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- Endings and beginings
- What equipment or clothing do I need for T'ai Chi?
- What's the purpose of percussion in Qigong?
- Spring Fast 2013
- The importance of understanding the principles
- Class announcements
- World Tai Chi Day
- Self-defence arts and combative sports - there is a difference
- T'ai Chi - Meditation in Motion
- The advantages of T'ai Chi
- New Tenshindo classes in June
- Successful Japan Day 2013
- What is Chi Kung?
- New Tenshindo classes in April
- New Todejutsu classes in April
- Live CTV interview and demo
- Guidelines for T'ai Chi practice
- Looking for the answers?
- The empty cup
- Dojo etiquette or Reishiki
- Reishiki in practice
- Bob's life-juggler theorum
- Kindly remove your shoes
- Stages of development
- An energised start
Wu-Shin Chi-Dao Foundation for Self-Development
When the quality of instruction and authenticity of content matters
Tenshindo - the life-giving sword, based on the classical koryu bujutsu art of Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu Heiho Jutsu – the 560+ year-old Martial Art of the Japanese Samurai – embraces the actual training strategies, tactics, techniques, physical and mental conditioning methods used by the Samurai warriors to prepare themselves for battlefield as well as one-on-one mortal combat.
T'ai Chi Ch'uan, often called tai chi or taiji, is an 'internal or soft' Chinese civilian defensive art which offers a gentle form of whole-body isometric exercise. It is perfect for increasing your strength, flexibility, balance and well-being – naturally and gently.
We take pride in offering detailed and personalised instruction in small classes -- we're nothing like the typical "join in and follow along as best you can" classes. Comprehensive notes are available.
The Chinese have studied the internal energy systems for more than 2000 years and have created exercises called Chi Kung or Qi Gong to help restore health, vitality and balance; reducing stress and creating a feeling of well-being.
Chi Kung is literally qi or chi (meaning both energy and breath) work, or working with the life energy and breath. It can be defined as a way of using posture, breathing, visualisation and meditation along with gentle movements to cleanse, gather and circulate the chi, or life energy - while increasing one's capacity for mental focus.
Wu-Shin Todejutsu is, in these modern times of highly commercialised and hybridised recreational combative sports (such as karate, kung fu, MMA, etc.), a rare 'complete' system of civilian combat and self-defence which can be used effectively against single or multiple, armed or unarmed assailants, at all levels of conflict-intensity.
The art of combative defence* lies in using the finite mechanical functions of the human body against itself: The body's power system can be damaged by impacting muscles and nerves; bones can be locked to render the body immobile; blood-flow can be interrupted to induce unconsciousness; balance can be destroyed resulting in prostration. The skills, principles, and understanding inculcated though intensive and extensive training regimens then become the building blocks for the subsequent mental and emotional training. Such advanced training is essential for the controlled attainment of conflict management and defusion skills and mindset beyond the reflexive defaulting to aggressive physical (self-defence) violence.
When practitioners of the highest level of the arts taught within the Wu-Shin Chi-Dao Foundation for Self-Development face an aggressor they bring thousands of years of philosophical thought and practical experience to the confrontation. They have lived most of their lives according to the principles established centuries ago and, in the process, they have strengthened their bodies and minds, and probably also earned long, continually fit, and healthy lives.
The ingredients that make up a civilian defensive art have been defined and integrated, one by one, through trial and failure, over innumerable generations since before the beginning of civilisation.
Kicking, tripping, scratching, biting, hair-pulling, hitting with the open hand, gouging, pushing and pulling are inherent, and are even used by infants in play.
More sophisticated techniques:
Such as specialised punching, striking, locks, holds, throws, aggressive and evasive defensive techniques that trained civilian-defensive artists employ are of a different order of complexity altogether, and have to be learnt.
The fundamental division of fighting per se into entertainment, sport, ritual, (civilian) self-defence, and recreational activities or as warfare (martial activity) probably occurred in prehistoric times. By the time the first civilisations were well established this division had become ritualised. The Greeks, for instance, treated the Olympic Games (and their combative elements) as a religious festival and during the Games war was suspended throughout the land.
The skills of war (martial arts) are generally cruder than the civilian fighting arts, and the weapons used are heavier. In the martial arts, the sanctioned objective is to kill your opponent, and is well remunerated. However, in the civilian environment the killing of an aggressor incurs the full force of the law, and if the action taken was excessive, the 'defender' would be punished.
