9/29/2007 3:53pm, #31
What follows is a quote from Liu Jinsheng, the author of the 1935 Chin Na Fa manual that was recently translated by Tim Cartmell. I just received a copy as a gift, and I'll likely write up a review sometime soon, but in the meanwhile this is worth adding to this thread:
In recent years, the central government has begun to promote traditional martial arts, and every province has established martial arts training halls. Besides Chinese wrestling, the most popular arts are the Shaolin and Wudang styles of kung fu, both of which have methods of solo practice. yet the practical applications of these arts is a subject that is never breached. Those who have practiced these arts twenty or thirty years have never defeated anyone who has practiced Western boxing or judo. Why is this? It is because the practitioners of Shaolin and Wudang styles only pay attention to the beauty of their forms -- they lack practical methods and spirit and have lost the true transmissions of their ancestors. Hence, our martial arts are viewed by outsiders merely as rigorous dancing.
When the ancients practiced any type of martial art, sparring and drilling techniques were one and the same. Once a fight started, techniques flowed in sequence, six or seven at a time, never giving the opponent a chance to win. In the Ming dynasty, men such as Qi Jiguang and Yu Dayou advocated this type of realistic practice and opposed any empty practice done for the sake of appearance. This is why these men have proud reputations in history.
Today the scientific method is employed the world over. All disciplines seek to refine their techniques. Only China fails to improve its traditional martial arts over time, and even our past knowledge is being lost. [...] This is a great pity.
Last edited by Jack Rusher; 10/10/2007 8:25pm at . Reason: the editor inserted some dancing hitlers for reasons that elude me. I forgot to type the word 'forms'.
10/15/2007 12:25am, #32
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'When the ancients practiced any type of martial art, sparring and drilling techniques were one and the same. Once a fight started, techniques flowed in sequence, six or seven at a time, never giving the opponent a chance to win.'
that's the difference between kuntao/kune tao/quanfa and 'kung fu' for the most part these days. that's why they call kuntao 'old kung fu'.
link fist ftw.
10/16/2007 9:10am, #33
Nice post about Forms even if it is about Karate.
Originally Posted by BlindAs
Karate, if not other TMAs as well, is fucked up because of kata.
My understanding is that before modern karate, kata were used as a mnemonic device; basically they helped the student to remember how their techniques were used. Practicing the kata itself were not meant to improve your technique, were not mock battles, were not super-long combos. They only jogged your memory while you were away from training. (Example: throw a snap kick to the stomach before moving in to elbow them in the head)
When karate was exported out of Okinawa in the early 20th century, it was as a budo art, not a practical fighting system. The kata became physical development exercises and the instructors stopped teaching the techniques in the kata.
Kata performance--making kata look good--became the focus of kata. Karateka are judged on their ability to perform kata in gradings and tournaments, and masters impress people with their 'powerful' kata. Truth is, most don't even know what the moves mean. Modern karateka religiously practice things like chambered punches, static stances, and 'snappy' looking techniques, in and out of kata.
A lot of karate schools (within Shotokan, Goju, Wado, whatever) try to cover up their complete misunderstanding of kata by making up meanings for the moves in the kata, and saying that these made-up techniques are karate techniques. If you have at least half a brain you can see that making up a meaning for something you don't understand is absurd.
So kata don't fulfill their original purpose anymore. What kata have helped is to turn the majority of karateka into chamber punching, stance holding, dance-performers. If it wasn't for modern kata, karateka would probably move and strike a lot more naturally, like the various types of kickboxing, and wouldn't waste hours and hours of training.
Sure, some people like doing kata. Dancing and making angry faces is fun.Originally Posted by BlindAs
My opinion is that for kata to serve as a mnemonic, you should have learned the relevant techniques before learning the kata. That's why I think it's odd that there are so many moves in kata that don't resemble the basic techniques being trained in the same school. Hell, that's how authors like Iain Abernethy or Bill Burgar make their money.
