Web based instruction.

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Web based instruction.

Postby John the Monkey mind » Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:50 am

I have always loved the legions of hidden training manuals giving the student untold skills. However in the modern world would it be possible to become effective in a martial art by receiving instruction over the internet.

I have been looking at a new and as yet unfinished website that is trying to do this http://www.ravenhill.com/.

This is an interesting concept. I know that people can progress with DVDs in conjunction with seminars and that experienced martial artists have recreated systems based on old texts. Looking at what little material I found on the site I think that as a martial artist I could study a new style this way, however would I ever become good at it?

The guy behind it is a Kevin B. Shearer and he has written some amusing Kung Fu fiction ebooks that seems to have a good bit of Dao in them and are at least a fun read (My kindle leads me to try new and more odd books and I have enjoyed them sufficiently to read more than one).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s?_encoding=UTF ... %20Shearer

What does everybody think about the concept and its practicality?

Also has anyone heard anything about Mr Shearer, his skills or his 8 animal southern Dragon system he has trademarked as the "Wind Fist"?

I am undecided on the merits of the concept of e-teaching of kung fu if its not backed up by seminars so thought I would open it up to discussion.
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Postby Josh Young » Sun Sep 18, 2011 9:11 am

All the technique visible to non registered students are basics from Karate.
it all seems very generic
kind of like he made it up based on Karate

the one video i can find about this, the broad sword one, does not look like a martial art i would be interested in or contain skill i desire to have
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Postby yat_chum » Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:28 pm

What a very uninspiring website. The concept is fine and would be a useful tool like a book or DVD is a useful tool but the execution of this website is rubbish. Why is the site totally faceless. A whole new world of E-mcdojo's is born.
yijing zhidong

use stillness to overcome movement
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Postby John the Monkey mind » Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:33 am

Yes some the stuff on the open site seems generic and basic but basics are good. Weather they have any skills I want is not really the issue to me it is the concept. By considering if and how someone can learn this way I hope to better understand the learning proses.

I have enjoyed the investigation as it has proved interesting and an excuse to think about various factors in martial art.

I found out it is based on Chuan Fa (Kenpo) and incorporate material from sixteen other styles that are mostly Chinese. I have no idea if its effective or not as there are few videos available. I do know they incorporate a lot of Southern Dragon and concepts such as ridding the wind.

It is founded on this "Willow palm". (Edit this is not the Willow palm under discussion although it may be adapted from it)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzkOcGNESVY

http://www.youtube.com/user/Kuroiryu146 ... EHXnS4m3PU


yat_chum its website is very uninspiring although I have enjoyed reading the books they put out that make up for that. I suspect however it is as much motivated by social and political doctrines as money. Researching them is an interesting rabbit hole to fall down :wink:
Last edited by John the Monkey mind on Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Josh Young » Sun Sep 25, 2011 1:41 pm

I don't like those basics, like the idea of moving the arms using arm muscles, instead of moving the whole body as a single unit.
I think basics like that damage a persons abilities in the long run.

The style is clearly MMA, kempo and sixteen other styles?
It is said that a point in every direction is the same as no point at all.

Kempo has several manifest schools with some diversity, it is used mainly for match fighting for points.
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Postby John the Monkey mind » Sun Sep 25, 2011 2:49 pm

I take your point. After switching to internal martial arts I like to feel the connection in the moment and moving without it seems odd to me now, although I think you could maintain some connection if you did a lot of Chi Gong maybe lol, some of the Yi Quan and Xing Yi training I have had could put some connection in that type of movement although it would be an up hill struggle of a lot of years building sufficient internal connection. I would hesitate to say Karate damages people, I guess its a matter of what you train for. Wing Chun also seems to break the connection between arms and the body.

Anyway investigating was my objective and I learnt from it. You are correct that kempo can mean almost anything. I am aware of the danger of going in to many directions at once, it can be a jack of all trades master of none situation, I guess I am prone to it myself. MMA seems as good a word for it as any although they state they have no ground fighting.
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Postby Josh Young » Sun Sep 25, 2011 5:42 pm

I view a style that does not train for all eventualities as incomplete, thus ground fighting is important to me, not as something to reply upon, but as something to be prepared for. I like taijiquan because it has several applications for ground fighting as well as other situations.

You are right, early on wing chun does isolate the arms in the first form, they reintegrate them later with later forms, I do think that incomplete wing chun training is not good for a persons skill in the long run.

