Rocky Lionmouth

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  1. Weapons training with PVC pipe

    Ok my final words for tonight: A wood or rattan staff will weigh just enough, keep them oiled: they’ll behave better and live longer. My reference for any beginners staff is to find or buy a piece of solid round construction wood, the kind used for handrails and drapery-hangers. Spruce or similar inexpensive wood is fine, even has a little flex. About 30 to 35 millimeters thick (1.3 inches roundabout) and get it cut to 100-200 mm taller than yourself (4 to 8” more or less). Sand it lightly with mid and then fine grit paper so you dont get any splinters, round the ends off so they dont fray as easily. Extea fancy version: soak it in boiled linseed oil for a couple of days and hang (HANG) it to dry and sweat for a few more. Maybe give it another ever so feathery light pass with your fine grit paper and let it dry some more. Dont varnish or paint it, you’ll catch blisters from friction with sweaty palms. Try it out!
  2. Weapons training with PVC pipe

    PPS. If you break up this snippet of form into its idividual techniques this sample of WLE (quite excellent) Monkey King Staff form you have a doggone awesome set of basic step-body-staff techniques. I cant currently find a good view of partner drills, especially individual ones, but here’s an example of how that Monkey King Staff form contains a whole method and approach to staff combat, it’s a style in itself almost. If you were to break individual techs up from the first video, then observe which ones they correspond with in the sparring form video, the find a friend to do each tech of attack and defense you’ll have a boatload of fun, someone will probably break a knuckle or finger (please DONT or Lightning strike you!) and you’ll start to feel like there is a determined approach to this. It’s not a complete system but it’s a set of tactics, failsafes and strategies at least. Enough from me now, sorry for getting so excited about this but i friggin love staffwork so yeah.
  3. Weapons training with PVC pipe

    I got a lot of thoughts about this, staff is the wu chi i’ve put most hours into and it’s exciting in its simplicity. I say a PVC pipe with end caps is all fine as a beginning tool but using a living material like hardwood, waxwood or rattan just makes the whole exercise come alive differently. I prefer rattan staffs of equal diameter all the way, same goes for spears, i been taught its called a Double Headed Serpent. Theres plenty of styles using this, many other use the Rat Tail Gwan (tapered thick to slimmer, thick end is where hands go most often), theres Olive Kernel Staff (thick middle and slim at both ends) and more i cant remember. Bamboo is not recommended no ,atter what anyone says if you’re going to use it for power or support, since the sections are hollow it’s very brittle and bamboo dries out quickly so it’ll loose its ability to transer energy a lot faster than more equally dense plants. I’m with a southern school and our approach to staff i pretty different from most i’ve seen actually. North shaolin styles often have a right hand forward weilding the power and use the left in the back for guiding support, like an anchor point. Where i come from the right hand is power and movement while the left is guiding support and the odd little flick but their position is reversed. Now all three of my teachers with staff have all been strict and stern in their own way. The first two learned from our grandmaster who is the third of my teachers and i’ve come to be pretty allergic and snobbish with staff and staff methods, i’ll try to keep it toned down. A couple of percepts to guide anyone who wants to learn staff are to follow, skip if you dont like it, i just gotta say this ok? Choose your staff well and treat it like its your closest friend. That means take care of it, don’t abandon it and keep it fresh and unhurt. If you break staffs on the regular you’re using your muscular force like a moron, no offense. Study the Wing Lam video of Lau Gar staff, especially his body alignment and footwork. These two are second and first priority respectively. Power comes from stepping and using principles of levers to transmit power. Your spine should be erect and your power should reach the staff tip a millisecond after your moving foot touches ground. The WLE video shows a huge amount of awesome staff method and technique, observe his body first and see how the staff moves after. His stepping and shifting weight is very much in control, his feet are light but as soon as one of them is supporting they’re like tree trunks of steadyness. The shift between fluid and firm is instantaneous, strive for that. I think if he’d do it on a wet beach he’d leave minimal amounts of messy gouges. The earth is providing his strenght and power, he lets it and therefore the fight between them is minimal. Now the Bamboo stick woman made my hackles rise, her entry position or at rest position is just senseless (WHY would you expose joints, staff and everything to stand in such a clumsy and slow to action posture?!) and her form and movenent is coarse, she falls into stances with her full weight (poor control), she tilts completely forward with head and shoulders as she kicks and then i had to stop watching. The exercises might be good but hers are, sadly, a poor rendition of them, sorry if this is harsh but thats my honest opinion. Again with the WLE video, he clicks the staff to the ground, he’s not hitting the ground. I’ll leave anyone who is interested to figure out what the difference means and how to use that. Target practice with stick or staff is good, it teaches you to use form, the correct amount of power and how to handle it. Notice i’m underlinging the correct amount of power, there is no need to smash and bash, you’ll break your stick. This relates to the above paragraph regarding clicking. Figure that out and you’re on a good way to actually making sense of staff power. Balance and control exercise should be coupled with intent of power exercises. If you hold the stick perfectly horizontal in one end with both hands and want to raise the tip it should move with equally distributed power in the whole stick. If someone were to give 2kg of opposition at the tip your staff should not tilt even a little bit when you raise it upwards but stay perfectly perpendicular. Try this by attaching a string with a water bottle (vary weight as you progress) so that moving the staff means that the weight immediately leaves the ground. Keep the line taut but with no resistance, the lift the bottle. Sounds easy but it can take quite some time to figure out. Try using the full lenght of your stick as a weight to train your forearm strenght and control, use only one hand and grip it off center. Try just holding it straight for a while, you’ll see what i mean Also consider studying how quickly you can change grip and grip position on the staff without dropping it. Study this in absurdum. Twirl and play, practice speed and flow and to stop right in the middle of a movement, just to challenge your control and the amount of power you unconsciously and needlessly add to it. Earth gives power to the body, the body moves the arms and the stick obeys. You’re the boss of the stick btw. It should do what you want it to do, like you finger or your head. Dont follow the stick, this is a sure way to ruin. Humblest regards from you friendly neighborhood staff-nazi, i hope someone finds this useful and pardon my rant. PS. Adding some links with suggestions for routines, will update if i find more good ones. Nice form, decent speed so you can see the movements nicely, observe how the steps and stances guide what the staff does. Very few weak positions, few silly exposures and not much of flourishy transitions like you can observe in most Yin Shao Gun from Shaolin Temple, and in all respect there’s immensly skilled people doing it.
  4. Stories about Taoism in daily life

