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Thursday, January 12

Before telling them they can change the world teach them to master themselves

In 2013 the suicide rate in the United States was 13 per 100,000 people, the highest recorded rate in 28 years. The U.S. suicide rate also rose 24% over the 15 previous years (1999-2014), [Wikipedia]
Half of British young people have so many 'emotional problems' they cannot focus at school, study finds
... Half of young people said they feel the pressures of getting a job are greater than they were a year ago and more than a third said they did not feel in control of their job prospects.
The eighth Index, based on a survey of 2,215 young people aged 16 to 25, revealed many feel their circumstances are trapping them.
Dame Martina Milburn, chief executive at the Prince’s Trust said: “This report paints a deeply concerning picture of a generation who feel their ability to shape their own future is slipping away from them. ..."  [Telegraph, January 2017]  
Below is a YouTube video of Vietnamese martial arts Grand Master Huỳnh Tuấn Kiệt teaching students at his school, Nam Huỳnh Đạo, in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.(1) He is also a qigong ("chi") master. 

Study his effortless evasive move starting at the 7:16 mark, although it happens so fast you'll have to freeze the tape to actually study it.  He then immediately does a variation of the move for students who blinked the first time, and adds a flamenco flourish for fun. 
     
           


He executes a similar evasive move at the 9:14 - 9:18 minute mark in this YouTube video, Kung Fu Master - Very Special Technique of Martial Arts, which is bound to make the student feel he's trying to land a kick on a playful ghost. 

Here are a few more YouTube videos of him teaching, all of them short:
   
Vietnamese Kungfu master shows defense-counter moves

CÔNG PHU NAM HUỲNH ĐẠO - KỸ NĂNG CHIẾN ĐẤU (1)

CÔNG PHU NAM HUỲNH ĐẠO - KỸ NĂNG CHIẾN ĐẤU (2)

There are also videos of his students going through their paces, giving exhibitions, and even one of an exam for the students, which is as impressive as it is entertaining to watch. The school also accepts females and children.

Here is the link to the school's web page.  

From what's shown on YouTube, what I find to be the most striking feature of the training is that it leaves absolutely nothing to the student's guesses.  

In this I see a marked difference between the teaching approaches of Grand Master Huỳnh and Steven Seagal and Bruce Lee. The latter two were also advanced practitioners. They attracted students who wanted to learn a particular martial arts discipline -- Aikido in Seagal's case, and Lee's Jeet Kune Do. But without basic mastery, that's putting the cart before the horse. Students who didn't have the basics mastered could get pretty banged up while studying under those two teachers, and they could get 'lost.'  

I think it was the American film actor James Coburn, who studied with Bruce Lee, who once said that he understood Jeet Kune Do but only when he was in Bruce's presence.   

And what are the basics? Before the student tries to master a particular fighting style, he must first be taught how to master himself.  You can see this in the video about the exam at Nam Huỳnh Đạo. There are young adults and children alike waving their hands to demonstrate to the examiner that they have mastered limber wrists.    

This observation should apply across the board, to all disciplines, all endeavors. But because it doesn't apply in the modern era, children are expected to perform well as adults without first being taught a mastery over themselves, which is the key to adulthood.

Instead, they're told to be the best they can be, that they have great potential, and to make their mark on the world. They're being exhorted to climb to the summit of Mt Everest without ever being taught how to climb to base camp.

The upshot is an almost existential lack of self confidence that shows up in widespread drug addiction, mental and 'behavioral' disorders, and suicides.  

Adults can't keep pointing out to children a very amorphous path to adulthood, then telling them to excel as adults -- and more than excel, to help make the world a better place. Children must first be taught how to develop a sense of self mastery that school activities are obviously not providing many of them.

Even a century ago in America there was a route to self mastery because many boys could still learn a trade from working alongside their fathers and in this way gain basic mastery of the work they'd be doing to support their own family when they married.  And girls worked alongside their mothers and learned mastery of how to be a mother and homemaker.   

It's sidestepping the issue to say that many parents today can't bring their children with them to work and that the work is so specialized the children can't be expected to learn the job. 

So what to do? Mastery of limber wrists, anyone?

1)  There are only very short biographies of the Grand Master and his school available in English on the internet, but here are the three I found, with some overlapping information and -- regarding the date of the school's opening -- contradictory information:

From a visitor's guide to Ho Chi Minh City:

PEDAGOGICAL UNIVERSITY DOJO

Price:
VND 250,000/ 12 classes
VND 300,000/ 24 classes

This centre teaches Nam Huỳnh Đạo, a traditional martial art. There are three specialties: An Dương Vương, Trần Quang Khải and Hoa Phượng. Prices depend on the equipment needed to prepare the students.

