Martial Arts Secrets and Words of Wisdom

SHAOLIN is the nickname of the original Buddhist Temple where Chan Buddhism was created in Northern China by Bodhidharma.

ZEN is the Japanese word for the Chinese word "Chan."

CHAN is the Chinese word for "Universal Mind."

UNIVERSAL MIND is the ability to see reality from All Perspectives.

All Perspectives is the combination of All Truths or Universal Truth.

"Into a soul absolutely free
From thoughts and emotions
Even the tiger finds no room
To insert its fierce claws
No thinking, no reflecting,
Perfect emptiness
Yet therein something moves,
Following its own course."

"Victory is for the one,
Even before the combat
Who has no thought of himself,
Abiding in the no-mind-ness of Great Origin".





Martial Arts Tips


Words of Wisdom

The Tao of Gung Fu

Yogic Breathing

Women's Self-Defence through Martial Arts

The student must rely on himself and must honestly and bravely check himself. You cannot rely on the teacher. 

Many people train for decades but gain no results. This is because, at the most basic level, they have not developed the ability to be self-critical; to listen to their own movements, to listen to what their body is telling them. When you are "song" and you listen to whether your body ids balanced, whether if one part moves everything moves, then you can make progress. 


When on the defensive there are some key elements and concepts to keep in mind to be successful in your counter-attacks and evasion skills. Although these are not rules chiseled in stone and never to be broken, they are fairly accurate for most situations and have been helpful in my own training as well as people I have trained.

A direct counter-attack is usually the most devastating type of counter-attack because it is designed to stop the opponent dead in their tracks before they can execute their technique. 
The best time to counter an opponent’s attack is on their approach footwork. An example would be an opponent crosses their rear-foot behind their front foot to execute a sidekick. So therefore hit them while they are crossing behind. 

Always keep your elbows positioned so that your rib-cage is protected at all times. 
On a regular basis practice counter-attacks that can be used in almost all situations. For example the defensive sidekick can be used in just about any situation at medium to far range. Don’t think you have to memorize every way to counter an opponent, rather just concentrate on 4 to 6 techniques that are once again useful in almost all situations. Use the K.I.S.S. rule. KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID! 
When an opponent throws a punch at your head a part of their body becomes open. 
When an opponent throws a punch at your body a part of their head becomes open. 
When countering a charging kicker another great time to hit them is when they are on one foot because their balance will be much poorer. Also it is harder to avoid the counter-attack because you can’t run away when you are on one foot. 

If you don’t have time to counter with a kick or a punch and your opponent’s technique is coming in really fast, the next best thing to do is either step into the technique jamming/or smothering it rendering it harmless. 

Another option you have for the situation described in number 8) is to quickly sidestep and execute a circular footwork technique destroying any chance of your opponent being able to implement a combination attack. 

When on the defensive backing up in a straight line should always be your last option. Countering with a punch or kick, stepping forward jamming the opponent’s technique, or sidestepping is best from a tactical point of view. If you back up in straight-line to avoid an opponent’s technique you risk having them set you up with combination attack. 

It is more important to keep the rear hand (guard) up than the front hand because if you get hit on your open side you can’t bend over to roll out of the technique. 
When someone takes a shot at your head on the blindside you can lean your head out of the way to avoid the blow or pull your lead shoulder in to your jaw to protect. When taking heavy unavoidable shots pulling your shoulder into your chin will prevent you from getting knocked out. 
Never stand flat-footed with your knees straight. 

Always keep your knees slightly bent coiled like springs so that you can move in any direction easily. 
On a regular basis practice evasion, blocking and covering-up drills. 
When sidestepping an opponent you must wait until the last split second to move. If you move too soon they will be able to follow you. If you move too late you’ll be hit. 
Never take your eyes off your opponent. 
Use your peripheral vision when fighting to enable you to see the opponent’s whole body. In order to read your opponent’s intentions one must be able to see the opponent’s hips, knees, shoulders and head. 

In a lot of cases opponent’s give away their intentions of attacking through their facial expressions. Some styles of martial arts say that you should always maintain eye contact with your opponent and that the eyes are the gateway to the soul. Realistically you can not rely on this method because this type of telegraphing is more commonly seen in beginners or inexperienced fighters. An experienced intelligent fighter usually has developed what some call a "poker face". The best fighters can fight without emotion which puts them tactically in a better predicament because you never really know what their up to until the last split second. 

Never show fear. This only builds your opponent’s confidence if they know you’re uncomfortable. Always try to look relaxed and confident. This has a way of putting your opponent on edge and nervous. When an offensive opponent is nervous or scared they have a tendency to be less aggressive or less committed to their attack which in turn decreases their fighting ability. Remember that humans are extremely visually orientated creatures and are easily lead into certain types of reactions by what they see. Combat is based mostly on sight alone so one must learn to utilize every possible element to bring about success.


The science of combination attacking is not as difficult to understand as some may think. However to accurately land combination attacks on your opponent is another story. Strong mental and physical skills for this art are quite demanding. Practice on a daily basis is necessary from the competitor to move quickly and fluently without hesitation. Hesitation is probably the biggest reason why combination attacks usually fail. Although there are many other variables that can ruin an attack sequence.

Your first initial movement is extremely important during an attack sequence because of many reasons. Your first initial movement can be used to:

Set your opponent up for your second move. 
Cover distance between you and your opponent. 
Check your opponent’s reaction time. 
Check your opponent’s response to that technique to see where a possible weakness or opening may lie. 
Draw your opponent to counter-attack or engage. 
Raise or lower your opponent’s guards.


Two kick combinations are very simple and to the point. The initial kick is used to set up for the second kick. So in other words your first move can also be considered as a fake. Keep in mind your fake must seem real enough to your opponent so that they will react properly to your set-up. Your first move doesn’t necessarily need to connect it just has to look like it has the potential of connecting. In the following you will see how to scientifically score on your opponent with two-kick-combination attacks. 



1. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg roundhouse kick to the opponent’s mid- section to draw their guards down low. Then quickly execute another rear-leg roundhouse kick (with the opposite foot) to the opponent’s head.


2. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg roundhouse kick to the opponent’s mid-section to draw their guards down low. Then quickly execute turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section.


3. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg roundhouse kick to the opponent’s mid-section to draw their guards down low. Then quickly execute a rear-leg axe-kick high to the opponent’s head.


4. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg roundhouse kick to the opponent’s mid-section to draw their guards down low. Then quickly execute a spinning hook-kick high to the opponent’s head.


5. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg roundhouse kick to the opponent’s mid-section to draw their guards down low. Then quickly execute a spinning roundhouse kick to the opponent’s head.



1. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg front kick to the opponent’s mid-section to draw their guards down low. Then quickly execute a back-leg roundhouse kick the opponent’s head.


2. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg front kick to the opponent’s mid-section to draw their guards down low. Then quickly execute a turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section.


3. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg front kick to the opponent’s mid-section to draw their guards down low. Then quickly execute a spinning hook-kick high to the opponent’s head.


4. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg sidekick to the opponent’s mid-section to draw their guards down low. Then quickly execute a turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section.


5. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg axe-kick towards the opponent’s blindside to draw their guards to the blindside of the their head. Then quickly execute a spinning hook-kick high to the opponent’s head.


6. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg axe-kick towards the opponent’s blindside to draw their guards to the blindside of the their head. Then quickly execute a turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section.


7. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg axe-kick towards the opponent’s blindside to draw their guards to the blindside of the their head. Then quickly execute a lead-leg roundhouse kick to the opponent’s mid-section.


8. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a penetrating turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section to drive them backward. Then quickly execute another turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section or rib-cage.


9. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute an outside-inside back-leg axe kick to the blindside of the opponent’s head. Then quickly execute a spinning hook-kick high to the opponent’s head.


10. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute an outside-inside back-leg axe kick to the blindside of the opponent’s head. The quickly execute a back-leg roundhouse kick low to the opponent’s mid-section.


11. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg front kick to the opponent’s mid-section to push them backwards. Then quickly execute a turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section or rib-cage.


12. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg front kick to the opponent’s mid-section to push them backwards. Then quickly execute a spinning hook-kick high to the opponent’s head.




1. From a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg axe kick toward the blindside of the opponent’s head to draw your guards up high. Then quickly execute a turn-back kick to your opponent’s mid-section to draw your opponent’s guards down low. Then to finish off execute a spinning hook-kick high to your opponent’s head.


2. From a solid fighting stance execute a back-leg roundhouse kick mid-section level to draw the opponent’s guards/defenses low to the opponent’s blindside. Then execute another rear-leg roundhouse kick to the opponent’s open-side to draw their guards/defenses low to the opponent’s low to the opponent’s open-side. Then to finish off execute a back-leg axe kick to the opponent’s head from their blindside.


3. From a solid fighting stance execute a lead-led front kick low to push the opponent backwards. Then execute a back-leg front kick low to push the opponent backwards again. Then to finish off execute a turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section.



From a solid fighting stance execute a back-leg roundhouse kick mid-section level to draw the opponent’s guards/defenses low to their open-side. Then execute a lead-leg roundhouse kick head-level to draw their guards/defenses up high. Then to finish off execute a turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section.

2. From a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg front kick mid-section level to push the opponent backwards. Then execute a spinning roundhouse kick mid-section level to draw the opponent’s guards down low to their open-side. Then to finish off execute a spinning hook-kick high to the opponent’s head.


3. From a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg front kick mid-section level to push the opponent backwards. Then execute a rear-leg roundhouse kick mid-section level on the opponent’s open-side. Then to finish off execute a spinning hook-kick high to the opponent’s head.


4. From a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg axe kick coming up on your opponent’s open-side. Then execute a rear-leg front kick mid-section level to push them backward. Then to finish off execute a turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section. 




1. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg sidekick towards the opponent’s mid-section. The opponent skips backwards to avoid being hit and then attempts to counter-attack with a rear-leg roundhouse kick, but before you they can finish you execute a turn-back kick to their mid-section.


2. Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg axe kick towards the open side of your opponent’s head. The opponent skips backwards to avoid being hit and then attempts to counter-attack with a rear-leg roundhouse kick, but before you they can finish you quickly execute a spinning hook-kick high to the head. 


Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg front kick mid-section level to push your opponent backward. The opponent skips backwards to avoid being hit and then attempts to counter-attack with a rear-leg roundhouse kick, but before they can finish you quickly execute a turn-back kick to the mid-section. 

Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg front kick mid-section level to push your opponent backward. The opponent skips backwards to avoid being hit and then attempts to counter-attack with a spinning hook-kick, but before they can finish you quickly execute a turn-back kick to the mid-section.



Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a back-leg roundhouse kick mid-section level towards your opponent’s blind-side. The opponent skips backwards to avoid being hit and then attempts to counter-attack with a rear-leg roundhouse kick, but before they can finish you quickly execute a spinning hook-kick high to the head. 


Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a back-leg front kick mid-section level to push your opponent backward. The opponent skips backwards to avoid being hit and then attempts to counter-attack with a rear-leg roundhouse kick, but before they can finish you quickly execute an inside-outside axe kick to the open-side of your opponent’s face. 


Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg front kick mid-section level to push your opponent backward. The opponent skips backwards to avoid being hit and then attempts to counter-attack with a turn-back kick, but before they can finish you quickly execute a back-leg front kick to the opponent’s hip area knocking them off balance short circuiting their movement. 

Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a lead-leg roundhouse kick mid-section level towards your opponent’s open-side. The opponent steps backwards switching sides to avoid being hit and then attempts to counter-attack with a rear-leg roundhouse kick, but before they can finish you quickly execute a turn-back kick to the opponent’s mid-section. 

Starting from a solid fighting stance execute a rear-leg front kick mid-section level to push the opponent backward. The opponent skips backwards to avoid being hit and then attempts to counter-attack with a rear-leg roundhouse kick, but before they can finish you quickly execute a reverse punch to the mid-section.

Martial Arts Tips

For Tournament Sparring :
I feel the most important for beginners-intermediate to know is that TKD sparring is not a competition of number of kicks you can perform in a minute. It's not the quantity, it's the quality of the kicks that counts. You win by points, not by the number of kicks. The main difference in beginner and blackbelt sparring is the number of kicks. Beginners can kick 100 times in a single match and not score a point, whereas the a blackbelt can kick twice and get two points. Why? Because blackbelts are much more effective using their kicks, they perform kicks with power, speed, and great timing. 