Civilian defence arts
The civilian defence arts were not developed for the defence of warriors or soldiers fighting on battlefields; neither are they suitable for sporting activities. The combative skills that civilian defence artists practise are free of any restraints, and are defined according to the outcomes necessarily dictated by the danger inherent in an infinite variety of social and familial altercations. Boxing, karate, wrestling, judo, mma, etc., have always been fought within the constraints of rules, however rough and elastic these may have been. Civilian defensive arts have one objective only: To neutralise an assault by any means, and, as rapidly as possible. The amount of justifiable force used would be determined by the very nature of each confrontation, regulated by the moral persuasions of the parties involved.
Perhaps the earliest evidence for the beginning of the civilian defence arts, to be considered with caution, is provided by two small Babylonian works of art dating from between 3000 and 2000 BCE. Each shows two men fighting; one has his hand in the characteristic blocking position, with the other fist fully chambered, both fundamental to modern civilian defensive arts. The other depicts two men employing a grappling technique holding onto each others belts, which is a rare form of wrestling, found today only in the Japanese form of wrestling called sumo.
What is certain is that the civilian defence arts that reached the East from Mesopotamia were primitive, and that in India and China they first began the development that culminated in the sophisticated systems of today.
The Wu-Shin Chi-Dao Foundation for Self-Development offers formal instruction in classical and traditional variants of both the Martial and Civilian Defence Arts.
*(Aggressor immobilisation; survival; self-defence; self-protection; physical conflict resolution)
The Wu-Shin Chi-Dao Foundation for Self-Development, does not agree with the idolising and tribal concept of competition, and in particular, the modern extreme commercialisation of sport.
We do not support the principles...
- where being the 'best', or doing the 'most' is rewarded, often with adulation;
- where one's 'performance' is graded against those of others;
- where moving at one's own pace is barely tolerated.
We promote the following Core Concepts of Personal Values...
None of which are fostered by the ethics of modern sport.
- Be humble, courteous, and honourable.
- Regulate your practice to your physical condition.
- Study and practice only in earnestness.
- A tranquil and alert mind produces reflex thought and action.
- Take care of your health.
- Lead a simple life.
- Never be arrogant.
- Be untiring and unceasing in your endeavours in spite of all obstacles.
Training in the Arts of Wu-Shin Chi-Dao is not just physical, but mental, affective, and spiritual. Each keiko (practice-experience) is to train and strengthen our body, mind, will, and spirit.
Respect the founders, the arts, the elders, your teachers, and your classmates, but think for yourself.
Shoshin: Beginner's mind.
In a beginner's mind there are many possibilities
In an expert's there are but a few.
The principles remain constant but the methods can change. Seek to improve the art and improve the standard.
Always examine what is taught and what you are told,
find your own understanding.
The study and practise of the arts is to become independent and free, not dependent on anyone or any system.
Keep thoughts and comments positive and healthy.
Train diligently; refine your body, mind, and spirit. This is your responsibility.
Your teacher and instructors can show you the way and help you,
only you can develop the skills.
Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they will be yours. Next time you say, "I can't" replace it with "I don't want to try".
Until you are 25 years old, every comment you utter should end with a question mark.
Our martial, civilian defence, and self-healing disciplines, teachings, lessons, classes, guidelines, protocols, and etiquette, etc., HAVE NO RELIGIOUS CONNOTATIONS whatsoever.
If you are not prepared to accept our assurance on this matter we respectfully suggest that further enquiries about our services would be inappropriate and pointless.
It takes the best tools combined with the best skills to achieve the best outcomes.
It is in the subtleties of the combination that ‘alchemy’ occurs.
Humans have always striven to being better, some to be their best.
We have long vacated the cave; some live in castles of materialism.
A few have sculptured their magnificent achievements through recreating their evolving selves.
As the body is resilient, the muscles strengthening, the joints limber – when progressively modulated.
So are the brain and the mind – when lovingly crafted.
And the spirit?
‘Undoubtedly so’ claim those passionately embracing its rarefied heights – freedom personified.
Strong of body, disciplined of mind, indomitable in spirit – integrity rewards the brave warrior.
Publicly admired, secretly despised,
While inevitably unconstrained by the chains of conformity and the self-righteousness of the weak.
The warrior-spirit of freedom reawakens through the breath of Wu-Shin Chi-Dao.