12/21/2007 4:10pm, #34
Very interesting update of ideas from Tim Cartmell:
Tim Cartmell started practicing Kung Fu San Soo when he was eleven years old. He studied this style for about twelve years. In 1984 he moved to Taiwan. Tim competed succesfull in some full contact tournaments in Taiwan. 1985 he went to mainland China. In Beijing he studied with Sun Jian Jun, the doughter of Sun Lutang the Sun Taijiquan and the Bagua Zhang of the Family.
Some of his teachers are: Kung Fu San Soo with Ted Sias and Jimmy H. Woo. Yi Quan mit Xu Hong Ji and his son Xu Zhen Wang. Yang Taijiquan and Xu Xi Dao with Chen Zhuo Zhen. Yang and Zhao Bao Taijiquan with Lin Ah Long. Yiquan mit Gao Liu De. Chen Stil Taijiquan (olf Frame) with Xu Fu Jin. Gao Stil Bagua Zhang and Chen Pan Ling Style Taijiquan with Luo De Xiu. He Bei Xing Yi Quan with Liang Ke Quan. Sun Bagua Zhang and Taijiquan with Sun Jian Yun, Sun Bao An and Liu Yan Long, Shan Xi Xing Yi with Mao Ming Chun.
This interview with Tim Cartmell was conducted by KHK in January 2007
Karl-Heinz: As you went to China for learning traditional martial arts, what were your expectations?
Tim: I had practiced External martial arts for about 10 years and was intrigued by the information I read about the Internal styles. What attracted me to the IMA was the idea of using the opponent’s own force against him. I really had no other expectations.
Karl-Heinz: How was training arranged, was there sparring and impact training with pads as example? If there was sparring, do you use protectors and how was the level of contact?
Tim: It depended on the teacher. My Xingyiquan teacher had us do a lot of conditioning as well as the forms, standing and drills on pads and the heavybag. We sparred full contact with gear on and also practiced standing wrestling. Most of my Taijiquan teachers limited practice to push hands drills and free form push hands that included chinna (joint locking) and throwing but not striking.
Karl-Heinz: Where there any conditioning exercises in the traditional schools you visited in china? Is there an special exercise you like to share?
Tim: All of my teachers had some conditioning exercises besides forms training. Many emphasized leg strength and the strength of the hips and waist. Some of my teachers also had us practice with heavy weapons.
Karl-Heinz: Are you doing conditioning exercises? Do you work with weights?
Tim: All my classes begin with conditioning exercises. If you are not fit you will not be able to fight, no matter how good your technique is. I spend an hour or two a day outside class time and sparring practice on conditioning exercises. I do a lot of neck bridging exercises, inverted work (variations of hand stand exercises) squat work, ground exercises, pull ups, special flexibility exercises and striking the heavy bag. I don’t lift weight or otherwise use any apparatus.
Karl-Heinz: In the Taiji styles you learn, where there any single pattern exercises, where you do repetitions of an single movement over and over?
Tim: Most of my Taijiquan teachers taught the art with single movement practice first, and later linked the movements together into forms. A student should be able to execute single movements correctly and be proficient with the applications of the movements before learning a new movement. What is the point of learning a new movement when you cannot use the movements previously learned?
Karl-Heinz: Have you done any competitions in china?
Tim: I fought in several Sanda (full contact) tournaments. I won all but one.
Karl-Heinz: As many know, you are very successful in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and you even write a book named “Passing the Guard” together with Ed Beneville about it. You won as example the Pan American Competition in 2004 and 2005 and a second place in the “Grapplers Quest 10″ in Las Vegas in 2006 and many more. Did your training in the IMA´s help you in learning BJJ? If yes, in which way?
Tim: I think my IMA training helped me indirectly. The techniques of the IMA are useless on the ground, but the body method and sensitivity training of the IMA helped me learn the BJJ faster than I would have I believe.
Karl-Heinz: What was the reason to learn BJJ?
