Tai Chi

By Leslie Glanville

Tai Chi exercises are becoming more and more popular due to their relaxing, centering, and stress-relieving effects. Although well known as a form of meditation and Chinese martial art, Tai Chi can be used to support dancing techniques as well. Tai Chi requires a lot of control and effort, mentally and physically. It looks like a succession of slow dance moves. Tai Chi is popularly known to help compose the body and mind.

Chi Exercise

The Art of Breathing is an example of a Tai Chi exercise. 'Chi' is used rather than 'Qi' because the Chi spelling is more readily recognized. The art of breathing is meant to be done in a meditative manner, but not necessarily a trance-like state. The first step is to assume the 'Horseback Riding' stance. First, stand with your back straight and your chin level to the ground. Your feet should be spaced about a meter apart, and your legs bent slowly until they are at no more than a ninety degree angle. This will create strain on your leg muscles, but when you are meditating or closing your eyes will also provide you with the best balance equilibrium. Both arms should be held straight to the front of you while you gently exhale slowly and deeply. This process should remove every last bit of air that is residing in your lungs. Next you will slowly pull your hands towards your chest, turning your palms slightly inward as you do so that when the process is complete, your hands are near your chest and your palms are facing you. Gently inhale as deeply and slowly as possible.

This Tai Chi exercise has many good uses. Actually, when I studied Kung Fu, it was the first of those self practices that I was told to master. Before, I used it to condition myself before classes; now, I use it to relax or prepare myself for something, like going for an interview. This exercise is a really good cardiovascular practice, too. When you inhale deeply and slowly, 100% of your lungs get filled, and by slowly exhaling all the air in your lungs, you will also begin to exhale all those bad elements still lodged in your lungs.

Next, you should learn the grinding corn exercise.

The grinding corn exercise is one of the popular Tai Chi exercises practiced by monks for warm-up and for meditation. To do a grinding corn exercise, start by assuming a horseback riding stance. Keeping your stance low, reach out in the imaginary space in front of you and move your hands in a circular horizontal motion, as if a stone table were present and you are grinding corn pellets with bricks in your hand. Do the circular motions slowly and alternate the circles in your hand to create a rhythm.

You thighs will feel the strain with this exercise, but you will also find your core muscles working to keep yourself solid. Once you become adept at this exercise you can hold weights to make it more difficult and give yourself more of a workout. - 31491

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Martial Arts Power Revealed!

By Al Case

Everybody wants power! They want to be strong, able to jump in the mixed martial arts ring and toss around an attacker like a rag doll. The problem is that nobody knows what power really is.

Everybody confuses this concept of power with strength, or big muscles, or other things. But power has nothing to do with muscles or strength. The truth of the matter is that Power has to do with stabilizing your body as a motor.

A motor is two poles between which there is tension. Whether it is a pull or a push, the tension between two terminals creates a motor. Push on another body and you have a motor, love somebody and you have a motor, play a game with somebody and you have a motor, and so on from the smallest to the largest objects in this universe.

In the world of physics as we know it on this planet, a motor, unless held in place, will move as result of the forces it is creating and using. A car motor has motor mounts, brackets, which hold the machine in place, lest it flip over and fall on the ground. A helicopter has a tail rotor to hold it in place and stop it from spinning around.

In the martial arts one must hold oneself in place to weather an attack, or to launch an attack. That is the purposes of stances, incidentally, not to make strong legs, but to hold the body in place, or to launch it. Once one learns how to use stances in this manner one is able to use energy much more efficiently.

Now boxing, or the mixed martial arts type of fisticuffs, does not use stances, and they waste energy, and do not build it. Thus, they must rely on the strength of individual motors such as biceps and triceps, and so on, which provide tension across the bones and enable them to move. At this point, unless there is an accident of collision, the only power provided is the weight of the arm, but when you hold the whole body in place you use the weight of the whole body, and this is efficiency.

