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Internal cultivation for martial arts

martial arts qigong internal neigong Sheng Zhen

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#33 aden

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 10:51 AM

From my understanding, the T'an T'ui set was special choreographed with unique movements from other schools. Only Jingwu will have this 12 routines of T'an T'ui. You can't even find this set from the original T'an T'ui school in Shantung. 

 

I actually did hear than my school's lineage is primarily influenced by Long fist styles from Shantung. 

 

 

 

Thus, the teaching curriculum within the Jingwu varies from centre-to-centre. If you are looking to learn a un-mixed style, then schools like Liu-He-M'en, Da-sheng Piqua M'en, or the 7-star praying mantis will meet your expectation. Da-sheng piqua M'en is a Northern monkey style.

 

Thanks for the recommendation, but I have decided to stick with my current instructor for now. Many chinese martial artists throughout history picked up and adapted combat techniques for their own benefits. I don't think styles need to be "pure" or have "unbroken lineages" - they just need to be practical and applicable to one's own philosophy. After all, chinese martial arts are very practical. In terms of practicality and effectiveness, I think both mixed and un-mixed styles of traditional kung fu are all on equal levels. Not so sure about this recent movement on trying to turn kung fu into basic kickboxing and wrestling, though.

 

We seriously need more discussion about Northern Long fist styles on this forum. They're very much neglected compared to other styles like typical IMA styles or Southern kung fu styles.



#34 Sudhamma

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 07:05 PM

I've a different approach to learning martial arts. Each 'founder' of a school/style had his own fighting philosophy and that would choreographed the movements accordingly (normally after tested the techniques for practicality). Thus, learning the martial arts of a particular school is like reading the books written by a singular writer. However, this ease of understanding may not be so in a system with mixed sets from various schools. The fighting philosophy of taijichuan for instance is very different from karate as an illustration. The internal cultivation of nei-gong is immaterial if the purpose of learning martial arts is just for health similar to running and swimming. Similarly, learning one set well and understand its applications and able to use it for that internal cultivation is much more satisfying and purposeful than learning 20 sets but arely scratching their surfaces, rolling stones do gather no moss.

On the other hand, learning a mixed style has itss benefits similarly like that of research and personal development. Knowing other styles broadens one's outlook and know that there are mountains higher than the one you see. There are different approaches adopted by different schools. However, one must have a good foundation with one unmixed style. So in your case, choose one set, perhaps T'an T'ui, and concentrate on learning it in depth. Learning martial arts is itself an education.


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#35 Michael Sternbach

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 05:02 AM

I've a different approach to learning martial arts. Each 'founder' of a school/style had his own fighting philosophy and that would choreographed the movements accordingly (normally after tested the techniques for practicality). Thus, learning the martial arts of a particular school is like reading the books written by a singular writer.


While the ideas and experiences of a style's 'founder' naturally leave their mark on it, there seem to be no styles extant that aren't revisions and - in virtually every case - combinations of older styles.

However, this ease of understanding may not be so in a system with mixed sets from various schools.


In my view, what matters is how well a mixed system's constituents have been integrated into a consistent whole. To illustrate, some (all?) Jeet Kune Do schools teach kickboxing, wrestling, Arnis etc separately, while JKD's sister art Kenpo succeeds at blending methods from its various mother arts smoothely.

The fighting philosophy of taijichuan for instance is very different from karate as an illustration.


While this is true as far as most of Japanese mainland Karate is concerned, the arts you mentioned become much closer to each other if you look at certain Okinawan systems such as Matsumura Seito Shorin Ryu with its strong influence from Fujien White Crane.

White Crane was the prevalent influence at the origin of much of Okinawan Karate, and its principles are identical with those used in Taiji according to the well known master of both arts Jwing Ming Yang.

Moreover, it has been observed by some Japanese Karate masters that on highly advanced levels, their art becomes more like Taiji.

The internal cultivation of nei-gong is immaterial if the purpose of learning martial arts is just for health similar to running and swimming.


Agreed if you think of martial arts as nothing but another kind of fitness training ("cardio kickboxing"). However, their greatest and long lasting contributions to one's physical and emotional health lie exactly in their potential to cultivate and balance the practitioner's chi flow. At least rudimentary neigong methods are frequently a part of that and can be found even in a style as 'external' as Kyokushin Karate.

