Wednesday, April 07, 2021

The Secrets of I Liq Chuan Spinning Hands - From Small To Big


So when we're out here, right, and the contact is the wrist over the wrist then I give this close, close, and then your turn, and he gives close, close. So then this spin is a little bit smaller. 

Alright, and now we come up to here. So we're doing like second section contact: spin, I give close, close. And then your turn. Close, close. See how much bigger the spin gets already? close. Close. Close, close. 

And then now if we come up to here. So now this one is going to be like really only one person can maintain contact, like we can't spin from here, and both of us have the wrist in contact from because now right? this first section, wrist over the wrist. As the contact comes up to here for Aenakin, it's still first section, but for me, because it's it's off the wrist, this for me is already second section contact. 

If we come up to here, now at second section, the second section. If we come up to here, it's third section. Now, unless we're like here, like when we get to grappling. Now from grappling, this is third section to third section (contact), right? 

But just spin from here because we can have this. So first section to my third section because it's above my elbow. Anything past my elbow, we call it third section. So then we're going to be spinning from here this is going to be like in order to maintain the fullness and because I have to get close close. 

So it's still the same thing, right like let's turn this way a little bit. Because I'm outside I still have to close in so as closing, I still have to give close, close. Just like out here close, close. If I'm here, close, close. And then if I'm here it's close close to maintain the fullness at the point of contact, right so then I come here close close. This boom, boom. Now it's your turn. Remember, you can't maintain this contact you have to come down here like this. Like that. Yeah, like this. And then you see like when we're... "boom" when we do this spin now, like how big there's no way for us to spin only this small, like the spin has to be this big.

Like that.

So but do you guys See, like the difference of how of how big the spin gets... depending on where the point of contact is? You see, there's no way to spin small, that small from from this point of contact and be able to maintain the fullness.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

How To Breathe During A Fight

every boxer every kickboxer every fighter you'll hear them like is exhale, exhale, exhale right with that movement

so there's a couple of different things to consider here on this breathing

for one because at this level when we're doing the movement we're looking at relaxation

if you breathe out more, when you focus on the exhale you're stimulating the parasympathetic [branch of the] nervous system in other words, you're stimulating... you're using the breathing to stimulate a "rest and digest" state anytime you're focusing on your exhale

longer than inhale...

it's more relaxing. Once the intensity gets higher and faster like when we're actually moving like some sticky hand with a partner or we're doing some sparring or something and that's usually what you'll hear: like just even like every boxer every kickboxer, every... every fighter you'll hear them like is exhale, exhale, exhale right with that movement by focusing on the exhale uh if you breathe OUT the [negative] pressure will automatically help you to breathe in but if you focus on breathing in when you're under stress

you might, like if you only focus on the inhale under stress that's when you'll start holding your breath. If you breathe in you don't necessarily breathe back out but if you breathe out your body will just as a reflex will breathe in. So we're always focusing on that like "exhale! exhale! exhale!" right or even from here like relaxation, it's like

inhale exhale inhale exhale so when we do the alternating movements you can use the open and close as your chance for the inhale because I have like one that's like one one absorb one project from here right but with uh with a partner so where... where do you inhale exhale? well if i have a partner and we're working on... I'm trying to create force pressure here pressure here it could be pressure here it could be pressure here yin or yang can be pressure like force so then it's like exhale exhale either i have one pull one push just exhale right and then i breathe exhale release inhale breathe exhale

release like square back to neutral inhale

so you see it's more of like quick inhale exhale and you're breathing out out out when you square to neutral just release let the pressure but the pressure just help you breathe it because you're breathing out changing the pressure you release there's a vacuum you breathe in breathe out creating


Friday, February 26, 2021

Be Like Water

 so water is always a good example right so like bruce lee said be like water because water has no mind right so water by default is present for us in neutral

so then the question becomes

if I'm not going to use

past experience I'm not going to train technique right I'm not going to use my reflex or technique to act especially in martial arts context right then how am I going to do something because we still need to be able to let's say defend ourselves because we're talking about martial arts right so we just call it self defense so in that case, I still need to be able to finish a fight

so if I'm not going to use reflex I'm not going to use a technique in order to finish the fight then what am I going to be able to use and essentially that will come down to two things tension and pressure

so it's internal tension and external pressure

so internal tension is basically that is our 13 points or you can say the 13 points define internal tension is the balance of yin yang muscles pulling in the body so that as I move as I change

the tension the internal tension between the muscles that that interplay is changing and I want to maintain a certain quality of that internal tension that is defined by the 13 points that we call the balance of macrocosmic