The founder of Nam Huỳnh Đạo is grand master Huỳnh Tuấn Kiệt, the seventh generation descendant of warrior general Nguyễn Huỳnh Đức under the Nguyễn dynasty (1748-1819). 

General Nguyễn was both a nobleman and a kung fu master; he played a significant role in founding and developing Gia Định, the southern province of Vietnam. General Nguyễn was the originator of the Huỳnh martial art style.

From the YouTube page accompanying one of the videos; uploaded to YouTube on Mar 13, 2009 by KungFu NamHuynhDao:

Explore the Secrets of Vietnamese Martial Arts

Nam Huỳnh Đạo Martial Arts school officially opened starting on November 24th, 2001. Up to date, the kungfu school has gathered thousands of students, built a staff of experienced, moral and well-respected fellows, and equipped kungfu training halls modernly and professionally.

The founder of Nam Huỳnh Đạo is grand master Huỳnh Tuấn Kiệt, a 7th generation descendant of Warrior General Nguyễn Huỳnh Đức. General Nguyen was both a noble and a kungfu master, and played a significant role in founding and developing Southern of Gia Dinh. It is General Nguyen the origin of the Huynh's martial arts. Temple of General has been recognized as national heritage. It is located in Long An province, [in the] south of Vietnam.

The Master originated from a family whose many generations devoted to Medicine and Martial. He inherited kungfu and medicinal knowledge from his grandfather and father, who were well-known as kungfu and medicinal masters in Long An province. 

Master's father is also the translator and editor of the reference book "Hoàng Hán Y Học", which is one of the valuable works in ancient traditional medicine. Nam Huỳnh Đạo Martial Arts is officially founded to fulfill our ambition to promote Vietnam authentic cultures and traditions.

From the school's website, which shows the school's address, email address (gmail) and phone number:

INTRODUCTION
Nam Huỳnh Đạo Kung Fu school was officially started on September 16th, 1991. Up to date, the kung fu school has gathered thousands of students, built a staff of experienced, moral and well-respected fellows, and equipped the kung fu training centers modernly and professionally. 

The founder of Nam Huỳnh Đạo is Grand master Huỳnh Tuấn Kiệt, the 7th generation descendant of Warrior General Nguyễn Huỳnh Đức under the Nguyen dynasty (1748 – 1819) . General Nguyen was both a noble and a kung fu master, and played a significant role in founding and developing Gia Dinh, the Southern province of Viet Nam. General Nguyen was the originator of the Huỳnh’s Martial art style. 

The Master originated from a family who devoted themselves for many generations to traditional medicine and martial art. He inherited kung fu and medical knowledge from his grandfather and father, who were well-known as kungfu and traditional medical masters in Long An province. 

Master’s father is also the translator and editor of the valued reference book “Hoàng Hán Y Học”, which is one of the valuable works in ancient traditional medicine. 

Based on the foundation of the Huỳnh’s kung fu, in combination with instructional principles from Y Gia, Thái Gia, Phật Gia, and Ancient Traditional Vietnamese Martial Arts, Nam Huỳnh Đạo Kung Fu was officially founded to fulfill our ambition: to promote Vietnamese authentic culture and traditions through the medium of martial arts. 

By doing the cultural exchanges, many martial art associations of both domestic and abroad have visited Nam Huynh Dao. They all are amazed when realizing the genuine values of Vietnamese martial art cultures. Besides, the school has received a great number of invitations to exchange cultures as well as to teach practitioners in many countries.
KUNG FU TYPICAL TECHNIQUES
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tqMp9BopRlQ

[END INTRODUCTION]

Finally, in answer to question at an internet forum "Is there Vietnamese quigong?"' the answer was yes, and there was this explanation by one poster:

Most Vietnamese martial arts are Chinese Styles which were brought across the border into Viet Nam by Chinese immigrants. However, some are indigenous Vietnamese Styles much influenced by Chinese Kung-Fu Styles, both Buddhist Temple Styles and Taoist Styles, as well as a number of 'family' styles.

Virtually all of these methods include the practice of chi-kung methods, some of which may be common to a number of different schools, and others which are unique to a particular school due to having been created and formulated by a previous Master of that school.

Listed below are a few links to sites which describe the history, training methods, and techniques of individual Vietnamese styles. Check 'em out!

Sifu Stier

http://sevenmountainskungfu.com/htmls/aboutphan.html

http://cclib.nsu.ru/projects/satbi/satbi-e/martart/vietnam.html

http://hong-gia.org/

http://www.arpnet.it/~vodao/ewelcome.htm

[END Sifu's entry]

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