Michuan and Chen Style

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Taiji fighters should participate in the televised UFC matches as the most expedient way to promote taiji as a matial art.

Poll ended at Tue Apr 25, 2006 8:26 am

Absolutely! Such demonstrations are needed in the West, and would vitalize taiji training!
3
75%
No way! Taiji fighters should not look to prove their skill, or care about the misconceptions of the masses.
0
No votes
You'd have trouble finding taiji fighters that could neutralize those vicious attacks at present in the States.
1
25%
 
Total votes: 4

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Post by DavidM » Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:06 pm

While I think humility IS important (I have along way to go to achieve it...no wait, that was a humble thing to say, man I am humble...awww, now I'm not being humble again, what happened...man I'm so far off), I think that's seperate to the matter at hand.



You don't need any martial training to use humility to avoid a fight. But if a physical confrontation does occur, then whether the skills taught to you work or not is very important. If you are training to be able to look after yourself when you can not avoid physical conflict, then you should have done some homework to check to see if what you are learning does what you want it to. Just because some guy or girl says that what they are teaching you works doesn't mean it does, and it's your bottom on the line, not theirs.



One of the ways to get SOME indication of whether some material works 'for real' or not is to see it in a real fight (hard to come by) or in some sort of MMA style fight (by that I mean one that has a mix of styles and limited rules so that the effectiveness of some styles is hampered as little as possible). You need to have people from outside the style who are keen the stop that styles stuff 'working'.



There are of course, other ways to check the validity of a system or move etc, but in the end it's real combat that tests it for real.



Also, I think MMA stuff can be very violent (upsettingly so at points), but that for me does not "violate martial" theory. Surely the theory relates to the working aspects. There is great differences in peoples' opinion on martial philosophy, sure, but the theory must realate to real conflicts (I guess this should include the psychological aspects).



While I agree that you can be respectful of other practices and beliefs (whether you believe them or not), and that not having proof of a claim does not mean that that claim is false, all of that does not mean you should take stock in that claim.



Lastly, I agree that a fight between two people tests those individuals and not their respective styles, but if for example one of them can effectively use a rollback against some aggressive attacks, then surely that goes a long way to proving the functionality of rollbacks. I think that some "traditional and time tested martial" arts are more effective in some environments than others. For example all the Zen archery in the world wont help you strike someone if you need to, and this, for me, follows down the line to some more 'sport orientated' arts.



Anyway, time to let someone else have a say.

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Post by J HepworthYoung » Sat Aug 19, 2006 12:24 am

Good points. I have a friend who has a dim mak video and thinks he can kill with a touch, moreover though he thinks he could accidentally kill himself and is afraid to be touched in several areas. I think he has little basis for his fears or the perception that he can use what he has learned from the video in actual combat. Of course some of it comes down to damn good pressure points, but as lot of it seems suspect for someone to learn from watching a video a few times.



I have a feeling that street or unanticipated combat often ends up quite different than MMA formats. I just hate seeing martial arts transformed into bloodsports for people to watch in the Nascar off season.

I advocate the martial theory that the martial arts are not to promote violence, but rather to avoid and end it. I don't think people should fight to prove anything, testing skill strikes me as different than that.



In talking with a friend today he could not understand how i would choose to defend my family with lethal force if needs be, and yet if my family had been killed I would not seek to attack the killer. Nor would I be complacent, however more violence would not repair the damage done. it all comes down to personal philosophy and my perspective on the martial way and I don't expect my views to be very common.

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Post by DavidM » Sat Aug 19, 2006 4:05 am

You raise an interesting comparison, the use of lethal force to defend loved ones (if required) verses the use of lethal force after the fact. I hadn't considered that one before, but it's a good one.



That topic does of course come down to personal philosophy, as does the use of force to defend anyone, required or not.



The same goes for a person's perspective on the martial path too I think, whether they are commoon or not (the views expressed by you in this thread so far are not that uncommon I think), that is a thing that is very personal.



As for the lethal force situation (before and after, as above), I'll have to think on it some more. Thanks.

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Brains over brawn

Post by yowie_steve » Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:19 am

I'll be long winded here and cover some humble opinions I have on martial spirit.



