Wooden Dummy

 

A mook jong or muk yan jong ("wooden man post"). Commonly referred to as a wooden dummy, it is a device used in Chinese martial arts training. Wooden dummies are traditionally made of some kind type of hardwood, with three spaced, immovable "arms" and a single "leg" positioned low.

Although commonly associated with Wing Chun, other kung-fu styles incorporate the wooden dummy into their training regimens as well, such as Northern Shaolin,

Seven-Star Praying Mantis, Tai Chi Praying Mantis and Choy Li Fut. There are more than several different wooden dummy designs used by various styles, but the most common is the three-arm/single-leg configuration designed to simultaneously cultivate technique, speed, conditioning and Jing. The three arms and one leg represent an opponent's body in various positions and the fundamental lines of force an opponent can emit.

Wooden dummies are often wall-mounted using two wooden slats through the body of the dummy. Older versions of the wooden dummy were originally placed in the ground.

Michael's special batch of Dit Da Jow, which began brewing in March of 1986.

Dit Da Jow

 

Dit Da Jow ("Fall And Hit Wine") - also colloquially referred to simply as "Jow" - is an ancient Chinese analgesic liniment used to stimulate circulation, improve healing injuries, reduce pain and swelling. Dit Da Jow's effectiveness is greater when it is applied prior to any kind of training or activity where bruising and/or sore muscles are likely to occur. Jow is popular with traditional Chinese martial artists and there are several different recipes for it, most of which are considered to be a "secret formula" passed down through oral and written history of traditional Chinese Medicine and Chinese martial arts.

Most bruises are usually shrugged off by martial artists as minor injuries that will heal themselves. But over the centuries, kung fu practitioners noticed that large bruises or repeated bruising on one area sometimes created accumulations of stagnant Chi and blood that could cause serious health problems years later. The Dit Da Jow liniment was developed to disperse these accumulations, thereby prolonging the health of the practitioner. Jow is also used in Iron Palm and Piercing Hand training.

Herbs in Dit Da Jow formulas, according to traditional Chinese Medicine, use "temperature" and "action" with each herb, exhibiting an "energy" that has an effect on the body. Some are cold while others are hot. The overall combination of herbs in a Dit Da Jow formula determines its relative energy. Warmer Jow is more often used in conditioning or chronic injury, while cooler Jow is more likely to be used for new injuries that can become inflamed. The action of each herb has specific uses. A Dit Da Jow should have one or two primary actions, determined by the herbs which are used in the formula. The longer a formula brews, the greater its overall effectiveness. Jow is a unique mixture of many aromatic herbs and ingredients such as myrrh, ginseng, arnica blossoms, cinnamon bark, camphor tree leaves, eucalyptus leaves, comfrey root, ginger root, goldenseal root, rhubarb root, witch hazel, sarsaparilla root, frankincense, beetle shells, and even tiger's bones. The herbs and other ingredients are typically coarse-ground, then steeped in alcohol (vodka, gin, or rice wine are commonly used), sometimes with heat, and then aged.

Centuries ago, Dit Da Jow was made by combining the herbs in a clay vessel and adding rice wine, then burying the vessel in the ground for months or even years, the longer the herbs sat in the alcohol the stronger the Dit Da Jow became. The recommended time most Jow formulas need to brew is a minimum of three months. Many people have also found this sort of liquid analgesic to be useful for reducing aching muscles, arthritis and rheumatism discomfort.

Today, Dit Da Jow can be bought through martial arts supplies retailers, or it can be directly obtained from a martial arts supply store, Chinese apothecary, or reputable kung-fu teacher. Should you acquire Dit Da Jow already made, it is best that you purchase it bottled in glass and not plastic. Authentic Dit Da Jow that contains herbs like camphor, frankincense and myrrh, combined with alcohol can leech the chemicals from the plastic bottle and contaminate the liniment, rendering it useless and potentially harmful. If you purchase the herbs to make your own Dit Da Jow, a glass jar and an alcohol medium like vodka or gin should be used. There are external ("toxic") and internal ("non-toxic") forms of Jow. External recipes are for external use only and must never be used on open wounds or ingested.

