Journey of a Taijiboxer from Kitchener, Ontario to Kingston, Jamaica

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My name is Dennis Pounall, and I recently had the privilege to teach a workshop in both Kitchener, Ontario and Kingston, Jamaica.

The first workshop I had been invited to was last Christmas in Kitchener Ontario, at Sifu David Hackett School. `Kitchener Kicks Martial Arts Center`, a classical beautiful Dojo with original wooden floor, lots of natural light and high ceiling.

I demonstrated the Tsunami Whirlwind Fan form. and they loved it. I was then asked by sifu Dave to teach it to his students, I was honored and happy to oblige. This is a very eclectic fan form and is different as it combines principles from three different disciplines. Korean fan form, Shaolin fighting fan form and Japanese Samurai Tessan applications.

This form can also be modified to display aspects of modern Whusu or for older practitioner a more subtle Taiji approach. all round great weapons form.

The workshop started off with the usual pleasantries, greet and meet, quiet informal and then we began with some basic Qi kung “Standing Jong Posture” . We then progressed with some stretching breathing and general history usage and function as both a weapon and tool for learning how to extended ones Qi and awareness , which is essential for all weapons play.

It is important to understand form, function and feeling when attempting to learn any martial discipline, so for each movement there is a technique ,and every technique has a specific quality of movement.

The form was taught slow, connecting each movement until every one had a fundamental meaning for each one of the movements. Then we would practice a application and have everyone create their own techniques. This I believe adds some substance to the art and depth to the practice of the Fan form.

Each participant had an opportunity to share their understanding with the group , and lots of practice. We were fortunate that the whole group was a nice mix from different backgrounds giving the form more of a universal flavor and natural rhythm.

At the end everyone was granted a certificate and picture as a commemorative of the experience.

I hope everyone was able to appreciate the beauty of the Fan form and its unique ability for freedom of personal expression. This to me is what makes a true martial art!!

The next workshop was called the “Art Of Effective Kicking”. This concept was really about trying to share the idea of “Tai Subaki” and “Range control”, not at all aimed at fancy double or triple kicks, which most people, including Hollywood movie producers want us to see.

For those that are interested, check out “Scorpion Kick on You Tube” The whole idea, I believe, when using your legs is to prevent further injury, get out of the way and best of all `run away”. Kicking is just a side effect of maximizing range control. The legs are much more powerful than the arms and kicking is a natural movement to all human beings, for instance , babies are already kicking in their mothers womb. This is one of the natural signs of a healthy baby.

Even in Taiji Quan, or Taijiboxing as I refer to it as there are lots of kicks, some are more obvious than others. However Taiji Quan, unlike other disciplines, use the art of foot placement and range control to make sure when and if you do kick it will be effective. Every martial art has some form of kicking but Taiji style tends to be more subtle but just as effective.

We practice only the basic kicks as usually that is what you would really use and these kicks were most effective for self defense and personal protection. It is always a good idea to have a variety of kicks you can do but always understand their advantages and weaknesses.

Then you always have an option. We focused on low kicks to the joints, knee, hip, shin, and instep. We also made sure to work both sides and within each participants comfort and skill level. We explored all angles and different parts of the lower leg and feet, as to how to strike, where to strike, and when not to strike to reduce the chance of permanent self injury. All in all we had a good sweat and a lot of fun!!.

This was a great learning and sharing experience for both parties involved. As much as Taijiquan is still portrayed as mostly an exercise program for seniors, the inherent martial applications and the wisdom of the ages still rings through even modern times. The principles are transferable regardless of the martial discipline in which one participates in. The true art is in the willingness to share knowledge and experience.

Seido Juku Karate is- in concept and in practice – based on a deep understanding of the spiritual aspect of karate, which is why Kaicho calls Seido Karate Ningen Karate or the Human Face of Karate. Master Tony Robinson states the origins of the school is based in traditional kykoshin karate do therefore it has a more aggressive hard style and although they new about KI , or Qi force they understood it only from a external point of view.

Consequently the school curriculum and principles were founded more of a sport Karate for basic self defense and fitness. So he was quiet intrigued by the principles of Taijiboxing and I was happy to see taught meditation and breathing was a important part of their training regardless of rank.

They began with a formal Introduction then the classes was turned over to me. I did some traditional warm ups but included some basic Qi gong, Embrace the one, and some Yoga style stretches. It was well received by all . We then began basic striking then we worked on the art of effective kicking.

They were not formidable with this concept or range control, so I taught them using the principle practice slow to move fast, which Master Robinson loved to hear from another source. We were all hot sweating and tired. and I found by using the Taiji breathing technique I was able to persevere precious energy and fluid and finish the class.

We then broke up into two lines, they did some light contact free sparing, then after wards we all drank coconut water and ate some fruit, drank more water for re hydration and fluid balance.

The class was concluded with a formal closure of bowing and respect to each of the instructors as was the tradition, and five minutes of sitting Za Zen Meditation.

All in all, this was a great opportunity to share grow and learn and to see no matter where you are the principles of Taijiboxing be absorbed and assimilated by any system martial arts.

Maybe this is what was secretly meant by the title of Supreme Ultimate Fist, Possibly it may have had nothing to do with being the best system of martial art, but maybe the most versatile.

I hope you enjoyed this little adventure as much as I did and thank you for reading. Have a great day and remember at the end of the day every thing will be cool running, yeah mann! Peace

Sifu Dennis Pounall

Sifu Dennis Pounall lives and works in Elliot Lake, Northern Ontario as a Paramedic  and has been practicing martial arts for over 28 years. He has studies in Okinawa Karate, Pang GI Noon Gung Fu, Kali Jujitsu, Kook Sol Won , Korean martial arts and Traditional Yang combat style Taiji Quan.  He competes nationally and internationally, and is available for workshops and Seminars.

Subscrive to his youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/dpounall

He can be contacted at dennis_pounall@yahoo.ca

Website: www.vitfitklub.com

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