Stupid is the New Smart

I was writing this for the SKD learning group but this can be applied to my other students so here it is.

I was thinking of why some students make good progress and some don’t. The ones that don’t make good progress typically over-think something. Instead of doing it they like to make theories.

And when they finally get around to doing it they do it wrong and then they wonder why they didn’t get it. They may think that knowledge is being withheld from them when the reason is so much more straightforward.

The ones that do make faster progress tends to do more than think too much. With doing they have feedback that can be used to make improvements and progress. Without the doing, without the feedback you will veer off the path too easily.

Some things don’t look right to the “normal” thinking mind because they are not able to see far or deep enough to know better. This is where the not so smart student will be stupid enough to actually try it and in the process make discoveries and attain insights.

Asking too many questions too early is another way not to make progress because too much information is confusing. The student who makes progress is the one that asks the right question after putting in practice and reflection on his practice. Of course, this begs the question – what is the right question?

A subject can be broad and deep. Many techniques make for a broad subject. The details that make a technique work is defined by its depth. If you don’t know what you are looking at then you end up fooling yourself because then you think in one direction while failing to consider another direction. Its what I call solve one problem but create a few more problems.

So for example, when you swing your hand in a certain way to slap your body you may think it would be better to say slap the shoulders because it makes sense to you for whatever reason. But you missed out on another crucial point, one that tells you why you should not aim at the shoulders. If you can’t figure this out then you don’t know enough to make assumptions of what is right and what is wrong.

Finally, don’t look for praise when learning. This is what I call an American entertainment disease. I see it all the time on reality TV. Someone fails but told he should be proud of what he has achieved. Seriously, what has he achieved? He failed. What is there to be proud of? Instead, he should just get up and go back to basics. I don’t know about the entertainment field but that’s how you make progress in learning CMA.

A traditional teacher doesn’t praise the student much not because he does not want to but because he knows that too much praise is detrimental to learning. Praise can make a student stop or slow down his learning since he thought that he has already achieved it when the truth is he has just scratched the surface and that the real journey is from that point on. In not receiving the praise the serious student then works harder because he is looking for approval.

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Release Arrow 2

This clip actually comes before the clip in the earlier Release Arrow post.

The power generation showed here is an example of the 5 Bows model.

The 5 Bows model is normally practiced using Single Whip. The post here will explain a bit more.

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The Stanley Sessions

Date. 31 Aug 2018.

Time. Evening.

Place. Southwest Singapore.

Event. Meeting with FB BojiLite Learning Group member Stanley.

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Topics. Talked, demo and reviewed Sam Kuen Do (三拳道) basics.

Review. Stanley’s post on the meeting. Yikes!!!

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Follow-up. Video that Stanley put up.

Comment. Fun night and from the video it looks like Stanley picked up something too.

Note. To view the videos shot from the meeting visit our Youtube channel here and look for videos marked with Stanley Session 1 to Stanley Session 11.

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The Effort of Your Sweat

Here’s a latest clip from a member of the Sam Kuen Do (三拳道) FB learning group.

The clip is short but it shows that it is possible to pick up Sam Kuen Do from mainly online videos.

In Sam Kuen Do we don’t become obsessed with fajing and other esoteric stuff. Its just plain ole, good ole kung fu – work them body, work them strikes, work them steps – and the result is plain as day.

If we were a cult we would be shouting Hallelujah! followed by shouts of praises and songs of worship. But we aren’t.

We are just plain ole kung fu of the common man. No uniforms, no belts, no ranks – just the skill from the sweat of your own efforts.

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Procastinately Yours

Time is a precious commodity. It is also the real cost of training Tai Chi.

If you are learning Tai Chi for fitness and exercise then this is not a consideration. However, when you are trying to learn Tai Chi for combat then this is a different issue.

This is when the cost of time is expensive particularly in its alternative use. Economists put a value on time by considering its opportunity cost, that is the value you could have gotten if you had spent the time doing another task that has economic returns.

For example, I had a student who was embarking on a career in real estate at the time he was learning Tai Chi. In the end, he made a choice to put all his time into his career and today he is a success, having his own agency. If he had put the time into Tai Chi he might not have mastered the art yet. This is the reality.

Today those who work will struggle to find time to train. Those on a career fast track will have little time, if any, to train. Some like me chose a slow career path in order to have the time to train. It took many years but in the end I got what I wanted.

So what do you do if you have little time yet want to master a combat art, if only for basic self-defence. I created, actually more like, extract and reorganized material from an existing system and repackaged it as Sam Kuen Do (三拳道). It is not Tai Chi. You can’t reach core competency in Tai Chi in say 12 months.

