Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Treasure of Don Weiss

The secret kung fu treasure of Don Weiss

I love comic books.

It shouldn't come as any surprise. The fact is, kids don't read them anymore. They get their superheroes, like Superman, Batman, the X-Men, Spider-
Man from the movies or TV. It's only old guys like me that still dig them.

Don't believe me? Just go to any comic book store on a Wednesday when the new comics come in. Starting about 5 p.m., you'll see a lot of customers with suits and ties and they're not buying for their kids.

The other reason it shouldn't come as a surprise is that I'm
a martial artist. Martial artists love comics. I personally know four black belts who manage or have managed comic book stores. One of my sifus, John Angelos, said he used to love reading "The Phantom" every month, in part because they had a page with "judo and karate tricks" in the back.

One of my favorite comics of the late 80's and early 90's was produced by Jademan Comics out of Hong Kong, called "The Force of Buddha's Palm."

It told the story of Nine Continents, a renowned master of Buddha's Palm Kung Fu who is taken prisoner while searching for the killers of his sworn brother. While he is a prisoner, a subplot deals with other Kung Fu masters searching for the Treasure of Nine Continents, namely the secret manual of Buddha's Palm Kung Fu.

For me, I have The Treasure of Don Weiss. It's actually a few videotapes of Don training by himself or with his classmates in Yau Kung Mun and Hung Gar Kung Fu. I've copied it onto several DVD's.
One of the greatest training aids for the martial artist

It comes in handy as his job regularly takes him on the road. It's much better than an old notebook or secret manual. I just copy the tape to DVD and pop it into my laptop when I need to check something I'm practicing.

From one of those tapes, Don and I were able to piece together a Kwan Dao set I intended to use in a tournament. That same tape has several other sets I intend to learn, including the one I practiced today - Sam Jei Guan or three-sectioned staff.

I haven't used my tri-staff in many years. I'd forgotten the form I used to practice with it. But I still remembered the basics, so I thought it would be easy to put together the tri-staff form from that tape.

Technically, that form is very simple. I don't know the official name for it, but I call it "Six-and-a-half trips," because that's how many trips back and forth you take.

After warming up with the Siu Lam Tao and some straight blasts from Wing Chun, I set about to practice that set. How hard could it be?

Heh heh heh.

The three-sectioned staff is deceptively strenuous. There's almost always at least one section out of your control. Lastly, (and this is what killed me) is that there are two rollouts in the form.

I know I should keep up on practicing rollouts and breakfalls. I credit that training with saving me from serious injury or worse, in fights, in tournaments, in practice sessions, or even the occasional slip and fall in everyday life.

Still, I managed to practice the first three trips of that form without crippling myself. Even doing rollouts on the lawn didn't hurt as much as I thought it would.

Secure that I was going to life, I went onto some dummy training - both individual techniques and the wooden dummy form. I closed with some strength training using bowling balls. Mostly doing curls and wrist rolls with them. It may not sound like much curling a 12-pound ball, but when you factor in all the stabilizing you need to do to keep it from rolling out of your palm, it's a workout.

1 comment:

  1. Cool. I'm famous.... or is that infamous. I'm never really quite sure.....
    Will call tomorrow or Friday.