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The 3 Ways Of Martial Arts Training


* The above image is taken from The Telegraph.

Chinese wuxia novels often contain archaic words that are necessary for the mise-en-scène, and even native speakers who are fluent in the language sometimes have trouble understanding them. So I wasn’t too surprised when an American friend of mine, who’s a fan of the wuxia genre, asked me for my help to translate some of those antiquated Chinese words into simple everyday English.

And one of his questions was: What’s 横练金钟罩?

金钟罩 (Golden Bell) is the name of a body toughening skill, but what does 横练 mean? I went and did some research and found out that 横练 is just one of the 3 ways of martial arts training. Below are my explanations for the 3 ways written in simple English.

#1. The Wen Way (文练法)

Basically, it means training solely in the techniques and developing “nei jing” (内劲) naturally, without using punching bags or other hard objects to strengthen your striking power.

Shadow boxing and mirror training (i.e. practicing in front of a mirror to improve your form) all fall under the umbrella of the Wen Way.

#2. The Wu Way (武练法)

Punching heavy bags and kicking wooden stakes etc. These are all training methods under the Wu umbrella.

The Wu Way allows for swift development of striking power and when used together with the Wen Way, will allow the martial artist to grow in a balanced manner.

However, it is detrimental to a martial artist’s growth when used by itself. Many teachers lament that too many youths are focusing on the fun and quick aspects of the Wu Way and neglecting the refinement of their techniques by using the Wen Way.

#3. The Heng Way (横练法)

Is simply a more extreme version of the Wu Way. Methods include thrusting your bare hands into buckets of sand, striking your body with a wooden bat and hitting your head against a tree etc.

The Iron Shirt (铁布衫) and Golden Bell (金钟罩) both use the Heng Way when it comes to external training. It is inadvisable to practice such skills without knowing the internal training methods as well.

Loh Teck Yong

Author’s Note: 文, 武 and 横 could be translated as scholarly, martial and overbearing respectively. But I thought “Scholarly Way”, “Martial Way” and “Overbearing Way” sound weird so I went with the hanyu pinyin for those Chinese words.



3 “Sure-win” Moves All Martial Artists Should Watch Out For!



In the school courtyard during recess, a preteen hero thrusts out his palms and yells:

“Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms!”


His team of playmates obligingly fall to the ground as if they were just hit by the invisible dragons overflowing from the hero’s palms.

And that’s one of them. The Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms. The invisible dragons released from your bare hands can destroy entire armies, making it one of the most deadly “sure-win” skills in the pugilist world.

Okay, fuck no. No. That’s a lie, okay? And a test to see how many of you are gullible enough to believe in the existence of “sure-win” moves.

So what are the 3 “sure-win” moves and why do you have to watch out for them? They are biting, the eye jab and the groin kick. Avoid martial art teachers marketing them as “sure-win” moves because there are more interesting ways to waste your money.

Why? Because.

Eye Jab

First of all, eyes are rather small targets and your opponent is not going to stand still and make things easy for you. He will most likely keep swerving his head from side to side to avoid hits. Or cover up with his arms. And if the fight is taking place in the dark, like an unlit back alley, it gets so much more difficult to see, let alone jab at, your opponent’s eyes. Read the rest of this entry

Freedom Of Listening

This YouTube video was uploaded to YouTube by Amos Yee.

As a writer, I believe in the right to freedom of speech. And I believe in Amos Yee’s right to say whatever he wants and wherever he wants, even when I disagree with whatever he’s saying.

As a realist, I believe that the freedom of listening exists alongside the freedom of speech. That is to say, while you are free to say whatever you want, the people out there have the freedom to listen and respond appropriately* if they do not like what they are hearing.

And sometimes, like in Amos’ case, your critic might be stronger than you. That’s why I believe, before you start trying to piss off the wrong crowd with your questionable wit, you should take up an intensive course in Krav Maga or Systema. Both are militant unarmed combat systems practised by the Israel Defense Forces and Russian Special Forces respectively, so they are guaranteed to work on the streets.

Just my two cents’ worth. You are free to listen and respond. 🙂

Teck Y. Loh

* “Appropriately” is a subjective word and its meaning differs from person to person. Most people think flaming someone on Facebook is an appropriate response to rude behaviour but people do get set on fire for real in less civilised societies.


It All Starts Physical

Recently, Savvy Tokyo published an informative article about bullying in Japanese schools. Statistics about bullying were provided and the author wrote about the different forms of bullying that can hurt a child. She did her research well. As a former victim of bullying, I like reading helpful articles like this. Because it means victims are not ignored or forgotten.

As a former victim, I would also like to offer some insights on one of the points raised in this article.

While it is true that fist cuffs or physical bullying make up a lower percentage of bullying incidents compared to teasing and other subtler means, we must not underestimate the power of physical prowess.

Throughout the 4 years in secondary school when I was getting bullied regularly, I was only ever beaten up a few times. Once I was punched and kicked. The other time I was burned with a lighter. And there was this one time when I was dragged out of my classroom by force for “investigation”. The teacher managed a weak “no…” before resuming his lesson. Like one of his student wasn’t just dragged out of the classroom by students from another class. Read the rest of this entry

What Is Chinese Culture To You?


The above image is from SPCNET

To summarize, the author of this TOC article, was interested in learning more about Chinese culture at the tender age of 12, but was later let down by all the hollowness and superficial pageantry he encountered when he started taking lessons in Chinese culture at an elite school.

And I saw the problem right there. The author didn’t have to attend an elite special assistance plan (SAP) school to learn about Chinese culture. Those schools tend to have a narrow view of Chinese culture. I could tell right away because, you know, of the “elite” label.

Now, just take a look at my Chinese culture education. I didn’t attend an elite school, so nobody warned me away from wuxia novels. I read lots of Jin Yong as a teenager and that’s where I learned about Chinese culture. Inside the wuxia world of Jin Yong. So I know it isn’t just about landscaping and making teh-o kosong.* Read the rest of this entry

Which Martial Arts Style Would Be Most Effective?


The above image is from WIRED.

In a zombie apocalypse.

Obviously, I know guns would be most effective, followed by more primitive forms of ranged weaponry and followed by close-range weapons. But I think martial arts has its place. For example, something like Krav Maga or Jeet Kune Do would be useful against fellow survivors.

I am voting for Jeet Kuen Do by the way. It has some really effective long range kicks. Grappling styles like Brazilian Jiu-jitsu  is totally out. I wouldn’t want to get too close to zombies or survivors who might be infected.

Teck Y. Loh

Otaku Fitness

Fujinsei, a blogger I am following, recently came up with a list of health tips for busy otaku bloggers like herself. You can read the list here. I highly recommend it. 🙂

After reading her blog post, I was inspired to give my own two cents’ worth about otaku fitness.

I guess fitness is not a problem for me because I don’t blog so often and I am currently working as a security guard. That means lots of walking.

When I was not working and doing my otaku thing (i.e. reading manga and watching anime) full-time, fitness was also not a problem. Because I also belong to a sub-group of otaku known as martial arts otaku. I don’t know about other martial arts otaku but I do martial arts for real ln Meat Space. Running, push-ups, sit-ups, weights, form training, shadow boxing and pad work. The works. Read the rest of this entry