Firstly it's obvious UFC oriented styles aren't battlefield tested themselves. Merely "cage" tested with smooth mats. A battlefield has numerous attackers, with bits of rock or crap in the ground. So in rough China with no-one in their right mind taking fights to the ground making a single opponent (who will sue you if you give any injury to him) submit to handcuff him or whatever, most fighting styles and schools will prefer to stay on their feet.



Compared to what can (and historically can) happen, UFC fights are rather safe. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's for whimps. I wouldn't like to encounter one of those UFC monsters. Yet this safety has numerous parameters of control which can limit one's arsenal. I know I'm going to cop the "you kung fu cowards who say you can't eye gouge just use that excuse not to fight in the UFC", yet there is a direction of training UFC fighters on the whole gear towards. That's basically being TOUGH. From what I've noticed they rely alot on gross motor movements - waiting for the window of oppurtunity for a wild knockout haymaker or the all-mighty armbar.



Skilled fighters aren't impressed by this.



Graeme Bowden (1989 world shorinjiryu karate champion) mused one training session here in Coona "I reckon those UFC fighters are just boxers who couldn't make it professionally. Their stand up hitting is just bad."



Sure we're impressed by how beefy and tough they are, but is that going to last them beyond their peak. How will they improve in fighting skill as they get older. And come the real life scenario where you're hypothetically in a car park where two guys approach you for some of your cash or your ego what do you do. Shoot one to the ground scraping your knees into some bitumen while his friend belts you over the head with a beer bottle - that's probably been pre-smashed and the other bits which were on the ground are now under your knee caps.



That's not smart.



As laoshi stated at the recent seminar in Australia "there's a limit to how tough you can be, but hopefully there isn't to how smart you can be".



Smart can also be affected by having brain cells knocked out of your head. Which I am a little paranoid about. Thankfully I'm training at a boxing gym that promotes boxing, not brawling. Even so, with head gear and gloves, too many of those hits can't be good for you. I'm really feeling it some nights!



I'm appreciating more the merit of forms training and visualisation. The boxers do it all the time in front of the mirrors, slowly, concentrating on posture and body mechanic and breathing, like taiji quan.



Forms are so good. It saves brain cells, and you're perfecting technique where it's alot harder with a duifang shaking it up for you. Wing chun could even suffer old granny misconceptions if the proper training accompaniments weren't practised. If you just take the three forms on their own they're incredibly boring to watch, look way too easy to master (perhaps they are, it's how it's designed, that's why there's so many wing chun sifus out there), and you wonder how on earth can you fight someone with those techniques besides that vertical punch to the head.



Yet wing chun has proven to be quite versatile. Evidently taiji quan is also if trained correctly. My understanding and appreciation of it has been blown away after training in michuan. As laoshi reminded me something fundamental like peng (ward off) can be used against the very common hook - either the wild swings or the tight boxer trained type hook. Taiji had to be versatile. China is a very big place. This is different to say Australia really. Watch any brawl on Friday night football or the odd scrap at the pub - there's always head hunting swings with fists. No death blows to the heart or broken limbs by fighters who know that it's just plain dumb to punch a guy in the head because you'll end up wth teeth in your knuckles and maybe hepatitis and your girlfriend will not be impressed even though you thought you would have by being alpha male and opening up a can of whoop ass.



Which leads me to my next rant... I like to open up a can of whoop ass, and it's a good thing. It's martial spirit.



I'm not saying hurting people relentlessly. Life does that to you enough as it is. What martial spirit is for is to prepare and train you for those encounters in life that need not necessarily be a sword wielding bandit on the silk road. A little bit of pain is ok, and is good. No pain no gain. As long as no permanent damage is done. You get accustomed to taking a bit of pain so you can deal with it with a clear head. So when you're pumping out that wushu routine with everything you have and your heart and lungs are going to explode, you keep fighting to finish it as perfectly and with as much spirit and intent as possible to do the best you can until the very end. When laoshi makes you do those agonising yielding and deflection exercises that burn the hell out of your legs you keep doing them because you'll get better. Eating bitter. Kung fu.



Yeah I know, we've probably heard that all before.



But ultimately I'd like to defend some of us "meat heads" who like to be a little agressive. If it's controlled well, and under the premise that this is to make me a better person - not the ultimate fighter - then it is an equally valid tool for fostering martial spirit.