The point here is that you must use a stance if you wish to enable the body to create true power, and this means you must sink your weight with the execution of technique. Whether you punch, or block, or do any basic motion, you must learn how to sink the weight when doing so. This will lock the motor of the body down, and actually cause the energy generator of the body to function far more efficiently, and to create usable energy in vast amounts.

I know everybody wants to hit people and win trophies, but MMA fighting doesn't create energy, it only causes the destruction of bodies. Thus, a practice of Karate, or Shaolin, or especially the wudan arts, results in massive power, and with enhancement to the body, and not damage. No offense to the big muscle fellows out there, but we are talking about true power here, the kind of power that lasts all day long, and does lead the student of traditional arts, such as karate or shaolin or wudan, to higher levels. - 31491

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How to Learn the Martial Arts Ten Times Faster!

By Al Case

It took me almost seven years to earn my black belt in traditional Karate, but it only took the fellow who taught me 2 1/2 years to get his black belt. I always wondered why this was so, but it wasn't until I began to take apart martial arts systems that I understood why. It turns out that there are several reasons why it takes people longer and longer to truly learn anything in the martial arts.

When I took apart the system I had been taught I found there were two systems within it. I had not only learned the traditional system of 10 forms that had originally been taught to the fellow who taught me, but I was learning an additional system of seven forms that my instructor had made up. I was also learning several other forms that had been thrown into the mix just because my instructor thought they were valuable.

This happens quite often throughout the martial arts. Ed Parker, of Kenpo fame, for instance, began teaching simple karate forms. When he ran out of material to teach he started putting vast amounts of kung fu into his curriculum.

Now the problem is not one of not enough material, there is endless material out there. The real problem is separating the material of the martial arts into logical slices. Each of the slices must represent a logical look at a style or system.

If we were talking dance, we would be separating flamenco from waltz from whatever. If we were talking music we would be separating pop from classical from so on. In the martial arts we must actually separate karate from gung fu from ninjitsu from tai chi...and so on.

When you separate the martial arts, you must understand the difference between basics and stylistic differences. You must understand that karate blocks, for instance, go out from the tan tien, and wudan type blocks are rotated off the turning torso, and silat blocks are slipping types of blocks, and so on. If you don't understand these differences the arts remain complex and are difficult to absorb.

If you don't understand these things then you are mixing different arts, and different ways of handling the body, and different ways of using energy, and so on. Thus, a peach becomes indistinguishable from a watermelon from a cantaloup, and so on. Thus, the arts become a mush which the mind finds difficult to absorb.

Understanding these differences, the arts become very easy to absorb, and the mind just absorbs and catalogues everything easy as pie. The martial arts, you see, are only illogical because we have made them so. Separate Wudan into Wudan, or karate into karate, or shaolin into shaolin, and the martial arts canbe learned in a matter of months, not years. - 31491

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MMA Gear

By Katie Jorge

Being a mixed martial arts fighter takes more than ability. You also have to have all of the proper MMA gear both for training and for competition. The quantity of gear you buy will depend upon what gear is available at the gymnasium and whether you need to train at all at home. Most training gyms will have all of the larger gear you need, for example the grappling dummies and heavy pads. You'll have to get the smaller stuff, like your gloves, clothing, head gear and pads. The way in which you select the gear all depends on what you need and how comfortable they feel on you.

The protective MMA gear that you're going to need for training and competition are gloves, groin protectors and head and mouth guards. These all are mandatory for any fighter, with no regard for his ability level. Most of this gear is fairly self-explanatory when it comes to selecting them. You simply go with what fits and feels comfortable. The sole one that's different is the gloves. You are going to need separate gloves for coaching than you have got for fighting. The explanation for this is because the coaching gloves often are bigger in shape than the competition gloves. Having separate pairs will make for better fighting.

For coaching, you may want to consider using knee and elbow pads. This is optional MMA gear, but it's the easiest way to protect yourself from injury before you actually get into the ring. You don't desire to get hurt in practice because you thought you were too good to wear protecting pads. Another optional gear is handwraps. Many folks wear these in the place of gloves during training because they feel they're more comfy. Also, it gives them the break to basically feel their contestant, which many fighters like.

