New Heretics Facebook page

Just a quick heads-up. If you want to be notified when a new episode of the Heretics podcast is out I’ve created a Facebook page that you can follow. I think it will act as the ‘Homepage’ for the podcast until we get a website sorted.

So far we’ve managed a new episode every week since we started. The next one will be on… Xingyi.

Link.

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Happy New Year! Here are my most popular Tai Chi Notebook posts from 2018

As we enter 2019, the year of the earth pig, let’s look back on the last year with the most popular posts on this blog each month.

Note: These are based purely on the audience figures, not on being the ‘best’ stories of the year. As such it gives you an interesting picture of what people are searching for, or find most interesting on Tai Chi Notebook.

January:

Old Wu Style Tai Chi video

“A video surfaced recently of an old performance of Wu style Tai Chi from a gentleman called Cheng Wing-Kwong (1903-1967), who was a disciple of the Wu Jian-Quan, the founder of Wu style Tai Chi.”

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February:

How meridians relate to Tai Chi

“I think that somebody doing some background research into “Tai Chi” inevitably ends up looking at a picture of the “acupuncture meridians” and starts to wonder how they relate to Tai Chi Chuan.”

mawdaoyinpos

March:

Wing Chun (Ding Hao) vs MMA (Xu Xiao Dong), in China

“After his fight with the “Tai Chi master” Wei Lei, which rocked the contemporary martial arts scene in China, Xu Xiao Dong, the MMA fighter on a mission to expose “fake masters” is back on the scene this time showing his skills against a Wing Chun fighter.”

 

April:

The post Wave hands like clouds was actually written un 2016, but it has consistently been one of my most popular posts, and this month it rose to the top again.

“A look at the Cloud Hands movement of Tai Chi, and what it’s really all about”

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May:

The post Tai Chi vs BJJ in China was actually the most popular by just 4 views, but the video has since been removed, so just 4 views behind we have:

Forrest Chang’s “Stupid Jin Tricks” video

“This is a great video from Forrest Chang showing what Jin is in Chinese Martial Arts and how it can be used.”

 

June:

Thoughts on an interview with Wang Yan, head coach of the Chenjiagou Taijiquan School

“Born in 1990, Wang Yan became head coach of Cheng village training centre in 2013 and is as a Taiji fighter as well as a coach, not to mention an expert in forms. He was one of the “nine tigers” – the best nine students of Chen ZiQiang. There’s an interview with him in English on Chen Taijiquan blog, with some great pictures from his private collection. The interview is pretty long, but there are lots of really interesting insights into his daily training, San Da competitions training and how exhausting it all was!”

wang-yan-6

July:

Does Cormier’s dirty boxing point the way for CMA in MMA?

“I’m always looking for ways that the sticky hands-like training found in Chinese martial arts like Tai Chi Chuan, Wing Chun, Praying Mantis, White Crane and Hung Gar, where contact between the forearms or hands is maintained and the practitioner is encouraged to ‘listen’ to the movements of the opponent through this contact, can be used in MMA.”

MMA: UFC 226-Miocic vs Cormier

August:

Book review: Internal Body Mechanics for Tai Chi, Bagua and Xingyi, by Ken Gullette

“Anybody who has attempted to learn Tai Chi in any depth instantly realises that the choreography of a form is just that – choreography – and that the devil is in the details. Internal Body Mechanics is all about the details: How you move, what you move and where you move it to.”

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September:

This month the review of Ken Gullette’s book was again the most popular post. The next most popular post was this one:

The whole Chen Tai Chi curriculum, in video form

“Well, this page is interesting. It’s from Chen Bing, a Chen family member who is based in Los Angeles, USA, and from the looks of things, and it looks like a video reference for the whole Chen style Taijiquan curriculum!

October:

What makes Xingyi’s Bengquan different to a normal straight punch?

I got into a discussion about Bengquan, one of the 5 fists of Xingyiquan, a Chinese martial art I’ve written about before, recently, which prompted me to consider what really made a Bengquan different to a regular straight punch that you’d find in any number of other martial arts. I thought I’d just jot down a few of my ideas about it, because that forces me to organise my thoughts, but it has turned into quite a long post. So, apologies for that, but I’m going to post it anyway 😉

human fist

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

November:

Once again, the post Wave hands like clouds rose to the top again this month, but the next biggest post was part 2 of the article above, What makes Xingyi’s Bengquan different to a normal straight punch? Part 2: The bow draw.

Following on from my previous post about Bengquan, one of the 5 Element fists of Xingyiquan, I want to take a closer look at some of the internal characteristics of the strike.

manchu_soldiers_2

December:

Aikido Heresies. The dark side of Aikido.

“Just remembered I didn’t post about the last Heretics podcast we did. This one was about the history of Aikido. I thought it would be quite a light-hearted one, but as Damon explains, it turns out the history of Aikido, and its parent art Daito Ryo, is largely unknown to the average martial artists (i.e. me) and also pretty dark and nasty. Very nasty.”

