YangTaijiquan on heavy bag

YangTaijiquan on heavy bag

Postby mls_72 » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:06 am

Been playing around with some techniques at the boxing school

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag-HqMYHo_g&feature=player_embedded
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Postby Audi » Mon Aug 03, 2009 1:02 am

Are you specifically trying to adapt Taijiquan to mixed martial arts, or do you have another purpose? I can appreciate experimentation, but am wondering about the purpose and theory behind this training method.
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Postby mls_72 » Mon Aug 03, 2009 4:54 pm

" Are you specifically trying to adapt Taijiquan to mixed martial arts, or do you have another purpose? I can appreciate experimentation, but am wondering about the purpose and theory behind this training method."

Yes I am working with a purpose to adapt and understand the striking (fist, elbow, shoulder, knee, and foot techniques) and throws that are present in the solo form for combat. They are undeniably there.

The intention is to understand mechanics and principles on a heavy bag before live San Shou.
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Postby shugdenla » Mon Aug 03, 2009 5:07 pm

If going to MMA or experimenting, a shuaijiao curriculum is better suited to the work you are doing!
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Postby mls_72 » Tue Aug 04, 2009 9:52 pm

"If going to MMA or experimenting, a shuaijiao curriculum is better suited to the work you are doing! "

In MMA, the opponents first start in standing and employ long range/striking range techniques before shorter grappling/close range combat. When i am hitting the bag and/or sparring i am practicing using fist and foot techniques aka striking range. In my gameplan, i want to pepper the guy with strikes and kicks and go for a KO, and avoid a take down if all possible. If I get into clinch range , here i where i can use Tui Shou and begin to use the Shuai Jiao throwing and wrestling.

If you are not aware, Yang Taijiquan has many sweeps, take-downs, and throws encoded within its solo form. In the video, I show a few, but I show more of the striking and kicking.

It was well documented that Yang Taijiquan became famous when Yang Lu Chan used his skills on the Lei Tai platform. In one story that Fu Zhong Wen told me, Yang was on the Lei Tai and used "seperate leg" and fajin kicked the guy in the tan tien, quickly ending the fight. This is proof of Yang Taijiquan's striking techniques often forgotten by today's experts.

Not only does Yang Taijiquan have striking, kicking, and shaui jiao techniques for combat, it also has a vast array of chi-na- or 'seizing and grappling' techniques that can be employed. Yang Jun has practiced these techniques on me before at a seminar in Virginia when showing the applications of the form.
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Postby shugdenla » Wed Aug 05, 2009 4:48 pm

This is true but face to face within a shuiajiao (also judo,jiujitsu) training curriculum strengthens the body and provides the necessary conditioning since modern sedentary society lacks the activity
to train the body.
Yang Luchan's days and environment (and still Chenjiagou) was an agricultural one so physical labour was a standard hence stronger physical based on the individual occupation (be it carpenter, bricklayer, etc). Just an observation only!
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Postby mls_72 » Wed Aug 05, 2009 7:22 pm

I'm not worried about physical training. We do plenty of that at our school. I work on the soft training like taijiquan afterward.

Samples:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU8Q5VFHXHY

medicine ball:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_5lbJE7geE

kettle bells:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pG3oqVbqcY



[This message has been edited by mls_72 (edited August 05, 2009).]
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Postby Audi » Fri Aug 07, 2009 1:03 am

I recently came from the Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee, where I saw all sorts of approaches to different aspects of Taijiquan, both traditional and modern, and so am quite curious about approaches I haven't been exposed to before.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">In my gameplan, i want to pepper the guy with strikes and kicks and go for a KO, and avoid a take down if all possible. If I get into clinch range , here i where i can use Tui Shou and begin to use the Shuai Jiao throwing and wrestling.</font>

This strategy sounds completely reasonable to m; but according to what I have been taught, Tui Shou principles are always applicable. If you are in contact with the opponent, all of the techniques come into play. If you are not in contact, you maintain contact with your mind and move as if you were in contact. The only difference is that in normal Tui Shou there are many techniques that are not allowed; whereas in MMA a much greater range is allowed.

