Feb 012010

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/AlCase15.jpg]It makes no sense to let an attacker get close enough to use his hands. If he’s got a knife or club, or just a fist that is fast, the best strategy is to kick low and keep him at a distance. The problem is that many Martial Arts schools do not teach the right way to use the legs.

A couple of things to remember before we get into making your kicks into powerful tools of destruction. Practice kicking high so you have strength and flexibility, but keep your kicks low in a real fight so you don’t get a leg grabbed and tossed. And, the best strategy is to avoid the fight altogether.

Practice kicking over a chair or object of similar height. This will train you to raise your knee high for the proper execution of the kick. When your knee is high your foot can go straight in and deliver the goods, and rise in an arc up the side of the body.

Turn your hips into the action of the kick. Always turn, or tilt, your hips so that the weight of the hips is driven into the action. This will also give you a little more reach, and it will help commit the whole weight of the body into the action.

Always try to kick with the ball of the foot. I know many people like to kick with the instep, but if they miss they end up spinning around out of control. Kicking with the ball of the foot forces the artist to be an artist, and it concentrates more weight into the smaller area of the ball of the foot.

Bring the foot all the way back. Snap that foot back so that an opponent can’t grab it. This also tends to leave more power in the target.

Practice planting your foot on the target, then pushing. This usually means you will alter the kick, for this exercise, so that you can place the heel on the body of your partner, then push. This trains the exact muscles needed at impact.

Kicks are your first line of defense, and this makes them extremely important, so don’t just practice your kicks ten or twenty times and forget about them, practice them hundreds of times a day for each kick. Whether you are training in Karate, or Tae Kwon Do, or Kung Fu, or whatever other art, a well placed kick cancan make the difference between winning and dying. So practice, and look at your kicks, study the physics of a kick so that your kicks are effective and end the fight before the opponent even gets close.

Al Case has analyzed martial arts for over 4O++ years. A writer for the magazines, he had his own column in Inside Karate for many years. You can find out how to have the most powerful punch on the planet, or how to have the strongest kicks on the planet, by picking up his free ebook at Monster Martial Arts.

Jan 132010

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/AlCase9.jpg]Wham bam! Iron Mike Tyson, back in the day, was knocking them down faster than they could stand up. Twelve of his first nineteen fights ended in the first round, and always with the opposing fighter laying face down like a drunk that had been massaged by a tractor!

No other fighter was knocking people out like Iron Mike, also known as Kid Dynamite, and there were a lot of strong fighters out there. So there had to be something that Mike was doing that nobody else was doing. There simply had to be a secret behind his incredible, dynamite filled, slobber knocking punches!

The secret actually comes in two parts. The first part of the secret is that he was shorter than everybody, therefore he was automatically ducking under the incoming fist, and rising up with his own. This meant that he had to use his legs, he was perfectly situated, so the push of his legs was part of his punch.

Because he was coming up from under, he learned how to push with his legs and use his hips so they assisted the angle of his punch. He just happened to be the proper size that enabled him to arc his punch at exactly the right angle, to pop that chin at exactly the right spot. Every opponent fought him in similar fashion, he defended the same way, and he didn’t start losing until opposing fighters analyzed him correctly and actually boxed!

The other part of the secret has to do with the way he was living his life. He was winning fights as long as Cus DAmato was training him, because Cus DAmato was keeping him in hand, caring about him as an individual, working with him as a person. When Cus died, however, everything changed for Iron Mike Tyson.

After Cus died Tyson came under the influence of nefarious individuals such as Don King. His marriage went sour, and he eventually began taking prescribed psychiatric medications. The mental edge that had carried him so far went away, and other fighters were no longer coming in in exactly the right manner to be taken apart by him.

So the secret of Mike Tysons unbelievable knock out punch had to do with taking advantage of his height to use his legs and come up under his opponent. It also hinged upon the discipline in his lifestyle which was enforced through the friendship of a man who cared about him as a person. And everything changed when fighters figured him out and he no longer had a trainer who could help him solve the issue.

