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Thread: With so many arts in the school, what are you working on?

  1. #21
    Mark CH is offline Sifu Mark Hartnett - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Ireland
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick_Chu View Post
    Hi all! Hope everyone's training has been going well. The question of the moment is: What are you working on right now? How long are you planning to work on it?
    Slowly and I mean slowly working through The Essence of Shaolin

  2. #22
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    Ok thanks Kristian.

    1. Ok understood. Can't recall seeing anyone defending an uppercut like that, but it is something I haven't studied much. I've just realised I have never paid much attention to uppercut defence. In my own sparring and boxing, no one really used uppercuts on me much that I can remember, probably because we weren't very high level, although I used them a bit, actually stopped one person with them. I didn't throw that many and can't remember how people defended them. I could study some pro fighters to see how they deal with them. The reason I don't study them much is because no one really used them on me in the ring that I can remember much, and definitely no one ever used them on me in the street. It is usually me trying to get in close range rather than the other I suppose is another reason.

    2. Cool, got it. In our terminology I have seen this as an almost no-defence-direct-counter ie just punch over the top of it without even touching the jab, or have seen them wait till the jab falls short, seen a slight parry then over with the cross. In training scenario description I have seen Floyd Mayweather do the one where he throws the right cross to deflect the jab and go on to punch at the same time, but can't recall seeing it in a fight - probably I have but its been too fast for me to notice.

    3. Ok got it, thanks.

    4. Very interesting. In terms of boxing, have seen boxers use the elbows to defend a couple of ways. In terms of striking the opponents arm can't say I've seen that as much, though you could include the way some people throw a jab as a defence to a right cross, ie if you throw the jab up beside your shoulder then there is a good chance you will strike the right hand coming in, or it will merely strike your jabbing arm/shoulder (and not your head) I suppose that is one.

    I've not seen boxers really hook or uppercut at incoming punches, maybe you have, or maybe you mean that is mainly in the bareknuckle stuff? Of which I have no experience other than watching on youtube from a safe distance! I remember one of my first streetfights though from school, the guy had got a head start, hit me a few times and I was kind of buckled over, then I just started swinging kind of hooks where I was trying to punch his punches at the same time as moving forwards, so I probably swiped about 4 times which hit his arms (clumsily) bought me time whilst I was moving forward and by the 5th and 6th swings I was actually hitting him. I can't remember if that idea came to me in the fight naturally, or when I was working on the punchbag in preparation (I knew the guy wanted to fight me.)

    I haven't heard of the Philly Shell but it sounds very interesting!

    I tried to move my head and my feet when boxing, but my boxing "enlightenment" was learning how to parry as part of learning defence in my first "technical" club. So it was my favourite.

    In terms of kungfu, I am very interested in what you say because being small myself, I think "limb destruction" techniques are one of the best things for a small person to use. It can be difficult to reach past a bigger persons long arms, so it makes sense to have moves to target those arms I think.

    Thanks for the info Kristian, enjoyed reading that.
    Last edited by drunken boxer; 12th September 2017 at 06:19 PM. Reason: included previous reply in text by accident

  3. #23
    Martin Do's Avatar
    Martin Do is offline Martin Do - Assistant Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam England (2009)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark CH View Post
    Slowly and I mean slowly working through The Essence of Shaolin
    Some people just have far too much time on their hands

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunken boxer View Post
    .

    This probably means I am neglecting some basics, I know you guys prefer the original combat sequences and so on, but I did used to practise all that, knew the main sequences, tried to break records in stances etc (not that I ever did lol!) .
    Fan, yes. Haha. If not of the sequences themselves then the lessons they each teach in fighting. The sparring methodology, and what the sequences can become. It's all in the philosophy pages.

    I'm so glad my Sifu made me practice stances and footwork for a year then slow movement through the combat sequences.
    Shaolin Wahnam USA

  5. #25
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    Hi David, probably it started because the first time through, I couldn't see how to use anything in the basic sequences against a boxer, like when I tried black tiger, fierce tiger or precious duck, I just got hit myself even when it was just someone playing a boxer let alone a real boxer, and I never saw anyone else using them either at full speed against a boxer at that point.

    However in hindsight, a lot of that was probably to do with incorrect covering/opening/use of guard hand for one thing.

    And on the other thread I keep mentioning, Matt Fenton generously shared a sequence he practises composed from the basic sequences, that I took on in part, and have since managed to use with some moderate success against a boxer. So the upshot is, I should take a project to revisit the basic sequences with those insights. It's one of a few things I would plan to do when my work/life balance shifts a bit more toward life in future hopefully!

