Science of Martial Arts

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu

“The true science of martial arts means practicing them in such a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in such a way that they will be useful in all things.”

Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), founder of Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship.  The Book of Five Rings Trans. D.E. Tarver

Flexibly Rooted

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu - Flexibly Rooted
Parents take note – there are three aspects of kung-fu training that enabled our students to do well in life.  These aspects revolve around being “flexibly rooted”.  Through the years, the school has seen firsthand these three things enable our younger students with the knowledge and discipline to become highly competent and confident adults.
  1. Consistent and enduring training.   This includes not just a physical level, but also a discriminating use of time and experience that reflect in their pursuit of education and work ethic.
  2. Awareness through self respect.  As they learned to push themselves and achieve their desired goals, they grew to respect not only others and their kung- fu training , but they grew to respect themselves.  A sense of confidence and ability that they learned to apply in a full range of different circumstances.  A learned habit they would call on time and again in hard times as well as good to know they can accomplish anything because they persevered in their kung fu training.
  3. Through self effort they learned self-discipline and self-efficacy.  Nothing was given to them – they had to earn it through toil and persistence.  And in the process they learned never to give up, no matter how hard it was.
Throughout the history of this school, the use of these kung-fu principles have not only come to bare in our young students future academic and professional careers, but also in their personal sense of themselves.  Whether it be with their wives, kids, friends, work associates, or strangers, they stand flexibly rooted!

In the News…

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu was recently interviewed as a subject of an article published in the CSUF newspaper, The Daily Titan.  We know Master Jeu Susing as Master Bob Hsing…

Tai Chi Can Help Students Reduce Stress

– POSTED ON NOVEMBER 4, 2013POSTED IN: FITNESS

Students at the Brea Shaolin Kung Fu studio focus their energy into their balance. Tai chi helps with movement of the body and lower body strength.  Chu-Ling yee / Daily Titan

Students at the Brea Shaolin Kung Fu studio focus their energy into their balance. Tai chi helps with movement of the body and lower body strength.
Chu-Ling yee / Daily Titan

Students suffering from stress and are overwhelmed by school may want to try tai chi. Tai chi, an ancient kung fu fighting defense, can help relieve stress and lower blood pressure.

Tai chi originated as a form of martial arts, but due to its health benefits, tai chi is now taught as an exercise too.

The exercise can ease tension, strengthen the lower body and help blood flow more easily throughout the body. Tai chi provides a workout without the intensity of a regular cardio workout. The movements are typically circular and never forced.

Master Charles Robert, owner of Brea Shaolin Kung Fu, said tai chi helps the thighs act as a second heart. Tai chi movements help muscles in the thighs contract, causing less strain and work for the heart to pump blood. Robert has practiced tai chi for 20 years and his studio teaches more of an internal and competition form.

Internal focuses on breathing and less of muscle power to exert force. Competition form of tai chi is not fighting, but it is judged on timing and technique. Tai chi instead focuses on the little movements of the body.

There were originally five styles of tai chi: Yang, Wu, Chen, Hao and Combination. Years ago, an assembly gathered in China and decided to standardize the five different forms of tai chi to create a competition form.

Anybody can begin taking tai chi for its health benefits and further their skills by tackling competitive aspects of the practice.

Master Jeu Susing who teaches tai chi at the studio begins teaching students the basic Twenty-Four Movement, which consists of 24 separate movements. The competition forms of movements are titled by numbers of steps in them.

“The teacher is the key,” Susing said. Average students are unable to reproduce the same results by themselves. Students are limited to what they know.

Master Susing teaches students not only how to do the movements, but also how to improve their chi.

One of the main reasons why tai chi is effective in helping to relieve stress is attributed to the deep breathing that is involved. When students are focused in what they are doing and are breathing correctly, they can find peace with themselves. They focus on themselves and forget about the situations that are causing them stress.

Stress causes high blood pressure, chest pain and fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic. By taking tai chi, people can help prevent future illnesses. Tai chi has also been proven to  help ease fibromyalgia and arthritis.

Doug Robson, 66, said tai chi has helped him with arthritis and keep his body limber. Robson attends classes at the studio twice a week.

Tai chi eases the joints and lubricates them with all the movements they do. There is no aggressive jumping involved that could harm the bones.

Another benefit of the exercise is that no one is there to scream at the students, because it is a relaxing environment.

The lower part of the body also gets stronger since tai chi requires people to move their hips and use their legs. There is a misconception about tai chi that it is a slow-paced exercise most suited to seniors. Robson said anyone can do this form of exercise.

“I can do just about any form and it will start calming me down,” Robson said.

He recommends practicing tai chi for 15 to 30 minutes a day. Susing said people can see improvement within three months.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu Martial Arts

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu Martial Arts

“For the warrior, the path to enlightenment comes by openly and objectively studying all forms of martial arts, sticking to the true path of the warrior, allowing no dishonesty in your heart, sharpening and trusting your intuition, and diligently practicing and clinging to the truth.  In time, once the clouds of confusion have cleared, you will come to true enlightenment.  

Many think that they are on the true path of enlightenment some through religion, and some through education.  But true enlightenment can be seen by what a person has done, not by what he says.  Those who have missed the mark may chatter all day long about this and that, but they have never done anything.  Anyone can make a good argument, by few can show good results.”

Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), founder of Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship.  The Book of Five Rings Trans. D.E. Tarver

Warrior State of Mind

Brea Shaolin Martial Arts

Brea Shaolin Martial Arts

“Strive to remain calm and steady even in a crowd of people rushing here and there.  You are a warrior.  You should lead those that are less settled, not follow them.  This state of mind will only come with practice and time.

Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645), founder of Niten-ryū style of swordsmanship.  The Book of Five Rings Trans. D.E. Tarver

Invisible Growth

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu - Invisible Growth

Brea Shaolin Kung Fu – Invisible Growth

If one point can’t be drilled into each student enough is the idea of effort and consistency.  In our world of fast food, remote controls, light switches, movies, etc., most people expect results to come on command.   They expect instant gratification.  People start a diet or exercise routine in the morning and expect to see a different body that night when they look at themselves in the mirror or wonder how much weight they lost when they step on the scale.  Some people are ambitious enough to turn the TV off for a night and read a few pages of a book – only to set the book aside because the beginning was too boring.  We expect to see immediate results and constant feedback or else we believe something isn’t right.  However, that is not the way things work… not with kung fu and not with most things in life worth pursuing.

In fact, what is happening every day you train is “invisible growth”.  The development of kung fu skill is the pursuit of perfecting all the details that make up the art.  This perfection is gradual – it’s a process that requires painstaking effort and consistency mentioned time and again in class.  Because there are so many nuances to the movements, you won’t really know what you’re getting better at day in and day out.  By the time you recognize you’ve gotten better at some aspect of training, you’ve practiced the techniques over and over and over again – even many hundreds and thousands of times.  It’s quite likely that it is someone else telling you how much better you’ve gotten because you can’t even tell the difference.  When they ask what you’ve done to get better, your answer will likely be, “I don’t know – I just trained!” because there was probably no aha moment.  Those people probably weren’t around to watch you in class day in and day out.  They had and have the same opportunity as you to get better.

One last concept to help grasp the idea of “Invisible Growth” is that of compound interest – which was dubbed “the 8th wonder of the world.” by Albert Einstein.  “Compounding” has the same benefit to your kung fu skill as it does to money.  When it comes to the compounding of money – saving $20 a day and compounding it at 8%/year will yield $109,767 in 10 years, $353,412 in 20 years, $894,215 in 30 years, and $2,094,604 in 40 years.  No small sum for half a life of saving.  Although more money was saved from day 1 to year 30, there was much more money earned by the compounding effect during years 30-40.  This is the 8th wonder of the world working in your favor.  When it comes to compounding kung fu skill, the same phenomena will occur.  As you put your time in and learn movements and techniques, much will be new and their will be no compounding going on – yet.  As years go by and your body has internalized many of the basics, the compounding effect will kick in.  New movements will take little effort to learn, understand and utilize.  Your skill will flow as your body has memorized how to effortlessly move, react, and adapt to change.

By training an hour everyday you’d hit 10,000 hours of training in about 30 years and become a “kung fu millionaire”.

A Low Ceiling

Brea Shao Lin Kung Fu - Low Ceiling

Brea Shao Lin Kung Fu – Low Ceiling

One very effective way of lowering your root, creating power, and becoming more effective in sparring/fighting is to imagine that the ceiling of the room you train in has been lowered to about a foot or two shorter than your height.  An actual room like that would be hard to come by, so you’ll just have to visualize it when you train.  You would literally have to lower your head and bend your knees just to get in the room.  Imagine it.

When practicing kicks in this room, your stances will have to start low so your head doesn’t hit the ceiling.  When executing the kick, your stances must then stay low – don’t pop up!  This means you must sink your weight throughout the entire kick.  This will help your kick become even more powerful.  It also makes you difficult to sweep to the ground if your kick is caught as your center of balance – your root – makes you very heavy to the opponent and you have much greater balance.

Practicing single-step movements and forms in a room with a low ceiling also requires a great number of changes so as to not bang your head.  Let’s disregard movements that require standing at full height, jumping kicks, etc.  Focus on the majority of the movements that require stepping, turning, twisting, switching stances, punching, kicking, etc.   Like with the kicks, performing these movements with such low stances will create enormous power and stability.

During sparring, San Shou and even when implementing Chin Na, keeping low will provide a new perspective to your training.  Don’t mistake keeping low with being slow.  Your legs will burn for some time by keeping so low and that might seemingly slow your movements down.  Realize, however, that it’s only temporary due to your legs being gassed.  As you continue with this type of training, you will become incredibly stronger, your body looser, and those two things will help you move far quicker than before.

This new way of training will likely have an almost immediate impact on your skill level.  You will become a much more solid and smooth martial artist.  However, this type of training takes a good deal of focus and willingness to suffer – your legs will undoubtedly go through a great deal of growing pains.  But, if you care about progressing in your kung fu, it’s worth the pains.  In class, take a low stance in kicks, single step, forms, etc. and use the mirrors to try to maintain the height of your head through whatever you’re working on.  If you’re not in a position to look at a mirror, simply envision yourself doing what you’re doing and keeping your head on a level plane.  Do not bend your back to make this happen.  There will be times when movements dictate a higher or lower stance, so allow for them when they occur.  Otherwise, try to keep low, stable and supple.