Displaying posts written by

Ted Mancuso

who has written 293 posts for KaiMen.

Apr
8
2017

Who is Your Audience? Martial Consciousness

Martial arts can be a mirror. Like Alice, I stick my hands out and they sink into the loking glass.  The nature of martial arts encourages looking inward, staring outward and trying, somehow, to get audience and self-perception to agree. It’s important to know just who and what you are looking for. It’s important to […]

Feb
24
2017

The Hidden Power of Kung Fu Slapping

Can you explain the reason some styles like Tong Bei Quan and Kenpo use so much slapping? A fellow martial artist recently asked me about this. Little did he know was that I used to lecture obsessively on this subject to black belts and teachers. Even now, I still incorporate some of this technique in […]

Jan
10
2017

Stillness & Movement: Part Three

Dynamic Balance There’s a very old martial arts saying that we should “find stillness in movement, and movement in stillness.” It’s not just an old saw. For instance, say someone punches at you. You move out of the way extremely rapidly, but not so hurried that you resemble a bad example of the startle response; […]

Jan
9
2017

Stillness & Movement: Part Two

Thinking About Movement Learning movement—and therefore footwork—is a progression through four modes of stepping. First, when the beginner has just walked in off the street and you ask him to punch,  he will shoot arm first, before stepping. Envision tense shoulders, chest out and arm fully extended as he steps/falls awkwardly. Here’s the first, or […]

Jan
8
2017

Stillness & Movement: Part One

We’re having the storm of the century here in Santa Cruz. I see the trees in my yard bending to breaking, under a malicious, pushing wind that is nothing but movement one second, then still as a vanished squirrel the next.  I think of stillness and movement, my mind chasing them both down into the […]

Nov
29
2016

You Are Hired: Bodyguard Kung Fu

 Put yourself in the thick of it. What would you do? Your world is split into two—principals and enemies in a constant power struggle. Many hidden factions promote ninja-type fighting skills. You must protect your principal at all costs, yet not every situation requires deadly force so you have to be an expert at making […]

Nov
3
2016

Understanding Basics, The Chinese Way

Everything starts with basics. And when you are young or just beginning a long term study of expertise, or your taste runs to the piano or the basketball hoop, there is always a sentinel line of basics to be crossed before you get to the “good stuff.” But the surprise—sometimes disappointingly painful or tedious—is that […]

Oct
12
2016

Deconstructing Yin and Yang

You do not need to know anything about Asian philosophy to study Chinese martial arts. But that’s not to say that some understanding might not really enhance your experience. I hope that by deconstructing the parts of the famous Yin Yang diagram, I can show you some fighting principles and patterns of change based on […]

Aug
26
2016

Expand Yourself

Just in the final stages of the book I’m writing on Kung Fu Saber. I had an insight about why I’m fascinated by weapon’s work. Below is a rounding out of some of these thoughts. I’ve mentioned a few times that I have a slightly different idea about the relation of weapons play to martial […]

Aug
5
2016

Managing Forms

You’ve been practicing awhile. You are no longer a novice. Your belt or sash no longer wears stiffly as though it were just a larger version of a bow tie. You now have “rank” whether or not it is formally recognized in your style. You have accumulated some formal training, too. You may have collected […]

Jun
16
2016

Fifty

Today I celebrate fifty years in the martial arts. It has been long enough now to seem natural that it became my fate or, at least, a “way of life,” as everyone calls it. People ask me what could possibly be the attraction. I have to tell the truth and admit that I always believed […]

May
31
2016

Instructor’s Notebook #29: Metaphorically Speaking

Teachers have tools, great teachers make tools. But that’s not all. Students also make tools, in their minds. And the persistent teacher will go inside those active minds too, creating new ideas and ways to view things. All, of course, to the student’s benefit. Everyone who teaches the martial arts can fall victim to micro-management […]

May
16
2016

Snap of a Sleeve: Training for Martial Speed

When he was covering sports and at the top of his form, Hemingway wrote about things like the squeak of the boxer’s shoes as they rotated on the canvas. Just a poignant little detail like something Roger Angell might use in a baseball piece. The martial arts is loaded with such details. Some are so […]

Apr
23
2016

Tong Bei, Loose and Powerful

Here is a pretty advanced Kung Fu puzzle: along with Bagua Zhang, Xing Yi Quan and Taijiquan, what do all of the following styles have in common:  Liu He Ba Fa (Six Harmonies, Eight Methods,) Mi Zong (Lost Track,) BaFa Quan (Eight Methods,) Liu He Quan (Six Harmonies Boxing) and Tong Bei Quan (Through the […]

Apr
21
2016

The Happiness of Wushu

Here is a new/old article I wrote for the organ of Adam Hsu’s Traditional Wushu Association. It discusses some of those “hidden little” pleasures harvested from years of practicing martial arts. Enjoy!

Mar
28
2016

Twin Roads to Mastery

Things go better if we’re clear at the outset. This is a meditation on mastery—not a claim to it. I’m still trying to spell it correctly. But, after watching and judging many, many practitioners for more time than I want to admit, I’ve come to the conclusion that mastery has two paths. If you find […]

Mar
18
2016

Reprint: Stillness in the Martial Arts

Here is a piece I wrote for the now defunct Journal of Asian Martial Arts. A number of people have asked about the “myth” at the front of the piece. I believe it hints at the dialog between stillness and movement that can—and must— be found at the heart of martial practice. If nothing else, […]

Mar
6
2016

Another Modest Proposal

Through my entire martial career I have been listening to everyone’s questions and problems with traditional forms. For most people, it all centers on practicality. For some people, the answer lies in detailed analysis of the forms and what self defense and fighting treasures are hidden therein. For still others, it’s a lost cause and […]

Jan
31
2016

Definitely Not Simple

In China, the length of their history makes the cyclical an unarguable fact. Entire dynasties take their very essence from previous eras. A renaissance movement may start with an unexpected return to the values and skills of those who came before. The trick is to still have those values, at least lying around somewhere. In […]

Jan
15
2016

Martial’s Many Faces

If you look up “love” in the Oxford English Dictionary, you’ll get hundreds of words in the definition. Love means a lot of things to a lot of people. If you look up “martial” in the same volume, you will also find many variations on the definition. But unlike the definition of “love,” the martial […]