Grrr!
He wins.

Well,
uh…
have you ever heard of time?

Let’s say a guy lifts a hundred pounds.
He’s a young kid,
and this is a good lift for him.
But,
when you measure the time it took him to lift
he lifted 100 pounds in two seconds.
One second up and one second down.
so,
200 pounds.

Now,
let’s take his twin brother
give him 20 pounds,
and have him lift it 12 times.

Hmm.
240 pounds.
He’s stronger.

Oh,
you don’t like my math?
Well,
I’m just starting.

Let’s take that evil twin brother,
you know,
the one who cheated to become stronger by lifting less,
and let’s have him lift 20 pounds,
but take take 30 seconds to do it.
15 seconds up and 15 seconds down.
Do the math…
15 times 20…
300 pounds.
He’s stronger.

Not only is he stronger,
but because he didn’t stress his body
there is less chance of injury,
pulled muscle,
or even fatigue.

And,
I’m going to tell you something weird,
his strength is going to improve on a sharper curve
than the two second boy.

Now,
you think I’m talking Tai Chi here,
right?

Well,
sort of,
but sort of not.
Other arts than Tai Chi go slow.
And,
hate to say it,
guys who get old or injured
slow their stuff down.

The point here is that
power comes in different speeds.

Yes,
there is explosive power,
great stuff,
recommended if you want your art to work.
But there is also suspended power.
You won’t lift the most,
but you’ll lift longer,
last longer,
not have injuries,
be able to rehabilitate injuries.

I use to work out at karate hard,
an hour felt like eight.
But,
I can’t do that anymore.
But,
I can work out for eight hours
and make it feel like one.

I just do my forms slower,
and work on suspended strength.

Oh,
WARNING!
be careful when doing kicks or extreme positions slowly,
suspending the leg because you could throw out your back.

When you explode,
you see,
you only use part of your leg,
part at the beginning and part at the end (to stop it).
When you go slow you use all your leg,
and this puts stress on body parts
that never knew stress before.

Okay,
if you want to learn slow,
get stronger than an ox who’s been eating good,
then check out the Five ArmyTai Chi Chuan,

Actually,
there’s three systems on the course.
An easy basics system,
an intermediate system that just sort of explodes on the cerebral cortex,
and then there’s the classical eight animals.

Think about it,
three systems,
a book,
the ability to age gracefully,
a complete art,
only ten bucks a disk.
Whoa,
that’s a Fng deal!

Okay,
guys and gals,
you have the greatest week ever,
and remember
every time you work out
it’s one step closer
to the truth of you.
And,
man,
that truth is grand.

Later…

Al

Bruce Lee and Ed Parker Revealed as Villains!

I always take delight in pointing out that people like Ed Parker and Bruce Lee were bad people in the martial arts. People always get upset with me and even want to bodyslam me and teach me a lesson. Then, when I tell them what is really what, they can’t do anything but mumble a lot.

bruce lee martial artEd Parker apparently never made it to Black Belt in the system taught by Thunderbolt Chow. Heck, halfway through teaching his students, he had to go home to Hawaii because he ran out of material and needed more. And, Chow told him no.

So he made up his own martial arts, hired a kung fu fellow to help make up new patterns and techniques, redid his system (five times), and so on. The result was that he was giving out high degree black belts, hosting tournaments, inspire the starting of whole chains of schools, and some people hold that he was really only a brown belt. And the whole world was fooled into accepting him as the grand poobah of Chinese American Kenpo, and hardly anybody but a dedicated Kenpo practitioner knows where it all came from.

And if you think Ed Parker did some bad things, wait until you consider Bruce Lee! Bruce ‘The Little Dragon’ Lee apparently didn’t finish his Wing Chun training. He was apparently involved in the street gangs of his native country and his parents finally had enough of his bad ways and sent him to cool off in the United States! In the United States, though he hadn’t completed his Ving Tsun training under Yip Man, he started teaching that martial art to whoever wanted to learn.

Not knowing the whole wing chun system, he began bolstering it up with studies in boxing, fencing, and 24 other martial arts. Yes, he was a sponge, but he was teaching Kung Fu outside his community, betraying his race (according to some), and teaching stuff that went beyond the classical martial arts. He was teaching a wild eclectic Jeet Kune Do system that went far beyond the classical forms training of the time.

