Wing Chun is a style I only dabbled in, and if I had not found Taijiquan and Xingyiquan I likely would have trained it much more. I came across this video of Ip Chun, at 94 years old, doing Chi Sau.
Ip Chun - Born (1924-07-10)
September 14, 1991 I took my first Taijiquan class. After 19 years in Japanese and Korean marital arts, and a back injury.. I went to taijiquan
This is not me, but this is the form I first learned.
Since I have had the time (again) due to my knees (again)…and now my right wrist (a victim of Hindu pushups I think)…I’ve been doing some thinking about martial arts, training, exercise, diet, health.
I realized my injury prone time started about 10 years ago… broke my ankle and then blew out a knee, and then another knee and spent a couple years on crutches, using a cane and wearing knee braces of various support strengths. And since then in an effort to get back to where I was with martial arts and health I have been all over the place in order to regain what I had lost and what I was trying to attain, and along the way reinjuring myself much more often than I should have and taking way to long to start listening to my body as it applies to training. Various exercise routines; various strength routines, cardio, yoga Etc. Assorted diets; balanced low calorie, Vegan, Vegetarian, Lacto-ovo-vegetarians, Lacto-vegetarians, Ovo-vegetarian, Pollotarian, Pescatarian (Pescetarian), Flexitarian, etc. And assorted styles of martial arts too; JKD, Sanda, Yiquan/Dachengquan, a dash of Krav Maga, a return to Baguazhang, a return to Wing Chun, even started working with my old TKD and Long Fist kicks at one point. Considered BJJ, MMA, Hapkido, Ninjutsu, Aikido, Judo and even a return to old school Jujutsu of my youth (think early 1970s). I visited some schools I was considering and realized the school and I did not fit, or my schedule did not fit the school or my arthritic knees and hips simply could not sit that way so I did not go further there (but I am still thinking a few months of no gi BJJ would not hurt me…or maybe it would). But after all this jumping around trying other styles I have to admit it did benefit to various degrees, but I really have not gotten all that far, or at least not as far as I feel I should have after all that, and would I have gotten further if I just buckled down and did the work on the styles I know best, like I did prior to the injuries.
When I broke my ankle, I was a Yang/Chen Taijiquan guy and a Xingyiquan guy too (truth be known, and as many know here on MT, I was addicted to Xingyiquan), but even then, I tried different styles to see what I thought. But after the injuries the extensive recovery time with the addition of arthritis, Chen Style is out of the question, some Xingyi postures are difficult and overall Yang Taijiquan and Xingyiquan lost a lot.
I want to say here, that in most cases, I blame the re-injury more on the workout routines I was doing and not so much on the other styles of Marital arts, although I did get a detached retina training Wing Chun, and I did not do my knees any good in the incredibly misguided return to TKD and Long Fist kicks.
I also now realize all of this was trying to shortcut the problem and not put in the needed time and work necessary to achieve my goals; a better understanding of Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and Internal (whatever that really means). I will admit JKD did show me a lot and get me back on the path in the very brief time I trained it, JKD opened me up to a lot of possible applications within Taijiquan, Xingyiquan and even Yiquan (what little I know of it, that I am considering now) that I had not thought of before. Even though this will likely get me taken of the list for the Xingyiquan Christmas party, I see a lot of similarities between JKD and Xingyiquan
But all this looking and cross training hit me in the face in push hands and I came to the realization at the push hands group I have lost a lot of the full body usage and the feel of a “Internal” marital arts guy (internal used for clarification purposes. I do not put a lot into the separation of internal and external).
All of this is a long way around to saying I am looking at a different approach to exercise that is based on my own research that I have been doing as it applies to exercises old guys should consider doing and not doing. On the “Internal, body unity side I am going to start working on some things from Ken Gullette, and some things from Paul Andrews ( Xingyi Academy) and I found a bit of exercise gear that will help me do this. I will talk more about this after I give it a try to see if it does what I hope it will do as it applies to full body unity, fitness and health.
I will still be doing some things with the Total Gym (Don’t want Chuck to come after me if I quit ), just not as much as I was, and of course the treadmill has to return, for fast walking (4mph), not running. Had a physician tell me I should not be running anymore.
Basically, being much closer to 60 than 50 and having a much longer recovery time, limited time to do everything I want to (as has been proven to me by my failure to keep up with the program I designed), and in an effort to not reinjure myself, I am looking to center all of this around Taijiquan, Yiquan and hopefully Xingyiquan (knees still a bit of an issue there), in an effort to improve in these styles and understand them and apply then as it concerning health, fitness and martial arts. With a goal of being a competent, at least what I consider competent, teacher of these arts when I retire in 7 to 10 years.
