Continuing the Basics

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating One Finger Shooting Zen, a "ta chong" (force training on stance) exercise. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating One Finger Shooting Zen, a force training exercise from Shaolin Kung Fu. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

Had a fun training session (aren’t they all?) split across 2015 January 2. My first session emphasized One Finger Shooting Zen. I may have mentioned to a few folks that my previous sessions of tachong (force training exercises performed while “sitting” in a stance, such as One Finger Shooting Zen from Shaolin Kung Fu or Lifting Water from Taijiquan), when going through the whole form-flow-force method (for example, doing five rounds each of One Finger Shooting Zen emphasizing form, then flow, focusing force, and closing would take upwards of a half hour. A fair amount of time for force training, especially for a busy student like me! I experimented with having less rounds at form and flow and more rounds with focusing/consolidating and was quite happy with the result; again, more force and mental clarity developed in a shorter period of time.

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Force training, cross training, angles, and sequences

All kung fu styles have characteristic stances used to develop force. Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrates Golden Bridge, the most characteristic stance chosen for force training in Southern Shaolin kung fu. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

All kung fu styles have characteristic stances used to develop force. Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrates Golden Bridge, the most important stance for force training in Southern Shaolin kung fu. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

A discussion in 2013 May cropped up in the G+ Martial Artist forums about force training and cross training, with a little bit of sparring methodology and angles of attack. Here’s what I had to say:

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Kung fu footwork

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating the Bow Arrow stance of Shaolin kung fu. Though stances are very awkward for beginners, they are literally the foundation of martial arts and they, along with associated footwork, should be trained properly. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating the Bow Arrow stance of Shaolin kung fu. Though stances are very awkward for beginners, they are literally the foundation of martial arts and should, along with associated footwork, be trained properly. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

A discussion on G+’s martial artists forums turned to the difficulties some people have in maintaining their stances in sparring and fighting. Here is the advice I gave to someone which worked very well for me:

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Goals inform training

It is important to have measurable goals in our training. One very useful goal for martial artists to achieve is to hold the Horse Riding stance with correct form and a relaxed mind for five minutes. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

The two pillars of kung fu are force and combat application. A useful goal for martial artists to reach in developing force is to hold the Horse Riding stance, with correct form and completely relaxed, for five minutes. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

Blind and haphazard training will get you no where. You have to know exactly what you want, why you want it, how you will get it, and when you plan to arrive at your goal so that you can be as time- and cost-effective as possible. Most of us aren’t exactly immortal; why not do the best we can to get what we want?

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Porting over G+ posts, med school, and a punch to the face

Hey folks,

Like I mentioned last time, I’d been spending more time on other online martial artist communities like Google Plus’ Martial Artist and Internal Martial Arts forums.

Both are some neat places to get some scintillating discussions about the nature of martial arts and there are many people with varying levels of skill and different philosophies. I’d recommend taking a look at them; I have yet to meet any jerks there!

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