Air shields and tables and chairs, oh my!

Posted Tue Sep 09, 2008, 16:05 PM by Tracy

Quick! What’s the nearest object you can grab as a weapon? Is the chair you’re sitting in going to help you or hinder you? Is the table or counter going to shield you from your attacker? What if it’s in your way?

Creativity is one of the cornerstones of Mo Duk Pai. That means sometimes training is extra fun, like last night.

Even though we’re past the heat wave, our late summer days are still pretty warm and the training floor can get pretty stuffy. So it was a nice change when Sifu told us to grab air shields and hand pads and come outdoors.

We moved a couple smallish wooden tables over to a soft grassy area. Sifu told us to pair up, take an air shield and work out some drills involving the table.

Laura and I took turns perching on the table, feet dangling, to see how much power we could generate kicking and punching from a seated position. That exercise originated from a little altercation I had in a bar with a jerk who thought he could teach little ol’ me about martial arts. It ended when I grabbed his throat.

Then we practiced getting away from someone, from a seated position, across the table. Laura scampered under that table and surprised us all.

That’s why she’s a black belt, Sifu said.

I tried. I didn’t quite fit.


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About Mo Duk Pai

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques Mo Duk Pai, which translates to “Martial Ethical Way”, was founded by Professor Frederick D. King. For more information, to see photos or inquire about training, visit the Mo Duk Pai web site, which I also maintain. I have been training since 1996 and currently hold the rank of brown-black sash.


Sifu (pr. see-foo [Cantonese] or shur-foo [Mandarin]) is a Chinese term for Teacher. It also carries the connotation of Father (teacher-father), referring to a tradition of teaching martial arts within the family, as well as being a title of respect. In America the title sifu is given to both men and women. In Mo Duk Pai the title is awarded to 2nd degree black belts at their teacher’s discretion.


Qigong (pr. chee-gung) is the practice of Chinese exercises incorporating movement and posture, breathing and visualization. Qigong exercises focus on maintaining health by energizing and balancing one’s qi, or energy.