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Topic: Martial Arts
Message: Posted by: aussiemagic (May 13, 2006 09:42PM)
Hi John,

This is my last question, I promise...

A number of times you refer to Bruce Lee and you list martial arts as one of the things you do to relax.

I was just wondering what type of martial arts you do? I sense that you draw inspiration from the discipine of martial arts training. Perhaps you could elaborate.

Thank you

Simon
Message: Posted by: ehands (May 14, 2006 03:25PM)
I too would love to hear about this. I have, however, no martial arts experience. So, please explain the connections for the 'layman.' I am also interested your ideas about Tai Chi or other balance/dexterity/poise/alertness exercises for the post-60 age group. Thanks for all you have done to share the magic, especially via your books, E
Message: Posted by: John Carney (May 14, 2006 05:04PM)
I been in it about 15 years now. I've studied Shaolin (the granddaddy of all styles), kenpo, a dash of lima lama, aikido, choy lay fut, and wing chun. My favorite teacher is Daniel Lee, who was one of Bruce Lee's students and a very close friend of his. He used to train with him in his back yard! Daniel also taught me some Tai Chi. I am just beginning here.

Daniel is a great example of a student. He researches and compares styles. He has never stopped growing and learning. I went to a seminar, where a handful of Bruce Lee's students were teaching and training for an hour or two each...then the next instructor......just like a "lecture day" at a convention, except the students were getting down and dirty with training......I went home sore that day.

But while all the other instructors chatted in the alley or had a smoke when they were not teaching, Daniel was there on the floor, taking notes, all day long. Looking for ideas, weaknesses in strategy, comparing strengths and weaknesses of each style or technique. Later, in private, he would explain why some things would work and others wouldn't. He was also the only martial arts teacher I have had (out of about 8), that would arrive at class and say something like, "I've been thinking about what I showed you last week, and I found some problems with it, so let me show you how I fixed it." Since he admitted he did not "know it all", he was able to grow and learn.

The general public just thinks of martial arts in the broadest terms. Punching and kicking with no art or science. The same way most laymen view magic.......actually, the way many magicians look at it as well.

But in its most ideal state, magic, and martial arts, are intellectual pursuits. They are about problem solving and scientifically trying to find the best way.....the most effective way. And in most cases, the best way is the simple way...... Not the short cut...... Not the easiest or the hardest........ The most simple, elegant way. Beginners are not capable of getting to this. They have significantly less choice from which to make their decisions...... It only happens when the student is devoted toward improvement and not just short term gratification. Wisdom can't be bought on the internet with the latest "extreme, awesome" gimmick.

Simplification is greatly misunderstood. Bruce Lee used to say, "When I started, I thought a punch was just a punch and a kick was just a kick. Then I studied and trained, and began to realize that a punch was NOT just a punch, and a kick was NOT just a kick. Now that I have matured and grown, I realize that a punch IS just a punch and a kick IS just a kick."

That is, Bruce Lee had enough knowledge and experience in the end to simplify things. It wasn't due to a lack of skill or discipline............ it was simplicity born of wisdom. Wise choices......not immature or self defeating ones.

I would never dream of saying I am an expert in martial arts or an expert guitar player. I have dedicated many hours of study and training.......but obviously not as much as I have with magic. There is not enough time in the day or room in my brain to be an expert in all three. But perfection is not my goal......it is improvement and growth. And FUN!

Some of the best magicians I know are not professionals in the financial sense, so I don't think amateurs need to feel guilty if they are not devoting their entire life to magic.......you certainly need to set your priorities. Family, career, etc..........

...........but wouldn't it be a shame if you didn't give it your very best shot?

What are you capable of? ........or you could just watch more TV.