456 reputation
bio website econemon.com
location Berlin, Germany
age 34
visits member for 3 years, 1 month
seen Feb 22 '13 at 14:02

I've been training in martial arts for the last 14 years, although with varying intensity: I've had months where I trained five days a week and I've had six-month breaks. 1-2 times a week probably was the schedule I sustained for the longest periods.

I made it to the green belt in Tae Kwon Do and then switched to Shaolin Kung Fu, because I thought it was much more interesting, with all the weapons and a lot more variety in style.

I like about Kung Fu (at least the way it's taught to me) that it has such a rich variety of styles and so many hints at its very long tradition. There's a bunch of weapons, there's spiritual elements to it, playful and artistic ones (like the dragon dance), and even downright dirty streetfighting stuff. You can tell that it's a mashup created by generations of all sorts of people, soldiers, monks, artists etc., under all kinds of circumstances. It's also the most humorous martial art I've encountered, and has almost no formalisms, which is a great counterbalance to its training regime that can sometimes border on abuse.

comment Pivoting for a kick
Just another anecdote to serve as further illustration: I have been dancing Tango a lot, recently, and had to get back to pivoting on the ball of the foot (for elegance). This showed me once again that a) it's harder, b) puts constraints on your footwear and the ground (dancing in the street, which we do, vs in the ballroom requires specially prepared footwear) and c) mostly makes a difference for looks.
comment Exercises to improve balance when kicking
I second slow-motion practice, not only for kicks, but for just about anything that involves balance.
comment Pivoting for a kick
Also, if you are on asphalt, wearing shoes, this will be even harder.
comment How do you prepare for the stress of a real self-defense situation?
"being struck does not hurt quite so bad as we imagine it to hurt" - I would argue that the greater problem is to underestimate the potential damage you take, and thus engage in a fight too easily. My Kung Fu teacher, in each and every sparring class, reminds us very vividly of the dangers involved in fights. With martial arts training and male hormones, fear is the much smaller problem.