Timing is very important when attacking and especially counter-attacking. This is can be 'learned' by sparring or doing reaction paddle drills. 

Concentrate on few kicks. There are countless kicks and combinations in TKD but you only need few of them to be successful in tournaments. Most important kicks are: 45 degree roundhouse, axe kick, and back kick. If you can do these kicks with power and speed, you should be able to challenge your most formidable opponent. Reason being those are the most effective and simple kicks. They do not require too much power (or skill) but they are more efficient than other more 'aesthetic' kicks (spin kick, 540 spin kick...). 

One word: Power. If you don't have power in your kicks, then you can forget about scoring. You have to kick your opponent with enough force to 'move' them back and without power, you can't score even with clean kicks. So it is recommended to conserve your energy (don't do a kick-a-thon) and save them for kicks you want to score with. 

More power can be gained by twisting your hip. Example: instead of doing a pure 45 degree roundhouse, you should twist your hip into your opponent and turn the 45 into a roundhouse kick just before your kick reaches your opponent. 

One problem that people have is that they stop their kicks at the chest protector. This will probably make a pretty loud sound but will not score a point. You won't be able to knock your opponent backwards. Simple solution: imagine that you're kicking at the center of your opponent. When your foot touches your opponent's chest protector, you should continue the kick for about 3-5 more inches, to fully extend your kick. Kick through your opponent. 

Try to conserve your energy for later rounds or matches. Most beginners are so tense and do so many 'air' kicks that after one round they're out of steam. So if you can conserve your energy, this is the time to use them. Endurance is important but managment of energy is more.

Distance - When sparring, it's a lot less painful and tiringif, instead of blocking your opponent's kicks, you simply move out ofrange. This serves 2 purposes : you don't get bruises from blockingthe kicks of somebody who may be quite a bit bigger than you andyou frustrate your opponent, who looks like he doesn't know what he/she is doing since he/she/it [in the case of 'Animal'] keepskicking air. 

The flip side of this is when -you- are the person doingthe kicking - a fair number of people at various belt levels havebad distance judgement, so that their opponent doesn't even have to movein order not to get hit [watch a white belt sparring and you'll see whati mean]. All this is "sound and fury signifying nothing" - you waste yourown energy, you get nothing in return and your opponent will likely justset himself up for the counter and hit you like you've never been hitbefore.

The key to all of this is DISTANCE - you need to learn 3 things :

i) how to judge -your- distance from your opponent - is he in yourkicking range ?

ii) how to judge -her- distance from you - are you in her kicking range ?

iii) how to close and open distance as needed - realize that your opponentwill not voluntarily stand at just the right distance for you to do yourmagical 5-hit combo Fatality from Mortal Kombat. You need to close or openthe gap as needed - eg after you slide away from their kick, close for justthe right distance and score with a counter; after you attack, moveout of their range.

Also, note that "out of range" doesn't necessarily mean "too far away" -it means "at a distance where your opponent can't kick you withouthaving to adjust their distance from you in some fashion"; you could be too close or too far from her.

Blocks - if you can't avoid the kick, block it. Seems obvious, butthere are 2 points that need to be stressed :

1) It's usually more desirable to avoid the kick than to have toblock it, since, if you have to block it you're definitely in youropponent's kicking range.

2) If you block a kick, make sure it stays blocked. No half-hearted attemptsalong the lines of "I'll just put an arm out and hope that's good enough".Your opponent should -feel- that he's been blocked [if you get really good atit, you can use your elbows to block =)]. This means that you need toknow what kick you're blocking -and- what block you're using ... blockinga roundhouse kick with a high block is sure to be bad for your karma. Thekey to this is partly experience and partly knowing what each block is designed for. Experience : after a while, you can generally predict whatkick your opponent will throw as a second or third kick - there reallyaren't that many ways to follow a spinning hook without tearing a few ligaments. Thus, you know what you're looking for and can usually justconcentrate on the nastiest way to block the kick and what you're goingto do after the block [yes, there -is- life after blocks..].

Blocking well has the additional bonus that it makes life very frustratingto your opponent - she's thrown all she can at you and hasn't scored a singlepoint so she starts doing stupid things, which is when you start cleaningup. And, of course, there's the survival incentive : it's the thirdround, your feet are messed up beyond belief, you can't kick to saveyour life and your opponent is one of those [for guys] 130-lbwhippersnappers that just keeps going and going and going ... - whatdo you do ? Block.

Follow-up : The 5-second idea is "Don't stop after you score a point.".Most people, after they score a point, step back and wait to see whethertheir opponent will crumple to the ground screaming "Uncle!" Fact of the matter is, it's not very likely to happen. Consider now youropponent's reaction, which is usually of the form "Doht! He just hit me!" Put these two together and you have the fact that you shouldexploit their momentary confusion and hit them a few more times [unless,of course, the referee, spoil-sport that she is, asks you in that politeway that referees do, to stop.]. Again, this can be extended to the otherside : if you get hit, don't stop to check for gaping flesh wounds - youropponent is currently probably doing the TKD touchdown dance in her head anddoesn't expect you to counter, so you get the point back with a quickcounter-attack.

This is all very well, but aren't -you- guys supposed to teach usall this ? Yes, we are, and, yes, we -do- teach it to you. However,learning is greatly speeded up if the pupil knows what to lookfor and has a general idea of how things are -supposed- to work. Giventhat we only have a limited time each class to spar and that we can'trun through all the points all the time, it helps a lot if you yourselfstart noticing these things and putting them into practice.

Things to do:

Head shots: Since you have to 'move' your opponent to score a point, axe kick or spin kick to the head are the easiest way to score and are the most effective. It is also more noticeable to the corner judges. However, your kicks has to be controlled and the contact has to be light oryou might be penalized, especially if you're a color belt.
Only kick when you see an opening: Never trade kicks in a tournament, you will waste your energy and tend to make yourself vulnerable. Only kick when you see an opening, an opportunity. Never kick just for the hell of it because you never know what your opponent's counter move will be. 
Combinations: Have 2-3 kick combinations in mind. Don't kick once and back up because that'll give your opponent a chance to recover and attack you. The first kicks should always be light and mostly fake, you're concentrating on landing the second or the third kick. You will lose your balance if you use too much force for the first couple of kicks. 
Use fakes: Fake often and keep your opponent guessing. 
Things not to do:

Walk into a kick: I know this sounds stupid but I've seen so many people do this. Never move towards your opponent without a planned attack. 
Show that you're frustrated: If you do this, not only will your opponent gain confidence but most of the time the judges will give him/her the 'superiority' point.
Cheer yourself: Never show disrespect towards your opponent. 

Fighting a shorter opponent
Your advantage is range and height which are very important. With shorter opponents, head shots are easier and requires less energy. 

Things to do:

Use your range: Sidekicks and push kicks are useful. Keep your opponent away from you so there's no chance for them to score. 
Use your height: Since headshots are easier, use axe kicks or high 45 degree roundhouse. 
Things not to do:

Punches: Punches aren't recommended since there's a great possibility that you might punch your opponent in the face. You won't be able to punch your opponent 'legally' unless you punch down and that requires practice.

Fighting a taller opponent
Most likely your opponent will try to keep you away so he/she can use the range to work against you. So the most effective attack plan is to get close to your opponent and use your speed. If you can get close enough to your opponent, he/she won't be able to kick you with full force since they cannot fully extend their kicks.

Things to do:

Close range fighting: Like I said before, if you can get close enough to your opponent, he/she won't be able to kick you with full force since they cannot fully extend their kicks. 
Spin: You should be more mobile than your taller opponent so try to use spin moves, these are harder to predict and harder to counter-attack.
Things not to do:

Trade kicks: You don't want to trade kicks with your opponent since there will be times that he/she is out of your range but you are in his/hers.
Walk into kicks: When moving towards your opponent, always have an attack plan ready, don't just blindly walk into axe kicks.

Jumping Kicks 

First of all, jumping kicks should NOT be attempted while sparringbecause it is dangerous to both you and your opponent, difficultto perform, and not always beneficial. Extreme caution and perfect timing is required to successfully perform jumping kicks. Jumpingkicks look aesthetic in practice, but when sparring there are few circumstances where jumping kicks would be useful (e.g. yourskill is much higher than your opponents, using jumping kicks asdefensive move, you're faster than your opponent, your opponent is THAT much taller than you, or you just want to show off).

Defensive Jumping Kicks
Jumping Spinkick 
Jumping Back kick
Offensive Jumping Kicks
Jumping Front Snapkick 
Jumping Sidekick (Flying Sidekick)
Exercises to improve jumping height, speed, endurance

Defensive Jumping Kicks 
Jumping Spinkick

Jump first and then spin... I know this does not sound too difficultbut most people try to spin first and then their non-kicking foot never leave the ground. If you're kicking with your left, then try to lift your right as high as possible (to your butt, if you can) and then the spin will come naturally. Just make sure you tuck your non-kicking leg in.

This kick is useful when you know you're THAT much better than youropponent, when your opponent walks in with his/her hands down then without steping back, you should perform a jumping spinkick to headlevel. NEVER USE THIS KICK AS AN OFFENSIVE MOVE.

Jumping Back kick
This kick can be used as both an offensive and a defensive move. On the offense, you might want to take a step forward and then throw the kick. As a defense technique, it's most effective against oppositeleg mid-section roundhouses.

Wait until they start the kick and then turn with his/her kick to performa jumping back kick to his/her mid-section. One thing to bear in mind - Keep Your Guard Up.

Offensive Jumping Kicks
Jumping Front Snap Kick

NEVER DO THIS IN A TOURNAMENT!! It doesn't work nearly as well inreality as in movies (Karate Kid series). Although this wouldbe a good board breaking technique. 

Board Breaking Technique: Tuck in your non-kicking legto your chest as high as possible. Make sure you're kicking withthe ball of your foot (bent your toes). Running start generally willhelp but just a few steps will do, you don't need a 100 meter dash.

Jumping Sidekick (Flying Sidekick)
This kick is also great for breaking boards, or, when you're acting in a movie and are about to finish somebody off (movie: Dragon). The key is to tuck in the non-kicking leg. It's less important for a jumping side kick than a jumping spinkick, but it looks a lot better if your leg is tucked in.

There are a lot of different exercises that you can do to improve yourcontrol, speed,and height. We recommend the following exercises: 

Jumping up and pulling your knees all the way to your chest. A lot of people kick their feet back to touch their butt, but that reduces your jumping distance by about half.

Set of four different jumps consecutively.
Jump and pull your knees to chest 
Jump and legs shoot straight out in front of youand try and touch your toes with your hands 
Jump and do a split then touch your toes 
Jump and kick feet back and touch your toes

Just How Do Some of Those Martial Artists Get So Good?
You know? The ones that are truly a cut above everyone else.
Are they just naturally gifted, or can anyone gain that skill? How
did they learn?

I can tell you one thing -- they didn't gain the martial

arts advantage by practicing the same old kicks and 

punches as everyone else. And they didn't gain their

expertise by watching the same videos that everyone else 

has. Sure, they may have a few videos....
But the really great practitioners have finely developed skills, because
they have found their own way. Whether they stick to a classical style
or they have gone the modern route, they all have followed a similar
pattern of development.

They build their repertoire of moves and techniques. As they build,
they constantly evaluate. They tweak moves, until they work for them. 
And if the techniques still don't work, then they discard them -- but
only after careful evaluation.

And they don't reinvent the wheel, as they build techniques. They all
have extensive libraries of books on martial arts (which, by the way,
is an instant advantage over the video-only crowd).

Full Contact "vs." Blade Fighting: 

Tuhon Gaje always emphasized that Pekiti-Tirsia was a blade oriented art, yet he also heavily emphasized the importance of full contact sparring. He did not see any dichotomy in this, and frankly neither do I, provided you keep your ultimate mission in mind. I tell my students that if your goal is survival on the street, then you have to spar keeping the strengths and weaknesses of your own weapons in mind while you train to deal with the potential weapons of your opponents. In our training with Tuhon Gaje, even through he emphasized Pekiti's blade orientation, he seemed to train us in what I latter came to realize was something of a "worst case scenario" mentality. That scenario being one in which you have a stick and your opponent has a sword. You could deduct this from the training in that the sparring was geared towards you trying not to get hit at all, while you would try to hit your opponent with several hard shots (sounds obvious, but if it was sword vs. sword, then the sparring would have been geared towards who could deliver the first "cut" and you would work under the assumption that that "cut" had a major effect). While a few parts of Pekiti-Tirsia work better with sword then stick, most of the system is quite effective with a stick (this would not be the case if Pekiti was "only" a blade art). 

