Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

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Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby nicklinjm on Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:50 am

Just caught this great interview with Sonny Mannon (teacher of Beijing-style shuaijiao and grad-student of Li Baoru):



Love his open-ness to other styles and balanced perspective on the arts, seems like a very skilled and genuine guy :)
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby taichibum on Sat Jan 25, 2020 3:32 pm

I am glad you liked the episode. It was a lot of fun filming it and I was honored to get share some Beijing style Shuai Jiao. Still a relatively unknown art.

-Sonny
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby Tom on Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:48 am

Jon--

Great find! I love the premise for this series and will be looking for others Ford does.

Sonny--

Thanks for opening up your school for this video. I like your teaching approach, connecting together all of the disparate elements like warmup and technique for the students. Is that how you were taught in Beijing?

Separately, are there particular emphases or elements that distinguish "Beijing" Shuai Jiao from other styles of SJ like Baoding? I did appreciate your comment that ultimately training diligently and figuring things out for yourself ends up in the practitioner embodying the style so it really becomes Sonny's shuai jiao, Trevor's shuai jiao, etc.

Everyone--

Sonny Mannon has a solid background in CIMAs (baguazhang and taijiquan) and can demonstrate shuai jiao in different contexts so that the connection/usefulness is immediately apparent. He's done that for a Gao Yisheng bagauzhang group in Portland (Yizong West). His school is Sequoia Kung Fu and Yoga in Visalia, California: https://www.sequoiakungfuandyoga.com/
Those who have tempered themselves do not fear encountering tigers. -- Lao Tzu
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby taichibum on Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:05 pm

Hey Tom,

I was taught in Beijing with an incredible eye for detail. My teacher was extremely technical and would constantly correct our movements and explain the application or context. We also trained very intensely, 2-3 hours a day 4-5 days a week for just about 8 years.

The main elements that distinguish Beijing style from the others, at least in my opinion, is that the Beijing style really emphasizes the principles and technical aspects of the movements. When you train your solo movements it is incredibly clear what you are trying to do. It is not about learning a form, it is about developing the proper connection, strength, relaxation, coordination, etc. It is a quality of movement you are looking for. Beijing style probably also places the most emphasis on the technical details. When studied deeply you know what every part of the body should be doing, what principles or energy you should be embodying, and what should be happening to your opponent.

In my experience I have found that Beijing style has much more in common with Tai ji, Ba Gua and Xing Yi then it does with something like Long Fist or Shaolin. I don't believe the same could be said for the Baoding style, in fact I would say just the opposite.

You can also check out my Shuai Jiao specific webpage www.guangwushuaijiao.org. It has some videos and other information about Shuai Jiao as well.

Thanks again and I appreciate the support.

-Sonny
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby dspyrido on Tue Jan 28, 2020 2:16 pm

I really enjoyed watching the class training. Good technical instruction Sonny. I can't tell the difference between the SJ styles but that 1st partnered move was taught to me as part of chin-na training as there was no jacket involved.

Is no jacket trained normally or is this a different class? Does Beijing have different training curriculum variations based on instructors or is it consistent?
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby taichibum on Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:53 pm

No jacket training is often practiced alongside jacket training by most of the more traditional schools. The jacket is used in competition but also as a training tool. It helps to understand leverage points, set ups and gripping positions. The nature of the shuai jiao jacket make it a much better transition to no jacket wrestling than other jacket based arts. If a competition was coming up we would focus more on jacket work but if nothing was on the horizon we would mix it up. First learn the move with the jacket and then apply it without, or sometimes vice versa.

Even within Beijing there is some variation to how things are taught or trained. Most techniques are shared by all schools, but some drills or exercises might be instructor specific. You will also find some differences in how the solo moves are performed. It takes a lot of practice and research to really understand every movement and how it relates to a technique, and then how to apply it in a live situation and how to set it up, etc, etc. Where the differences will really be is how deeply the instructor understands the material and can explain it and pass it on. Some people are good wrestlers but not good teachers, or amazing physically, but not much of a sense of what they are actually doing.

