Displaying posts written by

Ted Mancuso

who has written 357 posts for KaiMen.

Jan
13
2015

That Five Minute Practice

You know that martial skill only comes from practice. And practice takes time. And where does time comes from? What if you only have a few minutes here and there? We all get caught in that particular trap. When students first come to me and I let them join the club, they often ask how […]

Jan
9
2015

The Passing of Master Paul Eng

Master Paul Eng, Kung Fu teacher of great distinction, passed away January 8th, 2015. A few personal notes: Paul Eng was a well-known and respected martial artist as I was growing up in the San Jose area. He had a studio in Campbell and would also appear at the small school in San Jose run […]

Jan
6
2015

Learning Soft in the Martial Arts

After you have been punched a few times you learn to duck. It’s not really that difficult a lesson. The martial arts abound in key lessons, such as trying to make your opponent miss as much as possible. Not every one of them is as obvious as ducking or as quick to be adopted. It’s […]

Dec
22
2014

Traditions that Could Go Away

Yet if I were captured and tortured by Ninjas I would have to admit that I harbor doubts about certain things

Dec
9
2014

The War Between the Limbs

Your knees are situated in the reverse of your elbows. Your bipedal body balances on your feet; your arms are independent of this task. In many ways the upper and lower limbs are quite different from one another. But, in other actions, the limbs should be almost undistinguishable. It’s hard sometimes to practice in this […]

Dec
1
2014

A Detective Story and the Origin of Forms

There is an ongoing debate about the place of forms in martial arts. What seems natural and logical to some people, especially in the context of certain cultural values, seems a low level form of insanity to others. Basics we all claim to understand and admire. Sparring is a no-brainer, especially if you are hit […]

Nov
12
2014

Anticipation Traps

Anticipation can be a good thing, especially around times like Christmas. It can also be a scary state of affairs when you are anticipating the unpleasant. Anticipation is found in the house of timing. It is one of the rooms there, one that bears inspection. In the martial arts, you want to control two centers […]

Oct
20
2014

Martial Arts Extended Studies

As martial artists, our study often takes us into areas that would surprise most people. Some things, like diet and exercise, though not strictly martial, would surprise no one. In fact, “being in shape” is one of the big attractions for martial training even though, strictly speaking, it is a by-product rather than a goal. […]

Oct
9
2014

Snake, Cat, Crane Combined Fist: Hung Style

Not only does it contain the entire form, but it gives some great historical information on the creation of this set and, in the wider picture, the creative process that was occurring with many other teachers…

Oct
7
2014

Stand Up, Hollow and Round. Now try to fight.

There are rules and there are rules. When practicing the martial arts, people often find the rules and principles easy to understand and next to impossible to manifest. In some senses these are no harder than the basics we learned in kindergarten: put things back where you found them, don’t steal the other kid’s lunch […]

Sep
23
2014

When Speed and Power Tangle…

Mastering the right mix of speed and power is the type of fine adjustment a martial artist will make the length of his or her career…

Aug
31
2014

Knights of Kung Fu

There is a word I would like to add to our martial vocabulary: WuXia. This translates pretty well into the English term, Knight-Errant (travelling knight). Wu of course is the word for “martial,” as in Wushu (martial arts). Xia (shee-ah) is a Chinese word composed of the characters for person and “in the middle,” somewhat […]

Aug
26
2014

Kung Fu’s Back and Forth Problem

There are two kinds of people, as Robert Benchley wrote, “Those who divide everyone into two kinds of people and those who don’t.” When we are talking about Kung Fu styles—good ones only, please—we often encounter another two-way path. Before I even go into this, let me tell you that this causes a lot of […]

Jul
21
2014

One Note Symphony

As the story goes some fans were issued into Itzak Perlman’s house. A secretary told them that it would be just a little while, “The master is practicing, you know.” Even though they knew that a professional practices diligently, they could not help speculating and then imagining what someone of Perlman’s skill level might find […]

Jul
2
2014

The Qigong You are Already Practicing…

I seem to be getting lots of questions about qigong from our readers. Some of these questions are pretty sophisticated and others ask more about beginning practice. I thought it might help people to discuss a really broad view of qigong from the martial arts perspective that, classically, is one of the three main divisions […]

Jun
16
2014

The Spear Mightier than the Pen?

On starting a new book, or why would anyone read this? I’ve been working on a new book for the last little while. It explores the spear in Kung Fu history and practice, definitely not a best seller candidate. Like some inherited task it comes down to not so much why you would write this […]

May
30
2014

Finding Freedom Everywhere

A good question to ask once in a while, knowing that the answer may be different this week from last week, is “What makes me feel free?” This varies a lot from person to person. It also varies a lot, if you stick with the martial arts for a long time, with your personal evolution […]

May
25
2014

Some Favorite Styles…

Sometimes readers ask me for suggestions without specifying any certain style. They leave that open. In essence, their exacting and sometimes highly technical queries often boil down to ”what styles do you like?” Of course the real answer is “a lot of them” since I am a lover of Chinese martial arts. Strangely enough, many […]

May
4
2014

The Ball

Yang Lu Chan was the creator of the Yang Family branch of Tai Chi. Initially, he brought more fame to this art with his extraordinary skill, than anyone had before him. In essence, his special talents raised a great but little-known style to a very high status. Though undefeated his entire career, and collaterally famous […]

Apr
13
2014

A Basic Understanding of Basics

There is so much to say about basic training. For instance, basic training is not basic in the sense of simple. Even when we use the word casually, we split it in two. The first half is the kind of blood and sweat basic training which strengthens us and implants our simplest and most direct […]