Kicks going up on a Tuesday!!

The Tornado 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 your first advanced kick, the Tornado Kick (AKA: 360 Kick, 360 Roundhouse).

 1.) Start with a balanced stance.

2.) From the balanced stance, you want to start turning the opposite direction of the foot you are going to kick with. Notice: I am using my arms to help me turn.

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3.) After turning about 180 degrees, lift the opposite leg you are going to kick with.

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4.) Next, jump off of the leg that you are going to kick with. (Still turning)

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5.) Finally, the kick! You are going to land on the leg you lifted up on step 2 and you are going to do a switching motion then land. You can either do a roundhouse kick or crescent kick. Either way, you end up with a tornado kick. Personally, just starting off, I would go with the crescent because it is a little easier while spinning.

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In full motion it looks like this:

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Again, notice I am using my arms to help me turn. Additionally, you can definitely improve on this kick! You can train to spring higher and turn faster so you can get a 540 degree or 720 degree or 900 degree tornado kick if you wanted to! Here is an example of a 540 from me:

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Here’s a 900 degree kick that I wish I could do but I will continue to train until I can get this! Although it is a hook kick, the concept and steps are similar. It is all based off of the spring and spin.

All You Need is a Little Laughter!

Training can be tough, and training can be hard. Sometimes, you may just have off days but all of that is understandable! Sometimes, all you need is a little laughter to light up the darkest of days. So if you’re down about your training or feeling stressed about something or just having an off day, take a moment and watch these videos. These are my favorite karate parodies! I love watching these whenever I need some cheering up.

1.) Welcome to the Dojo! This is the first episode of the Enter the Dojo series. It is my favorite out of the series because I think it shows the most ridiculous situations. Anyway, totally check this video (and if you have time the series) because these guys did a great job!

2.) Gangnam Style Fighting!! Omg, this video had me laughing my butt off and rolling on the floor laughing so hard! Who knew 16 seconds could make me laugh so hard?! Who knew you could use a Korean dance in sparring?

 

“Music Makes Me Loose Control!!”

One thing that I love to do while practicing or working is jamming out while I do what I love. Do you have a favorite song that you listen to while you workout? Well here are some of mine. Feel free to comment suggestions as well!

1.) My music genre generally revolves around pop punk and alternative rock, but a little techno never hurts! Sandstorm by Darude is probably my favorite techno song! The beat just makes me want to run or do parkour or something.

2.) The Eye of the Tiger by the Survivors is a fun song to perform to! Back in the days, I would have a solo swinging the staff and performing katas with this song!

3.) When I’m about to start a hardcore workout, one of my favorite songs is Frontline by Pillar. This song just pumps me up. Its like a song they would play right before a fight as the fighters are dramatically walking into the ring!

4.) Another good song to have in the background while working out or performing is Awake and Alive by Skillet. Skillet is like my all time favorite band, so if you get the chance, please check them out! Warning though, they are a little on the hard rock side even though they are considered Christian Rock.

5.) Last song I’m going to suggest is the Mortal Kombat theme song. Don’t judge!! It’s a good song to workout too!

“I’m Not Afraid”

“I’m not afraid to take a stand.” – Eminem

To be honest, before I started this blog, I was actually afraid to admit that I did martial arts. It seemed too stereotypical and growing up it seemed like the butt of everyone’s jokes. I hated telling people I did martial arts because they would make fun of it by moving their arms around or standing on one leg screaming “Waaaa taaa” or something, but later on I learned to get over it and embrace martial arts as a passion. So here’s my story:

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“As a kid, I was actually bullied a lot. I was one of like 6 Asian kids within a 5 mile radius in my town but I was one of maybe 2 that went to my elementary school. Additionally, throughout elementary school, I lived in underdeveloped neighborhood, the ghetto per say. So yes, being a minority, everyone would always make fun of me for being different. After my father noticed me being bullied, he convinced me to take martial arts so I can learn to defend myself. Though it was a slow start, I later fell in love with the sport. Every time I stepped into the dojo, I felt special and welcomed. I would go to karate practice for hours each day taking my class and watching the adult classes, and it was the greatest feeling in the world!

After training for a while, I was able to break out of my shell a little bit and started standing up for myself. I was about 6 or 7 years old when I received a blue belt and that’s when I began to feel better about everything. I felt like I was ready to face the world finally and that the bully’s better watch out because I was going to kick their butts! (I even wore my uniform to school for dress up days after I felt better!) Unfortunately, my confidence was pretty much shut down immediately. Shortly I got my blue belt, I was challenged at the playground to a fight with this gang. They surrounded me and one of the kids in the gang stepped up and wanted a one on one fight. I had no other choice but to accept. Walking in confidently, I started kicking and punching like I had practiced on sparring nights. The fight went on for a while and it seemed as though I was winning, but my lead upsetted the crowd. One of the kids from the crowd stepped in and it became a two on one fight. I wasn’t exactly trained for this combat situation so I ended up getting jumped and lost. Was I devastated? Yes, and my parents were furious and upset. I mean, dang, coming home from work to find your son with a bloody nose, a black eye, and a thousand bruises.

For most of my middle school life, I pretty much kept my martial arts life a secret. It was a new school and a ton of new faces. Only a few of my elementary school mates came to the same middle school, but at least I was away from the gang. It was pretty relaxing throughout middle school honestly because I wasn’t the popular kid but I still had friends who supported me and accepted me for who I was. Though outside of the dojo I was really shy about my martial arts, I was pretty conceited and arrogant in the dojo but that’s another story (Click here to find out more about it). High school is when I opened up more but mainly it was because most of the people that I practiced with went to my high school, so there wasn’t anyway for me to avoid it. By junior/senior year, I was pretty much opened up completely and wasn’t shy about telling people I did martial arts. I started doing private lessons and coaching on my own. Now, I’m ready to share my story with the world and express my passion and what I love about it.”