The lesson here is that when you train in the martial arts, be it boxing or whatever, you must assess your body truthfully, and learn how to avoid its weaknesses and exploit its strengths, not an easy thing to do, but rather requiring an honest and truthful approach to oneself. The second thing you must do is live your life the right way, staying away from people who say they love you, but who act otherwise, this is seen easily if you look at how they treat people in their past. Anybody who utilizes these two principles, being accurate in your assessment of your body and living a good lifestyle, has a chance to develop the hardest punch in the world.

Al Case has researched martial arts, and the science of striking, for over 40+ years. A writer for the magazines, he is offering a free ebook on the martial arts. You can also visit Punch Em Out if you want a 100 page book which has the secrets of the hardest punch in the world!

Jan 122010

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/AlCase25.jpg]One of the most important things you can have, if you want to be a good fighter, inside the ring or out, is the gunfighter mentality. The best fighters, like Chuck Lidells and Anderson Silva, have this intuitively in their personality. The losers don’t.

Interestingly enough, the Gunfighter Mentality used to be part and parcel of the classical martial arts. I remember training back in the sixties, and everything we did was geared towards this ability. While there were many factors involved in the death of this principle, Bruce Lee was probably the nail in the coffin.

Bruce Lee added circling and bouncing to the martial arts. The Gunfighter Mentality depends on stillness, being coiled like a snake, and here was this fellow acting like Mohammad Ali, circling and jabbing and destroying the mindset of the Gunfighter. Now Bruce Lee would have won most any fight anyway, but a generation copied him, and they gave up the deadly zen stillness of the Gunfighter.

Now stillness is the heart of true fighting, when it comes to the martial arts, and there are several good reasons or this. There was much interchange between karate and zen principles in Japan, and people who sat in the zen position for long hours began to see the benefits of sitting, waiting, and cultivating silence. In the silence one could better perceive, could empty themselves enough that their intuitive nature would take over.

When one is silent, just sitting, when one does nothing, the senses begin to work better. Try it, just sit in a chair comfortably and do nothing for a while. The world will start to intrude on you, tell you things, become brighter, louder, more obvious.

Once the student begins to appreciate that his perceptions will work better, the true martial arts can be developed. In the silence we learned how to set our stances, to sink them into the ground, and search for the angle set of the leg, the best position to spring from. In the silence we would examine the position of the foot and the turn of the hips, trying to make every single part of our bodies into responsive and explosive machines.

Freestyle matches, instead of moving all around and wasting energy, would be subtle shifts of the body and edgings toward the opponent. Instead of throwing a hundred punches, most of which missed the target, we would set up to throw one punch, but every ounce of our might would be instilled in that one punch. Most important, we left the training hall as different people, aware people, patient people.

The Gunfighter Mentality in the martial arts is pretty much unknown now, and it is too bad. I believe that if the fighters of today began building the characteristics of a good Gunfighter the Martial Arts would take a turn for the better. This might not be good for mixed martial artists in such places as the UFC, however, as the techniques might become too dangerous to be used.

Al Case has analyzed martial arts for forty++ years. A writer for the magazines, he is the originator of Matrixing Technology. You can get his free ebook at Monster Martial Arts.

Dec 202009

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/AlCase18.jpg]This is going to be the weirdest tai chi lesson you have ever had. I’ve never had a lesson in tai chi, you see, but my tai chi chuan is the best. I don’t mean to be self serving, but let us see what you think after you have read how I came up with my tai chi.

I began learning tai chi with a book, Modified Tai Chi for Health by Lee Ying Arng. Every night I spent hours memorizing the form, trying to figure out the applications, trying to figure out the meaning. And, tell the truth, it didn’t mean much.

So I went through books by Chen Man Ching, and I read Chen and Yang and Wu and Sun, but they all spoke this gobbledegook that didn’t make sense. So I began doing my Karate, I had near ten years experience in Kang Duk Won karate, and the thing started to resolve. I was using good, old karate power to juice up the form, and it worked, and then I was able to make what was happening into Tai Chi power.

More important, I was neglecting all the bushwah philosophy and mysticism in the books and using physics. The martial arts, you see, are taught through the memorization of random strings of data. In physics you look for a reason, and a logic, and you define a concept.

