Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

CategoryMartial Arts

Kung Fu Family Photo

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One of my White Lotus Kung Fu classmates went back to college a few weeks ago and requested a photo before he left. Of course, he requested it after class, when we were all disgusting. Still, we were more than happy to oblige. Here, then, is a rare shot of some of my kung fu family. (I’m the one who looks as if she might die from exhaustion.) My instructors are Grandmaster Carrie Ogawa-Wong...

Martial Arts Magic

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On Saturday, I attended “Carrie Ogawa-Wong Day” at the Martial Arts History Museum in Burbank. Master Carrie has been my sifu since I started training at White Lotus Kung Fu, and I couldn’t imagine a better teacher. I’ve studied kung fu, Tai Chi, and weapons with her for years. She’s an incredible martial artist — her forms are perfection, her fighting...

Kung Fu Party

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Every year my kung fu school hosts a Chinese New Year’s party. This year we were treated to an awesome display: a group of martial artists (whose name I can’t remember) performed a gorgeous Tai Chi sword form and a traditional lion dance. I got wobbly video of the latter: I had a fantastic time eating, chatting, and laughing with my kung fu family. Here’s a picture of me with...

Martial Arts Tricking

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Here’s a great short film (only 8.5 minutes long) about the new art of Martial Arts Tricking. Many of the tricking shots were filmed at my martial arts studio, White Lotus. So many nights when I was there (in kung fu or weapons class), I’d find myself watching the ring of trickers taking turns on the huge spring floor. It’s truly amazing what people can do when they work hard...

10 Years of Martial Arts

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I’ve been studying martial arts for 10 years now. I hit the milestone back in June. My studies have been erratic over the years — sometimes I was taking 7 classes a week, sometimes I was skipping classes for months at a time because of work or a writing deadline. Sometimes classes were fun, and sometimes they were miserable. They were always hard. Sifu Carrie once noted that I’d...

Bruce Lee: Be Water

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One of Bruce Lee’s most famous speeches (and martial arts concepts) is the idea that the martial artist should become “like water.” Here, see for yourself: I love this idea, but I love how Bruce Lee describes it even more. This is a man so passionate about his ideas, he can barely contain himself. He wants to share his obsession and that spark with everyone he talks to. That...

Film: IP MAN

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I stumbled across IP MAN while browsing Hulu Plus on Friday night. (It’s also on Netflix instant streaming.) I recognized “Ip Man” as the name of Bruce Lee’s first Wing Chun teacher (although I had always seen it as “Yip Man“), and thought I might find a few good fights scenes to enjoy. I ended up loving the film. Loosely based on Ip Man’s life, the film...

Interview: Jade Tiger, Fight Scenes, and Me

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I haven’t done a lot of interviews about my first novel, JADE TIGER, so when the amazing Tiffany Trent (a kung fu* writer and fellow martial artist) asked me to answer a few questions about the book, I leaped at the chance. (“You want me to talk about writing and martial arts at the same time? Um. YES!”) Head over to Tiffany’s blog for the interview, and make sure to enter...

New Web Series: The LXD

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I love well-done web series such as Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog and The Guild. They speak to my geek sensibilities. Now there’s a new show that I think has the potential to be geeky and wonderful in a totally different way. The LXD — Legion of Extraordinary Dancers — is the creation of writer/director Jon M. Chu. (Glee fans should note that Harry Shum Jr. is the co...

An Ode to Bruises

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Before I started studying martial arts in 2001, I lived a fairly sedentary life (where “fairly” means “entirely”). I had been an active kid, but gave up sports in high school when I had to wear a brace for my scoliosis 23 hours a day. And after the brace…? Well, staying lazy was just too darned easy. When I stubbed a toe or walked into a table and got bruised, it was...

Genre & Style Prejudice

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Ooh, an elusive writing/martial arts cross-over post! (Well, okay. Not that elusive. Just go with it anyway.) I believe in the worth of all genres. I don’t think they should be quantified — romance is not “better” than mainstream, science fiction is not “better” than romance. Live and let live, I say! There’s room for everyone’s tastes, both as...