Similarly, learning one set well and understand its applications and able to use it for that internal cultivation is much more satisfying and purposeful than learning 20 sets but arely scratching their surfaces, rolling stones do gather no moss.


I certainly agree with your 'quality over quantity' approach as a general tenet.

On the other hand, learning a mixed style has itss benefits similarly like that of research and personal development. Knowing other styles broadens one's outlook and know that there are mountains higher than the one you see. There are different approaches adopted by different schools. However, one must have a good foundation with one unmixed style. So in your case, choose one set, perhaps T'an T'ui, and concentrate on learning it in depth. Learning martial arts is itself an education.


Actually, T'an t'ui as an original system in its own right is rather elusive, however, many styles have some variation of the T'an t'ui form (or set) in their basic curriculum. It is true that this form alone would usually provide enough material for years of study.
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#36 aden

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 01:08 PM

While the ideas and experiences of a style's 'founder' naturally leave their mark on it, there seem to be no styles extant that aren't revisions and - in virtually every case - combinations of older styles.


In my view, what matters is how well a mixed system's constituents have been integrated into a consistent whole. To illustrate, some (all?) Jeet Kune Do schools teach kickboxing, wrestling, Arnis etc separately, while JKD's sister art Kenpo succeeds at blending methods from its various mother arts smoothely.

 

I agree that there will be revisions, no matter how pure a certain style is. Martial arts, after all, reflects on the skills and experiences of an individual. The most important part is how to integrate those experiences and skills as a consistent system - which majority of the traditional kung fu arts have done perfectly.

 

For that reason, I tremendously respect chinese martial arts, as well as Kenpo styles - as they succeeded on establishing the philosophy of integrating existing techniques, forms, and experiences smoothly into a complete, consistent system. I think modern day MMA (as well as other modern day combative-oriented systems) severely lack this aspect.

 

 

White Crane was the prevalent influence at the origin of much of Okinawan Karate, and its principles are identical with those used in Taiji according to the well known master of both arts Jwing Ming Yang.

Moreover, it has been observed by some Japanese Karate masters that on highly advanced levels, their art becomes more like Taiji.


Agreed if you think of martial arts as nothing but another kind of fitness training ("cardio kickboxing"). However, their greatest and long lasting contributions to one's physical and emotional health lie exactly in their potential to cultivate and balance the practitioner's chi flow. At least rudimentary neigong methods are frequently a part of that and can be found even in a style as 'external' as Kyokushin Karate.

 

I am pretty sure than both quite a few "external" schools in the past put much more emphasis on internal cultivation. The internal cultivation practices would also carry over directly to combat, such as application of fajin and agility. For some reason, these aspects are completely absent in a lot of kung fu schools today. I only became aware of internal force after I took the lesson from Sifu Korahais (and it's only been less than a year since). It's depressing to hear people say that the so called kung fu practitioners claim that horse stance is just for strengthening the leg muscles. No applicability in using the stance for footwork or developing internal force/stillness. If you wanted to strengthen leg muscles, why not just lift weights? :P

 

 

Actually, T'an t'ui as an original system in its own right is rather elusive, however, many styles have some variation of the T'an t'ui form (or set) in their basic curriculum. It is true that this form alone would usually provide enough material for years of study.

 

Isn't the original Tan Tui from the Long Tan temple?

 

And agreed with Tan Tui being worthy of years of study. Sifu Wong Kiew Kit mentioned that one could be a very powerful master just with mastering Tan Tui. Although the form looks basic on the surface, I can see how every single movement can be applied in multiple ways. Because of its simplicity yet sophistication, Sifu Korahais mentioned that it takes a lot of skill to master Tan Tui for combat.



#37 azucenaalev

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 01:31 PM

Thank you for the recommendation, azucenaalev.

 

What type of experiences did you have with this school? Do they extensively practice internal work? How about combat application/sequences from forms? Won Hop Loong Quan sounds interesting; never heard of it, but is it a northern kung fu style by nature?

 

I'm genuinely interested.

 

 

 

Edit: I know that more "spiritual" systems don't necessarily do internal work for martial arts, but couldn't they still be cost effective? I also hear that advancing in internal cultivation for martial arts / medical usages don't come without spiritual development.

 

I know that it probably won't in terms of Fa jin, as they do not practice it - but rather in terms of mind development (mental clarity & awareness/alertness), suppleness, and energy cultivation. 