I do think that someone can learn from online instruction.
Also the basics of karate are something I was taught about twenty years ago, they certainly served as a foundation for me for a long time, i feel like in the end that I had to overcome them, but that opinion is personal.
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Postby John the Monkey mind » Fri Sep 30, 2011 3:22 pm

Josh Young wrote:I view a style that does not train for all eventualities as incomplete, thus ground fighting is important to me, not as something to reply upon, but as something to be prepared for. I like taijiquan because it has several applications for ground fighting as well as other situations.


In fairness to them I guess saying they have no ground game was a bit of a misrepresentation on my part, they claim to fight from the ground but without wrestling/grappling. Like Dog Boxing I guess. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyj9PH_f9JE although I have no clue as to how or if this stuff works in application. I guess it must if done well.

How do you use Taiji on the ground? I would love some pointers. I found this interesting clip for Shaolin Grappling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjGlZVpn ... re=related
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Postby Josh Young » Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:08 pm

How do you use Taiji on the ground?

there are applications built into the form for striking an opponent on the ground, as well as putting them there first

but more than that the same jing energies of the 13 postures apply on the ground, since the postures are energies and not formal stances they can be used in a myriad of ways

the same mechanics apply to all situations
the basics apply of course, using the whole body as a single unit etc
use momentum and flow, not muscular force
yada yada
listen follow stick etc

some taiji schools have you lay down and practice the moves while on the ground, this gives you experience rooting in different ways, kneeling and sitting also
you can do most of the form work sitting in a chair, granted the kicks are no longer viable this way, nor the jumps, but the basics are all intact

the best way to practice it is to train against and with a ground fighter, or to do freestyle push-hands that on occasion leads to takedowns, just dont stop playing ever, never give up even when taken down or having taken someone down.

a nice one to practice on the ground is shoulder, elbow is great too
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby Windrider » Sat Oct 15, 2011 11:00 am

Hello people.

My name is Kevin Shearer. http://www.ravenhill.com is a website my associates and I are struggling to develop. We are not very web savvy guys and the gentlemen making the website for us are proceeding VERY slowly. It is a bit frustrating for us, but what can you do when you are not web developers?

As mentioned above, web-based learning is not perfect, but it may be achievable at some level and has some advantages as well as disadvantages, no matter what the area of study.

Yes the material available to the public on Ravenhill is the most basic material we have. It would be a rather odd thing to start with the system's highest teachings rather than its basics, would it not?

And I thank you, sir, for linking to my books. I think they are entertaining and do teach some principles that any martial artist might find useful.

If anyone has any questions or suggestions for me, I would be happy to read them.

Thanks again.

Kevin

---------------------------------
ALSO: The little blonde kid you link to has no rank in our system and is not one of us. He obviously stole our Willow Palm basic set then modified it to garbage. What he shows on his videos is NOT Willow Palm or any part of Wind Fist. Please do not associate him with us.
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby John the Monkey mind » Sat Oct 15, 2011 3:59 pm

Thanks for your input to this thread.

I did truly enjoy reading all your books in the series and I look forward to any new releases. They got me to up the hours I spend training so for that alone they were worth the cost.
Your philosophical take was new to me and more refreshing for that. Parts of the focus on the use of speech was totally new to me. Other parts I had forgotten. I will live up to the modelled perfection :) (reminding me of that concept is something I am thankful for as I had forgotten the will over the try).

I tend to feel that any contribution to getting people training is to be praised and it is a very interesting concept you have developed. We do get people on this forum from time to time who have no access to tuition . I came to use the YMAA books, DVD's and forum for a similar reason.

As new media become available there are new methods available for the instructor or student. I found it helpful to consider how to use them to improve my training and the training of others. To consider it made me consider what I need to work on and how I know it. I can see that it is not a simple thing to do, we are at the gateway to a new practice yard that has yet to be broken in through hard training. I will be interested to see how your project progresses.

If your willing I have some minor question about your system.

The first is how you maintain a core cohesion wile perusing such a variation of concepts drawn from so many styles? I have trouble unifying 5 in myself let alone 17 in students.

The second is how you generally make use of internal concepts and get them to unify with the square of the basic karate/kung fu type moment so far displayed on your site? Do you instead have some more round posture at a higher level? I have spent the last year or so trying with excellent tuition to put connection into my form and so I know this is not a simple task but one with a huge pay off.

I am also fascinated by fighting from the ground fighting as opposed to ground fighting as although I have heard of it I have never seen it outside of Wushu gymnastic displays. Maybe one day I will be fortunate and see it. Having been on the ground and outnumbered in real life I can see how useful it would be to fight from there.

Please let me know how your project progresses and of any other books you put out.