Let me describe how Tuhon Gaje first started us in full contact sparring. The old NY Pekiti group in the 70's didn't begin stick sparring until we had our basics down. Prior to any actual sparring, we spent about a year on the two man timing drills of 64 attacks, working on these until our sub-components where strong, fast and polished. Next we began a process of combining these sub-components in real-time. First Tuhon Gaje gradually eased us into the "waters" of sparring, starting at the shallow end of the pool. (I'll barrow the very helpful terms from last year's Black Belt article by Crafty on stick ranges to describe the process). Tuhon Gaje had us start with what he called "range sparring" which was more like "virtual" sparring. We would stay well outside of stick contact range and "spar" trying to fake and create "openings" in our opponent's guard while avoiding his "attacks". After a time he moved us into stick contact range, in which we sparred, but could only make contact with our sticks. Next he gave us light rattan and had us spar with contact, but with the proviso that we only make contact to the opponent's weapon hand at largo range (with no gloves we had incentive to keep our weapon hands moving!). After this we put on head gear and football arm guards and targeted the hands and head at medio range. Next we added body armor at corto range in which any target was fair game. Soon we went to medium weight sticks and the body armor came off. (Heavy sticks were reserved for fighting guys from other systems at tournaments). We spent a total of three years on basics (64 Attacks) alternating between learning a new technique, drilling in it and sparring with it. There was not much in the way of grappling during this early training. It was only when we moved onto the third set of Solo Baston Seguidas that we began to see grappling during Pekiti-Tirsia single stick work. Latter in Pekiti single stick one also sees grappling elements in Solo Baston Contradas and Recontras. (There are also elements of grappling in Pekiti hand vs. knife and hand to hand, but it is limited to techniques that will work against an armed opponent and quick enough to use against multiple opponents. That cuts your available techniques down compared to an art that does not have these concerns). Looking back I can see certain common denominators in our training. We learned speed, timing and flow in our strikes and footwork before we learned any grappling. Why? Because we were training to deal with blades. Learning speed and avoidance skills has to come before grappling skills when dealing with someone who can take you out with just one strike like a fighter with a large blade can. While a grappler or boxer can use his arms to block ("take") a punch on the way in, obviously you don't want do this against a sword cut. 

In previous ED posts members have written complaining about fighters on a Dog Bros videos seeming to "take" hits on the way into a grappling technique. I have also seen this at my own seminars with students during their first few times at stick sparring, usually when someone with a strong empty hand background (but new to stick work) gets frustrated when getting hit at largo range. "Hey, if I am getting hit out here anyway, I might as well take one on the way in to get to a range I know I can work in." seems to be what these fighters are thinking. As a good empty hand fighter begins to get proficient with a stick you see less and less of this. 

I get the feeling that some list members are worried about getting their students into full contact sparring because they don't want them to get into the habit of "taking" a hit on the way in or, almost as bad, standing toe to toe and "kamikazeing" each other delivering strikes without any regard for defense. Instead of going from, "dry land" swimming practice right to dropping them into the "deep end" of the pool, try them at the shallow end working on one subcomponent at a time, so they can get used to the feeling of being in the water. Help them transition from drills to full sparring by starting them in full contact but with a concentration on only one particular skill at a time. Instead of starting them with the equation: FULL SKILLS + FULL CONTACT = FULL SPARRING, start them with ONE SKILL + FULL CONTACT = PARTIAL SPARRING to get them used to being in the water. Here are a few sparring drills that might help. 

1. FIRST CUT: Each man is assumed to have a sword. The first one to make a good cut without getting cut in return wins. Start with 30 second rounds to develop their stalking and entry skills, but as soon as possible move them to short rounds (say 5 or 10 seconds) to discourage hesitation. This is a good warm-up drill, but don't stay to long here or they will train to hit only once in combat. 

2. SWORD VS. STICK: Take a stick and wrap it with colored tape. This will be your "sword". Have two students spar, one with the "sword" and one with a stick. Explain that one cut from the sword can end the fight, but the man with the rattan will need to hit his opponent several time to have the same effect. You can also do this drill with a heavily armored advanced students 

as the sword man who "feeds" the stick man, gradually increasing the speed and complexity of his attacks. This is a good drill for the student who is willing to "take" a hit on the way in. You can make things really interesting by limiting the number of "cuts" the stick can sustain from the sword per round before the stick "breaks". The sword can also represent a crowbar, pipe, etc. 

3. SINGLE STICK VS. STICK AND DAGGER: Another good drill for the student who is in such a rush to get inside where he has fighting experience that he neglects his defensive skills at largo and medio ranges. Using 1' diameter colored chalk as the "dagger" can help a student realize just how many times he "died" before he made his grappling takedown. 



"Important formula says: Hammer (fist) comes from heart (mind). Fist follows Intention, generally one should know himself and the opponent, adapt to changing conditions.

Once heart and Qi emit, four extremities should move, legs rise (move) to a (certain) place, move and turn to a (certain) position, either stick (zhan) and move together (you), connect (lian) and follow (sui), jump (teng) and dodge (shan), turn over (zhe) and leave empty (kong), ward (peng) and roll (lü), push (ji) and press down (na).

Fist strikes within five feet (but) beyond three feet, far do not use elbow, close do not use hand, no matter (if you move) forward, backward, to the left of right, one step one strike, when you meet enemy, catching him is the standard, not showing the shape (of your strike) is the excellence.

Fist method is like military tactics, attack where (he is) not prepared, hit where (he has) no Intention, take advantage of attack and hit, take advantage of hitting and attack, first empty (Xu) and then make solid (Shi), first solid and then make empty, avoid solid and attack empty, take root when you ask for branch, if you meet multiple opponents who suround you, appear strong like a living dragon or tiger, (then) attack one opponent, with a power of big cannon booming straight.

Up, middle and botom should be handled by one Qi, body, hands and legs (move according to) established practise (like) bound by a rope, hand should not rise empty neither fall empty, the sensitivity of the spirit is completely in agility.

The ancients said: good at moving out and coming back, hardness and softness, moving forward and backward, (when he does) not move, (he is) like a mountain, difficult to know as Yin and Yang, limitless like heaven and earth, full and substantial like a granary, vast like four seas, dazzling like three lights, watching the coming force (to find) opportunity, able to estimate advantages and disadvantages of the enemy, awaiting movement (of the opponent) with stillness, handling stillness with movement, (only if the above conditions are met one) can talk about (real) boxing method.

Important formula says: method of borrowing (opponent's power) is easy, method of advancing is difficult, yet method of advancing is the most principal.

Writings on tactics say: attacking hand should be bold and powerful, do not attack the extremities, facing the opponent take his middle hall (e.g. between the legs), like a tiger grab the upper (part of his body) or grab the lower, similar to eagle or hawk capturing chicken from above; one does not have to hurry in overturning rivers and seas, the most powerfull is Red Phoenix Facing Sun; clouds flow in the light of sun and moon heaven meets earth, (only) when (two) martial arts fight one with the other (one) can see weak and strong sides.

Important formula says: taking a step and entering (one) must advance body, (the movement is) real only if body and hands arrive together, in the method there is a formula about where to get it from, (once) you understand this principle, (you will realize) how miraculous it is.

From ancient times there were methods of dodging (shan), advancing (jin), striking (da) and protecting (gu): what is called dodging, what is called advancing, advancing is dodging, dodging is advancing, there is no need seek it far away. What is called striking, what is called protecting, protecting is striking, striking is protecting, just a hand movement.

The ancients said: heart (mind; is) like gunpowder, hands (are) like bullets. A brainwave (sudden inspiration; and) bird will not escape easily. Body (is) like bowstring, hands like arrows. Bowstring sounds and bird falls down (this) shows miraculous (skill of the archer). Rise hands (fast) like flash of lightning, there is no time (even) to close eyes (when) lightning flashes. Strike the enemy like rapid thunder, there is no time to cover ears when thunder strikes. Chen Changxing hands Taiji classics to his disciple, Yang Luchan. Were "Important Words on Martial Applications" among them?

Move to the left and come from the right, move to the right and come from the left; hands hit from inside of the heart, (then) fall forward. Strength rises from feet, feet rise just like fire does.

(if you want to) advance the left (you should first) enter right, (if you want to) advance the right (you should first) enter left, taking step heel first touches ground, ten toes should grasp ground, steps should be steady, body should be serious and heavy, (when) moving out withdraw hands, when reaching the opponent (hands should) clench (into) fists, upper and lower Qi should all stop, (in) coming out and entering body should dominate; no deficiency, no shortage, no reaching, no leaving. Fist strikes from heart, hands are hastened by body, one extremity moves (and) one hundred (e.g. all) bones follow; once (you) bend (close), whole body also bends; once (you) extend (open), whole body should also extend; extending should be to the limit, bending should be tight. (it is) like loading a cannon, the tighter it is loaded, the more power the explosion has.

Writings on tactics say: no matter (with no restrictions to; if you) strike (using) lifting (ti), pressing (an), attacking (ji), pounding (chong), arms (bo), elbows (zhou), hips (kua), legs (tui), head (tou), hands (shou), (hit) high (gao), low (di), along (shun), horizontally (heng), with step forward (jinbu), with step backward (tuibu), borrowing Qi (jieqi), stopping Qi (jieqi) as well as with hundreds methods of striking up and down, generally (speaking) (all body should form) one coherent whole (literally - be penetrated by one Qi).

Moving body first take clever (e.g. favourable) place (position), this is called important formula of tactics. Joints of bones should be adjusted (dui), otherwise there is no strength. Hands should grasp with agility, otherwise (situation may) change (unexpectedly) (literally - change will be born). Hands should move (issue) fast, otherwise (they will be) delayed. Be ferocious when striking, otherwise (the strike is) of no benefit. Feet and hands must be alive, otherwise (one will) face danger. Cherish perfectly intentions (cunxin), otherwise (you will be) fooled.

Issuing with body: should be fierce and courageous like raising eagle, (in) rude and brave (fashion), quick-wits and wisdom (should be) linked. Do not fear (and) hesitate; like Guan at Baima, Zhao at Changban (ann.1), awe-inspiring with invincible might, breaking waves, in stillness like a mountain, in movement like a thunder.

Important formula says: make sure to examine the coming movement of the opponent, (how he) kicks with legs and advances with head, strikes with fists and spread (his) arms, step forward with (your) side to the opponent, (first) bend body (then) rise and hit.

When leg arrives (e.g. opponent kicks) lift your knee, if fist arrives move it aside (bo) with elbow, attack horizontally (heng) (if the opponent strikes) straight (shun), ward off (peng) and press down (ya) a horizontal (attack), receive (the attack) coming from the left with (your) right, meet (the attack) coming from the right with (your) left, on long distance use hand, on short distance use elbow, on long distance kick, on short distance add (use) knee.

(if one wants to) get upper hand in fighting, look around and examine the shape of ground (around you), hands must be fast (ji), feet light (qing), examine the (opponent's) movements like a cat, heart (mind) must be in order and clear, (when) body and hands arrive (at the target) together (this is) the beginning of success, if hands arrive and the body does not (then this is) striking without excellence. If hands arrive and body also arrives (at the same time), then defeating enemy is like smashing a weed.

Writings on tactics say: (those) good at fighting, first look at (the opponent's) footwork and (only) then strike with hands. High strike throat, low strike groin. Left and right Ribs as well as center (line). (While) advancing striking (on the distance of) one zhang (e.g. 3.33m) is not considered far, striking in close range is within one inch.

Important formula says: practice as if there was enemy in front of you, when facing enemy although there is opponent, (but fight) as if there was nobody. If a hand comes in front of your face do not look at it, if elbow comes in front of your chest do not look at it. When hands rise (qi) feet should fall (luo), when feet fall hands should rise.

Heart (xin; mind) must take the lead, Intention (yi) must conquer the opponent, body must attack him, steps must pass through him, head must look up (yang), chest must be present (xian), waist must be upright (shu), Dantian must must move (yun), (body) from feet to nape must be one coherent whole.

Writings on tactics say: those terrified will never achieve victory. Those who cannot examine situation will never protect (themselves).