By the way, in MMA would it be permissible to do "Pluck" (i.e., Cai/Ts'ai) on your opponent's wrist, or would this be considered illegally grabbing the glove?

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Not only does Yang Taijiquan have striking, kicking, and shaui jiao techniques for combat, it also has a vast array of chi-na- or 'seizing and grappling' techniques that can be employed.</font>

I agree with this, but would add that there are other techniques that perhaps do not fall easily into these categories.

When I think of our iconic applications for Grasp Sparrows tail, I would not consider any of them primarily strikes, throws, or grappling. I would also not discount many of the techniques practiced in Push Hands, which, although they may not be strikes or throws, may be as effective or even more effective than most strikes. I am not sure how effective such techniques would be under the constraints of MMA, but I find many of them quite as intimidating as being hit by a strike. I am also not sure how beneficial it would be to practice such techniques with a heavy bag, but I would think that some of them would work well.

I have occasionally and briefly messed around with using Tai Chi techniques on heavy bags, but never really tried to do any serious training this way. As I look at the video, I see some interesting things, but certain questions also come to mind.

I have a friend who I think of as quite knowledgeable about various aspects of traditional Chinese martial arts. He once talked about a philosophy of never "entering" and "leaving" a technique by the same route. I have also noted many places in our form where on the surface we seem to repeat a linear movement, but are urged to make subtle changes to avoid a complete stop and start. Because of this principle, I have some doubts that our particular training method and philosophy would encourage throwing repetitive punches or kicks that do not allow for a continuous circular component between repetitions.

I also have some question whether a strike repeatedly thrown at a bag is really a complete Tai Chi technique or merely half (or even less than half) of a technique. What I have been taught is that in order to go forward, I must first go backward. To through a forward punch, I would first have to begin with a circle toward the rear. Merely starting from a chambered position would be insufficient.

If I ask myself whether it would be beneficial to practice half a technique in the system I understand? I guess my answer would be: yes; however, I do have my doubts about whether there might be "side effects" on other skills. Practicing things in pieces can sometimes help to better understand the whole, but might also impede understanding of the whole where the whole is really more than the sum of the parts. An example might be the chop in Chop with Fist. Could it be that a critical aspect of that technique is the pushing palm that precedes the closing of the fist?

There is a nice wide variety of techniques shown in the video. It's also clear that the guy training is game to try anything, even if it doesn't seem that it would work well with a heavy bag, but I wonder if even a few more techniques might be possible.

First, in Fist Under Elbow of our form, we show a punch that comes curving in from right to left along with only a slight forward weight shift. It is not like the much straighter punch shown in the video. I would guess that a curving punch would be a nice addition to so many other straight punches, especially in very close quarters.

In Separate Foot, we also show a style of kick that is useful where there is insufficient space to do a thrust kick. This involves contacting with the top of the foot, similar to what is done with a crescent kick, but not trying to kick so high or with so much of a swing. This kind of kick can be aimed at the outside of the legs or the ribs.

One of the main exercises I know for practicing Fajin is Diagonal Flying. Why not try this in preference to using the shoulder stroke of Parting Wild Horses Mane, which I, at least, find hard to use as a strike?

After Snake Creeps Down and before Golder Rooster, a shoulder stroke with the right shoulder can be very effective, assuming that doing the initial Pluck is feasible.

During the video, in Step up to Seven Stars, the punch seems to be thrown while dropping the right shoulder and twisting the eye of the fist to the right. Why not also try keeping the shoulders level and keeping the eye of the fist facing the mouth. This method draws less energy from "twisting" the waist and more from shifting the weight. Could the size of the glove be an issue?

