I was watching a Youtube montage for a Brasilian-Japanese UFC fighter Lyoto Machida, which starts with him explaining the training philosophy that his father passed on to him:
“Technique beats strength, but the spirit beats the technique.”
The meaning here is that having technical quality in your skills and a tactical mindset will aid you in overcoming someone relying on brute force, however all the technique in the world will do nothing for you if you lack the spirit to back it up. When you are pushed to the brink, spirit may be all that you got, and all that you need.
Few examples demonstrate that quality as firmly as this kata performance. No excuses, indeed!
Shameless plug – a montage (or rather, another montage) for my school. This will probably be the official intro to our school in Sydney – and a damn good-looking intro it is, as well.
On a personal note, for once yours truly had nothing to do with setting it up (except for a small dose of feedback during its revision).
So an old friend that I met during the Capoeira days challenged me to this ice water bucket challenge that has been going the rounds. Should’ve seen that coming… much like he should expect some nasty surprises when Secret Santa comes around this year! Continue reading
Another overdue entry – last year, as I went competing again, I had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Sydney-based stuntman Stephen Murdoch.
Competing in both Traditional Weapons with a sword form from the Korean martial art Kummooyeh, as well as going into the Creative Weapons category with a tricking form with dual-wielding Kamas, Stephen showed both strong versatility as well consistent high quality.
But just as important was the respect he showed through it all, win or lose, both to martial arts in general as well as all the competitors he was up against. That is the kind of character that each instructor should try to foster in his students.
It has been far too long since last I posted on this blog, but no excuses – besides, it’s not like I’ve been idle! Although work and parenthood have taken their toll on my time and attention, I was able to squeeze in a few sessions to help a friend out with his showreel.
Nick English, a fellow student, instructor and friend from my school has relocated to Hong Kong in order to pursue live the dream and make it as an actor. Combining his Kung Fu skills, multilingual talents and dashing good looks I wish him all the best in his film career!
Also, the excellent cameramanship is all thanks to Ming Ng, whose creations can be seen on his Vimeo channel here.
PS. the lightning is real, happens every time Nick gets all fired up.
Getting towards the end of my story, but it isn’t over yet!
Having recovered from my knee injury (to a degree) and scored some trophy loot, I could see the next big challenge looming on the horizon – the legendary Black Belt.
Even though I had been training since my teenage years, I actually had never had the opportunity to attain it. There was always something that got in the way, such as my school shutting down, me moving to another city, and so on. Even though my Capoeira blue belt could be seen as the equivalent of a black belt (as it marks you as a graduado, a graduate) it was still not a black belt. But now the time had come. Continue reading
Another one in a series of posts of artful martial arts expressions, beyond just katas or forms. If you know of more artistic works like this, feel free to let me know in the comment section.
Capoeira often gets referred to as a ‘dance’, something I disagree with but it’s understandable. Obviously it lends itself well towards a dance-oriented interpretation, as you can see in the video below.
The man in question is Caleb Buckley, instructor from Capoeira Volta Ao Mundo in Los Angeles, California. Check out his page here if you want to know more.
The part of my story where I am finally able to return to where I belong – and doing so in style. Sort of.
After having suffered a knee injury and getting a handle on parenthood, finally things were turning around – after not being able to do any martial arts training for such a long time and pinballing between physios and specialists that could not help me, I found myself at the office of a Dr Kuoh. I told him my story and the nature of my knee issue, and to my amazement he found the issue straightaway. A quick test confirmed that the problem was that my kneecap wasn’t tracking right and so it was grinding bone on bone, which caused the swelling. By taping the knee I could move again, not to the extent of my former capability but with some rehab it’d be enough to take up Kung Fu again! Continue reading
First in a series of posts that shows how well martial arts lends itself for artful expressions, beyond just katas or forms. If you know of more artistic works like this, feel free to let me know in the comment section.
This was actually posted to my Facebook years ago, but in the blur of events at the time I completely missed it. Regardless, I love how the lone swordsman fights of the shadows. It’s like a live version of the stickmen fight clips that were so common at one stage, but with much higher class.
My own thoughts on one should handle injuries and incidents in martial arts training. If you have any advise of your own, feel free to add it in the comment section! For more secrets, read here.
As we dedicate ourselves in a field of inherently violent nature, it’s pretty unavoidable that you will at some point get injured or unable to train. That said, I consider martial arts generally speaking to be a relatively safe hobby. I base this statement on that the average student gets an acute awareness of the risks involved in the regular training, which makes him both wary of getting hit or accidentally hurting a fellow student (or at least it should be that way). Normally, a martial arts school also promotes control, discipline and self-restraint which make it a fairly safe environment. In addition, any teacher worth his salt will ensure that students are built up gradually and not exposed to violent situations that they can’t handle (especially nowadays when students might sue the school).
Nevertheless, sometimes misfortune rears its ugly face and something happens that takes us out of training for a while. But with so many other things in life, being aware of this risk makes you able to prevent it or at least handle it in ways that gives you less grief – so read on and get empowered.
To quickly summarise my attitude to training:
Fight like you could die today, but train as if you’d live forever. Continue reading