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The Origins of Jiu Jitsu and Kempo (part 5)

The final part of our podcast series on Jiu Jitsu and Kempo is live. In this episode we spend a long time trying not to talk about Aikido, then agree to talk about it more next time. Apart from that, we follow the developments in Japan through to modern times, with particular attention paid to the history of the yakuza.

https://www.spreaker.com/user/9404101/5-the-origins-of-jiu-jitsu-and-kempo-par

 

The history of Jiujitsu and Kempo. Part 4

The latest episode of the Heretics podcast is out!

https://www.spreaker.com/user/9404101/episode4final

In part 4 we examine the time period between 1960 and 1980 in Japan, and discuss topics such as martial arts marketing and the different ways in which the Japanese created and promoted a wide range of new martial arts.

Here are a few links to videos of the things we talk about this time:

Gracie vs. Kimura – October 23, 1951 (Maracanã Stadium – Rio de Janeiro, Brasil)

Gracies vs bullies on beach:

Rikidozan vs Masahiko Kimura (1954 – Part 2/2)

PRIDE 25: Kazushi Sakuraba vs Antonio “Elvis” Schembri

Muhammed Ali vs Antonio Inoki Boxer vs MMA Fighter 1976

 

Mas Oyama vs “bull”:

TV show about Iwama and Aikido, Ibaraki Prefecture (茨城県, Ibaraki-ken) Japan featuring the late Morihiro Saito Sensei.

Taido:

Kodo:

Heretics podcast episode 2

Episode 2 of the history of Kempo and Jiujitsu is out!

Starts in 1850. Extensive discussion of Kano Jigoro, the evolution of Judo and beyond. Plus a lot on the political-cultural situation of Japan at the time. Plenty of martial arts Heresy as always 😉

If you found the first episode too history-heavy this one, while still having a bucket-load of history in it, is more conversational and has some lighter-weight elements, talking about BJJ, Chuck Lidell and other things. We take a slightly controversial listener question at the end.

iTunes link:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/heretics-by-woven-energy/id1442072590?mt=2#

Spreaker link:

Let the Heresy begin…

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So, the new podcast is out! Check it out here.

Now on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/heretics-by-woven-energy/id1442072590?mt=2

In the first episode we explore the development of the concept of heresy by two early christian teachers, Valentinus and Irenaeus. We then begin a multi-part series on the origins of Jiu Jitsu and Kempo, addressing some of the myths surrounding the samurai class in the process, as well as talking about some of the other, less famous, inhabitants of feudal Japan.

Early morning class

blanket california early morning fog

Photo by Spencer Selover on Pexels.com

There’s always that moment after we bow out.  After we shake hands. After the sparring where we’ve played at killing each other until one of us taps. After we’ve collapsed exhausted at the merciful interjection of the buzzer. When we’re letting the body catch up with itself. Stream rising and puddles of sweat appearing.  Hard stares into the blue vinyl, waiting for the breath to return.

I look around the emptying mats, still glistening with sweat. I see the people getting changed, leaving, ready to get on with their day.

But some remain. Now the work is done the defences can come down. The body relaxes and we can reflect. People get philosophical and start asking the big questions. Questions like, ‘Why do you do this?’

“I see it as a form of self defence,” says Mike. “I don’t want to miss a single class because I might miss that one technique that saves me in a real fight”. He goes on to talk about all the ways that self defence is important to him and how it could save his life. Or maybe the life of his wife and child. How it could be the most important thing he ever learns.

Mike looks at me, wordlessly, expecting me to contribute my own details and honorable reasons for studying the noble art for so long. For so many years. Pushing myself. Accumulating techniques and polishing them until they work under the worst sort of pressure. Finally earning a black belt, yet not stopping there. Still continuing.

I stand up and head to the changing room.

“I just like to fight”.

The ultimate guide to the guillotine choke

guillotine-choke

Just look at those two guys and tell me they aren’t having fun! Nothing says “macho martial artist” quite like standing on one leg and having a guys head wrapped under your armpit in a guillotine choke while he’s pulling your leg into his groin.

But seriously, I think every martial artist should know how to do a guillotine choke, not just grapplers. The power of the guillotine is that it’s a very versatile choke. You can do it standing, on the ground and in all the positions in between. It looks like a deceptively simple technique – you just wrap your arm around their neck and squeeze – but as you’ll discover, there’s a whole load of subtle variations, tricks and positional requirements you need to know about to make your guillotine effective.

Rob Biernacki has produced a series of video clips that form a great free online instructional on Grapplearts about how to perform this simple choke. Trust me, it’ll be a great use of 30 minutes of your life and it’s good enough for them to have charged for it, but they’ve kindly provided it for free.