Martial Arts  
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This page composed 09/21/1999.         Updated 08/16/2015
Images and contents on this page copyright 2002-2015 Richard M. Dashnau  

I've had some experience with martial arts. My first formal schooling was in Tae Kwon Do in the years 1975-1977.  Then, I moved from New York State to Houston, Texas in 1977. After that I had a brief stay at one school, about 6 months, but I still wasn't settled in my home and couldn't afford it.  Then I started in a Chinese martial arts school in January of 1986.  I left the school in January of 1996, after 10 years and one day, for various reasons. Master Maing Yul Jung was my teacher.

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                    Correcting my position--1986                           Presented with certificate--year unknown  

During those 10 years, I was shown many aspects of the Chinese martial arts. In 1988, I went to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to compete in a full-contact and forms tournament.  I didn't win, but I had a great time, not counting the 12 minutes or so I lost when I got a good fist to my head. The image below, Figure 00, is a picture of most of the team at the airport. I'm in the front row, kneeling, 2nd from the right. Master Jung is in the suit and tie.

----------------------1988 President's Cup Team
                                 figure 00. The team at the airport

 Some pictures of Kaohsiung in 1988 follow.

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                           figure 1.                                                                               figure 2.                                                                            figure 3.                                                            figure 4    wmv     mp4
figure 1. This was the view from our hotel room.
figure 2. This was where the tournament was held.
figure 3. We had just gotten there. Nothing was going on yet. I can't believe I weighed in at 154lb to make my weight
class. That's me.
figure 4. I'm in the uniform with the red trim. Not long after this, I took a hard punch to the back of my head. I lost this
fight, and was out of the fighting competition. The referee is in the red shirt.

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                                       figure 5.                                                                                            figure 6.
figure 5.  The end of the tournament. Our team placed 3rd overall. There were 20+ teams there. After the awards, we were approached by members of other teams, view of whom spoke English. Everyone wanted souvenirs, ans since all we had with
us were our uniforms, we all exchanged clothes. There was a lot of pointing and laughing and trading, with everyone trying to find a near fit. The entire trip was a fine experience. The green arrow is pointing at me. Standing on my left is a member of
one of the teams from Taiwan.

figure 6. My certificate from the tournament. I didn't place in fighting or forms competition. The certificates are shown in the previous picture in front of the trophies.

 I practiced hard and often, but I was not a first rate martial artist (not even close). Even so, I enjoyed practicing what I learned. I feel it is very good exercise, and I am happy while I'm doing it. There are "external"  martial arts, and "internal" martial arts.  I don't intend to go into the differences at this time. I was taught a mixture of long fist and shaolin external martial arts as well as tai chi and pakua, which are internal martial arts. Image LONGFIST 1 (below) shows me doing some practising during lunchtime at work, back while I was still a student.  The other two images are more recent, taken at a park where I like to practice.

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                              LONGFIST 1                                                                 LONGFIST 2                                                              LONGFIST 3
Along with doing forms, there are various technique drills that are practiced. These are done using whatever part of the body, or attack, or defence, one is working on. There are drills using kicks, punches, and other techniques. The idea is to become accustomed to delivering force quickly. These drills can also be used to build stamina.
Besides doing "technique drills" there were various other exercises that I was taught which develop strength, flexibility, and stamina. Generally I was taught to do some loosening and stretching exercises before I would do a series of headstand exercises.
The last headstand position in the series is a lift from a "single-base" headstand to a "forearm stand". (figure 14)

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       figure 14  "Forearm" stand                            figure 15      Walking on hands
 Besides these "yoga-style" stretching exercises, I was also taught various gymnastic exercises. All of this was to increase stamina, flexibility, and strength; attributes that a good martial artist should possess.I was 29 years old when I entered the school, and did not have a natural ability to do these exercises. However, I learned, and performed as much as I could. Combative martial arts should familiarize students with ground contact, in the event of a student being thrown, perhaps, or even for use as part of offensive technique. We did various rolls, as well as various other types of gymnastics. Advanced students did flips and "no-handed" cartwheels (not me, though!) We were taught to walk on our hands. I found this exercise fun, and still try it now and then. Figure 15 shows me walking on my hands around the same circle I used for some of the pakua exercises.