 

The reason why I've been keeping Sheng Zhen as one of my potential options is because they also have seated forms & meditation forms that work on training the mind, qi circulation (microcosmic orbit?), and opening up the middle and upper dantian. On their website, they listed the middle dantian as the heart, and the upper dantian as the third eye.

 

In addition, I've began practicing Shiba Luohan Gong, which already has force/fa jin/agility exercises. I was thinking that practicing a martial-specific moving form like Shiba Luohan Gong alongside the seated/meditative Sheng Zhen forms under a good teacher may complement each other tremendously.

 

(I just saw this because I forgot to mess with my notification settings)

 

But I've trained with them for a long time. There's Tai Chi + the external martial stuff, and a great deal of internal stuff as well, but you'll be more exposed to that as you advance. We practice kata, applications, and sparing, with the Austin class putting heavier emphasis on the former two of the three.


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#38 aden

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 06:52 PM

(I just saw this because I forgot to mess with my notification settings)

 

But I've trained with them for a long time. There's Tai Chi + the external martial stuff, and a great deal of internal stuff as well, but you'll be more exposed to that as you advance. We practice kata, applications, and sparing, with the Austin class putting heavier emphasis on the former two of the three.

 

 

Thanks for the info. I have already decided to meet with another teacher in like 2 days, but I still plan to look into the group. 

I will post how my experience is in a few days.

 

Glad to see that they emphasize applications, by the way. I feel that the skill to translate apply the movements people learned in the forms for combat is a very rare skill.



#39 Sudhamma

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 07:50 PM

The T'an T'ui 12-routines of Jingwu was a special formulation. There is a T'an T'ui M'en in Shantung, said to be originally from Loong Tan Temple and what is taught there is a complete MA system complete with weaponry, not just one set that we know as 12 routines. T'an T'ui was effective and famous as a fighting arts in the North and there are other MA systems, like Cha-chuen that incorporates t'an t'ui techniques in their Cha-chuen T'an T'ui routines. My opinion about mixed styles is not about those that have assimiliated various fighting techniques of different schools-of-tfighting into one homogenous style, like for instance 7-star Praying Mantis with their Tongbei techniques, or Jou-Jia assimiliating both Southern and Northern techniques. I'm referring to a mixed syllabus where a student learn in a centre one set taken from A school is taught for say 6 months, then another set from B school for another 6 months that sort of programme, unless there is a sort of a common thread between the sets. For instance, the common thread in Sip Pai Gi is Northern Shaolin and there is no conflict (of interest). To illustrate what is conflicting thread, take for instance one set of the long stretched 'big' movements of Hua Chuen for 6 months and move on to the 'small frame' Wu Taijichuen for 6 months. This type of mixing is not good for the student. The jing in Taijichuen is different from Fujian White Crane or Northern Shaolin and even the stances are different, similarly, the expression of jing in Northern Long Fist is not the same as the explosive Southern school.  Yes, ultimately, the jing in its highest level of expression is the same regardless of fighting system, but the student has not reached that destination yet. As is commonly said, the externalist will train from the external to reach the internal, and the internalist, from internal to reach external. That's when karate becomes more like taijichuen in its external form as said by contributor Michael Sternbach. However, in Tibetan White Crane, there is The Needle in the Cotton set, Hung-gar with its Steel Wire Fist set, Northern Shaolin with its Taming the Tiger set, these sets are 'internal' yet different from the emphasis of 'internal' of taijichuen, with the exception of The Needle in the Cotton.


Edited by Sudhamma, 16 February 2017 - 08:00 PM.


#40 azucenaalev

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 06:18 AM

Thanks for the info. I have already decided to meet with another teacher in like 2 days, but I still plan to look into the group. 

I will post how my experience is in a few days.

 

Glad to see that they emphasize applications, by the way. I feel that the skill to translate apply the movements people learned in the forms for combat is a very rare skill.

 

No problem! I hope your meeting goes well!


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#41 aden

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Posted Yesterday, 06:15 PM

Alright, back from Sifu Harris's class.

 

He seems highly knowledgeable in IMA styles, and specializes in Baguazhang - primarily from Yin style and Ching style - and others. He also teaches Sun & Yang style Taiji, as well as White Crane, but aren't really things that he specializes in. He also told me that he has experiences in Tan Tui as well. The techniques I learned today were primarily Bagua oriented, but there wasn't any material that conflicted with my Long fist curriculum.

