- Los Gatos Black on Halloween.
- Vindolanda: A Roman Frontier Fort on Hadrian’s Wall.
- 1 Introduction.
She developed an aggressive, dramatic style, hitting down sharply and crisply on her iron shots like a man and averaging yards off the tee with her woods. As an amateur golfer, Zaharias once won 14 tournaments in a row. Zaharias beat Betty Hicks by 12 strokes in the United States Open, an astonishing margin considering that Zaharias had been treated for colon cancer in and had undergone a colostomy.
Zaharias became a spokeswoman for cancer awareness and toured for as long as she could, but the disease returned. She died from it in September Eisenhower said at the time. Sports Illustrated lauded her as the woman Athlete of the 20th Century in individual sports. A few seconds, perhaps a fraction of a second, can mean the difference between victory and defeat, between becoming a legend or leaving as a footnote.
Yet that lifetime of training, which propelled Owens into the history books with his performance in the Games in Berlin, seemed for a time as if it might be of little use. With the rise of Nazi Germany roiling Europe, the Amateur Athletic Union remained divided in over whether to allow American athletes to compete in Berlin; it ultimately approved their participation, but only by a narrow vote.
The purpose of the Olympics, anyway, was to do your best. The A. Owens, who was black, was encouraged by some civil rights groups to boycott the games. After deciding to go, he found a chilly reception in Germany, where claims of Aryan supremacy were central to Nazi ideology. He was called racial epithets and subjected to other mistreatment.
To the dismay of Hitler and the Nazis, Owens went on to win four gold medals — in the long jump, meter dash, the meter dash and the 4x meter relay — more than any other American track and field athlete in a single Olympic Games. His long jump record, of 8. The son of a sharecropper and grandson of a slave, James Cleveland Owens was born on Sept. Sickly in his youth, he went by the nickname J. But it was his time at Ohio State University that proved crucial in his development. For all his record-breaking Olympic success overseas, his return home was sobering.
President Franklin D. Unlike modern-day athletes who can be paid handsomely through endorsements and other commercial deals, Owens had to take myriad jobs to support his family. He later became a motivational speaker and public relations representative. In , President Gerald R. Ford awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor given to civilians in the United States. Owens died from complications related to lung cancer on March 31, In Rio, the heirs of Owens, like Usain Bolt of Jamaica and Allyson Felix of the United States, are looking to carve their own names in Olympic history, propelled by the chance for glory, pride for country and perhaps, as Owens had expressed, a simple love for the sport.
Yauch, known as MCA, was born 52 years ago on this day in Brooklyn. He attended Edward R. It became the first hip-hop album to reach No. Born and bred in Brooklyn the U. Yauch became a supporter of feminism and a practicing Buddhist, creating the Milarepa Fund to support Tibetan independence from China. A series of Tibetan Freedom Concerts raised awareness for his cause. In , the Beastie Boys offered a post-Sept. Offstage, Yauch, Horovitz and Diamond were businessmen, too.
In , they started Grand Royal, their label and magazine. Hans Christian Andersen , whose fairy tales endure more than a century after his death on this day in , had a childhood as difficult as those of his plucky protagonists. Born on April 2, , in Odense, Denmark, Andersen grew up in stark poverty, but his father, a shoemaker, cultivated his imagination. Andersen was a solitary child who spent most of his time making costumes for puppets and enacting plays on a model stage his father had built for him.
He headed for Copenhagen when he was just a teenager. Many of his stories featured children who persevered in the face of ridicule, ignorance and evil. In time, Andersen became famous and traveled around Europe, meeting celebrities like Charles Dickens. So the opening line of his autobiography is hardly hyperbolic. When Henri Cartier-Bresson first picked up a tiny Leica 35mm film camera in , he began a visual journey that would revolutionize 20th-century photography.
His camera could be wielded so discreetly that it enabled him to photograph while being virtually unseen by others — a near invisibility that turned photojournalism into a primary source of information and photography into a recognized art form. In , he and Robert Capa helped create the photographer-owned cooperative photo agency Magnum.
Though he often focused on the human condition in his photographs, Cartier-Besson would often look at his contact sheets or prints upside down to judge the images separate from any social content. They stood as rigorous compositions on their own. His signature shooting technique was to find a visually arresting setting for a photograph and then patiently wait for that decisive moment to unfurl.
They also admired his coolness under pressure. The director Louis Malle remembered that, despite all the turmoil at the peak of the student protests in Paris in May , Mr. Cartier-Bresson took photographs at the rate of only about four an hour. With the primacy of digital photography and social media in the 21st century, slow, painstaking image-making is becoming a relic. Photographers and their images now move at a pace as fast as the events swirling around them. Photographs are no longer rare artifacts, nor primarily a means of learning about the exotic or unknown.
They arrive instantaneously on our phones every day from every corner of the world and from all kinds of people. With a smart phone, everyone is a photographer, and images compete for crowd approval on social media channels like Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. Or are they even more instructive today? Respond on Twitter using the hashtag tellnyt.
James Baldwin, whose cutting, unequivocal writing about race relations helped make America more equal than it was before, was born on this day in , according to many accounts. The Times wrote in his obituary on Dec. I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.
What is ghastly and really almost hopeless in our racial situation now is that the crimes we have committed are so great and so unspeakable that the acceptance of this knowledge would lead, literally, to madness. The human being, then, in order to protect himself, closes his eyes, compulsively repeats his crimes, and enters a spiritual darkness which no one can describe. Only white Americans can consider themselves to be expatriates.
Once I found myself on the other side of the ocean, I could see where I came from very clearly, and I could see that I carried myself, which is my home, with me. You can never escape that. I am the grandson of a slave, and I am a writer. I must deal with both. I was a maverick, a maverick in the sense that I depended on neither the white world nor the black world. It gave me another touchstone — myself. On March 10, , Professor Alexander Graham Bell stood in a Boston boarding house holding a receiving device connected to a series of wires that ran into an adjacent room.
There, his assistant, Thomas A. Watson , waited patiently, clutching another receiver to his ear. Come here! I want—! I heard you! From that experiment using just a few feet of wire would grow an industry that would transform the world. Alexander Graham Bell — who died at 75 on this day in at his estate in Nova Scotia in Canada — was fascinated by speech, sound and communication from a very young age. He was homeschooled by his father, a phoneticist and the developer of Visible Speech, a series of symbols designed to aid the deaf in oration. Bell moved to Boston in the early s and there used methods that he had learned from his father to teach deaf students.
His techniques proved so useful that he eventually taught them to others as a professor at the Boston University School of Oratory. During these years he continued his research into sound at the university, experimenting with electricity. He hired Watson, an electrical designer and mechanic, for his electrical expertise. Soon they were collaborating on acoustic telegraphy, hoping to transmit a human voice by means of pulses along a telegraph wire. Bell was granted a patent for the telephone — No. The patent, however, proved controversial from the start. Even though Bell is known as the father of telephony, his claim as its inventor has been challenged repeatedly in hundreds of legal cases, some of which have appeared before the United States Supreme Court.
He would go on to undertake important work in fields such as hydrofoils and aeronautics; make early advances in the creation of the metal detector; and develop a wireless telephone, called the photophone. Well, fairy tales have a way of coming true in science and invention. I often wonder what Yves Saint Laurent, who was born on this day in , would think of the modern fashion world. This is in part because his name has been in the news recently, given the upheaval at the brand he built, where yet another creative director will debut a newish vision for the label next month.
In fact, he never saw them as causes per se, but rather as simply part of the definition of what it meant to be modern. Saint Laurent was among the first designers to embrace black models on the runway, claiming such women as Iman, Katoucha Niane and Dalma Callado as his muses. Naomi Campbell credits him with getting her her first French Vogue cover. Yet every season, we still seem to have the same discussion about the color myopia of the industry. The power of pantsuits? He understood what they could mean for women back in , when he unveiled his first Le Smoking: a tuxedo for women worn with a ruffled white shirt and a satin cummerbund.
