Posts Tagged ‘karate innovations

22
Jan
09

KI Online Training- IKF January 2009

IKF Magazine

January 2009

Vol. 37

KI Online Training

By Joseph Simonet

In the fall of 1995, Addy Hernandez was attending college near Spokane, Wash. The three hours of travel time from our hometown to Spokane created a bit of a challenge for us to get together and train. We would usually alternate travel on weekends; she would come home one weekend and I would travel to Spokane the next weekend. Though not an ideal situation for quality training time, we managed to make it work. On one of my trips to Spokane, Addy and I wandered into a used bookstore. The owner of the store asked us if we would like to see the “Internet” in action. Remember this was 1995 and at that point in time, I had never seen anything on the World Wide Web. So we proceeded to the store owner’s office and were amazed at all of his fancy computer stuff. At that moment, I felt like I was stepping into the future. He asked me what I was interested in searching, and I replied martial arts.

In a matter of seconds he was showing me photos and text from a Web site somewhere in Europe. Initially, I was blown away. The marvel of visiting all these different martial art sites soon dimmed as I became more disappointed in the quality, or should I say “lack of quality,” of the actual karate, kung-fu and so on. The technical genius of the Internet was overshadowed by the unimpressive and sloppy presentations of the so-called “masters” I observed. I remember saying at the time, “You can bounce it off the moon and circle it around the sun and back, but it’s still watered-down karate to me.”

The Internet has grown in availability, quality and enormous technical advances. Since my first chance encounter with the Web, I have waded through eight different “webmasters.” (It’s interesting to me how as a martial artist we spend a lifetime training to master our craft, and tech geeks take a weekend Web design workshop and call themselves “webmasters”). Our Web site, KIFightingConcepts.com, still isn’t finished nor shall it ever be. We are constantly evolving despite the long run of “masters.”

Developing, maintaining and improving one’s Web site is an enormous task. One of my main objectives for ours is to offer online martial arts training. The challenge has been waiting for technology to catch up with the public’s demands. The public is looking for affordability, availability and high-speed quality. I believe we’ve finally arrived.

Addy and I are now offering online training through our site. The subjects are many and varied. We are teaching kenpo karate, wing chun, Filipino arts (stick and blade), Pentjak silat, tai chi, boxing, weapons, wooden dummy, lock flow, sensitivity drills and grappling. Our intent is to make available the most comprehensive collection of preeminent martial arts training on the Web. We both realize that to complete this task will ultimately take years. However, we already have several hundred downloads available right now. I estimate we’ll have several thousand training choices before we are done. The idea is to show the world our vision of what training martial arts is all about.

Sometimes people ask me if I’m worried that other martial artists will take our “secrets” and call them their own. First, there are no secrets. I once read that to make an apple pie from scratch, you would first have to reinvent the universe.

Addy and I have unique and highly functional training methods that are fun, challenging, practical and thus valuable. We are opening up our art and training methods to the world. We have already made several DVDs with Unique Publications and Paladin Press. Offering downloads is not intended to replace or dismiss our Unique or Paladin DVDs. On the contrary; we believe all our projects, books, articles, DVDs, seminars, camps and now online training are part of an integral tapestry of our life’s work.

Our DVDs are comprehensive presentations of specific arts and training methods. Someone interested in defensive knife training in particular would be advised to purchase the “A Cut Above” DVD from Unique Publications. If someone was interested in Sinawali (double-stick drills) I would suggest getting our “Secrets of Sinawali” from Paladin Press. What is useful about our online training is that once you sign up, you can have both knife and stick training available to you as well as hundreds of other training tips and drills. It just depends on your interest and, of course, your depth of knowledge.

We encourage beginners to high-level black belts to reference our material somewhat as an e-University. Everyone has something to gain. We will also address questions by choosing the most interesting or relevant ones, and creating downloads to represent our answers. We will demonstrate the why’s of our answers in this format. We believe we can show and share the depth of our skills and knowledge. So every week, ask us the tough questions. We’ll pick the best ones and address it right on our site. Addy and I are excited about this aspect of our online training. Come visit us at www.kifightingconcepts.com.

