Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Blog Reborn--Six-Step Circle

This post is just a redirection. I'll never post on Becoming the Lion again because I've reinvented the blog somewhere else. You can find the new and improved blog, if any of you still ever see this, at Six-Step Circle.

Thanks, happy reading, and happier training!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A question about lower spine alignment in internal martial arts and life

A reader, Tom, commented recently on my post about training standing strengthening postures (a post I could probably add to at this point--maybe a future topic if I get around to it). Tom writes,
I'm running into some lower back issues with the flattening of the lumbar spine that occurs with the admonition to tuck (the coccyx). Lumbar discs, particularly at L5-S1, are compressed and held under compression for extended periods during YSB standing practice. It's one thing for a tuck to be a momentary phase during dynamic movement (of the spine), but to hold the tuck seems questionable to me.
The short version of my answer to this question is that I think that "tuck" is the wrong word and "drop" is the right one. For the elaborated-upon answer, keep reading.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A note on negative feedback loops in training motivation

I've been in a real trap as far as my training goes lately. I've been keeping up with it, but it's been forced, and it's been weak. There are a variety of reasons this negative feedback loop--and that's exactly what it is--got started, and unravelling it by studying some classic motivation theory seems to have done the trick to get me back on track.

Friday, November 23, 2012

What are you training for? A Catch-22

In any martial art, but particularly (from my experience) in Yin Style Bagua (though this might be more broadly applicable to internal martial arts), there is a certain Catch-22 to good and effective training. It really comes down to what you're training for.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Goal-oriented training, post-workshop 2012 analysis

The first thing I should say is that the Yin Style Bagua workshops put on this year by Matt Bild were absolutely incredible. In over sixteen years of doing martial arts now, the last six doing Yin Style Bagua, this year's workshops were by far the best I have ever attended. Matt was incredibly efficient and professional in getting across his agenda, which in this case was to help us all develop clarity and confidence in using the art of Yin Style for the purpose it was made: fighting. Particularly, the workshop was designed around developing clarity in use of force and positioning to achieve a good and sure result against a realistic backdrop of another skilled fighter.

That brings me to the theme of today's post-workshop post, now that I've had a couple of weeks to sort through how my thinking about training has been affected. Training has to be goal-oriented, focused, and clear, and it is an utter obligation to be diligent and serious about this including being reflective about meeting the training goals. Goals also have to be realistic and functional. This should change everything about how we train this art.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Feeling stuck? Train something you "already know"

Training Yin Style Bagua is hard for a variety of reasons. One reason is the sheer physical demand. Another is the amount of material that demands attention. A third is the intense mental requirement to get the techniques right. Another still is that all of this creates a nice, sticky web that tends to make training get really, really stagnant sometimes and tends to make progress feel incremental at best and invisible at worst. If you're stuck in one of these stagnant phases of training, what can you do? Go back to something you "already know" and haven't trained in a while.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Notes about sparring--a two-edged sword

Yin Style Baguazhang does not spar as a functional part of its training. Some folks might try to paint this as a black mark against the art, believing that "pressure testing" in the ring is the only way to make or prove a fighter, but this is incomplete thinking. I'd like to elaborate on the topic of sparring a little bit here, then, to give a more complete picture, one that illustrates sparring as a training method that has two edges that cut both ways.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Making movies! Here's our latest one against a more-resistive opponent

So, it's been forever and again since I've posted on here--like before, tied up with other projects and not giving much time to the blog. Is it self-depreciating at this point to promise to do better in the future, knowing I very well may not?

Anyway, we've been keeping up with our training (re: my circle-turning goal, I am well ahead of schedule now and will, in fact, hit 10,000 minutes for the year so far sometime this afternoon, which is a bit of a milestone, I suppose). We've also been trying to arrange it to make videos to showcase a little of what we know Yin Style has to offer--even if we're having a hard time getting that to translate onto video.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Bagua standing strengthening practice--are you doing it right?

Apparently I don't post enough about Yin Style Baguazhang's standing strengthening (zhan zhuang-- sort of) practice. Guilty as charged. Let's see what I can say about it here to correct that, and in the process, we'll find out if you're doing it right or not.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Re: Turning the circle, keeping it real (by me) on Yin Style Bagua -- Knoxville

If you've seen it, great. If you haven't, check out my post on the blog I made for our study group concerning circle turning practice: Yin Style Bagua -- Knoxville: Turning the circle, keeping it real. As the day went on, I thought more about what I wrote, and I have more to say about it. Since I feel that what I have to say about it is more personal than "official," I'm saying it on this blog instead of on the group training blog.

"The most important thing when studying the martial arts is not to be lazy. These skills are not easily attained. For them, one must endure a lot of suffering." -He Jinbao