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 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons

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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:34 am

Ng Family Fighters,

Hi, guys. For the last seven or eight years I have focused almost exclusively on practicing Baguazhang. I love the style and I feel that I have made respectable progress as an exponent of our family system. However, lately I have been thinking about "the good old days" when I was a kid learning Shaolin Five Animals, Monkey Boxing, and Drunken Style in Sifu's garage.

For those that never got to see it, that place was awesome. If you were looking for a flashy martial arts school, it left a lot to be desired. But, if you were looking for a place where a few guys got together and trained like a bunch of hardcore maniacs, it was your Mecca. It had no insulation or climate control, so it was sweltering hot in the summers. Going outside to throw up was a regular occurrence. It was also sweltering hot in the winters because Sifu had what can only be described as a jet engine that he sat in the corner. When he turned it on, it generally shot a flame across the room before settling down and just making it unbearably hot inside the garage. There was one window that didn't open, but a nice cool breeze could be felt if you got the spot right next to it, which was a privelege that you had to fight for. I didn't get to work out there at all for the first few years. Additionally, there were monstrous hills and a nice forest all around the property that Sifu utilized to torture us and make us warriors. The floor was straight concrete, with no padding other than a piece of carpet that Sifu taped down with duct tape. We sparred, threw each other, grappled, and basically beat the stuffing out of each other on that concrete. We also trained to fight with the traditional weapons, and I still have a slight scar on my calf where I got skewered with a Dragon Spear by one of my brothers. It's amazing we didn't kill each other.

In retrospect, I can see that this was the training that made me into the kind of person that I am today. Sifu forced me to give everything 110%. He also set expectations that I couldn't meet in the short term and I became innoculated to failure. So, today, whenever I fail at something, I usually don't care as long as I know that I applied myself to the best of my ability. And the possibility that I might fail never stops me from attacking a challenge.

Thoughout most of that first six or seven years, I was working on Monkey Boxing. It was supposed to be the system that I was going to master. I earned a 4th degree black sash in our family Houquan. Then, when I was eighteen, I was in a bad car wreck, was hurt for a good while, and got kind of fat, too, to be honest. Coincidentally, right after that, Master Rick decided that he was going to start teaching his Baguazhang. I couldn't practice my Monkey Boxing given my injuries and being out-of-shape at the same time, so I switched to Baguazhang and ended up completing that system instead.

Perhaps I'm having an early mid-life crisis, but for the last couple of months I haven't been able to shake the idea of going back to my Monkey Boxing, training it, and maybe even one day testing with Sifu and Sijo for that master instructor's rank I wasn't able to finish before. To do this would require a colossal amount of work on my part, because I can honestly say that I haven't done the complete Houquan training exercises in probably nine years. They are very style specific, and my baguazhang training, while being beneficial in the big picture, does not address these types of exercises. It will be like starting at the beginning again.

So, I decided that since I am starting at the beginning, and I don't have any students right now, I am going to blog my training right here. Not only am I going to blog it, but I am going to explain it as well. So, theoretically, if any of you guys out there wanted to learn the basics of Monkey Boxing training, you should be able to pick it up by reading my posts. I figure it will take me at least a year to work my way back through all of the basics--conditioning, falls, rolls, basic strikes, basic kicks, blocks, Houquan footwork, and qigong.

Between now and New Year's, I'm going to be focusing on the Houquan Daoyin, the Monkey God's Yoga. To be completely honest, I can't remember all of the postures anymore off the top of my head. Fortunately, I have extensive notes and one home video that I will be relying on to help my memory. My idea is to try to blog my yoga workout each day. Along with the workout blog, I plan to explain one posture each day, and should have completed the entire series before the first of the year, even assuming that I miss a couple of days here and there. After the first of the year, if I'm where I want to be with the Monkey God's yoga, then I will move into the conditioning exercises and blog them the same way.

This is entirely a vanity project and I'm doing it for my own benefit. Nevertheless, feel free to comment or ask questions. If you find any of this info interesting/useful, that's awesome. If you couldn't possibly care less, then why did you keep reading this long? I mean, damn, that's a lot of text up there.

The blog starts tomorrow.

