Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bourne Identity

After talking to the Pfitz I finally got around to researching the style of martial art that Matt Damon used in the Bourne Identity.

Many of the moves seemed very familiar and looked like varriants of what I have been learning in Wing Chun Kung Fu. Things like economy of motion, protecting the center line and four gates, punches, strikes, low kicks, various breaks, etc., all are apparent in the movie; and, are all central concepts of Wing Chun. Damon even did a little stick fighting which is another big clue!

Well it turns out that Matt trained for five months in Philippino Kali, Thai boxing, and Karate.

Now I AM familiar with the Philippino martial art of Kali. The reason being is that one of Bruce Lee's students, Dan Inosanto, help to popularize this particular art. In Lee's last movie, The Game of Death, you can see Inosanto use Kali to fight Lee who is using Jeet Kune Do.

In fact, exponents of Kali are taught a weaponless form that is VERY similiar in some aspects to Wing Chun. So, I just knew there was a reason why some of Damon's moves looked so familiar to me!

Which brings me to a martial arts update of sorts:

1) Injury report: My neck appears to be ok. The pain that I have had is likely carpal tunnel and the keyboard is to blame. So, I can still beat on inanimate objects, including my homemade wooden dummy who is lovingly named Steven.

2) I've been learning an internal martial art known Chi Kung from my part-time Kung Fu teacher. Traditionally, all Chinese martial arts had some internal training. Since modern times they are typically classified like this (e.g., internal, external, hard, soft, Northern, Southern, etc.).

Now I don't buy into the notion that internal martial arts help build chi. However, I really do enjoy Chi Kung over traditional sitting meditiation. The best way to describe it is that it is similiar to Tai Chi. Doug knows three levels of Chi Kung and I am currently refining levels one and two. If I want to get all Zen I can take my time and treat Chi Kung as moving meditation, and if I just want gentle exercise, isometrics, and stretching, I can practice Chi Kung without the meditative aspects (and watch TV while I'm doing it). Interestingly, my neck has all but stopped hurting...

3) I had hoped to learn a basic stick form that is a varriant of the Wing Chun butterly knife form (scroll down to the section labeled Bot Jaam Do to see the butterfly knives/swords). However, I have so many things to get done between work, reading material for a potential thesis, and house repair that I am not sure if I can find the time.

4) I have learned a basic nunchaku form and have been practicing it for about 8 months now. However, I do not have plans to learn any other nunchaku forms. The nunchakus are great for hand-eye coordination but I have my doubts regarding their use as weapons. Granted, they certainly could hurt or kill somone. However, the one thing they do not show in the movies is the fact that once you strike something with them (i.e., a body, another weapon, etc.) for a few seconds they are literaly out of control. During this time an opponent can close and jam your attack or counter-attack all before you regain control of the weapons. This is why I really had hopes of learning a stick form that is based on some of the same hand concepts in Wing Chun.

5) I am still toying with the idea of enrolling in a Karate school on the south side or the only Win Chun school which is north of my employer. However, I'm afraid that I cannot regularly devote the time and money to weekly lessons that are on a set schedule. So, I may have to be content with learning what Doug is teaching me and practicing what I already know. Better still I'm not set to a schedule and the lessons are free. The only down-side is finding times when our schedules match.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Fertilizer and Flapdoodle

Democrats Urge Inquiry on Bush and the Iraq War.

"The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy," one of the participants was quoted as saying at the meeting, which took place just after British officials returned from Washington.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan says Conyers "is simply trying to rehash old debates."

In related news, democratic party leaders where asked why they didn't make a stronger case and press the president on this issue during the 2004 election--especially since party leaders and the international community WERE ALL AWARE of the MANY dubious reasons for going to war.

Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., replied. "That's absurd! We did press the president and we also tried to bring this to the public's attention but after Howard Dean screamed wheeeeeeeeee! we couldn't get a word in edge-wise."

The president was unavailable for comment however he did release a statement: "My fellow Americans, this is just absurd--that means relating to absurdism...this is just partisian politics. I'm a uniter not a divider. Freedom is on the march. You see, these people hate freedom--they can't stand it. I think we need to err on the side of life...need to create a culture of life by killing all enemies of democracy and freedom. God bless America."

Finally, former Secretary of State Collin Powel was asked to comment but declined. However his office did release the following statement: "Mr. Powel is enjoying his time away from politics and is spending time with family, traveling, and catching up on reading new works like the current New York Time's bestseller titled "On Bullshit."

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