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View Full Version : Buffalo, NY - any open-format CMA meetup groups? (for sanda? exchanges/collab? spar?)



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Matthews
5/27/2015 5:00pm,
So there are a number of CMA schools in Buffalo.. but based on the responses so far from emailing them (haven't reach out to all, mostly the ones within reasonable driving distance and who seem to be of interest) it seems like there generally are no open-format classes like an all-invited sanda class, technique exchange/friendly sparring, etc. type of format that I could become a regular at.

Basically, the responses are generally "we don't have anything like that for non-students." I try to make it clear I'd be happy to be a regular at that type of format, but I'm not interested in becoming a formal student to learn forms just in order to spar or do contact work. I understand most places need to satisfy insurance policies, so I'd happily be a once/couple times per month regular and be happy if I developed some comradery/friendship in the process.

My background is in some external southern CMA (mostly locally), some brief taiji exposure, some varied qigong practices, but now practicing chan & neigong based CMA (I would say internal, but it's a conflated term in english). I did wrestling since a young age, but haven't had a place or time to resume wrestling in the past decade though, so my ground game is pretty much gone at this point.

I've done medium to full contact sparring (generally without head punches, or at least with minimizing head punching), but I'm more interested in varying levels of contact and having training partners rather than being a disciple of a local teacher/training forms multiple times/week. My primary teacher is in China, so I'm not interested in taking on a new teacher (with some potential rare exception of specific internal-art lineages which aren't anywhere in the region).

Understanding CMA has a huge amount of sparring formats, which range from low contact drilling, to medium contact exercises and reaction/distance practices, to full contact sparring - I'm open to variations that others might train within and would be interested.

Many of us here who train seriously know CMA techniques/training methods are absolutely relevant, important, and beneficial (for health, self defense, and as cultivation methods) seem to not get mainstream acceptance as martial arts because of a lack of interest in CMA community for pressure testing.

I feel this is isn't necessarily true and many schools DO pressure test, but they are severely limited because they don't pressure test against different practitioners. So it's like a gene pool on an island - because of isolation from other styles/practitioners there's serious genetic drift.. meaning certain techinques/habits in sparring and contact work will work great against our own school, but without varying the "gene pool" of people we practice contact against, we won't improve in relation to the average. IMO this is the only reason MMA formats have excelled. Not because Muay Thai/boxing are better, but because they have willingly opened their gene pool to continue pressure testing against others. Ancient chinese principle, such as at Shaolin, is not much different than modern MMA ideal - absorb useful principles and influences as they come. It's only more recently that lineages have become isolated clans that won't have mutual exchanges, expand or broaden their perspective, etc.

I'd love to stay within CMA circles primarily, but if I can't find outlets, it seems I'll be heading to Judo/BJJ/MMA schools who do actively pressure test with other schools/new people... which I'd ultimately prefer not to do if there are routes otherwise.

I don't want to get too much into personal information here as I intend to make sure no schools are potentially disrespected or denigrated from this thread, but if anyone has leads, suggestions, thoughts to share, etc. I'd love to hear them.

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I just personally feel this is something CMA schools need to start considering. There will always be a huge % of the CMA community NOT INTERESTED in sparring, fighting, competing and that's perfectly respectable as CMA are hugely health/cultivation methods. But the current state of the CMA community seems to ostracize and hamper the small % who are interested in such contact work and collaborative exchanges rather than actively encourage or develop/hone it.

1point2
6/08/2015 6:10am,
I like your ideas and wish you all the best. I was in the B a couple months ago; too bad we weren't able to intersect our time. (I'm no CMAer anyway, just an ex-Okinawan-karate guy now doing BJJ and such.)

I did notice that Buffalo seems to have a vibrant amateur boxing community. It's a fairly limited ruleset but that might bleed over into kickboxing, and thus maybe a few competitive opportunities.

Scott Larson
6/17/2015 8:29am,
Did you have any luck finding any schools that do this?

I'm curious why you prefer a CMA style if you are just looking to spar/drill. Are you looking for a specific type of training partner? What are your specific goals?

I know Bill Adams advertises instructor opportunities, so maybe you could get a group of his Taiji people to do some push hands with you.

Matthews
6/17/2015 9:26am,
Hi Scott,


Did you have any luck finding any schools that do this?

Not yet other than my first school I ever trained CMA at, Mandarin Kung Fu, but it's more of a relationship based thing that I'm intending to go once in a while on. And I don't know that Master Mandarino would let anyone come for such purposes in case anyone reads this and gets the wrong impression

There are more groups I'm going to reach out to, but my time is limited and felt easier to post here, as it may also generate interest in local non affiliated practitioners and affiliated practitioners looking to expand their exposure.



I'm curious why you prefer a CMA style if you are just looking to spar/drill.

CMA offers a huge breath of contact work and degrees of contact, which makes it easier to work with people across schools and lineages at a level they're comfortable with.

C MA also have underlying universal neigong and body principles that are emphasized. Many people spend their whole life only developing this and never doing contact and pressure work, but C MA offers that freedom of development. This gives a different context in which contact work is done.

That being said, I will probably also reach out to the local MMA schools to check out classes later this year to expand that scope.


Are you looking for a specific type of training partner?

Anyone who isn't trying to fight while sparring and understands there is a big difference between the two is a good start probably. Contact work, takedown practice, drinking with varying level of resistance all interest me. Generally C MA in my experience attract a bit older demographic than MMA who are better at communicating. That's important for ensuring partners aren't trying things that could harm one another, and is generally a equality I appreciate add much or more than interest in C MA at all.



What are your specific goals?

Collaboration at whatever level others and myself are comfortable with. Comradery, contact work or drilling partners, tea, and such.



I know Bill Adams advertises instructor opportunities, so maybe you could get a group of his Taiji people to do some push hands with you.

I'm not sure what instructor opportunities means.

I'm not very interested by the sounds of it.. Push hands definitely has great context and from my limited exposure is great fun and posture learning tool, but I don't think I'm interested in going to a school solely for push hands. Although an open ended collaboration that may involve push hands is definitely interesting.

I think part of my inquiry is that CMA schools aren't trying to have collaborative days or open days. In Japan for instance, many schools have a small that allows you to go to other un affiliated schools to collaborate exchange, and meet new people.

Cross pollination and collaborative exchange is the center of CMA history, whether for comradery, friendship, pressure testing, or just tea drinking.

W. Rabbit
6/17/2015 4:01pm,
When it comes to "fighting kung fu" vs "personal development kung fu" these are sometimes taught as mutually exclusive, and sometimes not. And, statistics being what they are you can throw a dart and land in the right zone, or not.

There is a whole lot of "Well you won't understand this until.." talk in the CMA world and in some cases it's true (certain things will "click" one day, mentally or physically, when you've absorbed enough material, it all tends to be VERY SIMPLE in the end), but in many cases it's just someone's "inner door" bullshit and part of a hierarchy where the "upper levels"...don't really differ that much from the new students. As in there's not much new insight to learn really...it was ALWAYS in the basics of what you already learned.

I got to approximately "brown belt" level in Hung ga (which takes a shitload of work and training and physical development), but haven't pursued "sifu-level" training, specifically because I chose instead to spend my recent years on applying those BASICS in other areas, and cross training outside my comfort zone of the previous five years... rather than completing "the program" to become an instructor in an association, which is the goal of most people who invest that much, I basically chose to continue instructing myself in Hung ga, by meeting and working with new instructors in BJJ, Muay Thai..whatever comes along. Kung fu and other TMA instructors? I am especially interested in meeting and...evaluating. I now have a "kung fu bullshit detector" like few others and I choose to use it to help others less fortunate.

So I pressure tested Hung ga INSIDE class for years, but now these years are my "pressure testing" OUTSIDE Hung ga. Most of it aligns really well in other places like combat sports. The stuff that doesn't, well, it's no different than some of the books on my shelves...a passing, minor interest.

Sounds like you could use the same strategy and still continue your interests in CMA, by openly training in whatever you want, and still networking with like minded people. That's kind of what we do here (on a good day).

Honestly I think the opportunities for sparring with "CMA guys" outside a formal San Shou school are going to be rare, but not impossible. Honestly, if your CMA training is OK, there should be nothing stopping you from walking into most MMA schools and immediately finding like minded folks willing to let you do whatever CMA you want on them...they'll show you quick where you need work...and that's why we show up.

Ming Loyalist
6/17/2015 7:23pm,
Did you try Sifu Bey in Syracuse, or is 2 hrs too long of a drive?

I know he's been putting fighters on the lei tai, and anyone doing that should be welcoming sparring partners.

Scott Larson
6/18/2015 9:56am,
I didn't know of Sifu Bey's place. Looks like a quality school. Master Yee has a pretty solid organization, right?

I would think if he is going to drive for 2 hours, Toronto would be better, as there are more options.

W. Rabbit
6/18/2015 12:01pm,
I didn't know of Sifu Bey's place. Looks like a quality school. Master Yee has a pretty solid organization, right?

I would think if he is going to drive for 2 hours, Toronto would be better, as there are more options.