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22
Jan
09

Following a Vision- IKF February 2009

Inside Kung-Fu Magazineikf-feb-2009

February 2009

Vol. 37

Following a vision

By Addy Hernandez

Late last summer, my instructor Joseph Simonet and I had just finished an amazing tai chi session together. I was sitting in the center of our Bagua (the name of one of our training platforms at Wind and Rock) as Joseph went and gathered some organic apricots from one of our trees. He brought them to me without a word as we sat and enjoyed the sweet fruits of our labor. It was one of those moments!

This feeling of wholeness and well-being overtook me. As a cool breeze and warm sun intoxicated my senses, I felt and intuitive vibration of being here in the now. Breaching the silence, I simply said, “Thank you.” Without hesitation Joseph replied, “Don’t thank me, thank Lillian, Lillian Susumi.”

I learned from Joseph that Lillian was one of his earliest tai chi instructors back in the 1980’s. She specialized in tai chi chueh and was the one who introduced Joseph to Gao-fu, his most prolific tai chi teacher. Joseph told me the story of Lillian calling him from several states away, asking permission to come and visit him on her vision quest of enlightenment. Apparently, she was seeking a favorable location to live her art. She felt a need and a calling to reach out to Joseph. A few days later she arrived and visited with Joseph for several days.

During her visit, she had identified several vortexes on Joseph’s property. After a few days rest, she left, never to return.

As Joseph told me this story, once again, I was enveloped in this sense of bliss. “So,” I asked, “Are you telling me that I’m sitting in the center of a vortex?”

Joseph replied, “It’s not that simple; let me explain.”

Joseph proceeded to tell me that he felt his art, “The Art and Science of Mook Jong,” was really very simple. It was really more like the “Art of Intuition.” He summed it up by saying it was all about, “the skill of thinking intuitively” and manifesting it physically through the notion of synchronicity.

Intrigued, I replied, “What is synchronicity?”

Joseph answered, “Synchronicity is a theory from Carl Jung relating to meaningful coincidences. Jung was a student of the I-Ching.” Joseph later confided in me that during Lillian’s visit she had also opened a gate for him. He learned to let go of knowing and began accessing the not knowing – an intuitive synchronicity. Joseph proceeded to tell me that when he built the “Bagua” training platform, he simply let go and filled in the blanks. He had a vision of what the platform was meant to be and followed that vision literally.

However, after designing, building and training on the Bagua, the intuitive, metaphysical, spiritual and historical significance has only now begun to reveal itself. This is where the story gets interesting. Unbeknownst to him, in building his “training platform” Joseph tapped into a 100 million-year-old life form-one of the oldest and most valuable written texts on the planet, all the while creating a giant natural magnet out of earth crystals.

Starting with the “vortex” location that Lillian had sensed, Joseph outlined an octagon shaped with basalt rock columns. Basalt rocks have a strong magnetic property, are hexagonal in shape (six-sided), and are a group of rock formations referred to as metamorphic rock or changes in form. This coincides with the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching (The Book of Changes) and Bagua’s palm changes. At the center of our platform is a brown Moroccan marble yin/yang symbol, which is also a part of the metamorphic rock classification. Captured in the brown marble is a fossil from the cretaceous period (150 million years ago). It’s a nautilus fossil whose species has survived several severe extinction events. Joseph also built an 8-foot waterfall which crashes into rocks and emits negative ions. Negative ions help purify the air, similar to the surrounding trees which create negative ions during photosynthesis. Imbedded in the concrete octagon are the 8 trigrams and the 64 hexagrams of I-Ching. Granite is known for its high level of oxygen composition.

Adding up all these “coincidences,” I realized that when Joseph said Lillian had opened up a gate for him, he truly tapped into a universal matrix of intuitive synchronicity. No wonder I feel an amazing energy when I train on the “Bagua.”

