Do You Make This Zhan Zhuang Mistake?

Standing Like a Tree
Yao Chengguang performs zhan zhaung

Even an exercise as simple as zhan zhuang has its subtle points, the ignorance of which may hinder your progress in wushu. Wang Xiangzhai, the founder of Yiquan and a master of zhanzhuang, said:

We must, first and foremost, avoid the use of clumsy force, in body and in mind. Using this force makes the qi stagnant. When the qi is stagnant, than the yi stops; when the yi stops, than the spirit is broken.

To be sure, this is good advice, but even the greenest student is familiar with this principle of no-force. So, instead of dwelling on that, I would like to examine a more specific problem. Continue reading Do You Make This Zhan Zhuang Mistake?

Wing Chun Counters Low Kicks with Denial

The low kick is the most dangerous attack in unarmed martial arts. A single well-placed kick to the knee or ankle can render the opponent unable to stand, and consequently unable to escape or defend against further attacks.

Low kicks are so effective that even seasoned martial artists have difficulty defending against them. Faced with such a challenge, some simply choose to ignore the threat, and concentrate on more glamorous hand techniques instead.

Denial is usually not an effective method of self-defense. However, Wing Chun teaches us how to use denial to our advantage, and thereby protect ourselves. According to Wing Chun principles, we should deny an attacker the position, the balance and the time to succeed with a low kicking attack. Continue reading Wing Chun Counters Low Kicks with Denial

Increase Your Stability by 50% With This Simple Adjustment

Stability is a critical component of martial application. Without stability, your ability to apply force, or withstand an opponent’s force, is severely compromised.

Stability is a function of strength and balance. And the easiest way to improve your balance is to adjust your posture.

I learned this postural adjustment tip from a Russian martial artist in Portland. I like it because it is simple, effective, and requires very little skill to implement. If you are a student of Chinese or Japanese martial arts, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard this tip before.

Continue reading Increase Your Stability by 50% With This Simple Adjustment