Additionally: I have located a Xingyiquan teacher who appears to be very good who is 2.5 hours from my house and I have located a Yiquan teacher that is supposed to be very good who is also 2.5 hours from my house. Most unfortunately, they are in opposite direction from my home, one east one south west. Hopefully more on those later.
As for diet, looking back I had the most success and felt the healthiest when I was a Vegetarian. However, I feel, nutritionally speaking, that Flexitarian is the best way for me to go. But red meat is completely out, my old, mostly vegetarian, stomach can’t handle it anymore. Although I am willing to risk it in a good Chinese restaurant
Once I start the Taiji/Xingyi/Yiquan centered workout I will post on what it is and how if progresses
Lastly, there are 2 things that keep popping into my noggin on this, one is form Bruce Lee
If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. - Bruce Lee
The other is Clint Eastwood
A man's got to know his limitations - Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood)
I have had to stop JKD class...again. Basically the overall feeling at this point is..... "Dang I'm old"
I probably should not have gone back in the first place, due to the thinning retina issue. But then this class was not focused on striking as much as the first and focuses more on techniques. Also, although the first school was awesome and I would recommend it, my schedule simply did not match the first school. And I was really lucky finding the second school since it was equally as good, just from a different perspective of JKD
The current school; I go to class wearing knee braces and I'm fine. But when I train at home in those same knee braces I'm not fine, my knees hurt for 2 days. So I take a 2 day rest and try training again.....and my knees hurt for 2 days. Noticed about 2 weeks ago that my knees did not feel right at all even with 2 days off. Then doing regular work any homeowner has to do I noticed my knees, mainly the left getting worse. So I went to wear a compression sleeve on that knee most of the time. But then I went to push hands class twice in one day this past weekend and I felt great. So I went home and tried to do some JKD on the heavy bag. This was a mistake.
The knee sleeve no longer helps the left knee, but the right is doing ok, does not seem to be as much of a problem as it was previously, but it is still bothering me a bit. However I am once again in a semi-rigid knee brace for my left knee just to be able to walk normally. Can't do taijiquan, Xingyiquan, of Yiquan stance training due to the left knee, without the knee brace. And now even with the knee brace JKD and Xingyi are not really good ideas right now.
This decision was actually harder to make than the last time I had to stop JKD do to the thinning retina. That was basically "If get hit in the head" "Then possibly go blind" kind of thing (sorry about the Computer programming If/Then reference, I am an IT guy after all). But this time my brain clicked back to the younger me who believed you need to work through the pain. And when you are in your 20s and 30s that actually seems to work....although I do believe you pay for it later...but in your 50s it does not work and you need to stop and recover, or you will eventually stop because you can't do it anymore and you won't recover
I truly enjoyed the training, the other students and the teacher, but at this point it is probably best to take a break to get the knees back and then do some strengthening and lose some weight. Then depending on where I am at with the other arts I train, and based on my schedule, I might be able to return.
I'm closer to 60 than 50, I'm arthritic, and currently over weight. But I am still not ready to say I am to old and beat up for JKD....I might be, but I'm not will to admit it just yet.
I have now given JKD a try 3 times, the first time my right knee and the teacher relocating to the southern part of the US stopped me. The second time it was my eye and some minor hip and knee pain (but no braces were needed) The third time it is my left knee with a little help from my right. Who knows, maybe the fourth times is the charm...when and if there is a 4th time
The Five Element Palm Qigong Seminar - scheduled for September 29 and 30 in Albany NY has been cancelled
…., with the possible exception of "Xue Sheng the clueless", post…
AKA; we all knew this would happen…he's addicted, he can't stop.....so why doesn’t he just accept it, quit trying to stop, shut up and train
Yeah, I started training Xingyiquan again. I think it was a combination of the JKD class and my overactive ego in push hands, but I found myself standing in Santi Shi and working on the 5 elements again.
It will be 27 years on September 14th that I have been training Taijiquan, consequently that is the same date I left the Japanese/Korean marital arts for Chinese Marital arts. In that 27 I have trained various competition Taiji forms, dabbled in Sun Style and there is even about 5 years of traditional Chen in there as well, and of course various other CMA styles, including Xingyiquan. Of that 27 years it has been 24 years that I have trained Traditional Yang Taijiquan with my Shifu. During this time in taijiquan I continually get to points in the training where I am convinced I finally got it….it makes sense….. only to discover I have no clue as to what is going on…or that what I thought was a peak, was just the ridge of a much larger mountain with no discernable path to the top…so I start looking for a way up again. I’m not complaining mind you, and I am not even surprised by this…. well not so much anymore, which is why I keep training. And my most recent return to push hands training, after a 3 year…or was it 4 year hiatus, has shown me exactly how much I have to learn and re-learn, and I’m working on it.
However, I have never felt this cluelessness with Xingyiquan. I have most definitely felt like I was on a plateau but I always seemed to know what direction to go, or how hard I had to work to get off it. Heck even the internal aspects of it make a whole lot more sense and seem easier to understand than Taijiquan ever did. My Xingyiquan training also started over 25 years ago but it was not as contiguous as Taijiquan due to the lack of teachers so I have no definite length of time I have trained it, and there has been multiple teachers, but it is likely I have somewhere around 10 years in Xingyiquan, but yet it is easier for me to understand. I get the same feeling from Jeet Kune Do too, and I only have a total of about 2 months official training in that, meaning with a teacher. And although this will likely be considered Xingyiquan Blaspheme... JKD has taught me a lot about Xingyiquan...
I am not giving up on Taijiquan, I am still training Yang style and I am still going to work on push hands. But I am also going to start working with Sun again, since it does seem to make more sense to me that Yang style does. I don’t know, could be the Xingyiquan influence in Sun that makes it easier for me to grasp. And I am going to continue working with JKD for a bit. I enjoyed what little I trained before on the Jerry Poteet side of the fence, but I am really liking this Dan Inosanto side of JKD.
So long story short, it seems like Xingyiquan is back and I am once again going to have to look for and travel to find teachers. But I have time, I have 7 until I can retire and likely 10 until I do retire and in that time I plan on training Xingyiquan and very likely Sun taijiquan. I will still train Yang and I will see how far I can take JKD, but if I stick with Xingyi and Taijiquan
At this point I see JKD like this
“Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one's back.” – Bruce Lee
So, I see a possibility that I will let JKD go and be back to a Chinese Internal Martial Arts guy…. or to be more correct…. an Old Chinese Martial Arts guy.
Enough from me....
Ego - noun, plural e·gos.
1.the “I” or self of any person; a person as thinking, feeling, and willing, and distinguishing itself from the selves of others and from objects of its thought.
2.Psychoanalysis. the part of the psychic apparatus that experiences and reacts to the outside world and thus mediates between the primitive drives of the id and the demands of the social and physical environment.
3.egotism; conceit; self-importance:
I let my ego get the better of me recently (number 3 of the above definition). The "I have been at this for 2 decades" kind of ego that produces irritation and blocks learning. The, "why is he looking at me and saying this; I’ve been at this longer than he has” kind of ego that is better described, at that point, as arrogance. I was irritated and I honestly had no reason to be, since everything that was said, was not said directly at me, it was said to the group, as a whole, but it most certainly applied to me.
I’m not proud of it, not one little bit didn’t like the feeling during or afterwards and I am not too happy about it now. My only consolation is that I may have been the only one that noticed, or at least that is the story I’m telling myself in hopes that it is true. However even if someone else noticed it is nothing that returning with a better, attitude, a more open mind, less arrogance and less ego won’t fix it. Basically, return with the mind of a beginner, a student, a person there to learn, since in fact that is why I am there in the first place.
But it was not a complete loss, I did notice it at the end of the class and I turned it around a bit then. Also, I learn something and it got me thinking, about many things, one of those being my training; where it has been, where it is, and where it is going.
It may change, although I also find I am asking myself how much I can change it? Or a better question, how much am I willing to change it at over a half century old? But then I also ask myself what about 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, would I be better off, the same or worse, if I changed now? That time will pass whether I do anything or not. But at this time, I am thinking I need to do something different. And this is why, although I am not proud of it, I think this attack of ego might not be such a bad thing, it got me thinking and I learned something.
Well that is all for me for now, later
I have to stop thinking I'm old
“If you start thinking you’re old subconsciously, your conscious mind is going to take hold of that and your body is going to start acting old, feeling old. Then you’re old.” - Sam “Sonny” Bryant Jr (70 years old)
This is Sam Bryant at 70 - started working out at age 44
70-Year-Old Man’s Shockingly Muscular Body
I have had my share of health related issues the past few years and I have noticed that a result of all that is I has started regularly referring to myself as old and I recently, after another health scare that I thought was my heart, I realized I think of myself as old as well.
