Sam Kuen Do (三拳道)

Introduction

SKD started off as a compact training program for those who are interested to pick up the basics of striking within a shorter time frame of 12 to 24 months. SKD can be learned via private tuition or online guidance.

SKD stands for Sam Kuen Do. This is Cantonese for Way of Three Fists (三拳道). The name SKD was originally chosen because the focus was on the use of three strikes (三拳). Since then the phrase “Three Fists” have taken on a wider meaning.

SKD complements the learning of our Tai Chi Chuan by teaching students the mechanics and strategies of striking without having to learn another system. SKD can sit on top of our push hands method as a plugged-in module to enhance their Tai Chi striking ability.

However, SKD focus is not on playing hands but on quickly closing in and dispatching the opponent. If there is bridge flow past it and strike. If there is no bridge just strike, and strike, and strike.

Background

SKD started its life as BojiLite which is a simplified version of Pok Khek Kuen, a method of Tai Chi San Sau taught by Grandmaster Nip Chee Fei to Master Leong Lin Heng. The lessons learned from sharing the information on a Facebook closed group and observing the learning attempts led to BojiLite being changed to BojiLite 2.0 and later to SKD.

BojiLite started from my attempts in 2018 to teach my friend Paul a practical art that he can learn online. Before this Paul has spent the better part of a decade trying to pick up Tai Chi on his own with very little result to show for it.

As of 2018 Paul has already passed the age of 60. At this later stage in life it would be difficult for him to try to learn a complex art like Tai Chi and actually master it. It is not impossible to do so but what good would the art do him if it takes another decade to master. What would he fall back on if he actually needs to defend himself before the decade is up?

With this in mind, I created the BojiLite training program for Paul so that he stands a higher chance of acquiring practical and functional skills within a very short time period which I expected to be about 12 months.

As of the end of Aug 2018 SKD will evolve further by expanding the curriculum to include a short training sequence to acquire the benefits that can accrue from training a form but without the burden of learning a long form. SKD will also include a self-defense section to cater for ladies that is built on principles and techniques of Southern Shaolin.

Experience

The BojiLite online training program began in Feb 2018 and to date it has 5 participants. The results from this teaching experiment has thrown up some interesting observations as follows :-

i) It is possible to teach simple techniques via video clips

ii) The more complex sub-movements of a strike are more difficult to teach and require extended explanations; more importantly, participants must be prepared to try out suggested learning methods

iii) The first technique which is a linear strike took longer to master than expected for various reasons. After 6 months participants are able to demonstrate a competent strike but mastery of the subtleties and nuances that render the strike more effective is still lacking for various reasons

The results and experiences of the past 6 months has led to the second upgrading and revision of the BojiLite training program from BojiLite —> BojiLite 2.0 —>SKD.

Learning

Coming up with a program that can be learned with minimum guidance is not easy. To this end the aim is to learn more with less information.

By keeping the learning small you learn to do more with the little that you have. This will teach you to think, imagine and construct new possibilities, thus expanding and deepening your knowledge.

The techniques of SKD are curated to enable students to pick up the learning more easily as they are movements everyone does instinctively whether they are trained or not. We just need to achieve a more controlled way of moving so that we can execute the techniques tighter, speedier and with more penetrating force whilst relying on lesser movements and power to enable them to be applied as efficient combat techniques.

Program

The study of SKD covers the following contents (not necessarily in order of listing) :-

LEVEL 1

a) Basic posture
b) Leung Yi Bo stepping
c) Yum Chui and Chau Chui
d) 6-Blocks, 3-Parries

LEVEL 2

a) Biu Bo stepping
b) Charp Chui
c) 24-Blocks
d) Contact training for mid to close range

LEVEL 3

a) Twist & Step, Circle Step
b) Sao Chui and Gwa Chui
c) Integration of all techniques
d) Additional techniques, as required

Level 1 works on basic posture, movements and stepping. A harder type of power is developed using strong whipping and pulling actions. At this level non-contact applications are dominant.

Level 2 uses 24-blocks to develop whole body movement, flow and power. The use of circles develops softness. Mid to close range techniques using contact to read the opponent’s reaction is emphasized.

Level 3 blends hard and soft, slow and fast, contact and non-contact elements for application of techniques.

Path to Mastery

The contents of SKD are easy and simple to learn. If you keep at it constantly and consistently you can soon complete the learning.

The real challenge of learning is to render your skill natural and responsive. A combination of solo and partner practice will help to achieve this.

Conclusion

Mastery is a function of how badly you want to master a skill. If you only read but never put into practice or hardly practice then you will forever be an armchair warrior.

With the study of SKD you will have a compact program to guide your learning and progress. As long as you keep working on it you will be able to grasp the techniques soon enough.

SamKuenDo

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