Sunday, September 07, 2008

kung fu fighting (everybody was...with videos!)

some of you have been wondering what i've been doing with my cross-over into kung fu, and i guess this is a good time to show you a little bit of what i've been doing (with pics and videos!).

originally, i started martial arts training with the idea that perhaps it might serve as physical therapy, helping me cross-train in different ranges of motion using different muscle groups to improve physical coordination, correct muscular imbalances, ease repetitive motion injuries in connective and skeletal tissue, and give my mind something new from the monotony of miles. i also had the idea that maybe it might actually help me understand what to do in terms of defending myself (if the event ever arises). that, and maybe it would help me learn more about a different culture, particularly for traditional Asian martial arts.

to those ends, i started with a kung fu class here in Los Angeles. i've written a number of blog posts already on the cross-overs i've observed in my time studying kung fu, and you can read what i have under the following posts (admittedly, i've been a little lackadaisical in writing more about it, but hopefully that will change):

this past weekend (August 30-31) was the inaugural Las Vegas Kung Fu Championship Tournament. it was sponsored and organized by a colleague of my kung fu instructor, and so our school organized a group trip to go, with a number of us entered in various categories. i was originally entered into the beginner sparring competition, but had to withdraw since it conflicted with my duties as referee in sword sparring. but i managed to make a number of videos and take some pictures so everyone can see just what a kung fu tournament, and kung fu in general, looks like.

i wrote a lengthy post, with all my pics and videos, on my other blog, and you can check it out:

as you can see, it's quite a different world from triathlon, or sports, in general. there's quite a bit of culture and history involved, with traditions that are observed endemic to Chinese history. the videos show a number of traditional and modern styles, from the well-known Shaolin to the modern gymnastic-style wushu. my school is more traditional, and holds to more self-defense related aspects of kung fu, and so not quite as showy or crowd-pleasing as the others.

for anyone interested in seeing more, you can check out my Youtube channel that i use to store videos from my kung fu class:

in addition, i conceded to making 1 video of myself doing a form from a kung fu style known as baguazhang. i'm only a beginner, and my instructor says i need a lot of work (apparently, despite the physical coordination that i have from athletics, i still have built up a lot of habits specific to triathlon...which is fine, but not entirely advisable in a martial setting). but you can get a feel for it yourself (and yes, it's on a different Youtube channel that i use for triathlon-related videos):

is all this really helping my triathlon? well, the jury is still out. it seems to be, in the sense that i've eliminated a lot of chronic repetitive motion injuries that i had before. but it's been quite a process having my body unlearn and relearn different modes of movement, and there's been an adjustment (talk about soreness!) in utilizing different muscle groups and different joints in different movements. having said this, it has managed to achieve a lot of the original goals i had, so maybe you could say it's an overall success. still, i'm going to continue with it and re-evaluate as time goes along. we'll see.

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