All the exercises that I show above are examples of "external" kung fu (kung fu is a term meaning "applied effort"), and "external" martial arts. These work the muscular and skeletal systems, and improve cardiovascular functions, stamina, and physical power. There are also "internal" martial arts and kungfu. These are more subtle in approach. Although the same parts of the body are used for these exercises, diligent practice of these exercises can increase precision, and focus intention of the same movements. Also, a different type of stamina can be achieved. Consider the exercise known as "push-ups". Doing a rapid number of pushups in a short amount of time (say 20 in 2 minutes) can cause certain physical changes over time. Doing a slow number of pushups (for instance, say, one per minute, with constant resistance) over a period of time (say 20 minutes), while using the same muscles, bones, and so on, will still cause a physical change. This is an oversimplification of the differences between the two, but I feel it is a good illustration.

I was also  taught some exercises in various internal martial arts. (The images below show some examples, or click on that link or this link to get to the page.)

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                            TAI CHI CHUAN                                                             TAI CHI CHUAN                                                            TAI CHI CHUAN
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                                                               PA KUA ZHANG                                                                         PA KUA ZHANG
People who are expecting some major spiritual truth to appear by practising these arts, for the most part are going to lose their money, and possibly be disillusioned and give up this exercise entirely.  People who wish to generally improve their health, and perhaps do something enjoyable, and who apply themselves to these exercises, will get their money's worth if they practice diligently and often.  In most cases, any exercise is better than none at all. And, any exercise that one enjoys  is exercise that will be done repeatedly. 

People who want to learn self-defense quickly, on the other hand, need to concentrate on those skills. Learning "push hands" will not  teach anyone any applicable martial skills in any timely manner. I'm sure there are those who'd want to argue this point. Everyone has an opinion.  I can say that I've never seen anyone even attempt to use any kind of "push hands" in a full-contact tournament.  Since most altercations on the street are "full contact", I'd say that is a good concept to consider.  There are some good "self-defense" schools out there.  Some of these are very good in teaching awareness of surroundings, and threat assessment, as well as dealing with the threat situation without panic.  Some states have legal concealed handgun carry. People of smaller stature, who are not physically strong to start with, might better spend their money on a legal weapon, and training on how to use it. The classes required for licensing in THIS state also cover threat assessment, non-violent conflict resolution, and awareness of one's surroundings.

I am the person in these pictures and video clips. I am far from being an expert, as should be obvious.  I do really enjoy my practice, however.

In July of 1999 I had to get knee surgery due to injuries from a car accident. As a result, I've lost some function of one leg, and so may not be able to do ALL of the exercises I used to do. 

As of 2004, the knee hasn't improved much, and there has been some damage to the hip as well. That certainly puts a kink on my practice schedule! As time has gone on, I've had to curtail quite a bit of this activity.

March 17, 2008--GOOD NEWS!! I've had my hip replaced in 2005. Now, I can do a lot of what I used to. For now, mostly "internal" style. Some demonstrations can be seen on my internal martial arts page. Details of the hip replacement, and subsequent healing can be seen on this page. From this point, I am happy that I can still walk at all. For about a year I could barely walk at all (and that was before the surgerya). Then it was at least a year after the surgery before my leg felt right.  So, the ability to do anything is fantastic for me.

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As shown below, I'm posting the occasional video or picture as a record of what I can still do. What follows will be in reverse-chronological order, with the newest stuff at the top (or immediately below this sentence.)  It is helpful to remember that I stopped all formal learning in 1996. Well...it is helpful to me.  It's interesting to see what has changed over time. So...starting with material at the bottom of the page (filmed in 1993) there are "snapshots" through time until now (today is 5/24/2015).

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August 10  2015--  I'm 59 years old.  And that's all I have to say about that. Oh...and here are some exercise clips.

                                                             

                              1st Stick Form (wmv)   
                                      2nd Hand Form (wmv)                   
                                      9th Hand Form (wmv)   

August 2, 9, 12  2014--  I'm 58 years old, so I don't move like a youngster. . That just comes with the territory. This week, I've shot these clips. I also shot clips of my internal forms, and
those are on the other page.

                                                             

                              1st Stick Form (wmv)   (mp4)
                                      1st Broadsword (wmv)     (mp4)                   I hadn't done any broadsword forms for some years. It was fun to try again, after finding a plastic (non-threatening) sword. 
                                      2nd Straight Sword (wmv)  (mp4)
                                      Second Hand Form (wmv)   (mp4)

April 13, 2013--  On weekends, or with enough free time, I've been running/walking 1/1/2 - 2 miles, then doing pushups, then a number of exercises to straighten my spine. After that, I still do some form work.  Here's what I filmed today (with some on the other page).

