Archive for the Uncategorized Category

New Blog Site

Posted in Uncategorized on October 19, 2009 by whitecranewushu

Hi all,

We have a new blog site at:

http://whitecraneteahouse.blogspot.com/

I hope to see you there soon!

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Students make the Grade!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 18, 2009 by whitecranewushu

Recently members of White Crane Kung Fu School took their gradings.

The White Crane is our adult class and ‘young adult’ class where like-minded individuals follow a path of self-discovery and realization through traditional and classical martial arts disciplines of an ancient China that has been lost through global modernizations although not entirely lost for they are being kept alive through genuine Kung Fu schools such as the local Wellington School.

Students tested for their Yellow, Green and Blue Sashes. Each student was put through a series of tests. Everyone did extremely well and where everyone got to see everyone else performing opening everyone’s eyes as to the obvious ‘progression’ that the martial path takes each and every student – in their own time, in their own direction, in the own personal ‘way and for their own individual reasons.

As a result of everyone’s efforts, everyone passed.

Those successful in grading to Yellow sash were Tennille Campbell and Nathan hayes

Green Sashes were awarded to Les Hayes, Stacy Lowe, Rebecca Smith, Kane Macone and Brenton Hayes.

Attending the grading were some of the private MARSTA Class student,. Thomas O’Hara and Joshua Lowe who were awarded their Blue Sashes.

Gradings are held whenever the students are ready. This time-frame provides adequate time for each student to have acquired the necessary skills although my gradings are not purely and simply about physical development.

My students work very hard and they are all intelligent individuals. They understand what this martial art is all about and they remain with me because they realize the necessity for such a unique discipline.

“Alot of individuals enquire about my classes, visit my school and watch the training…but a very select few actually bite the bullet and throw themselves into my teachings and stay with them! The ones that stay are the ones that know there is something to gain and these are the ones that are with me for the right reasons. Not for self-glory, not for boosting their own ego. Such individuals cannot endure real Kung Fu training and do not understand the value of such an holistic discipline as White Crane Boxing.

The martial arts are CONstructive not DEstructive and there is nothing constructive about holding students back and ripping them off or teaching them to be thugs.

New Web Site Launched!

Posted in Uncategorized on October 17, 2009 by whitecranewushu

Hi all,

Well its been awhile since I posted but I have an excuse (More like a reason) I have been busy on several important projects which will be announced here in the near future.

One I can announce is that of the launch of our brand spanking new web site! We now have our very own Domain name and web site space thanks to our WCRI Representative from Montenegro, Milan Jovanovic who runs his own web company.

Our new web site can be found by going to:

http://www.whitecranefist.com

Please take the time to have a look and let us know what you think!

“Song” ~ 松

Posted in Uncategorized on September 14, 2009 by whitecranewushu

松 “Song” is translated into English as relax. But this meaning is generally regarded as incomplete.  It also can mean loosening, releasing tension, relaxed alertness. To my mind The state of Song is directly related to correct posture and structural alignment.

By realigning the body to attain and maintaining correct natural alignment of the skeleton several things result. Internal organs are able to function at their optimum. Secondly, correct natural alignment enables the skeleton to assume its job of supporting the body as it was designed to do. Consequently the ligaments, tendons, tissue and muscles of the body can also assume the particular job they were designed for, namely to support the skeleton and not expend additional energy or create unnecessary tensions.  If we can achieve and maintain this natural state, then we can allow the body to function naturally and optimally. In this state, we have a chance of achieving the state of Song from the inside out rather than superficially from the outside in.

Shifu Ron Goninan demonstrating the “Covering the Ground with the Golden Bells” embodying the 松 Song Concept.

Shifu Ron Goninan demonstrating the “Covering the Ground with the Golden Bells” embodying the 松 Song Concept.

We are told to be in a state of “Song” which has been mistranslated as to “relax”. So the early instructors did the whole form with even paced movements, slow and calm for the whole form. This is not yin and yang! Song actually means something like “moving without the conscious knowledge of movement”. It does not mean to completely relax,  we would fall on the ground if we were to do that. However, within this state of song, there must also be yin and yang balance without losing the “song”. So built into the White Crane Boxing we have movements that balance each other out by having both yin and yang movements.

