Sunday, October 13, 2013

Voodoo Flossing Band Review

London I Liq Chuan member Eric Ling turned me on to some more in depth stuff by Kelley Starrett of mobility|WOD fame.

Over the years my joints have really taken a beating and to make matters worse I neglected my mobility through my 20's and 30's, so now that I'm only a stones throw from 40, I'm feeling it.  One of the tools that K-Star is fond of using is the so called "voodoo floss" technique.  

If you want more information about joint flossing with the voodoo bands, check out the mobilty|WOD YouTube channel, but for those interested in a review of the actual voodoo floss bands sold through Rogue Fitness, I offer the product review below;

Sunday, October 06, 2013


Here it is; right now.  Think about it and you miss it. - Hang Po
This is a great quote from Chinese Zen master Huang Po.
Huángbò Xīyùn (simplified Chinese: 黄檗希运; traditional Chinese: 黄檗希運; Wade–Giles: Huang-po Hsi-yün; literally "Xiyun of Mt. Huangbo", Japanese: Ōbaku Kiun) (died 850) was an influential Chinese master of Zen Buddhism during the Tang Dynasty
To me it really speaks to "Suchness". When discussing the concepts of Suchness and Tao, Sifu often says "suchness is; just like this..." or "as it is and not otherwise."

I believe what Huang Po is saying here, is that when thinking discursively about what ever is happening now, we layer and filter the experience through the concepts that are attached by default to all the labels we apply and the mental feeling of "like, dislike and don't know".

After one of my regular classes here in Tempe, AZ, I was explaining (to the best of my ability) about this same topic.  We could here the cicadas buzzing in the trees and I said;

 "Do you hear that sound?  The sound is caused by the cicada, but is not the cicada itself.  It's just sound, but we hear the sound and attach a label to it (cicada) and along with the label comes all the concepts associated with the label and the mental feeling of like and dislike."

In other words, when we label the thing and start to think about it, we stop really paying full attention.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Balanced Athleticism

The weather is finally cooling off a bit around here so I hit the mats to get my gymnastics fundamentals in.

At this point, I'm really convinced that gymnastic / calisthenics style strength training is the most appropriate for martial artists, with just a little of bit heavy lifting here and there.

I was doing some reading over at T-Nation on balanced athletic development and saw this
 short clip from Max Shank which is so cool I had to share it. Watch to the end. The casual back flip puts it over the top!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I Liq Chuan Spinning With Stepping & Kicking

Many people mistakenly believe that I Liq Chuan's spinning hands training is only practiced stationary. Here instructor Miro Kovacik and I demonstrate spinning hands with range, section, stepping and kicking and a few qin na applications.

The goal of spinning with stepping is to maintain heavy hands with light feet.
©2013 CFILC

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Easy Does It

After I got some work done in the office I stepped out on the mats to get a little training in. Over the last year or two I've really noticed a drop in my mobility, so I've prioritized it in my training now.

There's a nice big, fat yellow moon out there and even though it's still hot out there right now, I still love having my private mat space right outside my door.

Hit three or four easy sets of swings with the 32kg, windmills with the 16kg, deck squats and a few other easy mobility drills.

Feels good to just work the sets for proficiency rather than having to feel like I "worked out" and feel wasted, which is something I was just listening to Pavel talk about in the video below.

I think people who want to train and get fitter or healthier but are already tired and depleted are put off by that first hurdle of just getting off the couch because they think they have to bust ass and be drenched in sweat when they're done, but training for the long haul means "slow and steady wins the race."
Now I'm gonna hit the foam roll.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Slovakia 2013 I Liq Chuan Training Camp - Meeting

A short clip shot during the seven day training camp I helped present this June in Drabsko, Slovakia. Discussing the importance of meeting each others force in order to train efficiently.