Luckily it was not my heart, still not sure what the problem is actually, but it is not the heart..... all this has made me rethink a few things, and one of those is training and what I need to do. Now after coming across Sam Bryant I have much more than I realized to consider
Moral is...you are as old as you think you are..... the mind is very powerful.... we need to use it wisely..
Now there is a topic I have never posted about.
I found these old photos completely by accident on this site
William Dudley Pelley
Thought others might like to see them too
Front row l-r: Ryohei Uchida, Kamasaburo Lizuka, Sakuzo Uchida (younger brother) and Ikkan Miyakawa.
Back row: Isogai, Nagaoka, Jigaro Kano (seated) Yoshitsugu Yamashita (taught Pres. Teddy Roosevelt Judo) and an unidentified man.
wait...it was 8 postures!!!!!
I do Taijiquan every day and last week, Thursday, something just did not feel right. It felt like I was missing something, that the form was to short, but I kept on doing the form, every day, even though it just felt wrong.
I chalked this feeling up to that fact that I have been dealing with some health issues (more on that later) and that my mind was not focused and elsewhere at times during the form and maybe in some places I was somewhere else and I simply missed them.
This morning I was once again doing the form and I once again felt something was wrong, but today it began gnawing at me while I was doing the form. I kept on pushing on, posture after posture, until I could go no further, I just had to stop, it was not right. I knew I was missing some kicks and I most certainly knew I was missing a downward punch. I also know I was very focused on the form, but I could not figure out exactly where the transition was that would get me to the 3 postures I knew I was missing.
I simply could no longer do the Yang long form, so I stopped and consulted a YouTube Video of Tung Hu Ling
I fast forwarded through to where I was certain the forms I was missing had to start and, low and behold, there they were. If you use the Yang family counting of the forms there are 103 postures in the long form, I was only doing 95. Therefore, it felt wrong and this is why it felt short. However, this also pointed out that I had only realized I had forgotten about 3 and completely missed 5. I was upset about missing 3 and now I find I totally forgot 5 postures, that I have likely done thousands of times.
Traditional Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan 103 Movement Hand Form
I had been missing all of these since last Thursday
37. 右分脚 Right Separation Kick
38. 左分脚 Left Separation Kick
39. 转身左蹬脚 Turn Body and Left Heel Kick
40. 左搂膝拗步 Left Brush Knee and Push
41. 右搂膝拗步 Right Brush Knee and Push
42. 进步栽锤 Step Forward and Punch Down
43. 转身撇身锤 Turn Body and Chop with Fist
44. 进步搬拦锤 Step Forward, Parry Block and Punch
However, on the Previous Wednesday I am certain I did the entire form (103 if using the Yang family way of counting). Why 24 hours later 8 postures vanished completely I still do not know.
I have been doing this form for almost 25 years, I have had breaks due to injury that lasted months, and I have always managed to remember the entire form. I might catch myself doing the form and it felt wrong, but it generally was simply a matter of going through the form in my head to figure out what was missing. But last week I forgot 8 forms and did not realize for certain, until this morning, that there was something wrong, something was actually missing, and what those postures, at least in part, might be.
I’m still going to chalk this up to being pre-occupied with heath issues, of course it could also be age too. And I also know that I was not as focused on the form Thursday of last week as I was Wednesday of last week. It is an interesting lesson in how things can be wrong, when you are sure you’re right, how easily it can be to be distracted, and a lesson on the importance of focusing and centering too.
However now, after typing this, I think I now know why Thursday was different and why Thursday I was distracted and it was the health issue that I am dealing with that was the cause. So it is the health issue afterall….or at least that is my excuse and I’m sticking with it.
Something came to my attention this past week that I am not all to happy about....
I have on a few occasions pointed people in the direction of the training they are looking for both on MT and off MT. Most times it is someone looking for a school in their geographical location and a simple web search produces a number of schools and I simply tell them to check them out, or I run into them someplace and the subject comes up and I can help them. But there have been two times, here on MT, that I regret. One person sent me a PM and ask if I knew anything about training Chen style Taijiquan in China. The other, it came up in conversation.
I should probably state right here that I am not going to name names, these folks know who they are.