Glad you enjoyed the training. The class was actually about 2 1\2 hours, so they only showed a little bit of what we went over. There are a few more videos of training and drills up on my website.
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby dspyrido on Wed Jan 29, 2020 2:50 pm

Nice - checked out some of the videos. At the high level looks like the basics, jacket techniques and things like belt cracking are shared with others. There are also lots of weighted methods (pole with the cement block, chain vs. belt, heavy barrel). Do you also do these?

taichibum wrote:No jacket training is often practiced alongside jacket training by most of the more traditional schools.


The move towards jacket/sports is what seems to change the dimensions to it. The SC instructors I have trained with most focused on jacket moves but they also had a very heavy focus on sports competition so did not include chin-na locking as part of the normal SC class (illegal moves). The others that did not were more chin-na oriented and the locks where used to support the throws (but were less sports focused). As you say it seems like traditional goes more towards IMA family moves.

Does your training teach chinna alongside SC or is it a separate area?
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby taichibum on Wed Jan 29, 2020 9:22 pm

I train and teach pretty much all the areas of shuai jiao. All the equipment except for the chain, too many stories of people losing fingers. The equipment work is incredibly useful if you know how to train it right.

Qin Na is an important aspect of shuai jiao. The way we look at it is not all Qi Na is about pain or breaking. it is often about leverage. The idea of “seize & control”. Often in qin na you seize one joint and control the one above it. For example a wrist lock will cause pain at the wrist but will control the elbow. If I seize the elbow I control the shoulder and so on. Almost all no jacket shuai jiao throws will have this concept as part of the gripping technique for the throw. This way if you focus on the seizing aspect you use pain or stress on the joint or if you focus on control then it becomes leverage for a throw.
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby dspyrido on Fri Jan 31, 2020 3:40 pm

taichibum wrote:Qin Na is an important aspect of shuai jiao. The way we look at it is not all Qi Na is about pain or breaking. it is often about leverage. The idea of “seize & control”. Often in qin na you seize one joint and control the one above it.


True the boundary between between locking and throws gets blurred at times as there's a fine line between control and dislocation. Makes for tricky practise between partners.

Do you normally wrestle with jackets on/off/mixed? Do you impose rules around joint controls (ie others have rules disallowing to go against the joint)?

As chin-na can get dangerous do you do partnered flowing drills (push hand variants) or 2 person forms (chains of techniques) like chin-na is taught? Or is it more like normal SJ where is it partnered technique training?
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby taichibum on Fri Jan 31, 2020 7:59 pm

We do a mixture of jacket and no jacket wrestling. I also incorporate a lot of partner drills, push hands like drills but with a different focus, and some partnered sequences, but not many. We always train to protect our partner. A joint lock might be noticed but not used or worked on in a more controlled environment and then not used when going live. The nice thing about the practice and staying safe is that we can go live sparring almost every practice. I have found that this brings about a much more solid repertoire and understanding of the techniques and how to apply them. I tell my students that to apply techniques involves a lot of different factors, understanding of technique, strength to use the technique, time and speed, and strategy. I think understanding all those aspects can only be understood through live practice, but you have to stay safe otherwise you won't be able to go live as often.
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby dspyrido on Sun Feb 02, 2020 2:29 pm

Nice. Sounds more like rou shou, drills and partnered practise. Hence why it seems to gravitate to "it's more like IMA training". Especially sounds more in line with chin-na vs. SJ but does seem to explain why you see Beijing different to Boading.
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Re: Beijing Shuaijiao - Interview with Sonny Mannon

Postby taichibum on Mon Feb 03, 2020 12:52 pm

Another reason I see it as more like IMA is the focus on principles. When I was learning I found that the Beijing Shuai Jiao teachers would reference the the same principles and concepts as my tai ji teachers had. It is just they would be applied in a much more straight forward and applicable way. It is a much more sophisticated art than people realize. Also, the fact that you can train hard and spar live frequently really helps develop useful skill.
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