SKD Training on Slack

As the end of 2018 draws to a close it is time to take stock of some of the things that have been achieved over the year and how to move ourselves forward in 2019. 

Over the past few months I have seen Paul for whom the art of SKD was created for make progress (if you are wondering what SKD is about read it here). He has applied himself diligently and made decent progress in his basics.

The Facebook SKD Learning Group has been fun but I find it a pain in the neck to search for topics or organize them particularly the video uploads. In the past I had looked at Google+ and Patreon so see if there was a better way to organize the information and disseminate the knowledge. 

After keeping the Facebook SKD Learning Group closed to the public in 2018 I am going to open it to the public in 2019 but will run it within Slack. I’ve used Slack before for work and I’m going to use it for the SKD Learning Group as of 1 Jan 2019. The Facebook group will still be there for current members to refer to the material that have been posted.

I have already set up the basic framebook for the Slack SKD Learning Group and still tinkling with it but anyone who is interested can sign up now. To join the Slack SKD Learning Group you just have to sign up here. On clicking the link you will see the window below – just follow the instructions to sign up. Slack is also available as an app for iOS and Android.

New members will join #general and #skdlevel1 where the learning takes place. Be sure to introduce yourself if you want to make friends with other members. You can also share your practice videos with members and discuss with each other on how to improve.

Three rules in this group :-

Rule 1 – do introduce yourself in the channel #general or #skdlevel1 on joining the group. Let members know your name, training background, reason why you want to learn SKD, and any other information of interest that you would like to share

Rule 2 – keep discussions cordial, offer constructive criticisms, do not engage in personal or racist attacks, do not threaten violence, and keep the politics out.  Everyone is here to learn so being wrong is part and parcel of learning. Members who violate Rule 2 will be deactivated without warning

Rule 3 – to keep the group vibrant we would rather have a small group with active members than a large group with many inactive members. An inactive member is defined as a member that shows no sign of activity, does not post training videos or take part in discussions within the last 30 days. We will periodically cull the group of inactive members by deactivating them

Members who need to have guidance and critiques can sign up for them in the group. Guidance is offered for those who want get a leg up in their training with a view to mastering the core basics of SKD. More information will be posted in #general in the coming weeks.

So that’s it for SKD. A Slack Tai Chi Learning Group is in the works if the SKD group works out. We’ll see how it goes.

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SKD Meetup 17 Nov 2018 Part 2

All the clips for the SKD meetup on 17 Nov 2018 have been uploaded.

The later clips moved on to standing discussions such as the one below :-

You can also see examples of SKD partner practice for the first basic strike below :-

Then there’s monkey stealing peach – did you spot the peach being stolen in the clip below?

I also explained the front part of the 24-blocks form and its use including the biomechanics of power using swallow-spit and push-pull mechanics.

SKD Meetup 17 Nov 2018

I have begun uploading the clips from the meeting with SKD member, Melvin, on 17 Nov 2018.

Over the 2-hour meeting I shared info with Melvin on SKD and related topics. One topic is that of close range bridge arm which SKD Level 1 does not address. I used Hung Gar of which Melvin is a practitioner as an example to talk about the subject.

We also talked about the two strikes in SKD Level 1 and application :-

Of course, we also talked about power which is everybody’s favorite topic. Except in this case its the power developed from SKD Level 1 rope pulling exercise :-

In SKD the power needs to be functional in that it is integral to the use of the technique. In this case, this would be the Yum Chui where the exercise enhances the power and use of the technique.

Not to forget that all strikes must go with blocks. At the end of the clip below is a short demo of SKD’s 6-blocks.

For more information on SKD check out the page here.

24-Blocks

The SKD syllabus is expanding to include a mid-range repertoire of movements which is taught through a simple form. Below is one way to practice this form :-

This form has 24 blocking movements (I am using the term block loosely here) plus 3 attacks. As such, I call it the 24-Blocks form.

The 24-Blocks form is built on my insights, practice and research into the Southern Shaolin arts. The practice is focused on the following skills :-

a) Soft but heavy whole body power using classical power generation principle of Swallow, Spit, Float, Sink

b) Relaxed arms that can yield to pressure yet adhere to detect openings

c) Use of change to control a position

The 24-Blocks form will be offered to students who are in SKD Level 2.

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Minimizing Training Problems

I wrote this post after reading a posting from SKD learning group member, AY, today.

Apparently, he is hurting his thumb and feeling uncomfortable from rebound shock when striking a pad (thanks to Sir Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion).

