Sunday, December 20, 2015

Concentration, Breathing & Posture

This blog post comes in the form of a video I found on Facebook recently of Japanese Master Tetsutaka Sugawara Sensei.

Sugawara Sensei is an accomplished master of several martial arts, including Katori Shinto Ryu (a Japanese sword art) and Aikido, as well as Chinese Qigong and Tai Chi.

The premise of the clip is Sugawara Sensei's thoughts on the role martial arts can play in modern times.

What immediately caught my interest was Sugawara's use of slow movements and his discussion on concentration and awareness as a primary benefit of martial arts practice.

 "Attentive self awareness can change our lives." Sugawara says.

It reminded me of GM Sam Chin and the time he said "I believe all great masters come to the same conclusion."

 Sugawara also makes note of martial arts practice serving as a catalyst for bringing people together and forming communities.

For me personally, based on my experience as a long time student of I Liq Chuan, I couldn't agree more, particularly in the 21st Century and the age of social media, when the reach of our connections has spread across the globe, but the depth of those connections has decreased by equal measure.

Martial arts can serve as a crucible, to not only bring people together, in real time, but to get them to touch, forging real, immediate, human connection. Something that is sorely lacking in many lives today.

Interview with Sensei Tetsutaka Sugawara
Interview with Sensei Tetsutaka Sugawara
Posted by Keiko Harcművészeti Akadémia on Saturday, December 12, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Martial Arts Classes Tempe Parks Rec - February 2016

Registration is now open for our February classes with Tempe Parks & Rec.

Go to and look for us by our course number 47176 beginning January 14th, 2016.

Since this is a new program with the City, it's being offered on a month to month basis, so for the time being, we will need to repeat this process every month.

Falling Leaves Kung Fu is a licensed I Liq Chauan school in Tempe, AZ. We focus exclusively on I Liq Chuan, The Martial Art of Awareness.

If you're in the East Valley area of Phoenix (Tempe, Mesa, Chandler) and would like to try out our martial arts classes, please call (602) 751-7003 take advantage of our new student offer!

Become a member of our Tempe, AZ martial arts classes by taking advantage of our new student special!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Fajin Series #3 - Middle

This is the third installment in our fajin training series (click here for part one and here for part two).

Over the last few installments I've talked a bit about the ability to fajin in six directions.  Martial arts training needs to develop this kind of ability because in a fight, opponents have the nasty habit of being unpredictable, and worst of all, uncooperative.  I talked in part one about "holding on to your center" while you generate power.  This kind of skill comes from being physically neutral, or maintaining what GM Sam Chin calls "tai chi body and tai chi movement" (tai chi point is the last part of the equation btw). You could say that physically, the chamber is loaded, ready to fire. Mentally neutral maintains a state of readiness and uncertainty that allows you to pull the trigger at the right time.

In this installment, we cover a partner drill to develop and apply  short power to the middle direction, which is essentially a downward application of force (this entry continues below video).

One new element I cover in this video is developing a lot of ligament and tendon strength in the wrist and it's role in short power.  GM Sam Chin once told me "you must train your first section (the wrist) until it is stronger than your opponents 3rd section (body).  If your first section is already more powerful than their third section, what do they have left?"

Being able to generate a lot of force using only the snapping of the wrist is an important part of I Liq Chuan's overall method (don't get it twisted and think I mean that we're not using the whole body as a unit overall, simply that power from the ligaments and tendons of the wrist must be maximized).

If you'd like to support this blog, click the "Shop" link in the menu and pick yourself up some of our martial arts swag!

Falling Leaves Kung Fu is a licensed I Liq Chauan school in Tempe, AZ. We focus exclusively on I Liq Chuan, The Martial Art of Awareness.

If your in the East Valley area of Phoenix (Tempe, Mesa, Chandler) and would like to try out our martial arts classes, please call (602) 751-7003 take advantage of our new student offer!

Become a member of our Tempe, AZ martial arts classes by taking advantage of our new student special!

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Our Martial Arts Classes Are Now Offered Through The City Of Tempe Parks & Rec

City Of Tempe

Classes will begin INDOORS at the Clark Park Rec Center beginning January 5th, 2016!  This is a huge step forward for our program and I hope to see lots of growth next year.  Not only will our classes be listed in the Tempe's course guide, but we will have the use of the mats and the bathrooms at the rec center!