Shane (12-07-2009)

P.S. Jeff, please print a copy of this post and take it to Sifu for me. I'd like him to know what I'm up to seeing as how this is his Monkey Boxing system. Thanks, brother.
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Day 1 - Yoga   Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:56 pm

I was able to practice the complete series today after about half an hour of reviewing my notes. There is one posture that I can't even begin to do correctly anymore. Unfortunately, I am expected to get my Christmas tree put up tonight, so I don't have time to post more. More detailed post tomorrow, hopefully.

Shane (12-08-2009)
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Day 2   Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:59 pm

Completed another round of the yogic exericises.

My understanding of these exercises is limited. Actually, it's the next to last thing I learned in Monkey Boxing and I don't feel that I ever practiced it to a high level. I learned it after I had already started training Baguazhang, probably about four or five years ago and I was spending too much time on our Bagua to really give this the attention it warrants. Some of the exercises don't seem to be purely Monkey related. I suspect they crept in from the Kundalini yoga that Dr. Ng also taught, but I don't know this to be fact. Some of the exercises are purely functional, doing exactly what they seem to do: stretch out the body. Some have meditative qualities. Some are strengthening postures. These are separate from the Monkey style's qigong routine, which is the last thing I learned in our Monkey system.

So, I'll explain the first simple posture that I work on.

Start in a high horse stance. Feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. You should be sung just as if you were practicing standing meditation. Your hands are down by your side. Breathe in, and visualize your dan tien becoming full and warm. On the exhalation, lean back, maintain your relaxation, and raise your hands over your head, palm up. The hands make a half circle as they move from your sides to above your head. So, since you're leaning back, your arms end up almost horizontal behind you. Now, while you're exhaling, visualize, or try to create the sensation, that the energy from your dan tien is moving to your palms and making them warm and full. On the inhale, reverse the movement, and visualize your breath as energy filling the dan tien again. Return to your original position. Repeat as desired, ten times or so. This exercise is paired w/ the second posture and you can practice them as a single exercise.

Shane (12-09-2009)
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Jeff

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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:02 am

Brother,
This will be interesting to read, and I hope you are able to accomplish what you are seeking. I'll print off the post and show it to our teacher by this weekend.

Quick Question; Other than finishing what you started years ago, what else are your main reasons for going back and training the Monkey Boxing system?

If any thing else, your overall body endurance and condititioning will be phenominal, because in my opninion, Monkey style training is hardcore and seems to develop muscles that many people don't actually feel until they start the training routine. The memories I have from some of the classes with teacher and Scotty were brutal on my lower body! My legs would feel like noodles for a few days afterwards.

Hope all goes well and I can't wait to read more.

Thanks,
-Jeff
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Day 3   Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:09 am

Shi Di,

Actually, finishing what I started isn't really a motivating factor for me. It WOULD be awesome, but I don't think it can happen. I live over 700 miles from Sifu, and, besides that, I have years of work to do before I would even be in a position to advance further into the system. I'm more motivated by the idea of our heritage. Monkey Boxing is a huge piece of our family style, and has been for at minimum three generations before me. I want to continue that tradition. Also, it's a lot of fun to practice and I just miss doing it.

I did most of the yoga exercises today, but skipped a few of the postures so that I could throw some shadow boxing combinations. They were slow and clumsy feeling, to be honest, but I expected that given how long it's been.

The second posture is very similar to the first one. Starts the same. Breathing is the same. Visualization is the same. The difference is that, on the exhale, you lean forward instead of backwards, and your hands go down as if they were going to touch the ground, palms facing down. Keep the lower back loose and relaxed. If you feel especially uncomfortable doing this, you can hold the posture for awhile and visualize the tight areas of the back became warm and soft. It will help relax the muscles so you can stretch them more comfortably.