The idea shocked the world then. The New York socialite Nan Kempner was turned away from Le Cote Basque for wearing hers, only to return having divested herself of the trousers and wearing the jacket as a mini-dress. That was, somehow, more acceptable to the management. The democratization of fashion? Saint Laurent popularized the idea of high fashion ready-to-wear, introducing Rive Gauche, his Left Bank boutique and off-the-rack collection, in He was the first couturier to make his clothes available to consumers beyond the gilded doors of the haute salons.
Now e-commerce has moved the dial even further, and for the first time this season three designers Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger and Burberry will be showing clothes that can be bought the next day, instead of six months down the line. So maybe Mr. Saint Laurent, who died on June 1, , would be rolling his eyes.
Maybe he would be laughing. But the breathtaking disclosure was delivered with a major caveat: The practical application of the discovery, if any, would take 25 years. That prediction, as it turned out, was off by a long shot. Hahn made his discovery in his laboratory at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in Berlin, working with his assistant, Fritz Strassmann. Hahn said after the war that he had opposed Nazism. But the process of splitting the uranium atom would not be labeled nuclear fission until later, and Hahn himself, as a chemist rather than a physicist, initially described his discovery in the most equivocal terms.
Hahn later said that he had never believed that his discovery would have military implications. He later became an antiwar activist who opposed nuclear proliferation and expressed his fears in this rhyme:. American elections — and the American electorate — grow more complex and confounding every campaign cycle. George H. Gallup, who died 32 years ago this week at age 82 , could not, and probably would not, tell you who he thought would win in November. But he could tell you what forces were driving public opinion, from fear of crime and terrorism to a widespread unease about rapid cultural and demographic changes.
And he most certainly would have pointed out the flaws in a presidential primary system that produced two candidates with such high negative ratings and so many voters in despair. Gallup, an Iowan with a commanding presence and a bone-crushing grip, would also undoubtedly have strong feelings about the profound changes roiling the polling industry.
His organization pioneered many of the advances in measuring public opinion , including use of the telephone rather than mail or face-to-face interviews. That technology is now under scrutiny, as more and more pollsters are turning to the internet and mobile devices to conduct surveys. Gallup and The New York Times rely almost exclusively on telephone polling, but are experimenting with reaching the public in other ways. A Gallup poll famously predicted that Thomas E. Dewey would defeat Harry S. The company instead is now focusing on the mood of the public, taking, as Mr.
When Hillary Clinton formally clinches the Democratic presidential nomination this week in front of television cameras and a crowd of thousands, one vital influence will be conspicuously absent: her mother, Dorothy Rodham , whose quintessentially American story of resilience is woven into the fabric of her candidacy. It was sent to states for ratification and took effect 14 months later.
Dorothy and her little sister were sent on a cross-country train to live with their grandparents in California. Dorothy was 8, her sister was 3. Their grandmother was old-fashioned and strict. She preferred black Victorian dress and tolerated no disobedience — Dorothy was not allowed to attend parties or have visitors. After she went trick-or-treating one Halloween, she was confined to her bedroom for a year, let out only to go to school. She cooked, cleaned and nannied for a family in San Gabriel, Calif. She lived in near abject poverty, but in that household Dorothy learned what family was.
Would you like it? But her mother lied: She brought Dorothy back to work as a housekeeper. Heartbroken, Dorothy eventually found secretarial work. In , Dorothy married Hugh Ellsworth Rodham , a conservative Republican who operated a small drapery business. They raised three children — Hillary Diane, Hugh Jr. Dorothy Rodham raised her daughter to stand her ground and hit back if necessary, Mrs. Clinton wrote. In , after Hillary Rodham had entered Wellesley College as a civic-minded Republican and had become plagued by doubts about remaining there, her mother bucked her up.
The war in Vietnam and the turmoil of the civil rights movement led Mrs. Clinton to undergo a political transformation. She graduated as an antiwar Democrat. During her unsuccessful campaign for the presidential nomination, Mrs. Later in life, Dorothy Rodham resumed her education by taking college courses. She died on Nov. Clinton wrote :. Mom measured her own life by how much she was able to help us and serve others.
I knew if she was still with us, she would be urging us to do the same. Never rest on your laurels. Never quit. Never stop working to make the world a better place. This is the story of Cassius Marcellus Clay — not that Cassius Clay, the heavyweight fighter and luminous worldwide presence best known as Muhammad Ali. This story is about the original Cassius Clay: the 19th-century scion of a slaveholding family who became a belligerent emancipationist, globe-trotting statesman, unsparing duelist, early Republican and larger-than-life American eccentric.
A firebrand publisher, Yale-educated lawyer, Kentucky state legislator, major general in the Union Army, survivor of multiple assassination attempts and the United States minister to Russia under Presidents Lincoln and Johnson, General Clay was as well known for his private activities as for his public ones. His obituary in The New York Times, published on July 23, , is remarkable for a level of catty candor rarely seen in American news obituaries of the era — traditionally staid, reverential documents — and, very likely, of any era.
On one occasion, caught without his pistol, General Clay was shot above the heart by a would-be assassin. He was 84 at the time. And so he did, taking Dora Richardson as his bride in Young Dora, who evidently had little say in the matter of her betrothal, did not take kindly to being yoked to a man more than five times her age. She ran away repeatedly from home and from the boarding school to which her husband sent her. The youngest son of Gen. His father had been a hero of the Revolutionary War and was a general in the War of ; Henry Clay, the United States senator and statesman, was a cousin.
Returning home after earning a law degree in , he established a practice in Lexington, served three terms in the Kentucky General Assembly and was a captain in the 1st Kentucky Cavalry in the Mexican War. In , he freed his own slaves and the next year started The True American, an emancipationist newspaper published in Lexington. His proposals for gradually ending slavery, which he also promulgated in public lectures, did not go over well in Kentucky. He kept a cannon on hand to protect the newspaper office from looming mobs and weathered several more attempts on his life.
General Clay, who in the s helped establish the Republican Party, was a friend and staunch supporter of Abraham Lincoln. After the outbreak of the Civil War, he organized the Cassius M. Clay Battalion, a corps of several hundred volunteers charged with protecting the White House. In , Lincoln appointed him minister to Russia, a post he held through the following year and again from to Dispatched to St.
Petersburg, General Clay was instrumental in brokering the deal that in let the United States purchase Alaska. Barricaded in White Hall with a veritable arsenal beside him, he pined for the faithless Dora and worried obsessively that enemies, real and imagined, were coming to kill him. Clay Decreed Insane. He fathered a string of children — as many as 10 in some estimates — most with his first wife, although at least one with a St.
Petersburg mistress. In , he donated the land for what became Berea College in Berea, Ky. Established two years later, it was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, open to blacks and to women from its inception. July 20, — a date that lives in my memory as the great divide, the B. It was the day of the first walk on the moon by humans, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and I covered the event for The Times from mission control in Houston.
I began my front-page article with a sentence as simple as it was astonishing:. Two Americans, astronauts of Apollo 11, steered their fragile four-legged lunar module safely and smoothly to the historic landing yesterday at P. Neil A. Armstrong, the year-old civilian commander, radioed to earth and the mission control room here:.
Just think, the 50th anniversary of the first moon walk is only three years away. Although I am now 82, my doctors seem to think I have a good chance of still being around for it. I doubt I will be up to the dawn-to-dawn workdays and multiple deadlines of yore, but a bit of the remembered excitement should be a tonic. Sadly, Neil Armstrong will be absent. He died on Aug. Aldrin is living and so is the third astronaut, Michael Collins.
The Armstrong obituary I wrote ran above the fold on the front page on Sunday, Aug. As I wrote it, I felt the old surge of Apollo emotion returning. Ever so briefly, I was young again, responding to a deadline and waiting presses. In the obituary , I continued the exchange between Armstrong and mission control:.
Thanks a lot. The same could have been said for hundreds of millions of people around the world watching on television. One reader that Sunday was a woman I had known and been fond of more than 50 years ago. She was still a space buff and in an email praised the obit.
One thing led to another and in our rediscovery we dispelled creeping loneliness in favor of love. Today we are together.
