About World Dragon Kenpo
March 15, 2010
Bruce Lee: The Great Innovator
In This Issue
Be Honest... What is it Going to Take? by Coach Ron Pfeiffer
Featured Article: Nine Months in World Dragon Kenpo by Pastor Marvin McKenzie
Book Review by Steve Amoia: Bruce Lee's Fighting Method Series: Skill in Techniques
Bruce Lee: The Great Innovator by Steve Amoia
Alternative Methods to Treat Sports Injuries by Steve Amoia
Please watch the accompanying rare video interview on the blog. Mr. Lee discusses Tai Chi Chuan among many other interesting topics.
by Coach Ron Pfeiffer, Jr.
First let me begin by welcoming our new members to World Dragon Kenpo and Midwest Tai Chi and Self Defense! We're busy and about to get busier as 2010 is really starting to roll.
- On March 19, begins a 6 week contract with the University of WI Parkside (UWP) for Tai Chi and Self Defense Training. We have been involved with UWP for over 3 years and they keep asking us back!
- On April 17, at the Burlington High School we are the featured presenter for the Health and Wellness Expo (http://burlingtonhealthexpo.com/) If you mouse over the pictures you will see our contact info displayed.
- On April 24, World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day. This event wil be held at the Kenosha Public Museum and will include demonstrations of Tai Chi and Dragon Kenpo Karate!
- On April 30, we have tenitive plans to do some outside martial arts practice and demos at the Richard Bong Recreational Area in Union Grove, WI.
- On Father's Day Weekend, our annual Martial Arts Camp!! Besides the karate and tai chi stuff we will be canoeing and tubing down the Wisconsin River, having campfire time together and enjoying all the the great outdoors has to offer at Bob's Riverside Campgrounds in Spring Green, WI.
by Pastor Marvin McKenzie
Editor's Note from Steve Amoia
Please note Pastor McKenzie's use of our training manual, along with his regularly scheduled training sessions. His observation about the importance and benefits of warm-ups was intriguing and extremely enlightening.
Thank you, Pastor McKenzie, for sharing your experiences with WDK.
After nine months practicing in the World Dragon Kenpo program I would like to offer some of my experiences and observations of the program. I entered WDK at the age of 50 and having practiced another form of Kenpo in a local school for three years. Although I still practice in that system sometimes, the techniques and rigor of the program aggravate some ongoing challenges I have with a bad hip and swollen ankle. Those challenges have made the twists and stomping of that particular system of Kenpo difficult to keep up. The more I worked at the program, the more painful my hip and ankle became.
In one of my earliest conversations with Coach Pfeiffer, he shared with me his "no pain, no pain" philosophy. I have found the self defense techniques of WDK both challenging and at the same time much less stressful to those areas of injury. Let me detail some of my observations since enrolling in the program:
First, I really benefit from the combination of the training manual and the videos. By using them in tandem, I feel like I am able to get a good understanding of how the technique should be done. I am able to use the videos for details and the training manual as a quick reference in my workouts.
Second, the progress journal and charts at the end of each chapter in the manual are very helpful to keep me motivated. I just can't bring myself to go a week without marking that I have practiced the techniques. I like to mark a date for the beginning of each week so I don't skip a week in between practices.
Third, regular practices are essential. While WDK is not the only exercise I do, I like to center my exercise routines around WDK. I lift weights twice a week and do other cardio exercises on the other days of the week. I try to practice all self defense techniques at least three times a week. Also, I believe that the warm-up exercises are probably more important to overall ability in than even the SD techniques themselves. They build strength, improve cardio and develop power when the motions practiced in the warm-ups are incorporated into the techniques. The result for me has been and improvement in balance and core muscle strength since taking up WDK.
And then on a personal note, I have found Coach Pfeiffer to be a great joy to train with. Coach responds quickly to questions and is more than willing to give his time to make the program work for his students. It's been a great experience!
Thanks, Coach, for making this program available.
Note from Coach Ron Pfeiffer, founder of World Dragon Kenpo:
You are welcome, Marvin.
Pastor McKenzie writes four sermons per week as well as lessons for college courses and has published one book. His comment to me was, "It is much different than writing for a periodical such as yours."
A book review by Steve Amoia
Image courtesy of Amazon.com.
Mr. Lee co-authored this book with his friend and student, M. Uyehara. It was published in 1977; however, most of the pictures were taken in 1966. It is a small book with powerful messages. There are six chapters. Each one has a poetic introduction with words by the Master. Then the authors detail, in words and with pictures, numerous techniques from a variety of perspectives.
One thing that stood out to me was the use of natural surroundings in the pictures. This feature is found throughout the Fighting Method series of books by Mr. Lee. The real life nature of self-defense is stressed by watching techniques executed in ordinary settings.
