I can’t help but think that Prince and Morris Day and the Time may have been influenced by this man and this performance on Soul Train.
By the way, some of the best stuff on TV is on Aspire. I have been recording old Soul Train episodes. I am now living off a steady diet of Soul Train, The Dan Patrick Show, Ancient Aliens, Honey Boo Boo, Braxton Family Values, PTI, Hemlock Grove, Adventure Time, Inuyasha, Bleach, The Six Million Dollar Man (which still has the best goddamned TV intro every created) and Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert.
No wonder I am losing my mind. I think the mind numbing effects of watching some of the stuff I watch is a much needed respite from watching these lectures or reading through source code. Or it could be causing some kind of ping-pong effect in my brian. The violent context switch my mind has to go through when switching between watching Honey Boo Boo sneeze snot and then studying Operational Semantics may be contributing to my In-Stan-ity.
I need to go to sleep now.
First of all, not only are they better than Justin Bieber but damn well every rap artist has sampled something from these guys. Especially this song:
Sound familiar? I used to love this song
Yes I remember this video on Mtv. Back when they used to play music videos.
My brother used to love Colonel Abrams. Don’t know who he is? Well let me
memory! Whenever I bring him up to someone they can never remember his music. Then I sing some or show them a video then they are like, “OH YEAH!”
Started up my yiquan training again. When I have spoken about yiquan to others in the past, or about Wing Chun, folks tend to think of it as a specific way of fighting. They see Donnie Yen in the Ip Man movies or some of the yiquan videos online and look at the “moves” they are doing while training and believe that those “moves” are how Chinese martial artists fight. There is so much more to it than that.
What I am going to do here is try and explain what I have learned from Chinese martial arts and how it relates to fighting and athletics in general. As I am sure most folks who read this will probably be coming from a western style of thinking about martial arts or athletics, I will stick to western style idioms and descriptions. I have also played a lot of sports, such as basketball and baseball, at a fairly high level and I can tell you that Chinese martial arts training, both internal and external, have the same goals as traditional western sports training. They just approach those goals in completely different ways.
First off, lets talk about forms in traditional martial arts. You hear from some folks that forms are useless or that forms don’t help fighting in a “real” situation, etc., etc. Well how can that be true? If forms are useless then how is one supposed to learn proper technique? For example, when I learned how to play basketball all we did was forms practice. Ever wondered how to shoot a basketball? Well let’s watch Pete Maravich, the greatest college basketball scorer ever, explain how. All he is doing in this video is focusing on proper form. The proper hand position, angle of the arm, placement of the feet, how to jump, when to release, hand position, etc. This takes time and practice outside of playing games, outside of goofing around like the And1 Mixtape Streetball Team, or playing pickup games at the park. Same goes for ball handling, dribbling, rebounding, defense, free throw shooting, and much more.
Now nowhere in those videos did you see them playing basketball like you see on TV. Many of those videos had you doing things that you would never do in a game. But those seemingly irrelevant forms and drills help you in ways that only become evident when you try and do something you have never done before or when doing something spontaneous. For example, the ball handling drills, at times, have nothing to do with what you would directly do on the floor in a game. But the skills they develop, like hand/finger sensitivity, kinesthetic awareness, proprioperception, physical endurance, sports specific muscle strength and confidence all enhance your ability to play the game of basketball.
Well the same goes for practicing martial arts forms. For example, in Yiquan one of the fundamental forms is standing practice. And when I mean standing I mean just that. You literally just stand. But underneath the surface there is a lot more going on. For one, you have to learn to relax to stand for long periods of time. You have to control your mind and deal with the boredom and discomfort that you will feel. You will be building core muscle coordination, core muscular strength, correcting bad posture, developing internal body sensitivity, learning how the mind directs and controls movement, and a whole host of other things. Like above in the basketball training, much of what you may be doing may seem silly or pointless, but when you look deeper into the reasoning and philosophy behind something you can gain a deeper insight into the utility of the training method. Then, within a proper training regimen, you can see how these newly developed “internal” skills effect your technique and ability to apply the principles of the art forms.
On a personal notes I have notice the following from doing standing (standing pole):
- I work in the IT Industry and sit in front of a computer for hours a day. This contributed to bad posture which in turn caused back pain and leg pain. Through standing practice, all of this went away.
- I have also had a ruptured achilles tendon and ruptured quadricep tendon (connecting knee to quad). I did traditional physical therapy for both, but never fully got my strength, range of motion and confidence back after those injuries. So I started doing standing again. My leg is now stronger than it was before the injury and I have even greater range of motion.