As usual, the same problem he faces applies to my Tai Chi students also.

The root cause of most training problems can be attributed to :-

a) Weak foundation in basics

b) Overdoing a movement to compensate for a weakness

c) Misunderstanding the principles

What the above means :-

a) Each style is configured to work a certain way in line with the way the style is designed.

If your basics is not performed properly then you would not be able to work and apply the techniques in the way it is intended to.

In SKD the way we hold the thumb minimizes injury when striking not just the pad but when playing with a live opponent. I’ve had my share of painful reminders why the traditional way of placing the thumb does not work.

For example, when we train moving at a faster pace such as shown in the video below we can end up bumping our thumb accidentally against the training partner’s arm especially when we strike and he blocks. When this happens the impact will jar our thumb from its holding position and this hurts.

b) When you are not ready to do something and you try to do it and you can’t get the result you may try to force your way through. You might then get the result but there will be a cost.

As an example, if you hit a pad you should be using whole body, relaxed movement. However, you may find that it is difficult to punch harder yet be relaxed at the same time. Yet, you desperately want to punch harder even though you are not ready.

But what the hell, you go ahead and do it anyway, thinking you know better. Your enthusiasm and eagerness is re-paid with rebound shocks that can give you headaches cause not correct is not correct no matter how you cut it. More so if you are punching a pad that is tied in front of a solid, unyielding post.

c) Paying close attention to basics, principles and core requirements can reap positive dividends. If you rush through the learning you can end up misunderstanding vital information.

For example, in SKD we say that the basic linear strike is like releasing an arrow? Why do we say this? When you examine all the information out there you will start to understand why the analogy of an arrow in flight is appropriate.

 

Summary – when your basics are in place some of the things that look inaccessible when you first started will become doable.

For example, some will claim that it takes a decade of study to be able to do Tai Chi fajing. I don’t think this is true. If it is true it is due to a number of factors, some of which is due to the student and some due to the teacher.

However, if both parties are willing to work towards it then there is no reason why the ability to fajing cannot be achieved earlier. In the video below the student has only learned for 3 years and he is attaining slowly but surely the ability to fajing.

Even then this is not as impressive. Some other students can do it after a few months of learning. They might not be as impressive but they can do it.

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Stupid is the New Smart

I was writing this for the SKD learning group but this can be applied to my other students so here it is.

I was thinking of why some students make good progress and some don’t. The ones that don’t make good progress typically over-think something. Instead of doing it they like to make theories.

And when they finally get around to doing it they do it wrong and then they wonder why they didn’t get it. They may think that knowledge is being withheld from them when the reason is so much more straightforward.

The ones that do make faster progress tends to do more than think too much. With doing they have feedback that can be used to make improvements and progress. Without the doing, without the feedback you will veer off the path too easily.

Some things don’t look right to the “normal” thinking mind because they are not able to see far or deep enough to know better. This is where the not so smart student will be stupid enough to actually try it and in the process make discoveries and attain insights.

Asking too many questions too early is another way not to make progress because too much information is confusing. The student who makes progress is the one that asks the right question after putting in practice and reflection on his practice. Of course, this begs the question – what is the right question?

A subject can be broad and deep. Many techniques make for a broad subject. The details that make a technique work is defined by its depth. If you don’t know what you are looking at then you end up fooling yourself because then you think in one direction while failing to consider another direction. Its what I call solve one problem but create a few more problems.

So for example, when you swing your hand in a certain way to slap your body you may think it would be better to say slap the shoulders because it makes sense to you for whatever reason. But you missed out on another crucial point, one that tells you why you should not aim at the shoulders. If you can’t figure this out then you don’t know enough to make assumptions of what is right and what is wrong.

Finally, don’t look for praise when learning. This is what I call an American entertainment disease. I see it all the time on reality TV. Someone fails but told he should be proud of what he has achieved. Seriously, what has he achieved? He failed. What is there to be proud of? Instead, he should just get up and go back to basics. I don’t know about the entertainment field but that’s how you make progress in learning CMA.

A traditional teacher doesn’t praise the student much not because he does not want to but because he knows that too much praise is detrimental to learning. Praise can make a student stop or slow down his learning since he thought that he has already achieved it when the truth is he has just scratched the surface and that the real journey is from that point on. In not receiving the praise the serious student then works harder because he is looking for approval.

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Release Arrow 2

This clip actually comes before the clip in the earlier Release Arrow post.

The power generation showed here is an example of the 5 Bows model.

The 5 Bows model is normally practiced using Single Whip. The post here will explain a bit more.

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