Sunday, November 11, 2018

Shaq vs. Forrest Griffin, Weight Cutting Tip For Combat Athletes (& More) Weekly Round Up - 11 NOV 18

Every week I bring you the best in training & nutrition from around the web and social media. Sometimes it's my own content, sometimes it's not, but it's always something I found a gem in.


Although ketogenic diets are popular for fat loss in the mainstream currently, they are frequently frowned on in athletic circles due to their affect on performance. Many experts like Dom D'agostino however, insist that given a long enough period of adaptation, this initially loss will be recovered. Here we have a fat adapted athlete crushing the fastest time for a 100 mile trail run. Although this is an ultra-endurance event, we are are beginning to see more athletes performing at very high levels under fat adapted conditions. It will be interesting to see if the ketogenic diet starts to take hold in the martial arts and combat sports, even if only in therapeutic applications after careers are over in order to help deal with the after effects of traumatic brain injury.


Although during my (short) amateur career as a combat athlete, I never cut weight for a fight, for most fighters an inevitable fact of life is cutting weight for an upcoming fight, and often feeling hungry. When you sit down to eat, and you've been hungry since your last meal, it's easy to miss your 80% fullness cue, and over eat. Here, we have a strategy from Alan Aragorn, which basically amounts to filling yourself up on water in advance of your meal. When I was young, all of my friends were on the wrestling team, and they would quite often use very poor choices to cut weight, like eating one slice of pizza and calling it good for the day. No matter how strategic, or backed by peer reviewed research a tactic like filling up on water before meals, should not be used until basic, sound nutritional skills, like focusing on whole foods and meal prep are mastered, however, for those combat athletes who must shed fat before a fight can use this trick to help make it through the inevitable periods of hunger that can last for days, weeks, or even months (note that this tactic can not be used during weight cutting in the week, or two prior to weigh in, when dehydration is the key strategy).
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The “Water Trick” is a uniquely effective tactic for dieters because it puts the focus on adding or increasing intake instead of reducing or taking it away. It’s ideal for occasions such as eating at restaurants or social/family gatherings. - The attached are my own research-adapted methods that work consistently in the trenches. The upper end of the guidelines (bravely) exceed the doses in the study protocols :). I nudged the 30 minutes down to a max of 20 minutes as well. Lo & behold, this almost never fails to curb the desire for large food servings, a second plate, or a post-meal dessert. - These tactics are ideal for those who want to default to lower caloric intake with minimal effort toward calculating or quantifying. - #inthetrenches #streetwisdom #boom

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Shaq vs. Forrest Griffin in the octagon?! It happened folks and you saw it here first! Of course this was just a little playful exhibition match, but it would have been nice to see Forrest go a little harder just to see what the weight and size vs. skill difference really would have made. Despite his tremendous size, Shaquille O'Neil was an incredible athlete who could really move, so although Griffin is the veteran here, Shaq's size and sheer athleticism could have posed a real challenge. I have a friend in Vegas who know's Griffin personally, and he says he's pretty banged up after his UFC career, so I'm sure just avoiding injury was the main objective here. As a martial arts instructor just cresting into middle age myself, I completely understand. Thrive Market


In the video below, YouTube creator and meal prep extraordinaire Bobby Parish takes you on a tour of Costco to his top picks for eating well. I was shocked to learn about Costco's organic eggs receiving such a low ranking from For me it underscored that we should frequently check ourselves: what do I know, and how do I know it? Quite often the narratives the we spin in our own heads do not match up to reality. I had begun a narrative in my mind that all Costco products must be good, because that narrative aligned with how I feel about Costco as a company, and how they treat their employees. Similarly, people often sabotage their own efforts at nutrition by spinning a story around their choice like "it's okay I ate a dozen donuts just now, because I'm heading to the gym, and I need the pre-workout..."

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Falling Leaves Kung Fu Weekly Round Up 04 NOV 2018



