Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

A collection of links to internal martial arts videos. Serious martial arts videos ONLY. Joke videos go to Off the Topic.

Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby C.J.W. on Wed May 03, 2017 4:25 pm

marvin8 wrote:To give a more complete picture, from cursory reading, Xu Xiaodong is only exposing those CMA that he believes are frauds. One of them being Chen Village Tai Chi. (I don’t have an opinion on this.)

Guan Nan Wang, who is helping translate, believes the same. However, Guan says there are true masters of CMA. One of them being Master Chong DeShun. Some may enjoy reading, One of the Best Tongbei Masters in All of Beijing,
https://www.facebook.com/triessencemart ... 4357170710,
https://www.facebook.com/triessencemart ... 9694615175:
Tri-Essence Martial Art, December 12, 2016 wrote:My encounter with one of the best Tongbei masters in all of Beijing part 1

Before I start with the main event, allow me to bring up some background info first. I trained with a Baiyuan Tongbei teacher between 2003 and 2008, who was very good and largely considered one of the best Baiyuan Tongbei fighters in Beijing. For those that isn't familiar with the scene, Beijing is like the heart of Tongbei, there are probably more Tongbei masters in Beijing than the rest of China, so being considered one of the best representative of Baiyuan system in Beijing is quite an accomplishment to say the least, he also teaches in Europe regularly and almost everyone who met him praises his high level of skill.

I lost contact with my Baiyuan teacher after 2008 and when I visited Beijing again in 2014, I heard from 2 sources that my Baiyuan teacher has left Baiyuan Tongbei and joined under Wuxing Tongbei. Now this is quite a shocking news, especially for someone who is in their 50s and already established fame and reputation, normally won't just quite and join another lineage, this kind of action is almost unheard of, and has left the whole Baiyuan system very upset. When I dug further as to the reason for this turn of event, I was told that he lost in a dual to a Wuxing Tongbei master. Now winning and losing is a big deal for sure, but its also something quite common for any fighter with enough fights under his belt, so if it was just as simple as losing a dual, I doubt my Tongbei teacher would leave the system he has been under for over 30 years and join another at the age of 50 something. I thought to myself that the dual must have been so one sided that it shocked his entire view and understanding on training Tongbei, that would be the only reason why he would join another lineage altogether.

I was very curious just what kind of level this Wuxing Tongbei master must be on, in order to totally break my Tongbei teachers confidence and understanding completely, but was not able to inquire further on the matter until this year. It has been 2 years since I last heard about the incident, and my mind has already moved on to other things when I visited Beijing this year in Sept, but fate is a funny thing and coincident comes at the least expecting time.

One fine autumn afternoon I was doing my Taichi training in front of the lake at the famous Purple Bamboo Park, when my senior Taichi brother Zhang Wei came by to train with me. While we were chatting, he mentioned that his friend has invited a taoist from Wudang to teach in Beijing and if I was interested in touching hands, those who knows me knows that I never pass on such opportunity,so I happily agreed to check it out. His friend runs a tea house in the park itself, and the Wudang guy was there too, so after 5 min of walking we arrived at the tea house and got talking.

The Wudang guy was a little arrogant which is exactly what I was expecting, especially after my Shixiong said that we only focus on training stance and nothing else. He started bragging on and on about this gongfa, that training, 20 different forms and secret qigong. At some point my Shixiong suggested that he can do some push hand or sparring with me, and the Wudang guy refused. When I saw this, I suggested to do some push hand with my Shixiong, just to give the Wudang guy a rough idea of what we do, once he see its harmless maybe he would agree to try out against me. However soon as we started doing free push hand, the Wudang guy got up and went into the tea house. My Shixiong's friend's face felt a little underwhelming, in order to save face she offered to take us to an "interesting person", she said that person will never refuse to touch hand with anyone. We all agreed and drove out to the far north western side of Beijing.

Tri-Essence Martial Art, December 12, 2016 wrote:My encounter with one of the best Tongbei masters in all of Beijing part 2

When we got to the place it was already dinner time, so we picked up this "interesting person" from his house and went to a hotpot place together. Upon first meeting with this person, he was quite tall but looked ordinary and nice, in his 50s, not built and doesn't look like a martial art master. He was very friendly too and down to earth, doesn't command respect or carry himself as if he is the biggest deal all around Beijing, which is sadly something that is quite commonly found among masters today. So during my first impression, I was not intimidated by him at all and was confident to touch hand with him after dinner, his name is master Chong Deshun.