_______________________________________________________________________________
Also thanks for setting the record strait on the video I am not out to put people on the wrong path or to misrepresent others just give my opinion as such and ask questions. People take and modify teachings all the time. I doubt anyone can keep direct control of every element of their own system for long before someone modifies it for good or bad. Well they do say imitation is the highest form of flattery.
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby Windrider » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:58 am

You asked how I maintain a core cohesion wile perusing such a variation of concepts drawn from so many styles.

When the style is strictly governed by principles, it remains a unified coherent style.

So let me start with the more global principles:


1. All beauty comes from function. This is true in nature and I believe it must rule a martial art if the art is to be honest and effective. Therefore, I removed ALL the pretty fluff from the things I was taught. We do nothing whatsoever just for flair or to look good.


2. The first purpose of training in a martial art is to become an excellent fighter.

All other benefits derive from the struggle to fulfil this first purpose.

Many people join a school for camaraderie, or to get in shape or to feel good about themselves or to build confidence or to learn a good philosophy of self-discipline. There might be as many reasons as there are people, but all of these things are achieved by the student’s efforts to train himself to be an effective fighter. This is done by gaining virtues such as humility, perseverance, industriousness, inner calm, piety, obedience, thoughtfulness, courtesy, selflessness, timeliness, courage and generosity.

Keep in mind that people can become effective fighters at some level without virtue, but I have never seen one become an excellent fighter without virtue.


3. The path of a martial artist is not one of simple learning, but of becoming. Math and history can be learned, but simply learning about a martial art is no better than learning about lifting weights to gain muscle, but never lifting them; or learning all about farming, but never sowing or reaping. I like to tell my students, “Learning is only enables doing, and doing enables becoming, and becoming is everything.”

Kung Fu is an art/science. It is science in that it must examine and put to use the principles of leverage, force, psychology and many other things that are relevant to the fight and to the greater life beyond the fight. And it is an art in that one must develop the personal skills and abilities to put those principles to use.


4. Every style is a system of becoming, whether the teachers and students have a conscious awareness of this or not.

The basics, techniques, forms and training methods of a system are there to cause positive changes in the student’s whole person, and make him to, at the lease, an effective fighter, but hopefully much more than that.

Each style maintains a body of knowledge based on SOMETHING, often it is unfortunately based on nothing more the inertia of an almost religious belief in “lineage” or “style” or traditions that they themselves do not understand. For instance: I was watching a whole bunch of contestants in a tournament doing a move in their forms as follows: from a deep and excessively wide (nearly immobile) square horse stance they shot their left hand straight out in front of them as if grabbing somebody by the throat, then with loud screams, lifted the hand in three increments and then, when their outstretched hand was far above their head, seemed to do a double eye jab with the fingers of their other hand. My students looked at me with wide eyes and said, “They can’t be doing what I think!” When we got back to the school, I handed the strongest of my students a 35 LB dumbbell and said, “Do that move.” He could not lift it as they did with his arm outstretched. I said, “That move of theirs might be effective if one were fighting a 15 LB baby in diapers. That is why we test what we do and keep to strict principles of sound physics. All beauty comes from function. That is why what they were doing was not the least bit beautiful to our eyes.”

--------------------
Now, as to the individual fighting principles, such as: a vigilant guard, perfected footwork to stay on one’s feet, returning the elbows toward the ribs, concentration of force, cadence, traps, leverage, not using ones weapons for balance while kicking, sight vigilance, etc., they are too numerous to go into here. But ALL of our system is governed by them because they are all FUNCTION ORIENTED, and all beauty comes from function.
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby Windrider » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:01 am

Please forgive me, but I am not sure what you are asking here: "The second is how you generally make use of internal concepts and get them to unify with the square of the basic karate/kung fu type moment so far displayed on your site? Do you instead have some more round posture at a higher level?"
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby Windrider » Mon Oct 17, 2011 11:38 am

You asked: "I am also fascinated by fighting from the ground fighting as opposed to ground fighting as although I have heard of it I have never seen it outside of Wushu gymnastic displays. Maybe one day I will be fortunate and see it. Having been on the ground and outnumbered in real life I can see how useful it would be to fight from there."

Ours is a percussion based style, because percussion is fast and effective. Wrestling around with a man and taking the time to choke or twist him into submission is fine for the gaming arena where his friend is not going to kick you in the head or stab a knife into your kidney, but we are not interesting in the gaming arena. It is the same for the military. Tanks and warplanes shoot things to destroy the enemy quickly. They don't shoot nets or glue to stick the enemy into some uncomfortable position. It has been this way throughout all of human history for good reason. "Speed is the essence of war."