Shane (12-10-2009)
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eric

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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Fri Dec 11, 2009 5:12 pm

Hey Shane,
Been a long time. Thank you for posting your training routine. I find the reading very interesting and look forward to maybe trying some of the exercises. Of course I would be fooling myself to think I could ever do Monkey or ever be good at it with the combination of age and wear and tear on my body at this time (God it would be great to be 18 again) but I did email people in our class, 2 of them like doing Monkey, about your blogging so they should be following it. I'm going to follow it, if just to pick up some good info. Thank you for sharing with all of us.
Eric
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Fri Dec 11, 2009 7:57 pm

Eric,

Hey, buddy, good to hear from you. You should be able to try most of the things I'm going to be posting here. As of now, I'm only looking at keeping up the blog for the first year, while I work my way back through the basic training exercises. After that, if I make the progress I'm hoping for, then I will start getting into combat drills and intermediate training. That stuff is just too complicated for me to try explaining with just text, so I figure at least the explanatory portion of this blog will end at that time. Anyway, the stuff that I'll be working on, the basics, are things that most people will be able to do. Even if you're really heavy or have bad knees, you can do modified versions of a lot of these things.

Anywho, I take Fridays off from training to hang out with Jessica, watch movies, and play video games, so no training today, except for 2 X through the first Monkey Fist form when I first got home for work, just because I had a few minutes and I felt like doing it.

I'll get back with you guys tomorrow.

Shane (12-11-2009)
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Sun Dec 13, 2009 1:01 am

Hi, folks,

Unfortunately, I didn't get to work out today. I had an adventure instead! Actually, I'm just stupid. It's been raining hard for a few days here, and there's flooding all around the city. Nevertheless, I tried to make a trip to the store this evening and ended up stranded about half a mile from my house, hahaha. I spent my evening walking around side streets in the rain trying to work out a route back to my house around the flooding, which I finally accomplished. I was one of many people doing this exact same thing. The elevated median of the major road near my place looked like an island, with lots of people standing around with their stranded vehicles.

Good times!!

Shane (12-12-2009)
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Mon Dec 14, 2009 12:02 am

Hi, guys,

I spent most of the day Christmas shopping with Jessica, but I got in one round of yoga just now. Getting ready to watch a Christmas movie.

Another posutre: We do the plow posture. This is one of the postures that I suspect crept in from Kundalini, but I have no reason to believe this other than my own limited experience with both styles of yoga. Our plow is pretty much the same as everybody else's that I've seen. The only variation that we have is that after you have practiced it for a considerable length of time and your back is very loose (usually at least a few months, sometimes much longer) then you can spread your legs and drop your knees all the way to the floor. Your knees will basically be sitting next to your ears on the ground, and your shins & feet will be flat on the ground above your head. Because I am big, I have trouble breathing well in this posture, so I never got to that point. I can do the standard version, though, with no trouble.

I was not taught any special visualizations with this exercise other than the standard breathing to the dan tian common to most daoyin exercises.

Shane (12-13-2009)
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lau wan fung



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PostSubject: lau wan fung golden monkey   Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:10 pm

[b][left]shane, me hou , me hou ma, ma shou fung hou...go back now and read the CIRCLE OF DESTRUCTION article again. also, my golden monkey book for training and combat is finished. may the dragon always guide your feet along the path, as the pheonix shines his light through your eyes to illuminate your next footfall. god bless, lau wan fung.
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Thu Dec 17, 2009 6:45 pm

Hi, team,

I took a couple of days off from posting because I was still waiting for Sifu's blessing. Now that I know I have it, I'll continue.

Tuesday I did the yogic exercises. I should maybe note that I usually warm up by running through my favorite parts of different Monkey forms for a bit. I also do several standard type kung fu stretches before I get started.

Wednesday, I didn't get to practice because I picked up an extra night shift.

Okay, another posture. This one is similar to the standard Child Worships the Buddha stance training exercise that you see in a lot of Shaolin styles. It's not called that, though. Differences: Instead of practicing at standing height, you are down in a squat. So, the crossed leg is therefore at about stomach height. Grab the foot of the crossed leg with both of your hands and pull on it some to intensify the stretch. It goes without saying that you shouldn't, you know, tear it off or anything. Just use enough strength to make your stretch better.

Shane (12-17-2009)
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:02 am

As usual, it being Friday, I didn't do much today. I did watch A Miracle on 34th Street for the first time (Yes, everyone has told me they can't believe I haven't seen it for years and no, I don't feel like my life is substantially richer now that I have seen it, but it was a nice movie). I'm still an It's a Wonderful Life fan. Jimmy Stewart is the man.