Sashes, Levels & Ranking In The Association

 

There is no belt or ranking system to recognize the different levels of proficiency between students in the Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu Association. Traditional kung-fu schools do not use a belt - or sash - ranking system. Belt systems used by today's kung-fu schools is a relatively recent practice.

The Association believes that establishing arbitrary student classifications by using belt colors or a similar ranking method is improper in keeping with the true philosophy of classical kung-fu. There is no set length of time for one to become proficient. The time varies with each student's natural abilities, but more importantly, their devotion and consistent practice of the art. Students progress at their own rate according to their personal needs and goals. No student will be categorized, but accepted and treated as an individual.

 

That being said, the adult kung-fu curriculum is divided into 12 levels as an outline for instruction and as a guide for students to measure their individual progress. A "Level Evaluation" or test is required by all students before advancing to the next level. All testing is conducted in private by the Chief Instructor and occasionally, an Assistant Instructor.

For those desiring to learn Tai Chi only, their are 9 levels for the Tai Chi curriculum. A "Level Evaluation" or test is required by all Tai Chi students before advancing to the next level. All testing is conducted in private by the Chief Instructor and occasionally, an Assistant Instructor.

Those wishing to become certified to teach as an instructor within the Association's family will be awarded a ceremonial black sash upon successful completion of the 12 levels. You don't have to aspire to teach or become a master to reap the full benefits of kung-fu or Tai Chi. Kung-fu and Tai Chi are designed for all walks of life and should above all, be a fun and rewarding experience for those who study it.

There are, however, sash levels for the
Grasshoppers Kids Class Program, a special kung-fu group class for kids ages 7-15 designed to introduce and familiarize kids to kung-fu and develop a strong foundation in the Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu System. Sash levels are instituted in the Grasshoppers Program to provide structure and goal-setting parameters that kids require. There are 8 sashes/levels in the Grasshoppers Program.

The praying mantis, Romanized in Cantonese as tang lang. One of the 8 Animals Of Shaolin, the praying mantis embodies patience and speed. In Chinese mythology and folk religion, the praying mantis also occasionally represents mystery.

 

In many cultures, it is seen as a "divine messenger" or "divine protector", with spiritual or mystical powers. South African indigenous mythology refers to the praying mantis as a god in ancient Khoi and San traditional myths and practices, and the word for mantis in Afrikaans is hottentotsgot (literally, "a god of the Khoi"). In ancient Khoi and other African cultures, it was once believed that mantids could restore life to the dead. In Arabic and Turkish cultures, a mantis points pilgrims to Mecca, the holiest site in the Islamic world. In French folklore, it is believed that if you are lost, the mantis points the way home.

Species of praying mantises have existed since the Cretaceous Period (approximately 66 million years ago). Today, over 2,400 species exist worldwide in temperate and tropical habitats. The praying mantis is called such because of the "prayer-like" posture it often assumes with its folded raptorial forelimbs. They are occasionally confused with phasmids (stick and leaf insects) and other elongated insects such as grasshoppers and crickets, as well as other insects with similar-appearing raptorial forelegs, such as mantisflies. The praying mantis is among Nature's most efficient and utilitarian predators; fully equipped to defend itself against larger threats.

Its two grasping, spiked forelimbs are used to rapidly catch and securely hold various prey. Its prothorax is also flexibly articulated, allowing for a wide range of movement of the head and forelimbs while the remainder of the body remains more or less immobile. The articulation of the neck is also remarkably flexible; some species of mantis can rotate the head nearly 180 degrees.

Most species have extraordinary ocular abilities, possessing a visual range of up to 64 feet. Their compound eyes are widely spaced and laterally situated, affording a wide binocular field of vision and, at close range, precise stereoscopic vision. The dark spot on each eye is a pseudopupil. As their hunting relies heavily on vision, mantises are primarily diurnal. Many species will fly at night however, and may be attracted to artificial lights. Flying at night exposes mantises to fewer bird predators than diurnal flight would. Many species also have an auditory thoracic organ that helps them to avoid bats by detecting their echolocation and responding evasively. The mantis possesses great strength for its stick-like form, particularly in its raptorial forelimbs. It has been theorized that most species can lift over 30 times their own body weight.

Mantises are camouflaged, and most species make use of protective coloration to blend in with the foliage or substrate, both to avoid predators, and to better snare their prey. Various species have evolved to not only blend with the foliage, but to mimic it. Various species of praying mantis have been known to prey on wasps, hornets, spiders, small scorpions, lizards, frogs, birds, snakes, fish, and even rodents. Some species of mantises have also been known to feed on pollen in the absence of prey.

Organic gardeners who avoid pesticides often uses mantises as a form of biological pest control. During fall in temperate regions, mantis females typically deposit an ootheca (egg case) on the underside of a leaf or on a twig. For some species, these ootheca are harvested commercially. If the egg case survives winter, the offspring (called nymphs) emerge in late-spring or early-summer. The nymphs have voracious appetites and typically cannibalize each other if they cannot find an adequate supply of small insects to feed on. Tens of thousands of mantis egg cases are sold each year in some garden stores for this purpose. The praying mantis is a beneficial insect, although they will prey on neutral and other beneficial insects as well - basically eating anything they can successfully capture and devour.

The Legendary Eight Immortals Of Taoism

The Chinese Eight Immortals are a group of legendary Taoist transcendent figures in Chinese mythology. Most of them are said to have been born in the Tang or Song Dynasty. They are revered by Taoists, and are also a popular theme in the secular Chinese culture and Chinese folk religion. In ages past, they were occasionally portrayed as genies. They were all, at one time, humans who ascended to immortality.

Elder Jang Guo or Jang Guo Lou - Reputed to be a Taoist "wizard" ("occultist-alchemist"). His wine has healing or medicinal properties. Known to be a master of kung-fu and Taoist Chi Kung and could go without food for days, surviving on only a few sips of wine. He has the power invisibility, and could drink water from the petals of poisonous flowers, snatch birds in flight from the sky and wilt flowers simply by pointing at them. Jang also rides a donkey, sometimes seated backwards, and carries a
tube-shaped bamboo musical instrument called a yugu.

Immortal Woman Ho or Ho Sin Gu - The only female in the group; usually carrying a kitchen ladle, lotus, peach, or fly whisk. She is known for her filial devotion, ability to resolve domestic disputes and is seen as the patron saint of household management. Her lotus flower improves one's mental and physical health.

Iron-Crutch Li or Lei Tei Gwai - Likely the oldest of the Immortals. He is associated with medicine. Has a magical gourd filled with a magical elixir that can heal the sick and repel demons. As a beggar, he fights for the rights of the poor and needy.

Jong Lei Kune - Possesses a fan which has the magical power of reviving the dead. Once a Han Dynasty general, he is the second oldest among the Immortals.

Lam Coi Huo - Ambiguously depicted as a male or female, Lam usually holds a fruit or flower basket, a bowl, or a flute. Patron/matron saint of minstrels. In another legend, Lam is a female singer whose song lyrics predict future events.

Loi Dong Ban - the leader; considered to be one of the earliest masters of Chinese Taoist Alchemy. Often depicted as a scholar, he bears a sword on his back that slays demons and dispels evil spirits. He also carries a fly whisk which he uses to walk on clouds, fly to Heaven, and sweep away ignorance.

Philosopher Hon Hsiang or Hon Hsiang Tzu - Once demonstrated the power of the Tao by pouring out cups after cup of wine from his gourd without end. Because he possesses a flute that gives life, he became a protector of flautists. He can predict the future and make fruits and flowers grow out of season. He represents youth and is seen as the patron saint of fortune-tellers.

Royal Uncle Cou or Cou Ying Jau - His jade tablet can purify the environment and gain himself or anyone admission into the Imperial court. Carries a ruyi scepter: a scepter which represents power and authority, the ruyi was originally a short sword with a sword-guard used for

self-defense or gesturing. There is some speculation that it may have evolved from a back scratcher. Considered to be the patron saint of actors.

KUNG FU was a popular television series originally airing in 1972 with the 90-minute pilot, WAY OF THE DRAGON, SIGN OF THE TIGER, an ABC-TV "Movie Of The Week". The show was a martial-arts-western chronicling the exploits of a renegade half-Caucasian, half-Chinese Shaolin priest known as "Kwai Chang Caine" (David Carradine) in the American Old West of the 1870s.

