PDA

View Full Version : Hidden meaning in forms



Pages : [1] 2 3

Ke?poFist
2/11/2007 7:59pm,
Hoping this forum will serve better for these types of questions...

Anyway, I hear lots of tales about various Kung Fu masters "hiding" their true techniques within form practice. That the real techniques are either slowed to the point of being unrecognizable, or are broken up into pieces that are flowed into with non-practical more showy motions in between.

I also hear about, forms being used to preserve technique knowledge, that only the creator of the form will understand.

Can anyone provide historical evidence of any of this to be true, or is this just revisionism by modern day LARPers trying to reconcile their forms with reality?

MartialArtN00b
2/11/2007 11:38pm,
well its mostly a bit of speculation really. If an old chinese master written something about forms, he could have simply written about the techniques while he was at it. But since historical writings on forms are rather sparse, it goes without saying that what youre looking for is somethiing even rarer.

Heck, its rather odd to write that theres a secret in something, if youre trying to be secretive in the first place.

You know while were at it, its also rather strange that yoga is something rather useful to grapplers. But yoga seems even wasteful martial wise than your typical karate form. And stranger if according to that boddhi legend, that yoga was taught at shaolin, that a modern kungfu form looks nothing like typical yoga. So much for myths trying to be consistent...

Writing was an expensive process back in the days, and so was chinese made paper. So youll have a hard time finding any evidence. It took printing, which was invented on the other side of the world in the 1400s using much more cheaper paper, to make writing viable. You dont think the bible was distorted over the millenia before printing, by the way?

The best we have are the oral traditions that is half filled bs anyways.

In the end, when it comes to martial art, **** history. If the bible couldnt come out unscathe over the centuries, martial art traditions didnt stand a chance.

Bang!
2/11/2007 11:39pm,
I can't speak to other styles, but my teacher has never talked about "hidden" moves; there are only easy ones and hard ones.

However . . . When I used to train at a McDojo as a teenager, I was always hearing about secret this and hidden that. Even then, I believed that kind of idea to be silly, because if you could recognize and utilize an application just by looking at it out of context, then you were probably that good anyway.

I'm not saying that this kind of thing is impossible, but I'd be very surprised to hear of a teacher confident in their own abilities who willfully did it.

EmetShamash
2/12/2007 12:20am,
I think that most people that talk about their style having all these so called hidden techniques just don't know the damn form well enough to be able to use all of it. *grrrr* secret techniques my ass... grumble grumble herumph

MaartenSFS
2/12/2007 12:50am,
Have you noticed that the people called Masters are usually rich and fat and attend only seminars, talking about the secrets within the forms? I am in China and I have talked to a lot of people in different circles and they don't buy any of it and even say that CMA (What you see in Wushu) haven't stagnated, but were never any good. Most Taolu (forms) were made for one purpose only: Jibengong (Foundation training). The low stances and flashy moves are various stretches, strength exercises, symbolism of the creater's fighting principles, conditioning and... art. Few, if any of the movements have any DIRECT fighting applications. Fighting was never such a beautiful thing. It's a dirty deal and with or without perfect technique no one can ever know what will come at them. Forms are great for foundation training, but little else. I am studying Sanda now and we do learn some forms. But punching in Gongbu (Bow stance) is NEVER confused with punching in Sandajia (Sanda frame) and it is known that kicking over your shoulder in a fight will get you killed. Why can't people elsewhere take the hint?

- Maarten Sebastiaan Franks Spijker

Omar
2/12/2007 5:52am,
.... That the real techniques are either slowed to the point of being unrecognizable...

Sure. Lots of that going on. Standard practice in certain circles.

.... or are broken up into pieces that are flowed into with non-practical more showy motions in between....

Much less of that in my experience but I am sure it happens and when it does, I don't think it's to hide stuff. It's just "low-fidelity".

...that only the creator of the form will understand. ...

Or anyone else with a quan pu and a proper to teacher to explain it all to him.


Can anyone provide historical evidence of any of this to be true....

Sorry. Nothing historical here to offer. All I've got is my personal experience.


... or is this just revisionism by modern day LARPers trying to reconcile their forms with reality?