  6. #26
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    Hello again! Sorry for being incommunicado, the weather's been having an interesting effect on the workplace here in Florida, but hopefully things will be smoothing out over the coming weeks. Glad to see there's been some discussion here when I was gone!

    Thanks for sharing the boxing and MMA perspectives, Kristian and Drunken Boxer! I've never spent much time at all actually training boxing or MMA; all I've ever done is occasionally spar or work with a few such folks over the years (as well as a plethora of people who said they practiced kung fu, but only sparred like boxers).

    Regarding uppercuts, I've had the dubious pleasure of getting hit by plenty of those, especially at the beginning of my aiki jujutsu days; such strikes were considered a part of the basic syllabus, so we trained those quite a bit! Granted, they were often performed from the Horse Riding stance, as were most of the other strikes in that style. Funnily enough, the main defense used against that was an inward Cloud Hands-like movement, followed by a stolen step similar to the third combat sequence in the Flower Set, followed up with an appropriate counter-attack. Personally, I had much better success using that sort of counter (or most counters, to be honest) when an opponent fully committed to their strike, kick, or what-have-you.

    I've never punched "over" an incoming strike without touching it, but we learnt something similar-though-different at the Cosmos Palm course. I was also lucky enough to catch a video of an Intensive Taijiquan course to see Sifu demonstrating Fierce Dragon Across Stream (aka Lazily Rolling Up Sleeves) to simultaneously brush aside an incoming strike and to hit the opponent (or even fell them or lock them in a qin-na maneuver) in increasingly subtle ways. This video gave me the "Aha!" moment that unlocked the idea of using the transitional and component movements of a pattern (including its footwork in moving to an appropriate location) which Kristian mentions above to give me much better safe coverage, even in seemingly "wide open" movements (for which Baguazhang is unfortunately famous). It was a fun geometry lesson for me, having to ponder (intellectualize, even ) over what angles of attack were covered by particular movements, and what angles of attack an opponent could exploit and transform into in the course of my own defense. The idea was born for me back in 2011, gained some traction after practicing Baguazhang from 2012 to 2013, but the first time I actually saw it in action or was able to perform it myself against a real free sparring opponent was in 2015. Go figure, hahaha. Better yet, all of the component movements and techniques are found in the basic syllabus, though the idea (aka the mental awareness of the strategy, though I've met plenty of fighters who have unconsciously gained these skills from plenty of free sparring, but are unable to verbally tell me why they are successful fighters in specific terms) may not have occurred to folks.

    I have far more experience (and a curious delight) in damaging an opponent's incoming "weapons." Perhaps I just like punishing people who attack me, who knows, hahaha. I first ran across the idea in Tantui, especially early on in the third combat sequence Second Brother Chops Firewood and later on the patterns Copper Hammer Strikes Rock and Single Strike Bell Sounds to damage an opponent's arm or leg with a smashing strike and then using a whipping strike against an avenue of attack left open by a numbed or injured limb. I had a surprisingly high level of success against some Muai Thai practitioners using that, numbing up their wrists and forearms before they could transition from a long punch to an elbow. I'm only about 5'5" myself, which means that I occasionally struggle to reach things on the top shelf. Then again, my jumping is all right, so occasionally the Tantui comes out again there. :P

    I get the feeling that people like David and me are addicts that keep trying to push the basic sequences onto an unsuspecting public, hahaha. They've just worked so well for us that it's pretty silly, almost like magic. I mentioned before to some folks that the reason I adore the Cosmos Palm set is because it's such a natural outgrowth from the basic sequences. In fact, there's one sequence which is basically "just" the Black Tiger Steals Heart sequence, except with vertical palm strikes instead of level fists. The guard hand and covering motions that I've used to make Black Tiger work are made much more explicit in Sifu's performance of the Cosmos Palm set.

    I'll admit that early on, before I attended Baguazhang, a lot of the videos I watched of people performing the basic sequences came from videos of people who were in "just learning the sequences" mode and often just "letting" the initiator enter into them without a decisive taming hand or "asking the way." I'll admit that I may have picked up some bad habits from watching those videos, especially since I was training without the benefit of a sifu in those times, but I was still able to draw on my aiki jujutsu experience (which had plenty of hard sparring and no one just "giving" me free entry, even at the basic student level). In aiki jujutsu, we didn't formally learn "asking the way" at the basic student level, but we all learnt early on that if we didn't move the opponent's arm out of the way, we'd run right into their guard-hand (often a guard-fist).