If you are not already web savvy, shopping online for MMA Clothing and Fight Gear can be an overpowering process. Fortunately though, it does not need to be. I have written this guide to assist in easing you thru the process of picking the right online MMA retailer to buy with the 1st time, so that your internet shopping experience is a good one.

Choose an online store with a big choice of product. If you are like me, you do not need to have to go shopping at 3 different online stores to find everything that you would like. I love to pick a major retailer ( or two maximum ) and stick with them throughout the buying process.

Let's face up to it for many of us price is something that we need to consider. When shopping online, it's extraordinarily useful to your wallet to be conscious of the ticket as it can ( and actually does ) alter considerably from site to site.

Not all corners of the internet are regarded as equal. When buying online, be sure to read about the retailer on their "about us" page and learn all you can. It could also be helpful to look up reviews in the leading search engines, and spend a while surfing gear & equipment forums. Spending even only one or two minutes to analyze can truly tell you a lot about a company, and whether you would like to spend your hard earned money with them or not.

in general though, all MMA shorts have a couple of things in common. Do your old gymnasium shorts wick away sweat and moisture? Are they cut to boost your mobility for grappling? Have they got split seams making your striking vis knees and kicks more effective? Are you a fan of getting your hands caught in pockets or a loose pair of shorts while grappling? If you answered "no" to at least one of these questions, then that should be enough reason to take a position in a pair. - 31491

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MMA Training Workouts

By Shawn Anderson

I encourage anyone who needs to lose fat, build lean muscle and get into "fighter shape" to start training with their own version of MMA exercise programmes. It's not surprising that MMA fighters all seem to have that lean, ripped, and athletic look, like Brad Pitt in Fight Club.

It's imperative that we learn from these world class sportsmen. If you'd like to seem like an MMA fighter who's in wonderful shape, you need to be in fantastic shape yourself. Sadly, we can't cut corners and the only real way to get a ripped MMA body is to put in hard work thru your own MMA-inspired exercise routines.

In my viewpoint, the ripped Hollywood look is the sole one to go for. Massive and cumbersome is going out of fashion. Generally, one can see from watching MMA sportsmen compete, that having a little less muscle mass is favorable to an impressive performance. These fighters have the perfect mix of power, explosiveness, endurance, and overall athletic ability.

If only strongman competitions were more main line then muscle building then perhaps more mixed martial artists would incorporate better strength and conditioning exercises into their MMA work-outs without the requirement of learning or knowing why.

One of the most typical mistakes MMA wrestlers make when the are new to the concept of adding strength and conditioning to their MMA work-outs is that they carry around the mindset of a bodybuilder. They are going to the gymnasium thinking they need to do all sorts of exercises for each muscle grouping and the only way to get a productive workout in is to get a good "pump."

But if you wanted a general concept of what sort of strength and conditioning you want to develop with your MMA workouts, then think of the sort of exercises strongmen do : picking up heavy and ungainly objects, carrying heavy weight for long distances, performing extremely strong and heavy lifts as many times as possible in a certain time period, to name a couple.

These kinds of exercises are way more functional and carry over very well to MMA fighters when it comes to the sort of strength and conditioning they need . The explanation being is that in a MMA fight your opponent, unlike a balanced barbell, is a continually shifting his awkward weight that you have to steadily push and pull from both balanced and unbalanced positions, for example the sort of resistance a heavy and ungainly object would give you.

If you want to be an MMA fighter, you'll have to train like one. This means you will have to learn the parts of an MMA workout. Although kung fu skills has been around for centuries, the game of mixed karate skills is still in its infancy. Mixed martial arts is growing big leaps with the increased acceptance of the final Fighting Championship ( UFC ) and the real life TV show, The final Fighter.

there are several sides to designing a good MMA workout for anyone looking to become a professional fighter, or for someone just looking to get in shape. A good workout includes coaching in some, or all, of the following areas, conditioning, striking, grappling, wrestling, or submission skills. These abilities can be both offensive and defensive in nature. - 31491

Enlightenment, Zen, and the Martial Arts!

