Austin Kung-Fu Academy started in February of 2006. We wanted to create a community that practiced self defense oriented martial arts for developing the mind, body, and spirit in a very safe, cooperative, and friendly atmosphere. Here you will see written blog posts, links to recently uploaded YouTube videos, and our podcast.
In our self defense methodology, we take the most common attacks, whether it be a street fight situation, a sexual assault, or a bullying situation, and become familiarized with those patterns. We then apply our techniques, concepts, and philosophies to address it all.
We do it enough times, and also address variations of the situations, or mistakes we might make when applying these, and how we adjust, and recover.
This is a bit different from sparring. What sparring provides is developing the mindset and movement readiness for someone who is intent on attacking us. The problem is, that usually the types of attacks are specialized attacks that are specific to the art. So you are training to defend against someone who knows your art. It will for sure raise your attributes for self defense.
However, if those aren’t typical attacks that happen in the “real world” situations, then you aren’t training the perfect readiness to handle it.
It’s almost akin to thinking that regularly arguing with your brothers, sisters, and friends is going to prepare you for handling a workplace disagreement. When in actuality, if you try to resolve workplace conflicts the same way you try to resolve conflict with family, it might get you into big trouble.
So, that’s why if you study Human Resources/Relations, you learn about how to negotiate disagreements and workplace conflicts through case studies, and in a sense, roll playing situations. No situation is ever identical, but there are common patterns, and you can apply a certain concept, principle, or philosophy to address it.
It is an intentional practice of specific situations, initially. Then you can randomize the situations, and then you can throw curveballs into the situation to address how to readjust yourself, instead of being in a fixed mindset.
When you drill intentional, choreographed drills, and then also randomize it, and occasionally throw in complications, you can develop legitimate self defense/problem solving skills.
So, role play. Do pre-set exercises. Then mix them up, and throw in curveballs. It’s one of the most efficient way to mindfully develop skills.
In the spirit of full disclosure, last night I ate some junk food I don’t typically eat…late at night! Why did I do this? I have no idea. The mood hit.
I instantly regretted it. I felt all bloated, unhealthy, and out of shape. I did not like the way it made me feel. I’m not talking about having any kind of stomach pains or anything, I just felt like blah! You know the feeling. The regret.
So I wanted to sweat it out a little before going to bed. But it was late at night, I didn’t want to go anywhere, and I didn’t want to be noisy stomping around the house while everyone is asleep! I was thinking, “What should I do, what should I do? Maybe I should just go to bed, and work out in the morning.”
And suddenly, an image flashed in my mind. It was an image of videos and actual people I knew who trained martial arts in wheelchairs. And they were going all out, full spirit! That reminded me of other imagery I’ve seen of people who are literally missing limbs - arms and/or legs, who are doing martial arts forms all out, with the caption reading something like, “YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE”.
1000%!! This is it! I started doing my forms from a seated position. No footwork, no legs at all, just all hands. And I went all out! I probably went for 45 minutes! I was literally sitting down the whole time doing my moves, absorbing the spirit of those without limbs who practice martial arts. I worked up a good sweat, and, I totally brought back some old hand speed drills and built up my skills!
It taught me a valuable lesson - just because the situation isn’t perfect/ideal, doesn’t mean I can’t train! No matter where you are, what your circumstance is, you can always find a way to train and practice martial arts. Even if at a 10% capacity of what you are actually capable of, it is important to always remember: SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING!!
The point is to keep doing it. Instead of waiting for the perfect situation to fall into your lap so that you can train, find a creative way to get even a 1% of your capabilities to train. It is literally better than 0.
It all come back to mindset. How you think about it and approach solutions with a mindset of optimism of belief that there is a way, is the big lesson here.
In fact, sitting here at this desk, typing away…as soon as I’m done, I’m going to go through a few forms from my chair and get my heart rate up a little! And then, I’ll go home, and eat something healthy!