Moving first (e.g. before the opponent) is called master, moving later (e.g. after the opponent) is called younger brother, teach to advance do not teach to retreat. Bold but cautious, secrets of movements and applications, everything is simply in one heart (mind). One moves into two energies (qi), transmitts to three joints (jie), appears in four extremitites (shao), unites in five elements (wuxing). Practice all the time, move and transform everyday, it is difficult at the beginning (but) becomes natural after a long time. Philosophy of fist art ends here."



Words of Wisdom

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own soul. ~Carl Gustav Jung 

Acquire the courage to believe in yourself. Many of the things that you have been taught were at one time the radical ideas of individuals who had the courage to believe what their own hearts and minds told them was true, rather than accept the common beliefs of their day. ~ Ching Ning Chu 

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it...always." ~Mahatma Ghandi 

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourself treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~Jesus 

There's music in the sighing of a reed; There's music in the gushing of a rill; There's music in all things, if men had ears: Their earth is but an echo of the spheres. ~Lord Byron 

Do everything with a mind that lets go. Don't accept praise or gain or anything else. If you let go a little you will have a little peace; if you let go a lot you will have a lot of peace; if you let go completely you will have complete peace. ~Ajahn Chah 

You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life. ~J.Krishnamurti 

Don't try to be a great man. Just be a man, and let history judge the rest. ~ Unknown 

To love what we do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun? ~ Katharine Graham 

"Never put anyone out of your heart..." ~Maharaj-ji 

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too can become great. ~ Mark Twain 

Your daily agenda must be a goal driven. If not, a task driven agenda will perpetuate. ~ Glenn Crider 

Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. ~ Unknown 

Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have - so spend it wisely. ~ Kay Lyons 

Our greatest glory is not in never failing but in rising each time we fall. ~ Confucius 

A good name, like a good will, is got by many actions and lost by one. ~ Lord Jeffery 

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. ~ T. S. Eliot 

A person who has not done half his day's work by 10:00 runs the chance of leaving the other half undone. ~ Emily Bronte 

The most important thing about goals is having one. ~ Geoffrey F. Abert 

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence. ~ Jessica Guidobono 

Life will always be to a large extent what we ourselves make it. ~ Samuel Smiles 

It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt 

I passionately hate the idea of being 'with it,' I think an artist has always to be out of step with his time. ~ Orson Welles 

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can still do something. ~ Helen Keller 

Both tears and sweet are salty, but render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy, sweet will get you change. ~ Jesse Jackson 

The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn't being said. ~ Unknown 

There are only two rules for success: 1. Never tell everything you know. 2. See #1. ~ Unknown 

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, your still a rat. ~ Lily Tomlin 

All of us are always going to do better tomorrow, and we would, if only we started today! ~ Unknown 

You find the key to success under the alarm clock. ~ Benjamin Franklin 

We cannot really love anyone with whom we never laugh. ~ Agnes Repplier 

Responsibility equals the price of greatness. ~ Winston Chuchill 

Doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things. ~ Stephen R. Covey 

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday. ~ Don Marquis 

I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done. ~ Henry Ford. 

Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson 

In absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia. ~ Unknown 

There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up. ~ Booker T. Washington 

They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. ~ Andy Warhol 

Procrastination is self-delusional because, after all, you still have to do the work, someday. ~ Unknow 

When you can't have what you want, it's time to start wanting what you have. ~ Kathleen A. Sutton 

You have to recognize when the right place and the right time fuse and take advantage of that opportunity … You can't sit back and wait. ~ Ellen Metcalf 

If you treat people right, they will treat you right - ninety percent of the time. ~ Franklin D Roosevelt 

Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte 

Let us make one point, that we meet each other with a smile, when it is difficult to smile. Smile at each other, make time for each other in you family. ~ Mother Tersea 

The bad thing about experience is that it teaches you the stuff you don't want to know. ~ Unknown 

Sure, there's no "i" in team, but there is an 'm' and an 'e.' ~ Kevin Meyers 

The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself a fool. ~ William Shakespeare 

My philosophy is that not only are you responsible for your life, but doing the best at this moment puts you in the best place for the next moment. ~ Oprah Winfrey 

A government is like fire: a hand servant, but a dangerous master. ~ George Washington 

You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in. ~ Arlo Guthrie 

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. ~ Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert 

If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention, than to any other talent. ~ Sir Isaac Newton 

It is unwise to be too sure of one's own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.~ Mohandas K. Gandhi 

The true secret of giving advice is, after you have honestly given it, to be perfectly indifferent whether it is taken or not. ~ Hanna Whithall Smith 

A problem is a chance for you to do your best. ~ Duke Ellington 

Lord, grant that I might always aspire to more than I can accomplish. ~ Michelangelo 

"Character is what you know you are, not what others think you are." - MARVA COLLINS and CIVA TAMRKIN 

"In order to succeed we must first believe that we can." - MICHAEL KORDA 

"Good judgement comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgement." - BARRY LePATNER 

"The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it." - RALPH WALDO EMERSON 
"If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play." - JOHN CLEESE 
"… You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." - BEVERY SILLS 
"I never feel age … If you have creative work, you don't have age or time." - LOUISE NEVELSON 
"When I was born I was so surprised I couldn't talk for a year and a half." - GRACIE ALLEN 
"After the verb 'to love,' 'to help' is the most beautiful verb in the world." - BERTHA VON SUTTNER 
"A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice, even if it's only a whisper." - BARRY NEIL KAUFMAN 
"The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you." - B.B. KING 
"I generally avoid temptation, unless I can't resist it." - MAE WEST 
"Every exit is an entry somewhere else." - TOM STOPPARD 
"Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to." - JOHN ED PEARCE 
"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do." - BENJAMIN SPOCK, MD 
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - ELEANOR ROOSEVELT 
"What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity." - JOSEPH ADDISION 
"To err is human, but it is against company policy." - ANONYMOUS 
"Effective management always means asking the right questions." - REBERT HELLER 
"We always admire the other fellow more after we have tried to do his job." - WILLIAM FEATHER 
"A well informed employee is the best salesperson a company can have." - EDWIN J. THOMAS 
"In the space age the most important space is between the ears." - THOMAS J. BARLOW 
"There is no crisis to which academics will not respond with a seminar." - ANONYMOUS 
"Experience is the worst teacher; it gives the test before presenting the lesson." - VERNON LAW 
"Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don't." - PETE SEEGER 
"Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died." - ERMA BOMBECK 
"Part of the secret to success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside." - MARK TWAIN 
"When we are is what we want to be, that's happiness." - MALCOM FORBES 
"I couldn't wait for success … so I went ahead without it." - JONATHAN WINTERS 
"Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn't." ERICA JONG 
"Next week there can't be any crisis. My schedule is already full." - HENRY A. KISSINGER 
"Genius is the ability to put into effect what is in your mind." - F. SCOTT FITZGERALD 
"Opportunities are often things you haven't noticed the first time around." - CATHERINE DENEUVE 
"Happiness often sneaks through a door you didn't know you left open." - JOHN BARRYMORE 
"You only live once, but if you work it right, once is enough." - JOE E. LEWIS 
"I've been on a calendar, but never on time." - MARILYN MONROE 
"It's not true that nice guys finish last. Nice guys are winners before the game even starts." - ADDISON WALKER 
"Some people march to a different drummer … and some people polka." - Los Angeles Times Syndicate 
"The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you have already lost." -GEORGE P. SHULTZ 
"My formula for success? Rise early, work late, strike oil." - JEAN PAUL GETTY 
"The best career advice given to the young is 'Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it.'" - KATHERINE WHITEHORN 
"Bargain: something you can't use at a price you can't resist." - FRANKLIN P. JONES 
"I will say this about being an optimist - even when things don't turn out will, you are certain they will get better." - FRANK UGHES 
"He who knows others is clever; he who knows himself is enlightened." LAO-TZU 
"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world." - JOHN le CARRE 
"Age is not important unless you're cheese." HELEN HAYES 
"Perpetual optimism is a fore multiplier." - COLIN POWELL 
"The older a man gets, the farther he had to walk to school as a boy." - Commercial Appeal 
"Beware what you set your heart upon. For it surely shall be yours." - RALPH WALDO EMERSON 
"Know the true value of time, snatch, seize and enjoy every moment of it." - LORD CHESTERFEILD 
"I'm an extraordinarily patient provided I get my own way in the end." - MARGRET THATCHER 
"Laughter is the sun that drives the winter from the human face." - VICTOR HUGO 
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." - MARIE CURIE 
"One's own self is most difficult to subdue." -The Buddha 
"It does not matter how slowly you go foward, so long as you do not stop." -Confucius 
"To contract, you must first expand. To yell, you must have been silent at one time. To rise, you must have fallen at some point." -Lao Zi (paraphrased) 
"Once, I thought I was smart. Then, I realized I was so wrong. And once again, I thought I was smart. But then I uncovered another mistake. But I have rectified it, and how lucky I am to be smart now! Oh, wait a minute....." -Anonymous 
"There are only two kinds of people who cannot learn- the very smart and the very stupid." -Confucius 
"Tynck, I know you often contemplate the stars. Why do you think you do this?' 'Well, there are so many. With different sizes, shapes, making patterns they don't even know they are making. Hey, I heard Immortals can see the future. What is that like?' 'Well, it's a lot like looking at the stars. There are many different people, of different sizes and shapes making patterns they don't even know they are making." -Pictures Of the Floating World 
"Mr. Min-tin, what is this love?' 'Well.... Tynck, have you ever felt that you hated someone? So much that you wished to hurt them?' 'Yes.... I have.' 'Well, it's like I told you about yin and yang. Love is yin, hate is yang. Love is loving someone so much you'd never, ever want to see any harm come to them." -Pictures Of the Floating World 
"There, Edmund encountered a meditating Monk. 'Why do you exist?' queried the Monk. 'Well, I can see, for one thing.' The Monk rose off his mat and threw powder into Edmund's eyes. He couldn't see. 'Why do you exist?' The Monk repeated. 'I can... still Hear.' Rising again, the Monk stuffed two cloves of garlic in Edmund's ears. He could hear nothing, but the Monk communicated telepathicly. 'Why do you exist?' He said again. 'I can still feel things around me.' The Monk hit a point on his neck, and all feeling in his body went dead. 'Why do you exist?' 'I... Can still think.' With that, a mnetal pressure was exercised in his head, and he could no longer think. 'Why do you exist?' Edmund couldn't have replied if he had wanted to. 'I'll tell you why, Edmund. A human being is more then dimension, more then form, more then a being of stimuli and response, you are an emanation of Tao!" -Edmund's Cabin 
"Let sleeping Walruses lie." -Anonymous 
"And the beat goes on." 
True knowledge, beauty, power, abillity, all comes from the limitless microcosm, the Yellow Court Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-- I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken 
If we work upon marble, it will perish, If we work upon brass, time will efface it. If we rear temples, they will crumble to dust but, If we work on man's immortal minds, If we imbue them with high principles, with the just fear of God and love of their fellow man, We engrave upon those tablets something which no time can efface and which will brighten and brighten to eternity. Daniel Webster (Taken from the dedication plaque of the Hub at Haliburton Scout Reserve) 
"The greatest power is often simple patience." E. Joseph Cossman 
"Ideals are like stars; you will not succeed in touching them with your hands, but like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, you choose them as your guides, and, following them, you reach your destiny." Carl Schurz 
"There is nothing noble about being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superiour to your previous self." Hindustani proverb 
"Promote yourself, but do not demote another." Israel Salanter 
"No man can hold another man in the gutter without remaining there himself." Booker T. Washington 
"Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins." American Indian Proverb 
"Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none." William Shakespeare 
"I always prefer to believe the best of everybody--it saves so much trouble." Rudyard Kipling 
"What do you despise? By this are you truly known." Frank Herbert, Dune--Manual of MuadDib by Princess Irulan 
"We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life." Edwin Markham 
"The longer I live the more I am convinced that the one thing worth living for and dying for is the priviledge of making someone more happy and more useful. No man who ever does anything to lift his fellows ever makes a sacrifice." Booker T. Washington 
"There is a wonderful mystical law of nature that the three things we crave the most in life--happiness, freedom, and peace of mind--are always attained by giving them to someone else." Unknown 
"Those who are lifting the world upward and onward are those who encourage more than criticize." Elizabeth Harrison 
"There's only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self." Aldous Huxley 
"Love not what you are, but what you may become." Miguel de Cervantes 
"The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within." Mahatma Gandhi 
"There is nothing that makes men rich and strong but that which they carry inside of them. Wealth is in the heart, not in the hand." John Milton 
"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." Ralph Waldo Emerson 
"He that respects himself if safe from others; He wears a coat of mail that none can pierce." Henry Wordsworth Longfellow 
"Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do." Don Galer 
"You should not live one way in private, another in public." Publilius Syrus 
"There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity." Tom Peters 
"That you may retain your self-respect, it is better to displease the people by doing what you know is right, than to temporarily please them by doing what you know is wrong." William J.H. Boetcker 
"When things go wrong--don't go wrong with them." Anonymous 
"No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back." Turkish Proverb 
"Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, "Where have I gone wrong?" Then a voice says to me, "This is going to take more than one night."" Charlie Brown, Peanuts 
"It is the mind that makes the body." Sojourner Truth 
"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." William James 
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." Plutarch 
"Be modest! It is the kind of pride least likely to offend." Jules Renard 
"Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you into trouble." Frank Tyger 
"Remember, a closed mouth gathers no foot." Steve Post 
"When you have nothing to say, say nothing." Charles Caleb Colton 
"Drawing on my fine command of language, I said nothing." Unknown 
"Never lose a chance of saying a kind word." William Makepeace Thackeray 
"Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after." Anne Morrow Lindbergh 
"Once you get people laughing, they're listening and you can tell them almost anything." Herbert Gardner 
"Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be." William Hazlitt 
"If you are going to be able to look back at something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now." Marie Osmond 
"The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift, not a right." Anonymous 
"The moment of victory is much to short to live for that and nothing else." Martina Navratilova 
"As long as you live, keep learning how to live." Seneca 
"Death is more universal than life; everyone dies but not everyone lives." A. Sachs 
"He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything." Anonymous 
"Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit." Bern Williams 
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." Kahlil Gibran 
"If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart." Arab Proverb 
"We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers." Seneca 
"This is the final test of the gentleman: his respect for those who can be of no possible service to him." William Lyon Phelps 
"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." Thomas Paine 
"To err is human, to forgive divine." Alexander Pope 
"There is no revenge so complete as forgiveness." Josh Billings 
"Deeds, not stones, are the true monuments of the great." John L. Motley 
"True dignity is never gained by place, and never lost when honors are withdrawn." Phillip Massinger 
"It is better to deserve honours and not have them than to have them and not to deserve them." Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) 
"If you want to truly understand something, try to change it." Kurt Lewin 
"To know a thing well, know its limits. Only when pushed beyond its tolerances will true nature be seen." Frank Herbert, Dune--The Amtal Rule 
"The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn" David Russel 
"The strongest man in the world is the man who stands alone." T. H. Huxley 
"To know a thing well, know its limits. Only when pushed beyond its tolerances will true nature be seen." ~Frank Herbert, Dune--The Amtal Rule 
The Amtal rule is something that is firmly rooted within ancient Greek philosophy. You see, a thing is defined by its own limitations. A bridge, for example, is a prime example. One can only know how true and strong it really is untill it is pushed beyond all of its limitations. However, in this case, the Amtal rule usually applies to humans for once we are pushed beyond what we percieve to be our limitations new worlds will be opened up to us. One can see a prime example of this in the mother who lifted the car that was crushing her child. Our true nature is something that goes beyond all that you could possibly conceive. As Nietzsche once said, "What does not kill us only makes us stronger." 
"Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are, and what they ought to be." ~William Hazlitt 
Of course man is an animal. He is driven by the primal desires of the id as well as all of the other forms of primal desires that reside within ourself. Furthermore, to seperate man from the rest of the animal kingdom, in my experience, is foolhardy. We are interconnected with the world around us and the other animals that live on this world. We are no higher, nor lower than anything else within this web of life. To set man apart from that sense of the world is, essentially, the spiritual suicide that the vast majority of the modern materialistic world is making. Two hearts, when joined, by yeild the strength of more than two. ~ Fremen Saying 
Beware the seeds you sow and the crops you reap. Do not curse God for the punishments you inflict upon yourself. ~ The Orange Catholic Bible, DUNE 
"Only the ignorant dedicate themselves to one particular style or way. It is when you master the art of letting go that you will accomplish your greatest achievements." - Me. 
"In void; all concerns, all thoughts, and all ego boil down to nothing. One can enjoy a sense of emptiness and nothingness." - Me. 
"You can only find the Buddha within you, just as you can only find living fish in the water." - Me. 
"All the insanity is brought about, By the simple fact that you cannot live without, All your fame, all your gloury, Constantly repeating, 'I really am sorry.'" - Some lyrics I wrote. 
Then of course, there are those times in which you have to include the wisdom of others along with yours... 
"Fancy talk and pretentious matter are seldom compatible with the benevolent." - Confucius. 
"Crystal clear, sharp and bright, the sacred sword allows no opening for evil to roost." - Morihei Ueshiba. 
"Frantic, faction, focus The world breathes. And out forms this misconception we call man." - Creed, "Say I." 
"All composite things decay, seek out your salvation with diligence." - Buddha's supposed dying words. 
"The work is done, but how no one can see; 'Tis this that makes the power not cease to be." Lao-Tzu

