Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Class information

Thanks to all for the class inquiries.

Maybe the best way to tell you what we do in my classes is to tell you why I started teaching or what led me to do so. I studied all kinds of martial arts when I lived in the US like Taekwondo, karate, aikido, judo, and thai boxing. I always felt like I was pretty good, but there were plenty of people better and I kind of leveled off and stopped improving somewhat. When I came to Taiwan, I studied wing chun under a famous teacher. I went there 6 times a week for about 3 years slowly improving. I liked wing chun but I just didn't think many of the wing chun people I met had ever actually fought or could even really defend themselves. I then totally changed my approach when i got injured and changed my way of thinking about wing chun and fighting and the basic way we control our bodies. This changed everything. Suddenly, I got better very quickly and everything was easy and relaxing. I spent the next 3 years trying to teach the other people I trained with how to do it but I met with a lot of resistance. I got bored and began studying jujitsu and going around to other martial arts schools and trying to find people that were skilled. I couldn't find exactly what I was looking for and a couple of people asked me to teach them.

I started teaching them about 8 years ago and I wasn't a very good teacher. I just tried to tell people what I was doing. Then I tried a different way and experimented while I tried to improve my understanding of everything related to movement, interaction, and fighting. Now, my classes are going very well and the students are seeing a lot of improvements.

So what the heck are we doing? The best way I can say it is that to do any athletic endeavor from basketball to marital arts to dancing well, there is a "natural" or athletic way to control your body. 99% people use an inefficient or "unnatural" way. What we do in my classes is first learn how to move this way. Then, we learn how to have physical interactions and the basic principles that work in interactions from wrestling to dancing. Then we learn to fight. Here we start with chisao from traditional wing chun because it is a great exercise when done properly. Then we move on to the whole spectrum of fighting but in such a way that it gets into the body and becomes instinctive.

For those interested in the classes, I can guarantee that you will learn some very interesting or amazing things about how the body and interaction works. I can't guarantee that you will get in great shape very quickly. The beginning stuff has to be done slowly so that you don't revert to old habits. After a couple of months the pace will pick up greatly and it will become better exercise in the traditional sense. The stuff you learn will apply to the way you walk, the way you play music and dance and many other areas. While we will talk about this stuff occassionally, we concentrate on fighting.

Also, as far as learning to fight or practical skills, that will be fairly slow as well, the easiest way to get up to speed quickly if you want to defend yourself is take about 6 months of thai boxing or wrestling. What we do will take a little more time, but will totally change the way you move and/or fight. I am not trying to make people fighters, I am trying to make them incredibly talented fighters. That isn't easy so, depending on the person, it can take some time.

As for other stuff, I have around 12 students right now. Two-thirds have studied many forms of martial arts for many years and most of the others have no experience and sometimes little interest in fighting in general (they like the movement stuff). We are all very laid back and joke around a lot and all get along well. We all love martial arts and talking about stupid stuff but really can't stand hippie dippie qi talk and arguments about which style can kick ass or lineage or any other kungfu nerd type stuff. We are just regular guys and girls.

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