Research sparring- throws

Research sparring- throws

Postby mls_72 » Thu Jun 02, 2005 1:16 pm

I am curious to know how many of you with schools have thick mats to practice your taijiquan applications that involve throwing people to the ground.

One of my partners and I did some application research with mats (we practice falling first)and came up with at least a dozen major throws. brush knee, wave hands, carry tiger back to mt., snake creep down, roll back are just a few that have some major lifting up of opponet and slamming them down to the ground.

These throws are different applications than application research using Qi-na where you might be in a joint lock and the only way to neutralize the pain to lower yourself to floor.

So chinese wrestling IS encoded into taijiquan.
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Postby Polaris » Thu Jun 02, 2005 5:42 pm

Greetings. The Wu Chien-ch'uan (Wu Jianquan) style of T'ai Chi emphasises throws, footsweeps, takedowns, tumbling, groundfighting, jumps to catch attacks, etc. in addition to more conventional sparring.

Our first set of throws include (in the order they are introduced):

White Crane Spreads Wings

Repulse Monkey

Single Lotus

These (and their counters) are introduced after a student learns to fall safely. Our Asian schools make fun of us Westerners for using mats, though! Image

More advanced throws include:

Snake Creeps Down

Double Lotus

Needle at Sea Bottom

Retreat to Strike Tiger

Combination throws are then introduced at advanced level throw training, an example is:

Nine Palace Brush Knee
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Postby tai1chi » Thu Jun 02, 2005 6:16 pm

Hi mls, Polaris,

gee, I'm glad that Polaris gave that answer. I wanted to say in another thread that "applications" or "methods" are what, imo, truly distinguish "schools" or "styles", not the "shapes" of the movements. I.e., one can use a particular shape in many ways; more ways than are probably imaginable to any one person.

Anyway, some schools emphasize emphasize throwing applications; others emphasize strikes. At the same time, few shapes are restricted to any particular method or applciation. For ex., the "Low Punch" in the Yang form could also be a throw --it just depends on what one is doing with the hand and where one is in relation to the opponent. I.e., as Louis says, one's "disposition."

I personally think that looking at the Wu Jianquan from the perspective of throwing helps to understand the "lean."

regards,
Steve James
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Jun 02, 2005 8:37 pm

Greetings Matt,

This is a controversial topic, I suppose. I thoroughly agree that taijiquan includes throws, joint locks, sweeps, and so forth. The question is how aggressively one trains these techniques, and whether there is a point of diminishing returns.

When I commenced my taijiquan training in the early seventies, I already had a few years of jujitsu and karate training under my belt. This had given me a pretty good foundation in terms of overall conditioning, stability in stances, etc., and naturally I had learned a great deal about how to fall, and the importance of that. My jujitsu dojo trained on tatami mats, and we allegedly learned how to fall in a manner to avoid injury.

During the first few weeks of taijiquan training, I asked my sifu if our taijiquan training would include learning how to fall. The response I got was somewhat facetious, but rather pointed as well. My sifu said, “In taijiquan, we are learning how NOT to fall down.” So, although we learned a great deal about the martial applications of taiji, there was not a lot of emphasis on falling or ground training. From one perspective, one could say that learning how to fall is fatalistic; if you spend a lot of time doing it, you may not be very successful in avoiding it!

Another taiji master I’ve trained with, Sam Tam, had a formidable early background in Eagle Claw (ying zhua), and this has evidently fed into his considerable insights into taijiquan’s qina techniques. He likes to demonstrate, for example, the incredible range of Rollback. It can be used to simply divert an attack, to send an opponent flying past you, into a summersault, or by a slight turn of the waist, Rollback can become “roll-forward,” sending the opponent bounding back (this involves an instance of “zhou,” or elbow jin), or it can be used in a form of joint lock that Sam amusingly calls, “making someone stand in a way that humans weren’t meant to stand.” I call it duck walking, in honor of Chuck Berry. Remarkably, this is in no sense a strong-arm technique, but is done with an extremely light touch. It is not painful to the opponent unless one tries to struggle free, so you are forced to remain in an awkward crouch -- a position, by the way that can be a virtual launching pad for a soaring leap through the air.

Elsewhere on the board we have discussed sparrow-hopping, whereby you learn to sense when your equilibrium has been compromised by a push hands partner, and in response you displace the force by hopping away with your frame intact. This is a nice alternative to falling down.

Instructors and practitioners differ in the emphasis they place on taking falls in training. I will just say that I know of many jujitsu practitioners who supposedly learned to fall without injury, but who eventually developed an array of knee, hip, and back problems from the repeated impacts over the years. You can be as macho about it as you want, but as you get older you may regret your misspent youth.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Polaris » Fri Jun 03, 2005 2:56 am

Ah, but we don't fall the way Jiujitsu people fall. It is very important to learn to fall without getting the slightest bit hurt. We soften with pushing hands, ch'i kung and gradual increases of tumbling time so that (eventually) there is virtually no impact upon hitting the ground, instead, we work vectors of force so that the transition from falling to moving parallel to the ground is seamless. During the conditioning period, there is bound to be injury (especially whiplash) but the training is carefully supervised and we have treatments (tui na and liniments) for those initial injuries. It is true that relatively few people actually get into this sort of thing, at least in our Western schools. I am fortunate that I was able to start while I was still somewhat young and resilient!