I’ve done martial arts pretty much all my life but a huge chunk of it was kept to myself because I was afraid to talk about it, but that is mainly because I had a bad childhood with it. The moral of the story is “don’t be afraid to take a stand for something that you love.” The past may haunt you but start a little at a time to build back the confidence to do what you love openly.

 

 

A Lesson Before Dying! (New Series Coming Soon)

Hey everyone! Thanks for all the support and staying posted! I again apologize for not having posted in a while but I have been pretty busy with school and everything else, but I’ve been trying to work out my schedule to write again, and to kick things off, I’m starting a new series!!! This new series that I’m starting was inspired by the book “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines. This new series is me sharing my experiences and the lessons I’ve learned from them! Of course, please stay posted on my other series post “Kicks Going Up on a Tuesday” because more kicks will come soon!!

 

Concepts of Acupuncture Used in Martial Arts

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I apologize for not having posted in a while. I’ve been really busy with a lot of things and well, just haven’t found the time to write as much as I used to. Anyway, I’m back and to kick it off I think I’ll start of with a concept in martial arts that most Chinese and Japanese martial arts use. In styles like Shito-Ryu or Traditional Kung Fu, the concepts of Acupuncture are used in combat.  Here are some of the concepts of acupuncture and how they relate to martial arts:

1.) Well, to begin, the first thing is that our body has a series of acupuncture points throughout the body that are intertwined on meridians. Meridians are natural energy pathways that run through a person’s body. There are 12 standard meridian lines that run through the body: gall bladder, bladder, liver, stomach, kidney, spleen, triple warmer, heart, lung, pericardium, small intestines, and large intestines. Within these meridian lines, there are several acupuncture points that run down each energy line. Some of the larger points on the body are also known as pressure points or trigger points. Hitting these points can cause damage to the energy that consistently flows through a person’s body.

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2.) Meridians are structurally lateral, which means that one meridian line can cause the whole body pain. For example, a finger lock can cause the whole body pain even if it is in a small area.

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3.) Meridian channels are also divided into the five elements of wood, fire, water, metal, and earth. They are also known as the Wu Xing, or Five Stars. In the Wu Xing, elements can overcome or generate from each other. The theory is that water can extinguish fire, fire melts metal, metal cuts wood, wood parts the earth, and the earth can absorb water. In the generation cycle, earth flows to metal flows to water flows to wood flows to fire. The five phases are cycling constantly to maintain the production of life. In martial arts terms, learning the way of how cycles flow throughout the body allows a martial artist to easily hit a point from one meridian to another on a different meridian as a quick act of self-defense and cause devastating effects.

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4.) The meridians are divided into energy groups based off their Yin and Yang properties, limb positions, and their corresponding organ. The idea of the Yin and Yang is negative versus the positive flows of energy with the Yin (black side with white dot) signifies the shady spots or north slope, while the Yang (white side with black dot) signifies the sunny place or south slope. Since there is a constant flow of energy, the human body’s life energy is always in a circuit. The circuit focuses on certain Yin and Yang points, and holds the points in stimulation. So if you were wondering why different locks are effective, it is because you are breaking energy circuits! When the circuit is broken, not only do nerve cells send impulses to the brain that the wrist is in danger, the natural flow of energy is also disconnected, causing pain.

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Kip-Up!

So have you ever wondered how someone in a movie like Jet li or Jackie Chan went from getting knocked on his back then standing in like two seconds? Well, he did a kip-up!! A kip-up is just a really cool, acrobatic move commonly used in breakdancing, parkour, and martial arts! Yes, it does require a bit of core strength but it also requires good timing and good technique. It also makes you look like a total badass!

Step 1: Lay on your back.

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Step 2: Have your hands next to your head with your palms down and elbow up as shown below. Also have your legs pulled to your chest. If you’re not flexible enough to keep your legs straight, bending them is fine too. Additionally, make sure your tailbone is off the ground.

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Step 3: Push with your hands and kick out at the same time.

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Step 4: A second after you kick out, you will want to bend your legs in and arch your back at the same time as shown below. The arching of the back is crucial because it is what allows you to stand up (and balance of course).

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Step 5: When your feet land, you want to pull yourself forward like you’re doing a crunch or sit up. (NOTICE: I am using my arms to pull forward and my chin is tucked. It helps with the forward motion) Personally, I land on the ball of my foot but you can land flat footed but that might sting a little.

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Step 6: Stand up and PRACTICE!! This isn’t a move where you can learn and get in one night. Unless you were born with the ability to do this, PRACTICE! It’s hard! Here is the kip up in full motion!!

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In this one, my legs are a little straighter but that just comes with practice.

In this one, my legs are a little straighter but that just comes with practice.

P.S. It is a lot about timing. Timing your legs to bend and your back to arch simultaneously or timing your hands to push and your legs to kick simultaneously. Additionally, it does take a little bit of core strength. I would say that technique is about 30% of importance, timing is about 60%, and the core is about 10% doing this move. Again, I can’t stress enough to practice this move. It is not something that comes to you in one night. When practicing, I would suggest practicing on something soft like grass or mats. Then work on timing since thats the most important thing. Balance will come but do some sit ups or crunches to build up core strength. Good luck practicing and hope this was helpful for those who have always wanted to learn this!