Sunday, March 29, 2009

Kali Majapahit Reborn

There are only a few moments in our lives when we see history being made - when we see lifelong dreams come true. If this ever happens to you, don't miss it.

Last night was the grand opening of the new school of Kali Majapahit here in Singapore, at 43 Carpenter Street near Clark Quay MRT.
WOW! I was speechless (very rare for me). YOU NEED TO SEE THIS PLACE.

The new school is centrally located near Clark Quay MRT, it's HUGE (more than 2000 sf of mat space) and loaded with new equipment including 2 professional Everlast heavy bags (anyone who knows boxing knows Everlast is the best - period), a speedbag, a stick bag, and even a wing chun wooden dummy (in black, no less). It has full changing rooms/showers and looks better than most health clubs I have seen. Beyond this, it has more. IT HAS MAGIC.

A new business is like a new baby. Giving birth takes months of planning, anticipation, and worry. It takes sleepless nights. It takes overcoming your anxiety and fear. Finally, it takes on a life of its own. Watching a new baby being born is magic, and that is what we saw last night.

A baby is born of the love of its parents. Guro Fred and Guro Lila are the proud parents of this labor of love, and it shows. Like all proud and successful parents, they are surrounded by supporters, who celebrate this birth with them as we did last night.

I look forward to watching this baby grow, quickly, to taking its first steps, and finally becoming a mature adult business that will be the equal or more of its peers. It won't take 20 years, like it does for a human baby, but the journey will be every bit as wonderful to observe and be a part of. This is destined to be the best Martial arts school in Singapore, and the landmark place to train in Filipino Martial Arts in Asia. I was there on opening night.

I am inspired. I love to see dreams come true. I love a happy ending. There's just nothing like it.

See you on the mats!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hot Hot Hot

My wife kept nagging me about it...finally I relented and agreed to go.
She has been doing "hot Yoga" for nearly 3 years, and I have to admit she looks GREAT (lucky for me!).

Basically, it is a series of 26 poses (asanas) and breathing exercises done over a 90-minute period, two reps each. Why "hot"?
The room is 40 degrees C!
Holy crap that's hot, even for not doing anything. You sweat buckets in there. Rules are: no talking, and no water unless the teacher allows it (only during specific water breaks).

So what happened? Good news and bad news. The good news is - I survived (too stubborn to quit). The bad news - I was barely able to do even a single pose with any sense of self respect. The rest I was too stiff to even get the basic posture correct. It doesn't really matter - everyone is being purified in their own personal hell during the class. It feels so good when it's over.

I would never give up martial arts to do hot yoga, but it is not without benefit.
  • increased flexibility
  • detoxification
  • weight/water loss
  • better passive strength and muscle tone
I strongly encourage everyone to have a go. Make sure you are drinking your 3L of fresh water every day (you knew that already). Do not care so much about being able to do the poses - just stay in and stay alive. Sit down/lie down if you must, but stay in the room for the whole session. You will get used to it. I strongly believe hot yoga has long-term health benefits for everyone who does it. After a few months , you will be slim, I promise. Eat whatever you want, this will blowtorch it off your body. I am planning to go every Tues/Thurs at lunchtime from next week.

I'd like to say I'll see you there, but I'll be too busy sweating and correcting my poses to notice.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Points to Remember

Great training session with Sensei Ramlan yesterday.
The key takeways:

Power cannot be generated from tension in the body. Even in kamae it is important to keep the body relaxed and hips sunk low, and especially to remove tension from the shoulders. So, too, relaxation equals connection, and the goal should be to absorb/connect to uke so their force can be redirected without effort. Aikido should never be hard work.

2) Elbows DOWN
In proper aikido, the elbows always point down, never to the sides or up. Pay careful attention to this during shumatsu dosa, hiriki no yosei, shomen irimi nage, shiho nage. Elbows down and relaxed keep power centralized.

3) Guiding and Controlling Hands
Both hands must be used in balance. One hand guides, and that happens first. The other hand controls, and that should be half-timing behind the guiding hand. Higher level, one hand can do both. The guiding hand should be the one that establishes connection to uke.

4) Striking
Short and sharp, relaxed until impact. Avoid raising up your body and "jumping" into the attack. Hips should sink down into the strike and the result should be that Uke feels jammed/stuck to their own body when they try to block.

5) The Toe Line
Somehow, we often try to push against uke's strong line (directly into their toes and hips).
The effective line is actually just inside the toe line. the shoft is very subtle, but will take Uke's power almost instantly. The goal is to go where uke's power is not. Ask about this.

6) Timing and Speed
yudansha should work primarily on their timing and speed, especially at nidan level. By sandan, real power can be generated, and at 4-dan and above, self-exploration can become the central goal.

7) Get Hit
Most of us are afraid of this, and that causes us to overreact. Get hit a few times so it is not such an issue. Losing this fear will improve timing considerably.