Had a good class today.

Taught a Kung Fu class today with Forrest.  The students did well.  We molded clay.  We pointed to the moon, and they saw where the finger pointed. 

They have the will; they have the fortitude.  It’s the kindling of spirit and the binding of will and intent that remains elusive.  Chi they can feel…sometimes.  But they fail to be able to direct it or to allow it to move them…yet.  It will happen.  In time.  Given time. 

One step.  Then another.  And one more.  Each one well placed.  Soon the top of the mountain is seen.  Later or sooner.  Sooner I can hope, but place no vested interest either way.  It is enough to walk.

We had a good lesson today.

5 comments

  1. I dont know what kind of martial arts you and Stone are up to, but I just wanted to relate an interesting experience at an Aikido demonstration I went to several years ago.

    I had taken Judo for a few years and was told that Aikido was the natural extension for advanced students. I wouldnt say I was an advanced student, but I decided to go, as there was a ninth dan Japenese master presiding…a rare opportunity.

    I actually found the demo quite silly and over choreographed. The volunteer attacks from his own students were mostly over-extensions…giving away their center of gravity, their arms thrust forward for easy access.

    Apparently there is no striking in Aikido, just throws, holds, and if necessary, broken elbows and wrists. I think I’d rather be knocked out with a smack in the chops!

    The Japanese master however was very upfront about the value of training. He said if all you really want to do is defend yourself – go buy a gun! Even I cant stop a bullet.

    The best part was watching him do special tricks that are the closest thing to magic Ive yet seen.

    He would have (large) volunteers from the audience come and try to push him over from a kneeling position. Two guys would try to lift his standing form off the ground with no apparent resistance. Or he’d have someone try and bend his arm as he passively held it out in front.

    Needless to say, no one was successful.

    Now this I thought was the real essence of his art. The techniques were just the mechanics of Aikido, but this mysterious force he could conjure up at will was the vital fuel!

    On one was successful in any of these challenges.

  2. I dont know what kind of martial arts you and Stone are up to, but I just wanted to relate an interesting experience at an Aikido demonstration I went to several years ago.

    I had taken Judo for a few years and was told that Aikido was the natural extension for advanced students. I wouldnt say I was an advanced student, but I decided to go, as there was a ninth dan Japenese master presiding…a rare opportunity.

    I actually found the demo quite silly and over choreographed. The volunteer attacks from his own students were mostly over-extensions…giving away their center of gravity, their arms thrust forward for easy access.

    Apparently there is no striking in Aikido, just throws, holds, and if necessary, broken elbows and wrists. I think I’d rather be knocked out with a smack in the chops!

    The Japanese master however was very upfront about the value of training. He said if all you really want to do is defend yourself – go buy a gun! Even I cant stop a bullet.

    The best part was watching him do special tricks that are the closest thing to magic Ive yet seen.

    He would have (large) volunteers from the audience come and try to push him over from a kneeling position. Two guys would try to lift his standing form off the ground with no apparent resistance. Or he’d have someone try and bend his arm as he passively held it out in front.

    Needless to say, no one was successful.

    Now this I thought was the real essence of his art. The techniques were just the mechanics of Aikido, but this mysterious force he could conjure up at will was the vital fuel!

  3. Oh how marvelous that you got to experience a ninth dan Japanese Aikido shihan.  Something else wonderful to experience is a true Japanese Karate master.  Wonderful.

    I agree about the insipidness of the uke throwing their center and root.  I’ve seen it, but the Japanese don’t always so demonstrate, not before insiders.  I had to honor to be asked to uke for a fifth dan (four corner throws are no fun), and we did it for real, which is very difficult for uke.  Needless to say, I stopped that a few years ago as I am getting much too old for that sort of thing, though the ability to blend with the mat has saved me in some vicious falls on cement and ice.

    However, there is hitting in Aikido — Atemi Aikido — only taught in certain schools and to higher level students who have mastered blending with the attacker, and while a top shodan can’t stop a bullet, they can dodge one — at least the founder of the art could do so, but he was proported to be phenomenal.  But, we agree.  A gun is a very good weapon to own and master (notice the ‘and.’). In fact, I just urged a woman who called me and has legitimate fears, to take courses on handling a gun and using it because of her situation.  It takes at least eight years to master an empty hand martial art — at least — and, still, in this day an age, while it will stand you in good stead, learning at least to use a gun, a staff/cane/umbrella and to wield a knife are valuable assets added to the martial mindset you gain from the study.

    What you witnessed is what we call root and unbendable arm.  It’s done with chi support, root, all reinforced by breath and a quiet mind, not muscle. 

    I’ve studied, in my life, judo, jujitsu, karate, Aikido, Tai Chi, and, finally, achieved a dragon sash (1st teaching degree) in Shaolin Kung Fu.  Stone is a triple dragon sash.  All the true arts, both Japanese and Chinese, regardless their names and origins, hold to certain root principles and so we say all arts derive from the same origin and hold to the same virtues.

    I teach Wednesdays and Sundays — only two five-year students, the ones who proved dedicated enough to stick it out and work on the mastery of mental and life discipline the art requires.  The rest were too much “McDojo” students or “People Fronds Waving in the Sea of Park” when it came to the Tai Chi, so we closed the school and only teach the rare individual.

    Rambling before coffee.  But it’s almost ready for drinking.  Yay me.

  4. Didnt know about the Atemi Aikido and I dont recall any mention of striking moves in the biography of the founder by John Stevens…’Invincible Warrior’.

    Ueshiba would often fake a strike to the head just the get the opponent’s arms up in the air. There is some talk in the book about dodging bullets yes, but this appears to have been some sort of psychic phenomena, as in mind-reading.

    How would you respond if a student came to you and said they only wanted to learn one technique really well, and nothing else???

    Would you agree, and what would you teach?

    Theres a locally famous Wing Chun teacher around these parts who says hes spent thirty years perfecting just ONE punch and ONE kick!

  5. If the one move “was their art,” and one could perceive that this was so, I would have no problem at all.  In fact, women, especially small women usually must narrow their art to its most core effectiveness, which they must always perform impeccably. 

    In point of fact, one can spend a lifetime learning the infinite gateways of just one movement.  Refinement and opportunity abound when one can open the mind to the infinite within the finite.

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