I may be the head instructor here, but I tell you, I’m still learning, and still gaining insight. I consider myself a lifelong student. I have much to teach, and, I still have much to develop and learn!
One critique I hear from martial artists who find out that other martial arts schools don’t spar, is that they are enabling their students of developing a false sense of confidence.
My take is that more often than not, these are folks who are lazy at teaching, and don’t have the vocabulary, insights, patience, and skills to help shape the mindset to prepare every day, average people to engage in combat. It is the old approach of throwing somebody into the deep end of the pool and have them try to survive.
So the question is, if you are indeed developing a connection with combative energy, but are not actively sparring, with full contact, full resistance, are you developing a false sense of confidence? The quick answer is NO. Don’t let them make you believe that. They are bullying you.
There are people with absolutely NO, ZERO, NONE training whatsoever in martial arts or any combat practice, who have stood up to bullies and attackers, and have even gotten into fights, and have prevailed. Why? MINDSET.
Here’s the hard reality that a lot of martial arts and fighting experts don’t want you to know - you can live your whole life without doing martial arts. Millions (billions, actually) have. If you value your life, and you are not one to put up with someone who is trying to oppress or intimidate you, your mindset is protecting you. You don’t really need martial arts. Martial arts can certainly help, though!! If it does end up going down, aren’t you glad you had some training?
I’ve seen and heard many stories of people who trained martial arts for years and years, get beat up in a street fight. They didn’t have the mindset. That have all the combat attributes. They have all the techniques. They’ve even done endless amounts of sparring. They still got their ass kicked! Was it because the attacker was more skilled? NOPE, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE!!!! It’s because the attacker could smell your fear, and intimidated you.
Embracing the combative energy and developing the mindset to fight - to actually be violent, when necessary for self defense is actually the thing that can save you.
I will admit, though, that there are some places that teach people to be confident about their abilities, but they really lack the technical skills. I, too, find this problematic. But we live in an information age, now. If you want to learn how to make your straight punch as strong as you possibly can, there are a plethora of free videos on YouTube out there. So in my opinion, when it comes to the technical information, there’s no excuse for using a lot of low percentage movements, when it comes to training for self defense.
Even in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) - there is so much emphasis on the guard (you are on your back, with your opponent in between your legs). While it is important to know what to do if you wind up there, but for the love of life, do you really want to put yourself there in a real self defense situation? Especially when it’s possible that someone could kick your head in? So, don’t go to the ground, if you don’t have to…and if you do, do everything you can to stay on top. That’s your focus. Now, in case things don’t go your way, then yes, let’s practice some guard moves, but practice in the context of your trying to get back on top or enable and escape.
Some of these ideas are disruptive to industries. I understand that. Look. If you practice high percentage techniques for self defense (the knowledge, data, and methodology for that is all open source, at this point), and you practice developing your reflexes with it, and engulf the mindset with raw combative energy, with a meditation on your relationship with violence, I don’t believe that you are building false confidence. I believe you will stand up for yourself. I believe you will fight to survive. You might win. You might not. That is never a given. But, you will fight. And that’s the most important thing.
And then, there’s punching the bag with martial warrior spirit! This is the one I want to talk about. This one is a visualization that you are in battle, and you don’t have time to think or get too analytical. You have to move to survive.
Imagine - you are in a violent confrontation. You have 3 choices:
You choose option 3, to fight. That takes a mindset. Some of us already have it. Some of us don’t have it. Some of us don’t have it, and don’t want it. Some of us don’t have it, but want it.
Ok. If you don’t have it, but want it, this is where we come in. Building any sort of martial arts or self defense skill is first and foremost a mindset.
You have to think in terms of combat. And if you are pretty removed from that, it helps to start with being very very technical about things. Once you put the technical pieces together, you start finding that if you “ramp it up”, your techniques start working better. You are tapping into the combative energy. BUT, you’re still not there, yet!
