Tuesday, December 18, 2018

The Difference Between KARATE and KUNG FU

A karate student wearing a karategi
A karate student wearing a karategi 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For many people, especially those who are not familiar with martial arts, the question often arises on what the difference between karate and kung fu is.  Upon watching somebody doing martial arts, the untrained eye will find it hard to tell whether that person is doing karate or kung fu.  Even those who are beginning martial arts may sometimes be confused about the different styles until further exposure to them will reveal just how different they really are.

Historically, the people living in the islands of Okinawa just south of Japan got exposed to Chinese kung fu martial arts due to the close proximity to China.  Over time, the Okinawans and Japanese developed their own styles of martial arts now known as karate from the original influence of Chinese kung fu.  Although both karate and kung fu utilize many similar martial arts techniques, most kung fu styles will usually have more variety of techniques compared to karate systems.  It’s almost like the Japanese streamlined the number of techniques from Chinese systems to develop karate.  The Japanese also modified the way techniques are executed in karate as they became more linear compared to kung fu.  This is especially evident in the forms or katas (traditional sequence of set moves) where karate techniques are performed with crisp movements that have distinct stop and go motions.  

In kung fu forms, movements involve the use of more circular techniques, particularly with the hands.  These circular motions give kung fu forms a more visually graceful look as techniques seem to flow from one to another.  There is less stop and go with most kung fu styles.  This is why some martial artists, especially in North America, often refer to Chinese kung fu as ‘soft’ styles while karate and tae kwon do are ‘hard’ styles.  This is not to say that hard styles such as karate or tae kwon do are more powerful martial arts than kung fu and other soft styles.  The term ‘soft’ is a bit misleading because the power from circular kung fu moves is often hidden.  Circular moves can generate just as much power as linear ones found in hard styles.   Most kung fu forms are also usually more complex and longer in duration than most karate forms.   To most martial artists, a kung fu form will look much more exotic while a karate form will look more straightforward in terms of martial arts techniques.  Interestingly enough, there are karate styles such as Goju which do have quite a lot of circular techniques similar to kung fu.  Kempo styles are considered a hybrid of Chinese kung fu and Okinawan karate techniques with both circular as well as linear techniques.  There are also many more different styles of kung fu compared to karate.  

A shaolin student doing a kung fu moves. Shaol...
A Shaolin student doing a kung-fu moves.
(Photo credit: 
Martial arts weaponry is found in both kung fu and karate styles but different sets of weapons are utilized in each martial arts system.   Much like the empty hand forms, the kata with karate weapons is also more linear compared to those with kung fu weapons which have more circular movements.  As expected, there is a lot more variety of different Chinese kung fu weapons than found in the Japanese karate styles.
Traditionally, practitioners of karate wear a white uniform called a gi which features the overlapping kimono-like top.  Less traditional schools like those in North America will allow colored uniforms.  A colored belt will be the finishing touch to the gi with of course the black belt for those at instructor level ranking.  Most of the time and especially inside a dojo studio, karate stylists will not wear any shoes while training.  Most kung fu stylists will wear a very different looking uniform.  Kung fu uniforms usually consist of tops with Chinese ‘frog-style’ buttons rather than overlapping fronts like the karate gi top.  The uniforms can be black or a variety of colors with often lighter fabrics such as satin and shoes are commonly worn.  The modern acrobatic Chinese martial arts of wushu can feature satin uniforms with many different bright colors.  Many kung fu schools simply utilize t-shirts and baggy pants as uniforms.  Satin colored sashes are often worn to signify rank of students but this is actually more of a North American style as most kung fu schools in Asia do not show rankings in uniforms.

Overall, there’s more variety of techniques, styles, weapons, and uniforms found in the Chinese kung fu systems compared to karate.  However, that is not to say that one system or style of martial art is superior to another.  They are just different and to the observer, it could come down to personal preference.  Some prefer kung fu and some prefer karate.  Some ambitious martial artists who desire a full well-rounded education practice both kung fu and karate.

Monday, December 17, 2018

HYPNOSIS - Does It Really Work?

The mental state of highway hypnosis can occur...
The mental state of highway hypnosis can occur on highways like this one.
(Photo credit: 
Hypnosis 101 - Can Hypnosis Bring in A Change In Your Life?

Hypnosis - A appealing yet misconceived topic for the majority of people. There are over and over again lots of misconceptions as to how the process actually works. How can we actually use this tool to build an unfeigned amendment in our lives? What makes it a viable healing tool?

If you think for a minute back to when you had your last setback or dilemma- what state was your mind in at the time? I can hazard a guess that it may have been racing, muddled or trapped. When our minds are in conflict it is complicated to see a new perspective and find a solution. In this panic state, we tend to forget that there is always a solution to any predicament, even though it can seem sorrowful at that moment. In spite of this, these daily dilemmas build up in our minds until we feel so much stress that even tiny things seem overwhelmingly insurmountable. When you adopt a relaxed state of mind, you are able to manage any problem with ease. No matter the challenge, you can face it rationally and systematically.

