Monday, May 23, 2016

A Story Of Personal Transformation Through Martial Arts

Martial arts like Kung Fu are associated as much with character building and personal development as they are with self defense.

In this week's video blog post I share a personal story of my own experience of personal transformation as a result of my kung fu training.

The night before my first full contact fight I had a profound realization that changed how I look at martial arts and those I train with forever.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Coaches Corner - Push Hands Tips

 In this week's on the mats I'm going to introduce a new channel segment called Coach's Corner as we take a look at some competition Push Hands footage coming up right after this.

Troy was that my mini seminar in La last month and asked me on Facebook to take a look at video of him doing some competitive Push Hands in the Pasadena California ICMAC tournament in participating in last month and give them my feedback.

First of all props to you Troy for stepping out on the Mast test your skills I think that always has to be said and you did awesome if you're not familiar with competition Push Hands it can vary wildly depending on the rules set and who's judging but in this case the rules were pretty free so it was essentially like a nogi Judo match.

First thing I'm going to offer some critical feedback based on my background in I Liq Chuan, which is entirely principle-based and Troy already received lots of tactical suggestions on Facebook so we're going to focus mostly on body mechanics as opposed to any individual technique and then I want to end the video on a positive note by pointing out three really nice moves I spotted by Troy.

The first tip I want to offer is to make better use of the wrist as opposed to the hand for control which is one of the things I talked about when I was in LA. I caught a couple of times where your hand was laying flat on the opponent's arm and he was able to use it against you.  Maintaining the wrist as the point of contact will help you keep that as a pivot point.

 The second tip is getting more comfortable with the lower hand and our lower hand sticky hand drills can definitely help with that. To me it looks like you spent a lot of time and energy just trying to fight for the upper hand position. Working on getting a little better at being able to control your opponent from the lower hand wood go a long way especially when a much larger opponent is basically just posting out on you like we see several times and your match.

Lastly I would work on maintaining the alignment of the shoulders and the hips a little more which we would talk about under the 13 points or the balance of yin yang, but we see here where you move either the hips or the shoulders first, as opposed to both together, winding in and out of the feet, really compromising the position of the spine and limiting your ability to transfer power from the ground to your opponent or vice versa.

 On a positive note I was really impressed with how you managed to avoid what in kung fu they call a creeping or osoto gari in Judo despite being totally caught up in the double underhooks, which I think is actually called a Whizzer and wrestling if I recall correctly.

Secondly there's a point in the first round where you'll end up with your back turned to the opponent and you use a very bagua kind of stepping and turning to reorient yourself quickly and prevent your opponent from taking advantage of your back and lastly, I thought you did a very nice job of controlling your opponent's arm early in the first round preventing him from getting that half guillotine after your failed single leg attempt.

That's it for this week's on the mats and our first edition of Coach's Corner. Would you like some feedback on one of your videos? Hit me up on Twitter at lawyer going through or drop a comment below and as always thanks for watching and subscribing and I'll see you guys next time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Martial Arts Techniques - The Arm Drag

 What's up, YouTube. Welcome back. In this week's On The Mats I want to show you three variations of a classic grappling technique - the arm drag.

 I said I wanted to show you guys three, count 'em, three, three fingers - three variations of the arm drag. I know that commonly the arm drag is used to set up a follow-up take down, so a classic arm drag basically would be done as a cross-body arm drag. Where you're gonna grab the tricep and pull the arm across your opponent's body. 
Control the wrist, grab the tricep, pull the arm across the body.

So these are three variations of the arm drag that aren't quite strictly like a grappling or wrestling-style arm grab. From the background I train in, I Liq Chuan, we wanna try and have everything be spherical but before you can be spherical you break it down. Sphere has x, y, z - three axis (that's two axis?) so when you break things down that way you wind up with different planes - horizontal, front and saggital. I want to show you one application of arm drag from each of the different planes. Frontal is up and down, left and right. This cross-body arm drag is already frontal. As said in the beginning of the video usually an arm drag by itself is not a finishing move so you're gonna follow up with something.

Most of the time you're using the arm drag as a follow up for some kind of take down. From the arm drag, the opponent's body still turns and you can see how it affects his balance, too, we're gonna come in for some head control. We still want to control the hip and just shoot in to control the head. From here, we just follow through and they're gonna break right over. Once you get that hip control, follow through with some head control and they'll go right down. Or, from the arm drag here, you're gonna step in with your opposite leg and use the elbow, put the elbow into the collar bone to take down from there.

