using Chen Style Taijiquan
Grabbed From Behind
i. Being attacked from behind in the street is something that many women are aware could happen. Fig 1
Our attacker grabs the me around the neck and pulls me backwards. I must stay calm, not panic and not fight against his strength. Fig 2
Fig 3a iii. Following the pull, I step back with him and use an elbow to strike him forcibly in the abdomen. This halts the attacker and gives me a chance to defend myself. Fig 3a & b
The elbow strike causes the attacker to lean forwards, this gives me space to relax my waist move in closer and bring my arm around and behind his shoulder. Fig 4
I follow this through, continuing to turn my waist while bringing my arm forward and down. At the same time I sweep my leg backwards slightly. Fig 5a & b f
f vi. This completely breaks my attacker's balance and as he was moving forwards, he falls to the ground. Now I have a head start in escaping. Fig 6
This technique relies on maintaing the forwards momentum of the attacker following the elbow strike and also getting closer to the attacker. This makes it easier to control his centre of gravity. To begin with practise this slowly so as not to hurt your training partner..
Being attacked with a bottle is something that could happen in the street, but sadly also in the home by people we know. There is a saying that you should never start a row in the kitchen as there are too many dangerous implements to hand.
i. An attacker approaches me with a knife or bottle. Again it is important not to panic, but to try and stay as calm and as alert as I can. Fig 7
ii. As he steps forwards and brings the bottle down, I step to the side to get out of the path of it. I make contact with his arm and follow the forward and downward momentum of his strike. Fig 8
iii. I keep contact with his arm and circle it up and behind him. Fig 9
iv. The movement must come from my waist, as I circle my arm over his shoulder and continue taking my arm down so that he falls away from me. Fig 10
This technique again uses the opponent's forward momentum and uses his strength to make him fall. It is important to make your movement smooth and use your whole body together, rather than just your arm by Kate Britton
Attacked by a Bottle
Splish, splash! I was having a bath around about Saturday night. Rub-a-dub-dub, just sitting in the tub, thinking everything was alright. But it wasn't, because I couldn't find the soap.
Although it is an inanimate object, soap seems to have an elusive nature, which is not easy to seek out or grasp, almost to the point where you start to think it has a life of it's own and is just playing dead, waiting for the right time to escape. You feel around for the soap and feel your hand brush past it, so you quickly twist your wrist around and backtrack, but it's gone. So, you search about some more, and there it is. You make a lunge, thinking you've got it as your hands close on it and squeeze, but it shoots away to the other end of the bath, or in some cases out of the bath, never to be seen again.
Of course, a bar of soap is not alive, no matter how much you might imagine it. When you practise Chi Sou in Wing Chun, it is often like trying to grasp the soap. You search around your partner's hands feeling for a gap, and then, when you find one, and try and pass through it, it is gone. So, you turn and try looking for another angle or change the hand technique, and there it is, you have them. You strike, but they escape again. How is this possible, as you had them right where you wanted?
When you search around for the soap in the bath, as you move ^ your hands through the water, you will create undercurrents that will push the soap away from you. This is the same in Chi Sou. If you are too strong you will push your partner away. They will sense the heavy currents as such, and move away. Equally, if you are too soft, you will be vulnerable to attack. So, in order to achieve what you want, it is necessary to become balanced just like the porridge, chair, and bed in the story of Goldie Locks and The Three Bears - not too hot or cold; not too hard or soft, just right.
Finding the soap is one thing, and holding it in your hand is another. You have tracked it down, and now you are ready to claim the reward, but as you try to close upon it, it is gone again. In your eagerness to grasp the reward of your hard work, any element of surprise is lost, or any advantage you may have had is gone. This is the same when practising Chi Sou. Through a more balanced approach, you may have your training partner into a trapped position where you feel you can surely strike, but when you do so they get away, and all you're left with is frustration and a return ticket to Square One. In your eagerness to get what you want, you have pushed it away, and all your hard work has been wasted. It has been thrown away because when you came to the finish, your patience went, and you used too much force and movement, even though you had them
Martin Gale (right) tests Simon Frankham's hand position with his Fuk Sau (Resting Hand).
right where you wanted. As you broke cover, if they had enough calmness and stillness (which is the most important thing learnt whilst practising Siu Lim Too), then you could find yourself now being the one falling into a trap.