Prolly lots of that going on too. The existence of LARPers does not disprove the existence of the real deal.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


However . . . When I used to train at a McDojo as a teenager, I was always hearing about secret this and hidden that. Even then, I believed that kind of idea to be silly, because if you could recognize and utilize an application just by looking at it out of context, then you were probably that good anyway.

Some **** you'd just have no idea. The whole point is that you CAN'T recognize and utilize the application just by looking at it out of context. But if someone demonstates the application on you freestyle and presents the context.....

You could do the form for 40 years and never get it. Someone has to point it out to you. Someone has to pull you aside and say, "Hey man...your intention (there's that dirty word again) is all wrong there. That move is for this kind of situation..." and then demo it on you or point it out when he has used it on you in sparring but you didn't even recognize it.


I'm not saying that this kind of thing is impossible, but I'd be very surprised to hear of a teacher confident in their own abilities who willfully did it.

It doesn't have to have anything to do with confidence or the implication that the teacher is holding back in order to protect his tactical superiority over his students. Sometimes it's nothing more than a question of "Who the **** are you anyways to demand I teach you (fill in the blanck)" Lots of secrecy around things considered to be fucking national treasures. Right or wrong....that's how it is with some people.

I ain't defending it. Just saying....that's how some people are.


I think that most people that talk about their style having all these so called hidden techniques just don't know the damn form well enough to be able to use all of it. *grrrr* secret techniques my ass... grumble grumble herumph

What about people who do the talking with their fists? What about the one's who just throw you on your ass and don't tell you how unless you've spent a few years with them first and developed a relationship with them and they can see that you don't see them as a kind of pimp for their style. You completely added on the not being able to use it. If their using it, your point is moot. Or I suppose every time you have had your ass handed to you my a true master of ANY style, BJJ, Kyokshinkai or even just a plain vanilla boxer, you could tell exactly HOW they were doing it without needin an expert eye to point it out? :knob:

Bang!
2/12/2007 7:49am,
I will say that there are some applications in my tai chi form that -- despite being fairly down-to-earth -- would probably be outside of most peoples ken when it came down to guessing them just from looking.

MaartenSFS
2/12/2007 9:25am,
I will say that there are some applications in my tai chi form that -- despite being fairly down-to-earth -- would probably be outside of most peoples ken when it came down to guessing them just from looking.

I agree with you that Taijiquan forms have some "applications" that can be less than obvious. But these "applications" cannot be directly translated to fighting techniques, more like fighting principles and letting you learn to "feel" your opponent. I heard of some Sanda practitioners that studied Taijiquan and applied those principles in Shuai(Take down)-ing their opponents. The whole concepts of Bagua and Yin and Yang are useful to any martial artist, especially when it comes to grappling. And the forms are great to relax after a hard session. ;)

- Maarten Sebastiaan Franks Spijker

Omar
2/12/2007 10:35am,
That may be the case for the popular version but there are plenty of forms around that tend to be held a bit closer to the vest (see the thread on secret moves) where this is most definately NOT the case. There are a few moves here and there in my form that are, AFAIK, just for developing certain kinds of feeling, awareness or balance etc. but the other 98% have direct combat applications. Most are flexible and in that sense there is a "principle" thing at work but you can be taught at least one or two very explicit things with almost every single move. Things like, "punch him in the gut" or "grab his arm at the elbow here and at the other shoulder here and twist suddently to the right as you hook his left leg".

Most of this stuff is not public for "us" here in Xi'an but here is one such application done EXACTLY as it is performed in the form:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=IrXz6mZJQes

Technically there are 3 applications but the second one is not "live". The first one comes completely out of the blue and I was 100% not cooperating. Then he kind of leads me into a better position as I cooperate and place my arm behind his head and and realize he has shown me how to enter differently and I then go for the sweep by using "repulse monkey", again, exactly as it shows up in one of the couple places it exists in our form. He counters it kind of nicely and dissolves the sweep. The 3rd is him going back again to the position before he threw me with the first one and showing me step by step how I could have/should have countered that set up except that the push, in real application, should be a strike.

3 techniques. One of them demoed completely "live". The second kind of a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10 in "liveness" and the last one a standard explanation step by step.

Referring back to Repulsive's post, try to imagine just about any standard Judo throw being practiced solo with no partner. Looks pretty silly yeah? How about some BJJ rolling around on the ground with no partner? That's why you need to work with another person in Taijiquan just like anything else but the point here is about the degree to which you could hope to identify a technique based on just observing the solo practice. You can pretty much only do it if either:

- someone shows you in real live 2 man work.

or

- you have previously learned that same technique or something similar already.

