Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Introduction to Hapkido

Hapkido (Hap - Joining / Harmony) (Ki – Internal Chi) (Do – Way) which translate to the way of joining the energy contains both long and close range fighting techniques.

Long Range: kicking, hand strikes
Close Range: pressure point, joint-locks, throws

Hapkido to me is like a son of Jujutsu and a brother to Judo, as Hapkido is like a Korean version of modified Jujutsu. As most Korean martial art lover might know, Hapkido is consider as the great grandfather of Taekwondo which was evolved from Taekyeon.

If you are a nunchuck lover you might love this art as well, Hapkido is one of the few rare martial art that uses weapons such as rope and nunchuks, besides this two other weapons also consists of cane, short stick, staff and sword.

Hapkido emphasize on non-resisting movements and circular motion which is quite similiar to taichi where the are will try to avoid using strength against opponent’s strength but using the footwork and body positioning as an advantage towards the opponent.

The main principles of Hapkido is following the middle way, not like Jujutsu that focus on the soft scale or Taekwondo who focus on the hard scale, in Hapkido, it is a combination of both, from throws and locks to punches and kicks.

In the main principles of Hapkido, it is alter broken down to another 3 principles which is

1)Hwa (Non-resistance principle) – Not hitting back when attacked, but used it’s momentum towards one’s advantage

2)Won (Circular movement principle) – Using opponent’s power to redirect the power back to himself

3)Yu (Harmony Principle) – Just like a flow of water, when we try to cut the water, the water will move and wrap around the blade to sink it

Hapkido derived from the Jujutsu system that was taught by Master Choi Yong Sul (1899-1986) who brought the art back from Japan, and adding additional Kicks and Striking techniques to make Hapkido whole. Later Master Suh Bok Sub who is one of Master Choi’s first student opened up the first dojang/dojo known as Hapki Yu Kwon Sool Dojang which later the name was changed to Hapkido

Master Kim Moo Hong who is another of Master Choi’s student who plays an important role in the history of Hapkido developed many other further types of kicks used in Hapkido today. Also Master Kim founded the Korean Hapkido Association and later merge the association with groups of Hapkido practitioner lead by Ji Han Jae and Myung Jae Nam to form the current Republic of Korea Hapkido Association in 1973.

Master Ji Jan Jae who is also the trainer for the bodyguards of Korean President Park Jung Hee. Master Ji incorporated kicking and punching techniques from “The Traditional Style of Korean Martial Arts” Also with the support of the Head of Security Forces, Master Ji later founded Dae Han Hapkido Hyub Hwe which is also know as Dae Han Hapkido Association which was later merged with Master Kim and Master Myung’s Association. And if you are interested to check our Master Ji’ moves, you can check out Bruce Lee’s movie called Game of Death which Master Ji co-starred in.

Master Myung Jae Nam is the founder of Korea Hapki Association also know as Hangook Hapki Hwe which was later merged with Master Ji and Master Kim’s association that formed Republic of Korea Hapkido Association. Although not much are written about Master Myung, but he is a very influential person in the world of Hapkido. It was till later where Master Myung decided to breakaway from the Hapkido Association and focus on promoting a new style that he created known as Hankido

Image taken from: upload.wikimedia.org

Sunday, June 21, 2009

From The Pros - Tai chi

Name: Mark Small

Type of Martial Arts: I practice taijiquan or tai chi chuan as well as hsing I and baguaquan. When combined as in practices of lo he ba fa, the Fu family systems, or Chen Pan Ling's composite forms classical literature refers to them as nei jia ---internal martial arts.
My current teachers, Shou Yu Liang of Vancouver and Chen Yun Ching of the Republic of China have ranked me as a black sash. I'm a 5th generation Yang Family and 1st generation Ling Yun Pai sifu.

Years of Training: over 40 years.

How You Started: I began in the Bruce Lee craze of the 1970's. My first Yang Family style teacher was Master Choy Kam Man of San Francisco who's father, Choy Hok Pang was the first teacher sent by Grandmaster Yang Ching Fu to teach in America. A also trained in Chen Pan Ling's taijiquan in the early 1970's because it had more expressive spiraling energy and martial import. This composite form allowed me a quicker grasp of hsing I and baguaquan. I also practice Sun style and the compulsory 42 forms.

Why this martial art is good: The internal arts of China are well rounded. There is something for everybody. Though popular when practiced for improving health, taiji in particular has a sport application called push hands or tui shou. This amounts to sensitivity training for close range grappling. When used for self-defense or fighting more whole body techniques that include shuai or throwing are used. This is called san shou. Health, sport, and self-defense are graduated plateaus in Chinese philosophy and a well rounded teachers trains and can relate lesson from all three areas.