Siu Lim Too teaches you to be still and calm, not only in the body, but in the mind. Siu means small and Lim means to think. Together, they mean to or reduce the thoughts. Be still then with a clear and focused mind and you can achieve what you set out to do. When you get to the point where your goal is in sight, you must maintain the same stillness. For example, if you use a 3/4 beat to get in reach of your goal, then don't suddenly double your tempo. Try to keep your beat whilst upsetting the rhythm of your opponent.
To find out whether or not you can reach your goal, get a training partner and have them cross their arms with their fingers pointing towards the ground, flat across their body. Then, place a bar arm across their arms, as if you managed to close them into this position. Then with both of you standing still, try to strike towards them and see if they can escape. More than likely, they will be able to avoid the strike by turning with a Gon Sou or by stepping back. The reason they escape is because you were both standing still when you attacked and they felt you move because they remained relaxed and still. So, if you are the person who is trapped, the lesson is to remain calm, with a still mind. Then, when you are attacked, you will stand a better chance of being able to escape.
N ow, t ry the same exercise, but this time the person who is trapped must try to move first. When they do so, see if you make a successful strike or restrict their movement just a little bit more. This time, you will probably be more successful in accomplishing your goal, as long as you stay the one who is calm with a still mind. Wait for your opponent to struggle and be just like a snake which wraps itself around its prey, slowly taking all its space away.
Whichever side you look at the situation, either trapped or as the trapper, the important part is the stillness within that creates the balance. To continue to chase the soap around the bath is pointless - just let it go, and it will settle and come back to you by Martin Gale. [email protected]
When we travel, it is not always so easy to keep to a regular practice schedule and so many times I will just practise whenever there is a spare moment and often this is late at night after class or after working in the office. I actually like practising outside at night a lot. There is a stillness about it that is very calming but there is also a magic that is hard to describe.
The other day I saw a Hawaiian landscape painting in a gallery which showed the mountains cascading down to the sea. A full moon shone through the waves as they broke against the shore. The whole painting had an ethereal feel to it and I said to my friend who was with me, "That painting describes exactly the feeling I have when I practise Qigong at night."
Night time is usually the ending part of the day and so it has a different energy than when practising in the morning. Morning practice is more high energy and helps to prepare you for the day ahead. Here in Hawaii, I feel very connected with nature when I see the stars and moon above me. There is a beach park nearby and it is nice to go there on hot evenings to feel the ocean breezes. As I practise, I can watch the evening drifting in over the mountains and the stars begin to appear. It is almost like a meditation in itself.
However, if travelling, it usually means that I am in London or Manchester and that work has been using up a lot of my energy stores and so it is Chun Yuen Quan that I am more likely to practise at night.
When I was last in the UK, one evening I came back from the office quite late and I decided not even to go inside but to practise right there and then. I knew that if I stepped inside the door, it would be just too tempting to drop onto the sofa or make a cup of tea and get side-tracked. Actually, this is my habit. Instead, if I just practise before going inside, even for just ten minutes, I will feel much better and not carry in my negative energy (not only good for health but for keeping relationships harmonious!).
That night, it was actually a mild evening and it was great to feel my body recharging and changing the old Qi for good Qi. I went through the forms of Xing Shou, Green Swallow, Great Sadness onto the more softer Mi Ju Quan
(Secret Ancestor Fist). Mi Ju Quan (pronounced mee-joo) is an interesting form and can actually be practised with either two or four people by creating a moving formation going in opposite and then facing directions.
When I saw Wu Sigong doing this form for the first time and then my Sifu,
I was captured by its rhythmical movements that I wanted It is that i ing very just
dance-like and knew to learn it. soft form like practis-Qigong. It stands out amongst the other more energetic forms in the Chun Yuen Quan syllabus and it works gently on the shoulder joints and very just
Sure enough, I saw my arms were not straight when they should be straight and that my right hook was too low. I also saw that my feet were too close together in some postures and this also put too much weight on one side of my body.
