Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Splitting - Closing application

My first Hsing I Chuan post - there's a little bit of ground to cover before we get to the video.

Hsing I Chuan is one of the three main internal styles of Chinese kung fu. We teach these three styles as three separate syllabus, although there is overlap in some of the exercises.

Hsing I Chuan is favoured by younger students - those with the energy required for the explosive movements and long hours of repetitive practice required.

The basic strategy of Hsing I Chuan is to close the gap as quickly as possible, and continue striking until the opponent is overwhelmed - a type of blitz attack. It relies on a unique type of two-stage step to close distance quickly and without much telegraphing. (Thanks to Colin Wee for teaching me the simple but essential ideas of linear power generation. You can check out his martial arts blog here:

A quick overview of the syllabus forms:
  • Foundation exercises
  • Five Elements
  • Five Elements Linking Form
  • Twelve Animals and Suba
  • Hsing I Linking Form
with applications and skills drills at each stage, accompanied by:
  • Mountain Top Boxing for fitness
  • Standing Form to develop power
  • Self Defence drills and skills
Moving on to the Five Elements specifically, each of the Five Elements has two applications - a Closing application and a Close Quarters application. The Closing applications are all done exactly as per the form while the Close Quarters applications are more dynamic.

At Level 1, Splitting and Crushing are taught. The video below shows the Closing application for splitting. This is the first partner drill a Hsing I Chuan student will learn. It help to teach distance and gets them used to working with a partner.

Next time I'll make sure there's a few more angles. The basic idea is that the first hand sweeps the main obstacle away, allowing the splitting to come over and forward, with most of the power coming from the momentum of the whole body.

As always, comments are most welcome!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Primary Evasion in the Single Palm Change

The first partner work exercise that Bagua beginners do in our school is the Primary Evasion exercise. The video below gives an overview. The exercise teaches distance and timing and allows student to become comfortable with partner work.

The evasion itself consists of three parts:
  1. The step back - this removes most of the body from the danger zone
  2. Lift the trailing leg - this removes the rest of the body from the danger zone
  3. The sweep - the arm provides a backup cover for unexpected or penetrating attacks
Successful use of this step should allow you to avoid any single attack - but that's just the first step!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tai Chi - Beijing 24 Form - Chen Pan Ling style! Part 1

Tai Chi Chuan is will known through-out the world as an exercise for general health and well-being. It has demonstrable abilities to improve balance, reduce falls and lower stress levels. The Tai Chi Classics themselves state that Tai Chi Chuan is primarily for health first and self defence second.

This is a version of the Beijing 24 Form, a Yang style form that was synthesised by a committee in China and then widely promoted by the Chinese government. More information here.

Considering we do almost exclusively Ling Yun Pei forms that have come from Grandmaster Chen Pan Ling, why do I teach this as the first form for my Tai Chi students?
  1. The form (especially the first half) contains only gross movements - there are fewer subtle movements to master before the form is competent
  2. The short length gives beginners an easier goal to target
  3. The short length means it is easier to remember and to find practice time
I have altered most of the movements to match the Chen Pan Ling 99 Form, allowing the short form to provide a stepping stone. There is no requirement for students to continue practicing the 24 Form once the 99 Form is mastered - it would be redundant.

Above is a video of the first half of the form, as part of my on-going documentation and because many students are asking for a reference!

*Note: I am still recovering from a back problem which is causing weakness and numbness in my left leg. Mistakes are all my own!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Bagua - Single Palm Change

This post is the first documenting what I'm teaching, as an aid to my students and myself.

I don't feel I can do a much better job at providing an introduction to Bagua and our Bagua in particular than my Kung Fu brother and friend Dan Djurdjevic has already done on his blog The Way of Least Resistance. The link to the specific article ("An introduction to swimming dragon baguazhang") is here.

Above is a short video of me performing the first palm change in the system, the Single Palm Change*. To quote Dan:
The single palm change teaches the basic principles (of) bagua evasion.

The very first movement of the change (frame from video above) is a slip or fade designed to avoid just about any attack. More detail on this in a later post.

The rest of the movements embody the principal of constant movement being constant evasion. Each motion causes constant shifting of the bodies position and visual scanning of nearly 360 degrees with each motion. More detail on this in a later post.
Significant shift is shown in the above image.

This is the first post documenting what I am teaching, as a record for myself and a resource for my students. More to come! As always, all feedback welcome.

*Note: I am still recovering from what turned out to be three bulged discs and a compressed spinal nerve root so the form is very imperfect.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chi Gong and Nei Gung

We use these exercises in our classes, but what are they?

Chi/Qi - "Energy" or "Spirit"
Kung/Gong - "Skill"
Nei - "Internal"

Chi Gong is "Energy Skill" and Nei Gung is "Internal Skill."

The difference is subtle and not obvious in translation.

Chi Gong
Chi Gong is better translated as "Health Exercises." Theses exercises are for general health and are usually suitable for anyone. Through daily practice, they increase overall health and well-being. Although the movements and shapes used in these exercises may be contrary to martial art principles, they are still valuable for keeping healthy.

Nei Gung
Nei Gung is translated as "Internal Skill" and is often associated with the Chinese internal martial arts, Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing I Chuan and Bagua Zhang. It is used to build the particular strength that these martial arts utilise. The postures and exercises usually follow the principles of the martial art they are aiming to complement.

There is naturally some crossover between the two categories and the seperation is often mor inidividual preference and opinion.

In class...
We do the same set of Chi Gong exercises at the start of every class to help loosen, stretch and prepare the body. To contrast, we follow it with a specific Nei Gung set, depending on what you will be practicing for the class. This comparision help to emphasis that our Chi Gong exercises are for broad and general health and our Nei Gung exercises are specific and martial arts related.

Until next time, keep training!

William Mioch

Monday, July 28, 2008

Start of the 24 Short Form

Hi guys,

Here are the postures that we have covered so far from the 24 Short Form, and their order.

1. Opening Move (Arms up, arms circle)
2. Holding the Ball/Parting the Horses Mane X 3
3. White Crane Flashes Its Wings
4. Brush Knee Push Step X 3
5. Play the Pipa

Also, have a look at this post for a complete list of the moves.

Grasp Swallows Tail and Single Whip (has a complete move list)

24 Form Detailed Move List (has a detailed description of the first 6 postures)

See you in training,

PS: Feel free to leave comments to let me know you've seen the post.

Friday, May 16, 2008