ONE: What makes a good martial artist? 
A good martial artist does not become tense -- but ready. Not thinking, yet not dreaming. Ready for whatever may come. 
Bruce Lee, founder of Jeet Kune Do 

In the science of martial arts, the mind should remain the same as normal. In ordinary circumstances as well as when practising martial arts, let there be no change at all -- with the mind open and direct, neither tense nor lax, centering the mind so that there's no imbalance, calmly relax your mind, and savour this moment of ease thoroughly so that the relaxation does not cease for even an instant.
Miyamoto Musashi, The Book Of Five Rings 

TWO: Do I always tolerate violent advances with the kind of patience advocated by exponents who believe in passive defence? Like the proverb says, there's no first hand (attack) in Karate. 
Naturally, it's not right to pick fights, but there are times when you can get involved in a fight whether you like it or not. Suppose you're alone with your girlfriend, and some slob starts bothering you. What do you do? Run away and leave her, or stand the other man down -- or maybe hide behind your girl? It's up to decide.
Hideyuki Ashihara, founder of Ashihara Karate 

THREE: What is the spirit of Karate? 
Development of the mind rather than on techniques is what we should emphasise. In a time of grave public crisis, one must have the courage, if required for the sake of justice, to face a million and one opponents. For the Karate-do student, the most shameful trait is indecisiveness. 
Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shoto-kan Karate 

FOUR: A road bully gets out of his car after you shout a few words at him. It's Sunday, you've got groceries in the boot, a girlfriend in the passenger seat. The panic in your body starts up, what now? 
End of the story, buddy. When you panic, your limbs freeze. At this stage, most people end up on the ground. Experienced fighters may tense up, but they do not panic. Their minds are clear, and they breath normally. Geoff Thompson (chief instructor of BCA) controls leg shaking by tapping the heel of one foot. A martial artist must always keep their mind alert, on the ready. 
Dan Loh 

FIVE: You tick off a stranger who jumps your queue. His wife jumps in the argument. She goes baloney. Do you hit them both? 
You don't. Your argument is with the person who jumped the queue. Anyone besides is irrelevant, unless the person becomes a physical threat. Direct your attention, verbal or otherwise, to the man. Refuse to encourage the woman.

The Tao of Gung Fu :


Gung fu is so extraordinary because it is nothing at all special. It is simply the direct expression of one's feeling with minimum of lines and energy. Every movement is being so of itself without the artificiality's with which we tend to complicate them. The closer to the true Way of Gung Fu, the less wastage of expression there is. Gung Fu is to be looked through without fancy suits and matching ties, and it remains an secret when we anxiously look for sophistication and deadly techniques. If there are really any secrets at all, they must been missed by the "seeing" and "striving" of its practitioners (after all, how many ways are there to com-in on an opponent without deviating too much from the natural course?). Gung Fu values the wonder of the ordinary and the idea is not daily increase but daily decrease. Being wise in Gung Fu does not mean adding more but being able to remove sophistication and ornamentation and be simply simple - like a sculptor building a statue not by adding but by hacking away the unessential so that the truth will be revealed unobstructed. 

Gung Fu is satisfied with one's bare hands without the fancy decoration of colorful gloves which tend to hinder the natural function of the hands. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity while half way cultivation runs to ornamentation. There are three stages in the cultivation of Gung Fu; namely the primitive stage, the stage of art, and the stage of artlessness. The primitive Stage is the stage of original ignorance in which a person knows nothing of the art of combat. In a fight he "simply" blocks and strikes instinctively without a concern as to what is being right and wrong. Of course he might not be so-called "scientific" but he is nevertheless, being himself. The second stage, the stage of art, begins when a person starts his training. He is taught the different ways of blocking and striking, the various ways of kicking, of standing, of moving, of breathing, of thinking. 

Unquestionably he has gained a scientific knowledge of combat, but unfortunately his original self and sense of freedom are lost and his action no longer flows by itself. His mind tends to freeze at different movements for calculations and analysis. Even worse, he might be "intellectually bound" and maintaining himself outside the actual reality. The third stage, the stage of artlessness, occurs when, after years of serious and hard practice, he realizes that, after all, Gung Fu is nothing special and instead of trying to impose his mind, he adjust himself to the opponent like water pressing on an earthen wall - it flows through the slightest crack. There is nothing to "try" to do but be purposeless and formless like water. Nothingness prevails; he no longer is confined. These three stages also apply to the various methods being practiced in Chinese Gung Fu. Some methods are rather primitive with basic jerky blocking and striking. On the whole, they lack the flow and change of combinations. Some "sophisticated" methods on the other hand, tend to run to ornamentation and get carried away by grace and showmanship.

 They whether from the so-called "firm" or "gentle" school, often involve big, fancy movements with a lot of complicated steps toward a single goal (it is like an artist who, not satisfied with drawing a simple snake, proceeds to put four beautiful and shapely feet on the snake). When grasped by the collar, for example, these practioners would "first do this, then this and finally that" - but of course the direct way would be to let him have the pleasure of grasping the collar (he is grasping it anyway) and simply punch him straight on the nose! To some martial artists of distinguishing taste, this would be little bit unsophisticated; too ordinary and unartful. However, it is the ordinary that we use and encounter in everyday life. Art is the expression of the self; the more complicated and restrictive a method is, the lesser the opportunity for the expression of one's original sense of freedom. 

The techniques, although they play an important role in the earlier, should not be too complex, restrictive or mechanical. If we cling to them we will become bound by their limitations. Remember that man created method and not that method created man and do not strain yourself in twisting into someone's preconceived pattern, which unquestionably would be appropriate for him, but not necessarily for you. You yourself are "expressing" the technique and not "doing" the technique; in fact, there is no doer but the action itself. When someone attacks you, it is not technique number one (or is it "technique number two?") that you use, but the moment you're aware of his attack you simply move in like sound; an echo without any deliberation. It is as though when I call, you answer me or, when I throw something, you catch it. That's all. 

Yogic Breathing :

Kundalini Yoga is an ancient system of exercise, breath control and meditation using safe and comprehensive techniques that enhance awareness and increase vitality. We can be healthier, unleash healing powers, strengthen our immune, nervous and glandular systems, enjoy greater stamina and flexibility. A happier life can be ours. We can stimulate creativity, increase mental energy, heighten concentration and experience greater joy with Kundalini Yoga.

Yoga Breathing :
Before we can improve our breathing we must remember that the process existed long before we did - we have nothing to teach it. What we have to do is to prepare ourselves to receive its revitalising strength by removing any obstacles that might hinder its good effects. Proper breathing depends on our eliminating tension, correcting bad habits, wrong mental and physical attitudes; the moment we get rid of these obstacles it will come into its own and bring us vitality and good health. The corsets of 1900 are no longer in fashion, but there is still more than one item of clothing which prevents us from normal breathing - leather belts for men, girdles and bras for women. These must be as flexible as possible if they are not to hinder respiration. But the physical obstacles are even more daunting: the hard tense stomach which encumbers every breath, imprisoning the personality; the rib-cage as inflexible as a breast-plate; the diaphragm immobilised by the wind - itself caused by spasms - which has accumulated in the alimentary canal. The first step is to relax all these muscles, which when permanently tense are designed more successfully than any corset to prevent normal breathing; and this is why relaxation is the open door to yoga. 