Just because you put the technique pieces together, and you’ve ramped it up, doesn’t mean you’ve full embraced combative energy, yet. There’s another layer. That layer is, now you visualize and act as if you are using that technique in a life or death situation, and there is no time to think, and you move with EVERY OUNCE of your mind, body, heart, and spirit - your survival depends on it!!
This way of moving is getting out of your intellectual, cognitive brain, and going straight “lizard”! Meaning, you are moving with emotion, expression, and purpose.
You have to practice this, if you are, in general, a non-combative, agreeable person, by nature. It means you have to accept certain levels of violence. It means that you have to be okay with the fact that you have to picture yourself causing physical harm to another human being. If you cannot picture this, then you will never truly be able to connect with combative energy.
Come to terms with violence. To be clear, I’m not advocating you to actually become violent. Not at all!! I want you to be the most peaceful, helpful person on the planet! But in order to be helpful, you have to be strong. And when you have come to terms with violence, are not intimidated by violence, and are not afraid to inflict violence when you are physically attacked, you become even stronger. Thus, you could amplify your servitude to others, because you don’t have fear of any sort of random act of violence.
Tapping into your combative energy is a very deep, philosophical idea, that comes out in your movement. It is very clear to me, even when someone is doing a solo form (kata), I can tell if they have connected with their combative energy. The details, the aesthetics, the performance attributes, and the athleticism of it are great. But those don’t get to the heart of combative energy directly. I personally would rather see someone perform a routine kind of sloppy, but with very clear combative energy. That demonstrates a person who is willing to fight for themselves.
Embracing combative energy is what martial arts is all about. Part of embracing combative energy requires you to visualize yourself doing violent damage to someone who has attempted physical harm to you. Think about this the next time you hit a bag, pad, or do some moves in the air - does it have combative energy?
There’s been so much mysticism around meditation. Along with that, a lot of weird claims of what meditation can do for people.
I’ve stripped it down, and have a new way of looking at meditation, so as to reshape your mindset towards it.
DON’T CALL IT MEDIATION. CALL IT “BRAIN TRAINING”.
In a typical meditation, you find a chant, and you repeat it over and over again. Why? Because it helps focus your mind. Your mind is a thought producing machine, and generally, that’s a good thing. But if you want it to work better, you have to practice focusing it. Just like if you want to get stronger, you need to do specific, targeted exercises.
This is literally no different than that. Repeat the chant/mantra, over and over again. When your mind wanders, bring it back to the chant/mantra. It will wander many times. So you’ll be bringing it back from the wandering to the chant/mantra many times. The more you practice that, the more you can quiet your mind down on a dime’s notice, and think clearly.
It’s as simple as that. You are training your brain to be able to go from it’s natural state of always producing thoughts, to dead-still quiet. This takes a lot of training and practice. And like with anything, the more your practice, the better you get at it.
Will it improve your health? Sure, but don’t focus on that. Will it improve your ability to communicate? Sure, but don’t worry about that. Will it improve your production and execution? Sure, but don’t worry about that! Just focus on training your brain to get stronger focus. There are plenty of benefits, but don’t get fixated on them.
Many times, various meditation styles/groups/societies/cultures set up some rather rigid norms. They sell these norms as a way indoctrinate you. I think all of that is bogus. You don’t have to do it for a specified amount of time, or at specified times of days. Hogwash! Do whenever you can, however you can. You don’t need to be in a quiet room. You don’t need to be sitting. You don’t need to even close your eyes. You are training your brain to focus, by practicing it. That’s it! Nothing more, nothing less.
Find a chant/mantra, repeat it over and over again, and bring your mind back on to it, after it has wandered off. That’s all that it is. It’s brain training. And it has no copyright. It has no ownership. It has no patent number.
My own perspective is this: It is better to get into the mode by doing it every moment you can, than to have hour long sit down sessions. Do it while driving. Do it while shopping. Do it while doing the dishes. Do it while taking a shower. If you build brain training into your day-to-day actions, you will be not only strengthening it, but you will be making into a way of life. Having designated times to sit and meditate is fine, but then you know what happens with that, right? “Oh, shoot, I have to skip my meditation session, because I had this urgent thing to tend to.”
