The Snake – Master of Respect

The snake is one of the animals studied in the traditional animal forms of kung fu.  It’s a challenging animal to study, as stances tend to be very low, and strikes sometimes look like blocks, and blocks are often strikes.  Movements can be both circular and linear.  Truly, one must work hard to masterfully show off this form. But the snake has also, as all of the animals we study, been assigned a character-building trait, and  that trait is Respect.    …..seems like a difficult fit, right?    Well, let’s think about that from a couple of different approaches. First, from an animal-kingdom approach, the snake commands respect, as it is generally able to conceal itself from its predators, yet is able to attack quickly from its stealth position.  If it happens to be a poisonous snake (and so many are!), the snake’s bite often results in a quick death for smaller prey, with larger prey suffering a longer, more painful end.  Even the very large snakes, which use a non-poisonous approach to subdue their prey, would, by most standards command the respect of animals larger than them.   Overall, though, snakes seldom attack for the sake of attacking.  They are either defending themselves against a real or perceived threat, or they need to eat.  Okay, enough of that scary stuff…. Let’s talk about respect from another perspective.  When we ask the kids what respect means, they generally read off the poster in the studio….and they quote “saying thank you, please, and yes or no, as opposed to yeah, or nah or nope”.   That’s a good start, but there’s more to this idea of respect than […]
By |April 30th, 2021|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Snake – Master of Respect

The Crane – Master of Patience

Anyone who studies the crane in the wild will see the patience it exhibits, as it stands in stillness for extended periods of time, waiting for its food source (small fish, frogs, insects, seeds, berries, etc.) to swim or float by (or sometimes they actually dig for roots or worms).  Whether the crane stands on one leg, or both of its legs, the ability to be absolutely still requires much patience.  As for defending itself, the crane is adept at using its long wings and legs to keep its attackers away, and will use its beak, when needed, to strike. In our kung fu studies, the crane movements are illustrated by mostly using straight-arm strikes, front kicks, and very focused hand strikes where the fingers all come to a point. Vulnerable, soft tissue areas are targeted with a strong flicking strike of the gathered fingers.  The crane stances require much balance and a strong centering of body weight.  It’s a challenging, yet beautiful, part of the kung fu animal form system. As for the patience aspect, this is the character trait that we associate with the crane.  When the kids are asked what patience means, they usually reply that it means to wait…wait your turn in line, to speak, whatever the circumstances.  And this is a very good answer, because to wait for anything does often require patience. Adults all know patience in the form of taking a deep breath and striving to get through life’s minor, and sometimes not-so-minor, annoyances without saying or doing something they will later regret.  It doesn’t matter the environment—work, home, school, shopping, driving—you name it, there will […]
By |March 27th, 2021|Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Crane – Master of Patience

The Tiger – Master of Self-Control

The Tiger is one of the animals we study.  It’s movements are decisive, controlled, and direct.  It’s a great animal to teach us strength and power.  But, we also look to the Tiger for the character aspect of self-control.  When we ask the kids what they think self-control is, the answer we get back the most often is “control of your mind and body.”   That’s a great answer, and nicely sums things up.   But, let’s look a little deeper.  Just what is control of your mind?  If you ask the experts (whoever they might be), you would probably get as many answers as people you ask.  But if you ask us, we think control of your mind means taking responsibility for your words and actions.  That old saying…you can’t control the behavior of other people, but you can control your reaction(s) to it” is very true.  It can be tough to not verbally retaliate against a real, or perceived, insult.  But it can be done if self-control is being practiced.   The same is true if we’re not talking reaction, but initiation.  Avoid making derogatory comments, whether in jest or not.  Doing so shows good self-control.  Sure, you might observe someone doing something foolish, but you need not comment on it.  And who knows, that one time you exercise good self-control and not make a comment that could hurt feelings, might be the one time that person needed to move on from a possibly self-destructive act.  Think about that…..NOT saying something might actually save someone harm.  How cool is that?? Moving on to control of your body…..  this could mean so many things.  When practicing your kung […]
By |January 29th, 2021|karate, kung fu, martial arts, Uncategorized|Comments Off on The Tiger – Master of Self-Control

Weather Closure

Thursday, December 17, 2020. ALL classes are canceled today due to the snowstorm. This includes both scheduled virtual lessons AND in-studio classes. Stay safe. We should be open Friday for our regular schedule.
By |December 17th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Weather Closure