In the act of respiration, Westerners give precedence to the in-drawing of the breath. Yoga, on the other hand, maintains that all good respiration begins with a slow and complete exhalation, and that this perfect exhalation is an absolute prerequisite of correct and complete inhalation, for the very simple reason that, until a receptacle is emptied, it cannot be filled. Unless we first breathe out fully it is impossible to breathe in correctly. Normal respiration therefore, begins with a slow calm exhalation carried out by relaxing of the inspiratory muscles. The chest is depressed by its own weight, expelling the air. This out breath must be as silent as every other action involved in breathing (you should not hear yourself breathe), and because it is silent, it will also be slow. At the end of the expiration the abdominal muscles help the lungs to empty to their fullest extent, by means of a contraction which expels the last traces of tainted air. The spongy make-up of the lungs does not allow them to be emptied completely - there is always a residue of impure air in the lungs. We must attempt to minimise this "residue" because with the fresh air provided by inhalation it makes up the actual air we breathe. The more complete the exhalation, therefore, the greater the quantity of fresh air to enter the lungs, and so the purer the air in contact with the alveolar surfaces. The total volume of air which the lungs are able to contain is known as "the vital capacity". A more apt term cannot be imagined, and innumerable techniques have been thought up aimed at increasing this capacity. Before we can contemplate this improvement we must make use of what we already possess by carefully exhaling. Yoga recognises three separate forms of breathing - diaphragmatic, intercostal, and clavicular. Complete yogic breathing combines all three, and constitutes the ideal technique. 


The majority of men breathe in this way. The diaphragm subsides while the breath is drawn in, and the abdominal region swells. This is the least faulty method of breathing. The base of the lungs fills with air, and the rhythmic lowering of the diaphragm produces a constant, gentle massage of the whole abdominal content, and helps these organs to function correctly. 


This is achieved by raising the ribs through dilating the thoracic cage or chest wall like a pair of bellows. It is a form of breathing which fills the middle section of the lungs, allowing less air to enter than the abdominal respiration, and more important, involving far more effort! This is 'athletic' respiration. When combined with abdominal breathing it ventilates the lungs satisfactorily. 


Air is introduced by raising the collar-bone and shoulders. In this way, only the upper part of the lungs receives any fresh air. It is the least satisfactory method of breathing and is often characteristic of women. 


Complete yogic respiration incorporates all three methods, integrated into one single, full and rhythmic movement. The method is best studied while you are lying on your back, here is a brief description of the various phases: 

1.Empty the lungs entirely.
2.Slowly lower the diaphragm allowing air to enter the lungs. When the abdomen swells filling the bottom of the lungs with air... 
3Expand the ribs without straining, then... 
4Allow the lungs to completely fill by raising the collar-bones. 

Throughout this procedure, the air should enter in a continuous flow, without gasping. No noise must be made for it is essential to breathe silently! It is of the utmost importance to concentrate the mind entirely upon the action of breathing! When the lungs are completely filled, breathe out, in the same sequence as when inhaling. Now breathe in again in the same way. You may continue for as long as you wish. It should not induce any discomfort of fatigue. You can practice it at any time of day, whenever you think of it, at work, walking, any time; breathe consciously and as completely as possible. Gradually you will acquire the habit of complete respiration, and your method of breathing will improve as you go on. It is essential to reserve daily, for a few minutes' practice, a special time convenient to yourself (the morning when you wake up is a good time, and so is the evening before going to sleep). Whenever you feel tired, depressed or discouraged do a few complete breathing exercises; your fatigue will disappear magically, your mental balance will be re-established and you will set to work again with renewed will. Inspiration like exhalation must be silent, slow, continuous and easy. Do not blow yourself up like a balloon or tire! Breathe easily without straining. Remember that the ideal respiration is deep, slow, silent, easy. Those engaged in sedentary work are liable to accumulations of blood or to develop congestion in one organ or another. The slowing down of the bloodstream produces wear and premature ageing in the organism. With complete breathing, the bloodstream in our organs is prevented from slowing down to the point where it stagnates and degenerates from "stream" into "marsh". 


Remember, Inhalation is made up of three partial phases: 
1.Diaphragmatic or abdominal breathing induced by lowering and flattening the dome-shaped diaphragm. 
2.Intercostal breathing brought about by expanding the rib cage. 
3.Clavicular breathing from the top of the lungs, produced by raising the upper part of the thorax. 
Each of these phases has its own merits, but yogic inspiration is only complete when all three are done in conjunction. How can this breathing be learned? Before attempting to combine them - that is to say before we can achieve in one single, smooth and continuos movement complete and easy filling of the lungs, thereby supplying them with reviving air, and expanding the pulmonary alveoli (all 70 million of them) - we must learn to dissociate the three phases. First of all we practice breathing from the diaphragm. 

"Strength" in martial arts is different from the strength in weight lifting. In martial applications the intent is to focus the body's strengths toward a small area of application. To execute a correct thrusting punch, the stable ground provides the basis of power, which goes from the feet and is aligned through knees, hips, waist, spine, shoulders, and elbows to the hand. This linked support of the entire body enable a practitioner to "focus" the power of the ground and thereby produce more power than a person using brute strength did. 

"Ability" according to "Kung Fu" is the general ability that can be used to describe any skill. In martial arts, "ability" refers to the composite strength, speed, endurance, agility, coordination, and technical skill. 
1. In motion, move like a thundering wave. 

2. When still, be like a mountain. 

3. Rising up, be like a monkey. 

4. Land swiftly and lightly like a bird. 

5. Be steady like a rooster on one leg. 

6. One's stance is as firm as a pine tree, yet expresses motion. 

7. Spin swiftly and circularly like a wheel. 

8. Bend and flex like a bow. 

9. Waft gracefully like a leaf in the wind. 

10. Sink like a heavy piece of metal. 

11. Prey like a watchful, gliding eagle. 

12. Accelerate like a gusty wind. 

In real life, many martial-arts masters have been famous for using one simple technique to defeat opponents. The process of discovery in the form that one is learning is more important than the final answers at which one arrives, because there is no absolute answer. That is why there are so many varieties of martial arts. Strategy is another important consideration while learning the essences of a form. For example, if an opponent appears strong and maintains an overpowering stature, one can pretend to be weak, even insipid, in order to inducing him to drop his guard or relax his concentration. A sudden powerful attack from this weak-looking position can be physically and emotionally devastating. Conversely, sometimes a confrontation can be disarmed or won by a display of power, but tempered with caution. There is an applicable Chinese proverb: "Attaining victory by inducing fear in your opponent is better than expending yourself in a physical fight." 

There are many traditional strategies such as "attack by defense," "retreat to attack," and "stay in the center in order to attack from the sides." One can trap an opponent by exposing some area to attack but have a counterattack prepared. A sudden change in rhythm and direction can be effective. When sparring, martial artists need to remember not to hurry to succeed and to not try to win through strength. Wisdom and courage are the most important factors. The keys for winning are sharp eyes, fast hands, courage, strong stance, and solid strength, combined with a confusing combination of techniques. 

The bodyguards of the Dalai Lama have been rumored to be trained in various forms of martial arts. The training appears to be very much like the martial arts still practiced in India, not a surprising revelation considering the influence India has had over Tibet. The Indian martial arts tradition has a long and proud history dating back well before the birth of the Buddha. Its great classical epics, Rig Veda, Ramayana and Mahabharata, describe boxing, wrestling and virtually all forms of combat with weapons. The warrior caste had its own well developed martial art form, which was sometimes referred to as Vajra-mushti, literally "Thunderbolt fist." It consisted of grappling, boxing, gymnastics, weaponry and the study of vital point striking. It is known that the Buddha received similar instruction beginning at age seven. Among the rest of the population, two forms of combat flourished 

Chinese martial arts has a long history. There are two major opinions concerning the origin of Chinese martial arts. Some experts, on the one hand, say that the buds of Chinese martial arts started during the period of primitive society. In order to survive, humans had to fight against animals and against each other, and sometimes had to use simple "weapons" such as rocks, tree branches and so on to fight. 

An obvious weakness of the Shaolin monks exhibition was the lack of women, absolutely none were to be seen, yet the most popular style of Kung Fu was devised by a woman and improved upon by another woman whom the style is named after, it is called Wing Chun. A nun called Ng Mui worked for many years trying to develop a fighting system which did not require great muscular strength to be effective, after her death one of her students, Yim Wing Chun continued her work and to this day 'Wing Chun' Kung Fu is practised in the same manner all over the world the way Yim Wing Chun taught. The style is noted for its economy of movement, its no frills effectiveness, its simplicity and its ability to overcome opponents who may be many times stronger than the practicioner.

To put simply, both these women realised that generally speaking, women did not have the muscular power of men and the principle of meeting force with force was a misguided macho one. Instead they drew power from Chi and met force with gentle responses that turned force back on the opponent, in doing so Yim Wing Chun was able to overpower all the male fighters in the temple and completely change peoples ideas about the fighting arts.

Ki is the Japanese word for life force, spirit, or energy. The actual Kanji character used to represent its meaning is traditionally interpreted as representing steam, mist, or atmospheric pressure (such as in the word Kiatsu.) The usage of this particular character illustrates the nature of Ki: that it is something to be felt rather than seen or heard. It also represents the seemingly intangible quality of Ki. That is to say, that it is something to be experienced rather than discussed or written about. Its intangible aspects are further magnified by its subjective nature--each person's experience with it differing slightly. Steam never makes the same pattern twice as it rises through the air

The Japanese are not the only culture to recognize the existence of Ki. The Chinese are probably the ones who introduced it to the Japanese in the first place. They refer to it as Chi. Much of the Chinese culture is formed from their aprior belief in it. Chi-Nese, Tai Chi, Chi Kung (Qi Gong), Feng Shui, acupuncture, and all aspects of Traditional Chinese medicine are based on the notion that the physical ills of the body are caused by a change in one's Chi. As a result, the state of one's Chi (excesses, deficiencies, blockages, etc.) must be addressed before any real permanent healing can take place in the body.

Predating the Chinese, the Indian culture also has recognized the existence of a biological life-force or energy. In Traditional Indian Yoga, this energy carries the name Prana. It is an important aspect of Indian Yogic systems, and its cultivation and development is realized through the practice known as Pranayana. The Indian culture like the Chinese view this energy as being paramount to maintaining the health and well-being of the human body.

Most systems of Ki development center around a spot in the body located two to four inches below the naval and about an inch inside. This spot is called the Seika Tanden (or Seika No Itten) in Japanese, the Dan Tian in Chinese, and is referred to as Svadishthana Chakra in Sanscrit (or Indian culture.) Ki is believed to originate from this spot, also referred to as the One Point (or one's center) in English. And through the practice of breathing and concentration exercises, one is able to gain mastery over the force already naturally present in one's organic makeup at birth.

In many Asian societies, the quality of life is considered to directly correlate with the flow of Ki in the body: its strength and condition. Practitioners of healing arts such as Reiki, Acupressure, and Jin Shin Do work to balance and strengthen a client's Spirit by conducting Ki through their hands and into the acupoints (Tsubos) and meridians of the patient. Thus, positively affecting the person's physical condition and well-being.
The application of Ki energy is not limited to the practice of healing arts, though. Many believe that the way to maintain a healthy existence is not to get injured in the first place. To that end, some have applied the practice of Ki development to the realization of combat skills in the martial arts.

Many Chinese historians believe that the art of Kung Fu originated from Chi Kung (the Chinese practice of health and longevity through the cultivation of Chi.) In many respects, the practices of Chi Kung and Tai Chi are not far removed from the deadly strikes and kicks practiced in Kung Fu. This because students of the potentially dangerous art are taught to deliver their strikes with Chi rather than the more conventional methods used in the West of strength and body dynamics. Because of this emphasis, much time is spent learning to cultivate, control, and direct Chi.

Ai (from the verb Au): meaning to fit or harmonize, Ki: meaning energy;
written in semi-cursive script.

In Japan, the presence of Ki in martial arts is represented by a whole host of disciplines. In the Bujutsu arts of the Samurai, many a sword strike, throw, or arm-breaking technique was applied in conjunction with the principles of AiKi (see above characters.) That is to say, the method of harmonizing one's Ki with that of an opponents, to ultimately bring about their defeat. In Traditional Okinawan Karate, it is realized through the practice of Ikken Hisatsu, or one-strike kill training. Practitioners of KyoKushin-Ryu Karate-Do were infamous for their ability to kill a bull with one strike to the head. The Japanese, like their Chinese predecessors, recognized the effectiveness of utilizing Ki for martial employment . This was a natural conclusion since the Chinese arts are credited as being the roots of their Japanese counterparts. 

