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About JoseFreitas

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  1. Tibetan Tai Chi

    Well, I've frequently told him that tongue-in-cheek, of course! We sometimes sit and have a bottle of wine, and talk of all the money we could make if only we were capable of lying and cheating... :-)
  2. Tibetan Tai Chi

    It's propaganda. It might as well be called Mysterious taichi or whatever. They're students of William Reeders, a Dutch-Indonesian Kuntao teacher (like Willem De Thouars and others), who taught a combo of different Chinese styles, from the Indonesian chinese communities. Some of these styles incorporate Silat, others incorporate a lot of new stuff (ie. from the 30's and 40's) due to the diaspora of Chinese fleeing the civil war, Panaese, the Long March, whatnot, and ended up bringing in influences of Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua. Garuda simply means Eagle in Indonesian, and is one of a number of animals that show up in the Silat forms. I've frequently told my martial arts teacher, who created a few forms that combine the various internal forms and Northern fists, that he will never be famous until he quits calling them "forms I made up to help my students learn this stuff", and starts calling them, "secret forms that were passed on in hidden monasteries in Tibet, and then were carried by Immortal practitioners through the Communist dominated country, to a secret cave in Mt Wudang where they were trasmitted to me"!
  3. Yang Jwing Ming

    For some reason all these high ranking chinese martial arts masters are always trying to hide their baldness, impending or realized. True story: My teacher, Sifu James McNeil, is already somewhat bald, but sometimes he'll wear a toupe, especially if he's going on TV or something like that. One day, he went to a TV studio to do an interview, and then drove right to the school to give a class. Without removing the toupe. One of his senior students, who had never seen him with "hair on" was flabbergasted: "Sifu, you've got hair!". So he answered: "It's a secret Daoist method, it regrows hair for a few months when I need it". The student was going arouvd telling everyone how powerful his teacher was! It was hilarious and we still have fun with him when we see him.
  4. Yang Jwing Ming

    I have taken quite a few seminars with Dr. Yang over the years, and even taken my chinese teacher to meet him and "exchange ideas". I also own a bunch of his books, so I feel comfortable commenting on a lot of things. Dr. Yang is an exceptionally gifted martial artist. At the level he has reached, whether his "internal" power is White Crane, classic Long Fist or Taiji becomes somewhat irrelevant. In fact, I would add that since I've only rarely met teachers who ewere "pure" practitioners of Taiji, this insistence on "pure" Taiji internal power is almost entirely academic and theoretical. Although it is true I do not particularly enjoy his Taiji, and I used also to be slightly peeved at the fact he would allow it to be marketed as pure original Yang Taiji - which it is not, it's a particular branch of Yang from Taiwan - he is quite good at Taiji, and his Push Hands skills are quite good. His Long Fist and White Crane are excellent, as is his mastery of the long sword. His Qinna is phenomenal, and my teacher - who is REALLY good at qinna - was quite impressed. There are issues re. the translations and the amount of actual original material in his books. But he did put out a lot of books, and they were very important at the time. I would add that he seems to take his stuff quite seriously, and recent developments (ie the retreat he has built and his training programs) suggest he is genuinely trying to advance the traditional martial arts and qigong. Two of his Qigong therapeutic books are quite good: the Qigong for Arthritis and the Qigong Massage book. I think that given the general level of practiotioners in this forum, which probably ranges from total beginners to OK practitioners, ALL of us would benefit from training or learning with him, whatever style we were training. Maybe when we're world famous masters of Taiji we can actuyally worry whether his Push Hands is merely Very Good, or Exceptionally Good. I think...
  5. 115 year old bagua practitioner

    It's their martial arts ranking system, somewhat different from the japanese one. Basically, regular practitioners are ranked from level 1 to 3 (1st to 3rd Duan) according to their quality in performance of their chosen arts and according to their performance of the mandatory routines. Level 4 to 6 is for advanced practitioners who have mastered at least two different curriculums of martial arts and are currently teaching and advancing the cause of chinese martial arts. Level 7 to 9 is reserved for the really high level masters, with levels 8 and 9 generally only awarded as honorary ranks. ie. most good, but not so well known masters, or those that are still young will be stuck at level 7 until they grow old enough, or famous enough, or get a high official to sponsor them. The ranking system does not reflect actual fighting ability (as might be measured for instance in sanda competitions) but rather the performance ability of the practitioners, and how well he can showcase the martial arts. Nonetheless, most of the rank 5 or 6 and above are very skilled practitioners, and you will find a good mix of wushu trained (ie. emphasis on athletics and performance skills, and modern routines) and traditionally trained ones (ie. emphasis on knowledge of complete traditional curriculums of chinese martial arts, with ability to teach them).
  6. A backward question for taijiquan practitioners