Also, I once had someone point out to me that the left hand punch in Bend the Bow to Shoot the Tiger is also rather unique in the form, because the full circle is quite small. This is certainly useful a punch if set up with a Pluck or with Pushing Energy, but might also be useful if retreating offline from a forward attack.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby DPasek » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:17 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by mls_72:
In my gameplan, i want to pepper the guy with strikes and kicks and go for a KO, and avoid a take down if all possible. If I get into clinch range , here i where i can use Tui Shou and begin to use the Shuai Jiao throwing and wrestling.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

mls_72,

Although you may use Taijiquan principles in generating the power for your strikes and kicks, it seems like you are abandoning many of the remaining fighting principles of Taijiquan. I view the majority of Taijiquan fighting skills, especially those developed through push-hands training, to be focused on a middle range between the typical striking range and clinching/grappling distance.

In both MMA and Chinese Lei Tai competition fighting, it is fairly common to see competitors using primarily striking and grappling/throwing (transitioning to ground fighting in MMA), and there are many styles of fighting around the world that emphasize one or the other of these skills. But Taijiquan focuses on a middle range not typically emphasized in other systems, and rarely seen in MMA or Lei Tai fights. This middle range is what Taijiquan push-hands trains. While striking and grappling are important aspects of fighting, and should not be ignored by Taijiquan practitioners, the emphasis is initially focused on developing skills in the middle range.

To land a strike, an opponent would need to cross through this middle range. Similarly, grappling would need to get inside this middle range to be effectively employed. From this middle range, with proper body dynamics, both effective strikes and throws can be achieved by skilled Taijiquan practitioners.

Taijiquan principles, including ‘stick-adhere-connect-follow’ and ‘don’t resist and don’t let go,’ address fighting in this middle range and keeping the fight in this middle range. Once an attacker tries to strike, it is to our advantage to trap them in this middle range and not allow them to move away (disengage) after the strike attempt, nor to close within grappling range. Ideally they should feel uncomfortable either grappling or striking if we successfully control them through our contact in this middle range.

Fighters typically defend when in striking range by moving out of range, blocking, covering, slipping the attack, and/or closing the range in order to grapple. In MMA fights one typically sees a progression from strikes to shooting and takedowns which end in ground fighting. In contrast, Taijquan tends to stay in middle range rather than retreating out of range of a strike, and to follow an opponent who attempts to get away. When an opponent attempts to strike, Taijiquan push-hands teaches how to control the energy of the opponent such that they feel that they cannot land their strike, yet when they try to disengage, they feel that they cannot escape.

Your terminology of “I want to pepper the guy with strikes and kicks” leads me to suspect that you will not be trying to stick and ‘strike from contact’ but rather to disengage after each strike. When he makes contact with you in order to attempt to block a strike, what do you plan to do? I would suggest that Taijiquan would attempt to maintain that contact in the middle range in order to control the opponent and to continue attacking from contact. How do you plan on responding to the opponent’s strikes? Again, I would argue that Taijiquan would attempt to achieve control through maintained contact rather than blocking and disengaging, which would allow the opponent to reset at a comfortable striking range (or move into grappling range if desired).

What characteristics of your ‘gameplan’ demonstrate Taijiquan skills? What do you consider to be characteristics of Taijiquan fighting?

DP
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Postby mls_72 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:57 pm

Audi and Dpasek, thanks for your replies.

In all actuality, as you know, the heavy bag training is NOT in the Yang Cirriculum. However it is something not unique to Chinese martial arts (CMA) either. It has been used in CMA like Shaolin, Yiquan and other arts as for what it is best for- conditioning.

What characteristics of your ‘gameplan’ demonstrate Taijiquan skills?

Taijiquan helps me alot in the clinch range where opponents tie-up (the middle range someone said)and work the main object of push hands in general: to control the movements of your opponent. Clinch, avoid a bad position and take down opponent when opportunity presents itself via jie jin, or borrowing force. This kind of energy cannot be practiced with a bag, because the bag gives you no force to work with; it is passive. Borrowing force or softness is quite useful within a grappling/throwing situation (although it may not be the throw or submission itself) and no other MA seems to focus on this aspect of training as much as Taijiquan.

What do you consider to be characteristics of Taijiquan fighting?

taiji's concept of fighting is directly related to its way of responding to an opponent. Since a bag is unresponsive I don't really see it as much benefit to Taijiquan as I understand it. Its a great way to work on striking and conditioning, but that's about it. The real lessons are in the two person training.