Glorious Fall

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I went to Tai Chi and weapons last night, despite not being over my sinus thing or my shoulder injury. Emotionally, I just needed to go. I tried to take it easy, and I stopped practicing weapons when my shoulder started to complain. But not before I had a surprising and unprecedented fall. Which I will now describe. I was holding one end of my staff in my right hand. The other end of the staff...

Ultimate Parkour Challenge

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MTV has a new parkour show! You can watch the full pilot episode of MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Challenge below. (NOTE: Videos are restricted by region so international viewers may not be able to view them.) If you have any interest in learning about this art, I think you’ll really enjoy watching the whole 42-minute episode. You’ll see a lot of basic and advanced techniques, plus...

Body Trickery

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I’m trying to be better about listening to my body. If I don’t feel like going to martial arts class, I try to assess my motives. Does my body need a break? Have I been pushing too hard? Am I just being lazy? (Hey, that fresh batch of cookies isn’t going to eat itself…) I didn’t feel like going to class tonight, but when I started to feel feverish before class, I...

Read Re-Gifters!

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I just read a fabulous graphic novel called Re-Gifters written by Mike Carey and illustrated by Sonny Liew and Marc Hempel. The book was published as part of DC Comics’ Minx line — “the first graphic novel imprint designed exclusively for teenage girls.” Dixie is a Korean American high school student living in LA. She’s also a black belt in Hapkido. There’s a...

Kung Fu vs. Burnout

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No one is going to care about this except me, but I made it to the kung fu studio 19 times in March, for a total of 24 classes. This far exceeds all of my previous attendance records. (There was one month when I only went four times… Yikes!) Burnout is definitely an issue. When I go five times a week, it can feel a little oppressive, like I’m trapped by my class schedule. I...

In the [Book] Zone

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I’ve officially started my next book! Code named “BB,” it features magic, martial arts, and some scrappy, resourceful kids. I’m very excited about it, and even more excited to be writing something new. Will it be any good? I don’t care. All I care about is writing it. (And having something to turn in for the novel workshop I’m attending this summer.) I know...

Swords, Sifus, & Happy Sighs

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I have no news to share on the work or writing fronts, so my options for journal entries are: martial arts, cats, or food. Let’s stick with martial arts for a while, shall we? Two weekends ago, I attended a black sash test at my martial arts school. Four students, all of whom have been studying at the school for 10 years or more, were invited to test for their black sash rank. (That’s...

Still Got Fear

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I have not yet kicked fear to the curb. Tonight in weapons, I landed on my shoulder during the forward roll — exactly the same way I did last week. Because my bruise wasn’t fully healed, it hurt so much worse tonight. I actually yelled, dropped my weapon, and stopped my form. Fortunately, my Sifu has experience just about every wound their is and knew exactly what I had done. She...

No-Fear Kung Fu

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that when attempting to do a front roll while holding a sword, I will land on my shoulder, hard. [Please insert a stream of bad words here.] Rolling is a no-fear activity. You must fully commit to the roll. If you hesitate, you will hurt yourself, do the roll badly, end up off-balance, or worse. (If you are me, you will slam your shoulder against the ground...

2010: Tiger, Dragon

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I was all set to post some goals for 2010 — write a new novel, get to class more often… that sort of thing. But this is a special year, and it calls for a special resolution. You see, the Year of the Tiger begins on February 14th. I have always felt an affinity for this animal, even before I based my first book around it. At my kenpo school, Tiger represented tenacity — the only...

2009, Reflections

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I learn a lot by posting year-end reviews. It’s a rare chance to see the forest for the trees. Same as last year, I’m going to break down my reflections into three categories: Mind, Body, and Spirit. MIND 2009 was a great MIND year. Tons of new challenges and obstacles, and a few successes along the way. Writing: I completed my first real novel revision ever. And then, after another...

Blue Cloud Sword

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A few weeks ago, I got some heart-breaking news: my kung fu school is discontinuing its official weapons classes due to lack of interest. When kung fu classes are packed with 20-50 students a night, and when parkour/freerunning has 25-35, it’s hard to justify a class that takes up valuable studio space for just 1-5 students. Logically, I understand and I’d make the same decision if it...

Jenn Reese Writer, Artist, Geek

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