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  1. Thanks for the good read. Very interesting style and approach to martial arts. The way of him using the sword may come from a slightly modified single-handed Chinese saber methodology, or at least that is how I perceived it. A lot of Yang taiji saber methods and Korean swordsmanship materials can also look very similar.
  2. This is actually a very interesting interpretation, especially considering how lots of forms of Christian denominations/interpretations today (as well as historical ones) directly urge the followers to "suppress the self" or "sacrifice thyself" for the sake of the Lord/Father. Or something in the lines of that. Lots of them use the reasoning of "not sacrificing/suppressing the self" = selfishness, corruption, disobedience, disorder, disrespect towards authority, etc. Ironically at the same time, however, some preachers I came across used to teach that Jesus/God was in everybody. What it seems to me is that most Christianity followers throughout history have been having a hard time viewing ourselves as something more than simple flesh & blood that craves nothing but carnal pleasures - without "God". In short, they have never felt secure without establishing the belief of a form of "external" confirmation. If anybody tried to relate God to our own very being or "self", he/she was regarded as selfish, egotistical, new-age cultish fanatic. (In fact, lots of Christian followers in Korea regard Daoism as an egotistical, cultish philosophy that leads away from God.). But I like to think that God is both in us and out of us at the same time, in both everything and ourselves.
  3. The movement could be used for anything really. It could be used for covering the flank, i.e. deflecting or "counter striking" attacks directed towards the side/back of the legs or the groin - whether they be kicks or hand techniques. Or instead, it could be used as a form of an attack or a follow through. Here is one example that illustrates the usage of the movement pretty well, from 2:58 to 3:30.
  4. I have not yet learned that variation of the crane stance personally, but I have seen a very similar version of it. (almost like a "flicking" kick towards the back.). There's also the regular crane stance with the shin held perpendicular to the floor, as well as the one with the shin held in a 45 degree angle. I will make sure to try out the sticky feet exercise. P.S. That is the reason why I will also strive to learn both martial and medical aspects of internal work. They seem to complement each other very well IMO.
  5. Well hopefully my joints and flexibility will continue (or progress) to become stronger, regardless of age - as I train internal work. It's a wild dream, but looking at certain old and experienced masters moving with impeccable agility and grace (that I can only dream of) really motivates me. And definitely agree with the second paragraph. I did hear that "leg deflections" - blocking and deflecting attacks with leg work - was an integral art in Northern long arm styles, which has almost died out today. But more the reason to acquire and train that valuable skill. And "sticky feet" sounds very interesting. I also think the emphasis on skills such as "leg deflections" or "sticky feet" is the reason why Northern long arm styles stress certain elements so much, such as crane stance variations and crescent kicks. (these movements were definitely used with such skills in mind).
  6. Some practitioners say that Tan Tui is a method for training to use the legs as effectively as arms, effectively giving the practitioner "four arms". Anyways, I don't see this "revolution" of MMA trying to prove Chinese Martial arts to be ineffective as a big deal. The martial arts world has always been full of frauds and crooked marketing tactics, in both past and present. (there are records mentioning this, even during the Ming dynasty.). Actual, dedicated martial arts teachers and practitioners will continue to train diligently and retain their knowledge. That's what matters most, from my perspective.
  7. Hello Everybody, I again wanted to thank you for all your feedback and advice last time. Just wanted to say a few things: Training under Sifu Harris (I call him Justin) is going well. I don't have too many opportunities to meet up in lessons, since we live approximately 3 hours apart. But the materials and advice I've learned so far has been helping me a lot in martial practice; the movements are much smoother, and I've stopped overextending and "locking up" myself. (a common problem I used to have, very easy mistake to make when practicing Long fist). Most of my training is still self-practice. As I chose to specialize in Long fist rather than learning Bagua/Taijiquan, Sifu Harris decided to train internal principles of Tong bei (通背). It works wonderfully well with Long fist, Sifu Harris actually noted that it was one of the notable internal training principle among Northern Long-arm practitioners in the past. (He noted that he learned it from Hui teachers, who mainly practiced Chaquan.). Thank you everybody, I will continue practicing now. P.S.: Clarification regarding lineage: After some more research and asking around, I may have been in error regarding my lineage's style. The only clear thing about the Long fist style of my lineage is that it originated from the Shantung province. It's not really known how the system was formed, but it dates to at least the mid-late 19th century China, later on passing over to Korea in the 40s-50s. When it arrived in Korea, this Long fist style existed alongside arts such as Mantis and Bagua. However, it seems like the extensive mixing of Mantis/Bagua and the original form of Long fist in Korea hadn't occurred yet, when this style of Long fist was learned and passed on over into the U.S (it came into the U.S. in the 70s). Most of the related Chinese martial arts schools in Korea and outside Korea, on the other hand, show extensive mixing of Mantis-Bagua-Long fist. It's highly likely that the Long fist style of our school is almost, if not pretty much the same, as it was in mid-late 19th century Shantung, without any notable Mantis or Bagua influence/principles. So that was a mistake on my part.