Once we all sat down and finished ordering food, we started chatting, and he asked me what system I've trained in. Knowing he is a Tongbei master I mentioned Tongbei first. Naturally he asked me who I learnt from, so I said initially I learnt from my father, later on I studied under Zhang Laoshi. Soon as I mentioned that he started laughing and saying what a coincident, because he knows Zhang Laoshi very well. I then asked how did he know of Zhang Laoshi, and he said back in 2009 Zhang Laoshi challenged him to a dual and lost, Zhang Laoshi was so impressed with him that he wanted to take him as his new master. Master Chong refused because they are of similar age, and instead introduced Zhang Laoshi to his eldest Shixiong who is around 75, this way it wouldn't look too bad on Zhang Laoshi's face, this kind of thinking use to be very important among martial art circle back in the days, its part of the good old tradition.

Once I heard this, I realized this is the very person I was curious about 2 years ago, and I was very happy that I finally got to meet him. Through out dinner we chatted a lot, mainly us hearing him telling about his stories and experience, from what was told, he has fought a lot of masters from all kind of systems. At the end he said don just trust all my stories, I could be lying for all you know, all of you are welcome to try it out with me, I boasted so much and I have to pay for all that, so whatever I've said I've done that you doubts, you can challenge me on that. With that we concluded our dinner and moved back to his place.

Once we got back to his room, we all know what is to come next, ofc at the time I already realized that he is way beyond my reach, but I still wanted to experience just exactly what he can do. So what followed wasn't exactly touching hand or sparring, because he totally out classed me by miles, so its was more like him playing around with a kid and showing me what he can do.

First of all, his speed is blinding fast, which isn't something special if you familiar with Tongbei, and I've meet many Tongbei guys who are fast, myself isn't too slow either, so pure speed never impress me. However within that blinding speed, he also has an unnatural kind of power, every time our arms touch, his arm just feels so heavy that my arm flies away in an instant. Keep in mind that I've done years of Tongbei, and even longer years of Yiquan, which is famous for structural power, in other word my arms usually does not just fly away upon contact, usually when I touch others, its them who lose structure and balance, but in this case I was completely helpless, soon as our arms touch, mine flies off and he touches me at that very same moment, whether its my face, my ribs or any other weak spot, I would not stop him from placing his hand on my weak spot at all, if we were to go at it for real I'd lose in one move, and that wouldn't even been the full extend of his skill because my previous Tongbei teacher lost in one move too, and he was way better than I am.

For those of you familiar with Yiquan and the likes, you would know that Yiquan focus on structural power and the destruction of other's structure, soon as you use force against them, your whole balance is gone and you lose control of your own body. This master Chong feels same at the moment of contact, but the difference being that he doesn't hold structure before the fight like Yiquan ppl like to do, his power only appears upon contact and soon as I'm affected, that power goes away and he has already finished his next move. He called this 5 element changing power.

For example, he start with a shuai zhang which is a back hand strike to my face, the most common Tongbei opening move, soon as I block it, he will turn his palm and pull my arm down, but not just any pull, my whole body would be uprooted by his pull and standing on my toes, at that same very moment his other hand would have already been placed on my face via pai zhang. And his first hand would have changed into zhong quan and placed on my rib, this whole thing will happen in an instance and finished before anyone noticed.

The other impressive thing he showed was the type of damage he could do by just hitting my arm. Lets say I throw a punch at him and he intercept that punch by launching his arm at my arm, during this contact he can achieve various different results with the same move. First of all he could strike my arm and cause searing pain that goes into my bone marrow, the kind of pain that prevent me from concentrating or lifting that arm for a while. He could do the exact same move and cause a shocking feeling that causes numbness from my whole arm all the way up to my neck and head, I would suffer from headache for a little while, my head would also bow forward uncontrolably into his other hand. He can once again do the same strike to my arm and cause my heart to race so bad that I feel nauseous and wanting to throw up. This kind of changing of power and results is something that I have never seen in any other Tongbei lineage. It really reshaped my understanding to Tongbei altogether, my feeling at the time was no difference from my pervious Tongbei teacher, its like I said to myself damn I've been doing this wrong for like 20 years, what a waste of time.

