ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby zrm on Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:59 pm

dspyrido wrote:Anyway here's the man himself in his later years.



This video is mostly about Liu He Men, his Northern Shaolin style.

At the end of this lecture he breaks into a rare display of Ziranmen.



He was 86 when these were filmed. He passed away aged 89.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby I-mon on Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:37 pm

zrm wrote:Wan Lai Sheng's version of Taiji.




Really liked this one, thank you.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby dspyrido on Sun Jun 16, 2019 10:38 pm

zrm wrote:There are no set forms in Ziranmen (well except for one) but shadow boxing looks like this.




Pretty certain that's sifu Tom Zheng's studio - one of the guys who I've known who does zrm. That's not him though.

Tom's training insights for zrm - lots of solo & 2 person drills, lots of body conditioning and sparring. Although he is a walking encyclopaedia of styles and forms he rated zrm as his favourite.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby zrm on Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:01 am

dspyrido wrote:Pretty certain that's sifu Tom Zheng's studio - one of the guys who I've known who does zrm. That's not him though. Tom's training insights for zrm - lots of solo & 2 person drills, lots of body conditioning and sparring. Although he is a walking encyclopaedia of styles and forms he rated zrm as his favourite.


Tom and my Ziranmen teacher, Liu De Ming are kung fu brothers.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby Giles on Mon Jun 17, 2019 9:36 am

Hi all. I sent Nassem a link to this thread since I thought he might be interested, and in return he asked me to pass on this message. So herewith...
... And I'll just point, once again, that most of the basic exercises we trained in the German seminars did not involve 5 Fists but were even more 'basic' than that. This in a positive sense.

..............................................................

Hello MA Friends,
Giles showed me the link and I was very surprised that people are talking about my videos and our ZRM on an English board, so I'd like to set some things straight here before people misinterpret stuff, because it relates to my teacher and my Gongfu family.

“Can you explain the connection with Hsing I because there is clearly one”
What you see isn’t the 5 Elements fist and in that way you will not find it any Xingyi lineage. Why ? Because it’s better ? No, because Xingyi is a concept and the 5 Elements are among the tools used for my ZRM, too. ZRM is a concept that’s very different from Xingyi (not better or worse just different ). For example we say the Yi should be empty and that we don’t practice anything related to the term of dantian.
But Yes, because at first glance our 5 Xingquan looks quite similar to a Xingyi set and that’s because we are in Dalian. Just about all martial styles in Dalian have a 5 Elements set. Some call them 5 Elements, some give them other names but all in all they can be very similar in terms of the physical appearance. And yes there was a great Xingyi fighter once who went to Dalian and mixed it up with Tongbei and so on (no disrespect here).

But all in all our whole system, method, style or whatever u like to call it, is ZRM. There is no part of Xingyi there and no part Bagua here. It’s 100% ZRM

“Serge Augier's Ziranmen looks different to the Wan Lai Sheng school and seems a bit closer to what is shown above.”
First of all Ziranmen is just a Daoist term, it does not describe a Martial Arts Style, so this is how it happens to have the same name as the things we see in Wanlaishang ZRM. Same name but have nothing in common historically, and are two different styles. And yes, very few people are practicing it nowadays. Why ? 1. Because it does not really fit into the expectations of practitioners in China: no taolu, no famous names and lots and lots of foundation training. 2. Dalian is in Northeast China and was heavily impacted by Sino Japanese and Russian Wars … But who knows … .

I had some chat with Serge students and with himself (a little bit ) and they are all nice people and I believe they are also working hard and their stuff is good, but it’s simply not the same (and again not better or worse ).

My teacher and I are not aiming for big popularity and fame (being popular in China is not always a good thing), nor do we want to claim that we are masters of all classes. We are just practicing and we like to share our knowledge with those who like to learn and work hard. If you would like to know more about what we do, you can contact me and I will see if I can answer your questions or not. I for myself just don’t like Internet forums/boards because I don’t think boards are the right place for me to discuss Martial Arts. So I would thank Giles for sharing this on my behalf :).

Thank you all :)
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby dspyrido on Mon Jun 17, 2019 3:20 pm

Giles wrote:Same name but have nothing in common historically, and are two different styles.


Mystery solved...

zrm wrote:
dspyrido wrote:Pretty certain that's sifu Tom Zheng's studio - one of the guys who I've known who does zrm. That's not him though. Tom's training insights for zrm - lots of solo & 2 person drills, lots of body conditioning and sparring. Although he is a walking encyclopaedia of styles and forms he rated zrm as his favourite.


Tom and my Ziranmen teacher, Liu De Ming are kung fu brothers.


Small world!
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby Peacedog on Mon Jun 17, 2019 5:51 pm

I studied for a brief period with a teacher who came out of Serge's lineage. Ziranmen, ZRM for short, is by far my favorite martial I've ever studied. For reasons beyond the scope of this discussion I was not able to keep up with it.

That said, this is what I was told.