The Seven-Second Rule: How to Avoid Being an Easy Target
Before Bruce Lee sprang into martial arts movies in the early s, the average actor in a kung fu film may have been better prepared to deliver a Shakespearean soliloquy than a roundhouse kick. But the audiences can tell the difference. It knows a real fighter when it sees one. He began studying martial arts in earnest as a teenager, augmenting his fighting with strength training and dancing. In time he developed his own style, Jeet Kune Do.
Lee did his own stunts, helped write the script and choreographed the fight scenes. The film transfixed audiences around the world and cleaned up at the box office. Rumors that he had been murdered by gangsters added to his mystique, but the cause of death was thought to be a brain edema , possibly resulting from an adverse reaction to medication.
More than police officers had to bar thousands of screaming fans from his funeral service. They inspired the next generations of martial arts movie stars, like Jackie Chan and Jet Li, and helped open up Hollywood to Asian actors although the extent to which that has happened is questionable. He has inspired video game characters, even entire games. A statue of Lee, poised to strike, on the Hong Kong waterfront still attracts throngs of fans. The one by Mr.
Lee, who also staged the combats, died very recently. Here he could not be more alive. He made his first appearance in The Times when he was one day old , and undoubtedly has yet to make his last. From the start, every detail of his life hurtled round the world: his baptism ; his first Christmas ; his first teeth, first steps and first haircut; the box of stuffed animals he received from Madame Charles de Gaulle; the time he caught a cold. Years later that photograph — taken on Nov.
For if John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. John Jr. His wife of barely a thousand days, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and her sister Lauren Bessette also died in the crash. His adult exploits were chronicled no less voraciously than his childhood ones had been: his graduations from college and law school; his admission, after well-documented struggle, to the bar; his founding, in , of George, a glossy magazine of politics and popular culture. Bessette, a fashion publicist, in , in a humble wood-frame chapel on a secluded island off the Georgia coast.
But a darker thread ran through it all. By the time they died, Mr. Kennedy and his wife were reported to have been living apart. Bessette Kennedy — a golden-haired beauty fit for a prince — was said to be hotheaded and volatile. He wanted children; she did not. He embraced the limelight; she abhorred it. The magazine, too, was in trouble, condemned by some media watchers as little more than bombast and already embarked on an economic decline. It ceased publication in They took off at dusk, amid hazy, erratic weather and limited visibility, with Mr.
Kennedy — a relatively untried pilot who had been told by doctors not to fly because of a recent broken ankle — at the controls. In a speech he gave by the sea in Newport, R.
Why don’t women report rape? Because most get no justice when they do | direkekume.tk
And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it, we are going back from whence we came.
Kennedy Jr. William Henry McCarty Jr. He died in in New Mexico, which was still only a territory and did not yet furnish official death certificates. And, by the time he was dubbed Billy the Kid, just a few months before his death, he had already reached his majority and barely qualified for the moniker anymore. Also known as William H. According to one version, his mother had moved with her two sons to the Midwest, then to New Mexico to recover from tuberculosis.
Still, as recently as six years ago, Gov. He testified, but Wallace reneged, and Governor Richardson ultimately decided against a pardon. Near-mirror images, they reflect love and loss and ideas surrounding beauty. The two hold hands, connected by shared veins that flow to their exposed hearts. The other is intact with blood pumped to a framed photo of Diego Rivera , the celebrated muralist with whom Kahlo had a tumultuous marriage and had divorced that year.
The couple remarried the following year. Together, the two Fridas suggest the physical and emotional toll of the divorce. Kahlo expressed herself in dress as well, using her raiment as both adornment and armor. She embraced traditional Tehuana clothing, which in her paintings was often interpreted as a symbol of female authority. The choice to wear it in self-portraiture was a nod to her own fortitude.
It was amputated later in life. If her clothing was an embrace of cultural identity, her signature unibrow and her wispy mustache were in some ways a rebuke to conventional standards of beauty. At her death on this day 62 years ago, she was well-known as an artist but nevertheless remained overshadowed by Rivera.
By then her paintings had been exhibited and well-received in major cities like Mexico City, Paris and New York. Her work today sells for millions of dollars, and her likeness has appeared on everything from T-shirts to beer bottles. As noted by Graham W. In it, a white-haired gent, moving with unhurried and ominous purpose, unpacks a set of dentistry implements and sets to work on a young man who is bound to a chair.
Knighted in and raised to a life peerage in , Lord Olivier was, of course, one of the great theatrical performers — some say the greatest of all — of the 20th century, equally adept at comedy and tragedy, especially revered as a Shakespearean of charismatic intensity and daring physicality. But illness and age led him to retire from the stage in ; few, if any, people under 50 today saw him perform live.
His Szell was too cruel, too evil to be believed and yet memorably credible — frightfully, shudder-inducingly persuasive. Try to watch it. But perhaps inevitably, such a portrait feels a little musty, as though the man himself was a figure most alive in the distant past, a sepia-colored character to be revered — Lord Olivier, not Larry, as he was known to friends and colleagues — who could not be the technicolor movie villain whose villainy he so clearly relished embodying and enhancing.
He enjoyed playing good guys, too, of course, and did so, even in his dotage, with similar verve. Many would suspect that Conan Doyle, a trained physician who was often beseeched by the public to apply his skills to real-life cases , might have been as inflexibly rational as Holmes. But by the end of his life, on July 7, , Conan Doyle was a fervent believer in spiritualism , having spent decades researching ghosts, fairies and the paranormal. His fascination with the supernatural grew after his son Kingsley and his younger brother, Innes, battle-weary from service in World War I, died amid the worldwide influenza pandemic shortly after returning home.
Conan Doyle attended seances and wrote and lectured on spiritualism. He befriended Harry Houdini , the escape artist and magician, maintaining that Houdini had psychic powers even though Houdini himself denied it. Leckie produced several pages of automatic writing, in fluent English and signed with a cross. By the time he died, Conan Doyle — after killing off Holmes in , only to be forced by popular demand to revive him 10 years later — had forsaken Holmes for good.
To jazz aficionados, he was also something more: the trumpet virtuoso with the boundless musical imagination who almost singlehandedly shifted the focus of jazz from collective improvisation to individual expression — the man whose playing on the remarkable Hot Five and Hot Seven sessions , recorded when he was in his 20s, virtually defined the art of the jazz solo. He learned fast. Before he was out of his teens, he was a fixture on the New Orleans music scene; a few years later he moved to Chicago, where he made the records that changed jazz history. In due time he became the first jazz superstar, embraced by the world for his bravura playing, his ebullient singing and his larger-than-life personality.
Louis Armstrong died at his home in Queens on July 6, That this quintessential American success story was born on July 4, , always seemed too perfect to be true. Call it poetic license. The date he and everyone else celebrated was, as the old saying goes, close enough for jazz. Being born on Feb. Celebrating your birthday every Dec.
We culled our obituary files for people born that day to explore what, if anything, they had in common. Were they more patriotic? Their ranks include Calvin Coolidge , the laconic 30th president; Stephen Foster , whose songs celebrated Americana; and Stephen Mather , the first director of the National Park Service. They do not, however, include George M. Cohan , the Yankee Doodle Dandy who, contrary to popular wisdom, was actually born on July 3. Mayer born in what is now Belarus. For all the celebrities who were born on the Fourth of July, the holiday may be more famous for two adversaries who died on that date.
A star athlete in high school, he participated in the Allied invasion of Europe, rising to the rank of sergeant before his honorable discharge in But for Evers, who was born on this day in to an African-American farming family in Decatur, Miss. The racial injustice there rankled so much that he resolved to fight it, becoming the first field officer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Mississippi. He recruited new members, championed school integration, encouraged blacks to vote and staged daring protests against racial inequality in the South.
He also called for a new investigation of the murder of Emmett Till , a year-old African-American who was lynched in Mississippi in , supposedly for flirting with a white woman. People called his home threatening to shoot his family, and his house was firebombed. He did not back down. The battlefields of Europe did not stop Evers; those of Mississippi did. In the United States this is not only its first concern, but also its last concern. No other enterprise, not even the trade in public offices and contracts, occupies the rulers of the land so steadily, or makes heavier demands upon their ingenuity and their patriotic passion.