Due to the incident 2 years ago where a 3rd generation Yiquan master tapped my rib and left me in severe pain for a full month, I did not ask to experience master Chong's punching power on my body, but I do not doubt it would be just as impressive as his effect on my arm if not more. He was very precise and nice, did not hurt me at all other than when showing the various effects of hitting my arm, and even then he controlled his power well enough that the discomfort went away after a little while. Like my good friend Rene pointed out weeks later after hearing my encounter, master Chong has been through so much fights that he is in perfect control of the situation, and did not need to hurt me at all, even when I was doing random stuff, unlike some other masters which will try to hurt you soon as things go random and they feel they lost control of the situation. So needless to say I was extremely impressed with master Chong and sadly not many people especially in the west know about masters like these, one visit and all doubt about whether or TCMA can fight goes out of the window forever, and he does not use any sanda or boxing moves at all, everything he uses are pure traditional Tongbei moves. Other than learning from my Taichi master for 3 month, this encounter is by far the most eventful experience I've had during my visit to Beijing 2016.



Marvin's post in the Taiji vs. MMA thread has prompted me to start another topic that I think it's quite close to home and relatable to many CMAists.

Stories of one teacher losing to another and becoming that individual's student is nothing new in CMA circles, and neither is being impressed by a particular skill or technique that a teacher has. But having had quite a few similar encounters like the author's in the past, I personally feel it's important to address the issue of "specialized skills" vs. "fighting skills."

Since the vast majority of TCMAists, especially those who are middle-aged or older, do not engage in intense free sparring or grappling that approach the level of actual fighting, many often rely on the performance of specialized skills in controlled environments to gauge a practitioner's level. Skills such as being able to break or bend hard objects, withstand blows to the arms or body, off-balance or uproot an opponent in style-specific exercises or drills all fall into this category.

However, my caveat here is that people should not confuse specialized skills with fighting skills. In other words, do not be overly dazzled by a teacher's display of specialized skills to the point where you wishfully believe that he must be a good fighter. Having specialized skills is one thing, and being able to fight is another; the two are related, but not necessarily equal.

To illustrate my point, here's the Xingyi documentary produced by RTHK back in '12. From 38:00 to 40:00, the host engages in a series of body conditioning drills with the Xingyi master, gets knocked around, and comments on how tough his arms are and how skilled he is. But in the ensuing free sparring match, the table is quickly turned. The host dominates by controlling the center line, using his height and reach advantages, and proper distancing. The master, on the other hand, appears somewhat flustered with his specialized skills rendered useless.

Last edited by C.J.W. on Wed May 03, 2017 7:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
C.J.W.
Wuji
 
Posts: 1432
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 5:02 am

Re: Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby marvin8 on Wed May 03, 2017 6:04 pm

Here's the same video with English subtitles, that I posted before:
marvin8 wrote:Starting at @ 21:05 to 21:11, 23:56 to 27:43 and @ 40:06 to 41:47 Xingyi friendly sparring another style.

A poignant point to me was @ 22:17 I’m not like you. You have many chances to spar and practice sanshou every day. We don’t have that many chances. This is what we have to do in traditional kung fu:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZu5VUOsBM8&t=22m17s

I may comment, when I get more time.
Last edited by marvin8 on Wed May 03, 2017 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
marvin8
Wuji
 
Posts: 608
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:30 pm

Re: Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby Strange on Wed May 03, 2017 7:41 pm

i know what preserved sour plums tastes like
i do not need to taste one everyday to remind myself what it tastes like
if you blindfold me and put a sour plum on my tongue, i can tell you it is a sour plum
you can have sour plum powder, sour plum shreds, de-stoned sour plum, sour plum with licorice powder, sour plum drink
i would still know sour plum when i taste one
it is sour plum

but... it can become a problem if you have not tasted sour plum
cos... you have not tasted one before
天官指星 单对月 风摆荷叶 影成双
i said slowly and evenly; i did not say weakly
User avatar
Strange
Great Old One
 
Posts: 4665
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 1:33 am

Re: Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby windwalker on Wed May 03, 2017 8:03 pm

However, my caveat here is that people should not confuse specialized skills with fighting skills. In other words, do not be overly dazzled by a teacher's display of specialized skills to the point where you wishfully believe that he must be a good fighter. Having specialized skills is one thing, and being able to fight is another; the two are related, but not necessarily equal.


