Martial Development

Martial arts for personal development

Entries from January 2009

Shaolin Superstars…of Dance?

January 26th, 2009 · 6 Comments

Matthew Ahmet with 'Shaolin monks'

The extraordinary transformation of an ordinary teenager into wannabe monk began nine years ago, when China’s famed Shaolin monks performed their extraordinary show of martial arts and physical feats at London’s Dominion Theatre.

Matthew says, ‘I was 11 and my older brother and cousin took me along to see the show. I was quite interested in martial arts, and I liked watching Jackie Chan films, but nothing could have prepared me for this.

I sat in the audience absolutely mesmerized. The show started just like it still does today, with a candle burning and soft chanting before the monks start demonstrating gentle tai chi moves. Suddenly, it all explodes into wonderful combat sequences and incredible feats of human endurance. The monks walk up stairways made from razor-sharp knives, lie on beds of knives with concrete slabs on top of them, and break metal bars over their own heads–showing how they can overcome pain.

He says, ‘People say that there is often a moment in life where everything changes, and for me, it was watching that one performance. I knew immediately that all I wanted to do in life was go to China and join the Shaolin monks. When I got home, I told Mum and Dad, and I think they assumed it was just a passing phase. But they were wrong…[continued at Daily Mail]


Superstars of Dance, Episode 2

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The Evolution of MMA and Dodo Birds

January 21st, 2009 · 36 Comments

Rabid fans of mixed martial arts often consider their sport to be a proven, scientific, and highly evolved form of fighting. Modern MMA practices are contrasted with those of American Judo and Karate-do—unwittingly cast to represent “traditional martial arts” at large—and judged uniformly superior.

Putting aside the revisionist history underlying such comparisons, let us consider the possibility and implications of MMA’s evolution. What can Darwin’s theory teach us about the present state, predict for the future fate of mixed martial arts?

Ask a Dodo About MMA

Many centuries ago, a flock of pigeons departed their native land, roosting on the tiny Indian island of Mauritius. Enjoyed the relaxing tropical atmosphere, and an environment free of natural predators, they decided to stay awhile.

Dodo bird

While the vast ocean protected the birds from attack, evolutionary forces reshaped their bodies and minds. [Read more →]

Spot the Ninja Goofs in KATANA Episode 1

January 17th, 2009 · 2 Comments

“KATANA” is a martial arts web series that premiered January 7th, 2009, on Strike.TV, an internet network created by Hollywood writers during the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike. It is the first ever martial-arts based internet television series by Hollywood professionals to debut on the internet.

In the pilot episode, John Koyama (The Last Samurai) plays Toshiro Sato, a former Ninja forced out of retirement to do the evil bidding of his older brother Kenji, played by action legend Yuji Okumoto (Karate Kid 2, Johnny Tsunami). “KATANA” is also Yuji Okumoto’s producing and writing debut.

Shot in Seattle, the series pilot stars a host of top A-list stunt and action talent from Hollywood to Hong Kong, including Thai action star Don Tai (Rush Hour 3, Fast & Furious), Al Goto (Letters From Iwo Jima, We Were Soldiers), and Sam Looc (Mask of the Ninja, Tropic Thunder).

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Our Top Martial Arts Blogs – The Year in Review

January 16th, 2009 · 16 Comments

As voted by Martial Development readers in 2008…

Most Popular Posts

Totally Nude Tai Chi: A DVD Review With Pictures
After writing this, I learned that Tai Chi is just one disc in an extensive nude martial arts DVD series. Other titles include Judo, Kendo, Karate, and Changquan. I kid you not!

Five Questions With a Nei Kung Expert
My thanks to the Mo-Pai disciples who collaborated with me on publishing this interview.

Top Commenters
Thomas Tan
Rick Matz, Cook Ding’s Kitchen
Bob Patterson, Striking Thoughts
Richard C. Bauer, Dim Mak researcher
“Thunderbird”
“Kungfuguy”, a.k.a. “Cobra-Kai”
“Skeeva”

Me, Chi and Bruce Lee

I have randomly selected one commenter to receive a free gift. [Read more →]

Ip Man Goes to Hollywood

January 14th, 2009 · 14 Comments

Donnie Yen as Ip Man

Grandmaster Ip Man—the man who ushered Wing Chun kung fu out of obscurity, and presided over the instruction of a young Bruce Lee—is the subject of a exciting new Hong Kong biopic. Action star Donnie Yen portrays the petite but powerful Ip in early adulthood, as wealthy playboy and martial arts fanatic. [Read more →]

Wing Chun’s Wooden Dummy Form – 7 Variations

January 10th, 2009 · 31 Comments


1. Randy Williams [Read more →]

How to Learn Zhan Zhuang From a Book

January 5th, 2009 · 19 Comments

A recent entry in the suggestion box reads,

“What is the best book or DVD for learning zhan zhuang?”

My zhan zhuang background

My formal introduction to zhan zhuang (standing meditation) was provided by “Michael”, a master of Taoist self-cultivation methods. [Read more →]