is the overall balance of yang in the body that as I move I'm always maintaining uh the balance of the inject muscles

the pressure the external pressure so in the solo exercises we always have some external pressure it's what it's the ground it's gravity and the pressure on our feet so again some overlap there with the 13 points because we're talking about the nine solid and one empty and we're talking about the center of gravity force that is applying some external pressure or an external load to the body in this case at the bottom of the feet with a opponent partner then we have a point of contact now so then from the point of contact we have the cross that tells us what's happening with the pressure we have the relationship of circle to center center to center center with cross and just by simply observing the pressure moment to moment the pressure can tell us what to do so water is always a good example right so like bruce lee said be like water because water has no mind all right so water by default is present for us in neutral it's simply obeying the in the tension the internal tension so water has its own surface tension and the pressure the external pressure of gravity and as it's flowing from high pressure to low pressure if there's an obstacle in the way in other words it's like something full the water will flow around if there's nothing in the way so if we talk about that it's empty the water can simply continue to flow through unless the water is so big has so much force behind it then full and empty anymore doesn't matter because it can just crash through and so we want to develop that skill of being like water from that point of contact tells me if this is full i flow around if it's not full i just flow in or i already know that i have enough power that i can just crash through full or empty then it doesn't matter anymore i can just attack it directly uh and again this the pressure is already there it's just a matter of whether or not that you can observe it to know

to know full and empty and to know whether you can just attack it attack the fullness or you need to flow around uh so this is again it's present form and sin and neutral so it's how we want to tune our mind as we train that on the physical side of training we have our diagnostic checklists we have the checklist of the six physical principles and we have the checklist of the 13 points to scan ourselves to be observing the balance of the internal tension between the yin muscles yang muscles and then on the mental side because we're talking ab trend right mental physical so on the mental side now we have the three mental factors to constantly guide our training to use as a diagnostic checklist so that I can observe my mind while I train at my president and my formless in my control am I behaving like water right now is my mind like water I simply observe the pressure and the tension and I harmonize with the pressure and attention or am I trying to do something

does that make sense and so it's in a lot of uh martial arts they talk about intent right or will but in elite we talk about the e as just being attention like the mirror right that's just reflecting back what's in front of it.

Thursday, December 03, 2020

Training The Breath For Reserves

 Following on the heels of last week's article on the "four quarters of breathing" allow me to introduce you to my newest toy:  the Breather Fit, which allows you to add variable resistance to both the inhale and exhale.

Yes, it does look exactly like a crack pipe. 

Breather Fit

I haven't had a chance to play with the app yet.

So, why would we want to bother adding resistance to our breathing?

In one word: reserves.

Let's take a look at the graphic below, detailing lung volumes and which corroborates my premise that a full breath cycle should have four quarters.


Failure to maintain adequate reserves is the physiological equivalent to living paycheck to paycheck.  It's all good until you find yourself in a high demand state. We want to keep as much money in reserve as possible to cover those unexpected bills.

Our bodies are constantly adjusting to the signals it receives; if all they ever receive are weak signals, our bodies adapt towards weakness.

When's the last time you heard somebody complaining they had too much time in the day? Technology hasn't saved us any time in our day to day lives, but it has saved us energy.  It generally takes a lot less effort to complete tasks today than in the past, and that reduced effort translates into reduced signaling to the body to maintain vital adaptations like strength and mobility, or the ability to ventilate and meet our demands for oxygen.

In the 21st Century, if we don't apply deliberate effort to continuously expose ourselves to mechanical, molecular, and environmental stress, our reserves dwindle to the bare minimum necessary to support life in the narrow bandwidth of sitting indoors in central air and artificial lighting, leaving us unprepared for the unexpected and inevitable.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Qigong Breathing For Health

This week's video is a breathing exercise adapted from the yijinjing set taught by Master Jiru of the Mid-America Buddhist Association (MABA).  Ven. Jiru is my meditation teacher and I learned the yijinjing from him while on meditation retreat at MABA.

Humans are the only mammals (that I'm aware of) that have voluntary control over their diaphragm; in most other mammals, under load, the action of the diaphragm is controlled by the gait cycle.  In other words, when the animal stretches out while running, the rib cage expands and inhales and during the "pull" phase of their stride the rib cage condenses and they exhale.

These movements are similar to what's called "bellows breath" from yoga.

In the second phase of the exercise, we bend over.  Bending over relieves the diaphragm of it's obligation as a core stabilizer and allows you to use it 100% to assist in respiration, which is why you feel like you need to put your hands on your knees to recover your breathing after a big effort.