First, Serge's teacher was a kung fu brother of Wan Lai Sheng. The system I learned had circle walking at its core as well as eight fists that were trained several different ways. It largely used a kind of xing yi spine wave power as well and we practiced xing yi type fists as a health promotion and power building exercise.

One difference between the two was that Wan Lai Sheng never received any of the old Taoist teachings, i.e. shamanistic work, and apparently his kung fu brother did. I'm not sure how this would have effected the expression of the style.

Also keep in mind that Wan Lai Sheng was considered a martial arts prodigy that knew the base forms for something like 80 systems. Alex Kozma has written a few books on ZRM over the years that gets into Wan Lai Sheng's background.

Qing gong, or light body skill, was also an integral part of this. Despite not having practiced for years, I still retain a remarkable speed over short distances that I did not have prior to this training.

Many years later while practicing Hermetics I had an interaction with an individual that expanded upon the techniques I learned from Ziranmen. He also heavily implied that a relationship was there as well. That said this was hardly a reliable, or unbiased, source of information. The long term transformation I've seen in the physique of a lot of ZRM practitioners seems to support this though.

I have since met the odd ZRM practitioner and they all practiced circle walking and had roughly eight fists. They all knew how to fight and martial proficiency seems to be a priority in these systems. The common theme I've seen with ZRM is that the expression of the style changes between practitioners as it is largely about the performance of the key principles of movement inherent to the system.

I can elaborate more if anyone wants to hear about it.
Last edited by Peacedog on Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby Trick on Tue Jun 18, 2019 1:44 am

Giles wrote:Hi all. I sent Nassem a link to this thread since I thought he might be interested, and in return he asked me to pass on this message. So herewith...
... And I'll just point, once again, that most of the basic exercises we trained in the German seminars did not involve 5 Fists but were even more 'basic' than that. This in a positive sense.

..............................................................
But Yes, because at first glance our 5 Xingquan looks quite similar to a Xingyi set and that’s because we are in Dalian. Just about all martial styles in Dalian have a 5 Elements set. Some call them 5 Elements, some give them other names but all in all they can be very similar in terms of the physical appearance. And yes there was a great Xingyi fighter once who went to Dalian and mixed it up with Tongbei and so on (no disrespect here).
I don’t know, but “just about all” the martial arts in Dalian have an five element set ? One could maybe say that all CMA have some five element theory within ?

But back to Dalian which basically is the hometown or even birthplace of Wuxing(five element) Tongbeiquan and has been around there for quite a while. So it is quite easy to figure out that “most” local martial artists of a little older generations would have dabbled into the “local” martial art of Wuxing Tongbeiquan.
But when you walk around in ZhongshanPark or LaborPark I wouldn’t say most MA practitioners that are mostly Taiji practitioners practice some five element “Taijiquan”, maybe some of them know the elements of Tongbeiquan and sometimes do them, but otherwise have not seen at least out in the public in Dalian any five element set/exercises other than from Tongbeiquan and Xingyiquan.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby dspyrido on Tue Jun 18, 2019 4:03 pm

I see two philosophies at play here:

1. WSL taught the importance of physical exertion through greulling drills
2. The other had a greater focus on chi gung, Taoist meditation and other contemplative methods

Both teach two person technique, some slow probably fast forms and sensitivity drills.

Is this correct?

But according to the stories WSL was one of top recognised martial artists in China of his day. From the conversations I've had he was this because he did the basics/drills to a super normal level. Not because of any Taoist/wudang or related qigung which helped but did not replace the physical effort.

And looking at his clips of him in his 80s it looks like he held up really well into old age.

So the real secret of zrm? Sounds to me it is do lots and lots of physical whole body drills. Only when the body is exhausted then do the cultivating methods.

But I'm no expert on this system. Just know that this approach makes a lot of sense to me.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby zrm on Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:00 pm

dspyrido wrote:I see two philosophies at play here:
1. WSL taught the importance of physical exertion through greulling drills
2. The other had a greater focus on chi gung, Taoist meditation and other contemplative methods


WLS is known for Zi Ran Men but WLS inherited at least three lineages (Liu He Men, Luo Han Quan and Zi Ran Men) and cross trained many others. He was already a martial arts prodigy before he met Du Xin Wu and his system reflects that. His written books cover the whole spectrum, from chinese medicine / massage / bone setting, general physical fitness, conditioning sets, seated / standing meditation, separate wei gong, nei gong, and qi gong sets, as well as sparring and combat drills. However he was big on teaching Northern Shaolin as foundation first (preferably from a young age) and then teaching nei gong sets such as Zi Ran Men once he thought students were advanced enough. "Students should understand the six harmonies first".

As such it is sometimes hard in WLS system to differentiate where one style ends and ZRM begins. For example, the Lou Han Shenda set from Luo Han Quan system is often taught as a core practical combat set, but WLS version is different from the original Luo Han Quan set in that it incorporates Zi Ran Men body method and footwork. Like WLS most of his disciples don't seem to hold anything against cross training. They all tend to know a lot of styles and their own version of Zi Ran Men can reflect that.