Advice to Newbies: Beginners who are serious about practice can best learn from a number of teachers and particularly from those that utilize classical principles such as connecting, interpreting, issuing, and returning an opponent or partner's intrinsic energy. Taijiquan, literally known as the "grand ultimate fist", combines straight line with circular movements in sophisticated combinations to respond to the initiative of a partner or opponent, never in a reactive manner. That way you use their weight, balance, and energy to make them feel like they are defeating themselves. Solo form practice compliments partner training. Visualize someone to engage with in front of you during solo form practice. Conversely, when engaging with an opponent move from the empty state known as wuji that comes before the separation of yin and yang in your body. Develop your whole body as your fist (chuan or quan). From Yang Family practices sense a contra-lateral yin and yang separation that links your left side leg with your right side arm and visa versa. Taijiquan always uses two hands and when one part of your body moves subtly and internally, every part of your body moves --- I tung chuan tung. Loosen your joins to do this ---song, as all taiji is gentle or looks effortless to begin with.

From The Pros - Muay Thai

Name: Kongnapa

Type of Martial Arts: Muay Thai

Rank / Belt: 4 times Rajademnern Stadium Champion (Thailand) & 7 times World Champion (USA)

Years of Training: over 23 years experience

How You Started: Its kind a funny how I started, I was 15 and they have a festival in my hometown and they have a competition in muay thai so I enter and won, friends and families told me its natural for me. so I moved to Bangkok and join Phetnoi Gym, I train with them for 11 years. I won my 1st professional fight while i was training with them, that’s where I got my titles Rajademnern Stadium Champion. I got my world titles here in the US. I also fought for Team Chod Thai (amateur Thai Team for the country of Thailand) where we travel around Asia and compete for the country.

Why this martial art is good:
It is use back in the early times, call Muay Boran, it was taught to all the militaries to use it as a weapon without a weapon, where you only use your hands, legs, knees & elbows. Muay Thai have so many techniques, beside using your limb, you also use speed, eye coordination, & mind to defeat your opponent. Muay Thai is a stand up fight, a fair fight. People around the world are adapting Muay Thai more and more, rather for self defense, fighting in the ring or cardio workout. I think its great for self defense.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Introduction to White Crane Boxing

There are 2 styles of White Crane Boxing where one is originated from Fujian, southern part of China, known as the Fujian Style of White Crane Boxing, just like Wing Chun, this martial art was founded by Fang Qi Niang, a female martial artist from Fujian. Not like other martial arts where there are focused on all long, medium and close range, this style is designed and focused mostly on close range fighting.

Fang Qi Niang’s Father is a martial artist of the southern martial arts from China, and since young Fang has been studying the martial arts form, it was when Fang saw a crane nearby when she was doing her chores, afraid that the crane might disturb, Fan tries to chase the crane away by using a stick.

No matter how hard she try, she cannot hit the crane, instead the crane counter her attacks. Fang later studied the crane’s movement on dodging and counter attacks and combined with the styles that she has been practicing since young and founded Fujian style White Crane Boxing.

The White Crane Boxing style has a massive influence in other styles of martial arts like the Five Ancestors Fist and Karate that not much of us might know. But if we refer back to the Kata forms like Hakutsuru or Kyusho in Karate, the influence would look quite obvious. It was believed that it was brought into Japan from tea merchants that brought the style in from China to Okinawa.

The original style of White Crane is no longer practiced in modern days like now but it has evolved into 4 main styles over the time, these styles are Sleeping Crane Fist, Crying Crane Fist, Eating Crane Fist and Flying Crane Fist.

Another style of White Crane boxing is originated from Tibet, that was brought into China by Sing Lung, a Tibetan Monk and he taught all his martial art knowledge to two of his main student Wong Lam Hoi and Wang Yan Lam. And the linage was carried down by Wong Lam Hoi.

And Wang Yan Lam who was the eldest of the Ten Tigers of Canton, exchanged knowledge of this White crane style with Master Wong Kei Ying who is the founder of Hong Kuen. and it was later mixed with the Tiger Fist to form Tiger Crane Paired Form Fist and the Five Element techniques.

Tibetan White Crane Boxing was founded by monk Adatou born in 1426 and he was the founder for the Martial Arts called Lion’s Roar. It happened one day during Adatou’s meditation he was distracted when an ape was fighting with a crane when he is in Tibet. And later he founded the style of Tibetan White Crane Boxing and later taught to Monk Sing Lung.

Image taken from: taichikungfulondon.co.uk

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Introduction to Judo

Judo which stands (JU = Gentle) + (DO = Way) was originated from Japan in the 19th century. The reason why it is called the gentle way is because of its feature such as throwing, grappling, locks or executing a choke, not like other martial arts where the focuses on hitting it’s opponent. In Judo it does have Thrusts, Strikes and Weapons and used for Katas but it is not allowed to be used in competition or practices and also Judo uses the opponent's strength, weight and momentum against the opponent itself. As most of the “Non-Judo” practitioner might think that it this art is quite similar to Sambo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but in fact, Judo is like the grandfather to these arts as these martial arts are developed due to the spread of Judo to worldwide.