Over time we assemble imprints into our mind that have effects on our thoughts, routine, and choices we make. The result is chronic stress. Stress leads to poor, self-destructive habits... Continually making poor choices can lead to low self-esteem and loss of respect for ourselves. Who do we blame when things don't work out? The first target is frequently ourselves. We make ambitious plans for change only to beat ourselves up for not being perfect.

Hypnosis suspends the harsh judgments we make on ourselves. Under the state of hypnosis, we can begin to comprehend the patterns of our lives emerge from a detached position. Thus, enabling us to free ourselves from the grip of them.

How does the subconscious mind control and mould our every day lives?

The subconscious mind stores all of your past experiences, responses, everything that has ever happened to you, even if you do not have a conscious recollection of it. It is like a large storeroom of your past. It also reins our bodily functions: breathing, heart rate, digestion and body temperature.

Hypnosis takes us to a detached state of mind. In this state, the conscious mind can take a breather from the never-ending "noise" of our mind. The incessant jabber that goes on in our heads. Our brain waves transform into the alpha state. They slow down equivalent to when we are just about to fall asleep at night. At that time, we have permitted our body and mind to slow down. The mind reaches a heightened state of focus and clarity. Each person occurrence of the hypnotic process will be altered.

One issue that is for certain is that peoples expectation of the process is a major factor in creating an ideal space for change. The key is the persons' willingness and capacity to cede to something novel. Through the hypnotic process, there is an opportunity to study the deeper aspects of you and unlearn ingrained habits for a far more encouraging outcome.

A hypnotherapist acts as a catalyst for change but in essence, the transformation comes from within the client. All hypnosis is self-hypnosis. Hypnosis takes place where there is a move in the state of mind. This shift in the mental state brings the ultimate space for releasing of limiting thoughts. Despite there being much misconception and puzzlement about hypnosis, it can be a truly vigorous tool to create change in your life.

Sunday, December 16, 2018


English: Brain structures involved in dealing ...
Brain structures involved in dealing with stress and fear. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Growing older and learning from your mistakes is a clear sign that our brain is improving. The brain will improve as we learn. In return, it helps us to live a better life. We live longer and learn new skills that help us to develop a healthier way of living. 

Our brain has learned a lot from our younger days. All those skills you accomplished made the brain stay healthy. Remember practice makes perfect and as we grow older the more practice we get. The more we learn the quality of talking grows and improves even more. We need to learn how to manage stress too because stress will damage the circuit in your brain.

As you grow you, become wiser. The challenges and opportunities along with making a decision were all improving the brain. Be positive on life and ready for new challenges.

The brain works by increasing knowledge and it builds the connecting elements in the brain that make us function well. You’re never too old to learn something new.

As you grow older, keep your connection with your family and friends. The more we stay in contact with our family and friends we are keeping our mental sharpness working. You can learn from them and it will help to maintain your mental sharpness each day that goes by.

Your diet is very important to keep the brain healthy, as we grow older. Eat as many colorful fruits and leafy vegetables as you can. Vegetables are known to help your brain to perform and become better. If vegetables can help prevent cancer, it has to be good for the brain as well.

Fruits and vegetable are full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals along with being low in fat and calories.  Antioxidants have proven to benefit us since it contains Vitamins known to reduce death or damaged cells. Eat those blueberries the color is known to improve short-term memory.

Very few doctors disapprove of taking multivitamins and herb supplements.  As we get older, our diets change by eating less just is careful and make sure that your dosage isn’t going to react to your medications.  Vitamins are good to take to replace what you don’t get in your diet but first consult with your physician to make sure you're taking what you need.

Stress busters: 
Stress can take over our lives making it harmful to your bodies and brain as well. There isn’t any way a person can relieve all stress but we can decide what can be eliminated and concentrate on what you can do to relieve the rest by bringing pleasure to yourself.  It is very important that you don’t let stress take over your life. Stress causes depression easier as we grow older.

The brain releases stress hormones to help to use manage some stress but if too many hormones are released it can damage the nerve cells. Depression can set in if the hormones are released too much and fast.

Relieve those stressful elements that cause you misery: 
Relieving stress isn’t easy for anyone. You have to forget about the things you have no control over and fix the ones you do. Try taking a walk or do some kind of activity to relax that brain not stress it. Putting some fun into your life and make yourself happy again.

Sometimes it takes a while to make changes in your life, as we grow older to fit your health and needs. Changes are hard to do and it sometimes becomes a challenge but in the end, it will relieve stress and improve the brain by giving it a new learning experience.