Familiar with the risks flowing out of it—and having just had to change the plates of my "Book of Prefaces," a book of purely literary criticism, wholly without political purpose or significance, in order to get it through the mails, I determined to make this brochure upon the woman question extremely pianissimo in tone, and to avoid burdening it with any ideas of an unfamiliar, and hence illegal nature. So deciding, I presently added a bravura touch: the unquenchable vanity of the intellectual snob asserting itself over all prudence. That is to say, I laid down the rule that no idea should go into the book that was not already so obvious that it had been embodied in the proverbial philosophy, or folk-wisdom, of some civilized nation, including the Chinese.
To this rule I remained faithful throughout. In its original form, as published in , the book was actually just such a pastiche of proverbs, many of them English, and hence familiar even to Congressmen, newspaper editors and other such illiterates. It was not always easy to hold to this program; over and over again I was tempted to insert notions that seemed to have escaped the peasants of Europe and Asia. But in the end, at some cost to the form of the work, I managed to get through it without compromise, and so it was put into type. There is no need to add that my ideational abstinence went unrecognized and unrewarded.
In fact, not a single American reviewer noticed it, and most of them slated the book violently as a mass of heresies and contumacies, a deliberate attack upon all the known and revered truths about the woman question, a headlong assault upon the national decencies. In the South, where the suspicion of ideas goes to extraordinary lengths, even for the United States, some of the newspapers actually denounced the book as German propaganda, designed to break down American morale, and called upon the Department of Justice to proceed against me for the crime known to American law as "criminal anarchy," i.
Certainly, they received many complaints about it. I myself, in fact, caused a number of these complaints to be lodged, in the hope that the resultant buffooneries would give me entertainment in those dull days of war, with all intellectual activities adjourned, and maybe promote the sale of the book. But the Comstocks were pursuing larger fish, and so left me to the righteous indignation of right-thinking reviewers, especially the suffragists.
Their concern, after all, is not with books that are denounced; what they concentrate their moral passion on is the book that is praised. The present edition is addressed to a wider audience, in more civilized countries, and so I have felt free to introduce a number of propositions, not to be found in popular proverbs, that had to be omitted from the original edition.
But even so, the book by no means pretends to preach revolutionary doctrines, or even doctrines of any novelty. All I design by it is to set down in more or less plain form certain ideas that practically every civilized man and woman holds in petto, but that have been concealed hitherto by the vast mass of sentimentalities swathing the whole woman question.
It is a question of capital importance to all human beings, and it deserves to be discussed honestly and frankly, but there is so much of social reticence, of religious superstition and of mere emotion intermingled with it that most of the enormous literature it has thrown off is hollow and useless. I point for example, to the literature of the subsidiary question of woman suffrage. It fills whole libraries, but nine tenths of it is merely rubbish, for it starts off from assumptions that are obviously untrue and it reaches conclusions that are at war with both logic and the facts.
So with the question of sex specifically. I have read, literally, hundreds of volumes upon it, and uncountable numbers of pamphlets, handbills and inflammatory wall-cards, and yet it leaves the primary problem unsolved, which is to say, the problem as to what is to be done about the conflict between the celibacy enforced upon millions by civilization and the appetites implanted in all by God. In the main, it counsels yielding to celibacy, which is exactly as sensible as advising a dog to forget its fleas. Here, as in other fields, I do not presume to offer a remedy of my own.
In truth, I am very suspicious of all remedies for the major ills of life, and believe that most of them are incurable. But I at least venture to discuss the matter realistically, and if what I have to say is not sagacious, it is at all events not evasive. This, I hope, is something. Maybe some later investigator will bring a better illumination to the subject. It is the custom of The Free-Lance Series to print a paragraph or two about the author in each volume.
I was born in Baltimore, September 12, , and come of a learned family, though my immediate forebears were business men. The tradition of this ancient learning has been upon me since my earliest days, and I narrowly escaped becoming a doctor of philosophy. My father's death, in , somehow dropped me into journalism, where I had a successful career, as such careers go. At the age of 25 I was the chief editor of a daily newspaper in Baltimore.
During the same year I published my first book of criticism. Thereafter, for ten or twelve years, I moved steadily from practical journalism, with its dabbles in politics, economics and soon, toward purely aesthetic concerns, chiefly literature and music, but of late I have felt a strong pull in the other direction, and what interests me chiefly today is what may be called public psychology, ie. If I do any serious writing hereafter, it will be in that field. In the United States I am commonly held suspect as a foreigner, and during the war I was variously denounced.
Abroad, especially in England, I am sometimes put to the torture for my intolerable Americanism. The two views are less far apart than they seem to be. The fact is that I am superficially so American, in ways of speech and thought, that the foreigner is deceived, whereas the native, more familiar with the true signs, sees that under the surface there is incurable antagonism to most of the ideas that Americans hold to be sound.
Thus I all between two stools—but it is more comfortable there on the floor than sitting up tightly. I am wholly devoid of public spirit or moral purpose. This is incomprehensible to many men, and they seek to remedy the defect by crediting me with purposes of their own. The only thing I respect is intellectual honesty, of which, of course, intellectual courage is a necessary part. A Socialist who goes to jail for his opinions seems to me a much finer man than the judge who sends him there, though I disagree with all the ideas of the Socialist and agree with some of those of the judge.
But though he is fine, the Socialist is nevertheless foolish, for he suffers for what is untrue. If I knew what was true, I'd probably be willing to sweat and strive for it, and maybe even to die for it to the tune of bugle-blasts. But so far I have not found it. A man's women folk, whatever their outward show of respect for his merit and authority, always regard him secretly as an ass, and with something akin to pity. His most gaudy sayings and doings seldom deceive them; they see the actual man within, and know him for a shallow and pathetic fellow. In this fact, perhaps, lies one of the best proofs of feminine intelligence, or, as the common phrase makes it, feminine intuition.
The mark of that so-called intuition is simply a sharp and accurate perception of reality, an habitual immunity to emotional enchantment, a relentless capacity for distinguishing clearly between the appearance and the substance. The appearance, in the normal family circle, is a hero, magnifico, a demigod.
The substance is a poor mountebank. The proverb that no man is a hero to his valet is obviously of masculine manufacture. It is both insincere and untrue: insincere because it merely masks the egotistic doctrine that he is potentially a hero to everyone else, and untrue because a valet, being a fourth-rate man himself, is likely to be the last person in the world to penetrate his master's charlatanry. Who ever heard of valet who didn't envy his master wholeheartedly?
A man's wife labours under no such naive folly. She may envy her husband, true enough, certain of his more soothing prerogatives and sentimentalities. She may envy him his masculine liberty of movement and occupation, his impenetrable complacency, his peasant-like delight in petty vices, his capacity for hiding the harsh face of reality behind the cloak of romanticism, his general innocence and childishness. But she never envies him his puerile ego; she never envies him his shoddy and preposterous soul. This shrewd perception of masculine bombast and make-believe, this acute understanding of man as the eternal tragic comedian, is at the bottom of that compassionate irony which paces under the name of the maternal instinct.
A woman wishes to mother a man simply because she sees into his helplessness, his need of an amiable environment, his touching self delusion. That ironical note is not only daily apparent in real life; it sets the whole tone of feminine fiction. The woman novelist, if she be skillful enough to arise out of mere imitation into genuine self-expression, never takes her heroes quite seriously. From the day of George Sand to the day of Selma Lagerlof she has always got into her character study a touch of superior aloofness, of ill-concealed derision.
I can't recall a single masculine figure created by a woman who is not, at bottom, a booby. That it should still be necessary, at this late stage in the senility of the human race to argue that women have a fine and fluent intelligence is surely an eloquent proof of the defective observation, incurable prejudice, and general imbecility of their lords and masters. One finds very few professors of the subject, even among admitted feminists, approaching the fact as obvious; practically all of them think it necessary to bring up a vast mass of evidence to establish what should be an axiom.
