Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

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

Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby MaartenSFS on Thu Jul 05, 2018 6:19 pm

In Shanzhaiquan we train something called Shuaibeishou, which is a power-generating method used for circular, whip-like techniques. It it one of three important Jin that we train, the others being Zhenjin, or shocking power, which is used for direct attacks and Doujin, which is just adding lateral movement to Zhenjin. Then there are Shujin and Hengjin, vertical and horizontal power, respectively, which can be added to both Shuaibeijin or Zhenjin and are really by-products of training the three main powers. This rant will focus on Shuaibeishou, its characteristics, how to train it and applications in unarmed and armed fighting. A video that I previously made sheds light on this devastating power-generating method:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwKPcrJaUsY

What I didn't explain in the video is that proper Shuaibeishou should be like a rock with a string attached to it being swung. The acceleration that builds up is immense and the blunt, heavy object at the end of the string does deep, penetrating damage upon impact. In this analogy your fist is the rock and your arm is the string. There are many ways to train this, some of which are featured in the video above, but the main goal is to loosen up your arms and especially shoulders to act as that string. When Shuaibeishou is in action is tends to look like wild swinging, but what the viewer does not experience is the sheer, raw power. If your opponent tries to block it the results can be devastating. The Shuaibeishou will just plow right through their defenses and hit its target (assuming that the timing, distancing etc. were correct).

In the worst case scenarios the opponents block AND the Shuaibeishou will both strike the target, adding more mass to the impact and doing even more damage, or the circular nature of the strikes plus a bit of good timing and luck will confuse the opponent and they will add their own force to the strikes and hit themselves with a similar result. This happens more often than one would think. If the blocking limb is kept close to the body the power will penetrate through it and if the target is missed and the limbs are attacked it will also hurt and demoralise the opponent. The best course of action is to try to avoid these strikes all together, which can play right into one's strategy, as their options are limited. Then, as soon as they begin to sense a pattern, we switch techniques, angles or even to another power and reach our target - if we didn't already land a great blow. In this we can control and win the fight. It only works with the proper training, though, as the opponent needs to fear every incoming strike so that we can continue the barrage unimpeded.

I have found that the same main Jin that our so important to unarmed combat are just as critical in fighting with a sabre (Shanzhaidao). Zhenjin and Doujin power thrusts and short, crisp cuts and Shuaibeijin powers larger, heavier cuts. Just as in unarmed combat, Shuaibeijin allows us to destroy guards and continue to the target in one fell sweep. Opponent's have sprained their wrists in this way. Observe the exchange at 7:37 in the video below to see what I am talking about in action.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EB-taTbMx2M

In sabre fencing another way to generate more power is to receive an opponent's cut and deflect and redirect it back at them. The momentum causes such rapid acceleration that it is nigh impossible for anyone to react in time to stop it or even get away. Training with a weapon actually improves unarmed sparring, as the added weight, the different timing/distancing and the elevated footwork all make using Shuaibeishou easier than even before - plus we have now trained our other side! (as we usually put the weapon-holding hand and foot in front during fencing) On the flip side, training Shuaibeishou in unarmed sparring greatly enhances our sabre fencing as well.

In conclusion, there are more similarities than differences when it comes to Shanzhaiquan and Shanzhaidao. Both help to improve the other and even many of the same techniques and strategies can be used. In either case the opponent is left scrambling away from the awesome power of the Shuaibeishou! I have only seen this power-generating method used in several styles, including Tongbiquan, Piguaquan and Xinyiliuhequan, and in sabre and staff fighting (amongst other weapons). I truly believe that if one decides to train both unarmed and armed combat that the methods should not diverge too much or it becomes inefficient and less effective. Shuaibeishou may not be for everyone. It's particularly destructive when utilised by tall people or those with long arms or even with thick wrists. When talking about armed combat, however, I posit that anyone would find training this method well worth their while.

