Machetes and Mockery: The Two Unkindest Cuts

Which professionals do you consider least trustworthy? Car salesmen? Politicians? Telemarketers? Bloggers, maybe? Let me suggest a new addition to your list: you simply cannot trust a knife expert with no scars.

This is the consensus view among self-defense instructors: if you are attacked with a knife, you will get cut. You should expect to get cut. Your goal is not so much to avoid getting cut, but to avoid getting killed.

So next time you meet a self-defense expert, look at their arms. Do you see any knife scars? Have they even once tested their theories against a real, razor-sharp blade?

British raconteur and martial artist Chris Crudelli managed to find one Escrima teacher with sufficient courage to test himself—on camera, no less. Continue reading Machetes and Mockery: The Two Unkindest Cuts

Why You Should Never Turn Your Back on a Predator

From the March-April 2008 issue of Desi Life:

Gitanjali Kolanad: A Force of Nature

Force of Nature: Graceful yet powerful, Kalaripayat is inspired by a wilder world

Some scholars estimate that Kalari (also written as Kalari Payatte or Kalarippayattu) dates to 12th-century India. According to one legend, Kalari is the world’s first martial art.

Gita Kolanad is 54, but she looks, and moves as though she were at least a decade younger. Born in Kerala, she moved to Winnipeg at age 6. She used to do yoga, but says she found it boring and took up Kalari in her 30s to keep in shape for dance.

“Kalari is a real holistic system. It’s not just the martial art, but the healing aspect and the focus aspect,” Kolanad says. “When you get into the weapons, it’s a constant lesson in focus. When you lose your focus, you immediately get hit. I know that yoga has this aspect of meditation, but you don’t get any feedback on whether you’re doing your meditation right. Here you’re constantly getting feedback,” Kolanad says. “That’s why I love Kalari and I think it’s poised to be bigger than it is right now.”

At the highest stages of Kalari practice, it is said “the body becomes all eyes.” Masters become totally aware of everything around them. Kolanad doubts she will get to that point, but says that’s not a concern: “I enjoy every aspect of it.”

Continue reading Why You Should Never Turn Your Back on a Predator

Learn to Levitate the Easy Way

Back in the olden days, levitation was considered a miraculous skill, requiring years of diligent meditation practice. I have recently discovered an Indian technique that simplifies this amazing feat.

Using this method, levitation is within the reach of even the least committed students.  Although it won’t work for everyone, it just might work for you. Continue reading Learn to Levitate the Easy Way

Qigong Skills of the Vagabonds

Before the days of the strip-mall Kung Fu Dojo, some martial artists earned a living by performing in travelling circus shows.  These artists demonstrated seemingly miraculous feats to entertain their audience, and attributed them to esoteric qigong training.

Truthfully, these “vagabond skills” are mostly cheap parlor tricks.  In this video clip, Wing Chun instructor Leung Ting demonstrates the (relatively) safe and easy way to break bricks with your bare hands, and slice yourself with sharp blades.  Continue reading Qigong Skills of the Vagabonds

Investigating the Dim Mak Death Touch

The old Kung Fu master touched his assailant, with no apparent effect.  Days later, the assailant died a sudden and mysterious death.  He was a victim of the legendary dim mak, the touch of death.

dim
dim
mak
mak

Dim mak is a popular discussion topic among martial arts enthusiasts.  Some instructors claim to have the skill, or believe that it was used to kill Bruce Lee.  Others insist that dim mak instructors are frauds and the skill itself is a complete fantasy.  Is there any evidence to support the existence of dim mak?  Could it possibly work? Continue reading Investigating the Dim Mak Death Touch