The end result of all this was a fight where nobody won (Wong Jack Man), and then he throws it all away to try and make it in Tinsel Town! Is that the mark of a dedicated martial arts innovator? Or is that some unbalanced wannabe giving it all up for fame and money?

Now, it is time for this writer to fess up. Most of you readers know what I am doing anyway. I am engaging in a little yellow journalism for sarcastic sake.

Ed Parker, Bruce Lee, and other true innovators studied sufficient in the classical martial arts to know what it was, then they chose, for their own reasons, their own directions. They then did better than their teachers, and expanded the field of the martial arts to the benefit of all. Yes, Bruce Lee and Ed Parker were treasonous bad guys, as are all true artists, as need to be anybody who wants to go beyond same old same old training methods and delve into the true martial arts.

Want to be a founder in the martial arts? Want to develop your own art and discover the truth that Bruce Lee and Ed Parker uncovered? Head on over to Monster Martial Arts.

Five Steps to a Perfect Martial Arts Kiai!

Making your Kiai a real ‘Spirit Shout!’

All too often people describe it as a “spirit yell”, but this only scratches the surface, and it is a horrible translation. If we look at the word in kanji, you will see that it is made up 2 characters.  The first is Ki ( ? ), this is the character for energy, whether you call it chi, qi, or prana.  The second is Ai ( ? ) meaning harmony. Some of you may notice something here, those are the same 2 character as Aikido ( ??? ) but in a different order.  Thus “fighting yell” doesn’t enter into a proper translation.

So, a kiai, isn’t a fighting scream, but rather any sound that brings your energy into harmony with the situation.  Nobody ever talks about it anymore but this could be a sob, a laugh, a sigh, or scream to bring all your force to bear in a fight.

Kang-Duk-Won-side-ad
Since nobody ever has to explain how to laugh or cry, let us turn our attention to the application of “bringing the force to bear in a fight” or spirit yell.

If you visit enough other places you will no doubt see people, saying the word “kiai” or “kiup” (the Korean pronunciation) with no more enthusiasm than a yawn.  This is useless, utterly useless.

Kenpo says there are 5 reasons to do a Kiai

1. make sure you are breathing when you are executing a technique
2. distract your opponent
3. attract attention
4. tighten your muscles, thus protecting your body.
5. bring power to your technique.

Numbers 2, 3, and 5 will not work AT ALL if you are wimpy and quiet.

When you watch the old martial arts movies, you don’t see people giving a kiai, like a child who is in trouble being asked to confess.  It is loud, bold and proud.

More than once  people tell me “it is embarrassing to scream”, to which my response is “SO WHAT!  If I have to defend myself, I will give a kiai, and if the bad guy laughs at me, I don’t care.  Regardless how they respond, whether it is shock, laughter, or they turn to run, that is going to give me my opening”.

Did Bruce Lee care about what people thought? No!  He said (paraphrasing here) “every technique should have a life of its own, part of that is giving it a unique sound.”  This is why he was making sounds, that even other martial artists thought, were weird.

A good kiai comes from the Dan Tien (Tanden), if it helps, think of it as coming from the diaphragm. In theater, they call this “projecting” so the people in the nosebleed seats can hear you.  To go along with what Bruce said, it can be any sound, but “kiai” is not an Onomatopoeia, so please don’t use that as your sound.  Even the 1970s corny movie “hi-ya” is less annoying than “kiai”.

My Sensei says “if a Kiai is done correctly, you don’t go horse”.  This is true, but if you aren’t doing a proper kiai now, it will likely take a bit of practice to figure out how to be all “heavy metal concert” on it, without hurting your voice.

Here is a REALLY good article about what it means to bow in the martial arts.

Karate Kata…How Good Are They?

Martial Arts Kata, Good or Bad?

in the Martial Arts Kata are often translated as martial arts forms, so I use the terms interchangeably.