                                      2nd  Hand Form video  6.3mb
                                      9th  Hand Form video  4.8mb
                                      Stick form video  4.3mb

September 03, 2012-- I'm still doing what I can.  Now I've been running/walking 1/1/2 - 2 miles, then doing pushups, then a number of exercises to straighten my spine. After that, I still do some form work.  

           

                       2nd  Hand Form video  8.6mb                                            Straight Sword Form video  9.3mb                   

August 08, 2012-- I'm still doing what I can.  Now I've been running/walking 1/1/2 - 2 miles, then doing pushups, then a number of exercises to straighten my spine. After that, I still do some form work.  

              

                                  Stick  Form video 6.8mb

June 09, 2012-- I'm still doing what I can.  Now I've been running/walking 1/1/2 - 2 miles, then doing pushups, then a number of exercises to straighten my spine. After that, I still do some form work.  Regardless of how they look, I'm still doing these 26 years after I first started learning them. 

             
                  
2nd  Hand  Form                                               9th  Hand  Form                                               Stick  Form
                  
2nd  Hand  Form video  7.1mb                            9th  Hand  Form video  5.6mb                            Stick  Form video 5.5mb

June 06, 2011--  I decided to try doing one of the spear forms that I was taught. Over all these years I would still practice one of them, so here it is. I'm quite a bit over 50, I have a fake hip, and a few other odds and ends. So, I'm not doing full body extension, and not leaping very high...or far. I'm still trying for some fluidity, and a bit of quickness, though.  So here are some spear form clips: Here's the full spear form filmed at at normal frame rate (wmv 6.2 mb); and then full spear form filmed at at 210 fps (slow motion) (wmv 40.2 mb). I had to place the camera back far enough to catch the entire form, and include the length of the spear. Then in an effort to appear larger in frame, I moved the camera closer, and filmed segments, then edited them together.   Here's the edited spear form filmed at at normal frame rate (wmv 6.2 mb); and then edited spear form filmed at at 210 fps (slow motion) (wmv 42.7 mb). A few comments here: First. I may have left off some parts of the form (it's been a while since I've done it, and may have forgotten some.)  Second, I did this form many times today; to refresh my memory, and because I goofed some "takes".  I've done enough rolling for a while.

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June 04, 2011-- Bolstered by my recovery, and still experimenting with filming myself, I did the straight sword for the camera. So here are some clips: Here's part of the sword form filmed at at normal frame rate (wmv 7.7 mb); and then part of the sword form filmed at high frame rate (slow motion)(wmv 51.7 mb).  

May 28, 2011-- I had bit of a scare on May 18th. I didn't feel well until  Friday, May 27th. But, everything turned out ok. Besides doing the exercise in general, doing forms can serve as a test of recovering mobility, balance and stamina. Today, I did some internal forms, and these two external forms. I decided to film myself with the high-speed camera. It felt good to be back to normal.  Here's the stick form filmed at at normal frame rate (wmv 5 mb); and then part of the stick form filmed at high frame rate (slow motion)(wmv 26.3 mb).  And this is part of the sword form filmed at normal frame rate (wmv 3.9 mb); and the same form filmed at high frame rate (slow motion) (wmv 21.5 mb).

         

August 14, 2010--This is the second external hand form I learned. I'm not as flexible (or as light) as I was when I learned it, but I've aged a bit since then. I don't practice the external forms much, but I do like to do a few of them.

        Second Hand Form Video:    video  wmv 8.4mb

August 16, 2008--This is the second form I learned for the straight sword. Not all straight sword forms are Tai Chi forms. This one is not. I like some forms more than others, and as my practice time became limited I would only practice the forms I liked (and that I could still do).

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                           Kick and cut to the rear
from my second straight sword form.      
                                     video  wmv 8.4mb

August 11, 2008--I'm now a few years past 50; and my new hip is about 3 years old. I left my martial arts school in 1996; about 12 years ago. I attended the school for 10 years from 1986-1996. That means that I learned some of my material over 20 years ago. I practiced as much as I could, until the hip and knee problems mentioned above prevented me for about 3 years. I still practice, although my schedule has changed quite a bit. Today, I did some exercises, and some forms--and which I made these videos from. I'm linking to them here as an example (especially to the younger folks) of how this type of exercise can help preserve one's health. These aren't exactly the way I learned them. So what? 12 years or more have passed since I learned them by working with a teacher. I am happy that I can still do the exercises, and that I can remember them with some work and by consulting my various records. Don't take your time in a martial arts school for granted. Document your practice any way you can. It can only benefit you later.

