Monday, 17 April 2017

Being unpredictable vs just being too fancy

One of Kung Fu's most attractive features is its out of the ordinary movements.

In Shaolin these movements were deliberately unusual to throw off an adversary. From this focus on unpredictability we have seen unusual styles such as the Drunken Fist, Monkey Style and Mantis develop.

Compared to straightforward styles like Wingchunquan and Xingyi these styles and their techniques seem more suited for exhibitions than for actual fighting.

The Drunken style's unusual pattern of movement did not seem to help the guy in this video much, though...

If you practice a style like Karate or any form of Kung Fu you might find that you need something more than just normal punching and kicking to give you an edge or to just look better.

That in itself can't be a bad thing, but concern over how you look while fighting is a weakness of which you should rid yourself immediately if you ever have it.

There may once have been a time when this stance had people confounded, but I am certain that after the movie most people will expect the kick to follow.

Royce and Rickson Gracie also had a good run in the 90's by surprising a lot of mainstream martial artists with their sophisticated grappling techniques. Now- with MMA being a global phenomenon- we find that a lot of fighters actually know how to deal with these techniques as well.


When the Mantis Style first appeared in the Shaolin Temple it had won its developer at least one sparring match that got documented.

Kung Fu forms can be toxic in the sense that they require you in many instances to perform certain movements in a standardised manner to stay true to the style. Karate, that hands you a bunch of kicks, punches and strikes (okay- and grappling techniques) and lets you mix and match them up as you see fit allow for a lot more variation in my book.

Jeet Kune Do's potential for variation, of course is virtually limitless.

Thing is, when people know what style you practice and they know a bit of that style, they already have a good idea of what kind of attacks you will use and how you will respond to attacks. Within your own style you will be able to find new and interesting ways of meeting an attack and to launch unexpected attacks. Trying too hard to preserve the look of your style, however, is not only going to limit your range of techniques, but also keep you from being fully aware of the fight itself.

As a final note- surprising or confusing an opponent has its limits. It does not exempt you from having to maintain situational awareness and attack when it is called for.

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Easter Weekend and has a great week ahead of them.

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