Tim: I learned BJJ because the Chinese martial arts have very little ground fighting, and never wrestle on the ground. Since, statistically speaking over 50 percent of all real fights end up on the ground, I felt it necessary to learn ground fighting i order to be a well rounded fighter.
Karl-Heinz: You translated the book “The Method of Chinese Wrestling”. Is Shuai Chiao a part of your training?
Tim: I never studied Shuai Jiao. Many of the throws I learned in the Baguazhang are taken from the Shuai Jiao however.
Karl-Heinz: Many ima teachers in the west say, that you have to train minimum 10 years to use the ima´s, especially Taiji for fighting / selfdefence. In my opinion, this makes no sense. What do you think about this?
Tim: If you have a good teacher of the IMA and practice hard, you should begin to develop real fighting/self defense abilities within several months of training. Teachers that tell their students it takes 10 years to learn how to fight with any martial art either don’t know how to fight themselves, or don’t know how to teach. Learning to fight is the same as learning any other physical skill. If you went to a swimming instructor who told you it would take 10 years of training before you could jump in the pool, would you sign up for lessons?
Karl-Heinz: When do beginners start tui shou at Shen Wu, and when do they start sparring. Is there a special sequence of sparring drills? Do you students spar with protectors?
Tim: My students normally begin controlled, non-cooperative sparring in their first class. We don’t practice orthodox tui shou at my academy. Most of the traditional push hands practices are a waste of time for real fighting. Students start out with controlled, situational sparring and progress to full contact free fighting over time. My students are trained to compete in BJJ tournaments with a gi, submissions wrestling tournaments and mixed martial arts tournaments, as well as self defense, so sparring is a big part of our training.
Karl-Heinz: At Shen Wu you there is a yearly (?) full contact tournament. What are the rules Tim?
Tim: I have a full contact tournament every year. The rules are no biting, eye gouging or elbow strikes. It is not allowed to knee during the ground fight. All punches, kicks, and knee strikes are allowed standing. All throws and takedowns are legal. On the ground, any submission (joint lock) technique or choke is legal. It is also legal to strike with the hands during the ground fight.
Karl-Heinz: What are the typical injuries in this tournament. I ask this, because many people think of some supernatural powers when the hear “Internal Martial Arts”.
Tim: Because all of the fighters are well trained and well conditioned, injuries are surprisingly few. Of course, cuts bruises and the occasional joint dislocation happen. Most of the competitors come from a BJJ, Thai boxing and wrestling background. Although invited, IMA practitioners rarely compete in my tournament.
Karl-Heinz: While you where in china, do your teachers mention chi or things like inner alchemie? As i saw in your forum you know the article on taichizen.com on some “secrets” in the Sun Style of Madame Sun Jian Yun as example. Do you think there are any secrets?
Tim: None of my teachers talked about chi in relation to martial arts. I found that the more a teacher talked about chi, the less real ability he had.
Sun Jianyun once told me a story about her father. She said when Sun Lutang was on his deathbed, his students asked him if there really was any secret to the martial arts. Sun replied that there was a secret: “practice.”
I often wonder why the teachers with the “secrets” are not winning all the Sanda tournaments or the UFC and Pride.
Karl-Heinz: “… and also I would like to know your point of view about the “straightness” of the spine in the IMAs, because - as I know nearly all of the classic NeiJias stresses on a straight spine (as well as my teachers), but in your videos, I saw you (successfully) working with a “natural curved” spine. I’m really curious about that - do you think that a straight spine, especially “tucking the tailbone” isn’t really necessary in the Nei Chias? And that the stress we laid in the training to get a straight spine is abundant? Also I would like to know from where - so far as you know - this (classical) idea with the straight spine comes.”