- I have had chronic neck pain and shoulder tightness from my days playing baseball as a pitcher. Well doing Yiquan standing practice has allowed my to fully relax my shoulders, get full range of motion back and also allowed me to start throwing footballs and baseballs again.
- Yiquan standing practice has also allowed my to generate more power in my punches and kicks and also helped me with balance, coordination and focus when doing martial arts.
Now that’s just from the standing pole practice, which is only the first step in Yiquan practice. There are a whole host of other things practiced such as:
Zhan Zuang (Standing Pole) – This is what I described above, but one of the benefits of standing practice is that when one has practiced standing for a while you start to gain this feeling of power. By power I mean a relaxed sense of being able to move in any direction (up, down, forward, backward, left, right) quickly, easily and with explosive force. This is largely due to the mind/body connection developed while doing standing practice. You start to gain a feeling of connection and control over your body where it will willingly obey, instantaneously, your command. In effect, allowing you to do whatever you want whenever you want. It help you develop a heightened form of awareness. It puts you in that thing people call “the zone ”. The combination of the heightened sense of awareness, deeper body connection and sensitivity develops something called Hun yuan li (source):
“Hun yuan li” is the force of the whole body, produced by all parts of our body – head, chest, hips, knees, and feet – working together as a unit. … In fighting, this force can help us knock out an opponent easily. “Hun yuan li” is the core of Yiquan training system. All practitioners and students train very hard for it.
This video is of Yao ChengRong doing the basic standing pillar stances. It is in Chinese, but you can see physically what he is doing. He also is describing the different types of standing exercises that help give greater perspective and awareness of what is being developed.
Shi Li (Testing Force) – Now once we have gotten a firm foundation in standing we need to start using the knowledge and benefit we have gathered to start moving. Now the goal here is to not only move but to also move with purpose. The goal is to now move and maintain the awareness, feeling and intent developed doing the zhan zhang standing practice. Here is where we start to work on integrating the power developed in standing into the more martial components of Yiquan. There are a bunch of different types of shi li movements but they are all based on the basic standing exercises:
- Opening and Closing (left and right)
- Forward and Backward (hooking / pulling / pushing )
- Up and Down (pressing / lifting)
- Whirling or Rotating
Now each one of these is done in a way that emphasizes specific ideas and philosophies in Yiquan, but basically it involves learning to use your whole body force (hun yuan li) to control your opponent. This is inline with Yiquan’s fighting strategy. First control your opponent, destroy or control his structure, then attack. So the movements above allow one to push, pull, turn or collapse our opponents guard or center of gravity. An example of this type of control is realized in Yiquan’s push hands (tuishou) practice. But that is getting ahead of ourselves. You have learn to stand (zhan zhang) and then in a sense crawl (shi li) but we have been largely only working with the upper body. Now we need to work with the lower body.
Mocabu (Friction Step) – Now we need to learn how to step and move the body around in space all the while maintaining what we have learned and gained in our zhan zhang and Shi Li practice. This is done by doing slow foot movements like one is moving through mud. I have also heard it described as moving your feet over the ground like they were metal detectors. The goal here is to maintain control of your body while being relaxed and focused. You can say this is just moving Shi Li, which is an extension of zhan zhang so it could be called moving zhan zhang. Again, Yiquan is built on zhan zhang. If your standing practice stinks everything else will stink.
Now around the time one learns stepping, Yiquan practioners start learning practical applications of what they have learned so far. This is done, primarily through TuiShou or Push hands. Now Yiquan push hands is not like traditional Taichi Push Hands. It is much more aggressive and martial. Though it is more martial and aggressive this is not meant to turn push hands into a fight. It is for learning how to apply the skills developed in doing Zhan Zhang, ShiLi and Mocabu. One has to learn how to apply the skills developed in a controlled but lively environment. This is just like doing basketball rebounding drills, defensive shifting drills or fastbreak drills. You are trying to apply specific forms, techniques and newly developed skills in a controlled environment. Also, the drills are designed to emphasize a specific component of the sport or activity. Anyone who has played football also knows this. They do passing drills, blocking drills, tackling drills, route running, etc. All of these drills are done in idealistic conditions away from a real football game. This is done to isolate specific concepts or ideas, using a limited set of tools or techniques to focus on those concepts or ideas. Yiquan is no different. We use Zhan Zhang, ShiLi and Mocabu to develop fighting specific skills and then use tools like push hands to test out those newly developed skills.