22
Jan
09

Sustained Effort- IKF May 2007

Inside Kung-Fu

“Sustained Effort”

ikf-may-2007By Joseph Simonet

May 2007

Pg 24

Recently, after a vigorous training session at my martial arts gym, a young student of mine (early 20s) asked to talk to me in private. “Well of course,” I replied, “what’s on your mind”?

How do you do it”? He asked.

“Do what?”

“How do you stay so positive, so upbeat and energetic? Here you are twice my age, and you’re fitter, stronger and seemingly happier than me. Oftentimes, I feel like I’m at the end of my rope and you’re always talking about how it’s just the beginning. I feel like I need direction, motivation, hope, something I can hold on to. What’s your secret?”

“Well” I replied, “The simple answer is ‘sustained effort’ and ‘when in doubt, train.’ Through life’s ups and downs, in these uncertain times, training my mind and body has been an enormous foundation that I can stand upon with certainty.”

“No offense sifu, but aren’t you a little old to still be training do hard? I mean seriously, you’re older than my dad and he doesn’t even work out, not like you anyway.”

“No offense taken,” I answered.

I proceeded to explain to the young man that self-doubt has destroyed many people’s lives. Many unfulfilled dreams have been a result of self-doubt and a lack of motivation and discipline. “Keep training,” I said, “no matter how challenging or difficult life seems sometimes.”

Later that evening, I thought about my student and what we had talked about. I was about 20 years old when some old guy (about my age now) explained to me how “it’s such a shame we have to waste our youth on the young.” How ironic. I am now the “old guy” and here I am, caught in a full circle chain of events.

Looking back at my life, I realize I have had to endure several heartaches and trials to get to this point. I feel in love, got married, then divorced. I raised my children into fine adults. I buried my grandparents, buried my father and buried my brother. I became addicted. I got sober. I made money. I lost money. I had moments of triumph and also got my teeth knocked out. I achieved black belt status only to get thrown out of systems by teachers I revered. I have been sued and slandered. I have read books and have authored books. I have traveled the world and back again, and so on.

I have lived over a half-century, only to realize I am just starting to figure things out. Yes, it is only the beginning, and through it all, I have never stopped training my martial arts. Whenever life’s challenges got me down, or dealt me a blow, when joy turned into sadness and doubt, my training kept me on task. I have survived several course corrections, but never have I abandoned ship.

I have been very fortunate to have had many great martial arts teachers and students in my life. Several times in my career I have studied multiple systems at the same time. For instance, in 1976 I was studying goju and hung gar as I was teaching kenpo karate. Sound confusing? I suppose it was, but I was 22 years old and had an insatiable desire to learn. It was the learning, training and discipline that fueled my motivation that kept my life on track. In 1992, I was training pentjak silat, Yang-style tai chi, boxing, and working out with a high school wrestling team all while furthering my development of the “Slam set – The Art and Science of Mook Jong.” Once again, the common thread was sustained effort.

Cross-training with weightlifting has also been a powerful and essential ingredient not only to my martial prowess, but also to my positive state of mind. I started lifting seriously when I was 15. By the age of 16, I could bench press 310 pounds. I was obsessed with lifting. Looking back at my obsession, I now realize that no matter what negativity was coming at me – alcoholic parents, peer pressure, social upheaval (i.e., Vietnam, civil unrest) – weightlifting gave me a sense of control and empowerment. As my poundage increased, so did my confidence and self-worth.

My advice to anyone reading this column is to start training, stay training and encourage others to do the same. Oftentimes, in martial arts as well as life itself, we get bogged down by injury, politics, dissenting opinions and self-doubt. Train diligently; sharpen your skills and open your mind. As a Chinese master once told me, “There are a thousand doors to the same room.” I suggest that hard work, discipline, rigorous martial arts practice, supplemented with cross-training with a lifelong commitment to sustained effort is the key to unlocking your door.

21
Jan
09

The KI to Fighting Supremacy Part 1

Inside Kung-Fu

ikf-june-2005

Interview by Michael Janich

June 2005

Pg 34-39, 95

Joseph Simonet has taken 30 years of conceptual study and turned it into one revolutionary martial arts system.