The founder Kano Jigoro was a son to a Shinto Priest and government Official, Kano was a student of Jujutsu back in the late 1870s and after mastering the art of Jujutsu Kano start to develop techniques like kata-guruma and uki goshi back in 1880s, and with new ideas on developing the art of self defense Kano went to study his art of evolved jujutsu with a few students in a Buddhist temple which the place is later known as Kodokan. The art at that time was known as Kano Jiu-Do which later changed to Kodokan Jiu-Do and finally known as Judo at this age.

If we were to talk about Judo, besides the founder Kano Jigoro, all of us in Martial Arts Asia gives the highest respect to Keiko Fukada, 9th Dan and it made her the highest ranking women in the Judo World, born in 1913 who is the direct student of Kano Jigoro, the Keiko is still teaching Judo up to date. Yes, there is no typo error here, she should be 96 this year and the coming Judo camp will be on July 24-26, 2009 in San Jose and yet she still still actively teaching Judo.

Judo Primary focus is on nage-waza (throwing) and ne-waza (groundwork), I have listed a simple break down on the list of techniques to help us to understand more on the techniques.

nage-waza (throwing) is divided into 2 categories which is tachi-waza (standing techniques) and sutemi-waza (sacrifice techniques)

1. tachi-waza (standing techniques)
- te-waza (hand techniques)
- koshi-waza (hip techniques)
- ashi-waza (leg techniques)

2. sutemi-waza (sacrifice techniques)
- ma-sutemi-waza (thrower fall backwards)
- yoko-sutemi-waza (thrower fall sideways)

ne-waza (groundwork) is divided into 3 categories

1.kansetsu-waza (attacks against joint locks)
2.shime-waza (strangleholds)
3.osaekomi-waza (pinning techniques)

There are seven official forms of kata that are recognised by the Kodokan:

1. Randori (Free practice)includes of 2 two different kata:
1a. Nage no Kata (Throwing forms)
1b. Katame no Kata (Grappling forms)
2. Kime no Kata (Old style self-defence forms)
3. Kodokan Goshin Jutsu (Modern self-defence forms)
4. Ju no Kata (Forms of "gentleness")
5. Itsutsu no Kata (The five forms)
6. Koshiki no Kata (Ancient forms)
7. Seiryoku Zen'yō Kokumin Taiiku no Kata (National Physical Education kata)

However there are also other katas that is not recognized by Kodokan with other focuses.

Weight Divisions, are to separate both the parties to have a equal advantages over each other, the divisions are as below

Under 60kg
60-66 kg
Over 100kg

Under 48kg
Over 78kg

Judo is firstly seen in the LA Olympics in 1932 where the founder Kano Jigoro and about 200 students gave a demonstration, and Kano passed away before seeing Judo being officially taken in as an Olympic sport in Tokyo Olympics in 1964 for men and in 1988 for women.

For this posting, we would not talk about it’s belt and grading as it varies for different countries, we’ll leave it for another time and we hope you have enjoyed reading so far.

Image taken from: ultimate-judo.com

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Introduction to Silat

Silat began spreading in the seventh century AD but there are no records on its origin. However, it was acknowledged as a Malay Martial Art although there are influences by the Chinese and Indian cultures as well as other ethnic groups. Silat was used as a combat art as well as a folk dance when the Muslim spread through the Malay archipelago in the fourteenth century. It was developed in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia as an art to liberate themselves from the Colonials such as the Dutch and the British.

In the West Sumatra silat was known as silek and was the oldest men's tradition to perform the Minangkabau folk dance of randai. In Malaysia and Brunei, one form of silat known of silat pulut and silat cakak.

There are many forms of silat such as Pencak, Cekak, Sendeng, Keris Lok and Gayong Fatani and Gayong. It would be quite difficult to list out the official type of silat, as there are at least 150 types of silat but out of these types of silat, Silat Melayu is consider one of the few oldest forms of silat.

Most of the silat schools have few objectives and the most common one is “The art of knowing one self’. Silat consists of 2 forms, the soft and the hard which is also known as Flower (Bunga) and Fruit (Buah). Flower is normally used to confuse the opponent where Fruit is the strike and each schools will have both form applied in their martial arts but it really depends on the amount of the focus.