We use a series of horses to defend ourselves and get back on our feet as quickly and safely as possible. One of our principle is that our weapons are never used for balance or props to get up off the ground. I once fought with a grappler who, it was claimed, could "beat any black belt in town." He tried about thirty times to throw me down, and he hit the ground every time while I stayed on my feet. (We are percussion based, but we have a lot of quick throws and use the ground to hit people with.) His master told him to stop trying to grapple with me because I don't grapple. So the man said to me in shockingly rude tones, "So you don't know how to fight on the ground?" I shrugged and said, "We have some ground fighting. It's just not grappling." He then said, in the same rude tones, though I was twice his age, "Show me!" I dropped into a lying horse, and, before I could say a word, he said, "Oh! I would go right through your kicks and then it would be all over for you!" I stood up and said, "Wow." Eventually, I fell down when our fighting resumed. I assumed my lying horse stance and somehow it was not all over for me. He did make many valiant efforts to get at me, but I pummeled, bashed, kicked, threw and punched him all over the place without trying to walk up through our stances to the fighting horse. Eventually he walked backward with a disappointed look and I rose to my feet.

Our three ground stances are for defense and to put us into optimal position to maneuver while kicking and punching from down where we do not want to be. There may be better ways to fight on the ground, but I have yet to see them, and if I do, I will adopt them.

Again, we are not training for the gaming arena. Grappling is easy to "prove" superior in the gaming arena with its protective rules. But how does one prove superiority of a system designed to break bones and kill? It can't be done without legal and moral consequences. But that is not to say that we are the best or the deadliest guys out there. I am sure we are not, but we do not train ourselves to do what we know is slow, ineffective or designed specifically for games. We have always done exceedingly well against the gamers.

Are you in England? There may be a way I can show you what our ground work is through Skype. You seem to be a thoughtful and inquisitive man. I am sure you could run with that knowledge and develop great things on your own. Please let me know if you are interested.
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby Windrider » Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:01 pm

By the way, how did you come across my books?
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby Josh Young » Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:40 pm

percussion is used in the 'gaming arena'
grappling is just a part of it
you say it is not for the military, but the combatatives program is mandatory in military training in the USA and is a modified form of gracie style.
percussion also works on the ground

several gracie proponents were undefeated by any percussion based stylists
the art is secondary to the person

blanket statements dismissing styles based on their tactics shows a lack of experience

to not understand this question is peculiar for anyone with genuine kung-fu, which is skill, not a style.
"The second is how you generally make use of internal concepts and get them to unify with the square of the basic karate/kung fu type moment so far displayed on your site? Do you instead have some more round posture at a higher level?"


2. The first purpose of training in a martial art is to become an excellent fighter.

many would say the first purpose of martial arts training is to not have to fight, that a well trained martial artist is not a fighter and a well trained fighter is not a martial artist
this is hard to understand from a karate background, but the idea is that fighting is not what martial arts are about, ending fights is.
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby John the Monkey mind » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:13 am

Windrider wrote:Please forgive me, but I am not sure what you are asking here: "The second is how you generally make use of internal concepts and get them to unify with the square of the basic karate/kung fu type moment so far displayed on your site? Do you instead have some more round posture at a higher level?"


To put the concept into other more precise words I was talking about the connection between your original center and your movement. If all movement is centered on your original center your movement will be smooth and balanced but there is also more you can do with it.

Through working on the connection with your center your movement can express more of your bodies combined power.
The most basic example in striking is the "one inch punch". This short power is connected to the ground through your Dantian, later you can use this short power from other parts of your body like your hips.
You can however train to have this connection throughout your movement and not just striking. This improves your grounding, resilience to striking, short power and shaking jing.

A practical example would be that after I had been training this skill for a few months I was sparing or more like playing with my friend who used to do Wing Chun with me. By turning wile maintaining connection through my structure I disrupted his stance even though it was not the energy of a strike or muscular energy or force. I was connected throughout my body and through his tension was able to displace his through his arm without perceptible effort (Sadly I am in no way consistent in this ability yet) because I was connected but in a relaxed manor that allowed for the transmitting of power through the body not just the arm muscles.

An analogy would be pushing a car. Your body lines up and this connection is combined with your breathing to apply all your force.
To do this in a martial sense you do not have to have or want stiff muscles but to join your body with your center and use this to express power from the ground or through a turn.

Eventually you come to realize the power is not from the ground but from your center. The ground simply allows you to express the force of your energy as it expands out from your center. The force is like a presser wanting to extend your limbs as if you were a blow up dole being inflated wanting to push out from the center. You can then direct this by limiting how it can expands so the force goes the way you want. This takes a lot of training so I must confess to not being much good at it yet and that this is my own short coming since I know the method for training it. It has a lot to do with intention and visualizing force and presser wile keeping a good rooted structure.

The converse also is true as you absorb an impact you can either dissipate it through yourself to the ground or use your connected body and center to store it like a spring and send it back with some interest.

Eventually the aliment becomes less obvious and more continual, internal or integrated.

My question was that as it seems much easier to have this connection through the rounded type movement found in Taiji, Bagua or Xing Yi than through the squarer movement used in some Shaolin styles. If you are using a connection to the Dantian are you using a more rounded method at high levels of your art to express this or are you still using the more square form?

I think that at a high level you could have that connection with everything you do in any shape but I and others find it hard to do it achieve a strong connection through a square structure.

I have been told that many external methods like standing in a horse stance and bashing your arm against a tree as well as wall-bag training can be used to develop a connection, This would presumably take a lot of training and awareness of the rout force takes from the weapon to the ground.

I am sorry if my way of saying this seems mystifying but I find this hard to express.
The books "Warriors of Stillness" by Jan Diepersloot go into it in some depth.
This bagua video talks a bit about it although just at the most basic level.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68wit3yjudA


This method is perhaps most understood in the terms expressed in the Internal Martial Arts community. I would not be to surprised if you use other words to explain the concept or simply don't use the concept and use other methods to develop combat power.
I have known dangerous fighters that did use this concept at all and I do not feel I am a better fighter than them yet although it has and is improving my martial art a lot.
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby John the Monkey mind » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:17 am

Windrider wrote:By the way, how did you come across my books?


I occasionally do a search on the Amazon Kindle store for martial arts, kung fu and philology ebooks and have always loved Wuxia so after reading the description of your book and considering the price I downloaded it.
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby John the Monkey mind » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:45 am

Windrider wrote:You asked: "I am also fascinated by fighting from the ground fighting as opposed to ground fighting as although I have heard of it I have never seen it outside of Wushu gymnastic displays. Maybe one day I will be fortunate and see it. Having been on the ground and outnumbered in real life I can see how useful it would be to fight from there."


Thank you for the description of your methods. After finding myself on the ground and repeatedly kicked by a gang (understandably my training has now changed a lot) I have had a keen interest in staying on my feet at all costs (hence the study of Taiji) and also an interest in knowing what to do if I do slip up.
Fights in the UK are very seldom one on one in this day and age and I am sick of the common assertion that I should not feel bad and that no one can win when outnumbered. I take a different view, it was my weakness that led to my defeat even if it was not a fair fight to begin with.

I doubt I have the intelligence or talent to do anything without a lot more instruction first as sadly many of my early years of practice and instruction were not what they could have been and the internal arts are a very deep subject that differ significantly from my earlier training.
I have been training almost 15 years however my first style and the style I spent most time training was a combination of other southern kung fu styles that sadly seem to lack the drills that underpinned its individual components. This was unfortunate as the teacher had a lot more street experience than almost anyone else I have ever met.

Although the instructor was powerful his best students always seem to have got their foundation with others first. Still what he showed me was always direct and for effect not image. He himself had a local reputation in a city that seems full of martial artists and fearsome rivalry from the schools that in years past had led to violence.
I feel perhaps his broader life was subtracting from what he was trying to teach us and do not have anything but good will towards him. Only as my foundations improve with my current training am I become effective in the things I learnt all that time ago.

I am currently in Poland but I am English and was in England last year. This is also why I am not always online as I frequent a few locations in Poland and I don't have good net access in all of them. :|
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Re: Web based instruction.

Postby John the Monkey mind » Wed Oct 19, 2011 8:59 am

Josh Young wrote:
2. The first purpose of training in a martial art is to become an excellent fighter.

many would say the first purpose of martial arts training is to not have to fight, that a well trained martial artist is not a fighter and a well trained fighter is not a martial artist
this is hard to understand from a karate background, but the idea is that fighting is not what martial arts are about, ending fights is.[/quote]

I agree but martial skill and power are necessary to pursuing the more spiritual aspects unless you want to classify it as a Qi Gong exercise. A pet hate I have is "martial artists" who have no ability to fight. Their art is by definition shallow as a martial art and should not be called martial, I don't mind Taiji players who leave out the Quan as long as they are honest about it.

A fighter can have no art in what he does and a artist has little need to fight. However much a martial artist wants to end fights you do not get to decide on whether or not there is a fight unless you have the power to end one. This seems a sad fact of this world. Without strength defending them the good things in life like peace will not last. I have been the guy telling a gang I don't want to fight and that mindset is half the reason I got in trouble. I still have no wish to fight but I am willing to.

Anyway I know your martial side of the martial art is well developed so I don't think that you truly separate fighting from the art.
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