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Friday, December 22, 2017

Another Plastic Wooden Dummy

 Bought this off ebay,

I had seen this on Blitz's web page a few years ago. It cost about £200 then and I wondered about this for months. I thought mmm ... that is cheap but what is it like?

Then on ebay I saw it and bid for it not expecting to win it. I knew it costs £300+ these days and I got a very good price for it. (In fact the seller said people contacted him after the bid, offering him more money that me! Pah - I thought martial artists had honour and ethics ..... The seller definitely had ethics and honour and I picked it up from his house).

When I first touched the dummy, at first my heart sank. I half hoped the body was solid, even though I could see that the base was water filled. Nope. It felt like a water-butt you get in the garden. It is hollow. Next I was thinking can this thing take hits ? I drove home and then next day assembled it.

I played with it 'empty' and had a reflection on it and how it differs from my Immortal Dummy. Mmm. This is this. It is different. I could tell it can be used differently as you can walk all around it easily, and it has the very novel 2 sided porcupine arms, which give it extra options.
One move I did was to spin the arm, as if clearing it to my hip. This allowed me to spin the whole dummy, which was interesting. You could not do that on the Immortal Dummy really, as that is 85 KG net (13 stone) . This is like 2 stone net. I added some water to the base and tried it ... then added some more. It now weighs about 6 stone. This trades off weight to give some stability and mobility. If I wanted it to be maximum weight it would be around 72 KG or 12 stone. I wont do that, as I want a different feel from the other dummy.

These pictures show you some set up and use options:

You can plug the body of the dummy in two ways. That gives you options when you step next to the dummy which I like. On the Immortal Dummy you cannot step flush to the base easily which means there is a gap between your body and the dummies body, (unless you angle it but that is a bit specialised that possible angle).

The third picture shows how the leg can stabilise the dummy if pushed a certain way, which is good. That means you can do some moves along that angle without fear of it falling once it topples.

The dummy is hollow and sounds like a plastic drum when you hit it on the body. I do not see you getting recoil issues into your wrist however. The Immortal Dummy is solid and you know about it if you elbow that. Here if you elbow this dummy with long sleeves on you can take it, and with the weighting I have the dummy will accommodate the force. Good - as I gave it a lateral kick on the leg and that was quite hard, and the dummy moved. (Phew - I was not thinking. If that had a full water base then a lateral kick would not be a good idea, possibly, but I think it would 'fold' a bit vs a direct crack. It could crack if you continually kicked that leg as hard as you can for ages and the plastic aged).

Conclusion after a few weeks use.
Yes I am glad I got this. The more I use it I can see its possibilities. The 2 sided idea is good, and gives you options that other dummies won't. I would not pay £300 for this. Maybe £200 I would pay. If you have paid £300+ for this, then providing you use it continually for 6 years, say two times a week for about 6 years then you will get your money back. (That is how I priced out the cost of my Immortal Dummy and I have got value out of it).
I managed to email the Taiwanese manufacturer and ask them if the plastic has been treated for Ultra Violet light and they said yes, it will withstand 5+ years outdoors. (This uses HDPE plastic - google it). I still put a cover on it - a long garden / rubble sack but I may not bother. I have this at the back of the garden. I could hang washing on it even!
The arms screw in. They are not really designed to be pulled to give that 'clack' sound. Same with the arms sat in the dummy. There is no 'gap' there so when you give it some fa ging energy you wont get that clack, if you want that sound. You maybe able to unscrew the arms a bit to get a gap but I think eventually the caps will fly off if not secured. You could try adding in your own arms but that would be involved as the gap is narrow for the arms like a broom-handle pole.

Conclusion II All Dummies are expensive. They become value for money if you use them. This one is worth having but has unique properties due to its hollow design. You could put pads on this and punch it very hard I think. You could have gloves on and give reasonably weighted strikes to the body. The arms will take hits and the legs seem to allow a sliding-off feeling to dissipate forces.

Conclusion III: if you want to learn forms on this, then it needs to be made as stable as possible. That means full water in the base. If that still is not good enough then put sand in rather that has more density. Or put sandbags on top of the base.
When the dummy moves however, I like the idea of chasing it, so this is not an issue for me.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Qi Gong 2 years on

Yay, I have been doing Qi Gong 2 years now.

I have kept up the 8 pieces of brocade and it is very rare to skip a whole day of that. I even do it twice a day sometimes. (I do that if I have flagging energy later in the day, or the first session was not that good - maybe I had not calmed my head enough perhaps but still carried on).