What You Need To Know
  • Class fess will increase to $50 per month for everyone!
  • Tuesday and Thursday Classes will begin ONE HOUR EARLIER at 18:00
  • EVERYONE will need to register for class through the City of Tempe
Go to and look for us by our course number 47175 beginning December 14th, 2015.
Since this is a new program with the City, it's being offered on a month to month basis, so for the time being, we will need to repeat this process every month. (Don't worry, I will remind you repeatedly)

Friday, December 04, 2015

Fajin Series #2- Backward

In our second installment discussing training some of our fajin drills with a partner is "backward". (You can watch part one here.)
Being able to produce short, backwards jerking force at a moment's notice is a useful skill in martial arts, allowing you to uproot your opponent and leave then vulnerable to a follow-up attack.
Our martial arts classes are now being offered through the Tempe Arizona department of Parks and

If you like this kind of training, or would like to find out more call us at 6027517003 or use the contact form above to send us an email.

Falling Leaves Kung Fu is a licensed I Liq Chauan school in Tempe, AZ. We focus exclusively on I Liq Chuan, The Martial Art of Awareness.

If your in the East Valley area of Phoenix (Tempe, Mesa, Chandler) and would like to try out our martial arts classes, please call (602) 751-7003 take advantage of our new student offer!
Become a member of our Tempe, AZ martial arts classes by taking advantage of our new student special!

Monday, November 30, 2015

I Liq Chuan Beanies

Price: $20


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Fajin Series #1 - Forward

Part one of a new video series from our martial arts classes here in Tempe, Arizona; partner fajin training

If you'd like to find out more about our Tempe martial arts classes give us a call at 6027517003 or use the contact form above.

Falling Leaves Kung Fu is a licensed I Liq Chauan school in Tempe, AZ. We focus exclusively on I Liq Chuan, The Martial Art of Awareness.

If your in the East Valley area of Phoenix (Tempe, Mesa, Chandler) and would like to try out our martial arts classes, please call (602) 751-7003 take advantage of our new student offer!

Become a member of our Tempe, AZ martial arts classes by taking advantage of our new student special!

Friday, November 13, 2015

New Insights Into Fascia & Martial Arts

This basically a re-post of some earlier clips I released some time ago, but I stumbled across a nice blog post by Tom Meyers, the so called "Father of Fascia", discussing some new insights into how the body creates and transmits force that go far beyond the simple "levers and pulleys" model of days past.

 The particular insight which really caught my attention was the following quote;
 Muscles transmit beyond their attachments via the fascial fabric to structures both proximal and distal. (Myers, Vleeming, Franklin-Miller, et al) 

Students from multiple I Liq Chuan groups training with Tempe martial arts instructor Ashe Higgs.This statement should not be news to students of I Liq Chuan who have direct experience of creating and transferring force through the body structure via the "winding energy" we generate in the tissues.  Coming across the article was timely, as well as interesting, as we were discussing the use of the body tissue in class just last night.  When you learn to wrap the body there's both a personal effect and an interpersonal effect.

The personal effect is a change in the skin tone.  The skin get's tighter, the surface tension of the skin increases as you wrap more layers in the body.  It creates not only better engagement with the point of contact, but also some defensive energy.  The wrapping of many layers creates an effect similar to wearing many layers of clothing when it's cold out.  More layers means more protection, in this case from blows from your opponent.  The increase in surface tension prevents the power from the blows from penetrating to the inner layers of the body where they will do the most harm.  Traditional Chinese martial arts have various training methods for this kind of result and are often referred to as "golden bell" or "iron body" training.

Interpersonal-ly, the effect of the winding increases control over the opponent as you learn to extend the winding out from your own tissue and into your partners.  You essentially learn how to "grab" their skin with your own, and once you've grabbed it, you tighten it to establish what GM Sam Chin calls "the network".

Sifu says "Once you have the network, it's like a spider web, when anything changes, you know.  The line of tension that signals back to the center."

 Coiling Exercise

Become a member of our Tempe, AZ martial arts classes by taking advantage of our new student special!

Call 602-751-7003 to get started today!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Beginner's Meditation Tip - Use Some Cushions

Almost every person who attempts meditation for the first time (or few times) almost invariably discovers one thing very quickly; sitting still can hurt... A LOT.  Especially in modern times where we're used to lounging, slouching and generally sitting with our backs supported most of the time.  Our big "prime mover" muscles are all short and stiff and our postural muscles are all weak.  Consequently, when we try to sit cross legged it's a miserable experience.