Often when I practise some skill, I will relate in my heart to that particular Sigong or my Sifu. Often I will even have a conversation with them (in heart talks there are no language barriers) and this night as I practised, I talked in my mind to Wu Sigong. I asked for his help so that I might see and correct my mistakes. I want nothing more than to be able to pass on the good Chun Yuen skill to my own students yet I know I am not the best by any means and that I have so much work to do.
Trying to relax and let myself go as I moved from one posture to another,
"I found that I had a perfect shadow image mirroring me.
h challenges your brain coordination. Now, whenever I practise this form, I still can visualise Wu Sigong's 'light gong' stepping and hear Sifu's voice in my head chanting, "Da San Bo" (Big Three Steps) or "Xiao San Bo" (Small Three Steps) the same as when he taught me.
On this night, as I was practising Mi Ju, I found that I had a perfect shadow image mirroring me and it was because of this that I saw the imbalance of my posture. I had just remarked to someone that my hip had been hurting me and now I could see from my shadow that I was concentrating my weight too much on my left side. I carried on with my form to see what else I might learn.
I felt like I was in a dance with a partner. I marvelled that I had never noticed these things before and felt humbled that maybe, just maybe, I had had a partner for this evening of practice.
I suppose that when we look in a mirror, we often see too many details -some pertinent and some not - whereas a shadow is like a cordial. It is the distilled essence of our form and it is easier to see the principle things like right posture and stance. On a martial art programme a Japanese Ninja master said, "Learning skill is not just about technique. It is about the heart." I believe that if we just open ourselves, there is still so much to be learned and enjoyed in this dance of life by Sihnkei. [email protected]
Since primeval times, our ancestors were forced to fight in order to eat and survive and flee from predators and wild beasts that were too big, too strong or too dangerous to confront. Thus, fear, or the fight-or-flight response', was a common everyday occurrence.
!i ing o to Fear us naturally honed instinct, to survive life-threatening situations by all means necessary, remains with us today. Though daily incidents of violence and danger are remote today, the fear sensation exists during confrontations with spiteful bosses, abusive partners, and during physical confrontations on the street.
During moments of fear, adrenaline (stress hormones released from the adrenal glands) floods the bloodstream, in preparation for 'fight-or-flight'. This makes the body perform better, stronger, and faster, and even blocks pain receptors in the brain. The more demanding the situation, the more adrenaline is accumulated and released, the greater the performance output, and the harder it is to control.
When adrenaline is released in the body, the legs begin to quiver and feel weak, the voice develops a distinctly audible tremor, palms become sweaty and the face becomes pale as blood and Qi sinks and drains. Nausea, the need to urinate, and "tunnel vision", are also commonly associated experiences. Oxygen is needed to feed the muscles in preparation for 'fight-or-flight', so breathing, too, becomes laboured.
This collective feeling is so common yet misunderstood, as people become overwhelmed by it, and in panic, they freeze. Actually this feeling is nothing of which to be ashamed: it must be acknowledged so that it can be controlled and used to advantage. Even battle-hardened soldiers say that a soldier claiming to know no fear in battle is either a liar or completely mad. Cus D'Amato, Mike Tyson's former trainer, once said, "A fighter has to know fear". Identifying the external signs in an opponent, while disguising them within yourself, increases the chances of victory, which may one day save your life. (Psychological advantage and deception, is two thirds of the battle won.)
The fear sensation, paradoxically, creates an unparalleled feeling of 'aliveness', creating an addiction within some people to chase thrills, from rollercoasters and bungee jumping, to gambling, to watching horror films, and even visiting 'haunted houses'. Fear weakens the kidneys, which in turn creates more fearfulness and the propensity to experience fright more readily.
Anticipation fear (anxiety and dread) causes adrenaline to be released more slowly over time than a sudden fright. The feeling is not as intense as when adrenaline courses through the body, but it drains Qi from the body.
Looming competition, examinations,
planned confrontations and public speaking (for many) all cause this feeling. When adrenaline is not used up, it remains as an unwanted stimulant preventing sleep. Meditation is a useful tool in preparation for events as it helps gain control of the mind (which governs Qi) and conserves energy, and it replaces Qi and helps to calm down afterwards.