    @freeform wow, sounds like quite a night it turned out to be! Just love it when this sort of stuff happens, i’ve had a couple less dramatic ones and witnessed one similar thing a guy i had no idea was ”packing” sensitivity. I can feel it when something is about to happen from the shift in energy/mood/smell and i can definetly tell when someone with some juice is involved, i feel something turn in me towards it like a compass needle. Weird. I have a few of similar stories... I remeber talking a 40 something oddball straight, he crashed an afterparty at my old place where i lived with my ex and was not doing much to brighten the mood. He was stone cold sober and brooding, an acquaintance of an acquaintance, i never got his name but he was an obvious loose cannon. Something compelled me to talk to the man, i was going to throw him out when i approached him but i felt like a warm shower of a bubbly liquid, like fizzy water, running over me from head to toes, just faintly but it was there and i change my whole approach, within a minute he’s talking to me about his cocaine addiction, how he’s friends with a bunch of stick up kids half his age who run around with guns and make all sorts of messes and that he’s come to a point of considering suicide because he thinks his road is set too deep. All the while i’m listening and just ripping the guys excuses and negative outlook to pieces, not being kind either but having this fatherly warmth in my voice (where’d that come from?) and telling him he should pick up music, like just hitting keys and see what comes out. Reading this guy beforehand i’d never approach him like that, he was armed and he was definetly carrying product, i think he’d plan to sell some powders at our place but he never got the chance to even float the idea. He just looked at me dismantle every idea of helplessness he held on to and when i said ”sit down and hit some keys, improvise” he just went pale and asked how i knew he’d been trying to get back into music forever but he was terrified of what could happen, since he had nothing to loose now he was scared he’d get his hopes up. I casually told him that was bullshit, that he was clinging to his fears as if they were reality and he just went silent, nodding. We sat like that in silence while everyone else seemed to just merry on about and not even noticing us. He stood up, offered his hand and a long hug and said to me he was going home to fire up his keyboard, very seriously thanked me for letting him stay a while, waved goodbye to everyone with a big smile and just left. This happened during a period of daily inward practice and i realized only after we’d been sitting right across from my altar to Guan Gong, he’d been staring at it on and off while talking to me. I dont think it was a coincidence. Another time my ex walked in on a burglar who’d decided not to take anything except a minor amount of cash and a pocket knife (he returned both) when he entered that same room where the altar stood, he said he’d realized it would be so mean and callous to steal our computers because we used them for work (he hadn’t opened them) and he was crying while i scolded him and told him he was being reckless and an idiot, he could get hurt walking into peoples homes. He was on his knees begging for forgiveness and promised to tell all of his junkie friends to leave our courtyard alone (it was one of those summers when a lot of down and out folks were looking for stuff to pinch and sell, our yard was easily accessed and it had become a problem with these ”visitors” messing about) and i took his info from his ID (he actually handed it to me) as security. Then he left, thanking me and promising to make good on his word. Oddly enough, not a single incident happened the following years until i moved out after separating and took my altar with me. Nowadays it’s becoming a frequent spot for trespassing and disturbances again. I cant say it’s this or that but i strongly believe the altar and my routine of practice in that period directly affected these incidents. It’s not like huge deals, no fireballs or telekinetic wizard fighting, but two different unrelated occasions with uninvited criminals that were deeply affected by being there and i remember acting spontaneously, not a premeditated word or action and it all just fell into place. To me it’s odd at least, but i don’t look gifted horses in their mouth with such things
  5. Bone Healing