Chen Taijiquan: When I first came to MT, I did have a connection in the Chen family in China, Chen Zhenglei. My wife had been his translator on a few occasions when he came to my area and we were even invited to visit him at his home when we were in China. I received a few PMs from another poster here on MT telling me about their dream of training Chen Taijiquan in China, so I contacted Chen Zhenglei and he wanted to talk to this person, so I set it up, and they did talk, via e-mail. Chen’s wife started the process to get this person to China to train and all seemed fine… and then after they did all the work they needed to do in the China side of the equation, the person here vanished….as did my connection to the Chen family.
I decided then I had learned my lesson and would not allow that to happen again and I stuck to that for many years. I would recommend schools in areas people were looking for, but not schools or a shifu I knew personally. At least not without a lot of questions and a face to face meeting. But it never got that far for many years.
Recently, I let my guard down and got into a conversation with someone on MT. They were having a rough time with their current Shifu, who I know, and I mentioned another one in the area who I personally knew. I am not sure if they knew about him before I mentioned him or not, but I do know they went there. I also know there was trouble, not sure to what extent or what the result was since I currently have only one side, the person I recommended side, but I know there was a problem. And with what came to light this past week I now feel I need to make a call about to see what happened, apologize if needed and see where I now stand with these folks. However, before I became aware of the problem I pointed them in the direction of another school and they went there as well. I recently discovered there were problems there as well, from the shifu of that school.
I’m rather old school in my views of martial arts and very traditional in my views of Chinese marital arts. In my opinion, it is not cool, no matter what martial arts fantasy one is trying to fulfill, to go off and present things as your own, claim to have learned from folks you may have to may not have actually trained with and charge others for your alleged knowledge you don't have and add to that, do not have permission to teach. All while ruining the reputation of a very reputable and rather talented, martial artist and bad mouthing another every chance you get.
I have decided to talk to the various teachers in this recent equation about this situation to find out what is going on. I also cannot apologize enough to the one that is currently dealing with the fallout from this. Frankly I feel horrible and responsible for the entire debacle since I pointed this person to at least one school, possibly two.
All this has retaught me a rather powerful lesson, never again will I point anyone in the direction of a teacher I know, or recommend a school that I have any association with, to someone I have not, at least, meant face to face.
Fùhuó jié kuàilè
Xingyiqaun 5 elements, done by Hai Yang
Tried something today, which likely is far from original, and I am sure others have done it before, since Xingyiqyan has been around for over 200 years, but I was never shown it and I have never done it before today.
As far as Xingyi is concerned I am a proponent of standing in Santi Shi, just do not make it the focus of your training. It is important, it trains structure, but one should not forget, ultimately that structure has to move.
Also I believe that one should train all five postures of the 5 elements the same as Santi Shi, which is basically standing in piquan. Note, I also am only talking about the 5 elements, since this is all I really know.
Piquan, Zuanquan, Bengquan, Paoquan, Hengquan
I am also a proponent of training the 5 elements with reverse leg, at angles, straight, in reverse (backing up) and in circles, but that is not what this is about.
I have not done any Xingyiquan in a few months but today I was in my basement standing in Santi Shi when I had a thought, “go through all 5 elements slowly”. I have gone though the elements slowly before, much like a taijiquan form, but this was different with an added bit of breath focused meditation. This I had not thought of, or done, before.
Piquan; left, hold for 10 relaxed breathes
Piquan; right, hold for 10 relaxed breathes
Piquan; left, hold for 10 relaxed breathes
Piquan; right, hold for 10 relaxed breathes
Zuanquan; do the same as Piquan
Bengquan; 4 rounds left leg forward, same as Piquan
Bengquan; 4 rounds right leg forward, same as Piquan
Paoquan; same as Piquan
Hengquan; same as Piquan
Hengquan; reverse leg, same as Piquan
All stop and stand for 10 relaxed breathes, and all transitions from one posture to another were done at full speed. Now admittedly I have not done Xingyiquan in a few months and I am not in the greatest of shape, but at the end of this I was sweating a little bit, and I felt it in my thighs most.
What I did notice about the forms was that without the continuous movement, from one to the other, that the stop showed me rooting and alignment issues that I simply did not notice before due to the momentum of the 5 elements forms. As did the full speed transitions, knocked myself off balance more that once in Bengquan and Paoquan
Just wanted to share this, I imagine this could be done, and likely has been done before, with any form from any style.
I was reading through various philosophical quote this morning and these help with something I did not realize was even an issue until I read them. Just wanted to share them in case they may help others
Now I am off to exercise and train; Yoga, Total Gym, Treadmill, Taijiquan, and maybe even some Xingyiquan
Separate names with a comma.