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                      Stretch and headstand
                                         supported handstand pushups                                head supported handstand  
                       video  wmv18mb                                                  video  wmv 4.5mb                                                     video  wmv 3.8mb


 These are just basic stretches and so on. The headstand into the forearm stand are still fun to do. The supported handstands on the tree help build strength.

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                     2nd handform beginning                                         2nd handform again                                              9th handform beginning                                                9th handform
                     video  wmv 7.8mb                                                   video  wmv 5.3mb

These were the 2nd and 9th "external" hand forms that I learned. I only knew them by number, and over time, my teacher would change the order of the forms. Thus, my first form might be someone else's 3rd form--or some other number.

----1st stick form poke--
    1st stick form beginning
          1st stick form strike                1st stick form poke            that's a springy stick!
                                video  wmv 6.3mb                                                                                                      video  wmv 4.8mb

This was my first form for the long stick. I bought this stick during the trip to Taiwan (mentioned at the top of the page), in 1988. I don't know what kind of wood it's made of , but I've had this stick for 20 years. It's the same one that I use as a walking stick on the nature trails.
My stances are not as low or as long or wide as they used to be. Also, I've edited out various tumbling moves; and I don't perform side kicks anymore. My mechanical hip does NOT have the same range or style of motion as my original one did. I see no need to push that hip to its limits. Think whatever you wish about the technique...I am happy I can do these exercises at all. About 4 years before these videos, I could barely walk--and that was with a lot of discomfort.

FROM 1999---

(UPDATED 5/24/2015) I've upgraded  these video files. The upgraded files are shown  in the list immediately below. Most of the videos were filmed sometime around 1999.  It would have had to be before July 1999, when I had my knee surgery.

HAND FORMS
upgraded!
long fist 5.mp4 
long fist 5.wmv
long fist 6.mp4
long fist 6.wmv
long fist 9_slow.mp4
long fist 9_slow.wmv
long fist 9 fast  .mp4
long fist 9_fast .wmv

FROM 1993---

(Updated 01/19/2014) -- Sometime over the last few years, I have discovered more about the Chinese martial arts taught by Master Jung. He never explained much about this, various online sources, and from some of his later students have given me some hints. There is a Korean term pronounced in English as something like "Shippalgi". This usually means "18 Traditional Weapons" or "18 Traditional Martial Arts". Some sources say that these are based in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. I have no idea of the connection between my teacher and any "direct lineage" of this Korean variant of Chinese martial arts. But, there has been some interest by fellow students of Master Jung. Because of this, I've updated my old video clips (mostly shot around or before 1993) and put them online-even though they are in poor condition. When I was taught, I was rarely given any history of the forms, or any names for them. Even now, after all these years, I'm curious about some of their history. As the clips after 2000 show, I still do a few of the forms, though (at least through 2013).

(UPDATED 10/22/2014) I've found some of the original tapes, in good condition! So, I've upgraded many of the video files. The upgraded files are shown as such in the list immediately below. Most of the videos were filmed sometime around 1993.

HAND FORMS
upgraded!
HAND FORMS
upgraded!
STICK FORMS  upgraded!BROADSWORD FORMS upgraded!STRAIGHTSWORD FORMS  upgraded!
long fist 1.mp4 long fist 6.mp4long stick 1_demo1988.mp4broad sword 1_field.mp4straight sword 1 field.mp4
long fist 2.mp4long fist 6slw.mp4broad sword 1_test1988.mp4straight sword 2 field.mp4
long fist 3.mp4long fist 6_later_ver.mp4broad sword 2_field.mp4
long fist 4.mp4long fist 6_later_ver.wmvbroad sword 2_field_slow.mp4
long fist 5.mp4 long fist 7.mp4broad sword 3 field.mp4
long fist 5slw.mp4long fist 7slw.mp4broad sword 3 field slow.mp4

long fist 8.mp4broad sword 4 field.mp4


broad sword 4 fieldslow.mp4
                                                                          

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