Nov 30, 2010

Umbrella Kung Fu

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Asian martial arts have an extensive repertoire of weapons from the mundane to the exotic. For example Chinese Kung Fu is known to have at least 100 different weapons. Some of these weapons have ancient lineages, eg the spear, while a few must have been latter day additions, such as the umbrella, as shown in this clip from a martial arts gathering in Taiwan.  Note how the umbrella is not wielded like a sword or stick as it has a easily bendable or breakable spine.  Instead the demonstrator holds it in both hands and used it for vicious short pokes and hooks.

Related Post: Swords I, Swords II, Taiji Sword

Nov 27, 2010

Six Harmony Northern Praying Mantis

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Further to the previous post on combat intent and power strikes, here's another martial art which doesn't pussy around: Six Harmony Northern Praying Mantis. Mantis refers to the base art, the Northern adjective distinguishes Northern Mantis from the unrelated art of Southern Mantis. Six Harmony is a branch Northern Mantis; other branches include Seven Star, Eight Step, Tai Chi and Plum Blossom. Six Harmony Praying Mantis itself is said to be combination of Six Harmony Fist and Seven Star Mantis. The principle of Six Harmony or Six Harmonies is described as follows:
It can be argued that without the "Six Harmonies" there can be no conscious movement and therefore no true Kung Fu. Liu He or Six Harmonies means the uniting of 6 principles. There are three internal (nei jia) and three external (wai jia) principles, which cannot be separated from each other. The three internal are: Mind in harmony with intent, intent in harmony with chi and chi in harmony with force. The three external are: the shoulder in harmony with the hip, the elbow in harmony with the knee and the hand in harmony with the foot. The Six Harmonies are the foundation of all good martial arts practice and also good health.
Related Post: Bajiquan Combat Intent, Northern Mantis Training Camp, Northern Mantis Wooden Dummy

Nov 26, 2010

Bajiquan Combat Intent

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In more than a few martial arts, the combat intent of their exercises and movements are muted or hidden. This is not the case with the northern Chinese art of Bajiquan. As shown in this clip, the intention to inflict major damage is evident in its drills. Here are some bajiquan principles from Bajimen:
  • Movement is precise, fast, simple and direct. Every move has its intended usages, and will not contain anything flowery. However once the hand methods are mastered, then infinite changes are possible.
  • Training is very scientific. Both techniques and power are divided into steps. These training methods flow from one to another, connect closely in a sequence, and does not allow the practitioner to be lazy.
  • Train methods all start with the lower body, the training is very strenuous. Without a solid lower body foundation, there would be no way to progress into the other stages of training.

Nov 22, 2010

Who Won This?

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A Wing Chun practitioner spars with her little daughter. Watch the video twice, once before reading the next sentence, and again after; go watch the video now...

[Read this after you watch the video: Though the adult seems to exhibit an overwhelming advantage, look closely and see how the young lady is able to repeatedly strike through and at the centre line...]

Nov 19, 2010

Secrets of Bagua Rolling Hands

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Speaking of sticky hands, this is not the province of Wing Chun alone. Bagua has a sophisticated equivalent in its 'rolling hands'. Simplistically put, these sticky or rolling hand exercises simulate combat at close range and train sensitivity and counters to the movements of an opponent. Watch as Sifu Rudy Curry Jr reveals some of the rolling hand secrets of bagua, including how the coiling snake hand is used in this context. Sifu Rudy does not seem to have a webpage currently, his bio below is republished from a Word document:
Sifu Rudy Curry started with Karate in the Goju Ryu and Isshin ryu systems in his early teens and moved on to learn Yun Mu Kuan and Kung fu from Master Min Pai in 1977. In 1978 he began studying Hsing-I chuan, Ba Gua Zhang and Chi Kung with Grandmaster BP Chan who later also taught him Chen Tai Chi Chuan. He also studied various versions of Yang family Tai Chi Chuan with Grandmasters William CC Chen and CK Chu. He continued his studies in Yoga, Tai Chi, Chi Kung and Khametic Mind Science in 1982 with Master Heru Nepu and Master Abu Khafra Ndongo and studied Wing Chun with Mr. Wong. Sifu Curry also studied Tai Chi with Master Sat Hon in 1984-85 (and in) 1988 studied Yi Chuan with Master YP Dong. He met a Master named Sam Chin whose father invented I-Liq Chuan and studies with him periodically. 1n 1998 he also studied Traditional Yang family Tai Chi with Master Gim H. Won. Sifu Curry has also been practicing with Grandmasters and unknown masters in Chinatown communities (in New York and Los Angeles) with such notables as old man Chang of Kissena Park in Queens, N.Y and Grandmaster Yu in Los Angeles, who has the elusive “empty force” and tangible healing capabilities.
Related Post: Bagua Combat Application