I don't quite get the point..All CMA or many CMA styles are built on specialized skill sets developed to a high degree. If one was not already a fighter by what means would one test a teacher? Could any one who was a great fighter then be said to be teaching CMA?

Is it not the pursuit of specialized skills ie "styles" a trade mark of CMA or is it as many say "fighting" looks the same because it's "fighting"
I found Hop gar, was very effective against boxing styles because of the specialized skill sets developed "long arm coupled with a unique foot work"

I knew some 8-steps mantis teacher "James" who was known for usage of his style.
"Eight Step Preying Mantis Kung Fu is a complete system of traditional Chinese martial arts. Its beauty when practiced is rivaled only by its effectiveness in combat. With practice, the system builds the mind, body, spirit and character of the practitioner."
-- Grandmaster James Shyun --


met him a long time ago,,very fast and effective

Grandmaster Shyun was a World Champion in Full Contact Martial Arts for five years running when only in his twenties and has acted as a combat instructor in his native Taiwan, to the Taiwanese Marine Corp. He has traveled abroad to instruct other law enforcement officers in Singapore, Japan, Germany, Australia, France and the U.S. in hand to hand combat. Image

In this capacity, Grandmaster Shyun arrived in California in 1983. By 1984 Grandmaster Shyun developed such affection for the U.S. that he decided to make America the motherland of his ancient arts. The Eight Step Preying Mantis System is now available across the United States due in no small part to Grandmaster Shyun’s decision to break with tradition and open the teaching of this rare system to anyone dedicated to learning it.

http://www.8step.com/mantis/grandmaster.shtml
Last edited by windwalker on Wed May 03, 2017 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
rule 19
windwalker
Wuji
 
Posts: 5892
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 4:08 am

Re: Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby C.J.W. on Wed May 03, 2017 8:36 pm

Strange wrote:i know what preserved sour plums tastes like
i do not need to taste one everyday to remind myself what it tastes like
if you blindfold me and put a sour plum on my tongue, i can tell you it is a sour plum
you can have sour plum powder, sour plum shreds, de-stoned sour plum, sour plum with licorice powder, sour plum drink
i would still know sour plum when i taste one
it is sour plum

but... it can become a problem if you have not tasted sour plum
cos... you have not tasted one before


Luv it when ppl get metaphoric. ;)

Maybe I've already tasted various types of preserved sour plums and realized that they are nothing but a small part of a healthy, well-balanced diet.

If you choose to live on sour plums, then by all means, go ahead. ;D
C.J.W.
Wuji
 
Posts: 1432
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 5:02 am

Re: Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby Strange on Wed May 03, 2017 8:40 pm

this sour plum is special
you can only taste it when standing in front of an opponent :)
天官指星 单对月 风摆荷叶 影成双
i said slowly and evenly; i did not say weakly
User avatar
Strange
Great Old One
 
Posts: 4665
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 1:33 am

Re: Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby C.J.W. on Wed May 03, 2017 8:49 pm

windwalker wrote:
However, my caveat here is that people should not confuse specialized skills with fighting skills. In other words, do not be overly dazzled by a teacher's display of specialized skills to the point where you wishfully believe that he must be a good fighter. Having specialized skills is one thing, and being able to fight is another; the two are related, but not necessarily equal.


I don't quite get the point..All CMA or many CMA styles are built on specialized skill sets developed to a high degree. If one was not already a fighter by what means would one test a teacher? Could any one who was a great fighter then be said to be teaching CMA?

