Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Phoenix Eye Fist Training - An article submission

Here is a short article on training the Phoenix Eye Fist, from Sean (http://www.myspace.com/pen_and_sword).

Probably next to the standard fist and the open palm, the phoenix eye fist is a prominent technique of nearly every style of Kung Fu, especially southern styles. It is probably the core technique of Yau Kung Mun, Bak Mei and Xingyi. It appears in Lion's Roar, Hop Gar, Hung Gar and Choy Li Fut. It is considered an advanced technique in classical Okinawan Karate.

According to Yip Man's son, Yip Chun, the phoenix eye fist was a core technique in mainland versions of Wing Chun, but was removed by Yip Man because he thought it was too lethal. The Okinawan Karate sensei, Choki Motobu, used a phoenix eye fist to the temple of a Russian bare knuckle boxer on tour in Japan, knocking him out at the start of the second round.

Before I studied Yau Kung Mun, the only times I'd ever trained in the phoenix eye fist was when it was when it appeared in whatever form I was learning at the time. I never imagined I would actually consider it a viable technique in hand-to-hand combat.

But then, Don showed me how to train for it doing phoenix eye pushups. Trust me, it's not as difficult as it sounds. You just have to approach it with the same common sense you use when learning any other new exercise or technique.

1. Get yourself some nice, thick rubber padding. I have an old palm rest from my computer keyboard I use for that purpose.

2. Make a good phoenix eye fist with the thumb reinforcing the index finger.

3. Assume a pushup position with your fists on the rubber pad. At first, you should start out with your weight on the bottom three knuckles of your fists.

4. Slowly roll onto your extended knuckle of your phoenix eye fists.

5. As soon as you are balanced, attempt some pushups. Three should be plenty for a beginner. My personal best is ten.

If you do this exercise faithfully, you'll feel a lot more confident in your phoenix eye fists. As you use it in your forms, you'll actually feel that you could really cause some damage to someone if you use it against a vital area.

Prime targets are the solar plexus and the armpits, though it is also effective against the throat, eyes, gut and other soft targets of the body.

As Don likes to say, train hard, train smart.

To which I add, have fun while doing it.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A long absence....

I have been busy as all get out with my day job. Spent the last three weeks in three different training venues.

Will post a Gung Fu related post later (around Christmas).

Here is a link to a site that explains the "Royal Court" of Matt Furey - a great, no frills fitness routine.


Keep active, train smart, and above all, keep training!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Saw this in the forums of Free Talk Live and thought it appropriate.


Monday, October 6, 2008

A couple of martial arts (and misc) related posts


Because I like things nautical....


To help with dexterity (and entertain the kids)


A nice internal arts page


Another great internal arts page, and a fine gentleman

A couple of posts, not YKM, but part of personal protection

http://www.securitypronews.com/news/securitynews/spn-45-20081001 AfterAirportStopKevinMitnickSharesTravelTips.html - protect the information others can obtain about you (personal opsec)

Beware the fanatics of all religions....

Protect your hearing so it can help protect you later in life. It matters not which you choose, just use them!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yau Kung Mun in Sweden

Please stop by and see the YKM in Sweden blog at http://internalkungfu.blogspot.com/.

Christer is a student of Sifu Garry Hearfield, from Sydney, Australia. They are putting out some good information, and soon will have a few DVD's out.

Garry is a very knowledgable Yau Kung Mun practitioner, dedicated and no-nonsense in his approach to learning/researching YKM. And a great friend.

We have shared much knowledge over the years (I think I still owe him some on that respect) and he helped re-invigorate my studies when I was lagging a bit in motivation.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Avast, me hearties!

At times, we need to not take ourselves so seriously 100 % of the time.


Enjoy Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Update for the end of August

Sorry for not updating lately.

Here are some links to keep you entertained and informed.

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=pbqmXMFuvSA - A performance of an Ed Parker Kempo form - check out the similarity between the movements and Hung Gar or Yin Ching Kuen (from YKM).

http://de.youtube.com/user/streetfightsecrets - Some good, basic self-protection ideas and training. I enjoy their use of NLP.

http://de.youtube.com/user/CNSDS - Some old fashioned, great self defense training. Simple and practical.

http://systemablog.blog.com/ - some great training ideas. I enjoy the training methods of Systema, and many of the Russian arts.

http://senshido.savi.ca/ - some great topics of discussion.

http://hundredpushups.com/test.html - looking for a challenge? Here is a good one.

http://boxing-fighting.info/2008/08/myth-of-mixed-martial-arts.html - While I don't agree with everything they proclaim, it is pretty thought provoking.

http://litemind.com/boost-brain-power/ - read and enjoy. Apply and enjoy more.