I’m here to tell you that that is not the only way. Right now, say the word “ayem” over and over again as your chant/meditation. You can say it in a variety of ways, such as: Ayem Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayem Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyem Ayeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeem Ayemmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Ayem Ayem Ayem Ayem Ayem Ayem Ayem Ayem Ayem
Do you see? Just do that for a few minutes/seconds/whatever. Do it every chance you get. That’s it. You are training your brain by practicing quieting it and focusing.
Hopefully I have helped dispelled some myths, and provided some greater clarity on what this stuff is. Brain training.
When you develop new skill sets in martial arts, it builds your belief in yourself.
This is the skill set order that I prefer:
—Develop punching power first. When you know how to generate power from your hands, and realize the damage you could inflict with your hand strikes, you start getting in touch with your sense of personal power.
—Develop kicking power next. Once you start realizing that you can inflict even more damage with your legs, because your legs are twice as strong as your arm, you start appreciating how lethal you’ve become.
—Develop your blocking ability next. Once you learn how to effectively learn to use your limbs to block strikes, and how to use movement to evade strikes, you start realizing that not only can you inflict damage, but you also know how to avoid getting damaged. Developing breakfalls and rolls also falls in line philosophically here, as well.
—Develop your ability to strike and block with weapons. When you learn the basics of how to wield basic weapons such as a stick, knife, or bo staff, you develop a sense of empowerment of being able to enhance your techniques and escalate the damage with an object. You also gain empowerment know that you know how to defend yourself, with a weapon.
—Develop the ability to use grappling to shut down aggressive actions. You learn how to clinch, take down, control, redirect, and submit an attacker. This is arguably the more nuanced and complex skill set. But when you come to an understanding of this, you start believing your ability to defend yourself from virtually any size attacker. You may also develop a sense of being able to control someone and get them to comply without having to inflict too much damage.
Not everyone will agree to the order of skill sets I prefer. I created this order purely off of my personal preference. Some people start at grappling. Some people start at kicking. Some people start at weapons training. It really doesn’t matter. What’s important is that you start.
You might know how to do all the techniques I teach.
You might even be able to do them better than me.
But what is highly unlikely is that you are training yourself on a regular basis.
If you are, great, read no further. But if you aren’t, then keep reading.
A coach is someone who can guide you, and keep you on the path. To develop martial arts as a lifestyle, you need someone to be able to give you goals, direct your focus, and someone to provide insights and encouragement.
We tend to see martial arts as more of an “end-result” oriented product through what we are exposed to in the media. But the best part of martial arts is the lifestyle, and the process/journey one takes with it. That part might not be very exciting to watch. But it is the most important part, and can be very fulfilling.
You might already have a strong punch, that you might be able to use in self defense. But, you could be making your punch stronger by punching every day, with each hand. You could also be be building your stamina with throwing 100 full body punches with each hand. You could also be building your timing and reflexes by punching at a moving target. You could also be doing conditioning and specific weight training exercises that build your punching power. You could also work on your diet and sleep schedule, to improve your performance.
These are things that coaches do. If you think about some of the highest performing athletes, they all have coaches to help direct them. The coaches may not be at the same technical level as the athlete, but they understand what it takes to get the athlete to the next level.
So much of it revolves around mindset.
I would like to help you with your mindset, in regards to martial arts training. We’ll use the techniques that I teach, and whether you know them or not is not that important to me. What is important to me is having the right mindset, while training.
When I started martial arts at age 13, it definitely empowered me. I felt I had the ability to protect myself which gave me a huge confidence boost. People tried to bully me, but they failed, because I stood up for myself, always.
The confidence this gave me is immeasurable.
But, it wasn’t until I started training in Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu, when I realized my actual power. Choy Lay Fut’s methodology is very direct in how one develops actual physical power. When I started, I realized very quickly that even though I was mentally powerful (confident), I realized I had some growing to do, in terms of developing my actual physical power.