Now, ancient stories claim tai chi was created in a dream by san feng after he watched a bird and a snake fight. Or, it was started by a general in a village, who was retired from war and wanted to make up games for the children. Neither of these concepts have much verifiable validity, but we can’t just discount them out of hand.

Maybe the general was old, couldn’t do the martial arts proper, and so he moved slowly, so as not to hurt himself, and actually came up with something. And the vision of the snake and the crane, though I like physics I would not dare to disclaim the value of visions, which are dreams and inspiration, and at the heart of mankind. Still, whether rehabilitation of the infirm, or big dreams, tai chi does not make sense without physics.

So this is what I want you to do, I want you to get a book on physics. Make it a simple kids book, simple pictures for illustrations, that sort of thing. It would really help if it was aimed at describing a motor.

Now, go over that book, and make lists of the terms are the same as in tai chi chuan. Rooting is grounding, what are these things called leads, where is the generator, and so on. Do that, and when the deep innards of your tai chi chuan start to reposition, do not come complaining to me.

Al Case has studied martial arts 4O years. He began Tai Chi Chuan in 1974, became a writer for the mags in 1981, and originated Matrixing Technolgy, which is the study of physics in the martial arts. You can get a free ebook on Matrixing at Monster Martial Arts.

Dec 132009

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/AlCase17.jpg]Mixed Martial Arts gladiators circling the eight-sided ring, searching for the chance, and, WHAM, somebody is punched out. The roaring crowd, the price of the ticket, they are worth it if you can see a good knock out. What most people don’t realize is that a good knock out, with the help of a little practice, can be done easily.

Forty years ago, in Kang Duk Won Karate my instructor told me that A tight fist is a heavy fist. Man, what good advice. Just make the fingers into steel bands, tie it together with a thumb, and, zingo bingo, you have yourself a brick busting fist.

The trick, of course, is to be totally empty before, and to be totally empty after. This is the idea of focus, and it is vital to knocking an opponent all the way out. Hard to do it the way they wrap hands before a fight, but there it is.

Think about it like this, a radar station is looking for planes, it is looking, and what would happen if the skies all filled up with static? The radar operator would be blind, he wouldn’t be able to see the planes for the static. So when you relax, and make your fist loose, you are trying to get rid of the static, make it so you can perceive what is going on around you.

Then, without the tension of your muscles holding you back, you can better see the path of an incoming fist, the angry emotion, the guiding intention of the attacker, your fist will move faster because it is empty, and it will hit harder when it becomes tight. Muscular tension will slow down your motion and your fist, and that fist will fly fast and true, and your radar will better help it find the target. The moment of fistal collision and your hand gets tight, and that increases the weight of it, making it hard enough to knock somebody into dreamland.

So there are two things a fighter in the UFC ring, or just a guy out on the mean streets must do if he is going to have real knock out power. The first thing to be done is to be loosey goosey empty, not trapped because of his own muscular tension. This frees the inner radar to find those incoming targets, and enables the MMA fighter to move faster because he does not think of himself as heavy.

The second thing is to make the fist tight when it hits, and loosen it immediately afterwards. This is real nanosecond stuff here, but it really works. The energy comes to bear, the power focuses, and that which was empty and quick suddenly becomes full and heavy.

If you are an Mixed Martial Arts fighter in the UFC or strikeforce, or even just a guy who likes watching it on the tube, think about the physics I have described here, and figure out how to use them. Empty/full is actually a well worn concept from traditional Karate, and it is used extensively in the ancient Shaolin types of kung fu like or Choy Lee Fut or Hung Gar. Emptiness and focus, these are the keys that will lay them out and close their eyes!

Al Case has dissected Kung Fu for 4O++ years. He has written hundreds of articles for the magazines, and had his own column in Inside Karate. You can pick up a free ebook at Monster Martial Arts, or get the straight skinny on hitting harder at Punch ‘Em Out

Dec 092009

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/AlCase15.jpg]I don’t care if people don’t like what I’m going to say, I’m going to say it, the kicking I see on the UFC and MMA type of thing is not really kicking. Truth, it is leg swinging, without focus, and it does not get the job done. the purpose of this writing is to tell you why it doesn’t work, and what to do about it.

