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THE HARMONY OF KUNG FU

Having studied Wing Chun for nearly a year, I can appreciate Bruce Lee’s description (in his excellent book ‘the Tao of Gung Fu’) of the 3 stages of learning Kung Fu: 1) Primitive - where people just lash out however they can without knowledge of a fighting system 2) the state of Art - fighting using a learned system providing conditioned responses 3) Artlessness (achieved after many years of training) where actions / reactions happen so naturally the fighter becomes almost detached and can feel the flow between the fighters objectively

This excellent video of instructors training illustrates this brilliantly. Thanks for sharing.

The swastika (卐) (Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक) was originally a Hindu symbol of good luck but was adopted and corrupted by the Nazi party.

The swastika (卐) (Sanskrit: स्वस्तिक) is an equilateral cross with four arms bent at 90 degrees. The earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization as well as the Mediterranean Classical Antiquity and paleolithic Europe. Swastikas have also been used in various other ancient civilizations around the world including Turkic, India, Iran, Nepal, China, Japan, Korea and Europe. It remains widely used in Indian religions, specifically in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, primarily as a tantric symbol to evoke shakti or the sacred symbol of auspiciousness. The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika - “su” (meaning “good” or “auspicious”) combined with “asti” (meaning “it is”), along with the diminutive suffix “ka.” The swastika literally means “it is good.”

The symbol has a long history in Europe reaching back to antiquity. In modern times, following a brief surge of popularity as a good luck symbol in Western culture, a swastika was adopted as a symbol of the Nazi Party of Germany in 1920, who used the swastika as a symbol of the Aryan race. After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, a right-facing 45° rotated swastika was incorporated into the flag of the Nazi Party, which was made the state flag of Germany during the Nazi era. Hence, the swastika has become strongly associated with Nazism and related concepts such as antisemitism, hatred, violence, death, and murder in many western countries, and is now largely stigmatized there due to the changed connotations of the symbol. Notably, it has been outlawed in Germany and other countries if used as a symbol of Nazism in certain instances. Many modern white nationalist and Neo-Nazi groups such as the Russian National Unity use stylized swastikas or similar symbols.

Newly discovered venomous spider in the UK

There have been sightings of the false widow spider across Britain,forcing a school to close and leaving a grandfather in hospital after a reaction to a bite from one.

Dave Clarke, head of invertebrates at ZSL London Zoo says that the false widow spider has “been around since 1867 in Britain, but they are increasing their range across the country.”

He adds that people should not be too alarmed by the species.

If people are concerned about being bitten, the chances are very rare and there have certainly been no deaths from the bite in Britain.

"But if you do get bitten by one it could cause some local swelling and a bit of irritation but it’s only if you are having an allergic reaction that it could be more serious."

Mr Clarke explains that the false widow spider has “a fattened abdomen”, is about the size of a 50p coin, has paler legs and a dark abdomen with some white markings on it.”

If you are worried about the arachnids, then Mr Clarke advises people to look at websites such as the Natural History Museum’s, “where they have very good information about the species.”

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