I hope that everyone is training hard and, perhaps just as importantly (but not more so), thinking about what you are training, why and how to improve your regimen and consequently your fighting ability. I also hope that you have enjoyed this little rant. Cheers. ;)
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby Trick on Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:32 am

From my own practice in Tongbeiquan and its many arm swinging exercises those “techniques” may work very well in sparring/fighting. But what I think is most important about those exercises is how effective and quick they make one aware of ones center and drawing from the ground up through the body. Practiced diligently ones core muscles are developed while shoulders and arms stay relaxed all in a union. One develop whole body power generation relatively quick and effective for combat, it not only comes out in the big swinging long arm techniques but also in short and even subtle striking, and as you say those arm swing exercises can and will work in union with sword or rather sabre practice......(Now I understand that Aikido might be an MA you not think very highly about. But just to take an example Aikido is an MA where it’s unarmed and armed(Japanese sword/bokken) practice can be seen as one and the same)........Yes I agree in practice those basic arm swings will be a good aid to ones sword practice and vice versa
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby .Q. on Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:40 pm

Always liked the mechanics in Tongbei weapons, which seems to be the same as what you're doing. I've learned some very basic arm swings from a preying mantis club and they've opened my eyes to how good those exercises are. Nothing loosens shoulders faster and more reliably than doing proper arm swings. That said proper arm swings actually involve quite a bit of details.
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby yeniseri on Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:42 pm

Trick wrote:Practiced diligently ones core muscles are developed while shoulders and arms stay relaxed all in a union. One develop whole body power generation relatively quick and effective for combat, it not only comes out in the big swinging long arm techniques but also in short and even subtle striking, and as you say those arm swing exercises can and will work in union with sword or rather sabre practice......(Now I understand that Aikido might be an MA you not think very highly about. But just to take an example Aikido is an MA where it’s unarmed and armed(Japanese sword/bokken) practice can be seen as one and the same)........Yes I agree in practice those basic arm swings will be a good aid to ones sword practice and vice versa


A truth but it is interesting that Thai boxers will always come out ahead of CMA because their training is brutal and they do the conditioning routines that wrestlers, boxers and contact sports do. CMA practitioners tend to imagine that all soft, arm swinging tongbei (tongbei as absolute conditioning ;D ) etc is all that is needed but liuhebafa is missing from much of what is CMA today hence the dismal outcomes in full contact.
Even shuaijiao (yes, I have bias on this) conditioning with practice and partner training can elevate the martial side of CMA. Again, na, shuai etc all configure in the skill context.

Aikiso is still an MA but the "soft" has to be mixed with the "hard"!
Last edited by yeniseri on Fri Jul 06, 2018 1:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby Trick on Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:26 am

yeniseri wrote:
Trick wrote:Practiced diligently ones core muscles are developed while shoulders and arms stay relaxed all in a union. One develop whole body power generation relatively quick and effective for combat, it not only comes out in the big swinging long arm techniques but also in short and even subtle striking, and as you say those arm swing exercises can and will work in union with sword or rather sabre practice......(Now I understand that Aikido might be an MA you not think very highly about. But just to take an example Aikido is an MA where it’s unarmed and armed(Japanese sword/bokken) practice can be seen as one and the same)........Yes I agree in practice those basic arm swings will be a good aid to ones sword practice and vice versa


A truth but it is interesting that Thai boxers will always come out ahead of CMA because their training is brutal and they do the conditioning routines that wrestlers, boxers and contact sports do. CMA practitioners tend to imagine that all soft, arm swinging tongbei (tongbei as absolute conditioning ;D ) etc is all that is needed but liuhebafa is missing from much of what is CMA today hence the dismal outcomes in full contact.
Even shuaijiao (yes, I have bias on this) conditioning with practice and partner training can elevate the martial side of CMA. Again, na, shuai etc all configure in the skill context.

Aikiso is still an MA but the "soft" has to be mixed with the "hard"!