Even the Franco Englishman, W. George, one of the most sharp-witted of the faculty, wastes a whole book up on the demonstration, and then, with a great air of uttering something new, gives it the humourless title of "The Intelligence of Women. As well devote a laborious time to the sagacity of serpents, pickpockets, or Holy Church! Women, in truth, are not only intelligent; they have almost a monopoly of certain of the subtler and more utile forms of intelligence.
The thing itself, indeed, might be reasonably described as a special feminine character; there is in it, in more than one of its manifestations, a femaleness as palpable as the femaleness of cruelty, masochism or rouge. Men are strong. Men are brave in physical combat. Men have sentiment.
Men are romantic, and love what they conceive to be virtue and beauty. Men incline to faith, hope and charity. Men know how to sweat and endure. Men are amiable and fond. But in so far as they show the true fundamentals of intelligence—in so far as they reveal a capacity for discovering the kernel of eternal verity in the husk of delusion and hallucination and a passion for bringing it forth—to that extent, at least, they are feminine, and still nourished by the milk of their mothers.
Bonaparte had it; Goethe had it; Schopenhauer had it; Bismarck and Lincoln had it; in Shakespeare, if the Freudians are to be believed, it amounted to downright homosexuality. The essential traits and qualities of the male, the hallmarks of the unpolluted masculine, are at the same time the hall-marks of the Schalskopf. The caveman is all muscles and mush. Without a woman to rule him and think for him, he is a truly lamentable spectacle: a baby with whiskers, a rabbit with the frame of an aurochs, a feeble and preposterous caricature of God. It would be an easy matter, indeed, to demonstrate that superior talent in man is practically always accompanied by this feminine flavour—that complete masculinity and stupidity are often indistinguishable.
Lest I be misunderstood I hasten to add that I do not mean to say that masculinity contributes nothing to the complex of chemico-physiological reactions which produces what we call talent; all I mean to say is that this complex is impossible without the feminine contribution that it is a product of the interplay of the two elements. In women of genius we see the opposite picture. They are commonly distinctly mannish, and shave as well as shine. The truth is that neither sex, without some fertilization by the complementary characters of the other, is capable of the highest reaches of human endeavour.
Man, without a saving touch of woman in him, is too doltish, too naive and romantic, too easily deluded and lulled to sleep by his imagination to be anything above a cavalryman, a theologian or a bank director. And woman, without some trace of that divine innocence which is masculine, is too harshly the realist for those vast projections of the fancy which lie at the heart of what we call genius. Here, as elsewhere in the universe, the best effects are obtained by a mingling of elements.
The wholly manly man lacks the wit necessary to give objective form to his soaring and secret dreams, and the wholly womanly woman is apt to be too cynical a creature to dream at all. What men, in their egoism, constantly mistake for a deficiency of intelligence in woman is merely an incapacity for mastering that mass of small intellectual tricks, that complex of petty knowledges, that collection of cerebral rubber stamps, which constitutes the chief mental equipment of the average male. A man thinks that he is more intelligent than his wife because he can add up a column of figures more accurately, and because he understands the imbecile jargon of the stock market, and because he is able to distinguish between the ideas of rival politicians, and because he is privy to the minutiae of some sordid and degrading business or profession, say soap-selling or the law.
But these empty talents, of course, are not really signs of a profound intelligence; they are, in fact, merely superficial accomplishments, and their acquirement puts little more strain on the mental powers than a chimpanzee suffers in learning how to catch a penny or scratch a match.
The whole bag of tricks of the average business man, or even of the average professional man, is inordinately childish. It takes no more actual sagacity to carry on the everyday hawking and haggling of the world, or to ladle out its normal doses of bad medicine and worse law, than it takes to operate a taxicab or fry a pan of fish. No observant person, indeed, can come into close contact with the general run of business and professional men—I confine myself to those who seem to get on in the world, and exclude the admitted failures—without marvelling at their intellectual lethargy, their incurable ingenuousness, their appalling lack of ordinary sense.
The late Charles Francis Adams, a grandson of one American President and a great-grandson of another, after a long lifetime in intimate association with some of the chief business "geniuses" of that paradise of traders and usurers, the United States, reported in his old age that he had never heard a single one of them say anything worth hearing. These were vigorous and masculine men, and in a man's world they were successful men, but intellectually they were all blank cartridges. There is, indeed, fair ground for arguing that, if men of that kidney were genuinely intelligent, they would never succeed at their gross and driveling concerns—that their very capacity to master and retain such balderdash as constitutes their stock in trade is proof of their inferior mentality.
The notion is certainly supported by the familiar incompetency of first rate men for what are called practical concerns. One could not think of Aristotle or Beethoven multiplying 3,, by 99, without making a mistake, nor could one think of him remembering the range of this or that railway share for two years, or the number of ten-penny nails in a hundred weight, or the freight on lard from Galveston to Rotterdam. And by the same token one could not imagine him expert at billiards, or at grouse-shooting, or at golf, or at any other of the idiotic games at which what are called successful men commonly divert themselves.
In his great study of British genius, Havelock Ellis found that an incapacity for such petty expertness was visible in almost all first rate men. They are bad at tying cravats. They do not understand the fashionable card games. They are puzzled by book-keeping. They know nothing of party politics. In brief, they are inert and impotent in the very fields of endeavour that see the average men's highest performances, and are easily surpassed by men who, in actual intelligence, are about as far below them as the Simidae. This lack of skill at manual and mental tricks of a trivial character—which must inevitably appear to a barber or a dentist as stupidity, and to a successful haberdasher as downright imbecility—is a character that men of the first class share with women of the first, second and even third classes.
There is at the bottom of it, in truth, something unmistakably feminine; its appearance in a man is almost invariably accompanied by the other touch of femaleness that I have described. Nothing, indeed, could be plainer than the fact that women, as a class, are sadly deficient in the small expertness of men as a class.
One seldom, if ever, hears of them succeeding in the occupations which bring out such expertness most lavishly—for example, tuning pianos, repairing clocks, practising law, ie. There is no external reason why women shouldn't succeed as operative surgeons; the way is wide open, the rewards are large, and there is a special demand for them on grounds of modesty. Nevertheless, not many women graduates in medicine undertake surgery and it is rare for one of them to make a success of it.
There is, again, no external reason why women should not prosper at the bar, or as editors of newspapers, or as managers of the lesser sort of factories, or in the wholesale trade, or as hotel-keepers. The taboos that stand in the way are of very small force; various adventurous women have defied them with impunity; once the door is entered there remains no special handicap within. But, as every one knows, the number of women actually practising these trades and professions is very small, and few of them have attained to any distinction in competition with men.
The cause thereof, as I say, is not external, but internal. It lies in the same disconcerting apprehension of the larger realities, the same impatience with the paltry and meretricious, the same disqualification for mechanical routine and empty technic which one finds in the higher varieties of men.
Even in the pursuits which, by the custom of Christendom, are especially their own, women seldom show any of that elaborately conventionalized and half automatic proficiency which is the pride and boast of most men. It is a commonplace of observation, indeed, that a housewife who actually knows how to cook, or who can make her own clothes with enough skill to conceal the fact from the most casual glance, or who is competent to instruct her children in the elements of morals, learning and hygiene—it is a platitude that such a woman is very rare indeed, and that when she is encountered she is not usually esteemed for her general intelligence.
This is particularly true in the United States, where the position of women is higher than in any other civilized or semi-civilized country, and the old assumption of their intellectual inferiority has been most successfully challenged. The American dinner-table, in truth, becomes a monument to the defective technic of the American housewife. The guest who respects his oesophagus, invited to feed upon its discordant and ill-prepared victuals, evades the experience as long and as often as he can, and resigns himself to it as he might resign himself to being shaved by a paralytic.
Nowhere else in the world have women more leisure and freedom to improve their minds, and nowhere else do they show a higher level of intelligence, or take part more effectively in affairs of the first importance. But nowhere else is there worse cooking in the home, or a more inept handling of the whole domestic economy, or a larger dependence upon the aid of external substitutes, by men provided, for the skill that is wanting where it theoretically exists.