Perhaps I need to mention also something quite fundamental. Young boys need to rough it abit. Modern society without tooth decay and with frozen meat at the swipe of a credit card is nice, but it's a little sterile and we need challenges. We need battles to fight, and to prepare for them. And basically also to get that agression out of our system in a controlled way to maximise a positive result and not at football brawls or in road rage etc. Some guys need this more than others.



There's even an Anglican priest here in Australia father Dave http://fatherdave.org/ who uses boxing as a way to help with troubled men. They get out their agression positively, and they get out of the "system" of drugs and crap that is bad news for a sports performance body. It's agressive, but it works. More than yoga can I can imagine.



So that's me. I like fights. I like fighting. I like athletes in silk outfits twirling a flippy jian. I've even tried doing some flippy jian routines with one of those heavy wooden sparring jian.



So we don't need to literally use our fists or swords to stay alive. I reckon though the training we use for it is invaluable. Even UFC type training. God bless those brutes. :)

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To add..

Post by yowie_steve » Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:42 am

I'd like to tell of my "encounter" at a shopping centre carpark in Dubbo a fortnight ago. I was opening the car door when a man charged at me. I only caught him in the periphery of my vision.



How did I respond with my 15 years of martial arts training?



I shut the car door as quickly as possible knowing the windows were still up and dived for the lock button.



Yeah I know, it wasn't Jet Li kick ass. But I didn't feel "dishonoured" in any way by my reaction. The bloke who charged me was a friend of mine who happened to see me and decided to have a bit of fun and give me a little scare. If I reacted with a swift sidekick to the groin, a knee to the nose, and then come behind him and choke him to SUBMISSION - put an armbar in there for good measure - before even assessing the situation it would've been pretty embarrassing and the consequences of our friendship and people's trust in me would've been dire.



I was surprised and glad actually at how quickly and calmly I responded to that situation with the information my brain gave to me in that split second before I recognised who it was.



After assessing the situtation, I then opened the car door and resumed to calmly beat the crap out of him.



Kidding.

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Post by J HepworthYoung » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:26 am

I know a man who has beat people into brain damaged states for looking at him wrong. He is trained in several martial art tactics and is an accomplished boxer, he uses his training to hurt people. He represents one extreme and I don't think what he believes or does is cool. His attitude is that people should learn to defend themselves because if they cross his path on a bad day he will hurt them to the point they could never ID him.



Some people are just to eager to fight in my opinion, I am not talking about self defense. As a kid I fought hundreds of times, as an adult I have never had a need to fight, though I have spent some time working on a heavy bag and practicing tactics, even sparring a little.



As far as swords go I used to fight with sticks with my brother all of the time, and later in highschool with friends. It was not very martial or traditional and getting hit on the hands and fingers happened a lot. I skateboard too and believe me, that can hurt and to make progress you have to push your limits. I think your post and points are great Steve, but I guess I have a different perspective.



I guess I think there comes a time to fight, and there comes a time to walk away and one should train to know the differences, I don't believe many would disagree with me on that.



What is the origin of the word martial in Chinese? I had heard it meant something about ending violence. Am I mistaken?

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napolean syndrome

Post by yowie_steve » Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:10 pm

I understand how people like that can really badly represent martial artists.



In most cases I suppose those martial thugists suffer from serious self esteem problems and need to beat people senseless to make themselves feel powerful and superior. They also haven't fought enough really tough people who can beat them. Being beaten in fights - and importantly in sparring - is an important path to being a great martial artist.



The more seriously good fighters you encounter on your journey in the martial arts, the more humbling it becomes as you realise you can never really tell who can kick your ass because anyone can. Even for a person who hasn't done any training. The more your practise you realise there are so many factors, including luck, play a part in the turnout.



I think even stick sparring with your brother as a kid was an important part of your development into manhood. It can be considered "agressive" and pointless since we don't need to use swords this day and age, but it played a part in shaping you into who you are today and the martial artist you are now.



Luckily it's the quiet ones you have to watch out for. The guy who knows he is really really good and doesn't have to prove it in front of his buddies because he's proven it many times before. He knows how much damage he can do and is dignified and trained well enough to use the appropriate response to a situation. To either use his martial skill to calmly push a trouble maker out the door, or to annihilate someone wanting to kill his family. Not just using his primitive club swinging neanderthal kickboxing thuggery to pound anyone, anywhere, anytime, even the old granny walking down the road who looked at him funny.