Benefits still to be had are warm hands. Circulation has got better. My room was 14.9 o C the other day and I was not really feeling discomfort. I have had migraines before when it has got to 15 o C and used to turn on heating when it was getting to 17 o C. < So good circulation is a plus then. My Sister had visited from overseas and she had twisted her ankle. I out my hands on her ankle and she noticed that the hands were warm. Good :> I cannot claim I healed her, however. I think ibuprofen helped her swelled ankle, rather.

I also picked up a new routine from a DVD by Michael Cohen. I got this DVD as it was cheap but had good reviews. in fact had so many good reviews I wanted to see what it was like. At first I was a bit skeptical as I am used to working with books where the theory is explained and then I seek out a DVD / video to watch the moves to complement the text. Here I gave it a good go.

This video was interesting has he had 2 workouts. One fire and the other water. They last about 40 mins each so I could not do both. I chose 'water' as I wanted calm rather. I stuck with this and my legs got better at doing his shapes. This tired me but was helping me sleep. I started to recognise the moves in books I saw and this gave me more confidence in the routines. For instance Bruce Franzis's Tiger and Dragon book has moves that looked similar, so I knew these moves must be good; and possibly see where Cohen would have got his insights from. (Cohen's moves seem eclectic from various Qi Gong styles).

Cohen has shapes in his DVD that are like some of the poses from standing like a tree, which I had started out with. I used these and my knees did not hurt. Good. I do not really stand for long time as a tree however but to see some of the poses being re-used is reassuring. Overall my wu chi stance has got better. I know when I am in a good stance and it is having some calming effect on me, I really want to be able to say I can feel the qi moving about but do not want to be deluded. I can feel a fizzing in the hands sometimes when a session is 'good'. (Good means calm head and good breathing, no racing thoughts. NO rushed moves. Rushed moves is like a rushed dinner). I do get a feeling in the dan tien area and when I project the qi or think about moving it to my feet I can get a slight sinking feeling like I am going down a hill fast.

Even if this is just improved circulation and breathing that enough is good for well being effects, I feel. The stances have other benefits that can assist martial art balance.

I bought more books. I got one on the Qi Gong sounds and it came with a CD too. That is for the future. I need to do that properly or not at all. Same with Dragon and Tiger Qi Gong. That book looked very well written with good diagrams. I want the videos too that go with that. Again that needs research and full dedication to do and I have 2 things on the go already, so wont rush in a third routine.

I may take a jpeg of my books so far.

This is a good thing to get into. I should have done this earlier as health and mind are important. The control over your body is always good to get into and even minimal movements are hard to master with breathing and correct intent in the head too. [In fact I now see why in the Standing like a tree book the author  (see post Nov 2015) leaves it a year before you start imagining too, to accompany the moves. Doing all 3 things at once is not easy at all. The cow gazes back at moon with breathing and thought force is the hardest of all the moves I found and always have to concentrate extra hard for that one). Using colours to think and visualise with too adds variety. Green for the liver and dark blue for the kidneys for instance adds something to the thought patterns in the moves. (Each organ has its own colour).

If anyone reads my posts I would always welcome comments.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Terry Waite Talks About Chess

I was fascinated by this video. Terry Waite touches a few chords here on multiple levels. He shows why chess is interesting - it creates that losing yourself in the activity feeling, (called 'flow experience', where time flies).

Also, he shows the deeper meaning of the game in relation to other people and the situation they were in.

This is applicable to other activities.

In many respects, and less extreme that Mr. Waite, we are all in some forms of captivity and need escapes, or ways to make meaning of that.

The light and dark contrast he makes is good. Also he does state correctly that prisoners and chess have a long history.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Best Piano Exercise for Beginners - The Miyagi Technique

I like the way he shows how the body gets involved in playing music and also breathing can be applied. (I saw that too in photography, you should breath out when pressing the button, to avoid a jerk / blurry picture as you are relaxed. So do not hold your breath. Same here).

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

How To Use The Energy Gates Qigong Book

This is a good video. I have this book. I got it recently and there is a lot of theory and explanation, good diagrams etc.

Here this teacher shows a focused cut down way to use this book . (He teaches as part of the 'Energy Arts' syndicate that the books author promotes, so I found this very honest to be ... honest!).

The author of the book notes that 'cloud hands' captures much of Tai Chi movement and is worth focusing on. That stuck in my mind. Also I had seen the forward folds in Mathew Cohen's fire and water DVDs and I sensed that Cohen has drawn on some ideas from Bruce Frantzis (who wrote this Energy gates book).