Saturday, May 21, 2005

What I do as part of my living...

These pictures were taken by my friend Raymond Kim at the May 12th JSE showcase. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Saw Jet Li's new movie on Sunday... it's very good! Bob Hoskins and Morgan Freeman were their usual amazing acting selves, but Jet Li really impressed me with his improvement. You could actually see his character develop within himself as the movie went along. It is reported that Li actually got acting coaching this time around, and it shows!

The martial arts choreography was done by Yuen Woo Ping... pretty good, although I prefer the fancier moves of his usual repertoire rather than the nitty gritty no-holds-barred style of fight that (rightly so) was drawn up for the combat scenes in "Unleashed". Camera angles were a bit choppy, but that's to be expected when working with stunt people who aren't used to memorizing long complex move sequences.

The nice thing about this movie? Mozart's music saves the day. :) Go see it!

Monday, May 09, 2005

Hello again.... :P

Oopsie... it's been quite a while since I posted anything, eh?

Things have been going okay in the world of Ken. Let's count the ways.

Music: Students are doing well as always, though the NYSSMA debacle that happens every year has reared up it's ugly head again. It's a crap system that just stamps a grade on music students, most of whom are forced to perform a piece that's above their level. The parents usually don't even understand the system... all they see and care is whether their child has an "A+" next to their name. Never mind that it takes away valuable lesson time better spent on etudes and improving musical attributes in favor of spoonfeeding (or forcefeeding) a student a piece they may or may not be ready for. My non-NYSSMA students are 9 times out of 10 the better-advancing ones.
Orchestra-wise, the JSE is finally shaping up to become yet another fine group in the COS continuum. The recent round of placement auditions has upped everybody's level, and they did a fine job in the May 7th showcase. I'm looking forward to June's concert! Will announce that when the time draws near.

Martial Arts: Gao's Kung Fu Academy recently had a nice demonstration appearance at Union Square NYC Sunday May 8th. My friends Jason Kong and Peter Lundgren recently attained the Academy's first Black sashes. Congratulations to them! It'll probably be about another year before I attain Black sash... 4 more forms to learn, and lots and lots of repetition and practice.
I love kung fu, but it's beginning to take an extreme toll on my body, particularly my knees and my ankle, all of which have been suffering injuries the past few years. The low stances, the huge expansive movements, and the frequent jumps... very beautiful stuff to behold, yet increasingly troublesome for old Ken to pull off. Hee hee! There's also the issue of combat efficacy in training, since we don't do any sparring, mostly forms and conditioning (the sparring is supposed to start around Black Sash level in the Academy).
I've recently starting taking Filipino Kali classes, as well as some basic Jeet Kune Do and Muay Thai basic training at Progressive Martial Arts Academy. These are very compact and combat-efficient styles... not as pretty, but very much straight to the point. In particular, I like the Kali classes, due to the speed and intensity of the training as we practice double stick, single stick, and blade drills. Sifu/Guro Nick Sacoulas is an excellent teacher and coach. Surprisingly, I've found quite a few similar maneuvers between the systems I've been studying. While studying something other than kung fu might be construed as disruptive to kung fu training, instead, I've found many things that affirm concepts on either side of the system fence. :)
I'll still study kung fu as long as I'm able, because of its deep historical and cultural ties to a long-ago ancestral homeland, and its beautiful movements that lend itself better to film, as well as it's top conditioning regimen that improves strength and flexibility. I'll continue to study Kali/JKD/MT as long as I'm able, because it's no-nonsense and straight to the point, needed for friendly sparring and deadly combat. Martial Arts expression is what I'm looking for, and these all are part of my training.

Cats: Cute as ever, and the weather is getting warmer, so I'll be letting them outdoors once in a while. They both act as ambassadors to my flute studio. ;)

Love life: Non-existant, as always. Too busy with all the things I want and/or have to do. And the few people I want to get together with are too busy too. Oh well.

Hobbies/Gaming: City of Heroes still is my main hobby. Recently started Guild Wars as a side diversion. Finished Jade Empire, and I highly recommend it for anybody who wanted to play their way through a kung-fu style tale.

Well, that's it for now. Will post again as soon as I can... that'll either be several days or several weeks. :)