Zi Ran Men itself is an unorthodox style. It's training mainly consists of nei gong and qing gong sets that consist of footwork coordinated with circular arm movements, and combat drills which can either be done two person or solo. It is often trained in a low stance to build up leg strength but doesn't have to be. There is a strong focus on lightness skills. The closest example I've seen from other martial arts would be the Yin Fu Ba Gua Zhang that He Jing Han practices.

WLS teacher Du Xin Wu was a bit of an enigma. He was essentially an bodyguard/assassin/revolutionary type during the end of the Qing dynasty and the ensuing warlord period. He was government administrator in the KMT by the time WLS met him. WLS wasn't his only student. Sometime in the mid 1930s he disappeared from government life and became a Taoist monk. He is referenced by name and picture in books about internal alchemy by monks of the Taoist Longmen Sect. However they state he was not actually a member of that sect, but they list him as an equal. There were people who still knew him and trained with him during this time.

Du Xin Wu said he inherited Zi Ran Men from the creator of the style, Dwarf Xu. However he said he only trained with Dwarf Xu for ~5 years. Previous to that Du Xin Wu trained in Lou Han Quan. Dwarf Xu was a vagabond who wandered around Guizhou and Sichuan provinces. There are claims Dwarf Xu taught others on his travels and that there are village based Zi Ran Men styles in that region.

So there's at least,

- Wan Lai Sheng style Ziranmen (Tom Zheng, Liu De Ming, Lu Yao Qin etc.)
- Du Xin Wu style Ziranmen (Serge Augier's teacher and others)
- Dwarf Xu style Ziranmen (maybe)
- Other unrelated styles named based on the Taoist philosophical concept of "Zi Ran" that share the same or similar name.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby middleway on Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:11 am

To understand a little more about Serges method and tradition it is well worth checking this film out. I know in the age of free stuff people are reluctant to part with a little money, but it a very well made documentary, and there is a lot of Serge demonstrating technique, solo training, using tools like staff etc. It is a really nice vision of his method.

What I would say is that seeing on video does not do justice to the experience in person. Some of the strikes he does on his very long term students in the video would be very difficult for most to deal with, but they do a lot of body training and conditioning. Serge has the ability to be as light as a feather, or as heavy as a truck in split seconds. The ziranmen hand methods are designed to reliably elicit a specific reaction, even from a well trained individual, and that sets up the next attack. It is extraordinarily hard to deal with.

http://lineofintent.com/product/warrior-guards-the-mountain-documentary-film-series-2-serge-augier-and-the-da-xuan-tradition-part-one/



cheers.
Last edited by middleway on Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:12 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby Wanderingdragon on Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:09 am

All empty, or shapeless, or systems not conforming to forms. Are wholly based on previous training and the fullness of learning. No magic, just training and learning. Improv in any art form,Is the mastery of the art
The point . is absolute
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby Peacedog on Wed Jun 19, 2019 2:52 pm

The way it was explained to me was that each fist could be trained eight different ways: fast, slow, heavy, light, low, qi circulation form, etc.

Of these only one was really qi gong-esque and that was the qi circulation form. The rest of it was very physical.

Wan Lai Sheng was quoted as saying something like, "Ziranmen is not a spiritual practice, but [forms] an excellent basis for spiritual practice." It makes sense.

Much of the physical training is very reminiscent of Hermetic body training.

The two person drills for conditioning the limbs were southern Chinese if my memory serves. That said, alot of the way the art moves and some of its hard style conditioning really reminds me of Emei mountain martial arts and if the stories of Dwarf Xu's origin are true this makes sense.
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby Trick on Thu Jun 20, 2019 1:55 am

Peacedog wrote:
The two person drills for conditioning the limbs were southern Chinese if my memory serves. That said, alot of the way the art moves and some of its hard style conditioning really reminds me of Emei mountain martial arts and if the stories of Dwarf Xu's origin are true this makes sense.

In Okinawa I practiced a couple of arm “conditioning” drills. The first and most basic I later found out is also practiced in Fujian’nese pugilistic MA, and later when I learned Tongbeiquan found the same exercise there too. And then there is the single hand PH that is also to be found in Okinawan karate. Northen or southern origin I don’t know, but same basic exercises are found from the north to the south and has been around in those directions for quite some time it seem
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Re: ZiRanMen 自然门功夫 training insights & Interview — Yu Guang De

Postby Peacedog on Thu Jun 20, 2019 9:58 am

I think a lot of that may simply be a "there is only so many ways to do it" thing.

Then again, people moved around a bit more in the past than is commonly recognized by most modern sources. Particularly people with money who had a specific interest. So, the fact that things got around shouldn't be too surprising.

What I would like to see more of is video on Emei mountain martial arts. Circle walking is certainly a part of ZRM and baguazhang. I'd be curious to see if it is a more common training method from Emei or just specific to those arts.
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