 

He is aware of all the different IMA schools,teachers and their training philosophies -  Sifu Anthony Korahais and Sifu Wong Kiew Kit being the two of them. He actually explained that his philosophy of deciphering forms / combat application is pretty much the same as theirs. While he didn't teach me any extra qigong techniques, he told me to continue on practicing Sifu Korahais' material.

 

Sifu Harris taught me the basic principle how to internalize my Long fist, via "relaxing but not collapsing". I was taught to relax my movements, and focus my intent when I punched or palmed. The details are hard to write, but I hope you understand what it means. While doing this, he emphasized the importance of being aware of my own "internal body" as well as my surroundings. To practice this, he taught me standing meditation.

 

There's numerous others, but we have planned to focus on:

 

1) deciphering & applying my long fist forms for combat

2) internal power for martial & health purposes 

3) learning Baguazhang - not so sure how deep I am willing to explore into the art, but we will see.

 

Overall it was a very satisfying lesson. I completely backed out when he offered me to test his internal strike on me though. :P

 

 

 

 

P.S. about the middle dantien emphasis on Northern Long fist styles, he disagreed with the sash training method. I'm not going to get into the details, but he told me that middle dantien training will come later when I have established a strong basis in my lower dantien.

 

 

 

Edit:

 

Long fist curriculum --> Long fist material that I've learned so far (thanks for pointing that out Sudhamma)

 

Regarding what of Sifu Harris knows, I can't say for certain. He said he had learned from various reputable teachers and picked up what he was able to learn. Of course, he noted the stark differences between the Yin and Ching lineages.


Edited by aden, Today, 12:57 AM.


#42 Sudhamma

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Posted Yesterday, 10:44 PM

The techniques I learned today were primarily Bagua oriented, but there wasn't any material that conflicted with my Long fist curriculum. Comment: I thought you are still learning your T'an T'ui routines, having stopped at routine #4?

 

 While he didn't teach me any extra qigong techniques, he told me to continue on practicing Sifu Korahais' material.

Comment: I thought in the past that Nei-gong and Qigong were the same, but recently, I realized that though there were similarities, results from nei-gong is different from qigong. T'an T'ui is not qigong, but a martial set that if you practised it well, you can improve and develop nei-gong. That your 'internal cultivation'.

 

Sifu Harris taught me the basic principle how to internalize my Long fist, via "relaxing but not collapsing". I was taught to relax my movements, and focus my intent when I punched or palmed. The details are hard to write, but I hope you understand what it means.

Comment: Yes, he is right and closer to the 'real thing' with relaxing but not collapsing....look at some other 't'an t'ui' being practised in Jingwu you will find the glaring difference.

 

While doing this, he emphasized the importance of being aware of my own "internal body" as well as my surroundings. To practice this, he taught me standing meditation.

Comment: Being aware of your surrounding....something like a heightened sixth sense, comes from good practice. You will know when the situation arise. In your curriculum, you have the 'stance training', you can use ma-bu and gong-bu for your 'standing' with each stance taking say, 2 minutes and progressing to 20 minutes at a sitting. But you have to use a waist sash, a broad cotton sash of about 8" width x 10ft to tie around the waist. Tighten your waist with the sash, maybe about 3 rounds, and you may a friend to help you by tensioning at the opposite end. When you come to the opposite end, tuck it in behind those rounds of cloth. No need to tie the ends. Time your standing period for each stance and ignore that shivering in your legs, do breathe and not to hold your breath. However, if you do not want to use the sash, then ignore what I've written here.

 

There's numerous others, but we have planned to focus on:

 

1) deciphering & applying my long fist forms for combat

2) internal power for martial & health purposes 

3) learning Baguazhang - not so sure how deep I am willing to explore into the art, but we will see.

Comment:

Baquazhang, your instructor would be very formiable, having knowledge from Yin Fu, Cheng Ting Hua, and "others" So, is he going to teach the Yin Fu system first? Anyway, both Yin Fu's and Cheng TH's system differs from each other, beginning with stepping and palm techniques. Baquazhang is a good internal system to learn but difficult to master in depth.

 

This will be my last post on this as you now has the asnwers to your search. Enjoy your journey.


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