Thanks for stopping by. Please let me know what you think.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Training Methods

More original content (I warned you it was coming).

Much has been written and argued about the "ultimate" or "complete" martial art. In my opinion, there is no "ultimate" or "complete" martial art - all offer something useful (more on this in a second).

To argue between Hung Gar being more "complete" than Wing Chun (or Savate, or Tae Kwon Do, or whatever) is a waste of time. Any art that acknowledges and uses the four limbs of the body (two arms, two legs) and covers the range from striking to standup grappling to groundwork will have the same ultimate end. They must also recognize that the mind (and will) are extremely important to the fighter.

Where I think the problems arise are in the training methods that have been passed down to the martial artist through the years. Sensitivity training (Chi Sau, push hands, etc.) are ways of training the fighter to be aware of body position, energy flows, balance, etc. But it is not the sole province of Wing Chun and Tai Chi Chuan players - wrestlers and jiu-jitsuka also train in these areas - the rolling on the mat with a resisting partner are teaching the grapplers the same skills, just on a different plane (or level).

As an example, if your art is primarily thought of as a striking art (like YKM) - research the movements from the form and start to apply them in a clinch position, on the ground, etc. The core movements (spiraling actions, circular motions) will be there - but train it as you trained the stand up portion - slow and easy with a partner who is also there to learn, not compete. Later after the movements become better known/ingrained, start to encounter resistance, leading to full contact work.

Even the MMA folks start this way; they don't just jump in and choke each other out - not much training going on if they did, only people already trained would be any good. Good partners can help you "discover learn" great things about you and your art.

If your art puts sole emphasis on one training method, you may start to feel the lack of attributes being developed. It may be you have become locked into only one aspect of the art.
Look at the training methods of the various arts (bag work, throwing, conditioning) and adapt them to your art, looking for fluidity and flow.

Remember, we are tool using primates - use them to train smartly.

As tool users, your art should also cover weapons and multiple attacker options - if they currently do not, research the training methods of those arts that do, adapt them to your methods and see what develops.

I did some single stick sparring with a friend, and he commented that I fought like I had a Chinese broadsword in my hand - I was applying what I knew (Chinese MA) to Filipino MA - using my "style" in a foreign training "method". All I know, is it seems to work for me, opening my eyes to gaps in my training, not necessarily my knowledge.

If it is confusing, drop me a line and I'll explain better.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

General musings - Stances

Warning: These are my own thoughts, not necessarily YKM.

Stances - the word conjures up images of old-time, classical kung fu training. Holding the horse stance until the incense stick burns out. Or movie images of the Shaolin Temple monks, holding glasses of water on their heads, forearms and thighs until the weaker ones collapse in a wet pile.

All valid, but what is the point of stance training? It is a subject belittled by the MMA crowd as having nothing to do with fighting, and other fitness professionals who would rather have a person do thousands of body weight squats (on a Bosu ball, no less).

My opinion is this - static stance training develops the muscles in a sport specific way. Also works on the character, chi development, body awareness, and other areas of peripheral influence on fighting/combat. It is part and parcel of training the complete person. It is not the be all/end all of training - merely a part of learning how to move.

I posit that by learning to stand in a deep, steady horse (or other stance) - you are learning to root (albeit unconsciously). As you progress in training, you learn to do this in whatever position you happen to be in (i.e. a one legged position, a narrow stance while standing on a crowded train, etc.).

In my opinion, stances are to be used to impart force/power into the adversaries body by having proper structure, to not rebound off your own strike, and to avoid becoming unbalanced. They are also meant to be used to move your body in a controlled manner (e.g. to spin and unbalance a foe) - moving from one position of strength (or "stance") to another.


Also, culturally, there may have been less free time for training in the past, so cultures developed multi-faceted training exercises, rather than isolating muscle movements - not lifting weights every day, 45 mins of cardio 4 times a week, and then fitting in a 2 hour boxing workout.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Other Blogs of Mine



Drop on by. They currently have the same content. I hope to start working on them more in the near future.

Drop me a line, let me know what you think.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Sifu Loi Lok Fu

My Sifu is Sifu Loi Lok Fu. Learn more about him at http://www.ykmusa.com/loilokfu.html.

I credit him with taking a fairly competent fighter and training him to be much better. I say this in humbleness, training with Sifu brought the movements from the sets (kuen, aka kata in Japanese arts) out and into the real world. Our school produced fighters, and one of the comments I heard from a friend here in Florida was "You are one of the few kung fu guys that can actually fight."

I have trained with a variety of instructors, and all that I have accomplished is due to their teachings and my hard work. A great synergy - excellent instruction and a bit of sweat.