We will be moving along calmly, slowly and in as a relaxed state as possible, then will come an energy release point in the form where we perform a movement or set of moves that are totally explosive. Not tense, but explosive still retaining the song ideal. Then we will be back instantly into the calm and the flowing movements, just like the great river or nature in general. The whole body must be relaxed, loose and open, so that the Qi vital energy, can pass through without blockage.

You must first rid yourself of the hindrances of external muscular force.   Loosen and relax the waist and legs; meditate on stilling the mind; accumulate the Qi and concentrate the spirit. Relaxation is not simply becoming limp.  There should be a quality of vitality about it.

Answering the Critics!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 14, 2009 by whitecranewushu

Answering my critics …… those of you who like to post silly, self -serving and politically driven drivel on various Internet forums. I thought those of you with the biggest mouths are supposed to be senior martial artists — why not act like it?

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My critics don’t know me, nor have they ever taken the time to understand what it is that I represent. If they did they  simply wouldn’t make such silly statements. Also, if any of my critics would like to engage me in civil dialogue please try using some courtesy and a little less sarcasm/cynicism. I remind them again — they have never met me.

I don’t need to “defend” what I do…the fact that my critics and the likes of some e-thuggery have issues with such things is THEIR problems not mine. “What I do” works very well for me. Their infatuation with me says volumes. Not only that, the negativity of their posts in various forums  in general say a great deal about their characters. I must admit I find their attention flattering but remind them that I am a happily married man so I’m afraid I’m not interested!  How about, instead of wasting so much valuable time bullying folks, being negative [that’s an understatement], trying to discredit me, and vindicating themself for what, “status?” why not just put that energy towards something productive …. like actually doing the martial arts!

I am not here to win a popularity contest and I don’t need to apologize for not participating in the various dialogues offered. Anytime someone steps outside the box to take a stand that is different from the accepted practice is reason enough to be criticized by others, and no where is this more evident than in the martial arts.

I have never heard of  most of my critics — why don’t they tell me about themselves? Whatever their history is, I suspect they are hardly in a position to tell me about claims of legitimacy… Perhaps they should take a pass on this one. Moreover, as they don’t know me and  never trained with me may I also suggest that until they get on the floor with me and put their money where your mouth is they might also want to keep the fraud stuff to themselves.

I’d guess that the idea of “legit,” or “authentic” martial arts, is probably based upon the Chinese tradition (Okinawan/Japanese also have a similar motif)— pedigree/lineage; i.e., if your style IS NOT connected directly [or possibly even indirectly] to some “original” Chinese/Asian tradition then it’s NOT legit/authentic!

Having come up through the ranks since childhood (during the seventies) and having stayed active for the past 35 years or so — along with going to extremes to better understand what has remained terribly ambiguous, unsystematized and relatively incoherent (particularly with regards to the study of Taolu/Xing) I and those who choose to walk this path with me remain happy. I see myself as a seasoned veteran, no longer willing to accept and or swallow the ignorance, arrogance and incongruous practices so widespread in this tradition.

The idea of functionality has long been reason for some of us seniors to re-evaluate many of the long-established practices of traditional Wushu. Much of it has to do with the contextual premise that technique is supposed to work against. Such “re-evaluation” has, without question, given birth to a myriad of eclectic Wushu-like “traditions.” Some of this Western-based eclecticism has been done within the accepted boundaries of Chinese cultural landscape and social mindset, some has not and then there’s stuff that is way out there. I am sure that one could even argue that even the most accepted Chinese traditions (Wushu, Gongfu) are eclectic by nature. The Martial Arts industry (of which Wushu is a part) is largely unregulated. Based purely on this one issue alone I don’t believe there’s anything stopping anyone “making up something” and calling it whatever they want. My ongoing comparative study with progenitor forms (Fuzhou, YongChun, Shaolin), has given me much to consider when trying to accurately evaluate the essence, energy and spirit of same.

I am happy to respond to (any serious) query. I don’t respond well to e-thug’s, sarcasm, cynicism and or unfounded allegations…if my critisccare to start over, I’d be happy to extend my hand in friendship.