Lean mass favors protein. More protein in your diet will lead to better all around body composition (more muscle, less fat)! If you're getting older, and your weight is becoming an issue with your martial arts practice, focusing on including more protein in your diet (and less refined carbohydrates) can be very beneficial.
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Lean mass favors protein. The results of recent research shows improvements in body comp, and no risk to bone mineral density, kidney health, etc. Not everybody needs to go #keto, but most Westerners, particularly of Euro decent, could do with a lot more protein and less carbohydrate in their diets. @Regran_ed from @thealanaragon - Protein has been the most revered macronutrient, but it also has carried its share of persistent mythology. Thanks to the recent battery of studies by Jose Antonio (@the_issn), Anya Ellerbroek (@anyaelle), et al, several long-standing protein myths have been slayed. Daily intakes at roughly 3-4 times the RDA have failed to show harm in a range of health markers (including those of liver, kidney, and bone). - Interestingly, increased protein intakes tend to not result in fat gain in resistance trainees (in fact, the opposite has been seen). This is potentially due to increased satiety, thermic output, and a certain degree of misreporting. - It’s good to know that the body is quite adept at handling high protein intakes safely - at least in healthy subjects without preexisting kidney disease. Furthermore, the “disappearance” of extra protein has interesting applications for dieters seeking to control appetite while minimizing threats to the caloric deficit. - #science #research #evidence #brotein #mythsdiehere - #regrann

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Thrive Market


My martial arts brothers and sisters from Moscow performing a demo in Taipei last weekend. So proud of my kung fu family!


A post from my friends over at Power Speed Endurance on the neurological connection between the breath and the brain. If you're looking for a little bit of the science behind why you should be practicing your qigong / pranayama it's about three minutes long.


Our most recent episode of the embodiedMIND podcast with my partner Prince Bell from Golden Bell Training. Falling Leaves Kung Fu is the ONLY source of I Liq Chuan - The Martial Art of Awareness in Tempe, AZ. ● Nutrition ● Mindfulness ● Martial Arts ● Staying strong over 40. Check out our coaching programs for men, or women and find your inner power💥✨! Classes held in Tempe, AZ and workshops worldwide.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Scientists "Discover" What Martial Artists Have Known For Centuries...

A recent study by research scientists, documented the effects of “grunting” during the execution of a kick.  What did they find? The average study participant generated almost 10% more force when they “grunted”.[1]

If you’ve trained martial arts for any length of time, this should come as no surprise. The old masters have known this for centuries.  In the Japanese arts, this phenomenon is referred to as kiai , or “spirit shout”, and in the Chinese arts, (i.e. kung fu), we train heng/ha 哼哈, and specifically in I Liq Chuan we also train tu’na 吐納 breathing. The shout helps to increase core stability which results in more power to the limbs. For example, in this study, researchers found that improving core stability of female handball players resulted in an increased throwing speed of almost 5%.

While this might seem like a no brainer to experienced martial artists, the real secret lies in using the diaphragm. Most people are familiar with the diaphragm and its role in breathing, however what's less commonly understood is that the diaphragm plays a role as a respiratory muscle and a spinal stabilizer.

My experience has been that even dual role; as a respiratory muscle, and a spinal stabilizer. In my experience teaching my martial arts classes here in Tempe, Arizona, even veterans of martial arts and yoga often have extreme difficulty in accessing the diaphragm and have faulty breathing patterns. As a coach, I’ve had to get creative at times with finding novel ways of to get people in touch with their diaphragm.

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RESPIRATION - Using the blow gun to help one of my students get a better feel for the diaphragm. The diaphragm has a dual role in the body, as a respiratory muscle and as a spinal stabilizer, which means the breath, and correct use of the diaphragm play a critical use in generating power. Most folks are pretty out of touch with their diaphragm these days, so using some extra tools can be both helpful, and fun! Respiration is one of the key principles I teach in all the people I work with. I'm a health, nutrition and martial arts coach. Make sure to go to my profile @ashehiggs for a link ( to sign up for my FREE weekly newsletter and find your inner power💥✨! Classes held in Tempe, AZ and workshops worldwide. #respiration #concentration #ancientnaturewellness #martialartslife

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More than meets the eye?

The secondary findings of the study are possibly more interesting; the audible noise made during exertion has the potential to confuse an opponent and cause them to misjudge their defense.

22 students from the University of Hawaii were tested on their ability to guess the angle of a recorded kick in the presence of a simulated grunt.

Although I think the methodology used in the second part of the study was problematic at best, the concept has merit.

Of course, this is martial arts, so if somebody didn’t take the concept to questionable extremes, it just wouldn’t be any fun, now would it?

With that being said, when my kids were young, I used to use the concept to interrupt bad behaviour by them without having to spank them. Keep in mind this isn’t just any ole yell, it comes from down deep, propelled by a powerful pulse of the diaphragm. There were occasions when my kids were taken enough by surprise that their young nervous systems were overwhelmed, and their legs actually buckled, causing them to fall down.  Of course, you can’t expect such an extreme response from a fully mature nervous system, but I have, on occasion seen grown men nearly cry in my local martial arts classes when I demonstrated by belting out out a powerful “ha” in their face (then again maybe it was just my breath…).