"Jeet Kune Do was formed by Bruce Lee because he felt that martial arts were too confined."Skill in Movement
"I don't know of any sprinter in the world who can break the record only by jogging daily around the track."
"Better to finish a fight with one punch than with several."
"Finesse in movement is not innate. It has to be learned like any other skill."
Skill in Hand Techniques
"One who is skilled with his hands will beat most fighters in a martial arts competition."
a) JKD vs. Classical approach: Hands are higher and the nose is used as an alignment point to guide the punch.
b) Punching Straight
c) Bad Habits
d) Trapping and Grabbing
Skill in Kicking
"The kick is a valuable asset against a skilled fighter."
a) Leading Side Kick to High Kick
b) Hook Kick
c) Spin Kick
d) Other Kicks
"Parrying can be automatic if you train to comply."
a) Inside High Parry
b) Inside Low Parry
c) JKD vs. Classical
d) Outside High Parry
e) Parry and Blocking
"You can't be a nice guy in a fight because it may be your life."
a) Primary targets: eyes, groin, knees and shin.
b) Vital Spots
c) Correct use of Arsenals
"Unless you spar, you will never know how you will do in a real fight."
b) Bad Habits
d) Body Motion
Editor's Note from Steve Amoia
World Dragon Kenpo and the book reviewer were not compensated for this article by Amazon.com. The link to the Amazon.com website was done as a courtesy for the WDK membership and other readers of this blog.
Bruce Lee: The Great Innovator
by Steve Amoia
One of the most physically and mentally developed athletes of modern times.
Bruce Lee lived a short but very eventful life. He was born on Nov. 27, 1940 in San Francisco, California. His Chinese name was Lee Jun Fan, and he was born in the Chinese Year of the Dragon. He was a pioneer and innovator of martial arts study in the United States, Asia, and other parts of the world.
Shortly after his birth, his father, an actor, took their family back to Hong Kong. Beginning at the age of six, Mr. Lee appeared in over 20 films. As he became older, he studied the ancient Chinese martial arts of Kung Fu and Wing Chun. During high school, he was involved with a street gang. His parents decided to send him to live with relatives in the Seattle, Washington area to complete his studies.
After high school, Mr. Lee enrolled at the University of Washington, where he majored in Philosophy. During this time, he opened his first school to teach martial arts. His wife, Linda, was one of his first students. The couple married in 1964, and had two children (Brandon and Shannon). Mr. Lee decided to move to California, where he opened schools in Oakland and Los Angeles. He initially taught Kung Fu, and later, Jeet Kune Do, which was the system that he created. It means “Way of the Intercepting Fist.” Unlike most Chinese martial artists, Mr. Lee taught non-Asians. Two of his students were film stars Steve McQueen and James Coburn. Both would serve as pall bearers at his funeral. He also instructed the basketball legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Mr. Lee was fanatical about physical fitness and strength training. Although he was 5’8” and weighed between 125 and 145 pounds, many consider him to be one of the most physically and mentally developed athletes of modern times.
Television and Movie Career
As Kato in the role that launched his fame in the USA.
In 1966, Mr. Lee was offered a part in a television series called “The Green Hornet.” In a supporting role as “Kato,” he introduced the martial arts to an appreciative audience. He appeared in cameo roles in other productions, but decided in 1971 to return to Hong Kong to pursue better opportunities. He appeared in two films, “Fists of Fury” and “The Chinese Connection,” which propelled him to stardom in Asia. He formed his own company, Concord Pictures, and directed his first film, “Way of the Dragon.” His success in Asia prompted a Hollywood contract for “Enter the Dragon.” His co-star in this film was Chuck Norris. Mysteriously and tragically, a month before its release, Mr. Lee died of a brain edema. He was 32 years of age. When the film was presented after his death, it became a tremendous box office success and legacy.
Prolific and Gifted Writer
Mr. Lee was an author of several martial arts publications. Many of his projects were published after his death. His seminal work was entitled, “The Tao of Jeet Kune Do.” In this book, Mr. Lee described the philosophy behind his system, along with intriguing observations on human nature. He also co-authored a comprehensive series called, “Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method,” with M. Uyehara, a friend and one of his early students. Mr. Lee was a student of philosophy, weight lifting, physiology, kinesiology, anatomy, nutrition, and many other subjects. His personal library contained over 2000 volumes. He was the epitome of an educated man.