    I believe it was the video series of How to Think and Act like a Master that really demonstrated safe and decisive entry. It doesn't hurt that there are plenty of videos of the current generation of instructors and advanced practitioners that are demonstrating rock-solid fundamentals, not to mention the main specialties that were available to practitioners of Shaolin Wahnam "back in the day," including some material that I'm sure would be very useful for the upcoming Winter Camp.

    At an individual technique level, though, I'm not too ashamed to admit that the first time I sparred someone that actually knew what to do with their kung fu (David, back in 2015), the first time I used Precious Duck, he just smacked me in the top of the head when we were going through the basic Shaolin sequences. Now I reflexively use White Horse Turns Head instead, which uses the back palm and arm as a protective "roof," especially when I move from high or middle to low. Yet another lesson I gained from Tantui. I think that in another life, I may have become a Northern Shaolin specialist, but instead I learnt how to walk in circles, hahaha. Oh well, Tantui is thankfully well preserved in the Canadian and Japanese branches of Shaolin Wahnam!

    Welcome to the party, Martin siheng! How has the practice been treating you lately?
    I like making silly videos (including kung fu ones!) every so often on YouTube and taking pictures of weird things on Instagram.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frederick_Chu View Post
    I have far more experience (and a curious delight) in damaging an opponent's incoming "weapons." Perhaps I just like punishing people who attack me, who knows, hahaha. I first ran across the idea in Tantui, especially early on in the third combat sequence Second Brother Chops Firewood and later on the patterns Copper Hammer Strikes Rock and Single Strike Bell Sounds to damage an opponent's arm or leg with a smashing strike and then using a whipping strike against an avenue of attack left open by a numbed or injured limb. I had a surprisingly high level of success against some Muai Thai practitioners using that, numbing up their wrists and forearms before they could transition from a long punch to an elbow. I'm only about 5'5" myself, which means that I occasionally struggle to reach things on the top shelf.
    It was very good to hear that you've had success vs Muay Thai practitioners with this Fred! Can I ask, did you strike their arms as they punched, like intercept the punch on its way in? That's my assumption, or did you for example take a step back to avoid the punch then strike their arm at it's sort of 'spent' range, or maybe attack their arms while they were holding them in guard position?

  8. #28
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    Different patterns helped me out with different timing of the opponent's punch, especially with those Tantui swinging arm techniques. I found that the combination of Copper Hammer Strikes Rock/Single Strike Bell Sounds worked best for me after my sparring opponent's strike was "spent" at near full extension. Some times I would simply swallow back in my stance to strike their arm before shifting back forward to strike at their body or head; other times, I would step back into a False Leg stance to use a whipping fist akin to Single Whip Saves Emperor, especially against a long or low attack such as a thrust kick or anything akin to Precious Duck.

    At the opposite end, some times I just felt like smashing my way through their guard-position arms. In those situations, I had the most success with repeatedly chaining Second Brother Chops Firewood (a tactic which Sifu called Three Rings Around the Moon in Tantui). Most of my non-kung fu partners had no idea what to do against that since your swinging arms almost seem to make a blender effect in the space within your reach. Most kung fu people, however, if they are confident in threading and bridging skills, however, or if they just so happen to have enough force to stop your swinging arms cold with a block or grip, will know what to do against that tactic. Otherwise, however, you can almost just walk right through most opponents, especially those who lack the confidence and willpower to defeat you.

    Back when I first used Three Rings Around the Moon, my main force training for about two years had been Baguazhang force training. Despite that being relatively flowing, I was still battering my way through folks of my size or greater, despite them having some decent muscular strength. I wouldn't be surprised if someone who had spent significant amounts of time on Golden Bridge, One Finger Shooting Zen, or Iron Arm would have even more success with that rather straight forward and destructive tactic.
    I like making silly videos (including kung fu ones!) every so often on YouTube and taking pictures of weird things on Instagram.

  9. #29
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    Ok thanks, if it works on muay thai guys, it should work on just about any style, so good stuff.

    I've never been fast enough so far to strike a boxers arms as they punch with straight punches, though I can parry a decent amount (using either boxing movements or kung fu / cloud hands type movements). Then again, I've never practised those particular striking moves enough to expect them to work, it's kind of an unvirtuous circle ie I don't practise them enough, so they don't work so well, so I don't think they work for me so well, so I practise them even less, so they work even less well, etc. What I have wondered is could I parry the first punch or two and then strike the parried/spent/retreating arms as a first step.