    Anecdote support: I had a local 5 Ancestors master who goes by the surname Ho, i don’t know his first name but he’s known in town for his mediine skills. He help me out with a broken fibula some ten years back, i went to see him after getting screws put in to re-set the bone and he did three sessions of acupuncture as soon as the cast came off and the stitches were taken out. He treated me in his martial arts supplies store, i was on a chair and he sat on a kung fu bench. He drew dark blood out by hypodermic puncture and suction cup after, set needles in points that i had no idea what they were at the time nor can recall, more suction cups here and there, he did some healing through his hands (it unnerved me seriously since his hands were radiating intense heat during, it wasn’t just warm, his hands were like being in the proximity of a scolding hot kettle an then my leg responded with warmth) and wanted me to use a shaolin medicine paste that i couldnt afford so he sold me some excellent Dit Da Jiao that i massaged twice daily with for a week or so. On the bus home from the first sessioni started crying, i was in a lot of inner turmoil but it passed in an hour. God knows what he actually did but it worked. He demonstrated some projecting by making my beard tingle, said hair was like antennae for qi, cracked a few jokes about it. We talked a lot for the next two sessions, he did his thing and said if i still had a problem after the third time he’d treat me for free for as many sessions as needed because it should have worked already. When i went to rehabilitation training limping along with just ome crutch for support the physiotherapist was skeptical as fuck, asked twice for my name and looked at me funny. I asked whats wrong and she said that i was either joking or there must be some error in the dates written down in the file for when the fracture happened and when my cast had been opened. I told her i’d seen Ho sifu for acupuncture and she gave a knowing ”ahaa...” To her it seemed as though i’d been doing physiotherapy for at least a month already. She was very secretive about telling me she knew for a fact that even randomized acupuncture was giving off very fascinating results but since it’s still unaccepted officially she’d loose her job if her boss heard her talk positively about acupuncture. It took about a year to get back to decent mobility but i was doing basic kung fu again within six months of the cast coming off. Due to deaths in the family i had to quit physio so full recovery took me a few years total, i still can’t run without massive pain after but i’ve understood that without Ho Sifus help and my own careful qigong and kung fu approach to healing it would have been far more busted. Cheers!
  6. The Complete System

    Valid points definetly. Being up to par to recieve the core is one thing, in my experience a system becomes a vast body of knowledge in its incarnation, as in quite litterally in the flesh of a living person. What is transmitted to the next generation, if conditions and personal chemistry is ideal, is the nucleus of principles and illustrations on the methods used to extrapolate the use of them. It is rare that those principles reach all in the next generation, but some recieve them more or less fully. The toughest thing to teach and learn are those methods, because of their intricacy, imhe. Also a 100% complete transmission might not be a very good thing to strive for, i’ve heard more than once that the next lineage keeper often recieves about 70% and occasionally more because that is part of what keeps the system alive, it needs to be nurtured, embodied and experienced by its keeper. Smooth seas do not make good sailors or whatever the phrasing of that old adage might be. An inheritor will know that their knowledge isn’t complete and their continued study will reveal certain secrets down the road, secrets their master might not have realized even. I think, at least when it comes to systems with a solid daoist root, that the operator and practice must influence eachother and that a master must trust their students judgement because it will all be out of their hands one day. Those i’ve met who hold a lineage have all given me a similar impression: the system is them. You judge their devotion to the system by observing their students but the actuall system lives in their body and spirit. They’ve studied and know the humble realization that ”this is mine to give, i must give me to it and take it for my own to honor it properly”. I try to remember this when i approach the idea that the arts are dead nowadays because the old stuff might have died with previous keepers. Maybe it was always like this, someone out there has inherited something and merged so completely with it that it is something utterly different and yet is the lineage because the core, the seeds of life in it were transmitted and allowed to grow. Who knows? I’m waxing poetic on a sunday of hard work...
  7. Sons of Reflected Light - where they Druids?