Training in the Heat of Summer

Training in hot weather always poses some challenges, not the least of which is motivation. It’s so easy to just tell yourself “it’s too hot today—I’ll train tomorrow.” Then tomorrow comes, and it’s still hot. Not surprisingly, the same self-conversation takes place. And on it goes until it cools down. But then….yup, you guessed it…the conversation changes to “It’s soooo nice out, I need to do something, and that something isn’t training.”Now you may think that, because this is our newsletter, the “training” refers to kung fu. Well, yes, it does include that, but the word training includes all types of activity, such as going to the gym, doing home workouts, and perhaps even walking, running, hiking, biking, or swimming. In other words, anything that requires getting out of the chair and putting in ongoing effort.If you’ve slacked a bit—don’t beat yourself up. We’ve all done a little slacking, to some extent. The important thing is to recognize the behavior, and strive to change it. Even if you have to cut down on the session time, something is better than nothing. But remember….be aware of your body and how it’s feeling. Stay hydrated. If feeling the least bit dizzy or light-headed, stop, sit, and cool down. If the feeling persists or gets worse, take appropriate action such as telling someone else (for assistance in monitoring the situation) or seeking medical care. Heat exhaustion, or worse, heat stroke can happen quicker than you think – so stay aware.The takeaway here is….keep up with your kung fu, keep up with whatever other training you engage in, […]
By |August 15th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Training in the Heat of Summer

In-Studio Classes Begin June 8, 2020

Welcome Back!! We’ll be back to our regular studio schedule beginning June 8th. Precautions are in place, but we are looking forward to seeing our students in person, again. Virtual lessons have kept the training spirit alive, but there’s nothing like the energy of a live class. (Students will not do techniques on each other at this time, and there is no sparring allowed)
By |June 2nd, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on In-Studio Classes Begin June 8, 2020

Virtual Lessons – A New Adventure in Kung Fu

Portsmouth, April 2, 2020:        Who knew? Kung Fu via FaceTime, or Zoom? Yes! It’s happening! Over the past week or so, we’ve been slowly getting a regular schedule in place for virtual lessons. So far, it seems to be working fairly well. The lessons have been focused on material, with minimum, to no, extra drills or stretching. This results in shorter timeframes, with lower ranks, who have less material, meeting for anywhere between 10-20 minutes, and higher ranks going for up to a full 30 minutes. While this may seem like a shortened version of the students’ regular group classes, keep in mind that the Tigers (4-6 y/o) classes are usually 30 minutes, with the Dragons (7-12 y/o) normally last 40 minutes. But within those timeframes are warm-up exercises, stretching, and drills in addition to working their rank material. So the dedicated, focused one-on-one time with Master Cindy during the virtual classes actually allows for very specific student-centered coaching…..something that isn’t always possible in a larger group class. The end result? Better execution of the student’s material. For the most part, we are scheduling once-a-week sessions. The expectation is that the students will practice their material on their own time, and be ready to demonstrate the tweaks and small corrections during their virtual session. Also….don’t forget to continue stretching and keeping that flexibility in a good place. Is this whole environment challenging? Absolutely! And, it’s challenging to both the student and Master Cindy….to the student because they have less space, and it’s not as familiar when doing the material. It’s challenging for Master Cindy because of the different view (really a mirror image, now), and also the different environment. Giving cues by saying “you […]
By |April 2nd, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Virtual Lessons – A New Adventure in Kung Fu

Coronavirus and Studio Hours

Portsmouth, March 13, 2020. Please be aware that at this time, the studio remains open, with its regular class schedule in place. We are monitoring the various local and state reports, as well as taking extra cleaning precautions. We understand our students will think carefully about what decisions they make in regards to attendance, but please consider the following: (1) practice the best personal hygiene you can, (2) if you are feeling unwell, please stay home, (3) recognize that we may limit student-to-student contact, and (4) we reserve the right to refuse admittance to any student who comes to class and appears ill. With allergy season on our doorstep, confusion over symptoms will add to the overall stress of the situation. Do your best. We’ll do our best. Together, we can all still enjoy the benefits of Kung Fu training, with minimal risk. We will update as needed.
By |March 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Coronavirus and Studio Hours

Studio still CLOSED Dec. 3rd.

It’s still snowing too much to safely open. Stay safe. We’ll see you Thursday.
By |December 3rd, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Studio still CLOSED Dec. 3rd.

Studio Closed December 2nd

Stay safe and warm.
By |December 2nd, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Studio Closed December 2nd