I have started doing BJJ and it has really reinvigorated my Kung Fu training believe it or not. At the same time, I kind hurt my neck. The teacher said that in order to remember things that you should be a total nerd and write stuff down. I know I completely sound like a Cobra Kai character right now but whatever.
The first drill we did, the first class was finishing from behind and spinning out and going into guard.
Then that same day we did a bunch of GI chokes.
I could totally see doing those first two drills for months, heck even the gi chokes.
The second day was no Gi and we worked on
Bread slicer (a windpipe choke, which kind of grossed me out)
and then some sort of half guillotine braced against the ground which ends up having a lo hon kuen variation that I managed to tap someone with during week two. Not sure the terminology of the choke, but the one wasn't working so I slid into the other.
Day three was half guard drills which was really confusing to me.
I guess the point was to understand balance and also to get into mount, which I actually ended up doing while live, but then what to do from mount? I tried a gi choke but was knocked off balance.
You may wonder why I am being so timid and why I don't just "fight" or grapple or whatever, but the truth is, I feel that rolling is actually only safe when both people are working on the technical aspects of Jiu jitsu. In fact kinda hurt my neck because both of us were beginners and I got super tired and therefore started just using brute force to get out of something.
When I did boxing and when I am now doing Jiu Jitsu it helps me to understand more about how the Traditional village style Kung Fu way of doing things developed, because of who was being taught, where and why.
My kids are doing Wushu too and I can see how that developed too. Although since I had done Wushu myself I am more familiar with that.
Traditional Village Kung Fu is legit. The training method is legit. There is a reason why it is the way it is.
That being said, I feel like doing the other combat arts and sports can help your understanding, just like doing another sport like Basketball or soccer or gold can also help your understanding as well. But of course a combat oriented sport is even more relatable.
It's nice to be a student. recently I started doing a cardio kickboxing class. Like I am the weird dude in socks next to old ladies type of kick boxing class. Okay its not all old ladies. there are some young people in it too. And I actually still have to pace myself and not through the kicks as fast as the instructor is. believe it or not, I never worked on the Bruce Lee side kicks as much after I started formally training in Kung Fu. Even now, I am really only doing it because of the class. It is fun and i am pouring sweat. Its fun to just listen to the music, follow instructions, not think and try to survive.
My kids are doing Wushu and sort of not enjoying it... but hey its not like we have to do this forever. I mean... I know Kung Fu... they can learn from me to.. if they chose to. In fact, they have learned a lot. They have forgotten a lot... but even what they have retained is ok.
We might check out an MMA place and I will probably be starting to learn some BJJ and Muay Thai with the kids this summer too. I am actually excited about this.
Does this mean I will stop doing Kung Fu? No. Kung Fu is part of my life.. in fact it is part of my home life. Learning something new doesn't mean you are throwing away something old.
Does it mean I will stop teaching Kung Fu? Of course not. Will I change the way I teach? Actually I have been changing the way i teach all along and have been thinking more about a way to simplify what I do and also having visited other schools and gyms, how I would want to approach everything if i were to open my own school.
The truth is, I am actually going back more and more to village way of teaching. Because if I were going to teach I would want my classes to be cheap, maybe even on a red envelope honor system type method. I know this is crazy.... but I think that's what I would want if I were in charge. Like you would pass by a lion head and feed that lion head your tuition or donation.
I also want eight stations, like the eight fold path.
Writing them out, I realized I sort of just created a repackaging of what I already do and that it really wasn't simple enough. Instead of the eight fold path being a linear progression, it is circular and each spoke of the wheel relies on the other. One could say there are levels to the path itself. Or maybe they could be like stations.
Most people actually don't know much or even care much about martial arts, let alone Kung Fu or pre wushu kung fu.
But for a time in southern China it was all anyone cared about. Kung Fu was Goksuton, the country's art and 90% of the people in the South did Hung Gar or something like it.
