Monday, August 17, 2009

No Workout, Just Some Ruminations

Some examples of classical conditioning found in both Okinawan Karate and Chinese Kung Fu.

I haven't worked out since Wednesday of last week. The respiratory issues are still kicking my ass. Tomorrow I'll be going back to my doctor for a refill of the antibiotics.

Thursday, Don paid me a visit. Due to illnesses and family obligations, we haven't had any chance to train together while he was home. Though we didn't get to practice, we did have a great exchange of information as we watched a DVD of some of his kung fu brothers going through Yau Kung Mun sets.

It was one of those times of information overload. There was just too much good stuff to recount it all here. Mainly, our conversation centered around the differences in the forms between different branches of Yau Kung Mun. In fact, we saw versions of two of the most advanced fighting forms of that art, the Sup Baht Mor Kiu
(18 Devils Bridge) and the Mung Fu Chuit Lum (Fierce Tiger Charges from the Forest) that were almost unrecognizable from what he and I practiced.

It can get confusing sometimes to see all the differences between the various sets, even in schools of the same style. I've studied Yang Taijiquan with three teachers who all have trained with Cheng Man Ching, but none of their forms bear a
ny resemblance to each other.

Cheng Man Ching (1901-1975)

But one thing I've come to appreciate about Don is that nothing is set in stone for him. While he has his way of performing the sets and the basics, he is willing to allow for some latitude in how others practice the techniques. While we strive to remain faithful to the spirit of those who've gone before us, we realize that people and times change.

You're not likely to see a 200-pound Shaolin monk with a 50-inch chest. Or a (ahem!) 34-inch waist. So we have to make some allowances for the size and shape differences to make the art work for us.

And if you can't make it work, then it's time to try something else.

On another topic, my birthday is in November and there is this book on "The Art of Hojo Undo: Power Training for Traditional Karate" that I would like to add to my library. According to, it is scheduled to be released in September.

The product description says that the book not only teaches how to use this equipment, like stone dumbbells or padlocks, but how to make it as well.

If that's the case, I can't wait for this book. I look forward to getting out my tools and making some more gear for my carport kwoon.

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