I had a friend, name of Ted, some forty years ago when I was doing Chinese Kenpo. He dressed like a hippie and had long hair, and he happened to have the most amazing kicks. One day he was driving through the rush hour traffic when a fellow cut in front of him, so Ted hit the horn.

The fellow stopped his car and walked back towards Ted, who got out of his car and backed away. The fellow was a monster, easily three hundred pounds, and he dwarfed Ted, and he said some unpleasant things. Ted held up his hands palm out, and said he didn’t want to fight.

The fellow swung a punch, and Ted rocked back and planted a beautiful roudhouse kick in the center of the monsters chest. The fellow sat down on the pavement, groaned, then stood up and rushed Ted again. Ted tried to back away, he held up his palms again, and told the fellow he didn’t want to fight.

The fellow swing, and that was when Ted did it. Ted sunk his weight, put his hips into the kick, and delivered the ball of his foot to the attackers chin. Bang and a ten count, and Ted got in his car and drove away.

So, sinking your weight and throwing the hips are important, even crucial, and some fellows do it and some fellows don’t, but the ball of the foot, that was the key. Look, when the UFC gladiator bashes, he swings his leg like he is swinging a baseball bat, and there is not enough weight behind it. When you swing the foot and use the ball of the foot, the energy goes back along the leg and into the hips, and even into the ground and there is body and weight behind the kick.

Yes, kicking with the instep can work, and sometimes well, but kicking with the instep spreads the striking area over more surface area. The ball of the foot kick concentrates the the strike into a smaller area, puts more weight in contact with a smaller surface. If you want to put a nice, precise hole in a piece of wood, are you going to let the weight spread out, or are you going to use a tidy, little hammer and focus the weight into a smaller area?

Kicking, like punching, is an art, and the UFC and MMA type of fighters are really doing boxing, not the science of pure martial arts. To understand pure martial arts, one has to study this western thing called physics, and apply it to eastern martial arts, and then the answers and ability will come, and then the art will be resurrected. Art will win over sport, and not just gladiatorial contests, but in life, that is the solution and the way of the true art.

Al Case has researched martial arts for 4O+ years. A writer and columnist for the magazines since 1981, he is the originator of Matrixing Technology. You can see his work on developing perfect and artistic punches and kicks at Monster Martial Arts. Look around the site for his free ebook on Matrixing.

Nov 302009

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/AlCase3.jpg]In part one we discussed that a person has to know something, and not just in the general monkey see monkey do sense of the current legion of so called masters. This article has to do with the second and even more important missing ingredient upon the part of todays masters. This article has to do with the amount of knowledge a master must have to be a Master.

Yes, a fellow can study an art and say he has mastered that art. He can get so good at karate, for instance, that nobody can beat him. That, however, doesn’t make him a master.

To be able to destroy somebody using a particular art is very limited. Destruction, you see, is very short sighted. While there is an art to destruction, the true art is in control.

How do you control somebody who is actively engaged in trying to harm you or your loved ones? You must learn more than one art, and this means you must learn both the arts that result in destruction, and the arts which teach one to control an opponent without harming him. You’ve got to learn the difference between the factors of force and flow, which is another way of saying you must be able to bash something, or control it.

Destroy something and it is gone. No more authority or power over that. True mastery is a perpetuating state whereby you can sustain your power and authority.

In the first article I said you had to know something about something. In this article I am telling you have to know everything, and one other thing. I am telling you that you must have power and authority even over those strange and unreasoning things called people.

Having power and authority over not just the technology of an art and all its moves is not enough to make somebody a master. You must be able to have power and authority over the people of the world. You must not just know the moves of an art, you must be able to apply them at any place and any time and over any person.

Now, having defined a master, consider those individuals who lay claim to being a master. Can they just destroy and hurt people, and especially those who subject themselves to their teachings? Or have they studied and can apply a wide range of arts, the techniques of their choice, to anybody at any time?

Al Case has analyzed martial arts 4O+ years. He began writing articles in’89, and had his own column in Inside Karate. He is the originator of Matrixing Technology, which you can find out about in a free ebook offered at Monster Martial Arts.

