September 21st, 2010 · 8 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 →]
From the New York Times:
“They lie amongst us, preparing for battle, waiting to rise and change things for good. Some are gifted in ability, others are trained to master it and some, some have it bestowed upon them at birth, but they all must choose.” These words, spoken in a James Earl Jones baritone, could be the opening crawl for the latest “X-Men” movie. But they aren’t referring to traditional superheroes, at least not in the masked and overly muscled sense. They are dancers.
The lines come from the first episode of “The LXD” or “The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers,” a new dance-inspired Web series created by Jon M. Chu, the 30-year-old director of the hit 2008 movie “Step Up 2: The Streets” and the soon to be released “Step Up 3D.”
The series, which made its debut on July 7 on Hulu is produced by Mr. Chu and Hieu Ho with Agility Studios, and is a leap in Web-based original programming. “This is the most ambitious project that has been done for the Internet,” said Thomas F. Lesinski, the president of Paramount Digital Entertainment, adding later that the cinematography “could hold up in a movie theater.” New episodes will appear every Wednesday throughout the summer. Changing public perceptions about dancers was part of what Mr. Chu had in mind when he conceived the series.
“Dancers actually have a real power,” said Mr. Chu, who studied tap growing up in Palo Alto, Calif., before he fell for filmmaking, and this is how he views the dancers in the show. “Some people call it aura, some people call it chi, we call it ra,” he said. “And the ra is that power.” He added: “So when a b-boy does his spins, if you concentrate, you can see him shoot out that power, and it can affect someone physically. Or like when a ballerina cuts her leg through the air, it’s actually like a Ninja slice across someone’s face. And a jazz dancer’s jazz hands can actually rumble the floor if they know how to do it in the right way.”
[Read more →]
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. [Read more →]
Intuition is a phenomenon most widely associated with women and mothers–but what about soldier’s intuition?
In his new book, The Intuitive Warrior: Lessons from a Navy Seal on Unleashing Your Hidden Potential, author and retired Navy SEAL Michael Jaco describes how he channeled the challenges he faced in military training and combat toward aligning his body and mind. With the two working in unison, Jaco remained calm and positive in extremely stressful situations. When he retired, Jaco then used these techniques as a civilian to enrich his everyday life.
Through personal accounts of real experiences, Jaco explains how the challenging situations he endured as a member of one of the most elite Special Forces units in the United States taught him to control his emotions and tap into his intuition. Using these capabilities, he enhanced both his mental and physical strength. In The Intuitive Warrior, Jaco says that anybody can develop the perception and awareness skills that he learned and employ them to achieve a more fulfilling life, whether seeking to improve job performance, personal relationships or physical shape.
Michael Jaco answers a few questions for Martial Development readers in this exclusive interview… [Read more →]
From the May 2010 issue of Men’s Journal…
“Wing Chun is all about guarding your center line,” Downey tells me, talking about the place where the touchy-feely art of Wing Chun kung fu meets philosophy of life. “Don’t fight force with force; use to hands at the same time; concentrate on your own thing; and after you have that dialed in, effect the balance, look for openings, look for arms to be crossed.”
So that’s the secret to his newfound prosperity?
“Oh, yeah, dude,” says Downey. [Read more →]
November 28th, 2009 · 5 Comments
If you have to choose between seeing Ninja Assassin and Red Cliff this weekend, I recommend the latter–even if this abridged US release is not quite as good as the original 4-hour Chinese version. (Curious John Woo fans can order the longer cut of Red Cliff on DVD today.)
Fantastic tales about Ninja clans and other secret fighting societies are depressingly common in the martial arts world. These legends are used for marketing and entertainment purposes; repeated often, but rarely taken seriously.
Benjamin Fulford wants to be taken seriously. Formerly the Asia-Pacific bureau chief at Forbes Magazine, Fulford spent years reporting on the highest and lowest echelons of Japanese society, from politicians to Yakuza gangsters. [Read more →]
November 3rd, 2009 · 7 Comments
Maj. Gen. Albert N. Stubblebine III: The key to all of this…it has nothing to do with bending metal [spoons]…Lord Mercy, if I can do that with my mind, what else can I do? It wasn’t clear whether they thought I was nuts. In any event, the reaction that I got was, “we’re not very interested.”
But as Jon Ronson’s investigation shows, they were in fact very interested. During the last few decades, the United States military has conducted a series of experiments in psychic warfare. On the record, these attempts to create superhuman “warrior monks” for a “First Earth Battalion” were a complete failure. (Off the record, you have no need to know.)
One of the least successful experiments is parodied in the new Hollywood comedy “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” and further documented in a book of the same name. It is also covered in the British documentary “Crazy Rulers of the World”, which you may watch for free below. [Read more →]
September 14th, 2009 · 9 Comments
For almost twenty years, Qi Magazine featured original articles on kung fu, qigong, and other facets of Chinese culture, many written specifically by and for martial artists. (Qi Magazine is not to be confused with Qi Journal, which seems more targeted to the Goji berry set.)
Qi Magazine ceased production in early 2009, and publisher Michael Tse has since opened the archives. [Read more →]
September 10th, 2009 · 11 Comments
Below is the second half of our exclusive interview with qigong researcher Drew Hempel. (Here is the first half.)
Through this intensive practice, you progressed rapidly. What experiences and events marked this progress? In what manner was your brain “transformed”?
The first energy transmission I had from Master Chunyi Lin was this flash of light (while my eyes were closed)…very bright, and my whole body filled with this amazing deep bliss. [Read more →]
September 9th, 2009 · 6 Comments
The enigmatic Drew Hempel—activist, author, polymath, and accomplished qigong practitioner—shares his fascinating story in this Martial Development exclusive interview.
Drew, how were you first introduced to the ancient art of qigong?
I first discovered Taoism back in the 1970s, in first grade. My best friend at the time was adopted from Korea. He told me he always got his lunch from “Tao Foods” [a local grocery store], so that made me wonder what it was about.
Later, in 1995 I noticed a flyer posted to see qigong master Effie P. Chow, a Chinese master who lives in San Francisco. Immediately I wanted to go, but I was also skeptical of New Age gimmicks. I actually called to request a lower entrance fee, [Read more →]