Monday, March 25, 2013

Secret Techniques and Hidden Applications

Since I began posting training compilations and forms videos on my YouTube page a few years ago I have received requests on a regular basis for information in regards to the application of the martial arts techniques presented in the videos. I don’t have a problem sharing information; I’ve actually begun an informational series on my YouTube page to fulfill these requests seen below.

I personally like to share ideas on fighting strategies and concepts we employ for the benefit of the kung fu community as a whole. However, amongst the typical requests for deeper insight into what I am displaying on video often the person making the request seems to believe that once they are armed with the “secret” knowledge of these applications they will have the ability to employ the use of these techniques themselves.

Martial Arts Applications

When many people discuss martial arts applications they often are referring to what many schools would call “step sparring” of “self defense drills” in which they are attacked and the person performing the application would respond with a series of movements while the attacker remains frozen like a statue. Many times these sequences are heavily dependent on specific reactions from the attacker, for example the attacker throws a punch the defender parries the punch and knees the attacker in the midsection then while the attacker bend over the hold his aching midsection the defender follows with an elbow to the back of the head.  Often these types of combinations run into very long sequences of movements in which if the attacker were to resist in any way the defender would not be able to continue this series of application. For some reason, even though it’s generally acknowledged to not work well, this method of training martial arts applications has persisted in many schools and it is this method people often think of when they talk about martial arts application.
In Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu, there are a few concepts that when combined for the entire system. Once the core concepts are understood everything else in the system is built from them and found in them. If a Choy Lay fut practitioner truly understands these core concepts then no application in any Choy lay fut form is “hidden” to them. The fundamental make up of the Choy Lay Fut system as I teach it is based around the following ideas, the ten elements, the 5 kicks, asterisk footwork (invasive/evasive stepping) and the gate theory.
The method of training techniques we use at HSMA is based in the experiences I have had not only in real life self defense encounters but also the experiences I have had in my time as a combat sport competitor and as my time as a trainer. It has been my experience that the more concise a combination or application of a technique is the higher the chance of success will be. This being the case all of the techniques and combinations we practice are usually limited to the smallest possible number.  What is important is to keep the movements simple and develop the intangible qualities needed to perform the techniques under duress. In a past blog entry I detailed our progressive resistance method of training Choy Lay Fut techniques.  The reason the progressive method works well is because it provides a way for the practitioner to develop several qualities needed to in order to make a static technique application work. Three basic qualities that are needed are speed, power and precision. Most of a Choy Lay Fut practitioner’s solo training is geared towards developing these three qualities as seen in the video below.
There are other qualities that can only be developed properly through partner practice such as timing, distancing, positioning and set up.  All of these qualities are needed in order to a martial arts application functional. Without these qualities it wouldn’t matter if I made detailed video on the application of every single movement in the Choy Lay Fut system, the individual that doesn’t possess these qualities would never be able to make the applications work. The only real “secret” in the martial arts is that your success lies in your own willingness to train hard and persevere. It is only through the experience of countless hours of training, that the application of any martial technique will be possible.
With the rise of social networking sites and video sharing like YouTube, the once “hidden” techniques of the martial arts are being exposed. You can search any martial art on YouTube and find not just video demonstrations but instructional videos as well. With the information being shared freely by this generation the important question is not how to obtain the information but rather what to do with it once you acquire it.
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.”- Bruce Lee


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