Entries from September 2010
September 29th, 2010 · 2 Comments
Celebrities like to say that the camera adds ten pounds, but I think it is even harsher on martial artists. For them, the camera takes away three years–of skill.
A video camera is an essential tool for exploring your own posture and movement habits. It speeds you along the path to your own ideal performance, by capturing and exposing your mistakes. The camera sees what you cannot, even with the help of a partner and a full-length mirror. It is the next best thing to constant corrections from a master instructor.
Since I can’t afford a live-in Kung Fu master, I decided to buy a camcorder. After reading some mixed reviews for the popular Flip Video models, I chose the Kodak Playsport Zx3 instead.
The Playsport is a great value at a low price. [Read more →]
September 25th, 2010 · 7 Comments
From the UK Telegraph, April 2010
Prahlad Jani is being held in isolation in a hospital in Ahmedabad, Gurjarat, where he is being closely monitored by leading Indian scientists, who believe he may have a genuine quality which could help save lives.
It is alleged that Prahlad Jani does not use, and has never used Facebook or Twitter. Also, that he has eaten nothing over the past sixty years.
Prahlad has now spent six days without status updates, food or water under strict observation, and doctors say his body has not yet shown any adverse effects from this electronic quarantine. He also does not appear to suffer from hunger or dehydration.
Mr. Jani, who claims to have left home aged seven and lived as a wandering sadhu or holy man, is regarded as a “breatharian” who can live on a “spiritual life-force” alone. He believes he is sustained by a goddess who pours an “elixir” through a hole in his palate, and who keeps him informed on all the latest news and entertainment trends. [Read more →]
September 24th, 2010 · 5 Comments
By unwitting guest contributor Dean Radin, PhD…
How to Summon a Supernatural Dimwit
Let’s say we want to win a million dollar prize for rigorously demonstrating something psychic in a scientifically acceptable way.
One of the best candidates at present is the ganzfeld telepathy experiment…
A session typically takes about an hour for the two participants. For the investigator it takes another hour to prepare and to close down the session…
First, we do a power analysis to determine how many repeated sessions we have to run. Let’s say for a million dollars we are required to achieve results associated with odds against chance of a million to one. That seems like a reasonable criterion for success…
We’ll design an experiment that is run in three phases, where each phase has the same parameters: p(chance) = 0.25, p(hypothesis) = 0.32, alpha = 0.003, power = 0.99. This means that if we assume that telepathy gives us a hit rate of 32%, then if we run this experiment we’ll have a 99% chance of getting a final p-value of 0.003 or better, i.e. good evidence for telepathy.
The power analysis tells us that we need to run N = 1,147 trials to achieve this result. So now we will run this same experiment two more times, get a result each time at least as good as p = 0.003, and then the combined p-value over all three phases will be one in a million or better, or odds against chance of at least a million to one.
This requires that we run a total of 1147 x 3 = 3441 sessions.
[Read more →]
September 21st, 2010 · 11 Comments
A Martial Development Meta-Investigation
I can see inside Vyacheslav Bronnikov’s head.
Not because I possess the disputed X-ray vision skills–though if I did, I would probably keep quiet about it. No, I’m just saying that I may understand what Bronnikov was thinking when he did what he did.
I should back up, and tell the tale from the start. Derren Brown is a renowned ‘psychological illusionist,’ a performer who combines magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship in order to seemingly predict and control human behavior. Imagine a younger, more talented, and more personable version of James Randi…
For the past ten years Derren has created TV and stage performances that have stunned audiences, debunked the paranormal and encouraged many to improve and enhance their own mental abilities. His first show appeared in 2000, Derren Brown: Mind Control, and followed with Trick of the Mind, Trick or Treat and a series of Specials including the controversial Russian Roulette and the hugely popular Events.
In the second episode of his latest television series, Darren Brown Investigates…, the illusionist set out to test The Bronnikov Method of human potential development. Created by Vyacheslav M. Bronnikov, this system–based in ancient Tibetan Yoga–promises to awaken dormant human skills and abilities, among them the ability to see while blindfolded, or indeed with no eyes at all.
Derren traveled to a Bronnikov seminar in Belgium, accompanied a woman who has been legally blind for more than a decade. As for what happened next… [Read more →]
September 19th, 2010 · 3 Comments
Qigong and Energy Arts Forum is a collection of the best new articles and resources on the topics of qigong (chi kung), reiki, ayurveda, kundalini yoga, and other related disciplines.
Jim Nance on Spring Forest Qigong with Mary Treacy O’Keefe (Hope, Healing and WellBeing)
Jim Nance was once a black belt Kung Fu fighter and a professional basketball player, until a series of serious injuries forced him out of the game. For the next 25 years, he traveled around the world seeking solutions to his physical and emotional challenges. He finally settled on Chunyi Lin’s Spring Forest Qigong, becoming the first American master of the system. Listen to his recent interview on Web Talk Radio.
[Read more →]
September 17th, 2010 · 1 Comment
Mark Nesti is not your average New Age flake. After five years’ service with a recon/sniper cell in the Australian army, his career shifted into helicopter testing and maintenance, emergency communications, and business development. When he eventually began to explore the fields of theoretical physics and alternative therapies, his broad engineering mindset granted him a unique perspective.