As for wu (martial), I'm pretty sure you're correct. From memory the character shows a spear being stopped, maybe blocked by a shield. My take on it of course is that ancient warfare involved spears that needed to be stopped, because if they weren't that would be obliteration, not warfare.

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Post by J HepworthYoung » Sun Aug 20, 2006 10:24 pm

I am happy to have nothing to do with needlessly brutal people.



Honestly I would love to see Taijiquan well represented as an efficient and effective martial art in society. I don't know if MMA format is ideal for this, I tend to think it isn't.

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Post by DavidM » Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:10 pm

Thany's another thing that I find interesting.

I wonder where the term 'martial art' in the west comes from.

When did this sort of thing attrack the title, and was it a direct tramslation from a term somewhere else ?



I don't imagine I'll find out soon, but I wonder...

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Re: Michuan and Chen Style

Post by vincenzo » Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:46 am

Colin wrote:Is Michuan the Yang family counterpart of the Chen's Cannon Fist?



If this question is absurd, it's because I've never seen the Michuan fist performed.


no, there's Pao Chui is in Yang Bao Hou's lineage but not in Yang Jiao Hou's.

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Post by KidPeng » Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:34 pm

one important thing to keep in mind on this subject is that while it's easy to just talk about the UFC because it's getting so famous, it is one tournament of many in the mma/nhb world. for instance, the Pride Fighting Championship held in Japan (just as easy to order on PPV as the UFC) generally has better quality fighters these days. the stand-up game of UFC fighters lately has been particularly sloppy, so it's definitely worthwhile to keep in mind that there is a whole world of mma/nhb fighting out there. UFC striking is often wild and sloppy, but there are many nhb fighters out there with great striking abilities. the UFC has been letting some seriously questionable fighters into the octogon recently.

fwiw, i agree with some things that have been said about the format, but i don't really see what makes it a less than ideal opportunity to showcase the effectiveness of any martial art, taijiquan or otherwise. so what if some of the fighters are pumped-up knuckleheads? do you think there were ignorant knuckleheads in the 1929 Nanjing tournament? the japanese samurai?

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Post by J HepworthYoung » Tue Aug 22, 2006 3:05 pm

Knuckeheads/meatheads aren't the best representatives of arts that are more than external, so so I believe. Of course all arts and diciplines are bound to have some meatheads who practice them, and they may even be quite good, but does it show mastery or the effectiveness of the art involved? I think that it may not.



I think that one of the drawbacks of those types of forums are the rules, many have rules such as no throat or eye shots, no finger holds etc. And yet those are very effective martial techniques. The martial idea being to end the fight or violence as quickly as possible, not to exchange blows or fight for any duration. I believe those forums are great for fighting arts, but not martial arts, given my interpretations.

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Post by KidPeng » Tue Aug 22, 2006 5:26 pm

about the meatheads--What I meant was that who cares if there are meatheads competing in the UFC? There were probably meatheads competing in the '29 Nanjing tournament, and Zhang Qinlin didn't refrain from entering because it was beneath him or anything like that. He just beat them all up.



I'm also a little skeptical of what you say about the rules. On the one hand, I completely understand what you say. Yes, it's sport, not life or death battle. Yes, a few options that could be very effective in a life or death battle are prohibited. But, still, who cares? Does it matter? I'd say no. While eye-pokes and the like could be used very effectively, to say that not being able to use them negatively impacts your art is basically to say that you're not that great of a fighter. No great fighter relies primarily on so-called "dirty" tactics like eye-gouging, headbutting, throat-crushing, etc. At bottom, what counts is your basic fighting skills; good luck ripping someone's eye out when they shoot in unless you're skilled enough to get control of their head. While you visualize when you're going to gouge an eye because you can't actually practice it, the other guy is going to be practicing how to demolish you according the rules over and over again.



I guess what I'm saying is that the restrictions in the UFC and other events really don't prevent people from testing their fighting skills in a relatively realistic way. Obviously it's not life or death, but no one's ever claimed otherwise. If it's only a true martial art if you include fatal techniques, then I think you go down a slippery path. Think of all the fights of past martial artists that you've heard about. Sure, some had killed people, but the vast majority really didn't go around eye-gouging people.