Going back to the study results, the students responded about 50ms slower to kicks that were accompanied by the simulated grunt. That’s about 1/20th of second slower to judge the angle of an incoming kick. Enough lag to potentially result in a KO kick, or in the old days, when swords or other weapons were involved, make the difference between life and death.

Grunting's competitive advantage: Considerations of force and distraction
Scott Sinnett , Cj Maglinti, Alan Kingstone
Published: February 22, 2018

Thursday, August 16, 2018

How To Find A Good Martial Arts Instructor

When I was a teenager Mortal Combat was at it's peak of popularity.

Especially now, as a martial arts guy, I like the concept, but I never was able to get into it.

I know this might not seem relevant to martial arts, but bare with me, it will be...

I think there were two factors that contributed to my not getting in to it deeply. The first was economics: we didn't have the right game console at my house, and we weren't going to, and whenever I went out to the arcade with my friends, I didn't have a ton of money to spend on playing at the arcade either.

My best friend in high school though had both. Consequently, he was very good. Which was the second contributing factor: Whenever we would play, he would just trash me, and quickly. Like a kung fu master, he knew all the advanced combinations that would defeat me before I even had a chance to get started.

Well, there goes my fifty cents. Guess I'm done for the day....

It was the same story any time we would play at his house. He would beat me Like a red headed step child. This is where it starts to get relevant.

There were two possible scenarios here: one was to continue to beat me quickly and easily, each and every time; in which case I learn nothing.

The second was to use his advanced skill to help me learn. This is what GM Sam Chin does with his family's martial art of Zhong Xin Dao I Liq Chuan (which I now teach here in Tempe, Arizona).

By setting his ego aside, he drops his level to just above the person he's working with. He's just out of reach, just enough that you feel like you can reach him. In this way he guides you along, a little bit at a time. He makes you feel like you can almost beat him, it's so close you can taste it...

I started to notice that expert Thai boxing coaches do the same thing. I was watching a short video of Saenchai doing just this while working with a very young, foreign fighter.

As he was working with the boy, he was feigning defeat, as if this little kids kicks and punches were enough to actually put a worldclass fighter on the ropes, and in so doing, he was sacrificing his ego and investing in the younger fighter, building his skill and confidence as a martial artists.

If my friend had been able to set his ego aside long enough to invest in me, he may have had a challenging opponent eventually; one that could truly test his skills and push him to even greater levels, but instead he opted for the ego gratifying option of the quick and easy win over an unskilled opponent, and we both lost out in the big picture.

When you're looking for a "martial arts class near me", look for the one being taught by the humble instructor, the one who's willing to let you win,at least sometimes. Look for the instructor who understands how to invest in loss. If you're learning from the best, buy they're only interested in always reminding you of that, it's very likely that their skill will never become you're skill.

When it comes to finding the right martial arts instructor, it doesn't matter what they can do, it only matters what they can help you to do.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Lingkong Jin In Chinese Martial Arts

partner training during our martial arts classes in Tempe, AZ
Partner training during our martial arts classes in Tempe, AZ ©2018 all rights reserved

I found a very interesting post about lingkong jin on Facebook by a native Chinese speaking friend. Lingkong jin is "empty force" and is thought to be the ability to bounce, or throw an opponent away with no visible external movement, and is one of the "highest" skills achievable through internal martial arts (mostly within the Tai Chi community).

The concept it similar to hua jin (mysterious power) from Xingyiquan, or our own I Liq Chuan concept of "mystery hand", the point at which your skill becomes so precise that the effect you manage to achieve on your opponent seems "mysterious".

 Unfortunately, in modern times, there's been a lot of non-sense that's been built up around the ideas of what lingkong jin is, mostly being propagated by Westerners. You can find a bunch of ridiculous demos on YouTube of supposed lingkong jin, which are something between circus tricks and brainwashed compliance by the demo dummy.

I found the post so interesting because it tracks with my understanding: it's about preciseness and the role of the attention and is easily neutralized of the opponent has the attention to keep up.

 -----BEGIN POST----

I have translated the bit of info about Lingkong Jin that Chen Yanlin got first hand from the early Yang family and published in 1945. FYI — Lingkong Jin / (Going thru) Void Strength Lingkong Jin is boundless and marvelous, almost mysterious, hard to believe if not witnessed with one’s own eyes it is something that actually affects the mind.
 Highly skilled people who issue this ‘Jin’ only need to utter a sound “ha”, for the opponent to immediately lift his feet off the ground and retreat. This is probably due to the fact that the mind of the receiver is attracted [influenced] by the issuer, so the receiver cannot resist.
In this respect, if the receiver has already learned skills (Jin) like sticking, adhering etc he can feel and foresee this ‘Jin’ as soon as the issuer starts “ha”, and by [simply] retreating the issuer will get no results. With regard to this ‘Jin’, practitioners should not explore in depth [waste too much time over it] but simply take it as a game.
 It is said that (Yang) Jianhou and son (Yang Shaohou) could attract [influence] a candle flame within the range of about one foot distance, blocking the flame with one hand then extinguishing it. This is one [another] kind of Lingkong Jin. It is said that this kind of kung fu today has already disappeared.

