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Thursday, December 19, 2013

My training poem ..

I wrote this poem to reflect some thinking I am going through ...



Learning and unlearning 

New technique ... if I learn you, you will make me look rather chic
But you are hard to grasp
and if I try and rush it the outcome is in fact .. bleak.

I look poor at first mimicking your moves
 it looks like I have donkey hooves!

When it comes to mastering you I show it off to all concerned...
Then get told to re-learn it all from scratch as it is all wrong in the first place.

Dam! This is typical in the martial arts
It makes you feel like there is no light at the end of the tunnel - except just another train.

I start again from scratch,  these moves I rehash and patch
Now I know how Incey-Wincey spider felt being flushed down the drain

New Technique II you are the sequel
And if I can master these you make me look like the others and now an equal

William Blake.




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Dracula : Father of Modern Kung Fu

Here is Bela Lugosi as Dracula.

I am convinced he was the teacher of other future Kung Fu stars:

The top picture is a classic pose.





Underneath you can see his understudy summoning up supernatural powers too.

 Here we see a modified crane move that his understudy develops decades later - below  ...

Here we see the traditional old school had not approved the use of weapons. (Note the tiger claw).


Below we see tools being OK even for understudies!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Come correctly a-tyred you dummy!

Excuse the pun but it had to be inserted!

In addition to experimenting with inner-tubes I put a wheelbarrow tyre and inner-tube combination on the dummy, too.

In the pictures you can see different set-ups of the spacing of the wheels.


The wheels can be punched hard. How hard depends on the inflation level of the inner-tube. There is a trade-off between 'squish' of an impact and bounce-back . If you want to go 100% all out on this good luck to you, as you need to work out the sweet spot on the wheel, (as it rounded). Also, even when inflated normally a rear cross, or knee, will find a connection to the core of the dummy. You could I think work out a way to counter this with a bit of experimentation with inflation levels.. 

There is a nice bounce-back from the recoil on the kicks and knees. 
You need gloves to punch the rubber as your skin will be taken off by the friction. I had MMA gloves on which also had my middle knuckle covered too, which was very welcome as that too would pick up some skin-scraping.

Conclusion: This beats traditional dummy pads. This would take sticks too and cut out the noise. 
It is harder to manoeuvre the wheels into place as the inner-tube creates friction. Your joints will thank you for this over time.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Medium is the Message!

You do not have to have a teak wooden dummy to do dummy moves. Any medium can work. It is the angles that matter. The dummy is often said to be a protractor - i.e. it encourages you to move and face certain angles and not others.

The arms are open to different media. Here are a selection of pics of the types of materials I use on my dummy.


[Example 1 out of 6]


First pic is of some arms I picked up recently with glossy wooden arms. These are lovely to work with and are now my first choice. They make a lovely clacking noise, very crisp. And the wood is slightly lighter than my other beechwood arms, which creates a different feel. The offset nature of the back end of the arm is more pronounced, too.
[Example 2]
I even used my new nunchuks in there to be a de facto arm. The stubby nature is what can be expected but the rubbery nature of the 'arm' is interesting. Gum & Bong  sau is possible in this low down position, at least.

(NB yes - if you are wondering you can strike the dummy with the heavy rubber nunchaku. It does not make marks, as far as I can see that are deep or permanent. The recoil is the worst enemy. Use 'witik' strikes then if you are not certain of what the recoil will be like).

< A silencer! If you are up in the very early morning, or late at night and do not want those clacking noises then the rubbery edge connectors of those child play mats can be slotted in.
These 'give' a little when pressed and offer a different feeling.
Should have thought of this years ago. A pick axe handle offers something new. Distance.

(Some people think this is heresy, as you are fooling with tradition. I say Bruce Lee led the way - and that happened any way when the Pole was added to the Wing Chun inventory).
The reverse side shows the flared ending being of use too.

< 'A' for effort. The wheelbarrow inner-tube was a good try but you cannot expect to use this for heavy punches. The air just gives way to the force and moves elsewhere. If you were to pump this up to take the force then the tube would be bloated to exploding point, I bet ?!


This picture shows a yoga mat plus inner tube. It is different. Now the softer inner tube adds something to the mat alone. The tube also stops the mat unravelling, as I have not cut squares into it like the YouTube suggestion below.


I suspect sharper readers of this blog will see an uncanny resemblance to the Emperor Dalek below from Dr.Who. ;>



Saturday, August 10, 2013

These are my training partners.


It is right to give praise to your training partners.
Here are mine.

They know who they are.
A pop star. A chess world champion ... and some slippers.



Monday, July 08, 2013

Mook Yan Jong (Wooden Dummy) Padding under $20



Home made padding for Wooden Dummy


This person has an excellent idea for  bespoke padding for the dummy. This  idea of  wrapping a yoga mat around the  body and few times, taping it and then cutting an 'X' shape in the arm squares is clever. 
  • This idea means you are not just restricted to the high and low areas, where traditional pads are inserted. You have access to mid-range, and even behind - should that be relevant. Maybe even weak knee strikes could be used.
  • He mentions the give in the arms are affected as the mat adds distance, now, so maybe the peg is redundant. (Just don't lap sau in a straight line then, pull down with the lap sau to avoid it pulling out !?).