    Mirror image and backwards are two different things, both useful. Mirror image is simple and should be mandatory if you're trying to get any kind of martial training. After all, Karate people do it in their kihon, Xingyi guys do their Five Fists and Animal forms both sides, Taiji people need to do their moves on both sides too. There are two ways to do it: complete form in mirror image (more difficult) and single technique in mirror image where it's just a part of drilling single techniques. Most teachers who show single technique drilling are then teaching mirror image too, it's just a question of stringing the different techniques together and figuring out the bits you don't train that way. Backwards is much more challenging, and not something you'll find in other martial arts, mostly because it's more of a Taiji thing, in the sense that Taiji has more of its martial usefulness in the transitions of the moves, rather than more concentrated in the end postures (and very few teachers actually do it). It would be starting at Closing Form, and running the form as a movie in reverse until you finish the form with Opening posture. REALLY difficult. My suggestion is film yourself doing the form normally and then run the movie backwards and approach it as if you were learning the form from scratch. You'll find it very interesting and challenging. And fun. One day I showed up at class and did it for my teacher to see. He laughed and said he had learned it that way long time ago, and his teacher used to know at least five forms that way. To answer the question: I can do a few forms in mirror image, but can only do the Yang Short form in backwards order, and not that well, except for a few passages. My normal form has improved a lot.
  7. Wudang Martial Monks

  8. James McNeil, Little Nine Heaven

    Little Nine Heaven is a martial art. It contains your usual set of martial training stuff (usual or not so usual, it's a somewhat original style), which includes the 18 Animal forms, grappling and groundfighting techniques, or 18 Ground Maneuvers, and sword fighting. Shisuei Nei gong is an integral part of the system, and is a prerequisite for some of the martial training since it develops Iron Shirt, in addition to all the benefits of health, etc... Shisuei can be taught separate from the martial art with an emphasis on health and energy circulation practices rather than on conditioning and fighting. I'm a student of Sifu McNeil, although I haven't studied L9H (I studied Xingyi, Chen Taiji and Splashing hands). Sifu McNeil is a great teacher. He has a lot of experience teaching internal martial arts, some may not like his style too much, he is a purely "fighting orientated" teacher - he teaches martial arts for fighting. He also teaches meditation and health related practices, and lot of people have studied only that (as well as lots of stuff relating to sexual energy). But when he teaches you can always sense the fighting mode lurking right behind. For me it was something of a "cultural" shock at the beginning, but I learned to like it. He also has something of a "joker" personality. Best
  9. Glenn Morris died

    Hi I was a personal friend of Glenn, and ocasionally trained with him, and frequently discussed things with him. Glenn died of some heart problem. He suffered from high blood pressure and some other problems of the sort. He REALLY abused his luck. Didn't have much care about his diet and didn't take his medicines. I don't think his problems had anything to do with qigong/kundalini practices, just with bad diet and unhealthy food. Maybe there was some genetic predisposition too. To get the CDs and so on, contact one of the groups that carry on his training. There are two or three out there. Google Hoshinroshiryu and you'll find them. His system was a unique mixture of Qigong techniques, some Mantak inspired stuff, lots of self experimentation and meditation techniques from wherever he could get them. He studied extensively on the mental effects of practices, and his system has a lot of safeguards built into it. It's a pretty good system... Having said this: There isn't much new in it, except for perhaps a few "tricks" (some pretty good, I have to say), and these in my opinion offset some of the safety guards in the system. Practicioners familiar with any good qigong/neigong system from a traditional chinese martial art will recognize most of the stuff. My main problem with it was that there was an underemphasizing of basic, movement based training methods - some sort of good qigong set with a few exercises that would move and stretch and rotate the main joints, muscle groups and meridians. The system, as written, will have people jumping off to sitting and standing practices too fast. It will create results very fast, but (and this is absolutely MY OPINION) in the long run has inherent limitations which reuire further learning. It is my experience that it is the basic everyday repeating of a solid, simple, straightforward qigong system which will promote good health (perhaps not enlightenment, but good health and energy levels) and perhaps if Doc had continued his practices of this kind he might have lasted a lot longer. Best