Tai Chi Is Not Yin & Yang - Part 2

This is the second part in my short series of finding balance in our lives by "using the rule of threes"  Hereafter RO3's. (Click here to read part 1.)
As I stated previously, the subjects of the RO3's are essential to human survival, they must be met. As such they should be attended to appropriately and mindfully. All too often in western society though, they're taken for granted, neglected or pursued with the wrong intent.

Let's review the RO3's;
  • 3 minutes without air
  • 3 hours without shelter
  • 3 days without water
  • 3 weeks without food
  • 3 months without companionship

There's always exceptions to the rules, some people can last much longer than three weeks without food or three months without companionship but by and large, they're accurate in regards to most people, and at any rate we're just looking at a way of organizing the essentials of human survival without getting distracted by the non-essentials. It's handy to have some reference point for what things are worthy of looking into.

At this point I would like to give credit to Ron Hood and his Woodsmaster series for introducing me to the RO3's.

At any rate, how does this apply to my plans for future posts?

Well, I plan to post about the quality of breathing (air), what kind of environment we choose build around ourselves (shelter), the choices we make for food and water, and the kind of community we choose to support, and the most fundamental means of meeting the needs defined by the RO3's- movement, always with the sub-context of meeting our needs in a way that is balanced and harmonious, which also means, sustainable. You could say it's a way that's in harmony with Tao 道, or seeking wuwei 無為.

It's the path of Budo (武道). Martial arts training as a bridge to living life well, and rightly. As a protector of your family and "village" and of those who cannot do it themselves.

My purpose is for myself only, a sort of training journal if you will.  It's not that I feel that I have succeeded in achieving perfect harmony in my life, but that I'm on the path and so I will be posting about my successes, failures and inspirations.

As Aristotle wrote, "we are what we repeatedly do", so my posts here can be thought of a red string around my finger,  constant reminders to myself of who I want to be, and how I want to live.

I want to stay inspired, and hope to inspire you as well!

If you enjoy (and I hope you do) great! If not, well, there's plenty of bad blogs on the web...
In the meantime #trainhard and #staystrong!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Tai Chi Is Not Yin & Yang - Part 1

Reinventing The Falling Leaves Kung Fu Blog

I've had this blog for six or seven years now, though mostly it's been pretty quiet for the last two years or so, only posting somewhat sporadically.

One reason is I've been extremely busy; between my regular teaching schedule, traveling more frequently to teach workshops and just life, I haven't had as much time to blog.

Secondly I sort of lost focus on what it was I wanted to do with it. Originally I posted about lots of different types of Chinese martial arts and strength and conditioning, cool gyms etc., but the further I progressed with I Liq Chuan, the less I felt that was appropriate for a variety of reasons.

Now I have come around a bit and have got my bearings in what I'd like to do moving forward, particularly next year when I plan to transition to teaching I Liq Chuan full time and I plan to be blogging and writing much more.

My Sifu once said "tai chi is not two (yin/yang), it's one (balanced and unified), but to have one, you have to have three (yin, yang and neutral)." To maintain balance you can't let go of the neutral point.
Alternately you could call neutral "the center". If you find the center, you find neutral and you have balance.

So my plan is to post more broadly about finding balance in life. I've reached a point with my training where it's long since no longer been bracketed by the small picture, immediate use of self defense and become a cornerstone of my daily existence. Instead of narrowing down my mind and my attention, it's opened up and I'm really working to bring my entire life into balance.

If you look at Aikido (合气道), 合 (he in Mandarin) literally means "harmony". The characters that make up he mean "many mouths as one". It's everything working together to mutually support each other.

Applying the principle of harmony to our everyday life, to achieve that tai chi balance in a practical, usable way we can go back to the basics of survival strategy, The Rule Of Threes;
  • Three minutes without air
  • Three hours without shelter
  • Three days without water
  • Three weeks without food
  • Three months without companionship.

The Rule Of Threes determine our absolute needs. If it ain't on the list above, you don't really need it and what is on the list deserves our attention.
Stay tuned to see how I'll try to approach the topics on that list over the coming year or so...

#kungfulife #trainhard #mindfulliving