Although Im not going to get into the specifics of proper posture in this post, I do want to share with you a simple and easy way to set up some "guerrilla cushions" so you can set yourself up for success.
If you want to sit for 20 or 30 minutes and you can't manage a full lotus, you need to use some cushions, but they can be expensive.  Check out the video clip below to find out how you can get yourself set up for free!

If you would like more in depth instruction or just want some people to practice with in the Tempe, Arizona area give us a call at 6027517003.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Best of 2015!

Thumbtack Best Pro of 2015Great news everybody!  Our Tempe, AZ martial arts classes have been selected as a "Best of 2015" by based on our many great student reviews.

One small error, they said we teach "judo", which we do not, we teach I Liq Chuan, but hey, my dad still asks me "How's your karate going?" after more than 15 years, so I'm assuming that's what they meant.

Check out what our students are saying about us;

3 Classes for $19.99!

Enter your information below to get three classes for just $19.99! New student special. Money back guarantee if you're not completely satisfied.
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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Chinese Martial Arts | Guan Dao - Heavy Weapons For Strength & Power

I've been finding a lot of good martial arts stuff on Facebook lately. Although this kind of strength and conditioning isn't specifically a part of the I Liq Chuan curriculum, most of the higher level guys at Falling Leaves Kung Fu practice some kind of personal conditioning routine on their own, like using kettelbells, Indian clubs and gymnastic exercises.

In the video below, a man named Luo, Dahai demonstrates using a 200 lbs Guan Dao 关刀 (pole arm), talk about ligament and tendon strength! I love seeing these old tigers still getting after it.

The Spanish text says
Luo Dahai belongs to the Hunyuan Wushu school in Shandong, Yuncheng province. He's dedicated his life to the study of traditional martial arts and specializes in the Dadao, or Guan Dao, handles 120kg without trouble at more than 60 [years old].  An expert in Shuaijiao (Chinese wrestling) and self defense.  [Actually] he studied Xingyiquan under Master Zhangping, disciple of Grand Master Zhang, Xigui.

Luo Dahai pertenece a la escuela Hunyuan Wushu, es de la provincia de Shandong, Yuncheng, se ha dedicado una vida al...
Posted by Longhun Wudao Guan - 龙魂武道馆 on Friday, August 28, 2015
Use the coupon above to come try out our Tempe, AZ martial arts classes for just $19.99, or give us a call at (602) 751-7003.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Of Kung Fu & Fortune Cookies

I'm not gonna lie.  Things are tough right now. 

Although I know that coming back to Tempe is going to be the right decision long term, bouncing back and forth across the country has left me pretty much starting over again from the bottom, which at 40, is not easy, but this is why we train martial arts; to have the mindset and the skills to persevere in the face of adversity, and I got a timely reminder of that recently in a fortune cookie (it was the only good thing to come out of the meal as the food was terrible).

I recently had a student from our classes here in AZ ask me
Sifu, I want to ask something. How in the HELL have you kept your heels in the ground with ILC as long as you have? What's kept you from going the easy route? At least in the beginning, when things seem so intangible and downright friggin impossible sometimes?
it's simple. when you want to quit; don't.
It doesn't have to be martial arts, but if you just pick one thing and start there, keep at it no matter how tough it gets, don't quit, don't give up, pretty soon that resolve and determination starts to become a skill you can apply to any area of the rest of your life.

Everything in life is "come /go".  There will be easy times and difficulties. When you find yourself in a tight spot somewhere in your life, if you've developed this kind of attitude, you'll have the tools to deal with it.  Not to mention that some outcomes can only be achieved through long term, relentless grinding.  That's the true meaning of kung fu; effort put in over time, weeks and years.

As they say, "eat bitter to taste sweet", or as I heard someone say more recently "Without the challenges you can never be f*cking awesome!"

Yes, things are tough right now, but they won't always be.  In the mean time, we just keep grinding.
Tough times are easier when you're surrounded by a positive community! Take advantage of the special offer above and get three lessons for just $19.99!

Friday, September 04, 2015

Martial Arts & The Elderly...

You wouldn't think this little old lady could be a martial artist, but just look at how great she does! Don't let your excuses, whether it's age, your weight or other circumstances get in the way of what you want out of life. Sometimes, all you need is to be around the right people to help keep you moving forward. If you'd like some help meeting your goals, we'd love to be a part of your experience!

Uma arte chamada capoeira, só quem pratica entende.Capoeira Movies
Posted by Capoeira Movies on Monday, May 18, 2015

If you'd like to know more about our Tempe, Arizona martial arts classes use the coupon below to take advantage of our special offer or call 315-628-0777 to get started!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Chinese Martial Arts | Culture -Ghost Month

Here in Tempe, Arizona most people are no strangers to the Mexican holiday of Dia De Los Muertos which takes place before Halloween, but did you know that the Chinese have an equivalent holiday on their calendar?

This month, - the gates of hell open- ghosts/spirits come to visit the living world- most Chinese people avoid...
Posted by Chineasy on Friday, August 28, 2015

This month happens to be the "Ghost month" on the Chinese lunar calendar, during which the living mourn the loss of loved ones, although according to my I Liq Chuan kung fu brother Jeff Wong, most people in Chinese culture seldom observe the old customs associated with Ghost Month anymore.

The Ghost Festival (also known as Zhongyuan Festival by Taoists or Yu Lan Pen Festival by Buddhists) is the day to sacrifice to the deceased.

In Chinese culture, it is thought that all ghosts will come out from the hell on the fifteenth day of the seventh lunar month, so the day is called the Ghost Day and the seventh lunar month is the Ghost Month.

In China, people also have the custom of sacrificing the deceased on the Spring Festival, Qingming Festival, and the Double Ninth Festival. But different from these festivals, the Ghost Festival is the day that all ghosts will come out to visit the livings. Also, people only offer sacrifices to their ancestors and relatives on the above festivals, while during the Ghost Festival, besides ancestors and relatives, people will sacrifice to all the ghosts or spirits. The Ghost Festival is regarded as the most important one among all the festivals that sacrificing the deceased.

In honor of the Ghost Month, we offering a short term special on our Tempe, Arizona martial arts classes! Call 315-628-0777 to take advantage of the coupon below.

Service To Others...

Or "What I Learned Serving Tea To Sifu"

If you spend much time learning Chinese martial arts (kung fu), you're sure to be exposed to Chinese culture as a matter of course. (I've written some about this before here.)

One of the most time honored traditions of Chinese martial arts is serving tea to your Sifu and to your seniors in the art.  The practice varies widely from school to school, and in China, from village to village.

Since I recently spent so much time at Sifu's house, naturally I spent a lot of time serving tea! Over the years I experienced a lot of stress trying to make sure Sifu's cup was never empty.

Initially I viewed the practice as one of a) Confucian fealty and b) an exercise in awareness. (Can I keep my attention on Sifu's cup strong enough to notice when it's getting low.)

However, after my most recent trip to Sifu's house I had, what I think, is a revelation;

Serving the tea as a sign of respect for Sifu is only a very superficial level of understanding.  Rather than try to watch Sifu's cup like a hawk, I started to think "if I'm thirsty, maybe Sifu is too.."

"More tea Sifu?"

I think when you look at things this way, you start to see "the other" in yourself more.  I'm starting to see the needs of others in my needs, and trying to use that as an opportunity to be of service to others.

If you'd like to know more about our Chinese martial arts classes in Tempe, Arizona, please call us at 3156280777, to use the coupon below - Just $19.00 for three classes. 100% money back guarantee if you're not completely satisfied!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Excuses Are Like *ssholes...

They all stink!  So many people want to start training martial arts and want to achieve a high level, like a black belt, but never do.  The same goes for working out and getting fit.

I like to say "there's always a reason NOT to do something."  In other words, it's easy to look at a goal and only see the obstacles and use that as your reason to not even start.  If you want to achieve a goal, you have to flip the script, and start looking for the reasons why you SHOULD do something.

This is one of my main goals for our Tempe martial arts classes;  to establish and nurture a community of people who want to develop the best possible physical and mental version of themselves, and support the same in others.

I recently found this great video on Facebook of a man who didn't let his age become an excuse to not start training!

A common reason to not start training in martial arts is age. Len Kovar started training in his late 50s. He is now over 90, and can still hit the mitts. Be Len Kovar. From The UnderGround Training Series.
Posted by on Monday, August 17, 2015

If you'd like to learn more about our Tempe, Arizona martial arts classes call 315-628-0777, or take advantage of our new student special!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Martial Arts Myths Dispelled...

Martial arts movies are a blessing and a curse to martial arts instructors like myself. Although they keep interest in training at a school, like our school here in Tempe, Arizona fresh, new students often come with highly unrealistic ideas of what martial arts training can teach you to do.

I found this great video done by some kids in China that dispels common martial arts myths.

Movie Martial Arts VS Reality - KUNG FU FAQ #1-7Dear friends,As a martial artist, I find I am often asked the same questions over and over. I hear questions like... "Can you fly?", "How many bad guys could you take on?", "What's the best defense against an attack?", and so on... So I thought that I would create an FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) video for everyone. This way the next time you hear these frequently asked questions you know where to direct them.If this compilation of FAQ answers is useful, we hope to create more. So feel free to submit questions you hear the most often and we will add it to our list!Hope you guys are well and keep training hard!Sincerely,Kung Fu FAQ TeamWritten and Produced by: Alfred Hsing ( and Directed by: Van Yang ( thanks to everyone that contributed their time and expertise to our Kung Fu FAQ!
Posted by Kung Fu Bootcamp on Thursday, April 23, 2015
If you'd like to know more about our Tempe, Arizona martial arts classes please call 315-628-0777 and take advantage of our special offer!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Kung Fu & Chinese Culture - The God Of Wealth

One thing that's really great about being back in the Tempe area is access to all the great international cuisine, especially good Chinese food!

If you're a fan of any of these places you've probably noticed some kind of poster or calendar on the wall or maybe a statue that looked like this;

Ever wonder what's going on there?

Well that's Cai Sheng, the traditional Chinese "god of wealth".

For my money, one of the best non-tangible benefits of studying Chinese martial arts (i,e, kung fu) is getting to know another culture up close.  

When I was visiting Sifu recently he gave me a calendar to bring home and when I put it up, my son was asking me what was going on in the image and I actually didn't know, but I reached out to my kung fu brothers and got some answers that I thought I would share with you.
That's Cai Sheng, the God of Wealth, plus a bunch of "Wealth-inviting boys". Think of it as Santa and his Elf helpers.
The green thing in midst the pile of gold is a jade "Ru-yi" to mean things will go as you wish.
The Chinese scrolls is saying "God of Wealth arrives, good fortune comes"
Getting to learn about fun stuff like this is just one of the great benefits of studying a Chinese martial art like I Liq Chuan!

If you'd like to be a part of it, give us a call at 3156280777 to take advantage of our special trial offer!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Right Viewing & Martial Arts

Thich Nhat Hanh quote on attachment to views.

Now that I’m back in the Tempe area, I thought it would be a good time to revive this blog a bit and write about our local martial arts classes more often, or just post either martial arts, or meditation related things that I think are kind of cool, but aren’t necessarily appropriate for my blog on Hopefully, you’ll think they’re cool too and want to come train with us!

I came across a couple of posts (the Thich Nhat Hanh quote above and the video below) on Facebook today that were completely independent of each other, but sort of on the same topic that I thought I would share, because they reminded me of something that is very important to I Liq Chuan (and meditation) which is the concept of “right view”.

Sifu often says “your view is blocking your view!”

“Everyone is right from their own point of view, but what is your reference point for viewing?”

In other words, if you’re looking at a situation from the common point of reference, which is our past experience, then you’re point of view is filtered by the mental feelings of “like and dislike”, and you’re responding and reacting to the situation rather than acting mindfully.

In short, you don’t see things clearly.

In a self defense situation, the dangers of not seeing things clearly should be obvious.

Sifu gave a talk in Poland where he said “I Liq Chuan teaches you to understand [the] condition, [the] situation.  So, if you see a situation of danger, you don’t walk into it—you walk away. Avoid danger. All this is part of the training.
Getting yourself in the proper situation, [is] like feng shui, the Chinese belief of putting things in good coordination so it doesn’t disturb you.  [ex: chair in front of door…over time, will annoy you, affect you.]

I thought the video below was an interesting example of what happens when you use past experience to try and judge a situation [or person].  Like the three blind men arguing about an elephant.


If you would like to check out our Tempe, AZ martial arts classes, give us a call at 315-628-0777 and take advantage of the special offer below!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Mindfulness Of Taste...

All mindfulness meditation has an object and subject.

The object is whatever you focus your attention on and the subject is your consciousness, or what is actually doing the observing.

Most often the thing being observed is the breath, but there can be many different objects to focus on, and in the Zen tradition, one type of meditation is to place a single raisin on the tongue and see how long you can maintain awareness of it there.

This morning I was enjoying a piece of dark chocolate when I realized I'd better get my practice in before everyone else woke up.

Since I had the chocolate in my mouth already I decided to use that as my object of meditation first; watching the bodily sensations due to the dark chocolate (like my heart rate increasing, the range of flavors as the chocolate melted, etc.)

If you would like to learn more about how meditation works with martial arts or would just like to learn more about mindfulness meditation, we're now offering classes in Tempe, Arizona.

Call 315-628-0777 or use the contact form above if you would like more info.