Back To Front

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Back To Front

Postby Steve Rowe on Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:19 am

Thought you guys might find this interesting regarding putting a training system together...

https://steve-rowe.com/2017/01/01/back-to-front-martial-arts/

I think I live in an alternate universe.

Or everyone else in the Martial Arts does.

I see Instructors putting together their training/grading syllabus…

“Erm, for red belt we’ll do this… for yellow this…. for orange this….”

They do one set of techniques for basics, different moves in a form that don’t relate to the basics and then different pairs work that doesn’t relate to either basics or form.

And I’m like…..”That’s not only back to front – it doesn’t make sense!”

I ask, “what’s the end result you’re looking for at black belt and above?”

And guess what…. I get a blank look because they haven’t thought about it!

“Erm… good basics?……”

“Is that it?” I certainly wouldn’t want to train in a club where even the coach doesn’t know where we’re all going!

So how did I do mine for Shi Kon?

I started with the end product. What kind of student and Instructor do I want to produce?

I want my students to develop emotional intelligence, compassion, patience and tolerance, along with courage, resolve and determination. to have good health, mental and physical.

I want them to be competent ‘peacekeepers’ to be able to defend themselves and others. To be able to neutralise anything an opponent throws at them, to competently punch, strike, kick, lock, throw, choke and strangle.

How am I going to train that? They need progressive meditation and neigong for the mind, posture and breathing, then qigong to prepare the body by softening and connecting the myofascia, opening the joints and learning how the body gets connected power.

I put the 8 principles in place that MUST be within every technique to make it work and mnemonically brought each principle into one word. Put the 13 strategies in from the Yang Family system that dynamically flow through combat and respond to whatever an opponent does these too mnemonically into one word for each one.

The major forms from brown to black had to contain those qualities, Sanchin for the internal system manipulating spine and core with breathing and connection, Tensho to add the core work powering the 5 Animal Boxing and Naihanchi for the fajin and different ways to power the techniques.

Then I continued to work backwards listing all the techniques that can express these principles and strategies and grouped them into a principle for each grade. Then each grade would have the techniques as basics, that had to be demonstrated against a range of attackers as pairs work, strung together for combinations and all put together for a mnemonic short form for them to remember what they have to do. That’s obvious synergy!

I used allusion, mnemonics and application, right from the start they are learning towards a goal at higher grade without realising it, they had an easy way to remember everything and the grading was the ability to make it work!

A white belt is already training to be a black belt, everything has to be practical towards that end and used without any ‘fluff’ or ‘padding’, all training is synergistic with a specific goal in mind and everyone knows where they are going, why they are doing it, what they are doing and how it relates to the end product and what that end product is!

It makes me a genius in the martial arts world but normal everywhere else, if you wanted to be a top athlete you would be taught this way, or a musician, or dancer, or taking a university degree and so on….

So it ain’t me that lives in that alternate universe!
Last edited by Steve Rowe on Sun Jan 01, 2017 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Back To Front

Postby DeusTrismegistus on Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:14 pm

Sounds like you have a very well laid out system. However I think you overestimate the teaching ability of the other professions you mentioned. Especially the university professors. Unfortunately good teachers are rare because most don't know how to do what you did.
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Re: Back To Front

Postby taiwandeutscher on Wed Jan 04, 2017 5:52 pm

I had great profs at my malma mater, LMU Munich, and I hope to be a good prof over here in TW as well!
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Re: Back To Front

Postby nicklinjm on Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:34 pm

Steve, that is a great post, and has made me have a good think about what a teaching syllabus should look like (if I ever teach, which given my current level is a long way away).

"A white belt is already training towards being a black belt", great quote - could you give a bit more detail as to when and where the different elements (basic physical conditioning / stances / techniques / reactions / footwork / mentality / health) should come into the picture?
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Re: Back To Front

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Wed Jan 04, 2017 6:51 pm

DeusTrismegistus wrote:Sounds like you have a very well laid out system. However I think you overestimate the teaching ability of the other professions you mentioned. Especially the university professors. Unfortunately good teachers are rare because most don't know how to do what you did.


Hmm, I've only had one bad professor out of 8 years of college and university.

Anyway, nice post Steve.
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Re: Back To Front

Postby Steve Rowe on Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:34 pm

nicklinjm wrote:Steve, that is a great post, and has made me have a good think about what a teaching syllabus should look like (if I ever teach, which given my current level is a long way away).

"A white belt is already training towards being a black belt", great quote - could you give a bit more detail as to when and where the different elements (basic physical conditioning / stances / techniques / reactions / footwork / mentality / health) should come into the picture?


As briefly and concisely as I can...

I start with kickboxing, move on to close quarter and joint locking, then short range power hands, move on to the 4 basic blocking movements with push hands for blend,stick, follow, redirect and also basic vital point strikes and then combine stance work with kicking for body alignment, strength and flexibility, then warrior stance work with the remaining hand strikes/blocks moving on to curves, circles and spirals to include in all movement and more push hand drills. Next comes Sanchin for core and spine manipulation and internal power, Tensho to add 5 Animal boxing and grappling out if the core work and naihanchi for fa jing, opening and closing, use of waist against the hips and vibration of the hips and entire body. A lot of the previous forms are then advanced and combined for training purposes and post BB I use weaponry, Long Boxing and 2 Man Form work.
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Re: Back To Front

Postby Steve James on Thu Jan 05, 2017 6:02 pm

I agree wholly that what is most important for a course is that the teacher has a specific educational goal for students and that he knows how to teach it. The educational goal aspect has to be explicit. Then the learning outcomes (for each grade or level) can be determined, and the student will know whether or not he or she's achieved it.

I think the thing about martial arts, specifically, is that accomplishment means more than just having knowledge, and the accomplishment of skills can be relative. I dunno. If ones gets his black belt at 30, does he deserve it if he can't do the same things at 70? I suppose it depends on what people expect the ranking to mean. In any case, having a specific goal and a detailed path to achieving it will always help, and shows that the instructor knows what he or she expects from students.
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Re: Back To Front

Postby dragonprawn on Sat Jan 07, 2017 8:39 pm

Related to the OP, I am always glad our school has good internal consistency. We learn form with same principles as internal exercises and fighting is the same way. I know what you mean that some schools might have do things differently with less connection between the things being taught.
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