Displaying posts written by

Ted Mancuso

who has written 357 posts for KaiMen.

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 […]

Dec
28
2015

Instructors Notebook (INB) #28: About Knees

They may tremble. They may protest. They may also be right and you should listen to them. Obviously I’m talking about your knees, not your parents. Other parts of the body politic should be heard from once in a while but the knees are of special concern to anyone who would like to keep them […]

Dec
22
2015

Linking Practice

I was watching an interview with a world-class Karate instructor. At one point he talked about how, when he took a walk, he would practice his kicking (not visibly; this article is about commitment, but not the kind to a mental institution.) He showed how he breathed when sitting and relaxing, shoulders unfurling and folding […]

Dec
11
2015

A Modest Proposal

Through much experimentation and some little research I have come to an opinion about martial arts, all martial arts. Nothing too radical, but the catch is that I feel this should be universal and it is hard to convince such a contrary crowd as my cohorts about anything universal. I propose, simply, that every style […]

Nov
20
2015

“If I could just interject one thought here…”

For the umpteenth time I am re-designing the basics practiced at my school. This may come as a surprise to people for a couple for reasons. I know that there are styles which have probably taught the same basics for decades, even centuries. I used to study at a school that taught two distinct and […]

Nov
7
2015

Deep Practices

Learning Kung Fu can be a unique experience or, if you are not paying attention, it can be just another subject with the same tired educational template thrown over it. By a “unique experience” I do not mean the kind advertised on vacation posters. I mean an experience that shoots through your veins and hovers […]

Oct
4
2015

Second Look: The Science of Internal Strength Boxing

This is an extraordinary book and should live on the library shelf for martial practice. It is not too far from right to say that I missed the point on my first reading. On the other hand, this is not an easy read. This book argues for the advantages of internal training. But rather than […]

Oct
2
2015

Slow Learner

Next October, I will celebrate my 50th year in the martial arts. When I started studying, I had no idea or plan to make this a lifetime practice. I joined up for the same reason a lot of 16 year olds do: I was getting bullied at school and I wanted to learn some self-defense. […]

Aug
31
2015

Second Look: A Big Book on a Misunderstood Art

I often jokingly called YiQuan “the old martial artist’s pasture” because it seemed that only people who wanted minimal practice, yet expected super-human powers, ever ordered any related products. I have to admit that at this point I never really “got” YiQuan. Even though I’ve been in the field for a long time, this seemingly […]

Aug
25
2015

Edgy

I have to admit that I’ve spent many years standing around just… standing around. Standing practice entered my life in the late Sixties. I experimented from that point on with sessions of continued standing and then modifications. You should know that there was not a lot of information in English on the subject and it […]

Aug
14
2015

Legwork

Years ago I wrote an article focusing on some aspects of this undiscovered treasure.

Jul
27
2015

The Water Styles

The class is warming up, you can hear the uniforms snapping, the floor jumping; but you are in the office with a potential student. He called your studio, set up an appointment. Now he sits across from you hoping you will answer his burning question: which style should he start with? I sit back, think […]

Jul
22
2015

Major and Minor Styles

Most martial artists have what they consider their favorite or “major” martial style. This is often just the first style that commenced their training. Occasionally, it is a style—not necessarily the first—that sprang right up in their faces and said, “This is yours!” Sometimes it is dictated simply by body type, or event, or natural […]

Apr
25
2015

The Back Parking Lot

Some classes are so silent you can’t tell. Everyone is concentrating, their legs are quivering, every move is blindingly fast. A hard hour of practice creates a glow but often it also hushes the voices. You teach advanced stuff in an atmosphere of intense reflection. Listen, then move, then try again. The mirrors are steamed […]

Mar
27
2015

How to Work the Dummy

It’s solid teak, something that your hand will not let you forget if it happens to meet the wooden body straight on. This reminds us that the first requirement in working with a dummy is that we not injure ourselves so badly that we have no choice but to stop working with the dummy. Also, […]

Mar
7
2015

The Good Form of Forms Practice

If we say “form” to some martial artists they may mentally finish the phrase as “form of torture.” Yet for every person who does not like form training there will be one who actually likes forms, and of course some who are pretty neutral on the whole subject. The reasons for these reactions are varied […]

Feb
11
2015

Not Thinking About It: The Moves Within a Single Move

Borrowing from the art of Xing Yi Boxing lets me walk you through an example. It’s the act of taking a step and punching straight ahead. This simple act can be a wonder of orchestration. Consider. My left front leg begins by pulling on my rear leg. At that moment the rear leg pushes off […]