Nov 14, 2010

The Origins of Sticky Hands

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It has been some time since our last animal clip. Many martial arts are said to be inspired by animals. Are these just founders' myths or is there some truth to them? The answer could lie more in the latter hypothesis. Most urban people are not familiar with how well animals can fight, if they are, they might be moved to copy a few tricks too. This clip shows what might possibly be the inspiration for Sticky Hands (also known as Sticking Hands or Chi Sao), and its variations, found in martial arts such as Wing Chun and Taiji. Tongue-in-cheek of course, or perhaps not, more in a later article.

Hattip: Kung Fu Magazine

Nov 8, 2010

The Ten Elements of Choy Lay Fut

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An indication of a mature martial art is the presence of a rich set of terminology to describe actions, techniques and other elements of the art. This video catalogs the ten hand techniques of Choy Lay Fut. An abstract of the description of each technique from Ng Family Choy Lay Fut:
Kum - Pressing or Slapping Deflection
Similar to a parry in western boxing this element is designed to deflect incoming strikes from various angles. It is also used to pin or immobilize an opponent's limbs from further counter attack.

Na - Shooting Arm Bridge
The arm is used to spear through, intercept, and redirect an opponent's attacks. A more piercing interception will cut into the opponent's center of gravity, enabling the Choy Lay Fut practitioner to uproot the opponent

Gwa - Downward Backfist
A powerful swinging technique frequently used in combination with other elements to strike heavily into the opponent. When used as a "destruction" (incapacitating the opponent's striking limb during its attack), the force of the blow will often leave the opponent off balanced and open for a follow-up strike.

Sau - Inward Sweeping Punch
A powerful signature strike of the Choy Lay Fut method, the sau chue frequently becomes a finishing blow when accurately used. The structure of this strike is designed to both impact and rake into the surface the intended target.

Chop - Fore-Knuckle Strike
Often used in a fashion similar to a jab in western boxing, the chop chue is frequently used to force open different gates (targets) on the opponent to be struck by follow-up techniques. .

Pow - Upward Power Shot
A pow chue derives its power from the momentum of a circular upward swing. This strike is frequently executed in a continuous fashion toward an opponent's center, driving them off balance and forcing a backward retreat.

Kup - Sweeping Fist Slap
A kup chue is executed similarly to the sau chue except taking a slightly more horizontal path. The striking surface of this element are the inside fore-knuckles of the fist, and when executed, this technique resembles a "slap" from a closed fist. The structure of this strike is designed to smash and rake into the flesh of the opponent.

Biu - Outward Shooting Forearm Strike
Using both the inner forearm and the fist as the striking surface, this element is frequently used as a follow-up to other elements and strikes. This attack takes the striking surfaces of the inner forearm and fist in a swinging outward motion toward the intended target.

Ding - Elbow Strike
Though this element is technically a thrusting elbow strike, any attack utilizing the major joints of the human body can be categorized as a ding (i.e. a knee strike, a shoulder butt, etc.). The angle and path of this element can vary. By design, this element is executed only with a compacted structure.

Jong - Uppercut
While a pow chue gains its power from the momentum of a circular upward swing, the jong derives its power from a direct upward thrusting motion perpendicular from the ground. This element is often executed while fist is directly below the intended target.
Related Post: Hung Gar Combat Applications

Nov 5, 2010

The Cross Arm Bar Techniques of Silat

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The cross arm bar is common to many martial arts, which use it as a double-grab-and-lock counter to a 1-2 punch. But Silat takes it to a whole new level. As demonstrated here by Pendekar Bobbe Edmonds, who is showing just a subset of what is in the art of Silat Harimau...

Related Post: Amazing Silat Grappling Counters

Nov 2, 2010

Amazing Silat Grappling Counters

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Silat is known for its sophisticated ground fighting techniques. In this clip Pendekar Bambang Suwanda demonstrates nifty counters when seemingly comprehensively locked by Pendekar Bobbe Edmonds. The art being demonstrated is Benjang, a grappling style of Silat from West Java. Notice some of the counters require tendon, nerve or joint attacks.