— Written by Chen Yanlin in 1945 as reported by the Yang family
 æ·©ç©ºå‹   淩空勁奧妙無窮,近於神秘,非親眼目睹難以置信,實乃一種精神上的作用。藝高者發此勁時,僅須口中一哈,對方即雙足離地而後退,大概是因爲被發者精神已被發者所吸引,無法抵抗。 對此被發者如果已先知沾、粘等勁,在對方一哈之後,即由感覺而後退,發者也不會産生效果。對於此勁,學習者可不必深求,僅做遊戲看待即可。   相傳建侯、少侯父子,能吸引燭火近尺,一手隔之,火光遂熄,這是淩空勁中的一種。據悉此種功夫今天已經失傳。

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Do You Practice Your Martial Art Everyday?

"Do you practice every day?"

The evening sun had finished setting over the western edge of Tempe Town Lake, the last of the Arizona evening's golden rays of sundown fading into the deep blues and purples of twilight.
My newest student asked this question as we finished up her second martial arts class. It's one I get asked a lot.

"That's complicated" I answered.

"After more than 15 years in the martial arts, it's become more of a way of life, so I'm always doing something, but it doesn't always look like this". I was referring to our class structure, that involves a combination of partner training and solo exercises.

Do I practice everyday? Yes... and no.

As I tried to explain to my newest student; there's a lot of things to train: skill, strength and conditioning, mobility (flexibility), even recovery needs to be approached deliberately and with care.

"Most of the time, when I'm training something on my own, I'm training just one thing, and focusing on that thing very deeply (as opposed to training all of the exercises we had just done). Of course, at this point, even when I train just one exercise, it has all the other exercises within it."

And then there's always the training of the mind.

Once you switch from training your martial arts as a workout, or technique, to a tool to train the mind, literally everything you do becomes training.

I know what you're thinking: sounds like BS, but it's true.

If you read my Sifu's book "The Martial Art of Awareness", you'll see, out of 13 chapters, eight deal with attention and the role of the mind.

"Two people are walking. One is full of thoughts, other is fully present, in the moment. What is the difference between the two?"

Does it sound like BS; yes, but it's true. When you're training the mind, even standing in line at the grocery store can be training, if you're there.

Do you feel yourself? Are you aware of the body, the feeling of like or dislike; are you aware of your thoughts and ideas? Do you see the cause and effect relationship of phenomena? Do you see the "come and go" as everything is changing moment to moment?

You can apply this to all your training.

Take mobility work and self myofascial release with a tool like the foam roll, or a Rolflex: the tool makes contact with a trigger point in your leg, or your back and some feeling arises in association with the sensation.

More self myofascial release with the super awesome @irolflex! Using a "tack and floss" technique to get after those adhesions in the hard working calves. Have you tried the #rolflex? What is your favorite tool? Make sure to go to my profile for a link to sign up for my FREE weekly newsletter and find your inner power! 👉 @luoyegongfu 👉 @luoyegongfu 👉 @luoyegongfu Classes held in Tempe, AZ and workshops worldwide. A complete #workout for #mindandbody. Check website for more info (link in bio) or call 3156280777. #mindfulness #innerstrengthgym #mindfulnesscoach #movementculture #martialartofawareness #zeninmotion #chinesemartialarts #internalmartialarts #taichi #gongfu #kungfu #wushutraining #kungfutraining #kungfufighter #martialartsgeek #martialartsnerds #martialartslife #martialartslifestyle #martialartstraining #movementmeditation #inhaleexhale #strongover40 #suppleleopards

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Relax and breathe. Sense into the tissue.

Are you resisting the sensation because it's uncomfortable?

Do you feel the change in the tissue, slowly releasing from tense, to relaxed? Do you notice the change?

That's training all the time.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Vacation I Liq Chuan 21 Form

I took a little trip away from Tempe and took the kids to Hawaii.  Similar to a tai chi form, the I Liq Chuan 21 Form is slow, graceful and a form of dynamic meditation as well as a martial art training method.