A thinking, tailored and radical approach to mastering Tai Chi.
In SKD we learn different drills to teach different ideas.
The drawback of learning drills is that you need to understand what the drills are for and how they relate to each other to form the bigger picture.
In CMA we like to use analogy to teach an idea.
For the learning of the pole we sometimes use the idea of an opened fan to teach how we can move the pole.
Another entering strategy that we learn in SKD is what Master Cheong called Beggar Asking for Rice.
This is basically a movement that acts as a feeler and bait to get your training partner to give you something to work with.
No training partner will willingly open up his guard to allow you to hit him.
So how do we get him to open up?
The study of this movement drill is to learn how to get the training partner to open up to us. You can say that it is a method to seek the bridge.
At one time I did not like wide, circular strikes. When I learned Wing Chun they used to tell us that circular strikes are slow.
However, if this is true why is it that many styles use circular strikes?
Once I took a closer look then I discover that a circular strike can move just as fast as a linear strike. It is a matter of how you apply it.
You do need to train to do wide movement first to get the power before you minimize the outer movements so that you can move more efficiently.
A simple way to acquire power is to use gravity.
A vertical strike can teach us how to use the waist, legs and shoulder to generate power.
In this video I explained and showed that the vertical power is not just downward but can also be upward.
6-Blocks is meant to be easy to learn, easy to remember and easy to pickup.
In this video I explained two simple ways we can study 6-Blocks.
I call the first sequence of bridge control 6-Blocks because it is easy to say and also because it has 6 core sequential movements.
In this video I offer a quick explanation of why we learn 6-blocks and how to use it.
Having a relaxed wrist is essential if you are going to use contact as part of your strategy.
In SKD we learn a simple 4-movement exercise to train the wrist to be relaxed.
It takes but 1-2 weeks of daily training to get it. Once you acquire the knack of relaxing you will find that your hand can stick to your training partner’s bridge like a post-it-note.
What has building construction, physics, mechanical engineering, diving, biomechanics of animal movements and the use of the long pole got to do with each other?
Probably nothing at quick thought. Or probably a lot more than appears at first glance.
Learning from inter disciplines from science and art is not really new but no one has really formalized this type of learning as a method of learning how to master a discipline from apprentice to journeyman to master until Roger Kneebone.
And yes, you can learn a lot about how to use a long pole from other disciplines. You just have to open up your mind, read and let the possibilities come to you. Then you can see the common threads between the disciplines.
For example, what has the use of the Chinese rope dart got to do with the Angle 1 strike in iKali. Probably nothing. But then in looking for a way to hit faster and harder while using less effort I thought of the rope dart not at first but as I was executing the Angle 1 strike faster and faster the thought of the resemblance of what I was doing to how the dart is unleashed in the rope dart kept coming to mind.
I think the connection is probably spurious or maybe its the way I was doing it that threw up the idea (disclaimer – I have never learned the rope dart though I have looked at it at one time). I wasn’t just looking at the resemblance but at the principles of how to move a stick from zero velocity to maximum speed in the shortest time possible which calls for a way to maximize acceleration.
This in turn calls for a way to trigger the starting movement from inertia which as Newton’s first law tells us that an object at rest tends to stay at rest until we move it. We also have to examine how to project power to the tip of the stick whether through acceleration, momentum or an optimal mix of both whilst ensuring that the strength of materials (or limbs) are able to take the forces acting on them or suffer injury.
Looking at how to swing a bat in baseball is also very enlightening as shown below :-
Since I am but an apprentice in Kali I am probably mistaken but this is how building a database of information over the years can throw up surprising connections along the way.
Finally, how does an FMA expert do an Angle 1 strike? Instead of looking for a clip of my teacher doing it let’s take a look at another expert. Interesting, no? Hint – watch how the body moves in rope dart, baseball and the art of pakamut.