All of the techniques I demonstrated are not strikes by themselves, but are also supposed to blend with the movement of the attacker.
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:31 am

I think the bag is useful for getting your structure right for landing punches and kicks (ie if your structure is wrong, the bag stays there and you push yourself backward, etc) and possibly for fajin exercises. As has been said, it is not much use for what we generally think of as core taiji, which depends on what the opponent does.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited August 09, 2009).]
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Postby mls_72 » Thu Aug 13, 2009 3:24 pm

thought is was cool how my instructor Jeff was teaching Muay thai and boxing and without knowing was teaching some of the Tai chi classics:

Had a good sparring class last night where the instructor said- “Fighting is dictated by universal principles”…we went over two principles that scream 2 taijiquan classic principles.

the first was based on the taiji classic “if my opponent attacks, I arrive before he does” or Taiji classic: It is said if the opponent does not move, then I do not move.
At the opponent’s slightest move, I move first.”
in this demonstration the instructor had a guy throw a strike or kick and he return what he termed a ‘reaction strike’ in which he hit the guy before the guy hit him using a short punch or kick.

The second was called ’set point’. Set point in fighting is attacking before a guy is able to set in (or root) where he has a powerful strike based on connecting to the ground. for instance if a guy is throwing a punch he has to step and root to have the link from “foot, leg, hip/waist/spine- arm” so hitting or pushing the guy before he makes his set point is the drill.

This is a favorite with one of my sensing/push hands instructors when keeping a guy off balanced or away from a ’set point’ so that he can not have an effective push or strike.

Taiji Classic:

The chin [intrinsic strength] should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
manifested through the fingers.
If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:13 pm

Hi Matt,

Re: the first was based on the taiji classic “if my opponent attacks, I arrive before he does” or Taiji classic: It is said if the opponent does not move, then I do not move. At the opponent’s slightest move, I move first.”
in this demonstration the instructor had a guy throw a strike or kick and he return what he termed a ‘reaction strike’ in which he hit the guy before the guy hit him using a short punch or kick.

My first sifu Gate Chan had a unique way of talking about this: “I hit you already.”

Re: The second was called ’set point’. Set point in fighting is attacking before a guy is able to set in (or root) where he has a powerful strike based on connecting to the ground. for instance if a guy is throwing a punch he has to step and root to have the link from “foot, leg, hip/waist/spine- arm” so hitting or pushing the guy before he makes his set point is the drill.

Perhaps in taiji this is in fact the prerequisite for issuing against the opponent. It is when the opponent’s root is severed that one’s issuing will be most effective, and nearly effortless.

The severing of the opponent’s root has been called tifang (lift/release). Gu Liuxin discussed it in his book on the art of taijiquan:

If fajin can be concentrated and fiercely penetrating, composed and swift, it will then cut through keenly. The movement penetrates briefly, the intention penetrates far, and the jin penetrates long. If the jin force is focused and concentrated in one direction, then the strength penetrates; if swift as electricity, then you can take advantage of the situation, and not risk losing the opportunity of the moment. When you want to release it, just release it—don’t commit the error of hesitation—in this way, the opponent will not easily be able to change and adapt. When well composed (chenzhuo), then you will be able to control the opponent’s strength, causing him to feel constrained. Short movement means as soon as you touch, you issue [yichu jifa—the compound chufa means “to touch off,” as a trigger], then the opponent will be too late to neutralize, and will tumble away. When the intent is far and the jin is long, then one can send your opponent rather far.

Those whose gongfu is pure are extremely minute in their movements, can lead [the opponent] extremely long, and send him out very suddenly. With an inhale you can lift up the opponent’s root, engage his reaction force, and move his center of gravity. With an exhale you can sink deeply, and send the opponent out cleanly.