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Post by J HepworthYoung » Wed Aug 23, 2006 12:03 am

KidPeng wrote:
I'm also a little skeptical of what you say about the rules. On the one hand, I completely understand what you say. Yes, it's sport, not life or death battle. Yes, a few options that could be very effective in a life or death battle are prohibited. But, still, who cares? Does it matter? I'd say no. While eye-pokes and the like could be used very effectively, to say that not being able to use them negatively impacts your art is basically to say that you're not that great of a fighter. No great fighter relies primarily on so-called "dirty" tactics like eye-gouging, headbutting, throat-crushing, etc.



I guess what I'm saying is that the restrictions in the UFC and other events really don't prevent people from testing their fighting skills in a relatively realistic way.
I think you are thinking of fighting arts, not martial arts, there is large differenceto me. Consider the eastern word for martial and its meaning and origin. It does mean to stop a weapon.



Martial arts isn't about fighting, fighting is part of it, but only a facet. I don't see any type of blow being dirty in true combat, however in a fair fight some blows are dirty. One of the best ways of disabling an opponent is to blind them, temporarily at best, don't rely on it but don't hesitate to use it given an opening in real combat. Nobody should rely on one or two types of blows, however in martial practice dirty tricks don't exist or matter, survival and ending the fight matter. Size and the number of punches that one can take or give don't define a martial artist or a great fighter in my opinion. One can also be a great fighter and not a martial artist. Consider this: what makes a master?



The rules are not designed to eliminate dirty tricks so much as allow a blood sport event where blows are exchanged. People don't want to see martial arts, they want to see two guys on steroids pound the living crap out of eachother. If one guy went for the other and just got jabbed in the throat ending the fight, people would want their money back, the same goes with finger holds and eye attacks. It need not be an eye gouge, if someone slapped someone else in the eyes blinding them and then went for a disabling blow, the audience would be pissed, but it is effective martial technique.



Martial arts are not bloodsports or fighting arts, they are not for showing off dance like moves on a padded mat either. I don't consider UFC type fighters martial artists, I consider them fighters and also consider them to be in many cases lacking martial spirit itself.



Consider dog fighting, is that a martial arts forum for dogs? If not then why is the human version of it a martial arts forum?



This isn't about allowing eye shots or such, I would still think that MMA/UFC type forums are not martial arts forums, despite the fact that in the fights people may use martial techniques. I still think it is just a bloodsport like dog fighting where the bigger dog or the one that bites down and doesn't let go first, wins. When dogfighting is a martial art and seasoned pitbulls are masters of it, then I'll believe that MMA formats are martial.



Also if you are on the street and are being attacked, why fight fair?



I am using an eastern definition of martial, the western ones seems to come from the God of war, Mars himself. Then again according to the western defintion, pro-wrestling is a martial art.

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Post by Roland Tepp » Wed Aug 23, 2006 3:19 am

It seems the conversation has shifted from "Would participation of taiji practicioner in UFC type tournament help promote taiji as martial art" to more of a "Is UFC good or bad for martial arts" and discussion on Meatheads versus High Martial Arts Masters.



To bring the conversation back in tracks I'd like to point out that I don't find any taiji practicioner participating in MMA style matches to be violating any written or unwritten rules or ethics of taiji.



It is all about what you train for. If You want to learn taiji for its martial ability, You ceartainly need to test what you've learned to the best of your ability. If You can afford and feel confident enough - for god's sake do take part of these matches. Learn from those. Put the experience back into your everyday practice. Learn some more, fight some more.



On the other hand - using UFC or any other MMA championship to promote taiji as martial system, sounds to me too much like a marketing stunt, if you pardon me my french. The only people this proves anything to are just the kind of people who will most likely never get taiji anyway. The kind of people who measure martial ability of an art solely by its success in UFC will most likely have no patience to learn softness, listening skills, yieling an following - absolute prerequisites for freehands practice.



Or as Laoshi has repeatedly told us in seminars - Punching and kicking is easy - these do not require any special skill to master. You can learn punching a bag in half an hour - that does not make a taiji master out of you. (my free quotation of his words)



Someone (I think it was tjqinterest) mentioned that we should question our teachers weather or not they teach the real thing (yeah - I know, I mellowed it down a bit). I think that everyone who is really serious about the martial arts (either for self defence or for health), has already made an evaluation of their teacher based on their own experience and according their own expectancies. And I am shure there is no need for a teacher to necessarily "prove himself" in a MMA match.
Last edited by Roland Tepp on Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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