In Taishan Stereotype for White Crane (although called other names and people like yo say Tibetan white crane to distinguish from Fujianese white crane, the truth is, everyone in the the area where my Sifu was from, where Chan Hak Fu was from. Knew bak hok was THAT white crane and everyone sort of knew white crane too. Or the basic, or sometimes the "secret" if white crane. The people calling it a secret are non white crane kung Fu practitioners. And the basics or secret that was common knowledge was Chuen, pow, cup.
Basically a straight punch, a long range uppercut which can also be used as a block and a downward hammer fist. And an over the head haymaker that can be continuous and double sided.
I have battled. With how to teach the basics but Chuen pow cup has such a ring to it and is so simple that I feel like it holds a real essence there. Like it can be it's own stand alone system if fighting and it is also something so simple that you can put it on top of any Kung Fu or martial arts system. Ie BJJ with Chuen pow cup for striking. The movements also used to be very natural for kids. I feel that the smart phone has changed that. But conversely, these movements can also provide a yogic alignment type benefit.
I feel like three moves us easier yo use as your base than say 11 which is the number of basics my Sifu arranged as a way to convert Hung Gar practitioners to white crane. Those 11 moves are my household "basics"
And while like I said, 3 is a better number than 11, there are aspects important to development that kind of require the 11, even though every dude in Doushan worth his salt in a fight probably got by just fine with Chuen pow cup alone.
1: twisting waist turning body.
What happens if you start with a punch and tell people to turn? They end up not turning. Unless you break it down and hammer it in to people that they have to turn, like all the way, the will lean forward hunch in smart phone frog position and not turn. People hate this basic. But its necessary 2: spearing hand
Dude when would you really hurt with you fingers? Unless you have super hard fingers? Why not start with a punch?
Interestingly, boxers will practice "punching" with a loose or open hand. Also chap sauce helps to strengthen your fingers. Basically this one and the
3: Push hand tui jerng, stiff arm
Work to develop the muscle that help you to have a strong
4: Cheun kuen. Straight punch
The Chuen in Chuen pow cup.
All of the previous moves have their own legit combat applications. Elbowing. Eye poking, nose breaking, and those are used and taught in self defense classes and martial arts studios across systems.
But I am saying that the are also necessary in terms of development of the body. Almost like a physical therapy. In fact, these moves ARE used as physical therapy when treating patients.
The next two moves are hard to learn how to practice, which is why I often take them out of kids classes. I hate watching people practice the moves wrong and I cant get them to do the right move easily. For class I only need them because they feature both in the first form, Sup Ji, and on the fancier lion dance opening. And if done wrong, they don't look good. Done right they look real tough. But for whatever reason even kids practicing for many years will do it wrong.
Interestingly, I have talked to many non martial artists who just happened to use aspects of
5: chuen kuen hew siew hought kiew.
In a real self defense situation with no training. It's just a natural move. The follow up on the move has to be trained though.
6: Chuen kuen chang jerng hought kiew Is used in many self defense police courses.
So they are useful.
I still hate them as a teacher.
7: ha wu Juen sun Is probably the easiest basic and is just swinging your arms low. Would you believe I accidentally used this move as a strike (illegally) in a boxing sparring match?
I never thought much of this move until then. But it came out because it was already in my body. 8 us pow kuen. The pow in chuen pow cup.
9 is cup.
10 is been ngau a back fist and hook which is similar to the drum move in Karate Kid 2. But we actually turn our waist more that Daniel was turning. And we use it with a more boxing strategy. (Btw Tibetan white crane was mixed with western boxing Like wayyyyy back. After all the Brits had a presence in Southern China for a long time and there was more exchange than you would think, especially among people trying to make money anyway possible, which included a lot of Westerners. When you think about it, it makes sense.
11 is Cheun kuen jaubyau hei bo. It introduces slipping and lifting the knee in preparation for kicking. It's also great cardio, develop a the look of the leg used in lion dance, and just has that classical Chinese Kung Fu look.
Then of course you do the first ten moves again walking....aiyaH too much to remember if you only do a class once a week....so should I go back to just doing Cheun pow cup?
My thing is. If you really want to practice, you wont care that you can't remember all the moves..... Then again, maybe people would practice more if I started with just the churn pow cup and then added in the rest as a secret training method....food for thought.