It is surely no mere coincidence that the land of the emancipated and enthroned woman is also the land of canned soup, of canned pork and beans, of whole meals in cans, and of everything else ready-made. And nowhere else is there more striking tendency to throw the whole business of training the minds of children upon professional teachers, and the whole business of instructing them in morals and religion upon so-called Sunday-schools, and the whole business of developing and caring for their bodies upon playground experts, sex hygienists and other such professionals, most of them mountebanks.
In brief, women rebel—often unconsciously, sometimes even submitting all the while—against the dull, mechanical tricks of the trade that the present organization of society compels them to practise for a living, and that rebellion testifies to their intelligence. If they enjoyed and took pride in those tricks, and showed it by diligence and skill, they would be on all fours with such men as are headwaiters, ladies' tailors, schoolmasters or carpet-beaters, and proud of it.
The inherent tendency of any woman above the most stupid is to evade the whole obligation, and, if she cannot actually evade it, to reduce its demands to the minimum. And when some accident purges her, either temporarily or permanently, of the inclination to marriage of which much more anon , and she enters into competition with men in the general business of the world, the sort of career that she commonly carves out offers additional evidence of her mental peculiarity.
In whatever calls for no more than an invariable technic and a feeble chicanery she usually fails; in whatever calls for independent thought and resourcefulness she usually succeeds. Thus she is almost always a failure as a lawyer, for the law requires only an armament of hollow phrases and stereotyped formulae, and a mental habit which puts these phantasms above sense, truth and justice; and she is almost always a failure in business, for business, in the main, is so foul a compound of trivialities and rogueries that her sense of intellectual integrity revolts against it.
But she is usually a success as a sick-nurse, for that profession requires ingenuity, quick comprehension, courage in the face of novel and disconcerting situations, and above all, a capacity for penetrating and dominating character; and whenever she comes into competition with men in the arts, particularly on those secondary planes where simple nimbleness of mind is unaided by the masterstrokes of genius, she holds her own invariably. The best and most intellectual—i. In the demimonde one will find enough acumen and daring, and enough resilience in the face of special difficulties, to put the equipment of any exclusively male profession to shame.
If the work of the average man required half the mental agility and readiness of resource of the work of the average prostitute, the average man would be constantly on the verge of starvation. Men, as every one knows, are disposed to question this superior intelligence of women; their egoism demands the denial, and they are seldom reflective enough to dispose of it by logical and evidential analysis. Moreover, as we shall see a bit later on, there is a certain specious appearance of soundness in their position; they have forced upon women an artificial character which well conceals their real character, and women have found it profitable to encourage the deception.
But though every normal man thus cherishes the soothing unction that he is the intellectual superior of all women, and particularly of his wife, he constantly gives the lie to his pretension by consulting and deferring to what he calls her intuition. That is to say, he knows by experience that her judgment in many matters of capital concern is more subtle and searching than his own, and, being disinclined to accredit this greater sagacity to a more competent intelligence, he takes refuge behind the doctrine that it is due to some impenetrable and intangible talent for guessing correctly, some half mystical super sense, some vague and, in essence, infra-human instinct.
The true nature of this alleged instinct, however, is revealed by an examination of the situations which inspire a man to call it to his aid. These situations do not arise out of the purely technical problems that are his daily concern, but out of the rarer and more fundamental, and hence enormously more difficult problems which beset him only at long and irregular intervals, and so offer a test, not of his mere capacity for being drilled, but of his capacity for genuine ratiocination.
No man, I take it, save one consciously inferior and hen-pecked, would consult his wife about hiring a clerk, or about extending credit to some paltry customer, or about some routine piece of tawdry swindling; but not even the most egoistic man would fail to sound the sentiment of his wife about taking a partner into his business, or about standing for public office, or about combating unfair and ruinous competition, or about marrying off their daughter. Such things are of massive importance; they lie at the foundation of well-being; they call for the best thought that the man confronted by them can muster; the perils hidden in a wrong decision overcome even the clamors of vanity.
It is in such situations that the superior mental grasp of women is of obvious utility, and has to be admitted. It is here that they rise above the insignificant sentimentalities, superstitions and formulae of men, and apply to the business their singular talent for separating the appearance from the substance, and so exercise what is called their intuition. With all respect, bosh! Then it was intuition that led Darwin to work out the hypothesis of natural selection.
Then it was intuition that fabricated the gigantically complex score of "Die Walkure. All this intuition of which so much transcendental rubbish is merchanted is no more and no less than intelligence—intelligence so keen that it can penetrate to the hidden truth through the most formidable wrappings of false semblance and demeanour, and so little corrupted by sentimental prudery that it is equal to the even more difficult task of hauling that truth out into the light, in all its naked hideousness. Women decide the larger questions of life correctly and quickly, not because they are lucky guessers, not because they are divinely inspired, not because they practise a magic inherited from savagery, but simply and solely because they have sense.
They see at a glance what most men could not see with searchlights and telescopes; they are at grips with the essentials of a problem before men have finished debating its mere externals. They are the supreme realists of the race. Apparently illogical, they are the possessors of a rare and subtle super-logic. Apparently whimsical, they hang to the truth with a tenacity which carries them through every phase of its incessant, jellylike shifting of form. Apparently unobservant and easily deceived, they see with bright and horrible eyes.
In men, too, the same merciless perspicacity sometimes shows itself—men recognized to be more aloof and uninflammable than the general—men of special talent for the logical—sardonic men, cynics. Men, too, sometimes have brains. But that is a rare, rare man, I venture, who is as steadily intelligent, as constantly sound in judgment, as little put off by appearances, as the average women of forty-eight.
I have said that women are not sentimental, i. The doctrine, perhaps, will raise a protest. The theory that they are is itself a favourite sentimentality; one sentimentality will be brought up to substantiate another; dog will eat dog. But an appeal to a few obvious facts will be enough to sustain my contention, despite the vast accumulation of romantic rubbish to the contrary. Turn, for example, to the field in which the two sexes come most constantly into conflict, and in which, as a result, their habits of mind are most clearly contrasted—to the field, to wit, of monogamous marriage.
Surely no long argument is needed to demonstrate the superior competence and effectiveness of women here, and therewith their greater self-possession, their saner weighing of considerations, their higher power of resisting emotional suggestion. The very fact that marriages occur at all is a proof, indeed, that they are more cool-headed than men, and more adept in employing their intellectual resources, for it is plainly to a man's interest to avoid marriage as long as possible, and as plainly to a woman's interest to make a favourable marriage as soon as she can.
The efforts of the two sexes are thus directed, in one of the capital concerns of life, to diametrically antagonistic ends. Which side commonly prevails? I leave the verdict to the jury. All normal men fight the thing off; some men are successful for relatively long periods; a few extraordinarily intelligent and courageous men or perhaps lucky ones escape altogether.
But, taking one generation with another, as every one knows, the average man is duly married and the average woman gets a husband. Thus the great majority of women, in this clear-cut and endless conflict, make manifest their substantial superiority to the great majority of men. Not many men, worthy of the name, gain anything of net value by marriage, at least as the institution is now met with in Christendom. Even assessing its benefits at their most inflated worth, they are plainly overborne by crushing disadvantages.
When a man marries it is no more than a sign that the feminine talent for persuasion and intimidation—i. Whether that compromise be a sign of his relative stupidity or of his relative cowardice it is all one: the two things, in their symptoms and effects, are almost identical. In the first case he marries because he has been clearly bowled over in a combat of wits; in the second he resigns himself to marriage as the safest form of liaison. In both cases his inherent sentimentality is the chief weapon in the hand of his opponent. It makes him cherish the fiction of his enterprise, and even of his daring, in the midst of the most crude and obvious operations against him.
It makes him accept as real the bold play-acting that women always excel at, and at no time more than when stalking a man. It makes him, above all, see a glamour of romance in a transaction which, even at its best, contains almost as much gross trafficking, at bottom, as the sale of a mule.
A man in full possession of the modest faculties that nature commonly apportions to him is at least far enough above idiocy to realize that marriage is a bargain in which he gets the worse of it, even when, in some detail or other, he makes a visible gain. He never, I believe, wants all that the thing offers and implies. He wants, at most, no more than certain parts. He may desire, let us say, a housekeeper to protect his goods and entertain his friends—but he may shrink from the thought of sharing his bathtub with anyone, and home cooking may be downright poisonous to him.
