Came across this video of Grandmaster Tung Hu Ling doing push hands today. Have not seen it previously.
I recently read this about the dangers of going to the ground in a real fight on a forum :-
Rorion Gracie noted about fighting on the ground in the U.S.A.: “In Brazil we fight Mano et mano. Americans are like dogs, everyone, anyone will attack you. It’s not a safe choice. Because of this, we are changing our training to include more stand up.
I read the above a few days after seeing this video (warning – do not watch if you can’t stomach seeing an actual murder happening right before your eyes).
A long, long time ago I had wondered why 99% of the combat arts in China focused on standup rather than going to the ground. After all, its not like there are no arts that based their core strategy on taking an opponent to the ground. So why no greater attention to ground fighting?
When a gang fight happens in Asia it can be like a swarm descending on the victim too. They tend to rush in with pipes and machetes swinging. I don’t know about you but the ground is the last place I would want to be. If anything, I would use the techniques from my newly created Wing Chun form Mo Lum Jow (if you didn’t catch the joke its on one of my FB posting) first. Failing which I would do what some of my teachers advised in the past. Sorry but I am not going to say what the advice is.
I think if you try to reason this out with a grappler he will laugh at you before demonstrating how he can easily take you down in a 1-to-1 fight. And he will be correct in having this perception except in the real world it does not always happen this way. I am guessing that if 99% of the combat arts in China does not focus so much on ground fighting its probably because they have a long time ago reached this conclusion. We may think we are correct but can 99% Wongs really be wrong? Anyway, in a number of the traditional arts they do have what they term as ground fighting which is not the same as ground grappling. If you are curious as to what this is go research it.
“How did you do it?” – my student asked.
The reader might think my student was asking a question of a secret teaching, secret principle or secret fajing method. But he wasn’t.
During training we had strayed off our usual space and ended up near some round pillars. So there I was explaining how to recover from a push and demonstrating how to train the principle using Step Back Repulse Monkey when I got that question.
He was intrigued by how I knew when to stop stepping back and thus avoided running into the pillar behind me.
This was no big secret. Its just a matter of awareness. Its not always the case that everything in Tai Chi training needs to be a secret this or secret that. Sometimes its just something ordinary perceived as extraordinary by another person who does not understand what is happening. That’s all.
Paul has good learning attitude. He is not afraid to think, analyse and try. He even remembers the little things that I mentioned to him.
When you want to learn an art you have to keep your mind and body open to change. Giving excuses like “its old habits” won’t cut it because ultimately no one can change you except yourself. So if you don’t want to master an art this is the best reason to do it.
More often than not students like to sabotage their own learning. Some students think they are very smart and can tell when an art is not what its supposed to be. But the paradox is if they know what an art is then how come they have not mastered it?
So ergo, they don’t really know what they think they know. Thinking that they know is an illusion, a mirage that does nothing except props the ego and boosts self-importance.
My best students are those who allow themselves to learn rather than let their minds and ergo rule their learning. You can see them put in the effort to change. Otherwise, I can teach a form but without doing those tiny, weeny details then a student is not really learning my form but just borrow the sequence to do it their way, the way that didn’t work and didn’t allow them to master the art. How ironic, that they say they want to learn but really they want a pat on the shoulder and a kind word to say that they are doing and getting it.
Paul may be older than me but he has a young mind, has no attitude and open to learning. I am glad that I managed to share a little of what I know and hope that he will master it eventually, come hell or high water. I only wish that some of my students could be like Paul. This is why I consider Paul as a friend rather than a student.
Dang. I forgot about this link to a video that my friend sent me.
I remember having a look back then. Not terribly impressed. Maybe its because I already know the method.
Perhaps if I have the cash to spare. But 200 bucks is expensive if you already know this style well or you don’t really know it but curious to find out more. Certainly, from this preview I am not sure if a lot of people will get something out of it.
Firstly, you have to know Mandarin. If you have to rely on the translation then you will be wasting your money.
Secondly, if you buy the video with the intention of learning the form I think it will be difficult because I hate to say it but I saw certain things that are off. I just its just a wee bit but to me off is off. Certainly, not something expected given the write-up.
Thirdly, as I was telling someone the video is boring. Lots and lots of talking. Some might like it. This is how I learned the style too. Lots and lots of informal lecture.
But is this the best way or only way to learn it? Sadly, to say no. Now that I understand the method I can say that its not as difficult to learn and actually master it. Teaching this way might appeal to a niche market of snobs but seriously if we want the art to survive we got to cut through all the words and get to the essence.
This is the link to Paul’s new blog where he writes about his learning from me. Enjoy.
Kai = Open
He = Close
Open, Close. The Kai He form is the third form I teach to students. Today I begin the learning journey of a student into this form.
The two forms they learned earlier is to enable them to move their body like a series of chain links though the 5-Count. However, it is not uncommon for students to have links that are too loose. So the first order of the Kai He form is to tighten up the links to that the timing of movements is much more precise. Doing so is the key to imperceptible movements. Students frequently say that they can’t see how I do the neutralizing of their power as I don’t see to move very much. Well, when they get to this point they will know which cat it is in the bag.
Secondly, combat requires quick, direct and precise movements. So Kai He with its concise, tight movements provides training in this aspect.
Thirdly, combat also requires the sudden issuance of penetrating force. The Kai He mechanism is a means to discharge forceful power in an instant.
Fourth, learning how to more in a much more exact manner will also transfer across to the practice of the earlier two forms so ultimately all movements should be natural, flowing and of small frame in nature.
Fifth, Kai He trains the body to have a type of stiff structure. Here I am using the term stiff as defined by the engineering field. If you don’t know what it means you should look it up. It does not carry the same meaning as typically meant in the practice of Tai Chi. This stiffness is necessary to train the body’s body to be like a highly strung bow that can send off an arrow in good penetrating power. For an example of what I mean do a search for videos of Master Qiao Songmao and his fajing demos. They are a good approximation of what I am referring to.