Expert Opinion by WDK Founder Coach Ron Pfeiffer
“The impact of Bruce Lee on the martial arts world is a far ranging topic which martial artists young and old never seem to tire. His contributions to the art extended in so many directions. I consider one of his greatest legacies his shunning of mainstream Oriental thinking of the time, breaking down the barriers of race by teaching anyone who wanted to learn, which was a taboo practice. Bruce would say, ‘Anyone who holds these ideas of racism is quite backward in their thinking.’
He reduced techniques to their most basic movements exclaiming, ‘Just as yellow leaves may be gold coins to stop the crying children, thus, the so-called secret moves and contorted postures appease the unknowledgeable martial artists.’
Bruce was quite blunt in his criticism of traditional methods. Most famously, his ideas on individualism are what I find inspiring and part of what we like our students to put into their "martial way". Remember, ‘Keep what is useful, discard what is useless and add that which is uniquely your own.’ Lastly, Bruce Lee admonished instructors to protect their students from their own influence. Truly a difficult task since each of us hold our own prejudices.”
Selected Quotes by Bruce Lee
"Be formless... shapeless like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, and it can crash. Be water, my friend..."
"Our sense of power is more vivid when we break a man's spirit than when we win his heart, for we can win a man's heart one day and lose it the next. But when we break a proud spirit, we achieve something that is final and absolute."
"I'm not a master. I'm a student-master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I'm still learning. So I'm a student-master. I don't believe in the word 'master.' I consider the master as such when they close the casket."
"The more relaxed the muscles are, the more energy can flow through the body. Using muscular tensions to try to 'do' the punch or attempting to use brute force to knock someone over will only work to opposite effect."
“True mastery transcends any particular art. It stems from mastery of oneself, the ability, developed through self-discipline, to be calm, fully aware, and completely in tune with oneself and the surroundings. Then, and only then, can a person know himself.”
by Steve Amoia
In this article, I would like to discuss alternative therapies to treat and/or prevent sports injuries: Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Medical Qi Gong, and Shiatsu.
To begin, let's take a look at Acupuncture.
When you visit a doctor who practices traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), he or she will take a rigorous medical history. They also will take your pulse in a different fashion than in Western medicine to ascertain the overall status of your heath. A tongue inspection provides them with clues about an underlying illness and/or your present state of health. The Chinese approach utilizes the whole body theory of medicine, and does not have the specialist nature common in Western Medicine. It also focuses upon root causes and not symptoms.
Generalist Treatment and Diagnostic Approach
A licensed acupuncturist can treat a man's or woman's infertility, along with sports injuries incurred by amateur or professional athletes. That combination would be quite rare to find with a Western physician. Perhaps the best way to think of this difference is with a football/soccer coaching analogy. In professional soccer, one head coach manages the team with very few assistants. In American gridiron football, one head coach manages the team with several specialists.
Expert Opinion on Acupuncture
Dr. Sen Huang is a Chinese medical doctor (C.M.D) who studied at Nantong Medical College, and also earned a Ph.D from the prestigious Shanghai Brain Institute. Dr. Huang used to teach Human Anatomy at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. He now focuses on his growing Traditional Chinese Medicine practice, Huang's Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Clinic, and also acts as a consultant to GWU´s alternative health program at their medical school. Dr. Huang utilizes acupuncture, herbal medicine, and medical Qigong in his practice. He is licensed to practice acupuncture in Washington, D.C. and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Dr. Huang has treated Heads of State (The President of Latvia), along with members of the US Congress.
"In the eastern view of traditional Chinese medicine, an energy or life force called 'Chi' flows through the body along 14 channels. When 'Chi' is blocked, people may become sick. Placing needles at various points along the channels to remove the blockage, allowing 'Chi' to flow and restoring harmony between the body's opposing forces of 'Yin' and 'Yang'. While Western science does not yet understand the concept of 'Chi', studies have found that acupuncture somehow stimulate the body's natural protective and pain-fighting systems. Studies show that brain activity is increased, the immune system is boosted and pain-fighting endorphins and peptides are released during acupuncture."
As we can see from Dr. Huang's explanation, acupuncture both prevents and treats the illness or injury. One of the benefits of Chinese medicine is the focus on root causes, and not merely symptoms, of an illness or subsequent injury.
Acupuncture Demonstration Videos
Benefits of Acupuncture to Treat Sports Injuries
Sports acupuncturist Matt Callison, L.Ac., (Licensed Acupuncturist) has treated professional American gridiron football players for the Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers:
"There is much that acupuncture can do for sports injuries, especially combined with western therapy. Acupuncture can quickly relieve pain and inflammation, and move blood stagnation (i.e., release osmotic pressure) away from the injury. This, in turn, creates a more efficient healing environment."