Okay so we have a few possible Lion dances coming up next week.
At 11:30am we have a lion dance at Mid Jesrsey Chinese school.
Mei San Graduation.I thi k we perform at 1:30 but we will be there anyway.
4:30pm Teacher's appreciation dinner.
6:30 NJ Shaolin anniversary party.
Then June 9 is the opening of little movers Kiddie Gym also at NJ Shaolin. Gotta confirm the time for that.
Maybe I should be taking pictures and posting on my personal blog like I used to in Boston, and writing more about what happened. The reason why I haven't been is an incorrect mentality and perception. I was viewing the Boston. Chinatown community as somehow more real to me or more worth writing about... or maybe more interesting. Whatever the excuse, it was a false perception. My reality us NJ now and I feel like I am trying to build up something here. And I should be better about documenting that.
In my drumming group. We are coming along in our main song. We also have. Fun song. But I don't want to become a one truck show. We had had a longer song with several movements. But I have decided to cut the extra movements. One of them becausee the fun song. Instead of making the other movements into group songs, it might be good to develop songs that have soloists.
For instance, two sisters doing a song together that is tailored to their strengths and made to develop the aspects that are weak into strengths
For an individual that is technically skilled, maybe he should jump ahead to more difficult time signatures that are easy for him, but hard for the rest if the group. The others can do something theatrical to match the beat.
Some drummers are developing their own beats. Let's work with that and create a new song just for that person.
Also, let's take some inspiration from thi nb vs that are trending now. Because of "Warrior" all things Bruce Lee and making a resurgence... not that he ever reKly went away. But nunchucks that are also drum sticks.... that deserves it's own song.
Here are some if the songs I have been inspired by when playing on my own.
Return of the Dragon Opening - YouTube
It would be cool to have some nunchuck moves with something like this. Maybe it can transition into the hip hop style drum beats Anthony has been playing during class between practice.
Akira Kurosawa--Music for Film: Seven Samurai Part 1 - YouTube
If you recognize this as the "opening to the fun song.. that's cause it is. simple... but significantly different from our other beats.
Dave Brubeck - Take Five - YouTube
Aidan can do this time signature and I think he would have fun with it. The rest if the group isn't ready. These are just some ideas. I encourage the kids to come up with their own and bring these ideas to the individual lessons. During the group lesson there might not be enough time.
Warrior | Season 1 | Opening Credits (Cinemax) - YouTube
It sure if people have been watching warrior, it's not really for kids... but some cool costume and beat ideas here. Notice there us a hip hop and a cowboy western influence, which brings me to this song.
The good the bad and the ugly - The best theme tune ever - YouTube
Drum is simple... but some yelling with it...I did a crazy version of this with my kids. Could be fun.simple beat.
Finally, warrior doesnt have much Irish music in it, which I happen to love, and would be cool to do a Nunchuck vs. Shilegh sequence. Have to find the riverdance song I am thinking of.
This is a lot for everyone to learn, so I am not suggesting that. I am suggesting instead that we divide it up among the kids. That way everyone has time to shine as the star for a song or two. I also want everyone to get the chance to create, instead of just copying. Tradition us important, but it's also important to innovate and develop things further while maintaining that strong traditional base.
Also something to draw from that is for kids is Naruto. Another movie that isn't for kids but is .ist representative culturally of our group is the Hong Kong/Taiwa ese movie.. the drummer. I'm not saying we copy them. My base environment actually has more Taishanese, Hong Kong and Vietnamese style influence along with my drumming dulcimer teacher from Beijing (our main song is that one) but I have been playing that same song since I was a little kid, almost 30 years. I want to do more than that.
I love our bus driver. My kids love our bus driver. In a suburban town... the few moments that I talk to him while he picks up or drops off my sons are almost the extent of my social life.
I was so relieved when I heard that he had been driving kids to school on the same route as long as some of the parents on my street. A Bus driver's job is so important because he has to keep your kids safe and also make them feel comfortable while in a moving vehicle.
I saw on Facebook that the our town, Bridgewater, is considering outsourcing the jobs to another company. Actually I don't understand the nitty gritty of it but here is the Board of Education's side of the story.