    I did some applications with a guy who practises iron palm, and he was able to 'slap' punches on their way in. We didn't go full speed I suppose, then again fortunately he went nowhere near full force. I believe it would have a chance of working for him at full speed, and I certainly believe if it did he could take the opponents arms out of action.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by drunken boxer View Post
    Ok thanks, if it works on muay thai guys, it should work on just about any style, so good stuff.

    I've never been fast enough so far to strike a boxers arms as they punch with straight punches, though I can parry a decent amount (using either boxing movements or kung fu / cloud hands type movements). Then again, I've never practised those particular striking moves enough to expect them to work, it's kind of an unvirtuous circle ie I don't practise them enough, so they don't work so well, so I don't think they work for me so well, so I practise them even less, so they work even less well, etc. What I have wondered is could I parry the first punch or two and then strike the parried/spent/retreating arms as a first step.
    When I first started meeting strikes with elbows or striking on interception, I had to do a fairrrrr bit of that philly shell game (i.e. crashing in with my shoulder, rolling my forearms or swinging them out to deflect or 'ride' the punch before striking it or the opponent, and a ton of covering and duck-unders) to protect myself. In my head, I thought that eating some shots or covering them was worth getting those one or two or three necessary hits on the arm or hand to make the opponent reassess that tool as a viable answer to the kinetic question of me in the fight. After improving my head and body movement, I could wait out most shots. But MOST beneficial was my in-fighting style; this is also the reason why grappling has always been the most fun and exciting game for me, ever. I am a very very close range style of fighter by preferance, lots of slow twitch muscle dominance and years of training geared toward that natural dispostion to further that imbalance. I do much better when I am close enough to crash into the opponent, "swim" against their arms, or wrap and pass them into clinches, takedowns, or even just openings to hard smack, punch, elbow, headbutt, whatever, than I do keeping distance or staying in the middle ground, waiting to get ripped by a hard body hook or overhang.

    A good set of drills to try to get better at interception is to work foot and body movements that DON'T require you beating the strike to its destination. Timing* is MORE than being faster. If I move earlier, I might as well be faster than you. Cool, kindergarten over, here's the real next-level key: forget moving first or sooner, unless you're SUPER good at reading people and even then are psychic enough to see a feint coming; rather than move first, ARRIVE first.

    Example: opponent is throwing a step-in cross after his initial jab, you read the lightness of the jab and see his feet start to change; you don't try to swing at the cross or catch it on an elbow (could though), you step-off at an angle and drive that sweet hook or liver shot deeeeeeep into him as the cross hits the air that used to be occupied by you. You don;t have to beat the timing, or try to get off before he does, just execute the END first. You want to end up with your fist deep in enemy territory, ideally organs and bowels; so rather than cut-off the strike, which requires a lot more practice, get used to cutting off the entire exchange at* the opening.

    "How does this help me intercept strikes," one asks?

    By being able to position yourself as the winner of exchanges by intercepting arrivals, intercepting exchanges (between initiation of contact and end) becomes muuuuuuch more comfortable and 'safe' feeling (interception is ALWAYS risky business).

    First cover well enough to fight period; then learn to cut-off the openent mid-combative-'sentence'; thennnnnn when comfortable enough to stay safe AND stop problems dead, start ending things sooner; THAT'S where strike interception that aims at the strike itself, in my limited experience and opinion, has not only the most value and utility, but also the highest likelihood of being an effective tool, instead of a one-off gimmick the opponent learns and defends from then on, or, worse, a huge mistake when the focus should be on winning the combat by the means you CAN use, rather than a neat skill that may need more training at the moment.

    Using kung fu for this has been very advantageous in past when encountering heavily loaded-up strikes; for subtle, faster jabs and combinations, what has helped and saved me more than ANYTHING so far has been my stance and structure, no question. SOOOOOOO many boxers and quite a huge number of muay thai exponents need that style of mechanical, muscular "propulsion" movement to engage or disengage; with a solid stance, you don;t need to burst, or plant, or explode; you can deliver and take whatever at all times and all ranges. Once in close, where I like to be in boxing to smother strikes, kill their range power, and start dropping body shots or peeling and pressing their hands for head hooks, my stance and structure are the only things that will let me generate the necessary power, struggle-force to smother, and also integrity to not get pushed away or fold from incoming hits that get through.

    Just some more random thoughts. SUPER interesting thread pieces so far! Can;t wait to see how this shirt comes out!!!

    Kristian

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