Just wanted to note today that I'm not typing these postures out in the order that I actually do them and I'll tell you why: because it's easier for me this way. Thus far, I have been blogging the postures that are either a) simple or, b) easily described by some famous posture that I can reference. I'm going to run out of those soon, though. I think there are only three more postures that are really easy for me to describe and then I'll have to get a little more thorough in my descriptions. You will also be seeing more direct application to monkey boxing maneuvers as I get into the style specific exercises.

Shane (12-18-2009)
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:39 pm

Ng Family,

So, I got a little carried away today. I did basic stretches and just a couple of monkey specific yogic exercises and then I had delusions of grandeur. I decided that my muscles were good and loose and that I wasn't as out of shape as I thought. And then I did advanced monkey style leg training. And now I know for certain that I am exactly as out of shape as I though.

OWWW!!

Shane (12-20-2009)
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Mon Dec 21, 2009 9:01 pm

Ng Family,

Hardcore stretching today trying to work out the kinks from yesterday.

Another few postures (doing a couple at a time to try to catch up the blog):

1. Butterfly posture. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet pressed flat to one another and pulled in towards your groin. Grab the tops of your feet with both hands and use your elbows to press your knees towards the floor. When you start to loosen up, start trying to bend and press your forehead to your feet.

2. Full Lotus. If you don't know what full lotus is, you should be able to find it easily enough on the net. Incidentally, I also do half lotus on both sides as part of my standard stretches.

3. Follow-up to the Full Lotus - Okay, plant your palms flat on the ground in front of you while still in Full Lotus. Start walking them forward. Maintain the Full Lotus position and come up onto your knees. Walk all the way through until you are face down in the push up position, legs still in Full Lotus. Stretch out as if you were doing a Cobra stretch. Now walk w/ your hands back into standard Full Lotus. Fini. (If you don't know what a Cobra stretch is, it should also be readily accessible online.)

Shane (12-21-2009)
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Jeff

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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:59 pm

ngstyleshane wrote:
Ng Family,

So, I got a little carried away today. I did basic stretches and just a couple of monkey specific yogic exercises and then I had delusions of grandeur. I decided that my muscles were good and loose and that I wasn't as out of shape as I thought. And then I did advanced monkey style leg training. And now I know for certain that I am exactly as out of shape as I though.

OWWW!!

Shane (12-20-2009)


At least you took the leap forward and made the effort. Domino effect brother, Domino effect!

-Jeff
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Sat Dec 26, 2009 10:34 pm

Merry Christmas, all!

Just a quick note from my brother-in-law's to let you all know I haven't given up on the blog. I've just been on vacation. I passed through Kentucky and had a chance to hang out w/ Jeff spend a bit of time talking w/ Master Rick (never as much time as I would like), and have the traditional 1:00 a.m. holiday training w/ Quentin. Good times!!

Shane (12-26-2009)
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ngstyleshane



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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:16 pm

Hi, Team,

Okay, I slacked a bit over Christmas, but still managed to train all but two days.

Yet another posture. So, start in a low, long bow stance. You can do this by itself for awhile if you are a newb and need to stretch out and strengthen your legs for this posture. Your back has to be kind of loose for the next part. So, if you're in a left leg forward bow, twist your torso to the right, being careful to work the kua during the twist so that you're not putting stress on your knees. Bend at the waist as best you can while maintaining a good bow stance. Take your left arm and run it behind your left leg and hug your leg w/ both arms, pulling to increase your stretch. Do both sides.

Shane (12-30-2009)
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Sun Jan 03, 2010 10:37 pm

The holidays definitely slowed down the blog more than I anticipated. I'm not really that concerned about it, only slightly worried that it might be annoying for anyone who might be reading this. Anyway, still working on my Monkey yoga. Yesterday I only did a brief stretch and then went for a run because I didn't run at all for the two weeks before that during the holidays. Didn't want to put it off anymore. Tonight I'm planning to do a good stretch and then throw a lot of combinations.

I'll try to type up two or three more postures tomorrow.

Shane (01-03-2010)
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Mon Jan 04, 2010 10:53 pm

LOL, no worries brother.

Holidays seem to do that to a lot of people. Seems like everytime a cluster of holidays come together, it gets harder for me to get "my stuff" done due to family and ect, etc.