The Lord of Tosa had gone to Edo (the old name for Tokyo, until 1868) to make an official visit to the Shogun. He could not bear to go without his master of cha no yu, of whom he was extremely proud. In the Japanese art of cha no yu, the tea ceremony, every gesture must be performed with a great deal of concentration. It is a matter of tasting the mystery of the here and now, thanks to a very delicate ritual.
A trip to the capital
In order to gain admittance to the palace, the master of the tea ceremony had to dress in traditional samurai attire, including the two swords that is the uniform's most distinctive feature. Since his arrival in Edo, the cha no yu specialist had not set foot out of the palace. Several times a day he performed his art in his lord's apartment, to the great pleasure of those invited there. He even presided in the presence of the shogun himself.
One day, his lord gave him permission to go out and wander about the city. Seizing this opportunity to visit the capital, the tea ceremony master, still dressed as a samurai, ventured out into the crowded, busy streets of Edo.
While crossing a bridge he was suddenly bumped by a ronin, one of those wandering warriors who can be either the most gallant of knights or the most arrogant of brigands. This one had the air of being one of the worst sorts. He stated in a cold tone: "So, you are a Tosa samurai. I don't appreciate being bumped aside by the likes of you; I think we need to settle this little matter by sword."
In desperation the tea ceremony master confessed the truth: "I am not a real samurai, despite appearances. I am only a humble specialist in cha no yu who knows absolutely nothing about wielding a sword."
The ronin had no desire to believe this story, especially as his real motive was to steal some money from his victim, whose timid character he had sensed. He remained unyielding in his demands and raised his voice to further impress his listener. A crowd quickly formed around the two men. Profiting from this stroke of good fortune, the ronin threatened to publicly declare that a Tosa samurai was a coward and was scared to fight.
Seeing that it was impossible to make the ronin see reason, and fearing that his conduct would bring shame to his lord's honour, the tea ceremony master accepted the duel out of principle and resigned himself to dying.
But, not wanting to die passively and give people cause to say that Tosa samurai didn't know how to fight, he had an idea. Recalling that he had passed a sword school several minutes before, he thought that he would at least learn how to hold a sword correctly and face his inevitable death honourably.
He said to the ronin, "As I am running an errand for my lord, I must first fulfil my duty. This could yet take another two hours. Do you have the patience to wait for me here?" Either out of chivalrous respect for the rules of bushido, or imagining that his victim needed this time to put together an impressive amount of money, the ronin agreed to the delay.
The cha no yu master rushed off to the school he'd noticed earlier and asked to see the master immediately on a matter of great urgency. The doorkeeper was little inclined to allow entrance to this strange visitor who did not appear to be in his right mind and did not carry a letter of recommendation. But, touched by the man's tormented expression, he finally decided to bring him to his master.
The sword instructor listened with great interest to his visitor's retelling of his misadventure and his desire to die as a samurai. "This is truly a remarkable, even unique case," said the master.
"This is no time to joke," his visitor replied.
"I'm not joking at all, I assure you. You are truly an exception. Customarily, students who come to see me wish to learn how to wield a sword and how to win. You, on the other hand, want me to teach you the art of dying. But first, couldn't you serve me a cup of tea in that you are a master of this incomparable art?"
The visitor didn't complain, as this was certainly his last opportunity to perform his art. Appearing to completely forget his tragic fate, he carefully prepared the tea, then served it with surprising calm and presence of mind. He performed each gesture as if nothing else had any importance at that moment.
Having observed him attentively throughout the entire ceremony, the sword master was profoundly impressed by the visitor's degree of concentration.
"Excellent!" he cried out. "Excellent! The level of self-mastery you have attained in practising your art is sufficient to allow you to act with dignity before any samurai. You have everything that is required for a death with honour, don't worry. Please just listen to a few pieces of advice.
"When you see your ronin, think as if you were about to serve tea to a friend. After a polite greeting, thank him for granting you the delay. Next, delicately fold your jacket and place it on the ground, with your fan on top, just as you would for the tea ceremony. Place the headband signifying your resolution around your forehead, roll up your sleeves, then announce to your adversary that you are ready for the duel.
"After drawing your sword from its scabbard, raise it above your head while closing your eyes. All that will be left for you to do is to concentrate to your fullest extent so as to be ready to vigorously lower your weapon at the very moment you hear the ronin utter his battle cry. I wager this will result in both your deaths."
