Chinese New Years (新年快乐)

Happy Chinese New Years everyone!! 新年快乐!! This is a holiday which marks the start of the new year, typically celebrated at the beginning on the second new moon after the winter solstice and ending on the full moon fifteen days later. It is celebrated with many festivities like the Lion and Dragon Dance, handing out the Red Envelope, or having the big reunion dinner! So, in honor of Chinese New Years, here are some notorious visuals of this celebration and a performance:

1.) The Red Envelopes are typically given and represents luck.

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2.) The Lion and Dragon Dance is also a representation of luck!

lion and dragon

3.) Mooncake! One of the best parts!

mooncake

Now presenting a Shaolin Tagou School of WuShu performance team!!! Enjoy! 🙂

Kicks going up on a Tuesday!!

The Hook Kick

While Drake is turning up, partying, and making the club go up on a Tuesday, I’ll be practicing, working hard, and making my kicks go up on a Tuesday! Kicks take a lot of practice. Think about a kicker on a football team. Sure it may seem as though he has the easiest job and all he’s doing is swinging his leg, but there are a lot of technical procedures that a kicker must follow to generate the most powerful and accurate kick to score for his team. To a martial artist, technique is everything! Without good technique, both strength and accuracy are lost. Today, I’ll be describing the Hook Kick!

1.)  Get into a nice, balanced stance with your feet about shoulder width apart with the leg that you are kicking no more than a foot behind you.

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2.) Next, you want to lift your knee up like ‘you’re peeing like a dog’ and pull your knee towards your chest. Turn your body with the kick, and remember to pivot your foot!

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3.) Just like a side kick, you want to kick out but kick more towards an angle. Then, aiming with your heel, rise your leg up a few inches then draw the lower half of your leg as shown below. For more info on what a side kick is click here.

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4.) Pull back your kick. Draw the lower half of your leg back to the position you were in on the second step then set it back!

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In full motion:

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Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting!

Like most Sundays, today was just another one of those ‘Lazy Days’. Honestly, we all need one of those sometimes so instead of practicing kicks, tumbling, or punches, I decided it was a good day to work on stances. More specifically, I was working on Wushu and Kung Fu stances (hence the title). There are three stances in Gong Fu that are more prominent in Wushu and Kung Fu compared to any other style. In addition, these stances aren’t used in combat, but they are cool stances to learn for competition and demonstration purposes though!

1.) Crouching Stance! A personal favorite of mine. To do this stance, start off in a horse stance, turn one foot 90 degrees towards the outside, then drop on one knee.

Here is an example of it used in the Tiger Fist.

Here is an example of it used in the Tiger Fist.

2.) Sì Liù bù (四六步) Translating to “Four-Sixth Stance”. The base is like a horse stance as well. To do this stance, get into a horse stance, turn one foot 90 degrees, and sit back on your back leg. It is very similar to the Tae-Kwon-Do back stance.

Example of the stance used in Mantis Fist.

Example of the stance used in Mantis Fist.

3.) Ding Bu. Translates into T-Stance. Basically, your feet are together, crouch down but have one foot crouching on the ball of the foot.

Example used in Eagle Fist.

Example used in Eagle Fist.

Kicks going up on a Tuesday!!

The Crescent Kick 

While Drake is turning up, partying, and making the club go up on a Tuesday, I’ll be practicing, working hard, and making my kicks go up on a Tuesday! Kicks take a lot of practice. Think about a kicker on a football team. Sure it may seem as though he has the easiest job and all he’s doing is swinging his leg, but there are a lot of technical procedures that a kicker must follow to generate the most powerful and accurate kick to score for his team. To a martial artist, technique is everything! Without good technique, both strength and accuracy are lost. Today, I’ll be describing the Crescent Kick!

1.) Get into a nice, balanced stance with your feet about shoulder width apart with the leg that you are kicking no more than a foot behind you.

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2.) With your kicking leg, lift your knee up towards the front till your thigh is parallel to your waistline.

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3.) There are two ways you can execute this kick, inside-outside or outside-inside. When you execute the kick, it is going to go in a semicircular motion. For the inside-outside crescent kick, you want to kick out then move your leg towards the right (or left if you are doing it with your left leg) and aim with the bladedge of your foot. For the outside-inside, do the opposite but aim with the in steps of your feet.

Front View: Inside-Outside

Front View: Inside-Outside

Front view: Outside-Inside.

Front view: Outside-Inside.

Side View: Inside-Outside

Side View: Inside-Outside

Side View: Outside-Inside

Side View: Outside-Inside

4.) Pull back your kick. Draw the lower half of your leg back to the position you were in on the second step then set it back!

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In a full motion, it should look like this:

Outside-Inside Crescent Kick.

Outside-Inside Crescent Kick.

Inside-Outside Crescent Kick.

Inside-Outside Crescent Kick.

Wacky Weapons!

