November 30, 2008

Golden Tread book

Finished reading "The Golden Thread: Essential Principles of Self Defense" by Michael Joyce. Very inspirational reading.

I remember one day Michael came to the class and said: "I went to a bookstore to flip through some of these self-defense books... made me think "Would it really work?" - mine is so much better!" He laughed ("as he always does" :)) but it is true - he wrote a very good book. Of course you can't learn self-defense from a book. But if you are having a practical training, the book can help to put mind into what you're learning. I like his line - "Never settle with what you think you know".

"Do not play the game the opponent wants you to play. If the attacker is pushing - you pull. If he is pulling - you push. He grabs high - you go low. This is called using "the reverse energy". This is good for a wide variety of applications.

Or about blocking. Self-defense is not an art of blocking, but the art of moving and redirecting. Blocking is instinctual and arises in time of panic. You can't win with blocking. Moving is creating distance, redirecting is deflecting, and jamming - stopping the strike before it happens - are proactive techniques. Never rely on blocking as a means of self-defense.

I absolutely love this one - "You intend to move; I already moved" (Chen Zhonghua). Or this one - "Opportunities multiply as they are ceased" (Sun Tzu). Michael wanted us to come with a motto that we can use to put all the energy together. I remember the example of this "energy summoning exercise" in the movie "The Edge" (great movie!) - "I am going to kill this bear!"

Also I like the line "Buffalo will win the Super Bowl!" (page 79), i laughed :)))

Great advice i think is this one - "Focus on the task at hand by moving, not by "intellectualizing". Opportunities are like windows, and open and close frequently but shut hard and fast". I really appreciate Michael makes videos of his classes so we can watch them later on youtube to visualize, and review to get a mental visual picture of what we should be doing. Helps! Before you can "react instinctively" (page 72) you need to train your body to have the reaction you want.

Also the classes in push hands really help to learn how to redirect someones energy and instead of letting it stuck into your body (the intention of the opponent) - let it fly by. It is a very helpful technique in hostile conversations, or any energy assault. Do not play by their rules! Play by your rules. Have your rules, train your body and mind to play. And be playful! :)

"Violence endures, but so does love".

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