He may yearn for a son to pray at his tomb—and yet suffer acutely at the mere approach of relatives-in-law. He may dream of a beautiful and complaisant mistress, less exigent and mercurial than any a bachelor may hope to discover—and stand aghast at admitting her to his bank-book, his family-tree and his secret ambitions. He may want company and not intimacy, or intimacy and not company. He may want a cook and not a partner in his business, or a partner in his business and not a cook. But in order to get the precise thing or things that he wants, he has to take a lot of other things that he doesn't want—that no sane man, in truth, could imaginably want—and it is to the enterprise of forcing him into this almost Armenian bargain that the woman of his "choice" addresses herself.
Once the game is fairly set, she searches out his weaknesses with the utmost delicacy and accuracy, and plays upon them with all her superior resources. He carries a handicap from the start. The hands of a Wing Chun fighter are fast, deceptive and extremely powerful. Bruce Lee used these same hands to propel him into the limelight and into the movie world of Hollywood.
Wing Chun uses kicks that seek to break the legs of an opponent, disabling them immediately. Rarely do we use kicks above the waist in Wing Chun. Kicking your opponents head is like bending down to punch them in the foot, a waste of time. Feet cover feet.
Hands cover hands. We do not block in Wing Chun. We Cover. Blocking is slow. Covering is being one step ahead of your opponent. We cover areas that we know have to be attacked. We seek to use deflections, parries, and evasive footwork following another core concept of not going against the force. Wing Chun is the art of not getting hit. Wing Chun does have grappling. It is not a primary method but can be employed when needed. We seek to stay on our feet and mobile. In our forms you will see grabbing, circling, breaking motions. These motions give the little ideas of grappling. Everything is in the forms.
Wing Chun believe that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication. We do not seek to add to our arsenal. Wing Chun is a cutting art. We seek to keep it simply and devastatingly effective. Wing Chun Kung Fu training provides physical conditioning, coordination, balance while building up cardio-vascular and respiratory endurance and stamina. In essence the training can help with stress reduction. Self confidence develops with knowledge that can be applied. Knowledge is power. Mental discipline is developed as you overcome obstacles in your training. Obstacles can come in many forms such as financial, family, time constraints, etc.
You will need to be determination and perseverance to reach your goals. But when you reach them, keep making more. This leads us to study the two types of footwork. There is invasive footwork and evasive footwork. Using the proper type or correct combination of the two gives you the position, angle and pressure needed to counter an attack. Footwork puts you in a superior position while putting your opponent or opponents into a inferior position s. This can be as simple as a shift of the horse or as complex as a kick while covering and striking with the hand also.
It should be noted that I have learned multitudes about footwork that was not shown prior from my first instructor. If you break from what you think you know, you will know more. Wing Chun is an eastern form of martial art that employs knives, staff and empty hands. People have discussed whether fencing double knife methods were taught first which translated into the hand methods or vice versa. Maybe the western art of boxing holds some of the answers.
The word Boxing comes from a Middle English term meaning to strike. The history of Boxing is fascinating and has parallels to Wing Chun in its earliest forms. James Figg, an Englishman, is regarded as the first to adapt fencing and pole fighting to boxing at his academy. According to news sources, in , Figg helped popularize boxing by opening a training academy in London. It should be noted, that this earliest form of modern boxing was very different. Contests in Mr. Source: Wiki] His methods later became widespread throughout England and surrounding areas.
Butchers were considered lower class at the time and may have influenced many of the terms used in boxing such as the jab, hook, uppercut, etc. Regardless, the entire nation of England supported and practiced this fighting art. Boxing, or more accurately called pugilism during this time, was more cruel and violent than it was sport. Men would face off, and fight one another using any variety of rough methods. For example, in a typical match, if the chance presented itself, one fighter might catch hold of his opponent and toss him to the ground or floor, by his ears or by fish hooking him in the nose, eyes or mouth.
It was even considered manly and proper to kick a man when he was down. These techniques were commonly used by the fighters and hugely enjoyed by those watching. Later in the history of boxing, Jim Driscoll tried to explain the origins and changes made to the sport of boxing. The use of timing is one that the ardent students of bare knuckles boxing know. This is not uncommon practice it would seem in martial arts that developed from blade play. This is a Wing Chun must have. Stop hits and traps were among the techniques that were used frequently in the early form of boxing.
What changes occurred in boxing that caused practitioners to move away from some of the battle proven techniques that came from quarter staff fighting, fencing and the practice of parrying daggers? Why would you abandon knife fighting techniques that were crucial in the beginning to the hand methods? What happened to boxing if it was so similar to Wing Chun in its earliest stages? Why did it change its focus? It has to do with social acceptance and money. Yes, I said it Money. People do not want to pay for a fight that lasts seconds. The government also wants to regulate anything they feel is harmful to people.
Money is the reason why martial arts today are watered down and less lethal. The rest is gullibility. Those that do not know how to fight, watch these spectator oriented sports and feel that the sport is what is true to life. To make the fights more profitable and longer, rules were created and safety equipment such as large padded gloves were eventually added. This practice led to the horizontal punching structure and bouncing footwork used today.
It abandoned the vertical fist structure needed in a bare-knuckle fight and the flatfooted approach to using the whole body in the striking process. It removed highly effective methods that ended fights quickly and promoted techniques that caused wins to take more time and thus make more money.
Some arts remain true to their roots but they become fewer and fewer each and everyday. The watered down versions, of the original fighting arts of days gone by, are shameful in comparison to what they once were like. Just look at what the samurai did and how that has become karate point matches. It would seem, when based on logic, that regardless of geographic location many of the original fighting arts started with weapons that later translated into empty handed fighting systems of that region.
Wing Chun, Boxing, Kali, Karate and other arts from around the world began with weapons and later were transformed into empty handed methods. Regardless we should keep this in mind so we do not travel the road of commercialization and cripple our arts with the sport influence. She observed that the snake was able to defend itself easily by using strategy even though it lacked the limbs and strengths of its opponent. The snake would lure the crane into striking by moving very little, awaiting the perfect opportunity to counter strike. The crane, even though it had strengths such as wings and legs it also was a bigger target and lacked the venom of the deadly snake.
One wrong move from the crane and it could be easily killed in a single strike. It was also trying to lure the snake to initiate the attack so it could lash out with its talons and beak also at the perfect time. They both tried to get the other to attack first. There are many concepts and strategies noticed in this encounter to include, but not limited to the following, yielding to force and using it to your advantage, protecting the center, simultaneously attacking and defending, fighting to survive not for ego gratification, knowing when to strike and when not to, redirection, etc.
You should use these to your advantage at all times. You must attack and destroy your opponent until they are not physically capable of harming you any more. To do otherwise is to risk your life. Finish off your opponent or they can and will recover, attack, and defeat you. You must never think otherwise. You must never show your opponent mercy nor should you train as if they will show it to you. There is no tapping out when you leave the safety of your school. Your eyes must appear to your opponent as if filled with destruction and mayhem. Your eyes must remain predatory in nature and appearance.
Your hands should be deceitful and deceptive to allow you to lead your opponent to his own demise. Do not find yourself in unfavorable circumstances or situations. Know your surrounding and predicament at all times. Always remain humble and never boast. Remember greatness is born of humble beginnings and arrogance ends in an humbled state. Your attacks must be like a butcher preparing his meats for the market. Kindness will not give you success in battle but it will quickly leave you helpless and destroyed.
Movement and fight strategy should incorporate misdirection and deception to make your opponent feel like they are chasing smoke. If you encounter an opponent who is physically stronger than you, strategy, misdirection and an brutal mindset are the keys to defeat him. When you encounter an opponent who is much weaker than you, be mindful of strategies that incorporate misdirection.
If you do so, you will need not fear harm. Large or small, use the same strength, power and deception on both: all of your abilities and attributes must be used to defeat your opponent.