And even then, with either of those conditions, you still need to really kind of have an eye for it.

You can go the "principle" route but it's slow and tiresome and in the end you do both anyways but to say that there are no specific techniques, IMO, just says that your training is seriously lacking.

MartialArtN00b
2/12/2007 12:53pm,
But punching in Gongbu (Bow stance) is NEVER confused with punching in Sandajia (Sanda frame) and it is known that kicking over your shoulder in a fight will get you killed. Why can't people elsewhere take the hint?

- Maarten Sebastiaan Franks Spijker

From my experience, punching in bow stance is not a punch but an off balancing technique.

The fist is a grab situated on his collarbone, and the chambered punch grabs by the elbow. You 'punch' while you step foward to his side to unbalance him.

For a rather simple example:

http://www.judoinfo.com/images/animations/blue/kouchigari.htm

this judo technique is not to dissimilar (actually its the same the sequence) to a sequence in the form lau gar at 0:21->0:23

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBMDwcXrms8

You start with a reverse punch (you off balance him), step foward to reap his leg while your fist turns into a hammer punch.

OMG HIDDEN TECHNIQUE! No its not hidden. You take the form litterally, you put it in context. And it works.

If you dont see it, what i do is spend a few minutes in each posture (the reverse punch bow stance) and the (horse stance, hammer punch) to get a feel for the base and grip at the beginning and end. Exaggerate the posture to no tomorrow like a yoga pose so that it works on flexibility, endurance, breath and strength. Then I find the transition that flows smoothly from the 1st to the 2nd posture. Youll have a feel for the movement then. So when you actually practice the technique with a person, youll recognize the movement intuitively.

Phrost
2/12/2007 1:08pm,
Please don't let this derail the thread, but I've been meaning to ask:

Where should the Ke?po section go? Here? JMA? Its own section?

Cullion
2/12/2007 2:11pm,
There are lots of different types of Ke?po. Some claimed by their practitioners as Japanese/Okinawan in origin, some claimed as descended from chinese styles, and some avowedly american or hawaian in origin. I also know of styles of Ke?po founded in the UK from eclectic mixtures. Given all this, and that Ke?po is a japanese word, I don't think it's CMA.

Let the Ke?po practitioners decide.

Guizzy
2/12/2007 2:23pm,
Wasn't Ke?po originally the Japanese pronounciation of Kung Fu?

---

On the subject of hidden meaning; I think it's a pretty stupid idea. One grandmaster dies before having the time to teach that and they disappear? I think those that created the forms of the systems we're talking about would have preferred to have the ideas, concepts and meanings in the forms to be as obvious as possible; even exaggerated.

A story I heard from my sifu is about how previous generations of teachers/masters invented many forms as they went just to keep students training longer. The concepts behind those forms still expressed the art correctly, but the movements were not riddled full of ancient secrets about throwing chi fireballs and whatnot. A bit as if a good boxer shadowbox'ed, wrote down what he did and called it a form. The movements are still right and one probably could get better by practicing it (along with more lively methods, of course), but there's no hidden meaning beyond the techniques used and the obvious concepts.

It is Fake
2/12/2007 2:34pm,
A story I heard from my sifu is about how previous generations of teachers/masters invented many forms as they went just to keep students training longer. The concepts behind those forms still expressed the art correctly, but the movements were not riddled full of ancient secrets about throwing chi fireballs and whatnot. A bit as if a good boxer shadowbox'ed, wrote down what he did and called it a form. The movements are still right and one probably could get better by practicing it (along with more lively methods, of course), but there's no hidden meaning beyond the techniques used and the obvious concepts.
This is what I've gotten from a few instructors.

Bang!
2/12/2007 2:49pm,
Omar, your Shifu looks like he's a blast. Nothing quite like a funny guy who can hurt you.

Bang!
2/12/2007 2:52pm,
Please don't let this derail the thread, but I've been meaning to ask:

Where should the Ke?po section go? Here? JMA? Its own section?Kenpo is a Japanse version of Shaolin. Kempo is a Hawaiian version of Kenpo. I suppose that, if anything, it's Japanese.