However, it is possible to be competent in 12 months with Sam Kuen Do (三拳道). The trick is not to learn too much. Instead, learn core elements and learn in small chunks, become competent before try to bite more off. And it goes without saying train regularly, train consistently and don’t be lazy, don’t make excuses like not having time.

Find the time and do it. Put aside 12 months and start. If you procastinate pretty soon the 12 months would have gone by and you still have nothing. Blink and soon it will be 10 years gone and you are still nowhere. The gods favor those who actually do something about it instead of complaining about no time.

If it is to be, it is up to me. So if you want it get on with it.

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The Bullet Punch

I was thinking of my buddy, Paul, when I wrote this tweet.

You see, Paul, started off not so good in his punching back when our BojiLite learning group on Facebook started. Then surprise, surprise, he actually made good progress.

But then, he veered off a different tangent and regressed. This part I am not surprised because it is an expected part and parcel of learning.

It also highlights the problem of not keeping a strict compliance on the procedures and principles involved in doing a proper punch.

This is an example of Paul with a regressed performance of punching on 24 Jul :-

But Paul is like a bulldog, tenacious, persistent, and kept working on it this week. So, no surprise that in a video today (26 Jul) his mojo has come back.

Hopefully Paul keeps to this standard and continue to improve on it. How?

By investigating what I wrote in the tweet regarding surge, sway and heave. What applies to the movement of a bullet that is fired from a gun has similar implications that we see in Paul’s performance.

In the earlier video you can see where the principles have gone bush walking and his elbows were off-track, resulting in inefficient and uneconomical movements. Some of the problems were addressed after he took my advice to slow down.

And that is how you make progress – by listening, practicing, investigating, and plain more practice.

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Foundation is the Key

When you learn a martial art you must always pay heed to the foundation. Which begs the question – what is the foundation?

Let’s take a simple example – BojiLite – my compact online learning for three basic strikes from the style of Pok Khek Kuen. In BojiLite we have three simple foundation which underlie the three strikes. They are :-

1) Basic posture (Siu Sei Ping Ma)

2) In-situ body turning (Leung Yi Ma)

3) Zigzag stepping (Leung Yi Bo)

The learning of the first strike, Yum Chui, involves all three of the above. We would begin with the simple basic posture to develop a static foundation.

This foundation is then rotated and shifted for the purpose of mobilizing the Yum Chui strike and generating the power required.

This learning is extended by studying how to strike as we step in a zigzag pattern.

When we study the second strike, Chau Chui, we use back the same basics which greatly simplifies the learning. The only difference now is how do we do the Chau Chui strike.

Now, the Yum Chui is a straight forward linear strike with a horizontal fist. It seems like a normal straight punch. However, we do have some differences, some might call these details the trade secrets of the style, yeah why not, in how we throw the fist out, small details to help us shoot the punch out real quick and powerful to boot using certain tricks of the mind and body. Without knowing the details you will end up doing Yum Chui like a normal punch sans the tricks that make it what it is.

Chau Chui is a different animal. It is not a longer range strike like Yum Chui. However, we can apply Chau Chui at a longer range, just not necessarily as long a range as Yum Chui. The second strike is better served as a medium to short range strike as shown below :-

Based on the principle a common foundation for all three strikes it should be straightforward to perform Chau Chui once you have studied Yum Chui for a while. What you need to pay heed to is how to hit the intended target precisely with power.

I know, I know, a circular movement is not easy to handle. If you are hitting a strike pad with Chau Chui its not too bad. Its when you are hitting air that you encounter the problem of how to stop the punch and quickly switch to strike with the other arm.

The difficulty with stopping the Chau Chui is due to the path the arm takes. Typically, we tend to view Chau Chui as an upward movement. So when you want to stop it you have to brake hard on your arm movement before you can switch to the other arm to strike. Now an arm moving with momentum is not easy to stop.

If you have driven a motorcycle fast and tried stopping within a shorter distance you would have to pump the brakes, let go and pump again a few more times before you can stop. If you depress the brakes really hard you would end up skidding. So trying to stop a power-laden and speeding Chau Chui is something similar to this.

So how do we solve this problem?

By thinking outside the box! Of course! Well, actually we don’t really have to do so. But when you can’t see the issue clearly then why not?

The word “Chau” is referring to an action that is akin to snatching an object and tossing it forcefully. Well, lucky for us there is a sport that comes with a movement that is similar to “Chau”. This would the sport of cornhole tossing. Take a look for yourself below :-

So there you have it. A solution to how to switch between the arms to strike hard and continuously. Hope you can see the key in the video on cornhole tossing.

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