"I am happy to address your concerns in this capacity, however I do refrain from representing the BR Board of Education on any social media platform. You are welcome to share the information as you wish.
The District owns a small fleet of buses and employs drivers to drive them. These drivers handle approximately 20% of our regular daily school runs, and also provide flexibility to handle athletic and extracurricular events, field trips, etc. The remaining daytime runs – approximately 80% – are outsourced. It has been this way for many years.
The Board highly values our in-house drivers, who provide exceptionally good service. Unfortunately, in recent years, the cost of employing drivers has skyrocketed. This is largely due to escalating health-insurance premiums, which will actually exceed the drivers’ salaries within the next few years.
To combat these escalating costs without impacting instructional services in the district, our preferred solution is reducing premium costs. But the only way to accomplish this is through a negotiated settlement with the bus drivers’ union (BRTA). We remain committed to negotiating a fair settlement with sustainable insurance premiums, and we remain confident that the process will lead us to that point.
That said, we have no choice but to investigate other options in case negotiations break down. Towards this end, the Board has solicited bids for additional outsourcing. We believe it's wise to know what our options are, but we hope there won't be a need to actually move forward with these back-up plans.
We understand and appreciate that some residents are concerned about the potential impact that additional outsourcing could have on their children. Please rest assured that all our outsourcing partners also provide quality services under our staff’s close supervision. Their drivers pass the same background checks and have the same driving credentials as our drivers do.
Again, we look forward to continued conversations with the BRTA to settle a fair contract in the very near future."
Hopefully they will come to an agreement. I would like to support my bus driver... without at the same time getting in the way and making it worse for him though. I definitely don't want him to lose his job. The Tuesday after Memorial day is the BOE (Board of Education) meeting. It would be good at the very least to go to that and find out what is going on.
I had never really practiced the drum.. the Kung Fu Drum, the Lion Dance drum. I played the drum. I played the drum while we practiced forms or lion dance. I played the drum while we performed... but I never practiced. Probably because often for Chinese New Year you will play on the drum for hours at a time.
So I never thought of the drums as a form of basics. I tried to develop basics that you did in the air, using the drum as a way to the martial arts.
And then I tried to hit something else, but not like a kid. I am a large adult. Large not as in height but in weight. Basically screws came loose, things started to break even though my sticks were made of rolled up newspaper.
I wanted to hit something above eye level, because it is more like striking an opponent.
But realistically we do not have that type of drum.
So I engaged the real drum, lights off, full force, still with paper sticks.
What would happen if I put aside an hour a day to play these beats, basic though they may be. Yes I experimented with other beats too.
But what would happen if I took the time to hone my spirit and my skill, to sharpen it like rolling an iron bar into a needle, with regards to the drum?
When you are in your mother's womb, you here her heart beating. Before you have even fully formed you have this contact with a beat. A beating of the heart. A sound that the beating of the drum emulates and tries to express artistically.
Even our modern music has a heavy beat. And our most ancient music has the drums.
So more than Kung Fu or Lion Dance, I should begin here. With the drum, with an almost Shamanic meditation exercise which can strengthen the individual, but also be performed and relieve stress through beating out ones frustrations in rhythmic strikes that can express the soul.
Okay its not part two. It's just that I was not able to watch the movie in more tan one sitting. I still have like 40 minutes left. This movie was like an EVENT, which is exactly what a movie needs to be nowadays. Because its mostly action.... I guess even though you have to pay attention if you really want to understand what's going on, in reality, you can enjoy the movie without understanding anything. In order to Justify paying the money to see it on a big screen, this is how movies like this, Jupiter Rising, Avengers Endgame,.. have to be.