Bruce Lee said in “The Tao of Jeet Kune Do” the following about forms:

“Too much horsing around with unrealistic stances and classic forms and rituals is just too artificial and mechanical, and doesn’t really prepare the student for actual combat.”

martial arts karate kataIs this true? Or is it meaningful, do forms actually teach you combat? Certainly looking at Pinan/Heian 1, or Kenpo Long 1, you have to wonder, is this meaningful? Are they honestly expecting me to drop the opposite hand when I block and punch?  And why are they having me drop my hands when in sparring they tell me to keep my hands up?

Even with something so entrenched as Sanchin, or the Sil Lum Tao those that lack correct teaching have to wonder, “how is this teaching me to fight?”.

In stark contrast are kata such as sanseirui, where it is very apparent that the kata is truly a combat scenario that captured and formalized into a form. This is evidenced by the lack of symmetry in the form, you don’t have “do the exact same thing on the other side” or “first do it on the right, then on the left”.

But do any of them provide you with anything useful? Or do they lock you into a routine.

Bruce was an incredible man, certainly what he said must have some value.  Besides, if not for forms, how do we transmit the style, untarnished, to the next generation?

The problem with Bruce, is that he was amazing. He was so amazing that somewhere along the line he seems to have forgotten that you have to explain to a new student how to make a fist, not to punch with the flat part of your fist, to line up the bones, to add CBM.  We can see that he knew this, for he said (paraphrasing here) “before I learned to punch, a punch was just a punch, while I was learning, a punch was much more than a punch.  Now, a punch is just a punch”.  However, he repeatedly wanted to throw away all the tools that are used to learn basics.

To quote my sensei, “you have to have a set of basics before you start learning to break free of the forms”.

I feel that all forms are intended to serve a purpose, but what is that purpose?

Let us start with the so simple that they are obnoxious forms, like the early Kenpo forms and the Pinans.  They are not meant to be combat forms, they are meant to be a way to train symmetry, and to familiarize you with the “alphabet of movement” that your system trains.  Think of the movements in these forms as “this is my footwork, these are my blocks, these are my strikes,  there are many like them, but these are mine”.  Symmetry is important, you need to be able to block, thrust, flick, parry and strike on both sides, these forms teach you exactly that, and they force you to practice equally on both sides.  Bruce may have been so good that he only needed five techniques and only those on his lead side, but that doesn’t account for most people, nor does it address what you are supposed to do if you get injured during combat.

So basic, boring forms have a purpose, even if it is only training.  However, when we go back to the question of dropping the hand, you do have to stop and wonder why practice something that we would never want to do in combat.   This is where I personally feel that some of these forms are less valuable than they could be.

Sanchin appears to be one of these boring beginner forms; however, it is an exceptional kata, Please see the earlier article I wrote on Sanchin (add a link to the other blog post).  My sensei was fond of saying that he could tell your belt level by watching your performance of Sanchin.

The Sil lum tao, is also a form that appears to be on the boring scale, however, it is a very internal form. It is meant to isolate the hand movements used in Wing Chun so they can be practiced separately from any foot movement, and to build Chi power.  These 2 aspects mean that it can be practiced and improved on for the rest of your life, just like Sanchin.

None of the seemingly boring kata teach you to fight, not even sanchin.  They may teach you many critical elements of fighting, blocks and strikes that you can combine, a clear calm mind, the ability to take a hit and continue. These things and more can be learned from kata.

Learning to fight from a kata though?  That is tough, there are people that have been reputed to have done so, I have a very hard time believing that.

In my mind the only way to improve reflexes, and learn to handle unexpected things is to get into sparring (at all contact levels) with as many different people as possible.  Try to get with people of different levels, different arts, and no arts.

In my personal opinion, I feel kata are very important, both for handing down the style, uncompromised. They are critical for training your body to use all the different tools in the styles toolbox.

I do not feel that they are a prison, rather an encyclopedia of motion and much more.  In my mind all kata should give you as many tools as Sanchin, Sil lum tao and Sanseirui.   However, if the form teaches you to do dangerous things, like drop your hands, you might want to re-evaluate the validity of that particular form.

If you want to align and make logical your Martial Arts Kata, check out the Master Instructor Course at MonsterMartialArts.com.