Yes for sure, for many in the TC(and Japanese)MA’s the “lack of proper” sparring don’t serve them in a good way if facing an Thai-boxer for example..if one want to join the free sparring circus one has to practice free sparring this is the truth.....within the Tongbei group/teachers I practiced with the younger ones where quite eager to put on gloves and spar(boxing style) they also practiced on heavy bags and focus pads(so they are not completely lost;)


“Aikiso is still an MA but the "soft" has to be mixed with the "hard"!” In essence that’s what they strive to do - join, not clash
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:50 pm

Trick wrote:From my own practice in Tongbeiquan and its many arm swinging exercises those “techniques” may work very well in sparring/fighting. But what I think is most important about those exercises is how effective and quick they make one aware of ones center and drawing from the ground up through the body. Practiced diligently ones core muscles are developed while shoulders and arms stay relaxed all in a union. One develop whole body power generation relatively quick and effective for combat, it not only comes out in the big swinging long arm techniques but also in short and even subtle striking, and as you say those arm swing exercises can and will work in union with sword or rather sabre practice......(Now I understand that Aikido might be an MA you not think very highly about. But just to take an example Aikido is an MA where it’s unarmed and armed(Japanese sword/bokken) practice can be seen as one and the same)........Yes I agree in practice those basic arm swings will be a good aid to ones sword practice and vice versa

Exactly, that power can also be used in smaller techniques, especially with Zhenjin added and it really isn't that hard to train. It's exhausting, but should only take someone several months of diligent training. :D
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:53 pm

.Q. wrote:Always liked the mechanics in Tongbei weapons, which seems to be the same as what you're doing. I've learned some very basic arm swings from a preying mantis club and they've opened my eyes to how good those exercises are. Nothing loosens shoulders faster and more reliably than doing proper arm swings. That said proper arm swings actually involve quite a bit of details.

Yes, Tanglangquan also incorporates those types of techniques, depending on the style. I forgot to mention it. It's all about those shoulders! You're right, there are details, but it's not something that takes years and years to perhaps one day learn after growing a long, wispy beard and contemplating about it on a mountaintop.
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Jul 07, 2018 6:59 pm

yeniseri wrote:
Trick wrote:Practiced diligently ones core muscles are developed while shoulders and arms stay relaxed all in a union. One develop whole body power generation relatively quick and effective for combat, it not only comes out in the big swinging long arm techniques but also in short and even subtle striking, and as you say those arm swing exercises can and will work in union with sword or rather sabre practice......(Now I understand that Aikido might be an MA you not think very highly about. But just to take an example Aikido is an MA where it’s unarmed and armed(Japanese sword/bokken) practice can be seen as one and the same)........Yes I agree in practice those basic arm swings will be a good aid to ones sword practice and vice versa


A truth but it is interesting that Thai boxers will always come out ahead of CMA because their training is brutal and they do the conditioning routines that wrestlers, boxers and contact sports do. CMA practitioners tend to imagine that all soft, arm swinging tongbei (tongbei as absolute conditioning ;D ) etc is all that is needed but liuhebafa is missing from much of what is CMA today hence the dismal outcomes in full contact.
Even shuaijiao (yes, I have bias on this) conditioning with practice and partner training can elevate the martial side of CMA. Again, na, shuai etc all configure in the skill context.

Aikiso is still an MA but the "soft" has to be mixed with the "hard"!

Thai boxers will usually come out on top because they train to fight, whereas 99.9% of traditional martial artists in China do not. It's just a hobby or LARPing to them. I can guarantee you that a system like Tongbiquan can stand on equal ground if the practitioners spar all the time. Hell, they may even win. The dismal outcomes are the result of woefully underprepared hobbiest or delusional CMAists engaging in a fight with people that actually train to fight. This should not be a surprise. Shuaibeishou, when trained well, is a scary, scary thing to have coming at you. I have seen some MMA fighters utilise similar techniques to great effect. If they went a step further and actually trained to improve it the results would be devastating.
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:00 pm

Trick wrote:
yeniseri wrote:
Trick wrote:Practiced diligently ones core muscles are developed while shoulders and arms stay relaxed all in a union. One develop whole body power generation relatively quick and effective for combat, it not only comes out in the big swinging long arm techniques but also in short and even subtle striking, and as you say those arm swing exercises can and will work in union with sword or rather sabre practice......(Now I understand that Aikido might be an MA you not think very highly about. But just to take an example Aikido is an MA where it’s unarmed and armed(Japanese sword/bokken) practice can be seen as one and the same)........Yes I agree in practice those basic arm swings will be a good aid to ones sword practice and vice versa


