Train the way you want to train

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

Train the way you want to train

Postby johnwang on Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:39 pm

Do you ever feel that everything that you have trained still belong to your teacher (or the style founder), one day suddenly, you feel that you finally start to train for yourself?

For many years I had trained a certain way just because that was the way I was taught. I didn't

- pick up those that I like.
- throw away those that I didn't like.
- add in those that I loved.

For example, for many years I have trained the Shuai Chiao "belt cracking" drills exactly as I had learned. Until one day I started to change it and add more new drills, I then felt that I started to train for myself.

In the past many years, I have created more than 12 new belt cracking drills. I no longer train the old set of drills. I only trained the new set of drills.

TMA training can give us enough "depth". But we need to explore more "breadth".

Someone told me that in China there is a book "81 different ways to apply single leg". So far I still have not found that book yet. I then start to analysis myself. How many different ways can I apply my single leg? My teacher taught me N different ways. Can I find some more ways?

When I started to do that. My MA training is more than just to copy whatever my teacher taught me. I'm no longer a "copy machine".

Have this kind of thinking ever happen to you?
Last edited by johnwang on Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby everything on Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:24 pm

This is good advice for all fields.

Otherwise no one drops out to create Microsoft, Apple, etc.

No one will think to create electric cars and make them mainstream.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby johnwang on Fri Mar 22, 2019 5:34 pm

The single leg can be a good example. All wrestlers know how to use hands to grab on their opponent's leading leg. The issue is you have to "change level". When you do that, your head is exposed. The other approach is to let your leg to do 1/2 of the job. Your hand then do the other 1/2 of the job. For example, you can

- knee strike,
- front cut,
- inner hook,
- outer hook,
- knife hook,
- sweep,
- scoop kick,
- sticky lift,
- ...

your opponent's leading leg into your hand. This way, you don't have to drop that low. When you start to explore into this area, your single leg knowledge will start to expand.

Here is an example that I can use knee striking to get my opponent's leading leg. Did I learn this from my teacher? I didn't. It's not hard to figure this out from the principle, "your leg do 1/2 of the job, and your hand do the other 1/2 of the job".

I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby Bao on Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:12 am

johnwang wrote:TMA training can give us enough "depth". But we need to explore more "breadth".

Someone told me that in China there is a book "81 different ways to apply single leg". So far I still have not found that book yet. I then start to analysis myself. How many different ways can I apply my single leg? My teacher taught me N different ways. Can I find some more ways?

When I started to do that. My MA training is more than just to copy whatever my teacher taught me. I'm no longer a "copy machine".

Have this kind of thinking ever happen to you?


I don't think of variations as breadth. Variations of the same principle or movement can work as deepening your understanding of the same movements or mechanics. I like depth and simplification better than breadth. Exploring the details of one simple move is better than to have shallow knowledge of many moves. So instead of adding more and learning more, I rather cut away things. This is why I threw away 99% of my Bagua and Xingyi. I had practiced Bagua for about 20 years and Xingyi about 15 years doing that. My focus on depth and throwing away what is unnecessary is also why I stopped seeing one of my best teachers who I had spent most time with. He started to learn more new things, add and teach many different things. Maybe some of his other students thought it was interesting, but I didn't like his new approach. His teaching method from the start was very, very good, but it became shallow and unfocused. -shrug-

But I don't know how individual or original my thinking is. I do things differently and have different ideas than all my teachers. But on the same time I have always been encouraged to experiment with things, as trying to find different versions of the original postures, adding moves, take away, test movements with different types footwork etc and by doing the creating my own drills and exercises. I have always been encouraged to "own" my art and to make it my personal art, but when I have done changes or created things, I have always done it in a quite structured methodological manner that is true to the original principles and methods.

The difference with Chinese and Japanese arts for instance is that techniques and methods in the Chinese arts are always adjusted to your own individual prerequisites. Japanese weapons have standardised lengths and sizes, as a Jo staff which is 120 CM and a Bo staff that is 180 CM. But the correct lengths and sizes of Chinese weapons are always according to your own body length and size. So learning with breadth in Chinese arts can fool you as every technique and method still needs to be customised according to your own body and your own other prerequisites. This adjusting and individualising every technique and method is IMO/IME far more important that learning and adding more. 8-)
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby johnwang on Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:26 am

Bao wrote:I don't think of variations as breadth.

The following 2 clips show the same depth but different breadth.

I learned this combo from my teacher. Since I have to hook my opponent's standing leg before he can drop his leg down, I only have a small window to do so and my timing is critical.



If I use knee strike to obtain my opponent's leading leg into my hand, I'll have more time to hook his standing leg to take him down.

I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby edededed on Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:32 am

John - I think your way of training is great, and focused on creation (new discoveries) as opposed to just preservation.

But you were "freed" to do so by already learning and mastering a great deal of material first (so you have already satisfied your first desire to preserve).

It's a bit like when I was a kid and I really wanted to learn CMA weapons like sword and staff and spear. I could feel myself almost drooling :D But later, after I have learned training methods and a few sets, it's just not that important anymore. I am "free" in a sense.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby everything on Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:28 am

The way I want to train is work on a lot of technical moves. The way I want to apply these is to keep them super simple.

You can think of this as practicing ridiculous combos, but only actually using simple combos.