For years, Joseph Simonet has been one of the best-kept secrets in the American martial arts community. An exceptionally talented practitioner and instructor with high-level ranking in numerous Chinese, Indonesian, and Filipino martial arts, he is best known for his ability to cross-reference and synthesize the common elements of individual arts into universal concepts and physical principles that transcend style.

KI

This universal body of knowledge forms the foundation of his revolutionary KI Fighting Concepts curriculum and its wooden dummy-based, state-of-the-art training methodology, the Art and Science of Mook Jong. In this two-part interview, Simonet explains the method behind his uniquely visionary madness.

INSIDE KUNG-FU: When did you begin your training in martial arts?

JOSEPH SIMONET: I started training in 1972 in Japanese karate. At that time, I as already a competitive power lifter and was looking for other ways to challenge myself physically.

IKF: When did you get involved in kenpo?

JS: I switched to kenpo in 1973 and met Al Tracy in 1975. Although I have studied many different arts since then, I am still associated with Al Tracy and Tracy’s kenpo and am probably the highest-ranked practitioner of that system no teaching that art exclusively.

IKF: What ranks do you hold and in what arts?
JS: I am currently an eighth-degree black belt in Tracy’s kenpo; a fourth-degree in doce pares under Christopher Petrilli; a second degree in eskrido under Cacoy Cañete; a second degree in pentjak silat tongkat serak; and a black-sash level in wing chun gung-fu. I also have an instructor’s certification in Yan style taiji.

IKF: What do you mean “black-sash level” in wing chun?

JS: I’ve trained in both classical wing chun and its non-classical variants for over two decades and had the opportunity to study with some of the best wing chun instructors in the country. I learned the classical wooden dummy set from the great Wang Kiu and ultimately mastered all the skills of the system on my own terms.

IKF: But you never received a formal rank?
JS: I trained with people who had their black sash and could do everything that they could—usually better. That taught me that individual accomplishment is always more important than formal rank or certification. If anyone doubts my skills in wing chun, they are welcome to stop by anytime and “stick” with me.

IKF: What was the significance of each of the arts you studied and how did they give you the tools to develop as a martial artist?
JS: I consider kenpo to be the most complete encyclopedia of physical motion in the martial arts. If you want to catalog a movement, you can find it in kenpo. The Filipino arts taught me the importance of flow and the fact that spontaneous application is more important than rote technique. Through wing chun I developed an in-depth understanding of physical structure and the advantages of skeletal alignment over muscular strength. Silat taught me forward enerfy, taking an opponent’s space, and the secrets of body leverage and angles in throwing. And from taijiquan I learned the power of fluidity and relaxed movement.

IKF: Which arts were the most revolutionary to your development as a martial artist?

JS: At the time, every one of them was revolutionary to me, because I immersed myself completely in that art while I was studying it. I wanted to make sure that I understood the totality of the art in its pure form first. Then, I stepped back and looked at the art with a critical eye to draw the best elements and concepts from it.

IKF: Which arts were least beneficial?

JS: I have learned something from every art I’ve studied—even if it was what not to do. Once you discover that, you reverse-engineer your training to focus on the stuff that does work.

IKF: What is KI Fighting Concepts?

JS: The KI in KI Fighting Concepts stands for “karate innovations.” I founded it in 1979 as a hybrid system designed to fill in some of the blanks that I found in kenpo, but it’s grown far beyond that. The way I see it, every martial art presents a specific model. Although every model works fairly well at a basic level, the more I challenged them, the more their limitations became apparent and the models broke down. To fix them, you have to look outside the model and draw from something else.

Over time, what began as a hybrid system of kenpo has become and eclectic blend of pre-eminent martial arts systems, unified at the conceptual level. The development of KI Fighting Concepts has also paralleled my personal development in the arts, filling in the blanks in the totality of my own training, knowledge, understanding, and training methodology.

IKF: So KI Fighting Concepts follows the model of “absorbing what is useful?”

