We had a very good start to the year until last Friday. This evil person and his supporters had brought death, injury, pain and shattered the fragile peace we were just beginning to enjoy after recovering from the death and destruction from the earthquakes in recent years. I have been told that a couple of our young students are still waiting for information of their missing father, a highly educated individual who had gone to pray at the mosque. It is even painful for me to think about it, let alone for the young ones to deal with it. Our thoughts are with the family, our other muslim students, their instructors and all those who are suffering from this horrific act.
I believe these terrorists would have just shot any dark skinned or Asian person who happened to be at hand. We have to be thankful that the Police were so efficient in apprehending the shooter.
So, where do we go from here? It is natural that we are shocked and then we grieve. It will then naturally turn to anger. Anger however, is destructive and if it consume us, we cannot think clearly. Hate can turn us into the very type of people that causes these terrible acts. Grief and anger will also make us unwell physiologically. Therefore, we cannot dwell in anger or grief for too long or it will destroy us.
Instead, after healing ourselves, we should look at what we can do to foster better relationships between religions, races and culture. Interacting with people of different backgrounds can be very awkward to us. Like in Kung Fu training, we must not let awkwardness and challenges deter us from our goals. We have to be patient, kind and sensitive as with training partners. Then we will develop to be better martial artists, better people and create a better society and a better world.
Calming the Mind
All our instructors have been instructed to lead and end classes with our enhanced breathing exercises to calm the mind and relax the body. These type of exercises have been scientifically proven to have huge benefits to lift the spirit and mental capacity of the practitioners. It is even more important that we practice this really well in these difficult times.
This is what is taught by anti-terrorist experts such as Mr David Joker (Police trainer for special tactics units in SI).
If terrorists are holding you hostage: do not look them in the eye, go along and wait for Police to arrive.
If terrorist are shooting already: 1) try to escape as quickly as possible; 2) if escape is not possible hide and barricade doors; 3) if escaping or hiding are not possible - you must fight back to disarm the terrorist. Use small heavy objects as missiles to upset their aim/balance and give you a chance to close the gap to strike and disarm them.
Professor Leon Jay
After eleven long years we had Professor Leon Jay back for a series of seminars. It has been a long time between drinks even for those of of us who were at the Sacramento Convention in 2012. We had very good support from the instructors who brought many students to the seminars. This was with the Tai Chi instructors and students as well. It was great to see Professor Jay back in good health again after suffering from serious health challenges a year and a half ago. He said he had great support, acupuncture, psychology and Qigong to help him make this remarkable recovery after chemo and radiotherapy.
He taught more Small Circle refinements to the finger locks, arm bars, as well as closing and trapping. He pointed out the pressure points that are used in the Small Circle techniques and demonstrated his explosive speed and transitional flow. He also demonstrated and let everyone try to experience the effect of Qi flow and its effects. As always, everyone enjoyed his humour and charisma in getting his points across.
It was very good to hear that all the principles of footwork, balancing, accuracy, relaxing, pressure points, utilisation of Qi are exactly what we have in our curriculum and reinforces what we do. We should use the new understanding to improve how we train the material in our syllabus. It will be good to have him back again, probably sooner than eleven years.
We are happy to welcome the many new students and old that have returned to training. I would like to repeat what I said last year about how to train martial arts successfully.
“To be successful in training: you must know how to train and be regular in your training.” To know how to train you must listen carefully to your instructor. The operative word is ‘carefully.’ If you are not careful, it is very easy to misunderstand the information and interpret it in your own way.
Therefore, we must begin with a serious attitude to training. As soon as you arrive at training try to calm down mentally and relax physically. Do not engage in boisterous exchanges or banter with anyone till training is over. A little quiet stretching is the best thing to do to relax a bit more.
When you train, try to keep good posture: ie keep your head up, with eyes level & steady so as not to be easily distracted. Visualise your opponent at all times and respond immediately to the instructors command to train your reaction and focus.
Make sure that you can feel the stability and mobility of your stances. You should also feel the timing of your techniques harmonised with your breathing. Finally you must feel the load you are putting on each muscle as you generate your technique.
If you train like this and follow the instructor’s guide to alignment, loadings and flow of movement, you will make good progress with little risk of injury or failure. However, if you interpret it in your own way you will struggle to improve and probably injure yourself often.
With good training you will get to enjoy a state of peace and calmness. You will also enjoy the flow and correct execution of techniques. You will also feel a satisfaction that you are improving your chances of defending yourself with every class.
Use your training to calm your mind, cultivate good skills and relationships.
May Chi be with you,
Grandmaster SC Chan
23rd & 24th Mar:
SOTC Student Camp at HQ
Canterbury TC Ex Grading
Canterbury KF Grading
Invercargill KF Grading & Seminar
Invercargill TC Grading & Seminar
Wellington KF Grading & Seminar
Wellington TC Grading & Seminar
18th & 19th May:
Auckland SOTC Seminar
Annual TC & KF Seminars
Sydney SOTC Seminar
Sydney KF Seminar