Karate practitioners strengthen their Ki through intense training.
In Aikido, the influence of Ki is even more readily apparent. The name itself betrays its relationship: Ai-Ki-Do. The locks, throws, pins, escapes, etc. found in the art are based almost entirely around Ki and moving from the Seika Tanden. Many of the throws are called AikiNage or KokyuNage techniques. Meaning, that they are powered entirely by AiKi rythmic principles. Aikido therefore quickly established itself as a martial discipline that allowed a smaller and physically weaker practitioner to easily topple and pin a much bigger and stronger opponent. It was so effective in fact, that many Aikidoists publicly exhibited their skills against multiple attackers, defeating them without causing serious injury. Koichi Tohei (10th Dan) made quite a splash in the martial arts community when he successfully defeated seven Judo masters at one time, while demonstrating Aikido on the island of Maui at the 1953 All-American Judo Championships.

Make one's arm unbendable, and to make one's body unliftable.
The sensation of Ki can be anything from a mild tingling to the experience of extreme heat. First time practitioners of Ki development exercises often feel warmth in the Seika Tanden and the palms of the hands. The tingling sensation is most often felt in the toes and fingertips. Advanced practitioners can sometimes tell if their Ki is blocked if they don't feel this tingling in their extremities when they practice their development exercises. Since ideally the Ki spreads out from the One Point to the limbs and head.

Ki is often felt as a warmth or tingling in the hands
One Ki meditation exercise, which comes from the Tempukai in Japan, involves focusing the mind in the Seika Tanden, and then allowing the focus to expand to the limbs; finally out into the Universe. This expansion exercise is often followed by a contraction exercise, in which one imagines Ki coming from the Universe, entering the body; finally finding its way back to the One Point. Through these and other exercises, one is able to direct and control their own Ki--becoming more sensitive to how it moves, where it flows, and where it might be blocked.



Technique: Exhale slowly through the nose. At the end of the exhalation, pull the abdomen in slightly. Then inhale slowly. Begin by releasing the abdomen and allowing it to expand fully. Continue to inhale while expanding the lower chest and then the upper chest until the collarbones rise slightly. The abdominal muscles will automatically slightly contract as the chest becomes full. Soon after, without holding the breath, exhale slowly. First drop the col H. arbones, then contract the chest, and then the stomach, one section flowing into the other. In both the inhalation and the excalation, the breath should be one continuous flow. Repeat this breathing slowly and steadily.

Benefits: This method of three-part deep breathing fills the lungs to capacity and empties them thoroughly, enabling you to supercharge the system with seven times as much oxygen and prana as in a normal breath.


Technique: This is the same as deep breathing, but you alternate thc nostrils.

Stage 1- Make a gentle fist with the right hand, releasing the tht: mb and the last two fingers. This is the Vishnu Mudra. It is used when alternating or closing off the nostrils in pranayama.

Now, close the right nostril with the thumb and exhale slowly through the left as much air as possible without any strain. At the end of the exhalation, slowly, without any sudden jerk, start inhaling through the same, left nostril. Take a slow, steady, three-part deep breath. At the end of the inhalation, gently change the nostrils by closing the left nostril with the last two fingers, releasing the thumb, and exhaling through the right nostril. Start the exhalation slowly and steadily, without any sudden jerk. Exhale completely, pulling the abdomen in slightly at the end to expel the maximum amount of air. Now inhale through the right nostril, close it off, and then exhale through the left. This constitutes one round. Repeat this process as many times as feels comfortable, employing the slow, three-part deep breathing. The pattern is: exhale, inhale, switch nostrils.

Stage 2- When you are comfortable with the practice, you can begin to make the exhalation take longer than the inhalation, s]Lowly creating a ratio of 1:2, so that the exhalation takes twice as long as the inhalation. For example, if you inhaled for a count of five, you would exhale for a count of ten. You can mentally count a.,,.~ you do the breathing. Count "OM 1, OM 2, OM 3, etc.," instead of simply, "1, 2., 3." This will give you an accurate second count, as well as the added beneficial vibration.

Once you've established a 1:2 ratio, practice at a given count until you can comfortably do at least ten rounds in a sitting. Then, increase the count by one. For example, if you are breathing at a 5:10 count, once you can comfortably do ten rounds in a sitting, increase the count to 6:12. Then practice at the new count until you can comfortably do at least ten rounds in a sitting. In the same manner, increase the count to 7:14, 8:16, 9:18, and lastly to 10:20. After reaching 10:20, don't increase the count, but simply increase the number of rounds per sitting.

Once you reach this final stage of Naadi Suddhi, and only then, are you, ready to begin the practice of retention. When you develop your practice of Naadi Suddhi in this slow, systematic way, the entire system gets purified and strengthened, making it fit for retention of the breath. So you should not practice Sukha Purvaka or Bastrika until you've developed your Naadi Suddhi to this point. If you ignore this caution, you could cause harm to your body and mind. But if you take your time and build slowly, you will enjoy enormous benefits.

Benefits: Naadi Suddhi brings lightness of body, alertness of mind, good appetite, proper digestion, and sound sleep.


Technique: When you can comfortably practice Naadi Suddhi at a 10:20 count for ten rounds in a sitting, you can add a retention after the inhalation. This is then Sukha Purvaka. The pattern is: exhale, inhale, retain, switch nostrils.

Begin with a retention of five, so that your count is 10:5:20, inhaling to ten and exhaling to twenty. With this ratio, do several rounds, and gradually, week by week, increase the number of breaths till you can comfortably do at least ten rounds in a sitting.

Then, increase the count to 10:10:20. Again, start with several rounds and gradually work up to at least ten rounds in a sitting. In this manner, gradually increase the retention in increments of five, till you reach forty, so the final count would be 10:40:20. The inhalation remains at ten, and the exhalation at twenty. This final count should be reached very slowly; it may even take several years to attain. After this is reached, you keep the same count, but increase the number of rounds per sitting.

At no time as you develop your practice should there be the least strain in the system. The flow of the breath should remain slow arid steady, and there should be no dizziness or discomfort.

Benefits: Sukha Purvaka has all the benefits of Naadi Suddhi, plus it enriches the quality of the blood and ensures perfect physical health. The mind becomes very Clear and steady, enabling good concentration.


Technique: This is rapid diaphragmatic breathing. Have a forceful exhalation caused by snapping the abdomen inward, and then an equally forceful inhalation caused by snapping the abdomen outward. Alternate the forceful exhalation and inhalation as many times as you can comfortably do. After the last expulsion, inhale deeply using the three-part breath and exhale as slowly as is comfortable. This constitutes one round.

Do, three rounds. Start with a few expulsions per round, and gradually increase the number according to your capacity. Do not hurry this breathing at any point. If dizziness occurs, discontinue and let the breath return to normal. Between rounds, take a few normal breaths.

Benefits: Kapaalabhaati is so called because it cleanses the naadis in the skull. It helps to burn out the excess mucous that causes sinus problems and allergies. Strictly speaking, Kapaalabhaati is a kriya or cleansing practice, but it is included in the pranayama section because it is helpful in learning Bastrika.


Technique: This, also, is rapid diaphragmatic breathing. Have a forceful exhalation caused by snapping the abdomen inward as in Kapaalabhaati, but for the inhalation, simply relax the abdomen and let the air return naturally. So there is a series of forced exhalations, followed by relaxed, natural inhalations. After the last expulsion, inhale deeply using the three-part breath. Retain the breath while bending the neck, bringing the chin as close to the chest as possible. This is called Jaalandhra Bandha or the Chin Lock. Then raise the head slowly and exhale slowly and evenly through the nose. This constitutes one round.

Do three rounds. Start with a few expulsions per round, and gradually increase the number according to your capacity. Do not hurry this breathing at any point, nor retain the breath beyond your capacity. If the breath comes rushing out on the exhalation, then you've held the retention too long. If dizziness occurs, discontinue and let the breath return to normal. Between rounds, take a few normal breaths.

Benefits: Bastrika exhilarates the blood circulation and stimulates the entire body quickly. It brings heat to the body when it is cold, and can be used to help keep the body warm during the winter. It improves digestion, removes phlegm, and helps in curing asthma and consumption. It builds up and strengthens the entire respiratory system.


Technique: First, exhale completely through the nose. Then, curl the tongue lengthwise like a tube. Project the tip of the tongue outside the mouth. Draw the air in through the tube with a hissing sound, concentrating on the cooling feeling. Fill the lungs completely. Draw in the tongue, close the mouth, and retain the air for a few seconds. Then, have a slow, complete exhalation through the nose. This constitutes one round. Do up to three rounds. The rounds can be in succession; you needn't take normal breaths between the rounds.

Benefits: Sitali is very useful for cooling the body. It helps to remove heat, thirst, hunger, and sleep. It can be practiced more in the summer to cool down the system, and it can even be used to bring down a fever.


Technique: First, exhale completely through the nose. Then, curl the tip of the tongue back so that it touches the upper palate. Gently clench the teeth. Suck in the breath through the clenched teeth with a hissing sound. Fill the lungs completely. Hold for a few seconds, and then have a slow, complete exhalation through the nose. This constitutes one round. Do up to three rounds. The rounds can be in succession; you needn't take normal breaths between the rounds.

Benefits: The same as for Sitali, as well as strengthening the gums.


Technique: Inhale through the nostrils, filling the lungs completely. Exhale, making a humming sound. Feel the vibration on or behind the soft palate. You can repeat several times, varying the pitch with each round. Have a low pitch on the first round, then make the pitch higher on subsequent rounds, and then back to very low on the last round.

Benefits: Brahmari tones the vocal chords and creates sound vibrations for concentration.


Technique: After a complete exhalation, inhale slowly and evenly while partially closing the glottis so that a continuous, soft hissing sound is heard within the head. The sound should be of even pitch and intensity throughout. Avoid all friction in the nose as you expand the lungs to capacity. Then exhale completely, producing the hissing sound in the same manner.

Benefits: Ujjayi increases the control over the breath and is an aid to concentration. It relieves heat in the head and increases the digestive fire. It helps in the cure of asthma, consumption, and other pulmonary diseases. It adds luster to the face.


Women's Self-Defense through Martial Arts 
[Safety, confidence, self-empowerment, and positive interactions ]

Question is not "Do I need martial arts to keep myself safe?", but "What might I gain from martial arts training?" 

Self-defence is not a single skill or a rigid set of rules. Rather, it is a collection of habits, attitudes, and activities -- resources, or tools, that you can use to form an overall approach to your own safety and well-being. 

Self-defense -- in other words, keeping yourself physically and emotionally safe -- usually boils down to stopping a dangerous situation as soon as you recognize that you're in it. 

Goal for women in Martial Arts is to give people access to verbal, emotional, and physical tools to stop abuse and assault, increase their skills and confidence, and improve the quality of their interactions.

Is Martial Arts Training for Me?
A lot of people feel that the only way to get real self-defence training is to invest years in taking a martial art. They point with pride at the awesome strength, speed, precision, and power of the experienced martial artist, and contend that in order to feel really confident in an attack situation, one needs to painstakingly acquire the skills that have been time-tested over centuries.

The truth is that training in a traditional martial art has many benefits aside from self-defence skills, and that you can learn effective self-defence skills without traditional training. 

Fitness. A fit body is more able to defend you, as well as more able to get you through the day with energy, resilience, and enthusiasm. Martial arts are an unusually good way to get fit. Even within one martial art there is a lifetime of techniques and skills to master: it's easy to stay interested and motivated. And there is a place for everyone, regardless of their level of fitness: while the more vigorous martial arts provide the quickest results in terms of increasing your fitness, the gentler arts, such as Tai Ch'i, also provide a good workout, and are ideal for people who have been sedentary for a while. (At the more advanced levels they can be quite demanding!)

Strength. Martial arts are unparalleled for helping your body get stronger. Most arts include exercises and warmups designed to work the large muscle groups (such as triceps or quadriceps). And martial arts fall into the category of "weight-bearing exercises": in other words, they make your bones stronger and help forestall and reduce the effects of osteoporosis.