    Interesting, i’d gladly hear more of your thoughts along this line!
  8. I cant say i know how the ancients did it, i doubt anyone can answer that exactly but the instructions are said to have survived and been developed on since, correct me if i’m wrong. I dont have formal Taoist training but i suspect the question entails a few oversimplifications. I think storing energy in the LDT goes hand in hand with two other practices: gathering energy and using energy. Just storing it sounds potentially harmful, compare it to ”loading” a punch with your arm and not releasing it or to fill your lungs to max without ever expelling or replacing more than 25% of it. Strenous and impractical. And to gather and store energy in the body for a certain purpose (yet another important step: what is it for?) it still means you have to have a practice to follow and worked significantly to establish the infrastructure for it. This, iirc, means to have studied the physical requirements and trained your actual body to a certain level before you incorporate the next steps of developing your ”energy body” for lack of a more precise term.
  9. Sons of Reflected Light - where they Druids?

    ”This has led many to believe that there are no dwarf women...” ”Its the beards.”
  10. Are Zeno's paradoxes solved by modern science?

    Oh come on, you left me hanging on a ”How long is a piece of string?” joke.
  11. Are Zeno's paradoxes solved by modern science?

    Describe the lenght of a racecourse please.
  12. Are Zeno's paradoxes solved by modern science?

    So no takers on the ”Zeno had a sharp wit to test their reasoning amd a good sense of humor to boot”-theory? We’re still talking about paradoxes devised by one of the stoics, of Socratic descent by way of the cynic lineage yes?
  13. Are Zeno's paradoxes solved by modern science?

    I admitted nothing and if i did it’s probably true.
  14. Are Zeno's paradoxes solved by modern science?

    Since i am a mere man of minor ambitions and no fame nor intelligence to speak of i’ve always thought Zeno to be a funny guy in a very important position: ”oh, thats a very nifty idea this motion you speak of, but what if...” His formulations femind me of the initial problem in most koans. I’m inclined to say Diogenes already fixed the problem, but then again i am biased in favour of his take on most things except, among orher minute details, his purported claims to the uselessness of recreational sex as an argument in favour of masturbation. (The two might lead to similar results but cannot, imho, be compared with any satisfactory conclusions, ahremm.) His reply to Zenos paradoxes was to stand up and walk away, now wether or not this was just his usual short temper or a demonstration of his reply we cannot know. But his practical approaches to philosophy and human interaction also remind me of ”the twist” in many koans, like the one where a monk places a sandal on his head and leaves. I think Zenos paradoxes ultimately serve a very good purpose as cautionary examples of how easily Really Clever Stuff can topple itself because of the absurd extremities excessive deductive reasoning can present. Beware overconfident reasoning, all of a sudden you’ll get caught trying to verbally prove motion exists because you dug your own hole regardless of wether Zeno or one of his heirs handed you a shovel: Science is dependent on the investigation and critique of science to function usefully, proving and disproving are not as important as what we can use and understand. Sherlock Holmes has been casted quite often to illustrate how delicate the matter of inferring conclusions can be when important but easily overlooked details are in the mix. Case in point: ”featherless biped” needed the addition of ”with big, flat toenails” because some joker brought Plato a plucked chicken to illustrate a minor flaw in the theory of what a human is. * I reserve the right to be verbally inconsistent on this matter in favour of my appreciation of the topic and the paradoxes themselves. It’s also 3 in the morning and i’m still nursing my overcofident libationing yesterday. Happy New silly-Western-rational-linear-logic-antiwisdom Year!
  15. simplify

    Hung over