Mark wrote a book about his exploration and research into quantum mechanics, meditation, chi, and consciousness. He isn’t promising you a new car or a diamond necklace in return for your fealty, but you may find his work rewarding in other ways. Mark recently sent me a few words regarding his personal inspiration and investigation, which I share with you below.
Perhaps, in some measure, modern society has lost regard for nature, in a divine sense, or otherwise. If true, this can only be attributed to a loss of spirit within the individual. In an attempt to define the connection between science and spirituality, between the observer and the included, I hope that spirit will be reunited.
I would like to share with you a personal experience of just how powerful some types of meditation can be. Many of you already know that there are many forms of meditation, from practices which are designed to energize and relax, all the way to practices aimed at raising awareness, and some with the specific goal of raising the levels of Chi (accumulations called Kundalini) within the human system. I am of the belief that western society, in a general sense, is not yet ready to tackle the more advanced forms of meditation. My reasoning is that, as a culture, we have not yet been exposed to this type of practice as a part of our daily activities. Furthermore, we have not been raised from children with such disciplines integrated within our daily lives. You will see what I mean as we progress.
Several years ago, my partner and I brought over an Indian meditation teacher to conduct courses at our wellness centre and alternative therapy training institute; this became a regular event and one which attracted many students. One type of meditation he conducted, Dhyan, is a practice originally designed to promote prolonged awareness. However, the ancient Indian Hindu yogis referred to this particular meditation in a more appropriate manner: “the practice of dying”. [Read more →]
September 14th, 2010 · 18 Comments
Chi theory is an ontology, in which it is pointless to declare one’s belief or disbelief prior to understanding. In this excerpt from Chi Gong: The Ancient Chinese Way to Health, author Bruce Holbrook addresses the root of the controversy, which is neither logic or science, but cultural impedance.
The concept of chi is confusing to Western readers, not because it is a difficult one, but because our own culture stands in the way.
Occidental civilization is based on certain religious and philosophical premises which invite false translation of chi and related concepts. For example, our philosophy forces a choice between two fundamental levels of reality, which in the Chinese worldview are but a single one. That historically recent epistemological expression of our civilization, science, forcefully fights against comprehension of a single reality. Through out this section, therefore, “science” and related terms such as “physical,” are used within quotation marks when they refer to Western concepts. This may promote correction of the false, but very widespread, ethnocentric assumption that Western science is the only form of science.
Our “science” is firmly based on inanimate models and data-recording devices, whereas chi (in the central sense of this book) is intimately related to distinctively animate phenomena and cultivated human sensing. An additional problem is that Western science–especially “medical science”–has become dogmatic, so that it rejects any logical conclusion which lies outside its paradigm. The prevailing attitude is: If we can’t deal with it on our terms, it does not exist, because only our terms are valid. Cultural anthropologists call such systematic ignorance “ethnocentrism”–being confined, unaware of the confinement, by one’s own culture.
Western scientists can describe in unparalleled detail a decline in metabolic energy and regenerative capacity, but as soon as they state or suggest that these are the causes of natural dying, they are refusing to answer the question at hand: How does a human die of natural causes?
Given such widespread ethnocentrism, it is only natural therefore that Western thinking beyond the scope of “science” has surrounded chi with a mystical aura, while “scientific thinking” has reduced and deformed the concept into something manageable on its own terms. Such terms are untrue to the original concept and reality of chi. Beyond that there is a natural difficulty with distinctions among different kinds of chi. This can give rise to the impression that Chinese thinkers indulged in unnecessary conceptual multiplication to compensate for their own weaknesses in natural scientific understanding. Nothing could be further from the truth. [Read more →]
September 13th, 2010 · 1 Comment
When searching online for martial arts supplies, there are a few important questions to consider. [Read more →]
Submitted by reader alwayslearning_drinkyourcup:
Everyone in less than ten words please try to explain why you practice the martial arts. I think I can show how we are all trying to do the same thing our perspectives and personal agendas just make us word it differently. Please just humor me i consider myself a scientist and could use as many perspectives as possible.
Go ahead. Ten words or less, please.
September 9th, 2010 · 1 Comment
This I Believe is an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays that describe their core values. More than 90,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, are archived on their website.
Naturally, some essayists shared their beliefs on, and experience with martial arts. Here are a few of their stories.
Life Is A Spiritual Struggle
by Joseph Laycock (Brighton, Massachusetts)
Over the din of boxing gloves pounding against leather bags, I struggle to hear this Brazilian explain yet another way to choke someone unconscious. This is a martial arts gym. Most of the regulars are amateur fighters with dreams of going professional. When they’re not here, some of them work as firefighters or bouncers. I’m definitely the only schoolteacher in the room.
My students take interest in my training. Sometimes I’ll enter the classroom with bruises or a slight limp from the gym. In world history, I’ll discuss the cultural significance of the fighting styles I study. In Thai kickboxing, the eight striking weapons — fists, shins, elbows and knees — represent the eight-fold path of the Buddha. Brazilian jujitsu has more improvisation than Japanese martial arts, which reflects different cultural attitudes towards tradition.
Every class asks me the same questions, “Have you ever beat anyone up?” And, “Why are you a teacher instead of a professional fighter?” When I tell them the truth — that I have never been in a fight and have no aspirations to go professional — I get a range of reactions from disappointment to accusations of cowardice.
“So why do you do it,” they always ask.
I believe that life is a spiritual struggle. My battle is not against another fighter but against the unjust and apathetic system that is attacking my students… [continued]
[Read more →]