I’m not going to lie, training and lessons can get really boring sometime. No one likes to practice a roundhouse kick or punch in a horse stance all day, but who doesn’t like playing around with weapons?! I love weapons!! It makes me feel like a total badass holding a sword or swinging a staff. Of course, you’re not going to use weapons often in self-defense or on the streets. Well, maybe if you pick up a bat or a golf club or something but generally you wouldn’t use a sword or nunchucks (unless you’re Bruce Lee) on the streets but they are still fun to play with. Here are some nifty weapons used in martial arts:

1.) Staff (Bo) is the weapon that probably all martial artists start with. It is the most basic weapon and probably the most common in combat. Additionally, the applications of the staff can be used with almost anything! For example, you can pick up a mop or a broom and use it as a staff. Learning how to use the staff properly will be most beneficial when it comes to having to use a weapon in combat.

bo collection

I found that Asian World of Martial Arts and Century have great selections of staffs at affordable prices! I got the bo on the left side from Century for about $30 and the staff on the right was purchased fro about $25

2.) Nunchucks are probably the most notorious weapons in martial arts. They are really fun to play with but honestly, you wouldn’t use them in combat unless you had them in your back pocket or something. Even then, nunchucks are made for close range combat, but they are still cool once you get the hang of them!

For practice sakes, definitely start off with these. They can be found on awma.com at low prices.

For practice sakes, definitely start off with these. They can be found on awma.com at low prices.

Once you've practice enough, test your abilities with the bamboo ones but still be careful. You can find these at fairly good prices on century.

Once you’ve practice enough, test your abilities with the bamboo ones but still be careful. You can find these at fairly good prices on Century.

3.) Swords are probably my favorite! I feel like a total badass swinging swords around but, like nunchucks, you’re probably not going to use them in combat.

 

Chinese Broadswords are probably my favorite! Check out century or awma for a great collection of swords.

Chinese Broadswords are probably my favorite! Check out Century or AWMA for a great collection of swords.

4.) Escrimas Sticks are also helpful weapons to learn! Unlike swords and nunchucks, escrimas’s applications are very useful outside the dojo. Escrimas are the equivalent to picking up a metal pipe or a bat to defend yourself.

You can find this item at Century or AWMA for a good price.

You can find this item at Century or AWMA for a good price.

 

Kicks going up on a Tuesday!!

The Side Kick

While Drake is turning up, partying, and making the club go up on a Tuesday, I’ll be practicing, working hard, and making my kicks go up on a Tuesday! Kicks take a lot of practice. Think about a kicker on a football team. Sure it may seem as though he has the easiest job and all he’s doing is swinging his leg, but there are a lot of technical procedures that a kicker must follow to generate the most powerful and accurate kick to score for his team. To a martial artist, technique is everything! Without good technique, both strength and accuracy are lost. Today, I’ll be describing the Side Kick!

1.)  Get into a nice, balanced stance with your feet about shoulder width apart with the leg that you are kicking no more than a foot behind you.

IMG_1219 IMG_1210

2.) Next, you want to lift your knee up like ‘you’re peeing like a dog’ and pull your knee towards your chest. Turn your body with the kick, and remember to pivot your foot!

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3.) To execute the kick, lead with your heel or bladedge of your foot and kick forward.

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4.) Pull back your kick. Draw the lower half of your leg back to the position you were in on the second step then set it back!

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In full motion:

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Now, I know what you’re thinking. Didn’t I just do this kick last week? No! There is a difference between side kicks and roundhouse. One, I’m aiming differently. Instead of aiming with the top or ball of my foot like I do in a roundhouse kick, I’m aiming with the heel or bladedge of the foot. Additionally, my body is positioned differently and my chamber is different. Click here for more info on the Roundhouse kick!

Movie Marathon!

I am a firm believer that you can learn a lot just by watching. So, if you’re wanting to take a break from physical training, still train mentally by watching some cool Martial Arts movies! Although they are mostly choreographed fighting, they still give really good demonstrations on what to do in certain situations. My top three martial artist would probably be Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Bruce Lee! They make awesome movies and they are all very skilled fighters. Here are some of the movies that I would recommend watching:

1.) Bruce Lee: The Way of the Dragon and Game of Death                                                                                             These are two of my favorite movies by Bruce Lee! In the Way of the Dragon, Tang Long arrives from Hong Kong to Rome to help his cousins out in the restaurant that is being pressured by a syndicate to sell out. They had a hard time with Tang Long there so the gang hires the best of European, Japanese, and American martial artist to take down the Chinaman. The best part of this movie is, there is an epic showdown in the Roman Colosseum between two notorious martial artist! In the Game of Death, watch how the movie is like a game. Billy Lo goes through levels of fighters as he seeks the boss to stop them from harassing him and his girlfriend to join under their management so they wouldn’t be treated like property.  

bruce lee collection

I got these movies in a double feature from amazon for $9! Click here for the link to the movies!

 

2.) The Forbidden Kingdom                                                                                                                                                 When two of the best martial artist come together, they create this beautiful masterpiece! The Forbidden Kingdom is a great movie that displays Chinese culture and Chinese Gong Fu. In addition, the movie references one of the most well-known legends in China, the legend of the Monkey King. In The Forbidden Kingdom, a young, martial arts obsessed teen wakes up in a dream to join with a band of martial arts warriors to save the Monkey King. 

 

forbidden kingdom collection

Also found this off of amazon for $5! Click here for the link for the movie!

3.) Kiss of the Dragon                                                                                                                                                                 One of Jet Li’s most well-known films! Liu Jian is a police officer sent to Paris to help aid a drug lord smuggle drugs only to find out the head connector wanted to kill the drug lord and frame Jian. Later, he teams of with a prostitute to try and prove his innocence from this conspiracy. 

kiss of the dragon collection

I honestly got this movie when a local Blockbusters was still open for $17, but found one on amazon for you guys for a cheaper price. Click here for the link to the movie!