Do you measure your martial artwork talent by the variety of varieties you recognize or the match trophies you received?
I hope not. As a result of, should you do, you’re holding your self from ever reaching your prime martial arts potential.
It’s not what number of units you recognize, or how many individuals you’ve defeated at tournaments that makes you proficient in your chosen preventing system. Good martial artists are merchandise of balanced coaching codecs that emphasize right type, understanding of strategies, and two-person sparring apply. Whereas excelling in simply a kind of factors could make you a superb performer, it doesn’t make you a superb martial artist.
Within the days when Choy Li Fut was identified solely in China, completed masters personally studied solely 4 or 5 main hand varieties. The whole lot they wanted to learn about palm and fist strikes, kicking, joint-locking and throwing was contained in these few varieties.
After all, in case you are knowledgeable teacher, it’s good to have greater than 5 varieties at your disposal. In actuality, nevertheless, you don’t must know that a lot. Within the Choy Li Fut system, 5 main varieties embrace all of the coaching it is advisable to be a extremely expert martial artist. In methods whose varieties aren’t that lengthy as Choy Li Fut units—they common 150 actions—ten-to-twelve varieties are sufficient to cowl every part it is advisable to learn about self-defense, footwork, steadiness, and coordination.
Realizing that I wished to show, my teacher, Woo Van-Cheuk, despatched me to a number of of his personal era in Choy Li Fut’s lineage to be taught the system’s varieties from completely different families. Though I studied with a number of completely different Choy Li Fut academics, I spent a few years practising only some particular varieties for my private coaching.
The Choy Li Fut system incorporates about 30 hand varieties. Together with its weapon varieties, there are nearly 100 units within the system. Nevertheless, mastering Choy Li Fut doesn’t imply studying each type. Chan Heung, the founding father of Choy Li Fut, had three academics. Their coaching plus his personal brilliance, gave him the background to create a lot of organized coaching patterns.
Apart from the all-important varieties that characterize Choy Li Fut’s theories and strategies, there are specialised actions that cater to particular person wants. As an example, some are for large folks, whereas others are geared towards small fighters. Some varieties are for kickers and the extra versatile scholar, others for many who are more adept with their fingers.
My very own intense apply and data of 5 or 6 varieties permits me to grasp all of Choy Li Fut’s ideas. Armed with that againfloor, I can relate to different Choy Li Fut varieties for which I solely have written copies. These I simply train to college students with particular wants.
It’s no completely different in Tai Chi Chuan apply. There are a lot of individuals who attempt to be taught completely different types of tai chi, reasonably than stick to at least one. That is fantastic for the bodily facet of tai chi. Nevertheless, you don’t must know a couple of fashion to grasp Tai Chi Chuan.
Within the days earlier than Chen, Yang, and Wu turned in style as so-called separate tai chi methods, there have been solely one-to-two tai chi varieties. What’s now often known as Chen fashion contained sufficient comfortable actions to show relaxed energy, a lot the identical as Yang Tai Chi. On the similar time, what’s in the present day labeled Yang fashion had a better stage of coaching that taught the identical explosive power that we see in Chen. In these days Yang, Chen, and Wu have been related in precept and methodology. Tai chi chuan was merely Tai Chi Chuan to its college students.
Taking tai chi for example, should you grasp one fashion, you’ve the bodily coordination, timing, power, and data of functions and ideas to accurately carry out or make up any sequence of actions, no matter whether or not they’re Chen or Yang in nature. After all, by grasp, I imply you could know and perceive tai chi’s comfortable and exhausting power expression. You have to be skilled on the exterior apply of push fingers and free sparring, in addition to the interior facet that features meditation and chi growth. For those who delve far sufficient into any official tai chi fashion, it’s best to discover these elements.
Tai chi isn’t any completely different from Choy Li Fut in its steadiness of coaching. Many individuals misunderstand Choy Li Fut, pondering they need to practice greater than ten years earlier than they will use it. It’s true that in the event that they be taught each type, it takes no less than that lengthy. Nevertheless, self-defense utilization comes a lot sooner to college students who’ve the fitting instructor and are prepared to work exhausting. Choy Li Fut might be an efficient self-defense system in only one or two years should you think about perfecting only some varieties, know and perceive the preventing strategies, apply freestyle sparring, and spend time creating your personal bodily situation by stretching and dealing with coaching gear.
The identical ideas apply to tai chi and different martial arts. Don’t deceive your self. Take an in depth have a look at what you are and aren’t studying earlier than you name your self a well-rounded martial artist.
This text initially appeared within the February 1989 concern of Inside Kung Fu Journal, “Coaching for Life” by Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong.