February 27

Metamora Martial Arts Seminar with Steve and Kim Aldus

I am thrilled to say that Steve and Kim Aldus will be leading a seminar for Metamora Martial Arts students on Saturday, April 28.

Steve and Kim Aldus present a special seminar for Metamora Martial Arts students

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We made this announcement Saturday night at our 10th anniversary celebration. The seminar will take place in Black Partridge Park at 1:30 that afternoon and will cost $15. Participants should pay the day of the event.

Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will be giving us instruction that will benefit our karate training in several ways.

For one, it’s always great to be exposed to different arts. I think karate is great, but my passion really began when I was first exposed to tae kwon do, and now tai chi chuan. For me, these other arts have made my primary art stronger because I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned from them and bring them back into karate. Plus, there are always multiple ways to accomplish a goal.

Secondly, the information Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will show us will have relevance to us. They’ll take moves out of our katas and adapt them for the Chinese martial arts. As you’ll see, the Chinese martial arts and the Okinawan martial arts have many common bonds.

Ahead of announcing this special seminar, I had many conversations with Mr. Hawkey and Mr. Aldus. One thing we wanted to make sure was that students didn’t attend this seminar and forget everything they had learned within a few months since we don’t regularly practice tai chi chuan. By showing extensions of our karate forms, Mr. and Mrs. Aldus will help us strengthen the moves we already know and practice on a regular basis.

Due to some of the techniques we’ll be performing in this seminar, we’ve agreed to limit participants to ages 14 and up. That means high school students and adults are welcome. Grade school students may attend by invitation only.

I have been training with Mr. and Mrs. Aldus since August 2010 and it’s been a great experience. Not only are they incredibly knowledgeable and capable, but they’re both fun to work with. They create a great environment to learn in.

Steve AldusMr. Steve Aldus has more than 40 years of martial arts experience. He is recognized as the only known student in the United States continuing the teachings of Master Li Chi Lan in the arts of old yang style tai chi ch’uan and hsing-i ch’uan. Mr. Aldus possesses an 8th dan in tae kwon do, a 2nd dan in karate (Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu Koeppel-Ha), a 2nd dan in ju-jitsu, and has trained in numerous other arts. He’s a multiple-time USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame inductee, he’s won championships for the past four decades, and he’s performed seminars and demonstrations all over the United States. To learn more about Mr. Aldus, read:

Mrs. Kim Aldus is a 6th dan in tae kwon do, a 2nd dan in karate (Matsumura Seito Shorin-Ryu Koeppel-Ha), a 3rd dan in ju jitsu, and has a master-level teaching certificate in both tai chi ch’uan and hsing-i ch’uan.

January 28

Learn to visualize

I can’t stress this enough. Learn to visualize.

For one, visualizing helps us see what we’re doing. When we’re performing a kata, we’re not just throwing our arms and legs wildly into the air. In our minds, our intent should be to picture attackers in our mind who intend to hurt us. It is our responsibility to make sure that does not happen. We shouldn’t just memorize a series of movements.

Secondly, visualizing helps us see where we are going. This is how we make it through the form. Think to yourself if you’ve ever been doing a form, had a brainfart, and forgot where you were in the movements. There’s a good chance you thought to yourself, “This isn’t the right place for me to be in. I know where I need to be for my next movement, and this isn’t going to help me get there.”

In some respects, we should be exhausted after performing a kata because, in our minds, we have just eliminated several attackers that wanted to cause us harm. We’ve fought a handful of attackers in a matter of 45 seconds.

I was inspired to write this post today after an article I read at YMAA. Yang’s Martial Arts Association has been around since the 1980s, and YMAA is a leading publisher in the martial arts industry. The article caught my eye because it focused on tai chi chuan, an art I’ve practiced now for a year and a half. But even though karate and tai chi chuan come from different traditions, the methods of visualization the two use are very similar:

“Even when you can do the form very well, it may still be dead. To make it come alive you must develop a sense of enemy. When practicing the solo sequence, you must imagine there is an enemy in front of you, and you must clearly feel his movements and his interaction with you. Your ability to visualize realistically will be greatly aided if you practice the techniques with a partner. There are times when you will not use visualizations, but every time you do the sequence your movement must be flavored with this knowledge of how you interact with an opponent. The more you practice with this imaginary enemy before you, the more realistic and useful your practice will be. If you practice with a very vivid sense of enemy, you will learn to apply your qi and jin (power) naturally, and your whole spirit will melt into the sequence. This is not unlike performing music. If one musician just plays the music and the other plays it with his whole heart and mind, the two performances are as different as night and day. In one case the music is dead, while in the other it is alive and touches us.” –Dr. Yang as quoted by David Silver, Yang Tai Chi for Beginners, Jan. 30, 2012