When I was learning Wing Chun I did not like strikes that were big in movement and circular because being a Wing Chun guy I thought this type of striking is too slow.
But after many years of reflecting on Master Leong’s teaching I changed my mind and now I think circular strikes with big movement are powerful and fast as long as you understand how to minimize your exposure when you are using it.
In SKD after the Yum Chui which is a linear strike we next turn to Chao Chui which is a powerful circular strike. Here I highlight a few methods of keeping yourself covered when using it.
This morning we had the SKD online training on Zoom. I wanted to cover 3 topics but ended up covering only 1 topic.
Why this is so is because of our preferred method of teaching. Basically, there two ways to teach :-
a) Mass training – this way of teaching is more on getting everyone to do drills and having a fun time. If they really get it then its a bonus. If not, keep practicing
b) Focused training – this way is more for the serious, adult learner who knows what he is looking for. Its slower paced and the training is just as cerebral as it is physical.
In SKD we go for focused training. Its tougher to learn this way but you know exactly how to do it, why you are doing it and how you can use it.
Due to the massive amount of details it is not something you can latch onto right away. You still have to do your own training which is why we only have the training every two weeks to give you the time to practice.
To get the most out of the learning each participant should test their setup first. They should ensure that their entire body can be seen and give allowance for the ground in front to be captured in the frame as well. This allows me to check their stepping. I would recommend to use a webcam and a tripod to get the best angle.
The topic that I ended up covering today is the SKD salute. The salute is divided into three parts – opening movement, salute and closing. I had planned to run the class for 60 minutes but ended up doing it for 80 minutes and covering just the opening and salute.
Embedded in the SKD salute are the key principles that define the characteristics of Chinese martial art, at least the way I learned it from a few teachers.
From practicing the SKD salute we learned about efficiency of movement, the embedded possible applications, technique changes, setting up the body to generate power, etc. All this can be realized once the elements are adhered to and eventually put into play in subsequent practices.
The use of intent from understanding what we are doing can push us along the progress curve. Participants have seen for themselves that it is easy to just move the limbs but not so easy to move the limbs in a very precise and defined manner. This is why authentic Chinese martial arts can be said to be easy to learn but a bitch to train.
I missed out on recording the first half hour. However, I managed to record the last 53 minutes and have uploaded the video to the Slack workspace for The Tai Chi Solo Player.
The next training will be on 28 Jun 2020 at 8 am Singapore time. The full schedule is listed here.
Shot some videos today. Though its been over a year since the SKD online training started I decided to revisit some old topics.
The most important are of course :-
a) Basic posture
b) Insitu body turning
These two exercises are important because with the proper configuration you can move quickly while delivering powerful and accurate strikes.
I did three videos, one for each force model. The lesson that I wanted to get across this time is how to do the two distinct rotations of the Chau Chui. These two rotations enable us deliver power in the Gwa Chui and Chau Chui, one after another in a quick manner.
I did one video on how to do the revamped 6-blocks. I also showed how to add on additional blocks to create the 7-blocks, 8-blocks and 9-blocks sequences.
Managed to trim some of the videos for uploading soon to the Slack app for The Tai Chi Solo Player.
Long unappreciated was the training sequence taught by Master Leong. Lying around in my mind, dormant, like a sleeping tiger.
The tiger soon awakened as I understand better over time the significance of the training sequence. As I would tell my students you have to find the application to understand what you are doing.
For you see, a form is words without music. Find the music and the words come alive. So find the application and you will understand better what you are looking at.
In China, a tiger is a fierce creature, residing in forest, in mountain, rarely venturing out of its comfort zone. Unless there is a shortage of food and hunger can drive a tiger to emerge from the forest to seek food in any form it can find.
A hungry tiger is a desperate tiger. A few hungry tigers are even more frightening. Perhaps there is such a thing as animal mob mentality or they just hunt in a pack.
Perhaps this was what Grandmaster Nip Chee Fei had in mind when he created this training sequence to encapsulate the essential elements of this one technique. This one simple looking technique which when applied vigorously resemble a pack of tigers throwing themselves at the prey relentlessly, one after another, after another.
A fitting image because when the 5 Tigers Descending Mountain sequence is used this is exactly what it would feel like, look like to an onlooker. A pounce, a rush, the unceasing attack, just like a hungry tiger hunting, seizing and subduing its prey.
11 Apr 2019 was Day 1 of the SKD Challenge No. 2 which will run for three months.
The objective this time is to learn how to move between 6 blocks in a soft and flowing manner. Six movements do not sound like a lot but if you are not familiar with it then its a case of first day blues such as experienced by SKD member, M.
As with the Challenge No. 1 we will track members’ progress to see how they are getting on. M has performed admirably in Challenge No. 1 on the Yum Chui and even managed to make another breakthrough on Day 100. Kudos. M is made for SKD.
So the standard that I would like all SKD members to reach is as shown below :-
The end objective is to use the sequence to learn how to use the six blocks freely while defending and attacking whether with contact or without. Below is an example of how Yum Chui and other strikes can be integrated into the flow of the 6-blocks :-
Yesterday was the 100th day of our SKD Challenge No. 1 for 2019. The entire challenge was focused on getting the first strike, Yum Chui, correct.
As a system SKD does not have to pretend to be an internal art. What purpose would this serve? Instead, we focus on getting movements and applications correct.
For example, a sub-component of Yum Chui is the pulling of one hand back as the other hand moves out in a strike. This movement is simple to do once you get it.
One important lesson that can be learned from the pulling movement is how to neutralize an opponent’s power by diverting it. Below is a clip showing member from Malaysia learning SKD :-
When you can do the pulling properly you can make the movement very small until its barely perceptible. You can then use it to neutralize on one side and issue on the other; the exact same principle of how to do the strike in Yum Chui.
The minimizing of movements to neutralize and issue once it is used in a “Tai Chi”-like context can make it seem internal but its not. If anything, it is just two distinct external movements refined to the point of seeming like one movement. No Chi, no breathing, no meridian circulation, no mumbo jumbo, just plain ole precise movements.
In another 20 days time the 100-Day Yum Chui Challenge will end.
After this the 100-Day Challenge will be converted to Quarterly Challenges so that we can have 4 challenges in a year. In this way we can master at least 80% of the core syllabus of SKD Level 1 by end of 2019.
Unlike the majority of challenges on the internet the Quarterly Challenges will run non-stop. Members who take part will push themselves to train daily. Even if they do not end up mastering the challenge, the daily training should at least leave them with a level of competence.
The serious member should also carry on with the 1st Quarter Challenge (previously known as the 100-Day Yum Chui Challenge). They should continue up to Day 300 for that extra edge in mastery.