JS: Absorbing what is useful is a nice start, but more important that that is extracting what is essential. A “useful” skill set that doesn’t include the really critical skills that you need to fight well is a guaranteed way of getting your butt kicked. It’s like having a survival kit full of “useful” items that doesn’t include matches or some other way of making a fire. Without that essential element, you die.

IKF: There are a lot of styles and systems out there that claim to have extracted the best of all the arts. How is KI Fighting Concepts different?

JS: Most people who claim to have created eclectic systems have done nothing to integrate their arts at a fundamental level. If you duct tape a wrench and a screwdriver together, you haven’t invented anything. By the same token, duct taping a bunch of tae kwon do techniques onto jiu-jitsu ground skills doesn’t produce an integrated fighting art.

The “concept” in KI Fighting Concepts reflects the fact that it is a synthesis based on total integration of the component parts, not just a buffet line of different martial arts techniques. So many styles are actually defined by the minute difference that set them apart instead of the 99 percent of the content that makes them similar. That’s ridiculous.

By understanding the core concepts and mechanics that are common to all systems, you can achieve total integration at the foundation of the art and flow to any technique you choose. This approach also helps you appreciate various styles for what they contribute to the whole, rather than blowing them off because “their stance are wider than our stances.”

IKF: You’ve got some pretty impressive martial arts credentials, but what qualifies you to create your own martial art?

JS: After 30 years of training, six black belts, and years of seeking the truth from other people, I decided that I was qualified. Who told Yim Wing Chun, Mas Oyama, Morehei Uyeshiba or any other founder of a martial art that they were qualified? Nobody. Because of all the tradition and ritual that surrounds the martial arts we forget that men developed all arts. In most cases, they were developed to overcome the shortcomings of the systems they already had, which were also developed by men. Well, the same thing applies today.

It amazes me that when it comes to every other field of human endeavor—science, medicine, technology, education—we constantly strive for progress. But when it comes to martial arts, most people are convinced that someone else figured it all out and created the ultimate fighting art hundreds of years ago. I don’t think so.

If I have the knowledge, the skills, and the insight to create a superior system, I’m not going to hold back because it’s not traditional. The telegraph was a great invention, but I don’t see anyone trading in his cell phones for one.

IKF: So you no longer see much value in the traditional martial arts?

JS: All living things are evolving, dormant, or dying. When viewed in this way, most traditional arts are at best either dormant or dying. As cultural experience, as a form of fitness, or as an off-the-shelf basic self-defense, they’re fine. But as a state-of-the-art fighting system, no art that values tradition above function is worth betting your life on.

IKF: What about the instructors who claim to have adapted their traditional arts to the needs of modern self-defense?

JS: If they’re still restricted by the limitations of their tradition, they’re going to come up short. Training in traditional martial arts is like restoring an old car. You bust your butt for years to get everything to look exactly like the original. But when you’re done, you’ve still only got a 1973 Pinto. Granted, it’s a beautiful, historically accurate Pinto, but it’s still a Pinto.

IKF: Do you consider yourself in the same league as people like Mas Oyama, Ed Parker or the founders of other well known systems?

JS: That’s not for me to judge, but that’s certainly my goal. They were great men and great martial artists because they started with the martial tradition that they learned and continued to analyze, innovate, and build upon it. That tradition—a legacy of innovation and progress—is what I really value.

If you think about it, the biggest difference between me and the founders of other arts is that I’m still alive. As strange as it may sound, in the traditional arts, being dead is a great qualification. Your followers will spend years interpreting and re-interpreting everything you said or wrote like your grocery list somehow holds the key to martial enlightenment. I’m here to answer questions and provide guidance to my students now. I’m also continuing to grow and learn along with them.

IKF: What has been your most satisfying experience or accomplishment in the martial arts?

JS: Realizing that I was in control of my own destiny and didn’t need validation from anyone else.

IKF: What has been the most frustrating?

JS: Waiting so long to realize it.

(In part two, Simonet explains his fighting philosophy, the role of wooden dummy training in the quest for personal martial excellence, and his plans for the future.)