Coordination. The intricacy of many martial arts challenges body awareness and helps you learn about how your body moves. Many people experience a marked increase in overall coordination that carries over to other sports and activities.

Fortitude. Training in a martial art is demanding, no doubt about it. Knowing you have prevailed in a strenuous and difficult activity can give you the emotional strength to accept other challenges in your life. Moreover, many martial arts include some degree of physical contact; learning to deal with this contact can help you keep your head in an attack situation.

Focus. Martial arts traning requires a high degree of concentration. Students must pay attention to every muscle at all times, at the same time they are paying attention to the teacher, to their partner, and to their own attitude. After a while, the ordinary demands of work seem easier!

Cross-cultural awareness. Most martial arts are the products of non-European cultures. Studying the traditions and conventions of a martial art can give you a window of understanding into the culture from which it comes. 

Good times. Martial arts are usually a group actvity. You're sure to meet people who share at least one of your interests! The shared demands of training can build friendship and camaraderie. Most schools also have social events and special training events. 

If this sounds attractive to you, you may be asking yourself whether you are the "right" kind of person to train in martial arts. The answer is that there is no "right" or "wrong" person. People of all backgrounds, athletic abilities, and ages have successfully begun -- and kept on -- training in a myriad of different arts. It's important, however, to spend some time and effort finding a style and a school that's right for you.

It's more important to find the right school and teacher than it is to choose a particular style. Here are some guidelines for evaluating a school:

The school should let you -- in fact, encourage you to -- observe a class.

The instructors should be unfailingly polite, respectful, and cheerful to the students.

Classes should look organised, with instruction appearing to follow a lesson plan.

Students should behave respectfully and attentively at all times, and should continue their respectful behaviour when class is finished.

There should never be any roughhousing or dangerous play, or displays of temper on anyone's part.

If there are women in the class, they should be treated the same as the men, not given constant concessions to their supposed fragility, yet not brutalised or otherwise singled out. (If there are no women, it might be a good idea to ask why not.)

The key to recognising a good school is to watch how they treat students without natural athletic ability. Do instructors focus only on the stars, leaving the strugglers to muddle along as best they can? Do they point out struggling students for ridicule? Do they appear irritated at questions or requests for help? All of these are trouble signs.

In the end, the best guide is your gut feeling. And don't feel like you're stuck for life with your decision. If it turns out that the school just doesn't suit you, don't give up on martial arts entirely. Be patient and persistent, and you will find the right place to train.

Here are some tips and thoughts for you to incorporate into your self-defence "toolbox".

"None of us knows more than all of us." What can you do to reach out to others, give and receive help, and offer and learn new skills and information? Tell your friends some of the things you already know about self-defence, for example -- it's shocking how little information most women have been able to find, and something that you may have known for years or consider "just common sense" may be a crucial piece of new information for a friend or co-worker.

Playing "observation games" during times when you're waiting for a train or bus (or otherwise just cooling your heels) is a good way to sharpen your environmental awareness. See if you can identify anyone by accent, for example, or if you can notice anyone wearing purple socks, or how many earrings the person down the platform has. Noticing detail is a skill that improves markedly with practice, and it could help you notice and avoid a potentially threatening situation.

Tomorrow, on your way home from work or as you're out running, you can make it a point to spot places of refuge you can duck into should there ever be trouble on the way.

If you carry a whistle or an aerosol horn (or other noisemaker), go to an isolated -- or soundproofed -- spot and practise using it. If you're familiar with it before an emergency, you're more likely to be able to use it effectively and quickly.

A cup of coffee, a handful of coins, sand, or pebbles, even a Diet Coke can all be emergency weapons to throw in a would-be attacker's face and buy you a few seconds to escape or plan your defence.

Get to know your neighbours! They can be a resource for you in a frightening moment.

Few people realise that running with your head down and your eyes glued to the ground in front of your feet also limits your field of perception. Lifting your head will not only improve your safety -- it will help your breathing, posture, and confidence, too!

One of the most important facets of self-defence is keeping yourself as healthy and well-rested as possible. Why not take a nap, first chance you get?

Another important aspect of self-defence is treating yourself with respect and regard. What nice thing can you do for yourself today? What new skill can you learn to boost your self-confidence? 

The attitudes of the people around you affect the strategies that will work for you. If you allow yourself to be aware of these attitudes, you will be better prepared to cope with them. 

Visualisation can be a powerful tool for learning and success. Picture yourself successfully defending yourself, verbally and physically. Imagine the scene in as great detail as possible. Most importantly, make sure the scenario has a happy ending! Ignore the temptation to go over all your worries and what-ifs. Practising success this way will help you teach yourself instant and appropriate action, and it will teach your mind to override potentially immobilising negative thoughts.

If you go to a gym, consider adding weight training to your workout. If you already do weights, consider focusing more attention on upper-body strength. This can minimise the strength disadvantage most women have versus most men.

It can be safer to ask for help from a passerby than to accept help that is unasked-for (for example, if your car has broken down). There is the chance, however slight, that someone who approaches you is not actually helpful, but instead has targeted you in your plight as a potential victim.

Attacks come in thousands of different forms: a holdup, a beating, an argument, stalking, harassment, long-term physical or emotional abuse, attacks with weapons, attacks by strangers, by family members, by bosses, by friends -- in each situation the safest response may be completely different. 

When you're deciding on strategies for yourself, it helps to group attacks into several different categories. 

Property crimes -- the attacker wants your wallet, your car, your CD player -- some thing that you have. 

Attacks by strangers -- these are usually physical (such as an attempted beating or rape), although they can take the form of verbal intimidation, or combine both. They are usually a surprise to one degree or another. 

Acquaintance attacks -- these run the gamut in terms of mode (physical, verbal, or both), severity (from mere annoying to life-threatening), and suddenness. 

Virtually all attacks -- sudden or expected, planned or impulsive -- have one thing in common: the attacker has certain expectations about what is "supposed to happen" during the attack. You can use these expectations to maximize your own chances of escaping serious harm. 

NOTE: there are no certainties. Every situation, and every individual's response to a given situation, is unique. However, you can prepare yourself for dangerous situations and improve your odds. 

Property crimes
Most of the time, the attacker in a property crime neither wants nor expects violence. Fine -- you both want the same thing, at least as far as your safety is concerned. In this case, the attacker's expectations -- that you will surrender your stuff and go your way unharmed -- work for you. Statistically, you are safest in a property attack if you immediately accede to the attacker's demands. 

Attacks by strangers
In marked contrast to property crimes, attackers in an attempted rape or assault are expecting violence -- theirs. Your response depends on your gender. The overwhelming majority of violent attackers are men. However, men attack men with different motivations and methods than men attack women. 

Male versus male
Usually, a man will attack another man when he wants a fight. Using the pretext of some perceived violation of space or rights, he relies on men's social conditioning to provoke and escalate a conflict. You can use his expectations to your own advantage by calmly and politely acknowledging his complaint and doing what you can to accommodate him. For example, if he starts trying to provoke a fight by accusing you of talking with his girlfriend, apologize and leave the situation as soon as you can. He is expecting either conflict or cowardice: thwart him by offering neither. If he continues to pursue you, keep yourself calm; don't let his insults trigger your "fight or flight" response. If the situation does deteriorate to the point where you have to defend yourself physically, strike quickly and effectively, with no posturing, swearing, or theatrics. If you choose to report the incident to the police, do it immediately. 

Male versus female
In this case, the attacker is expecting you not to fight. His aim is to intimidate, humiliate, dominate. He is relying on the fact that most women don't know what to do in an attack, and that they've been told not to resist a physical or verbal assault. Again, you can use these expectations to your advantage. If the attack is verbal (such as insults, name-calling, or threats), you can often deter not only the shouting but possible physical violence as well by immediately and firmly telling the attacker to stop. 

Attacks by acquaintances
While acquaintance attacks can happen suddenly, most of the time tensions build up slowly. An acquaintance attacker will often "test the boundaries," annoying or upsetting you in small ways to see how you react before escalating the attack. The attacker's expectation is that patterns of behavior that have developed over a period of time (often years or even decades) will persist unchallenged. As the defender, your strategy is particularly demanding: you must find a way to break the pattern not only for your attacker, but for yourself. This could involve something as simple as responding to a familiar taunt with a laugh instead of withdrawal, or as complex as professional counselling. 
Some strategies you might use for changing the pattern of a threatening or uncomfortable situation include: 

Suggesting an alternative activity instead of one that leads to tense situations (for example if you always fight when you go bowling together, try a movie or a trip to the climbing gym). 

Minimizing the time you spend alone with the person or people who make you uncomfortable. 

Practicing speaking your opinion in small matters without letting emotions or old habits of conflict take over; work your way up to being able to assert yourself in situations that are serious physical or emotional threats. 

Tell someone -- or many people -- about any of the possible attacker's behaviors that bother or upset you. Another expectation of the acquaintance attacker is that you will be too ashamed or afraid to speak out and tell what has happened or could happen. 
If the attack escalates suddenly or takes you unawares, you may need to use the verbal and physical defense techniques like these :

Physical techniques
These street-tested techniques rely on speed and decisiveness rather than strength: that is, if you decide you need to fight, do it wholeheartedly. Strike quickly, with no hesitation or vacillation, and remember to use the power of your voice. It doesn't matter what you yell; just make a lot of noise. It gives your strikes markedly more power, it can make your attacker reconsider and break off the attack, it can attract the attention of passers-by, and it keeps you breathing. 

This technique is a quick, snapping motion to the attacker's eyes. Keep the fingers and thumb together to form a strong, stable, and pointed striking tool. (Don't worry, you won't poke the attacker's eye out. But you will make the attacker blink, and may cause enough distraction and discomfort that you can get away, or at least get a clear opportunity for one of the other strikes listed below.)

Palm strike
This technique is also a quick, snapping upward (not out in front of you) motion to the attacker's nose or underneath the chin. (And don't worry, you won't drive the attacker's nose into his brain and kill him. However, you can seriously rattle the attacker, and may even knock him out with this strike, if you deliver it quickly and with gusto.)

This strike is most effective if you stomp onto the part of the attacker's foot that joins the shin (rather than the toes). To keep your own knees safe, bend both knees when you stomp. (Incidentally, while fashionable shoes are usually a liability in a self-defense situation, they really come into their own on this technique: pointed heels, hard plastic soles, or heavy boots give your stomp extra emphasis.)

Groin strike
This strike is most effective after you've already distracted your attacker with one of the techniques above (the attacker is less able to anticipate your strike and protect his groin). The keys to making the groin strike really debilitating are: 1)to grab your attacker and pull yourself right close in as you raise your knee; and 2)to push off the ground with your back leg (not your front leg) up into the attacker's groin.

Success Stories

A graduate of one of women's self-defence classes was working in a store with another woman. A customer entered the store, assaulted the other worker with a knife held to her stomach, and demanded the contents of the till.

The graduate stayed calm. Realising that any quick or aggressive movements could mean her friend would get badly -- perhaps fatally -- cut, she immediately handed over the money and concentrated on memorising every detail she could about the assailant's appearance and mannerisms, to aid police later.

Her clear thinking, courage, and intelligent decision-making kept her and her friend safe in what could have been a tragic situation. 

(Later, the graduate found out that a person nearby had noticed someone matching the assailant's description hanging out in front of the store for quite some time, although he did not take any action to alert either the store employees or the police. 

Moral: even if it turns out in the end to be nothing, don't be afraid to call attention to something that doesn't seem right! Our instincts and "gut feelings" are powerful tools for our safety!)

A woman who had participated in martial arts workshops was walking late at night when she noticed someone walking towards her. As he came nearer, he said, "Come over here so I can f... you." She immediately crossed to the other side of the street, hoping he was too drunk to follow. Unfortunately, he did follow her, continuing to make obscene suggestions. 

She turned to face him and shouted at him to leave her alone and go away. When he didn't leave immediately, she shouted again. At that, he left.

The woman kept herself safe through a combination of observation and paying attention to her intuition, remaining alert even after she had crossed the street, refusing to be intimidated by the man's verbal assault, turning to confront him when it was obvious that he was not going to leave her alone, communicating clearly and forcefully that she was not a victim, and making it obvious through her demeanor that she could back up her demands that he leave her alone. 

Just as important, she kept herself safe with appropriate, non-physical techniques. With courage, resourcefulness, and intuition, she chose a self-defence strategy that worked without violence.