KUNG FU ran from 1972-1975 on ABC-TV and introduced many Americans to the art, philosophy and technique of kung-fu. The show was created by Ed Spielman and developed by Herman Miller, who was also a co-producer and writer for the series. Jerry Thorpe directed the pilot and many of the episodes, as well as serving as the show's producer.

The series co-starred Keye Luke, Philip Ahn and Radames Pera, and featured guest-starring roles by Jodie Foster, Harrison Ford, William Shatner, Leslie Nielsen, Don Johnson, Bo Svenson, John Carradine, Keith Carradine, Robert Carradine, Tim Matheson, Dean Jagger, Eddie Albert, Edward Albert, Sondra Locke, Barry Sullivan, Lew Ayres, James Hong, Mako and Soon Tek-Oh.

During its three-season run, the series garnered two Emmy awards and two nominations (including a nomination for David Carradine). It was also nominated for two Golden Globe awards (and another nomination for Carradine). In spite of its three-season run, it continues to air in syndication today all over the world.

Our Grandmaster Liang Kam Yuen served as Kung-Fu Technical Advisor for the series, stunt doubled Carradine, and made numerous on-screen appearances in various roles, such as a Shaolin master, among others. His involvement provided an authenticity to the show's Chinese martial art and philosophical elements, which had not been seen on film or television in the West before then.

The original KUNG FU T.V. series also saw the appearances of several martial artists who have since become well-known in the martial arts and/or stunt performer's world, such as Grandmaster Ark Yuey-Wong, James Lew, Douglas Wong, Gene LeBell, Greg Walker and the late John Leoning.

Contrary to various accounts, KUNG FU was not a concept originally developed by (or for) Bruce Lee, although he was considered for the leading role at one point. In 1971, Lee wasn't yet the cult film hero he later became for his roles in films like THE BIG BOSS (1971), THE WAY OF THE DRAGON (1972) and ENTER THE DRAGON (1973).

KUNG FU aided in the promotion of Chinese martial arts and Eastern philosophy in the West. KUNG FU and Carradine's portrayal of his Kwai Chang Caine character was the principal influence behind Michael Dawson's study of Chinese martial arts. KUNG FU: THE LEGEND CONTINUES, a syndicated sequel-series to the original show aired for four seasons in the 1990s. Set in contemporary times, the series also starred Carradine, essentially reprising his role as Caine. Michael Dawson also credits David Carradine for initiating his career in professional stunt work when he was selected by Carradine to be his personal Stunt Double on that show, and in later seasons, Michael also served as a Kung-Fu Technical Advisor.

Youth kung-fu classes in New Orleans, LA

The Grasshoppers Kids Class Program is a special kung-fu group class for kids ages 7-15. It is designed to introduce and familiarize kids to kung-fu and develop a strong foundation in the Northern Shaolin/Praying Mantis Kung-Fu System. Kids 16 years-old and up should join the adult class. All Grasshoppers classes are conducted in a positive, fun and safe environment.

 

For Grasshoppers, the regular adult curriculum is modified and somewhat abridged to suit the unique requirements of children. The Grasshoppers Program also implements a kids-only sash ranking system. There are 8 levels in the Grasshoppers Program which are outlined in greater detail in the Grasshoppers Handbook.

 

As with adults, a Level Evaluation is required by all Grasshoppers before advancing to the next level. All testing is conducted by the Chief Instructor (and possibly an assistant) during a special class with parents and family members in attendance.

Grasshoppers sash ranking incorporates a specific color and correlating animal for each level (incorporating the 8 Animals Of Shaolin):

White (Crane) - Introductory Training & Level 1

 

Gold (Tiger) - Level 2

 

Orange (Monkey) - Level 3

 

Green (Praying Mantis) - Level 4

 

Blue (Snake) - Level 5

 

Purple (Eagle) - Level 6

 

Brown (Leopard) - Level 7

 

Red (Dragon) - Level 8

 

Click here to access the class schedule for the Grasshoppers Kids Class Program.

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