By Al Case

The martial arts have long been held up as a way to enlightenment. Indeed, this is the goal at the end of the road of The True Martial Art. This article is about why this is so, and to enable the reader to walk to the end of that road all the sooner.

Enlightenment is when light is emitted from an individual. With that light the enlightened being sees the world with different perception. His perceptions are heightened, and he has a viewpoint that rises above the norm.

If enlightenment happened because of motion, then all motion would result in enlightenment. Gymnastics, ballet, swimming, all would result in an enlightened individual, but they don't, so one must ask oneself, What is different about the Martial Arts that they result in enlightenment?

What is different is that there is fighting, and when one understands the essence of fighting, one becomes enlightened. What is the essence of fighting? One could sum up the subject by saying that when one finally understands he is fighting himself, he becomes enlightened, and a study of the martial arts does result in this realization.

The universe, you see, is a vast space filled with objects. Every object in the universe has a direction. It is only in the martial arts that one actually engages in the study of the directions of objects from the viewpoint of one who creates the direction.

A fist flies through space at you, and this causes you to go through a range of emotions. Eventually, you give up emotions so that you can better analyze the trajectory of the incoming fist. Thus, you rise above the fact of emotional reaction and become cause over the motion of the universe.

A person threatens you, he holds a knife and approaches you, and you must divine the direction before it manifests. You must look at the world the way it exists, and not through some fantasy, and thus you look at the world you created. Thus, you rise above being the flotsam and jetsam of a universe awash with random motion, and thus you take control of the motions of the universe.

There would be no motion in this universe, you see, were it not for you. That star shines for you, because of you, if it wasn't for you, there would be no purpose for that star to emit even the faintest of light. And through the tempering of form, the steeling of will, the martial artist engages in fighting, to give up fighting and become what he truly is, an enlightened being free to roam the universe as he wishes. - 31491

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Learn the Gracie Jiujitsu Principles

By Curtis Adams

Gracie Jiujitsu has been developed by the Gracie family, in particular through the work of Helio Gracie, over the past eighty years. Though several of the family members have since trademarked their different styles of this martial art, they all share a common history. Rorion Gracie, the son of Helio, had trademarked the style with the Gracie philosophy, which is probably the most well known of all the Gracie disciplines.

The first principle of Gracie Jiujitsu is about control. In a fight, this involves being the one who will dictate what happens during the fight. Part of this is in physically controlling your opponent and restricting his movements to what you want him to do; the other part is the self-control that you need to impose upon yourself so that you can make the best choices to win the fight. This is personal training at its best, and it is part of a healthy lifestyle. It is expected that you are able to exercise enough control to eat properly and take care of your health.

The next principle of Gracie Jiujitsu involves patience. This is particularly important for a fighter, since so much that occurs in a fight can depend on timing and whether enough patience has been used. Patience is often rewarded, as opportunities are more likely to appear. For those who rush, bad decisions are more likely to occur. This philosophy is instilled from the beginning and it is expected that if you can be patient on the mat, then you will display the same quality in your life outside of the dojo.

The final of Gracie Jiujitsu principles is efficiency. This is particularly important for a fight, since the foundation of this discipline is built on the assumption that you will be fighting someone stronger and bigger than yourself. Jiu jitsu schools will often promote the idea that you drain your opponent of his or her energy while conserving your own strength in order to finish the fight. This applies to daily living as well, with the idea that you are able to maximize your results through an efficient application of effort, whether it is in business or social situations.

These three principles are what separate Gracie Jiujitsu from other disciplines and from even other Brazilian jiu jitsu schools. As enticing as it would be to study under the Gracie system, you really need to embrace the philosophy as much off the mat as on it. An instructor would be looking for evidence that you live the way you approach your training, and an inability to adhere to the Gracie philosophy might limit how far your training will progress. - 31491

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