Sunday, May 6, 2012

Months and months of neglect....80-hour workweeks take a toll. But I have moved off the full night shift into a half-night-shift, 8 PM to midnight, which has brought me back to life. All kinds of action outside this blog -- the studio is up and running, and I have already started teaching gong fu and tai ji and Eudora Kansas Parks and Rec. Will start classes with Lawrence Parks and Rec this week, as well as some tai ji quan for seniors classes in June at other locations. So things are heating up. Take a look at the Facebook page for Lawrence Martial Arts. And take a look at our website: That should bring you up to do date.

Friday, February 10, 2012

year of the dragon

Time to work on the dragon form from Xing Yi Quan....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

swords and arrows

ahhh, the good old days. I was invited by my teacher to join in special all-day seminars in Chen style tai ji jian (straight sword) and tai ji dao (broadsword). The pace was brutal but I learned both forms. Rode the Shinkansen bullet train out of Tokyo to a different prefecture and back in one long day.

The last session was in a prefecture gym / sports complex. We used the kyudo dojo -- kyudo is the stylized Japanese form of archery. People store umbrellas or arrows in the divided compartments outside. They also serve as a nice place to put swords at lunchtime.

I would give much to have a teleporter device and be able to travel instantly to Japan to join in more of those trainings.....

Monday, January 30, 2012

apologies, excuses, promises...

Not much action on this blog lately, sorry about that. Have been quite busy with new life in a new country, setting up a martial arts studio (can't call it a dojo yet), the likes. If you're interested take a look at the Facebook page for Lawrence Martial Arts.

More coming to this blog before long (that's the promises, promises part).

Saturday, January 7, 2012

unfinished business (1)

In terms of the harder / external / gongfu styles, I didn't set out to learn any chang quan / long fist routines. I was after the nan quan / southern fist routines from the start. But the place where I was taking my daughter had a strong emphasis on chang quan. Good teachers, good environment, and most importantly, my daughter was interested. So I worked out with her every time and got to know some of the basic chang quan routines (though i cannot claim to perform them well!!).

After a couple years the doors finally opened and I was introduced to the nan quan competition form as well as some weapons. I kept the chang quan alive to have something to do with my daughter, even while strongly preferring the nan quan. Besides, good basics are good basics and are always something useful to work on.

We had been looking forward to a big finish, both my daughter and I just starting on new routines about a half-year before leaving Japan. Then the earthquake hit and almost all local school gyms were no longer available (curtailed electricity usage). We stumbled along here and there but it wasn't enough. Practice routines finally got back to usual late in the summer - and by then everyone was focused on upcoming tournaments = drill in the familiar stuff to compete with, not time to learn new things.

In principle, my daughter and I both reached the end of our new routines but neither of us learned them well and they have been on hold. As with the other Chang Quan routines, I have learned in tandem with my daughter (mostly so I can check her practice at home), but I was really in the dark on the Elementary Routine for the straight-edged sword or jian. Anyhow, I have finally put it back together -- not well at all, but enough to show my teacher when next we meet. She will not be satisfied with the result, I am sure, but it should be enough stimulus for her to become disgusted with my attempts and whip me into better shape.

Now - while keeping that one alive - it is time to get back to my own unfinished business, the nan dao form.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Chen Plunge

Chen Plunge

Starting out the new year right, my third class with an excellent pair of teachers in nearby KC. Third and best yet, with much more to come.

I have dabbled in Chen Style tai ji quan for a few years, but it has been very much back-burner for me, other things to focus on with my teacher before leaving Japan. Curiously, I did not complete the xin jia form, but did have special access to intensive year-long seminars in both dao and jian. I am able to get through both weapon forms, but neither is good yet.

And now I am in a new country with a new teacher, a pair of new teachers. The relationship is just getting started, but I have very good feelings so far.

However, there are a lot of new things for me to get used to.

1. For more than ten years, almost all my tai ji instruction has been in Japanese. Except for a year in China in 1999, it has been 16 years since I have had any instruction in tai ji in English. Suddenly I can learn about tai ji in my native language, and it takes some getting used to (and brings back good memories of my main {and Chinese} teacher {D.M.} of tai ji here in the U.S.

2. I am driving about 45 minutes each way to class. I don’t think I have ever regularly driven to martial arts classes – always by bike in the US and China (or taxi), and by bike or train in Japan. I am a Nebraskan and I do not do well on the interstates of the big city like Kansas City. My tension level goes off the charts with each visit.

3. I am learning from a wife – husband team. I did this for many years in Japan when my daughter and I went to gong fu classes. The husband of the pair focused on Chang Quan / long fist, which is what my daughter focused on. The wife of the pair focused more on Nan Quan / Southern fist, which I concentrated on. But in my new situation, both spouses are teaching the same art.

Anyway, I am full of extremely good feelings as we enter the new year. I am starting from absolute ground zero – endless silk reeling exercises, zhuang zhan standing exercises, the likes. And it feels good.

My only complaint so far this year is that, due to reasons both gastronomic and economic, I have moved another notch downward, from Pabst Blue Ribbon to Milwaukee’s Best Light.

Ugh. Fortunately I did find some 绍兴酒 for cooking purposes at the store of many 8’s.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

adjusting to your environment (7)

Oh yes, the good old Inside-The-Train stretch. Not advisable in the crowded trains of Tokyo during rush hour, but once you are deep in the countryside with almost no one else on the train, what better way to while away the hours while heading to your in-laws' place????