Swordplay – where it’s just not fun and games until someone gets stabbed in the face.
And you thought running with scissors was risky.
As mentioned in a previous post, I came out of the UWM test event with a burning desire to improve my weapon fighting skills. I could tell you how I structured my training towards this goal by joining the HEMA school Collegium in Armis, studying longsword techniques and other European weapon systems. I could go through in detail how I pimped my basement into a mancave-slash-dojo (‘The Mojo’ for short) and set up a sparring arena in the backyard. But I won’t bore you with details, nor will I be the guy that rambles on about what supplements and dietary regime he follows. Let’s just say it’s been my main focus for some time now – and after about a year’s training, it was time to put the skills to the test.
Finally Ardent Heart is ready to be published! This has been a labour-of-love long in the making, a true team effort that could not have happened without the following talents:
Ming Ng, who handled the cinematography and editing. Check out more of his work here.
Bethany Levy, who handled design and visual effects. To see more of her work, have a look at her website.
Dudu Capoeira, a talented Capoeira musician and teacher who supplied the music. You can buy his music via his website, or on iTunes. Check out his website!
Since getting a black belt in Kung Fu, I’ve kept up my training and even passed a few black belt gradings. As always, it’s very satisfying to learn new forms (especially when they involve weapons) and I would also like to think my sparring skills have improved. Even went competing again the other year, but the tournaments have lost their luster.
A lot of us who practise martial arts go through a solid mix of emotions when we watch action movies. This ranges from the guilty pleasure of the glorifying 80’s flicks a la ‘Bloodsport’, to the face palm inducing cringe-fest that is ‘Street Fighter’.
But back in the day, when we started training (and even before that) we were at first awestruck with how impressive our respective arts are. So. Much. Awesome.
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
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.