A truth but it is interesting that Thai boxers will always come out ahead of CMA because their training is brutal and they do the conditioning routines that wrestlers, boxers and contact sports do. CMA practitioners tend to imagine that all soft, arm swinging tongbei (tongbei as absolute conditioning ;D ) etc is all that is needed but liuhebafa is missing from much of what is CMA today hence the dismal outcomes in full contact.
Even shuaijiao (yes, I have bias on this) conditioning with practice and partner training can elevate the martial side of CMA. Again, na, shuai etc all configure in the skill context.

Aikiso is still an MA but the "soft" has to be mixed with the "hard"!

Yes for sure, for many in the TC(and Japanese)MA’s the “lack of proper” sparring don’t serve them in a good way if facing an Thai-boxer for example..if one want to join the free sparring circus one has to practice free sparring this is the truth.....within the Tongbei group/teachers I practiced with the younger ones where quite eager to put on gloves and spar(boxing style) they also practiced on heavy bags and focus pads(so they are not completely lost;)


“Aikiso is still an MA but the "soft" has to be mixed with the "hard"!” In essence that’s what they strive to do - join, not clash

May I ask you where this group trained and if there are any videos of them in action?
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby Trick on Tue Jul 10, 2018 2:09 am

MaartenSFS wrote:May I ask you where this group trained and if there are any videos of them in action?

This the only vids I could find associated with my teacher, no boxing sparring. In the videos is my teachers colleague at “his” place in Zhongshan-park Dalian from who I also learned some. There he has no regular classes it works more as a drop by for students and colleagues. In the weekends there are more people practicing and also some of the younger guys show up. They have a big fully equipped gym at the outskirts of the City, that’s where the sparring boxing/wrestling is mostly done......In the videos show a basic partner drill. http://i.youku.com/u/UMzgzMjg1NDEy?spm= ... ults.dname
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby MaartenSFS on Tue Jul 10, 2018 11:32 am

Shit. I can't watch the videos because it's blocked by a pop-up that says "activate flash" but doesn't work.. I can see around the corners a bit, though. How was their sparring? How long did you train with them?
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby Trick on Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:05 am

As i wrote, with the particularly teacher in the vid I did not formally study, I occasionally together with my teacher visit there since they are good friends. That place is kind of an meeting place for some of the “old” guys of the Dalian Tongbeiquan community. From my teacher I mainly learned TJQ. As I have mentioned several times before, I’m not a fighting kind of guy so I did not participate in any free sparring practice during my time in Dalian, only solo and partner drills and applications. The big gym I mentioned in the other post I visited a couple of times, that’s where the “equipment” sparring is done in the format of Boxing/Sanda and Shuai Jiao.…Now, mostly practitioners of Tongbeiquan don’t stay too far away from fighting,one can quite clearly see and feel that those of the older generation have had their fair share of fighting, but not from the luxury of doing it in modern gyms.…Interestingly, the guy who operate the above mentioned gym is an Tanglangquan practitioner, he is also considered an expert of the big(long) Jian and Dao, but I don’t know if he’s into sword sparring.
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby MaartenSFS on Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:48 pm

Okay. Thank you for elaborating. Now I see the full picture. It's a shame that I can't get a look at their training/sparring from here.. :'(
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby marvin8 on Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:32 pm

MaartenSFS wrote:Okay. Thank you for elaborating. Now I see the full picture. It's a shame that I can't get a look at their training/sparring from here.. :'(

Here are some images:

Image

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by marvin8 on Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shuaibeishou - A Bridge Between Armed and Unarmed Combat

Postby MaartenSFS on Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:55 am

Thanks. I can definitely see where the influence in my Masters fighting style and system came from. As long as they do proper sparring as well I think that these sort of partner exercises are good. Xingyiquan has similar drills like Wuhuapao.

I'd love to see more of the solo drills they do with full power.
Last edited by MaartenSFS on Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:59 am, edited 2 times in total.
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