Tim: Using force to tuck the tailbone under is the best way to lose power. No legitimate trainer or coach in any other physical endeavor that requires an output of force would tell an athlete to pull his tailbone under or collapse his chest. A tucked tailbone and sunken chest is referred to as “senile posture,” the posture of the very old. Young children on the other hand stand up straight maintaining the natural curves in the spine. Small children have not yet learned bad habits of body use, and therefore have perfect, natural and correct posture. Adults would do well to emulate the posture of small children rather than accelerate the aging process by tucking their tailbone. I am not so arrogant as to try and “correct” millennia of evolution and nature’s design by telling my students their natural posture is incorrect, and that they must force their bodies into unnatural postures.
Karl-Heinz: What are your plans for the future?
Tim: I plan to continue studying, training, teaching and competing. I also have plans to produce two more instructional DVDs this year.
Tim, thank you for the interview.
12/21/2007 4:31pm, #35
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That was great reading, I'm glad you posted it!
12/21/2007 5:25pm, #36Originally Posted by It is Fake
Karl-Heinz: Can you please tell me something about your martial arts background and your teachers?
Mike Patterson: I began Martial Arts training at the age of six first with Judo and then Tae Kwon Do. When I had not yet turned thirteen, I moved to the island of Taiwan and began my formal studies in the Internal Arts under Master Hsu Hong Chi. I was with Hsu Shr Fu, as my primary teacher, until Master Hsu’s untimely passing in 1983.
After Master Hsu’s death, I had a brief interaction with his teacher, Hung I Hsiang. After Master Hung’s passing in the early 90’s, I have sought out skilled individuals where I could find them to share ideas and compare notes, but I have not had a formal teacher since then.
Karl-Heinz: Could you please describe the first full contact tournament you won?
Mike Patterson: I was the All Taiwan Full Contact Martial Arts Champion in 1975-1976, an all inclusive contest open to all styles and all ranks. I was the youngest champion ever in the history of the event.
Karl-Heinz: What where the rules and which styles where used there?
Mike Patterson: All styles were welcome. There was a mix of Chinese styles, Korean styles, Japanese styles and even a few Thai boxers here and there. The rules in those days were pretty inclusive. Strikes from hands, feet, elbows, knees, head were all allowed to all parts of the body, except throat, back brain, knee and groin. Throwing within two seconds of clinch was permitted. Seizing and locking techniques were permitted. No continuous ground fighting was permitted. If the fight went to the ground, the fighters were stood back up to begin again.
[ ... ]
Karl-Heinz: Is orthodox tuishou with fixed patterns part of your training, or do you prefer free style tuishou? When do beginners start tuishou at your school?
Mike Patterson: We do both and we start almost immediately once there is a foundation to draw on… in most cases within three months.
Karl-Heinz: How long do you think an average student of internal arts needs to train until he is able to defend himself or to fight in the ring? Do you think it needs longer than in the so called external arts?
Mike Patterson: It depends on the focus of training. I have been successful training people with no experience within a year to be competent ring fighters.
[ ... ]
Karl-Heinz: [ ... ] Or with other words. must a sport fighter be trained different than IMA fighters who just train for self defense?
Mike Patterson: I have been asked that question many times over the years. My answer is no. [ ... ] One of the best living examples of that would be my eldest student, Alex Shpigel. Alex has never been defeated in the ring. He has been a World Champion, Multi-times International Champion, Multi-times National Champion and Multi-time Regional Champion.
[ ... ] He had no trouble adapting his technical selection for the ring what-so-ever. [ ... ]
Karl-Heinz: How is your pads and heavy bag work constructed? Can you explain some of the drills you teach in your school?
Mike Patterson: I strongly believe in percussion training. For me it is one of the primary pillars of martial development. We do a variety of work in this regard; focus mitts, reflex bags and heavy bags are all part of our method. Focus mitts are used in specific paired drill formats to develop exact footwork and striking methods as well as evasive abilities. Reflex bags are used in a more free form method to develop timing and perception of distance. Heavy bag work is both fixed pattern and freeform combination depending on where the student is in their development. I like them to work specific patterns on the heavy bag first to develop those attributes that I feel to be the most important early on and then I allow them to work on their own combinations which I watch and critique so that I may understand more how their “mind” is developing.