Nov 292009

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/AlCase9.jpg]The problem with freestyle is that it has changed into the simple act of fighting. Sounds contradictory, I know, but I began learning martial arts back in the middle of the last century, and I have seen a different face of freestyle. This was a freestyle that was actually more effective, easier to learn, and made students evolve into better human beings.

Now, I have nothing against mixed martial arts, or UFC, or learning ground and pound and all the other types of freestyle. Truth, I think some of this stuff would have been awfully useful back when I was first learning the arts. That said, consider the following objections that I have.

Controlled freestyle in the martial arts effectively died when people started wearing protective gear. Sure, we occasionally wore wraps and things back then, but the purpose was to protect injuries that had already occurred. The breaking point, however, was when school owners began making money selling pads and gloves, they pandered to mothers fears, and this halted little Johnny from learning about the true control possible through the martial arts.

Bruce Lee really smacked the martial arts hard by introducing bouncing. He watched Mohammad Ali fighting, saw how floating worked, and realized that bouncing disrupted timing, and thus he changed the world of freestyle. Unfortunately, the effect was also that people stopped learning how to gauge timing, and this stopped students from observing a whole fact of life, for time, as you may not have known, is what keeps this universe going.

With a loss of reality and a degradation of the sense of timing eating at the innards of martial artists, a loss of control was quick to follow. I remember seeing a fellow who had not had but a few lessons in the martial arts taken to a tournament and encouraged to fight, not to get a point, but to beat people. He fought, there were injuries, and control went out the window. And control, control through timing and of reality, is the course of the true martial arts path.

The final straw behind the death of freestyle had to do with lack of respect. I was taught to bow when I entered the school, and to bow when I got on the mat, and to bow to my classmates and partners, and to bow to the instructor, and it all showed respect. Now there is a bully boy attitude of we’re tough and the hell with the other school, and this derails the art of freestyle, and the art of human compassion.

I know there will be those who disagree, and, let’s face it, my criticisms must be tempered by the real gains of the new arts, of the mixed martial arts and the ultimate fighting championships. There are things to be learned in the new arts, and, I am not opposed to many of the new training methods. When I see people fighting to hurt one another, showing no control and total lack of respect, I am on the other side, the old side, the side that shows compassion for their fellow man.

So, let me toss a question into the air, what can you do to create the old attitude of restraint, control and respect? Will tossing away the gloves and pads enable people to take responsibility for the reality of what they are doing, and get rid of harmful attitudes? And, doing what i have prescribed here, can you still make the art work?

Al Case has taught martial arts for 40 years. A writer for the mags, with his own column, Al is the originator of Matrixing and Neutronics. He is giving away a free ebook about Matrixing at Monster Martial Arts.

Nov 292009

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/AlCase10.jpg]Matrixing, to clear things up right from the start, is the analysis and handling of flow and force. Every every particle in this universe, every object, has a direction, and everything in the universe unlimited potentials for collision. Thus, the study of Matrixing becomes the single most important thing one can learn if one is going to study Shaolin kung fu.

Now to be thoroughly clear, and to set up this article in the proper manner, let me say that the martial arts are taught through the memorizing of random strings of data. This is like somebody memorizing a few songs on the guitar, and thinking he is the next Segovia. Obviously, one has to break through the memorizing process and start finding the structure of music, and how to arrange an art before he can make claim to being a master artist.

So, let us consider this thing called Shaolin. Shaolin has a few thousand years of history, and every master and his sister has made their contributions, and thus the logic of the art has become mixed and impenetrable. There is a vast variety of these strings of random data, you see, and there single arrangement of principles with which to make sense out of it.

If one studies Shaolin styles like Hung Gar or Choy Li Fut, one thinks that kung fu is deep stance, windmilling arms, and a hodge podge of concepts which pop out at you. One thinks there is a hierarchy of rank up to the head abbot, and one must meditate and beat his fists into heated iron pellets to get the real kung fu. Unfortunately, this is a small subset of principles, and while the true art is touched upon, it is not penetrated.