Talk to you soon.
-Jeff
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Mon Jan 04, 2010 11:03 pm

Had a good workout today. Long stretching period, followed by a lot of Monkey stancework and then I did something I used to do back in the day, but that I had forgotten about. I went through several of my Five Animals forms, but I replaced all the footwork w/ Monkey Boxing footwork. It's a fun training exercise when you're a newb and don't know any Monkey forms (like I used to be) or when you're out of shape and your body isn't ready to let you do a full-speed Drunken Monkey blitz (like I am now).

Okay, let me throw up a few postures here and try to get close to caught up. I'll do another sequence.

This whole series can actually be done as a continuation of the 3 postures I posted on 12-22-2009.

1. So, you just returned to the standard Full Lotus position. Place the palms of your hands on the ground at your sides and pick yourself up by flexing your arms pressing down w/ your shoulders so that you are raised off the ground, supporting yourself w/ just the palms of your hands. Now w/o falling down or touching the floor, uncross your legs and stick them straight out. Hold that posture and rock a little bit from side to side w/o losing your balance or falling down.

2. Now, the insanely hard part, at least for me. Still without touching the ground, pull your legs in to your chest, as if you were doing a sit up, but your back stays vertical. Your feet may be close to touching the ground. Now, I don't know how well I can describe this. Roll your upper body froward, pulling your hips back, and letting your legs come underneath you, hopefully w/o touching the ground. When your legs pass all the way underneath your torso, extend them up and let your upperbody rest down into a handstand.

3. Reverse #2 so that you end up back w/ just your palms and the ground and your body making an "L" shape, exactly how you finished #1.

I will freely admit that some days I cannot do #2 and I haven't been able to do #3 for years. Hopefully I get it back. As inspiration, however, I do have a home video of my long-lost brother, Master Scotty Hagan, doing almost the complete series of postures and he can do this sequence like a champ.

Shane (01-04-2010)
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Tue Jan 12, 2010 9:05 pm

Hello, brothers and sisters,

Sorry about the long breaks between posts the last couple of weeks. Multiple issues contributed, including extra work hours, a broken splitter on my internet cable, and also just not getting around to it.

Still working on my Monkey Boxing. I'm going to post a quick posture or two today, and later this week I'm going to try to finish up w/ the yoga and move on to the training methods.

Another posture: We do a modified form of the Half Lotus posture. Basically, start w/ a Half Lotus posture. Then, whichever leg is bent in (as opposed to the leg you're keeping straight) pick it up and try to touch that foot to your chest by hugging that foot w/ both hands. You'll end up w/ the foot tucked into the elbow of the opposite arm. Also, while doing this posture, you'll feel your joints separate a little bit. As long as it's not painful, this is not a problem.

Shane (01-12-2010)
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Thu Jan 14, 2010 12:43 am

I just want to say thanks again Shane for posting your workout. This is alot of great info!
Eric
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Sun Jan 24, 2010 10:43 pm

Hey everyone, I just talked with Shane today.

He's still alive and kickin', there was just a Hannah Montanna convention in his local area and he...haha, just playing. He has had problems with his computer and isn't currently able to get online or anything.

Once he's got the comp figured out or goes and pays for a new one (either or) he said he'll get back on track of posting the information.

Take care everyone,
-Jeff

PS: Brother, sorry bout' the convention thing, lol couldn't help myself. I know better!
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Mon Feb 15, 2010 6:29 pm

A Hannah Montana Convention? Really? My God.

Well, I'm back. My computer was not salvageable, unfortunately, so I was offline for awhile. I didn't realize how much time I spend just poking around on the internet until I couldn't do it anymore. It was a real eye-opener. I actually got a lot of stuff done, hahaha.

Anyway, I'm going to deliver on that promised post to finish off the Monkey Yoga before moving on to foundation training. It will probably be Thursday before I get it done. As you are probably aware, it is Mardi Gras, and we take that pretty seriously in the Big Easy so I'm off work and I plan on doing a lot of celebrating the next couple of days.

Shane
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PostSubject: Re: 2010 Monkey Fist Blog/Lessons   Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:37 pm

Good to see ya back online man. Have fun celebrating! Between the super bowl and mardi gras, all of you should have a great time!

-Jeff
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