Karl-Heinz: If a student comes to you to learn to defend himself as fast as possible. Which art would you teach him?
Mike Patterson: Hsing I (Xing Yi). It is the quickest path to fighting ability in my opinion.
[ ... ]
Last edited by Jack Rusher; 12/21/2007 5:49pm at . Reason: Added emphasis.“Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4
12/21/2007 5:36pm, #37
Yes, now we have two good articles from IMAers.
He had no trouble adapting his technical selection for the ring what-so-ever.
12/21/2007 5:48pm, #38
San da, san shou, kuo shu, lei tai = FC KF
And another one from 1994, shortly after I left the game (one of guys quoted heavily in this article is my old san shou coach):
To its innate advantage, sanshou is a sport with a high excitement level. Executed in three, two-minute bouts, competition takes place on a platform - often called a lei tai - that is 24 feet square and raised two feet from the floor, significant in that some rules stress throws and grappling to maneuver the opponent off the platform, along those lines, sanshou is easy for the observer to understand - a clear component in successful spectator sports such as Western boxing.
[ ... ]
Also for safety reasons, certain techniques are not allowed in sanshou competition. While leg sweeps and throwing are permitted and are awarded high points, the fighters are not allowed to hit at the throat, or kick to the groin, spine or knees. Other moves including elbow strikes, open-hand strikes, biting, and head-butts have also been forbidden. However, cautious changes are occasionally made when they are proven to benefit both competition and competitor. Professor Xia Bai-hua is head of the Technical Institute in Beijing, China, and was sanshou chief referee at the 1993 Second world Wushu Championship in Malaysia. According to Professor Xia, "one (upcoming) rule change will allow knee strikes and elbow strikes, in addition to the current repertoire of punches, kick and throws. The objective of our research is to make competition more exciting and spectacular for the audience, but also to be safer for the contestants," said professor Xia. "In order to accomplish these goals, new protective equipment has to be designed that will not limit fighting technique."
Other organizers would prefer to return to sanshou's ancient origins, however, Adam Hsu, who just returned from Beijing, related that Zhang Yao-Ting, the president of the Chinese Wushu Research institute, and chairman of the Chinese Wushu Association wishes to name a chuang yuan - an older term designating "the best" with origins in national examinations in the Confucian sacred text - in a national sanshou tournaments in the various provinces. More unconventional in light of the fact that it could limit international competition. Zhang Yao-Ting expressed a desire to gradually eliminate protective gear. "He wants to take it away step by step," said Hsu.
Equally intriguing when discussing various full-contact rules is sanshou's connection to kuoshu, often seen as the Taiwanese counterpart to the Chinese based sanshou. [ ... ] Though a few see a stringent dividing line between the sports, some such as Goh see less contrast. "The rules will always be slightly different," says Goh, but "the various names all mean the same thing."
Others see the distinction as primarily historical. Huang Chien-Liang, president of the united States Kuoshu Federation and Chinese American Kuoshu Federation, notes that "kuoshu has another meaning as 'national art.' In 1928, the Central Kuoshu Academy was formed, and they sponsored a full-contact tournament, but when the Communists took over China, the original Chinese government moved to Taiwan, where, in 1955, they held a full-contact tournament, calling it lei tai. At that time, they used the original rules; no protection, and no weight class - whatever number you picked up, you fought together. In 1975, Taiwan sponsored the first World Wushu Tournament, and started to have weight class division. So by 1992, Taiwan had already sponsored seven kuoshu lei tai fighting events," he says.
Meanwhile in China, "kuoshu had been oppressed during the Cultural Revolution," notes president Huang, "and martial arts was then allowed only for performance until 1979, when wushu was allowed to include self-defense, so practitioners began writing the rules for the sanshou wushu tournaments, and the Communist government held a tournament called sanshou."