If one studies Wing Chun, one thinks that he has to stand squarely, close the eyes, and absorb attacks with antennas called forearms. Three sequences of mystical data, a daunting wooden dummy to beat your arms, and never the idea that everything is just random strings of data, and not the True Art. Thus, Wing Chun is phenomenal, amazing, gives true ability, yet it just touches lightly upon the True Art.

Then, of course, there is the Mantis, if we wish to speak of antenna arms, and circling motions that manipulate an opponent to his destruction, and so on. But, if you look at it, it is almost like Wing Chun and Hung Gar or Choy Li Fut have been combined. Thus, the principles wallow and intermingle and intermarry and interbreed into fresh bastards and the True Art is obscured in a fog of amazing ability and astounding art.

This all said, Matrixing could easily make sense of Shaolin, and it does not matter whether the style is Hung Gar or Choy Li Fut or Wing Chun and come to the truth of the true art. But I chose Karate as the best art with which to teach Matrixing, and to expose the world to the concept of logic through analysis and handling of force and direction. Simply, it was a shorter history to make sense of, the mountain of data wasn’t so tall, and karate was easier to define.

And here is the blessing, learn how to matrix karate, and you can use that matrixing as a template. All you have to do is plug the basics of Shaolin into the template provided by Matrix Karate, and you have true art. Too much mountain, too heavy a fog, and yet it can all be resolved into nice, tidy, little, easy to learn packages of True Art, and thus assembled into the whole of The True Art.

Al Case has researched martial arts for 4O years. He has written hundreds of articles for the magazines and had his own column in Inside Karate. He is the originator of matrixing Technology. He offers a free ebook on Matrixing at Monster Martial Arts.

Nov 272009

[I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/AlCase8.jpg]One of the biggest mysteries come out of the eastern arts is internal energy. Wudan arts, like Pa Kua Chang and Tai Chi Chuan and Hsing i claim it. Supposedly it takes lifetimes to create this thing called internal energy, but when you get it you can defeat attackers with just a sigh and a wave of the palm.

Well, the truth of the matter is that internal energy, called chi, or ki, is in many arts, and if it is not, it can be put into any art easily. The principles of internal energy, you see, are very basic, though they take a certain amount of patience. So if you study kenpo or tae kwon do, or even boxing, then get set to step through the door, this article is going to lay out those principles.

The most important thing is that you have to have phenomenal basics, not just good, but absolutely phenomenal. What this means is that you must sink your body weight when striking or blocking, and do so with such awareness that you actually create a beam of energy down your leg. You must align the parts of your body so that they form an unbroken pathway for the energy to flow along, very important that they are relaxed, because intention and energy will flow easier through a relaxed body.

Now, you must make sure that you move the parts of your body in a coordinated manner. Everything must swing into motion together, and everything must stop together, this is called Coordinated Body Motion. Inspect the motion of your body so that all of the pieces are moving in harmony when it swings into alignment.

Now, you’ve got basics, and it is time to start the flow of internal energy. Fill a pipe halfway with sand. Move that pipe in such a way that when you stop it all the sand collides on the side of the pipe at the same time.

This is what internal energy is and does. It is energy swirled on the inside of your body in such a way that it hits the inside of the block, or strike, or foot, or whatever, at the same time. We used to develop this type of energy in karate all the time, but we didn’t call it internal because it didn’t have any undue significance, it was just the way you moved.

It is helpful if you move slowly, concentrating on feeling the motion of energy inside your body. And, to be truthful, the internal Wudan martial arts have arranged their forms so as to help the process. But you can feel it in Karate, or tae kwon do, or any striking art, if you just take the time to appreciate what you are doing.

The real key is that this method, and all methods, rely on the direction of awareness. It is an idea that moves awareness, and the course of this consciousness can be called Chi, or Ki, or Prana, or pneuma, or intention. Now, the real question here is whether you have the patience to invest your movements with chi, or intention, or whatever you want to call it.

Al Case has taught martial arts for 4O plus plus+ years. This includes TCC, PKC, Aikido, Shaolin, etc. He is a writer for the magazines, and the inventor of Matrixing Technology and Neutronics. You can find out more about Internal Energy, and get a free ebook at Monster Martial Arts