For three people, with more than 75 years of martial arts training between them, the fighting arts have transformed into music, movement and meditation. Chia Ming Chien traces their journey.
Fofoa Temese, my Wing Tsun sifu, showed me the magic of being in the moment, where theory, body and mind crystallize into practical function. Darryl Ervin married my love for jazz to my martial arts practice; I had no idea they were so intimately connected. And while martial arts and meditation may seem as different as war and peace, my tai chi teacher, Tan Hup Cheng revealed the connection between martial arts and spiritual development. Here I let these masters speak for themselves…
FOFOA TEMESE – MASTER OF MOVEMENT
What is the difference between a fight to death and a dance celebrating life? None. For Fofoa Temese, there is no difference in experience when he dances or when he fights; any distinction lies only in purpose. Those familiar with Fofoa describe him as a master of movement who has gone beyond the duality distinguishing dancing from fighting.
(To read on, click: Quiet Storm PDF)
No, Ultimate Frisbee has nothing to do with dogs chasing a plastic disc or a bunch of people leisurely tossing a flying saucer to and fro. Competitive, immensely fun and exciting, Ultimate Frisbee has been described by The National Post, Canada as: “…the team sport of the future, combining the running of soccer with the stamina of hockey and the cutting, jumping and passing of basketball…”
Once bitten, twice smitten, it’s a game hard to give up. Competitive players of other sports come to Ultimate, or Disc as it’s casually called, “’cos we hear it’s a good way to get really fit” and often give up their sport in favour of Ultimate. There’s some debate about whether you play Ultimate to get fit or you need to be fit to play Ultimate. To play the game well requires remarkable athleticism. The pace is mostly at sprint with hard side-stepping, involves jumping (skying the other player) and ‘laying out’, i.e., diving at full stretch to either catch or block the disc. It’s intense.
(To read on, click: Ultimate Frisbee PDF)
VIOLENCE IS GOLDEN
Once found only in the underground world of bare-knuckled, no-holds-barred fight clubs, Mixed Martial Arts has gone mainstream. Chia Ming Chien reports.
In September, clean, antiseptic Singapore hosted the World Bank/International Monetary Fund meeting and made international news for banning outdoor protests and demonstrations. Come end-November, the city state will play host to something totally different – a blood sport so brutal that contestants have been known to lose their eyes, their teeth and sometimes even their lives in the ring.
If all goes well, more than two dozen men and a handful of women, muscular, scantily-clad and hailing from all over the world – the US, Sweden, Indonesia and Thailand, to name just a few – will gather in a large stadium on the eastern end of Singapore. Cheered on by thousands of screaming fans, they will enter a large metal cage two at a time to re-enact a brutal sport that traces its history all the way back to the first Olympics games 2,600 years ago.
(To read on, click: Mixed Martial Arts PDF)
JUMPSTART LIFE – PARKOUR
Enthralled by the spectacular athletic artistry of it’s practitioners, Luc Besson has made two movies about it, Nike features them in commercials, James Bond is in on the act… Chia Ming Chien takes a look at Parkour, the new sport of the urban jungle.
What are the odds of someone out-running a Doberman in full chase with walls and fences in his way? Probably very low. Maybe he’ll run 10 steps before getting bitten in the butt. Unless, of course, he’s a traceur, the name given to a practitioner of Parkour, that astonishing art of manoeuvering through an urban landscape by means of running, leaping, vaulting and climbing.
In which case, he’d probably out-run a pack of Dobermans as was vividly demonstrated in the cult movie Yamakasi. In this movie co-written by Luc Besson (The Professional, Nikita, Fifth Element) a group of burglars break into a mansion to steal (in order to raise money for a kid who desperately needs a life-saving surgery) and are confronted by a pack of Dobermans trained to kill. With a dazzling display of acrobatic movements they evade the dogs and make their escape.
(To read on, click: Jumpstart Life – Parkour PDF)