Fear is contagious. Within crowds it can cause panic to spread like a plague or wild fire. Laozi, in the Dao De Jing wrote, "What all men fear, I too must fear - how barren and pointless a thought!" Irrational fears are a disease of the mind, a delusion, as most fears are never realised no matter how much they are dwelled upon. Fear is borne of ignorance, so wisdom through knowledge is the natural antidote to this. Fear (of losing property, possessions, power, status, and career etc.) is the root of jealousy, paranoia, and hatred. It is also a principal cause of murder. Therefore, it is the root cause of much misery we create for ourselves.
Common phobias range from fear of pain, abandonment (solitude), death, the dark, ghosts, the cold, and foreigners, to various animals, insects, spiders, reptiles and mice, to technology and computers, to public speaking (which actually outranked death, according to a U.S. study in 2002!), to heights, crowds, or confined spaces, to speed- to name a few. More uncommon phobias include fear of dolls, puppets, and ventriloquists dummies to beggars, clowns and time (clocks).
Fear of failure, success, humiliation and ridicule, or consequences prevents us from accomplishing our full potential. In the Art of War, Sun Tzu said, "If you know yourself and know your enemy you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles". Knowing yourself is to understand that the enemy resides within and the battlefield is society.
Qigong strengthens the body internally to balance with nature so we do not need fear the elements, and it brings up the spirit. Martial arts and Hard Qigong skills are tools to protect us, so we need not fear physical attacks. Real power lies not in controlling others, but in controlling ourselves. Our individual fears must be identified, confronted, overcome and eradicated, so we are free to live our lives. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
by Adam Wallace. [email protected]
The final part of our look at how the garden or lack of one effects your Feng Shui and so your life's energy.
A garden to the right is more beneficial for the lady of the house.
A garden to the left is more beneficial for the man of the house.
The "left or "right" of the house is determined by standing in the house and looking out
21 If you have a garden to the left of your house, then it means the men in the house will be more relaxed than the ladies.
22 If the garden is on the right hand side, then the opposite will be true and the ladies will be more relaxed than the men.
23 If there is a garden at the front, then the house has good financial support.
24 If the garden is at the back it means the family can have relaxing times together and their relationship will be good.
25 If the garden is very clear and tidy with beautiful flowers and plants, then it means the family has good finances, career and relationships.
26 If the garden is very messy, dirty and has a lot of dying plants it means the people living there have financial and relationship problems.
27 If the garden attracts a lot of birds and small animals then it means the people of the house will be healthy and happy.
28 If the garden does not attract and birds or small animals, then the family in the house might have health problems and so of course they will not be happy.
29 If the garden has a lot of blooming flowers, it means the family are very romantic and have a good relationship. If a single man or woman lives there, then they will have a relationship very soon.
30 If the plants in the garden die very quickly, it means the people there will have health problems.
31 If the garden has a lot of plants, so many that there is no space to walk, it means the people will be very busy or they may not have enough rest.
32 If the garden has a lot of big trees in it, then the family will have a lot of outside support.
33 If the garden has trees that have been cut down it means that someone will have a health or finance problem.
34 If there are many dying or cut down trees in the garden, then the people living in the house will have more health and finance problems.
35 Each tree or plant represents luck for the house. The more healthy the trees and plants, then the more healthy, happy and rich the people living there will be.
36 If the garden has a fish pond, it means good finances.
37 If there are a lot of happy fish in the pond, then the people will have a good family life.
38 If the fish die before they become big, then the people in the house will not be healthy and they will have secret problems outside that they do not know about.
39 If the fence around the garden is quite high so that outside people cannot see in, then it means the family will be protected from outside people.
40 If the fence is broken, it means money and security is not good and money can be lost.
The Feng Shui of the garden is very important and so we must take care of it as it relates to our health. Even if you do not have a garden, you must have some public space or park nearby. This will be good for your health and wisdom.
Even a small garden needs to be taken care of and then we can use it when we have leisure time and enjoy being in it. Then we will never be under too much stress and so we will be healthier. A healthy body will bring us luck and success by Michael Tse
Green Dragon Sword
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