  8. Hello all, Thanks for the interesting discussion. While this discussion was very informative and insightful, I have to admit that what I've read was a mixture of things that sounded familiar and things that I didn't know about at all. But that is to be expected, as I am only a beginning practitioner who has little experience in terms of internal work. Since this forum seems to have many experienced practitioners, I would love to meet up and train together one day. How would one start off in training for shielding, or developing the "center"? My assumption is not to rush, as my teacher have made me train basic techniques for 4 months now, along with standing meditation. Is anybody willing to give any advice please? And would the principles of shielding become different according to which style of internal work / martial arts the individual practices? For example, many members in this discussion are Taijiquan practitioners, while I've been training in Northern Long fist and internal techniques primarily centered around Tong bei principles, which my teacher learned from the Chinese Hui people. Would this affect things significantly, in the grand scheme of things? Best, Aden
  9. Something that also occurred to me was that the mind and the world aren't necessarily completely separate entities. But correct me if I am wrong please.
  10. Thanks for the input. It's just that I am inspired by the versatility of swords/sabers, and would like to master it just like I would with empty hand forms. And the lineage I learn from specializes in saber & staff. Maybe it's military oriented? (Many MA instructors teaching soldiers during the late Qing - Republican period started focusing on sword/saber + bayonets). Anyways, the description of MAists mastering weapons to the degree of spiriting and cultivating their own swords gives me some real inspiration. If it is possible, it certainly is a goal to work up to. Meanwhile, I'll work on Tan Tui.
  11. Wouldn't that damage the blade? If you meant striking with or strengthening the sword with internal force, I guess it won't, though, and certainly would affect the opponent. Edit: So another question just popped up in my mind: If it's possible to attack the opponent bypassing the armor, is it possible to just damage the exterior armor using internal force? Just as an IMA would concentrate on breaking the top brick only, in a stack of bricks. Even if it were possible, though, I can imagine it didn't happen a whole lot, as it was cost ineffective in subduing the armored opponent. (opposed to directly striking them or bouncing them away)
  12. That actually reminds me of several stereotypical tales of wuxia and Japanese swordsmen - who were capable of chopping through the most durable armor, and kill demons and dragons with one stroke. However, the principle behind it sounds pretty amazing to be honest. You did mention mini-swords and mini-halberds. So do certain objects (or maybe even the concept of those objects) allow easier "internalization"? Also,how does a saber compare to a straight sword in terms of internalization? Looking at it that way, I can see why chinese martial arts focus on bare hand forms first, and weapons second. Was it the same way historically? Since swords/knives and polearms were heavily involved in self defense of pre-modern day East Asia, wouldn't have people emphasized training weapons more compared to bare hand combat? Or did people still focus on mastering bare hand forms to a degree before progressing to weapons, albeit not as much as today?
  13. Hello all, Just wanted to ask a question about weapon and force production. So as chinese martial arts practitioners train under internal principles, such as meditation and neigong, many of them (at least genuine ones) learn to produce and utilize various types of forces - namely fajin. From what I gather, fajin can be used and projected in numerous ways; they can be more of a non-lethal pushing force, while others can be much more destructive in nature (i.e. used for breaking objects, sometimes through objects - striking the internals directly without leaving external marks, or breaking a bottom brick without harming the ones on top) Can the same principle be applied for weapons? Such as sword or saber. For instance, how would a intermediate or above level skilled IMA practitioner fight with a sword or saber - against opponents with heavy plate, brigandine, or lamellar armor? Well-made full suit of armor often made bladed weapons ineffective, and historical European warfare often resorted to prolonged wrestling to attack the weak points of the armor. However, this often made them vulnerable to multiple attackers, and usually put bigger and stronger people at an advantage. Or is it somehow possible for IMA practitioners to strike their opponents bypassing the armor with weapons? Or even enhance the cutting power and resilience of their swords/sabers? Weapons isn't something that seems to be talked about frequently, so I wanted to ask.
  14. Hello Gerald, Thanks for your kind reply. I agree that the most significant cultivation comes from my actions towards others. Although internal work has become a significant part of my life, it can by no means replace the value of people around me. The main reason lightness skill fascinates me is mostly for martial purposes. It seems that it would complement the martial arts that I practice very nicely (Northern Long fist) - especially with its emphasis on developing agility and speed; in addition, one could say that agility and evasiveness are the two of the most crucial factors in deciding a martial artist's capability. However, I don't plan on trying to search for guidance on advanced level skills, as I am only a novice practitioner. As for a the skill being used to show off, it definitely could be used that way for sure. For me, however, martial arts is a very personal thing which I practice and train on my own (& occasionally with my teachers). I personally would not be able to stand being gossiped about or being bothered by other people (especially over something most of them wouldn't be able to understand ), let alone my friends stereotyping me for being an asain who practices martial arts nowdays . I believe that skills such as martial arts should be used for practical & benevolent reasons - rather than for becoming a big bad bully.
  15. Isn't it also possible for some internal masters to choose when they will die? The lightness skill fascinates me. How fast/agile can a practitioner be with lightness? What are the overall capabilities? I imagine that the practitioner's mind/mental speed/reflexes become more refined & quicker as a result.... is this true? + I can see that there probably are multiple ways/schools of practicing/achieving lightness, although not a lot of them are known among the public - even to us internal arts enthusiasts. From what I gather, lightness skill is an extremely powerful skill to have. However, the techniques of achieving them are practically useless - unless one has achieved a sufficient base in basic/intermediate level internal work. Are there any health and vitality benefits that come along with practicing lightness?