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Do not see your art as having a volume control. See it as only having an off and on switch when using your skills. The art of Wing Chun is based on you being the target. They must reach you, attack you. When they do, unleash Hell on them. Wing Chun is a martial or war based art. Wing Chun is a theory based system that seeks the simplest solution to the problem. It does not seek to add but to subtract what is not useful, expedient, or practical.
The formula should never be more complex than the problem, so to speak. The less movement, the less chance of error. If this is all true, a gun is Wing Chun. A trap is Wing Chun. Wing Chun is not about flash but about what works. So if it works and fits the above description, it is probably Wing Chun. So a hook punch is Wing Chun if that was the tool needed and most practical at the time.
The next time you see any weapon or item that be improvised as such, say to yourself, that is Wing Chun if used correctly. You better believe that the practitioners of the past would have used it to win. The tool at hand is superior to the one you wish you could use. I was taught and teach that it is smarter to fight like a girl than stand there and take it like a man.
Based on my experiences and training, what makes Wing Chun different is that Wing Chun is the art of not getting hit. Wing Chun does not advocate swapping blows like other arts sometimes do. As seen in the common imagery of the art, the confrontation between crane and snake, both the metaphorical and primordial interpretations apply. But first and foremost they are animals. They do not fight for honor, ego, or bragging rights.
Wing Chun is ultimately a weapons based art. One should train everything with a knife or a weapon, and this will instantly help the student understand why they should execute certain movements instead of others. There is a great deal of emphasis on Wing Chun as a knife-fighting art just in its most recognized symbol of two crossed knives.
The creators of the art used the Crane and Snake, two knives crossed, the plum tree blossoms hiding vicious thorns from sight to impart the true spirit of our art as a weapons based art to future generations. There are many articles out there about many other arts and training methods that say one should always assume that the attacker has a weapon.
Firearms are also explored because you better believe that Wing Chun Practitioners of old would be training in firearms, both offensively and defensively, if they lived in our modern time frame. They were focused on what works to keep from getting hurt. If you are not training with modern weapons, you are not training for reality. Not training with modern weapons is like living in a cave instead of a modern home. All wars are fought with weapons these days to try to defeat them with sharpened sticks on the battlefield is suicide.
Be Prepared for the unimaginable, not just the worst you can imagine. It gives you an edge on your opponent. Continue to study and minimize the junk in your life maximizing the things that matter the most. When he came into class one day, he told us he had been attacked again. This time it was different though. Next time, you will think twice before you try to take advantage of old man.
Ever wonder why the plum blossom was a symbol of Wing Chun? Well it is simple when you realize that during the winter they blossom which means overcoming death or defeat. Bursting forth when no other would dare. They also spread like wildfire by suckering up and creating hedgerows or barriers for the garden. I however see it differently in that I have a plum tree and they are viciously armed with 1 to 2 inch thorns that will go through your shoes into your feet when you prune them and step on the limbs.
Handling these trees requires one to be gentle with it or face the consequences of it thorns. The art of Wing Chun is a knife fighting art, a cutting art, a blade art. This is why the knives are one of the symbols as well. People tend to only focus on the beauty of the blossom but never really look at the tree as a whole. Cut them down and they will return with sprouts in multitudes.
Invading your yard garden or field. Those that have been around these trees know that mishandling one of them comes with the price of your blood. The creators of the art hid their intentions in subtle ways because they were revolutionaries, crane and snake fighting for survival, two knives crossed, the plum tree creating new seeds blossoms bring fruit with seeds.
They also hide the thorns from sight. Stop seeing Wing Chun as just an empty hand fighting system and start seeing it as the knife fighting art it truly is. This even answers the choppers versus stabbers question of knife design. Are you stressed out? Feel like your fighting an uphill battle? Use the the first axiom or rule of Wing Chun.
In Wing Chun we never argue with strength. We yield to the strength. We go around it. We flow like water. Water is soft but it destroys rocks. Forget your ego and flow around the situation. It is easier that way. Life becomes a series of events that flow naturally together and you become a happier person because of it. Positive people live longer. Yielding will prolong your life. I hope this helps you in your training and everyday lives. They only cover basics and put the women in a worse situation than before.
They promote confidence without any true knowledge or muscle memory to employ the techniques taught. I for one do not want anyone to be victimized. That being said, keep in mind, panic kills but so does over confidence. Be scared! Being scared helps you stay on top of your situation and vigilant of what could happen. Wing Chun is the only art to ever be created by two women to defend against larger, more powerful men. Women created it for women. Stop training hard styles or military styles, they are designed for faster, flexible, weight lifting, ruck sack carrying soldiers or MEN.
Stories give us a glimpse into the mindset of the people writing them. If they write it down and do not destroy it, there must have been a reason. The reasons can never be truly clear but the facts still remain that the individual did indeed write it and must have had a purpose if they kept it. This brings me to the story that everyone is trying to prove or disprove, The story of Yim Wing Chun and her teacher Ng Moy. There have been many recent public rebuttals to the story and its origins.
Many claim that it was a fictionalized story. What was the purpose of this story if it was untrue? Chinese culture is often misunderstood by many westerners. They see the Yin Yang symbol and see harmony. While this does show a balance of day and night etc. Yang energy is life giving and powerful. Yin energy is to be avoided. Yin energy drains you of your strength and vitality.
So if yin energy is the feminine energy and Master Yip Man puts forth a history based on not one but two females creating the art, was he saying this art is a yin art? I believe he may have been explaining the true purpose of the art. To be subversive, manipulative, deceptive. Even the Art of War speaks to this manner of dealing with conflict. Maybe the story was not to provide a correct history but a correct guide in why one is training.
A possible lesson here: Nature is a battleground. Survival is the goal not winning points or bouts. The story then follows genealogy that shows adding what works to the arsenal and revising it each generation to be the ultimate art of destruction Yin Force. Chinese culture avoids the number 4 because it is very yin and sounds like the word death only with a different tone. I think Yip Man was trying to tell us to use our wits and be extremely unorthodox in our methods.
He was saying to overcome hard you must be soft and destructive. This is all conjecture but it is something to think about. So in conclusion, We will never know what he wrote it for but he did write it and kept it. Was it a road map to proper training or was it a story he was told? Your guess is as good as mine. I will put up more lessons to be gleaned from this story in the future. I just wanted to put forth some food for thought. This is the first in a series.
Why did the ancient masters of Wing Chun choose the weapons they did? The answer may be simpler than you would think. The answer lies in the abundance and scarcity of resources. The masters looked at what would be readily available in any circumstance and what they saw were two knives and a long pole.
They knew that every vendor, kitchen, tea house, or home including house boat would have the famous Chinese kitchen knife or knives. These knives were used for all sorts of tasks. Every part of the blade and handle could and was used by the handler. These knives could cut paper thin slices of meat with the blade. The back of the blade was used to tenderize meat or break poultry bones. The flat of the blade was used to smash garlic or other spices, the blunt handle was used as a pestle to grind spices.
The versatility of the knives was evident. They only changed the tip and then added a hand guard for those that could afford the modifications. Most households had two knives, one for light duty and one for heavier jobs. The pole, like the knives, was everywhere. Poles were used for everything. They were used to hang clothes on, carry water with, in scaffolding, in hanging out of merchandise for customers.
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Everywhere you looked there were poles. The versatility of the pole was evident as well. Why did the masters choose the weapons they chose? Because when they looked around in their daily surroundings they found knives and poles. They were the perfect weapons of opportunity. Simple but effective, the weapons were there for the taking if needed so Wing Chun masters took and hid their weapons in plain site. The masters knew they were never without a weapon. What I am trying to convey to them is two fold. Secondly, I want all of my students to be better than myself.
How does one Steal My Art? Not through paper or pictures. Not through words or stories. My art has no place for fame seeking, power seeking, influence seeking or those seeking financial gain. Skill trumps all those paper oriented things. B efore you start to think this to be a joke read the following passage to see where it could all start. When the enemy gives you an opening be swift as a hare and he will be unable to withstand you. Can you picture Bugs dressed up as a shy maiden then exploding out of the dress to defeat his opponent?