The third phase of the exercise slaps the kidney like a drum.  The kidneys are a very important aspect of Chinese medicine and in fact play an important role in our endocrine system as well as filtering/eliminating waste from our system.

To learn more about Venerable Jiru and MABA click here:

DISCLAIMER:  I am not a doctor.  Video is for informational purposes only.  Follow the exercises at your own risk. Always consult a physician before engaging in this or any other exercise or lifestyle change. 

 Now you can join me for I Liq Chuan classes from Tempe, or wherever you are in the world online.  Choose a time from the calendar below and RSVP!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

The Four Quarters of The Breath

GM Sam Chin likes to say "if it's a circle, it has a center.  If it has a center it has four quarters."

We tend to think of breathing as simply inhale and exhale, but I began to notice during my breathwork a year or so ago, one full breath cycle should also have four quarters.

Each inhale and exhale has two phases; an active phase and a passive phase separated by a neutral point.

The neutral point is when the diaphragm is completely relaxed and there is no movement of either inhale or exhale because the relative pressure inside the lungs matches the external pressure.

If we inhale from here, the inhale is active, requiring some effort from muscles like the external intercostals of the ribs, and if done properly the rib cage expands as the lungs fill with air.  At the very top of the breath, we reach maximum pressure inside the lungs.

From here we can simply relax and the built-up pressure will cause the air to rush out of our lungs until we reach the neutral point again.  This is the passive phase of the exhale.  Below the neutral point, we can use some effort to continue to exhale actively, which should cause the waist and rib cage to continue to condense by activating muscles like the internal intercostals and transversus.

At the bottom of the active exhale, we've built up some negative pressure inside the lungs;  if we simply relax, the vacuum will draw some air into the lungs until we reach neutral, and this is the passive phase of the inhale.

We need to acknowledge and actively train each of the four phases to some degree.

Why? Like anything else, it's "use it or lose it" as we age.

Lung function declines by almost 40% over the lifetime of an average individual, more so in men than women.

Most people develop a shallow, "vertical" breathing pattern that involves too much involvement of the neck and shoulders as their activity levels decline, spending most of their time breathing at and just above the neutral point.

This lack of excursion (change in diameter) causes ossification in the rib cage. As the rib cage becomes increasingly stiff, we're forced to take more breaths to maintain our normal 5-6L of air per minute. Heart rate and sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system activation are directly linked to our diaphragm, this increased number of breaths per minute shifts us into mild chronic physiological stress.  

The alveoli, the tiny sacs in our lungs where O2/CO2 are exchanged, become deflated and increase dead airspace within the lungs reducing our ability to take in fresh oxygen.

Respiratory muscle strength decreases with disuse, impairing effective airway clearance leaving us prone to infection.

We're also left with less and less reserve to meet our needs during high demand states like when we're fighting off a bear (or pneumonia).

Pulmonary (lung) function measured as a function of forced expiratory volume has been shown to be a reliable indicator of life expectancy.

We also have research that shows that breathwork can and does improve lung function in older adults, so if your over 50 and you haven't been doing breathwork your whole life, you don't need to throw in the towel.

Start today and do what you can, with what you have where you're at.

Here's what to do
  • become more mindful of your breathing all the time. Make sure you're spending time breathing in all four quarters throughout the day.
  • incorporate max inhales and exhales during your breathwork.  Reach both hands above your head, inhale to your max and try to flare your ribs as wide as possible like the hood of a cobra
  • Ball your hands into fists and pull arms down close to your sides and exhale as much as possible.  Feel your rib cage and waist get as small as possible. Repeat 10x. (bonus, if you're training a martial art like I Liq Chuan, when you fajin, you're already training your forced expiratory volume!)

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Circle To Center - Weekly I Liq Chuan Online Class Highlights

Ninety degrees is the maximum angle for control.  This is the quality of "circle to center" that we talk about in I Liq Chuan.

The rotation of the radius and ulna is an important quality to look into for being able to maintain circle to center. 

If the rotation is off, you'll miss then center and you'll be losing power and control; you're point of contact will be slipping off because it's not direct. 

Matching the rotation of the radius and ulna is also an import skill for I Liq Chuan's sticky hand training; matching the rotation allows you to maintain a flat point of contact. A flat point means the opponent has no pivot point. Without a pivot point, you can change. A pivot point is "yin/yang" or full and empty at the point. 

Join me live every week for I Liq Chuan online here:

 Now you can join me for I Liq Chuan classes from Tempe, or wherever you are in the world online.  Choose a time from the calendar below and RSVP!