It’s become quite clear that irrespective of what I write they find an excuse to ridicule, and oppose it. I suspect that if they actually ever took the time to understand what fundamental tools I’ve used to advance the study of forms and my chosen direction and art they would change their views. Their narrow-mindedness is second only to their superiority complex and negativity.

I won’t pretend that such a mentality doesn’t bother me, it does. Complacency is as unproductive as it is detrimental to correctly understanding the rich heritage of the art, which, in spite of the lip service you spew, is something you do not understand. I’ve stood in opposition to such a mindset for as long as I can remember I don’t see that I will be changing it any time soon.

They seem happy with what you’re doing, and are entitled to feel that way. My critics impression and condemnation of me because I am different and don’t accept their truth is a telltale sign of what I am referring to.

In spite of their reluctance to appreciate it, what I stand for is clearly evident on my website and this blog.

As mentioned previously, I am not here to defend that which needs no defence but rather to respond.

Regardless of their inane and largely politically driven drivel, I am happy and secure in what I am doing and their attempts at character assassination only serve to highlight their vacuous lives and own personal insecurities.

While they spend your time trawling the internet spewing forth their insecurities I remain happy and continually improving myself and the art I have chosen to follow.

I mistakenly believed that we could have made a connection and ultimately opened a mature dialogue far more representative of our experience and position about many issues at the forefront of our tradition, not just the widely-accepted innovative changes I have long since developed, systematized and successfully introduced.

In closing, let me suggest that if the negative cloud of narrow-mindedness under which they presently stand one day disappears, I would be happy to continue forth so that something more productive may eventuate from this meeting. Until then, I am afraid that arguing with them is not unlike wrestling with pigs — after a while it becomes obvious that the pigs are enjoying it!

Ego has no place

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2009 by whitecranewushu

Ego has no place within our martial arts practice. Many times I have witnessed “instructors” (more like “exhibitionists”) belt int the training bags or bang away as hard as they can on the Mook Yan Jong (Wooden Dummy) all in an effort to impress those who don’t know any better. This is not a display of the instructors skill but his/her lack of skill and understanding of the essential principles belonging to the art.

Such displays illustrate the immaturity of the instructor who in his/her own mind thinks they are impressing others who may be watching. Look at the instructor-speak you use. Is it ego-laced? If so make adjustments and learn how to be humble in your teaching.

It’s sad that so many come and go with out ever learning that there is so much more to Chinese Martial Arts than the immediate results of physical training. Whether one is a new student, a vetran teacher or just casually involved, sooner or later, if one expects to attain true self mastery, one must first understand how to utilse the ‘world within.’ It is never too late to begin.

I feel that most of us who are involved in Chinese Martial Arts as a physical discipline can visualize the magnitude of mind (Yi) control and intent. In fact, it would be no small understatement to say that the source of all power and spirit begins in thought. And, that it is in the actual application of our thoughts that the conditions conducive to personal growth, understanding, lack of ego and harmony are cultivated. Although the process of defeating one’s own ego is a protracted process, it is alo quite unique and can no doubt change one’s life if one so desires. Patience is indeed a virtue and I would encourage you to balance your physical and mental training with philosophical assimilation, winning without fighting by overcoming the enemy within.

Ranks, Titles & other Bull!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 5, 2009 by whitecranewushu

Rank, titles …. Something everyone in the martial arts focuses upon at one time or another. But what exactly is rank and title worth? The answer in my humble opinion …….. stuff all!

As one who spent a reasonable amount of time of my personal involvement within the martial arts (I’ve been involved in the martial arts for 35+ years) looking to rank and titles, I can honestly say without any doubt or hesitation that I think the whole issue of rank within the modern perspective of the martial arts is nothing but bull! In saying so, I mean no offence to anyone within the martial arts world, I am simply stating a personal view..

Firstly lets examine briefly just what is a rank in the context of the martial arts. It is a mark of the personal relationship that exists between the teacher and the individual student. It is based on the teacher’s knowledge of his/her teachings and or art and the skill and personal advancement made by that of the student within same. It has no relationship to those outside of that style, group, association or Wushu Guan (although many will seek to make it an issue).

Titles are equally the same: representative of the relationship developed between the individual teacher and student.

