Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Angle

I like grappling, but don't get me wrong- I am not a wrestler or MMA fighter. The big attraction that arts like Judo and Aikido held for me was that I was able to throw bigger and stronger opponents, not because of strength, but know-how. 

Now I must want lay-persons that a reliance of technical cunning is very attractive to a lot of us, but it is a disease rather than a way to victory. Technique has its place. In Wenhsiuquan it has a big place! But the other elements of strength and tactics also play a major part in a fight.

While I am busy with the book I managed to take a set of pictures that touch upon an aspect covered in the previous book. Since the new book is going to be on defense and not throwing I thought it a good idea to write a post about it.

As the first photo shows I have stepped past Shairley's downward sword attack. The second picture shows her ready to take a fall with just a sweeping motion of my arm.

In a photo from my previous book you can see that Chris is on his way to the ground with just a pull with one of my arms.

In another photo this hip throw followed after I blocked a punch.

To the novice these techniques may seem impossible and at their first attempts to pull them off they can find themselves looking foolish.

One of the key ingredients to these throws, however, is the angle at which the pulling or pushing force is applied. To sum it up- any force applied in a direction in which the feet are not in line with one another shall topple the opponent. Martial artists of old have found that the 45 degree angle (not necessarily exactly 45 degrees, but bearing in mind this guideline) works best because many people easily adapt to force applied straight from the front or side.

So- if you find your throw is not working, try changing the angle. If that does not work- read my book! :D 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Thank you, Shairley and Vic! :)

 I am actually busy nursing an injured leg back to health and now find myself at that stage where it is feeling a bit better and I am itching to get back to training. I will, however, stick to light Taijiquan practice for this next week and take up the heavy stuff the week after.

Meanwhile- I am working on the second Wenhsiuquan book. This one is about defense.
Instead of Chen Feng and Chris I got help from another couple. Vic- who you will not be seeing in any photos, because he operated the camera- and Shairley Yang- volunteered to help out with some of the photos. By some- I don't mean just a few, mind you...

Shairley is well known here for her cheerful- and playful nature and we got a lot of it during the shoot. She actually made this a lot more fun than what I thought it would be.

I hope you all train well. I'll be sure to let everyone know when this book is finally ready.

Have a great week!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Selfish people will struggle

I don't know if any of my black belt readers got this, but this bit is meant for those of you who have not yet reached black belt level (or if your style does not have belts- those who are still ranked as beginners).

You may by now have found yourself in this situation at least once:

You have learnt how to punch, kick and block. You have even learnt a really cool technique like a roundhouse kick that you like very much. Then- during free sparring practice- you want to whip out this favourite technique and wow the audience- only to get beaten up and not given a chance to use it.

Laypersons will tell you that it's because fancy techniques don't work. If you take my advice, however, you will find that even the fancy techniques work- in their time. So what does this have to do with selfishness? 

Let's put it very simple- each attack and defense has its time. Just as blocking when there is no attack coming is silly so a straight attack when an opening for a curved attack is presenting itself is also disadvantageous. 

No how will you know when is the right time?

Well... Before you even start using your eyes, ears and sense of touch- you have to let go of your own thoughts, emotions and intentions. That means that when you face your opponent you are not to think about which attack to use, but to use the attack that is appropriate.Thinking about what to do slows down the processing of information and finding the appropriate response. The absence of thought and intent on the other hand makes it easier for you to respond quickly and, of course, to attack on time as much as to defend on time.

When you find that, instead of being concerned of what YOU want to do (really selfish... tsk! tsk!) you actually can adapt to what your opponent does- you'll find yourself on the right track.

Now I already hear an advanced student asking what one should do with an opponent who waits for you to make the first move. :)

Well- this principle applies to such an opponent as well. Instead of spoonfeeding you on that, however, I want one of my readers to tell us. (I already know that those Wing Chun people have the answer...)

Saturday, 10 January 2015

An elephant walked into a village one day...

Some of you may have heard this story before:

An elephant walked into a village. It attracted a lot of attention from the villagers who all stopped what they were doing to go and look at this unusual animal.

Five of the town's blind were taken to the elephant so that they could touch it and get an idea of what such an animal is. 

The one who had a feel of a tusk got the idea that the elephant was a spear. The one who got to feel its leg thought that an elephant is a tree and so forth...

Now- any one of these blind persons could start at any part of the elephant and get a different first impression, but after working his/her way through all the other parts they could get an idea of what the whole elephant is like.

In martial arts- combat is the elephant. Each system that has been developed to date is the result of a certain perspective on fighting or even a result of the study of a certain aspect or aspects thereof.  

If you have recently taken up study of any martial art I can tell you today that- assuming that you will continue to study for the rest of your life- your style shall most likely not have the answers to all combat situations outside the dojo or tournament arena. The reasons for that are obvious. What it will give you, however, is the starting point from which you can begin to find the techniques for each situation.

Someone who studying unarmed tournament fighting can find techniques with which to overcome an armed assailant. A Judoka can enhance his arsenal of techniques with strikes. A swordsman can learn unarmed combat. The possibilities are endless.  

Wenhsiuquan started from karate. When my understanding of actual fighting improved I realised how much of what we learn in a dojo is the result of tournament rules and teachers' preferences. A body has many more ways to move than what is taught in your school. Your opponent has many more ways in which to attack you than what you will find in the ring.  

Now I really don't waste my time with questions like "Which style is the best?" If you want to know whether a boxer can beat a karateka or whether boxing can work against kungfu you can do what I do-

Play Tekken! :D

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Have a wonderful new year!

Welcome back! Hope you have an awesome New Year!

While I was away from this blog to fully celebrate the holidays I have used the off-time to step up my training. As an added bonus- I got this weighted vest as a gift from my parents! This is a really awesome Christmas gift. :)

I definitely recommend training with it! I am entering 2015 with stronger legs and harder kicks because of this. :D

Something else that is on its way is the Wenhsiuquan Book on Defense. 

Train hard!