The visitor thanked the master for his valuable advice and returned at the appointed time to the spot near the bridge where the ronin awaited him. Following the instructions he'd been given, the cha no yu master prepared for combat just as if he were about to offer a cup of tea to a guest.
When he raised his sword and closed his eyes, his adversary's face changed expression. The ronin could hardly believe his eyes. Could this man who was now facing him really be the same man he had challenged?
In a state of extreme concentration, the tea ceremony master awaited the shout that would be the signal for his very last movement, his ultimate action. But after several minutes (that seemed to him like hours) had gone by, no cry had yet been uttered. No longer able to restrain himself, the impromptu samurai opened his eyes.
No one was there. There was no longer anyone facing him.
The ronin, not knowing how to attack this formidable opponent who revealed not a single flaw in his concentration, nor the slightest trace of fear in his bearing, had backed away step-by-step until he was out of sight, no longer seeking compensation and quite thankful for having gotten away with his skin intact.
NOTE: It is our trained state of mind that determines the eventual outcome of conflict, not the level of our physical skills. This training is one of the goals of the Wu-Shin Chi-Dao Foundation for Self-Development.
Either could be good, but only one would be appropriate - depending on what are your goals.
Based on the article: The Traditional Paths of Wu-Shin Chi-Dao by Dan Djurdjevic
It is very common for modern martial artists to reject traditional techniques and methods of training in favour of, 'simplified' and 'practical' approaches. A number of eclectic or 'free style' martial artists will advise you (ad nauseum) to reject basic punches, blocks and stances since 'no one does it like that in the street'. They will follow up their arguments by citing problems with various traditional techniques, e.g. 'Zenkutsu dachi exposes your front knee to attack', and 'Blocking doesn't work in real fights - ducking, bobbing and weaving does'. This process of questioning traditional fighting methods was popularised by the late Bruce Lee who often criticized the 'classical mess' of kung-fu and karate. Another such martial artist Joe Lewis, founder and many times world champion of modern kickboxing, was also against traditional forms. He declared that 'karate techniques from the waist up are fraud'.
While it is always healthy for the martial arts to develop by critical examination of the ways of the past, it is quite unhealthy to rashly excise large chunks of past methods. This is more likely to result in a dilution of martial arts through information loss rather than result in any real development. Many of the techniques evolved and were tested in battle conditions while others were the product of entire lifetimes of research and development. It is both presumptuous and risky to start making sudden, major changes to classical or traditional arts, especially when those changes are based more on whim rather than hard data gained over an extensive period of informed and scientific research - together with an appreciation that a particular approach may rely on an entirely different principle from that which one assumes to be the core reasoning behind a technique.
However, the central problem with the 'free style' approach is that it looks to the destination only and not to the journey along the martial way. It copies the training methods and fighting strategies of certain martial artists, as they are at their pinnacle, without examining the way these individuals achieved their level of expertise. Bruce Lee, for example, studied Wing Chun kung-fu among many other classical martial arts before he created his eclectic system, Jeet Kune Do. Much of Lee's focus and crispness in movement can be attributed to his study in the traditional martial arts. Whether a reader will agree with that observation or not, it is a fact that all his training in the traditional arts helped make him what he was; every bit of knowledge left its mark on his style. It would be a mistake to think that Lee's training system just before his death holds the key to its effectiveness. That would be akin to a raw beginner copying the training routine of a world-class body builder. Training must be relevant to the experience of the participant for it to be effective. It must follow a structured process of development.
Senior grades will attest to the fact that a failure to concentrate on basics leaves the standard of all the remaining techniques much poorer; focus is lacking and the students fail to develop the necessary balance, balance, and spatial awareness. Most importantly, through learning traditional forms my experience has been that students become more adaptable in assimilating new ways of movement, particularly with the wide knowledge base of Wu-Shin Chi-Dao. In this way traditional forms do not 'limit' or 'restrict' students, as is often claimed, but rather give students the means to overcome limitations. Conversely, those who exclude techniques from their repertoire are in fact limiting themselves.
Lastly, remember that in this world of infinite angles, movements and possibilities, traditional forms give you some framework within which to interpret and respond to a situation, One day, when all forms have ceased to perform their function, you may be able to abandon them. Then you will have reached what is called the state of Wu-Shin - the state of 'no form'.