Home made padding for Wooden Dummy


This person has an excellent idea for  bespoke padding for the dummy. This  idea of  wrapping a yoga mat around the  body and few times, taping it and then cutting an 'X' shape in the arm squares is cleaver. 
  • This idea means you are not just restricted to the high and low areas, where traditional pads are inserted. You have access to mid-range, and even behind - should that be relevant. Maybe even weak knee strikes could be used.
  • He mentions the give in the arms are affected as the mat adds distance, now, so maybe the peg is redundant. (Just don't lap sau in a straight line then, pull down with the lap sau to avoid it pulling out !?).




Monday, May 27, 2013

Automated reaction / punch simulator


This person has really thought about this device. I really think this idea is worth perusing. The foot pedal idea adds an uncertainty to the release of the strike that makes the reaction less predictable.

I wonder what his ideas are for curved 'hook' angles!

Note he has an adjustable height for kicks.


Slippers build this for me.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Why Chess is like Martial Arts II

Here is another aspect to chess culture that is like martial arts. The evaluative side. 'Which is the best system' debate. These often crop up.

At the moment the best PR in the martial art world goes to cage fighting systems. See the Straightblast Gym  and Matt Thornton for the 'delivery systems' that draw upon Thai boxing and Brazilian ju-Jitsu for these. Anything else is seen as probably less reliable, according to this orthodoxy. 'Look to the results' in professional fights, is the basis of this debate. 

This debate is similar to chess :

I play this line called the Alekhine Defence. It lets white chase black's knight to the edge to create an asymmetric unbalanced position.

On another forum someone commented on the same system:

'Playing the Alekhine is like driving a Ferrari without the speed. You're doing way more work than the others and you aren't really doing much better with it. It's tricky in that you put yourself in awkward situations to imbalance things. Anyway I'm sure anyone under master can use it. The real question is whether it's even worth it...'.

----

This type of insight hurts, as you put investment into this and it could be in vain. Is the solution to try harder and make these positions work for you. In other-words play from these sub-optimal positions as Black and work it .... work it .... work it .... until you are expert?

Or just find positions that are equal in the first place, and then work from that platform, via an orthodox chess defence in the first place. (I do admit to being drawn to Petrov's Defence).

Yet at armature level reading the board is hard. I played white today vs Alekhine's Defence and still I came unstuck - AND I know this system as Black! The shapes are not normal and keeping tabs on the ideal placement of pieces chasing the theoretical advantage in an irrational context of a time-pressured game is not easy. This has happened a few times. I want to avoid the system I know which is 'bad', as I cannot cope with it ?! 





Friday, May 03, 2013

What is the point : ? 'Searching for Bobby Fischer' Master Certificate (1993)





This clip has many meanings. For me it shows why chess sub-culture can relate to other cultures that involve learning 'apprenticeships'.

The novice wants validation of progress. What is 'progress' is the knowledge ... but something physical  is needed to demonstrate that - a 'token'. Here a young Josh Waitskin, when he was a chess prodigy, like many children I suspect wants a certificate to boost his self-esteem and show 'progress'.
The mentor played by Ben Kingsley is trying to show that the token of progress is not the goal ...

This trap to fall into is easy at martial art level. In Josh's book, The Art of Learning, he has an epiphany and later decides chess is not for him and becomes a Tai Chi master. During his 'journey' there, he notices people who become 'form collectors' , people who pick up sequences of moves, for its own sake, rather than the understanding and the slow graft to understand these moves authentically. Belts can do this, too. The desire for belts to show progress can represent tokenism, where the belt becomes the object of desire not the understanding and the graft and the intrinsic merits of the activity. (This relates to process vs outcome orientated goals - in a post I made below, a couple of years ago).

Moving learners to become appreciate of process goals, rather than outcome related goals, can increase their adherence to a tasks, should set-backs occur. They become resilient.

Here in this clip, the trainer - is expelled from the house but he tries to justify his reasons to both Josh and his Mother. He has a point. The McDonaldisation idea of him reproducing the standardised certificates does link to a McDojo, type feel, of the 'token' being meaningless ultimately. The way he dishes out the certificates is like a photocopier, or a machine stamping out beef burgers. There is no craft behind the certificate that way.

Josh does not know that, however, as he is too young to be able to have any experience to judge progress. This applies to any learner, who is new to a craft. How do you know you have made progress, if you cannot judge for yourself, as you are not experienced to judge for yourself? This sea of doubt goes with any learning territory like chess martial arts, starting out on a degree etc. You have to ride it out and over time changes occur, that become visible to yourself. You do things, think new ideas for yourself without being shown. < This for me is an example of validation.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Making the Low Cost but Effective Wing Chun Dummy MK.II Video - Khai Tuo...

This is an excellent revision to the previous video  below. Some good thinking in here, which deserves  merit. Thanks for sharing this!