The Disciples Workshop - Lesson 1 - The Square Horse

Teaching The Magic

In this workshop, we are breaking martial principle down to its fundamentals. That's where the magic is

"There is no magic in magic, the magic is in the details" ~Walt Disney

My Grand Master always told me "Teach the magic" and that is what this series of lessons is about. Without the magic, martial arts becomes just techniques. No more than dance moves. But with it...well obviously...magical.

Unfortunately, the magic seems to go missing a lot. We're going to fix that.

Cobras have Elbows

The history books that mention Cobra Kung Fu (Boli Yan She') say that it was lost many years ago.

Turns out that's not true at all!

Cobra was preserved by the Tong. The teachers of it began migrating to the US in 1900. They taught the young men in the Chinese communities because these communities had no police protection.

Eventually, these groups of protectors devolved into protection rackets. Such is the way with humans.


In the Darkest Moments

I just left an old friend's house. I had not seen him in over a decade but I needed to reach out. 

Two days ago he lost his daughter to a drunk driver.

After inviting me in he recounted the past two days. The whirlwind of emotions. And of course, I just listened.

Then after an hour or so he started recalling the old training days. His daughter was a student of mine and so was he.

Closer to the Truth

The VAK only informs the linguistic


This is why when I teach at a high level I can only check in. Did you feel that? Do you understand?

And then, if they say yes, I look for signals that they are truly understanding. If they are, I leave them alone to just understand.


But it's important to remember that VAK lies, this is why people get off track and arts are lost.

Controlling the Attacker's Brain

We can think of the brain as having latent programs. Some of them running continuously in the background and others only triggered when needed. All of them, at a very base level, have to do with survival, or at the minimum, survival of the species.

The more immediate the survival needs are the more immediately the program takes over and the more difficult to override. And the more it overrides other programs.

Bold Heuristics

When teaching I often get frustrated students when they lack boldness in their heuristics. When they make feeble attempts at corrections rather than going all in.

In most cases, their language will reflect their actions. Such as:

Me: "Push off the ground when you kick"

Student: "Oh you mean I should push off the ground more?" 

An Experiment in Perception

Some time ago I did this little experiment. The idea was to put a "BIG" Shou' Shu' video out into the wild and then make sure it was seen by those who had never seen Shou' Shu' before. Then to try to decipher what they were seeing based upon the comments.

When I say big I mean a technique that has large motions so it is easy to see. This technique is big but admittedly there are some subtleties, that just made it fun. I was able to reveal (in the comments) what was in plain sight before.