Bruce Lee video and some quotes

Two summers ago, my nephew asked me to watch this video.  I wasn’t particularly interested at the time, but he said to me, “You’ll be sorry if you don’t!”  

The first part shows Bruce Lee using nunchucks to play ping-pong against one and then two opponents, and the second part shows him using nunchucks to light match sticks that are thrown in the air. 

My brother used to practice using nunchucks.  They’re heavy.  When I twirled them (or tried), I was afraid I would hit my own head.  Each revolution, they landed on your back in a way which could pack a “punch” and sting and even throw you off balance.

Anyways, Bruce Lee was a master, apparently, in the use of these instruments.  He was a true master in the practice of Chinese martial arts, but, like many great artists, was also unconventional in his style.  

After watching this video, I was curious to learn more about how someone could learn how to focus to such a degree that his movements are so precise and appear to be done almost with a sixth-sense, as it were.  Well, his answer was practice.  

Bruce Lee constantly practiced discipline of both his mind and his body.  He also believed that training and discipline of the mind was more important than training the body to achieve his full potential.  

Gong fu (功夫), or kung fu, literally means “achievement and man” in Chinese.  The term does not just apply to martial arts but to any type of discipline which takes great effort and practice in order to achieve excellence or perfection – in other words, the term largely embodies the idea of long and dedicated training to achieve a skill or an art.  Today, most people identify this term with martial arts, but if you’re good at anything, it can be said that you have 功夫.

When I watch this video and now when I think of some of his movies, it is apparent to me that Bruce Lee demonstrated uncanny efficiency of movement and had incredible focus.  His movements demonstrate discipline of mind and body and using this to develop one’s own style.

Here are a few quotes that I like by him:

To me, the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in its simplicity. The easy way is also the right way, and martial arts is nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.

Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.

Take no thought of who is right or wrong or who is better than. Be not for or against.

Take things as they are. Punch when you have to punch. Kick when you have to kick.

It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.

I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.

All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.

Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.

A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.

Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.

Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.

As you think, so shall you become.

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My Father’s Beauty Secret

Do you want firm, young skin, especially around the face and neck?  Today, I’m going to share with you my father’s BEAUTY SECRET!  I’m not guaranteeing anything, but the results are amazing, so I recommend you try it.   

Every morning, my father exercised in our yard, visible to anyone.  He practiced tai qi.  But before he practiced tai qi, he exercised his entire face.  

  • If you’re ready to begin, stand still and begin moving all of your facial muscles  – your mouth, cheeks, forehead and jaw – to the right, to the left, up and down and basically all around.  Don’t hold back.  Remember, the whole point is to exercise every single muscle in your face.  
  • Simultaneously, begin blinking your eyes.  
  • Once you have a good rhythm going, your lips should be moving in and out (imagine a fish) but with the entire jaw moving around (mine moves to the right, clockwise).  It’s ok if the mouth movements are a bit jerky.  Your nose should also naturally scrunch up and down.  The jaw movement will also exercise the muscles in your neck.
  • Continue doing this for several minutes.  
  • To end the exercise, clack your teeth together (but gently) at least 20 times with your entire face still in motion.  This will have the effect of you looking like you’re smiling and then not smiling, smiling, not smiling, with all teeth bared when smiling.  (When I asked my father why he had to do this, he said this part had the added plus of making your teeth stronger.) 

Now, I admit, this looks a bit odd, and for those of you who have children or pets, you may want to remove them from the premises so as not to scare them.  But forget about how you look for about 5 minutes a day, and you’ll end up looking great. Honestly, my father’s skin is still nice and tight, and he’s in his eighties.  It’s true he also has very strong teeth, and they’re all his own.  

Ladies, if you practice this regularly, you can forget about many of your expensive facial creams.  All jokes aside, you’ll not only look great, you’ll also end up saving a ton of money. 

Simple and Easy Tai Qi Exercise

(For an idea of the general movement and posture below, please click here.  The movement is at the very beginning of the video with slight variation and without hands falling down to the sides.  At any rate, an excellent video to watch tai qi practice.)

This exercise is very simple and helps you feel good in moments.  You can do this anywhere – in your office, the elevator, the kitchen, wherever you are – when you want a bit of a refresher, but if you’re afraid people will think you’re strange (or stranger than you already are), you can do this exercise also in the privacy of a bathroom stall. 🙂

  1. Stand with feet apart at hips’ width, with feet parallel to each other.  (You may feel a bit pidgeon-toed).
  2. Relax your knees so they are just slightly bent.  (Don’t worry if your knees shake a little when you first do this).
  3. Feel the balls of your feet on the ground.
  4. Hands should be relaxed by your side.
  5. Imagine the top of your head being held by a string, while you feel the balls of your feet on the ground.  Your body should now be in a relaxed, balanced posture, grounded to the earth and yet feeling light on top.  If you find yourself leaning forward or backward, adjust your body so it feels relaxed, almost as if you are sitting on a stool, with knees slightly bent.
  6. Take several moments in this position to breathe.  When you breathe, you should feel your abdomen expanding slightly and that the center of your breathing is coming from your lower abdomen (and not your chest).
  7. Now, begin to raise both of your arms up slowly from the side, palms facing down, wrists and elbows very relaxed so that they naturally bend as you move your arms upward, until your elbows reach chest height and your hands (with wrists bent forward) are at about face height.  In this position, you will look a bit as if you are a cricket with elbows bent at around a 45 degree angle.
  8. Point your fingers out just a little (without being rigid) and begin to draw your hands in slowly towards you, as if they are gliding on air.  When you do this, your elbows should bend also so that your hands and arms should move towards you in a slightly arced motion.   
  9. As you draw your hands and arms inwards, your forearms will soon reach a vertical position to your body, your wrists bent naturally forward (as if you could shake them).  Now, raise your hands up from your wrists, fingers naturally spread apart, and with palms, facing outwards, slowly allow your hands and arms to glide gently down as in a waterfall towards the sides of your body. 
  10. When your hands have reached the front of your hips, your palms should be slightly horizontal to the ground.  Allow your hands to drop gently to the side of your hips so that you are back to your original starting position.  Pause for a few moments.  Feel your posture.  Breathe. Relax.

You can do this exercise more than once (by repeating steps 7-10).  Don’t rush or hurry.  Even though your legs have not moved in this position, your thighs may feel a bit sore from the weight of gravity, which is normal.  When you have gone through these steps several times, all the movements of your arms and upper body in this position end up in one continuous flow.