How I trained for san shou
The following question came up here. I'm going to answer it just in the context of what I was doing during the time interval discussed in that thread, so I won't get into later experiences with Baji, Chen taiji, and so on.
As I said in this thread:
Originally Posted by Cullion
Forms were a starting place for beginners to learn technique and develop enough strength, flexibility and coordination to perform the techniques in the style. Some things, like exaggerated stances, were used for conditioning. Aside: My current personal trainer tells me that it's important to do plyometrics and isometrics -- including unweighted squats/lunges and "chair sits" -- around 15% past the sport-specific average set point to give a margin for error during explosive exertion; that is, he recommended a horse stance-level chair sit as a prehab exercise for standing grappling.
Originally Posted by jackrusher
We learned the forms in little two or three step chunks, each of which was an application (strike combo or setup & throw). This is quite similar to the solo step drills used to learn combinations in boxing and Muay Thai (shadowbox a jab/hook/cross right now to see what I mean). The order of the moves was meant to be a mnemonic device for a group of techniques -- not the One True Way(tm) to practice -- and we were encouraged to string them together in other ways at other angles and levels (shadowboxing with these techniques).
The main forms were each 30 moves long (~10 combos), and had the odd property that doing moves 1-15 while facing someone doing moves 16-30 was a two-man set for which the attacks, defenses, and counters lined up. This allowed us to use the forms rather like any other kind of two-person drill in other striking/throwing styles. This was meant, just as it is when boxers do the "back to the wall" jab slipping drill, to get the students started on techniques while getting them comfortable with not over-reacting to near misses, and so on.
Another way to say what's in the last few paragraphs: most people need a couple of months to get in shape, learn some technique, and stop spazzing out when a punch comes. This stage of training served that purpose. Once a fighter had internalized the movements from the forms, the focus fell away from them, though we still did stance drills as part of our warm up.
We also punched/kicked bags and pads, did shuai jiao, and -- as soon as the student was comfortable with it -- sparred hard every day. There were kids and non-fighters at the school who learned more (and more showy) forms, did point sparring, and so on, but it was pretty obvious that the sifu -- himself a former full-contact champ from Malaysia -- was most excited about his fight team.
Said sifu went on to create the first guo shu/san shou/san da organization in the country, and was one of the two guys who trained Cung Le after he left his old Vietnamese coach in San Jose (who taught him TKD when he was a kid and a Viet flavor of Five Animals KF when he came back from Junior College).
Now the sad part of the story: political wrangling and bad interpersonal skills ultimately resulted in his being kicked out of the club he started, all his good fighters either went away to university or went to jail, and his school is now mostly training kids in modern wushu -- something he doesn't do, for which he had to hire coaches from China. This unhappy ending is why I haven't written a review of his school or sent anyone in the area over there.
Nice. Sucks how politics can screw up a good school.
Does he teach the brand you learned or is he pretty much retired.
I don't even think he's at the school much anymore, and there's no real fight team. I can't recommend that anyone train in a school without an active fight team.
Originally Posted by It is Fake
Blaspheme. Martial arts is for the skreets.
Originally Posted by jackrusher
The techniques and stances in the forms that were taught to beginners, how close were they to how they were actually performed?
It's difficult to express similarity of movements in words, but to my eye fairly close. For example, there's a classic Chinese stance change between "horse" and "bow" that, if the stance is shortened up a little bit, is pretty much the same motion that drives most boxing punches. I don't have a camera, otherwise I'd make a little video to show you what I mean. The best thing would probably be for you to come find me at the next NYC TD, where I can show you some of the exercises we did...
Originally Posted by ojgsxr6
There's a Cung Le clip that I think illustrates what you're talking about.