Modern taijiquan master-hands such as Yang Chengfu (1883-1936) and Chen Fake (1887-1957), and others, were light, soft, and rounded in their transformations. With barely an exchange of force they could cause an opponent to lose his equilibrium, and experience a sensation of being weightless or airborn (lingkong shizhong). When they did fajin, because the velocity was swift, the placement was accurate (luodian zhun), and the neijin sufficient, they would issue jin suddenly at the sticky points (nianzhuo dian), and before the opponent even sensed what was happening, or have a way to move or neutralize, he would already be sent soaring away. This is to achieve the pinnacle of storing/issuing technique.
—Gu Liuxin, Taijiquan shu, pp. 305-306, Hong Kong ed., 1985, my translation

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited August 13, 2009).]
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Postby DPasek » Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:34 pm

Matt,

Back in the late 1980s I had the opportunity to visit the home of Tuey Staples in Saint Louis, Missouri (USA). He had a large fiberglass ball made for him that was suspended from his basement support beams on a swivel with a pulley system where he could vary the ball’s suspended height. The hollow ball also had a plug so that he could vary its weight by adding sand (or water, etc.) inside. He used this ball for training Taijiquan combat. I do not remember how much it weighed, but it was heavy enough to easily push you off balance when moving if you did not have good rooting ability.

If you have the resources to have something like this made for you, I thought, in my brief exposure to it, that it was a worthwhile training tool. You would need gloves to strike it unless you could design a large ball shaped heavy bag to use. The idea would be to advance on the ball to displace it from the vertical hanging position such that its weight would push against you from the momentum of its swinging motion. Using your arms, torso (or even legs if desired) to divert the force from the ball while moving yourself and striking the ball, you could train striking from contact while maintaining your rooting. This would be much more ‘interactive’ than simply striking a cylindrical heavy bag. It would also ensure that you lessen any vulnerability to takedowns since you are training to maintain your rooting while moving and striking and while simultaneously having force applied to you. It should also help ensure that you properly maintain the generation of force (jin produced from your feet, directed by the waist…) since, if you are not rooting while striking, the heavy ball will push you off balance.

Dan
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Postby Audi » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:13 am

Greetings all,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>Re: the first was based on the taiji classic “if my opponent attacks, I arrive before he does” or Taiji classic: It is said if the opponent does not move, then I do not move. At the opponent’s slightest move, I move first.”
in this demonstration the instructor had a guy throw a strike or kick and he return what he termed a ‘reaction strike’ in which he hit the guy before the guy hit him using a short punch or kick.

My first sifu Gate Chan had a unique way of talking about this: “I hit you already.”</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
I think an additional way to look at this concept is that you need to "deploy" your energy at any given moment so that if the opponent begins to issue, he will "trigger" your reaction or at least provide the key element of your next move. This is why you cannot "move" until the opponent moves. On the other hand, if the opponent makes a move, you have already deployed to take advantage and so have "moved first."

I think in reality, you do not deploy against a single contingency, but against many. You try to stay "central" and closer to the "mean" than your opponent. As you listen and then understand how the situation develops, you learn which contingency lies along the path the opponent has taken.

I think yet another meaning of this concept lies in how you are supposed to stick. You stick through mutual pressure. If the opponent does not move and gives no pressure, you cannot stick to him or control him and so must wait. Once he begins to move, you must be in a position to stick and control before his technique develops. You launch later, but arrive at control earlier.

I think there is a story in the classics or in the secondary literature about how to catch a thief. The scenario is that the household guards a treasure and is informed that a thief will try to steal it. One strategy would be to try to strengthen the doors of the house to prevent the thief from entering. Such a strategy would, however, go against what Sunzi taught in the Art of War. The more you strengthen the defenses in one place, the more you weaken them elsewhere. The more you strengthen the defenses everywhere, the more you weaken them everywhere.

The story says that strengthening the doors will only inspire the thief to devise a more clever method of entry and advises a different strategy. The Tai Chi strategy is supposed to be to let the thief enter, but to lay a trap so that he will be prevented from leaving the house and can be apprehended, thus ending the threat for ever. You let the thief act first, but even before he has acted, you have already prepared your trap and will spring it before he can succeed.
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