Confirming the common direction of kuoshu and sanshou toward safety, however, president Huang approves of the rules changes in full-contact kung fu. "In 1986, at the fifth world tournament in Taiwan, they had a separate weight class, but still no protection. So many people suffered a broken nose and other injuries." As a result, the international Kuoshu Federation - of which Huang is vice-president - decided to change the rules. "So since 1988, the new rules apply."
Surprisingly, the varied opinions, organizations and interests in full-contact kung fu have seemed to foster rather than hinder its growth. Progression has been strong and steady throughout the last two decades according to Anthony Goh. "In the early 1970s, full-contact kung fu was being promoted in Southern Asia. Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong were active in championship competitions." Goh comments. "Thirty-eight countries participated in the first Wushu World Championship in Beijing, China in 1991, and 53 countries participated in the 1993 championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Athletes from all the countries competed in the sanshou division. The United States also sent sanshou teams both times," he says. [ ... ]
Professor Xia Bai-hua expresses the belief that "according to our research during the past few years, many techniques in the traditional systems are not practical. It is important not to be preoccupied with arguments of traditional versus modern techniques. It is also not a good idea to 'protect' traditional systems by tailoring the rules to exclude, for example, foreign styles. Also, it is important to sift through the traditional Chinese arts to see which techniques are usable in sanshou. It is important to experiment with and thoroughly train in the traditional techniques to determine their effectiveness."
Others stress the similarities already present between sanshou and more traditional kung fu. "for example, the t'ai chi technique 'Waving Hand Like Clouds Drifting By' is widely used in countering the opponent's kick," notes Yu Zhi-bo, the coach of the Sanshou Team of Beijing Wushu Institute, which was headed by Wu Bin. "It is a very effective way to absorb and catch the opponent's leg."
[ ... ]
Master Li Wing-Kay, president of the Brazil Chinese Kuoshu Federation, a representative of South America Khoshu Federation, and an international referee for wushu and kuoshu, however - who notes that "approximately 80,000 people in Brazil practice kung fu and nearly all of them are involved in sanshou" -echoes many who see sanshou as a chance to improve realistic fighting skills. "If you only practice (kung fu) without competition, why not practice other kinds of sports such as swimming or dancing?" said Kay.
[ ... ]
Tat-Mau Wong was Full-contact champion of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia in the 1970's, and is licensed promoter of full-contact kickboxing in California and promoter of full-contact events open to all martial arts. He commented that full contact "is really tough training. It's not like usual kung fu training. It's mental game. You have to know your opponent and know yourself to win."
Even some kung fu styles must adapt their way of thinking to participate in sanshou. Dr. chi-Hsiu D. Weng, who is president of the United States Shuai-Chiao Association, notes that a majority of people in his style "would look at sanshou as a more combative expression of techniques already taught in shuai-chiao, but that are not practical in tournaments. In any case, the joint locks and joint attacks of shuai-chiao are not allowed in sanshou competition. Under the current sanshou scoring system, a throw is not valued as highly as it would be in a street-fighting situation. Being thrown head-first onto hard concrete, or being stuck with a joint attack, would have a much more decisive effect in a real fight, than being struck by a single punch or kick"
Nonetheless, Mark Wong, also a shuai-chiao practitioner, sees sanshou as an opportunity for martial artists. " to test their skills." He teaches martial arts at the Chinese American International School at the San Francisco Presidio military base and at his club in Oakland, California. "it would be interesting to see people with different martial arts backgrounds sparring." Says Wong. "many people work on theory, or they only fight in a certain style, and think that their style would work against everything else. Through sanshou, kung fu practitioners can try their skills against other styles, and see how they fare in this king of competition.
[ ... ]“Most people do not do, but take refuge in theory and talk, thinking that they will become good in this way” -- Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.4
4/18/2008 8:21am, #39
Replace with Basically any TMA or eclectic style:
Originally Posted by Tom Kagan
4/18/2008 12:14pm, #40Originally Posted by It is Fake
On a side note, the GM and founder of my system was the coach for the US team at the '75 Kuoshu tournament held in Taiwan.