Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another Year of the Tiger Draws to a Close

Hi folks. Yeah, it's been a while. It's been an interesting fall and believe me, I haven't been idle.

Starting in August, due to requests from several people, I revived the Hand2Hand Chinese Kickboxing Club. It was off to a decent start with a
couple of regulars.

The New Logo for the Hand2Hand Chinese Kickboxing Club ((C) Copyright 2010)

Then the pneumonia hit, taking me out of action for several weeks.

In the fall, I decided to get back into shape and work hard on the basics. I narrowed my focus to five things: Stance training; the Yang Taijiquan long form; the Yang Taijigim (sword set); the Gung Gee Fuk Fu Kuen of Hung Gar; and the Dai Pa (Great Fork) of Hung Gar.

I chose those forms based on the advice of two of my teachers: Chan, the Medicine Man and Don Weiss.

Chan was the guy who supplied me the ingredients for my dit da jow, and was the medicine expert at Oceanic Trading Company. I don't know for sure if he ever studied Kung Fu. He always denied it when I asked him. But he always gave me good advice on training.

One of our typical conversations went like this:

Chan: You should always do your Taiji, even if you just go through the form once, before you do your Kung Fu practice.

Me: Thanks, Chan. Why do you recommend that?

Chan: I'm not a Kung Fu teacher. You should speak with your sifu about it.

Though he played it mysterious about his own martial arts background, I have to admit that he never steered me wrong.

So this fall, I made it a point to do my Taiji sets before any other sets or hard practice.

Meanwhile, Don Weiss set this year's goal in both of our training to do the Gung Gee Fuk Fu Kuen set at least once a workout. The form's name can be roughly translated as "Taming the Tiger in an 'I'-shaped Pattern Fist."

The reason was two-fold. First, I've been writing a novel called "Taming the Tiger." The novel is completed and I'm now working on the illustrations for it. Also, it was in honor of the Chinese Year of the Tiger, which began in February 2010.

(To read excerpts from "Taming the Tiger," Chapter I Part 1 can be found here. Chapter I Part 2 is here. Chapter VI is here. And Part of Chapter VII is here. )

I've kept that resolution. Earlier in the year, and recently, I followed it with a run of the Dai Pa, or Tiger Fork set from Hung Gar.

During the summer, I took time off from that set, though I continued to include the Gung Gee Fuk Fu Kuen. Suffering from some chronic pain in my right knee, I temporarily removed forms from my practice repertiore which included duckwalking or knee drops. Since there is some duckwalking in the Dai Pa set, that meant it had to go.

Chuck Berry, doing his famous duckwalk at 2:19. I had to take a few months off from doing that. (No! Do not fast forward to the duckwalk! Watch the whole damn video! Show some respect to one of the greatest rock gods to walk the Earth!)

But following the time off, as well as by working my stance training, stretching and using various traditional Chinese and modern medicines, I can at least do the duckwalking again.

A somewhat different version of the Tiger Fork set than I practice, but it shows the knee drops and duckwalking I was avoiding during my summer practice.

As of today, I've got two weeks left before the Year of the Tiger gives way to the Year of the Hare. During that time, I intend to continue with the pattern I started in the fall until the New Year's Celebration on February 3.

After that, I'll be focusing on the International Chinese Martial Arts Championship, scheduled for July 8 through 10 in Orlando. I'll write more on that and my training goals in a future post.

One last thing. As I said earlier, I've revived the Hand2Hand Chinese Kickboxing Club. Our new class schedule is as follows.

Wing Chun Kung Fu and Jeet Kune Do Concepts: Tuesday, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Filipino Tribal Arts and Southeast Asian Fighting Arts: Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Taijiquan and Qigong; Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.

All classes are held at Al Lopez Park (formerly Horizon Park) at 4810 N. Himes Ave., Tampa, FL. Workouts will be held in the rear of the park, across from the dog park, south of the big playground.

FIRST TWO WEEKS ARE ABSOLUTELY FREE! For more information, contact me at

POSTSCRIPT: Nearly two weeks ago, a federal judge and several innocent bystanders were killed, and several others, including a U.S. Congresswoman were wounded, at a public appearance by Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

If you've been following this blog, you'll know I predicted something like this would happen, as well as the reaction of various pundits and politicians to use this incident to call for more restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms.

Believe me, I really hated being right. In the meantime, I want to say to the Teabaggers and others who brought guns to various public forums last year, THANKS FOR RUINING IT FOR THE REST OF US!