Besides the additional therapies of acupuncture and external herbal formulations, Chinese medicine provides a more personalized perspective. Dr. Ronda Wimmer, PhD, LAc, points out that, "in many sports medicine and athletic training environments, protocol treatments are used across the board. These treatments focus on the symptoms rather than problem origins."
Callison adds, "There are differences between east and west as far as treating and managing an acute injury. In the east, the focus is upon both the athlete and the injury while, in the west, it's just the injury segment. TCM fills in the gaps by addressing the individual in order to maximize their healing potential. In the rehabilitation phase, the protocol is further modified to retrain the athlete for their particular sport."
Source: Acupuncture Keeps Athletes Off the Bench.
Unlike Western medicine prescriptions that often are given for acute problems, herbal remedies, or formulas, address the root causes and act as tonics that benefit the body over time. They also offer a preventive feature. As was discussed earlier, alternative therapies focus upon maintaining good health which may reduce the prevalence of injuries. Another difference is that the side effect profile of herbal formulas is vastly reduced compared to Western medicine. For an example, click here to see the side effects for the Chinese herbal equivalent of aspirin or ibuprofen. You will also notice that the complete contents in the formula are provided on the side of the bottle. In Western medicine, we see the name of a drug, but rarely its components.
In terms of safety and efficacy, Dr. Huang provided an opinion:
"Most Chinese herbs are unexplored from the perspective of Western science, but they have been used for thousands of years and demonstrated clinically effective."
Tai Sophia Institute: Pioneers in Herbal Medicine Education and Training
The Tai Sophia Institute, which is located near Washington, D.C., is the first American university to offer graduate degree programs in herbal medicine. According to Tai Sophia's web site:
"The World Health Organization estimates that 80% of the world's population presently uses herbal medicine for some aspect of primary healthcare. In recent decades, the properties of medicinal plants and traditional systems of medicine have been rediscovered in the Western world. A recent Prevention magazine national survey revealed that 44.6 million Americans use botanicals on a regular basis, reflecting a multibillion dollar a year industry."
"Herbal Medicine, used for thousands of years, supports the healthy structure and function of the body. Herbs are taken to promote vitality, balance, and longevity. Simply defined, herbalism is the art and science of skillfully collecting, preparing, and utilizing herbs to nudge the body towards wellness... The current practice of herbalism in United States focuses on supporting wellness as opposed to fighting disease. Many herbalists believe the strength of botanicals lies in their capacity to support the body as it finds the healing path."
Medical Qi Gong
Dr. Huang provides us with his expert opinion about this alternative therapy:
"Qi Gong (pronounced 'chi goong') is a Chinese system of physical training, philosophy, and preventive and therapeutic health care. Qi (or 'chi') means air, breath of life or vital essence. Gong means work, self-discipline, achievement or mastery. Qi Gong is a discipline that makes us to be more sensitive to the internal operations of our bodies, and helps us to reveal the body's place within nature's oneness to integrate our internal Yin/Yang balance with the universal order. Thus, through the active cultivation and deliberate control of a higher form of vital energy, we can achieve a harmonious integration of the human body with the universe. Qi Gong involves breathing exercises combined with meditation. It improves delivery of oxygen to the body's cells, reduces stress and stimulates circulation of blood and Qi, or the life force. This gentle art has been used to treat a variety of ailments."
Shiatsu is a Japanese word that means "finger pressure." The purpose and goals of Shiatsu are similar to acupuncture. This therapy corrects bodily imbalances, and maintains a steady flow of Chi, the life force, which prevents illness from occurring. Shiatsu utilizes the same meridians as acupuncture; however, there are a few key differences. Needles are not used, and the patient does not remove their clothing. The Shiatsu practitioner diagnoses a person's imbalances by feeling the soft and hard areas of the patient's stomach (torso) region.
Video Demonstration of Shiatsu
Shiatsu Used by Maccabi Haifa
Avi Armoza was a Shiatsu therapist for Maccabi Haifa, an Israeli professional soccer team. He discusses the similarities with TCM:
"Like acupuncture, shiatsu is based on the holistic system of traditional Chinese medicine, where illness is thought to result from imbalances in the natural flow of energy, or qi (pronounced 'chee') through the body. Shiatsu therapists use finger and palm pressure to energetic pathways, called meridians to improve the flow of qi. A scientific explanation is that shiatsu calms an overactive sympathetic nervous system, which improves circulation, relieves stiff muscles, and alleviates stress."
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Articles contained in the World Dragon Kenpo Slayer News represent the opinions of the authors. WDK is not liable for any misstatements or errors, and does not necessarily support the views of the writer.
Coach Ron Pfeiffer thanks you for your continued support. Please forward this edition to your friends and martial arts colleagues.
Editor, World Dragon Kenpo Slayer News
March 15, 2010