Friday, December 14, 2018

How To Fight Back Against DEPRESSION

I am one of those people who can easily slip into a very negative state of mind. The slightest knockback or problem can lead to a cloud of doom descending over me, a cloud which I find hard to push away and remove. This article looks at ways in which we can fight back, to quickly get us back into a happy mode.

I used to be quite a fragile character, some would say that I was even scared of my own shadow. I was always paranoid that people were talking about me and laughing behind my back. 

Even though my parents are superb, I was not a happy child or a happy teenager. I am so unlucky you see or so I thought. I walked around as if the world owed me something and would often feel very sorry for myself. I was bullied at school, it was more mental bullying rather than anything physical. I am sure that most people also get bullied and deal with it. It would leave me in a state of panic and depression. Looking back I have to say I was a bit of a wimp in reality.

I decided that enough was enough by my mid-twenties and decided it was time to toughen up. I could not continue to live my life as I had been, as I would probably be dead by the time I was fifty. 

I then went about a self-help program to increase my overall self-confidence and self-esteem. I wanted to learn more about stress management, dealing with depression, relaxation and about how to become successful in life.

What I found out over the next twelve to eighteen months would change my life forever. 

These are the things I had to do:
I had to stop feeling sorry for myself. Yes I am not perfect but who is.

I had to think in a more positive way.

I had to stop worrying about the future.

I had to stop caring what other people thought of me.

I needed to smile more.

I needed to learn to relax. I now use meditation for this purpose. 

I had to learn to like myself.
I needed to become stronger to fight away the negative thoughts in my head.
I needed to appreciate what I did have in life, rather than concentrating on what I had not.
I started to implement the above and it helped me no end. That horrible cloud of doom, still descended, however, around once a month. When it does descend, I now write two lists. What I am happy about in life and what I am sad or worrying about. I then analyse both lists and more times than not, I am actually over-reacting.

In conclusion, life is a battle. There are good times and bad. We need to become strong and learn to think in a more positive way. We have to fight back against people who bully us and against the voices in our head who are trying to make us panic. This is not easy, however with determination people are able to turn their life around just like I have.

I used to feel anger towards the people who bullied me at school. I now feel sorry for them. They are the bad apples and I pray for them. I pray that God will one day make them pure.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Harmonizing with FENG SHUI

Ba_Gua_black-and-white (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Perhaps one of the oldest forms of geomancy in the world is Feng shui which originated from China more than 3500 years ago. This ancient practice is literally translated as wind and water and is based on the belief that life can be greatly improved with the help of Qi or energy flow. This Qi can be produced by achieving balance or harmony through the use of the laws of heaven, which pertains to the study of astronomy and earth, which is associated with the study of geography. 

The purpose of the application of this practice is to locate that Qi or that vital energy in your surroundings by creating balance and harmony around you. Here are some Feng shui theories that can give you a better grasp of this concept of balance and energy.

The Power of Qi

Qi is everywhere and the key is to find it. This energy is a result of interactions in the environment like the yin and yang and the five elements of water, fire, earth, metal and wood.  This theory believes that the way you arrange your surroundings and position certain objects around you can affect your energy levels. It also believes that these energy levels can even influence your health, wealth, relationships and even luck. By properly organizing your environment, qi can flow through space freely and can create a positive effect on those who live in the area. 

The Union of the Yin & Yang 

The yin and the yang are two opposing forces or energies that work together creating a unity of opposites. The yin is characterized as the passive energy that is associated with the characteristics of water, cold, peace and tenderness while the yang is described as the active energy like those from heat, fire, excitement and speed. In other words, if yin is matter, yang is energy and neither of them can exist without the other. The key to understanding this practice is to achieve a proper balance of yin and yang in our environment.

Balance through Bagua 

The bagua is a popular Feng shui instrument that is shaped like an octagon and is divided into the eight cardinal directions of North, South, East, West, North East, North West, South East and South West. The theory of the bagua is that each of these directions corresponds to a part of our life. For instance, the northern portion of the bagua pertains to one’s career while the south pertains to the fame or reputation of a person. The other categories of the bagua are family, children, prosperity, relationships, wisdom, and travel.

The theory of the bagua also believes that each of the eight directions pertains to a part of our life and in order to activate the energy or improve a certain part of our life is to find the direction it corresponds to and make the qi flow into that space positively.  

Finding the Harmony

Understanding and appreciating the art of Feng shui is accepting that there is an existing relationship between you and your environment. The theories of this practice present information on how a person can achieve balance and harmony with the environment which can have a great impact in particular areas of a person’s life.

Although each person has their own potentials in the area of health, wealth, relationships and luck, what this practice really teaches us how to enhance these areas for practitioners to make the most out of their lives.