More later.

What is Yau Kung Mun?

From the Australian web site. http://www.ykm.com.au/whatisykm.php

What is Yau Kung Mun?

Yau Kung Mun is an extraordinary Southern style of Kung Fu, developed in the Shaolin Temple of China from the Tiger and Leopard styles more than 1400 years ago. The name Yau Kung Mun literally means the ‘soft style entrance’ and refers to the essence of techniques which focuses on the body being relaxed (Yau), quick movements as well as being powerful (Kung) resulting in maximum power. The techniques within the system incorporate all of the traditional Shaolin five animal styles of Kung Fu, namely the dragon, snake, tiger, leopard and crane. The system of Yau Kung Mun has been refined over hundreds of years through application in real fighting situations.

Yau Kung Mun teaches that the aim in a fight should be for it to be over as quickly as possible, preferably within just a few strikes. The focus is on straightforward techniques that really work, over showy moves that may look impressive but are of little use in a real fight. Yau Kung Mun also teaches that one must not learn how to destroy without first learning how to heal. Thus, disciples of Yau Kung Mun also learned how to heal through the application of bone setting and herbal ointments.

Students will learn:

* Internal & External forms of Yau Kung Mun Kung Fu
* Weaponry
* Lion, Dragon & Unicorn Dancing
* Instruments (Drum / Cymbal / Gong)

Advanced students may learn:

* Traditional Dit Dar Medicine & Bone Setting
* Advanced forms

History of Yau Kung Mun

From the Australian YKM site. http://www.ykm.com.au/history.php

The style of Yau Kung Mun finds its roots in the Northern Shaolin Temple from the monk Ding Ying who lived during the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD). Like many other monks at the temple, Ding Ying spent his life dedicated to perfecting himself spiritually and pugilistically. He was devoted to refining his martial art skills, focusing on what he saw as being the most effective techniques.

Through years of training he refined these techniques into a system, which was not given a name. To not name a system within the walls of Shaolin was not as strange as one might think. The monks were well known for their unsurpassed skills in martial arts. However, the temple was isolated and having an effective method of defence both against wild animals and those who would attack them was essential for survival. This need resulted in them opting to keep their most effective techniques and styles to themselves. A style without a name is a style that remains secret.

Violent warriors, seeking fame and greatness, would present themselves at the gates of the temple, challenging the renowned monks to come out and fight. Such challenges were taken seriously by the monks, as not only was their reputation at stake, but at times their very well being. In such situations, the disciples who were trained in the secret arts were chosen by the abbot to fight for Shaolin. By using techniques unknown to outsiders, they were able to defeat their opponents quickly, often within just one or two strikes. Thus, the style refined by Ding Ying was kept unnamed, only being taught to a select number of Shaolin monks to keep it secret from the outside world.

Life for the monks was drastically interrupted during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911 AD). An imperial order was passed outlawing the practice of martial arts and in 1720 the Shaolin Temple was burnt to the ground. The few monks who were able to escape without being captured, scattered throughout China. One such monk was Dao Sang.

In his time within Shaolin, Dao Sang had used his proficiency in the unnamed style of Yau Kung Mun to defend the honour of the Temple against many challengers. He passed his skills on to the monk Wai Yat who taught Kit Loy and Sing Loy. Kit Loy then took the disciple Tit Yan, who became the first monk to teach the secret style to a layperson.

The name Tit Yan means ‘iron body’ demonstrating the perfection of his training. It is said that his strikes felt like being hit with iron bars, with punches penetrating the body of his opponent, causing external bruising, internal bleeding or breaking their bones. Such devastating power brings with it great responsibility.

Yau Kung Mun teaches that one must not learn how to destroy without first learning how to heal. Thus, disciples of Yau Kung Mun also learned how to heal through the application of bone setting and herbal ointments. Tit Yan was among the last of the true Shaolin Buddhist monks. As time went on, Tit Yan realised that the secret style of Yau Kung Mun would disappear with the last of the monks, unless it were given a name and its teachings passed on to the public.

Whilst in Southern Guangdong in the early 1900s, he accepted Master Ha Hon Hung, the first non-monk to be taken as a disciple in the style of Yau Kung Mun. After completing the training of Master Ha, Tit Yan left for Lo Fu Mountain near Huizhou, where he planned to live out his remaining years in solitude. Ha Hon Hung is the founder of Yau Kung Mun.

Sorry for the lack of postings....

It has come to my attention I am not the only one to look at my blog.

Thanks to my training partner and more importantly, friend, Sean, here are some postings.

They are already out there, and credit will be given where due.

I will post some original content shortly.

If you visit, please comment.

Thanks for stopping by.