My personal view of ranks, well honestly, up until recently, I thought them to have value, depth and meaning. In many ways, I guess I still do. I am proud of the ranks I received while on Okinawa from my Sensei and from China from my Sifu. Not because of the rank mind you, but because of what they represent … the relationship developed between two people! They are a wonderful cultural link and true works of art.  One of my my former teachers is a master calligrapher of the highest degree! But that’s where it ends.

I have touted these ranks in the past that is true. But the truth is I am a “nobody’ in terms of the martial arts and contrary to what others “out there” may think, say, write or spew forth, this is exactly what I am. If I am to be viewed as “good” (whatever that means!) at what I do or teach within the martial arts then this is up to others to decide after meeting me personally, spending time with me both on and off the school floor. The simple honest truth is If you are “good” people will know by the way you treat others in everyday life, not by the rank and Sash/Belt you may or may not wear.

For those people who have sought me out and who are still following my teachings, I am nothing important nor do I claim to be. They know my worth as a person and within the martial arts and they understand the views I hold true to. If I am afforded any respect by my students it is because I have personally earned it via my actions and teachings and not by imposing ranks upon them as a means of boosting myself.

To me the martial arts are something I love doing. It is not how I make my living so I have very little commercial interest other than the continued up-keep of running the Wushu Guan. The martial arts and my involvement in same is a personal pursuit.

The same goes for titles. Do I have a “title?” Yes. Do I force this down my student’s throats? No! Just about all of my students call me by my first name in the Wushu Guan and I would not have it any other way. My students are my friends. Some in the martial arts would say this is offensive, others would say that its not correct etiquette and they may well be right but by whose views and standards?

Anyone “out there” in the big old wide world of martial arts are more than welcome to come to my home or Wushu Guan  for a visit. Be it as a friendly visit or simply to satisfy their individual curiosity. I have no grudge to bear against anyone and I think that my wife and I make reasonable hosts. You can respect me. You can like me. You can hate me. Either way the decision will be yours. You can make your decisions as what rank you would like to “label me” after meeting, talking with and or training alongside of me. I’ll even shout for the beers (although I’m a Bourbon man myself!).

My rank? I have none. Why? Why not! It’s not important to those outside of my association / style. What is important is what type of person I am and I think I’m doing okay in that area.

My ideas and way of teaching are to some unique, often going against the views of others within the martial arts world today. To others, they may seem “off the planet”. To a great many “martial artists” I know I’m seen as being a ‘whacko lunatic’ type of character. A rebel. Many dismiss my views as being bulldust!. But that’s okay, each holds true to his own views, nothing wrong with this as this is the way of the world and human nature.

Many have attempted to assassinate my character as a person involved within the martial arts. And I wish I had a dollar for every martial artist that has belittled my views and my teachings! I have had my name posted on numerous Internet boards, sometimes in a positive manner, often in a humorous way and yes even in a political manner, in turn revealing the politics and insecurities of others.

Some even admire me for what they view as being my commitment and enthusiasm to martial arts (which is really just one of my loves in life). My message is simple:- It’s not the style. It’s not to be found in one’s fame or lack of it. it’s not about having thousands of students and schools all over the world. It’s not about being a “big gun”. It’s not about having a certificate from Okinawa, Japan, China or downtown “Whoop Whoop”  for that matter! It’s about friendship and living your life as best as you can. It’s about being strong enough in your heart and mind to take a stand for what you believe in, even when it goes against popular opinion, and to hold on to what you believe in, all in the face of adversity. It’s about people, not the martial arts. It’s to be found in making good people, better.

Let’s be bloody honest. In today’s martial arts world, ranks are dime a dozen. They are like opinions and bums …. everyone’s got one!

And it almost goes without saying that many ranks out there should be introduced to the respected bums as a means of toilet paper.

The “human” element of the martial arts is being lost. Very few schools view their teachings as human relationships. To many (not all) it can be business or politics. I’m not against the business of teaching the martial arts, not at all. I just think that people come first.

The old arts were not so much about style but about people. Diploma’s, certificates, scrolls, documents and titles mean bugger all without the human element!

Diploma’s, ranks, certificates and titles don’t make people. People make people!

Who you learned from, what you learned, all these things matter little. What is important that you have learned something good or bad and can make your own decisions as to what is right or wrong. No piece of paper or the words negative or positive of others can take away from this truth.