Once one has a decent grasp on those basics, the Yiquan practitioner starts to learn all of the various strikes and attacks. Yiquan has punches, kicks, chops, knees, elbows, head butts, shoulder butts, hip butts, foot stomps, etc. It is all in there. I have even heard people describe Yiquan fighters as looking like Muay Thai fighters due to the aggressiveness and the use of knees, elbows, fists and feet. Now on the outside looking in, this appears to be the case, but Yiquan’s methods of generating force and controlling ones body are quite a bit different than Muay Thai.
One of the more advanced demonstrations of Yiquan is called Jian Wu or loosely translated “health dance”. This is when one has developed a high level of skill and can move freely and spontaneously while performing various Yiquan techniques. It is sort of like shadow boxing but with an entirely different focus.
Yao Yue (Yao ChengRong’s son) – Starts doing Jian Wu and then moves to push hands. The quick explosive movements he does are instances of Fali or issuing force. This explosive force is what can be used to unsettle your opponent while grappling or when issuing strikes.
Last, one can actually make use of mma gloves in sparring, heavy bags for punching practice, focus mitts for punching practice and many other newer training tools. So Yiquan has forms like Wing Chun, has slow flowing movements like taichi, internal power development like BaGua and explosive power movements like XinYi and mirrors Western styles sports training in this manner:
Yiquan: Start with the basics and fundamentals like zhan zhang standing (Basketball: basic ballhandling, shooting form, triple-threat stance, defensive stance)
Yiquan: Once the fundamentals have been grasped, build the fundamental movements into more complex compound movements like shili movements and mocabu stepping (Basketball: dribbling up and down the court, side to side, zig-zag, running and shooting, dribbling around cones, defensive sliding, defensive shifting, rebounding drills)
Yiquan: Starting using the compound movements in a controlled environment such as push hands or free hands to develop practical skill at utilizing the fundamentals (Basketball: One on One drills, 2 on 2 drills, 3 on 3 drills, team defense shifting and rotation, team rebounding, out of bounds plays, team offense plays like flex or motion)
Yiquan: Start full contact sparring like San Shou (Basketball: Pickup games, team practice scrimmage)
Yiquan: War or Street Fighting (Basketball: Games and Tournaments)
The main, and only, difference between Chinese martial arts like Yiquan and western style sports is not in the steady progression from basic skill development to advanced skill development in a systematic manner. It is in the types of skills developed. Currently, in western style sports, I do not see ideas such as hun yuan li integrated into sports training. Using your body as a fully coordinated unit is not fully understood here in the United States, nor is the full power of the mind when it comes to accomplishing one’s athletic goals. I am not talking about will power or overcoming adversity. I am talking about how the mind can be used directly in the midst of some athletic endeavor. Again, how to get into the zone whenever you want. To be able to turn it on and off at will and to be able to use it in ways only one who has been trained in it’s proper use can. We are starting to see some aspects of this in Western society. Things like Tai Chi Running which are beginning to apply similar principles to western athletics. Ultimately, I think this is a good thing because I and many others have suffered injury and misery while training for western style sports. This needs to be addressed because the time of no pain, no gain is antiquated and has to come to end. Martial arts like Yiquan show us there is another way.
Note: I have focused here on Yiquan due to my familiarity with it, but the same principles apply for styles like Chen Style Taichi, Fong’s Wing Chun, Dragon Style XingYi and many others. They are systematic, fundamentally sound, effective and promote whole body health and wellness.
Well after going through 4 Chapters of Introduction to Compiler Construction by Parsons, I have confirmed my lack of desire to be a computer science researcher. The theory is very interesting but not that interesting to make it a lifetime goal. I am much more interested in the practical application of the ideas than the ideas in and of themselves.
At least I can now read the papers on compiler theory and understand what the hell they are talking about. Also got a good refresher and practical usage scenario for set theory. That was probably the most interesting part. Seeing theoretical mathematics being used to build usable tools or the theory behind the usable tools.
Now I am going to take a detour and go through Flex and Bison to gain some practical experience with what I have learned so far. After I have completed that book I will move towards converting the assembler in Game Scripting Mastery from using a hand written lexer and parser to computer generated ones using flex and bison. Once I am done I will go back to Introduction to Compiler Construction and read some more.
While I am reading I am going to work on converting the virtual machine to Linux and Gnu C/C++. That really shouldn’t take long. At that time I am also going to extend the vm to support some of the instructions used in the Inferno OS Dis virtual machine.
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