Kinesiology Department, S.F. State
Methods of Evaluation Scale
Grading Guideline Kung Fu Basics 148 Valerie Lee
There is a practical and written exam on the last 2 days of class. Mandatory attendance required. Notes from the Basics guideline are due. Attendance is an important aspect of an activity class.
A grade 0-2 absences allowed B Grade 3-4 C Grade 5-6 absences D Grade 7-8
Leah Flores Fall 2002
Awaken & Enliven your Mindful Body
Today, I received the handout that listed different parts of the body and their corresponding internal components. At first, I thought this list was a little far-fetched. The hair corresponding to the thoughts sounded strange to me, and I was not entirely sure what the sifu wanted me to learn from this. So, just as a little experiment, I decided to perform reeling silk with the list in mind.
This semester has been one of my hardest academically, and so I look for any chance to relax and take a break from my studies. I like to perform reeling silk when I want to take a break from my studies or I need to stop stressing too much. However, I only knew the physical part of reeling silk and only had a vague idea of the mental part of it. I took the list and chose one of the body parts to focus on, since trying to focus on all the body parts would stress me out even more and defeat the purpose of relaxing. Since my neck was sore and stiff from sitting at a computer all day typing, I decided to focus on my neck. The corresponding internal part to the neck is transforming ideas into actions.
So I went into performing reeling silk. I first started with the left hand only and then the right hand only as a sort of warm up. Then I put both hands together and performed the whole movement. As I was performing the whole movement, I started to slowly focus on my neck and kept in mind its corresponding principle transforming ideas into actions. I really didnt know what benefits my neck might receive from this focus, but I kept with it. After awhile, and without even realizing it, my neck sort of felt like it was uncurling, and it released the tension it had been holding for so long. My head started to feel much clearer, and then the meaning of the words transforming ideas into action became clear to me.
Before I did reeling silk, I had been sitting at a computer for a very long time trying to pound out a decent paper for one of my classes. After awhile, I just couldnt think straight. I knew what I wanted to say and I had all these ideas, but I just couldnt find the words to type them so that they made sense. After doing reeling silk with the focus on my neck and its component, my head felt clear, so clear that the words I had been searching for automatically came to me and I was able to type them up with no problems. So the neck really does transform ideas into action. The neck seems like a pipe that conducts materials to the rest of the body and to the head. When it is tensed, it was like blocking the pipe, restricting its flow. In my case, my stiff neck was cutting off the flow of my ideas. Being made aware of this helped me to relax, and it was as if the pipe opened up again and let my ideas flow down my arms and hands to my fingers so I could type them out. I learned a very important lessen in mindfulness and the purpose of the list that sifu handed out.
Antonio C-Romo 12/07/05
Head to the Sky, Feet to the Earth
One of the first lessons I received when taking the kung fu class this semester was to gain and to remain balanced. One morning the Sifu told us to keep our head to the sky and feet to the earth while warming up and this phrase was repeated throughout the semester. The martial art of kung fu presents numerous challenges and there are two in particular that have been present for me since the first day. The first is the physical challenges of coordinating movements to perform the basics, stances and forms and to transition from one movement to the next. Achieving fluidity and balance has been especially challenging. The other challenge refers to learning and understanding the basic philosophy of kung fu. The abundance of significance in the movements and the history behind it make it an activity of extra importance.
The phrase head to the sky, feet to the earth is insightful and descriptive in that it entails a spirit of orientation and being upright and rooted. By orientating my head with the sky and my feet with the earth has continued to serve as a cue when I teeter off balance while practicing kung fu. I have used this mantra outside the classroom as well. At the beginning of the semester my girlfriend of two years and I suddenly broke up. We were living together for 1 year prior to our break up and when she moved out it felt like part of my universe came crashing down. The life I had grown use to and was in relative harmony with ended and a piece of me went with it. By keeping my head to the sky and my feet to the earth I was able to remain as focused and balanced as I could. When performing kung fu I found that the movements and techniques helped heal my fractured state.
In a deeper sense I used kung fu to express my stress and disorientation in light of my situation and in turn kung fu provided me with the physical and spiritual strength to properly cope with tough times. Now, regardless of what happens in life, I will continually use the phrase as a motivator to try and stay balanced in this potentially unbalanced world.
Adam Hsu began with a talk on the important role kung-fu usage plays in the preservation of traditional kung-fu. To drive his point home, Adam Hsu told a story in which he and several other distinguished kung-fu practitioners were asked to judge a tournament. The sparring in the tournament consisted of punches and kicks, with very little advanced technique, causing Adam Hsu to remark one of his fellow judges that ³Those are our ancestors fighting up there², meaning that the combatants had reverted to primitive natural fighting.
Students without proper instruction in kung-fu usage will not fully understand the principals of kung-fu. The participants in the tournament had without a doubt spent months or years practicing and refining their forms, but they lacked the knowledge of the practical applications contained therein, thus could not fight in a true kung-fu manner.
There exists, said Adam Hsu, a gap between kung-fu training and kung-fu fighting, a gap that does not exist in other disciplines. Adam Hsu used the art of boxing to illustrate his point. A boxer trains on the heavy bag to build strength, the speed bag to build quickness, and jumps rope to build stamina--all of these training techniques relate directly to how a boxer fights when they enter the ring. This is not so with kung-fu. Kung-fu students practice their respective forms but are not instructed on how to use the movements in actual sparring.
Forms are not practiced for their sake alone, they contain the movements which provide the basis for kung-fu usage. The practice of forms without emphasis on usage, strips the movements of their power and practicality and leaves empty choreographed movements.
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last modified October 9, 2007