There are a ton of plot twists, so much so that this is like 10 movies in one. One complaint my wife had was that it had the same excited Mandarin tone throughout the movie... like it's too much to take. I noticed that there are sections to the movie with different characters. In that sense I think it could be compared to an Epic movie like the American, "How the West was Won." Also... "Wandering Earth" is kind of a propaganda film (one could argue that most films have some level of propaganda)
I think that it got a ton of bad reviews because it is a non Hollywood film that is really able to compete with Hollywood internationally, especially with a platform like Netflix. Not only that but even though the aim of the movie is not to make Americans look bad, you can see that yes... this is from a different perspective, from the Mainland Chinese perspective, and this movie is not whack, it has the budget and the graphics to really compete if not out compete a James Cameron Film. And at the same time you can see references to all these American movies and novels. Its weird how HAL has an American voice in the beginning (or excuse me, the proper name in this movie is MOSS, but the robot is obviously HAL) but switches to Mandarin Chinese when explaining another plot twist.
I think even if you don't like this type of movie, you have to watch it. Just like for Chinese movies there was a pre Crouching Tiger era and a post Crouching Tiger Era, I think for Sci Fi movies there is going to be a Pre- Wandering earth era and a post.
I mean historians and current events people should study this movie because it is kind of showing what is already true that China and Russia are coming into their own and able to compete. We already knew this, but to see it in popular culture is another matter.
I like to sleep right next to a big window so that the sunlight wakes me up. I think its a better way to wake up than an alarm. In fact my second son will cover his ears and try to go back to sleep when the alarm goes off. I woke up, feeling not so great. I had a weird dream about Jackie Chan using stunt double for all the dialogue in an old movie... this of course makes no sense, I think it had something to do with watching Wandering Earth on Netflix.
I watched half of it and had to stop because of time. The New York Times trashed it, everyone in China loved it, and Grace couldn't understand it.
Americans, even Chinese Americans, will find some of the concepts foreign, even for Sci Fi. But here's a little joke I have as a mixed guy whose dad is Chinese.
"So Americans don't really like Wandering Earth. The movie is about escaping the sun exploding my moving the earth to another Solar System 2,500 years away. I think the part they can't wrap their heads around is the mixed guy in it... has a Chinese Father and a white mom." a dudum cha!!
But other than that, the Chinese are taking the lead in this movie partnering with the Russians. ie... the US is not the most important country saving the world. They are involved though. In fact, (SPOILER ALERT!)
the HAL like robot lying to everyone has an American accent while speaking English.
Also there isn't a lot of Character development, or when there is, it is inserted after the fact. Like ths person is dying and you are wondering why this other character that seems to have just met them is so sad... so flash back,,, he raised her as his own daughter....
That's crazy in an American movie.
It's not that crazy in the many Hong Kong Movies I've seen. There are some digs at Cantonese and HK people too I think as one of the stars is a HK movie star. I think they dubbed his voice.
Also the concept of moving the earth instead of taking off in a ship to explore is kind of super mainland Chinese. Or super Beijing. Chinese Americans are the descendants or are actually people that left China to come to the states. But this movie wasn't made by Chinese Americans, it was made by people who stayed in China. I have only seen this type of concept once in a Stephen Chow film, where a scholar moves his house from Canton to Beijing or maybe the reverse of that, can;t remember. That Uncle Tat actor who is often in Stephen Chow and Andy Lau movies usually as a clown, but has sometimes played a scary Dai Lo here and there, is in Wandering Earth. You can tell he is a better actor then everyone else. The movie really isn't about acting, or words.
So I don't know why the New York Times and everyone else bashed it. Is it stupider than The concept of Thanos and the Infinity Rings or is it Stupider than Jupiter rising or really any other Sci Fi concept? no. Would it have been more developed as a series (that would have made less money)... well yes, but I answered why that didn't happen with the above sentence. I think it was a Chinese New year movie and it made a ton of money. Like everyone in China saw it.
It wasn't stupid at all... I think Americans just have a hard time watching a movie where China would take the lead on something like this. But it isn't like my favorite movie either.
I'll watch the rest of it. In fact I had wanted to see a real Chinese Sci Fi movie for a long time. I had seen a couple of HK ones. If this one is lacking in anything, it isn't budget and special effects. Its also not deep.... but it is thought provoking. The premise of the movie challenges you. It bothers you, more than other apocalyptic movies. That's another thing.. .so a zombie apocalypse is not difficult to understand but moving the earth with jets is?