Is it not the pursuit of specialized skills ie "styles" a trade mark of CMA or is it as many say "fighting" looks the same because it's "fighting"
I found Hop gar, was very effective against boxing styles because of the specialized skill sets developed "long arm coupled with a unique foot work"



I sort of came up with the term "specialized skills" for the lack of a better one. And you are right, CMA styles are based on specialized skillsets. Perhaps a better way to phrase them would be "add-on skills" -- skills that are beneficial to one's overall fighting proficiency once the core "fighting skills" have been developed, such as iron-palm.

What I was getting at is that too many CMA practitioners, especially beginners, are dazzled by the displays of these add-on skills. Let's say a layman goes to a MA demonstration and sees a teacher cracking coconuts with his bare hands. In his mind, he'll most likely immediately relate his iron-palm skill to fighting, assuming that the teacher will be able to crack someone's head open in a real fight. But anyone who knows a thing or two about MAs or fighting will tell you that's not true unless the teacher also happens to possess excellent fighting skills.
Last edited by C.J.W. on Wed May 03, 2017 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
C.J.W.
Wuji
 
Posts: 1432
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 5:02 am

Re: Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby dspyrido on Wed May 03, 2017 9:59 pm

The communists did a great job of almost eradicating CMA. Anyone not a soldier/player in their party who had a sniff of being a "fighter" was summarily executed or imprisoned. Those they missed went into hiding ... as they should.

So by that definition what they left and allowed to continue was ...

Skills such as being able to break or bend hard objects, withstand blows to the arms or body, off-balance or uproot an opponent in style-specific exercises or drills all fall into this category.


And lots of nice and pretty forms. Or perhaps it's being able to talk philosophy of using the body's energies to somehow disarm an opponent ... without ever having tried it. So if you are learning this stuff you are ok by the communists of the 60s because lets face it you can't fight.

Now knowing this what was dropped? Well have read of this https://wulinmingshi.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/1929-hangzhou-leitai-tournament/

Key points - the top 10 guys where:
1. All mma guys - they all mixed their nominated styles
2. Most of them mixed in a striking with a grappling style
3. They knew how to move in the face of an attack as can be seen with comments like

Instead of taking Liu on head-on, Cao evaded as much as possible, trying to use sweeps and low kicks to attack Liu’s legs. This tactic helped Cao to go on the offensive. In the second round, Cao saw his opportunity and laid Liu out with a punch, winning the match. The next day, Zhao asked Liu how he could have lost: Liu was so vexed he punched the ground, breaking a brick in half, saying “Dammit, dammit”.


NOTE: This is in reference to a so called iron palm master who lost

OR

After the match, Han praised Ma’s movement, saying “He’s like a shadow, constantly changing his angles of approach, I couldn’t even see him, never mind hit him.”


There are so many other great comments in this post that it just oozes the same sentiments that would be heard in any modern mma article.

Personally IDK if these guys where any good or if they looked like the arms-flailing-almost-silly 1950s letai fight but the key point is the ideas are pretty spot on.

In summary - almost 100 years ago somebody had a lot of good ideas in China on how to fight well before the modern mma reboot came along. It's these ideas that should be recovered & studied vs. thinking that what was allowed to slip through the crack by the communists is the right way to train.
Last edited by dspyrido on Wed May 03, 2017 10:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
dspyrido
Wuji
 
Posts: 1996
Joined: Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:03 am

Re: Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby wiesiek on Tue May 09, 2017 1:43 am

so,
best
start with the basic- Wudang stretching r.:

https://youtu.be/KHp-sgUcOy8

sparring later, iron fist the last
joyful usefullnes of the effords
User avatar
wiesiek
Wuji
 
Posts: 3465
Joined: Thu May 15, 2008 12:38 am
Location: krakow

Re: Specialized skills vs. fighting skills

Postby everything on Tue May 09, 2017 7:51 am

wiesiek wrote:so,
best
start with the basic- Wudang stretching r.:

https://youtu.be/KHp-sgUcOy8

sparring later, iron fist the last


the more I read RSF, the more I think the yiquan folks went in exactly this kind of order (not sure about that specialized thing)
amateur practices til gets right pro til can't get wrong
/ better approx answer to right q than exact answer to wrong q which can be made precise /
“most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. Source of all true art & science
User avatar
everything
Wuji
 
Posts: 3850
Joined: Tue May 13, 2008 7:22 pm
Location: USA


Return to Video Links

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest