In this week’s SKD I delved into the principle of axe chopping to deliver a strike.
Interestingly, in a non-mainstream Wing Chun that I learned we have a punch called Tup Chui which is literally Hammering Punch in which the punch is not straight out but delivered in a downward curving manner. My final Wing Chun teacher also punched in this manner and he is able to punch really fast and powerfully using this process.
I had also encountered this way of punching in the Biu Jee form of the Ip Man style when my senior taught me this version from one of Ip Man’s lesser known disciple. This punch is performed at the end of every section.
The video below is an introduction :-
Here is where I mentioned the axe chopping in relation to Xingyi’s Pi Quan :-
In SKD this is how we use arm swinging to develop the chopping power :-
To be able to apply the chopping strike we use Tai Chi principles to learn how to relax and control our arm and body acting in concert to deliver the strike.
The arm-whole body movement is my adaptation of Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s Step Back Repulse Monkey from his 22-form. The arm rolling into backfist movement is the final movement in Repulse Monkey.
Another interesting info from “The Power of Not Thinking” :-….. imagining an action without executing it activates the same neural pathways.
Simply put, thinking of performing an action shows up in the brain as if the action had actually been performed.
I first read about this in a book, I think it was called Mind Gym. This explains why sometimes a good way to train arts such as Tai Chi is by sitting there and going through the movements mentally.
By constraining your outer physical movements you are forced to feel your inner physical movements. For example, the concept of Jing Yuen (劲源) is not easy to understand mentally but by stilling your body and using your imagination to do the movement process you can easily feel the Jing Yuen move and voila! suddenly a few more insights will come to mind.
I carefully observed Tuhon when I first learned iKali because certain things are different from what I had learned in CMA. I could ask questions but it would be more interesting not to ask and tried to learn by observing.
This book validated this learning approach in the story of how apprentices learn to build a minaret in Yemen without formal instructions or allowed to ask questions freely. One anthropologist called this “stealing knowledge with their eyes”. Tuhon Apolo said something similar about his learning from Grand-Tuhon.
Here is a book that explains very well the method of learning via 10,000 repetitions that Tuhon Apolo advocates.
In the chapter “Experiencing the World” the author wrote :-Typing out a text message is not explicit or even conscious – it’s a skill that is embodied and arises from a familiarity so deep that no thought is required for the successful completion of the task.
In everyday life we have much such knowledge in our hands. It emerges from the repeated practice of a ‘skill’, a prime example of what I am calling ‘embodied knowledge’.
Quiet day is good. Best thing to do in the morning is practice Tai Chi.
Just kept going with the form practice until I decided to stop. As my teacher said the objective is to practice.
Once done with the mentally intense practice of Tai Chi I thought of doing something more physical.
I haven’t touched the pole for a few months. So let’s get some practice in if only for short time.
Pole practice especially with the focus on just doing a few simple, repetitive techniques is good for practice speed, power and stamina.
We don’t work on one factor at a time. We work on all of them at the same time. Power is only useful if you are fast enough to use it.
And the ability to use power depends on whether you can get to the position you need to be when you need to be there.
That’s why in SKD we will at a later stage learn the long pole that Master Leong taught. It is a very short sequence but that’s good because we don’t have to burden our mind with trying to remember too many movements.
Before the SKD Zoom class started today one student said that he was sick. However, he would attend but not participate fully.
Instead of doing our normal standup practice I had them do the entire class sitting in a chair. In this way the sick student can participate fully.
In this regards there are some things that can be learned easier when sitting down rather than standing up.
What would be a limitation on the ability to move becomes an advantage to learning how to economize movement in the light of the constraint imposed by the chair frame.
I focused on teaching the things that can be practiced while sitting down. To start off while I showed how one of the basic arm swinging exercise can be practiced not as a regular arm loosening and power development exercise but as a means to train the application of a technique.
We examine how this one swinging arm exercise can be trained a few ways. Then we added in other components to deepen the skill.
Basically, everything that is taught today is the foundation for how to make our Charp Chui come alive.
This is achieved by using the exercises to develop our ability to flow like water, darting in quickly like a snake’s tongue and changing swiftly like the wind.