My teachers gave me the drills and training I needed, and after a couple of months, my ability to generate power shot through the roof! It got to the point where one of my trainers said, “Um, you broke the pad! And, you bruised your hands - you have to take a break for a few days and let your hands heal.”
That was an important milestone, I felt I had reached a level I never had before. It shot my belief in myself to a new height I had not experienced, because there is no way to fake your power in Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu. You can hit a target and feel/see/hear for yourself how much power you have generated.
This is what I want to do with you. I want to help you develop your power. Developing your power is not just a physical journey. There is a mental process to it, as well, which is just as important (and some may argue that is more important) as your physical power.
—If you have trouble with focus, I will help you train your focus, and maximize your power. —If you have trouble with believing in yourself, I will help you build your confidence progressively, and maximize your power.
Once you have developed your power, I will teach you how to maintain, nurture, and control your power, but that is a topic for another day.
Finding your power is something you could do on your own, but it’s way more efficient and effective when you have a coach by your side, guiding you. That’s where I come in. Let me guide you, to maximize your power. Once you’re making gains, you should be guiding others, and the cycle continues.
Well, what I’ve found is that when I see a smaller person who is able to generate a lot of physical power, there is this belief in self that is very clear. That belief in self is EVERYTHING.
What if you don’t have a strong belief in self to begin with? Good news, we’re here to help. We have the techniques, methodology, equipment, to empower anyone. We assume everyone is extremely uncoordinated, so we literally start from zero. Ha! Not good enough for you? Ok, we start from -100. How’s that? We assume your coordination is at least -100.
We have 100% confidence that our methodology will develop your physical power generation potential.
But here’s the big kicker - our techniques, methodology, and equipment are not the X factor, as you might think it is.
The X factor is YOU. Do you have enough mental resources to be open minded and try? And when you try, can you devote all of your attention to it? And can you be patient in your progress? Can you build it into your routine, and come on a regular basis?
If you answered YES to those questions, then we are very confident that we can make you physically more powerful with our techniques, methodology, and equipment.
We do a very powerful style of Kung-Fu called Choy Lay Fut. One of its key attributes is that it can make people become very powerful in generally a shorter amount of time than many other traditional systems of martial arts. The training methodology is very direct, the concepts are logical. Once you understand those, you just have to put in the repetitions to get it to coalesce.
The power I’ve seen people achieve with Choy Lay Fut Kung-Fu has been inspiring. When things start to coalesce, you feel it right away, and something happens to your psychology - you start developing confidence. You start believing in your ability to become powerful. That new mindset starts affecting your physical performance, and you put in even more time and effort! This is where we begin. Contact us. I want to help make you more powerful today.
In our style of Kung-Fu, Choy Lay Fut, it is a very hand-striking oriented art. There is a huge focus on developing full body power behind every strike. Historically, every strike was designed to overwhelm and incapacitate the opponent.
Honestly, it is a pretty violent art. Historically, it was not meant to restrain the opponent. It was meant to literally destroy.
But that is not the philosophy we are operating under. Yes, while we are working on maximizing our power generation for each move, and hitting as hard as we possibly can, we are doing this from the mindset of building our power potential, We do it from a growth mindset. Doing the moves, drills and training to build ourselves, not necessarily to destroy others.
When kids discover their power, there is an unshakeable confidence that comes with that. This sense of self is the most important mental aspect we can help kids develop.
We do look at combat situations, but when we do, we’ll actually shift into incorporating Jiu Jitsu, so that they may have a slightly less violent approach towards self defense against an attacker.
But the power kids develop with their strikes, they can imagine that if they landed that on someone, it would do damage, and we make them aware of it.
Our whole focus though is to build your power to build yourself. How hard can you hit the target? We use target paddles that clap, that gives them an audible indication of how effective their power and aim was.
Our moves are very traditional, But our philosophy, perspective, mindset, and attitude towards has evolved into a mode of production as opposed to destruction.