From Homeless to World Champion: The Story of Kickboxer Marco Sies

The Master Method

Excerpted from The Master Method: Four Steps to Success, Prosperity and Inner Peace by Master Marco Sies

Growing up, I experienced difficulties and personal conflict that I’ve worked very hard to overcome. Some of these struggles stemmed from negative influences and people who told me I wasn’t good enough…I was inferior…I wasn’t smart…I was too poor, too small, too unattractive to make anything of myself. I was told so many negative things so often, I actually spent many years believing these things were true.

Very small for my age, I was a dark-skinned boy living n a not-yet diversified [Chilean] population where light skin was admired and favored. At school, little girls told me I was ugly, and the boys bullied me relentlessly. I remember being thrown headfirst into a trashcan, and the humiliation of a group of boys whipping me with their neckties and making me run like a horse while they laughed. Continue reading From Homeless to World Champion: The Story of Kickboxer Marco Sies

Martial Arts Movies of 2010: The Best, and the Rest

Last year was a good year for martial arts movies. With more than two dozen releases to theater and DVD, few people will have the time and interest to screen them all–myself included! Rather than writing a review for each, I have decided to simply list those you cannot afford to miss.

The Best

Bodyguards and Assassins
Winner: 2010 Hong Kong Film Award, Best Film

Bodyguards and Assassins [IMDB rating: 6.9/10]
Starring Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Cung Le

Continue reading Martial Arts Movies of 2010: The Best, and the Rest

The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers: Martial Arts Study Guide

This article is intended as a companion piece to The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers series. It will provide additional information on the martial arts themes that frequently appear in The LXD.

AntiGravity Heroes

What styles of martial arts are performed on The LXD?

In Episode 2, AntiGravity Heroes, Jimmy and Justin perform a dazzling set with elements of parkour, XMA, and modern wushu. Although the term wushu technically refers to Chinese martial arts in general, the term is most commonly applied these days to theatrical renditions of the arts, tuned for artistic performance rather than for direct combat application. Continue reading The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers: Martial Arts Study Guide

SlowFlo: The Christian Alternative to Tai Chi?

Are you feeling run down? Suffering from tired blood? Do encounters with foreign cultures leave you confused and angry?

WholyFit SlowFlo Christian Tai Chi

If so, then we have a solution for you. It’s called SlowFlo, the Christian alternative to Tai Chi.

Inspired by Chuck Norris, the art of SlowFlo reforms the inscrutable pagan art of Tai Chi Chuan into a safe and guilt-free form of Christian exercise. Continue reading SlowFlo: The Christian Alternative to Tai Chi?

Kodak Playsport Zx3 Video Camera Review

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.

Kodak Playsport Zx3

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. Continue reading Kodak Playsport Zx3 Video Camera Review

Mark Nesti on Chi, Consciousness and Quantum Gravity

This is the second entry in our special week-long focus on Qigong and energy arts.

Mark Nesti

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.

If We Are Anything: OM, Chi, Consciousness and Quantum Gravity

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”. Continue reading Mark Nesti on Chi, Consciousness and Quantum Gravity

Fasting For Health: Enlightenment Not Included?

For millenia, people have tried to reach a spiritual promised land by fasting. Jesus did it. The Buddha did it. Monks and saints and new age gurus have done it. And now, on the radio, This American Life contributor David Rakoff tries it. He does a 20-day fast, to find out if it brings him any form of enlightenment.

That was the official summary for this week’s episode of This American Life. Here is my unofficial summary:

David Rakoff does a twenty-day detox juice fast*, hoping for a quick glimpse of enlightenment. Other than his special diet and enema regimen, David does not follow any other guidelines that might define fasting as a spiritual practice, as prescribed by real spiritual experts. Instead, he reads the New York Times, rides the subway, and otherwise continues to lead his normal everyday life–to the extent possible, between his extended time on the toilet, and chopping and boiling vegetables for the fast. Continue reading Fasting For Health: Enlightenment Not Included?

The Religion of Inception

Inception

There are seventy thousand Jedi knights in Australia. Four hundred thousand in England and Wales. In New Zealand, Jedi is the second most popular religious affiliation, ahead of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and most everything else. So concluded the official 2001 census in each of these countries.

It is unclear how many respondents were serious about their Jedi faith, but their governments did not take them seriously. Tallies were ignored or reclassified, and citizens were threatened with fines for providing “false or misleading” information.

So it is forbidden. Religions may not originate in movies–at least not in movies of Star Wars mediocre quality. But with the unprecedented critical and commercial acclaim of the hit film Inception, some of the formerly irreligious are reportedly inspired to worship again. Continue reading The Religion of Inception

Penn and Teller: Two Morons Learn Martial Arts

Penn & Teller: Bullshit

In a recent episode of their hit Showtime series, stage magicians Penn Jilette and Raymond Teller warn viewers away from the universally fraudulent field of martial arts. Now a real expert martial artist rescues us from their half-baked debunkings.

For their own convenience, Penn and Teller divide the world of martial arts into three categories: traditional, mystical, and murderous. Continue reading Penn and Teller: Two Morons Learn Martial Arts

Feiyue Martial Arts Shoes: A Mixed Review

Cotton-sole slippers

I have always been a fan of cotton-sole kung fu slippers. They are very cheap, and very comfortable. With their soft and smooth bottoms, they don’t scuff hardwood floors, and they don’t tear vinyl or canvas mats.

Cotton shoes do have some weaknesses, though. They absorb water and dirt, so you can’t really wear them outside. And unfortunately, they tend to slip a bit during kicking, jumping, and tumbling exercises. It was for these reasons that I recently decided to upgrade my footwear. Continue reading Feiyue Martial Arts Shoes: A Mixed Review