Sigung Yee is real, he is one of the toughest guys I've ever seen in my life. He is venerated in China. A lot of his best direct students opened schools, which has kept some great martial traditions alive. My sifu is one of those.

Sisuk Bey...saw him on camera sparring with MMA dudes recently, he's into aliveness etc. Weightlifter, definitely not a "forms" guy...etc. Great with kids.

The larger "official" Tang Fong lineage and association covers a LOT of people.. I think it runs the entire spectrum. Bey is a safe bet. Or New York Hung Ga if they ever open a branch outside of the city. Maybe they have, I don't know...there are good schools all over NY and NJ.

That's not to suggest the people who put in the time and effort to progress do not make good instructors, just that as with all associations as they grow and become less centralized, quality control as a whole wanes a bit. But quality control in Tang Fong Hung ga is always available to those who choose it.

I'd like to open a San Shou school in NJ myself, but I'll probably never get around to it.

Ming Loyalist
6/18/2015 10:37pm,
I didn't know of Sifu Bey's place. Looks like a quality school. Master Yee has a pretty solid organization, right?

sifu bey is very legit and puts fighters onto the lei tai. i consider him a friend.

sigung yee has a lot of fighting skill and knowledge, he will always be my sigung but i am not affiliated with his organization anymore and neither is my sifu. i won't go into why, but for the purposes of this thread, OP should feel that he could find fighters at sifu bey's school.

Matthews
7/09/2015 9:41am,
Did you try Sifu Bey in Syracuse, or is 2 hrs too long of a drive?

I know he's been putting fighters on the lei tai, and anyone doing that should be welcoming sparring partners.

Not really interested. Primarily because 2 hours is too far to drive for me, I'd sooner just go to local MMA schools if Buffalo CMA circles aren't there.

Additionally, my primary interest is not fighting. If it were though, judging by Sifu Bei's fight video on youtube where he got knocked out, I'd get better instruction at an MMA school without much doubt.


I'm interested though in what Lei Tai you are talking about? Is there a regional fight that you're referencing?

Matthews
7/09/2015 9:46am,
Honestly I think the opportunities for sparring with "CMA guys" outside a formal San Shou school are going to be rare, but not impossible. Honestly, if your CMA training is OK, there should be nothing stopping you from walking into most MMA schools and immediately finding like minded folks willing to let you do whatever CMA you want on them...they'll show you quick where you need work...and that's why we show up.

In my hometown, I did go to a couple MMA schools at invitations of friends

It went alright as for some open sparring. My sparring level was on par with the hobby practitioners I sparred there. But on several occasions, the sparring became elevated to trying to win. One guy wouldn't touch gloves or acknowledge me after. He was visibly roused.

It wasn't because I was better or outclassed him. I'm not a big guy and was probably on the same level as the guy exchanging wise. It was that he was taking the sparring progressively harder with heavier contact and speed.

Unless I'm going into their school to take classes and learn from them, there's potential for a feeling of coming in there to "test their stuff" and such.

That's not a problem inherently, but again it's not what I'm looking for.

Matthews
8/28/2015 9:19pm,
Thought I would throw an update here. Probably my last post on this subforum given the lack of connections in the already small CMA community in Buffalo and/or the lack of people reading this subforum in the region.

I've since started at a BJJ/Judo place. When I get time I will definitely be checking out the new systema/taichi place, as they threw an open invite when I met in person. I was told that they do a number of live-drills up to sparring level that vary in nature/speed/intensity and that they are always open to new people and run an open ended class. Will also likely return occasionally to my own CMA school for open-ended weekend times, but not for actual classes/to become a student.

I'll resume my shaolin neigong (in lineage of Wu Nanfang) which for my level includes mostly standing zhan zhuangs, with foundational stepping skills and a couple foundational forms that reinforce proper shenfa. I may teach the foundational practices in a park in the area coming year, as there was some interest in elder/pained populations, and they could use such easy-to-practice methods that improve health.

Anyone with any suggestions on other open-ended days at local CMA schools feel free to post here or shoot me a PM, it should send me an email update if new replies come in.

W. Rabbit
9/01/2015 8:48am,
Not really interested. Primarily because 2 hours is too far to drive for me, I'd sooner just go to local MMA schools if Buffalo CMA circles aren't there.

Additionally, my primary interest is not fighting. If it were though, judging by Sifu Bei's fight video on youtube where he got knocked out, I'd get better instruction at an MMA school without much doubt.

I'm interested though in what Lei Tai you are talking about? Is there a regional fight that you're referencing?

Have to correct you on a few things, for the record. You're just the latest person I've seen who saw that goofy video and made some stupid, grand statement about it. Get real.