I'm sure this is true in MA and in sports. In sports, my teams yell at each other to keep it simple. Something overly technical is almost always stupid to do. When it comes off, it is a thing of beauty, but usually it's crap and inefficient.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby dragonprawn on Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:43 am

Hi John,

I just watched that short tree hanging doc of you yesterday. At the end you expressed doubt that traditional CMA would survive in modern society. But you have done well more than your share to help it live on. I agree with your approach. who wouldn't? Preserving the past is part of it. But innovation is another part.

More casual practitioners will have a hard time with the first part and may never have the experience and analytical skills required to be more than a "copy machine". I find myself able to get in more training time the past couple of years. Before that it was enough to remember my teachers' training. Now I feel maybe I can do things more to my liking.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby johnwang on Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:28 am

When I train this combo, I need to

1. Twist my opponent to my right.
2. When he resists, I borrow his resisting force, twist him to my left and sping his leg, and try to throw him forward.
3. When he resists, I borrow his resisting force, turn around, grab his leg, hook his other leg, and throw him backward.

I can make this into 3 moves belt cracking drill. This way, when I train the combo, I also develop my fingers, arm strength.

So far I have created 12 new belt cracking drills.



Here are some old set of belt cracking drills.

I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby klonk on Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:31 pm

johnwang wrote:...

My MA training is more than just to copy whatever my teacher taught me. I'm no longer a "copy machine".

Have this kind of thinking ever happen to you?


Yes, and I'm happy it did, but I am not sure it will work for everyone. You are a highly analytical thinker. Not everyone is. I am still afraid of the martial artist who never had an original thought in his life, but took what his teacher told him and drilled it a hundred times every day.

My originality these days is manifested in trying to get the most out of something simple.

Drop step
Follow step
The above steps in reverse (yielding)
Hammer fist
Straight fist
Leg check
Foot sweep
Push
Last edited by klonk on Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby klonk on Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:56 pm

dragonprawn wrote:Hi John,

I just watched that short tree hanging doc of you yesterday. At the end you expressed doubt that traditional CMA would survive in modern society. But you have done well more than your share to help it live on. I agree with your approach. who wouldn't? Preserving the past is part of it. But innovation is another part.
...


I saw the film shortly after it came out, and I was most impressed that he invented the mouse right click menu. The rest is impressive too, but I think the key lesson there is to put what time resources you have into something that is going to make a difference. If you want a very nearly unbeatable headlock, here is the painful way to train it.

I think a lot of CMA as it is taught is overweight on techniques and philosophy, underweight on underlying principles and essentials involving painful work. That is why MMA versus CMA demonstrations seldom go well. The best way to fix that is to really think about why you do things, which is exactly what JW endorses.

But anyway, I don't speak for Wang, Wang speaks for Wang.
Last edited by klonk on Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:13 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby C.J.W. on Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:49 pm

Perhaps due to my upbringing as a Taiwanese-American, I've always found the idea of respecting one's teachers 尊師重道, when taken too far, is actually one of the main reasons which has caused the decline of CMA in the past century.

For many CMAists with traditional mindsets, respecting one's teachers means training in the exact ways as you have been told and taught, and NEVER question or change what your teachers have shown you.

I've lost count of how many times I've heard old CMAists with decades of experience saying (proudly), "I haven't changed anything I learned from my teacher at all!"

But we really need to ask ourselves, is that necessarily a good thing? My answer is .......no, not at all.
Last edited by C.J.W. on Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby klonk on Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:02 pm

C.J.W. wrote:Perhaps due to my upbringing as a Taiwanese-American, I've always found the idea of respecting one's teachers 尊師重道, when taken too far, is actually one of the main reasons which has caused the decline of CMA in the past century.

For many CMAists with traditional mindsets, respecting one's teachers means training in the exact ways as you have been told and taught, and NEVER question or change what your teachers have shown you.

I've lost count of how many times I've heard old CMAists with decades of experience saying (proudly), "I haven't changed anything I learned from my teacher at all!"

But we really need to ask ourselves, is that necessarily a good thing? My answer is .......no, not at all.


I used JW's right click to translate the Chinese. :D

I think better respect for our teachers is to advance their work by finding out more about how to win fights. If we were doctors we would do honor to our profession by finding out better ways to cure sick people. As martial artists, as I understand it, our task and goal framework is to halt violent people.
Last edited by klonk on Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby edededed on Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:20 pm

I think that it is important to preserve so that we do not LOSE important things. If we start from 0 each generation, there is not much accumulation then.

It's like engineering - keep the old knowledge, develop something on top of that.

It is true that in CMA, most development stopped in the early 20th century, but one of the reasons was also just less usefulness of the skills.
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Re: Train the way you want to train

Postby marvin8 on Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:46 am

johnwang wrote:How many different ways can I apply my single leg? My teacher taught me N different ways. Can I find some more ways?

. . . When I train this combo, I need to

1. Twist my opponent to my right.
Image

Above, the feeder throws a right jab and throws a straight left without retracting it. This allows the thrower to grab feeder's right upper arm, wrap and underhook left arm at the same time. A good puncher will not strike that way, but strikes according to the thrower's reactions. The feeder should provide realistic attacks to help trainee develop the necessary skills.. That is more important than "finding more ways."

A common, proven (historical data) single leg takedown entry is to throw punches while stepping forward outside—causing opponent to defend by raising guard, freezing and weighting front leg. Then, change levels, place head in chest, stay high, lock and lift leg, shoulder on thigh, rotate and drive down:
Image
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