 The next variation that I want to talk about is sagittal. Saggital is up and down, forward and backward. On this one you need to threaten your partner's face. If you don't threaten their face, they won't.. if they're not responding to the threat you can pretty much do what you want anyway, so we're assuming that they're trying to defend themselves, in which case you want to threaten their face. There's your up. Down, you're gonna grab the tricep and step back with the body weight. And see you see from here they're off balance, lock...[push].

 The third variation that I wanna show you is horizontal. On this horizontal variation, from the outside we're gonna scoop the hand in, come up to the elbow for control, and push the arm out and away from the body. I'll show it again from this side. Pass the hand over, drag and push that arm out away from the body. When you use a little force on that, it's a nice attack to the elbow. A nice little joint lock.

 We want to build towards a progressively more free application of that so from just practicing the move a few times to get the feel of it. Now, like I said in our background, I Liq Chuan, [a lot of things we use from the spinning hands, so we're gonna start spinning and practice from there. And from spinning, more sticky. Alright, so that's it for this week's On The Mats. I hope you guys enjoyed it. If you did, go ahead and hit that subscribe button down below, or click the 'i' for other video suggestions. Thanks for watching. I'll see you next time.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Martial Arts Round Table Discussion | Vlog #24 [VIDEO]

Ashe-What's up, youtube. In this weeks' video blog post, I've got a very special guest for you.

Prince-Coming up right after this.

Ashe-What's up, youtube and welcome back to another installment in my video blog series. In this week's video blog I'm here with Prince Bell a.k.a. Urban Acolyte. He's got two awesome youtube channels: first one is Urban Acolyte tv and the next one is bad mofo's movie review channel. Look at the video description below for links or go ahead and click on the i up there, I'll point you right to those. Prince is in town this week because we had my sifu out here, Grand Master Sam Chin. And so we had an I Liq Chuan workshop, Prince came out to join us and that's what we're going to talk a little bit about. Just rap a little bit and get Prince's feedback from what he thought about the weekend.

This is your second weekend.. second weekend workshop with Sifu, right?


Ashe-So, first of all I should say thank you for coming on the channel with me.

Prince-Well, I'm a fan, so.

Ashe-One of two. So, what did you think? How did it go for you?

Prince- I thought it was pretty awesome. It's always good to see >>>>Sigong<<<<<(?) and touch hands with him, kind of gauge my improvement. This time I didn't fall on my face immediately after I touched him, but I liked the talk that we did Friday and getting to see sifu ruey.  I was watching him thinking, "Man, if I can move like that when I get to be Ruey's age like that's... that's a bonus of studying this art. He's still ... and he's spry and up here, the stuff he's talking about. The tao, and zen and his insights. That.. I wish I was out here to hang with him more even though he lives in BFE.

Ashe- Practically New Mexico. So, you and I are kind of into a lot of the same things: we're both into kettlebells, we're both into fitness, we're both into martial arts, we're both into meditation. Of course I'm a fan of your channel, too, but we've known each other on Facebook a long time so that's why I was excited to have you out here for the weekend and to be able to shoot a couple of videos together. Basically, what's in it for you?

Prince-The weekend, or training?

Ashe- All of it.

Prince-Uh, well, I'm doing a real life Jedi series and when I started Urban Acolyte, the Urban Acolyte brand, the whole idea was I was out on the street working my security job I used to have and thinking I want to do something.. at the time I was reading all these Star Wars books, getting over my grandma's passing, and I said, "I like this whole Jedi thing. How can I be like the Jedi in real life?" and for me it was the I Liq Chuan path, it was the most direct way. Somebody made a meme saying, "I used to want to be a Jedi but then I started training I Liq Chuan." And there's Sigong, a silhouette of him. You know, we've got the meditation. Sigong told me a four years ago, when people get to level 4 (well now he says 5), you can't advance unless you meditate. You have to do the meditation, it's part of the curriculum. And for me I was like that is what a Jedi is about. You have to do the meditation or the whole code... it makes no sense. Being one with the force and letting it guide your actions, you have to meditate. But you also have to do the physical training. You have to put in sweat equity. And I said well, with the fitness, I got that. Meditation, I need help with that. Yeah, I know how to sit down and meditate, but I need somebody or a system to help me go deeper and to give me a reason to go deeper. You want better kung fu? You gotta meditate. And then an actual system. To me this feels like the best art. I don't need to go to China and study Yi Quan with Mandrin teachers that don't really speak English, nothing against them, but why go to China if I can stay home, in the USA and there's good training here. And that's for anybody. You don't need to look to China or any other country. There's other people here. You just may not know about them.

Really, you know what really sold me was actually the first time I saw Sigong in person because when I'd seen him on youtube before, I didn't understand his >>>>>Fajin.<<<<<< When I think he demonstrated on some guys in Russia and the video is not good quality, and it looked like he just tapped a guy and I don't remember.. there's one of you, he tapped you and you had a bruise. There were some guys in Russia, some pretty big dudes, and it didn't really look like he did anything and I used to say... look at his size. He's stronger than the people he's practicing with and then when I actually saw him, how fast he can move and when I touched him. To me, he didn't do anything. Just stood there like this and I got ready to spin and I just felt like I was falling in a hole. And he didn't do anything and I know I'm not hypnotized because I don't play that game. So there's something to this. Before then I was just kind of on the outside, looking in, like 'what are they doing?' and 'this seems pretty cool'. [5:58 Something about doing stuff] with you and other teachers online but never really experienced it to that degree. so now I want to know how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Ashe- I think that was one of the things that hooked me on I Liq Chuan y'know because I said in some other videos, I wanted to do something.. I wanted the whole package. I didn't just want to do the martial art. I wanted something that was going to have a philosophy behind it, concepts behind it. I wanted something that was going to be able to lead into or be a foundation for a whole way of life. Not just something you would just do a couple times a week and then that's it or you just do it on the mats and when you step off, you leave it all there. So that's why I was looking for something like I Liq Chuan and I knew that's why I wanted to Chinese martial arts because.. go check out our Facebook page for I Liq Chuan. We're going to have some video coming out of my Sifu, Prince's Sigong, talking a lot more about some of this life philosophy and anyway, in one of these videos he's going to be talking about the true purpose of kung fu and that it's more than just fighting. So that's why I knew I wanted to do a kung fu but at the same time I didn't just want to be dancing, I didn't want to be waving my hands around in the air. I wanted to do something real. And so I had questions and that's when I heard about Ruey. I went to meet Ruey and y'know, I like to say I'm a big guy (not with a capital b, but I'm still kind of a big guy) and Ruey is little. He's real skinny and he tossed me around like a rag doll.

So it was like I had questions, he had answers. He could touch hands and show where the rubber meets the road. So that's when I knew that this is real. It had everything. It's got the philosophy behind it that's going to lead into, show you how to understand yourself, understand your life and find a little bit of peace with that understanding. If not to the full degree 'well now I'm going to reach enlightenment' but at least in a practical sense, like I said, it is going to help you understand things a bit better, have that better perspective that gonna bring more peace in your life. But also had the skills behind it. I knew I wasn't going to be wasting my time when it came to 'okay now pow. I can touch hands'. I can show. So that's why for me I've been doing this for fifteen years now and no end in sight. For me, because I don't know about you, of course you started as a young man in your 20's, I'm 40 now so I'm not totally preoccupied with just being a badass anymore. So now that I'm a bit older, I'm not training just for fighting not that I was at the beginning, but in the beginning my emphasis was still mostly on fighting.

Now that I'm older, I've been doing this for a long time because it's like really, if you're learning something effective, right, it comes back to that 10,000 hours thing. You don't need to be 10,000 hours just to be proficient, you only need 200 hours. You want to learn how to fight, a 6 week intensive class should teach you the basics on how to punch, how to kick, right? Some basic entries for things. Boom. Self defense; done. That fast. Then you want to be a decent fighter especially in a sport martial art context; three years. Tops. 18 months and you should be ready. Competitive at least, right, to start entry level competitiveness. So learning how to fight - done. Quick. So why am I still doing it 15 years later? It's because it's like, what the heck was that box called from that horror movie... with Pinhead. What the heck was it called? [Prince hasn't seen it.] But the point is that it's like an endless puzzle. It's like the further you go, the more there is to go and that's why it still interests me [ILC] because it requires such a high degree of coordination and in order to have that coordination you have to have that super high degree of attention, awareness of yourself, that concentration and then you can turn that back on yourself to study your own thoughts, your own feelings on things. Why do I react that way? Why do I react this way? And then, for lack of a better way to put it, if we want to get into the whole karma thing and the wheel of samsara that's another thing, getting deep into the philosophy. But for my level of understanding, my level of perception, my vision doesn't go that far. For me I've got right now. I've got one life to live and no matter what, even if we had multiple lives, like next life I'm not going to be me. I got one shot at this right now, this formation of me. I want to make the most of it. I'm trying to do it right.

Alright, guys, that's it for this week's video blog. I want to thank Prince for coming on the video with me. Again, if you want to check out his channel, look in the video description below or click the i for links. Thanks for watching. I'll catch you guys next time.