Image taken from: tuina.com.au

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Dojo - Chinese Internal Nie Jia

Country: USA
Town: Asheville, North Carolina
Kwoon's (Dojo) Name: Lung Shan Taiji / Hsing I / Bagua Gong Fu
Type of Martial Art: Chinese Internal Nie Jia styles
Contact Person: Laoshr Mark Small
Contact Number: 828-285-2929
Email: msmall@main.nc.us
Website: www.main.nc.us/mtndragon

Introduction to Sumo

Most of us will have this perception that oversized people do not do martial arts but it is not the case. In Sumo it is a battle of strength where one wrestler will attempt to force their opponent to fall or to go out of the dohyo (circular ring). Sumo is a very unique type of martial art where it is one of the few that has rituals before the competition like Muay Thai.

Originated from Japan, this sport is considered as a Modern Martial Art although it has been around for many centuries. Sumo Wrestlers are to stay at the heya (training stables) where the wrestlers have to strictly follow tradition like the dress code, and even the hairdo.

It was back in the Edo Period in Japan that Sumo started as a form of entertainment or for warriors to find an alternative source of income. The official tournament started in Tomioka Hachiman Shrine back in 1684 and the tournament rules has been changing since.

Professional sumo tournament are organized by Oyakata, which is formed by former sumo wrestlers. Oyakata are members of the Japan Sumo Association and Oyakata are the only trainers that are accredited to teach Sumo officially to new wrestlers in their training stables.

There are few levels for Sumo Wrestlers unlike other Martial Artist where they obtain a belt/rank and get to keep it. For sumo, it solely depends on their performance. Even if they reach the top division, the sumo practitioner need to work for it keep the title or they will be downgraded to a lower rank. The thing that interests me most is their salary range. I found this range in wiki. It was shocking but at least you know know how much these big guys earn a month (as of year 2006) excluding the additional income that they can make 6 times a year in the tournaments.

Yokozuna: $24,500 USD / Month
Ōzeki: $20,400 USD / Month
Sanyaku: $14,800 USD / Month
Maegashira: $11,300 USD / Month
Jūryō: $9,000 USD / Month

According to the rules the amateur tournaments are divided into the following weight classes:

Lightweight: Maximum weight of 85 kg
Middleweight: Maximum weight of 115 kg
Heavyweight: Above 115 kg
Open Weight: Unrestricted entry

Lightweight: Maximum weight of 65 kg
Middleweight: Maximum weight of 80 kg
Heavyweight: Above 80 kg
Open Weight: Unrestricted entry

Image taken from: talesfromanopenbook.files.wordpress.com

Monday, June 1, 2009

Introduction to Muay Boran

Muay Boran or Ancient Boxing is the Great Grandfather of Muay Thai. There are a few styles of Muay Boran developed from the different regions in Thailand. These styles are known as Muay Thasao (Northern Region), Muay Korat (Eastern Region), Muay Lopburi (Central Region) and Muay Chaiya (Southern Region).

Muay Thasao – Emphasis on speed in their kicks and punches.
Muay Korat – Emphasis on the Power of the Blow.
Muay Lopburi– Emphasis on technical movements.
Muay Chaiya– Emphasis on posture and defense. And focus a lot on Knee and Elbow Strikes as the focus are more towards a close body combat.

Surprisingly to say, most of the teachers of Muay Boran are Buddhist monks. It reminds me the comedy called Hot Shots where the main actor was living in a Buddhist Monastery and doing kickboxing and instead of using a glove, they used a cloth to bind their hands to reduce the risk of fracturing bones. Going back further in history, the fighter would dip the binding with resin and broken glass to produce more stunning and deadly blows. These Monasteries or temples held Muay Boran competitions during festive occasions since all Thai man are expected to be ordained as a monk for a short period in their lives.

Traditionally, after completing training in Muay Thai, a student will be taught Muay Boran when reaching an advanced level, but this is no longer the case because most of the moves are banned in professional Muay Thai as it can cause serious damage or even death. In Muay Boran, everything goes and even a kick to the groin is allowed. Therefore there are not many schools that are willing to teach this art of self defense.

Muay Boran techniques focus on the damage each blow can affect the opponent and strongly emphasize using powerful knee and elbow techniques. Each blow to the opponent should be at full force to knock the opponent down on the ground.

Dojo - Ling Yun Pai

Country: USA
Town: Asheville, North Carolina
Kwoon's (Dojo) Name: Lung Shan Taiji / Hsing I / Bagua Gong Fu
Type of Martial Art: Ling Yun Pai
Contact Person: Laoshr Mark Small
Contact Number: 828-285-2929
Email: msmall@main.nc.us
Website: www.main.nc.us/mtndragon

Nunchaku - Kata

For Nunchaku users, the art of it’s kata one has to perform the basic techniques that is pre arranged in a sequence movement targeted to hit an imaginary opponent with the nunchaku. The Kata is not only about movement but also about how the practitioner execute it’s movement perfectly with the perfect posture and spirit. Hope the find the above Nunchaku Kata interesting to you…