- That wasn't a "fight" on Youtube, that is Bey and another guy horsing around and some random idiot recorded it, edited it heavily, and posted it claiming it was some duel...it was a joke.
- The idiot who posted it on Youtube got a lot of flak for pulling such a douchenozzle move. If I recall he was arguing some **** about Bruce Lee etc...tried to use that video to hedge some argument about Bruce Lee inventing MMA etc...stupid.
- It's barely sparring, and it's pretty obvious neither guy is taking it seriously, especially Bey, who actually let the other guy wear GLOVES. Bey was practically asking the guy to punch him in the face a few times (you should try it, it builds character).
- Bey hangs out and cross trains with every sort of "MA" person you can imagine, both TMA and MMA and in between, so they idea that somebody might show up with gloves and Bey would play is not surprising.
- Did I mention the other guy is actually wearing boxing gloves? LOL
- Bey didn't get "knocked out", he was popped once in the face while standing up, and knocked back down... getting back up after losing his balance while not defending his face is maybe one legit criticism if you don't know better... but this wasn't a real fight. You can argue that might be important in a REAL fight or MMA match...which that video was clearly not.
- Bey is an experienced fight coach and kung fu instructor, period, so concluding from that one silly video that you'd find better instruction elsewhere in a random MMA gym is pretty fucking stupid.. You're basically saying you know better, and you don't.

To answer your last question, it's the USKSF lei tai. It's an international tournament in northern Maryland. Bey's students do pretty well there, year over year.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but in the interim since you posted, I actually met Bey, so it's going to be hard for me to entertain your baseless internet opinion, especially if your kung fu interests are specifically "not fighting".

Not only a great coach, but a decent cut man, and a total human being. And if you're too lazy to drive 2 hours to meet/train with a great coach, you wouldn't last long in a local MMA gym either. It sounds like you have commitment issues.

1point2
9/01/2015 9:27am,
Bey looked pretty knocked out to me, rabbit. And I'd like to hear someone like Ming or Jack weigh in on how competitive the lei tai is. It's "international", but so is every podunk point-karate tournament in North Dakota. I'd be surprised if the USKSF lei tai were as competitive as the NY golden gloves.

I'd feel more confident training at an MMA gym than with Bey, after seeing what he had to offer in that friendly crossing of hands.

Once again you seem to think that because you know and like someone, they must be good at fighting, and other people must respect that "fact" merely on your word. That's one reliable way that martial art turns into bullshido.

W. Rabbit
9/01/2015 9:27am,
Thought I would throw an update here. Probably my last post on this subforum given the lack of connections in the already small CMA community in Buffalo and/or the lack of people reading this subforum in the region.

Too bad it's your last post in this subforum, but I'm not sure where you came up with this "lack of connections" based on your own misfortunes, or "lack of people reading this subforum" from someone who appears at first glance to be new to the site, and wouldn't know that sort of thing.

I guess we'll never get to know much about you because you've never posted in any of the other forums, including Newbietown, where you should have started.

W. Rabbit
9/01/2015 9:33am,
Bey looked pretty knocked out to me, rabbit. And I'd like to hear someone like Ming or Jack weigh in on how competitive the lei tai is. It's "international", but so is every podunk point-karate tournament in North Dakota. I'd be surprised if the USKSF lei tai were as competitive as the NY golden gloves.

I'd feel more confident training at an MMA gym than with Bey, after seeing what he had to offer in that friendly crossing of hands.

Once again you seem to think that because you know and like someone, they must be good at fighting, and other people must respect that "fact" merely on your word. That's one reliable way that martial art turns into bullshido.

Once again, if it's that easy to sway you based on one bullshit circumstantial, edited video, feel free to be as naive as you like or play whatever devil's argument you like. We are not playing your silly game.

If you're arguing that Bey is not a good fight coach, given what Ming and others have already said in this thread, and having had a chance to watch his fighters who show real skill, you're just trolling as usual.

And feel free to dismiss someone's first hand account and experience, since you seem to think you know better, relying on 2-dimensional data while sitting in a chair making judgements about things you've never taken part in.

Once again you spout **** as if you're better, smarter, stronger than the people you criticize because you did a little judo. You're not. Stop trying to hedge your Karate and Judo experience on Bullshido when discussing other arts, especially MMA and CMA.

Go back to filming yourself lifting weights in your basement, and occasionally taking part in a little Judo shiai...stop trolling the CMA forum.

[In case you're actually interested in an honest conversation, it's international as in people fly in from all over the world for that event, and it was the qualifying tournament for the TWKSF World Championship in Mendoza, Argentina. Fight Team LLC was selected for the US team, so it's pretty competitive]