Blogs:

Early Wu style Tai Chi
by Meowaffles

After months of searching this is the clearest and closest video to the style of tai chi I am learning.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDaV9C0ERP8&feature=related

Got Zerged
by Meowaffles

I hereby blame a combination of work, Starcraft 2, Mass Effect, RPG gaming and Plants vs Zombies for my long hiatus from this comic.

I have a new computer, incidentally. It's not the latest in home computing hardware but it works really really well. (Thanks Maddie. Thanks Vicente) . What I thought would have me churning out comic pages at a prodigious rate instead got me stuck playing games and downloading a huge installer file from blizzard. Yes, I'm a Starcraft fan. I once played the 1st Starcraft game 48 hours straight and shattered the CD in the disc drive. I had a new disk the very next day. For those who are interested, I'm a Zerg player (actually I play Terran better but I have more fun with hordes of expendable creatures running amuck). I guess what'll really speed up my comic upload rate is a stylus, which I intend to get sometime soon... Unless I end up using it to play Starcraft 2 and Plants vs Zombies.

 

Secrets of the Form
by Meowaffles

I guess I really don't have as much comic-making time as I'd like but I'll continue releasing pages at whatever pace my work, training, and enjoyment of life allows. Though I'll stop worrying about it, I won't quit. 

Anyway, on other matters... I thought it would be a good time to make another martial arts article.

 

This time, I'd like to write about the Martial Arts Forms; those graceful (or not so graceful) movements used at some point in the training regimen of almost every traditional martial art. A lot of people question the purpose of these forms, some going so far as to assert that they are useless for actual combat training and detrimental to real-world application of the martial arts.

Well, fair enough, if you memorize a form without any understanding of what it really is then the form really would be useless to you. A form isn't meant to immediately make someone a better fighter.  Forms were originally invented as a memory aid for the preservation of a martial art, sort of like a kinesthetic text book. Forms are there to make certain that a martial style can be preserved for future reference without any loss of information. With the help of a teacher, forms are definitely better at helping a student along in the martial arts than a video or simple manual. Their main disadvantage is that people unfamiliar with the concepts behind a form just wouldn't get it. Without a competent instructor people can mimic a lot of the outward appearance of any form, but if careful attention isn't paid to the exact manner that each technique is really supposed to be used, then the form would eventually become empty and hollow after just a few generations of teaching it wrong. This has happened in several schools of martial arts. I feel though that any decent martial artist should be able to work out most of the real techniques contained within any but the most messed up of forms and revitalize these into something workable. They merely have to apply themselves and have some background as to the philosophy and martial art of the form's original creators.

Aside from being a memory aid that familiarizes a martial artist with various martial arts techniques and concepts, good forms prepare the physically prepare the practitioners mind and body for the rest of their martial arts training in the relevant style. Forms improve coordination and memory while conditioning the body in ways that would actually be relevant to the practice of the martial arts. Forms, however, are not the martial art itself. Once you've mastered a form, you are supposed to use it as your foundation and go about to begin your actual training. They are merely a gateway to higher learning.

Update on Hung Gar Chicken
by Meowaffles

Time to catch up with everything. I'm only just now getting to update more regularly, work in a great place, and catch up on my martial arts. All that running around like a headless chicken is finally paying off.

Speaking of chickens, it's about time to revisit that old idea of mine called Hung Gar Chicken. My attempt at a chicken recipe that "builds on a strong foundation" using the "external" to improve the "internal" that is seemingly "hard" while incorporating "soft" aspects. I've done a bit of research on the matter but have been somewhat hampered by the fact that Fujian cuisine is so rich in seafood. This tends to send my studies off tangent as I end up ignoring the chicken in favor of seafood. Heck, even their chicken recipes often involve seafood.

Anyway, so far, I think Hung Gar chicken should be made in Southern Fujian Style. That is, sweet and hot and maybe with orange juice and Chinese red wine as a flavoring. As a basis I want to see if it's possible to make a Southern Fujian Style Sweet and Spicy Clay-Pot Chicken, crisp on the outside from cooking but tender on the inside (from a combination of heat and prior application of Hung Gar style manual tenderizing) and stuffed with something that might as well be soup. Also, it has to be a good match for oolong tea.

I still have to work it out and I'm not even sure if it would be appropriate to make the chicken sauce itself hot or make it to match Chinese hot sauce. Also I have yet to try the Fujian red distiller’s grain (fermented glutinous rice with red yeast) to see if it could have anything to do with the recipe.

More on this nonsense as I go along but any suggestions would be welcome :)

Current Events
by Meowaffles

No, I haven't forgotten about the comic. Yes, it's late. Sorry guys.

For the past few weeks I've been busy learning the ropes of my new job. It's actually kinda fun working at a ridiculously huge multinational company but I did have some trouble traveling all the way from Makati to Libiz and back for a week of job training while trying not to neglect my tai chi chuan training while fixing a few financial issues.

I think most everything is in order now. I have my ID, ATM card, and access codes; I can walk to work (My actual assigned workplace is a few blocks from home); I'm almost 2/8ths done with the 108 step tai chi chuan form; and things are looking up in the financial department.

So now I'm back and currently working on the comic. I'm hoping to update around the fourth of July.