My Sifu's late uncle said once that we learn to fall so that we may learn how never to need to fall. But the familiarity, thorough familiarity with all the implications of groundwork, should be there to understand the issue globally. Learning to fall has 3 signal advantages from our perspective:

1. Once you are over the fear of falling, the issue no longer has an emotional "charge" as it is no longer something to be avoided. With the confidence associated with "airborne" fighting, one is free to extend further into the forms, which as was mentioned above results in the Wu style lean.

2. The conditioning associated with soft style tumbling is profound. We can reach areas of tension in our musculature by allowing the impact wave caused by landing to pass through us. Neutralising the floor, so to speak. This is something other arts don't get into, as far as I know. Once I can neutralise the impact of my entire weight being accelerated into the floor, the simple impact of a punch or a kick becomes relatively negligible.

3. Maneuverability, especially as regards projectile weapons and multiple opponents. Rolling along the floor is a very good way to cover distance fast while presenting a small target. We train to attack from the floor, as well as to follow someone who may try to escape us by jumping and rolling.


The Wu family art is the result of generations of research into the applicability of T'ai Chi theory into every martial application that they could think of to apply those principles to. For many years, the Yang family teachers (and Sun Lu-t'ang) worked alongside the Wu family teachers as respected colleagues, with invaluable input into our current syllabus (especially Yang Lu-ch'an, Yang Pan-hou and Yang Shao-hou).

So, I'm sorry if my answer to a question here that I know something about may have offended by seeming "macho" but I am a martial art teacher. T'ai Chi as a martial art is what I know. I know other things about it, but only as a secondary result of my martial experience with my teachers. If I don't know about a question or an issue being discussed, I would never presume to answer, but what I know, I know well. And I know what I had to go through to earn that knowledge.

Again, I regret any offense I may have given and ask those offended to please forgive me. If the focus I am used to is offensive to people on this discussion board, someone please let me know, and I will withdraw.

[This message has been edited by Polaris (edited 06-02-2005).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Fri Jun 03, 2005 6:05 am

Greetings Polaris,

Perhaps I’m the one who misled, and who may have offended by making careless remarks. I was not addressing anyone in particular in my cautionary remarks about potential injuries, or in my inartful reference to machismo. Of course it is possible to learn to fall without injury, and I wholly agree with the rationales that you outline here. I know for a fact that I have benefitted from learning to roll and fall. I once fell from a faulty ladder while working on a community project. The instant I realized that I was falling, I relaxed so that I was able to make a soft landing, and I got right up and went back to work. Another time, I was involved in a minor accident in a small French car, a Citroen Deux Chevaux. I was ejected through the passenger door. My friend, the driver, was terrified that I was toast, but when he looked at what had happened, he broke into a laugh. I had curled-up, rolled, and spun across the gravel, and landed with my back against a chainlink fence, in a cross-legged seated posture with my hands folded in my lap. Not even a scratch.

I have great admiration for the kind of training you describe. I was trying to make the point that different schools of martial arts take different approaches to training martial applications, and I apologize for sounding judgmental. Perhaps, as you mention, being “young and resilient” is a key factor here. In my opinion, it is best to train in tumbling and falling skills at the earliest age possible. As I get older (my twelve year old daughter assures me that I’m old), I’m more reluctant to do some things I hardly gave a thought to when I was twenty. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be able to in a pinch, but most of the time I’m just enjoying how well I’m doing at not falling down.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Anderzander » Fri Jun 03, 2005 11:50 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
Another time, I was involved in a minor accident in a small French car, a Citroen Deux Chevaux. I was ejected through the passenger door. My friend, the driver, was terrified that I was toast, but when he looked at what had happened, he broke into a laugh. I had curled-up, rolled, and spun across the gravel, and landed with my back against a chainlink fence, in a cross-legged seated posture with my hands folded in my lap. Not even a scratch. </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

That is a fantastic story Louis :-) lol

2cv's are not a car I would want to crash in! - not much peng in them :-)
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Postby mls_72 » Fri Jun 03, 2005 10:31 pm

Being someone whose only martial art was taijiquan I understood the art as something that was to keep opponet off of us and to at least neutralize, fend off, or control our adversarywithout getting locked in a hold or thrwn to ground.. however taiji has some combat throws and its a good idea to feel and co-operate with someone in a research setting how this can be done. So I wont mind falling to ground or carpet, but on hard cement or wood floor I will have mats.

matt
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