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Shen Martial Arts Web Journal on Thoughts, Experiences, Tips, Ideas and just about anything relating to the lifelong practice of Chinese Kung Fu - Your comments are welcome!
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Posted by Shen     0 Comments Saturday, November 19, 2005
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants - Weapons Training Part 1

It is common these days to question the validity of many of the traditional kung fu training methods handed down to us from antiquity. It is also terribly frequent for modern no holds barred combat experts to conclude that many of these most revered principles of traditional training are no longer practical for the "Modern World". Most maligned of all is our traditional kung fu weapons training heritage. So, is weapons training just a left over remannt from days past? Or is it an inherent and integral element of martial arts training? Is there a deeper, more fundamental purpose to weapons training? This first installment addresses some of these general questions, while the remaining parts will deal with specific kung fu weapons and their individual essence, benefits and purpose.

It is interesting to note that all traditional martial systems and styles have weapons training in their curriculum. When taught correctly, weapons are introduced at the upper intermediate or advanced levels, after the student has achieved a solid level of proficiency in their chosen style. It easy to discard this as impractical and no longer valid but in reality there is a deeper purpose for this that goes beyond the practicality and use of the weapons themselves. We must remember that our predecesors spent countless hours, measured in lifetimes, of blood, sweat, tears and contemplation to develop, refine and organize this knowledge, accrued over centuries and passed on from teacher to student over the ages.

It is egotistical, and disrespectfully naive to believe that we can discard the treasure throve that has been passed on to us, just because it seems not usable. Unusable for what purpose? Today as in all times, there is ignorance and lack of understanding. Just because you don't see the purpose, does not mean there is none. Those that question their own lack of understanding and focus on the deeper aspects will reach the higher levels indeed. But, how many of us are willing to invest the time and effort that this may involve? Just remember, if you don't see a value, it is because you did not reach this level of understanding and if so, question the student not the teaching.

Sir Issac Newton, in response to praise given to him for his many scientific accomplishments wrote: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants". It is admirable to analyze and question what you are given, as this leads to knowledge and understanding. But it is arrogant to brush off what does not make sense, since in reality that is just your own lack of understanding.

Authentic traditional kung fu training as embodied by weapons training, is a treasured gift to be studied, analyzed, and internalized. Only then can it be a platform on which to add on your own knowledge and discovery, that can then be passed on to those that will come after. This is how our martial arts have advanced and improved over the passing of time. It is a deep and solid foundation to build on, not one to take apart and rearrange, as often what ends up is a weaker version. Standing on the shoulders of the Giants that came before, we can look farther out and see beyond our biases, preferences and justifications.

There is great value to our traditional martial arts training, value both for combat as well as for higher purposes, that is waiting there to be discovered.

"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent"
- Sir Issac Newton English mathematician & physicist (1642 - 1727)

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Posted by Shen     0 Comments Tuesday, November 8, 2005
Nature's Penicillin

Just in time for flu season, this article comes from my good friend and Kung Fu brother Rod Morgan. Rod is an avid student of all things natural and is currently conducting research on Dit Da Jow. We post this with best wishes for health and well being for all, and to exort everyone to take personal responsibility for your health. With that, on to the article:

I would first like to thank Mario for the opportunity to share info with you. He has been a blessing in my life ....

"let thy food be thy medicine"

As the 2005 cold and flu season is upon us, and horror stories in the news of the "bird flu" cirrculate, I would like to share a little known home remedy with you that has been known to work wonders. Let me start off by saying this: don't fall victim to all the hype about the "bird flu". If you do the reasearch you will find that there are only 60 reported deaths in the past few years directly related to the "bird flu" and all those had direct contact with infected fowl. However there are many different strains of the flu and 1000s' die every year from it's effects. Prevention is the best weapon ie; wash hands frequently, healthy diet, exercise, rest, chi kung (especially iron vest) and grateful prayer go a long way. The remedy I will share today is a garlic based preparation that is used at the first signs of a cold or flu, but can also be used as a preventative, to bolster the immune system.

garlic (da suan)
bulbus ali sativi
energy and flavor: warm; acrid
properties:anthelminitic, nutrient, antibacterial, antifungal, tonic

Garlic's history of medicinal use goes back at least 5000 yrs. Garlic's documented anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties date back to ancient egypt and early chinese culture. Records in an ancient inscritption in the great pyramid of Cheops state that the sum of 1600 talents of silver-equivalent to $30 million US dollars today- were paid to supply the workers with garlic, onions and radishes while the pyramid was being constructed. Another cool story is that during the bubonic plague in 1722 in marseilles, France there were 3 thieves going around robbing the homes of the dead. They were immune to the effects of the plague. They were caught and sentenced to death, but were offered clemency for the secret for not being effected. Their secret was 50 cloves of garlic soaked in 3 pints of wine vinegar, which they rubbed on the face, hands,arms,clothes and drank before they went out. The authorities passed this info on to the public and many were saved. Ok, enough history and on to the formula:

Take 3/4 lb. of each of the following; garlic, white onion, horseradish root, and ginger root. Chop all finely and place in a 1 gal. jar. Now add 4 tbls. of cayenne pepper, preferably african bird, the hottest you can get. Fill the jar the rest of the way with applecider vinegar, let set for 2-3 weeks agitating daily. Use 1 oz. every other day as a boost during the flu season, or if you feel something coming on, 3-5 oz. before bed. It goes without saying that organic is preferable. Honey can be added to taste. I hope this will help. If you liked this article or didn't, please e-mail feedback to:
taochi123@yahoo.com, or shenmartialarts@cox.net. You can also enter your questions or comments on this journaland we will be happy to reply. Until next time GOD bless you all.

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Posted by Shen     0 Comments Monday, November 7, 2005
Ode to the much Harangued Horse Stance
The horse stance, Ma Bo, Sei Ping Ma, the source of Kung Fu Strength, Ability and Jing. So misunderstood, attacked as useless and abandoned by its own practitioners, the golden key to advancement in our chosen path.

Strengthens the legs, tendons and sinews, but much more than that, it harnesses the lower jiao, enhances the kidneys and empowers the jing, the essence that is the crowning jewel of martial rigor.

As if that wasn't enough, ongoing practice helps moisten and empower the lungs, enlivining the Chi and opening the door to the higher regions.

Scoff as they may, the key is in front of your eyes. It is the grand exercise, the great posture, the basic horse stance.

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