Saturday, 28 November 2009

An Introduction to the Styles I Study

I thought Id write a little about the styles I learn here. I mainly focus on Mantis, Ba Gua and Qigong, and also do some Taiji and Xingyi.

The lineage of Mantis we practice is Taiji Meihua Mantis, and is local to this area. Mantis was said to be created around the east of Shandong province, particularly Yantai city. Mantis is a combination of internal and external Kung Fu, and it is quite aggressive. In Mantis, we defend by attacking, moving forward into the opponent with vicious attacks and low kicks and sweeps. When striking, the whole body twists to generate power from the back foot up through the waist to the fist. We use a lot of leg sweeps and takedowns as well. In Training we spend a lot of time on basics movements, particularly footwork and developing lower body power. We also train forms and applications, like punch combos, takedowns etc. A good stance and agile footwork is important. Master Qu is very methodical in his teaching, in 1 lesson we may only practice 2 techniques over and over. Also, once we learn a basic movement and can do it well, then we learn different ways to apply it, and also how to follow on from it, counter it etc.

Ba Gua Zhang:
The lineage of Ba Gua we practice is Yin style Ba Gua. Ba Gua is only 100 or so years old and was developed in Beijing. We spend a lot of time on circle walking, which is the foundation. It teaches you to be able to evade attacks, move behind the opponent and deal with multiple attackers. We also practice other basics, our forms and applications. A lot of the applications are locks, throws, takedowns and sometimes it resembles Aikido or something. You have to have a loose and flexible waist, which at the same time is strong. Ba Gua is based on the 8 trigrams in Taoist metaphysics. The 8 trigrams were are an ancient Chinese way of explaining change in the universe and so in Ba Gua they correspond to the 8 palm changes, which are the fundamentals of Ba Gua.

Master Guo teaches the Qigong classes. Qigong is a practice which harnesses, increases and develops your Qi, or your bodies natural energies. The main kind of Qigong we practice is standing meditation, which we do for 15 minutes to an hour. We learn how to focus our Qi into our lower Dan Tian, which is a point in the lower belly, and once you begin to accumulate Qi there, you can harness it to increase your power, fight disease, and at high levels even more esoteric things. We also practice several kinds of moving Qigong to circulate the Qi around our bodies and focus it to different places for different effects. Ive started praticing Hong Sha Zhang, which concentrates your Qi in the palms of your hands, and makes them feel hot and turn red. It can be used heal, or also to inflict heavy internal injury on someone. Ive not got very far yet though. We also do iron palm and iron body conditioning, so that we can break bricks, rocks etc with our hands and take strong kicks to our back, ribs and legs (most of the masters here can have thick wooden poles broken over their bodies).

Taiji and Xingyi:
I dont study these in detail so Il just mention a little. Ive completed the basics Yang style 24 form in Taiji and progressed on to learning the Chen style Taiji forms. Chen style is the original style of Taiji and uses really low stances, flowing movements and sudden bursts of power, so it can complement other arts if as well as mastered alone. Xingyi is an explosive internal art. I has some similarities to Wing Chun in that is uses short explosive movements in a straight line. Again, Im only really learning the forms, not the full style.


emanzabi said...

Will, I was wondering how old you were when you first begun Martial Arts ?

I just started Shito-Ryu Karate about 5 months ago, and I plan to go to Kunyu Mountain to study Kung Fu after university.

Rob said...

Yo Will! You have been studying Xingyi, right? I realize you haven't really been learning the style--just the movements--so you might not be able to answer. If you can, though, I am curious about why Xingyi is considered an "internal" martial art, when it is so direct and explosive.

曾潇垚 said...

hi emanzabi. i started wing chun a few years ago. kunyushan is a really good place, but i think you have to have the right attitude. some people come with the attitude of a paying customer and dont always get what they want. if youre patient and hard working, the masters will give you more attention

hey rob. i sent you some messages on qq, but you didnt reply. anyway, xingyi is internal coz of the way you deliver power. it uses the whole body and comes up from the floor. you have to like drive it out, i cant really explain. ive found it helpful to learn the basics of it anyway.